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US Politics: What Price Loyalty?

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8 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

This makes me wonder... Why did Assad authorize the use of chemical weapons? Over-confidence? Plain stupidity or cruelty? Or was he trying to obtain something from Russia?
Maybe I'm over-simplifying, but it seems to me most actors were content with a de-escalation of tensions in Syria (well, with the slaughter of the last rebels that is). This latest development was probably unwelcome for most, wasn't it?

I have a theory that is entirely supported by my own observations, so take it with a grain of salt.

Assad's position is deceptively weak, even though he has established lines of communication throughout the country to consolidate his power he's still fighting multiple enemies on multiple fronts with a fairly limited number of troops. It's real simple, I think. He knew that the rebels were not going to surrender, and urban warfare is the worst. The absolute worst. I've read half a hundred war memoirs and tenfold military history efforts, and from Sulla to Stalin nobody wants to engage in street fighting.

The logistics are terrible, there's an almost infinite amount of places to hide or place traps, and every time you destroy something you're condensing the already cramped operation sector in ways that are rarely of consideration when maneuvering in the field.

So why wouldn't you drop the gas on 'em? One of the rebuttals they used was 'we already had troops in the area so we didn't need to use gas' which is fucking silly on its face. It seems pretty clear to me what the goal was.

Additionally, I've been waiting on some kind of update on what happened to all of those rebels who were bused out of the city. I have a feeling they didn't make it more than ten miles before getting acquainted to a mass grave.

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59 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

When I first heard it reported, they were talking about broader attempts to look for more examples of Cohen covering things up for Trump, but this seems like a weird path to follow. Moreover, it possibly gives Trump a legitimate excuse to say the FBI has gone too far in their investigation.

But hell, if they're going for things like this, why not go after the cut footage from The Apprentice, in which it's been reported that Trump dropped N-bombs regularly?Actually,now that I think about it, can Dems subpoena that if they retake the House? 

 

12 minutes ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

Right, and maybe there is a question as to whether he was paid to do so?  I just wonder if there is something there.  Who knows.  I will say I know the guy who authorized the Cohen warrants.  Stand up dude.  Based on my knowledge of him he would have been really, really, really careful.

A former prosecutor on CNN suggested they were looking for a pattern of behaviour.

I was wondering if Cohen used threats against Burnett also.

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1 hour ago, Kalbear said:

 

I don't think they want the US in Syria though. The best way to make that not happen is to, ya know, not provoke us - especially right after the POTUS says 'we are going to get out of Syria real soon'. I mean, really - if you want to increase their influence and degrade ours, having us leave is hugely preferable to having us stay. 

 

If POTUS saying you are going to get out of Syria real soon is followed in short order by a chemical attack, that is known will get POTUS and hand wringing people on the right and left in the USA who think the manner in which you maim and kill people has some moral relevance, is it not possible that the two are connected, and the intention is to keep the US's eye on Syria?

It also happened not all that long after a chemical weapon attack (or 2) in the UK.

Seems to me like chemical weapon attacks in Syria are being put to internationally strategic use by someone. I'm just not sure what international relations strategy it is attempting to advance.

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Posted (edited)

Paul Ryan Personifies the Devil's Bargain the GOP Struck With Trump

The outgoing House speaker, more than any other lawmaker, paved the path for congressional Republicans’ subjugation to the president.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/04/paul-ryan-personifies-the-devils-bargain-the-gop-struck-with-trump/557783/

Quote

“I worked with him back in his days of working for Jack Kemp at Empower America,” Frank Sharry, the executive director of the pro-immigrant advocacy group America’s Voice, told me Wednesday. “He was one of the most committed pro-immigrant, pro-immigration libertarians I’ve encountered in my three decades in D.C. Then, after ascending to one of the most powerful positions in the nation, he talked a good game and did nothing—except front for Trump’s nativism."

 

Edited by Martell Spy

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31 minutes ago, Pony Queen Jace said:

Additionally, I've been waiting on some kind of update on what happened to all of those rebels who were bused out of the city. I have a feeling they didn't make it more than ten miles before getting acquainted to a mass grave.

The Syrian government keeps it's word on busing the rebels, because if not then no one would agree to it. And the busing program has been a great success as it lets the government clear out pockets without forcing the rebels to fight to the death. Plus as a bonus sometimes the rebels start fighting with each other when they get to wherever their going as you now have two rebel groups instead of one. 

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5 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

It can be both at the same time. Trump will bring attention onto himself as a means of  distracting people from the story of him firing Mueller.

It's not though. I'm saying he doesn't distract people. He doesn't think "I want people to stop talking about this, so I'll do something else to so they focus on that". He just does shit to get attention and he blows up over random things he sees on the TV that anger him. People misinterpret the fact that he's always trying to yell about something as a strategic decision but it's not. He's just a narcissistic moron.

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Posted (edited)

I hope everyone saw this bit from Erick Erickson: https://www.themaven.net/theresurgent/erick-erickson/a-congressman-s-profanity-laced-tirade-in-a-safeway-grocery-store-SeHI2l5bIECGQn4gmnzGaw/?full=1

It's sort of the same shit we've dealt with since Trump got the nomination: Republicans trashing him in private to reporters but singing his praises on TV. I think what makes me love this so much is how the guy evidently talks like he's on Veep or The Thick of It. It's also the first time I've heard a Republican talking impeachment, in private or in public. That gives me some hope.

ETA: I'm also wondering if he's left enough detail for someone to sleuth out who he is. The write up just has that he's an R in a safe seat on the judiciary committee who goes on TV (fox, I'm sure) regularly. That's probably not enough to go on, but there may be other hints or facts I don't know.

Edited by Alcibiades

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, Pony Queen Jace said:

Yes.

Take the lessons of Iraq, apply them to Syria. That's the only way. We don't have all the answers, we can only do what's right.

I'm more Colin Powell and Brent Scowcroft than I'm Susan Powers. The lesson of Iraq is that pulling off regime change is enormously hard and costly. The other lesson of Iraq is too many people think pulling this stuff is easy. I remember very well General Shinseki giving a candid assesment of how many troops it would take to pull off the occupation of Iraq and the whole resulting cluster that happened because of very optimistic beliefs of how things would pan out.

The lesson of Iraq is you don't pull this stuff off unless you're willing to committ an enormous amount of resources into the project, have realistic time tables (things may take a very long time), and realistic about the carnage and your chances of success.

In the military they talk about being able to “move, shoot, and communicate”. Back in the day, I used to joke we might do 2 out of 3 but it would be fuckin’ miracle if we managed to do all three at once. But that is the nature of military operations. Something always fucks up and goes awry, even something that is well planned. 

And pulling of a thing like regime change is an enormously complicated operation that takes high degree of planning, both military and political. And it takes people being realistic about time and results. And at this time, I’m extremely skeptical about our leaders being able to pull this stuff off successfully largely because there a lot of moving parts. Rose colored glasses doesn't help matters.

Edited by OldGimletEye

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4 hours ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

Right, and maybe there is a question as to whether he was paid to do so?  I just wonder if there is something there.  Who knows.  I will say I know the guy who authorized the Cohen warrants.  Stand up dude.  Based on my knowledge of him he would have been really, really, really careful.

I wouldn't doubt it. Dropping those kind of searches on Cohen, the President's lawyer, is very much a "You come at the King, you best not miss" situation.

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Posted (edited)

I stay open to the possibility that my government is lying when Assad is accused in these chemical attacks. We have found out at later dates that both sides have used gas/chemical attacks and that all the attacks have been blamed on the government, even when some of the attacks were later found to have been perpetrated by the terrorist rebels.

 
Quote

US Now Admits Syrian "Rebels" Have Used Chemical Weapons | Zero Hedge
Oct 22, 2017 · From the first moment chemical weapons were used on the Syrian battlefield, the American public was led to believe that only one side could possibly be responsible. The constant refrain in the echo ...

 

^^^ Its entirely possible, in some buried story, months from now, we will read of another story like the one above. That it was in fact another Syrian terrorist group that perpetrated the latest gas attack. They (the terrorist rebels) are the forces that have the greater incentive for wanting the U.S. in the fight. And these attacks suspiciously timed just as Trump has been opineing over wanting to further disentangle from the Syrian Civil War. There is an agenda at work with these attacks, the motives are suspicious to me.

Additionally when I hear an endless parade of "No doubt it was Assad" echo chamber bullshit I take that as very suspect parroting. From what ive read I believe it takes weeks to actually confirm these things, the "first 48 hours finger pointing" is entirely politics, they arent certain, the public should retain scepticism, especially with a Trump regime that is certainly not above waging some wag the dog military adventure to get the Mueller investigation out of the headlines.

 
Edited by DireWolfSpirit

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9 hours ago, Rippounet said:

This makes me wonder... Why did Assad authorize the use of chemical weapons? Over-confidence? Plain stupidity or cruelty? Or was he trying to obtain something from Russia?
Maybe I'm over-simplifying, but it seems to me most actors were content with a de-escalation of tensions in Syria (well, with the slaughter of the last rebels that is). This latest development was probably unwelcome for most, wasn't it?

According to the military analysts I've been reading, Assad has very few land troops capable of major offensive actions. His army is large on paper, but most of them are conscripts best used for defending trenches and little else. His elite "Tiger forces" only number around 1000 men. For this reason, he avoids risking the troops that are actually capable and loyal in sustained urban fighting.

His air force (+ Russian air force, of course) is what really gives him the edge, but it is not applicable in every situation. Also, his planes are old Soviet models from 1970's and 80's, which are probably starting to fall apart after seven years of extensive wartime use.

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1 hour ago, Fragile Bird said:

Will Cohen go to prison for Trump? What do you think?

Well he'll be going to prison because of Trump. I don't know if that counts as an answer.

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Posted (edited)

Paul Ryan says turning over the country to one orange authoritarian buffoon was worth it to make Ayn Rand happy.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/4/11/17224206/paul-ryan-retire-press-conference-trump
 

Quote

“I’m grateful for the president for giving us this opportunity to get the country on the right track,” he said. “The fact that he gave us the ability to get this stuff done makes me proud of the accomplishments that I’ve been a contributor to. It makes me satisfied that I’ve made a big difference and he’s given us that chance, and I’m grateful to him for that, and that’s really how I see it.”

His defense of Trump in itself is not particularly surprising: Ryan is a party man. But it’s also a perfect articulation of a calculation — or perhaps miscalculation — Republicans made with Trump.

Also, further explained by @Martell Spy 's link.

Hey, don’t mess with me. Or I’ll say very unkind things about you on the Tweeter.

No, not the Tweeter. Not the tweeter. Anything but that.

https://www.vox.com/world/2018/4/11/17223606/syria-gas-attack-donald-trump-twitter

Quote

President Donald Trump just tweeted a warning that an attack on Syria is imminent — breaking his own policy of not signaling upcoming military moves.

The tweet comes as Trump weighs how to punish Damascus after President Bashar al-Assad’s forces carried out an April 7 chemical attack on civilians, killing at least 40 people. Trump promised a big response and has consulted with his national security team and foreign leaders for days about whether, and how hard, to strike Assad.

It seems Trump has made up his mind. “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning. “Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!

 

Probably wise not to listen to your libertarian friend's advice to put all your savings into Bitcoin.
https://www.vox.com/conversations/2018/4/11/17206018/bitcoin-blockchain-cryptocurrency-weaver

Quote

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are constantly in the news, as is the blockchain technology behind them.

If, like me, you don’t really understand these things, it’s hard to know what to make of all this. Is Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, the future or will this experiment gradually fade away like a historical footnote? Are cryptocurrencies actually decentralized or are they controlled by small groups of people? Are they fraud-proof or can they be manipulated by insiders?

To get some answers, I reached out to Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute at UC Berkeley. Weaver teaches a course on blockchains and seems to think the technology is, at best, misguided and, at worst, a fraud. So I asked him to lay out his case in the simplest possible terms.

A lightly edited transcript of our conversation follows.

 

Quote

There are plenty of people who see cryptocurrencies, however flawed, as a step in the right direction because they at least take power away from governing authorities and give individuals more freedom. But you seem to think this is bullshit. Why?

When the first states started issuing money did they make money in specie because libertarians were already trading gold or silver or whatever and it had value, or did states decide to make money in specie because it was harder to forge? I'm of the view it was probably the latter and that what ultimately gives money it's value is that it can be used to pay taxes.

Quote

 But if you don’t need to buy drugs or hitmen, the cryptocurrencies are vastly less efficient. I mean, look at the volatility of Bitcoin and other digital currencies — they’re all over the place. So if you go to one of the few legitimate merchants that take Bitcoins, they aren’t actually taking Bitcoins.

I’m not a fan of EMH. But at least rational expectations rational valuation formulas give me a ball park idea of what a bond or a piece of equity should be worth.

Does anyone have one iota of a clue how to price Bitcoin? Anyone?

Bueller?

Bueller?

......................................

Paul Ryan responsible for committing the Republican Party to Ayn Rand and libertarian dipshittery. Well technically Rand couldn’t stand libertarians, but who does? Evidently, according to her, they “stole” her ideas, but I'm going off the rails a bit.

Anyway:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/4/11/17224158/paul-ryan-obama-budget-entitlements-social-security-medicare-trump

Quote

Paul Ryan will be remembered for a lot of things — his rise to fame as President Barack Obama’s most prominent critic in Congress; his 2012 run for vice president; his role leading the Republican establishment as it accepted Donald Trump as its nominee and then president.

But he deserves to be remembered as the person who, more than anyone else, committed the Republican Party to an extreme libertarian vision of government in response to Obama’s election. In doing so, he ended up achieving little of the party’s priorities — and created an opening that helped propel Trump to the White House.

 

Quote

One group of conservative writers and policy entrepreneurs proposed a sensible path forward. Using Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty as their exemplar, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam had coined the term “Sam’s Club Republicanism” in a 2005 article in the Weekly Standard, and fleshed the idea out in a 2008 book.

Anyone remember the Reformicons? Probably not. They are like the one hit wonders of the political world. You’ll find them singing cover songs in some shady establishment in Pigsknuckle Arkansas.

Quote

. Instead, in 2010, Republicans blanketed the airwaves with ads attacking Democrats for supporting Medicare cuts included in Obamacare

Oh yes, I remember the days when the Republican Party acted like it was the big defenders of Medicare. LOL.

Quote

Instead, we got Ryanism, and, after it, Trumpism. That is Paul Ryan’s lasting legacy in politics, and it’s a grim one.

You did a heckuva job there Browny. Good one. Good one.

Forgot: In addition, it looks like the “libertarian” overlords, for the most part, went all in with the Trumpism. So the next time one presumes to lecture somebody else about freedom, laugh, snicker, snort and roll eyes.

Edited by OldGimletEye

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The stupid and mean Jim Jordan is actually agreeing with Chris Cuomo that Congress needs to do its fucking job and stop letting presidents abuse the War Powers Act.

I only mention it because I actually believed him and I've never trusted a word out of his slack jawed mouth before.

It gives me just a -little- hope that maybe a non-Pelosi speaker might address the fact that the Legislative branch has ceded so much authority to the executive, and some of these wackjobs actually like the smell of their own shit so they might go along with it.

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Posted (edited)

Who could have for seen this? He was tricked!

Corker: Tax cuts could be 'one of the worst votes I've made

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/382663-corker-tax-cuts-could-be-one-of-worst-votes-ive-made

Quote

 

“If it ends up costing what has been laid out here, it could well be one of the worst votes I’ve made,” he said at a Senate Budget Committee hearing on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate that produced the figure.

“I hope that is not the case, I hope there’s other data to assist, whether it’s jobs or growth or whatever,” Corker added.

 

 

Edited by Martell Spy

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11 minutes ago, Martell Spy said:

Who could have for seen this? He was tricked!

Corker: Tax cuts could be 'one of the worst votes I've made

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/382663-corker-tax-cuts-could-be-one-of-worst-votes-ive-made

 

I guess he'll just have to cry himself to sleep on the huge pile of money he'll make from the rental properties tax break that they wrote in for him. Fuck these dishonest shitheads!

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1 hour ago, OldGimletEye said:

You did a heckuva job there Browny. Good one. Good one.

Forgot: In addition, it looks like the “libertarian” overlords, for the most part, went all in with the Trumpism. So the next time one presumes to lecture somebody else about freedom, laugh, snicker, snort and roll eyes.

Paul Ryan retiring?   Put that under; Atlas Fled.

 

Yep, I stole that meme, it's too cool not to.

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30 minutes ago, Martell Spy said:

Who could have for seen this? He was tricked!

Corker: Tax cuts could be 'one of the worst votes I've made

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/382663-corker-tax-cuts-could-be-one-of-worst-votes-ive-made

 

 

18 minutes ago, DanteGabriel said:

I guess he'll just have to cry himself to sleep on the huge pile of money he'll make from the rental properties tax break that they wrote in for him. Fuck these dishonest shitheads!

Put a cork in it Corker, we tried to tell ya, you ass clown.

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