sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Passing Observations

Bernie and Jane Sanders have lawyered up (more here) It's interesting that they started by blaming President Trump. 
On January 10, 2016, in the midst of Sanders’ sudden stardom—just weeks before the votes in Iowa and New Hampshire—the U.S. attorney for Vermont was sent a “Request for an Investigation into Apparent Federal Bank Fraud.”
Oops.
Jane and Bernie Sanders
Backed by six exhibits and a dozen documents, the four-page letterdescribed how Jane Sanders had “orchestrated” the purchase of 33 acres along Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, where her husband had minted his populist political brand as mayor. The deal closed in 2010, when the senator’s wife was president of Burlington College, a tiny, obscure, nontraditional school that always seemed to be struggling for students and funds. The letter alleged that to secure a $10 million loan and execute her grand plan to expand the college, Jane Sanders had falsified and inflated nearly $2 million that she’d claimed donors had pledged to repay the loans.
It's one of those things that we have to watch, to see how it all turns out.

It's Just Chump Change

All pigs are equal. Some are more equal than others.
The infamous Clinton Foundation now admits that it took $1 million from Qatar while Hillary was Secretary of State, and forgot to tell the US government. (more here

It could have happened to any one of us. Of course if you're not elite and you do that, you end up in custody with soap-on-a-rope around your neck in the communal prison shower.
Among the thousands of emails hacked from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman John Podesta and published by Wikileaks, one stated that officials from the government of Qatar gave the Clinton Foundation $1 million to celebrate Bill Clinton’s 65th birthday, funds which the foundation did not report to the State Department. 
That would seemingly violate an ethics agreement Hillary Clinton signed when she became Secretary of State in 2009, in which she promised the foundation would notify the State Department's ethics official if a new foreign government wanted to donate or "increase materially" its contributions.

Qatari officials pledged the money in 2011; in April 2012 Amitabh Desai, the Clinton Foundation's foreign policy director, sent an email acknowledging the Qataris wanted to meet Bill Clinton “for five minutes” in New York City. 
Clinton Foundation spokesman Brian Cookstra told Reuters that the $1 million gift was not a "material increase" in Qatar’s contributions. But Qatar had given between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation in total, meaning the $1 million gift represented between a 20% to 100% increase.
America is still waiting for a serious investigation into the Clinton Foundation, shady uranium deals and a host of other "irregular" transactions. The FBI could do a good job here and it might begin to remove the "Comey Stain" that is on the FBI badge. Currently, people allege that the FBI (along with the corrupt mainstream media) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democrat Party. I don't believe that, but I do believe that there is a lot of partisan politics being played instead of following evidence and sticking to a discovery of facts. It makes the Bureau look tawdry.

ObamaCare

The system is broke and insurers are either increasing premiums dramatically while also raising deductibles or they're pulling out of the exchanges/market completely.

The Dems knew that this would happen and under a Clinton presidency, it would have been a predicate for single-payer healthcare mandated to all Americans. In effect, it would have made all healthcare in the us equal to the Veteran's Administration. Care would have been smashed and the cost would have been unsustainable (enter death panels). That was the program. But elections have consequences.

Today it remains to be seen whether Congress will put lipstick on a pig (ObamaCare) or will repeal and replace. The swamp is very deep, my friends. I have no idea where this will land, but the Republicans aren't showing much spine. President Trump promised America a repeal of ObamaCare and a rational replacement that included opening up the entire US to all insurance carriers so that competition could drive down cost.


Geopolitical Commentary

Pusillanimous Pakis

During the past week, the Chinese have offered to mediate Pakistani differences with Afghanistan. When you consider that the Pakistani Intelligence Service (ISI) created the Taliban, and has supported them since the beginning, I don't know what form those mediations will take.

This week the Russians offered to mediate Pakistani differences with India.
The US has tried to use its position as an ally of Pakistan and Afghanistan and a friend of India to persuade Pakistan to halt support to terrorist groups in Afghanistan and in India for the past 16 years. US efforts failed.
The most important countries on earth are getting tired of Pakistani duplicity. Pakistan has become a source of instability and a training ground for international terrorists that now threaten Chinese and Russian interests, not just those of the US. 

Pakistani leaders do not seem to be getting the message that China will not tolerate Pakistan’s ineffective security operations and selective support for terrorists because they jeopardize China’s Belt and Road initiative. The terms of Pakistani participation virtually allow China to take charge of Pakistani security, if Pakistan cannot meet its responsibilities. 

Russian President Putin made the mediation offer on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, in early June. As the US has exerted increased pressure on Pakistan to terminate its support for terrorist groups, Putin’s advisors perceive an opportunity to increase Russian influence.

Pakistani leaders also have incurred increased displeasure from Saudi King Salman because Pakistan has twice declined to support important Saudi initiatives. Pakistan has refused to support the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and the Saudi-led sanctions regime against Qatar.

The Pakistani leaders do not seem prepared to cope with the complexity of the situation that their policy choices have created. 

There is no good reason that the US should extend .02 cents to Pakistan by way of foreign aid. Let the Chinese watch their bribes disappear onto the pockets of Pakistani leaders without the slightest movement toward improving the lives of the regular people or improving the security situation.

Iranian Missiles

Israel reported that only two Iranian missiles hit Deir ez-Zor. Israeli press also reported that Iran launched seven missiles, not six as the spokesman for the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said.
“Out of the seven ballistic missiles fired at ISIS havens in Deir ez-Zor, only two hit the targets,” Haaretz reported. Two landed in the surrounding area; three landed in Iraq, according to Israeli military sources. 
Iran said the missiles killed 65 Islamic State fighters. 

The Israeli narrative corrects the record, but the inaccuracy of the Iranian missiles might be considered more threatening than more accurate missiles. Inaccurate missiles are arguably more terrifying than precision weapons. The Iranians would accept a mixed result from a missile attack against Israelis.

The problem of Iranian missiles reaching their targets may have something to do with their design being based on North Korean Missiles.

Turks vs Kurds

If a Turk should marry a Kurd, the resulting union would be... puzzle that one out for yourself. Meanwhile...

Several Turkish army convoys were seen heading into Syria on 21 June toward the rebel-held town of Azaz. The Turkish troop movement reinforces rumors of a pending Turkish-backed rebel assault on Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) positioned around the town of Tell Rifaat.

A local analyst observed that a battle over Tell Rifaat, a previously rebel-held town that was seized by the YPG, isn't as sensitive as a direct Turkish attack on core YPG areas, as Manbij has become. 

The Turkish leadership is obsessed with and confounded by the Syrian civil war. President Erdogan’s initial policy was to support the Islamic State in overthrowing the Assad government. That policy failed and backfired when the Russian expeditionary force arrived to save the Assad government and when the US narrowed the fight by focusing on the Islamic State.

Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield succeeded in creating a limited safe zone, around a few villages west of Manbij, but, even with the help of Turkish regular units, the Turkish proxy forces were unable to push the Syrian Kurds back across the Euphrates River. Turkey ended that operation with a promise of returning. 

Turkey hoped to have its proxy rebel forces join the fight for Raqqa and to replace the Syrian Kurds. The US rejected the Turkish plan. 

Erdogan sensed an opportunity in cooperating with the Russians and Iranians in creating the four de-escalation zones. Turkey’s task supposedly was to ensure that the Sunni armed opposition groups complied with the ceasefire terms. The triumvirate has yet to decide where and how the Turks perform this task. That is a primary topic for the next round of talks in Kazakhstan.

The latest move suggests Turkey unilaterally is determining its area of responsibility by committing Turkish army units a second time.

The Turks might be doing to the Syrian Kurds in the north what the US and its proxy force did to the Syrian army and its allies at Al Tanj. That is set up a blocking position to protect its interests. At Tell Rifaat, the Turkish army will ensure that the Syrian Kurds from their two cantons in eastern Syria never create an uninterrupted land corridor to the Afrin Canton. I believe that the Turks will be frustrated in their efforts once again.

USA

The smug, elite, progressive, lying, filthy mainstream media continues their rant against the American people, while the rest of the world just wonders if the American elites have gone completely insane.

The answer to that question would be "yes".

It would help if the mainstream media could get out of the DC Beltway or off Manhattan Island - but that is asking too much.