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Member since: Fri Dec 10, 2010, 10:36 PM
Number of posts: 53,661

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Just think! They could charge exorbitant tolls for passing from CA to OR and vice versa! Brilliant!

They could all retire and be gentlemen farmers from the largesse of the hapless people who have to travel the west coast for a living with this Bonanza:

Yes, I can see it all now...

Great pic and video of honoring Wallenberg. Here's another with more on him that I didn't know:

Story of that other young man, Wallenberg. Has a lot I didn't know:

The Arab League, which Kerry mentioned in other hearings, has given Assad's seat in their council to

a rebel group already, and I'm guessing Kerry thought everyone knew that already.

They are now supporting and working with the Syrian National Coalition as of March of this year. After they sent in their investigators in 2011 to monitor Assad's actions against the Arab Spring protestors, they decided to suspend him, allegedly for genocide. Their efforts to get him to stop failed.

The Arab League includes 22 nations reaching from the west coast of Africa, across all of the northern coast, Saudi Arabia and other nations. The ties that bind them are shared language, culture and economic, as well as the increase of women and children's rights. They have been in existance for over half a century.

The League suspended Quadaffi in 2011 for his treatment of his Arab Spring protestors and later gave Libya's seat to the interim government. Which is why there was not an outcry over the ouster of Quadaffi, in thei Arab world, he had been deemed a rogue for the slaughter of his people. So when the USA and other forces went after them, it was just matter of course for them. AFAIK, they did not send troops or supply air cover, they are not capable of it.

And it's likely the Arab world won't be upset now if Assad is forced out. We don't hear much about them despite their trade agreements with Britain and other western nations since they are focused solely on Arab concerns. But they exist and want Assad gone. as do Turkey and Jordan.

Only Turkey has ties to NATO, which was the first group they requested help but this is still not an Article 5 violation by their standards. Putin says that if he sees good, hard scientific evidence on the latest round of chemical weaponry, he will agree to a UN motion.

Russia, the USA and the 189 countries Alan notes, agreed as member states to not only get rid of their WMD, which include biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear weapons but to prevent their being made or used anywhere.

These are all matters of international agreements, of which Americans are largely unaware until something like this gets our attention.

Actually, it's a lot more than them:

The Arab League was founded in Cairo in 1945 by seven countries, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Transjordan (Jordan from 1946), and Yemen. There was a continual increase in membership during the second half of the 20th century, with additional 15 Arab States being admitted, with a current total of 21 member States due to Syria's suspension following the 2011 uprising.

On 22 February 2011, following the start of the Libyan civil war and the use of military force against civilians, the Arab League Secretary-General, Amr Moussa, stated that Libya's membership in the Arab League had been suspended: "the organisation has decided to halt the participation of the Libyan delegations from all Arab League sessions".[9] This makes Libya the second country in the League's history to have a frozen membership. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi declared that the League was illegitimate, saying: "The Arab League is finished. There is no such thing as the Arab League."[10][11] On 25 August 2011, Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby announced it was "about time" Libya's full member status was restored. The National Transitional Council, the partially recognised interim government of Libya, will send a representative to be seated at the Arab League meeting on 17 August to participate in a discussion as to whether to readmit Libya to the organisation.[12]

The Arab Parliament recommended the suspension of member states Syria and Yemen on 20 September 2011, over persistent reports of disproportionate violence against regime opponents and activists during the Arab Spring.[13] A vote on 12 November agreed to formally suspend Syria four days after the vote, giving Assad a last chance to avoid suspension. Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen voted against the motion, while Iraq abstained.[14] A wave of criticism rose as the Arab League sent in December 2011 a commission "monitoring" violence on people protesting against the regime. The commission was headed by Mohammad Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, who served as head of Omar al-Bashir's military intelligence, while war crimes including genocide were allegedly committed on his watch.[15][16][17] On 6 March 2013, the Arab League granted the Syrian National Coalition Syria's seat in the Arab League.[citation needed]


They represent 22 nations composed of over 400 million people. They have not wanted Assad there for some time, seem to see Assad as a threat to them and their people.

The only reason I've heard stated for us for to do the action, is that they are not trained to do so. Each of these countries have military forces but they don't have the kind of know how American armed forces do.

IMO this is a sorry state of affairs for us, but the truth is that is what we have that others don't. I don't like us playing this role, but it's fact that is who we have become after the Cold War years. Success can be a failure.

The goal is what is called a just peace established after the conflict is ended. The Syrian conflict under the Assad family has been waged for generations now, no end in sight. It is now pulling in fighters from all Arab nations, some sponsored and some with nothing better to do. It's out of control. Millions are displaced. The countries most affected are Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, with the latter calling for Assad to be removed by any means possible to stop the cycle.

That's all I know so far, this is a major mess.

I hope they didn't try to serve Lutefisk. Watch out, Obama!

Lutefisk eaters thrive on quotes and jokes from skeptics of lutefisk comparing it to everything from rat poison (which has a hint of truth to it, because of the traces of nonstandard amino acid lysinoalanine found in lutefisk due to the reaction with lye) to weapons of mass destruction. A few examples are:

Quote from Garrison Keillor's book Lake Wobegon Days:

Every Advent we entered the purgatory of lutefisk, a repulsive gelatinous fishlike dish that tasted of soap and gave off an odor that would gag a goat. We did this in honor of Norwegian ancestors, much as if survivors of a famine might celebrate their deliverance by feasting on elm bark. I always felt the cold creeps as Advent approached, knowing that this dread delicacy would be put before me and I'd be told, "Just have a little." Eating a little was like vomiting a little, just as bad as a lot.

Quote from Garrison Keillor's book Pontoon:

Lutefisk is cod that has been dried in a lye solution. It looks like the desiccated cadavers of squirrels run over by trucks, but after it is soaked and reconstituted and the lye is washed out and it's cooked, it looks more fish-related, though with lutefisk, the window of success is small. It can be tasty, but the statistics aren't on your side. It is the hereditary delicacy of Swedes and Norwegians who serve it around the holidays, in memory of their ancestors, who ate it because they were poor. Most lutefisk is not edible by normal people. It is reminiscent of the afterbirth of a dog or the world's largest chunk of phlegm.

Interview with Jeffrey Steingarten, author of The Man Who Ate Everything (translated quote from a 1999 article in Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet):

Lutefisk is not food, it is a weapon of mass destruction. It is currently the only exception for the man who ate everything. Otherwise, I am fairly liberal, I gladly eat worms and insects, but I draw the line on lutefisk.

What is special with lutefisk?

Lutefisk is the Norwegians' attempt at conquering the world. When they discovered that Viking raids didn't give world supremacy, they invented a meal so terrifying, so cruel, that they could scare people to become one's subordinates. And if I'm not terribly wrong, you will be able to do it as well.


OMG, if only we could have warned him before he left!

Syrian Revolutionary Dabke

Uploaded on Jul 2, 2011


Response from the streets of Hama to Bashar's speech, with additional music & translation added by the Creative Syrian Revolution.

The singer "Ibrahim Qashoush" was reported to be killed in Hama on 3 July 2011 by regime mercenaries, they cut his throat to try to stop his chant spreading.

Please spread this to prove them wrong and show their violence will never defeat us.

9 questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask

By Max Fisher, August 29, 2013

1. What is Syria?

Syria is a country in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s about the same size as Washington state with a population a little over three times as large – 22 million. Syria is very diverse, ethnically and religiously, but most Syrians are ethnic Arab and follow the Sunni branch of Islam. Civilization in Syria goes back thousands of years, but the country as it exists today is very young. Its borders were drawn by European colonial powers in the 1920s.

Syria is in the middle of an extremely violent civil war. Fighting between government forces and rebels has killed more 100,000 and created 2 million refugees, half of them children.

2. Why are people in Syria killing each other?

The killing started in April 2011, when peaceful protests inspired by earlier revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia rose up to challenge the dictatorship running the country. The government responded — there is no getting around this — like monsters. First, security forces quietly killed activists. Then they started kidnapping, raping, torturing and killing activists and their family members, including a lot of children, dumping their mutilated bodies by the sides of roads. Then troops began simply opening fire on protests. Eventually, civilians started shooting back.

Fighting escalated from there until it was a civil war. Armed civilians organized into rebel groups. The army deployed across the country, shelling and bombing whole neighborhoods and towns, trying to terrorize people into submission. They’ve also allegedly used chemical weapons, which is a big deal for reasons I’ll address below. Volunteers from other countries joined the rebels, either because they wanted freedom and democracy for Syria or, more likely, because they are jihadists who hate Syria’s secular government. The rebels were gaining ground for a while and now it looks like Assad is coming back. There is no end in sight...

More at the link:


Please read about the Chemical Weapons Convention:


It is mentioned often as it has been signed onto by 189 nations, including Russia and the USA. But Syria is not one of them.

Did Donald run with all the themes in this video?

Your moment of Zen...

I feel the same and wish those blithely repeating our sixties mantra of 'give peace a chance,'

could grasp that millions of Syrians are not enjoying peace, freedom or justice at this time. And have not for a long time.

Those who passionately supported the Arab Spring don't seem to care about the people who were in the Arab Spring. They have thrown their heroes under the bus. Those are exactly the people Assad is killing now. Those left alive that are maimed or without a place to live, are not getting a chance at peace.

Not taking action always supports the status quo. Where would we be if slave holders were left alone in peace to decide to grant freedom and justice to those they had in bondage? Did giving 'peace a chance' liberate the slaves?

If you read the writings of Confederate philosophy at the time, no, it would have never happened:


Any more than Rand Paul or others would see the injustice of personhood laws on women, denying them birth control, equal pay, education, the right of unions to exist and people to be protected from environmental and social disasters commited by corporations on them.

No, giving them peace has not led to peace for minorities, women or the world in general.

It's a mind boggling concept for those of us want to have people work out differences peacefully at the ballot box and quite unexpected, isn't it?

I read some time back, that the vociferous voices for peace send out the same energy as those who really, really love war. I've found that to be true when I examine it.

You can't escape what you radiate. You create hate with hate. I read a post saying the USA should be bombed with chemical weapons because of what was done in Vietnam. That was a war crime, which Kerry spoke out about.

There is no hypocrisy in his being against it now, He is not trying to get the power to use those, nor free fire zones, search and destroy missions, and all the things he spoke out against in 1971. He is consistent, and after that is denied by the bashers, they have little reason to use in their screeds.

The desire for Americans to be killed denies the work we have done to eliminate these weapons, and many others, from our own stockpiles and to stop their being used.

Because both the USA and Russia are signatories to the Chemical Weapons Convention and have reduced their stockpiles as shown here:

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is an arms control agreement which outlaws the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons. Its full name is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction. The agreement is administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is an independent organization based in the Hague, in the Netherlands.

The main obligation under the convention is the prohibition of use and production of chemical weapons, as well as the destruction of all chemical weapons. The destruction activities are verified by the OPCW. As of January 2013, around 78% of the (declared) stockpile of chemical weapons has thus been destroyed.[5][6] The convention also has provisions for systematic evaluation of chemical and military plants, as well as for investigations of allegations of use and production of chemical weapons based on intelligence of other state parties.

As of June 2013, 189 states are party to the CWC, and another two countries (Israel and Myanmar) have signed but not yet ratified the convention.[1]

And those are not just chemical weapons. And the group does cover not producing more of any of the WMD listed. Member states who are working on this span the globe:

More at link:


Syria is not a member to this organization and this is not the first time that Assad has used chemical weapons on his people.

The only bright spot that I can see, is Obama's calls to Putin to put pressure on Assad regarding this.

Anyone with sense knows when they hear public statements showing bravado or enemity that it is not the case. Obama in particular is not doing so and never has. Those media blurbs saying such and such president or minister is a tough guy is for the edification of the school yard crowd.

They demand red meat, and are not capable of running anything but their mouths. Which they do continously. War-like peace warriors don't find reason viscerally satisfying enough. They are as simplistic as the hawks after September 11th.


Watch President Obama Meet Congressional Leaders to Discuss Syria

Published on Sep 3, 2013

On Tuesday, President Obama continued his administration's push to convince Congress to vote in support of his plan to launch a limited military strike in Syria. The president met with congressional leaders and cabinet members at the White House. Obama stressed that taking action would fit into a broader strategy of strengthening the opposition forces in Syria.

The beginning of debate with Congress. Speaks of the concerns for Turkey, Jordan and Israel.

If Turkey loses patience and attacks Syria, NATO will be forced to do much more, possibly put boots on the ground. A limited strike just as has been done in the past without longer commitments is what I believe Obama is suggesting here, no more.

This will be difficult in a highly populated area with many interests at play in Syria. I wish that a long debate in the UN with Russia making their case, as the Assad family, father and son have both relied on them to stay in power, would be spoken.

Russia could speak of their true interests and why they supported the Assad family for so long. It would let people really come to understand more than, one side is all bad and one side is all good. What global concern is ever served by allowing or facilitaing a Saddam or an Assad?

BTW, just based on my own logic, and with this map here, and knowing that Damascus itself, the capitol of Syria is now partly in rebel hands, I agree with Kerry. Assad will NOT stop using chemical weapons, so that capacity must be taken from him:

Assad apparently is losing the ground war in Syria. He will become more desperate and dangerous. IMO, he is making his last stand and only by PR in the West will he not fall soon.

The problem for us is that it may not be possible to do so without boots in Syria. Because Assad's actions since the Arab Spring will never allow him to rule Syria as he had before, without his commiting genocide to silence his opposition.

The people have turned against him in sufficient numbers. I would like to know, other than its own strategic interest in having a warm water port, why does Russia support Assad?

Allegedly, they supported the secular regime in Afghanistan that fell due to the religious one that Reagan created with his support of rebels. The Russians felt they had an ally and then things got out of hand trying to keep it going.

It was called 'the Russian Vietnam' and I have a feeling that Syria is the same thing, but with almost 50,000 of Assad's forces dead, and Russians who have already been in country as they have been in Iran, it is much less open and costly than our involvement in Vietnam.

Any thoughts on those things, fellow BOGers?

More to follow.








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