Monday, October 10, 2016

Clinton, Pence Recommend Militarily Engaging Russia in Syria

   Lost amid the brouhaha over sensationally foul tapes about Donald Trump's sexual exploits, was the confirmation in the second debate that Secretary Clinton, if elected, plans a military engagement with Russia in Syria. 
    The topic was introduced because Vice Presidential Candidate Mike Pence had earlier stated his opinion that the US should use military force against the Syrian government and Russian forces in Syria, on behalf of the city of Aleppo.   Aleppo is one of the last remaining strongholds of ISIS. 
    The affable former secretary made it clear that she believes that bombings in Aleppo (including the famous picture of a four year old boy in a hosptial, in shock after being bombed) are the fault of Russia, and the US would under a Clinton Administration send military aid (though not ground troops) against Russia and Syria. Hence we would fight an air war in Syria.  She said that she would consider arming the Kurds, who represent the third largest faction in Syria at about 4%.  
       The Clinton view seems to deny that there is a civil war between Sunni's (ISIS) and Shiites (Syrian government) and believes instead that there is some other military power in the region that is worthy of US support.   Nobody knows who this mysterious pro-American military power is, but we are going to arm them.   Moreover, we are going to have to risk fighting Russia in a limited (we hope) air war in Syria in order to support this power, whoever they are.  
     Trump disagreed with both Clinton and his own Vice Presidential candidate, saying that we should support the Syrian government and Russia in opposing ISIS instead of supporting radical revolutionaries.  
     Perhaps what Clinton really hopes to do is to wrest leadership of the Sunnis away from ISIS, foolishly believing that vast numbers of Islamic radicals are just waiting for the right American leader to emerge to guide them.  This is remarkably similar to the view espoused by Dick Cheney in recommending the Iraq offensive to President Bush.   
     It is very foreseeable that the US quagmire in the Middle East is going to get much worse, as our military resources are going to be drained by trying to intervene in Muslim controversies that have existed since the year 632 AD.    By deciding to engage the Russian military if they choose not to obey our recommended no fly zone, we risk destabilizing world markets and even risking World War III, all on behalf of people who hate us, with no one grateful for our bombing and destruction on their behalf.
     I hope that this is all simply tough talk, and that when and if Secretary Clinton becomes President Clinton, she may not be so enamored with sorting out political factions in Syria after all.  Still it is very scary talk, though it seems that very little attention is being paid to it.  I suppose that most of the media would rather discuss sex tapes because they are easier to understand.     

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Does John Kerry Want to Fight Russia in Syria?

Does John Kerry want to fight World War III against the Russians in Syria? If news reports are accurate, Kerry wants to help rebels in Aleppo (supposedly not allied with ISIS, but yeah, allied with ISIS) to defeat the Syrian government forces led by President Assad, and de facto allied with Russia. I can scarcely believe Kerry would be that dumb, and thankfully for the moment has been overruled by President Obama.
Nevertheless, the prevailing view is that there are pro-American democratic forces in Syria that deserve our support. I can not name a single person in Syria that fits our description and I doubt whether you can either. I think that rebels just pretend to like us so that we will give them fantastic weaponry and close air support. In reality none of these radicalized rebel groups is pro-democracy and none is our friend. Nevertheless, this view is in the minority, and our government is ready to kill in order to support these pro-American moderate forces, whoever they are. The main controversy between Democrat and Republican is how many to kill and how fast.
We can not be seriously contemplating engaging Russia in Syria, can we? Russia wants to destroy ISIS and we want to destroy ISIS whether rightly or wrongly. Nevertheless, we see Russia's fight against ISIS as a threat, and now that ISIS is on the brink of destruction, we want to oppose Russia and the Syrian government. This is a retarded strategy that fails to recognize that whoever we install in Syria will be just as bad as Assad. Moreover, the conflicts between Sunni and Shiite groups has been ongoing since the 7th Century. We are not putting an end to violence in the Middle East, we are perpetuating it.
I fear that in the incoming Clinton Administration, Kerry's views may prevail, and he and President Clinton may not back down. If so, the world is closer to World War III than it has ever been. And for what? I can't say which leader it is in Syria that we love so much, but love him we do, and we are willing to kill for him and risk destruction for him.

America has traditionally viewed Russia as its greatest threat, and the hope has been that we would become allied with Islamic rebels to oppose Russia (left).  Instead, I believe we should recognize that the US and Russia have a common enemy in radicalized Islam, and we ought to work together.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Elon Musk will Own Eight Planets

    This is so huge and pathetically simple that no one will believe it.  Most observers laugh at little SpaceX and its leader Elon Musk.   How can a little company like this out-do NASA and the national space programs of other high-tech countries? 

    Elon Musk and SpaceX are going to own eight planets.

Elon Musk can present a very simple business plan:  He can own 8 planets, and about 6 of them are way cooler than earth.  Now, who wants a piece of this?

    That's right.  Now that he has access to space, and is booking tourism for billionaire customers, the rest of story is clear.   He and his private investors will build bigger and faster space ships and they will colonize the rest of the solar system.  Planets like Jupiter and Saturn are way more interesting than earth (entire moons made out of rocket fuel, all free for the taking).   They will figure out how to live there, and then goodbye to the earth and its Clintons and Trumps and Bushes and other pathetic savages.  
     Once the investment community figures out this is real, they will throw so much money at Elon Musk and his rowdy group of billionaire friends that they will be unstoppable.  The value of eight planets (about six of which are probably better than earth) is such a huge number it is impossible to place a valuation on it.  100 trillion dollars is not out of the question. Accordingly,  if they want to, they could simply buy NASA (although truthfully the Russian Space Agency is a better bargain).  But they can make better technology by doing it their own way.  

    You may laugh, but my question is:  How can anyone stop him?  He's going to get the money, he has the know-how, and the incentive is out there.  It's going to happen.   

     I just hope SpaceX provides better government for the new civilizations compared to the old one (Earth).    

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Dreams and Shimmering Shadows.

    I'm a (nearly) rational person of science and I know dreams are caused by neurons firing quasi-randomly in the cerebral cortex during sleep.  Nevertheless dreams are often haunting and beautiful, though I usually don't remember dreams very well.  But  I had a memorable dream the other night.

   In my dream I was driving a car, probably a rental car like I might get on a trip.  My regular car is 12 years old and kind of beat up, but this was a new car, so perhaps I was on vacation.  I don't know, I didn't think about it, i just sort of accepted that this is where I was supposed to be. 

     My mother, who passed away a few months ago was sitting in the car also.  But instead of being over 90 years old, she was young, maybe like a young beautiful teenager, with a very different appearance. But somehow I knew she was really my Mom, made younger as if by magic.   I drove steadily uphill, a gradual upward slope, like in the Appalachian mountains or someplace.  The scenery was beautiful with lush green vegetation and tall trees.  After a while we arrived at a stopping point and got out of the car.  At this point I carried my mother still higher.  There was a giant marble staircase, and without question I carried her up the stairs.  She was not heavy at all, not a burden at all, as if magically made lighter. She was dressed in shiny, shimmering clothes, perhaps from her native Korea.
   Finally she spoke.  "Elliot, I was very pleased to be your helper for many many years, but I can no longer do that.   But I want you to know it was never me at all.  For all things come from God."  

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Reason for the War in Syria

      One of the saddest aspects of American politics is that we obviously believe strongly that we must involve ourselves in Syrian wars.  Both the Democrats and Republicans advocate spending hundreds of billions of dollars there.  I cannot even identify which Syrian groups there are considered to be "good guys" that the US supports.  Can you? Do you even know the name of one person there who is so good that he/she  justifies billions of dollars worth or death and destruction to bring him/her to power?  To me it is our greatest national sin and shame that we have become mindlessly addicted to warfare.
     If you can not accept my challenge and name one person in Syria that we are bringing to power, we probably should stop killing men, women and children to accomplish it.  You should probably not be voting for either the Democrat or the Republican for the Presidential election.
     And by the way, the title for my article is a lie.  There is no valid reason for the War in Syria. 

uploaded from

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Has Hillary Clinton Opposed Military Intervention in the Middle East by the US at Any Time?.

     As far as I am aware, since 1992, there is no record that Hillary Clinton opposed a US military intervention in Muslim nations at any time.  In other words, every time that a military intervention went forward in support of one Muslim faction or another, Hillary Clinton supported it, either informally as First Lady, or with votes as a Senator, or creating policy as Secretary of State. Likely there were other proposed interventions that did not go forward; but if they did Clinton was always on the Hawk side, and never a Dove, at least as far as my limited research shows. 
      The military operations in question are listed below. I'm not saying that all of these operations were bad, although most of them were, in my personal opinion at least, and in particular I do not agree with invading Iraq to save the world from nonexistent nuclear weapons, nor invading Libya and Syria in order to improve the neighborhoods for the inhabitants.  I did not approve of bombing Serbians in the former Yugoslavia, despite the violation of human rights in that area.  In all, reliable estimates are that the US has invested over 6 trillion dollars on warfare involving Muslim countries, resulting in hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and hundreds of thousands more refugees and permanent maimings. 
      Perhaps it should not be perplexing that people in the region don't actually adore Americans the way we think we should be adored, and perhaps our failure to balance the budget more often can be understood in the context of blowing 6 trillion dollars.  But that is actually a side issue.  
      Donald Trump is the candidate that appears to be the most physically scary and angry, and perhaps he comes across as the greatest Hawk against Muslim nations. 
     However, it is the more pleasant and affable former Secretary of State who has the most consistent record of advocating American intervention in Muslim conflicts, all for the noblest of reasons, no doubt.  
      Only third party candidates Governor Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Dr. Jill Stein (Green) favor curtailing our military operations in the Middle East.  
     Am I wrong?   If so, I respectfully request that my readers might provide a link to a source that shows which of these 19 or so Military Operations were opposed by Hillary Clinton.  
 Partial List of Military Operations in the Middle East and Europe since 1992

1. 1992–95 – Somalia: Operation Restore Hope.
2.  1993–95 – Bosnia: Operation Deny Flight.
3.  1995 – Bosnia: Operation Deliberate Force.
4.  1996 – Kuwait: Operation Desert Strike,  Air Strikes.
6.  1996 – Bosnia: Operation Joint Guard under the Dayton agreement.
7.  1998 – Iraq: Operation Desert Fox, bombing campaign.
8.  1998 – Afghanistan and Sudan: Operation Infinite Reach. cruise missile attack versus terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and a chemical factory in Sudan.
9.  2001–2014 –Operation Enduring Freedom. Invasion of Afghanistan, "combat action in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda terrorists and their Taliban supporters."
10.00  2003–2011 –Operation Iraqi Freedom, March 20, 2003, "to disarm Iraq in pursuit of peace, stability, and security both in the Gulf region and in the United States."
11.  2004–present: U.S  drone strikes in Northwest Pakistan
12.  2010–present –  U.S  drone strikes on al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab positions in Yemen.
13.  2010–11 – Operation New Dawn, replacing  "Operation Iraqi Freedom" .
15.  2011 –Operation Odyssey Dawn, United States and coalition bombings of Libyan forces.
15.  2011 – Operation Neptune Spear, killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.
16.  2011 – Drone strikes on al-Shabab militants in Somalia
17.  2014–present – American intervention in Iraq: Hundreds of U.S. troops deployed to protect American assets in Iraq and to advise Iraqi and Kurdish fighters.  Airstrikes against Islamic State-aligned forces throughout northern Iraq.
18.  2014–present – American aircraft bomb Islamic State positions in Syria. Airstrikes on al-Qaeda, al-Nusra Front and Khorasan positions.
19.  2014–present – Intervention against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant: attacks on ISIL and al-Nusra Front positions in Iraq and Syria.



Friday, August 5, 2016

Suicide Squad is Awesome--One of DC's Best

I loved DC comics as a kid, and was thrilled when they made a movie out of Superman. Making a long story short, Christopher Reeve was a good Superman and a great Clark Kent, but the plots always sucked.  Ditto for Batman.  I've been waiting for years for DC to make a good movie.  Suicide Squad is the most original to date.

     Suicide Squad is about bad guys who are coerced into forming a team to fight an evil metahuman (please, not mutant, okay?) with astonishing evil powers.  I won't tell you who the nemesis is, because that might be a bit of a plot spoiler.  Let's just say that everyone in the movie is bad (even Batman who makes a cameo appearance), but some are really bad, and others are really really bad.  

    Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is sensational.  Very very demented, yet sexy, funny, scary and romantic all in the same package.  She kind of reminds of girls I went to school with at Berea High, who were very beautiful, smart and talented, but they just wanted to be naughty.   Well, Harley wants to be beyond naughty, and utterly capable of killing in order to amuse herself. Also great is Deadshot (Will Smith) an evil assassin who hates Batman.  I also hate the movie Batman, so it is easy for me to sympathize.  Deadshot is witty and clever, and gravitates to (almost) being a leader of the criminal team.  There are another half dozen members on the team with special talents combined with appalling criminal records.
Margot Robbie is an evil genius with incredible combat skills, sexappeal and comic timing.  I understand most guys who have a date with her wind up dead or in the Hospital, but if I'm offered a dinner invitation I will accept.  

Will Smith and Margot Robbie are the most memorable characters, and the Suicide Squad is the best movie team DC Comics has ever produced.  

The plot is a bit disjointed and I didn't follow all of the twists and turns.  For example at one point everyone ends up at a secret Government headquarters, and I had no idea how they got there or why.   I'll have to see the movie again to figure it out.  

Despite such flaws, the movie is great because it breaks old stale DC formulas that, frankly, have begun to stink.  It's fresh exciting, different and suspenseful because we don't know what is going to happen next.   

This is not a good movie to take your young boyscout or girlscout to see, but High School kids and above will love it. If you like superhero movies, and you want to see something different, this is one of the best movies.