Friday, February 27, 2015

Lazy Mexicans

Matt Yglesias at Vox Media is telling it like it is. 
The simple reason Walmart & TJ Maxx are handing out raises — people are quitting
Updated by Matthew Yglesias on February 26, 2015

Retail jobs are great jobs to quit because in addition to the low pay, they offer little in the way of status or intangible rewards (see "What I learned from seven years in retail hell"). But for years, quitting was depressed by the bleak national economy. Now that the unemployment rate is only slightly high, people are eager to quit crappy jobs. Turnover and churn are bad for business, so major retailers are responding with higher pay to get people to stay on. And survey data from the National Federation of Independent Businesses suggests that small companies are ready to do the same thing... etc. 
More at the link, including graphs, anecdotes and policy wonk stuff. I've been there and done that til I'm tired. So I'll take the economic recovery and increased wages like rain after a drought. I'm just glad it's finally happening. But I have no illusions about Walmart and others suddenly getting all warm and sweet to their workers. They are simply doing what has to be done in what we used to call a shitty labor market. When I read that headline I had a flashback to my own experience in retail. I Like an old necktie, this blog post from 2006 is coming back in style. Here it is again.
Lazy Mexicans

David Niewert is doing the heavy lifting these days for progressives, but there was a time when heavy lifting was not his best quality.
The first time I encountered Mexican workers was in 1975, when I came home to Idaho Falls from college in Moscow, Idaho, looking for work for the summer. The first place I could find that would hire me was a potato warehouse out on Lindsey Boulevard, next to the rail tracks. 
Most of my co-workers were from Mexico, were likely illegal immigrants, and most of them spoke only Spanish. But they were friendly and tried to help me and my friend Scott, who had also gotten a job there. We both towered over them, and we were both in pretty good shape; I was 18 at the time, and had spent the previous summers hauling pipe in potato fields, so I knew what hard work was about. But we weren't quite prepared for this work. 
Basically, the job entailed loading 100- and 50-pound gunny sacks of potatoes into rail cars: stacking them onto a dolly, rolling them into the car, and stacking them up. This is a reasonable job when the stack is less than chest high, but loading them over our heads was a real test.After two weeks, I failed it. I was completely exhausted and broken down by the end of that time. I called in, said thanks for the opportunity, and quit. (So did Scott.) I wound up setting up my own house-painting business that summer and making my tuition that way. 
But I'm sure that most of those Latino co-workers not only stayed on, they probably worked at the warehouse year-round. Because they were simply unfazed by it all. They could load, stack, and load some more, all of it far more efficiently than I ever could. And at the end of every day, as I collapsed in a heap, they were still in good spirits. 
Not only were they the hardest-working people I ever met, they also had the best work ethic I ever saw. That is, not only did they work hard, they worked smart. I muscled those 100-pound sacks of spuds up to the top row, while they simply tossed them up with a little leverage and technique. 
Oh, and my old boss back at the potato farm where I hauled pipe? Within a couple of years after I left that farm, he went to an all-Latino crew, and he admitted to me that they were mostly illegals. But, he said, they worked harder and better and far more reliably than any crew of teenagers ever had for him. Having been one of those teenagers, I knew exactly what he meant.
I can testify that my own experience with immigrants in general, Mexicans in particular, has been much the same. I hired the first Mexicans at one of the busiest cafeterias in the market in 1982. All I can say is it was an answer to prayer.

Six years later, at another location, I went through the same thing. After stumbling along with high-school kids and other hard-to-manage individuals, I let Mexicans take over my dishroom. I felt as though I had died and gone to heaven. It was the end of broken dishes, quarreling, absenteeism, complaining, and instability. 

When someone wanted to go to another job, or stay home with a new baby, or return to Mexico for family matters -- they would let me know in advance and often bring in a successor to the job being vacated. You think I didn't take advantage of that kind of loyalty and reliability? You think I'm stupid?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Guantanamo Prison Expedites Extremist Recruitment

This Google translation of an excellent Arabic website is a book review of a book not likely to get much coverage in the US.  The subject is the Guantanamo prison, one of the most effective tools being used by extremists for recruitment purposes. Those who oppose closing it don't seem to know or care that they are helping terrorist recruiters. 

Guantanamo Diary: While the Arab regimes sells its citizens

Weeks ago, the book was released in the Mauritanian Guantanamo Bay prison Mohamedou Ould Slahi. Recounted the story of a prisoner handed over in 2002 by his regime, and his journey with the torture and humiliation of several states that have passed, began in his Jordan, Mauritania and Afghanistan up to the Guantanamo prison.

Ould Salahi spoke in his memoirs about the various types of physical and psychological torture, he suffered, such as the prevention of sleep, beatings, immersion in ice and prevention of fasting and be compelled to have sex with two women and drinking seawater. According to the notes, was to extract a confession from him under the influence of torture, like, telling investigators "that he planned to blow up the CN Tower in the Canadian city of Toronto."

Stir despite the censor's scissors

The book, titled "Guantanamo Diary" consists of 466 pages and is written in English and released at the same time in several countries. Despite the fact that American security delete some information from him Tamsa many paragraphs (2500 position) is now raises a sensation in Mauritania and in the European countries and the United States of America. The book has a solution in the list of best-selling books percent on the site Amazon, and among the best-selling books in the fifty American company to sell books Barnes & Noble.

The book re-issue of the writer to the scene jurist, was born Salahi defending team has fought lengthy court battles lasted seven years, resulted in a book out into the light. The book began as messages sent by the prisoner to his lawyers and the US administration put under confidentiality.

Story sale and deception

Mohamedou Ould Slahi is a Mauritanian citizen born in 1970 given by the Fates to Germany in 1988, where he went to study and graduated from the University of Duisburg telecommunications engineer. He then worked in several European companies to settle its case in 1999 in Canada. But that did not last long residence because the CIA began Ttrsdh has applied to the Senegalese authorities for his arrest in Dakar International Airport, which is what happened in January 2000.

He was questioned regarding its relationship Paljzaúra Ahmad Ressam who tried to enter some of the explosives to the US via the Canadian border and then handed over to the Mauritanian authorities released him for lack sufficient evidence but was stripped of his passport.

In November 2001, a team of Mauritanian security came to his home and ordered him to accompany him. Mahamadou let his mother and told her that he will not be delayed too much, to begin his journey into the unknown. After eight days of detention was a deal between the Mauritanian regime and the CIA was taken to Jordan for being held in a prison where there received the most heinous forms of torture. Then, on July 19, 2002, transfer via helicopter "Caulfstrem" to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, and there is exposure to new types of torture, before it reaches, in the August 5, 2002, to the final destination, a Guantanamo prison.

In an interview with Pier 22, Yahdih Ould Salahi, the brother of the prisoner Mahamadou, spoke about the story of his brother by his system and lied intelligence Mauritania on his family, said: "We suffered grievously as a result of this ordeal, and the hardest thing we faced was the police and intelligence. Mauritanian lied to us and tampering Bmchaarna, were Johmonna that Muhammadu exist among them, which at the same moment he may sell to the Americans, it has handed intelligence Mauritanian Jordanians director he is fasting did not have mercy on his pleas and his hope to allow him to conversation mother and Todaaha. but promised Muhammadu they Sistrdonh three days after the Jordanians did not come back yet. and sent to the US detention several around the world to Atfnnoa in torture. "

Message from Guantanamo

Ould Salahi family did not know that her son was in Guantanamo in 2003. However, at that time, the family received the first letter from him through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and his family think that in Mauritania. Mauritanian authorities have remained until this period, claiming that he still has. It was the Mauritanian intelligence director asks his family some "spare" him to assure them that in a Mauritanian prison.

He was born Yahdih Salahi: "This book came to expose all of this play silly."Now, Yahdih hopes "to restore the book Muhammadu consciences were dead and stand with us all Mauritanians also stop us Europeans and others, so that the Mauritanian government understands that there is no escape, and the alternative of receiving the request and Mahamadou as less and duties towards him Mauritanian citizen."

It should be noted that he has been acquitted Salahi was born in 2010 by the US federal court ordered his release, believing that his arrest was illegal, but it was retained inside the prison.

Paradoxically, in the case of Ould Slahi that the political security director who oversaw the deal extradited to US intelligence, Ddahi Ould-Abdallah, was working before recently as director of ethics Mauritanian police career, before referred to retire, even though the history of the man known as the torture of citizens, especially the opposition political activists .

Solidarity local and international

Ould Salahi issue is now experiencing an acceleration in the pace of domestic and international solidarity. Several electronic campaigns have emerged and organized activities in solidarity with him. As well as the American Civil Liberties Organization in collaboration with the prisoner's family launched an online petition to ask the US government to release him.

In Mauritania, organized a group of human rights activists, on February 4, pause in front of the US embassy in Nouakchott to demand the same thing. Was offset by the US ambassador expressed his understanding for the demands and handed them a message and told her that US President Barack Obama previously announced that it will close the notorious prison.

The initiative is called "fairness" has begun active before period to demand the release of prisoners in the Guantanamo prison Mauritanian, Ould Slahi, Ahmed Ould Abdel Aziz, the initiative has many activities that are in that goal.However, the large number of human rights activists and those interested in the issue of Ould Slahi believe that the current Mauritanian regime stance on the issue is positive. Until now no claim delivery born Salahi, although the majority of prisoners who demanded their countries Btzlmanm returned to their homelands.

Born and Salahi is not the only detainee Mauritanian prisoner in Guantanamo.Mauritanian citizen sits with him last named Ahmed Ould Abdel Aziz, a merchant was working between Dubai and Pakistan, US intelligence has begun to follow his steps with the help of the Mauritanian counterpart, then was arrested in the city of Karachi in 2001.

In an interview with Pier 22 Turad Ould Salahi public relations officer in the "fairness" initiative, said: "There are dozens of human rights organizations in the United States, Britain and France stood by our side in addition to dozens of American artists who have declared their support for our cause, while our government continues to silence scandalous", and stressed: "We are going to internationalize the issue and we will look for another country to receive Mahamadou".

The head of the defense of Ould Slahi body, the lawyer Mauritanian Ibrahim was born Daddy may carry, at a seminar organized by the "fairness" initiative on the book was born Salahi, the State Mauritanian the consequences of what might happen to his client, and said: "Mauritania is the only state that delivered one of its citizens to be subjected to torture in Guantanamo Bay. "

Friday, February 20, 2015

Paul Ryan and Vows -- a Retrospective Glance

I unexpectedly came across something I published about Paul Ryan in August, 2012. With the GOP now controlling the Senate his star is rising.

Reader advisory: This is a Paul Ryan take-down but it is not a hit piece. I have seen and enjoyed hit pieces before and I'm not reluctant to pass them on for the fun of it. In the atmosphere of a political contest, hit pieces are like snowball fights in the winter. It's part of the spirit of the moment.

This article is serious business. Don't go there carelessly.

In His Grief and Ours Leon Wieseltier examines and explains the origins of Paul Ryan's political and economic beliefs in a way that will challenge any thoughtful supporter of the rising star and favorite son of this year's Republican Party. Mitt Romney did us all a favor picking him as his vice-presidential running mate. Had he left him in the ranks in the role of a political nuclear deterrent he might have remained under the radar until after the election. But apparently against the advice of many of his best consultants Mr. Romney exercised a political nuclear option by snatching him up to share with him the spotlights of the campaign.

I have my doubts that most committed Republican voters will either read or be influenced by this three thousand word article, but despite the length it makes basically one key point -- that Paul Ryan's economic vision and analysis derive from his response to the death of his father by embracing the views of Ayn Rand. It is not my aim here to argue for or against the Libertarian philosophy. Many keenly intelligent, well-placed people in academia, business and politics regard the writings and insights of Ayn Rand as central to their respective world views. Some may even be called purists and with them I have serious disagreement. But they are not running to become the next vice-president, the person next in line for the office in the tragic event that something unforeseen should happen to the next president. That puts Paul Ryan under a different light than the rest of the Randian crowd.

Already we have seen how smoothly Ryan can excuse any past positions by saying "...Mitt Romney is the top of the ticket, and Mitt Romney will be president, and he will set the policy of the Romney administration.” Which is okay. That is part of the skill set of any political animal and no one is shocked by that kind of rhetoric. In fact we have come to expect that to be part of the game.

It is clear, for example, that after three and a half  six years of observing the president cave in to the most partisan opponents in recent memory there are still plenty of critics who still conclude that he is still faking it and lying, pretending to be something that he is not. He claims to be Christian but many believe him to be Muslim. He was born in America but the birther crowd continues to be convinced otherwise. The list is endless but there is no changing minds that are already made up. He could throw every Liberal in the country under the bus but it would still make no difference. But I digress... This is not about the president. This is about Paul Ryan, the man who wants to be next in line for that job behind Mitt Romney if he is elected president in November will be the principal architect of whatever passes for a Republican fiscal plan, assuming one is forthcoming.
According to the canonical version of his life, the death of his father when Paul Ryan was 16 taught him to despise “dependency” and to extol “self-reliance.” “It was just a big punch in the gut,” he told Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker. “I concluded I’ve got to either sink or swim in life.” He added that “I was, like, ‘What is the meaning?’ I just did lots of reading, lots of introspection. I read everything I could get my hands on.” One of the writers he got his hands on was Ayn Rand, and he fell under her foul spell. Her novels are certainly fit for adolescents; and ideology may be regarded as the intellectual equivalent of arrested adolescence. Atlas Shrugged might have been a sin of youth, like Siddhartha and Thus Spake Zarathustra, except that Ryan never repented the sin. He learned from Rand that the road to morality led through economics. (Earlier Marx had performed the same erroneous service for other young Americans, but for an antithetical end.) “The meaning” was to be found in capitalism. The market was an allegory for life. “The moral symbol of respect for human beings is the trader,” as John Galt instructs. Self-reliance, which Ryan falsely construed as the trader’s most essential characteristic, became Ryan’s supreme ideal. In one of the strident moralistic passages, called “Erosion of American Character,” in A Roadmap for America’s Future: Version 2.0, the budget plan that Ryan issued in 2010, and that established his prominence, he assails the “safety net” (the sardonic quotation marks are his) this way: “Dependency drains individual character, which in turn weakens American society. The process suffocates individual initiative and transforms self-reliance into a vice and government dependency into a virtue.
This sets the stage for the rest of Wieseltier's article. Remember -- as you read that line -- that the road to morality leads through economics. It's true, you know. Even Jesus taught the same lesson, that one can know a lot about someone by where they keep their treasure, and by implication, I suppose, how much of that treasure they possess. Our own Calvinist roots in the Massachusetts Bay Colony were nourished by the sure belief that the reason anyone is rich is that they are being blessed by God. And correspondingly, those who are poor must be out of God's favor and are being punished. Or at the very least, they are simply lazy and irresponsible, have made poor choices in life and don't deserve anything better than what little they have.

Here is a sample of what's in the article. Readers can scan this list and decide if they want to read further. My guess is that most will decide to skip it and go on with their day. 
A close look at Ryan’s writings, however, shows an intellectual style that is amateurish and parochial. His thought is just a package. The distinction between an analysis and a manifesto is lost on him.
Ryan’s mind is inadequately aerated. His intellectual universe is a conformist, like-minded universe; he gives no indication of any familiarity with, or curiosity about, thoughts and traditions that differ from his own. I am not competent to evaluate his numbers, but no budgetary expertise is required to see that his moral and political concepts are crude and sometimes weird.
Ryan throws around “individualism” and “collectivism” as if they are utterly transparent and self-evident terms, and as if it is 1950. The poor guy was born too late for the intellectual excitements of the cold war, so he insists upon finding them in his own lifetime by apocalyptically transposing the old antinomies onto the contemporary debate about government and entitlement. Yet the analogy between the totalitarian collectivism of the Soviet Union and the role of government in Obamacare is talk-radio stupid.
...Ryan’s concept of self-reliance, the gospel of John Galt (“you are your own highest value ... as man is a being of self-made wealth, so he is a being of self-made soul ...”), is devoid of all humility—it is the very vainglory against which the Bible, Ryan’s ultimate book, warned. 
And if that is not enough of a reading filter, here is one final sentence that can be used as a touchstone. For readers who understand the following sentence without resorting to Google, the article is a must read. Others are advised to skip the link and find something lower on the Flesch-Kincaid reading scale. 
Confronted with the ineluctable role of contingency in human affairs, he prefers to respond with a hallucination of human control: with an AEI Prometheanism.


We all make vows. Our lives are governed by vows. We vow to speak truth in court and other solemn occasions. The tradition has begun to fall apart in our lifetime but the institution of marriage was based on taking vows considered sacred. People taking public office or the military, or becoming citizens or even joining private clubs take vows to remain faithful to whatever the connection, promising to internalize that vow as part of all they do in the future.

But there are also times in our lives when we make a vow to ourselves. In many ways those vows are even more durable than any we take in public. After all , public vows are influenced by others. Peer pressure and the desire to be regarded as credible and respectable heavily influence the taking of vows. But when we make secret vows there is no compelling need to keep them other than to ourselves. it is these private, personal vows that are the measure of who we are.

As children we make sense of the world around us by reconciling conflicts. Sometimes we witness or experience events that are so deeply hurtful that we take a vow: That hurts. When I have a child I'm never gonna do that to my child. Or in cases of neglect: I'll never let one of my children go hungry (or have to move away from friends, or wear ugly clothes or whatever...)  And as the years go by the vow is often forgotten but it's effect on the person's behavior endures. So we carry these childhood vows into adulthood and they become guidelines to all we do. Sometimes, unfortunately, vows become toxic. And toxic vows are not always the convictions of children. Adults are also capable of making toxic vows.  Humans are perfectly capable of taking and acting on poisonous vows in the case of cults and extremists of various types.

The good news is that we can change our minds. The adult who realizes that he has been living in accordance with some adolescent decision or vow has come upon a liberating concept.  We are provided role models who shape our behavior, but at some developmental point we become free to abandon those role models, add to them or replace them altogether. The behavior of an abusive parent is often blended with a measure of love and affection that is poisoned by substance abuse. The challenge of the child is to internalize the love without following the rest of the example. The parent who dies is frozen in time in the mind of the child they leave behind. And in the aftermath of that terrible loss that abandoned child will instinctively look for ways to cope with that loss.

But sometime between childhood and adulthood we all are faced with the reality that the generations only move in one direction. Barring unforeseen circumstances children can expect to outlive their parents and parents can expect to die while their children are still alive. As adults we learn to face the horrible reality that there are many tragic exceptions to that fact, but until we arrive at that place we will always be in pain. That pain will not vanish when we finally come to terms with the exceptions, but it will no longer have the power to distort and sometimes destroy the rest of our life.

That eternal reality is part of what St. Paul meant when he said "When I became a man I put away childish things." And one need not be a Christian to grasp the meaning of that simple statement.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

General Khalifa Haftar -- Snapshots

The ISIS metastasis has been in progress for some time and the media seems to have noticed last week. Graeme Wood's piece in The Atlantic, yet another ISIS atrocity, headlines from Europe and a White House Summit indicate that violent extremism presents  more of an ideological than a geographic challenge.

Lybia's General Khalifa Haftar is emerging as a key figure in what is being described as a Libyan civil war. At seventy-plus years old and a former military commander under Qaddafi, he's not a newcomer.  But he's not widely known outside of Libya, Here is a collection of links about him.

Khalifa Belqasim Haftar is a Libyan general and the principal commander of one side in the ongoing Libyan Civil War of 2014. Transliterations of his name include Heftar, Hafter, Hifter,Hefter, etc. 
Haftar was born in eastern Libya. He served in the Libyan army under Muammar Gaddafi, and took part in the coup that brought Gaddafi to power in 1969. He became a prisoner of war in Chad in 1987. While held prisoner, he and his fellow officers formed a group hoping to overthrow Gaddafi. He was released around 1990 in a deal with the United States government and spent nearly two decades in the United States, gaining US citizenship.  In 1993, while living in the United States, he was convicted in absentia of crimes against the Jamahiriya and sentenced to death.
Egypt, Libya, and ISIS
The release, on Sunday, of a video showing the beheading of twenty-one Egyptian Coptic Christian workers is but the latest of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)’s documented horrors. In the video, the executioners make clear that the workers, who were kidnapped from Sirte, Libya, last year, were killed for purely sectarian reasons. Aping medieval jihadists, they vow to “conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission.” 
The atrocity provoked a swift reaction from Egypt’s military government, led by the former defense minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, which yesterday carried out two waves of air strikes on the eastern Libyan city of Derna. Last autumn, ISIS proclaimed the birth of its Libyan affiliate in Derna and claimed eastern Libya for “the Caliphate.” Egypt was already supporting the controversial efforts of Libyan general Khalifa Haftar, who last May launched a war against Islamist militias in Tripoli and Benghazi, and who has sworn to wipe out terrorism in Libya and “purify” the country.

Haftar’s actions led to the effective split of the country: his forces control most of eastern Libya, but, notably, neither Derna nor Benghazi, where heavy fighting continues; and a coalition of Islamists controls the central cities of Tripoli, Misrata, and Sirte. A tribal militia allied with Haftar controls parts of western and southern Libya, but large swaths of the southern desert are effectively out of control, with armed bands claiming affiliation with ISIS and a group called Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb both operating there. While Haftar’s rivals include self-described Islamist moderates, he has insisted that they are all wolves in sheep’s clothing and that their opposition to him has helped reveal their true nature. (I wrote about Haftar in this week’s magazine.) [My emphasis, JB]
Haftar’s troops recapture key stronghold in Libya’s Benghazi
UN-brokered meetings between rival factions to take place “later this week” in Geneva

Members of the Libyan Special Forces look on
 in an army camp in the eastern Libyan city ofBenghazi
February 1, 2015. (Reuters/Esam Omran Al-Fetori)
Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Libyan troops loyal to Gen. Khalifa Haftar recaptured a strategic army stronghold in the eastern city of Benghazi on Monday, according to military officials, as the battle for control of the city continues.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat via telephone, a senior army official said Libyan Special Forces, which are allied with Haftar’s Libyan National Army, had now retaken their base in the city, regarded as one of the most important army bases in the east of the country.

Asharq Al-Awsat has also obtained a video showing Wanees Boukhamada, the commander of the Libyan Special Forces, making a call to senior army members informing them that the Special Forces base in Benghazi had been recaptured from rebels.

Photographs obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat also show Boukhamada and Special Forces units stationed outside the base in Benghazi, which was captured by rebels belonging to the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries group after deadly battles with the army last July.

Haftar and the military units under his command are affiliated with the government based in the eastern Libyan city of Tobruk, which is currently contesting for control of Libya with a rival parliament based in the capital, Tripoli.

Haftar’s troops have been battling jihadist groups and other rebels since the summer of 2014.

l'Espresso is an Italian weekly. Make of this what you will.
This is a Google translation, broken into more paragraphs than the original.

Libya, who is the General Khalifa Haftar The "new Gaddafi" friend of the CIA
For the dictator was a "son", but then became an enemy to kill. So the general ended two decades in Virginia, to cooperate with the American secret services. And now is the senior coup with which Egypt hopes to defeat the Isis

February 18, 2015

Khalifa HaftarSome call it "the new Gaddafi". For as the Colonel is a soldier who wants to Libya by force. And because the dictator was friend and faithful servant.But it is much more complex than the story of General Khalifa Haftar , the Libyan who is now in the front row with Egypt in the fight against the ' Isis and whose army controls much of eastern Libya.

"The Isis goes a duel, but not with the methods used in the Balkans or in Afghanistan that have proved unsuccessful. The planes are not enough: we need at least 50 thousand men on the ground". Talk Fabio Mini, former general of NATO.  The mustachioed general Khalifa Haftar , 72, the world began to take an interest really May 16 last year, when the "Operation Dignity" has tried a coup to solve the chaos in Libya, ending perhaps ingarbugliarlo [?] even more. Adventure ended without success, but which raised Haftar landmark of that whole world - secular, military, even nostalgic Colonel - who opposes the advancing forces of religious inspiration in the country, both those related to the movement of Muslim Brotherhood and those instead jihad, which today seems to add also the Isis of the "Caliph" al Baghdadi. 
That world anti-Islamic seemed so much defeated in recent months, especially after the arrival of the Isis, that ' Egypt has decided to intervene. Not only because the Islamic State had kidnapped and killed 21 Copts. But also - and perhaps especially - because the Egyptian president to Sisi wants to fight the same battle in Libya who is leading strongly at home, one against the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement of his predecessor Morsi of which were sentenced to death recently well 183 supporters.

And since the goal of the Sisi and Haftar coincides, here is that Elder Libyan general, who dreams of becoming the new Gaddafi despite not having the physique du rôle , again has a chance. But who, exactly, Khalifa Haftar?  Born in 1943 in eastern Libya, as the military took part in the coup that brought to power in 1969. Gaddafi's excellent relationship with the Colonel, who once said of him: "He was a son to me. And I was his spiritual father. " Gaddafi makes a career and gives him the keys of the war with Chad. But proves to be a disaster. Haftar was taken prisoner in Chad in 1987, and the relationship with Gaddafi turns into open enmity. In 1990 he was released under an agreement with the United States, and so it flies in America, where he took citizenship and remains nearly 20 years, while at home he is sentenced to death.

The United States led him in the suburbs of northern Virginia, near Washington, but especially near Langley and then to the headquarters of the CIA, with which it cooperates in all these years. In 2011 Haftar is back in Libya, to take part the anti-Gaddafi uprising. Back then in Virginia "to enjoy their grandchildren," but then he is again precisely at home in 2014, because her friends, she said, kept saying that they need a "savior." 
In the meantime, the Libyan parliament takes a kind of turnaround. The pro-Islamic forces are necessary and they want a new prime minister. For Haftar comes the hour of irrevocable decisions. February 14, appears in a television message stating unilaterally dissolved the parliament. But it is not able to impose itself by force, and in fact the Prime Minister Ali Zeidan calls "ridiculous," his attempt. 
In May tries again, this time with aircraft and tanks, and supported by Egypt's Al-Sisi: with '' Operation Dignity ", starting from Benghazi, wants to make a clean sweep of the Islamic militias, and the Muslim Brotherhood. The main result is to lead the country to new elections in June. They win the laity, but not in all of Libya has voted, the new Parliament is not recognized by the Islamists and chaos increases. While the militias of all kinds are at war with each other, comes the Isis, and Westerners flee. 
Now there are two parliaments, two governments, two capitals. Simplifying the one hand the pro-Islamic (Libya Dawn) and the other the pro-military, on the one hand, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic militias and other Haftar, the laity, the nostalgic Gaddafi. Each group defines "terrorist" the other. With the first are Turkey and Qatar, with the seconds Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates.Libya Dawn controls Tripoli, Misrata and Sirte, while Haftar - who meanwhile has escaped an assassination attempt - earns the field to the east, but neither in Derna or Benghazi, where we fight, and meanwhile the South desert is out of control. 
Country map is variously colored, there is no longer a state, is a gang war. Electricity is scarce, as oil revenues. And almost a third of the population would be boundless in Tunisia. "More like a retired teacher that the tyrant supported by the Americans are talking about his enemies," writes the "New Yorker" in its latest issue in a long interview-profile Haftar in which a representative of the Obama administration takes significantly distanced from him ("The US government has nothing to do with the general. Haftar kills people. He says to target terrorists, but uses too broad a definition. It is a" Avenger ", and will only join his rivals'). 
The escalation Egyptian, however, could help Haftar - which is definitely not a democrat, but that is as far away from the positions jihadist - to stop the advance of the Isis. At the moment, however, his priorities seem to be the Muslim Brotherhood, in which there are so many moderates. Now, according to some rumors, it could also become the head of the regular army, but in reality from dreams of a future president, from new Gaddafi. For the moment, however, is primarily a reflection of an anti-Islamist disorganized and adventurer. Another face of the tragic chaos in Libya.
This is from Turkey...

Libya's Haftar 'ready' for deal with Islamist militias
Thursday, January 29, 2015

BENGHAZI – Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar has expressed readiness to sign a "conditional deal" with Islamist militias on which he unilaterally waged a campaign several months ago.

Haftar said during a Wednesday interview with BBC news channel that rebuilding the Libyan army was his pre-condition for a deal with militias.

"Our demand is to be able to defend ourselves," he said of the Libyan army. "Such armed groups who come from Asia and other regions must be resisted."

He also called on his rivals to "come to their senses and realize that the safety of the Libyan people is a must."

Haftar said that he was keen on not dragging the confrontation from the eastern region, mainly Benghazi, to capital Tripoli.

"We are trying as much as we can to avoid causing damage to Tripoli and surrounding areas," he said.

Libya has remained in a state of turmoil since the fall of the Muammar Gaddafi regime in 2011. Rival militias have frequently clashed in Libya's main cities, including capital Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi.

Political divisions have yielded two rival seats of government in the country, each of which has its own institutions.

Vying for legislative authority are the internationally-backed House of Representatives, which convenes in Tobruk, and the Islamist-led General National Congress, which – even though its mandate has ended – continues to convene in Tripoli.

The two assemblies support two different governments headquartered in the two respective cities as well as two military entities.

While the House has the support of much of the Libyan army and troops loyal to Haftar, the Congress is backed by Islamist militias which helped topple Gaddafi in 2011.

Haftar, an army commander who served under Gaddafi, launched a campaign against Islamist militias in Benghazi in the spring of last year.
Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency

Saturday, February 14, 2015

To Be Left Alone -- Tell People You're Muslim

My Web/Twitter friend says this works for her...

I have come across two instances where being a Muslim has gotten people to leave me alone

#1 while walking I was approached by 2 Mormon youth on their 'mission' wanting to spread the word to me I told them I was a Muslim and it was as though I had rabies...they retreated fast and said not another word

#2 was when Jehovah's Witnesses came to the door to give me some talking to. I said we are Muslims. It was 2 girls. At that statement it was as though I had turned into the Devil himself, their mouths dropped words...they backed away


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Facebook Discussion -- Drones for Terror

This link and video started a Facebook discussion that took on a life of its own.
Why the US Government Is Terrified of Hobbyist Drones

If you want to understand why the government freaked out when a $400 remote-controlled quadcopter landed on the White House grounds last week, you need to look four miles away, to a small briefing room in Arlington, Virginia. There, just 10 days earlier, officials from the US military, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FAA gathered for a DHS “summit” on a danger that had been consuming them privately for years: the potential use of hobbyist drones as weapons of terror or assassination. 
The conference was open to civilians, but explicitly closed to the press. One attendee described it as an eye-opener. The officials played videos of low-cost drones firing semi-automatic weapons, revealed that Syrian rebels are importing consumer-grade drones to launch attacks, and flashed photos from an exercise that pitted $5,000 worth of drones against a convoy of armored vehicles. (The drones won.) But the most striking visual aid was on an exhibit table outside the auditorium, where a buffet of low-cost drones had been converted into simulated flying bombs. One quadcopter, strapped to 3 pounds of inert explosive, was a DJI Phantom 2, a newer version of the very drone that would land at the White House the next week.

BRAD:  Wait 'till they make a drone that will be the size of a mosquito and fly it in your ear.

JOHN:   I saw a video of a swarm of mini-drones coordinated to fly in an organized but random pattern very much like a flock of birds or school of fish.

ANSEL:  The mosquito drone can't be far from possible, if indeed it isn't already made. Nano-tech and drones are a natural mix for surveillance. Already, we're hearing reports of "dragonflies" above protest gatherings, so I'm comfortable with believing this is a done deal.

BRAD:   It may be the smaller the worser.


ANSEL:  Smaller is definitely worser, except when talking about explosives payloads.

BRAD:   How about a virus?

JOHN:   When I went to Best Buy yesterday I noticed a display of "toy" drones -- between the vacuum cleaners and the fancy new electric razors. All were very affordable -- way less than a hundred dollars.
Imagine what a suicide drone might do!
Suicide drone with a little vial of toxins...

ANSEL:   Perfect for biological warfare.
Nanobots small enough to enter the bloodstream would be formidable.

JOHN:   That's a really scary idea.
Ya'll say Hello, btw, to the NSA monitor now keeping track of our comments...

Monday, February 2, 2015

One Pediatrician's Vaccination Statement