Category Archives: Middle East

War: U.S. deploys 3rd carrier group to North Korea; Russia will nuke if US or NATO enters Crimea

On the eve of Memorial Day, the world stands at the precipice of war.

(1) North Korea

As the psychopathic and likely psychotic regime of Kim Jong-un continues its saber-rattling, President Trump is standing firm by sending a third aircraft carrier group to the western Pacific.

Kenji Minemura reports for Japan’s Asahi Shimbun that on May 26, 2017, “sources close the U.S. military” said the U.S. Navy has decided to deploy a third carrier-led strike force — the USS Nimitz, one of the world’s largest warships — to the western Pacific to increase pressure on North Korea to rein in its nuclear and missile tests amid mounting concern that it will soon acquire the capability to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

Vincent Stewart, director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, has said that Pyongyang will ultimately succeed in acquiring the technology to equip its ICBMs with nuclear warheads and threaten the U.S. mainland.

It is rare for the U.S. Navy to deploy three aircraft carriers to the same region at the same time. The deployment of Nimitz to join the USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan means that three of the U.S. Navy’s 11 aircraft carriers will be deployed in the western Pacific.

The Carl Vinson strike group, which is also part of the Third Fleet, has been deployed to the Sea of Japan since late April. The Ronald Reagan strike group, which belongs to the Seventh Fleet based in Yokosuka, Japan, and is in charge of the western Pacific, left its homeport on April 16. It is scheduled to carry out a joint drill with the Carl Vinson strike group, which may be joined by the Nimitz.

The Nimitz strike group, which is part of the U.S. Third Fleet, was originally scheduled to be deployed to the Middle East region, departing from its homeport, Naval Base Kitsap in Washington State, on June 1. Instead, the U.S. Navy decided to deploy the nuclear-powered Nimitz to the western Pacific for six months to deal with this latest crisis involving North Korea.

The deployment of the Nimitz also sends a signal to China to continue cooperating with the United States on this issue. President Donald Trump has said that the U.S. will independently take action against North Korea if China does not cooperate.

(2) Russia

Meanwhile, a member of Russia’s parliament told an international gathering of government security officials today that Russia would be forced to use nuclear weapons if U.S. or NATO forces entered eastern Ukraine, i.e., Crimea.

Patrick Tucker reports for Defense One, May 28, 2017, that Russian parliamentarian Vyacheslav Alekseyevich Nikonov told attendees at the GLOBSEC 2017 forum in Bratislava, Slovakia: “On the issue of NATO expansion on our borders, at some point I heard from the Russian military — and I think they are right — if U.S. forces, NATO forces, are, were, in the Crimea, in eastern Ukraine, Russia is undefendable militarily in case of conflict without using nuclear weapons in the early stage of the conflict.”

While the Soviet Union maintained a policy against the first use of nukes, Putin’s government turned away from that strict prohibition in 2000 with the signing of a new military doctrine that allows for the limited use of nuclear weapons “in response to large-scale aggression utilizing conventional weapons in situations critical to the national security of the Russian Federation.”

But Amy Wolf, a nuclear weapons specialist with the Congressional Research Service, points out that “This is not new, and has been a part of Russian military doctrine for years,” and that although Russia could resort to the use of nuclear weapons first, “There is little indication that Russia plans to use nuclear weapons at the outset of a conflict, before it has engaged with conventional weapons”.

So why is the Russian government telegraphing its willingness to go nuclear in Ukraine/Crimea? In a word, NATO.

Russia has watched with concern as NATO has added a dozen eastern members that used to be under Moscow’s sway. Nikonov said, “For us, [NATO] is a military alliance spanning three-quarters of the global defense money, now planning to expand that figure.”

In the two years since Russia annexed Crimea, NATO’s Baltic members have doubled their defense budgets. In 2018, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia are projected to spend nearly $670 million, up from $210 million in 2014. Craig Caffrey, principal analyst at IHS Jane’s, remarked last October: “This growth is faster than any other region globally. In 2005, the region’s total defense budget was $930 million. By 2020, the region’s defense budget will be $2.1 billion.”

NATO has been expanding its troop presence in Eastern Europe as well. In April 2016, during the Warsaw summit, NATO agreed to increase the size of the NATO force deployed to Baltics to enhance its forward presence. In January 2017, the U.S. deployed some 4,000 troops to Poland. The following month, Germany, announced that it will send some 1,000 troops to  Lithuania.

~Eowyn

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NC billboard supporting Trump travel bans ignites controversy with 9/11 reference

muslim billboard wsoc tv photo

Photo from WSOC TV

From Fox News: A controversial North Carolina billboard has drawn criticism for referring to the 9/11 terror attack in promoting President Trump’s travel ban.

The billboard on I-40 in Catawba County says “why support President Trump’s immigration ban? 19 Muslim immigrants killed 2977 Americans. September 11, 2001.”

Some find the billboard hateful, WSOC-TV reported on Friday. “I believe in the Christian way and that’s to embrace everybody,” a man named Oliver Reitzell told the station. “Kind of the hate message behind it. I’m not for that.”

An associate pastor Paul Cummings said the billboard contradicts teachings from the Bible.

“My opinion is that I think these people need the saving gospel of Jesus more than I need to be protected,” Cummings told the station. “I’m perfectly willing for people who are hostile to us, to be in our country, because that’s what loving your enemy is all about.”

A group called the North Carolina Pastors Network paid for the billboard and has refused to remove it. “This has nothing whatsoever to do with hatred or hostility toward anyone that comes from a background,” Dave Kistler, the group’s president, told WCNC-TV. “I have dear friends that are Muslim.”

The station points out that 19 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Lebanon. Those countries are not part of the Trump’s travel ban.

The U.S. appeals court in Virginia ruled Thursday that the Trump revised ban violated constitutional rights.

DCG

If you like American Idol, here’s a good reason not to watch the reboot season: libtard Katy Perry

katy perry and hillary clinton

“Game-changers” Clinton and Perry

Katy Perry is an unabashed proggie. She campaigned for Hillary Clinton and even designed a pair of shoes in her honor.

Katy is also ignorant about what drives ISIS and their terrorism. After the Manchester suicide bombing Katy said, I think that the greatest thing we can do is just unite and love on each other. No barriers, no borders, we all just need to co-exist.

Now the womyn will be on American TV and making tons of money for her “professional” input. I won’t be watching this show.

From Yahoo (from Glamour magazine): Earlier this week, news broke that Katy Perry is getting paid $25 million to be a judge on ABC’s American Idol reboot. That’s a lot of money, yes, but…appropriate. Perry is one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, full stop. She’s sold millions of records, is an incredible performer, and knows a thing or two about longevity in the fickle music industry. The “Chained to the Rhythm” singer is an amazing (and game-changing) recruit for American Idol, so it’s great that she’s getting paiiiid.

But not everyone agrees with this. Enough people have criticized Perry’s American Idol salary that 103.5 KTU radio host Carolina Bermudez felt the need to ask her about it in a recent interview. “I’m sure that you hear in the news people talking about you and the whole American Idol situation that’s come out,” Bermudez said, according to E! Online. “Does that ever irk you that people are talking about how much money you make or how much they paid you to be on that show, or are you like ‘Yup, I deserve every last penny’?”

Perry’s response was, naturally, spot on. “I’m really proud that, as a woman, I got paid,” she said. “And you know why? I got paid more than, like, pretty much any guy that’s been on that show. And, by the way, I love men. So I’m a paid woman, and I’m ready for a beautiful man.

She has every right to be proud, too. We still live in a world where women are perceived negatively if they take ownership of their accomplishments—financial or otherwise. And Perry isn’t the first female celebrity to face this kind of backlash. Lena Dunham revealed at the 2015 Hollywood Reporter actress roundtable that people overtly criticized how much she was paid for her first book. “When it was leaked how much I was getting for my book, there were 39,000 articles asking, ‘Is she worth it?'” she said. “Then it came out what Aziz Ansari was making on his book. No one says a damn word.”

This type of female salary shaming is a huge reason why the gender wage gap exists. Women are socially programmed to simply accept the first offer thrown their way. Thankfully, our culture is evolving and more women are fighting for their worth. There’s nothing wrong or showboat-y about being properly compensated or celebrating it.

DCG

MSM coverage of President Trump overwhelmingly negative

This comes as no surprise to us, but it’s still good to have confirming statistics.

A new report from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy found that U.S. and European news coverage of President Trump’s first 100 days in office was overwhelmingly negative.

The report is based on an analysis of news reports in the print editions of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, the main newscasts of CBS, CNN, Fox News, and NBC, and three European news outlets (The UK’s Financial Times and BBC, and Germany’s ARD).

The report defines “negative” tone of coverage as stories/reports in which:

  • Trump is criticized directly.
  • An event, trend, or development reflects unfavorably on Trump, e.g., stories that appeared under the headlines “President Trump’s approval rating hits a new low” and “GOP withdraws embattled health care bill, handing major setback to Trump, Ryan.”

Here are the report’s findings:

(1) The media are obsessed with President Trump: Trump was the topic of 41% of all news stories—three times the amount of coverage received by previous presidents.

(2) On almost every major Trump topic, the media’s coverage was overwhelmingly more negative than positive.

(3) The media set a new standard for unfavorable coverage (80%) in their coverage of President Trump. In contrast, only 41% of the media’s coverage of Obama was negative.

(4) The liberal MSM were overwhelmingly negative, with CNN and NBC leading the way with a stunning 93% of their coverage of Trump being negative. Even the Wall Street Journal was more negative (70%) than positive. Although Fox was the only news outlet in the study that came close to giving Trump positive coverage overall, a majority (52%) of the network’s reporting on Trump still was negative.

(5) European reporters were even more negative than U.S. reporters.

(6) With the exception of Fox, the majority of media all question Trump’s fitness for office:

(7) The only thing that Trump did which garnered glowing positive coverage from the media was his missile attack on Syria, showing that the corporate media are all blood-thirsty warmongers.

The Harvard report concludes:

Trump’s coverage during his first 100 days was negative even by the standards of today’s hyper-critical press. Studies of earlier presidents found nothing comparable to the level of unfavorable coverage afforded Trump. […]

Have the mainstream media covered Trump in a fair and balanced way? […] The early days of his presidency have been marked by far more missteps and miss-hits, often self-inflicted, than any presidency in memory, perhaps ever. […]

Nevertheless, the sheer level of negative coverage gives weight to Trump’s contention, one shared by his core constituency, that the media are hell bent on destroying his presidency. […]

At the same time, the news media need to give Trump credit when his actions warrant it. The public’s low level of confidence in the press is the result of several factors, one of which is a belief that journalists are biased. That perception weakens the press’s watchdog role. One of the more remarkable features of news coverage of Trump’s first 100 days is that it has changed few minds about the president, for better or worse. The nation’s watchdog has lost much of its bite and won’t regain it until the public perceives it as an impartial broker, applying the same reporting standards to both parties. […]

Journalists would also do well to spend less time in Washington and more time in places where policy intersects with people’s lives. If they had done so during the presidential campaign, they would not have missed the story that keyed Trump’s victory—the fading of the American Dream for millions of ordinary people. […]

Never have journalists fixated on a single newsmaker for as long as they have on Trump. If he sees journalists as his main opponents, one reason is that between Trump and themselves there’s not much air time for everyone else. Journalists need to resist even the smallest temptation to see themselves as opponents of government. It’s the competition between the party in power and the opposing party, and not between government and the press, that’s at the core of the democratic process.

Will journalists heed the report’s counsel?

I doubt it.

~Eowyn

Katy Perry on Manchester Bombing at Ariana Grande Show: ‘We Need to Coexist’

katy-perry

The jihadists don’t want to co-exist with you Katy, no matter how naked you might be.

Here’s a pro-tip for Katy: That will NEVER happen. Jihadists don’t co-exist with us infidels. Foolish womyn.

From Yahoo: Katy Perry said she felt “devastated” following the terrorist attack outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England Monday. Speaking with radio host Elvis Duran, Perry said, “I think the greatest thing we can do now is unite as people, as fan bases, all of it. Whatever we say behind people’s backs, the Internet can be a little bit ruthless as far as fan bases go but I think that the greatest thing we can do is just unite and love on each other. No barriers, no borders, we all just need to co-exist.

Perry also addressed fellow pop star Grande’s fans directly, saying, “I just want to say that I love all of you out there and I just know that some of our fan bases kind of go both ways. Ari’s fans are my fans, and my fans are Ari’s fans. We’re just all loving on each other and we should just stay loving on each other.

The “Swish Swish” singer’s comments on Elvis Duran and the Morning Show follow a pair of messages she posted toTwitter Monday after news of the bombing broke. “Praying for everyone at Ariana Grande’s show,” Perry said. “Broken hearted for the families tonight. Broken hearted for Ari. Broken hearted for the state of this world.”

At least 22 attendees were killed by a suicide bomber outside the Manchester Arena, while around 60 more have been reported injured. On Tuesday, police arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the attack, while British Prime Minister Theresa May said police have the identity of the other assailant, who died when he detonated the device. The so-called Islamic State have claimed responsibility for the attack.

Numerous artists have also voiced their sorrow and support for Grande and her fans, including Harry Styles, Drake, Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Missy Elliot, as well as Manchester natives and local music scene stalwarts such as Liam Gallagher, Johnny Marr and Peter Hook.

As for Perry, the pop star is set to release her new album, Witness, June 9th. Over the past year, she’s also embraced her role as an activist, serving as one of Hillary Clinton’s most vocal supporters during the 2016 election and notably donating $10,000 to Planned Parenthood last November.

DCG

About that sinister pic of Trump touching a glowing orb

A photograph of President Trump in Saudi Arabia with his hands on a glowing orb is making a buzz online.

Here’s the explanation from Australia’s ABC, May 21, 2017:

Mr Trump, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman gathered around a luminescent sphere, in a tableau which drew comparisons to scenes from Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter on social media.

But no, this isn’t the Eye of Sauron or some gadget from Dumbledore’s study.

During his first presidential trip to Saudi Arabia, Mr Trump, along with King Salman and Mr el-Sisi, were opening the new Global Centre for Combating Extremist Ideology.

The simultaneous touching of the ornamental globe signified the official start to the facility’s operations, and appears to have been intended as a gesture of solidarity for peace and shared values.

The centre has employed data analysts from across the world to monitor and analyse extremist propaganda and communications on both traditional and online platforms.

The opening of the centre followed Mr Trump’s major speech in which he called on Middle Eastern leaders to combat a “crisis of Islamic extremism” emanating from the region.

Mr Trump received a warm welcome from Arab leaders who have set aside his past campaign rhetoric, instead focusing on his desire to crack down on Iran.

In 2016 Mr Trump declared that “Islam hates us”.

But on Sunday, standing before dozens of Muslim world leaders, he said Islam was “one of the world’s great faiths”.

So, nothing sinister there — although the pic will be good fodder for a FOTM Caption Contest.  😉

~Eowyn

Melania slaps Trump’s hand

This GIF has gone viral.

This morning, Air Force One landed in Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport.

As President Trump and Melania are escorted by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who’s holding hands with wife Sara, Trump reaches his left hand to Melania, who’s walking slightly behind him.

Melania swats his hand away, without breaking her stride.

Here’s the video from which the GIF was made:

This video says that later, Melania held hands with Trump when they visited the Old City in Jerusalem.

UPDATE (May 24, 2017):

Two readers pointed out that what Trump and Melania did was giving each other a low-five (vs. a high-five). So I looked for a video of someone making a low-five, and had a GIF made of this baby giving his mother a low-five.

Compare the baby’s low-five to what Melania did:

I’m now convinced that’s what the Trumps were doing: Melania was walking slightly behind Trump, so he reached back to give her a low-five, and she reciprocated. There’s no discord in their marriage. Phew!

See also “First Couple Donald and Melania hold hands in Jerusalem and Rome“.

~Eowyn