B.J. Bethel

A view of the world from Ohio

Monthly Archives: May 2016

Islamic State, facing the inevitable, moves the goal posts

The Islamic State of the Levant is under siege in both Iraq and Syria. Iraqi army and militia are battering the outskirts of Fallujah, with the city – the site of the most brutal fighting of the Iraq war – surrounded on all sides. Mosul is under attack from the east by Iraqi Army with U.S. advisor support, and from the west by Kurdish Peshmerga.

Its situation is similarly desperate in Syria. An effort to cross the Turkish border ended with 40 members of the terror group killed by U.S. and coalition airstrikes two days ago. In response to the incursion, coalition forces attacked several arms depots, killing more militants and destroying several rocket launching platforms.

With a caliphate once the size of Great Britain becoming cramped, it’s time for a rah-rah halftime speech, boost the morale of the troops, or pull the opposite of a Knute Rockne, which is the case of Mohamed al-Adnani.. Let’s read the IS official spokesman in his own words:

“You think defeat is the loss of a city or a land? Were we defeated when several cities of Iraq were taken away from us and we went to the desert? Will we lose if you control Mosul, Raqqa and other cities that were previously controlled by us: Definitely ‘no,’ because defeat is only the loss of the wish and will to fight.”

Continuing, if leader Al-Baghdadi dies? Not a loss. If ran out of Syria? Not a loss. The U.S (oddly singled out) can only win by ripping the Quran from the hearts of Muslims, whatever that means. Given IS recruits the non-religious to its apocalyptic cause as a matter of policy, obviously the final portion of the radio call-to-arms wasn’t aimed at its own troops, but begging for help.

The days of bragging about its vast empire, of erasing the arbitrary boundaries of Sykes-Picot, of converting millions and mocking Western society by murdering journalists on social media, are slipping away.

The terror group is coming to terms with its own future. A future without oil revenues to increase its forces, where Syria shrinks upon them. Where Sunni sympathizers can’t throw them cash at will. Where rival Al-Nusra is considered a higher threat in the northern Levant as IS recoils to Aleppo.

The latest radio message is more desperate than al-Adnani’s plea weeks ago, begging lone wolves to seek out targets wherever they can in the U.S. and Europe, even civilians if a military target can’t be attacked.

IS is heavily entrenched in Mosul, and other cities. Taking it out won’t be easy, won’t be without defeats or losses, but it’s happening and no one knows it more than the Islamic State itself.






Dead end at Bernie’s

Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his “revolution” continues. It hinging on the contents of Hillary Clinton’s email server and whatever the FBI was given in exchange for a plea deal for a hacker who claimed to break into Clinton’s emails. Adding intrigue, said hacker has told he wasn’t the only trespasser at Server de Hillary  (he claimed various IP addresses from outside sources had been in the server; there’s rumors the Russians have 20,000 of Clinton’s emails).

This leaves Sanders a Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels chance, despite his campaign an embarrassment, his base unhinged in certain quarters and his own ignorance of his central policies. Donald Trump was a known buffoon, with more gall than brains, that’s how he became a regular tabloid and reality TV figure. Sanders is a U.S. Senator, so when the New York Daily News asked him how he would go about “breaking up the banks” he had no answer, to which the interviewer replied, “That’s your central campaign policy.”

It hasn’t stopped Bernie boosters, who hobble together on Reddit and on Twitter, from saying their candidate is the one for change in government. Let’s take them at their word, and consider what Sanders would be if he were the nominee and Clinton weren’t.

Sanders himself is calling for a type of “revolution,” which sounds dangerous if it were from a real socialist and not a lifelong politician. One who was in office during the Microsoft anti-trust case, but can’t remember the Sherman Anti-Trust Act or the details of Dodd-Frank. If by some miracle, he survives whatever brutality Donald Trump would bring forth in a debate, and still has his wits about him, his message is a unrealistic pandering of progressive cause du jour that stands no chance of becoming law.

Single-payer healthcare? We just uprooted the entire system, let’s see if it works before junking the whole system. His budget has been derided from both sides of the aisle, surprisingly most by fellow progressives. No economist or columnist has the reach and influence of Paul Krugman, and he savaged Sanders budget as unserious, immediately adding $30 trillion in debt coming in the door.

Sanders promised free college education across the board, but doesn’t say how this will be implemented. Private colleges wouldn’t play a part. Public colleges are ran by state educational systems, Sanders would have to uproot a system that’s been in place nearly 200 years, and do it in a clash that would be the biggest challenge to federalism since the FDR administration. Many of those state colleges are ran by liberals.

He would immediately bring high taxes to high earners, which isn’t the worst idea, but secretly his budget would raise taxes on the middle class an average of $5,000 a year. A middle class already crushing under the weight of wage, labor and trade pressures.

Sanders is right on globalization and offshoring. But any war with Wall Street he would lose. Sanders would have to alienate his own identity political following. He would have no support in Congress, which would likely remain Republican despite whatever turnout Sanders could muster. If the Democrats took the Senate, they have no reason to be loyal to Sanders. Sanders isn’t a Democrat. His sole purpose of being a Democrat in the election was to get on television. There are no multitudinous debates per state for independents, broadcast in primetime on Fox, CNN or ABC. He wanted screen time, to do that he ran as a Democrat.

He says he’ll convince the party otherwise, but actions by his campaign in Nevada say no chance. In order to pull the tricks his campaign attempted at the state’s convention, he had to recruit supporters to register as Democrats after May 1, just weeks before the convention and a month after the state held its caucus. It’s a ridiculous assertion the Democratic Senate would support him after he shot down a former and powerful colleague like Clinton, who has served the party for 40 years.