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The Tripartite Attack on Syria: “Mission Accomplished” or “A Tale Told by an Idiot, Full of Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing?” – Part Three – Washington’s plan to partition Syria is still alive and well.

May 16, 2018

May 15, 2018. Citizens and Syrian Army militants celebrating the liberation of villages in the Hama-Homs region of Syria from ISIS-al Nusra like forces.

It was back in nineteen forty-two,
I was a member of a good platoon.
We were on maneuvers in Louisiana,
One night by the light of the moon.
The captain told us to ford a river,
That’s how it all begun.
We were — knee deep in the Big Muddy,
But the big fool said to push on.

“Waste Deep in the Big Muddy” by Pete Seeger

Part Three: Interview continued. (Among other points, this section deals with Robert Ford’s testimony before the House Foreign Relations Committee on February 8, 2018)

Part One

Part Two

Here we talk about Robert Ford’s recent testimony before the House Foreign Relations Committee where he makes the comparison, interestingly enough, with Vietnam. Because it doesn’t play well in Washington to openly admit that the United States lost in Syria, he doesn’t use terms like “defeat,” or “we lost” but basically his whole argument is “We (the U.S.) lost in Syria, what should be done now?” – Rob Prince

Rob Prince (continued): There are several other points here

1. The United States, Britain and France, without any consultation with the U.N. Security Council, are attempting to establish a new international order in which the United Nations is sidelined. With people like Pompeo, Bolton and Nikki Haley advising Trump, diplomacy has essentially gone out the window. Haley’s statement “We’re locked and loaded” sums up the Trump approach.

– Although they suggest – or are meant to suggest – American strength, such statements are not so much a sign of American strength but increasing American global weakness. That it has to continually rely on playing the military card – ie. bombing and killing people – rather than using diplomacy or economic negotiations.

2. One more point here, thinking about this bombing (the U.S.-French-British April 13, 2018 bombing of Syria) my thoughts wandered back to the end of the Vietnam War. The war had ended, the last U.S. marines were withdrawn from the U.S. embassy in Saigon by helicopter – as humiliating and vivid sign of the American defeat in that war as can be imagined. Read more…

Palestinian Activist from West Bank to Address Life Under Occupation: SUNDAY, MAY 20 12:30—2PM Open Forum @ North Highland Presbyterian Church 2945 Julian St. Denver, 80211

May 14, 2018
Friends,
Hope you can make this event…Needless to say given the recent news of the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza (48 killed today (May 14, 2018) at last count, the visit of Ahmed Odeh, community activist from Beit Ummar in Area C of the Palestinian West Bank, is timely.
Please come if you can.
Details in above announcement
Cheers,
Nancy Fey and Rob Prince

A Hike at Heil Valley Ranch

May 11, 2018

Spotted Towhee – Heil Valley Ranch. Boulder County  Parks and Open Space. May 9, 2018. (R. Prince photo).

Our last two hikes this spring were at Colorado state parks – Roxborough and Staunton – but today went to a Boulder County Parks and Open Space hiking area.  We tend to try trails at lower elevations this time of year – 6000 – 8000 feet altitude – both because the winter snows have not yet melted higher up and because it is more agreeable to hike the foothills of the Rockies before the summer heat sets in from mid June onward and the rattle snakes come up from the depths to sun themselves.

The state parks have a $7 entrance fee, but the Boulder County Parks and Open Space hiking areas are free. The trails of  both kinds are well maintained and quite lovely. Given that the national parks are victims of huge Trumpty-Dumpty era funding cuts, that the state and county parks are well maintained especially here in Colorado (and less known) seeking out these places to hike and explore is worth the effort. Besides, I am continually startled – having lived in Colorado for a shade less than fifty years now – how much more there is to explore, and how little of the state I know…as one who has hiked its mountains and plains all year round during this half century.

Yesterday, May 10, from Denver, we (Nancy and I) headed north of Boulder on Highway 36, turned left  into the mountains onto Left Hand Canyon, the road to Jamestown, site of a nasty September, 2013 flood that swept away most of the town’s main street buildings. A little more than a mile up the Jamestown road from Highway 36, there is a sign for the Heil Valley Ranch.  The Heil Valley Ranch not very high up into the hills, the altitude there on our hike measured from 5850 to 6100 ft. above sea level, hardly above that of Denver. It is a mix of pine forests and open areas with a stream running through it, a tributary of Left Hand Creek.

One could see some examples of mining activity on the Heil Valley Ranch “Lichen Loup” Trail but for the most part, after white settlement, the area has been used for its timber, and cattle grazing. According to one of the trail sign’s at the ranch…there were at least four Native American camp sights on the property. They are not marked, probably for good reason, but here and there I noticed what might have been circles of rocks that might have been ancient (or not so ancient) camp fires. Regardless, with its milder climate than further up the mountains, bountiful game drinking at the stream, and in places, lush greenery, the place would surely have made a fine home for game…and the hunters and gathers who stalked them.

Anglos first used the site for beaver trapping, then starting in around 1860, to provide lumber products for Front Range construction projects as the area started to absorb increasing Euro-American populations. In 1948 the Heil Family bought the land using it to graze Hereford cattle through the  1970s. In 1996 along with the adjoining Hall Ranch, Heil Valley Ranch was purchased by  Boulder County and made into a state park.

Over the years since the Colorado gold rush of the 1850s, like so many other areas in the Colorado Rockies, Left Hand Creek has been the target of mining activities. Before World War I, the Beryl Lode Mine produced small amounts of beryl and mica. The New Girl Mine operated there from 1928 to 1945 producing feldspar and mica, but like Beryl Lode Mine the mineral reserves proved to be rather meager. Three other mines, the Elkhorn, CalWood and Highline also operated in the area for short periods.

The above photo looks south from a point along the pass – the different peaks in the background are different geological formations. Compare this photo on the left with the trail sign on the right..it was pretty cool to see – and somewhat understand – what is more than 300 million years of geological history in one snap shot.

The valley in which the Lichen Loup is located is wedged between two of these geological formations. Just east of the path there what is referred to here in Colorado as a “hogback” essentially a ridge. The valley that makes up the better part of Heil Valley Ranch sits between that ridge on its eastern flank and the rising Southern Rockies to the west. The hogback is topped by a layer of Dakota sandstone that dates from about 100 million years ago. Turn around, face the Rockies rising to the west to see the rising darker red stones of the Lyon’s Formation, much older at some 280 million years ago. The Lyons Formation red rocks were quarried on the property of the Heil Valley Ranch (prior to its becoming a ranch) there during the same period, providing some of the Lyons Formation (280 million years ago) red rocks for which the region is famous.

Lyons Formation red rocks have been widely used for construction throughout the Colorado Front Range; these rocks make up many of the building blocks of University of Colorado – Boulder structures, but not only there. One sees many turn-of-the-20th century homes and office buildings throughout Colorado made of the stuff. There is still a major outlet for Lyons Formation red rocks in – of course – Lyons Colorado at the Loukenon Family Quarry just up the road a piece from the Stone Bridge Farm where Nancy and her siblings spent a good portion of their youth.

Depending upon one’s fitness and energy level, one can do a rather easy hike at Heil Valley Ranch or a more rigorous one. We did the Lichen Loup, a little less than 2 miles. It is a pretty easy hike, just right with anyone with arthritic knees and hips (like someone I know) but sufficiently breathtaking to feel one is in the midst of natural wonder. For the hardier types – a few of them passed our way, there is what is referred to as the “Wapiki Trail” which follows the foothills north several miles towards Lyons. It’s the kind of hike I used to easily do “back in the day” but would a bit more difficult these days.

One must always remember hiking in the Rockies, that there is big game in them thar hills. Mountain lions and black bear included. For the most part, as brother-in-law David Fey puts it “you don’t see them; they see you.” Sightings are rare, but they do happen. In 49 years of hiking Colorado mountain trails I have seen a mountain lion once (1978 up Cement Creek by Crested Butte – no one I was with that day believed me), black bear four or five times (most recently last spring on a hike with Molly and friend Sabina Durmishi in the mountains west of Boulder) and twice rattle snakes. On the other hand I have frequently seen “skat” (animal poop) – as it is referred to here – and foot prints  and have learned to identify their source over the years.

At Heil Valley Ranch we didn’t see any bears, mountain lions – just a few birds (the spotted towhee pictured at the outset of the blog entry). However we did hear wild turkey which three groups of hikers told us they had seen up the path from where we were. They abound throughout the Great Plains upto the edge of the Rockies. I’ve photographed them in Nebraska (Brownsville, Kearney) and Colorado (near Ft. Morgan) and was hoping to catch a glimpse of them on this hike but didn’t. Nancy has work mates, Linda and Bob, who have spent the past few weeks hunting them as this is the season.

 

 

 

 

 

A May Day Poem about Education, Kaivoksela Finland and Mapleton Colorado by Molly Prince

May 4, 2018

Paivi Karkkainen – one of Molly’s teachers in Kaivkosela, Finland (years later)

I was at the capitol on Friday with a few thousand

teachers and paraprofessionals

and their supportive friends and allies.

It was a beautiful sea of red.

And I found myself remembering

something my teacher said to me

In 1988.

in my class,

where I was the only dark haired girl in a sea of blondes.

Because I was in a somewhat unusual

situation

for a little American girl.

My classroom was in a

Finnish public school

in Helsinki, Finland.

My teacher,

Regina Vesola,

told us

That a nation can be judged

by

how it treats its young and its old.

The class swelled with pride

when she told them Finland’s

ranking for

how they take care of their

children.

I wish

I could swell with pride

about the way

Colorado

takes care

of its children.

However,

at my school

last year

we

literally

had shit running

down the hallway.

 

A sewer problem

that every year

was

supposedly fixed

but kept coming back

in different

forms.

One year

I was teaching

a reading lesson

to a couple of

fourth graders.

They were sitting at my

kidney shaped

teacher table.

Ms Prince,

it smells like poop,

one of them said.

Why yes,

I realized.

It does.

taking the class

outside

to escape

sewer smells

started to feel

like a

regular

part

of

the routine.

Good news.

A new building

is under construction

this very moment

and

next Fall

kids and teachers

will be in a new building.

With.

-we assume, we hope, we cross our fingers,

 

no

sewer smells.

How did this happen?

It was a collaborative

effort

but our

local teachers’

Union

helped.

Our local

teachers’

union

organized

going door to door

knocking

asking people

to vote yes

on the bond.

The bond passed by

(dramatic pause)

45 votes.

People who don’t want

to join the union

tell me

about ways it is imperfect.

I don’t claim that

its perfect.

Nobody is.

But

the teachers union

is a powerful force

for good

for teachers and

students.

So, if you are a teacher

and have

the opportunity

to to join the teachers union

I hope you will.

Teaching, even when its good,

 

is exhausting work.

Teaching in impoverished schools

takes a toll

on a person’s

health

and on their spirit.

My acupuncturist tells me

he see tons of teachers

for insomnia.

A therapist friend tells

me she has numerous

stressed out melting down

teachers as clients.

I’ve lesson planned for hours

on Sundays for

17 years.

I decided not to do the math

about how many hours that adds up to.

And there is also so much I love

about teaching.

So much that is beautiful

and rewarding.

Something that gives me hope

is initiative #93

that teachers unions and superintendents

among others are

working to get on

the ballot

this November

that would increase funding

for all Colorado schools

and would especially

benefit the

poorest ones.

Here are a few of the things I want

when I say I want more funding for schools.

I want students in all schools to have music

and art and libraries.

I want the students

with the highest

 

needs to have

their needs met.

I want students to have engaging resources

and

Teachers who come back year after year

and hone their craft

until they are master teachers.

Because the conditions and the

pay make it desirable….

2017 - 12 - 29 - Mapleton School Bond

Mapleton, Colorado school bond campaign…2017.

A Hike in Staunton State Park

April 30, 2018

Batholith formations at Staunton State Park near Conifer, Colorado

Staunton State Park

Last week it was Roxborough State Park south of Chatfield Dam, 25 miles or so south of Denver along the foothills through Dakota (100 million years ago) and Lyons (280 million years ago)  formations. It was in a well watered area at the edge of the foothills at an elevation of 5000 feet. There were some wetland areas right at the edge of the foothills between the Dakota and Lyons formations. The bird and animal life were extensive but in terms of what we saw (deer, a variety of bird species – and what the rangers told us were in the vicinity (bear, mountain lion, bob cat had all been cited within a week or so of our visit.)

Today’s hike was quite different

We were up in the mountains at around 8500 feet, west of Conifer at another state part, Staunton State Park in a pine and aspen forest with all kinds of rock outcroppings, batholith formations,  a part of the Pikes Peak complex – although a good 60 or 70 miles north of the peak. Read more…

The Tripartite Attack on Syria: “Mission Accomplished” or “A Tale Told by an Idiot, Full of Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing?” – Part Two

April 30, 2018

Douma, Syria – a Damascus suburb liberated by the Syrian Army from ISIS, al Nusra forces this year, in 2018, the site of the latest false flag operation giving Washington a pretext to launch a missile attack against Syria

KGNU – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. April 24, 2018 – Part Two

__________

Part One

__________

Part Two

The more the situation is probed, whatever was intended, the attack turns out to be nothing more than a gratuitous and racist display of fire power, violence. Rather than accomplishing anything concrete from a military viewpoint, it was more of a symbolic gesture, reminding the world that the United States has a sophisticated military arsenal – more so than any other country in the world by a long shot – and that it can and will use them whenever Washington sees fit. So certainly rather than “mission accomplished” as President Trump claimed, Shakespeare’s quote seems to sum up the operation: “sound and fury signifying nothing.”

Ibrahim Kazerooni: (continued). But to answer this question (was the mission accomplished” or was it just “sound and fury signifying nothing”) let’s go through various scenarios that have presented as an explanation for “why this attack?”

Number One: First of all, looking at the maps where both Russians and Syrians assert the United States focused on bombing, a certain picture becomes clearer. First the northeastern region of Syria was targeted as well as the far southern area of the country.

In both of these areas, the mercenaries are being pushed hard by the Syrian army and they are being continually routed out one after the other.

So “Number One Scenario” is that the reason for the bombing is to help the rebels (mercenaries) stabilize their positions and escape from the onslaught of defeat at the hands of the Syrian army. These bombings did not target ISIS, al Nusra but it is the Syrian army that was attacked. This scenario fits what the United States has been doing in the past – repeated attacking the Syrian or Iraqi army – whether in Iraq or Syria – to give ISIS or al Qaeda be able to run or re-organize with the key military planners (of ISIS, al Qaeda) withdrawn to fight another battle. Read more…

The Tripartite Attack on Syria: “Mission Accomplished” or “A Tale Told by an Idiot, Full of Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing?”

April 27, 2018

Naples’ mayor Luigi de Magistris said the U.S.S. John Warner, a nuclear submarine, is not welcome in the city. Cruise missiles from this ship were fired at Syria in response to false flag claim that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against civilians.

(note: This interview on KGNU Boulder dealt with the U.S.-U.K-French missile attack on Syria in response to an alleged use of a chemical weapon attack by the Assad government on Syrian civilians. All the evidence up until now suggests that the whole incident was fabricated. If this was the case, and more and more evidence suggests it is, then why bomb Syria? These are the issues that were dealt with in this hour-long program. Because of the length of the interview, it will be posted in chunks.)

The 103 missile attack in protest to the Syrian chemical weapons attack that didn’t happen 

…all the evidence suggests that there was no gas attack. (Robert) Fisk went there (to Douma, Syria) as well as three or four other groups of reports, both European and from Russia. All of them, independent news sources, have unanimously reported that, after having gone over there, interviewed different people, gone to the hospital where supposed the victims are recovering, all of these reporters clearly state that there was no chemical weapon or gas attack at Douma. The whole incident was contrived. It didn’t happen.

Ibrahim Kazerooni on KGNU, Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues.

KGNU – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. April 24, 2018 – Transcript, Part One.

Jim Nelson: So let’s move onto this evening’s topic which many of our listeners would have guessed we’d cover tonight. It concerns the bombing that happened last week, on Friday, April 13, Friday the 13th! against Syria. After it was finished, Trump proclaimed “mission accomplished.”

So gentlemen, you are going to explore whether “that mission was accomplished..or was it `sound and fury’ or what?” Meanwhile look at the awful situation in Syria, Yemen. And I think Rob is going to open up

Rob Prince: Yes, it’s the case that after the bombing that President Trump declared “mission accomplished” – a term we’ve heard in the past; George W. Bush used the same expression after the U.S. led invasion of Iraq.

Jim: The way that Trump tweeted “Hey, this mission has been accomplished” suggests he was referring to the Bush statement.

Rob Prince: Our question is “What was the mission? And what was accomplished/” but we’ll address these questions later in the program. Read more…