The Wrongologist

Geopolitics, Power and Political Economy

The GOP’s Message and the Democrat’s Response

The Daily Escape:

Lake Blanche, UT – 2017 photo by exomniac

We watched the State of the Union (SOTU) speech at the Mansion of Wrong. Outside, it was 15° and very windy. That also appeared to be the climate in the House chamber during Trump’s speech, which Wrongo saw as largely a basket of glittering generalities; rhetoric without action; lies instead of facts; and marching band patriotism. Chants of “USA, USA” in the House chamber should be beneath our politicians, but sadly, some want us to appear to be a banana republic to the rest of the world.

Americans don’t ask their politicians for much, and apparently, willingly accept even less than that without a whimper.

Wrongo wants to focus on the Democratic response to the Trump speech. Roll Call says that there were at least five responses, of which two were “official”, in that they were authorized by the Democratic Party. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA), grandson of Bobby Kennedy, delivered the English-language Democratic response. Virginia Guzman, the newly elected, and first Latina to be elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, gave an official Spanish-language response.

Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California offered an unofficial response to the presidential speech, as did former Rep. Donna Edwards of Maryland.

But the most notable response came from a sitting senator who isn’t a Democrat, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). He rebutted Trump’s remarks, and in some ways, rebuked Trump and his administration. This is the second year in a row that Sanders has delivered his own speech after the State of the Union. Bernie’s speech was shown on social media, and not on any mainstream TV outlet. You can read the text of his speech here.

Post-SOTU, the Dems are about to get worked over, largely because of their support of the Dreamers. If Chuck Schumer has his way, Democrats are about to charge up DACA hill once again. The outcome is likely to be the same. Wrongo thinks the Dreamers’ cause is just, but it isn’t a good idea to try to ransom them from Trump and the GOP as part of the immigration deal Trump has placed on the table.

Trump wants to alter our immigration system in a very unfair way in exchange for Dreamer amnesty. The question for Democrats is: Should they make the trade? Do they really think that the GOP will start deporting Dreamers in March? Do they think the videos of Dreamers in custody and on their way to homelands they never knew will help Republicans politically?

Take the Dreamers off the table. Proceed with other pressing issues, like funding the government.

And when the DACA protections lapse, there will be a price that Dreamers will have to pay, right along with both Democrats and Republicans, neither of whom would make a deal to extend DACA.

And when Trump wants an infrastructure deal, then Dems should bring up the Dreamers. Change the strategy. Let the “public-private” partnerships he touts for infrastructure be the way he gets his wall, and how Dreamers get amnesty.

It’s important that Dems are right on both the politics and on the merits. Compromise must come on big issues like immigration and infrastructure, and Dems shouldn’t take the first deals offered on either issue.

But to win in 2018 and beyond requires Democrats to offer a strong and compelling platform of their own, one based upon principles. Like health care being a right of citizenship. Like investing in education and infrastructure instead of spending on wars and weapons. Young Kennedy got close to identifying a compelling platform, but he isn’t the messenger for 2018.

There are many people in America who are hurting. Many are under-employed, and not getting the support they need. Simply pointing the finger at Trump is not going to inspire many to go to the polls. Democrats tried this in 2016, and it didn’t work.

People need a positive vision for the USA, and their place in it.

On Tuesday night, Trump would only speak of his plans in very general terms, because he doesn’t have the support in both Houses of Congress to get the job done. While MAGA is a successful campaign slogan, it isn’t a plan for a future that includes all Americans.

Democrats can be a part of the solution, if they find a way to prevent the GOP from taking and holding liberal issues hostage.


Trump’s Syria Policy Could Threaten NATO

The Daily Escape:

Swaziland street scene – 2012 photo by Wrongo

Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” against Kurdish militias inside Syria on January 20. Reuters reports that Turkish artillery pounded Kurdish positions, while rockets fired from inside Syria hit two Turkish border towns, wounding dozens. More from Reuters:

Intense Turkish artillery fire and air strikes continued to hit some villages, the YPG said, while fierce battles raged to the north and west of Afrin against Turkish forces and their rebel allies…

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey had informed the Syrian government of its military operation in Afrin with a written statement before the incursion was launched. Apparently, Moscow gave the green light to Ankara to commence Operation Olive Branch, and has moved Russian troops out of harm’s way in Afrin. From Stratfor:

The war in Syria should be ending. The Islamic State has lost all the territory it seized in 2014. The Syrian army, backed by Russia and Iran, has confined other anti-government rebels to besieged pockets in the south, on the eastern outskirts of Damascus and in the northwest. Opposition hopes of removing Syrian President Bashar al Assad have vanished. But the war refuses to die. It just takes new forms.

The new fighting is between Turkey and American surrogates. The US announced a post-Islamic State mission that would keep American advisers and their local surrogates in Syria for years to come. The mission calls for the US to train, arm and advise a 30,000-strong, mostly Kurdish border security force. The border that this force will secure is between Syria and Turkey.

Unsurprisingly, this didn’t sit well with Turkey’s president Erdogan, who pledged “to strangle it before it’s even born.” He moved Turkish military units to the border and launched artillery at Kurdish positions in their Syrian enclave of Afrin. Erdogan is a smart guy. He told members of parliament from his Justice and Development Party:

Hey, NATO! You are obliged to take a stance against those who harass and violate the borders of your members.”

Naturally, it’s Turkey’s borders that Erdogan wants NATO to protect from Kurdish militias. The US border security plan could tear NATO apart. Several European partners are unhappy with this latest move by the Trump administration. Importantly, this may commit the US to a long-term presence within a country that doesn’t want us there, and where we have no real strategic interest.

Erdogan’s incursion has received support from al Assad’s government, Russia, and Iran. They see the US plan as a pretext to keep a military presence in Syria, to deprive Syrian authorities control over large swaths of the country and gain some leverage over the war’s likely victors. Joshua Landis at the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies, wrote:

By controlling half of Syria’s energy resources, the Euphrates dam at Tabqa, as well as much of Syria’s best agricultural land, the US will be able to keep Syria poor and under-resourced…

Russia admonished the Kurds that their decision to put their faith in whatever US Central Command (CENTCOM, the controlling regional Defense Department command for Syria and the ME) has planned for them is a poor decision. And the US has already backtracked on their support for the Kurds in Afrin. CENTCOM has announced through a spokesperson, that the US will not continue to support them.

So, what’s the strategy? Both Russia and Iran can simply sit back and watch as Erdogan goes about crushing the US’s proxy (Kurdish militias) in northern Syria. And, they have nothing to lose if a nasty spat develops between the US and Turkey. On the other hand, if Turkey succeeds in vanquishing the Kurdish militia, US will have to vacate northern Syria, which would also be to the advantage of Russia and Iran.

It is hard to explain the Trump administration’s decision to keep the US military presence in Syria indefinitely, against the wishes of Damascus, Russia, Iran and Turkey. Tehran knows that if the US is forced to vacate Syria, it would mean the US-Israeli failure to block Iran from establishing the “Shia Crescent”.

Trump has delegated far too much autonomy to the Pentagon. The White House is focused domestically, or otherwise engaged in infighting, and Trump doesn’t have the interest, or expertise to provide leadership in the region.

Despite all Trump’s campaign rhetoric, his ME policy will only lead to further US humiliation in the region. The US needs a Metternich.

Instead, we’ve got Trump & Tillerson, sort of the “Abbott & Costello” of international affairs. Foggy Bottom and the Pentagon have been completely outplayed for the past year or two.

Sometimes you just have to get out of the way, and just take the shame/blame that’s coming to you.


Sunday Cartoon Blogging – January 21, 2018

Again, with the shutdown. It appears that Wrongo’s prediction was well, wrong. And yesterday was the first anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration. Quite the first year. On inauguration day, he made a few promises. Jonathan Chait has reviewed them a year later:

Trump made a series of promises, some resting on vague or imaginary premises, none coming close to being fulfilled. “America will start winning again, winning like never before,” he declared. “We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.”

Chait went on:

Trump’s presidency has presented an especially jarring contrast, since the rhetoric has borne no relation whatsoever to what followed. It’s not that he overpromised but that his promises were fundamentally a con.

So, on to cartoons about the week that was. Reports about the big game’s first quarter seem mostly accurate:

We had a shutdown, but the real issue seems to be whose fault is it?

Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of women were on the march all over America:

Trump’s annual physical included a mental exam:

Rumors of sexcapades by the Donald are no big deal for the religious right:

Norwegians are who the GOP really, really wants:


Thanksgiving Day – November 23, 2017

(This is the last post before the Thanksgiving holiday. Drive safely if you are taking to the roads. We will resume with the Monday Wake Up Call on 11/27.)

The Daily Escape:

Turkey Parade, Litchfield County CT – 20014 photo by Wrongo

It is a tradition on Thanksgiving at the Mansion of Wrong to play “Alice’s Restaurant” by Arlo Guthrie. Arlo was convicted of littering in November, 1965 in Stockbridge, MA. This year we are changing things up a bit, so Arlo isn’t featured on the front page.

But, we are still having turkey, and gratitude is still the word for the day.

It turns out the more grateful people are, the healthier they are. NPR reported on a study by Paul Mills, a professor of public health at UC San Diego, that showed people who were more grateful had better cardiac health:

We found that more gratitude in these patients was associated with better mood, better sleep, less fatigue and lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers related to cardiac health…

More from Dr. Mills:

Taking the time to focus on what you are thankful for…[and] letting that sense of gratitude wash over you…helps us manage and cope.

Who knew? Being thankful can keep your heart healthy. That, and no seconds on stuffing and gravy.

This is our 1319th column since entering the blogging business in 2010. Wrongo wants to thank all who have stuck around since the beginning, all of you who read the work, and those who both comment, and/or criticize. We got started with the idea of highlighting what is wrong in our world, and suggesting that you take action to make the world more like you think it should be, rather than sitting and watching it continue on the current path.

So on this day of yuuge portions of turkey, gravy, pies, dressing, etc. Wrongo is very grateful to all of you!

Finally, Wrongo is posting two tunes for Thanksgiving. First, a re-post of one of the great non-Thanksgiving Day tunes of thanksgiving: “Be Thankful for What You’ve Got” by William DeVaughn. This one-hit wonder sold two million copies in 1974, reaching #1 on the US R&B charts and #4 on the Billboard chart. It reminds us of a time when there was more optimism in America:

Those who read the Wrongologist via email can view the video here.

Second, let’s listen to the late Tom Petty and his band Mudcrutch. Petty started his career by forming Mudcrutch, but everyone knows his next group, The Heartbreakers, from which most of his hits were launched. Petty returned to Mudcrutch twice, the last time in 2016, when they released the album “Mudcrutch 2”. Here is Mudcrutch with Petty singing “I Forgive it All”. In a sense, that’s a wonderful sentiment for the rock icon who left us this year:

Takeaway Lyric:

I ain’t broke and I ain’t hungry

But I’m close enough to care.

Those who read the Wrongologist via email can view the video here.

Since you are reading this, you woke up on this side of the dirt! Another reason to be grateful…


Priorities Preventing Blog Performance

The Daily Escape:

Tuxedo, Ms. Oh So Right’s favorite dog – 2008 photo by Wrongo

There has been a decided absence of columns this week. Wrongo and Ms. Right have been preoccupied with the health of our Havanese dog Tuxedo, pictured above. Now nearly 15, Tux has congestive heart failure (CHF), and is nowhere near the robust dog he was in 2008.

This week, we have had to visit both the vet and the doggie cardiologist. We have added a new med, Sildenafil, to his list. Sildenafil is the generic name for Viagra, but Tux has no need for its intended use in humans. Like some other drugs, Sildenafil has value in other areas. For dogs with CHF, it helps with pulmonary hypertension. Viagra is covered for most humans, including those in the US military. But the uninsured rack rate for a one-month supply for Tux was $770.00 at our local CVS. By using an affiliation marketing company that makes deals with pharmacies, we were able to reduce that cost to just $35.

Poor Tux now takes five different meds either two, or three times a day. As with humans, getting that many pills into the body is a challenge that requires some ingenuity, particularly when the dog has limited appetite, even for his favorite foods. So far, Tux is sticking to his meds schedule.

Our primary objective is to preserve his quality of life for as long as possible. There is no question that perceptions of quality of life can differ, so we are monitoring Tux using pet oncologist Dr. Alice Villalobos’s 5 H’s + 2 M’s scale. The five H’s stand for Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Hygiene and Happiness, while the two M’s stand for Mobility and More good days than bad. If you need the scale, it is available for download here.

And so far, Tux is doing reasonably well on the Villalobos yardstick, but with CHF, the primary decision rule is, can the dog breathe properly? If not, the other rules don’t really matter. Tux is weak, but he’s still breathing reasonably well, and is able to take short walks with the family.

The questions regarding how and when to euthanize a pet are very difficult to answer, and are certainly in our future. If the dog is euthanized too late, it suffers mightily. If euthanized too soon, it’s the humans who suffer from the guilt of putting their interests ahead of their pet’s.

At this time of the year, it is natural to hope your pet will be with you for Thanksgiving or the Christmas holidays. But holidays have no meaning to Tux. What is important to him is avoiding visits to the vet’s office, where he gets extremely anxious. So when the time comes to make that terrible decision, we will try to ensure that the vet can make a house call to help keep his anxiety under control.

So this week, Tux’s health, his willingness to eat, and his ability to live life in a way that is consistent with the past 14+ years has been our family’s priority.

While not the happiest week, Wrongo has enjoyed a few days away from thinking about the House and Senate tax cut debates, the dangers in the Middle East, and the Roy Moore fiasco, while focusing on the health struggles of the most intelligent dog in our little pack.


Letter From London – October 10, 2017

Lego sculpture at Hamley’s, the oldest and largest toy store in the world. Lots of fun, bring the grandkids if that is an affordable option, but worth your time in any event. 2017 Photo by Wrongo.

Baboon sculpture made of chicken wire at the Tower of London. 2017 photo by Wrongo.

Tower Bridge viewed from inside the Tower of London grounds. 2017 photo by Wrongo.

Busy Tuesday in London. It’s been a year since Wrongo and Ms. Right last visited. Today we had lunch at Nopi, a SoHo restaurant that is inspired by the cookbooks of Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully. We highly recommend a visit. If you have a crowd, ask for the communal table downstairs with a view of the kitchen.

Last night, we had dinner with Mark Shenton, a London-based British arts journalist and theater critic. Great conversation about the future of UK theater criticism and print-based critical journalism. Shenton is bullish on the former, and quite bearish on the latter, similar to what we see in the States. Mark alerted us to the coming of Frozen the Musical to Broadway in February 2018. He saw it in Denver, and gives it his highest possible recommendation.

Every local we spoke with is focused on Brexit, whether they are in favor of leaving the EU, or revisiting the idea of remaining part of the Union. All mention that under Brexit, farmers will lose substantial market share. The other endangered group is financial services. The banks and the firms that service them are renting new space elsewhere.

The second-most mentioned topic of discussion is the cost of London’s residential real estate. The average sales price of a place in London was $621,281 in the third quarter of 2017. That was down by 0.6% from the prior year. And London was the only city in the UK to see a price decline in the past year.

Some people engage in wishful thinking about whether London will become affordable again, but average people really can’t afford to live in the center of town.

Off to theater tonight.


Monday Wake Up Call – July 17, 2017

The Daily Escape:

Athabasca Falls Canyon, Jasper National Park – Alberta, Canada

Jamie Dimon is the CEO of JP Morgan Chase. It is the largest bank in the country, with more than $2 trillion in assets. In February, when Trump announced a broad effort to ease regulations on Wall Street, particularly the Dodd Frank financial reform measures adopted in 2010, he singled out Dimon’s potential contribution:

There is nobody better to tell me about Dodd-Frank than Jamie…

Dimon has been Chase CEO since before the 2008 Great Recession. In a series of conference calls with Wall Street last Friday while discussing the bank’s quarterly profits, Dimon vented his frustration with gridlock in Washington: (brackets by the Wrongologist)

It’s almost embarrassing being an American citizen…and listening to the stupid shit we have to deal with in this country… [The inability to make headway on significant legislation is]…holding us back and it is hurting the average American. It isn’t a Republican issue; it is not a Democratic issue.

Mr. Dimon delivered this tirade while announcing the most profitable year ever for a US bank.

What kind of sociopath does that? Apparently, Mr. Dimon has no capacity for embarrassment. What he seems to be saying is that banks should have continued immunity from reasonable taxation and continued relief from the kind of criminal excess that in the recent past, nearly brought down our financial system.

And what is he complaining about? His entire industry was bailed out by our government, using the tax dollars of the little people. Meanwhile, the derivatives-fueled casino that was the tripwire for the 2008 Great Recession remains alive and well, still making megabucks for the “too big to fail” guys. Dimon wasn’t too embarrassed in 2008, when he took $12 billion in bail-out funds from the Federal Reserve. And he wasn’t too embarrassed when Chase lost $6.2 billion in a derivatives misstep, and paid $962 million in fines. Remember that Dimon emerged from that unscathed?

Dimon is correct that it is embarrassing to be an American these days, but that doesn’t have much to do with banking freedom. Normal Americans are concerned about their jobs, their kids’ educations and their health care. They care about their neighbors and the environment they live in. They are worried about their futures and about their children’s futures, while Dimon argues for increasing the power of global capital. He argues for immunity from state jurisdiction, except when banks need to rely on a local legal system that ensures title to assets pledged to secure loans, or to enforce their repayment.

Americans would be less embarrassed if Jamie Dimon had to go and relearn what he knows about capitalism and its role in our society from inside a for-profit prison.

Finally, all of the Trumpies are lawyered up, but new lawyers are signing on to individual members of the Trump family, while others are leaving. Trump himself just hired a “special counsel” whose expertise is in defending white collar crime.

From here on out, things will start moving faster and perhaps get a quite a bit darker.

Today’s wake up tune is for the Trump family. In this time of never-ending revelations about campaign officials and Russia, “Lawyers, Guns and Money” is the most appropriate song for our times. It was written by Warren Zevon, and is the closing track on his 1978 album “Excitable Boy”. Zevon died too young from cancer in 2003:

Takeaway Lyric:

I went home with a waitress the way I always do
How was I to know she was with the Russians, too?

I was gambling in Havana, I took a little risk
Send lawyers, guns, and money
Dad, get me out of this…

Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.


Saturday Soother – May 13, 2017

The Daily Escape:

Bluebells, Brussels Belgium April 2017 photo by Francois Lenoir

In many ways, it is too easy to criticize Donald Trump. While we can have differing opinions on matters of policy, they only account for a few of the issues Wrongo has with Trump. Most are his unfathomable attempts to avoid telling the truth. Consider his interview with The Economist which posted the entire transcript on Thursday. Let’s focus on this excerpt:

The Economist: Another part of your overall plan, the tax reform plan. Is it OK if that tax plan increases the deficit? Ronald Reagan’s tax reform didn’t.
Trump: Well, it actually did. But, but it’s called priming the pump. You know, if you don’t do that, you’re never going to bring your taxes down.


Economist: But beyond that it’s OK if the tax plan increases the deficit?
Trump: It is OK, because it won’t increase it for long. You may have two years where you’ll…you understand the expression “prime the pump”?

We have to prime the pump.

It’s very Keynesian.
We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world. Have you heard that expression before, for this particular type of an event?

Priming the pump?
Yeah, have you heard it?

Have you heard that expression used before? Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just…I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It’s what you have to do.

Ok, so how did the guy from the Economist keep a straight face? The reporter is thinking John Maynard Keynes, the great British Economist, who came up with the idea of “priming the pump” in the 1930’s. By the way, Keynesian pump-priming is temporary government spending to boost temporarily weak demand. It is designed to boost growth, (and jobs) during a downturn, but we can’t assume that it will boost the economy’s growth rate.

Trump’s idea for pump-priming is more tax cuts. He’s following classic trickle-down economics, and claims that his tax cuts will boost investment, productivity growth, and labor supply, and thus raise the long-term growth rate of the economy. In this regard, Trump conflates Keynes, who’s been proven right, with Arthur Laffer, who wasn’t.

But, didn’t Trump graduate from Wharton with a business degree? Nobody gets out of Wharton without knowing that Keynes was the “pump primer”. And his saying that he coined the phrase ‘prime the pump’ a few days ago? Unfortunately, there are only two explanations: first, Trump is 70 years old and his cognitive skills are starting to desert him. Or second, he is a pathological liar.

Wrongo wants to go with #2.

He just wants to sell America something with his name stamped on it. But since America isn’t buying a hotel, he’s trying to sell Trumponomics, Trumpcare, etc. He does not really care about the details, he just wants to pass it, and to claim it is a success. That’s America’s tragedy.

So with Comeygate, Trumpcare and pump-priming, we all need to unplug and try, just try to relax on Saturday. We had a full moon and clear skies over the fields of Wrong on Thursday, so today we listen to “Claire du Lune” by Claude Debussy. It is the third movement of “Suite bergamasque”. Its name comes from Verlaine’s poem Clair de Lune, “moonlight” in French. Here it is played by Dame Moura Lympany, British pianist, who died in 2005:

Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.


Trump’s Syrian Mistake

The Daily Escape

(Aleppo’s Umayyad mosque, photographed before the war, in 2009)

Joshua Landis edits a blog called “Syria Comment”, and his last post was about Trump’s strategy for taking Raqqa from ISIS. He thinks allying with Turkey at the expense of the Kurds is a mistake.

Wrongo’s March 13 post discussed Trump’s Syrian strategy:

We are watching a continuation of the policy that predates the Trump presidency, the balkanization of Syria by alternative means…Trump’s “A Team” of generals seem to have fallen back on the old plan.

Landis thinks that Trump is planning to give the Turks free hand in taking Raqqa and most likely all of the Euphrates Valley. Turkey has proposed taking Raqqa from the north at Tel Abyad. The map below points out the geography:

Tel Abyad is the large black dot near the top of the map. This approach would drive through the middle of the Kurdish region (the purple shaded area above), cutting it in two. This splitting of the Kurdish territory is the main reason Turkey has offered to take Raqqa. From Landis:

Turkey hopes to establish its Arab proxies in a new “Euphrates state” in eastern Syria. This would partition Syria into three states: a western Assad-ruled state; an eastern Turkish and Sunni Arab rebel-ruled state, and a northern Kurdish state.

If the US allows Turkey to do this, it will lose the Kurds as allies in the attack on Raqqa, or in any other part of ISIS territory. Turkey says it is the only way that they can participate, because Assad’s army has already taken territory east of Aleppo, which has cut off Turkey’s access to Raqqa via al-Bab. Landis asks:

Why are the Kurds willing to take Raqqa even though they do not have territorial interests in and around Raqqa? They are investing in their relationship with the US. They assume that it will serve them well over the long run when it comes to their political aspirations.

A major issue with following Turkey’s plan is that they have dangerous Islamic fundamentalist allies. Turkey’s Arab rebel allies include Ahrar al-Sham, (similar to the Taliban, and adamantly opposed to the US). If the Turkey/Ahrar coalition rules the Euphrates post-ISIS, it will become a haven for Salafists and al-Qaida’s coalition.

For the past five years, Turkey has teamed with al-Qaida’s forces in Syria. It allowed them to mass inside Turkey in 2013. Turkey has no problem with them being part of its Arab force, since their strategy is to use the Salafists as proxies in thwarting Kurdish regional ambitions. More from Landis:

These…are the reasons that American generals do not want to work with Turkey. They don’t trust it, both because it wants to attack our Kurdish allies and because it is soft on al-Qaida-like rebel groups.

Our generals don’t fully trust this NATO partner to act in America’s interest!

What’s more, there is a likelihood that Iran, Russia, Syria, and Iraq would move against a Turkey-led Sunni land grab. They will not allow a Sunni rebel enclave in the middle of their spheres of influence. Landis: (brackets by the Wrongologist)

The US would [then] be expected to side with Turkey and the Sunni rebels in a long and escalating war against the Shiites. I think this is a swamp waiting to suck the US into its malodorous depths.

For more than 15 years, we have been engaged in a war in the Middle East. Now, the Pentagon is planning to send another 1, 000 troops to Syria in the coming weeks. This is indeed an endless war.

Let’s get ISIS, but we shouldn’t be teaming solely with the Turks in the effort to destroy ISIS. The great Orange negotiator should stand up to the Turks on this.

Now for some Syrian music. Here is Refugees of Rap with their song, “Haram” (“Forbidden” in Arabic):

Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.

Sample Lyrics (translated):

Came out of the house
I smelled gunpowder
Voices from the minarets

Say go back to your houses
Shells on the neighborhoods come down like rain
I felt more scared, I felt a sense of danger
I completed my way and approaching death to me more and more
Average people say Allahu Akbar
I saw the neighborhood; neighborhood was red in color
The smell of blood and body parts in front of me scatter
I ran to help my friend was injured
Hospitals in dire need of blood donation and mosques shouting
Walls in the streets become white in color