Saturday, March 24, 2018

How to finagle something for nothing from an airline

To finagle something from someone is to use deception or deceit or various tricks to get something from a person that he/she does not really want to give you.

United Airlines has been having a bad year. They have experienced a lot of bad publicity (bad stories about the company). The latest bad publicity was the death of Kokito - the French bulldog - in one of their overhead bins.

In this article we hear that a person was 'bumped' from a United flight because a seat on the plane was broken and one passenger had to be removed. 

United has a policy of asking for volunteers when passengers have to be removed and they reward the volunteers with a voucher for free travel if they help by leaving the plane.

If nobody volunteers, they 'bump' or remove the person who bought the cheapest ticket. Why? I am guessing they feel that the person who paid the least for a ticket will complain the least. This person is also given a voucher.

So they decided to bump someone who is a communications director for a company. This person has over 2,000 Twitter followers and when she was bumped she started bad-mouthing United to her twitter friends, hoping to create a new scandal for the airline (I am guessing). In order to avoid another scandal United gave this person a $10,000 voucher (so that she would shut up). But she did not shut up - she began boasting about how she finagled something valuable from the airline. So United just cannot seem to win these days.

Personally, I think she took advantage of the airline and she should be ashamed of herself. People do not even try to look at situations through anyone else's perspective any more. What else was the airline going to do? She only paid $160 for a ticket and they offered her a $1,000 voucher. Be a good person, take the $1,000 voucher and get on the next plane. No? Why does everyone have to be such a drama queen?

Please show some sympathy for United Airlines...

The article:

Vocabulary from the article:

a bumped passenger - a passenger who is removed from an airline flight, often because the airline has sold more tickets than seats available

to score a voucher - to win a voucher, to score something is to get something valuable for free or at a discount.  e.g. Hey! I scored free tickets to the Chicago Sympathy Orchestra concert tonight! My roommate can't go and he gave them to me!

k  - 1,000, so 10K = 10,000

a tirade - a long speech where a person expresses anger; when a person expresses anger verbally for a long time. e.g. Our boss was so angry about losing this client that he went on a 30 minute tirade telling us all that we suck!

to finagle something from someone - to get something you do not deserve by using psychological games or by tricking the other person

to be smarting - to be suffering, to be feeling pain.  Even though I fell skiing 3 days ago, my left knee is still smarting.

a string of something - a sequence of something. So if you have had 5 bad boyfriends in a row, you might say, "Wow, I have had a string of 5 bad boyfriends, when is my luck going to change?!"

public relations - every big company has a public relations department. This department tries to make the company look good. If you have a public relations disaster, it means things have happened to make your company look bad.  

smarting from a string of public relations disasters - United is suffering from a bunch of bad news stories in a row

a company rep - a company representative

she got the boot - she got kicked off the plane, she was removed from the plane.  e.g. Wow our company is firing a lot of people these days! I heard three people from our department got the boot today. or: Our boss gave the boot to three people from our department today.

to be enraged - to be very, very angry

to vent about something - to complain about something in order to make yourself feel better. e.g. Sorry for calling you and telling you this, I just had to vent!

if nobody bites - if nobody accepts the offer.  If you go fishing you put something attractive to the fish on your hook and hope a fish bites. If you offer something to a group of people, you hope someone bites.

on the upside - the good news is

I wasn't physically dragged off the plane etc. - this is sarcasm, she is saying thank God United didn't beat me up like Dr. Dao or kill my dog like Kokito.

United upped its offer - it increased its offer

to toss in a perk - to throw in an extra benefit; a perk is an added benefit

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Affluence - Affluenza (Catch this disease!!!!)

Affluence means wealth. If you are an affluent person, you are a rich or wealthy person.

Recently a rich young man killed two people with his car. His lawyer said that he should not be punished because he was not responsible for his actions. His wealthy parents, because they were so wealthy, never taught their son the difference between right and wrong. So they never taught him how to be an ethical or moral (good) person.

Should wealthy children be shown mercy when they commit crimes because their parents do not teach them to be ethical? 😅

I think that affluenza must be a difficult disease to catch, since you need to have about $25 million in your bank account first.

The article:

Vocabulary from the article:

affluenza - the disease of not knowing what is right or wrong because your parents were very rich and never taught you to be good

probation supervision - he will have to report to an office every month to be checked on

juvenile court - court for children

testifying on his behalf - speaking for him in court

an affliction - a disease or painful condition

to be spoiled - when your parents let you do anything you want and do not show any kind of discipline toward you or they do not set good standards for your behavior

fled - flee, fled, fled...they ran away

fatalities - deaths

the sentence - this means the punishment in this instance

it spanned the systems - it carried over from the juvenile to the adult system

excessive - too much

to place him behind bars - to put him in jail

hindering the apprehension of someone - making it harder for the police to catch someone

a fugitive - someone running away from justice

money laundering - making money illegally and then hiding it in a real, legal business

The curious case of that dog (Kokito) dying on an airplane

Yes, that was Kokito, the dog which died in the overhead bin (compartment) of an airplane recently.

Many people around the world are quite angry at the flight attendant for ordering a passenger to place the dog in the overhead bin. Yet, I think that the flight attendant was under a great deal of pressure and this was just an unfortunate accident.

Furthermore, the carrier could not have been left in the aisle and it was too large, apparently, to be placed under a seat. If the flight attendant was only providing the option of the overhead bin, perhaps the passenger should have just taken her dog and left the airplane. I am confused as to why the passenger did not simply ask that the dog be placed in the cargo hold (with the luggage and other dogs).

They are still talking about possibly arresting the flight attendant, which I think would be an over-reaction. Perhaps this airline needs a better training program to help their employees problem-solve difficult situations better.

In any case, there is some excellent vocabulary in this article.

The article:

Vocabulary from the article: 

criminal charges - if the police want to arrest someone for murder, for example, they may say, "We are charging you with murder! You are under arrest!"  So to be charged with something means to be formally accused of something. A criminal charge is an accusation. The police are claiming that you did something wrong.

a probe - an investigation

to be launched - if something is launched, it is begun. e.g. We are going to launch a new website soon.

to stow something - to store something or to put something away.

animal cruelty - when a person unnecessarily harms an animal.

a task force - a group expected to solve or address a problem.

a prosecutor - a lawyer for the government who tries to find people who are accused of crimes to be guilty.

to be warranted - to be necessary, reasonable, justified

a backlash - when you experience a negative reaction to something you did

to contradict someone or something - to say something opposite of what another person said. A person can also contradict him/herself. "Yesterday you told me you would be busy next week and could not come over, but now you just mentioned you have the whole week free. You just contradicted yourself!"

to back up someone's account - to verify the story, to agree that the story is correct

to prompt s/o to do s/t - to cause someone to do something

inexcusable - wrong to the point where you can't make any legitimate excuses as to why it happened

cargo - stuff that is being carried in a plane or ship; so the politician is saying animals are not like products that are being transported from one destination to another.

a cargo hold - the place where cargo is stored while a plane is in flight

a bill - if a bill is passed by the Congress it becomes a law; to file a bill is to put a bill up for debate and a vote

alleged - supposed, apparent, possible

to be acclimated to - to be used to something, to have gotten used to something; so some animals just do not get used to their carriers or crates (boxes) and perhaps die of stress or heart attacks

to tout something - to boast about something, to speak proudly of something

to deem something to have occurred - to consider or determine that something occurred because of something else 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The US Supreme Court will make a significant ruling on unions and union fees

So let's say you get a job with the New York state government. You will now be represented by a non-governmental union. A union is an organization that protects the rights of the workers within the union. They negotiate salaries and benefits and attempt to protect their membership as much as they can.

The union automatically will receive a small percentage of your salary. This is automatically taken out of your paycheck by the government and sent to the union. The problem is that many people do not care whether they are represented by a union or not. In fact, many do not want to be in a union and do not want money taken out from their paycheck and sent to a union. The unions and the government have an agreement, however, to remove money from paychecks and send this money to the unions.

So, EVEN IF you do not want to be in one of these unions, the government takes a fee out of your salary anyway and sends it to the union. The unions have argued that even people who are not in unions are protected by unions, so they should have to pay a fee as well.

A guy in Illinois, who works for the Illinois state government, did not want to be in a union and does not want any of his paycheck going to the union. He claims that these unions usually support Democratic political candidates (they do) and he is a Republican - he does not want any of his salary to go to an organization that will contribute money to Democratic candidates. 

The Supreme Court will soon determine whether these unions of government workers have a right to take money out of every government worker's salary. I have a feeling the Supreme Court will rule against the unions in this case, especially since the current US Supreme Court is quite conservative and Republican (not liberal and Democratic).

The article:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

will wade into a clash - if you are at the beach and you slowly walk into the water, you wade into the water. The Supreme Court will enter into this argument (clash) between unions and non-union members. They will wade into the controversy the way a person wades into water, slowly and forcefully.

organized labor - unions (organized workers - labor often means workers)

conservative groups - if someone is conservative he/she tends to support business and low taxes. Conservatives are generally anti-union (against unions). They believe that businesses should not be monitored or regulated very strictly.

a precedent - something that happened before and that is a guide to all future action. 

deal a potentially crippling blow to - to deal a blow means to hit someone or something. A crippling blow is when you hit a person so hard he can no longer walk. So to deal a crippling blow to something is to ruin or destroy it.

contentious - if an issue is contentious, people are arguing about it

pivotal - a moment of great change (the USA is becoming much more conservative, but this seems to be a cyclical situation. In 1976 there was a liberal president, Carter. In 1980 he was replaced by Reagan, a conservative, and Reagan and Bush, another conservative, were president until 1992. Clinton, a liberal, took over until 2000. G.W. Bush (son of G.H. Bush), conservative, took over until 2008. Obama was a liberal and now Trump is a conservative.)

protesters - people who do not like something and gather to express their disapproval

to flood the court - to enter the court in large numbers

the debate - the argument

public sector unions - unions of government workers

pertaining to - in regard to

employee grievances - employee complaints. So the existing law says that non union members can be charged by unions because the unions will help them with complaints etc.

a compromise - both sides gave in a little bit, neither side completely won

to be overturned - to be completely changed to the opposite

a challenge - a challenge to the law allows fees to be collected from non-union members. So the new Supreme Court Justice, who was appointed by Trump, will probably decide who wins this case. He is conservative.

to be germane to something - to be relevant to something, to legitimately apply to something

issues germane to collective bargaining are inherently political - unions engage in collective bargaining, meaning they negotiate for the whole group (collective)...and the guy who brought this case to the court says that collective bargaining is a political process in itself (inherently). Therefore, he should not be forced to support a political organization. He is saying all unions are political.

The First Amendment - this is a part of the Constitution which protects many of an American's rights, especially a person's right to 'free speech'. He is saying that if he is forced to give money to a political organization, his free speech rights are being violated.

to subsidize the speech of a third party - to pay for the message of a political party

advocacy - to advocate for something means to speak in favor of it. So the guy, Janus, is saying that Illinois is heavily in debt, but these unions keep demanding higher and higher salaries for their workers, and this is killing his state. He does not want to be a part of this.

the current fiscal situation - the current economic situation of Illinois, which sucks.

a stagnant economy - an economy which is not moving, seems dead. A stagnant body of water has old, rotten, polluted water in it.

the case boils down to - the central issue of the case is.....

coffers - budgets

to file a brief - in an important Supreme Court case, all kinds of organizations will 'file briefs', meaning they will send documents to the Supreme Court advocating for a certain decision.

to impose - to force

Sunday, January 28, 2018

A Critical Lesson for Parents to Learn from the Kentucky High School Shooting?

{{{The two kind and bright young people killed in the recent Kentucky shooting. It's enough to break your heart forever.}}}

A 15 year-old young man shot 16 other young people at a Kentucky high school, killing the two teenagers pictured above.

It seems that the young man came from a home where his father was abusive. His father once had to spend 90 days in jail for hitting his mother and someone described the father as a 'bully'. A bully is a strong person who enjoys attacking or abusing people weaker than himself. The father was also described as having a "short fuse". This means that he lost his temper and became angry very quickly.

So it seems to me that the young man who shot the 16 young people came from a home where his father was abusive. The young man must have endured, I am guessing, abuse himself, and he lived in an environment that was more negative than positive. He must have lived under a great amount of stress. I am guessing that his negative and abusive environment was a big cause for him to 'snap' and to violently express his anger, hatred and rage at innocent people. People are not "born" to do this. They are pushed to do this.

I wish that our popular culture actually expressed some messages of humanity and goodness. Parents in the USA are not getting the message that if they have children they must elevate their own behavior. There is no strong message being sent in America that parents must demonstrate good and humane values in their homes, because their children are going to pick up the negative values that they demonstrate. 

I think the message that has to be sent out now is that we have to begin challenging our parents in this country to elevate their behavior and to look at the types of people that they are and to change their behavior, if necessary, so that they do not harmfully influence their children. Nobody should bring other people into the world just to cause them so much pain that they may become violent. We, as Americans, have to begin sending out more humane messages to each other and working toward more humane relationships. 

An article about the Kentucky shooting:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

a suspect - someone thought to have committed a crime. The young man has not been given a trial yet, so they have to refer to him as a suspect.

gunfire had broken out - this is a useful idiom. A fight broke out. Gunfire broke out. A riot broke out. Often times something violent 'breaks out'.

to remain in custody - he is being held by the police

to support trying him as an adult - this shooting was so terrible that they do not want this young man to go to a juvenile court (a place where young people are put on trial). They want to treat him as an adult even though he is only 15. If he were to go to a juvenile court, his punishment would not be very severe. If they try him as an adult, he might be placed in jail for his entire life.

to barge into - to enter a place forcefully

unleashing a hail of bullets - shooting many bullets. If you have a dog and you are walking the dog publicly, you have to have the dog on a leash. A leash is a long piece of material attached to the dog's collar. To unleash a dog is to let it run wild. So if you unleash bullets, you let them fly all over the place.

chaos - confusion, a lack of order

he peered into - he looked into, he stared into

to flee - to run away from

he kept to himself - he didn't talk to other people that much

he was charged with 4th degree assault - to be charged means to be formally accused by the police. 4th degree assault indicates how severe the assault was. Assault is when one person attacks another.

disorderly conduct - it means that he was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge than assault. Sometimes if a person does not have a criminal record, or if the person is well-educated or has a good job, the judge will show mercy and drop the charges to something lesser. Disorderly conduct means acting badly. 

controlling - he liked to have his way, he wanted things to be done his way.

a petition for a domestic violence order - if a woman is afraid of her husband, she can ask a judge to offer her protection through an order to the husband that he must not hurt his wife. If the judge provides or issues this order and the husband violates it, he has now committed a very serious crime and he will be punished even more severely.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Turkey and the PKK

A couple days ago I posted an article from the New York Post which was critical of the Turkish government (the article criticized the Turkish government). Some folks have emailed me and told me they felt the article was biased against Turkey.

(If an article is biased toward someone or something, it tries to be supportive of that person or thing despite what the truth might be. If an article is biased against someone or something, the article attacks a person or thing despite what the truth might be.)

So I found an article which tries to explain the Turkish government's attitude toward the Kurdish people and the organization called the PKK. I think this article is more objective (it tries to be as truthful as possible and does not take sides).

This article argues that in order to fight ISIS the USA was willing to partner with a group which is considered to have links to terrorist organizations if it is not a terrorist organization itself. This organization is considered a threat by the Turkish government and Turkey is concerned about the support the USA seems to be giving it.

So I am a bit uncertain what to believe or whom to support. Please recall the expression: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. 

ISIS was an insane and inhumane organization that had to be crushed/destroyed. They were the worst terrorist organization around. This group of Kurds came forward and offered to help the USA to destroy ISIS, and they did. This now, of course, puts the USA in a bad situation, since the folks who helped the USA will now expect help in return. Yet, the USA has been allies/friends for decades with Turkey, which wants to crush the organization that helped the USA crush ISIS. 

The group "War" performing "Why can't we be friends?" :P :P :P

Here is the article:

Here is vocabulary from the article to help you understand it:

an offensive - this is a military attack.

to arm a group - to supply a group with weapons

to deem someone/thing to be something - to consider someone to be something

emboldening - making stronger and more confident

intimately connected - close to

tactical and logistical necessity - only in order to plan their effort against ISIS effectively the USA has partnered with this group. Tactics means plans/strategy - logistics is how to move supplies from one point to another.

internal cohesion - cohesion means being able to stick together. So this group has a strong sense of unity.

aerial support - support by airplanes with bombs and missiles

to reliably commit troops - to send soldiers into battle in a predictable way that the US and England could trust (this is from an English newspaper).

implicitly our best bet - it goes without saying that if they were good for America they would also be good for England. Implicit means you don't even have to say anything to understand the truth of the matter.

a slick rebranding of the PKK - they are basically the PKK but they are called something different. A slick rebranding means a clever and attractive rebranding.

a joint fighting force - when differing groups joins one larger group and fight jointly.

a fig leaf that covers the reality etc. - a fig leaf is a large leaf that was sometimes placed over the sexual organs of statues of naked men so that the public would not have to look at the sculptures penis. So a 'fig leaf' is anything that covers something else up.

token Arab fighters - just a few fighters so that the claim can be made that Arabs are fighting as a part of this group

ideologically connected - they believe the same things

de facto leader - he may not be the official leader, but, in fact, as things work out, he is the leader. de facto is from the Latin language and means 'in fact'

was hoisted - was lifted up, was displayed prominently

liberated by - freed by

the chain of command - who leads an organization from top to bottom

traced - followed

to be unfazed by this - not to be bothered by this

arch-nemesis - the worst possible enemy

annexed - took over

progressively - more and more

predominantly - mostly

it was all bluster - it was nothing but loud talking and verbal threats

the straw that broke the camel's back - the one last little item that destroyed a good thing

nonchalant - casual, informal

audaciously - forcefully and with courage, strongly, showing aggression that is felt to be offensive to others

Turkey's ears perked up - when a dog's ears perk up, they rise. If your ears perk up, you suddenly hear something interesting and start paying more attention

thwart - stop

preclude the resurrection of ISIS - stop the re-birth of ISIS, stop ISIS from developing again

neglecting Turkey's sensitivities - not paying attention to what might bother Turkey

push Turkey into Russia's ambit - push Turkey closer to a friendship with Putin

incursions launched - an incursion is an invasion or a military movement into territory, to launch something is to start something

to root out - to eliminate totally, as if pulling a plant out from its root

militia - small army

a quagmire - a place where you get stuck. So the author of this article seems sympathetic toward Turkey and acknowledges that these are terror organizations to Turkey, but the author is warning Turkey about starting  battles against these groups because it will lead to disaster.

inflicted on - forced on

residents - people who live there

will face fierce resistance - people will defend themselves fiercely - aggressively

deployed -used

added strain - added stress, increasing the possibility that things will fail

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Turkey and the Kurds - Should the USA Defend the Kurds from Turkey?


After World War I England and France occupied large territories in the Middle East which had once belonged to the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey - one of the countries which had lost World War I).

England and France were only concerned about extracting (getting) oil and so they created a number of countries just by drawing lines across a map. They created Iraq, Transjordan, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.

It did not matter to either England or France who was living in which parts of the Middle East, they just needed to draw lines through the map to divide this large area up into countries that England and France would control. So a number of countries that had never existed before were created by England and France by two guys who drew lines around a map to divide the area up between them.

If you don't believe me, here's proof

So the Kurdish people, unfortunately, had lines drawn through the area where they were living. This one ethnic group was, therefore, separated and forced to live in four different countries.

For about 100 years now, the Kurds have been seeking to get their own homeland. Turkey, a country in which many Kurds live, does not like this idea. Nor does Iraq. It seems that the land which rightfully belongs to the Kurds also has lots of oil on it. Iraq, for instance, does not want to lose this oil to the Kurds.

The United States has been very sympathetic to the Kurdish people. Indeed, the Kurds have been very helpful to the United States in its war on terror. As you can read from the following article, Turkey has begun to attack Kurds who had helped the United States to fight against ISIS. So far the United States has not done anything to help the Kurds. The person who wrote the following article recommends that the US government begin to help the Kurds.

The article:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

to abandon someone/some group/some thing: to leave it helpless, to just walk away.

mercies - this is an ironic or sarcastic term here. Turkey is clearly not interested in being merciful or kind to the Kurds. To be merciful or to show mercy means not to harm someone when you feel like harming them. Turkey has no desire to show mercy and that's why "mercies" is in quotation marks.

a tyrant - a dictator, someone who is not part of a democratic system, a leader who has too much power. So this writer is calling the leader of Turkey a tyrant.

an ally - a friend.

a quarter century - 25 years. 1/4 of 100 years.

man-for-man, woman-for-woman - meaning that if you compare the average Kurdish man or woman to anyone else from any other ethnic group or country which has fought against ISIS, the Kurds are better or superior.

Kurdish boots on the ground - Kurdish soldiers on the ground, fighters (soldiers wear boots so instead of him saying "Kurdish soldiers on the ground..." he says "Kurdish boots on the ground...")

sweeping - wide, thorough, complete

caliphate - the type of government ISIS created

to crush something - to step on something in order to destroy it

wriggling - if you step on a snake, it will wriggle and try to bite you, it will twist around wildly

snapping - trying to bite (the author is comparing ISIS to a trapped snake)

we're turning our backs on them - we are turning away or abandoning them

NATO - the North Atlantic Treaty Organization...a group of European countries plus the USA. It was created during the Cold War to protect Europe from Soviet Russia. Turkey and the USA are supposed to be allies in NATO, but Turkey's leader has been turning against the USA for some time now.

gone rogue - to have become uncontrollable; if someone is a rogue, he is highly independent to the point where he can't be trusted, because he will always pursue his own needs.

Islamist strongman - a dictator or tyrant who believes in the Islamic religion

odious - hateful

President is in quotation marks like this "President" because the writer believes that Erdogan is NOT really a president, but instead is a dictator.

to be captive - to be prisoners

a census - when a population is officially counted

butchered en masse - violently killed in large numbers

scapegoated - blamed for things they didn't do

unnervingly familiar - so familiar to the bad way that Israel has been treated (according to this author) that one should be unnerved or upset.

letting the Kurds down at Versailles - The Treaty of Versailles was the agreement that ended World War I. According to that treaty England and France were allowed to divide Kurdish territory up and place it into 4 different countries. So America did not try to help the Kurds at that point - the USA let them down (disappointed them).

acquiesced - to agree without wanting to agree

in the wake of Desert Storm  - following Desert Storm, the war in the early 1990s against Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

a succession of - a number of

combating - fighting

on the verge of - close to

a slaughter - a violent and often mass killing

an underdog - someone who does not have a lot of power but who is good

a rabid dog - a dog with a disease that makes it a ferocious (aggressive) killer

he has gutted democracy - he has removed the essence or reality of democracy from his government

false charges - he has accused people of fake crimes and thrown them in jail

suppressed - pushed down, held down

rigged the courts - if you rig something you change it so that justice does not occur, what you want to happen will occur. So people do not get justice in the Turkish court system any more.

to back someone - to support someone

Islamic hardliners - these are very extreme followers of the religion of Islam, very conservative

reignited - restarted; to ignite something is to start something on fire

inertia - this means that when something comes to a stop, or is in a resting state, it is hard to move it again

strategic interests - strategy or plans as to how the US will carry out its foreign policy

restricted use of an airbase - the USA seems to need an airbase in Turkey and Erdogan seems to be threatening to refuse to allow the US Air Force to use it if the USA does not support Erdogan's policies. So the USA seems to be afraid to offend or upset Erdogan for fear of losing this airbase.

Turkey uses the airbase as leverage - leverage is the ability to move a heavy object using a long stick and something you can place the stick on top of - you then push down on one end of the stick while the other end moves the object. If something is being used as leverage, it is being used to force someone to do something he doesn't want to do.

call Erdogan's bluff - if you are bluffing, you are pretending to do something you really aren't going to do. So the writer is basically saying we should defend the Kurds and see whether Erdogan will actually try to force Americans out of the air bases. The writer does not seem to think Erdogan will, but if he does, it doesn't matter, the USA will just lose two air bases.

liberated by the Kurds - freed by the Kurds through fighting

a bogus claim - a fake claim, a lie

the alphabet game - the writer is joking about all of the organizations represented by all the different three-letter combinations

indistinguishable - cannot be differentiated from, cannot be told apart from, to look the same as

a domestic resistance group - a group within Turkey that resisted the government and demanded a homeland for the Kurds

political accommodation - this Kurdish group that functioned within Turkey gave up violence in order to work within the Turkish political system. 

oppressed - held down, not allowed their rights

solidarity - a feeling of brotherhood, when individuals feel they belong in a group and are willing to work together with others toward a goal

the YPG is the same as the PKK - the writer is trying to make a joke saying that just because names sound similar it does not mean that things or organizations are similar.

to cling to - to hold on to too tightly

to draw a red line - to tell Erdogan that he cannot continue to do things which are clearly wrong; to draw a red line is like drawing a line on the ground and telling someone that he cannot walk past this line with punishment.

the terrorist sits in his president's chair in Ankara - Ankara is the capitol of Turkey, so the writer is saying that Erdogan is the real terrorist in this situation.