Thoughts On Afghanistan

After 18 years of war in Afghanistan could there possibly be anything that has gone unsaid?

Probably not.

But I would like to keep my readers abreast of the stuff that this war is made of……profits and death.

Speaking of deaths…….sad news…..yet another American soldier killed in fighting in Afghanistan…..

Another U.S. service member has been killed in action in Afghanistan, officials announced Monday.

The death was announced by NATO’s Resolute Support mission to the country in a press release.

A defense official told Army Times on background that the fallen soldier was a Green Beret, but did not specify the operator’s unit. A separate defense official said that there are no indications the attack was a green-on-blue incident.

“In accordance with U.S. Department of Defense policy, the name of the service member is being withheld until 24 hours after family notification is complete,” the release reads.

(Army Times)

Now that the peace process is “dead” according to Trump what will it mean for the people?

“Our only hope was peace,” Hayat Khan, the family’s 54-year-old patriarch, said Tuesday, “and that doesn’t happen now.”

President Donald Trump says the U.S.-Taliban talks on ending the fighting in Afghanistan are “dead,” deeply unfortunate wording for the Afghan civilians who have been killed by the tens of thousands over almost 18 years. Many fear his cancellation of negotiations will bring more carnage as the U.S. and Taliban, as well as Afghan forces, step up their offensives and everyday people die in the crossfire.

https://apnews.com/d619f2a9fd3b47fa812d707fafd5f146

The Taleban leader said that there could be a ceasefire….it was up to Trump…….

Taliban chief negotiator Sher Abbas Stanekzai announced on Friday that the Taliban has agreed to a complete ceasefire that was contingent on the US accepting the existing Afghan peace deal.

President Trump scrapped the Afghan deal last weekend, citing his anger at the Taliban for continuing to fight. Other US officials had cited both the lack of a ceasefire and the Taliban not making a deal with the Afghan government.

On that front, Stanekzai also noted that the Taliban has already scheduled talks with the Afghan government on September 23. It’s not clear what’s going to happen with these talks if the US peace process is “dead.”

All indications are that the Taliban were both willing for the peace deal last week, and are still willing now. The big question, then, is if President Trump will come around to the idea, or will just keep dismissing peace and choosing to continue America’s longest war.

(antiwar.com)

What about the thing that we hear very little about…the Afghan drug trade?

It is hard to be optimistic about the ongoing U.S. led peace talks with the Taliban. After nearly 18 years of conflict, the Taliban and its terrorist affiliations have proved to be impressively resilient adversaries. 

Despite significant growth in the capacity of the Afghan Government and its security forces, the Taliban still controls more territory than at any point since 2001. If Afghanistan is to ever prevail against this threat, it is imperative to understand what has enabled the Taliban to not only survive, but flourish against formidable counterinsurgency efforts. One likely source of strength is the drug trade.

The source of nearly 90% of the world’s supply of heroin, Afghanistan’s drug trade is as unique as it is vast. There are few modern examples of narco-states where drugs have become so intertwined in the political, economic and social structures of the nation.

The True Power of the Afghan Drug Trade

Someone explain our toleration to the world.

There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon.  The American people are losing interest in Afghan War……

On the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, a new survey said Wednesday Americans have a very divided view on the conflict in Afghanistan — which, after 18 years, is still being fought by U.S. armed forces.

Gallup said it found more than half of Americans, 52 percent, say going into Afghanistan after the 2001 attacks was the right thing to do — a decrease of 2 percent since the pollster last asked the question in 2015. Forty-three percent said it was a mistake, up 1 percent.

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2019/09/11/Americans-support-for-initial-Afghan-war-declining-survey-shows/8821568217890/

In closing…..just a reminder……

Simply put, the reason American troops are dying in Afghanistan is because they are deployed to Afghanistan. Therefore, the best way to immunize soldiers from a violent death at the hands of the Taliban is to withdraw them from Afghanistan altogether. Reports suggest that his former national security adviser John Bolton tried to dissuade Trump by planting negative stories in the press over his opposition to signing a deal with the Taliban. Some commentators have expressed relief that the ultra-hawkish Bolton was ousted from the White House before be could start a war. But it appears as though, when it came to Afghanistan, he succeeded in keeping an existing war going.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/13/neverforget-war-afghanistan

Time for the insanity of Afghanistan to END!  And end NOW!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

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Closing Thought–16Sep19

When I was in the military (1967-1971) the best food was at Navy installations in second place was the Air Force….but that was the days when we had cooks not culinary specialists.

The US military is hell bent on the appearance of their members. Are they buff? Are they overweight? Are they in good shape?

So which service branch is the most obese?

The US Navy takes the prize.

Sailors need remedial physical training.

That could be one just one of many conclusions drawn by a recent Department of Defense study that found the Navy earned the dubious honor of surpassing all other branches in its rate of obese personnel.

The overall rate of fat service members is also up from recent years, with the percentage of personnel weighing in at obese standards climbing to over 17 percent, according to a Health of the DoD Force study.

That number spiked to over a quarter of service members over the age of 35.

For the Navy, the overall number of obese personnel was a shocking 22 percent. The other branches reported the following frequency of obesity:

  • Air Force: 18 percent
  • Army: 17 percent
  • Marine Corps: 8.3 percent

https://www.militarytimes.com/off-duty/military-culture/2019/09/03/this-branch-takes-the-cake-as-the-us-militarys-fattest/

I guess the food is still pretty damn good, huh?

Thoughts?

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

2019 Dem Candidates–Biden And Harris

The last debate was a bust…nothing has changed in the polls and in reality absolutely NO one gives a shit.

So why do I bother with this crap?

Well for one I want the voter (at least those that read IST) to have all the info about the candidates…..the media will not do it so I feel I must.

My field of interest is foreign policy and conflict management…..so let us take a look at this issue with Harris and Biden……

I will start with Harris……and I have no idea what her positions are on the fields of my interests……

Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has not made war and militarism a centerpiece of her presidential campaign. She’s given no major “foreign policy” speech, and she did not respond to a series of simple yes-or-no questions about global politics from FiveThirtyEight (Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg were the only other major Democratic candidates to decline). On her campaign website, Harris’ only statement on “foreign policy” is just over 500 words—and it’s more a screed against Trump (he’s mentioned seven times) than a cogent vision. In the realm of international politics, she’s probably best known for saying in January that “we cannot conduct our foreign policy through tweets,” a statement that conveys nothing, other than opposition to Trump.

http://inthesetimes.com/article/22051/kamala-harris-foreign-policy-war-aipac-iran-north-korea-russia

Nothing about her makes her appealing to me as a candidate….but that is just me….

Now Biden has more public policies for me to pick at especially on the policies of foreign policy……one of the things that makes Biden unappealing to me as a candidate is the Iraq War of 2003…..

ABC/DNC debate Biden lied about his Iraq record, just like he did at the first two debates.

In the July debate, Biden claimed: “From the moment ‘shock and awe’ started, from that moment, I was opposed to the effort, and I was outspoken as much as anyone at all in the Congress.”

When he first said that, it received virtually no scrutiny except for Mideast scholar Stephen Zunes, who wrote the piece “Biden Is Doubling Down on Iraq War Lies.” Zunes outlined much of Biden’s record, including his insistence in May 2003 – months after the Iraq invasion – that “There was sufficient evidence to go into Iraq.”

Biden Taking Iraq Lies to the Max

Joe has another plan for our troops in Afghanistan….move them to Pakistan…..

Former Vice President Joe Biden has suggested essentially moving U.S. troops from Afghanistan to Pakistan, whence they could launch counter-terrorism raids over the border, as needed.

Biden, who is attempting to secure the Democratic nomination for president in the 2020 election, mentioned his plan during Thursday night’s Democratic debate in Houston.

When asked if President Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011 was a mistake, Biden said no and quickly changed the topic to Afghanistan.

“We can prevent the United States from being the victim of terror coming out of Afghanistan by providing for bases — insist the Pakistanis provide bases for us to airlift from and to move against what we know,” Biden said. “We don’t need those troops there. I would bring them home.”

https://taskandpurpose.com/biden-us-troops-pakistan

As an antiwar voter nothing Biden says endears him to me for my vote…..

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

VOTE!

Lego Ergo Scribo

Trump’s Trade War

There are a wealth of effects of the trade war that dear leader has set his policies on…..like higher prices and Christmas on the way…..but the one number that Americans will pay attention to is the jobs numbers…..

A job count is depressing……….

President Trump says he is “winning big time, against China.” But his trade war is causing measurable damage to the U.S. economy, with the pain likely to worsen.

Forecasting firm Moody’s Analytics estimates that Trump’s trade war with China has already reduced U.S. employment by 300,000 jobs, compared with likely employment levels absent the trade war. That’s a combination of jobs eliminated by firms struggling with tariffs and other elements of the trade war, and jobs that would have been created but haven’t because of reduced economic activity.

The firm’s chief economist, Mark Zandi, told Yahoo Finance that the job toll from the trade war will hit about 450,000 by the end of the year, if there’s no change in policy. By the end of 2020, the trade war will have killed 900,000 jobs, on its current course. The hardest-hit sectors are manufacturing, warehousing, distribution and retail.

Other data back up the Moody’s Analytics numbers. Employers have created 1.3 million jobs so far this year, down from 1.9 million during the same period in 2018. The manufacturing sector has actually contracted, with many producers struggling with higher prices caused by Trump’s tariffs. Business investment is growing by the smallest amount since late 2016.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/trumps-trade-war-has-killed-300000-jobs-194717808.html

Since this trade war will be a drag on Trump’s re-election hde had to come up with something to change the conversation……and he possibly has found his answer…..the problem is it will a deficit buster…..

President Donald Trump promised to unveil an “inspirational” middle class tax cut next year during a political retreat in Maryland late Thursday, just as the Treasury Department said the nation’s budget deficit topped the $1 trillion mark for only the second time on record. 

Trump told House Republicans in the state’s biggest city, Baltimore, that his “substantial” tax cut plans would be “very, very inspirational … for  middle-income folks, who work so hard,” and that details would be released early next year. Congress, however, would need to approve and pass any suggested tax reductions from the executive branch, setting up a potential election-defining fight with Democratic lawmakers heading into next year’s presidential elections.

The pledge will also add further pressure on the nation’s finances after the Treasury reported a $169 billion shortfall in revenues in August, taking the overall deficit for the 11 months ended in August, the government’s fiscal year, to $1.07 trillion. The last trillion-plus deficit was recorded in the three years that followed the 2008 global financial crisis. 

(thestreet.com)

Where are the deficit hawks?  The Fiscal Conservatives are a bunch of low life cowards.

This is just a promise like all his promise hollow and without merit.

Iran Did It!

For months now there has been a back and forth between the Trump admin and Iran….we have had insults back and forth….ships commandeered…….then there is the Saudis whom have feared the Iranians for decades and in gturn have helped feed the misinformation that is spread like manure…..

To make matters worse there was an attack within Saudi Arabia……

Drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels attacked the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and another major oil field Saturday, sparking huge fires at a vulnerable chokepoint for global energy supplies, the AP reports. It remained unclear hours later whether anyone was injured at the Abqaiq oil processing facility and the Khurais oil field or what affect the assault would have on oil production. Rising smoke from the fires at the sites could be seen by satellites in space. The attack by the Iranian-backed Houthis in the war against a Saudi-led coalition comes after weeks of similar drone assaults on the kingdom’s oil infrastructure, but none of the earlier strikes appeared to have caused the same amount of damage.

The attack likely will heighten tensions further across the Persian Gulf amid an escalating crisis between the US and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers. First word of the assault came in online videos of giant fires at the Abqaiq facility, some 205 miles northeast of the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Machine-gun fire could be heard in several clips alongside the day’s first Muslim call to prayers, suggesting security forces tried to bring down the drones just before dawn. The fires began after the sites were “targeted by drones,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. It said an investigation was underway

Just as Trump blames everything domestically on Obama….his Boyz blame everything that happens internationally on Iran……

Forget Yemen. This was all Iran. That was the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s take Saturday after drone attacks struck Saudi Arabian oil facilities and choked half the country’s crude production, the Wall Street Journal reports. Pompeo tweeted that it was “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.” It’s unclear why he thought it was Iran and not Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who claimed responsibility for the attack. But the Secretary of State accused Tehran of being “behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia” and said Iran will be “held accountable for its aggression.”

The two attacks Saturday on Saudi oil installations occurred about 500 miles from Yemen and highlighted Saudi’s weakness to drone strikes—a surprisingly cheap and effective means for Houthis to attack a more powerful enemy, the New York Times reports. The drones may have cost under $15,000 and posed a threat Saudis can’t counter, experts say. The Yemen war started in 2014 when Houthi rebels took over the nation’s capital and other territory, forcing the government into exile and drawing Arab nations (with some US support) into the conflict against the Houthis. Fallout in Yemen has become the world’s most devastating humanitarian crisis.

See what I mean?

Iran did it!

And that is how you build a case for armed intervention…..and in the mean time put a damper on the overtures that Trump had made for a meeting.

After months of saying he wants talks with Iran, President Trump said on Friday that he believes Iran’s leadership wants to have talks, and that he is trying to get them together for the UN General Assembly.

That may be overly optimistic, as Iran has long taken the same position, that talks are only possible if the US eases sanctions or returns to the P5+1 nuclear deal. Since it’s long been assumed that won’t happen, they’ve said the talks wouldn’t either.

Trump’s suggestion of a change may be based on hopeful statements from one of President Rouhani’s aides, who thought the firing of John Bolton this week meant the end of US “maximum pressure” strategy.

(antiwar.com)

Three simple words could end any chance of ending the tensions…..”Iran Did It!”

“Lego Ergo Scribo

Sunday In Space

One of my interests beyond foreign policy is our research into space and space travel. I try to give my readers an up to date look at our progress to get beyond our little blue marble.

This first bit is for my friend Pete of https://beetleypete.com/…..what would happen if aliens showed up in the UK?

If aliens were to be discovered, however, it’s not clear what we would like to happen next. A new survey in the UK carried out by researchers from the University of Oxford sought to find out what the British public would like to happen in the event E.T. did get in touch. In what came close to the cursed 48-52 percent split that has haunted British politics for the past three years, they found that just over half (53.6 percent) of people would want us to respond to communication from aliens. 

https://www.iflscience.com/space/if-aliens-got-in-contact-this-is-how-the-british-public-would-like-earth-to-respond/amp.html

Staying with the alien contact thingy…..

The study, published last month in The Astronomical Journal, posits that intelligent extraterrestrial life could be taking its time to explore the galaxy, harnessing star systems’ movement to make star-hopping easier.

The work is a new response to a question known as the Fermi Paradox, which asks why we haven’t detected signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.

The paradox was first posed by physicist Enrico Fermi, who famously asked: “Where is everybody?”

Fermi was questioning the feasibility of travel between stars, but since then, his query has come to represent doubts about the very existence of extraterrestrials.

https://www.sciencealert.com/aliens-may-have-explored-the-galaxy-and-visited-earth-already-new-study-says

We have seen a thousand movies that have some sort of space travel as the subject….but is it really possible?

Interstellar space travel. Fantasy of every five-year-old kid within us. Staple of science fiction serials. Boldly going where nobody has gone before in a really fantastic way. As we grow ever more advanced with our rockets and space probes, the question arises: could we ever hope to colonize the stars? Or, barring that far-flung dream, can we at least send space probes to alien planets, letting them tell us what they see?

The truth is that interstellar travel and exploration is technically possible. There’s no law of physics that outright forbids it. But that doesn’t necessarily make it easy, and it certainly doesn’t mean we’ll achieve it in our lifetimes, let alone this century. Interstellar space travel is a real pain in the neck. 

https://www.space.com/is-interstellar-travel-possible.html

If we venture out among the stars then we will have to live in off planet outposts among the stars……how will we deal with that?

Fifty years ago, a Princeton physicist named Gerard O’Neill asked his students to help him come up with a plan for setting up settlements in space.

Just a few years later, O’Neill published the resulting vision for freestanding space colonies as a book titled “The High Frontier” — a book that helped inspire Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ vision of having millions of people living and working in space.

Now the keepers of the “High Frontier” flame at the California-based Space Studies Institute are revisiting O’Neill’s original vision, with an eye toward updating it for the 21st century.

“The fact is, a lot has changed in the last half-century,” Edward Wright, a senior researcher at the Space Studies Institute, said today at the start of a two-day conference presented by the institute at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.

https://www.geekwire.com/2019/50-years-space-settlement-experts-update-vision-off-planet-outposts/

That sums up the news I have for now……

Now for the important stuff…..daylight and someone is ready for that venture out of the house…

Image

While we are out try some music from Prince……

Those Random News For A Saturday

It is early Saturday morning and I am trying to find a descent topic to post but I am having a hard time so I will just give a hodge-podge of unworthy news items.

This is what passed for news on some of the sites…..gossipy crap.

First, the big news person in 2008 was no other than Sarah Palin her being named the VP candidate made her a household name and we have been abused with her brand of stupid ever since.

Well it seems that hubby Todd has had enough (like the rest of us)…..

Sarah Palin’s husband, commonly referred to as “Alaska’s first dude” when she was governor, appears to be seeking a divorce from his wife of 31 years. Paperwork apparently from Todd Palin cited “incompatibility of temperament” in seeking to end his marriage to the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee. The filing Friday in Anchorage Superior Court only identified the couple by initials, the AP reports. The initials, birthdates and wedding date match the Palins’, as does the initials given for their only young child. The documents list the minor as T.P.V.P., born April 18, 2008, the same date Sarah Palin gave birth to Trig Paxon Van Palin, the youngest of the couple’s five children.

The Palins married in 1988. After Sarah Palin became governor in 2006, Todd Palin continued to fish commercially and work an oil field job on the North Slope. Their lives were changed when Republican presidential candidate John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate. During her speech to the Republican National Convention, Palin said of her husband: “We met in high school, and two decades and five children later, he’s still my guy.” Todd Palin mostly stayed out of the spotlight, but MSNBC reported in 2011 that he was knee-deep in his wife’s governorship. An analysis of 1,200 emails between state officials and Todd Palin showed him approving or disapproving of appointments and receiving updates on contract negotiations. In response, an attorney for the couple said: “Todd Palin had official and unofficial duties, but one thing was clear: he was a key advisor to Governor Palin and involved in her efforts to improve the State of Alaska.”

Next useless report is about a lawyer…..ever heard of an attorney that moonlights?

Like a lot of people, Katherine Sears has a side hustle. The Des Moines lawyer doesn’t drive an Uber or deliver pizza. Her other job is in a brothel in Nevada. “I like sex,” she says. “Sex is fun, and I can get paid for it.” Sears, who has been working as a prostitute for three years, is telling people about her sideline in an effort to decriminalize and destigmatize prostitution, KCCI reports. “We’re not going to have legislation change if we’re passive about it.” She considers prostitution to be consensual sex, and she has the right to decline clients. “You can say, ‘No sex without a condom.’ You can say, ‘No sex until we’re married.’ But you can’t say, ‘No sex until you pay me’?” Sears says. “And that feels like it really undermines what consent means.”

In Iowa, Sears lives with her husband, John, and 4-month-old son. She was already working as a prostitute when she met John in law school, and they now practice criminal defense law together, per WNDU. “I don’t really care that much” about her job in Nevada, where prostitution is legal, her husband says. Katherine typically spends three weeks in Nevada and one in Des Moines, though she’s spent more time at home lately to practice law and be with her husband and son. On a busy day at the brothel, she’ll have 10 to 15 clients after three hours of preparing. Her biggest haul was $55,000 in three weeks, she says. As a lawyer, she handles prostitutes’ cases free of charge. “Their bodies belong to them, and we have absolutely no reason that you cannot condition your consent this way,” Sears says.

Finally that evangelical pillar, Jerry Falwell, Jr……..

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. said Tuesday that he is asking the FBI to investigate what he called a “criminal” smear campaign orchestrated against him by several disgruntled former board members and employees. Falwell told the AP he has evidence that the group improperly shared emails belonging to the university with reporters in an attempt to discredit him. He said the “attempted coup” was partially motivated by his ardent backing of President Trump. Falwell, head of the nation’s most high-profile evangelical college, was among the earliest Christian conservatives to endorse Trump’s campaign. His allegations come after the publication of a story in Politico Magazine on Monday that alleged Falwell “presides over a culture of self-dealing” at Liberty that has improperly benefited him and his family.

The story cited unnamed sources described as current and former officials or Falwell associates. “I’m not going to dignify the lies that were reported yesterday with a response, but I am going to the authorities and I am going to civil court,” Falwell said, referring to the reporter as a “little boy.” He added that Liberty has hired “the meanest lawyer in New York,” whom he declined to identify, to pursue civil cases. Falwell also declined to identify the people he said were spreading the emails. Falwell is the son of the late evangelist, Liberty founder and Moral Majority leader the Rev. Jerry Falwell. He has come under increased scrutiny recently over his personal life and business investments, including his involvement in a Miami hostel. Cybercrime expert Nick Akerman said Falwell’s assertion of a criminal conspiracy is “totally insane.” (More here.)

Evangelicals prove daily why I think they are a wart on the skin of Christianity…Falwell just reinforces my low opinion of these “religious” sorts.

Lastly some real news…….soon the new “Terminator” movie will be released…..so this news bite is appropriate….

The U.S. Navy will try to prevent Skynet — the fictional intelligence computer network that attempts to destroy humanity in the “Terminator” series — from becoming a reality as it continues efforts to field evermore capable robots, a Navy official said Monday.

As the service works to build autonomous capabilities, trust is an ever-present concern for those charged with testing and evaluating the safety of the systems they are developing, said Steve Olsen, deputy branch head of the Navy’s mine warfare office. But the developers are keenly aware that overly trusting weapons systems can present serious dangers.

Sorry for the “gossip” on this Saturday but my options were limited…..

Be Well, Be Safe

“Lego Ergo Scribo”