It’s Infrastructure Stupid

Think back to the campaign of 2016….one of the big promises from Trump was to resurrect our dying infrastructure…..and so far we got nothing of the sorts.

But today the party leaders and Trump will meet on how to go about getting the $2 trillion for the plan that has been set forth.

This plan will go NOWHERE….why? The only way to pay for this plan is a rise in taxes on corporations and the wealthy……

With President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders set to meet Wednesday to discuss a possible $2 trillion infrastructure package, a progressive advocacy group on Monday warned that any proposal that doesn’t include significant tax hikes on the rich and corporations “will be meaningless and doomed to failure.”

“If major tax increases are off the table, there is no way to pay for a $2 trillion infrastructure plan, it’s that simple,” Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), said in a statement. “Other options, such as raising the gas tax, might be part of the package, but by themselves won’t come close to reaching the $2 trillion that’s needed.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/05/20/without-tax-hikes-corporations-and-rich-critics-warn-2-trillion-infrastructure-plan

Every body agrees that our infrastructure is in trouble…….ever body agrees that it needs to be updated….the problem is NOBODY wants to pay for it.

I have an idea!

Since we have spent about $6 trillion on wars in the last decade or so…cancelling those abortions would easily pay for the infrastructure they all say they want.

The price tag of the ongoing “war on terror” in the Middle East will likely top $6 trillion next year, and will reach $7 trillion if the conflicts continue into the early 2020s, according to a new report out Wednesday.

The annual Costs of War project report, from the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, puts the full taxpayer burden of fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria over the last 17 years at several times higher than official Defense Department estimates, because it includes increases in Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs spending, as well as new military equipment and personnel.

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2018/11/14/price-tag-of-the-war-on-terror-will-top-6-trillion-soon/

The Fiscal Times look at out spending on wars as well….

“It’s important for the American people to understand the true costs of war, both the moral and monetary costs,” Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) said in a statement last week, according to The Hill. “Our nation continues to finance wars and military operations through borrowing, rather than asking people to contribute to the national defense directly, and the result is a serious fiscal drag that we’re not really accounting for or factoring into deliberations about fiscal policy or military policy.”

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2018/11/19/Problem-Our-6-Trillion-War-Tab

I think the easy answer would be the best answer.

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National Service

There seems to be a renewed interests on the policy of national service……it all started with the CCC of the FDR days….and then later with the Kennedy-Hatch Act….

The year is 2008…….

Hatch announced the bill with Caroline Kennedy, Sen. Kennedy’s niece, in New York City at the ServeNation Summit, a gathering of business and government leaders discussing public service at the anniversary of 9/11.

John McCain and Barack Obama appeared at that summit on Thursday, and Hatch said both have agreed to co-sponsor the bill.

Hatch said he and Kennedy had long discussed the bill as a way “to marry two formerly competing visions of service,” the full-time national service programs such as the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps pushed by Presidents Kennedy and Clinton, and less structured volunteering through charities pushed by Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Hatch said it would spend $5 billion over five years seeking to draw 175,000 more people into giving a year of service to address specific national challenges.

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/700258365/Hatch-Kennedy-team-for-voluntarism.html

Obama had signed on to this idea and I wrote about it in 2008…….https://lobotero.com/2008/09/12/national-service-not-lip-service/

Fast forward to the 2019 scramble for the Dem nomination…..one of the “rising stars” Mayor Pete has joined the call for a “national service”……https://lobotero.com/2019/04/23/petes-national-service/

Now The American Conservative has joined in the call for shared experience for Americans…a call for a national service…..but their idea is a “Civilian Militia”…..

I received some fascinating responses and comments regarding my recent column about how the West can save masculinity. One email in particular caught my attention. It was from a friend of mine named Troy, a socially conservative, politically libertarian member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Troy is happily married with three young children and has been working in the IT field on the East Coast. However, he is feeling torn between his desire to serve in the military and his need to continue working a job that supports his family but leaves him feeling bereft of purpose and masculinity.  

Troy recently passed a preliminary screening to beginning the process of applying to  the Green Berets and is weighing his options. Although he badly wants to serve the country, he told me he doesn’t believe that the military will allow him enough time with his young children. He also disagrees with many of America’s current military deployments overseas.

Time to Bring Back Mandatory Citizen Militias?

While I totally agree with the concept of a National Service I have a problem with this idea of a “Civilian Militia”……but I try to give all sides of most ideas…….

Any thoughts on this?

Who Wants This War?

Well unless you hide during the day under a rock then you are aware of how close the US and Iran maybe to a war……personally, I do ot think it is a good idea but then I am an antiwar person and cannot see too many wars as a good thing.

But ask yourself….just who is it that wants this war?

Trump and the Secstate and NatSec adviser do not seem to be on the same page….so who wants this?

Speaking on state TV of the prospect of a war in the Gulf, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei seemed to dismiss the idea.

“There won’t be any war. …We don’t seek a war, and [the Americans] don’t either. They know it’s not in their interests.”

The ayatollah’s analysis is correct. Consider the consequences of a war with the United States for Iran.

Iran’s hundreds of swift boats and handful of submarines would be sunk. Its ports would be mined or blockaded. Oil exports and oil revenue would halt. Airfields and missile bases would be bombed. The Iranian economy would crash. Iran would need years to recover.

 
But not to worry….the Speaker of the House said that the Congress have not voted for war….

The Trump administration does not have congressional authorization to go to war against Iran, the Democratic leader of the U.S. House of Representatives warned on Thursday amid escalating tensions in the region.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that she backed what appeared to be U.S. President Donald Trump’s aversion to actual military conflict with Tehran.

“I like what I hear from the president — that he has no appetite on this,” she said. The Washington Post, citing several unnamed U.S. officials, reported late Wednesday that Trump was frustrated that his advisers may be rushing into war and that he preferred a more diplomatic approach and direct talks with Iran.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-iran-congress/u-s-house-speaker-congress-has-not-approved-war-against-iran-idUKKCN1SM1WA

Really?  The Congress has not thought it important enough to vote on any war since the invasion of Afghanistan….so what makes me think they will have any say whatsoever in whether we go to war with Iran or not?

Besides they, the Congress, cannot stop a war any way….look at the failure with the Yemen conflict….the Congress has become a toothless tiger.

Medal Of Freedom

Closing Thought–20May19

Personally I think this medal has become nothing more than a reward for political support.

This is the highest civilian award possible…..such recipients as Maya, people who have contributed something to this nation and who does this Beloved Supreme Leader pick to give the award to….Tiger Wood.

I realize that this award in the past has been given to friends and the meg donors to campaigns….that is just wrong on so many levels……just what does architecture have with freedom….art or dance for that matter…and especially sports?

The Medal of Freedom should be given not as some reward for donations or other such nonsense but rather to those that have shown that they put their lives above anything else in pursuit…….wait for it……FREEDOM!

I nominate the students in Colorado……

The student killed in Tuesday’s shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in suburban Denver went out a hero. Kendrick Castillo, 18, along with two of his friends, tackled a shooter—seen pulling a gun out of a guitar case—and was shot in the chest, reports NBC News. The sacrifice “[gave] all of us enough time to get underneath our desks, to get ourselves safe, and to run across the room to escape,” another student says. “We’re going to hear about very heroic things that have taken place at the school,” adds Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, per USA Today. More details emerging:

  • Student suspects: One is identified as Devon Erickson, 18. Spurlock describes a second, initially identified as a male, as a female minor. Denver Channel, however, describes a juvenile suspect in the process of transitioning from female to male. Spurlock says “we originally thought the juvenile was a male by appearance,” but wouldn’t comment on whether the suspect is transgender.
  • The shooting: The pair are accused of firing on two classrooms at the public charter school after passing through an entrance without metal detectors, per the AP. Spurlock says they had a “number of weapons,” including two handguns they weren’t old enough to possess.
  • Capture: Deputies reportedly arrested the suspects within minutes, with no gunfire exchanged, per the AP. Spurlock said one of the suspects was detained by a security guard at the school, attended by more than 1,850 students in kindergarten through grade 12.
    A Columbine link?: Citing multiple sources, Denver Channel reports the motive “went beyond bullying and involved revenge and anger towards others at the school.” Some are questioning whether the shooting was inspired by the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, just seven miles away. Per the AP, “the answer was not immediately clear.”
    The injured: Eight students aged 15 and older were treated at three hospitals, including one student shot three times. Five had been released by Wednesday morning, while three remained in intensive care.
    The terror: A 8-year-old second-grader tells the New York Times of hearing his first ever gunshot. His mother, speaking for most parents, says, “We’re more messed up than they are.”

These students illustrate what it means to protect freedom…..than some sports figure.

Why did Tiger Wood get the medal?  Why not he is a close friend and a carbon copy of a womanizing douche that gave him the medal.

Trump is not the only one that does this…they ALL do it….it is a reward  not for protecting freedom but rather having an open wallet for the president.

The Medal of Freedom should be held for the highest regard as the military Medal of Honor.

Death in Mali–Is Justice Served?

About 2 years ago in the West African nation of Mali and our US Special Ops troopers, who are the best in the world, had a situation where an Army Green Beret was killed by 2 Navy Seals and a couple of Marine Raiders…..I wrote extensively about this event….most of what I wrote is referenced in this post……https://lobotero.com/2018/12/11/death-in-mali-update/

A Navy SEAL pleaded guilty Thursday in the hazing death of a Green Beret soldier, detailing the late-night plot to break into 34-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar’s room with a sledgehammer, put him in a chokehold and restrain him with duct tape during a deployment in Africa.

In a pretrial agreement, Chief Special Warfare Operator Adam Matthews pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit assault, unlawful entry, obstruction of justice and violating a general order by committing hazing. As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop murder and involuntary manslaughter charges against him.

Following the agreement, a military judge sentenced Matthews to one year in military prison.

Matthews said that he, along with another member of the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 and two elite Marine Raiders, carried out the “juvenile” attack on June 4, 2017, in Bamako, Mali’s capital.

The service members are also accused of lying to Navy commanders and investigators about what happened.

Ahead of Thursday’s hearing, Matthews’ attorney, Grover Baxley, said his client “looks forward to detailing what happened that night in Mali almost 2 years ago and hopes that his explanation of events will assist the Melgar family in finding some semblance of closure.”

He added that Melgar’s death was “an unforeseen accident that has dramatically impacted the lives of everyone involved. SOC Matthews is eager to assist with the Navy’s resolution of this case and then attempting to move on with his life.”

In an earlier statement to Military Times, Matthews’ attorney said he didn’t believe his client nor the three other men accused meant to kill Melgar.

“I don’t believe any of these four men did. This was an avoidable tragedy, and SSgt Maxwell is deeply remorseful for his role in it,” Maxwell’s other attorney, Brian Bouffard, wrote in an email.

Even though Melgar died in June 2017, the Pentagon did not release any information regarding his death until news outlets broke the story several months later.

According to The Washington Post, the tragedy occurred after a long night of drinking and partying. Two SEALs and two Marine Raiders smashed their way into Melgar’s room with a sledgehammer because they purportedly wanted to teach him a lesson for leaving them behind in traffic on the way to a party at the French Embassy

One of the SEALs, Petty Officer 1st Class Anthony E. DeDolph, jumped on Melgar and put him in a chokehold while Matthews grabbed Melgar’s legs. The two Marines then duct-taped his legs together. When they moved on to Melgar’s wrists, they realized he had stopped breathing.

The case, including allegations of a coverup, shed light on the culture of heavy drinking and womanizing in a West African city where there are alcohol restrictions and warnings about terrorist threats.

(Fox News)

I am glad that this may be finally over for the family of SSgt Melgar……but the accused are full of shit!

They are glad it is over?  After lying constantly and then given a lighter sentence I guess they are glad it is over.  And to fake concern for the family of SSgt Melgar is disingenuous…

Personally, I think they got off light and they should be thankful…there is NO excuse for special ops killing each other there are enough “bad guys” to do it for them.

Think about this…if I get drunk and drive and kill someone I am guilty of vehicular homicide …….and yet these people are not guilty of any thing other than a wrist slapping offense.

The Pentagon is anxious to close this chapter and move on…..but should it?

The Pentagon needs to get a handle on the discipline problem within the Special Ops…..I thought the Special Ops troops were the best of the best…..yet they act no better than some sophomoric frat boys.

Feeding The Lord Of Chaos

For the last two years or so there has been an example of the Chaos theory…….you do not have to be a math geek to realize what is happening……

Chaos or Khaos is the primeval state of existence from which the first gods appeared. In other words, the dark void of space……in the case for this post replace  space with government.

First, just what is the Chaos Theory?

Chaos is the science of surprises, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable. It teaches us to expect the unexpected. While most traditional science deals with supposedly predictable phenomena like gravity, electricity, or chemical reactions, Chaos Theory deals with nonlinear things that are effectively impossible to predict or control, like turbulence, weather, the stock market, our brain states, and so on.

The Trump administration has NO form or reason…whether it is internationally or nationally….the policies are just thrown to the wind to see what plays well in Peoria.

Jeb Bush was the Cassandra of the 2016 presidential race. She was the figure in Greek mythology whose gift was being able to foresee the future — and whose curse was that she would not be believed.

Bush had the most accurate prediction of the campaign, if not of the 21st century. “He’s a chaos candidate,” he said of Donald Trump in a 2015 debate. “And he’d be a chaos president.”

https://www.nationalmemo.com/under-trump-the-chaos-never-ends/

Jeb was very prophetic……since January 2017 chaos has run the White House and the country.

Trump throws the shiny little objects of chaos up into the ir and his supporters flock to the destruction it will bring.

Plus he is proud that he sows chaos with NO actual answers or solutions….

Foreign policy under President Trump can often be wildly unpredictable, with optimistic offers of diplomacy and wild ravings about the “great suffering” he’s going to inflict militarily interspersed, and seemingly nobody in the administration on the same page.

So as the US threats against Iran spiral out of control, many saw it as business as usual, with Trump objecting to any report that there is disagreement within the administration. In comments Friday, President Trump indicated that his dangerously inscrutable foreign policy is by design.

Trump bragged on Twitter that “Iran can have no idea what is actually going on.” Later in the day, he was talking to real estate agents and said it was “probably a good thing” that Iran has no understanding of his policy toward them.

This all seems to verify Iran’s official position that the US is not approaching them in an honest manner. Administration offers of talks and threats of war are all built around a deliberate policy of making sure Iran, and for that matter the American public, have no idea what the president’s real intentions are.

(antiwar.com)

The Chaos that Trump is creating is making problems that will take a generation to repair….if ever……

The consolidation of Republican power in Washington was supposed to create huge dividends for every kind of interest group by eliminating legislative gridlock and brinkmanship and giving a single party power to set policy. By the same telling, this was supposed to be a particular boon for business owners (and, downstream, for workers), who would welcome a climate of lower taxes, laxer regulation, and greater certainty with new investment, and thus more jobs.

The concept of “certainty” was one Republicans in Congress wielded as a brickbat against President Obama for eight years only to abandon it when President Donald Trump, through a mix of incompetence and malevolence, turned uncertainty into a weapon.

In the realms of health, immigration, and foreign policy, Trump has managed to leave stakeholders on all sides of issues—consumers, providers, civilians, enforcers, diplomats, and entire countries—completely befuddled in ways that threaten to cause great harm. The question is whether people around Trump can convince him that the policy environment he has created needs to change, or, more ominously, whether he has convinced himself that chaos gives him the upper hand.

https://newrepublic.com/article/142065/trumps-chaos-causing-lasting-damage

The Chaos can be repaired but if it has 8 years to fester then the damage will be more permanent.

I do not see Trump being asked to teach a course on International Relations anytime soon…..maybe with a resurrected Trump University (God forbid)…..

A couple of closing thoughts…….

I laugh at people who tell me how smart they are……..and I do  not trust a baboon that sits with arms folded in front of his body as he answers questions….a sure fire way to spot a goddamn liar.

Learn Stuff!

VOTE!

Neocons Chest Thumping

The news these days is how close the US is coming to a shooting war with Iran…..but it is not the first time in recent history……

https://lobotero.com/2006/12/27/how-will-an-iranian-war-begin/

https://lobotero.com/2015/04/16/a-really-bad-idea-a-limited-war-with-iran-the-national-interest/

Keep in mind that the architect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq on false information was John Bolton, among others…..and now he is in a position that gives him more influence than in 2003……

All I can say is…here we go again!

An Iraq-War redux is now in full play, with leading roles played by some of the same protagonists – President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, for example, who says he still thinks attacking Iraq was a good idea. Co-starring is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The New York Times on Tuesday played its accustomed role in stoking the fires, front-paging a report that, at Bolton’s request, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has come up with an updated plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East, should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons. The Times headline writer, at least, thought it appropriate to point to echoes from the past: “White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War.”

Pretexts for an Attack on Iran

John Bolton is in “Wonderland” at this time……

John Bolton has a Haig-sized ego. (one must be an old fart to appreciate the Haig reference) He aspires to control the ebb and flow of foreign policy in the Trump administration. He is often at odds with his colleagues from the State Department and Pentagon. And he is dealing with a president who, if not asleep much of the time, is only intermittently focused on national security issues.

Recently, Bolton too seemed to have his “I’m in control here” moment. With the conflict intensifying in Venezuela, the national security advisor leaked the opposition plan for the army to defect en masse from the Maduro government in favor of challenger Juan Guiado. Bolton’s tweets reportedly angered President Trump, who felt “boxed into a corner,” particularly after the defections didn’t materialize and Nicolas Maduro did not flee the country.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/05/16/bolton-in-wonderland/

Time for all parties to step back and think what they are doing. Once the “brink” has been breached then coming back becomes much more difficult.

Perhaps these actions are a prelude to negotiations: the U.S. is exerting “maximum pressure”, it says, to bring a more compliant Iran back to the table; in like manner, should Tehran conclude that it has no choice but to reach a new deal with Washington in order to relieve unsustainable economic strain, it will want to enter such talks with a stronger hand. Resuming its nuclear activities, making its presence felt in the region, and disrupting Saudi or Emirati oil exports could all be ways of enhancing its bargaining power. But if these manoeuvres are a diplomatic game, it is a dangerous one: either side could misinterpret the other’s intentions. Any Iranian move could easily lead to U.S. and/or Israeli strikes which, in turn, could lead to an Iranian counter-response. Or vice versa. Escalation comes easily; de-escalation is a much taller order, especially in the absence of direct channels of communication that can pre-empt misunderstandings or miscalculations.

 
This could become a major war since we have a president that sows chaos in his wake….this needs a steady hand and commonsense to prevent this from exploding.
 
But until then….the Neocons in Trumpland are trying to sell this as a “Just War”…….a Just War?
 
Just war theory deals with the justification of how and why wars are fought. The justification can be either theoretical or historical. The theoretical aspect is concerned with ethically justifying war and the forms that warfare may or may not take. The historical aspect, or the “just war tradition,” deals with the historical body of rules or agreements that have applied in various wars across the ages. For instance, international agreements such as the Geneva and Hague conventions are historical rules aimed at limiting certain kinds of warfare which lawyers may refer to in prosecuting transgressors, but it is the role of ethics to examine these institutional agreements for their philosophical coherence as well as to inquire into whether aspects of the conventions ought to be changed.
 
To me a Just War is a silly notion that only applies in a very limited reasons…..
 
And then we have those that a “Preventive War” is the only answer…..to that I say Bullshit!
 
The Neocons are working overtime to find a justification for a war……most are based on LIES and propaganda……PERIOD!