More Battlefront News

Since the election is all consuming for the media I have taken it upon myself to keep my readers abreast of what is happening in our many wars….since few others seem to care…….

First, our attempt to train “moderate” rebels in Syria was a dismal failure…the Pentagon has decided in their infinite wisdom to double down….

You know the old saying: if at first you don’t succeed, keep trying the same dumb thing over and over and wonder why you are still not succeeding. Well, at least that’s the Beltway version of that old saying.

We know what happened last time the Pentagon launched a program to train rebels to fight ISIS (and overthrow Assad) in Syria: they spent half a billion dollars and ended up with five fighters.

Source: They’re at it Again: Pentagon Training New Syrian Rebels « Antiwar.com Blog

Second, things are going so well with the Iraqi military that the US is proposing opening more bases and sending more troops into Iraq…..

Rear Admiral Andrew Lewis talked up a single significant new base, to be operated similarly to the existing Firebase Bell, near Mosul, and also would consider other, smaller outposts to provide more artillery support in the fighting around Mosul.

Lewis downplayed the move to ground troops in Iraq, a war in which President Obama repeatedly ruled out the introduction of “boots on the ground,” insisting that the ground troops are no different than war planes conceptually, and that they’re just conducting surface-to-surface strikes instead of air-to-surface strikes.

It’s hard to tell, indeed, if such bases aren’t already happening, as Firebase Bell was operating for quite some time before the Pentagon was forced to admit to its existence when ISIS attacked the site and killed a Marine. They insisted they were planning an official announcement later that week.

The US has a treaty with Iraq capping the number of ground troops in the country at 3,870, though the Pentagon has conceded that they usually have in excess of 5,000 troops in Iraq at any given time.

Back about a year or so ago the US deployed some Marines to Iraq in the days when the Iraqi military was not up to speed (as if they are today)……their deployment was a temporary one……but then……

Under a negotiated deal with Iraq, the US is allowed to deploy a maximum of 3,870 ground troops in the nation at any given time. In spite of this, the Pentagon has conceded that they have closer to 5,000 troops inside Iraq. They insist this isn’t technically a violation, because those extra troops are just “temporary.”

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren today conceded that the 200 US Marines at Firebase Bell are all “temporary,” but that there is no scheduled end date for their operation, saying they are just going to stay until there is an “enduring solution.”

That potentially means a deployment lasting years on end, of course, and means that the “temporary” troops are no more temporary than any other US troops deployed anywhere else, staying as long as the Pentagon figures they need to.

Not so temporary?  Go figure.

Now you know what the media does not want you to know….

VA bosses in 7 states falsified vets’ wait times for care

My regulars know that I will post on veterans issues whenever I see something that is not kosh….

The big story for the last decade or so is how bad our veterans care has become….of course and predictable the bureaucrats will say that they are looking into the problems and that solutions will be forthcoming…..and almost every year there is a new problem that needs a solution…..

In the past the biggest problem has been the waiting times the vets must endure to get the care they need…..and it is still a problem in search of a solution…..

Supervisors instructed schedulers to falsify patient wait times at Veterans Affairs’ medical facilities in at least seven states, according to newly released investigation reports from the department’s inspector general.

Source: VA bosses in 7 states falsified vets’ wait times for care

Does anyone else find this a bit pathetic?  As I have said many times before……our veterans deserve better than their present day treatment.

Tax Cuts For All!

How many times have you heard that promise?  My guess is just about every damn election.

Let’s do a wee bit of economics…..(I can hear those heavy sighs and the eyes glazing over)…….

But let’s look at that promise realistically……if tax cuts go through then that will mean less revenue for the state/city and that will mean cuts will have to be made to fill the gap of the lost revenues……and that means that the cuts will come from the services that is for the population while all the programs for business remain in place.

To me it sounds like a master plan to kill ALL social programs….especially from a GOP controlled entity whether city or state…..

But do not take my word for it…..read this piece about the state of Kansas and its great programs of tax cuts……

The state of Kansas, where Gov. Sam Brownback’s right-wing economic program and handling of the state finances have reached comedic levels of absurdity, is now also failing at a key economic test: Keeping up with the neighboring state.

In his latest column, Kansas City Star opinion writer Yael Abouhalkah, a strong critic of Brownback’s who has made a regular beat of busting the governor and his advocates, highlights the newest data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, which show the disparity in j

Source: New data from Sam Brownback’s Kansas destroys the GOP myth that tax cuts create jobs

Keep these types of problems in mind before you vote for some “promised” benefits from massive tax cuts……tax cuts screw everyone but those in the circles of power…..your benefits are at jeopardy and you want to give them the keys to the family car….tsk….tsk…..tsk!

But what should I expect from a culture that thinks Reality TV is good and informative TV?

The End of the American Empire

There are some that claim the US is an imperial-esque power….and of course there will oppose such accusations…..but let’s look….first at the British Empire in 19th century…..

 

Now let’s take a look at where the US has troops deployed in that same globe…..

Now I realize that a case can be made that this is all about national security….but the Brits had troops stationed in their sphere of control back 100 years or so….and that was billed as national security.

At what point does this look like control more than national security?

Smells like empire to me.

But if you would like more on this situation then please read LobeLog below……and then answer the question.

I’m here to talk about the end of the American empire. But before I do I want to note that one of our most charming characteristics as Americans is our amnesia. I mean, we a…

Source: The End of the American Empire « LobeLog

Is we is or is we ain’t?

Panama Papers……Will We Ever Know It All?

The big story this week has been the release of the so-called Panama Papers……a group of documents that spell out all thew people, rich people, that are avoiding taxes and such through an offshore corporation.

One of my readers asked me in my first post on this why there were not any Americans on the list……I told him that I did not know and that was a promise of much more to come….(you can read it here)……

Source: Panama Papers – In Saner Thought

But it got me to thinking…..how wealthy would someone have to be to pay to keep the info secret?  Then I read this piece……

The newspaper that first received the Panama Papers says it isn’t going to release all 11.5 million files it received from a whistleblower to the public or to law enforcement—because it “isn’t the extended arm of prosecutors or the tax investigators.” Sueddeutsche Zeitung has shared files relating to celebrities and politicians, but the German paper doesn’t believe there’s public interest in exposing all of the individuals and companies involved, the AP reports. The paper says it was contacted by a source at Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca who felt a “very strong moral impulse” to expose the tax evasion and money laundering the firm facilitated with its creation of thousands of offshore shell companies. In other coverage:

  • Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela, apparently unhappy with his country’s name appearing in headlines about financial crimes all over the world, has promised to boost transparency and clean up the industry, the BBC reports. He says the country will bring in international experts to recommend changes.
  • The Guardian looks at how the scandal has exposed China’s “red nobility”—wealthy families connected to the Communist Party. Prominent figures named in the papers include the brother-in-law of President Xi Jinping. Unsurprisingly, the scandal is not being reported in China, and censors have been trying to scrub every mention of it from social media.
  • The CBC looks at how the wealth revealed in the leak is just a fraction of what an analyst calls “absolutely astonishing, mind-boggling amounts of money” tied up in offshore funds. Estimates run as high as $31 trillion, or 13% of global wealth, much of which is being kept in offshore funds to cheat governments out of tax revenue—or to hide the plunder of national resources.
  • The New York Times looks at the history of the Mossack Fonseca firm and its role in Panama’s economy. Co-founder Ramon Fonseca had been trying to expand his role in the country’s government, claiming he wanted to improve the nation’s human rights record.
  • At the Atlantic, Brooke Harrington examines the legal issues involved and concludes that the real scandal isn’t the law-breaking—it’s that so much of what Mossack Fonseca did was perfectly legal.

So my guess is that we may NEVER know all the bad players in this saga.

But I noticed that the media is not a good faith player either…..they basically focused on a Putin ally and overlooked the US allies that were on the original list…..so it looks like they will be protecting those that pay for the privilege.

Whoever leaked the Mossack Fonseca papers appears motivated by a genuine desire to expose the system that enables the ultra wealthy to hide their massive stashes, often corruptly obtained ………

Source: Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak – Craig Murray

Do you think we will ever know thew whole story of the extent of this outrage?

Non-Violent BDS Should Be Welcomed, Not Condemned

I have been a supporter of the Palestinian people and their struggle for more than 30 years……I am old and cannot do the same things I did in my youth to protest what I saw as injustice……the only thing I can do these days is join the BDS Movement and boycott all items from Israel.

I realize it is not much but like they say a movement begins when one person stands up to oppression…..many have joined with me in this endeavor (thanx one and all)……

But there are those in the US that are trying to kill this movement….some states are trying to make it illegal to boycott Israel or to do anything to make them act like a responsible player on the world stage.  New York was the first to make it a crime to boycott Israel……even some countries are trying to make it illegal……

Sorry, but I will NOT let someone, even a state, dictate to me what I can do or not do with my time and/or money…..illegal or not…they can kiss my ass!

There are many who are joining together to fight the BDS Movement……

A thousand Israelis and their supporters gathered in Jerusalem’s International Convention Center on March 28 at a conference aimed at combating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). The conference was a display of “fear, paranoia, anger and determination,” as described by Antony Loewenstein, and featured top government officials, members of the oppositions and a […]

Source: Non-Violent BDS Should Be Welcomed, Not Condemned – Antiwar.com Original by — Antiwar.com

Finally, this is non-violence at its best……hurt them in their pocket books and not in the head……