Closing Thought–29Jun17

Protect my ‘Net!

For a couple of years now there has been a debate about net neutrality and why it is important.

We also have had those that say who cares.

We all should care about our internet access……and here is why….

Next month, Amazon, Netflix, and dozens of other companies and organizations will host a “day of action” aimed at saving net neutrality as we know it. The Federal Communications Commission, meanwhile, is on the verge of revoking its own authority to enforce net neutrality rules, and the country’s biggest telecommunications companies are cheering along. The future of the internet is on the line here, but it’s easy to be cynical about the conflict: What does it matter which set of giant corporations controls the internet?

Under the current net neutrality rules, broadband providers like Comcast and Charter, and wireless providers like AT&T and Verizon, can’t block or slow down your access to lawful content, nor can they create so-called “fast lanes” for content providers who are willing to pay extra. In other words, your internet provider can’t slow your Amazon Prime Video stream to a crawl so you’ll keep your Comcast cable plan, and your mobile carrier can’t stop you from using Microsoft’s Skype instead of your own Verizon cell phone minutes.

Source: Why Net Neutrality Matters | WIRED

Me?  I am old and probably does not matter much…but my granddaughter will be effected if these toads have their way.

TTFN–time for me to have a nap after all I’m old and we need our rest, right?

See ya tomorrow…chuq

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What About Military Blunders?

I recently wrote a post about Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, and since that wound up being a total disaster I started thinking about other military blunders….disasters that accomplished little and cost the lives of many.

Let’s look at the last 100 years or so…….

The first one that I thought about was a battle in World War One…..Gallipoli.  An operation attempted by the allies to take on the Ottoman Empire….it was a total bust….

British General Sir Ian Hamilton might not have been a full-fledged ass, but he was certainly a bumbling Ferdinand the bull—shy, courteous and overly accommodating. Unfortunately, Lord Kitchener, Britain’s Secretary of State for War, gave him command of the 1915 invasion of Gallipoli—the amphibious landings by British, French and ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) troops intended to take Turkey, a German ally, out of the war. The campaign demanded an assertive, tactically brilliant, take-charge commander. Instead, the Allies got a kindly uncle who really didn’t want to interfere with his brigadier nephews.

There were others……

Source: The Worst Battlefield Blunders: Five Battles That Ended Badly | HistoryNet

These battles are seldom brought when the study of war is taught….basically because they were failures and few want to know about the military’s failures.

Your history lesson is complete……more to come (insert heavy sighs)…

Class dismissed.

Are Tribes The Answer?

Back in the Dark Ages of the Iraq War, 2007, the president decided that he would send more troops into Iraq to help with security for Baghdad and Anbar province……the general at the time, Patreues, also conned the tribes of Anbar into working with the US and to stop the advance of the AQ backed insurgency.

Using the tribes was a novel idea….of course they were promised things like protection, weapons and most important money for their help with the problem.

I relive this part of the war history because it was a stroke of genius and that I do not understand why the technique has been abandoned.

We, the US, could be using tribes in several conflicts to do some of the lifting…..across the Middle East tribes are the central aspect of life…..so why not try to duplicate the small successes we have had in the past……

For instance in Yemen…where the US has had an on-going battle with AQAP…why not turn to the tribes that do not like AQ……some thoughts on the subject….

Source: The US is failing to exploit tribal anti-AQAP sentiments in Yemen – Middle East Monitor

Then there is Syria and its array of tribal connections…can the tribes work on the aftermath?

Some say no……

Source: After Raqqa: The Challenges Posed by Syria’s Tribal Networks – Jamestown

I keep harping on trying to find a new plan….I would say this idea would be considered a new plan….well at this time anyway….it had been a success…It could be again.

What we got to lose?

As ISIS Shrinks

By all accounts the barbaric bunch that goes by the name of ISIS is losing ground almost daily….does this mean victory is on sight?

Not really……

Manchester. Nigeria. Baghdad. Kabul. London Bridge. Tehran. And Marawi, in the Philippines, among many other targets…

The news headlines about recent bloody attacks conducted by the so-called Islamic State, or inspired by it, give the impression that the ISIS brand of global jihad is ever-expanding and still dynamic.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when ISIS traditionally ramps up such high-profile attacks, is a little more than half over, and has demonstrated the jihadists’ continued global reach.

Source: The state of ISIS: shrinking territory, expanding reach – CSMonitor.com

It is reaching well beyond the Middle East…..with that can victory over the group be declared?

Their global program keeps expanding….

ISIS’s first attack in Iran punctuated two stark realities: the group’s annual Ramadan campaign is alive while the US-led anti-ISIS campaign is on a path to failure. ISIS surges attacks every year during Ramadan in order to gain or increase momentum in its global campaign to maintain its declared caliphate, expand across the Muslim world, and win an apocalyptic war with the West. ISIS has conducted successful attacks in three new countries this year – the United Kingdom, the Philippines, and Iran – and will likely pull off more before the Muslim holy month is over. The jihadist group has sustained a global insurgency despite the considerable military pressure it faces in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS has been waging its global campaign in four separate “rings” since 2014. First, ISIS is defending and attempting to remain in and expand its territorial control in its “core terrain” in Syria and Iraq. Second, ISIS seeks to weaken the Middle East’s power centers of Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Third, ISIS is expanding in other Muslim majority countries through attack networks and, when possible, ground operations. Fourth, ISIS is conducting spectacular attacks in the non-Muslim majority world, or the “far abroad,” in order to polarize those communities and radicalize their minority Muslim populations. ISIS’s Ramadan surges set conditions in these rings, varying its main effort based on its circumstances and the capabilities in Iraq and Syria and of its networks abroad.

Source: ISW Blog: ISIS’s Global Campaign Remains Intact

No, the way this thing is being fought does not lead to victory……

This is an article from a source that is not that complimentary toward the US….however they make some good points in the piece.

Since 2001, when then US President George Bush announced his “War on Terror,” presidents and politicians both in the United States and among America’s allies, have repeated this phrase and have done their utmost to convince the public that indeed, the West was fighting a “War on Terror.”

Yet there is something disturbingly ambiguous about what exactly the “War on Terror” consists of, who it’s being waged against and how it could ever possibly be brought to a successful conclusion.

It is also often referred to as the “Long War,” and for good reason. America’s ongoing occupation of Afghanistan is the longest armed conflict in US history. Additionally, US troops still find themselves in Iraq, some 14 years after the initial invasion and occupation of the state in 2003.
http://journal-neo.org/2017/02/18/how-a-real-war-on-terrorism-would-look-and-why-the-us-isnt-fighting-one/

The US has been using the same tactics for 16+ years and still the terrorism is rampant….maybe now would be a good time to re-think the tactics and conceive a new workable plan.

Just a passing thought.

Ethics? We Don’t Need No Stinking Ethics!

Ethics?  Now there is a shot from the past……this country use to be proud of its ethics and its moral compass….but those days are long gone….yes this country use to have a moral compass….granted sat times it was a misplaced compass….but we tried to do what was right and honorable.

The term is derived from the Greek word ethos which can mean custom, habit, character or disposition.

Ethics covers the following dilemmas:

  • how to live a good life
  • our rights and responsibilities
  • the language of right and wrong
  • moral decisions – what is good and bad?

Our concepts of ethics have been derived from religions, philosophies and cultures. They infuse debates on topics like abortion, human rights and professional conduct.

Now that there is at least a modicum of understanding on the subject of ethics…..I shall move on…..

It is time to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C.,” Donald Trump said last October, before presenting his “five-point plan” for improving ethical standards in government. “This is why I’m proposing a package of ethics reforms to make our government honest once again.” On January 28th, shortly after his Inauguration, Trump signed an executive order intended to show just how serious he was about ending the cozy Washington dealings of lobbyists and government officials. Among other things, the order imposed limitations on Administration officials, preventing them from working, for two years, on issues in government that they had previously advocated for as lobbyists, and mandating a five-year hiatus from lobbying after leaving government.

Trump said that his ethics rules were even more stringent than President Obama’s. Whether or not they actually are (and that’s debatable), members of the Trump Administration seem more than willing to disregard the ethics rules that they themselves created—and their behavior around the issue seems to suggest an alarmingly casual commitment to the rule of law.

Source: What Do White House Ethics Rules Mean If They Can Be Circumvented? – The New Yorker

The previous rule was that lobbyists couldn’t be made part of agencies that they had previously made cash money lobbying at. The new Trump rule is that lobbyists can now do exactly that, they just have to recuse themselves from any specific issue they had previously been paid to advocate for.

Except that at least ten of those lobbyists have already gotten waivers from even that requirement. Oh, and it appears that if members of the administration break the ethics rules Trump will simply give them a retroactive waiver afterward.

To some ethics means NOTHING and most of those are now sitting in the presidential circle.

Personally, I have NEVER thought the people in our government are particularly ethical….but at least they tried to be as though they did….now even that pretense is gone.

Why The Right Hates American History

I have noticed that when I visit some on my more Right wing blogs that they have different interpretation to some aspect of American history than I had been taught….I have often wonder what’s up with that?

Thomas Jefferson knew that education is vital to a functioning Democratic Republic. Conservatives have other ideas.

Sure, the war on education helps Republican lawmakers destroy unions and slash government spending, but it’s our history of progressive change that makes Conservatives hate accurate depictions of our past.

Just think about Social Security, The New Deal, freeing the slaves, or child labor laws… all represent great turning points in our nation that progressives made possible. The fact is, our entire history – from our revolution to healthcare reform – is filled with progressive accomplishments, and it’s hard to sell the Conservative brand to people who know that history.

Source: Why the right hates American history – Salon.com