Closing Thought–07Nov17

She Thinks He Is Number One!

It seems that a young lady was out for a bike ride and as an entourage went past she threw up her middle finger in a gesture of love…..snap!  Some caught it on film and the rest is history…..

Last week, an image revolving around President Trump went viral, though the White House surely wasn’t happy about it. In the photo—you can see it here—a female bicyclist is seen flipping the middle finger to the Trump motorcade as it passes her in Sterling, Va. The anonymous bicyclist became an internet hero in anti-Trump circles, but those 15 minutes of fame have now cost the woman her job. Juli Briskman, 50, tells HuffPost that government contractor Akima cut her loose from the marketing and communications post she’d held for the last six months because of the image. “They said, ‘We’re separating from you,'” says Briskman. “Basically, you cannot have ‘lewd’ or ‘obscene’ things in your social media. So they were calling flipping him off ‘obscene.'”

Briskman says she had no idea a White House pool photographer snapped the image of her until it began circulating on social media. She then used the photo on her own social media pages, which don’t mention her affiliation with Akima. Briskman accuses the company of uneven treatment because a male employee was able to keep his job after calling out someone as a “f—— Libtard a——” on Facebook, where his link to Akima was obvious. Akima hasn’t commented about its decision publicly. Briskman also talks to the Washington Post, explaining that she is indeed a critic of Trump’s political policies and behavior as president. But something further than that touched off the now-famous salute: “Here’s what was going through my head that day: ‘Really? You’re golfing again?'”

Okay…I admit it….I she is my new hero….

Briskman said she had no regrets about the attention her public show of displeasure received.
Juli Briskman said she had no regrets about the attention her public show of displeasure received. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

On that note I bow out for the day…TTFN…..more stuff coming…..chuq

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Is It Money Well Spent?

WE have been fighting this War on Terror for 16+ years and in all that time the money spent has accomplished little successes just more fighting, more deaths, more injuries……is that money well spent on this endeavor?

But in case you are not aware of just how much of the taxpayers dollars go to fighting these endless wars then maybe this will help you understand the cost………

American taxpayers have spent $1.46 trillion on wars abroad since September 11, 2001.

The Department of Defense periodically releases a “cost of war” report. The newly released version, obtained by the Federation of American Scientists Secrecy News blog, covers the time from the September 11th terrorist attacks through mid-2017.

The Afghanistan War from 2001 to 2014 and Iraq War from 2003 to 2011 account for the bulk of expenses: more than $1.3 trillion. The continuing presence in Afghanistan and aerial anti-ISIS operations in Iraq and Syria since 2014 have cost a combined $120 billion.

The report’s costs include only direct war-related expenses such as operating and maintaining bases, procuring equipment, and paying for and feeding troops. It most notably does not include the expense of veteran’s benefits for troops who serve in these wars or the intelligence community’s expenses related to Global War on Terror.

A 2011 paper from Harvard Kennedy School professor Linda Bilmes estimated the cost of veterans’ benefits as $600 billion to $1 trillion over the next 40 years. That number was based on 482,364 veterans who were receiving compensation for disability connected to service as of February 2011. Since then, the number of veterans receiving compensation for service-related disability has increased drastically.

According to the Veterans’ Benefits Administration’s 2016 annual benefits report , 1,060,408 veterans are receiving service-related benefits, averaging $15,907 a year. The total annual benefits for Global War on Terror veterans’ benefits are currently $16.8 billion per year, which over the next 40 years would total $674 billion, placing it firmly within Bilmes’ original 2011 estimate.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the only war in U.S. history to cost more than the Global War on Terror is World War II, at more than $4.1 trillion in present dollars. Direct war-related expenses from the Vietnam War cost $738 billion in today’s dollars.

(International Business Times)

Think about the cost of a minute……how much health care could that provide?  How much public education could that money fund?

That cash should be used in this country to provide for a better life for all the citizens and not thrown away on endless war.

And yet most Americans turn a deaf ear and could care less where this money is spent……and that is the sad part of this saga.  Makes me ashamed.

Does anyone care how much cash is being thrown away on worthless unwinnable wars?

Our Man In Japan

Our Fearless leader has made it Japan and he and PM Abe went to a Koi pond to do some honors to the fish….but a faux pas ensued….

It’s probably one of the most-repeated phrases when teaching kids about how to feed fish: just a pinch. It’s a directive President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe most definitely did not follow while the two visited the Akasaka palace’s koi carp pond Monday. The Guardian reports that the men began by spooning a bit of food in before “appearing to lose patience” and essentially dumping the contents of the boxes they held into the pond. While some in the media were quick to pounce on Trump for the apparent gaffe, the Guardian notes that video footage shows he was simply imitating Abe’s approach.

After a traditional state dinner in Japan our bubba had to sit on the floor to eat (bet that chapped his ass) and he made a speech about the subject of the day….North Korea…..

President Trump ratcheted up the pressure on North Korea on Monday, refusing to rule out eventual military action and declaring that the US “will not stand” for Pyongyang menacing America or its Asian allies. Trump, in Tokyo on the first stop of his lengthy Asia trip, denounced North Korea as “a threat to the civilized world” and exhorted dictator Kim Jong Un to cease weapons testing like the missiles he has fired over Japanese territory in recent weeks, the AP reports. Though he stood in one of the Asian capitals in range of North Korea’s missiles, Trump didn’t modulate his fiery language, declaring that Pyongyang imperiled “international peace and stability.” “Some people say my rhetoric is very strong, but look what has happened with very weak rhetoric in the last 25 years,” said Trump, who stood with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a Monday news conference.

Abe agreed with Trump’s assessment that “all options are on the table” when dealing with the North and announced new sanctions against several dozen individuals. Though Trump and Abe repeatedly touted their friendship, Trump did complain Japan had been “winning” for decades on the trade front and rebuked the current status, saying trade deals were “not fair and not open.” Trump also pushed Japan to buy more US military equipment after Abe was asked about a report that Trump was disappointed Japan hadn’t shot North Korean missiles out of the sky. “He will shoot ’em out of the sky when he completes the purchase of lots of additional military equipment from the [US],” Trump said. Japan’s constitution was revised after World War II to include a clause renouncing war, and the country only spends about 1% of its GDP on defense; Abe has slowly tried to remove some of its constraints.

Abe as echoed some of the military minds in the US by saying when it comes to North Korea all options are on the table…..Trump has made many off-handed remarks about the possibilities of the US destroying North Korea if it does not play ball….

So my question is….is this trip setting up the scenario where the US will eventually attack NK?

The aircraft carriers USS Nimitz, USS Theodore Roosevelt, and USS Ronald Reagan—three of the most powerful warships in the world—have now converged on the western Pacific in a mighty show of force on the eve of President Trump’s 10-day trip to Asia. The three carriers, along with their accompanying cruisers, destroyers, and submarines—all armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles or other advanced munitions—are capable of raining immense destructive force on any nation targeted by the commander in chief. Not since 2007 has there been such a concentration of US firepower in the Asia-Pacific region. There can be only two plausible explanations for this extraordinary naval buildup: to provide Trump with the sort of military extravaganza he seems to enjoy; and/or to prepare for a pre-emptive military strike on North Korea.

https://www.thenation.com/article/is-the-united-states-planning-to-attack-north-korea/

Point number one……air power will not do the trick…..sorry to say but ground forces will have to be used if they want to end this thing once and for all……..

While US officials have repeatedly make clear that their goal with respect to North Korea is denuclearization, Pentagon officials are increasingly willing to admit that they view the “only way” to accomplish that as not just a war, but a full-scale US ground invasion of North Korea.

Officials are a lot less willing to make public what the implications of such a protracted ground war would be, saying an accurate assessment of the losses in such a war would be difficult. It’s not a big secret, however.

At the very least, millions of people would die in this sort of war. The toll could be broad across the entire region, with millions presumed to die in South Korea alone, with Japan and Guam also likely to be targeted, and a “catastrophic” loss of US troops participating in the war.

A number of opponents on the war in Congress are pushing for more public assessments of the consequ4ences of the conflict, saying they believe the American public should know what’s at stake going in. These lawmakers are also keen to make it clear that President Trump cannot unilaterally attack North Korea without Congressional authorization.

(antiwar.com)

Point number two……is the country willing to sacrifice more troops for yet another war?  Or do they just not care?

The American Conservative offers up some saner policies to handle NK…….

There are seven postulates that ought to inform U.S. policy regarding North Korea.

First, our objective. Nothing is more important than to be clear about what we are trying to accomplish. Our purpose should be to provide for our own security and that of our allies, especially South Korea and Japan, while avoiding war. Our purpose should not be regime change in Pyongyang or forcing Kim Jong-un to abandon his nuclear weapons program. Both of those may be desirable. Neither is worth a large-scale war.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/seven-steps-to-a-saner-u-s-policy-towards-north-korea/

After reading the 7 points I like them a whole lot better than the manure that Trump spreads……

Our man is in Japan and now would be a good time to re-think the bullshit he has said.

He has said he would talk with Kim……

President Trump vowed that he would not talk to Kim Jong-un, cooling off what has become his on-again, off-again cultivation of North Korea’s rogue dictator.

Really?  After all the insults leveled at Kim Jong Il on Twitter does he really think this little dictator will talk with him?  Is this dolt smoking crack?

This was the day in Japan from our Fearless Leader….only 4 more countries to go.

Now on to South Korea and more silly Tweets and slang…….and a screw up or two…….yeppiiee!

War Just Keeps Rolling On And On

Will this country ever step back from war?

After 16 continuous years of all out war you would think that the country would be become war weary…..nothing is further from the truth…..an actually NO ONE cares that we have been at war for damn near two decades.

I ask the question…will we ever find a way to step back from war?  That would be the job of the Congress and those cowards are too timid to even consider the prospect….but it needs attention….

Goddammit!  Enough is enough!  Time to step back and get a f*cking grip……

President Donald Trump has expanded every aspect of the war on terror he inherited from his two predecessors. In his first nine months Trump has ordered a renewed surge in Afghanistan, increased the tempo of drone strikes, and granted the military greater autonomy. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the Taliban now control or contest more districts than at any point since 2001. And last week four American soldiers died in Niger, an increasingly active front in the war on terror. Americans are now fighting — and dying — in at least eight different countries across the Middle East and Central Asia. The deaths of American forces are a particularly sobering reminder of the war’s high costs and should prompt people to ask whether the costs are worth it.

Unfortunately, the evidence of the past 16 years clearly indicates that the answer is no. Enough time has now passed since 9/11 to reach two important conclusions. First, the threat posed by Islamist-inspired terrorism does not justify such a mammoth effort. Second, the aggressive military strategy the United States has pursued since 2001 has not only failed to reduce the threat of terrorism; it has likely made things worse.

https://warontherocks.com/2017/10/time-to-step-back-from-the-war-on-terror/

There has got to be a way to end endless war!  Just got to be a way!

Maybe this will do the trick…..

WARS THAT the United States is waging around the world undermine our security by turning entire populations against us and diverting our attention and resources away from urgent needs at home. No, the opposite is true: the United States faces serious threats, and can only protect itself by confronting them wherever they emerge. This debate has divided Americans for more than a century. Congress may soon have a rare opportunity to take one side or the other.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/10/29/how-end-endless-war

Congress will be the answer?  (raucous laughter heard)

The American Conservative asks the same question…….

The U.S. military has been engaged in hostilities overseas continuously in at least one country for almost sixteen years and has been fighting in multiple countries for most of that time, but the last time Congress voted for an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) was in the fall of 2002 prior to the invasion of Iraq.

Since then, the U.S. has started or participated in new military campaigns in Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen without Congressional authorization or debate, and most of these campaigns that began under President Obama continue to this day. Earlier this year, President Trump also ordered a cruise missile attack on Syrian government forces without U.N. or Congressional authorization, and the administration has yet to provide any arguments that the attack on the Syrian government was legally justified.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/does-congress-have-the-guts-to-invoke-war-powers/

Those cowards have not got a cajone among all of them…if we depend on Congress for anything then all is LOST!

If anyone differs from my thoughts please tell me what you think…..all opinions are valid and should be discussed.

USAFRICOM: A Month Of Confusion

The USAFRICOM has a problem with transparency…..it does not report as it should…..

The October 4 ambush in Niger, which led to the deaths of four US special forces, has led to a flurry of inquiries, both on the specifics of the incident and reports of leaving behind troops, but also that the African Command appears not to have told anybody about the scope of US operations within Niger before that.

With a lot of questions still unanswered, the focus has grown increasingly on the shocking lack of transparency for US military operations in Africa. Yet Niger has also led to some interest in revisiting the details of another incident, the May 11 death of a US Navy SEAL in Somalia, the first such death in that country in decades.

In that case, the SEALs were skulking around on the outskirts of a remote Somali village, killing suspected al-Shabaab militants until one of them was spotted and killed. This resulted in several hours of fighting and ending in a hasty retreat by US forces, leaving behind a lot of evidence of the incident.

Indeed, AFRICOM wasn’t particularly forthcoming about what happened in Somalia, either, but villagers were able to retrace the steps of the US troops, using the footprints in the mud and rubbish left behind to offer the closest thing to a timeline for that incident that the public has ever, or likely will ever, see.

(antiwar.com)

There are serious problems within USAFRICOM….maybe the Commander-In-Chief could stay off Twitter awhile and get a grip on this situation.

After a month of conflicting stories there is still NO definitive answer as to what happened that caused the deaths of 4 special ops troopers.

The October 4 ambush along the Niger-Mali border left four US special forces killed, and revealed to the US public and Congress for the first time that some 1,000 US troops were on the ground in Niger. After a month has passed, what else have we learned?

Very little, as it turns out. Niger and the Pentagon continue to offer radically different versions of what happened on that day, as well as the circumstances in which the US troops were left behind in the evacuation, something US officials initially insisted couldn’t have happened.

Nigerien officials say this was an “operational mission,” but one in what was not considered enemy territory, intended to detain a suspected ISIS recruiter. Pentagon officials say none of that happened, and that there was absolutely no intention to kill or capture anybody.

What the Pentagon is saying happened continues to vary day to day, and sometimes hour to hour, but officials continue to insist that he “investigation” into the incident is ongoing, and that a final version will be released in a few weeks. Until then, anything the Pentagon says happened seems to be a wild guess, and subject to revision.

US officials are also saying the size of the deployment in Niger, which went from an unspecified number of US “trainers” to 1,000 combat troops without anyone being informed, is likely to grow further. Whether we’ll hear about that when it happens remains to be seen.

(antiwar.com)

Who’s fooling who?

AS an ex-combat vet I want to know what happened to these men….I get the feeling that there uis something not being told about their mission.  I realize that most of these missions are top secret but this one is done and they lost 4 good men…time for the truth to come out.

And now a new theory is being floated about eh death of Sgt. La David Johnson, remember him?   He is the one that Trump did all the childish Tweeting about.

The new theory he was kidnapped……

One of four American soldiers killed in Niger last month may have been kidnapped by ISIS-linked militants before he was executed, sources say. A village elder in northern Niger tells CBS that a battle raged for more than two hours after a group of Green Berets was ambushed by attackers on motorbikes. He says after the battle was over, he saw three American soldiers dead in a truck, stripped of their uniforms. The body of Sgt. La David Johnson, however, was not found for two days and military sources tell CBS that they believe he was taken prisoner by militant who later shot him and dumped the body around half a mile away from the battle site.

The military is investigating how the four soldiers became separated from their unit during the Oct.4 attack while seven other American troops were reportedly evacuated. Five Nigerien troops were also killed in the attack, though sources tell the Guardian that the Nigerian forces fled soon after the ambush, leaving the Americans to fight alone. The sources say the trapped American troops struggled to call in an attack from nearby French forces, who complained about bad weather and rough terrain.

The attack has been called a “massive intelligence failure.”

My thought is………YA THINK?

It appears that US troops have been fighting in Mali border region before the deadly attack in Niger….

The Pentagon’s attempt to settle on a narrative for what happened on the October 4 ambush in Niger, in which four US special forces troops were killed, is greatly complicated by the fact that Nigerien troops were present at the time, and their defense ministry is being more frank about what happened.

The Niger Defense Ministry reported over the weekend that the joint forces who were caught up in the ambush were actually engaged in tracking and fighting Islamist militants along the Mali border in the hours leading up to the attack.

This is dramatically different from every version of events offered by the Pentagon, which has insisted the US troops were on a purely non-combat mission, which is why they didn’t have armored vehicles or any plans to evacuate if trouble happened.

That doesn’t exactly make sense if the US forces were specifically out to attack Islamist fighters, and makes US claims they thought the operation was “low-risk” with little chance of enemy contact, if they specifically were out there looking for enemies to contact.

The Pentagon’s own version of events isn’t set in stone, which is a good thing since it’s seemingly full of untruths. Officials have downplayed the problems with their version by insisting that they’ll reconcile it when they finish their investigation into the incident

(antiwar.com)

The story about the attack changes almost daily….which leads me to believe that something is hinkey with the stories told.

Mission creep comes mind……especially in sub-Saharan Africa……Unz Reader , Libertarian lean journal takes a look at this occurrence….

The British Empire, which at the end of the 19th century ruled one quarter of the earth’s land surface, is long gone. But its robust successor and heir, the United States, has set about enlarging it.

As I sought to explain in my last book ‘American Raj – How the US Rules the Muslim World,’ the US imperium exerts its power by controlling tame, compliant regimes around the world and their economies. They are called ‘allies’ but, in fact, should be more accurately termed satrapies or vassal states. Many states are happy to be prosperous US vassals, others less so.

http://www.unz.com/emargolis/mission-creep-in-darkest-africa/

Mission creep is an understatement….there is a whole war being fought that we mere mortals know very little about……..

Six years ago, a deputy commanding general for U.S. Army Special Operations Command gave a conservative estimate of 116 missions being carried out at any one time by Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, and other special operations forces across the globe.

Today, according to U.S. military documents obtained by VICE News, special operators are carrying out nearly 100 missions at any given time — in Africa alone. It’s the latest sign of the military’s quiet but ever-expanding presence on the continent, one that represents the most dramatic growth in the deployment of America’s elite troops to any region of the globe.

https://news.vice.com/story/the-u-s-is-waging-a-massive-shadow-war-in-africa-exclusive-documents-reveal

I have said before and continue to believe it….there is something rotten within USAFRICOM…..

Thoughts?

The Afghanistan Illusion

16 years and counting (and few seem to care)…..the number of years we have been at war in Afghanistan…..my granddaughter does not know a time when we were not at war…she 14 and she asks me why?  What can I tell a 14 year old that will help her make sense of this bullsh*t?

Sixteen years. It has now been over 16 years since the United States began military operations in Afghanistan. At the beginning of those operations, as I watched friends deploy to the initial fighting, I would have found the idea that I would deploy there at the beginning of a massive buildup of American troops in 2009, or that we would still be there in 2017, inconceivable. But like Vizzini, the evil mastermind and kidnapper from Princess Bride, I had a lot to learn about the meaning of “inconceivable.”

If repeated deployments to Afghanistan were inconceivable to me, the idea was entirely preposterous to my civilian friends. In 2009, many thought we were already done with Afghanistan, and despite a spike in interest commensurate with the surge of 2010–2012, by 2015 most had forgotten the war altogether. Rarely mentioned during the presidential campaign of 2016, it seemed like an unwritten political rule to avoid discussing the war altogether.

Source: It Seems Inconceivable That We’re Still Fighting In Afghanistan…And Yet Here We Are

I believe that it is an illusion….the whole story we get from the fearless leaders….but yet is goes on and on….without end….fighting and dying and more fighting…..

Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. It’s time to change our approach to Afghanistan.

Source: The Afghanistan Illusion | The National Interest Blog

Each new plan for success in Afghanistan resembles the plan before it….in other words they, our leaders, have NO earthy idea how to end this thing.

President Donald Trump announced that he is allowing the military to decide how to proceed in Afghanistan, including setting troop levels. Though I am convinced the President is trying to do what is best for the country (who better than the military leadership to determine what they need to succeed?), military power is a tool, a means among many different tools of national power, not a strategy in and of itself. Elevating military objectives over the assessment of the politically acceptable magnitude of effort for a given strategic political goal can be a slippery slope. The literature about escalation is filled with examples of cognitive biases that encourage leaders to continue throwing good money after bad.

Source: The President’s Decision For Afghanistan Matters | RealClearDefense

Like the post stated…..it is an illusion…..an illusion there is a plan.

GOOD PLAN!

But wait!  How long have we been fighting and dying in Afghanistan?  16 years the answer.

You know how everything is Obama’s fault with Trump and his minions?  Well he is not blamed for the debacle in Afghanistan……nope….we have a new culprit…..RUSSIA!

As Bill Poggioobserved in the foundation’s Long War Journal,

“The Taliban displayed their military power in the contested district of Bakwa in a newly released video titled From the Fronts of Farah. The video which was released on the Taliban’s propaganda website, Voice of Jihad, ‘is dedicated to . . . showcasing the strength, control and advances of the Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate,’ according to an accompanying statement.”

Poggio concluded, more reasonably than I suggest in my opening sentence, that the trucks displayed in the Taliban video were “captured from Afghan Army and police units,” not ordered directly by the Afghan insurgents out of a Pentagon catalog.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/blaming-the-afghan-war-failure-on-russia/5616138

Russia did it!  Why not blame them for the US failure in Afghanistan….it is easier than admitting to the truth….that the US has NO idea how to end this war.