New Front For Gun Reform

Closing Thought–12Mar18

After the last mass killings at Parkland School in Florida the country is having that darn pesky conversation on gun reform….it is not the same as before……this time the students have taken the lead in the call for gun reform.  And as usual the NRA is pulling out all stops to squash the conversation but it is not working as before…..you see the NRA does not hold the students over a barrel like they do the cowards in ghe Congress and White House.

This time a new player has entered into the call for gun reform….for reasonable background checks….for reasonable mental health issues……for reasonable thoughts on assault weapons, extended magazines and those damn bump stocks…..in essence a little common sense…..the new players are our veterans!

Dave Baril has served in the US Marine Corps for over 18 years, deployed twice to Iraq, and is a gun owner.

But after a teenager killed 17 people in Florida last month — the deadliest school shooting to hit the country over five years — he took his personal AR-15 rifle to a local police station and turned it in for destruction.

Baril is one of a group of U.S. military veterans calling for tighter firearms regulations in an effort to reduce gun violence in America, bringing their knowledge of weapons and war — and accompanying credibility — to the contentious debate.

Shootings at a Las Vegas concert last year and at the Parkland, Florida high school “really woke me up the most,” he said.

https://www.military.com/off-duty/2018/03/08/us-veterans-join-forces-gun-reform.html

Veterans!  Maybe now we have another group that the NRA cannot buy.  Maybe now someone will pay attention…..and maybe now there can be a real conversation that is not controlled by the NRA.

Good to see the vets wading into this mess….a swamp created by the NRA.  If anyone can get in the face of the NRA it is the vets.

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Free Trade Or Fair Trade

Just the other day Pres. Trump signed his EO on tariffs on steel and aluminum imports  in doing so he has started a debate on free trade….many do not see his tariffs as good for the notion of free trade and still others think that free trade is a cornerstone of conservatism…..but is it, that cornerstone?

The American Conservative spotlights this in a recent article….

According to a recent analysis in the New York Times, President Trump’s “isolationist” trade policy is “at odds with longstanding conservative orthodoxy about the benefits of free and open markets.” The reader is further told that the president is under pressure from his working-class base, which is obstreperously demanding that protectionist taxes be placed on imported steel and aluminum.

I say not so fast.

The Times presents the GOP base’s supposed impatience with free trade as a departure from almost sacred Republican beliefs, and free trade itself as a permanent conservative characteristic. Their evidence is that large corporations favor free trade while labor unions have generally been more protectionist.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/free-trade-shouldnt-be-a-litmus-test-for-conservatism/

TAC also takes a look, a historic look, at tariffs…..

America’s first great protectionist political figure was Alexander Hamilton, George Washington’s treasury secretary. And compared to later mercantilist politicians in our history, Hamilton wasn’t even that much of a protectionist. His original U.S. tariff bill imposed an average taxation level of just 8.5 percent on imported goods. And Hamilton argued that any protection encompassed in those duties, as opposed to revenue requirements, should be discontinued as soon as protected industries established themselves in the American economy.

Hamilton’s opponents, the early American free traders, feared he had created a monster, while northeastern industrialists, particularly in Pennsylvania, predictably argued that protection should be substantial and permanent to ensure national prosperity.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/americas-tumultuous-history-with-tariffs/

It is too early to tell if the Trump tariffs will be good for the country or not…..steelworkers union seems to think it will be but many economists see it doing the opposite for the country.

Trump has already exempted some countries from his tariffs….that right there tells me that he is not serious.  If you are going to impose tariffs then it should be on all involved not a select few.

Time will tell whether good or bad.

When Is Meddling Not Meddling?

Election meddling is fascinating……plus the news loves it also……

Yes it is a given fact that Russia meddled into our election process…..I could write a post about that but no need there has been enough ink wasted on this subject.  I use “wasted” because there are still some, about 35%, of the population that still does not think that Russia’s  meddling is no big deal……these are the same “people” that called for the total destruction of the country 25 years ago……what changed?

I will instead write about the US meddling in other country’s elections…..

The US does not have clean hands when it suits them…..Guatemala, Iran, Chile…..just to mention a few…..

Always underpinning the US investigations into allegations of Russian election meddling was the unspoken reality that the US too has a history of meddling in foreign elections when it suits their interests.

James Woolsey, the CIA Director from 1993 to 1995, addressed questions on that point, admitting that the US has interfered in elections in the past, but “only for a very good cause,” and when they thought rigging the vote would benefit democracy.

“It was for the good of the system,” Woolsey insisted. Researchers suggest  the US interfered in elections at least 81 times since World War 2, far more often than Russia. Some analysts are arguing that the two are not equivalent, however, because the US meddling was “pro-democracy” in intent.

Yet a casual look at CIA involvement in regime changes shows myriad times when US interference involved ousting democratically elected governments, often by orchestrating coups, to prop up regimes seen more favorable to US interests. In the 1950s, this included regime change in Iran to support BP oil profits, and one in Guatemala for United Fruit Company.

(antiwar.com)

The only difference between US meddling in elections and that of Russia is our meddling cost people their lives…..Russia’s just gave MSM a news story that keeps on giving.

The Russians Are Coming!

I have been studying war for 40+ years and in doing so I read a lot of neocon sites….lots of war hawk studies and reports….

When one studies a countries capability to wage war one must look into their Order of Battle which gives one a look into the forces, tactics and weapons…..this report is of the Russian Order of Battle (it is a long report to read but if you are interesting in there capabilities then it is worth the time to read it)…..

U.S. leaders and their European allies are unprepared for the ways in which Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is poised to wage war in Ukraine and the Baltic. The Russian military is well positioned to launch a short-notice conventional war in Ukraine and a hybrid war in the Baltic States, the opposite of what Western leaders seem to expect in each theater. NATO leaders increasingly warn of the threat of a conventional invasion of the Baltic States (or even Western Europe). But Russian ground forces are not deployed or organized to initiate a short-notice conventional war in that region. They have, however, redeployed and reorganized since 2014 in a way that would support a rapid mechanized invasion of Ukraine from both north and east, while remaining well-prepared to conduct a hybrid warfare intervention in the Baltics similar to what they did in Ukraine after the Maidan Revolution. The United States and its partners should re-evaluate the most likely Russian courses of action and reconsider the mix of military and non-military tools required to defend NATO allies and Ukraine from potential Russian aggression.

Key takeaways from the ISW-CTP Order of Battle study include:

Russia is trying to build a military force optimized for large-scale combat as well as hybrid warfare. Russia is testing new asymmetric capabilities on the Ukrainian and Syrian battlefields and subsequently incorporating them into conventional force structures.

Russia’s ground forces are well positioned to conduct a very short-notice mechanized assault on Ukraine against which Kyiv’s military likely stands little chance, particularly if Russia combined the conventional invasion with an escalation in the hybrid war in Ukraine’s east, a distraction from the direction of Moldova, and Russian-fueled political unrest in Kyiv. Russia can try to leverage this threat to coerce the Ukrainian government.

The Russian ground forces’ disposition near the Baltics does not suggest an intent to conduct large-scale, short-notice conventional mechanized operations. Russia could concentrate significant conventional combat power against the Baltic states if it chose to, but its posture suggests it is prioritizing a hybrid approach. NATO has wisely deployed mechanized forces to the Baltics; it may need to deploy more and must remain constantly vigilant against the risk of a sudden Russian attack. Yet the U.S. and its allies must also be prepared for the kind of Russian aggression that mechanized forces alone cannot defend against.

The U.S. and its allies should not focus narrowly on any one form of possible future war with Russia. Putin and the Russian general staff are working hard to create options in all forms of warfare, while demonstrating a preference for low-cost approaches. Over-investing in conventional deterrence and defense can lead to ignoring hybrid threats that could achieve devastating effects. Ignoring the conventional threat, on the other hand, could leave U.S. allies and partners open to rapid decisive thrusts.

The United States should re-evaluate the most likely Russian courses of action and reconsider the mix of military and non-military tools required to defend NATO allies and Ukraine from further Russian aggression. America and its NATO allies must take a balanced approach to dealing with the multifarious threats posed by Moscow and avoid the oscillations between confidence and fear that have characterized the discussion of Russian military power.

I did the research into the Russian Order of Battle because of something I read of the war hawk site Defense One……

The Russian military may surpass U.S. military capability in Europe by 2025, Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, head of U.S. European Command, told lawmakers on Thursday. He emphasized that keeping up EUCOM’s modernization was key to keeping up and maintaining superiority.

“Given their modernization, the pace that it’s on … we have to maintain our modernization that we’ve set out so that we can remain dominant in the areas that we are dominant today,” said Scaparrotti. “If we were not to do that, I think that their pace would put us certainly challenged in a military domain in almost every perspective by, say, 2025.”

http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2018/03/russia-will-challenge-us-military-superiority-europe-2025-us-general/146523/

There is lots written about the Russians but most of it has something to do with election tampering….very little is reported on their desires for conquest…that has been overlooked for the most part since the collapse of the old USSR.

Regardless of the situation Russia is still our greatest opponent if another conflict breaks out on the European continent…..best to keep their capabilities in mind in case thde situation becomes more pronounced.