Closing Thoughts–27Sep18

I have been writing for years about the Draft or if you will conscription……..

As an antiwar person I would not support the draft….but on the other hand it would make the media focus on our numerous wars and American deaths….and in return help create a vibrant antiwar movement.

But recent news has it that the Army is not meeting their goaals in recruitment…..

For the first time since 2005, the US Army missed its recruiting goal this year, falling short by about 6,500 soldiers, despite pouring an extra $200 million into bonuses and approving some additional waivers for bad conduct or health issues, the AP reports. Army leaders said they signed up about 70,000 new active-duty recruits in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30—well short of the 76,500 they needed. The Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps all met their recruiting goals for 2018. The Army’s shortfall, says Maj. Gen. Joe Calloway, was fueled by the strong American economy and increased competition from private sector employers who can pay more. But the failure has triggered an overhaul in Army recruiting, including an increase in recruiters, expanded marketing, and a new effort to reach out to young, potential recruits through popular online gaming.

Calloway says there were several thousand permanent legal residents seeking to enlist, but they did not get through the screening process in time. The recruiting struggles come at the end of a tumultuous year for the Army, which faced questions from Congress over its expanded use of waivers for recruits with previous marijuana use, bad conduct, and some health problems. In addition to the Army competing with the private sector, there just aren’t that many potential recruits: Only about 30 percent of 17- to 24-year-olds meet the physical, mental and moral requirements for the military, and only one in eight are interested in serving.

Like I said I am starting to re-think my stand on conscription……

When I started working for War Resisters’ International in 2012, we were beginning to rethink our strategy as a group supporting conscientious objectors: a central concern since our foundation in 1921. According to international standards, the right to conscientious objection should be available not just to conscripts but also to professional soldiers who join up voluntarily. In reality however, most of WRI’s work up to that point had been in supporting conscripted soldiers – those who had to sign up without making an active choice to do so. But in the twenty years leading up to 2012, conscription had been suspended or abolished in at least twenty two states[1]. What did this mean for those supporting draft evaders, if there was not much of the draft left?

I have been an antiwar activist and protester since 1973 when I returned to civilian life after 2 and half years in Vietnam…..but the only way to keep from fighting endless wars (like we have now) is a strong antiwar movement and if conscription can deliver then I am going to support it.

Time To Step Aside

Trump’s nominee for SCOTUS has had a couple of bad weeks…..first one accusation of sexual misconduct….then a second….from the gossip around there maybe be a third.

During all this the nominee has said he is completely innocent of the charges (as one would expect him to do)…..but the Senate in its haste to confirm will ignore all sense of legality and push this person through the process….

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote Friday on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the AP reports. The committee vote is being set for the day after Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford are to testify about her allegation he sexually assaulted her when they were teens. That public hearing is set for Thursday. The committee scheduled the vote as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday he was moving forward with Kavanaugh’s nomination. The committee will be voting on whether to recommend Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate. Senators were told to be prepared for a rare weekend session and McConnell said he was confident Kavanugh would be confirmed.

Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s claim and that of another woman who has come forward with an allegation from his time at Yale. That woman, Deborah Ramirez, offered on Tuesday to give a sworn statement to the FBI. Her attorney, John Clune, tweeted that he’s been “working hard to cooperate with the Senate Judiciary Committee,” but that “they have refused to meet all scheduled appointments.” He said an FBI investigation has been formally requested and concluded, “Ms. Ramirez is ready to swear to the FBI under penalty of perjury. Why won’t the Senate Judiciary Committee welcome that?” He says he will be on Anderson Cooper’s show Tuesday night to discuss the case.

You can tell that the position is NO longer the position that was intended….when there are political style ads for his confirmation…..the position is no longer about the rule of law but rather party politics….and the Founders are flipping in their graves.

My opinion?

I think that there needs to be an investigation and that this person should step out of the process and bring in fresh meat.


If the Dems are as successful as all seem to think then there will be hearings and a possible impeachment of the judge…..,can a judge be removed from the Supreme Court?

Damn right he/she can!

Although an appointment to the United States Supreme Court is a lifetime appointment, the U.S. Constitution includes language that allows a justice to be impeached and forcibly removed from office. Article 3, Section 1 of the Constitution states, “The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour…”

Constitutional Language

Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution states: “The president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Because federal judges are considered civil officers, they are subject to this rule.

Article 3 mentions good behavior of judges, without defining it. According to the website, produced by CQ-Roll Call Group, this is taken to mean that the reasons for impeachment of a federal judge aren’t limited to criminal acts.

Impeachment Process

The impeachment process begins in the House of Representatives, with passage of articles of impeachment by a majority vote. The articles of impeachment state specific allegations of wrongdoing. The second step in the process is a trial in the U.S. Senate on the allegations. To convict someone who has been impeached, a two-thirds majority vote is required by the Senate. If convicted by the Senate, the accused is immediately removed from office.

The Federal Judicial Center lists federal judges who have been impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. No Supreme Court justice has been convicted and removed, and only one has been impeached. The House impeached Justice Samuel Chase in 1804. The impeachment accused him of basing court decisions on political bias and misconduct. The Senate acquitted Chase in 1805 and he returned to duty.


The Dems will get even for the game played by the GOP on Obama’s choice of justice….all the whining in the world by the Repubs will not change the course of this event.

Kavanaugh is a liability he should step aside and let someone else take the heat.

His politics are god-awful and we need someone that will put the country and its laws first and party politics in the crapper where they belong.

His politics is god awful, but that is hardly news. It was a sure thing that Trump would nominate someone with god-awful politics. Because he knows little and cares less about the judicial system, except when it impinges on his financial shenanigans, and because, as part of his pact with “conservatives” Trump outsourced judicial appointments to the Federalist Society, anyone he would nominate was bound to come with god-awful politics.

At least, this particular god-awful jurist is well schooled, well spoken (in the way that lawyers are), and intelligent enough to talk like a lawyer or judge, while dissembling shamelessly and saying nothing of substance. That puts him leagues ahead of Trump. It also puts him head and shoulders above the average Republican.

Those Grumpy Old Men

Now that was a cute movie back in the day starring some of th biggies from our cinematic past……like Jack Lemmon, Ann-Margret and Walter Matthau.  But sorry this post is not some retro review of that movie but rather a political post on the condition of the Senate.

Look at the Senate… is filled with grumpy old men and the female senators for the most part are part of that characterization…..including some of the Democrats.  Most of these tools are still living in the 1950’s when most came to Congress (not accurate just seems that way)…..

Call me a sentimental fool (pipe down out there) but I keep waiting for the big Frank Capra moment that rationally, I know may never come – you know, like the climax of Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington when the corrupt, patrician senator played by Claude Rains, finally undone by the truth told by Senator Jefferson Smith (earnestly played by Jimmy Stewart), tries to shoot himself.

“I’m not fit to be a senator! I’m not fit to live!” he cries. “Every word that boy said about… me and graft and the rotten political corruption of my state is true!”

Yeah, well, in real life you and I know that’s probably not going to happen – at least for now. All you have to do is take one look at the Republican senators bloviating on Capitol Hill to know that among the lot of them any chance of self-examination or repentance or especially truth-telling is about as likely as Justin Bieber being named to the College of Cardinals.

The best description of these toads in the US Senate was….”male pattern blindness”…..

It is time for the voting population to consider just how paleolithic thinking these people hold….replace them as soon as possible with someone that realizes it is the 21st century.

Space, The Final Frontier (Again)

Our Dear Leader has proposed a new branch for our military, a space force.  I have written extensively on the subject…..  (several reference posts included in this one post)

The Obama administration was also on-board with a space force……

Like I said I have written extensively on this idea……plus there are those officials in Congress that are pushing back on the idea of a separate “Space Force”……

A bipartisan group that includes generals and lawmakers fears that carving the new branch out of the Air Force would siphon resources from other programs and weaken the military.

Republican Reps. Steve Knight of California and Mike Coffman of Colorado would appear the ideal champions of a new military branch focused on space.

Three of Knight’s top five donors are aerospace giants Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Honeywell, which would be well-positioned to help build and outfit it. And Coffman’s district is an epicenter of the military’s current space operations.

But with all the criticism there is a necessity for a Space Force/Space Corps…..

Discussions in recent days with friends and family indicate that few have a clue as to why establishing a US Space Force might actually be a good idea.

Allow me to offer a few reasons:

(1) Good government and governance: currently, military space capability is diffused amongst the Air Force, Navy, Army, National Reconnaissance Office, Missile Defense Agency, and other agencies. The Defense Department periodically reorganizes its space authority. This results in a lack of unity of command, budget overlap, and confusion about “who is in charge”.

Back and forth….will we or won’t we?

Even the House Armed Forces Committee is not taking sides right now…..

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry said he is not yet ready to weigh in on how a Space Force should be organized or how much it should cost.

Thornberry’s committee has been a dynamic proponent of a reorganization of military space forces, and that push will continue into the next legislative season, he told reporters on Tuesday on Capitol Hill. But Thornberry suggested that the scope and pace of the reorganization is still up for discussion.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson set off a heated debate last week when she submitted to Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan a detailed proposal for how to organize a Space Force as an independent military service, which was the mandate from President Trump. She estimated the cost at about $13 billion over five years.

I ask as I always ask….if we are to have this 5th special branch of our military……where will the money come from?

Now, Donald Trump is clearly, if I can coin a word, a nostalgiac. He longs for the 1950s and 1960s, the years of his youth, and since entering the Oval Office he’s been trying to take us all back – lock, stock, and barrel – to that highly fossil-fueled, deeply polluted age when you didn’t have to put “again” after “great” while mentioning this country. Having already done his best, in a globally warming world, to burn yet more fossil fuels, he’s now adding to his nostalgia for that ancient era of American preeminence by proposing that we all revisit Star Trek (with him, of course, as Captain Kirk). He’s ordered the creation of a sixth branch of the U.S. military, a Space Force, for which, in language redolent of that distant age, he invoked “our destiny beyond the Earth.” As TomDispatch regular and expert on Pentagon spending William Hartung points out today, that means one thing: money, money, money, and yet more money. I think it’s clear what his once-vaunted plan for funding the rebuilding of this country’s failing infrastructure will have meant on his departure from office: nothing built or rebuilt on this small planet of ours – not a mile of new high-speed rail, for instance – but plenty of new weaponry in outer space. Let Hartung fill you in on the future according to our own Captain Kirk.

Is this truly necessary?

A damn good question that has no answers being offered.