Closing Thought–08Jan19

Bravo Mr. Arkin!

I know I go on and on about our reps growing a spine and standing up to the war complex that we have created….I finally have someone that I can look up to within the MSM…..NBC’s William Arkin……

A journalist with NBC has resigned from the network with a statement which highlights the immense resistance that ostensibly liberal mass media outlets have to antiwar narratives, skepticism of US military agendas, and any movement in the opposite direction of endless military expansionism.

January 4 is my last day at NBC News and I’d like to say goodbye to my friends, hopefully not for good,” begins an email titled ‘My goodbye letter to NBC’ sent to various contacts by William M Arkin, an award-winning journalist who has been associated with the network for 30 years.

“This isn’t the first time I’ve left NBC, but this time the parting is more bittersweet, the world and the state of journalism in tandem crisis,” the email continues. “My expertise, though seeming to be all the more central to the challenges and dangers we face, also seems to be less valued at the moment. And I find myself completely out of synch with the network, being neither a day-to-day reporter nor interested in the Trump circus.”

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/01/03/reporter-quits-nbc-citing-networks-support-for-endless-war/

Finally someone with ‘nads to oppose the M-IC and its number tool, the MSM…..

I have found a new respect for at least one mainstream journalist…..but sadly it will not make much difference.

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Watching A Presidential Speech

Tonight the President will make a “very important” speech on immigration and such….the MSM was waffling for a while whether they would carry said speech or not….they will….and like everything DC the Dems want their time in the spotlight after the president’s speech…..

Major networks are not planning to avoid running President Trump’s prime-time address Tuesday on what he calls a border “crisis” the way they did with a 2014 address by former President Obama on immigration deemed “overly political.” ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, and Fox Business have all confirmed that they will carry the Trump address, Politico reports. Trump tweeted Monday that he will address the nation at 9pm Eastern on “the Humanitarian and National Security crisis.” The president also plans a trip to the US-Mexico border.

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer urged the networks to give Democrats equal time, the Guardian reports. “Now that the television networks have decided to air the president’s address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation,….for Trump will be lying as he always does. Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime,” the Democrat leaders said in a joint statement. Other Trump critics called for the networks to air his remarks with a delay of five to 30 minutes in which they could fact-check his statements, the Washington Post reports.

The networks need to have real time fact checking for Trump will be lying as he always does…..

A guide to knowing what to watch for in the president’s speech……

The address will air at 9 pm Eastern time and be broadcast on multiple major networks, including NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, and Fox’s broadcast networks; and cable outlets such as CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. C-SPAN will also carry the speech.

The networks’ decision to carry the address has been some cause for consternation, as many of those same outlets refused to air President Barack Obama’s 2014 speech on a series of executive actions on immigration in November of that year after talks over a bipartisan immigration reform bill broke down. Part of the explanation then was that it was “sweeps” month (though Trump’s speech will preempt new episodes of Black-ish, FBI, and Ellen’s Game of Games), but it was also because the networks found the topic of Obama’s speech to be too partisan.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/1/8/18173622/trump-primetime-address-stream-border-wall-time

You could turn it into a game also….every time Trump refers to himself you could take a shot.

This speech will be the usual babbling and self grandiose rhetoric…..

Watch with me!

In The Land Of The Lost

Before I get into the meat of my post there is a bit of ranting I need to get off my chest…..stupid people!

People like those that go climb a mountain in Winter and get caught in a snow storm and need to be rescued…..but they were experienced….no they were stupid.

Okay more….remember those Americans in Iraq that went for a hike and winded up in Iran and we arrested as spies….stupid people…in a war zone and have no idea where they were…stupid.

Then there are those people that go to North Korea or Iran on “vacation”….seriously two rogue states and they wanted to go on a walk around…..stupid people!

And now for today’s rant…..it seems that a couple went into a war torn country like Burkina Faso for a walk around…..stupid!

Burkina Faso?

Image result for burkina faso images

Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) achieved independence from France in 1960. Repeated military coups during the 1970s and 1980s were followed by multiparty elections in the early 1990s. Former President Blaise COMPAORE (1987-2014) resigned in late October 2014 following popular protests against his efforts to amend the constitution’s two-term presidential limit. An interim administration organized presidential and legislative elections – finally held in November 2015 – where Roch Marc Christian KABORE was elected president. The country experienced terrorist attacks in its capital in 2016, 2017, and 2018 and continues to mobilize resources to counter terrorist threats. Burkina Faso’s high population growth, recurring drought, pervasive and perennial food insecurity, and limited natural resources result in poor economic prospects for the majority of its citizens.

Now for the two that disappeared……

It was Edith Blais’ “lifelong dream” to travel to Africa, her mother tells the CBC. But after the 34-year-old Quebec woman achieved that dream last year, she disappeared—she and her companion, 30-year-old Italian man Luca Tacchetto, have not been heard from since Dec. 15. They were in Burkina Faso at the time, and on Sunday, Canadian officials said their vanishing is being treated as a kidnapping, the CBC reports. The pair was planning to travel to the capital city, Ouagadougou, for a few days before heading to the neighboring West African nation of Togo to work on a restoration project for a month. But they never arrived. While many have reached out with tips via a Facebook page Blais’ family set up to help with the search, her mother says what’s “difficult” is that “there is nothing tangible” and it’s not clear what leads should be followed up on.

Blais’ mother says her daughter, a visual artist, led a bohemian lifestyle, traveling often since age 18; she and Tacchetto were in Europe before heading to Africa. “They weren’t worried about anything,” Blais sister tells CTV of the traveling companions. “They were having a really happy trip. She has been dreaming about traveling to Africa for all of her life.” But a former Canadian diplomat tells CTV he cautions against traveling in the troubled region, and the Canadian government has an active travel advisory for Burkina Faso advising against any non-essential travel. Of particular concern are its borders with Mali, Niger, Benin, and Togo due to threats including terrorism, banditry, and kidnapping. A state of emergency was declared in Burkina Faso last week following terrorist attacks in the north.

Did these two “rocket scientists” think about checking for travel advisories?  It is not hard…the internet has all the info they would have needed…..

Travel aboard information from the UK……

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the following parts of Burkina Faso: all areas of the country north of the town of Boulsa; areas within 40km of the western border with Mali and 40km within of the eastern border with Niger; the south-eastern provinces of Gourma, Kompienga, and Tapoa (including the W National Park and the Arly National Park and their contiguous reserves and hunting areas).

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Burkina Faso, including the capital Ouagadougou.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/burkina-faso

The US also…..

Reconsider travel to Burkina Faso due to terrorism.  Some areas have increased risk.  Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to:

  • The northern Sahel border region shared with Mali and Niger due to crime and terrorism.
  • The provinces of Kmoandjari, Tapoa, Kompienga, and Gourma in East Region due to crime and terrorism.

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/burkina-faso-travel-advisory.html

These are the warnings from all the nations about travel in Burkina Faso…..https://www.reisewarnung.net/en/burkina-faso

All these warnings and these two went hey how dangerous could it be?  Let’s give it a go!

You Can’t Fix Stupid!

Illiberal Democracy?

HUH?

Democracy is sacred, right?

Well it is until it isn’t!

On both sides of the Atlantic the regnant elites have launched a furious regime change campaign not all that different from the ones they started in the former Soviet republics. The formula seems to go like this: hold an election in which the full resources of the EU states and their upper classes are brought to bear on one side of the question. Vilify dissenters as more than likely agents of Vladimir Putin.

On the British side the government of Prime Minister Theresa May, which has been all along pretending to be in favor the people’s decision to leave the EU, has effectively sabotaged the process with so many exceptions, amendments, other concessions to Brussels that they might as well have stayed in.

https://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/12/02/democracy-is-sacred-except-when-it-isnt/

Let’s start with the election of Donald Trump….some painted him as an “isolationist”…..not something that I say or heard from him in all his campaigning…..

Let’s go even further back say 15 years or so……Illiberal Democracy…….

The term “illiberal democracy,” advanced by some as an acceptable model for future change in many parts of the Middle East, is, in truth, an oxymoron. Real functioning democracies can never be illiberal. Nor can they be at peace with the rest of the world, a fact that makes their appearance quite problematic for many of their neighbors and for the world at large.

https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/the-oxymoron-of-illiberal-democracy/

But that was before the rise of Sir Donald…….enter Our Dear Supreme Leader and the royal presidency begins…..

Donald Trump never expected to win the presidency. As Michael Wolff exposes in Fire and Fury, he hoped to use the campaign to build his personal company’s brand and secure a career in right-wing media. Trump’s inner circle was so shocked by their victory that his wife Melania purportedly broke down in tears not out of joy, but horror at the prospect of moving into the White House and subjecting their pathological family soap opera to even more public scrutiny. Unprepared to rule, Trump scrambled to cobble together a cabinet with an amalgam of establishment Republicans, Wall Street Democrats, and far-right nationalists.

The new administration struggled from day one to produce a coherent foreign policy based on Trump’s slogans “Make America Great Again” and “Putting America First.” Trump’s consigliere Steve Bannon and his co-thinkers called for the United States to withdraw from free trade deals like the North American Free Trade.

https://isreview.org/issue/109/illiberal-hegemony-trump-administration-strategy-us-imperialism

Two years into a presidency and many are starting to see the Illiberal Hegemony as it begins to wrap itself around our country……

Barry Posen, a political scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of the leading scholars of American grand strategy, has a fascinating essay in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs. I want to write more later about some areas where I disagree with Posen’s argument (some of which I articulated in the paper I wrote last year on libertarian foreign policy). However, I want to highlight here an aspect of Posen’s argument that I think is spot on.

Since he first articulated his “America First” foreign policy agenda during the 2016 campaign, critics have argued that Donald Trump wanted to end American hegemony. Posen argues that, as president Trump, has not actually tried to end American leadership of the international system. If anything, he has accelerated. However, Posen claims that Trump has also transformed America’s strategy of “liberal hegemony” into an “illiberal hegemony.” He writes,

https://niskanencenter.org/blog/notes/donald-trumps-illiberal-hegemony/

Trump is striving to set up his own little imperial court……maybe now with a Dem majority in the House this country will and should return to its liberal roots…..

But will it?

Further Reading:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/trump-the-illiberal-hegemonist/

https://www.lawliberty.org/2019/01/04/homegrown-varieties-of-illiberal-democracy/

Does Anyone Remember Kobane?

Of course you do not….it is one of those stories that only matters as it is happening…..

Kobane, Syria…..a battle of 2014…….

Rojava Cantons Syrian Kurdistan

Northern Syria was the site of a major battle between the forces of “good” and ISIS….there was death, devastation and destruction…..in the end the forces for “good” won the day and ISIS was driven from the region of Northern Syria….thanks in part to the Kurds and the Turks……

If you would like to step back to those days……https://www.aljazeera.com/topics/city/kobane.html

All that is old news right?

Not really…..it seems that another old enemy of the West has stepped into the vacuum left by ISIS……our old “friend” al- Qaeda……

About a week of heavy rebel infighting in northern Syria’s Aleppo Province continues to rage, with the Turkish-backed rebel factions deploying growing numbers of reinforcements in the area to try to stave off gains by al-Qaeda’s Tahrir al-Sham faction.

Al-Qaeda reported last week that the Turkish rebels attacked them first. After that, al-Qaeda launched a major, growing counteroffensive, and has seized at least 20 towns and villages of the immediate area along the Aleppo-Idlib border.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is also reporting some major losses being sustained in this fighting, saying the Noureddin al-Zinki having lost more than 100 fighters in fighting against al-Qaeda.

Russia reportedly carried out an airstrike against one of the seized towns, killing two civilians. While Turkey seems to be trying to get a handle on this situation, mounting al-Qaeda gains could force Syria and Russia to get more involved in rebel territory just to keep it from being unified under al-Qaeda forces.

(antiwar.com)

It appears that the jihadist are not through with Northern Syria just yet…..the lack of reporting about the doings of AQ would have one believe that they are no longer a problem….

An old enemy is not gone and is not forgotten….at least by IST.

Learn Stuff!

Liberte, Egalite, Imperialisme

*********There is a wealth of information to take in but this will catch my reader up on the little reported American situation in Africa.*********

The US is not the only nation flexing its muscle in Africa….an old colonial power is back and extending its arm of power….France.

Nearly twenty-five years later, there are still no convictions for the assassinations that turned first Rwanda, then the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), into a vast killing ground. Not in the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR), where two investigations of Kagame were shut down, and where a judge told defense attorney Tiphaine Dickson, “We don’t investigate plane crashes [or Tutsis, only Hutus].” And not in the French or Spanish courts, where French and Spanish citizens claimed jurisdiction because their relatives died in the plane shot down or in the ensuing massacres.

The subtext of the Rwandan War and the Congo Wars was competition between the US/UK and France. France, which was then the dominant power in the region, had been the patron of Habyarimana’s Hutu government; the US and UK backed Kagame’s invading Tutsi army, which emerged victorious in 1994, declared that English would from thereon be Rwanda’s international business language, then invaded and occupied French-speaking Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) two years later.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/liberte-egalite-imperialisme-vive-la-france-in-black-africa/5664654

Not much is said these days about Africa even though the US has troops operating all over the continent…I try to keep up with the events in Africa for they are no less important than others…..

Our troops that are operating in Africa fall under the leadership of AFRICOM……the sad part is that in some cases the US troops appear to be an occupation force under the guise of advise and support…..

It should be noted that the US has been involved in the Sahel region going back to the early years of the George W. Bush administration, even before the establishment of AFRICOM, which was later greatly expanded by the Obama administration.

After 9/11, the United States began to grow its military footprint on the African continent under the guise of a ‘War on Terror’, selling this notion to a United States gripped with fear of terrorism. With programs such as the Pan-Sahel Initiative, later broadened into the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative, Washington managed to provide military and financial assistance to compliant countries in North Africa – a policy whose practical application meant that the US military became the dominant force in the Sahel region, supplying the human and material resources for which the governments of the region were starved. Naturally, this meant an implicit subservience to US military command.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/12/11/africom-a-neocolonial-occupation-force/

AFRICOM is operating in Africa proper……and most of it is secret to top secret to higher……

As the Pentagon was in the midst of reviewing new plans for special operations missions in Africa reducing overall troop numbers on the continent, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis designated three new named contingency operations.

The most recent quarterly report from the Department of Defense Inspector General notes the creation of Operation Yukon Journey, a counterinsurgency operation in Yemen, and counterterrorism operations in both northwest and east Africa.

Those were named in February, according to the report. The report covered activities in Operations Inherent Resolve from July to September.

With that said….2019 and the Trump administration has a new African strategy……

I speech by NatSec adviser Bolton gave to the Heritage (go figure…if you want to spread BS then Heritage is your starting point)…..

Well, Kim, thanks very much, and thanks to you and Kay for inviting me here. I’m delighted again to be here at the Heritage, an institution that really has contributed so much to the public policy debate for many decades now in the United States. And I’m particularly pleased to be here to unveil the Trump administration’s new Africa Strategy, which the President approved yesterday, and which the administration will begin executing immediately.

This strategy is the result of an intensive interagency process, and reflects the core tenets of President Trump’s foreign policy doctrine. Importantly, the strategy remains true to his central campaign promise to put the interests of the American People first, both at home and abroad.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-national-security-advisor-ambassador-john-r-bolton-trump-administrations-new-africa-strategy/

This new strategy is all about China and less about Africa…..

President Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton outlined the US administration’s new Africa strategy in a speech last week at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, DC. The main tenets of the strategy, including the prioritisation of trade and investment, combatting of terrorism, and better-targeting of US foreign aid in Africa, are on the whole sensible. The US has already increased the promotion of private sector engagements in Africa as a key lever for development and should continue to support US investment in Africa.

Unfortunately, the positive aspects of the strategy were a little lost in the speech because the new US Africa strategy is not really about Africa. It’s about China.

https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/new-us-africa-strategy-not-about-africa-it-s-about-china

Few African nations see this as an Africa strategy…more like trying to hedge all policies to confront China…..

The strategy calls for an end to the dissipation of aid across a multitude of projects and in the name of many causes. The US is the largest provider of development assistance world-wide and to Africa, spending $8.7 billion on the continent alone in 2017. USAID maintains more than two dozen regional and bilateral African missions. Nothing much amiss with this idea either. As Ambassador Bolton correctly noted, one of the comparative strengths of the Marshall Plan was in its targeting of key economic sectors. Yet problems in the operational ineffectiveness of aid is not only confined to Africa. It is also at least as much a donor problem as one of the recipients. The high transaction costs of aid reflect the multiple domestic constituencies in the donor countries that need to be assuaged, highlighting institutional priorities and politics that are seldom African in origin.

https://qz.com/africa/1501023/president-obasanjo-says-trumps-africa-strategy-cant-rival-china/

As usual the US African policy has very little to do with Africa and everything to do with the US and its desires for plunder.

But don’t tell anyone…US Troops expand their mission in Africa……

While the election in Congo was relatively quiet, the US is expecting that there will be protests when the results are announced. The anticipation is enough that President Trump has ordered to send troops to neighboring Gabon, and is warning the Congolese not to protest.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is reporting that the US sent about 80 troops and “appropriate combat equipment” to Gabon for the fight, President Trump has said more troops will deploy as needed to Gabon.

The election is between the ruling party’s candidate Ramazani Shadary, and opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, who is backed by the Catholic Church. The Catholics appear to be anticipating a Fayulu win, and have warned of an “uprising” if an untrue result is released.

Shadary is backed by long-standing dictator Joseph Kabula’s family, and has accused the Catholics of being “irresponsible and anarchist” in their attitude toward the election.

(antiwar.com)

While American troops are deployed in Gabon because of situation in Congo….a coup breaks out in Gabon…..

Soldiers from Gabon’s Republican Guard have appeared on state television saying they have launched a coup “to restore democracy” in the West African country. Early Monday a soldier who identified himself as Lt. Obiang Ondo Kelly, commander of the Republican Guard, read out a statement saying the military has seized control of the government. He was flanked by two others holding weapons and all were dressed in camouflage uniforms and green berets, the AP reports.

A curfew has been imposed over the capital, Libreville, and the internet has been cut. The city is being patrolled by military tanks and armed vehicles, but no violence has been reported. President Ali Bongo, in power since 2009, has been out of the country since October amid reports that he had a stroke. He recently addressed the country in a New Year’s message that was filmed in Morocco, where he has been receiving medical treatment. In his brief New Year’s speech, the 59-year-old Bongo declared that the country was “indivisible” and acknowledged his health problems without giving details. “A difficult period,” he called it, and a challenge that he surmounted “thanks to God.”

US Troops seem to always be in the wrong place at the right time…..hopefully this will not get uglier.

Need we say more?