Tet–1968

Closing Thought–31Jan20

On this day 52 years ago the US troops were ass deep in the NVA’s offensive which began on 30Jan….the Tet Offensive……

On Jan. 30, 1968, Vietnamese communists attacked the American embassy in Saigon. For several hours they held the embassy grounds, inflicting injury and damage and trapping a small group of U.S. military and diplomatic personnel within the embassy. The assailants failed ever to enter the building, and all of them ultimately were killed or captured. This was part of the broader Tet offensive, a military campaign that carried the Vietnam War from the countryside into cities and towns.

In strictly military terms the assault on the embassy, and indeed the broader offensive failed. The attackers occupied the embassy compound and caused considerable damage but never succeeded in entering the building itself. All of the attackers were killed or captured. But the Vietnam War never was entirely military. Americans had been told — and many then still believed — that the war was being won. How, then, could a supposedly ragtag guerrilla army suddenly assault the citadel and symbol of America’s presence in Vietnam, the very building from which the daily war- progress reports flowed?

“Viet Cong Invade American Embassy” — The 1968 Tet Offensive

And with this anniversary we have yet another film about the Vietnam Ear….movies I never watch because of Hollywood’s treatment of the war as some sort of noble endeavor…it was not!

For instance there are several things that were part of that war that are seldom if ever portrayed in film.

Every soldier’s favorite detail…..Shit Burning

Yeah, the military still has this detail. But whenever you hear the telltale sounds of Hueys over the music of Creedence Clearwater’s “Fortunate Son,” the newly deploying troops are always headed to some very green, very loud base filled with troops who are grilling out and kitting up to go on a search and destroy mission.

These new privates are given their marching orders to go out on a combat patrol immediately, even though they’re still green. When (if) they get back, they get time to sit in the bunks and chatter.

No. While they were gone, the REMF NCOs made quick use of that grilled food. It’s time to do the private’s work. Here’s your diesel fuel, Tom Cruise. A lot of Vietnam vets say that’s the newcomer’s first work detail.

Next are those Body Counts that were reported back home in the evening news…..

After an operation the dead were laid out to be counted and that included humans, pigs, monkeys chickens, anything that was dead was counted.

And that is how they got the high body count for the news.

Finally there was the Body Bag Detail…..

I will not go into that because this was so disturbing that I still have vision of the results…..a smell I will NEVER forget.

I just had to vent on this day of remembrance…..at least for me.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Green New Dud

Lots has been writing, argued, debated and lied about when the climate is brought out in polite circles (that excludes deniers and the network they worship)…..

The Dems have been pushing a Green New Deal….well true progressives that is…..and there have been some attempts to calm the rhetoric around climate.

Then there is the worthless attempt by Pallone of New Jersey……

Broadly, Pallone’s climate plan—which came after 15 committee hearings about the human-caused crisis—aims to enable the United States to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas pollution by 2050. It would direct all federal agencies to use their existing authorities to meet that goal, and includes provisions for the power, building, transportation, and energy sectors.

The proposal would require states to develop plans to meet the 2050 target that must take into account the needs of communities on the front lines of the climate crisis. It would also establish a first-of-its-kind National Climate Bank to help states, municipalities, and companies transition.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/27/extremely-disappointing-new-analysis-offers-scathing-critique-top-democrats-clean

It is a dud……this does little but help the industries that profit from exploiting the climate for profits….

The draft Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation (CLEAN) Future Act—largely seen as a “competing plan” to the Green New Deal—was announced earlier this month by the committee’s chair, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.). Crafted after 15 committee hearings, the bill (pdf) aims to ensure that the United States achieves net-zero greenhouse gas pollution by 2050.

In a joint statement with Reps. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), Pallone said Tuesday that “every day, communities across the country are paying the price for inaction through record wildfires, flooding, and drought, and Congress cannot afford to simply watch from the sidelines.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/28/green-new-dud-not-green-new-deal-climate-groups-denounce-draft-bill-house-democrats

Just another attempt to be doing something while doing NOTHING substantial.

But for those that need a simpler explanation to why this is not a good deal then please click on this analysis….https://1bps6437gg8c169i0y1drtgz-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Pallone-Energy-Report-Final.pdf

You truly want some true action on climate change?  Then use a Tried a true technique of presidents……Executive Order.

Not long lasting but it would be a start….and the planet will thank you.

This Dem proposal is weak and a worthless waste of time…..but can we expect from them?

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Senate Impeachment Trial–Day 9

Before I get the guts of the day’s doings there is something I want to pass on……

This trial is a work of absurdity…why? Some jurors have stated without hearing evidence that the accused is not guilty….that flies into the face of our so-called fair and balanced judicial system.

I am not alone in seeing the absurdity…….

President Trump is on trial.

As in a real trial, charges have been asserted: the House alleges high crimes and misdemeanors. A judge presides: Chief Justice John Roberts sits in his fine black robe at the head of the chamber. There are prosecutors (the House impeachment managers) and defense counsel (Trump’s “A-team” of lawyers).

And pursuant to our Constitution, the jurors—the members of the Senate—have sworn an oath to render “impartial justice” at the end of the trial.

So, it looks like a trial. Except that in my 40 years as a lawyer, I’ve never seen a trial that corruptly flouted the basic requirements for fairness as brazenly as this one.

In a real trial, any juror who admitted conspiring with the defendant would be unceremoniously ejected from the jury. Yet Republican Senate leader and sworn-to-be-impartial juror Mitch McConnell openly proclaims on television, “Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with White House counsel.”

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/01/29/senates-make-believe-trial-donald-trump

Day 9 is in the bag…….what amazing stuff has transpired (you realize that is sarcasm, right?)

Question and answer portion continues…….

Let’s go the analysis shall we?

After a dinner break, senators have resumed their final round of questions in President Trump’s impeachment trial, a session expected to last into Thursday night. (Read highlights from the first round.) That will set the stage for Friday’s much-anticipated vote on whether to call witnesses such as former national security adviser John Bolton. Ongoing coverage:

  • Rand Paul: For the second straight day, Rand Paul submitted a question that named the person believed to be the whistleblower in the Ukraine controversy, and for the second straight day, Chief Justice John Roberts refused to admit it. “The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted,” said Roberts, per CNN. Paul said afterward that his submitted question made no reference to a whistleblower and read it aloud to reporters. The Hill, however, notes that it did include the name that has been reported in conservative media as the whistleblower. Paul said Roberts had no right to block the question.
  • Paul’s explanation: “My question today is about whether or not individuals who were holdovers from the Obama National Security Council and Democrat partisans conspired with Schiff staffers to plot impeaching the President before there were formal House impeachment proceedings,” he tweeted. CNN reports he walked out of the impeachment trial to talk to reporters after Roberts blocked his question. On Wednesday, after his first question was rejected, a reporter for Roll Call said Paul was visibly angry during a break in the trial. “I don’t want to have to stand up to try and fight for recognition,” Paul said loudly, according to Niels Lesniewski. “If I have to fight for recognition, I will.”
  • The question gets asked, sort of: Later in the day, GOP Sen. Ron Johnson submitted a question the Guardian says was “clearly based off” Paul’s rejected question, only this one did not include a name. Roberts read the question, which had to do with a right-wing claim that the whistleblower schemed with Democratic staffers of House intelligence committee members in an attempt to take down the president. CNN notes the question was about lead Democratic impeachment manager Adam Schiff’s staffer who used to work at the NSC, and that Schiff was “really mad” when it was asked.
  • Is it actually illegal to out the whistleblower? Short answer: It’s complicated. CNN explains all the ins and outs here.
  • Who is the whistleblower? Schiff said at one point, before Johnson’s question, “I can’t tell you who the whistleblower is because I don’t know, but I can tell you who it should be. It should be every one of us. Everyone one of us should be willing to blow the whistle on misconduct.”
  • Awkwardness for Roberts: The chief justice read a question from Sen. Elizabeth Warren that he might have been tempted to answer. The Democrat asked whether “the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court and the Constitution.” The GOP side of the Senate began buzzing, per the Washington Post, while Democrats showed no emotion. After a pause, Schiff deflected from Roberts, saying it’s Congress that’s taking the hit. “It reflects adversely on us,” Schiff said.
  • Trump’s slam: In a tweet Thursday, the president went after Schiff. “His District is in terrible shape,” wrote Trump. “He is a corrupt pol who only dreams of the Impeachment Hoax. In my opinion he is mentally deranged!”
  • More Schiff: Another one of Schiff’s notable answers of the day came when he was asked why some aid freezes are OK, but the Ukraine aid freeze is not. “No one has suggested you can’t condition aid, but I would hope that we would all agree that you can’t condition aid for a corrupt purpose, to try to get a foreign power to cheat in your election,” he said.
  • Tie-breaker? A big question in regard to witnesses is whether Roberts would break the tie if the vote is 50-50. On Thursday, Nancy Pelosi said he should do so, per the Post. She also said that if the trial does not allow witnesses or new documents, it will be a sham and thus any acquittal will be meaningless. Trump, she said, will be “impeached forever.”
  • A DoJ comment makes waves: In an unrelated trial related to the 2020 census, a Department of Justice lawyer said in federal court Thursday that the House can use its impeachment powers to enforce subpoenas. Schiff mentioned the comment at the impeachment trial a few hours later, saying it was “in the category of ‘you can’t make this stuff up.'” CNN explains more here.
  • General mood: CNN describes the senators as “lackadaisical” on Q&A day 2, noting that some were not present when the session got started and some wandered in late.
  • Dershowitz circles back to Wednesday: On day 1 of Q&A, Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz offered what the AP calls a “stunning defense” of Trump’s aid freeze, arguing that a president can’t be impeached for something he does in the interest of getting himself re-elected, if he believes that re-election is in the public interest. That sparked quite an outcry, with critics saying it sets a dangerous precedent, but Dershowitz tweeted two dozen times Thursday on the matter. The first one: “Taking advantage of the fact most of their viewers didn’t actually hear the senate Q and A, CNN, MSNBC and some other media willfully distorted my answers.”

Sorry but to me this day was more about the game than the trial….the questions were for their persons time on camera than the evidence…..and then there is Rand Paul…..if there was ever a “media whore” it is this slug.

Not to worry there is more to come…..the fun is not over yet.

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“lego ergo scribo”

 

 

Oops! (The Border Wall)

Remember that “wonderful” border wall that is now being built?

If not let me refresh your memory on what the president has said about the wall…..

“Now, the wall still, obviously, has a ways to go, but we’re building it at a breakneck speed. I wanted them to show you the interior of parts of the wall and what’s inside of each individual slat. And you’ll see it’s a combination of steel, concrete, and — as one of the folks just said — it really is virtually impenetrable. Any walls that were put up would get knocked down very quickly, very easily. This wall is not something that can be really knocked down. I guess anything can, but this is very tough.

And it goes down six feet. It’s three and four feet wide. The concrete — you see it right here; it’s exposed. And I might ask General Semonite to say a few words about it.

And I’d like to bring them right up — look at the inner tube — to see what happens. Because after the wall is up, we pour concrete, and concrete goes into the tube. And in addition to that, we have rebar. So if you think you’re going to cut it with a blowtorch, that doesn’t work because you hit concrete. And then if you think you’re going to go through the concrete, that doesn’t work because we have very powerful rebar inside.

So it’s a very powerful, very powerful wall — the likes of which, probably, to this extent, has not been built before.”

(Pres. Trump Sep 2019)

I refresh your memory because I want to explain the title of “Oops!”…….

A newly installed section of border wall toppled over onto the Mexican side amid high winds Wednesday. Steel barriers had been erected between Mexicali and Calexico, Calif., but a concrete base had not yet cured when the 30-foot-high panels fell onto trees lining a parallel street, reports the Guardian. “Luckily, Mexican authorities responded quickly and were able to divert traffic from the nearby street,” Border Patrol agent Carlos Pitones tells the Los Angeles Times. “We are grateful there was no property damage or injuries,” he adds, per CNN, which notes wind gusts in the area reached as high as 37mph on Wednesday.

The section of wall, part of an effort to replace 11 miles of existing barrier, has since been re-erected. Customs and Border Protection “will work with the construction contractor to mitigate the impact of high winds as construction continues,” Pitones tells the Times. The outlet reports “the barrier is constructed of steel bollards filled with concrete and rebar, then topped with metal plates.”

If a bit of wind toppled it how can we expect it to hold up to determined violators of our immigration laws?

More money that has been pissed away…..

How fucking sad!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Iran–Let’s Talk?

This post ought to get the slugs to come out and call me all sorts of things…..most of which are nothing new at least they could be more imaginative….but that would be asking for a little intellect and the naysayers are in short supply of intellect.

The war of words and the exchange of lethal force has the whole Middle East region waiting for the next shoe to fall.

So when I heard that the Iranian FM was willing to consider talks I was optimistic….but that quickly got crapped on…..

In an interview with Der Spiegel magazine, Iranian FM Javad Zarif said Iran is continuing to not rule out the possibility of talks with the US, saying it was always possible for the other side to change their approach. He reiterated that Iran wants the US to lift sanctions.

Even though talks with Iran were long a major goal for President Trump, he quickly declared “no thanks” on Twitter, saying he is not willing to offer sanctions relief as part of this process.

This is in keeping with Trump’s position on almost all matters of diplomacy, which is that he wants negotiations and wants a lot of concessions, but only so long as it doesn’t require the US to give up anything in return.

(antiwar.com)

But that was no surprises ….but interesting since Trump has ling wanted talks with the Iranians.

Iran is the go to bad guy of the Middle East….why is that?

We could blame it on 1979 but is that the whole story?

I read the transcript of a radio interview about this subject….this is a podcast of whowhatwhy

Gary Sick was there when the US-Iran relationship quite literally blew up.

He worked on Iran issues as part of the National Security Council staff in the Ford, Carter, and Reagan administrations. During the Carter administration, he was the principal White House aide for Iran during the Iranian Revolution and the ensuing hostage crisis. In this WhoWhatWhy podcast, he reviews 40 years of failed US policy toward Iran, and discusses the following matters:  

Why Iran has become the “go-to enemy” for the US in the Middle East.

Why, unlike other US enemies, Iran has no friends in the US policy establishment.  

The Iranian revolution took place just after the US retreated from Vietnam, where 50,000 Americans died. Today, Vietnam is an ally and a popular tourist destination while Iran remains a nemesis. 

Why the Iran nuclear deal was actually working, and why those who advocate regime change are wrong. 

The US relationship with Saudi Arabia, the Saudis’ relationship with Iran, and why the Europeans are basically unable to make anything better.

A future Iranian reaction to the death of General Qassem Soleimani, and why, in the long run, we should be very afraid of the potential response.

Full Text Transcript:

As a service to our readers, we provide transcripts with our podcasts. We try to ensure that these transcripts do not include errors. However, due to time constraints, we are not always able to proofread them as closely as we would like. Should you spot any errors, we’d be grateful if you would notify us

Why Iran Is the US’s Go-To Enemy in the Middle East

This situation is more complex that some religious BS or some isolated point in history.

Hopefully you will read and listen with an open mind or stay put in one dimensional thinking and continue to be ignorant.  Your choice.

There is more about our extreme hatred for Iran…..

A question that naturally arises but one that the mainstream press never asks is: What is the reason for the deep-seated hatred that the U.S. national-security state has toward Iran?

No, the answer doesn’t begin with the fact that Iranian revolutionaries took American diplomats hostage during the Iranian revolution in 1979, which is what the mainstream press often asserts. The U.S. hatred for Iran stretches back even further than that.

In fact, to understand the hatred that the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA have for Iran, it is actually necessary to go back to the founding of the United States.

The Roots of U.S. Hatred Toward Iran

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

As A Reward For Taking A Life

Closing Thought–30Jan20

I have critical of what the Special Forces have become…..especially the SEALs….everyone’s hero…..

I wrote awhile back of the death of an Army Green Beret at the hands of SEALs…..https://lobotero.com/2018/01/13/death-in-mali-2/

Then there crimes were taken to a court-martial…..https://lobotero.com/2019/05/20/death-in-mali-is-justice-served/

I was pleased that there was payment for stupidity and crimes…..but that joy is now in the past…….for there has been yet another turn in this story…..

The U.S. Navy promoted Chief Petty Officer Tony DeDolph four months after he admitted to choking a Green Beret to death. 

DeDolph—who will be back in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing—was formally charged in November 2018 with felony murder, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, burglary, hazing, and involuntary manslaughter in the strangulation death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, a Special Forces soldier assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group.

Melgar was nearing the end of his deployment when he was killed in the West African nation of Mali in June 2017. He was part of an intelligence operation in Mali supporting counterterrorism efforts against al Qaeda’s local affiliate, known as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/navy-seal-tony-dedolph-was-promoted-after-choking-green-beret-logan-melgar-to-death

Seriously?

Now we know why the new commander of the SEALs is trying to clean up this mess of crime and corruption….aand of curse the president will want to look important but should keep his orange nose out of the process.

More news about the UCMJ and military retirees……

In the latest turn of a dramatic and winding court saga, a naval appeals court has released a split decision finding that a Navy retiree was properly court-martialed and convicted for a crime committed after he had left active duty.

The en banc decision was published Jan. 24 by the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, with four judges agreeing with the final decision and three others dissenting. The matter concerns retired Chief Petty Officer Stephen Begani, who pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault and attempted sexual abuse of a child in December 2017, after corresponding and making plans with a Naval Criminal Investigative Service undercover agent pretending to be a 15-year-old girl.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/01/29/military-retirees-can-be-court-martialed-after-all-appeals-court-decides.html

A crime should be punished….no matter one’s station in life.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Senate Impeachment Trial–Day 8

Day 8 and it is still not finished…..there is so much news and this is all the blogs are awash with…..that and how “liberals” are socialists….is there an election soon?

Looks like the GOP is trying to wrap their portion up soon…..

President Trump’s defense rested its case in his impeachment trial Tuesday, with White House lawyers urging senators to vote to acquit—and at least three Democrats may end up joining Republicans in doing so. Politico reports that Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and Doug Jones of Alabama are still undecided and say they won’t know whether to vote to convict until the trial is over. “I am leaning in certain ways but I want to hear, I truly, honestly, want to hear the entire trial,” says Jones, who is up for reelection in a red state this year. At least one of the senators may end up splitting their vote and choosing to find Trump guilty of abuse of power but not of obstructing Congress, or vice versa.

Republican Sens. Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski might buck their party on calling witnesses, but it’s not clear whether they would vote to convict the president. A vote on calling witnesses is expected Friday, after 16 hours of questions from senators, which start Wednesday. The Hill reports that Republican senators, who hold a 53-47 majority in the chamber, emerged from a caucus meeting Tuesday expressing confidence that they would have the 50 votes needed to avoid calling John Bolton or any other new witnesses, meaning the trial could end Friday. Senators say Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the meeting that a vote to bring in new witnesses could extend the trial for weeks.

These 3 Dems are the ones I would expect to side with the GOP…….no matter the evidence.

Question and answer portion……

President Trump’s impeachment trial moved into the 16-hour Q&A phase on Wednesday, and a thus-far largely quiet Chief Justice John Roberts is featuring much more heavily. NBC News explains the process: Senators must write each question on a six-line question card and then give that card to Mitch McConnell or Chuck Schumer. Questions are then given to Roberts, who will name the questioner and then read the question aloud. He has asked that each side—that would be House managers and Trump’s lawyers—limit its answer to five minutes, the time set by Chief Justice William Rehnquist in the 1999 trial of President Bill Clinton, per CNN. Mitch McConnell on Wednesday said that today’s question period would last up to 8 hours; another session will follow Thursday. Coverage:

  • The first question from the Democrats addressed Bolton straightaway: Is there any way to render a verdict in this case without hearing from Bolton, Mulvaney, and other key witnesses? Adam Schiff’s answer in part, per CNN: “The short answer to that question is, no. … And when you have a witness as plainly relevant as John Bolton, who goes to the heart of the most serious and egregious of the President’s misconduct, who has volunteered to come and testify, to turn him away and to look the other way, I think, is deeply at odds with being an impartial juror.”
  • The GOP then asked the president’s lawyers to respond to that question: Deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin said it boils down to precedent. “What is the precedent that is going to be set for what is the acceptable way for the House to bring impeachment to this chamber?” They didn’t even subpoena John Bolton, he noted, “and to now insist this body will be the investigative body and do all the discovery … then that’s the new precedent, that the House doesn’t have to do the work, they throw it over the transom, and then this institution [the Senate] gets derailed and has to deal with it. That should not be the precedent.” (CNN notes Democrats did formally ask Bolton to voluntarily testify in its impeachment inquiry; he didn’t show because the White House asked current and former officials not to participate.)
  • In answering the following question, Schiff said not hearing from witnesses was setting a more dangerous precedent. He also said Democrats didn’t subpoena Bolton because they didn’t want a drawn-out court battle.
  • A question from Ted Cruz: “As a matter of law, does it matter if there was a quid pro quo?” Trump’s lawyers said presidents are allowed to authorize money with conditions when dealing with foreign policy. “If you don’t do it, you don’t get the money. If you do it, you get the money. There’s no one in this chamber that would regard that as in any way unlawful,” said Alan Dershowitz. Responding to that, Schiff said “All quid pros are not the same. Some are legitimate and some are corrupt, and you don’t need to be a mind reader to figure out which is which.”
  • Dershowitz also argued that, hypothetically, Trump is allowed to use such a quid pro quo to benefit his own re-election if he believes that re-election is in the national interest: “Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest. And mostly you’re right—your election is in the public interest. And if a president did something that he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.” Trump’s team is arguing in hypotheticals because they still do not concede a quid pro quo was attempted.
  • CNN reports 41 protesters were arrested as they attempted to climb the Capitol Rotunda steps; 39 were charged with crowding, obstructing and incommoding; one was charged with all of that plus resisting arrest; and one was charged with crossing a police line and failure to obey.
  • What kind of questions are likely? Politico lists a dozen. For context: During Clinton’s impeachment trial, 106 questions were asked.

On and on……the “news” just keeps coming…..and the silliness knows no party.

I leave you with one thought….do not use this trial as an example of our fair and balanced judicial system for this is nothing but a sham dressed up to look like a trial.

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