Closing Thought–23Jan20

I have been an opponent of the massive amount of spending that tghe country does on its so-called defense.

We have American citizens starving and dying of inadequate health care but yet we can spend trillions on worthless endless wars.

Those damn defense contractors! (Let me state here that not all contractors for the defense department are crooks….but there are too many as it is now)…….

Shell companies….tjose techniques used by drug dealers and terrorists to hide their money are also employed by some defense contractors…..

Shell companies have come under attack for obscuring illicit money flowing into real estate. But it turns out they’re also a problem for the Pentagon.

Some Defense Department suppliers have used such front companies to fraudulently win manufacturing bids, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office study of Defense Department contractors.

In some cases, the shell companies helped contractors obscure that they were making U.S. military equipment abroad, the GAO said, posing a risk to national security and quality control. More often, they were used to win contracts meant for companies owned by disabled veterans or minorities, it said.

The government watchdog reviewed 32 cases that made their way to criminal prosecutions or lawsuits between 2012 and 2018. Taken together, they illustrate how the Pentagon’s $350 billion in annual contracting can be gamed using companies that exist largely on paper.

The problem could be far bigger, since the GAO’s study wasn’t intended to gauge its scope. The watchdog said the Pentagon had made only spotty efforts to pierce the secrecy of shell companies.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-04/how-the-pentagon-was-duped-by-contractors-using-shell-companies

32 cases and $350 billion…….

Whatever happened to “oversight”?

Apparently that is a thing of the past as long as the Congress gets most of the cash from lobbyists and corporations.

This is a pathetic sytory that plays out every budget and the American people just shrug and allow their money to be pissed away on crap and politicians.

Plus the M-IC can get away with murder…..

According to the Washington Post, General Dynamics is “the fourth-largest corporate recipient of US government contract dollars” and Mattis himself one of at least 50 “high-level government officials” hired by defense contractors since the Trump era began. In fact, on the very board that Mattis rejoined sit six other former military officers and officials, including a former Navy admiral, a former Air Force general, a former deputy secretary of defense, and Novakovic herself who once worked for the CIA and the Pentagon. And while we’re on the subject, don’t forget about all those figures from the world of the weapons makers who have headed the other way like Mark Esper, the current secretary of defense, who was previously a lobbyist for Raytheon.

How The Military-Industrial Complex Gets Away With Murder

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Senate Impeachment Trial–Day 2

The REAL news was the revelation the US invented the wheel….how could history be so wrong?

But now back to the mundane……the sage continues….Roberts scolds Senators for childish behavior…..Dems continue to make their case…..

Chief Justice John Roberts told House impeachment managers and administration lawyers to remember where they were, Washington Post reports. “I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House managers and president’s counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world’s greatest deliberative body.” He was speaking after an angry exchange between House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Trump lawyers Pat Cippolone and Jay Sekulow.

Day Two was just about as boring as Day One…..

Democratic Sen. Jon Tester described the first day of President Trump’s impeachment trial, which clocked in at nearly 13 hours, as “like sitting on a tractor,” reports NBC News. And it’s back on the tractor today: With the rules for the trial now set, House managers led by Rep. Adam Schiff on Wednesday started their opening arguments. They have up to 24 hours, spread over three days, to make their case. Schiff spoke first and began by quoting Alexander Hamilton, who warned of a future leader whom Hamilton described as “a man unprincipled in private life, desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits, despotic in his ordinary demeanor, known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty.”

  • Hamilton and the other founding fathers created impeachment as a protection against such a president, said Schiff, who spoke of taking “this solemn action, for only the third time in history, because Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States, has acted precisely as Hamilton and his contemporaries feared.”
  • AP White House reporter Zeke Miller tweeted that the White House busily emailed responses to Schiff, citing “7 in last 45 min,” among them, “President Trump Has Been Completely Transparent with the American People.”
  • CNN notes some of the talking points to come out of the White House invoked Hamilton too: “Our founding fathers feared that impeachment would be abused as a partisan tool—rather than the grave remedy it was intended to be. Hamilton and Jefferson warned about a majority using impeachment for political purposes.”
  • Prior to entering the Senate chamber, Schiff spoke with reporters and gave a broad outline of today’s plan, per the Washington Post: “We will begin our trial with the factual chronology. The facts are damning. We’re going to lay them out in great detail in our chronology today.” He spoke for 2.5 hours and said the six other House impeachment managers (Jerry Nadler, Zoe Lofgren, Hakeem Jeffries, Val Demings, Jason Crow and Sylvia Garcia) would each present a portion of the opening arguments.
  • As Schiff spoke, Trump tweeted from Air Force One, writing in quotation marks, “NO PRESSURE,” an apparent reference to his dealings with the Ukraine.
  • In regards to the president’s Ukraine call, Schiff had this to say: “The counsel for the president would like you to think this is just about that call … They don’t want you to look at the months that went into preparing for that call, or the months of pressure that followed.”
  • CNN notes Schiff also dismissed the idea of allowing witnesses Democrats want to hear from in exchange for also allowing witnesses the GOP wants (ie, John Bolton and Hunter Biden, respectively). “This isn’t a fantasy football trade,” he said, panning the idea of “offer[ing] a witness irrelevant and immaterial with no relevant testimony but a witness that allows us to smear a presidential candidate if you give us a witness. That’s not a trade. Trials aren’t trades for witnesses.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also later dismissed that idea.
  • As of this posting, Nadler, Garcia, and Crow had taken their turns presenting their portion of the opening statement and Jeffries was up (a protester briefly interrupted the proceedings during Jeffries’ remarks). As the afternoon wore on, CNN noted a few senators had abandoned their seats, though some could still be seen in the chamber. Republican Sen. John Cornyn summed things up thusly: “I think we’re already beginning to lose certainly the television audience and maybe the press to some extent, but certainly senators are struggling to try to see why we have to sit there, sit hearing the same arguments over and over and over and over again.”
  • CNN and the Guardian also reported senators were seen filling out crossword puzzles, pacing, eating candy, and, in Ben Sasse’s case, “shoving unidentified pieces of food into his mouth.” Some were also drinking milk: As the site explains, milk and water are the only beverages allowed on the Senate floor during the trial.

Another long day……more to come…..

Watch This Blog!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Bernie–Most Electable

Well this news ought to scare the shit out of old conservatives that still are afraid of the Red Menace…Bernie is a socialist…..and yet his popularity is growing…….contrary to the narrative on the Right.

There is a news report that has come out as we get closer to the beginning of the beauty contest we call the run for the nomination…..

The case for Bernie Sanders is that he is the unity candidate.

The Vermont senator is unique in combining an authentic, values-driven political philosophy with a surprisingly pragmatic, veteran-legislator approach to getting things done. This pairing makes him the enthusiastic favorite of non-Republicans who don’t necessarily love the Democratic Party, without genuinely threatening what’s important to partisan Democrats. If he can pull the party together, it would set him up to be the strongest of the frontrunners to challenge President Donald Trump.

Sanders breaks from the pack in constructive ways on foreign and monetary policy, where the president has an unusual amount of freedom to act. And in the legislative arena, where any president is going to be sharply constrained, he stands the best chance of getting the left on board with the sure-to-be-disappointing compromises that will be necessary to advance the ball at all on important issues.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/1/7/21002895/bernie-sanders-2020-electability

Bernie seems to be holding in there…..he has the young vote….but does that mean those will actually vote if he is not the nominee…..

Here is a thought….many of the supporters of RFK after his death switched to support George Wallace….could we see a repeat of that type of switch in 2020?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Are We Ready For War?

With tempers moldering in the Middle East yet again….there is an important question that needs asking….are we truly ready for a protracted war?

I have written about this topic……https://lobotero.com/2011/01/12/military-must-be-ready-for-the-next-war/

After the most recent airstrike by the US and the war of words between Iran and the US….the president has said we are ready for war…..

“The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment,” he tweeted on Jan. 5. “If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way.”

Besides being wrong (the military has not spent that much), he repeated a mistake that military leaders have made for years: emphasizing weapons over the fitness of the men and women charged with firing them.

Over the past 18 months, ProPublica has dug into military accidents in recent years that, all told, call into question just how prepared the American military is to fight America’s battles.

If forced to fight in the Persian Gulf or the Korean Peninsula, the Navy and Marine Corps are likely to play crucial roles in holding strategic command of the sea and defending against ballistic missiles.

https://www.propublica.org/article/trump-says-u-s-is-ready-for-war-not-all-his-troops-are-so-sure

Further Reading:

Defense Strategy for a Post-Trump World

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”