Closing Thought–05Feb20

Time to vote ALL warmongers out of office as quickly as possible.

WHY?

All the money spent and what do we have to show?

Our 17 year war in Iraq has cost the US lots of blood and treasure…….to be exact the total in cash is $1.9 trillion…..

Even if the U.S. administration decided to leave — or was evicted from — Iraq immediately, the bill of war to the U.S. to date would be an estimated $1,922 billion in current dollars.

This figure includes not only funding appropriated to the Pentagon explicitly for the war, but spending on Iraq by the State Department, the care of Iraq War veterans and interest on debt incurred to fund 16 years of U.S. military involvement in the country.

Since 2003, the Department of Defense has received about $838 billion in “emergency” and “overseas contingency operation” funding for operations in Iraq through fiscal year 2019. This includes, from 2014 on, money dedicated to the fight against the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or IS, in a region including both Iraq and Syria.

The Pentagon “base” budget — money needed to keep the department running on an ongoing basis — has also ballooned while the U.S. has been at war. War-related increases to the base budget include heightened security at bases, enlistment and reenlistment bonuses, increased military pay, and the healthcare costs of soldiers. I estimate nearly $800 billion in such increases since 9/11, with Iraq’s share about $382 billion.

Add to this approximately $59 billion spent by the State Department and USAID on Iraq and Syria for democracy promotion, reconstruction, training, and removing unexploded bombs.

(Defense One)

What a waste of taxpayer money….Iraq was stable and secure pre-2003 invasion and the US turned it into into the death trap it is today.

Time for the American people to make their voices heard to end this useless waste of people and money….

Beside US troops is not the answer for Iraq….

It is by now well-chronicled that the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 was based on shockingly bad intelligence. Bush administration officials routinely claimed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and would use them against America if we didn’t act. As error-ridden, the decision to invade was, our failure to withdraw once the mistake had been made plain began a vicious cycle that has yet to be broken.

With Saddam deposed, the Bush administration could have worked with the existing Iraqi military to maintain public order and set the conditions for the Iraqi people to form a new government. The U.S. military could then have withdrawn beginning in late 2003. Instead, some in Washington wanted to try remaking Iraq in America’s image.

https://thehill.com/opinion/international/481142-keeping-us-troops-in-iraq-wont-solve-the-chaos-there

VOTE Antiwar!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

2020–Centrists Are Running Scared

The media and their mouthpieces, the Dem centrists, have been lying and misinforming the voting public for over a year.

Now that the voting has begun losers like Hillary Clinton are sniping at Bernie and other progressives…..I posted on her latest silly attack…..https://lobotero.com/2020/02/03/closing-thought-03feb20/

And now another centrist and loser, John Kerry, has tried to make the same case as Clinton…..

John Kerry has angrily denied claims that he might be plotting to enter the Democratic race at the last minute. The former secretary of State, who was the party’s 2004 nominee, spoke out after NBC reported that he had been overheard in an Iowa hotel talking about entering the race because of “the possibility of Bernie Sanders taking down the Democratic Party—down whole,” reports Politico. An NBC analyst said they heard Kerry, who has been campaigning on behalf of Joe Biden, say “maybe I’m f–king deluding myself here” before noting that donors would have to raise “a couple of million” and saying he would have to stop making paid speeches and step down from the board of Bank of America.

Kerry tweeted that he is not planning to run for president, “and any report otherwise is f—ing (or categorically) false.” He later deleted the tweet and replaced it with one minus the expletive. The 76-year-old told NBC that its report was a “complete and total misinterpretation based on overhearing only one side of a phone conversation.” He added: “A friend who watches too much cable called me wondering whether I’d ever jump into the race late in the game if Democrats were choosing an unelectable nominee. I listed all the reasons I could not possibly do that and would not—and will not under any circumstances—do that.”

Shows how pathetic and afraid these corporate stooges are of the progressives…..and in turn it illustrates their utter disdain for the voter who may want a progressive over a do nothing Clintonian stooge.

Learn Stuff!

VOTE!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

2020–State Of The Union

The president delivered his annual State of the Union in the midst of impeachment and the chaos in Iowa…..I will keep it short and go to the analysis…..

President Trump is delivering his third State of the Union address less than 24 hours before the Senate is to decide his fate in his impeachment trial. The president, speaking to a joint session of Congress, including the senators who are expected to acquit him Wednesday, was greeted by Republican chants of “Four More Years,” Politico reports. He declined to shake Nancy Pelosi’s hand. “My fellow citizens, three years ago, we launched the great American comeback,” he said. “Tonight I stand before you to share the incredible results.” The president praised the strong economy and promised a “blazing bright” future. “We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago, and we are never ever going back,” he said. More:

  • Revived US economy. “From the instant I took office, I moved rapidly to revive the US economy—slashing a record number of job killing-regulations, enacting historic and record-setting tax cuts, and fighting for fair and reciprocal trade agreements,” said Trump, who claimed that the US economy is better than it has ever been. The AP notes that the economy is definitely healthy, though it has continued on an upward trajectory that started under Barack Obama.
  • “Where the action is.” “The fact is that everybody wants to be where the action is, and the United States of America is, indeed, the place where the action is,” said Trump, hailing the return of manufacturing to the US and the USMCA, the replacement for NAFTA. “Unfair trade is perhaps the single biggest reason I decided to run for president,” Trump said.
  • Venezuela’s “true president.” There was bipartisan applause when Trump introduced Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, one of his State of the Union guests, and called him the “true and legitimate president,” the Guardian reports.
  • Space Force. Trump praised the creation of Space Force, introducing Ian, a 13-year-old from Arizona, who “aspires to go to the Air Force Academy, and then he has his eye on the space force.” And behind Ian was his 100-year-old great-grandfather: Charles McGee, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen.
  • Health care. Trump vowed to defend Medicare and Social Security, then denounced Democrats for “socialist” health care plans. “One hundred thirty-two lawmakers in this room have endorsed legislation to impose a socialist takeover of our health care system, wiping out the private health insurance plans of 180 million Americans,” he said. The New York Times considers the claim “weighted, but mostly true.”
  • “HR3!” After Trump challenged Congress to send him legislation to lower drug prices, Democrats chanted the name of the drug price reduction bill the House passed in December that is now “untouched” in the GOP-controlled Senate, the AP reports.
  • Medal for Rush. Trump not only announced that Rush Limbaugh would be receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he had Melania Trump bestow it on Limbaugh during the address.
  • A “very powerful wall.” Trump denounced “sanctuary city” policies and boasted of border wall progress. “As we speak, a long, tall, and very powerful wall is being built,” he said. “We have now completed over 100 miles and have over 500 miles fully completed in a very short period of time.”
  • Democrats walk out. Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan walked out of the chamber during the speech, saying he had “had enough” and it was all as fake as professional wrestling, the Guardian reports. He was soon followed by Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who left after the president hailed Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.
  • An “Oprah moment.” In what critics described as an “Oprah moment,” Trump introduced a military spouse and her two children, and then revealed that her husband, Sgt. First Class Townsend Williams. was back from Afghanistan, the BBC reports. There were chants of “USA” as the family was reunited in the gallery.

I was unimpressed at all…..but the one “line” that got my funny bone activated was the “very powerful wall”…..and part of that wall just blew over on a 30 mph wind…..

Plus there is already a bill on drug prices and the Senate has done nothing with it….maybe if Trump would get off his ass and tell Mitch to do his job he would have that bill to “sign immediately”……..(but that would be giving the House some credit something this person will never do)…….then there is the stupidity of Guido of Venezuela (yes I know I did not spell his name right)….

There is more silliness from this speech (if it can be called that)……….

Economic Pinocchios. Trump boasted at length about the strong economy, though fact-checkers found numerous false claims and exaggerations. Aaron Blake at the Washington Post notes that Trump spoke of ending “years of economic decay,” but on his watch, the economy has continued the progress that began under his predecessor. “Trump has a good story to tell on the economy,” Blake writes, “but he insists on … pretending that the economy he inherited was in some kind of free fall, which just wasn’t the case.”

A “reality show State of the Union.” Morgan Chalfant and Brett Samuels at the Hill note that the address included several “made-for-TV” moments, including the Rush Limbaugh honor and the reunion of a military family. The flourishes were “uniquely Trumpian given his penchant for production value and headline-grabbing moments, and they produced lighthearted moments that softened what was otherwise a caustic evening,” they write.

Attacks on socialism. Trump, continuing what is expected to be a major theme in his re-election campaign, slammed socialism both in the US and overseas, the New York Times reports. “To those watching at home tonight, I want you to know: We will never let socialism destroy American health care,” he said.

Policy proposals. The address was relatively light on policy proposals, but Trump did call for legislation to lower prescription drug prices, which led to chants from Democrats who have sent legislation to the Senate. Trump also called for more vocational training, a ban on late-term abortions, and a law allowing people to sue “sanctuary” cities if they are the victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. “And that was pretty much that,” writes Anthony Zurcher at the BBC. “If the president is going to campaign on any bold, new ideas, they’ll have to wait for another night to be unveiled.”

The elephant in the room. The Times notes that Trump made no mention of his impeachment trial, despite the fact that he was speaking on the eve of his widely expected acquittal.

Nothing about the speech will be memorable…..nothing about it was concise or relevant……it was a rambling mess….

All in all….it was a night best forgotten……

All in all I would had preferred Vanilla…..

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Mitch, You Devil

This post is about the Senate’s majority leader. Mitch McConnell…..his actions during the impeachment trial of Trump leaves lots to desire…but that is for a future post (maybe)……

I have said on numerous occasions and posts that the GOP is excellent at politics….and for that I tip my hat….respect for their tactics…..and Mitch has shown just how masterful he can be as well…..

It’s not a sure thing, but the smart money says the Senate is poised to acquit President Trump of impeachment charges without calling witnesses. That became clear after GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander, whose vote was said to be in question, announced that he did not want to hear new testimony. At CNN, Chris Cillizza points out this means the trial might be wrapped up before Trump’s State of the Union address on Feb. 4, and he gives Mitch McConnell all the credit for orchestrating this political feat. This outcome “was unthinkable 10 days ago and is a testament to McConnell’s skills as a persuader and vote-counting virtuoso,” he writes. Cillizza recounts the strategy, beginning with McConnell’s “power play” move to go ahead with the trial with no guarantees on witnesses.

As the trial progressed, McConnell kept a low profile, but Cillizza likens him to a duck—placid on the surface but paddling furiously below water. He persuaded enough GOP senators, especially vulnerable ones, that allowing witnesses would prolong the trial and cause more them harm in the long run. And then there was the Alexander factor. The Tennessee senator is a longtime friend of McConnell’s. At Mediaite, John Ziegler thinks the whole will-he-or-won’t-he drama was a McConnell charade believed by gullible reporters. “It was always clear that McConnell was setting Alexander up for the role of the guy who, after careful and considerable contemplation, decided that it was somehow in the best interest of the country for Trump’s impeachment trial to be the first in history to not have witnesses.” But there was never any chance Alexander would vote otherwise, he adds. Read Ziegler’s full column here, and Cillizza’s full column here.

This whole Senatorial affair has been brilliantly played….my hat is off to Mitch.

But it is a cesspool of nonsense masquerading as a “fair trial”….that stated…..well done Mitch!

Then there is the Supreme Court thing in this trial…..

The Senate vote Friday against permitting more testimony or documents in the impeachment trial did more than put President Trump on the fast track to acquittal, Nancy Pelosi says; it forced John Roberts into a bad place. “It is a sad day for America to see Senator McConnell humiliate the Chief Justice of the United States into presiding over a vote which rejected our nation’s judicial norms, precedents and institutions which uphold the Constitution and the rule of law,” she tweeted on Saturday. The 51 votes against witnesses all came from Republicans, NBC reports, including Mitch McConnell, the majority leader. Had the Senate vote been 50-50, Roberts could have stepped in to break the tie. The chief justice ruled that out Friday, saying, “I think it would be inappropriate.”

Two other senators alluded to the awkwardness for Roberts. In announcing Friday that she was voting against witnesses, Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, said she didn’t want to “drag the Supreme Court into the fray.” The day before, Democrat Elizabeth Warren asked about the effect of the trial on the judiciary, per the Hill, saying that many Americans lack faith in their government. “Does 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?” she asked.

I have said many many times….”Dems have great ideas but suck at politics”….and this whole impeachment thing has proved my point.

One last note about Mitch….recently the Dems have started calling him “Moscow Mitch”….a title I thought was a bit childish….but now with more information it may well be a good call….

McConnell recently voted to drop sanctions against Russian aluminum company RusAl which is still owned by one of Vladimir Putin’s sanctioned oligarchs, Oleg Deripaska. His action directly benefits one of the GOP leader’s major donors, whose fortune comes from Russian oil.

The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC run by Sen. McConnell’s former Chief of Staff, received a total of $3,500,000 ($2,500,000 in 2016 and $1,000,000 in 2017) via Access Industries and a subsidiary. Len Blavatnik is a Russian oligarch with US and UK citizenship who owns Access Industries and donated to Sen. McConnell’s 2016 Senate campaign vehicles.

Blavatnik’s Access Industries made many of its billions from Putin’s decisions about its Russian oil partnership. He is also a long-term business partner of Kremlin-linked Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska at RuSal, in which he is a major investor, as well as Viktor Vekselberg, who is entangled with Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen through his U.S. family office Columbus Nova.

View at Medium.com

It all comes down to where his loyalties lie…..money can be a powerful motivator…..and buys a lot of loyalty…..no matter the party.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

The Iowa Clusterf*ck

Appears that the total chaos in Iowa is coming to an end….the numbers are in (sort of)……..

Clouded by doubts on a chaotic day-after, the Iowa Democratic Party began releasing partial results of the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucus on Tuesday, the AP reports. The data, made public for the first time nearly 24 hours after voting concluded, reflected the results of 62% of precincts in the state. While campaigns were eager to spin the results to their advantage, there was little immediate indication that the incomplete results eased the confusion and concern that loomed over the opening contest of the Democrats 2020 presidential primary season. It was unclear when Iowa’s full results would be released. CNN currently has Pete Buttigieg with 26.9% of state delegates, Bernie Sanders with 25.1%, Elizabeth Warren with 18.3%, Joe Biden with 15.6%, and Amy Klobuchar with 12.6%; everyone else is at 1.1% or lower.

During a private conference call with campaigns earlier in the day, state party chairman Troy Price declined to answer pointed questions about the specific timeline—even whether it would be a matter of days or weeks. “We have been working day and night to make sure these results are accurate,” Price said at a subsequent press conference. The leading candidates pressed on in next-up New Hampshire, which votes in just seven days, as billionaire Democrat Michael Bloomberg sensed opportunity, vowing to double his already massive advertising campaign and expand his sprawling staff focused on a series of delegate-rich states voting next month.

The big news was not the voting…..but the future for the first in the nation vote……

If you thought people were fed up with Iowa’s first-in-the-nation voting status before Monday night’s chaos, it’s nothing compared to the sentiment surfacing Tuesday morning. Examples:

  • The overview: “Iowa’s outsize role has faced attacks for decades, along with periodic failed attempts by other states to take the first-in-the-nation slot,” notes Steve Kornacki of NBC and MSNBC. “But criticism has been louder than ever this past year, and now those critics may have the ammunition they need to kill it.”
  • A prediction: From here on out, “Iowa won’t go first,” writes Tim Alberta at Politico. “It can’t go first. Not anymore.” At best, it might keep some “ceremonial capacity” in the early stages of the nominating season, but “Monday night will go down as the self-inflicted knockout punch, and with it, the end of a political era.” He adds that the state’s refusal to use a simpler voting method is one reason it has become a political “punch line.”
  • RIP, I: Responding to a tweet praising esteemed Iowa political journalist David Yepsen for predicting this mess, Yepsen himself replied, “Sorry I was right. RIP caucuses.” Later he added, “This will probably be the last caucus we’ll have to worry about.”
  • RIP, II: The headline of a piece by Eric Levitz at New York has a similar sentiment: “R.I.P. the ‘First-In-the-Nation’ Iowa Caucuses (1972-2020).” The influence of Iowa’s “wildly anti-democratic” nominating process has always been “indefensible,” but not even its biggest critics “dreamed it would subject the country to something like this,” Levitz writes. He’s skeptical Iowa will be able to recover from the damage.
  • Shaky ground: “Iowa has found itself—more this year than ever—in the position of defending its perch,” write Matt Flegenheimer and Sydney Ember in the New York Times. “Why should a state so disproportionately white take such a leading role, especially for a Democratic Party that prides itself on its diversity? Why is a hodgepodge of gatherings in school gymnasiums the pinnacle of American democracy?” Now, the state’s “precarious standing” just took another hit.
  • In defense: The state’s GOP senators, Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst, are standing up for Iowa, saying its caucus system “encourages a grassroots nominating process that empowers everyday Americans,” per a statement cited in the Washington Post. Its first-in-the-nation status “has the full backing of President Trump,” they added. “We look forward to Iowa carrying on its bipartisan legacy of service in the presidential nominating process.” But fellow Sen. Richard Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois and the Senate minority whip, said Tuesday the caucus system is no longer practical for modern voters. “I think the Democratic caucus in Iowa is a quirky, quaint tradition that should come to an end,” he said on MSNBC.

My thought is close them all down and go to a national primary….all this silliness and news coverage would be one day….possibly two….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”