Closing Thought–22May20

Why is the federal government buying more riot gear during this time of pandemic?

What are they expecting that would require more riot gear?

The federal government has ramped up security and police-related spending in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including issuing contracts for riot gear, disclosures show.

The purchase orders include requests for disposable cuffs, gas masks, ballistic helmets, and riot gloves, along with law enforcement protective equipment for federal police assigned to protect Veterans Affairs facilities. The orders were expedited under a special authorization “in response to Covid-19 outbreak.”

The Veterans Affairs department, which manages nearly 1,500 health care care facilities around the country, has also extended special contracts for coronavirus-related security services.

Redcon Solutions Group, a private security company founded by Iraq War veterans, has won over $1.6 million in contracts to provide guards for “Covid-19 screening security guard services.” Similar contracts have gone out to private security firms to guard VA facilities in San Francisco, Des Moines, and Fayetteville, among others.

The increased security contracts appeared shortly after a recent Inspector General report noted an increase in absenteeism among VA employees and shortages among VA police. The IG report noted that there is “additional strain caused by the need for additional police presence for COVID-19-related screenings” of veterans at all VA health facilities and recommended the hiring of contract security services.

https://theintercept.com/2020/05/17/veterans-affairs-coronavirus-security-police/

Apparently the Trump White House is taking some of the conspiracy theories about the breakdown of society seriously and they want to protect the Orange Man from accountability.

I Read I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Kalashnikov’s First

Not some memoir about first love and the loss of virginity…….Nope it is not a sequel to Pasternak’s Russian classic, Dr. Zhivago…..

Nowadays everybody has heard of the famous AK-47…invented by Soviet tank commander while he was rehabbing in a hospital…..his name was Mikhail Kalashnikov…but as famous as the AK-47 is today it was not his first attempt at making a compact sub-machine gun for the Soviet forces.

And there is where I pick this historic post up….

In 1942, the future world-famous arms designer and then tank sergeant Mikhail Kalashnikov was wounded and hospitalized, after which he was unable to return to frontline action against Nazi Germany.

Lying in his hospital bed, Kalashnikov began working on first weapon, which he believed the Soviet army needed — a new compact submachine gun for tank crews.

The young engineer took his sketches and blueprints to an arms factory in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where he was able to develop the first prototype of a small-sized weapon with folding buttstock, similar to the German MP38-40 submachine gun.

Kalashnikov’s weapon borrowed the small-capacity 25-round magazine from the most widely used pistol at that time, the Degtyarev light machine gun, and was given a front handle to improve its ergonomics.

“Kalashnikov was convinced that tank crews needed such a submachine gun because they were completely at the mercy of enemy automatic rifles once their armored monster had been destroyed. Armed with a new compact weapon, tank crews would feel more confident engaging the German invaders at distances of 50 meters,” says Vadim Kozyulin, professor at the Russian Academy of Military Sciences.

https://www.rbth.com/science-and-tech/332082-kalashnikovs-first-weapon

I first encountered the AK in Vietnam…..and quickly learned what an excellent weapon it was for the conditions in Vietnam…..wet, muddy, sandy and nothing stopped the weapon from firing….all in all I gave it a 99 out of a 100 in usability in combat…..plus I liked the punch the 7.62 round delivered.

The AK-74 is quickly becoming another favorite…..but that is for another post at a later date.

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Covid-19 Infodemic

I thought I would expose some of the BS being peddled about the Covid-19 pandemic we are fighting these days….there is enough confusion and chaos and some people just add to the confusion….to include the president of the United States…..his story changes almost daily…..

The Week has an excellent look at all the crap around this virus….

How the coronavirus sparked a tsunami of misinformation. Here’s everything you need to know:

What’s being said?

Social media has been awash in lies, rumors, and distortions about the coronavirus, its origins, and potential cures almost since the pandemic’s start. NewsGuard, a private company that rates websites’ reliability, has identified 203 websites throughout the world promoting COVID-19 misinformation. Among the most popular COVID-19 myths were “Garlic can cure COVID-19,” “A group funded by Bill Gates patented the coronavirus,” and “The COVID-19 virus is a man-made bioweapon.” The World Health Organization is calling the deluge of misinformation “an infodemic,” while Google, Facebook, and Twitter are instituting policies to help slow the spread of lies. CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook fact-checkers have “taken down hundreds of thousands of pieces of misinformation,” and slapped warnings on 40 million posts during March alone, the company says. Last week, YouTube removed a video titled “Plandemic” that had been viewed millions of times, featuring discredited microbiologist and anti-vaxxer Judy Mikovits. In the video and a book that reached No. 1 on Amazon, Mikovits contends the coronavirus was created and spread by a conspiracy of wealthy people and scientists such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to bolster vaccine rates and make money. Mikovits has been claiming her career was destroyed by Fauci and other scientists since she falsely reported in a 2009 study, later retracted by the journal that published it, that a retrovirus caused chronic fatigue syndrome.

https://theweek.com/articles/914457/coronavirus-infodemic

One final thought…..all those protesters may be a major spread of the virus…..

Cellphone location data suggests that demonstrators at anti-lockdown protests – some of which have been connected with Covid-19 cases – are often traveling hundreds of miles to events, returning to all parts of their states, and even crossing into neighboring ones.

The data, provided to the Guardian by the progressive campaign group the Committee to Protect Medicare, raises the prospect that the protests will play a role in spreading the coronavirus epidemic to areas which have, so far, experienced relatively few infections.

The anonymized location data was captured from opt-in cellphone apps, and data scientists at the firm VoteMap used it to determine the movements of devices present at protests in late April and early May in five states: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado and Florida.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/18/lockdown-protests-spread-coronavirus-cellphone-data

The biggest obstacle to a successful fight against this pandemic is SOCIAL MEDIA where the facts mean nothing

Be Well…..Be Safe…..Be Informed……

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Pompeo, The Thug

Recently an IG for the State Department was fired because Pompeo did not appreciate someone looking into his misdeeds as SecState….

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo openly admitted Monday that he asked President Donald Trump to fire the State Department inspector general—an official who is supposed to be independent from political influence—because he was not “performing a function in a way that we had tried to get him to.”

IG Steve Linick was reportedly investigating at least two State Department matters, including whether Trump violated the law with his emergency declaration last year approving billions of dollars in U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which Pompeo approved. Linick was “in the final stages” of the probe when Trump announced his firing on Friday, the New York Times reported.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/05/19/pompeo-openly-admits-he-asked-trump-fire-inspector-general-because-he-wasnt-doing

Since the original report of the firing more has come out on the dealings that Pompeo is doing…..

It seems that Pompeo is circumventing Congress in an arms deal with Saudi….

Charles Faulkner, a former Raytheon lobbyist and former principal deputy secretary of state who was forced to resign in 2019 due to conflicts of interest surrounding an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, was rehired by the administration four months later, Salon has learned.

Faulkner’s resignation kicked off two investigations, and appears to have landed him in the center of a probe of that arms deal by the recently-fired State Department inspector general.

An $8 billion Saudi arms deal, a revolving-door lobbyist and a fired inspector general: Is Pompeo in trouble?

After that came out…..more started trickling out….like taxpayer parties…..

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regularly held taxpayer-funded, 500-guest formal dinners — and President Trump reportedly knew nothing about them.

Until the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Pompeo often invited hundreds of guests to the U.S. State Department for his “Madison Dinners,” referring to how former President James Madison often met with foreign diplomats over a meal. But unlike Madison, Pompeo invited more than just diplomats to his dinners, and sent the bill for food, entertainment, and goody bags to the U.S. government, NBC News reports.

Pompeo held about two dozen Madison dinners since he took office in 2018, and they were scheduled through October until the coronavirus hit, NBC News reports via dinner guest lists and State Department calendars. About 30 percent of invitees worked in politics, another 29 percent came from corporate backgrounds, a quarter were in media and entertainment, and just 14 percent were actually involved in foreign policy. Some of those less diplomatic invitees included Reba McEntire, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Fox News host Brian Kilmeade, and they all enjoyed harp music and embossed Madison Dinner pens and journals to take home.

https://theweek.com/speedreads/915535/taxpayers-paid-food-harpist-goody-bags-pompeos-frequent-500guest-formal-dinners

At what point do the American start seeing this admin for what it is….a corrupted bunch of political thugs?

And yet Donald was going to drain that swamp…when all he actually did was replace gators with man-eating sharks.

A final thought about the firing of all these IGs…..it is the death of oversight….

the Trump administration has executed a stealthy attack on oversight, knee-capping inspector general offices of their apolitical leadership. Most have been quietly revealed late on a Friday night, in hopes of skirting under the radar and avoiding scrutiny. After all, what non-COVID news can possibly survive 48 hours to be lamented by a general public by the time everyone has changed into their work pajamas on Monday? Though strategically avoiding the spotlight, the administration has become comfortable with boldly obstructing oversight, so it will no doubt continue unless Congress acts decisively to put a stop to it.

First came the ousting of Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general, in early April. Atkinson was famously the one who notified Congress last September of the whistleblower complaint — which he was legally obligated to do — that led to the impeachment inquiry. Then, only days later, Trump removed the acting inspector general of defense, who had been tapped by Congress to oversee the distribution of funds under the coronavirus relief measures. In early May, Trump fired Christi Grim, the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, while the deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response was in the process of filing a whistleblower complaint over the corrupt and hapless pandemic response.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/05/19/trumps-inspector-general-purge-and-death-dissent

Has anyone else noticed that Donald drained the swamp of the alligators and replaced it with man eating sharks?

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

The Darling Of The Neocons

Those Neocons have been beating war drums for decades….against Iran a stable in Neocon circles….more recently Venezuela……but now they have a new (fairly new) opponent and a subject for their hatred…..that would be China.

And now the darling of the Neocons….Tom Cotton of Arkansas has been giving lip service to all the enemies or perceived enemies…..the Neocons have targeted…..

Cotton now has picked on the mantle of China basher……a dream come true for him….he now is front and center in the bashing….before he was just a small voice within the Neocom elite….

Now he can roar for he has the president as a ally……

A long time ago—during the 2010s—a young, Harvard-educated veteran from the Deep South crossed paths with Washington’s most senior Republican intellectual.

His name was Tom Cotton. His mentor’s: Bill Kristol, the editor of the conservative Weekly Standard.

The wunderkind Arkansas senator has been a national security hawk for decades. In China, he’s found his grandest foe yet.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., arrives in the Capitol for the Senate Republicans lunch on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

A long time ago—during the 2010s—a young, Harvard-educated veteran from the Deep South crossed paths with Washington’s most senior Republican intellectual.

His name was Tom Cotton. His mentor’s: Bill Kristol, the editor of the conservative Weekly Standard.

The duo are said to have struck up a correspondence in the early 2000s, when Cotton was at Harvard Law. Kristol was at the height of his powers; Cotton was just amassing his. As revealed in Molly Ball’s definitive profile, ten years later, they began meeting in person, at the District’s Mayflower hotel. The venue — at Connecticut and K, where John F. Kennedy had an apartment and John Bolton sat through his exit interview—matched the mood, and the anxiety, of the Republican Party. Lavish, no doubt, but perhaps also past its prime. 

By his early thirties, Cotton’s Stakhanovite discipline had yielded a dazzling array of accomplishments. Double Harvard (undergrad and law), protégé of the influential West Coast Straussians at the Claremont Institute, associate at the conservative Gibson & Dunn law firm followed by a stint for Republican superlawyer Charles J. Cooper, service as an Army infantry officer with a Bronze Star to boot, and for fun, a dabble in blogging for the not-so-underground Power Line and a lucrative victory lap at McKinsey.

Tom Cotton Has Been Waiting Years for This

A dangerous voice……these are same types that lead the US into a failed invasion and occupation of Iraq…..hopefully NO one will not listen to the fantasies spread by this person and his ilk.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”