Screw Service People!

Closing Thought–21Aug20

The Congress and Trump have just approved the new massive Defense Budget…..with the help of Democrats I might add…..and now with all the cash for new weapons and such the attack will be on the miltary health care…..

Shortly after both chambers of Congress approved a $740 billion Defense Department budget for fiscal year 2021, Pentagon officials are reportedly pushing for more than $2 billion in cuts to military healthcare over the next five years, potentially threatening the coverage of millions of personnel and their families amid a global pandemic.

Politico reported Sunday that the proposed $2.2 billion cut to the military healthcare system is part of a “sweeping effort” by Defense Secretary Mark Esper to “eliminate inefficiencies within the Pentagon’s coffers.”

“Ever notice that it’s never a cut to things used to send kids to war?” asked Josh Moon of the Alabama Political Reporter. “It’s always—always—a cut to the promises we make to get them to volunteer for us. What a disgrace.”

According to Politico, “Esper and his deputies have argued that America’s private health system can pick up the slack” for any servicemembers who lose coverage.

“Roughly 9.5 million active-duty personnel, military retirees, and their dependents rely on the military health system, which is the military’s sprawling government-run healthcare framework that operates hundreds of facilities around the world,” Politico noted. “The military health system also provides care through TRICARE, which enables military personnel and their families to obtain civilian healthcare outside of military networks.”

This is one of the “entitlements” that is promised to the serving military and their families

Recently I read about the poor condition of military hospitals…..

Incredible waste is, of course, natural to Washington, particularly in the trillion dollar national security budget—which includes nuclear bombs, intelligence, and veterans’ costs. Three years ago, when I suggested “16 Ways to Cut Defense Spending,” one of the cost savings I wrote about was duplicative hospital costs, this from a system of separate Army, Navy, and Air Force medical services. They should be combined into a single system, but imagine the screaming about lost jobs.

The system was designed after World War I, when wounded could not be easily transported from one part of America to another and long before helicopters and super highways. It is part of the Tricare network, which takes nearly $50 billion yearly out of the Pentagon budget. It includes 55 hospitals and 373 clinics and gives free treatment to military retirees and their families for the rest of their lives. Then there is also the Veterans Administration hospital network with 152 medical centers and almost 800 outpatient clinics.

Why Military Hospitals Are Unhealthy and Inefficient

This is unacceptable…we ask so much from our troops and their families then we should hold good our promises to them…whatever that may be.

This is shameful on so many levels and no American seems willing to speak up…..

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“lego ergo scribo”


August A Busy Month

This month has been busy in history… a pact between opponents to a bomb that ended a war and started a new conflict… the eruption that destroyed Pompeii and August was when Rome was sacked by the Germans….

Some of the posts that I wrote about history during the month of August…

Like I stated…August is a bust month for history…..

But wait there is more!

August 1866 was the official end of the American Civil War….

In April 1865, the highest-ranking Confederate general, Robert E Lee, surrendered to his opposing number, Ulysses S Grant. The Confederate capital in Richmond, Virginia, had been taken, and the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, was on the run. The American Civil War was won – but it was far from over.

The war came at a terrible human cost. The marvels of the industrial revolution – the railroads, the telegraph and the assembly lines – all contributed to making it the bloodiest war in terms of American lives lost to date.

Speaking of the American Civil War…..this month was bloody in so many ways……think 1863…..and Kansas.

On that fateful August morning, a group of roughly 400 Confederate guerrillas entered the sleeping town. They immediately began to ransack homes, shoot civilians, loot stores, and set fire to buildings (including the prominent Eldridge Hotel, although Quantrill allowed its inhabitants to evacuate safely). One of the first casualties was Reverend Snyder, shot as he was milking his cow outside his home along present-day East 19th Street. Mayor George Collamore, upon hearing the commotion, hid in his family’s well, where he died of smoke inhalation. The rest of his family survived, although they had lost their home and the raiders severely wounded his 18-year-old son.

1940 in August a renegade Communist was assassinated…..Leon Trotsky….

Born in the Ukraine in 1879 and later hailed by one admirer as the greatest Jew since Jesus Christ, Lev Bronstein became famous under another name. From 1902 he called himself Trotsky, adapted from the German word trotz, essentially meaning ‘defiance’, which would prove prophetic. He was a leading figure in the Bolshevik movement under Lenin, after whose death in 1924 he was the most important victim of Joseph Stalin’s insatiable lust for power.

Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1927 and exiled to Turkey in 1929. He and his wife, Natalia Sedova, later moved to France and then to Norway. In December 1936 Trotsky, now 56, and Natalia were put on a freighter to cross the Atlantic to Mexico. There they were warmly welcomed by the Mexican president, the former revolutionary leader Lazaro Cardenas, and taken to live in the Coyoacan area of Mexico City at the home of two other admirers, the painters Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo, with whom Trotsky had an affair. In exile he had continued to work resolutely against Stalinism and his book The Revolution Betrayed was published in Paris in 1937. In it he said that under Stalin the Soviet Union had betrayed socialism and become a totalitarian state.

America’s wars in the Middle East began in 1958 in Lebanon when the US landed Marines ……

Sixty years ago this month, the United States first sent combat troops into the Middle East. The July 1958 Marine landing in Beirut, Lebanon thus began the era of America’s now seemingly endless wars in the region. The 1958 episode has lessons for today.

Backed up by three carrier battle groups, a Marine Corps battalion in full combat gear stormed a beach near Beirut on July 15, 1958. At its peak there were almost 15,000 Marines and Army troops ashore in Lebanon. At the same time, British paratroopers deployed to Amman, Jordan in a coordinated Western intervention intended to prop up friendly governments in the region.

President Dwight David Eisenhower, who avoided sending troops to fight for his eight years in office, sent them to Beirut because of a coup on July 14 in Baghdad. In the 1950s, Iraq was the West’s strongest ally in the Arab world. Ruled by the Hashemite royal family and united in a loose federation with Jordan, Iraq was the only Arab country to join the so called Baghdad Pact that Eisenhower envisioned as the Middle East version of NATO containing the Soviet Union.

1958: When America first went to war in the Middle East

Then there is the event that has had far reaching results even to this day…..the 1953 coup led by the CIA to overthrow a popularly elected leader in Iran….

On Aug. 19, 2013, the CIA publicly admitted for the first time its involvement in the 1953 coup against Iran’s elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.

The documents provided details of the CIA’s plan at the time, which was led by senior officer Kermit Roosevelt Jr., the grandson of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. Over the course of four days in August 1953, Roosevelt would orchestrate not one, but two attempts to destabilize the government of Iran, forever changing the relationship between the country and the U.S. In this episode, we go back to retrace what happened in the inaugural episode of NPR’s new history podcast, Throughline.

Just a few of the major historic events happening in the month of August……but let us not forget the biggest event….the patent of the waffle iron in New York without which there would be no Waffle Houses.

Now you know why I say August is a busy month for history.

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It Is Now Official!

Last night Joe Biden made his acceptance speech that he must give to make it official that he was the Dem candidate for president…….and that means that it is also official that the VP candidate is Kamala Harris….and there is where we pick up this post.

I have written several times that I do not support Biden nor his VP pick…..there are many reason, probably too many for a short post but I will hit n the main points….at least for me.

Since I am a foreign policy wonk let me start there….

Kamala Harris’ foreign policy record is coming under closer scrutiny now that she has been named as Biden’s running mate. The record shows a mix of fairly conventional liberal internationalist commitments with encouraging signs of opposition to some of our more reckless policies overseas. Harris has made some relatively hawkish noises on certain issues, such as North Korea, but her voting record on Yemen and Saudi Arabia over the last few years has been quite good. Joe Cirincione reviewed her record earlier this week, and he described her opposition to the war on Yemen:

It is worth underlining here that Harris was an early opponent to arms sales to the Saudis. That suggests that she could influence a Biden administration foreign policy in the right direction when it comes to reassessing the relationship with the Saudis. She has said that “we need to fundamentally reevaluate our relationship with Saudi Arabia, using our leverage to stand up for American values and interests.” It remains to be seen if she and Biden would follow through on that, but it is the right position to take. Her opposition to the war on Yemen could help keep Biden from backtracking on his belated pledge to end U.S. involvement in the war. She objected to Trump’s quasi-withdrawal in Syria because of the process (or lack thereof), but she has also said that she wants to get U.S. forces out of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

What Is Kamala Harris’ Foreign Policy?

It seems that all pundits are happy with her choice to satisfy the “identity politics” thing……but why?

To me it appears to be another incident of “tokenism”……

To be sure, having a woman of color is something that in other circumstances ought to be celebrated. The US does indeed lag behind comparably developed nations when it comes to gender equality. But this is a clear case of tokenism when taken in a broader context. Though neither Biden nor Harris have spelled it out, it appears that race and gender were the major factor behind this choice.

After all, Harris performed poorly in the 2020 Democratic primary, failing to win a single state before pulling out in early December 2019. So she bucks the trend of a presidential contender picking a running mate who came up runner-up, or at least was a serious contender, in the party’s primary contest. Harris even attacked Biden during the primary for his close partnership in the senate with southern segregationists (which was, in fact, close friendship in at least one case). In short, she hasn’t done anything to endear herself to Biden nor demonstrated that she has significant broad support based on her own merits as a candidate.

Kamala Harris Represents Everything Wrong with Empty Identity Politics

I am not one of her supporters….and I read that black men are not thrilled with her as well……again I ask….but why?

Sen. Kamala Harris has a problem with Black men. Rather, Black men have a problem with Sen. Kamala Harris.

Since her selection as presidential candidate Joe Biden’s running mate, I’ve received a deluge of phone calls, text messages, and WhatsApp group chats from Black men — only two of whom had positive things to say about her. One was from someone who sees himself in Harris; like her, he has one parent from Jamaica and another from India. The other is totally aligned with her policy positions. Everyone else, though, is down on the pick.

This conversation is tough. Emotions are high. Nuanced discourse is rare. The discussion is either black or white. That all-or-nothing approach is already common on social media, but now it’s jumping into my real-life conversations. It’s shocking, even disheartening, but it’s not surprising.

Black men, let’s establish what we know. As Malcolm X said, the most disrespected, unprotected, neglected person in America is the Black woman. And yes, Harris is Black, so let’s stop with any false narrative that she’s not. Bad actors seeking to create dissent will do a good enough job spreading false propaganda without our assistance. It’s already beginning with the birther movement; the once-silent dog whistles have turned into a blaring sound system used at President Donald Trump’s rallies, White House press briefings, and on the presidential Twitter account. Therefore, we must have her back at all times during this election.

This is something that means little to most people for they are in the mode of “anybody but Trump”…….principles be damn!

As much as I dislike Trump principles still mean something to me.

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2020 Dem Convention–Day Four–The Conclusion

After tonight the Dem Convention will go down in the history books as the first virtual political convention…..and as the night that Joe Biden accepts the party’s nomination as the Democratic candidate for president of the United States….

Tonight’s speeches will be something to hear…..and the rogue’s gallery of speakers is…..all the losers in the primaries……with a few popular women thrown in for effect…..

  • Senator Cory Booker
  • Governor Gavin Newsom
  • Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
  • Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Senator Tammy Baldwin
  • Senator Tammy Duckworth
  • Senator Chris Coons
  • The Biden family
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden

In case you are wondering tonight’s speakers are those that the DNC want to promote for the future…in other words all those backward looking Dems that cannot move this country forward.

And the night went something like this…….

The Democratic National Convention wrapped up Thursday night with Joe Biden formally accepting the party’s nomination for president, following four nights of such political VIPs as Barack and Michelle Obama, VP nominee Kamala Harris, Hillary and Bill Clinton, and many more urging people to vote for him. “Here and now I give you my word, if you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us not the worst,” Biden said. “I’ll be an ally of the light, not our darkness. And make no mistake, we’ll overcome this season of darkness in America.” The AP notes Biden kept his focus positive, in contrast to the dire warnings of what a second Trump term might look like that had been offered by some of the big names who spoke on other nights. More from the convention’s final evening:

  • Biden’s kids Hunter and Ashley made what Fox News calls a “rare” appearance; their speech was mostly a tribute to late brother Beau.
  • Even Sarah Cooper, the comedian whose lip sync impersonations of President Trump have gone viral, spoke: “Donald Trump doesn’t want any of us to vote because he knows he can’t win fair and square,” she said.
  • Former presidential candidates Sen. Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, and Michael Bloomberg all showed up to emphatically endorse Biden, with Buttigieg pointing out the former VP expressed support for same-sex marriage even before then-President Obama did. “Joe Biden is right, this is a contest for the soul of the nation. And to me that contest is not between good Americans and evil Americans,” Buttigieg said. “It’s the struggle to call out what is good for every American.”
  • “Last week, Donald Trump said ‘our economy is doing good,’ while 40 million Americans are at risk of losing their homes, 30 million aren’t getting enough food to eat and 5.4 million people have lost their health care because of this crisis,” Booker said, per Fox Business. “He has failed us.”
  • Per Fox News, Bloomberg had a similar message, saying Trump “has failed the American people catastrophically” and that we must not “rehire” Trump because it is time to “put an end to this whole sorry chapter in American history.” Trump fired back on Twitter in real time: “After the worst debate performance in the history of politics, Michael Bloomberg, commonly known as Mini Mike, is trying to make a comeback by begging the Democrats for relevance. They treated him like a dog – and always will. Before politics, he said GREAT things about me!”
  • Yang said the country needs Biden to pull it out of the “deep, dark, hole” it’s in thanks to Trump. Then, a lighthearted moment as he passed the baton to actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The two, apparently mocking those who are seemingly unable to pronounce Kamala Harris’ first name correctly, bantered back and forth about how to pronounce Mike Pence’s name. “It’s pronounced Pahnce, I believe,” Yang said, prompting Louis-Dreyfus to shoot back, “Oh, some kind of weird foreign name?” Watch it here.
  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who spoke ahead of a tribute to late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, said, “We know how important it is that we elect real leaders like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, people of honor and integrity, who hold justice close to their hearts and believe that the lives of my four black children matter.”
  • Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq veteran and one of the contenders Biden considered for VP, slammed Trump’s handling of the US military. Americans “have a coward in chief who won’t stand up to Vladimir Putin, read his daily intelligence briefings or even publicly admonish adversaries for reportedly putting bounties on our troops heads,” she said, per the Hill.
  • For a taste of how this is the crowning achievement of Biden’s long political career, read here.
  • As for Trump, he had this to say Thursday in Biden’s birthplace of Scranton, Pennsylvania. He was also back on Twitter soon after Biden’s speech ended: “In 47 years, Joe did none of the things of which he now speaks. He will never change, just words!” In earlier tweets, Trump contrasted himself as for “LAW AND ORDER” and Biden for “CRIME!” and continued his attacks on mail-in voting, claiming the Democrats are pushing it so they can cast fraudulent ballots and “STEAL” the election by sending ballots to people who “don’t even exist.” He added, “To get into the Democrat National Convention, you must have an ID card with a picture…Yet the Democrats refuse to do this when it come to your very important VOTE! Gee, I wonder WHY???”
  • Trump also gave an interview to Fox’s Sean Hannity at the same time the DNC events kicked off; watch it here.

As I feared there was little actual talk about policies…plenty of promises and plenty of looking back and plenty of family remembrances with a seasoning of humor thrown in….none of which will tell us how we will actually profit from a Biden presidency.

As usual the DNC does not look forward…they find the past when they were successful is the only chance they have to sell their lousy policies to the American voter.  The media follows suit with the DNC….they bring fossils like Carvell out of the closet as a pundit….again policies of the past not looking forward.

This convention was millionaires telling us mere peasants that if we vote for them we too can achieve the riches of the nation…the same promise they give every four years and yet here we are still believing lies and hoping for the best.

To tell the truth…..I do not think that this Biden/Harris team is a winning combo….but we shall see.

Something to think about in closing…..

Biden “began his public career serving with people born in the 19th century,” writes John Harris in Politico Magazine. “If he wins the presidency, he surely will have some young aides who will still be alive in the 22nd century.” At 77, he is older than 94% of Americans, and he is older than 27 presidents when they died, writes Harris. Trump, of course, is only 43 months younger. But given the time when these two men came of age, “those three-plus years have an outsize historical significance,” adds Harris, pointing to how yearbook photos changed drastically during the 1960s as a cultural transformation in the US took hold.

And this brings the 2020 Dem Convention to a close…….all that is left to do is sweep the floors and turn out the lights and turn off the laptops……..but not to worry if you are a political geek….there will be more next week…the 2020 GOP Convention….the real fun thing of the month.

Okay some will say….did you see or hear anything that you approved of during the four nights…..well yes…..the music!

THE END!  This has been an IST Production.

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Shutting Down College

The news has been horrific about the return of college students to their respective campuses……several colleges have gone to on-line studies after hundreds of students have contracted the virus.

Of course Donald the Orange has something to say about this turn of events that counters his message…..

President Trump on Wednesday blasted universities that have canceled in-person classes amid coronavirus outbreaks, saying the move could ultimately cost lives rather than saving them. Raising the issue at a White House press briefing, Trump said the virus is akin to the seasonal flu for college students and that students pose a greater safety threat at home with older family members than on college campuses. He cited no evidence to support either contention, and the White House did not respond to a request for information on what Trump based his remarks, the AP reports. Health experts have said the novel coronavirus appears to be deadlier than the seasonal flu—initial data suggest a far higher mortality—and it is more easily transmitted. Another major difference: There is no vaccine for the novel coronavirus while there is a vaccine for the seasonal flu.

“It’s significantly safer for students to live with other young people than to go home and spread the virus to older Americans,” Trump said. While older adults face greater risks from COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last month that otherwise healthy young adults can experience lingering symptoms for two to three weeks. Campuses face unique challenges in keeping students safe and responding to outbreaks, including providing adequate facilities for placing infected or possibly infected students in quarantine. Trump’s comments follow recent suspensions of in-person instruction at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at the University of Notre Dame. Those schools’ struggles have prompted some other colleges to backtrack on plans for on-campus classes.

His bullshit flies into the face of all reliable information available…..notice I said “reliable” and that does NOT include anything coming out of Trump’s mouth.

Besides….is this not what conservs want…it would stop all those “liberal professors” from infecting the students……if they are not in classes they cannot be influenced by their instructors…….and yes as an opinionated SOB I have written on this subject as well………

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“lego ergo scribo”

US Wants A “Snapback” On Iran

Trump and his idiots in the State Department has gone to the UN and demanded a ‘snapback’ on sanctions against Iran……apparently the US is trying to get some movement in the covert conflict with Iran.

President Trump has demanded the reimposition of ‘snapback’ sanctions on Iran as part of the P5+1 nuclear deal, and revealed the US will go to the UN Security Council on Thursday to demand full imposition of all those sanctions without objection.

Within the nuclear deal, there is a clause that allows the US to snapback all sanctions if they believe Iran is failing in the deal. The clause also says no members of the deal can veto the measure. This is the plan the US is resting on.

And yet President Trump withdrew from the deal in May 2018, and had failed to live up to requirements before then. This raises serious doubts that the US can impose ‘snapback’ under the terms of a deal that they are no longer party to, or whether nations like China and Russia would be compelled not to veto it.

The Trump Administration has argued that because the United States was party to the deal once, they’re still sort of in the deal now, and can therefore take advantage of any rights they’d had then, even if they long ago left the deal.This interpretation suggests that the US never really had to comply with the deal in the first place, and once it got its name in the original text it had immutable rights, even acting in bad faith.


A “Snapback”?

Just what the Hell does that mean?

The United States will initiate a controversial procedure called “snapback” at the United Nations Security Council on Thursday in a bid to unilaterally reimpose sanctions on Iran.

AFP answers key questions surrounding the unprecedented legal measure, which America’s European allies oppose and which threatens the Iranian nuclear deal.

What’s the ‘snapback’ clause? –

Then-president Barack Obama’s administration boasted of having obtained a clause in the agreement that would allow it to reimpose, or “snapback,” all sanctions if Iran failed to comply with the agreement.

The clause permitted a “snapback” without members being allowed to veto. American officials worried at the time that China or Russia may veto any attempt to reimpose sanctions.

According to resolution 2231, any state “participating” in the agreement can lodge a complaint with the Security Council if they deem another participant has significantly failed to respect the accord.


Early in the Trump administration stated that it would NOT be held to any of the sections of the nuke deal and that it would NOT participate in it in any way.

And yet they, Trump and the Pompeo goons, want to use part of the deal that they said they would not participate in…..

This what your mother meant when she said “have your cake and eat it to”?

I think the UN will chuckle at Trump and move on without him or the idiot Pompeo.

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“lego ergo scribo”