Closing Thought–22Oct20

I have had many conversations about our many many endless wars….and I am asked that if I think they are so bad how can they still be fighting wars?

I have a very clear and succinct answer…..Think Tanks.

I am not a fan of most think tanks for they paid to make manure look like sirloin…..and our wars are no different.  I gave my thoughts here on IST…..https://lobotero.com/2017/09/20/closing-thought-20sep17/

The American Conservative (yes I read a conserv publication has looked into this…..as well……

The top 50 think tanks in America, as ranked by the University of Pennsylvania’s Go To Think Tank Index, received over $1 billion from U.S. government and defense contractors. The top recipients of this funding were the RAND Corporation, the Center for a New American Security, and the New America Foundation, according to analysis by the Center for International Policy.

Donations to these think tanks came from 68 different U.S. government and defense contractor sources, under at least 600 separate donations. The top five defense contractor donors to U.S. think tanks were Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martina and Air Bus.

Top think tank funders from within the U.S. government include the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Air Force, the Army, the Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department. The defense contractors that forked over the most to think tanks were Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Airbus.

The RAND Corporation alone received over $1 billion between 2014-2019, accounting for approximately 95 percent of its funding that the report tracked. Nearly all the money came from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ($110 million,) the U.S. Army (over $245 million,) and the U.S. Air Force (over ($281 million.)

Top 50 U.S. Think Tanks Receive Over $1B from Gov, Defense Contractors

Then there is the MSM….they hire “experts” to make these wars acceptable…..both print and broadcast….for most are now owned by the very M-IC corporations that are funding the “whitewash” of our worthless endless wars.

If instance the NYTimes has had a section called “At War”….well it has decided to drop the section altogether

Following the announcement Tuesday that the New York Times “At War” section—which has explored the “experiences and costs of war” for the past two and a half years—is ending this week, peace advocates were quick to note that the United States’ actual “forever war” outlasting a forum dedicated to covering it should be a sobering reminder of the nation’s destructive and bloody foreign policy nearly two decades after the invasions of Afghanistan and then Iraq. 

The news came just one week after Stars and Stripes provided an account of U.S. military veterans who fought in Afghanistan watching their children deploy to the same ongoing war.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/10/14/imperial-irony-new-york-times-announces-halt-war-section-even-endless-us-war

The whitewash and the justification for war and the deaths of Americans proceeds…….with very little notice.

Final Thought:  Tonight is the final debate and I will offer analysis in tomorrow’s posts.

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Debate–What To Expect Tonight

Just hours away from the silliness we call the presidential debates…..I will be watching just because I am a sucker of political theatrics…..if you are gonna watch and not wait for my analysis then this is what you can expect.

After a chaotic first debate and a second one that was replaced by dueling town halls, President Trump and Joe Biden will meet for a final debate in Nashville Thursday night. Under a rule change, each candidate’s mic will be muted for the first two minutes their rival speaks on each subject, meaning that there will probably be fewer interruptions than in the Cleveland clash—although since Trump’s main line of attack is expected to involve Biden’s son Hunter, analysts are not expecting it to be an entirely calm and sedate discussion. Biden is expected to focus on the economy and the pandemic. More:

  • The moderator. The Los Angeles Times describes NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker as a “political junkie who got her dream job.” The Harvard-educated Welker has been assigned to the White House since 2011. She is the second Black woman to moderate a presidential debate. The first was former ABC anchor Carole Simpson, who moderated the second debate between George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot in 1992.
  • After a chaotic first debate and a second one that was replaced by dueling town halls, President Trump and Joe Biden will meet for a final debate in Nashville Thursday night. Under a rule change, each candidate’s mic will be muted for the first two minutes their rival speaks on each subject, meaning that there will probably be fewer interruptions than in the Cleveland clash—although since Trump’s main line of attack is expected to involve Biden’s son Hunter, analysts are not expecting it to be an entirely calm and sedate discussion. Biden is expected to focus on the economy and the pandemic. More:

The moderator. The Los Angeles Times describes NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker as a “political junkie who got her dream job.” The Harvard-educated Welker has been assigned to the White House since 2011. She is the second Black woman to moderate a presidential debate. The first was former ABC anchor Carole Simpson, who moderated the second debate between George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot in 1992.

  • Biden’s dilemma over attacks on son. Politico reports that with Trump expected to attack Biden over Hunter’s business dealings, Democrats are divided over how the candidate should respond. Some say Biden should do more to highlight the conflicts of interest in Trump’s family, while others argue that he should just switch focus to the pandemic. “Do we really want to have a debate about politicians’ children when people are really struggling to no end? Throw a quick combo and get out,” suggests Democratic strategist James Carville.
  • Coronavirus precautions. An official from the Commission on Presidential Debates tells the Tennessean that both candidates will be tested for COVID-19 before the debate. Peter Eyre says the audience of around 200 people, including the candidates’ guests, will be required to wear masks and maintain social distancing. He says there will be “enforcement of the mask rule,” which did not happen in Cleveland, where Trump’s relatives removed their masks when the debate began.
  • How to watch. The debate begins at 9pm ET and will be carried on networks including ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, PBS, NBC, MSNBC, Noticias Telemundo, and C-SPAN, per the AP. The networks will also offer ways to watch the debate online through YouTube and other sites.

Or you can save yourself the agony of watching the two old farts go after each other…..and just wait for my analysis tomorrow.

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Dems Play Games

I have often said that I think our Congress is a waste of time and money…..they spend more time running to a camera or massaging the genitals of donors or playing silly games.

The newest game is by the Dems on the SCOTUS committee vote…..

The Senate Judiciary Committee is due to vote Thursday on advancing the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court—but the panel’s 10 Democrats will not be present. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the Democrats on the committee said Wednesday that Democrats will boycott the hearing to protest the “sham process” of rushing Barrett’s nomination through, the Hill reports. “We will not grant this process any further legitimacy by participating in a committee markup of this nomination just twelve days before the culmination of an election that is already underway,” they said in a statement.

The Democrats said Republicans were violating the “promises and rules” they established in refusing to grant Obama nominee Merrick Garland a hearing in the nine months before the 2016 election. The Democrats said Judiciary Committee rules require two members of the minority party to be present when business is conducted, but committee chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham said he would proceed without them, NPR reports. “I will move forward,” the Republican said. “She deserves a vote.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled that he wants to hold a full Senate vote on Barrett’s nomination Monday, which would install the conservative justice on the court in time to rule on election-related cases.

The Dems are by NO means the only game players…..

This theatrics will accomplish nothing…..the nominee will go to Senate for a vote……and the Dems will look like pouty little brats.

It is stunts like this that I say the Congress is a pack of tired old political d/bags.

And the GOP is just as guilty….McConnell is playing a game for this nomination as well…..but he is playing with lives…..

Senate Majority Mitch McConnell told his Republican colleagues Tuesday that he has privately been urging the Trump White House not to strike a coronavirus relief deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before the November 3 election, warning that an agreement could interfere with his chamber’s plan to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court early next week.

McConnell’s remarks, first reported by the Washington Post, came during a closed-door Senate GOP lunch just ahead of a Tuesday evening deadline for a relief deal set by Pelosi and agreed to by the Trump administration. While the deadline came and went without a deal, the House Speaker told Democratic lawmakers late Tuesday that the two sides “have been making some progress” and continued to voice optimism that “we can reach an agreement before the election.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/10/21/mcconnell-admits-hes-been-working-sabotage-covid-relief-talks-behind-scenes

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Those Killings By Police

I have written many times about the deaths caused by the police mostly against people of color and how that can be eliminated….for one stop equipping the police with military weapons……that could go s long way at solving this murder problem of people of color.

Why would I say that?

There is a body of proof that illustrates the PDsm that get military equipment have a higher kill ratio of the public than those that do not get the equipment from the DoD.

Americans have seen it time and again in recent months on the nightly news: Protesters in the streets confronted by local police officers carrying assault rifles, some atop armored vehicles, looking more like soldiers than public servants.

Much of that equipment has trickled down to police departments from a controversial Defense Department initiative known as the 1033 program, a 30-year-old federal initiative that provides a way for the military to dispose of surplus equipment by sending it to local police.

The results paint a troubling picture: The more equipment a department receives, the more people are shot and killed, even after accounting for violent crime, race, income, drug use and population.

Only 7% of Georgia’s law enforcement agencies received surplus military gear at any time over the 10 years, but those agencies accounted for 17% of the 261 people shot and killed by police.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/10/09/police-killings-more-likely-agencies-get-military-gear-data-shows.html

Instead of basically giving this equipment away why cannot the DoD sell it to Third World countries that could use it for their own defense and the US could recoup a bit of the cash it spent funding the development of this equipment?

Just A Though!

For those inquiring minds……further reading will fill any gaps….

https://lobotero.com/2018/09/07/closing-thought-07sep18/

https://lobotero.com/2020/07/21/is-it-police-reform-or-defund-or-abolition/

https://lobotero.com/2020/06/24/de-fund-the-police/

There is more….but it will take some interest if you would like to search IST…..

Time for the Police to return to their motto of “protect and serve” and leave the fascistic BS of “punish and enslave” to the garbage heap of history.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Winner-Take-All Economy

We are told almost daily of the attributes of the “free market” economy….but those markets are far from free….for many years I have written numerous times about this lie….this illusion…..

https://lobotero.com/2008/09/20/free-markets-truth-not-spoken/

https://lobotero.com/2020/05/25/that-free-market-illusion/

Then there is the economic inequality….where 1% of the population owns more than the bottom 80%…..but how bad can it possibly be?

Well as you might imagine I have also written numerous posts on this as well…..

https://lobotero.com/2014/02/25/the-increasingly-unequal-states-of-america-income-inequality-by-state-1917-to-2011-economic-policy-institute/

https://lobotero.com/2018/03/17/inequality-how-bad-can-it-be/

After WW2 the economic growth ranged across all levels of society but that equality was to be short lived……our economy has become winner take all….and each passing year the inequality spreads.

In the three decades following World War II, the US saw economic growth that was shared across all levels of income, from the working class to the richest 1 percent. But that changed after the mid-1970s as income inequality increased exponentially during the next four decades.

A new study by nonprofit research organization RAND nails down what really happened. It shows that this rising inequality took a substantial bite out of the earnings of up to 90 percent of American households.

In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, we talk with the authors of the RAND study, mathematician Carter Price and labor economist Kathryn Edwards.

Price and Edwards detail the unique approach they took in putting this report together. Up until now, they explain, nobody had devised a formula to show just how individuals and their families were affected by the rising inequality across the entire income spectrum. 

Proof Positive of the Winner-Take-All Economy

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Embargo–Going–Going–Gone

After thirteen years the UN’s arms embargo placed on Iran has now run its course and is gone….

As you would expect the warmonger-in-chief Pompeo is thumping his chest like some crazed primate….even to the point of issuing threats…..

After months of US opposition, the Iran arms embargo at the UN has expired, and despite the US opposition, UN officials are uniform in agreement that it actually has expired. Don’t tell that to the Trump Administration though, as they insist it’s still in place.

Reflecting US promises to enforce the non-existent embargo themselves, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to impose US sanctions on any nations that sell arms to Iran, or offer them training or services.

That’s been the US position since they failed to extend the embargo, but it’s not clear it will actually do anything, as the nations most likely to provide Iran with arms and services, Russia and China, will almost certainly ignore US threats the same way they do on everything else Iran-related.

Iranian officials don’t expect a huge rush to buy arms anyhow, as a decade of embargos has made them self-sufficient in a lot of things. Still, Russia and China can offer some better versions of equipment, or at a better price than Iran can make them themselves, and there is no real legal obstacle to that anymore.

The fact that the US opposes, or indeed “forbids” such sales is likely to ensure that some happen just to spite them, with Russia in particular very clear that they intended to make sales to Iran once the legal restriction was lifted.

(antiwar.com)

Parties should weigh what this cessation would mean….

European governments should carefully weigh the risks that come with the expiration of the UN arms embargo. Given the ongoing Western military support to regional partners, and the growing alignment between Israel and the Arab world, the expiration of the embargo is unlikely to alter the balance of power in the Middle East in the short term. The pragmatic way to address these concerns is by reaching side agreements with Russia and China over the timing and scope of such arms sales to Iran, in ways that prevent a rise in tension in the Middle East.

No doubt, Moscow and Beijing will sign arms deals with Tehran – and perhaps even major ones, such as those involving the Russian S-400 missile defence system, which Iran is eager to acquire. Tehran may also seek to sign deals for battle tanks, fighter jets, surface-to-air missiles, and anti-radar missile systems – which can target surface-to-air defence systems, thereby putting the forces of the US and its allies at greater risk in the Middle East. However, given precedent and a series of political and economic restraints, it is unclear whether these deals would result in delivery in the near future.

Do not expect a rush of arms sales to Iran

Now that the embargo has expired….Iran is looking at incoming cash from arms sales…..

Iran on Monday said it is more inclined to sell weapons rather than buy them, after it announced the end of a longstanding UN conventional arms embargo.

Tehran said the ban imposed more than a decade ago was lifted “automatically” as of Sunday, based on the terms of a 2015 landmark nuclear deal with world powers, from which the Islamic republic’s arch-enemy the United States has withdrawn.

“Before being a buyer in the arms market, Iran has the ability to supply” other countries, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters.

Iran Says Will Sell More Arms Than Buy After Embargo Lifted

Will this make a difference in the Middle East say?

Will this put the brakes on troop withdrawals?

Any thought?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”