Who Owns The GOP?

Well to answer that question I would say pick a large corporation and the GOP has fingers in their wallets….but the one that owns the most spineless representatives of both parties is the Military-Industrial Complex (M-IC)……

These vultures are making record profits……feeding the Saudis weapon systems so the Saudis can destroy the poorest country in the Middle East, Yemen…..

There have been a few in the House that are trying to curtail the US involvement in this conflict….but now the GOP has stepped up and done what the M-IC wants….kill as much attempts to end the US involvement as possible…..

…a measure is being advanced at the behest of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) aiming to derail House Continuing Resolution 138, a War Powers Act challenge which would force an end to the US military involvement in the Saudi-led War in Yemen.

Under the War Powers Act, any individual lawmaker is intended to be able to raise the matter of an unauthorized war for debate and a vote on the floor. Efforts to do so have failed, however, as the House leadership has used the Rules Committee to sidestep the issue.

This move to derail the debate is part of the first day of lame-duck House business, and Rep. Ryan and the other leaders seem to be hoping to turn the legal challenge of the war into a partisan issue. Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) accused the Republican leadership of shirking Congressional responsibility.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), however, is hoping to drum up enough Republican support for the legal challenge to prevent this, arguing that the legality of the Yemen War deserves a full debate and vote in the House.

(antiwar.com)

Those wishing to contact their lawmakers to tell them to vote against the attempt to strip privilege from H. Con. Res. 138 should do so quickly, as the vote is expected on Wednesday. You can do so by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121, or find the phone number for their specific representative here.

Speak up!  The US does not need to be part of the Saudi genocide of Yemen.

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Secrets The Dead Reveal

I once heard a major say that the “dead reveal their secrets”….he was referring to the Viet Cong that been killed and the intel that was garnered off their bodies…..but the same could be said for many other dead….like those Americans killed around the world or more specific in Africa…..

Because of American dead we learned that we have troops operating in countries like Niger and Mali to mention only a few……in Niger we had 4 Americans killed in an ambush and in Mali we had friendly killing friendly…..

Further Reading:

https://lobotero.com/2017/10/27/what-are-u-s-forces-doing-in-niger-anyway/

https://lobotero.com/2018/11/07/suspicious-death-in-mali/

As the Pentagon was in the midst of reviewing new plans for special operations missions in Africa reducing overall troop numbers on the continent, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis designated three new named contingency operations.

The most recent quarterly report from the Department of Defense Inspector General notes the creation of Operation Yukon Journey, a counterinsurgency operation, and counterterrorism operations in both northwest and east Africa.

Those were named in February, according to the report. The report covered activities in Operations Inherent Resolve from July to September.

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2018/11/06/report-reveals-few-details-about-new-named-contingency-operations-in-africa/

Another report is out and it looks like AFRICOM will be losing some of its operating overhead…..

The Pentagon is mulling plans to wind down special operations missions on the African continent and reassign troops to other, more in-demand regions.

The plans, submitted by a top U.S. military commander, align with the Trump administration’s strategy to focus on near-peer threats from countries like China and Russia.

“No decision has been officially made regarding the U.S. counterrorism forces operating in Africa,” a Pentagon press official told Military Times. “In light of the [2018 National Defense Strategy’s] updated priorities, the [DoD] is reviewing plans, operations, and military investments across the globe to develop the best options that address the evolving threat to U.S. national interests.”

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2018/08/02/report-africom-looks-to-cut-special-ops-missions-pull-out-hundreds-of-troops-from-africa/

I for one would like to see more of our troops return home…..we already have enough wars we are fighting why look for more?

Meanwhile Back In North Korea

About 6 months ago Our Dear Supreme Leader (people you do realize that I am being sarcastic when I type that title, right?) stood before the world and told us that NK would be an ex-nuke developer soon…..that we have a handshake agreement.

And while we are being lied to the North Korean leader keeps building his missiles to carry those weapons that he has promised to give up……

A Washington think tank released a report Monday identifying more than a dozen hidden missile bases North Korea has kept up and running even as President Trump touts his work on denuclearization with Kim Jong Un. The Center for Strategic and International Studies says it suspects North Korea has 20 missile operating bases that are undeclared by the government, and it has located 13 of them. The New York Times says the revelation “suggests a great deception,” with Pyongyang quietly continuing its ballistic missile program and even making improvements at these secret sites while publicly declaring its intention to dismantle its main missile launch site. Fox News notes that the report comes as denuclearization talks between the US and North Korea have stalled—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s planned meeting with his North Korean counterpart last week was delayed indefinitely.

“What everybody is worried about is that Trump is going to accept a bad deal—they give us a single test site and dismantle a few other things, and in return they get a peace agreement” that formally ends the Korean War, says the North Korea expert who leads the CSIS’ Beyond Parallel program, which released the report. Another expert on nuclear nonproliferation called the program’s analysis “excellent” but disagreed with the Times‘ assessment of the situation, noting on Twitter: “To call this a ‘deception’ is deeply misleading. Kim Jong Un publicly stated that North Korea would shift to the mass producing nuclear weapons in 2018. These bases and their missiles are well-known, long-standing and have never been offered for dismantlement by the DPRK.” Per CNBC, the largest ballistic missiles possibly housed in the bases identified in the report are believed to be able to reach the US. (Read more North Korea stories.)

But Dear Trump just cannot admit that he was played like a cheap drum by Kim……..

A story emerged Monday suggesting that North Korea was violating the spirit of promises to reduce its nuclear arsenal. Not so, says President Trump. “The story in the New York Times concerning North Korea developing missile bases is inaccurate,” he tweeted. “We fully know about the sites being discussed, nothing new – and nothing happening out of the normal. Just more Fake News. I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!” The Times story he’s referring to was based on a new study by Center for Strategic and International Studies, whose researchers say they have found more than a dozen secret ballistic missile bases in North Korea. The newspaper acknowledges, however, that US intelligence agencies have long known about this network.

Here is how the Times frames the issue: “The satellite images suggest that the North has been engaged in a great deception: It has offered to dismantle a major launching site—a step it began, then halted—while continuing to make improvements at more than a dozen others that would bolster launches of conventional and nuclear warheads.” South Korea objected to this characterization even before Trump did, also using the phrase “nothing new.” A spokesman for President Moon Jae-in adds: “North Korea has never promised to dismantle its missile bases, nor has it ever joined any treaty that obligates it to dismantle them. So calling this a ‘deception’ is not appropriate.” That didn’t stop Democratic Sen. Ed Markey, who sits on the Foreign Relations panel, from asserting that Trump was “getting played by Kim Jong Un,” per Bloomberg.

Yet another pile of bovine fecal matter fed to the American public.

Enjoy your meal!

Closing Thought–13Nov18

As a grad of international relations I find our country’s leaders are woefully misinformed…..this time it was Our Dear Supreme Leader “Trump”……he gets confused easily…….

President Donald Trump confused the Baltic states in Europe with the Balkans—and chastised leaders of the former for starting wars in the 1990s that lead to the break-up of Yugoslavia, French daily Le Monde reported.

Trump reportedly made the mistake in a White House meeting with Dalia Grybauskaitė of Lithuania, Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia and Raimonds Vējonis of Latvia in April.

https://www.newsweek.com/trump-confused-baltics-balkans-and-accused-confused-leaders-starting-yugoslav-1210939

In case you also are confused let me help out with a couple of short videos…….

In case the confusion is still there….yet another video……

Did any of that help in the understanding?

Class Dismissed!

Was 100 Years Enough?

We have just celebrated the end of World War One…here in the US it was a celebration of Veterans Day…..I have been looking back at the war for the last few years…..I am amazed at the death and destruction that war gave the world…..

First let’s look at some misconceptions that have been spread about the war…..

Eleven leading historians explode some major myths that have clouded our understanding of the Great War over the past 100 years…

The killing of Franz Ferdinand was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back

https://www.historyextra.com/period/first-world-war/the-great-misconceptions-of-the-first-world-war/

It has been 100 years since the armistice has been signed…..and the world events show us that war is ever present for various reasons…..but did we learn anything from World War One?

The close of World War I was supposed to end the world’s reliance on arms—and empire. But on the centenary, the Middle East offers proof that this hasn’t happened.

The First World War, which ended a century ago Sunday, was supposed to be a hinge-moment in history: a war to end all wars, and a war to end the imperialism that had shaped the West’s interaction with the world for centuries. After the United States joined the war in 1917, President Wilson insisted it be fought in the cause of self-determination.

But despite its massive toll, the war did not end empire, and many of today’s struggles are rooted in that failure, including Americans’ own imperial investments in war.

https://newrepublic.com/article/152153/100-years-enough

About the only lessons learned by World War One is that there will always be bigger and better weapons and those that will want to possess them and ultimately use them and there will always be those that amass huge fortunes selling those weapons to whoever has the cash…..

Then we ask just what did all those people die for?

Yet the only war of the 20th century more senseless than Vietnam was the so-called Great War, and most especially America’s intervention in an old world tragedy for no good reason whatsoever. That is to say, the Marine heroes of the bloody battle of Belleau Wood did not die “in the trenches for the cause of freedom”.

To the contrary, they died there owing to the fanatical megalomania of President Woodrow Wilson. The latter maneuvered America into the Great War in April 1917 when it was nearly over, and for the purpose of giving himself a grand seat at the peace conference afterward to reshape the world in accordance with his messianic vision.

That was a horrible reason in itself for the 116,000 deaths of American servicemen during the less than 12 months that they were actually engaged in battle at the tail end of the war. The real tragedy of their sacrifice and the real crime of Wilson’s pointless intervention was that it snatched victory for the allies, who didn’t deserve it, from the jaws of stalemate among the militarily exhausted, financially bankrupt and politically demoralized combatants on both sides of the conflict.

https://original.antiwar.com/David_Stockman/2018/11/12/america-should-have-skipped-the-war-not-just-the-ceremony/

I agree with another article I read about the holiday…..

…every public institution will pause and go through the motions of “thanking” America’s veterans; but the whole pretense ignores that the populace hardly cares about foreign policy.

Veterans’ Day – maybe we ought to drop the whole charade. Don’t get me wrong, there will be celebrations a plenty: the NFL will roll out the ubiquitous stadium-sized flags and march uniformed service members in front of the cameras; cities across the nation will hold parades; and millions of Americans will take a moment to go through the motions and “thank” the nation’s soldiers. Sure, the gestures are sometimes genuine and certainly preferable to the alternative. Still, all this martial spectacle misses the salient point hidden just below the surface: the American people are absolutely not engaged with U.S. foreign policy. Most could hardly name the seven countries its military actively bombing, let alone find them on a map.

https://original.antiwar.com/Danny_Sjursen/2018/11/12/one-veterans-plea-get-informed-or-ditch-the-holiday/

Basically to me war makes no sense to me….and I am not alone…..

America spends more on its military than all its enemies put together yet it still can’t win wars. Failed adventures in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan have drained America’s power and diminished its prestige. The bloated Pentagon budget actually makes us weaker.

Here’s the weird bit: nobody seems to care. If any other government department spent as much and accomplished as little, the populace would be in arms, complaining about wasteful government spending. Instead we mumble “Thank you for your service” and increase defense appropriations.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/war-doesnt-make-sense-anymore/

AMEN!

I say that because I have heard people bad mouthing our veterans and servicemen as basically “freeloaders”…..to this I say “go find a war and go fight then talk to me!”  PERIOD!

Time For The House To Step Up

(I will re-blog this post in January of 2019 as the new Congress gets sworn it…just a reminder)

Voting is done……the tally is the Dems have prevailed.

The House is now in the hands of the Dems…..and now is the time for the Dems to step up and take back the power to declare war…..they have allowed the president too much lee way in this field and because the president has had a free hand we are fighting someone in at least 100 locations….time for that to change!

The American political environment is as polarized as it has been in recent memory. But there is one major policy priority that should unite lawmakers on both sides: making the legislative branch relevant on matters of war and peace.

The assumption within the foreign policy establishment is that national security in general, and war-making in particular, are distinct responsibilities of the executive branch. The president is the commander in chief of the armed forces, after all, under Article 2 of the Constitution.

But the legislative branch is not meant to be a bystander. The authors of the Constitution understood that concentrating too much power in the executive branch would start the country down a dangerous road to perpetual war. “War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement,” James Madison observed astutely, and the temptation to make war “would be too great for any one man.”

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-depetris-congress-war-powers-20181008-story.html

An excellent point and a point that I and others have been saying since 2003…..time for the Congress to start doing their job and let the president play to the cameras.

One little-noted consequence of the Democrats’ victory in the House of Representatives on Tuesday is that, for the first time in several years, there will be serious oversight of the Defense Department and possibly some cuts in high-profile weapons systems and secret commando operations.

At the Defense News Conference in September, Rep. Adam Smith, the Washington Democrat who has been the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee and is likely to become its chairman in January, listed his top priorities if his party took control of the House. They include:

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/11/democrats-house-pentagon-oversight.html

Is it possible that a new House could change the ddirection of US foreign policy?

The blue wave that crested over the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday was just large enough to usher in a Democratic majority for the first time in eight years. Because the president retains extraordinary powers to manage international affairs, foreign policy and national security may seem like the least likely areas to look for change in the new era. But Democrats may well force a shift in Washington’s approach to the world.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/11/how-house-democrats-will-shift-us-foreign-policy/575215/

And from the Middle East…….

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/en/originals/2018/11/midterms-revamp-mideast-policy-congress.html

So much rides on the new House…..but will anything change?

Democrats will use their new majority in the US House of Representatives to reverse what they see as a hands-off approach by Republicans toward President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, and push for stricter dealings with Russia, Saudi Arabia and North Korea, Reuters reports.

Representative Eliot Engel, the Democrat in line to head the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said they might also seek congressional authorisation for the use of military force in places like Iraq and Syria. But on some hot-button areas, like China and Iran, he acknowledged there was little they could do to change the status quo.

As the majority party, Democrats will decide what legislation is considered in the House and have a more prominent role in setting spending policy and writing legislation.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20181108-how-a-democratic-us-house-could-alter-foreign-policy/

But there is a dark side….recently the US Congress, a few members, have called for a ceasefire in the Yemen-Saudi mash-up….I agree but the problem is that the statement is little more than a PR stunt to look like the Congress is doing something…..

In an October 30 press release issued by the State Department, the Trump administration called “on all parties to support UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis—both of whom have long defended the Yemen war—are now calling for a ceasefire within 30 days.

Yet these exhortations are meaningless without real pressure on Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which are poised to launch yet another offensive on the Yemeni port of Hodeidah.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/a-yemen-ceasefire-believe-it-when-you-see-it/

Like I have said….ALL BARK NO BITE!

Dems!  Time to step up!

More On The Death In Mali

A year ago I wrote a post on the mysterious death of a green Beret at the hands of SEALs…..I was appalled at the killing of Americans by Americans….we have enough enemies in the world we do not need to kill each other……then a report came out in a coupe of South American newspaper about the investigation into this death……I wrote…..https://lobotero.com/2018/11/07/suspicious-death-in-mali/

Four days after I read the report an American publication picked up the story…the Army Times……

A Navy admiral will now determine whether two SEALs will face charges in the strangling death of an Army Special Forces staff sergeant last year in Mali.

More than a year after the incident, the Navy’s criminal investigation into the death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, 34, has concluded and been turned over to Rear Adm. Charles Rock, commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia, as reported by the U.S. Naval Institute.

Rock was appointed by Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer to oversee the case, according to USNI.

Capt. Greg Hicks, the Navy’s chief spokesman, told the New York Times that Rock would “review all relevant information pertaining to Staff Sergeant Melgar’s death and make determinations regarding administrative or disciplinary actions as appropriate.”

https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2018/11/07/navy-completes-investigation-into-death-of-green-beret-in-mali-heres-what-happens-next/

Basically the same story as the one I read four days earlier……I wish I had more to write about but I wanted to make sure that my readers were aware that an American publication had picked up the story…..

Hopefully this family will get the answers and the satisfaction they deserve…..