A Deal That Is Not A Deal

The good news when Trump was Saudi Arabia he let the world know that a deal had been struck and it would mean jobs back home……$110 billion was the price tag that he pushed……

What does this deal really mean in the long run……

It turns out that the $110 billion Saudi Arabia arms deal that the Trump administration announced in May is actually “fake news,” according to the Brookings Institution.

Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow and director of the Brookings Intelligence Project, writes that everyone with whom he has spoken in the defense industry and on Capitol Hill says that the supposed $110 billion deal is actually “a bunch of letters of interest or intent, but not contracts.”

In fact, a lot of these proposals, which the Pentagon calls “intended sales,” are just arms that defense contractors speculate that the Saudis might want at some point. Many were even proposed during the Obama era.

For example, the Pentagon proposed to sell the Saudis four frigates for $11.25 billion in 2015, but since then, no contracts have been signed

Read the full Brookings Institution article here.

As usual with this president……a promise does not mean a reality…..will any of his promises ever translate into real jobs for Americans?

Some Real “Men” In Congress After All

I have accused most of the people serving in the Congress as cowards…and I still believe that most have no nuts for the job.

But there are a few that show the cajones to take on the president and the M-IC…..I have written about others that are showing some gumption…..

Source: Tulsi Gabbard Finds An Ally – In Saner Thought

Source: Did Congress Grow A Set? – In Saner Thought

Recently our president made a trip to Saudi Arabia and promised them about $110 billion in weapons…..and that will be challenged by a couple of brave Senators….

US senators introduced legislation on Thursday to stop at least a portion of President Donald Trump’s $110bn sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Republican Rand Paul and Democrats Chris Murphy and Al Franken introduced a resolution of disapproval in the Senate to force a vote on whether to block part of the sale.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee received formal notice of the pending sale on 19 May.

The Arms Export Control Act of 1976 allows a senator to force a vote on an arms sale, once Congress is formally notified of plans to go ahead.

The same three senators introduced a similar resolution last year seeking to block the sale of $1.15bn of tanks and other equipment to Saudi Arabia. That measure was defeated overwhelmingly.

(middleeasteye.net)

They will probably not be successful for the Saudis have many Senators in their back pockets….but at least these people are forcing the Congress to take a long look at the wasteful crap of this president.

On another front some of these people are pushing for the action on the Authorization for Use of Military Force(AUMF)….this is an attempt to try and force the Congress to do their duty and vote on any war-like action.

Since the US started attacking ISIS years ago, the legal basis for the war has been pretty much non-existent, with officials sometimes claiming the 9/11 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) from 2001 covers ISIS too, even though ISIS didn’t even exist when it was passed.

Congress has long spurned the idea of voting on the ISIS war, however, delaying it early in the war because it was too close to an election, and mostly forgetting about it after that. Sens. Jeff Flake (R – AZ) and Tim Kaine (D – VA) are reviving the push for a AUMF vote.

Flake issued a statement saying it was “past time for Congress to voice its support for the war against ISIS.” Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Corker (R – TN) says last year was “not the right time,” but that he thinks conditions might be right now for the vote.

(antiwar.com)

I may not agree with these people politically but I am on their side with this attempt to protect our troops and the curb the waste of money in war.

We are always hearing some moron going on about a balanced budget…..you want that then stop spending all the cash on war…pretty goddamn simple!

My hat is off to these brave souls as they will be chastised and will probably lose this battle but at least it will put both actions on the record and bring a little more light to them.

Closing Thought–11May17

Bomb’s Away!

As it is today the US is dropping bombs on at least 5 different nations through multiple sorties per day…..and that has created a bit of a problem…..

Massive air wars in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan are just the beginning of the story for the United States military, with regular strikes in places like Somalia and Yemen, and constant risks of the US launching a massive war on North Korea at any moment. That’s a lot of bombs being dropped, and mostly in open-ended conflicts.

A year ago, the Pentagon was warning that it was forced to raid its world-wide stockpiles of bombs because they were using so many. Now,, they’re running through those too, and are using smart-bombs faster than they can buy them from massive US arms makers.

That’s a big problem for the Pentagon, because as already the biggest consumer of bombs on the planet by far, there isn’t exactly a ton of leftover capacity for them to draw on. That makes the US air wars literally unsustainable at current levels, because there just aren’t enough bombs on the planet to supply them all

(antiwar.com)

The Defense industry runs non-stop and we still cannot keep up with the number of bombs needed…..does anyone see the problem here?

Thanx everyone for your visits and your comments…I appreciate your visits….time to bow out for the day….chuq

Closing Thought–08May17

Brain Games!

I for one think that learning is essential to life……one should continue long after leaving school….and anything that would help me learn faster and better could be a good thing.

DARPA, that super secret R&D outfit that researches weapons and other such necessities for our continuous wars,  is looking into a way to hack a human brain….that’s right…I said hack the human brain!

If the brain is just a bunch of wires and circuits, it stands to reason that those components can simply be re-wired in order to create a better, smarter us. At least, that’s the theory behind a new project from the military’s secretive DARPA research branch announced on Wednesday, which aims to enhance human cognitive ability by activating what’s known as “synaptic plasticity.”

Recent research has suggested that stimulating certain peripheral nerves—those that relay signals between the brain, the spinal cord and the rest of the body—can enhance a person’s ability to learn, by triggering the release of neurochemicals that reorganize connections in the brain. Through its new Targeted Neuroplasticity Training program, DARPA is is funding eight different research efforts that seek to enhance learning by targeting those nerves with electrical stimulation. The end goal is to translate those findings into real-world applications that boost military training regimens—allowing a soldier, to say, soak up a new language in months instead of years. Should DARPA figure out a way to do that, its efforts will likely go on to impact all of us.

Source: DARPA Wants to Hack Your Brain to Make You Learn Faster

Plus these people are using the human brain to make robots more deadly…..

Without even realizing it, soldiers could soon be training robot sharpshooters to take their jobs.

Modern sensors can see farther than humans. Electronic circuits can shoot faster than nerves and muscles can pull a trigger. Humans still outperform armed robots in knowing what to shoot at — but new research funded in part by the Army may soon narrow that gap.

Researchers from DCS Corp and the Army Research Lab fed datasets of human brain waves into a neural network — a type of artificial intelligence — which learned to recognize when a human is making a targeting decision. They presented their paper on it at the annual Intelligent User Interface conference in Cyprus in March.

Source: The Military is Using Human Brain Waves to Teach Robots How to Shoot – Defense One

While I like these ideas….I also see it as something that can and will be abused in the name of profit…..it is only a matter of time.

Any thoughts?

Today has been a bit slow on IST…I do hope it is not because I had to cut back….this is my last of the day….I have too much research to fool around……see you guys tomorrow….chuq  out.

From The Ashes

I have been a critic of the so-called “security contractors”….these people are nothing more than mercenaries….hired soldiers to fight wars for the rich and powerful…..they fight for money not some noble excuse like fighting communism or terrorism…..money is the only motivation.

To save space and my typing finger I will send you to an op-ed I recently wrote on this subject…..

Source: Rise of the American Mercenary – In Saner Thought

After so much bad PR the mercenaries in the Blackwater group changed their name to Xe and then sort of dropped off the world stage press coverage….

But did they?

Appears Blackwater guys have been working off the radar so to speak……

On Jan. 11, 2017, Intelligence Online — a professional journal covering the world’s intelligence services — revealed that the pilots of Air Tractor attack planes flying from Al Khadim air base in Libya are private contractors working for Erik Prince, the founder of the company formerly known as Blackwater.

War Is Boring’s own sources in Libya confirmed the assertion. Our sources said that the pilots flying the United Arab Emirates Air Force IOMAX AT-802 Air Tractors — converted crop-dusters — are mercenaries and aren’t Arabs.

Source: Erik Prince’s Mercenaries Are Bombing Libya

Once again we have an American company supplying mercenaries to fight in wars…an American company profiting off of the science of war….just an extension of the M-IC.

There use to be a punishment for fighting in a war that was not of your home nation…loss of citizenship…may I suggest that it is time for this to be reconsidered.

The World Of The “Deep State”

Now there is a term that is being used way too much these days…..just a decade ago it was used mostly by people that did analysis for think tanks….but thanks to this past election it has made its way into the main stream.

The problem is there are not many Americans that are aware of what this term actually means…..

There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power

Source: Essay: Anatomy of the Deep State | BillMoyers.com

What got me to thinking about the term “Deep State” was a post I read on Washington Blog……

I have long held that America’s Deep State–the unelected National Security State often referred to as the Shadow Government–is not a unified monolith but a deeply divided ecosystem in which the dominant Neocon-Neoliberal Oligarchy is being challenged by elements which view the Neocon-Neoliberal agenda as a threat to national security and the interests of the United States.

I call these anti-Neocon-Neoliberal elements the progressive Deep State.

If you want a working definition of the Neocon-Neoliberal Deep State, Hillary Clinton’s quip–we came, we saw, he died–is a good summary: a bullying, arrogance-soaked state-within-a-state pursuing an agenda of ceaseless intervention while operating a global Murder, Inc., supremely confident that no one in the elected government can touch them.

Source: Trump Aims to Cut the Neocon Deep State Off at the Knees

The Deep State has been a fixture that most Americans were unaware of in the past……It will be interesting to see if Trump has it in his playbook top neutralize this group.  It has even invaded the political parties (if we call them that)…..

Crooked elections and wars with nuclear-armed countries are not supported by the base of either party, nor are they part of any party’s platform.  Whose agenda are they serving?

I had been hearing, off and on, about the Deep State, so I Googled and found an essay from 2014 on Moyers & Company called Anatomy of the Deep State by former Congressional staffer Mike Lofgren.

Source: U.S. Political Parties and the Deep State – LA Progressive

I am guessing that we will become far more familiar with the term “Deep State” in the next 4 years…..

Rise of the American Mercenary

From time to time my friends at Ace News Room will publish an op-ed of mine…..below is one that I have been ranting about for a decade now…..

I have been very verbal on what I think of private “security contractors” or what they really are…mercenaries……

But first….a mercenary?

The word “mercenary” comes from the Latin “merces,” which means “wages” or “fee.” Thus, taken literally, a mercenary is any person who serves merely for wages. Although this definition could apply to many of us in the working world, it’s most closely associated with the professional soldier, or someone who is hired by a political entity to fight in a conflict. That conflict could be a war, a coup attempt or a prohibition campaign designed to reduce illegal drug trade.

(read on……)

Source: Rise of the American Mercenary | Ace News Room

The Demise of Anti-War Liberals?

After my stint in Vietnam I returned home to a society that did not like me much (deep down they still do not like the Viet vet very much)….I also became an antiwar activist because I did and do not think that war is a good thing…it usually creates more problems that it solved…..

I have noticed that the antiwar movement does not have the same impact it use to…..especially within the ranks of so-called liberals…..one reason is because war nowadays only effects 1% of the population…..basically there is NO shared experience and the media used to control ALL info about our numerous wars……

The liberals aka Dems, are now as entrenched with the money of the “defense” industry that they have turned a blind eye to anything resembling right……

This last election proved this point…..and a little historical perspective at the liberals and the antiwar movement…….

Senator Sanders may now have sounded the death knell for the liberal anti-war movement.

During the post-World War II period, opposition to U.S. militarism and involvement in dubious military conflicts has usually been stronger on the political left than the right.  Left-wing, anti-war sentiment reached its peak during the Vietnam War, when groups opposed to that conflict could sometimes mobilize tens of thousands of demonstrators.  Opposition to subsequent U.S. military crusades was less robust, but even as late as the Iraq War, there were sizable anti-war demonstrations in the streets.

There have been warning signs for some time, though, that opposition to unnecessary armed conflicts has lost its appeal to much of the political left.  For one thing, there was always a partisan bias to anti-war movements.  Even during the heyday of resistance to the Vietnam War, the criticism became more intense after Republican Richard Nixon took over the White House than it had been when Democrat Lyndon Johnson occupied the Oval Office.  The bias was even more apparent in later decades.  There was far more criticism of Republican George H.W. Bush’s Persian Gulf War than there was of Democrat Bill Clinton’s wars in Bosnia and Kosovo.  Indeed, a distressing number of prominent liberals found reasons to praise Clinton’s military crusades in the Balkans.

Source: The Demise of Anti-War Liberals? | Cato @ Liberty

Americans need to pay more attention to the wars we start and why….if for no other reason than it could be a family member that has to fight the battles…..

 

Greed & War

I am always going on about the Military-Industrial Complex (M-IC)….how it is this sector of American industry that controls our foreign policy especially when an armed conflict is called for…..

Wars are fought with profits as the bottom line….not ideology……”an used weapon is a useless weapon” sort of thing……

President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his most powerful speech as he left office in 1961. He warned the American people about an emerging military-industrial complex, a complex that was already beginning to erode democratic rule in America. Originally, Ike had Congress as a collaborator with and enabler of that Complex, but he deleted the reference in the final version, apparently deciding that by alienating Members of Congress, he’d only push them further into the Complex’s corner.

The military-industrial complex, the Complex for short, has only grown in power over the last half-century. Today, more than half of Federal discretionary funding goes to it. With the post-9/11 addition of Homeland Security and more and more intelligence agencies (seventeen of them at last count), the Complex continues to grow like Topsy. It consumes roughly $750 billion each and every year, a sum likely to grow whether Trump or Clinton wins the presidency. (Trump has promised to rebuild an allegedly shattered military; Clinton, meanwhile, is a steadfast supporter of the military as well as neo-con principles of aggressive foreign interventionism.)

Source: Greed-War: The Power and Danger of the Military-Industrial Complex – Antiwar.com Original by — Antiwar.com

We were warned about the effects of the M-IC on our country and the world….we chose to ignore it and now we have war and death as a daily reminder of our ignorance.

Why the Military-Industrial Complex Loves Hillary

Since the American voter is too lazy to look for alternatives we will probably get another Clinton as president….and because of that we will have a country and a foreign policy run by the M-IC.

What does that mean?

More war and more interventionism across the globe…..because the M-IC loves them some Hillary….

Military contractors are overwhelmingly favoring Hillary Clinton for president with their political contributions this year. Though Republicans normally enjoy a slight fundraising advantage here, she currently leads Donald Trump 5-to-1 among donations from employees of the top 25 firms in this extremely lucrative, highly government dependent industry.

An article in Politico last week tried to put a good face on this for Clinton. One consultant called Trump a “totally unknown quantity” and “scary.” Unnamed “defense watchers” say that Clinton “offers what weapons makers crave most: predictability.”

Source: Why the Military-Industrial Complex Loves Hillary | The American Spectator

Wait! Speaking of defense contractors…..

President Barack Obama announced last month that he plans to further delay the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, leaving at least 8,400 forces in the country after January instead of honoring his most recent pledge to cut numbers to 5,500.

Now, a new report compiled by the Congressional Research Service, which produces reports for members of Congress, reveals that the number of U.S. service members in Afghanistan is dwarfed by the nearly 29,000 Department of Defense private contractors in the country, outnumbering American troops three to one.

Source: In Afghanistan, Defense Contractors Outnumber U.S. Troops 3 to 1 | Alternet

We have at least 4 more years to look forward to more interventionism, confrontation and war…

You voted for it….you got it!