Closing Thought–21Sep20

Those hated immigrants!

DoD cost cutting program…..

I am always going on and on about the money that is wasted by the Pentagon in the name of national security….but I never considered this as a way to do so…..

A Democratic lawmaker wants the Pentagon to buy American when it comes to its Military Working Dog program.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut included an amendment in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act that would require the U.S. Air Force, which oversees the Pentagon’s program, to conduct a business case study on what it would take to purchase dogs from U.S. breeders instead of European sources.

“I was surprised to learn from the Air Force that the vast majority of our working dogs are actually born and bred in Europe, which raises costs and puts us in competition with other countries,” Blumenthal said in a statement to Military.com on Wednesday. Bloomberg News was first to report the story.

“I wanted to do what I could to help establish a strong program to breed working dogs here at home, where we already have an expert training program. Our provision in this year’s NDAA takes the first step toward that goal by assessing what resources are necessary for the Department of Defense to meet increasing demands for military working dogs by supporting American breeders,” he said.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/09/18/us-military-working-dogs-should-be-american-born-senator-says.html

You know I have a better idea and it will save a lot more cash than worrying about the immigrant status of our canine soldiers.

Try ending all these goddamn useless wars that we have been fighting for two decades…..this would save trillions not some piddling amount in the millions.  But as usual when it comes to the Pentagon it is chump change and not real cost cutting.

Just A Thought!

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“lego ergo scribo”

In Defense (Sort Of)

I have been a critic of Trump since he was elected….there is very little about him or his policies that I can agree with on any occasion.

But pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable….I am about to do something that I seldom do….

But I have agree with him on some issues like ending our endless wars…I agree with the promise but not the actions that he has taken.

He opens his mouth and spouts crap almost daily. Most of it is either exaggeration or lies…..but on occasion he does say something that is accurate or almost accurate….like his most recent statement that has the media crapping on themselves to discredit his words.

What could he have said that I would jump to defend him over?

Let’s see shall we?

President Donald Trump blasted the Pentagon’s leadership on Monday for allegedly caring about the defense industry more than U.S. service members.

“I’m not saying the military’s in love with me – the soldiers are,” the president said at a White House news conference. “The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”

Trump also said that his desire to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria now that the Islamic State no longer holds any territory has put him at odds with military leaders.

“I said: That’s good; let’s bring our soldiers back home,” Trump said. “Some people don’t like to come home. Some people like to continue to spend money.”

A Pentagon spokeswoman referred questions about the president’s remarks to the White House. The Joint Staff declined to comment for this story.

(Task & Purpose)

Think about it……if there is not a revolving door at the Pentagon then why are most retired generals and such working for Halluburton, Raytheon or Lockheed-Martin?

Old soldiers don’t retire….they just move location and continue to do what they do…..and war is what they do.

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“lego ergo scribo”

 

Battle Of The Pentagon

As most Americans are aware of, at least not those that read IST, the Pentagon gets money it does not need.

I have written before that as long as the people are calling for defunding this or that….why not start looking more closely at the budget of the Pentagon….I mean the waste there out stretches the imagination and they get away with it.

Maybe just defund out endless wars would be a better place to start.

Arguments for “ending endless war” dovetail seamlessly with the M4BL invest-divest framework. Indeed, M4BL has issued a call to cut military expenditures and reallocate funds to domestic infrastructure and community wellbeing. But the similarities go beyond shared demands to shift funding priorities. The call to end America’s permanent war footing involves a transformative vision of its own: abandoning a posture of American military dominance.

Rethinking U.S. military primacy is a necessary corollary to ending state-sanctioned violence at home because America’s wars abroad sustain and feed into militarized and racialized domestic policing. Beyond the conveyor belt of equipment, training, and manpower that circulates between America’s wars – within our borders and overseas – lie massive vested interests in what today is best understood as the military-industrial-policing complex. And this complex profits from and entrenches the very forms of racialized state violence that protesters oppose.

Defund America’s Endless Wars

Recently the Progressives tried to introduce a b ill that would cut the Pentagon’s budget by 10%…….centrists Dems went hand in hand with Repubes to defeat the idea of the cut……but the idea is gaining popularity and has a good chance of winning this debate…

This comes on the heels of two major votes in the House and the Senate to cut the Pentagon budget by 10 percent. Both amendments were soundly defeated.

Yet while the picture may look bleak, there is cause for optimism about reducing the Pentagon budget. In fact, conditions look more favorable today than they have at any time for at least a decade. That’s owed to organizing inside of Congress, an energized progressive foreign policy movement, and a new national reckoning over budget priorities propelled into the nation’s consciousness by the national uprisings over systemic white supremacy and the coronavirus crisis.

Comparing the recent votes to cut the Pentagon budget with a similar vote in 2017 illustrates the point. Three years ago, the House voted on an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill to cut the Pentagon budget by one percent, or just $7 billion. That year, 35 percent of House Democrats supported the cut. Contrast that with today’s House effort, led by Representatives Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan, which sought to chop 10 percent, or $74 billion, off the Pentagon’s topline. Today, 40 percent of House Democrats supported the amendment, despite the fact that members of their own party wrote the bill. And in a parallel Senate effort, led by Senators Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey, and Elizabeth Warren, nearly half of the Democratic Caucus voted for the amendment, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has not been known to be supportive of such measures.

Why we will win the fight to cut the Pentagon budget

Not to worry…the M-IC machine will hit back and help keep any cuts from happening….this piece gives good sound reasons for not cutting the Pentagon budget….

It’s election season. Politicians at both the federal and state levels are looking for ways of bolstering their reelection prospects. One way of doing this is to stage public spectacles, the modern version of ancient Rome’s gladiatorial games, designed to gain support for politicians from average voters. The most recent example of this strategy in action has been a campaign of attacks on so-called Big Tech: companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google.

There have been antitrust investigations and even calls to break up these tech giants. Whether it is lawsuits by state attorneys general or hearings before congressional committees, the goal is to demonize these companies primarily for their success. The trouble is that in seeking to score near-term political points, these politicians are not only maligning great American companies but threatening the nation’s economic health and national security.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/08/01/election-year_attacks_on_big_tech_will_undercut_peace_and_prosperity_115513.html

Did you see where they say that these acts will threaten our economic health and national security?

That is M-IC speak that actually means it will cut our profits and that is unacceptable.

Finally there is a push to defund the Pentagon and it has bi-partisanship…..plus it will help defund the police as well…..

Many liberals and progressives in the Democratic Party have been loudly calling for the defunding of police departments around the country after the tragic death of a black man, George Floyd, at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer. While defunding the police — not to be confused with disbanding the police — means different things to different people, most advocates propose redirecting a portion of city and county police budgets to social programs, mental health intervention, combating homelessness, and affordable housing programs.

Conservatives and Republicans have generally pushed back against calls to defund the police. They typically maintain that the level of police misconduct is overstated, that police departments just need to be reformed, and that violent crime and property crime will increase if police department budgets are cut. In response to some major cities calling for defunding the police, Donald Trump simply said, “We won’t be defunding our police. We won’t be dismantling our police. We won’t be disbanding our police. We won’t be ending our police force.” Certainly the president knows that funding levels for police departments are decided on the local level without any input whatsoever from the federal government?

Defund the Pentagon

Just thinking out loud!

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“lego ergo scribo”

Defund Afghanistan

These days there is lots about defunding this or that…from the police to the Pentagon……check what was written about this…….

https://lobotero.com/2020/06/09/de-fund-the-pd/

As long as we are calling for all this defunding….why not defund the US longest and costliest war…Afghanistan?

As the coronavirus pandemic overwhelmed the Afghan health system in June, doctors rallied in Kabul, calling upon the International Monetary Fund to rescind a recently granted $220 million emergency loan to the Afghan government to help with the COVID-19 crisis. In support, Sayed Ekram Afazali, head of Integrity Watch Afghanistan, a local group fighting corruption, said that such “monopolization in the spending of the aid . . . creates severe vulnerabilities and it removes the trust” in the government owing to embezzlement and mismanagement. The Kabul rally is just one of many protests against government corruption in Afghanistan. Doctors in Herat, for instance, protested against unpaid salaries. In remote Ghor Province, security forces killed six protesters angry at the distribution of food aid.

These and other similar actions acknowledge a counterintuitive but simple truth: Aid to Afghanistan is accelerating state collapse because it is channeled through a government that is dysfunctional and corrupt. John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said the Taliban and other insurgents draw attention to government corruption and use it to “undermine public support for the government, garner recruits to their cause and weaken the government’s bargaining position during future peace negotiations.” We believe that the current system of centralized government is the cause of systemic injustices that drive this current conflict. After 20 years of this system, there are no technical fixes to corruption that could win public trust. Rather, the entire government must be defunded, dismantled, disbanded, and rebuilt anew by the Afghan people. The coming intra-Afghan dialogue will be an opportunity to do just that.

https://www.mercatus.org/bridge/commentary/defund-afghanistan

This makes perfect sense….Trump is trying to end this costly war and the Congress and Hawks are fighting that tooth and nail…..

Time for the US to come home and save the cash spent on Afghanistan….this country needs the money to repair itself and yet those idiot warmongers are looking for other spots for their expansionism.

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“lego ergo scribo”

How About Defunding The Pentagon

We have lots of talk these days about defunding the police…..but for me the debate should be about defunding the Pentagon……why? So much of the problems we face revolves around a department in government that is out of control….it is wasteful and corrupt.

Yes I said corrupt!

Because the defense industry owns our Congress, both Houses, it is obvious when a bill came up that would cut just 10% of the budget….read my thoughts on this……https://lobotero.com/2020/07/22/2021-ndaa/

Now to the meat of the post…..there has been calls for the defunding the Pentagon (something I can agree with but that would be another post)………

n just the past few months, Congress has appropriated nearly $3 trillion dollars to fight the economic and public health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is on top of a terrible budget deal last year that blew through spending caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act. With little end in sight to the pandemic and its associated recession, Congress is likely to spend even more in the months to come.

With resources more limited than ever, areas of the budget that were off-limits for years should now be more closely scrutinized. At the top of that list should be the single largest part of the federal discretionary budget, an entire category of spending that has long been off the table: the Pentagon.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/07/16/defund-the-pentagon-the-conservative-case-366066

I agree that the Pentagon could use some tweaking and scrutiny….it has gotten away with wasting taxpayer money for decades….time for it to tighten up……

To be fair……something more bloggers need to try…..I will give the rebuttal to the defunding call…..

Recently Politico published two opinion pieces claiming that it’s time to “defund” national defense: “Defund the Pentagon: The Conservative Case by Andrew Lautz and Jonathan Bydlak, and “Defund the Pentagon: The Liberal Case by Sen. Bernie Sanders. A provocative suggestion, but both pieces lack some information that would contribute to a richer, more informed discussion of this critically important topic.

Although sharing similar headlines, the articles advance different arguments for why defense spending should be reduced. The self-described “conservative case” argues Pentagon spending has become “bloated” and “wasteful” and that Americans can no longer afford national security at the level currently funded. The other, “liberal view” proposes that instead of funding national defense, America should focus inwardly and take care of pressing internal problems.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/07/25/what_the_defunding_the_pentagon_articles_dont_tell_you_115494.html

I am with those that are calling for the defund…..put of control M-IC has given us endless war and wasted money…..and unless we voters pay attention and vote these toads out of control we will continue to have endless wars and pissed away cash.

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“lego ergo scribo”

 

That 2021 Pentagon Budget

I think that the Pentagon Budget is way too high and that it makes for waste…..the new budget for 2021 was up for a vote and there was a movement to cut 10% out of the budget…..a move that I agreed with but thought it should be higher)….

Not to worry…..the M-IC owns Congress so the deal to cut the budget was defeated….and after that 37 Dems voted to approve the wasteful budget……..

Hours after the Republican Party released a coronavirus relief proposal including $0 for election assistance funding and no additional funding for cities and states as the country continues to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday, allocating $740.5 billion to the Pentagon.  

The annual military budget bill was passed with a vote of 86-14, with 37 Democrats joining the Republicans in supporting the proposal. View the full roll call here. 

Progressives including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.),and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) voted against the bill.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/07/23/day-after-voting-down-10-pentagon-cut-37-senate-dems-join-gop-approve-740-billion

Not worry those VP picks are right on target…the Progressive voted “No” and the  sell out voted “yes”…..

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, two leading contenders for the 2020 Democratic vice presidential nomination, voted opposite ways Wednesday on an amendment to slash the Pentagon budget by 10% and invest the savings in healthcare, housing, and education in impoverished U.S. communities.

Warren, a co-sponsor of the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), voted in favor of the measure while Harris voted against. The amendment, led by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), was defeated by a margin of 23-77, with 24 Democratic senators voting no. See the full roll call here.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)—one of more than a dozen potential vice presidential picks being vetted by the Biden campaign—also voted against the amendment, which would have reduced the proposed $740.5 billion Pentagon budget for fiscal year 2021 by $74 billion.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/07/22/top-vp-contenders-diverge-warren-votes-yes-and-harris-votes-no-slashing-pentagon

There you have it……Biden who is a centrist sell out and two of his picks for VP Duckworth and Harris….and now we know who owns those Senators.

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“lego ergo scribo”

 

2021 NDAA

NDAA? 

That would be the National Defense Authorization Act……for FY2021

Every year, members of the congressional armed services committees go through the long and sometimes torturous journey of assembling the National Defense Authorization Act, the annual bill that sets policy for the Defense Department. The entire process, however, is also a critical exercise in the formation of U.S. national security policy. 

The defense policy bill is so valuable to Pentagon operations that lawmakers frequently refer to it as a must-pass piece of legislation. Ideally, the NDAA debate forces lawmakers to explain why certain military investments are necessary or why a particular overseas military engagement has outlived its usefulness.

https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2020/07/ndaa-should-prompt-rethinking-costly-us-foreign-policy/166686/

The M-IC has won the battle to keep troops fighting and dying in Afghanistan……

By a vote of 284-129, the House of Representatives soundly defeated an amendment to establish a plan to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan. A slight plurality of Democrats supported the measure, with most of the leadership opposing. All Republicans except two voted in to oppose. Libertarian Justin Amash supported the measure. The amendment to the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was offered by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

President Trump declared in late May that he wanted to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan before the November election. Since that time, Democratic leaders have shifted to an even more hawkish position, pulling out all the stops to prevent such a move. Much of the foreign policy of the Democratic leadership has been driven by opposition to Trump’s positions, rather than by what is best for the country or what the American people desire.

American troops have been fighting in Afghanistan for 19 years, with no progress in reducing violence.

(antiwar.com)

Seems that the Dems are joining the Repubs as the warmongers…..so it really is truly a one party government……two sides same coin.

The Act is one of pure Neocon-isms…..

A $740 billion defense policy bill that President Trump threatened to veto has passed the House with a veto-proof 295-125 majority, with 108 Republicans voting in favor of the 2021 Defense Authorization Act and 43 Democrats voting against. The bill calls for military bases and other properties named after Confederate military officers to be renamed within a year, a move Trump firmly opposes, the Hill reports. It also includes a 3% pay rise for troops and allocates $1 billion to a pandemic preparedness fund.

The House bill passed with bipartisan support, although Republican lawmakers strongly objected to an amendment placing limits on the president’s ability to use the Insurrection Act to deploy troops within the US, CNN reports. The amendment passed 215 to 190, with only one Republican voting in favor. The Senate is expected to pass its version of the bill this week, which calls for the renaming of bases named after Confederate officers within three years. Trump said weeks ago that he would veto any bill that included the renaming of bases, but since the measure appears in both the House and Senate version of the defense policy bill, it is likely to remain in the final version that makes it to his desk.

Trump has said he will veto this bill…..we will see if he means what he says or was it all just theatrics?

It is time for the Congress to get real about this country and the money we throw at war…….time to defund the Pentagon…..yep…I said DEFUND the Pentagon.

Congress has appropriated nearly $3 trillion dollars to fight the economic and public health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is on top of a terrible budget deal last year that blew through spending caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act. With little end in sight to the pandemic and its associated recession, Congress is likely to spend even more in the months to come.

With resources more limited than ever, areas of the budget that were off-limits for years should now be more closely scrutinized. At the top of that list should be the single largest part of the federal discretionary budget, an entire category of spending that has long been off the table: the Pentagon.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/07/16/defund-the-pentagon-the-conservative-case-366066

I know hard to believe that I am agreeing with a conserv on the Pentagon……it worries me as well…..but matters not…..I will support a good idea no matter where it originates.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

How Will This Help?

Everybody in Washington is scrambling to find a way to counter the protests and the issue of race.

The military has their idea….rename bases that are named for Confederate generals……

The death of George Floyd in police custody and the ensuing protests are sparking changes in law enforcement, media, and business—and now the US armed forces. Earlier this year, the US Army said it had no plans to scrap the names of any of its 10 bases named after Confederate leaders—ie, Fort Bragg, Fort Lee, and Fort Hood, to name a few—even though at the time it was announcing it would no longer allow images of Confederate flags at these sites. Now, however, in the wake of Floyd’s killing, military bigwigs say they’ll entertain a conversation on a possible renaming. “The secretary of defense and secretary of the Army are open to a bipartisan discussion on the topic,” an Army spokesperson said in a statement Monday for Mark Esper and Ryan McCarthy, per Politico.

The statement added, however, that “each Army installation is named for a soldier who holds a significant place in our military history. Accordingly, the historic names represent individuals, not causes or ideologies.” Still, as Politico points out, even these individual histories aren’t stellar: As an example, it cites Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg, “a major slave-owner and … largely considered to be one of the most incompetent generals of the Civil War.” One person who agrees the military sites should be renamed: former CIA chief and retired Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned in 2012 amid an affair scandal. “We do not live in a country to which Braxton Bragg, Henry L. Benning, or Robert E. Lee can serve as an inspiration,” he writes in an op-ed in the Atlantic. “Acknowledging this fact is imperative.” More from him here.

Confederate monuments have reemerged as a national flash point since the death of George Floyd. Protesters decrying racism have targeted Confederate monuments in multiple cities, and some state officials are considering taking them down. Pelosi lacks the authority to order the removal of the 11 Capitol statues honoring Confederates but is urging the little-noticed Joint Committee on the Library to vote to remove them. Senate Republicans share jurisdiction. The presence of statues of generals and other figures of the Confederacy in Capitol locations such as Statuary Hall—the original House chamber—has been offensive to African American lawmakers for many years. But the chairman of the Library Committee noted, “the law does not permit the Architect of the Capitol or the Joint Committee of Congress on the Library to remove a statue from the Capitol once it has been received.” States determine which of their historical figures to display at the Capitol.

I agree that these changes should occur but why now?

They have needed addressing for many decades and now they are important….why?

Could it be the new bill the Dems are offering for consideration?

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/06/09/dems-j09.html

They, Dems, realize this piece of theater will go nowhere once it gets to the Senate it will die……so as usual the powers will do the “DC two step”…look like they are doing something when they are doing nothing.

I say do not accept this ‘compromise’ stay in the streets where changes will occur……

Stay in the streets…..it is working…do not accept anything but change……https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/06/08/stay-streets-its-working-two-weeks-racial-justice-protests-new-york-state-classifies

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“lego ergo scribo”

 

You Think You Are Retired?

Closing Thought–03Apr20

For all those recently retired folk from the military…..keep an eye on the news for you are only retired if the military says you are retired…..

Covid-19 may be the straw that broke the retired camel’s back……

What the Hell could the old professor be blabbing about, right?

Glad you asked……

The Pentagon will call back a number of retired and reserve troops to help fight the pandemic, after President Trump issued an executive order Friday night. He did not say if anyone would be returned to service who didn’t agree to it, the Washington Post reports. The order covers retirees, though, and Trump said some of them have “offered to support the nation in this extraordinary time of need.” Under the order, Defense Secretary Mark Esper is to return units and members of the National Guard and Reserves, as well as some Individual Ready Reserve members, to active duty, per the Military Times. “Decisions about which individuals may be activated are still being reviewed,” a Pentagon spokesman said in a statement issued after midnight.

No one said how many troops will be brought back, but an Army spokesman said roughly 15,000 veterans have shown interest. Recalls of Ready Reserve forces are rare, per Stars and Stripes. Trump’s order says returned troops could be kept on active duty for as long as 24 months. Those brought back would mostly fill headquarters jobs and medical roles, the Pentagon said. The Army had asked some veterans who were medical care providers last week if they were interested in returning to duty. “When the Nation called — you answered, and now, that call may come again,” Lt. Gen. Thomas C. Seamands wrote to them.

So if you are recently retired…..DO NOT get too comfortable in that retirement…..your recall may be in the mail….

On March 29, the Army’s Human Resources Command sent messages to nearly 10,000 soldiers in the IRR asking for volunteers to put the uniform back on, Lt. Col. Emanuel OrtizCruz, an Army spokesman, confirmed to Military.com. The messages went out to those who had served in military occupational specialties including family nurse practitioner; critical care nursing; emergency nursing; nurse anesthetists; generalist nurse; and respiratory specialist, he said.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/03/31/army-asks-10000-recently-separated-soldiers-come-back-virus-fight.html

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“lego ergo scribo”

Nukes Make A Comeback

I realize that virus news is on everybody’s minds and lips these days….but sadly there are other situations and issues that this country must face as well.

Not long ago our president decided not to honor our commitments that we agree to in the INF treaty of the 1980s……so apparently the nuclear arms race is once again heating up.

But to give my reader a little background…..plus some of the history behind the Treaty……..https://lobotero.com/2018/10/30/the-inf-in-the-rear-view-mirror/

https://lobotero.com/2020/03/16/what-happened-to-the-arms-race/

Now the Pentagon has taken up the baton for bigger and better nukes…..

The Trump administration’s proposal to begin work on a new nuclear warhead program to modernize the nation’s aging stockpile is expected to be hotly contested.

For fiscal year 2021, President Donald Trump requested $28.9 billion for the Pentagon’s nuclear enterprise. He requested an additional $15.6 billion for efforts by the National Nuclear Security Administration, which manages the stockpile, including $53 million for NNSA work on a new warhead, dubbed the W93.

The Pentagon’s budget blueprint includes $480 million for work on the weapon system over the future years defense program, with $32 million slated for 2021.

https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2020/3/17/political-battle-brewing-over-new-nuclear-program

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“lego ergo scribo”