Monday, November 20, 2017

Excerpt from a possible novel: Suicidal tendencies of a nation

An ounce of prevention ...

Monday, November 20, 2017

An opinion: Dedicated to my Green Party Friends on Facebook:

Guess  what the House Armed Services Committee just admitted (But their solution will blow you away even more.).

An Admission of Neglect?

Mac Thornberry, Chairman, House Armed Services Committee cited complaints that “over 60 percent of the Navy's F-18s cannot fly,” that they have a shortfall of over 100 aircraft, and that “we have become one of the smallest, oldest-equipped, and least ready forces … in the Air Force’s history.”

If true, what an admission of neglect, considering the military’s budget over the last decade. Some 47 percent of our discretionary budget goes to military spending and we outspend the next six or seven nations combined, including Russia and China and others. What did they do with all that money if they were not maintaining our equipment? 
I would ask Thornberry, “With the enormous budget for military, why have you failed to keep this equipment in running condition?”  And if the aircraft are in that bad of shape, why is the military keeping them in the first place? (What does one do with thousands of useless aircraft?)
But wait! Are these decrepit F-18’s really Thornberry’s concern? 

Thornberry’s Proposal

To fix the problem, Thornberry wants to “ramp up production to 56 F-35As per year to address strike fighter capability and capacity shortfalls” and …
Hold on.The problem was that F-18’s that can’t fly. So you are going to fix them, right? Wrong. Thornberry quickly changes the topic to buying new equipment/ But are those F-18’s  emblematic of the inherent wastefulness of our military? 
When Thornberry comes to Congress he is like a kid in a candy store. But wait, those “candies” cost $$ millions and billions of dollars each!  Thornberry wants “an additional $1.3 billion to procure four additional F-35Bs and six additional F-35Cs.” He also wants an additional $739 million for 10 additional F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to support supposed “shortfalls in Navy strike-fighter inventories.”
Meanwhile, questions linger: How is the military is going to responsibly dispose of those supposedly decrepit F-18’s? What is the lifespan of a new aircraft? How will this affect our carbon imprint? How safe is all this hardware really making us anyway? And at what price to humanity and to the biosphere? 
How many babies could be placed in incubators, or how many homeless people could be housed, for the cost of a single fighter jet? Will these weapons contribute to global warming and the destruction of the environment? But more to the point, do we really even need them? The following link compares the number of aircraft owned by various nations: )
As of 2015, Business Insider reported, “It can be difficult to grasp the scope of US air superiority compared to everyone else.” As BI reported, “The US boasts approximately 13,000 military aircraft. Comparatively, China and Russia, the world's next-largest aerial powers, only have a total of 2,000 to 3,000 military aircraft each.”

Flawed Thinking (or so it seems to me)

Of course, numbers do not tell the entire story: If 60 percent of our equipment is non-functional, what is the point of having it? Is our military strength being fluffed up by the military to appear more ominous than it really is?

Military commanders must deal with effectiveness or lack thereof, of their various tools, some of which are military hardware. And to be effective they must use the right tools for the right job.  But tools we have never tried may be the most effective of all: Communications, empathy, education, insight, compasion, negotiations, the ability to see through the supposed enemy’s eyes, and the elimination of financial incentives for war. 
These tools, when combined with a reasonably strong  military presence, can be far more effective than all the things we commonly think of as necessary, such as bombs, fighter jets, ships and standing armies. The softer defenses are often the most effective: Foreign diplomacy, foreign policy, negotiation, and (not to be underestimated), the ability to keep business interests and defense needs in different boxes. If the objective is a safer world, greater military might may not always be the best way to “get there,” because let’s face it, if the military-might exists, the temptation to use it also exists. If it is thought that a military solution might be simple and lucrative for preferred contractors, the temptation to start wars is great. Take Russia: Right now, in my opinion, Russia does not want a war with the USA, if for no other reason than that they may be far outgunned. Although they may have their problems, I don’t think they are suicidal at this time. 
On the other hand, if the military equipment is more equal, the prospect of getting the hell knocked out of us may cause us to think twice before starting yet another war, especially when more effective, more efficient and more humane methods exist to protect our borders. 
 There is a need for caution when it comes to relying overly much on weaponry as our first line of defense: Especially given the destructive power that we and our perceived enemies are capable of unleashing. If we listen too much to the Thornberries of the world, the next chapter of world history may read, “Suicidal Tendencies of a Nation.”  You know, that thing about an ounce of prevention. 

#war #peace #HASC $weaponry #americanpolitics #nationaldefense

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Socialists get it wrong: The Green Party is the Party of Balance and common sense

Opinion: Make no mistake, the Green Party is the party of wisdom, restraint and democracy.

Evan Blake, in World Socialist Web Site has attacked the Green Party, perhaps without realizing it, for being  in tune with he political beliefs of most Americans.  They are right: We are like most Americans, not like the caricatures you see in Washington these days. Possibly you already are a Greenie and just don’t realize it yet, while the major parties have presented the world with grotesque, distorted images of the American people, of Democracy and of the West in general. The Green Party wants to change that. You might even say, we want to make America Great, not by tantrums or displays of force, but by democracy, justice, peace and environmentalism. 

Blake’s article blasted the Green Party’s 2016 Presidential candidate, Jill Stein, and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, as “the continuators of Bernie Sanders’ 'fraudulent political revolution.” Blake grilled them as Sanders’ backers, as part of "the pseudo-left,” and as backers of the “capitalist media.” Some Greenies might agree that CNN is capitalist, but Blake was referring to the Stein/Baraka participation in an interview on CNN with host Chris Cuomo. Actually, many of us believe that Sanders’ support for a peaceful, political revolution were not only right-on, but are imperative, given the fast deterioration of the earth’s environment and atmosphere, as well as the cumulative injustices inherent to  the present system. Their woodcut of Sanders was as a warmonger, hence the guilt by association for the Green Party.

Blake alleged a  "pro-capitalist character of the Green Party.”

Among their sins, he says, Stein and Baraka abstained from using the words “capitalism,” “socialism,” “working class,” and above all, “class struggle.” Of course, these are buzz words that I assume would turn off the majority of Americans and rightly so in my opinion. Apparently the Greens have learned from history while certain self-proclaimed Socialists have not. Words do matter, and the fact is, the Green Party does not represent the ideologies of the failed Soviet Union and other heavy-handed governments, which proved to be too much even for the Russians. Every nation is unique and is called upon to develop its own unique brand or style of the Green Party. 

Friendly is not revolutionary? 
The article accused interviewer Chris Cuomo of remaining “solicitous and friendly,” as if that were a bad thing for a reporter to do when interviewing potential Presidential candidates.  I guess Blake wanted for Cuomo to fry them like, two green sausages. While Stein praised Presidential nominee Bernie Sanders, the article claimed that, “The Sanders campaign was not —  and the Green Party is not — ‘revolutionary.’”

Stein made the supposedly non-revolutionary error of offering “gushing and uncritical praise for the Sanders campaign.” The article does not say what might have made the Sanders revolution more revolutionary. Instead, only “Greens are seeking to tap into the same social unrest in order to contain it within the confines of bourgeois politics.” Well, make no mistake about it, the Green Party is, in my personal opinion, interested in attracting former followers of Sanders, not because of who he is or was, but because of the beliefs that he expressed before his disastrous announcement for Hillary Clinton.

Concerning Sanders campaign, Stein was quoted as saying, “You’ve learned really, in real time, why it is that you can’t have a revolutionary campaign in a counterrevolutionary party … the playing field was really steeply and unfairly tilted against you (Sanders supporters).” She was referring to the Democratic party under control of the Democratic National Committee (DNC)

According to Blake, Stein’s support for Sanders starkly reveals “the conventional and pro-capitalist politics of the (Green Party) organization.” He criticized Sanders’ “groveling endorsement of Clinton” as proof that Stein and the Greens are "seeking to tap into the same social unrest in order to contain it within the confines of bourgeois politics.

Blake criticized the Stein and Baraka, claiming they characterized the war on terror and other US wars as “catastrophic policies” driven by “incompetency,” instead of “the deliberate actions of the world’s most powerful imperialist state.” Anyone who has spent any time listening to Stein realizes this is a false characterization and that she understands and states explicitly the causes of wars. “Under Hillary Clinton, we could slide into nuclear war very quickly from her declared policy in Syria. … I sure won’t sleep well at night if Donald Trump is elected, but I sure won’t sleep well at night if Hillary Clinton elected. We have another choice other than these two candidates who are both promoting lethal policies.

In addition to that, "There was no mention of the economic impetus for imperialist war, including the drive to secure access to oil resources, nor of the broader geo-strategic interests of the American capitalist class.” Sadly, it seems that for Stein to say less than everything-she-knows in one short interview is enough to brand her as a counter-revolutionary.

In her opening remarks, Stein is said to have called for enacting “foreign policy that’s based on international law, human rights and economic justice, not on military and economic dominance that’s blowing up at us.” All of which seems to me like a big improvement over what the nation has been doing.

Blake resorts to outright lies about Stein
“In effect,” Blake said, “Stein is giving support to wars sanctioned by the UN Security Council, such as the 2011 War in Libya, and the promotion of ‘human rights’ as the all-purpose justification for war used by American imperialism.” 

Nothing could be further from the truth. Stein has consistently opposed wars of aggression, including the war in Libya, whether those wars were supported by the UN or not. Stein has been frequently stated her opposition, with language such as, “It would be hard to imagine a more catastrophic war than what took place in Libya, that helped strengthen ISIS” … etc.. It seems that Blake is either ignorant of Stein’s positions, or willing to deliberately lie about them to make his/her point. 

In  general, Stein wants to close a lot of American military bases. However, when pressed, she refused to say that she would close all of them. Blake objects to this, but I think it is more in keeping with the thoughts of many Americans. By some accounts, no one, not even the Pentagon, can say with certainty how many foreign bases the USA has. I have read anywhere from 38 bases to well over 1,000. If the higher numbers are correct, surely most Americans might agree to closing some of them while preferring to keep others open, regardless of their political leanings.

Beyond the above
Stein and Baraka were also criticized for 
  • Failing to challenge the “war on terror.”   
  • Being too militarily aggressive
  • Greens in other nations have sometimes supported wars
  • They supported “Black Lives Matter” 
  • The Greens framed the issue of police violence “entirely in racial terms,” rather than in terms of a class struggle and therefor offer “tepid solutions” to police violence.

As to being bourgeoise, as was claimed, the Greens are perhaps the more Rural of the parties. As touching terrorism, I doubt that most Americans are okay with terrorism, and neither are most Greens. The thought that Greens are too supportive of the military and war is laughable. On the other hand, Stein has mentioned numerous times the evils of terrorism, again, in accord with a majority of Americans.

On the other hand, that there may be a class/economic element to the struggle of “Black Lives Matter,” is something that we might be willing to at least discuss, I think, but to claim race and color are not essential elements in police violence is just unrealistic.

Is the Green Party too soft on the capitalism in United States of America? That remains to be seen. I say, let’s give the Green Party half a chance! We are less violent, more social, less autocratic and more democratic, more pro small business, and more pro-small farms than any other viable party. We would support cleanup of nuclear sites and other environmental problems. Our plans would help our economy —  with a Green New Deal — and would stop the US Reign of Terror upon the international community, and try to stem the devastation of our environment. The Green Party has an agenda that I can support whole heartedly, without guilt, without remorse, without culpability, and without being so broad-minded as to be flat. Give us a look-see: GP.ORG


Note: I apologize for any errors. Unfortunately, I cannot afford to hire an editor so what you see is what you get. 

#socialism #greenparty #JillStein #revolutionary #sanders #jillstein #baraka

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Reaction to Trump’s budget for VA. 

Opinion: I guess the problem is not necessarily the amount in the budget, but rather who benefits the most from the changes being planned.  The VA’s “Choice” program, for example, would be allowed $3.5 billion extra as I understand it. Whether that is good or bad might depend on the details that were not revealed.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Seth Conrad Rich: Is the trail to his murderers really dead?

Is the trail officially dead, or will Seth Conrad Rich,  a former employee of the DNC, rise from the dead to finger his murderers?

By now, many have probably forgotten who Seth Conrad Rich was: Those who have followed my posts and Facebook comments  may recall my angst that the Conrad’s murderers were not being investigated. That neither the FBI nor anyone else seemed to take the case seriously. They blew off the case as a robbery gone awry, although from the evidence it appeared he had not been robbed: He was shot in the back and left to die, and the single most important, potential source of information about the motive — his computer — was hardly mentioned, if mentioned at all, by the press. Why did it seem that nobody was interested in retrieving and examining that computer for evidence?

Here is some of what we know about Rich:

  • Seth was “a source” for Wikileaks, the outfit that leaked Hillary Clinton’s emails and the so-called “Pedestal emails”
  • Many of us believe Rich was a Wikileaks source because Julian Assange said so.
  • Said leaks may have cost Clinton the 1016 Presidential election. 
  • Rich likely had access to confidential DNC information.
  • Julian Assange of Wikileaks noted that “our sources” face grave risks, with apparent reference to Seth Conrad Rich.
  • So far as I know, law enforcement did not go after Rich’s computer looking for evidence or motives for his murder. 
  • Nobody to date seems to be able to say definitively where Rich’s computer is now, though some of us believe the computer likely holds the missing keys to resolve the murder case. Beyond this, the Podesta emails suggest how desperate the DNC may have been to shut up the leakers, as evidenced below. 
The following email conversation went back and forth among higher ups in the Democratic Party back in February, 2015, and is now raising eyebrows: Could this lingering wisp trace back to the murderers?

Joel Beneson
On Feb 21, 2015, at 10:12 PM, Joel Benenson wrote:

But this is by far the most damaging story and most damaging type of
story we can have.

The press will love writing these. I did when I was a reporter.

I think we need a paradigm shift in how this world operates we have to convince  HRC and probably WJC that her meeting with 200 people doesn’t help her. Hiring corporate wizards has never been a successful strategy in campaigns.  And anyone whose name is in the paper 48 hours after they meet with her needs to be cut off completely from her campaign. .

Almost everyone on this team that has been assembled has been busting their tail to make this work and to work against this kind of stuff and it’s going to get demoralizing in a hurry.

I’m open to all and any alternatives on how to truly solve this but I really feel that when she is back from CA we have to solve this.



John Podesta to Joel Beneson

Podesta apparently responded on Sunday, February 22, 2015  as follows (with a cc to Robby Look): 


I generally agree with the point, but we need a strategy on this that goes beyond internal discipline. This story could have been written without any of these big mouths blabbing. The mere involvement of Wendy gave them license to write this. The only thing in the story that indicated that someone on the inside was talking was the reference to the H, although one of Peter Sealey's big clients is Coke so we probably know where that came from. We can and should try to shut this down, but it is going to be tough until we get to a point where someone can actually talk on behalf of the campaign. One particular challenge is Spence. He's worked with them for 40 years. He's like Harold Ickes-Reporters will think he's inside even if he's not. We need a strategy to enable people who are real and disable those  that aren't.


Joel Benneson to John Podesta

On Feb 22, 2015, at 5:56 PM, Joel Benenson wrote back to Podesta.


We are in massive agreement that we need a strategy and process now to enable and disable as you say and I think this is worth spending some time making it practicable.  I would strongly recommend either one of you or both talking with Plouffe about he and Axe created that culture from the start in 07.

Here are some thoughts but I realize this topic will take a dedicated conversation to figure out what will work.

I do believe that this starts with alignment on our campaign culture and a paradigm shift in the old Clinton M.O.   I know HRC believes the more people you talk to the better but it simply isn’t.  Especially for her. We really need to tighten who she talks to and make sure that Huma/schedulers route most people through high level folks on the campaign so that they are being listened to.

I think Robby rightly says that a lot of our leaks are coming through job searches we’re doing.  I think every conversation has to either begin or end by telling people if you’re name appears in print as a result of the conversations the job is off the table.

I think we have to make examples now of people who have violated the trust of HRC and the rest of the team.  People going forward need to know there are stiff consequences for leaking, self-promotion, unauthorized talking with the press.  No one – literally no one talked to the press in either Obama campaign without clearing it with campaign brass.


John Podesta replies via iPad

On Sun, Feb 22, 2015 at 6:12 PM, John Podesta < wrote:

Agree. Happy to talk to the David's. Call me crazy, but I think if we can survive the next month, it will be possible, maybe even straightforward to get our arms around this once there is an actual campaign.  I'm definitely for making an example of a suspected leaker whether or not we have any real basis for it.

Robby Look 

Mook finishes conversation with this on Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 21:20 (9:20 PM)

Subject: Wash Post story — Sorry to write this on a Saturday night.

I agree--when we have press staff, this will be MUCH easier.
And I would love an example being made.

From the above, it seems clear they are talking about making an example of someone, but would they go so far as to murder one of their own for leaking information to Wikileaks? Some people on Facebook seem convinced that they would, and that the above email strand is with reference to the murder of Seth Conrad Rich. I certainly would like to know the fuller context of this: Who some of these players are, how they explain what they were discussing here, what was happening on these particular dates etc. 

Wish I could have more to say but that’s about it for now. Please keep your eyes and ears open and let me know if you find something out, some major breakthrough on the case of Seth Conrad Rich. Thanks. 

Note: I just saw this comment on Facebook by Sarah Metcalf who wrote: "This email exchange is a normal, innocuous one about an unintended leak -- one that seemed major to these people at the time but which we now can't remember at all -- & how to control information & message better. It has nothing to do with Seth Rich.” 

If Metcalf’s argument is true, that would answer one of the questions I posted above. However, it would be a better argument if someone actually remembered what they were talking about, since it seemed so major at the time. 

In yet another post, I read that Rich’s computer reportedly has been examined by police. I have yet to confirm that. If anybody has a ling to that information with evidence, please let me know. Thanks. 

#podesta #emails #sethconradrich #murder #politics #FEL

Monday, May 8, 2017


What is right (and wrong) with Citizens Climate Alliance.

I was thankful knowing that citizens were there to stand in the gap at last week’s Citizens Climate Alliance rally in Richland, Washington.  I do not, however, understand why they would want the proceeds from a carbon tax to be returned to the citizens directly. That is a nice gesture, but it might actually worsen the problems it is intended to resolve, assuming the intent is to move us toward a greener future.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

What is the "Movement School for Revolutionaries"?

Movement Schools for Revolutionaries are now in process in San Diego, Irvine, Riverside, Seattle, Milwaukee, NYC, and soon to be in Seattle, Washington. So what are these “schools” anyway?

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