Tag Archives: news

Re-Fighting the Vietnam War

The US lost the war in Vietnam. The USA bombed and napalmed and bombed  some more. And lost. In the end, the US forces left and the North Vietnamese united the country.

Ever since the US lost the Vietnam War many American politicians and military men of my generation have been trying to win it. In other parts of the world. In Grenada. In Lebanon. In Libya. In Panama. In Haiti. In Bosnia.  In Kuwait. In Iraq. In Afghanistan.

The idea that a superpower like the USA could be defeated by a small Asian country like Vietnam has stuck in the craw of some in my generation for many years. They simply could not understand it. Or accept it. Many still can’t.

And they have been fighting it over and over again in other parts of the world ever since. The military solution is, in their minds, the only solution.

So now we are on the brink of a war with North Korea. Make no mistake, this is a war of choice. Like Vietnam. Like Iraq. It is a war we are being pulled toward simply because those in power want it. They want to be “tough”. And they want simple solutions. Nothing is more simple than war.

Demonizing leaders of nations before attacking them has become par for the course. Ho Chi Minh, an ally in WW2, was suddenly a devil. Noriega, our man in Panama, became evil overnight. Saddam Hussein, who the US supplied with chemical and other weapons in his war with Iran,  was discovered to be a bad guy! And so it goes.

Which brings us to North Korea. Kim Jung -un is the new Ho. The reincarnation of Saddam. In preparation for war.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think Kim is a great guy. He has his political enemies jailed or executed. He has poured vast resources into the military at the expense of other forms of development. By most accounts the North Korean people have an extremely low standard of living compared to their southern neighbors.

Kim is a big mouth, a braggart, a complete narcissist and shows signs of instability. No president of the USA could ever be accused of that! He likes to rattle the sabers.  He is certainly no one I would want to invite to dinner.

And, like Saddam and Ho and Noriega he has never attacked the USA. The only reason to attack Kim, like the attack on Iraq, is some theory of a “pre-emptive” strike. Of course, you cannot have a “pre-emptive” strike without a propaganda campaign to convince folks that war is inevitable.  Major powers using “pre-emptive” strikes are not new. Hitler attack the Poles in 1939 before the Polish cavalry could sweep through Germany. And Tojo attacked Pearl Harbor before Americans could attack Tokyo. Bush attacked Iraq before Saddam could unleash all those WMDs, which were never discovered.

The Trump administration seems intent on going to war. The American media is right there with him. Wars sell air time. Sell newspapers. Sell books. Make careers, in both the military and in journalism. So we see various editorials and proclamations about the “inevitable” conflict.

Of course war is with North Korea is not inevitable. The only outcome would be the deaths of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of North and South Koreans, Japanese and Americans.

The only other “solution” to the North Korea-USA conflict, according to “conventional wisdom”, is to close off North Korea and further isolate Kim. That has not worked and will not work . Especially since China and Russia are not about to stop supporting his regime. Has isolating Cuba led to the downfall of the Castro regime?

Only by opening up trade and cultural exchanges, bringing North Korea into the web of international affairs, will catastrophe be avoided. We have done so with characters less savory even than Kim. Stalin and Mao Zedong come to mind. Vietnam is now a trading partner. The world needs to make sure Kim has “skin in the game”, not further isolate him.

It is sad. Very sad. That a man like Dennis Rodman has shown more diplomatic skill than our current president. Rodman has gone to North Korea and tried to open up the doors of understanding. Instead of anticipating (hoping for?) war, he has tried to bring people together.

From a Newsweek article published today, Rodman, just back from North Korea  says the following:

“I’m not defending him, I’m not defending the fact that what he does as far as his country and his leadership. I think he has been passed a throne from his grandfather and his father. A lot of people say that the grandfather was worse than the father and the father is worse than the marshal today. I’ve got to hope,” he said, adding “I don’t love him. I just want to try to straighten things out for everyone to get along together, that’s it.”

“Things can happen if Donald Trump, if they sit down, have some type of mutual conversation, they don’t have to be like a friendship conversation, just a mutual conversation, saying: ‘Hi, I would love to engage in some words and politics and over the history of your country and my country and just try to start some dialogue,” Rodman said, “I think that’ll open up maybe the door just a little bit.”

What a state of affairs when Dennis Rodman seems to be the sane one in the room! When a tatooed body pierced former athlete makes more substantial diplomatic efforts that the US State Department.

But then again, Dennis was not around when the USA lost the Vietnam War. He sees no need to fight it all over again.

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Filed under Foreign policy, government, Politics, POTUS, president, Trump, United Nations, United States, US

Something Deeper

Let me start by clarifying. I am not a conspiracy nut.

Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Bigfoot does not exist. The “government” did not take down the Twin Towers on 9/11 as an “inside job”. Millions of illegals do not vote in US elections. There is no  secret cabal of Jewish bankers running the world. The UN is not trying to destroy freedom in America. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I am a fact guy. A pragmatist. Show me the evidence and I will consider your case. But evidence is a must.

Which brings me to the latest, ongoing attacks by Mr Trump on the free press. Over and over he has been slamming any news organization that does not pay him proper homage as “the enemy of the people”. All news that is not completely positive is FAKE news.

Why keep harping on FAKE news? Why continue to try to undermine faith in such news organizations as the New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, The LA Times and others? News organizations that once in awhile make mistakes  but have spent years cultivating processes that lead to accurate reporting. News organizations that vet sources and double check  facts before putting ink to paper.

Mr. Trump is a stupid man. Yes. He is. He knows virtually nothing except how to put together real estate deals. How to manipulate  (or rather HIRE accountants to  manipulate) the tax code. He is singularly UNCURIOUS about the world. He has demonstrated no understanding of basic science, literature, history, sociology or any other field. Since he was given $13,000,000 by his father as a young man his existence has been one of self-promotion. Period.

But, Mr Trump is also a clever man. A con man. A manipulator of his supporters. A cult figure. He sees himself as larger than life. And so do the Trumpsters and Trumpettes who follow him. He knows how to use the media for free publicity, as he showed us in his  campaign for president. He hates any media that does not adore him. And he encourages his followers to do  the same.

But he WON the election in the electoral college. He is the president of the United States. So, why continue to attack the press? He won. He beat them, at least in his way of thinking.

As I said, I am not a conspiracy nut. But there is something deeper going on here.

The “leaks”, which every president hates, have gotten to Trump. He even had Sean Spicer take away the phones of his (Spicer’s) staff and had them checked for possible news leaks. Trump calls the leaks FAKE news, yet he seems to be giving credence to the validity of the information. Otherwise, why try to find the source?  If these negative reports are really “made up”, as he says, then why suspect his own inner circle?

I suspect something deeper is going on.  There are skeletons, probably Russian ones, in Mr Trump’s closet. There are connections, financial  and political, with Russian oligarchs. Perhaps with Putin himself. Connections that may be illegal or at least very damaging .

By trying to destroy the public confidence in the press, Mr Trump is staging a Pearl Harbor attack. Destroy the credibility of the press. then, when the stories come out about his corruption people may say it is simply the press out to “get him”. Mr Trump likes to control the agenda and he seeks to marginalize legitimate investigative journalism by preemptive strike. The press LIES. All the time. Don’t believe them.

Something is deeper here. Not just the rantings of our first  (and god help us, our LAST) twitter president. He is the master of distraction. He has called the New York  Times and Washington Post losers and his enemy.They did not  crumble.  When distraction  does not work he goes for destruction. Exactly the same way he did business in his real estate shenanigans.

There is something deeper here. And the press will discover it. Sooner or later. After all, Pearl Harbor was not a total defeat, it was a setback. Eventually the US won the war. The free press will not  be governed or destroyed by Mr Trump, no matter how hard he tries. But he is trying to set the stage for the inevitable investigations into his financial and political  chicanery. He hope to destroy the confidence of the citizenry in the free press. In the end, they will find him out. And publish.

The is something deeper here. Wait for it.  It will happen.

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Filed under Constitution, GOP, government, Neoconservative, news, Politics, POTUS, president, Republicans, Trump, twitter, United Nations, United States

Lugenpresse…Testing the Waters

At a Trump campaign rally in Ohio two of the Trump supporters called out to the journalist filming that rally that he was “lugenpresse”.  A term used by the Nazis to condemn any newspaper or journalist that did not toe the party line . Especially newspapers owned by Jews. The epithet aimed at any newspaper that criticized the Nazi Party. Or failed to bow down to the Fuhrer. “Lying press”.

On Sunday Kellyanne Conway did her weekly news “alternative fact” show, this time in an interview with Chris Wallace.  While not using the term, she echoed the sentiments of the “lugenpresse” when she wondered aloud why many members of the press had not been fired.  Why? For their coverage of Donald Trump.

She wondered why these members of the press were not dismissed by their bosses. Why they continued to appear on talk shows and give their opinions. Why are they not being silenced?

One of the first things the Nazis did when they gained control of Germany was to intimidate and suppress the free press. I say “gained control” because the Nazis never won the popular vote in a free election. They were always a minority party. Hitler was able to get only 32% of the vote for president in the last free election in Germany, with massive support from the rural  areas.

Once the Nazis did gain power they were quick to use it to suppress any opposition. Key to that was the free press. Communist newspapers. Jewish-owned newspapers. Independent newspapers were quickly brought under the control of the new regime. By intimidation.

The “lugenpresse” were any newspapers or journalists who dared contradict the Nazi facts. The Nazi “alternative facts”. Control of the media was seen as crucial to ultimate control of the nation.The opposition, no  matter how slight, must be silenced. Real news must not be reported. Facts must not be reported. An “alternative ” reality must be established with Goebbels deciding what is acceptable. The idea that the press must be the mouthpiece of the government  was the goal. And , for the most part, it was.

Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon are testing the waters. Attacking the press. Calling for the removal of those who dare criticize. Calling for a ban on people of the Muslim faith based on an idea that Muslims are all terrorists and all alike. Mr Trump calling into question the actual photographic evidence of the crowd size at his inauguration.  An attempt to bully the leader of Mexico into paying for a wall that Trump wants to build.  The first “press conference” with Sean Spicer, Mr Trump’s spokesman, was an attack on the press. And the attack ended with Spicer walking off refusing to answer questions. The message was clear. We will control the press. We cannot allow any contradictions or criticisms.

An all out attack on the facts, evidence and common sense. An “alternative” reality compete with “alternative  facts”

They are testing the waters to see how far they can go. Can they bully the press into silence? Can they bully our neighbor into compliance? Can they bully the American people into subservience? Can they bully the GOP controlled Congress into silence?

I think not. (Well, maybe they CAN bully Congress). The USA in 2017 is not Germany in 1933. The US citizens in 2017 are not going to sit back while Muslims are treated harshly and Mexicans are stereotyped and the free press is under attack. And the press is not going to roll over to an alternative reality.

The Trump folks are testing the waters to see how far they can go. Those waters will get hot very quickly.

(Note: The most thorough set of books on the Nazi rise to power is the trilogy by Richard J Evans. The Coming of the Third Reich, The Third Reich in Power and The Third Reich at War)

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Good News is No News

It seems as though the news emphasizes almost nothing but catastrophe and encourages negativity. This is not new, but it seems to be overwhelming sometimes. And it leaves the impression that we live in a constant state of terror, unhappiness, fear and anger. Things are getting worse and worse. Danger around every corner. The end is near! That is the narrative.

Good news does not sell papers or drive “clicks”. Good news is boring.

Some good news.

In 2015, a total of 322,761,000 Americans were NOT killed by the police.

.https://www.rt.com/usa/326724-police-killings-usa-report/

The murder rate in Chicago is 1/2 of what it was in 1990. The murder rate in Washington DC is 1/4 of what it was in 1990.

https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/analysis/Crime_in_2015_A_Final_Analysis.pdf

Since the ACA (Obamacare) was enacted uninsured rates fell in every state in the union.Now only about 10%-12%  of the population remains uninsured.

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/blog/2015/sept/us-census-data-shows-uninsured-americans-drop

At long last all US citizens, including homosexuals, can  marry and serve openly in the military.

Gays in the U.S. Military Are Now Protected Against ‘Witch Hunts’

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/26/417717613/supreme-court-rules-all-states-must-allow-same-sex-marriages

The US is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time since the 1990s.

http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/weekly/archive/2011/110525/twipprint.html

Americans demonstrated their generosity by giving more money to charity than ever before. , over $358 billion dollars in 2014.

Giving USA: Americans Donated an Estimated $358.38 Billion to Charity in 2014; Highest Total in Report’s 60-year History

US teen pregnancy rates are 50% LESS than they were in 1991, and have been falling.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/02/health/teen-birth-rates/

In July of 2009 the rate of inflation was 5.6%. In July of 2016 the rate of inflation was 0.8%. The trend has been steady.

Historical Inflation Rates: 1914-2016

The unemployment rate in January, 2016, is down to 4.9% from a high of 9.8 % in January of 2010.

http://www.multpl.com/unemployment/table

Since 9/11 you are 15 times more likely to be killed by a deer, than by a foreign terrorist. And your chance of being killed by a deer are less than 1 in 15,000,000.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deer%E2%80%93vehicle_collisions

http://www.vox.com/2015/11/23/9765718/domestic-terrorism-threat

And, the biggest good news surprise of all time. The Chicago Cubs, currently in 1st place, were predicted to win the World Series by the gambling establishment. (I wouldn’t bet on that one)

http://www.csnchicago.com/chicago-cubs/big-surprise-cubs-favorite-win-2016-world-series

So. Good news will not make headlines. Not as exciting as disasters. But cheer up. Things are not nearly as bad as some would like us to believe.

 

 

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