All posts by lrfalstad

Writer and seeker of truth..

LOVE THEM ANYWAY

When people are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered,

Love them anyway

If you do good, people may accuse you of ulterior motives,

Love them anyway

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable,

Be honest and frank anyway

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs,

Fight for some underdogs anyway

Give the best you have and you may still get kicked in the teeth;

Give the best you have anyway

And remember, some day every loose end will be tied up,

every good will be noted, every book balanced,

You will get what you have given….and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THIRD CHOICE

Our political system is broke.  Americans have only two choices as to who to vote for in congress and for the presidency.  Republican or Democrat. These are the most powerful seats in America.  Our very survival depends on what they make into law.

Everyone is aware of what happens when there are only two choices to vote on in an election. Particularly, in a presidential election.  The 2016 presidential election gave us two choices most Americans didn’t want to vote for.  Consequently, we ended up with the president we now have.  Not that the other choice would have been any better.  They both had a lot of “baggage” to bring to this presidency.

In certain states, the two political parties have made rules so you are not able to vote for any other than a Republican or a Democrat in the primaries.  This keeps other choices, like an Independent, out of the system.  This is not democracy.  This is plutocracy.

Another “politician rule” is the use of Super Delegates whose votes count more than any American vote does.  This can throw an election simply with them voting for the candidate their political party has chosen.  This is not based on who is a better candidate.  We all know how the 2016 presidential election turned out.  These “Super Delegates” & Democratic establishment were determined their choice should win. The “head” of the Democratic party in this election was then president, Obama & VP, Joe Biden. They did nothing to stop the entire Democratic National Committee & Hillary Clinton campaign from “rigging” the primaries against Bernie Sanders. Every poll showed Sanders was the candidate Americans wanted and the only candidate who could have beat Trump.  Because of this, the Democrats, a majority of Americans and even some Republicans now have a president they didn’t want.

This all adds up to the need of a third party.  Independent voters need to form a “political party” of their own & get it registered as a “legitimate” political party” so they can vote in every election, just as Democrats and Republicans do. Many people who call themselves Progressives are working hard to get people elected to congress who will help America.  Not the politicians who are funded by large corporations that are controlling our political system now.  This will take time.  They should work just as hard to have an independent party now. This is the only way there will ever be a fair vote in any election.

I hear the voices who say “look what happened with the elections when Independents ran”.  If we would have had a third political party then, where people could actually vote for who they wanted, that would not have happened. It would have given voters a chance to vote for who they truly want.  Not someone each political party’s hierarchy has decided who the candidate should be.  Until Americans have more than two choices in these elections, nothing will change.

 

A great article and must read.

America has done all it can in Afghanistan — more troops won’t ‘win’ us anything

America has done all it can in Afghanistan — more troops won’t 'win' us anything
© Getty Images

There are reports the U.S. Army is readying about a thousand additional troops for deployment to Afghanistan where they will link up with some 14,000 other U.S. service members tasked with an unachievable mission.

At the same time, this news was drowned about by the latest catastrophic attack, a horrific bombing that left more than 100 dead — The United States Central Command Commander General Votel was even nearby — in the very center of a “secure” district of Kabul.

The persistence of such violence after 16 years of U.S. intervention raises serious questions about the need for and ability of the United States military to address what is at root an internal Afghan security problem increasingly disconnected from core American security interests.

I am no stranger to these un-winnable crusades. In early 2011, my own unit flew into Kandahar — part of the last few thousand troops authorized under the Obama “surge.”

This talk of reinforcement, escalation, and “surging” is nothing new. It is history repeating itself.
These next 1,000 soldiers will enter the Afghan maelstrom as no less than the fifth surge attempted by military and political “strategists” who are clearly out of ideas (perhaps because there is no military solution to a fundamentally political problem).

The first was in 2008, as the Taliban overran key rural districts, President George W. Bush “quietly surged” a couple more combat brigades — some 8,000 soldiers — into Afghanistan just before leaving office. Shortly after taking over in 2009, President Obama ordered in 21,000 more troops.

Next, after at least three strategy reviews, Obama announced the deployment of 30,000 additional reinforcements. At peak strength, more than 100,000 American troops fought there. After several drawdowns, Obama left office with troop numbers hovering around 10,000.

Trump then entered office, and though his original “instinct” was to “pull out,” he caved to the generals and instead proclaimed a “new” strategy of escalation  — 4,000 or 5,000 more service members.

Which brings us to the present potential escalation of 1,000 more brave troopers in a paltry “Surge 5.0.”

According to a recent Washington Post report, the extra 1,000 troops will contribute to the current American “strategy” to “bolster” Afghan troops so they can “pound” the Taliban in this spring’s fighting season.

How, a reasonable observer might ask, will a now grand total of 15,000 U.S. troops suddenly “pound” the Taliban when more than 100,000 of America’s finest failed to do so in 2011-12?

Leaving aside the bellicose rhetoric, let’s examine a few difficult, inconvenient facts presented by Washington’s own Congressional Research Service report:

  1. record number of Afghan provinces and districts are under the control of or contested by the Taliban at present — this after over 16 years of U.S. efforts.
  1. Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) combat deaths hit 6,700 in 2016—a rate in which U.S. commanders have labeled as “unsustainable.”
  1. The Taliban has always and will always be able to count on a safe haven in neighboring Pakistan. That’s a formula for perpetual insurgency.
  1. Afghanistan’s economy still cannot support itself. In any given year foreign military and aid accounts for about 95 percent of total GDP, which means Afghan security is unsustainable without U.S. taxpayers funding a significant portion (forever?).
  1. Despite two decades of on-again, off-again drug eradication efforts, in 2017, Afghan opium production reached record levels. The resultant heroin cash windfall funds not only the Taliban, but also “poppy palaces,” mansions built by crooked government officials.
  1. Both the 2009 and 2014 Afghan presidential elections were highly corrupt and tainted. The very legitimacy of our partnered Afghan government is dubious at best.
  1. The U.S. has attempted to foist a powerful presidency and central government on an Afghan society that has been historically built around rural autonomy and devolution. Perhaps Washington will one day recognize the reason Afghanistan has been ungoverned for centuries is because it is ungovernable, not because America’s presence has been lacking.

Furthermore, the legal basis of the conflict is questionable. American soldiers are fighting in undeclared wars authorized by the vague, post-9/11 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).

That AUMF — which authorized the use force “against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the [9/11 attacks], or harbored such organizations or persons” — seems wholly inadequate to justify nearly a decade and a half of nation building.

For starters, the vast majority of “Taliban” fighters in Afghanistan today are Islamist nationalists who seek only to expel foreign troops from their lands. They have little to no connection to 9/11 and present no transnational terror threat to the United States. Just as disturbingly, 18-year-old U.S. military recruits patrolling Afghanistan today were toddlers on 9/11.

Some military and congressional hawks might then point to the new ISIS franchise — the “Khorasan province” of the caliphate — entrenched in Eastern Afghanistan.

Except Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, neither the Mesopotamian nor Afghan variety, even existed in 2001, so they can hardly fall under the existing AUMF umbrella.

Congress has a constitutional and ethical duty to either: 1) draft, outline and pass into law a new comprehensive AUMF covering contemporary operations in Afghanistan; or 2) bring American servicemen and women home before any more are killed in a fruitless conflict which is patently not a vital strategic interest.

President Trump’s White House is now the third administration to implement a surge and ask the impossible of those in uniform.

It is long past time to stop believing in surges, leadership changes, and other tired old approaches from the interventionist Washington elite. In Afghanistan policy there is, truly, nothing new under the sun.

Prudent foreign policy realism demands strategists who recognize that there are some wars that just can’t be won, at least within sustainable commitment and costs. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster has said as much, admitting “there are problems that are maybe both intractable and of marginal interest to the American people, that do not justify investments of blood and treasure.”

I’d agree, and, in this case, when it comes to Afghanistan — just as in Vietnam — perhaps the more salient question isn’t whether the war is winnable, but, rather, if it is worth fighting at all.


Danny Sjursen is a fellow at Defense Priorities. He served combat tours with U.S. Army reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. The views expressed in this article are those of the author, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government. You can follow him on Twitter:@SkepticalVet

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THE MEMO

Most FBI agents, as well as employees of the other Intelligence agencies of the U.S. government are loyal and patriotic citizens of this country.

There are always some “bad apples” in these agencies. Of course, the top echelon of these government Intelligence agencies do not want this memo made public.  It would tell the public how they operate without any oversight. What agency would approve of a memo that “investigates them”?  Both political parties as well as members of congress are as guilty of this as well.  The fact the Democrats making such a “stench” about making this memo public is  for “political grandstanding”.  Nothing more.

This “The Sky Will Fall” mentality if the memo is released is nothing but a political battle over who controls the government. As it is, these intelligence agencies operate on a separate level than other government agencies.  They have powers that can be misused and often do.  This is an opportunity to find out which employees do misuse these powers. This memo is nothing more than a “peak” into what really goes on in these agencies.

No one would question the need for “secrecy” when it comes to protecting our country.  However, some in these agencies use this “excuse” to act for their own personal reasons.  This has been proven before.  Many of these agencies tend to “over classify” many issues that could be made public without any harm. They live in their own “bubble”.

It is time to “pop” this bubble”.

 

 

2018 WISH LIST

1)  I wish Trump wasn’t our president.

However, I would not want Hillary Clinton for president either.

2) I wish Republicans would not have total control of our three branches of government.

However, I would not want Democrats to have that control either.

3) I wish Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court would have term limits as the president does.

4) I wish both political parties would “repeal” their rule that does not allow Independents to  vote In primaries. This is un-democratic.

5) I wish Democrats would quit choosing candidates from “old guard” politicians.  They lost in 2016 for this very reason. Why not choose someone who is honest and sincere?

6) I wish all politicians would start listening to the voter rather than the corporations who fund their campaigns and tell them what laws to pass.

7)  I wish there would be laws against lobbyists and members of congress from making “back-room” deals.

8)  I wish MSM would “give us a break” from the 24/7 “reports” of Trump’s latest tweets or comments.  We all know how quick he is with his thoughtless remarks. If we really want to read them, we can go to his website ourselves. We don’t need MSM.

9)  I wish people would show their “humanity” rather than their “anger”.

10) I wish everyone health, happiness and a better New Year.

 

The End

 

P.S. Having problems with WP on this one.