TWO ISSUES

In the comments on this post, WE WIN? LOOKS LIKE WE DID, a couple of issues came up that I will address here.

Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul Did Not Like The Briefing. So?

What is the issue here? Well, this story puts things in perspective, Mike Lee: Soleimani Strike a ‘Big Victory’ for Safety of American People (breitbart.com). Senator Rand Paul, of course, is dead set against war, Rand Paul: ‘You’d Have to Be Brain-Dead’ to Believe Killing Soleimani will Bring Iran to Negotiating Table (nationalreview.com).

So why didn’t Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul like the briefing they got from the Trump administration on the drone killing of Qasem Soleimani?

Were Lee and Paul saying that the Trump administration should not have killed Qasem Soleimani? Not really. Look at what those two are complaining about. They wanted to debate the briefers about where the president’s war powers end and Congress’ begin. That is, Lee wanted to know how the Trump’s administration would respond if Iran did this or that. They also, Lee in particular, wanted more access to the intelligence.

Lee and Paul want more Congressional control with respect to when America goes to war. Were the briefers the appropriate people to debate congressmen about the separation of powers between the President and Congress? Nope.

Our Constitution says the President makes war, and Congress declares war. If Congress is unhappy with the President making war, Congress can defund his warfare and impeach him if they are really unhappy.

What about the material included in the briefing. Vice President Mike Pence came out and said that giving Congress more information could compromise sources and methods, Pence defends withholding Soleimani intel amid Lee, Paul criticism (thehill.com). Why? Doesn’t everyone know Congress cannot be trusted to keep a secret?

Did President Barack Obama Fund Iranian Terrorism?

Yes. To suggest otherwise is actually silly, but the crony capitalist news media is playing its usual word games. See Media ‘Fact-Checks’ Trump’s Claim That Obama Sent Iran Money, Gets Facts Wrong (dailywire.com).

Here are some articles that describe how the Obama administration sent money to Iran.

What about that cargo plane full of money? Well, Google seems to have buried that one. So I had to use bing.com.

How much money? That seems to be a bit hazy. Why pallets of cash? Why not just a bank transfer? Think about that.

 

 

106 thoughts on “TWO ISSUES

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  1. Tsalmon

    In reply to your following comment

    “Here’s another way to look at it that none of us will agree with (but weirdly, without admitting it, maybe we mostly do):”

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2020/01/09/opinion/trump-iran-media.amp.html

    Keeping in mind the idiom

    “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”

    The writer is calling Trump stupid for not understanding Trump is telling the world that the game of “playing” the USA for a fool is over. Time to fess up and find and play another fool Nation than the USA.

    All the writer did is identify what has been going on in the Mid East but offered no solution what to do different to end what has been going on in that region ever since recorded history began.

    So what wise thing should Trump do about people killing American troops.

    Call them stupid and write a news article? What will that accomplish to stop game players from understanding the game of killing l American troops has changed, ……………because Trump is Stupid……and we need another Obama leader to allow the “play the USA game” again?

    A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. (Proverb 18:2)

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Tsalmon,

    Frankly, I’m sick and tired too of politicians who keep bringing up accusations that Trump colluted with Russians for the past three years Notice the word I used,,,,,,past.

    Regards and goodwill blogging

    Like

    1. Past tense? I get it, but Trump and Putin are happening to us right now, not three years ago, not in the imaginary universe of Hillary’s apocalyptic reign of terror. It is strange, however, how Putin, who’s oligarchy’s main national economy depends on oil prices, always comes out with more influence and us less by Trump’s strategy(?).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. @tsalmon

        What did that mean? When you cannot produce anything that even looks like proof, you are still crowing Russian collusion. Pathetic! There isn’t a emoji capable of describing such foolishness.
        .
        You keep firing off these weird broadside blasts of allegations. Frankly, with respect to running our country, I trust Trump’s judgement more than I do you. Trump may be arrogant, but he explains what he wants to do and why. All you do is complain about Trump. It is like a toddler having a tantrum throwing a fit with high school insults. That’s not persuasive. It is just the sort of dumb, angry, hatred that leads to tyranny.

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        1. Tom,

          Seems that I hit a nerve. So does that mean that you won’t vote for me to be president? And I thought I’d at least get the family vote. 😊

          SW

          I spent most of my military career as a Cold Warrior, tracking Russian subs, among other things. On one flight, I watched the whole empire collapse in a Soviet exercise off the Kamchatka Peninsula when the Soviets attacked their own coast and realized that they could not protect it. (The Russians almost shot us down by accident that day).

          The Soviets never really came out to play again after that day. Everything they had soon got mothballed . . .
          subs, bombers, fighters, everything. We won, I guess.

          In spite of that, I think that Putin’s Russia is more dangerous than the Soviet Union. It’s more like the mafia gets to run the government and had nuclear weapons to boot.

          Soviet totalitarianism polarized the world in what we all believed was an existential clash of two opposing ideologies. The battle lines were clear and Americans were united against the common threat. Putinism strikes me as much more insidious.

          The weight of reality ultimately collapsed the Soviet ideology when everyone knew they were living a lie, which was fine except the lie had become grey and impoverished, and it wasn’t even capable of protecting them, of providing basic security from their richer, apparently happier, enemies.

          The Republican Neocons and the Democrats thought that the winning ideology, democratic capitalism, would naturally then simply (with a nudge here and there) blossom like daisies in cow dung. Our failures in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, among others, demonstrated the lie of this determinism just as surely as the inherent determinism of Communism proved a lie.

          Russia shows that the more natural evolution as the institutions of states collapse is initial chaos and then toward a populist strong man, authoritarianism and oligarchy as the people choose the nostalgia of security over what they see as the flaccid idealism of democracy. This disillusionment with democratic institutions is happening all over the world right now. Democracies are being polarized by populist leaders claiming to clean up the bloated bureaucratic swamp while they are actually creating a new, far more corrupt swamp, a muck of slime where the biggest alligators feed on everything else until they have eaten the whole swamp.

          We are fighting with each other over nostalgic mirages and utopian dreams while the alligators smile reptilian smiles and a the whisper of chomp, chomp, chomp slowly gets louder and louder.

          Maybe there is no collusion and Trumpism just looks so much like Putinism that they only appear to be working together, always with interests aligned. But at some point, if, as Pelosi says, “with Trump all roads lead to Putin”, does it really matter?

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          1. Maybe there is no collusion and Trumpism just looks so much like Putinism that they only appear to be working together,

            You’re aware that Putin is friends with Iran and Assad, right?
            Just checking.
            In a world where results matter, Trump is better.
            In a world where only words and wishes matter, Obama, Clinton, Bush junior…heck even Hillary, were better. They said a lot of stuff that sounded good.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I should clarify that doesn’t mean the rest only said stuff that sounded good.

            There was some obtuseness, but making sure everyone one says is screened through a PR boiler room process first is a good way to ensure it sounds better. That was a feature, not a bug, for all political speech before Trump.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. @tsalmon

            Hit a nerve? I suppose so. Listening to someone in the throes of TDS gets old, especially when it is some I care about.

            You spout that word, “determinism”, all the time. It is one of those weapon words you use.

            The big problem in this world? Putin? No. Not even close. It is sin. We like Adam and Eve refuse to love and obey God. Without people to obey him, what is Putin?

            How do we solve our problems in this world? We repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our savior. We ask Jesus to save us.

            Does it make any difference what type of government we have? Sort of. The type of government we have indicates how many of us have repented and turned to Christ. If we have turned to Christ, then we have accepted the fact that our neighbors belong to God, that He is their master. Except to protect the innocent from predators, we accept the fact we have no right to impose our will upon our neighbors.

            When most of our people have not repented and turned to Christ, what can we do to save and protect our country? Is Donald Trump the solution? No. He needs Jesus just like the rest of us. Donald Trump job is just to maintain law and order. Because he is just one man, without God’s help, he cannot even do that. He can direct some people personally, and he can set policy, but he cannot make bad people into good people. He cannot make the average citizen obey the law except to the extent they already want to do so.

            We don’t even have the capacity to make our self good. All Trump can do is maintain enough order so that each of us can spread the Gospel.

            Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.
            C. S. Lewis

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          4. And thus Liz, you prove my point. Results at what? Puffing up our nationalist pride? Is that what America really stands for?

            Seriously, you don’t think that, like Putin, Trump doesn’t want to be friends with Assad and Iran? Would the fact that they are theocratic religious fanatics (like Saudi Arabia) will stop Trump from wanting to make love to them? Do you think that the fact that they are dictators (like Kim) who brutalize their own people and squash every vestige of democracy should matter to Trump exchanging his love letters with them? Who do you think should be our adversaries? What makes a nation our natural allies? What really makes America great? Power, money, prestige? More importantly, how does spreading corruption by undermining confidence in democratic institutions serve Putin and harm us, not just our national power, but what really makes us “great”?

            Tom keeps saying that we have God given rights. Whether that is true or not, I have yet to find a place where such rights actually exist where fairly uncorrupted governmental institutions don’t define, arbitrate and enforce those rights. Have you found such an natural rights springing Eden?

            Assuming that you agree that the rights and the institutions go hand in glove, wouldn’t you also agree that, as economies and technologies evolve, the institutions that protect these supposedly natural rights are less naturally blossoming than they must be constantly built, redesigned and reformed. In other words, wouldn’t you say that it takes a lot of hard work (and more than a few mistakes) for humans to insure even some imperfect level of uncorrupted institutional protection of those so-called perfect God given rights?

            And regardless of whether one believes these rights are God given or just a rational secular legal construct, shouldn’t we want these basic rights and institutions for everyone? God given or not, how are my government protected rights less secure when they are deprived elsewhere to someone else by a tyrant state or just by the pure selfishness of corruption?

            Again, who are are enemies? What are we fighting for and against? How do you define winning in the long haul? Winning what?

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          5. Tom,

            It’s not that I disagree with your basic Christian premises about individual salvation, I just think that your application of that theology to only your partisan philosophy is a little one sidedly convenient. If It is somehow not Christian for me to be critical of Trump’s incompetence or his promotion of lying and corruption, then by your same logic you definitely should not be critical of Obama’s well meaning, even if inherently erroneous, idealism, don’t you think? If I’m somehow in the throes of derangement, then you must be positively bipolar. 😏

            You keep trying to self-righteously chastise me for criticizing Trump, but you never seem to pull any punches against Clinton or Obama, even to the point of wanting to unjustifiably lock your political opponents up. And yet the folks who keep getting locked up are those surrounding Trump. Wonder why?

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          6. @tsalmon

            Self-righteously chastise you? No. That is why I refer to the Bible.

            When we make choices between people, we cannot choose anyone perfect. We can only pray and choose the one who seems best overall.

            Who was the better choice than Donald Trump. You don’t discuss that. That is past tense. You just launch interminable tirades full of unsupported and unsupportable accusations. That’s self-righteous!

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          7. Tom,

            How am I using “determinism” as a weapon word. Marx thought that Communism would be the inexorable rational result of capitalism’s boom/bust swings. Even Marx therefore would not have argued that his philosophy was not deterministic. Nazi fascism had the same sort of self proclaimed determinism in that they believed that the superiority of the Aryan race and German culture would ultimately make them the natural world conquerors. In his “The Open Society & It’s Enemies”. Karl Popper effectively argued that it was not rational to believe one could predict with certainty any evolution of Society. Among other things, he said there were too many factors and too many unknowns.

            Given this, I am also simply arguing that there is no form of government, including democratic capitalism, that can be provably deterministic. If fact, I think it is dangerous for us to believe so. We should instead believe the opposite, we should realize we manufacture it and the only thing that sustains it and promotes it is hard work. Take that away and it will crumble into the dust overnight out of pure entropy.

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          8. @tsalmon

            How do you use the word “determinism” as a weapon? Your opponents theories are, supposedly, deterministic. Your theories are just right.

            Given what you said after your question, I think you understood my point about the way you use “determinism.”

            Any political theory is to some extent deterministic. Otherwise, what good is it. If our theory does not predict certain effects that result from certain causes, what kind of theory is it? Useless?

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          9. And thus Liz, you prove my point. Results at what?

            Off the top of my head: defeating ISIS, bringing troops home, taking border security seriously, finally actions to counter China instead of continuing to pay them to make the rope to hang us, energy independence, actual accountability for Iran, and protecting our embassy. I’m sure I could think of more very easily but I’ve made lists before and obviously it all falls on deaf ears.

            Liked by 1 person

          10. Liz,

            Your list of accomplishments (which rather generously credits Trump with everything from sunshine to gravity) still doesn’t show a goal or a strategy to achieve that goal.

            I like to listen to the TED Radio Hour sometimes while I’m running. Recently they did a segment on what makes people follow certain charismatic leaders. It surprised me to find out that it wasn’t really their plan. MLK never said, “I have a plan”. Instead, he said, “I have a dream”. In charismatic skills, facts seem to matter far less than presenting some vision and inspiring emotions. When researchers surveyed attendees after they heard a charismatic person speak, they often could not even remember the facts and plans of what he or she even said. They just kept saying that the speaker was wonderful. They also refused to believe negative facts about that leader even when the truth of those facts were incontrovertible. When I am brutally honest with myself, I think that I am as susceptible to this cognitive bias about my heroes and heroins as anyone else.

            The two things that the charismatic leader needed to be successful seemed to be the ability to provide an attractive vision and then to inspire certain emotions. Depending upon the charismatic, the driving emotion could either be hope and compassion or it could be fear and anger. This got me to thinking about Trump and Obama.

            Much as I hate to admit it, it is obvious that Trump is indeed a very charismatic leader just as Obama was a very charismatic leader. Obama’s vision was “change you can believe in”, whereas Trump’s vision is “make America great again”. Both Obama and Trump inspired emotions in their listeners and, in both cases actual facts were overshadowed by the emotions of their followers. Honestly, what do you think that the emotions that Obama mostly used to inspire voters toward his vision verses what kind of emotions has Trump used to inspire Trumpers to believe that he truly can do something to make America great again? Ok Trump fans here, if you’re brutally honest, doesn’t Trump’s schtick utilize negative emotions far more than positive ones.

            Was Obama particularly good at formulating a strategy for turning his charisma into policy? Again, if I’m brutally honest, I would have to say that he had mixed success. I don’t agree with everything Obama did or wanted to do. I think that Obama sometimes failed to predict the unintended consequences of his strategy. (The rise of ISIS is a good example). On the other hand, I agreed with the general direction Obama was going, and I never felt that Obama’s vision, if it were successful, would actually hurt the country or its standing in the world. I can’t say that about Trump even when I generally agree with some of his impulses. Why do I say that?

            I think the emotions Trump inspires are destructive. I believe that Trump inspires in his followers mostly their hatred, their fear, their greed and their envy. “Make America great again” itself implies that their was some Utopian time when everything was morally better. When exactly was that? When before now were we less sexist, less racist, less selfish, more compassionate, more just, religiously loving and more willing to serve others?

            Since I can’t remember that nostalgic perfect past period when we were in a general sense actually morally greater than now, I can only imagine that Trump has some, some different, less morally justified criteria for his “greatness” than the usual universal virtues. Instead, Trump quite openly plays to our vices rather than our better angels. Trump struts and preens, he lies and exaggerates, he fumes and bullies, he calls everyone names and constantly puffs himself up. Is that the kind of “greatness” that we, particularly Christians, really want to promote?

            So Liz, I ask you again. How do you define greatness and what do you think Trump’s long term strategy is make us that kind of great?.

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          11. If I may interject a bit, T, I too have been researching the “charisma” Trump seems to impose on his followers and what you report here is similar to what I have explored as well. I was going to do a post.. but keep putting it off due to “apathy” of the moment. Obama’s charisma was never divisive. He didn’t continue to sing only to his political base.. and he didn’t (outwardly at least) convey a negative morality. Trump’s charisma is a bit like target marketing; what he is selling pinpoints directly on a segment of the public with specific needs… whether those needs themselves are real or subjective. The other difference is that Obama has obviously had an early sense of how people positively reacted to him. Generally speaking, people with a universal charisma seem to understand it, and Obama did. Trump just blundered into it. Even he was surprised because I am sure in real life he never got praising and devoted crowds cheering at him. Sadly.. he’s got the charisma “power” but like everything else.. he has no knowledge on how to wield it effectively beyond his base. Good evaluation.

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          12. @tsalmon

            Lots of people like myself voted for Trump because the alternative, Hillary Clinton, was certain disaster.

            Did some people vote for Trump because of his charisma? Like you?

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          13. “How do you use the word ‘determinism’. as a weapon? Your opponents theories are, supposedly, deterministic. Your theories are just right.”

            Tom, I’m still lost here.

            Who are my “opponent” determinists here that you align with that you feel are being picked on by the word? Communists? Fascists? Is it the Neocons?

            We all make predictions? I have money in the stock market because I’m playing the odds on a prediction that it will continue to go up. However, even my recognition that I am playing a probability, not an absolute certainty, means that I know that this theory is NOT deterministic. The danger of thinking that something is deterministic is that we don’t diversify. Why work hard? Why have other sources of income? Why plan for bubbles and collapse?

            The same is true of socio-political deterministic theories. If one believes that one is a certainty rather than just having some level of probability, even if what he wants is a morally good thing, he doesn’t recognize any unknown variables and negative unintended other probabilities. Why should he work to make it happen when he believes it’s going to happen no matter what? Why adapt to or even acknowledge unforeseen criteria and events when the outcome is inexorable? Until it all catastrophically fall apart that is? That’s why actual socio-political determinism is dangerous, no matter who is doing it.

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          14. @tsalmon

            Here is what I said before.

            Any political theory is to some extent deterministic. Otherwise, what good is it. If our theory does not predict certain effects that result from certain causes, what kind of theory is it? Useless?

            The Nazis and the Communists justified themselves in part based upon the argument the were just implementing the inevitable. That is hardly a moral argument, and that’s why calling an ideological belief “deterministic” lumps an ideological belief into the same category as Nazism and Communism, which is what you just did to the so-called Republican Neocons.

            Science is deterministic. That is, the whole point of science is to model cause and effect relationships so that we can predict effects based upon our ability to control or assess the magnitude of causes. Ideally, we model cause and effect relationships with mathematics.

            As any decent engineer can tell you, when applied to the real world, mathematical predictions come with a probability of error. When we are making predictions based upon our understanding of cause and effect relationships that are too complex to mathematically model, to assume that we can make accurate predictions requires fanaticism. Fanaticism, not determinism, is the problem with Nazis, Communists, Islamic Terrorists, Liberal Democrats 😉, and so forth.

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          15. “As any decent engineer can tell you, when applied to the real world, mathematical predictions come with a probability of error. When we are making predictions based upon our understanding of cause and effect relationships that are too complex to mathematically model, to assume that we can make accurate predictions requires fanaticism.”

            I think that is pretty much what I just said Tom. However, just to be clear, I am using the word, “determinism” as Karl Popper defined it, and as it is currently used in the context of the political and social science. “Determinism” in this connotation means the adherents of the socio-political ideology (Communists and Fascists for example) actually believe in its inevitability.

            Karl Popper argued that it is unscientific to be deterministic in such a complex system. One can certainly posit predictive scientific theories and in so far as those theories survive falsification by contradictory empirical data, experimentation and mathematical modeling, the predictive probability comes closer to 100%, but it never quite reaches 100%. Why? Popper provides numerous reasons if you care to read his works, but I will give just a few.

            First of all, in complex systems there may be many unknowns. For example, a scientist classifying species in Europe three centuries ago could have postulated that “all swans are white”, and his scientific theory would have had a high predictive probability, at least until Europeans finally traveled to Australia and found black swans.

            The second reason that scientific predictions in complex systems are never completely deterministic is because, as you say, there are too many variables, each with its own three dimensional vector of probable influence, for anyone to be able to model a linear formula with 100% probability.
            When I went to fly an airplane and assumed that it would indeed fly, I was not being deterministic in the sense that Karl Popper and I are criticizing that concept. I recognized that I was dealing with numerous other possibilities that might effect sustained flight, otherwise why would I bother to do a preflight?

            Another factor that has only recently come to be appreciated concerns the dynamic changes that occur in certain systems just as soon as we begin looking at them to make our predictions. (There is a name for this that eludes me right now). As soon as we look at these systems, they change. One example of this is the stock market. Just making a market prediction changes the probabilities in ways that are difficult to predict, and just trying to predict those new probabilities changes the prediction again, and so on and on, indefinitely.

            So now I hope that we are clear on why we should be skeptical of truly deterministic ideological systems. We also agree I think that, notwithstanding their moral insanity, the logical fallacy in Marxist Communism and in Fascism has been their determinism. You don’t seem to mind my (and Popper’s) criticisms of those two systems with the supposed weapon word, “determinism”. However, I still don’t understand why you think the word is an insult, rather than a critical, but true, descriptor of certain other ideologies, such as the Neocon socio-political ideology that was based upon Francis Fukuyama’s work, “The End of History”. Fukuyama later denied that the theory in his book was deterministic and said that the Neocons misapplied his theories in their true reasons for justifying the Iraq War. However, I read his book (and many of his subsequent books), and his view of history definitely can be interpreted to be deterministic.

            If you want to discuss this further, I’ll be happy to because I think it is important. There is something about us as humans that craves the certainty of some logically deterministic ideology. The Twentieth Century was fraught with wars costing millions of lives and mountains of treasure fighting to prove and disprove the fallacy of determinism. History may not repeat, but as they say, it often rhymes. Determinism is a rhyme that we need to learn to stop singing over and over again.

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          16. @tsalmon

            What you say Popper obseved has been known for some time. This is why those who practice disciplines like Chemistry and Physics refer to their own disciplines hard sciences and to disciplines like Biology and History as soft sciences.

            Were the so-called Neocons guilty of determinism? Only if we believe the crap written in the Crony Capitalist news media.

            We looked back on what happened in Japan and Germany after WWII, and some of us hoped we could duplicate those successes in Iraq. Determinism? No. Naive? Perhaps.

            Listen to yourself. Liberal Democrats, not Republicans, believe in multiculturalism. What Republicans like to believe is that all men desire to be free, and I think that is true, but not all men want all men to be free. Some want the people they call their own to be free, and they are happy for others to be their slaves. In a nation as divided as Iraq, we had a hard time stopping them from trying to put each other in chains. In addition, they were not too happy with us, and unlike Japan and Germany, the Iraqis had not been beaten down by years of punishing warfare.

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          17. Tom,

            So you say that the Neocons were “naive”, and then essentially you say that they were were pretty much naive in their determinism. Ok. It sounds like we have had a little liftoff on a little shared enlightenment.

            I can always tell that we are pretty much in agreement on the truth of an issue when you claim some mysterious disagreement, blame those rascally Democrats for everything from the Fall from Eden to rush hour traffic and then pretty much parrot back everything that I just wrote. Whenever you want to change the subject from an uncomfortable fraternal agreement, you always revert to the blame game.

            Sorry, I know that you find this rage fest inspiring catnip to ramp up the choir here, but don’t you ever get bored with it? I mean it must be exhausting. Anyway, although I enjoy a good intellectual give and take, you seem more interested in a food fight at this point. Not surprising since this, not truth, is the level at which your fearful leader, Trump, thrives. It was almost interesting for a minute though.

            I pray that God may bless you with a little peace now and then. Love to you and yours.

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          18. @tsalmon

            A nevertrump Liberal Democrat complaining about a rage fest?🙄😏🤔🤨😂🤣😅

            I said what I said. You are naïve to think you can put words in my mouth. But nice (https://www.etymonline.com/word/nice#etymonline_v_6918) try.

            You want to equate so-called Neocons with Nazis and Communists. So you play games with words. That just fits the way the party you vote with behaves. That includes nevertrump Liberal Democrat impeachment tantrums.

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      2. Tsalman,

        Putin has a different means of dealing with Putin haters than Trump has to contend with the Putin haters in Russia , don’t you think?.

        As for Putin strategy and influence being better than Trump in the world, I don’t see a lot of people trying to immigrate legally or illegally into Russia or areas of Russian influence compared to the USA .

        Especially Trump haters who promised to leave the USA when he was elected?

        Regards and goodwill blogging

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Per your Lee/Paul issue… frankly, who cares.

    Per your second issue… what’s your entire point? Not even all your links there (why do I even bother to read that stuff) support your inclinations.

    1. Kerry stated that he fully expected some of the money to be channeled to terrorist group(s) simply because there’s no way to predict how Iran would spend it. The issue at hand was curbing Iran’s development of nukes and part of the settlement was giving their money back to them. Much of the money indeed ended up going toward much needed domestic spending given the past sanctions. Some of it indeed went to a terrorist group or two. So.. did Obama’s Iran agreement “fund terrorism”? Obviously some bucks went to some groups. Did it “fund terrorism” as a whole? Nope. Did it fund an entire terrorist program or policy.. of fund terrorism for a month or a year? Nope. Even your citation links didn’t suggest that. So.. as usual Trump (and hence you) are gaslighting to spread fear.

    2. It’s been internationally proven (your biased Conservative links are a waste of my time) that Iran was indeed complying with the agreement up until Trump yanked it.. without a replacement…. and now we find ourselves here today with his “war-footing” nonsense with Iran. The agreement was to assure their compliance out to 2030.. Trump pulling it just made their nuke development possible 2020/2021. All because he’s got a thing for Obama.

    3. Trump rattling off numbers in ANY speech is simply part of his gaslighting process.. the same as three years of yakking about Clinton “crimes” that have now been also proven false by Trump’s own DOJ… along with the IG investigation showing no culpability at all regarding the Steele dossier and all the FBI and CIA folks involved as not being any part of some ‘deep state” ridiculousness. Jeez.. more money spent on all those investigations than the Mueller report.. and Mueller got all that money back and then some with all the convictions.

    Sorry. Your entire post was great if you wanted to agree with yourself.. but not one element of truth.. as usual regarding anything Trump spews forth.
    But.. hey, he’s not finished yet, Tom. He’s got lots of time to continue to ruin the country… and he will.

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    1. Yea, Doug that’s why I didn’t even bother. It seems that in order not to face what’s real and right in front of our faces, we have to get into Trumped up conspiracies, Wild what ifs, over-the-top accusations and old history blame games. Why stop at Obama? Why not blame George Washington for running away so much that he made the war longer by appeasing the British.

      Trump says he can make a better deal than the one he tore up. How? With what leverage? Empty threats? Why can’t anyone answer that, because so far all I’m seeing him do is make things strategically worse by the day.

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      1. ..and it’s gonna get far worse before it gets better. I keep banging away at that prospect because so many Trumpians are simply relishing in their Chosen One as if each day is one of glory and redemption from allegedly past ills. None of this Trump era is anything to be happy about or celebrate in the least.
        You can call it fate, luck of the draw… or what it really was.. the plane shoot down was collateral damage as a result of Trump offing General Slug at the wrong time. (I might even go so far in here to suggest.. where was God for all those plane victims? But I’m not getting into a religious debate with you guys.)
        Heck… the plane was collateral damage as a result of Trump ending the Iran Agreement.

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        1. @Doug

          Shriek! Scream! Panic! Squeeze under rock. Head for the hills! The ever cool and sober Doug and Tony think it is going to get worse.

          No problem. Never fear! Just blame everything on Trump.

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    2. @Doug

      I linked to various reports. I don’t exclusively read Conservative pubs.

      Would you like to explain why Obama sent the Iranian regime pallets of cash? Would you like to explain how giving that gangster regime a bunch of money was suppose to stop it from getting nukes.

      1. The so-called treaty did not address Iran’s missile development or support for terrorists. We are suppose to trust a nation that busies itself terrorizing its neighbors and ICBMs not to build nuclear bombs?
      2. Internationally proven? Facts are facts because of what? Please note that we have to have a decent inspection program before we can believe the people running Iran. Please observe also that Obama could not get two thirds of the Senate to approve his “treaty”.
      3. Do insults substitute for truth?

      Trump’s own DOJ? Trump had to replace the first guy he appointed because he was not getting the job done.

      In the same way that it is obvious Joe Biden is crooked — his son gets high paying positions why — it is obvious that H. Clinton is crooked.

      Mueller’s convictions had nothing to do with his charter. When there was never any evidence he had done so, why was Trump investigated for colluding with the Russians for stealing the election?

      Like

        1. I couldn’t agree more.
          Maybe you can imply our troops are foolish, selfish and cowardly again and I can bang my head against the wall hard enough to pass out this time.

          Like

          1. Nice try. I never implied any of that and you know that.

            Doug, after it was explained to you that our soldiers who traversed Route Irish were routinely injured and killed on that road, and they were probably glad the guy in charge of those attacks was dead, you responded:

            “I am very sure there are many who travel that road that appreciate Trump risking further casualties and deaths in order to make the road safer”

            You are free to clarify any other possible way the above might be interpreted.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. On a moral plane we might assign the collateral damage of the aircraft victims to the overall human toll yet to be realized as a result of the impulse decision by Trump to drone Gen. Slug. Will all that be the cost of saving GI’s on that road? For that matter, what has been the casualty rate on that road.. and did that justify the strike.. or could there have been an alternative way to take Slug out.. like maybe a Seal Team or CIA hit? After all, it seems they’ve been following him by sat, drone, or human intel for a while now.

            Was killing this guy going to directly reduce American casualties anywhere in the region? After all, it’s not like all his followers and proxy groups are now suddenly going to pack up and go home. We killed off a command and control leader. If we offed him simply because he was directly responsible for American deaths as our way of administering battlefield justice that’s one thing. But to assume we are taking him out solely to stave off “imminent” strikes against American assets alone.. well, heck, the next guy can continue that. Trump keeps adding on the alleged “imminent” targets each day to try to explain his crazy decision-without-studying-ramifications.
            No.. a strike against whatever local proxy group, en masse, is causing the havoc on that road makes far more sense. I’m guessing the threat is still there for those guys. But we do not know fully yet if Trump’s “executive decision” is going to put those GI’s in an even greater threat, do we? So far 189 civilians paid a price, and while it’s directly related to Iranian screw up.. the Iranians screwed up because of their fear it was an American incoming missile. Think of it this way… the day before the assassination that plane was on a normal flight path for commercial planes. The day after… that same route is now a target zone.. thanks to Trump’s decision.

            Like

          3. @Doug

            This is not that complicated. You are a soldier. The president’s name is Barack Hussein Obama. You have been given orders that you must not shoot back. Do those orders make you safer?

            Like

          4. On a moral plane we might assign the collateral damage of the aircraft victims to the overall human toll yet to be realized as a result of the impulse decision by Trump to drone Gen. Slug. Will all that be the cost of saving GI’s on that road?

            I stopped there at the long range of gobbledygook you used to justify what you said.
            Now the new standard is a president can’t defend against attacks on U.S. personnel by a terror regime because the regime might accidentally shoot down an airliner taking off from one of its own airports.
            Got it.
            This is what CNN does to people.

            Like

          5. I fully agree with you on one thing here… you didn’t finish reading, much less reading what you did read with any sort of reading for comprehension. Your conclusion was not relevant to my remarks.. indicating we are all at our frustration limit.
            To be more accurate… it’s CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC… easier to just say.. it’s never FOX unless I need a laugh.

            Like

          6. Your conclusion was not relevant to my remarks
            Well, here’s the way you ended your word salad gobbledygook. About the same way as it began:

            ”But we do not know fully yet if Trump’s “executive decision” is going to put those GI’s in an even greater threat, do we? So far 189 civilians paid a price, and while it’s directly related to Iranian screw up.. the Iranians screwed up because of their fear it was an American incoming missile. Think of it this way… the day before the assassination that plane was on a normal flight path for commercial planes. The day after… that same route is now a target zone.. thanks to Trump’s decision.”

            I’m not sure what you expect me to say about possible futures and potential futures. Anything anyone does might result in something else. Yet still, the president should defend against attacks on U.S. personnel by a terror regime. And if that regime accidentally shoots down an airliner taking off from one of its own airports, that’s on them. 
Or we could do nothing. I have absolutely no doubt that if Trump had done the opposite you would be arguing he was spineless.

            .. indicating we are all at our frustration limit.
            Agreed. You crossed a line insulting our soldiers.

            To be more accurate… it’s CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC… easier to just say..
            They’re all CNN.

            Liked by 1 person

          7. 1. I insulted no soldiers in my remarks. I surely hope I insulted Trump because I could care less.
            2. To be more accurate.. I would never, ever accuse Trump of being spineless. Witless and careless, to be sure.

            Like

          8. I insulted no soldiers in my remarks.

            “I am sure many (soldiers) who travel that road appreciate Trump risking further casualties and deaths to make the road safer (for them)”

            IS INSULTING TO SOLDIERS!!

            Liked by 1 person

          9. Glad to see you don’t care about our soldiers facing injury or death as long as a terrorist responsible for thousands of deaths is safe.
            After all, we never know what might happen if we get rid of that guy!
            Let’s do the same for murderers on the street.
            Put ’em in jail or shoot them and someone might get angry.
            Don’t stop serial killers! All that will do is produce copy cat serial killers!

            GAH!
            ’nuff said

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Tom,

    Tsalmon is not liking you bringing up. Obama.

    Seems whatever he did was sacred in Obama lovers eyes.

    And what Trump does is the opposite.in their eyes.

    What should matter is ths truth instead.

    What concerns me in the news today is if Iran did shoot down the passenger. Plane.

    If so in error, think what could happen in error when they have a nuclear bomb in their missile?

    Regards and goodwill blogging

    Liked by 2 people

    1. SW,

      For an actual leader, there is a shelf life to blaming everything on his predecessor that makes such whining about a fresh as a Gulf Coast oyster in the July sunshine. At some point Trump and his acolytes really do have to man (or woman) up some, don’t you think? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. @tsalmon

        Please note that you and Doug wanted to discuss these points.

        Why has Trump talked about Obama? Missiles have a shelf life that at least exceeds the time since Obama gave Iran control over all that dough.

        Like

  5. It isn’t feasible for Congress to approve every military action. Our forces are in that area and that is de facto approval for defensive military action. Those who believe otherwise need to explain how and why this is an exceptional circumstance as compared too…all the other similar engagements that set precedent. I am hard pressed to think of a “cleaner” targeted attack than this one. Principles of necessity and proportionality apply…he was a known threat, and no collateral damage.

    At present international lawyers are debating the legality of our LEAVING Syria. Before that, they were debating the legality of our being in Syria, and between those times they were debating the legality of all of our military engagements.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your focus is on the past Tom: who to blame, who should have decided to go to war, how do you justify Trump’s endless lies. This war is not over, but you’ve decided to come in after the battle and rhetorically shoot the bravest cripples and grant medals to the cowards. We can argue all day about the justifications for what our endlessly mendacious and mercurial president said and did, but what is his strategy and toward what?

    Where do you think we are at going forward? What does Iran want, and how can they strategically achieve their goals? What do we want and how can we achieve our goals?

    After a long bloody war with Iraq, Iran wants security through increasing influence and control over its neighbors. Iran also has a sectarian religious agenda that goes back to a power schism in Islam that took place after the death of the Prophet and the massacre of his Shia Imam successor.

    Iran does not want a direct all-out war with us, because they know that they can’t win. Although for propaganda purposes they try to tweak the nose of their Great Satan occasionally, they are perhaps more capable at handling the brinkmanship than we are. Mostly, however, Iran plays the long game of asymmetric warfare, keeping us and our allies busy with a half a dozen proxy wars throughout the region and around the world. In so doing, Iran fairly cheaply moves the conflict away from its borders, spreads its influence, and frustrates us with enormous costs in extended force protection. So why not wipe Iran off the map? A few reasons:

    1. No unified public support for any new conflicts.

    2. After the longest wars in US history achieved only injuries, body bags and trillions in debt, Americans must be convinced of a real existential threat, an end game worth the cost and an overwhelming plan for carrying it out. In short, we are tired of endless wars.

    3. As the largest trading nation in the world, we cannot maintain that economic hegemony without military hegemony. Thus we can’t afford not to be involved in policing the world, and we can’t keep bankrupting ourselves doing it. We need to find a middle ground between the economic strangulation of isolationism and Soviet style overspending and economic collapse.

    4. In short, Trump has estranged our allies from us. Because of Trump, no one trusts us to keep our word and play well with others. Trump has abrogated our leadership in this regard, and even Trump has realized it is stupid to go to war without our allies, especially considering that our allies benefit more from a pacified Iran than we do. Thus his pleas for a new NATO chartered involvement.

    Like

    1. @tsalmon

      My focus is on who to blame? All you and Doug do is blame Trump or anyone who supports him. I just pointed to Barrack Obama and H. Clinton for obvious reasons. You voted for those scoundrels, and they helped to create mess Trump is helping to clean up. I am not sorry I embarrassed you. You did that yourself.

      What about your four points? The first three make sense. Your fourth you can wrap in The Washington Post or The New York Times.

      Has Trump estranged our allies? Before Trump started holding them accountable, what good were they? They won’t even pay for their own defense. Germany was all set to make itself energy dependent on Russia.

      How is Trump dealing with our enemies? Look at Iran. Trump has not shown any inclination to land our forces in Iran and take over the place. In fact, he has tried to withdraw our special forces from Syria and been forced to reconsider.

      Instead of grappling with Iran, Trump is trying keep Iran at a distance using air power. Like a boxer with a much longer reach and quicker reflexes, he is pummeling the Iranian regime with economic sanctions.

      What did Obama Clinton do? Remember the Arab Spring. Obama bombed Libya for eight months. Did Democrats complain he need congressional authorization?

      Like

      1. You’ve lost me there brother – how did you supposedly “embarrass” me? One has to feel he has done something wrong to be embarrassed I think, so either I haven’t done anything wrong or I have and don’t know it. Either way, your apology is accepted.

        There is a difference between constantly whining about your predecessors when things go wrong and being accountable for what you’ve done and what you plan to do. The Navy teaches that latter is leadership and the former is impotence.

        We should go it alone huh? For a military guy, you sure don’t understand much about force multipliers. The fact that keeping allies and making them contribute their share sometimes resembles herding cats doesn’t make them any less necessary. That’s where statesmanship comes in – a quality that, like leadership skills, Trump severely lacks.

        And finally, what do you think you know about the use of “air power”? Like I said, the Persian Gulf Is a bathtub. Even while we were fighting Iraq in Operations Shield and Storm, we had to keep on eye looking over our shoulder at Iran. Iran tactically holds the main choke point and Iran’s missile umbrella covers the entire Gulf. In this situation, air power doesn’t keep the Iranians at a distance – we are always in a continuous embrace. Air power therefore cannot act as an occasional tactic – it’s an all or nothing dance of death with everything depending on who makes the first move.

        Trump has drawn a line in the sand now with Iran (although I’m not sure anyone, especially Iran, takes anything Trump says as credible). Trump said Iran can’t have nukes. Well, given that you admit that my first three points are true, how is he going to stop them. Again, other than bluster and blaming everyone else, what is Trump’s strategy?

        Like

        1. Trump has drawn a line in the sand now with Iran (although I’m not sure anyone, especially Iran, takes anything Trump says as credible).

          Would allowing them to attack us with impunity improve his credibility?
          What would you have done in his position?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I’m not the President. Like you, he just works for me so I get to criticize his mistakes and hold him accountable.

            “Would allowing them to attack us with impunity improve his credibility?”

            What credibility? 😉

            Seriously, you are talking about a tactically move that arguably made things worse strategically. Confederate General Lee brilliantly won every battle, but he lost the war.

            Like

          2. I’m not the President. Like you, he just works for me so I get to criticize his mistakes and hold him accountable.

            True, but you’re asking us to read his mind and make predictions.
            Surely just explaining what you would do in his position is easier than future prediction mind reading.

            Like

          3. Really…what was the better “longterm” strategy?
            To do nothing? Write an angry letter?
            Or you don’t know what you’d do, Trump just must be wrong all the time and you’ll fit the evidence to the “crime” depending on what he does or does not do.

            At the one end, there might be a power vacuum like when Saddam died!
            On the other, he’s just some guy, not command and control someone else will easily replace him.
            You’ve made both assertions in less than 48 hours.

            He was a big deal. He recruited child soldiers and was responsible for thousands of deaths. The world is a better place without him and Trump did the right thing.
            (to be fair, he tweet about the 52 sites was a stinker, I would have left the cultural bit out)

            Liked by 1 person

          4. Good thing that you believe that Iran can have its nukes because then you will like the deal Trump probably will try to make.
            Then who won?

            You’re assuming they were going to abide by their agreement.
            And we already know that Iran already said it wasn’t going to abide by the agreement a few months back. So I’m not sure of your point.
            I will now, since you asked (and don’t seem willing to answer my questions), give a brief overview of the foreign policy objectives of each president since 1993:

            Clinton:
            Stall. You don’t know what to do, but you know you want lots of military contacts in the ME because it’s good for your political buddies who will make things good for you so keep soldiers out there. Cut the military budget while tripling deployment rates. Put your wife in charge of the country’s healthcare task force and let her experiment with military healthcare to see how that goes. Bomb the occasional aspirin factory and ignore Congressional veto of military action. You’ll need all the international political contacts later.

            Bush:
            Nation build! After all, Democracy works everywhere and the real reason we had terrorist networks in Somalia and Afghanistan is we abandoned them! Hire the worst Sec of Defense of all time, agree we can do this with only a small number of people. Start reduction in forces while nation building. Put money into expensive military kit. Make contractors rich. Take little flags and hand them out to Iraqis after “liberation” they’ll love us!

            Obama:
            Well, nation building to spread democracy hasn’t worked. Maybe it just hasn’t been tried right. Let’s spread it further! All around! Regime change is the game. Hey…we can start with that country stupid enough to sign a nuclear disarmament treaty with us. Oh, look now Egypt is turning into a radical Islamic republic, now….just about all the nations in the world. Praise this as Arab spring! Let’s start no fly zones over Syria, Russians are there whatever could go wrong. Transgenders in the military. Who wants to waste all that talent? I’ll do that my last couple of months in office to slap someone else with that hot potato. In fact, I’ll set up some really bad stuff for the next guy. Might screw the country, but it will be great for my bank account later. Look at the Clintons! They’re making money hand over fist.

            Trump:
            I will try to get us out the middle east if feasible. We will do what’s best for America. We’ll defeat the terrorists, and defend out interests. It will be a results based policy. If someone hits us we will hit back harder. We’ll sanction those who violate their agreements and spread terrorism. I won’t have my words screened by a PR team, sometimes with bad result. We’ll invest in the military and allow them more control and fewer regulations. Because we know you can’t truly call yourself peaceful unless you are capable of violence. If you’re not capable of violence you’re not peaceful, you’re harmless. #winning

            Liked by 1 person

        2. @tsalmon

          I don’t claim to be a genius. I don’t claim to know everything. I can just see that what Trump is doing is working far better than what Obama was doing, and I point to specific things. I don’t demand you believe me. I request that you believe your own senses. I can also see you cannot find anything of substance to complain about.

          How will Trump prevent Iran from getting nukes? North Korea appears to have nukes. Do their nukes work? Maybe, but Trump is making the possession of them costly through economic sanctions. We have also deployed ABM systems. So their missles cannot deliver nukes.

          The other option is to bomb Iran. Without putting troops on the ground, we could make life difficult for the leaders of Iran.

          The point is that we have options, and Trump seems to understand those options. Obama did not even seem to be on our side.

          Like

          1. Good thing that you believe that Iran can have its nukes because then you will like the deal Trump probably will try to make.

            Then who won?

            Like

  7. We had some Congressional visitors to the last base from time to time.
    A couple of them had never heard of the Defense Authorization Act.
    Which is something that is passed every two years…and very important.
    In fact, it’s just about their only real job. Certainly their most important one.
    There’s no special school Congress people go to to smarten up after they are elected.

    As I mentioned on another thread, history does teach us that threats of force lose their coercive ability if the party making the threat appears to be unwilling or unable to employ actual force.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never heard of the Defense Authorization Act? I don’t care if there is no school. There is no excuse for that. Frankly, that is something all of us should have learned about in high school.

      Like

      1. Agreed. Crazy isn’t it?
        Just trying to put things into perspective, when politicians speak.
        Hard to know the extent of their knowledge base.

        Just to add, as food for thought:
        The nation with the most to lose, in the most danger without a doubt, from a nuclear armed Iran is Israel.
        And they have publicly and unequivocally supported the decision.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. @Angel

      Like Rand too. Lee I am less familiar with, but I expect both men at least think they are doing the right thing.

      As a nation we are schizophrenic about war. We admire the bravery of our fighters, but we abhor the violence. Because of the military industrial complex and scheming politicians, we don’t trust out of pointless wars. Yet some regimes are so obviously evil and dangerous. So, men like Lee and Paul — men who feel responsible to their constituents — want to be certain before we go to war and insist upon a declaration by Congress. The headache is that the President does not have the luxury of waiting for Congress, especially since most congressmen are perfectly happy to let the president take the responsibility.

      Like

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