Cry Havoc and let slip the dogs of war! a vote in epic bipartisan collegiality

…for the John S. McCain 2019 National Defense Authorization Bill (subtitled ‘The Sneeze Wrong, We’re Comin’ to Fuck You Up Act’).  Here’s the very lengthy summary of provisions in the House version from govtrack.us, although it may have changed slightly since the House and Senate conference agreements.

Let’s start with the House: ‘House Democrats vote for record US military spending’, Patrick Martin, 28 July 2018, wsws.org

“By an overwhelming bipartisan vote Thursday, the US House of Representatives approved the largest military authorization bill in American history. The National Defense Authorization Act approves $716 billion to fund US military aggression around the world, and gives President Trump the power to order cyberwarfare attacks on Russia, China, Iran and North Korea without further congressional action.

The NDAA passed on a roll-call vote of 359 to 54. House Republicans backed the legislation by a near-unanimous vote of 220-5. House Democrats supported it by the margin of 139-49. The entire House Democratic leadership backed the military authorization bill: Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Deputy Minority Whip James Clyburn, and Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. [snip]

“Among the costliest provisions are:

  • A 2.6 percent pay increase for uniformed military personnel, the largest in a decade
  • An increase of 15,000 active-duty troops
  • One new US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier



  • Two new Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines armed with atomic weapons
  • 13 other new warships
  • 77 new joint strike fighters

Adam Smith of Washington state, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, played a key role in the conference committee. During the brief floor debate on the bill Thursday, he said, “This bill does step up to confront our adversaries in Russia and China,” adding that it contained provisions to enhance “the absolutely critical work of pushing back against President Putin’s ongoing campaign to undermine U.S. alliances, partnerships, and democratic values around the world.”

The bill “restates our commitment to NATO and our partners,” Smith said. “It extends the prohibition on military cooperation with Russia. It declares that Russia violated the Chemical Weapons Convention … It strengthens the prohibition on funding for activities that would recognize the sovereignty of Russia over Crimea. It requires a whole-of-government response to malign foreign-influence operations and campaigns, it improves our cyber and counter-influence infrastructure, and a good deal more.”

The bill also authorizes Trump’s major military parade to celebrate ‘a hundred years of patriotic sacrifice by our men and women in uniform’ just after the Nov. 6 elections; a five-year extension of the Maritime Security Initiative, under which the US provides military assistance to countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the main arena for US-China competition, and according to the bill’s summary:

Counterterrorism – The bill authorizes the Counter ISIS Train and Equip Fund to aid partners and allies fighting ISIS and extends the Syria Train and Equip Authority through 2019.  The bill authorizes continued security cooperation with the Government of Iraq and supports the Afghan military in its fight against the Taliban. U.S. Special Operations Command programs and activities are authorized including ongoing efforts in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Eastern Europe.’

See Nick Turse’s January 9, 2018: ‘Special Ops at War; From Afghanistan to Somalia, Special Ops Achieves Less with More’, americanempireproject.com

“Since U.S. commandos went to war in 2001, the size of Special Operations Command has doubled from about 33,000 personnel to 70,000 today.  As their numbers have grown, so has their global reach.  As TomDispatch revealed last month, they were deployed to 149 nations in 2017, or about 75% of the countries on the planet, a record-setting year.  It topped 2016’s 138 nations under the Obama administration and dwarfed the numbers from the final years of the Bush administration.  As the scope of deployments has expanded, special operators also came to be spread ever more equally across the planet.”  (and you didn’t think the Uniparty War Machine was egalitarian!)

Also included in the summary are ‘a Defense Partnership to Counter Iran’, missile readiness to strike North Korea, material support for improving Taiwan’s military, loads of military exercises to er…warn China out of the South China Sea, and 10 steps to combat Russian aggression towards the United States and its allies’, space warfare, and one of my faves:

Facing New Threats

Emerging Technologies – To address advancements in Artificial Intelligence, space and counter-space capabilities, cyber, influence operations, and hypersonics the bill places emphasis on programs to advance capabilities in these areas. The legislation fully supports the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Defense Innovation Unit Experimental to ensure technological superiority and provides additional funding to accelerate Artificial Intelligence, machine learning programs, and hypersonics programs.’

DARPA’s website; the stuff  Imperial Military wet dreams are made of… Active Social Engineering Defense (ASED), Advanced Plant Technologies in the Syn-bio category, and the Health Research in the dropdown menu.  The organization also funds and experiments with CRISPR gene-splicing.

While in her ‘The Democratic Party’s War History and the AUMF of 2018’ Renee Parsons, consortium news, April 26, 2018 writes:

“The proposed Authority for the Use of Military Force of 2018 (AUMF) of 2018 would replace AUMF 2001 and repeal AUMF 2002 while it will codify an “uninterrupted authority to use all necessary and appropriate force in armed conflict” against  the Taliban, al Qaeda, ISIS and as yet unidentified “designated associated forces” who might “pose a grave threat to the US” in whatever country they occupy.”

The bill seems to have encountered some resistance, including Rand Paul and Jeff Merkley…it hasn’t been brought to a vote…so far.  But inside this bill is a ‘mini-cyber AUMF: (back to Patrick Martin):

“Particularly ominous are the sections of the NDAA on cyberwarfare. The bill authorizes the Pentagon to conduct “unattributed” cyber operations without having to comply with the usual restrictions on covert operations, such as requiring a Presidential Finding which is submitted to key leaders of Congress. According to the bill “clandestine military activity or operation in cyberspace shall be considered a traditional military activity.

It pre-authorizes US military cyber operations if the president determines that (1) there is “an active, systematic, and ongoing campaign of attacks against the Government or people of the United States in cyberspace, including attempting to influence American elections and democratic political processes” and (2) that Russia, China, North Korea or Iran are responsible. In that event, the president may order US cyberwar forces “to take appropriate and proportional action in foreign cyberspace to disrupt, defeat, and deter such attacks.”

This provision effectively gives Trump and any successor, Democrat or Republican, the power to launch a full-scale cyberwar without further congressional authorization, merely on his own declaration that the United States is under attack.”

Yesterday, Aug. 3: ‘US Senate backs $708 billion military authorization’, Patrick Martin, wsws.org

After noting that a separate appropriations bill has to be passed to actually fund the bill’s provisions:

“The US Senate approved the National Defense Authorization Act, a blueprint for $708 billion in Pentagon spending, voting Wednesday by a margin of 87-10. Forty-six Republicans were joined by 41 Democrats in approving the bill, which now goes to the White House for President Trump’s signature.



The 41-8 split in the Democratic Party caucus in the Senate was determined partly by political positioning. Those Democrats who are testing the waters for a presidential run and aim to strike a “left” posture for the 2020 primary campaign opposed the military spending bill: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Jeff Merkley.

All the Democratic senators seeking reelection this year in states carried by Trump in 2016 voted in favor of the military spending bill, and will undoubtedly feature it in their election campaign ads as proof of their desire to “work with the president.” These include Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Jon Tester of Montana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Bill Nelson of Florida.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and virtually every other Democrat in the Senate voted for the record military spending without electoral calculations playing any role. They are just as ardent supporters of American imperialism as the Republicans, and demonstrated that in their votes.” [snip]

“Secretary of Defense James Mattis likewise hailed the vote, saying the bill’s quick passage “demonstrated the deep and abiding bipartisan support our military enjoys.” He could have noted, but did not bother, that the House-Senate conference version of the NDAA actually set prospective spending levels $30 billion above those requested by the White House and Pentagon.”

“The figures in fiscal 2019 will be $617 billion for regular Pentagon operations, plus $69 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations and $22 billion for nuclear weapons operations of the Department of Energy, which oversees the construction of atomic warheads.

It is instructive to compare the provisions of this legislation with the funding requirements to meet urgent social needs, for which no such resources are being mobilized.

“The $617 billion in regular Pentagon spending is as much as the United States spends on public education, combining local, state and federal governments ($620 billion in 2016). It is also 10 times what Russia spends on its military ($61 billion).

The $69 billion for wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and drone warfare across North Africa and the Middle East is more than twice the amount of money required to feed all 862 million malnourished people in the world ($30 billion).



The bill authorizes $24.1 billion for shipbuilding, including the building of 13 new warships, among them a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and two nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear weapons.

The same amount of money, $24.1 billion, would provide decent housing for every homeless person in the United States ($20 billion), with enough left over to replace the toxic water infrastructure of Flint, Michigan ($1.5 billion).”

Now we also know that the publicly stated Military Madness War budget it somewhere in the neighborhood of half of the Shadow War budget given Nick Turse’s investigations in the past.

Ih his lengthy ‘US Militarism Marches On’, July 31, Marty Hart-Landsberg at econmomic front provides some of that history, with categories of ‘military spending is big for bidness’ (he provides names and figures of the death-dealing industries), ‘the military is everywhere’, ‘forced wrongful adjustments by the DoD to the tune of tens of trillions of amerikan dollars’, and this:

“As big as it is, the above measure of military spending grossly understates the total.  As JP Sottile explains:

The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) tabulated all “defense-related spending” for both 2017 and 2018, and it hit nearly $1.1 trillion for each of the two years. The “defense-related” part is important because the annual National Defense Authorization Act, a.k.a. the defense budget, doesn’t fully account for all the various forms of national security spending that gets peppered around a half-dozen agencies.”

A trillion here, a trillion there…pretty soon it adds up to some serious loss to taxpayers. His exposé includes five or six depressing graphs and pie charts re: military spending.

…and the dead…stay dead.  What have you done, Amerika, besides create more enemies around the globe?  Will you never learn?  Who will stop this Endless War Machine for profit and fun?


(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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Comments

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

Sounds like we continue to waste a ton of borrowed cash on last generation tech.

  • One new US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
  • Two new Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines armed with atomic weapons
  • 13 other new warships
  • 77 new joint strike fighters

Basically Trump's bought himself his own shiny new aircraft carrier battle group.

I'm sure it will be a simply fantastic fleet.
The best fleet ever in the history of the oceans.
I hear they want to call the carrier 'Trump class'.

That'll show China who's boss in the Western Pacific.

Just one thing though:

The Virginia-class was intended in part as a less expensive alternative to the Seawolf-class submarines ($1.8 billion vs $2.8 billion), whose production run was stopped after just three boats had been completed. To reduce costs, the Virginia-class submarines use many "commercial off-the-shelf" (COTS) components, especially in their computers and data networks.

Sounds totally secure to me!

I'm sure the Russians or Chinese EW is nowhere near powerful enough to hack/disable/commandeer the 'off-the-shelf-tech' that runs our latest generation nuclear powered submarine.

Tom Clancy eat your heart out.

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10 users have voted.

The drama of the deep state in full factional meltdown makes Mario Puzo look like a dime store hack.

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

To reduce costs, the Virginia-class submarines use many "commercial off-the-shelf" (COTS) components, especially in their computers and data networks.

Sounds totally secure to me!

The idea that we're dependent on Microsoft Windows to operate our current Naval vessels, with little or no manual over-ride even available much less trained or used, makes my skin crawl!

Bad

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6 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Alphalop's picture

@thanatokephaloides Except Ctrl-Alt-Delete won't bring back those launched missiles.

We need a global restore point...

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"I used to vote Republican & Democrat, I also used to shit my pants. Eventually I got smart enough to stop doing both things." -Me

wendy davis's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

it's the congressional collegiality who's buying them *and* his Grand Parade (with the caveat from his mega-generals that no 'defense' tanks, etc. will take part, smile). and they gave herr T more than he'd asked for because: russia, esp.

interesting, lol, on the VA class; i'd only looked up the Gerald Ford class as in the photo.

on different days i see massive military budgets, new weapons systems, etc. in different ways. of course, as bernie's said, amerika *Should* have the strongest military in the world (Imperial exceptionalism), the Wall Street 'defense contractors' profiteering motives to keep endless war in play, *use* the bombs that need to be replaced, the new generation of nukes, as well, for resource wars rape and plunders (r2p's), and to arm against the new axes of Evil' as amerika loses in an increasingly multi-polar featuring new alliances, either pragmatic, financial, or ideological.

but military bidness has lots of faces, lots of goals, doesn't it?

on edit: and duh, i'd forgotten to add: amerika hasn't won a war in how long?

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detroitmechworks's picture

The only way that this can happen is if a whole lot of people get really desperate really fast.

So expect more cuts to education, health care for civilians, and all sorts of new exciting waivers that will allow us to form our own Legion Etangere.

And everybody knows there will be an "incident" at the Trump military parade. It's practically guaranteed, and you know the CIA is going to have a full three months to cook something up. Hell, they've been waiting for this kind of chance for years.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

k9disc's picture

@detroitmechworks it, @detroitmechworks . Even though it made me shudder.

For sure, it's a great time to change the world with an unforeseen disaster. I mean, no attacks ever happen during parades or training exercises, "Nobody could have predicted..."

Drumpf ought to watch his ass too.

What's the date on that, again? Let me be sure to be far away from large cities.

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9 users have voted.

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

detroitmechworks's picture

@k9disc their tactics from Hollywood, because these guys have no imagination whatsoever.

Not to say they can't come up with something new, but they've usually foreshadowed it.

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2 users have voted.

I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

snoopydawg's picture

@detroitmechworks

then they can hire more private mercenaries or terrorists like they have been doing for quite some time. But if I had joined the military to defend and protect this country from its enemies I'd blow the shit out of every Al Qaida or an offshoot member that had fought against our troops in Iraq or other theaters of war. Especially if I'd seen my friends killed by them. I don't understand why this hasn't happened yet. Giving aid and comfort to our sworn enemies used to be considered treason didn't it?

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Maybe democracy exists somewhere as being more than a propagandized lie, but democracy certainly does not exist, and cannot exist, within the global alliance for evil.

detroitmechworks's picture

@snoopydawg to just shut up and smile. Not kidding. I still remember my Sergeant saying this, completely without irony.

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3 users have voted.

I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

wendy davis's picture

@detroitmechworks

i believe i'm solid ground that 'special ops' include mercenary armies like erik prince's (in whatever corporate named iteration) darlings, so...they may be the 'soldiers' imagined being added. we actually never heard, at least i hadn't) to his offer to herr T to *be* the 'security forces in afghanistan.

but sure, all of this will require Another Grand Bargain: tina! and fuck them all. but sure, extreme poverty & high debt can tragically make the military seem...attractive.

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detroitmechworks's picture

@wendy davis Then we have essentially created an SA for Trump.

With the full knowledge and approval of the Democratic party.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

wendy davis's picture

@detroitmechworks

Party. but, oh....the power of the purse! come appropriations time! yeah, staying tuned would be a fool's errand.

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CB's picture

spends on defense. Putin will ensure he gets his people elected during the coming midterms. Whether it will be Dems or Repugs will be HIS decision and his alone. All we can do is wait till the results are in. Putin is in full control of American politics and there is not a damn thing the people can do about it because he has mastered The Force.

The Force is so powerful, that only a few hundred of seemingly innocuous tweets and Facebook ads strategically placed around the country can cause most American's brains to be zombified and vote Putin's desires.

If you don't believe Putin has mastered the Force then explain why Russia can match the American military on a budget less than 1/10th of the US?

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wendy davis's picture

@CB

at least according to what i've read at MOA and other sites. but that's why congress is asking for sanctions against any nation that buys their systems, including their anti-missile batteries (man-pads 400?), no?

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Big Al's picture

I remember reporting years ago that the imperialism budget had surpassed a trillion per year. Estimates prior to Obama's sequester budget were around 1.2 trillion per year for total costs. Wrote many an article about it and yet here we are, still writing and reading articles about it and not doing shit to stop it.

Boycott the duopoly, boycott this political system, demand democracy, demand power to the people. It's so far past time for talking it's pathetic.

Thanks for the essay Wendy.

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k9disc's picture

fly.

If not I usually just talk about paying off the debt we take on it and add in intelligence and black ops if I have a number handy.

"What, now we're going to bicker over a hundred billion dollars and demand proper accounting? Wish you'd expect the same of the warmongers..."

It really would be handy to have that few hundred billion in ancillary funding to make that case clearly and concisely.

Quick, everyone go get a piece of data on funding. Wink

@Big Al

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7 users have voted.

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

wendy davis's picture

@k9disc

thank you; i concur.

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wendy davis's picture

@Big Al

years ago, and likely others i hadn't known had. i like your call to arms, but i must say i laugh when i see folks here comment that they'll prolly vote green next time. not that other Rabble class coalitions shouldn't have formed a party long ago.

"but there is no alternative! a vote outside the duopoly is a vote for the More Evil!"

on edit: i'd forgotten to say 'you're welcome', but i'd skittered off in haste to catch up on chores...and realized later how rude i was. but this 'un really was an eye-crosser to cobble together over i dunno how many hours. cross-posting it was a nightmare, and dagnabbit, i just realized i'd forgotten to change the quoted texts teal blue. bugger all.

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Big Al's picture

@wendy davis They say probably vote green, then support any new progressive democrat that comes around, like Ocasio-Cortez. There's no arguing with long time partisans and believers in the "right to vote". They think it's some kind of sacred thing (people died for our right to vote!).
It's like the demexiters who didn't exit after Obama's first 100 days, not until they felt imperialist Sanders got the shaft did they feel they should exit. But that's been backtracked pretty well by now.
It's no different on the republican side. I read the other day how Trump's approval rating among repuglicans is an all time high, or around Bush's when he started the Iraq war. It shows how tribal people think. When push comes to shove, most people simply cannot see outside the box they're in.
All this system does is keep a challenge from forming outside the system. It keeps the focus on voting for politicians instead of demanding democracy.

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wendy davis's picture

@Big Al

comment been on my minimized firefox tab, emma goldman? (smile)

i will say that *sometimes* local voting, even govs, can matter (lest hackable diebold machines). as an indie, i did finally grab the D ballot of the 2 i'd been sent to vote for a D county commissioner whom i love witless'; her husband had ran unaffiliated and had gotten trounced as being an 'outsider' as he'd left Bean Country north of cortez to pursue his (honorable, as i remember it) career.

but yeah, in general there might be a Fightin' Bob la Follete (WI) runnin' for gov, but not likely these days of Walkerstans.

ta dear; i need a siesta; days start far before first light here, chores stay until darkness, darkness.

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Big Al's picture

@wendy davis I suppose I should make that clear.

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wendy davis's picture

@Big Al

to be more specific as well, smile.

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Big Al's picture

@wendy davis so I do vote at times. But your essay referred largely to the national imperialism budget so that was the intent of my suggestions to boycott the "political system". Very few here listen anymore to that anyway, as put by another essayist, it's "burdensome".

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wendy davis's picture

to some conflicting news in VZ. first: ‘Venezuela's Maduro Fine After Apparent 'Attack', voa news.com ('apparent, ge it?)

“CARACAS, VENEZUELA —
Drones loaded with explosives detonated close to a military event where Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was giving a speech on Saturday, but he and top government officials alongside him escaped unharmed from what
Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez called an "attack" targeting the leftist leader.
Seven National Guard soldiers were injured, Rodriguez added.
A broadcast by Maduro was cut short during the outdoor speech at a military event in Caracas, and soldiers were seen running before the televised transmission was cut off.”

the twittersphere is alight with laughter that VZ is claiming the attack came from Colombia (totally believable to me), cbs news has it this way:

"Three officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case say the incident was actually a gas tank explosion inside an apartment.

Smoke could be seen coming out of a building window at the site of the incident."

we may never know, of course. but any number of cia false flags could be afoot.

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Lookout's picture

@wendy davis

https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/World-Extends-Solidarity-To-Venez...

We've been doing our best to destabilize them for many years...
https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/10148

Meanwhile China builds trans Asia road and rail and is rapidly growing their green energy production. What a waste to throw our money away on military aggression. Thanks for the focus on our insanity...

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4 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

wendy davis's picture

@Lookout

yes, thanks, i'd gone to telesur english first thing this a.m. the venezuelanalyis (nothing there yet). but colombia in nato now, ecudaor w/ a miltiary pact w/ amerika, a constant barrage of 'x-treme poverty and brutality and torture under Maduro'...now this second assassination attempt since june... and "no options for VZ are off the table" through two administrations...we hope maduro's correct and 'a shield of love' had protected him/them.

but ain't it grand that the early reports all included those same ingredients, and offer 'alt-explanations' as well? sounds like a setup for an R2P VZ to me. and all that oil, all those minerals...mmmm, mmmm. CFR weighed in yet? south sudan R2P's comin' too.

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Lookout's picture

@wendy davis

...of course power and control play a large role. Consider Nicaragua...although oil may be involved...
Oil Optimism in Nicaragua - The results of the examination carried out so far by the Norwegian company Statoil indicate the existence of "interesting geological structures that may contain oil."

in the first 15 min Lee Camp speaks with Kevin Zeese about the situation unfolding in Nicaragua. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS2MMTMsdvM (sorry no text)

Here's another analysis with Max Blumenthal with text...
https://therealnews.com/stories/us-govt-regime-change-machine-fuels-nica...

It is same story all over the world....especially with countries working to help their people rather than the corporations. Cuba comes to mind as well.

I suspect much of the funding of these coups is under the table CIA drug and arms running money.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

wendy davis's picture

@Lookout thanks for those; kevin zeese send his analyeses on nicarauga after havig been there rrcently...on the popular resistance newsletter. given head-swiveling needs, i've simply had to choose not to learn about the 'two sides' of the arguments.i will note that 'complaints from sandanista 'so and so' have caused me to think: any onecan claim a brand for the purposes of agitprop.

greyson smythe at the café dropped in this oldie but goodie: ‘VIDEO: CIA Director Mike Pompeo Hints U.S. Is Working with Mexico and Colombia to Push Regime Change in Venezuela’ at alternet.

oddly, and i reckon 'goodly', maxie and ben norton have kinda changed horses on the imperial project over the last year or two. but: a couple tankies on twitter are still apt to not let them forget who they used to be, screenshots, deleted tweeties and all, smile.

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wendy davis's picture

@Lookout

is why i'd mentioned 'the sandanistas' to begin with. god's blood i'm sick of noam chomsky:

August 3,2018, 'Chomsky on Regime Change in Nicaragua' by Roger Harris, counterpunch

"With patented angst, Noam Chomsky opined on President Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua to an agreeing Amy Goodman: “But there’s been a lot of corruption, a lot of repression. It’s autocratic, undoubtedly.”

Earlier in their DemocracyNow! interview, the main talking points were established via a video clip of a dissident former official from Ortega’s Sandinista Party: Ortega’s “entire government has been, in essence, neoliberal. Then it becomes authoritarian, repressive.”

Left out of this view is why the US has targeted Nicaragua for regime change. One would think that a neoliberal regime, especially if it were authoritarian and repressive, would be just the ticket to curry favor with Washington."

"Nicaragua has provoked the ire of the US for the good things its done, not the bad.

Besides being a “threat” of a good example, Nicaragua is in the anti-imperialist ALBA alliance with Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, and others. The attack on Nicaragua is part of a larger strategy by the US to tear apart regional alliances of resistance to the Empire, though that is not the whole story."

and a whole lot more.

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wendy davis's picture

@Lookout

did this fellow at wsws.org give maduro the ass-kickin' from hell today: ‘Venezuelan President Maduro charges right-wing opposition backed by Colombia with supposed assassination attempt’ Alexander Fangmann, 6 August 2018

“Regardless of the exact circumstances of the explosions, it is clear that Maduro and the Venezuelan government are using the incident as a pretext to clamp down on growing protests against the country’s deteriorating economic conditions.

According to an article in El Pais, the army has confiscated other footage from the private television company covering the event. Venezuela’s National Union of Press Workers said that seven journalists covering the event were interrogated for hours after the incident, with some having their cameras taken from them.

The Colombian government issued a denial of any involvement in the affair, saying, “The suggestion that the Colombian president is responsible for this supposed attack against the Venezuela president is absurd and lacking in all foundation,” while US National Security Advisor John Bolton claimed “there was no US involvement.”

[take that to the bank]
Whether that group had any involvement or not, the Venezuelan government is poised to initiate a further crackdown on political dissent as well as growing protests against Venezuela’s deteriorating economic conditions. Attorney General Tarek William Saab said, “There will be a ruthless punishment.” This threat was echoed by Maduro in his own speech calling for “maximum punishment” and “no forgiveness.”

yes, telesur had told of the peasant farmers walking hundreds of miles to meet with him, as he eventually did; but is maduro really reversing the land reform in the countryside?

hard to tell from this report.

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snoopydawg's picture

Gawd knows that the officers are getting too much money and perks without putting their asses on the line.

The bill “restates our commitment to NATO and our partners,” Smith said. “It extends the prohibition on military cooperation with Russia. It declares that Russia violated the Chemical Weapons Convention

Okay. No working with Russia on defeating ISIS. Not that we're doing this, just the opposite. We're funding and protecting ISIS from Syria and Russia. But what chemical weapons has Russia used in recent times? This country has been the ones using them in our various wars. Stupid congress.

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Maybe democracy exists somewhere as being more than a propagandized lie, but democracy certainly does not exist, and cannot exist, within the global alliance for evil.

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg @snoopydawg

military did work w/'putin' for a time on 'deconflicting' airspace, but that led to boatloads of charges that putin was working *for israel* to allow israel to blast the hell out of israel's missiles coming from the golan heights. etc. both b at MOA and authors at new eastern outlook have shown why that is absurd. but the charges keep coming.

apologies for not responding earlier, but weekends are full of regular chores as well as the ones mr. wd needs to help me with given the given the condition my condition is in...when he's working during the week sometimes. miles to go before i sleep, esp. given that i/we need to harvest the basil crop and prepare it to be shocked and packaged for freezing.

but still: what an assholish 'provision' in the mofo-ing bill; good night nurse, as if amerika actually were working against ISIS. a breathtaking psyop. so FUBAR as the military jargon goes, but then...that works for the whole military 'defense' and 'exporting democracy™ con, doesn't it?

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Following is a link to a book review by the blogger The Saker of a book titled Losing Military Supremacy by Andrei Martyanov.

http://thesaker.is/book-review-losing-military-supremacy-the-myopia-of-a...

A brief summary of the book in the review.

But of all the aspects of the “American dream”, the single most resilient one has been the myth of the US military as “the finest fighting force in history”. In this new book, Andrei Martianov not only comprehensively debunks this myth, he explains step by step how this myth was created and why it is collapsing now.

One of the ways that the Russians have done so well at weapon building is their mindset and understanding of war. US weapons have as their first priority making somebody some money.

The difference in weapons systems acquisition is also simple: since US wars never really put the people of the USA at risk, the consequences of developing under-performing weapons systems were never catastrophic. The profits made, however, were immense. Hence the kind of criminally overpriced and useless weapons system like the F-35, the Littoral Combat Ship or, of course, the fantastically expensive and no less fantastically vulnerable aircraft carriers. The Russian force planners had very different priorities: not only did they fully realize that the failure to produce an excellently performing weapons system could result in their country being devastated and occupied (not to mention their families and themselves either enslaved or killed), they also realized that they could never match the Pentagon in terms of spending. So what they did was to design comparatively much cheaper weapons systems which could destroy or render useless the output of the multi-trillion dollar US military-industrial complex. This is how Russian missiles made the entire US ABM program and the US carrier-centric Navy pretty much obsolete as well as how Russian air defenses turned putatively “invisible” US aircraft into targets or how Russian diesel-electric submarines are threatening US nuclear attack subs. All that at a tiny fraction of what the US taxpayer spends on “defense”. Here again, Martyanov gives plenty of detailed examples

Both reviewer and author believe the fate of humanity rests on understanding actors who control the nuclear arsenal.

There is a huge discrepancy between the perceived and the actual capabilities of the US military and the only way to bridge this gap are, of course, nuclear weapons. This is why the last chapter in the book is entitled “The Threat of a Massive American Military Miscalculation”. In this chapter, Martyanov names the real enemy of both the Russian and the American people – the US political elites and, especially, the Neocons: they are destroying the USA as a country and they are putting all of mankind at risk of nuclear annihilation.

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wendy davis's picture

@MrWebster

and for the cliffs notes. now the saker IS an expatriated russian, and while he has his biases, as does bernhard at MoA, both are former military and seem to know both strategy and tactics quite well. ha, i emailed myself the saker's name and rank, but i'd be hard pressed to find it again, smile. now on the other hand, pat laing (turcopoliers or what.ev.er, former military brass, can kiss my grits, lol.

russian orthodox former kiwi now USian juliania used to hang out at the saker's a lot, but got miffed with recently on some...perhaps religious bigotry she'd thought he'd shown. the site is far too hard on my eyes, but my goodness does his commentariat fund him up the wazoo.

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wendy davis's picture

a founder of the american indian movement, RIPpower:

and my favorite playing for change, world peace thru music joyous boogie. titi ! tula ! when all else fails: dance!

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