Monday, May 15, 2017

The Tomahawk War


19th Century Native American Tomahawk 

The Tomahawk War 
by
Mick Kleber


Our federal legislators should be up in arms about Trump's un-Constitutional authorization of Tomahawk missile airstrikes against Syria without Congressional approval. While the strikes may have been morally justifiable, they were indisputably an act of war. But in our nation only Congress has the power to authorize such acts. The strikes were also in direct violation of the prohibition of unilateral attacks under the United Nations charter.

Granted, Presidents Truman (Korea), Clinton (Kosovo), Obama (Libya) and others have also violated the Constitutional process, but repeated violation does not make these acts legal. When the Assad regime used chemical weapons in 2013, President Obama followed the rules, asking Congress to authorize a U.S. military response. Congress demurred. Ironically, Donald Trump tweeted at the time: "The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria -- big mistake if he does not!" Yet Trump sought no Congressional approval and claimed that Obama's inaction was in part to blame for Assad's atrocities. Of course, self-serving hypocrisy is a sickening Trump trademark that now passes for business as usual.
Unfortunately, the majority of our Congressional "leaders" have given Trump a dangerously irresponsible pass on the un-Constitutional bombings because the general public believes Assad should be punished (no argument here). But the $80 million dollars worth of airstrikes failed without question to achieve that purpose. 

Within hours the military airfield was back in operation because the strikes intentionally avoided damaging the runways. Secretary of State Tillerson confirmed that the attacks specifically targeted only Syrian aircraft -- 20 were destroyed, most of them non-operational -- and refueling capability, and that the timing of the strikes was intended to avoid human casualties. Of the 15 reported fatalities, nine were civilians in nearby villages, four of them children. The Pentagon confirmed that the Russians were warned an hour in advance of the strikes, and no Russian aircraft or personnel were at the airfield when the strikes took place. Syrian intelligence also received prior warning, and much of the facility's equipment was relocated prior to the attack.

Thus, the missile strikes were a totally symbolic show of force with no significant damage to Syria's airstrike capability and no other discernible tactical or strategic military effect. The White House and Tillerson subsequently stated that our national policy with regard to Syria remains unchanged. 

Last week, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross jokingly characterized the strikes as free after-dinner entertainment at Trump's Mar-a-Lago summit with China's president Xi Jinping. Xi reportedly told Trump he understood the rationale for the airstrikes because children had been killed or injured by Assad's heinous indulgence in chemical warfare. 

But the Chinese media immediately pegged the strikes as a blatant attempt by Trump to distance him from mounting accusations of a cozy bromance with Putin's regime. Subsequent statements by Trump and Tillerson that US-Russian relations are "probably at an all-time low" appeared to be an extension of this tactic. Many world leaders, as well as Congressional figures from both sides of the aisle, applauded the strikes, and media pundits have largely agreed that Trump succeeded in positioning himself as "more Presidential" and less pro-Russian.

Now several weeks later, has the Assad regime been weakened or chastened in any significant way by the airstrikes? No. 

And is our country any safer? Just the opposite. Dangerous threats to our national security -- such as North Korea's impetuous Kim Jong-un and cagier players like Putin -- are only emboldened to use military force with impunity by what can convincingly be deemed an unlawful act of international aggression by the United States. 



21st Century United States Navy Tomahawk 



Bashar al-Assad 




Note about the author:  Mick Kleber is a graduate of both the United States Army and Yale University.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

MAD Math and the Zero Sum Nuclear Weapons Game

 
Resist

Today a political expert talking head on BBC said that President and Commander Donald Trump's attack on Bashar al-Assad's airfield in Syria was good because it shows any other opponents that Commander Trump is unpredictable.  In other words no one can tell where or when Commander Trump may attack next.  
  
This may be a good thing if a state of war existed between the United States of America and some other little nation like Syria or Iraq.  No such war is declared.  The really, really, really bad thing to consider for Commander Trump and his military is the effect of unpredictability on the mutually assured destruction strategy (MAD) still operative and current from the days of the Soviet Union.  
  
For those who chose to forget, here's an excerpt as refresher from Wiki, "The strategic balance between the United States and Russia is becoming less stable, and the objective, technical possibility of a first strike by the United States is increasing. At a time of crisis, this instability could lead to an accidental nuclear war. For example, if Russia feared a U.S. nuclear attack, Moscow might make rash moves (such as putting its forces on alert) that would provoke a U.S. preemptive strike."  Very smart scientists and mathematicians of the 1950's like RAND corporation’s Herman Kahn and MIT’s John Von Neumann engraved all the dogma of MAD.  The whimsical Von Neumann created the acronym.  
  
The whole thing is based on the zero sum game of nuclear weapons.  Say side one has two thousand fifty megaton missiles and side two has about the same.  If side one launches a first strike sending missiles at their side two opponent, side two will reply with more missiles and on and on until the missiles are all used, and thereby both sides are assured of destruction.  The entire planet would of course be put into a nuclear winter and billions would die, but side one would be declared the winner by the few hiding out in some bunker in the mountains.  Of course no sane human wants this scenario to happen… ever.  
  
First strike refers to the act of launching thermonuclear missiles first.  The dogma is math, and the math relies on perfection for a win.  Actual nuclear war must be imperfect and corrupt and messy and emotionally intolerable.  If a commander and the staff only consider the MAD math, the fog surrounding decision trees clear up.  Some things throw askew the whole MAD math calculation like the numbers and accuracy of the missiles deployed by both sides of warriors.  Notice the use of “game” for Tom Clancy who wrote about a “game changing” nuclear missile sub in his little scary book and movie called “The Hunt For Red October.”  The Red October had a new kind of engine that can’t be detected allowing for a first strike capability.  In the Wiki quote above note "instability.”  Instability can also throw the MAD math into a tizzy and commanders and staff are more prone to make a mistake.  
  
The new Trump doctrine of unpredictability is adding instability into the MAD math.  Do the MAD math.  Do we as a nation want an unstable warrior in the nuclear MAD math arena?  The Trump doctrine edges our nation closer into just such a MAD math nuclear conflict.  In the big game, the side two opponent, Russia considers a first strike as viable because of the instability of the side one commander, President Trump.  
  
The game needs to end now.  


Ground War in Vietnam as imagined by Francis Ford Coppola "Apocalypse Now" 1979
Sam Bottoms as Lance and Robert Duvall as Kilgore. 
  
Kilgore- Smell that? You smell that?  
 
Lance- What?  
Kilgore- Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. 


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Acts of War


Wait a minute, please all Trump people and all republicans. 

And here I thought the US Congress was the only way the US government and our nation could declare war? 

Just now a story came on the news that President Trump ordered cruise missile strikes in Syria. That is an act of war. 

A story was also posted that President Trump has decided to go it alone in dealing with North Korea? The North Koreans then launch a missile as President Trump meets with Xi Jinping of China. Another story came out that Assad gassed civilians in Syria! Looks like the Big Trump got conned by both Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad and Kim Jong-un. So the Big Trump blamed it all on Obama. 

Neither Donald Trump nor Mike Pence nor Mitch McConnell nor Paul Ryan has ever served one day in active military service to America. They know nothing about security. No republican since George Bush, Senior or Eisenhower has had a clue about security or how to carry on a war. Look at Iraq since 9/11.  Look at Afghanistan. It is not Obama who set up the war in those places. It was republican egotists. Remember Donald Rumsfeld’s unforgettable media line “Shock and Awe!” used to describe the bombings and killings of thousands of civilians and enemy soldiers. Ike had respect for the dead. Rumsfeld and Cheney and the Bush gang did not. The Trump and Pence gang have even less integrity. In the Pay-Per-Vote™ Congress the budget for “defense” spending grows geometrically. 

Now, why is there so much anger these days? And stupidity? Sadly, blindly, millions voted their anger and their stupids. Is this the reason we have little but falsehood and fake Christian dogma coming from the White House media muppets. 

And the other day someone said, "What exactly is the 'Christian dogma?' No doubt I would prefer Christian dogma to Islamic dogma any day." 

Martin Pitts reply, "You are correct. Any fool can see it must be better to be burned at the stake than to be beheaded." 

Because of bags of money in our elections and enraptured leaders, 21st Century America is both a 20th Century Banana Republic and a bigoted human rights wasteland. Money talks and ethics walks for the republicans and all of their shills in the Pay-Per-Vote™ Congress, the Courts and in state governments! 

What would a trickle down originalist like Judge Neil Gorsuch say about this?  Syria did not attack us.  Syria and Assad are killing their own people, not ours.  The International Court of Justice (Cour internationale de justice) at the Hague in the Netherlands is empowered to prosecute war criminals like Bashar al-Assad.  Both the USA and Russia are signatories at the ICJ, since 1945.  It is treason to carry out a war without the direct declaration of the US Congress. 


The US Constitution Article I  Section. 8.   

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
… 
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces; To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress; 
… 


Tchoupitoulas Street Uptown New Orleans 1968
Vietnam War Military Ambulances ready for lading
Photo Copyright © 1969 Martin Pitts

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Boosting Neil Gorsuch

Neither the mouse nor the corporation is a human.
Do god and Paper Citizens we call corporations have human rights?  
  
A staunch warrior for the dogma of corporate Paper Citizens and everything libertarian and god and trickle down justice, Neil Gorsuch is soon be inserted into our Supreme Court.  

The other never ending booster of corporate Paper Citizens, Justice Antonin Scalia is long gone.  Scalia enjoyed gunshot killing small animals and hanging out in five star hotels on the tabs of the big money owners of corporate Paper Citizens.  As solemnly promised to all the god and libertarian cults last fall, the Trump White House PR Hive worked successfully on to install Neil Gorsuch as a great and biblical replacement.  The other day the White House PR Hive proclaimed that Scalia was not recognized for legal scholarship like the precisely positioned Chief Justice Roberts.  But here now is a sterling silver-haired medallion for the best of the best libertarian and god judicial savants, Neil Gorsuch.  
  
Since the Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific decision of 1886 our nation's highest court has continuously affirmed the idea of "Corporate Personhood" or corporate Paper Citizenship.  In addition to recognition by the Supreme Court, a corporate Paper Citizen must be dutifully registered and birthed by the federal and state tax codes.  Libertarian and religious judges believe in the idea that a corporate Paper Citizen exists and thereby it must have a certain kind of right to life in court almost like a human.  Perhaps Neil Gorsuch knows this with the same deep rapture with which he imagines god and Jesus during his prayers.  Corporate Paper Citizens are secure in the codices of our common law America.  And as a sacred public relations promise a big corporate Paper Citizen will allow justice and wealth to trickle down to the little humans in America.  

Antonin Scalia and others on the court handed down the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 558 U.S. 310 (2010) giving corporate Paper Citizens the untouchable right to spend as much money in our elections as they wish.  Even worse any Paper Citizen can go and buy secretly thousands of hours of TV and Internet commercials for their favorite candidate.  Because of it's mockery of fair play in our elections the Citizens United ruling has been compared to the ethical horror of the Dred Scott Decision of 1857 that reaffirmed slaves as property with no rights as citizens of the United States. 

Antonin Scalia lived a very good life as a human
because he devoutly respected the canons of Paper Citizens. 
A devout promise of trickle down justice and wealth by Paper Citizens is what Neil Gorsuch will extend for a few more decades on our Supreme Court.  Yes, the rancid inviolate secrecy for bags of money in our elections is un-American and unethical.  It may be time for those corporate Paper Citizens, those corporations, to register to vote at the booth and to come out of the Super PAC closets and do their duty as new Paper Citizens of the USA.  Called up and anointed by the White House, Neil Gorsuch's primary mission is to secure even more power on paper for any corporation that votes with their bags of libertarian and god money.  That money is the utmost power in our elections is an American tradition.  Sadly, those corrupting bags of money inflate the power of the Paper Citizens.  Corporate Paper Citizens can and do dishonor human rights with their bags of money.  A regular citizen is not as equal as a Paper Citizen in our USA. 
  
As an additional travesty of our democracy, the personal Neil Gorsuch is a John Birch Society Member.  Dead-Eye Dick Cheney is a card carrying member.  Papa Fred Koch of Koch Industries founded the John Birch Society.  In the Civil Rights days of the old south 1960s everyone knew that if you scratch a Bircher in a suit and tie you'll find the dark rotten blood of a Klu Klux Klansman in a white sheet.  Here's some ungodly lies on this poster from the Birchers that was circulated with Koch money around Dallas November 1963.  


Friday, March 17, 2017

The White House PR Hive and the Power of Money

Probable Cause in Glastonbury by Banksy
It is only a lie if the media PR Hive at the White House says it's a lie. Lately the smell of lies like rotten seafood is all over the White House and the Capitol dome.
From artist Carol Leake, an old and dear friend in New Orleans, about the state of our government, “Actually, I think Paul Ryan is revealing his ideological obsession with getting rid of government. New Orleanians had an up close and personal experience 12 1/2 years ago of how things go when government is sabotaged by republicans. We never recovered. At the time, I thought that the outing of the republican agenda would be the only silver lining that Katrina had to offer." Why this destructive ideology from Speaker Ryan and most of the republican Congress?  Put aside the money for the Super PAC.  Put aside the aspirations of lobbyists like Grover Norquist and his bosses at the NRA who whisper in the ears of their shills like Speaker Ryan and Mitch McConnell.  Let's simply follow the taxes for the why.  
The carious Koch Brothers have their hands in bags of money for elections all over America.  So do hundreds of others with dogmas ranging from abject racist despotism to fake Christian boosterism. Think checks and balances for a moment.  Look it up, especially if your elementary education was home bible school.  The Heritage Foundation and ALEC and the Cato Institute and the Fund for Growth and other billionaire funded PR pods for dogma, all have deeply influenced America for the past twenty years.  These billionaires literally have no check on their power of money.  If Charlie Koch wants burn a hundred square miles of Grand Teton National Park to get a better view for his place in Jackson Hole, he wants no one to tell him he can't do this!  His gigantic power of money is absolute.  But the Federal Government has guns and tanks and lawyers who are equal to Charlie's.  So Charlie is frustrated.  He talks to his boys at Heritage and Cato, "The highest goal is to eliminate taxes... all taxes!  We get rid of taxes and we get rid of my enemy, the government!"  Thereby they'll erase the power of government.  Government is the big boss!  Only government can tell Charlie what he can and cannot do.  Old Charlie will not tolerate this.  It becomes an obsession for any billionaire that some big government can tell them what to do. If Charlie does not like it, he'll change it.  Look at the gas stations in Palm Springs.  There used to be all brands there.  But it now looks like old Charlie got rid of all the competition for his own little Valero Petrol brand.  It's practically a monopoly for Valero out there in the desert.  Charlie wants to get rid of that competing brand we call the government.  
Charlie Koch got all of this vision from his bible upbringing in Oklahoma and his study of Ayn Rand as a teenager.  To this day Ayn Rand's little books are like bibles for all those pubescent minded billionaires who need some pump-me-up with their morning cappuccinos and croissants.  When the caffeine kicks in Charlie Koch feels better about his life and his work, and he runs the glorious self-made man image of John Galt through his mind.  Christians in Nashville and Iowa do the same.  They repeat and repeat the image of a white boy blue-eyed Jesus doing powerful things in their minds.  Those things they could never do in reality because the government just would not allow it.  Therefore Charlie Koch and the Nashville Christians and the Iowa Christians have the same enemy, the government!  The government can't be more powerful than Jesus!  Jesus is the boss!  The government can't be more powerful than god!  God is the boss!  If the government acts like Jesus or god then we've got to destroy it!  Onward Christians soldiers!  But wait!  There's a problem here!  Our government has a plan.  It's called our constitution.  The people put this source in charge.  Not the money.  Not god or Jesus or John Galt or any billionaire including Charlie Koch and our President Big Trump and our US Congress and our White House crew.  The people have the power.  We are many more than you despite the enlargement of your power given you by your PR hives.  The people have the power.  
King Louis XVI was guillotined
January 21st, 1793
The White House PR Hive

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Senior Chief Petty Officer William Ryan Owens and the Cruelty of Big Time Media Tactics.



Hey America, are you asleep?  Wake up and let's examine that "Presidential speech" for the joint session of our Congress the other night.  Most of the glowing reviews by print and broadcast journalists completely overlooked the fact that the speech was a cruel and heinous use of a dead soldier for media spin.  There was nothing patriotic or brave about arranging the furious applause at President Donald Trump's mention of the grieving wife of a good soldier. 

Trump's people flew wife Carryn Owens into Washington to bravely smile for the live feed C-SPAN and network video cameras in the chamber.  This little piece of reality TV was a disgusting play out of some unknown publicity manual.  The body of SCPO Owens became a shill for the Trump White House public relations strategy. 
There's something very, very wrong about hundreds of smiling people standing and cheering over the battle death of a man in uniform.  Trump intended the Yemen operation to further justify the continuing republican war to stoke fear in the people of his little banana republic of America.  SCPO Owens was the first United States combatant to die under the authority of President Donald Trump as Commander-in-Chief.  Repeat:  There's something very, very wrong about hundreds of smiling people standing and cheering over the combat death of a man in uniform. 

Only an enemy cheers the death of one of our own. 

President Eisenhower said it many years ago, "The heart of darkest America is in the mid-west."  Those dark hearts have now elected the Donald and the Pence based on the promise of stopping abortions.  Because of deviant republicans we have been in a middle east war for over thirty years.  Now the White House busboys and President Trump may want to extend the war to other borders!  

Neither Donald Trump nor Mike Pence nor Mitch McConnell nor Paul Ryan have ever served one day in active military service to America.  They know very little about real national security.  No republican since Eisenhower seems to have had a clue about national security or how to carry on a war.  Look at Iraq.  Look at Afghanistan.  It is not Obama who set up the war in those places.  It was republican egotists.  Remember Donald Rumsfeld’s unforgettable media line “Shock and Awe!” used to describe the bombings and killings of thousands of civilians and enemy soldiers.  

Ike had respect for the dead.  Rumsfeld and Cheney and the Bush gang did not.  The Trump and Pence crew have even less integrity.  For them war is a media tactic.  Even worse, in the Pay-Per-Vote™ Congress the budget for “defense” spending grows geometrically while our national security remains in peril.  Combat casualties are of little consequence compared to tithes for the Super PAC. 


Senior Chief Petty Officer William Ryan Owens
March 5, 1980 - January 29, 2017
Rest in Peace CPO Owens

Both of SCPO Owens' parents were police officers in Florida.  His Mother, Patricia Ann Treutle was a detective who died in 2013.  Owens' father, William Owens is an honored military veteran.   

The Chicago Tribune reported President Trump had a conversation with SCPO Owens' "relatives."  So President Trump spoke to the Father and asked him to come up to D.C. with widow Carryn Owens for the grand meeting of Congress.  The Father realized the potential cruelty of TV cameras and the media limelight at the joint session, and he refused to meet with President Trump.  The Father asked for an investigation into his son's death.  

"We're very comfortable with how the mission was executed and we'll let the Department of Defense go through that review process and then see where that leads us," White House press officer Sean Spicer stated soon afterwards.  

When SCPO William Ryan Owens was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetary there was only scant coverage by the media.  What more can we as a nation ask from this family?  How President Trump and his staff and the US Congress contrived to squeeze cheap publicity from this family of true patriots is criminal and treasonous betrayal of all things American.  





Sunday, February 26, 2017

Secretary Betsy DeVos, "There's no free lunch!"

Secretary Betsy DeVos
of the United States Department of Education

About the state of the public schools system in the USA, Secretary of the United States Department of Education Betsy DeVos said the other day, "There's no free lunch!"  DeVos decreed that her Department of Education will erase free school lunches for poor kids.  Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Paul Ryan of Wisconsin cuts funds for food stamps.  The State of Arizona also cuts aid for kids.  Meanwhile, the State of California votes funds to help end poverty.  Thank you, California.  As for those sadistic republicans in California who just say no to this:  So you want more stupid people in your state?  Then move to Mississippi or Texas or Kentucky or Wisconsin or Kansas.  Protein deficiency in ages birth to three years old stunts mental development.  Permanently!  In the USA in the 1960s, Dr. Donald Gatch researched and proved this in South Carolina.  

Hey Secretary DeVos!  Say what you must for the White House media playbook, but remember that damaging our children is treason.  How about the real damage caused by lack of food for millions of poor American children?  

Do you understand this, Secretary DeVos and all the republican media muppets in our congress?  If you cut funding for food stamps, you will starve those kids into stupidity for life.  Their brains are damaged permanently by lack of food.  

Read this Secretary DeVos.  After all these years not much has changed for kids without a hedge fund in the USA.  Look up the title “Still Hungry in America" and read it.  The photographs were by USMC Veteran Al Clayton.  


The brutal racist politics of the times led to Dr. Gatch being seen as a pariah in his little community in South Carolina of the late 1960s.  And he was getting noticed by the press in New York because of his work against hunger in early childhood.  Fearing the media, the plebeian Congress of the United States of America investigated Dr. Gatch and his photographer, Al Clayton in a cliched and vain attempt to discredit the findings.  

Not one to ignore a problem Dr. Gatch, "... complained of discriminatory medical practices against poor and black people:  'Well, just a typical example, a mother brought a nine-year-old girl to my office Monday. She apparently had had a ruptured appendix since Friday. We took her into the operating room. Again, I kinda snuck her in because it’s against the rules to admit a patient without money. And when we got her on the surgical table one of the surgeons said, without any comment especially,  'This child has rickets.'  And when we got in the abdomen and were doing the appendectomy we found some roundworms. And he said, 'Of course, in these colored children the closer we get up the ilium in the stomach the more worms we will find because these kids don’t have much to eat.'  And this is where they head, they get the food before the kids do, and whether the kid will live or not, I don’t know.  The mother didn’t want to bring the kid to the doctor because she didn’t have any money."

Secretary DeVos has a yacht at her winter home in Florida.  DeVos has a portfolio worth north of a billion dollars.  Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has a Leadership Super PAC and he can use that money any way he wants.  Ryan could buy a condo in the Caymans or an apartment in Paris.  Or just fly to Tahiti for a month vacation.  Never over their entire sheltered lives have DeVos and Ryan needed food because they didn't have any money.  

 
Secretary DeVos the Seal for your Department depicts a rising sun with a giant healthy oak tree that grew from a tiny acorn.  Growth for kids can be stunted or it can be nurtured.  This is not science.  It only takes some caring by people in power and some food for kids to grow.