Chuck Todd (Meet the Press) on the local NBC station tonight asked was the US successful in training the Afghan defense forces?
Of course they were. Look how fast the Taliban has retaken the country.
Come on folks, if you think that the Afghan defense forces were comprised of any group other than the Taliban, you have not been paying attention to more than 40? 100? years of history in the region. Now the US has trained another force that is capable of kicking the US military’s ass.
AUSTIN, Texas — House Speaker Dade Phelan late Tuesday signed 52 arrest warrants for Democrats who left the state for Washington D.C. in July and have yet to return to the House chamber for the second special legislative session of the year. (Yahoo News)
American political discourse is supposed to be about compromise, give and take, and a collegial spirit of doing what is best for the electorate.
On January 6, 2020, this went out the window, and as we have seen since, it continues to fall by the wayside.
In the latest bout of my way or the highway which has seen disgruntled GOP (and former) GOP lead states strip away powers from their Governor when they lost control (Wisconsinand North Carolina), or when they disagree with the Governor (Michigan, Minnesota, Kentucky) and other elected officials (Arizona).
Now Texas issues arrest warrants for the minority power (Democrats) who refuse to vote for what is clearly voter suppression laws. Their option, knowing they do not have the votes to override what is clearly a regressive bill, is to ensure quorum cannot be achieved and left the state.
State Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio highlighted the issue clearly:
Have we got to the point where we believe our own bull shizz so much that we arrest our own colleagues. Civil discourse took a nasty turn today.
Civil discourse is no longer civil. And what is happening in Texas around voting rights is the same level of GOP crap that we have seen in Georgia, and other Republican strongholds where following four years of mismanagement at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the American public said enough is enough. And those voices were loudest in the parts of the country where the GOP is now moving beyond gerrymandering and moving to outright vote restriction so this sort of radical politics never happens again.
Welcome to the new normal.
Transportation Security Administration officers said Friday that they’ve confiscated the fourth gun in three days from a security checkpoint at Reagan National Airport. WTOP
I have said it before, and I will say it again, if you own a tool, especially one that costs $1000, you should know intimately where it is. I have less expensive tools in my bench, and I know where they are. This is a tool that can kill someone and you forgot it was in your bag? This is a tool that the TSA is actively looking for and you forgot it was in your bag? And you have a permit?
Frankly, at this point, if you use the excuse I forgot it was in there you should lose your permit for at least a year, on top of all the fines you are rightly entitled to. Do it more than once, and you should lose your ability to own a weapon, full stop. You are clearly not a responsible gun owner.
US bars entry of International Criminal Court investigators | WTOP
The United States will revoke or deny visas to International Criminal Court personnel who try to investigate or prosecute alleged abuses committed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere, and may do the same with those who seeking action against Israel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday.
The next time the US cries about an international war criminal running free – Julian Assange, Edward Snowden – and asking why they are not being held to account, I am going to point back at this decision.
The white supremacist who livestreamed his Friday rampage at a New Zealand mosque posted a manifesto online that said the attack was partly inspired by Dylann Roof’s 2015 massacre of nine black churchgoers in South Carolina, police said. Washington Post
It is easy to say that these individuals have a screw loose. Or a at least a warped sense of community, but as we continue to suffer under the vitriol spewing forth from arguably one of the most important people on the planet, we continue to see this sort of self-enforcement of views. There are two ways to solve this problem. The first is to realize that the world is changing and that means everything you hold dear (yes, I am being sarcastic) will change with it. The second thing is that using a gun to solve the problem does not actually accomplish anything.
If you are not willing to talk civilly with the person next to you, then say nothing. Just because you disagree does not mean you have to shoot them.
Donald Trump rejects Democratic funding plan, wishes Happy New Year to ‘haters’
2019 WILL BE A FANTASTIC YEAR FOR THOSE NOT SUFFERING FROM TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME
The only person currently suffering from this is the man in the White House. The rest of us are trying, mightily, to stay the course, not knowing what #TDS will bring us in 2019.
“Aden described the scene in a Facebook post Saturday, adding that the officer who told him that he wasn’t being detained has an “ignorance of the law and the Fourth Amendment” of the U.S. Constitution that should disqualify him as a customs officer.” (WTOP)
Regrettably for Mr. Aden, as well as everyone else that considers themselves a citizen of the United States, whether natural born or legally converted, the law is not that clear and the rights granted under the Constitution do not actually apply as you have been deluded into believing (and if you think a Founding Father or two just rolled over, join the crowd). The article What Customs and Border Officials Can and Can’t Do highlights this in chilling detail.
As more and more of us are learning, especially with the more tyrannical leadership under Number 45, the Constitutional provisions offer you no protections within 100 miles of the United States Border. Let me say that again. According to the law, any member of the Customs and Border Protection Agency (CPB) has the legal right to stop you, perform an unsanctioned search and seizure, and detain you without a warrant. If your jaw just hit the floor, join the club. If you are confused, think about this. The Border of the United States is not just with Canada and Mexico. There is an invisible border twelve miles off the coast of the United States. Take a ruler. Draw a line from that 12-mile limit one hundred miles into the interior of the United States. Draw it one hundred miles from the US/Canadian border and 100 miles from the Mexican border. Tell me how many cities are inside that border? Tell me how much of the population fo the United States lives inside that line. Upset yet? You should be. Inside that zone, many of the provisions of the Constitution can be suspended without cause and there is nothing you can do about it. And it is only going to get worse, not better.
The person in the street shrugs, security comes first [B. Cockburn]. If that is your attitude, either you never plan to travel anywhere, or you do not understand how damaging this is to our foreign relationships. But as this sort of nonsense continues, it is likely that the United States will see a departure of its citizens. Those citizens that have the option to go somewhere else. The brain drain started when the IRS cracked down, in many cases irrationally, on funds overseas. This resulted in a serious backlash in financial markets that is already causing issues with US funds abroad. This type of harassment of citizens and foreigners alike will have negative impacts. Travel, tourism, and goodwill are important in international relations. When the country’s citizens are treated as criminals, the only one left will be criminals.
Passed in the wake of September 11, 2001, the Patriot Act was a rush to grant law enforcement sweeping powers that they had not had prior to its passage. Most of the act is classified, and it it rumored that just talking about it is a felony. Over the weekend, the Patriot Act was on the chopping block, with numerous politicians scrambling to save it, and the authorizations that it grants. The most sweeping of those being the bulk collection of meta-data by the NSA. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) stood alone against its renewal. In fact, Senator John McCain (R-Az.) said:
“He obviously has a higher priority for his fundraising and political ambitions than for the security of the nation.” (as heard on CBS World News Roundup – 1Jn2015).
Despite Senator McCain’s opinion, many people would disagree, both in the United States and abroad.
That being said, it is clear that Rand Paul is not naive, admitting that the bill will eventually pass and the wiretapping will go on.
What surprises me is that Senator McCain even thinks something like a filibuster could or would have any effect on the bulk collection of data. As if the expiration of a law could stop it? And before you get on your soapbox and rant that “It is a law, it is no longer in force, therefore it is illegal,” allow me to point out a few facts.
The federal bureaucracy moves with glacial inertia. It is very hard to get things moving but once you do, it is almost impossible to make them stop. This is even more so in the intelligence community with is not subject to any sort of real oversight. The bulk collection of data is a huge industry. There are building springing up like mushrooms to support the effort. Contracts worth billions of dollars have been let by the government and the companies that hold those contracts will do everything in their power to keep those contracts active.
Short of an international delegation overseeing the complete shutdown of the collection process (much like under the SALT agreements for nuclear disarmament) the bulk collection of data is here to stay. Legally, or not.
In case you missed it, the latest TSA/DHI scare has been released:
(CNN) — The U.S. government has warned airlines to pay particular attention to the possibility of terrorists attempting to hide explosives in shoes, a result of new intelligence, according to two people familiar with the situation. (CNN)
Of course, they are saying this is being done in an abundance of caution but honestly, I am not buying it. Call me cynical, but I believe it is more like this….
Because this affects only aircraft coming into the United States from overseas, not Canada or Mexico, I believe that the aviation administrations or the TSA equivalent in these countries were pressuring the United States to get with the program. There was no valid need to have people take off their shoes and subject themselves to what is essentially a strip search, so why was the United States still requiring it? We have already heard the hue and cry from the so called flight attendants when the TSA tried to reduce the restrictions on knives being brought onto aircraft, so you can imagine the yelling that might occur if they dropped the constant screening of footwear.
But I am much more cynical than that. Despite protestations to the contrary, I fully expect that those of you who have shelled out money to the TSA to probe your background under the so called TSA Pre program and have been promised that you can keep your shoes on will find that you will treated no differently than us poor slaves who refuse to let the government have more access to our personal data than they already have. So get ready America, you will have to keep taking your shoes off. And to those of you flying the not so friendly skies, you will as well.
This will come as no surprise:
The Homeland Security Department is banning all liquids from carry-on luggage for nonstop flights from the U.S. to Russia. The ban comes after the department warned airlines that terrorists might try to smuggle explosives on board hidden in toothpaste tubes. The warning said terrorist might try to assemble explosive device in flight or upon arrival at the Olympics. (www.wtop.com)
There is very little that I hear coming out of the Department of Homeland (In)security anymore that leaves me dumbstruck, but this was one of them. The first thing that went through my mind was who is running the Game Theory office at the TSA/DHI, and have they ever seen a James Bond movie? Plastic explosives in a toothpaste tube is de rigueur in spy craft. Open any kids book on espionage and there it is. So for the TSA to now, thirteen odd years after the September 11, 2001 attacks, ban liquids again is pretty stunning.
And then I am taken back to the Confessions of a TSA agent that appeared only a couple of weeks ago in Politico. The United States Government (in other words, you and me) are spending $150,000 per machine for full-body scanners, that do not work, and even if they did, there is a high likelihood that no one is watching the monitor anyway. And as been discussed numerous times, the x-ray machines, both above and below the security screening area cannot tell the difference between peanut butter and C-4, or chocolate powder and explosives.
So why, exactly is the TSA banning liquids on flights to Russia? Because if no one complains about them banning liquids in this test scenario, they will be able to ban them in general, except for those of you silly enough to shell out $80 (or more) for their Pre-Check program, where the agency will, with your permission to boot, know more about you than anyone else. All because they cannot procure, use, or understand the equipment that we are already paying too much for.