Category Archives: World News

Wild Turkey

“We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it.”

Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan (below).

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! December 8: Pentagon Audit

The Pentagon wrapped its first-ever audit and the results were apparently so humiliating they were not released.

Defense News does note the year-long endeavor consumed $413 million […] [another] $406 million was spend [sic] on addressing issues found by the department, with another $153 million on “financial system fixes,” per a DoD factsheet — a total […] of $972 million.

While shoveling Federal Reserve-weakened cash toward improving the system is an honorable step, we won’t hold our breath for any legitimate proposals to more efficiently administer what Reuters characterizes–in perhaps the rosiest pro-big Government euphemism of the year–numerous military bases of various sizes at home and abroad and troops deployed in far-flung locales.

Meanwhile, the Federal Deficit packed on an additional 17% in preparation for holiday hedonism. Fiscal year 2018 saw a $779 billion shortfall, and, to their credit, CNN admitted the gap could not be blamed on the recent Republican tax cut, which was more than offset by increased revenues from individual and self-employment taxes.

[Why tax cuts are so maligned when they apparently lead to more tax revenue, we’ll never understand.]

Rather, [s]pending rose 3% over the previous year, fueled in part by increases to the defense budget agreed upon in September 2017 as part of a deal between Republicans and Democrats to head off a government shutdown. Social Security and interest on the federal debt also contributed to the increase.

[our emphasis]

Related:

FEMA Withdraws Aid Withdrawal Amid Backlash, Raises Stakes with Seedy Power Provider and Drops the Ball on Puerto Rican Food Delivery; Congress Shits on Taxpayers Again; Your Location and Face Broadcast to More Federal Agencies

When your national debt is a record $21,000,000,000,000-plus, and even ultra-left wing NPR cautions merely covering the interest on that monstrosity will outstrip defense spending in a few years, the obvious solution is to spend more on defense. It’s all about winning.

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Another example of winning: the lame-duck GOP majority snuffed out a bipartisan effort to end our unconstitutional Yemen carnage with a 201-187 procedural ploy.

This greased the wheels for the Manage Our Wolves Act, whose passage will reportedly strip “endangered species” status from American gray wolves. And, according to The Intercept, incidentally block a floor vote on whether to direct President Donald Trump to end U.S. involvement in the Saudi- and UAE-led intervention in Yemen.

A September resolution by Ro Khanna (D-CA) mandating the end of America’s unconstitutional interference in the conflict had the standing for a floor vote without the blessing of the Establishment-controlled Rules Committee under the War Powers Act. Not anymore.

Even the Humane Society of the United States implored Congress for mercy towards the ferocious mammals. And, perhaps unbeknownst to them, the shell-shocked, cholera-stricken Yemeni, with whom we are not at war.

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! January 29: Two Americans Killed

Just twelve Republicans, including Justin Amash (R-MI), had the stones to oppose the final bill (although a combined 54 members chose not to show up), which passed by a mere 16 votes.

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Trump’s election year fear mongering over the migrant caravan got a little-noticed boost from the “law and order” angle when NBC revealed the DHS has infiltrated the estimated 4,000 Central American asylum seekers by paying moles to monitor their progress. Namely, the new Federal employees are tapping the WhatsApp communication of the refugees.

Trump, according to CNN, deployed 6,000 American troops to the border just prior to his party’s somewhat muted shellacking in the midterms, because you need 1.5 heavily-armed Americans to safely deny each starving homeless Honduran access to the country. Or for a more nefarious purpose:

“If [the troops] have to, they’re going to use lethal force. I’ve given the OK,” Trump said. “If they have to — I hope they don’t have to[…] I have no choice[;] [y]ou’re dealing with a minimum of 500 serious criminals[,] rough people.”

[our emphasis]

Defense’s top dog James Mattis had other ideas: “[T]here has been no call for any lethal force[.]”  CNN has him on record that any troops backing up customs personnel would not be carrying firearms but could be equipped with shields and batons.

Trump fired back: “[If]our people are going to start getting hurt, we will close entry into the country for a period of time until we can get it under control […] [t]he whole border. I mean the whole border.”

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Forbes reported the Federal Government is successfully prying innocent Americans’ locations from technology companies via warrants demanding details on anyone essentially using a phone within a certain radius of the coordinates of alleged crimes.

Those users could be Android phone owners, anyone running Google Maps or any individual running Google services on their cell [phone].

[…]

Captain John Sherwin of the Rochester Police Department in Minnesota said it wasn’t just Google that could furnish cops with a startling mount [sic] of detailed location data. Facebook and Snapchat [had also] proven useful.

[our emphasis]

Fortunately, the ham-handed FBI might have struck out in this instance, which featured a location sweep for the time frames surrounding five (5) armed robberies of the same Hernico, VA Dollar Tree earlier this year (four at the store, one of their manager at the local bank deposit box):

[F]or unknown reasons, no records were returned. Forbes couldn’t find any charges against individuals named as suspects in the document. Forbes also contacted the prosecutor who signed off on the search warrant, but had not received a response at the time of publication.

[our emphasis]

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Not to be outdone, Facebook is weathering scrutiny for siccing right wing researchers Definers Public Affairs on those who would bring the social decay giant scrutiny: with intent to smear [Facebook]’s critics by linking them to the billionaire liberal donor George Soros.

The Hill notes Facebook has seen more than a quarter of its value wiped out this year amid data privacy issues, strict regulations in Europe, the threat of regulations in the U.S. and stagnant user growth.

[…]

Fifty-seven percent of U.S. adults say that social media platforms hurt democracy, according to a recent poll by Axios and SurveyMonkey

The oven gloves were off on Thanksgiving eve, as Facebook quietly admitted to asking an opposition-research company to investigate billionaire George Soros over his public criticism of the social network.

Mashable reported soon-to-depart policy pusher Elliot Schrage (below) will take the kitchen heat for head Q-tip Mark Zuckerberg, stammering the tech giant used “public information” to determine Soros was funding the heretofore “grassroots” organization Freedom from Facebook, whose ambitious call to action can be found here.

 

COO Sheryl Sandberg (below) was also on the carving block, and to her credit assumed responsibility for using Definers, despite her recent duplicity as the scandal unfolded. Like Obama, she hears about her own operations from the news.

Sandberg said she did not initially remember Definers when she read a New York Times story that detailed how Facebook had employed the firm. She subsequently asked her staff to look into the matter to “double-check whether anything had crossed my desk.”

 

The silver lining for Facebook: their failure to swiftly deploy speech restriction policies as photos and discussions of a 17-year-old South Sudanese child bride being auctioned off from a reportedly unrelated platform sprouted on the social media site was largely ignored over the holiday weekend.

Facebook said the post was taken down as soon as the company learned of it, but that wasn’t until after the girl involved was married.

 

Thanks to our sources: 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-pentagon-audit/pentagon-fails-its-first-ever-audit-official-says-idUSKCN1NK2MC?fbclid=IwAR1qfSDx_O6JTkGFclgSzEnWmRo2MrC3fSzbTAZXwN9J1MJqjhdMnNIeukE

https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/15/economy/us-budget-deficit/index.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/feds-have-paid-undercover-informants-migrant-caravan-n938416

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/22/politics/trump-us-troops-lethal-force-closing-border/index.html

https://theintercept.com/2018/11/14/yemen-war-wolves-bill-congress/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2018/10/23/feds-are-ordering-google-to-hand-over-a-load-of-innocent-peoples-locations/?fbclid=IwAR1JfPp2p2fgKwv-xc6KEOMiS_buWrfRFlcjJO_AZkhnZpn7DYvXtl3Z7LU#3ff529b95a0d

https://thehill.com/policy/technology/417933-facebook-faces-calls-for-new-leadership?userid=115887

https://mashable.com/article/facebook-admits-attack-billionaire-george-soros/#mwRhi7bERsOB

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/11/21/zuckerberg-says-he-wont-step-down-sandbergs-job-is-safe-even-after-facebooks-scandals/?utm_term=.604b29fe555f

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/20/africa/south-sudan-child-bride-facebook-auction-intl/index.html

Zinkes! Buy Me a New Job. Or at Least an Umbrella

Midterm Musings

One suspect consequence of the Dirty Dems’ recapture of the House of Representatives Tuesday: disgraced Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke [below, hat]’s oversized neck on the subpoena chopping block, according to Huffington Post.

Related:

Defendant, Doors, Drew, Drama, Debt and Disgrace

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! November 6: Whitefish Flounders; Bronze Star LLC Bungles Tarps for Puerto Rico

A priority of both [House Natural Resources Committee–yes, your tax money pays for a committee to save the trees from their own cabinet department amidst partisan division–member Raul] Grijalva [D-AZ] [above, close-set eyes] and [House Oversight Committee vice ranking member and man with a hard-on for titles that are apparently meaningless unless your party holds the majority Jerry] Connolly [D-VA] [below, pedophile garb and ‘stache] will be getting to the bottom of what Connolly called an “abortive attempt” to replace the head of Interior’s office of inspector general with a Trump political appointee from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The OIG has several ongoing investigations into Zinke’s conduct.

[our emphasis]

Emails from Ben Carson [below, wide shot] at Housing and Urban Development, obtained by The Hill, indeed reveal the Trump ally’s intention to install his subordinate at Interior, in a covert move linking the agencies we will dub Operation Tree House:

“It is with mixed emotions that I announce that Suzanne Israel Tufts [below Carson, tufted feather pin on sweater], our Assistant Secretary for Administration, has decided to leave HUD to become the Acting Inspector General at the Department of Interior,” Carson wrote in his email with the subject line “Fond Farewell.”

More on Tufts’ predecessor’s departure:

Trains, Cranes and Blame Games

Interestingly, Think Progress spoke to an Interior spokesperson who noted since a deputy had been serving in the acting role […] Tufts’ appointment to oversee Zinke’s investigations [does] not require Senate approval.

Convenient!

The public outcry was swift. Within one week, Tufts cashed out, perhaps to employ her former Federal connections by returning to  consulting:

“Ms. Tufts is not employed by the (Interior) Department and no decision was ever made to move her to Interior,” spokeswoman Heather Swift said.

[our emphasis]

[An] HUD official on Friday blamed the announcement on a “miscommunication at the staff level,” suggesting Carson was given bad information.

How Interior’s OIG is investigating the big brass at peak efficiency despite, as confirmed by Federal News Networknot having an inspector general for nearly a decade, is unclear. But they are still running investigations (below).

The number of federal probes into alleged misconduct by Zinke as of August of his second year at Interior, according to Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, was 17. Three had cleared him of wrongdoing. Five were closed for “lack of cooperation or records,” including Zinke “not provid[ing] complete information” on charter flights; and demonstrating he was “unable” to explain pulling the plug on a $1 million federal study, instigated under Obama in the waning days of his administration, on the health impact of “mountaintop removal” coal mining.

[Interior’s OIG] added the cancellation “wasted” some $455,110 that had already been spent on research and that the remaining $548,443 would be returned to the Treasury in 2021.

[our emphasis]

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Speaking of slow-walking accountability entreaties to Federal miscreants…

Chase Bishop: Back in Court

The butterfingered fibbie has pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault for allegedly accidentally blowing a hole in a fellow bar patron in June. On January 17,  however, we will reportedly learn if a plea deal has been reached.

Scott Pruitt Loves Chik-fil-A and Lotion–UPDATED

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Let it Rain

Amid astonished reports that Trump skipped an observation ceremony at Belleau for fallen Americans in World War I  after a light steady rain and a low cloud ceiling prevented his helicopter from traveling to the site,  former national security adviser and career prick Ben Rhodes deftly took to Twitter, explaining to the little people that he “helped plan all of President Obama’s trips for 8 years. There is always a rain option. Always.”

Rhodes failed to realize Trump’s “rain option,” flawlessly executed, was to send in his stead Chief of Staff John Kelly, who does not matter as much.

The president (below, with Melania and German Chancellor Angela Merkel) did make it to Arc de Triomphe Sunday morning for the 100-year commemoration of Armistice Day.

USA Today flexed, however, that several world leaders (it’s unclear if this included Trump), arrived, “rain-soaked,” a few minutes beyond the official 11:00 AM mark at local time for the exact 100-year anniversary of the 1918 cease-fire. Because that’s what’s important.

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I Will Note be a Party to This

And current Democratic Representative Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) pulled further ahead of Republican rival Martha McSally in her quest to replace retiring GOP Senator Jeff Flake.

Sinema’s 28,000-vote lead as of Saturday evening is an interesting illustration of third party effects on national races. Green Party candidate Angela Green (her actual name) (below), despite ending her bid and endorsing Sinema five days before the election, collected at least 43,000 votes as of Friday. News outlets such as CNN continue to breathlessly update results including only Sinema and McSally.

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ryan-zinke-democrats-house-investigation_us_5be48602e4b0dbe871a8a02c

https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/19/politics/doi-inspector-general/index.html

Trump administration replaces independent oversight of Zinke investigations with Trump appointee

A Guide to the 17 Federal Investigations into Ryan Zinke

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-interior-coal/u-s-interior-department-axed-health-study-on-coal-without-clear-reason-watchdog-idUSKBN1J82Z5

FBI agent who accidentally shot man in Denver nightclub pleads not guilty

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-france-memorial/trump-cancels-ww1-memorial-at-u-s-cemetery-in-france-due-to-rain-idUSKCN1NF0NU

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/11/11/world-leaders-miss-exact-armistice-day/1966857002/

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/10/politics/arizona-senate-race-sinema-mcsally/index.html

https://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/414439-arizonas-green-party-candidate-drops-out-of-senate-race-and-endorses

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/green-party-candidate-spoiler-tight-arizona-senate-race/story?id=59071399

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! November 23: Another Naval Disaster

sailors-lost-chialastri-combs-grosso.jpg

The U.S. Seventh Fleet was performing a joint training exercise with the Japanese 500 miles from Okinawa when a C-2A Greyhound plane carrying eleven American service members crashed in the Philippine Sea. Eight were quickly rescued and moved to the carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which the plane had been aiming for.

Airman Matthew Chialastri, Lt. Steven Combs and Airman Apprentice Bryan Grosso (above) were all presumed dead after a two-day search.

According to CNN, this was the Seventh Fleet’s sixth major non-combat “incident” in 2017.

This count includes the deadly crashes of the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S McCain, which we covered earlier in the year, as well as  the USS Antietam running into the ground of Tokyo Bay in January; the USS Lake Champlain crashing into a South Korean fishing boat in May; and the guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold getting pegged by an out-of-control Japanese tugboat on November 18,  just days before the Greyhound crash.

BREAKING: USS John S. McCain Collision

By our count, the Seventh Fleet, which fired Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin in August, has suffered 20 non-combat American deaths this year. The McCain and Fitzgerald commanders were also removed. CNN cited a Navy report casting those fatal incidents “avoidable [and due to] numerous failures […] on the part of leadership.”

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-navy-plane-crash-sailors-missing-named-pacific-ocean-okinawa-japan/

http://time.com/5030829/uss-benfold-tug-boat-collision/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/22/politics/navy-aircraft-crash/index.html

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! November 4: Back in Kunduz

The American military was accused of slaughtering some civilians using airstrikes in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Familiar territory for us!

Related:

U.S. Bombs Hospital–UPDATE

New York Times put the civilian fatality number at either 13 or 19.

While a United States “independent” investigation found its strikes resulted in no civilian casualties and that “numerous enemy combatants were killed,” the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan found 10 civilians were killed.

Additionally, those civilians suffered their deaths while being coerced by “antigovernment elements”–members of the Taliban–to retrieve bodies from earlier fighting, according to the UN Mission’s Twitter account. This aligned with testimony an elderly villager with a head wound gave to the New York Times.

Air Force reported Afghanistan strikes nearly quadrupled to 900 in August and September of 2017, compared with “a similar period” from 2016.

Also:

The CIA is reportedly seeking authority to conduct its own drone strikes in Afghanistan, a first if approved, according to the New York Times.

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/04/us-airstrikes-kill-civilians-kunduz-afghanistan

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-afghanistan-casualties/u-s-investigation-finds-no-afghan-civilian-casualties-in-kunduz-strike-idUSKBN1D706V

 

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! October 23: Podesta Joins the Presidential Party

Tony Podesta 2009.jpg

Conservative outlet Daily Wire noticed lobbyist extraordinaire Tony Podesta (above) had been subpoenaed in August by the “Russia Ruins U.S. Elections 2016” investigative committee head Robert Mueller (below).

In Washington.Muller, the special counsel ...

This is only interesting because Hillary’s decrepit former campaign chairman John Podesta, now a partisan writer for Washington Post, had to cease and desist his unauthorized lobbying for Vladimir Putin before signing onto Hillary‘s RMS Titanic campaign for U.S. president in 2016.

Panama Papers

Apparently, ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and the Podesta Group both worked with the pro-Putin outfit European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. Tony Podesta pocketed over $1 million to lobby the American Feds, casting former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych as a decent guy–without authorization from Washington to lobby on behalf of a foreign agent. Daily Wire reports Podesta registered these activities only after NBC blew the whistle.

Yanukovych (below) was exiled to Russia in 2014 after reportedly using his office to help the Kremlin undermine Ukraine.

Image result

Mueller started investigating Podesta’s possible violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act in October. Podesta put out a statement that his company always complies with lobbying restrictions, then resigned on October 30.

USA Today reports that while Podesta has worked on campaigns of Democrats including Ted Kennedy and George McGovern, Podesta Group itself works with Republicans as well, and their (now) former CEO Kimberley Fritts (below) was a Republican. [She jumped ship in November to start the new lobbying firm Cogent Strategies–with 40 percent of the Podesta staff.]

Kimberley Fritts is pictured. | AP Photo

However, Politico reports this transition was underway months ago. Like about the same time Tony Podesta got subpoenaed.

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Mueller’s office and the Justice Department together have spent over $6 million on the investigation through September 30. The juiciest results of the probe thus far include Trump’s (oh so briefly) national security adviser Michael Flynn’s cooperation after admitting to lying to the FBI and Manafort’s indictment on twelve charges including conspiracy against the United States, money laundering, failure to register as a foreign agent and multiple failures to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.

Another Trump adviser, Rick Gates, was indicted and house-arrested alongside Manafort (also) on October 30.

Russian Relations

Although Manafort was recently sprung from that house arrest on $10 million bail to live in his Florida home with continued GPS monitoring, Mueller had serious misgivings, because as recently as November 30, Manafort ghostwrote an op-ed alongside a “long-time Russian colleague” who is “currently based in Russia and assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service.”

The “colleague,” with whom Manafort communed during the 2016 campaign, is Konstan Kilimnik. The pair’s piece was to run under the name of Oleg Voloshin.

Mueller is understandably concerned Manafort meant to muddy the waters of his upcoming trial (which probably explains the gag order against his drumming up support with rosy op-eds). Daily Beast has an email from Manafort to Kilimnik on November 29 that includes:

“[This draft] keeps [Voloshin’s] approach but takes out pieces that would not be good to mention.”

Manafort reportedly struck the statement that he “had an ear of the president [Yanukovych] on a more regular basis than even some his ministers.”

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.dailywire.com/news/22614/special-counsel-robert-mueller-now-investigating-emily-zanotti?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_content=051717-news&utm_campaign=dwtwitter#

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/30/tony-podesta-stepping-down-from-lobbying-giant-amid-mueller-probe-244314

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/11/01/who-tony-podesta-and-why-he-under-scrutiny-bob-muellers-russia-investigation/821166001/

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/16/podesta-group-ceo-kimberley-fritts-new-lobbying-firm-245557

http://www.businessinsider.com/robert-mueller-investigation-cost-trump-russia-2017-12

https://www.unian.info/politics/1648501-lutsenko-reads-out-accusations-of-treason-against-yanukovych-video.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/paul-manafort-rick-gates-told-surrender-special-prosecutor-probe-n815536

http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/15/politics/manafort-bail-florida/index.html

https://www.thedailybeast.com/mueller-manafort-wrote-op-ed-with-russian-operative-last-month-4?ref=topic

https://www.thedailybeast.com/new-email-shows-paul-manaforts-heavy-hand-on-ghost-written-ukraine-op-ed

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! October 14: Al-Shabaab Burns up Mogadishu like Shish Kebab

Although the al-Qaeda affiliate has yet to claim responsibility, Somalian fundamentalist Islamic group al-Shabaab is suspected of detonating a truck bomb near Somalia’s ministry of foreign affairs on October 14, leveling several buildings.

Related:

Droning Africans

The explosives may have been stolen from the African Union peace-keeping mission Amisom, who have 20,000 troops in Somali. A Somalian government “expert” walked back the blame on the al-Shabaab terrorists, insisting they meant to target the foreign ministry and dumping the live truck next to an fuel truck instead was “very, very bad luck.” (For the terrorists?)

Initially the death toll hovered at “over 300.” By December it was up to 512. Two Americans were killed.

al-Shabaab-linked media reported the attack. However, according to The Guardian, al-Shabaab is known to avoid claiming responsibility for operations which it believes may significantly damage its public image among ordinary Somalis.

They also promised more terror attacks earlier this year after Trump reportedly vowed “new military efforts” against al-Shabaab.

The anti-Shabaab action should not be confused with America’s campaign against al-Shabaab rival ISIS in Somalia. In November, we hit Somalia’s ISIS faction, reportedly a base in Buqa. Express suggested Trump ordered the strikes as part of his promise to attack ISIS “ten times harder” following attacks on America, a declaration made just days after Sayfullo Saipov (below) allegedly slaughtered eight people in New York City with a rented U-haul truck on October 31 in the name of ISIS.

Photos of Sayfullo Saipov were taken in October 2016 after an arrest in St. Charles County, Missouri.

U.S. Africa Command reported “several terrorists” were killed, and Somalia’s government cooperated. This is at least the thirteenth American drone strike of al-Shabaab in 2017, although Russia has been pounding them pretty good.

America has been messing around in Somalia since at least 1993. Our raid of Mogadishu and its ensuing press coverage inspired the 2001 Ridley Scott movie Black Hawk Down.

Image: Kyle Milliken, 38, of Falmouth, Maine.

In May, Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, 38 (above), was killed fighting al-Shabaab–the first American casualty in Somalia since the 1993 raid described above. Milliken was reportedly on SEAL Team Six, who killed Osama bin Laden in 2011.

al-Shabaab have waged war on the Somalian government for over ten years.

 

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/15/truck-bomb-mogadishu-kills-people-somalia

http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/03/africa/somalia-mogadishu-bombings-death-toll/index.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-air-strikes-isis-somalia-puntland-first-attack-buqa-qandala-al-shabaab-a8036371.html

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/875233/isis-us-airstrikes-somalia-donald-trump-extremism-new-york-terror-attack

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/11/03/u-s-military-carries-out-1st-airstrikes-against-isis-fighters-somalia/829704001/

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-military-hitting-isis-10-times-harder-nyc/story?id=50907689

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/navy-seal-killed-somalia-idd-15-year-veteran-kyle-milliken-n755836

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! September 13 and 29: Mnuchin Continues Opulent Employment; Tom Price Priced Out of Trump Administration

PHOTO: Louise Linton and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin are pictured during their honeymoon in Edinburgh, Scotland, Aug. 5, 2017. <p itemprop=

Trump’s slimy Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin requested a $25,000/hour private Air Force jet to use throughout his honeymoon with actress Louise Linton last summer.

“The Secretary is a member of the National Security Council and has responsibility for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence,” [a Treasury] spokesman said in a statement. “It is imperative that he have access to secure communications, and it is our practice to consider a wide range of options to ensure he has these capabilities during his travel, including the possible use of military aircraft.”

Like he’s in the fucking X-Men or something.

Image result for blackbird xmen united

Except even they didn’t need a private jet to communicate, because Professor X was all up in their minds!!

Related:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: August 3: Mick Mollifies Big Spenders

What does the Treasury Secretary even do, besides pose with sheets of increasingly-worthless (thanks, Federal Reserve) dollar bills?

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, right, and his wife Louise Linton, hold up a sheet of new $1 bills, the first currency notes bearing his and U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza's signatures, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington. The Mnuchin-Carranza notes, which are a new series of 2017, 50-subject $1 notes, will be sent to the Federal Reserve to issue into circulation. (AP Photo/ap

 

The Hill reported the Treasury’s Inspector General opened a second investigation into his $25,000 trip from Washington to New York and back on August 15 (one week before his eclipse stunt). He took a commercial plane to the meeting with President Trump, but needed 25 g’s of Air Force jet to return. Mnuchin’s office fired back that they were merely required to provide additional information toward the original investigation.

On October 6, the IG found “no evidence of wrongdoing” in the nine Mnuchin trips reviewed (which cost taxpayers over $800,000 in private planes), but that “corners were cut” and the Trump administration must better justify private jet use in the future. One of the nine was a withdrawn request for the honeymoon. The most expensive was a four-day jaunt to Italy for the G-7 summit for $314,442; Mnuchin maintained he needed a private plane for “scheduling, [STUPID WORD ALERT] logistics, […] secure communications needs,” and “potential for developments during travel related to a number of issues.”

Senators High on Private Fly(ing)

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Speaking of pricey travel, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price could no longer afford the damage to his reputation after Politico reported his travel on private and military planes. (The exact amount is at least $400,000 and possibly as higher than $1 million. Reports vary.)

The final straw for Trump, interestingly, was Price’s half-assed offer to reimburse the government what he calculated as the price of his own seat on the (at least 24) flights: $52,000. Taxed-to-death American people no like. Price was forced to resign.

Image result for tom price

Related:

Trump Goes to War with Old People

Price did end up writing the $51,887.31 check to the Treasury.

Eric Hargan was installed as acting HHS Secretary and remains in the position, which is slightly different from the “active deputy secretary” slot he held under President George W. Bush.

Thanks to our sources:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/treasury-secretary-mnuchin-requested-government-jet-european-honeymoon/story?id=49777076

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/354862-inspector-general-launches-second-investigation-into-mnuchin-travel

http://money.cnn.com/2017/10/05/news/mnuchin-trips-government-planes/index.html

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/353162-health-secretary-tom-price-resigns

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/10/04/how-we-found-tom-prices-private-jets-215680

Trump Announces Eric Hargan as Acting HHS Secretary

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! August 30: Pentagon Plays with Truth

The Department of Defense adjusted the official number of Americans still serving in our longest-ever war, the nation-building of Afghanistan. While the actual number is “classified,” it was revealed to be at least 25 percent higher than the figure of 8,400 our employees previously fed us [our emphasis]:

“The number 11,000 is an approximation. It may be slightly above that, it may be slightly below that, it will certainly vary,” Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, Jr., the director of the Joint Staff [below], told reporters at the Pentagon.

Lieutenant General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr.JPG

Related:

U.S. Bombs Hospital–UPDATE

The Sky’s the Limit…for Debt

McKenzie further acknowledged the Pentagon lied to the public about this for “six months or so.”

Secretary of Defense James Mattis (who apparently now goes by “Jim”) mentioned to reporters the “very strange accounting procedure” by which the Pentagon discounts troops in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq deployed for less than 120 days from the official tally.

President Trump publicly ordered 4,000 more troops (not included in the 11,000-ish we now know about) into the country earlier this year. Because national security. In June, Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “We are not winning in Afghanistan right now, and we will correct this as soon as possible.”

According to Military Times, U.S. involvement peaked in 2010, with about 100,000 deployed. This followed an Obama-authorized “surge” of 33,000 in 2009 to counter al-Qaeda.

According to Associated Press, almost 2,400 Americans have perished in Afghanistan since we invaded following the Twin Towers terrorist attacks of 2001. Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the attacks, was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs in Pakistan–not Afghanistan, where we continue to keep thousands of troops–six years ago.

A “cap” of 8,400 troops in Afghanistan, reportedly set by Obama in 2016, seems to carry just as much weight as our budget “caps.” Or  the Constitutional requirement for the Congress to authorize war.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/30/afghanistan-troop-levels-trump-242186

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/338076-us-to-send-about-4000-more-troops-to-afghanistan

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2016/07/06/a-timeline-of-u-s-troop-levels-in-afghanistan-since-2001/

https://apnews.com/b76f5d92b38d429c877564ad9ff9661a/APNewsBreak:-About-4,000-more-US-troops-to-go-to-Afghanistan

 

Another Black Hawk Crash

A U.S. Black Hawk chopper went down off the Yemen coast in a reported training accident on August 25.

Although five service members were rescued, one is still missing. The incident is being investigated by Central Command, under the leadership of General Joseph Votel. Votel reportedly visited the Saudi Arabian-Yemeni border just days before.

Five Missing Army Aviators Now Sought in “Recovery” rather than “Rescue”–Hawaii

According to the Post [our emphasis]:

The U.S. military maintains a small special operations base near Yemen’s port of Mukalla to facilitate an ongoing campaign targeting al-Qaeda loyalists there. The Pentagon has conducted more than 80 airstrikes in Yemen this year, officials say.

Also, Stars and Stripes indicates this is the same Special Ops outfit that conducted the disastrous Yemen raid in January, leaving two Americans (usually cited as one because the Federal Government doesn’t want to emphasize we fatally shot Obama-executed Anwar al-Awlaki‘s eight-year old daughter in the neck), multiple civilian women and children, and an American MV-22 Osprey helicopter destroyed:

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! January 29: Two Americans Killed

Stars and Stripes reports our Horn of Africa operations are primarily waged against al-Qaeda.

al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, is reportedly the second-largest branch of al-Qaeda. According to Wikipedia, the branch is the most dangerous al-Qaeda arm currently, and emerged as central leadership of the terrorist organization weakened.

AQAP claimed responsibility for the fatal 2009 Little Rock, AR recruiting office shooting perpetrated by Abdulhakim Muhammad.

Grandma Kerry Shakes Head in Regret for Terrorist He Released with Kind Intentions

And [our emphasis again],

For more than two years, Yemen’s Saudi-backed government forces—with U.S. support and munitions—have been pitted against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, leading to a devastating humanitarian crisis.

[…]

Also this month, a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashed off the coast of Australia. The Marine Corps announced Friday it had recovered the bodies of three Marines killed in that crash.

The Post has a more basic explanation of our “double death and destruction” presence in Yemen:

While the U.S. has remained focused on striking al-Qaeda, a coalition led by Saudi Arabia — and backed by the Pentagon — has waged a parallel war against Iranian-backed Houthi militants.

Don’t forget about al-Qaeda rival ISIS, who also wage guerrilla warfare in Yemen:

ISIS Bombings

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/08/26/american-service-member-missing-after-black-hawk-helicopter-crash-off-yemen/?utm_term=.862c992de377

https://www.stripes.com/news/middle-east/soldier-missing-5-rescued-after-black-hawk-crash-off-yemen-coast-1.484567#.WaF_RCiGNPZ

BREAKING: USS John S. McCain Collision

UPDATE 8/28/17

Washington Post identified the full list of sailors lost in the crash. All remains have been recovered.

Nathan Findley, 31:

Abraham Lopez, 39:

Kevin Sayer Bushell, 26:

Jacob Daniel Drake, 21:

Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., 23:

Corey George Ingram, 28;

Dustin Louis Doyon, 26:

John Henry Hoagland III, 20:

Logan Stephen Palmer, 23:

and Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22:

UPDATE 8/23/17

Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, commander of the 7th Fleet, was relieved of duties in the wake of the USS John S. McCain collision.

Aucoin speaks following the USS Fitzgerald collision in June.

Aucoin was scheduled to retire next month, and his slated replacement, Rear Admiral Phillip Sawyer, took command.

“Some remains” of the ten missing sailors have been recovered by Navy divers, but no identifications have been made.

Three sailors’ families were informed their sons were missing: Logan Palmer, Ken Smith and Jacob Drake.

Also:

CNN and Wall Street Journal had details on the third and fourth 2017 Naval accidents in the Asian area. According to WSJ:

Two other accidents within U.S. Seventh Fleet’s area of responsibility occurred earlier this year. In May, the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain collided with a South Korean fishing vessel, and in January, another cruiser, the USS Antietam, ran aground near its port in Yokosuka.

[our coloring]

Original post continues below.

America’s Navy reported the evening of August 20 that the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with a merchant ship in the South China Sea, specifically in Singapore‘s Strait of Malacca (6:24 AM on August 21 in Japan time.)

Five sailors are injured, with ten missing.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) maneuvers alongside the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) for a refueling-at-sea.

John S. McCain, pre-collision.

The other party was Alnic MC, an “oil and chemical tanker” out of Liberia.

The John S. McCain, damaged, made it to Changi Naval Base in Singapore.

The USS John S. McCain arrives at Changi Naval Base in Singapore following the Monday collision.

Damaged John S. McCain pulling into Singapore.

The collision left major damage to the port side of the USS John S. McCain, seen here in Singapore.

CNN reported on the port side damage of the John S. McCain (above).

When reporters asked President Trump about the collision, he reportedly responded, “That’s too bad.” The remark will likely be lambasted for the next few days.

The John S. McCain is named for Senator John McCain’s father and grandfather, both Navy Admirals.

According to CNN, this is the fourth U.S. Navy accident in Asian waters for 2017.

CNN “military analyst” Rick Francona predicted the 7th Fleet of the U.S. Navy will undergo a leadership change.

“How does a state-of-the-art Navy destroyer — equipped with multiple radar systems and communications gear with a full bridge watch — not see, detect and evade a 30,000-ton slow-moving (10 knots) behemoth?” Francona asked.

 

United States Seventh Fleet -logo (hi-res).jpg

The 7th Fleet is based in Yokosuka, Japan; its objectives include defense of the Korean peninsula, according to Wikipedia. According to America’s Navy, “At any given time there are 70-80 ships and submarines, 140 aircraft and approximately 40,000 Sailors and Marines in [the 48 million square mile area of operation].”

 

The oil and chemical tanker Alnic MC after Monday&#39;s collision off Johor, Malaysia.

The 505-foot Alnic MC, which reported no injuries and denies any oil was spilled. (“Merchant maritime websites” tout the length at 600 feet, however, according to CNN. Because size matters.)

A Navy official told CNN the John S. McCain briefly lost steering before the collision, but it was regained.

*

Of the Asian accidents made possible this year by the world’s largest, most expensive and intrusive military of all time attempting to micromanage the affairs of all other countries, the USS Fitzgeralds disastrous collision with Filipino merchant ship MVACX Crystal outside Tokyo, Japan on June 17 resulted in perhaps the most scathing indictment of leadership.

Seven U.S. sailors (below, thanks New York Times: Xavier Martin, 24; Shingo Douglass, 25; Dakota Rigsby, 19; Carlos Sibayan, 23; Ngoc T. Truong Huynh, 25; Noe Hernandez, 26; and Gary Rehm Jr., 37) perished, apparently drowning in a breached berthing compartment.

The Fitzgerald (two pictures below, thanks to Washington Post) is also a guided missile destroyer.

Three leaders of the Fitzgerald at the time were removed from duty on August 17. Unfortunately, they all have very similar names (from left to right, above, thanks to USNI News): Commander Bryce Benson, executive officer Commander Sean Babbitt and command master chief (CMC) Brice Baldwin.

None of the three were on the Fitzgerald‘s bridge at the time of collision. In fact, the crash crush[ed] and warp[ed] Benson’s stateroom […] leaving him hanging to the side of the hull in the open air for 15 minutes.

Several subordinate officers had to pop the stateroom door with a sledgehammer and their own bodies, then form a human chain to retrieve Benson, who was medically evacuated by Japanese helicopter.

[VCNO Admiral Bill] Moran singled out the actions of Gary Leo Rehm Jr., who was advanced to Chief Petty Officer posthumously this week. Rehm helped get several sailors out to the exits while Berthing 2 was flooding and was one of the seven who died.

Moran reportedly acknowledged “serious mistakes were made by members of the crew” and that sailors “lost situational awareness.”

New York Times wondered,

[W]hy did [lookouts] not see the 728-foot freighter, the ACX Crystal, stacked with more than 1,000 containers, bearing on the destroyer?

According to USNI News, repair costs “could easily rise above $500 million.”

New York Times reports the Fitzgerald cost $1.5 billion and, like the John S. McCain, is much smaller than its collision partner. [And sustained much more damage. And was supposed to be more maneuverable and able to avoid collisions.]

In fact, Heavy reported back in June that the Crystal was chartered by a Japanese company, and its crew–much smaller than that of the 300-plus Fitzgerald–sustained no injuries.

[T]he ACX Crystal is being investigated for possibly making a sharp turn before the collision. However, that turn might have come after the collision, and ACX Crystal could have been operating on autopilot, one expert said.

Several additional sailors, on duty the night of June 17, were also removed. The Navy, citing “inadequate leadership,” commented that about twelve sailors in all will be disciplined.

Benson, Babbitt and Baldwin’s Naval careers are likely finished.

*

America proceeded with ten days of joint military exercises with South Korea beginning today. North Korea (recently engaged in a verbal spat with Trump over who gets to actually trigger the destruction of all mankind) commented yesterday these drills signified “reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war.”

However, BREAKING UPDATE 12:00 PM Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson on August 21 ordered a one-day pause in operations “to ensure we are taking all appropriate immediate measures to enhance the Navy’s safe and effective operation around the world.”

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=102034

http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/pages/SeventhFleet.aspx#.WZruxyiGNPY

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/08/17/top-two-officers-and-other-sailors-aboard-the-uss-fitzgerald-to-be-disciplined-following-deadly-collision-at-sea/?utm_term=.9d9e3139e123

USS Fitzgerald Command Triad Removed Following Early Investigation Results

ACX Crystal: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/20/asia/us-navy-destroyer-collision-singapore/index.html

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2017/08/23/US-Navy-removes-Pacific-Fleet-commander-after-deadly-warship-crashes/9651503467007/

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-navy-ship-collision-20170822-story.html

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-navy-to-relieve-admiral-of-command-after-collisions-1503448987

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/08/24/these-are-the-10-sailors-lost-from-the-uss-john-s-mccain/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.b8b3fadbb26f