Pentagon ‘celebrates’ 2019 with nuclear war threat

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The US Department of Defense has apologized for a New Year’s wish that threatened with a bomber warplane and a heavy bombardment.

When Times Square in New York traditionally dropped a crystal ball to celebrate the New Year, the Pentagon‘s Strategic Command department tweeted that it is “ready to drop something much, much bigger, if ever needed”. The text was accompanied by a video of a B-2 bomber dropping big bombs.

Strategic Command, which is responsible for the nuclear arsenal of the US, removed the message a little later, after much criticism of the ‘funny’ New Year’s wish. Many people said via Twitter that they found it frightening that this department is bragging about US American weapons or joking about heavy bombing.

Eg, the American lawyer Walter Shaub, who until last year was the director of the ‘ethics office’ of the American government, reacted in a shocked way to the report. “What kind of maniacs are running this country?” he asked himself on Twitter. …

According to the ministry, no nuclear weapons can be seen in the video, as some people suggested. It were supposedly images of a war game with an MOP. That is a bomb of almost 14,000 kilos, the heaviest non-nuclear weapon that the US Air Force uses.

So, something similar to the ‘mother of all bombs’, never used till the Trump administration escalated the Afghan war, killing prisoners of ISIS with it.

It is not really surprising that people thought about nuclear weapons; as that is the Strategic Command’s department.

How ironic, their #PeaceIsOurProfession hashtag. Maybe like the slogan in George Orwell’s 1984: War is peace.

On New Year’s Eve, the US Strategic Command, which oversees the United States’ nuclear arsenal, posted a tweet declaring its readiness to “drop something much, much bigger” than the “big ball” at Times Square in New York. The implication of the tweet is that the United States military is not only quite ready to kill people with nuclear weapons for a third time, but quite eager: here.

Right-wing ideologist Ayn Rand as punishment for US soldiers

This 4 March 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Robert Reich: Trump’s Brand is Ayn Rand

Robert Reich explains why Ayn Rand‘s ideas have destroyed the common good.

Ms Rand is the author of, eg, The Virtue of Selfishness.

By Talya Zax in the USA, 26 December 2018:

The Navy Is Disciplining Sailors With Ayn Rand (Yes, Really)

Novelist Ayn Rand’s books are many things: A surprisingly formative force in modern conservatism, the subject of the hilarious scorn of Nora Ephron, something your high school boyfriend felt, like, really passionate about, alarmingly attractive to Rand Paul and unconscionably long.

Now, as the United States Navy seeks more humane forms of discipline, Rand’s work is also being used to punish misbehaving seamen.

Well, at least by one captain. As The New York Times reports, the Navy is undergoing a shift in age-old disciplinary practice; the punishments that captains are permitted to mete out to sailors while at sea will no longer include the option of restricting a sailors’ diet to just bread and water.

That tactic has attracted criticism for being inhumane. When prescribed, sailors spend three days in the brig — a shift imposed in 1951, before which the allowed duration had been reduced from 30 days to seven — with just bread and water and the religious texts of their choice. While bread and water has been outlawed in the United Kingdom, from whom the U.S. adopted many naval practices, since 1891, American proponents of the measure cite it as being practically preferable to alternatives like docking pay or demotion.

To avoid those punishments and their equally unattractive ilk, Captain Scott Tait told The Times he’s begun assigning book reports as punishments. And Rand — most famously the author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead” — is one of his chosen subjects.

“Some people need to think about character and the consequences of their actions”, Tait told The Times. “But I don’t want it to impact their permanent record, which could hurt their chances of promotion down the line.”

What could sinning sailors learn about character from Rand? It depends on whether or not they take her seriously. If so, they will perhaps get the wrong message; the point of “The Fountainhead,” as Ephron summarized it, is that “the welfare of society must always be subordinate to individual self-interest.” Disciplinary? Not quite. On the other hand, by refusing to take Rand seriously, one comes away with something like the opposite conclusion — presumably, just what the captain ordered.

But if said captain heeds Ephron’s advice, he’ll save the Randian punishment for those not yet mature enough to be enamored by Rand’s ideology. As Ephron wrote, “The Fountainhead” is very suitable as a distraction. But as for its ideas, “it is better read when one is young enough to miss the point.”

Stop Saudi-Pentagon war on Yemen, Bernie Sanders says

This 12 August 2018 video says about itself:

Scores of Yemeni children took to the streets of Sanaa on Sunday, to protest against Saudi-led coalition air strikes in the country. The demonstration took place after an airstrike in northern Yemen’s Dahyan on Thursday, which claimed the lives of at least 51 people, including 40 children, according to local Houthi authorities.

Children with signs and banners chanted slogans against the Saudi-led coalition, which has been targeting Houthi militant-held areas of Yemen. “We, the children of Yemen, demonstrate in pain and compassion, in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, mothers, fathers in the hurt region of Saada, who suffered the worst harm at the hands of the attacker”, said one young protester while addressing the demonstration.

According to local officials, the latest Saudi-led coalition airstrike hit a school bus full of children returning from a summer camp in northern Yemen. Houthi Health Minister Taha al-Mutawakil announced the latest casualty figures, saying 79 people were also injured in the attack.

From Senator Bernie Sanders in the USA today:

This week I will go to the floor of the United States Senate to try and stop a war that has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians, mass starvation and one of the greatest humanitarian crises the world now faces.

I am talking, of course, about the Saudi led war in Yemen and the United States’ role in supporting that war.

In the spring, along with Senator Mike Lee and Senator Chris Murphy, I introduced a bi-partisan resolution calling on the United States to withdraw our armed forces from this horrific conflict. It was defeated 44-55. But things have changed. The humanitarian crisis grows worse and more Americans, and members of Congress, are now aware of the brutality of the despotic Saudi regime. The Saudi government is a dictatorship which allows no criticism, treats women as third class citizens and was recently responsible for the cold-blooded murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The United States should not be partnering in Saudi Arabia’s disastrous military adventurism.

Despite Trump’s venal support for the Saudi regime, I am confident that we now stand an excellent chance to win this vote which I plan on bringing back to the Senate floor this week. But I need your help.

Please sign my petition and add your voice to the fight: Tell your senators that it’s now time to end U.S. participation in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

As you may know, this war began in March 2015 when a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates attacked Yemen’s Houthi rebels. And the war has dragged on and on and on – with unimaginable human suffering.

According to the United Nations, the war in Yemen has created the most severe famine in more than 100 years. In one of the poorest countries on earth, as a result of this war, some 85,000 children have starved to death over the last several years and millions more face death if the war continues. Further, the country is currently experiencing the worst cholera outbreak in the world with as many as 10,000 new cases each week. This has occurred because Saudi bombs have destroyed Yemen’s water infrastructure and people are no longer able to access clean water.

Above and beyond the humanitarian crisis, this war has been a disaster for our national security and the security of our allies. The chaos caused by this conflict has significantly benefited extremist groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State [ISIS].

Further, and an issue that has long been of concern to many of us, this war has not been authorized by Congress and is therefore unconstitutional. Article I of the Constitution clearly states that it is Congress, not the president, that has the power to declare war. Over many years, Congress has not exercised that authority. That must change.

The fact is the United States, with almost no media attention, has been Saudi Arabia’s partner in this horrific war. We have been providing bombs the Saudi-led coalition is using, refueling their planes before they drop those bombs, and assisting with intelligence. And in too many cases our weapons are being used to kill civilians. In August, it was an American-made bomb that obliterated a school bus full of young boys, killing dozens and wounding many more.

The Senate can stand up this week and take an important step forward towards ending this brutal and unauthorized war. Tell the Senate: It’s time to end the U.S. role in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

The killing of Jamal Khashoggi underscores how urgent it has become for the United States to redefine our relationship with Saudi Arabia, and to show that the Saudis do not have a blank check to continue violating human rights.

With your help, we can win this vote.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders Is Forcing A Vote On Support For Saudi Arabia. Here’s His Path To Victory. A bill from Sanders, Chris Murphy and Mike Lee takes aim at the U.S. assistance for a Saudi campaign in Yemen, but it’s still at least five votes short of passage: here.

BIPARTISAN MAJORITY REBUKES TRUMP OVER YEMEN A majority of senators voted to move forward a bill ending U.S. support for a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen — the biggest condemnation to date of a three-year policy linked to tens of thousands of deaths. [HuffPost]

Human Rights Watch has asked Argentina to use a war crimes clause in its constitution to investigate the role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.