Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Wrong, wrong, and wrong

I saw this yesterday but wanted to find out what happened:

The letter addressed to Donald Trump Jr. that contained a suspicious white powder and landed his wife in the hospital Monday said, “You’re an awful person and now you get what you deserve,” according to law enforcement sources Tuesday.
The note was delivered to the Upper East Side home of Trump Jr.’s mother-in-law around 10 a.m. Monday, sources have said.
The wife of the president’s son, Vanessa Trump, opened the letter and discovered the powdery substance and note, sources said.

 There is no excuse for that.

I do not know what the powder is but I do not care.  Even if it was baby powder, there is no excuse for that.

I blame a lot of things including the climate that is hate-hate-hate on the Trump children.  The media is out of control -- that is the so-called news as well as the so-called comedians.

This is a very sad time. 

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Tuesday, February 13, 2018.  The costs of the wars is debated and a 'corrector' turns out to be wrong, Iraq tries to raise funds in Kuwait and much more.

Let's start with the stupidity.

You really don't need to harp on everything Donald Trump Tweets or says.  But if you do and you call him out, you need to be correct.

Kyle is wrong -- no surprise, he works for blowhard Lawrence O'Donnell.

WaPo Fact Check: Trump has repeated this number at least 21 times. “It's flat wrong.” Experts say the U.S. spent about $1.8 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001-2017. (Plus, Afghanistan is not actually in the Middle East.)

I don't care what some WASHINGTON POST link says.  I'm not even going to go there.  And I'm fully aware that Kyle was in Australia for two years and apparently didn't think that a war the US was (and remains) engaged in was something he needed to follow.


"Experts" say many things.  Doesn't make them right.

Kyle types, "Experts say the U.S. spent about $1.8 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001-2017."

I don't know what"experts" he's citing and really don't turn to THE WASHINGTON POST for reality on Iraq due to its history (only THE NEW YORK TIMES has a worst history).

But I do know his statement is wrong.

From March 2013, Daniel Trotta (REUTERS) reported,"The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said."

That was almost five years ago.

And that was Iraq alone.

So maybe next time, when you're going to town on him, know your facts so you don't end up looking like an idiot.

In November of 2017, THE COSTS OF WAR PROJECT estimated that by the start of 2018, the wars (post 9/11) would cost the US 5.6 trillion.  That ended up being the headline in November when it was reported on.  Now read the actual report when veterans issues are added in or just skip to Table Six where you'll find the cost is expected to be $7.9 trillion when veterans expenses and interest (the US government did not increase taxes to pay for the wars, they borrowed money to do so) are added in.

THE COSTS OF WAR PROJECT is generally considered the expert on the issue -- not THE WASHINGTON POST.  It's run by Brown University's Watson Institute.

They say $7.9 trillion.

So not only has Kyle Griffin's 'fact' check made Donald Trump look more informed, it's also raised serious issues about the intelligence level at MSNBC's THE LAST WORD.

Is it "the last word" because those working on it like Kyle are in too much of a hurry to do the actual work so they just quickly toss anything out there?


MSNBC really shouldn't try to do Iraq anymore.  None of the hosts give a damn about the topic and when Rachel Maddow mounted her ridiculous special not all that long ago, it was so bad that even Randi Rhodes devoted considerable time to explaining on air just how much Rachel got wrong.

Kyle is publicly humiliated because he doesn't pay attention to Iraq.  Donald Trump's figure is not a new one.  Jason Ditz (ANTIWAR.COM) wrote about it in December:

Of course, the $7 trillion is mostly not foreign aid, but military spending, and as President Trump is always eager to remind people, he is particularly supportive of massive military increases, and has continued and escalated overseas operations, largely in the Middle East, since taking office.
Trump has, however, been fond of presenting the money spent on the Middle East as a waste, making a similar claim back in February, albeit when it was just $6 trillion, and complaining then that the US didn’t get a single oil well out of all that war.

Costs not included?

NRT reports, "Pentagon has requested a $1.4 billion USD allocation for the Counter-ISIS Train and Equip Fund (CTEF) in Iraq and Syria for the fiscal year 2019 draft budget. Pentagon released its defense budget overview for fiscal year 2019 on Monday (February 12) allocating $1.4 billion for the Iraq and Syria train and equip fund."  That money is requested and, if approved, will need to be added to the ever-growing costs.

Also not included are any US monies that go towards reconstruction in Iraq.

Kuwait's where everyone ended up Monday to discuss reconstruction.

BBC WORLD SERVICE (link is audio) notes that the estimate is that "the country needs about $88 billion to rebuild after it was seized by the Islamic State in 2014."

Nation building? Rachel Martin (NPR -- link is audio) floated that maybe it should be termed "nation rebuilding."

$88 billion was what they said they needed.  So far?  $330 million is promised.

Broad gathering of Kuwaiti and International NGOs earlier today produced $330M for ’s immediate humanitarian and stabilization needs in areas liberated from .

Broad gathering of Kuwaiti and International NGOs produced $330M for ’s immediate humanitarian and stabilization needs in areas liberated from .

The conference continues today and AL JAZEERA notes that Iraqis hoping for more pledges today.

Already today, there's an additional pledge of $200 million.  IRAQI NEWS reports, "U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson has pledged another $200 million to restore security in Iraq and Syria following the defeat of Islamic State there. Speaking at an anti-Islamic State coalition ministerial meeting, which kicked off in Kuwait early on Tuesday, Tillerson stressed the importance of providing necessary support for attaining stability in the two countries."

RUDAW notes:

The head of the Kurdish delegation to the Kuwait donor conference said the main focus of the event is on investment and humanitarian aid to Iraq. He does not expect Iraq to receive what it is asking for in donations.
KRG Planning Minister Ali Sindi explained that though Iraq has estimated $80 to $100 billion in damages due to the three-year-long ISIS war, “this does not mean that the donor countries will give Iraq this sum at the conference.” 
[. . .]
KRG Minister Sindi rejected any projects will be immediately implemented in the conference, but that “what is really expected to happen is to understand the situation of Iraq at this stage."

Changing topics . . .

At BLACK AGENDA REPORT, Bruce A. Dixon weighs in on Donald Trump's plans to hold a military parade:

The same Democrats who think a military parade on Pennsylvania Avenue is bad form not two months ago voted to give Donald Trump’s Pentagon even more than the obscene amount of money he asked for. The same Democrats who wore kente cloth to or boycotted the State of the Union last week because Trump called African and Caribbean nations shitholes cannot find their voices to object to America’s bombing of Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, or Somalia, or to US military provocations against China, Russia, Iran and North Korea, or its blockades of Eritrea and Venezuela. American military flexing, it seems is perfectly OK as long as it’s done overseas, and preferably though not necessarily by a Democrat.
Since Vietnam, the last war in which Americans were drafted into the army, the Pentagon’s long term strategy has been to make the nation’s gargantuan military machine and its wars as distant from the public as possible. This helps explain why there hasn’t been a march on the Pentagon since 1968. But Donald Trump doesn’t make long term plans. He seems to want a giant chest thumping our-missiles-are-bigger-than-yours military spectacle to boost his own popularity among the base that elected him – disaffected white Americans who blame blacks, Mexicans, women queers and foreigners for their own economic insecurity. His military parade will do some of that.

But it’ll also draw attention to the fact that America’s massive war expenditures are starving schools and libraries, housing and transit infrastructure, warping what teachers teach and what students learn. At $900 million plus apiece, every F-35 fighter is worth a small hospital. At $13 billion apiece an aircraft carrier without the aircraft is worth a dozen bus factories or half a dozen water and sewer and sewer systems for a city of 200,000. While public roads are privatized, and public schools can’t afford fast internet, teacher salaries or heat in their overcrowded classrooms, the US military maintains a thousand overseas bases on six continents and its own satellite network.

The following community sites  -- plus Jody Watley, Cindy Sheehan and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated: