Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Encircling China: D-Day in Asia

Seeing as the soft underbelly was anything but....

"With eye on China, Vietnam may let US military return" by Jane Perlez New York Times   May 19, 2016

CAM RANH BAY, Vietnam — The ghosts of the Vietnam War have finally faded at the strategic port of Cam Ranh Bay. More than 40 years ago, US forces left this massive base where Marines landed, B-52s loaded up for bombing raids, and wounded American soldiers were treated.

Now, some Vietnamese say they are yearning for the US military to return.

President Obama is scheduled to arrive Sunday in Vietnam, the third visit by a US president since the war ended. 

Did you see his arrival?

The big question Obama is expected to answer is whether Washington will lift a partial arms embargo and allow Vietnam to buy lethal weapons from the United States. The Communist government has long asked for the ban to be revoked, and US military access to Cam Ranh Bay could be part of the payoff.

For the White House, the decision on lifting the embargo has come down to a debate over trying to improve Vietnam’s poor human rights record versus enabling Vietnam to better defend itself against an increasing threat from China in the South China Sea.

Washington has for years made lifting the ban contingent on Vietnam’s improving human rights for its people, and has prodded Vietnam to allow more freedom of speech and to release political prisoners.

But as tensions with China have escalated in the South China Sea, the sentiment in the Obama administration has shifted toward lifting the ban, American officials familiar with the discussions said.

Vietnam’s government, pressed by an ever more powerful China, knows it cannot stand up to Beijing alone and is cautiously moving toward increased ties with the United States.

Despite their shared communist ideology, Vietnam and China fought over islands in the South China Sea in the 1970s and ’80s. Two years ago, China sent an oil rig into disputed waters close to the Paracel Islands, which are claimed by both countries, leading to clashes at sea and anti-Chinese riots in Vietnamese cities. 

That was quickly tamped down.

More recently, China has built artificial islands with military runways just 300 miles from the Vietnamese coast.

Vietnam’s needs dovetail with those of the United States, which has been encouraging maritime states in Southeast Asia to better defend themselves, an effort partly aimed at keeping the United States from being dragged into a direct naval conflict with China.

Yeah, they would rather have proxies or others start it.

The prospect of access to Cam Ranh Bay, where the Vietnamese have built a new international port, provides another enticement for lifting the ban.

A US presence there would allow US forces to use the port on the western edge of the South China Sea, complementing US facilities in the Philippines on the sea’s eastern edge.

“If the United States can get regular access to Cam Ranh Bay, it would be very advantageous to maintaining the balance of power with China,” said Alexander L. Vuving, a Vietnam specialist at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu.

The Vietnamese, who shun alliances and forbid foreign bases, have made clear they would not entertain exclusive use of the facilities by the United States but would allow it to share the base with others. Singaporean and Japanese vessels this year were the first to use the facility.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in a Senate hearing last month that he favored lifting the embargo. But the human rights side of the equation remains problematic for a country Human Rights Watch describes as one of the world’s most repressive.

Oh, they can ea$ily overlook that. They always have.

Last week, the assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor, Tom Malinowski, met with human rights leaders and government officials in Hanoi for a final human rights assessment before the Obama visit. The State Department said Malinowski urged Hanoi to “release political prisoners without condition” and make other human rights improvements.

Vietnam still has more than 100 political prisoners, activists here say, including bloggers and lawyers whose only crime was to criticize the government.

A US official who was briefed on the visit said there had been positive signals from the Vietnamese. Blinken had praised the government in a speech last month for “some progress” on human rights, notably allowing independent trade unions for the first time. 


Already laying the groundwork for the lifting, and even opponents of the government agree.

Surprisingly, a leading dissident has come out in favor of lifting the arms embargo, telling Malinowski the issue should not be linked to the release of political prisoners.


"Vietnam arms embargo to be lifted, Obama says in Hanoi" by Gardiner Harris New York Times   May 23, 2016

HANOI — President Obama, at a news conference in Hanoi on Monday, portrayed the decision as part of the long process of normalizing relations between the two countries after the Vietnam War.

“The decision to lift the ban was not based on China or any other considerations,” he said, with the Vietnamese president, Tran Dai Quang, standing stiffly by his side. “It was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving toward normalization with Vietnam.”

What is with the pathological lying anyway?

Obama insisted that the move should not be interpreted as carte blanche for weapons sales to Vietnam and that the United States would review future arms sales to “examine what’s appropriate and what’s not,” as it does with any country.

“We’re going to continue to engage in the case-by-case evaluation of these sales,” Obama said. “But what we do not have is a ban that is based on an ideological division between our two sides.”

As for human rights, he said, “this is an area where we still have differences.”

The only one with a rubber stamp is Israel.

Human rights advocates, who had asked Obama to hold off on lifting the ban until Vietnam had released some prominent political prisoners and promised to stop the police beatings of protesters, condemned the decision.

“President Obama just gave Vietnam a reward that they don’t deserve,” said John Sifton, the Asia policy director of Human Rights Watch.

Quang defended his country’s rights record.

“The consistent position and viewpoint of the Vietnamese government is to protect and promote human rights,” he said, adding, “those achievements have been highly recognized and appreciated by the international community.”

US officials portrayed lifting the embargo as part of a strategy to help Vietnam defend itself against an increasing threat from China in the South China Sea. Analysts have speculated that in return, Vietnam would grant the United States access to the deepwater port at Cam Ranh Bay.

While there were no statements about such a deal on Monday, Obama did announce commercial deals worth more than $16 billion, including one in which Boeing will sell 100 aircraft and Pratt & Whitney will sell 135 advanced aircraft engines to VietJet, a privately owned low-cost airline.

Related: "Boeing Co. won an $11.3 billion order from Vietnam’s only private airline, dealing a blow to rival Airbus Group SE in a battle over the growing market for low-cost air travel in Asia. VietJet Aviation Joint Stock Co. will buy 100 737 Max jetliners, the budget carrier said Monday during a visit by US President Barack Obama. The deal will add diversity to a fleet that has consisted entirely of Airbus planes. Boeing’s win with VietJet marks a shift for discount carriers that typically stick with a single aircraft type to reduce costs for spare parts and pilot training. The airline, which is less than five years old, agreed as recently as November to buy 30 A320neos from Airbus. Based in Toulouse, France, Airbus said it counts VietJet “as an existing customer for our A320 family.” The new 737 Max 200s will be delivered starting in 2019, VietJet and Boeing said in a joint statement."

Obama said that improved ties with Vietnam made sense for the United States, since it was a fast-growing country in one of the fastest-growing regions of the world.

He predicted that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal among 12 nations that has very little chance of passing Congress before the election in November but that would benefit Vietnam greatly, would someday become law.

“I remain confident we’re going to get it done, and the reason I remain confident is because it’s the right thing to do,” he said, acknowledging that “the politics will be noisy.”

All three remaining presidential candidates in the United States — Donald Trump for the Republicans and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for the Democrats — oppose the pact.

Obama’s trip to Vietnam is part of an effort by this Southeast Asian nation to recalibrate its relationship with China, its giant neighbor in the north. China remains Vietnam’s largest trading partner and an ideological ally, but reaction to the decision on Monday was subdued.

“The arms embargo is a product of the Cold War and should never have existed,” Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, said during a regular news briefing in Beijing. “We welcome normal relations between Vietnam and the United States.”

But beneath the polite response are deep concerns in Beijing about the intentions of Vietnam. And Vietnam, while seeking to defend itself from China, is unlikely to completely sever itself from China’s orbit.

Obama also announced on Monday that the two sides had formalized an agreement to allow the opening of Fulbright University Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City, the first independent university in Vietnam in which the government will have no role in creating the curriculum or teaching students.

The university’s chairman, Bob Kerrey, a Vietnam veteran and a former senator of Nebraska, said the school may start teaching undergraduates in the fall of 2017.

Obama also said that for the first time, Peace Corps volunteers will be posted to Vietnam and focus on teaching English.

In a sign of the complexities of the relationship, the Chinese ambassador to Vietnam, Hong Xiaoyong, met on Thursday with Vietnam’s defense minister, Ngo Xuan Lich, in Hanoi. Both sides pledged to strengthen military ties, said Xinhua, the Chinese state-run news agency.


Also seeAs US works with Vietnam, questions linger about human rights

The Vietnamese returned the favor.


"President Obama won enthusiastic applause Tuesday with a supportive reference to Vietnam’s disputes with China, saying in a speech that “big nations should not bully smaller ones.” 


Does he even listen to himself, or does he just read whatever is in front of him?

Here is who laid the groundwork for his invasion:

"John Kerry, Vietnam War continue to be intertwined" by Carol Morello Washington Post  April 27, 2016

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John F. Kerry is not the only participant under criticism. Some students at the University of Texas are calling for pickets to protest Henry Kissinger, who was secretary of state during a particularly bloody stretch in the long war. The event also will include political activist Tom Hayden, who is famous for going to Hanoi with his then-wife, actress Jane Fonda, in 1972 to commiserate with peasants whose dikes had been bombed.

Kissinger is a world-class war criminal and he's walking around free.

The library has reached out to service organizations, hoping hundreds of Vietnam veterans will attend, not just as participants but as honorees.

A commission established by Congress to commemorate the war will hand out lapel pins to veterans. Lynda Johnson Robb, the older daughter of Vietnam-era president Lyndon B. Johnson and the wife of Vietnam veteran and former Virginia governor Chuck Robb, will help distribute the pins.

Robb said she has been reading the letters her husband wrote her from the war zone, remembering how her father got up in the middle of the night to pray that the fighter jets would return safely. Vietnam, she said, ‘‘destroyed my father’s hopes and dreams for his domestic programs.’’

Well, he did it to himself. He didn't have to tell that whopper of a Tonkin lie. 

Or did he?

‘‘This is an opportunity to honor and recognize our Vietnam veterans, who didn’t get the recognition they deserved,’’ she said of the symposium that she and her sister, Luci Johnson, will attend. ‘‘There are a lot of people that are coming to the end of their lives, and we want to thank them for what they did.’’

No disrespect intended for veterans, far from it, but this revisionism regarding Vietnam and AmeriKan militarism stinks of Nazism. 

I don't think participation in the mass murder of millions of South Asians over a series of damnable lies should be viewed with any honor at all, although as far as blame goes the higher the better. Grunt enlistees and draftees were carrying out policy. That doesn't completely absolve them, but it puts larger things into perspective.

Knotts said some veterans remain angry with Kerry because of their experiences when they came home from the war.

‘‘It stems from the fact that many of the Vietnam vets when they came home were told to hide the fact they were vets,’’ he said. ‘‘It was to save themselves grief, mistreatment, negative attitudes, not getting hired in jobs, a general community stigma related to the war. They feel that they should have been honored for their service to country regardless of people’s feelings about the war.

Good thing we no longer have that and are in the throws of militaristic here worship these days. The Vietnam syndrome has truly been shattered.

‘‘So now they are unfettered. They feel they will not be kept from expressing opinions the way they were when they first came home.’’

Joe Galloway, a former war correspondent who co-wrote a book about a key battle, ‘‘We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young,’’ said it made sense for Kerry to appear at the event.

‘‘Kerry has all the reason in the world to be there,’’ Galloway said. ‘‘He was a Vietnam vet. He served honorably. He came home, he was against the war. So were a lot of vets.’’

The venue for this particular symposium is both an apt and an awkward fit. President Johnson’s achievements in civil rights legislation, heralded in a similar seminar at the library two years ago, were overshadowed by the grinding war.

When the LBJ Library was dedicated in 1971, Johnson said it illustrated the story of his time in office, ‘‘with the bark off.’’

Said Mark Updegrove, the library’s director. ‘‘If we looked at the triumph of civil rights, we have to look in the same comprehensive, unvarnished way at the trajectory of Vietnam. We are not in the business of hagiography. It was LBJ’s hope that his presidential records would be processed as soon as possible and give people a sense of what he did in the course of his tenure, and make of it what they will.’’

In his speech, Kerry may reprise a theme he repeats often around the world, that diplomacy should be exhausted before young men and women are sent to war.

Or at least give the appearance of that so, you know, it doesn't look so bad when they begin the war. 

‘‘The United States and Vietnam have again proven that former adversaries really can become partners, even in the complex world we face today,’’ he said during a visit to Hanoi last year. ‘‘And as much as that achievement matters to us, it is also a profound and timely lesson to the rest of the world.’’

Yeah, it all depends on the immediate needs regarding geopolitical maneuvers and whatever it takes for world domination.


"Kerry recalls a war that shaped him, as combatant and protester" by Carol Morello Washington Post   April 29, 2016

AUSTIN, Texas — Secretary of State John F. Kerry discussed the driving role of the Vietnam War in his life’s work at a conference on the war Wednesday night, talking in unusually personal terms about his experiences as a combatant and a protester.


In a speech at the LBJ Presidential Library, Kerry had to pause and regain control of his emotions while recalling his most famous statement ever while testifying before a Senate committee after he returned from Vietnam and became a leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

Kerry rarely discusses in public his time as an antiwar protester. His pointed remarks suggested that the poised, silver-haired diplomat who negotiates cease-fires and treaties is just an evolution from the angry, shaggy-maned protester who posed the rhetorical question of how to ask a man to be the last to die for a mistake.

Yeah, it's the process of him having been bought off over all these years after having been put forth as the leader of veteran opposition. 

So the Skull-And-Boneset was on "our side" back then, huh?  

Yeah, sure he was.

‘‘In 1971, when I testified against the war in Vietnam,’’ Kerry said, ‘‘I spoke of the determination of veterans to undertake one last mission so that in 30 years, when our brothers went down the street without a leg or an arm and people asked why, we’d be able to say ‘Vietnam’ and not mean a bitter memory . . ..’’

And forty years later he is saying propping up of the puppet government in Afghanistan, with all its corruption, is worth the blood of our soldiers.

Then Kerry stopped, seeming to choke back tears and taking a chug from a water bottle before he composed himself and completed the thought.

‘‘. . .. a bitter memory,’’ he continued, ‘‘but mean instead the place where America turned and where we helped it in the turning.’’

Did he go visit any graves or look at the birth defects caused by U.S. chemical warfare? 

We helped Vietnam progress with that mass-murdering, environmentally befouling mission?

He's mentally ill.

Now, 45 years later, Kerry said, the corner has been turned in Vietnam, a country he will visit next month accompanying President Obama on a trip that will highlight mutual economic and strategic interests.

The few hours Kerry spent at the Vietnam War summit felt at times like paging through a Kerry scrapbook, infused with sights and sounds that reached deep into his memory banks.

‘‘So when we talk about the lessons of Vietnam — here’s number one: Whether a war is popular or unpopular, we must always — always — treat our returning vets with the dignity and respect they have earned by virtue of their service to the nation.’’

He says that, and then you take a look at the VA and shake your head. 

Do these guys even smell the s*** they are spewing?

Kerry called for Americans to move forward from the war’s lingering pains and divisions.

He was one of the lucky ones, who returned from Vietnam whole. ‘‘I am now in a position of responsibility, to live my beliefs, to live my lessons,’’ he said....

Then why you helping start so many more as SecofState?


He's come full circle and wherever he goes he brings conflict.

You know, there was another Kerry that served in Vietnam, former senator and 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey:

"Kerrey was a gung-ho Navy SEAL lieutenant when he led his squad, known as Kerrey’s Raiders, into Thanh Phong on Feb. 25, 1969. Their mission was to hunt down a Viet Cong leader believed to be operating in the village. The squad first encountered a hut they had not expected. To avoid giving away their position, they used knives to kill five people, witnesses said, slitting the throats of an elderly couple and stabbing their three grandchildren. Although Kerrey has taken responsibility for ordering the killings as squad leader, he has said he did not participate in them. However, two other members of his unit say Kerrey helped kill the grandfather, later identified as Bui Van Vat, 65. When they reached the main part of the village, they encountered women and children. According to Kerrey’s account, someone fired on the squad and the commandos returned fire, killing the civilians in the darkness and confusion. A member of his squad, Gerhard Klann, gave The Times a different account. He said the SEALs rounded up the women and children, then debated what to do. They were not in a position to take prisoners, and if they let them go the villagers might alert the enemy. So Kerrey gave the order, Klann said, and they opened fire."

At best Kerrey has changed the story in his own mind so he doesn't see a monster called a war hero in the mirror, or he's a liar!

Btw, AmeriKan universities also double as CIA stations, and Fulbright fought against the war when doing so was very unpopular. So the concept itself is an insult.

And now, a few moments of silence please:

"Donald Duncan, 79, all-but-forgotten early critic of Vietnam War" by Robert D. McFadden New York Times   May 07, 2016

NEW YORK — Donald W. Duncan, a Green Beret master sergeant who came home from Vietnam a disillusioned hero in 1965 and became a leading early opponent of US involvement in a war he called illegal, barbaric, and unwinnable, died in a small town in the Midwest seven years ago. He was 79.

Mr. Duncan’s daughters, Valerie Casey and Luise Wilson, confirmed last week that he died March 25, 2009, at a nursing home in Madison, Ind., an all-but-forgotten soldier.

In an age of seeming information ubiquity, the news media will generally recall the lives of noteworthy people when they die. But Mr. Duncan had lived his last years in obscurity, and his death went largely unremarked upon in the wider world.

He was John Kerry before John Kerry, and the Skull and Boneser built a career on being the lead antiwar advocate? 


His obituary in The Madison Courier said only that Mr. Duncan had once worked for a local nonprofit that helped poor people find jobs. The crucial events of his life — the killings and brutalities of 18 months in Vietnam, the agony of conscience and conversion, and the years of antiwar struggle — had happened long ago and were not mentioned.

In an America torn by protests against the war in the late 1960s and early ’70s, Mr. Duncan was often in the news, although not as prominently as the pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock, Roman Catholic priests Daniel and Philip Berrigan, or actress Jane Fonda, who was photographed laughing and applauding on an antiaircraft gun in Hanoi.

But in 1966, well before the Tet offensive and the My Lai Massacre stirred national discontent, Mr. Duncan was one of the first returning veterans to portray the war as a moral quagmire that had little to do with fighting the spread of communism, as American leaders were portraying it.

It was about war-profiteering.

Mr. Duncan, who went to war convinced it was an anticommunist crusade, ended his Special Forces duty a changed man. A 10-year veteran, he rejected an offer of an officer’s commission and left the United States Army. Back home, he became a fierce critic of the war, writing articles and a memoir and speaking at rallies across the country with singer Joan Baez, writer Norman Mailer, and comedian Dick Gregory.

Where are those same people regarding this generation?

In a 1966 article for Ramparts, a radicalized Roman Catholic political and literary journal, Mr. Duncan told of witnessing murders, torture, and other atrocities by US forces in Vietnam in violation of all international laws; of refusing orders at An Khe to kill four enemy prisoners whose hands were tied behind them; and of rapes by South Vietnamese troops that were never reported, let alone punished.

“The whole thing was a lie,” Mr. Duncan wrote. “We weren’t preserving freedom in South Vietnam. There was no freedom to preserve. To voice opposition to the government meant jail or death. Neutralism was forbidden and punished. Newspapers that didn’t say the right thing were closed down. People are not even free to leave, and Vietnam is one of those rare countries that doesn’t fill its American visa quota.”

In his Ramparts articles and a memoir, “The New Legions” (1967), Mr. Duncan detailed a military career that began in December 1954, when he was drafted by the Army in Rochester, N.Y., a 24-year-old American who had been born in Canada and raised by a stepfather of Hungarian origin.

“I was a militant anticommunist,” Mr. Duncan wrote in Ramparts. “Like most Americans, I couldn’t conceive of anybody choosing communism over democracy. The depths of my aversion to this ideology was, I suppose, due in part to my being Roman Catholic, and in part to the stories in the news media about communism. My stepfather was born in Budapest, Hungary. Although he had come to the United States as a young man, most of his family stayed in Europe.”

And here we are, 50 years later.... same old, same old. Sigh.

He volunteered to fight in South Vietnam in 1964 and served in missions with the Fifth Special Forces Group. He killed the enemy, saw comrades killed, watched civilians shot and bayoneted and their villages burned. He won South Vietnam’s Silver Star, the US Army Air Medal, two Bronze Stars, and the Combat Infantry Badge, and was recommended for a Silver Star and the Legion of Merit.

On reconnaissance in Laos, where US bombers were pounding an enemy supply route, he began to doubt American reports on the war.

“This mission confirmed that the Ho Chi Minh Trail, so called, and the traffic on it, was grossly exaggerated,” he said, “and that the Viet Cong were getting the bulk of their weapons from ARVN and by sea. It also was one more piece of evidence that the Viet Cong were primarily South Vietnamese, not imported troops from the North.” (The ARVN was South Vietnam’s Army.)

Mr. Duncan said it had been common knowledge that draft-dodging and desertion rates among South Vietnamese troops were “staggering,” and that Viet Cong guerrillas attacked US machine-gun positions “across open terrain with terrible losses.” American propaganda, he said, could not obscure such lopsided motivations.

“Even during the short period I had been in Vietnam,” he wrote, “the Viet Cong had obviously gained in strength. The government controlled less and less of the country every day. The more troops and money we poured in, the more people hated us.”

Some things never change!

He concluded that the United States was destined to lose the war. “I don’t think Vietnam will be better off under Ho’s brand of communism,” he said. “But it’s not for me or my government to decide. That decision is for the Vietnamese. I also know that we have allowed the creation of a military monster that will lie to our elected officials, and that both of them will lie to the American people.”

Even has its own public relations office called the pre$$.


(Blog editor salutes him)

"Robert Bennett, 82, US senator unseated amid Tea Party rise" by Adam Bernstein Washington Post  May 07, 2016

WASHINGTON — Robert F. Bennett, a business executive and three-term senator who epitomized Utah’s Republican establishment and became in 2010 the first high-profile political casualty of an anti-Washington fervor surging through his party, died May 4 at his home in Arlington, Va. He was 82.

The cause was complications from pancreatic cancer and a stroke, Mr. Bennett’s assistant Tara Tanner announced.

Mr. Bennett had a lucrative career in corporate management, notably as chief executive of the start-up Franklin Institute, a time management company that holds seminars and makes best-selling day planners.

He stepped down in 1991 from the company, now known as Franklin Covey, with a reported net worth of more than $25 million, and with his eye on the open Senate seat once held by his father.

At 6 feet 6 inches tall, and with a bald pate and protruding ears, Bennett called attention to his looks in campaign slogans, with one proclaiming: “Big Heart. Big Ideas. Big Ears.”

Mr. Bennett was a respected and soft-spoken legislative consigliere to Senate leaders including Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, and rose to prominence on the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee and the powerful Appropriations Committee. He sprinkled hundreds of millions of dollars on home state businesses and projects through spending bill earmarks.

A vigorously free-market conservative, Mr. Bennett opposed measures to regulate corporations and tighten campaign finance rules. He was a party loyalist but won praise from Democrats for his behind-the-scenes pragmatism and diligence on legislation of broad interest.

Most notably, he worked with Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, on a bipartisan attempt to overhaul the health care insurance system. Their Healthy Americans Act, first proposed in 2007, was an effort to marry the Democrats’ wish for universal coverage with the GOP’s emphasis on consumer choice and market forces.

The act drew many admirers but did not reach the floor for a vote.

However, one of the Wyden-Bennett provisions involving flexibility for states carrying out a universal health care mandate was included in the Affordable Care Act signed by President Obama in 2010.

Mr. Bennett opposed the Affordable Care Act, citing the excessive spending he said it would require.

“I cared about the details because I looked at the accounting,” he told NPR. “I looked at the cost, I look at the devastation it would incur on states and the impact it would have on Medicare and all of the other things that were wrong with it.”

As he prepared to seek a fourth term, he found himself out of favor with hard-right activists in his party who demanded more than opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

With the economy still reeling from the 2008 recession, antitax crusaders and conservative broadcasters such as Glenn Beck fingered Mr. Bennett as a symbol of big government and fiscal irresponsibility and rallied the grass roots to boot him and other incumbents from office.

Mr. Bennett, who had broken a promise to serve no more than two terms, also suffered from an impression among voters that he was too preoccupied with wonkish legislative endeavors and insufficiently attentive to constituent needs.

Mr. Bennett’s upset in 2010 was made possible in part by a quirk in the Utah nominating system, which requires delegates to bestow their blessing at a convention before the primary. At the convention, Mr. Bennett was jeered as “Bailout Bob” and a “RINO” — Republican in Name Only — and came in third among eight contenders.

“The political world changed underneath Bob Bennett’s feet,” Norman J. Ornstein, an American Enterprise Institute congressional scholar, said in an interview.

“He was a creature of an era that had passed, especially for the Republican Party,” Ornstein said. “He had sterling conservative credentials but believed in compromise where you wanted to get things done, and he believed in the institution of Congress. Those were once badges of honor, but they became black marks for activist, radical conservatives.”

Robert Foster Bennett was born in Salt Lake City on Sept. 18, 1933.

He graduated from the University of Utah in 1957 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and served as the student body president.

In 1971, he bought Robert R. Mullen Co., a public relations firm that seemed to be a conspiracy theorist’s dream: It served as a front for CIA personnel, employed the Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt as a writer, and helped represent the political interests of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes. 

No, no, no, that doesn't happen in today's world and if it did surely the AmeriKan mew$ media would tell us all about it.

Mr. Bennett alerted Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward to Hunt’s CIA background, a critical early step in unraveling the maze of illegal activity that led directly to the Nixon White House.

Thus destroying the myth of All the President's Men and the brave and intrepid investigative reporter. They were fed all that stuff to remove someone.

That really spins your head, huh?

In 1962, Mr. Bennett married Joyce McKay. Besides his wife, he leaves six children and 20 grandchildren.

After his election loss, Mr. Bennett became a political consultant and lobbyist and lectured at universities in Utah and Washington.

Ah, the revolving door of Wa$hington.

“The political atmosphere, obviously, has been toxic and it’s very clear some of the votes that I have cast have added to the toxic environment,” Mr. Bennett told the Salt Lake Tribune after his defeat. “Looking back on them — with one or two very minor exceptions — I wouldn’t have cast any of them any differently even if I'd known at the time it would cost me my career because I have always done the best I can to cast the vote that I think is best for the state and best for the country.”

It was best you were defeated.


If only the war could have been prevented:

"Mark Lane, 89; lawyer offered evidence for Kennedy conspiracy" by Keith Schneider New York Times  May 13, 2016

NEW YORK — Mark Lane, the defense lawyer, social activist, and best-selling author who concluded in a blockbuster book in the mid-1960s that Lee Harvey Oswald could not have acted alone in killing President John F. Kennedy, a thesis supported in part by the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1979, died Tuesday at his home in Charlottesville, Va. He was 89.

The cause was a heart attack, his friend and paralegal Sue Herndon said.

The Kennedy assassination, one of the manifest turning points of the 20th century, also was the climactic moment of Mr. Lane’s life and career. Before the president’s murder in November 1963, Mr. Lane was a minor figure in New York’s legal and political circles. He had organized rent strikes, opposed bomb shelter programs, was a Freedom Rider, took on civil rights cases, and was active in the New York City Democratic Party. In 1960, he was elected a state assemblyman and served one term.

After the Kennedy murder, Mr. Lane devoted much of the next three decades to its investigation. Almost immediately he began the Citizens’ Committee of Inquiry, interviewed witnesses, collected evidence, and delivered speeches on the assassination in the United States and in Europe, where he befriended Bertrand Russell, the British philosopher, one of his early supporters.

Some have postulated that Lane was CIA and was fulfilling his role regarding the leading of opposition. It's based on the Lenin remark regarding how will they control opposition? Why, they will lead it! Think Alex Jones.

By the time President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination, Mr. Lane had emerged as one of its important independent experts. He testified to the commission in 1964 and served as a legal counsel to Marguerite Oswald, the suspect’s mother.

In August 1966, Mr. Lane published the results of his inquiry in “Rush to Judgment,” his first book, which dominated best-seller lists for two years. With a trial lawyer’s capacity to amass facts, and a storyteller’s skill in distilling them into a coherent narrative, Mr. Lane asserted that the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Oswald was the lone gunman was incomplete, reckless at times, and implausible.

He coined the term “grassy knoll” to describe a green expanse of Dealey Plaza in Dallas that Mr. Lane argued was the source of several of the shots fired at the president.

The book raised doubts about Oswald’s marksmanship and the expertise of police agencies. And he sought to ridicule the Warren Commission’s conclusion that one “magic bullet” could strike and grievously injure Kennedy and Governor John Connally and still emerge essentially intact.

In any event, you can't minimize the evidence that was brought to light during what looks like a limited hangout phase.

Mr. Lane’s findings were disputed aggressively by the government. Still, the financial success of “Rush to Judgment” and its conclusions prompted the development of a new assassination genre in nonfiction — by those who believed and did not believe in a conspiracy — that eventually counted more than 2,000 titles.

Government still disputes it and is still hanging on to that lame-ass explanation.

Mr. Lane was among the genre’s most active contributors. In 1967, the same year he produced a documentary film version of the book, with the same title, The New Yorker magazine writer Calvin Trillin called Mr. Lane one of the foremost Kennedy “assassination buffs.” In 1968, Mr. Lane published “A Citizen’s Dissent’’ to respond to the defenders of the Warren Commission report.

In 1973, Warner Brothers released “Executive Action,” a feature film based on “Rush to Judgment” starring Burt Lancaster that Mr. Lane wrote with help from Dalton Trumbo.

In 1991, Mr. Lane produced a second documentary on the Kennedy assassination, “Two Men in Dallas,” and in 1991 he published a second book, “Plausible Denial,” that argued the CIA was involved in the Kennedy murder.

Mr. Lane relished the heightened national attention that came with his high-profile causes.

In 1968, the comedian Dick Gregory chose Mr. Lane as his running mate in several states in a write-in presidential candidacy for the Freedom and Peace Party. The campaign collected nearly 50,000 votes.

In its final report in 1979, the House committee went further than any branch of government to support the central points of Mr. Lane’s thesis about Kennedy’s murder. It concluded that the FBI and the Warren Commission investigations of the assassination were flawed.

And then any further investigation by the government was dropped.

The committee also found that while Oswald fired three shots, one of which killed Kennedy, a “high probability” existed that a second gunman was present and that the president “was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.” The committee, though, was “unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy.”

But Mr. Lane also came under criticism from the committee for providing evidence about the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination that they regarded as unsubstantiated: “In many instances, the committee found that Lane was willing to advocate conspiracy theories publicly without having checked the factual basis for them,” wrote the authors of the final committee report. “In other instances, Lane proclaimed conspiracy based on little more than inference and innuendo. Lane’s conduct resulted in public misperception about the assassination of Dr. King and must be condemned.”

King's assassination by higher and more powerful forces in even more obvious -- as was the reason why.

Two months later, any hope of a sane and decent world ended with Bobby Kennedy sprawled on the floor of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, and I have to step away from the computer for a while because the tears are blinding my sight.

Mr. Lane was undeterred. “It seems clear,” he wrote in 1992, “that the people of this nation have a different agenda from the politics of suppression, disinformation, perjury, and subornation of perjury readily embraced by their leaders.”


Should have given him a Medal of Honor.

As for elections in Vietnam:

"Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is favored by the business community, which feels that he will continue the economic reforms in the country at the same pace that have helped Vietnam attract a flood of foreign investment and helped triple the per capita GDP to $2,100 over the past 10 years. He is also seen as being more solid in standing up to neighboring China, which has been displaying aggressive territorial ambitions in the South China Sea. Communist Party chief General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, on the other hand, is a stolid, conservative party apparatchik who is not seen as being too imaginative on economic reforms, and being too soft on China. Before the congress opened on Thursday, it appeared that Trong had suppressed Dung; however, Dung appears to have found a loophole."

What a crock of.... Dung.