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DBoon's Journal
DBoon's Journal
December 25, 2023

December 1972 - The Christmas Bombing of Hanoi

Operation Linebacker II, sometimes referred to as the Christmas bombings, was a strategic bombing campaign conducted by the United States against targets in North Vietnam from December 18 to December 29, 1972, during the Vietnam War. More than 20,000 tons of ordnance was dropped on military and industrial areas in Hanoi and Haiphong and at least 1,624 civilians were killed. The operation was the final major military operation carried out by the U.S. during the conflict, and the largest bombing campaign involving heavy bombers since World War II.

By late 1972, U.S. combat involvement in Vietnam had been dramatically reduced, and negotiations to end the war were underway in Paris. After secret meetings in October between lead negotiators Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho, an informal agreement was reached. The terms included a total U.S. withdrawal, North Vietnam's recognition of South Vietnam, new borders based on the present front lines, and new elections in the South, which would include the then-banned Communist Party of Vietnam. South Vietnamese president Nguyen Van Thieu, however, totally rejected these terms when he was informed about them and, following Richard Nixon's reelection in November, the U.S. submitted new terms, which included the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) as the recognized national border, leading to a breakdown in negotiations on December 16. Nixon issued an ultimatum for the North to return to negotiations within 72 hours, after which he ordered the bombing campaign on December 18. Conducted by more than 200 B-52 bombers from Strategic Air Command supported by tactical planes of the Seventh Air Force and Task Force 77, the raids ran continuously over a 12-day period. The U.S. acknowledged the loss of 16 B-52 bombers, while North Vietnam claimed 34 bombers shot down.

The effect of the bombings on the peace negotiations is debated. On December 22, Nixon asked the North to return to the talks with the terms offered in October and warned Thieu that he would sign the agreement even if Thieu did not. The North agreed, and Nixon ordered a halt to the bombings on December 30. The North Vietnamese delegation stated that the campaign played no role in the decision to return to negotiations, while an aide to Kissinger remarked that "[w]e bombed the North Vietnamese into accepting our concessions". On January 27, 1973, the Paris Peace Accords were signed along the same terms as the initial October agreement.

December 18, 2023

LAT: As border extremism goes mainstream, vigilante groups take a starring role

The encounter at the wall reflects the extremes to which perceptions of border insecurity are now driving the actions of both citizens and the government. Fueled by right-wing rhetoric about the border being overrun, long-established groups such as Foley’s are enjoying a resurgence, attracting volunteers from across the country and influencing the national debate on immigration.

Apart from Foley’s group, anti-government militias active in Arizona and Texas have spread Q-Anon conspiracy theories and filmed themselves “intercepting” migrant children before delivering them to the U.S. Border Patrol, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit advocacy organization.

One group has been documented crossing the border into Mexico on its patrols. At the same time, some Republicans in Congress have called for declaring drug cartels terrorist organizations and launching U.S. military strikes against them on Mexican territory.

Self-proclaimed Proud Boys have patrolled the border in southern Arizona since at least 2021 — often in coordination with established militias. Foley said he’d spoken several times with Oathkeepers leader Stewart Rhodes, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison on seditious conspiracy charges in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection. Foley denied any formal relationship between their groups. He said he was in Washington when the Capitol was overrun but did not enter with the mob.


December 15, 2023

Why is the US far right finding its savior in Spanish dictator Francisco Franco?

Some US far-right figures have made renewed attempts to rehabilitate the 20th century Spanish dictator Gen Francisco Franco in recent months, praising him as an avatar of religious authoritarianism, and praising his actions during and after the Spanish civil war as a model for confronting the left in the US.
Stephen Miller looks to his right.

But historians say that this Franco fandom is based on partial or revisionist accounts of the 1936-1939 civil war and Franco’s ensuing 37-year dictatorship and continues a long-term hostility to democracy on the American right.

It also comes as fears of authoritarianism and Christian nationalism in the US are on the rise with Donald Trump almost certain to win the Republican party nomination amid fears he would misuse his powers in any second term to erode or dismantle American democracy.

Franco, a general in the Spanish army, led a nationalist revolt against Spain’s democratic second Republic in 1936, and won by 1939 with the support of fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Some 500,000 Spaniards died as a result of the war, with 150,000 of Franco’s opponents being executed during or after the conflict and half a million held in concentration camps by 1940.

Nevertheless, in October, Josh Abbotoy asked in an article at religious-conservative outlet First Things: “Is a Protestant Franco inevitable?” The article was a development from a May post on X, formerly Twitter, in which Abbotoy had more affirmatively claimed that “Basically, America is going to need a Protestant Franco”.

December 6, 2023

LAT: Leaked document offers glimpse into how Amazon amasses influence in the Inland Empire

But this year, the Cheech hosted an exhibit that included a piece depicting an Amazon warehouse on fire. In an interview, the artist said the piece, titled “Burn Them All Down,” was not a call to arson, but instead a commentary on how public officials were not listening to community concerns about the growing number of warehouses in their Inland Empire neighborhoods.

Amazon saw the comments as being hostile toward the company. The e-commerce firm called it quits on future donations.

“We will not donate to the Cheech,” Amazon officials wrote in a leaked document that outlines the company’s plans for community engagement next year in the Inland Empire. “We will not continue to support organizations that did not result in measurable positive impact in our brand and reputation. Additionally we will not fund organizations that have positioned themselves antagonistically toward our interests.”

The leaked document reveals an extensive public relations strategy by Amazon to donate to community groups, school districts, institutions and charities in the Inland Empire and support sympathetic politicians to burnish the company’s reputation and ensure it is seen as “the most trusted community and business partner in the Southern California area,” according to the plan. The Times independently confirmed the authenticity of the document


The leaked memo details how Amazon uses its influence over politicians and nonprofits to fight environmental and labor legislation.

ON EDIT: Yes, Cheech from "Cheech and Chong" has started a museum of Chicano art
November 27, 2023

CNN: 'This is insane.' Swedish workers are getting under Elon Musk's skin

London CNN —

It has taken nearly a month, but workers striking against Tesla in Sweden have finally drawn a response from the company’s famously anti-union boss. “This is insane,” CEO Elon Musk said Thursday on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter that he owns.

Musk was responding to news that Swedish postal workers are refusing to deliver Tesla license plates, joining a wave of action in sympathy with mechanics who stopped servicing Tesla cars late last month.

About 130 mechanics began their ongoing strike in October after their employer, a Tesla subsidiary in Sweden, announced that it would not recognize their labor union, according to Expressen, a CNN affiliate.

The industrial action soon spread to dockworkers who started blocking deliveries of Tesla cars at the country’s ports, to electricians who stopped maintenance work for the carmaker, and other workers in Sweden, Expressen reported.


This is what labor solidarity looks like.

This action in Sweden may inspire similar action in Germany.
November 25, 2023

'We will coup whoever we want!': the unbearable hubris of Musk and the billionaire tech bros

... Unlike their forebears, contemporary billionaires do not hope to build the biggest house in town, but the biggest colony on the moon. In contrast, however avaricious, the titans of past gilded eras still saw themselves as human members of civil society. Contemporary billionaires appear to understand civics and civilians as impediments to their progress, necessary victims of the externalities of their companies’ growth, sad artefacts of the civilisation they will leave behind in their inexorable colonisation of the next dimension. Unlike their forebears, they do not hope to build the biggest house in town, but the biggest underground lair in New Zealand, colony on the moon or Mars or virtual reality server in the cloud.
Indeed, there is an imperiousness to the way the new billionaire class disregard people and places for which it is hard to find historical precedent. Zuckerberg had to go all the way back to Augustus Caesar for a role model, and his admiration for the emperor borders on obsession. He models his haircut on Augustus; his wife joked that three people went on their honeymoon to Rome: Mark, Augustus and herself; he named his second daughter August; and he used to end Facebook meetings by proclaiming “Domination!”

While we should be thankful he has chosen to emulate Augustus instead of, say, Caligula, he is nonetheless aspiring toward the absolute power – and hairstyle – of a Roman dictator. Zuckerberg told the New Yorker “through a really harsh approach, he established two hundred years of world peace”, finally acknowledging “that didn’t come for free, and he had to do certain things”. It’s that sort of top down thinking that led Zuckerberg to not only establish an independent oversight board at Facebook, dubbed the “Supreme Court”, but to suggest that it would one day expand its scope to include companies across the industry.

At least Zuckerberg’s anti-democratic measures are expressed as the decrees of a benevolent dictator. Musk exercises no such restraint. In response to the accusation that the US government organised a coup against Evo Morales in Bolivia in order for Tesla to secure lithium there, Musk tweeted: “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.”


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