Closing Thought–27Jan17

America’s longest war……

We have a new president and his cabinet is beginning to take shape…..and he, Trump, will have to deal with the US longest war…Afghanistan….

Mr. Trump has not said much on this subject…I am hoping it is not because he is unaware but rather just has not given it much thought…..

But to help him out I will let him know that there is mixed signals coming out of Afghanistan and the Taleban…..

Two days after President Donald Trump took office, the Taliban asked him to remove all U.S. troops from Afghanistan but hinted at a willingness to work with the United States.

The insurgent group posted a statement on its website Sunday calling on Trump to “put an end to the invasion.” But it also asked him to “help countries with their development” rather than with “bloodshed and destruction.”

Well that was about as a positive comment from the Taleban than we will ever hear….

But just a short time later……

The Taliban has warned President Donald Trump to reverse U.S. policy on Afghanistan or face a “historically shameful defeat”, a U.S.-based monitoring group reported Sunday.

An article, which the SITE Intelligence Group said appeared on the Taliban’s website and social media, described the freshly inaugurated leader of the free world as “an enigma both to the Americans and the billions of people around the world”.

Here is my thought….BRING THE TROOPS HOME!

But what will Trump do in Afghanistan?  Heed the words of the Taleban or something else?

From Ehsanullah Amiri, Jessica Donati, & Gordon Lubold, The Wall Street Journal: ““President-elect Donald J. Trump said he would certainly continue to support Afghanistan security forces and will consider a proposal for more troops after an assessment,” according to one Afghan official briefed on the call.”

We have spent enough blood and treasure in this country….time to leave them to their fate.

The weekend approaches….Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy…..Be Well and Be Safe…..chuq

Who’s Your Friend?

Syria has been raging for years and the world could care less….the death and destruction is massive….the US is arming those “moderate Rebels”….and that is a big joke….a joke that has NO one laughing…..

I wrote about this silly paradigm about 3 years ago….and so far not much has changed….we have NO idea who is good….or who is bad…..but we keep sending arms and cash with NO idea who is getting the aid…..

Source: Our Friends The Rebels – In Saner Thought

Plus I wrote a post about her visit when news first came out…..

Source: Finally, Some Leadership! – In Saner Thought

Recently Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and former Congressman Dennis Kucinich made a secret trip to Syria as a fact finding mission….

US Congresswoman and war veteran Tulsi Gabbard, along former U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich traveled to Syria, met with Assad, met with families torn by the war, met with religious leaders, saw the results of US regime change first hand, on the ground in Aleppo and Damascus.

The two US leaders confirmed what we at The Duran have been reporting since our inception…the war in Syria, Obama’s war to overthrow a democratically elected, sovereign, internationally recognized government was, is and remains illegal. Syria’s invasion by US funded ISIS and Al Qaeda forces aligned with Saudi Wahhabi terrorists did not, and does not serve the US interest.

Source: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard travels to Syria, CONFIRMS: “no difference between ‘moderate’ rebels and al-Qaeda or ISIS  – they are all the same”

If you have more questions as I did then here is the full interview with Gabbard on CNN……

Source: Full CNN interview with Rep Tulsi Gabbard on Syria trip: Debunks neocon lies on air ‹ The Ugly Truth ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

There is so much going on in Syria that it boggles the mind….and we are about to enter into another phase of this conflict…the Trump phase…..and it could go horribly wrong….(a future post to explain is forthcoming)…..

Her visit has gotten Gabbard some flak…..

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D – HI) continues to be pilloried by Congressional hawks from both parties over her visit to Syria last week, with a number of representatives declaring the very idea of going to Syria and talking peace “reprehensible,” with one Congressional aide quoted claiming there was widespread “disgust” over the visit.

Most of the efforts to attack Gabbard for visiting Syria, and talking with President Assad about the possibility of peace, center on nothing specific that Gabbard did, as it doesn’t appear she violated any laws or even political norms in doing so. Rather, most seem to object to Gabbard’s support for peace in Syria at all, with multiple Congressional officials including in their comments demands for regime change in Syria as a precondition to peace.

These attacks are typical of slugs that have NO idea what the science of conflict management is about…..Peace cannot be found without talk to ALL sides of the conflict…pretending otherwise is just moronic and typically ignorant.

Tulsi Gabbard should be celebrated for her bravery and foresight…she has done what NO other Congressional tool has had to the courage to do….

She has my support.

Executive Orders–Part Deux

One last thought about the EOs being signed at a rate almost unheard of in these days……

To my friends on the Right–you remember Obama and his use of executive orders (EOs)….remember you guys called it an affront to American democracy and a circumvention of the Constitution?  Does any of that ring a bell?  I thought not.

It appears that our new president has started his rule with the issuance of EOs…if you recall that was called “lawless tyranny”……just as late as last month.

I wrote about this just the other day in my Closing Thought……(just in case you may have missed my poignant post…..link is below)

Source: Closing Thought–24Jan17 – In Saner Thought

Since I wrote that piece, just days ago, more has come to light……it appears that he is just as good at it as his predecessor, Obama……..

The speed with which President Trump issued executive orders on pipelines, abortion, and trade deals in recent days has alarmed critics—but he’s not behaving very differently than his predecessor. Trump’s pace on executive orders is similar to that of Barack Obama, whose orders in his first week included one to close Gitmo within a year, though George W. Bush and Bill Clinton went a lot slower. Bustle describes the trend as a product of partisanship, with Trump following Obama’s lead in using the “absolute maximum of presidential power” without seeking the approval of Congress. A roundup of executive order coverage:

  • The Washington Post looks at how far presidents from Harry Truman onward have gone in revoking the orders of previous presidents. Obama holds the speed record, with eight in his first 30 days, while George W. Bush set the record for quantity by reversing 64 previous executive orders during his term.
  • According to the Pew Research Center, Obama issued fewer executive orders per year than any president since Grover Cleveland 120 years ago, with Obama’s 277 executive orders working out to 35 per year, compared to 36 for George W. Bush, 48 for Ronald Reagan, a record 307 per year for FDR, and one per year for George Washington. A full list is here.
  • Roll Call takes a look at all the executive orders issued in the early days of the last four presidencies, noting that Trump is the first since Clinton to sign one on his very first day in office.
  • CNN looks at what can and cannot be done with executive orders, and at the pros and cons of using them instead of laws passed by Congress. One big plus for laws passed by Congress is that they can’t be so easily overturned by the next president.

The wall is moving forward: President Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order authorizing work to begin on his long-promised border wall with Mexico, reports the Washington Post.

Trump actually signed two executive actions related to immigration while at DHS. He also will beef up border security by increasing the number of detention centers and field agents, and he’ll penalize US cities—so-called “sanctuary cities”—that fail to comply with immigration laws by withholding federal grant money.

Why is this necessary for Trump….I mean he has control of both Houses of Congress…that should speed his agenda along…unless he does not trust the democratic process.

Is it still “lawless tyranny”?  Is he, Trump, circumventing the Constitution?  Is this more acceptable than when Obama use them?  Just what about Trump makes him above the same criticism that followed Obama around for 8 years?

Here is a final suggestion….why not dismiss the Congress and let them go back home for apparently they are not needed any longer?

(I promise this will be it for the EO controversy)

That Thing Called “Free Speech”

Here in the US there has been a debate about this issue for over 200 years…what is and what is not….free speech or as some prefer “freedom of expression”….but what is it…no really….what is it?

What me to thinking about this subject was something I wrote about late last year…….you see the president, the old one not the new one, signed a bill into law that basically bans “fake news””……(in case you were not paying attention then I can help)…..

The Birth Of The “Ministry Of Truth” – In Saner Thought

That one post got the old mental synapses firing at an alarming rate….

When did the whole idea of the freedom of speech start?  (The Highlights)

399BC Socrates speaks to jury at his trial: ‘If you offered to let me off this time on condition I am not any longer to speak my mind… I should say to you, “Men of Athens, I shall obey the Gods rather than you.”‘

1215 Magna Carta, wrung from the unwilling King John by his rebellious barons, is signed. It will later be regarded as the cornerstone of liberty in England.

1516 The Education of a Christian Prince by Erasmus. ‘In a free state, tongues too should be free.’

1633 Galileo Galilei hauled before the Inquisition after claiming the sun does not revolve around the earth.

1644 ‘Areopagitica’, a pamphlet by the poet John Milton, argues against restrictions of freedom of the press. ‘He who destroys a good book, kills reason itself.’

1689 Bill of Rights grants ‘freedom of speech in Parliament’ after James II is overthrown and William and Mary installed as co-rulers.

1770 Voltaire writes in a letter: ‘Monsieur l’abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.’

1789 ‘The Declaration of the Rights of Man’, a fundamental document of the French Revolution, provides for freedom of speech.

1791 The First Amendment of the US Constitution, as enshrined in the Bill of Rights, guarantees five freedoms: of religion, speech, the press, the right to assemble and the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances.

And the debate has continued almost non-stop since 1791…..

For a little historic perspective on the subject of free speech…..

Millions of Americans support free speech. They firmly believe that we are the only country to have free speech, and that anyone who even questions free speech had damn well better shut the #$%& up.

Case in point: In a recent essay in The Daily Beast, Fordham Law Professor Thane Rosenbaum notes that European countries and Israel outlaw certain kinds of speech—Nazi symbols, anti-Semitic slurs, and Holocaust denial, and speech that incites hatred on the basis of race, religion, and so forth. The American law of free speech, he argues, assumes that the only function of law is to protect people against physical harm; it tolerates unlimited emotional harm. Rosenbaum cites recent studies (regrettably, without links) that show that “emotional harm is equal in intensity to that experienced by the body, and is even more long-lasting and traumatic.” Thus, the victims of hate speech, he argues, suffer as much as or more than victims of hate crime. “Why should speech be exempt from public welfare concerns when its social costs can be even more injurious [than that of physical injury]?”

Source: Free Speech Isn’t Free – The Atlantic

There is also a very good piece on the subject from Australia…..

The term “free speech” is not ideal. The “free” part skews in favour of those who oppose regulation and the “speech” part puts the focus on the spoken word, even though the discussion embraces wider communication including art, writing, films, plays, flag burning and advertising.

It might, therefore, be better to drop the term “free speech” to highlight that the debate is really about whether or not we should regulate the communication of ideas, thoughts and beliefs.

Source: Explainer: what is free speech?

This is a right that we Americans need to protect.

Trump’s Foreign Policy

I like my studies of foreign policy and international relations….and now that we have a new president I would like to take a look at his policies in these areas…yes, it is early in his hold on the halls of power but we can get an overview of his intended policies…..I am sure there will be some minor adjustments but the meat of his policies are there……

“On The Issues” is a non-partisan group that looks at all political leaders and their stand…..this was put out before the election when Trump was just the GOP nominee….it covers just about everything that the man ever said on foreign policy and international situations…..

Source: Donald Trump on Foreign Policy

I am sure that there are those that will not bother to check his positions before jumping to his defense….and that is why we so many international problems…everyone is too partisan for rational thought.

Personally, I think his policies are very inconsistent….to me they are not much more than ramblings to appease whatever audience he is addressing….most of it was nationalistic mumbo jumbo….divisive and cruel…..

Throughout the presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s foreign policy positions have been anything but consistent. One day we heard that NATO was obsolete and the US needs to pursue better relations with Russia. But the next time he spoke, these sensible positions were abandoned or an opposite position was taken. Trump’s inconsistent rhetoric left us wondering exactly what kind of foreign policy he would pursue if elected.

The President’s inaugural speech was no different. On the one hand it was very encouraging when he said that under his Administration the US would “seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world,” and that he understands the “right of all nations to put their own interests first.” He sounded even better when he said that under Trump the US would “not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.” That truly would be a first step toward peace and prosperity.

Source: Trump’s Foreign Policy: An Unwise Inconsistency? by — Antiwar.com

If there is no solid front on international situations then this country is headed into some rough territory.  (and the peasants danced)……