Closing Thought #2–13Mar17

Health Care For All!

That was the promise from the GOP and our dear leader when they repealed Obamacare…..the replacement plan is just as most of us thought….a screwing for the American public…..the wealthy will be fine but working stiffs will be screwed handily.

The figures from the CBO have just come out……and most of us are F*CKED!

The Congressional Budget Office projects that 14 million people will lose coverage by 2018 under the Republican ObamaCare replacement bill.

24 million would lose coverage by 2026.

The long-awaited analysis from the nonpartisan congressional scorekeeper is sure to shake up the debate over the measure, which is already facing sharp criticism from conservatives and many centrist Republicans.

The GOP bill repeals ObamaCare’s subsidies to buy coverage, replacing them with smaller tax credits, as well as the law’s Medicaid expansion after 2019. Both moves were expected to lead to coverage losses.

The GOP have succeeded……they believe “If you cannot afford health care then you do not deserve it”!

Making America great again…one f*ck at a time!

Closing Thought–13Mar17

Drain The Swamp!

I know all the Trumpy supporters are thrilled that he is “draining the swamp” in DC as he promised in his campaign rhetoric…..my problem is…..who represents this “swamp”?

Lobbyists?  Bureaucrats? Pundits?  Who are these mystical political players?

My problem with all this manure is that Trump is calling for many “experts” in the different fields to resign and he is replacing them with the very people that make up the “swamp”……

A Trump campaign aide who argues that Democrats committed “ethnic cleansing” in a plot to “liquidate” the white working class. A former reality show contestant whose study of societal collapse inspired him to invent a bow-and-arrow-cum-survivalist multi-tool. A pair of healthcare industry lobbyists. A lobbyist for defense contractors. An “evangelist” and lobbyist for Palantir, the Silicon Valley company with close ties to intelligence agencies. And a New Hampshire Trump supporter who has only recently graduated from high school.

These are some of the people the Trump administration has hired for positions across the federal government, according to documents received by ProPublica through public-records requests.

Source: Meet the Hundreds of Officials Trump Has Quietly Installed Across the Government – ProPublica

So my dear alt-Right brethren……Trump lied!

I am told that “He Won” and to get over it…..I shall do just that when the idiots admit that they were played like cheap drums.

He is not draining the swamp he is just adding new breed of alligator to the mud.

The slogans were amazing….the actions are as dim as a flickering night light.

Day has drawn to an end for me…..I will be off and will return tomorrow with more shiny objects for you to chase.  chuq

This Week In Congress

Most readers have NO idea what the Congress will be doing on any given week….granted mostly they will be in adjournment.

So from time to time I feel that I should let them, my readers, know what their money will be doing…after all it is their tax money that pays these spineless toads.

Defense and veterans hearings for the week of March 13.

All the congressional action will start Today, Monday, with testimony about the nude photos scandal within the Marine Corps….

Source: This week in Congress: The Marine Corps scandal

At least our elected representatives will be doing something other than kissing the ass on donors this week….but do not get use to it….it will short lived.

How Important Is National Security?

If you are a regular here on IST then you are well aware that I feel foreign policy and our national security is of the utmost importance.  Our security depends on how we conduct ourselves on the international stage.

My first problem with the Trump administration is that of SecState…our number one diplomat…..Tillerson is our new top diplomat and so far he has been a no show at too many announcements being made by the Trump admin…..

This person needs to be on lead when anything international is announced or attempted…he is suppose to be there to take the heat off of the president and so far he has been absent……

A word that has been dogging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: absence. Absence from the spotlight, from a high-profile human rights event Friday, and from the press, though that’s set to change, somewhat, as of Monday. A rep for the State department attempted to answer the question of where, exactly, Tillerson has been, noting 32 phone calls with representatives of foreign countries and 15 in-person meetings on US soil with “foreign interlocutors” (plus two trips abroad), per Politico. The latest:

  • The State Department has historically held a daily press briefing on each business day; under Tillerson, there have been none. That’s set to change Monday, though the approach has been tweaked: There won’t be briefings on Fridays, and two of the weekly briefings will be conducted over the phone.
  • Politico’s take on the lack of briefings thus far: “The long silence has irritated American diplomats who have watched other foreign ministry spokesmen … try to seize control of narratives without State being able to respond.”
  • Another absence that irritated and confused some: Tillerson didn’t attend Friday’s release of the department’s annual report on human rights around the world. CNN reports that for decades the secretary has given the introduction at the high-profile event, and points out that during two exceptions under George W. Bush, the secretary was on a trip abroad; that wasn’t true of Tillerson.
  • He’s also been absent from President Trump’s first three summit meetings with his foreign counterparts: Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Japan’s Shinzo Abe and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, though Tillerson has met with Netanyahu. Just Security sees this as “very odd … especially for someone who has no foreign policy experience and most likely does not have prior relationships with these leaders. Plus, being present at a meeting with the president shows foreign leaders—and the public and the State Department staff—that the president trusts and listens to you.”
  • Some say it’s just Tillerson doing what made him so successful as CEO of Exxon: “He’s an engineer and engineers learn the facts and follow where they lead. He’s a systems guy, a step-by-step guy … He’s starting out slow as he learns the job,” a former national security adviser for George W. Bush tells the Los Angeles Times.
  • We may see what Tillerson is made of soon enough, though. The White House has indicated it plans to slash the State Department’s budget. Tillerson has yet to publicly comment on the news (the LAT points out Mitch McConnell has, saying the Senate isn’t likely to greenlight extreme cuts).
  • But this after “he lost … his first battle with the president,” as one State employee tells the Atlantic: Tillerson’s choice of (past Trump critic) Elliott Abrams as his No. 2 was vetoed by the president. The position remains open.

At Vanity Fair, Emily Jane Fox sees a “curious silver lining” for Tillerson. “While the Russian intrigues swirling around the president continues to ensnare more members of his administration, the one man who knows Putin best has managed to stay off the radar by remaining off the grid. It may just be that his diminished role role might be what allows him to walk away the least scathed in the end.”

So far I do not see why we need this position anyway.  Trump has set about all but killing the State Department.

I was disappointed when Obama named Kerry to the State position.  But at least he was a visual secretary…..Tillerson is cowering in his office….why?

Is the Department of State on its downhill run?

Source: The Day Diplomacy Died – In Saner Thought

Without a vibrant State Department our place in the world is in jeopardy…..US diplomacy is dying…..we can thank Pres. Trump for that….but will it ever return?

Sorry if this offends someone’s sensibilities but as a foreign policy wonk I see NO good coming from this appointment.

Is He “Raging Mad”?

The term that gets so much ink these days is “Deep State”.  It is used ad nauseum (I’m guilty of it) but all that usage does anyone real know what is written about….what is the “Deep State”?

Simply put……” a political situation in a country when an internal organ (“deep state”), such as the armed forces and civilian authorities (intelligence agencies, police, administrative agencies and branches of governmental bureaucracy), does not respond to the civilian political leadership.”

And that is what so many are accusing the situation in DC these days….Trump is pissed these days (probably be something else next month) that all the leaks are making him look bad in the eyes of his adoring public…..

One clear narrative has emerged in the wake of a weekend in which President Trump accused former President Obama of tapping his phones: Trump wasn’t just in a bad mood over the last few days, he was livid—or “steaming, raging mad,” as a piece at the Washington Post puts it. Coverage:

  • By most accounts, this was set off by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision on Thursday to recuse himself from any Russia investigation. Trump felt he caved to pressure instead of defending himself, and he went “ballistic” at senior staffers in the Oval Office on Friday morning, reports ABC News.
  • “Nobody has seen him that upset,” an unnamed source tells CNN, which has a video shot from outside a White House window of the meeting. See it here.
  • The New York Times says his “foul mood” remained as he left for his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida for the weekend, and the story says it spilled over to Saturday morning, when he woke and began tweeting about Obama.
  • Friend Christopher Ruddy, chief executive at Newsmax, saw him on the golf course Saturday. “He was pissed,” Ruddy tells the Post. “I haven’t seen him this angry.” The Post has the most detailed account of the president’s weekend, which it says was fueled not just by Sessions but by Trump’s growing anger about what he views as the opposition of the “deep state” (entrenched bureaucrats and intelligence officials) to his presidency. That narrative in particular is reportedly a big one being pushed in private meetings with Trump by aide Steve Bannon. Read the story here.

Trump told Ruddy he would be “proven right” about the Obama surveillance, and a White House official tells Axios that Trump is “absolutely convinced” of it. “The president just has a great nose for these things,” said the official, adding that “it’s the bureaucratic leaks—the deep state—that bother him most.”

This is a fight that need not be fought.

This saga is far from over…..Trump needs to calm down and think before engaging the Twitter fingers.

This is a fight that I do not believe he can win.

War: Could The “Golden Arches” Be The Answer?

There are times when I need a few moments of insanity and when that occurs I turn to the tellie to ease my troubled brain…..I was watching an ad for the new movie about the founder of the world famous McDonald’s franchise…..when something snapped in the deep recesses of my mind…..”Golden Arches”……”Golden Arches”?

I intend to pass on some of the theories I studied in school and believe me there are a wealth of them.

I recall when studying conflict management and resolution in college there was a theory that involved the “Golden Arches”…(thinking….thinking…..thinking)…..finally as I sat at my desk thinking it came to me….BAM!…… in a flash of inspiration….The “Golden Arches” Theory of Conflict Prevention….

Anyway while we were studying conflicts this came up as one of those WTF? theories…..after all there are as many theories here as hairs on your butt……

Let’s get to it….shall we?

The Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention was proposed by economist Thomas Friedman as a way of explaining how globalization affects foreign policy and conflict. Essentially, the Theory points out that no two countries that both have McDonalds franchises have ever gone to war. The reasoning behind this correlation, Friedman says, is that once economies become sufficiently integrated, both the cost of going to war and the amount of contact between two countries will increase. Both these factors lead to more effective conflict resolution, as states will attempt to pursue the more economically beneficial option. Friedman’s argument echoes the main suppositions of the democratic peace theory, which states that democracies never go to war. Friedman’s analysis simply takes this argument further in his economic emphasis, although he places a similar amount of emphasis on the role of domestic society in influencing a government’s willingness to go to war.

See….even international relations geeks have a sense of humor…..

A fascinating theory but a bit much….there are problems with this…….

The Golden Arches Theory has not held true in all cases, and explanations to explain these inconsistencies vary. In some cases, the increased contact between two countries due to integration may actually exacerbate points of contention between the two states, leading to more opportunities for conflict. Or, the difference may lie in the type of government in power: a democratic government may follow the Golden Arches Theory, but the Theory may break down when confronted with cases of nondemocratic or authoritarian regimes. The Golden Arches Theory assumes that governments respond to the desires of their constituents for economic stability and that the government knows it will be held accountable in the case that it does not provide for the economic well-being of its citizens. In the case of an authoritarian or nondemocratic state, leaders may not experience these dilemmas, causing them not to act in accordance with the Golden Arches Theory.

Now you know more than most about international relations and conflict resolution.

You’re welcome.