Closing Thought–16Mar17

More Wall Stuff!

There has been lots of back and forth around the Trump promise of a wall on our Southern border…it is gonna be expensive….Mexico will not pay for it…and the government could do what it does best….steal land from the people.

Rumors are that to pay for this abortion then the budget for the Coast Guard and TSA will be smaller….

Texas landowners along the U.S.-Mexico border have begun receiving notices from the federal government saying that they’re coming to either buy, or take, parcels of land for Trump’s pointless border wall. According to the Texas Observer, landowners are receiving “Declarations of Taking” notices that offer a price for the piece that the government wants. If the landowners refuse that, then they may see those parts of their property taken via eminent domain.

One landowner, Yvette Salinas, got her notice back in January. She’d been dreading it for a while because of George W. Bush’s focus on a border fence. Under Obama, she’d been able to relax a bit because he focused on patrolling and monitoring the border in ways that didn’t include taking land and building a wall.

Source: Bigot President Trump’s Border Wall Sh*t Just Got Real – Texans Receive Notices To Sell Or Have Their Land Taken | If You Only News

So Mr. Trump you will steal from the people to get your way?  Then sir you are a true Republican.  I guess in hindsight it would be cheaper to just steal the property than buy it…..

I find it amazing that a party, the GOP, of limited government has no problem using it to get their way…..like most Repubs hypocrisy rules.

The wall will make the US a more secure nation, right?

Did  mention that we, this country, have water on 3 sides?  And a lower budget for the Coast Guard that protects our watery borders makes good sense (sarcasm)….

Worries Of The Defense Department

With a new president and new set of rules there is going to be concerns of the different departments…..and the Defense department is no different…..

The years of unpredictable funding and the threat of its continuation is the biggest threat to the U.S. forces, Karl Schneider, acting deputy undersecretary of the Army, said Tuesday at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Symposium. – Defense News

Even as the U.S. Army prepares to grow, Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson still worries about units not having enough time to recover between deployments amid a rising demand for the service to take on more missions. – Military.com

Thomas Spoehr writes: The Pentagon has sustained year after year of budget cuts without corresponding reductions in commitments and missions. The resulted is a “meatless skeleton”: a military deprived of the ability to repair what gets broken, to train to critical levels of proficiency, or to maintain the supporting structures needed to sustain operations while still having to carry out those operations. Budget deliberations should start from a fact-based understanding of this situation and then explore options to fix it. – Real Clear Defense
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has withdrawn retired senior diplomat Anne W. Patterson as his choice for undersecretary for policy after the White House indicated unwillingness to fight what it said would be a battle for Senate confirmation. – Washington Post
President Donald Trump has overruled a decision by his national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, to sideline a key intelligence operative who fell out of favor with some at the Central Intelligence Agency, two sources told POLITICO. – Politico

Nothing looks rosy within the Department of Defense…..appears like the warning signs of an approaching storm…..a winter of discontent if you will.

Then there is the defense spending thing……it is getting out of hand…..

President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, announced in his address to a joint session of Congress and on a subsequent visit to the USS Gerald Ford aircraft carrier, calls for increasing defense spending for fiscal year 2018 by $54 billion above the Budget Control Act, or BCA, caps. He plans to pay for this by making large cuts in the budgets of other agencies, such as the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, and the U.S. Coast Guard.

This plan will not happen because military leaders are opposed to making reductions in spending for State Department and the USAID; additionally, many members of Congress are opposed to cutting the EPA and Coast Guard budgets to pay for an increase in defense. As Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) said, that the proposal was “dead on arrival.”

Source: 5 Ways to Better Manage U.S. Defense Spending – Center for American Progress

There are few good ideas in that report….and good ideas are in short supply coming out of the Trump administration…..but my guess is he will NOT listen to any good ideas….just the ones that do more harm than good.

Trump’s Government Overhaul

Does anyone besides me remember the promise by Donald Trump that if he was elected that he would overhaul the government….drain the swamp I believe was the term he used.  And the peasants cheered and danced.

Personally I did not bite on the loaded hook that he dangled……

The president has the right idea. But he forgot to include the people that can make it happen.

The executive order issued by President Donald Trump yesterday has a goal nearly every citizen and legislator would cheer: to “improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the executive branch.”

What’s not to like? The executive branch is an organizational basket case, and it sorely needs a re-think. For 238 years, citizen legislators and presidents have come to town with dreams of fixing public problems, hatching new agencies and programs to do it, many of which live long beyond the problem they were intended to solve. The slow aggregation of government initiatives has produced a $3.8 trillion per year government with at least 180 agencies. With each passing year, the government becomes more complex and incoherent — “kludgeocracy”, as political scientist Steven Teles termed it.

Source: Why Trump’s government overhaul won’t work

And then there is the budget……Trump being a Repub he will no doubt be in the mood for a skinny budget…..a budget that does wonders for the rich and screws the poor unmercifully….

So will Trump’s budget…..

The skinny budget should show how President Trump proposes to allocate these massive cuts. These details will help answer the following five questions about the Trump agenda in order to determine whether President Trump is trying to help ordinary Americans or using government to advance the narrow interests of powerful elites:

  • Does the budget protect basic living standards for American families?
  • Does the budget create good jobs?
  • Does the budget ensure a level playing field?
  • Does the budget launch partisan attacks on American democracy?
  • Does the budget make Americans safer?

Source: 5 Things to Watch in President Trump’s Skinny Budget – Center for American Progress

The answers my friend are blowing in the wind……

What The World Needs Is More Syria

Of course my friends the title is sarcasm……since the US has decided that more troops were needed and needed to be stationed within the borders of Syria the Middle East country has been foisted into the eye of the public…..

Since it is the talk of the town…..at least for us conflict wonks and foreign policy geeks….I would like to give my readers what the MSM is saying about Syria…..

I recently reported on the addition of 400 more troops for Syria…..I was worried….and with good reason…..

The US could double the number of ground troops it has in Syria over the next few weeks, the Washington Post reports. As Syrian Democratic Forces, comprised of Kurdish and Arab fighters, prepare for an assault on Raqqa—essentially the capital of the Islamic State in Syria—the US military is devising plans for sending up to 1,000 more troops to the area. There are currently approximately 500 US Special Operations forces, 250 Rangers, and 200 Marines in Syria.

The new troops wouldn’t be directly involved in combat, at least at first. They’d mostly be serving as advisers to Syrian Democratic Forces. However the move could lead to direct combat by US troops. The troop increase is likely to be approved by Defense Secretary Mattis and would then need President Trump’s approval. Trump has accused the Obama administration of being weak on Syria, where it had been hesitant to commit ground troops.

Like I said…it is only a matter of time….

More on Syria…….

Syrian military airstrikes on rebels were responsible for severing water supplies to 5.5 million people in the Damascus region for weeks starting last December, the United Nations said on Tuesday, rebutting government claims that insurgents were to blame. – New York Times

Syria’s civil war began six years ago this week as a popular revolt against the brutal regime of President Bashar Assad. Now a domestic uprising that has left an estimated 500,00 dead and millions homeless has morphed into a global war, sucking major powers into a conflict growing more volatile by the day. – USA Today

The European Union unveiled a plan to support the reconstruction of war-torn Syria on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the first protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s government. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Six years since the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, he is winning on the battlefield but Syria’s civil war is far from over, with his once stable country broken into fiefdoms ruled by rebels and warlords. – Reuters

The top U.N. human rights official called on Tuesday for tens of thousands of detainees to be released from Syria’s prisons and for torturers and executioners to be brought to justice as part of a lasting peace. – Reuters

The international community must do more to protect healthcare in Syria as medical services become targets of war, according to a study published in The Lancet medical journal on Tuesday. – Reuters

Frederick and Kimberly Kagan write: No single military operation can achieve victory in Syria. But an operation against the enemy’s heartland, freed of the constraints imposed by problematic proxies, would change the assumptions of America’s friends and enemies. President Trump should break through the flawed logic and poor planning that he inherited from his predecessor. He can transform this struggle, but only by transforming America’s approach to it. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Read the report. “America’s Way Ahead in Syria” – American Enterprise Institute/Institute for the Study of War

I by no means agree with most of this “news” and analysis…..especially the analysis from AEI/ISW…..there will be more analysis from me soon on this situation…..until then hold your breath that this does not escalate beyond our capabilities to handle.

Syria is making its way to the forefront……promises will be kept and more Americans will be foisted into them cauldron of nation building……yet again.

Restoring Responsible ‘Conservatism’

For years the conservatives in this country were known to be a responsible form of governance.  The platform of the 1956 GOP platform illustrates the meaning of the term “responsible conservatism”…..

Back in those days they were as close as the US has had as a liberal since the turn of the 20th century.

As much as “liberal” has become a dirty word in U.S. politics, the word “conservative” has been ripped from all its honorable traditions and redefined as a dangerous form of radicalism,

What is it about the U.S. that makes it virtually the only country in the world where a political Left scarcely exists? We have a center Right — the Democratic Party. And we have a far Right — the Republican Party. In fact, just invoking the L-word “Liberal” can inflict quick political death. Yes, we’re safe from the Left here in America.

Having such a stunted political spectrum is bad enough in itself. Still worse is the utter corruption of the word conservative. U.S. society has allowed the Republican Party to hijack the word, distort it and redefine it to its own ends, against its real meaning.

Source: Restoring a Responsible ‘Conservatism’ – Consortiumnews

The day of a responsible Republican has long gone never to return.

What say you?

It Is Financial Colonialism

The big deal for the last 25 years, probably longer, is that phenom called globalization.  Most think it is some sort of financial benefit for those with all the cash…..and there are those that think it is a bane on mankind.

But really….what is it?

Globalization is a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and governments of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology. This process has effects on the environment, on culture, on political systems, on economic development and prosperity, and on human physical well-being in societies around the world.

But policy and technological developments of the past few decades have spurred increases in cross-border trade, investment, and migration so large that many observers believe the world has entered a qualitatively new phase in its economic development. Since 1950, for example, the volume of world trade has increased by 20 times, and from just 1997 to 1999 flows of foreign investment nearly doubled, from $468 billion to $827 billion. Distinguishing this current wave of globalization from earlier ones, author Thomas Friedman has said that today globalization is “farther, faster, cheaper, and deeper.”

This current wave of globalization has been driven by policies that have opened economies domestically and internationally. In the years since the Second World War, and especially during the past two decades, many governments have adopted free-market economic systems, vastly increasing their own productive potential and creating myriad new opportunities for international trade and investment. Governments also have negotiated dramatic reductions in barriers to commerce and have established international agreements to promote trade in goods, services, and investment. Taking advantage of new opportunities in foreign markets, corporations have built foreign factories and established production and marketing arrangements with foreign partners. A defining feature of globalization, therefore, is an international industrial and financial business structure.

Okay that hurt!

All that definition is just so much BS……in reality it is a financial colonialism.

About here it is perfectly fine to scratch your head and utter a ….HUH?

This is an interview with the author of a new book…….

The “have” nations increase profits for their corporations at the expense of grievously underpaid workers in developed nations. The developed nations call this globalization, John Smith argues in his book Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and Capitalism’s Final Crisis. In this interview with Truthout, Smith discusses his contention that globalization is just neocolonialism by another name.

Source: Globalization Is Just a Contemporary Word for Financial Colonialism

An interesting concept and makes sense if one takes the time to actually read the interview…