Closing Thought–28Apr17

Speaking Of Russia!

Did You Say Comintern?

No!  I said “Crimintern”….and it has nothing to do with the Communist International (COMINTERN)….

  • Over the past 20 years, the role of Russian organised crime in Europe has shifted considerably. Today, Russian criminals operate less on the street and more in the shadows: as allies, facilitators and suppliers for local European gangs and continent-wide criminal networks.
  • The Russian state is highly criminalised, and the interpenetration of the criminal ‘underworld’ and the political ‘upperworld’ has led the regime to use criminals from time to time as instruments of its rule.
  • Russian-based organised crime groups in Europe have been used for a variety of purposes, including as sources of ‘black cash’, to launch cyber attacks, to wield political influence, to traffic people and goods, and even to carry out targeted assassinations on behalf of the Kremlin.
  • European states and institutions need to consider RBOC a security as much as a criminal problem, and adopt measures to combat it, including concentrating on targeting their assets, sharing information between security and law-enforcement agencies, and accepting the need to devote political and economic capital to the challenge.

Source: Crimintern: How the Kremlin uses Russia’s criminal networks in Europe | European Council on Foreign Relations

Keep in mind that this group, the ECFR, will be a anti-Russian think tank….it will echo anything the Western powers want to use to influence others…..

Thanx for your time today on IST….I must shut down the keyboard until the morrow…..peace out, my friends……chuq

How Does Trump Compare In History?

Day 99…..and counting

Tomorrow we come to the first 100 days of the Trump administration….as a history geek I wanted to let the American public know just how Trump has done as compared to other presidents….

As he neared the end of his first 100 days in office, President Donald Trump touted his first three months as a rousing success.

“No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days,” Trump told an audience in Kenosha, Wis.

That’s a pretty high bar, especially for an administration that has registered historically low levels of support in public-approval polls for presidents this early in their terms.

The White House didn’t respond to an inquiry for this article, but when asked about some of the president’s 100-day accomplishments during the April 19 press briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer cited a series of executive orders, including some on regulatory reform; a drop in border crossings; and job creation. He said more details would be offered as the 100-day mark approached.

Source: How do Donald Trump’s first 100 days rate historically? | PolitiFact

So far Trump has accomplished NOTHING he promised in his “Contract with American Voter”…..but Hell do not take my word for it….read the “Contract” for yourselves…..

Source: O-TRU-102316-Contractv06.indd – O-TRU-102316-Contractv02.pdf

Is history being made?  Or is it a cruel joke?

A Flynn Of A Different Color

First let me say….I Love This Stuff!

It appears that the Flynn controversy is far from over…..the discredited Trump adviser is once again in the news….

Documents released by lawmakers show President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was warned when he retired from the military in 2014 not to take foreign money without “advance approval” by Pentagon authorities, the AP reports. Also, the Defense Department inspector general’s office confirms in a separate document that it is investigating whether Flynn failed to obtain prior approval. The chairman and senior Democrat on the House Oversight Committee say they want the Army to rule on whether Flynn informed and asked permission for the payments from Russian and Turkish entities. Flynn earned tens of thousands of dollars from Russia’s state-sponsored RT television network and from a Turkish businessman linked to Turkey’s government. (Flynn may face criminal prosecution.)

I am sure that some of those mentally challenged people that still support Trump will have lots to say about this….all I can add is the US Constitution…..the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, noting it “prohibits receipt of consulting fees, gifts, travel expenses, honoraria, or salary by all retired military personnel, officer and enlisted, regular and reserve, from a foreign government unless congressional consent is first obtained.”

And now the Trump team is pushing an old reliable excuse….it is Obama’s fault!

Spicer made the remark during a press briefing on Thursday, when asked about suggestions the White House may have failed to properly vet Flynn.

“His clearance was last reissued by the Obama administration in 2016 with full knowledge of his activities in 2015,” Spicer said. “All of that clearance was made by the Obama administration.”

In other words……Flynn was NOT vetted…a National Security Adviser with no vetting….now there is a good idea.

Back in the day, during the Clinton Benghazi and email hearings, I watched the head of the House Oversight Committee, Jason Chaffetz, play his part well got on his high horse and did everything to chastise Clinton short of banging his shoe on the podium….from his chair had several long diatribes on conduct and such (it was all so much beautiful political theater)…he was outraged, to say the least.

And now that there is a GOP president and his adviser having a tough time…was he the same “tough” representative?

You tell me.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chairman of the Oversight Committee, said the payments were “inappropriate” and that there are “repercussions for the violation of law.”

I have called Repubs many things…toads, worthless etc but the one word that describes them the best is COWARD!

And Rep. Chaffetz has proven my point.

After being a firebrand with Clinton to avoid all the crap that will come about because of the Flynn affair….Chaffetz is decided it is time to run home and hide…..

Jason Chaffetz now says that he’s immediately taking leave from Congress due to a problem with his foot. Considering the controversial roller coaster of events surrounding Chaffetz over the past two weeks, this is not particularly plausible. Sure, he’s having the foot surgery. But it’s for a twelve year old injury (CNN), and he’s using it as a timely excuse to bail. It may be that he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place, the rock being Russia and the hard place being the FBI.

Like I said….COWARDS!

The Bodies Continue To Mount Up

I feel like I am alone here on the blogosphere hen it comes to our troops fighting so many wars it is almost uncountable.  But I continue to follow the sites that keep me up to date on the conflicts and most of all the soldiers that are killed in service to their country.

I will admit the these deaths made the news….15 seconds of coverage…..

We can add two more to the ever expanding number of combat dead….this time it is in Afghanistan…….

The Pentagon says two US service members were killed in Afghanistan overnight Wednesday, reports the AP. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis says they were killed during an operation against the Islamic State in Nangahar Province in the eastern part of the country, the same area in which the US dropped the “mother of all bombs” on an ISIS complex two weeks ago. That bomb killed several dozen militants just days after a US Army special forces soldier was killed in the region. Davis says the US is still gathering details on Wednesday’s incident. The US estimates that the group has about 800 fighters in Afghanistan.

It amazes me that these people mean NOTHING to the average American….instead they had rather worry about the freshness of their breath or what the bathroom smells like after a dump or how fresh their ass is after a TP use……

This is pathetic….that is right I called all you PATHETIC!

It’s Tax Reform Time Again

Well sports fans it is that time of the year again….the presidential push for tax reform.  And our Trumpy boy is no different….he has said he wants to give the country tax reform…..but as usual when the GOP uses the term “tax reform” they mean a tax cuts…reform is NO where in the equation.

The problem is what he is offering is not tax reform but rather the ever popular tax cuts.

The White House on Wednesday began laying out President Trump’s tax plan, which calls for sharp cuts for businesses and individuals. The administration says the cuts will spur economic growth and bring jobs and prosperity to America’s middle class, though lawmakers were worried about ballooning federal deficits. Much of the details have yet to be hashed out with Congress. Some highlights, per the AP:

  • Trump’s plan would reduce the number of personal income tax brackets to three from seven: rates of 10%, 25%, and 35%. The current maximum is 39.6%.
  • It would double the standard deduction for married couples to $24,000, while keeping deductions for charitable giving and mortgage interest payments.
  • The administration plans to provide tax relief for families with child care expenses, too, although the specifics have yet to be included.
  • The plan would trim deductions utilized by wealthier Americans. This would include deductions for state and local tax payments, a change that could alienate support from lawmakers in states such as California and New York with higher state taxes.
  • It would also repeal the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax.
  • On the corporate side, the top marginal tax rate would fall from 35% to 15%.

Small businesses that account for their owners’ personal incomes would see their top tax rate go from 39.6% to the proposed corporate tax rate of 15%. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who earlier called the plan the “biggest tax cut” in history, said the change for small-business owners—a group that under the current definition could include doctors, lawyers, and even major real estate companies—would be done to ensure that wealthier Americans could not exploit the change to pay less in taxes.

As you can see…these are tax cuts….reform would require legislative action on the tax code….a thousand plus page code…..this does nothing to reform….but it does return us to the days of the damn silly “trickle down economics”….or “voodoo economics”…….

President Trump’s tax reform plan unveiled Wednesday heralds the return of the Laffer curve, or as it’s more commonly known—thanks to the first President Bush—”voodoo economics.” The New York Times reports the Laffer curve was first sketched on a napkin by Arthur Laffer in 1974. The curve says that if you cut taxes enough, you can make up for the financial shortfall through economic growth. And that’s exactly what Trump’s team is pitching—though it’ll mean adding billions upon billions of dollars to the national deficit while waiting on that promised growth. Here’s what else you need to know about Trump’s tax reform plan:

  • While Republican lawmakers were supportive in public, they’re grumbling in private, CNN reports. Congressional Republicans are upset Trump’s promised tax-reform plan is more of a tax-cut plan. One senior GOP aide says it’s “not even close” to tax reform.
  • CNBC reports the plan is missing one thing that Wall Street really wanted: a steep reduction—all the way to 10%—for companies that bring earnings back to the US from overseas.
  • There are eight reasons Trump’s tax reform plan likely won’t get through Congress, according to the Washington Post. They include that Republicans may not tolerate a huge deficit increase and that the GOP head of the Senate Finance Committee is openly wondering if it’s a “good idea.”
  • Politico argues the plan released Wednesday was less a step toward actual tax reform and more something for Trump to use to bolster his 100-day presidential resume. It was a single page of “mostly general principles” largely carried over from campaign promises.
  • Mother Jones reports Trump’s tax reform plan will make the Trump family richer in four different ways, including by cutting the tax rate for “pass-through corporations.” The Trump Organization is made up of pass-through corporations, and the plan would cut the tax rate of Trump and his children from 39.6% to 15%.
  • But we may never know exactly to what extent Trump stands to benefit from his tax reform plan, according to the Washington Post, as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the president still “has no intention” of releasing his tax returns.

The trickle down was promised in the 1980’s and so far that trickle has not found the middle class….and yet the GOP still thinks the idiots in society will believe the bullshit from 35 years ago…..and guess what…they will!

Please stop calling it reform and label it what it is….a cut….nothing more than that.

American Entry Into World War One

One hundred years ago this month Pres. Wilson made the speech that threw the US into the meat grinder known as the Great War, World War 1…..there have been many reasons cited as to why the US felt it necessary to go to war.

Some say it was the sinking of a ship….yet others cite the Zimmermann telegram as a reason…..this piece gives reasons for our fateful trip into the war in Europe….

It was one hundred years ago this month that America entered World War I, which began July 28, 1914.[1] On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson addressed a joint session of Congress and requested it to declare war on Germany. The Senate would vote in favor of war on April 4 and the House would follow suit on April 6. This essay critiques a recent article in “The Weekly Standard” by Geoffrey Norman, who has written articles on multiple topics in a number of mainstream journals in addition to neocon ones.[2] His article represents the conventional neocon thinking on World War I and since they have been major players in shaping American foreign policy—especially in the Middle East—Norman’s piece is of significance in understanding their foreign policy Weltanschauung. Moreover, this essay will try to bring out what appear to be the causes of American entry into the war.

Source: American Entry into World War One – The Unz Review

(keep in mind that this site has a Libertarian lean to it…so keep that in your thoughts as you read)

Whatever the reason…..America’s entry into the war changed everything for this country and the world…..

A century ago Congress declared war on Imperial Germany. It was a bizarre decision: the secure New World voluntarily joined the Old World slaughterhouse, consigning more than 117,000 Americans to death for no intelligible reason.

The chief outcome of the war was to sweep away several reasonably benign if imperfect “ancien regimes” while loosing various totalitarian bacilli. All too naturally, even, seemingly, inevitably, emerged communism, followed by fascism and Nazism. The so-called Great War’s unfinished business was finally settled only in World War II, after consuming as many as 80 million lives.

The modern world was born on the battlefields of Europe.