Closing Thought–09May17

Please use other means.

Veterans are always at the heart of every campaign and Trump was no different…….as usual lots of promises were made and now the vets are waiting for their delivery……

Trump’s new Sec of VA, Shulkin has a brand new idea on the best care for the nation’s veterans……close some of the facilities down……

WASHINGTON — Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin says his department is seeking to close perhaps more than 1,100 VA facilities nationwide as it develops plans to allow more veterans to receive medical care in the private sector.
At a House hearing Wednesday, Shulkin said the VA had identified more than 430 vacant buildings and 735 that he described as underutilized, costing the federal government $25 million a year. He said the VA would work with Congress in prioritizing buildings for closure and was considering whether to follow a process the Pentagon had used in recent decades to decide which of its underused military bases to shutter, known as Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC.
I am all in favor of saving the taxpayers money but not at the expense of the country’s many veterans.
We could say fight few conflicts and divert that savings to the VA….there are other places that we could cut and still not make the vets pay for the downsizing.
Time for me to go out and dance in the rain…..back tomorrow…be well, be safe….chuq

The Hearing

The much anticipated event of the season so far is the Hearing on the Flynn fiasco.

I admit it…I watched it and was entertained.

The witnesses were professional and well versed in what was going on.  Now the Senators were another thing all together.

As I expected the Repubs were trying to make it into some kind of circus….Cruz, Cronyn, Graham, Grassley…all the usual bullshit suspects had a go at the witnesses…..

Sally Yates was grilled on the events around her going to the White House and informing them that there was a problem with the news National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn……

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, speaking publicly for the first time about concerns she brought to the Trump White House on Russia, told Congress on Monday she warned that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn “essentially could be blackmailed” because he apparently had lied to his bosses about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. The statements from Yates shed light on the chain of events that led to Flynn’s ouster from government in the first weeks of the Trump administration. Yates, appearing before a Senate panel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, described discussions with Trump White House Counsel Don McGahn in January in which she warned that Flynn apparently had misled the administration about his communications with ambassador Sergey Kislyak, per the AP.

White House officials had insisted that Flynn had not discussed US-imposed sanctions with Kislyak during the presidential transition period, but asked Flynn to resign after news reports indicated he had misled them about the nature of the calls. “We felt like it was critical that we get this information to the White House, in part because the vice president was making (inadvertently) false statements to the public and because we believed that Gen. Flynn was possibly compromised,” Yates said. “We knew that was not a good situation, which is why we wanted to let the White House know about it.” The Jan. 26 conversation took place two days after the FBI interviewed Flynn about those contacts. McGahn asked Yates how Flynn did in the interview, but Yates said she could not answer. She was fired four days later by the Trump administration. (Outgoing President Obama warned President-elect Trump about Flynn.)

Sen. Lindsey Graham came right out of the gate with a false statement at the hearing where Sally Yates is testifying about the Mike Flynn/Russia scandal. Graham said that the joint intelligence report found no collusion between Trump and Russia. This was a false statement.

Here is what the joint report concluded, “We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin, and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.”

Like I said turning into a bullshit fest…..

The House is also investigating the Russian ties and some strange news has come out of the House…..

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) told CNN that House investigators had uncovered power classified evidence of Trump, his family, his businesses, and his campaign’s deep personal, financial, and political ties to Russia.

CNN’s John Berman asked, “Have you seen things on the classified side that you can not tell us about that is even stronger evidence than what is out there publicly?”

Rep. Swalwell answered, “Yes.”

Berman continued, “Ok. So there are things that you can not tell us that you think perhaps are more convincing than the public information?”

Swalwell answered, “There’s a pattern here on the classified and unclassified side of deep personal, political, and financial ties that Donald Trump, people in his family, and people in his businesses, and on his campaign had with a foreign adversary in Russia that converged at the same time that Russia was interfering with our campaign.”

Rep. Swalwell went on to say they hope that the evidence will be coming forward in the coming months.

It seems that investigators have powerful evidence against Trump, his family, his businesses, and his campaign. All four are so closely intertwined that it is not surprising that Trump’s family and his businesses, and his campaign are all involved in this scandal.

(politicususa.com)

Tweeting bullshit does not make this go away….if anything it makes it worse….and getting your toadies in Congress to repeat bullshit is also not helping….

Personally I want to know what is what…..and if any of these people are found to have been in the pocket of the Russians then they deserve jail time….if not worse.

Here A Nuke, There a Nuke

Since those little shits in North Korea have been testing their nuclear capabilities and also their missile technology, which by the way seems to be a bit off……the conversation in this country has been about the concern for our aging nuclear stockpiles…..

Even our president has said that we need to spend some of our “leftover” cash on a nuclear upgrade…..now that Russia is flexing some muscle the debate has gotten louder and louder…..

Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein the deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence, today argued for the US to advance on a costly proposal to modernize and upgrade their massive arsenal of nuclear weapons, insisting that the “much more aggressive” behavior by Russia justified such a move.

Weinstein, an Air Force general whose puvieww is mostly the US nuclear arsenal, argued that history had shown that keeping huge numbers of nuclear weapons on hand “basically kept the peace” since World War II, and that he sleeps very well at night knowing the US has such a large arsenal.

Weinstein’s argument that the move is “justified” ignores the question of whether it is affordable, as estimates have put the modernization scheme’s overall cost well in excess of a trillion dollars, above and beyond an already massive military budget that continues to grow annually.

But many have pointed out that this upgrade would be expensive…..so expensive that some other program will have to take a hit to pay for this new upgrade (and we all know what that means, right?)…..some say that this new program would need about a trillion dollars (yes that is trillion with a giant “T”)……

US Strategic Command chief Gen. John Hyten continues to argue in favor of massive spending on nuclear weapons upgrades, insisting that despite the $1 trillion estimates the cost is “affordable,” and that “deterrence will always be cheaper than war.”

Hyten also faulted the idea of getting an estimate before starting the spending at all, saying getting the estimate first is “just a crazy way to build things,” and that he thinks the US should be able to build this massive arsenal “for an affordable price,” insisting it is “the most critical thing that we do in the military.”

A trillion dollars is a bit much to spend on a weapons upgrade, right?  Next is…..does the USA truly need this expenditure?

Although it has not been specific about its plans, the Trump administration has promised to “greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability.”1 This seems to conflict with the assessment of Gen. John E. Hyten, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, who has argued that “we don’t need more nuclear weapons, we just need to modernize.”2 Are the two statements consistent? What exactly is nuclear modernization? Where should the United States draw the line as it embarks on a program to replace nearly every bomb, missile, submarine, and warhead in its arsenal?

Source: The Case Against New Nuclear Weapons – Center for American Progress

Does the world really need more nukes?  Does America really need to spend a trillion dollars on more weapons?

Please….let sanity return!

As Always…. Assad Must Go!

Before I talk about Syria….I need to update a post from lat week.

I reported that an American soldier was killed in action in the East African nation of Somalia….at the time of my post his name had not been released…it has now been reported and I need to rectify my oversight……

SEAL Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator, Kyle Milliken, holder of 4 Bronze Stars, was killed in Somalia.

I have studied and worked in the Middle East for decades…..so this subject always gets me to laughing….why?  Usually it is mouthed by someone that has NO idea what they are talking about and now with this new admin at the helm it is even worse.

Assad must go has been the rallying cry since the days of his father….and it has not calmed down for decades and yet the Assad family is still doing what they have always done….control Syria.

Personally that slogan is getting tired….very tired.

I have writing about this “situation” for some time and in doing so I have laid out why I think it is a moronic slogan that needs to be retired…..but check it…

Source: Assad: Should He Go Or Should He Stay? – In Saner Thought

Source: “Assad Must GO!” – In Saner Thought

And now we have a new president and he has little experience with the Middle East except for the Saudis which he massages their nether regions for business…..and yet he has the same goal as his predecessors……Assad Must Go!

As the Trump administration nears its 100th day in office, it has taken much-needed steps internationally, particularly in Syria.  But while the latest U.S. military action retaliating for the gassing of Khan Sheikoun was long overdue, even more can be done.

With over 400,000 deaths, five million registered Syrian refugees, and the continuation of Assad’s scorched-earth tactics, Syria will not become an island of stability any time soon, and especially after ISIS is ousted from its Raqqa stronghold.  Rather, Syria will remain polarized, politicized, and perilous unless Assad and his enablers are removed from power.

Source: Why the Trump Doctrine Dictates Assad Must Go | RealClearDefense

There it is……”Syria will remain polarized, politicized, and perilous unless Assad and his enablers are removed from power”…….in essence….Assad must go.

Like I said a great slogan…..let’s say he, Assad,  goes…….who will replace him in seat of power?  No!  Seriously!  WHO?

Keep in mind Iraq……we have done a bang up job with that regime change….and we had lackeys waiting in the wings to jump into the power vacuum…..

Name one person…a Syrian person that could step into the role as national leader.

(Pause here for thought)

That is right…there is NO strong democrat in the wings waiting to assume the role of national leader.

Maybe the old stand by slogan, Assad Must Go, needs to be retired until there is someone to fill the void created by his ousting.

For once…please think long term and now this short term solution that inevitably will come back and bite the US in the butt.

Andy Jackson’s Populism

Richard Nixon had his Lincoln……Reagan had his Calvin Coolidge…..of course the Dems have their JFK……and Trump has his Andrew Jackson……

It is time for one of the old professor’s history lessons…..(sighs and moans are heard)……

Our present president came to the pinnacle of power through populism……A political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against the privileged elite.

Trump has mentioned Jackson several occasions for his way of governing….he liked his populism……the American Conservative takes a closer look at Jackson and his so-called populism……

Andrew Jackson, the seventh president, doesn’t get much respect these days. The Obama administration last year announced unceremoniously that the Treasury Department would rip his visage from the face of the $20 bill, where it has resided since 1928. A New York Times writer, in reporting that action, referred to him as “a white man known as much for his persecution of Native Americans as for his war heroics and his advocacy for the common man.” A recent C-SPAN poll of historians on presidential performance had Jackson ranked at No. 18, a five-notch drop since a previous C-SPAN poll just a few years ago. Indeed, when the first such poll of academics was published in Life magazine in 1948, Old Hickory ranked up there at No. 6, and a 1996 poll had him at No. 5. He was considered one of the greats or at least near-greats. But no more. Such are the vagaries of presidential reputation in an era of political correctness.

Source: Andy Jackson’s Populism | The American Conservative

A look at history and a look at the Trump governing style…..keep in mind that TAC is a conservative magazine and any history will be through that prism….

Trump once elected has embraced the elites as long lost brothers….in other words his populism has changed nothing in DC perhaps has made it worse…..would Andy be proud?