Closing Thought–15Jun17

What’s Going On In Congress?

The “good old boys” seem to be making news these days…..their thoughts that women should be seen but not heard……male senators cannot move past their out of date sexism…..

First, during the Senate intel committee hearings make senators tried to silence a female senator…..

Senators were accused of sexism and possible racism Tuesday after the only minority woman on the Senate Intelligence Committee was shut down by male colleagues during the questioning of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat, was reprimanded by GOP Sens. John McCain and Richard Burr for interrupting Sessions’ answers while she was questioning him, NBC reports. Critics accused senators of having a double standard, noting that male senators before and after Harris interrupted Sessions without being told off for doing so. Less than a week ago, the same scene played out with McCain and Burr interrupting Harris’s questioning of deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, CNN reports.

Harris, the second black woman ever to serve in the Senate, is a former prosecutor who uses what the New York Times calls “a rapid-fire questioning pace more commonly seen in courtrooms.” During Tuesday’s questioning, Sessions complained that she was making him nervous. “I’m not able to be rushed this fast,” he said. When Harris asked what policy allowed him to refuse to discuss his conversations with President Trump, she interrupted him when he started describing the principle instead of the policy—and was cut off by McCain. After the hearing, Harris tweeted: “It was a simple question. Can Sessions point to the policy, in writing, that allows him to not answer a whole host of our questions today.” She added: “The women of the United States Senate will not be silenced when seeking the truth.”

During a senate committee hearing on health Sen. Murray was interrupted by her male counterpart…….

In a meeting of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) tried to demand a public hearing on the Senate health care repeal bill. She was summarily denied by Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN):

Alexander then proceeded to spend the next two minutes scolding Murray for supposedly going off topic, claiming he had no interest in a bipartisan hearing on Obamacare repeal because he already held one several months ago — before passage of the House bill — and Democrats “did very poorly” at that hearing.

Notably, Alexander did not at any point make an attempt to justify why nobody has a right to see the Republican health care bill. Nor did he address Murray’s point that the Democrats who passed Obamacare held months of bipartisan public meetings and let Republicans amend the bill. He simply silenced her and plowed on.

Then “good old boys” cannot stand the fact that they must treat the female Senators as equals……at least learn some simple respect…..advice for these tools…..”to get respect you must give respect”.

Time to replace this antiquated thinking and remove the Senate into the 21st century.

Time to smile and take a nap…..see you guys later….chuq

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Crap! Someone Lied!

Yesterday was full of news…horrible news….the high rise fire in London, the shooting of a US Rep and others and then came the proverbial “other shoe”……

After many Tweets about the fact the he, Trump, was not the focus of any investigation…that damn “shoe” was thrown into the mechanism….

It’s not an entirely happy 71st birthday for President Trump as the Washington Post reports what it calls a “major turning point” in the FBI investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election: Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating whether Trump tried to obstruct justice, officials say. Though former FBI Director James Comey repeatedly told Trump he was not personally being investigated, that changed days after Trump fired Comey, officials say. Until now, the nearly year-old investigation has focused on Russia’s meddling and whether the Trump campaign was involved with it. Now, as the probe widens to include the obstruction of justice question, five people who have been briefed on requests from Mueller say that he is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of that examination.

Daniel Coats, the current director of national intelligence, Adm. Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and Rogers’ former deputy, Richard Ledgett, have all agreed to be interviewed, the officials say. The Post has details of exchanges with Coats and Rogers that are reportedly of interest to Mueller, including a March 22 conversation in which Trump allegedly asked Coats to intervene with Comey to get the FBI to back off on Michael Flynn. The response to the story from Trump’s personal lawyer: “The FBI leak of information regarding the President is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal.” As for what will happen if evidence of criminal activity is uncovered, the Post explains that it’s complicated. Congress would likely need to review the evidence and decide whether to start impeachment proceedings.

The people in the White House have chimed in…….

When the Washington Post reported its potential bombshell on Wednesday—that a special prosecutor is looking into whether President Trump obstructed justice—the newspaper noted that aides were urging the president not to comment about the development on Twitter. Those requests didn’t work: Trump fired off two tweets Thursday morning denouncing the “phony story,” reports Politico. “You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history – led by some very bad and conflicted people!” tweeted Trump, who didn’t specify the people he was talking about.

Trump also suggested that the obstruction development came about because his critics hit a dead end trying to prove his campaign worked with Moscow. “They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice,” he wrote. The Post, and later the New York Times, say that special prosecutor Robert Mueller wants to interview three key figures to try to figure out whether Trump improperly sought their help to get James Comey to drop the FBI’s investigation of Michael Flynn. They are Dan Coats, director of national intelligence; Michael Rogers, head of the National Security Agency; and Richard Ledgett, former NSA deputy director.

As I heard this news I imagined my Right wing brethren having stroke…..but look at this way…now you guys have something fresh……. some new material to put down in your journals and blogs.

Let the ranting begin…..I look forward to what new insults that can be leveled at those that do not agree with my Right wing brethren.

Will The Longest War Ever End?

Best answer is…….. No Time Soon!

I have been trying to keep my readers attention on America’s longest war and how nothing improves year after year…..

For the most part Americans try hard to ignore the war and its impact….even when we lose more troops as we did last week….we lost 3 more US troops in Afghanistan.

So some, mostly me it seems, keeps asking…how much longer must we endure the agony of the longest war in our history?

America’s Long War or Global War on Terror has taken some ugly turns as the West’s continued war-making in the Muslim world leads to new terrorism against Western targets, with no end in sight,

Source: Will the Neocons’ Long War Ever End? – Consortiumnews

Every year we prove that Afghanistan cannot be fixed….so why not admit it and get the Hell out?

Months have passed since we first heard the Trump administration is considering a new surge of United States forces in Afghanistan, and if the president is any closer to a decision than he was in February, mark that down as the one secret the White House has yet to leak to the press.

Trump’s unpredictability makes it impossible to define what this delay might mean, but perhaps the wait can offer opportunity for more prudent and realistic counsel to prevail. Sending more U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan cannot and will not produce anything resembling a win—it will only protract the failed status quo of the country’s longest war.

Source: The US can’t fix Afghanistan, and it should stop trying

Many see the futility of staying in Afghanistan….why cannot the slugs in DC see the big picture as well?

I realize that war equals more profit…but there should be a time when reality and sanity enters into the equation…..but not soon enough,,,

All indications are that Mattis, and the other former generals in Trump’s cabinet, are all in favor of the larger escalation proposals among the options presented to Trump, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was among the few skeptics.

Mattis had told the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier today that a decision on Afghan troop levels was still weeks away, but it is unclear if that was based on the assumption that Trump was still going to have to decide. Now that he gets to decide himself, such a decision is likely to be faster.

Mattis promised to “correct” the lack of winning with the new strategy, but indications for months have been that the proposals center around slight increases in direct US involvement in fighting, and likely thousands of additional troops being sent to the country.

Senators, however, expressed increasing annoyance at not hearing any sort of coherent strategy from the administration, with Sen. John McCain (R – AZ) warning that if the Pentagon didn’t provide a strategy for the war, the  Senate would end up providing one for them.

The reality is that the Taliban have been seizing territory from the Afghan government for months, and hold more territory now than at any time during the 16-year US occupation. The US has dramatically increased its number of airstrikes in recent months, trying to slow the losses a bit, but so far that appears to be the best they can really do, slow the inevitable defeat in an unwinnable war.

(antiwar.com

There you go…new plan…throw more troops at the problem.

Damn that does not sound all that new to me.

More news……

Tora Bora, the mountain redoubt that was once Osama bin Laden’s fortress, fell to the Islamic State early Wednesday, handing the extremists a significant strategic and symbolic victory, according to Afghan officials and local elders and residents. – New York Times

A key Republican lawmaker criticized Pentagon and administration officials on Tuesday for failing to deliver a timely strategy for victory in Afghanistan. – Military.com

The World Bank has approved a $520 million package of funding for projects to boost Afghanistan’s economy, build critical infrastructure, and support Afghan refugees sent back from Pakistan. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

There is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan that is forcing record numbers of people from their homes, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday, during an unannounced visit to the war-torn country. – Reuters

Some in DC please ask…..why are we still in Afghanistan?

Why are we still there? We went into Afghanistan after 9/11 to get Osama bin Laden and to punish the Taliban for harboring al-Qaeda. Now bin Laden is dead; al-Qaeda is dispersed; the Taliban has been battered. Afghan civilians have been killed, wounded or displaced in increasing numbers. The United Nations reports that there were more than 11,000 war-related civilian casualties last year, and 660,000 Afghans were displaced, adding to the country’s massive refugee crisis.

The war has now cost us over $1 trillion, making it the second-costliest U.S. war, after World War II. In fiscal year 2017, the war will cost about $50 billion, nearly a billion every week. We’ve lost over 2,350 soldiers, with 20,000 more suffering injuries. And as Trevor Timm of the Guardian noted, in a couple of years, there will be soldiers fighting in Afghanistan that weren’t even born at the time of 9/1

Source: The US-led Coalition Will Never Win the War in Afghanistan

Enough is enough!  Bring the troops home!

A Political Football

Yesterday the news broke that a Congressional ball game practice had been interrupted by gunfire….

Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the GOP House majority whip, has been shot while at baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., reports Fox News. He is expected to survive, and the gunman is in custody. Police say a total of five people were wounded, with the other four believed to be two Capitol Hill police officers, a congressional aide, and the gunman. Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama was there and tells CNN that a white male shooter with a rifle of some kind unleashed multiple rounds on the field from behind a chain-link fence near a dugout. “I saw Scalise go down at second base,” said Sen. Rand Paul. Brooks said Scalise was shot in the hip and he helped tend to his fellow lawmaker’s wound by using a belt as a makeshift tourniquet. The extent of the injuries to others wasn’t immediately clear, but at least one person, believed to be one of the officers, was air-lifted from the scene.

“I was on deck, about to hit batting practice, when I heard a ‘blam,'” said Brooks on CNN, per USA Today. Scalise “was not able to move under his own power” and was “dragging his body from second base,” he said. “He was shot in the hip. I think it was not a life-threatening wound.” The Republican team was there practicing for a charity baseball game. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona also was present and confirmed the gunman had been shot. “Whether he was targeting certain members, we don’t know.” He added that he got hold of Scalise’s phone and called Scalise’s wife to tell her the news personally. In a statement, President Trump tweeted that Scalise was a “true friend and patriot” and will “fully recover.” Paul credited the two Capitol Hill police officers on the scene with preventing a “massacre.”

Later the news broke with the ID of the gun man……

The gunman who opened fire Wednesday morning at a GOP congressional baseball practice outside DC has died, President Trump revealed in a public statement about the attack. The shooter had just been identified as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Ill. Authorities have not speculated about a motive. Hodgkinson, whose license for a home-inspection business was not renewed late last year, has had at least one prior brush with the law: About a decade ago, he was charged with battery and aiding damage to a motor vehicle in St. Clair County, Ill., reports the Washington Post. The charges were dismissed.

After I heard the news my first thought was for the injured and then I wondered how long it would take someone, an intellectual midget, to turn this into some political football.

Did not take long before the biggest d/bag of all made his lame ass statement….

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) on Wednesday linked a growing trend of “hostility” on the left to violent incidents like the shooting that morning at congressional Republicans’ baseball practice.

“It’s part of a pattern,” Gingrich said on Fox News. “An increasing intensity of hostility on the left.”

Gingrich pointed to the violence and intimidation toward conservatives on college campuses as another sign of the left’s hostility toward Republicans and President Trump.

“Look, I talk to college students regularly,” Gingrich continued, “who say that if they are openly for Trump, they get threatened.”

“I’ve had college students tell me they get threatened with being beaten up, some of them get death threats,” he said.

Gingrich is a shameless opportunist….he is trying to take political advantage of a sad situation.

And he is not alone……enter the moron King

Right-wing Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King did not attend Wednesday’s practice but traveled to the baseball field after the shooting to tell the gathered media that “the violence is appearing in the streets, and it’s coming from the left.”

Wait!  There is more……

President Donald Trump’s son, Don Trump Jr., took his outrage to Twitter as well and blamed so-called New York elites who have glorified the assassination of the president.

And anyone that tries to make political hay out of this situation is a douche bag of the same caliber…..and I mean anyone….matters not which side of the aisle they play on…a gutless freak.

From under the political rocks crawls the slugs…..

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers report an increase in threats following Wednesday’s shooting at a GOP baseball practice in Virginia. Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney of New York tells CNN she received an email with the subject line “One down, 216 to go.” The body of the email read: “When you take away ordinary peoples [sic] very lives in order to pay off the wealthiest among us, your own lives are forfeit. Certainly, your souls and morality were lost long before.” Democratic Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragàn tells BuzzFeed multiple Democratic lawmakers received calls saying “You guys are next” after the shooting.

Lawmakers from both parties say threats were already increasing prior to Wednesday’s shooting. Democratic Rep. Al Green of Texas says there’s been a shift in the “intensity of ugly calls,” saying some of the threats “really tug at your heart.” Republican Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona says he recently received a threat hoping for the death of his daughter. “In the past we’ve always sort of just sucked it up,” he says. Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and lobbyist Matt Mika were shot Wednesday and remain in critical condition following surgery, CNN reports. Congressional staffer Zach Barth and Capitol Police officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey are doing well. The shooter, James Hodgkinson, was killed by police.

Seriously?

This is American politics now.

Happy?

Destabilization of the Persian Gulf

The situation between Qatar and the Saudis is starting to destabilize the Middle East….a region that does not any more help in doing so.

That “Arab NATO” didn’t last very long, did it? The break with Qatar by some of its Arab brethren, including its nearest neighbors, is impressively comprehensive, involving a breach of diplomatic relations and an economic and transportation embargo. It reflects sharp divisions not only within the Arab world but even among the half dozen monarchies that constitute the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The break is a resounding refutation of the notion, which was a leitmotif of President Trump’s recent trip to the region, that significant lines of conflict in the region can all be reduced to some simplistic grand division, such as of evil versus good, Shia versus Sunni, or Iran versus everyone else.

Source: Trump’s Destabilization of the Persian Gulf | The National Interest Blog

Nothing good can come from the Trump admin taking sides in this situation….

A lengthy New York Times article over the weekend touches on a contradiction in the U.S. strategy against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Even as the United States cooperates in a de facto tactical alliance with Iran against ISIS, we’re engaged in a longer-term strategy against Iranian influence in the Middle East. U.S. and Iranian-backed forces have even clashed in battlefield skirmishes in recent weeks.

Picking a fight with an implicit ally is problematic for many reasons. Perhaps most worryingly, such clashes risk sucking U.S. forces deeper into Syria’s civil war.

The article quotes Lebanese scholar Kamel Wazne’s argument that the Trump administration, with encouragement from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, is “turning up the heat against Iran,” and eager to prevent it from establishing “’Shiite crescent’ of influence from Iran to Lebanon” when the Islamic State is defeated. This stance, we’re told, “puts the United States at loggerheads with the pro-government alliance in Syria.”

Source: Placating the Gulf States Distorts Middle East Policy | Cato @ Liberty

The first causality of this incident is America’s top diplomat in Qatar…..

The U.S. ambassador to Qatar reportedly resigned on Tuesday over President Trump’s criticism of the Persian Gulf nation.

CNBC’s John Harwood reported that Ambassador Dana Shell Smith resigned over Trump’s attacks. Harwood cited Trump’s recent comments about Qatar, saying they undermined State Department efforts to ease tensions.

Source: US ambassador to Qatar resigns: report | TheHill

Some see a failure of this Saudi attempt…….

It has been apparent for some time that the war against the Islamic State (IS) group and its forebear al-Qaeda is by no means the only show in town in the Middle East. In fact, for most of the time, the war on terror has been a sideshow.

The attempt to bring Qatar to heel by closing its borders and effectively laying siege to it has shed light on the real forces competing for dominance of the region in the post-Western world in which we live today.

Three regional blocks are vying for control.

Source: Why the campaign against Qatar is doomed | Middle East Eye

This situation is fascinating to observe……just how it plays out is still up in the ether…..

I know it is giving me sleepless nights on the PC and the cel…but it is worth it!