Closing Thought–28Jun17

The Lawsuit Lotto!

Seems everybody wants to sue somebody sometime…….I guess it is easier than looking for a real job…..

Even VP candidates are not above using a lawsuit to gain fame and fortune…..

Sarah Palin “took a stand” this week against the New York Times in a lawsuit claiming defamation. CNNMoney reports that the former Alaska governor filed her complaint, which seeks upward of $75,000 in damages, against the Times on Tuesday for an editorial it published right after the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise earlier this month. In the op-ed touching on the viciousness of the current political climate, the Times editorial board had pointed a finger at Palin and cited her as a force of “political incitement” before the 2011 Gabby Giffords shooting in Arizona, claiming that an ad from Palin’s PAC had positioned “Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized [crosshairs],” per the lawsuit.

Two days later, the paper added what the New York Post deems an “embarrassing correction”—that no definitive tie had arisen between “political rhetoric” and the Giffords attack, and that the PAC ad had shown electoral districts, not actual Democrats, under the crosshairs. The NYT Opinion account also tweeted a mea culpa for getting “an important fact wrong.” The Times itself reports on Palin’s suit, which says the paper “violated the law and its own policies” and “knowingly, intentionally, willfully, wantonly and maliciously” published the piece to hurt the “devoted wife, mother, and grandmother,” or at the very least exhibited “blatant disregard” for possible harm. The Times says through a rep it will “vigorously” fight the complaint, which it notes it hasn’t reviewed yet. (Erik Wemple writes for the Washington Post that he thinks Palin has a solid case.)

Like I said….easier than actually finding a real job.

Time to be off like a dirty shirt….tomorrow is another day…..and more stuff….chuq

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All This “Fake” News

A few months ago we had a raging debate about what is news and what is not…..that debate settled down but every now and then a Tweet appears and we have to have it all over again.

I banged away on the subject for awhile…..(of course there was push back…of course there were those that had to question everything that did not agree with their thoughts)……

Source: The Curious Debate Over “Fake News” – In Saner Thought

Source: The ‘Post-Truth’ Mainstream Media – In Saner Thought

And the argument continues because some will not accept that there are those that will do whatever it takes to mislead the population….and those that prefer a distorted view of the news will attack anyone that does not share their pervert sense of right and wrong.

The debate now is whether we continue down this road that leads NOWHERE or do we step back and return to a saner political climate……my guess is….NOT YET!

Red versus Blue is no longer the divide in this country…..

In Stephen Colbert’s epic performance at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner he ironically stated that “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.” During the George W. Bush era, comedians like Colbert and Jon Stewart tackled what Stewart referred to as “bullshit mountain.” Less clearly a partisan project, the satire of Stewart and Colbert was directly aimed at the way that concepts like truth and reality had become politically polarized.

And they had a lot of work to do. Back in 2008, we learned that the Bush administration made 935 false statements in the lead-up to the Iraq war. In a 2006 interview, Colbert explained how important it was for him in the Bush years to defend the concept of truth:

Source: The right wing war on facts: The new partisan divide that’s destroying our nation – Salon.com

There is only so much stupidity that a nation can endure…..and ours is being pushed to the limit.

Why Is The GOP So Terrible At Health Care?

Repeal and Replace!  Repeal and Replace!  And the chanting went on and on for 8 years…and it helped the GOP win their last election.

All the while they promised to give the American people a health care plan that would benefit all….and yet they cannot do anything except repeat their tired old chant.

To listen to them for the last 8 years this process was a simple task that would make life better for all Americans.

Boy, were these dudes wrong!

The Senate came up with a plan that crapped on everyone but the wealthy and they could not get the votes to push it down the throats of Americans…..so they did what they always do….postpone….and pray they can find a solution soon….

There will be no vote on Senate Republican’s health care bill this week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided Tuesday to delay a vote on the bill until after the July 4 break, CNN reports. “We’re still working toward getting at least 50 people in a comfortable place,” CBS News quotes McConnell as saying. While he says he’s still “optimistic” about the bill, he wants to make changes to it and get a new Congressional Budget Office score. The bill was estimated to leave 22 million more people without insurance, and five Republican senators had publicly expressed concern with it.

A senior Senate Republican aide tells CNN the plan is to have a new version of the bill ready by the end of the week for senators to mull over during the July 4 recess. “We know what everyone needs,” the aide says. “Now we just need to make it work.” Reuters reports Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is warning the bill’s opponents that “the fight is not over.” But, he says regardless of the delay Democrats have a good shot at defeating the bill “a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.”

They, the GOP, were good with slogans but their actions suck.

But slogan aside ….what happened?

Straddling a mere two-seat majority in the chamber, McConnell had to beat a hasty retreat after a number of his members indicated that they would not support the Senate’s version of the Obamacare repeal bill, officially called the Better Care Reconciliation Act. The cancellation paralleled an earlier move in March by the House GOP leader Paul Ryan to scuttle a vote doomed to fail.

One person who saw all this coming was former House Speaker John Boehner. Out of Congress since the end of 2015 following a conservative attack on his leadership, Boehner told a high-dollar health care industry conference in February of this year that there was no way that Republicans were going to be able to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.

“In the 25 years that I served in the United States Congress, Republicans never, ever, one time agreed on what a health care proposal should look like. Not once,” Boehner told attendees, according to a report by Politico’s Darius Tahir.

Source: Why is the GOP so terrible at health care? So many reasons — but largely because they don’t understand political reality – Salon.com

Secrecy did not work….maybe now a hearing or two and a couple of compromises might help do what you cannot do under the circumstances that they are operating under now.

What Happened To Country First?

Country and its people use to come first with politicians….that has slipped from the collective memory of the voter….now we vote along lines….partisan crap and the country takes backseat to party politics…..

Our strength use to be political debate without the insulting and division…an op-ed says it better than I could……

Source: EDITORIAL: Civil political discourse used to be our strength – News – Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa, AL

For many decades the US had a substantive debate on policy…now it is just plain silly….both parties were part of the discussion……now it is just sniping at each other from the TV cameras.

Back in 1944 FDR, a Dem, offered up an Economic Bill of Rights……

Among these are:

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  • The right of every family to a decent home;
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
  • The right to a good education.

Keep in mind that was in 1944……then 12 years later the GOP platform had a familiar ring to it……and the candidate won the presidency…..IKE.

Now compare the two and you will see they are similar with similar goals……those days are gone….but what a great country this would be if we all worked for a similar cause and effect.
Could we return to those days when our politicians had similar goals but their approach was slightly different?……those days are gone….now it is about division and insults and total stupidity.
The hate spewed these days makes a great country out of reach…….and the “new” era is only 6 months old…..a long long row to hoe.
Comments?

Oligarchs Rule!

More good news for the nation (sarcasm)…….

We hear a lot about oligarchy these days…..the oligarchs ruling Russia….even they control everything here in the good old US of A.

There is some disturbing news out there…..things are NOT getting any better for us mere mortals…..the oligarchs will control 70% of the wealth very very soon…..

America’s rich just won’t quit getting richer, according to a new study released in mid-June by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global management consulting firm. The study, which seeks to analyze the global wealth management industry, as well as the evolution of private wealth, uncovered some startling statistics that suggest that global financial inequality will grow significantly by the year 2021.

The firm found that the already massive gap between the world’s wealthy elite – the approximately 18 million households that hold at least more than $1 million in assets – and everyone else is continuing to widen at a remarkable rate. The estimated 70 million people who make up these households were found to control 45 percent of the world’s $166.5 trillion in wealth. And in just four more years, it is estimated that they will control more than half of the world’s wealth, despite representing less than 1 percent of the world’s current population.

Source: America’s Oligarchs Will Control 70% Of National Wealth By 2021

So if you buy into the slogan America First then you are being duped…..it should be….Greed First, People Last.

And it is only getting worse with each election…..soon we will be a country of slaves and masters…..thank GOD I am old!

What Is The Real Course For Syria?

We have been fighting in Syria for a couple of years (were we ever invited into this conflict?) and slowly we have expanded our participation in the conflict…..to what end?

Its is a creeping invasion of Syria all under the guise of fighting ISIS…..

There was always going to be a reckoning. When President Obama began the American war against ISIS in 2014 — a belated and necessary step to stop ISIS’s blitzkrieg across Iraq — there was a lingering question: Then what? If and when we defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria, what comes next? Ideally, American allies would defeat the world’s most vicious terrorists, the warring parties in Syria would then have the space to reach a political settlement, and a genocidal civil war would finally end.

Source: Syrian Conflict — Our Fight with ISIS Pits Us against Assad | National Revie

For us IR analyst this appears a rush to war…..but under the guise of fighting terrorism…..we have attacked a Syrian air base, shot down a Syrian plane and attacked an Iranian drone….all the while expanding our military footprint in the country.

The downing of a Syrian fighter jet by the United States – and, more recently, of an Iranian drone – augurs a confrontation that could take us down the road to World War III. The US media is echoing the Pentagon’s explanation, which is that the Syrian jet bombed (or was threatening to bomb) units of the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) around the town of Tanf. The Syrians say they were attacking forces aligned with ISIS, which both the US and the Syrian government are supposedly fighting.

The reality is that there is no such entity as the “Syrian Democratic Forces.” There are only loosely aligned groups, factions and splinters of factions, which proliferate seemingly on a daily basis in a mosaic of ethno-religious-ideological conflicts that reflect the chaos that has enveloped that country. The failure of the US to unite these various factions into the so-called Free Syrian Army – large units of which kept defecting to the various radical Islamist groups, including ISIS and al-Qaeda – led to an explosion of smaller groups centered around local, tribal, ethnic, and religious affiliations. The SDF is an attempt to solder these groups together in a military force capable of fighting and defeating the “Caliphate” established by ISIS – an effort that is far less successful than it seems.

Source: Our Rush to War in Syria – Antiwar.com Original

This is starting to sound like an attempt to poke Iran in the eye with the hope of a response……more than a fight against ISIS…..

Over the past several weeks, US military actions within Syria have been less and less ISIS-centric, with a handful of operations targeting Shi’ite militias in southern Syria, and even shooting down a Syrian government aircraft over the weekend.

This isn’t just the US idly getting into one-off fights in the course of a war they’re already fighting in Syria, but rather is reflective of a push by White House officials, with multiple National Security Council members looking at the Syrian War less as a fight against ISIS and more as a chance to pick a fight with Iran.

The Pentagon has made clear they object, with Defense Secretary James Mattis personally rejecting multiple proposals related to this. Still, attacks on Shi’ite militias whenever they got sort of close to a US-backed rebel base, and a public narrative presenting the militias as necessarily in league with Iran, have found the US heading down that path anyhow.

This isn’t a new battle. The Pentagon has been battling the CIA in recent years in a rather public fight over the war, with the CIA keen to make the war about regime change, and by extension fighting Iran, while the Pentagon has sought to keep the focus on fighting ISIS.

(antiwar.com)

The US is now poking Russia, Iran and Syria over some “alleged” gas attack in the making.

This situation needs to be handled carefully…..defeat ISIS and let the Syrians sort out their own problems after that.  Poking Iran in the eye will not lead to a peaceful region with ISIS gone.

“The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword”

How many times have you heard that one simple statement?

Who is the mastermind behind that statement?

Is it really true?  Is the pen mightier than the sword?

“The pen is mightier than the sword.” This widely used saying, which originated in an 1839 play about Cardinal Richelieu written by novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton, has become so common as to border on platitude. And yet, these simple words reflect a clear and enduring principle: writing, and by association information, is more influential than military might.

To wield the power of the pen effectively one must have power behind it. That power can be in the form of military might but, does not have to be. And as the most powerful nation in the world—not just militarily, but economically, in terms of political influence, soft power, and by virtually any metric—the United States should be in a position to capitalize by wielding information in the service of US national interests. And yet, we’re not very good at it, objectively or compared to other governments. Why?

Source: The Un-Mighty American Pen | RealClearDefense

What say you?