Closing Thought–13Jul17

Twin Brothers From Different Mothers.

Birds of Feather….Corrupt Together……

The Trump/Netanyahu Bromance…….

Since he, Trump, came to office and the promise to move the Israeli capital there has been a bromance brewing between BiBi and the Donald…..

But recent news show that BiBi is just as under scrutiny as Trump with his corruption within the government……

Six suspects, including close associates of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have been detained on allegations of bribery, tax evasion, fraud offenses and money laundering according to Haaretz.

Police questioned the six early this morning regarding the potentially fraudulent purchase of naval vessels from Germany. The proposed deal involved German company ThyssenKrupp selling Israel three submarines, worth a total of $1.5 billion.

Among the suspects is Netanyahu’s personal lawyer and cousin, David Shimron, who is accused of influencing the billion-dollar deals in favour of the German shipbuilder which he represented in Israel.

Another is Avriel Bar-Yosef, a former deputy head of the National Security Council, who was accused in 2016 of accepting bribes in exchange for promoting German interests in the development of Israel’s gas fields.

Source: 6 senior Israeli officials detained in fraud case – Middle East Monitor

Does any of that sound a bit familiar?

Common ground for a bromance.

I love this stuff!

Enough for today….my brain is done for now…it needs coffee and food….see you guys tomorrow….chuq

Saudis: Their Luck Holds

I have been harping on the fact that the Saudis are ass deep in the funding of terrorism……but few listen and few care….but here is a post that will help clear things up…..

Source: Saudis, Butt Covered….Period! – In Saner Thought

The US is not the only country that protects Saudi Arabia from any blow back because  of their ties to terrorism and its funding……

It appears as if the UK is pulling a US and refusing to make public a report that condemns the Saudis for their part in terrorism……

The British government has announced that it would not publish in full its report on the sources of “funding of extremism” in Britain, prompting opposition charges it was trying to protect its ally Saudi Arabia.

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said on Wednesday that though some “extremist organisations” were receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars, she had decided against publishing the review in full.

“This is because of the volume of personal information it contains and for national security reasons,” she said in a written statement to parliament.

Source: UK refuses to publish report on ‘funding of extremism’ | UK News | Al Jazeera

It makes sense…the Saudis have all the money they need to buy all the friends they can afford…..and when you have the two biggest on the UN Security Council in your pocket then there is little hope that they will be made to pay for their actions…….

Obama would not release a report then we know that this president is a bigger wimp then Obama and now the UK is following suit…..chance of curtailing terrorist money will never happen as long as we protect the worse of the worse…..

Ain’t capitalism grand?

BTW…..we recently signed a deal to give the Saudis 16.5 billion in arms and such and it seems to have hit a snag in the Congress…so what are the Saudis to do?

They turn to another player…..Russia……

Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed an arms deal Monday valued at $3.5 billion, general director of Russian state-owned corporation Rostec Sergei Chemezov said in an interview with Tass news agency.

The deal will be finalized during King Salman’s next visit to Russia, which could take place by the end of the year, the Kommersant newspaper reported.

Russia is the world’s second largest weapons exporter with total sales exceeding $15 billion annually.

Source: Russia, Saudi Arabia Sign $3.5bn Arms Deal | World Affairs Journal

The Saudis will get their arms…….

The Health Care Deliberation

This has been a debate in DC since MacArthur was a private…..Obama had some success (if you could call it that) and now the GOP is trying desperately trying to make good on their slogan of “repeal and replace” (and that is not going well at all)….

All this jockeying for position is just the game of political ownership……the best way to put an end to the BS is to adapt to a Medicare for all….and it looks like it is approaching……

Senators are back at work Monday, and their No. 1 priority remains trying to craft an alternative to ObamaCare. The problem is that Mitch McConnell’s task of getting the necessary 50 votes seems to have gotten only more difficult over the holiday break, and that’s raising a slew of stories about what happens if the GOP bill fails. Shoring up ObamaCare is one possibility, but another is the controversial idea of some kind of single-payer system. The long-shot concept, anathema to conservatives, is surfacing more and more in stories:

  • Definition: Under a single-payer system, “doctors and hospitals are mostly private entities, but are paid exclusively by the government,” explains a primer at Mother Jones. “Canada is single-payer, with each province acting as the sole source of payment to doctors and hospitals. In the US, Medicaid and traditional Medicare are single-payer.”
  • Tax hikes: Everybody would get core coverage regardless of income, job, or health status, explains Money, and people would no longer get insurance through their jobs. But paying for it would surely require new tax increases of some kind.
  • Sanders, and others: The concept is gaining traction among Democrats, reports the Hill. Bernie Sanders promises to introduce a bill when debate ends on the GOP ObamaCare alternative. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand back the concept, and in the House, a “Medicare for All” proposal by Rep. John Conyers has 113 co-sponsors. Warren, specifically, told the Wall Street Journal last month that “now it’s time for the next step, and the next step is single payer.”
  • Please, no: Putting bureaucrats in charge of health care isn’t the answer, writes Sally Pipes at Forbes. “Single-payer systems have endangered lives and reduced access to quality care everywhere they’ve been implemented,” she notes, citing “deplorable care” in Britain and Canada and arguing that if Republicans needed any incentive to make progress on their health bill, the prospect of a single-payer system should do it.
  • California: A bill to shift to a single-payer system stalled last month in the California Assembly, and the Los Angeles Times reports that a main reason is that it was “short on key policy specifics—most significantly, how to pay for it.”
  • Partisan divide: A Pew Research Center poll finds that 52% of Democrats support the single-payer idea, but the overall percentage in support drops to 33 when Republicans are added, reports CNN. For that reason, both sides seem to love talking about it, notes the story.
  • Senate GOP plan: It’s not dead yet, though the positions of conservatives and moderates within the GOP seem to have hardened in the last week, reports Politico. That makes McConnell’s quest for a compromise acceptable to enough senators exceedingly difficult.

Of course the biggest sticking point is just how will the program be funded?

The notion of a single government-run insurance plan — known as “single-payer health care” to wonks, and “Medicare-for-all” to advocates — has made an enormous comeback in progressive circles in the wake of the 2016 presidential election.

Bernie Sanders made this a core issue of his stronger-than-expected primary campaign, and longstanding legislation from Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) to create a single-payer system has garnered more co-sponsors than ever before. Democrats in the California State Senate mustered a two-thirds supermajority in favor of a single-payer health care system, and the New York State Assembly has done the same. Elizabeth Warren endorsed single-payer health care recently, and more senators are speaking warmly, if somewhat vaguely, about it. Sanders himself is expected to unveil legislation once the GOP’s plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act either succeed or fail.

Source: The real reason single-payer health care is hard to pay for – Vox

I have always thought that a single payer would be the best and most equitable way to health care…..nothing has changed on my thinking.

The Thucydides Trap

Now that sounds like one of those Greek tragedies that you had to read in school, right?

Not exactly but it does have a foot in international relations…..

The likely result of this competition was identified by the great historian Thucydides, who wrote: “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.”

That is the Thucydides Trap……

These days most IR geeks are referring to this in dealing with China-USA relations……

Professor Graham Allison of the Kennedy School at Harvard commonly warns the United States and China not to fall into the “Thucydides Trap.” This trap, he opines, yawns wide because of “the dangers two parties face when a rising power rivals a ruling power — as Athens did in 5th century BC and Germany did at the end of the 19th century. Most such challenges have ended in war. Peaceful cases required huge adjustments in the attitudes and actions of the governments and the societies of both countries involved.”

Source: Beware the “Thucydides Trap” Trap | The Diplomat

If that reference was not to your liking then there is one in The American Conservative……

How do you turn a metaphor into an axiom? Try: “Strategist appropriation.” When writing on politics and war, this means lardering your first few graphs with maxims from so-called “masters of war,” preferably Sun Tzu or Clausewitz. Their unassailable wisdom gives your argument the burnish of authority.

Graham Allison, an academic with plenty of his own Harvard authority, goes a step further. He suggests that the great historian (and not so great general), Thucydides, like Clausewitz and Sun Tzu, offers not just quotable truths but also a fundamental law about how wars often happen: The Thucydides Trap.

Source: Who Did Thucydides Trap? | The American Conservative

Or maybe this one will help……

Thucydides is nowadays all the rage. Presidents, members of Congress, admirals and generals, foreign policy and national security professionals, scholars, and news commentators invoke his name and refer reverently to his history as offering ancient wisdom on politics, ethics, strategy, and war. Not bad for a disgraced general who turned to writing history after his fellow Athenians held him responsible for a major military defeat and sent him packing into exile

Source: Thucydides and the Tragedy of Athens: A Parable for America | RealClearDefense

Foreign policy wonks have been invoking Thucydides since the Iraq of 2003…….and the Middle East is still a good example……

Once again, realism is in vogue. Apparently the White House is quite fond of the Peloponnesian War and wants to use it as a guidepost for contemporary foreign-policy challenges. If this feels like déjà vu, you’re not alone. Foreign-policy scholars have been invoking Thucydides since the 2003 Iraq War, when Washington-as-Athens comparisons were all the rage.

The China-US relations are tenuous at best…….things could go side ways in a blink of an eye…..the only way to keep this from spiraling is with a strong diplomatic corps……something we are lacking at this time…..then the “Trap” is a possibility.

The Consequences of Stupidity

Geez!  Every week is some new form of stupidity coming out of the White House….the latest is that of Don Jr and his email mash up….

The dribs and drabs about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer just ramped up significantly. The president’s son tweeted out his full email exchange with an ally in Russia who set up last year’s meeting, reports the Hill. Part one is here, and the final page is here. Trump tweeted them after the New York Times informed him it was about to publish his back-and-forth with British-born publicist Rob Goldstone. In his initial email, Goldstone said he wanted to arrange the meeting to pass along documents that “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.” He added, “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr. quickly responded, “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.” (In a statement Tuesday, Trump Jr. insisted again that nothing came of the meeting in terms of Clinton information.)

Eventually, the pair arranged for Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya to meet with Trump Jr. in New York. She has said she had no damaging information about Clinton, nor ties to the Kremlin, though Goldstone refers to her as a “Russian government attorney” in an email. Goldstone told Trump Jr. that he was writing on behalf of his client, Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, whose billionaire father has ties to both Putin and the Trump business empire. “Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting,” he wrote. “The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary.” Because Russia has no crown prosecutor, the Times thinks Goldstone was referring to the prosecutor general of Russia, a close Putin ally.

Even The American Conservative thinks the Don Jr is not the brightest bulb in the pack…….the piece starts with a historical perspective of sorts…..

In May 1895, Ohio’s Republican Governor William McKinley, a presidential aspirant for the forthcoming presidential campaign year, dispatched his trusted lieutenant, Mark Hanna, to New York to solicit support from the big Northeastern GOP bosses. These men—New York’s Thomas Platt, Pennsylvania’s Matthew Quay, and a number of lesser lights—controlled enough patronage power to hold major sway over party decisions. McKinley figured that, if he could get their support, he might lock up the Republican nomination before the campaign even began.

During a post-dinner cigar session at his elegant Cleveland mansion, Hanna reported back to McKinley on the results of his mission. Another participant recalled that the excited Hanna seemed “as keen as a razor blade.’’

Source: The Consequences of Donald Trump Jr.’s Stupidity | The American Conservative

I have said all along that the Trump camp needs to pick a story and stick with it….so far they have not done that and it shows……let the lawyers do the talking…everybody else needs to shut the Hell up……they are NOT doing themselves any good what so ever…..

Somewhere deep in the bowels of DC the VP is practicing his acceptance speech…….

I will say one thing for the Trump admin….they are creating jobs but sadly most are for lawyers only.

Red States: GOP Strong

I live in the Deep South and for years I have been trying to explain why this region and others are so hard core GOP.

I have approached it from many different angles and as of yet I have not found a good excuse for their voting habits or their political attitudes.

Then recently I came upon an article written for the Daily Beast about this phenom…..the explanations are valid and thought provoking…..

In my neck of the woods, even two gay men in 2004 didn’t want to be Democrats. We can change this stigma—but we need to learn how to speak Republican.

You have known her for 30 years. She was in your wedding. She is smart and has a big heart. The day you realized she voted for Trump you were thunderstruck. “Who is this stranger?” you thought. Literally, your entire understanding of her crumbles. She feels your judgment and resents it. The dynamic of this relationship changes. It may evolve, but it will not be the same.

I may be able to help explain this communication and understanding gap and how to bridge it. I am a Democrat who speaks fluent Republican.

Source: Why the Republican Brand Is So Strong Where I Live

And at times it seems as if Repubs are living in some alternate political universe and it has become more likely with the election of Trump…..

A new SurveyMonkey poll shows shocking data that reveals President Donald Trump’s Republican supporters are living in a totally different reality than everyday Americans.

According to an Axios report, one-third of Republicans only get their news from Fox News and 89 percent of Republicans trust news coming from Trump before they see it on CNN.

Over the weekend, Trump tweeted a video showing him literally attacking CNN and leaving it flattened. Many took issue with the graphic as journalists are increasingly being attacked and threatened.

Source: Poll Reveals Republicans Really Do Live in an Alternative Universe | Alternet

What say you?  Do our Repub brethren live in an alternative universe?