Closing Thought–19Jul17

You Think Politics Is Silly Now….Just You Wait!

A couple of decades ago I got chuckle out of the fact the Sonny Bono had been elected to Congress from the San Diego area…..I couldn’t see “I Got You babe” as a Congressman.

Then last year another chuckle was produced when I watched this country vote Donald Trump into the office of the presidency.

I though then the our politics would become one game show after another…and so far I have not been disappointed.

I even asked myself if it was possible for our politics to get more silly then it is now……

I just had to ask that question….and by god I got my answer…..yes it can get sillier and even worse than it is today…..

Why would I say that?

Then came the news……

Kid Rock has announced on Twitter that he’ll be throwing his fedora in the ring for Michigan’s 2018 senate seat. While some find his bid to be “pimp of the nation” humorous, Democrats are not discounting the rocker. CNN reports that Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer contacted supporters in an effort to raise money that would be split with Debbie Stabenow, the Michigan senator up for reelection. “I’ll be honest,” Sen. Schumer wrote, “we don’t know if this is real, a joke, or a bizarre publicity stunt. But I’ll tell you this: I don’t find it funny.” Schumer added that in the Trump era, “We can’t afford to take this tweet as a joke.” Warren also warned against dismissing Kid Rock’s potential bid.

“We all thought Donald Trump was joking when he rode down the escalator at Trump Tower and announced his campaign, too,” she wrote. Per Michigan Radio, Stabenow’s campaign also referenced Trump in an email to supporters, saying that after his “surprising” win, “we need to act fast.” The senator, who plays guitar, tweeted an article about Kid Rock’s bid with the words, “I know we both share a love of music. I concede he’s better at playing guitar and I’ll keep doing what I do best: fighting for Michigan.” Kid Rock’s response? “I concede she is better at playing politics than I am so I’ll keep doing what I do best, which is being a voice for tax paying, hardworking AMERICANS and letting politicians like her know that We the People are sick and tired of their bulls***!” The musician hasn’t yet filed paperwork with the FEC to run, but says he will.

Even before I could stop laughing at the moronic idea of this toad being a candidate….more silly news arrived…..

From Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner to … Senator Jenner? The transgender activist said during an interview on New York’s AM 970 over the weekend that she’s considering a run for the Senate in California, reports the Hill. The former Olympian is a lifelong Republican and supporter of President Trump, which the Los Angeles Times notes won’t necessarily help her cause in blue California. But she also has publicly disagreed with Trump over transgender policy.

“I have considered it,” Jenner, 67, said in the interview. She added that she likes politics but is debating whether she can be more productive as an insider or an outsider, noting, “I gotta find out where I can do a better job.” The next Senate election in the state is 2018, when Democrat Dianne Feinstein’s seat will be up for grabs. Feinstein, 84, has not said whether she’ll seek re-election, and no big-name Republican has stepped up so far.

Oh my god….American politics has become one long reality TV show……they will not win but even that they are considered as serious candidates is too much stupidity in one place.

Have a laugh on me.

Until we meet in the ‘morrow….chuq

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The Huntsman And The Cossack

A great title for a spy movie…..and believe it or not that is what we have going on between the US and Russia….a bad spy movie.

But this is about something that Trump has done that I see as something positive….at least for now…..

He has nominated Jon Huntsman as ambassador to Russia…….Huntsman, a former Utah governor, was U.S. ambassador to China from 2009 to 2011. He has served in the administrations of five U.S. presidents and was a candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

U.S. President Donald Trump will nominate Jon Huntsman, an envoy to China under former Democratic President Barack Obama, as U.S. ambassador to Russia, the White House said on Tuesday.

The job, all the more high-profile because of allegations that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, requires confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

If confirmed, Huntsman, who has long been expected to be Trump’s pick for the job, will head to Moscow as the U.S. Congress and a special counsel investigate Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election and allegations that Trump’s campaign had ties to Moscow.

Huntsman has lots of experience as a diplomat…..but my question is can Trump and Huntsman work for the common good….or will it be contentious from the start?

I do not look for Huntsman to be in place for long……especially as this investigation progresses…..

For now I give Trump 2 thumbs up for his choice as Ambassador to Russia….but will my confidence last?

Health Care: The Little Bill That Couldn’t!

Repeal And Replace!

Remember that chant from the election trail?

The House came up with a plan that is a typical GOP plan…it sucked!

Then the Senate took a shot at it……and since the Senate is controlled by the GOP….you guessed it….it sucked also!

Of course NO Dem was gonna support the plan and then a couple a Repub senators saw it for what it was….a suck ass plan and bolted……

And just like that, Mitch McConnell’s plan to repeal ObamaCare with a two-year delay appears to be doomed. McConnell announced the revised strategy Monday night, and he could afford only two GOP defections. Already, there’s three: Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said Tuesday they can’t support the idea of scrapping the Affordable Care Act unless the GOP has a replacement plan, not just the promise of one, reports USA Today.

So what now? McConnell was going to have to wait for John McCain to return before the vote anyway, which could be weeks away. But President Trump says the GOP strategy is clearer now: “I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll just let ObamaCare fail,” he told reporters, per Politico. “We’re not gonna own it. I’m not gonna own it. We’ll let ObamaCare fail and then Democrats are going to come to us.”

Sens. Mike Lee and Jerry Moran sealed the bill’s fate by declaring their opposition, joining Sens. Rand Paul and Susan Collins. Aides tell CNN that the two men, who opposed the legislation for different reasons, decided to announce their opposition together so that neither would be seen as the deciding third Republican vote against the plan.

While Lee and Moran were working on their statement, Trump was dining on steak, succotash, and “farm stand peach cobbler” at the White House with eight other senators while discussing health care reform. An insider tells Politico that Trump “made an impassioned pitch on why Republicans needed to do it now.” “He basically said, if we don’t do this, we’re in trouble,” the source says. “That we have the Senate, House, and White House and we have to do it or we’re going to look terrible.”

According to the New York Times, the bill failed because the GOP has failed to learn this lesson: “An American entitlement, once established, can almost never be retracted.” Conservative senators demanding full repeal of ObamaCare were unable to reach a deal with senators whose states accepted, and now rely on, ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid.

McConnell now plans to hold a fresh vote on repeal legislation passed by the House and Senate in 2015, which gives Congress two years to come up with a replacement for ObamaCare. But that strategy was abandoned by the GOP earlier this year because of concerns about chaos in the marketplace, and it may be a struggle to pass repeal-only legislation now, the AP reports. Trump tweeted in support of repeal after McConnell said it had become clear that the replacement bill wouldn’t succeed.

The Washington Post reports that in what appears to be a fifth nail in the legislation’s coffin, Sen. John McCain issued a statement late Monday urging fellow lawmakers to not “repeat the original mistakes that led to ObamaCare’s failure,” including crafting the legislation on a “strict party-line basis.” He called for Congress to “return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties, and heed the recommendations of our nation’s governors.”

When the bill crashed and burned….what would you think would be the reaction from our fearless leader?

If you said “Twitter” then congrats you are smarter than the average bear…..

The collapse of the GOP’s health care plan in the Senate quickly brought President Trump to Twitter on Tuesday to criticize the Republican defectors who torpedoed the bill. “We were let down by all of the Democrats and a few Republicans,” he tweeted, without naming names. “Most Republicans were loyal, terrific & worked really hard. We will return!” Trump also reiterated that’s he’s fully behind the new plan to repeal ObamaCare first and then replace it later. “As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!” he tweeted.

In an interview Trump put the blame where he always puts the blame…..on the Dems…..

President Donald Trump gave remarks to reporters on Tuesday on the second failure of a Senate GOP health care bill, blaming Democrats for not coming on board with the repeal of their signature Affordable Care Act.

Responding to a question about if he thought Republicans who declined to support the bill were disloyal, Trump noted “we had no Democrat support, which is really, you know, something that should be said.”

“It was a great plan for a lot of people,” the president continued. “We had no Democrats aboard.”

Yeah that is the reason it failed….had nothing to do with just how bad the bill was and how bad it would screw the American people….those damn Dems!

What now Bat Man? (That will be another post somewhere in the near future)…..

One Living–Another Dead

Awhile back there were several reports that the leader of ISIS, al-Baghdadi, had been killed….and the peasants dance…..now someone has rained on that parade….

A top Kurdish counter-terrorism official said on Monday he was 99 percent sure that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was alive and located south of the Syrian city of Raqqa, after reports that he had been killed.

“Baghdadi is definitely alive. He is not dead. We have information that he is alive. We believe 99 percent he is alive,” Lahur Talabany told Reuters in an interview.

Source: Exclusive: Islamic State leader Baghdadi almost certainly alive – Kurdish security official

I question since this came from the Kurds is it just a story to keep the money and arms flowing before the “independence” referendum in September?

This would not be the first time a terrorist leader was declared dead and not being so…..

Then far miles away in Afghanistan….

The head of ISIL in Afghanistan, Abu Sayed, was killed in an attack on his headquarters in Kunar province earlier this week, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement on Friday that other members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS) were killed in the raid on Tuesday.

“US forces killed Abu Sayed, the emir of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) – in a strike on the group’s headquarters in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, July 11,” White said in the statement, referring to ISIL’s other acronym.

Source: ISIL leader in Afghanistan ‘killed in US raid’ | ISIS News | Al Jazeera

Once again it is…..Another he said….they said…..

Many “leaders” over the years have been pronounced dead…only to re-appear healthier than ever…..

Our Foreign Policy Sucks…..Part Deux

I have been a critic of the foreign policy of this country for decades……and now is NO different except it has gotten worse with each passing  day since January.

I recently made the observation….”our foreign policy sucks”……

Source: Our Foreign Policy Sucks! – In Saner Thought

After Bush then Obama and Clinton some were hoping for a new role for the US in global leadership…….

Jake Sullivan, a former senior foreign policy adviser to Hillary Clinton, is the Lowy Institute’s 2017 Distinguished International Fellow. This article is based on a lecture delivered at the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia on 15 June.

Three basic premises that formed the foundation of American foreign policy since 1945 are now in doubt.

First, the premise that our alliances are a strategic asset, and not a liability, for the US. Second, the premise that values as well as interests matter in the conduct of our foreign policy. Third, and most important, the premise that American foreign policy should operate on the positive-sum logic that we are safer, stronger, and more prosperous when we contribute to making others safer, stronger, and more prosperous.

Source: A New Argument for American Global Leadership | RealClearDefense

I do not see a leadership role with the team that Trump has installed to run our foreign policy establishment…..

The SecState, Tillerson, show moments of clarity but then he slips back into the “yes man” status that Trump needs for his ego….he is witnessing the lessening of the US in the diplomatic field allowing the Pentagon to act mas a de facto State Department……

Defending his boss recently against charges that he’s heading up an incredible shrinking State Department, strategic adviser R.C. Hammond opined that the Secretary Rex Tillerson is thinking like a cowboy. Comparing words to bullets, he said “You carry a revolver with only six shots, and you don’t waste your bullets.”

Fair enough. Successful secretaries of State husband their resources and invest in issues that are strategic and strike at the right time. But five months in, and based on our long tenures at the State Department under both Republican and Democratic administrations, it seems pretty clear that at least in five cases, Tillerson’s gun jammed or the rounds he fired went wide of their mark. Presumably he has yet to use the sixth bullet — a frank conversation with the president about his presumed aspirations to be a consequential secretary of State. Will he?

Source: The incredible shrinking Rex Tillerson: Can secretary of State reclaim his job?

Now it appears the the UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, is trying to act like a surrogate SecState……she needs to remember that she works for the State Department and not herself…….

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson doesn’t seem to enjoy being America’s top diplomat. He finds himself isolated in Foggy Bottom and not getting much love or cooperation from the White House. President Donald Trump often contradicts Tillerson’s statements on major issues, like the dustup between the Saudis and Qatar, in such a way as to indicate that Tillerson doesn’t have much influence over U.S. policy. Trump’s choice for the far less important post of ambassador to the United Nations seems to be having a much better time. Nikki Haley is speaking out frequently on issues such as human rights, Israel, Iran, and Syria in ways that make it clear that, like some of her predecessors, she understands that the U.N. post is the ideal bully pulpit. In an administration in which the country’s putative top diplomat is struggling to manage his department rather than advocating for U.S. values, Haley has become a kind of alternative secretary of state.

Source: Nikki Haley: Secretary of State Alternative? | National Review

With the horrible decisions that Trump is making on the international stage is doing nothing to make the US appear strong….

Donald Trump does not travel well. At his first major summit, he was too tired to walk through the Sicilian streets with the other G7 leaders, and took to his golf cart. He literally pushed aside the prime minister of a small European country to stand at the head of the pack. He found himself in a minority of one over the Paris climate accord, rejecting arguments that he was ceding world leadership to China. And he was irritated by all the tough-guy talk from France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, who boasted to a French newspaper that his white-knuckle handshake with Trump was “a moment of truth”.

When he returned home, Trump’s response was to embrace his isolation. “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” he declared as he pulled out of the Paris agreement, barely a month ago.

Source: How Trump’s foreign policy threatens to make America weak again | US news | The Guardian

In short it will be a very long 4 years for American prestige and foreign policy…..the question should be will it ever reclaim it’s place internationally?

My thought….Not at this rate of decline.

How Long Will We Use Cash?

I recently wrote a post talking about our use of money….a sort of historic perspective…..

Source: Why Use Money? – In Saner Thought

Then I went on to talk about how it seems that there is a movement to replace cash with a plastic card of sorts…..the first I heard of it awhile back when Great Britain was replacing some of the their paper money…..

The prospect of living in a cashless society has grown steadily for decades but it might have now reached tipping point, after cards became Britain’s number one payment method for the first time.

According to data released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) on Wednesday (12 July), cards now account for over 50% of payments processed in the UK for the first time. The landmark achievement was largely driven by a boom in contactless payments, which now account for approximately a third of all payments, compared with 10% in October 2015.

The so-called “tap and go” cards were introduced a decade ago in the UK and after a somewhat unimpressive start they appear to have finally won over British shoppers. An increase in the number of stores accepting “tap and go” payments has also contributed to the sharp rise in popularity of contactless cards.

Source: Beginning of the end for cash? Cards now UK’s preferred payment method

When I first read about this I thought that it was an interesting experiment…but how far would it really go?

I had to ask, huh?

Looks like the IMF (I never thought the IMF was all that important) has a program in place……

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington has published a Working Paper on “de-cashing”. It gives advice to governments who want to abolish cash against the will of their citizenry. Move slowly, starting with seemingly harmless measures, is part of that advice.

In “The Macroeconomics of De-Cashing”, IMF-Analyst Alexei Kireyev recommends in his conclusions:

Source: IMF Tells Governments How to Subvert Public Resistance Against Elimination of Cash – Rigged Game

If this attempt is successful then you will be at the mercy of the government…..I do not like that feeling…..I like the feel of CASH!

Any thoughts?