Closing Thought–31Aug17

Codes have always been a part of the US government….Washington had codes used by his spies…..Jefferson had a special code that he used when communication with Lewis and Clark….so codes have always had a special place in American politics.

It looks like a resigning bureaucrat has left a secret message to Pres. Trump in his resignation letter…

“IMPEACH.” That was the hidden message spelled out by the first letter of every paragraph in Daniel Kammen’s resignation letter to President Trump. The Hill reports Kammen resigned as the State Department’s science envoy this week over Trump’s response to Charlottesville. “Your failure to condemn white supremacists and neo-Nazis has domestic and international ramifications,” Kammen writes in his resignation. Kammen’s acrostic message joins the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities’ “RESIST” in its resignation letter. The Atlantic argues that while hidden messages aren’t “the boldest way to express a political view,” they have been effective. “In a real-time news environment that privileges bite-sized absurdities as ultra-shareable, this kind of thing travels far and wide,” it states. They also aren’t new: In 2009, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spelled out “FUCK YOU” with the first letter of every sentence in a veto message.

This is no surprise to me….for DC is full of games and counter-speak….why not spice up your resignation letter?

Sorry that is best I have to close out the day…..be well, be safe…..chuq

The Plan Is NO Plan

Trump’s play for health care was a bomb……to be honest most everything he has tried legislatively has been a bomb…..but that will change when the Congress returns next month and they want to take up tax reform.

If you think there is some sort of strategy to push through tax reform then as usual you would be wrong……

Trump let the worm out of the can in Missouri…..

President Trump begins his push for another major goal of his White House in a speech Wednesday afternoon in Missouri: the need for tax reform. But White House officials previewing the speech on Tuesday made one thing clear: Don’t expect policy details, reports the Kansas City Star. Instead, expect the president to focus on why tax reform is needed, and he’ll be selling it in populist fashion a la Huey Long, reports Axios. The speech is being drafted by Stephen Miller, notes Politico, which expects to hear phrases such as “Jump-start America” and “Win again.” Trump also is expected to hit on the theme of “unrigging the economy,” a phrase the GOP has been testing with swing voters. The broad strokes include lowering business taxes to help US corporations compete, plus cuts for middle-income taxpayers and a simplified filing system.

“We’re going to end the rigged system,” said one White House official. “We’re going to build a tax code that really allows all Americans to have access to the American dream.” Trump and the GOP aim to have legislation signed by the end of the year, but as Bloomberg notes, fundamental questions remain unanswered, such as “Will the changes be permanent or temporary? How will individual tax brackets be set? What rate will corporations and small businesses pay?” The Wall Street Journal notes that Trump has a further challenge in selling reform as a benefit for the masses when previous proposals from the White House and Republicans have largely benefited wealthier Americans. Trump speaks in Springfield at 3:30pm Eastern.

STOP LYING!

The stated corporate tax is 35% but in real time they pay NO where near that amount and if they hide profits offshore they pay NOTHING!

Really?  The best they can do is a tired plan from 40 years ago?  Trickle down economics?

It does not work!

And yet they keep trying to push through this crappy idea that only helps the 1% of the population…..a working stiff gets a stiffy from the government.

The Republican Party’s leaders in the United States House of Representatives have been hard at work for more than a year designing a major reform of personal and corporate taxes. With an election looming in 2018, the House Republicans are determined to deliver a reform package and send it to the Senate for enactment.

This reform will be very different from the last major tax overhaul enacted back in 1986. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 focused on the personal income tax, lowering the top rate from 50% to 28% and cutting rates for lower-income taxpayers. The revenue loss was offset by changes in tax deductions and other accounting rules, producing a reform that was revenue neutral at each income level, even without taking into account the effects of lower tax rates on increasing economic growth and taxable incomes.

Source: Tax Reform and Budget Deficits in America by Martin Feldstein – Project Syndicate

Nothing they do will simplify the tax code….everything they do will be to the benefit of the wealthy.

NO matter the promises this plan is the same old plan the GOP has had for decades…..

As President Donald Trump kicked off his aggressive, Koch brothers-backed tax “reform” push with a speech in Missouri on Wednesday, progressive advocacy groups and policy analysts argued that the president’s tax agenda is nothing more than a “scam” that would take money from low-income families and hand it to the rich.

“Make no mistake, what Trump and Republican leaders in Congress are proposing is not tax reform,” Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness (AFT), said in a statement on Tuesday. “They simply want massive tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, and big corporations, at the expense of everyone else. And those tax giveaways will be paid for by cuts to Social Security, healthcare, education, and other programs that maintain living standards for working families.”

Source: As Trump Begins Tax Reform Push, Critics Rip Plan as Fact-Free, Trickle-Down ‘Scam’ | Common Dreams

Just the GOP playing the long con on the people of the US…..yet again.

The average worker making $50,000 or less will see NO change in their taxes.  PERIOD!

The Man Who Started World War Two

On this day in 1939 Germany attacked Poland and that lead to everyone entering the fray against Germany….everyone but the US.

But do you, my reader know why Germany attacked Poland…..what excuse they used to start a war……

On the evening of 31 August 1939, as tensions in Europe approached the breaking point, there was an unusual broadcast from a radio station in Gleiwitz, Germany. Its broadcasts were momentarily silenced, followed by a hate-filled diatribe by a Polish-speaking man. He urged all Poles to take up arms, and to strike down any Germans who resist. When Gestapo officers arrived at the transmitter to investigate, they found the bullet-riddled body one of the alleged Polish attackers. In the morning there were reports of numerous other incidents of Polish aggression along the border. In response, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler issued his “final directive” to attack Poland, compelling the United Kingdom and France to declare war on Germany. Thus began World War 2. But it turns out that this incident at Gleiwitz— blamed as the final provocation for the terrible war that followed— was not quite what it seemed.

Source: The Man Who Started the War • Damn Interesting

Many people know about WW2 but damn few know what lead the world to war……

Glad I could help…..chuq

Think Things Are Bad?

The American voter is always falling for the lies of their leaders and then cannot understand what went wrong. Al I can do is keep them thinking for themselves….not as easy as it might sound…..chuq

Gulf South Free Press

Daily news reports tell some that we are in bad times….and yet others think we are doing fine and will progress beyond the stifling partisanship.

For 7 months things have been going downhill….Congress is getting fed up with the president and his agenda (that may be the wrong word for I do not see any agenda in his future)……September will be the tell all….we have a deficit fight coming….we have budgetary fight coming….and in all that is the silliness of tax reform.

But believe it or not things may get a lot worse than we are seeing now…..

For several months following the extraordinary outcome of last year’s presidential election, much of the country found itself stumbling through a severe case of politically inspired post-traumatic stress disorder.

Many anti-Trump conservatives, liberals, progressives, and those further to the left were at first stunned and then consumed by a mixture of outrage…

View original post 338 more words

America’s First Black President

I remember when that was said about Bill Clinton….and today it sounds as moronic as it did back in the late 20th century.

I never understood why so many Black people think so highly of Clinton (that would be Bill not Hill)…..of all Americans he screwed them far more than any of the others.

His determination to make his Wall Street donors happy he helped remove Glass-Steagall which lead to the crash in 2008…but the on that I think was his worse path was for welfare reform….

This is a piece from 1997…..

I HATE welfare. To be more precise, I hate the welfare system we had until last August, when Bill Clinton signed a historic bill ending “welfare as we know it.” It was a system that contributed to chronic dependency among large numbers of people who would be the first to say they would rather have a job than collect a welfare check every month—and its benefits were never enough to lift people out of poverty. In April of 1967 I helped Robert Kennedy with a speech in which he called the welfare system bankrupt and said it was hated universally, by payers and recipients alike. Criticism of welfare for not helping people to become self-supporting is nothing new.

Source: The Worst Thing Bill Clinton Has Done – The Atlantic

To this day he is still held in high regards by Blacks and I still cannot see it.  He did nothing to make the poor less so….he did grease the palms of his high price donors at the expense of the nation’s poor.

He will never be high on my list of presidents.

Economic Nationalism

Donald Trump came to the board room of power through what some are calling “economic nationalism”….the whole “Make America Great Again” smacks of this policy.

Economic nationalism is a term used to describe policies which are guided by the idea of protecting domestic consumption, labor and capital formation, even if this requires the imposition of tariffs and other restrictions on the movement of labour, goods and capital. It is in opposition to Globalisation in many cases, or at least on questions the unrestricted good of Free trade. It would include such doctrines as Protectionism, Import substitution, Mercantilism and planned economies.

Examples of economic nationalism include Japan’s use of MITI to “pick winners and losers”, Malaysia’s imposition of currency contols in the wake of the 1997 currency crisis, China’s controlled exchange of the Yuan, Argentina’s economic policy of tariffs and devaluation in the wake of the 2001 financial crisis and the United States’ use of tariffs to protect domestic steel production.

Ex-Trump adviser, Bannon, was a champion of this so-called policy…..the problem is that most of it is nothing but snake oil….a con if you will.

Former chief strategist and campaign manager Steve Bannon’s departure from the Trump White House surely does not mean an end to the demagogic racial politics in which Donald Trump has trafficked for decades.

It does, however, seem to mark the final eclipse of the notion that Trump would move beyond demagoguery and construct a vision of “nationalist” economic policy that would differ in a meaningful way from standard-issue pro-business Republicanism. Bannon, on his way out the door, appeared serious about this idea — phoning up progressive magazine editor Robert Kuttner to try to find common ground on trade policy and explain that “to me, the economic war with China is everything.”

Source: Steve Bannon’s “economic nationalism” is total nonsense – Vox

Closing Thought–30Aug17

Your Assistance Is Needed!

By now even the dullest of person has seen the disaster that is the Texas after math of Hurricane Harvey.

Many Americans will be compelled to send aid or donations to help these people…there are many organizations that will help and if one is so inclined then this article in the NY Times will help.

Explains the organizations that are in the mix and some tips on what to watch out for in the cons come out in droves…..

If you’re outside the affected area, here are options to help. (If you’re in Texas and displaced by the storm, here’s how to get help.)

If your choice is the American Red Cross then maybe this is something that you need to know…..

Hurricane Harvey has devastated Texas, and it’s natural to want to help. But don’t try to help by donating money to the American Red Cross, journalist and author Jonathan M. Katz writes on Slate. The disaster relief organization may be iconic, but it’s far from effective, Katz notes, running down a list of issues the ARC has had, starting with the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The ARC raised $488 million, but it couldn’t quite figure out what to do with the funds. “ARC isn’t a medical aid group a la Doctors Without Borders. It doesn’t do development work or specialize in rebuilding destroyed neighborhoods,” Katz writes. And what it does do best—provide immediate emergency aid like blankets and temporary shelter—didn’t come close to costing $488 million. Two years after the quake, just a third of the money had been committed.

The ARC has been similarly ineffective in responding to US disasters like Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy. The truth is, the organization is great at raising money, Katz says, but it fails to inform the public it doesn’t actually need nearly as much money as it raises, and after the money has been raised, the ARC isn’t transparent about what it’s used for. There are multiple other issues, including the fact that no regular independent evaluations of the organization are done. Looking at the bigger picture, though, Katz argues that our entire way of handling disasters is wrong, and what we should be doing is working to prevent them, or at least mitigate their impact. We need to look ahead to things like “the growing risk of a major Oklahoma earthquake,” Caribbean tsunami, and other potential disasters and bring “lots of attention to helping those areas adapt for the future.” His full column.

That is one person’s opinion…..

Me?  I donated to Salvation Army and SPCA

Please help if you can these people are suffering and need our help.

Tax Reform–Yet Again

It is that time of the year again……that time when the GOP has the grand plan for tax reform….a grand plan that changes little over the years.

The problem is that after all these years  the only people that benefit from these plans are the rich and corporations.  And yet they sell their crap to the average person with promises of more jobs, better pay and more prosperity for the Middle Class…..after decades of the same tired promises how has that worked out for the Middle Class?

Since the 1980’s the Middle Class has been on a downhill run to the bottom and all that time corporations are making so much cash that their CEOs are making obscene bonuses…..

Now we approach the newest edition of their grand scheme for tax reform….and there is NOTHING new!

“We have arguably the worst tax system in the industrialized world,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told a gathering in Hillsboro, Oregon on Wednesday.

He called the current system “complicated,” “paternalistic” and “condescending.”

Source: Ryan Plugs Tax Reform: Current System ‘Paternalistic,’ ‘Condescending’

He , Ryan, is right but the tax plan we have now is the child of the GOP and yet they want to stick it to the middle class again….

President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans seem to be on the same page about tax reform. Unfortunately for middle-class Americans, that means they both support a plan that is widely expected to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the rest of the country.

According to Politico:

The options include capping the mortgage interest deduction for homeowners; scrapping people’s ability to deduct state and local taxes; and eliminating businesses’ ability to deduct interest, while also phasing in so-called full expensing for small businesses that allows them to immediately deduct investments like new equipment or facilities.

The Middle Class can look forward to more downward pressure on their necks by the government…..once again corporations will make out…….. they will turn everything around with a lower tax bracket…..a lie that just keeps giving.

Nothing changes with the GOP……corporations come first the people are just an irritant they must endure…..if you are a working stiff then you are SCREWED!

But Trump will offer up his grand plan and after he does I will analyze it but I am not looking for anything but help for the rich.

USSR: What Happened?

Yes, I do like to take a look back at history…..it is interesting to see how a simple decision could have possibility changed everything.

Take the fall of the Soviet Union….the propaganda would have us all believe that it was Reagan and his mindless spending that helped the demise of the USSR.  That is a good story but there is more to the fall that some simple propaganda…..

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Communist Party, relives the last days of the USSR…..

There is one moment — a single decision — that some people still hold against Mikhail Gorbachev today, 20 years later.

Gorbachev, the last leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and last president of the Soviet Union, his wife and his closest confidants had survived the attempted coup by the KGB, the military leadership and the interior minister. They returned to Moscow from their house arrest at Gorbachev’s vacation home in the Crimean resort of Foros. Their plane landed in the capital at 2:15 a.m., local time, on August 22, 1991.

Source: The Gorbachev Files: Secret Papers Reveal Truth Behind Soviet Collapse – SPIEGEL ONLINE

There seems to always be more to the story than we are told…..

More on the fall of the USSR….

Three minutes after seven in the morning on August 19, I got a phone call from Ed Salazar, one of my political officers, asking if I had been listening to the radio. The radio had just broadcast the news that Mikhail Gorbachev had given up his office as president of the Soviet Union to Gennady Yanayev and that they had formed a committee on what they called an “extraordinary situation” and that Mr. Gorbachev was at rest in his dacha down in Foros in the Crimea.

Everybody assumed this meant they were trying to remove Gorbachev. This was the middle of the night in Washington, and so I suppose the initial government reaction from the United States was that of the embassy. Our own initial reaction was a degree of shock, because no one frankly expected this. There was also a degree of uncertainty about just what was going on because the announcement was made and nothing happened for a couple of hours. There were no military personnel to be seen—nobody showed up for a couple of hours. There were no tanks on the streets until later that morning. So nobody quite understood what was going on except what was on the radio and the fact that they had been making these announcements.

Source: Fall of the Soviet Union—The Inside Story – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

There are those alive today that know very little about the USSR….but a look into the reasons and events that lead to the downfall could very well be a learning moment for the world…..

A Look At War

After Vietnam I went to college and set my mind on the study of conflict (war)…..after experiencing it first hand I felt I need to take a look at it from all sides.

There are far too many people that view war from a distorted prism…there is nothing romantic or heroic about war…..war is barbaric, chaotic and ugly…..

I fear that policy-makers do not talk enough about the inherent ugliness of war. War is state sanctioned brutality, the outcome of which is death, destruction and suffering in order to achieve a political objective unobtainable through diplomatic means. It is a contest of wills settled through extreme violence where devastation is the rule, not the exception.[2] War is also based on a crude and cruel calculus where success usually relies upon the ability to both inflict and sustain greater casualties than the opposition. Its enduring features are friction, chaos, and chance; all of which lead to uncertainty, and none of which are natural allies of the delivery of precise violence or predictable outcomes, which seem increasingly to be what society, and in turn, policy-makers expect.

Source: War Isn’t Precise or Predictable — It’s Barbaric, Chaotic, and Ugly | RealClearDefense

We are sending more of our troops into a meat grinder and few seem to mind or even care…..has it become so common place that we brush off conflict with a flick to the channel changer?