Closing Thought–01Aug17

The Definition Of “Hero”!

Our society uses the word “hero” as some sort of throw away description used to feign patriotism….

Then there are true heroes…..

Saving a life may be a common bucket-list entry, but it’s one that’s rarely checked off. James McCloughan could’ve done so 10 times over two days in 1969. Ignoring his lieutenant’s orders to evacuate Nui Yon Hill in Vietnam after shrapnel cut into his head and back and a bullet pierced his arm, the 23-year-old Army medic ran through “hell on earth” and “gave it his all and then … just kept giving,” President Trump said Monday, bestowing McCloughan with the Medal of Honor almost 50 years after that intense battle. Five of the 10 men McCloughan pulled to safety while surrounded by 2,000 enemies looked on as the 71-year-old took his “place among legends,” Trump said in his first time awarding the medal, per the New York Times.

Trump told how McCloughan had run into an open field to retrieve a wounded soldier as bullets rained. Over the next 48 hours, he went without food, water, or sleep as he saved nine more men and helped load medevac helicopters. He finally collapsed from dehydration as one of 32 men left on the ground. After returning from Vietnam in 1970, the Michigan native received two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars, per A meeting with Rep. Fred Upton years later, however, led to the recommendation that he also receive the nation’s highest military honor, bestowed with special permission by Congress. “Jim’s dad taught him a simple but powerful lesson: Never do anything halfway,” Trump said. “Jim took that lesson very much to heart.”

And that is a true HERO!  Anything else is a poser!

Congrats… one deserves it more.

Time to be off like a dirty shirt…..I shall return with a fresh bag of stuff….chuq

Bi-Partisan Health Care

Last week the GOP health care plan went down in flames….thanx to 3 brave Repubs….now there is scrambling to find a new health care plan…

News has come out that there could be a bi-partisan attempt at a repair….

“Centrist lawmakers plot bipartisan health care stabilization bill,” by Heather Caygle and Paul Demko: “A coalition of roughly 40 House Republicans and Democrats plan to unveil a slate of Obamacare fixes Monday they hope will gain traction after the Senate’s effort to repeal the law imploded. The Problem Solvers caucus, led by Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), is fronting the effort to stabilize the ACA markets, according to multiple sources. But other centrist members, including Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), and several other lawmakers from the New Democrat Coalition and the GOP’s moderate Tuesday Group are also involved.

“Their plan focuses on immediately stabilizing the insurance market and then pushing for Obamacare changes that have received bipartisan backing in the past. The most significant proposal is funding for Obamacare’s cost-sharing subsidies. Insurers rely on these payments – estimated to be $7 billion this year – to reduce out-of-pocket costs for their poorest Obamacare customers.”

Sounds good?

To my mind any time that something can be accomplished with the help of both Houses then it is a good day for the Republic.

Then there is Bernie’s promise to introduce a “single payer” system….

As Senate Republicans go back to the drawing board on the proposed Obamacare repeal, Sen. Bernie Sanders has swung the national healthcare debate to the other side of the pendulum. The Vermont Independent says he’ll “absolutely” introduce a single-payer bill to the Senate, reports the Hill. Sanders didn’t give a timeline for the proposed bill, but told CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union that, “We’re tweaking the final points of the bill and we’re figuring out how we can mount a national campaign to bring people together.” According to CNN, the senator admitted that the Republican-controlled Congress wouldn’t be the only obstacle in passing such a bill. Special interest groups all but sank Vermont’s bid to enact a single-payer system, he said, and would make such a proposal difficult to pass.

“Taking on the insurance companies and the drug companies, taking on Wall Street, taking on a lot of very powerful forces that make billions of dollars a year from the current health care system is not going to be easy,” he said, “and it’s not going to take place until millions of people get involved in this struggle.” Per the Hill, a spokesperson for Sanders called a single-payer amendment attached to the ObamaCare repeal Wednesday a “sham.” President Trump tweeted support for repeal Sunday morning, writing, “Don’t give up Republican Senators, the World is watching: Repeal & Replace…and go to 51 votes (nuke option), get Cross State Lines & more.” But Sanders isn’t taking the bait: “If people don’t like the private insurance that they’re getting, they should have a Medicare-type public option available in every state in this country.”

Neither will go far but at least there is an attempt at a repair job….not something as moronically simplistic as a slogan like “repeal and replace”…..

I wish them both luck for they will need it.

A Clean Sweep

For those IST readers that have not made the trip over to my resurrected blog, Gulf South Free Press….I re-blog this first op-ed….enjoy….and for those followers that have made trip to GSFP……Thank you….chuq

Gulf South Free Press

Finally the president has swept away the last remaining influence of the RNC in his White House.

I am referring to the firing (resignation) of Reince Prebius as the Chief of Staff….the former head of the RNC…..Spicer was a good Repub, and a few others….but Prebius had to go…now the White House is truly the home of Trump and Trumpism.

The president did what a good reality star would do…he fomented chaos between the players vying for recognition. until the weak were located and identified and then used that to rid himself of the baggage he never wanted.

He, Trump, brought in “The Mooch” as the new communications director and almost immediately the tension between Reince and Mooch was ignited… and in about 48 hours Reince was out on his butt and a new Chief of Staff was picked….Gen. John Kelly… usual for Trump he announced his choice via Twitter….

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In The Shadow Of De Tocqueville

Any person who has studied Political Science will know the name of De Tocqueville……you would have studied his major work, Democracy In America–volume 1 and 2……..

Depending on where you studied….this work was a major part of the course on PoliSci…..especially in Political History.

A French sociologist and political theorist Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) traveled to the United States in 1831 to study its prisons and returned with a wealth of broader observations that he codified in “Democracy in America” (1835), one of the most influential books of the 19th century. With its trenchant observations on equality and individualism, Tocqueville’s work remains a valuable explanation of America to Europeans and of Americans to themselves.

As “Democracy in America” revealed, Tocqueville believed that equality was the great political and social idea of his era, and he thought that the United States offered the most advanced example of equality in action. He admired American individualism but warned that a society of individuals can easily become atomized and paradoxically uniform when “every citizen, being assimilated to all the rest, is lost in the crowd.” He felt that a society of individuals lacked the intermediate social structures—such as those provided by traditional hierarchies—to mediate relations with the state. The result could be a democratic “tyranny of the majority” in which individual rights were compromised.

Tocqueville was impressed by much of what he saw in American life, admiring the stability of its economy and wondering at the popularity of its churches. He also noted the irony of the freedom-loving nation’s mistreatment of Native Americans and its embrace of slavery.

If you have NO idea who this person is or the book to which I refer then maybe you should read this democratic classic… could learn alot about early American nation.

Source: Democracy in America: TOC

I bring this man and work up because of something I read in the Unz Review….a traditionally Libertarian point of view……

Re-reading Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (1835) can be a sobering experience. The first time I delved into it was back in 1971, when I was assistant to conservative writer and thinker, Dr. Russell Kirk. I had read bits of de Tocqueville as an undergraduate, but had not managed to read the entire Democracy in America until I had more leisure time working with Kirk. And now, refreshing my memory, so much of what the great French observer of American life wrote seems so current.

Source: Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy, and the End of America? – The Unz Review

In closing a little something for the women folk…..and it is from De Tocqueville….

Alexis de Tocqueville came to America in 1831 to study its prisons, but ended up documenting nearly every facet of American life. With journalistic curiosity, the French aristocrat scrutinized America’s religion and government, its society and industry. He wanted to know what allowed the United States to surpass Europe as the world’s political and economic superpower.

His conclusion? Women.

The women Tocqueville saw were not CEOs or celebrities, politicians or professional athletes. They were largely confined to the home: cleaning, cooking, taking care of children. But to the young political historian, no position seemed more important. “There have never been free societies without morals, and…it is the woman that molds the morals,” he wrote. Tocqueville saw American women as the keystone of the family, the ones who held everyone else together.

Source: Tocqueville: Women Made America Great | The American Conservative

Turn The Page!

It’s That Karmic Thing

The first 6 months of the Trump era has been anything but calm….it has been one chaotic situation after another…..

After last week many people I know were saying “how much crazier can it get”?

First thing to remember is not to ask that question when it pertains to DC

The man of the week was the WH new communication director….The Mooch.

After his mash up with Rancid Prius I thought that he might settle into his new gig and stop the craziness around him……for he was hired to rid the WH of Rancid.

Damn!  I was so very wrong!

First there was the story of his, The Mooch,  follow of a gay porn star on Twitter….not something that would go away…..then news came out that his wife who was 9 months pregnant had filed of a divorce….

Anthony Scaramucci’s wife was nine months’ pregnant when she hit the new White House communications director with the news that she wanted a divorce, Page Six reports. Deirdre Scaramucci, 38, who gave birth to a boy, James, in New York City on July 24, had filed divorce papers in Nassau County Supreme Court on July 6. The day his son was born, the Mooch was in West Virginia with President Trump at the Boy Scouts Jamboree. The expletive-loving Wall Street veteran reportedly sent his second wife a text saying, “‘Congratulations, I’ll pray for our child,'” a source says. A Mooch associate adds that “there was discussion between him, her and the divorce attorneys about Anthony going to the hospital and unfortunately … the delivery was sudden.” The 5-pound, 13-ounce baby was born two weeks early.

Deirdre Scaramucci “is mad,” the source says, “They really aren’t speaking right now.” Her lawyer, Jill Stone, tells the paper she “is not making this into a circus. She has children to protect and that’s what she’s concerned about.” The former Deirdre Ball reportedly wanted no part of the DC life, and is no fan of the president either. The associate says the Mooch followed a “different career objective that didn’t align with Deidre’s trajectory,” and the couple is trying for an amicable divorce. There is a lot at stake in the split: The Daily News reports that Mooch has assets worth around $85 million.

But hey…that was not the best story of the week…..

After 6 days on the job The Mooch has resigned as Communications Director for Donald J. Trump…..

Well, that was quick: The Mooch is out. President Trump on Monday decided to remove Anthony Scaramucci from his brand-new post as White House communications director, reports the New York Times. The move reportedly comes at the suggestion of new chief of staff John Kelly, who is in his first day on the job. He “is already changing the culture here,” one White House aide tells Politico in the wake of the Scaramucci shift.

Scaramucci already has submitted his resignation, reports ABC News. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he would shift into a different position at the White House or leave entirely. Nor was it clear who would replace him. Scaramucci didn’t even last two weeks in the position, though he made an immediate impression with, among other things, a profanity-laced rant against rivals such as former chief of staff Reince Priebus.

I am sure that we will get more than enough info from the MSM on this…..they will scratch this scab until it bleeds.

But come on!

You have to admit that this dude knows how to make an entrance as well as make an exit.

I do apologize but this whole situation is just damn funny….nay hilarious is a better description.

I swear this admin is full of great moments……

How Depressing Can Syria Become?

The forces of darkness (depending on where you stand geopolitically) are turning Syria into the death watch for ISIS….Russia is aiding Assad….the US is aiding the “rebel” factions…..Turkey is in it for themselves….the Kurds…who f*cking knows?

But as ISIS winds down what to look for in the near future…..

Ongoing fighting between two rival jihadist factions, Ahrar al-Sham and Tahrir al-Sham continues to rage in northwestern Syria’s Idlib Province, with small skirmishes turning into bigger gunbattles and more dramatic large-scale deployments into the area.

While so far it’s been a fairly limited exchange, compared to some of the past ones, there are growing concerns that this build-up could quickly lead to a full-scale explosion of the rebel-packed province, leading to more bloodshed and humanitarian crises.

While Tahrir al-Sham is already drawing on much of its leadership, al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, the Ahrar al-Sham faction is trying to get more of its fighters into the same areas as tensions rise, with Turkey sending around 150 of their allied rebels into the area to fight alongside Ahrar al-Sham.

Ideologically there is limited difference between the two groups, as the Nusra Front is literally an al-Qaeda affiliate, while multiple Ahrar al-Sham leaders have pledged loyalty to al-Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri.  The fighting appears largely related to them both being largely stuck within the Idlib Province, having lost most of their other territory, and each side wanting to dominate that last region at all costs.


Of course anything that happens in Syria will be watched by Israel……plus who knows how far these interlopers have gone in Syria….if anyone can destroy a chance it would be Israel.

Israel has made no secret of not liking the southern Syria ceasefire, negotiated between the US and Russia, complaining in particular that it doesn’t keep the Syrian government, and its Iranian allies, totally barred from that part of the country, which they see as tantamount to letting Iran be too close to the Israeli border.

Israeli Maj. Gen. Yaakov Amidror is the latest to step up the ever-growing series of threats against Iran over the matter, attending a briefing with foreign correspondents today and warning that if the US and Russia don’t resolve Israel’s complaints, the Israeli military will “intervene and destroy every attempt to build infrastructure in Syria.”

Maj. Gen. Amidror went on to say that Israel “will not let the Iranians and Hezbollah be the forces which will win” the Syrian war. This comes less than a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted to a live microphone that Israel had attacked Iranian targets in Syria dozens of times.

Israel has always been keen on military confrontation with Iran, and this position is in keeping with repeated comments from Israeli officials that they would prefer ISIS to gain control over Syria, because Iran is always “the main enemy.”


Israel has always worried about Iran….but they should worry about Russia as well…hwy?  Russia and Iran are allies in the Syrian thing…..and a new deal will keep Russia in Syria for awhile after the shooting has stopped….

The Federation Council (upper house) of the Federal Assembly of Russia just ratified relevant legislation which after Presidential approval will enshrine into a law an agreement to maintain a presence of Russian forces in the Syrian Arab Republic for 49 years.

The measure allows for an extension of the agreement for a further 25 years.

Russia has maintained a naval base in Tartus in western Syria since 1971, the year after President Hafez al-Assad, the current President’s father came to power in what was known as the Corrective Movement.

Russia has been a long time Syrian ally and today’s announcement ensures a partnership which will extend throughout the better part of the 21st century.

You, my reader, should keep in mind that the US under Trump is stopping the weapons and cash for the “rebel” factions…..

Despite a solid eight months of stories about President Trump considering ending the CIA program to arm Syrian rebels, yesterday’s announcement that he’s ending that program have the rebels claiming they were totally “blindsided” and never expected such a move.

Needless to say, they’re outraged by the decision, saying that the lack of US arms shipments would quickly lead to the collapse of the “moderate” Free Syrian Army, to the benefit of jihadist factions closely aligned with al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

This is a surprising claim, particularly for the Free Syrian Army to make, since one of the big knocks on them for years has been how closely aligned they themselves have been with Nusra, with claims that Nusra effectively had been using FSA as a cover to secure US arms.

The “moderate” Syrian rebels, to the extent they ever existed, was largely sidelined much earlier in the war, and as fighting in Idlib recently demonstrates, the real factions of influence left are all jihadists of various stripes. Indeed, a big part of why the US froze the CIA arms program earlier this year was that too many of the weapons were being used by jihadist groups against one another.

The US has held several position on Syria….Assad must go….Assad can stay….the newest move with the rebels sort of hints at his remaining the leader of Syria….and if that is true then Assad will need to worry about the many militias and factions in Syria…

Over the past six years, the Syrian regime has delegated a large swath of its powers to loyal militias, entrusting them with preserving security, representing the regime and handling the day-to-day affairs of local communities. Today, it seems almost impossible for the state to recover its authority. In addition to the weakness of the Syrian state and its increasing failure to provide key citizen services, militias have gained so much ground that the state cannot restrain them and exert sole control over weapons and violence, even if it wishes to do so.

Source: Assad and His Militias: Disentangling the Syrian State | World Affairs Journal

The fighting is far from over….even with the defeat of ISIS…..the shooting will continue……

I pause here to give you a moment…….. to give you time to take in all the evidence and offer up an analysis….