Closing Thought–14Sep17

It is just fun watching the reactions to the world has to anything North Korea does……you really have NO idea how many plans are out there to deal with the ego of Li’l Kim…..

South Korea has come up with a plan that could eliminate the use of nukes by anybody…..

South Korea has taken the unusual step of publicly speaking about plans to assassinate Kim Jong Un and other North Korean leaders in the event of conflict. After North Korea’s latest nuclear test, South Korean Defense Minister Song Young Moo told lawmakers that he was speeding up the creation of a “decapitation unit” capable of crossing the border for nighttime missions against North Korean facilities and its “wartime command,” the New York Times reports. Officials say the special forces unit, which will apparently be comprised of members of the “Spartan 3000” unit, will be capable of striking anywhere in the Korean Peninsula within 24 hours. Song has said he wants to have the unit ready by the end of the year.

The creation of the unit is part of South Korea’s “Massive Punishment and Retaliation” plan for possible war with the North, Vox reports. Analysts say that by disclosing facts about the “decapitation unit,” Seoul appears to want to make Pyongyang nervous enough to think twice about its nuclear program and return to the negotiating table. “The best deterrence we can have, next to having our own nukes, is to make Kim Jong Un fear for his life,” says retired Gen. Shin Won Sik, formerly the South Korean military’s chief strategist. President Trump, meanwhile, said Tuesday that tough new sanctions are “no big deal” compared to “what ultimately will have to happen” to North Korea, CNN reports.

South Korea has been dealing with the attitudes of the Kim family for over 50 years…..and in all that time they never considered taking the culprit out?

What were their plans before this one?

States That Never Were

WE all know that there are 50 states (I’m guessing they still teach geography)…..but there could be more if we were to include our overseas empire of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam etc…..and these days there seems to be a movement, of sorts, to create new states….mostly through session…..Texas has played with the idea….even parts of California have given the idea some thought.

Now history I do enjoy some history there have been several regions that should have been states but for one reason or another…..a great article in the American Conservative has taken a look at this historic situation….

In today’s polarized political climate, the political, economic, and cultural differences between regions and even states seem exacerbated. These divisions have led to renewed calls for carving up or even secession by some states, namely California.

In the meantime, efforts to incorporate Puerto Rico as a new state continue unabated.

Among other potential “new states” are the island territories of Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Source: Five U.S. States That Never Made the Map | The American Conservative

Like I keep saying….there is so much history about this country that we are never taught….and most of it is far more interesting than the mundane crap they do teach….and that is why I am here…..teach the untaught.

Turn The Page!

On The Road To Single-Payer?

WE have been having the same debate for a half a century about health care in this country… all that time the one policy that made more4 sense than any of the others put forth was the single-payer plan or Medicare for all……

Sander has also been pushing the idea of a single payer all his years in Congress….with little enthusiasm shown by his colleagues….but is that about to change?

Bernie Sanders rolled out his vision to overhaul the health care system on Wednesday, one in which everybody would get their insurance from the government through Medicare instead of through their jobs or a private insurer. Sanders calls it the Medicare for All Act of 2017, but you’ll also hear phrases such as “single payer” and “universal health care” used to describe it. One key part missing: details on how to pay for it, though Sanders plans to release a separate paper on that, reports the Wall Street Journal. Coverage:

  • The basics: Per CNN, everybody gets a “Universal Medicare card,” which would be used to cover all health bills, from surgeries to dental care to substance abuse treatment. Co-payments would go away, and people would pay premiums based on their incomes, reports the AP. Private insurers would still exist, but for things such as elective plastic surgery or, sometimes, to act as middlemen between the government and hospitals or doctors.
  • A ‘right’: Sanders makes his case in an op-ed in the New York Times. “Guaranteeing health care as a right is important to the American people not just from a moral and financial perspective; it also happens to be what the majority of the American people want.”
  • ‘Single payer’: David Leonhardt of the New York Times has a Q&A on the fundamentals, including the basic question of what the term “single payer” means. In short, it “describes a system in which only one entity—the government—pays medical bills. If all Americans had Medicare rather than insurance through their jobs, it would be a single-payer system.” Vox says Sanders’ system is far more generous than single-payer plans in Canada and elsewhere.
  • The cost: This could cost hundreds of billions of dollars more per year, per the Journal. Details are yet to come, but Sanders envisions a progressive tax increase, with the wealthy paying more income, capital gains, and estate taxes, reports Newsweek. The senator says higher taxes for families would be offset by the fact that they no longer have to buy insurance. Still, in regard to single-payer systems, “no one—including Sanders—has truly reckoned with how to pay for whatever system they might support,” writes Mike Allen at Axios.
  • Litmus test? By all accounts, the chances of it passing a GOP-controlled Congress are precisely 0%. But it’s turning into a political litmus test of sorts for Democrats, reports the Washington Post. Sanders has the support of 15 Democratic senators so far, including all of those seen as potential 2020 presidential candidates. Co-sponsors include Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris. But many prominent Democrats are not on board, at least yet, including Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and those in tough re-election fights, reports Politico.
  • The politics: No, this isn’t going to pass, “but here’s the big question,” writes Perry Bacon Jr. at FiveThirtyEight. “Is it going to become one of the central goals of the Democratic Party and a defining feature of the campaign of whichever Democrat is the party’s nominee in 2020?” As of now, this “seems very likely,” as the Democratic party seems to be gravitating to the left. But Bacon lays out the political and policy reasons why Democrats might avoid “becoming the party of single payer.”
  • Relishing the fight: Republicans see a chance to pounce. “We welcome the Democrats’ strategy of moving even further left,” says Katie Martin, spokesperson for the Senate GOP’s campaign organization, per the AP.

Let the fight begin!

If someone would spend more time checking out how single payer really works then the answer would be as easy as a straight up vote…..and this national nightmare could be over.

Where’s The Money?

The time draws closer for the Congress to take up the issue of military funding….that is cash that we will need to funding all the wars we are now fighting and the ones on the horizon awaiting approval to be fought.

It appears that there are a few in Congress that want the AUMF to be addressed before any funding is approved….

Senate officials are hoping to get to a final vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a military spending bill in excess of $700 billion. Getting to that vote, however, means dealing with all the military and war-related amendments in the bill.

Senate leaders appear to have decided that the easiest way to get around this is to severely curtail debate on certain particularly controversial issues, with an 89-3 vote today agreeing to limit procedural debates on the matter.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is trying to manage the debate, which is to say, dramatically curtail the debate. There are still major issues to be settled, however, with Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) both pushing major debates, on war authorization and transgender soldiers, respectively.

Sen. Paul intends to repeal the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). The amendment is seen as politically awkward for some hawks, who argue that they want to create a new AUMF that explicitly covers current wars, but who are reluctant to see any limitations placed on the way America’s wars are waged.


That’s the 2001 AUMF problem all over. Though on paper it was intended to only cover 9/11 and the Afghan War, the authorization has been used by all presidents since as carte blanche to wage any war, anywhere on earth, in which the term terrorism can remotely be applied.

There is no secret if you are a regular here on IST that I am a definite antiwar person…..while I do not agree with muich the Sen. Paul offers up as policy I do appreciate his stand in the AUMF……

As Congress takes up the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will insist it vote on my amendment to sunset the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force.


Because these authorizations to use military force are inappropriately being used to justify American warfare in 7 different countries. Sunsetting both AUMFs will force a debate on whether we continue the Afghanistan war, the Libya war, the Yemen war, the Syria war, and other interventions.

Our military trains our soldiers to be focused and disciplined, yet the politicians who send them to fight have for years ignored those traits when developing our foreign policy.

Source: Rand Paul: Why we must repeal the 16-year-old Authorization for the Use of Military Force | Rare

Personally, I think any new conflict we must fight must be authorized by Congress….there should be NO blanket authorization.

Update:  After writing this draft news came down about the defeat of this proposal….

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) had to push heavily and very publicly against the Senate leadership to get even the limited debate that ultimately occurred on his amendment, aiming to revoke the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). The vote did not occur. In the middle of the debate Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) moved to table (kill) the amendment, forcing an immediate vote. The Senate then voted to kill Paul’s amendment, by a vote of 61-36.

The post-9/11 AUMF has been interpreted broadly by US presidents as allowing unlimited war-making powers against anything even loosely described as “terror.” Sen. Paul argued that the AUMF was wrongly been used to authorize seven distinct wars, and that repealing it would force Congress to debate specific authorizations for specific wars as an alternative.

While he’d hoped this would bring in support not only from opponents of the war, but from hawks eager to get their votes on the record to authorize these many, effectively unauthorized wars, little support ultimately materialized. In addition to Sen. Paul, speaking in favor during the debate were Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Dick Durban (D-IL).

While the failure of the amendment doesn’t preclude future efforts at passing new AUMFs to cover America’s many wars, it makes such debate a less pressing matter. Talk of an AUMF for the ISIS wars, put off since the 2014 mid-term elections on various reasons, can be expected to remain just talk, and no real advance on the effort is likely.


This seems to get a little more popular every time they try to bring it up for a vote……hopefully the Congress will come to its senses eventually.

On To “Kurdexit”

Remember last year the big mash up over the “Brexit”….that referendum where the UK would leave the EU?

Well there is a similar thing happening in the Middle East…..on 25 Sept of this year the Kurds will vote on a referendum to leave the country of Iraq……

It was an eventful summer, especially in the Middle East. It all began with the Qatar kerfuffle on June 5, followed soon thereafter with a change in Saudi Arabia’s line of succession. Then came violence and protests over security measures at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem. Mosul and Tel Afar were liberated in Iraq. The American-backed Syrian Defense Forces marched on Raqqa, the self-declared Islamic State’s “capital.” Yemen descended further into a humanitarian disaster with 600,000 cases of cholera and imminent famine. Morocco exploded in protest over the death of a fishmonger last fall at the hands of police. Iran continued to consolidate its power around the Middle East. The Trump administration withheld or delayed about $300 million in military assistance to Egypt over “geopolitical and human rights concerns.” Turkey’s massive purge continued. And prosecutors in Israel edged closer to indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for corruption.

There was another story of potentially enormous consequences that received scant attention, however. Throughout the summer Iraqi Kurds prepared for a referendum on independence that will be held on Sept. 25. For the better part of a century, Iraq’s Kurds have been trying to undo what the League of Nations did under British pressure in 1925 when it attached the former Ottoman province of Mosul to Iraq. Their incorporation into Iraq has been an unhappy experience for the Kurds, to say the least.

Source: Is the world ready for “Kurdexit”? Referendum among Iraqi Kurds has Middle East on edge –

There are very few people that see this referendum as a good thing for Iraq or the larger Middle East…..that is with the exception of the Israelis…..

The president of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masoud Barzanion Tuesdayrejected an Iraqi parliament vote authorizing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi “to take all measures” to reject the Kurdish independence referendum and preserve Iraqi unity. Speaking in Kirkuk following the vote, Barzani vowed that the referendum would still go ahead on September 25. Abadi has threatened that Kurds will lose all their political gains if they proceed with the vote and instead urged them to come to Baghdad for a dialogue. While the referendum has little international support, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahureaffirmedTuesday that Israel “supports the Kurdish people’s legitimate attempts at self-determination.”

The predictions of the aftermath are dire…..that the violence is far from over even with the defeat of ISIS… they see the Kurds expanding to all parts of the Middle East….Syria, Turkey, Iran, etc…..none will be good for the well being of the region.