Closing Thought–17Nov17

They are changing the requirements to get into the Army….it looks like mental illness is not a deterrent of military service anymore……

– People with a history of “self-mutilation,” bipolar disorder, depression and drug and alcohol abuse can now seek waivers to join the Army under an unannounced policy enacted in August, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY.

The decision to open Army recruiting to those with mental health conditions comes as the service faces the challenging goal of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers through September 2018. To meet last year’s goal of 69,000, the Army accepted more recruits who fared poorly on aptitude tests, increased the number of waivers granted for marijuana use and offered hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/11/12/army-lifts-ban-recruits-history-self-mutilation-other-mental-health-issues/853131001/

I question the logic that goes into this decision.  Is the Army hurting so bad that it has to lower its standards to enter?  Is this wise?  What about when the person leaves the Army and the problems that will have to be addressed once a civilian?

This is NOT the best idea they have come up with to increase the amount of people eligible to serve in the Army.

Anyone have a thought on this decision by the Army?

Trumpocracy

Since Fearless Leader has taken over he has been doing things that tend to look like authoritarianism….he trust no one to do their job so he feels that he must do it for them….and Tweeting another perfect way to spread his authoritarianism….but is it so or am I just paranoid?

Apparently someone agree with me…….

Is Donald Trump a threat to democracy? From his executive orders targeting immigrants, to his personal attacks on federal judges (and many others), to his demonization of the media as the “enemy of the American people,” the 45th president’s actions and behavior have alarmedpoliticalobserversof allstripes. Below is a running timeline tracking Trump’s numerous displays of authoritarian tendencies, beginning from the day he was sworn in. Check back regularly for updates, posted from the top down.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/03/creeping-authoritarianism-trump-trumpocracy/

What will our politics look like in 3 more years at the end of his first term in office?

But how did our politics go so wrong?

There are lots of reasons American politics went off the rails, but Axios CEO Jim VandeHei breaks out six seminal events in the past 24 years that steered us here:
  1. Newt Gingrich, in the early 1990s, weaponized warfare politics in a methodical and sustained way. In tactics and rhetoric, Gingrich ushered in a good-vs.-evil style that persists today.
  2. Fox News, created in 1996, televised and monetized this hard-edged combat politics. This created the template for MSNBC to do the same on the left, giving both sides a place to fuel and fund rage 24/7. CNN soon went heavy on politics, all day, making governance a show in need of drama.
  3. Facebook and later Twitter, both products of the post-2000 Internet revolution, socialized rage and argument. Now every nut with an opinion could find fans and followers to cheer/egg him or her on. This happened as the middle in politics was officially purged from Congress.
  4. John McCain picking Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008 celebritized rage politics. Until that moment, Republicans typically picked conventional, next-in-line candidates. Palin, made for cable and social media, was the precursor to Trump.
  5. Facebook, with command of so much of most voters’ time and attention, algorithm-ized rage starting around 2015. The more emotion you felt and sought, the more the newsfeed machine pumped at you. With no one looking, fake news was born and metastasizing.
  6. Twitter + Trump, igniting in 2016, habitualized and radicalized the moment-by-moment rage and reaction of politicians, voters and the media. This created more froth and more fog, and resulted in a spike of people who don’t believe real news, much less the fake news pulsing through the system.

Politics is growing more personal, polarized and pugnacious. This dynamic is particularly acute on the right. This will likely get worse before it gets better as these trends gain more momentum.

And the country will suffer…..if it continues to exist that is….but who cares about the country?  Party is far more important than this nation.

I am glad I am old for I will not see the demise of this country and if we keep going as we are now then it is only a matter of time before it is gone.

GOP Tax Plan–2017

I listen to the lying toad Paul Ryan give his speech about the newest tax plan to get hammered through the House….his words made it seem like us poor working stiffs would be sitting pretty and that jobs would be thrown at us ad nauseum…..the problem is it is all typical GOP LIES……he had to make sure to state that there had not been a tax reform since 1986…..a typical talking point. (Yawn)

This vote in the House is the big win that Trump has been praying for…..plus it helps those like himself….filthy rich….

In a victory for President Trump, the House successfully passed its version of the Republican tax-cut plan Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports. All Democrats and 13 Republicans voted against the bill, giving it a 227-205 win. “Passing this bill is the single biggest thing we can do to grow the economy, restore opportunity, and help these middle income families that are struggling,” House Speaker Paul Ryan says. The vote took place after Trump met with House Republicans, telling them, “I love you. Go vote.” The Washington Post explains the contents of the bill, which includes more than $1.4 trillion in tax cuts, reduces the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%, reduces taxes for the rich, and ultimately raises taxes on middle-income earners. The bill also reduces the number of tax brackets from seven to four and gets rid of popular tax deductions, the New York Times reports.

The vote was held two weeks after the bill was introduced with little analysis or debate. Now Senate Republicans have to pass their own tax bill and work out the differences with the House bill. That will be easier said than done. Support for the Senate bill is wavering, especially after a nonpartisan committee found that it would end up increasing taxes for low-income Americans in 2021 and for everyone earning less than $75,000 a year in 2027. Not to mention it repeals part of ObamaCare. If the Senate manages to pass its bill and rectify it with the House version, it would give Trump the first major legislative achievement of his presidency. The White House has been pressuring Republicans to get tax cuts passed by Christmas.

The Congressional Republican tax plan is not a good deal for middle-class and working Americans. It fails to cover the full cost of the tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, adding to the deficit and putting middle-class priorities such as Medicare, Medicaid, education, and infrastructure at risk. Many states would see tens of thousands of families with tax increases, while nearly three-quarters of U.S. states would see hundreds of thousands—and in a few cases well more than 1 million—families with tax increases under the plan. Here’s what you need to know:

Many Working and Middle-Class Americans Would See a Tax Increase Under the House GOP Tax Plan: A State-by-State Breakdown

The Senate Tax Bill Threatens Access to Health Care

Work Requirement Proposals Would Kick Struggling Workers When They’re Down

Repealing the Estate Tax Would Plunge Charitable Giving

Giving to the Rich

4 Ways Repealing the Estate Tax Would Expand the Racial Wealth Gap

Not in a Million Years: The House’s Proposed Windfall for Donors

House Republican Attempts to Repeal the Adoption Tax Credit Show Their Real Priorities in Tax Reform

As usual…the GOP builds lies to cover their help for the wealthy….and we simpletons buy their crap every time….and when it does not pan out for us we re-elect the same lying bastards to screw us all over again……no wonder we are about to elect a pedophile and do it with joy.

What a silly bunch we as a nation have become.

More From Saudi Arabia

The old professor tries to bring his readers all the news they could not possibly use….but at least they are informed.

I have written a bunch about what the Saudis are doing and what I thought they were up to (feels good to be right)…..so I guess I will keep on keeping on….

Breaking News….the crown prince that is going around arresting his kin and others in some fake anti-corruption program will get his hearts desire….he will be named king of Saudi Arabia next week….

The King of Saudi Arabia plans to step down and announce his son as his successor next week, a source close to the country’s royal family has exclusively told DailyMail.com.

The move is seen as the final step in 32-year-old Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s power grab, which began earlier this month with the arrests of more than 40 princes and government ministers in a corruption probe.

The source said King Salman will continue only as a ceremonial figurehead, handing over official leadership of the country to his son – often referred to as MBS.

‘Unless something dramatic happens, King Salman will announce the appointment of MBS as King of Saudi Arabia next week,’ said the source.

‘King Salman will play the role of the queen of England. He will only keep the title “Custodian of the Holy Shrines”.’

(Daily Mail)
The new king is twisting in his drawers for a fight with Iran….all the subtle signals are there….a tip from the old professor….watch Lebanon.
The US will stand by and let the Saudis start another war that we will eventually fight…aka Yemen…..

Many observers have connected the dots and concluded that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is seeking to drag the United States into a war with Iran and Hezbollah. But that’s only half the story. Looking at the recent events through a broader geopolitical lens, a much more sinister plan emerges: a Saudi plan to trap the United States in a permanent standoff with Tehran.

While most of the world has been aghast by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s radical actions of this past week, his conduct is only inexplicable when viewed from the wrong lens, such as the Sunni-Shia sectarian frame or the even more absurd attempt to cast this conflict as part of a greater fight against terrorism. After all, Saudi Arabia provided the seed money for Al Qaeda and openly funded and armedAl Qaeda in Syria (Jabhat al-Nusra), according to the U.S. government.

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/saudi-arabia-wants-fight-iran-the-last-american-23212

Gee Ya Think!

Glad to see that all my hard work has not gone unnoticed…..IST has been saying this since the beginning of the MbS thing a month ago….

Move on…..Enough bitchin’!

Say the Saudis pull this gambit off….what are the options for the US?

The Middle East appears on the precipice of a great war. The fundamentalist rulers of Iran are confident that their goal of establishing a coalition of Shia countries and regions under their control is nearing fruition. Saddam’s invasion of Iran in 1980 was a response to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s policy of overthrowing the ruling regimes in Iraq and much of the Middle East. By 1988, that war ended not by victory of one side over the other, but by the exhaustion of Khomeini’s regime and the recognition that no end was in sight. The 1988 ceasefire has been but a respite in the warmongering policy of the fundamentalists, whereby despite military adventurism, many members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) still express bitterness over the acceptance of the ceasefire.

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/from-proxy-wars-to-direct-war-between-iran-and-saudi-arabia-america%E2%80%99s-options

You may ask…just what in the Hell are the Saudis doing?

To understand the dynamics and projections of Saudi power it is important to identify and analyze how it uses its use military, religious and economic weapons.

Saudi Arabia has bankrolled and supplied violent mercenary armies in Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Philippines, Malaysia and several other Asian and African countries.

The Saudi’s intolerant Wahhabi branch of Sunni Islam and its commercial mercenaries act to overthrow and shatter Arab regimes and societies that have independent modern, nationalist and secular leadership or practice multi-ethnic or multi-religious tolerance.  They also target republics with Shia-majority governments opposed to Saudi-Wahhabi domination in the Middle East.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/saudi-arabia-regional-and-global-linkages/5618532

Something else to think about….I mentioned Wahabbism in previous link…..

Chatting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November 2016, Barack Obama mentioned Indonesia, where he spent part of his childhood back in the 1960s. The country, he noted, was a changed place. Where Muslims once adopted elements of Hinduism, Buddhism, and animism, a more austere version of Islam had taken hold once Saudi Arabia began pouring money into Wahhabist madrassas in the 1990s. Where women had formerly gone about with their heads uncovered, the hijab began to spread.

But why, Turnbull wanted to know, was this happening? “Aren’t the Saudis your friends?” To which Obama replied, “It’s complicated.”

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-u-s-saudi-marriage-gave-birth-to-jihad/

That’s right…many of the problems in the Middle East can be blamed on the US-Saudi marriage…..

Makes you feel proud, right?

Kurds–What’s New?

ISIS is fighting for its very existence in Iraq…..and while all that was happening the Kurds decided to push the buttons of Baghdad and vote for independence.

After the vote Iraqi government went batcrap crazy!  The Kurds overplayed the hand just a bit….

The Iraqi Kurds have just announced that they’re freezing the results of their independence referendum, which is bureaucratese for saying that they don’t intend to act on it. Which, in turn, is another way of offering a ceasefire to the government troops that have displaced them from Kirkuk and environs. The Kurds gambled and lost. It seems they’d hoped that their western allies would come to their aid, but none did. This, despite loud protestations by sympathetic commentators in the West that the Kurds’ loss was a victory for Iranian hegemony over Iraq—in particular, a victory for Iran’s IRGC commander in the region, Qasim Suleimani. And even though the State Department denied any Iranian participation, it’s unlikely that without Tehran’s concrete intervention the Iraqis had the capability to overcome the Peshmerga so swiftly. As an example, this report entitled “How Iran helped Baghdad seize back Kirkuk” that ran in the Middle Eastern news website Al-Monitor portrays Tehran as the main driver of Baghdad’s success, along with other factors such as Kurds’ disunity and their shortages of ammunition. Others suggested that the Iraqi army (illegally) used their US-supplied Abrams tanks in the demarche which, if true, would have compelled the US to punish Baghdad in some way, perhaps even to defend the Kurds actively. Washington chose to look the other way.

http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/melik-kaylan/overplaying-their-hand-kurds%E2%80%99-referendum-debacle

The Kurds are now playing with a level head…..sort of…..

America’s Ambassador to Iraq is attempting to restart negotiations between Iraq’s Kurds and the Iraqi Government. The U.S. is hoping the resignation of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) leader Masoud Barzani on November 1, 2017 will incentivize the Iraqi Government to accept a compromise with Iraq’s Kurds. Masoud Barzani was the driving force behind the Kurdish independence referendum on September 25th, which provoked the ongoing retaliation by the Iraqi Government and Iran. The US state department is attempting to unite Iraq’s Kurds behind the region’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and his deputy Qubad Talabani in order to resolve the dispute with Baghdad ahead of the 2018 elections. U.S ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman met with them in Arbil on November 2nd. He relayed the US position that the long term stability of Iraqi Kurdistan depends on a unified and federal Iraq, and that the two sides must find a “peaceful resolution of disputes under the Iraqi constitution.”

http://iswresearch.blogspot.com/2017/11/further-military-escalation-likely-in.html

In the 1990’s the US sold out the Kurds and looks like we are doing it again……

I stood at a border crossing as thousands of Yazidis and other refugees fled ISIS attacks on Mosul and nearby cities. Tens of thousands of refugees flooded into the Kurdish Region of Iraq as Kurdish relief workers greeted them with water and food.

It was August 2014, and I was there on assignment as a freelance correspondent. The Obama administration had started bombing northern Iraq just a few days earlier. The explanation given at the time, now long forgotten, was the US would bomb for a limited time to protect the Kurdish capital of Erbil and stop the attacks on Yazidis.

http://original.antiwar.com/Reese_Erlich/2017/11/06/us-sells-kurds/

Kurds will conform to the law of the land and not secede….for now……

Iraq’s Kurds voted overwhelmingly for independence in a referendum in September, defying the central government in Baghdad – which had ruled the ballot illegal – as well as neighbouring Turkey and Iran which have their own Kurdish minorities.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said on Tuesday it would respect the November 6 ruling by the Supreme Federal Court, which declared that no Iraqi province could secede.

“We believe that this decision must become a basis for starting an inclusive national dialogue between (Kurdish authorities in) Erbil and Baghdad to resolve all disputes,” the KRG said in a statement.

http://www.france24.com/en/20171114-iraq-kurdistan-respect-court-decision-banning-secession-baghdad

Kurds will play ball for now….but how long will this nicety last?

They will live with a unified Iraq….really?

Apparently putting an end to the independence push which began with September’s referendum, Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has issued a statement today promising to respect a Supreme Court ruling that precludes independence, and emphasizes the “united Iraq.”

The Iraqi courts insisted that there is no constitutional method through which any part of Iraq could ever secede. Iraqi Kurdistan was in the process of such a secession before October offensives by the Iraqi military quickly got them to back off the plan.

This new statement appears to be an attempt to placate Iraq’s central government, which has been talking further punishment for the Kurdish regions, and has suggested the military operation could be restarted at any time.

Independence has been a long-standing goal for Kurds in Iraq and elsewhere in the region, but so far none had come as close as the KRG to effecting a formal declaration. At this point, it looks less likely than ever they’ll manage to achieve independence, or even retain previous autonomy.

(antiwar.com)

Then what the Hell was the independence referendum vote all about if they had NO inclination of session?  What game are the Kurds playing?

China Is Winning The Trade War

While the US is fighting its numerous wars the trade war is being won by China and its Silk Road Project.  In the old days the Silk Road was a trade route from Asia to Europe back in the the 1400s and China is silently renewing this trade route…..

The US needs to counter this trend by China or the trade war will be won by our Asian opponent…..the US is trying to sign on to the deal but will it be a good deal or a bad one?

While Washington is seeking a pause in the rapid growth of its international trade, the rest of the world is moving full speed ahead. There is no better example than the fast developing New Silk Road, China’s vast project to facilitate its trade with Europe and connect Central Asia to the world economy.  At a recent conference in Washington hosted by the Eurasia Center, speakers reported all sorts of information about the project.

Already since 2013 freight trains go from China’s mid-pacific coast to Poland in 12 days, less than half the time for cargo ships to Western Europe and much faster for inland Chinese factories such as major electronics ones, such as the American Hewlett Packard in Chongqing. It has opened up a new central Asian market for Polish agricultural exports. Even Italian wines and German cars are now going by rail to Asia. Train traffic has more than doubled during the last year to some 45-50 trains per month. Traffic will take even fewer days if the Chinese region follows through with eventual plans for high-speed rail connections. Businessweek’s China-sponsored “Focus Report” states that 32 Chinese cities now have 52 China-Europe rail lines connecting to 12 European countries.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/silk-road-is-soft-power-for-expanding-china/

Did Fearless Leader take this up with the Chinese when he was in China?  My thought is nope….he was too busy trying a Big Mac to worry about trade….more on this trip of trips…..

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump returned to Washington after a marathon tour of Asia. His trip spanned two multilateral summits, five countries, and set an important record: It was the longest Asia trip undertaken by any U.S. president in 25 years.

Trump’s trip was a remarkable opportunity to restore to Asia the rare leader-level time and attention so often trained on the Middle East and Europe. And yet, although time was for once abundant, strategy was absent, and the trip was largely a missed opportunity.

A review of Trump’s time in Asia reveals three key points.

https://warontherocks.com/2017/11/trumps-indo-pacific-dream-stumbles-china-alone-wont-fill-void/

I am still looking for the “good” part of this trip……lots of words and a few Tweets but reality does not bear out the words from the mouth of Fearless Leader…..

President Trump has just completed a 12-day tour of Asia, including stops in Japan, China, Korea, and the Philippines, and in Vietnam to attend the APEC Leaders meeting.

After pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during his first week in office and threatening to leave the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), his Asia trip was an opportunity to present an alternative vision of U.S. economic engagement in Asia. Many hoped it would be sufficiently robust and strategically orientated to put to rest global concerns about where Washington stands on trade and globalization more broadly.

Unfortunately, this is not what happened.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/11/15/the-fallout-from-trumps-asia-tour-on-trade

All in all ……a complete waste of time when the best we got was some silly photo ops.