Closing Thought–06Dec17

The tax bills are in conference to hammer out the details for one big f*cking of the Middle Class……I have read what parts are not scribbled in some lobbyist lingo and found the one part that is most disturbing to me.

In my younger days I was a labor organizer for the IWW, yes I was a Wobbly and if you do not know that term then you are too young …….and as an organizer I fought hard for workers to to re-trained when their jobs were either outsourced or replaced by machines…..the new tax bill will screw the worker hard and with a smile…..

The section I am referring to…….

Encouraging corporations to automate ― without any help for displaced workers.

A provision of the tax bill would allow companies to deduct from their taxable income the entire cost of certain kinds of business investments that were previously only eligible for a 50 percent deduction. Traditionally, manufacturing firms and other infrastructure-heavy companies took advantage of the deduction to buy new factory equipment.

But the increase in the deduction comes at a time when corporations are investing in automation of their production facilities through the use of robots and artificial intelligence technology, noted Robert Kovacev, a corporate tax attorney for the Steptoe & Johnson law firm in Washington, D.C.

“It’s going to accelerate spending, basically, on robots that could displace workers,” Kovacev told HuffPost.

Kovacev is supportive of the deduction, because automation is likely to increase productivity ― defined as the amount of economic output generated per work-hour. And many experts maintain that, over the long run, this type of technological disruption is a net job creator.

That is likely to serve as cold comfort, however, for the mostly blue-collar workers displaced by automation in the short term. And Congress chose to speed up the automation process without any companion measures to offset the fallout for affected workers.

“It would be a good idea to pair this with a tax incentive to encourage companies either to employ more human workers or retrain them for jobs in the new economy,” Kovacev said.

Some progressive lawmakers have other ideas about how to address the harm caused by automation. For example, San Francisco County Supervisor Jane Kim has explored the idea of implementing a ”robot tax” on companies for every robot they employ to perform a job previously done by humans. The revenue raised by the tax would fund the retraining of displaced workers.

I approve of the “robot tax” and the money used to re-train workers for other aspects of the job.

Every trade union should be on this section of the bill like a pit bull with a lobbyist leg in its mouth.

The workers are screwed every time these cowards try to help their corporate masters….time for them to pay up to help the worker…..PERIOD!

Don’t mourn….organize!

“An injury to one is an injury to all”

Bring back the radicalization that was the IWW!

 

TTFN……tomorrow is another day……chuq

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5 Greatest Foreign Policy Presidents

Yep my friends that time again…..Professor’s Classroom is in session.

This time we will talk about the best foreign policy presidents in our history.

The American Conservative rates the best foreign policy presidents, the 5 best, now I do not agree and will explain why after you read the article…..

The American president is the individual primarily responsible for the United States’ foreign policy. While the president divvies up domestic issues with Congress and the states, the Constitution gives the president broad power to command the armed forces, make treaties, and appoint diplomats. Furthermore, in accordance with the War Powers Resolution of 1973, the president can deploy troops for up to 60 days without congressional approval.

In this author’s view, a good foreign policy is one that serves America’s interests, that is, the security of the nation and the prosperity of its people, and a good American foreign policy president is one who understanding this, acts according, rather than pursuing idealistic fantasies. America’s interests change in different times and places, so realism means different things to different presidents, and encompasses a broad range of policies. But realism does not mean an open-ended war on a strategy, terrorism, nor does it mean constant interventionism aimed at changing the domestic institutions of other countries. Of course, the United States can still serve as an exemplar for other countries.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-five-best-u-s-foreign-policy-presidents/

I disagree on several levels….Lincoln had no foreign policy to speak of, TR was good tactician but not in foreign policy and Nixon should be eliminated because of Vietnam if for on other reason.

I think that FDR should be there while I may not agree with some of his decisions he still had foreign policy chops……lastly I think Carter should be on that list….yes he had some set backs with the Iranian situation…he is the closest that peace has ever been in the Holy Land….who knows what would have happened if he had been re-elected.

That is my take on the best foreign policy presidents….would you care to take a stab at it?

Will The Palestine Issue Be Solved?

This is a thorny question……the closest this issue came to a settlement was with Pres. Carter….who knows if he had been re-elected what this issue would be today….my thought is….settled!

Instead we have a Fearless Leader that could find Palestine on a map of Palestine….he will send his son-in-law to settle this once and for all…..(pause here for raucous laughter)…..another clueless twat to settle a complex issue….typical of a worthless presidency.

The US gives billions to Israel every year at is almost a given that they will get cash no matter what….but with all the violence (according to Israel is all the Palestinians fault)……did you know that Israel arrests children as young as 10 years of age?  And US cash helps fuel these acts of barbarity…..but that could change….

Children and teenagers are frequent victims of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. They face physical abuse by Israeli military forces and are shuffled through an unfair court system without access to legal counsel or even their parents.

The United States has long subsidized these abuses, giving billions of dollars in military aid to Israel every year. Now, a group of Democratic members of Congress is saying enough is enough.

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., and nine co-sponsors on Tuesday introduced legislation that would require the U.S. State Department to certify every year that American military aid is not being used to fund the systematic abuse of Palestinian children.

https://theintercept.com/2017/11/14/congress-palestinian-children-israel-us-military-aid/

The UN has started to notice Israel’s actions against Palestinians……

According to Mondoweiss, the U.N. rapporteur didn’t hold back at a press conference. He demanded the international community be held accountable for Israel’s actions:

“At a press conference about his report, S. Michael Lynk, a Canadian professor of law and human rights expert, said it is time the international community reach into its ‘toolbox’ of enforcement mechanisms, so as to ‘raise the stakes’ against the occupation and change international ‘opinion’ of Israel. The country had been worried by the Goldstone Report in 2009 and is today worried by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), Lynk said; so if the international community took ‘unified actions on an escalating basis’ to declare the occupation illegal and demand Israel’s withdrawal, Israel would respond.”

Mondoweiss suggested Mr. Lynk was indirectly advocating for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that has started to take off in recent years.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/un-panel-sanctions-needed-against-israel-to-stop-ethnic-cleansing-of-palestine/5616477

But now Fearless Leader sends his butt boy to end the violence and bring about an end to the conflict….what a goddamn silly notion.

Why you ask?

First, Kushner is a clown with an expensive suit and second…. Israel does not want peace with the Palestinians…..

Former Secretary of State John Kerry believes that the Israeli government is not doing its part to foster peace with the Palestinians.

In recordings published earlier this week by Channel 10, an Israeli TV news station, Kerry celebrates the Palestinians for committing to a peaceful solution to the decades-long conflict.

“The Palestinians have done an extraordinary job of remaining committed to nonviolence,” Kerry says. “When the intifada took place [in 2015] they delivered non-violence in the West Bank.”

http://www.newsweek.com/israel-palestine-conflict-john-kerry-netanyahu-peace-716257

Then there is the fact that Israel NEVER wanted a sovereign state of Palestine……

How many Israeli settlers – or settlement houses – until a two-state solution is impossible? That’s the question we should be asking our politicians, who frequently refer to a “closing window of opportunity” for a Palestinian state in light of Israeli “facts on the ground”.

Speaking in Parliament recently, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged a halt to “the illegal settlements”; every time Israeli authorities “build new units”, he said, they “move us further from a two-state solution”, even if “they are not yet making it impossible to deliver the new map”.

http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/why-israel-does-not-want-sovereign-palestinian-state-339490166

This fight has been on-going for so long that many do not think that there will ever be a solution to this conflict…..

For the past 50 years, a United Nations Security Council resolution has helped to sustain Israel’s occupation of Palestine, analysts say.

Ghada Karmi, a British-Palestinian author and lecturer at Exeter University’s Institute of Arab and Islamic studies, says the central issue is that Israelis “never intended” to comply with UNSC Resolution 242, adopted on November 22, 1967.

“From the steady colonisation of the Palestinian area, you can see that there has been no attempt on the part of Israel to comply with any part of the resolution,” she said.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/state-solution-171119093352403.html

Of course here in the US as other countries….the news makes it out like all the problems and the violence is on the shoulders of the Palestinians…..that is wrong…..no one takes into account that homes are destroyed by Israel for made up reasons….as well as the theft of land, destruction of crops and constant raids on homes and businesses…..any American that suffered any of these violations would take to the streets as well….

I have offered up a solution to this problem…..since Israel has built a wall around the West Bank then declare this region Palestine……I wrote a piece for a site, Legationes, about this….

I had been playing with an idea that could possibly aid the Palestinian people and their search for a state of Palestine: this post is part of those thoughts.

Now that Benjamin Netanyahu has won his election and his true nature has been revealed, maybe it is time for a new plan for the Middle East. I have seen many proposals to settle the conundrum of the Israeli-Palestinians conflict.

https://legationes.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/let-the-wall-define-palestine/

This is not a perfect solution but one that could be the start….all it would need is international support.

Back to Fearless Leaders solution……

The US plan would call for a “Palestinian state” in the Gaza Strip and a few enclaves in the West Bank but key issues including the status of Jerusalem and the right of return for Palestinian refugees would be postponed.

So-called “final negotiations” would then be led by Saudi Arabia.

Kushner reportedly visited Saudi Arabia to brief Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman – commonly known as MBS – and to ask for Saudi help to pressure Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to accept the plan.

Earlier this month MBS summoned Abbas to Riyadh. According to Israeli media reports, the Saudi autocrat told the PA leader to accept the upcoming Trump peace plan or resign.

Unnamed Palestinian officials told Middle East Eye that MBS offered to nearly triple Saudi Arabia’s monthly payments to the PA to $20 million if Abbas accepts it.

So bribery is the key to this plan…..bribe Abbas to accept it and the Palestinian people are screwed yet again by the US….perfect plan from Trump.

I like my plan better!

IST’s Afghan Report–Dec 2017

First, I need to report that the Taleban is losing people to ISIS in northern Afghanistan…..

ISIS has held territory in the Jawzjam Province for months, and that appears to be continuing to grow with reports that top Taliban commanders in the province have defected to their side, allowing them to expand their hold across multiple districts.

Throughout the 16+ year US occupation, Jawzjan has been relatively stable, with only limited Taliban influxes that rarely amounted to more than skirmishes. The presence of ISIS, though well documented, had mostly flown under the radar too, with ISIS elsewhere in the country considered a bigger priority.

This seems to have changed with the new defections, as US officials are now calling attention to the ISIS growth in the area, and commanders are saying an anti-ISIS offensive across the north is to be launched in the next few days.

Such offensives have accomplished little in other parts of the country, with large body counts claimed, and Afghan officials repeatedly declaring ISIS “wiped out” only for the group to reassert itself within a matter of days after the fighting dies down.

(antiwar.com)

Plus the Northern region is teeming with crime and corruption…..

Escalating US airstrikes across northern Afghanistan have pushed Taliban forces away from the key city of Kunduz, which Taliban have actually captured at times in recent years. Officials are trying to brag about this as a big victory.

It doesn’t look like it from within Kunduz, however, as locals report that the city is every bit as troubled, and even if it doesn’t seem like the city is facing imminent takeover, crime and corruption are soaring.

Instead of fearing Taliban, locals now fear random gunmen, who rob anyoe they think has any money, and routinely kidnap people, holding them for ransom, a tactic previously common with the insurgency.

The Taliban isn’t so far from the city either, so traveling much of anywhere risks being caught in the cross-fire of ongoing military operations in nearby villages, leaving Kunduz residents effectively trapped in an increasingly insecure “secured” city.

(antiwar.com)

The Taleban has a great source of income even in poverty ridden Afghanistan….POPPIES!

Afghanistan just produced a record poppy crop despite massive $7.6 billion in U.S. counternarcotics spending since the war there began, a new report from an independent watchdog found.

The value of opium poppy produced in Afghanistan spiked from $2 billion to $3 billion from 2012 to 2013, according to a brief released Tuesday from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/21/afghan-poppy-crop-reaches_n_6021814.html

The logical reaction to this source of revenue for the Taleban would be to use Agent Orange and wipe out their crops, right?  War on Drugs 101…eliminate the source.  And then just recently I read a story about this problem…..

Opium unifies the enemies of American interests in Afghanistan. Poppy cultivation feeds power to the Taliban, drug lords, and corrupt officials. That power grew dramatically in 2017 — with production up 87 percent in one year to 9,000 metric tons, according to the latest report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

On Aug. 21, President Donald Trump announced that U.S. policy in Afghanistan will now serve American interests without pre-established time or troop limits. “Conditions on the ground — not arbitrary timetables — will guide our strategy from now on…. We will fight to win.” However, he also noted: “Military power alone will not bring peace to Afghanistan or stop the terrorist threat arising in that country. But strategically applied force aims to create the conditions for a political process to achieve a lasting peace.”

Kill All the Poppies

Now it would seem that somewhere in the Pentagon there was one little guy that  raised his hand and said…”why not eliminate their crop”?

I cannot believe that after 16 years and the Afghans are still capable of raising a record crop of poppies….does anyone in the Pentagon have a brain?

And then there is China and their role in Afghanistan……..

Soon after his inauguration as President of Afghanistan in 2014, Ashraf Ghani paid a trust-building visit to China. During his trip, Ashraf Ghani maintained that China is a “strategic partner of Afghanistan in the short term, medium term, long term and very long term.”

Three years later, President Ghani met his Chinese counterpart on the sideline of 17th Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan privately for fifteen minutes. A confident Xi Jinping assured Ghani that the People’s Republic of China decided to send Wang Yi; the foreign minister to Kabul in order to talk upon bilateral issues, including peace with Pakistan. Utilizing its unique regional geopolitical leverage on all actors, China is trying to take all the credit in the Afghan peace process.

http://www.eurasiareview.com/21112017-chinas-winning-role-in-afghanistan-oped/

Honey is always better than vinegar…..maybe the Chinese should stop by DC some time and give a lesson or two….God knows what we are doing is not working…..

There is more disturbing news…….

Americans are rightly outraged over revelations that Congress spent $17 million since 1997 to pay off and muzzle victims of congressional sexual misconduct and other abuses. But the U.S. government has spent vastly more effectively bankrolling far more worse sexual atrocities in Afghanistan — in brazen violation of U.S. law.

Since 2002, the U.S. has spent more than $70 billion financing Afghan security forces, including the Afghan military and police. A law sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) prohibits the Pentagon from bankrolling any foreign military units if there is “credible information that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.”

http://thehill.com/opinion/international/362972-your-tax-dollars-fund-afghan-child-rape

Come on!  It is time to admit that Afghanistan is a f*cked up mess and come home!

Time For That “Change” Yet?

For decades we the people of this country have been drying for some political change…..and for decades we have had NO substantive change….some minor reform here and there….but change is still waiting top appear.

The GOP has chosen their course for the foreseeable future…..they are tying themselves to the coattails of Trump.  They see so much wrong with the way he is governing but they refuse to speak up…..that is unless they have decided not to run for re-election….then they are all mouth.

The Liberals are the ones that cannot seem to find a course and stick to it…..the party lost its soul when it tied itself to Clinton in the 90’s….his so-called “center-Left” politics….the people found that his policies were more conserv than liberal….but it was sold to the public as “progressive”.

Some have seen the damage that Clinton did to society….maybe not the economy and his Wall Street buddies…..but society as a whole suffered from his polices….even though he was out of offices when it occurred it was still his policies that collapse the party.

Now it is time for a change (this time let’s mean it!)……..

The once-proud political project known as “centrism” is collapsing around the globe, despite increasingly desperate attempts by billionaire backers to revive it.

The center-right’s implosion can be seen in the weakened state of Theresa May’s Conservatives in Great Britain, the recent setback for Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, and the withering of the GOP’s Mitt Romney wing.

But what about the center-left, the “New Labour”/”New Democrat” phenomenon that once seemed to offer so much hope? Can it survive? More importantly, should it?

Source: The “Center-Left” Had Its Chance; It’s Time For Something New – LA Progressive

Apparently many are seeing this need…..a need for a new Democratic direction and a new message that the voter can get behind…..

The DNC needs to get on-board or the voter will move beyond…..change is still desired….but the voter is now looking for real change not the idle promises of those wanting desperately to hang onto power………

This will be something to watch if you are a political junkie…..will the DNC kick that damn can down that damn road again?

Burma–WTF?

In case my reader is not aware of the religious persecution that is happening in Myanmar (Burma) then maybe you should read my original post……

https://lobotero.com/2017/11/20/the-rohingya-search-for-a-home/

The Pope has made a trip to  Burma to see for himself what is happening….and the head of the Burmese army told the Pope….nothing to see here……

Myanmar’s army chief Min Aung Hlaing said he told Pope Francis his country had “no religious discrimination” after the pair met late Monday, in a papal visit framed by the exodus of the Rohingya Muslim minority.

“Myanmar has no religious discrimination at all,” he said in a Facebook post by his office. “Likewise our military too… (it) performs for the peace and stability of the country.”

The Tatmadaw, as his army is known, has been accused by the UN and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of conducting a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” by driving 620,000 Rohingya from western Myanmar into Bangladesh since August.

Seriously?  Nothing to see?

Then why has honors given to the nation’s “democracy” candidate been rescinded if nothing is happening?

Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of the “Freedom of Oxford” award by the city’s council, over her failure to speak out on abuses against Myanmar’s Rohingya.

In a unanimous decision on Monday evening, Oxford City Council voted to strip the Burmese State Counsellor of the award she received in 1997 and collected personally in 2012, after 15 years under house arrest.

“It was right to give the Freedom of the City to Aung San Suu Kyi in 1997 in recognition of her long struggle for democracy and her personal links to Oxford,” the cross-party motion read.

But, according to the motion, she had not responded to the council’s letter calling on her to “do whatever she can to stop the ethnic cleansing in her country”.

(AJE.com)

Even a clueless dolt like SecState Tillerson has issued a statement…..

I visited Naypyitaw, Burma on November 15, where I met separately with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. I reaffirmed the United States’ strong commitment to Burma’s successful democratic transition as the elected government strives to implement reforms, bring peace and reconciliation to the nation, and resolve a devastating crisis in Rakhine State. Our first priority is to relieve the intolerable suffering faced by so many. In response to the dire situation, I announced last week an additional $47 million in humanitarian assistance for those affected by the Rakhine State crisis, bringing the total amount spent in response to this crisis to more than $87 million since August of this year.

Burma’s response to this crisis is vital to determining the success of its transition to a more democratic society. As I said in Naypyitaw, the key test of any democracy is how it treats its most vulnerable and marginalized populations, such as the ethnic Rohingya and other minority populations. Burma’s government and security forces must respect the human rights of all persons within its borders, and hold accountable those who fail to do so.

https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2017/11/275848.htm

So now we wait to see just what the beacon of democracy, the US, will do to rectify this situation.

MY guess is our Fearless Leader will do NOTHING to bring this situation to a close….after all these people are Muslims and we know what he thinks of Muslims now don’t we?