Closing Thought–18Dec17

WE hear about the suicide rate among our veterans…..also we read about children committing suicide because of bullying… seems that suicides are becoming all too regular.

I read something that gave me something to think about….a group that we do not connect to the word suicide……farmers…..

On the day in May 2011 that Matt Peters took his own life, he spoke on the phone with Dr. Mike Rosmann. Rosmann, himself an Iowa farmer, is also a psychologist who doubles as “one of the nation’s leading farmer behavioral health experts,” writes Debbie Weingarten for the Guardian. She knows that firsthand: The former vegetable farmer, weighed down by depression, once called Rosmann herself. “We were growing food, but couldn’t afford to buy it. We worked 80 hours a week, but we couldn’t afford to see a dentist, let alone a therapist. I remember panic when a late freeze threatened our crop, the constant fights about money,” she writes. And she’s not alone. Weingarten cites CDC figures that show the industry with the highest suicide rate is agriculture.

As for possible reasons why, the CDC lists “social isolation, potential for financial losses, barriers to and unwillingness to seek mental health services (which might be limited in rural areas), and access to lethal means.” And the financial picture isn’t pretty right now, with Weingarten noting the median farm income for this year is expected to be negative $1,325. Rosmann says many farmers’ issues can be addressed in no more than five therapy sessions, something he likens to an Employee Assistance Program. Congress in 2008 voted not to fund the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network, a program that would have made hotlines and counseling available to farmers. The cost would have been $18 million a year; Rosmann maintains that the price we pay annually due to suicide is much higher. Read Weingarten’s full piece here.

It is sad to read this……but keep in mind once these people are gone from agriculture then all we have is agri-business….corporate farms……the prices will be going up until the poor eat what they can grown in a pot on the window sill…..

Gotta bounce my friends…..but will return tomorrow….see you then……chuq

Middle East Toxic Schism

Note:  There is a lot of info in this post but if the reader really wants to know what is going on it is worth the time to read…..after all US troops are involved and could be further involved……

Since 1970’s Iran has been at “war” with Saudi Arabia….it is a war of words between two divisions of Islam….Shia and Sunni….it is a war for the soul Islam….but this “war” has been raging for centuries…..

The words Sunni and Shia only emerged into public consciousness at the end of the 1970s. Before then – except among Sunnis and Shias themselves – the terms had been largely confined to the rarified world of Islamic Studies faculties. But in 1978 it became obvious to journalists grappling with the early stages of the Islamic revolution in Iran that the Shia clergy, dismissed as irrelevant ‘black crows’ by the soon-to-be-toppled Shah, were actually very important. Few political analysts – including those in the CIA and MI6 – knew much about them.

Since then, we have gone from one extreme to the other. Today, far too many commentators latch onto the Sunni-Shia divide as the root cause of all the difficulties currently faced by the Middle East and much of the rest of the Islamic world. This explanation is facile, if convenient. Nor is it confined to neo-conservatives or right-wing identity entrepreneurs in the West, who relish writing about a Darwinian struggle for the soul of Islam that fits in with their own preconceptions about the essentially violent nature of the religion. Indeed, Barack Obama is on record as stating that ‘ancient sectarian differences’ are the drivers of today’s instability in the Arab world and that ‘the Middle East is going through a transformation going on for a generation rooted in conflicts that date back millenia’.

Of course the West has fueled this division since 1979…..the M-IC has made this a centerpiece of their game plan…..the profits made from sowing fear is staggering….

Recently there was a report that has been totally ignored by the MSM…..

In a speech broadcast Sunday, President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran is ready to restore ties with Saudi Arabia if it stops bombing Yemen and cuts its alleged ties with Israel.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian demonstrators attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in response to the Saudi execution of a prominent Shiite dissident leader.

This is an opening for a peaceful settling of the Saudi devastation of Yemen……so far the Saudis have ignored the offer……plus they have enlisted US UN Ambassador Nikki Haley to make the case of Iranian missiles fired at Saudi Arabia…..she used visual aids, pieces of a missile, to emphasize the continuing attacks by the Houthis who are backed by Iran.

The US will not see the positive side of this situation……it calls for a “coalition” to confront Iran……

The US ambassador to the UN has called for an international coalition to counter Iran’s influence in the Middle East, while accusing the country of “fanning the flames of conflict” in the region.

Nikki Haley, standing in front of what she said were the remnants of Iranian-made weapons, said the US has found evidence that Iranian ballistic missiles were transferred to, and used by, the Houthi rebel group in Yemen, a violation of Tehran’s international obligations.

“In this warehouse is concrete evidence of illegal Iranian weapons proliferation gathered from direct military attacks on our partners in the region,” Haley said during a news conference in a military hangar near Washington, DC on Thursday.

The intel that the US is using against Iran may be flawed……

The most widely remembered episode of a U.S. administration using an intelligence-based public presentation to stir up hostility toward a country with which it was intent on picking a fight was Secretary of State Colin Powell’s presentation on Iraq to the United Nations Security Council in February 2003.

That presentation and the Bush administration’s year-long campaign, of which Powell’s speech was a part, to sell the U.S. invasion of Iraq represented a misuse of intelligence — less because of the substance than because of the whole nature and purpose of the exercise. Instead of using intelligence for its proper purpose of informing policy decisions yet to be made, this campaign was instead a selective and tendentious use of intelligence to sell a decision already made.

The US is determined that Iran is the enemy and needs to be slapped down.

But even with support from the US will Saudi Arabia ever come in direct conflict with Iran?  Some doubt it……

The geopolitical rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran is nothing new. Even before the 1979 revolution, which saw the establishment of the Islamic Republic, Iran under Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi has been largely viewed in the Arab world as a regional rival except that, back then, Iran had robust relations with the United States and Israel.

The big deal about Iran is their nuke program and the deal that they have entered into that they are complying with but all accounts….the US does not want the Middle East to become a nuke hot spot…….and yet…..

Saudi Arabia might be allowed to enrich uranium, if it accepts a bid to build new nuclear reactors in the kingdom from a US company.

President Donald Trump could relax current restrictions on US companies building nuclear plants in Saudi Arabia by allowing them to offer uranium enrichment and reprocessing.

With billions of dollars at stake and a pledge by Trump to kick-start America’s nuclear industry, sources told Bloomberg that rules governing the export of uranium refinement technology to Saudi Arabia could be loosened.

I would love to hear what Tillerson has to say about this situation……nothing about this situation will be in the best interest in a more peaceful Middle East.

The rhetoric is not good… is almost as vile as the rhetoric leveled at North Korea…..will Iran be the next countrry that we destroy?

Destroying Syria was to be next. And then Iran. In 2006, columnist Taki Theodoracopulos warned in TheAmerican Conservative of the “Clean Break” plan “to aggressively remake the strategic environments of Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. As they say in boxing circles, three down, two to go.” Core promoters of the PNAC plan signed an open letter to then President Clinton calling for the removal of Saddam Hussein. They were Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, R. James Woolsey, Elliot Abrams, Donald Rumsfeld, Robert Zoellick and John Bolton, all solid members of the Neoconservative project.

Only time will tell just what this president will do….he talks a lot but actions will speak volumes…..

Is It WMDs All Over Again?

Does everyone remember the WMDs in Iraq….the false flag to authorize the invasion and occupation……that was in 2003 but some things never go out of style…….Nikki Halley is trying to use it on Iran…….

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, stood in front of a rusty hunk of metal Thursday and accused Iran of exporting weapons to rebels in Yemen, a violation of U.N. resolutions.

“The weapons might as well have ‘Made in Iran’ stickers on them,” Haley said. Behind her was a missile that provides “indisputable” proof, she said, that Iran is supplying Houthi rebels with weapons. The missile parts she showed off Thursday were recovered following a November 4 strike on an airport in Riyadh.

Haley described “Iranian missile fingerprints” on the missile and several other weapons that were on display, including an anti-tank missile and a “kamikaze drone.” She said the transfer of these weapons into the hands of Houthi rebels is a violation of U.N. resolution 2231, which bars Iran from the “supply, sale, or transfer of arms or related materiel.”

Really?  Follow them back to Iran?  Could any of the ordinance used on Yemen have a stamp “Made in USA” somewhere?

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran, as well as between Iran and Saudi Arabia, are reaching a critical level, as are risks of a deliberate or accidental confrontation among these parties. Nearly two years after entering into force, the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and the P5+1 (permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany) is in jeopardy. Simultaneously, regional dynamics across the Middle East are trending in a worrisome direction. Friction between Iran and the U.S. is growing in Iraq and Syria as the strength of their common foe, the Islamic State (ISIS), diminishes. In Lebanon, Yemen and the Persian Gulf, Israel, the U.S. and a more assertive Saudi leadership see an emboldened Iran they are determined to cut down to size.

The US cherry picked facts in 2003 and I would expect them to do it when writing about Iran………

Although nobody knows exactly where Donald Trump intends to go with his campaign of seeking confrontation with Iran, his administration already has provided disconcerting parallels with the techniques an earlier U.S. administration used in selling its launching of a war against Iraq. Among these techniques is the cherry-picking of intelligence not to inform policy-making or to enlighten the public but instead to inculcate false perceptions among the public and thereby to muster support for a policy already chosen.

The parallels have become remarkably close as the Trump administration has tried to get people to believe there is some sort of cooperation and common purpose between Iran and Al Qaeda. The President made this insinuation in his speech on Iran in October. Then his CIA director, Mike Pompeo, ordered a tendentious re-exploitation of already exploited documents captured in the raid at Abbottabad, Pakistan, that killed Osama bin  Laden.

What is the Fearless Fosdick school of international relations going to be doing…..

President Trump’s October decision to “decertify” but not immediately dissolve the Iran nuclear deal opened a narrow door to forging a stronger approach to Iran. But his State Department negotiators will need help from Congress — which is facing a Dec. 12 deadline for action — and, crucially, from European governments.

Since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, was signed in 2015, Iran has hardly moderated its efforts to boost its arsenal and regional influence, as some Obama officials had predicted. Instead, Tehran has expanded its provocative ballistic-missile program and continued to channel funds and weapons to Hezbollah; the Yemeni Houthis; and Shia militiamen in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. While it may have been easier politically to keep the JCPOA separate from the rest of the U.S. approach, the unfortunate truth is that in order to make real progress on confronting Iran and protecting U.S. national-security interests, Trump needed to make everyone uncomfortable about the status of the nuclear deal. At the same time, he must tread lightly and keep in mind the risks.

Iran will be the next big thing as soon as North Korea is settled down…….

In a presentation critics characterized as remarkably similar to former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s case for the Iraq War, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley stood before a missile fragment that she claimed bears Iran’s “fingerprints” and asserted that the Iranian regime poses “a threat to the peace and security of the entire world.”

“It’s hard to find a conflict or a terrorist group in the Middle East that does not have Iran’s fingerprints all over it,” Haley said in a speech delivered at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, located just outside the nation’s capital. Haley went on to suggest that the fragment theatrically positioned behind her on wooden pallets was part of a missile Houthi rebels fired into Saudi Arabia from Yemen last month

Shades of 2003……..can anyone say deja vu?

2017 Final Tax Bill

It’s Monday and then political world is all a tether over the tax bill that will soon be voted on soon.

This thing had all the political drama that a good saga needed to be newsworthy…..but all that aside…..what does this final version look like?

Congressional Republicans on Friday evening revealed the final version of their massive tax bill, which appears likely to pass next week, the Washington Post reports. Here’s some of what’s included in the “Tax Cut and Jobs Act”:

  • The corporate tax rate is reduced from 35% to 21%, representing an approximately $1 trillion tax cut over the next decade.
  • Despite Trump’s claim the bill wouldn’t cut taxes for the wealthy, the wealthiest Americans see their tax rate reduced from 39.6% to 37%. The bill also raises the income needed to hit that tax rate.
  • People can inherit up to $11 million tax-free—an increase from $5.5 million—in changes to the estate tax.
  • The bill lowers tax rates within all seven tax brackets, leading to lower taxes for most Americans, ABC News reports. But those cuts expire in eight years, and independent analyses have found people making under $75,000 will pay more in taxes over the next decade.
  • The standard deduction is increased from $12,700 to $24,000 for joint filers and from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals.
  • In a move seen as targeting blue states, the bill limits state, local, and property tax deductions to $10,000. Those deductions are unlimited under current law.
  • The bill keeps popular deductions for student loan interest and medical expenses, as well as graduate students’ tax break.
  • The bill repeals the ObamaCare individual mandate and allows drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Hill reports.

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act will be voted on next week, starting with the House on Tuesday. Republicans can only afford to lose two votes in the Senate, but there are currently no Republican senators on the record against the bill. Analysts have suggested tax cuts in the bill will add $1.5 trillion to the deficit and would likely not pay for themselves through economic growth, as Republicans and the Trump administration claim.

BTW, nothing about this is true with the exception that it will add to the National Debt……$1.5 trillion that my granddaughter will have to pay….this bill sucks!

Damn Close To Checkmate?

For about a week the Trump media empire(FOX News and Breitbart) has been calling for the firing of Mueller it even extended into the Congress where all his little butt boyz echoed FOX calling the FBI corrupt and calling for Mueller to be fired….then over the weekend something changed a statement was issued saying that the president would not fire Mueller…..why the sudden turnaround?

Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian contacts with President Trump’s campaign has accessed thousands of his transition team’s emails, according to several sources. But the investigators did not directly request the records from Trump’s still-existing transition group, Trump for America, and instead obtained them from the General Services Administration, a separate federal agency that stored the material—prompting transition group general counsel Kory Langhofer to complain the move was “unauthorized” release of non-government material, reports the Washington Post. The tens of thousands of emails pertain to 13 senior Trump transition officials, including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, reports the AP; many include national security discussions about possible Trump international aims as well as candid assessments of candidates for top posts.

Langhofer said that a GSA official appointed by Trump in May had assured the transition in June that any request for records from Mueller’s office would be referred to the transition’s attorneys. According to Langhofer, the assurance was made by then-GSA General Counsel Richard Beckler, who was hospitalized in August and has since died. But late Saturday, GSA Deputy Counsel Lenny Loewentritt, who was present for the conversation, told Buzzfeed that there was nothing improper about the disclosure of the emails. Loewentritt said the transition was informed that by using government devices, the GSA wouldn’t hold back records from law enforcement. Transition officials signed agreements that warn them that materials kept on government servers are subject to monitoring, and there’s no expectation of privacy. Late Saturday, a Mueller rep said that “when we have obtained emails … we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process.”

The game of political chess is fascinating…..I am sure that there is more drama and comedy to come…..stay tuned…..

Two high-ranking members of Donald Trump’s team said there’s been no talk at the White House of firing Robert Mueller, even as the president’s legal team accused the special counsel of obtaining emails from the Trump transition team illegally. Appearing on Meet the Press today, White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short said there’s been “no conversation about that in the White House whatsoever,” Politico reports. “You guys keep bringing that up,” he added. “We’ve continued to cooperate in every single possible way in that investigation.” Yesterday White House lawyer Ty Cobb reiterated that the president has no plans to fire Mueller. “As the White House has repeatedly and emphatically said for months, there is no consideration at the White House of terminating the special counsel,” Cobb said.

Meanwhile, on CNN’s State of the Union, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had to take time away from extolling the Republican tax-reform bill to address rumors about Mueller’s future, the New York Daily News reports. Mnuchin said he hadn’t “heard anything about this, any firing” at the White House, but said the decision would ultimately lie with Trump. “I don’t have any reason to think that the president is going to do that, but that’s obviously up to him,” Mnuchin said. Outside the White House, Republican Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said he thinks firing Mueller “would be a mistake myself.”

I love this stuff…..listening to the Trump minions is like a SNL skit…..rabid idiots is the best description…..Reps like Jordan and Gohmert have always been morons they just have the loudest mouths right now……