Closing Thought–19Jan18

The Games Politicians Play

Midnight today could bring about the shutting down of the government…..and as usual the blame game has already started……the jockeying for position….the he said they did…..the game is afoot!

If he were a betting man, it doesn’t sound like President Trump would be betting on a short-term budget agreement passing Congress by Friday. In brief comments to reporters outside the Pentagon Thursday, Trump said there “could very well be” a shutdown. “We’ll see what happens. It’s up to the Democrats,” Politico quotes him as saying. That seems to be Mitch McConnell’s line, too. Politico reports—by way of GOP sources and an email from McConnell it viewed—that should the short-term funding bill the GOP is pushing not pass by the Friday deadline, McConnell plans to try to foist the blame for the ensuing shutdown on Democrats and their DACA-related demands, particularly those Democrats whose seat will be up for grabs this fall and who hail from states Trump won (there are 10, Politico notes).

The reported strategy is for McConnell to keep the Senate in session all weekend and arrange a slew of votes that could put Dems in a bad light, should they continually vote against things like the Children’s Health Insurance Program. If a shutdown does kick in at midnight Friday, the AP reports the impact would be evident but not paralyzing. Federal workers would be impacted and national parks could close, but essential things—Social Security payments, Homeland Security, the military, air traffic control, food inspection—would truck on. There could be an economic cost, though. In a great primer on what a shutdown could mean, the Los Angeles Times notes that the 16-day 2013 shutdown dropped Q4 GDP growth from 3% to 2.4%, per Standard & Poor’s estimates

This will be just another game that will feed the Twitter account and the media for a few days until a compromise is found….YAWN!

But let us say all falls to shit and the shutdown occurs……

The looming government shutdown has had one tangible effect so far: President Trump has put plans for a trip to his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort on hold, reports NBC News. “The President will not be going to Florida until the CR passes,” the White House said, referring to a continuing resolution to keep the government open before a midnight deadline arrives. Trump had been planning to leave Friday to attend an anniversary bash on Saturday at Mar-a-Lago, a celebration of his first year in office, reports Bloomberg. More on the shutdown, including a Friday meeting between Trump and Chuck Schumer, and its potential effects on everyday life:

  • Prospects: Things are “dicey at best” in terms of a deal, with Politico seeing a “seemingly intractable impasse” in the Senate. One huge sticking point is that Democrats want any spending plan to include protections for about 700,000 young “Dreamer” immigrants. Still, it’s possible the Senate could take some kind of action Friday to stave off the shutdown, if only for the short term. One positive sign: Trump invited Schumer to the White House, and the two were meeting Friday afternoon, per the Hill.
  • The effects: You’ll still get mail if the government shuts down, and Social Security recipients will still get their checks. Air traffic controllers and the TSA would stay on the job, so air travel shouldn’t be greatly affected, explains USA Today. But services deemed “non-essential” would suffer—for example, those waiting on a passport might be out of luck. The AP has a video primer.
  • The furloughs: An estimated 850,000 “non-essential” federal workers can expect to be furloughed, per the Week; the Washington Post has a detailed breakdown. Of note: Military operations and national security wouldn’t be affected, though civilian Pentagon workers would likely be sent home.
  • National parks: Stay tuned. Typically, they close during shutdowns, but the Trump administration is working on a plan to keep them open, if on a limited basis, reports CNN. “The American public and especially our veterans who come to our nation’s capital should find war memorials and open air parks open to the public,” says an Interior Department spokesperson.
  • Blame game: Trump and Republicans were aggressively trying to pin the blame for any shutdown on Democrats. “Democrats are needed if it is to pass in the Senate – but they want illegal immigration and weak borders,” Trump tweeted Friday. “Shutdown coming? We need more Republican victories in 2018!” Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan also went after Democrats, with McConnell saying their “fixation on illegal immigration” will be to blame, reports the AP.
  • The winner? Paul Kane at the Washington Post ponders which side would prevail in the “court of public opinion” and finds that it would boil down to a messaging game. If Democrats can make any shutdown “about Trump and his ability to govern,” they’ll triumph. “If Republicans can make it about immigration, the victory is probably theirs.” A poll by ABC News and the Washington Post is good news for Democrats: 48% say they’d blame Trump and Republicans for a shutdown, 28% blame Democrats, and 18% blame both sides equally.
  • The factions: It’s not just Democrats who would prevent the Senate from getting the necessary 60 votes on a plan, and the New York Times lays out the various factions at play. At least three Republicans are in the “no” camp as well.

Let’s go and start our weekend…..it is cold but warming so go out and make some fun…..peace out…..chuq

Syria: The Rest Of The Story

2018 is the year that a foreign policy wonk will be the most important person….why you may ask…..

A year ago the media and the president and his men could not talk enough about Syria…..and now you cannot find a word on the MSM news sites…..but just because there is nothing on FOX News does not mean there is nothing happening…..

Well everyone is patting themselves on the back with the defeat of ISIS and the caliphate…..well that is what Trump and his minions would have you believe….ISIS is not gone and will not be forgotten.

First….the caliphate may be all but a memory…..but the emirate looms large……in the city of Idlib….that would be Syria…….

While the representatives of Free Syria Army (FSA) are in Washington soliciting the Trump administration to restore the CIA’s ‘train and equip’ program for the Syrian militants that was shuttered in July last year, hundreds of Islamic State’s jihadists have joined the so-called ‘moderate rebels’ in Idlib in their battle against the advancing Syrian government troops backed by the Russian airstrikes to liberate the strategically important Abu Duhur airbase, according to a recent AFP report [1] by Maya Gebeily.

The Islamic State already had a foothold in neighboring Hama province and its infiltration in Idlib seems to be an extension of its outreach. On January 12, the Islamic State officially declared Idlib one of its ‘Islamic governorates,’ has reportedly captured five villages and claimed to had killed two dozen Syrian soldiers and taken 20 hostages.

https://www.veteranstoday.com/2018/01/17/islamic-state-declares-idlib-its-emirate/

We will ignore the emirate thingy…..Tillerson has stated recently that there will be a open end presence for troops in Syria……

Pentagon officials have been indicating for quite some time that they have no intention of leaving Syria, but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on Wednesday, finally set out the new US policy goals aimed at justifying what he described as an “open-ended” deployment.

Instead of a “counter-terror” operation focused on ISIS, the US presence is now also intended to generally fight against Iranian influence, to facilitate refugee returns to Syria and, most scandalously, to “ensure the departure of the Assad regime.”

The US has long insisted on regime change in Syria, but never before suggested that their military deployment in the country was anything to do with that, let alone that the US might try to impose regime change militarily.

With the legal justification for the US deployment in Syria already shaky, at best, with no authorization from the Syrian government, re-positioning the war away from ISIS and toward a war with the Syrian government and its allies makes an open-ended deployment even less tenable.

(antiwar.com)

First of all Tillerson is SecState not SecDef….so any use of US troops should be made by the SecDef…..and I guess we have returned to the old days of nation building.

I guess everyone is worried about Iran…….only because Israel wants it that way…..

Hollywood: America’s Propaganda Machine

I have been calling Hollywood and their movies as part of the propaganda machine here in the US……that brings me to the movie “The Darkest Hour”…basically a Churchill feel good piece…..but let’s look at Churchill shall we?

A man who starved 4 million to death in India, facilitated Zionism & Wahhabism in the Mid East, ordered a massacre of anti-Nazi protesters in Greece, conceived Black & Tans to terrorise Ireland & sought to keep Kenya’s fertile land for white settlers was voted the greatest Briton.

Stuff that is left out of the story about Churchill….but that is typical of Hollywood…

She staggers on to the screen, blood streaming from her face. Some of her wounds are flesh ones, but others are deep. Nobody cares, because her performance is sensational. Her name is truth, and she has taken a terrible beating.

The new thriller All the Money in the World, based on the kidnap of John Paul Getty III in 1973, carries an announcement that it is “inspired by” true events and that its genre is “history”. What does that mean, since some of it is clearly not true? Why not say it is “inspired by lies”, and its genre is fiction? That would be true.

Likewise, promotion for the latest Churchill movie, Darkest Hour, says that the actor Gary Oldman “is Churchill”. Everyone, including the great man, is made up to appear as in real life. We are asked to treat it as true. Yet it includes a fabricated scene, out of character, in which he chats on the tube with ordinary people, clearly to make him look good. If that is not true, how much else “isn’t Churchill”? Some of it; most of it; or all of it?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/11/hollywood-history-churchill-getty-trust-fiction

What better weapon in a propaganda war than the movies?

The newest propaganda piece is “12 Strong”……we  seem to always win the war at the end of these movies…..