Closing Thought–09Mar18

The Holocaust was a barbaric event in the history of the world….the deaths and the mistreatment of Jews during WW2 was unconscionable….

The Holocaust Museum gives an award to persons who confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity……..and the Burmese leader of the democratic movement, Aung San Suu Kyi has been told that her award has been withdrawn……

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum gives out its prestigious Elie Wiesel Award to just one person a year, selecting “an internationally prominent individual whose actions have advanced the Museum’s vision of a world where people confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity.” Now, the second person to ever receive the honor (Wiesel himself was the first, in 2011) has seen it rescinded. In what the New York Times calls “perhaps the strongest rebuke yet,” the museum on Tuesday informed Aung San Suu Kyi in a letter that it was stripping her of the award due to her response—or non-response, as she has yet to publicly say the word “Rohingya”—to Myanmar’s ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.

The letter explains the museum has been “closely monitoring the military’s campaign against the Rohingya and your response to it,” and that it began publicly airing its concerns about what was happening to the Rohingya in 2013; subsequent visits to Myanmar and Bangladesh have followed. “We had hoped that you—as someone we and many others have celebrated for your commitment to human dignity and universal human rights—would have done something to condemn and stop the military’s brutal campaign and to express solidarity with the targeted Rohingya population,” the letter continues. The museum implores her to “use your moral authority to address this situation” and ends with words from Wiesel himself: “Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

I think this ward is one that is needed in this world today……however if the museum wants to give this award then it should make a strong statement against the state of Israel for its treatment of the Palestinian people…..the killings, the imprisonment, the land theft, the destruction of crops and homes…..the treatment of the Arab-Israelis as second class citizens.

The museum brings spotlight to the horrible treatment during the Holocaust and yet turns a blind eye to the similar tactics of Israel.  Until they address this then I cannot take them seriously.

I will be called an anti-semite for this but that would be inaccurate….I do not hate Jews…I hate the heavy handed tactics of the government of Israel.

Off I go to boycott as much as I can….will see you guys later…..more stuff in the works….time to begin my weekend of gardening……chuq

Death Of Soft Power

Soft and hard power….I know it sounds like some sort of add for miracle mattress….well Hell not this time…..soft power is a technique for handling world affairs…..a technique that is being lost especially with a Trump presidency……

The evidence is clear. Donald Trump’s presidency has eroded America’s soft power. Only 30% of people recently polled by Gallup in 134 countries held a favourable view of the United States under Trump’s leadership, a drop of almost 20 points since Barack Obama’s presidency. The Pew Research Center found that China, with 30% approval ratings, had reached near-parity with the US. And a British index, The Soft Power 30, showed America slipping from first place in 2016 to third place last year.

Trump’s defenders reply that soft power does not matter. Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, proclaimed a ‘hard power budget’ as he slashed funds for the State Department and the US Agency for International Development by 30%. For promoters of ‘America First’, what the rest of the world thinks ranks second. Are they right?

A country’s soft power comes primarily from three sources: its culture (when it is attractive to others), its political values such as democracy and human rights (when it lives up to them), and its policies (when they are seen as legitimate because they are framed with some humility and awareness of others’ interests). How a government behaves at home (for example, protecting a free press), in international institutions (consulting others and multilateralism) and in foreign policy (promoting development and human rights) can affect others by the influence of its example. In all of these areas, Trump has reversed attractive American policies.

Would you like to understand what “soft power” means?

“Soft power” is a term used to describe a nation’s use of co-operative programs and monetary aide to persuade other nations to ascribe to its policies. With U.S. State Department budget cuts likely in the wake of the August 2, 2011 debt ceiling deal, many observers expect soft-power programs to suffer.

Hard power makes more profit for the defense industry so it will be more attractive than soft power and will remain so until we find a way to make peace as attractive (profitable)  as war…..not any time soon.

Soft power……hard power…..whatever….the US needs to get back to basics…….

An especially pernicious idea regarding U.S. foreign policy was Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s assertion that the United States was the world’s “indispensable nation.” It would have been bad enough if that statement had been a content-less expression of national narcissism. However, that same arrogant assumption has been the guiding principle of Washington’s foreign policy since the end of World War II—and especially since the end of the Cold War. The belief led to strategic overextension, as the United States embraced security obligations, both explicit and implicit, around the world.

Military force is not the best foreign policy…..but since our diplomatic corps is in the crapper….it is all we have at this point in history.

This will be my last post until I can get the whole doctor experience for the day over with……hopefully it will be over soon……..

Rocket Man And The Dotard

Hey Stormy is NO longer front page news… we have the impromptu meeting between Li’l Kim and Trumpy……and as usual the speculation is running rampant……so I thought I would add a little to the conversation…..

Op-ed from the Lowy Institute……..

If the North Korean cheerleaders at the Olympics hadn’t snared enough global attention already, the prospect of a grip-and-grin meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un sure has captured headlines.

It seems, to borrow the military phrase, a sudden escalation in peaceful possibilities. Last year Trump was hurling “Rocket Man” and fire and fury tweets across the Pacific, while the North Korean regime fired back at the “dotard” in the White House, and the whole situation was worryingly tense. Malcolm Turnbull warned about prospect of invoking the ANZUS alliance should conflict errupt, and Trump was bragging about the size of his nuclear button.

The insults are silent……and the world will hold its breath praying for some sanity by the two leaders.

Let’s hope that this is more than a photo op…..let’s hope that these two realize the seriousness of this opportunity and they make the most out of the tie they have…..

The date of this meeting is said to be in “May”…..whatcha think….yes/no?

Hands Across The DMZ

While you were making sleep and dreams……Hell began to freeze (a bit)……..

After all the big talk….after all the threats….after all the macho posturing it appears as if the US/South Korea/North Korea nuke situation may have been tamped down  bit.

Li’L Kim has offered to talk…..Trump has accepted (at least for now) and South Korea can change their drawers now……

In a startling development, North Korea says it will halt its nuclear weapons program and Kim Jong Un will meet with President Trump in the coming months, the Washington Post reports. “[Kim] expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible,” Chung Eui-yong told reporters Thursday at the White House. “President Trump said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May.” The South Korean national security adviser was part of a delegation that arrived at the White House on Thursday to deliver a letter from Kim directly to Trump, according to CNN. Chung had led a delegation that met with Kim in Pyongyang on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reports. That meeting left South Korea feeling hopeful about a diplomatic solution to the ongoing nuclear crisis with North Korea.

There’s no information about where the meeting between Trump and Kim will take place, but it will be the first face-to-face meeting between a sitting US president and the leader of North Korea. In fact, no sitting president has even held a phone call with with the North Korean leader. Chung gave Trump credit for the breakthrough. “I explained to President Trump that his leadership and his maximum pressure strategy … brought us to this juncture,” Chung said. But analysts are split on whether Kim is agreeing to halt his nuclear program and meet with Trump because sanctions are working and he fears a US attack or because he now sees the countries as equal nuclear powers. Kim will meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in next month—only the third-ever meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea since 1953.

This is a great opportunity to solve a nagging problem of nukes on the Korean Peninsula….my worry is that there are not enough actual experts on the situation for any successful outcome.

However, this is a great chance for a peaceful conclusion to a tense situation…..then why do I have this uneasy feeling that it will go to crap before the meeting takes place?

There is not much time before the proposed meeting and with experienced diplomats many thing could go wrong….like…..

No location set. No location for the meeting has been set, though Mar-a-Lago is probably a long shot, the Guardian reports. Experts say that while there is a chance Kim could visit Washington or Trump could visit Pyongyang, more neutral potential venues include China, South Korea, or the DMZ.

A “real challenge” for diplomats. Analysts say it is going to be tough for the State Department to assemble a team that can support the historic summit. “The State Department has hemorrhaged Korean linguists and former negotiators” and North Korea “will send people with 30 years of experience, Douglas H. Paal at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace tells the Washington Post. “This is a real challenge.”

Trump optimism. Trump sounded optimistic about the meeting Thursday night. “Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze,” he tweeted. “Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!”

Talks, not negotiations. A senior administration official tells the Los Angeles Times that at this point, “we’re not really talking about negotiations.” Trump “has been very clear from the beginning that he is not prepared to reward North Korea in exchange for talks,” the official says. “But he is willing to accept an invitation at this time to meet and to allow—and really expects—North Korea to put action to these words that were conveyed via the South Koreans.”

Is Trump being played? Analysts say the summit is a massive gamble—one that risks legitimizing one of the world’s worst human rights abusers. “We got nothing for it. And Kim will never give up his nukes,” Obama administration Asia adviser Evan S. Medeiros tells the New York Times. “Kim played Moon and is now playing Trump.”

Like I said… many things can go wrong…..

I wish I could be more optimistic….but after 12 months of the Reality Show in the White House I sadly cannot be so…..this is just a show for both sides.

And this is how you get “Stormy” off the front pages.

Yemen–Looking For The Solution

Another morning of doctors…..I may not be around much today…..hopefully everyone will have a good Friday.

The US has been entangled in the events in Yemen since the attack on the USS Cole….first we set about trying to find and punish those that planned the attack and after we have been fighting the Houthi tribesmen along with the Saudis.  This little conflict is causing a massive humanitarian crisis……starvation, epidemics, death and destruction…..

The US Senate has stepped up to try and end the US involvement in Yemen….surprise, surprise….it is a bi-partisan endeavor…..

Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) unveiled the bipartisan Senate resolution which aims to force an end to the US military involvement in the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen.

The bill makes use of the 1973 War Powers Act, which allows any legislator to introduce a resolution which would compel a withdrawal from any conflict that was not specifically authorized by Congress in any Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). Neither of the two extent AUMFs have anything to do with the attack on Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthi movement.

This is the first time the Senate will have ever made a War Powers challenge to a conflict. A previous effort at such a legal challenge in the House was derailed by the leadership, and replaced with a “non-binding” resolution noting the Yemen war was unauthorized, which overwhelmingly passed.

Centcom commander Gen. Joseph Votel confirmed to the House Armed Services committee only the day prior that the US does not have an AUMF for Yemen, and that America’s involvement is solely a function of having sold the arms to the Saudis in the first place, and promising to “provide support” for those arms.

Yet legally, Congress is supposed to have the war-making powers, and this Senate effort stands to be the first time in recent history that Congress looks like they might be reasserting that authority.


The US is fighting in too many countries ans this one is one that we need to remove ourselves from……

As early as the next few days, the Senate will have its best opportunity so far to end US support for Saudi Arabia’s devastating war in Yemen — a war that has sparked a humanitarian catastrophe that puts millions of lives at risk.

The vehicle for congressional action is a bipartisan bill introduced last week by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut. The bill would end US refueling and targeting assistance for Saudi Arabia’s bombing, aimed at Houthi rebels in Yemen, unless such actions are authorized by Congress
This is a good start….but it needs to be expanded to include the AUMF and the War Powers Act…..
The Senate started the ball rolling and now the House seems to want to join in……

Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), hosted a bipartisan hearing on the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that for 17 years has been used to exercise executive military action abroad under multiple presidential administrations.

The hearing focused the congressional caucus members’ desire to repeal the 2001 AUMF, hold a congressional debate and vote on a new authorization. The hearing was composed of members from both the House Liberty Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The caucuses say the vote on war isn’t a partisan issue.

“The overly broad and outdated AUMF represents a critical deterioration of congressional oversight of military operations,” a press release from Rep. Amash for the ad-hoc hearing read.

Republicans and Democrats join forces to call for repeal of 2001 AUMF war making powers

The old college try…..finally a glimmer of spines peeks out of the cowardly Congress…..I wish them luck.