Closing Thought–26Mar18

Into A Stormy Night!

The much anticipated interview with Stormy Daniels has come and gone…..the of a tell-all was not the case……

In her much-anticipated interview with 60 Minutes, Stormy Daniels recounts a threat she received in 2011 about staying quiet regarding her alleged affair with Donald Trump. Daniels told Anderson Cooper that the threat occurred in the parking lot of a fitness center in Las Vegas, a few weeks after Daniels had for the first time agreed to tell her story to a gossip magazine for $15,000, per CBS News. “A guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘Leave Trump alone. Forget the story,’ ” Daniels said. “And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.’ And then he was gone.” The magazine, a sister publication of In Touch, never ran the story because Trump’s lawyers threatened to sue.

Daniels says the matter largely ended there until Trump won the presidential nomination five years later, and media sites began approaching her. That’s when she says she accepted $130,000 from Trump attorney Michael Cohen to sign a non-disclosure agreement. “They made it sound like I had no choice,” Daniels said. She added that there was no threat of physical violence. “The exact sentence used was, ‘They can make your life hell in many different ways.'” Anderson asked who she meant by “they,” and she replied, “I’m not exactly sure who they were. I believe it to be Michael Cohen.” She said she agreed to the deal “because I was concerned for my family and their safety.”

I think this interview fell to the floor with a very loud “thud”…..Daniels answers to the soft ball questions were generalized and not as telling as the interview had been billed.  Cooper missed several opportunities to expand this conversation and he was shooting blanks. What did we learn?

Photos and messages? Daniels declined to confirm whether photos or text messages that back up her account of the affair exist, the Washington Post reports in its list of five takeaways from the interview. She said her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, recommended she not discuss such things. When Cooper told Avenatti he could be bluffing, the attorney said: “You should ask some of the other people in my career when they’ve bet on me bluffing.”

he wasn’t attracted to Trump. Unlike former Playmate Karen McDougal, Daniels said she wasn’t physically attracted to Trump, who was 33 years older than her at the time of the alleged encounter in 2006, USA Today reports. She added, however, that the sex was consensual and she wasn’t “a victim.” The adult film star told Cooper she had sex with Trump once, without protection, in 2006 after he told her he might be able to get her on The Apprentice. She said when she asked about Melania Trump, who had given birth to Barron a few months earlier, Trump told her they had “separate rooms and stuff.”

The spanking. Daniels said she spanked Trump with a magazine that had his face on it, but it was more playful than erotic. She said that when she joked about spanking him with the magazine he had been boasting about, “he turned around and pulled his pants down a little—you know, had underwear on and stuff, and I just gave him a couple swats.”

A cease-and-desist letter. After the interview aired Sunday, Brent Blakely, a lawyer for Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Avenatti, complaining that he had been linked to the alleged threat, the New York Times reports. Cohen “had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any such person or incident, and does not even believe that any such person exists, or that such incident ever occurred,” the letter stated.

“You remind me of my daughter.” Daniels told Cooper that Trump told her she reminded him of his daughter, the AP reports. “He was like, ‘Wow, you—you are special. You remind me of my daughter,'” she said. “You know—he was like, ‘You’re smart and beautiful, and a woman to be reckoned with, and I like you. I like you.” (This is just creepy)

Silence from Trump. The president has remained silent about the interview on Twitter and in person, ignoring shouted questions from reporters as he returned to the White House from Mar-a-Lago Sunday night. The Hill notes Melania Trump has decided to stay in Florida “for spring break” instead of returning to Washington.

Is she telling the truth?  That is not for me to decide….that is going to be a legal decision….but the flames are being fanned……

I’m guessing that this situation is far from over and will be used for awhile until they find something else they can milk for speculation and sensationalism…..

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Opioids: The War

The big story these days to divert attention of the public is the new war on opioid addiction….I have a feeling that those people that need the meds to manage their chronic pain will suffer more than some street addict.

There are -people that have broken legs with massive metal it took to repair the damage and then then is those people that have had part of a foot amputated and need opioids to help with the pain…..and in some cases a person that has both problems and needs pain meds to manage daily chronic pain with a capital “P”……..these people that depend on pain management to get through a daily life could suffer and more so than some street dealer……

After years of having their condition misunderstood, sufferers of chronic pain now find themselves in the position of being, as one patient puts it, collateral in the country’s war on drugs. Harper’s takes a long look at self-described “pain refugees,” who need opioids to do everything from getting their kids dressed for school to just getting out of bed but who find themselves suddenly unable to get the necessary prescriptions as the US tackles its growing opioid crisis. Last June, overdose became the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. The blame is falling squarely on the healthcare industry. “There’s a desire for something simple to latch onto as a way of explaining it,” one addiction specialist says. “A story that has a clear-cut villain, with doctors as dupes and patients as innocent victims, is about as easy to sell as any story.”

But the real story is a lot more nuanced than that. High-dose opioid prescriptions dropped 41% between 2010 and 2015 at the same time overdose deaths increased 37%. And the majority of opioid misuse is not committed by people with opioid prescriptions. But what really hurts sufferers of chronic pain is people confusing physical dependence on opioids for addiction. “Someone who is physically dependent on opioids as a result of the treatment of pain but who is not craving more or harming themselves or others is not addicted,” FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb says. In fact, studies have found under 8% of Americans prescribed opioids for chronic pain are addicted. That hasn’t helped sufferers like Austin Sell, whose chronic pain has forced him from jobs and wrecked his marriage. “I’m a big black guy with tattoos,” he says. “They accused me of exhibiting drug-seeking behavior.” Read the full story here.

The death penalty for “dealers” will do little to curb the trend of opioid abuse….we could do what Kellyanne Conway, the czar for opioid abuse, says the need for users…..

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, who is overseeing the administration’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, warned millennials on Thursday not to try the powerful drug fentanyl.

“Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid — most of America suffers from information underload when it comes to the horrors and dangers and really the toxicity and lethality of fentanyl,” Conway remarked at Generation Next, a forum for millennials.

She noted that fentanyl was significantly more powerful than opioids like morphine.

“On our college campuses, you folks are reading the labels, they won’t put any sugar in their body, they won’t eat carbs anymore, and they’re very, very fastidious about what goes into their body,” Conway said.

“And then you buy a street drug for $5 or $10, it’s laced with fentanyl and that’s it.”

“So my short advice is, eat the ice cream, have the French fry, don’t buy the street drug — believe me, it all works out,” Conway added.

So a quart of Rocky Road will do the trick that opioids have filled…..this is the person that is the head of the presidential program on opioid addiction.

Remove the make-up and exposure Yoda.

You Have The Cash

Congress just past a $1.3 trillion budget…that is trillion with a “T”…..and most of it goes to where?  You guessed it…..the Pentagon.

The last minute signing of the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill in the US is a big windfall for the Pentagon, who will be getting the majority of the money, in the realm of $700 billion. This includes 14 new ships, 28 new helicopters, and 56 of the costly F-35 warplanes. This $700 billion does not include other military-related spending, including the VA.

This is part of a $61 billion spending increase over the previous year, and virtually every aspect of the Pentagon is getting more money, more equipment, higher pay, and just general boosts in funding. Which isn’t to say everyone’s happy.

The funding covers an active put military of 1,322,500 people, with 816,900 reservists, and offers a long list of new vehicles and gear for them. $65.2 billion is also set aside for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), the budget that nominally is for war, but which in practice the Pentagon can readily shift around to different priorities.

(antiwar.com)

I am pleased that our troops will get everything they need to fight the endless wars we are now engaged in…..but at the cost of the veterans?

Who are we worried about that we need such an increase in our military spending?

Russia?

Well Russia is decreasing their military spending by 5%……

While the Pentagon continues to grow US military spending annually, despite already spending many times more than any other nation in the world, Russia indicated Friday they’re heading in the opposite direction. The Kremlin has announced planned cuts.

Kremlin officials say their intention is to cut military spending over the next five years, with an end goal being that, by 2022, they will be sending less than 3 percent of their annual GDP on the military. Currently Russia spends in excess of 5% in recent years.

(antiwar.com)

We do not need to worry so much about Russia.

Maybe it is ISIS?

By all accounts, military accounts that is, ISIS is a shell of their former selves….so they are not the need for the increase…

China!

It has got to be that we are concerned about China….is it possible?

Then There Is Afghanistan

Afghanistan!

That little war that goes on and on and……endless and eternal.

A war most Americans have tried to erase from their memories…..but the death and destruction continues….

Soon there will be an exercise in democracy…..an election…..an all the biggies in the country are jockeying for position….as  usual the big guys are pulling no punches as they make plans for the vote.

Afghanistan’s powerbrokers are in the early stages of an intense competition as they prepare for the planned 2019 presidential election. The multi-month disagreement between President Ashraf Ghani and warlord and long-time Balkh Province Governor Mohammad Atta Noor over the latter’s governorship is the first stage of a much larger battle between the two politicians for the presidency. Atta is exploiting friction caused by how President Ghani wields his power to build a network of alliances to challenge President Ghani in 2019. Meanwhile, Ghani is actively using his immense presidential power to undermine Atta’s attempts to build an opposing coalition.

http://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/afghanistans-powerbrokers-prepare-2019-presidential-elections

With the election is a good time for the US to re-think the policy toward the country…..

President Trump has suspended about a quarter billion dollars in military aid to Pakistan. That move is the right one, but an examination of the wider failed U.S. policy toward the Afghanistan-Pakistan region is warranted and how that unending fiasco has evolved.

In late 2001, in response to the sheltering by the Afghan Taliban, then the rulers of Afghanistan, of al-Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden, the perpetrators of the horrific 9/11 attacks, the U.S. overthrew the Taliban government using U.S. military, the CIA and local anti-Taliban fighters. So far, so good.

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=9242

Most f my regular readers know that I am against the US staying one more day in Afghanistan.  After the defeat of AQ and the Taleban back in 2002….we should have stayed one more year and helped with elections and then come home…..we would have the option of a return engagement if events warranted it.

I agree re-think the policy…bring our troops home they have given enough to a country that does not appreciate anything we have done or will do…….our troops deserve the rest.