Closing Thought–07Jan19

It has been a really crappy holiday season for about 800,000 federal employees that have been without work because of this stupid shutdown……a loss of jobs for some metaphorical wall of $5 billion…..do not forget there is a pay raise for federal employees signed by Our Dear Supreme Leader…..

But not to worry our leaders are on the job and getting a pay raise to boot……

While 800,000 federal workers are currently either working without pay or furloughed and not entitled to retroactive pay, President Donald Trump’s top appointees as well as Vice President Mike Pence are scheduled to get pay raises averaging about $10,000 per year on Saturday—and the shutdown is to blame for the glaring inequity.

An executive pay freeze, which caps the salaries of top government employees and has been in place since 2013, lapsed on Dec. 21 because Congress was unable to pass the spending bill in which it was included, leading to the government shutdown that’s now gone on for two weeks.

Without the salary caps in place, Pence is entitled to a $13,000 raise on Saturday, bringing his compensation to $243,500 per year. Cabinet secretaries will be given raises of about $11,000, bringing their pay to $210,000, while their deputies and other top agency administrators will be given significant raises as well.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/01/04/800000-public-employees-facing-pay-freeze-and-shutdown-pence-and-other-top-trump

Looks like a really shitty year for federal employees shaping up for the new year….

I wrote this as I got the news so after this draft was written the overlords made a decision about their pay raise…..

Federal agencies have been directed to hold off enacting pay raises for top administration officials during a government shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of federal workers without pay, the AP reports. The guidance was issued Friday in a memo from Margaret Weichert, the acting director of the Office of Personnel Management. The raises were the result of a pay freeze for top federal officials, including the vice president and cabinet secretaries, that was on the verge of expiring because of the shutdown. In the memo, Weichert writes, “In the current absence of Congressional guidance,” OPM “believes it would be prudent for agencies to continue to pay these senior political officials at the frozen rate until appropriations legislation is enacted that would clarify the status of the freeze.”

Not out of the kindness of their hearts…it is a PR stunt to make them seem they care…..it became public knowledge they had to look as if they were unaware.

The New House Begins Work

Let me say in the offset that these women that are new to the House are showing balls……something even the men could not accomplish.  Rashida Tlaid and AOC are showing spine and not shrinking from opposition by the old farts that cannot understand progressivism…..thumbs up…I love these women!

On to their, the House, getting to work…….

Some of the first order of business….debt and ethics……

When a new Congress convenes every two years, the majority party must approve a resolution outlining House rules, the intricate parliamentary procedures that govern the chamber. Two notable changes in the Democrats’ package are aimed at avoiding certain confrontations that became commonplace during the Republican majority from 2011 through 2019, after the rout of the party in the 2018 midterms.

Democrats will revive the “Gephardt Rule,” introduced in the late 1970s by Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., that automatically raises the debt ceiling — the nation’s borrowing limit — once the House passes a budget.

https://www.npr.org/2019/01/02/681547346/democrats-announce-major-changes-to-u-s-house-rules

Then the debates on economic policies…….

Okay, it’s that time of year when we are all supposed to commit ourselves to performing nearly impossible tasks over the next twelve months. I will play the game. Here is the list of areas where I will try to bring economics into economic policy debates in 2019.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/01/03/resolutions-to-improve-debates-on-economic-policy-in-2019/

The Dems in the House are trying desperately to return democracy to the system……

In a major step toward fixing our broken system of elections, House Democratic lawmakers introduced a comprehensive democracy reform bill Thursday, the first day of the 116th Congress.

The bill, which is known as H.R. 1, or the For The People Act, and was sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), would create a more responsive and representative government by making it easier for voters to cast a ballot and harder for lawmakers to gerrymander, by transforming how campaigns are funded to amplify the voices

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/01/04/historic-bill-strengthen-democracy-introduced-congress

I know some of these are redundant but I am proud of the direction the House is taking….sadly they will need the Senate to make these things law…..will they get it?

The new members of the House are showing spine….hopefully the old farts of the House do not crap on the progress these women can lead the country into…..Centrists are the cowards of the country.  Remember I said That!

My guess is NO…for they are trying very hard to protect Trump at all costs…….

Some members of the Republican National Committee and grassroots Republicans are backing an effort to block potential primary challengers to President Trump, even though party insiders are insisting it is too late to change the rules for the 2020 campaign.

The push to rally GOP support around the president early comes as freshman Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah published a Washington Post op-ed arguing that on issues of character, “the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.” The 2012 GOP nominee also said he would not run himself in 2020 and declined to endorse Trump, in an interview with CNN.

https://www.npr.org/2019/01/04/681987077/rnc-members-want-to-block-a-primary-challenge-to-trump-but-the-rules-may-stop-th

The Senate is old angry white men without a spines.

That “State Of Emergency”!

Recently our president threatened to call for a state of emergency…..basically if he does not get his $5 billion for his metaphorical wall then he might consider a state of emergency…..but what can he, Trump, do with such a declaration?

Most of his weapons were rhetorical, featuring a mix of lies and false inducements—claims that every congressional Democrat had signed on to an “open borders” bill (none had), that liberals were fomenting violent “mobs” (they weren’t), that a 10 percent tax cut for the middle class would somehow pass while Congress was out of session (it didn’t). But a few involved the aggressive use—and threatened misuse—of presidential authority: He sent thousands of active-duty soldiers to the southern border to terrorize a distant caravan of desperate Central American migrants, announced plans to end the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship by executive order, and tweeted that law enforcement had been “strongly notified” to be on the lookout for “ILLEGAL VOTING.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/01/presidential-emergency-powers/576418/

When question on his ability to declare a state of emergency Trump stated, “I can do it if I want”!  All for a metaphorical wall……kinda flipping sad……

Speaking outside of the White House on Friday as the government shutdown continued with no funding agreement in sight, President Donald Trump threatened to declare a national emergency to build his “border wall” if he doesn’t receive the more than $5 billion in funding he’s demanding from Congress.

“I can do it if I want,” Trump proclaimed in response to a question from a reporter. “We can do it. I haven’t done it. I may do it. I may do it.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/01/04/i-can-do-it-if-i-want-trump-threatens-declare-national-emergency-build-border-wall

This tactic has been used before by presidents….1952 Truman and the steel strike and FDR and the banks vulnerability…..both of these could have been major problems for the US without them….but a metaphorical wall is not something to declare an emergency over.

Finally Trump just had to feed that huge ego by declaring he should be a national hero…..“If anybody but Donald Trump did what I did in Syria, which was an ISIS loaded mess when I became President, they would be a national hero,”

I can think of a lot of titles for this person but ‘national hero’ is NOT one of them.

Afghanistan: USSR’s Vietnam

More international stuff for my readers……

Afghanistan makes the news and not because of it being our longest war…..but rather the babbling of an ignorant president that wants to sound intelligent…..and he fails….

– President Donald Trump seemed to misstate the former Soviet Union’s involvement in Afghanistan on Wednesday with a convoluted account that sparked ridicule on Twitter.

“Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. “The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there.”

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/01/02/president-trump-former-soviet-union-right-invade-afghanistan/2466897002/

The last day of the year and NO has mentioned that December of 1979 was the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union….I realize that most people are fixated on their treasures from the Christmas thing and the wait for the big party that ends another year….most people’s minds are numb right now….a good time for me to try and jump start the mental process.

39 years ago the troops of the USSR entered the country of Afghanistan in support of a new leader of the socialist persuasion….

Afghanistan was the ground for one of the last Cold War battles between the United States and the Soviet Union, after the Red Army rolled into the country on December 24, 1979.

Observers give a number of reasons for the Soviet invasion. Until 1973 Afghanistan was a monarchy led by King Mohammad Zahir Shah before he was overthrown by his cousin Mohammad Daoud, whose party consisted of pro-Communist elements.

Daoud was overthrown by the Afghan communists. Internal struggles among the communists led to another coup in which Hafizullah Amin took the reins of power. According to experts, the Soviets perceived Amin as a potential Tito – he was in touch with both China and the United States and the Soviets saw Afghanistan slipping out of its orbit.

https://www.aljazeera.com/archive/2003/04/2008410113842420760.html

This invasion is a great course for anyone going into diplomatic studies…….

It was to last nearly a decade and would plant the seeds for the rise of the Taliban and Islamic terrorism and the subsequent invasion by the U.S. more than 20 years later.  On December 24, 1979, the Soviet Union sent thousands of troops into Afghanistan and immediately assumed complete military and political control of Kabul and large portions of the country. It was the only time the Soviet Union invaded a country outside the Eastern Bloc.(It also nearly fit the 12-year pattern of major Soviet invasions — Hungary 1956 and Czechoslovakia 1968.)

https://adst.org/2014/12/the-soviet-invasion-of-afghanistan-december-1979/

But now that Trump has opened mouth and inserted that small foot….maybe we should look at the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR……

There are plenty of reasons to seriously examine Russia’s role in Afghanistan, but too many articles fail to ask questions fundamental to making sense of Moscow’s aims. By refusing to closely scrutinize the facts on the ground, the role of China, and the logic of U.S. policy, the authors of many pieces can claim expertise but never be held accountable for their analysis. Russia is certainly an adversarial power for Washington, but Afghanistan deserves more than talking points from an aerial view.

https://thediplomat.com/2018/08/making-sense-of-russias-involvement-in-afghanistan/

Russia had their hands full with the opposition to their invasion…..and what made anyone in DC think that the Afghans would be open to another invasion and occupation?

Good question, huh?

The sad part with all the information available there will be those mental deficient that support Trump and will buy his version of the affair.

If Trump graduated from Wharton then I am a Mexican gardener named Jesus…..

How sad is that?

**************

Side note:  A pet peeve……the people of Afghanistan are Afghans not Afghanis…that is the currency of the country.

Now you know!

Not To Worry Syria

The president has decided that he was mistaken…..it took all MSM to convince him to stay in Syria…..

In response to domestic pressure, Trump agreed to extend the deadline for withdrawal of thousands of US troops from the northeaster Syrian province of al-Hasaka from the initial 30 days previously announced until April this year.  Journalistic warmongers and hawks in think-tanks and among the US establishment have been railing at Trump with implausible arguments for maintaining the presence of US forces in Syria. The attacks on Trump are mainly justified on the pretext of protecting the US allies, the Kurds, from possible extermination by the Turks. Other analysts dare to repeat the absurd US mantra that “ISIS has between 20,000 and 30,000 militants in Syria and Iraq” to justify the continuous occupation of northeast Syria. If these arguments were not enough, others claim that Trump would be  delivering the north of Syria to Iranian and Russian scarecrows, or that he would be facilitating the “Iranian-Baghdad-Damascus-Beirut connection”. Trump remains determined to pull out, despite his allies Israel, France and the UK begging him to stay longer in the Levant. 

https://www.globalresearch.ca/trump-bows-to-domestic-pressure-by-delaying-his-withdrawal-from-syria-a-storm-is-gathering-in-the-levant/5664612

After doing what he does best…waffle…..the slowing of a withdrawal of our troops from Syria has dangerous implications…..

 President Trump’s decision to slow the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, after initial reports that he planned for a “rapid” withdrawal, are raising a lot of questions. These center heavily on how this apparently unilateral slowing of the pullout is reconciled with previous promises to closely coordinate with Turkey.

The decision to withdraw, after all, came by all indications at the behest of the Turkish government, and at least in part as a way for the US to avoid getting mixed up in an imminent Turkish war against the Kurdish YPG, with whom they are embedded.

But after the US pullout went from a reported 30 days to “around four months,” does that mean Turkey’s timetable has also slowed for attacking Manbij? If not, Manbij could be attacked by Turkey with US forces inside the city, and the Syrian Army present to try to keep the invading Turks away. This results from the Kurds quickly allying with Syria’s government after the pullout was announced. That could be even messier than the initial invasion envisioned.

https://theantimedia.com/trump-syria-pullout-raises-serious-questions/

I warned my readers not to take Trump seriously….I said when the withdrawal announcement was made that he would waffle and change his mind…..he is NOT a reliable player on the international stage…..if anything he is a fool.

I am an antiwar person and I totally agree with Trump on his withdrawal…….but do not stop with Syria….Afghanistan…..Iraq…..

Even as the Pentagon stammered and the retired generals, ex-CIA chiefs, and war hawks from both major political parties took to the cable news to warn against the prospect of less war—or at least U.S. involvement in them—peace groups on Wednesday afternoon applauded news reporting that President Donald Trump has ordered the withdrawal of U.S. ground forces from Syria.

“President Trump is absolutely right to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria,” said Paul Kawika Martin, senior director for policy and political affairs at Peace Action, in response to reporting from the New York Times and others.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/12/19/anti-war-voices-course-trump-should-withdraw-us-troops-syria-and-afghanistan-and

Time for all American adventurism to cease and bring our troops home for a much needed rest.

Ukraine Prepares

The new year brings a bunch of hair pulling over the decision by Trump to withdraw troops from Syria and lessen the amount of troops in Afghanistan…..

The media and its pundits have trotted out every pro-war person they could find to crap on this decision….but while the whole M-IC and the Neocon establishment are fretting over this announcement half way around the world there is a real chance that a war could break out……

While western media frets over Trump’s withdrawal from Syria, Ukraine is trying to start a war with Russia.

While much of the western media is fretting over the decision by US President Donald Trump to withdraw American troops from northern Syria there is another potential conflict brewing. This time, the trouble is, once again, coming from Ukraine, where NATO may end up getting the confrontation with Russia they so desire.

Last month, the long-simmering tension between Russia and Ukraine came to a head when Ukrainian Navy ships entered the Sea of Azov heading towards the Kerch Strait. According to Moscow, this was a violation of Russia’s territorial waters and resulted in the Ukrainian ships being stopped by Russian vessels and 24 sailors being detained.

https://theantimedia.com/syria-ukraine-war-russia/

If hostilities turn into a shooting war then we know that the US will come to the aid of Ukraine….the M-IC will demand it.