Closing Thought–30Sep20

Is it a bribe for their votes?

Trump has signed a Executive Order….it is easier than going through Congress…..to help seniors with their ever expanding drug prices……but will it truly help or just a blatant attempt to bribe the seniors for their vote?

Consumer advocacy group Public Citizen on Thursday accused President Donald Trump of a “transparent and pathetic attempt to bribe” seniors for their votes after Trump vowed to send $200 prescription drug discount cards to more than 30 million Medicare recipients just weeks ahead of the November election.

Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, called Trump’s highly dubious promise “bizarre” and said that “seniors and all Americans don’t need Trump cards, they need real solutions to rip-off drug prices,” which have continued to soar during Trump’s presidency despite his repeated vows to lower them.

“The solution to outlandishly high pharmaceutical prices is not to give people money to offset extortionate drug prices; the solution is to end price gouging altogether,” Weissman said in a statement.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/25/trump-accused-pathetic-attempt-bribe-seniors-votes-promising-mail-200-medicine

“Seniors and all Americans don’t need Trump cards, they need real solutions to rip-off drug prices.”

Why now?

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What Cost Racism?

This country is once again trying to have that much needed conversation on racism and as usual we are failing miserably.

For instance did you realize that the US could have been $16 trillion (yes, that is trillion with a “T”) but systematic racism deprived the nation of the money.

A report issued by Citigroup, a bastion of capitalism and not some phony Left wing think tank…..

America could have been $16 trillion richer if not for inequities in education, housing, wages and business investment between Black and White Americans over the past 20 years, new research concludes.

The study, released this week by Citigroup, is the latest in a body of research that attempts to quantify the economic impact of systemic racism. Citigroup arrived at its $16 trillion figure after estimating that:

  • Black workers have lost $113 billion in potential wages over the past two decades because they couldn’t get a college degree.
  • The housing market lost $218 billion in sales because Black applicants couldn’t get home loans.
  • About $13 trillion in business revenue never flowed into the economy because Black entrepreneurs couldn’t access bank loans.

What’s more, the U.S. could have $5 trillion in gross domestic product over the next five years if those gaps and others were closed today, the study indicated.

“Racial inequality has always had an outsized cost, one that was thought to be paid only by underrepresented groups,” Citigroup Banking Chair Raymond McGuire said in a statement.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-gdp-growth-missed-16-trillion-systemic-racism-inequality-report/

If you cannot understand the cost of racism from the point of social issues then maybe you can put your small head around the monetary cost of hatred.

Does this change anything?

Of course not.

This subject will never be settled until until people learn to talk to each instead of at each other.

Or until the country moves past the silly tribalism that is griping our society by the nuts.

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2020 Presidential Debate #1

Last night the long awaited 1st presidential debate was given to the country……and it is now in the can as they say in showbiz…..

This debate was as I thought a war of interruptions and antics…..and political silliness.

The actors in this passion play are President Trump and Joe Biden……and the scenes went something like this…..Trump spend most of his time insulting someone……

With just 35 days until the election, President Trump and Joe Biden took the stage in Cleveland for their first face-off but declined to shake hands due to the coronavirus—one of six topics moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News plans to question the candidates about tonight. The others: the candidates’ records, the Supreme Court, the economy, race and violence in our cities, and the integrity of the election. Up first was SCOTUS, but within minutes the debate had taken on a life of its own, with Trump sparring with Wallace and Trump, Biden, and Wallace talking over each other in a heated and insult-studded early exchange on health care.

  • Wallace began by asking why each candidate’s opinion on the timing of filling Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat is correct. Trump expressed that “we won the election. Elections have consequences.” Biden responded that “we should wait and see what the outcome of the election is, because that’s the only way the people can express their view.” Trump’s retort: “I’m not elected for three years, I’m elected for four years.”
  • Biden brought up Amy Coney Barrett’s past writings on the Affordable Care Act, which opened the door on a discussion of pre-existing conditions. When Wallace pushed Trump about what his healthcare plan is, Trump said, “I guess I’m debating you, not him. But that’s OK, I’m not surprised.”
  • Trump then went after Biden on the topic, saying that what he has said about health care would turn off progressives. Biden called him a “liar” and a “clown.” After another interruption, Biden said, “Will you shut up, man?”
  • Up next: COVID. Trump vowed a vaccine would be ready “soon” and said he was speaking “sarcastically” when Biden brought up Trump’s previous comments about Americans consuming bleach. When asked about masks, Trump said “I think masks are OK. I put a mask on when I think I need it.” He then mocked Biden for wearing one all the time. Biden then expressed that experts have said 100,000 lives could be saved by January if mask wearing and social distancing recommendations are adhered to. Trump responded that many health experts have said “the opposite” on the subject of masks. Biden: “No serious person has said the opposite.”
  • Wallace asked Trump directly if reports he paid just $750 a year in federal income tax was true. After pushing him to directly answer the question on how much he paid in 2016 and 2017, Trump said, “Millions of dollars. Like every other private person, unless they’re stupid, they go through the laws and that’s what it is.” Biden kept pushing Trump to releasing his tax returns, finally saying, “You are the worst president America has ever had.”
  • Trump went after Biden’s son Hunter, asking after his business dealings in Ukraine. It was an expected topic, and Biden had a response ready: “This is not about my family or his family, this is about your family—the American people. He doesn’t want to talk about what you need.”
  • Things devolved to the point that when Wallace began the segment on race, he told Trump he was going to ask about race but Trump could use his two minutes to say whatever he wanted. Trump quickly referenced the 1994 crime bill Biden helped pass, accusing Biden of treating the Black community “about as bad as anybody in this country.” Said Trump, “You called them superpredators and you’ve called them worse than that.”
  • On the subject of law and order, Trump called out Democratic-led cities like New York and Chicago and said Biden would destroy the suburbs. “He wouldn’t recognize a suburb unless he took a wrong turn,” quipped Biden.
  • Wallace asks Biden about “reimagining policing,” which is stated in the Biden-Sanders document, and whether he backs Black Lives Matter’s call for community control of policing. Biden said he is not in favor of defunding the police. Trump said Biden “has no law enforcement support” and pushes him to name a law enforcement group that is backing him; Biden doesn’t answer.
  • Wallace then asked the candidates, “Why should voters elect you president?” Trump was up first: “Because there has never been an administration or president that has done more than I’ve done in a period of three and a half years,” even with “the impeachment hoax.” From Biden: “Under this president we’ve become weaker, sicker, poor, more divided, and more violent.”
  • On the topic of climate change, Trump said, “I believe that we have to do everything we can to have immaculate air, immaculate water.” When asked about greenhouse gas emissions as a contributor he said yes, they’re a factor. But he said we need better forest management, citing the fires in California. “That’s burning down because of a lack of management.”
  • The last topic was about mail-in ballots and the integrity of the election. “We might not know who wins for months,” said Trump. “He’s just afraid of counting the votes,” said Biden at one point. As for the ballots, Trump said solicited ballots are just fine but that unsolicited ones sent automatically to voters aren’t, and said there are examples of fraud already. “This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen,” he said.

This debate was the worst and best thing I watched all day.  He sounded like a 4 year old and a total amateur….and this person wants 4 more years…..sadly I think Nero would have been a better candidate.

I have a few words from those that analyzed the debate…..

  • RedState: “This is a hard one, folks. Time and again, this debate proved to me that this is a terrifying time to be alive,” writes senior editor Joe Cunningham. “Two old men shouting at each other while a third old man tries to get them to stop shouting at each other? Watching this debate was a type of self-destructive behavior that I’ll be recovering from for a while, I think.” He declares Trump the winner, “but barely.” Full piece here.
  • Vox: A number of writers at the site list three winners (none of them Trump or Biden) and four losers of the night. One of the winners? China. “No government can feasibly end American global hegemony—except for the American one,” argues Zack Beauchamp. “Nobody benefits more from this kind of internal discord in the world’s most powerful state than China.” Full piece here.
  • Washington Post: Aaron Blake is one of many naming Wallace a clear loser of the night. “What struck me most was Wallace’s attempts to almost placate Trump,” Blake writes. “‘Mr. President you’re going to be very happy, because we’re going to talk about law and order,’ Wallace said at one point while trying to move past Trump talking over Biden. ‘Let me ask—sir, you’ll be happy, I’m about to pick up on one of your points to ask the vice president,’ Wallace said at another point.” Full piece, which is one of multiple to use the word “unwatchable,” here.
  • More from the right: Hot Air’s livestream combines tweets from a number of Townhall Media editors; see it here. A number of the tweets slam Wallace, most seem happy with Trump’s performance, and at least one points out that Biden refused to answer a question about Democrats potentially packing the Supreme Court.
  • Axios: Mike Allen, who calls the debate “a hot mess,” was apparently so disheartened by the whole thing the site’s own format sort of fell apart. In the “Why it matters” section after one point, Allen writes simply, “Honestly, who the hell knows?” Full piece here.
  • Politico: David Siders says the “mayhem” of the night didn’t throw Biden off, and writes that if the talking points around the election itself are any indication, the aftermath is going to be “war.” The president said at one point that he is “counting on” the Supreme Court to “look at the ballots.” Full piece here.
  • Wall Street Journal: Rebecca Ballhaus writes that amid the “messy” debate, Biden “gave a more forceful performance than the low expectations set for him by the president and his allies.” That said, Trump did appear to “rattle” him several times. Full piece here.
  • Fact checking: ABC News fact-checks the debate, and finds multiple falsehoods. Full piece here. CNN’s version is here. The Federalist has a piece about Biden making a false claim about Dr. Fauci; see that here.

All in all the night did one thing…..let people know that Joe Biden is by far a better candidate….it was the most nonsensical evening I have ever spent.

Debate #2 will be 15 October 2020 and I will be watching (if my stomach can hold up)…..but my thought is that we do not need another debate for we have seen and heard everything we need to know about the people running…..

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New Map For Middle East

It has finally happened….all the influence that the US has in the courts of the Middle East has proven to be just what Israel needed…..

And the Neocons dance.

The new agreement signed between Israel and UAE and Bahrain threatens to draw a new map…but to what end?

The imminent establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and two Gulf states, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, is part of an on-going process of security cooperation going back many years. While that robs the event of some drama, it also increases its significance. It means that the process of ending the era of Arab-Israeli confrontation will continue, culminating perhaps in a political upheaval in Iran. That is the road that the Middle East may now be on.

Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Kuwait are some of the Arab countries reported to be considering peace deals with Israel. One or two of those countries may hold back, and Saudi Arabia, while supporting the process of regional normalization with Israel, may officially withhold formal recognition. It doesn’t matter. Even without official ties, all these countries have in a spiritual sense ended their hostility to the Jewish state.

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/middle-east%E2%80%99s-new-map-169503

Sudan and Oman may be the next to jump on this doomed agreement…

According to reports in Israeli media, Sudan and Oman could announce normalization deals with Israel as soon as next week. The Israeli newspaper Maariv reported Friday that Oman and Sudan are currently involved in US-brokered talks with Israel.

Israel’s i24News reported on Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to meet with Sudan’s Sovereignty Council Chairman Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in Uganda in the coming days.

Sources also told i24News that a Sudanese-Israeli Friendship Association will be inaugurated in Khartoum on Saturday. This inauguration is expected to start a normalization process between the two countries.

Sudan was designated a state sponsor of terror by the US in 1993. Khartoum has been negotiating with the US to be removed from that list for over a year. Sources told Reuters that the US is now demanding Sudan normalizes with Israel to be taken off the list.

(antiwar.com)

So a form of bribery to get some to play nice with Israel.

Keep in mind that Israel has done very little to live up to their agreements in the past….like the Oslo Accords…..

Then there is the history of the Arab League comes into the story…..why would they abandon the Palestinian people in favor of Israel?

As one Gulf state after another embraces formal ties with Israel, some have looked to the Arab League to condemn normalisation. Yet to understand why the league will do nothing of the sort, one has to go back to its founding. 

The League of Arab States was founded in 1945 at the instigation and planning of Britain to protect British imperial interests.

The British made sure that the Palestine question was subcontracted to the independent Arab states to absolve itself of responsibility for what it had wrought in the country. Seventy-five years later, the league has been transformed beyond recognition in most aspects, except in its major role of serving imperial interests.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/how-arab-league-helped-dissolve-palestinian-question

Just another betrayal of democratic principles in favor of a profits for the war machine.

I do not always agree with the Neocons and this is one area that I think they are paid agents of Israel…..they are making the new “peace deal”” sound like it is the end agreement….

Take, for example, the recent peace deals signed between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. These agreements were the result of a United States-led peace initiative widely condemned by professional diplomats and self-styled foreign policy experts. After Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the U.S. vetoed a Security Council resolution that condemned the move. The General Assembly later voted 128-9 to denounce America’s decision.

The General Assembly’s position on Jerusalem, of course, paled in comparison to the U.N.’s many decades of financing hatred in the Middle East toward Israel and Jews through its duplicative Palestinian-related committees, the Israel-bashing Human Rights Council, and the U.N. agency for so-called Palestinian refugees. These raise and educate generation after generation to hate Israelis and reject any peace that doesn’t lead to Israel’s destruction.

Trump succeeded where the UN failed

If you read that piece then you will notice that little mention about the rights and lives of the country’s original residents is made…instead it is hawking to benefits of Israel……FDD is a front for Neocon ideology…….there is more they have to say….

Criticism of Israel’s treaty with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been relentless. The New York Times’ Roger Cohen calls it “Trump’s Middle Eastern Mirage” and “something rotten.” A Washington Post oped calls it “a big step – in the wrong direction.” Reporting by Bloomberg describes the deal as “thin.” Middle East analyst Daniel Levy writes that the agreement is merely “the codification of an existing reality” which does “nothing by way of advancing peace in any arena.” They are wrong.

The “Treaty of Peace, Diplomatic Relations and Full Normalization Between the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel” is a robust, legally binding peace treaty that represents a strategic pivot by the UAE. The UAE-Israel Peace Treaty commits the two countries to a relationship far warmer—and with far more intensive cooperation in economic, scientific, and social fields—than the cold peace Israel has with Egypt and Jordan (outside the security field).

UAE-Israel Treaty Is Far Larger Step Towards Peace Than Critics Allege

Once again these people are calling this a “good” deal…..it does not take into consideration the numerous human rights violations of Israel against the people of the West Bank and Gaza…..this is just another piece of manure disguised as a deal.

These is little democratic principles at work in the “only democracy in the Middle East”….money can buy a lot of beneficial PR.

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