The VA Needs Saving!

Every American veteran should be concerned in what is happening to the institution that tasked with their care…..

The institution that is there to aid all veterans with their health and entitlements (and yes if one uses the VA then they are using entitlements) and in years past there has been scandal after scandal…..but it soldier on….and then we elected a dude who was always harping about Vets and behind the scenes is screwing them……

“On any veterans issue, the first person the president calls is Ike,” says a former administration official. If the name Ike doesn’t ring a bell, at least in relation to Veterans Affairs, that’s appropriate. A ProPublica expose by Isaac Arnsdorf explains he’s “reclusive” Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, one third of “a previously unknown triumvirate” that has clandestinely been exerting influence over the VA—never mind that none of them have served in the military or worked in government. Palm Beach doctor Bruce Moskowitz and lawyer Marc Sherman round out the trio, which is referred to within the VA as “the Mar-a-Lago Crowd,” as that location serves as their informal HQ. Arnsdorf ran into some walls on the interviewing front: the men, a VA rep, and a White House spokeswoman declined to answer questions.

His reporting is therefore based on hundreds of documents he got using the Freedom of Information Act and interviews with former administration officials. The story he has pieced together is one of significant power: The men have the president’s ear and influence over personnel, with those who “were at odds with the Mar-A-Lago crowd,” including those in a slew of top positions (secretary, deputy secretary, chief of staff, director of electronic health records modernization), “pushed out or passed over.” Arnsdorf alleges that decisions have to be run by them, officials fly to consult with them on taxpayers’ dime, and initiatives pushed by the men in some cases have benefited their own interests. Read the full piece for much more on an “arrangement … without parallel in modern presidential history.”

This does not surprise me at all……as usual he, Dear Leader, was all talk and action is questionable where the veterans are concerned…….once again someone that is big talk that has never served…there ought to be a law!

Time for veterans to take control of their benefits (watch for a Veterans Day march)…..something on the line of the Bonus Army from the past….(dammit Google it!)

So I Have Written!

Turn The Page!

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Are You Hungry?

When I was a mere boy I recall when the government had a give-a-way……my grandmother would take us kids and wait in long lines for a couple of pounds of butter and some cheese….those were the days before food stamps and such…..

What made me think of those days gone by was something I read about another surplus the government has on its hands…..

There’s a lot of uncertainty these days. So here’s a comforting thought: The United States of America will not run out of cheese or meat anytime soon.

US dairy producers now have a 1.39 billion-pound surplus of cheese, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture. As the Washington Post has noted, that’s the largest domestic reserve of cheddar, Swiss, American, and other cheese varieties on record.

It means there’s enough excess cheese to arm each American citizen with a hefty 4.6 pounds of the crumbly, melty, salty good stuff. Why is this happening? Simply put: US dairy producers have been overproducing milk. Thanks to selective breeding, American cows are more productive than ever. And when demand for milk and dairy goes down in the summer, dairy producers store their excess milk as cheese, which has a longer shelf life in cold storage.

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/7/24/17606958/meat-cheese-surplus-visualized

You read that right……2.5 billion (with a “B”) pounds of surplus meat.

What is wrong with having more of these give-a-ways from the past?

My Saturday has started with a bang…..August in the Deep South…..100+ heat and humidity at about 90% or higher…..a joy to behold …..we have another 2 maybe 3 months of heat….I cannot wait for cooler temps……I miss my days in the garden sipping wine and watching the wildlife go by…..my property has become an unsanctioned refuge….I have many many birds, squirrels, raccoons, and who knows at night….anyway fun to watch them all interact….

Have a good day my friends and thanx for the visits this past week…..much appreciated…..be well, be safe……chuq

Closing Thoughts–10Aug18

As long as I was writing about corruption  how about our current Sec. of Commerce?

There has always been a story about the greed of some in public office….but it seems that with the present administration of Our Dear Leader has more than his fair share……but one of the best is his choice for Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, sets a new benchmark for greed and corruptibility….

Forbes magazine, a much respected business publication has issued a story about the “Chief Grifter” in charge at the Commerce Department……

The buzziest political story of the day comes courtesy of Dan Alexander at Forbes, who’s out with some devastating allegations against Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Alexander interviewed 21 people who say that Ross, through his private equity firm WL Ross & Co., “siphoned or outright stole a few million here and a few million there.” All told, the allegations add up to more than $120 million, prompting this jarring assessment: “If even half of the accusations are legitimate, the current United States secretary of commerce could rank among the biggest grifters in American history,” writes Alexander. Ross denies this, asserting that “the SEC has never initiated any enforcement action against me,” though Alexander notes that Ross’ firm did get hit with a $2.3 million fine in 2016. One lawsuit against the firm is in the appeals stage, and two others have been settled.

The story details the alleged transgressions—some involving allegations of improperly calculated fees to clients—but it’s also drawing attention for something on a much smaller scale. In demonstrating that Ross has a reputation for frugality, Alexander writes this: “Two former WL Ross colleagues remember the commerce secretary taking handfuls of Sweet’N Low packets from a nearby restaurant, so he didn’t have to go out and buy some for himself.” Other tales of being a cheapskate, including unfulfilled pledges to charity, follow, and a commerce official dismisses them as “petty nonsense.” Besides, the official adds, Ross doesn’t add sweetener to his coffee. Click to read the full story, which accuses Ross of trying to mislead Forbes about his wealth in order to climb the rankings of the rich.

I wish this was the one and only “leader” acting like a self-centered toad….but then that would be a lie….this administration is built on greed and corruption.

Peace Out!

To Protect The President

I have watched the GOP slowly but slowly become the party of Trump…..and these slugs will do whatever they must to protect the president…

Sorry but their oath of office is to the country, the Constitution, and the rule of law…..NOWHERE in the oath does it say that the president must be protected at any cost…..

That gutless wonder in the House of Representatives, Devon Nunes, has proved my accusation……

“If Sessions won’t unrecuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones. Which is really the danger.” That was just some of what House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes said in audio recorded at a private July 30 fundraiser in Spokane, Wash., and aired in part on the Rachel Maddow Show Wednesday night (listen to clips here). The Washington Post interprets the comments as an apparent shift “from criticizing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election to strategizing about how to blunt its impact should it imperil President Trump.” And in that effort, retaining control of Congress is key: “If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away,” he’s heard saying on the tape, which was secretly recorded by a member of the progressive group Fuse Washington who’d paid $250 to attend the event. More:

  • The other comments getting pickup center around Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein and the desire of hard-line House Republicans to see him impeached, something the Los Angeles Times reports some members suggest they’ll rally for again next month. Nunes indicated that might not be the case. While NBC News reports Paul Ryan has been a roadblock in the impeachment effort, Nunes described two others: the midterms and the Supreme Court. “You have to decide what you want right now because the Senate only has so much time. Do you want them to drop everything and not confirm the Supreme Court justice [Brett Kavanaugh], the new Supreme Court justice? … The question is the timing of it right before the election.”
  • The Post notes that even had Nunes been speaking publicly, he might have said much the same: “This, after all, is the adamantly pro-Trump lawmaker who in February released a memorandum accusing the intelligence community of conspiring against the president.”
  • Indeed, the Hill has this comment from Nunes’ rep: “These are sensible ideas, I’m glad Chairman Nunes talked about them.”

Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu didn’t share that sentiment, tweeting, “Under our Constitution, the duty of Congress is not to clear the President. The duty of Congress is to be a check and balance on the Executive Branch, and to pursue the facts wherever they may lead. Devin Nunes should resign for perverting the oath he took.”

https://www.rawstory.com/2018/08/maddow-obtains-tape-devin-nunes-confessing-gop-plan-impeach-rosenstein-must-impede-investigation-goes-away/

This should piss off every American voter…..but it illustrates how our beloved country is changing and taking the government with it.  This is what I always going on about…I bet this tool has a copy of the Constitution in his pocket as a prop but has NO idea what it really means.

You know I remember when the House of Representatives had no tolerance for ethics scandals…….yeah me too….but that was when we had statesmen in Congress today we have a bunch of spineless and worthless people that owe their existence to corporations and wealthy slugs.

Back in 2006, a series of financial, ethical, sexual scandals involving MZM, Jack Abramoff, and improper relationships with congressional pages was a key factor in House Republican’ losing their majority. Eager to prove they had learned their lesson, then-Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) vowed in 2010 that if the GOP won back the majority, he (as majority leader) and his conference would ensure the highest possible ethical standards.

“I think as the Republicans emerge as a new governing majority, it is incumbent upon us to institute a zero-tolerance policy,” Cantor vowed at the time. “We understand there were reasons for our being fired in ’06 and ’08. Some of that had to do with ethics violations. I mean we had several members under public investigations during the time of the ’06 elections. I think we’ve learned that that’s not a good way to gain the confidence of the people and that we ought to be instituting a zero-tolerance policy here.”

https://thinkprogress.org/house-gop-broken-promise-zero-tolerance-ethical-scandals-chris-collins-363f5129695e/

As usual it is …of course we stand against ethic abuses but not when it is our people committing them …..

In 25 years when we look back at these days it will be known as the “Age of Corruption and Cruelty” (sorry do not know who coined this phrase but I think it was conservative Charlie Sykes)……

Maybe I should spend time explaining the Constitution to the d/bags that we elect……

Turn The Page!

Enter The Starship Troopers?

(Apologies to Robert A. Heinlein)

Obama (remember him) had the idea of a space force….. well not to worry it was picked up by Our Dear Leader, Trump….but if you do not remember the Obama thing……https://lobotero.com/2009/01/06/militarization-of-space/

Plus more recent posts…….below post has references to most of the thoughts I have had on this “proposal” so far……

https://lobotero.com/2018/08/01/to-the-stars-and-beyond/

I bring this up because just recently the whole idea (Obama’s) is being promised by 2020 by Dear Leader’s front man, Pence…….

“Space force all the way!” So tweeted President Trump on Thursday after his VP outlined the White House vision to have a new US Space Force in operation in a scant two years. This would be no small feat: Mike Pence detailed a plan in which the Space Force would be a sixth military service on par with the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard—and the first new addition since the Air Force came along in 1947, reports the Washington Post. Details:

  • Why? The Pentagon increasingly relies on space technology—satellites, for example—and the White House argues that it’s time for a dedicated force to protect American interests above, particularly from Russia and China. “Just as we’ve done in ages past, the United States will meet the emerging threats on this new battlefield,” said Pence. “The time has come to establish the United States Space Force.”
  • Congress’ role: Only Congress can create a new branch of the military, and Pence promised that the White House would work closely with members and produce a budget for it next year, reports the AP. Bipartisan support seems to be there: GOP Rep. Mike Rogers and Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper, members of the House Armed Services panel, said in a joint statement that the move is overdue and would “result in a safer, stronger America.”
  • New position: The plan calls for a new civilian position of assistant secretary defense for space who would report directly to the defense chief, reports Axios.
  • The changes: Instead of creating the branch from scratch, the plan involves a major restructuring of current space systems, reports NBC News. As part of that, a “unified combatant command” called the US Space Command would be established and led by a four-star general. “This would seemingly reorganize the warfighting chain of command for space—something that’s separate from what the Space Force would do,” per the Verge, which digs deep into the nitty gritty of the possible changes. Also to be established would be a Space Development Agency and a Space Operations Force.

The US will assert its dominance in space for generations to come……

President Donald Trump wants Congress to allocate $8 billion over the next five years for space security systems as it establishes a U.S. Space Force as the sixth branch of the military, Vice President Mike Pence said.

“It’s not enough to have an American presence in space,” Pence said Thursday in a speech at the Pentagon. “We must have American dominance in space. And so we will.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-09/pence-says-space-force-to-assert-u-s-dominance-in-orbit

Personally, I think it is a waste to time and money and is being used as a diversion……but I am not alone…..

“But how are we going to pay for investments in public infrastructure, public education, socialized medicine and renewable energy?” “Aw, f**k it. Who knows. Let’s just spend that money on a Space Force instead!”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/08/09/idiotic-wasteful-ridiculous-mike-pence-pilloried-he-puts-his-serious-face-make-case

But if you are still not sure then maybe some further reading will help…..please give these a try…..

https://www.defensenews.com/space/2018/08/09/think-space-force-is-a-joke-here-are-four-major-space-threats-to-take-seriously/

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/08/07/space_force_on_the_horizon__maybe_113690.html

https://spacenews.com/space-force-pentagon-moving-closer-to-trumps-vision/

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/08/05/winning-an-arms-race-in-space-remains-a-futile-fight/

Keep in mind that the formation of another branch of the military will require Congressional approval…..not looking too good right now…..and after the mid-terms may look even worse.

So I Have Written!

Turn The Page!

Will It Be Perpetual War?

IN the beginning war could only be declared by act of Congress and then along came the attacks of 9/11 and the Congress gave their powers up to the president to declare war whenever the mood struck him.

The Authorization for the Use Of Military Force (AUMF) gave the president unlimited power to decide what was a war and when to go fight…..the Congress took a backseat….

In 2018 a bi-partisan bill has taken a new step forward…..

In the near future, Congress will debate a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). I use the word “debate” lightly. So far, no hearings have been scheduled, and no testimony is likely to be heard unless something changes. That’s a shame, because this is a serious matter, and this is a deeply flawed AUMF.

For some time now, Congress has abdicated its responsibility to declare war. The status quo is that we are at war anywhere and anytime the president says so.

So Congress—in a very Congress way of doing things—has a “solution.” Instead of reclaiming its constitutional authority, it instead intends to codify the unacceptable, unconstitutional status quo.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/rand-paul-congress-moves-to-give-the-president-unlimited-war-powers/

Yes I wrote that this was a bi-partisan bill……so how do the Dems fit into this bill?

If there is any surprise that Senate Democrats, most of whom are virtually indistinguishable from pro-war Republicans, are about to coalesce in support of the newest version of the Authority for the Use of Military Force of 2018 (AUMF), then you have seriously not been paying attention.

The proposed AUMF of 2018 would replace AUMF 2001 and  repeal AUMF 2002 while it will codify an “uninterrupted authority to use all necessary and appropriate force in armed conflict” against  the Taliban, al Qaeda, ISIS and as yet unidentified “designated associated forces” who might “pose a grave threat to the US” in whatever country they occupy.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/04/25/democratic-partys-war-history-and-aumf-2018

There is a provision in the new AUMF that has a disturbing consequence…..

……..a bipartisan group of six lawmakers, led by Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Tim Kaine, D-Va., is proposing a new AUMF that would greatly expand who the president can place in indefinite military detention, allin the name of restricting presidential power. If the Corker-Kaine bill becomes law as currently written, any president, including Donald Trump, could plausibly claim extraordinarily broad power to order the military to imprison any U.S. citizen, captured in America or not, and hold them without charges essentially forever.

https://theintercept.com/2018/05/01/ndaa-2018-aumf-detention/

I smell a challenge to this new attempt…..does not seem to be in the spirit of the Constitution…..

But we will see……it looks like more of the same or in other words….perpetual war.

The Consequences Of Tariffs

I know that we get nothing but rosy news coming out of Dear Leader’s mouth….we hear how much better our economy will be when he wins his trade war with the world….we will have a strong economy, more jobs, better wages, yada yada…..

But you know that there are consequences for these tariffs that have been instituted…..think not?

As the China-US tariff volley continues—China on Wednesday announced a 25% tariff on an additional $16 billion worth of US goods in retaliation for our similar move, reports CNBC—the consequences have become real for one South Carolina company. The State reports TV-maker Element Electronics is citing the tariffs as the reason it is essentially closing its doors: It intends to shut down its Winnsboro plant and lay off 126 of its 134 employees, it said in a letter to the state’s Department of Employment and Workforce—though it does have a glimmer of hope.

The letter explains the tariffs hit television components from China that it relies on, and the layoffs will commence in October unless it can get its parts off the tariff list. CNN Money cites a tweet from the company that suggests optimism: It writes that as the “only USA assembler of televisions, we believe the inclusion of our parts on the list … is accidental and resolvable.” It’s working to have the parts removed from the list. The State notes the layoffs would be a big blow for Fairfield County, which counted Element Electronics as its biggest employer, having recently suffered the loss of a Walmart and a textile mill.

The longer these tariffs are in place the more damage it will do to the workers and the consumers of this country…..will the “art of the deal” win out?

Personally, I feel that Our Dear Leader is gambling and hoping that he is right in his economic views…..

I have been a devotee to economist Henry George since the 1980’s……and he touches on tariffs in his book ……..The problem identified by Henry George, in Protection or Free Trade, is that of poverty, and more specifically, wages and unemployment. What follows from that is George’s systematic and all-embracing dissertation of the effects that protectionist and free-trade policies have on the wealth of a nation and its individuals. Naturally, he arrives at a conclusion that is decidedly in favor of free trade — as opposed to protective prescriptions — as a surefire solution to the ills of poverty.

George develops his focal point early on by posing the essential question: Are protective tariffs helpful to those who make their living via labor? He considers this the “tariff question,” calling it the “great political question of the immediate future” (George 1886, p. 3). He does, in fact, dare to say that he approves of the ends promoted by the protective tariff advocates when the ends sought are the promotion of higher wages and prosperous employment.[1] Nevertheless, he maintains that his position is to objectively determine whether or not protective tariffs are in fact favorable to those ends.

https://mises.org/library/henry-george-and-tariff-question

I would say that if more people knew of Henry George and his theories then we could do away with a lot of noise around trade and tariffs…..but that may be asking too much for it would require reading……a technique that is slowly disappearing……

Turn The Page!