Kiss That Nobel Good-Bye

Closing Thought–24May18

Have you heard the news today?

First there was the chest thumping then there were the kind words of approval then there was the news that North Korea and US would sit down to a much needed summit……Trump would meet Kim……

North Korea is destroying their nuke test site……

North Korea carried out what it said is the demolition of its nuclear test site Thursday, setting off a series of explosions over several hours in the presence of foreign journalists. The explosions at the nuclear test site deep in the mountains of the North’s sparsely populated northeast were centered on three tunnels into the underground site and a number of observation towers in the surrounding area, reports the AP. The planned closing was previously announced by Kim Jong Un ahead of his planned summit with President Trump next month. Sky News correspondent Tom Cheshire was on hand, and described it thusly: “We hiked up into the mountains and watched the detonation from about 500 meters away. … There was a huge explosion, you could feel it. Dust came at you, the heat came at you. It was extremely loud.”

The North’s decision to close the Punggye-ri nuclear test site has generally been seen as a welcome gesture by Kim to set a positive tone ahead of the summit. Even so, it is not an irreversible move and would need to be followed by many more significant measures to meet Trump’s demands for real denuclearization. By bringing in the foreign media, mainly television networks, the North is apparently hoping to have images of the closing—including explosions to collapse tunnel entrances—broadcast around the world. The group included an AP television crew. The North did not invite international inspectors to the ceremony, which limits its value as a serious concession.

…….and then there were words that put the summit in jeopardy and finally the news came out….the summit has been axed!

Hours after North Korea announced it had blown up its nuclear test site, news of something else blowing up. The White House on Thursday released a letter from President Trump to Kim Jong Un canceling the planned June 12 summit in Singapore. It reads in part: “Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting. Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place.”

The statement the president references came from senior North Korean official Choe Son Hui, who called Mike Pence a “political dummy” for comparing North Korea to Libya in the context of denuclearization and warned Pyongyang wouldn’t “beg” for dialogue. CNN’s sources tell it the statement “infuriated” Trump and his team, specifically the portion about Pence. “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” Trump continued in the letter.

Odd…they eliminate their reactor site and then eliminate the summit…..this is an odd occurrence….

One thing we can say for sure…..Trump can kiss the Nobel Peace Prize good-bye…….after all the work that his minions in Congress did to try and force the committee to award the prize to Trump…..

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A New Iranian Nuke Deal?

Yes there is a new list of demands from the Trump crazies that Iran MUST adhere to for the deal to go back into effect…and there are some doozeys……..

Now that the US has withdrawn from the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, what would it take to strike a new deal? A lot, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revealed Monday in a speech outlining US demands, reports the Wall Street Journal, the AP, CNN, and Al Jazeera. Pompeo listed 12 things Iran must do, including:

  • Stop the enrichment of all uranium
  • Allow “unqualified access” to all nuclear sites
  • Withdraw all forces from Syria
  • Release all US citizens in custody
  • Stop its threats to destroy Israel
  • Halt its support for militant groups in the region, including Hezbollah in Lebanon
  • Declare all previous efforts to build a nuclear weapon

“Relief from sanctions will come only when we see tangible, demonstrated, and sustained shifts in Tehran’s policies,” said Pompeo in a speech at the Heritage Foundation. “We acknowledge Iran’s right to defend its people. But not its actions which jeopardize the world’s citizens.” The gist of coverage from the above sources suggests that the odds of Iran agreeing to the demands are virtually nonexistent. “There is such an enormous trust deficit between the US and Iran that Iranian leaders are likely to really shrug this off as yet more angry rhetoric coming from the Trump White House,” per Al Jazeera.

Tell me would the US accept these conditions……these are more to protect Israel than to end nuclear dreams.  Read Pompeo’s words it is that superiority thing…..”do as we say not as we do” sort of thing.

Personally I think his bluster will bite him in the butt….and I am not alone……

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speech on new sanctions on Iran lays out a wide range of Iranian behavior he would like to change, and specified harsh US financial sanctions as his instrument.

Pompeo, a Kansas oil man backed by the Koch brothers, is just a former congressman and a virulent Christian fundamentalist with white nationalist tendencies. He knows little about the world and is among the worst prepared secretaries of state in American history. He also knows nothing about the history of the region.

Unilateral US sanctions as a means of regime change or radically changing regime behavior have a strong record of failure, especially when applied to states with pricey primary commodities like petroleum.

https://www.juancole.com/2018/05/pompeo-iran-sanctions.html

These Trump people are the least capable of leading this country than ever before……

While the US makes demands that will not be met……the EU, China and Russia are moving to save the deal that is in place now……

While previous reports have indicated that there was little interest in talking about a new nuclear deal with Iran, the withdrawal of the US from the existing deal appears to have changed things. Now, Russia, China, and the European Union are to hold talks on a major revision of the deal later this week.

This new deal would keep Iran’s requirements the same as the existing deal, but would increase the incentives guaranteed by the other powers. This is an attempt to keep Iran complying with the deal as the US ratchets up sanctions.

While the US was the one pushing for a “new” deal in the first place, the other nations have kept the US completely sidelined in these new talks. This is unsurprising, as many see the US trying to undermine any such deals.

The new deal is said to offer Iran billions of dollars in financial aid to make up for the US dishonoring the pact and withdrawing its own sanctions relief. The deal also aims to pledge international cooperation to prevent US  sanctions being enforced internationally.

(antiwar.com)

This deal be saved one way or the other….but making unrealistic demands is not the “art of the deal”.

Closing Thought–22May18

I am posting this because there way too many people that think I hate everything that our president does….that is not accurate…..just as I did not agree with everything Obama did…..

I have been a staunch opponent of the Electoral College for many years….I really started bad mouth this archaic practice after the 2000 election.

Recently Trump has made a comment about the EC……a comment that I can agree with……

Pres, Trump argued that he’d rather see the presidential election be determined based on the popular vote than the current Electoral College system, claiming it would be “much easier to win.”

“They also like to always talk about [the] Electoral College. Well, it’s an election based on the Electoral College. I would rather have a popular election, but it’s a totally different campaign,” Trump said during an interview with “Fox & Friends.”

“It’s as though you’re running — if you’re a runner you’re practicing for the 100-yard dash as opposed to the one mile,” he continued. “The Electoral College is different. I would rather have the popular vote, because it’s — to me, it’s much easier to win.”

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/385022-trump-i-would-rather-have-presidential-election-based-on-the-popular

Given his track record lately he may change his tune next week….but for now I can agree with what he has said…

May your day be good and safe…..chuq

That Big Drug Deal

Just what we have been waiting on for a year or more….that big drug deal……this will be our biggest deal yet for affordable medication, right?

Bullah*t!

Trump and Sec of the mundane announced their new “blueprint” for lower drug prices……

Drug policy experts and price advocates on Friday panned a long-overdue speech by Donald Trump on drug prices.

As part of the speech, the US health secretary, Alex Azar, suggested drug companies should be required to disclose pharmaceutical prices in advertisements as an incentive to set lower prices.

Along with the speech, the president released a “blueprint” to lower drug prices. However, many proposals had already been made public in the administration’s budget and most were technical rule changes which can be accomplished without Congress. Drug policy analysts said most the proposals would be unlikely to “materially harm industry”. Following Trump’s speech, health stocks rose.

The administration’s blueprint also proposed lifting the pharmacist “gag” rule, so pharmacists can tell consumers when a drug is cheaper without their health insurance. Such provisions are written into contracts between pharmacists and benefit managers, who act as middlemen between the consumer and the health plan.

(theguardian.com)

Did you read that stocks soared because of this announcement?  If this did not benefit the drug industry massively would their prices have soared?  I think not!

President Trump’s long-awaited plan to bring down drug prices will mostly spare the pharmaceutical industry he previously accused of “getting away with murder” and instead focus on increasing private competition and requiring more openness about costs, per the AP. In Rose Garden remarks at the White House, Trump called his plan the “most sweeping action in history to lower the price of prescription drugs for the American people.” (The plan is here.) But it does not include his campaign pledge to use the massive buying power of the government’s Medicare program to directly negotiate lower prices for seniors. The Washington Post notes that the idea was the one feared most within the industry. The Wall Street Journal reports that drugmakers and pharmacy-benefit managers “suggested privately they were relieved to avoid harder blows from the plan.”

Instead, the administration will pursue a raft of old and new measures intended to improve competition and transparency in the drug-pricing system. Those include a proposal requiring drugmakers to disclose the cost of their medicines in their TV advertisements. Health Secretary Alex Azar said the Food and Drug Administration would immediately examine requiring that information in TV ads. The proposals also include banning the pharmacist “gag rule,” which Trump said prevents druggists from telling customers about lower-cost options so they can save money, and speeding up the approval process for over-the-counter medications so patients can buy more drugs without prescriptions. It’s an approach that avoids a direct confrontation with the powerful pharmaceutical lobby, but it could also underwhelm Americans seeking relief from escalating prescription costs.

Just another con job for the ignorant and lazy…..one good question to ask……”How the heck is this going to lower drug prices in this country?”

Officially ditching his campaign promise to challenge the pharmaceutical industry head-on and allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices—a betrayal that may have something to do with the fact that the White House is currently occupied by former Big Pharma executives in key posts—President Donald Trump on Friday formally unveiled a plan ostensibly aimed at cutting medicine costs that analysts and progressive critics are already slamming as wholly inadequate and “pharma-friendly.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/05/11/trumps-pharma-friendly-drug-plan-denounced-doing-little-or-nothing-lower-prices

This is the same as it ever was…..A Huge Con Job By A Con Artist!

It’s Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!

Making America Great Again!  Apparently we do this by helping China’s ZTE corporation……wait for the WTF!

Remember all those jobs that the president said would come flowing back to the shores of America? 1.7 million jobs created in 2017…..compared to 2.2 million created in 2016….I feel confident that we will have a new day in this country any time now.

Trump is planning to save jobs in China….you heard me….CHINA…..that is the nation of China not China, New Mexico….

President Trump surprised the business world Sunday by saying Washington would help keep the Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE alive—right after US sanctions had crippled it, the New York Times reports. “President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast,” tweeted Trump. “Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!” The Commerce Department last month imposed a seven-year ban on US companies shipping technology to ZTE, saying it had allowed workers to disregard US trade controls on North Korea and Iran.

Then ZTE, which has 70,000 workers across 160 countries, announced Wednesday that it was stopping “major operating activities.” So, what’s up? “Given his pressure on Beijing on trade, I don’t understand concern for Chinese jobs,” says technology and security expert Adam Segal. In fact, many analysts are “initially scratching their heads,” the Times says, while the Wall Street Journal calls Trump’s about-face “extraordinary.” Reuters notes that US suppliers like Intel and Qualcomm will likely suffer “a significant impact” from the Commerce Department ban. American companies are said to supply 25% to 30% of components used by ZTE, which makes smartphones and gear for telecom networks.

So Trump is going to help save jobs for a Chinese company…that ought to give all those workers that lost their jobs when Harley-Davidson closed their plant to move to Thailand so much confidence and a warm feeling while they try to get some unemployment hopefully they will not suffer the insult of being called a freeloader for needing help.

Also keep in mind that ZTE is one of the companies that has software to make a security breech easy……we will help save jobs and help make security violations so much easier.

That should “Make America Great Again”.

A Sunday Thought

First of all….I wish all my mothers a very pleasant and happy Mothers Day.

In the past week there has been a bunch of interest, especially on Twitter, about John McCain’s last wishes when he passes…..

It seems does not want Trump at his funeral…will accept Pence but not the president……

As Arizona Sen. John McCain gets his affairs in order, focus has moved to the 81-year-old’s funeral. NBC News reports that former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have each been asked to deliver eulogies at the event at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, while President Trump hasn’t even received an invite. McCain, battling brain cancer, has reportedly asked Vice President Mike Pence to attend in the president’s place in a move that “highlights the depths of the Trump-McCain feud,” dating to 2015, when Trump insulted McCain’s years as a POW in Vietnam, per Vanity Fair. As CNN’s Jake Tapper puts it, per HuffPost, “This is a real moment for the country where an American hero, somebody beloved in many, many ways is saying, ‘I don’t want this guy at my funeral.'”

Sen. Orrin Hatch thinks McCain should reconsider. “John should have his wishes fulfilled with regard to who attends his funeral,” but it’s “ridiculous” not to invite Trump, he tells CNN. “He’s the president,” and “would be a very interesting speaker and would do a good job for John,” the Senate’s president pro tempore says. In an editorial at the Boston Herald, Michael Graham even argues Trump “belongs at McCain’s funeral.” “Chances are there never would have been a President Trump” without McCain, who attacked the GOP base before Trump rallied it, Graham writes. But Rep. Gregory Meeks, a Democrat, disagrees. As “McCain is known for being honest, just the opposite of Donald Trump,” inviting Trump to his funeral “would be a mischaracterization of who he is,” Meeks says.

Let me tell Orrin Hatch what to do and save the McCain family for having to deal this Trumpian a/hole.  Piss Off!

Why would McCain do anything after the disrespect that Trump has shown him in the past?

Do not get me wrong there is very little that I like about McCain’s politics but as a veteran I will show the respect he deserves for serving his country in the military.

You want more respect for the president then someone tell him he needs to show more respect for others.  He can stay home and spend his time playing on Twitter and watching fake news TV….it is what he does best.

And speaking of disrespect…..a GOPer knows how to do it…..

There was “discomfort” during a closed-door White House meeting of communications staffers Thursday when special assistant Kelly Sadler made light of Sen. John McCain’s terminal illness, sources tell the Hill. Sadler, discussing the Republican senator’s opposition to Gina Haspel becoming CIA director, said: “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway,” the insiders say. Two sources confirmed to the AP that Sadler made the insensitive remark, leaving them “shocked and stunned.” The White House didn’t dispute reports of the comments, but it said in a statement: “We respect Senator McCain’s service to our nation and he and his family are in our prayers during this difficult time.”  (Sense the Trump admin will not answer the question we can assume that they agree with everything this toad had to say)

McCain, 81, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer last year and is being treated in Arizona. Wife Cindy McCain fired back at Sadler, tweeting: “May I remind you my husband has a family, 7 children and 5 grandchildren.” But Sadler wasn’t the only one making offensive remarks about McCain on Thursday, the Washington Post reports. Fox Business Network host Charles Payne apologized after a guest, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, claimed that McCain’s time as a POW in Vietnam showed that torture works. “That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John,'” McInerney said, though there’s no evidence that McCain betrayed his country. Payne tweeted an apology for the guest’s “false and derogatory remark.”

Time for some civility in the White House starting with the man in the PJs watching FOX and eating a Big Mac.

Sunday is over for me….I will retire to the library and spend the day doing what I do best…..reading.

On an added note:  Some say that I am a Trump “hater” that is a cute insult and the best I can say is BITE ME!

I dislike Trump and his people…they are insulting, disrespectful, petty and pathetic……and their handling of the subject of this post illustrates my accusation……

“It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway,” Sadler said. Said Sanders: “I’m not going to validate a leak one way or the other out of an internal staff meeting.”

When asked why she wouldn’t just offer up an apology, she replied, “I’m not going to get into a back and forth because, you know, people want to create issues of leaked staff meetings.” ABC News characterizes Sanders as having had “multiple opportunities to condemn Sadler’s comments” but declining to do so. Sanders confirmed that Sadler, a special assistant to the president, did not lose her job over the comment, which was made in a room filled with about 20 people, some of whom apparently gasped at the remark. Former Vice President Joe Biden did have something definitive to say on the issue Friday. “People have wondered when decency would hit rock bottom with this administration. It happened yesterday,” Biden said in a statement.

It is stuff liked this that brings me to my dislike…..I believe if you want respect then you need to give respect……

I await the excuses from the Trump apologists (Like that term….where have the dullards heard it before?)

Withdraw For Sloppy Seconds

Well I see that a moron always a moron….our Fearless Leader has withdrawn from the deal that the US and its allies have with Iran on the nuke program.

In a move he’s been signalling for some time, President Trump on Tuesday withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, reports NBC News. “This is a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never ever been made,” said the president in a televised news conference. “It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.” Trump, who accused Tehran of lying about its nuclear ambitions, also said the US would be reimposing the highest level of sanctions and warned other nations not to assist Iran, reports the AP. After his news conference, he signed a presidential memorandum to make the move official. The decision puts the US at odds with its European allies, which urged Trump to stick with the deal, and raises the possibility of tension with Russia and China, notes the New York Times.

“We cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement,” Trump said in his remarks, adding that the agreement was “defective at its core” and an “embarrassment to me as a citizen and all citizens of the United States.” Doing away with what was considered President Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement fulfills an oft-stated campaign pledge of Trump’s, notes the Washington Post. Trump cited documents revealed last week by Israel suggesting that Iran had a nuclear weapons program in the 1990s, something it has repeatedly denied, and lied about that fact during negotiations for the 2015 accord. “At the heart of the Iran deal was a giant fiction,” Trump asserted.

This surprised no one.  He does what Israel tells him to do.  After all this bone head decision benefits NO one but Israel.

Can it be saved by others?

https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/gulf-and-arabian-peninsula/iran/saving-iran-nuclear-deal-without-us

Europe should make a separate deal with Iran so if the dick tips in this country want a war with Iran then they will be warring on our allies as well…..I do not think this will stop the war mongers that want a war with Iran in the least.  Would this be possible?

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced Monday that Iran has prepared for “all scenarios” and will remain “committed” to the nuclear deal no matter what the US does. He says if the US does withdraw, Iran will seek guarantees from non-American signatories. In particular he has sought assurances from the three EU member nations that signed, Britain, France, and Germany, that they will continue to abide by the deal.

Germany and France have both issued statements Monday confirming that they support the deal, and intend to stand by it whether or not the US remains involved. The German and French Foreign Ministers gave a joint news conference on the matter, with German FM Heiko Maas saying there wasn’t any “justifiable reason” to withdraw. The officials say they’re still trying to convince President Trump to respect the deal.

(antiwar.com)

Reactions……

President Trump formally withdrew the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord Tuesday—now what? Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gave a speech broadcast live on state TV within minutes of Trump’s announcement in which he warned the country could restart enriching uranium “without any limitations” within weeks, the AP reports, though he added that the Iranian foreign minister will visit the countries still in the deal—China, France, Germany, Russia, and the UK—to see if the pact can be salvaged. More on the fallout and potential ramifications of the US pulling out:

  • The Washington Post lays out “5 big consequences” of Trump’s decision while Rolling Stone looks at the “3 biggest consequences.” Both articles point out the possibility that Trump’s decision could alienate US allies.
  • What impact will the decision have on a potential US-North Korea nuclear deal? USA Today digs in.
  • One company that will be impacted by the US withdrawal? Boeing, which stands to lose $20 billion in deals with Iranian airlines. CNBC and CNNMoney look at how Boeing will handle that.
  • The Iran deal was then-President Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement; Obama responded to Trump’s withdrawal Tuesday by calling the decision “misguided.” CNN has his full statement.
  • The AP has reactions from many more, including the Syrian government and congressional leaders.
  • Business Insider reports that even some of the deal’s biggest critics are uncertain Trump made the correct choice.
  • But over at Vox, one of those critics gives an in-depth explanation of why this was the right thing to do, and the “two positive directions” Trump appears to be heading in.
  • The New York Times offers an extensive look at the deal and Trump’s decision, which it calls a “risky bet” that the US can “break the regime” in Iran through economic sanctions.
  • For more on what happens next, Axios has a primer running down Iran’s options, Europe’s options, and the longer-term effects.

This idiot decision has our gas prices are already on the rise…….to bad will it get?…..

Oil prices just busted through the $70 mark as the world awaits President Trump’s decision on Iranian sanctions. The price of benchmark US crude rose 74 cents to $70.46 a barrel, the first time since 2014 the cost has exceeded $70, reports the AP. The development, which is expected to result in higher gas prices, comes as analysts await Trump’s May 12 decision on whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal he sees as a failure, reports Reuters. If the US withdraws from the deal, analysts expect Iranian oil exports to fall. Also hitting oil prices was a worsening economic crisis in Venezuela.

I cannot -wait to see just where this decision hurts the US the most.