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Politics thread - Enter at your own risk! Warning… Bullcrap inside (Read 434,779 times)
Joey
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Re: Politics thread - Enter at your own risk! Warning… Bullcrap inside
Reply #4475 - Jul 29th, 2019 at 9:08pm
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" Robert J. Samuelson: Are we shortchanging the military?  "








https://www.omaha.com/opinion/robert-j-samuelson-are-we-shortchanging-the-milita...






" WASHINGTON -- The military-industrial complex isn't bankrupting us -- though some on the left still cling nostalgically to the belief that it is. It's fiction. We need to be clear about this. As I've written before, one of the great uncovered stories in Washington is the defense budget versus the welfare state. Defense is getting drubbed, exposing us to long-term risks.

Whether this lesson takes hold in the campaign is unclear. The omens aren't good. The latest anti-Pentagon tirade comes in a recent issue of the New York Review of Books by Jessica T. Mathews, former president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. It's headlined "America's Indefensible Defense Budget." Here are some of her conclusions.

» "Defense spending crowds out funds for everything else a prosperous economy and a healthy society need."

» "Defense spending now accounts for almost 60% of the budget: Everything else is accommodated in the remaining two-fifths."

» "We still spend more on defense than the next eight largest spenders combined -- China, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Russia, Britain, Germany and Japan."

By this account, "high" levels of military spending are crippling the rest of society. The trouble is that each of these statements is false, deceptive or incomplete.

Let's start with the notion that defense is crowding out other national priorities. The reality is just the opposite. Expanding government spending on health care and various "entitlements" is crowding out other priorities, including -- but not limited to -- defense, the FBI, the national parks, scientific research, federal courts and much more.

Over time, government has transformed itself. In 1960, defense spending accounted for 52% of federal outlays. "Human resources" -- which covers Social Security, Medicare (not yet created in 1960) and other entitlements -- were 28%. By 2018, defense's share had sunk to 15%, and human resources had climbed to 71%.

Moreover, the aging of the population is constantly raising Social Security and retirement spending, squeezing other programs and requiring higher taxes or bigger deficits. The trends would be similar if the costs of nuclear weapons were added to the basic military budget.

Next, let's debunk the contention that defense represents 60% of the budget. In the preceding paragraph, the number used is 15%. Both can't be right. The way that Mathews gets to 60% is by ignoring entitlement spending -- the largest and fastest-growing part of the budget -- and comparing defense outlays only to so-called "discretionary" spending.

Naturally, defense looms larger when counted against a smaller amount. Budget wonks (people like me) can spot this misleading trick. But most people wouldn't have a clue. (The statistics above come from the Historical Tables, published annually by the Office of Management and Budget.)

Finally, there's the oft-repeated claim that U.S. defense spending exceeds the amounts of the next eight countries combined. Though this may be technically true, it's a statistical fluke.

Our prices for paying for the military (troops, tanks, aircraft) are higher than foreigners' comparable prices. That's one burden of a volunteer military. Other countries get more bang for their buck. "The U.S. defense budget buys much less than it once did," notes Rick Berger, a defense analyst at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute.

Adjusting for these price differences (under a technique called "purchasing power parity"), our spending would not exceed those of the next eight countries.

What Mathews has given us is an anti-defense mythology that, if believed, would justify gutting the system we have today. But it shouldn't be believed, because its purported facts are mostly fictions that are completely at odds with the world we can observe. This includes a China that is building a high-tech military; a Russia that is modernizing its forces; possible conflicts with Iran and North Korea; acts of terrorism; and cyberwarfare.

None of this warrants a blank check for the military. Mathews is correct that there is waste in the system, including (as she says) weapons systems and bases that are preserved mostly because they have powerful political sponsors. But there is waste in many federal programs -- Medicare, student loans and Amtrak, as examples -- and they shouldn't be used as a pretext for stalling needed defense spending. Likewise, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan remind us that money alone can't ensure battlefield success.

There is a larger issue here that Congress and presidents have assiduously avoided for decades. What is government for? Until the 1930s, the main answer was national security, with a lesser role for economic development. Now we have a security state, a welfare state and a whatever-else-you-want state. It would be nice, though unlikely, if the next election could decide between what's essential and what's simply convenient. "

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Re: Politics thread - Enter at your own risk! Warning… Bullcrap inside
Reply #4476 - Jul 30th, 2019 at 9:17pm
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https://www.omaha.com/opinion/jonah-goldberg-congressional-impeachment-show-need...









" Jonah Goldberg: Congressional impeachment show needs to be canceled .  "








" The impeachment show needs to be suspended and sent back for major rewrites -- or, better yet, canceled entirely.

I use the word "show" deliberately, because that is what it has become. In the most recent episode of House Democrats versus President Donald Trump, pro-impeachment members were hoping special counsel Robert Mueller's testimony would provide the boost the show needed. "Nobody reads the book," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a widely repeated line, referring to the Mueller report, "but everybody will watch the movie."

The problem is the Mueller episode was boring, and the same folks who said it was going to be a hit are now furious at those judging it like an entertainment.

The show bombed largely because Mueller refused to play his part. Not only were his halting answers designed to deny newscasters a single sound bite, but he also refused to play the wise elder statesman role Congress so often assigns outsiders in the hope they will do whatever job the representatives themselves are incapable of doing. Congress loves to hand off its responsibilities to above-the-fray public servants -- special commissions, blue ribbon panels and, of course, independent or special counsels -- because its members lack the moral authority and expertise to act alone. But that rarely works.


It's time to acknowledge that Congress is broken and has been for a very long time; the ongoing impeachment debacle is merely a symptom.

One reason Republicans lost their House majority in 2018 was they had abdicated their oversight responsibilities. Now Democrats run the House, and they're fumbling, too. The Democrats who flipped the House did so by capturing districts Trump had won two years earlier, and they won not by talking about impeachment but by promising to address health care and serve as a "check" on the White House.

Instead of following through on that, however, Congress just keeps flirting with impeachment, a nonstarter even if it were a good idea. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., sees this clearly, though her motive obviously has less to do with wanting to spare Trump impeachment than her conviction that impeaching him would jeopardize a Democratic victory in 2020.

She's probably right about that. About 53% of Americans disapprove of Trump these days. But some 63% disapprove of impeachment, according to a recent Washington Post poll. The base of the Democratic Party may be clamoring to see Trump frog-marched to Guantanamo Bay, but a majority of voters aren't, including many who dislike Trump.

Most of the Democratic representatives pushing for impeachment come from the very blue districts where the base is concentrated. Nadler, who represents famously liberal bastions in Brooklyn and Manhattan (including Greenwich Village and the Upper West Side), frets about a primary challenge if he doesn't deliver, so he talks about how the impeachment process isn't dead yet, as if he were the pet shop salesman in the Monty Python "dead parrot" sketch. He needs to keep the possibility alive.

Even if Mueller had knocked it out of the park, the odds of successfully removing Trump in a Senate trial would have improved from zero to, maybe, 5%. You need two-thirds of a GOP-controlled Senate for removal. You also need -- fun fact here -- the Senate to agree to take up the impeachment in the first place. Hence the odds of removing Trump from office before the 2020 presidential election would still be zero even if Mueller had given an Oscar-worthy performance.


None of this speaks to the underlying question of whether Trump should be impeached. Reasonable people can disagree on that. But if congressional Democrats were hoping Mueller's testimony would provide some new smoking gun, they are sorely disappointed.

The obvious course here is for some Democratic presidential candidate or candidates to explain to voters in a forceful and persuasive way the basic truth about impeachment: There isn't the time and there aren't the votes to remove Trump from office through impeachment, and trying to impeach him might ensure his election. The only real course available for removing Trump from office is victory at the ballot box. And if Democrats have any hope of doing that, they better quit talking about impeachment and start talking about health care and the economy and the other issues voters actually care about.

It's the obvious choice, but also the harder one for a party obsessed with pandering to its base and a Congress that is addicted to easy answers.  "














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Re: Politics thread - Enter at your own risk! Warning… Bullcrap inside
Reply #4477 - Aug 6th, 2019 at 9:41am
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Re: Politics thread - Enter at your own risk! Warning… Bullcrap inside
Reply #4478 - Aug 7th, 2019 at 9:01pm
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<   ----------- Some Guy  ?!  .... !!!!!!!!!!!  :








https://www.arcamax.com/politics/mod/davidignatius/s-2261816






" In U.S.-China relations, 'friction is the new normal'  .  "


David Ignatius on Aug 7, 2019




" ASPEN, Colo. -- Where is the United States heading in its confrontation with China, which moved this week from a trade dispute to a currency battle -- with more dangerous tests in Hong Kong and Taiwan looming ominously in the background?

Does the U.S. have a strategy in this cascading competition? Do America's military and diplomatic tools match the scope and subtlety of the challenges ahead? Is America's growing anxiety about Beijing creating a policy panic that overstates the Chinese threat and understates U.S. strength?

This "Battle for Primacy" with China was the topic of this week's annual meeting of the Aspen Strategy Group, a group of former secretaries of state, national security advisers and other senior former and current officials, supplemented by some journalists and think tank analysts, that has been gathering here since 1984.

"The consensus of our meeting was that this is by far the greatest national-security challenge the U.S. faces for the next few decades," said Nicholas Burns, a Harvard professor and former undersecretary of state who serves as the group's director. The forum agreed that "the foundation of our policy toward China has to be the internal strength of the United States," he said.

Over the three days of discussion, I heard broad support for other specific themes: China has become a potent rival in military power, technology and economic clout, and President Trump was right to take a tougher line on Chinese trade practices than had his predecessors. But Trump's policy has been a changeable collection of tactics more than a systematic plan for dealing with China -- it's "an attitude more than a strategy," as one member of the group put it.

Trump's tariffs have produced an escalating tit-for-tat pattern that this week spread to currency, as China let the renminbi fall sharply and the U.S. responded by branding Beijing as a "currency manipulator." Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, not usually an alarmist, warned Monday in a tweet that "We may well be at the most dangerous financial moment since the 2009 Financial Crisis."

"The public anger and frustration toward China are there, but the policy and strategy are not," Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., told the group. Kevin Rudd, a former Australian prime minister, warned the American gathering: "At present, you don't have a strategy. That's just a reality,"

What concerned the group was that Trump's economic jousting is taking place against a backdrop of potentially explosive security challenges -- the growing citizen protests in Hong Kong and a January election in a Taiwan that Beijing sees as a rebellious province. These two political battles carry a risk of Chinese military intervention for which the U.S. isn't well prepared.

Philip Zelikow, a former State Department official who teaches at the University of Virginia, warned that he sees "a one-in-three chance of major crisis over Taiwan in the next year or so." The group pondered how the U.S. should react to a Chinese intervention, however unlikely.

U.S military options would be risky in a Taiwan crisis. In more than a dozen war games over the past decade, news reports have said the imaginary U.S. side has lost. "The force we have isn't going to win," cautioned Chris Brose, former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee. In a confrontation across the Taiwan Strait, warned another former senior official, "a carrier task force won't last one minute, Okinawa will be a place for soldiers to die."

The group agreed that America must prepare for a long, difficult period of competition with a China that can no longer be regarded as a benign partner. "Friction in the new normal," said David Shambaugh, a China scholar who teaches at George Washington University.

But as the discussion progressed, group members increasingly stressed that it was important for the U.S. not to overreact, in Taiwan or elsewhere, and to remember America's abiding strengths -- it if can solve its current political problems.

The Aspen conversation wasn't a call to arms against China, but rather a call to prudent national security policy. China is gaining weight in the seesaw of power, said Harvard professor Graham Allison, but America retains the balance if it keeps faith with allies such as Japan and Europe and brings them to the competition.

Rudd summed up the need for clear American strategy in this contest: "It's 50-50 how it turns out," he told the group. "It depends on what you do -- and your confidence in yourselves." It's a long game, one that requires the most precious and scarce resources in today's America -- patience, unity and resolve. "











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Re: Politics thread - Enter at your own risk! Warning… Bullcrap inside
Reply #4479 - Aug 9th, 2019 at 8:31am
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This thread will not see a second term.
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Re: Politics thread - Enter at your own risk! Warning… Bullcrap inside
Reply #4480 - Aug 12th, 2019 at 9:18pm
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<  ------------- Some Guy  ?!  ..... !!!!!!!!!!!!!   :







https://www.arcamax.com/politics/mod/davidignatius/s-2262632?fs








" The Marines' new commandant has set the bar for real military reform . "


David Ignatius on Aug 9, 2019


" WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon is buzzing about a potentially revolutionary order by the new Marine Corps commandant that bluntly answers the essential question for would-be military reformers: What should we discard from the legacy arsenal to make room for what we need to fight the wars of the future?

"We cannot afford to retain outdated policies, doctrine, organizations or force development strategies," wrote Gen. David Berger in his "Commandant's Planning Guidance" issued July 16, less than a week after he took over. "What served us well yesterday may not today," when a technologically advanced China is America's most potent future adversary.

Talk is cheap when it comes to reforming the military, but Berger backs his call for change with specific recommendations that gore many of the Marine Corps' sacred cows. He says he's ready to give up some existing forces to pay for modernization -- a sentiment that's rare indeed in a Pentagon that treasures its aircraft carriers, fighter jets and other legacy weapons.

"Berger looks reality in the face and says we've got to make changes," says Chris Brose, former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "He doesn't hedge, he doesn't fudge. He makes choices. He's thrown down the gauntlet for the other services."

Brose and his late boss, Sen. John McCain, played an important role in prodding Berger's reforms in a series of pointed questions to the Marine Corps in last year's Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act. The queries shook the Corps' leaders, and "that discomfort … led to some very creative thinking," said Ryan Evans in an interview with Brose this week on a podcast for the military blog "War on the Rocks."

What shapes Berger's guidance is a recognition that the Marine Corps' traditional ethos doesn't fit very well in a world where the biggest potential threat will be China -- which will have precision weapons that can savage the Marines' signature, large-scale amphibious-assault operations.

Berger's first iconoclastic recommendation is that the Corps should integrate more closely with the Navy, breaking from a recent "tendency to view their operational responsibilities as separate and distinct." Marines shouldn't be "passive passengers en route to the amphibious objective area," he wrote," but instead "contribute to the fight alongside our Navy shipmates from the moment we embark."

To concentrate on China as a potential adversary, Berger ordered that the Third Marine's Expeditionary Force, or III MEF, be devoted to "fight-tonight" operations in the Indo-Pacific Command and that the First Marine's Expeditionary Force (I MEF) "also be focused" on the India-Pacific theater, rather than on Central Command in the Middle East. "We will increasingly accept risk with I MEF's habitual relationship with Centcom," he wrote.

Perhaps Berger's boldest recommendation was that the Marine Corps move away from its insistence on having 38 ships available for amphibious assault. Given China's precision-strike capabilities, he wrote, "it would be illogical to continue to concentrate our forces on a few large ships. ... We need to change this calculus with a new fleet design of smaller, more lethal, and more risk-worthy platforms."

Berger's barbed comments touched on nearly every aspect of how the Corps operates. "Our installation infrastructure is untenable," he wrote, and some of the existing 19,000 buildings should be "considered for demolition." As for the Marines' manpower system, it "was designed in the industrial era to produce mass, not quality."

For Marines, war is personal -- intense physical combat. But Berger proposed a culture shift to "reduce exposure of Marines wherever possible," along with vulnerable platforms. He specified: "This means a significant increase in unmanned systems." Berger evidently had support from his predecessor, Gen. Robert Neller.

Describing future forces, Berger wrote something that every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should discuss in their next meeting in the "tank" at the Pentagon: "We must continue to seek the affordable and plentiful at the expense of the exquisite and few. ... The Marine Corps can no longer accept the inefficiencies inherent in antiquated legacy systems."

This rethink is the heart of the matter when it comes to reforming the military. The military systems we have now are wildly expensive, but increasingly unsuited to the adversaries of the future. America won't get the military it needs without radical change.

Some Marines are already grumbling about Berger's disruptive guidance, and their complaints will be amplified by the contractors that build the existing armada of exquisite amphibious-assault ships, and the members of Congress in districts where jobs might be lost.

Berger courageously has set the mark for real reform. Now we need similar creative thinking from the Army, Navy and Air Force. "









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Re: Politics thread - Enter at your own risk! Warning… Bullcrap inside
Reply #4481 - Aug 12th, 2019 at 9:24pm
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<  ------------ GIMMEKEEF  ?!   ..... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  :







https://www.omaha.com/opinion/robert-j-samuelson-is-the-economy-turning-against-...







" Robert J. Samuelson: Is the economy turning against Trump? "




" WASHINGTON -- To have a recession or not -- that is the question.

It also encompassed last week's most important political news, notwithstanding all the public attention understandably focused on the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. There is growing evidence of a possible recession. If one materializes, President Donald Trump could lose his most powerful argument for reelection: a strong economy.

As is well known, Trump's approval ratings have stubbornly remained well below 50%. Typically, they've hovered in the high 30s and the low 40s. Even this weak support depends heavily on a buoyant economy.

Consider a Washington Post-ABC News poll taken in late June and early July. Trump's overall approval rate was 44%, with 53% disapproving. But this poor showing already included public support for his economic stewardship, with 51% approving and 42% disapproving. On every other issue, the public disapproved of his performance.

On immigration, the public disapproved by a 40%-to-57% margin. (In all these comparisons, Trump's approval number comes first.) On taxes, the margin was 42% to 49%. On health care, it was 38% to 54%. Here are the remaining results: On women's issues, he trailed 32% to 56%; on abortion, 32% to 54%; on gun violence, 36% to 52%; on foreign policy, 40% to 55%; on climate change, 29% to 62%.

For Trump to lose his edge on the economy would clearly make it harder for him to win the general election. One obvious possibility would be perverse: Democrats might become so overconfident that they'd nominate someone too far to the left for most Americans.

For most of Trump's presidency, the economic news has been favorable. At its current 3.7%, the unemployment rate hasn't been lower since the 1960s.

In July, the present economic expansion became the longest in U.S. history at slightly more than 10 years, as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The bureau usually declares a recession if the economy contracts for two consecutive quarters -- that is, unemployment rises and output falls.

What threatens this rosy picture is growing economic strife over trade. Last week was chaotic. Trump threatened to slap a 10% tariff on roughly $300 billion of Chinese exports to the United States. Rather than submit, China retaliated by letting its currency, the renminbi (RMB), depreciate below the symbolic rate of 7 to the dollar. A cheaper RMB would make China's exports more competitive, offsetting some of the effect of Trump's tariffs.

Trump responded by declaring China a "currency manipulator" -- an ominous-sounding label that merely requires the administration to open negotiations with China, something that it's already doing and has led nowhere. Reflecting mounting uncertainty, the stock market fluctuated wildly during the week.

All this is curbing already-sluggish economic growth. Higher tariffs raise prices to consumers and businesses, reducing their purchasing power. In late July -- before the most recent turmoil -- the International Monetary Fund downgraded its economic outlook and warned that "risks to the forecast are mainly to the downside." The main danger seems a loss of confidence that delays business investment and consumer spending. The plunge in interest rates is seen as evidence that investors are seeking safe havens for their money.

Most economists aren't yet predicting a recession, but they're drifting in that direction. Lewis Alexander of Nomura Securities International expects the economy's growth to slow to less than 2% but not to enter recessionary territory. Joel Prakken of IHS Markit says its models put the odds of recession within a year at 1-in-3.

Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics seems more pessimistic. "The U.S. and global economies are headed for a downturn unless President Trump backs away from his latest tariff threat," he writes in a commentary. The combination of higher tariffs, higher prices and other factors have already cost almost 300,000 U.S. jobs, he estimates.

Trump seems acutely aware of the threats to his reelection. He's repeatedly assailed the Federal Reserve for not lowering short-term interest rates sooner; he's also accepted a federal budget with huge deficits. These constitute traditional "stimulus" designed to keep the economy advancing.

If they don't work, it's a safe bet that Trump won't blame himself. The Fed and China are being set up as the fall guys for the next recession. "












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Re: Politics thread - Enter at your own risk! Warning… Bullcrap inside
Reply #4482 - Aug 12th, 2019 at 9:27pm
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Some Guy wrote on Aug 9th, 2019 at 8:31am:
This thread will not see a second term.





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Reply #4483 - Aug 12th, 2019 at 9:34pm
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<  ---------- Nanky  ?!   ........... !!!!!!!!!!!!!! :







https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/us-china-trade-war-until-2021-ch
ina-plays-long-game-2019-8-1028441111







" China's trade war with the US could last until 2021 if Xi decides to wait out Trump .  "








" China's yearlong trade war with the US could last until early 2021 if it decides to play the long game, according to Pantheon Macroeconomics.

The dispute between the world's two largest economies shows no sign of waning after they broke off talks last week. The Trump administration is holding off on issuing licenses for US businesses to deal with Chinese tech giant Huawei, while the Chinese government have halted purchases of US agricultural goods. Donald Trump also plans to extend tariffs to virtually all Chinese goods at the start of September.

The quarrel could continue for upwards of 18 months if Chinese President Xi Jinping decides to wait until after the 2020 US presidential election and strike a deal with Trump's successor.

"We're increasingly coming around to the view that President Xi's best bet might simply be to wait until after the 2020 election, in the expectation that a new administration would be more consistent in its negotiating stance," Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said in a note.

Waiting out Trump would be a gamble for Xi as the US president could be "emboldened to push China even harder," Shepherdson said. US tariffs on Chinese goods would also continue to hurt and might even worsen.

However, China — unlike the US — has the fiscal capacity to stimulate domestic demand over the next year, negating the impact of the trade war, he added.

The Chinese government also has other pressing issues to address, such as protests in Hong Kong and retaining central leadership of the state, and might be happy to delay trade talks.

"Trump can make life difficult for China over the next year, but he cannot force the leadership to come to the negotiating table," Shepherdson said. "
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Re: Politics thread - Enter at your own risk! Warning… Bullcrap inside
Reply #4484 - Aug 12th, 2019 at 9:49pm
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Edith Grove wrote on May 23rd, 2019 at 11:48am:
gimmekeef wrote on May 23rd, 2019 at 10:39am:
Id love to track the buying and selling of stock by those insiders at Mar A Lago on Mondays. Hearing Trump talk about sanctions and tariffs I'm sure they got a lot of inside trader info.



Something make you think that's never happened in previous administrations?







<  ---------------  "  GENERAL Xi  "    ........... ?!   ............ !!!!!!!!!!!  ..................... Does President Donald J. Trump have his very own Military Uniform  ?!   :







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Reply #4485 - Aug 13th, 2019 at 7:27am
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No one really talks about the toilet paper situation at the office anymore. It is what it is.
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Re: Politics thread - Enter at your own risk! Warning… Bullcrap inside
Reply #4486 - Aug 13th, 2019 at 12:59pm
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Some Guy wrote on Aug 13th, 2019 at 7:27am:
No one really talks about the toilet paper situation at the office anymore. It is what it is.



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Re: Politics thread - Enter at your own risk! Warning… Bullcrap inside
Reply #4487 - Aug 13th, 2019 at 2:25pm
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Joey wrote on Aug 12th, 2019 at 9:27pm:
Some Guy wrote on Aug 9th, 2019 at 8:31am:
This thread will not see a second term.


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Don't get mad, the thread will see the second term, it was a mistake is Trump the one who won't
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Re: Politics thread - Enter at your own risk! Warning… Bullcrap inside
Reply #4488 - Aug 13th, 2019 at 3:35pm
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Re: Politics thread - Enter at your own risk! Warning… Bullcrap inside
Reply #4489 - Aug 13th, 2019 at 6:16pm
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Joey wrote on Aug 12th, 2019 at 9:18pm:
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Reply #4490 - Aug 15th, 2019 at 8:55pm
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<  ------------      GIMMEKEEF    ,  Is this dude right about Taiwan  ?!   .....  No way in Hell we sit by and watch Taiwan go down in flames    .......  One day President Trump's thoughts and words shall be embedded into the Constitution  [ See : General  Xi ]   :











https://www.arcamax.com/politics/mod/davidignatius/s-2264799









" Beware 'moral hazard' in Hong Kong . "



David Ignatius on Aug 16, 2019







" WASHINGTON -- Watching videos of Chinese protestors singing the U.S. national anthem in the streets of Hong Kong, or hearing the tear-jerking chorus of "Les Miserables" during a sit-in at the Hong Kong airport, only someone with a heart of stone wouldn't want to assist these brave people who are fighting for their freedom.

But beware. The problem is that easy gestures of support could get these Chinese freedom fighters killed. It's a problem that insurance companies call "moral hazard," when they inadvertently encourage people to take risks or engage in unsafe behavior by promising or implying that they'll be protected or rescued.

President Trump makes the opposite mistake. His response, sadly, has been to sympathize with China's dictator. In the early days, he all but invited Beijing to crack down, calling the protests "riots," and saying it was between Hong Kong and China, "because Hong Kong is a part of China." This week, as a crackdown seemed near, Trump whined about being blamed for Chinese intervention and offered a "personal meeting" to resolve the crisis peacefully with the "great leader" President Xi Jinping.

Much as I dislike Trump's crass and self-centered comments, he is avoiding one important mistake in the Hong Kong crisis. He's not implying that the United States is prepared to step in to protect the demonstrators from the consequences of their actions. He recognizes that Hong Kong is a matter for Beijing and Hong Kong to resolve, and he's not writing checks that the American people in the end wouldn't cash.

We need to be honest, with ourselves and others: America won't go to war to save free speech in Hong Kong. It probably wouldn't go to war to protect the independence of Taiwan, either. The U.S. should subtly raise the cost of potential Chinese intervention, and maintain some ambiguity about our actions. But we should be careful about facile rhetorical threats that raise the costs for others.

The Hong Kong protests present a problem that arose often during the Cold War years. Anti-communist freedom fighters rose up in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968. The United States had supported the overthrow of communism and, in the case of the Hungarian revolution, the CIA had apparently maintained some covert networks of support. But when the crunch came, U.S. policymakers correctly judged that it was too dangerous to intervene.

An idealistic, interventionist America has a tendency to make promises it can't keep. When protestors proclaim universal rights, we rightly stand with them intellectually. But sometimes we go further, implying that we're with them on the barricades, too. But that's rarely true -- and for good reason: It's too dangerous.

Too often, sentimental Americans are like the feckless lovers in 19th century novels: We seduce and then we abandon.

The power of the weak against despotic enemies is that they start conflicts that they can't finish -- in the hope that a great power will come and rescue them. The Bosnians and Kosovars did that in the Balkan wars of the 1990s; Iraqi Kurds weaponized their vulnerability against Saddam Hussein at the end of the 1991 Gulf War. Arab Spring protestors did the same thing in Egypt, Syria and Libya in 2011.

When the United States encourages these uprisings, we incur a moral liability: If we don't come to the assistance of those whose hopes we've raised, we are diminished as a people. There's blood on our hands when the tanks roll in.

But if we do intervene with our own troops, we make a far more dangerous commitment. The American people are still angry about the sacrifice of American blood and treasure in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that weren't adequately anchored in American self-interest.

What's the sound course, between the moral hazard of recklessly encouraging risk and the moral blindness of ignoring brave people fighting for their rights? The right answer is awkwardly somewhere in the middle -- supporting causes like the democracy protests in Hong Kong, and trying to deter despotic powers like China from intervening -- without implying that we'll intervene directly ourselves to save the martyrs.

The State Department seemed to get it about right in its statement this week: "We condemn violence and urge all sides to exercise restraint, but remain staunch in our support for freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly in Hong Kong."

Keeping faith with people who nobly aspire to freedom isn't a spasm of support but a long game that plays out over decades. This is the restrained but steadfast approach that ultimately won the Cold War, and it's a commitment that China will test at its peril. "



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Reply #4491 - Aug 15th, 2019 at 9:01pm
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<  ---------------- Some Guy    ?!  ................. !!!!!!!!!!!!! :









https://www.omaha.com/opinion/marc-a-thiessen-the-rise-of-anti-semitism-on-the/a...








" Marc A. Thiessen: The rise of anti-Semitism on the left .  "







" OSWIECIM, Poland — Recently, the State Department revised its definition of anti-Semitism to include “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” — an apparent response to the rise of the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) movement whose supporters routinely make such comparisons.

That is a good thing. Just a few days ago, I sat in the former SS headquarters of the Auschwitz concentration camp with Piotr Cywinski, director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Speaking beside a window overlooking the gas chamber and crematorium where countless souls perished, he explained that there is no difference between hatred of Israel and hatred for Jews.

“It’s the same old story with some different words,” he said. “If you are speaking with somebody who is defending some anti-Israeli ideologies, maybe not in the first minute, maybe not in the second minute, but in the third minute you will find the same old story accusing Jews of every bad thing in the world. For me, that’s very, very clear. I never saw any anti-Israeli theory that was not anti-Semitic.”

In an interview, my American Enterprise Institute colleague Danielle Pletka and I asked Cywinski about politicians such as Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., who recently said that boycotting Israel is no different from boycotting Nazi Germany.

“I can’t see why people feel free to compare Israel to the Nazis,” Cywinski said. “I don’t want to comment on it on an intellectual level. It’s simply an insult. It’s an insult to the victims and an insult to the survivors and an insult to a whole country, to a whole society.” There was a time, he said, when “if somebody would (say) something like this, it would be the end of his political career. Now it’s a question of two days maybe of troubles. And this is something terrible, because that means that there’s no more responsibility with words.”

The problem of anti-Semitism is rising across the world. A recent CNN poll found that more than a quarter of Europeans say Jews have too much influence in business and finance, while 1 in 5 said Jews have too much influence in the media and politics. Anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise as well.

Here in the United States, we saw neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville chanting “Jews will not replace us!” and horrific shootings at synagogues near San Diego in April and in Pittsburgh last year. In 2018, France reported a 74% increase in anti-Semitic attacks, while in Germany they grew by 60%.

While the rise of far-right populism has played a role, many victims say those on the right account for only a fraction of these anti-Semitic incidents. In December, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights asked European Jews who was responsible for the most serious incident of anti-Semitic harassment they had experienced: Only 13% said it was someone with a far-right political view, while 30% said it was an “extremist Muslim” and 20% said it was someone with left-wing views.

The fact is, anti-Semitism is a growing problem on the left. In Britain earlier this year, three members of the Labour Party resigned after accusing the party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, of being — as a former Labour general secretary put it — “institutionally anti-Semitic.” In Washington, congressional Democrats have struggled to confront anti-Semitism within their own ranks.

Cywinski says the rise of left-wing anti-Semitism is not surprising. “Do not forget that the Nazi party in Germany was a party of workers,” he says. “We are many times thinking about the Nazis as far right. They were also very deeply speaking … to the left, using some leftist language.”

Whether on the left or the right, we all have an obligation to confront anti-Semitism and other forms of racism and xenophobia. Asked if politicians who express anti-Semitic attitudes should come here, Cywinski says everyone should come. “People need to see Auschwitz. People need to come not only to cry over all of the victims … but maybe to feel their own responsibility today.”

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Re: Politics thread - Enter at your own risk! Warning… Bullcrap inside
Reply #4492 - Aug 15th, 2019 at 9:15pm
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lotsajizz wrote on Aug 13th, 2019 at 3:35pm:
Hey Joey!









<  ------------- Hi Jizzy !!!!!!!!!!!!    ................ Weeding  ?!   .....................   Hashishin'  ?!  ..... !!!!!!!!!!   ...... Are you Hashishin' ?!   .............  Weeding Today  ?!     ............. Weeding  ?!   .. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  :

















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Reply #4493 - Aug 24th, 2019 at 8:18am
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<  --------------- Another Friday Evening    ..................  Another Night of  ................ Wait for it !!!!!!!   .......   :







That is right .   THAT IS RIGHT !!!!!!   : 




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**********************  " DRINKING WITH Xi :     Summertime 2019   “  Ghost of Anna Chennault  “   Steely Edition !!!!!!!  "   **************************






Hello Me Stonesian Brothers and Sisters    





*********   “  I Know This Super Highway        ……        This Bright Familiar Sun          ……              I Guess That I Am The Lucky One !  “    ***********


                                                                  
     Hello Me Stoneslings .  Well  , it is certainly summertime and you know what that means ?   That is right !!  …..  Our favorite VIP Hostess Erin
serves the smooth retsina  ,  she keeps one safe and warm    ---  just the calm before the storm ?  Nah   ,  it can only mean Emperor Xi ,   his Entourage
and your young Joey have come back ‘ Home At Last  ‘    …….. Home At Last  :  Back to The Brazen Head  -- where they care about what you are drinking
and when you are returning    ----- especially when Xi is paying for everything  Smiley
    Our comely , curvaceous , voluptuous ,  opulent  , alluring and sultry proprietress   ---  Madame Erin  ---  was definitely enchanting and certainly capable
of luring anyone to their destiny dressed in her translucent and diaphanous Two Piece Mesh Jumpsuit perfectly suited for the hot and humid summer months ;
such an ensemble immediately invites one inside the portrait    --  Thank GOD she does not Sing  Smiley      ……    Canvas The Backdrop  :  Beautiful Woman !

     Me Stonesian Brother and Sisters  ,  after a couple of rounds of Premium Guinness Pints and Irish Car Bombs  ,  it was time for Emperor Xi and myself to
get down to business . Xi willingly confided to me that over these past few months he has been visited in his sleep by the  “ Ghost of Anna Chennault “   .
Yes , THAT Anna Chennault   -- she of treasonous Nixon Fame who personally sabotaged the 1968 Paris Peace Talks and kept former Vice President Hubert
Humphrey OUT of the White House .   ( In the early fall of 1968 there WAS a push by the Soviet Union to end the Vietnam War as the Soviets did not want to see
Red - Baiting former V.P. Richard Nixon as President  .  We Americans were losing 45 Men a Day on the South Vietnamese Battlefield and China  --  whilst not sending
in combat troops  --  did have hundreds of thousands of support troops [ Structural Engineers ; Infrastructure & Tarmac Repair Engineers ]  in and around Hanoi
assisting the NVA by quickly & immediately repairing / replacing everything we were bombing and destroying .   MADNESS  !   Still  , you can not seal a peace deal
if the South Vietnamese do not show up at the Conference Table and Anna  --  at Nixon’s Instruction  --  made damn sure the Vietnam War would keep going 
onward for a very long time  .  )
                                   ***************  “ Politics Ain’t Beanbag ! “  **************  NASTY !!!!!!!!!!  ********************

     The Emperor went on to explain how ‘ somebody ‘  has been back - channeling the current United States  / Chinese Trade Negotiations by informing
Xi and His Entourage that they will get a better deal under a 2021 Democratic Administration and all they need to do is wait out the 2020 Election by
arguing / negotiating the shape and size of the conference table .  I asked the Emperor  ,  “ Who would do such a thing  to the Great Man    --- President
Donald  J. Trump   ( “ PARAMOUNT  “ Leader ! )  ? “   Xi replied ,  “ The answer is not too hard to figure out    --    in fact  ,  it is quite easy  .   Who has
been around Washington D.C. for a very long time with decades and decades of established Chinese Contacts ?  Hint  ,  ….. it sure as heck is not one
of the many  ‘ one – percenters ‘  running for President ! “    I informed Emperor Xi that Washington D.C.  ,  like Omaha , NE  ;  Greely CO  ;  Phoenix , AZ   ,
is a Frontier Town and is very very hard on a POTUS ( ... they ran LBJ  out – of – town  ;  Nixon resigned ; those poor Kennedy Brothers ;  Ford ; Carter , etc .  )   .
Perhaps it would be best to get something like this off of your chest ………………… **

      Xi was about to divulge the answer when all of a sudden VIP Hostess Erin slinked back behind our side of the bar , whispered something into Xi’s ear ,
and the two of them disappeared into the Robert Emmett Room for the rest of the evening  .  Whew !   …..   Siren on the Rocks INDEED !!!!!   Smiley  

    
      









*************************     … “  I LOVE YOU ALL !!!!!!!!!!!  “   
    *****************












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Re: Politics thread - Enter at your own risk! Warning… Bullcrap inside
Reply #4495 - Aug 28th, 2019 at 9:26pm
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<   -------- Paging Keef's Rain Stick  !!!!        :





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Reply #4496 - Aug 28th, 2019 at 9:39pm
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<  --------------  Some Guy   ?!   ...........  !!!!!!!!!!   :








https://www.omaha.com/opinion/ben-shapiro-trump-is-right-on-the-china-threat/art...








" Ben Shapiro: Trump is right on the China threat .  "










" President Donald Trump’s latest foray into the world of international economics — his ongoing trade war with China — has been widely derided by his critics. It’s been derided on the grounds that there is no long-term strategy; on the grounds that the trade war will not be, as Trump has bragged, A “good and easy to win”; on the grounds that Trump continues to send mixed signals, simultaneously claiming that China is bearing the brunt of his tariffs while desperately urging Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to lower interest rates.

Now, Trump’s trade policy may not be well-considered. His understanding of trade is rudimentary at best — he still operates under the assumption that mutually beneficial trade is actually a zero-sum game. And Trump’s rhetoric may be confusing — it’s unclear whether Trump wants tariffs or wants to alleviate them.

But Trump does have one thing absolutely right: China is an imperturbable geopolitical foe. And the United States ought to be taking a serious look at a long-term strategy to contain and then reverse the dominance of the totalitarian communist regime.

Trump is the only president of recent vintage to understand this simple truth. The Chinese regime is strengthening its totalitarianism; market forces have not opened up China’s politics.

China’s attempts to strengthen its grip on Hong Kong, its forays into the complexities of Indian-Pakistani politics, its threats of sanctions against American firms over the sale of jets to Taiwan — all of this bespeaks the intent of the Xi Jinping regime, which has a philosophy of political revanchism.

The supposed moderation of Dengism — the political philosophy of Deng Xiaoping, which supposedly prized pragmatism over doctrinal adherence to Marxist tenets — is being quickly reversed, with China’s economy placed at the mercy of political leadership.

Dengism was always treated with too much optimism by the West: The same regime supposedly pushing for detente with the West stole hundreds of billions in intellectual property every year for years while continuing to build up its military.

Still, Xi has moved away from even tepid moves toward openness.

Two significant projects in recent years demonstrate the scale of China’s ambitions.

First, there’s the so-called Belt and Road Initiative, in which China has helped subsidize building infrastructure in a bevy of countries throughout the world. Up to 68 countries are already taking part. The project is designed to place these countries in hock to the Chinese government; it’s also designed to maximize China’s naval power in the region.

Then there is China’s heavy focus on government-subsidized building of 5G, using Huawei as the tip of the spear. China is offering 5G technology to developing countries at discounted prices, and those countries, hungry for the technology, have been accepting, likely at the cost of their own privacy and security. The goal, as always: maximization of China’s sphere of influence.

Free trade isn’t going to cure this. China’s government has been willing to utilize mercantilism to prop up its global ambitions.

Capitalism hasn’t opened China’s politics. Free trade has indeed benefited China’s citizens, bringing hundreds of millions out of poverty, but the Chinese government has responded with more repression, not less.

All of which means that the United States must be pursuing a thorough strategy of opposition to China’s ambitions.

Trump seems to understand this. But if he fails to articulate that to the American people, his economic war with China will fail. That’s because if the American people are asked to shoulder an economic burden without being informed as to the rationale or the cost, they will rightly buck. Trump hasn’t explained that the burden exists, let alone why the American people should shoulder it.

With that said, at least Trump recognizes the threat China represents. The chattering class has, for far too long, ignored that threat, to the detriment of the United States and her allies. "








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Reply #4497 - Aug 29th, 2019 at 7:42am
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<  ----------- Some Guy  ?!   ..... !!!!!  :









https://www.omaha.com/opinion/lee-h-hamilton-there-s-cause-for-concern-optimism-...








" Lee H. Hamilton: There’s cause for concern, optimism when it comes to Democracy .  "











" Sometimes, you wonder if the world is doomed to descend into autocracy. Certainly, that’s what the coverage of the past few years suggests. We read about the nations that are already there, like China and Russia, of course, and Saudi Arabia and Iran. Or about countries like Hungary, Turkey, and Poland that are nominally democratic but have been trending less so.

What strikes me most about this discussion of a global decline in democratic norms and values, however, is how little coverage has gone to places where democracy remains robust. How much do you read about countries that are performing well on this front, places like Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, Finland, or Australia? Asking the question pretty much answers it.

These are strong, stable democracies. They have a healthy electoral process, their governments function admirably, political participation is robust, and civil liberties remain core to their identity. Amid concerns about democracy’s future, they’re shining examples of its staying power.

There’s no question that there’s reason for concern. Plenty of countries, including some of those above, are home to anti-democratic movements that reject the basic freedoms, civil liberties, and pluralism that we associate with democracy. Moreover, unhappiness with the way democracy is working appears to be rising: a Pew poll last year found dissatisfaction rose between 2017 and 2018, sometimes markedly, in such countries as Germany, India, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, Canada, and the US.

One key to what’s going on in this country may lie in another Pew poll from earlier this summer: Americans see declining trust in both the federal government and in one another. They cite poor government performance, fear about the corruption of the political process by monied interests, and a general rise in disrespect for others and their beliefs.

Moreover, I’m struck over and over by the extent to which people I encounter lack confidence in elected leaders today. I was in a discussion group recently in which pretty much every participant attacked the country’s political leaders, regardless of ideology and party. You can find their arguments echoed wherever you turn. They don’t think elected leaders act in the public interest, instead putting their own promotion and well-being first. And people believe that our political leaders, both in Washington and in the state capitals, are failing to confront the big problems that concern people: drugs, health care, affordability, education, good jobs, ethical conduct, and the like.

Yet here’s the thing: over the course of countless public meetings over the years, I don’t ever recall anyone rejecting the Constitution or representative democracy itself. They may be distressed at government, our institutions, and our political leaders, but people seem to support the democracy we inhabit.

What may be most interesting about the polls I cite above is that even as Americans express their dissatisfaction, they also recognize the stakes and want to see things turned around. They believe that low trust in government and in one another makes it more difficult to govern effectively, and by a hefty margin believe it’s possible to improve on both fronts. Greater transparency, more effective restrictions on the role of money in politics, and more “honesty and cooperation” among political leaders, they told pollsters, would boost confidence. Similarly, they believe more cooperation among ordinary citizens would help rebuild trust in one another. These are, of course, among the bedrock values of representative democracy.

There’s one other point from which I take great hope: Younger people, on the whole, seem to be more inclusive and tolerant in their views than their elders, and they have a more positive view of the role of government. On the whole, the older people I meet tend to be more cynical and pessimistic; younger voters — on issues from immigration to social inclusiveness — tend to be more expansive. Time, in other words, is on the side of democratic values.

So while I would never urge complacency in the face of the assaults we’re seeing on democratic norms, both here and elsewhere, I’m not pessimistic. Democracies have great internal strength, and they give cause for optimism that the core democratic processes of deliberation, compromise, negotiation, and cooperation will, in the end, endure. "








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