Saturday, December 22, 2018

Senate Republicans flee DC to enjoy Christmas while shutdown screws government workers



Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pauses as he meets with reporters following a closed-door Republican strategy session on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Battles over priorities in a huge government-wide spending bill are essentially settled, but lawmakers must still beat a midnight Friday deadline and avert yet another federal shutdown. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

You’d think that if you’re a member of Congress, job number one would be to keep your country’s government operational at all times. But you’d be wrong. With a shutdown of the federal government now underway, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has decided not to address this burning crisis but instead to let his fellow Republicans go home and celebrate Christmas. They won’t be back until Thursday at the soonest.
Meanwhile, 380,000 federal workers are now furloughed over this holiday season, while another 400,000 are forced to work without pay. That includes TSA employees, as BuzzFeed’s David Mack notes, who now have the privilege of helping GOP senators make their way home to be with their families while seeing their paychecks come to a halt.
Don’t fret for Congress, though. Senators and representatives alike still get to draw their salaries as though nothing were amiss. And that’s certainly how the Republican Party is treating the situation. There’s a bipartisan majority ready to fund the government properly, but GOP leaders are kowtowing to a delusional Donald Trump and his fantasies about steel slats rather than doing the right thing. As the country looks on in disgust, no wonder Republicans trying to make themselves scarce.
 
         The U.S. government is in a partial shutdown.  It is a painful procedure to be in a partial shutdown.   I understand that after the shutdown is over, the government workers will be paid retroactively, their full salaries or wages.  It's not a zero sum game.  You, the taxpayers, lose.  You lose.  You lose.  Next time, vote for the candidates that can avoid government shutdowns, and keep the government operating.  Ken Stepp.

Trump's Withdrawal of Troops From Syria

| Patrick Buchanan




US Mideast Policy Debate Assured With Trump's Syria Move


sen lindsey graham speaks about syria and the trump troops decision
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, disagrees with President Donald Trump's sudden decision to pull all 2,000 U.S. troops out of Syria. He spoke during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Thurs. Dec. 20, 2018. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

By Friday, 21 December 2018 11:53 AMCurrent | Bio | Archive



"We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there," wrote President Donald Trump, as he ordered the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Syria, stunning the U.S. foreign policy establishment.
Trump overruled his secretaries of state and defense, and jolted this city and capitals across NATO Europe and the Mideast.
Yet, Trump is doing exactly what he promised to do in his campaign. And what his decision seems to say is this: We are extricating America from the forever war of the Mideast so foolishly begun by previous presidents. We are coming home. The rulers and peoples of this region are going to have to find their own way and fight their own wars.
We are not so powerful that we can fight their wars while we also confront Iran and North Korea and face new Cold Wars with Russia and China.
As for the terrorists of ISIS, says Trump, they are defeated.
Yet, despite the heavy casualties and lost battles ISIS has suffered, the collapse of the caliphate, expulsion from its Syrian capital Raqqa and Iraqi capital Mosul, and from almost all territories it controlled in both countries, ISIS is not dead.
It lives on in thousands of true believers hidden in those countries. And, like al-Qaida, it has followers across the Mideast and inspires haters of the West living in the West.
The U.S. pullout from Syria is being called a victory for Vladimir Putin. "Russia, Iran, Assad... are ecstatic!" wails Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Graham is echoed by Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., who called the withdrawal a "retreat" and charged that Trump's generals "believe the high-fiving winners today are Iran, ISIS and Hezbollah."
But ISIS is a Sunni terrorist organization. And, as such, it detests the Alawite regime of Bashar Assad, and Hezbollah and Iran, both of which are hated by ISIS as Shiite heretics.
"Russia, Iran, Syria . . .  are not happy about the US leaving," Trump tweeted, "despite what the Fake News says, because now they will have to fight ISIS and others, who they hate, without us."
If Putin, victorious in the Syrian civil war, wishes to fight al-Qaida and ISIS, the last major enemies of Assad in Syria, why not let him?
The real losers?
Certainly the Kurds, who lose their American ally. Any dream they had of greater autonomy inside Syria, or an independent state, is not going to be realized. But then, that was never really in the cards.
Forced to choose between Turkey, with 80 million people and the second-largest army in NATO, which sits astride the Dardanelles and Bosphorus entrance to the Black Sea, and the stateless Kurds with their Syrian Democratic Forces, or YPG, Trump chose Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
And Erdogan regards the YPG as kinfolk and comrades of the Kurdish terrorist PKK in Turkey. A week ago, he threatened to attack the Kurds in northern Syria, though U.S. troops are embedded alongside them.
What kind of deal did Trump strike with Erdogan?
Turkey will purchase the U.S. Patriot anti-aircraft and missile defense system for $3.5 billion, and probably forego the Russian S-400.
Trump also told Erdogan, we "would take a look at" extraditing Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen whom Erdogan says instigated the 2016 coup attempt that was to end with his assassination.
National security adviser John Bolton, who said U.S. troops would remain in Syria until all Iranian forces and Iranian-backed militias have been expelled, appears not to have been speaking for his president.
And if the Israelis were relying on U.S. forces in Syria to intercept any Iranian weapons shipments headed to Hezbollah in Lebanon through Damascus, then the Israelis are going to have to make other arrangements.
The war party project, to bring about regime change in Tehran through either severe sanctions leading to insurrection or a U.S.-Iranian clash in the Gulf, will suffer a severe setback with the U.S. pullout from Syria.
However, given the strength of the opposition to a U.S. withdrawal -- Israel, Saudi Arabia, the GOP foreign policy establishment in Congress and the think tanks, liberal interventionists in the Beltway press, Trump's own national security team of advisers -- the battle to overturn Trump's decision has probably only just begun.
From FDR's abandonment of 100 million East Europeans to Stalin at Yalta in 1945, to the abandonment of our Nationalist Chinese allies to Mao in 1949, and of our South Vietnamese allies in 1975, America has often been forced into retreats leading to the deaths of allies. Sasse says Trump is risking the same outcome: "A lot of American allies will be slaughtered if this retreat is implemented."
But is that true?
Trump's decision to pull out of Syria at least has assured us of a national debate on what it will mean to America to extricate our country from these Mideast wars, the kind of debate we have not had in the 15 years since we were first deceived into invading Iraq.
Patrick Buchanan has been an adviser to three presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and the nominee for the Reform Party in 2000. He was also a founding member of "The McLaughlin Group," which began on NBC, and CNN's "Capital Gang" and "Crossfire." His latest book is: "The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority." For more of his reports, Go Here Now.


Read Newsmax: US Mideast Policy Debate Assured With Trump's Syria Move | Newsmax.com
Urgent: Do you approve of Pres. Trump? Vote Here in Poll
Suppose they gave a war and nobody came?  That was a debating point proffered by the Peace Movement in the 1960's.  Suppose they gave a war and nobody came?  Perhaps Donald Trump intends to lead the Peace Movement.  You don't need to wear bell bottom trousers, nor flowers in your hair to be in the Peace Movement.  Welcome to the Peace Movement, Donald Trump.  You are the Leader of the Free World.   You might as well be the leader of the Peace Movement also.  You certainly have Kenneth Stepp's best wishes in extricating America from the never-ending wars of the Middle East.  We managed to avoid war against the Ottoman Empire during the 1800's and the early 1900's.   There is nothing wrong with having "avoiding war" as a national policy.  The term "America First" was used by people who wanted to keep the United States out of World War II.  Donald Trump was criticized for using the term "America First" which some thought made him allied with Charles Lindbergh, the man who flew the first Transatlantic solo flight c. 1927.  America has been constantly at war since c. 1991 according to the American Legion.  Constant war is not a good policy.  Hopefully, the Constitutional provision that "Congress shall declare war" will mean that when Congress does not declare war, we do not go to war.  Peace, Brother, Peace.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

USMCA---A TPP REDUX? by Christian Gomez

            "Heralded as a "big win" for President Trump, the newly negotiated NAFTA replacement, the United States--Mexico--Canada Agreement (USMCA) appears to have all the earmarks of Obama--era trade agreements, with former Obama officials seeing stark similarities.
            "'Throughout the campaign I promised to renegotiate NAFTA, and today we have kept that promise,"  Trump said from the Rose Garden on October 1, 2018, as he spoke about the 'incredible new U.S.--Mexico-Canada agreement called USMCA.'
            Unbeknownst to most of Trump's base and strongest supporters is that much of the USMCA's text is virtually identical to that of President Obama's Trans--Pacific Partnership (TPP) -- a 'free trade' agreement negotiated among 12 Pacific Rim nations (Aistralia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam) and at the time representing 40 percent of the world's GDP.
            During the 2016 presidential elections, Trump staunchly opposed TPP, making it the centerpiece of his belief in 'Americanism, not globalism.'  Yet now, much in the same manner that NAFTA was a beach-head for globalism, the USMA does not disappoint globalists.,
            . . . .  Trump's lead NAFT/USMCA negotiator was U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer, who's been a longtime member of the globalist, one-world-government-building Council on Foreign Relations, and who previously applauded the 'Obama administration's TPP agreement.  In addition to Lighthizer, another of Trump's negotiators was his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has had business ties with the D eep State, including Goldman Sachs and George Soros.
          In addition to Lighthizer and Kushner, many of the negotiators working within both the State Department and USTR office are career diplomats and employees, having also worked in the Obama administration.
           According to the online Huffington Post, 'At least half of the men and wo;men standing behind Trump during his Rose Garden ceremony praising the new deal were the same career service staff who negotiated nearly identical provisions in TPP, which Trump had railed against.'
           Trevor Kincaid, the USTR spokesman for the Obama administration, told the Post that it' the same USTR team that worked under OBAMA.  'Ironically, he called them horrible negotiators when running for office.' Kincaid said, later adding, 'It's basically the '22 Jump Street' of trade deals.'
          * * *
          Let us take globalist CFR President Richard Haass at his word when he describes the USMCA as NAFTA plus the TPP, with an additional 10 to 20 percent, and let's stay out of it."

Yes, Kenneth Stepp agrees with Christian Gomez, "Let's stay out of it." 

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Thank you for following.

Thank you for following the Stepp for Kentucky Congressional campaign.   So far, Hal Rogers has carried two counties, and Kenneth Stepp none.  The night is still young.  Life will go on.  I'll watch some more returns.   As long as we feel that we made a good effort, the final result is not in our hands.  Great campaigns result in a great government.  Perhaps not many of us were meant to be great Congressmen nor great statesmen, nor great politicians.  We've got to keep on keeping on.  I hope to return to this blog later tonight.  Thank you for following this blogspot.
Kenneth Stepp.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

HELP FIGHT FEDERAL WASTE, VOTE FOR STEPP FOR CONGRESS KY-05!

Vote for Kenneth Stepp, KY-05 for U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES  TO STOP WASTE!
An advertisement in the Wall Street Journal revealed the following waste, which Kenneth Stepp promises to help eliminate:

MISTAKES & IMPROPER PAYMENTS DISTRIBUTED BY 20 FEDERAL AGENCIES--$1.2 TRILLION.

MISTAKES & IMPROPER MEDICARE PAYMENTS--$387 BILLION

USE IT OR LOSE IT SPENDING -- $50 BILLION

BUYING BOOZE FOR EMBASSIES AROUND THE WORLD -- $79,000

PURCHASING FIDGET SPINNERS -- $6,600

MISTAKES &  IMPROPER MEDICAID PAYMENTS -- $234 BILLION

IVY LEAGUE COLLEGES -- $42 BILLION

SEX EDUCATION FOR PROSTITUTES IN CALIFORNIA -- $1.4 MILLION

COLLEGES OF BEAUTY & COSMETOLOGY -- $677.4 MILLION

AVERAGE FEDERAL EMPLOYEE RECEIVES 43 DAYS PAID TIME OFF -- $22.6 BILLION

35,212 FEDERAL LAWYERS -- $4.8 BILLION

3,618 FEDERAL PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICERS -- $368.4 MILLION

160,000 DEFAULTED SBA LOANS -- $24.2 BILLION

LUXURY ARTWORK PURCHASES -- $20 MILLION

MISTAKES & IMPROPER STUDENT LOANS AND GRANTS -- $11 BILLION

SBA LOANS TO EXCLUSIVE CLUBS -- $161 MILLION

PURCHASING $800 PENCIL HOLDERS & $7,000 EXECUTIVE DESKS

CIGAR TASTE TEST -- $114,375

PROFESSIONAL GOLFERS CAREER COLLEGE -- $4.5 MILLION

MISTAKES & IMP ROPER FARM SUBSIDY PAYMENTS -- $3.7 BILLION

USING E-DIARIES TO COPE WITH MICROAGGRESSIONS -- $173,089

DANCING WITH A 15-FOOT FISH  -- $10,000

MEDITATION BREATHING MOBILE APP -- $687,989

FARM SUBSIDIES INTO URBAN AREAS -- $626 MILLION

FARM SUBSIDIES INTO AMERICA'S 150 MOST EXPENSIVE ZIP CODES -- $4.8 MILLION

389 FARM SUBSIDY RECIPIENTS OF +$1 MILLION -- $667 MILLION

12 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS COLLECTED FARM SUBSIDY PAYMENTS -- $637,059

FUNDING A FREQUENTLY INVESTIGATED CHILDCARE FACILITY IN TEXAS -- $14.9      MILLION

WHERE IT HURTS THE MOST TO BE STUNG BY A BEE -- $1 MILLION

NON-MILITARY AGENCIES PURCHASE GUNS, AMMUNITION, AND MILITARY-STYLE EQUIPMENT -- $2.2 BILLION

IRS PURCHASE OF GUNS, AMMUNITION, AND MILITARY-STYLE EQUIPMENT -- $15.5 MILLION

VA PURCHASE OF GUNS, AMMUNITION, AND MILITARY--STYLE EQUIPMENT -- $17.5 MILLION

FLEET OF ARMORED VEHICLES -- $1.5 MILLION

REFRAMING BELIEFS ABOUT DEATH  & DYING AMONG LATINOS -- $882,841

TALKING TO SAGUARO CACTUS -- $10,000

USING SOAP OPERAS TO REDUCE HIV IN URBAN BLACK WOMEN -- $567,529

27  FOOT HIGH ARTIFICIAL CHRISTMAS TREE -- $21,500

STUDY:  HOW FACEBOOK AFFECTS ALCOHOL USE -- $147,686

SPACE RACERS:  AN ANIMATED CHILDREN'S CARTOON -- $2.5 MILLION

HIPSTER PARTIES -- $5 MILLION

VIRTUAL REALITY TO TEACH CHILDREN IN CHINA HOW TO CROSS THE STREET -- $183,730

SCHOOL OF WOODEN BOAT BUILDING -- $781,330

HISTORIC HOBO DAY -- $11,987

TAI CHI FOR THE ELDERLY -- $696,723

VIDEO GAME FOR YOUR FUTURE  SELF--$651,498

STUDY:  ARE PHYSICIAN TRAINEES RACIST?-- $932,741

LISTENING TO NATIONAL PARKS -- $20,000

PREVENTING TEEN PREGNANCY THROUGH THEATER -- $749,000

VIRTUAL SHOE--FITTING -- $902,789

THE DICTATOR GAME -- $56,118

VIDEO GAME:  THE LOGICAL JOURNEY OF THE ZOOMBINIS -- $658,388

RESEARCHING STIGMATIZATION OF DANISH SMOKERS -- $330,176

STUDY: DISEASE SUSCEPTIBILITY OF TRANSLOCATING TORTOISES -- $350,773

MOBILE APP FOR SEX DIARY -- $1 MILLION

CONVINCING MOTHERS TO STOP TEEN GIRLS FROM USING TANNING BEDS -- $671,522

VIDEO GAME TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO QUIT SMOKING -- $1.3 MILLION

650 FEDERAL GARDENERS & LANDSCAPERS -- $44 MILLION

MEASURING BLOOD PRESSURE AT BLACK BARBERSHOPS -- $2.1 MILLION

REPLACING A FLOATING BATHROOM IN UTAH -- $227,795

SMART WALK:  AN EXERCISE MOBILE APP FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN -- $92,393

VIDEO GAMES TO FIGHT OBESITY AND DIABETES -- $537,250

EPIDEMIC SIMULATION GAME FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS -- $350,236

HOW AIR POLLUTION AFFECTS BIRTH BY RACE -- $788,684

MOBILE APP FOR OBESITY AND STRESS -- $690,333

TESTING FDA MESSAGING ON TOBACCO ADVERTISING -- $4 MILLION

CHILDREN'S CYBERSECURITY CARD GAME -- $296,621

VIRTUAL WEIGHT LOSS GAME -- $228,830

VIDEO GAME:   LAYOFF -- FIRING WORKERS, NOT BANKERS -- $137,530

SMARTPHONE APP FOR PARKING YOUR CAR -- $149,999

HIGH-END LUXURY FURNITURE--$92 MILLION

PAYMENTS TO GAY MEXICAN PROSTITUTES FOR SAFE SEX -- $53,419

DYSTOPIAN CLIMATE CHANGE VOICEMAILS FROM THE FUTURE -- $5.7 MILLION

FEDERAL FUNDING INTO THE 50 WORST JUNIOR AND COMMUNITY COLLEGES -- $923.5 MILLION

NEW CONDOM DESIGN WITH MORE LUBRICATION -- $200,601

SBA LOANS TO ROLEX JEWELERS -- $21 MILLION

TWO SCULPTURES FOR VA FACILITY THAT SERVES BLIND VETERANS -- $670,000

FANCY ROCK SCULPTURE -- $482,960

GRANTS TO THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART IN NEW YORK CITY --                         $1.2 MILLION

ROBERT REDFORD'S SUNDANCE INSTITUTE -- $3.3 MILLION

FEMINIST PORN BOOK AND OTHER TITLES -- $55,000

SAN FRANCISCO MIME TROUPE -- $20,000

"GAMES FOR CHANGE" VIDEO GAME CONVENTION -- $200,000

URBAN GARDEN OF HANGING GRASS -- $20,000

WALDEN:  THE GAME -- $350,000

ARTS GRANTS FOR ORGANIZATIONS WITH OVER $1 BILLION IN ASSETS -- $143 MILLION

BLOG FOR BROOKFIELD ZOO -- $131,488

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PUBLIC RELATIONS--$4.3 BILLION

COMEDY CLUB HOLOGRAMS -- $1.7 MILLION

HOW TO USE A LAWYER GUIDE -- $728,000

LIGHTING FOR LIQUOR STORES  --$50,000

PREPARING RELIGIONS FOR DISCOVERY OF EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE -- $1.1 MILLION

AIRPORT AT MARTHA'S VINYARD -- $9.2 MILLION

270 FEDERAL INTERIOR DESIGNERS -- $22 MILLION

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY PURCHASE OF GUNS, AMMO,
       AND MIILITARY-STYLE EQUIPMENT -- $3.4 MILLION

CRESCENT CITY SCHOOL OF GAMING AND  BARTENDING -- $9.5 MILLION

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT SURVEYS -- $1.7 MILLION

HOW ALCOHOL AFFECTS MEN'S ATTENTION AND SENSITIVITY TO SEXUAL INTEREST   CUES -- $180,921

DIGIPEN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY -- GAMING EDUCATION -- $51.4 MILLION

WITH SPENDING LIKE THAT, IT'S NO WONDER THAT THE UNITED STATES HAS THE THREAT OF A $21.7 TRILLION FEDERAL DEBT.    VOTE TO CUT WASTE FROM GOVERNMENT SPENDING.   ELECT KENNETH STEPP TO THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES  KY-05.