Tuesday, August 26, 2014

This & That

War Drums Beating Louder – In an ever expanding effort to rollback ISIS advances in the region, the White House announced that the president has authorized reconnaissance flights over Syria. U-2 spy planes and military drones will scout out ISIS military positions and command and control centers along the blurred Iraqi/Syrian border. The reconnaissance missions put to bed any previous doubts over whether the US will take military action against ISIS in Syrian territory. The question is no longer “if” but “when.” You don’t run reconnaissance missions to post pictures on facebook. Senator Lindsey Graham had recently accused the president of being derelict in his duties as commander-in-chief for failing to take the fight to ISIS in Syria. It would certainly appear that the senator will get his wish. The ever expanding “mission creep” that we are seeing reminds me once again of the build up to the second Iraq war. ISIS, like Saddam will be defeated. For as well armed and disciplined as ISIS may be its 17,000 troops will be but a smudge on the Iraq landscape should the president decide to bring the full force and might of the US military to bear. The question that I have now is the same question I had before Bush 43 unleashed his “Shock and Awe Campaign” against Saddam. What’s next? When Bush decided to wage war in Iraq ISIS didn’t exist. The evil that is ISIS arose from the ashes of what was once Saddam’s Iraq; brought on in no small part by America’s failure to have a ready answer to that question. “What’s next?” Is there any reason to believe that once we have heeded Senator Graham’s war cry and ground ISIS into dust that another hate filled faction won’t rise up to take its place?

$500/hour – The Speaker’s office announced that the House has hired a $500/hour law firm to litigate the House suit against the president. The House is suing the president for what they see as abusing his executive authority. The president extended by one year the deadline for the business community to conform to the mandate requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Republicans say the president is in fact rewriting a law passed by congress; and that his actions are in violation of the constitution. The truth is if the president were a Republican they would have applauded his actions as being good for small businesses. The law will in all likelihood be dismissed out of hand as the House has no standing. But even if it does eventually go to trial the president will undoubtedly be on a golf course somewhere having served out his term. Should a court rule in the Houses’ favor, the ruling could end up tying the hands of a Republican president. Unforeseen consequences can be a bitch. The estimated $350,000 cost of this frivolous lawsuit is almost as preposterous as its premise. The fact is, if the suit ever makes it to court the legal fees will be ten times that. Republican “fiscal conservatives” fret about our growing debt and the “mortgaging of our children’s future.” Who do they think is going to pay for this nonsensical legal maneuver? Our children will foot the bill…with money they borrow from the Chinese.

From Mitch’s Lips to God’s Ears - Mitch McConnell is in a very tight race to keep his senate seat. He needs every vote he can get. So he is doing everything he can to attract Tea Party voters who view him as part of the “free spending Washington establishment.” McConnell wants to assure them that he is a bastion of anti-Obama hatred and the poster boy for reducing the size of government. The other day he inadvertently gave us a glimpse of what Washington will look like if Republicans seize control of the senate and Mitch becomes Majority Leader: “We’re going to pass spending bills, and they’re going to have a lot of restrictions on the activities of the bureaucracy…that’s something he won’t like but it will be done. I guarantee it…Obama needs to be challenged and the best way to do that is through the spending process…He would have to make a decision on a given bill, if there is more in it that he likes than dislikes.” Translation: Republicans will attach partisan conservative spending restrictions to any continuing resolutions to keep the government open. Obama will be forced to either accept the amendments or veto the bills and assume blame for shutdown the government. You may recall that we saw this movie before in September of 2013. House Republicans refuse to fund the government unless the president agreed to certain provisions. The result was a 16 day government shutdown that drained $24 billion from the economy and culminated in the historic first reduction of our nations’ credit rating. McConnell was hailed as the last minute deal maker; steppig in at the eleventh hour to broker a “clean” continuing resolution to re-open the government. It wasn’t until after the dust settled that we learned that the supposedly “clean” bill, that is one without any earmarks or pork, contained a $3.5 billion dollar amendment to fund a bridge repair in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky. Mitch now tells us that if voters turn control of the senate over to him and the Republicans we can expect more of the same.

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