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Trump won’t lead, GOP won’t follow

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The long, slow, cancerous death of the GOP health care plan to replace Obamacare is a textbook case of a failure of leadership.

President Trump, obsessed with his war on the main stream media, never led on health care or tried to sell it to Congress. In fact, I am rather convinced Trump doesn’t care if Obamacare persists, as long as blame cannot be laid on him. I guarantee he will distance himself from the entire mess and blame Congress when it’s all over.

The GOP in Congress, however, deserves plenty of the blame. They simply couldn’t get it together. They had promised to do something, that in 2015 was not a problem when Obama controlled the White House and an override-proof veto was imminent.

Further, the 2015 vote didn’t roll back the Obamacare regulations on existing condition coverage and standard plans, which the Cruz amendment would have done.

There’s no other conclusion we can reach other than many Republicans want to have Obamacare regulations in place. They want big government, and more of it. They want hidden taxes, higher taxes, and complex regulations.

They are not conservative. Trump is not conservative.

It’s interesting to note that the Democrats have become the party of “principle” (and discipline) on many issues. They have moved to the far-left, but march in lockstep, having purged their ranks of moderates, “Blue Dogs” and compromisers. Privately, some Democrats in Congress might hold those values, but they don’t dare cross the whips.

Republicans have no discipline, no principle, and no plan at all.

They are led in the White House by a clown show, a man who can sell nothing but himself. They are led in the House by a reluctant Speaker who was put in place by compromise, not mandate. Speaker Ryan means well, but he’s more a referee than a head coach.

They are led in the Senate by a man who never succeeded in blocking a single Democrat power grab, budget explosion, or government takeover of liberty. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell only knows how to use the Democrats’ own tools against them–he was effective at keeping Garland off the Supreme Court, and putting Gorsuch on it. But those were easy choices.

The $1 trillion budget, the failure on an Obamacare repeal, and the failure of the GOP to even make a dent in our fiscal nightmare of entitlement growth will sink the Republican Party.

No leadership and no followers is a very bad way to run a government.

Foreign Affairs

Saudi foreign minister does damage control on American press

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Saudi foreign minister does damage control on American press

The foreign relations mess stemming from Jamal Khashoggi’s murder continues to grow more chaotic despite Saudi Arabia’s attempt to cover it up with regularly changing stories. The latest attempt at damage control comes from Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.

Fox News’ Bret Baier him, pressing multiple times about Mohammad bin Salman’s role in or knowledge of the operation that led to Khashoggi’s murder. The blame is being placed on the individuals who carried out the operation; as much space is being created between the direct actors and Saudi leadership as possible.

One important note in the interview was when al-Jubier said they do not believe the entire 15-man “kill team” was at the consulate where when Khashoggi was killed there. He admitted he did not know whether Turkey really had a recording of what happened during the incident, nor whether the United States had intelligence that contradicted the Kingdom’s story.

The responses from the foreign minister were in stark contrast to the indignation exuding from the Kingdom for two weeks following the initial report of Khashoggi’s disappearance.

My Take

As I wrote last week, Saudi Arabia gravely underestimated the international response to this incident. They thought they could get rid of a dissident as they have done in the past and the response would be muted. They didn’t take into account his American ties and the desire of the Turks to expose them at every turn.

How is this going to end? It won’t, at least not for a while. Unlike other international news stories of similar magnitude, this one has multiple forces bent on keeping the story going until a satisfactory resolution is reached. It won’t be reached. The White House and the Kingdom will do whatever they can to sweep this under the rug and make people forget.

This stinks, but here’s the sad reality: “Justice” will not be delivered the way it should and the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States will return to the status quo in a few months.

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Foreign Affairs

Pulling out of the INF treaty isn’t just about Russia

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Pulling out of the INF treaty has very little to do with Russia

Russia has broken the treaty already, according to this administration as well as its predecessor. That’s enough to prompt President Trump to put out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, famously signed by President Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev in 1987.

President Trump to pull US from Russia missile treaty

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45930206The US will withdraw from a landmark nuclear weapons treaty with Russia, President Donald Trump has confirmed.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Trump said Russia had “violated” the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

The deal banned ground-launched medium-range missiles, with a range of between 500 and 5,500km (310-3,400 miles).

My Take

This isn’t about Russia. Their actions are the excuse for pulling out, but the reason for doing so is because China has no such restrictions. They’re advancements in weaponry have prompted the United States and our allies to explore means of warfare that have been prohibited.

Until now.

This is a counter to China’s continued aggressive actions. Russia will keep doing what Presidents Obama and Trump already acknowledged. No we can step up our missile program as well.

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The cover up begins: 18 Saudis arrested in death of Jamal Khashoggi

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The cover up begins 18 Saudis arrested in death of Jamal Khashoggi

The cover up has begun. Saudi Arabia has arrested 18 people in connection to the death of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. This is the first step in an alleged plan to separate the top levels of Saudi government, particularly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, from any involvement in the journalist’s murder.

Soon, we will hear that “rogue killers” were responsible for the death. It will be positioned as a simple argument that escalated until Khashoggi was “inadvertently” killed. Once dead, the people responsible reacted by trying to cover up the incident, choosing to dismember his body for easier transport from the consulate.

This has been the dominant story in the West and Middle East since his disappearance on October 2nd. He went to the consulate with his fiancee to finalize his divorce. He went in and hasn’t been seen since.

The Turkish government obtained a plethora of circumstantial evidence against the Saudis to the point that any flat denial was no longer tenable. This is the best course of action in their opinion, to cover up an obvious hit against a Saudi dissident and harsh critic of the Crown Prince. It will be interesting to see how those charged with the crime treat their situation.

The story doesn’t end here. America and the world must watch closely as this perversion of justice unfolds.

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