The US Military footprint in the Middle East East and Africa is Growing…Mission Creep Again?…

President Obama worked hard at bringing the troops back home…

But his promise to get rid of ISIS continued by Trump  is causing US Military commanders to ramp UP the number of comabt troops and advisers  along with air support and fire power these days….

So far there has been few casualties …

But in thes sort of actions they WILL come…

And then what will Trump & Co. do?

President Donald Trump’s pressure on the military to “demolish and destroy” the Islamic State is raising anxiety inside the Pentagon that the United States could end up in another open-ended ground war, according to current and former military officials.

The U.S. has quietly sent hundreds of additional troops to Iraq and Syria since Trump took office, and is considering dispatching thousands more to counter ISIS, fight militants in Yemen and stem a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan. But the deliberations are testing Trump’s promise to steer clear of foreign entanglements, and has his military commanders questioning whether they can maintain their meticulously drawn line between supporting local forces and leading the fight.

“How much more blood do we want to shed for Iraq?” asked one senior officer who recently returned from the war zone.

The escalating risk of U.S. casualties is shadowing the Pentagon’s internal strategy sessions, the officials said in interviews. Trump’s demand for a more aggressive strategy also raises concerns among commanders about whether they can accomplish the mission without turning U.S. troops into a substitute for local fighters, which until now have depended only on U.S. military advisers, special operations forces and air strikes.

“Some call this accelerating the campaign; some call it mission creep,” said one military officer involved in the discussions who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Some lawmakers say the U.S. military role in the region is steadily expanding with little if any debate about the implications.

“What we see happening is the classic definition of mission creep,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat and leading anti-war voice on Capitol Hill. “A few hundred here, a couple hundred there, a few more hundred here. You see our military footprint expanding ever more.”

Trump has straddled the issue — speaking out about the urgent need to defeat ISIS and criticizing former President Barack Obama’s “leading from behind strategy,” but also expressing wariness about large-scale military involvement in the Middle East….

More…

Share on Facebook

Cuba-US Air Travel dries up….

…from the LA Times….

Only six months after U.S. carriers began operating regular commercial flights to Cuba, Frontier Airlines and Silver Airways have become the latest airlines to cut service to the island nation.

The news comes after JetBlue and American Airlines both announced plans in the last two months to reduce their service to Cuba, either by scaling back on the number of flights or flying smaller planes to Cuba.

The cutbacks suggest that the nation’s airlines may have overestimated the demand for flights to Cuba when U.S.-based airlines scrambled for the slots offered last year by the Obama administration to fly to Havana and other Cuban cities….

More….

Share on Facebook

If you run for President in Jersey ya gotta show your tax returns?

That will be the case in 2020 if NJ GOP Governor Chris Christie signs the bill on his desk….

At least four other states are in line for the same requirement …..

New Jersey lawmakers this week passed legislation that would force any presidential and vice-presidential candidates to disclose their federal tax returns in order to appear on the state’s ballots starting in 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The bill was approved in the Democratic-controlled state legislature along party lines and awaits a signature from Gov. Chris Christie, an ally of President Trump. Christie’s office has not yet made an official statement on the legislation….

More…

Share on Facebook

Trump’s anti-immigrant push combined with raising farm wages threaten American Farmers…

Donald Trump SAYS he wants to make America ‘Great’ again….

He isn’t doing so….

As cities across the country raise their min wages one would think there would be good news for American workers….

There are for some….

But farm work in American is principally  done by imported labor from South of the American border….

And  some of those workers are known to be undocumented ….

Trump & Co. idea that America’s would flock to those jobs is misguided and just plain stupid….

And their efforts are gonna could have a profound negative effect on the America’s economy….

This is just one of the backwards thinking that Trump believe in that will require a LOT of work for the next American Democratic president to straighten out…..(Obama had to starighten out Bush II’s mess last time)

The flow of labor began drying up when President Obama tightened the border. Now President Trump is promising to deport more people, raid more companies and build a wall on the southern border.

That has made California farms a proving ground for the Trump team’s theory that by cutting off the flow of immigrants they will free up more jobs for American-born workers and push up their wages.

So far, the results aren’t encouraging for farmers or domestic workers.

Farmers are being forced to make difficult choices about whether to abandon some of the state’s hallmark fruits and vegetables, move operations abroad, import workers under a special visa or replace them altogether with machines.

Growers who can afford it have already begun raising worker pay well beyond minimum wage. Wages for crop production in California increased by 13% from 2010 to 2015, twice as fast as average pay in the state, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Today, farmworkers in the state earn about $30,000 a year if they work full time — about half the overall average pay in California. Most work fewer hours.

Some farmers are even giving laborers benefits normally reserved for white-collar professionals, like 401(k) plans, health insurance, subsidized housing and profit-sharing bonuses. Full-timers at Silverado Farming, for example, get most of those sweeteners, plus 10 paid vacation days, eight paid holidays, and can earn their hourly rate to take English classes.

But the raises and new perks have not tempted native-born Americans to leave their day jobs for the fields. Nine in 10 agriculture workers in California are still foreign born, and more than half are undocumented, according to a federal survey.

More…

Share on Facebook

Syria fires missiles at Israeli warplanes on bombing run IN Syria…

Wait?

America has troops IN Syria helping efforst against ISIS?

The Russian’s have troops in Syria also?

Image result for israeli aircraft

The US is tight with Israel which sometimes quietly makes bombing runs INTO Syria to blast stockpiles for the ­Lebanon-based Shiite militia Hezbollah, an Iranian group fighting alongside troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad….

Confusing?

The sounds of two distinct booms could be heard in Jerusalem soon after the arrival of the Syrian projectiles. The incoming missiles also set off warning sirens in the Jordan Valley, home to the ancient city of Jericho as well Palestinian farming villages and Jewish settlements.

Over the past five years, Israeli jets have from time to time struck what Israeli military analysts describe as weapons caches and convoys of arms being transferred from Syrian stockpiles to the ­Lebanon-based Shiite militia Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy fighting alongside troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Israel fears that as the Syrian civil war possibly winds down, Israel fears that as the Syrian civil war possibly winds down, Hezbollah could receive a windfall in sophisticated arms from Assad and Iran. Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war along the Israel-Lebanon border in 2006, and both sides say they are prepared for another.could receive a windfall in sophisticated arms from Assad and Iran. Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war along the Israel-Lebanon border in 2006, and both sides say they are prepared for another.

Israel also occupies two-thirds of the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Israeli officials say they will never return the territory to Syria.

Israel reported no injuries or damage to its pilots or aircraft. The Israeli army did not reveal the target of its overnight airstrikes. Israel’s Channel 10 said the mission was to destroy a weapons convoy destined for Hezbollah.

Syria’s military and media said the Israelis hit sites in central ­Syria near Palmyra, and claimed that Syria’s antiaircraft batteries had downed an Israeli jet. “Our air defense engaged them and shot down one warplane over occupied territory, hit another one, and forced the rest to flee,” the Syrian army said in a statement reported by state news agency Sana….

More…

image….The American Conservative

Share on Facebook

Trump budget would cut Coal Country assistance programs…

Biting the hand that feed him, eh?

If Trump works hard enough?

He can deliver the US House back to the Democrats…

President Donald Trump has proposed eliminating funding for economic development programs supporting laid-off coal miners and others in Appalachia, stirring fears in a region that supported him of another letdown on the heels of the coal industry’s collapse.

The 2018 budget proposal submitted to Congress by the White House on Thursday would cut funds to the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The Washington-based organizations are charged with diversifying the economies of states like West Virginia and Kentucky to help them recover from coal’s decline.

The proposed cuts would save the federal government $340 million and come as the Republican president seeks to slash a wide array of federal programs and regulations to make way for increased military spending.

But they are perceived by some in Appalachia as a betrayal of his promises to help coal miners.

“Folks that live in Appalachia believe that the ARC belongs to them,” said federal ARC Co-Chair Earl Gohl, bemoaning the proposed cut. “It’s really their organization.”

Republican Congressman Hal Rogers, who represents eastern Kentucky’s coal counties, said he would fight to restore the funding when Congress negotiates the budget later this year….

More….

Share on Facebook

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was Investigating HHS Secretary Tom Price before being fired…

Will the investigation continue?

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was removed from his post by the Trump administration last week, was overseeing an investigation into stock trades made by the president’s health secretary, according to a person familiar with the office.

Tom Price, head of the Department of Health and Human Services, came under scrutiny during his confirmation hearings for investments he made while serving in Congress. The Georgia lawmaker traded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of shares in health-related companies, even as he voted on and sponsored legislation affecting the industry.

Price testified at the time that his trades were lawful and transparent. Democrats accused him of potentially using his office to enrich himself. One lawmaker called for an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, citing concerns Price could have violated the STOCK Act, a 2012 law signed by President Obama that clarified that members of Congress cannot use nonpublic information for profit and requires them to promptly disclose their trades.

The investigation of Price’s trades by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which hasn’t been previously disclosed, was underway at the time of Bharara’s dismissal, said the person….

More…

Share on Facebook

White House Press Sec says Obama got Brits to spy on him…Brits get REAL PISSED…

Trump FIRMLY believes SOMEBODY tapped into his building…..

(He’s probably right)…..

But he’s wrong in blaming Obama or saying that Obama asked the Brit’s to do so….

And the British are not just pissed…They are REAL Mad….

WH PresSec Spicer kinda apologized , but we know Donald Trump…Even if he doesn’t have something right?

He ain’t gonna say so….He’s gonna change things to fit HIS view…

President Trump refused to back down on Friday after his White House aired an unverified claim that Britain’s spy agency secretly monitored him during last year’s campaign at the behest of President Barack Obama.

Although his aides in private conversations since Thursday night had tried to calm British officials who were livid over the claim, Mr. Trump made clear that he felt the White House had nothing to retract or apologize for. He said his spokesman was simply repeating an assertion made by a Fox News commentator.

“We said nothing,” Mr. Trump told a German reporter who asked about the matter at a joint White House news conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel. “All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn’t make an opinion on it.” He added: “You shouldn’t be talking to me. You should be talking to Fox.”

Mr. Trump, who has stuck by his unsubstantiated assertion that Mr. Obama ordered his telephone tapped last year despite across-the-board denials, wryly used Ms. Merkel’s visit to repeat his contention. Ms. Merkel was angry during Mr. Obama’s administration at reports that the United States had tapped her cellphone and those of other foreign leaders. Turning to her, Mr. Trump said, “At least we have something in common, perhaps.”

 

After the news conference Mr. Spicer echoed Mr. Trump’s defiant tone. “I don’t think we regret anything,” he told reporters. “As the president said, I was just reading off media reports.”

Shortly afterward, Fox backed off the claim made by its commentator, Andrew Napolitano. “Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary,” the anchor Shepard Smith said on air. “Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now president of the United States was surveilled at any time, any way. Full stop.”

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain said on Friday that the White House had backed off the allegation. “We’ve made clear to the administration that these claims are ridiculous and should be ignored,” the spokesman said, on the condition of anonymity in keeping with British protocol. “We’ve received assurances these allegations won’t be repeated.”….

More…

Share on Facebook

Is Trump slow walking America into a war with North Korea?

There IS No doubt that North Korea is the number ONE danger point on the planet….

The country HAS nukes….

The country is testing ballistic missile ‘s….

The country IS POOR….

But saber rattling against North Korea is a VERY HIGH stakes gamble….

Seoul, South Korea (20 Million people) is well within range of North Korea’s missile range….

North Korea has a large military….

American has 50,000 troops in South Korea….

And a large military campaign into North Korea would put America BACK to the latter part of World War II, in a two front war situation….

NOT a GOOD LOOK….

The Trump administration gave its clearest signal yet that it would consider taking military action against North Korea, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday that “all options are on the table” to deter the threat from Pyongyang.

Tensions are running high in Northeast Asia, with North Korea making observable progress toward its goal of building a missile that could reach the U.S. mainland and China incensed over South Korea’s decision to deploy an American antimissile battery.

Tillerson’s remarks, ruling out diplomatic talks and leaving the door open to military action, will fuel fears in the region that the Trump administration is seriously considering what Washington euphemistically calls “kinetic” options.

“Let me be very clear: The policy of strategic patience has ended,” Tillerson said at a news conference in Seoul with Yun Byung-se, the South Korean foreign minister. He was referring to the Obama administration policy of trying to wait North Korea out, hoping that sanctions would prove so crippling that Pyongyang would have no choice but to return to denuclearization negotiations.

“We’re exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures. All options are on the table,” Tillerson said. While the United States does not want military conflict, threats “would be met with an appropriate response,” he added.

“If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table,” Tillerson said.

Hours later, Trump decried North Korea’s defiance and also took aim at China, the North’s main patron. “North Korea is behaving very badly,” Trump wrote in a Twitter post. “They have been ‘playing’ the United States for years. China has done little to help!”….

More…

Share on Facebook

Republican Super PAC is ramping up early to cover it’s party House members for next years Midterms…

The party with the president in office USUALLY loses a good amount of House seats as a result of the actions of the sitting president….

With Trump losing the popular vote last November and the risdiong support FOR Obamacare now?…and Resisrtance protests on going….

Republicans SHOULD be worried….

The party of the sitting president has lost an average of 25 seats in midterm elections since 1994 and lost majorities three times. With Republicans fighting among themselves over repealing the Affordable Care Act and President Donald Trump at historical levels of unpopularity, Republicans are focusing intently on House races where their 23-seat majority may be most vulnerable amid a tide of Democratic grass-roots energy.

To prevent the House from flipping, the Congressional Leadership Fund, the House GOP’s super PAC, plans to raise and spend $100 million during the 2018 election cycle—twice what it spent in 2016 and eight times what it spent in the 2014 midterm.

The political-action committee is placing paid staff in 20 competitive House districts with the goal of installing a clinical Republican turnout machine to protect incumbents yoked to a president who so far has a net unfavorability rating. It is spending $30,000 a month in each district on online ads like the one Mr. Bacon saw in church.

Mr. Bliss’s goal is to find people who voted for Mr. Trump but typically skip midterm elections and get them to vote for their Republican House member….

More…

Share on Facebook

Trump budget director: Feeding elderly and children has to end, it’s not ‘showing any results’…Daily Kos

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 27:  White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney speaks during a White House daily briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room February 27, 2017 at the White House in Washington, DC. Mulvaney answers questions regarding the budget proposal from the Trump Administration.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Mick Mulvaney has a pretty fucking warped view of compassion. 

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told the White House press corps Thursday that popular vote loser Donald Trump’s budget cuts Meals on Wheels and after-school nutrition programs because those programs “aren’t showing any results.”

We can’t do that anymore. We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good. Meals on Wheels sounds great. […] I can’t defend that anymore. We cannot defend that anymore. $20 trillion in debt. We’re going to spend money, we’re going to spend a lot of money but we’re not going to spend it on programs that show they deliver the promises we made to people.

As for the school children:

They’re supposed to help kids who don’t get fed at home get fed so they do better in school. Guess what? There’s no evidence they’re actually doing that. There’s no evidence they’re helping results, helping kids do better in school, which is what — when we took your money from you to say, we’re going to spend them on after-school program, we justified it by saying these kids will do better in school and get jobs. We have no proof that’s helping.

Goddammit old people and school children! Get out there and get jobs so we know that feeding you is worth our money.

No, Mulvaney says, the “compassionate” thing to do is for tax payers, to “go to them and say, look, we’re not going to ask you for your hard-earned money anymore. Single mom of two in Detroit, give us your money. We’re not going to do that anymore unless they can guarantee that money will be used in a proper function.” That, he says, “is about as compassionate as you can get.”

Because, really, wouldn’t we all rather fund a few more destroyers than see our neighbors not starve?

Share on Facebook

House Speaker Ryan has a Boehner problem with his hard right Conservative members…

Republican House Speaker John Boehner quit the job and Congress because of the friction caused by Tea Party House members anger at not getting their way….And by the leadership controiling the bill’s progress without minute by minute memebers input…

It appears that the group, now calling itself the Freedom Caucus , is again at odds with it’s parties House leadership and is trying to go around Ryan to gain leverage by forging a connection with White House aide Stephen Bannon…..

Conservative lawmakers have proven adept at exploiting similar divisions in the White House to build momentum for their cause. Administration sources say they stovepipe their concerns to Bannon because of his relationships with the far right, and they warily eye others aligned with chief of staff Reince Priebus, who is closer to Ryan.

They’ve found sympathizers in the West Wing for complaints that leadership has excluded them from the legislative process. One senior administration official told POLITICO that “House leadership cut them out of the process totally.”

“We opened up a direct channel” with Meadows, fellow Freedom Caucus leader Jim Jordan and Sen. Ted Cruz, the source continued, “to get the real issues on the table.”…

More….

Share on Facebook

House GOP leaders make changes in Trump/Ryancare proposal in hopes for more support…

Trump has also had a meeting with some of the conservatives not onboard claiming he has got them to come around to supporting the Repeal….

The Trump administration and House GOP leaders are making two significant changes to their ObamaCare replacement bill as they seek to add to their whip count ahead of a critical Thursday vote.

The White House on Friday won support from conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) leaders by agreeing to give states the option to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients and to block grant Medicaid instead of the cap system in the bill.

GOP leaders are using the RSC endorsement — and new words of support from President Trump — to try to build momentum for the measure.

But the far-right Freedom Caucus is still largely opposed to the measure, and there are still serious doubts about whether the bill has enough votes to pass yet….

More…

Share on Facebook

German Chancellor Merkel meets with Trump….

Angela Merkel has been office since 2005, longer than ANY Western head of state…..Not bad for a woman born in EAST Germany….

Germany IS Europe’s strongest nation….

Her term in office will probably be extended during the next German elections for a fourth term….

And since Donald Trump was elected?

Image result for merkel/trump

She has been called the Leader of the Free World…..

In the next 24 hours she will get to spend some time with a guy who is  180 degree’s from what she IS and has done in office….(She got alone fine with President Obama)

Donald Trump doesn’t do too well with strong females….

And Trump will have his friend /side Stephen Bannon looking over his shoulder whispering ‘America First ‘…..

Angela Merkel has displayed a pragmatic view of the world and good enough political sense to steer he country to a good place, leading Europe….

We’ll see how things go….

There IS a LOT riding on their first meeting…..

Their styles reflect their vastly different backgrounds. Merkel, Germany’s first and only female chancellor, was raised by a pastor in communist East Germany, where she earned a doctorate in physical chemistry. Although she is the longest-serving and most powerful leader in Europe, she is unfailingly modest, competent and consensus-oriented. Trump’s all-about-me mentality, Queens upbringing and brash, tabloid-and-reality-TV personality couldn’t be more different.

The contrast in substance is just as stark. From the Eurozone meltdown to the refugee surge, Merkel has been through multiple crises. She has no illusions about Vladimir Putin and the spy-ridden Kremlin team running Russia, and places a high value on quiet diplomacy, free trade, international law and the institutions of the European Union.

Trump is untested, unable or unwilling to criticize Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine, determined to judge U.S. foreign policies by the trade balance involved or the extent to which the costs of U.S. military deployments are reimbursed, and happy to talk up the possibility of other EU countries following Britain out the door.

With his alliance diplomacy facing intense scrutiny following reports of tense phone conversations with the leaders of Australia and Mexico, Trump will be on his best behavior. Likewise, Germany’s government has no interest in playing up controversy and hopes to declare the session a diplomatic success.

Nevertheless, Merkel will try to persuade Trump to reverse his cheerleading for the collapse of the EU and put a stop to his ignorant critique of NATO. And why not? Such reversals have become a regular feature of the Trump foreign policy. In the Middle East, despite a lot of talk, the U.S. Embassy in Israel has not moved, nor has the administration taken steps to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran. In Asia, the Chinese government humbled the new president by insisting he shelve the idea of reconsidering Washington’s support for the “One China” policy.

Considering that Trump went out of his way to criticize Merkel just ahead of his inauguration, saying her decision to admit hundreds of thousands of refugees was a terrible mistake and that he intended to treat her and Putin in roughly the same way, expectations for the meeting are modest. No diplomatic breakthrough is envisioned, and a general meeting of the minds between two longstanding allies before the world’s media should be sufficient to avoid further diplomatic damage.

Behind the scenes, however, the evolution of the Trump-Merkel dialogue will shape the direction and strength of the Western alliance…

More…

image….Daily Express

Share on Facebook

Former Trump National Security Advisor Flynn had more extensive lobbying connections…

Now things include Flynn making money off of helping Turkey’s interests also….

….drip…Drip…DRIP…..

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was fired in February after lying about his contacts with the Russian government, has formally registered with the Justice Department as a “foreign agent” and admitted that he had lobbied on behalf of the Turkish government as recently as November 2016.

As the Associated Press reports, Flynn’s lawyer filed paperwork with the Justice Department Tuesday disclosing that the retired Army general had done lobbying work between August and November 2016 that “could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey.” According to the filing, Flynn’s company, Flynn Intel Group Inc., was paid at least $530,000 for the work.

Flynn’s contract ended on November 15, just three days before Trump appointed him national security adviser.

Still, the disclosure that Trump’s top campaign adviser on all issues of national security and foreign policy was receiving money to lobby on behalf of a foreign power all the way through Election Day is another black eye for Flynn, who has the rare distinction of having been fired by two US presidents (Barack Obama ousted him because of his mismanagement of the Defense Intelligence Agency). The FBI is also continuing to probe Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the aftermath of the election…..

More….

Share on Facebook

Trump Budget would stop Federal money for New York City Police counterror cops

And cancel money paid to the city for guarding Trump Tower….

It took President Trump just six months to forget about never forgetting.

The one-time Manhattan resident’s proposed federal budget will hurt the NYPD’s ability to protect the nation’s No. 1 terror target by slashing $190 million in Homeland Security funding for the city.

“Nearly all federal funding to the NYPD would be eradicated,” said Police Commissioner James O’Neill as details of Trump’s first budget emerged. “It is the backbone of our entire counterterrorism apparatus.”

O’Neill and Mayor de Blasio have previously said the city’s sanctuary city status would cost the city untold millions of dollars in federal aid.

A small sample of thing that could suffer under Trump budget

Image result for NYPD anti-terror units

“Nearly all federal funding to the NYPD would be eradicated,” said Police Commissioner James O’Neill.

Trump had threatened to slash all federal funding to cities — like his hometown — that fail to arrest or detain immigrants living illegally in the US

“Let me be clear: New York City is in the crosshairs of the president’s budget,” de Blasio tweeted. “I want to ask President Trump to come back to New York City and talk to the people hurt by his budget.”

More….

Note….

The final Federal budget WILL have money allocated by Congress for the NYPD and other police Dept’s in Metro NY area and around the country …..Even is the city IS a Santuary City….

image….CNN Money

Share on Facebook