Thursday, July 30, 2015

Last Call For NCIS: Ukraine

I can't imagine why Vladimir Putin would want to stop a UN international tribunal investigation into who's responsible for shooting down Malaysian Airlines Flight MH12 over Ukriane last year.

Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council draft resolution on Wednesday that would have set up an international tribunal to prosecute those suspected of downing a Malaysia Airlines passenger airliner last year in eastern Ukraine. 
Eleven countries on the 15-member council voted in favor of the proposal by Malaysia, 
Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium and Ukraine, while three countries abstained: China, Angola and Venezuela. A resolution needs nine votes in favor to pass and no veto by Russia, the United States, China, Britain or France. 
Flight MH17 was shot down in July 2014 with 298 passengers on board, two-thirds of them Dutch. It crashed in Ukrainian territory held by Russian-backed separatists. 
"Those responsible may believe that they can now hide behind the Russian Federation's veto. They will not be allowed to evade justice," Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the council. There were 39 Australians on board flight MH17.

She said Australia, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Belgium and Ukraine would now seek an alternative prosecution mechanism.

Good luck with that.

Actually nailing Russia with evidence of an act of war? That won't be tolerated. And Putin continues to gain territory in Ukraine and laugh at the world.

Guess we'll have to crash the price of oil again.

The Donald's Last Laugh

Bloomberg News decided to actually talk to some of these GOP primary voters about why Donald Trump appeals to them, and their answers are exactly what you'd expect.

A Bloomberg Politics focus group of 12 Republican and independent voters who are supportive of Donald Trump's presidential candidacy shed light Wednesday night on the billionaire's swift rise to the top of the GOP field, and confirmed that his brash, “You're fired!” style and lack of experience in politics is more of an asset than a liability.

“He says it like it is,” said Jessica, a data analyst, during the focus group in the first-in-the-nation primary state, conducted by Purple Strategies at St. Anselm College in Manchester. “He speaks the truth.” 
He's willing to tell you his opinion,” Andrew, an educator, said. “So many other politicians won't take an opinion.” 
Many said Trump's success in the business world appealed to them.

“Business, we need business and I like his roughness,” said Danielle, a financial-planning consultant, adding, “He's just tough, we need someone tough.” 
“Donald Trump is strong,” Nick, a home inspector, said. “He carries a sentiment and frustrations that I think a lot of Americans are going through and feeling right now. He's the one that's able to articulate that, and bring those frustrations to light. I believe him when he talks.” 

Of course Trump would be successful.  He's a billionaire.  Billionaires aren't stupid or lazy, otherwise they wouldn't be billionaires, now would they?  He's as American as they come.  Wealth is morality here.

Even as the group praised Trump's directness, some worried it could be his undoing in the race.

“I think potentially, he could cross over with some inappropriate comments,” said Andy, adding, “And it would very much concern me if he was the nominee.” 
“I could see him being a hothead,” Fred, a tax preparer, said.

Trump's remarks about whether McCain, the Arizona senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee, should be described as a war hero rubbed some in the group the wrong way.

“I thought that was disrespectful,” said Jean, a banker. “Regardless of whether he [McCain] was technically a war hero or not, it was disrespectful.” 
As for Trump's characterization of undocumented immigrants as “rapists,” however, many in the room said it didn't bother them.

Why should it?  Trump doesn't like those people, and neither do Republican primary voters.  Those people are poor, lazy, dirty criminals, not like GOP primary voters, who are real Americans.  And they're tired of candidates tiptoeing around nationalism and racism rather than just admitting that the prospect of becoming a majority minority nation scares the hell out of them.

The GOP is the party of white privilege, and there hasn't been anyone in American history better suited to representing the base than a rich, obnoxious, loudmouth billionaire who has marketed himself into a worldwide brand and can say and do what he wants, and only gets more popular for it.

Though Trump's considerable wealth—which the Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimates at $2.9 billion—resonated with those who participated in the focus group, many seemed to regard him as being on the same page as ordinary Americans.

“He's like one of us. He may be a millionaire, which separates him from everybody else, but besides the money issue, he's still in tune with what everybody is wanting,” Janet, a former dog breeder, said.

Trump is "like one of us".  They all want to be him.  And they will vote for him.  He's not going anywhere, folks.

The Kochs Go Shopping

Since the Koch Brothers effectively have their own Republican party apparatus now, when they command 2016 candidates to come running in order to whore themselves out, the candidates at this point are just haggling over the price.

Four leading GOP presidential candidates – Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker – are traveling to a Southern California luxury hotel in coming days to make their cases directly to the Koch brothers and hundreds of other wealthy conservatives planning to spend close to $1 billion in the run-up to the 2016 election. 
The gathering – which also will include former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, but notably not Sen. Rand Paul — is hosted by Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, the umbrella group in the Kochs’ increasingly influential network of political and public policy outfits. It represents a major opportunity for the candidates at a pivotal moment in the presidential primary.

The crowded field of GOP contenders is competing aggressively for the support of uncommitted mega-donors as the campaign hurtles towards its first debates in what’s expected to be a long and costly battle for the Republican nomination. 
Freedom Partners’ annual summer conference is set for August 1 through August 3, and is expected to draw 450 of the biggest financiers of the right for sessions about the fiscally conservative policies and politics that animate the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch and many of the donors in their network. Most have the capability to write seven- or even eight-figure checks to the super PACs fueling the GOP presidential primary, and a significant proportion have yet to settle on a 2016 choice, or are considering supporting multiple candidates. That includes Charles and David Koch, as well as Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and hedge fund billionaires Paul Singer, both of whom will be represented at the conference by advisers, and a number of other attendees of past conferences whose 2016 leanings are being closely watched. 
The Koch operation is not expected to formally back any candidate in the GOP primary. But the Koch brothers and many of their donors can still play kingmaker roles. In addition to the massive checks many are expected to write to the super PACs aligned with specific candidates, they also serve as bellwethers for other donors.
These are the people that own the Republican party.  What the people in red states and caucus meetings and party conferences at the local and even state level want?  It doesn't matter in the least. These are the people who will buy the next GOP nominee and flood the airwaves with a billion dollars in ads to get you to vote.

And they expect a massive rate of return on their investment.  Most likely they will get it because they've already bought Congress.  But if they get the whole ball of wax, the Republic is done.

New Tag, and one long, long overdue:  The Powers That Be.


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