Thursday, August 24, 2017

Lee Offends Me. I prefer Goldberg! Safe Zones, Pacifiers and Creepiness. Bibi Informs Putin. The Farce Goes On.Georgie- Keep Them Dumb. Our Sinking Navy.

Our grandson, Kevin Trager is an investigative TV reporter in Nashville.  His is the voice of the little people:
In my last memo this link did not come through: Mark Gungor Tale of Two Brains Full++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Anyone whose name begins with Lee and/or ends with Lee, whether Asian or not, need to change their name to Goldberg.  Lee just offends me.We need a new amendment that gives every American, legal or illegal, the right to demand whatever offends them must end.  We are guaranteed the right to pursue happiness.  How can I be happy if so much offends?  I want the government to provide me with  a safe zone so I can go and not be offended by that which I do not like. I also demand the government supply me with  pacifiers. I pay taxes and I am entitled to what I want.


Hillary claims Trump made her feel creepy standing behind her.  She should know what creepy is since she is married to one.
Bibi  briefs Putin and gives him sensitive information on Iran's military expansion which he also released to The U.S. last week.  (See 1 below.)
Never ending peace process farce. (See 2 below.)
Draining the swamp was always a matter of whether anyone could accomplish this feat much less an outside non-political player. (See 3 and 3a below.)
I have been warning about this for years.  I attended some courses at The Naval War Academy many years ago, have been a long time modest contributor to their Foundation and read their quarterly and often post and/or review articles from it.  No a surprise to me nor should be to my fellow memo readers.  (See 4 below.)
In Georgia we would rather remove charters from charter schools that teach students what is important. (See 5 below.)
1) By Ronen Bergman 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Russia on Wednesday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and give him top-secret intelligence on Iran’s military expansion in the region.

“Iran is making an accelerated effort to entrench itself militarily in Syria. This poses a danger to Israel, the Middle East and in my opinion the world itself,” the prime minister said, with Putin at his side, at their talks at the Black Sea resort of Sochi. 

Netanyahu told Putin that while Israel welcomed the ongoing military operations against the Islamic State group, Iran is filling the void in Syria created by the terror group’s defeat.

“All of us are winning in the tremendous international effort against Daesh, which is a praiseworthy thing, but what is not praiseworthy is that Iran enters the places that Daesh leaves,” Netanyahu said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

“We don’t for a second forget that Iran continues to threaten Israel’s destruction on a daily basis,” the prime minister said. “It arms terrorist organizations and initiates terror itself. It is developing intercontinental ballistic missiles with the intention to equip them with nuclear warheads.”

“For all of these reasons, Israel opposes Iran’s continued entrenchment in Syria. We will make sure we defend ourselves using every means against this threat.”

Addressing Iran military expansion in the region, Netanyahu said “Iran is already in the advances stages of taking over Iraq and Yemen, and, in effect, already controls Lebanon.”

 Netanyahu was joined on his trip to the Black Sea resort of Sochi by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, who was reportedly providing Putin with “sensitive, credible and very disturbing detailed intelligence” on Iran’s military presence in Syria, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily’s intelligence correspondent reported.

The visit comes after a senior Israeli delegation reportedly shared the same evidence with the Americans last week. Israel is striving to limit Iran’s expansion into the region.

However, there was “grave concern” in Israel after Cohen and other senior intelligence officials failed to obtain an American commitment during their trip. Israel has been pushing the US, and now Russia, not to support a peace deal in Syria that allows Iran and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group to keep boots on the ground.

Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said on Wednesday that Israel has updated the US on the upcoming meeting with Putin, the Walla news site reported.

#Mossad chief Yossi Cohen will present #Putin this morning "sensitive, credible & very disturbing detailed intelligence" on #Syria & #Iran

By Isi Leibler 


The Trump Administration Looks More and More Like a Pyrrhic Victory for Conservatives

The wall? It is not built. The President is threatening a shutdown to get it funded and Democrats along with some Republicans are excited to blame the President, which they will do and get a 2/3 vote to override any veto.
Tax reform? Not happening now. In fact, congressional Republicans are telling the White House to keep the President as far from it as possible just to improve the chances of getting something.
Obamacare repeal? It’s not going to happen.
Judges? Only five total judges have been confirmed to the entire federal judiciary since John Roberts administered the oath of office to President Trump. Not only that, Anthony Kennedy is not retiring and the word around D.C. among Kennedy’s friends is that he has recoiled at the President’s behavior. Kennedy, who already considers himself an uber guardian of constitutional order, now thinks he cannot leave.

The debt ceiling? The GOP isn’t even going to fight it, just raise it. The national debt will keep going up.
An infrastructure spending bill? There is bipartisan agreement to spend large amounts of taxpayer dollars on all sorts of infrastructure nonsense and they cannot get it passed Congress and cannot get direction from the White House on shaping it.
Not since Pyrrhus of Epirus beat Rome only to be wiped out later because of the irreparable loss of soldiers in his fight have we seen such strategic bungling. The President’s supporters will respond to all of this blaming Congress and congressional Republicans for not helping and Democrats for blocking his nominees.
But Trump himself told us that he would drain the swamp. He told us he would get the best deals. He told us only he could negotiate the best deals. He told us only he could get Washington working again. And all of what is happening right now runs counter to all those promises of performance.
On top of that, Trump has made strategic miscalculations by assuming the congressional GOP presiding over a co-equal branch of government would be his water carriers. He has sabotaged all his good will on Capitol Hill, built up a trust deficit, and poured gasoline on already burning bridges.
He might be able to manage the errors and betrayals of others, but he has surrounded himself with yes men who tell him his poop does not stink and he continues his self-immolating behavior.
Thankfully (or not), the man has over three more years to try to get something accomplished, but it is not looking good when his “first 100 days” plans have turned into a first 500 day plan and that 500 day plan looks likely to be a first 1000 day plan at which point his agenda looks to go the way of Anne Boleyn.
The President’s few great accomplishments have been rolling back Obama era regulations and undoing some, but not all, of Obama’s damaging executive orders. The problem, though, is that much of this will be reversed by a future President. The big wins get scored with legislative victories and there are very few.
It will be a greatly noticed bit of irony if, in voting for Trump to save the judiciary, the GOP actually loses it with a frozen court till a Democrat President in 2021. And if that happens, whether you want to admit it or not, you need to know it will have happened because the President’s behavior so spooked several Supreme Court Justices that they dug in their heels and fought death for time to wait out Trump.
The President and his party’s only saving grace right now is the Democrats cannot help but express their open contempt for working class voters and people of faith as that party lets the insane take over their asylum.

3a) Beating His Own Head Against the Wall

Trump threatens to do exactly what Chuck Schumer wants.

By The Editorial Board
“We’re going to get our wall,” Mr. Trump said. “If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.”
The crowd loved it, but this is the political equivalent of holding a gun to his own head and saying that if Congress doesn’t do what he wants Mr. Trump will shoot himself. Don’t expect Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to try to talk Mr. Trump out of it. As the minority party, Democrats will be only to happy to test Mr. Trump’s dare since voters will blame a shutdown on Republicans who run both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Senate Democrats are vowing not to spend a dime on the wall and Mr. Trump will need 60 Senate votes to pass a funding bill.
GOP leaders on Capitol Hill know they’ll take the political blame for a shutdown, so they don’t want to press wall funding too far. All the more so because the border wall isn’t all that popular even with Republican voters, who have higher priorities like tax reform and a more robust military.
With an approval rating well under 40%, Mr. Trump isn’t in a strong political position to win a fight with Congress unless he is pressing for something that is already popular. It’s never clear with Mr. Trump how much of his rhetoric is real or bluster, but the shutdown over the wall is one threat he’d be wise to abandon.
4) Has the Navy Reached Its Breaking Point?

As the fleet shrank, the Navy was diligent about doing more with less. That strategy has limits.

By Seth Cropsey
This was the fourth accident this year for the U.S. Seventh Fleet, headquartered in Yokosuka, Japan. In January a guided-missile cruiser, the USS Antietam, ran aground in a high tide and strong winds after dragging her anchor in Tokyo Bay. The Antietam’s commanding officer was subsequently relieved and reassigned to a post at fleet headquarters.
In May the USS Lake Champlain, another cruiser, collided with a South Korean fishing vessel east of the Korean Peninsula. The Navy crew had tried to signal the fishermen, who neither had a radio nor responded to the ship’s horn. No one was injured.
Then in June the USS Fitzgerald, a guided-missile destroyer, suffered significant damage in a collision with a Philippine-flagged container ship in the busy approaches to Tokyo Bay. Seven American sailors died. After an investigation, the ship’s commanding and executive officers were relieved.
Speculation that sabotage or hacking had anything to do with these accidents seems unfounded. Navy ships have personnel constantly at watch, both on and off the bridge, to spot nearby vessels and other potential dangers. Can Russia hack a sailor’s eyes?
On Aug. 21, Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, told ships world-wide to pause their activity for a one-day safety stand down. He also directed the Navy to investigate how it trains and certifies the forces that deploy to Japan. This inquiry will examine the pace of naval operations—whether ships are being overused—as well as maintenance, personnel and equipment.
A no-holds-barred analysis is needed, not least because American forces face rising danger on many fronts. China is moving aggressively in the South and East China Seas. North Korea threatens war in the Pacific and beyond. The Baltic and Black Seas are as hazardous as ever. Islamic State is being pushed back by an air war conducted in part from ships in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The Navy has its hands full simply answering requests from combatant commanders, the senior officers who lead U.S. forces around the world. The deployable battle force, at 276 ships, is far smaller than what’s needed to meet demand, and it isn’t growing. So the Navy has looked for other ways to answer the call. One has been to keep ships at sea longer. Although the gold standard for deployments once was six months, amphibious vessels recently have been sent out for close to twice that.
This helps the Navy maintain a constant presence, but at a price. Longer deployments put wear and tear on sailors, their families and the fleet. Equipment problems accumulate, but detailed maintenance must wait until ships return to port.
Adm. Richardson’s specific directive to examine Naval training is pivotal. In the Fitzgerald and McCain collisions, large merchant ships approached undetected until it was too late to avoid a mishap. The questions about seamanship are obvious, and they must be asked. Navy ships have radars, crew standing watch, officers responsible for safe navigation, and computers that calculate other vessels’ speed, direction and closest point of approach. The Navy needs to understand how the system failed twice in three months.
Is there any connection between long deployments and these fatal mistakes? Perhaps ships are being overused, leading to longer repairs once they return to port, which leaves inadequate time for training. A Government Accountability Office report last May notedthis possibility: “The Navy has several options for mitigating extended maintenance availabilities and overruns, including the following: Condense training period (most common according to Navy officials) . . . ”
Has the Navy pushed practical training in seamanship and navigation too far into the realm of computers, forsaking harsher on-the-job learning? Does time spent preparing for inspections of ship systems come at the expense of training? Is the system for evaluating commanding officers functioning properly?
On Wednesday, the Seventh Fleet’s commander, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, was relieved of his command—which in this case means that his career is over. This is appropriate and consistent with longstanding Navy practice. It does not, however, answer the question of whether there is sufficient accountability for officers who are relieved after sailors die in avoidable accidents.
Also lingering is the question Adm. Richardson did not ask: If the fleet is stretched to a breaking point, when does the Navy tell combatant commanders that it cannot safely supply all the ships they request?
The Navy has been diligent since the end of the Cold War in seeking ways to cut costs and increase effectiveness, as the fleet shrank and demands expanded. The two collisions this summer suggest that it has reached the limits of trying to manage its way out of the mismatch. If meeting combatant commanders’ requests for additional ships would push the fleet beyond workable limits, maybe the solution is to just say no.
Mr. Cropsey is director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for American Seapower. He served as a naval officer and a deputy undersecretary of the Navy in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. His book, “Seablindness,” will be published Aug. 29 by Encounter.
5) Test Scores Don’t Lie: Charter Schools Are Transformative

Our black and Hispanic students in Central Harlem outperform the city’s white pupils by double digits.

I grew up in Harlem in the 1960s and early ’70s. My brother and I attended a failing school where we were the only white students. My parents, both professors, supplemented our education at home, but we understood that our classmates were wholly dependent on the inadequate education the school offered. Even at that young age I perceived this as a terrible injustice.
Thirty years later, when I was again living in Harlem and ready to send my own son to school, those same schools were still abysmally low-performing. In 2006, when I opened my first charter school in Harlem, the district schools were still failing.
Today, there is a different story to tell about Harlem, and it is thanks to a school-choice movement that has given rise to dozens of high-performing charter schools. Today, almost half of the students in Central Harlem attend a charter school; in East Harlem, a quarter do.
The results of the 2017 New York state tests were released Tuesday, and my staff has been busy crunching the numbers. They demonstrate how transformative this development has been for Harlem residents. In Central Harlem, for example, the number of students meeting rigorous, Common Core math standards has more than doubled since 2013—from 1,690 to 3,703. Students attending charter schools account for 96% of that growth. Results for English language arts are similarly inspiring.
The highest performing charter schools, like Success Academy, have actually reversed the achievement gap. Black and Hispanic students from Central Harlem’s seven Success Academy schools outperform white students across the city by 33 points in math and 21 points in reading; low-income students outperform the city’s affluent students by 38 and 24 points in math and reading respectively.
Recently, the NAACP called for a moratorium on charter schools, claiming they created a system that was “separate and unequal.” Lily Garcia, president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, made a similar argument at a summer gathering of her members. American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten went so far as to say school-choice and charters were the “polite cousins” to Jim Crow segregation.
Given the incredible academic progress evident among Harlem’s charter-school students—and among low-income children of color attending charter schools across the country—these accusations are breathtakingly cynical, designed to protect a union-dominated system that has failed urban communities for decades.
To justify their arguments, Ms. Weingarten and others propagate the myth that charter-school successes have come at the expense of traditional district schools. But this claim has been disproved again and again. In New York City, for example, a comprehensive study found improved academic performance, safety, and student engagement at district schools with charter schools, particularly high-performing ones, located nearby or in the same building.
This finding is exemplified by Harlem’s District 5. Charter-school enrollment in this district has grown exponentially since 2006, the year the first Success Academy opened. Far from spurring a decline among the district’s public schools, the district’s academic ranking relative to others in the city increased slightly over this period. When charter schools are included in this equation, its ranking spikes an additional 12 spots, from 28 to 14. Neighborhoods like the South Bronx and Central Brooklyn, where a growing proportion of students are attending charter schools, should expect to see similarly dramatic improvements.
The reality is that even if the critics’ narrative were true, it would mean little to Harlem’s thousands of charter-school parents. Many of these parents attended the same kind of subpar local schools that my brother and I did, and were raised by parents who also attended them. They are acutely aware of how the education they received severely limited the opportunities available to them. Today, these parents are celebrating test results that tell them the roadblocks have been removed. Their children are on a path to college. Their loyalty lies not with an abstract system of educational governance, but with schools and educators who are doing right by their children.
Ultimately, the bare-knuckled attacks by charter-school opponents are a sign of desperation. Parent demand for a better education is undeniable: 14,000 Harlem children were entered into charter-school lotteries this year, vying for a total of only 3,000 spots; across the city, 48,000 students are on charter school waitlists.
Parents now have the freedom to choose and they are choosing charter schools. It is our responsibility as New Yorkers to give them more of what they want: public schools that are engines of opportunity rather than roadblocks to success.
Ms. Moskowitz is founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools.

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