Notes from Bruce
Good evening! Hope you have had a good week, AND that you spent some time yesterday reflecting on 9/11 these twenty years later.
Of course, the big news in the Commonwealth this week was the special session of the General Assembly, and what they did and what they didn't. If you are a paying member, you were sent our daily updates as part of your membership. (Thanks to those of you who joined to take advantage of that coverage.) I'm going to do a post-session analysis tomorrow for subscribers and members, so be watching for that.
Lots of stories getting posted over the past few days, so be sure to check the home page each day to see what's new. And as always, if you have feedback, feel free to send it to Bruce@ForwardKY.com.
On to this week's newsletter!
This week's most-read article
Dear KY Repubs - you are going to get someone killed
This is going to be short and sweet.
In today's opening of the special session, the Republican leadership introduced Senate Bill 1 (with a matching bill in the House). The opening provision is to remove any sort of top-down mask mandate, either by the governor or by the Department of Education or anyone else. Instead, the bill proposes that any mask mandate must come from local authorities, like local school boards.
Here's the thing, Republicans: Pass this bill, and you are going to get someone killed.
If a local school board DOESN'T institute some sort of mask mandate, there will be children in that school system that will get infected, get sick, and die. With the amount of virus surging across the state, this is a certainty.
And many local authorities are either believers in what they hear on Fox News, or they are scared of the people in their community that are covidiots, so they will take the easy way out and do nothing.
BUT – if a local school board DOES follow the science and institute a mask mandate, those same covidiots will come after THEM, with death threats included. And someone, somewhere in Kentucky, will actually carry out that death threat and kill a school board member.
More than one local superintendent has said that they want the mandate to come from someone up the chain, so that they don't have to face their community alone. They KNOW what will happen if they put a mask mandate in place.
So, Repubs in the general assembly, mark it down: If you get rid of any sort of mask mandate coming out of Frankfort, you are going to get someone killed because of your actions.
All of this week's articles
From the archives
The Saudi mystique
by Ivonne Rovira, Dec. 21, 2019
An odd thing occurred with regard to the foreign officer who gunned down his classmates at the Pensacola Naval Airbase in Florida. Everyone has seen the doleful Donald Trump issuing the condolences of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman even before his own. How odd at first glance! Yes, imagine if an undocumented Mexican or Central American immigrant or — God forbid! — a Muslim had committed this crime! Trump would be tweeting and libeling entire nationalities left and right! But it doesn’t take much looking to see how it makes perfect sense. As “Deep Throat” Mark Felt advised Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, Follow the money.
The New York Times consulted Brookings Institution scholar Bruce Riedel, an ex-CIA officer “who has dealt with generations of Saudi leaders,” according to the Times’ article. Riedel was appalled at Trump’s “parroting of the Saudi line.” And he can’t have been too cheered up by the Saudis’ plan to buy off the victims. (You don’t think that the payments to the victims won’t come with nondisclosure agreements, do you?) Riedel thought President Trump should have waited for the results of the investigation into the massacre.
But, of course, Trump can’t. Aaron David Miller, a Middle East expert and a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, pointed out the obvious to The New York Times: “Had an attack been carried out by any country on his Muslim ban, his reaction would have been very different, but when it comes to Saudi, the default position is to defend. Driven by oil, money, weapons sales, a good deal of Saudi feting and flattery, Trump has created a virtually impenetrable zone of immunity for Saudi Arabia.”
Ah, poor naïve Mr. Miller! Yes, the president acts as a human shield for Saudi Arabia, but it’s not for oil, to counterbalance Iran, to stabilize the Arabian Peninsula, to milk them for millions on behalf of the military-industrial complex. That’s what a normal president might have done. When has the benefit of the United States come into Trump’s calculations? Have you not noticed the dismal effects of Trump’s tariffs, even on the sectors he was trying to protect? Even the vanguard of the capitalists, Forbes magazine, has gotten on Trump for it! The conservative Tax Foundation reckons that Trump’s tariffs constitute the equivalent of an $88 billion tax hike! But he doesn’t back down because he doesn’t care.
And don’t say, Well, that’s just because #PresidentDunce is too stupid to know when to back down and too stubborn to admit that he was wrong. He managed to backpedal just fine when it came to China after it granted a slew of patents to daughter Ivanka.
No, Trump’s defense of Saudi Arabia is personal. And that means monetary. Trump has personally made millions from Saudi Arabian princes and businessmen for decades now. Trump won’t always be president, but he will always be greedy. So he needs to keep in the Saudis’ good graces so that he can continue to launder money sell them apartments and maybe even build a nice hotel in Jeddah in his presidential afterlife. (In 2016 Trump registered at least two businesses with Jeddah in the title plus six more in Saudi Arabia.)
But don’t take it from me. Take it from the president himself when he was a candidate in 2015: “Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”
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