Doha and the Taliban

An internal “dissent channel cable” that objects to State Department consideration of closing the Doha, Qatar, office through which supposed negotiations with the Taliban have been conducted has been leaked to the NLMSM by “current and former US officials.”

According to the dissenters, it would be a mistake to close off this diplomatic channel, as it would signal our disdain for negotiation with the Taliban.  These worthies also express disdain for National Security Adviser LtGen HR McMaster’s support for a “fight, then talk” process aimed at producing incentives for the Taliban to negotiate seriously.

A Referendum

Catalonia is trying to have one (had one as you read this) on whether the Autonomous Community should completely separate from Spain.  It’s turning violent as the Spanish military organization with police duties, the Guardia Civil, and the more civilian Policía Nacional, are using hammers and other such tools to break into locked buildings within which voting is occurring and truncheons and rubber bullets to try to block Catalans from entering and voting.

Nearly 850 civilian casualties had been inflicted by late Sunday, Dallas time.

Another Alternative

The Seattle Seahawks have figured one out—an alternative to kneeling during our national anthem and thereby attacking our anthem and flag and insulting our veterans and our Gold Star families.

The team announced the “Seahawks Players Equality & Justice for All Action Fund” in a statement on their website, as a way to combat “injustice and inequality by supporting leadership and education programs.”

In a statement signed by the players, they said the program will fund “programs addressing equality and justice” with hopes to “build a more compassionate and inclusive society.”

And

NFL Management Hypocrisy

This is from the NFL’s 2017 Rulebook; Section 4 Equipment, Uniforms, Player Appearance; Article 8 Personal Messages:

Throughout the period on game-day that a player is visible to the stadium and television audience (including in pregame warm-ups, in the bench area, and during postgame interviews in the locker room or on the field)….

The League will not grant permission for any club or player to wear, display, or otherwise convey messages, through helmet decals, arm bands, jersey patches, or other items affixed to game uniforms or equipment, which relate to political activities or causes, other non-football events, causes or campaigns, or charitable causes or campaigns.

A Packer Shows an Alternative

At the start of Thursday night’s NFL game, the Bears and Packers players stood for the national anthem with linked arms.  I’m frankly a squish about civilians and hands on hearts during the national anthem; that’s a practice that’s become so ubiquitous, long before the NFL’s current assault on our flag and our national anthem, that the failure to put one’s hand on one’s heart during the anthem has become—almost—OK.  The players all stood, no one kneeled, and that’s good progress.

However, this image presents Randall Cobb, Wide Receiver, standing on Aaron Rodgers’ (No 12) right, showing the way: linked arms and still with his hand on his heart.

Some Early Thoughts on the Tax Reform Proposal

…triggered by Laura Saunders’ piece in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal.

Beginning with the headline and thesis of her piece: Winners and Losers Under the Trump Tax Plan. Because Government should be about picking winners and losers instead of just protecting a level free market for all.  Sure.

Now a couple of specifics.

People with large medical or disaster deductions. Each of these write-offs on Schedule A has significant hurdles and is only available to taxpayers with large unreimbursed expenses

Taking a Knee vs Taking a Knee

The NFL and its players think taking a knee when our flag is displayed and our national anthem is played is appropriate.

Congressman Brian Mast (R, FL) had this on his Facebook page:

The NFL doles out penalties for celebrating a touchdown, but won’t require respect for our flag?

I have taken a knee after jumping out of a helicopter as we looked for the enemy, taken a knee in front of the Soldiers Cross as we mourned a fallen brother and taken a knee in church.

Here’s the image that accompanies his post:

On Catalonia’s Drive for Independence

The Wall Street Journal argued against it Wednesday.  I disagree ( a surprise, I know).

Nor is such a referendum permitted by international law….

This is a domestic Spanish affair; dragging international law into the matter is just cynical.

…they [Catalonians] fail to acknowledge the price all Spain pays for the national defense and diplomacy that keep Catalonia secure.

This is a cost that Spain no longer would have to bear if Catalonia succeeds in secession. As the Spanish, Catalonians, and Tunku Varadarajan, who wrote the piece at the link, well know.

Some Advice

…for NFL players and owners who are pretending to protest police mistreatment of minorities while actually attacking our flag and national anthem and insulting families who’ve lost veterans and the veterans themselves who fought, were maimed, were killed for these Precious Ones’ right to attack our flag and national anthem.

The advice comes from an ex-Buffalo Bills New Era Stadium security guard who resigned his job of 30 years over the Bills’ shameful kneeling display last Sunday.

[P]players [should] go out into the community and try to solve problems rather than simply kneeling and saying, “There’s a problem. Someone else fix it.”

The PRC and Northern Korea

The People’s Republic of China says it has ordered businesses doing business with northern Korean entities or individuals must shut down within 120 days.

This would be cool, if it happens.  The PRC has said it would enforce other sanctions, also, and then only paid lip service to enforcement while engaging in business largely as usual with the north.

Believe it when you see it actually happen.  If it does happen, believe the durability of PRC enforcement when it actually lasts.