Two days after the event, I’m still having incredible difficulty processing the thought that Smithereens lead vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Pat DiNizio is gone. DiNizio had been fighting some major health issues for the past several years, but to lose him at 62 seems almost criminal.

The Smithereens were never a huge commercial success. They never had an album crack the top 40, and enjoyed only two top 40 singles. Nevertheless, they maintained a strong, loyal fan base that stayed with them throughout their multi-decade career. A sign of how revered they were by rock and roll royalty was that none less than the late Tom Petty insisted they come tour with him in 2013.

The Smithereens music was gritty, gut-level, always tough yet always melodic rock and roll. It was power pop minus the excessive cheeriness, a weary and wary overview of relationships gone wrong (and sometimes right). It was real music played by real men; no vapid pretty boy posing allowed. The Smithereens never took themselves overly seriously, but they were seriously brilliant.

This one is hard to process.

God speed, Pat DiNizio.

When the United States officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reactions around the world were pretty much what everyone expected. Anti-Israel activists were up in arms from San Francisco to the EU. Muslim countries protested. Violence broke out in Israel. Mild objections came from some of our allies, including Saudi Arabia.

One of the most important reactions came from the Palestinians themselves who declared they would not negotiate for peace if the United States was involved. Surely the Trump administration knew this was likely, but they’ve been working on a peace agreement that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told European leaders he liked this weekend. Why work on a peace deal if one party isn’t going to acknowledge it? To answer this, we look back a couple of months to Mohammed bin Salman and Jared Kushner.

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia met after an unannounced trip by President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law in October. It was widely reported their two days of face-to-face meetings were about an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. This made little sense at the time because Saudi Arabia has been in favor of such an agreement for a long time. There’s no need to send Kushner for intense meetings unless they had more to discuss. Some (including I) have speculated that one topic of discussion was the “corruption purge” that happened days after Kushner left the Kingdom. It makes sense to coordinate stories ahead of a controversial move to eliminate any opposition to the next King of Saudi Arabia. Could they have also discussed Saudi Arabia’s role in a peace agreement?

There is no evidence of this that’s not circumstantial, but it’s easy to connect the dots once we look at it all as a whole. Saudi Arabia may be the perfect proxy for a Trump peace agreement to be presented to the Palestinians and Israelis. Netanyahu has already been told some of the details and seems potentially open to concessions in the agreement, a good sign if peace is to move forward. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will not work with the United States, but will likely work with the Saudis as a proxy.

All of this means the Saudis may end up being the key to Middle East peace. Even if it’s the Trump administration that creates the plan and sells it to the Israelis, it’s the Saudis who may actually end up brokering the deal. Keep an eye on this in the coming months. Chances are strong this will move quickly once it’s officially rolling.

Duke: I saw you beat that man like I never saw no man get beat before, and the man kept coming after you

Rocky 2 1979

Ulysses don’t scare worth a damn!”

Union a soldier during the Battle of the Wilderness 1864

Amid all the the various pronouncement concerning the Alabama Senate Results President Trump has made it clear that no matter what the MSM thinks he knows how to play this game.

First his reaction to the Democrat win.

Note the contrast to how the MSM/Left reacted to his win. No blaming the people, no cries of interference a polite congratulation and a reminder that the seat will be up again soon and that political contest never ends. He doesn’t give the left what they want, reminds those of the right that tomorrow is another day.

Then he follows up with this:

He points out that Moore wasn’t his candidate but he wanted that vote and complements him on hard work but notes the “deck stacked against him” acknowledging to his base what was done here.

But the best part is what happened next. And this is where Trump takes a page from US Grant’s book.

The first battle that Grant fought after being put in charge of all Union Armies was the Battle of the Wilderness. Though for a time it was a close run thing in the end Robert E. Lee’s confederates beat beat him left right and center and delivered as sound a thrashing to the Union Army as ever he had done in the war.

But it didn’t matter because Grant didn’t stop

for the first time, the Army of the Potomac marched south after a battle in Virginia, instead of retreating, as all previous Union generals had done. Grant forced Lee onto the defensive

In other words in the face of a defeat what did Grant do? He moved forward and kept fighting.

So now we have the MSM / Democrat / Left  going on about how Alabama changes everything and it means the GOP is in full retreat and the Trump agenda is finished, so  what does Trump do:

GOP leaders on Wednesday agreed on a final tax cut plan that would lower the corporate rate to 21% and drop the top individual rate to 37%, according to a Republican source briefed on the deal.

Earlier House and Senate versions of the measure would have lowered the corporate rate to 20%, but in reconciling the two plans, leaders needed to nudge up the corporate rate in order to pay for benefits elsewhere.

Among those benefits will be a drop in the rate paid by the richest Americans, a risky move since President Trump and GOP leaders have tried to portray their sweeping plan as aimed at the middle class.

Democrats cried foul

The push to pass the bill next week was sharply criticized by Democrats, who called on Republican leaders to slow what has been a sprint to pass the tax bill and wait for a newly-elected Democratic senator from Alabama, Doug Jones, to be seated before holding any more votes on the legislation. Mr. Jones won a special election on Tuesday night over Roy Moore, a Republican, flipping control of the seat and reducing the Republican Senate margin to 51-49.

But Trump was having none of it:

Trump said he hopes to sign the bill “in a very short period of time” and that it’s “very important for the country” that Congress vote on it next week.

The compromise bill is expected to set the U.S. corporate income tax rate at 21 percent, effective in 2018, according to a Republican official who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. The top federal corporate rate is now 35 percent, and Trump had insisted it should be no higher than 20 percent, but gave ground on that position earlier this month.

Trump said Wednesday that he’d support a 21 percent rate.

“I would,” Trump said, “We’re going to see where it ends up but I said that already. It’s at 35 right now so if it got down to 21 I would certainly, I would be thrilled.”
“We haven’t set that final figure yet, certainly 21 is a very great success,” he added.

“I’m just very excited by” the bill, he said. “This is one of the biggest pieces of legislation ever signed by this country.”

So what do the Democrats get for their Victory on Tuesday? A while house moving forward with their agenda without skipping a beat.

That’s going to take the wind out of a few Democrat / media sails.