In Defense Of Cigarettes

Sunday’s always come too soon….just one more day of mental clarity before I return to the world of insanity and clowning around.

I know smoking is a disgusting habit…..but so is stupidity.

I still smoke (a gasp went up across the room)…..because of my injuries I had to give up most of my vices….drinking, chasing women, etc….but the one that I refuse to quit is smoking.

Nothing is better than that first cup of coffee and a cigarette….so any time I see an article about smoking that does not offer my brain on drugs or a black lung looming at me from within a jar….I take notice.

This is a op-ed from the Weekly Standard…..

Dear Matt,

I had this thought that America was more civil when everyone smoked. You learned from an early age that people will do something you don’t like but there wasn’t much you could do other than walk away. Then smokers became not just people doing something others don’t like, but bad people whose second hand smoke (allegedly) kills. Nowadays, anyone who disagrees with you isn’t just different or misguided, they are a bad person who must be ostracized/destroyed. Thoughts?

Charles Zambori, Dallas, TX

His response……

Source: In Defense of Cigarettes | The Weekly Standard

There are so many things that I find disgusting….most people that wear yoga pants, wine in a box, the coconut water craze and everything to do with nationalism….if not for cigs I would be in prison as a mass murderer….

I would like to thank all those people that hold their breathing while I smoke…your sacrifice does not go unnoticed.

Enough said for the day…back tomorrow with a bagful of stuff….but today there is a couple of buffalo steaks and baked potato and a great red wine waiting for my dining enjoyment.

Have a day my friends…..chuq

Looking At The Top Of Their Head

It is another weekend and more time to stray from the politics of the day….for at least a couple of days….

Go out to a family restaurant some time and watch the people at their tables…..how many are avoiding talking and instead are looking at some electronic screen or another?

Teenagers seem to be the worse….but did you know that it could be hazardous to their mental health?

The number of ways in which the smartphone has made our lives easier is vast. Whether it’s using Shazam to identify a song on the radio or having a sophisticated camera at the ready 24/7, the smartphone era ushered in by the iPhone has fundamentally changed the way the world uses and interacts not only with technology but also with each other. While there is no shortage of examples that illustrate how the smartphone has improved our lives, a more interesting and novel thought experiment would have us explore some of the more detrimental side effects associated with our collective addiction to smartphones and society’s unending need to constantly stay connected.

Tackling this very topic, a fascinating piece from Jean M. Twenge of The Atlantic articulates that adolescents who have grown up in a world dominated by smartphones are more prone to a variety of mental health problems than adolescents from previous generations. Twenge categorizes kids born between 1995 and 2012 under a group she calls iGen and the problems she’s seen in these kids — who have never known a life without the internet — transcends gender, class and ethnicity.

Source: Smartphones are causing a mental health crisis in teens | New York Post

I am so glad that my granddaughter has found that she enjoys board games with the old guy….plus she is in the school band and she enjoys books.

Now go and enjoy the beginning of your weekend….be well, be safe….chuq

Closing Thought–18Aug17

After 50 years of conflict!

If anyone can recall our fearless leader said that a Middle East peace deal would be offered in his first days……that did not work out as planned……

By now it is obvious that the “ultimate deal” between Israelis and Palestinians, which President Donald Trump promised in his first days in office, was little more than an optical illusion. A series of conversations with Israeli, Palestinian and diplomatic sources depicts a very different picture. The diplomatic process is bogged down. President Trump is not involved in any way, nor does he have any interest in getting involved. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is severely disappointed with the United States, and the US “peace team” has lost what limited credibility it had on the Palestinian side. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government is rubbing its hands eagerly beneath the table and dismissing all the serious concerns that sullied the mood of the past few months. Nothing will happen, because there is nothing there, ministers from the Likud and HaBayit HaYehudi whisper with smug satisfaction. We can all calm down.

I thought then that it was his normal idle promise…..

I have been saying for years that since the US will not step up and help find a peaceful conclusion to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that the Pals should expand their reach and ask other powerful countries for help….

Maybe someone was listening…..for the Chinese have stepped into the process in the region…..

China’s UN ambassador urged the international community on Monday to support President Xi Jinping’s new four-point proposal to end the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict and establish an independent Palestinian state.

Liu Jieyi said at a news conference that China’s future diplomatic efforts will focus on trying to move toward a negotiated solution based on the four proposals.

Xi signaled China’s stepped-up engagement in the Middle East when he met about two weeks ago in Beijing with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and outlined the plan.

The four points are:

– Advancing the two-state solution based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital of a new Palestinian state.

Upholding “the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security,” immediately ending Israeli settlement building, taking immediate measures to prevent violence against civilians, and calling for an early resumption of peace talks.

– Coordinating international efforts to put forward “peace-promoting measures that entail joint participation at an early date.”

– Promoting peace through development and cooperation between the Palestinians and Israel.

Sounds like every other plan these days…..couldn’t hurt having another player in this game…….

A small step for a large problem…..I wish them luck and success.  chuq

Mr. Bannon Departs?

There seems to be a rash of departures from the White House….and the Oval Office loses another player….

Steve Bannon is out as White House chief strategist, or will be soon. President Trump told his senior aides he has decided to remove Bannon, two administration officials tell the New York Times. Officials warn that Trump could change his mind; they say Bannon’s future was still being discussed by Trump and Bannon as of Friday morning and that Trump is still discussing with other officials when and how to proceed. Another source says the resignation was actually Bannon’s idea, and that it was supposed to be announced at the beginning of the week but the Charlottesville violence delayed it. The Drudge Report also reported Friday that Bannon would be “moving on” after an “impressive run” as senior adviser to the president, and that he may return to Breitbart News. Vanity Fair reporter Gabriel Sherman says the latter is true.

Following the reports from Drudge and the Times, other outlets including Fox News cited their own sources in reporting that Bannon will be leaving the White House. And ABC News echoes the Times source who said Bannon submitted his own resignation; per ABC, the resignation date was supposed to be Aug. 14, exactly one year after Bannon joined Trump’s campaign. His reported ouster comes after increasing clashes with other Trump advisers, including Trump family members. Known as a right-wing nationalist, calls for Bannon to be removed increased after the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville that ended in violence. Earlier this week, Trump insisted that Bannon is “not a racist,” but said “we’ll see what happens” with regard to his future at the White House. Also this week, Bannon gave an unsolicited interview in which he called the far-right “clowns.”

We should have seen this coming…..in his last interview Pres. Trump referred to him as Mr. Bannon….not a title of someone in his good graces.

Did he leave on good terms?  If not, then Breitbart may not be a Trump cheer leader anymore.  Trump needs Breitbart and the like to keep his base in line.

This situation will be worth watching…it could be the best drama of the year…..so far.

Another History Lesson

(gasp…choke…cough….)

By now the usual posts have hit the internet about the attack in Barcelona……everyone has the same opinion…a dastardly deed committed by barbaric cowards.

And then our president had his say so about the attack as well……

President Trump’s first public reaction to the Barcelona van attack was to tweet a response: “The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!” His second public reaction was to spread a rumor that’s been debunked, CNN reports. “Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught,” he tweeted. “There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!” CNN says Trump was probably talking about the rumor that Gen. John J. Pershing shot Muslims with bullets dipped in pig’s blood, or buried them with pigs’ bodies, during the Philippine-American War as a deterrent to insurgents. It’s a rumor that multiple media outlets, Fox News included, are pointing out has no evidence supporting it.

Trump definitively referred to that rumor during the presidential campaign, telling the audience at a rally that Pershing’s forces lined up 50 Muslim prisoners, shot 49 of them with pig’s-blood-dipped bullets, and told the last person, “‘You go back to your people, and you tell them what happened.’ And for 25 years, there wasn’t a problem.” But both Snopes and Politifact have deemed this rumor to be false. Pershing did write about another commanding officer in the war who supposedly buried Muslims with pigs, but, per Politifact: “There is no evidence that Pershing himself committed these acts … and most important, there is no evidence to support Trump’s claim that this tactic was effective in stopping violence.” Not to mention, as a religious expert told Huffington Post in 2013, there is no penalty in Islam for simply coming into contact with pork products.

That is right…this NEVER happened!  Just more of the “real” news that some like to report.

If I am not mistaken the incident in the Philippines that Trump mentioned ended with Pershing sitting down with the rebels and reading from the Quran and praying with them….and a dispute was avoided. (If  could remember where I read that piece of info I would give you a link…old age and brain farts prevent me from doing so)

I can appreciate it when someone uses a little historical context when making a point….but at least they could do is get it right.  At least he could have shown a little more compassion and actual concern.

Beginnings Of The American Empire

Yes I am a history geek!  When studying political history one gets some insights into the world of history and the world of politics.

In the very beginning of American history the country held a more isolationists position…..yes we conducted trade with other countries but for the most part we kept to ourselves and did not tamper with others foreign policy.

We fought our wars here and there…but is was not until the late 19th century that the US became an empire with its war with Spain which it won and by winning we gained territory from the loser Spain.

Make NO mistake from that time on the United States of America became an empire….like it or not.

Let the history lesson begin!

On April 25, 1898 the United States declared war on Spain following the sinking of the Battleship Maine in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898. As a result Spain lost its control over the remains of its overseas empire — Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines Islands, Guam, and other islands.

Source: Introduction – The World of 1898: The Spanish-American War (Hispanic Division, Library of Congress)

The war with Spain in 1898 began the US ventures into interventionism…..something that once we started we could never stop.

U.S. Secretary of State John Hay called the Spanish-American War of 1898 a “splendid little war.” Superficially, the description seemed apt. After the battleship Maine mysteriously exploded in Havana Harbor — an incident then blamed on Spain — America went to war, our citizens urged to free Cuba from Spanish rule as well as avenge the Maine. Largely a naval war, an American squadron under Commodore George Dewey destroyed the Spanish squadron at Manila; likewise, the U.S. Navy crushed Spain’s Caribbean squadron off Cuba’s port of Santiago. In each engagement, the United States suffered only one fatality. Things went tougher for American troops in Cuba, where malaria and yellow fever proved as daunting as Spanish bullets. But American schoolchildren would thereafter thrill to tales of Teddy Roosevelt and his “Rough Riders,” and of the famed charge up San Juan Hill. Defeated on land and sea, Spain sued for peace. The war lasted less than four months; our fighting forces distinguished themselves with valor; and the United States, acquiring territory from Puerto Rico to the Philippines, emerged as a “world power.”

Source: Spanish-American War: Trial Run for Interventionism

Welcome to the world of today.

Class dismissed!

The G I Bill

When I left the US Army in 1971 I wanted to use my GI Bill benefits for my education….the only thing that I ever asked of my country for my service…..I got the education I wanted and think that all service people should have a good GI Bill.

The Trump admin has signed into law a new GI Bill…..

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law an updated veterans’ education bill that marks the largest expansion of college assistance for military veterans in a decade.

The Forever GI Act immediately removed a 15-year time limit on the use of GI benefits. The measure also increases financial assistance for thousands serving in the National Guard and Reserve, building on a 2008 law that guaranteed veterans a full-ride scholarship to any in-state public university, or a similar cash amount to attend private colleges.

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, who joined Trump for the signing, said the new law also provides benefits to Purple Heart recipients whose injuries forced them to leave the service. Benefits can also now be transferred to the eligible dependent of service members who are killed in the line of duty.

Veterans would get additional payments for completing science, technology and engineering courses, part of a broad effort to better prepare veterans for life after active-duty service amid a fast-changing job market. The law also restores benefits if a college closes in the middle of the semester, a protection that was added after thousands of veterans were hurt by the collapse of for-profit college giant ITT Technical Institute and Corinthian Colleges.

“This is expanding our ability to support our veterans in getting education,” Shulkin told reporters at a briefing after Trump signed the measure at his New Jersey golf club upon returning there after two nights at his home at New York’s Trump Tower. Journalists were not permitted to watch Trump sign the bill, as the White House has done for earlier veterans’ legislation he has turned into law. That includes a measure Trump signed at the club Saturday to provide nearly $4 billion in emergency funding for a temporary veterans health care program.

Glad to see that the troops are still foremost on the minds of our government….

It falls short of what I wanted to see…..the first four years of a public college would be free as long as a C+ average was maintained.  I believe that is a small price to pay for what we ask our troops to accomplish.