An Old Nightmare Returns

I recently read an article about the situation in Balkans….where there is growing concern that the rise of the military and far Right politics might be a harbinger of things to come and a repeat of history…..

Source: An Old Nightmare Returns: The Balkans Simmer Again | The National Interest Blog

After I read the article I thought if only someone had been paying attention then just would not come as a surprise……

Wait!

Someone has been watching!  Me!

Source: The Balkans: Smoldering Ashes Of Conflict – In Saner Thought

There are many differences between the Balkans and the Middle East, but they have two things in common. Both regions are former pieces of the Ottoman Empire that have not found stability since that empire receded in the late 19th century.

Source: Will the Balkan Tinderbox Ignite, Again? | The Cipher Brief

So someone has been watching and reporting…the problem is NO one is paying attention.

Since I am an analyst of international conflict then nothing about this is surprising and I will continue to be a voice of caution.

IST Asshat “Assie” Award—-June 2017

TS Cindy has moved on…we are still getting a bit of rain from the storm…..my garden is now just a memory only thing that survived was the okra.  The Coast is trying to dry out but these intermittent showers is making that process difficult.

Let’s move on shall we?

The last Sunday of the month and time for the awarding of the monthly Asshat “Assie” Award.

This month was a nightmare of ignorant statements by ignorant people…it was difficult to decide on the winner so I turned over the nominees to my granddaughter and let her choose the winner.

She spent a good portion of the day mumbling to herself and shaking her head before she presented me with the winner.

Sen. Cotton’s intern “Nate”……for making potty mouth pronouncements about others.
Buuuut———

As I was writing this post a new nominee came to me….we all remember the horrible shooting of Rep. Scalise of LA……well it seems that some people do not have any respect or civility…..

IN SANER TOUGHT

ASSHAT “ASSIE” AWARD FOR THE MONTH OF June 2017

A Nebraska Democratic Party official was caught saying he was glad House Republican Steve Scalise was shot in an audio recording posted on YouTube, first reported by Fox 42 News.

Phil Montag, a Nebraska technology chairman for the state’s Democratic party, said the following of Scalise in the audio recording of a conversation between Montag and several others:

“His whole job is to get people, convince Republicans to fucking kick people off fucking health care. I hate this motherfucker, I’m glad he got shot.”

I have NO patience with people like this……we already have too much derision in this country and statements like this do not help.  The DEM Party does not people that think like this.

If anyone deserves the award this month it is this douche…..

Congrats Mr. Montag!

An email will be sent to the NE Democratic Party in care of Mr. Montag announcing his award.

Some good news to close out the day….

U.S. Representative Steve Scalise, the No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives who was shot while practicing baseball last week, is no longer being held in the intensive care unit at the hospital where he is being treated, a source familiar with his condition said on Friday.

IST wishes him a speedy recovery.

Time to go for the day….get some rest and prepare for a new week….thanx for everything…..chuq

“You Can’t Fix Stupid”

Another Saturday and another weekend…..we all should just step back and enjoy the day and our time….

In the past I have written many times just how stupid the population is becoming….I even referenced a movie as prophetic, Idiocracy…..and then I read something that gave me no easy feeling…..

Today in mind-blowing statistics: A full 7% of American adults think chocolate milk comes from brown cows, Food & Wine reports. That figure comes from an Innovation Center for US Dairy survey of more than 1,000 people conducted in April. When extrapolated, it means approximately 16.4 million Americans—or roughly the population of Pennsylvania—are hopelessly misinformed about chocolate milk, according to the Washington Post. Overall, the survey found 48% of US adults aren’t sure where chocolate milk comes from (though 29% use their kids as cover to buy it for themselves). Today helpfully explains that chocolate milk is defined by the Center for US Dairy as “cow’s milk with added flavoring and sweeteners.”

While nearly half of Americans not being clear where chocolate milk comes from may seem shocking, agriculture and nutrition experts likely aren’t surprised. They’ve been complaining for decades that Americans are woefully ignorant about what they eat. “We still get kids who are surprised that a french fry comes from a potato,” says the co-founder of nonprofit FoodCorps. A study conducted by the Department of Agriculture two decades ago found nearly one in five adults didn’t know hamburgers are made from beef. Another study of fourth, fifth, and sixth-graders in urban California found more than half didn’t know pickles are cucumbers or onions and lettuce are plants; nearly a third didn’t know cheese is made from milk.

Seriously?  Brown cows?

Some say we do not need a public education…..and yet we get these results….we need something.

After reading that I could only think of something comedian Ron white has to say, “you can’t fix stupid”.

Just ignorant?  Or would “stupid” be a better description?
Watch the vid and you decide.

After that….I need a drink.

Have a good day and be well and safe….chuq

Closing Thought–23Jun17

A Hacking We Will Go!

Hacking seems to be the new drug of choice for criminals….and the newest weapon against an enemy….but the most diabolical hack is just coming to light….

The CIA has had a a cyber attack and it hit the essentials of the agency….snacks.

The CIA may be famous for daring acts of espionage, but in 2013 several agency contractors learned the hard way not to use their shadowy skills to steal from vending machines. A declassified report from the Office of Inspector General says several agency contractors conspired to steal more than $3,300 worth of products from CIA vending machines between the fall of 2012 and March 2013. According to BuzzFeed, which acquired the report through the Freedom of Information Act, an unidentified contractor disconnected the network cables that enable communication between the vending machines and the agency’s “FreedomPay” system, thereby allowing “purchases to be made by nonpaying individuals.”

The hacker then shared the technique with an unidentified number of other contractors, all of whom later admitted to taking part in the scheme. All of the contractors involved were escorted from the building and fired by their respective contractor employers, though the Department of Justice declined to press charges. While it’s not clear why the perpetrators thought they could get away with ripping off the world’s most feared intelligence agency, Slate speculates they likely thought the CIA had “bigger fish to fry” or that no one would ever notice $3314.40 worth of candy missing from an agency with an annual budget of $5 billion. All things considered, Gizmodo considers this “easily the greatest CIA operation in the history of the organization.”

On that humorous note I end my day and prepare for the weekend…..

I hope everyone has a good and safe evening….chuq

22 June 1941

First I would like to apologize this post is a day late because of TS Cindy….it made my internet a bit spotty at times and I missed posting this on the anniversary day.

As most readers know I like history and I try to impart as much as I can when I can…….

This is the 76th anniversary of Operation Barbarossa….where Germany attacks the Soviet Union

On June 22, 1941, Adolf Hitler launched his armies eastward in a massive invasion of the Soviet Union: three great army groups with over three million German soldiers, 150 divisions, and three thousand tanks smashed across the frontier into Soviet territory. The invasion covered a front from the North Cape to the Black Sea, a distance of two thousand miles. By this point German combat effectiveness had reached its apogee; in training, doctrine, and fighting ability, the forces invading Russia represented the finest army to fight in the twentieth century. Barbarossa was the crucial turning point in World War II, for its failure forced Nazi Germany to fight a two-front war against a coalition possessing immensely superior resources.

Source: Operation Barbarossa – World War II – HISTORY.com

The USSR was caught flat footed which allow the Nazis a upper hand for awhile….

Russia has declassified some documents about that invasion…..(I must insert here that this could be a whitewash since they date back to 1952)

In 1952, the Soviet General Staff gathered a task force in its military science and history directorate, headed by Colonel-General Aleksandr Pokrovsky. Their task was to collect data, including eyewitness accounts, on the state of the Red Army shortly before and in the first part of the war with the Nazis.

As part of the study, Pokrovsky gathered accounts from surviving officers, who were in charge of the three western military districts and responsible for protecting the border. Among the five questions he asked for were details of how the Soviet armed forces prepared for a looming Nazi attack, how they responded to it, and whether or not the staff maintained control over the troops during the first frantic days of fighting.

Source: Russian MoD declassifies docs on Soviet Union’s preparedness for 1941 Nazi invasion — RT News

The documents are interesting but you will need a translation widget.

There is more this from a US site……

The German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 was one of the pivotal events of the 20th century. It transformed the Second World War and led, perhaps inevitably, to the Cold War and the half-century domination of Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union. It was, furthermore, one of the most brutal campaigns of modern times, bringing unspeakable atrocities and the near-annihilation of whole nationalities. The Nazis probably bear the principal responsibility for the character of the campaign, but the Soviet regime must shoulder some of the blame.

Source: What Stalin Knew: The Enigma of Barbarossa — Central Intelligence Agency

Source: 8 Things You Should Know About WWII’s Eastern Front – History Lists

A fascinating slice of 20th century history……enjoy

Wait For a Coup?

Recently there was a shake-up in the line of ascension to the throne in Saudi Arabia….came as a surprise to many…especially the ousted uncle in favor of a prince….

Source: A Royal Shake-Up – In Saner Thought

Maybe the Saudi  monarchy has more problems than Qatar……

And since no one is really watching this I feel I need to keep my readers up to date…..

The is report is not one that I have confirmed but it is a turn that needs attention…..there seems to be some concern that there could be a coup aimed at the existing king because of this shake-up….and an unlikely ally has stepped forward……

While according to the official narrative, the Saudi power transition on Wednesday, when King Salman bin Abdulaziz announced his decision to replace Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz with his own son, Mohammed bin Salman, went smooth and by the numbers, what took place behind the scenes is more interesting.

Here, events were decidedly more interesting, because as Fars News reports (so take it with a grain of salt), after the decision was announced, the Israeli air force sent 18 of its fighter jets, including F16-I, F15-CD and F16-CD, along with two Gulfstream aircraft, two tanker airplanes and two C130 planes, special for electronic warfare, to Saudi Arabia at the demand of the new crown prince bin Salman to block his cousin (bin Nayef)’s possible measures.

On the surface, such close ties between the existing Saudi regime and Israel would appear a stretch, although it is far more plausible after this week’s WSJ report that when it comes to the Saudi proxy war, Israel and Saudi Arabia had been alligned from the onset of the Syrian conflict, with Israel secretly supplying Syrian rebels near its border with cash as well as food, fuel and medical supplies for years, “a secret engagement in the enemy country’s civil war aimed at carving out a buffer zone populated by friendly forces.”

Source: Israel Deployed 18 Fighter Jets To Saudi Arabia To “Prevent A Coup”: Fars

As I said earlier…I have no confirmation of this turn…but I will continue to watch for more info to pass on as it becomes available.

Yes! We Finally Have a Plan!

For a couple of weeks we have had this story about the secrecy that is surrounding the Senate’s health plan…of course we have also had those that tried to divert the attention by saying all sorts of stuff about when Obama was working on the ACA….that is a moot point…it is law and the Senate is trying to change that…..

After lots of angry diatribes about the secret bill we finally have word about what this new bill will contain……

Senate Republicans on Thursday finally unveiled their answer to the House bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and Vox has an explainer of what’s in it. Some major sticking points: The Better Care Reconciliation Act will ask poor and middle-class Americans to pay more for less coverage, and Medicaid would be cut after expansions are rolled back. Medicaid patients would be unable to get treatment at Planned Parenthood, which would be defunded for a year. The bill also includes a tax break for the wealthy. Here’s what else you need to know:

  • First, Politico has the full text of the 142-page document Republicans are calling a “discussion draft.”
  • Three Republican senators can defeat the bill by joining Democrats to vote against it. FiveThirtyEight reports the most likely candidates are Rand Paul and Mike Lee (who don’t believe it goes far enough; Paul recently said he doesn’t want “ObamaCare lite”) and Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski (who want more protections for Medicaid and pre-existing conditions).
  • ABC News reports four Republican senators have already said they won’t vote for the bill without more information and negotiation: Paul, Lee, Ron Johnson, and Ted Cruz. They released a joint statement saying the bill doesn’t do enough to repeal ObamaCare.
  • The bill’s writing was cloaked in such secrecy that the Week reports as of Thursday morning quite a few Republican senators still had not seen it; Murkowski, for example, told a reporter, “I am not a reporter, and I am not a lobbyist, so I’ve seen nothing.”
  • President Trump had called the House bill “mean” and in need of “more heart.” So Scientific American takes a look to see if the Senate version fulfills that requirement.
  • When asked by a reporter if the Senate bill had enough heart, Trump called it “very good” but in need of “a little negotiation,” CNN reports.
  • According to People, police dragged protesters—some of them in wheelchairs or wearing medical devices—away from Mitch McConnell’s office and arrested them. The protesters, members of a national disability rights group, say people with disabilities are threatened by the bill.
  • Finally, USA Today reports Senate Democrats plan to fight the bill through procedural requests to slow down the process. They called for any changes to the House’s bill to be made public for at least 72 hours and be subject to CBO analysis.

Not looking good for a quick pass of this in the Senate……but then all the opposition could just be political games…..

All this could be avoided and set into law quickly…..a single payer system (someone half brain will call it socialism…the problem with that is it is not free people pay into the program)….

I have even seen a conservative case for single payer…….

The GOP’s latest health-care push is a magic show featuring the same malnourished rabbit being pulled from the same shabby top hat Republicans have been reaching their fingers into for years before pronouncing their now-familiar incantations.

Abracadabra! they always say. Allowing companies to sell insurance across state lines! Alakazam! Block-granting — is there an uglier formulation in the English language? — Medicare to the states! Presto-chango! Medical malpractice reform! Hocus-pocus! Health savings accounts! And for my last trick, keeping the expansion of Medicaid but not paying for it!

Source: A conservative case for single-payer health care

This is a simple fix that could go into effect almost immediately and the Congress could move on to something else and get on to the business of the nation.

Why is simple so difficult for politicians?