The Real American Addiction

To close out my posting day I would like to re-visit posts from the past…..

I have written about our addictions in the past….our addiction to drugs or the addiction to war…..but our real addiction is……. consumerism….

Whatchu talking about professor?

You Are An ADDICT!

Let me refresh your memory if I may…..these are from past posts here on IST….

For those who think this will be a diatribe on the value of Marx’s statement on religion….you would be mistaken.  While I appreciate a lot of the work of Karl Marx I will disagree with …

Source: The Real “Opiate Of The Masses” – In Saner Thought

Or a later post……

We all are addicted to something…..drugs, cigs, sex, whiskey and so on……but we Americans have an addiction to……consumerism.  A couple of years ago I wrote a piece enti…

Source: The Power Of Addiction – In Saner Thought

About here you are starting to wonder just why I bring this past posts up, right?

The iPhone7…..is the answer.

Apple has released the new version of its popular iPhone series…..

Apple has officially announced the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus today. The new iPhone features a design that’s very similar to last year’s iPhone 6S (and the year prior’s iPhone 6), with a rounded aluminum body. But what’s entirely new is the phone’s water resistance, which means you can get the iPhone 7 or the larger iPhone 7 Plus wet without worry. Also new is the long-rumored dual camera system, stereo speakers, and a darker black color scheme. And, as expected, the iPhone 7 does not have a headphone jack, rendering countless 3.5mm headphones useless with the device (or requiring the use of an adapter).

The new phone may look very similar to last year’s models, but instead of the matte metal finish we’ve become used to, it has a glossy, mirrored design. The new color is called jet black and is much darker and richer than the space black of years past. Apple is also releasing a standard black model, along with gold, silver, and rose gold.

People will stand in line to acquire this new gizmo….even if there is NOTHING technologically new with it…..

It is a sickness…….And that my friends is an addiction!

Consumerism….the Real Opiate of The Masses!

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2016: Commander-In-Chief Forum

I hoped that Americans would finally take vets issues seriously….but if the posts that I have written in the past and their responses (as anemic as they were) then their “patriotism” is nothing more than a convenient slogan that they trot out whenever needed.

This 2016 election has become the most exhaustive election I have ever been a part of in my (state secret) years.

The dialog between the candidates is about emails, health, Trump U, on and on…..lots of totally irrelevant subjects….neither talking issues and solutions….the closest we get is a pile of platitudes and applause lines……

I have been looking forward to this deal…..the candidates will answer (or what passes for answers) regarding national security and vets issues……….Maybe this will bring out some actual campaign issues…….or so I thought.  I was disappointed in the way that it was moderated….Lauer let too much bullshit slide…it was mostly talking points for the two candidates.

Last night the first ever Commander-in-chief forum was held…..it was sponsored by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association (IAVA)…..the candidates will have 30 minutes to answer questions about national security and veterans issues asked by vets and military people…..

How about a quick recap for those that abstained from watching……

In what many saw as a preview of the Sept. 26 debate, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump set out very different positions on foreign policy in a national security forum Wednesday night. The “Commander-in-Chief” forum, hosted by NBC and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York, was hosted by the Today Show‘s Matt Lauer. Clinton and Trump fielded questions and spoke back-to-back, with Clinton going first after winning a coin flip. A round-up of coverage:

  • According to NBC, the night will be remembered for Donald Trump offering more praise for Vladimir Putin than for America’s “embarrassing” military leadership. Putin has “been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader,” said Trump, who praised the Russian leader’s 82% approval rating. “We have a divided country.”
  • Clinton cast herself as a model of “absolute rock steadiness” in foreign policy compared to Trump, reports the Washington Post, which notes that she seemed “guarded, even stilted” when dealing with questions about her email server and her vote for the Iraq War.
  • Clinton said the Iraq vote and the email server were both mistakes, but insisted that she had never sent or received material with a classified header on her private server. “Classified material has a header which has ‘top secret,’ ‘secret,’ ‘confidential,'” she said, per Politico. “Nothing—and I will repeat this, and this is verified in the report by the Department of Justice, none of the emails sent or received by me had such a header,” she added.
  • Trump said that under Obama, the US has pursed “the dumbest foreign policy” he has ever seen, the Guardian reports. Asked about his claim that he knows more about ISIS than the generals, he said the generals “have been reduced to rubble” under Obama.
  • Trump claimed that he had always been against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but repeated that he thought the US should have taken the country’s oil. Asked about his plan to defeat ISIS he said: “I have a substantial chance of winning—make America great again. If I win, I don’t want to broadcast to the enemy what my plan is.”
  • Clinton, asked about her foreign policy record, said she viewed the use of force as a last resort, CNN reports. “We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again and we are not putting ground troops into Syria,” she said, arguing that ISIS could be defeated with air power and regional alliances. She said that no matter what he says now, her and Trump had the same position on both the Iraq War and the Libyan intervention, NBC notes.
  • Clinton and Trump were both asked about veterans’ mental health issues, and both promised to do more to reduce suicides. “We’re going to speed up the process, we’re going to create a great mental health division,” Trump said. “They need help.”
  • Vox reports that Lauer is taking a lot of flak from both sides for his moderations, with critics accusing him of asking lightweight questions and failing to fact-check the candidates.
  • The Washington Post fact-checks the forum, and has plenty of Pinocchios to award to both Clinton and Trump.

Tim Mak at the Daily Beast gives terrible reviews to both the “defensive and lawyerly” Clinton and the “huckster” Trump. They were supposed to show how they were qualified to be commander-in-chief, but “both showed themselves to be both terribly flawed candidates,” he writes.

Personally, neither candidate won….but then I do not support either of them….to me their answers were canned responses….but here is a recap of the night for both candidates…..read then you decide who won this thing…..

Source: POLL: Who Won the Commander-In-Chief Forum? | Heavy.com

Then the next  question was….how honest were the candidates answers?

Source: Fact-checking the NBC ‘commander-in-chief’ forum | PolitiFact

I still have grave concerns on what these two see as the problems and the solutions….they were not asked the important questions…like why did you not serve?  Would you let your children serve?  What are the complexities of the Syria situation?  I have more…..but those would have been a question that would have forced an answer and not allowed the canned responses to continue.

Source: Rachel Maddow’s part of NBC forum had the questions veterans should have been able to ask

I feel this was a good thing and should be required with every election to come.  But it needs to be expanded in time and expanded to include alternative candidates….this would show that it is not a partisan thing…..it failed this time around.  But what did I expect from a forum put on by the MSM?

All in all….an good first attempt.  A little tweaking needs to be done before the next one.

ISIS, Who’s Your Daddy?

2016 has brought about many a debate….most is just words to elicit some sort of applause and yells……but one of the better accusations was the one made by Trump that ISIS was created by Obama and Clinton….

Trump was asked by host Hugh Hewitt about the comments Trump made Wednesday night in Florida, and Hewitt said he understood Trump to mean “that he (Obama) created the vacuum, he lost the peace.”
Trump objected.
“No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS,” Trump said. “I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.”
Hewitt pushed back again, saying that Obama is “not sympathetic” to ISIS and “hates” and is “trying to kill them.”
“I don’t care,” Trump said, according to a show transcript. “He was the founder. His, the way he got out of Iraq was that that was the founding of ISIS,
(cnn)
His words were a bit off topic…..I know that will not please those the drink from the Trump cup but nonetheless accurate…..

To understand why Trump’s claim that Obama “founded” ISIS is so off base, you need to understand the group’s actual origins.

ISIS has its origins in a Jordanian group called Jamaat al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (JTWJ), founded in 1999 by a militant named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Zarqawi, himself from Jordan, was a kind of thuggish figure, known more for brutality than theological sophistication. Initially, his group was fairly marginal in the global jihadist movement, especially compared with al-Qaeda.

The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 changed everything. The American-led war, by destroying the Iraqi state, left much of the country in chaos. Foreign fighters and extremists began moving into Iraq, assisted by Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, which sought to bog down the United States. Zarqawi and his group were among those foreign fighters.

Maybe Trump is referring to an intel memo from 2012…….after a little research I found this info….I can see where the mistake could have occurred…..

US military intelligence warned the White House in 2012 that the West’s covert war in Syria would produce “an Islamic State” (precisely what Daesh (Isis/Isil) claimed to be creating two years later in 2014)

The following was revealed in a declassified Pentagon ‘Secret’ Intelligence Information Report (US Defense Intelligence Agency). Note that the ‘Salafists’ (aka Wahhabis) mentioned are followers of the ultra-conservative state sect of Saudi Arabia – which has inspired al-Qaida, Daesh, and other jihadi groups on the ground in Syria.

A. Internally, events are taking a clear sectarian direction.

B. The Salafist [sic], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [al-Qaida in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.

C. The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China and Iran support the regime…

8.C. If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).

8.D.1. …ISI [Islamic State in Iraq] could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria…

I would like to be fair(I know a concept that is not really embraced these days)……..It is possible that this is where the confusion originated…..

I know that the accusation makes great news fodder…..and as long as the news is talking about the accusation he wins this round.

Terrorism On Decline?

In the last year terrorism has made some amazing headlines……from San Berindino to Paris to Brussels to Orlando and most recently Istanbul…..of course there are the daily bombs going off somewhere in the world…..it appears as the world is awash in terrorists and their attacks, right?

If the broadcast news is one’s only option for current events then the world is doomed…..according to the reports we are receiving from the MSM….but there is evidence that the attacks are in decline (for now)……

I am sure that somewhere there is a mental midget that will take exception to this statement……(mostly bloggers with a very limited amount of knowledge)

Attacks are in decline, according to a in-depth report…..and in the West it is not the case….but read the report for yourself…..

The number of worldwide terrorist attacks declined in 2015 from the previous year, as did the number of related fatalities, according to new data from the Global Terrorism Database.

That may come as a surprise, at a time when mass terror attacks like the one on Tuesday at the airport in Istanbul, which killed 41 people, continue to dominate the news. The data, in fact, shows that the number of attacks and fatalities rose in Western Europe and North America. But the attacks declined in the Middle East and North Africa, where most terrorist activity takes place, bringing down the global number. (The Istanbul attack, which will be categorized with the Middle East and North Africa region, won’t be added to the database until June 2017, along with the ones in Orlando and elsewhere this year.)

Source: Terrorism Declined Last Year — But Not In The West | FiveThirtyEight

Again if one took the time to read the press they will see that it makes the case that they are in decline…..just not in the West…..

The official news from the MSM is that ISIS is on the run…..it is now on defensive footing rather than offensive……all the “official” news is that we may soon celebrate the destruction of ISIS….but should we take this to heart?

There’s a broad consensus in the analytical community that the Islamic State’s legitimacy would be damaged if it lost its government—the only debate is over how much. A state without a state would be a laughingstock, the argument goes, which I agree with in the main. But if the group’s previous incarnation is any indication, the laughter will be a long time coming—perhaps as long as a generation.

The Islamic State suffered ridicule for its outsized ambitions early on. When the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq dissolved the organization and proclaimed the establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq in 2006, jihadis scoffed. How could a rebel group that controlled little territory possibly convince anyone that it was an actual state? The Islamic State’s rejoinder that it was a state because it was trying to behave like a state fell flat.

……Read on…….

Source: Don’t celebrate ISIS setbacks too soon | Brookings Institution

There is some proof that terrorism is on the decline……

The State Department’s 2015 Country Reports on Terrorism came out earlier this month. It will no doubt be overshadowed by events, as it deals with overseas rather than domestic terror and appeared ten days before the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. But it helps to explain the roots of America’s terrorism problem.

The document purports to be an objective review of the year’s terrorist incidents as well as an overview of some of the players, and it includes a discussion of “violent extremism” issues region by region and country by country. It is a valuable resource that provides considerable information on the various militant groups and the crimes attributed to them. But it is nevertheless a government document.

Source: The Decline of Terror in the West? | The American Conservative

There will be some that are dubious about this….but I expect that from those that spend more time reading food packaging than news….I know there will be those that will dispute this post….however they would be the ones with the food packaging….

Is The “Populist” Uprising Over?

Now that the 2016 election is over and we have a winner…..the big question now is with all the populist movement, both Left and Right, will they continue….or is this a dead subject….are they over with the election?

The summer ends with a growing lament among progressives. Tom Frank’s cutting voice sums it up:

“And so ends the great populist uprising of our time, fizzling out pathetically in the mud and the bigotry stirred up by a third-rate would-be caudillo named Donald J Trump. So closes an era of populist outrage that began back in 2008, when the Davos dream of a world run by benevolent bankers first started to crack. The unrest has taken many forms in these eight years – from idealistic to cynical, from Occupy Wall Street to the Tea Party – but they all failed to change much of anything.  And now the last, ugliest, most fraudulent manifestation is failing so spectacularly that it may discredit populism itself for years to come.”

Like many on the left, Frank has few hopes for Hillary Clinton. She’ll be the ultimate Davos moderate, he predicts, collecting neo-conservatives and Republican elites, negotiating backroom deals to “get things done.” The elites, shaken by the Sanders insurgency and the Trump rise, are now back in the saddle.

Source: The Populist Uprising Isn’t Over—It’s Only Just Begun | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

We will see if these movements can continue after the voting is done….

I think that the movement has only just begun….but I have been mistaken before…..

But just what causes these times of popular revolt?

Easy answer….bungled wars, uneven growth and insecurity.

Does any of that sound familiar?

I believe the “populist” movement is here to stay….at least until the American people get some answers that makes sense to them.

Thoughts?