Closing Thought–30Nov16

Fake News Update………..

I recently wrote about the presence of fake news especially during this last election….(a reminder)…

Media distrust and Fake News…… This past election illustrated just how much social media can play in the election of a president…. Take Facebook for instance…..on a personal…

Source: Closing Thought–18Nov16 – In Saner Thought

Since that was written more info about these sites has come to light…..

Some of the anti-Hillary Clinton news stories that popped up in your social media feeds during the election campaign may have been put there by Russia. That’s the conclusion of independent propaganda research group PropOrNot, which provided its report to the Washington Post. PropOrNot found more than 200 websites, including RT and Sputnik, published Russian propaganda during the election campaign that was read by 15 million Americans. The stories—reportedly the work of “thousands of botnets, teams of paid human ‘trolls,’ and networks of websites and social-media accounts,” per the Post—were then viewed an estimated 213 million times on Facebook.

An earlier study identified a similar campaign conducted by “organized hordes of trolls,” per the Verge. The propaganda campaign “was equivalent to some massive amount of a media buy,” says PropOrNot’s executive director. “It was like Russia was running a super PAC for Trump’s campaign … It worked.” What the RT had to say in an email to the Post: “RT adamantly rejects these claims.” (Mark Zuckerberg maintains fake news didn’t impact the election.)

This appears to be the way of the future… consumers need to be vigilant or be stupider than they are today.

The Veterans Are Coming!

The protests around the DAPL have been going on now for months…the NAs are trying to protect their land from a pipeline and the reactions by the company and the government have been anything but civil…the use of dogs, rubber bullets, gas, water on cold days….etc etc….

The news has come out that there is a contingent of veterans heading to North Dakota in support of the protesters…..

The thousands of protesters already camped out in defiance of the Dakota Access Pipeline are about to get reinforcements in the form of hundreds of veterans, Stars and Stripes reports. As many as 2,000 vets will arrive in North Dakota on Sunday with the goal of “protecting the protesters,” Marine Corps veteran Anthony Diggs says. “There is a lot of power in veterans from all over, from all branches of the military, coming together to create a protecting front against the police, who are militarized themselves,” he says. But the vets aren’t just bringing symbolism; they’ve raised around half a million dollars to help protesters get through the winter and are bringing supplies, lawyers, and more.

The vets are expected to arrive the day before the Army Corp of Engineers had ordered protesters to abandon their camp on federal land. But while the Army Corps has since said it won’t force protesters off the land, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple issued an “emergency evacuation” of the camp Monday in the face of an oncoming blizzard, Reuters reports. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says it has no plans to move, and its chairman points out it’s ironic that Dalrymple is suddenly concerned about cold protesters days after police sprayed them with fire hoses. Contrary to previous reports, Dalrymple won’t block food and supplies from getting to protesters as part of the evacuation, according to the AP. A spokesperson says that had been “misconstrued.”

If I were in charge I would put the vets camp between the military force and the NAs….

Source: Video Archive – Veterans Against the Dakota Access Pipeline

I wish I were younger…I traveled to Wounded Knee in 1973 but was detained before I could make it to the Rez…..

Hopefully the assistance will be useful……maybe the thugs will show more respect to the vets than they have shown to the NAs……but my guess is ….NO!

My Concerns For National Security

I have always said the foreign policy and national security should be paramount in Trump’s mind….but recently I read something that gives me concern….

George W. Bush and Bill Clinton received daily intelligence briefings after winning their elections, and Barack Obama was said to be an “avid consumer of intelligence” as president-elect. But US officials tell the Washington Post that Donald Trump has only had two intelligence briefings since defeating Hillary Clinton and has been turning down further briefings. The daily intelligence briefings include information on “global developments and security threats” from all 16 US intelligence agencies. “Trump has a lot of catching up to do,” one senior US official says.

But Trump’s team says the president-elect has simply been too busy putting together his administration. “National security is Donald Trump’s No. 1 priority, and I think he’s taking it very seriously,” a senior member of his transition team tells the Post. The official points to Trump’s meetings and phone calls with world leaders as evidence and says people criticizing Trump “need to get a life.” But government officials critical of Trump say it’s further evidence he doesn’t really care about the ins and outs of the job. A former deputy CIA director says Trump is “missing out on a golden opportunity.” On the other hand, Mike Pence has been receiving intelligence briefings nearly everyday. Read the full story here.

Sorry Donald but the prez needs to be able to walk, talk and chew gum all at the same time…..

I cannot tell if his hesitation to pick a SecState and SecDef is a good thing or a bad one…..I am anxious to see who he will choose for these two positions….that will be very telling of the direction Trump wants our foreign policy to travel.

As I watch the Trump government take shape there are a few concerns I have and I list them here……

  • Publicly reveal all potential international conflicts of interest among his business holdings and place all of his business assets in a blind trust—not managed by family members, which is an obvious conflict of interest—to avert running afoul of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Allow the IRS to indicate a timeline for the completion of his most recent audit so that he may fulfill his pledge to release his tax returns to further ensure no conflicts of interest in executing U.S. foreign or domestic policy.
  • Direct his choice for national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, to publicly disclose all financial payments and consulting arrangements from foreign governments and to release a detailed record of all communications with Russian and Turkish officials or agents, including during the election period.
  • Join with his incoming secretaries of defense, state, and homeland security to provide details on his plan to defeat the Islamic State and clarify how his avowed war on radical Islamic terrorism will be waged and the metrics for which its success should be gauged.
  • Join with his national security appointees to clarify how his commitment to a no-fly zone over Syria will be enforced, what allies would participate in such an effort, and its likely duration.
  • Join with his incoming attorney general and secretaries of homeland security and defense to make an unequivocal vow that in their confirmation hearings, they will both recuse themselves and not impede investigations into Russian interference in the recent U.S. elections and links to WikiLeaks hacks.
  • Direct his secretary of state and U.S. Department of Defense nominees to reconfirm the nation’s long-standing commitment to treaty obligations to U.S. allies in NATO and in Asia.
  • Direct his incoming secretaries of defense and state to make clear their view of the illegal occupation of Crimea by Russian forces and the role of Russia in downing Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine.
  • Join with his national security appointees to explain the mechanics and ramifications of the United States canceling all pledged support to the United Nations for addressing the increasingly severe challenges of global warming.
  • Immediately outline the details of his plan to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon if he dismantles the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
  • Immediately commit publicly not to ban anyone from entering the United States based solely on race, religion, or any other basis that would violate U.S. values.
  • Immediately outline his plans for preventing North Korea from advancing its nuclear and missile programs.
  • Immediately commit to nonproliferation of nuclear weapons.

These are the aspects of foreign policy that will help make me more confident on the leadership of Donald Trump….I am not naive and realize that he may not address each of these issues…..but the ones he does will be very telling.

Donald Trump’s Infrastructure Program–Part 2

Now that Trump has won the Big Enchilada will he keep one of his campaign promises to those working class peasants that he groomed for over a year?  That being his promise to revive America’s crumbling infrastructure….

I wrote a post awhile back about the “downside” of Trump’s proposal…..the article I read was not very positive……

Donald Trump was an outsider who boldly stormed the citadel of Washington DC and won. He has promised real change, but his infrastructure plan appears to be just more of the same – privatizing public assets and delivering unearned profits to investors at the expense of the people. He needs to try something new; and for this he could look to Abraham Lincoln, whose bold solution was very similar to one now being considered in Europe: just print the money.

Source: Trump’s $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan: Lincoln Had a Bolder Solution – LA Progressive

To be fair I read a rather positive piece written in the Washington Times…..

Additional spending on infrastructure could deliver a powerful jolt to economic growth if President-elect Trump eschews conventional government approaches and gets the money out quickly and effectively.

Sadly, the benefits of such spending attracts skeptics, because President Obama’s stimulus efforts failed so badly at creating jobs in the wake of the financial crisis and that gave infrastructure investment a bad name.

Source: Donald Trump’s infrastructure program – Washington Times

There is always two sides to every issue…..I gave my reader both sides as closely as I could and they can make up their minds if they have the energy to do so…..

Electoral College: Reasons Not To Abolish

There is a debate going on….the same debate that we have after each election especially the ones that are somehow contested, about the Electoral College.

This election has started the usual debate once again…..sad part is both sides are basing their opinions on emotional crap…..nothing can be doe until calmer heads prevail….

I am of the mind, for the past 30 years, that it is time for it to go….this is the 21st century maybe we should move our elections into it.

But once again to be fair….this is a report issued by the Brookings Institute in favor of keeping the system intact.  Keep in mind the Brookings is a status quo think tank…….they benefit from the system staying as it is……

If democracy means the majority rules, the Electoral College is an undemocratic institution. Twice in the last five elections it has delivered the White House to the loser of the popular vote. In 2000 it gave the nation George W. Bush. Two weeks ago it gave us Donald Trump, although Clinton will most likely have a more than two million vote edge among those who cast ballots. Many people, not just liberals, fear that a Donald Trump presidency will threaten core American values. Some of his initial appointments and failure to strongly condemn the racism of some of his followers have done nothing to quiet these fears. If this is not enough to condemn the Electoral College to oblivion, it has long since ceased fulfilling the function for which it was intended: namely, ensuring that the President owed his office to the people and not to the Congress (at the time, allowing the Congress to choose the president was the most likely alternative) while at the same time interposing a deliberative group of wise men (and they were all men back in the day) between a perhaps overzealous populace and the country’s most powerful office.

Source: Two cheers for the Electoral College: Reasons not to abolish it | Brookings Institution

I stand by my belief that the political system would be a better institution without the Electoral College….one person, one vote…is that not how a democracy is suppose to work?

The debate over the EC is getting interesting…..

There’s been talk of “faithless electors” trying to overturn the Electoral College vote on Dec. 19 that presumably will fall in Donald Trump’s favor, but one Texas elector has so much faith that he’s taking a different route, per the Houston Chronicle: He’s resigning his GOP elector’s post entirely. In what Politico calls a “little noticed” blog post from the weekend titled “Conflicted Elector in a Corrupt College,” Art Sisneros of Dayton explains the difference between a republic and a democracy, states that most electors are forced to make pledges that flout both the Bible and the Constitution, and proclaims he’s stepping down as an elector because, although the “vast majority of Republicans” are pleading with him to vote for Trump, “they don’t make the case that Trump is indeed biblically qualified.”

“I believe voting for Trump would bring dishonor to God,” Sisneros adds, comparing electors to parents who are supposed to step in so their kids won’t gorge on Skittles for dinner—but who, in what he says is the conservative view, still go by what the people say. By resigning, he says, another elector can step in, and “the people will get their vote. They will get their Skittles for dinner. I will sleep well at night knowing I neither gave in to their demands nor caved to my convictions. I will also mourn the loss of our republic.” Sisneros also acknowledges that in regard to the “biblical qualifications” he thinks candidates should possess, “most will think I am just clinging to long forgotten principles that, quite frankly, no one cares about anymore.” The Republican Party of Texas didn’t immediately get back to the Chronicle for comment.

I have heard a lot of stuff around the EC….but “biblical qualified”?

Now that is a new one!

I have thought of many reasons to eliminate the EC……..and not once did I ever think of the Bible in my opposition.

Why Saddam And Gaddafi Failed To Get The Bomb

Earlier this year while I was lecturing a student asked me this very same question…..she said that since Libya and Iraq had massive oil money they could afford the trip….

I told her that Iraq had tried to build a nuke facility and the Israelis destroyed it….

Then she asked …so then is Israel the force to worry about?

Yes and no… they are not a power in the region….only in their own minds….and yes they are a force because the West is deathly afraid if being criticized for not supporting Israel… would be surprised the weight that a call of antisemitism can be…..

The more I thought about it I decided that it is an excellent question that needs an answer……

I recall reading an article recently that asked this question and gave an excellent explanation…..

Imagine if Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi had nuclear weapons in 2003. The invasion of Iraq may not have been possible, and states would have been much more reluctant to bomb Libya in 2011. The Middle East would be a very different place today. As it happens, both leaders had sought nuclear weapons for decades, but neither got the bomb. Why?

In fact, Iraq came close to the nuclear weapons threshold. If Saddam hadn’t invaded Kuwait in the summer of 1990, Iraq would most likely have acquired nuclear weapons during the mid-1990s. In contrast, Libya’s program failed, over and over again, for three decades before the Gaddafi regime ultimately abandoned the program in late 2003.

Source: Why Saddam and Gaddafi Failed to get the Bomb