Closing Thought–01Sep17

FOX News Down And Out!

For a couple decades the far right has got its news from FOX…..and it is still the best friend that the Radical Right has on the airways.

Its popularity escapes me……

In the UK it appears that FOX has losing its battle of the ratings…..

As of Tuesday, TV viewers in the UK can no longer get their Sean Hannity fix. Per the BBC, 21st Century Fox announced it has pulled its news feed from UK broadcaster Sky in a deal it says is no longer in the company’s “commercial interest.” The reason? No one’s watching. A company spokesperson cited Fox News’ dismal ratings directly for the move: “Fox News is focused on the US market and designed for a US audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the UK.” One source told the BBC that Sky received about 2,000 Fox News viewers per day. But data from the Broadcaster’s Audience Research Board suggests that its UK audience is much higher, averaging up to 60,000 viewers daily in 2017.

There’s speculation over whether 21st Century Fox owner Rupert Murdoch’s bid to buy Sky has influenced the decision. (21st Century Fox already owns a 39% stake in the broadcaster.) As the Guardian puts it, “Fox News has become increasingly troublesome for the Murdochs as they attempt to buy Sky,” and those troubles could threaten the takeover bid. Issues related to Fox News have been the center of multiple rulings from Ofcom, the UK media regulator, and then there’s the negative press regarding the network’s sexual harassment scandal. Though 21st Century Fox denies it, critics like former Labour leader Ed Miliband view the decision as an attempt to distance the company from those controversies. Adds Labour MP Tom Watson, “Fox News has breached Ofcom’s rules over and over again, so 21st Century Fox clearly thought it was easier to pull it from the UK altogether than to clean up its act.”

I am sure that once the American Right hears about this that it will be about trying to violate the 1st amendment…..another attack on the freedom of the press.

Look Before You Give

By now the whole world has seen the horrific photos of the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey….

The donations are poring in…..my neighborhood, which was hit hard by Katrina, has started clothing drives, food drives……all Americans need to pull together and help where they can.

Most people are donating money to the various charities that work during the disaster after math……but you need to be careful with these also….I wrote about the trouble the the American Red Cross is having……

Source: Closing Thought–30Aug17 – In Saner Thought

My family donates to the Salvation Army and the SPCA……

After the disaster in Haiti years ago the Red Cross got a bit of a bad name……some felt that it was undeserved criticism…..but after I watched an interview with a leader of the ARC I am not so sure……

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, many have criticized the American Red Cross, with Facebook and others even directing those who want to help to donate to a different charity. The criticism isn’t new: As NPR notes, there have long been reports that ARC misstates how donor dollars are used, or uses a significant percentage of that money on internal expenses. NPR’s Morning Edition host addressed those criticisms Thursday with Red Cross VP Brad Kieserman, but Kieserman couldn’t say what percentage of donations will go toward Harvey relief. “I don’t think I know the answer to that any better than the chief fundraiser knows … how many emergency response vehicles I have on the road today. So I think if he [were] on this interview and you were asking how many relief vehicles in Texas, I don’t think he’d know the answer and I don’t know the answer to the financial question, I’m afraid.”

Questions on high administrative costs reported on in the past led to a similar answer: “It’s not something I would have any visibility on. I can talk about what it costs to deliver certain relief services.” He continued to say that, no, he “really” doesn’t know what portion of donations goes to relief, though he did say that as of Wednesday morning the ARC had spent $50 million on Harvey relief. “We are committed … to using our resources and donor dollars in a way that best helps the people of Texas,” he said. “The folks I work for are very, very attentive to cost effectiveness and cost efficiencies in making sure that as much as every dollar that we spend on an operation is client-facing.” The organization’s president and CEO, Gail McGovern, was on CBS News Thursday defending the ARC, and she said that on average, 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends goes toward its services for victims.

Do your research before you throw your money at these people……but do not get discouraged……Harvey victims are in dire need of your help.

Please do what you can.

How MacArthur Was Going to Invade Japan

It is August and we are remembering the A-bomb dropped on Japan that ended WW2…….

I have written on my opinion that the bombs were not truly necessary and have received other opinions as well.

Most people are not aware of the fact that there were other plans on how to deal with Japan to bring the war to a close.

The Russians had a plan….and MacArthur had a plan.

In 1966, two years after the death of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the U.S. Army published the Reports of General MacArthur. Compiled by MacArthur’s staff, headed by Maj. Gen. Charles Willoughby and with the assistance of Prof. Gordon W. Prange, who was on leave from the University of Maryland, the Reports detailed the operations of forces under MacArthur’s command in the southwest Pacific, and included a chapter on “Operation Downfall,” the planned invasion of Japan.

In announcing their publication, Gen. Harold K. Johnson, then Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, described them as “an illuminating record of momentous events influenced in large measure by a distinguished American soldier.”

Source: How MacArthur Was Going to Invade Japan | RealClearHistory

Damn!  History is interesting!

 

The Afghanistan Report

I have neglected my primary focus of international relations and conflict management….there has been so much drama flying around the president and the country that I felt it needed analysis.

I will try to return to my strength……

Afghanistan is America’s longest ever war and may well be the longest of all time….there is so much happening there but the media has fresh blood to chase…Russia, Harvey, etc…..

Trump recently gave a speech outlining his “new” Afghanistan policy.(sadly it sounds a lot like the “old” Afghanistan policy)…..

But they say it will be a new approach……..

On the morning of 31 May 2017, a 1,500-kilogram truck bomb was detonated outside the German Embassy in the Afghan capital of Kabul, only streets away from the US and Australian missions. Windows were smashed all the way from Great Massoud Square to the Haji Yaqub mosque in Shahr-e Naw, over 90 people were killed, and over 500 were injured. If ever there was an indicator that a fresh approach to dealing with the insurgency in Afghanistan was required, then this was it.

On 21 August, after a somewhat agonising series of discussions involving senior US military personnel plus a motley group of presidential associates, US President Donald Trump gave a speech at Fort Myer, Virginia, that sought to outline such an approach. President Trump’s speech was very well received in Afghanistan, met with some consternation in Pakistan, and was quietly welcomed by a satisfied Indian leadership.

Source: Washington’s New Approach to Afghanistan | RealClearDefense

The news reports lately have estimated the troop strength at 8400…..but that also was a lie (go figure)…….

Pentagon officials have finally acknowledged the actual number of American forces in Afghanistan after long camouflaging the total in misleading accounting measures and red tape. Senior Defense Department officials said Wednesday there are about 11,000 US forces currently deployed to Afghanistan—thousands more than the 8,400 that were allowed under the previous administration’s troop cap. Military officials have long quietly acknowledged there were far more forces in the country than the cap allowed, but commanders shuffled troops in and out, labeled many “temporary,” and used other personnel accounting tactics to artificially keep the public count low, the AP reports.

Pentagon officials refused to provide similar details for Iraq and Syria, where there also are thousands more US troops than the Pentagon publicly admits. The Afghanistan troop numbers announcement comes as the Pentagon is preparing to deploy several thousand more Americans to the country in order to expand the training and advising of Afghan forces and beef up counterterror operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked groups. Officials have said the US will send as many as 3,900 more troops to the war—which would bring the number of publicly recognized troops there to about 15,000.

With an increase of troops to Afghanistan Trump also gave Pakistan an ultimatum on their part in the fight in the country……

The Middle East was not mentioned in President Donald Trump’s major policy speech on August 20 — not even Iran, which has a common border with Afghanistan. The omission was curious given that the New York Times reported earlier this month that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was allying, perversely, given the Shia-Sunni divide, with Taliban fighters to keep the central government in Kabul destabilized. Instead, the focus of the new strategy, as laid out in the speech and the official talking points, was “South Asia,” with Pakistan, described as an “important partner,” being warned to change its behavior, while India is characterized as a “valued partner.” But though unmentioned, Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, longtime allies of Pakistan, are likely to have to choose where they stand. And Iran’s predilection for mischief will have to be thwarted.

Source: Trump’s Afghanistan Policy and the Gulf – The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

All this jockeying for position is NOTHING.  This war is the same song in every way.

The Rise Of Populism

Well the title is misleading……a form of populism has most always been there….it just got a lot more attention in the last couple of years.

And since the rise of Donald Trump more people are paying attention.

Why?

Every European country had its “Trump-esque” figure in the last elections……

A good article in the American Conservative……..

The suicide in the Friuli region of northern Italy earlier this year of a 30-year-old man, identified in the newspapers only as Michele, has become a symbol of the country’s unemployment tragedy, particularly as it affects young people. Though much worse in the South, the country’s economic crisis also has had a blighting effect on the North. The national unemployment rate now stands at nearly 12 percent. A 40 percent youth unemployment rate nationwide, however, has people speaking of a generational apartheid in Italy. There is no work to be found for young people. In the workplace, comparatively speaking, they have been walled off from the rest of the population.

Friuli is a region of plain and mountain in the northeastern part of Italy, flush against borders to the north with Austria and the east with Slovenia. The annals of Friuli antedate by many centuries the arrival of the ancient Romans, who founded the colony of Aquileia there nearly two hundred years before Christ. The barbarian invasions swept over Friuli in the general wreckage of the Roman Empire. An Aquileian state arose in the Middle Ages, but was absorbed in the 15th century by the expanding Venetian empire. Then Friuli passed through French and Austrian phases of occupation and control before becoming part the newly founded Kingdom of Italy, in 1866.

Source: Why Every European Country Has a Trump or Sanders Candidate | The American Conservative

While this “populism” was popular will it be the wave of the future or just another passing fad?