Closing Thought–18Sep17

How I Learned To Love The Bomb!

Thanx to the situations around the world, mostly from North Korea, there has been lots of talk and even more threats on the use of nukes to settle a dispute…..think about that…..we have enough arsenal to destroy the world a couple of times over….

Has anyone thought that maybe we need to update our policies in the use of these weapons?  No?  Then maybe that time is now.

The saber rattling currently taking place between the White House and North Korea makes clear that it’s time for Congress to close a dangerous loophole, write two op-ed writers in the New York Times. They think it’s outrageous that one person—the president—has the authority to launch a nuclear strike and set off a potentially catastrophic war. Therefore, Congress should amend the War Powers Act to specifically cover preemptive nuclear strikes, write Jeffrey Bader and Jonathan Pollack. For example, the revised rule could require that a small group of people—perhaps the president, the vice president, the defense secretary, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—agree unanimously before things go nuclear.

“This would ensure that the president could not simply provide the codes to his military aide carrying the nuclear ‘football’ and launch such an attack on his own authority,” they write. A similar system is in place in the actual silos where a missile would be launched: A pair of officers must simultaneously activate the launch under a “two-key” principle that guards against rogue actors. Given the stakes involved, it makes sense to apply the principle higher up the chain, note Bader and Pollack: “We should put in place a system of constraints to ensure that a preventive or pre-emptive nuclear strike by the United States must be evaluated through a careful, deliberative process.” (Click to read the full piece.)

Take the power out of the hands of one person….

Guess I need to put my foot up for it feels like someone has built a fire under it….back tomorrow…..chuq

Remembering Sabra And Shatila

35 years a go this month Israel was deep in fighting in Southern Lebanon….and Israel allowed on of the most disgusting tragedies happen…the Massacre nat the Sabra and Shatila Refugee Camps….

I try to remind readers of this disaster…..

Source: Remembering the Sabra-Shatila massacre – Al Jazeera English

Source: Sabra And Shatila–34 Years On – In Saner Thought

There is NO excuse to allow a group to enter a refugee camp a slaughter women and children and the elderly….NO EXCUSE!

And yet we hear of something among these lines yearly…..

Thirty-Five years ago as Israel overran West Beirut, Lebanese Christian militiamen entered the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in West Beirut. Over three days, Israeli forces sealed the camp and allowed them to slaughter several thousand refugees.

I was then a young orthopedic trainee who had resigned from St. Thomas Hospital in London to join a Christian Aid medical team helping those wounded during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon a few months earlier. Beirut was under siege. Water, food, electricity and medicines were blockaded. The invasion left thousands dead and wounded, and made an estimated 100,000 people homeless.

I was seconded to the Palestine Red Crescent Society to take charge of the orthopedic department in Gaza Hospital in the Sabra and Shatila camp in West Beirut. I met Palestinian refugees in their bombed out homes and learned how they became refugees in one of the 12 Palestinian camps in Lebanon. Until then I did not know Palestinians existed.

Source: The forgotten refugees: Survivors of the Sabra and Shatila massacre – Middle East Monitor

Never forgive and never forget!

North Korea: Just In Case You Have Not Had Enough

By now if you have not had your fill of the North Korea situation then you are either a foreign policy nerd or you are deaf…

But just in case you need more to feed the Jones…..

We have heard all about the huge bomb they just exploded…..and of course the results could be horrific…..the problem is that it may have not been as powerful as we were lead to believe…..

In the immediate aftermath of North Korea’s sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3, experts described the blast as six or seven times as powerful as the one that destroyed Hiroshima. That measure might not even come close. According to research site 38 North, the resulting 6.1 magnitude earthquake must have been caused by the release of roughly 250 kilotons, or a quarter megaton, of energy—equivalent to 17 times the strength of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and very near the estimated maximum yield that can be contained at the Punggye-ri underground test site, report the Washington Post and Bloomberg. This assessment tops all others so far: US intelligence said the blast was 140 kilotons, while South Korea said it was 50 kilotons.

Pyongyang says it tested a hydrogen bomb that can be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile, but South Korea’s Nuclear Safety and Security Commission has been unable to confirm that. Though the commission found the xenon-133 isotope in air samples collected after the nuclear test, other radioactive isotopes normally present during a nuclear explosion weren’t detected, reports the AP. Tritium, traces of which are typically found after a hydrogen bomb is detonated, was one of those noticeably absent. That doesn’t mean the North is misleading the international community, however. The North made changes “to make radioactivity less detectable from a distance” after a 2006 nuclear test sent xenon and krypton isotopes into the atmosphere, the AP notes.

After the test the Us has returned to the call for “fury and fire” against NK….and of course for every Tweet there is an equal yet opposite re-Tweet….

North Korea has made more of the kind of blood-curdling threats that the world found easier to shrug off before Pyongyang stepped up its nuclear program. The “Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee,” North Korea’s state agency for dealing with the outside world, issued a statement Thursday calling for the islands of Japan to be “sunken into the sea” with nuclear bombs and for the US mainland to be reduced to “ashes and darkness,” the Guardian reports. “Japan is no longer needed to exist near us,” said the committee’s statement, which also called for the US to be “beaten to death like a rabid dog” and denounced the United Nations Security Council as a “tool of evil.”

The committee called for the breakup of the Security Council, which imposed its toughest-ever sanctions on North Korea earlier this week. It called the council a “money-bribed” group that does whatever the US asks it to. Before the sanctions vote, which passed the 15-member council unanimously, Pyongyang warned that the US would face the “greatest pain” in its history. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Pyongyang’s threat to sink the country is “extremely provocative and outrageous,” the AP reports. The statement “significantly escalates tension in the region and is absolutely unacceptable,” he said Thursday.

Now that everyone has tried to out-macho the other the calls for a change for the North is required…..yep another round to strategy to deal with NK……

New sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council on September 11 in response to North Korea’s latest nuclear test are “not significant enough,” according to R. Nicholas Burns, an Atlantic Council board member who served as undersecretary of state for political affairs in the George W. Bush administration.

Sanctions must be part of a “patient long-term strategy” that includes deterrence, working closely with allies, and negotiations, said Burns, laying out the United States’ options for dealing with the North Korean crisis.

Source: A Strategy for Dealing With North Korea | RealClearDefense

The one thing that the world agrees with is the Li’l Kim has to go…..

The Trump administration has done a laudable job handling the North Korea crisis it inherited. The Obama administration had neglected the gathering North Korean threat under a policy called “strategic patience.” This followed a negotiated “deal” at the end of the Bush years that lifted important sanctions and other pressures that isolated the Kim dynasty, which followed other strategic blunders since the end of the Cold War. President Trump took office facing a nuclear North Korea that had accelerated the tempo of its missile and nuclear development programs and tests, and was close to weaponizing an ICBM. This all happened as the awful human rights conditions of North Koreans worsened, raising questions as to whether the U.S. is really leading a so called “rules-based order” in Asia. Kim Jong-un essentially “governs” a criminal state that oversees a large concentration camp of slave labor.

Source: Kim Jong-un Must Go. It’s Time For A Korean Democratic Unification. | The Weekly Standard

I love this stuff…there are as many opinions as anal cavities…..

There is your update of the positions and words and thoughts on North Korea from last week.

Don’t fret….more will come and we will be back to the same place we are today.

And The was North Korea’s “Week That Was”.

Time To Graduate From The College

This time I am referring to the Electoral College…..time for the country to move past this antiquated system and move on to a more reliable popular vote.

Since I began analyzing politics some 50 years ago I have been opposed to the electoral college….and ever election since those dark days have done nothing to give me confidence in the EC as necessity for this republic.

Now that we have an election, 2018 mid-terms, are quickly approaching maybe it is time for me to once again insert my objections to this archaic system.

My attacks on the EC here on IST began back in 2008, although I had written many articles of condemnation the old fashioned way, by paper…..

Source: Can The Electoral College Be Killed? – In Saner Thought

After the Bush win in 2000 the calls have been getting louder, it is as if the American people are starting to wake up from their idyllic slumber….and it has gotten louder since the Trump win in 2016.

assault on the heels of Donald Trump’s victory last November—the second time in five presidential races the popularly elected candidate lost the election—but it’s not due to any groundswell in Congress for a constitutional amendment to adopt a national popular vote. Instead, the most viable campaign to change how Americans choose their leader is being waged at booze-soaked junkets in luxury hotels around the country and even abroad, as an obscure entity called the Institute for Research on Presidential Elections peddles a controversial idea: that state legislatures can put the popular-vote winner in the White House.

It was mid-February, inside a four-star resort in a third-world country, when I heard the pitch to transform American democracy. The institute flew 11 political journalists to Panama for an “educational seminar” on election reform. (My peers included reporters representing outlets ranging from Breitbart to U.S. News & World Report.) The trip presented a bargain: three days of sunshine, sightseeing, fine dining and free cocktails on the institute’s dime, in exchange for being educated by seminar coordinators in the pool, at the bar, overlooking the Panama Canal—and most aggressively, during the five-hour workshop in a windowless conference room—about the history and weaknesses of the Electoral College, and the potential of a radical alternative.

Source: Is the Electoral College Doomed? – POLITICO Magazine

To be fair if my reader is not well versed of the EC and his not too familiar with its functions then I would like to help out…..

Source: What Do You Know About The Electoral College? – In Saner Thought

Source: The Electoral College Wasn’t Meant to Overturn Elections – In Saner Thought

To be fair….not everybody thinks the EC is a worthless piece of crap……in case you need more info before you choose a side…..

Source: Electoral College: Reasons Not To Abolish – In Saner Thought