Closing Thought–22Sep17

On The Road To Nambia

We all get tongue tied at times and mispronounce a word or two……but when the president does it then it becomes a a major story…..at least for awhile….

We all remember his new word for the times that he posted on Twitter….”Covete”….seems he has gone and done it again this time the country he was speaking about, Nambia, does not exist…..

The nation that seems to be showing up in most headlines Thursday is Nambia, mainly because it doesn’t actually exist. In a speech to African leaders Wednesday, President Trump referred to “Nambia” not once but twice, first in his general introduction and then later when he mentioned that “Nambia’s health system is increasingly self-sufficient.” As the BBC notes, that led to plenty of online jokes, along with people wondering whether he meant Gambia, Zambia, or Namibia. Turns out, it was the latter. Coverage:

  • For the record: The official White House transcript of the speech made the correction without mention of the mispronunciation. (You can hear for yourself in this video.) But that hasn’t slowed a barrage of coverage making light of the president’s mistake.
  • One example: At CNN, Anderson Cooper referred to Nambia as a “magical land far, far away” in his recap.
  • Namibia 101: The gaffe has led to a slew of civics-type primers about Namibia. Time, for instance, notes the tiny nation of fewer than 2.5 million people is relatively young, having achieved its independence in 1990. Among the factoids it highlights: Namibia is a big producer of diamonds and it has environmental protection written into its constitution.
  • Sliver lining: “If Trump’s blunder was worth anything, it was this: The world now knows about Namibia,” writes Luis Gomez at the San Diego Union-Tribune. He notes that Namibia also is one of the top global producers of uranium.
  • The main point: The gist of Trump’s speech was to tout the region’s economic potential (he said he has friends who go there “trying to get rich”), and a member of the African advocacy group ONE praised the intent. “I know ‘Nambia’ will be the narrative that comes from those remarks, but POTUS is right on this: Africa has tremendous business potential,” tweeted rep Ian Koski.
  • Namibia’s reaction: Officially, nada. No major government official, including President Hage Geingob, who was present, has said anything publicly about the mistake. But the Washington Post reports that Namibians themselves sound a little miffed and are mocking Trump, like so.

To be fair, it he was sticking to the prepared speech then it was more than likely that the err was made by a speech writer and Trump just delivered the faux paux…..I am sure that it was an honest mistake but the country being a fractured as it is this just made a good story….at least for a day.

On to the weekend….everyone have a joyous time….see ya later….chuq

Denuclearizing North Korea

For a decade the North Korean situation has been a thorn in the side of the American presidents that chose to deal with it……most have taken the easy way out and pushed through massive sanctions.

Now we have a new president and he has taken NK by the horns and turned it into the major throbbing boil on the international stage……we have had the threat of “fury and fire”…..and the chest thumping just keeps getting louder.

The White House has said that “NO OPTION IS OFF THE TABLE”….of course that is the same rhetoric that has been used on Iran.  But we have new plan/proposal…..the “denuclearizing of the Korean Peninsula”….

The US strategy for North Korea remains “all options are on the table,” according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, who today noted that the top priority for US efforts are the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

How the US intends to get to denuclearization is another matter, however. Huckabee-Sanders says that talks are “not the current focus,” which is putting it mildly since President Trump has presented any suggestion of direct diplomacy as “appeasement.”

In recent months the US engagement has been increasing sanctions against North Korea and a growing military buildup along their frontier. On top of that President Trump has refused to rule out attacking North Korea, saying only “we’ll see.”

On top of that, South Korea’s defense minister has proposed deploying US tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea, and US officials aren’t ruling that out. This would be the direct opposite of trying to denuclearize the peninsula, but is very much in keeping with talk of attacking North Korea first

(Antiwar.com)

Good plan (sarcasm)……the problem is NO one has any idea how to do this….another slogan to solve a problem.

Why Hitler’s Grand Plan Collapsed

I have noticed an uptick of Nazi programming on the History Channel…..everything from secret plans to infectious bugs to death rays to…..well you get the drift.

Hitler started off with a grand plan of a 1000 year Reich and the master of the world…..it failed (in case you did not pay attention in class)…but why did his plan collapse?

There have been many theories  for his failure from insanity to heavy drug use…..but the truth about his failure was far simpler…..

His first stupid decision was to invade Russia…..apparently he learned nothing from the French invasion…..he overlooked the two greatest generals of the USSR….General January and General February….the second idiotic plunder was declaring war on the US after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Two key factors undermined Germany’s campaign: US involvement boosted the allies’ arms-producing capabilities, while sheer Soviet manpower led to catastrophic defeat in Russia.

Two years into the war, in September 1941, German arms seemed to be carrying all before them. Western Europe had been decisively conquered, and there were few signs of any serious resistance to German rule. The failure of the Italians to establish Mussolini’s much-vaunted new Roman empire in the Mediterranean had been made good by German intervention. German forces had overrun Greece, and subjugated Yugoslavia. In north Africa, Rommel’s brilliant generalship was pushing the British and allied forces eastwards towards Egypt and threatening the Suez canal. Above all, the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 had reaped stunning rewards, with Leningrad (the present-day St Petersburg) besieged by German and Finnish troops, Smolensk and Kiev taken, and millions of Red Army troops killed or captured in a series of vast encircling operations that brought the German armed forces within reach of Moscow. Surrounded by a girdle of allies, from Vichy France and Finland to Romania and Hungary, and with the more or less benevolent neutrality of countries such as Sweden and Switzerland posing no serious threat, the Greater German Reich seemed to be unstoppable in its drive for supremacy in Europe.

Source: Why Hitler’s grand plan during the second world war collapsed | World news | The Guardian

Those are the two reason Hitler failed….period!

Class Dismissed!

Yet Another Year In The Middle East

We are closing in on the first year of the Trump admin in the Middle East….and so far it has been NOTHING impressive.  More of doing the same things and Tweeting about it.

He, Trump, was going to put the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians on the front burner and use his sin-in-law to formulate a success and a treaty that all can live with…..we are still waiting on that miracle of miracles….

There were quite a number of people in the Israeli peace camp who hoped, even believed, in the statements made by US President Donald Trump regarding his intentions to consolidate a large “package deal” between Israel, the Palestinians and all the Arab states. The rapid pace of presidential envoy Jason Greenblatt’s jet-setting between Jerusalem and Ramallah in the West Bank also strengthened the perception that the current arch-conservative president might succeed where two liberal presidents — Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — failed.

I will admit that there were a few positions he took on the Middle East during his campaign that I can agree with and get behind…..but since his election the positions are used toilet paper…..meaning nothing and discarded…
Then in the Greater Middle East his policies have been nothing to inspire…..most of it is just rehashes of Bush Obama policies….there is so much more he could do……

During last year’s presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to do a great deal more in the Middle East than his immediate predecessors, but with much less. That is, he would achieve significantly more than Barack Obama at a much smaller sacrifice of blood and treasure than was incurred under George W. Bush. This he would accomplish by defining American interests sharply and pursuing them aggressively, not to say ruthlessly. The result would be a global restoration of American credibility and, as Trump never ceased to remind voters, renewed global respect.

As an act of political “signaling,” Trump’s blunt message was savvy. Many Americans, especially those in his base of supporters, regarded Obama as timid, weak, and more solicitous of enemies than of friends; Bush, they believed, had been strong in some ways but prone to quixotic adventures like building democracy in the Middle East, a putative sin of which Obama had at least been innocent. Trump offered an attractive alternative: a hybrid approach that would combine the best qualities of his predecessors in office while jettisoning their worst inclinations. “America First” meant placing a Bush-style readiness to use military force in support of a leaner, Obama-style agenda that nixed democracy promotion. Unlike Bush, Trump would resist thankless nation-building projects; unlike Obama, he would reward friends and punish enemies.

Source: What America Should Do Next in the Middle East » Mosaic

So far this first year has been nothing but chaos piled on chaos…..that is Trump’s total foreign policy and the Middle East has been the most chaotic of them all.

Religion in The USA

I remember the days of King Ronnie and the Religious Right…..all the activism….the pomp and ceremony as the Religious Right waded into the political arena.

Every election since those days the influence is there but not as strong as it were back in Ronnie’s days.  Come to today….the RR is a silent majority?

What has changed?

A major new survey on the religious beliefs of Americans is out, and the Public Religion Research Institute sees a “dramatic transformation” taking place across the country. Two big takeaways from the 2016 survey of 101,000 people: White Christians no longer make up a majority of Americans, with their percentage now at 43%, down from 81% in 1976; and fewer than half of US states have a majority population of white Christians. More details being emphasized:

  • No affiliation: In 20 states, people with no religious affiliation outnumber those of any single religious affiliation, with Vermont (41%), Oregon (36%), and Washington (35%) leading the way. But the Atlantic is surprised to see that Alaska and Hawaii are on this list, too: “In general, the non-religious states of America are concentrated west of the Mississippi River.”
  • Racial trend:Quartz sees one major theme: “Religion in white America is dying, while religion in non-white America is holding strong.” Expect that to continue: The religions with the highest percentage of members ages 18 to 29 are Islam (42%) and Hinduism (36%), far higher than white Catholics (11%), white evangelical Protestants (11%), and white mainline Protestants (14%).
  • Still small numbers: Non-Christian religious groups may be growing, but they still represent less than 10% of Americans. Jewish Americans are at 2%, with Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus each at 1%. All other non-Christian religions amount to another 1%.
  • Politics: USA Today notes that white Christians still make up nearly three-quarters of the GOP. In contrast, they constitute less than one-third of Democrats, down from about half 10 years ago. Both parties face big challenges with the religious shift taking place, and FiveThirtyEight looks at the challenges for both. For example, Democrats have an increasingly varied base, which means they must craft a message that appeals to all, including those with no affiliation.
  • Mississippi: The PRRI summary calls this state the least diverse in the nation in terms of religion. Mississippi is mostly Protestant, and six in 10 of those Protestants are Baptist. New York is the state with the most diversity.
  • Bottom line: “The future of religion in America is young, non-Christian, and technicolor,” sums up Religion News Service. It finds the decline in American evangelicals, a group previously immune from falling numbers, particularly striking. About 17% of Americans are white evangelical Protestant, down from 23% in 2006.

Personally, I do not believe that religion should have any part in the political process.  Why?  Politics flies in the face of strong religious convictions.

Will religion change politics…again?