Closing Thought–09Nov17

Remember awhile back there were 2 incidents where US Navy ships had collided with others merchant ships in the Far East?  Remember that far back?  It also caused the deaths of sailors as well.

It seems that the Navy has concluded its investigations and the results are in…….

The Navy announced Wednesday that two collisions that killed 17 sailors over the summer were partly caused by “multiple failures” by service members in charge of making sure their ships didn’t hit anything, the Washington Post reports. On June 17, the USS Fitzgerald hit a container ship off the coast of Japan. The Navy says the collision happened because, among other reasons, the crew didn’t take the required maneuvering actions until far too late, didn’t contact the container ship, and didn’t alert their own captain.

Meanwhile, the Aug. 21 collision of the USS John S. McCain with an oil tanker near Singapore was caused by a complete loss of “situational awareness”: A sailor in charge of steering didn’t realize he was; another sailor only reduced speed on one side of the ship without realizing it; and the captain couldn’t figure out what was going on or why the ship was turning toward the tanker. “We are a Navy that learns from mistakes,” Adm. John Richardson said in a statement Wednesday.

We will see if these investigations and findings will change anything…..human error is always a possibility no matter the situation.

Time for me to shut the tap off and relax awhile….I shall return with more stuff….chuq

News On The Right

I have never been a conservative but I can appreciate the intellectual pursuits of conservatives especially in the Age of Trump…….people that call themselves conservatives and worship at the feet of Trump are not conservatives at all….these toads are the true RINOs that they rail against.

These people love America but dislike even hate most Americans.

Time for a change……

Even hardcore conservatives see that the GOP is NOT the party they once believed in……

During a panel discussion on MSNBC’s AM Joy, the token conservative on the show hammered members of the Republican Party for looking the other way while President Donald Trump runs roughshod over laws designed to prevent him from profiting personally from holding office.

Speaking with host Joy Reid, Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin accused Trump of turning the U.S. into a “banana republic.”

True Republicans are of one mind…..time to abandon the GOP………

“It has become necessary to destroy the town in order to save it,” a U.S. military officer may or may not have said of the Vietnamese city of Ben Tre, infested with enemy insurgents, in 1968. Whether or not this statement was true of Ben Tre then, it accurately describes the state of the Republican Party today.

It is necessary to destroy the GOP in order to save it.

The thing we call “Trumpism” — the demagogic politics of white identitarianism — now exists independently of President Trump. Which shouldn’t surprise us, as Trump did not invent Trumpism; he merely harnessed its electoral potential in a way no presidential candidate had before.

Believe it or not there is still some intellectual thought within the conservative movement…..

Reports of conservatism’s brain death are greatly exaggerated. The right is more intellectually vibrant today than it has been in decades—at least since the early 1990s, when Pat Buchanan and Jack Kemp enlivened the conservative debate, and neocons, paleos, and libertarians offered markedly divergent views on how to confront the post-Cold War world. The intellectual vigor of today’s right can best be seen in a number of quarterly journals, particularly in two that represent stark differences in philosophical direction: National Affairs and American Affairs. Though each of the two resists easy ideological labeling, National Affairs has generally been associated with the “reform conservative” movement, while American Affairs is the closest thing there is to a theoretical journal of the populist right.

IT pleases me to know that all is not lost with the election of Trump….the GOP is a hopeless mess of cowards and yes men but the conservative movement is still alive and kicking.

Now they need to reassert themselves in American politics.

Note:  Once again I apologize for having to use the urls tom post articles since WP was dumb enough to get rid of the “Press This” feature which made post articles so damn simple…..but not anymore.  chuq

Is Social Media Bad For Democracy?

Social media is taking over our lives from Twitter to Facebook to those other sites that I do not use…..but with all this extra personal emphasis on using social media could that have an adverse  effect on society?

Social media is even found in all these investigations going on in Washington and something about it seems in the news almost daily.

Our president uses Twitter as his personal media outlet and has been very successful with its use….he has gotten many people to follow and is effecting the very democracy we all know and love….

But is it possible that all this social media use could be bad for our democracy?

Recent revelations about how Russian agents inserted ads on Facebook, in an attempt to influence the 2016 election, present a troubling question: Is Facebook bad for democracy?

As a scholar of the social and political implications of technology, I believe that the problem is not about Facebook alone, but much larger: social media is actively undermining some of the social conditions that have historically made democratic nation states possible.

I understand that’s a huge claim, and I don’t expect anyone to believe it right away. But, considering that nearly half of all eligible voters received Russian-sponsored fake news on Facebook, it’s an argument that needs to be on the table.

With all that said….what do you think about the use of social media and our democracy?

Another Set Back For The Yemen War Opposition

2015 a civil war broke out in the Arabian Peninsula, the country of Yemen…..and of course the Saudis had to get involved as they did in 1934….using some archaic BS about religious sites under attack and they began an air campaign aided by the US that has continued since 2015 and has killed about 16,000 with 10,000 being civilians.

Let’s not forget the cholera epidemic that is raging through the country…..

Yemen’s cholera epidemic has now spread to more than 890,000 cases:

Already struggling to cope with a dire humanitarian crisis, war-torn Yemen is now facing the fastest-growing cholera epidemic ever recorded, with some 895,000 suspected cases as of 1 November, the United Nations relief wing reported Thursday.

While the epidemic has started to slow somewhat, it remains by far the worst and fastest-spreading cholera outbreak on record. There are still millions of malnourished Yemenis at risk of dying from starvation and preventable disease. The Saudi-led coalition war and blockade continue to deprive the civilian population of essential food and medicine. Yemen’s humanitarian crisis is still the worst in the world, and tens of millions are in need of aid. Even if the cholera epidemic has started waning for now, Yemen’s need for for an end to war and a massive relief effort is as great as ever.

Like I said the US is part of the problem and help causing the humanitarian crisis that is brewing in Yemen….the starvation, the disease, the deaths….all are on our heads as well as the Saudis.

A few Congressional people are trying to get the US out of this vicious cycle but Trump and the ilk do not want to abandon the Saudis who are quietly replacing Israel as our BFFs

House Concurrent Resolution 81 is effectively dead, following a surprise bit of sleight of hand by the House Rules Committee. The resolution demanded an end to US involvement in the Saudi invasion of Yemen, on the grounds that such involvement was never authorized under the War Powers Act.

Under the War Powers Act, any Congressman is able to bring such a legal challenge, and is guaranteed a floor vote on the matter. The H.Con.Res. 81 challenge was offered in early October, and delayed until November 2.

November 1 rolled around, however, and House leadership quickly forced through a Rules Committee vote which changed the rules on H.Con.Res. 81, stripping it of its privileged status (which would have guaranteed a floor vote). Though the War Powers Act guarantees such a resolution privilege, the Rules Committee claimed Yemen doesn’t rise to the level of the War Powers Act applying.

Instead of H.Con.Res. 81, the House leadership is going to allow an alternative “compromise” resolution on Yemen. This will allow debate on whether America’s involvement in the Yemen War is legal, but the vote will be non-binding.

Amid mounting unauthorized US wars around the world, H.Con.Res. 81 was the biggest attempt to enforce the War Powers Act to limit such conflicts. While the Rules Committee technically only stopped a single challenge this way, and the War Powers Act remains on the books, the success of this sort of chicanery means that the Congressional leadership can do the exact same thing to any future challenges.


A joint statement on the move against H.Con.Res. 81 is available here.

The Saudis with the US help have bombed Yemen back into the 10th century AD…..what more can they do to this small country in the name of protecting religious sites?

Trump In South Korea

Our president is in South Korea and he had his surprise trip to the DMZ cancelled because of weather….so he could not make a JFK-esque speech at the DMZ.

During his first visit to South Korea, President Donald Trump suggested on Tuesday that North Korea enter into talks over scrapping its nuclear and missile programs, apparently keeping the door open for dialogue with Pyongyang after months of tough talk on both sides.

The U.S. president called on China and Russia to play roles in ending the Kim Jong Un regime’s nuclear weapons program, urging both countries to cease trade and business with the belligerent communist nation. Trump is due in Beijing on Wednesday following his two-day visit to South Korea.

A good deal but I do not see any movement from Kim after all the insults and threats made by the president…..just too much bad water under that bridge.

He, Trump, did make a speech and refrained from one of his derogatory names for Kim……

President Trump refrained from calling Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man” in a blistering speech to South Korean lawmakers Wednesday, but he was otherwise unsparing in his denunciation of the North Korean regime. “Do not underestimate us. Do not try us,” he warned Kim, directly addressing the North Korean leader and urging him to scrap his nuclear weapons program. “They are putting your regime in grave danger,” Trump said, per the BBC. “Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face.” Trump also, however, repeated his Tuesday suggestion that a deal is still possible, saying there’s a “path to a better future,” despite “every crime” Kim has committed.

“North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned,” Trump said. “It is a hell that no person deserves.” He urged other countries—including China, which he departed for after the speech at South Korea’s parliament—to join efforts to stop Pyongyang. He said if North Korea makes good on threats to strike the US and its allies, it would be a “fatal miscalculation.” “This is a very different administration than the United States has had in the past,” Trump said

But while in South Korea….Trump has an opportunity to get real about North Korea…..

The scene has been repeated on countless occasions since President Ronald Reagan’s time. A senior U.S. official, perhaps a Defense Secretary or the president himself, travels to the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two hostile Koreas. He peers through a set of binoculars at the North Korean troops manning their posts and pledges that the strength and solidarity of the U.S.-South Korean alliance is ironclad. The entire ordeal is meant to demonstrate a bond between the United States and South Korea that has lasted for over sixty years.

President Trump will not be making the trip to the DMZ during his two-day stop in South Korea, but his meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in will be important nonetheless. Indeed, Trump has an opportunity to embrace a refreshingly realist approach to the North Korean nuclear problem being brutally honest about what the U.S. can and cannot achieve on the Korean Peninsula. And as difficult as it is to admit, this requires giving up on the Kim regime’s denuclearization.

Will something substantial come from this trip to South Korea or will this just be another missed  opportunity?

Whatever happens…..onto China.