Closing Thought–11Jan18

Those damn pesky medical expenses…..

Anyone that has had to stay in the hospital for any length of time will know just how damn expensive American health care can be……if you have not experienced this then count yourself lucky and pray that you do not have some sort of debilitating disease or need some sort of “procedure”….for you will then learn just how high this situation can go.

The United States spends almost twice as much on health care, as a percentage of its economy, as other advanced industrialized countries — totaling $3.3 trillion, or 17.9 percent of gross domestic product in 2016.

But a few decades ago American health care spending was much closer to that of peer nations.

What happened?

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/02/upshot/us-health-care-expensive-country-comparison.html

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The Longest War

If the reader thinks I am about to write on the US involvement in Afghanistan then they would be mistaken for this is one of the old professor’s history lessons…..

What were the longest wars in history…hint….100 years war is far down the list…..

Some conflicts are passed down from generation to generation, either because of their size, or because they simmer at a low boil with little violence. Others were ostensibly declared wars that never ended due to various diplomatic irregularities or political quirks. In either case, the wars listed here are the longest wars in history.

In fact, the longest war in history, the Punic Wars, lasted over two thousand years – but only had 80 years of combat. Another incredibly long war, the 335 Years War, never had a shot fired and had been forgotten about until a ceremonial treaty was signed ending it.

At the same time, some conflicts that have lasted for decades have seen incredible violence, massacres and bloodshed – often between countrymen. There’s nothing fun about the longest war, and these wars all long wars all lasted longer than 30 years, either because they just dragged on for a long time or there was never an official peace treaty. Read on to learn more about the longest wars ever, some of which are still being fought today.

https://www.ranker.com/list/longest-wars/mike-rothschild

Hopefully none of America’s present wars will last as long as the Punic Wars…..but don’t hold your breath

Do You Understand The Twitter Use?

The man that has given the social media gizmo a purpose….Trump and the use of Twitter……There are many many opinions on why he is so prolific in using the social media…..some say it is how he relates to his followers…..others think it is something different….

Over the past two years, Trump’s Twitter habits have been honed and polished into an art form. And really, he is a master at it. Maybe after Mueller takes him down, he can write “The Art of the Tweet.” Until then, Americans will continue to reel from unfiltered posts like his most recent threats to North Korea and play the absurd game of trying to tell if our lives are immediately under threat or not.

But one scholar of linguistics and philosophy has masterfully deciphered the strategy behind Trump’s tweets, and it’s just the tool we need going into 2018.

Berkeley professor George Lakoff posted a master key to classifying Trump’s tweeting method this week, and it’s blown up on Twitter.

https://www.alternet.org/media/george-lakoff-guide-trump-tweets

Twitter is a social media and Trump has shown just how can be used to brainwash a low mentality audience.

Another Tulip Craze

Tulip craze?

Bitcoin is going through the roof and there may be a historic event that it mirrors……

Tulip Mania, also called Tulip Craze, Dutch Tulpenwindhandel, a speculative frenzy in 17th-century Holland over the sale of tulip bulbs. Tulips were introduced into Europe from Turkey shortly after 1550, and the delicately formed, vividly coloured flowers became a popular if costly item. The demand for differently coloured varieties of tulips soon exceeded the supply, and prices for individual bulbs of rare types began to rise to unwarranted heights in northern Europe. By about 1610 a single bulb of a new variety was acceptable as dowry for a bride, and a flourishing brewery in France was exchanged for one bulb of the variety Tulipe Brasserie. The craze reached its height in Holland during 1633–37. Before 1633 Holland’s tulip trade had been restricted to professional growers and experts, but the steadily rising prices tempted many ordinary middle-class and poor families to speculate in the tulip market. Homes, estates, and industries were mortgaged so that bulbs could be bought for resale at higher prices. Sales and resales were made many times over without the bulbs ever leaving the ground, and rare varieties of bulbs sold for the equivalent of hundreds of dollars each. The crash came early in 1637, when doubts arose as to whether prices would continue to increase. Almost overnight the price structure for tulips collapsed, sweeping away fortunes and leaving behind financial ruin for many ordinary Dutch families.

(britannica.com)

Bitcoin started at a low price and just recently went over $1000…..is this possibly a Tulip Craze again?

Over the festive season, the conversation in my household inevitably turned to the phenomenal rise — and fall — in the US dollar price (exchange rate) for Bitcoin during December (Figure 1). The roller-coaster ride of the blockchain-based currency has been front-page news for the mainstream media, where it has been both likened to and disassociated from the boom-and-bust of the infamous 1637 Dutch tulip craze.

http://www.aei.org/publication/is-bitcoin-the-tulip-craze-of-the-21st-century-or-something-else/

Will history repeat itself?  Will this situation be a bubble that burst and sends the economy into a tail spin?

It seems the “Oracle of Omaha” (?)…..sees it as a bubble also…..

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said Wednesday that he would never invest in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, and predicted the wildly popular assets are in for a fall.

“I can say almost with certainty that cryptocurrencies will come to a bad end,” Buffett told CNBC in an interview.

Buffett’s comments were backed by Charlie Munger, his longtime partner at his investment company Berkshire Hathaway, who described the soaring values of Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies as “bubbles”. Munger said investors “are excited because things are going up at the moment and it sounds vaguely modern. But I’m not excited.”

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jan/10/bitcoin-and-cryptocurrencies-will-come-to-a-bad-end-says-warren-buffett

If it does find the bottom and people will lose big…… I am sure that it will be Obama’s fault or maybe Clinton’s also….

Pakistan Makes The News

Everyone in the field of international relations has an opinion about Pakistan…..most analyst realize that this country is doing what it has been doing for decades….playing both sides.

Trump has said that he will make Pakistan toe the line as an American ally…..but I do not think this will make them do so……..

President Trump, who slammed Pakistan in his first tweet of the year, has now made good on his threat to cut off aid. The administration says it’s suspending all security assistance to the country until it takes “decisive action” against Taliban and Haqqani militants on its territory targeting American troops over the border in Afghanistan, NBC News reports. “Despite a sustained high level of engagement by this administration with the government of Pakistan, the Taliban and the Haqqani network continue to find sanctuary in Pakistan,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says. The department also accuses Pakistan of violating religious freedom, the AP reports.

Earlier this week, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, saying Pakistan has “played a double game for years,” announced that the US was freezing $255 million in military aid that would have been used to buy equipment from American companies. Trump’s New Year’s Day tweet has brought Pakistan’s deeply divided government, opposition, and military together to oppose American policy, the Wall Street Journal reports. “The behavior of America is not the behavior of an ally or friend,” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said Thursday. “They have abandoned us at every difficult moment in our history.” Analysts warn that if relations deteriorate further, the US may have to stop using the country as a supply route for American forces in Afghanistan.

Will American arms dealers allow this slow down in profits linger?  This is the real problem…..

Keep in mind that Pakistan and India have been at each others throats since about 1947….will 2018 be any different from the past confrontations?

The history of India-Pakistan relations show that, every time an attempt is made to build relations, Pakistan’s army sabotages the peace talks by either escalating tensions at the Line of Control (LoC) or sending trained militants to India to launch attacks. On January 2, 2016, for example, a heavily armed group from Pakistan attacked the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot. This attack came immediately after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s impromptu visit to Lahore to meet his counterpart, Nawaz Sharif. This was followed by another attack carried out on September 18, 2016, where four heavily armed militants, belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed, managed to cross the porous border and launch a surprise attack on an army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir, resulting in the deaths of 17 soldiers.

Another worrying recent development was the release of Hafiz Saeed, of the banned Jamaat-ud-dawa, one of the masterminds of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack, where over 160 lost their lives. Saeed was released by the Lahore High Court due to the failure of the government, probably under pressure from the army, to produce evidence in court.

However, in spite of the continued hostility, both India and Pakistan did keep the composite dialogue going through their national security advisers. Sadly, both countries are now experiencing a low point in their relations, with a virtual breakdown of the mechanism set afloat in Lahore to settle disputes through dialogue.

https://thediplomat.com/2017/12/has-the-pakistan-army-changed-its-india-policy/

Pakistan will need to make up the monetary shortfall…..where will it turn for funds it as become addicted to….where?