Closing Thought–08Mar18

The season of gun violence is upon us….since the beginning of the year there has been at least 2 dozen school shootings……my state has joined the growing list……

A student was fatally shot Wednesday at an Alabama high school, reports. The Birmingham City School system says the shooting happened during dismissal at Huffman High School. Two students and an employee were injured. One student is in critical but stable condition; the other died on the way to the hospital. According to the AP, police identified the dead student as a 17-year-old girl. Police initially described the shooting as “accidental,” though details are scarce, WVTM reports. “I was just hoping my baby was OK, that everybody was OK,” says one mother whose daughter was stuck inside the school when it was locked down. “I was nervous. This is so sad.”

Meanwhile, authorities in Mississippi are investigating a shooting Wednesday on the Jackson State University campus, Mississippi News Now reports. According to the Jackson Clarion Ledger, a student was shot in the leg inside a dorm and is expected to recover. One dorm resident says the student accidentally shot himself, though police haven’t confirmed that and the student hasn’t been forthcoming with details.

And I believe the first law on gun control has been passed in Florida… awaits the signature of the governor…..

Three weeks after a school shooting in Parkland left 17 dead, Florida lawmakers passed the state’s first gun-control legislation in over 20 years, USA Today reports. According to the AP, the bill passed Wednesday raises the legal age to buy rifles from 18 to 21 and institutes a three-day waiting period on all gun sales. It also allows schools to arm some personnel, as long as they’ve completed law-enforcement training and their district is on board. Other portions of the bill ban bump stocks, create mental health programs for schools, and more. The legislation passed the House 67-50 with mixed support from both Republicans and Democrats. It narrowly passed the Senate on Monday, Reuters reports.

The bill includes some of the measures advocated for by survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School but left out one major demand: a ban on assault-style weapons of the kind used in the shooting. However, the dads of two Parkland victims supported the bill, saying it got enough right to be worth passing. The legislation will become law in 15 days unless vetoed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who hasn’t revealed whether or not he’ll do so. He has said in the past he doesn’t support arming teachers.

Arming school employees is a lame attempt to appear to be responsible……the age thing is a pretty good idea….the waiting period is another pretty good idea…..

These days there are two things that we bloggers can write about without much thought…..the antics of the Trump White House and gun violence…..shall we move on?

Oh well….time to flip off the MSM and call it a day….TTFN….chuq

Here A Tariff, There A Tariff

The word of the week….both this week and last is….TARIFF.

And as I always do I will look into the history of this country to explain the term of the week…….

The year was 1930 and the Congress enacted the Smoot-Hawley Act.

Okay what the Hell was the Smoot-Hawley Act?

The Smoot-Hawley Act is the Tariff Act of 1930. It increased 900 import tariffs by an average of 40 to 48 percent. Most economists blame it for worsening the Great Depression. That means it also contributed to the start of World War II.

In June 1930, Smoot-Hawley raised already-high U.S. tariffs on foreign agricultural imports. The purpose was to support U.S. farmers who had been ravaged by the Dust Bowl.

Rather than helping, it raised food prices for Americans who were already suffering from the Depression. It also compelled other countries to retaliate with their own tariffs. That forced global trade down by 65 percent.

Smoot-Hawley showed how dangerous trade protectionism is for the global economy. Since then, world leaders advocate free trade agreements that promote increased trade for all participants.

Our president has decided that he likes the idea of imposing tariffs on steel ans aluminum….and no matter which party one aspires to there is few that see any good coming from tariffs (my favorite part of this is to listen to a lying bitch thumping the cheap drum to the positive works that these things will do).

“Trade wars are good,” tweeted U.S. President Donald Trump, “and easy to win.”

And just like that, we’re back in the thick of it: Trump, looking to Make America Great Again, has threatened to use section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to impose tariffs of 25 per cent on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminum, suggesting it’s a matter of U.S. national security. That would have a heavy impact on Canada, as it is the number-one supplier of both steel and aluminum to the United States. Of course, those proposed levies may just be more bluster for the ongoing NAFTA negotiations; indeed, Trump has said that a “new and fair” NAFTA deal would prompt the U.S. to consider an exemption.

But several things indicate things could be serious, including the Dow’s initial slump in reaction and many Republicans’ frenzied opposition to the decision. More worrying, even, is the fact that it’s entirely consistent with the rhetoric Trump campaigned on—namely, getting blue-collar workers in distressed industries back on the job with protectionist measures.

Some think that it will cost jobs……With economists warning of a potential 146,000 American jobs lost due to the proposed tariffs, Business Insider reveals the US states that could be hit hardest, including Louisiana, Connecticut, and Missouri.

There are some that think that this is just a tactic the president is using to keep the Rust Belt in his sphere of influence and that he will roll everything he has said back……an election ploy for the mid-terms.

We can hope that is his play but some of us do not think he is that clever.

I will do something that my Right wing brethren seldom do…..To be fair…..there is some positive news about the tariff thing…..

US Steel Corp says it will soon restart a blast furnace in Illinois that has been cold for over two years thanks to the 25% tariff on imported steel announced by President Trump last week, Politico reports. US Steel President David Burritt blames “unending waves of unfairly traded steel products” arriving in the US for the poor fortunes of steel workers in Granite City. He believes the planned tariff will turn that around. Restarting the blast furnace at Granite City Works will take up to four months. And while some believe Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum will be political winners, many experts are predicting harm to the US economy.

Finally…… Noah Smith at Bloomberg writes the tariffs could be a “self-inflicted wound” for Trump. He says tariffs typically don’t end up improving American industries. Rather they prevent industries from figuring out how to keep pace with global competitors, may lead to their products being seen as shoddy, and might hurt US manufacturers.

Has the GOP become an anti free trade party?

What say you?


I have written several posts about the deaths of 4 special ops troops in the West African country of Niger……read more posts……

Recently I found another report on these deaths….I have held onto this post because of the violent nature and that it was posted by the bastards that killed these men…..

*****WARNING:  The video may be disturbing to some*****

The release of shocking video showing the death of three American soldiers in the deserts of west Africa is raising more questions about just what US forces are doing in the region.

ISIS released the nine-minute, 17-second video online on Sunday taken mainly from the helmetcams of the slain soldiers.

I have been waiting for the final report of the action and the deaths (I promised to keep my readers informed)…..
I have been critical of the operation that cost the lives of the  troopers involved and now there is a bit more information…..
The ongoing military probes into October 4’s disastrous US military operation in Niger, in which four US special forces were killed, has concluded something particularly important: that the operation was never properly authorized by top commanders.

The special forces team in question were nominally sent out to meet local Nigerien leaders, for which they were properly equipped and prepared. The team in question never attempted to meet with them, however, and instead went off on a totally separate mission.

The team instead joined a mission hunting for a militant wanted in the kidnapping of an aid worker, doing so without having informed the commanders that’s what they were going to do, meaning it was never authorized.

The operation went poorly, as the chase around the Niger-Mali border led the team right into an ambush of militants, who attacked and killed four US troops, wounding two other US troops and eight Nigeriens.

Officials say there is no single point of failure in the operation, though clearly the fact that commanders weren’t told what the team’s actual mission was didn’t help, and raises further questions about whether the US troops were adequately prepared for such an operation.


This is a breakdown in the command structure and it cost lives and this is not an isolated incident.  Someone needs to pay for the lives they took because of their lack of leadership.

There is way too many “oh shit” moments in our war on terror.

But the Pentagon will make it right…….

The Pentagon said on Wednesday that American troops in Niger had been authorized to receive imminent-danger pay the day before the commander who oversees military missions in Africa told House lawmakers that the White House had still not approved that request.

A Pentagon spokeswoman said that the decision to include Niger in the list of combat zones where troops receive extra pay was made on Monday — and had not been communicated to Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser before his testimony the day after.

The request was made Monday and the general was to testify on Thursday…..something smells about this situation.  Timing is everything at the Pentagon (sarcasm)…..

Syria–What To Do?

We don’t hear much about our war in Syria these days…we are too busy watching the revolving door of the Trump White House to be bothered with the armed conflicts of the Middle East.

Let me catch you up a bit….recently the US attacked a position in Syria that killed many Russian citizens, some say they were mercenaries, but that matters not….this situation could explode in our face…..

Recent escalations in Syria, including the US strike on pro-regime forces in Deir ez-Zor — which killed Russian combatants — is raising speculation about potential fallout from Moscow’s strategy in Syria and possible escalation between the Russian and American militaries.

The strike occurred Feb. 7, yet the exact number of Russians killed in the fight with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces has ranged in various news sources from 10 to 200 soldiers and mercenaries in Russia’s employ. The number of US airstrikes also has remained as a matter of speculation.

If we are not careful we could stumble our way into another war…..

One of the interesting aspects of the Trump era is the extent to which our political culture is obsessing over marginalia while truly significant events transpire largely out of sight and out of mind. For example, late last year the Iraqi government announced the defeat of the ISIS caliphate within Iraqi borders — a significant moment, no doubt — but that same day Donald Trump got in a Twitter spat with the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel over the crowd size at a Pensacola rally. Guess which event got more coverage?

Part of this dynamic, of course, is the president’s fault. He should have trumpeted the allied victory and charted the road ahead. The caliphate was in ruins, but ISIS still exists. Where do we go from here? And part of this is the media’s fault. It’s just easier to follow the president’s lead. After all, that’s where the clicks are. It’s harder to look at the world and discern which stories truly matter.

While the US and Russia are facing off…..a game of who will blink first…..silently ISIS is making a comeback (and you thought it was over)……

Abu Fadi, was killed 10 days ago in a fight with Isis in eastern Syria when the vehicle he was in was hit by a heat-seeking missile. “He was driving a bulldozer which was building an earth rampart when Isis hit it with a missile we call a ‘fuzia’,” said Baran Omari, the commander of his unit in the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

“Isis attacked us in the village of Bagin in Deir Ezzor province [in eastern Syria],” he explained, adding that his men had been able to kill those who fired the missile. He described Khalaf, who was about 50 when he died, as a very brave man because he had the peculiarly dangerous job of constructing tactical earth fortifications in the middle of battles.

While the different armies are all battling one enemy or another…..Turkey vs Kurds, US vs whoever they can drone attack, Russia vs the “other guys” and Syria fights everyone…..the country is not bad enough the Trump WH is considering expanding the US footprint in Syria……

The White House is said to be considering a new round of military action against the Syrian government sometime soon, with recent media reports of chlorine gas exposure in Eastern Ghouta serving as a pretext for the attacks.

President Trump has requested the Pentagon to provide him various options for such a military attack, nominally to “punish the Assad government” over the unproven allegations of chlorine gas attacks.

That would be the second time in less than a year this has happened, as in April, 2017 the US fired a flurry of 59 Tomahawk missiles at Syria’s Shayrat air base, which at the time they said was over claims of chlorine gas attacks as well.


There was never any concrete proof of the allegations which served as a basis for the April attacks, which means that while there’s no solid evidence for these new allegations, that is unlikely to be an obstacle to a new US attack.

There were reports as recently as Friday that the Trump Administration wanted such attacks to be “equal to or greater than the one used last year,” and while that’s clearly not set in stone, such an attack is likely to further cement the US as being in open warfare against the Syrian government.

Do we really need another enemy?  Do we really need yet another war?

Does the US really need to stay in Syria?

It is difficult to overstate how chaotic, violent, and intractable the situation in Syria has become. Regional powers such as the Syrian regime, Russia, Iran, and Turkey—along with hundreds of rebel groups—employ armed forces or violent militia in search of competing objectives. But not every intractable situation demands the blood of our servicemembers and treasure of our taxpayers be spent trying to solve it.

In this cesspool of violence—before creeping into full-blown occupation and nation-building, a proven no-win situation for the U.S.—Washington should immediately redeploy U.S. Forces to higher priority missions actually related to our core interests.

The US needs to just do what it needs to do…..pull the troops out and save lives.