Closing Thought-30Apr18

When you turn your TV on to your favorite news channel you get very little actually news and a whole lot of opinion……and every day a whole line up of experts to ask questions to and allow to give their paid opinion….we see lots of “experts without expertise”……

The strong ratings of the first episode of the revived Roseanne set off an avalanche of commentary. On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, for instance, John Podhoretz, a columnist for the New York Post, called the show’s success a “wakeup call for Hollywood.” Given how well it had done in Middle America, he said, the lesson was clear: for those who serve underserved Donald Trump voters, there are “riches to be reaped.”

Anand Giridharadas, a Brooklyn-based writer and MSNBC analyst, saw a broader truth: “Working-class white people may claim to be against identity politics, but they actually crave identity politics.” They want to be “seen and witnessed” in the same way that women and people of color do. With its glimpses of Maxwell House coffee and kitchen towels stitched with football logos, the show made an effort to pay respect to the details “of a certain demographic’s life.”

This is the problem I have with most news organizations……there are a couple of “fake” experts that give a fake look to several very serious subjects.

Plus there have been terrible comparisons that are nothing more than a variation of “fake news”……

After the justified uproar over pro-Trump Sinclair Broadcast Group forcing its scores of affiliates to humiliate themselves by reading an on-air script condemning “misleading” news, one would think other media outlets would be a little more careful not to mimic such behavior. Nonetheless, MSNBC—which rightfully tore into Sinclair Broadcast (4/2/18) for having its news reporters read off a corporate script—did a toned-down version of the same thing last Friday on Morning Joe (4/20/18).

Comcast corporate forced its nominally independent pundits and news anchors of Morning Joe to air a cultish 8-minute commercial for Comcast’s “Comcast Cares Day,” the lowlight of which was MSNBC host Al Sharpton comparing Comcast to Nelson Mandela:

“This is, I think, the way we can bring the world to where Mandela wanted us, where corporations don’t become expansive and influential just for personal wealth, but for a purpose, so that we have the ability to do good.”

http://theantimedia.com/comcast-msnbc-nelson-mandela/

It is no secret that I have been a staunch critic of the corporate media……where news is just propaganda.

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The Iranian Nuke Deal Update

In this case it will be because of the Iranian nuke deal that the war mongers want the US to bow out.  His so-called national security team is manned with war mongers and as the deal comes up for renewal that prospects of a diplomatic breakthrough is not happening…..

The new SecState has gone on record saying that the US is “unlikely to stay in the deal”……

Speaking to reporters during his first overseas trip since confirmation, new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he believes it is very “unlikely” that President Trump will keep the United States in the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran past May 12.

Trump’s opposition to the nuclear deal centers on three issues. He wants limits on Iran’s civilian nuclear program to not sunset in the future. He also wants the IAEA to access non-nuclear military sites, which the IAEA has not sought to access at all. Finally, he wants the nuclear deal to “address Iran’s other activities,” like having conventional missiles.

(antiwar.com)

I have several opinions on what to do about the deal from a couple think tanks (not that I agree….just FYI)……

In the coming weeks, the Trump Administration will decide whether the United States will remain in or leave the Iran nuclear agreement. The agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is undoubtedly deeply flawed. Its sunset clause will permit Iran to enrich weapons-grade uranium in about a decade. It fails to address the ballistic missile issue, there are no “anytime, anywhere” inspections as the Obama Administration originally promised, and it has provided Tehran with billions of dollars in unfrozen assets and sanctions relief, which has helped finance its destabilizing activities in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with threatening to walk away from such a deeply flawed agreement. In fact, a credible threat to withdraw is what is needed to improve it. However, leaving the agreement would be not only illogical but potentially dangerous.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/04/27/the_iran_deal_if_you_cant_fix_it_dont_nix_it_113383.html

Then there is the US SecDef who seems the believe that the US should stay in the nuke deal…..

Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary James Mattis praised the P5+1 nuclear deal. These comments come just weeks ahead of President Trump’s May 12 ultimatum to withdraw from the deal if changes aren’t agreed to.

Mattis told the senators that the verification system is “robust,” and that gives the IAEA “intrusive ability” to check on Iran’s compliance. He in particularly praised what he believes was a deal “written almost with an assumption that Iran would try to cheat.”

Trump and his cabinet are believed to differ on the merits of the P5+1 deal, with Trump opposing the deal and most believing it is too valuable to lose. Mattis’ comments clearly put him in the pro-deal camp, as his praise for the verification in the deal comes as oversight remains one of Trump’s main complaints. Trump has demanded the IAEA be given access to non-nuclear sites that the IAEA itself insists it doesn’t want to visit at all.

(antiwar.com)

So far I have two takeaways……one–there is no consensus on the deal….the deal may hang on the last voice Trump hears before the deadline and two–if Mattis does not concur with Trump he may be looking at the door soon.

One last thought……

The discussions at the White House with French president Emmanuel Macron about devising, in Macron’s words, a “new deal with Iran” may be an instance of different governments using similar words to mean very different things. In that regard, it may be akin to how “denuclearization” means different things in the Korean context depending on which government uses the term. Although Macron can be criticized for some aspects of how he has handled the task he has taken on, especially with respect to the effect of his moves on Iranian perceptions and intentions, give him credit for taking on the task at all. To try to preserve an agreement that serves the interests of France, the United States, and the cause of nuclear nonproliferation, Macron has had to propitiate a bully—one who in front of the press in the Oval Office even added the bullying touch of flicking alleged dandruff off Macron’s suit coat.

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/new-deals-old-deals-non-deals-iran-25581

This policy will be a policy to watch…..chest thumping aside….the theatrics will be amazing.

The Joint Korean Declaration

Last week the two leaders of the Korean Peninsula met at the DMZ and the world was hopeful……the chance are that their negotiations could bring an end to many decades of animosities toward each other.

Below is the link to the text of the declaration which I offer for people to see that these are great proposals……the problem is it is short on  specifics.  If this turns out to be a good thing and peace is found it will not be this year or even next…..

The following is an unofficial translation of the full text of a joint declaration signed and issued by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the end of their bilateral summit held Friday at the Joint Security Area of Panmunjom inside the heavily-fortified Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas.

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2018/04/27/0200000000AEN20180427013900315.html

Please do not start handing out the Nobel before there is a reason to award the prize……the situation is promising but not permanent…..keep in mind nothing about this is new……in the past proposals similar to these have been made and never come about…..

Possibly good things could happen but do not bet the house on it…..going “all in” would be a mistake at this point.

Western Sahara Update

I write about a country that few have ever heard of, Western Sahara, I do so because I visited there years ago when I was working in the region and fell in love with the people and the land….one of my posts from the past…..

https://lobotero.com/2015/11/10/western-sahara-and-the-sahrawi/

I am posting again because more news is coming out of the refugee camps in Algeria……

Set deep in the desert outside Tindouf, Algeria, the Sahrawi refugee camps are a remote yet lively political hub. The camps are home to 173,000 refugees of a forgotten conflict: an older generation who remember the war against Morocco from 1975 to 1991, and a younger generation born in the camps since the latter year’s ceasefire agreement. All are active in the struggle for a return to the disputed territory of Western Sahara, a 100,000-square-mile coastal stretch of desert now mostly controlled by Morocco. The camps resemble other Saharan settlements, with trucks threading through low sand-clad structures and herds of camels, goats and sheep grazing the desert bush. But their politics are unique: the Polisario Front, a military and political movement formed in the early 1970s to fight for independence for Western Sahara, controls them.

https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/north-africa/western-sahara/youth-movement-sahrawi-refugee-camps

The biggest problem is the US has a major love fest with Morocco and their claim to the land of Western Sahara….they have stopped all chances for an independent Western Sahara and they are at it again….

The United States postponed a vote scheduled on Wednesday at the UN Security Council on preparing talks on Western Sahara to allow for more time for negotiations, diplomats said.

A draft resolution presented by the United States last week would press Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front to set their sights on a return to the negotiating table to seek a settlement to the decades-old conflict.

Diplomats said Russia and Ethiopia had proposed amendments to the text after complaining that it lacked balance, indicating that Morocco’s stance was given more prominence.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/us-postpones-un-vote-western-sahara-212430677.html

The US will always do what Morocco wants…..they should stop trying to convince the world that they are the champions of freedom, liberty and democracy…it is a lie.

This situation is far from over and I would like to hope that the people of Western Sahara will have their independence.

Know Your Ancestry

There has been an up-tick in people that are in dire need to know their ancestry…..so bad that they are willing to pay companies to track down the DNA for them.

As far as I knows there is no record of my DNA and that is the way it will stay as long as I am breathing…..I do not trust these companies to keep my DNA secret……and my fears were well founded…..

A distant relative of Joseph James DeAngelo hoping to learn more about their family submitted a DNA sample to a genealogy website. They now know that they’re related to a suspected serial killer. Police say they tracked the suspected Golden State Killer by comparing DNA from one of his many crime scenes to genetic information freely available online, the Sacramento Bee reports. They traced family trees for possible suspects and singled out DeAngelo, a 72-year-old ex-cop, last Thursday. Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert says DeAngelo was placed under surveillance, and DNA collected from discarded items provided “astronomical evidence” that he was the killer.

Schubert tells the Bee that when she was informed of the DNA test results, “I probably used a few words I wouldn’t put in a newspaper, but basically said, ‘You’d better not be lying to me.'” She adds: “There were a lot of holy s— moments.” DeAngelo was arrested outside his home Tuesday. The San Jose Mercury News reports that investigators used the open-source genealogy website GEDMatch.com to search for the suspect who committed 12 murders and more than 50 rapes between 1974 and 1986. Other genealogy websites, including Ancestry.com and 23andMe, say they weren’t contacted by police about the case and that they never provide customer information to law enforcement unless they’re legally compelled to

I will stick to the stories my relatives have told…father’s side….1325 France, the Champagne Region……mother’s’ side goes back to Wales about 1100….that is what I got from all the stories of the old ones so I will stick with what I learned from them……

I would never trust anything as important as my DNA to some for profit company to do what they want with it.

After I wrote this draft for a weekend posting more about this situation came out……

Investigators who used a genealogical website to find the ex-policeman they believe is a serial killer and rapist who terrified California decades ago call the technique groundbreaking. But others say it raises troubling legal and privacy concerns for the millions of people who submit their DNA to such sites to discover their heritage, reports the AP. With “fewer privacy protections than convicted offenders whose DNA is contained in regulated databanks,” these people “are unwittingly becoming genetic informants on their innocent family,” says Steve Mercer, the chief attorney for the forensic division of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. According to STAT News, most genealogy websites say a customer’s genetic information can be shared with law enforcement as long as a warrant is provided.

But the Verge reports Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, was arrested Tuesday after investigators matched crime-scene DNA with genetic material stored by a distant relative on GEDmatch, a website that publicly shares a person’s full genetic information, making a warrant unnecessary. “While the database was created for genealogical research, it is important that GEDmatch participants understand the possible uses of their DNA, including identification of relatives that have committed crimes or were victims of crimes,” the site says. The statement reflects a warning shared by the FTC in December, per Fortune. DNA data “can be very enlightening personally, but a major concern for consumers should be who else could have access to information about your heritage and your health,” it reads, noting family members can also be affected

Time for me to enjoy the garden and a beer……maybe two…..have a day my friends.  chuq

What To Read

Another weekend and another Sunday…I will be spending time with my granddaughter doing something cool no doubt….

AS an avid reader, mostly non-fiction seldom do I read fiction, I read apiece that some classics were being removed from the must read list……

If you’ve ever found yourself struggling through a so-called “classic” book only to find yourself thinking, “How racist/sexist/boring,” you’re not alone. The editors of GQ, along with some current authors, have put together a list of 21 such books (technically 20, because one of them got two votes) that are simply outdated and should be struck from the “Great Books” canon. The list got itself mentioned on Fox & Friends over the weekend, and not in a good way—it includes the Bible, which Jesse Ball calls “repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned,” leading Fox News religion contributor Father Jonathan Morris to push back by calling its inclusion on the list “foolish,” USA Today reports. Lots of social media users also decried the choice, and evangelist Franklin Graham said the editors “couldn’t be more wrong.” As for what else made the list, here’s a sampling—along with the books the editors and the authors they spoke to think you should read instead:

  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: This is the book that got two votes. “Mark Twain was a racist. … He was a man of his time, so let’s leave him there,” writes To Instead, he suggests reading The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll by Alvaro Mutis; Caity Weaver suggests Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.
  2. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger: André Aciman calls Salinger’s novel “totally silly” and “without any literary merit whatsoever.” Instead, try Olivia: A Novel by Dorothy Strachey.
  3. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway: “Hemingway’s novels—with their masculine bluster and clipped sentences—sometimes feel almost parodic to me,” writes Rumaan Alam, who suggests instead The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard.
  4. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien: While the books are “influential as exercises in world building, as novels they are barely readable,” writes Manuel Gonzales. Instead, try Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series.
  5. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller: While Heller’s novel “fails to capture the absurdities and impossible conflicts of war,” Emily Robbins writes that Inaam Kachachi’s The American Granddaughter does just that.
  6. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut: “The few women in Slaughterhouse-Five die early, are porn stars, or are ‘bitchy flibbertigibbets,'” writes Nadja Spiegelman, who suggests Veronica by Mary Gaitskill instead.
  7. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry: “I’m convinced that the cowboy mythos, with its rigid masculine emotional landscape, glorification of guns and destruction, and misogynistic gender roles, is a major factor in the degradation of America,” writes Lauren Groff. “The Mountain Lion by Jean Stafford … acts in many ways as a strong rebuttal to all the old toxic western stereotypes we all need to explode.”

Click for the complete list, which includes another Hemingway and another Salinger.

While I may not read much fiction I feel these classics should remain on the must read list…..Hemingway is about the only way that most Americans know anything about WW1 or the Spanish Civil War…..never stop reading him!

What say you about this?

 

Secession Is Still Popular

My Sunday is going good…hoping for lots of sunshine and garden stuff to do…..

Back in the 1860’s the first Southern state to secede from the union was South Carolina and immediately decided to fire upon a Union fort…..even though the Civil War is over some state tactics never die……

South Carolina wants to have the option of seceding from the US—again—if it feels the government does anything that goes against the Second Amendment. The Hill reports three Republican legislators in South Carolina introduced a bill Thursday that would let the state debate secession specifically “if the federal government confiscates legally purchased firearms.” It is extremely unlikely the bill passes out of the House by the April 10 deadline, according to the AP.

Rep. Mike Pitts says the bill is meant to draw attention to gun rights. “I see a lot of stuff where people even talk about totally repealing the Second Amendment, which separates us from the entire rest of the world,” he says. In 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede ahead of the Civil War.

A silly pile of redneck manure……some states must do anything they can to get attention even when they know they have NO intention of doing anything like secession.  State legislatures are no longer working for the people of said state instead they spend all their time passing laws that do NOTHING to improve the loves of the citizens…..this is a prime example of the stupidity of these bodies.

If one has any idea about the Constitutional process then one will realize just how moronic this piece of manure really is……ever notice the people that hold the Constitution up at every turn have very little knowledge how it works…..

chuq is out for now……thanx for your visits and comments……enjoy your time and your day.