Random Thoughts–April 2018

It has been a long time since news has been coming fast and furious other than the word regurgitation from the man in the big white house.

From time to time I will do a Random Thoughts post to try and get as much news in as possible…..hope you guys enjoy it…….

On The International stage…….

1–All the hub-bub about Iran and NK and their nuke program and everyone overlooked Pakistan…..

Last week, Chinese officials confirmed the sale of a sophisticated optical tracking system to Pakistan. The nation has been developing multiwarhead nuclear missiles, and the infusion of advanced Chinese tech brings it one step closer.

Optical systems are critical in missile testing, providing engineers valuable high-resolution images of a missile’s multiple stages that can be used to improve designs.


2–I recently gave my thoughts on the so-called Russian attacks on our electric grid…..and yet more…….

The Trump administration has accused Russia of a two-year cyberattack campaign against the U.S. electric grid. This is the first time the U.S. has openly accused Moscow of threatening America’s energy infrastructure. And it demonstrates why the grid must be able to resist cyberattacks on networks and ensure customers have stable electricity access.

Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced a new Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response last month, indicating that the administration is taking grid cyber threats seriously. This effort aims to enable coordinated preparedness and response to man-made threats. President Donald Trump’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget allocates $96 million for this center.


3–A new anti-terror alliance for Syria………

 The presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russia on Wednesday appeared determined to continue their 15-month cooperation on Syria, ignoring crucial differences among themselves but often pointedly mentioning the sacrosanctity of the country’s territorial integrity.

The Ankara summit brought together Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani, whose countries launched the Astana process in January 2017 seeking to facilitate de-escalation zones in war-torn Syria and aid the Geneva talks in bringing about a political solution.

Erdogan, often blunt to the point of being belligerent, opted for a soft approach despite a hint of differences – with Iran in particular – over Ankara’s military incursion into Afrin since January.


4–Once again Assad is accused of chemical attacks……

A new flare-up of violence in the last rebel-held city in Eastern Ghouta has served as an opportunity for the US State Department to claim chemical weapons were being used. The allegations were quickly endorsed by the White Helmets, a Syrian medical NGO active in a number of rebel territories. The White Helmets are often making allegations of war crimes in Syria.

Evidence has been lacking in claims of chemical attacks by Syria’s government, and proof has been non-existent. US officials, however, never let uncertainty get in the way of a good story, and will not only be repeating this claim as unquestioned fact for years to come, but as seen last year, may use it as a pretext for a military strike on Syrian forces.


5–Remember when Chavez and Bush would go round and round….and then Obama came to the leadership and the political tango continued and then Trump was elected and a new Venezuelan president and the beat continues…..

Countries that don’t eagerly follow the U.S.-led global order make prime targets for American-led invasions, particularly when those countries challenge the status of the U.S. dollar.

Right now, Venezuela is one of these countries. Venezuela sits on the world’s largest oil reserves, and in order to free itself from what it calls the “tyranny of the U.S. dollar” in maximizing its potential on these oil reserves, the country began publishing its oil and fuel in Chinese yuan in September of last year. It recently added further insult to injury and launched the world’s first state-backed cryptocurrency, known as the petro. According to TIME, however, the petro is “in fact a collaboration – a half hidden joint venture between Venezuelan and Russian officials and businessmen, whose aim was to erode the power of U.S. sanctions.”


6–I do not want to leave Africa out of my thoughts…….In recent months several countries have changed leadership after dumping long serving leaders……could we be looking at an African Spring?

But does this herald a new dawn for African democracy – or will they be left disappointed?

The three biggest downfalls herald from Angola, South Africa and Zimbabwe.


Now let me stray into events within our borders…….

1–It appears that South Carolina has been busy with idiots….GOP lawmaker has his day with a gun…..

A Republican lawmaker in South Carolina took out a loaded pistol while arguing with constituents pushing for better gun control Friday, the Washington Post reports. “I’m not going to be a Gabby Giffords,” Rep. Ralph Norman tells the Post and Courier, adding, “I don’t mind dying, but whoever shoots me better shoot well, or I’m shooting back.” Giffords, a former Arizona lawmaker, was shot during a public appearance in 2011. Norman’s move drew criticism from some attending the “coffee with constituents” event, as well as from Giffords’ husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, who agreed with just one part of Norman’s sentiment. “When I think of @GabbyGiffords, I think of courage and public service, not intimidating constituents,” Kelly tweeted. “You’re no Gabby.”

Norman says he took out his pistol and placed it on a table while talking with volunteers from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to prove that “guns don’t shoot people; people shoot guns” and that guns are only dangerous when it’s criminals who are using them. “I’m tired of these liberals jumping on the guns themselves as if they are the cause of the problem,” Norman says. “Guns are not the problem.” While Norman claimed he was making constituents at the meeting safer, some said they felt uncomfortable or unsafe when he took out his gun. “Rep. Norman’s behavior today was a far cry from what responsible gun ownership looks like,” says Lori Freemon, one of the volunteers at the meeting. Norman, who has a concealed carry permit, says he plans to take his gun out at more meetings in the future.

2–There has been a lot of air time About Sinclair Broadcasting and its demand that its anchors put forth a solid front……

Sinclair Broadcast Group owns a growing number of local TV stations across the US, and it’s come under fire previously for newsroom tactics dictated by its Maryland headquarters. But criticism reached new heights over the weekend when Deadspin stitched together a video showing dozens of anchors reciting the same script in which they criticize the national media over bias and fake news. See another mashup here via ThinkProgress. Here’s a look at background and reaction:

  • The order:CNN reported last month that the conservative-leaning Sinclair ordered anchors at local affiliates to read what CNN media writer Brian Stelter describes as something akin to “pro-Trump propaganda.” His story recounts how many anchors chafed at the mandate, with one saying he “felt like a POW recording a message.”
  • Sinclair’s defense: This is standard stuff, says Sinclair VP Scott Livingston. “Promo messages, like the one you are referring to, are very common in our industry,” he tells CNN. “This promo addresses the troubling trend of false stories on social media and distinguishes our trusted local stations as news destinations where we are committed to honest and accurate reporting.”
  • The script: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has the full transcript of the anchors’ script. “The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media,” it reads in part. “More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories … without checking facts first. Unfortunately, some members of the media are using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’ … This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.” The P-I reports that staffers at local Sinclair affiliate KOMO were upset with the order.
  • Trump defends: “So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased,” he tweeted Monday. “Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke.”
  • ‘State media’: Criticism of Sinclair took off on Twitter and sample sentiment was on display at MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday. “It’s state media, essentially,” said Jon Meacham, per Mediaite. “Shoving propaganda down local anchors’ throats,” added Joe Scarborough.


Thoughts of the day…..

May we all have a good day…..


3 thoughts on “Random Thoughts–April 2018

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