Another American Death

Closing Thought–09Jul18

For me this death was worthless and should have never been allowed to happen…..over the weekend another American soldier was killed in Afghanistan and 2 others wounded…..

One U.S. service member was killed and two others were wounded Saturday in what’s believed to be an insider attack in southern Afghanistan.

The wounded troops are being treated and are in stable condition, officials with the Resolute Support mission said in a statement.

The incident is under investigation.

The name of the service member killed in the incident will not be released until family members are notified, officials said.

Saturday’s incident marks the first U.S. troop death in Afghanistan in more than two months.

Spc. Gabriel Conde, 22, was killed April 30 as a result of enemy small arms fire in eastern Afghanistan, officials said at the time. Another soldier was wounded in the same incident.

(Military Times)

Sad news and IST wishes the family well in their time of sadness….and we thank them for their service to the country.

Please take a moment of silence for this family.

Sadly until the Congress grows a spine reports like this one will be ever present.

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The Latest In US Diplomacy

My readers know that I am a foreign policy wonk and that I think the US is traveling a dangerous path…..but I try to keep my readers up to  date on the happenings on the world stage….

Let’s look at the latest on the North Korean deal……

North Korea doesn’t sound too happy about its latest chat with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the New York Times reports. The seats were practically still warm in Pyongyang Saturday when a North Korean spokesman called their latest nuclear talks “regrettable” and contrary to the spirit of Kim Jong Un’s summit meeting last month with President Trump. The issue? Trump’s administration is seeking “unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization,” said North Korea’s Foreign Ministry. The talks were “very concerning,” the ministry added, per the AP, and have entered a “dangerous phase that might rattle our willingness for denuclearization that had been firm.”

Pompeo had struck a more positive note after his delegation wrapped up two days of meetings with officials in Pyongyang, the Wall Street Journal reports. “These are complicated issues but we made progress on almost all of the central issues,” he said before boarding a flight to Tokyo. “Some places, a great deal of progress; other places there’s still more work to be done.” He declined to give details on the issues—like denuclearization, US economic investment in North Korea, or a timeline for repatriating US soldiers who died in the Korean War—but said the repatriation will happen “over the days that follow.” Kim, who had met with Pompeo on earlier visits, didn’t join the meeting this time around.

AS I and others have warned that there will be NOTHING simple about any deal with North Korea…..and events are bearing that warning out.

The US has been fighting in Syria for several years now in support of the “rebels” (whoever they may be) and I am always saying that we should back out and leave Syria to the Syrians….and then I read something on-line that made me wonder if there is a chance…..

Russian advisors visiting the Syrian capital Damascus are confident that the US forces will pull out of al-Tanf and will also aim to completely withdraw from north of Syria (al-Hasaka and Deir-Ezzour) in the next six months.

According to top decision makers based in Damascus, the US President Donald Trump is pushing his administration to approve an already prepared total withdrawal plan. Despite Trump’s limited knowledge of foreign policy and being unaware of the consequences of his decisions in the international arena, he found no convincing elements – said the sources, who asked to remain anonymous – in the presentation by his administration where US forces could benefit from the continuation of their presence in such a hostile environment and without suffering hits in the future.

I have said that I am concerned about the state of our alliances and then I am reminded that alliances have a tendency to mutate in one direction or the other……

“In politics, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests.” This often-quoted dictum (attributed to 19th century British statesman Lord Palmerston) has proved its validity in the realm of international relations. The fugacity of alliances and of enmities is indeed a phenomenon that the world has witnessed umpteen times.

https://intpolicydigest.org/2018/07/06/from-anwar-sadat-s-egypt-to-kim-jong-un-s-north-korea-how-alliances-mutate/

Late breaking news from DPRK (North Korea)…..the war of words returns…..

On his first trip to Pyongyang following what was billed by the Trump administration as a triumphant summit last month with Kim Jong Un, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sounded fairly upbeat, saying “progress” had been made in talks to get North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal.

North Korea apparently didn’t get the memo.

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-administration-north-korea-denuclearization-talks-d8b3ee567d65/

Pompeo said the “denuclearization” has a wide array of definitions……let that stupidity sink in.

I shall try to keep my readers up to date as best I can…..thanx for stopping by….chuq

Poverty Creeps

The political slogans of the day are all about how well the country is doing….how well the workers are doing….and that a better future is on the horizon…..

The news does not bear out the “good news” that all the Right politicos want you to believe….how shall I say that so there is NO confusing?

They are LYING!

The U.S. poverty rate in 2016 was between 12.7 and 14.0 percent. But the poverty threshold is based on an outmoded formula from the 1960s. According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the threshold should be THREE TIMES HIGHER today. And it could be even higher if the true nature of poverty is considered.

There is poverty in the diminishing quality of life for Americans who are unable to pay for medical treatment during years of declining health, and instead turn to life-threatening opioid painkillers, readily available in a nation with less than 5 percent of the world’s population and 30 percent of the world’s opioid consumption. Poverty is the lack of community support in a winner-take-all society; the stress of overwhelming debt; the steady decline of jobs that pay enough to support a family; the inability to afford a move to a desired neighborhood; the deadening impact of inequality on physical and mental well-being. The United Nations describes America as a nation near the bottom of the developed world in safety net support and economic mobility, with the highest infant mortality rate in the developed world, the world’s highest incarceration rate, and the highest obesity levels. Low-income Americans are often surrounded by food deserts, with insufficient access to clean water and sanitation, and with the pollutionlevels of third-world countries. The poorest among us are even susceptible — unbelievably — to rare tropical diseases and once-eradicated scourges like hookworm.

http://theantimedia.com/half-of-americans-poverty/

This should be unacceptable to the Right….but as usual they cannot see past the rhetoric of their leaders…..leaders that owe their souls as well as their politics to the people with the deep pockets….for lobbying, not for worker wages.

This article is just an FYI……sad that it occurs in the greatest country on the planet…..and contrary to popular Right wing beliefs….these people are not lazy or slackers or any other insult they want to throw…..they are Americans.  Period!

https://southerlymag.org/2018/07/05/the-rural-souths-invisible-public-health-crisis/

Markets do not make the economy strong….it makes those crooks running corporations wealthy….not the people.

Ever Heard Of South Sudan?

South Sudan is the newest independent country…it is a country located in Central Africa…..

A little history and geography of this new country…..

Egypt attempted to colonize the region of southern Sudan by establishing the province of Equatoria in the 1870s. Islamic Mahdist revolutionaries overran the region in 1885, but in 1898 a British force was able to overthrow the Mahdist regime. An Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was established the following year with Equatoria being the southernmost of its eight provinces. The isolated region was largely left to itself over the following decades, but Christian missionaries converted much of the population and facilitated the spread of English. When Sudan gained its independence in 1956, it was with the understanding that the southerners would be able to participate fully in the political system. When the Arab Khartoum government reneged on its promises, a mutiny began that led to two prolonged periods of conflict (1955-1972 and 1983-2005) in which perhaps 2.5 million people died – mostly civilians – due to starvation and drought. Ongoing peace talks finally resulted in a Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed in January 2005. As part of this agreement, the south was granted a six-year period of autonomy to be followed by a referendum on final status. The result of this referendum, held in January 2011, was a vote of 98% in favor of secession.
Since independence on 9 July 2011, South Sudan has struggled with good governance and nation building and has attempted to control opposition forces operating in its territory. Economic conditions have deteriorated since January 2012 when the government decided to shut down oil production following bilateral disagreements with Sudan. In December 2013, conflict between government and opposition forces killed tens of thousands and led to a dire humanitarian crisis with millions of South Sudanese displaced and food insecure. The warring parties signed a peace agreement in August 2015 that created a transitional government of national unity in April 2016. However, in July 2016, fighting broke out in Juba between the two principal signatories, plunging the country back into conflict.
That illustrates the this region knows conflict…..they know full well what it means…..but there is good news about the conflict killing many South Sudanese….
On 27 June 2018, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and former First Vice President Riek Machar, the principal adversaries in South Sudan’s civil war, signed a Declaration of Agreement in Khartoum. The declaration does not resolve major points of contention between the two leaders, deferring them to talks which are ongoing in the Sudanese capital. Moreover, nearly five years of mediation and a 2015 peace deal have failed to end South Sudan’s brutal civil war. Circumspection as to whether the Khartoum negotiations can do so is thus warranted. But for now, those talks offer the only hope, however slim, of a breakthrough. The African Union’s Peace and Security Council, and the leaders of Algeria, Chad, Nigeria, South Africa and Rwanda, who have been involved in past rounds of negotiations, should use their meetings on 30 June in Nouakchott, Mauritania to lend the Khartoum talks cautious support, while laying out clearly what they expect from next steps and the measures they would take against parties obstructing progress.
I brought this to my readers attention for I want to predict here and now that in the next decade the country of South Sudan will disappear….possibly re-absorbed by Sudan…..and this will not end the fighting or the dying…..just change the nature of who does what.