Closing Thought–27Jul18

The US has a suicide rate that is anything but envious…..our vets kill themselves….our homeless commit suicide……our bullied teens feel suicide is their only out….suicide is all too “popular” in our society……

There is a sector that is having its trouble with suicide and it is a sector that one would never consider as  problem……our farmers.

Suicide is exploding in America – and the increase isn’t confined to celebrities like Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Suicide rates have risen by an astonishing 30% since 1999, with suicidal people citing relationship stress, financial difficulties and other issues as the underlying cause.

But suicide rates have increased for some professions more than others. According to CBS, farmers are facing the highest suicide rate of any profession in the US. The suicide rate for people in the field of farming, fishing and forestry is 84.5 per 100,000 people – more than five times that of the broader population. And with retaliatory tariffs from China and the European Union set to further undermine US crop prices, a bad situation could be about to get worse. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates, making the loans on which farmers depend increasingly expensive.

Please do not think I am blaming any of this on current policies…the problem goes deeper than that…..

This is a problem that has a cure but our current system will never end the spiraling problem….plus if the tariffs do much damage the rate may even increase…

Please have a good weekend….I will see you guys tomorrow….chuq


Soldiers Returned

One of the perks of the “summit” in Singapore with Kim/Trump has bore fruit…….the return of the remains of fallen soldiers during the Korean War.

An American military plane flew into North Korea on Friday and left with the remains of US troops who were killed during the Korean War, the White House says. It’s not clear how many, but South Korea’s Yonhap news agency estimates that 50 sets of remains were transferred. The plane brought the remains to the Osan Air Base in South Korea, where forensic tests will be conducted over the next few days, reports the Washington Post. After that, the remains will be sent to Hawaii ahead of a formal repatriation ceremony scheduled for Aug. 1.

“Today’s actions represent a significant first step to recommence the repatriation of remains from North Korea and to resume field operations in North Korea to search for the estimated 5,300 Americans who have not yet returned home,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in a statement. The development comes out of the June summit between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Friday is the 65th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended hostilities.

One of the great parts of this “summit” is the return of the remains of soldiers killed.

Now the rigorous detail to ID the remains so that they can get a proper funeral.

We welcome them home finally.

Economic Good News

I know that I have not been too receptive for Our Dear Leader but I believe that when credit is due I shall give it…….

Dear Leaders economic predictions are good and this time they were damn close to his…..

It’s not traditional for presidents to comment on economic growth figures before they are released, but President Trump isn’t exactly a stickler for tradition. At a rally at an Illinois steel plant on Thursday, Trump predicted that the numbers released by the Commerce Department on Friday morning would be very good indeed, the Wall Street Journal reports. He said somebody had predicted 5.3% growth, which he didn’t think would happen, but he’d be happy with anything over around 3.7%. “These are unthinkable numbers,” Trump said. “If I would have used these numbers during the campaign, the fake news back there would’ve said he’s exaggerating.”

At a rally in Iowa earlier Thursday, Trump told the crowd that there had been a lot of predictions—”some with a 5 in front of it.” He predicted it would be close, though economists surveyed by the Journal believe a figure of around 4.4% second-quarter growth is more likely. In his Illinois speech, Trump credited his tariffs with boosting the economy and helping the Granite City steel plant reopen, Fox News reports. “After years of shutdowns and cutbacks … workers are back on the job, and we are once again pouring new American steel back into the spine of our country,” he said.

The funniest part of that was the use of “traditionally”…..

But let’s not stop there……there is more good news for Our Dear Leader to use to his advantage…..

The Commerce Department reports that the gross domestic product, the country’s total output of goods and services, posted its best showing since a 4.9% gain in the third quarter of 2014. The Wall Street Journal notes the Q2 2017 GDP was 2.8%. Trump predicts growth will accelerate under his economic policies. But private forecasters cautioned that the April-June pace is unsustainable because it stems from temporary factors. The rest of the year is likely to see good, but slower growth of around 3%. Still, the Journal suspects this strong report will keep the Fed on track to raise its benchmark rate to 2% or 2.25% in September.

The news is good and I hope that it keeps up……we all could use with a bit of good economic news, right?

The Later Crusades

Most people even if they are not a history buff will know of the 1st Crusade and the adventurism into the Holy Land in the name of Christ…..but that was not the only Crusade to try and expel the Muslim usurpers from the “Holy Land”…..

There were a couple of minor Crusades after the First….the Crusade of the Faint Hearted 1101…the Venetian Crusade and then we come to the Second Crusade of 1147…..but what happened after 1150?

Then came the Third Crusade…….

1187 saw the crusader kingdoms reach their low point. The crusaders fought amongst themselves, while at the same time Saladin was unifying large parts of the Muslim world, eventually coming to surround the crusaders. Despite this, the crusaders failed to observe their truce with Saladin, and eventually Saladin decided on war. In June 1187 he invaded Palestine. Guy of Lusignan, king of Jerusalem, was able to raise an army of almost equal size to Saladins’, but it was badly led, and the crusaders suffered a decisive defeat at the battle of Hattin (4 July 1187). Guy was captured, while the most able Crusader leader, Raymond of Tripoli, died of his wounds after the battle. The aftermath of the defeat saw the effective end of all but a tiny remnant of the crusader kingdoms. With their garrisons lost, Saladin was able to capture most cities, including Tiberias, Acre and Ascalon. Only at Tyre, where a combination of strong defences, and the arrival of Conrad of Montferrat with fresh troops thwarted Saladin. From Tyre, he moved on Jerusalem, which surrendered to him on 2 October 1187. News of the loss of Jerusalem broke on a stunned Europe, where moves were soon in hand for a fresh crusade, the Third. However, for the moment those crusaders left in Palestine has to survive.

Then there was the 4th Crusade to recapture the lost city of Jerusalem from the Muslims……

The Fourth Crusade was actually conceived in 1199 at a jousting tournament held by Thibaut, Count of Champagne, at Ecry-sur-Aisne in northern France. There, in a sudden wave of mass emotion, the assembled knights and barons fell to their knees weeping for the captive Holy Land. They swore solemn oaths to go as armed pilgrims to wrest it from the infidels. In the months that followed, the crusade took form in a series of feudal assemblies headed by Count Thibaut; Baldwin, Count of Flanders; and Louis, Count of Blois. Rather than wear out their army by a long land march through hostile territory, the leaders decided to reach Egypt by sea. A delegation of six trusted knights went to Venice, the leading seafaring city of Western Europe, to arrange for passage. One of those envoys, Geoffrey of Villehardouin, Marshal of Champagne, later wrote a chronicle of the expedition.

The 4th failed to do what it intended to do…….which was pretty much every Crusade’s fate for 1200 on……time wasted, people dead and resources squandered all in the name of religion……some things never change.

Not to worry there were 6 more Crusades before 1291….after that year there were 6 more crusades until 1481…..

It seems that a Crusade was a popular past time in the Middle Ages.

Gunboats Are Circling!

I am sure that we all remember Dear Leader’s threats to North Korea’s Kim…the “Fire and Fury” thingy…..well he, Dear Leader, did not stop there he has extended his bullying to Iran…..


That is what we foreign policy wonks call “Gunboat Diplomacy”… what does that mean?

“Gunboat diplomacy” refers to a foreign policy that relies on force or the threat of force. To some extent, such an approach to foreign policy has always existed between empires and nations. But in the American political lexicon the term is most commonly applied to U.S. foreign policy in the Caribbean, Central America, and the northern tier of South America during the first three decades of the 20th century. Thereafter, this policy gave way to the “Good Neighbor Policy” formulated first by Herbert Hoover and then put into practice by Franklin D. Roosevelt, whereby the United States would commit to refraining from armed intervention in Latin America.

One of the first examples of American gunboat diplomacy was the mission of Comm. Matthew C. Perry, who steamed with eight ships, one-third of the U.S. Navy, to “open” Japan to trade with the United States in 1853. When Perry returned, as promised, the next year, the Tokugawa Shogunate agreed to the Treaty of Kanagawa in part out of recognition of what unbridled European powers were doing in nearby China. Naval shows-of-force followed in Korea, Hawaii, and China.

Teddy’s “Carry a big stick” was an extension of Gunboat Diplomacy”……I refresh my readers memory because it appears that Dear Leader is reverting back to this type of foreign policy……

The situation in Latin America is becoming more volatile….Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Nicaragua, etc…….How will Dear Leader handle the coming crisis?

News media outlets are abuzz with reports that President Trump told aides in August 2017 to prepare a contingency plan for U.S. military intervention in Venezuela. The president apparently indicated considerable interest in that option. His security advisers reportedly pushed back firmly, arguing that resorting to military force would have significant adverse repercussions. For example, they warned it could cause a surge of anti-U.S. sentiment throughout the Western Hemisphere. Although their opposition caused the president to put his flirtation with that drastic measure on hold, there is no evidence that he has renounced it. Indeed, given the worrisome political, economic, and security developments in Venezuela, Central America, and Mexico, there is a significant chance that President Trump or a future occupant of the White House will give that option serious consideration.

There may be a tendency to forget that U.S. military coercion of troublesome regimes in the Western hemisphere was once a major item in Washington’s foreign policy toolbox. That approach, so-called gunboat diplomacy, led to numerous military interventions during the first three decades of the twentieth century. That was especially true in Central America and the Caribbean. Washington launched multiple invasions and occupations of countries such as Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. Even Mexico, a much larger and stronger country, was not immune to Washington’s imperialism. During Woodrow Wilson’s administration, U.S. forces seized the port city of Veracruz and sent an expeditionary force deep into northern Mexico in an attempt to apprehend Pancho Villa and his armed rebels.

I know that the majority of Dear Leaders advisers would attack Iran tomorrow if they thought they could get away with it…..I hear he will convene his National Security Council soon and there is something they should consider (According to the Modern War Institute)

If President Donald Trump’s most recent tweets about Iran are any indication, a military confrontation with Iran is not off the table. And yet, there is almost certainly little consensus, even within the administration, about the wisdom of such a course of action. Mark Perry’s recent Foreign Policy article about Defense Secretary James Mattis’s efforts to avert war with Iran notes Mattis harbors no illusions regarding Iranian threats, but that he is also keenly aware any military strike would have broad and negative repercussions for the United States. One such repercussion is how an Iranian conflict might lead to regime change, possibly forcing the United States into another occupation in the region. Even the most hawkish US officials are not eager at the prospect of another foreign occupation. Occupations are something the United States has struggled with, most notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, since war rarely goes according to plan, the circumstances and situations war creates demand policymakers evaluate countless “what if” scenarios; including the possibility of a military strike escalating into regime change and a subsequent occupation.

Just what the US needs yet another nightmare scenario….we have had enough of them with Afghanistan and Iraq….so where is the logic in making another one?

I realize that Dear Leader does not believe the old axiom…”Might Does Not Make Right”…….but he continues to thump his chest like a sex crazed primate…..and the nation will suffer.

SUFFER?  Now there is the one word that supporters of Our Dear Leader will fixate on a demand to know what I mean by “SUFFER”…..just so there is NO confusion… suffer I mean the loss of human life….the loss of taxpayer money that goes unaccounted for……and the loss of oversight by Congress….do you get the picture now?

Since too many of his supporters go to the Closing Thought only then they have missed anything that I may have written earlier…so I feel for their convenience I feel I need to explain everything so they do not look stupid.

Why Not Yemen?

For several years now the Saudis have been killing Yemenis at an alarming rate….they call it a conflict against aggression of a Houthi minority… is nothing more than a rich monarchy at odds with a poor country to its South……..a country they could possibly end this war in a couple of days if it wanted to….but instead continues to bomb civilians that have no connection to the would-be “bad guys”……

Never a mention on the media….or for that matter nothing being said by our politicians….so this conflict is out of sight out of mind……

Speaking of the media……Stormy Daniels has had 400+ stories and Yemen none…..

On July 2, a year had passed since the cable network’s last segment mentioning US participation in the war on Yemen, which has killed in excess of 15,000 people and resulted in over a million cases of cholera. The US is backing a Saudi-led bombing campaign with intelligence, refueling, political cover, military hardware and, as of March, ground troops. None of this matters at all to what Adweek (4/3/18) calls “the network of the Resistance,” which has since its last mention of the US’s role in the destruction of Yemen found time to run over a dozen segments highlighting war crimes committed by the Syrian and Russian governments in Syria.

By way of contrast, as MSNBC was marking a year without mentioning the US role in Yemen, the PBS NewsHour was running a three-part series on the war, with the second part (7/3/18) headlined, “American-Made Bombs in Yemen Are Killing Civilians, Destroying Infrastructure and Fueling Anger at the US.” The NewsHour’s Jane Ferguson reported:

Children trapped in cave warrants massive coverage…..children dying from Saudi attacks warrants zip….zilch….nothing….bumpkus…..

Hundreds of thousands of people showed up across the United States at more than 600 gatherings three weeks ago. They came out to protest Donald Trump‘s “zero tolerance” immigration policy in highly choreographed, Democratic Party-affiliated “Families Belong Together” rallies and marches. Liberal celebrities marched and spoke. Local, state, and federal Democratic Party politicians and office-holders gave passionate speeches denouncing Trump’s separation of Central American migrant children from their parents at the southern U.S. border.

Marchers carried signs expressing their concern for children and families. Here are some of the messages written on the posters displayed at these gatherings:

When did the murder of children become acceptable?

Apparently when the media tells us it is acceptable…..