Closing Thought–12Dec18

It appears that things are not getting better for the citizens of the US when it comes to life expectancy…..

In 1918, the double whammy of World War I and the worldwide flu pandemic drove down American life expectancy for a third year in a row. A century later, another triple-year decline has been recorded—and this time, suicide and drug overdoses are major causes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual report, US life expectancy dropped to 78 years and 7 months in 2017, down around a month from the year before, the AP reports. Men could expect to live 76.1 years, and women 81.1. Public health experts called the statistics alarming, noting that early deaths among middle-aged people did the most to bring life expectancy down. After 22 years of steady rises, life expectancy dropped in 2015 and again in 2016, though it will need to drop a lot more to reach the level of 1918, when life expectancy was 39.

“These sobering statistics are a wake-up call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a statement. Another CDC report found that the number of drug overdose deaths rose almost 6,600 in 2017 to 70,237, CNN reports. The suicide rate rose to its highest in at least 50 years, with rates much higher in rural counties than in urban ones. Another factor was a harsh flu season. Experts say they find it worrying that in the US, life expectancy is going in a different direction than in most developed nations. “Life expectancy is improving in many places in the world. It shouldn’t be declining in the United States,” Joshua Sharfstein at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health tells the Washington Post. (A recent study predicted that by 2040, there will be 63 countries with higher life expectancy than the US.)

Technology and medical leaps have done little to make the life span of an American get any longer……we can only hope that these stats get better…..but I do not feel they will….not in today’s world.

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Entitlement Reform? (The GOP 2019 Song)

Some things never change……with the news of  an ever expanding deficit and the spineless GOP has the lame same idea as in the past….entitlement reform.  Pathetic pack of losers and even more so now with the King Don in the Oval Office.

With all the drama that leaks from the White House…..nothing is being said about the deficit.  Nothing is being said that the worthless tax cuts are expanding the deficit….that is until today when GOPer Sasse of Nebraska told Morning Joe that he wants to work on entitlement reform to help the deficit.

I love this crap!  The GOP will focus on deficit control after blowing it up with their massive tax cuts for rich bastards….this is a continuing story…once they, the GOP, are in the minority the deficit and entitlement reform is primary on their minds but when in majority it means little and is seldom mentioned…..these toads are all too predictable.

Finally a true GOPer…..blame the deficit on entitlements and not on their stupidity with the budget for the Pentagon or those  worthless tax cuts of 2018.

But what are these reforms that the GOP will embrace?

Paul Ryan made the TV rounds giddily hawking his plan, saying, “Do we want to get entitlement reform? Of course we do.

His intentions could hardly be clearer, but there are still people out there worried about stating this fact too openly. Earlier this month, Maya MacGuineas, president of the non-profit Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

“Gutting,” of course, is exactly what Republicans mean when they talk about “reforming” “entitlement” programs. But MacGuineas was correct to point out the many politically loaded words partisans throw around when talking about programs that benefit poor Americans (with “reform” being high up on that list.)

https://splinternews.com/what-we-really-mean-when-we-talk-about-entitlement-refo-1821222884

Let’s look at the most recent news about the deficit…….

The federal budget deficit has surged to $779 billion in fiscal 2018, its highest level in six years as President Trump’s tax cuts caused the government to borrow more heavily in order to cover its spending. The Treasury Department said Monday that the deficit climbed $113 billion from fiscal 2017, the AP reports. Debt will likely worsen in the coming years with the Trump administration expecting the deficit to top $1 trillion in 2019, nearly matching the $1.1 trillion imbalance from 2012. The deficit worsened because tax revenues are not keeping pace with government spending. The government’s fiscal year runs from October to September, unlike calendar years that begin in January. Tax revenues were essentially flat in fiscal 2018, while spending increased 3.2% as Congress gave more funds for military and domestic programs.

Revenues generally tumbled after December when Trump signed into law $1.5 trillion of tax cuts over the next decade. The tax cuts have caused economic growth to accelerate this year with Federal Reserve officials anticipating gains of 3.1%. But the Trump administration initially promised that the tax cuts would pay for themselves through stronger growth—and there is no sign so far of that happening. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin suggested in a statement that the underlying source of the widening deficit was growth in government spending, rather than the tax cuts. “Going forward the President’s economic policies that have stimulated strong economic growth, combined with proposals to cut wasteful spending, will lead America toward a sustainable financial path,” Mnuchin said. But William Gale, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, noted that the tax cuts are unlikely to generate a long-term bump in economic growth

The deficit is Ryan’s biggest nightmare….which in itself is a self inflicted wound…..because of the GOPs policies the deficit expands…..

Rep. Paul Ryan said one of the biggest disappointments from his term as House speaker was his inability to address the growing mountain of federal debt.

“On healthcare itself and debt and deficits, it’s the one that got away,” Ryan said at a Washington Post event.

As speaker, Ryan helped oversee a rise in spending that is already adding to the deficit. Under his tenure, the amount of outstanding federal debt grew by just over $2 trillion, and the federal deficit expanded from $438 billion in the 2015 fiscal year to $779 billion in the 2018 fiscal year.

https://www.businessinsider.com/paul-ryan-federal-debt-deficit-gop-tax-law-2018-11

2019 will bring the GOP chest thumping about the deficit…..any person that watches our system at work can see just how hypocritical the GOP is…always…..

It gets humorous at the attacks on the people of the US as the cause of the deficit soaring……the truth (no GOPer wants to hear that)….is their massive budget increases for the Pentagon and then those worthless tax cuts of 2018 have done more than any entitlement program.

Of course the GOP will say that Dems hate the Pentagon and the military and that they do not want Americans to have more money……THEY ARE LIES!

The honest approach would be to have all income including bonuses pay into the system….and that taxes be paid according to income…..those are simple fixes that will go NO where.

For those that want to debate entitlement reform……this is a collection of cards that can be printed and used as a reference….

https://www.vox.com/cards/entitlement-reform/what-is-entitlement-reform

Further Reading:

https://mic.com/articles/61613/what-the-debate-over-entitlement-reform-is-really-about#.dUIM5n33I

Make Mine Dirty!

I wish I was talking about a martini….but something a bit more potentate……..

I am always looking at the news from around the world trying to see what could be the next ‘big’ attack from a group of deranged terrorists…..to me I believe it is going to be a dirty bomb of some fashion….

A few of my posts on the subject of a dirty bomb….

https://lobotero.com/2016/03/07/in-search-of-a-poor-mans-nuke/

https://lobotero.com/2016/02/22/nuke-material-update/

Over the weekend when I was reading my correspondence I found another piece about the subject of a dirty bomb this time in Southeast Asia….

In August 2018, Malaysian authorities reported the disappearance of an industrial device containing radioactive material. The device was lost while being transported from Negri Sembilan to Selangor by two technicians employed at a company that provides testing, calibration and inspection services to heavy industries. There are concerns that the unknown amount of radioactive iridium contained in the device could cause radiation exposure or be used as a weapon, otherwise known as a ‘dirty bomb’. The incident was a reminder that nuclear security demands attention in Southeast Asia.

While nuclear security is often understood to be about securing nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons, it is also very much about the security of radioactive materials that are under the state’s regulatory, export and licensing control. As defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), nuclear security is ‘the prevention and detection of, and response to, theft, sabotage, unauthorized access, illegal transfer or other malicious acts involving nuclear material, other radioactive substances or their associated facilities’. Although there are no nuclear power plants in Southeast Asia, radioactive sources are widely used for civilian application in medical, industrial, agricultural and scientific research fields. For instance, radioactive sources are present in 17 hospitals in Thailand and seven hospitals in the Philippines.

http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2018/12/04/stopping-dirty-bombs-in-southeast-asia/

These types of devices are a poor man’s nuke…..Hell one can make a dirty bomb out of smoke detectors…..we need to be ever vigil for it is only a matter of time before some knuckle-head gives this a try.

The Return To Somalia

Recently the East African nation of Somalia has been in the news more so than in the years since “Black Hawk Down” incident…first the US is re-opening the embassy in Somalia…..

Image result for Somalia images

In a sign of how much the security situation in Somalia’s capital has improved, the US has established a permanent diplomatic presence there for the first time in almost 28 years. In a sign of how dangerous Mogadishu remains, many staffers will remain at the US diplomatic mission to Somalia based in Nairobi, Kenya. The State Department said the permanent diplomatic mission was opened in a small ceremony Sunday. “This historic event reflects Somalia’s progress in recent years,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement, per the BBC. The department still lists Somalia as “Level 4: Do Not Travel,” and it’s not clear whether Ambassador Donald Yamamoto will be moving to Mogadishu from Nairobi.

The US closed and evacuated its embassy in Mogadishu at the start of 1991 as Somalia’s civil war intensified and the government collapsed. Officials have not disclosed how many diplomatic personnel will be moving to Mogadishu, where the US already had a facility for visiting staffers from Nairobi inside the heavily guarded airport security zone, ABC News reports. The announcement of the restoration of the permanent diplomatic presence comes 26 years to the day after George HW Bush announced that 20,000 American troops would be sent to the country to “save thousands of innocents from death.” They were withdrawn after 18 service members were killed in the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” incident.

Is this for some diplomatic mission?  I cannot see it since diplomacy is not a priority for the Trump admin…..could it be because our military has an expanding role in the country?

Since taking office, the Trump Administration has dramatically increased lethal strikes in Somalia. U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has carried out more than 30 strikes in each of 2017 and 2018, more than twice the previous highest total during the Obama presidency. As part of a recent series of strikes in Somalia, on Nov. 20, the U.S. military conducted a “planned and deliberate” airstrike that the U.S. military claimed killed as many as 27 members of al-Shabaab.

AFRICOM said, as it has in numerous cases, that the operation did not kill or injure any civilians. Such claims require greater scrutiny in the wake of repeated allegations of civilian casualties in Somalia by U.S. and U.S.-backed Somali forces in the past two years. The impact on the ground in Somalia also raises serious questions about the effectiveness of this approach and whether the United States would be better served by exploring alternatives.

https://www.justsecurity.org/61708/u-s-lethal-operations-somalia-rise-effective/

The Somali military has an expanding role in conjunction with the US in the battle with the terrorist group called…..al Shabab…..

A large military operation against al-Shabaab is underway in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region, with locals from a farming village reporting that they’ve heard gunfire and explosions overnight.

Somali officials reported a joint operation involving their own commandos and US ground troops attacking a pair of highway checkpoints under the control of al-Shabaab, and which the group has been using to charge tolls to passing commercial vehicles.

There was more fighting clearly than just the two checkpoints. Locals reported that the whole area has been “sealed off,” including the farming village. The US also reportedly carried out two airstrikes against the area, reportedly destroying a minibus that Somali officials believe was full of explosives.

(antiwar.com)

Another region for another American war of intervention and another source of profit for the M-IC…..the real reason for American adventurism…..the smell of cash has started a many of a war…..