Screw Those Veterans Again!

Closing Thought–23Jan19

Everybody knows that the federal deficit is outrageous…..and everybody has a party that has a plan to control the deficit…..the only problem it is seldom that important until election time and then it is paramount and will destroy the nation if not brought under control.

All that is pure rancid manure spread by small minded idiots in the Right.

As usual the way to control the deficit is by screw someone in society…..the poor, the aging and the veterans…..well the CBO has a good plan to screw the veterans again……

Some vets use the VA but more have access to Tricare…….and this is where the CBO said changes needed to be made……

With the federal deficit expected to top $1 trillion this year, the Congressional Budget Office in December published a list of options for reducing the imbalance over the next 10 years, including three suggestions on Tricare and six that address veterans benefits.

In its Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2019 to 2028, the CBO laid out 121 opportunities for curtailing spending and raising revenue. These include raising Tricare enrollment fees for military retirees, instituting enrollment fees for Tricare for Life and reducing veterans benefits.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/01/14/cbo-suggests-raising-tricare-fees-cutting-veteran-benefits-slash-deficit.html

Here’s a better idea….since the problem is a lack of income thanks to all the mindless tax cuts for decades….approve the higher tax on the uber-rich and increase the income….will not solve all the problems but will help the loss of income.

History proves that taxing the rich is beneficial…..

Do high taxes really hurt the economy as much as they believe, and will lowering them have much of an impact on stimulating it? The economic literature is clear — tax breaks to encourage economic relocation or investment decisions are inefficient and wasteful. Hundreds of studies reach this conclusion. When businesses are surveyed regarding factors important to their investment decisions, taxes often come in behind proximity to markets, suppliers, and the quality of the labor force. These other factors occupy a larger percentage of a business’s budget than do taxes, and all of them are far more critical to long-term success than are taxes. Businesses occasionally admit this. Nearly 62 percent of those interviewed in a California study on hiring tax credits indicated that they had never or rarely affected their decision to employ individuals.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/01/09/tax-the-rich-history-proves-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-may-be-correct/

Please stop believing the LIE that tax cuts are beneficial!  They help very few and raise the deficit….time to consider the alternatives to GOP bullsh*t.

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Thunderball!

Okay I admit it…I was a huge James Bond fan in my youth…I read all the Ian Fleming books and saw all the movies started with the first one “Dr. No” in 1962 I believe……and was disappointed when Sean Connery left the franchise…..but I digress….I remember the most visually stunning Bond movie at the time “Thunderball”……the trailer may help jog the memory….

 
Most of my readers know that I do enjoy a history lesson now and then…..most find it boring but if they knew it all then history is anything but boring.
 
I have waxed nostalgic for a reason…..the story line that SPECTRE has hijacked a plane carrying 4 hydrogen bombs was based a bit on reality….

On January 17, 1966, a B-52 bomber of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) carrying four hydrogen bombs collided with a tanker during mid-air refueling at 31,000 feet over the Mediterranean off the coast of Spain. The tanker was completely destroyed when its fuel load ignited, killing all four crew members. The B-52 broke apart, killing three of the seven crew members aboard.

Three hydrogen bombs were found on land near the small fishing village of Palomares. However, the non-nuclear explosives in two of the weapons detonated upon impact with the ground, resulting in the contamination of 490 acres. The fourth fell into the sea and was eventually recovered intact after a 2½-month-long search.

News stories related to the crash began to appear the following day, and it achieved front page status in both the New York Times and Washington Post on 20 January. Reporters sent to the accident scene covered angry demonstrations by the local residents. The incident had an eerie similarity with the recently released James Bond movie Thunderball, in which SPECTRE steals two NATO H-bombs, which end up submerged on the ocean floor of the Bahamas.

On 4 February, an underground Communist organization successfully initiated a protest by 600 people in front of the U.S. Embassy in Spain. Soil with high radiation contamination levels was placed in drums and shipped to the Savannah River Plant in South Carolina for burial. A total of 5.4 acres was decontaminated, producing 6,000 barrels.

In 2006, Reuters reported that higher than normal levels of radiation were detected in the region. In 2009, the Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos told Secretary Hillary Clinton that he feared Spanish public opinion might turn against the U.S. once the results of the study on nuclear contamination were to be revealed. Earl Wilson was Director for the U.S. Information Service (USIS) in Madrid and was interviewed in 1988.

 
Fascinating stuff…history has lots of these “untold” stories that can stimulate the imagination.
 
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Take It To The Streets

Before the governmental shutdown there was the news about the “yellow vests” protests in France…..(bear with me the point will come in a moment)….

Paris and other large cities in France are bracing for violence this weekend. “Yellow vest” protesters promise to be out in force, and police promise to be there to meet them. One potential sign of good news: Representatives of the protesters will meet with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe Friday night. “Our message is that we are listening to them,” says a government spokesman. A look at what the protests are about, and the mounting criticism on President Emmanuel Macron:

  • The start: The original protests were over a fuel tax increase, part of a plan to steer France toward cleaner energy. Macron has since scrapped the tax hike in the wake of the protests in the first big about-face of his presidency, notes Reuters. But the protests have gone way beyond that single issue at this point.
  • Much bigger: “This is now about so much more than fuel tax,” one of the protesters, a 41-year-old single mom, tells the Guardian. “We seem to live in a world gone mad where the rich pay next to nothing and the poor are constantly taxed.” The newspaper sums up the complaints: Macron presents himself as a progressive to the world, but at home, he defends the old guard and is seen as “an arrogant, would-be monarch.” Protesters now want reform on a wide range of cost-of-living issues.
  • A pattern: The fuel tax “was the latest of several reforms proposed by Macron that would disproportionately affect France’s least well-off, including abolishing a wealth tax, making it easier for companies to hire and fire employees, and fighting unions,” per the Washington Post.
  • Not helping: images (like this one) of police forcing protesting high school students to get on the ground with their hands behind their heads. Critics say the police, in ski masks, used undue force in the incident. “You don’t beat up kids,” a trade union representative tells Le Monde, per the AP.
  • Miscalculation: Moving toward cleaner energy might be a noble move, but the UK director of the European Climate Foundation says Macron went about it wrong. His “policy didn’t fail because it taxed carbon,” writes Joss Garman in Politico. “It failed because it was a bad, regressive policy that hit the poorest hardest.” Something like this requires a creative approach, not a “blunt” tax put into place without the public’s approval.
  • Miscalculation, II: Analysts quoted in the New York Times echo the above point. They “say the French tax was not politically deft, falling hardest on people outside French cities who were already feeling the pain of stagnating incomes and who do not have the same mass transportation options as urban residents.” The government, for example, could have figured out ways to soften the blow on low-income families.
  • Survival: At Vanity Fair, Isobel Thompson wonders whether the 40-year-old Macron can survive this “civil war.” As in the Guardian piece, she says he has developed a “reputation for arrogance and classism.” He needs to drop those traits fast and truly listen to the protesters. “If Macron can successfully show that climate change and progressive social policy do not have to be mutually exclusive, he could quell France’s popular revolt, restore his credibility, and become the global leader he already presumes himself to be, “she writes. “Nobody said it will be easy.”
  • A ‘monster’: In the meantime, France’s interior minister says the protests have created a “monster” and warns that “radical elements” may infiltrate them, reports the BBC. As for Macron, he is due to address the nation early next week.
  • The name: “Yellow vests,” or “gilets jaunes,” refers to the safety vests many of the protesters wear. French motorists are required to have them in the car.

I know that was a lot to take in but now I will make my point….what would you think would be happening in  France if 800,00 workers were thrown out of work and what would happen if workers were told they had to work without pay?

There would be bigger protests than they are having now…..then why is the US worker so timid about protest.

My theory is that the US labor movement is anemic thanks to all the years of BS and laws to lessen their effect…..GOP and business lies about unions and the Dems sitting on their hands….they also are to blame for the anemic labor movement…..time for that to CHANGE!

The protests now are basically just small groups chanting and carrying signs….that get no one’s attention!  Bring the pain for the government!  The workers are in pain time for the representatives to feel the pain as well.

Get off your butts and take it to the streets!

And after the BS help grow the labor movement….that voice is sadly missing ….let us return the voice to the streets.

Thank you for bearing through this post and for you kind effort a couple of songs videos to soothe and agitate…..

That Fragile Masculinity

Ever noticed the white guys that shave their heads?  Some do it because they are going bald…..think about that for a minute….then others rush to find the “magic” cure for baldness…..those “magic” treatments….like Propecia….

And that is where Trump comes in……

In a snicker-worthy disclosure by President Donald Trump’s longtime personal physician, readers of The New York Times learned Thursday that the leader of the free world takes a small daily dose of the drug finasteride ― otherwise known as Propecia ― which is used to treat male-pattern baldness.

The revelation by Dr. Harold N. Bornstein that the president uses a prostate-related drug to grow scalp hair was not previously known publicly, according to the Times story, and appears to explain why Trump has a very low level of prostate specific antigen, or PSA, a marker sometimes used to diagnose prostate cancer. The newspaper said it had four telephone conversations with Bornstein, whose office is in Manhattan, about Trump’s overall health.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-propecia-haiir-loss_n_58936376e4b06f344e4058a6

Vanity!

Onward to the meat of this post…..that male ego.

Back during WW2 a psychologist was asked to dissect Hitler’s personality……it was for an intel gathering report.

Fast forward to 2016 and the candidacy of D. Trump and a bunch of shrinks got together and dissected Trump’s personality…..of course his supporters went bat crap crazy…..saying you cannot make a long distance diagnosis (I agree with that assertion) but it has been done before and was used…..so why can’t these shrinks do it today?

In case you were interested in what the “shrinks” had to say……https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-time-cure/201709/the-dangerous-case-donald-trump

I have tried to understand why so many men support this person as president…..

Two psychologists at New York University have conducted a study showing how President Donald Trump appeals directly to men who suffer from what they call “fragile masculinity.”

Writing in the Washington Post, New York University psychology professor Eric Knowles and NYU psychology doctoral student Sarah DiMuccio claim that many male Trump supporters feel far more insecure in their own masculinity than they’d have you believe — and they are drawn to Trump’s authoritarian rhetoric because it makes them feel more powerful.

https://www.rawstory.com/2018/11/trump-appeals-men-suffer-fragile-masculinity-psychologists/

That explains so much……

Then there is that male masculinity……

There’s an ideology out there affecting boys and men, and the American Psychological Association says it’s “harmful.” The Los Angeles Timesreports on the APA’s first official warning on the toxicity of “traditional masculinity,” which “has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence mental health and physical health.” Featured this month in the APA’s Monitor on Psychology magazine, the “APA Guidelines for the Psychological Practice with Boys and Men”—a 13-year effort that involved scientists poring over more than four decades of research—notes the harmful effects tied to traditionally masculine traits, including being competitive, aggressive, and stoic. The APA offers some stats to back up its claim: Men in the US, for instance, commit 90% more homicides than women.

Also holding sway “over large segments of the population” are such traits as “anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence.” The report notes that by males conforming to these traits, they may bury their feelings and pretend things are OK when they’re not, which could, down the line, lead to sexual harassment, homophobia, and violence. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes that, per the study, men show disproportionate rates of substance abuse, cardiovascular issues, early mortality, and quality-of-life problems, among others, yet tend to not seek needed help—and even when they do, many say their male-related issues aren’t addressed. Not that the APA thinks every single aspect of traditional masculinity is harmful: Leadership and courage, for example, are positive traits boys and men should strive toward, the group says.

This is interesting because the new crop of female Congresspeople are making a name for themselves and in doing do so seem to be threatening the fragile men’s masculinity……these men have been in “control” for so long that the threat of women stepping in to the power centers has them running scared….even attacking women in their party.

Why do they feel their masculinity is being attacked?  Just because strong independent women are being elected or maybe they feel the “good old boy” system is coming to an end.

North Korea Returns

WE have great news that light of our lives, Trump, will once again have a glad hand meeting with Lil Kim of the North Korea……

President Trump will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month, Reuters reports. The White House tweeted news of the planned “second summit” Friday after Trump reportedly met with North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol for an hour and a half and talked about denuclearization and another Trump-Kim meeting. The tweet said the location of the meet-up is TBD, but Vietnam and Thailand may be contenders, according to reports. The fact that the envoy ventured to Washington DC (North Korean officials typically have to stay near the UN in New York) and Trump’s willingness to meet with him are signs that the president is “eager to jump-start stalled nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang,” Politico says. Trump and Kim first met face-to-face last June in Singapore.

Like the report stated no location has come to the forefront…. but I think some place warm will be advised……

I realize that most Americans have a very short attention span…..so let me help you with a quick review of the last “summit” of the two goombas…..

https://lobotero.com/2018/05/22/north-korea-as-the-date-draws-near/

https://lobotero.com/2018/06/19/those-talks-with-north-korea/

https://lobotero.com/2018/07/03/north-korea-continues-to-unravel/

I have seen NO progress other than NK making nice with its Southern cousins……What would make this “summit” possible?

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Tuesday he hopes to extend his high-stakes nuclear summitry with President Donald Trump into 2019, but also warns Washington not to test North Koreans’ patience with sanctions and pressure, the AP reports. During his televised New Year’s speech, Kim said he’s ready to meet with Trump at any time to produce an outcome “welcomed by the international community.” However, he said the North will be forced to take a different path if the United States “continues to break its promises and misjudges the patience of our people by unilaterally demanding certain things and pushes ahead with sanctions and pressure.” Kim also said the United States should continue to halt its joint military exercises with ally South Korea and not deploy strategic military assets to the South.

All this “diplomacy” (a laugh statement at best) has been about the nukes that NK has or is planning to develop right? and I think that other things might need to be included…that is if Trump can talk and chew gum at the same time…

What could be so important?

Ever heard of biological weapons?

…the vividness of the nuclear threat has overshadowed other weapons programs, limiting the attention and policy input that they deserve. This paper focuses on North Korea’s biological weapons (BW).

Accurately assessing the threat from North Korea’s biological weapons is challenging. Whereas North Korea has publicly declared its will to become a nuclear power many times, it has been less overt about its intention or capability for biological weapons. BW capabilities are inherently hard to detect and measure. While nuclear programs can be monitored by the number of nuclear tests and the success of missile tests, weaponizing and cultivating pathogens can stay invisible behind closed doors. Moreover, equipment used for BW production are often dual-use for agriculture, making external monitoring and verification virtually impossible. Limited information on North Korea’s BW program leads to a low threat perception that may undermine preparation and response efforts.

https://www.belfercenter.org/publication/north-koreas-biological-weapons-program-known-and-unknown

Please don’t get me wrong I am pleased that US and NK are talking…..and these talks should cover a wide array of WMDs….unfortunately the underlying feelings is that these meetings are nothing better than a coffee clutch….a photo op for PR purposes.

But I am with others that are saying “Don’t waste another “summit””…….

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un have agreed to meet for a second summit at the end of next month. Agreeing to this was probably a mistake — but to have any hope of producing results, Trump will have to prepare much more carefully than he did last time.

There’s been virtually no progress in meeting even the vague goals set out in the communique from the first summit. The North has taken only cosmetic steps toward dismantling its nuclear and long-range missile programs, while continuing to produce missiles and fissile material. And it has so far refused to provide an inventory of its arsenals — a minimum starting point for more detailed negotiations.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-01-20/trump-shouldn-t-waste-second-north-korea-summit-with-kim-jong-un

But let’s say there is a “summit”…..will it be another top secret meeting of two overweight leaders exchanging burger?  Or will there be a road map to some sort of progress?

There is a possibility of complete denuclearization of North Korea in the years to come. But Washington needs to handle diplomacy in a manner similar to steps taken toward normalization of relations with Vietnam. Those steps involved a Road Map involving graduated unilateral confidence building measures on both sides. When Step 1 was completed, the two countries then went on to Step 2 and similarly to Step 3 and later achieved complete normalization of relations.

https://original.antiwar.com/Michael_Haas/2019/01/18/where-is-the-north-korean-road-map/

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