Closing Thought–22Apr19

Happy Earth Day!

The news out of Paris about the fire that destroyed Notre Dame has gotten crazier than I would have thought……

First, the conspiracy that it was a cover-up of a terrorist attack……this is silly….there have been several attacks in France and they were not “covered up”…

Next as the donations pour inthere is a bit of controversy…..

The $1 billion raised to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral is now receiving a dose of controversy. The Washington Post is among several outlets reporting that criticism is mounting in regard to income inequality about the large donations that came from billionaires like Francois-Henri Pinault and Bernard Arnault. While most want to see Notre Dame restored to its former glory or beyond, critics see the donations as proving “social problems could be quickly addressed if the wealthy were motivated to do so,” per USA Today. “If two men … can provide [$337 million] to restore Notre Dame, within six hours, then there is enough money in the world to feed every mouth, shelter every family and educate every child,” writes Carl Kinsella at Joe.ie. “The failure to do so is a matter of will, and a matter of system.”


Adds journalist Simon Allison, who is based in South Africa: “In just a few hours today, 650 million euros was donated to rebuild Notre Dame. In six months, just 15 million euros has been pledged to restore Brazil’s National Museum. I think this is what they call white privilege.” Critics were pointing to other examples, including the need for money to ease the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Though the French government usually grants corporations a 60% tax deduction on culture donations, Pinault and Arnault say won’t get any such deduction. “It’s pretty dismaying to see that in France you are criticized even for doing something for the general interest,” Arnault says, per Reuters. It’s “an act, which in many other countries, we’d be congratulated for.”

(Now we know why Apple has donated so much, right?)

As usual everyone is looking for the cause of the fire……and culprit may have been found……a computer?

…. the cathedral’s rector said a “computer glitch” may have been behind the blaze, though Patrick Chauvet did not elaborate. “We may find out what happened in two or three months,” he told local business leaders. The fire burned through the centuries-old oak beams supporting the vaulted stone ceiling, dangerously weakening the building. The neighborhood was blocked off as stones continued to tumble off the sides of the cathedral.


Investigators said an electrical short-circuit most likely caused the fire. The Parisien newspaper has reported that a computer glitch might have misdirected firefighters responding to the initial alarm. The unsourced report said investigators are also looking into whether the fire was linked to temporary elevators being used in a renovation. Chauvet said there were fire alarms throughout the building, which he described as “well protected.” As Catholics carried out the Way of the Cross ritual near the cathedral to mark Good Friday, President Emmanuel Macron met with officials from the United Nations’ cultural agency. UNESCO representatives have offered their technical expertise to help with the reconstruction

 

Now for some good news from the fire of the century……

 

The 180,000 bees that live in three hives in the cathedral’s roof have been discovered alive, Nicolas Geant, the monument’s beekeeper said.

“I am so relieved. I saw satellite photos that showed the three hives didn’t burn. I thought they had gone with the cathedral,” he said.  

Mr Geant has looked after the bees since 2013, when they were installed as part of a city-wide initiative to boost declining bee numbers.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/notre-dame-latest-180000-bees-living-in-hives-in-cathedrals-roof-found-alive-after-inferno-a4122321.html

I am sure there will be more news as the situation develops and IST will be there to report the findings……

 

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Geopolitics And The American Revolution

I cannot resist in dropping some history on my readers……I have studied geopolitics for many years and it is the stuff legends are made of…..and so it was with the Revolutionary War….

All of us Americans know the story of the revolution and its aftermath…..we know taxation was an issue…..we know that George (both the 3rd and Washington) were the leaders of the armies…..and we know we won the final battle at Yorktown and we were on our way to becoming the leader of the Free World……

Actually there is a bit more to the whole episode than that simplistic drivel…..

The image is clear, the message obvious. Across a sun-kissed meadow, dappled with shade, lines of British soldiers, resplendent in red, move slowly forward, while brave American Patriots crouch behind trees and stone walls ready to blast these idiots to pieces. Frequently repeated on page and screen, the image has one central message: one side, the American, represented the future in warfare, and one side, the American, was bound to prevail. Thus, the war is readily located in both political and military terms. In each, it apparently represents the triumph of modernity and the start of a new age: of democracy and popular warfare. The linkage of military service and political rights therefore proved a potent contribution. Before these popular, national forces, the ancien régime, the old order, with its mercenaries, professionals, and, at sea, unmotivated conscripts, was bound to crumble, and its troops were doomed to lose. Thus, the political location of the struggle, in terms of the defining struggle for freedom, apparently helps locate the conflict as the start of modern warfare, while, considering the war in the latter light, helps fix our understanding of the political dimension. Definition in terms of modernity and modernization also explains success, as most people assume that the future is bound to prevail over the past.

In making the war an apparently foregone conclusion, this approach has several misleading consequences. First, it allows most historians of the period to devote insufficient attention to the fighting and, instead, to focus on traditional (constitution-framing) and modish (gender et al) topics, neglecting the central point about the importance of war in American history: no victory, no independence, no constitution, no newish society. Second, making the British defeat inevitable gravely underrates the Patriot (not American, as not all Americans fought the British) achievement. Third, making British defeat inevitable removes the sense of uncertainty in which contemporaries made choices.

 
There is always more to the history than Americans are taught……
 
Learn Stuff!
 
Class Dismissed!

Time For Barr To Go

The “Report” is out for all to see…..AG Barr has done the job he applied for as the defense council for the president……so it is time for him to go….he is NO longer needed……

Even the site The Hill thinks Barr should resign also…….

After Attorney General William Barr releases his redacted version of the report from special counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday, he should resign. His blatant partisanship disqualifies him from continuing as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. Neither Congress nor the public will trust that he has been objective and fair in what he has decided to make public of the report, nor will they believe that he can handle any further issues surrounding wrongdoing by President Trump with integrity.

Let us consider the record of Barr in his short time as attorney general in this administration. After two years of constant attacks by Trump on the Justice Department and special counsel for investigating the possible collusion between the campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election, Barr could have been a breath of fresh air as an attorney general who would firmly stand up for the rule of law. Instead, he just joined in the attacks, calling for yet another investigation into FBI actions during the campaign and releasing a biased summary of the special counsel report.

https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/439386-why-william-barr-should-resign

Time for Barr to tuck tail and leave before he gets himself into real difficulties……his reputation is in the toilet….his master is smiling….and the American people are more divided thanks to his narrative…..so time for Barr to back into the shadows and count his blessings.

Submit your resignation…..

In no small part because of the performance on Thursday of Attorney General William Barr, history will treat his Justice Department as it treats the Justice Department under Richard Nixon’s one-time attorney general, John Mitchell—an institution compromised by rank partisanship and more committed to ideology than the rule of law. Barr’s spin on special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s report all but ignored the report’s damning findings, misrepresented significant parts of Mueller’s reasoning, and described President Donald Trump’s motivations and supposed cooperation in terms straight out of White House talking points. Barr engaged in word-splitting pettifoggery that would make even Bill Clinton blush. Barr is clearly compromised by the partisan goals of this White House to the point where he cannot be trusted in the job. He should resign immediately.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/04/william-barr-resign-mueller-report.html

Time for this embarrassing chapter to come to a conclusion.

Go Now!

Libya In The Rear View Mirror

I have been per-occupied with the politics in the US and have let my international stuff take a backseat…..(I feel so used)…..

When Libya was the headline I said then that Qaddafi was what held the nation together and I was right as we have seen since his death…….civil war has been all the people have known…..

And the country has been in the news in-between the “Report” silliness…..https://lobotero.com/2019/04/11/libya-on-my-mind/

In the UN the US and Russia have chosen the same side (for a change),,,,,

Britain’s push for a UN Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire in Libya has been derailed, with both the United States and Russia declining to support the measure.

A closed door meeting on Thursday ended with no agreement on a draft resolution. Britain’s text heavily criticized Khalifa Hafter, and blamed him fully for the fighting. Russia objected to that portion of the text.

The US opposition is a lot less clear, as they gave no public reason for why they objected to the resolution. They also declined comment to the media after the closed-door meeting.

Though the US isn’t publicly backing Hafter, several key regional allies, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, are. Hafter also has a history of working for the CIA, and some reports have suggested the US was keen on enhancing his power as a way to resolve the current fighting.

Now ask yourself who gains by the lack of a ceasefire?

But how did this situation spiral out of control?

The Libya tragedy that Barack Obama’s administration unleashed with a U.S.-led NATO military intervention in 2011 has entered yet another violent phase. Forces loyal to Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, a one-time CIA asset that Washington now opposes, are waging an offensive against the so-called Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli. Both the United Nations Security Council and the European Union support the GNA and have passed resolutions demanding that Haftar’s troops cease their advance and adhere to the cease fire and plan for nation-wide elections that French President Emmanuel Macron negotiated last year. It is highly uncertain whether Haftar or his adversaries will heed such calls. More than 120 people have perished already in the new conflict, and fierce fighting continues, especially in and around Tripoli.

https://www.cato.org/blog/new-installment-libya-tragedy

The Trump Boyz have decided to come out of the closet and admit their support for this warlord, Haftar……

Whether you think of Khalifa Hafter as a former Gadhafi-era general, a long-standing CIA asset, or the leader of multiple failed coups d’etats who is now the self-described “Field Marshal” of his own self-described “Libyan National Army” (LNA), he is a bit unseemly for most nations to openly back. The big exception to this is the Egyptian junta, which seems to view him as an ideological ally.

The Trump Administration is also surprisingly comfortable with its support for him as well, with the White House announcing that Trump had phoned Hafter on Monday to talk about joint counter-terrorism efforts.

This is a particularly odd time for the US to be acknowledging direct coordination, as it comes amid Hafter’s latest coup attempt, with his LNA attacking the capital city of Tripoli and trying to oust the Libyan government of national unity who the US had been recognizing as Libya’s legitimate government up until the past week or so. Pompeo was still sharply criticizing Hafter last week, even if indications were this didn’t extend to UN Security Council calls for a ceasefire.

Now, the White House statement says Trump “recognized Field Marshal Hafter’s significant role in fighting terrorism, and securing Libya’s oil resources,” and that they discussed a “shared vision” for the future of Libya.

Now, of course, the White House presented the future of Libya as a “stable, democratic political system,” but it isn’t a secret that Hafter has tried to oust every democratically elected parliament Libya has had since Gadhafi. Nor is it a secret that the US favored the Egyptian coup for bringing “stability” over the democratically elected Morsi government. Democratic, in this region, just means the US starts calling the junta head a “president” as soon as he’s finished seizing power and violently purging his opponents.

Hafter’s “anti-terror” efforts in Libya have largely involved attacking parliaments that he felt were too Islamist, while his securing of oil resources has mostly involved attacking valuable oil facilities along the coast. While his previous failed coups ended with him still scheming, and at times giving himself field promotions, this latest push seems to have left him anointed as part of the US vision.

(antiwar.com)

Since the beginning of this situation it has been a cluster f*ck…..and the Trump approach will help NO one but Haftar…..the Libyan people continue to be screwed by the international community.