Closing Thought–04Jun19

I am an old fart, a Baby Boomer generation, and as we all know we are the problems of society now…..but with that said an adequate health care system is a must…..because by 2035 seniors will outnumber children and that means long term care will be a must by then (kinda is now but not important to the post)…..

By 2035, seniors are projected to outnumber children in the U.S. population.

Maybe then we’ll look back and credit Washington state activists for being on the forefront of tackling America’s elder care crisis. On May 13, the state became the first in the nation to adopt a social insurance program for long-term care benefits.

“This is a huge victory for organizing and people power, for care and caregiving, and for older adults and people with disabilities,” said Josephine Kalipeni of Caring Across Generations, one of more than 20 groups that formed Washingtonians for a Responsible Future to push the path-breaking legislation.

Nationally, our long-term care financing system is broken. Medicare doesn’t currently cover home care or nursing facility care, while Medicaid coverage varies widely by state. To qualify, you have to meet poverty criteria, which requires people to spend down nearly all of their savings before getting coverage.

Medicare For All!  We need a health care system and this is one that the machinery of policy are already in place….logic dictates we have an answer…why not use it?
I want to enjoy a late Spring weekend……the heat, the humidity and the hurricanes are just around the corner.

Some Dems For 2020

Mash up to the 2020 Election…..we are a year away from the heat of the campaigns and yet the MSM is acting like it is tomorrow…they are treating Biden as the nominee and the rest are just novelties.

From the popular to the unknown…..

We see how popular Mayor Pete is becoming… seems to be his straight forward approach to issues (I’m not sure what is issues are right now)… that leads me and others to ask….is Mayor Pete the future of the Dem Party?

Pete Buttigieg is having a moment.

With a bio as unique as his name, the progressive mayor from South Bend has jumped to third place in the latest Emerson poll of the 2020 Democratic Iowa caucus, Salon reports. Buttigieg (pronounced BOOT-edge-edge, according to his official Twitter bio) is a 37-year-old Afghanistan war veteran, Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar, who has taught himself Norwegian—see his response last weekend in South Carolina to a question from a Norwegian journalist here—and is conversant in several other languages. He is vying to become the first openly gay presidential nominee from a major political party.

He seems genuine but that does not make him the future of the party….he could have a fall at any point….but he bears watching.

Now what about a virtual unknown?

Andrew Yang. This candidate has an unusual but interesting approach and…..I wrote about him once he made his presence known on the campaign trail…..

Yang is becoming more popular for his insurgent campaign….he is out polling some of the more ‘recognizable’ candidates…..but read his rise for yourself…..

MATH” hats. Fox News. The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Andrew Yang knows how to run an insurgent presidential campaign. The 44-year-old candidate, once barely known outside New York and Silicon Valley, is now leader of the “Yang Gang,” a growing following of online fans and IRL admirers rallying to Yang’s campaign cry of “humanity first.”

Yang is now outpolling seasoned pols like Kirsten Gillibrand, averaging 1% in recent surveys. Despite being “neither popular nor well-known,” as a FiveThirtyEight story puts it, he’s disturbing the forces of the Democratic establishment. His rallies are attracting thousands of people (paywall). A two-hour appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast in February garnered almost 3 million views. He’s winning over betting markets, which have given the long-shot candidate 2.3% odds at taking the White House, besting senator Corey Booker and Texas phenom Beto O’Rourke. Despite his distance from Washington, Yang’s surge shows that a candidate seemingly assembled from the musings of a Silicon Valley Reddit thread can take on the Democratic establishment.

Dems have a history of picking the wrong candidate and a long history of non-voting……these things must change if Trump is to be beaten…..

The reason Democrats lose as much as they do is that Republicans and “conservative” (right-leaning) independents have been voting at higher rates. Turnout has generally been lower among potential Democratic voters because the Democratic Party has seldom offered them anything worth voting for. There had always had plenty to vote against, but, as in 2015, this time around that may not be enough.

There is therefore reason to think that, for the time being, democrats ought to make common cause with Democrats. Ultimately, the task is to divide, not unite, that wretched, thoroughly compromised party of theirs – to retain and build upon what is salvageable in it, and to cast off the rest. That would require a thorough housecleaning. But the time for that is not now; not while Trump and his minions are on the loose.

I say….check out ALL candidates and pick the one that best reflects your concerns and issues…..

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!


It Is About “Rare Earth”……

Not the rock group from the 70s (Get Ready and Celebrate)….I am referring to those minerals that are a major component in some electronics….and guess who has control of much of these elements?   Wait for it……..China!

Rare Earth Minerals?  What the Hell is that all about?

Many applications of REE are characterized by high specificity and high unit value. For example, color cathode-ray tubes and liquid-crystal displays used in computer monitors and televisions employ europium as the red phosphor; no substitute is known. Owing to relatively low abundance and high demand, Eu is quite valuable—$250 to $1,700/kg (for Eu2O3) over the past decade.

Fiber-optic telecommunication cables provide much greater bandwidth than the copper wires and cables they have largely replaced. Fiber-optic cables can transmit signals over long distances because they incorporate periodically spaced lengths of erbium-doped fiber that function as laser amplifiers. Er is used in these laser repeaters, despite its high cost (~$700/kg), because it alone possesses the required optical properties.

Specificity is not limited to the more exotic REE, such as Eu or Er. Cerium, the most abundant and least expensive REE, has dozens of applications, some highly specific. For example, Ce oxide is uniquely suited as a polishing agent for glass. The polishing action of CeO2 depends on both its physical and chemical properties, including the two accessible oxidation states of cerium, Ce,3+ and Ce4+, in aqueous solution. Virtually all polished glass products, from ordinary mirrors and eyeglasses to precision lenses, are finished with CeO2.

Plus the Rare Earth Minerals are used in our military……

A lack of these minerals could force a national security risk……and that would increase the use of the military (cause and effect)…….

I would say the possibility of a war with China is more so than with Iran.


And now they, China,  have issued a threat over the Trump tariffs……

Facing new trade sanctions and a US clampdown on its top telecommunications company, China issued a pointed reminder Wednesday that it has yet to unleash all its weapons in its trade war with the Trump administration. Chinese state media warned that Beijing could cut America off from exotic minerals that are widely used in electric cars and mobile phones. The threat to use China’s rich supply of so-called rare earths as leverage in the conflict has contributed to sharp losses in US stocks and sliding long-term bond yields, the AP reports. The nationalistic Chinese newspaper Global Times warned that China has plenty of ways to retaliate against the United States, including the threat of cutting off supplies of rare earth minerals. China last year produced 78% of the world’s rare earths, according to researchers at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

If the US fails to exercise restraint, it will see that “China is far from running out of cards, and we have the will and determination to fight the US to the end,” the paper’s editorial said. China has used rare earths as a cudgel before. Five years ago, the World Trade Organization slapped down China’s attempt to restrict the export of rare earths during a dispute with Japan, rejecting its claim that it just wanted to conserve supplies. Scott Kennedy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, however, says the threat has lost much of its power. First, users of rare earths have stockpiled the minerals for a “rainy day,” he says. Second, they also have figured out how to “use less rare earth to achieve the same results” in products like lasers and magnets. And third, different minerals and chemicals are increasingly being used as rare earth substitutes.

Not to worry……we have troops in a country that is sitting on about $1 trillion (that is trillion with a “T”) worth of rare earth minerals……

Afghanistan, a country nearly the size of Texas, is loaded with minerals deposited by the violent collision of the Indian subcontinent with Asia. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began inspecting what mineral resources Afghanistan had after U.S.-led forces drove the Taliban from power in the country in 2004. As it turns out, the Afghanistan Geological Survey staff had kept Soviet geological maps and reports up to 50 years old or more that hinted at a geological gold mine.

That is right…out longest war EVER is in a country that is loaded with rare earth minerals……could that explain why we are hanging on in the spot?

It is not like we have never fought a war for a resource……think OIL……

How To Win In Afghanistan

This war has been raging for 18 years……and there is no end in sight. Out troops will continue to have multiple deployments and we continue to throw money at a hopeless cause.

Plus I listen to the major Dem candidates when asked about Afghanistan…..most have a common stand…they do not want to leave our troops in Afghanistan but they would remove them in a responsible way…….sounds like the last two presidents……what it means is they will stay in Afghanistan until the weapons industry says we can leave.

I have been asking for years just what would it take to declare victory and bring our weary troops home for a much deserved rest?

It appears that the only strategy we have is to wait the Taleban out…….

The Thirty Years War? The Hundred Years War? The Forever War? More than 17 years after the United States invaded Afghanistan to depose the Taliban regime, the United States has failed to crush the resulting Taliban insurgency and cannot withdraw without allowing them to return to power. Political frustration is building. The United States is questioning an ongoing presence. United States Senator Rand Paul recently said, “[W]e’re in an impossible situation. I see no hope for it.” Among the many depressing aspects of the situation is the $13 billion being spent each year in maintaining approximately 16,000 American service members in Afghanistan. The lower estimate for maintaining one service member in Afghanistan is $500,000 per year. More realistic estimates put the number at $1 million per year. (In 2018, to maintain the current force of 16,000, the United States spent $13 billion on U.S. forces and $5 billion on Afghan forces. This provides a cost of approximately $812,000 per U.S. service member per year). The 175,000 strong Afghan National Army (ANA) costs about $5 billion per year or $28,000 per member.

Presently, the United States and NATO maintain discrete military units in Afghanistan. These units operate against the Taliban and train ANA troops. Each year, significant numbers of ANA troops desert. A bigger problem is tens of thousands of ANA “ghost soldiers.” According to a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, these “soldiers” are just names on the ANA’s rolls enabling corrupt high-ranking Afghanis to steal their salaries. The present system of giving money to the Afghan government is not creating an ANA that can ever achieve victory.

So there is my answer….we will just wait the Taleban out…eventually they will tire of fighting and come to a peace accord.
The Taleban seems to think that the US is ready to set a date for departure……
Taliban negotiator spokesman Mohammed Sohail Shaheen, currently in Moscow from the recent talks between Taliban and Afghan officials, reported that he expects, during the next round of talks with the US, the Americans will announce a specific date for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.

The US and Taliban have been known to be advancing toward a deal for months, centered on the US withdrawing from Afghanistan and the Taliban promising to keep ISIS and al-Qaeda out of the country in return.

Shaheen said that if the US does set a date, it will create a very real possibility of settling the war in Afghanistan, now ongoing for some 18 years. President Trump has talked up the merits of such a deal, though some US officials are said to oppose any deal that doesn’t leave a remnant US force in Afghanistan.
Seriously?  Did they check with Raytheon or Boeing or any other of the MIC?
And they call me a dreamer!
$13 billion a year is the cost…bring the troops home and we can use that cash for a damn silly wall and Trump can claim the Afghanistan paid for it.
Peace Out!