Where Are Those Tourists?

Closing Thought–10Sep19

My region is a mecca for sun worshipers and more recently gamblers…..

I live on the Gulf Coast and we have people on our beaches year round…..but for the last couple of months the beaches have been empty…..the only activities has been the machines used to groom the beaches…..why is this?

Ship Island Excursions has survived hurricanes, global recessions, a world war and a host of economic challenges since the ferry company began taking passengers to the barrier islands that dot coastal Mississippi in the 1920s. But this year, a new threat has emerged: an explosion of blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, that has shut down virtually all of Mississippi’s beaches since July 4. 

No one knows when the algae will disappear, and many wonder how many businesses that operate in the region will survive the hit. 

“Beach vendors have been wiped out,” said Louis Skrmetta, operations manager for Ship Island Excursions. “I’ve never seen something so dramatic. It’s very similar to the BP oil spill…people are frightened to just walk in the sand.”

Scientists have never seen anything like this before in the ocean off’s Mississippi coast ― blue-green algal blooms are normally confined to fresh-water species. Mississippi officials say the bloom is the result of record flooding this year in the Midwest, which has pushed a deluge of polluted, nitrogen-rich water down the Mississippi River. It has forced state officials to issue water and health advisories warning people to stay out of the water and to avoid contaminated seafood

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/algae-mississippi-gulf-of-mexico_n_5d715cc6e4b03b3b730a914a

Oysters are big business down here and 90% of the reefs are dead and will take years to come back.

The only creatures that are enjoying the serene days are the several bird species that use these beaches for nesting.

Plus the casinos have helped some of the businesses survive this down turn….a hit below the belt to a region that depends on the waters and beaches of the Gulf for their livelihood.

We will make it through….we did for Katrina and then from the BP spill and now this…..a lot of hits and the people keep smiling and trying…..am hardy bunch indeed.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

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John Bolton Is Gone

Time for a foreign policy wonk and antiwar supporter such as myself to celebrate…..

I asked the question just days ago…Is Bolton Out?  https://lobotero.com/2019/09/05/is-bolton-out/

I guess we now have the answer….and the answer is YES!

John Bolton is out. President Trump announced on Twitter Tuesday that he had fired his hawkish national security adviser, reports the AP. “I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,” Trump wrote. “I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning.” Trump thanked Bolton for his service and said he would name a successor next week. (Among other things, Bolton disagreed with the administration’s decision to hold talks with the Taliban.)

I cannot think of a better farewell tribute that Ray Charles…

Could not happen to a better person…a more deserving Neocon could not be found…..somewhere in the weeds or under a rock a person like Sen. Tom Cotton will be brown nosing his way up Trump’s ass for the job.

Time for Bolton to return to FOX where his bullshit will be appreciated……

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

That Race Talk!

Okay we are having this conversation about race….it is not a conversation it is only pundits giving what they think them country is all about…..the way we believe…..but let’s be real….they are making shit up.

We are having that talk again……https://lobotero.com/2013/08/26/my-thoughts-on-the-bigger-race-issue/

One pundit tells us about how the street they grew up on is multi-national, multi-ethnic, etc etc…..that is the way it is in this country….our better angels sort of thing (whatever that fucking means)……then another tells us about his district and what the people are feeling….(how would they know this since most of their time is spent with high dollar donors?)

Racism is everywhere….racism has always been everywhere…..and yet these high paid pundits talk about the race issue as if they know the answers…..they have NO answers.

Let us take a good grasp on reality.

Just how many hours inn the last 50 years have been spent on looking at, analyzing and then reporting on the racist acts of the nation?  We have had lots of promise about the debate that is needed….but yet we still wait for the break out moment….and we wait.

Apparently this racism thingy we are trying to deal with these days is the “NORM”….. about 35% of the electorate supporters Donald Trump….so that means that 35% have no problem with the screaming racism of our president.

Pundits can look the other way but in the long run it will not go away until we accept the fact that 35% of the American people hold racist feelings….in other words actually talk about racism instead to giving it lip service with accusations and slogans hoping it will go away.

I have had push back from my ideas…..but then I ask if it is not about color then why has a new study found the opposite?

study published by New Zealand’s University of Canterbury reported that humans tend to apply their racial biases to white and black robots. 

The study, “Robots and Racism,” conducted by New Zealand’s Human Interface Technology Laboratory, indicated people ascribe racial backgrounds to human-like robots and apply racial stereotypes accordingly.

If proliferation of robots increases, this association could present a serious issue, according to the study.

“If robots are supposed to function as teachers, friends, or carers, for instance, then it will be a serious problem if all of these roles are only ever occupied by robots that are racialized as White,” it states.

https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/455832-study-finds-humans-apply-racial-stereotypes-to-white-and-black

Before we as Americans can have the debate on race that all the pundits hype we have to admit that our biases are real and do make a difference…..without that we will be spin our wheels as we have been doing for over 50 years.

I know I am a racist and I fight it everyday.  But the nation as a whole does not have the courage to face their racism and until they do this situation will continue unabated.

Pundits talk about American’s better angels…..seriously?  Americans have NO better angels when it comes to race or bigotry.

Watch this…..explanation no one wants to hear.

 
In closing…just how much delusion can one individual possess?
 

President Trump on Wednesday rejected assertions that his racist, divisive rhetoric is divisive, instead claiming it “brings people together.”

When a reporter asked if his rhetoric divides Americans, Trump responded, “I don’t think my rhetoric does at all. My rhetoric is very—it brings people together,” Trump said before deflecting to say the United States is doing better than China.

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“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Is Climate Important?

If your main issue for this election is climate then do you know how the candidates stand on the issue?

View image on Twitter

Greenpeace’s ranking of the candidates can be found on the group’s homepage.

The 10 candidates have all delivered plans to address the climate crisis—but differ in the details of their approach. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), for example, has pledged to spend over $16 trillion to combat climate change in order to hit an ambitious goal of zero emissions in the electricity and transportation sectors by 2030 and the full economy by 2050. Most of Sanders’ opponents, on the other hand, like South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, have only committed to a full zeroing out of the economy by 2050. Buttigieg has only pledged $2.5 trillion to the effort. 

You can read more about the plans at HuffPost and find a comprehensive rundown of the candidates on environmental issues from Inside Climate News here and from The Guardian here

Let’s look at a couple of issues within the topic of climate crisis……..

Nuclear Energy–

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) centers nuclear power in his climate plan, saying earlier in 2019 that it is “imperative for the United States to lead the way on tackling the world’s climate crisis, and that must include the development of clean and innovative technologies like next-generation nuclear energy.”

Booker is joined by businessman Andrew Yang and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke in supporting new investments in energy.

Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden tack to the middle, rejecting any new nuclear infrastructure but support maintaining the power plants that already exist in the country.

Silent on the issue were Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Kamala Harris (Calif.), neither of whom responded to questions about their positions from The Hill.

Sanders is the candidate most opposed to nuclear energy—his plan would refuse to renew leases on plants and calls for investments in renewable energy

Fracking–

Sanders and Booker favor a full ban on fracking, while Warren’s campaign on Wednesday said she endorsed a “national ban” which is currently unclear in scope.

“Fracking is a danger to our water supply,” Sanders said in a statement. “It’s a danger to the air we breathe. It causes earthquakes. It’s highly explosive. Safe fracking is, like clean coal, pure fiction. But, most importantly, methane from natural gas contributes to climate change and is setting us on a path to disaster. When we are in the White House, we will end the era of fossil fuels, and that includes fracking.”

As Common Dreams reported Wednesday, Sanders is the only candidate who has “called for such a complete and total fracking ban.”

Most of the rest of the field at the Wednesday forum, however, endorse continuing fracking albeit in a regulated and limited form.

Biden’s position remains unclear.

Let me restate……please check your candidate out as well as all the others and choose the best one that represents your mthoughts and values……

Greenpeace’s ranking of the candidates can be found on the group’s homepage.

You can read more about the plans at HuffPost and find a comprehensive rundown of the candidates on environmental issues from Inside Climate News here and from The Guardian here

The candidates have no real answer for the number one polluter…..

Transportation has become the top source of US pollution, accounting for 29 percent of greenhouse gas pollution, even as the power sector has become cleaner. The margin is only expected to grow. With electric vehicles sales still at barely 1 percent of the US market, Americans’ desire for SUVs after a brief slump has become reinvigorated. Globally, industries like the shipping business and air travel are growing.

The 2020 Dems Have No Serious Plan for Addressing the Single Biggest Source of US Pollution

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VOTE!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

More On Afghanistan

The news has centered on Afghanistan in the last week because of some secret meeting at Camp David with the Taleban ….cancelled to avoid the embarrassment for the president…….

President Trump surprised many over the weekend with the revelation that he had canceled secret peace talks that were about to take place at Camp David with Taliban and Afghan leaders. Trump said he called off the meeting following a Taliban attack in Kabul that killed an American soldier. Now the big question is what happens next in regard to US plans to scale down its presence in Afghanistan. A look at coverage:

  • The talks: The New York Times has an in-depth look at how the Camp David meeting nearly came to be, reporting that Trump himself suggested using the coveted locale. Some background: The US has been negotiating separately with the Taliban for some time, and a deal is close. Those talks have not included Afghanistan, however, and it was Trump’s idea to invite Afghan leader Ashraf Ghani to the US to sign off on an agreement.
  • Trump’s style: The Washington Post reports this via an official: “Comparing the initiative to Trump’s personal meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and his stated desire to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, this official said Trump thinks his personal style can persuade anyone, and that he has seen the possibility of a substantial Afghan withdrawal as a major plus for his reelection campaign.”
  • Critic’s view: Don’t buy the president’s explanation that he called off the meeting over the death of an American service member, writes Chas Danner at New York. “Last week’s deadly suicide bombing was not some final straw for Trump, as he and Pompeo have claimed, but rather a politically palatable excuse to save face after the administration’s plan for a peacemaking grand finale fell apart,” writes Danner. He has a lengthy analysis.
  • How it allegedly fell apart: The Times reports the Taliban did agree to come to Camp David, but only if the peace deal was announced prior to their arrival there. That was a “fundamental dividing point.” Trump “wanted to be the dealmaker who would put the final parts together himself, or at least be perceived to be,” per the story.
  • So now what? Not only is the Camp David meeting off, but those US-Taliban talks also have been suspended. The AP reports that it’s not clear when they might resume, and the Timesthinks it could be “several months.” Also up in the air is the timeline for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. About 14,000 are currently there, and Trump promised last month to bring that number down to about 8,600. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid out two conditions for any drawdown on Sunday: reduced violence and the pledge that Afghanistan would not be used as the base for an attack on the US.
  • A rift: The Afghanistan strategy has exposed a rift between national security adviser John Bolton, a hawk who wants no part of a deal with the Taliban, and Pompeo, who backs the negotiations, reports the Post. Bolton maintains that Trump can keep a campaign pledge of reducing the US troop presence without a Taliban deal.
  • Taliban threat: A Taliban spokesman warned that the cancellation will result in American deaths, reports Reuters. “This will lead to more losses to the US,” he said. “Its credibility will be affected, its anti-peace stance will be exposed to the world, losses to lives and assets will increase.”

Trump wants to get out of Afghanistan because he promised to do so and because it will look good on his re-election rhetoric…..

Do we have a moral reason to stay in the country?

Since 9/11, U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan have fluctuated between a high of 100,000 in 2011 and about 14,000 today. Until 2014, they were part of a NATO mission that at its height had 130,000 troops from 50 countries; NATO transitioned it from a combat mission to a “train, equip and advise” mandate in 2014, aiming to shift responsibility to Afghan security forces. The U.S. contingent is now the major part of a force of 17,000 from 30 countries. Close to 3,500 coalition personnel have been killed since 2001, including 2,300 Americans.

No one would argue that this 18-year-long Western commitment has solved Afghanistan’s security problems, but some changes in Afghan life offer modest hope for the future. Despite endemic corruption, Afghans continue to stumble fitfully toward a functioning electoral system, with a presidential election set for Sept. 28. Perhaps most important, in a country of 36 million people, USAID says about 9 million children are now in school, one-third of them girls. Under the Taliban, few children had access to school, and no girls were permitted to attend.

https://www.ozy.com/opinion/afghanistan-in-a-precarious-position-as-us-prepares-to-leave/96643

Or do we stay….and stay….and stay……?

After 18 years of waging war in Afghanistan, the Trump administration is attempting to pull back. But critics have responded with outrage. What’s the point of trying to reach a deal with the execrable Taliban? How can we contemplate abandoning the Afghan government when the country could be plunged into civil war or worse?

The implication of these objections is clear: Eighteen years has been insufficient. The U.S. should be willing to guarantee Afghan security and stability — including playing Whack-a-Mole with Taliban insurgents — with no end in sight. Anything less than such an open-ended commitment is tantamount to a surrender — and surrendering to America’s enemies should be considered unacceptable, no matter the cost in blood and treasure.

https://theweek.com/articles/862985/does-america-have-moral-imperative-stay-afghanistan-forever

As usual there is a wealth of reason why the US cannot leave Afghanistan….sadly none hold up to the reality.

One last thought……

according to the US Department of Defense, the total military expenditure in Afghanistan (from October 2001 until March 2019) was $760bn.

But it doesn’t include spending in Pakistan, which the US uses as a base for Afghan-related operations.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-47391821

That is cash that could have been used in the US on education, health or infrastructure….instead fighting a war that we cannot win was the use for those dollars.

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“Lego Ergo Scribo”