Get Out Of Jail Free Card

Closing Thought–08Sep20

These days the police are always in the headlines for one thing or another……and deservedly so….but most of the news is about the crimes they commit or the actions they take.

Then there are stories like this that seldom make the evening news.

Remember when you played Monopoly and we cherished the “Get Out Of Jail Free” card…..well there is really is such a thing….

Some cops give their friends and family union-issued “courtesy cards” to help get them out of minor infractions. The cards embody everything wrong with modern policing.

Mike, a white man in his 50s, was in a bad spot: He was stuck idling in traffic on New York City’s Riverside Drive, running late for a meeting, and he needed to get to the Upper East Side pronto. Hopping on the shoulder to bypass the other cars wasn’t the right thing to do, he told VICE, but he’d seen other people get away with it before.

Mike, whose name has been changed to protect his privacy, said he knew it was risky—especially because the borrowed car he was driving didn’t have a license plate, let alone a registration under his name. He decided to roll the dice anyway. Right away, bad news: a traffic checkpoint, and cops pulling people over.

“That was probably the tightest spot I could’ve been in,” Mike said. “Because [the offense] could’ve been ‘driving without a plate,’ ‘driving with no registration…’” By driving on the shoulder, too, Mike was driving illegally in at least three different ways.

Despite that, he felt confident as the cop approached his car and told him to roll down his window. Instead of pulling out his driver’s license, Mike simply introduced himself and produced something better. “I just basically happened to have one of their PBA cards on me,” he said, referring to the small, plastic “courtesy” cards issued by the Police Benevolent Association, which usually have an officer’s name, phone number, and signature on the back.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/v7gxa4/pba-card-police-courtesy-cards

So if you are a “Friend” to the cops then you can break the law and get away with it…..

And you still can sit there and believe that the police do not need reforming?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Address Military Redundancy

These days of an ever expanding Defense budget and no plan to try and rein in the out of control spending….I had a thought…..

I have often asked myself the question about the amount of redundancy within the US military.

3 service Air Force, 4 separate special ops, on and on…….

Take armor for instance….the Army has its force and the Marines have theirs…..why?

Why not have one Air Force, 1 special ops, one armor?

Well the Marines have decided to end their armor program…..

Marine Corps M1A1 Abrams tanks of the 2nd Tank Battalion left Camp Lejeune, N.C., for the last time this week as part of the service’s sweeping modernization plan that envisions a more agile force.

Tank units on the East and West coasts shuttered this month and began hauling their armor to military depots, the service said.

The Marine Corps will eventually divest of all three of its active tank battalions as it moves from a “second land army” back to its maritime roots of defending ships at sea, island-hopping and battling for contested coastlines, in preparation for potential conflict with near-peer adversaries such as China.

“We have sufficient evidence to conclude that this capability, despite its long and honorable history in the wars of the past, is operationally unsuitable for our highest-priority challenges in the future,” Commandant Gen. David Berger wrote of the tanks in a March plan for the service’s overhaul. “Heavy ground armor capability will continue to be provided by the U.S. Army.”

https://www.stripes.com/news/marine-corps/a-farewell-to-armor-marine-corps-shuts-down-tank-units-hauls-away-m1a1s-1.639355

I believe this is a good idea that needs to expand to a re-evaluation of the military and determine where money can be saved and end the redundancies.

Of course the M-IC will start to panic at the prospect of the loss of profit……but sorry this country needs an upgrade far more pressing than some fighter jet that cost too damn much to be useful.  (F-35)…..a little consolidation could solve so many fiscal problems……sadly this is a dream that will never be realized…too many chiefs want to keep their position of power and the country can be damned.

It is the 21st century and time for the US to stop believing that the next war will be a repeat of World War Two in tactics.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Trump’s 2020 Labor Day Speech

Yesterday was Labor Day and the election is only 60 days from reality so naturally Donald had to try and take a victory lap (he failed)…….

The US president began by boasting of what he called the “spectacular” performance of the American economy, which he claimed was outperforming that of every other nation. “We are rebounding much more quickly from the pandemic,” he said. “We have added a record-setting 10.6 million jobs since May.”

Since the US economy lost 21.2 million jobs officially in March and April—plus another 10 million or more when contractors, the self-employed and other contingent workers are included—this Trump claim merely demonstrates the gulf between the real conditions of life for working people and the fortunes of the superrich, which have fully recovered and in some cases risen sharply because of the pandemic.

Hailing the creation of one-half or one-third the number of jobs wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic is like cheering the dispersion of flood waters after Hurricane Katrina: The damage has been done, and the wreckage stretches as far as the eye can see.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/09/08/trmp-s08.html

Before you ask…NO I did not watch it but I did read about it…..and for those interested I have the transcript of the speech.

Donald Trump: (00:00)
We called some people, wished them a very happy Labor Day and they told us how they’re doing. And we really celebrate the American worker. We are in the midst of the fastest economic recovery in US history. So we have a lot to be thankful for including this really beautiful day. So I thought we’d do this outside as opposed to your more normal place. The United States experience the smallest contraction of any major Western nation. You probably know that you look around and see how we’re doing compared to every other nation. And our rise is spectacular and we’re rebounding much more quickly from the pandemic. The US economy added 1.4 million jobs last month. We’ve added a record setting 10.6 million jobs since May… 10.6 million jobs since May, that’s a record that is not even close as second place it’s a long ways away. In July the congressional budget office was projecting unemployment over 10.5% through the end of 2020. So they thought 2020, and maybe it would be a lot longer than that. Some projections where you go through the entire year, and that includes a lot of months in the following year, 2021.

https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/donald-trump-labor-day-press-conference-transcript-criticizes-pentagon-leaders-for-accommodating-arms-makers

But for those that are too lazy to read then listen for yourself…..

A typical rambling Hodge-podge of lies, exaggerations and bulshit…..I still just shake my head at the lengths this toad will go to appear as if he knows what he does.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

1968–The Rematch

Are any of you, my readers, old enough to remember the 1968 election? I can but it was not paramount on my mind for I was in Vietnam.

Do you know why it was called the “Election That Changed America”?

Let me help this may be a bit too deep for some……

It was a hinge point in history, one of the most consequential and tumultuous years in the American experience, and it changed the country forever.

One traumatic event followed another as a wide array of social and political trends that had been building for years reached critical mass. During the span of 12 months a half-century ago, there were two shocking assassinations, growing and sometimes violent opposition to the escalating Vietnam war, hardening class differences, severe economic problems, and an increasingly impatient civil rights movement that gave rise to combative and angry black power advocates. And that wasn’t all. Add in the rise of feminism, doubts about the credibility of the nation’s leaders, a growing rebellion of young people against their parents’ values, campus revolts against authoritarian administrators and lifestyle constraints, a new sexual freedom made possible by the birth control pill and, overall, a ferocious culture war over “values issues” such as abortion, crime, patriotism, prayer in school, freedom of speech and respect for institutions. It was all dramatized and magnified by popular culture and an increasingly aggressive news media eager to hold political and cultural leaders accountable for society’s shortcomings.

https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-12-31/1968-the-year-that-changed-america-forever

2020 looks like a similar election to that of 1968 in so many ways….

President Trump and Joe Biden are waging 2020 like it’s 1968, but they come at it with radically different views about this country’s evolution over the past half century.

Why it matters: Trump wants to appeal to his base’s instincts and convince white, suburban voters on the fence that their safety is at risk. Biden is talking to those same suburban voters and trying to convince them that a second Trump term would impede racial progress and encourage violence.

What they’re saying: Trump hasn’t mentioned Jacob Blake’s name, but tweeted on Wednesday that, “TODAY, I will be sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha, WI to restore LAW and ORDER!”

https://www.axios.com/trump-biden-1968-956021c8-0134-450e-a3da-cfe9625b728c.html

The only difference I see is that there is NO strong third party candidate at this time (less than 60 days before election)……

Will it be as historic as 1968…that depends on who you candidate is and how bad they are defeated.

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

A Trip Around China

These days Americans are ate up with this candidate or that and seem to have little time to worry about the foe that the media has been warning us about….not Russia….but China……so in doing my good deed I will take my reader on a ‘trip around China’…..

There is always a prediction that includes China in some way…..this one is 20 years down the road….

The Pentagon has offered a new report on China warning that by mid-century China may catch or even surpass the US military in capabilities.  They anticipate a “world-class” military by 2049.

This is one of those all-too-common Pentagon reports, which since the tensions began raising between the US and China have been coming nearly daily, playing up China as a growing threat that needs to be the focus of US military policy.

China doesn’t see things that way, faulting the US for misinterpreting China’s defense policy and promised a correction at a future date. China sees the US assumption as based on Cold War thinking about the situation.

The US reports all envision China getting a much bigger military in the future, but it is unclear if they really intend to spend so much on military assets as to compete with the US on a global scale, or will just keep working on being able to contest their immediate vicinity.

(antiwar.com)

China has its problems first with darn pesky Tibetans and then the Uighurs….but these people are not the only problems that China faces socially…..

Unlike the Tibetans or Muslim Uyghurs of its far west, China’s ethnic Mongol population has long been seen as pacified, content, and well-assimilated, fulfilling the stereotype of a “model minority” in a country bubbling with ethnic tensions.

In recent days, however, Mongols in China, most of whom reside in the vast Inner Mongolia autonomous region south of Mongolia proper, have vigorously protested an attempt by the government to curtail the teaching of Mongolian in schools, including shifting to using national Chinese-language textbooks instead of locally developed Mongolian versions. In short, Chinese will replace Mongolian as the main medium of teaching for classes such as math and science, while Mongolian lessons will continue. Authorities are cracking down, including posting photos online of people who attended the protests and offering cash rewards for tips.

https://qz.com/1899397/inner-mongolians-in-china-rise-up-against-language-suppression/

How many times this year have you heard the the Chinese are an economic threat?

Many?  But are they a threat?

It seems that more and more Americans, pro-Trump or not, are concluding that trade with China is a threat to the United States. The objections are typically one of three: (1) freer trade with China after it was admitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 has cost U.S. manufacturing jobs; (2) the Chinese have thrived by stealing our intellectual property (IP) and that has made Americans worse off; and (3) the Chinese will use some of their progress in cybertechnology to engage in surveillance of Americans.

Each of these objections contains a kernel of truth. But the objections together are not nearly enough to offset the huge gains that Americans reap from freer trade with China.

Perhaps it is best to start by considering the economists’ case for free trade: Each country produces the goods and services in which it has a comparative advantage and trades those to other countries, which, in turn, produce goods and services for which they have a comparative advantage. In that way both countries do better than they would do if they didn’t trade. Comparative advantage, by the way, is jargon for “lower cost.”

https://www.hoover.org/research/china-economic-threat

But with all the threats that China poses to the US is for naught because their economy…….it does not have a bright future….their economy that is……

The five largest Chinese banks posted at least 10 percent profit declines for the first half of the year. These poor results, the result of increased provisions for bad loans, were the biggest profit drops in at least a decade. As a CNBC headline put it, “China’s Mega Banks Lost Billions of Dollars in Profit as Bad Loans Rise During Coronavirus Pandemic.”

The profit drops are a warning of long-term troubles, especially because, in all probability, the banks are understating the severity of bad loan problems. Moreover, the outlook for China’s banks is gloomy because the outlook for China’s economy is gloomy.

 

These five Chinese institutions—the Big Four of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, and Bank of China plus the Bank of Communications—are struggling. The essential problem is that the Chinese economy—like the economies of almost all other countries—was flattened by efforts to control the coronavirus. Gross domestic product contracted 6.8% year-on-year in the first calendar quarter of this year, according to the official National Bureau of Statistics. In reality, it was down about twice that.

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/china%E2%80%99s-mega-banks-are-mega-trouble%E2%80%94and-so-chinese-economy-%C2%A0-168330

Plus I heard that the Chinese are considering dumping US holdings…..interesting…..but who will scoop them up?

There you have a trip around China…..

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”