Closing Thought–23Oct20

Talk about a waste of time!

I am always going on about the waste of taxpayer’s money and I have found yet more evidence of just how silly this system has become.

The Supreme Court will rule on the use of Pentagon funds for that silly wall on the Southern border.

The $2.5 billion on the table in an upcoming Supreme Court hearing on use of Pentagon funds to build the border wall has already been paid out, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed to Military Times on Tuesday.

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it would take up a challenge to one of the Trump administration’s U.S-Mexico border fencing funding workarounds, specifically $2.5 billion in military counterdrug money re-allocated in 2019 to be paid out to contractors by the Army Corps of Engineers.

“Those funds cover 129 miles across six projects,” Mitchell said, contract awards for fencing in New Mexico, Arizona and California, according to USACE data. The Pentagon could not provide details on how many of those miles have actually been completed.

The original lawsuit, first filed in Texas last year, challenged the legality of using those funds to build fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. But as it wound its way through the courts, Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Christian Mitchell confirmed to Military Times on Tuesday, all of that money has been paid out.

A Texas judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs late last year, putting an injunction on any further border construction. But a Justice Department appeal lifted that injunction, and last summer, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote decided not to hear a challenge that would have reinstated it.

“The Court’s decision to let construction continue nevertheless I fear, may operate, in effect, as a final judgment,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissent, on behalf of the four justices who voted to hear the case.

It’s unclear, however, what would happen if SCOTUS rules against the administration. The original lower-court ruling stopped construction, but did not cancel contracts or force refunds, which could be the case again this time around.

In total, the Pentagon diverted $6.1 billion in 2019 to fund the border wall, including $3.6 billion in military construction funds.

(Military News)

Once again the courts are a day late and we are dollars short.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


The Lesser Of Two Evils

I have had many debates and discussions in my 70 years on the act of voting.

We all know the ones that say it is a duty to vote or those that say if you vote for anyone other than the 2 major candidates then you are doing a disservice to the country.

This is all so much noise or to my thinking…..babble.

Every year here on IST I get someone that will come on and tell me why I am helping elect the “other” side when I talk about voting beyond Dem/Repub….I do not mind for they have their opinion and I have mine….and in the end it is my vote and I shall place it where I feel it deserves.

I do not like “Lesser of evils” elections and it seem in the last 30 years that is all we have been offered and in those years our lives have been stagnant….but we can feel better that we voted for the “lesser of evils” (that is sarcasm)……

A good summation……

There are two major parties in the US and they both represent “capital.” But since defining capital is very controversial among economists, let us simply say that both parties represent money, the kind of money that begets more money. This kind of money is sacrosanct. It is a deity. It is worshiped by almost everyone. Having this kind of money, or being backed by it, is essential for getting elected, especially since most voters rely on advertising before voting for a candidate. Many voters, even if poor, admire and highly respect those who have a lot of money.

Once in office the office holder must make sure that conditions for self-expanding money are kept intact. This means preserving and reproducing existing social relations, particularly by maintaining “law and order.” Among many other things, the class structure must be kept intact. But it is hard to define “class,” and, moreover, the word is tabooed in the US. So, let me illustrate this with a simple, personal example.

Voting for the Lesser of Two Evils: a Vicious Circle

So, what is it that prevents me from voting for a president? Is voting for Donald Trump or Joe Biden worse than having a colonoscopy?

I have told anyone who will listen….I have a set of political principles that I have never veered from in my voting history….I will not veer this election either.

You may disagree with my choices…but keep in mind they are MY choices.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

The Debate Take Aways

First let me apologize this should have been part of the previous post….but it was late when the babbling stopped and I needed to nap.

These are what the pundits saw as the major take aways from the battling candidates last night.

President Trump and Joe Biden shared a debate stage for the second and final time Thursday night—and it was a far more restrained affair than their first meeting, helped by the introduction of a mute button and widely praised moderating from NBC’s Kristen Welker. With far fewer interruptions and a lot less crosstalk, the candidates made their opposing cases on issues including the pandemic, health care, and corruption. Analysts say that while both candidates landed some clear hits, the debate didn’t deliver the game-changing moment Trump needed. Some takeaways:

  • Sharp contrasts. While the tone of the Nashville debate “was more sedate, the conflict in matters of substance and vision could not have been more dramatic,” Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin write at the New York Times. The contrast was most evident in the candidate’s remarks on the pandemic they write, with Trump “promising, in defiance of evidence, that the disease was ‘going away,'” while Biden “called for much more aggressive federal action for the ‘dark winter’ ahead.”
  • A changed tone from Trump. Trump cleared a low bar by improving his tone. The president was on his “best behavior” Thursday night and while his strategy seemed to be allowing Biden lots of speaking time in the hope the Democrat would slip up, “that didn’t really happen,” Niall Stanage and Jonathan Easley write at the Hill. “While there were moments where Biden appeared shaky, there were also instances in which he met the moment, such as with his emotional response to the Trump administration’s policy of separating parents from their children at the border,” they write. “But overall, the president’s calmer demeanor likely helped him to a degree.”
  • Not a disaster for Biden. The former vice president also cleared a low bar by not making any gaffes likely to jeopardize his lead in the polls, according to Mark Barabak and Melanie Mason at the Los Angeles Times. The Democrat “didn’t suffer a brain freeze or open his mouth and spray buckshot into his feet. Indeed, he more than acquitted himself,” they write. “Crisp speaking, cogent argument, and linear presentation have never been the former vice president’s strong suit,” they note, but despite “garble and a verbal stumble now and then,” there was “nothing remotely close to a death blow to Biden’s candidacy.”
  • “Facts took a hit.” The AP‘s fact-checking of the debate notes that the “facts took a hit right out of the gate”, when Trump “misrepresented the reality of the pandemic in myriad and familiar ways,” while “Biden, at times, was selective on the coronavirus and other matters, at one point stating that no one under Obamacare lost private health coverage. Millions did.”
  • Medicare-for-all among the losers. In a list of debate winners and losers at Vox, Medicare-for-all ranks among the losers. Biden rejected Trump’s claim that he was pushing for “socialized medicine,” telling the Republican that he had beaten numerous rivals who supported a single-payer system. “The reason why I had such a fight with 20 candidates for the nomination was I support private insurance,” Biden said. “Not one single person with private insurance would lose their insurance under my plan, nor did they under ObamaCare.”
  • “Better for the country.” This was the kind of debate people were hoping for the first time around, with “a clear contrast on policies and almost no incomprehensible crosstalk,” writes Jim Geraghty at National Review. “Compared to the first debate, this was Lincoln and Douglas. Okay, maybe more like Statler and Waldorf,” he writes. “But it was much better for everyone: better for Trump, better for Biden, and better for the country.” He says it’s “unfortunate for the Trump campaign” that there will not be a third debate.

Just a little refresher on the evening……

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I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

2020 Presidential Debate #3

Mercifully this is the final debate before the vote.

This was a different debate than normal…it had to be altered because Donald the Orange does not understand what a debate is all about….and he was a titty baby.

The debate makes perfect fodder for an SNL skit….but in all fairness Trump was a bit calmer and seemed to be more focused than the first debate….still lied his ass off…..but as I expected there was some theatrics and …..Before the debate even began, Trump seemed to set the tone in the form of a special guest: He invited Tony Bobulinski, a former business partner of Hunter Biden. 

Plus Trump is trying out a new slur for Biden in the closing days of this election….. President Trump again pressed his case during Thursday night’s debate that Joe and Hunter Biden acted unethically in regard to Hunter’s business dealings. At one point, he referred to the elder Biden as “the big man” and suggested that he has orchestrated global deals that were enriching him personally. “I don’t make money from China. You do,” he said of Biden, per the Independent. “I don’t make money from Ukraine. You do. They even made a statement that they have to give 10% to the big man.” Biden, he suggested, was that “big man.” 

And then the first subject…..

Trump praised his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, insisting that “we’re rounding the corner” and that that a vaccine is just weeks away. Biden, for his part, said anyone who has mismanaged things as badly as Trump doesn’t deserve to be president. Both covered familiar ground on the topic over a series of questions, and one exchange largely summed things up. “We’re learning to live with it,” said Trump, per CBS News. Biden responded, “People are learning to die with it.”

And now for the rest of the story….

The second presidential debate was a marked changed from the first one, with few interruptions as the candidates covered a range of topics, including COVID and corruption. Late in the forum, President Trump sought to score points on energy by asking Joe Biden if he would shut down the oil industry. “I would transition from the oil industry, yes,” responded Biden, saying the industry “pollutes” and should eventually be replaced with greener alternatives. “That’s a big statement,” said Trump, asking voters in Texas and Pennsylvania to remember it. Other moments:

  • BidenCare: Joe Biden promised to beef up ObamaCare, or the Affordable Care Act, if he’s elected. “What I’m going to do is pass ObamaCare with a public option, become BidenCare,” he said, per Politico.


(still looks like the industry will control the benefits)

  • Racism: Trump again compared himself to Abraham Lincoln in terms of how much he has done to help Black Americans, and he pronounced himself “the least racist person in this room.” Biden responded, “Abraham Lincoln over here is the most racist president we’ve ever had.”
  • Track record: “Joe, I ran because of you,” said Trump. “I ran because of Barack Obama. Because you did a poor job. If I thought you did a good job, I would have never run,” he said. “You keep talking about all these things you’re going to do. But you were there just a short time ago and you guys did nothing.”
  • Family separations: Biden said the separation of families at the border violates “every notion of who we are as a nation.”
  • Minimum wage: Biden backed a $15 minimum wage for the US, saying, “No one should work one job, two jobs below poverty.” Trump said it could hurt businesses and should be a state decision, per USA Today.

I admit that this debate was far more watchable than the first…at least for me…but the best optics of the night was from Biden and his facial expressions during his “silent” time…..

Mercifully this will be the last 2020 debate there has been too much theatrics surrounding them…..

I think most Americans already know who they will vote for so this bit of drama was as useless as teats on a boar.

I hope you enjoyed this service….

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“lego ergo scribo”


Most know what a international relations geek I truly am…..but for those newbies….

If a people vote a person in office regardless of their political leanings then that nation should be left alone without interference from the US or anyone because they do not agree with the political philosophy embraced by the new leader.

For instance Chile of the 70s….voted a socialist into the office of president and the US immediately started undermining the government……in the end the president was assassinated and the people spent many decades of suppression of democratic rights…….then Venezuela under Chavez…..he was elected and he deserved a shot at leading with out interference from the corporations and the US…..and after decades of sanctions the people still do not have the rights that we Americans think we embrace….those worthless sanctions have done nothing but make the poor poorer and their suffering prolonged.

Now we have Bolivia…..before I go on……I find it interesting that the poorest countries of the Americas are interested in electing what the idiots called socialists…..could it be because the poor have been exploited by corrupt officials after so many years?

Now about Bolivia… has always been the poorest country in South America and pretty much all the Americas…..then they elected Evo Morales…..a socialist and the US immediately started undermining his government.

Look at Bolivia…..

Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simon BOLIVAR, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825; much of its subsequent history has consisted of a series of coups and countercoups, with the last coup occurring in 1978. Democratic civilian rule was established in 1982, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and illegal drug production.

In December 2005, Bolivians elected Movement Toward Socialism leader Evo MORALES president – by the widest margin of any leader since the restoration of civilian rule in 1982 – after he ran on a promise to change the country’s traditional political class and empower the nation’s poor, indigenous majority. In December 2009 and October 2014, President MORALES easily won reelection. His party maintained control of the legislative branch of the government, which has allowed him to continue his process of change. In February 2016, MORALES narrowly lost a referendum to approve a constitutional amendment that would have allowed him to compete in the 2019 presidential election. However, a 2017 Supreme Court ruling stating that term limits violate human rights provided the justification for MORALES to be chosen by his party to run again in 2019. MORALES attempted to claim victory in the 20 October 2019 election, but widespread allegations of electoral fraud, rising violence, and pressure from the military ultimately forced him to flee the country. An interim government is preparing new elections for 2020.

It is always interesting to watch the US justify the interference in the government and the state operation of countries that some do not agree with….

After the ousting of the Morales government the promised elections have taken place and once again the people of Bolivia have spoken……..

Evo Morales’ party has claimed victory in a presidential election that appears to sharply shift Bolivia away from the conservative policies of the US-backed interim government that took power after the leftist leader resigned and fled the country a year ago. The leading rival of Morales’s handpicked successor, Luis Arce, conceded defeat on Monday, as did interim President Jeanine Áñez, a bitter foe of Morales. Officials released no formal, comprehensive quick count of results from Sunday’s vote, but two independent surveys of selected polling places showed Arce with a lead of roughly 20 percentage points over his closest rival—far more than needed to avoid a runoff. Officials said final results could take days. Áñez asked Arce “to govern with Bolivia and democracy in mind,” the AP reports. Arce, meanwhile, appealed for calm in the bitterly divided nation, saying he would seek to form a government of national unity under his Movement Toward Socialism party.

“I think the Bolivian people want to retake the path we were on,” Arce declared. He oversaw a surge in growth and a sharp reduction in poverty as Morales’ economy minister for more than a decade but will struggle to reignite that growth. The boom in prices for Bolivia’s mineral exports that helped feed that progress has faded, and the coronavirus has hit the impoverished nation harder than almost any other country on a per capita basis. Nearly 8,400 of its 11.6 million people have died of COVID-19. Arce, 57, also faces the challenge of emerging from the shadow of his polarizing former boss, whose support helped the low-key, UK-educated economist. Áñez’s government tried to overturn many Morales policies and pull the country from its leftist alliances, and Morales faces prosecution on what are seen as trumped-up terrorism charges if he returns home. He said Monday in Buenos Aires that he plans to return to Bolivia. Calling for “a great meeting of reconciliation for reconstruction,” Morales said, “we are not vengeful.”

I try to be fair in my postings….so will this win by Morales be bad for the region?

Roger Cortez, a socio-economics expert, predicts problems ahead. “MAS propagates an outdated economic model based on state capitalism and the exploitation of natural resources.” In addition, he says, “the pandemic has pushed between one and two million Bolivians back into poverty.” Cortez does not think slash-and-burn farming and gene modified crops in Bolivia’s plain are sustainable either.

Mesa has promised a new economic approach, yet remained vague on details. In any case, it will prove hard to generate majorities in such a fragmented parliament. Many ordinary Bolivians, therefore, are quite pessimistic about the future. An online survey conducted by Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Foundation found that 78% of respondents see Bolivia’s situation worsening, while 57% said they expect an upshot in violence during and after the election. Meanwhile, a staggering 80% said they are concerned about the state of the economy and growing poverty.

On the other hand…..a look into the legacy of Morales…..the legacy of Evo Morales — who won power in South America’s poorest country, tripled its GDP, and lifted millions out of extreme poverty.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”