Closing Thought–30Nov21

More news for the country……

Next year prices will probably go up especially for fresh veggies…..there may be a shortage of fertilizer for crops…..so naturally scarcity will make us mere mortals pay more for our food.

Farmers have no shortages of things to worry about, and Reuters reports that a major new concern has joined the list this year: Nitrogen fertilizer is in short supply, and its cost is skyrocketing as a result. This could not only translate into higher prices in everything from bread to meat in the coming months, but the shortage is forcing farmers to make dicey gambles about the fall and upcoming spring planting season. A slew of factors are behind the shortage, including record low temperatures in Texas earlier this year and Hurricane Ida’s slamming of production facilities in Louisiana in August, per the Weather Channel. A post at Ag Week, meanwhile, blames “a rare combination of supply chain issues that have tightened supplies,” including high prices for natural gas, a key component in the fertilizer.

“Right now, we have an almost a perfect storm of high energy prices, China cutting its production because of higher energy prices, as well,” agricultural economist John Beghin of the University of Nebraska tells Ag Web. “In Europe, they’re suffering through very high gas prices. Then we have supply disruptions in the US.” American farmers typically pay for fertilizer upfront, and the high price is causing many to put off purchases until the spring. That raises the risk of an even tighter shortage then, with accompanying higher prices. On top of that, holding off until then makes the logistics of spring planting much more difficult to navigate. “There’s going to be a lot of people who wait and see,” Daren Coppock of the Agricultural Retailers Association tells Reuters. “(But) if everybody’s scrambling in the spring to get enough, somebody’s corn isn’t going to get covered.”

Not to worry…..inflation will remain manageable for rising food prices is not part of the equation….the excuse being that prices fluctuate to give a good picture…..to that I call bullshit!

Food prices go up and seldom come down….so where is the fluctuation?

Main Street suffers but that matters not as long as the ‘markets’ are protected…..and the rest of us can go to Hell…..or worse….go hungry.

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Somethings Never Change

As an old fart I have been watching the world slowly spiral into the piece of manure it is today.

Ever since WW2 the US has been a poser for human rights and change….but ever since those days the US has never wavered from the domination they have pursued…..enter Biden as president…..nothing has changed the US continues to poke the tiger in the eye….instead of diplomacy it sends troops, an act of aggression at best.

A State Department official said Friday that “all options” are on the table on how to respond to Russia’s alleged troop build-up near its border with Ukraine and that the US will decide with NATO next week on what steps to take.

“As you can appreciate, all options are on the table and there’s a toolkit that includes a whole range of options,” Karen Donfried, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, told reporters.

For weeks now, the US has been warning that Russia is planning to invade Ukraine. But Russia strongly denies the claim and insists that any military movement within its own borders is not meant as a threat. Amid the tensions, the US has been very vocal about its support for Ukraine. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan assured his Ukrainian counterpart Friday of Washington’s “ironclad support” for Kyiv.

Also on Friday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned Russia of consequences if it moves on Ukraine. “If Russia uses force against Ukraine that will have costs, that would have consequences,” he said.

Russian officials have pointed to the increase in US and NATO activity in the region as the source of tensions. In the Black Sea, there has been a regular presence of US warships that operate alongside NATO allies. On Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said US bombers rehearsed a nuclear strike on Russia this month, and some of the planes came within 12.4 miles of Russia’s border.

The Biden administration is reportedly considering sending military advisors and more weapons to Ukraine, a move that would inflame tensions with Russia even more. The potential weapons package could include new Javelin anti-tank missiles, mortars, and stinger missiles.

(antiwar.com)

The US continues to pursue Russia in the Black Sea region……but what will a war with Russia look like?

Recent days have seen a new flurry of Western media reports that U.S. intelligence believes that Russia is planning to invade Ukraine early in the new year. These reports have already led to warnings by NATO and Washington that Russia would pay a heavy economic and political price in the event of a war.

Russia, for its part, has denied the dire nature of the reports, blaming “a targeted information campaign,” according to Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, on Monday. “This is building up tension.”

Nevertheless, this should also lead to a determined and sincere new effort by the United States and leading European governments to find a reasonable compromise with Russia over the Ukrainian disputes. For quite apart from the global economic damage that would result from a war in Ukraine, and the ways in which China would take advantage of such a crisis, the West has a very strong reason indeed to avoid a new war: the West would lose.

What war with Russia over Ukraine would really look like

How will this end?

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Closing Thought–29Nov21

I know that Covid has become a passe topic these days…..50 the population think it is all a government ploy and the other half worries about their friends and families……so I thought I would bring my readers up to date on the variants and the international stage……

Almost two years after the first cases were detected in Wuhan, China, the fight against the coronavirus continues—and authorities are worried that a new variant detected in South Africa could be a major setback. The variant, currently known as B.1.1.529, has mutations that could make it more infectious and reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, scientists say. CNBC reports that the World Health Organization has scheduled a meeting on the variant for Friday. It if is declared a variant of interest or a variant of concern, it will be assigned a Greek letter name. The “Mu” variant first detected in Colombia was designated a variant of interest in August, making “Nu” the next letter in line. More:

  • Why scientists are worried. While many COVID variants die out, the latest one has an unusually high number of mutations and believed to be behind a steep rise in infections in South Africa, the AP reports. Joe Phaahla, the country’s health minister, said Thursday that there has been an “exponential” rise in cases over the last four or five days. Cases have also been detected in Botswana, Hong Kong, and Israel.
  • “A big jump in evolution.” The variant was detected after scientists investigated a surge in infections in the Johannesburg area, the New York Times reports. “This variant did surprise us—it has a big jump in evolution, many more mutations than we expected, especially after a very severe third wave of Delta,” said Tulio de Oliveira, director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform.
  • New travel restrictions. European countries quickly imposed restrictions on travel from southern Africa as news of the variant emerged, the BBC reports. The UK has banned flights from six countries: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, and Eswatini.
  • “The most worrying we’ve seen.” Dr Susan Hopkins, a top medical adviser to the British government, described the variant as “the most worrying we’ve seen” due to high transmission levels, per the Guardian. South African officials are “saying that their transmission rates, the R value that they have in Gauteng around where this was first found, is now 2, which is really quite high and we’ve not seen levels of transmission like that since right back at the beginning of the pandemic, because of all of the mitigations and steps we’ve taken,” Hopkins said.
  • Stock markets sink. The Financial Times reports that stock markets in Europe and Asia dropped sharply Friday, with airline stocks among the hardest hit. Oil prices are also down and the Dow Jones is set to open down 800 points.

This pandemic is far from over…..and it seems to point to  a long range spread once again.

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Space Colonization

I am one of the few bloggers that has an interest in the developments centered around space and its exploration.

I have made my thoughts known on the push for corporate dominance of space…..for one it violates the 1967 Outer Space Treaty that most of the UN members signed including the US.

But if the treaty escapes you then I can help bring in the light.

Old Prof’s Look At Space Law (Again)

I also enjoy visiting the debate sites on the web…..sites like ….

https://www.debate.org/

https://www.procon.org/

On the later site there was a debate on space colonization…..

https://www.procon.org/headlines/space-colonization-top-3-pros-and-cons/

Most of the pros and cons were about this planet and the need to find alternate living space….I both agree and disagree with that premise.

Yes since we are apparently incapable to fixing our climate and planetary problems we will need to look elsewhere for a place to live so we can do it all again…..most likely making all the same mistakes.

My first objection is the term ‘colonization’ …..it has a sinister implications….

Colonization, or colonisation refers to large-scale population movements where the migrants maintain strong links with their – or their ancestors’ – former country, gaining significant privileges over other inhabitants of the territory by such links. When colonization takes place under the protection of colonial structures, it may be termed settler colonialism. This often involves the settlers dispossessing indigenous inhabitants, or instituting legal and other structures which systematically disadvantage them.

In its basic sense, colonization can be defined as the process of establishing foreign control over target territories or people for the purpose of cultivation, often through establishing colonies and possibly by settling them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonization

The term has imperialistic overtones for me.  The treaty of 1967 made it clear that there should be NO military hardware in space and all innovations were for the benefit of all humanity…..instead the whole deal is to claim and exploit the resources found in space

Now the treaty means nothing like most treaties that keep greed from ruling.

From Bush to Obama to Trump to Biden….all have extended the reach of corporations into space and beyond (not sure what beyond actually means).

I think ‘colonization’ will create more problems than it will solve.

Like nukes in space…while most of the rhetoric is about nukes for rocket power….but like anything nuke there could be another under the table plan for nukes.

The Push for Nukes in Space

Not only will there be a threat of nukes from countries that have a stockpile but also from space….a scenario that should be unacceptable for humanity.

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But They Are Sentient!

I admit it that I do not eat shellfish…..to me there is something wrong with dropping a live creature into boiling water……just to satisfy some need for a ‘special’ meal.

My friends in the UK have made a good call, in my opinion…..

A bill designating octopus, lobster, crab, and other animals as sentient beings capable of experiencing feelings and sensations including pain and distress, now moving through the UK parliament, could transform how such animals are treated in the country. The bill, which would see the creation of an Animal Sentience Committee to inform public policy on animal welfare, initially classified all vertebrates, or animals with backbones, as sentient beings. But cephalopods, including octopus, squid, and cuttlefish, and decapods, including lobster, crab, and shrimp, were added after a report by the London School of Economics and Political Science found these animals can also experience pain or distress.

Researchers examined more than 300 studies looking for eight criteria that would point to sentience, including the presence of pain receptors, connections between pain receptors and certain regions of the brain, self-protective behavior, responses to pain-relieving drugs, and associative learning. High confidence that an animal met three of the criteria translated to substantial evidence of sentience, whereas high confidence that an animal met five or more criteria translated to strong evidence of sentience. “In all the cases, the balance of evidence seemed to tilt toward sentience,” co-author Dr. Jonathan Birch tells NBC News. The evidence is “very strong” in octopus, he notes. “For squid and cuttlefish, the evidence was less strong but nonetheless substantial,” according to the report.

It recommends against declawing crabs and live boiling lobsters without first stunning them. Researchers could not identify a humane and commercially viable way to kill cephalopods, which are often clubbed, asphyxiated, or stabbed in the brain. “Methods regarded as standard for humane killing in science can’t be done on a commercial scale to produce an edible product. That’s a fundamental issue we want to raise,” Birch says. The bill, which is expected to pass, wouldn’t necessarily restrict such killings. But it would create a committee to consider animal sentience as it relates to future legislation. It’s part of a broader plan “to bring in some of the strongest protections in the world for pets, livestock and wild animals,” Animal Welfare Minister Lord Zac Goldsmith says, per USA Today.

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Another Variant (Oh Goody)

Just in time for the holiday season.

Here we go again…..another problem with the Covid thing….this time in South Africa

The world got an unwanted new arrival on Friday: Omicron. Here’s the latest on the worrisome new COVID variant:

  • New name: After an emergency review, the World Health Organization on Friday declared the emerging strain of COVID a “variant of concern,” reports the Washington Post. The variant, first detected in South Africa, was dubbed Omicron, named after a Greek letter in keeping with other variants such as Delta.
  • Travel restrictions: The US will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other African nations: Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi. The restrictions are to start Monday, reports Politico.
  • ‘Most worrying’: Much is unknown about the strain, but researchers fear its large number of mutations will help it spread easily and perhaps better evade vaccines. For now, the variant is the “most worrying we’ve seen,” says Susan Hopkins, an adviser to Britain’s Health and Security Agency. So far, no cases have been reported in the USFound in Europe: The first case of the new variant has been detected in Europe, adding to worries about how far the strain already has spread. The Guardian reports that Belgium confirmed a case of the variant in an unvaccinated woman with no travel links to South Africa or neighboring countries. Authorities say the woman developed mild symptoms 11 days after traveling from Egypt to Belgium via Turkey. The only other known cases outside southern Africa are in Israel, where a traveler who had returned from Malawi is now in isolation, and Hong Kong, where two travelers tested positive while in hotel quarantine.
  • Seeking answers: Fauci says the variant has more than 30 mutations to its spike protein, which “are raising some concern, particularly with regard to possibly transmissibility increase, and possibly evasion of immune response.” Fauci says officials have arranged talks Friday between American scientists and their South African counterparts. “We want to find out, scientist-to-scientist, exactly what is going on,” he says.

    Restrictions elsewhere: More than a dozen countries in Europe and Asia have halted or restricted travel from countries in southern Africa, and the European Commission has urged all EU members to put an “emergency brake” on travel, the New York Times reports. Earlier Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN that there is “no indication” the variant has arrived in the US, but “we’re rushing now to get that scientific data.”

And just in time for Christmas…..

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Closing Thought–26Nov21

The idiots in Congress want to heap accolades on Rittenhouse for murdering 2 people…..

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene wants to see Kyle Rittenhouse join George Washington, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Dalai Lama in receiving the legislative branch’s highest honor. The Republican congresswoman introduced a bill Tuesday to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Rittenhouse, who fatally shot two people and injured a third during a protest in Kenosha, Wis., last year, per the Washington Post. The Congressional Gold Medal represents Congress’ “highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals or institutions,” according to the Senate website.

Greene—who voted against awarding the medal to US Capitol Police officers who responded to the Jan. 6 riot earlier this year, per HuffPost—says Rittenhouse, found not guilty of homicide and other charges last week, “deserves to be remembered as a hero who defended his community, protected businesses, and acted lawfully in the face of lawlessness,” per the Hill. Her effort is unlikely to succeed, however. The bill needs to be co-sponsored by two-thirds of the Democratic-controlled House and Senate to go before committees and has zero co-sponsors at present, per the Post. President Biden, who has condemned Rittenhouse’s actions, would also need to approve the measure, if passed.

What Rittenhouse is getting from Congress is plenty of job offers. Reps. Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Madison Cawthorn, and Lauren Boebert have all said they would hire the 18-year-old as an intern, per Salon. Cawthorn, Gosar, and Boebert are even talking of arm wrestling for him. Asked Wednesday about Greene’s bill, Gaetz spokesperson Joel Valdez notes “we are concerned that awarding Kyle with a Congressional Gold Medal will give him a big head during the internship with our office.” None of this is landing well with Rittenhouse’s trial attorney, Mark Richards. “They want to trade on his celebrity, and I think it’s disgusting,” he tells Insider.

Seriously?

A position as an intern?  Is that not an unpaid position?  How magnanimous of those reps.

Really?

A Gold Medal for someone who attacks and kills unarmed protesters…..what has this country become?

These elected officials should be censured and removed form office for their support for the attacks on the foundations of this country.

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Aubrey Vs Rittenhouse

More on the justice system ……

This time it is about the Aubrey case…..the latest trial of vigilante actions…..

After more than 10 hours of deliberations over two days, the jury has delivered its verdict in the Ahmaud Arbery case. Greg McMichael, 65 and his son Travis McMichael, 35, have been found guilty of murder in the 25-year-old Black man’s death, the New York Times reports. The McMichaels grabbed guns and chased Arbery in a pickup truck after they saw him running through their neighborhood near Brunswick, Georgia last year. William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., a neighbor who joined the chase in his truck and recorded video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery, was also found guilty of murder.

Travis McMichael was found guilty on all nine counts, including felony murder and malice murder. His father was found guilty of felony murder and all other counts except malice murder. Bryan, 52, was also found guilty of felony murder but not malice murder. All three men will face minimum sentences of life in prison and it will be up to the judge the AP reports.

More thoughts on the trial and outcome…..

  • The verdict. Travis McMichael, who shot Arbery after he saw him running through his neighborhood outside Brunswick, Georgia, in February last year, was found guilty of malice murder and felony murder. His father, Greg McMichael, and neighbor William Bryan Jr., who helped chase Arbery down in his truck, were found guilty of felony murder. All three were also convicted on charges including aggravated assault and false imprisonment, the Brunswick News reports. The overwhelmingly white jury rejected defense arguments that the men were trying to carry out a lawful citizen’s arrest and that the younger McMichael shot Arbery in self-defense. Prosecutors said the men hunted Arbery down and killed him while he was jogging on a public road.
  • “Careful deliberation.” Bryan and the elder McMichael were found not guilty of malice murder. Georgia criminal defense attorney Page Pate tells CNN the verdict shows there was “careful deliberation.” In Georgia, malice murder means “you have an intent to kill someone,” Pate says. “Felony murder is you don’t necessarily want to kill someone but you’re committing a felony offense and someone dies as a result of it.”
  • Sentencing. The three men were taken to the Glynn County jail, where they will remain until they are sentenced, the Times reports. No sentencing date has been set. All three defendants could face a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
  • Appeals planned. Lawyers for the McMichaels and Bryan say they plan to appeal. “I can tell you honestly, these men are sorry for what happened to Ahmaud Arbery,” said McMicheal attorney Jason Sheffield, per the AP. “They are sorry he’s dead. They are sorry for the tragedy that happened because of the choices they made to go out there and try to stop him.” Bryan attorney Kevin Gough, who plans to file new motions after Thanksgiving, said the team is “disappointed with the verdict, but we respect it.”

I would not get too excited for this will happen again and again…..it is far from over…..period.

This is a justice for one but how many have gone without justice for their deaths?

Vigilantism will rise….that we can wager on.

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A Few Words About Rittenhouse

I hope that everyone had a good Thanksgiving and that all were safe……

First I want to apologize for being late with this post but laptop problems and posting from a tablet made it impossible for me to write this sooner….please forgive.

So some silly little teenage white boy gets a buddy to buy an assault weapon for him then is mommy drives him to a protest then he shoots and kills 2 people and injures another…then he is arrested and tried and found not guilty….that is about the short version…..

A few thoughts…..

+ After Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted for shooting three people on the streets of Kenosha, Donald (I could shoot somebody on Fifth Ave. and not lose any voters) Trump is going to have to come up with some new boast about the kind of outlandish behavior he can get away with, since this will soon become routine event in America…

+ Apparently, you can now walk down many streets in America carrying what looks like a military assault weapon. This gun might make other people nervous about your intentions. You perceive their anxiety about your gun as a potential threat to your safety & shoot them. Case closed.

+ The concept of Stand Your Ground has become a legal version of Hemingway’s a Moveable Feast–it goes wherever you go or, really, wherever your gun goes. Your ground is literally wherever you’re standing with a gun–even if it is on someone else’s street in someone else’s town with someone else’s gun…

But Rittenhouse shot white people! Doesn’t that prove he’s not a racist? No. He shot race traitors, white people protesting the police shootings of blacks. During Reconstruction some of the most sadistic murders in the South were committed against so-called Radical Republicans, Southerners who supported emancipation and black suffrage, a threat that needed to be completely neutralized before JIm Crow could be implemented.

Like many suburban kids, I was force-fed the Dick and Jane readers in kindergarten. I guess in the updated post-Rittenhouse Patriotic editions of these books all the juvenile characters in the stories will be carrying AK-47s for self-defense, except Spot the dog and Puff the cat. I can imagine an episode where Spot and Puff are kidnapped by the evil Dr. Fauci for grotesque medical experiments on a island off the coast of Africa and have to be liberated in a commando raid by Dick, Jane and Sally.

+ A reminder: 907 people have been shot and killed by police in the US this year.

All the silliness of the trial reminded me (remember I am old) of the antics and chaos of the Chicago 7 trial….

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Closing Thought–24Nov21

It appears the workers have found a new clout basically because of the pandemic…..companies are starting to run scared…..workers are getting in control of their destinies…..I appears…..

The pendulum has swung toward the labor force, and US workers are taking advantage of it. With their pick of employment opportunities these days, more Americans than ever—4.4 million—left their jobs in September, CNN reports. That could become the norm. “Labor now has the initiative, and the era of paying individuals less than a livable wage has ended,” said one economist. “This strongly suggests that rising wages are going to be part and parcel of the economic landscape going forward.”

Those workers had 10.4 million vacant jobs to choose from in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Employers in health care and state and local government especially are dealing with more openings. There were slightly more vacant jobs overall in August, but that total was affected by the steady decline in hiring for leisure and hospitality jobs. While there were 7.4 million unemployed workers last month, per the Wall Street Journal, the site Indeed.com figured the number of US openings at 11.2 million. Workers also set a record in September with a quit rate of 3%, which refers to how many workers left their jobs as a share of overall employment.

The shift can be attributed to several factors, per the Washington Post. Some employers improved pay and benefits to attract hires. Coronavirus infections caused by the delta variant increased, making child care and school attendance less certain, and some workers were less eager to stay in jobs that require dealing with the public—including health care and education. Retirements were up. “Workers are fed up with working conditions and feel unsafe and quitting even though they might not immediately jump into a new job,” said an economist for Glassdoor.

This could be monumental for any labor movements….the workers are asserting themselves as they should have been doing for decades.

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving….please be careful and be safe……

Thanksgiving Day 2021: Recipes, Traditions, and Trivia - Farmers' Almanac

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