Closing Thought–23Jan17


Translate this…….

We bloggers are always in search of new readers and commenters…..some choose different methods to secure these visitors….my feeling is if visitors cannot read the post why would they continue to visit……that is where I have made a bit of a change to IST.

I have been blogging for 10 years and have got many foreign visitors……almost every country has stopped by IST and in all that time I did not consider that there might be a problem with my non-English speaking visitors…..

I am fortunate enough to get visitors the world over…..and with this widget I may get more if they can translate what I have written…..and then maybe get more comments which will help in understanding and promote a valid conversation….

I apologize for the inconvenience…..and I apologize for not thinking of this sooner……

I have added the translate widget to my site…hopefully this will help my visitors get the gist of my posts…..

Again I apologize and hopefully this move will help….I look forward to my international readers gaining better access to IST.

Well my friends that is it for this day in history…..I shall return tomorrow and hopefully so shall you…’til then have a day and be well and safe….chuq

On The First Day

Instead of trying the help their new “idol” to get his message across the more ignorant of the Right are going on and on about the “protests”….the best they can muster is some vague macho crap and slogans…..and yet we have a new president and his policies should be the focus….not to worry they will, the more ignorant that is, will move on when their “sources” move on….once the bullshit has been exhausted they will find a new “threat” to rant about…..

Today is Monday and the first official day of the Trump Administration….but before we dive head long into this thing let us take a look a few figures that he will inherit……

4.7% unemployment rate as of Dec. 2016; 7.8% (Jan. 2009)

104.8% of GDP federal debt in Q3 2016; 77.4% (Q1 2009)

2,266.72 S&P 500 as of Jan. 11, 2017; 930.72 (Jan. 23, 2009)

372.6 per 100,000 violent crime rate as of 2015; 454.5 per 100,000 (2008)

9,920 nuclear warheads in all countries, as of 2015; 11,947 (2008)

8.9% those without health insurance, not counting the elderly, as of 2016; 16.8% (2008)

The figures do not prove out all the negativity from the conserv slugs on the Right…..but I guess there was more to it than the silly crap they tried to pass off as “fact”……

Now what will the first day look like for Pres. Trump?

Donald Trump promises a busy first few days in office, with a series of executive actions ready to be rolled out within days. Some highlights:

  • Day One may bring two major trade moves: Trump intends to give official notice that the US plans to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and that he wants to renegotiate NAFTA with Canada and Mexico, reports AP.
  • Reuters reports executive orders are coming within days, and cites two: a directive regarding the construction of a Mexico border wall, and limitations on the entry of Latin American asylum seekers.
  • “A senior GOP Hill aide said lawmakers anticipate that Trump will roll out multiple executive orders related to Obamacare. But the stresses they have not yet been briefed or given any heads-up about what is coming.” See CNN.
  • The Hill predicts “dramatic” funding cuts soon, and specifies five departments that will take a hit: Commerce, Energy, Transportation, Justice, and State.
  • The New York Times rounds up all of Trump’s “day one” promises from the campaign here, including a vow to lift restrictions on oil drilling.
  • Trump plans to visit the CIA on Saturday after weeks of rancor between him and the intelligence community. He would attend the swearing-in of Mike Pompeo as the new chief, assuming the Senate confirms him on Friday, reports NBC News.
  • Politico assesses the outlook for the first 100 days on some of the higher-profile issues, from a border wall to health care. On that wall, Trump can start aggressively, but “addressing larger immigration problems legislatively would require a vision that extended beyond fences and deportations.” Read it here.
  • ABC News’ 100-day preview suggests a giant infrastructure bill might be one of the few initiatives that will get bipartisan support. Read it here.

It will be an interesting 4 years… is the country’s “first day of the rest of its life”……

Grandstanding After All

When it began there was push back to Pres. Trump’s nominee for State, Tillerson.  The leaders of the “opposition” were Sens. McCain and Graham….very vocal and defiant toward the appointee….

With all the chest thumping I said that it might be just theatrics like so much else done or said by senators…..

Appears I called this one also……

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain will support Rex Tillerson as secretary of state in a move that all but clinches his nomination, reports Politico. Graham confirmed his position on CBS’ Face the Nation and in a joint statement with McCain; Marco Rubio still hasn’t decided, but McCain and Graham make that all but irrelevant. “Though we still have concerns about his past dealings with the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin, we believe that Mr. Tillerson can be an effective advocate for US interests,” they said in a joint statement. McCain says the decision “wasn’t an easy call” but he says Tillerson assuaged worries about Russia in private meetings. McCain says he also believes in giving incoming presidents “the benefit of the doubt” on their picks.

Typical political games that runs rampant in Washington…..AH the games played in the name of governing….

Beginning The First Full Week

Today is Monday, the 23Jan17, and the first full week of the Trump administration…..there is lots of apprehension among Americans about just what will be the rule of the day under the rein of a new master…..

They say (whoever “they” are) that a new president has this period of adjustment….some call it the “honeymoon”…..the National Review published a post just before the swearing in……

The shortest honeymoon on record is officially over. Normally, newly elected presidents enjoy a wave of goodwill that allows them to fly high at least through their first 100 days. Donald Trump has not yet been sworn in, and the honeymoon has already come and gone. Presidents-elect usually lie low during the interregnum. Trump never lies low. He seized the actual presidency from Barack Obama within weeks of his election — cutting ostentatious deals with U.S. manufacturers to keep jobs at home, challenging 40-year-old China policy, getting into a very public fight with the intelligence agencies. By now he has taken over the presidential stage. It is true that we have only one president at a time, and for over a month it’s been Donald Trump.

Source: Donald Trump Honeymoon: Over Before It Began | National Review

Then there are those Americans…the people that right wing mental midgets call “liberals”…..that are very apprehensive about the new admin……

The election of Donald Trump has triggered as much wonderment abroad as it has in the United States. David Runciman, a professor of politics at the University of Cambridge, has written in the London Review of Books a provocative reflection on the nature of democracy in the age of Trump: “Is this how democracy ends?” There is much to praise in his essay, including his heavy qualification that we really don’t know for sure if what we are seeing is the end phase of mature Western democracies since we do not have the appropriate historical precedents to be certain.

Runciman is correct; as an admirer of Karl Popper, I believe that there is no such thing as historical determinism, either in the form of the Marxist dialectical process, or in the guise of its mirror image, the invisible hand of laissez-faire. Accordingly there is no surefire way to tell in advance whether Trump, Marine Le Pen or Geert Wilders would spell the end of democracy as we have known it. History, as Popper would tell us, is an open system, full of contingency. Waterloo, the Battle of Britain and Stalingrad were all close-run things.

Source: Maybe This Is How Democracy Ends | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

And then there are those people that learned a lesson from the Trump rhetoric during the campaigns……and may decide to use it in the same way…..

“The nation and all of our freedoms hang by a thread and the military apparatus of this country is about to be handed over to scum! Who are beholden to scum! … Those who ignore these elemental, existential facts – Democrats or Republicans – are traitors to this country and will immediately and forever after be held accountable.”

The passage above comes from a clip recorded for GQ magazine by former MSNBC presenter Keith Olbermann. It’s a case study in what we might call “anti-Trump Trumpism”.

Source: The liberals embrace anti-Trump Trumpism | USA | Al Jazeera

There are so many unanswered question with the incoming admin…..people are nervous and people are afraid…..this will be a contentious time for most Americans…..all we can do is soldier on and pray for sanity.

Where Was The Inspiration?

I did not watch the inauguration…I would rather have watched an episode of Sesame Street I am sure that it would have made more sense than the speech….but I got call from my daughter bitching at me for not watching it… I broke down and watched a replay of the speech…..

Okay I lied….I refuse to watch this crap…I instead read a transcript of the speech….full transcript here.

There a few lines in the speech that were just…..(you pick the term)…..(my analysis in parenthesis)…….

  •  “From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first. (should read corporations first)
  • “Jan. 20, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.” (cute…but totally BS)
  • “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” he said, after ticking off a litany of problems including poverty, crime, and “rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation.”  (What about the “carnage” we are inflicting internationally?)
  • “For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth.” (the same people he his hiring)
  • “We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.” (cool!  that has been a slogan that has been around for 40 years and still means NOTHING!)
  • “We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.”  (best I can muster is…Hahahahaha)
  • “I will never, ever let you down. America is going to start winning again, winning like never before.”  (every time he uses “winning” I think of the meltdown by Charlie Sheen a few years back)
  • “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.” (now here is the biggest lie of the speech….his followers would not know a patriot if it bit them in the ass and prejudice is ever-present)
  • “We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.”  (a promise he cannot and will not keep)
  • “The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.”  (again….Hahahahaha…this speech was as empty as my next door neighbor’s head)
  • “We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And, yes, together, we will make America great again.”  (BULLSHIT!)

My granddaughter could have written a better speech…..this one has NO imagination just a re-hash of all the old slogans from the campaign….

But after I wrote this I decided to see what others thought of the speech….I went to the conservative National Review and read a piece written by conservative writer George Will….someone that I seldom agree with on anything….

Twenty minutes into his presidency, Donald Trump, who is always claiming to have made, or to be about to make, astonishing history, had done so. Living down to expectations, he had delivered the most dreadful inaugural address in history. Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s White House counselor, had promised that the speech would be “elegant.” This is not the adjective that came to mind as he described “American carnage.” That was a phrase the likes of which has never hitherto been spoken at an inauguration.

Source: Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address: Dreadful | National Review

I am sorry to my more conserv readers  but your man is a amateur and that is starting to show already…..this speech made me think of….HH
I can hardly wait for his first SOTU speech in a couple of months…..hopefully it will be written by someone that can think beyond the next bathroom break……
We are in for a chaotic 4 years….I wish the country much luck.

Eye On North Korea

Finally I get to return to my first passion international relations……our man in DC will now have his hands full….Russia is still a huge question mark…..South China Sea will begin to boil from the simmer we have now…..and we all know what he says about ISIS….but the most pressing situation may be none of the above…..

For last couple of months we have had lots of finger pointing internationally at Russia and China… threat after threat has been leveled at several Asian countries…..but while everyone is shaking their heads maybe we should be watching that contentious peninsula and North Korea….

They, NK, have been a thorn in Washington’s ass for decades and now they may be extending their nuclear “research”…..

Pyongyang may be preparing to resume operations of its plutonium reactor for the first time since late 2015, 38 North, a website on North Korean affairs, said Wednesday.

Citing commercial satellite imagery collected from October 2016 to January 2017, the website wrote: “Stepped-up activities throughout the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center indicate that it is operating at a level of somewhat above what has been observed during the past five years and that may continue in the future.”

Source: North Korea May Be Starting Plutonium Reactor | World Affairs Journal

This could be rumor and/or propaganda….but this is a threat to take seriously………

Hopefully the East Asian Desk is paying attention with all the chaos of a new admin….things can be missed…..

The time for cheer leading is over….time for someone to get serious…..time for the slower thinking bobble heads to move aside and let those more serious about the world to run things…..

Trendy Little Sh*ts!

Sunday and I am so ready to push away from the mind numbing bullsh*t we call “the news”…….we spend entirely too much time treating news as crap and crap as news…..

We Americans and I guess the rest of the world also seems to be ate up with our trends or fads, if you will….BTW what is a man bun?  And why? (rhetorical BTW)……there is NO more lucrative business than feeding our insatiable desire for “fads” …..and “stuff”.

Juicing!  That thingy that you put veggies and fruit into this overpriced gizmo and smush it down to a drink…..a tasty drink or so I am told by the people that make these worthless things….people that succumb to this fad swear by it….but that matters not…I refuse to drink anything that has the appearance of pond scum.

Sad to tell these people but your fad may be on the way OUT!

Back in February, the New York Times declared “souping” the new juicing. The appeals are obvious: juices tend to be stripped of fiber and loaded with sugar, and soups can be more dense, filling, and warm, not to mention tasty given the commonly added spices such as turmeric and cumin. So was this a passing fad? Apparently not. Tech Times is declaring soup to be a diet trend of 2017 that will likely replace juice cleanses. The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, offers up a round-up of new souping companies cropping up nationwide, some of which also offer bone broth options, popular in fasts and cleanses. The typical daily caloric intake from souping cleanses hovers around 1,200.

Not everyone is thrilled. One dietician wrote in the Huffington Post in April that while soups are a better component to a meal than juices, they’re both insufficient alone and trick people into thinking they need to buy bottled products to get their organs to cleanse their bodies: “Encouraging that low of a calorie intake anytime is a big red flag in my book. I’m not a fan of starving people—ever.” She adds that our lungs, kidneys, liver, and skin are “wondrous organs that detox naturally when we don’t resort to unhealthy behaviors.” For its part, the Times also reported in April that while juices can be very healthy and Americans should eat more vegetables, chewing is important, and there is no good science behind the detox trends. (Do juice cleanses make you a schmuck?)

Marketing…..make the schmucks piss their money away and then find something to make them do it over again…..

More on the fad of dieting……

A healthy diet isn’t just good for your waistline, but also your brain, say scientists in a study in Neurology—the latest to tout the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. About 400 healthy Scottish volunteers kept a food diary at age 70, then underwent MRI scans of their brains at 73 and 76, per the Los Angeles Times. All brains shrink with age, but researchers found those who ate a Mediterranean diet lost less brain mass than others. In fact, their brains appeared to shrink at half the rate of those who ate less healthy food, says study author Michelle Luciano of the University of Edinburgh. What’s so great about having a bigger brain? “People who have bigger brains in general can tolerate more brain pathology, more brain disease, than those who have smaller brains,” a doctor not involved in the study tells NBC News.

“So the reduced loss in the people who adhered to the Mediterranean diet in general would be expected to protect them from developing dementia,” he continues. The study, however, didn’t look at the effects of a larger brain on memory or thinking. A 2015 study also found people who followed a Mediterranean diet had larger brains, but it attributed that to a high intake of fish over meat and poultry. In what should be good news for steak lovers, this latest study found participants’ habits of eating meat or fish didn’t affect brain size. “It’s possible that other components of the Mediterranean diet are responsible for this relationship, or that it’s due to all of the components in combination,” Luciano tells the BBC. (This diet may cut your Alzheimer’s risk.)

Apparently this diet is not popular with conservs….could go a long way to explain their lack of intelligent recourse.

That’s it….go now and enjoy your Saturday.