Here Comes The “Shutdown” Again

September is quickly approaching and if you know you government then you will realize the the debt conversation is looming….and while it does so the whole subject of a “Shutdown” awaits this years debate.

Every year there is a back and forth over the debt and every year there is the rumblings of a governmental shutdown.  And every year it is Right versus Left in these deliberations.

Since the installing of this Trump person there seems to be some clear skies in DC…..some …wait for it…..bi-partisanship…..something that has been missing for decades.

A bipartisan group of House members is working on a proposal to address the most urgent issue facing Congress when it returns in September: how to keep the government open and avoid the first-ever default on the nation’s debt.

Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus are drafting proposals to present to the entire 43-member caucus when Congress returns after Labor Day, said caucus co-chairman Tom Reed, R-N.Y.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has warned congressional leaders that the government will run out of money to pay its bills by Sept. 29 unless lawmakers vote to raise the debt limit. Funding to keep the government open is set to expire two days later, on Oct. 1, unless Congress can agree on a spending deal during the approximately three weeks it will be in session in September.

Source: Bipartisan group of House members drafting proposal to avert shutdown, default

Is this the beginning of the return to bi-partisanship….the beginning of the Congress working together to solve out problems….or is it just a fluke?

Me? I believe that any bi-partisanship will be temporary….soon it will be beack to the “trench warfare” of American politics.

In Defense Of Cigarettes

Sunday’s always come too soon….just one more day of mental clarity before I return to the world of insanity and clowning around.

I know smoking is a disgusting habit…..but so is stupidity.

I still smoke (a gasp went up across the room)…..because of my injuries I had to give up most of my vices….drinking, chasing women, etc….but the one that I refuse to quit is smoking.

Nothing is better than that first cup of coffee and a cigarette….so any time I see an article about smoking that does not offer my brain on drugs or a black lung looming at me from within a jar….I take notice.

This is a op-ed from the Weekly Standard…..

Dear Matt,

I had this thought that America was more civil when everyone smoked. You learned from an early age that people will do something you don’t like but there wasn’t much you could do other than walk away. Then smokers became not just people doing something others don’t like, but bad people whose second hand smoke (allegedly) kills. Nowadays, anyone who disagrees with you isn’t just different or misguided, they are a bad person who must be ostracized/destroyed. Thoughts?

Charles Zambori, Dallas, TX

His response……

Source: In Defense of Cigarettes | The Weekly Standard

There are so many things that I find disgusting….most people that wear yoga pants, wine in a box, the coconut water craze and everything to do with nationalism….if not for cigs I would be in prison as a mass murderer….

I would like to thank all those people that hold their breathing while I smoke…your sacrifice does not go unnoticed.

Enough said for the day…back tomorrow with a bagful of stuff….but today there is a couple of buffalo steaks and baked potato and a great red wine waiting for my dining enjoyment.

Have a day my friends…..chuq

Looking At The Top Of Their Head

It is another weekend and more time to stray from the politics of the day….for at least a couple of days….

Go out to a family restaurant some time and watch the people at their tables…..how many are avoiding talking and instead are looking at some electronic screen or another?

Teenagers seem to be the worse….but did you know that it could be hazardous to their mental health?

The number of ways in which the smartphone has made our lives easier is vast. Whether it’s using Shazam to identify a song on the radio or having a sophisticated camera at the ready 24/7, the smartphone era ushered in by the iPhone has fundamentally changed the way the world uses and interacts not only with technology but also with each other. While there is no shortage of examples that illustrate how the smartphone has improved our lives, a more interesting and novel thought experiment would have us explore some of the more detrimental side effects associated with our collective addiction to smartphones and society’s unending need to constantly stay connected.

Tackling this very topic, a fascinating piece from Jean M. Twenge of The Atlantic articulates that adolescents who have grown up in a world dominated by smartphones are more prone to a variety of mental health problems than adolescents from previous generations. Twenge categorizes kids born between 1995 and 2012 under a group she calls iGen and the problems she’s seen in these kids — who have never known a life without the internet — transcends gender, class and ethnicity.

Source: Smartphones are causing a mental health crisis in teens | New York Post

I am so glad that my granddaughter has found that she enjoys board games with the old guy….plus she is in the school band and she enjoys books.

Now go and enjoy the beginning of your weekend….be well, be safe….chuq

Emotions Are Napping

It appears as if the emotions have finally been silenced a bit….all the chest thumping has subsided….even the threats to Guam….

North Korea’s apparent walk back of its threat to fire missiles near the U.S. territory of Guam could mean military tensions with the United States have been diminished—or at least postponed.

Or it could indicate that much of the seeming escalation in tensions between the two sides last week was more rhetoric than reality to begin with. State media reported Tuesday that Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, made the decision following a meeting with military commanders, but he reserved the right to fire the Hawsong-12 near Guam if the U.S. grows “more reckless.”

But that does not mean the situation has abated….

Let’s say that somewhere someone has a good idea and there is an actual treaty with the North Koreans…..what would it look like?

After weeks of belligerent rhetoric, North Korea took a pause Tuesday. But where is the mercurial Kim Jong Un headed next? U.S. officials are debating whether he may want direct talks with Washington about a formal treaty to replace the 1953 armistice agreement that ended the Korean War.

The U.S. has been pursuing a dual path, threatening military conflict (semi-believably because of President Trump’s verbal thunderbolts) while also urging stabilization of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. The diplomatic trick here is simultaneously reassuring North Korea, China, South Korea and Japan that their vital interests would be protected.

Source: What a Permanent Treaty With North Korea Might Look Like | RealClearWorld

There is an optimistic look at the future….but what will it look like if all efforts fail and we stumble into another war on the Korean peninsula?

The duelling words between President Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea has led to much speculation about whether war is looming.

War does seem unlikely, given that several observers have noted that the US forces in Korea and the Pacific remain in a peacetime posture, but what would be the tells that war is coming?

The Intelligence Community, our frontline observers, watch for indications and warning (I& W), specific actions that warn of an attack. What would I&W look like applied to our side to allow outsiders without security clearances to anticipate a possible conflict? The following list is based on preparations the United States took in conflicts over the last quarter century—Desert Storm in 1991, the bombing of Serbia in 1999, and the invasion of Iraq 2003— as well as what we know about the main Korean war plan, called OPLAN 5027.

Source: Korean War 2.0? The Signs To Watch « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

A look at both sides of this situation….which would be the most preferable?

I think that is about enough with North Korea…..that is until the next mash-up….and it is only a heart beat away.

How To Handle The North Korea Situation

This situation with North Korea is getting a bit redundant…..this will be the last pot for now on NK that is until something new breaks….

I have offered my many opinions on how to handle the North Korean situation….and during those opinions I have had some dolt from the Right go off with something about the situation that has little to nothing to do with the situation.

These people seem to have the same opinion….”nuke ’em all and let God sort them out” mindset.  They offer little as far as an actual idea on how the situation needs to be approached.

First the report that came out over the last weekend……

China’s president delivered a direct message to President Trump: Ease up on the North Korea rhetoric. In a phone call with Trump Friday night, Xi Jinping said he wanted both sides to avoid “words and actions” that would make the situation worse, per the BBC, citing Chinese media. The White House statement on the call said the two leaders agreed that North Korea must stop its “provocative and escalatory behavior,” though it didn’t mention Xi’s plea to Trump as well. The call came after Trump made a series of aggressive statements directed at Pyongyang on Friday, the most recent one saying that the North would “truly regret” any missile launches toward Guam. The North, meanwhile, ramped up its own rhetoric on Saturday with a boast that 3.5 million people have volunteered to join the military to fight the US, reports the Washington Post.

“All the people are rising up across the country to retaliate against the US thousands of times,” said a newspaper. Meanwhile, China isn’t the only nation worried. Japan installed missile interceptors, South Korea is speeding up the process needed to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile-defense system, and Germany’s Angela Merkel voiced concern after one of Trump’s tweets, saying, “I consider an escalation of rhetoric the wrong answer,” per the Guardian. Despite his aggressive language, Trump also has spoken of a non-military outcome. “Hopefully, it will all work out,” he said Friday. “Nobody loves a peaceful solution better than President Trump, that I can tell you.”

3.5 million have signed up to fight…..now if that report is accurate it is something to think about…..has any American felt such patriotic fervor and signed up?

We Are Better Than This

Surely everyone knows about the mash-up in Virginia this past weekend…..it illustrated that the fights of the 1950-‘s and 60’s are still being fought …..that issues from the past have never gone away.

I read a good op-ed entitled…”We Are Better Than This”…..

Making America Great Again means entertaining support from white supremacists, neo-Nazi’s, the Ku Klux Klan, the survivalist movement, vigilante militias, and it is all neatly packaged in a spiffy new advertising meme labelled the alt-right.

Okay, America, we are now experiencing what it means to go back in time. This is what they meant when they said we were going to take America back. It meant we were going to revisit the good ole’ days when overt racism was the order of the day, when nuclear detonations were rationalized and accepted as, well acceptable, when white men made all the decisions and coal was king. Back to the days when environmental degradation was a critical component to economic progress. Back when civil liberties could be curtailed in the name of law and order, especially if you were from the classes of the troublemakers

Source: We Are Better Than This – LA Progressive

I am sorry but this type of thing, these confrontations, does nothing to “Make America Great Again”….

The President has come out with comments on the violence…..

President Trump’s comments so far on the violence in Charlottesville have been denounced by those on both sides of the political aisle. A sampling of columnists’ takes on his response:

  • In the New Yorker, Jelani Cobb says this is one of the weakest responses to Nazism America has seen. Even the eventual White House clarification wasn’t much better than Trump’s original response. “When questioned about the rationale for Trump’s evenhandedness, the White House clarified that both the protesters and the counter-protesters had resorted to violence. This is notable in that the United States was once a country that did not see Nazis and those willing to fight them as morally equivalent.”
  • At CNN, Timothy Stanley says Trump failed this test. The president likely sees “not a prejudice problem but a crisis of law and order” when he looks at what happened in Virginia, just like many conservatives consider the KKK and Black Lives Matter “as bad as each other.” But “Black Lives Matter, for all its faults, sees a truth that Trump does not: America operates an unjust racial hierarchy in which people of color are relegated to the bottom. When African-Americans protest, they are expressing their powerlessness, they are punching upwards. White supremacists, by contrast, enjoy power and authority. They are punching downwards out of irrational hate.”
  • At FiveThirtyEight, Julia Azari points out why it’s interesting Trump isn’t specifically condemning white supremacy. His “comments are striking for a couple of reasons. For one, Trump repeatedly denounced his predecessor, Barack Obama, for refusing to use the phrase ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ to refer to attacks by Islamist radicals. For another, denouncing Friday’s white supremacist protest and Saturday’s (apparent) attack should have been comparatively easy for an American politician.”
  • Michael Gerson acknowledges at the Washington Post that it’s difficult to find the right words in the face of a tragedy like this, but Trump is, apparently, completely incapable of doing so. “The flash point in Charlottesville was the history of the Civil War,” and “the oppression and trauma that led to Appomattox did not end there. Ghosts still deploy on these battlefields. And the casualties continue. But Trump could offer no context for this latest conflict. No inspiring ideals from the author of the Declaration of Independence, who called Charlottesville home. No healing words from the president who was killed by a white supremacist. By his flat, foolish utterance, Trump proved once again that he has no place in the company of these leaders.”
  • In the New York Times, conservative writer and radio show host Erick-Woods Erickson weighs in. Though he considers the “social justice warriors” of the far left and the white supremacists of the far right to be “two sides of the same coin,” Erickson points out that a white supremacist was allegedly to blame for this violence. “On a day that saw one person killed during the Charlottesville violence, the president did not need to play the ‘both sides are culpable’ game. No side would be protesting in Charlottesville had not the white supremacists decided to march.”

Sad thing is that this is not an isolated occurrence…..more to come….

There is a wealth of articles and such about what the country should do about this rise in hatred…..a better question would be “what will this country do about this rise in hatred”?

While You Were Chasing the NK Shiny Object

Last week was full of stories about North Korea and the blogs soon followed…but did you know that while you were chasing the shiny object news went on mand on…..

This week, many Americans are more terrified of North Korea than usual, with some scrambling to buy supplies in case of a nuclear apocalypse as at least one local government offers advice to residents on how to survive a blast. Though Americans are unsure about Trump’s approach to North Korea, a majority agree that the country is a serious threat as much of the media repeatedly hammers home just how dangerous the situation has become.

There was so much more…….

Source: 5 Stories You’re Missing While the Media Hypes a Nuclear War

Stop chasing those shiny objects and look behind the curtain….there is always more happening than they tell you.