It’s Infrastructure Stupid

Think back to the campaign of 2016….one of the big promises from Trump was to resurrect our dying infrastructure…..and so far we got nothing of the sorts.

But today the party leaders and Trump will meet on how to go about getting the $2 trillion for the plan that has been set forth.

This plan will go NOWHERE….why? The only way to pay for this plan is a rise in taxes on corporations and the wealthy……

With President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders set to meet Wednesday to discuss a possible $2 trillion infrastructure package, a progressive advocacy group on Monday warned that any proposal that doesn’t include significant tax hikes on the rich and corporations “will be meaningless and doomed to failure.”

“If major tax increases are off the table, there is no way to pay for a $2 trillion infrastructure plan, it’s that simple,” Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), said in a statement. “Other options, such as raising the gas tax, might be part of the package, but by themselves won’t come close to reaching the $2 trillion that’s needed.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/05/20/without-tax-hikes-corporations-and-rich-critics-warn-2-trillion-infrastructure-plan

Every body agrees that our infrastructure is in trouble…….ever body agrees that it needs to be updated….the problem is NOBODY wants to pay for it.

I have an idea!

Since we have spent about $6 trillion on wars in the last decade or so…cancelling those abortions would easily pay for the infrastructure they all say they want.

The price tag of the ongoing “war on terror” in the Middle East will likely top $6 trillion next year, and will reach $7 trillion if the conflicts continue into the early 2020s, according to a new report out Wednesday.

The annual Costs of War project report, from the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, puts the full taxpayer burden of fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria over the last 17 years at several times higher than official Defense Department estimates, because it includes increases in Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs spending, as well as new military equipment and personnel.

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2018/11/14/price-tag-of-the-war-on-terror-will-top-6-trillion-soon/

The Fiscal Times look at out spending on wars as well….

“It’s important for the American people to understand the true costs of war, both the moral and monetary costs,” Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) said in a statement last week, according to The Hill. “Our nation continues to finance wars and military operations through borrowing, rather than asking people to contribute to the national defense directly, and the result is a serious fiscal drag that we’re not really accounting for or factoring into deliberations about fiscal policy or military policy.”

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2018/11/19/Problem-Our-6-Trillion-War-Tab

I think the easy answer would be the best answer.

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National Service

There seems to be a renewed interests on the policy of national service……it all started with the CCC of the FDR days….and then later with the Kennedy-Hatch Act….

The year is 2008…….

Hatch announced the bill with Caroline Kennedy, Sen. Kennedy’s niece, in New York City at the ServeNation Summit, a gathering of business and government leaders discussing public service at the anniversary of 9/11.

John McCain and Barack Obama appeared at that summit on Thursday, and Hatch said both have agreed to co-sponsor the bill.

Hatch said he and Kennedy had long discussed the bill as a way “to marry two formerly competing visions of service,” the full-time national service programs such as the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps pushed by Presidents Kennedy and Clinton, and less structured volunteering through charities pushed by Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Hatch said it would spend $5 billion over five years seeking to draw 175,000 more people into giving a year of service to address specific national challenges.

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/700258365/Hatch-Kennedy-team-for-voluntarism.html

Obama had signed on to this idea and I wrote about it in 2008…….https://lobotero.com/2008/09/12/national-service-not-lip-service/

Fast forward to the 2019 scramble for the Dem nomination…..one of the “rising stars” Mayor Pete has joined the call for a “national service”……https://lobotero.com/2019/04/23/petes-national-service/

Now The American Conservative has joined in the call for shared experience for Americans…a call for a national service…..but their idea is a “Civilian Militia”…..

I received some fascinating responses and comments regarding my recent column about how the West can save masculinity. One email in particular caught my attention. It was from a friend of mine named Troy, a socially conservative, politically libertarian member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Troy is happily married with three young children and has been working in the IT field on the East Coast. However, he is feeling torn between his desire to serve in the military and his need to continue working a job that supports his family but leaves him feeling bereft of purpose and masculinity.  

Troy recently passed a preliminary screening to beginning the process of applying to  the Green Berets and is weighing his options. Although he badly wants to serve the country, he told me he doesn’t believe that the military will allow him enough time with his young children. He also disagrees with many of America’s current military deployments overseas.

Time to Bring Back Mandatory Citizen Militias?

While I totally agree with the concept of a National Service I have a problem with this idea of a “Civilian Militia”……but I try to give all sides of most ideas…….

Any thoughts on this?

Medal Of Freedom

Closing Thought–20May19

Personally I think this medal has become nothing more than a reward for political support.

This is the highest civilian award possible…..such recipients as Maya, people who have contributed something to this nation and who does this Beloved Supreme Leader pick to give the award to….Tiger Wood.

I realize that this award in the past has been given to friends and the meg donors to campaigns….that is just wrong on so many levels……just what does architecture have with freedom….art or dance for that matter…and especially sports?

The Medal of Freedom should be given not as some reward for donations or other such nonsense but rather to those that have shown that they put their lives above anything else in pursuit…….wait for it……FREEDOM!

I nominate the students in Colorado……

The student killed in Tuesday’s shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in suburban Denver went out a hero. Kendrick Castillo, 18, along with two of his friends, tackled a shooter—seen pulling a gun out of a guitar case—and was shot in the chest, reports NBC News. The sacrifice “[gave] all of us enough time to get underneath our desks, to get ourselves safe, and to run across the room to escape,” another student says. “We’re going to hear about very heroic things that have taken place at the school,” adds Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, per USA Today. More details emerging:

  • Student suspects: One is identified as Devon Erickson, 18. Spurlock describes a second, initially identified as a male, as a female minor. Denver Channel, however, describes a juvenile suspect in the process of transitioning from female to male. Spurlock says “we originally thought the juvenile was a male by appearance,” but wouldn’t comment on whether the suspect is transgender.
  • The shooting: The pair are accused of firing on two classrooms at the public charter school after passing through an entrance without metal detectors, per the AP. Spurlock says they had a “number of weapons,” including two handguns they weren’t old enough to possess.
  • Capture: Deputies reportedly arrested the suspects within minutes, with no gunfire exchanged, per the AP. Spurlock said one of the suspects was detained by a security guard at the school, attended by more than 1,850 students in kindergarten through grade 12.
    A Columbine link?: Citing multiple sources, Denver Channel reports the motive “went beyond bullying and involved revenge and anger towards others at the school.” Some are questioning whether the shooting was inspired by the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, just seven miles away. Per the AP, “the answer was not immediately clear.”
    The injured: Eight students aged 15 and older were treated at three hospitals, including one student shot three times. Five had been released by Wednesday morning, while three remained in intensive care.
    The terror: A 8-year-old second-grader tells the New York Times of hearing his first ever gunshot. His mother, speaking for most parents, says, “We’re more messed up than they are.”

These students illustrate what it means to protect freedom…..than some sports figure.

Why did Tiger Wood get the medal?  Why not he is a close friend and a carbon copy of a womanizing douche that gave him the medal.

Trump is not the only one that does this…they ALL do it….it is a reward  not for protecting freedom but rather having an open wallet for the president.

The Medal of Freedom should be held for the highest regard as the military Medal of Honor.

Feeding The Lord Of Chaos

For the last two years or so there has been an example of the Chaos theory…….you do not have to be a math geek to realize what is happening……

Chaos or Khaos is the primeval state of existence from which the first gods appeared. In other words, the dark void of space……in the case for this post replace  space with government.

First, just what is the Chaos Theory?

Chaos is the science of surprises, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable. It teaches us to expect the unexpected. While most traditional science deals with supposedly predictable phenomena like gravity, electricity, or chemical reactions, Chaos Theory deals with nonlinear things that are effectively impossible to predict or control, like turbulence, weather, the stock market, our brain states, and so on.

The Trump administration has NO form or reason…whether it is internationally or nationally….the policies are just thrown to the wind to see what plays well in Peoria.

Jeb Bush was the Cassandra of the 2016 presidential race. She was the figure in Greek mythology whose gift was being able to foresee the future — and whose curse was that she would not be believed.

Bush had the most accurate prediction of the campaign, if not of the 21st century. “He’s a chaos candidate,” he said of Donald Trump in a 2015 debate. “And he’d be a chaos president.”

https://www.nationalmemo.com/under-trump-the-chaos-never-ends/

Jeb was very prophetic……since January 2017 chaos has run the White House and the country.

Trump throws the shiny little objects of chaos up into the ir and his supporters flock to the destruction it will bring.

Plus he is proud that he sows chaos with NO actual answers or solutions….

Foreign policy under President Trump can often be wildly unpredictable, with optimistic offers of diplomacy and wild ravings about the “great suffering” he’s going to inflict militarily interspersed, and seemingly nobody in the administration on the same page.

So as the US threats against Iran spiral out of control, many saw it as business as usual, with Trump objecting to any report that there is disagreement within the administration. In comments Friday, President Trump indicated that his dangerously inscrutable foreign policy is by design.

Trump bragged on Twitter that “Iran can have no idea what is actually going on.” Later in the day, he was talking to real estate agents and said it was “probably a good thing” that Iran has no understanding of his policy toward them.

This all seems to verify Iran’s official position that the US is not approaching them in an honest manner. Administration offers of talks and threats of war are all built around a deliberate policy of making sure Iran, and for that matter the American public, have no idea what the president’s real intentions are.

(antiwar.com)

The Chaos that Trump is creating is making problems that will take a generation to repair….if ever……

The consolidation of Republican power in Washington was supposed to create huge dividends for every kind of interest group by eliminating legislative gridlock and brinkmanship and giving a single party power to set policy. By the same telling, this was supposed to be a particular boon for business owners (and, downstream, for workers), who would welcome a climate of lower taxes, laxer regulation, and greater certainty with new investment, and thus more jobs.

The concept of “certainty” was one Republicans in Congress wielded as a brickbat against President Obama for eight years only to abandon it when President Donald Trump, through a mix of incompetence and malevolence, turned uncertainty into a weapon.

In the realms of health, immigration, and foreign policy, Trump has managed to leave stakeholders on all sides of issues—consumers, providers, civilians, enforcers, diplomats, and entire countries—completely befuddled in ways that threaten to cause great harm. The question is whether people around Trump can convince him that the policy environment he has created needs to change, or, more ominously, whether he has convinced himself that chaos gives him the upper hand.

https://newrepublic.com/article/142065/trumps-chaos-causing-lasting-damage

The Chaos can be repaired but if it has 8 years to fester then the damage will be more permanent.

I do not see Trump being asked to teach a course on International Relations anytime soon…..maybe with a resurrected Trump University (God forbid)…..

A couple of closing thoughts…….

I laugh at people who tell me how smart they are……..and I do  not trust a baboon that sits with arms folded in front of his body as he answers questions….a sure fire way to spot a goddamn liar.

Learn Stuff!

VOTE!

Neocons Chest Thumping

The news these days is how close the US is coming to a shooting war with Iran…..but it is not the first time in recent history……

https://lobotero.com/2006/12/27/how-will-an-iranian-war-begin/

https://lobotero.com/2015/04/16/a-really-bad-idea-a-limited-war-with-iran-the-national-interest/

Keep in mind that the architect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq on false information was John Bolton, among others…..and now he is in a position that gives him more influence than in 2003……

All I can say is…here we go again!

An Iraq-War redux is now in full play, with leading roles played by some of the same protagonists – President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, for example, who says he still thinks attacking Iraq was a good idea. Co-starring is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The New York Times on Tuesday played its accustomed role in stoking the fires, front-paging a report that, at Bolton’s request, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has come up with an updated plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East, should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons. The Times headline writer, at least, thought it appropriate to point to echoes from the past: “White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War.”

Pretexts for an Attack on Iran

John Bolton is in “Wonderland” at this time……

John Bolton has a Haig-sized ego. (one must be an old fart to appreciate the Haig reference) He aspires to control the ebb and flow of foreign policy in the Trump administration. He is often at odds with his colleagues from the State Department and Pentagon. And he is dealing with a president who, if not asleep much of the time, is only intermittently focused on national security issues.

Recently, Bolton too seemed to have his “I’m in control here” moment. With the conflict intensifying in Venezuela, the national security advisor leaked the opposition plan for the army to defect en masse from the Maduro government in favor of challenger Juan Guiado. Bolton’s tweets reportedly angered President Trump, who felt “boxed into a corner,” particularly after the defections didn’t materialize and Nicolas Maduro did not flee the country.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/05/16/bolton-in-wonderland/

Time for all parties to step back and think what they are doing. Once the “brink” has been breached then coming back becomes much more difficult.

Perhaps these actions are a prelude to negotiations: the U.S. is exerting “maximum pressure”, it says, to bring a more compliant Iran back to the table; in like manner, should Tehran conclude that it has no choice but to reach a new deal with Washington in order to relieve unsustainable economic strain, it will want to enter such talks with a stronger hand. Resuming its nuclear activities, making its presence felt in the region, and disrupting Saudi or Emirati oil exports could all be ways of enhancing its bargaining power. But if these manoeuvres are a diplomatic game, it is a dangerous one: either side could misinterpret the other’s intentions. Any Iranian move could easily lead to U.S. and/or Israeli strikes which, in turn, could lead to an Iranian counter-response. Or vice versa. Escalation comes easily; de-escalation is a much taller order, especially in the absence of direct channels of communication that can pre-empt misunderstandings or miscalculations.

 
This could become a major war since we have a president that sows chaos in his wake….this needs a steady hand and commonsense to prevent this from exploding.
 
But until then….the Neocons in Trumpland are trying to sell this as a “Just War”…….a Just War?
 
Just war theory deals with the justification of how and why wars are fought. The justification can be either theoretical or historical. The theoretical aspect is concerned with ethically justifying war and the forms that warfare may or may not take. The historical aspect, or the “just war tradition,” deals with the historical body of rules or agreements that have applied in various wars across the ages. For instance, international agreements such as the Geneva and Hague conventions are historical rules aimed at limiting certain kinds of warfare which lawyers may refer to in prosecuting transgressors, but it is the role of ethics to examine these institutional agreements for their philosophical coherence as well as to inquire into whether aspects of the conventions ought to be changed.
 
To me a Just War is a silly notion that only applies in a very limited reasons…..
 
And then we have those that a “Preventive War” is the only answer…..to that I say Bullshit!
 
The Neocons are working overtime to find a justification for a war……most are based on LIES and propaganda……PERIOD!

Martian Chronicles–Part 2

My Sunday and I continue my look out in space……

Like the story written by Bradbury…I am chronicling the Mars situation for my readers…..

One of the main problems for any trip to Mars is….where will the people live?

New York-based design agency AI SpaceFactory took the top prize in a NASA competition to 3D print a habitat that could be used on the moon or Mars.

AI SpaceFactory won $500,000 for its efforts, while the second-place recipient, Penn State, got $200,000.

The winning habitat, called Marsha, is tall and slim, to reduce the need for construction rovers on unfamiliar terrain, according to AI SpaceFactory. It is designed to be built on a vertically telescoping arm attached to a rover, which stays still during construction. AI SpaceFactory plans to adapt Marsha’s design for an eco-friendly Earth habitat called Tera; a crowdfunding campaign will begin shortly, the design agency said in a statement.

https://www.space.com/nasa-3d-printed-habitat-competition-winners.html

There has been a discovery of water vapor on Mars…….

A team of scientists say they’ve discovered the unusual way in which water cycles on Mars.

The findings could illuminate how hydrogen from water vapor could be making its way into space on the Red Planet — a potential explanation as to why Mars has turned from a water-rich planet into a dry and desolate one over the course of billions of years.

According to the researchers’ results, water can only rise from the lower into the upper atmosphere during a tiny time window: approximately every two Earth years, when it’s summer on the southern hemisphere and Mars is at its closest to the Sun.

The team of researchers, who hail from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany, used a computer simulation and data gathered by space telescopes and space probes to probe the Red Planet’s weather dynamics.

“When it is summer in the southern hemisphere, at certain times of day water vapor can rise locally with warmer air masses and reach the upper atmosphere,” Paul Hartogh from MPS said in a statement.

The water vapor then gets carried to the North Pole where it condenses into liquid and falls out of the sky. During that process, some of the water particles disintegrate and leak hydrogen atoms into the emptiness of space.

With the water vapor thing…could there be life there today?

The search for life on Mars shouldn’t focus exclusively on the distant past, some researchers say.

Four billion years ago, the Martian surface was apparently quite habitable, featuring rivers, lakes and even a deep ocean. Indeed, some astrobiologists view ancient Mars as an even better cradle for life than Earth was, and they suspect that life on our planet may have come here long ago aboard Mars rocks blasted into space by a powerful impact.

Things changed when Mars lost its global magnetic field. Charged particles streaming from the sun were then free to strip away the once-thick Martian atmosphere, and strip it they did. This process had transformed Mars into the cold, dry world we know today by about 3.7 billion years ago, observations by NASA’s MAVEN orbiter suggest. (Earth still has its global magnetic field, explaining how our planet remains so livable.)

https://www.space.com/could-mars-support-life-today.html

As long as we are talking about water in space…..could it be everywhere?

The findings, published this week in Nature, confirm the existence of “superionic ice,” a new phase of water with bizarre properties. Unlike the familiar ice found in your freezer or at the north pole, superionic ice is black and hot. A cube of it would weigh four times as much as a normal one. It was first theoretically predicted more than 30 years ago, and although it has never been seen until now, scientists think it might be among the most abundant forms of water in the universe.

Across the solar system, at least, more water probably exists as superionic ice—filling the interiors of Uranus and Neptune—than in any other phase, including the liquid form sloshing in oceans on Earth, Europa and Enceladus. The discovery of superionic ice potentially solves decades-old puzzles about the composition of these “ice giant” worlds.

https://www.wired.com/story/a-bizarre-form-of-water-may-exist-all-over-the-universe/

Then there is the Moon….the Trump story is that we will return to the Moon as a jumping off point to Mars……that program will be called Artemis, who was the sister of Apollo…

NASA’s next mission to the moon is appropriately named, considering efforts to include the first female lunar walk. The mission is dubbed Artemis, after the Greek goddess of the moon and twin sister of the god Apollo, whose namesake mission propelled 12 US astronauts to the moon from 1969 to 1972. “I have a daughter who is 11 years old, and I want her to be able to see herself in the same role as the next women that go to the moon,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during Monday’s announcement. But “there’s still a long way to go before Artemis can actually deliver,” per the Verge.

Indeed, Bridenstine said NASA would need an extra $1.6 billion on top of the $21 billion already requested in order to meet the accelerated 2024 deadline the Trump administration proposed in March for the new mission. Ars Technica cites three sources as saying the White House plans to cut the Pell Grant reserve fund, which helps low-income students pay for college, to make up the necessary funds, $1 billion of which is to be spent on development of a two- or three-stage lunar lander. “In the coming years, we will need additional funds,” but “this is a good amount that gets us out of the gate,” Bridenstine said.

Fascinating!  Hopefully the Trump admin will consider the Space Treaty that was signed some years ago….Hahahahaha….sorry cannot see that as an obstacle to the domination of space…do you?

I have always looked to space since my early years……it fascinates me although I realize that we need that cash here on this planet…..but the thought of walking on another planet makes me smile.

My problem with this is that Pell Grants will be tapped to pay for this  ….I say why not end a war or two and have all the cash they will need.

Howe many “space scientist” will not get an education if the grants are stopped?  Just a thought.

Stay tuned…more space stuff on the way……

It’s All In The Taste

I hope all will have a lovely weekend….looks like we may have more rain….it is Spring in the South…..rain and mosquitoes….and we Southerners try to grow tomatoes on our back porches…..we love a good ripe tomato…..makes a great sandwich.

Nothing taste better than a fresh tomato….if you agree with that then you will be growing your own….because those that we buy these days have NO taste at all….plus they have shelf life of a month…..maybe longer……

But why is this?

Have you ever eaten a perfectly ripe tomato and wondered why you even bother? Tomatoes are a staple in sandwiches and salads, and you can throw them into just about any dish and come up with something edible. Tomato flavor, however, has apparently been going downhill for a while now, and scientists think they know why.

In a new study published in Nature Genetics, researchers including those from the Agricultural Research Service and the Boyce Thompson Institute have mapped the genome of the modern cultivated tomato as well as tomatoes that still grow in the wild. The team marked thousands of genes that were previously unknown, comparing the genomes of cultivated tomatoes with their wild relatives, and made more than a few interesting discoveries.

 
Personally I have stopped buying tomatoes in the grocery…as much as I like them I hate the fact that they have NO taste what-so-ever.
 
My little bitch for this Saturday……anybody got something they would like to add?  Here is your chance to let it all hang out!
 
More later!