Closing Thought–22May18

I am posting this because there way too many people that think I hate everything that our president does….that is not accurate…..just as I did not agree with everything Obama did…..

I have been a staunch opponent of the Electoral College for many years….I really started bad mouth this archaic practice after the 2000 election.

Recently Trump has made a comment about the EC……a comment that I can agree with……

Pres, Trump argued that he’d rather see the presidential election be determined based on the popular vote than the current Electoral College system, claiming it would be “much easier to win.”

“They also like to always talk about [the] Electoral College. Well, it’s an election based on the Electoral College. I would rather have a popular election, but it’s a totally different campaign,” Trump said during an interview with “Fox & Friends.”

“It’s as though you’re running — if you’re a runner you’re practicing for the 100-yard dash as opposed to the one mile,” he continued. “The Electoral College is different. I would rather have the popular vote, because it’s — to me, it’s much easier to win.”

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/385022-trump-i-would-rather-have-presidential-election-based-on-the-popular

Given his track record lately he may change his tune next week….but for now I can agree with what he has said…

May your day be good and safe…..chuq

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The Bomber Has Landed!

As a foreign policy wonk that is analyzing conflicts around the world I do a lot of research and I found something this morning that needs attention.

So far today there has not been much news about the Chinese long range bomber that landed on China’s island in the South China Sea…..

The Chinese air force has landed long-range bombers for the first time on an airport in the South China Sea, a state newspaper said on Saturday, in a move likely to further fuel concerns about Beijing’s expansive claims over the disputed region.

The China Daily newspaper reported that the People’s Liberation Army Air Force conducted takeoff and landing training with the H-6K bomber in the South China Sea.

China is pitted against smaller neighbours in multiple disputes in the South China Sea over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/china-lands-bomber-on-south-china-sea-island-for-first-time/articleshow/64232552.cms

Not a big deal, right?

Well that may be an understatement for I also read a piece about what this event could mean for the future of the region…..

….on Friday, reports emerged that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Air Force (PLAAF) had, for the first time, landed an H-6K strategic bomber on one of the country’s South China Sea islands. China’s state-run People’s Daily shared footage of the bomber landing on an airstrip.

The island in question was Woody Island, China’s largest military outpost in the South China Sea. Woody Island sits in the Paracel Islands, but Chinese military activity there has foreshadowed possible moves in the seven artificial islands that Beijing also possesses in the Spratly group.

In addition to permanently stationing military personnel on Woody Island, China has deployed J-11 fighters, HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles, YJ-62 anti-ship cruise missiles, and other materiel there.

https://thediplomat.com/2018/05/south-china-sea-what-chinas-first-strategic-bomber-landing-on-woody-island-means/

This fell through the cracks with the hoopla of some royal nuptials….this region is becoming more contentious as the years go by……this needs attention and soon!

Closing Thought–21May18

Well we had another mass school shooting this time in Texas….but I will not cover that for that is an effort in futility trying to change a culture of violence, guns and killing…..something we Americans excel at……

A Rifle To Kill Americans

There is a new Russian sniper rifle that is designed to kill NATO troops and that includes Americans….the odd part of this story is that this deadly rifle was promoted by the NRA…..

In late 2016, the US Army released a report noting that the Russian military, through experience gained during fighting in Ukraine, was undergoing a transformation and becoming a more potent battlefield threat to American forces. One troublesome development identified by the report’s authors was the increased proficiency of Russian snipers. “The capabilities of a sniper in a Russian contingent is far more advanced than the precision shooters U.S. formations have encountered over the last 15 years,” the study noted. One reason for this was the Russian military’s recent adoption of the ORSIS T-5000, a relatively new Russian-made firearm that the report called “one of the most capable bolt action sniper rifles in the world.” As one military technology expert noted, after reviewing this report, the US Army faced “being outgunned” by foes armed with the T-5000—which can be accurate at a distance of 2,000 yards—and these Russian rifles were showing up in Iraq and Ukraine. That is, this weapon posed a threat to US troops and those of its allies. Yet the National Rifle Association—which boasts it is identified with American patriotism—has helped promote Moscow-based ORSIS and its sniper rifle.

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/05/the-pentagon-considers-this-russian-sniper-rifle-a-big-threat-to-us-soldiers-the-nra-helped-promote-it/

A fascinating story……but it probably matters not…..

A Short Break

Just wanted to let my regular readers know that I will be posting only one or maybe two posts a day…..I need to get to work on my health and returning to some sort of normalcy.

Plus the situation in this country has gone from crazy to all out bonkers…any time that personal BS becomes more important than the country at large then it is time for me to step back and let the idiots duel it out.

This change will take effect today and last for as long as it takes for me to reclaim some mobility and health…..

Please stop by daily there will always be something to ponder here on IST.

I would like to thank all my regulars for their loyalty and their comments…..I will still be with you every day just not as often….please do not hold that against me…….

Peace Out my friends……chuq

 

Why Does TV Suck?

I have been bitching for a long time about the poor quality of the standard TV shows….most are mind numbing poppycock…..but is there a good reason for this sad showing for standard TV?

Television networks will draw hordes of advertisers to New York City this week for their annual bonanza of presentations and parties, a decades-old tradition known as the upfronts that is meant to dazzle marketers and loosen their purse strings.

New shows and top talent will be pitched from the stages of Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, followed by lavish evening affairs where marketers can eat lobster rolls and snag selfies with network stars. The fanfare will kick off weeks of negotiations, with networks aiming to get advertisers to commit to billions of dollars in spending for the year ahead.

Old age…it sucks…both for TV and for the general well being of us elderly….

Now that the royals are finally wed maybe we can return to some form of normalcy…..

North Korea And A Nuke Deal

Just last week Pres. Trump decided that he would scrap the Iranian nuke deal……now we must go about trying to negotiate a new deal or start a bleeding war.

In the same time span the US has good vibes from North Korea about ending their nuke program……after all the insulting coming from bot Kim and Trump…….like a switch in a dark room….a light came on and both parties saw the error of their ways and promise to play nice. (Meeting set for June 2018 in Singapore)

One was bad news and the other good news……but there are a couple of points that need to be considered.

President Trump and national security adviser John Bolton are apparently not on the same page when it comes to the “Libya model”—and the confusion led to what was seen as a stern threat to North Korea Thursday. When asked about Bolton’s suggestion that the 2003 Libya model of nuclear disarmament be a template for talks with North Korea, Trump appeared to think he was being asked about the 2011 NATO intervention that led to leader Moammar Gadhafi’s death at the hands of rebels, the Guardian reports. “The Libyan model is not a model that we have at all when we are thinking of North Korea. In Libya, we decimated that country.” Trump said, adding that the model “could take place if we don’t make a deal.”

Trump said the deal he was hoping to reach with Kim Jong Un would give him strong protections in return for denuclearization and would be “something where he’d be there, he’d be in his country, he’d be running his country, his country would be very rich,” the BBC reports. The president said it would “really be a South Korean model in terms of their industry.” Pyongyang, angered by Bolton’s remarks on the Libya model for denuclearization, threatened Wednesday to pull out of the planned June 12 Kim-Trump summit if the US kept up its “one-sided” demand for it to give up nuclear weapons. Trump said Thursday that the meeting is still on track, the AP reports. He said that despite the threat to withdraw, officials from both side are still working on details “as if nothing happened.”

I do not think that is a good selling point…..telling Kim that he would suffer the fate of Qaddafi….if you recall he was killed….I thought the idea was to make the giving up of nuke desires more appealing…..that will not do it.

Then there is the nuke deal with Iran….if the US will stand by that deal what makes anyone think that they would stand by any NK deal?

Just a few thoughts…..

The Art Of The Deal

WE have seen or heard the the president will meet with Kim in Singapore in June to discuss the denuclearzation of the Korean Peninsula….but in light of his, Trump, decision to bow out of the Iran nuke deal what must North Korea be thinking?

Why bow out?  What could the real reason be for the decision……

Donald Trump doesn’t hate the Iran deal because it is a bad deal. He hates it because it is by all accounts a decent deal that has actually been working.

If you doubt this statement, ask yourself: What sensible argument has Trump ever offered to support his opposition to the deal? Sure, he has used his ever-expanding and descriptive vocabulary to call it some grandiose names, but he hasn’t actually explained what is wrong with it.

If the deal is so bad, why would he even want to bother pursuing a deal with North Korea? What deal could he possibly make that wouldn’t involve an arrangement similar to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)? (We will turn to this point in a moment).

http://theantimedia.com/why-trump-abandoned-iran-nuclear-deal/

Sounds logical…..

A thought about the Iran Deal……

So, he did it. Trump announced on 8 May that he would reimpose sanctions against Iran. This is a breach of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed by President Obama with Iran, the UK, Germany, France, Russia, the EU and China in 2015. The other signatories may now scramble to do what they can to salvage the deal, but it is likely that Iran will simply turn its back on it.

https://www.newstatesman.com/world/middle-east/2018/05/donald-trump-ending-iran-nuclear-deal-outbreak-organised-stupidity

That aside what are the chances that the nuke deal can be saved….not by the US but by the European nations.

A couple of thoughts……

Despite months of E3-US negotiations to avert an unnecessary crisis over the Iran nuclear deal, President Trump has declared a hard exit from the nuclear agreement. The decision demonstrates that the US has decided that confrontation with Iran is both necessary and inevitable, regardless of what European allies think. The US administration looks set to increase tensions with Tehran and promote an implosion of Iran’s economy in ways that significantly increase risks of greater military escalation in the Middle East. Moreover, in the coming weeks, United States looks set to lead an economic and political assault on European interests.

The E3 should now acknowledge that its negotiating tactic of accommodation and comprise with Trump has failed. If Europe is to have any influence forthcoming US policy on Iran, European governments should quickly shift tack, unifying behind a more assertive diplomatic strategy aimed at deterring the worst-case scenario of renewed Iranian nuclear program and more instability and violence in a region close to its borders.

http://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_after_trump_iran_decision_time_for_europe_to_step_up

A group that I have worked with in the past also has an idea and they think that Europe can fill the void left by the US……

Why does it matter? U.S. withdrawal from the deal might kill it instantly; more uncertainty over the deal’s fate might suffocate it, as opinion in Tehran is turning against it. Iran could cancel the deal; target the U.S. or its Middle East-ern allies; or leave the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – all exacerbating the regional turmoil.

What should be done? Europe should develop a plan B to keep Iran party to the deal regardless of what the U.S. does on 12 May. This plan should include short- and medium-term measures to build trade with Iran, contingent upon verification of continued Iranian compliance with the deal and additional re-forms.

https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/gulf-and-arabian-peninsula/iran/185-how-europe-can-save-iran-nuclear-deal

I wish them luck in their endeavor……

But will the talks go forward at all?  Who will be the first to derail these talks?

President Trump is supposed to have a historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month—but now North Korea, angry over joint military exercises between the US and South Korea that started Friday, is threatening to cancel it. The Korean Central News Agency called the Max Thunder drills between the South Korean and US air forces that are taking place in South Korea over a period of two weeks “an intentional military provocation running counter to the positive political development on the Korean Peninsula,” per Yonhap News. The KCNA said high-level talks with South Korea planned for Wednesday were canceled, per the Hill, and that “the United States will also have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-US summit in light of this provocative military ruckus jointly conducted with the South Korean authorities.”

The USA just could not stop the muscle flexing…….

Aerial combat drills involving US and South Korean warplanes are riling North Korea, whose state media referred to the exercises as a “provocative military ruckus.” North Korea has responded by postponing some high-level talks with South Korea set for Wednesday in the DMZ.

North Korea’s statement also admonished the US to “undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-US summit.” North Korea submitted a notice to South Korea on the Wednesday postponement, but the US State Department says they’ve received nothing suggesting a change in summit plans.

The Kim-Trump summit has been confirmed for June 12 in Singapore, and US officials say there is no sign that this sudden increase in tensions is in any way putting that in jeopardy. The talks are expected to focus chiefly on denuclearization.

(antiwar.com)

It would be a great day if this deal can be preserved….any deal that minimizes or eliminates nuclear weapons is a good deal….In my book.