Closing Thought–18Oct17

Are You An Anti-Semite?

We hear this term used a lot these…it seems that if you criticize Israel then you are by default a anti-Semite.

Sorry but that is crap!

I can criticize Israel and still respect the religion….but for those that still have this gnawing ignorance…..I offer this…..keep in mind this site has a Libertarian lean to it….

This is a topic which has had so much written about it that you could fill an entire city library with books entirely dedicated to this topic. Marx took a shot at it. As did Sartre. There were, of course, also plenty of good books written on this topic, but rather than list them all, I want to suggest a few simple common sense points and then go to what I consider an authoritative explanation of this thing we call “antisemitism” and which, of course, has nothing to do with Semites.

So first, let’s dump this silly term and replace it by a simple and straightforward one: judeophobia. Just like any other phobia (say, for example, russophobia) the phobia of X is the 1) fear and/or hatred of X. Some people hate Jews, others fear them (think of the “fear of the Jews” in the Scripture), some do both. So judeophobia seems both logical and uncontroversial to me.

Source: A Crash Course on the True Causes of “Anti-Semitism” – The Unz Review

I do not agree with the premise….for me my criticism is of the treatment of people by the government of Israel not their religious beliefs….

Advertisements

Why War Does Not Matter

I spend most of my time trying to get people to pay attention to all the wars that we are engaged in today and the ones waiting for their number to come up…..so far I have been wasting my time (or so it seems)…..

American arr blaise towards war….they appear to not care that their neighbors kids are fighting and dying…….and for what?

After studying war for decades I have found a  list of possible reasons……

Americans don’t attend all that much to ongoing American wars because:

1. U.S. casualty rates are low. By using proxies and contractors, and relying heavily on airpower, America’s war managers have been able to keep a tight lid on the number of U.S. troops being killed and wounded.  In all of 2017, for example, a grand total of 11 American soldiers have been lost in Afghanistan — about equal to the number of shooting deaths in Chicago over the course of a typical week. True, in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries where the U.S. is engaged in hostilities, whether directly or indirectly, plenty of people who are not Americans are being killed and maimed.  (The estimated number of Iraqi civilians killed this year alone exceeds 12,000.) But those casualties have next to no political salience as far as the United States is concerned.  As long as they don’t impede U.S. military operations, they literally don’t count (and generally aren’t counted).

2. The true costs of Washington’s wars go untabulated.  In a famous speech, dating from early in his presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower said that “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”  Dollars spent on weaponry, Ike insisted, translated directly into schools, hospitals, homes, highways, and power plants that would go unbuilt.  “This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense,” he continued.  “[I]t is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.” More than six decades later, Americans have long since accommodated themselves to that cross of iron.  Many actually see it as a boon, a source of corporate profits, jobs, and, of course, campaign contributions.  As such, they avert their eyes from the opportunity costs of our never-ending wars.  The dollars expended pursuant to our post-9/11 conflicts will ultimately number in the multi-trillions.  Imagine the benefits of investing such sumsin upgrading the nation’s aging infrastructure.  Yet don’t count on Congressional leaders, other politicians, or just about anyone else to pursue that connection.

3. On matters related to war, American citizens have opted out.  Others have made the point so frequently that it’s the equivalent of hearing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” at Christmastime.  Even so, it bears repeating: the American people have defined their obligation to “support the troops” in the narrowest imaginable terms, ensuring above all that such support requires absolutely no sacrifice on their part.  Members of Congress abet this civic apathy, while also taking steps to insulate themselves from responsibility.  In effect, citizens and their elected representatives in Washington agree: supporting the troops means deferring to the commander in chief, without inquiring about whether what he has the troops doing makes the slightest sense.  Yes, we set down our beers long enough to applaud those in uniform and boo those who decline to participate in mandatory rituals of patriotism.  What we don’t do is demand anything remotely approximating actual accountability.

4. Terrorism gets hyped and hyped and hyped some more. While international terrorism isn’t a trivial problem (and wasn’t for decades before 9/11), it comes nowhere close to posing an existential threat to the United States.  Indeed, other threats, notably the impact of climate change, constitute a far greater danger to the well being of Americans.  Worried about the safety of your children or grandchildren?  The opioid epidemic constitutes an infinitely greater danger than “Islamic radicalism.”  Yet having been sold a bill of goods about a “war on terror” that is essential for “keeping America safe,” mere citizens are easily persuaded that scattering U.S. troops throughout the Islamic world while dropping bombs on designated evildoers is helping win the former while guaranteeing the latter.  To question that proposition becomes tantamount to suggesting that God might not have given Moses two stone tablets after all.

5. Blather crowds out substance. When it comes to foreign policy, American public discourse is — not to put too fine a point on it — vacuous, insipid, and mindlessly repetitive.  William Safire of the New York Times once characterized American political rhetoric as BOMFOG, with those running for high office relentlessly touting the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God.  Ask a politician, Republican or Democrat, to expound on this country’s role in the world, and then brace yourself for some variant of WOSFAD, as the speaker insists that it is incumbent upon the World’s Only Superpower to spread Freedom and Democracy.  Terms like leadership and indispensable are introduced, along with warnings about the dangers of isolationism and appeasement, embellished with ominous references to Munich.  Such grandiose posturing makes it unnecessary to probe too deeply into the actual origins and purposes of American wars, past or present, or assess the likelihood of ongoing wars ending in some approximation of actual success. Cheerleading displaces serious thought.

6. Besides, we’re too busy.  Think of this as a corollary to point five.  Even if the present-day American political scene included figures like Senators Robert La Follette or J. William Fulbright, who long ago warned against the dangers of militarizing U.S. policy, Americans may not retain a capacity to attend to such critiques.  Responding to the demands of the Information Age is not, it turns out, conducive to deep reflection.  We live in an era (so we are told) when frantic multitasking has become a sort of duty and when being overscheduled is almost obligatory.  Our attention span shrinks and with it our time horizon.  The matters we attend to are those that happened just hours or minutes ago.  Yet like the great solar eclipse of 2017 — hugely significant and instantly forgotten — those matters will, within another few minutes or hours, be superseded by some other development that briefly captures our attention.  As a result, a dwindling number of Americans — those not compulsively checking Facebook pages and Twitter accounts — have the time or inclination to ponder questions like: When will the Afghanistan War end?  Why has it lasted almost 16 years?  Why doesn’t the finest fighting force in history actually win?  Can’t package an answer in 140 characters or a 30-second made-for-TV sound bite?  Well, then, slowpoke, don’t expect anyone to attend to what you have to say.

7. Anyway, the next president will save us.  At regular intervals, Americans indulge in the fantasy that, if we just install the right person in the White House, all will be well.  Ambitious politicians are quick to exploit this expectation.  Presidential candidates struggle to differentiate themselves from their competitors, but all of them promise in one way or another to wipe the slate clean and Make America Great Again.  Ignoring the historical record of promises broken or unfulfilled, and presidents who turn out not to be deities but flawed human beings, Americans — members of the media above all — pretend to take all this seriously.  Campaigns become longer, more expensive, more circus-like, and ever less substantial.  One might think that the election of Donald Trump would prompt a downward revision in the exalted expectations of presidents putting things right.  Instead, especially in the anti-Trump camp, getting rid of Trump himself (Collusion!  Corruption!  Obstruction!  Impeachment!) has become the overriding imperative, with little attention given to restoring the balance intended by the framers of the Constitution.  The irony of Trump perpetuating wars that he once roundly criticized and then handing the conduct of those wars to generals devoid of ideas for ending them almost entirely escapes notice.

8. Our culturally progressive military has largely immunized itself from criticism.  As recently as the 1990s, the U.S. military establishment aligned itself with the retrograde side of the culture wars.  Who can forget the gays-in-the-military controversy that rocked Bill Clinton’s administration during his first weeks in office, as senior military leaders publicly denounced their commander-in-chief?  Those days are long gone.  Culturally, the armed forces have moved left.  Today, the services go out of their way to project an image of tolerance and a commitment to equality on all matters related to race, gender, and sexuality.  So when President Trump announced his opposition to transgendered persons serving in the armed forces, tweeting that the military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,” senior officers politely but firmly disagreed and pushed back.  Given the ascendency of cultural issues near the top of the U.S. political agenda, the military’s embrace of diversity helps to insulate it from criticism and from being called to account for a less than sterling performance in waging wars.  Put simply, critics who in an earlier day might have blasted military leaders for their inability to bring wars to a successful conclusion hold their fire.  Having women graduate from Ranger School or command Marines in combat more than compensates for not winning.

(commondreams.org)

A collective indifference to war has become an emblem of contemporary America.  But don’t expect your neighbors down the street or the editors of the New York Times to lose any sleep over that fact.  Even to notice it would require them — and us — to care.

Closing Thought–16Oct17

Ever since his ride down the escalator in Trump Central back in the day I have though there was something off about Mr. Trump.  His constant ,mash ups with this person or that….his constant battling people in his own party and his nastiness towards Americans in general.

He seem to be losing it and only after 274 days in office….but do not take my word for it….

President Trump might be launching a new hunt for White House leakers soon because a lot of them seem to have spoken to Vanity Fair—and the picture they paint of the president’s state of mind is alarming. The sources say Trump is “unstable” and “unraveling” after setbacks including legislative failures and the Alabama GOP primary loss of Trump-backed Sen. Luther Strange, which they say has deeply affected the president. “Alabama was a huge blow to his psyche,” a source described as a “person close to Trump” says. “He saw the cult of personality was broken.”

Two other sources tell Vanity Fair that Trump raged to longtime aide Keith Schiller: “I hate everyone in the White House! There are a few exceptions, but I hate them.” Schiller, Trump’s security chief for many years, left his White House position last month. Republican sources say John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff, has been doing his best to limit access to Trump—a policy that has left Trump frustrated. The insiders say Kelly hates his job but has stuck around to prevent Trump making “disastrous decisions.” The White House denied the Vanity Fair report, saying: “The president’s mood is good and his outlook on the agenda is very positive.”

How far will he take this minor “breakdown”?   How far will this go?  Hell even Bannon has said that Trump has less that a 70% chance of finishing his first term…..

Maybe it is time for some professional help…..

Disrespect Our Soldiers?

There is so much stuff out there but the one that irks me the most is the fake crap about how people are disrespecting out troops….and then he does not know protocol of those troops….

After he had repeatedly railed against professional athletes over perceived slights to the American flag and military, President Donald Trump joked on Wednesday about a bugle call that is part of the armed forces’ time-honored tradition of showing respect for the Stars and Stripes.

The bugle call occurred during Trump’s interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, conducted in an airplane hangar used by the Pennsylvania Air National Guard in Harrisburg and before the president’s address on tax revision.

“What a nice sound that is. Are they playing that for you or for me?” Trump said before turning to the audience. “They’re playing that in honor of his ratings,” he added, referring to the popularity of Hannity’s news program.

Trump went back to speaking about economic growth as several audience members behind him stood up. The bugle call was “Retreat,” which signifies the lowering of the American flag on a military installation. Although Trump attended a military high school, the commander in chief appeared unaware of the music’s meaning.

That All-American Burger

A nice Sunday and the perfect day for Chuq burger on the grill….

Chuq Burger….9oz of ground sirloin….a touch of Chuq’s grilling mixture (top secret recipe) and a dash of Worcestershire sauce…..perfect patty with a thumb indention……..a blazing hot grill….cook 4 minutes first side flip and 3 minutes (depends on the fire temps will vary)) and onto a potato bun toasted…..mayo and some brown mustard…..now eat!

The lettuce, tomato and onion is a salad and belongs on the side with a bit of blue cheese dressing.  Been known to put cheese on my burger…depends on my mood….sharp cheddar or Havarti or Muenster…..depends on the mood.

I bring this up because of the title “all-American burger”…..so this opens this post up for something I do enjoy (besides a good burger)….a history lesson (I heard those heavy sighs)…..

As with any icon, the history of the hamburger is a long and sordid tale, from the minced meat that Mongol horsemen gnawed on during conquests to the iconic patty’s much-contested state-fair beginnings. Like most American foods, the burger has immigrant roots—meaty prototypes sailed over from Germany in the mid–19th century. But it became the sandwich we know and love today through all-American innovation. Dig into the archives and brush up on your hamburger history.

Source: The history of the hamburger: An American invention

I have made a “burger” out of a wide array of meats over the years….pork, turkey (not even close to a fave), goat, buffalo and veal….but nothing beats a good beef burger…….something about the smell when cooking and the taste fresh off the grill….

Now that I have made myself even hungrier than I was before I started it is time to make all ready for the meal…..

Please have a good day….and enjoy a good meal….see you guys Monday for more of the wonky stuff…..just not as much….LOL  chuq

Closing Thought–13Oct17

When the news does not favor Trump then he takes to Tweeter and sets off belittling people or trying to draw attention to something that has anything to do with the running of this country.

He is so busy belittling people or trying to gin up some fake narrative that he misses his chance to come off in a good light.

For instance, instead of worrying about a knee or trying to take away the 1st amendment he should gave bee laser focused on the economy…..this week there was good news he could have used top bis advantage and to further his agenda…..

Stocks managed to post modest gains Wednesday on Wall Street, enough to set more record closing highs, the AP reports. Technology and health care stocks rose more than the rest of the market, while banks and phone companies fell. Johnson & Johnson rose 2.1% after the company asked regulators to approve a prostate cancer drug. Luxury goods maker Coach dropped 2.8% after saying it will change its name to Tapestry.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 4 points, or 0.2%, to 2,555. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 42 points, or 0.2%, 22,872. The Nasdaq rose 16 points, or 0.2%, to 6,603. All three closed at record highs. Small-company stocks lagged the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index fell 1 point to 1,506.

Instead of showing his insecurities he should be thumping his chest about the good news from Wall Street.

It amazes me just how much good news he lets slip away while he chases one of his silly vendettas.

The Problem of Collective Indifference

The US is still involved in a war they started 16+ years ago.  And since those days since we have engaged in more and more conflicts and not all are the ones we started…..it is as if if there is a war someplace then the US needs to be there.

In all this time few Americans seem to care that our people are being sent and dying….but yet they are the most “patriotic” population in the world….but in reality is the truth is they do NOT care about our countrymen are having to deal with this situation….the deadly situation.

Can anyone explain this “collective indifference” of the American people……

Consider, if you will, these two indisputable facts.  First, the United States is today more or less permanently engaged in hostilities in not one faraway place, but at least seven.  Second, the vast majority of the American people could not care less.

Nor can it be said that we don’t care because we don’t know. True, government authorities withhold certain aspects of ongoing military operations or release only details that they find convenient. Yet information describing what U.S. forces are doing (and where) is readily available, even if buried in recent months by barrages of presidential tweets.

Source: The Problem of Collective Indifference: Wars Go On and On | Alternet

What will it take for the American people to show some concern over all the war we have taken on?

Look at today……North Korea…..a month ago is all everybody could talk about….today it is the media that all talk….a year ago it was ISIS…..today we are lucky to hear the name mentioned….the American people become indifferent to the prevailing news……especially when it comes to war.