Unification Blues

There is much optimism around the Korean talks…..some are even looking forward to a possible unification of the two Koreas….they look toward the Vietnam of the 70’s and later the unification of Germany of the 90’s……

Yes the idea is very promising indeed….or is it?

The North and South have fundamentally diametric economic and political systems and national ideologies. They also have very large guns pointed at each other’s head. Neither side has much reason to trust the other to refrain from trying to exploit the chaos that would come with a transition and force reunification on their own terms. This trust gap is not going away, nor is the prisoner’s dilemma. True reunification would require breathtaking courage from leaders on both sides, who would need to ignore immediate incentives and assume enormous risk while going through the process.

This is, in part, why only two modern states have achieved negotiated, peaceful reunification. One was Yemen in 1990, and its experience ever since has been nothing anyone wants to replicate. The more instructive comparison is Germany, which reunified the same year. Prior to being sliced in two by outside powers, both Germany and Korea were cohesive cultural, linguistic and ethnic entities. Yet both became locked in a protracted zero-sum contest for supremacy between their competing halves. Both are surrounded by countries that, through the long-term lens of their own geopolitical imperatives, would rather see them stay divided. Both had U.S. troops stationed on half their home soil. And like the North, East Germany suffered greatly from the loss of Soviet aid and security.

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/korea-cant-replicate-germanys-reunification/

A fanciful thought…..but we must get past rigorous negotiations before anything can move forward.

I wish I could say that I see a way forward….but with this bunch it is highly unlikely.

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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…..

Know Your Traffic Law

The weekend begins and I am looking for something interesting for my readers…….so for those that had rather read my blog than watch a couple of minor royals get hitched…….I came upon a traffic law in Kansas…..

Kansas has passed a law that most people probably assumed the state already had. The new law bans police officers from having sex with motorists that they pull over, reports the Wichita Eagle. Although Kansas did have a law prohibiting police from having sex with people in jail, the new law bans sex “during the course of a traffic stop, a custodial interrogation, an interview in connection with an investigation, or while the law enforcement officer has such person detained.” Kansas was one of 33 states where sex between police and detainees is not illegal. The bill was introduced by Rep. Cindy Holscher, a Democrat, in response to the case of a detective who was alleged to have repeatedly coerced sex from black women in Kansas City by threatening to arrest them or their loved ones.

One such incident led to the arrest of Lamonte McIntyre, who spent 23 years in prison for a double murder he didn’t commit. McIntyre’s mother said in an affidavit that she had spurned the detective’s advances, per NBC4. Holscher also cited a case in New York, where a teen alleged that two officers raped her in their van, but because the officers said the sex was consensual, no charges were filed. New York passed a similar bill in March, in response to that incident. “I was shocked,” New York state Sen. Diane Savino told CBS News when she learned of the gap in the law. “It should be clear across the state for officers from every department, that when someone is in custody they do not have the ability to consent to sexual activity.”

Just keep abreast of traffic laws so you do not get caught with your pants down….(pun was intended)……

Closing Thought–18May18

The war torn nation of Iraq has held their most recent election…..I gave my readers a rundown on the what’s what with this vote…..

https://lobotero.com/2018/05/14/democracy-comes-to-iraq/

Back during the dark days of the 2003 invasion and occupation America’s biggest opponent was an Iraqi cleric, al-Sadr…..and with this election he has risen to the top of Iraqi political process…..

Widespread disillusionment with Iraq’s current political class appears to have helped the political coalition of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr become the early front-runner in national elections marked by record low turnout. Partial returns of the 2018 vote—the first since Iraq declared victory over the Islamic State group—were announced late Sunday by the Iraqi electoral commission and put al-Sadr’s political alliance in the lead in four provinces, including Baghdad. Al-Sadr is a strong Iraqi nationalist—he is critical of any outside influence in the country—and campaigned on a platform that criticized Iraq’s current political leadership as deeply corrupt. He rose to prominence in Iraq after the 2003 US-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein when he commanded a militia that fought American troops. He also commanded paramilitary forces in the war against ISIS.

The election came as the country deals with the disenfranchisement of the country’s Sunni minority. Of more than 2 million Iraqis displaced by the war, the majority are Sunnis. Also at issue is the influence of Iran on the country: Iranian-backed Shiite militias who played a key role in defeating ISIS and were allied with the Shiite-led Baghdad government made significant electoral gains. Al-Sadr did not run for a seat in parliament and therefore cannot become prime minister. However, if his alliance wins the most seats, a member of his bloc will be tasked with forming a majority government and will appoint the country’s next prime minister. Despite not holding an official office, al-Sadr exercises strong organizational control over his followers, per the AP.

It will be interesting to see how he plays with the American forces this time around…..this Iraqi institution is very fragile and will be attacked politically from all sides.

Will his government survive?

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…..

Where Does The Money Go?

We all have asked that question when we look at our cash balances and our bills……it would be nice if the toads in Congress would ask the same question about taxpayer funds…..

For instance…..did you know how much the US spends on war?

A “near-constant state of war” is just one of the reasons the US spends more than any other country in the world on its military—by a long shot. If the next seven major military spenders combined their funds, they still wouldn’t measure up, according to a list compiled by 24/7 Wall St., though China is making strides. The 10 countries that spent the most on war in 2017:

  1. USA: $610 billion (3.1% of GDP)
  2. China: $228 billion (1.9%)
  3. Saudi Arabia: $69.4 billion (10%)
  4. Russia: $66.3 billion (4.3%)
  5. India: $63.9 billion (2.5%)
    1. France: $57.8 billion (2.3% of GDP)
    2. United Kingdom: $47.2 billion (1.8%)
    3. Japan: $45.4 billion (0.9%)
    4. Germany: $44.3 billion (1.2%)
    5. South Korea: $39.2 billion (2.6%)

    Click for the full list

That is a lot of cash that could be used elsewhere in this country….like our failing infrastructure, or that cheap health care the Trump promised….but instead there could be a raise coming to defense spending…..

The American defense-industrial base needs Pentagon budgets to grow at least 5 percent per year to remain healthy and stable, the industry’s leading trade group said in a report released Wednesday.

The report by the Aerospace Industries Association blames Budget Control Act cuts and Congress’ repeated deferral to continuing resolutions for a steep drop in the market’s number of prime vendors. It’s unclear exactly how smaller suppliers have been impacted, but “the detrimental impact of budget cuts have been felt throughout the supply chain,” the report reads.

https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2018/04/25/defense-industry-needs-5-percent-annual-budget-growth-to-stay-healthy-says-new-aia-report/

That is the answer….bigger and better guns and bombs….then if all this money is supposedly well spent then why cannot the US win the wars it starts?

Almost 17 years after Washington’s war on terror was launched, déjà vu all over again hardly sums up the situation. Still, it’s a place to start. Take a headline from nearly a decade ago – July 2009, to be exact. By then, the American war in Afghanistan (the second Afghan War of our era) was already years old and not exactly going well. “U.S. Marines pour into Helmand,” went that headline, “in biggest offensive against Taliban for five years.” That July, in the first year of the Obama administration, more than 4,000 Marines were being dispatched to the heartlands of Helmand Province to secure Afghanistan’s major opium-poppy-growing region. That was, of course, nearly eight years after the Bush administration had declared the country “liberated” by an American invasion. By the fall of 2014, after five more years of fighting the Taliban and advising Afghan security forces in Helmand – and hundreds of American deaths – those troops were finally withdrawn from “one of the few bright spots in the Afghan war.” However, a corrupt Afghan government and its security forces, filled with “ghost soldiers” and “ghost police” (mostly paid for with U.S. funds), couldn’t even hold onto their paychecks, no less the parts of the province that had been “liberated” from the Taliban and the remarkably irrepressible opium trade that went with it. Slowly, much of the province fell back into Taliban hands as opium farming only spread and flourished.

https://original.antiwar.com/Arnold_Isaacs/2018/05/01/why-cant-the-worlds-best-military-win-its-wars/

If you want answers more than this article then may I suggest a book written by Harlan A. Ullman, “Anatomy Of Failure”…..

Questions with few answers.

Remember The Sh*tholes?

The big story of the week is the move of the American embassy in Israel…..it is a terrible decision this only placates Israel and Israel alone.

But that aside what other countries will follow the US lead?

Now remember a while back when Trump made his sh*thole comment about immigrants trying to come to the US?  Look at the list above and there are the countries Trump was talking about.

Sorry I find it amusing…..

Then we all have heard about the violence around the embassy move, right?

The Trump has made it clear who is to blame…..and it is not Israel…..

It’s seemingly a straightforward sequence of events – Israeli troops lined up along the Gaza border, firing machine guns into the strip at unarmed protesters, and scores of those protesters were killed, the US is desperate to portray it as a “propaganda” plot by Hamas.

The White House portrayed themselves as wholly comfortable with Israel’s actions, saying they totally absolve Israel of any responsibility for all of those people they killed. Spokesman Raj Shah insisted the protests were Hamas’ fault, and the deaths are, too.

Shah further rejected reporter suggestions that Israel should show any sort of restraint, saying Hamas is responsible for whatever happens. He said Israel has an absolute right to engage in “self defense” against the protesters.

(antiwar.com)

Yep that 8 month baby killed by tear gas was a terrorist….or the man in a wheel chair killed by an Israeli sniper was the source of the attacks or the 16 year old girl shot in the stomach…..the list goes on….

We all knew that Israel would be blameless as it always is even as far back as the USS Liberty incident in 1968 which killed and maimed American sailors….it was not their fault that their jets and patrol boats fired on the American ship.

It is always Syria’s fault or Iran’s fault or Hamas or Hezbollah and whoever else Israel can blame.

They play the VICTIM card more than my ex-wife.  Israel plays the victim card masterfully….they are NO more a victim than I am a female gardener….

Time for Israel to be held to the same standards as the rest of the world and time for the US to stop allowing Israel to hide behind their skirts.