Closing Thought–21Sep18

An American institution is heading for a fall.  American agriculture is heading for a fall.

It is time for the harvest!

I have been watching this sector of our economy closely….one because the new tariffs could have a lasting effect on the farming in this country…..I have written a couple posts recently….

https://lobotero.com/2017/12/18/closing-thought-18dec17/

https://lobotero.com/2018/07/25/the-coming-farm-aid/

The Wall Street Journal is also watching this sector and their insights are not very good for the coming year…..

The Farm Belt is hurtling toward a milestone: Soon there will be fewer than two million farms in America for the first time since pioneers moved westward after the Louisiana Purchase.

Across the heartland, a multiyear slump in prices for corn, wheat and other farm commodities brought on by a glut of grain world-wide is pushing many farmers further into debt. Some are shutting down, raising concerns that the next few years could bring the biggest wave of farm closures since the 1980s.

The U.S. share of the global grain market is less than half what it was in the 1970s. American farmers’ incomes will drop 9% in 2017, the Agriculture Department estimates, extending the steepest slide since the Great Depression into a fourth year.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-next-american-farm-bust-is-upon-us-1486572488

How sad that a true American institution is slowly withering away….the government will step in but it may be too late for it to save this way of life.

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Leave It To Bubba

It is no secret that I was NOT a supporter of Bill Clinton by any stretch of the imagination…..I believe it was his policies that caused so many of the problems we have today….his push to repeal Glass-Steagall ( GLASS-STEAGALL ACT OF 1933) lead to the crash of 2008….his push for NAFTA lead to the rush of immigrants…..his conservative policies have lead us to this point in our history.

But the biggest screw up was his wimpy pursuit of Osama bin Laden after the bombings in Kenya….and if he had been more aggressive then there is the possibility that 9/11 may not have happened.

The White House Situation Room was buzzing. It was fall 1998 and the National Security Council (NSC) and the “intelligence community” were tracking the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, the shadowy mastermind of terrorist attacks on American targets overseas. “They’ve successfully triangulated his location,” yelled a “Sit Room” watch stander. “We’ve got him.”

Beneath the West Wing of the White House, behind a vaulted steel door, the Sit Room staff sprang into action. The watch officer notified National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, “Sir, we’ve located bin Laden. We have a two-hour window to strike.”

Characteristic of the Clinton administration, the weapons of choice would be Tomahawk missiles. No clandestine “snatch” by our Special Operations Forces. No penetrating bombers or highspeed fighter aircraft flown by our Air Force and Navy forces. No risk of losing American lives.

http://humanevents.com/2006/09/11/how-bill-clinton-compromised-americas-national-security/

Clinton’s hesitation did nothing to make the US safer…..and allowed Osama to function worldwide.

Further Reading:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/02/16/bill-clinton-and-the-missed-opportunities-to-kill-osama-bin-laden/

http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/80966001-157.html

https://dailycaller.com/2016/09/10/pre-911-flashback-how-bill-clinton-missed-bin-laden/

 

What Did That Cost?

We have been bombarded in the last couple of weeks on the nominee for the Supreme Court….and more recently about the accusation of sexual misconduct….and now there is even more news on this subject…..

A former classmate of Christine Blasey Ford has changed her tune a bit after initially stating, “This incident did happen” in a Facebook post about Ford’s allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school. You can see a screenshot of Cristina King Miranda’s Wednesday post, which has since been deleted, here; in it, Miranda says she knew Ford, Kavanaugh, and Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge (who Ford says was in the room during the alleged assault) in high school and describes a “completely out of control” drinking environment. She says she was one of the more than 200 alumnae of Maryland’s Holton-Arms School who signed an open letter supporting Ford, and that “many of us heard about [the Ford-Kavanaugh incident] in school.” But in a new interview with NPR, Miranda denies knowing whether the assault happened.

“That it happened or not, I have no idea. I can’t say that it did or didn’t,” Miranda says. “In my [Facebook] post, I was empowered and I was sure it probably did [happen]. I had no idea that I would now have to go to the specifics and defend it before 50 cable channels and have my face spread all over MSNBC news and Twitter.” She says she played soccer with Ford and that she still supports her and believes her, but she wasn’t expecting to be contacted by staff from the Senate Judiciary Committee after posting on Facebook. She says that if the committee asks to interview her, she will decline. She also posted on Twitter (though her account appears to have since been deleted) that she does “not have first hand knowledge of the incident” Ford describes. But, she tells NPR, she remembers a “buzz” going around involving a serious incident at a party involving students from her school and Kavanaugh’s school.

When I read this story the first thing that entered my mind was…..wonder how much that cost the team?”

As I always try to say….he is accused of misconduct….this needs to play out and cut the theatrics (which is impossible in DC for theatrics is all they have)…

The GOP seems to be in a rush to confirm for the good of the court…..seriously….they allowed the court to function with a judge down for damn near a year and it is important now but not 2 years ago…..this is what I point to when I call them all hypocrites…….

Personally, I do not trust the guy…his hair looks like that of a Baptist preacher and I do not trust a preacher as far as I can toss them.

Turn The Page!

Will The War On Terror Succeed?

The deadly attacks of 9/11 marked the beginning of a new war declared by DC….the War On Terror.

We Americans declared war on many things….on drugs, on poverty, and now on terror…..and of the wars we have declared after 1945 have NOT brought about a victory.

The War on Poverty was a heady idea and was a flop at best….the war on drugs has been nothing short of a massive failure that we still fund with the hopes that something good will happen.

And now we have another “War” to fund…the War on Terror.

After 17 years can we declare victory…or at least a success?

It has been a great success…..a success at creating far more terrorists than it eliminates.

In the 17 years since the events of Sept. 11 2001, after which the United States declared a “global war on terror,” there has not been a terrorist attack of similar size or magnitude on American soil.

However, according to findings in a new congressionally mandated report by the United States Institute of Peace—authored by members of a federal task force focused on extremism—nations around the world have suffered a five-fold increase in terrorist attacks following the post-9/11 policies unleashed by the U.S. and its allies.

The focus of the report—titled Beyond the Homeland: Protecting America from Extremism in Fragile States—maintains a very U.S.-centric worldview. And while it does little or nothing to critically challenge the widely criticized policies pursued by the Bush, Obama, or Trump presidencies, its tabulation of the dramatic rise in destablized states and growing terrorist violence throughout the regions where the U.S. military has been most active since 2001—namely, the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa—is nonetheless revealing.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/09/17/us-led-global-war-terrorism-has-succeeded-creating-more-global-terrorism

I mean look at Al-Qaeda….they were the bastards that attacked the US in 2001……destroyed and killed much……and yet this same organization, AQ, is being protected in Syria by the US military……

In a rare and unprecedented speech delivered on the House floor just two days after the nation memorialized 9/11, Democratic Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard on Thursday slammed Washington’s longtime support to anti-Assad jihadists in Syria, while also sounding the alarm over the current build-up of tensions between the US and Russia over the Syria crisis.

She called on Congress to condemn what she called the Trump Administration’s protection of al-Qaeda in Idlib and slammed Washington’s policies in Syria as “a betrayal of the American people” — especially the victims and families that perished on 9/11.

https://theantimedia.com/tulsi-gabbard-trump-al-qaeda-syria/

The War on Terror is doing the same thing as our War on Drugs…….siphoning off much needed funds for social programs and giving it to the M-IC that has NO intention to ending these wars.

Since the original attacks the US has spent $2.8 trillion on fighting terrorism……that is $2.8 trillion with a “T”…..the War on Drugs has cost this country about $1 trillion over 40 years.

But I must answer the question asked in the title…….NO!  Our track record would indicate that we have NO intention on winning this war…..these wars.

Further Reading:

https://www.brookings.edu/research/are-we-winning-the-war-on-terrorism/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-mullen/its-time-to-end-the-failed_b_11965170.html

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/05/13/ap-impact-years-trillion-war-drugs-failed-meet-goals.html

Build The Wall! (Repeat)

Closing Thought–20Sep18

Remember during the 2016 election and the chants of “Build the wall” coming from the mindless drones of the Trump camp?  And of course that Mexico would pay for it (this has nothing to do with the post but if does help the word count)…

This is Trump’s, Our Dear Leader, answer to stopping the flow of immigrants into the US.  Does everyone remember this?

It seems he is a “One Trick Pony” on the control of immigrants….he gave a Spanish minister some advice…..

Spain’s foreign minister says President Trump offered the Spanish government some very Trumpian advice on dealing with an influx of cross-Mediterranean migrants. Josep Borrell says the president suggested building a wall across the Sahara desert, even though only two small enclaves in the region are Spanish territory, the Telegraph. Borrell, who accompanied Spanish royals to the White House in June, told an event in Madrid this week that when skeptical Spanish diplomats pointed out that such a wall would have to be more than 3,000 miles long, Trump said, incorrectly: “The Sahara border can’t be bigger than our border with Mexico.” A ministry spokesman tells the Guardian: “We can confirm that’s what the minister said, but we won’t be making any further comment on the minister’s remarks.”

Since most of the immigrants  originate south of the desert and make their way north to try and find passage to Europe.

The map below shows the extent of the Sahara and to build a wall across the Southern limits of the desert is just a pipe dream…..nay it is a fucking joke from a comedian that has NO idea about the geography of the region.

Image result for sahara desert

Like is said a “One Trick Pony”.

Another wind bag GOPer that has NO idea of geography and thinks slogans will solve a problem.

 

Money And Elections

The 2018 mid-terms is just days away…..and as with every election for decades the talking points will be about which party and/or candidate has put together the most donors and cash.

Everybody knows the old talking points about campaign cash…..he who spends the most wins….Dark money……yada yada…..

But there is a bit more to the effects of cash on elections than the 30 second sound bite network TV gives the listeners….

The Nerds at geeky website, fivethirtyeight.com, has put together a good piece to explain the effects of cash on elections.

To quote the great political philosopher Cyndi Lauper, “Money changes everything.” 1 And nowhere is that proverb more taken to heart than in a federal election, where billions of dollars are raised and spent on the understanding that money is a crucial determinant of whether or not a candidate will win.

This year, the money has been coming in and out of political campaigns at a particularly furious pace. Collectively, U.S. House candidates raised more money by Aug. 27 than House candidates raised during the entire 2014 midterm election cycle, and Senate candidates weren’t far behind. Ad volumes are up 86 percent compared to that previous midterm. Dark money — flowing to political action committees from undisclosed donors — is up 26 percent.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/money-and-elections-a-complicated-love-story/

SCOTUS has made corporations equal to individuals and in doing so made the dark money a driving force in elections…..it has replaced real issues with the direction of donors.

Just 15 groups were responsible for more than 75 percent of dark money political spending from 2010 to 2016, and together poured more than $600 million—out of a total of $800+ million—into campaigns in the wake of the landmark Citizens United case, according to a new analysis from Issue One, a nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for stricter campaign finance rules.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/09/13/citizens-united-just-15-groups-account-75-percent-800-million-dark-money-spent-us

Dems are just as bad as the GOP…..they talk a mean game but do little to change anything…..

For voters concerned about the bad consequences of big business spending on elections, a New York Times reportlast month promised mid-summer relief. “Tired of Money in Politics, Some Democrats Think Small,” the headline read.

The accompanying article, which focused on a Minnesota Congressional contest, noted that, “in mid-term races around the country…dozens of Democrats [are] rejecting donations from political action committees, or PACs, that are sponsored by corporations or industry groups.”

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/12/big-money-in-politics-are-leading-democrats-really-on-the-wagon-or-still-sneaking-a-drink/

Dems are always bitching about the money in politics and all the while are standing with their hands out.  There is only one way to remove big money from politics……by law and by making elections a federal funded operation…..no private money.

Fort Trump–Polish Version

We know just how much Our Dear Leader truly appreciates things that make him look good.  He likes to be complimented…….and he likes real estate deals….Like North Korea would be a good spot for condos….and now the East European country of Poland has massaged the ego of Our Dear Leader…..

Poland’s leader pressed President Donald Trump on Tuesday to consider creating a permanent American military base in Poland, offering a tempting incentive: The installation would be called “Fort Trump.” Polish President Andrzej Duda extended the invitation during a one-on-one meeting with Trump at the White House that focused heavily on the US presence in Poland as the country faces Russia’s increased military activities in the region, the AP reports. Trump said during a joint news conference with Duda that he was considering the idea and noted that Poland had offered more than $2 billion to the US to pay for such an effort. Duda, for his part, came away confident that he had taken a major step toward lining up a permanent American military base in his country.

“I was smiling when talking to Mr. President. I said that I would very much like for us to set up a permanent American base in Poland which we would call Fort Trump,” Duda said through a translator, prompting Trump to raise his eyebrows and smile. “And I firmly believe that this is possible.” Seeking a check on Russian aggression, Poland wants the 3,000 US troops now deployed in Poland on a rotating basis to be upgraded to a larger, permanent presence. A decision from the US could come early next year. Security, trade and energy topped the agenda as Trump welcomed Duda to the White House for the first time. Duda credited Trump for making Warsaw the first stop on the US president’s inaugural European trip last year and said Trump’s outdoor address in Poland was a “very important moment” for the relationship between the two countries. Trump said the two leaders agreed to bolster defense, energy and commercial ties, adding that the alliance between the two countries had “never been stronger.”

In reality, the cost putting a US armored base in Poland on a permanent basis is going to be several hundred million dollars per year, and while Poland’s cash may make the initial move into the country cheaper, it will quickly be another costly mission for the US with no end in sight.

Let’s look at it from another angle…….We know that Trump enjoys his name branding….so how much will he make off a “Fort” bearing his name?  His ego must be flying high right now.  Trump Tower, Trump steaks, Trump wine, Trump Vodka and now a Fort Trump…..