Random Thoughts–April 2018

It has been a long time since news has been coming fast and furious other than the word regurgitation from the man in the big white house.

From time to time I will do a Random Thoughts post to try and get as much news in as possible…..hope you guys enjoy it…….

On The International stage…….

1–All the hub-bub about Iran and NK and their nuke program and everyone overlooked Pakistan…..

Last week, Chinese officials confirmed the sale of a sophisticated optical tracking system to Pakistan. The nation has been developing multiwarhead nuclear missiles, and the infusion of advanced Chinese tech brings it one step closer.

Optical systems are critical in missile testing, providing engineers valuable high-resolution images of a missile’s multiple stages that can be used to improve designs.

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/could-china-help-pakistan-make-its-nuclear-arsenal-even-25158

2–I recently gave my thoughts on the so-called Russian attacks on our electric grid…..and yet more…….

The Trump administration has accused Russia of a two-year cyberattack campaign against the U.S. electric grid. This is the first time the U.S. has openly accused Moscow of threatening America’s energy infrastructure. And it demonstrates why the grid must be able to resist cyberattacks on networks and ensure customers have stable electricity access.

Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced a new Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response last month, indicating that the administration is taking grid cyber threats seriously. This effort aims to enable coordinated preparedness and response to man-made threats. President Donald Trump’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget allocates $96 million for this center.

https://www.realclearenergy.org/articles/2018/04/04/russia_attacked_the_us_power_grid_for_two_years_now_what_110283.html

3–A new anti-terror alliance for Syria………

 The presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russia on Wednesday appeared determined to continue their 15-month cooperation on Syria, ignoring crucial differences among themselves but often pointedly mentioning the sacrosanctity of the country’s territorial integrity.

The Ankara summit brought together Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani, whose countries launched the Astana process in January 2017 seeking to facilitate de-escalation zones in war-torn Syria and aid the Geneva talks in bringing about a political solution.

Erdogan, often blunt to the point of being belligerent, opted for a soft approach despite a hint of differences – with Iran in particular – over Ankara’s military incursion into Afrin since January.

http://theantimedia.com/russia-iran-turkey-alliance-syria/

4–Once again Assad is accused of chemical attacks……

A new flare-up of violence in the last rebel-held city in Eastern Ghouta has served as an opportunity for the US State Department to claim chemical weapons were being used. The allegations were quickly endorsed by the White Helmets, a Syrian medical NGO active in a number of rebel territories. The White Helmets are often making allegations of war crimes in Syria.

Evidence has been lacking in claims of chemical attacks by Syria’s government, and proof has been non-existent. US officials, however, never let uncertainty get in the way of a good story, and will not only be repeating this claim as unquestioned fact for years to come, but as seen last year, may use it as a pretext for a military strike on Syrian forces.

(antiwar.com)

5–Remember when Chavez and Bush would go round and round….and then Obama came to the leadership and the political tango continued and then Trump was elected and a new Venezuelan president and the beat continues…..

Countries that don’t eagerly follow the U.S.-led global order make prime targets for American-led invasions, particularly when those countries challenge the status of the U.S. dollar.

Right now, Venezuela is one of these countries. Venezuela sits on the world’s largest oil reserves, and in order to free itself from what it calls the “tyranny of the U.S. dollar” in maximizing its potential on these oil reserves, the country began publishing its oil and fuel in Chinese yuan in September of last year. It recently added further insult to injury and launched the world’s first state-backed cryptocurrency, known as the petro. According to TIME, however, the petro is “in fact a collaboration – a half hidden joint venture between Venezuelan and Russian officials and businessmen, whose aim was to erode the power of U.S. sanctions.”

http://theantimedia.com/americas-looming-war-venezuela/

6–I do not want to leave Africa out of my thoughts…….In recent months several countries have changed leadership after dumping long serving leaders……could we be looking at an African Spring?

But does this herald a new dawn for African democracy – or will they be left disappointed?

The three biggest downfalls herald from Angola, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/it-might-be-too-early-to-declare-an-african-spring-but-leaders-are-being-toppled-in-their-droves-1.718370

Now let me stray into events within our borders…….

1–It appears that South Carolina has been busy with idiots….GOP lawmaker has his day with a gun…..

A Republican lawmaker in South Carolina took out a loaded pistol while arguing with constituents pushing for better gun control Friday, the Washington Post reports. “I’m not going to be a Gabby Giffords,” Rep. Ralph Norman tells the Post and Courier, adding, “I don’t mind dying, but whoever shoots me better shoot well, or I’m shooting back.” Giffords, a former Arizona lawmaker, was shot during a public appearance in 2011. Norman’s move drew criticism from some attending the “coffee with constituents” event, as well as from Giffords’ husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, who agreed with just one part of Norman’s sentiment. “When I think of @GabbyGiffords, I think of courage and public service, not intimidating constituents,” Kelly tweeted. “You’re no Gabby.”

Norman says he took out his pistol and placed it on a table while talking with volunteers from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to prove that “guns don’t shoot people; people shoot guns” and that guns are only dangerous when it’s criminals who are using them. “I’m tired of these liberals jumping on the guns themselves as if they are the cause of the problem,” Norman says. “Guns are not the problem.” While Norman claimed he was making constituents at the meeting safer, some said they felt uncomfortable or unsafe when he took out his gun. “Rep. Norman’s behavior today was a far cry from what responsible gun ownership looks like,” says Lori Freemon, one of the volunteers at the meeting. Norman, who has a concealed carry permit, says he plans to take his gun out at more meetings in the future.

2–There has been a lot of air time About Sinclair Broadcasting and its demand that its anchors put forth a solid front……

Sinclair Broadcast Group owns a growing number of local TV stations across the US, and it’s come under fire previously for newsroom tactics dictated by its Maryland headquarters. But criticism reached new heights over the weekend when Deadspin stitched together a video showing dozens of anchors reciting the same script in which they criticize the national media over bias and fake news. See another mashup here via ThinkProgress. Here’s a look at background and reaction:

  • The order:CNN reported last month that the conservative-leaning Sinclair ordered anchors at local affiliates to read what CNN media writer Brian Stelter describes as something akin to “pro-Trump propaganda.” His story recounts how many anchors chafed at the mandate, with one saying he “felt like a POW recording a message.”
  • Sinclair’s defense: This is standard stuff, says Sinclair VP Scott Livingston. “Promo messages, like the one you are referring to, are very common in our industry,” he tells CNN. “This promo addresses the troubling trend of false stories on social media and distinguishes our trusted local stations as news destinations where we are committed to honest and accurate reporting.”
  • The script: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has the full transcript of the anchors’ script. “The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media,” it reads in part. “More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories … without checking facts first. Unfortunately, some members of the media are using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’ … This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.” The P-I reports that staffers at local Sinclair affiliate KOMO were upset with the order.
  • Trump defends: “So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased,” he tweeted Monday. “Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke.”
  • ‘State media’: Criticism of Sinclair took off on Twitter and sample sentiment was on display at MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday. “It’s state media, essentially,” said Jon Meacham, per Mediaite. “Shoving propaganda down local anchors’ throats,” added Joe Scarborough.

http://theantimedia.com/media-propaganda-sinclair-broadcasting

Thoughts of the day…..

May we all have a good day…..

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Is There A Natural High?

A Sunday and there is a good chance I will post something that will irritate and possibly educate…..

Ever heard the expression…….he is on a natural high?

Is it possible to get high naturally and I am not talking about ‘shrooms or weed or stuff like that….nope I am talking about a real natural high….

Well?  Is It Possible?

Even Dr Gonzo, the hell-raising Samoan attorney in Hunter S Thompson’s novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1972), wouldn’t touch ‘extract of pineal’. That stuff was the limit: ‘One whiff of that shit would turn you into something out of a goddamn medical encyclopaedia! Man, your head would swell up like a watermelon, you’d probably gain about a hundred pounds in two hours … claws, bleeding warts, then you’d notice about six huge hairy tits swelling up on your back… Man, I’ll try just about anything; but I’d never in hell touch a pineal gland.’

While Dr Gonzo avoided the pineal, others have celebrated this small, pinecone-shaped endocrine gland near the centre of the brain. Notably, the psychiatrist Rick Strassman has championed the pineal gland as a possible source of the powerful psychoactive compound DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine). Struck by the ‘blinding light of pineal DMT’, Strassman has suggested in his 2001 best-seller, DMT: The Spirit Molecule, that the mammalian pineal gland could be a gateway between life and death.

https://aeon.co/essays/could-the-brain-produce-its-own-psychedelic-compound

There you go…..and I must go and get high off my own brain power……(a beautiful thing….my brain)

Time is short and I am going to finish my day in the garden with a glass of Old Crow……chuq

A Bidet Along The Way

IST tries to be informative as well as educational….so in that vane I thought I would tackle a bathroom fixture.

There is an international restroom fixture that we Americans cannot seem to grasp….the BIDET.

What the hell is a Bidet?

Essentially, there are two types of bidets. The standalone one – it’s a washbasin that you use to clean your genitals and anal area after using the toilet, which you have to clean after and the add-ons……

We Americans usually take something then turn it into a unique form of Americanism….however the Bidet has never been embraced by Americans…..why is that exactly?

“It’s been completely Americanized!” my host declares proudly. “The bidet is gone!” In my time as a travel editor, this scenario has become common when touring improvements to hotels and resorts around the world. My heart sinks when I hear it. To me, this doesn’t feel like progress, but prejudice.

Americans seem especially baffled by these basins. Even seasoned American travelers are unsure of their purpose: One globe-trotter asked me, “Why do the bathrooms in this hotel have both toilets and urinals?” And even if they understand the bidet’s function, Americans often fail to see its appeal. Attempts to popularize the bidet in the United States have failed before, but recent efforts continue—and perhaps they might even succeed in bringing this Old World device to new backsides.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/03/the-bidets-revival/555770/

Now that I have introduced some to apiece of restroom equipment the question now is…how do I use this?

Proper use in 10 steps…..

https://www.wikihow.com/Use-a-Bidet

Your education is now complete…..you are a Jedi.

Aliens, Bigfoot, Illuminati–Oh My

Some of brethren seem to prefer to chase conspiracies and fairy tales…..and I ask to what end?  DO most Americans care if our original ancestors were here in a space ship?  Will that prove exactly what?

A while back I wrote a post on the Illuminati and I have been getting Spam ever since telling me how my life will change bu embracing the Illuminati……the BS spread kinda sounds like the crap from those Scientology freaks…..

There is TV show after TV show about some of these “challenges” to our world….aliens, Bigfoot and the Illuminati….if you listen to these people then our world is nothing but a petrie dish of “Fringe Science”……we are nothing other than an experiment by other worlders…..

Our world these days is full of conspiracy theories about this or that…..but ask yourself….do these conspiracies hold up?

I am of the view that incompetence, random error and sheer complexity explain most of the mistakes and strange events in our world, and that we shouldn’t readily jump to conspiracy theories. I’m pretty sure Neil Armstrong did walk on the moon, and still inclined to think (although not certain) that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, there is no Bigfoot and aliens have not recently visited humans on Earth.

This exercise is not merely to pile up arguments for what you believe, but also to consider how and where you might be wrong. I recently raised this question with a few friends: Which is the most underrated conspiracy theory? Even if you think conspiracy hypotheses are all likely to be false, which one is most plausible — at least relative to the probabilities assigned by the intellectual and media mainstream.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-02-19/aliens-bigfoot-illuminati-do-conspiracy-theories-stand-up

I begin my Saturday and my couple of days of rest from the silliness we call politics here in the US.

Hope you guys enjoy your weekend……..chuq

Blame A Russian

The weekend begins and I step back from politics and look at society in all its blemishes…..

I spend a lot of time reading news and stuff all over the web and I even go to the Russian state site, rt.com…..I found a great satire when flipping through their stuff…..

Nowadays the news is full of accusations on Russia from tampering to poisonings and then there is the electric grid attack……but what if you had a problem and need someone to blame…..

For the right price you can your own a Russian to blame….

I do enjoy good satire and this one is perfect for the news these days….

My day is done…..TTFN…..chuq

Bury Me Not

I begin my Sunday watching it rain like cats and dogs….(yeah I know I just stepped in a poodle)……makes for a lazy day…….my granddaughter may stop by and give me the ‘skinny’ on what’s what….

Garden update….my radishes, mixed lettuces and grapes are doing great…..lots of rain and sunshine…..citrus trees in full bloom…..peach and plum trees in bloom also…..has the makings of a good year…..

Bury me not on the lone prairie…..as the song goes……

It appears that Americans are taking the song to heart…..

Visit someone’s home nowadays and you may notice their dead loved one—on a shelf, on the floor, or wherever. “They are in my house,” says Ellen Herman, an LA ad saleswoman, of her deceased parents. “Actually, in my bedroom! In boxes, under a bunch of other shit.” That’s because more Americans are being cremated, a shift that reflects changes in our economic and emotional lives and possibly the environment, Popular Mechanics reports. Back in 1980 only 5% of Americans were cremated; now it’s 50%, partly because the Great Recession drove people away from expensive burials. The crematorium at Rosehill Cemetery in Linden, NJ, for example, is burning 25 bodies daily to keep up with demand and pauses only on Sunday. “We just need a day off,” says the cemetery’s president.

In Rosehill’s crematorium, each body is burned in a brick-lined chamber that’s heated to 1,200 degrees; a second chamber then burns off the gas and particulates before it all goes into the atmosphere. Problems do arise in the cremation business, like loved ones slipping in personal items that explode, such as cell phones or even a coconut, the Bolton News reports. Cremation’s popularity has also aroused concerns about emissions and sparked interest in a water-based post-mortem process. Mourners are encountering new emotions, from relief at avoiding a funeral to pain or comfort in taking the ashes home. Many leave the urns on cemetery grounds, but others love having them. “There is no pressure or guilt of having to visit them in a cemetery,” says a woman who took her parents’ remains home. “And they will stay with me until the end of my time.”

I will be cremated…..no need for family members feeling obligated to visit a grave site and then eventually stop altogether and you become a memory only to the grounds keepers that have to mow around your head stone….not for me.

The family can get together and have a send-off for me……a wake if you like….memories presented and a good time for all and I ask no more after that….I already have my obit written on IST held in drafts…all someone has to do is hit “post” and it is over…painless and quick…..

Crap!

You know you read some news story that makes you laugh and then consider how does someone explain the incident……well I read one of these recently……

Russian news reports say the hatch of a cargo plane carrying precious metals accidentally flew open upon takeoff—scattering at least 3 tons of gold on the runway. An investigation is underway after the incident Thursday at the airport in the far east city of Yakutsk, according to the Tass news agency. Sorry, treasure hunters: Authorities recovered 172 gold bars weighing 3.4 tons, Tass quoted Interior Ministry officials as saying, per the AP.

The An-12 plane operated by the airline Nimbus took off for Krasnoyarsk carrying 9.3 tons of gold and other precious metals, according to a statement from the state Investigative Committee quoted by Tass. Damage to a door handle caused it to fly open and spill some of the metal. No one was hurt in the incident.

The plane’s cargo ramp was somehow damaged during takeoff, causing gold to litter the runway and precious materials to rain down behind the vehicle for up to 16 miles before the plane made an emergency landing in Magan.

What the story does not touch is that diamonds were also on the load that flew out the ass end of the plane with the gold…..not all have been located…….

Okay who the Hell was flying around with that much gold?

Sounds like chump change for a Saudi prince….or maybe the pocket change for a Russian oligarch….

Speaking of a Saudi prince………

Fourteen current and former senior US officials tell NBC News that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has been hiding his mother from his father, King Salman, for more than two years. The officials say intelligence shows that Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, initially placed his mother under house arrest at a palace over concerns that she opposed the idea of the king appointing MBS crown prince and might seek to prevent him from doing so. King Salman did indeed appoint his son crown prince in June, stripping his nephew of the title; MBS was quick to consolidate power. (This week, it was reported that MBS had seized executive control of businesses linked to people he recently had arrested.) The officials say that over the past two years, MBS has kept his father from seeing his mother, using various excuses—such as claiming his mother is getting medical treatment.

The 32-year-old MBS, who revealed in a recent interview that Saudi Arabia would develop a nuclear bomb if Iran did, will be meeting with the US president next week. As NBC reports, he’ll likely be touted as “a reformer who’s expanded women’s rights” in Saudi Arabia, but the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said his treatment of his mother proves the lengths he’ll go to to ensure he is the country’s next king. US officials have also told NBC that, based on interactions with King Salman, he may not be “consistently lucid”; they say he has told those around him that he misses his third wife, but he does not appear to know where she is. The Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington denies that she is separated from her husband.

What a great son!  These are quality of people we are in bed with…..

My weekend is gonna be a quiet one….with wine and snacks….hope everyone joys their day…..chuq