25 July 2016

Update no.762

Update from the Heartland
No.762
18.7.16 – 24.7.16
To all,

            We had a rather historic event out here on the Great Plains of Kansas a week ago.  A restored Boeing B-29 Superfortress named ‘Doc’ flew for the first time in 60 years this week in Wichita, Kansas, after 16 years of restoration effort.
B-29 Superfortress ‘Doc’
Image credit: Brett Schauf (Visual Media Group) for Doc’s Friends
The whole restoration effort has been extraordinary in so many ways from recovery of the remnants of the aircraft from the bone yard to air under the wheels.  They have more work to complete the return to full flight status.  The team expects to maintain the aircraft as a flying time capsule to a day gone bye.

            We also had another dramatic engineering achievement this week, when SpaceX completed another successful Falcon 9 launch, shortly after midnight, and then nailed another first stage booster return landing near the launch site.  Well done!
SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Arc & 1st Stage Booster Return
Image credit: Michael Seeley
Impressive all the way around!  SpaceX is making this complex and difficult task appear almost routine, as they should.

            The follow-up news items:
-- We also had a flurry of related news this week regarding the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 investigation [638, 691, 711, 716].  The Australian search team announced they are near the end of their sea floor search in the effort to find the remains of the aircraft, after the aircraft disappeared on 8.March.2014.
“Search For Malaysian MH370 Aircraft To Be Suspended – The plane, with 239 aboard, disappeared in March 2014”
by Rozanna Latiff – Reuters
Huffington Post
Published: 07/22/2016 04:38 am 04:38:31
Numerous bits and pieces loosely linked back to MH370 have turned up at various sites on the east coast of Africa.  While few of the parts have had definitive part and serial numbers to unequivocally link the bits back to MH370.  The characteristics of the fragments are tantalizingly similar.  The Indian Ocean current drift models add circumstantial evidence to suggest the fragments are from MH370, derived from facts we do have.  Further, for reasons not specified, the FBI’s analysis of the pilot’s computer simulator hard drive reportedly contained elements of a rehearsed route quite similar to the documented evidence of the aircraft’s track that night.  Perhaps this flurry of information is intended to encourage extension of the sea floor search.

            So it is, so it shall be . . . iacta alea est (the die is cast).  Caesar has crossed the River Rubicon.  The coronation is complete.  The Republican presumptive nominee has now become the Republican Party nominee and candidate.  Another step has been taken in the process of filling out the dance card for the fall election.  The next step occurs next week, and the last one in the following week after that.
            I struggled with how to express my opinion regarding his acceptance speech and the spectacle of this week’s events in Cleveland, Ohio.  I made several attempts to capture my impressions, but ultimately I erased them all.  One sentence in all the words coming from the Republican National Convention seems to summarize my opinion quite well – “I alone can fix it.” (Donald John Trump; Thursday, 21.July.2016)  Those five words gave me a chill quite akin to another dictator, who flourished 80 years ago.
            At the end of the day, I only offer a contrasting historical comparison.  Take the doom and gloom, very dark image painted by the Republican nominee with another man thrust into a truly, far darker, more ominous situation on 10.May.1940.  I urge you to listen to the two speeches back to back, several times, if you will.  I believe you will see my point.
Donald John Trump, 21.July.2016:
Sir Winston Spencer Churchill, 13.May.1940:
            The term “America First” appeared numerous times in his speech.  It is not a novel or new term.  A group known as “America First” appeared in 1939, with the genuine and adamant objective of American isolationism.  So, when I hear the Republican nominee spout “America First,” I immediately image on the isolationist movement in the United States that tried desperately to convince Americans to ignore reality.
            The Republican nominee declared the Republican National Convention was the most “love-filled convention” in history.  Yet, his speech was the most negative, doom & gloom speech I have heard in a long time, perhaps in my entire lifetime.  One more validation that we all need a decoder-ring to translate whatever language he is using.  He seems to use English, but his meaning is monumentally different from my understanding of what the words he chooses actually mean.
            I will say in conclusion that Ivanka Marie Trump, second child and oldest daughter of The Donald and his first of three wives, Ivana, offered an exceptional introductory speech for her father.  She sounded more like a Democratic Party candidate than a Republican scion, but she was poised, polished and metered in her delivery.  Well done, Ivanka.

            I have railed against the Republican nominee for many of his statements during the primary phase of this silly season.  One in particular continues to haunt me: “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters.”    Yet, I am left with the nagging question, what is the difference between the Republican nominee and the Democratic presumptive nominee?  She thumbed her nose at We, the People; the security of this Grand Republic; and, to decent, law-abiding citizens when she unilaterally decided her eMail convenience was far more important than the law, than commonsense, than basic logic and reasoning.  People who ‘GAF-off’ her terrible decision simply do not understand the necessity to protect classified material, and the reality that her words alone (unmarked) as Secretary of State were by definition classified.  Further, when she decided to mix her personal and professional eMail messages, she truly and properly forfeited her right to privacy in her communications.  FBI Director Comey was excessively lenient with his recommendation, when he declared her actions were “extremely careless” [760].  Careless, indeed!  Her thumbing her nose at us is no different from Trump’s horrific statement.  And, as I have previously stated, her tragically lame excuse that her eMails were not “marked” classified is an out-right insult to all of us who have served this Grand Republic and done our part to protect classified material, but actually her excuse is a blatant offense to ALL of We, the People.  So, to answer my question, there is NO difference; they are both arrogant, narcissistic, self-centered, disrespectful ‘ass-holes,’ and I do not say that in a positive manner, meaning no disrespect to the noble anus.

            The new mobile application Pokémon Go . . . a new and quite effective means to cull the herd.

            The Democratic presumptive nominee chose Senator Timothy Michael ‘Tim’ Kaine of Virginia, 58, to be her running mate – a refreshing change, actually.  He publicly stated he personally was against abortion and the death penalty, and yet professionally he supported a woman’s right to choose and would defend the law as it is.  I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with anyone making moral choices for themselves or their families.  Where my objection springs full throat occurs when someone seeks to impose their moral choices, values, beliefs on me or anyone else. 

            By the way, I must say the Democratic presumptive nominee’s recent political advertisement with the children watching video clips of the Republican candidate delivering some of his more disgusting remarks during the primary phase of this silly season is perhaps the most effective political commercial I have ever seen.  The commercial captures my perspective precisely.  Our children are watching.

            News from the economic front:
-- The European Central Bank (ECB) decided to hold all of its interest rates unchanged and indicated they anticipate key interest rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time.  ECB President Mario Draghi voiced concerns about assessing the impact on growth prospects for the European Union after the Brexit vote [758].  The ECB also stated their monthly €80B (US$88B) bond-purchase program would run at least until March 2017, or beyond if necessary to achieve its inflation goal.

            Comments and contributions from Update no.761:
“You say below that Trump is morally unfit ... in a statement about Pence you say he IMPOSES his moral values ... which "morals" do you actually find acceptable Cap ..  would like to know !!??.. Will be fun when you no longer use the term presumptive nominee!”
My reply:
            Good Q actually.  I shall answer your query this way.
            First, since the Republican presumptive nominee is the central topic, I shall say I place a lot of weight on humility.  I can see no evidence he even has a clue what the word means, set aside displaying even a smidgen of humility in his public life.  But, hey, that’s just me.
            Now, in this instance [Update no.761], the moral choice I find paramount is respect for others.  Morality is what guides our lives . . . when no one is watching.  ‘Mike’ Pence clearly believes to his core that it is his moral responsibility to impose his moral values on every citizen; that is bad enough for residents of Indiana, but he has been chosen to be a candidate for vice president of the United States.  That makes his politics, his conduct, important to me, to all of us.  I respect his absolute right to make moral choices for himself.  He has absolutely no right to disrespect my moral choices or yours.  His mentality, and he is not alone, is exactly what brought us the insanity and violation of our fundamental rights in the so-called war on drugs, abstinence only, the death by a thousand cuts efforts to erode a woman’s fundamental right to choose what she does with her body, and the myriad of other morality laws that have no place in a free society.  I could go on, but this shall have to suffice for now.
            Re: presumptive nominee.  The day of your fun is just a few days away.  He shall soon be the Republican candidate.  And, if he is elected in November, his title will change to President Trump, and I shall do my level best to respect the office he may be elected to hold.  Likewise, as I have done with every president, I shall praise what I think he does correctly and criticize what I think he does wrong.
 . . . a follow-up comment:
“Something deep inside tells me you will have more praise than criticism!!”
 . . . my follow-up reply:
            For the sake of this Grand Republic, I hope you are correct.

Comment to the Blog:
“The Nice attack provides another twist on the terrorist concept. Nobody will be banning trucks. That would bring society to a halt. Next move?
“I will forgive Justice Ginsburg for her comments on Donald Trump. It's difficult for most sane people to avoid criticizing him.
“Note on U.S. politics: I just watched a CBS segment where Frank Luntz (prominent pollster known for working for the Republicans) conducted a large focus group. Mr. Trump was not popular, but neither was Senator Clinton. Luntz got a nearly unanimous agreement to the notion that people do not want to vote for ‘the lesser of two evils,’ combined with the factor that neither candidate is addressing the concerns of ordinary people.
“I see this as an opportunity for the Green Party and for the Libertarians. Either of them can capitalize on Americans' understanding that our political system has gone wrong. Unlike in past centuries, life can change very quickly due to the Internet. (Think Pokémon Go, the game that came out less than a week ago and is already a cultural phenomenon.) The speed of communication has risen dramatically with shrunken costs and easier targeting of particular voter groups, as demonstrated by Bernie Sanders and by Mr. Trump himself. (Trump's campaign runs largely on crass, racist, but attention-getting Twitter messages.) If (presumably) Gary Johnson for the Libertarians or Dr. Jill Stein of the Greens can raise enough funds quickly enough by using Sanders' methods for a campaigns centered on Internet messages, things could get very interesting very quickly.”
 . . . my response to the Blog:
            Re: Nice.  Indeed, and there will be many more moves before this is over.  They are attacking the most basic elements of western civilization: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of movement, freedom of religion, and freedom to live our lives by the choices we make.  The war goes on!
            Re: Ginsburg.  She proved herself a far bigger person than the Republican presumptive nominee, but that is not a revelation.
            Re: U.S. politics.  Good observations . . . respectfully, I think the Democratic presumptive nominee is closer to the “concerns of ordinary people” than the Republican presumptive nominee will ever be.  But hey, that’s just me.
            Re: communications & politics.  Equally good observations.  The broad, general dissatisfaction within the population makes this election quite unpredictable, and yes, the opening for the Libertarian and Green candidates is quite real.  The primary question is, can they get their message to enough people?  Although the Republican presumptive nominee will become the Republican candidate this week and the Democratic presumptive nominee will become the Democratic candidate next week, the only actual candidate today is Gary Johnson for the Libertarian Party.
            We shall see.
 . . . follow-up comment:
“If Trump is the Republican nominee, that opens a gap someone could drive a truck through. Trump has his loyalists, but a solid majority of Americans are horrified by him. I have been reading an Associated Press story via CTV (Canadian TV) about Dr. Stein. She made the most of it when Bernie Sanders gave up and said he ‘supports’ Senator Clinton. (Sanders still has a campaign, to be really correct.) I've never been sure Trump actually wanted to be President, but I'm sure he's destroying the Republican Party. This could wind up being between the Democrats and the Green Party.”
URL for referenced article:
“Who's Jill Stein? Googlers are asking, and the answer is: Clinton's new problem”
by Alexander Panetta
Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 6:51PM EDT
 . . . my follow-up response:
           May very well be.  I am a long way from that point at the moment.  Yet, I will confess, both Johnson and Stein appear better on multiple levels than either the Democrat or Republican presumptive nominees.

Another contribution:
“Re the ‘Notorious RBG’s’ comments – true she shouldn’t have made the comments, and she later said as much.  But amazingly, USSC justices aren’t bound by the same rules as other judges.  That said, they should be measured in public and semi-public comments, as well as actions.  But that ship left the pier a long time ago.  Justice Scalia had gone on hunting trips with Cheney when cases were in the hopper that should have caused him not to go on a social outing with Cheney. Alioto has made comments at events that were as a bad or worse.  And Thomas’ wife is very involved politically, notably in some cases that should require him to at least recuse himself.  In the 1880’s, a USSC judge ran for president without resigning…he lost of course.”
My reply:
            Good points and observations.  Sad that it is true . . . that the rules apply to everyone except the folks at the top.
            Actually, Charles Evan Hughes – 1916; I do believe.

One last contribution for this week’s edition:
“Unless since I was on the bench there has been a change in the judicial code of conduct, almost uniform from state to state on the subject and presumably applicable to her, I believe Ginsburg has not only violated ‘an unwritten principle of judicial conduct’ but specific written prohibitions against publicly expressing an opinion on a pending political matter.  However, I accept her expression of human contrition with the understanding that she should hereafter recuse herself from all matters involving conservative vs. liberal issues.  Nahhh, just kidding.”
My response:
            LOL.  As pointed out by another contributor, apparently the judicial code of conduct does not apply to Supreme Court justices.
            She made a mistake.  She professed her regret.  We move on.

            My very best wishes to all.  Take care of yourselves and each other.
Cheers,
Cap                 :-)