16 October 2017

Update no.824

Update from the Heartland
9.10.17 – 15.10.17

            To all,
            The follow-up news items:
-- After the Catalonia secession referendum vote in Spain [822], Catalan President Carles Puigdemont told the regional parliament that support for independence had earned Catalonia the right to become a separate state, although he stepped back from a declaration of independence from Spain.  The initiative evolving in Catalonia is equivalent to Texas seceding from this Grand Republic.  It is also quite akin to not liking an umpire’s call and taking your ball and bat home.  I do not see this effort as positive for Spain or Catalonia, but hey that’s just me and I do not matter a hoot.
-- The fellow in the Oval Office signed another executive order (seems to be a very popular instrument for him, despite his vociferous condemnation of his predecessor for exactly the same thing—hypocrisy perhaps) ending federal subsidy funds to insurers under the PPACA [432 et al].  The subsidy funds partially covered health insurance for low-income citizens.  Will this action reduce federal expenditures?  Yes.  Will it reduce premiums for middle-class citizens?  Not likely, but possible.  Heck, the President’s callous reaction will not affect my health insurance one little twit, so why should we care?  . . . because we should have compassion for our fellow citizens regardless of their success in life.  IMHO, the uncertainty in the health care insurance market place will increase premiums for most folks not in government programs (like me) due to the serious lack of stability, consistency and predictability of their risks.  The President’s action was wrong and quite indicative of the dysfunction in our government.  I am afraid the health care situation is going to get dreadfully worse, before we have any hope of improvement.
-- President Trump refused to certify that Iran is complying with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (AKA Iran deal or Iran nuclear deal) [623, 624, 694, 709, 717] despite the fact that everyone short of the President has publicly stated that the IRI has been and remains in technical compliance with the agreement.  The President’s action pushes the agreement back to Congress for action.  It is difficult to see or understand what exactly the President is trying to do; however, it appears it is just one more anti-anything-Obama convulsive action.  According to a public statement by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the USG has two key areas of disagreement with the current plan: 1.) the IRI's ballistic missile program, and 2.) “sunset clauses” in the original plan that allow restrictions to expire at various times.  Like so many of “his” actions, this is a petulant and inappropriate unilateral response to a multi-national international agreement that is quite likely to be equivalent to cutting off his nose to spite his face.  This is also a roll of the dice by POTUS; he could just as easily lose as win—helluva gamble.  One of the myriad problems with his petulant gamble is, when he loses, most likely American citizens and other innocent people will die.  We shall see how his gamble plays out.

            The list of male sexual predators using their positions and power to impose upon females from sexual assault to outright rape continues to grow.  Cinema producer Harvey Weinstein is simply the latest publicly-out’ed version.  The list is long and I am certain it is not all-inclusive and will continue to grow—Roman Polanski, Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Roger Ailes, Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly, Jerry Sandusky, Dennis Hastert, et al.  These men were or are obsessed with their power and do not respect women (or in the case of the last two cited examples, young boys).  I could open up the list to include female and male children to encompass Catholic priests around the world and other clergy, but my listing above should be sufficient for this topic.  It is a modern day version of the divine right of kings, i.e., the king can do no wrong; and therefore, they feel entitled to impose their selfish, egocentric, misogynistic actions on females not likely to resist their authority.  One of these days, one of these predators will go to jail and serve their penance for their abuse of power and egregious transgressions.  Their conduct is all about disrespecting the rights and autonomy of another human being.  They feel they are better, more entitled to do as they wish, without regard to anyone else.  The bottom line remains, if they had respect for other people, they would not do what they do.  Sadly, the only ones to serve any punishment for their crimes were Sandusky and Hastert.  The rest of them should be punished for their transgressions.  Avoiding such charges and condemnation is easy and simple: respect all people as equals, regardless of wealth, position, or the social factors.  Full stop!

            Comments and contributions from Update no.823:
Comment to the Blog:
“You have given what I believe is the clearest and most coherent suggestion of what firearms should be regulated that I can ever recall seeing.  I'm in complete agreement with that idea.
“However, I believe we can and should regulate the number of firearms a given person owns.  Above a certain number (somewhere between 5 and 10), we need to further regulate the owner as a ‘collector’ or ‘museum’ and make those regulations stringent enough so that the rest of us are relatively safe.  Australia, historically a nation of rugged individualists, has achieved quite a bit more than that based on a single horrific incident.  We can, too, if those who finance politicians to prevent it can be set aside.”
My response to the Blog:
            Thank you very much.  It is gratifying to know that I can get it correct on occasion.
            Re: “I believe we can and should regulate the number of firearms a given person owns.”  I’m not so sure about that one.  I would really need to see the words and more importantly the means of enforcement before I could support such a restriction.  There are more than a few nations that seriously restrict or prohibit firearm ownership.  I am just not sure how such restrictions might be implemented and enforced.

Another contribution:
“I hope your contributor continues to do so.
“We have had Hillary Clinton on our television this evening-most enlightening.  She was asked if she thought the current person in the job was suitable-you can guess the answer.  She was also wished, in Welsh, for better results in 2020!  I was quite impressed by her caring and thoughtful attitude.
"Things are getting busy here with remembrance looming- school visits, unrehearsed of course with questions. This year I’m going to hit them with some science on what makes an aircraft fly.  Mr. Newton may well come into it when I demonstrate the 3rd law.  It’s never easy to talk about war and death to youngsters, especially the very young.  Fortunately one session will be with the 6th formers, I can and will lay it on for them.  One problem is the loss of our WW2 veterans and war veterans in general.  We’ve lost our Malian war veteran this year.  My God, he went through it.  He was also one of the guards at Spandau guarding Rudolf Hess.  What an incredible career-he also became a guard at Buckingham Palace.  Why I didn’t take him to one side and write down his story I’ll never know.  Cap, we must record this era.
“Of course the Poppy Appeal kicks off too-so there’s plenty to do but that’s what we’re here for.
“We will remember them at two local church services and when the youngsters lay crosses that they have named at the war memorials.  That is moving.”
My reply:
            I hope s/he continues to contribute as well.  So far so good.
            I doubt Hillary will run again in 2020; but, we never know . . . still three years away.  She barely got through the last one.  She is a polished and an accomplished politician . . . unlike the current occupant of the Oval Office.
            Yes, indeed, it is that time of year.  Remembrance Day only a few weeks away.  Wow, a guard at Spandau . . . and of Hess . . . I’ll bet he had some interesting stories to tell.  I’m trying to do my part at least for WW2, Korea & Vietnam . . . a labor of love, respect and tribute.
            Good luck with your annual Poppy Appeal.  May God bless their immortal souls.

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