19 September 2016
Update from the Heartland
12.9.16 – 18.9.16
The follow-up news items:
-- A large section of B777 flap system was discovered on Pemba Island, off the coast of Tanzania, and was clearly identified by part and serial numbers as belonging to the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (8.March.2014) [638, 691, 711, 716]. The images I saw of the new MH370 part found show comparatively little distress or damage. The mounting physical evidence continues to point to a low speed, low energy, water impact, which in turn suggests the event was carried out by a skilled pilot in a controlled ditching, i.e., an intentional and deliberate act. I doubt anyone else other than the pilot at the controls of that aircraft was alive at the end. If this hypothesis is correct, it was clearly planned to generate as much cost as possible, and create as much uncertainty and lack of confidence in the international aviation system as possible. Whether it was a terrorism attack, we may never know, since to public knowledge, no political motivation has been attributed to the incident.
The Republican nominee is a salesman – first, foremost and always. As the colloquialism goes, he can sell ice to the Eskimos. My father saw salesman as the highest calling and most revered profession. I do not share his opinion . . . probably because I never shared his opinion. Performing the task of sales has always felt like putting my hand in another person’s pocket – a disgusting process to me.
The latest example was the obscene effort by the Republican nominee to claim the “Birther” movement was created by Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential campaign and he – the heroic agent of right and good – put an end to the nonsense. The sad reality is, there will be far too many American citizens who will actually believe his sales pitch, since it plays to their ill-informed preconceptions. The reality is, the Republican nominee has been and remains the most prominent spokesman of the “Birther” movement, and his latest statement is nothing beyond deeply cynical hypocrisy.
Every professional military person knows, almost as an axiom, that any successful defense must be a defense in depth – a single line, e.g., a wall – cannot and will not ever be successful. Another near axiom: there is no such thing as a perfect system, thus the need for a multi-layered, defense in depth. The insistence upon border security first before immigration reform defies logic, reason and any semblance of wanting to find a solution. The reality is, there will be no improvement to the abysmal illegal alien situation until Congress produces better, more comprehensive laws AND provides the funding for the necessary enforcement of the new laws. While I acknowledge the reflection of the failure of Congress to properly address immigration control represented in sanctuary cities, the notion and very basis of sanctuary cities cannot be accepted or tolerated. Unless we intend to make the President a dictator and pass our version of the Enabling Act of 1933, the problems we face with border security and immigration control cannot and will not be solved by the Executive Branch. The task belongs squarely with Congress – the Legislative Branch. Lastly, the root cause of illegal alien entry to this Grand Republic is far more complex than we appear to be willing to recognize, and we will never find solutions until we recognize the root causes of illegal alien entry.
An un-attributed poster stated:
509 citizens have been killed by cops this year.
484 were male 25 female.
238 were white 123 were black.
420 had known weapons, the rest unknown.
More than half were mentally ill or on drugs.
Almost all had prior criminal records.
We don’t have a race problem or a cop problem.
We have a MEDIA problem, a drug problem, a mental illness problem and an entitled welfare state breeding thugs problem.
I have no idea whether these are precise, factual statements, or even what timeframe “this year” refers to in the statement. Nonetheless, I do believe the sentiment conveyed by the poster is accurate and spot on. We need to deal with the root cause(s) of our societal issues rather than resort to emotional, knee-jerk actions that may make us feel good but have no prayer of dealing with the root cause of the problems. Of all the video clips of police-involved firearm shootings I have seen in the last few years, far too many (a definite majority) have involved belligerent individuals defying police, resisting arrest and doing provocative (threatening) things. Are there bad cops who exhibit racist conduct and shoot (often fatally) unarmed citizens? Yes, absolutely! Let us deal with those bad cops rather than condemn all police, who are simply doing their job to the best of their ability. Everyone, including police officers, can improve and be more respectful of each other, but alienating police from the communities they serve will NEVER be a successful or worthy endeavor. Emasculating law enforcement cannot be the answer, either.
News from the economic front:
-- The U.S. Census Bureau reported the median annual household income increased in 2015 by 5.2%, after adjusting for inflation, or US$2,800 to US$56,500 – the first increase for family households in eight years. The rise still leaves household incomes about 1.6% below the 2007 level, before the Great Recession of 2008.
-- The Bank of England held its benchmark rate steady, and suggested that the central bank may make further cuts later this year, if the U.K. economy continues to weaken. The bank’s Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to maintain the benchmark rate at 0.25%, after cutting it from 0.5% last month.
-- The Wall Street Journal reported that the board of the Bank of Japan is split regarding the path forward for the central bank in its 3½-year struggle to stimulate the country's sagging economy. The WSJ also indicated there is mounting unease in the central banking world, where years of easy monetary policy have failed to achieve goals in Europe as well as Japan, and the U.S. Federal Reserve is fretting with how and when to follow through on a long-advertised tightening.
Comments and contributions from Update no.769:
“To quote one of my favorites, ‘There you go again,’ (delivered with that head tilting nod and smile that Reagan was famous for): You cannot resist advancing one of the insults of Mr. Trump that the left wing press has carried on loyally for the Clintons. For you to remind us with ‘Can anyone imagine Winston Churchill singing the praises of Adolf Hitler?’ is worthy of the best of Clintonian advisers, which I know you are not among. I must respond with my own reminder: Trump is not a polished politician but a bombastic and tough deal maker accustomed to being himself and saying what he thinks without vetting the words for future political impact, and unfortunately he has not allowed himself the luxury of smart enough speech writers to dampen his careless tongue. He did not receive the polish in British manners or education in international politics that Churchill had, is not as prepared for political leadership, and is nowhere near the statesman. That said, Trump's other leadership traits and personal convictions are strong, and he is not as stupid as he sometimes seems in his tweets, as he foolishly tries to do the modern thing on social media. What he admires in Putin is the way the man exercises his own convictions in his own way against the tide, leadership qualities unfortunately in Vladimir's case bolstering international expansionistic threats admittedly characteristic of Hitler. I have never heard Trump express admiration for Putin's agenda or his dictatorial successes themselves. Yes, Trump should never have used the word ‘admire’ if he indeed used it referring to Putin, because that word carries a connotation that extends to all Putin's intentions, and detractors jump on it predictably. Wait, wait, I know you are wiser than that and truly sense a danger in Trump's daring to express any compliment for Vladimir Putin, but I for one am not concerned. Did say he admired Hitler? No. I continue to weigh the alternative to The Donald and find her far more dangerous for far more far reaching reasons, at least so far. We will never, at least in time for the election, learn the whole story about Hillary's latest extensive treachery, but how can you seriously want someone with her consistently selfish ambitions and socialistic views to be president?”
What am I going to do? Please, my opinion is not part of some mythical, vast, left wing conspiracy to thwart the will of the people. My opinion was NOT driven by any media coverage. I heard his words live from his mouth – no filter, no decoder ring, no interpretation, just his words. No, he did not say he admired Hitler . . . the German dictator is not alive to flatter the Republican nominee or feed his ego . . . only one of the contemporary variety of dictators.
Re: “extensive treachery.” Really?
Re: Clinton. I have no idea why you assume my vote is going to Clinton, but you are entitled to believe as you wish.
“Not just Der Führer, but Il Duce. Mussolini promised to make the trains run on time. There actually are similarities between the R nominee and Benito - check the Pathe films and you tube videos.
“There is a reason he [Trump] was called ‘the Manhatten Mussolini.’”
Indeed! There are similarities between all of the dictators of that era, including Uncle Joe (as Churchill and Roosevelt called him), although we rarely classify Stalin as fascist, since he was communist, but the similarities are there, nonetheless. I suppose Il Duce is a better example, since to my knowledge, the Republican nominee has not killed or ordered killed anyone (yet). While Mussolini could not meet that simple threshold, he was the least of the three from that era.
My very best wishes to all. Take care of yourselves and each other.