This, That, and Other Things

Just a few thoughts/questions that recently came to mind …

Does anyone else think the U.S. should offer fire-fighting assistance to Australia in the wake of the terrible wildfires that are literally destroying parts of that country?

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I’m not at all versed in the financial end of politics; however, Keith and Scottie recently had a brief conversation related to government economics. I found the following comment by Keith a learning moment.

Obama did not reduce the debt and Clinton only impacted it in a small way for a short time. BUT, they did reduce the annual deficit, the annual accounting of revenue and expenses. In fact, Clinton handed a small surplus budget to Bush which was a huge statement of accomplishment. Bush then gave it a way with an ill-advised tax cut which his Secretary of the Treasury argued against doing and was fired. Obama’s reduction in the deficit was largely due to the sequestration due to the impasse on the debt ceiling. They put something in place in case no deal could be reached. No deal was reached and cuts were made.

While all of this was going on, the debt continued to climb. So, yes Clinton made huge strides to reduce the deficit. Obama made some strides, but could have done more. What should be noted about Clinton’s changes is more jobs were created under his watch than any other president by far. Yet, it is clear, both Bush and Trump have done very little to impact the deficit and debt. 

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Does anyone else agree that there will be some notable repercussions (possibly within our borders) from the recent killing of Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds military force and one of the most powerful figures in the Islamic Republic?

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Why is it OK for Christians to try and pass laws to prevent abortion (which is a woman’s liberty) but they get very angry when they feel their “religious liberties” are being threatened?

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P.S. Comments are also open to discuss issues that you may be wondering about. 🙂

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

29 thoughts on “This, That, and Other Things

  1. Does anyone else think the U.S. should offer fire-fighting assistance to Australia in the wake of the terrible wildfires that are literally destroying parts of that country?

    With Trump in charge, he would probably send rakes. </sarcasm>

    Does anyone else agree that there will be some notable repercussions (possibly within our borders) from the recent killing of Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds military force and one of the most powerful figures in the Islamic Republic?

    That is certainly a big concern.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. We should send everything we’ve got to help Australia. Should this even be debatable? We send 38 billion a year to Israel. What would a billion in FF aid hurt? What, about $3 each?

    Liked by 5 people

  3. “Does anyone else agree that there will be some notable repercussions (possibly within our borders) from the recent killing of Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds military force and one of the most powerful figures in the Islamic Republic?”

    Pfff… If Iran had murdered a high ranking US general leading operations in foreign countries and several soldiers by a missile strike on Baghdad international civillian airport, the entire world would have already condemned it as an obvious terror attack. Let us face it. It was a terror attack and an assasination.

    The best even US opposition could muster, seems to be that Joe Biden said that Soleimani deserved to be brought to justice and then questioned wether the administration now has a strategy to keep US troops and interrests safe. What are those interrests, that somehow justify assasination? What was the “justice”, Soleimani was brought to? He most propably never even knew what hit him, or that he was hit in the first place. I would say he made a perfect escape from any form of justice.The US is once again marshalling it’s power completely regardless of international law and agreements. This will have more far reaching reprecussions, than mere revenge attacks by Iran, as it is totally immoral.

    The situation is after all created by the US. Iran has grown it’s international and regional influence as a direct result of US disposing Saddam in Iraq and the Taleban in Afghanistan, because as a result Iraqi shias rose to power and are both religiously and politically affiliated with Iran. USA declared that the Quds are a terrorist organization, but I bet the Iranians have declared the US troops in Near-East terrorist organization just as well. Both are right as long as both use terror tactics.

    Trump is a typical populist in that he tries to influence the most ignorant part of voters. That is the group wich can always be played by appeals to patriotism, nationalism, xenophobia and religious authority. How much of the hatred and distrust between Iran and the US is a direct result of Israel having waged a long war against the Lebanese Shiate organization Hizbollah? Israeli conservative politicians using the fear such enemies generates, even to the degree of no matter how racist, or corrupt the conservative regime of Israel is, their promise to protect the nation from enemies they have created themselves keeps them in power. US Evangelicals agreeing with every overt agression the Israelis commit because Israel ruling over the Middle-East fulfils some vague Biblical prophesies of second coming (end of the world). Trump may not be a religious nutter, but he certainly feeds his politics by appealing to the religious nutters and is influenced by ethnoreligous fanatics, like his son-in-law.

    One might argue, that the US is almost at war with Iran because Iran is an authoritarian and undemocratic nation, that interferes with military force in the affairs of other nations to further their own interrests and has made some condemnable comments about the state of Israel, but this is clearly not the reason, because the US has no argument with Saudi-Arabia wich has engaged in all the abowe. Apart from threatening Israel, one could say all the same about the US itself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rautakyy — I’m actually a bit surprised that no one has “liked” your comment … or added their thoughts. I’m definitely not versed in this type of stuff, but I felt what you wrote made sense.

      A couple of your remarks stood out to me:

      (1) When you commented that had it been turned around, that is if a similar killing had occurred on U.S. soil, we (the U.S.) would have immediately considered it a terrorist act and gone ballistic. Yet from our side this action was, as “Pompous” put it, “in response to an ‘imminent attack.'” It seems to me it’s far more likely to create an attack … on the U.S.!

      (2) You also mention how the U.S. is marshaling it’s power completely regardless of international law and agreements. I know the U.S. has been on the receiving end of some attacks and many of our U.S. service people have been killed by “enemy” forces. But bottom line, this action was clearly designed to deflect attention from the Trump impeachment proceedings.

      I came across an article that addresses some of these issues.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for the link to the article.

        Now, about the reaction to the “killing” of the Iranian general, what I meant that regardless of where it happened, and it did happened in Iraq a nother sovereign country, the worldwide reaction of both the press and politicians is that this was a “killing”, not an assasination or an act of terrorism, but somehow I doubt that if it had been the Iranians “killing” an American general, it would have been condemned as terrorism from the outset around the globe by everyone – exept perhaps the Iranians.

        Iran is the strongest country in the region, even though much of their military equipment may be outdated, because of embargoes, but in an actual war that makes little difference nor in a war of terrortactics. The military industry tries to sell us this notion, that more advanced weapons could make a nation safe so that we would buy the most expensive shit they produce. Yet the Zulus totally defeated the British in couple of battles with spears against rifles, cannons, rockets and even machine guns, though at great costs. The Iranians come from a culture of martyrs. They simply love their martyrs and Suleimani has just joined that group. His personal agenda has become that of a martyr. Even though it was the agenda of the Iranian government, let us hope that this has not made it the agenda of the nation.

        Let us hope, that the leadership of Iran feels they sit on firm seats, because if they do not, they may feel the need to escalate the level of violence just to keep face. Trump obviously acted out of feelings of insecurity, as so often the people who retort to violence do. But if they are not challenged, they may submit to illusions of superiority and I fear Trump is already the sort of person who is so insecure that he spends hours to assure himself of his own and his nations superiority. I wonder is that why he is so popular? That a lot of insecure people can relate to his pompous expulsion of his own insecurity?

        What I meant by far reaching reprecussions is that this sets once again an example of the US using these underhanded methods. I guess that is the purpose of the current US administration. To send a message, that they are ready to play dirty and to force their opponents into submission. But the reprecussions have already started. Iraqi parliament has asked their government to force the US troops out of Iraq. Now, everybody knows that the US troops were not exactly invited to Iraq, and as long as they have been there as an agreement with the Iraqi government the situation has remained more or less satus quo. Now if the Iraqi government asks them to leave and the US refuses to withdraw them, they are going to be seen there more and more as an invasion force holding an occupation. Wether if the US troops are driven, leave or remain in Iraq, Suleimanis cause to make them unpopular and lose control over the country has won.

        The US government has already threatened to sanction embargoes on Iraq if they ask the US troops to leave. This is not an act of a friendly nation, whose troops are there to ensure safety of a friendly nation, but exactly like an act of a colonial master. What was it that made the United States of America to drive the British troops out from their soil? Has the attack on the US embassy at Baghdad become the “Boston teaparty” of the Iraqis, because of how the US seems to have reacted to it?

        This sets once again a really bad example on the strong of the world. How can the US condemn Russia, China or Iran using political assasination as a method of foreign policy if they engage in it themselves? What about terrortactics, like blowing up people in civillian airports on some other sovereign country? How would the US have reacted if Russia would have made a political assasination on US soil of some enemy the Russians consider dangerous, like for example an Ukranian general visiting the US to buy weapons by a drone attack on some civillian US airport? The Russians are far too clever to do this, but obviously Trump and his government is not.

        This is not just about the safety of US citizens home or abroad. This is a global problem. The entire world has become a little less safe and the potential for war and terrorism has grown everywhere. That means funds moved from social benefits, healthcare, justice department, firefighters, education and all of the good things in human life to the very small group of military industry owners. Not just in the US, but around the globe, because other powerfull countries are just a bit more likely to use violence to achieve their goals and everybody is a bit more ready to put money to ensure violence from such violence.

        Violence is justified as self defence and in defence of others, but even though it might be a popular view in the US, that this assasination was an act of self defece, I bet it did not present itself as that to most of the people in the Near- and Middle-East.

        Sorry that the comment is so long and I stil feel like I just scratched the surface.

        Liked by 1 person

        • No apology necessary. I appreciate your thoughts and views — especially coming from someone who is seeing all this *crap* from another country.

          We in the U.S. have obviously formed opinions about the (stupid) action of our president, but I don’t think very many truly understand the “big picture.” Especially his supporters. It all goes back to MAGA and for them, this is just one more step in that direction. They have little to no clue of how his actions have affected other nations and people. Nor do they care.

          And of course, as many have already put forth, Trump had to do something to deter attention from the impeachment action. Naturally many of us agree this was a piss-poor way to do it. 🙁

          Like

  4. Of course we should help Australia and yes it’s quite likely there will be retaliation, but it might be awhile.

    And Christians have no business trying to force their personal religious beliefs on the rest of society.

    Speaking of Australia…have you heard how similar their PM is to trump? He is a fan of trump, denies climate change and is an evangelical….
    So it’s not just the US who elected an ignorant man…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dead right Mary, Morrison is a “yes Mr Trump” man, he denies global temperature changes have anything to do with fires even though every fire service in Australia disagrees with him, he went on holiday while the country burned and is a religious nut job expecting his god to sort it out. He is considering a religious freedom law that gives these god worshipers extra rights to enable them to discriminate.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. It’s quite likely Iran will retaliate for the assassination of Soleimânî. Other elements in Iraq might also do so. The Iranian special forces Soleimânî commanded played a substantial role in defeating Dâ’ish (ISIL) and protecting Iraq’s Shiites and Kurds against the murderous Saddamist/Sunni dead-enders and fanatics. I imagine he was quite popular.

    I think retaliation within the US is unlikely. That would represent a huge escalation. Even Trump didn’t strike at Iranian forces within Iranian territory. I suppose it’s possible since the Iranian government is not unified and there are hot-headed elements, but I don’t expect it. Assassination of a high-level US commander in Iraq, or attacks on US troops in Iraq or US facilities in Saudi Arabia, seem more likely to me.

    It needs to be said that Soleimânî was a high-ranking officer and thus a legitimate military target under the circumstances (after Iranian-backed groups had attacked the US embassy). However, we and Iran wouldn’t be in this confrontation in the first place if Trump hadn’t unilaterally trashed the nuclear agreement with Iran. Ultimately the whole situation is his fault. It seems likely that he’s spooked by impeachment and bad polling in advance of the election, and is trying to whip up a conflict with Iran (not necessarily a war, but increased tensions and violence short of war) in hopes of triggering a rally-round-the-leader reaction here in the US. The Iranians are certainly aware of that factor and will take it into account in deciding what to do. They are the smartest player in the Middle Eastern chess game, always.

    One thing’s for sure: Americans in the Middle East generally are a lot less safe now than they were 48 hours ago.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I listened VERY briefly to Hannity at Fux News last night and wow-oh-wow. The take from the “other side” is mind-boggling. And for-sure, for-sure, his commentary was most definitely a blatant effort to “rally-round-the-leader.”

      I hope you’re right about the unlikeliness of some sort of retaliation within our borders. I realize the logistics to carry out such an attack probably aren’t all that great, but it wouldn’t surprise me. It might not be anything major … perhaps just big enough to let Trump know Iran isn’t going to take his actions laying down. Anyway, I guess we’ll know for sure once the mourning period is over.

      Thanks, as always, for your contribution.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks. The situation where I could see an Iranian attack on US territory as being likely is if Trump attacks Iranian territory first. If he carries out some attack that kills Iranian civilians on Iranian soil, they would feel that the escalation had already taken place and that they should hit back by killing an equivalent number of American civilians on American soil.

        One form that could take would be a cyber-attack knocking out electric power in Boston and New York. Since it’s winter, if they could keep the power off for a long time, the consequences could be serious. It would also serve the purpose of warning Americans that if they don’t pressure Trump to back down, they’ll suffer on their home turf just as Iranians will.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. America is a hypocritical double edged sword – it all depends on which way political winds are blowing. Bastion of decency, democracy, empathy and charity my ass! Nothing America does happens without careful consideration of political advantage.What better way to distract impressionable weak minded citizens from impeachment than starting a war. Wake up America!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Given that the U.S. is the biggest per capita contributor to the destruction of the environment that is causing the wildfires in Australia, yes, we should absolutely be sending help in the way of resources and money.

    Keith is the gold standard for wisdom and moderation … I try to emulate him, but usually fall short.

    “Some notable repercussions” is very much an understatement, my friend. We will feel the repercussions, as will our allies, for a long time to come. Many lives are about to be sacrificed for the sake of the ego of a maniac.

    Because Christians are arrogant as hell, and think that theirs is THE ONE AND ONLY right belief set in the entire world! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You know … if tRumpsky would even mention the fires, it would show some compassion. But nooooo. It’s all about HIM! He couldn’t even give full assistance to Puerto Rico … and it’s a U.S. territory!

      The more I read about the attack against abortion by the holier-than-thou crowd, the more upset I get! Mind your own damn business, you crowd of vipers!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I have to wonder if he is even aware that Australia is on fire! And, remember his response to California last year? Empathy and compassion are not in his vocabulary! He’d just blame them for not raking the forests enough, no doubt.

        I hear you … I am the same. I am tired of biting my tongue around the religious fanatics who think they have a right to impose their beliefs on all the rest of us. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. When the forests around me were burning this spring, many countries sent firefighters to help, including Australia and America (which El Dumbpo had nothing to do with), but the largest number came from Mexico. Now Australia is fighting fires at least triple the size of our fires. Everyone should be helping them, every way they can. For those who are not helping, WHAT IS THE HOLD UP?
    As for other issues, the answers are obvious, and will soon be forthcoming. If Iran holds off attacking US territories, it won’t be because of Trump or Pompeo, they want this war. I’m surprised it took them this long to start it.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I don’t even understand why you felt the need to question whether or not America should offer fire-fighting assistance to Australia. after all, Aotearoa New Zealand has sent fire fighting crews to California at the height of wildfires in recent years, as we have to Australia. It would be rather callous to accept help when needed but refuse to reciprocate.

    BTW, even though this country is some 2000 Km (1300 miles) from Australia, the ash fall is noticeable in some parts of the country. The glaciers in the South Island have turned orange/red from the dust. Our glaciers have been in retreat for decades, but this discoloration will increase the absorption of heat speeding up the melting process

    Liked by 3 people

    • Of course the U.S. should be helping!!! That’s my point. NOT ONE WORD from the leader of this country related to that disaster, let along his total disregard for what they are suffering. HIS needs are far more important than anything else … and right now, HIS needs are to avoid impeachment and win another term. And he’s going to do only those things that help him in this regard. Bastard!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually he did have a few words about it a while back. Something along the lines that the reason for the wildfires was that there were too many trees. He has no clue that trees slow water runoff or that dry grass land burns just as fast. Perhaps he thinks that less trees means less oxygen generated to feed the fires?

        Liked by 1 person

        • No telling WHAT that man thinks! In any case, comments “about” are much different that comments to help … which I’ve not heard so far. Of course, helping Australia doesn’t have any effect on his impeachment/election situation so it’s understandable why the fires have essentially been ignored.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. 1. If anyone calls me to ask about assisting the Aussies I will approve it. Our government has been doing things without my approval for as long as I’ve been alive. I don’t see that ever changing.
    2. Will there be repercussions for killing the Iranian general? Of course. Plan on it. Let me know if any disagrees with me.
    3. We live in a virtual theocracy now. That is why such things are done (not just attempted). Anti-abortion laws are passed all the time. That fire will never go out.
    4. My turn. So, if we end up in a war with Iran (or any nation), will that help or hinder the incumbent’s chance of reelection?

    Liked by 3 people

    • A war with Iran might boost Trump initially, but as it dragged on, it would hurt him. It would be nothing like the Iraq invasion. Iran is much larger, more advanced, more unified, and under more intelligent leadership than Iraq was. An invasion force would have to cross hundreds of miles of either rugged mountains or deserts in order to reach the main population centers. The government has strong institutions and could not be knocked out by killing just a few key people. Iraq was a hodgepodge of mutually-hostile groups cobbled together into a phony state by the British after World War I, not a real country anybody would fight hard for; Iran’s sense of national identity goes back to Cyrus the Great, 300 years before China became a unified country.

      In an all-out war, the US would lose far more troops far more quickly than it did fighting Iraq. It’s conceivable we could lose an aircraft carrier. Iran could wreck the whole Persian Gulf oil industry. It could wreck the economy of our Saudi client state. It has sleeper cells in Europe and Latin America ready to go into action against American targets. Trump would face the choice of getting deeper and deeper into a bloody meat grinder with no prospect of success, or backing off and accepting defeat at the hands of what most Americans think of as a Third World country. Either option would hurt his chances in the election.

      Liked by 4 people

  11. I recently (just yesterday) started subscribing to “Letters from an American.” It’s not a blog; rather you subscribe and get her (Heather Cox Richardson) writings via email.

    Anyway, in today’s contribution, she wrote the following … which I felt was quite pertinent to some of the foregoing comments related to the recent incident in Iraq.

    In a wonderful Twitter thread, Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Inquirer noted that until last night, 99% of Americans—including me, I might add—had never heard this man’s name, so the angry preaching that he was one of our chief enemies sounds forced. We need our leaders to explain to us the specifics of what this man did, and how the world is safer with him gone.

    I hadn’t really thought about this … that I’d never heard of this guy before yesterday. Hmmm. An interesting observation, don’t you agree?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hello Nan. Yes I think the US should help where we can, but something to remember about US offering to help fighting fires. At the same time that tRump was demanding that no assistance be given to California he was offering both money and people to Putin when there was a large wild fire in Russia. That shows really where tRump’s priorities are.

    History shows that Democratic party is the real party of fiscal responsibility but Republicans are much better at messaging. Look at the way they can get a talking point started and then hammer and hammer at it convincing people it is true.
    Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

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