The week that was

Looking back at the week ending April 27, 2018, a few things jump out at me as examples of larger problems.

The US Congress heard a speech from a President that spoke of staying the course on America’s global role in security, free trade and environmental issues. He also warned of the unhealthy focus on narrow nationalism and promoted the ideals of the American experiment. Unfortunately, the speech was given by Emmanuel Macron of France and not the US President.

Yet, the US President did make news when he nominated another poorly vetted candidate this time for the VA director role. He was already a curious choice, but he and the White House were obviously not prepared for the discovery of potential peccadillos in his past. This is a recurring problem for the White House where too many candidates withdraw, should not have been nominated or are approved with some later being fired or resigning as past or new problems surface. It should be noted there are too many articles and biographies that do not define “due diligence” as a strength of the President.

Between two tragedies in Canada and the US, it shows that terrorism need not be imported. Four people died at a Waffle House in the Nashville area, while  ten people died on the streets of Toronto. The larger problem that is revealed time and again, it is very difficult to stop a motivated lone assailant. The only thing that has a chance is an invested community who cares about what happens there. Neither of these people were from an actively tracked hate group, which number over a thousand. Nor were they part of an extreme religious terror group.

On Thursday, a boyhood and even adult idol of mine, Bill Cosby, was found guilty of three counts of sexual impropriety. While the trial involved only one of his victims, the number totals over 60. This is very sad  that someone so present in the public eye for fifty years could harm so many people.

Finally, an unconfirmed report out of China notes that one reason North Korea may be eager to give up nuclear testing is they blew up their testing site. The report said an underground blast may have punctured a hole in a mountain and released some radioactive material. From what others have noted is Kim Jong Un likely does not want to give up the nuclear weapons they created and their conventional forces could do great damage by themselves to South Korea. But, this unconfirmed report is interesting nonetheless and offers a potential explanation for a willingness to talk. Setting this aside, Kim Jong Un wins by getting on the world stage in a meeting room. Yet, talking is far better than the alternatives for keeping a lid on things.

Many other interesting things have happened. Our friend Jill has an excellent summary on Ben Carson’s housing plan which will triple the rents for people in need. Maybe he should have remained a surgeon where he could help people.

That’s all folks. Have a great weekend.

 

22 thoughts on “The week that was

  1. I wonder if the weather is tied to the news so that those of us who read the news are treated to rain, clouds and even snow in some cases while those areas that refuse to get involved are getting all the sunshine. Could it be that those of us who are involves are creating our own problems. Look at me, I saw the news that Trump would be paying a visit to the UK where he is anything but welcome, and what do I get, cloudy and very cold days with rain. As Buddy Holly would have said, It’s raining in my heart.

    • David, interesting thesis. Maybe we have more time to read with bad weather. I presume Trump will not be addressing Parliament on his visit. Keith

  2. Note to Readers: This morning it was reported that South Korea’s President Moon had a very productive meeting with Kim Jong Un. It is good to see progress, but a healthy dose of skepticism is needed. The above China report adds seasoning, but I think now that NK has its nukes, it must deal with the impact of the sanctions.

      • Indeed Keith, but where there is true and pure Hope there is both Light and Life

      • Roger, I think a certain President has dimmed the lights. We have a poverty problem in the US and this man is giving more money to rich people, wants to cut healthcare and his Housing secretary just announced a plan to triple rents on poor people. Keith

      • This is injustice which ever way you look at it. The idea that giving the Rich more freedom to spend their money and thus benefit everyone is a fancily and only serves to separate society.

      • Roger, if trickle down economics really worked it would have a better name. Even that name is an improvement over its original name of the Horse and Sparrow theory, based on the premise of you feed the horse (rich) what he excretes is eaten by the sparrows.

        By the way, I saw a report this week that was very predictable even to me as I mentioned it in a post a few months ago. Companies buying back their own shares have accelerated with the tax break. They do this because they cannot make the earnings numerator grow, so they reduce the number of outstanding shares in the denominator propping up EPS. The Boards don’t say anything as they do this at their own companies. Why do the do this – to hit earnings targets to keep their job and earn bonuses. Keith

      • Back in my day in the Civil Service to meet targets we used to shuffle paper from one place to another and thus claiming the case was ‘working’ and so the correspondence had been ‘dealt with’- the taxpayer had not received a reply but no one would worry until the tax-payer threatened to complain through lack of action.
        This seems in its broadest terms to be the same principal (or lack of), shuffle ‘stuff’ around to make it ‘look good’

      • Roger, I think you hit upon what should be the focus when people say all regulations are bad. That is not true. We should evaluate regulations and modify, confirm or eliminate what is not efficacious. The thing we must guard against is needless bureaucracy. We should have the right number of folks to do the job well, no more or less, and they should be held accountable.

        Our President is cutting ambassadors and supporting diplomats diminishing our influence and to keep relationships healthy. At the same time, China is investing more in the same roles. What does that say? Ronan Farrow, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter has a new book out called “War on Peace,” about this very topic. Keith

      • One thing you can not have in a complex modern society is the infrastructure on the cheap, and this includes the administration.
        If you cut the staff and you impose nebulous targets then things will go wrong as everyone tries to keep their job safe. Try and explain that to the ‘tax cutting’ true believers and you may as well talk to the proverbial wall.
        These are difficult times as the world enters the last of the transition stages from the 18th- 19th century Caucasian empires. Larger diplomatic services are needed to keep lines open, and not Bolton, please not Bolton.

      • Roger, very well said. It should not be surprising that America’s infrastructure is in need of repair. There are auto and train bridge collapses in the future to which politicians will express alarm. We have been forewarned. Keith

      • Happens to all large nations; Europe is littered with such records of these happens. No one is immune…..No one in the Whitehouse reads history do they?

      • Roger, the man in the White House won’t read briefing reports, much less history. The briefers make them as short as possible, yet he would rather read a Manilla folder of good press clippings. Keith

      • Roger, you laugh, but I do believe his briefing has lots of pictures. Columnist Mark Shields on PBS Newshour this Friday noted that a President had beautiful command of the English language speaking to Congress this week reminding us of President Obama. Surprisingly, it was the President of France. Keith

  3. Dear Keith,

    I so admire France’s President Macron for reaching out to President Trump in a magnanimous way to attempt to influence him at least on the margins in some of his policies, especially the 2015 Iran Nuclear deal.He is acting like the leader, I wish we had in the USA.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, he exhibited what a President should act like. Trump needs to give Angela Merkel the respect she deserves, as well. She is not as polished as Macron, but sees the world through a leader’s lens like he does. Trump’s lens is “what’s in it for me?” Keith

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