Carecero – the only honest politician

Poor Carecero- the only honest politician in Brazil.   Never took a penny from the people.   Known for her gentle manner, she won a seat on the city council of Sao Paulo in 1959.  Sao Paulo is the most populous city in Brazil with 22 million inhabitants at present

Her election was quickly nullified.  It was because Carecero is a 5 year old rhino.  The slogan for her election was, “It is better to elect a rhino than an ass.”  I am not making this up, see link below:

Carecero 

The New York Times covered the story and reported her death at the young age of 8 years old.  I guess politics ages a rhino very quickly.

Carecero did better that other animals that have run for office.  Saucisse (French for sausage) ran for mayor in 2001 in Marseille, France  and only got 4% of the vote.  Oh poor Saucisse, an abandon dachshund deserved to be mayor.  He was definitely an underdog in the election, but went on to be a contestant on a French reality show.  Bravo Saucisse!  There is life after politics, at least if you are cute and canine.

Dedicating a life to serving the people is what Stubbs has done for Talkeenta, Alaska.  This beautiful tabby  cat has served as mayor of the her community for 15 years.

Four animals that ran for mayor and won

Normally,  a dog, cat or rhino might find entering the US Presidential race a bit daunting.  But,  after listening to the Republican debate (I only listen to about 10 minutes, but I got the general idea),  I’m thinking it might not be such a bad idea.  But, it is a bit too early in the game.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

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Polls

Wow- there has been a lot of polls recently, all showing Trump with a commanding lead.  Monmouth University  shows a whopping 41% of Republicans want Trump.   I don’t follow this stuff until recently, when an MSNBC commentator said that Trump was ahead with zero margin of error. All polls have error values,  but it doesn’t seem to be enough error to put anyone else as the top candidate.

Monmouth University poll  is based on a poll of 385 people.  It is a selected group of people  who said they  will vote or leaning to vote for Republican candidates. It was done from Dec 10- 13, so it reflects the  controversy from the most recent comments by Trump on excluding Muslims from entering the US.

The  #2 position is close. Cruz,  Rubio and Carson percentages (9- 14%) are within the polling error.   One value which  has been overlooked a bit is the “No one/ Undecided” which comes in at 8%,  beating  all other 8  candidates.  But this group has been on the decline. It was 22% in June 2015.

If the  Santorium, Graham,  Huckabee and Pataki,  (CNN first debaters) drop out,  this would leave around 8% of the Republicans having to make new choices.   We may see the undecided numbers increase.

Polls help candidates develop their campaign strategies.  Top issue in this latest poll was national security and terrorism, and the lowest priority issue was education.  Economy and jobs were in second place- and I suspect also top issues for Democrats.

Lot of dynamics are at play, and we are very early in the game.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

 

Hope for Libya

It has been a busy week.  It is hoped that the rival factions in Libya will finally sign a peace accord on December 16.   This was announced on December 11 at the conclusion of a two day meeting in Tunis.  See link below.

The Arab Spring in 2011 resulted in the overthrow of Gaddafi, and a National Transitional Government took over.  The calm came to an end in 2014, with open warfare broke out among the  various ethnic/ religious  groups.

The internationally recognized government is located in Tobruk, located on the far eastern side of Libya, close to Egypt.  The rival government is located in Tripoli, on the western coast, the traditional capital of Libya.  In the western desert areas, bordering Algeria,  the Tuareg forces are in control.  They were loyal to Gaddafi during the 2011 civil war.

ISIL apparently controls Sirte located on the coast in the center of Libya,  the birth place and the city most  loyal to Gaddafi.

Kerry flew to Rome today to take part in a high level ministerial meeting, and voiced strong support for a cease fire and the peace agreement.

I believe the strategy to unification , obtain a cease fire “peace” agreement between the Tobruk and Tripoli governments, and  then work jointly to defeat the more extreme  jihadist factions.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

A fierce battle for control of Libya’s deserts 

Kerry goes to Rome for talks on Libya unity government

Libyan parties set 16 December as date to sign political agreement – UN envoy

Libya – Wikipedia 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lamar Smith on the Warpath

Lamar Smith, Congressman from Texas  is in battle with Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA administrator.  He is conducting a fishing expedition of unprecedented scope.

At the heart of all this, is the contention that climate change is based on bad science- namely hasty judgments from incomplete data.   Sometimes, distinguishing between good and bad science is not easy, because the results do not lead to simple conclusions.  But, climate change  is not one of these areas.  Our planet’s average temperature is going up at an alarming rate.   It is no longer conjecture.  It is back up by massive data and computer models.

Science publishes new NOAA Study

Good science has certain traits.   First,  all  original data that went into calculations are made public to the scientific world.  Second,  the methodology is so abundantly clear, that the man in China could reproduce the same results.  Next. the researchers who do the work should be recognized experts in their  area.  Also, research must be published in highly respected scientific journals, which allow others to comment on the work.

Technical  questions which arise from the work should be answered directly by the scientists involved in the research.   Allegations of  scientists or supervisors which purposely biases the results for political purposes or to further their professional ambitions  should be taken seriously.

All these traits of good science are found in NOAA’s research. Scientists from around the world are finding similar results- our planet’s climate is changing due to emissions caused by  fossil fuels consumption.    Some islands are at risk of disappearing.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released in June 2015 on their website, the conclusions of a new study showing no slowdown in global warming. It was published online in Science journal.

Lamar Smith, a Congressman from Texas  has created a fictional scandal- that scientists manipulated data to hide the fact there is no global warming.  It is total nonsense.

There may be some grain of truth to the claim that administrators urged researchers to publish their data as soon as possible.  Having worked in a research center,  there is generally a point where the data evidence is strong enough to share with the rest of the world and it is a trait of a good administrator, to get valid studies published.

It is surprising the kind of political stunts that Chairman of a House committee can pull, including meetings which excludes the Democrats (a minority on the committee) and issuing subpoenas without notifying  the committee.  It is a circus.  The minority leader finally pushed back.

Eddie Bernice Johnson’s Letter 

For his contribution for a declaration of war against NOAA researchers,  Congressman Lamar Smith was awarded the Flat Earth Foundation of Texas award.

Lamar Smith Award 

Congrats to the Flat Earth Foundation for finding a worthy recipient for their award, showing once again the mouth is greater than the mind.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Pluto

Ok, is this Pluto the dog or Pluto the planet?  It is the planet, oops, I meant the dwarf planet.  I was thinking of posting a picture of Pluto (the dog),  but all images are licensed to Disney.  You’ll have to do your own searching.

Back to the dwarf planet, Pluto.  The New Horizon spacecraft has spent nearly 10 years to get to Pluto and in the last few weeks, has been transmitting back incredibly detailed photos of Pluto.

New Horizon Pictures

I know from my studies (up to about 9th grade, earth science), it is way-way far away, recently confirmed by Wikipedia:

Pluto- Wikipedia

I also learned that the demotion to dwarf status was not taken well at all, particularly in New Mexico, where a resolution in the legislature passed, designating Pluto as a planet, because the scientist that discovered Pluto, Clyde Tombaugh,  lived in New Mexico.

In 1930, Clyde was 24 years old when he discovered Pluto.  He did not have, at that time, any formal education beyond a high school degree.  But he had built telescopes and designed lenses and mirrors on his family’s farm, so the Lowell Observatory hired him in 1929.   Later, studied astronomy at the University of Kansas, and earned a BS and MS degrees.

Clyde Tombaugh  

Clyde passed away at the age of 90 in 1997.  In his lifetime, he is credited to having  discovered hundreds of asteroids.  The New Horizon carried aboard his ashes on its voyage to Pluto.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Solutions to terrorism

No short term solutions.   There is no single action the US can do to defeat ISIL.   Eliminating ISIL or similar groups with the jihadist philosophy is likely impossible, in that it only takes a couple of fanatics to pull off an act of terrorism.   What Obama and the rest are focused on, is helping Iraq and Syria take back their control of cities and cutting off access to resources.  This is what I concluded after listening to President Obama on Sunday, December 6 and Susan Rice on CNN, which aired on the same day.  What began, at least for the US, under George Bush, and continued under Obama, will continue to be a problem for the next president as well.

Susan Rice is President Obama’s National Security Advisor.   The recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernadino, CA made this interview very timely.  She was interviewed by Fareed Zacharia, as part of his normal weekly program, CNN-GPS.

The lack of US troops in Syria is being construed as a) a lack of leadership, lacking in resolve,    b) not being in touch with reality, delusional  (Lou Dobbs prefers the latter) or  c)  ignorant of the facts.   The strategy is actually a result of being very informed of the facts, on a daily basis.   McCain has blasted Obama for not sending in large numbers of troops into Syria, saying the US has not plan.  Truth is we don’t have his plan.

Susan  Rice was asked if the Obama administration underestimated the force of ISIL.   She sidestepped the question by responding that  since mid-2014, the Obama administration has been considered ISIL a major threat to both Iraq and Syria, and  steps have been taken to destroy their organization.   But, it’s clear, Obama underestimated the threat.  The infamous “Junior Varsity  comment” occurred in January 2014, shortly after Fallujah fell in Iraq.     This year, ISIL has  shown to be incredibly resourceful and organized  in establishing new bases in other countries.

ISIL 

Rice did not want the interview to focus on  prior mistakes.  The list of mistakes is long and goes back George Bush’s administration.  But, it is not likely in late 2013 and early 2014, there was much the Obama administration could have done.

The question of whether we are winning or losing the war against terrorism, is another one that Susan Rice chose not to directly answer.  There are a number of scorecards.  Since San Bernadino, there is a real gut feel that we’re losing to terrorism.   It particularly hit home, when they were showing the stockpiles of arms and bullets these two terrorists had accumulated.  But, this is not my scorecard.  I see it more as the cities under their control and the growth of the organization world wide.  A major defeat occurred when Boko Haram pledge allegiance to ISIL.

I agree with President Obama, that putting troops in Syria, beyond the small special op’s group, would be counter-productive.   It would be seen as an invasion force by both the Syrian  government and ISIL, and recast the fight against terrorism as a fight against the Muslim world, which we must avoid at all costs.  There are 1.6 billion Muslims in this world,  obviously outnumbering us 5 to 1.   We have far more latitude in Iraq, and may be able to increase are presence there- but it must be a multinational presence.

Susan Rice in her interview, was asked if the world is becoming less stable place to live.  This clearly open the discussion to go beyond ISIL.  She responded to the many initiatives taken by the Obama administration to lower tensions and help solve world problems.  The Ebola epidemic is one success.   The Iran deal is another one- yet it is way to early to know if this succeeds in the end.   The end of a policy of containment of Cuba, is another initiative to lower tensions- and hopefully create a more durable relationship with our neighbor.   A lot of crises which are hardly resolved, including Libya were not discussed.   Conflicts with Russia are a colossal regional  destabilizing threat, and Rice simply stated that the US is looking for common ground.

I was thinking how much opposition the Obama administration has gotten with each of these initiatives.  I remember how much flack Obama got when he sent 3,000 troops to Africa to help with the Ebola crisis in the transport of supplies.   Fox News commentators acted like Obama was insane- saying there will be 3,000 infected troops coming back to the US,  and pretty soon the numbers will be be 3 million or 30 million Americans with Ebola.   Ebola is a case where international cooperation produced incredible success.

Most of the really important efforts will take enormous  international cooperation.  This includes the international climate change accords, likely to come from the Paris summit.   It’s a tough road ahead, to find unity abroad, while there is so much division in the US.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

Who not to vote for, Again!

I just apply 3 simple rules:

  1. Don’t vote for anyone who has zero government experience
  2. Don’t vote for anyone who  has rigid conservative and religious views
  3. Don’t vote for anyone who voted against the debt ceiling increase.

Few people understand rule #3.  Voting against an increase in the debt ceiling increase  would not have changed the US debt by one cent, but it would have created havoc in financial markets (including the stock market where I have my 401K).  We would have defaulted on our debt obligations.   McCain and Graham voted for the increase in the limit.

Zero government experience eliminates Trump, Carson and Fiorina.  Rule #3 eliminates Cruz, Paul and Rubio.  Rule #2 eliminated definitely Cruz,  Huckabee and Paul.

So Jeb Bush is sinking in the polls, but my set of rules don’t exclude him.  Lindsey Graham is way down on the polls, but would get high marks for his government service.

So, where have all the moderate Republicans gone, long time passing, as the song goes.  I guess compromise and moderation just doesn’t make good TV.

Stay tuned,

Dave