The Machinery of Repression. Time to Contact Stallone, Sheen, Schwareneggar, Norris and Seagal? Shopping ON Thanksgiving? Update Central.
- A few weeks ago I discussed Che Guevara and his fellowship with Fidel Castro (see the Oct 8 post). Along with Guevara, Fidel Castro went on to form a revolutionary group with his brother Raul, eventually providing the Castro duo with the forces needed to help overthrow the Cuban government in 1959. Fidel Castro would eventually assume military and political power as Cuba’s Prime Minister. On Friday night, after so many decades of Cubans dealing with oppression, the tyrant, Fidel Castro, finally is dead. In a way it was amazing how Castro successfully posed as a champion of the people around the world, even as he trampled on the rights of downtrodden Cubans. His many admirers abroad chose to ignore, and for some reason justify, his denial of freedom to the people of Cuba. His ethos was to instill obedience through fear, taking ownership of thousands of properties away from Cuban citizens to ensure that his Marxist regime would benefit…to the disdain of all Cuban citizens. Castro had many ways of dealing with dissidents including the murder of 20,000 Cubans and the detention of thousands in rundown labor camps. Castro survived the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban missile crisis, and the Guantanamo presence of U.S. troops by being a pawn to the Soviet Union and eventually Russia. Without the Soviet regime, Cuba’s economy suddenly spiraled out of control until Fidel slowly allowed foreign investment to energize the Cuban economy. The ultimate dictator is finally dead. May he and his brother rot in hell.
- While most Americans around the world celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, an American soldier, fighting in the hinterlands of Syria, was killed in action. While I am a proponent of a strong, massive military it is time to turn this so-called war with ISIS over to the groups who are trained to fight on the street, within the confines of buildings, and in general, urban areas of terror. With all due respect to the militaries around the globe, the ISIS conflict poses a specific dynamic that only special trained forces can overcome. Cities in Syria are not the jungle, the desert or the normal battlefield. These ISIS-occupied cities are nasty and unpredictable which must be met with soldiers with different training backgrounds. Soldiers that endure living hell while going through training and have no issues with collateral damage. It is time for a worldwide coalition of special forces to come together, organize, plan and execute an operation of substantial proportion in the areas of Aleppo and Raqqa. By definition, special forces, or special operations forces are military units extremely trained to perform unconventional, typically insecure missions for political, economic or military purposes. The go forward in Aleppo and Raqqa is to select two hundred special operations personnel from the following ten forces: Army Rangers, J2F2, EKO- Cobra, Navy Seals, SAS, GIGN, SSG, Shayetet 13, Black Cats and GSG-9. These 2,000 special operations troops would be deployed to areas of concern in Syria to quickly eradicate ISIS once and for all. Rules of engagement: none. Amount of coordination time for training and planning: forty-five days. This 2,000 person machine would be supported by all means necessary to accomplish the mission of destroying ISIS in Syria. No questions, no political governance, and no grief. More importantly, no more Americans killed in Syria. One is way too many.
- Similar to other holidays celebrated in the U.S., the traditions of the Thanksgiving holiday are somewhat diminished by the onslaught of retailers promoting their store openings. I drove by a Kohl’s on the way home from a festive Thanksgiving evening to see their parking lot overflowing with cars….at 11pm! I guess the tradition of waiting until the Friday after has dissipated since you can now eat Thanksgiving dinner and promptly go shopping? Thankfully the food, wine and football watching still takes precedent over the shopping experience. Lets just be thankful for what we have and hope that the new year brings the best of everything to everyone.
- Updates: Bruce Arena: get the Men’s National Team to Russia 2018. NFL: keep the ball moving and shorten the game by at least 20 minutes. General Motors: keep small production close to home. Time to see Gary Clark Jr. perform. To our military on Thanksgiving: Thank you! And to Jaime and Daniel: may all the good news be yours!!
Adios and Happy Sunday Funday!
Can’t Win in Costa Rica. Samsung at it Again! Losing Jobs to Mexico. Update Central.
- Last Tuesday night’s loss in San Jose preceded by the loss at home to Mexico leaves the United States National Team with zero points through 2 of the ten-game hexagonal tournament to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. The Costa Ricans beat the USA 4-0 last Tuesday night, the USA’s worst loss in World Cup qualifying in 36 years. So the pundits are all over the USA’s performance and specifically their coach, Jurgen Klinsmann. To my surprise, I had predicted that JK would have ‘stepped down’ by now (fired in laymen’s terms), but there are some factors that may keep him in his job. One of those factors: MONEY. The US Soccer federation renewed JK’s contract in 2014 for four years at a base salary of $2.5 million a year so my math skills tell me that $5m would need to be paid out to fulfill JK’s contract. Another factor is the timing as the next round of qualifying games is only four months away in March. For Klinsmann, the long layoff is brutal in two ways: First, it offers the federation plenty of time to make a move, while also meaning that Klinsmann — if he continues on — will have to live with the sting of this past week for quite some time. The soccer community is obviously concerned. While the top three countries coming out of the qualifying tournament automatically go to 2018 World Cup, the chance that the national team’s poor start leaves them out of the every four-year tournament is problematic. Why? National team sponsors spend millions and support the eye-opening expenses incurred by the team. In 2015, the youth national teams and player development programs ran up expenses over $14m and the men’s national team operating expenses went north of $31m. These expenses are covered by the many sponsors looking for the national team to yield exposure and impressions at every international tournament. Would all of these sponsors continue to pour money into the national team if the team did not qualify for Russia in 2018? With or without Jurgen Klinsmann the USA must qualify for the World Cup.
- In previous posts I have reaped havoc on Samsung over their slow recall of the S7 Note smartphone – the phones now prohibited on all U.S. domestic flights. Bringing too much technology to market too fast has yielded Samsung millions of dollars in losses and a continued tarnished image. You would think that their corporate brass would mandate that all product categories be reviewed and retested to ensure best-in-class performance and safety? Nope, as last week Samsung said it would recall about 2.8 million of its top-load washing machines in the United States to address safety concerns. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported last week that the top of the washing machines can unexpectedly detach from the chassis during use, posing a risk of injury from impact. Samsung received nine related reports of injuries, including a broken jaw, injured shoulder and other impact-related injuries. So the corporate giants of the world, under pressure to deliver year-over-year double-digit profits, continue to move product to market that is untested and obviously not safe. Inexcusable behavior, again.
- Sugar-coating a decision to move production “off-shore” or a strategic decision to deceive the American consumer? Last week, in light of the presidential election, Ford Motor Company is moving ahead with plans to shift production of small cars to Mexico from Michigan. Obviously Ford’s workforce and their unions have big problems with this decision as it seems jobs will be impacted. Ford’s answer: they are shifting production of the Ford Focus to Mexico to provide more production capacity for two ‘more important’ products to be built in it’s U.S. factories. While on the surface this sounds like a strategic move, the decision is basically a like-for-like regarding job opportunities….it keeps the workforce level but does not increase the number of job opportunities for Americans. Why not figure out a way to keep the production of the Focus in the U.S. and ADD production lines for the two new products that would yield more job opportunities? Let Ford figure out a way to overcome the cheap Mexican labor and build the small cars in our factories. I am not a proponent of government interference but maybe the President-elect’s plan for import tariffs makes sense?
- Updates: Donald, please be diligent with selecting your Cabinet. Matt Ryan: get us to the playoffs! Time to see Iron Maiden live. Brangelina and the Phillipines’ Duterte have gone quiet…thankfully. Daylight savings time – please come back soon. Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Adios and have a happy Sunday Funday!
90+ Minutes of Pure Hell. It is Time to Focus on Something Positive. Visiting Mars. I Told You the NFL Has Some Smart Peeps.
- While I try to keep my passion for soccer to a limit I must point out some great takeaway’s from Friday night’s USA – Mexico World Cup qualifying match in Columbus, Ohio. I realize that many of you could care less about the sport and our national team but any fan of sport would have enjoyed this game. Above and beyond the ramifications of this being a World Cup qualifier and the USA winning the last four home qualifiers against the Mexicans (all by the score of 2-0), there was an underlying sentiment with all Mexicans regarding the outcome of our presidential election. I watched the match at Ri’ Ra’, a midtown Atlanta Irish pub known as a soccer-viewing venue. The atmosphere, led by the Atlanta chapter of the American Outlaws, was loud and obviously pro-USA until the late Mexican goal in the 89th minute. Qualification for the 2018 World Cup continues for the USA Tuesday night in a place where the Americans have had little success, San Jose. Not California, but Costa Rica. To get an idea of the task at hand, these are the score lines from previous matches: 0-1, 1-2, 2-3, 1-2, 0-2, 0-3, 1-3, 1-3. Those are the scores of the last eight U.S. games at Costa Rica in World Cup qualifying, all losses. The qualification process consists of many games and we can only hope that the USA finds a way to come away with a ‘W’ in San Jose.
- Part of the ethos of this blog is to stay away from the topics of religion and politics. There will be no comment on the outcome of Tuesday night’s election other than to say it is time to move on. Move on from the drama, the speculation and more importantly the instances of hatred spread by morons around the country. I was in Dallas last week, looking down from my hotel room at ‘protestors’ marching in downtown. I read about swastikas being painted on city sidewalks, and anti-Muslim rhetoric being thrown ab0ut. C’mon Man! Enough is enough. I do understand the emotion of the election but everyone needs to take a step back, take a deep breath, and enjoy the holiday season. People who hate: there is an island that suits all of you very well. Bouvet, located 1,000 miles from Antarctica, seems like a perfect place for all of you to rant and rave together.
- It is difficult to get interested in something on Monday night other than Monday Night Football. It is also difficult to get interested in programming that I have not reviewed but tonight starts the six-part series, Mars, on the National Geographic Channel. Sci-Fi has never been on the top of my list but this series seems intriguing for the simple reason it takes place in the not so distant future of year 2033. Elon Musk seems ahead of the game having lined up millions of dollars for his Mars project and there are thousands of people who have sent their deposits in to be selected to ‘fly’ to Mars. And I thought getting from north Atlanta to midtown was a hassle this past Friday night? I will definitely watch this series and yes, my DVR is set so I can watch it at my leisure as tonight is MNF!
- In previous posts I have attacked Major League Baseball and the National Football League games due to disparity between playing time and the length of the game. I also pointed out that I feel like the NFL has a lot of smart people sitting in the NYC headquarters. True to form, a friend of mine sent me a NY Times article from last Thursday outlining how the NFL brass is working on ways to shorten the game and increase the amount of real playing time….see my previous post regarding the second quarter of a Monday Night Football game. Kudos to the NFL brass for acting on their ratings being down 12% year-over-year.
Adios and have a great week!
Is it Fair? 7th Game Heroics. Cork the Whine. Updates on Previous Posts.
- I have stated a few times that I will always try to stay away from religion and politics. We all hear way too much about those subjects on a daily basis so there is no need for me to bore you with further diatribe. With Tuesday looming and the overt amount of conversation regarding the election (which by the way gets in the way of my college football discussions), I again educated myself on the election process. In a nutshell: the winner of the statewide popular vote generally takes all the Electoral College votes, a rule stretching back to 1824. Each state is assigned a number equal to its Senate seats (two) plus its seats in the House of Representatives. Not so confusing so far but that means the seven states with only enough population to qualify for one House seat will get three votes each in the Electoral College. On the other hand, California, with 53 seats in the House, gets 55 electoral votes, and Texas‘ 36 seats provide for 38 electoral votes. That’s why, after the U.S. expanded to 50 states, the Electoral College had 535 seats, the same as the total of members of Congress (Senate and House). It now has 538, because in 1961 the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution added three for the District of Columbia, which had previously been without a voice in choosing the president. Is this process fair where the concept that the people could not or should not be trusted to vote directly for our national leader? Four times in our history the nationwide popular vote winner actually lost in the Electoral College including the Al Gore, George W. Bush debacle (can you say ‘hanging chads’?). Something to ponder as we close in on Tuesday night. Our constitution does not specifically spell out the right of all Americans to vote but no matter how you feel and what party you support you should cast your ballot.
- A couple of weeks ago I wrote about baseball and the length of the game. I received a few terse responses from baseball fans and totally accepted and understood their point of view. Not so much a naysayer and as a youngster a huge baseball fan, I enjoyed watching this year’s World Series and especially the 7th game. The game itself was tense but what really added to those late inning dramatics was that the Cubs had the chance to overcome The Curse. Back in 1945, the last time the Cubs had reached the World Series, the owner of a pub named The Billy Goat Tavern got kicked out of game 4 at Wrigley Field because the goat he brought to the game smelled so bad that the fans complained. The pub owner was so outraged that he declared that the Cubs would never win again which was obviously interpreted to mean that they would never again make it to a World Series. So The Curse declared by the owner of The Billy Goat Tavern is over and could not have ended in a more dramatic way. Good baseball stuff!
- Upon further review I may not write about enough positive things going on in this crazy world. The topics of ISIS, Syria, our election and the healthcare debacle come to mind. Fortunately I had the opportunity to read an article about a school teacher in Argentina….a very strong-minded and dedicated teacher similar to many of the great school teachers around the globe. Though this teacher is a bit different. Noelia Garella, now 31-years old, has Down syndrome and overcame many naysayers to now take over a class room teaching an early reading class to 2 and 3-year olds. She was inspired by her parent, friends and fellow teachers to pursue her dream under very difficult circumstances. Reading this just sort of grounds you, making you feel a bit guilty for complaining about things that seem so trivial compared to Ms. Garella’s daily challenges. She should be an inspiration to all of us.
- Updates: I attended two Falcons‘ games in four days…two different types of wins but nonetheless fantastic; the Philippines continue to get stranger by the day….their President needs to be ‘eighty-sixed’; I have been on a few flights with the pre-flight announcement including the directive: “no Samsung S7 Note phones are allowed on any commercial airline”….blah, blah, blah. Really Delta, as if passengers with S7 Notes don’t place their phone in their purse or briefcase?; The English Premier League and NBC continue to bring us great broadcasts every weekend; and finally, I cannot wait until Wednesday morning.
Adios and Happy Sunday Funday!