North Korea made headlines again. Reports have it that North Korea performs a routine ritual of saber rattling every spring. It’s definitely “saber spring” in “Kim world”. Trump thinks the Great Successor is a naughty boy, behaving very “badly”.
China’s answer is to educate the US on calmness and diplomacy, while continuing to build weaponized islands in the South Sea. The US is certainly paying attention. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson just made a pit stop in China. While the US won’t take anything off the table, including pit stops and naming that “military action” won’t be taken off the table, the stronger, less visible, and probably more important response from the US is money. The Fed is raising interest rates and China appears to be in some kind of economic cross-hairs. Continue reading →
The upcoming Supreme Court nomination approval will certainly prove important. SCOTUS should likely hear any number of cases involving whether Republican and Democratic presidents must abide by the same laws, immigration and spying not the least.
The cat is out of the bag and it looks like it’s about to have kittens. Obamagate is here.
Multiple sources claim Obama used British Intelligence to spy on Donald Trump. While British surveillance is certainly ahead—with their soon-to-be-released drone ‘robo-cops’—why does the US president need British help? He’s not just attempting to flatter James Bond fans. When a president enters through the back door, too many questions come up. Why would the most powerful politician in the world need to have someone else do his work? Is he not allowed to? Does he want to keep his fingerprints off a smoking gun? Does Obama know something we don’t?
Trump supporters and Trump dissidents will both honker down on their positions. Some former Trump dissidents will flip to support him when they see what he was up against. Obama fans will view Obama as having been in such a desperate predicament that drastic means were necessary. Trump fans will view Trump just the same, in a desperate predicament. No arguments will persuade anyone. Only events will sway a few late bloomers. Continue reading →
Forget Japanese waters, headlines worry about North Korea and Hawaii. South Korea has their own two cents to add over the assassination of Kim Jong-un’s half brother at Kuala Lumpur International. China says that North Korea and the US are like two trains headed on a collision course. China has a kind of “plan” to bring the US and North Korea together, but the US won’t make concessions for obeying a UN resolution and there is no mention of China cutting off its supply. It seems China wants to be the “great reconciler”, but the rift is too far between East and West. Japan’s answer is to strike first.
Taiwan may be able to make its own response. This week, the US handed off two Perry-class frigates to Taiwan. Taiwanese naval officers will learn how to operate the frigates from the US Navy and the ships should set sail in May. This is a very interesting development since President-elect Trump received a phone call from President Tsai, and since the US still has yet to deliver on several military sales, especially F-16s, that closed during the terms of former Presidents Obama and Ma.
China’s response to events this week is two-fold. An editorial with a persuasive tone appeared in China’s state-run Global Times, arguing that India would help itself more if it cooperated with Chinese strategies rather than Japanese and US strategies. Xi Jinping also underlined and emphasized China’s great need to catch up on technology. This comes in the wake of the coming American Lockheed Martin F-35 “Lightning II” fighter jet and the US Navy’s new electromagnetically trajected railgun. China’s response is both telling and predicting.
While China has made advances, both in approaching Tomahawk cruise missile technology and in nearing the completion of its first home made aircraft carrier (reverse engineered from a Soviet era carrier), China still feels claustrophobic. Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and India, not to mention the distant-yet-present US are all naval forces too close to China’s back yard. Xi feels the “squeeze”. China is in a tight spot.
President Xi also revisited his long-standing mission of countering squander and corruption within the Communist Party. By underlining the points he did, he seems to be vying for equity and credit. Doesn’t China’s leader have enough credibility or does Xi know something the West doesn’t? Regardlessly, the greater wild card is India. China believes that India is on the fence and is open to persuasion—and China is correct. Soon, India will feel its own squeeze. The question, then, will be whether India feels inclined to side with China rather than forces farther to its east or if India will decide to reverse engineer Western technology write persuasive editorials of its own.
After the rains, flowers in the Southwest are in full bloom. One highlight is purple, the color for The People’s Party. As for the east coast, things are frozen, both in weather and in politics. Lowering taxes could take time. Getting health care laws to lower health care prices and unshackle employers could take more time. The leading political party’s interests are divided and their opposition has no tactic beneath them. Democrats are filibustering every political appointee as Obama appointees persist; Trump fired 46 Obama-appointed prosecutors. Of course, opposition filibusters and firing federal prosecutors for any new, incoming president are both standard practice. Conservatives expected as much and don’t demonstrate any shock, yet Liberals usually think their loss deserves exception. Everything suggests that Republicans will gain ground in the Senate come 2018, thanks to the Democrats refusal on cloture. Therein lies the real danger: supermajority.
A group of professors had a wild idea: What if Trump had been a woman and Hillary had been a man? Surely that would have flipped election results. Actually, after a carefully-rehearsed reenactment of the presidential debates by one skilled actor and one skilled actress, Liberal supporters were in for another surprise. Hillary supporters adored Trump’s words when they came from a woman and hated Hillary’s words when they came from a man. After learning the truth, they didn’t change their political preferences, of course.
People rarely change their opinions, given new information, no matter what political party they are from. While Conservatives will tout the results of this little theatrical-political experiment, they reacted with much of the same blindness over news about Bush family dealings. Note, the term “Trump dissident” is important in describing this presidential term. Most of the people who voted for Hillary didn’t like her, supported Bernie Sanders, and liked Trump least of all, to say the least.
Hillary’s team met with the Russians before the election, according to the Kremlin. That will make the upcoming hearings even more interesting. The game of chairs keeps revolving. No political victory is final. No enemy is ultimate. And no pettiness evades anyone.
China took the bait once again. Whether independence for Hong Kong and Taiwan would be better or worse, that independence becomes more likely every time the topic even comes up, no matter how much dissent the idea receives. Within China’s borders, the “all press is good press” principle may seem to work differently, but when China makes statements to the world beyond China’s press control, gravity and tides operate in a way that may seem foreign to Beijing. This week, China’s premiere stated the intention of having Taiwan return to Chinese control.
For better or worse, if China hopes to acquire Taiwan and keep Hong Kong, the most likely path to success is to never even mention, respond to, or otherwise acknowledge the subject in public—not ever. But, Chinese officials just can’t stop talking about it. So, for better or worse, while Taiwanese independence has seemed a likelihood with the US involved—and now all the more with Trump—the near impossibility of Hong Kong breaking away from China is being made less of an impossibility… for better or worse.
It’s not as if East Asia has a lack of problems. North Korea made its own headlines this week. It fired a missile into Japanese waters. Tokyo wasn’t happy. And, after Kim Jong-un’s half-brother was murdered at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, North Korea’s ambassador made some statements, Malaysia objected, and now the visa-exempt program with North Korea has been given the boot, along with North Korea’s ambassador.
The US aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is making a tour sail with some Philippines cabinet members. Though everyone and his cat claims this is not a show of force, a show of force would not be without arguable reason. The largest active military in the world, which has neither declared victory nor defeat in any war, will soon have two aircraft carries. As China’s second aircraft carrier nears completion, videos have been released diagramming its basic construction. From the video, this first Chinese-made carrier was seemingly “reverse engineered” from China’s Soviet-made diesel-powered Liaoning, initially purchased to become a “floating casino”. Irony often accompanies poetry.
Any victory or defeat of China would be a first. So, logically, China’s stated ambition for change in the South Sea is, by definition, a gamble. Without history to calculate, with stepped-up rhetoric foreseeably backfiring, the Liaoning and its soon-to-be christened copy did become metaphoric casinos after all, for better or worse.
Corruption reports are in and still coming. Some include the EPA functioning as a laundering screen and Obama organizing post-presidential politics. It’s a machine, as much as reports go.
Now the public has multiple reports, just coming in, that six agencies under presidential control wire tapped Donald Trump as a candidate and president-elect. This has two important ramifications, among others. Firstly, with so many court orders that Obama’s subordinates pushed for even after warrant requests were rejected, few stones have been left unturned, still with no evidence of fowl play and clearly that Russians did not decide America’s election outcome. While this begs the question as to why six agencies went after the president’s political opposition leader without finding any inditing evidence, the stronger implication is vindicating: the accused is best proven innocent when proven innocent by his own accusers. The second ramification is that Obama must have either known what was going on or was too incompetent to know what every president should know—six agencies under his control were going after the same political opponent.
Now, we have reports of the Obama administration continuing to grasp for political influence, something that ex-presidents just don’t do.
Weigh the game of powers. If Obama didn’t have the controls to remain in office, efforts to control after leaving office won’t work either. Supporters secretly adore the idea of an Obama coup. But, it can’t happen. History’s uprisings favor the small and new, not the old and retired. Take Hillary for example. Making her Secretary of State was the perfect way to make sure she would tire and fumble and make herself susceptible, whether Obama intended that or not.
Like Jesse Jackson and those who trailed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once a movement peaks it can’t return. Obama’s best days in America are over. But, he’s still kicking and squirming. He didn’t quit while he was ahead. People will tire of him as they did of Napoleon. And, that means more political power will shift to the Republican establishment; then, pray that Heaven may help us all. Few things are more dangerous than one-party power. While we may not get there, the country is headed for Republican tyranny, thanks to the Obama years of over-reach.
For the first time since 2012, Chicago went six days without a shooting that results in a death. Shootings continue, but almost a week with no “homicides” is a record. Some people will care; other people won’t.
Americans love flags. The over-sized flag, the “Star Spangled Banner”, was a strategic tool of Fort McHenry at the Battle of Baltimore and the US national anthem itself is named after the flag. If the United States ever truly intended to communicate that it believes Beijing seats the rightful government over the island of Taiwan, then Washington DC would have demanded that Taiwan fly the Chinese Communist flag over its own flag, like Hong Kong does. But, it didn’t and they didn’t ask. The test of what Donald Trump thinks about China is not a question of how many times he sees the word “China” on his globe at home, but what flags he accepts flown where.
Is China wise to what’s going on? Perhaps money is making all the difference. China’s PLA Navy is headed for an increased budget. If money was China’s answer, perhaps money tipped-off Beijing in the first place.
According to Obama Treasury rules, China is only 1/3 of a “currency manipulator”, exceeding a $20B trade deficit with the States. The other two rules relate inflation to GDP and official currency purchases to GDP—two things where China plays by a different set of rules than American economics. China “declares” its own currency value, it is not determined by the markets, making what the US refers to as “inflation” irrelevant to China. The second irrelevant Obama rule relates to “official” currency purchases. If only economics were only affected by “official” purchases, many other economic problems would be solved. But, economies are affected by “actual” purchasing, not merely whatever we happen to label as “official” this decade. The Chinese, especially, are experts at looking good “officially” while doing the bulk of their work under the table. Why else would Asians be so focused on cram schools and testing?
Then, there is the task of calculating “GDP” in a heavy back-and-forth trade economy. In 2011, the US slapped tariffs on China-made solar panels, which were made with materials imported from the US, which China also slapped a tariff on. Not only is actual “domestic” product difficult to measure in a “Venn diagram” of overlapping markets, there is also the problem that China’s government behaves like a company itself—benefiting from tariff revenue, thereby triggering another slew of investing and purchasing opportunities. If economics were a pair of glasses, China operates in ultraviolet light that no pair of US lenses can detect.
So, not only were the Obama Treasury “currency manipulator” rules an attempt to measure the light with a wind sensor, Trump gets what Trump wants. If China is destined for the “currency manipulator” list, it will get on that list one way or another, and there is a laundry list of ways that can happen.
But, then, there is North Korea.
While the “experts” lecture the world about how “trade wars” always backfire, China harbors its own trade war with the government in Northern Korea. Kim Jong Un isn’t happy with Beijing and Beijing wants to talk about it with the US.
Because haters are allowed to hate, certain things need to be said.
This is not any endorsement of pedophilia nor any recommendation that pedophilia laws be loosened.
This is a prediction.
Anything bad will increase when it is confronted with hate. Secretary Flynn’s conversations were reported to Trump the wrong way, by both Flynn and the press. He lost his job, some major networks were uninvited to an unofficial press “gaggle”, the same work continued, and unified complaints of the press and the dissidents backfired into more support for Trump and Flynn’s work. This week, the same media sought to make headlines concerning Milo Yiannopoulos.
The video version going viral (seen on The Providence, but also others) makes accusations about “protecting” a criminal by not giving a name. The same presumption—in the video, in the media’s response, and in what happened with Flynn—is that “telling the press” is how to report a crime. Actually, “protecting a criminal” involves withholding names when asked by police. Informing the public through the press before informing the proper authorities of a crime could suggest defamation or even interference with police work. Milo can’t accuse anyone of a crime without proof. A small press interview is not the place to ask for a criminal to be named—unless the interviewer wants to obstruct the due process of law.
Many sex crime cases are difficult to prove in court, even with evidence. And, even with evidence, telling the press can lead to a mistrial. Telling anyone about a crime without evidence can lead to defamation charges. Milo wasn’t “protecting criminals” merely on account of not giving names to a curious podcast host, no matter how many podcast hosts might like to think so.
Over the last few weeks, the press has demonstrated a flamboyantly inflated view of itself, even in other areas. Mainstream voices in the news media think they are the authorities on anything they talk about. Take Chris Wallace’ interview with Reince Priebus for instance. No one is trying to tell the media what to do, but the media consistently tries to tell the country what to do—they try to boss everyone, from the voters to the president. When the president turns away press agencies with declining viewership, at unofficial meetings, the press cries about the country being under assault. The country is under assault, the question is, “From whom?”. The problem runs far deeper than a red-blue color pallet can render.
Back to Milo and pedophilia—exploiting Milo’s bad remarks in this way will ripple a dangerous effect. He did make overly-sexualized remarks, as he often does. He did come across as if his story motivates his attention-grabbing manner. As a journalist and senior editor attempting to explain many sides of a big problem, Milo dispassionately attempts to introduce the complex problems of sexual relations—a topic that encyclopedias couldn’t contain; there is no way that can’t sound like an endorsement to people who are largely unfamiliar with the horrid things that happen behind closed doors. He was careless, crass, and should have been more aware of how people would react. But far more importantly than the right or wrong of Milo’s character assassination, as we saw in this past election, all press is positive press.
Shock-value reporting of sex outside marriage preceded rampant sex outside marriage. Shock-value reporting of homosexuals preceded legalization of homosexual marriage. This time, the press is reporting with shock-value a discussion on “endorsing pedophilia”. Guess what is going to eventually happen anyway, no matter what is said about what is said anyway.
“Coming out of the closet” as a homosexual has nearly reached its peak of headline-power. Now, when people announce that they are homosexual, the presses don’t stop anymore. But, the press loves to stop for the capital “P” word almost as much as people love to hate to read it in headlines. Thanks to this “whatever-we-call-it” gaggle episode with Milo and CPAC and resigning from Breitbart, the new thing to talk about won’t start with an “H” or an “L” or a “G” or a “B” or a “T” or a “Q”, it will start with a “P”.
Many people will identify with Milo, in both his past and how he is a spicy-sweet blend that can never be perfectly understood. His support will grow. His new media group will take off. His re-negotiated book, with likely extra chapter, will sell more copies. Many people will announce that they have secretly had the same thing happen to them, but were afraid to speak out, until now. Children will learn another new word at an early age. And, eventually as unfortunately, from the topic getting such attention in the press, pedophilia will unfortunately increase to a point where, unfortunately, sex laws could be changed by a popular vote.
And, the press’ hunt for hate didn’t help to stop the spread. The remaining question is whether the press is just ignorant of its unbiased power to endorse everything it reports as good or bad, or if the eventual outcome was what agents of the press wanted from the beginning. Changing laws about sex sure has sold a lot of newspapers. But, only God knows the intentions of the heart. That’s true of the press, just as it is true of us all.
Keeping 70 years of war on the books is not only a bad idea, it is a hazard. That period is longer than copyright laws and ten times longer than debts can be collected and taxes audited. At some point, old debts are better to be sold off to keep the books clear of overdue accounts receivable. China has its reasons to want Taiwan, just as the Taiwanese have their reasons not to want China’s flag flown on their soil. But, keeping the discussion unresolved has resulted in growing opposition, not for Taiwan, but for China.
China’s “One Belt One Road” project in Europe is under investigation for legal compliance. Just the investigation is an insult and, even if it ends in China’s favor, that investigation could be reopened at any point in the future, even after the railroad has been completed. The two main points to note in the deal are that the government of China is negotiating in the manner of a private business entity and that China is consistent in wanting singularity in more areas than just maps.
The US has sent carrier group USS Carl Vinson to what it is calling “routine operations” in China’s backyard. Without 70 years on the books, not so many changes could be so easily chalked up to “routine”. Now, India wants in on the game.
When resisting Beijing control, many will cite Communist States like North Korea or Cuba. People don’t want their country to change in a way that introduces the need to join the government or military in order to have hope of a stable future. Taiwanese see smog in China’s air and feces in China’s streets and they think that more territory would make life even worse on an already strained government.
But, then there is what happened in Hong Kong. Regardless of which side of the issue people are on, media mogul Jimmy Lai, students, police, government, and businesses in Hong Kong saw quite a disturbance in Central during the “Umbrella Movement” occupation. But, Taipei’s “Sunflower Movement” only lasted three weeks and ended voluntarily, not three months only ending by forced eviction. Taiwanese elect whomever they want and they are happy.
Hong Kong’s theater and controversy, on all sides of the biases, can’t happen in Taiwan as the island’s situation now stands. If China’s flag flew over Taiwan’s, that would change and ways of life that are as subtle as they are constant would be up for grabs.
Chinese have their reasons for wanting to reclaim Taiwan. Taiwanese have everyone’s way of life in Asia as their reason for wanting the countries to call status quo what it is. Regime change would be a disruption, no matter who makes it.
The First Lady opened President Trump’s first presidential rally speech with the Lord’s Prayer. All the while, Washington is entangled in a “game of chairs”. Everyone defends himself. Flynn doesn’t remember what he said to Russia. Democrats are angry that whatever Flynn said surmounted to a reminder to Russia that a lame duck president is a lame duck president. Leak-hubs, such as The Intercept, defend the right to illegally leak information to expose greater illegality. And yet, nothing at all has changed for the Trump administration.
The sad element of Flynn’s resignation is how little young Socialists in America know of their history. Every president has appointees in his administration surrounded in rapture and scandal. JKF had Marilyn Monroe and Cuba; not Maryland, Monroe, and Cuba. Johnson had Vietnam. Nixon had himself, Chuck Colson, and G Gordon Liddy. Ford had Nixon. Carter had Iran. Reagan had Olly North and the air traffic controllers. HW Bush had Clarence Thomas, broccoli, and the price of milk. Clinton had too many to name, but begin with Joycelyn Elders, Vince Foster, Jennifer, and Monica. W Bush had Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, and Scott McClellan. Obama had Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, and his own birth certificate. But, if you read only reblogs from voters whose first elections had Obama on the ticket, you’d think that Trump was the first political leader to have any scandals and that he probably invented scandals altogether.
Gasoline is on the rise. California is under assault from the weather—both north and south. While some media voices claim that Trump’s goals are under assault, the better illustration is Trump and his sweeping supporters laying siege to the walled-in establishment in politics.
Forces often have a reverse effect. Rising gas prices will encourage the Keystone Pipeline, which will help bring oil pricing control in the Western Hemisphere to the Western Hemisphere. Protests against Trump will make the “precious Independent voters” more sympathetic to his cause—whether those protests come from rioters or from the Washington establishment under siege. With only 20 months until the next election, which won’t have Trump on the ballot, Trump supporters will focus their efforts to unseat non-cooperative Congressmen and any Senator—Republican or Democrat—who bleeds “political blue” when cut.
Opposition encourages transparency and thus confidence. Everything happening good is bad and everything happening bad is good.