Encore of Revival: America, June 5, 2017

The facade of debating whether to do “good things” has run out of time. One of the best-kept secrets in American politics is that both Democrat and Republican voters support the same goals; their disagreement is about history. The Paris Agreement was as much about climate as the Affordable Care Act was about affordability or health care. They were only ever about dismantling America.

Trumpists in America did not and do not ever dissent on one, single selling point of laws that get rammed-through Congress—neither the Affordable Care Act nor the Paris Agreement, nor SOPA, PIPA, nor TPP for that matter. They objected to the foreseeable doom that snake oil being shilled by Charlatans would never deliver.

The political polarity’s axis in the United States is becoming apparent. We don’t have pro-democracy and pro-republic. We don’t have pro-labor and pro-business. We don’t have pro-growth and anti-growth. We don’t have anti-establishment and pro-establishment. We have pro-foundation and pro-facade.

As real, true, genuine steps begin to actually clean up the air and water and actually bring quality health care to more Americans, supporters of the old facade show their true colors—they never really wanted health care or clean air as much as the destruction of their own country.

But, people who love their country have what it takes to protect their country, which was why a facade was never really going to fool enough people. Even if James Bond stories were reality and Russia did install Trump, that would only have been possible because facade politics is failing.

The facade didn’t stop terrorism. The novices blame the current president mainly or the previous president at most. Few believe that decades of policy affect today. Everyone capitalizes and politicizes.

It’s hard to say no to anyone in times of trouble. Globalists call for globalism. Arms dealers call for arms. Lawmakers call for laws. Bankers call for investments. Builders call for infrastructure. Voters call for elections. Unpopular politicians call for elections to be suspended. A dying news industry makes more fake news.

And, there is no shortage of fake news. Terrorists blame the West and so do personalities in mass media. So far, no one has called for haters and fakers in the news to be “regulated”. The economy will do that all on its own.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia May 29, 2017

The situation in the Western Pacific grows more precarious. Muslims have taken over some territory in the Philippines. Martial law has been declared in those areas. The Philippines’ president, Duterte, has offered to resign if he can’t keep the peace.

For a long time, the Filipino people have wanted respect as a sovereign nation, hungering for that respect as much as China if not more. This has led the Philippines to diminish ties with other nations, including the US, and warm up to China. Sun Tzu might advise that any form of hunger can be exploited as a weakness, including hunger for respect. Now, an extreme sect of Muslims have interrupted the sovereign work of the Filipino government. If any forces lack respect in the Pacific and undermine rule of law, the US is not the foremost among them. The current security arrangement in the Philippines has failed to keep law and order. Duterte’s policies are being put to the test. If he can’t regain control, then both China and the US will step-up their presences.

Northern Korea is already stepping up its game, now with rumors of anti-aircraft missiles. The US has sent yet another strike force to Korean waters. China knows the US is the best hope to end the mess on the peninsula, whether in terms of finances, diplomatic affinities, or strength of arms. Importantly, the Western press is mounting a well-published case against the Kim regime comparable to the case the W. Bush administration mounted against Saddam Hussein.

In the South Sea, Trump sent his first “sail-by” through China’s man-made islands. US threats to blockade the artificial island militarized bases are not empty threats, not in the least. Nor is China’s threat to declare war if the US follows-through.

Trump is going to need to act on North Korea while still on friendly terms with China. Both China and the US know this. With these islands, China and the US can’t play “let’s be friends” forever. The problem of the artificial islets in the South Sea will compel quicker US action on the Korean Peninsula.

The majority argument, however, will go to the international view. If China’s military presence in the South Sea is benign, why didn’t China demonstrate respect and stop Muslims from disrupting the China-friendly Filipino government? That’s the question the Western taxpayers will ask, anyhow. The West will have gone to much trouble and will pin China as the perpetrator.

But, there is another part of Western Pacific strategy to consider. When the Korean peninsula is united, all those US troops in Southern Korea will be able to point their guns elsewhere. With the US being “the liberator”, the soon-to-be united Korea will not want to side with the People’s Liberation Army of China. China isn’t foolish; they’ve thought about that.

Moving on the Koreas will make moving on the South Sea more feasible, from the US military’s perspective. China knows that someone must move on the Koreas and that “someone” can only be the US. After that, islets in the South Sea can quickly be taken and turned against China. With Muslims disturbing the Philippines, Duterte—or whoever is president at the time—may suddenly turn away the Chinese for not helping enough and welcome cooperation with the US. But, if not, the Philippines would collapse if they abandon the mess at home to help China keep the South Sea.

Then, the spearhead aims at Taiwan like Saruman marching against the Shire. Two times this weekend, in both north and south of Taiwan, a train hit a person on the tracks. It’s a string of freak accidents that almost seems poetic, but with no explainable meaning as of yet.

Moreover, an outspoken DPP associate, Lee Ming-che, is still being detained in China with no statement on which law in particular he violated.

China’s situation is difficult and complex, even though the West will tend to take the easy road and villainize China. Beijing needs to retain domestic control. This is all the more evidenced by the situation in the Philippines. Lee is a disturbance, even if his cause is good. China doesn’t see the world in terms of values and ideologies, but in terms of maintaining power in order to maintain peace. Muslims are at China’s doorstep, not only in the Philippines, but also in Malaysia. This is no time for Lee to be stirring up trouble.

But, in the eyes of the evermore compassion-driven West, by detaining Lee after speaking out on matters of Human Rights, China is only trying to silence a whistle-blower for blowing the whistle on them. As with the anti-China press war that began in Hong Kong, the Taiwan question comes into play, affecting public image as much as military strategy.

Both China and Taiwan have some hypocrisy in the Lee situation. China claims Taiwan as its own territory—though claiming Northern Korea might be more tenable, more affordable, more militarily advantageous, and result in more peace. China certainly has paid the bills in Northern Korea. Taiwan is an island already surrounded by Western allies and is about to be surrounded by even more. Militarily, China’s claim to Taiwan is not strategic, it is about something else.

By China claiming Taiwan, Taiwanese have a vested interest in Human Rights issues in China. On the other hand, the DPP, the political party of Taiwan’s freshman president, a political party which Lee is affiliated with, claims that Taiwan is independent. This should mean that the DPP thinks that Taiwan “doesn’t have a dog in that fight” where Human Rights are concerned in China. They want to be independent, yet they also worry about the goings on in China as if they are family. The DPP makes it seem as if they want to have their cake and eat it too.

So, everyone is right, and wrong—it depends on who you ask. Eventually, push will come to shove and all the houses of cards in the Western Pacific will crash. If Russia intervenes then they might as well surrender Syria to the States. So, the “Ruskies” aren’t likely to tip any balances. Besides, they would rather bide their time, let China do their bidding, and let the US grow weary. Based on both push and advantage for action in Korea just before action in the South Sea, China could find itself in a checkmate in three moves. Then, we’ll see if that “bromance” between Trump and Xi was all it was chalked up to.

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Encore of Revival: America May 29, 2017

Today is Memorial Day, when Americans remember brave men and women in uniform who do the necessary work and take the necessary risks to preserve freedoms for others—freedoms that can never be attained by entitlement. Freedom is neither free nor guaranteed. It must be earned and preserved. Today we pause to honor those who do that for us.

At the recent NATO conference, Britain’s Prime Minister May confronted President Trump about leaks from within an administration Congressional Democrats have blocked Trump from replacing. There seems to be no word so far on May’s view of Obama hiring people in the leaky administration or the Democrats for not encouraging leakers to be replaced more quickly.

Montana’s Republican Congressman finally did what many people have wanted to do to news reporters. Greg Gianforte reportedly body-slammed a reporter from the UK Guardian and broke his glasses. And, you know what they say about hitting a guy with glasses. Perhaps the reporter lacked the foresight to see it coming. Or, maybe he didn’t understand the very news he was covering, so he made the news instead. Shoving an uninvited microphone into the face of a Montanan is a bad idea—but Gianforte will have to get used it since he plans on going to Washington. This proved that the new Congressman is not part of the establishment.

It wasn’t the first time that a country-bumpkin good ole’ fashion red-blooded American opened a can on the Britts. It’s not the first time and won’t be the last time Americans feel frustration with the news media. Three newspapers pulled their “endorsement”—even though it was probably too late to matter, albeit the news doesn’t endorse candidates, it reports on them, hopefully not provoking assault in the process.

Gianforte apologized after he won the election, both to the reporter and the Fox News team on the scene for the trouble. Waiting was the right thing to do—staying his apology until it wouldn’t get him more votes. He was sincere, his supporters in the room forgave him, and it did seem to be about personal respectability and leading by example. His support will likely increase, both for being able to make such a “real-human” mistake and for being able to apologize for it. These things could make him a much needed and positive influence on Congress.

There is something symbolic to this. With Gianforte’s victory in Montana, a second “butt-kicker” will soon arrive in Washington. The news industry as a whole is taking a tumble, literally and figuratively. The scripted assault plan from the media playbook is now mounting against Hannity and everyone is responding on cue. Information leaks in Washington continue, all in ways that indicate the previous administration. An obviously predictable change is under way on many levels.

But, “obvious” isn’t obvious to everyone. Mark Zuckerberg wants a “universal basic income” and threw GDP under the bus in favor of the ethereal, non-economic feeling to “find a meaningful role”. If a minimum income can be guaranteed then there is no need to study or “try new ideas” for that matter. Zuckerberg wants a “cushion” so we can try new ideas without feeling economic fear, forgetting—or perhaps never learning—that invention’s mother is necessity. If there is no risk then there is no progress. Dostoyevski’s, and many others’, very inspiration came from not having an economic cushion. If Zuckerberg got his way, innovation would diminish, as it has in every economy every time it has ever been tried on Earth, from the Pilgrims to the Russians. But, kids who don’t study their history tend to repeat it.

Steve Jobs didn’t speak at Stanford until he had gray hair and, when he finally did, he simply told stories from his life. By contrast, the young Harvard dropout speaking at the Harvard graduation this past weekend couldn’t talk about his life story because he hadn’t lived long enough to have one. Mark can’t say that he got fired from Facebook, started a new company, found his spouse, then went back to prove that only his brains could run the company he started. He’s still green. Even though he talked about innovative-economic theory, he made his fame is from success in software, not success in macro-economic planning. It was a kid telling kids what the kids wanted to hear.

The entire generation lacks “independent critical thinking”—the ability to scrutinize one’s own ideas and dispassionately present and welcome arguments, both pro and con, to understand life most accurately. Not knowing what to make of current events, that generation is drunk on the fantasy that Trump only won the election because the Russians rigged it—a leaped-to conclusion no prosecutor has even suggested and an indication that the young voters watch James Bond more than they watch the news.

Trump is as green to politics as Zuckerberg is to economics, except Trump has a life story that includes both failure and rebound. He is a business man who reached out to Director Comey, a man he had the power to fire at any time. A good boss does that in the business world, but in politics that pre-firing courtesy easily comes across as scandal—even when it is not—especially in the eyes of those who are already on a witch hunt. If Trump did something truly wrong, it remains yet to be seen.

These supposed “scandals” in the news about Trump, so far anyway, are mere delusion for the disillusioned, begging the question of whether delusion is all there is to these reported scandals. It would be great if a non-delusion-driven investigation would actually get under way so that there would be something real to report and comment on. And, that day may yet come, even though it is not today.

Many voters—mostly the kids—are still disappointed after the first time an election didn’t turn out how they wanted it. They are in the “denial” stage of that process of grief. If they were as right as they think themselves to be then they would have seen it coming. But, they didn’t. Based on evidence, the world today does not need Zuckerberg’s basic universal income guarantee; we need basic critical thinking.

Some people have that basic thinking, the rest wake up every day surprised and disappointed. In such times, everything is seen for what it truly is and, evidently, that trend won’t stop anytime soon.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, May 22, 2017

The big question surrounding the time of North Korea’s end will be logistics. It won’t be about tactics or the “most diplomatic-surgical way” to end the volatile regime. While the scene is that of the super villain who has strapped himself into a chair, booby-trapped with trip wires and armed with explosives, even more important things are going on. Large-scale powers don’t think about micro-tactics, they think about logistics. And, logistics are shaping-up.

Social energy is one important logistic. The people of nations involved must see a viable path to support certain action. Navies in the region are burning up tax dollars, something that can’t continue forever. Taiwan is itching for recognition in the world and the world itches for Taiwan to be recognized—and Taiwan is making much more progress than in years past. Then, there is trust.

From a PR perspective, China is failing. But, from a spying perspective, China has turf to defend. China’s isolationist policies may seem anti-free speech to the West, but China sees spies to catch and leaks to plug. Trump doesn’t like leaks either. Spies are dangerous. China is willing to kill them while Americans publicly oppose executions while secretly wishing the deaths of their daily enemies. China’s execution and imprisonment of CIA spies caught during the Obama years is very understandable. But, the American public won’t see it that way.

This week, a huge ramp went up to alert the public to “news” that is anything but. China caught and executed CIA spies long ago. It didn’t matter until now, when social support is an important calculation with logistics of war. That explains the Pentagon statements and the newspaper trends in America as well as Europe and Australia. The Western public is being rallied against China. That is significant.

Then, there is China’s image with the Koreas. China won’t be too hard on North Korea. China is banning South Korean travel because it doesn’t like the US presence in South Korea. That’s understandable, but not to the pop star fans in South Korea or the United States. When South Korean pop stars tour the US, more young people in the US will become aware of the issues. China could have stopped it, but Beijing still struggles to understand the Western mind. The Korean pop star fans in China might start struggling to understand Beijing’s mind, at least more than in the past. When you turn people away, they don’t just go home, the go elsewhere. That’s not easy to comprehend when you’ve always gotten what you want and always been told what to want to hear. Whatever China’s problems are or are not, the travel bans make China look worse than it deserves.

The real crime was the Shakespearian “fatal flaw”: China didn’t understand the West well enough. In a world of growing alliances between sovereign nations, that is an unforgivable sin as far as gravity is concerned. And, with gravity, mercy is too lacking and pain always greater than it should be.

But, all is fair in love and in war.

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Encore of Revival: America, May 22, 2017

The news of news: Roger Ailes, pioneer of the number one ranked news network, died this week at 77. He had his share of scandals, considered by many to be large among his demographic, yet small by the working standards of his industry. He was held to a higher standard as did he hold his organization. He oversaw the original Rush Limbaugh TV show before making Fox News into a household name. In both success and failure, Roger Ailes proved that Conservative opinion hadn’t gone out of style, that agenda-driven news reporting had, and that no establishment is too big to fail, including his own. Those who worked with him have much more to say. He will remain among history’s more remembered.

Now, the entire news industry has it’s eyes on Donald Trump. The vultures and sharks are circling, thinking to get lucky for the first time. In former FBI director Comey’s long list of problems, even after all the opposition from the political Left, the news narrative is that Trump’s only important reason for firing the FBI chief was Trump himself.

Good luck with that.

While the birds and fish swarm around abandoned driftwood, hoping to find something to feast on, the Republicans on Capital Hill do what they always do: nothing. Talk of impeachment, then markets tumble. Lay off on the word “impeachment” and the markets rebound. So, it’s clear what the money wants and why the economy improved. Notoriety for Trump from the markets is the most this vulture cluster will accomplish, second-most being that the political class will have something to keep them distracted. Third-most is the entertainment the Russians are getting out of this. And, hiding somewhere in the back of the room, someone made money last week and someone else lost money last week. But, the money made on market dip days isn’t newsworthy, right?

Speaking of Russian entertainment, Putin may respect Trump more for this whole “investi- gate” jazz, which could lead to peace in other regions, perhaps.

America is divided, but this isn’t news. A political class was evicted. Young, entitled, socialist “Hippies” were denied: They were told to work and give to themselves rather than receive. This Sunday, angry students, who lacked the maturity to accept election results—something Obama dissidents were able to do for eight years—walked out on Pence’s speech at their own graduation ceremony at Notre Dame.

Complaints continue and will continue. The current cloud mounting against Donald Trump can’t be taken seriously because the rage behind it is old and waning. The cat who walked by himself has returned, sits outside the the back door, and cries in the rain. But, this is not a hotel. Once you’re gone, you’re gone, no matter how much of a fuss you make of it.

That’s all this is.

From this storm of headlines, not one vote will swing against Trump. If anything, his support will increase with every “surely this is the end this time” attack against him that fails.

This is a great danger to the remaining political establishment. And, Trump isn’t in political danger, he’s out-smarting the bull once again. Allowing Robert Mueller to return as special prosecutor is outright “Rooseveltian”—keep them distracted while continuing right on schedule. Mueller won’t indite Trump anymore than Snowden couldn’t not defend Comey.

Flynn’s situation is becoming suspicious, but not from digging into his ties with Trump, his problems beg questions of the Obama years. Trump fired Flynn on principle: He gave a dodgy answer to Pence’s direct question. Anything we discover bad about Flynn at this point applauds Trump’s firing principles and smears Obama. But, that won’t stop the angry bull from thinking he’s gonna’ finally kill the blanket this time!

What’s all the confusion about? What’s the real story? The real story is that Washington scrambles to discover the real story while Trump travels overseas to coordinate with Israel, the Vatican, the Saudis, NATO, and G7. There won’t be any coordinated scheme against the president while he is gone.

It seems crazy. It is. The line between brilliance and insanity is too fine for the media’s eye to see. The smokescreen of chaos in the nations’ capital, just in time for the president to travel and create new headlines, is as masterful and understandable as abstract art. It may be good, it may be evil, but it is neither unintended nor unskilled.

So, another bullfighter triumphed against another angry bull this week. So what?

Look to the seas. Venezuela has real trouble, so does North Korea. China and Russia are on the move. China’s execution of CIA spies during the Obama years is just now making headlines. Europe faces a “Muslim” reformation it invited. All the while, the US military just got a $15B injection, thoroughly-opposed by pro-military members of Congress, and is undergoing fat-trimming scrutiny so severe that the over-eaters are whining as tax vultures have found a less crowded sky to circle above the Pentagon. While Capital Hill’s buzzards circle an empty coffin, work continues.

And, whoever bought all that discount stock that sold off on Wednesday stood to make a lot of money selling it back on the Thursday and Friday rebound, just as they will at the next opportunity, and the one after that… especially the dip days that are reported as market “panic”, rather than the “opportunities” they often prove to be.

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