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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 16, 2017

It's not quite there yet. Korea's conflict escalates, but there's still more mount to climb. Trump is increasing weapons sales to South Korea and Japan, based on a September 5 Tweet; North Korea called him a "strangler of peace" and a "war merchant". Mattis told the Army to "Stand ready". Hawaii is rehearsing for attacks.

Most of the talk is to get everyone psyched-up plenty of time in advance—soldiers, nations, and peoples. The timing, however, will come at a convergence of defenses being in place and opportunity being open. Then, the US will either strike with "just cause" or "strik-taliate" as it did with Pearl Harbor and the Lusitania.

In the meanwhile, expect the escalation to continue. Expect more Navy strike groups to be directed. Expect the USS Ford to replace the decommissioned USS Enterprise and the USS Reagan to replace the USS Vinson, somewhere in East Asia. Three aircraft carriers, two on their way in and one their way out is certainly a military peak. But, also keep an eye out for a shift in types of Korea-related headlines followed by a quiet from central command. Once the press release statements resemble a ship casting off, that's what you call a clue. And, we haven't been clued in quite yet.

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Encore of Revival: America, October 16, 2017

The NFL was a distraction. Some might say it still is. Trump is dismantling the Obama administration's work piece by piece, but most of the Anti-Trump TV time is focused on the NFL. Many Americans who never cared about politics before spent their Sunday afternoons and Monday nights absorbed in the NFL. It was a "bread and circuses" entertainment model that centered around shoving its head in the sand where politics was concerned. When the NFL allowed their rules and their players to get political, the business violated its DNA and it was only ever going downhill from there.

Since, Americans have gotten more involved. Some have gone more Left, some more Right, but more good people people are getting involved. The problem now is anger.

The nation is run by demagoguery and populist fads. No one understands critical thinking. Every idea is presumed to be part of an agenda, even at the coffee shop. Anti-Trumpists are feeling what Trumpists have felt for a long time: They aren't getting what they want. After a few years, they might realize how much they have in common with the "other guy". Many do already.

In the short run, America will see more and more hissy fits. But, eventually, they will talk to each other, see the results of policy and the consequences of election, and get their facts sorted out.

Strange as it sounds, American politics owes a great deal of gratitude to the NFL after all.

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Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 9, 2017

Taiwan publicized reports that China was pushing for its dream of reunification through many venues and in many nations. The fact that China works so diligently through aggressive diplomacy further indicates that the "military option" being less than preferable with North Korea carries some continuity with China's policy concerning Taiwan. That's not to say it is beyond Beijing to decide to strike Taiwan, only that it would demonstrate that China had exhausted other methods it preferred in its determination.

Military deescalation is not out of character with China. Chinese troops were friendly with the defense minister from India in her recent visit to the disputed area. Late August, China halted building the road that India objected to in a way that saved face for China, but also appeased India for the time. This doesn't indicate any change of heart nor indicate that China is not relentless, but the Asian culture of "preferring smoothness" in disputes seems to be holding true with non-volatile land on which China hopes to fly its flag.

Trump's resolve and openness, however, are a contrast to China's. In his "only one thing will work" comment this week, the US president is not afraid to use a military option to bring peace to a region if that region is arming up and dangerous. If the US wins in a conflict with North Korea, the US flag would not fly as the authority on that soil.

China is preparing for a routine leadership review. Much of the top brass under Xi Jinping will rotate out, but he himself is not set to retire anytime soon. While there may be some changes in temperature, there will be no change in the speed or direction China has been taking.

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Encore of Revival: America, October 9, 2017

One way to reconcile Americans to agree on taxes could be in the so-called "fourth tier". States, counties, and cities could be allowed to set that rate themselves, keeping half of their rate, but it still be taxed as a federal tax. That could also solve "no deduction for state and local taxes paid". We'll see.

Trump has new immigration proposals that could be enough to solve problems for the "Dreamers". But, Washington likes its gridlock. It just wouldn't be the same without telling we the people that we have to hate each other because of who is in office.

Both guns and gun laws can become a false sense of security. The big "takeaway" from the Las Vegas Rampage is how Americans are not only irritated with the news media, but are losing respect for celebrities "shooting" their mouths off only because they have an audience. Sometimes, "it" happens. It's easy to exploit any tragedy to justify one's own ideals. Las Vegas victims deserve better than to become politicized squabble fodder. Respect demands that those discussions offer freak disasters a moment of silence before resuming.

The NFL is getting back to its own rulebook. That may solve the controversy. Pence didn't walk out without prior warning or plans. If players kneel to the flag that defines them as "not British", they can't object to their Vice President leaving their game.

The genuineness and individual integrity of the players should not be questioned. They just don't know that disrespect of the flag isn't activism; it's a request that a different government to take over. But, when government-funded schools don't teach that, players can't be expected to know. Perhaps they could hold a fist over their heart to indicate they are "heartbroken" over the country they love.

There is also the issue of "raising awareness". Martin Luther King, Jr. brought much progress by "making waves" when the Evangelical community objected to just that. Perhaps this is the only way players feel they have at their disposal to raise awareness about ongoing grievances. That  is understandable. Awareness has, indeed, been raised. Now, NFL rules—that players stand, hold their helmet in their left hands, and refrain from talking—will be enforced even among dissenters. The country can get back to important discussions and the NFL can start playing football, hopefully.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 2, 2017

Things are stepping-up in Korea. The US is gearing up for a "military option". The question is how China will respond. China's approach with Taiwan is a contrast of priorities or a strong indication about China's approach with North Korea. If China won't take harsh action to stop a nuclear North Korea, then logically China should not be painted as a "hostile villain" over TAO (Taiwan Affairs Office) statements concerning Taiwan.

China has a reputation to defend, which includes normal political posturing. If China were to ignore a nuclear North Korea, but attack Taiwan during a time of no military conflict, that would seem to the world as "inconsistent". The Taiwan situation hit many headlines this week.

Taiwan's new Premier William Lai commented this week about "status quo". He shared his personal opinion at an early stage in his tenure, more or less observing that China and Taiwan behave as if they are already sovereign and that the main two political parties in Taiwan hold a policy that Taiwan has a government with a constitution that considers itself sovereign. Lai's comments focused on observing "status quo", added that, personally, he is "pro-independence", and that he will remain in-step with Taiwan's President Tsai, regardless of his own career and personal views.

Lai admitted that he should have kept his personal views to himself, but indicated that such transparency of his personal view is part of an ingenuous disclosure when legislators are inquiring about him as a recently approved for his public office. Needless to say, China was not pleased. Beijing responded with some simple public statements.

How serious China is about any intent to start a war to reclaim Taiwan? The first sober question would be about preparatory military exit strategy. Arguably, the US has more at stake in Taiwan than in North Korea.

Taiwan has more than a few F-16s, Apache helicopters, and other military and naval assets—all supplied by the US. If China's government were to exert power over Taiwan, that would change status quo—something Premier William Lai says would require a vote in Taiwan. But, the question few people ask is what to do with all those F-16s, helicopters, and naval assets.

If China truly intended to "go to the mattresses" to change status quo with Taiwan, at the very top of its statement would be a plan to first send all of that military equipment back to the United States, to gut technology from all military installations in Taiwan, and to provide to move nearly all adult men in Taiwan to any country other than China. Adult men in Taiwan serve "compulsory" military time in a military that used US military tech. That means nearly half of Taiwan's entire adult population would be a security threat if governed by a regime seated in Beijing.

Beijing has presented no such "exit strategy" for US military assets in Taiwan. That does not mean Beijing is not deserving of "respect"—the foremost question on many minds in Beijing. It simply raises questions about how much the "Taiwan question" has been thought through.

Even with all that is happening in North Korea, more security eyes should be turned to how China will deal with Taiwan once North Korea stops making headlines—or more importantly, when North Korea makes far more headlines than it already does.

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Encore of Revival: America, October 2, 2017

Eagles are attacking drones in Australia. So far, North American eagles don't seem interested... so far.

Several ratings are up: presidential polls, the Dow Jones, Hannity at 9 P.M., and an opposition senator in Alabama. NFL ratings, however, seem to be in severe decline. According to recent stats, the league's popularity fell by about half in the general public, but by more than half among Trump supporters.

The "kneeling players" don't seem to understand what they have gotten themselves into. They are not "bad" people. NFL dissidents do not generally begrudge the kneeling players as much as they begrudge the league. The nation is lucky that the US does not have a current formal declaration of war, lest protesting the US on foreign soil, namely Britain, be a "treasonous" offense. The players probably do not know that they are protesting the entire nation by not standing during a national anthem, nor about the legal meaning of protesting a nation's flag while in another nation.

Walter Williams says that the problem goes back to education. While he focuses on Blacks having been, more or less, "nannied" too much, education around the country has declined. Racism should be discussed. Most Whites agree. Whether this person or that person said, "Hands up, don't shoot," is a technical question of fact, not any view of the importance of the ongoing problem of racism. But, the American public has not been educated to know the difference. For more and more Americans, to deny "hands up don't shoot" in a specific situation means to deny that there is any issue of racism at all. Nothing could be farther from the truth. But, many people just don't know the difference. That is a failure in public education.

The NFL players should be educated about the meaning of their actions. They are genuinely asking for something good. Doing it in the wrong way was not their intent, but it was the wrong way. The responsibility belongs to the NFL. But, the league has allowed itself to get too involved in politics and not done enough to prevent controversy driven by confusion, the kneeling players being only the latest in a long slew of grievances with their viewer base.

There is opportunity for deep change in America, especially with the NFL. The league could get back to football and stop playing "politics". The players could be given a microphone and offered an alternate way to express their legitimate concerns. The country could clarify the truth about progress and "adaptive infections" where racism is concerned. Maybe the crisis in the NFL will initiate much needed conversation in America about many things, including thankfulness for a nation where those discussions can be held honestly. Whether the league chooses to save itself, however, is another question altogether.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 25, 2017

China is taking a turn for the better over North Korea's "Rocket Man". Stronger sanctions, limits on trade, cutting off oil, halting banking—it was all a wise move on China's part.

At the United Nations, North Korea made no new friends. They made no indications of any change of heart. North Korea shares the same view of President Trump as the American Left: that he is crazy and irrational and should be called the types of names expected on an elementary school playground.

Even China's new best buddy, Russia, is concerned for stability in the region. It's not a threat. It doesn't sound like a threat. Russia is genuinely concerned. Conflict with North Korea is, indeed, a nosedive and it does affect all Koreans, both North and South, as well as Japan, Russia, and, of course, China. Ending trade is the best bet.

Keeping North Korea alive and kicking as a China-Russia buddy is no longer a reasonable "hopeful". Now, it's about damage control. China is being urged to consider cleaning up the dismembered parts of a soon-to-be-former North Korea to avoid other problems.

Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is expected to call an election. There's no better time to get re-elected than when the backyard "Rocket Man" is firing missiles over your country and Russia and China won't do anything about anything except cut off trade with "Rocket Man". So, from this week's ongoing drama with North Korea, Japanese Prime Minister Abe is likely to remain in office and China got more involved.

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Encore of Revival: America, September 25, 2017

"Welcome to New York." President Donald Trump greeted diplomats and heads of state at the United Nations. Many of those diplomats have some kind of grudge or complaint against the only place on Earth safe enough for them to meet. Among them, North Korea's envoy, who used disrespectful "name-calling" rhetoric similarly to the American Left and now American sports.

Kneeling during your nation's national anthem, when standing is the respectful thing to do, does not make any move toward lowering conflict. Many nations would not allow such disrespect, but ingrates only disrespect the nations where they have such freedoms to take for granted.

Problems with "bad apple" police do not stem from lack of disrespect. Politicizing sports hasn't made the country safer, it has hurt sports ratings on TV. People watch sports to get away from politics, to rest their minds and hearts, and to share common ground with friends. Taking away that common ground will take away common ground.

There are many problems in America. One of the biggest problems is that many powerful people don't know how to solve problems, only spread them. For example, 20% of college students want to set a precedent that free speech should be shut down with violence.

So, while Congress is lowering taxes for the middle class and world leaders, once again, found America to be the safest place to exchange insults, top news this week was about the president vs sports.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 18, 2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LSM7VtOn4Q

China's situation is growing more and more similar to North Korea's. They seek to "match" the US in military strength, but aim to do so without US economics. Without the economics it will be hard to match anything. Slowly, but surely, the US is chipping away at money going into China.

Stocks were up in China, especially recently. Shenzhen is fairing quite well. But, Trump managed to block a Chinese company from buying a US chip maker, Lattice. This is just the beginning, not only for blocked deals both in the US and elsewhere, but also in bad international press against China.

Taiwan isn't helping. 500 Taiwanese in New York protested the island not being a UN member, claiming that Palestine is not a state, but has a membership. If Taiwan were to join the UN, it would be in the top 25% largest populations. But, pushing these matters will likely have no impact, other than bad press against China.

This week, North Korea launched again, scaring Japanese even more, making it even harder to defend the Kim Dynasty. China doesn't want to lose a "buffer" that would put a stronger US ally on its border, nor deal with an influx of refugees. But, China may have more than the situation with the US and North Korea to worry about. The dormant volcano on North Korea's side of the China border has been rumbling.

There's nothing like a small "act of God" to settle all disputes.

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Encore of Revival: America, September 18, 2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8mfY8PChg4

Trump meets with Democratic leaders. This is often known as "bipartisanship". Trump uses the word "bipartisan". The media reminds voters, at every election, that they, the voters, want "bipartisanship". If Republicans aren't "bipartisan", so the media reminds voters, then the Republicans will lose power.

So, Trump met with Democrats. He made some deals. He clarified where he wouldn't back down. The Democrats felt like he understood them. For that, the news now thinks it is the end of both political parties.

Trump's election was always going to spell D-O-O-M for both Republican and Democratic parties, but not for him being bipartisan. This may actually preserve those parties longer. The problem Trump brought to both parties was that he would outshine Republicans for Right Wing values and outwork Democrats on Left Wing talking points. He is preserving borders, simplifying and lowering taxes, and building infrastructure. That is progress by both Left and Right standards—progress "big time".

But, of course the best news has to be re-labeled the worst news. Most of the news this past week was gossip. Most of the news from the weekend was about movie awards, at which Trump held center stage without even being in attendance.

The only other main news included Google being sued for the same topic the "Google Manifesto" author wanted to have more open-ended communication about. Ironic, how a Leftist company suppresses a Conservative employee's opinion, fires him, and in the wake of the fallout gets sued for not having enough Leftist non-discrimination values.

But, the Left media doesn't want to talk about that. They also don't want to talk about how the ongoing investigation on part of the FBI into Russianewsgategate only seems to let Trump off the hook. If Trump did do anything bad with Russia, the Left completely failed to prove it.

So, the president acted in a bipartisan manner, finally. For that, we are told that both parties are doomed.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 11, 2017

The North Korean situation makes much more sense when seen from the perspective of a film director performing a social experiment. Film makers, directors, actors, screen writers—they love to do good "real life" research. If one was making a movie simulating culture in a story such as Orwell's 1984, North Korea would be a perfect laboratory.

Looking at North Korea through this lens, some predictions could be made. What outside forces and events would be necessary to watch a "hermit kingdom" implode?

Another perspective could be from, say, China's view. China rightly fears that it is surrounded by US allies—Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan... India is a "frenemy" of the US, but more of an "enemi-friend" from China's view. Then, there is Korea. If the North were provoked to invade the South, that would be "plus one" ally for China and "minus one" ally for the United States, at least on China's border. "Gain more land to win the war" is an old school strategy from Westpoint, a strategy that Grant had to put aside at Gettysburg.

So, the jockeying in the West Pacific could be more predictable by thinking of international policy for North Korea as Film Maker vs Westpoint China. One set of policies wants the North to be easily provoked into decimating the South to win a land war in Asia. The other set of policies initiates "outside force" to carefully study an implosion of the North—and that includes allowing the North to be provoked, but on a controlled terms.

This week, North Korea made even more threats. So, the theorem of Film Maker vs Westpoint China can be put to the test in weeks to come, watching international policies provoke the North to attack and pressure the North to implode. While that transpires, international support from common folk to see North Korea's dynasty come to an end only grows, and the international press certainly doesn't do anything to shift sentiment the other direction.

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Encore of Revival: America, September 11, 2017

Today, America remembers.

This week, three storms hit America: Harvey, Irma, and Donald. Harvey and Irma distracted the mainstream media from Storm Donald.

Harvey came with little warning and little room for evacuation. Irma came with plenty of warning, plenty of time and means of evacuation, and, evidently, plenty of need for evacuation. Storm Donald responded in strength and force. While Irma quickly lost wind and strength at landfall, Donald increased popularity to 46%. Donald maintained a greater positive impact on the economy.

Harvey defeated the news media for "not caring". Irma helped police catch several looters and, though hardship befell Floridians and their neighbors, they will be stronger in the end. Harvey and Irma have passed. Donald is continuing to storm Congress to simplify taxes, all the more to overcome fallout from Harvey and Irma. The greatest threat to disenfranchise storm victims is against members of Congress who do not get to work and heed the warnings of the growing storm coming against them.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 4, 2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQy0_XBp_Ks

Korea's situation is amplifying. We know this. North Korea is making more threats than ever with it's "boy king" on the iron clad throne. We know that military options are 1. relevant and 2. undesirable. The Pentagon consistently barks about "military options", while "economic options" stay on the table—don't overlook how talk of military bolsters economic action. Rather than reviewing the obvious, consider North Korea through the eyes of the White House—viewing both economics and security—and from the rest of the world.

As the Pentagon, economists, and surrounding nations sees things, not China, but specifically the Communist Party seated in Beijing, is viewed as the "menace of Asia", venturing into increased trouble with Vietnam, India, the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Myanmar, Malaysia, Mongolia, Africa, Europe, and others. North Korea has six months of oil remaining, and China does 90% of North Korea's trade. No Beijing Communist Party feeding the Kim Dynasty equals no Kim Dynasty nukes. That's how the Pentagon, the US Treasury, and many surrounding nations view China and North Korea.

It will never be said, just as much as it will always be considered: North Korea is a stepping stone to facing the Beijing Communist Party. For the Pentagon, it's practice and demonstration. For economics, North Korea is an excuse to cut off trade with China who manufactures technology, but does not develop their own, and uses copied technology with trade money to make it more difficult for their neighbors to sleep at night. Right or wrong, justified or not, that's how others view China these days.

Now, Xi Jinping addresses an assembly over the BRICS bank group, while still not having dealt with the menace in its own back yard. Without a word being mentioned, Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa—and the nations who trade with them—will view China as being the "maker of promises that won't be kept".

China had so much going for it, as did the Communist Party in Beijing. They had trade, they had marked-off territory that no one encroached. But, it wasn't "what they deserved by rite", thereby provoking them into too much venture and not enough housecleaning. Make no mistake, North Korea is only the tip of the iceberg marking regional vendettas that loom beneath the surface, both militarily and economically. The US is not as friendly as it seems, "considering either" economics "or" military; it has already been implementing both as part of a greater regional ambition.

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Encore of Revival: America, September 4, 2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKyv228NLG8

Sheriff Joe Arpio was pardoned, as predicted. His case could set precedent to defend future situations in years to come, notoriety only granted because he was prosecuted in the first place.

Trump will end the work permit program for "Dreamers", children who entered the US illegally with parents who entered the US illegally. Trump has not officially announced, but notified Ryan's office and the press on Sunday, though Trump's official announcement will come on Tuesday. Obama's program being shut down will continue for six months. If Trump were a heartless tyrant, there would not be such advanced notice.

Those at-their-entry-illegal children now understand America's culture and will retain the skills necessary to more likely re-enter America with better opportunities than Obama's quick-fix policy ever offered them. Their road ahead will be rough, but without hatred from even Trump's gentle yet firm hand. The rewards awaiting them at the end of that road will be all the more gratifying and those who supported Trump will applaud the Dreamers when they reach that goal. The road of the American spirit was never easy, it included pressing through the hard times that come with multicultural and international life.

Territories, provinces, cities, counties, continents, and countries need borders as much as homes need walls, bedrooms need doors, and private property needs marking. Suspending enforcement of those rules hurts everyone. Obama could have worked with Congress to make laws for Dreamers, but Obama chose not to help the Dreamers in the long run. Republicans in Congress have had more than half a year to present their Republican president with a bill to help the Dreamers, but they haven't. Congress still has six months to help the Dreamers.

But, Obama and Republican Congress have done nothing. They delegated action to Trump, who only has the power to enforce or not enforce. By himself, the president, whether Trump or Obama, can't dictate the perfect law for "Dreamers". Trump won't give false hopes because setting up people for disappointment is heartless. It was Obama who had less of a heart by cultivating false hopes in the first place, but not taking action to secure those hopes in the future. Still, there still is time, if Congress actually wants to do its job rather than just talk all the time.

Houston saw a great flood. Evacuating would likely have caused more problems and saved fewer lives. Individuals are responding from around the country. The good guys and bad guys had a chance to show their true colors. In the end, uncompassionate "Churchianity" that wouldn't open the doors of "Church Ma Hal" lost, along with the mainstream news casters who debated the first lady's shoes and interviewed victims in shelters rather than helping them. As much as Hurricane Harvey pounded Houston, it utterly destroyed shallow institutions in America and only strengthened America's spirit.

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