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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, April 24, 2017

All eyes on Korea means all eyes on China, which means all eyes on Trump. What’s at stake?—not nuclear war, not regional war, not freedom for northern Koreans, but a trade deal with China. At least, that’s the story if you ask the money channels.

China is a “gold mine for innovation”, the hope for breakthrough in the car crisis—in case you didn’t know there was a car crisis. Australia is partnering with—of all countries—China to address cyber theft. China is such a booming, excellent, most-happening place that Chinese investors have actually decided it’s a good idea to finally start reinvesting in their own country.

But, most importantly, Trump needs to be very, very careful in dealing with northern Korea. China even said so. They even made a phone call to say it.

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Encore of Revival: America, April 24, 2017

Most of the news about Bill O’Reilly examines the history of advertising, accusations, money, and news ratings. The main topic of headlines from big news outlets are about Fox News—not what Bill O’Reilly’s future is, but what Bill O’Reilly’s future is at Fox, the competitor of reporting news companies.

It was all political. Yes, there are and have been for quite some time bolstered allegations that O’Reilly has too much playtime. The allegations against him pale in comparison to Clinton—either Clinton. But, it only mattered before because Bill was Big. It only bit this time because Roger Ailes wasn’t there to circle the wagons and he was targeted by special groups, such as Color of Change, that go after a media personality’s advertisers. That tried and failed against Rush Limbaugh, but not against Glenn Beck, Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, and now Bill O’Reilly.

Again, Sarah Palin called Republicans a “party of cannibals”. They are. Everyone has problems. Only venues that cater to Republican-voting audiences exploit each other’s problems like chickens in a pecking order. Were O’Reilly’s audience made mostly of Democrats, he might have been praised. Only Roger Ailes would not capitulate over the accusations against O’Reilly over a decade ago, but the Murdoch’s would capitulate over Ailes and they did last year. Now, Fox capitulated again. It won’t stop. Fox News is beginning a trend of giving in to every weak-kneed demand like General Motor’s executives caving-in to most every whim of the unions.

It’s over for Fox. It’s over and dead.

No industry leader allows its most-viewed show’s most-viewed host to leave—and continues to be the industry leader. Right or wrong, dishonest or ethical, when Fox News fired Bill O’Reilly Fox News fired itself. It’s all about money. Under the pioneer of Fox News, Ailes, it was about long-term money. Now, governed by some “great successor”, it’s about short-term money. It’s always been about money. Now that it’s become about the short-term, so short is the term Fox News has left.

Everything will shift to alternative media. O’Reilly is resuming his work at billoreilly.com as of Monday, April 24th. And, Milo Yiannopoulos announced this week that he is returning to the public eye in a “comeback tour”.

Big news venues have attempted to take out Donald Trump, bolster the Democratic candidate in Georgia’s special election—who still didn’t win the necessary 50% of the vote to keep his seat past June. And, Republicans continue to play a losing game—eleven Republican candidates in the same Georgia district!?

“Big News” is a dying industry cannibalizing itself.  Were it not for the desperate scramble for what remains of industry-wide dwindling ratings, Bill O’Reilly’s problems, whatever they may be, wouldn’t have mattered.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, April 17, 2017

It’s over. North Korea has been defrocked form among Communist nations. Russia and China aren’t trying to send any kind of message to the US by sending intel-gathering vessels to monitor the Vinson. Spectating usually indicates some kind of support. The “Ruskies” and “Chi-Coms”, as some affectionately call them, kicking back with coke and popcorn in hand isn’t exactly opposition. They are trying to send a message to Communists worldwide, including their own people: Act unruly and you’ll end up like North Korea.

The US can’t do an operation in their back yards without the neighbors keeping a close watch—and Northern Korea is in both Russian and Chinese back yards. If the Chinese and Russians wanted to send a message to Washington, they’d send attack vessels like Putin sent late to Syria—at least, he pretended to send a message.

Countries must appear strong. There is a lot of chest puffing and thumping, even with the soon-to-be-deposed occupation of Northern Korea. The Russians and Chinese will be glad to have the dictator child off of their table of concerns. And, in the process, they want their own people to know whose still boss.

So, it’s over. Soon, we’ll find out just how many Northern Koreans cried for the death of their late “Dear Leader” because they missed him or because they feared what the child dictator would do them if they didn’t. Korea is about to become one country, finally. Kim Jong-Un decided that over the weekend when he threw the temper tantrum that broke every camel’s back in the caravan. Now, the caravan is coming for him.

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Encore of Revival: America, April 17, 2017

America is seeing a lot of in-fighting, so we are led to believe. Some of it is purifying while some of it is foolish. Some is real while some is over-reported.

Reporting would have us believe that Trump’s administration is divided. Little be it known that Lincoln packed his own cabinet with opponents in the Republican primaries. Some competition isn’t exactly bad. But, we still won’t know the whole story for at least two years.

Bill O’Reilly’s career is all but over. The big question is about timing. Roger Ailes resigned about nine months ago amid accusations because he didn’t want to be a “distraction” at the network. Now, accusations against O’Reilly have been long floating like feathers of a pillow emptied in the streets. But, only now are they surfacing. Why? Being the “network for Conservatives”, Sarah Palin is right. Republicans are a “party of cannibals” and, now, that same in-fighting narrative is being reported in the White House.

While the Conservative voters don’t want anything to do with a “party of cannibals”, the establishments that depend on them—Fox News and the RNC being at the front—don’t seem to get that message. O’Reilly is Catholic. Conservatives are often Christian in some form or another. Forgiveness is part of their model. Fox News and the Republican party would both be wise to denounce their tradition of socially cannibalizing. Fox News doesn’t answer to CNN and NBC audiences, it answers to its the Fox News audience. If O’Reilly resigns, it’s the beginning of the end for the Fox News Channel. If Bannon resigns, it’s the end of the Republican party.

But, that’s okay. Another news network and another political party can always take their place. Maybe that would be best anyway.

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Drafting Peace in the Pacific: Asia, April 13, 2017

We no longer live in a world without alliances. Yes, individual nations retain sovereignty within their borders. However, the days are over when a single nation will boss and police an entire region alone. One nation can no longer take out an “enemy” in another nation as the “lone ranger”. Any nation that tries will face scorn from others. If a government goes rogue, a plurality of other nations must intervene. This is international political gravity today.

We live in a world of growing alliances between sovereign nations.

China has been seeking respect and peace in its part of the world. The US has been seeking to cut off enemies before they have an opportunity to grow. In the Far East, the US’ solution has been to patrol freely in Asian waters. China’s solution has been to fly its national flag on more soil. Neither process will continue to work. And, if both processes continue, they will lead to unimaginable fallout, what some might think as WWIII, though still not that grand.  · · · →

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, April 10, 2017

Xi Jinping’s poker face waned. He’s not happy, though the reasons elude most Western readers. Though not democratic, Xi is a politician. He must balance wisdom with pleasing the veiled powers that overshadow the goings on of China. Those powers won’t hesitate to give the ax to any leader who fails to deliver on their expansionist ambitions. Xi has fought corruption and sought infrastructure. Xi was gaining momentum. Now, the US and Russia are rumbling in both of China’s back yards weeks after Xi announced that, where military tech is concerned, China needs to play “catch-up” or become “ketchup”. This can’t be good for Xi’s inside politics with Chinese elections approaching.

Trump certainly isn’t pulling any punches. Striking Syria while dining with China’s Chairman wasn’t unintentional. Remember, Trump has dealt with the Chinese on many occasion. Xi is difficult to read, except to say his rehearsed Asian smile is waning. A micron might as well be a mile in an Asian smile. In the weeks ahead, remember that Xi is half himself and half the hidden hand that controls all that goes on in China. That’s true of every Chinese president. In all this, Xi met with Trump and all went well. No matter when or how Xi’s career closes, no matter what his true ambitions were, China will go on and history will remember Chinese President Xi as the builder of bridges, inroads, aircraft carriers, and islands.

Xi wanted to remind the US of its Capitalist values: Don’t blame others for your problems. Yet, China clearly doesn’t share those values. Neither does North Korea, the stray dog that has adopted the doorstep at China’s northern back yard.

From China’s vantage point, North Korea is a nuisance and an excuse for an unwelcome US presence. Kim Dynasty narcissism has over-played and pushed the envelope with Beijing. Watch for Chinese heads of State to bark, then look the other way, much how the US does when Israel responds to Palestine.

So, why is the media announcing and discussing the possibilities of dealing with North Korea? True military tactics never make it on television—unless the reporter finds himself accused of a frivolous-like sexual crime and holes-up in an Ecuadoran Embassy to avoid extradition for espionage. It’s discussion on US military options like we saw over North Korea this week that makes it difficult for a US prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian “Espionage” Assange to seem believable from any angle. “Assassination, nuke-up, or surgical strike” are only media talking points to make the greater point: Knock it off or else.

Assassinations are illegal for the US according to the US’ own law, viz Executive Order 12333. It is doubtful, even in Trump’s stock-up on signing pens, that he plans to wipe out that order for North Korea alone—if he does, Assad is his next target and Kim was just an excuse. The US hopes to finish this situation in Korea before a nuclear buildup has time to grow moss. So does China. A “nuke-up” wouldn’t be grand strategy. An internal strike inside North Korea would illicit an avalanche. Anti-Iraq II Donald J. Trump won’t want to create another “vacuum”. A surgical strike would be an assist for something else. What’s really going on? Don’t think for one second that the media does know or that CIA doesn’t.

There’s joker in the North Korean deck and it is stacked to favor the West. We’ll just have to keep watching.

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Encore of Revival: America, April 10, 2017

Senate Democrats are now making noises about 60-vote cloture being removed for legislation. The cloture rule was removed 55-45 for Supreme Court nominees. Why Democrats have brought up the discussion for removing the cloture rule altogether remains a mystery, unless they expect to use fear as a preventative tactic in 2018. However, once an idea is introduced, even if by fear, the idea is up for valid discussion. Had Democrats hoped to retain cloture for legislation, they should have allowed Republicans to bring it up first. Now, elimination of the cloture rule altogether is inevitable.

The White House is in somewhat of a shakeup. Chief “Strategerist” Steve Bannon is getting shuffled, but no reasons seem to be valid. We may not find out the real reasons for at least two years, once the presses cool off, the stakes aren’t as high, and people aren’t so tight-lipped about inside baseball.

Trump ordered a 59-Tomahawk cruise missile strike on Syria after 80 were killed with nerve gas. The missiles targeted what was thought to be the base for the gas attack. Russia is also on the scene. The nerve gas was banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Putin responded with his usual worldview of nationalist, socialist victimhood. Whatever he and his crew resort to is necessary because of what the West took from them in the zero sum game. Putin is a true Hitler—gentle and endearing as a teddy bear who never raises his voice before his audience, compassionate, polite, never rude, never tough to critique directly, only strong to march behind, and everything he does is excused by what “they did to us”.

Syria’s use of banned chemical weapons could have been a ploy all along, by the Russians and their allies, to draw Trump’s action to justify escalation. Though it may have been bait from the Russian’s view, it might have been brilliant for Trump to tell the world that the US isn’t pantie-whipped anymore and to draw Russia’s attention to the Middle East while the USS Carl Vinson carrier group goes to North Korea.

Nearly 100k jobs were created in March alone, over 200k in February. An accurate presidential poll—Investor’s Business Daily—ranked Trump at 34% approval. Since Trump took office, Americans have only seen two results: a boom in jobs and an onslaught from the news industry. The people haven’t heard much from Trump directly because he is too busy keeping promises, no matter how politically controversial those promises are.

With good and bad news, people’s political opinions haven’t changed; they have only strengthened. And, that strengthening is just now getting started.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, April 3, 2017

China continues an uphill battle with the Western media. Sunflower students were cleared of all charges in their occupation of their nation’s legislature three years ago, almost to the day. Joined by leaders Lin and Chen, Joshua Wong from Hong Kong’s Umbrella movement urged the release of a Taiwanese college instructor, Lee Ming-che, from China’s custody. Lee is an advocate for human rights and is being held for matters of “national security”.

The best way to understand the Hong Kong Umbrella movement’s end game is regime change in China. Hong Kong has no military and pro-independence Hong Kongers don’t seem to be advocating mandatory military draft enrollment for all Hong Kong males. Taiwanese males not only have mandatory draft enrollment, but have a minimum compulsory service time after finishing school. Taiwan’s student movement interrupted secret government talks between the US adversary China and the US ally Taiwan. Taiwan purchases military equipment from the US, including Apache gunships and F-16 fighters, though trade was the primary concern of the Taiwanese protest. Both military and trade are China-related talking points from President Trump, especially this week. No such talking points related to the Hong Kong protests.

The Taiwanese movement was led by young men who would serve in their nation’s military, disrupted the government’s legislature for three weeks, and resulted in change. The Hong Kong protests were led by young men forbidden by their government from serving in their military, occupied public streets for three months, and only led to international attention. The only way to gauge the Hong Kong protests as a success is if the goal was to stir international attention in the media to raise sentiment against China—enough sentiment that China’s government changes enough to grant Hong Kong independence. That is quite a significant change, enough for China to consider the matter one of national security.

So, then, viewing activism as a matter of “national security” in China makes sense. Hong Kong’s status with China and human rights are topics Western media readers are interested in. By detaining people who live outside of China inside of China, activists such as Joshua Wong are receiving all the ammunition they need, courtesy of China.

China truly is in a war against the Western newspapers. That is probably why economics are Beijing’s primary tool against North Korea, while Donald Trump seems to have a different strategy in mind.

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Encore of Revival: America, April 3, 2017

Federal interference and wielded “power of the purse” miraculously became unethical in Seattle when Trump took the helm from Obama. Nearly everything the new president does is bad, not because it is bad in principle, but because it is done by the president whom the media didn’t predict would win the election.

The “Freedom Caucus” in the US House of Representatives will gain power. By defeating a half-baked “repeal and replace”—a bill that reaffirmed the power for a US Secretary to create whatever related policy he willed—the Freedom Caucus proved that it was not only powerful enough to defeat a bill that it’s own voting bloc presidential candidate sought, but that their defeat was so powerful that they provoked him into giving them credit for wielding such power.

But, an understanding of President Donald J. Trump suggests much more. This is a mere game of “catch” with a hardball. Trump didn’t get what he wanted, he negotiated hard line, so did the Freedom Caucus. In the end, he will surely make an awesome deal. Republican party unity will increase. Paul Ryan will object every bit as much as he takes public credit for “party unity”. And, a bitter few will seethe in smoke-filled back rooms while the Republican party feigns unity through Trump’s tenure. After that, the Freedom Caucus will have to find a new home.

The big news this week is that third party politics already had its cornerstone laid, and that nobody noticed.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, March 27, 2017

North Korea is ready to nuke, Hong Kong has a new CEO, and China is talking. In fact, China is talking with almost everyone, even Taiwan, as headlines would have us believe.

Hong Kong’s new CEO, Carrie Lam, is ostensibly favored by China’s Communist Party. But, all politicians in the special administrative region are vetted by Beijing. The western press is beside themselves with how much control Beijing exerts, regardless of how loyal Lam actually is. Nothing has been proven yet because she hasn’t had a chance to do anything yet. She was just elected. Of course, in the minds of the western press, Beijing is guilty until proven guilty.

Hong Kong is self-proclaimed as “Asia’s World City”. It is the doorstep of semi-closed China to the open West. What happens in Hong Kong is exactly what Beijing wants the world to see. What Beijing sees as an advertisement the West sees as “public relations”—for better or worse. Lam is Beijing’s choice as the new “poster girl”. While she didn’t get there by being incompetent, the true test of CEO Lam’s leadership will be whether she creates or prevents excuses for western headlines to make China look like a bully.

While the West villainizes Beijing, it is becoming more and more clear that China is doing what it thinks best for itself, but doesn’t understand PR with self-governing nations. All this outreach—Pakistan, New Zealand, India, Cambodia, the US, Taiwan—it’s going to backfire with stories like China not allowing a married Australian resident academic to return to Australia. In the mind of the West, the decision is what matters. In the mind of Beijing, the reasons are what matter.

China’s President Xi admitted last week, more or less, that China needed to play “tech catch-up” with the States. Now, China is investing in US startups to get military technology insight. Smart. The open, free enterprise, private, self-governed sector usually has the best tech.  The question Beijing should be concerned with is whether its researchers will hunger for the same inspiring freedom as the companies they seek to glean from. While Beijing hopes to acquire information, they may inadvertently acquire free market ideology. That can be quite unsettling, as if the Pacific doesn’t have enough “waves” already.

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Encore of Revival: America, March 27, 2017

Trump has his “Russian election help” just as Obama had his “fake birth certificate”. While the Democratic base pushes for investigations of an election for which they still can’t accept their loss, there is little to no complaint on Capital Hill about the Clinton Foundation’s involvement in Bernie Sanders’ defeat at the primaries. The so-named “Russian hack” investigation puts all of its hopes on the FBI director whose “investigation” ordered the local Sheriff to enter random passwords into the San Bernardino iPhone until it locked, rather than following Apple’s instructions from the start. This is the same man whose investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails also went nowhere.

The truth doesn’t matter in these outcomes of legitimacy to hold public office. Once in office, the victor stays, the entire investigation is bravado for the base. Some call this “demagoguery”. And, half of America is finding the excuse they need to panic. America is headed toward a face off, not of facts or testimony, but of one opinion versus its opposite.

Take “Repeal and Replace” over Obamacare for instance…

In the first half of the week, headlines were dominated by the unproven accusation that the Obama-governed election was hacked by the Russians, as if that would somehow be a problem for Trump. Then, “Repeal and Replace” neither repealed nor replaced.

Republican leadership puts together a package to phase out Obamacare without harming the few who actually benefit from it. The “Freedom” caucus objects to it not being conspiracy-proof enough, more or less. Trump, author of “The Art of the Deal”, isn’t finished negotiating; it’s smoke screen time.

“Smoke screen time…”

Trump Tweets “Watch Judge Jeanine… tonight.” Judge Jeanine opens her show by saying that House Speaker Paul Ryan should resign. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus tells Sunday show host Chris Wallace that Trump’s Tweet was to help a personal friend promote her show and that the White House doesn’t want Ryan to resign—but, the discussion is now on the table. Suddenly, the White House supporting people in the media is a bad thing because Trump is the one supporting. Suddenly, reaching across the isle is a bad thing because headlines portray that Trump wants to be the one reaching. Like dogs begging for doggie biscuits, talking heads freely advertise that Trump is willing to accept any votes Democrats want to give him—as if that is something new. Now, the investigation into whatever the Russians were allowed to get away with under Obama’s watch is creating questions for Obama officials to draft answers for. What does it all mean?

It all means that players who try to “trump” Trump, are gonna’ end up in a dust storm. Trump’s election didn’t merely metaphorically “blow up” Democrats, or Republicans for that matter, but the entire political landscape with them. That’s what his supporters really wanted, and that’s just what they’re getting. That’s what this is all about: blowing the dust off an archaic stronghold.

Right or wrong, Washington has a new general in town. No more business as usual. No more politics as usual. The games aren’t going to look like the Harlem Globe Trotters vs the Washington Generals anymore.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, March 20, 2017

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

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Encore of Revival: America, March 20, 2017

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

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, March 13, 2017

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1WzbdlmQMM

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.

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