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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, July 3, 2017

China views Hong Kong as a doorstep between the world and largely otherwise closed China. This week, investment highways opened, allowing easier offshore investments in China’s bond market. At the same time, the world gets a glimpse into Chinese dealing through Hong Kong. Like the proverbial cat chasing the laser pointer dot—who never figures out what’s going on—Western culture’s action and interpretation will always confound the Chinese.

As the West believes, if you want to change the world map, you must ask the world’s permission first. It’s even the law China is bound to as a member of the UN. But, in Chinese culture, whoever makes an assertive move first will automatically scare everyone else in the room to ignore any other decorum, rules, or even laws, and accept the assertive party as the emperor of the room for the time being. Building artificial islands, installing military airport equipment, and telling everyone else to “GTFO” means the US should either be scared, or at least quickly attack. But, the calm, casual response of the US Navy, such as to have the lone destroyer USS Stethem conduct a “man overboard drill”, confuses and confounds the expected “cultural tidal gravity” of the Chinese.

The move wasn’t just provocative, as Beijing claims; it was an outright declaration of everything inches short of war.

Taiwan had its own waters incident. While the Chinese refurbished aircraft carrier—the Soviet era diesel-powered Ukraine-made carrier purchased by the Chinese to be no more than a “floating museum”—sailed through the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan-owned F-16s scrambled to shadow the voyage. But, parading a diesel aircraft carrier is not any show of strength in the mind of the US, but a show of unaware weakness yet also a show of progress and a “coming of age” psychology not to be ignored.

At least, that’s the perception.

South Korea’s new and moderate president met with Trump. What they met to talk about doesn’t matter as much as the fact that they met to talk. Moon thinks negotiation with Pyongyang is the answer. Reportedly, 77% of his people agree with him. He won’t back down on military, but he won’t expand it either. No one will accept status quo anymore.

So, money opened up this week in Asia and waking waters met more objection. The only reunification on the horizon is on a large peninsula just left of Japan.

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Encore of Revival: America, July 3, 2017

Since when was WWE considered violence? Perhaps CNN has rightly earned the slur “Fraud News” AKA “FNN” since the scripted, choreographed events from “World Wrestling” TV programming are now taken as legitimate “violence”. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press condemned Trump’s “violence”, but not WWE’s.

So, this is our world today, where “World Wrestling” is for real. WWE, renamed from WWF, is taken seriously by by the RCFP, and CNN is renamed FNN by the POTUS. How dare he! Someone call the Rock and get revenge!

Ironically, the mod video Trump Tweeted is from Trump himself pretending to beat up his billionaire buddy, WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, in a head-shave dare. In the match on WrestleMania, the official wrestlers beat up the referees as the two referees beat up each other; Trump won the dare and the WWE Chairman got his head shaved by one of the wrestlers and, of course, Donald Trump. They even used shaving cream and “Bic-ed it“.

Holman Jenkins, Jr. and Rush Limbaugh weighed in on Russianewsgategate this week. The developing theory thus far is that the Russians made a rouse by rousing that there was a rouse; accordingly and as if on cue, the at-the-time internationally viewed-as-pansy White House, along with at-the-time and on-record tech illiterate FBI Director Comey, took the bait and ran to “-itch slap” the Russians. So, that was the “Russian hack”—a rumor made by the Russians that there was a Russian hack made paranoid powers self-destruct. As Staples™ said, “That was easy.”

The “rouse rouse” tactic was also employed by Talleyrand and Fouché to bring down the paranoid French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. They simply started a rumor that they were plotting against the emperor and that was all there was to it. Napoleon freaked-out and did himself in, just as did the previous White House administration, with a little “encouragement” from the Russians and WWE Hall of Fame Superstar Donald J. Trump.

Believe it, many people take WWE videos seriously. This week, the press joined those “serious” WWE fans and took Trump’s video seriously. Since CNN and WWE are now considered equally “serious”, we ought consider Special Prosecutor Former FBI Director Robert Mueller as the referee who took over and then got his lights knocked out in the ring after the other referee, Former FBI Director James Comey, got his lights knocked out in the ring in a replay match, only this time, CNN gets its head shaved. And, just as before, Trump is piling on the shaving cream.

Now, serious questions remain about the appointment of a special prosecutor. It was a rouse rouse. What’s the point? So the developing theory goes, the only purpose of a special prosecutor is to help Russianewsgategate cover its WWE-sized fanny. While Limbaugh and Jenkins theorize that Mueller will come up with his own version of a “magic bullet theory” so that the imploding Washington establishment can evacuate the building they set afire, that won’t be all, folks; expect more.

Mark these words: A lieutenant/deputy -sized head will roll and that head will be just as innocent as it is painted, bribed, and blackmailed to look guilty, all to save the cause. That’s how the choreography works, after all. Believe it, many people will believe it.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 26, 2017

The big favor the US is about to ask from China about Korea is simple: Time’s up, stay out of our way. The Kim Dynasty keeps a sharp eye on information and a sharp sword at the throat of those well informed, be they informants or informees. China has not yet made a final decision on returning five Korean refugees to the North. The US still holds vigil, reckoning the length of its own patience, not only with the Koreas, but with any nations and leaders who haven’t done more to help. Resolve and wrath are swelling. This is the ultra-low tide before the tsunami.

The USS Fitzgerald’s collision with a freighter looks more and more suspicious, best explained as a semi truck trying to run over a motorcycle cop. The Fitzgerald managed to get whacked at just the right place and time so that few sailors witnessed and satellite phones made the only call for help. The ACX Crystal lingered all through the oceans until sunrise. At least, that’s what reports look like this week.

The whole thing smells “fishy”. We know that Filipinos generally dislike Americans and Chinese. They thirst for respect and independence and they are out of whatever patience they had. Xenophobia is a plausible motive on the culprit cargo ship flagged “Philippines”. Since the developing and contradicting reports don’t provide anything clearer, that’s the best explanation for the time being and the most benign explanation imaginable—unless the autopilot AI “dunnit”. Keep watch. When the verdict breaks the news the headlines will break the silence.

Taiwan is commissioning its own helicopter forces and it doesn’t look like Beijing will be extending any invitations to house the helicopters on the man-made islands in the South Sea. Meanwhile, Xi Jinping is headed to Hong Kong. Great efforts are being made to remove so much anti-China sentiment. 9,000 police will be dispatched. British newspapers are burning through ink and paper to tell the news. Xi Jinping is not to see anything less than the greatest praise for all China has done for Hong Kong on the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s own release from Britain. Authorities are working overtime to take all the many steps necessary to achieve the mountainous and historic task of ensuring so. Rest assured, it will happen. China will reach its great goal of a tour in Hong Kong without dissent.

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Encore of Revival: America, June 26, 2017

Once the United States people decide what they think about Otto Warmbier’s death, the results will make more headlines in the Asias than in the Americas. The news won’t let it rest because the people won’t let it rest either. Americans will blame the Kim Dynasty and China, whose funding allowed the Dynasty to not shrivel up on its own.

Dennis Rodman and his crew have sought good-faith diplomacy with the Kim Dynasty. US officials commented previously that if Rodman leaves for North Korea again he might not be allowed back in the US. Of course, human rights advocates have lots to say on the issues; this time they want Rodman booted from the Hall of Fame. Otto’s father denies that Rodman made any difference and called involvement a “distraction”. Mr. Warmbier said of failed attempts prior to Trump’s intervention that, “the results speak for themselves.” South Korea’s president seems to stand with Dennis Rodman, more or less, that diplomacy is such a strong possibility that it needs to remain our first choice. Many people in the US take the same view, but probably not quite most. Support for military action is a strong part of the logistic calculation.

Then, there are the race baiting comments from a professor and a Huffington Post article. As if that wasn’t enough, the group responsible for spying on Donald Trump before the election is stalling a Congressional inquiry. Obama’s legacy is beyond jeopardy, yet he still holds unshaken loyalists with such blind dogma that it typifies a cult following. The same can be said of Trump, except that the “Russian Hack” won’t be Trump’s undoing; the Obama cult doesn’t see this.

The media still pushes the hopeless “Russian Hack” conspiracy theory, not with any hope of impeachment, but to enrage the Obama cult and give them enough rationalization to carry on. Americans angry about Otto will rise up and shut down the oppression in Northern Korea, but at home they will be accused of “White supremacy”, clash with the Obama cult, and violence will increase in some American cities for a time.

Meanwhile, with the continued distractions from the media, Trump will continue with his goals. The country is on a road to better times. American energy supply is on the rise. Clean energy is less and less expensive. Trump pulled out of the non-binding agreement made in Paris—even though European nations also treated their part of the NATO treaty as de facto “non-binding”. Globalists are having conniptions. It will be very interesting and telling to see what the actual pollution in the US turns out to be in the following years. As with Otto’s release, those results will also speak for themselves.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 19, 2017

The big danger brewing in the Pacific this week was not about who was right and wrong, but about optics and perspective.

American college student Otto Warmbier came back from North Korea in a kind of coma. Almost every news story about Otto provides some background of his arrest and sentencing for taking a North Korean government poster one year ago.

North Korea mentioned “botulism” having preceded Otto’s situation. American doctors found “no sign” thereof. While doctors verify details, Otto’s situation of “nonresponsive wakefulness” has to do with levels of brain damage caused by lack of oxygen from the lungs, usually caused by traumatic injury or intoxication. In other words, it could look like Otto was beaten or poisoned, but news outlets can’t confirm this, so they won’t say it. But, that’s how bad it looks.

And, this is the big problem. There is nothing North Korea can say—even if it is true—to stop the West from being more enraged every time Otto is mentioned.

Taiwan is pursuing it’s desire for official recognition in the world and normal relations with China. This is different from the pursuits of China and the Philippines for respect; both have recognition. Taiwan has international respect, but lacks recognition as a legitimate country. Right or wrong lies in the opinion of the beholder. But, right or wrong, Taiwan isn’t going to stop pushing. The threat to China is that China consciously seeks the respect that it knows Taiwan already has.

Now, the  USS Fitzgerald was broadsided from starboard at night. Ships as sea are supposed to yield to approaching vessels on the right, as with road vehicles at a four-way stop.

Why wasn’t someone watching? Why didn’t proximity alarms wake the crew and prevent collision? Is the superior-tech US Navy ready for a confrontation with China? Most of the crew was asleep at the time. Seven are dead. The collision happened right where they were sleeping. Sailors woke up to find the ship taking on water.

Let’s just say that sailors woke up. In fact, the whole Navy woke up. The world is already waking up to everything going on.

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Encore of Revival: America, June 19, 2017

The complaints are mounting, but not sticking. When nothing sticks, the complaints just mount more and more. Eventually, there will be a mountain of nothing that sticks.

In other words, the nation is looking at the early stages of a “cleansing meltdown”.

Usually, the legitimacy of an election is called to question when the minority party in the legislature wins a speakership or presidency. If Congress were full of Democrats, that would be the biggest cause for suspicion. But, the Republican grip on Congress is actually growing.

This, combined with James Comey’s own words and the words of many others, tells us unequivocally that the alleged “Russia Gate” was only a ruse to enrage the defeated.

The people who aren’t busy working have time to complain and get all upset. They are about to make a big, huge, mountainous mess. Then, they will face the people who were too busy, but had to stop working to go deal with the people who weren’t.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 12, 2017

Most of the news this week was rehashed hype. North Korea is making progress with missiles. This is nothing new. The US presence in South Korea is controversial among South Koreans. This is nothing new. But, the reminders keep coming in and politics never misses opportunity.

South Korea’s new president, Moon, is undergoing his own freshmen shake-ups. His military people didn’t tell him the whole story. US anti-missile systems, namely THADD, put out a lot of juice, having incredibly strong radars that no ham radio operator would be allowed to own. People don’t like living near them.

Two are already in place and are going to stay there. More, reportedly four, are at a US military base in South Korea, can be deployed at any time, and they are going to stay there. Security is not diminishing in South Korea, it is just not progressing as quickly as was scheduled.

The new Korean president is listening to his voters. He wants any additional missile defense systems in places that won’t slow-cook his own people. The delay seems to agree with China’s objection to the far-reaching THADD radars snooping on its own turf. Washington would have us think that South Korea is selling-out to the Chinese. And, China surely will get a big head over this, thinking that their economic threats against South Korea for defending itself against a loose-nuke cannon—that China funds—is finally having sway.

The real story is that time is running out in the “logistics” calculation. The US Navy is waiting. South Korea is irritated and can’t and won’t deploy endless missile defense systems. A China-backed dictator needs to be taken out. China knows it. Trump knows it. And, the Trump-Xi “bromancers” wish they could get North Korea dealt with quickly so they can take off the gloves over the South Sea.

There, in the South Sea, no lie Trump may have told about former director Comey could be as big as the lie Xi told about China’s man-made islands: They won’t be militarized. If the same islands aren’t being militarized then the anti-missile defense systems in South Korea are actually gumball machines and the US Navy is only in South Korean waters to throw a pizza party, which means that China has nothing to fear.

But, the truth is different from how slow-moving takeovers get glossed-over.

The press is moving against China and South Korea more and more, especially with “life inside” and other pro-democracy stories. China’s view is also about logistics. They lack food. China doesn’t have enough land to grow food for its own people. News stories from other countries put China in a worse light than is appropriate.

China’s solution is to expand. But, the Chinese don’t seem to understand the Western concept of expansion: Master what you have first; if you can’t manage your house as it stands, making it bigger will only grow the problem.

Now, China’s silk road is up against ISIS, making a third battle-front for the Chinese. And, after all that bravado against the US, the Philippines are welcoming US troops to help deal with their own ISIS problems. Don’t think that US- South Korean relations are down in the least.

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Encore of Revival: America, June 12, 2017

Donald Trump has been and always will be a business man at heart. His interactions with Comey reflect a boss gently steering one of his top employees. But, Washington doesn’t work that way. The president can fire an FBI director, but he may not steer him. Many Americans will see this as an “endearing and harmless mistake”—evidence that the nation finally has a president who doesn’t think like a lawyer. Trump is guilty of thinking like the people rather than an old stone that has sat in the beltway so long that it looks like a pile of moss.

In his testimony, Comey verified what we already knew: Russians did not meddle with cast votes or vote count. If there was voter fraud, it wasn’t from Russia.

So, there was no “Russian hack” of the electoral process. There were hacks during, after, and before the election, along with a lot of other events that didn’t make the news. So, why the big news?

The news media couldn’t not cover it. They hyped it. They had to cut into profits to pay for it because they had gotten themselves in too far not to. Pictures of Comey and a scene with the press taking pictures of the press taking pictures proves that there’s a lot of press, something the press still needs to prove these days—especially with Fox News having cannibalized itself right out of first place.

Moderate Republicans and mainstream Democrats work on the same basic ethic: effort wins. Republicans want the people to see that they are “trying”, but they won’t do anything. If the Republicans took action it would be a first.

Likewise, Democratic voters are enamored with the Comey hearing. Comey is looking Trump in the eye. He is going to go say things. That’s courage. That’s really bold, and stuff. In-yer-face, toothless, uber-rude bravado is much more important than actually winning—at least when you can’t win. To a young ultra Liberal, boldly accomplishing nothing is much better than winning anyway, that is if you’re still angry about having lost.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 5, 2017

At this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, China sent a lower-ranking delegation than in years past. Previously, China’s representative was a deputy chief from Joint Staff; this year Beijing sent a lieutenant general. India did not attend.

US Defense Secretary Mattis’ comment that China’s man-made islands undermine stability and that China has contempt for other nations’s interests and disregards international law. As expected, China took exception, calling the remarks “irresponsible”.

More interesting were the responses of the under dogs…

Small players know they are in a tug of war between the US and China over who has rights to which waters. Malaysia’s main reported talking points seemed to be on regional safety and rule of law. When Malaysia’s Defense Minister commented that a China-only “code” would not prevent all clashes, China’s lieutenant general rebutted with a question of what a “perfect code” would look like.

This is telling. It becomes more and more clear how China views itself in these talks, as a lieutenant general among ministers and rebutting Malaysia as one would a peer. China is clearly withdrawing, responding to the international community as already being an outcast. While the West and the press have tried to paint China as the villain, much more so than may be appropriate, China’s response only perpetuates that view among Western taxpayers and now smaller players in China’s back yard.

A group affiliated with Taiwan’s Association of University Professors are calling for Taiwan’s president to declare Taiwan’s sovereignty. This comes in the over-lapping contexts of regional talks and the ongoing situation of China having arrested Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲). The group called for Taiwan to boycott some upcoming talks with China to make a point to the international community.

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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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Symphony

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.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

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.

continue reading

Standard