Friday, August 11, 2017

Trump's Empty Threats

After a couple of cups of coffee that is the conclusion one is to draw?

"Tensions between the United States and North Korea put investors in a selling mood again Thursday, dragging US stocks lower for the third day in a row. ‘‘The market has been looking for an excuse to sell off and North Korea and the president gave the market that excuse,’’ said David Schiegoleit, managing director at US Bank Private Client Wealth Management. ‘‘As long as it doesn’t go beyond just a war of words, this is going to be short-lived.’’ Disappointing quarterly results from big department store chains also weighed down the market......"

They are the walking dead.

Meanwhile, on the news rack above the fold (plus the other war on the domestic front, and a cover for martial law? Who could argue against it under a public health emergency, huh? makes you wonder who is really behind both sides after all):

"Trump toughens warning on North Korea, despite bipartisan criticism" by Peter Baker New York Times  August 11, 2017

NEW YORK — President Trump escalated his war of words with North Korea on Thursday by declaring that his provocative threat to rain down “fire and fury” might not have been harsh enough, as nuclear tensions between the two nations continued to crackle.

Rejecting critics at home and abroad who condemned his earlier warning as reckless saber-rattling, Trump said North Korea and its volatile leader, Kim Jong Un, have pushed the United States and the rest of the world for too long.

“Frankly, the people who were questioning that statement, was it too tough? Maybe it wasn’t tough enough,” he told reporters. “They’ve been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years, and it’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries. So if anything, maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough.”

Trump noted that North Korea, which has made significant progress toward developing long-range nuclear weapons, responded to his original warning by threatening to launch a missile strike toward the Pacific island of Guam, a US territory and strategic base. “If he does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody has seen before, what will happen in North Korea,” he said.

Asked if that was a dare, Trump said: “It’s not a dare. It’s a statement. Has nothing to do with dare. That’s a statement. He’s not going to go around threatening Guam and he’s not going to threaten the United States and he’s not going to threaten Japan, and he’s not going to threaten South Korea. No, that’s not a dare, as you say. That is a statement of fact.”

Trump made his latest comments on North Korea during a pair of televised media events. He spoke at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., where he is spending much of the month on a working vacation. He met on Thursday with Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, his national security adviser, and other aides. While his advisers have tried to modulate his original comment, made Tuesday in response to North Korean threats, Trump suggested he had no reason to back off.

Asked what would be tougher than fire and fury, he said, “Well, you’ll see, you’ll see.”

He declined to explicitly say he was considering a pre-emptive military strike: “We don’t talk about that. I never do.”

He added, “But I can tell you that what they’ve been doing and what they’ve been getting away with is a tragedy. And it can’t be allowed.”

The feeling I'm getting, honestly, is once again the pre$$ daring him to go to war. They say something, he responds.

Trump’s war of words has alarmed allies in the region. North Korea has reacted with threats of its own, warning that it might launch a missile strike toward the Pacific island of Guam, which is a US territory and home to a strategic US base, as early as this month, and adding that it was capable of starting a nuclear war that might reach the continental United States.


"The tiny US territory of Guam is a crucial, strategic hub for US forces in the Pacific. Andersen Air Force Base houses a Navy helicopter squadron and Air Force bombers that rotate to Guam from the US mainland, including the B-2 stealth bomber, B-1, and B-52. Their location in a US territory means its military is just hours from potential flashpoints in the western Pacific. Naval Base Guam is an important outpost for US fast-attack nuclear powered submarines that are a key means for gathering intelligence in the region, including off the Korean peninsula and in the South China Sea where China has been building military bases on man-made islands that have stirred tension across Asia. The US military has said it plans to increase its presence on Guam and will move thousands of US Marines currently stationed in Japan to the island between 2024 and 2028....."

And the Guamanians are ‘‘pro-military buildup’’ with a ‘‘sense of patriotism on the the island,’’ seeing military service as a source of pride, having served in all major US wars since World War II. 

Does anyone remember how the United States acquired Guam?

(Answer: It lied us into a war against Spain in 1898 so that it could seize their colonial possessions, all the while telling the locals it was coming to liberate them)

Sound familiar?

North Korea recently tested intercontinental ballistic missiles for the first time and has been reported to be making progress toward equipping them with nuclear warheads.

This the New York Times, the same paper that told you Saddam had nukes!

North Korea said the missile launches were still in the planning phase and would not be finalized until later this month, raising the possibility of delay or cancellation.

The NK military will claim it is all ready to go, then Kim Jong-un will delay the order and look like a peacemaker!

The missile test plans might seem like a reckless response to Trump’s warning that he would unleash “fire and fury” on the North if it continued threatening the United States. But South Korean analysts said the plans reflected a calculated strategy by Kim: At home the North Korean leader must rally his impoverished people by showing off his daring in the standoff with the United States. 

What is reckless is a newspaper pushing for war with distortions and lies.

For all the bellicose words, Trump said Thursday that he was open to negotiations, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged North Korea to engage in talks. But the president expressed skepticism that they would lead to a reasonable outcome, given the experiences of his predecessors, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, none of whom was able to resolve the issue.

“Sure, we’ll always consider negotiations,” Trump said. “But they’ve been negotiating now for 25 years.’’

Trump’s comments defied critics at home and abroad who have said his choice of words was needlessly bombastic and potentially reckless.

“These statements are irresponsible and dangerous and also senselessly provide a boon to domestic North Korean propaganda which has long sought to portray the United States as a threat to their people,” more than 60 House Democrats said in a letter Thursday addressed to Tillerson, asking him to restrain the president.....

My printed piece goes on to suggest it was a signal to China to sh** or get off the pot as Trump again suggested that he would bargain with China by backing down from a planned trade war if Beijing did more to resolve the North Korea impasse.


Globe helps you parse through the words:

"Trump is making lexicography great again" by Astead W. Herndon Globe Staff  August 10, 2017

WASHINGTON — Before the rise of Trump, such phrases as “extreme vetting” and “failing New York Times” had no political connotation; “bigly” was a little-used, centuries-old adverb; and “covfefe” was a random combination of letters. Now, lexicographers at the Oxford University Press, the people who work to identify new potential items for their English dictionary, have found more than 50 Trump-associated words and phrases that have sprouted in American society, including “yuge,” “Trumpertantrum,” and “Trumptastrophe.”

“People create words for the things they’re talking about and the things they’re thinking about, and right now people are talking and thinking about the Trump administration a lot,” said Katherine Martin, head of dictionaries at the Oxford University Press.

“We expand language [when] we need to express things that we’ve never expressed before,” Martin said.

To that point, experts said the degree to which Trump is altering the English language is unprecedented for a president only 200 days into his first term.....

That's all it's been? 

Seems like 200 years.


"As Trump unnerves Asia, China sees an opening" by Jane Perlez New York Times   August 10, 2017

BEIJING — With the United States’ Asian allies unnerved by President Trump’s threat to bring “fire and fury” to North Korea, China sees a chance to capitalize on the fear and confusion and emerge as the sober-minded power in the region, according to analysts who study the Chinese leadership.

In dealing with new US presidents — there have been eight since Richard Nixon opened relations with the country — China’s leaders have looked for a few important qualities, mainly reliability and credibility.

Even if they had doubts about a president’s affinity for China, if he was deemed “kaopu,” or reliable, Chinese officials could expect some stability during even the prickliest disagreements.

Trump has increasingly been seen in China as unreliable, or “bu kaopu.” His statement this week that North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it continues to threaten the United States with nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles has only deepened that perception, analysts say.

When the Chinese say they feel like they have been stabbed in the back, as they have on a few occasions this past month, that's when you know it is serious.

But rather than make that judgment public, in the state-run news media or in official remarks, China’s leaders are sitting back, content to watch Trump’s credibility falter among US allies and adversaries alike, the analysts said. 

I'm down to one post a day, and why not? 

The AmeriKan war pre$$ is self-immolating at this point.

“The Chinese don’t like North Korea’s nuclear program, but the current situation does serve their longer-term interests in eroding American leadership, because it provides a whole new set of circumstances in which America shows its weakness,” said Hugh White, a former senior defense strategist in the Australian government.

Trump is showing weakness?

Trump’s threat has particularly unsettled the United States’ main Asian allies, Japan and South Korea, adversaries and neighbors of North Korea that have increasingly vocal lobbies for acquiring their own nuclear weapons to counter Pyongyang’s.

What will they do, creep closer to China?

China and Japan are far from being close. But China is trying to improve its relations with South Korea, and it sees opportunity there as Trump threatens preemptive action against North Korea, which would be anathema to the liberal government of the South’s new president, Moon Jae-in.

Attempts by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to calibrate Trump’s comments did not alleviate the credibility problem that China hopes to exploit, analysts said.

I read them every morning.

Too often, White said, the United States has declared it would use force to stop something from happening — such as China’s expansion in the South China Sea, and during President Barack Obama’s administration, Syria’s use of chemical weapons — and has failed to do so. “Trump’s antics amplify that message tenfold,” White said.

I see nothing wrong with that. The follow through would bother me.

The official Chinese reaction to Trump’s comments was mild. The Foreign Ministry reiterated standard points about the North Korea dispute: that it should be resolved with diplomacy and that all parties should avoid escalating the situation. In part, the modesty of that response was due to the fact that Chinese leaders are currently more focused on domestic politics than foreign policy, analysts said. 

It's distracting us from ours over here.

President Xi Jinping and other senior officials are attending an annual retreat at Beidaihe, a beach resort east of Beijing. Xi is assumed to be finalizing the new lineup of China’s top leaders for the next five years, expected to be announced at a national congress that could be convened as soon as next month.

They all go on vacation at the same time, huh?

There may also be a scheduling reason for the mildness of China’s response. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, White House adviser Jared Kushner, are scheduled to visit China next month with their children. Kushner is a primary White House contact for China, and Beijing is putting considerable effort into ensuring that the visit goes smoothly. The visit is also seen as a planning operation for Trump’s own trip to China in November.

A war would surely ruin things!

Overall, the Chinese leadership — which is accustomed to belligerence from North Korea, its estranged ally — does not believe Trump would actually carry out his threat to strike North Korea, said Yun Sun, a senior associate at the East Asia program at the Stimson Center.

China has listened to three generations of bluster from the rulers of North Korea, including the current leader, Kim Jong Un, so grandiose and alarmist language is nothing new to them, she said, and while North Korea and the United States are hardly equals, China is likely to similarly dismiss Trump’s “rhetorical war” against the North.

Outwardly, at least, Chinese leaders appear to be reacting calmly to Trump’s words because they understand that they need not be taken seriously, said White, the former defense strategist for Australia. That in itself is a major problem for the United States, especially as it competes with China for influence in Asia, he said.

I'm starting not to.

Trump is making empty threats to North Korea,” White said. “It is credible to say that America will attack North Korea if North Korea actually attacks the US or allies — as Mattis has done. But it is not credible to threaten to attack if North Korea keeps issuing verbal threats towards America.”

Would China benefit if Trump actually started a war with North Korea? “If the US gets a swift and decisive win, then that’s a big loss for China,” White said.

“But if, as is much more likely, it turns into a costly disaster for the United States, South Korea, and Japan, in the end that might well mark the end of the United States’ leadership in Asia,” he said....

Can they talk him out of it?!?



Coach crash in China’s northwest kills at least 36, hurts 13


"US warship sails close to China-held island in disputed sea" by Jim Gomez Associated Press  August 10, 2017

MANILA — A US warship sailed close to a Chinese man-made island in the disputed South China Sea in an operation that challenged China’s vast territorial claims in busy international waters, a US Navy official said Thursday.

The official told The Associated Press that Chinese vessels were in the vicinity when the USS John S. McCain sailed in a ‘‘routine’’ freedom of navigation operation near Mischief Reef Thursday. It was not immediately clear if the Chinese demanded the US destroyer leave as they have done in the past.

The McCain causing mischief, huh?

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak to the press about the matter.


China, which claims the South China Sea virtually in entirety, has protested such repeated US military operations, which President Trump’s administration has continued partly to reassure allies locked in territorial rifts with Beijing.

Tensions escalated a few years ago when China began to build seven reefs, including Mischief, into islands, including three with runways, which the United States and China’s neighbors fear could be used to project Beijing’s military might and potentially obstruct freedom of navigation.

China has reportedly installed a missile defense system on the new islands.

No big deal when the U.S. rolls open into South Korea, which is now oddly going up because of the crisis after being halted by the new government. Hmmmmm.

The United States is not involved in the long-seething disputes in the busy and potentially oil- and gas-rich waters involving China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Yeah, right, we are not involved!

Washington, however, has declared it in its interest to ensure that the conflicts are resolved peacefully and that freedom of navigation and overflight remain unhampered.

An estimated $5 trillion in annual trade passes through the waterway.

That is China's economic lifeline and these moves by the U.S. are a warning that we will cut you off with blockades!

In the latest sail-by, US military officials notified Philippine counterparts of the maneuver, a Philippine official told the AP, adding Filipino forces were not involved.

Philippine marines stationed in a marooned ship on a disputed shoal may have monitored the US Navy operation because they are based near Mischief Reef, which is also claimed by the Philippines, the official said.

US Pacific Fleet spokeswoman Lieutenant Commander Nicole Schwegman said all Navy operations ‘‘are conducted in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows.’’

And anywhere else we damn well please!

‘‘That is true in the South China Sea as in other places around the globe,’’ she said.

The disputes and North Korea’s recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests were high on the agenda of an annual gathering of Asia-Pacific foreign ministers last weekend in Manila.

Although China opposes inclusion of the sea disputes in international conferences, partly to prevent the US and other Western governments from intervening, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, and Japan’s new top diplomat, Taro Kono, expressed concern over aggressive actions in the waters.

They sought compliance with an arbitration ruling last year that invalidated China’s claims in the South China Sea. China has ignored and dismissed the ruling as a sham.

Washington’s critical actions came as it courts the help of China, North Korea’s ally, in taming Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons ambitions and ending its missile tests.

Ya' think it helped?


This did not:

"Trump as chicken: Artist’s protest brings a giant inflatable to D.C." by Yonette Joseph New York Times   August 10, 2017

NEW YORK — As political protest stunts go, this one was hard to miss.

Well, they got that right and are obviously promoting it.

A giant inflatable chicken appeared outside the White House on Wednesday morning. Onlookers who saw the 10- by-30-foot bird with the golden coif on the Ellipse, a park directly south of the White House, had no trouble identifying its human doppelganger: President Trump.

The chicken was the brainchild of Taran Singh Brar, 31, an artist and documentary filmmaker who lives in Laredo, Calif., who said by phone to USA Today that he wanted to make a statement about the president being a “weak and ineffective leader.”

Okay, it was here that I noted another war-pushing pos propaganda. It's like kids trying to instigate a fight on the playground, yelling "Chicken, chicken, bwauwk, bwauwk" at a kid in an attempt to goad them into a brawl.

I can't register my distaste for this never-ending daily slop, readers, and yet the worse is yet to come.

He added, “He’s too afraid to release his tax returns, too afraid to stand up to Vladimir Putin, and playing chicken with North Korea.”


"President Trump said Thursday he is ‘‘very thankful’’ to Russian President Vladimir Putin for expelling hundreds of US diplomats from Russia, because he said it helps him cut payroll. Trump gave no clear indication he was joking...." 

He was joking, but it was an inside joke and no joke to all the CIA operatives who will be displaced.

Also see:

"President Trump aimed a fresh barrage of criticism at Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell Thursday, which were intended to shore up Trump’s outside-the-Beltway populist credentials and would likely resonate with core supporters frustrated by a lack of progress in Washington, but the tweets were quickly met with public and private defenses of McConnell — a move that hurt him on Capitol Hill and ‘‘alienates his Republican colleagues,’’ said one Republican strategist close to the White House who requested anonymity to speak more candidly. ‘‘The reality is that the president is now part of this process despite his frustrations, and yelling at his Senate quarterback isn’t going to help achieve these wins.’’ Trump, who is on a working vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., has remained bitter about the collapse of efforts to repeal and replace former president Obama’s health law....."

More leaks, and they are still talking about that?

"Insurers that assumed that Trump would make good on his threat to stop billions in payments to subsidize copayments and deductibles requested additional premium increases ranging from 2 percent to 23 percent, the report found. Insurers that assumed the IRS under Trump would not enforce unpopular fines on people who remain uninsured requested additional premium increases ranging from 1.2 percent to 20 percent. ‘‘In many cases that means insurers are adding double-digit premium increases on top of what they otherwise would have requested,’’ said Cynthia Cox, a coauthor of the Kaiser report. ‘‘In many cases, what we are seeing is an additional increase due to the political uncertainty.’’ That doesn’t sound like what Trump promised when he assumed the presidency....."

That's the thing. He ended the regime change operation in Syria and hasn't attacked Iran yet.

An e-mail seeking comment from the White House was not immediately returned Thursday.

Brar is not the first to unfurl an eye-popping symbol of political discontent aimed at Trump. Last year, an anarchist group called INDECLINE displayed orange nude life-size statues of the presidential candidate in several US cities, including in a park in New York.

Trump wasn’t there to see the chicken in person. He was away on an extended working vacation at his property in Bedminster, N.J., where a chicken probably falls low on a list of concerns currently topped by rising nuclear tensions with North Korea, but Brar said he knew that the president, with his ardent use of Twitter, was likely to get wind of the protest through social media.

The images of the chicken were designed by the Seattle artist Casey Latiolais, according to Brar. Those images were sent to China and turned into a cold-air water balloon that Brar purchased and shipped to D.C. He took the balloon — along with four ropes and four sandbags totaling 600 pounds — to the site near the White House in a U-Haul truck. 


First word that came to mind was McVeigh!

So DHS and the Secret Service and all the rest let this guy drive a U-Haul up near the White House and no big deal, huh (admittedly, their records for protection over the last few years are abysmal, but.....)??

That tells you this whole thing is a staged event with deep state approval! 

Forget the chicken!

He said he did most of the work, though he had help from a few volunteers. He studied camera angles to plant the chicken in just the right spot so the White House was in the foreground and the Washington Monument in the rear. His aim: “To go viral.”

Studied the camera angles and no one from security came over and asked, huh?

But why, pray tell, a chicken? “Images speak a thousand words, and the daily fire hose of lies from Trump is pretty deflating,” Brar said in video on the CGTN website.....

Look whose talking!



"President Trump joked that he had ‘‘signed legislation that will outlaw North Korea forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.’’

Also see:

"A small group of young people, some of them masked, set up barricades of strewn metal objects in the eastern Caracas district of El Hatillo on Thursday to protest....."


Don’t let democracy die in Venezuela

The Globe editorial staff says the US and its allies must quash an outrageous power grab.

How do you do that short of INVASION?!?

See: Trump's Bay of Pigs? 

Separate hemisphere, different crisis, but parallels none the less.