Tag Archive | China

Coal miner’s lament

coal

In news today from Reuters, US and Russian coal exports are way, way up because China has decided to sanction North Korean coal.

China banned all imports of North Korean coal on Feb. 26, cutting off the country’s most important export product. To curb coal traffic between the two countries, which continued despite the ban apparently, China’s customs department issued an official order on April 7 telling trading companies to return their North Korean coal cargoes.

Trump’s been talking about North Korea since before he was elected. I’ve always wondered why. Consensus states the North Korea is in pretty bad shape and that most of what they say is a lie. It’s doubtful they have anything like a functioning weapon. North Korea, which is hardly worth bothering about. That the POTUS was bothered, always made me wonder. I kind of get it now.

By casting North Korea as a problem, and getting China to agree and ban buying coal from NK, China then has to buy coal elsewhere, which potentially means US coal jobs. Is this what the POTUS meant when he said he would bring back coal jobs? Not so fast. It may sound good on the surface for American workers, but dig a little deeper.

China needs coking coal to make steel, China can’t stop buying this type of coal or its economy will suffer. So …. the US is one place they might buy it from. However, another place, that’s much closer geographically and less costly to buy from, is Russia.  Yes, you read that correctly Russia.

Russia’s coal exports are expected to rise by up to 3.3 pct in 2017 according to a UK Reuters report. Coal is a $10B industry in Russia, increasing it over 3% would be a major economic boost to the economy there. Why does such a boost matter? Because it helps Putin get around US sanctions and helps Putin make more money so he and his oligarchy can stay in office longer.

So, the upshot of Trump being tough on North Korea is Trump is helping Putin avoid the pain of sanctions. By the way, coaking coal prices were at an all time high since a hurricane hit Australia, blanking North Korea from the game … yeah, really good, for Russia.

In case anyone forgot, the sanctions were supposed to weaken the Russian economy and make the Russians rethink the Ukraine situation. In case anyone forgot, Russia invaded Ukraine. Russia is in an ongoing war against pro-West, pro-democracy Ukraine. Why? Because Ukrainians cast out their Pro-Putin, national wealth-stealing, puppet president a few years back.

Incredibly, our Mr Tillerson, at the G7 meeting, right before he flew to Moscow, seems uninformed about the whole Russia-Ukraine matter.  “U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asked his European counterparts on Tuesday why American voters should care about the conflict in Ukraine, France’s foreign minister said.” Really? You have to ask why? Ugh.

Once again, the Trump administration is showing it’s Pro-Putin, anti-democracy stance. Russia wants Ukraine, Trump is okay with Russians annexing it — from the Ukrainians! This has been a core bargaining chip from the beginning. Trump for president, Ukraine for Russia. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. And yet ….

This is a bit more than removing the anti-Russian, pro-Ukraine plank from the GOP’s platform. This is actively undermining sanctions, actively helping Russia get around US sanctions on Ukraine by pushing China to reject North Korea and buy Russian coal. So, collusion with Russia? You bet, still, ongoing.

Finally, talking about Syria for a moment, Russia’s other abiding interest, if you were wondering about sudden visits from Jordan’s king, Egypt’s general president, and China’s president, to the US, consider Syria’s major import and export partners.

Syria exports primarily to Egypt (25%), Jordan (16%), Saudi Arabia (13%).  Syria imports primarily Turkey (30%) and China (22% — over 1 Billion dollars worth). If you’re interested in what Syria imports from Russia: Propellant Powders, Prepared Explosives, Explosive Ammunition (25.6%) & Postage Stamps (20%) . (This info is all from MIT). Russia’s main interest in Syria is being able to use it for military bases.

Remember Mike Flynn, who was helping both Russia and Turkey? Two countries with pretty warm ties. People were wondering about that. Wonder no more. He was representing two countries with major shared interests in Syria. And that was Trump’s first pick? So Syria was always on the table.

And now, Trump has met with all the principles likely to experience flux if there is a US intervention or regime change in Syria. Right before a low-level Sarin attack fortuitously happens on April 6, exactly while China’s Xi is visiting, and Trump can low-level bomb something.  And the very next day China’s customs department issued an official order on April 7 telling trading companies to return their North Korean coal cargoes.

Interesting.

Eric Trump said to a British newspaper “If there was anything that [the strike on] Syria did, it was to validate the fact that there is no Russia tie.” I’m not sure how Eric got there. Logically, because nothing he’s done has helped the US, it would appear that the POTUS had been planning on using Syria and using  North Korea from the start of his presidency for all sorts of reasons that principally benefit Putin.

Benedict Arnold at least served his country before betraying it

As a registered Independent who didn’t vote for any Republicans this election, I would rather have Mike Pence as president. Just want to go on record as saying that. Pence has government experience. He’s apparently more than a bit gullible, I think of him as Trump’s mushroom — constantly in the dark about everything, but I can live with that. On the other hand, I draw the line at having an actual traitor (or traitors) in any office.

Seriously.

It’s obvious Trump has never had even a basic level of knowledge about the Constitution, how to run a government, or how to do things legally.  I get that. He’s lived in a world where he was just the brand and everyone else did the real work but reported to the brander in chief.

Think about it. He doesn’t have a daughter, she’s a brand. There are no actual people in the family. His sons are just parts of his brand. He doesn’t have a wife, she’s a brand. She just filed a suit in the UK stating she plans to use her term as First Lady to build her brand and make millions of dollars.

However, even as a removed as he is from reality, Trump the candidate must have known undermining the US government’s attempt to curb Russian aggression through sanctions in order solely to benefit himself and become president was treason. Having Gen. Flynn on his campaign staff, as his national security adviser, communicating directly with the Russian diplomats about removing sanctions, was undermining the US govt, and hence, treason.

The most likely scenario, one that I’m sure is on tape at the DOJ, FBI, or CIA somewhere and will come to light shortly, is that Trump promised the Russians relief from sanctions during the campaign, via Flynn, in return for the Russians helping him win the election. I know the focus has been “did Russians hack voting machines” (they didn’t). But that’s not what I mean when I say helping him.

Everyone seems to agree that the Russians hacking the DNC to obtain documents that might be damaging to Clinton, and then releasing them, did something to sway some voters minds. The real issue however, that is very much overlooked, is Russian data mining, normally used in phishing and other scams, that was used to target voters open to suggestion.

Russians are adept at feeding just the right kind of persuasive fake news to people on the voter mailing/email lists, as well as posting such news on various sites where persuadable people who vote, but tend not to do basic fact checking, hang out. That’s targeted marketing, which drives people (misinformed about the facts) to vote the way they’ve been led to. It’s that kind of hack the vote and helping I’m talking about.

I’m not surprised by Trump’s act of treason, for a couple of reasons. American traitors tend to be greed-driven egotists that feel undervalued. That’s Trump’s brand all over. This is not a man that gives a rat’s tail about America or its people. He only cares about himself. Period.

Consider this, Louisiana gets ripped apart by tornadoes and declares a state of emergency last week. What does Trump tweet about? How unfair Nordstroms is being to Ivanka. What does Ms Conway do? She acts as a shill for Ivanka’s brand from the White House press room on live tv (in clear violation of ethics, yet  fails to get dismissed for that).

Or take Oroville, California. It is facing the most massive dam collapse in the history of the country. Does our president tweet that there will be federal support? That this will be part of the much ballyhooed infrastructure bill? Nope. He instead rants about “so-called” justices being unfair and how he has 17th century monarchical absolute power as president. And then talks about sending his son-in-law, a real estate guy, to broker peace between Israel and Palestine.

Sadly, this new administration does nothing but lie, lie, lie and try to trot out distractions when they get caught. No one can believe anything they say. Sean Spicer might as well be a puppet with Trumps hand up his backside. MS Conway lives in the world of alternate facts. Try to do diplomacy when no other country believes you or takes you seriously.

China has already brought Trump to heel. Mexico will likely do the same. That’s not because Mexico or China are great at diplomacy, it’s because Trump is completely irrational. He imagines himself to be PT Barnum and the world his circus. Unfortunately, in reality, the POTUS is a clown and the elephants are just going to sit on him and then the lions are going to eat what’s left of America.

If you’ve got any doubts about this, just look at this morning’s news. The whole of the GOP, including Paul Ryan, came out to talk about Obamacare, to try to get the news cycle away from the fact the Flynn affair should be investigated and that would probably lead to Trump being impeached as a traitor. Of course, that’s only if Jeff Session had any integrity at all.

And what’s really incredible is how today they announce that another former, disgraced, general is to be considered for Flynn’s spot. For those of you that forgot the David Petraeus scandal, it was a an extramarital affair between retired four-star general David Petraeus, then Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and Paula Broadwell, his biographer. It became public, thanks to the media, and led to the discovery that this former general and current director of the CIA was giving his mistress/biographer classified information.

In other words, Petraeus betrayed his country for an easy lay and this the person Trump is considering for the National Security position Flynn just left. Seriously. This is how completely insane this administration is. I do not understand at all why the majority party Republicans don’t stand up for the USA and end Trump’s administration? Are they all involved in some scandal? Are they being bribed? Or blackmailed?

To me, all this only proves once and for all, the Republican party is not something one should vote for ever again.