Tag Archive | North Korea

Red Flag Warning

Related image

Horror films tend to work because we in the audience can see the danger, and all the red flags leading up to it. We like to think that in real life, we’d see those red flags. We’d stop before it was too late. But in reality, that doesn’t always happen. We fail to listen to the warning signs.

With all of that in mind, it’s my hope that most senators today will decline to attend the White House hosted, private, National Security Council briefing on North Korea. There are so many red flags in this picture, it’s astonishing.

In case you don’t know what’s going on

Rare briefing at the White House this week  — published Monday, 24 Apr 2017 | 3:48 PM ET | 00:41

Top Trump administration officials will hold a rare briefing on Wednesday at the White House for the entire U.S. Senate on the situation in North Korea, senior Senate aides said on Monday.

All 100 senators have been asked to the White House for the briefing by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the aides said.

While top administration officials routinely travel to Capitol Hill to address members of Congress on foreign policy and national security matters, it is unusual for the entire 100-member Senate to go to such an event at the White House, and for those four top officials to be involved.

Congressional aides told Reuters that the meeting was originally scheduled to take place at a secured room at the Capitol, but President Trump asked to move the meeting to the White House.

Salon reported that the meeting will occur in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building auditorium. It will reportedly be made into a “sensitive compartmented information facility”—which means top secret information can be shared. The briefing will take place at 3 p.m. ET.

Some aides on the Hill have expressed confusion about the circumstances of the meeting. Salon wrote, “this could be a preparation for war—or just a forced attempt at a pre-100 days photo op.”

The first red flag is the request to move the meeting the White House. Who requested it be at the White House? Not the Senate. So, in other words, the POTUS wants it at the WH. There’s no reason for the request, that’s a huge red flag that something is going on.

In this case, the request not only weird, your responding to it sends a bad message — about YOU. The WH goes to the Senate, the executive goes to the representatives of the people. By forcing the senate to the WH, it’s saying the WH is the most powerful branch; a single man is more powerful than the people. That’s a message all senators should want to stop in its tracks. That’s your second red flag.

The WH says it’s just “hosting”. It’s a totally unnecessary action to have the meeting at the WH. Hosting? Is that like a party? Or a screening? Or are you on the menu? If the creepy old man says he can only show you and your friends his Hank Aaron bat if you step into his basement, are your really going into his basement? That’s your third red flag.

In point of fact, it cost the taxpayers a lot of money to have the meeting in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building—originally called the State, War, and Navy Building because it housed the Departments of State, War, and the Navy — auditorium, because it had to be made into a “sensitive compartmented information facility”or SCIF. So that’s a huge fourth red flag.

And need I say, infrastructure change is proof of intent to keep doing something. China isn’t building islands in the ocean for the hell of it. It does it with an intention. You don’t remodel your house because your bored, you do it for a reason. To accommodate a kid, or study, parent, hobby, etc. Your weird neighbor puts in a big room with a lock in the basement and installs a freezer, unless they’re Mormons stocking up, you should be worried.

Trump remodeling offices into an auditorium that holds the entire senate? That’s intention. I guess the intention is to keep “hosting” the senate in the Executive Branch. Super inappropriate and super creepy. But I suppose this is what impotent men do, they try to show they have power by making people dance to their tune. Yet another red flag.

So with everyone at the auditorium turned SCIF, at the WH, what do you think will happen? Well, it’s an auditorium, so expect there to be some speeches, and then probably some grainy, unsubstantiated movies to “prove” North Korea is a problem. That’s the least bad thing that might happen.

The worst would be a showing — in real time — an unprovoked, unauthorized by Congress military strike on North Korea. After which the senators will be served chocolate cake and asked to vote on authorizing the POTUS more powers for going to war, while Ivanka’s nanny trots out the grandkids to sing songs in Korean.

There’s just no good reason to go the White House for this briefing. All the red flags are there. The WH is trying to undercut legislative branch power and start a war to prove it did something in 100 days.

Really, senators, just walk away while there’s still time. No, run. Run fast.

Image result for rsvp, no

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.