Closing Thought–22May18

I am posting this because there way too many people that think I hate everything that our president does….that is not accurate…..just as I did not agree with everything Obama did…..

I have been a staunch opponent of the Electoral College for many years….I really started bad mouth this archaic practice after the 2000 election.

Recently Trump has made a comment about the EC……a comment that I can agree with……

Pres, Trump argued that he’d rather see the presidential election be determined based on the popular vote than the current Electoral College system, claiming it would be “much easier to win.”

“They also like to always talk about [the] Electoral College. Well, it’s an election based on the Electoral College. I would rather have a popular election, but it’s a totally different campaign,” Trump said during an interview with “Fox & Friends.”

“It’s as though you’re running — if you’re a runner you’re practicing for the 100-yard dash as opposed to the one mile,” he continued. “The Electoral College is different. I would rather have the popular vote, because it’s — to me, it’s much easier to win.”

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/385022-trump-i-would-rather-have-presidential-election-based-on-the-popular

Given his track record lately he may change his tune next week….but for now I can agree with what he has said…

May your day be good and safe…..chuq

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Good News For Net Neutrality?

There has been a war going on for net neutrality….Trump’s boy at the FCC does not want it to be all that free….the good news is that the Senate has voted to restore the neutrality, which is good but will the House do the right thing or just be another rubber stamp Trump?

The Senate has voted to kill a Federal Communications Commission rule that repealed the Obama administration’s ban on internet providers blocking or slowing down certain content. Back in December, in an effort to deregulate the internet, the FCC repealed “net neutrality” rules that ensured equal treatment for all web traffic. The Obama-era rule prevented providers such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from interfering with internet traffic and favoring their own sites and apps. Three Republicans joined with Democrats in voting to repeal the FCC rule that is scheduled to go into effect next month, the AP reports. The final vote was 52-47.

Telecommunications companies lobbied hard to overturn net neutrality, and critics, including the Trump administration, said over-regulation was stifling innovation. CNN says the measure to reinstate net neutrality will now “be sent to the GOP-led House, where it’ll likely go nowhere,” noting that Trump isn’t likely to back it either. Still, the AP notes, Democrats see their effort as something that will energize young voters who value unfettered access to the internet.

Will this bring about a happy ending……I think not Trump’s lackeys in the House will defeat net neutrality…..there is no way that these toads will do the right thing….

Keep those cards and letters flowing into the House….maybe someone will listen.

The Bomber Has Landed!

As a foreign policy wonk that is analyzing conflicts around the world I do a lot of research and I found something this morning that needs attention.

So far today there has not been much news about the Chinese long range bomber that landed on China’s island in the South China Sea…..

The Chinese air force has landed long-range bombers for the first time on an airport in the South China Sea, a state newspaper said on Saturday, in a move likely to further fuel concerns about Beijing’s expansive claims over the disputed region.

The China Daily newspaper reported that the People’s Liberation Army Air Force conducted takeoff and landing training with the H-6K bomber in the South China Sea.

China is pitted against smaller neighbours in multiple disputes in the South China Sea over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/china-lands-bomber-on-south-china-sea-island-for-first-time/articleshow/64232552.cms

Not a big deal, right?

Well that may be an understatement for I also read a piece about what this event could mean for the future of the region…..

….on Friday, reports emerged that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Air Force (PLAAF) had, for the first time, landed an H-6K strategic bomber on one of the country’s South China Sea islands. China’s state-run People’s Daily shared footage of the bomber landing on an airstrip.

The island in question was Woody Island, China’s largest military outpost in the South China Sea. Woody Island sits in the Paracel Islands, but Chinese military activity there has foreshadowed possible moves in the seven artificial islands that Beijing also possesses in the Spratly group.

In addition to permanently stationing military personnel on Woody Island, China has deployed J-11 fighters, HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles, YJ-62 anti-ship cruise missiles, and other materiel there.

https://thediplomat.com/2018/05/south-china-sea-what-chinas-first-strategic-bomber-landing-on-woody-island-means/

This fell through the cracks with the hoopla of some royal nuptials….this region is becoming more contentious as the years go by……this needs attention and soon!

North Korea: As The Date Draws Near

June 12, 2018 is the date for the new efforts to make the Korean Peninsula nuke free…Trump is suppose to meet Kim in Singapore…..but there may be a snag seems that both leaders are pushing back at each other as the date draws near……

North Korea is ratcheting up its threats—and potentially inching away from the table. After canceling high-level talks with South Korea planned for Wednesday and warning the US it could cancel Kim Jong Un’s meeting with President Trump over joint military exercises between the US and South Korea, another wrinkle. The Guardian reports Pyongyang is adding to the list of things that could imperil the planned June 12 summit: A statement released by KCNA on Wednesday says the North would bow out if the US maintains its “one-sided demand for us to give up our nukes.” The report quotes first vice minister of foreign affairs Kim Kye Gwan, and the New York Times has the statement in full. More on what it says, and reaction to it:

  • The statement references the “so-called Libya mode of nuclear abandonment” on more than one occasion, saying US comments about complete denuclearization amount to “a manifestation of awfully sinister move to impose on our dignified state the destiny of Libya or Iraq which had been collapsed due to yielding the whole of their countries to big powers. … It is absolutely absurd to dare compare [North Korea], a nuclear weapon state, to Libya which had been at the initial state of nuclear development.”
  • Time addresses the Libya angle, explaining the fact that Moammar Gadhafi “was toppled with US backing despite acquiescing to demands to denuclearize has long been a thorn in US efforts to reach a deal with North Korea—one likely sharpened by Trump’s recent decision to nix a hard-fought denuclearization deal with Iran.”
  • Reuters notes the statement also offered harsh words about US national security adviser John Bolton, who has been promoting a Libya-style denuclearization. “We shed light on the quality of Bolton already in the past, and we do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him,” it read, with Reuters recalling North Korea having called Bolton “human scum” when he worked for the Bush administration.
  • At the Times, Gerry Mullany sees “a pattern by the unpredictable regime,” and outlines five other times when North Korea “did a sudden about-face.” Read them here.
  • A senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists offers his take to the Guardian: “The North Koreans know how to make an explicit threat. By their standards, this is pretty circumspect. It could very well be a play for additional leverage or to see how the Trump team reacts.”
  • At Time, Korea expert Professor Stephan Haggard echoes that but sees a second possibility: That Kim has “gotten cold feet—they just want an out.”
  • As for the South, Yonhap reports South Korea Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “held emergency phone talks Wednesday in a show of solidarity against North Korea’s renewed brinkmanship.” The Guardian reports the joint US-South Korean military exercises, codenamed Max Thunder, started Friday and will continue.

The theater of the absurd continues….a tit for tat…..each trying to out tat the other……but how could a denuclearization be achieved?

The Brookings has a plan……

The recent news about the upcoming summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un on June 12 in Singapore is exciting and encouraging. It would not have seemed remotely possible a year ago—or even six months ago. Back then, war seemed much more likely. It is impossible to know whether the decision to hold a summit is primarily due to Kim’s newfound confidence in his missile and nuclear capabilities, or his fear of Trump’s military threats, or a result of the pain his country has endured from U.N.-imposed economic sanctions, which have cut North Korea’s external trade in half. Perhaps the charm offensives that Kim, Trump, President Moon, and Secretary Pompeo have been showering on one another led to the summit. In truth, it is probably some combination of most of those factors.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2018/05/14/a-step-by-step-plan-for-denuclearizing-north-korea/

The point is that if people are waiting for an instant “art of the deal” moment then they will be sadly mistaken.

Time will tell.