Closing Thought–03Jul18

You know that there is humor in DC….you just have to know where to look…..

For months now the big story has been the tariffs that Trump has decided to punish our allies and neighbors with…….his newest attempt…….

Take the Fair & Reciprocal Tariffs Act……what shall we call it for short?  How about the FART Act?

President Trump is no fan of the World Trade Organization, and Axios reports that he ordered his advisers to work up a bill that would give him broad power to circumvent WTO rules and negotiate his own deals. The story by Jonathan Swan uses the words “insane” and “stunning” to describe the bill’s scope, though it adds that the measure has virtually no chance of becoming reality. Trump reportedly was briefed on the working draft in May. CNN confirms the existence of the leaked proposal, called the United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act. And, yes, the emergence of that name has led to a barrage of social media jokes and commentary about the FART Act, notes the Guardian. “WTO has its flaws, but the ‘United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act,’ aka the U.S. FART Act, stinks,” writes Anthony Scaramucci. “American consumers pay for tariffs.”

And this from a New York Post staffer: “As an editor who writes some headlines at the NY Post can I just say I’m really psyched about the FART Act,” writes Seth Mandel. The Axios report says most of the Trump officials who worked up the proposal think it’s unrealistic, and that has led to speculation that staffers gave it the unfortunate acronym on purpose, notes Business Insider. A White House spokesperson confirmed that Trump asked his team to work up ideas to “remedy” what he sees as unfair trade laws. “The only way this would be news is if this were actual legislation that the administration was preparing to roll out, but it’s not,” says Lindsay Walters. “Principals have not even met to review any text of legislation on reciprocal trade.”

You just cannot make up this shit……DC has better than the Late Nite TV shows……they do it all to themselves……gotta love it.

Following the close of a second quarter that will be best remembered by President Trump’s vacillations on trade, Axios has dropped a Sunday night bombshell that may spook markets hoping for a respite from the daily escalating trade war rhetoric as the second half of the year begins: White House reporter Jonathan Swan has obtained a copy of a draft bill, purportedly ordered by Trump himself, that would allow the US to “walk away” from its commitments to the World Trade Organization.

http://theantimedia.com/trump-blow-up-world-trade-organization/

Good times coming!

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North Korea–Continues To Unravel

WE all applauded the meeting of Kim-Trump and their announcement of a path to rid the Korean Peninsula of nukes….that was last month and ever since that meeting this topic is getting more and more confusing.

That idiot Bolton (personal opinion) is telling anyone that will listen that there could be an end to this situation in a year…..

Speaking on Face the Nation on Sunday, John Bolton claimed that the White House has a plan all set up that would see all North Korean “weapons of mass destruction,” not just their nuclear program, dismantled in a year.

Details were scant, but Bolton said it would see North Korea’s nuclear, biological, and chemical arsenals totally wiped out, along with its entire ballistic missile program. He warned this would only be possible with “full cooperation” from North Korea.

(antiwar.com)

This must inevitably raise questions on if Bolton’s comments are designed to support denuclearization, or undermine it. Bolton has long been opposed to North Korea diplomacy, and made it very clear that if his one-year deadline wasn’t met, it’d be proof North Korea wasn’t serious about the deal. This could easily be a plan designed to fail.

And yet intel shows a different situation……

President Trump’s declaration that there is “no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea” may have been somewhat premature, according to experts analyzing new satellite images from the country. The images show that North Korea is continuing to expand a missile-manufacturing plant in the city of Hamhung, the Wall Street Journal reports. The plant produces solid-fuel missiles, which can be launched with little warning, suggesting that Pyongyang is pressing ahead with weapons programs despite a recent moratorium on testing, analysts say. Intelligence sources tell the Washington Post that North Korea is preparing to conceal its nuclear weapons instead of giving up its entire stockpile.

A Defense Intelligence Agency report has concluded that despite Trump’s talk of a denuclearization deal after meeting Kim Jong Un, North Korean officials plan to deceive their American counterparts on the number of nuclear weapons and facilities they have, the Post‘s sources say. During a Fox interview Sunday, when asked about North Korea’s use of secret sites to enrich uranium, Trump admitted that it was possible the deal with North Korea, which didn’t include a deadline for denuclearization, could fall through, the Guardian reports. “I shook hands with him, I really believe he means it,” Trump said of Kim. “Now, is it possible? Have I been in deals, have you been in things where people didn’t work out? It’s possible.” (Work at a North Korea nuclear site is proceeding at “a rapid pace.”)

News has come out that Pompeo will return of DPRK…..

The White House says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will make another trip to North Korea as the Trump administration seeks agreement with Pyongyang on an acceptable denuclearization plan. Per the AP, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced on Monday that Pompeo would travel to North Korea this week. The trip to Pyongyang will be Pompeo’s second as top US diplomat and the first by a senior US official since Trump’s historic meeting with Kim Jong Un in Singapore last month. The trip comes as concerns mount over the North’s willingness to follow through on the agreement signed by the two leaders. US officials say they are clear-eyed about the North’s past behavior in negotiations. Pompeo last visited Pyongyang in May ahead of the Trump-Kim summit and traveled there secretly in early April while he was director of the CIA.

The announcement of Pompeo’s trip comes at the heels of news that satellite images have revealed that North Korea is continuing to expand a missile-manufacturing plant in the city of Hamhung, the Wall Street Journal reports. The plant produces solid-fuel missiles, which can be launched with little warning, suggesting that Pyongyang is pressing ahead with weapons programs despite a recent moratorium on testing, analysts say. Intelligence sources tell the Washington Post that North Korea is preparing to conceal its nuclear weapons instead of giving up its entire stockpile. On Sunday, Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton told CBS’ “Face the Nation” the the US has a plan that would lead to the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in just one year. The Associated Press has more on why experts believe that 1-year plan may be unrealistic.

And the drama carries on…..everyday seems to be something new…..is all this a misdirection?  Or is there just an air of naivete?

Come Home Now!

As we enter into the 18th year of our war in Afghanistan one thought should be on everyone’s lips……pack up and bring the troops home now!

How can Americans be so nonchalant about this war and the occupation?

As the United States enters its eighteenth year in its war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the U.S. military remains no closer to ending this conflict. In April the Taliban rejected the latest peace proposals by the Afghan government, and now it appears the war is moving steadily against the U.S. supported Afghan government. President Trump has given the U.S. military one last chance to implement a new strategy to end the conflict. For him, the American people, the Afghans, and the U.S. military the decisive point in this long conflict is rapidly approaching.

Although no reliable poll exists, there is strong evidence that most Afghans after almost forty years of civil war do not care who rules in Kabul as long as the never-ending death and destruction finally stop. There is no doubt that ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan has the overwhelming support of most Americans. It appears it is only the senior U.S. military commanders who refuse to acknowledge it is time to leave.

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/time-america-leave-afghanistan

Whether we be neocon or peace-nik we should be demanding that the US stop wasting money and lives in a country that does not  want us there in the first place.

Or we can just sit back stay silent and watch companies use our money and people to make billions in profits…..or we could demand a settlement of some sort…….

Despite widespread recognition that the only way toward ending the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan is a negotiated settlement, understanding of the Taliban’s thinking on the subject is remarkably scant. This report attempts to fill this gap by drawing on face-to-face interviews with Taliban foot soldiers, field commanders, and supporters to better understand the movement’s views on why they are fighting, what issues are negotiable, whether they have faith in negotiation as a way to peace, and what a peace process might look like.

https://www.usip.org/publications/2018/06/negotiated-end-afghan-conflict

In case you were not sure….diplomacy is how we can end this generational war……

Which do you want?