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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Changing Course

Captains Courageous,

"Trump Isn't Going To Save The United States": 
This is kind of fun for the HUH? factor.  It is useful, because Trump is the sort of accidental president that he is, still himself, character flaws galore, but also authentic, and not easily guided. His mind is unusual, and it is fun for him to be unpredictable, and to take twisty roads to his destination. It is presented here that a big Trump weakness is that, whatever he says, he does not actually do harm to those he has worked with and held as friends, such as the Clintons. He scoffs at the rules of the club, but adheres to the core rules, anyway. The country club machine may wait him out...

Trump rehabilitates North Korea in a press conference.

North Korea rehabilitates the US on the streets and TV screens of Pyongyang. North Korea is westernizing. (Kim Jong Un attended Swiss boarding school.)

South Korean President Moon is a smart and practical man. He foresees that the current Washington crowd wants to keep the bases in South Korea, or will not consider any peace that gets rid of them. He preemptively says he wants them to stay to provide regional security. (Korea's permanent near threat is China, as always.)
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in an interview with Fox News that the presence of the US forces on the Korean peninsula would still be necessary even if the two divided countries signed a peace treaty and the reunification took place.
Asked, whether he wanted the US troops to leave the peninsula one day, he said “I would say, no.”
”The US forces in [South] Korea not only beneficial for our deterrence of [our] vis-a-vis North Korea but also it plays a large role in terms of upholding peace and stability in the North East Asian region as a whole. Even after the peace treaty is signed and even after the unification is achieved, I can see the US forces in Korea remain in place for the peace and stability of the North East Asian region,” Moon said.

About "Fort Trump" in Poland...
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The stationing of a US military base in Poland will mean the dismantlement of the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, which directly bans deployment of substantial combat forces along the border on a permanent basis, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told Sputnik.
“This will mean that the NATO-Russia Founding Act, which directly bans the deployment of substantial combat forces on a permanent basis, will be dismantled. I reiterate that this step would significantly worsen the security situation," Grushko said
“This will require us to take additional military and technical precautions that will reliably guarantee our security under the new circumstances. We have various opportunities, including cost-effective ones, how to strengthen our security,” the former Russian envoy to NATO stressed.

How can the current $US sanctions against almost every other country be undertaken, except with the assumption that the days of the $US as global reserve currency are ending, anyway?
It should be noted that sanctions earn a lot of ill-will and generally accomplish nothing. Cuba would likely be a fairly normal country but for the US restrictions and other pressure that gave its government the excuse to maintain a firm grip on power. The same might even apply to North Korea. And sanctions are even bad for the United States. Someday, when the US begins to lose its grip on the world economy all of those places being sanctioned will line up to get​ ​their revenge and it won’t be pretty.

​​The EU, Russia, and China have banded together in open defiance against unilateral steps taken by the US. Moscow and Beijing are in talks on how to combine their efforts to fend off the negative impacts of US trade tariffs and sanctions. A planned Sept 24-25 visit by Chinese Vice-Premier Liu, who was coming to the United States for trade talks, was cancelled as a result of the discord and President Trump added more fuel to the fire on Sept. 24 by imposing 10% tariffs on almost half of all goods the US imports from China. “We have far more bullets,” the president said before the Chinese official’s planned visit. “We’re going to go US$200 billion and 25 per cent Chinese made goods. And we will come back with more.” The US has recently imposed sanctions on China to punish it for the purchase of Russian S-400 air-defense systems and combat planes. Beijing refused to back down. It is also adamant in its desire to continue buying Iran’s oil.

​Italian populism is big enough to break the EU, unlike Greek populism. Populist movements have sprung up and flourished in Spain, Hungary, Poland, and now Sweden and Germany. Don't mention the UK, please... Will the EU restructure to meet all of these co-emerging forces against the unsustainable single currency? When?Despite the resistance of Italy's finance minister Giovanni Tria who had pushed back against demands by the League and the Five Star Movement to push Italy's budget deficit above 2% in 2019, demanding a hard stop at 1.6%, moments ago the Italian budget negotiations reached a successful conclusion, when Italy's Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini, and League leader, said that agreement had been reached on the 2019 deficit to be at 2.4% of GDP, as he and Di Maio demanded in recent days to fund what had emerged as key sticking point, namely Universal Basic Income for the people.
Commenting on the outcome, Italy's other deputy premier Luigi Di Maio, said he had succeeded in a "budget for the people" adding that the budget cancels poverty thanks to "citizen’s income," at a cost of €10 billion. He added that other measures include reform of job centers, pension reform, and a €1.5 billion fund for victims of bank crises.

Jeremy Corbyn has sparked fresh fears in Brussels of a no-deal Brexit after saying during talks with senior EU Brexit officials that he will vote down anything that fails to deliver the same benefits as membership of the single market and customs union...
The Guardian revealed on Wednesday that the EU was intensifying its no-deal preparations amid increased concerns over the ratification of a deal. EU leaders have also insisted on their right to go over the head of the European commission and strike mini-deals with the UK in the event of a no-deal scenario in order to mitigate the worst effects of a cliff-edge Brexit, including the grounding of flights and blockage of haulage routes.

Yanis Varoufakis calls for UK general elections ahead of the critical March 2019 Brexit deadline. He assumes that the EU continues to exist in it's present form. Why? Why assume what is broadly agreed to be fatally flawed?
The answer, as called for by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, is an immediate general election, to be fought on all of the relevant issues at once and presenting the various alternatives in full. The people’s next vote on Brexit must concern not only their preferred exit path but, crucially, the mix of domestic economic, social, and institutional reform policies that go with it.

Assistant AG, Rod Rosenstein was so afraid of being fired that he offered to resign repeatedly, to anybody who would listen, from last Thursday, all through the weekend. No poker face on Rod-the-wire. He is potentially most valuable to Team Trump in his current position, since he has gained the public sympathy of Team Clinton. Rosenstein must now fully embrace the interests of Team Trump. That process is underway, and will now proceed formally. Team Clinton insiders will be picked off, as Team Trump insiders were last year.
Roughly nine months after Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein testified before the House Judiciary Committee that he would not fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller without "good reason", House Republicans are again moving to haul him in for questioning following a steady drumbeat of pressure that has intensified over the past week. This comes after they said they would subpoena the memos themselves late Thursday.
According to the Washington Post, Rosenstein will be called back to Capitol Hill to testify, and if he refuses, the House will subpoena him, said Rep. Mark Meadows, who tweeted Friday that GOP leadership had agreed on a plan.

​This seems like a good idea all around. As many facts as can be had, please...
During a day of blurred and frequently confusing drama on Capitol Hill, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday voted 11-10 to approve Brett Kavanaugh for a confirmation vote in the full senate. But it did so, only after an 11th hour intervention from Jeff Flake, a senator from Arizona, who said his support in the later confirmation vote was dependent on the FBI being given a week to carry out an investigation into Mr Kavanaugh, the subject of sexual assault allegations from several women, all of which he denies.
“This country is being ripped apart here,” Mr Flake told the committee, after a vote scheduled for 1.30pm was delayed. “We ought to do what we can to make sure that we do all due diligence with a nomination this important.”

Good for bidness. Change the facts. Keep the conclusion. Drill-baby-Drill!
Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous 7 degrees [Fahrenheit] by the end of this century.
A rise of 7 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 4 degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels would be catastrophic, according to scientists.
But the administration did not offer this dire forecast, premised on the idea that the world will fail to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, as part of an argument to combat climate change. Just the opposite: The analysis assumes the planet’s fate is already sealed.
"The child already fell into the well, there is no longer any need to cover it."

Russia's Oceanic parallel to the Trans-Siberian Railway prepares for business.
A Danish-flagged cargo ship has successfully passed through the Russian Arctic, in a trial voyage showing that melting sea ice could potentially open a new trade route from Europe to east Asia...
The Northern Sea route could be a shorter journey for ships travelling from east Asia to Europe than the Northwest Passage over Canada because it will likely be free of ice sooner due to climate change.

S​teerage Passenger​

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