Thursday, April 13, 2017

Last Call For Two Toddlers With Big Guns

Well, if this report from NBC News is true, this weekend is about to get a whole lot more interesting, and in a very bad way.

The U.S. is prepared to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea should officials become convinced that North Korea is about to follow through with a nuclear weapons test, multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.

North Korea has warned that a "big event" is near, and U.S. officials say signs point to a nuclear test that could come as early as this weekend.

The intelligence officials told NBC News that the U.S. has positioned two destroyers capable of shooting Tomahawk cruise missiles in the region, one just 300 miles from the North Korean nuclear test site.

American heavy bombers are also positioned in Guam to attack North Korea should it be necessary, and earlier this week, the Pentagon announced that the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group was being diverted to the area.

The U.S. strike could include missiles and bombs, cyber and special operations on the ground.

The danger of such an attack by the U.S. is that it could provoke the volatile and unpredictable North Korean regime to launch its own blistering attack on its southern neighbor.

"The leadership in North Korea has shown absolutely no sign or interest in diplomacy or dialogue with any of the countries involved in this issue," Victor Cha, the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies told NBC News Thursday.

Well, so we're basically going to restart the Korean War?

Yeah, I'm going to need a drink.

Running Government Like A Business

Since the purpose of government in the Trump era is to enrich Trump at taxpayer expense whenever possible, it's funny to finally see one piece of government oversight catch up to the regime: Florida health inspectors would like to have a few words about the kitchen at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.

Just days before the state visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach private club, Florida restaurant inspectors found potentially dangerous raw fish and cited the club for storing food in two broken down coolers. 
Inspectors found 13 violations at the fancy club’s kitchen, according to recently published reports — a record for an institution that charges $200,000 in initiation fees.
Three of the violations were deemed “high priority,” meaning that they could allow the presence of illness-causing bacteria on plates served in the dining room. 
According to their latest visit to the club Jan. 26, state inspectors decided Mar-a-Lago’s kitchen did meet the minimum standards. 
But they had a field day with elements that could give members of the high-class club and foreign dignitaries some pause: 
▪ Fish designed to be served raw or undercooked, the inspection report reads, had not undergone proper parasite destruction. Kitchen staffers were ordered to cook the fish immediately or throw it out. 
▪ In two of the club’s coolers, inspectors found that raw meats that should be stored at 41 degrees were much too warm and potentially dangerous: chicken was 49 degrees, duck clocked in a 50 degrees and raw beef was 50 degrees. The winner? Ham at 57 degrees. 
▪ The club was cited for not maintaining the coolers in proper working order and was ordered to have them emptied immediately and repaired. 
The other violations weren’t so serious. Water at the sink where employees wash their hands was too cold to sanitize hands. And Mar-a-Lago was also written up for keeping rusted shelves inside walk-in coolers.

I'm betting a few health inspectors get fired this weekend, not to mention a new White House focus on cutting the FDA's budget for assisting with restaurant inspections.  Remember the Food Safety Modernization Act passed in early 2016?  I'm betting that suddenly funding for implementation magically vanishes.

Nobody gives a Trump restaurant a crap inspection grade and lives to tell the tale.

Read more here:

Deportation Nation, Con't

The Trump regime continues to take steps to build a national deportation force to be used against immigrants as the regime's top domestic priority appears to be the de facto mass incarceration and deportation of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living the US.

The Trump administration is quickly identifying ways to assemble the nationwide deportation force that President Trump promised on the campaign trail as he railed against the dangers posed by illegal immigration.

An internal Department of Homeland Security assessment obtained by The Washington Post shows the agency has already found 33,000 more detention beds to house undocumented immigrants, opened discussions with dozens of local police forces that could be empowered with enforcement authority and identified where construction of Trump’s border wall could begin.

The agency also is considering ways to speed up the hiring of hundreds of new Customs and Border Patrol officers, including ending polygraph and physical fitness tests in some cases, according to the documents.

But these plans could be held up by the prohibitive costs outlined in the internal report and resistance in Congress, where many lawmakers are already balking at approving billions in spending on the wall and additional border security measures.

Administration officials said the plans are preliminary and have not been reviewed by senior DHS management, but the assessment offers a glimpse of the department’s behind-the-scenes planning to carry out the two executive orders Trump signed in January to boost deportations and strengthen border enforcement.

The one thing that might actually stop these efforts?  Of all things, it could very well be congressional Republicans balking at the multi-billion dollar price tag.

For example, Trump has called for CBP to hire 5,000 new agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement an additional 10,000. The DHS assessment said the cost of hiring just 500 agents would reach $100 million.

Republican leaders have proposed delaying a decision on Trump’s initial request of $1.5 billion for the wall and an additional $2.6 billion for more border security next year until after a new spending bill is approved this month in the hope of averting a government shutdown.

In other words, Trump's plan might die in the House because Republicans are cheap assholes.

Yay America!


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