Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Last Call For Pyongyang's Power Play

The Fourth of July fireworks today were thousands of miles away from the US as the Kim Jong Un regime has definitely upped the temperature on the Korean Peninsula by test-launching what appears to be North Korea's first ICBM. That move, combined with North Korea's previous multiple nuclear tests and very loud and pointed threats has the Trump regime calling for "global action" to be immediately taken against Pyongyang.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson strongly condemned North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile launch, calling it "a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region, and the world" in a statement Tuesday. 
"Global action is required to stop a global threat," he said. "Any country that hosts North Korean guest workers, provides any economic or military benefits, or fails to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions is aiding and abetting a dangerous regime."
Tillerson also called for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and stated the US "will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea." 
North Korea claimed Wednesday that it was just that. A statement from Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday's test was of a new, nuclear-capable ICBM. 
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called it an Independence Day present to the US, adding "we should deliver big and small presents often," KCNA said. 
Tillerson's strong statement marks a striking contrast to when North Korea conducted a test in April and Tillerson said: "North Korea launched yet another intermediate-range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment."

Two nuclear-armed and mostly incompetent regimes led by narcissitic madmen?  What could possibly go wrong?

The US and South Korea also announced they had conducted a joint exercise in response to North Korea's launch. A South Korean statement said the drill which was "intended as a strong warning against North Korean provocation" took place along South Korea's eastern coastline and "showcased precision targeting of the enemy's leadership in case of an emergency." 
The drill is a clear signal from the Pentagon that the US and South Korea have no intention of stopping joint military exercises in exchange for North Korea halting its missile and nuclear testing, as China and Russia earlier suggested. 
Earlier a US official told CNN that the US had "high confidence" that Monday's launch was an ICBM. 
The official said analysis suggests a second-stage booster ignited and produced 30 seconds of additional flight. 
Trump administration national security, military and diplomatic officials gathered for unexpected July 4 meetings to discuss what options might be needed, several administration officials told CNN.

We live in a world where right now China and Russia are playing the role of "voices of reason".  Meanwhile, Trump and the GOP couldn't have asked for a better "wag the dog" scenario to distract America while they make their final moves on Trumpcare.

Watch these developments closely.  Between this and Qatar's outright rejection of Saudi Arabia's demands as the blockade of Doha continues, the world just shifted into a far more dangerous place than it was a few days ago.

Red, White, And Brownshirt

History teaches us that a political party having its own armed security force is a really, really good predictive sign that said political party is going to descend into bloody fascism with no small amount of both celerity or gusto, particularly when that force is already made of people who gladly extol the "virtues" of using force to resolve political conflicts in the name of "liberty".

I mention this because five weeks ago we had that nasty train stabbing by a white supremacist in Portland, and the response from the GOP there is that maybe hiring armed militia groups would be necessary in order to protect them.

It should then come as no surprise here in the American moment of 2017 that this has now come to pass and right-wing militia groups like Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters will be deputized as the GOP's newest personal private security force in the era of Dear Leader Trump.

The Multnomah County Republican Party voted this week to use far-right milita groups as private security at events.

The resolution is the brainchild of party chairman James Buchal, who last month suggested to The Guardian that the GOP could use Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, two paramilitary groups, as security guards to protect them from antifascist protesters, or antifa.

"Antifa" is the new catch-all bogeyman of the Trump Era, the way "Occupiers" were during the Dubya years.

"We are an all-volunteer organization with no money," Buchal tells WW. "So if we are going to get security services, we are going to get them from volunteers. And people who are going to volunteer to provide security services to Republicans are generally going to be people who share the view that the government has developed an unconstitutional overreach of power."

Buchal says he and the Multnomah County GOP won't be attending tonight's far-right "free speech" protest near the Waterfront Blues Festival, unless he is personally invited. (He hasn't been.)

WW reported last week that Buchal has been fundraising by warning of "threats of Leftist violence" making it difficult for Republicans to hold events in Portland.

His last fundraising letter repeated his plan to hire Oath Keepers as security guards. “Organized bands of masked thugs who call conservatives fascists or Nazis are rising rapidly within the city,” he wrote.

So naturally the logical response to being compared to right-wing white supremacist fascists like the Nazis is to behave exactly like the Nazis did historically., right?

Fun fact, because it keeps coming up: Oregon was founded as a haven for white supremacy and in particular Portland and Multnomah County, Oregon has a rather nasty history of racism. Today Portland remains the least diverse and whitest major city in America.

So of course the rise of the American Brownshirt is happening there

More Republican security forces of armed "volunteers" will follow, I guarantee it.  And when they finally get around to killing someone in that capacity, that's when this country will be truly tested in a way it hasn't in a long time.

Independence Daze

A new Marist poll for PBS NewsHour and NPR News finds that 70% of Americans believe the country has become less civil since the Trump regime came to power, with 61% saying they have little or no trust in the White House right now. While that's certainly a good sign, a far more frigening aspect of the poll shows that Republicans in particular are very receptive to Trump's attacks on the media, on those who protest the regime and on voting rights, and a healthy chunk of Republicans want all of these groups restricted.

When asked if they trust the media, fewer than a third of U.S. adults — 30 percent — said they do at least a good amount. And the differences along party lines show sharp divisions with only nine percent of Republicans saying trust the media, a stark contrast to 56 percent of Democrats and 28 percent of Independents who said the same. And on the media’s right to freedom of the press, four out of 10 Republicans said the nation had “gone too far in expanding the right,” while two out of 10 Independents and one out of 10 Democrats agreed with that statement. Overall, a quarter of U.S. adults said the press had too many rights, while nearly half of Americans — said “things are okay the way they are.”

Delving deeper into the traditional American values, 52 percent of Americans said the nation should preserve the right to protest and criticize the government. But just 41 percent of Republicans think the right to protest should be scaled back, while only seven percent of Democrats and 11 percent of people who identify as independents said they feel the same way. 
Overall, half of U.S. adults said freedom of religion in this country is just fine as it is, while an additional third of Americans said the United States now restricts this right too greatly, and one-tenth of all respondents said the country needs to do more to rein in this freedom, something Republicans were more likely to say than Democrats or Independents, according to the survey. 
And when asked about the right to vote, six out of 10 Americans overall think the United States needs to change nothing. But among Republicans, a quarter of respondents think the U.S. has gone too far in expanding that right, far more than five percent of Democrats and eight percent of people who are politically independent. And half of U.S. adults said they have at least a good amount of trust that the nation’s elections are fair. Of those, 17 percent of Americans said they trust elections “a great deal.” Nearly as many respondents — 18 percent — said they don’t trust elections at all. Only six percent of Republicans said they had no trust at the ballot box, compared to 19 percent of Democrats and 20 percent of Independents who said they felt the same.

Some of the cross-tabs are dismal.  For example, of people making less than $50,000 a year, only one in 4 trust the media at all.  More 18-29 year olds trust the Trump regime (27%) than the media (22%). That's true of all age groups save those over 60, who slightly trust the media more by one point.

Meanwhile, 40% of Trump supporters think America has gone too far in allowing people to criticism the government.  Let that sink in.
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