It’s Time to Do Something About This American Rape Culture

In my Harvey Weinstein piece earlier today, I promised a separate post about America’s problem of sexual assaults against women.

I’m reminded of a female friend of mine who paid me a late-night visit and appeared a bit rattled. Not highly emotional, but clearly bothered.

She then described her past few hours to me. It started with drinks in the loft of a distant cousin where she became intoxicated, leading to Cuz concluding that he should have sex with her.

His advances were not welcomed, and my friend had to physically fight him off to underscore this point.

Still buzzed, she hailed a taxi, and fell asleep during the ride home.

She woke up minutes later to find the taxi driver mounting her in the backseat while attempting to remove her clothes.

So … she once again had to fight for her body. She won, in a manner of speaking.

She came to me that evening because she wanted to talk with someone who would keep his hands to himself.

Some of you will undoubtedly read about my friend’s night and say she shouldn’t have been drunk.

You people are idiots.

Admittedly, I have a recurring bead of advice for people who go out drinking, male or female: you should avoid getting drunk — given your presumably vulnerable physical state — but if you choose to do so, make sure you’re with people you can trust your life with.

Having said that, I completely support this crazy idea …

Well, at least crazy to some of you …

… That being drunk entitles you to a sex-free evening, if that’s your choice.

After first hearing my friend’s story, I kept repeating to myself: “two almost-rapes in one night?? One woman!”

It’s no wonder the US gender gap in perception of physical safety (27%!) is wider than the same metrics found in war-torn nations.

I think it’s time we stop ignoring this brutalized form of male privilege …

song currently stuck in my head: “i believe (principle faith mix)” – sounds of blackness

Posted in Politics, Society | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Harvey Weinstein and Why We Allow Women and the Law to Become Objects in His Orbit

Harvey-Weinstein-Sexual-Assault

An indication that you’re reading a mentalunrest piece is when the writer does something out of the ordinary like discuss sexual predator Harvey Weinstein’s relationship with the Democratic Party, find something like an unusual story connection to the Black Lives Matter movement, throw in a quick Republican Party comparison and then reach a broader conclusion that most media folks tend to avoid.

Let’s start by dispensing with the pearl-clutching responses from members of the Democratic celestial class: the case of #BlackLivesMatter organizer Deray McKesson gives me every reason to believe that party officials had to know about Weinstein’s serial coochie grabbing and rapes.

I recall sifting through Wikileaks emails during last year’s presidential campaign and running across a particular thread where party officials discussed whether or not McKesson can serve as a surrogate for Democrats.

To answer that question, the DNC’s finance department conducted a background check of McKesson.

A thorough one.

The vetting is understandable. The last thing you want is a walking embarrassment raising money or speaking to the media on your behalf. McKesson was cleared, by the way.

Therefore, a person would have a hard to convincing me that no one in the DNC knew about Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment.

This would mean DNC leaders ignored this data to accept Weinstein’s financial support and counsel (Kambui’s note: read The Intercept‘s piece, Harvey Weinstein Urged Clinton Campaign to Silence Black Lives Matter Message.)

Hell, I’m a New Yorker who’s far removed from the entertainment world, and even I knew that Weinstein is a sexual deviant.

And given the Republicans’ enablement of their own crotch-grabber to become President if the United States, I’m not interested in anything they have to say.

Let’s cut the games by saying sexual predation has no party and that Weinstein deserves the Bill Cosby treatmentat minimum.

We need to have two larger discussions instead.

The first — which I want to deal with in a separate piece — is America’s lack of desire to stop sexual assaults against women.

The second is how America’s fascination with serving the rich and its icons clouds any reasonable judgement in dealing with pervs like Weinstein and protecting women’s rights.

This fascination seems to explain why NBC killed the Weinstein sex abuse story it had long ago.

And why the City of New York wasn’t willing to prosecute him.

And why Weinstein’s production company baked in an employment contract provision that supported his sexual harassment activities.

And why a rich person can walk into a restaurant for the first and last time, but the establishment’s center of gravity shifts to that person upon entry.

As an aside, I love this story about the bar Milk & Honey, and its refusal to chase stars.

Many of you are punked by the presence of a rich person.

The death of a rich person — or a person associated with icons if the rich — almost invariably includes newscopy like …

“ … Harvard-educated lawyer shot to death … ”

Or “ … Millionaire found dead … ”

Deaths are terrible events — regardless of social standing — but when was the last time you saw a headline like “Bronx Community College graduate found dead … ” ?

We’re too timid to tax the rich, and state education budgets suffer as a result.

We allow the rich to buy elections.

We give them get-out-of-jail-free cards due to affluenza, their cleverness or promising futures.

As if our fragile, poor worlds would crumble if we hold rich folks to the same accountability standard as everyone else …

song currently stuck in my head: “flames and figures” – the seshen

Posted in Politics, Society | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Attention Black Folks: You Are Now Moors. Prepare to be Silenced (Again)

fbi black identity extremists

At this point, we’re all aware of President Donald Trump’s deeper-than-subcutaneous dislike towards people of color’s demonstrations against injustice in all forms, so the FBI’s recent intelligence assessment of the threat posed by black identity extremists (BIEs), reported by Foreign Policy, can be viewed as a multi-purpose branding campaign, respectively repurposed from the 1970s and turn-of-the-century COINTELPRO and anti-communist playbooks with an eye for political hyperbole and “all-y’all-negroes-think-alike” ideological conflation.

My summary doesn’t make this report any less dangerous. Check its pedigree and executive sponsorship …

… although I can’t refrain from wondering how intelligent — okay, unoriginal — the assessment really is.

It sure as hell looks like a report previously published last summer by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Also, the “Moorish” reference makes the FBI’s report a made-for-the-#MAGA-crowd masterpiece.

I’be spoken to or watched many Progressive thinkers of African descent, and not a single person advocates the assassination of police officers.

Yet, Trump and ‘Em amazingly built an inevitable case for suppression of divergent Black thought by stringing together six disparate instances of police deaths, and then building a marketing brand called BIEs.

As if these killers compared notes each Sunday over brunch.

The takeaway is that you can now become “Moor of interest” by simply saying “I don’t think it’s cool for Black folks to be shot with their hands in the air.”

If uou find that hard to believe, check out the government’s surveillance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was branded a communist during his lunch counter integration days — arguably the least-threatening period of his activist life.

Meanwhile in the present, a larger and more dangerous population called White extremists doesn’t get as much public attention by Team Trump, which proves #45 is either [1] a White supremacist; [2] a race magician once again reaching into his bag of distractions; or [3] both.

Let’s dig into the second premise — there can never be a point on the political timeline where the vectors of dislike, displayed by people of color and White people, converge.

Therefore, White extremists have to become the unwitting supporters — if not enforcers — of current and future policies that favor the elite.

And calling these ungrateful darkies “Moors” only helps to place more emotional momentum behind enforcement.

No, I still don’t think Trump is the elite’s top shepherd for inequality, but they’ll put him to use while he’s around …

song currently stuck in my head: “polka dots and moonbeams” – bill evans trio

Posted in History, Politics, Race, Society | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Las Vegas Route 91 Shootings Show Many Things Wrong With America Right Now

Route 91 harvest shootings las vegas

The dead and wounded bodies in Las Vegas as a result of Stephen Paddock’s shooting rampage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival show there are so many things wrong in America today.

Like Paddock had the right to buy nearly two dozen guns, no questions asked, to kill 59 people and wound about 540 more during a single night.

Like Paddock — a White male — still hasn’t been called a terrorist, as of the last time I checked,

Like the newspapers, the primary couriers of our hallowed Freedom of the press, are too intimidated to call Paddock a terrorist.

Like the victims of Paddock’s shooting spree have to set up a GoFundMe page to pay for hospital bills because while Paddock has the right to own the guns that were eventually used to send these festival attendees to area hospitals with trauma wounds, they don’t have a right to affordable healthcare.

Like the nearly 600 casualties from this shooting and their health insurance troubles won’t change the convictions of politicians who have been opposed to the idea of health insurance for all.

Like the politicians, whose campaign aspirations have been funded by the gun lobby, will never propose a single legislative measure that would deny potential mass murderers like Paddock the right opportunity to kill others. The math is simple: gun control = lower market size = lower industry revenue.

Like some of you find no problem with anything I just wrote.

I don’t ever use cuss words on this blog, but America needs to fix this shit.

Every. Single. Line. Of. This. Shit.

And when I say “America” I mean the country’s citizens.

There is no way a society can continue to survive with this perverse vision for democracy.

No song stuck in my head at the moment …

Posted in Politics, Race, Society | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So, What Happened with Pissed-Off Nepal Mountain Woman and That Terrified British Mom?

 

nepal woman attacks gemma and charlie wilson

“No Katmandu.”

“No Pokhara.”

“No Manang.”

First World problems, meet your cousin: Third World problems.

I have sooooooo many mixed thoughts about Gemma Wilson and her 15-year old son Charlie — who are now famous for being chased by a two-stick swinging, rock-throwing Nepali woman who supposedly lost her Third World cool after Mama Wilson visited the local’s tea house and began to roil the shop owner over the price of a one quid cup of black tea.

For starters, I don’t endorse violence as a means of settling differences between buyers and sellers, regardless of where they live or visit in the world.

But WHAT HAPPENED TO LITTLE CHARLIE, when Gemma was facing off with Pissed-Off Nepal Woman … ?

And … did anyone bother to get Pissed-Off Nepal Woman’s name or even her version of the story … ? I’ll deal with that later.

Back to Charlie — when I was his age, I would’ve been like “Hold on, Mom Mum. You care to step aside and let me get your lightwork sorted … ?

Nope, not Charlie. He’s too busy practicing his 30-year premonition: hauling azz and leaving his Mama in the dust.

Holla at me if you get what I just said.

Even the dog had Nepal Woman’s back.

But Charlie … ?

Nope. Too busy practicing …

I was raised to think the Rule of Mom is universal — you have her back, even if she’s wrong. Protect Mom at ALL times.

But thankfully, my Mom wouldn’t be so stupid to think every place she visits is filled with stupid people who have no sense for the value of work or money— or can’t tell when someone is running a game.

To place a larger piece of the picture in perspective — but admittedly only basing my observations on what I see in Gemma Wilson’s daring high-definition video of her ordeal — my Mom wouldn’t buy …

… two $1200 to $4000 round-trip airline tickets to Nepal …

… $300-$500 for a GoPro camera to record her harrowing incident …

…$300 for a smart phone (giving Gemma the benefit of the doubt here. I saw her smartphone in the video but can’t immediately figure out the model or value) …

$20 for hiking poles (again, benefit of the doubt) …

… about $60 for a pair of extra-large designer leggings

… okay, my Mom doesn’t wear leggings, nor would she wear them in extra-large, if she did (my point is that a quick glance at Gemma makes me guess the terrified traveler isn’t suffering from a developing world problem like calorie deficiency) …

… and then seem willing to hassle a woman from Nepal over the price of a cup of tea, which represents about .02 percent of the Wilsons’ holiday mountain trek budget.

In US terms, we’re talking about the difference between a 48-cent cup of tea and $1.45.

Let’s get back to Pissed-Off Nepal Woman, whose side of the story remains a “First-World” mystery. No one’s asked her what happened —yet.

The video seen across the world only picks up the point when Gemma and Charlie are on the run.

But we have some hints about Pissed-Off Nepal Woman’s background and neighborhood.

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, with more than a quarter of its citizens living in poverty.

While Katmandu may not look like an impoverished town, much of the countryside does — especially in the mountain region where Nepal Woman operates her wooden hut of a tea shop.

Blogger Nepal Travel Tales (h/t Neo Stuffs), who previously traveled the same route as the Wilsons did as well as visited the same tea house and woman, perfectly frames the issue of our mystery Nepali tea lady (unedited):

How about that very woman who risks her life everyday, every moment to make sure that nobody dies because of lack of water and basic food?

Nepal Travel Tales said the woman discussed her daily challenge in operating a tea house that sits on an active landslide area about 4,400 meters above sea level:

When I had met her before this incident, she narrated her story like this: “I wake up before daybreak and after every morning’s chores, I make my way to this very tea shop walking through one of the most treacherous and deadliest routes.”

 

nepal mountain woman attacks british mom and child

 

Even Gemma Wilson’s words and video provided by to the Mirror show how treacherous the route is:

Gemma then began begging the woman to leave them alone, sure she would fall to her death from the narrow path if she attempted to fight back.

And while other cities in the 28th poorest country in the world may look rich, the woman knows that her part of the world is not. Go to time marker 3:00 of the video below:

Most of  the media outlets didn’t bother to point out everything the “Crazy woman” said, so I’ll help here: “No Katmandu. No Pokhara. No Manang.”

In other words, this is the other side of Nepal.

I getting horse. One horse, 2,000 Rupees. Very hard.”

The woman apparently pays for 2,000 Rupees for horse-driven delivery of supplies like sugar and tea leaves.

(Laughing) If Pissed-Off Nepal Woman operated a shop out of Whole Foods or Harrods, she could tell her story and then charge twenty bucks for a cup of tea!

But Gemma Wilson wants to beef about a buck-fifty?

Perhaps it’s not a beef. Gemma could be one of those travel jerks with reckless timing.

For example, she could have been trying to say “Well, I usually pay less than that” to stupidly signal to others that she’s been to a place or two in the world before. Still a jerk move, but definitely a different intent from deliberately minimizing the hustle of people in developing countries.

(Laughing) well, Pissed-Off Nepal Woman wasn’t impressed in any case!

I could be wrong, but the video appears as if the local could have split Gemma’s head with one of those two sticks at any point during the confrontation. Gemma’s hiking poles weren’t in a terribly good position to block any blows. Who knows, perhaps Pissed-Off Nepal Woman wanted to be heard.

Nepal Travel Tales says that someone will be in the Annapurna Circuit trek of the mountain to speak with Pissed-Off Nepal Woman and get her version of events. Stay tuned …

song currently  stuck in my head: “hurricane” – charles Bradley [rest in love, soul-dier … ]

Posted in Society | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Colin Kaepernick Kneels Because You Kneeled First

colin kaepernick kneeling

One Saturday morning about 47 years ago, soldiers entered a tropical hamlet in search of enemy fighters and killed more than 500 unarmed civilians, many at point-blank range. One of the execution methods also included throwing a villager down a well, and then chasing the lethal cocktail with a detonated hand grenade. several of the civilian women were raped.

The incident resulted in worldwide shock — particularly in the US, where its citizens rightfully observed the way this extrajudicial killing thousands of miles away represented an affront to their own country’s values of democracy and liberty.

Americans were further shocked about the mass murder’s details: the country was South Vietnam; the hamlet, My Lai; the killers, over two dozen American soldiers where only one of them was convicted of a crime.

This chapter in American history reminds me of why pro football quarterback Colin Kaepernick‘s owner cartel-driven ban from the National Football League for his kneeling protest at pre-game National Anthem ceremonies can’t seem to vacate my craw.

The embattled athlete’s quiet protest has turned many Americans into poets, judging from the way they’ve created selective metaphors — if not wildly extensible constructs — for how Kaepernick’s quiet protest represents disrespect toward the US military, his privilege of American citizenship, as well as his country’s values of democracy, liberty and equal justice.

And this makes me revisit the My Lai massacre — didn’t those soldiers disrespect American values?

Would it be accurate to say those soldiers “kneeled”?

Could we also say the military tribunal “kneeled” when they only delivered one conviction?

Did US Secretary of State John Kerry, back when he was a Vietnam war veteran, “kneel” when he allegedly joined his fellow veterans — partially out of disgust for incidents like what occurred in My Lai — to throw their war ribbons and medals over a fence and towards the US Capitol building?

Didn’t Daniel Ellsberg’s “kneeling” lead to his arrest and branding as a traitor to America when he introduced the public to the Pentagon Papers — documented evidence of the lies America told the public about the war in Vietnam?

Could former President Richard Nixon be accused of “conspiracy to kneel” when he plotted to physically harm Ellsberg?

But we don’t need to point our time machine to the 1970s for evidence of “kneeling” American officials.

Let’s look at the racially-biased racketeering operation in Ferguson Missouri, where statistics prove that people of color were less likely than whites to be caught in possession of contraband, yet African Americans were involved in 86% of Ferguson police officers’ traffic stops.

Can we say the Ferguson Police Department — along with the city government agencies — “kneel” when they deployed a modern version of the Black Codes at the expense of African American citizens?

Did police departments across the state of Florida “kneel” in the way unarmed innocent men of African descent are more likely to be shot than Whites?

I’m sure a few of you will say a “few bad apples” in police uniforms misrepresented American values.

But these bad apples have created a disturbing statistical picture. An analysis of several police departments across the country shows that African descendants are less likely to carry contraband but are up to five times more likely to be searched during a traffic stop.

There’s even a court sentencing disparity by race, which means even judges are too busy kneeling to uphold American values.

A PRRI survey found that nearly 80 percent of Blacks and 57 percent of Whites believe police officers treat people of color unfairly.

In other words, statistics and perception reinforce African descendants’ belief that the police departments and courts treated people of color in a way that runs contrary to American principles of freedom, equality and equal justice, while the majority of White Americans don’t acknowledge the problem’s existence.

This brings us to the racial divisions in public opinion about Colin Kaepernick’s protest, and my conclusion.

A Quinnipiac poll finds that 78 percent of Blacks approve of athletes’ National Anthem protests, while 63 percent of whites do not.

Let’s distill to a stronger conclusion: the failure of most Whites to acknowledge the problem of kneeling police officers and judges, and to support the corresponding game protests means the majority of Whites are kneeling as well.

In other words, Kaepernick kneeled because much of America has been kneeling for decades …

song currently stuck in my head: “javanaise remake” – serge gainsbourg

Posted in Race, Society, Sports, War | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

WATCH LIVE: Cellist Aniela Marie Perry Plays 24 Hours Straight

aniela marie perry cello

Sheila Ellis from the band Annabel (lee) made me aware of a pretty badazz event taking place right now: Aniela Marie Perry is playing for a straight 24 hours and blending musical styles to support the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund — a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to musicians in need. Among her many projects, Perry is a cellist in Annabel (lee).

And you can watch the live marathon performance here. Aniela’s completed just over three-and-a-half hours of playing so far.

Be sure to visit the live stream and send Aniela good vibes. Also, go to the Hell Cello page to learn more about this fundraising project …

Update: Perry just completed 27 hours of playing.

Posted in Music, Society | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Album in the Crosshairs: Saoul — The Juice (Independent Release)

saoul bumbu the juice album review

I dig songwriter-musician Saoul Bumbu’s latest album, The Juice, for a reason similar to why I have a problem with much of modern Pop music recordings: the songs — even the ones performed by highly competent musicians — sound like the artists are simply playing by the numbers. And you then wonder if the culprit is a planned act of pococurantism, or the number of executable ideas being sifted by some misguided yearning to be radio-friendly.

The Juice does more than jam — it sounds like Saoul is committed to putting in the kind of work that compels you to join in the fun he’s clearly having. He wants you to dance.

Saoul’s deliberate creative messaging throughout the album seems clear: sure, the world can really suck at times while bordering on dangerous at others. Never forget that. But also don’t forget that you need Dance, Music, Sex and Romance in this short life.

Speaking of the The One and Only, Saoul’s Purple reverence is clear and impressive. Overall, the album’s funky sensuality is heavy but never saccharinated. The thoughtful, ear-grabbing breaks on each track make you wonder what kind of party went down in Saoul’s studio the other night.

The opening track “Souffle,” sets the mood with dripping hot dance vibes over a classic 4/4 Minneapolis Funk groove — produced for 2017, mind you.

The fate-driven “August Orange” is a message ripe for these times; its passionate immediacy is charged with sunny New Wave Pop, and the inspirational reverence displayed in “She Said” conjures up imagery from Karen Senafu’s The Black Woman is God exhibit. I love the funky vamp that closed out the latter track.

“Come On” — my documented introduction to Saoul’s music — is on this release and remains a sexy Electro-Boogie ride that you want on the dancefloor.

“Shades” tells the story of intimate curiosity that’s more than a “Ham sandwich / And a piece of ass.” ‘Nuff said. Listen to the track to see what I mean.

I mentioned in my first post on Saoul’s music that he has an impressive stylistic range, and he continues to make that point with the modern Fusion sound of “Plain to See,” the R&B-smooth stomper “Take a Little Time” and the bouncy Beatles-imbued “Mixed Signals.”

Both parts of “I Found You” work lovely here, but the annoyingly-brief, Psychedelic Funk of the reprise version is the relative scorcher of the two.

The Juice delivers the kind of “dance as if everyone should watch” probity in a Pop world stricken with music anemia. You need this album in your ear. And that (shaking) booty. Available now on Bandcamp.

Posted in Music, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why America’s Losing Its Mind Over Silk Road 2.0

silk road 2.0 eurasia

Another sun tries to rise again in the East, and may take the form of a new Silk Road — resplendent with high-speed transportation and communication infrastructures; large-scale mining projects; a rail and maritime distribution strategy that will connect East and Central Asia with parts of Europe and Africa.

All this development activity will generate trillions of dollars in wealth, and provide decades of commercial ventures for technology, banking, energy, transportation and engineering firms.

China and Russia completely get it — they are geographically positioned to extract the full potential of this behemoth opportunity, and have launched a series of economic and political collaborations to enable large-scale regional development.

But there’s a hard truth the US mainstream media hasn’t told you about Silk Road 2.0: China and Russia are prepared to drive this new era of change across Eurasia — without America.

The result could be a transformation of Eurasia’s economic and geopolitical standing, as well as a redefinition of what global superpowers will look like.

So, where does that leave the US?

And can the US offer an export that’s not a war, one-sided trade deal or banana republic scheme?

Consider this analogy: you’ve discovered gold underneath your home, or someone discovered gold underneath your neighbor’s home, and someone from another town offers to dig the gold out of your home or create a rail system to transport the newly-mined gold through your front lawn — without paying you an amount that’s commensurate with your perceived value of the property’s contribution to this new enterprise.

After all, you reason, the gold is on your property, or your property has become a critical enabler to distribution.

Perhaps the out-of-towner added insult to your injury by not only refusing to split the mining revenue through some properly structured resource-technology split, but also offering to employ you and the members of your household to work for low wages in the new venture, despite the fact that your property or resources ARE the venture.

You’ll likely refuse the offer as a result.

But your refusal results in the out-of-towner resorting to force in order to take what’s rightfully yours.

That force takes on similar patterns: paying a member of your family or a neighbor to remove you from the property; hiring armed gangs to remove your entire family; convincing your neighborhood bank to stop doing business with you; making up a story that you’re abusive to your children and then calling Child Protective Services; or running a bullet through your hard skull.

Who has time for another Marshall Plan? This is 2017. Welcome to international business negotiation, American style.

The list of negotiation victims is compelling and long: Native Americans, Hawaii, Haiti, Puerto Rico and Iran are a few examples.

My point is that the US is not leaving Central or East Asia quietly. Too much loot is at stake. And hot theatres like Ukraine, Syria, North Korea and Afghanistan have been irresistible to the US for good reason: the countries are strategically important for America to maintain global dominance.

The “America helps other countries fight for democracy” argument crumbles when you consider how America ignored injustice in Honduras — a nation within the Western Hemisphere — to help Ukrainians, nearly 6,000 miles away, fight for “freedom.”

I’ll also add that America’s idea of freedom for Ukraine is to support neo-Nazis.

So, what is in Eurasia that compels America to stay in the region?

You can answer this question by reading the words of the geopolitical advisor to at least five US presidential administrations: former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.

In his book The Global Chessboard — the blueprint for American empire-building I recommended last week for your reading list — Brzezinski never mentions the term “Silk Road,” but he explained the strategic importance of all the conflict theatres I referenced. Quotes from the book are below.

Eurasia

A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A
mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia
would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, render-
ing the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral
to the world’s central continent.

Ukraine

[If] Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its [then] 52 million people and major resources as well as its access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia.

Look at Crimea on a map and you’ll then understand one of the reasons why Team Obama lost their minds when Russia annexed the territory.

On South and North Korea

Reunification of the Korean penonsula isn’t such a great idea for the US, according to Brzezinski:

Its close links to the United States enable America to shield Japan and thereby to keep Japan from becoming an independent and major military power, without an overbearing American presence within Japan itself. Any significant change in South Korea’s status, either through unification and/or through a shift into an expanding Chinese sphere of influence, would necessarily alter dramatically America’s role in the Far East, thus altering Japan’s as well.

This passage in the book is also important:

… [T]he retention of the American presence in South Korea becomes especially important. Without it, it is difficult to envisage the American-Japanese defense arrangement continuing in its present form, for Japan would have to become militarily more self-sufficient. But any movement toward Korean reunification is likely to disturb the basis for the continued U.S. military presence in South Korea. A reunified Korea may choose not to perpetuate American military protection; that indeed, could be the price exacted by China for throwing its decisive weight behind the reunification of the peninsula.

President Donald Trump’s Twitter tantrum towards South Korea for the country’s attempt at “appeasing” North Korea with an invitation to talks is an arguably unique approach for American commanders-in-chief, but the intent subscribes to business as usual: America’s presence in the region is justified by North Korea’s hostility. Therefore, talks between North and South Korea removes this justification.

On Iran

Potentially, the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition of China, Russia, and perhaps Iran, an “antihegemonic” coalition united not by ideology but by complementary grievances. It would be reminiscent in scale and scope of the challenge once posed by the Sino-Soviet bloc, though this time China would likely be the leader and Russia the follower. Averting this contingency, however remote it may be, will require a display of U.S. geostrategic skill on the western, eastern and southern perimeters of Eurasia simultaneously.

My guess is that the US is in crisis mode since “the most dangerous scenario” is happening right now …

Afghanistan

[If oil and gas pipelines pass through only Russian territory, the region will remain a political dependency, with Moscow in a strong position to determine how the region’s new wealth is to be shared. Conversely, if another pipeline crosses the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan and thence to the Mediterranean through Turkey and if one more goes to the Arabian Sea through Afghanistan, no single power will have monopoly over access.

The pipeline through Afghanistan Brzezinski referenced ties to earlier thoughts I shared about President Donald Trump’s decision to send additional US combat troops to Afghanistan. — a topic requires some time to discuss. I’ll cover it in a future piece.

It appears that America has years of hard work ahead to preserve its empire status.

What do you think will be America’s ultimate plan for this new sun in the East? Nurture it? Harness it? Dim it? Or … ?

song currently stuck in my head: “the river niger” – roy ayers

Posted in Economics, Politics, War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunday Smack: Rex Tillerson and His Trump Comment

Rex Tillerson Fox News Sunday

“The President speaks for himself, Chris.”

This week’s Sunday Smack focuses on US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s remark today on Fox News about how President Donald Trump “speaks for himself” when sharing views of the recent racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia:

Interviewer Chris Wallace appeared stunned to hear Tillerson’s comment.

My questions to you:

Is Tillerson’s comment a sign that rebellion is brewing in the White House?

Is Tillerson on his way out the door, since no appointed official should expect to keep their job after such a display of disloyalty to any President?

Is the answer to both questions “No”?

song currently stuck in my head: “bom dia, amigo” – dulce nunes & baden powell

Posted in Politics, Race, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment