(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE GUARDIAN NEWS AND THE NORTH KOREAN NEWS ‘DPRK’)
North Korea and China announce visit by Xi Jinping envoy
Unclear if illegal nuclear program is on the agenda after Donald Trump asked Chinese president to put pressure on neighbor
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Reuters in Beijing
A senior Chinese diplomat will visit North Korea from Friday as a special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing has said, without revealing whether it is about North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
China has pushed for a diplomatic solution to the crisis but in recent months has had only limited high-level exchanges with North Korea. The last time China’s special envoy for North Korea visited the country was in February 2016.
In a brief dispatch, the official Xinhua news agency said Song Tao, who heads the Communist party’s external affairs department, would “inform the DPRK of the 19th CPC National Congress and visit the DPRK”. CPC refers to China’s recently concluded Communist party congress at which Xi further cemented his power.
North Korea’s KCNA news agency confirmed the visit but said only that it would take place “soon”.
The trip will come a week after Donald Trump visited Beijing as part of a lengthy Asia tour where he pressed for greater action to rein in North Korea, especially from China, with which North Korea does 90% of its trade.
It is not clear how long Song could stay but he has already visited Vietnam and Laos to inform them of the results of the Congress, a typical courtesy China extends other communist countries after such important meetings.
It is also unclear where Song will meet the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.
Kim and Xi exchanged messages of congratulations and thanks to the Chinese party congress but neither has visited the other’s country since assuming power.
Song’s department is in charge of the party’s relations with foreign political parties and has traditionally served as a conduit for Chinese diplomacy with North Korea.
A department official said in October that China’s Communist party continued to hold talks and maintain contacts with its North Korean counterpart, describing the two countries’ friendship as important for regional stability.
China’s new special envoy for North Korea, Kong Xuanyou, who took up his position in August, is not believed to have visited the country yet.
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Trump Is The Biggest Idiot The World Has Ever Seen In The White House: And The Most Dangerous
The world that we all live in is a very dangerous place, I think that almost all of us would agree with that reality. One thing that the ‘free world’ has been able to do is to at least somewhat rely upon has been the steady hand of the American President. Even when the American people did not agree with the political parties in power I think that at least we felt that our President wasn’t stupid enough to start a nuclear war while we were sleeping. With this current President do you really feel like he has the people’s best interest at the center of his intentions?
Donald Trump has made it plain that he believes that he is the smartest and the most important person in the whole world, he has said this several times. During the campaign, he often bragged about how he knew more about the events in the Middle East than what the Generals knew. We all knew that he was/is a total egomaniac and we all knew that he is a habitual liar. This is one of the things that we knew he had in common with Hillary, so us voters had to choose between which total fraud and crook we wanted to have as our next President. Trump pretty much removes any possible doubt about how totally ignorant he is about pretty much every issue in the world. Personally, I cannot stand Hillary Clinton but the one thing, and probably the only thing that she grades higher on that Trump is that at least she is smart, Trump has proven himself to be mentally unhinged, his stupidity is a huge part of what makes him so dangerous to the whole world.
As a devout Christian, I cannot condone hoping that he would do the world a huge favor and just fall over dead. I have come to the reality that what I hope will happen is that Robert Mueller can hurry up and charge Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Jarred Kushner with as many felonies as possible as quickly as possible. I totally believe that they are guilty of fraud, tax evasion, tax fraud, lying to Congress and a whole slew of other crimes that some Congressmen have detailed in their attempt to impeach this moron. This includes their working with the mass murderer President Putin of Russia in his helping Trump win the 2016 election. President Putin, unlike Donald Trump, is not stupid. Mr. Putin would know that the best avenue to steal the election for Mr. Trump was to not only to have ‘fake news’ stories put all over the T.V., Radio, and the internet but the real goal was to tap into the election systems of some of the states. By turning three or four of the state elections that the Democrats/Hillary took for granted that they would win, states like Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and or Michigan that Mr. Trump would win the Electoral College count even though he would still lose the actual vote count. I personally believe that within the next ten years at the most, this fact will come out into the open.
I believe that if Mr. Trump has not gotten us into a nuclear war with North Korea and with China by the time that the 2018 elections are held next November that the Republicans will lose both the Congress and the Senate and once that has happened the fickle frauds in the Republican Senate will go ahead and vote to impeach the fraud. But, I am hoping that Mr. Mueller is able to get the White House Swamp cleared out well before twelve months from now. Of course, this is saying that there even is a White House twelve months from now. I believe that if this idiot is still in Office twelve months from now, there may well not be. I do not believe that the Republicans in the Senate have the testicles at this time to join the Democrats to do what the whole world needs them to do and that is to impeach him before he gets the whole world glowing.
In this photograph taken on October 4, 2017, Pakistani naval personnel stands guard near a ship carrying containers at Gwadar Port. Remote and impoverished, Pakistan’s Gwadar port at first glance seems an unlikely crown jewel in a multi-billion dollar development project. with China aiming at constructing a 21st century Silk Road.(AFP)
Amid reports of Pakistan’s move to withdraw its bid to include Diamer-Bhasha Dam in PoK from the CPEC framework, China said on Thursday it was not aware of Islamabad’s decision but the project to connect Xinjiang and Gwadar port is “progressing smoothly for the time being”.
Pakistan’s water and power development authority (Wapda) chairman Muzammil Hussain was on Wednesday quoted by the Pakistan media as saying that “Chinese conditions for financing the Diamer-Bhasha Dam were not doable and against our interests.”
“I am not aware of the information mentioned by you,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media in Beijing when asked about Pakistan’s decision to take the dam project off the table contending that the conditions proposed by Beijing is “not doable” and goes against its interest.
“I can tell you that China and Pakistan cooperation is extensive and profound,” Geng said. “As far as I know CPEC is progressing smoothly for the time being.”
Briefing the Public Accounts Committee on the status of the mega water and power project, Hussain had said the Chinese conditions were about taking ownership of the project, operation and maintenance cost and securitization of the Diamer-Bhasha project by pledging another operational dam.
These conditions were unacceptable, therefore, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi approved a report to finance the dam from the country’s own resources, Hussain said.
Pakistan’s decision to publicise Chinese conditions came as a surprise, considering it shares close and “all weather” ties with China.
The announcement by the Pakistan government came days before the 7th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting with China, which is scheduled for November 21 in Islamabad.
The JCC is the highest decision-making body of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through which China is infusing over $50 billion cash into Pakistan financing a host of energy projects. The CPEC passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Defending the connectivity project, Geng said “as for the CPEC we follow the principle of extensive consultation and joint shared benefits to promote the building of the CPEC. It is conducive to promote connectivity of the two countries and connectivity of the whole region. As far as I know CPEC is progressing smoothly for the time being.”
Pakistan has been struggling to raise money from international institutions like the World Bank in the face of Indian opposition to the project on the Indus River in PoK.
Neither the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) nor China would finance the dam, therefore, the government decided to construct the reservoir from its own resources, Pakistan’s Express Tribune daily yesterday quoted Water Resources Secretary Shumail Khawaja as saying.
US President Donald Trump takes part in a welcoming ceremony with China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China.(REUTERS)
China denied Thursday that it has abandoned its long-standing proposal to ease the North Korean nuclear crisis after US President Donald Trump suggested Beijing had agreed to drop the policy.
Beijing has long campaigned for a “dual-track approach” in which the United States would halt military drills in the region while North Korea would freeze its weapons programmes.
But Trump suggested Wednesday following his five-nation trip to Asia, which included meetings with President Xi Jinping in Beijing, that the Chinese leader had ditched the plan.
“President Xi recognizes that a nuclear North Korea is a grave threat to China,” Trump said. “And we agreed that we would not accept a so-called ‘freeze for freeze’ agreement like those that have consistently failed in the past.”
But Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing’s position on the nuclear issue remained “consistent and clear-cut”.
“We think that under the current circumstances, the suspension for suspension initiative is the most realistic, feasible, fair and reasonable plan,” Geng told a news briefing when asked about Trump’s comment.
“It can not only ease the current tense situation but also solve the most pressing security concerns for all parties, provide opportunities and create conditions for resuming peace talks and find a breakthrough to get out of the stalemate,” he said.
“We hope all relevant parties can have an earnest approach and give a positive consideration to the good faith of the Chinese side,” Geng said, adding that using military force was “not an option” to resolve the crisis.
Xi is sending a special envoy, Song Tao, to North Korea on Friday. Although Song’s mission is officially to brief North Korea about China’s recent Communist Party congress, analysts say he will likely discuss the nuclear issue.
Trump Says U.K. First, Putin Says Iran First, Xi Says Egypt First
Before you freak out, or, think that I have done flushed my brain down a toilet I need to let you know that, no, of course they didn’t say any such a thing. So, why did I say such things in the headline? There are two simple reasons, first, to draw your attention to the article, two, to make people think a little bit. The first is self-explanatory. Now, concerning the second of the two reasons. Anyone who reads my articles knows quite well that I believe that Donald Trump is the biggest idiot and the biggest ass to sit in the Oval Office since Andrew Jackson back in the first half of the 18 hundreds, and friends, that is really saying a whole lot because we have really had a lot of trash as Presidents in our Nations History.
There are many people, it seems mostly Democrats, who think that it is a horrible slogan that Mr. Trump came up with during his primary run, “America First.” Here is where I have to say that you folks who are ragging him over this slogan, you are quite goofy yourself. What the heck was the man suppose to say, England First, or Mexico First? Just what do you think any politician at any level, of any country, should do? If President Putin at the next Russian election started putting out propaganda saying that the Russian people and government need to start putting Iran, or Syria first, do you think that even in Russia that he would win the election? Possibly even worse, it would probably get him shot. Even as powerful as President Xi Jinping is in China if he came out with a policy saying China is going to start putting Egypt or North Korea before the people of China do you honestly believe that he would live five more years to finish out his term?
What I am getting at is that you folks here in the U.S. that are whining about Mr. Trumps ‘America First’ slogan are showing the world just how big of dummies you are. Also, the U.S. Media outlets who fall in line with such ignorance help fuel Liberal stupidity in European countries and in a few other Nations as well. For politicians and for the people of every Country on Earth, if you are not putting your country first, then you are truly a traitor to every person in your Country. For we folks who are Christians or Jewish, we all need to look at the teachings of Scriptures. You should know very well that we are supposed to cater to the needs of our families first and once our families are secure and safe, then we are to be charitable from the inside out. By this, I mean our family, our community, then outward, such as our County, our State, our own Country, then the world. We are to take what we really need from our own work, our own earnings, then use the rest to help others. This is where we are told not to hoard, not to store up for many years ahead for ourselves, but to use the extra that we have to help others. This is why we are told that charity covers many sins.
Even though I know that Donald Trump doesn’t have a clue about the teachings of the Bible it does not mean that everything he says is incorrect, most everything, but not all things. As our President, Mr. Trump is supposed to ‘Put America First’, if he is not doing so, then he is a traitor to the American people. Unfortunately, I personally do not believe that this ‘slogan’, to him, is anything but a slogan, something he thinks his voter base wants to hear. Personally, I have no doubt of any kind that Donald Trump, his Dad, and his adult kids, as well as his son in law Mr. Kushner, have done, or will do, anything except and ONLY, put themselves first, always! Yet in U.S. politics, do you honestly expect anything except selfishness?
Donald ‘the fraud’ Trump’s political base is uneducated white males of which I am considered one of. Because I am very technology challenged I guess I am one of ‘those people’, you know whom I mean, the deplorable’s. The political talking heads say Trump’s base are white males with only a high school education or less. I have an Associate Degree in Sociology and Anthropology but I had to work my behind off to obtain a 2.72 GPA. What I am saying is that I am not a genius, I am just an average person. I do try my best to be a good Christian person, I know that I fail at my efforts constantly though. I do say these things to you so that you know that I do not consider myself as being better than you, or anyone else, well, except for the IDIOT in Our White House. It is a bit difficult to believe that anyone on the planet is more clueless than ‘the Donald.’
Now let us get down to the reason for this article today. Our glorious ‘habitual Liar in Chief’ is on a 12-day trip to Asia. Yesterday he made a speech to the South Korea Congress and today he is in China with his “good friend” President Xi Jinping. Before he went to South Korea he spent time in Japan with their leader Mr. Abe and I hear that they spent time on a golf course together. You know the only place that you normally hear more lies told than on a fishing boat, is on a golf course. This is especially true when Donald Trump enters the course. I read a lot of newspapers from all over the world almost every day and one of the things that is very clear is that no one anywhere believes anything that comes out of this mans mouth. It does seem that the only place you may find anyone here in the States who actually believes anything he says is on the Fox News Network.
If you are an ally of the United States these days, Mr. Trump has very plainly made it clear that he doesn’t give a flip about such things as longstanding treaties or friendships. Remember the fiasco/lies about the US Aircraft Carrier battle group that was “speeding toward Korea” as a sign of strength to our friends in South Korea and as a warning to North Korea? The same battle group that was actually heading in the opposite direction headed toward Australia to take part in ‘war games’ off of Australia’s northeast coast! This ‘bluff’! Do you remember the anger of the South Korean people and government officials when they found out that Mr. Trump had basically set them up as bait? Mr. Trump lies so often and changes his mind so often people with any sense at all have trouble remembering the last time he ever told the truth about anything. Just as our Ally’s have learned they cannot trust his word on anything, government leaders have also learned this same truth. President Putin and President Jinping both must be giddy as all heck realizing that there is an ignorant fool in the White House, it is obvious that both of these men are a whole lot wiser, smarter, and intelligent than Mr. Trump. You know what else, even the ‘Little Rocket Man’ knows all of these things about him also. The only question is, will the Republicans in the Senate grow a set and impeach this Fool before he starts a nuclear war with North Korea and their friends in China? I used the word ‘Fraud’ in the headline because to me, if you cannot believe a single thing that comes out of a persons mouth not only are they a habitual liar, they are a FRAUD and to me, these terms fit Mr. Trump perfectly!
For those of you who do not like it that I am calling out Mr. Trump for the person that he is please take a moment and get your Bible out. Now in the index look up the words Fraud and Fool. I was going to use a couple of passages that describe what the Bible says about these two kinds of people so that you could match them up with Mr. Trump’s actions. As you can see I didn’t waste the writing space because there were so many that describe Mr. Trump so perfectly that I decided to simply request that you see/read them all for yourself.
BEIJING — For more than a year, China has railed against South Korea, calling for boycotts of its products over Seoul’s decision to let the United States deploy an anti-missile system, which Beijing fears threaten its own security.
On Tuesday, however, China abruptly changed course, essentially saying “never mind,” as the two countries agreed to end their dispute even though South Korea is keeping the system in place.
China’s unexpected move to settle the rancorous dispute could scramble President Trump’s calculations about how to deal with allies and North Korea on the eve of his first trip to Asia.
The decision, by the newly empowered Chinese president, Xi Jinping, appeared to reflect a judgment that China’s continued opposition to the deployment of the American missile defense system was not succeeding in fraying the South Korean government’s alliance with Washington.
But it could also pose a fresh challenge to Mr. Trump, as he attempts to build support in the region to put greater pressure on North Korea to curb its nuclear and missile programs.
South Korea’s liberal president, Moon Jae-in, is more receptive to diplomacy with the North Koreans than either Mr. Trump or Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe. Drawing Mr. Moon closer to Beijing, analysts said, could create a new alignment on how to deal with the North, with China and South Korea facing off against Japan and the United States.
“It’s going to undermine the Trump administration’s effort to build solidarity among the U.S., Japan, and Korea to put pressure not only on North Korea but on China to do more on North Korea,” said Michael J. Green, an Asia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Much about the rapprochement is not known, Mr. Green cautioned, and the Chinese could be exaggerating the implications of the agreement. But it adds yet another volatile element to Mr. Trump’s 12-day, five-nation tour of Asia, which begins this weekend.
Formally, the Trump administration welcomed news of the thaw. The State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, told reporters on Tuesday, “We see that as providing better stability, greater stability for a region that desperately needs it because of North Korea.”
Ms. Nauert, however, said she did not know whether China’s move indicated it no longer had objections to the deployment of the antimissile system, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or Thaad.
The White House has not publicly addressed the rapprochement. A senior administration official, who asked for anonymity to discuss a sensitive diplomatic issue, acknowledged it could complicate matters, but said there should be no inherent conflict in South Korea restoring its relations with China while at the same time pushing to keep maximum pressure on North Korea.
In restoring better relations with South Korea, Mr. Xi appeared to have decided that he could afford to blink. But he also does not face a vigorous political opposition or press, which could accuse him of flip-flopping on the issue.
Even under Mr. Moon, whose outlook toward China had been more favorable than his predecessor’s and who has called for a more balanced diplomacy between Beijing and Washington, Mr. Xi made no headway in achieving his stated goal of stopping the deployment of the Thaad.
A second phase of the missile defense system, intended to defend South Korea from the escalating nuclear and missile threats from North Korea, was installed despite China’s protests in September, just four months after Mr. Moon took office. China had insisted it would not tolerate Thaad’s powerful radar so close to its own missile systems.
Mr. Xi’s tough stance against South Korea also included the informal, though punishing, economic boycott that helped reinforce the American relationship with Seoul, undermining China’s long-term goal of replacing the United States as the pre-eminent power in Asia.
“This is the reversal of an ineffective and costly policy on the part of China,” said Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University of China.
In agreeing to restore cordial relations, South Korea pledged not to accept additional Thaad launchers and agreed not to join a regional missile defense system with the United States and Japan. The agreement not to accept any more Thaad deployments had been a longstanding policy stance of Mr. Moon anyway, a South Korean government official said on Wednesday.
South Korea also promised not to join a trilateral military alliance with the United States and Japan. Mr. Moon, like his predecessors, had shown no interest in expanding military relations with Japan, its former colonial master.
With the increased threat from North Korea, Mr. Moon had aligned himself more closely with Mr. Trump and Mr. Abe.
The three leaders met on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit meeting in Germany in July and agreed to enhance their defense capabilities against the North Korean threat.
In warming up to South Korea, Mr. Xi probably recognized that Mr. Moon would be more malleable to favoring dialogue with North Korea than was his conservative predecessor, Park Geun-hye.
At the recent party congress in which he was elevated to a second five-year term as president, Mr. Xi showed himself determined to project China’s power in a “new era.” Resolving the North Korea crisis dovetails with that theme, and any move toward talking with the North would be easier with Mr. Moon by his side.
South Korea and China announced their decision to restore relations just before Mr. Trump’s visit.
The timing was interpreted in Beijing as a way to blunt some of the impacts of the American president’s stop in Seoul, where he is expected to deliver a speech to the National Assembly.
Indeed, the rapprochement between China and South Korea carries risks for the United States. How far Mr. Moon would now lean toward China is something that Washington needs to watch closely, said Evans J. R. Revere, a former State Department official who has dealt with the Korean Peninsula.
In agreeing not to join a regional missile defense system, South Korea is addressing China’s concerns about what it views as the United States’ aim to “contain” China.
“Beijing was worried that Thaad would eventually be succeeded by ‘son of Thaad’ — a regional missile defense system involving the United States, South Korea and Japan and others that would be aimed at dealing with China’s offensive missile force, unlike the current Thaad, which it is not,” Mr. Revere said.
For Mr. Moon, the Chinese government’s efforts to discourage the purchase of popular South Korean goods as punishment for the Thaad deployment has taken a toll. China is by far the biggest trading partner of South Korea; two-way trade is bigger than South Korea’s trade with the United States and Japan combined.
The Hyundai Research Institute found that the Thaad dispute was likely to have cost South Korea $7.5 billion so far this year, a 0.5 percent hit to its gross domestic product. China lost $880 million, just a 0.01 percent drop of its G.D.P., the institute said.
South Korean car sales plummeted in China. Lotte, the retailer, recently put 112 of its stores in China on the market after customers abandoned it. South Korean movies and cosmetics also suffered.
The government-encouraged boycott — coupled with what was perceived as Beijing’s interference in South Korea’s internal affairs over Thaad — hardened the view of China as a bully among the South Korean people.
“We have seen anti-Chinese sentiments rising in South Korea,” said Seo Jeong-kyung, a professor at the Sungkyun Institute of China Studies in Seoul. “So did the approval ratings for the Thaad deployment, and calls mounted for strengthening the alliance with the Americans.”
Despite the apparent resolution of the standoff between the two countries, there was no guarantee that the accord would stick.
People’s Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper, issued a somewhat friendly, but mostly stern, editorial. “Only proper resolution of the Thaad issue can bring the Sino-Korean relationship back onto the right track,” it said.
It was possible that both sides agreed to resolve their differences so the two leaders, Mr. Xi and Mr. Moon, could meet in Vietnam next week during an Asian economic summit meeting. After that, there is the talk of Mr. Moon visiting China before the end of the year.
“This is a direct result of South Korea’s efforts to mend fences,” said Cheng Xiaohe, an associate professor of international relations at Renmin University. “China also realizes that Thaad should not hold hostage the whole relations between the two nations. But I think the Thaad issue is just shelved, not resolved.”
Peter Enav, a former Taiwan correspondent for The Associated Press, on Tuesday last week published an article on the Web site Taiwan Sentinel, entitled: “Taiwan Under the Gun: An Urgent Call to Action,” in which he warned that the three conditions required for China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to consider an attack on Taiwan are close to being fulfilled.
Enav believes that as soon as the middle of next year, China’s military will have completed its readiness to the extent where it could decide to launch an invasion of the nation.
The three major conditions, as Enav sees it, are: One, China must feel certain that the “political option for unification” is now impossible; two, China’s military must be ready and able to launch an unimpeded amphibious attack across the Taiwan Strait — and feel confident that it can crush any post-invasion resistance; and three, Beijing must believe the international fallout and economic sanctions following an invasion of Taiwan would not outweigh the gain of unifying the nation with China.
These three conditions tally with the basic criteria for an invasion that have been put forward by Beijing in the past.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has said that China would experience a political and cultural renaissance that could endure for up to 200 years. Implied within this overall goal is a timetable for the unification of Taiwan.
Looking at this timetable, China would not be ready by launch an attack on Taiwan until 2021 at the earliest. In reality, while the PLA’s Rocket Force possesses long-range missile strike capability, China’s military still lacks sufficient transport and lift capability and also still needs to first shore up its core strategic interests in the East and South China seas and further increase the strength of its forces before it can consider invading the nation.
At present, it would be difficult for the PLA to muster sufficient forces to mount a successful invasion. For these reasons, Enav’s warning that the PLA would be ready to attack Taiwan by next year seems somewhat alarmist.
Furthermore, as the recent high-level economic dialogue between the US and China shows, the two countries are still at loggerheads on trade, as they have been for some time.
Economic issues never exist in isolation but are invariably part of a wider political, military and diplomatic picture. If the trade dispute between the US and China is not resolved and the relationship sours, Washington would use the prospect of warships from the US military’s Pacific Fleet forces stopping over in Taiwan to deter Beijing.
US President Donald Trump recently approved a plan by the Pentagon that allows the US Navy to conduct full-year passages through international waters in the South China Sea illegally claimed by China as its own.
The White House clearly intends to use freedom of navigation as a means to respond to Beijing’s sovereignty claims in the South China Sea. It is also clear that containment of China has already become established US policy. The US would not easily allow the PLA to attack Taiwan.
The US is still the only superpower and, while willing to cooperate with Beijing in many areas, Washington is increasingly wary of China and employs military and diplomatic means to contain it. Competition between the two nations is intensifying, which could benefit Taiwan.
In this article today I am going to write it as a proverbial ‘Devils Advocate’. What I mean by this is that this is not something that I want to happen yet I am making the argument to you that it is very much a possible reality as the human race continues to degenerate.
When it comes to politics I am an ‘Independent’, neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I believe that both of those major parties are about as crooked at the top levels as they can find a way to be. When you are a person like Hillary or Bill Clinton or a Trump or a Bush I believe that they have proven themselves to be the type of people who will do anything to win or to enrich themselves. In the past day or so thousands of documents dubbed the ‘Paradise Papers’ have surfaced showing how the super wealthy cheat their country and their people out of tax revenues. Last year the same type thing happened with the ‘Panama Papers.’ These documents show that not only are many of the ‘super wealthy’ cheating on their taxes, they also show how intertwined they are with world leaders, government officials, and the super huge global companies as they all seek to scratch each other’s backs in their efforts to get even richer.
Back in the mid-1970’s you used to hear people talking on the radio and TV how with the ‘new technologies’ how people were only going to be only having to work 4 day weeks because the machines will allow us to get as much done in 4 days as was currently being done in the 5 day work week. How foolish these ‘talking heads’ were. If you are the employer why would you give up the chance to make an extra 20% each week by giving your employees an extra day off? Especially if your company is on the Stock Exchange, your stockholders would quickly replace you. The business world, especially those on the Stock Exchange are only concerned about one thing, higher profits. If you have ever paid any attention at all to the stock market, you should have noticed how little these people think of the people who are actually making the products. When two companies merge the value of the stock goes up. Why, because the next thing that will happen is the new Board of Directors will be getting rid of many ‘unneeded’ employees. Doing this means that the company will take those wages as pure profit, increasing the value of its stock. When a company decides to get rid of employees, the stock value goes up. When a company breaks a Union, the stock value goes up. During these events, you should also have seen that the Board of Directors salaries and bonuses go up. When a company moves their production factories to a ‘third world’ country where they can fire all of their American workers and get child slave labor to do all the production, stock values, and executive compensation goes up.
The world as you know has a population growth that is unsustainable yet at this same time machines and robots (AI) are taking more and more jobs away from workers. From a business standpoint, having machines replace human workers is a very wise thing to do, and it increases your stock value and the bosses salaries and compensation. If they invest in machines they can get rid of the overhead cost of having human employees. Think about it, no more salaries to pay, no benefit packages to pay like Workers Comp, vacation pay, health insurance, retirement benefits, paid sick days, you can’t be sued by a computer, no OSHA regulations to adhere to. Folks, the list goes on and on.
Our planet has about seven billion people on it right now, look at the slave labor around the world right now, from Africa to Asia to the Middle-East and yes, here in the U.S. also. Is slave labor legal in a lot of these countries? No, but it still goes on. You may say why, why does it still go on but the answer is simple, pay as little for the labor as possible to increase the profits at the top and to the stockholders. You may say now wait a moment, slaves don’t cost anything but this is not totally true. Slaves still have to get some food and some water or they will die or become too weak to do the work. The more slaves you have in the ‘waiting room’ the less you have to supply to each one each day. Why, because it is in your financial best interest if all of the ‘extras’ die. If the ‘extras’ aren’t dying fast enough on their own, you assist them.
If the Earth has seven billion people but can only sustain six billion people because there is no way to produce enough food, what happens to the extra billion people? Who do you think are going to be the ones that are starved to death? Hint, it is not going to be the super rich who basically own everything, it will be the poorest of the poor who will be eliminated. During the early Republican Primaries last year a former ‘Speaker of the House’ Newt Gingrich spelled out the perfect Republican ‘wish list.’ As you probably know the majority of the Republicans in the Congress and the Senate, and this President wants to cut the national deficit by cutting programs like food stamps to the poor and cutting way back on Medicare, Medicaid, meals on wheels, school lunch programs and Social Security. Folks, who need these programs the most? Mr. Gingrich in a TV program last year went even further. Mr. Gingrich consider all of these programs to be ‘welfare’, yet he went further, he called military retirement pay, VA disability compensation and the VA itself ‘welfare’ programs and he said that all of these ‘Welfare’ programs need to be eliminated. There was one thing that he did not include in his list of welfare programs, that was Congressional, Senate, and Presidential retirement pay and benefits, go figure. He has been receiving taxpayer-paid benefits for decades, but I guess that doesn’t count.
Back in the 1950’s the top end national tax rate was 90%, during that time the U.S. was able to build city infrastructures, a National Highway program unequaled in the whole world as well as thousands of new bridges and dams. Now, our roads, bridges, dams, and cities are falling apart, why is this? Now the top end tax rate has been 35% and the President is pushing a top end tax rate of 20%. This is at the same time that corporations are swimming in cash and as they say, with nowhere to spend it. About six months ago, I think it was on CNN, that they reported that U.S. companies have about 13 Trillion Dollars sitting in offshore accounts. So, what do these Republican lawmakers want to do, take even more money out of the economy and give it to these same folks who are destroying our country from the inside? It is also these same benefactors who are filling the pockets of these same evil politicians.
Back in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s in China Chairman Mao put a starvation policy in place against the citizens of China. The reason was simple, 500 million people are easier to control than one billion people. Folks, these are just things that I have seen, heard, and read throughout my 60+ years. You don’t have to agree with anything that I have written in this article today, but I hope that I have been able to at least get you to think about these issues.
Headache? Tense nervous headache? Perhaps your name is Tim Cook. For poor Tim has woken up this Sunday morning with a giant headache, and its name is China.
Yesterday Apple removed all major VPN apps from its App Store in the country. These VPNs aided internet users there to get around the government’s vast system of censorship and access uncensored sources of media. But by doing so, Apple has clearly decided to put its business before the interests of the population, opposition leaders and activists.
For example, Golden Frog, which makes privacy and security software including VyprVPN, was just one of several providers who said its software had been unceremoniously dumped from the App store. This was even after the company had supported Apple in their backdoor encryption battle with the F.B.I. last year. There’s loyalty for you.
Another, ExpressVPN, a provider based outside of China, said “all major VPN apps” including its own had been purged from Apple’s China-based store. Apple had told them that its app was removed because “it includes content that is illegal in China.” That’s semantics. The ‘illegal content’ referred to is the operation of an unlicensed VPN, a requirement which came in January. Will China ever license a VPN for users to circumvent its censorship? I think you can think of the answer to that one.
This is no small matter. This is the first time China has won the battle to pressure a major foreign tech platform to get rid of software that helped people tunnel out of China’s restrictive version of the Internet.
Is it as simple as that? This is where Tim’s headache comes in. Apple’s business in China is huge, but under pressure.
Apple’s Chinese market share and shipment volume fell for the first time last year. According to market data from IDC for 2016, Apple had a year-on-year decline in China with the tech giant’s shipments volume to China falling from 58.4 million units in 2015 to 44.9 million in 2016. Its market share dropped 4 points to 9.6 percent, even as the whole Chinese smartphone market actually grew 9 percent for the full year.
China’s leading phone vendors OPPO, Huawei and vivo are happily breathing down Tim’s neck in the ever-quickening pace of China’s mobile market.
Furthermore, this year research came out that said Apple was at risk of falling out of the top 5 smartphone vendors in China, with local brand Xiaomi snagging the fourth-place spot that was previously held by Apple, according to Canalys. The next iteration of the iPhone could help it revive its influence, but that remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Xiaomi, Huawei and others are building out their own Siri competitors, which, as Amazon Alexa has shown, is one of the next waves of computing.
So we can see where Mr Cook is under pressure. China is Apple’s second market after the US and has far more potential for growth. To stay in the country he must walk a delicate balancing act with the famously restrictive authorities, while growing sales.
But, like a captain navigating his ship between two large rocks, he’s about to get well and truly stuck.
Apple can’t afford to pull out of China, and in theory it can’t afford to piss-off the government by allowing access to unlicensed VPN apps.
That leaves those that want to ‘see’ outside of China via a phone needing to either jailbreak their iPhones or switch to version of Android with less oversight. The GreatFire company offers ‘censorship-proof’ alternatives like its Android VPN FreeBrowser. But the pickings in this area are slim.
Google doesn’t have quite the same political headache as Apple. It can always take the “we can’t control all these Android flavours as easily, sorry guys!” approach.
But perhaps the biggest headache Tim has is that Apple not have a leg to stand on when it is once again confronted with governmental censorship elsewhere.
How will Apple now argue against the Trump administration effectively, after cow-towing to China in this fashion?
When next Apple must face-off with this intransigent White House over criminality or terrorism attacks at home, any protestations they make will be empty after their capitulation in China.
There is really only one way out: Apple should have stood its ground. It should have relied on its standing in the market as the provider of the most sought after, premium, mobile device.
If the indications are anything to go by, Apple’s entrance into AR & VR could make the next iPhone the hottest device since the first one. Why not make a government think twice before attracting the intense ire of their tech-hungry populations?
In sticking to its principles, Apple would have been able to hold its head high in the US and globally. It could have maintained its brand values amongst its devoted user-base around the world.
What’s the name of the pill to cure Tim’s oncoming headache? Its called resolve.
(Tim Cook cowed-down to the Chinese government because China is where the majority of their products are made. So if Mr. Cook did not do as the government told him to do China’s government would have closed the factories in China that makes his products. This would have cost Apple many billions of dollars straight away causing Apples stock values to take a huge hit. This also means that him saying no would have cost Mr. Cook billions of his own personal dollars. In the business world the bottom line is always about the money and the stock market is the pusher of that reality, always.)