FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day September 19 through 22, 2017

New Sanctions for North Korea

I’ve stated before here in FOD, I don’t believe sanctions against North Korea will have the desired effect of divesting their efforts to develop nuclear weapons.  Kim Jong Un has consistently pursued a path of acquiring nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them in spite of the world’s desires for diminish his resolve to the point of allowing millions of his own people to die of starvation.  Lack of cash however, might have the effect of at least slowing North Korea’s efforts. China’s banks in particular have been willing to launder Kim Jong Un’s money for years.  Only recently, the Department of  the Treasury took actions against the Bank of Dandong over concerns that it was participating in illicit financial activities with North Korea — an early signal to Chinese financial institutions of U.S. willingness to increase pressure on entities that do business with Pyongyang.  On 21 September 2017, President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he had signed an executive order authorizing additional sanctions against North Korea by targeting individuals, companies and financial institutions that do business with what he called “this criminal rogue regime.”  Speaking before a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump said his goal is the “complete denuclearization” of North Korea and added that the nation led by Kim Jong Un posed a “grave threat to peace and security in our world.”  Trump noted that he’d signed the executive order just as China’s central bank “has told their other banks … to immediately stop doing business with North Korea.” The president praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for the “very bold move.”  Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (photo right) confirmed that he did call the People’s Bank of China early Thursday morning to alert them to this coming action, but skirted the question when asked if these sanctions were specifically aimed at China.  “This action is directed at everyone,” Mnuchin said, calling the executive order a significant expansion of Treasury’s power to target the Kim regime and those financial entities and individuals who seek to do business with it. The executive order is “forward looking,” meaning Treasury will consider new designations on a “rolling basis” from Thursday on.  So far, the administration has sought to pressure Pyonyang largely through forceful economic steps, including Thursday’s latest action and U.N. Security Council sanctions earlier this month. The President has this right.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day September 19 through 22, 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day August 23rd through 27th 2017

Friends of FOD

OK I got busy and haven’t published in more than a few days.  What can I say?  Maybe I’m suffering from Solar Eclipse Overload Syndrome.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the many folks who have lost their homes and personal possessions as a result of Hurricane Harvey.

 

US Navy 7th  Fleet Relieved

Following a collision between the Seventh Fleet destroyer USS John S. McCain with the merchant ship Alnic MC in the the Strait of Malacca in the South China Sea, which left 10 navy sailors missing and five sailors injured on August 21, 2017, off the coast of Singapore it was confirmed the commander of the United States Seventh Fleet has been relieved of command.  Vice Admiral Joseph P. Aucoin (below right) was relieved of his command on 23 August 2017 due to “loss of confidence in his ability to command.”  He was just weeks away from retirement.  The Wall Street Journal first reported the planned move Tuesday.  RADM  Phillip G. Sawyer has now assumed command of Seventh Fleet.  While I was a bit glib in earlier editions of FOD regarding the need for a band, etc. it is unfortunate to see the careers of fine officers ended in such a manner.  That being said, the Navy reposes special trust and responsibility for the safety and well-being of the ship and those who sail within her and thus commanding officers are held to the highest standards of accountability.  The U.S. Navy announced on 24 August 2017 that it would be suspending search-and-rescue efforts to focus on recovery efforts of the missing sailors.  Divers have recovered the bodies of all 10 sailors missing.   The Navy previously identified eight crew members who were missing as Charles Nathan Findley, Abraham Lopez, Kevin Sayer Bushell, Jacob Daniel Drake, Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., Corey George Ingram, John Henry Hoagland III and Logan Stephen Palmer.  The bodies of Kenneth Aaron Smith and Dustin Louis Doyon were previously recovered.  There has been at least a rumor out there McCain may have suffered a steering causality or a loss of steering control shortly before the accident, but that doesn’t add much to the discussion at this point.  My experience aboard aircraft carriers was that after-steering (the manual backup steering control room) and all other steering backup systems were always fully manned during a transit of the Strait of Malacca.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day August 23rd through 27th 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day 15 through 18 August 2017

Strategic & Policy Forum and Manufacturing Council Disbanded

“You CEOs on my Strategic & Policy Forum and my Manufacturing Council who think you can quit; you can’t quit; you’re fired.” “And you’re all a bunch of grandstanders.”  CEOs began announcing their resignations after Trump’s first comments about the violence last Saturday in Charlottesville between white supremacists and counter-protesters. The resignations accelerated after he re-emphasized his earlier remarks and on Tuesday blamed “both sides” for the series of events that led to the death of a 32-year-old Charlottesville woman.   These CEOs are not grandstanding, they simply no longer want to be associated with this President who has now revealed what his true values are.  Traditionally corporate leaders have been willing to join these apolitical forums so as to ensure their corporations at least have a seat at the table where policy decisions are formulated that effect corporate taxes, employment and trade policies.  There were comments that the President went rogue on Wednesday – How can we believe in a President of United States who goes rogue? Your comments appreciated.  Someone must have an opinion they’d be willing to express out there in FOD-land.

 

Steve Bannon – You’re Fired Too

What’s the half life of a White House advisor these days?  White House Chief of Staff John Kelly announced today 18 August 2017, Steve Bannon has agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a brief statement to reporters. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”  Bannon’s departure caps a rocky tenure in the West Wing in which he was a central figure in a power struggle to influence the often unpredictable president. He clashed with many of Trump’s other top aides including the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster, and rumors of his waning influence and imminent departure had been circulating Washington for months.  He will walk away from the White House as a key force behind Trump’s impulses to make racially divisive remarks and fan nationalist and ethnic tensions, most recently Trump’s comments on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. As recently as this week, Bannon gave interviews seeming to embrace the racial turmoil Trump encouraged by comparing white nationalists and the protesters opposing them in Charlottesville.  Don’t worry about how Bannon will make his next two dimes.  Just hours after his exit became official, the newsroom where he first rose to prominence in far-right political circles, Breitbart News, announced he’d be returning as its executive chairman.

 

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day 15 through 18 August 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day May 17th and 18th, 2017

Fireball to Become Jeter’s Angel

The group led by Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush to purchase the Miami Marlins for an estimated $1.3 billion have lost an investor.  Bloomberg reported today that an investor who had been in talks to contribute $150 million to the $1.3 billion bid was unable to reconcile the terms of his investment.  When news of their accepted bid was first reported last month, it was said the ownership group included at least five investors. I have decided to step up to the plate and bail Jeter and Jeb out of their predicament.  I have communicated my offer of $1000.00 to make the deal go through.  And while I’ll share it with only Friends of FOD; because Jeter’s number 2 was just retired, I’m willing to go as high as $222.22 over that $1000.00 offer.  I’m only asking for 2.22% ownership, plus two seats in a really good box forever and I’ll also generously agree to be the bat guy when the Yankees come to town.  I’m expecting a reply very soon.  So I’m keeping my phone next to me all night, because I know these kinds of deals require personal involvement to make them happen.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day May 17th and 18th, 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day May 9th Through 11th, 2017

Chinese Expansion in the South China Sea

It has been reported by the Japanese news agency Kyodo News that Chinese leadership is pressuring President Trump to dismiss  Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr., USN, the Commander, United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) or PATCOM, who is known for his hard-line views on Chinese expansion in the South China and East China sea disputes referred to previous FOD issues.  They went on to suggest China might be asking for Admiral Harris’ removal in exchange for support of increased sanctions against North Korea.  With regard to Chinese expansion in the South China, new ImageSat International (ISI) Eros B satellite imagery shows the most recent changes to the People’s Liberation Army’s Navy (PLAN) Yulin Naval Base at the tip of Hainan Island, one of those disputed islands.  An Israeli imagery analyst Amit Gur has concluded the Chinese are deploying anti-ship missile launchers on the island as well as newly paved infrastructure.  He told Defense News, “They must have concluded renovation work, as the systems are clearly visible,” Gur said. “We just don’t know if they are new systems, or a [redeployment] of the ones that were stored during the renovation….Perhaps even more interesting, according to ISI, is progress taking place on Yulin’s eastern side. “We’re seeing the building of infrastructure that wasn’t there before and what looks like preparations for surface-to-ship missiles, just like on the western side.” And not so coincidentally the US has not pursued “freedom of navigation” operations in the South China Sea since President Trump has taken office according to The Straits Times of Singapore.   Trump called out China during his election campaign for its reclamation of rocks and reefs in the waterway, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes that carries more than US$5 trillion in annual trade.  But he’s since made clear he’s counting on cooperation with Beijing to rein in North Korea, and has frequently praised President Xi Jinping.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day May 9th Through 11th, 2017”