Whenever you let federal bureaucrats get their hands on anything they are probably going to ruin it. During the Obama administration, the Department of Education spearheaded a transformation of American education that was absolutely breathtaking. Over a period of about five years, Common Core standards were implemented in almost every state in the entire nation. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a huge step backward for public education in this country. Common Core has been called “state-sponsored child abuse”, and it is a big reason why U.S. students are scoring so poorly on standardized tests compared to much of the rest of the world.
According to Wikipedia, at one point 46 states had adopted Common Core, but now some states are having second thoughts…
46 states initially adopted the Common Core State Standards, although implementation has not been uniform. At least 12 states have introduced legislation to repeal the standards outright, and Indiana has since withdrawn from the standards.
Sadly, many parents don’t even understand how dramatically our system of education has been tampered with. In her book entitled The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids, Joy Pullmann exposes how the Gates Foundation has been one of the key players in the effort to get Common Core introduced into classrooms all over America…
Organized in seven chapters, her book describes how the Gates Foundation promoted and continues to promote one extremely wealthy couple’s uninformed, unsupported, and unsupportable ideas on education for other people’s children while their own children are enrolled in a non-Common Cored private school. It explains how (but not exactly why) the Gates Foundation helped to centralize control of public education in the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains why parents, teachers, local school boards, and state legislators were the last to learn how the public schools their local and state taxes supported had been nationalized without Congressional knowledge or permission; and why they were expected to believe that their local public schools were now accountable for what and how they teach … not to the local and state taxpayers who fund them or to locally-elected school boards that by law are still supposed to set education policies not already determined by their state legislature … but to a distant bureaucracy in exchange for money to their state department of education to close “achievement gaps” between unspecified groups.
But this isn’t just an issue about control. The truth is that the approach to teaching basic fundamentals such as how to add and how to subtract is fundamentally different under Common Core.
Let me share just three examples that show how much Common Core is changing the way that U.S. students learn math. All of these examples have been floating around Facebook, and if you have never seen these before they are likely to make you quite angry.
If I asked you to subtract 12 from 32, how would you do it? Well, the “new way” is much, much more complicated than how we were all taught to do it…
If that first one seemed bizarre to you, than you really aren’t going to like this one…
And this last one was so confusing that a parent with a degree in engineering decided to include his own commentary on his child’s homework…
How are kids supposed to function in the real world if this is how they are learning to do basic math?
Personally, I am going to teach my daughter that 9 + 6 equals 15. But that isn’t how it is supposed to be done under Common Core. You can watch a video of a teacher explaining the very convoluted Common Core way to solve that math equation right here.
And of course it isn’t just math that is the problem. Common Core is systematically “dumbing down” our young people, and that may help to explain why the average U.S. college freshman now reads at a seventh grade level.
So what is the answer?
The first step in fixing our education system is to repeal Common Core. But even in red states such as Idaho there is a lot of resistance…
Since their inception, the Idaho Core Standards have been enmeshed in controversy.
Some legislators and citizens have pushed for a repeal of the Idaho Core Standards, the state’s version of Common Core standards in math and English language arts. Those repeal efforts have gone nowhere in the Legislature.
I don’t know what is wrong with our legislators. The Republicans have full control in this state, and so there is absolutely no excuse for not getting something done.
As I end this article, I want to give you an idea of just how far the quality of education in America has fallen over the past 100 years. In Kentucky, an eighth grade exam from 1912 made a lot of headlines when it was donated to the Bullitt County History Museum. As you can see, it is doubtful whether many of our college students would be able to pass such an exam today…
One thing that almost everyone can agree upon is that our system of public education is broken. We spend far more money on public education than anyone else in the world, and yet the results are depressing to say the least. Considering how much we are putting into education, we should be producing the best students on the entire planet, but it just isn’t happening. Personally, I attended public schools from kindergarten all the way up through law school, and the quality of education that I received was extremely poor. Even on the collegiate level, most of the courses were so “dumbed down” that even the family dog could have passed them. And of course millions of other people all over the country would say the same sorts of things about their own educations. Many refer to what is happening to our society as “the dumbing down of America”, and if we don’t get things fixed the United States is on course to become a second class nation.
If you believe that I am exaggerating, I would like you to consider the following numbers. The following are 14 facts that prove that America’s absolutely pathetic system of education deserves an “F” grade…
#1 Somewhere around 50 million students attend public schools in America today.
#2 Education is the most expensive item in 41 different state budgets.
#3 The latest PISA tests show that U.S. students are below average compared to the rest of the industrialized world…
One of the biggest cross-national tests is the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which every three years measures reading ability, math and science literacy and other key skills among 15-year-olds in dozens of developed and developing countries. The most recent PISA results, from 2015, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsors the PISA initiative, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science.
#4 A report from the Educational Testing Service found that American Millennials are way behind Millennials in most other industrialized nations…
Half of American Millennials score below the minimum standard of literacy proficiency. Only two countries scored worse by that measure: Italy (60 percent) and Spain (59 percent). The results were even worse for numeracy, with almost two-thirds of American Millennials failing to meet the minimum standard for understanding and working with numbers. That placed U.S. Millennials dead last for numeracy among the study’s 22 developed countries.
#5 According to one very disturbing study, fewer than half of all high school graduates “are able to proficiently read or complete math problems”.
#6 According to U.S. News & World Report, “inflation-adjusted spending per student in American public schools has increased by 663 percent.”
#7 In 2015, the percentage of students in our public schools coming from low income homes crossed the 50 percent mark. That was the first time that had happened in at least 50 years.
#8 One study found that a whopping 76 percent of all high school graduates “were not adequately prepared academically for first-year college courses.”
#9 The following are five numbers which show how far the quality of college education has fallen in the United States…
-“After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change.”
-“Students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago.”
-“35% of students report spending five or fewer hours per week studying alone.”
-“50% said they never took a class in a typical semester where they wrote more than 20 pages.”
-“32% never took a course in a typical semester where they read more than 40 pages per week.”
#10 Just 36 percent of all full-time college students receive a bachelor’s degree within four years, and just 77 percent of all full-time college students have earned a bachelor’s degree by the end of six years.
#11 One survey found that nearly 10 percent of our college graduates believe that Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court…
#12 Another survey found that 29 percent of all U.S. adults cannot name the Vice-President.
#13 And yet another survey found that only 43 percent of all U.S. high school students knew that the Civil War was fought some time between the years of 1850 and 1900.
#14 Perhaps worst of all, 75 percent of our young adults cannot find Israel on a map of the Middle East.
This is what happens when we put federal bureaucrats in charge of education.
All over the country there are calls to abolish the Department of Education. For example, the following was published on CNBC…
The DOE currently employs 5,000 government workers and has an annual budget of $73 billion, yet according to the CATO Institute, it has not affected student outcomes in any demonstrable way over its 40-year history . It has successfully created a system that requires educators to teach reams of “politically-correct” content and focus on scoring well on standardized tests. It has created an atmosphere of testing in our schools, putting intense pressure on teachers and students to “ace the test” rather than mastering the material. This promotes a culture of teaching to the test and score tampering.
Unfortunately, abolishing the Department of Education is not going to be easy, because there is a tremendous amount of money at stake. And whenever there is a tremendous amount of money at stake, there are going to be very powerful interests that are determined to keep things just the way that they are…
The major stakeholders in K-12 public education are at an impasse. Teachers’ Unions are primarily concerned with self-preservation, maintaining extravagant perks for union administrators and exerting disproportionate political influence. A handful of publishing houses sell us $8 billion worth of warmed- over text books every year. Testing companies collectively spent tens of millions lobbying in states and on Capitol Hill from 2009 to 2014. These politically powerful, entrenched special interests are heavily invested in maintaining the failing status quo.
But even though there is going to be a lot of resistance, I am going to try to abolish the Department of Education anyway. I believe that full control over education should be returned to the state and local levels, but that is just the beginning.
Ultimately, we need to rebuild our system of education from the ground up. Instead of politically-correct indoctrination centers that endlessly pump progressive propaganda into impressionable young minds, we need to transform our public schools into institutions that focus on the essentials. We need a renewed emphasis on reading, writing, math and the skills that will enable our young people to function successfully once they get out into the real world.
At one time America’s system of education was the best in the world, and we can get there again. But of course the left is going to fight against the changes that need to be made every step of the way.
Many were anticipating that #ComeyDay would be the most monumental congressional hearing in decades, but the truth is that it turned out to be quite a dud. During two and a half hours of testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, former FBI Director James Comey didn’t tell us anything that we don’t already know. Of course liberal news outlets such as CNN are breathlessly proclaiming that we are now “in Nixon territory”, but that isn’t accurate at all. There is absolutely no evidence that President Trump committed any crime, and there is absolutely nothing that warrants impeachment.
And I am far from alone in that assessment. For example, an analysis published by CNBC says that nothing in Comey’s testimony was “powerful enough to end the Trump presidency literally or figuratively”…
“Former FBI Director James Comey’s Senate testimony Thursday will indeed have a big political impact in Washington. It will foster more partisan bitterness and more bad feelings about our political process and news media. But none of his testimony rises to the level of anything legally powerful enough to end the Trump presidency literally or figuratively.
The bottom line is that Comey spent a few hours Thursday telling the Senate committee that he felt uncomfortable and even stunned by President Trump’s behavior. And he peppered that narrative with numerous damaging statements about the president’s behavior and character, including basically calling him a liar”
When Comey accused Trump of being a liar, that certainly made a lot of headlines, but unless you are under oath it is not a crime to lie.
Perhaps we should make it a crime for our politicians to lie, because if we did we would clean out the toilet that Washington D.C. has become rather quickly. But as it stands, even if Trump is a low-down dirty liar as Comey is claiming, that would simply put Trump on the same level as most of the current members of Congress.
The much more important question is whether or not Trump committed obstruction of justice. Fortunately for Trump, there is a very clear answer to that question.
First of all, we must remember that Trump was Comey’s boss. As chief executive, Trump has constitutional power to direct the activities of his subordinates, and he is free to fire them whenever he chooses. So, as Alan Dershowitz just pointed out on CNN, Trump cannot be impeached for simply exercising his constitutional authority…
Renowned Harvard professor and legal mind Alan Dershowitz sparked quite a reaction during a CNN segment on Wednesday night after he proclaimed that former FBI director James Comey’s prepared testimony indicates that President Donald Trump didn’t commit any crimes.
Dershowitz argued that Trump “could have told Comey, ‘You are commanded, directed to drop the investigation against [Gen. Michael] Flynn,’” but noted that he didn’t do so, according to Comey’s prepared testimony that was published on Wednesday.
The famed attorney also said Trump could have pardoned Flynn as well, but also chose not to do so. In the end, he concluded that there appears to be no criminal activity on the part of the president, particularly when it comes to obstruction of justice claims.
Traditionally, the FBI has operated in a highly independent manner, but there is nothing in the law that gives the FBI independent status.
If Congress wants to pass a law to remove the FBI from being under the president’s authority they can certainly do that, but as it stands what Trump did was fully within the law.
But even if Trump didn’t have the authority, there would still be no obstruction of justice. The two most important federal statutes that cover obstruction of justice are 18 U.S.C. § 1503 and 18 U.S.C. § 1505. In both cases, it would be exceedingly difficult for prosecutors to prove that Trump acted “corruptly” in this case. Not only that, there was no “proceeding” that Trump was trying to influence. For a more extended analysis, please see the article that I posted yesterday entitled “Even If Everything James Comey Is Claiming Is True, There Is Still No Evidence That Trump Is Guilty Of Any Crime”.
If Comey is being straight with us, and at this point his credibility is pretty much shot, but if he is being straight with us there is still nothing that is going to end Trump’s presidency.
What Trump did may have been “inappropriate”, but you don’t impeach a president for being “inappropriate”.
In the aftermath of Comey’s testimony, Trump’s attorney said that the president feels “completely and totally vindicated”…
President Donald Trump’s private attorney, Marc Kasowitz, on Wednesday said his client felt “completely and totally vindicated” by James Comey’s prepared opening statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Comey’s remarks, released Wednesday in advance of Thursday’s Senate hearing, confirmed previous statements by Trump that Comey had told him three times that he was not personally being investigated amid the FBI’s wide-ranging inquiry into Russian meddling in the election and the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia.
Personally, I hope that this whole “scandal” will go away now. There never was anything to it in the first place, and the American people want a government that is going to focus on solving problems instead of focusing on investigations that were doomed to go absolutely nowhere from the start.
But even if this Comey angle doesn’t work out, the Democrats will just keep on trying. In fact, the Huffington Post is already starting to promote the theory that Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement is an impeachable offense.
In the end, the Democrats are never going to give up until they find something that they can use against Trump. What I am hearing is that they are going to make an all-out push to take back the House and the Senate in 2018, and if they can do that they plan to use their congressional majorities to get rid of Trump one way or another.
This is just another reason why the 2018 mid-term elections are going to be the most important mid-term elections in modern American history, because if the Democrats have their way Trump will never even make it to 2020.
Should we make homelessness against the law and simply throw all homeless people into prison so that we don’t have to deal with them? Incredibly, this is actually starting to happen in dozens of major cities all across the United States. It may be difficult to believe, but in many large urban areas today, if you are found guilty of “public camping” you can be taken directly to jail. In some cities, activities such as “blocking a walkway” or creating any sort of “temporary structure for human habitation” are also considered to be serious crimes. And there are some communities that have even made it illegal to feed the homeless without an official permit. Unfortunately, as the U.S. economy continues to slow down the number of homeless people will continue to grow, and so this is a crisis that is only going to grow in size and scope.
Of course the goal of many of these laws is to get the homeless to go somewhere else. But as these laws start to multiply all across the nation, pretty soon there won’t be too many places left where it is actually legal to be homeless.
One city that is being highly criticized for passing extremely draconian laws is Houston. In that city it is actually illegal for the homeless to use any sort of material to shield themselves from the wind, the rain and the cold…
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is taking a similar approach—his anti-encampment ordinance makes it illegal to use “fabric, metal, cardboard, or other materials as a tent or temporary structure for human habitation.” This ensures that the Houstonian homeless are vulnerable not just to the elements, but also to the constant threat of the police. Officials cite one of the most common justifications for crackdowns on the homeless: neighborhood safety (a more socially acceptable way of talking about the not-in-my-backyard mentality).
With all of the other problems that we are facing as a nation, it stuns me that there are politicians that would spend their time dreaming up such sick and twisted laws.
According to one news report, the homeless in Houston are now officially banned from doing all of the following things…
1. They can’t block a sidewalk, stand in a roadway median or block a building doorway. (AKA they can’t panhandle).
2. They also can’t do any of these things — blocking walkways — under state law that already existed.
3. They can’t sleep in tents, boxes or any other makeshift shelter on public property.
4. They also can’t have heating devices.
5. They can’t carry around belongings that take up space more than three feet long, three feet wide, three feet tall.
6. People can’t spontaneously feed more than five homeless people without a permit.
If I was a homeless person in Houston, I would definitely be looking to get out of there.
But where are they going to go?
Things are almost as bad in Dallas. In fact, it is being reported that the police in Dallas “issued over 11,000 citations for sleeping in public from January 2012 to November 2015.”
When you break that number down, it comes to 323 citations per month.
Of course some people have tried to challenge these types of laws in court, but most of the challenges have been unsuccessful. For example, just check out what recently happened in Denver…
Three people who were contesting Denver’s urban-camping ban were found guilty on Wednesday, April 5, at the Lindsey-Flanigan courthouse. The defendants — Jerry Burton, Randy Russell and Terese Howard — were determined to have unlawfully camped on November 28, 2016, and to have interfered with police operations at one location. All three were sentenced with court-ordered probation for one year and between twenty and forty hours of community service.
The case challenged Denver’s unauthorized-camping ordinance, which has been divisive ever since Denver City Council approved it in 2012.
Since the courts are generally upholding these laws, this has just emboldened more communities to adopt anti-homelessness ordinances. According to one report, dozens of major cities have now passed such laws…
City-wide bans on public camping (PDF) have increased by 69 percent throughout the United States. What used to be seen as an annoyance is now prohibited, forcing fines or jail time on those who certainly can’t afford it. The only nationwide nonprofit devoted to studying this, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, has been tracking these changes since 2006. Their findings? There are a scary number of laws passed that ironically make it costly to be homeless.
For example, in 33 of the 100 U.S. cities they studied, it’s illegal to publicly camp. In 18, it’s illegal to sleep in public. Panhandling is illegal in 27 cities.
In 39 cities, it’s illegal to live in vehicles.
As I have warned repeatedly, we are seeing hearts grow cold all around us. Instead of doing everything that they can to try to help those in need, communities are trying to make them go some place else, and those that try to feed and help the homeless are being harshly penalized.
Sadly, all of this comes at a time when homelessness is on the rise all over America. In a previous article I pointed out that in New York City the number of homeless people recently hit a brand new all-time high, and things have gotten so bad in Los Angeles that the L.A. City Council has formally requested that Governor Jerry Brown declare a state of emergency.
We tend to think of the homeless as bearded old men with drinking problems, but the truth is that many of the homeless are children.
In fact, the number of homeless children in the United States has risen by about 60 percent since the end of the last recession.
If this is how we are going to treat some of the most vulnerable members of our society while things are still relatively stable, how are we going to be treating one another when the economy completely collapses?
Did World War III begin on April 6th, 2017? After Donald Trump fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Syria on Thursday night, millions of Americans were cheering, but the cheering isn’t going to last for long if a new world war erupts. What is amazing to me is that this happened on the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into World War I. The U.S. officially entered that war on April 6th, 1917, and now 100 years later to the day Donald Trump has essentially declared war on Syria.
If you think using the term “World War III” is alarmist, you might want to tell that to the vast numbers of people that are buzzing about a new world war all over social media. If you don’t yet understand why a strike on Syria could be so dangerous, go back and read my article from yesterday. If we continue striking Syria, we could very easily find ourselves in a direct military conflict with Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.
Hopefully last night will be the full extent of U.S. military action. If Donald Trump and his national security advisers pat themselves on the back for “looking tough” and decide that was enough, we probably won’t see a major regional war break out.
But if the U.S. decides that regime change is necessary and continues to conduct more strikes, we will have war. And unfortunately, there are already signs that this may happen. On Friday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley stated that the Trump administration “is prepared to do more”…
“The United States took a very measured step last night,” Haley said. “We are prepared to do more. But we hope that will not be necessary. It is time for all civilized nations to stop the horrors that are taking place in Syria and demand a political solution.”
I don’t understand why so many Americans seem to have a thirst for war.
I have been studying war virtually all my life. When I was just a small boy, I would check huge volumes on World War I, World War II and the Korean War out of the library and read them cover to cover. And let me tell you, war is hell. Nobody should actually want to see war, and now we are closer to the next world war than we have been in decades.
Needless to say, the Russians are extremely angry about what Trump has done. Russian President Vladimir Putin has denounced it as an “illegal act of aggression”, and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says that the U.S. came “within an inch” of a direct conflict with Russian forces…
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said the US air strike on a Syrian air base came “within an inch” of militarily clashing with their forces.
He said the action taken by the Americans was in breach of international law and their own internal procedures, and accused Washington of “barely avoiding combat clashes with Russia”.
In a post on Facebook, Mr Medvedev said the air strike had “completely ruined relations” between the two superpowers.
What in the world is Trump thinking?
The Russians very much wanted Trump to win the election because they felt that there was a very high probability of war between our two nations if Hillary Clinton would have won.
And the Russians were quite right to think that.
So the Russian people rejoiced greatly when Trump won, because they thought that it would be a new day for relations between our two great countries.
But after last night that hope is dead.
In fact, historians will probably mark April 6, 2017 as the day when the relationship between the United States and Russia officially died.
And it didn’t take long for the Russians to start to respond. The following comes from Business Insider…
The Russia Foreign Ministry announced that it suspended an agreement to avoid clashes between Russian and US-led coalition jets over Syrian airspace, while Reuters reporter Idrees Ali reports that Russia withdrew from a deconfliction channel, which the US used Thursday night to warn Russian forces of the incoming cruise-missile strikes (which took place Friday morning local time).
In addition, it has been announced that Russia will be significantly bolstering air defenses in Syria, and according to Fox News a Russian warship has been dispatched to confront the two U.S. naval vessels that fired the cruise missiles at Syria…
A Russian warship entered the eastern Mediterranean Friday and was heading toward the area where two U.S. Navy destroyers launched missile strikes into Syria, Fox News has learned.
The Russian frigate, Admiral Grigorovich RFS-494, crossed through the Bosphorus Strait “a few hours ago” from the Black Sea, according to a U.S. defense official.
Here in the United States, we need to start making our voices heard very loudly so that President Trump will understand that most Americans do not want to go to war in Syria.
And of course the same thing can be said about a potential war with North Korea. After last night’s cruise missile display, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is warning that his nation is on the “brink of war” with the United States.
One of the angles that is not getting a lot of discussion in the mainstream media is how the events of last night were viewed by the Chinese.
Donald Trump grew up in New York City at a time when the mafia still had a dominant presence, and to put a “hit” on another rival across town when you are sitting down for a meeting with a top boss from another family sends a very, very powerful message.
The fact that Trump ordered those 59 cruise missiles to rain down on Syria at the exact moment when he was having dinner with the president of China is going to be remembered by the Chinese for a very, very long time. In Asian cultures respect is a very big thing, and the Chinese had to be deeply embarrassed by what just happened last night.
On top of everything else, the truth is that Donald Trump blatantly violated the U.S. Constitution by conducting a military strike against Syria without the approval of Congress. This is something that U.S. Senator Rand Paul pointed out very clearly in an editorial that was released on Friday…
The Constitution clearly states that it is Congress that has the power to declare war, not the president. Even the War Powers Resolution, shoved forward by hawks as justification, clearly states criteria under which the president may act – a declaration of war, a specific statutory authorization, or a national emergency created by an attack on the United States.
That’s it. Absent those criteria, the president has no authority to act without congressional authorization. Congress must stand up and assert its authority here and now.
Conservatives always protested whenever Barack Obama violated the U.S. Constitution in this manner, and so they should protest when Donald Trump acts in the same fashion.
A lot of people will read this article and they aren’t going to grasp the importance of what is going on because they do not understand where all of this is ultimately heading.
But there are some of you that have major alarm bells going off in your head because you have been listening to the warnings and you know what comes next.
We have entered a season of time that myself and other watchmen have been warning about for many years. I just can’t believe that it is starting to happen so quickly. Many had been hoping for a time of peace and prosperity during a time of “reprieve” under Donald Trump, but you can forget that now.
The events of April 6th, 2017 have changed everything, and most Americans are completely unprepared for what will soon follow.
It makes me physically ill when I think that the U.S. could be on the verge of starting a disastrous war in the Middle East that will not benefit us in any way, shape or form. I can’t believe this is happening, and a lot of other people apparently can’t either. In fact, there were some that heavily criticized me when I suggested that Donald Trump had just committed to taking military action in Syria in part 1 and part 2 of this series of articles. But less than 24 hours later, the front page of USA Today was running this jarring headline: “Trump team developing military response in Syria”. It is interesting to note that this came on the 77th day of Trump’s presidency, and on Thursday it was also revealed that the Trump administration is working to put together an international coalition to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power. The following comes from Fox News…
America’s top diplomat addressed the Syria crisis a day after Trump declared in the Rose Garden that the chemical strike would not be tolerated. Tillerson pointedly said Russia should “consider carefully” its support for the Assad regime, while calling for an international effort to defeat ISIS in Syria, stabilize the country and ultimately work with partners through a political process that leads to Assad leaving power.
Asked if the U.S. would organize a coalition to remove Assad, Tillerson said: “Those steps are underway.”
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also told the press that Assad has “no role” in governing Syria in the future, and he pledged there there will be a “serious response” to the recent chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib province.
Of course it is extremely doubtful that Assad had anything to do with that chemical attack, and I am going to share some more of that evidence with you in part 4 of this series.
In terms of what that “serious response” will look like, a lot will be determined over the next 48 hours as Trump consults with his top national security advisers…
Defense Secretary James Mattis will brief President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago on military options against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s regime later on Thursday in the wake of a deadly attack which activists said killed at least 100 people — including 25 children — and injured at least 400 others earlier this week.
The White House and Pentagon have had detailed back-and-forth conversations over the past two days over options including a National Security Council meeting Wednesday. Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster have had repeated contact about the best way forward, a U.S. official told NBC News.
It is being reported that airstrikes and the use of cruise missiles against Syrian targets are among the initial options under consideration.
If Trump drops a few bombs or fires of a few cruise missiles that likely wouldn’t spark a broader conflict, but there is one option that is reportedly being considered that could bring us into direct military conflict with Russia. According to The Intercept, the Trump team is actually considering a “saturation strike” which would result “in Russian military deaths”…
The proposed strike would involve launching Tomahawk cruise missiles to overwhelm Russian air defense systems used by the Syrian military. The Russian government currently helps maintain the air defense sites and advises the Syrian military.
According to both U.S. military officials, the current proposal would likely result in Russian military deaths and mark a drastic escalation of U.S. force in Syria.
One U.S. military official said the decision to allow the strikes, which would kill Russians, signals a significant change in policy by the Trump administration. A decision by Trump to go forward with the plan would be a reversal from the Obama administration, which denied multiple air strike proposals that would likely cause Russian personnel casualties in Syria.
If that happens, any hope for improved relations with Russia will be permanently extinguished and it could easily result in the Russians shooting back at us.
The Russians have S-300 and S-400 air defense systems already in place in Syria. Both of those systems are some of the most advanced in the world and are a significant threat to U.S. warplanes.
As I discussed yesterday, it is not difficult to imagine what would happen if footage of U.S. aircraft being blown out of the sky by Russian missiles started rolling on our cable news channels 24 hours a day.
Even now, U.S. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are urging President Trump to consider “the grounding of Assad’s air force”…
“In addition to other measures, the United States should lead an international coalition to ground Assad’s air force. This capability provides Assad a strategic advantage in his brutal slaughter of innocent civilians, both through the use of chemical weapons as well as barrel bombs, which kill far more men, women and children on a daily basis … Ultimately, the grounding of Assad’s air force can and should be part of a new comprehensive strategy to end the conflict in Syria.”
Of course if Trump goes to war with another sovereign nation without the approval of Congress that would be a blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution, and that is something else that I would be talking about in part 4 of this series.
Even though I am writing about all of this, I still have a hard time believing that this is all happening less than three months into Trump’s presidency. The stage is being set for the kind of scenario that I outlined in The Beginning Of The End, and right now I am far more alarmed by the state of world events than I was at any point in 2016.
I am particularly disturbed by all of this talk about removing Assad.
How in the world does the Trump administration plan to do that?
Even if they conduct a massive bombing campaign that would turn Damascus into a “ruinous heap”, that would still not guarantee regime change.
The only thing that would guarantee regime change is a full-scale ground invasion and the conquest of the entire city of Damascus.
Of course the Russians, the Iranians and Hezbollah would not willingly step aside and let “coalition forces” march to Damascus, and so such a move could very easily spark World War 3 in the Middle East.
I can’t believe that Trump is actually thinking of going to war with Syria. There is nothing to be gained and so much that could be lost. Let us hope that someone can talk some sense to him while there is still time to do so.
I got chills when I saw a CNN report that said that a White House official has just warned that “the clock has now run out” on North Korea’s nuclear program and that “all options are on the table”. That second phrase has been repeatedly used by members of the Trump administration in recent days, and everyone knows what it means. When I wrote that a conflict with North Korea could be “Trump’s first war” last month, I was still hoping that cooler heads would prevail and that a military conflict could be avoided. Unfortunately, it appears that a peaceful solution is not in the cards, and that means that the United States may soon start bombing North Korea. And of course if that happens the North Koreans will strike back with whatever they can, and that includes nuclear weapons.
I don’t know if I have the words to effectively communicate how serious this situation could become. We have gotten to the point where the White House is openly talking of going to war with a nuclear power…
A senior White House official issued a dire warning to reporters Tuesday on the state of North Korea’s nuclear program, declaring “the clock has now run out and all options are on the table.”
“The clock has now run out, and all options are on the table,” the official said, pointing to the failure of successive administration’s efforts to negotiate an end to North Korea’s nuclear program.
Later this week, President Trump is going to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida. The eyes of the entire world will be on this summit, because everyone knows that Trump is going to press the Chinese leader for help on resolving the crisis with North Korea.
But what can China actually do?
The Chinese could cut off trade with North Korea, and that would definitely hurt, but North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appears to have become convinced that long range nuclear missiles are the key to the survival of his regime, and so he will never give up his nuclear program.
And the Chinese will certainly not strike North Korea militarily, and so ultimately if something is going to be done to stop North Korea from getting long range nuclear missiles it will be up to the United States.
On Tuesday morning, North Korea once again showed their defiance by firing yet another test missile into the Sea of Japan…
The missile was fired from the Sinpo region at 10.40pm GMT (6.10am local time) on the communist nation’s east coast and landed into the sea off the Korean peninsula, South Korean military officials confirmed.
The rocket is believed to have flown around 37 miles before crashing into the sea. Specific details about the type of projectile were not immediately available.
Kim Jong Un conducted more missile tests in 2016 than his father did in nearly two decades.
It has become crystal clear that North Korea is not going to back down.
President Trump is still hoping that China will step up to the plate, but if the Chinese don’t he has already stated that the United States is fully prepared to “act alone”. In fact, he made headlines all over the planet when he told the Financial Times the following: “Well if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you.”
It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what Trump is saying there.
Previous administrations have tried sanctions and negotiations for decades, and they all failed.
In the end, Trump is going to be faced with a choice whether to bomb North Korea or not, and four-star general Jack Keane says that bombing North Korea “may be the only option left”…
A four-star general with close ties to Donald Trump has warned that military strikes are ‘rapidly’ becoming the only solution to North Korea’s nuclear program.
Jack Keane, who declined the President’s offer to become Defense Secretary last year, said bombing Kim Jong-un’s nuclear facilities ‘may be the only option left.’
But bombing North Korea is not like bombing Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or Syria.
The North Koreans already have nuclear weapons, and the U.S. better destroy them all in an overwhelming initial assault, because Kim Jong Un will use any that survive to strike back.
If you doubt this, just consider what a very high level North Korean defector just told Lester Holt of NBC News…
A senior North Korean defector has told NBC News that the country’s “desperate” dictator is prepared to use nuclear weapons to strike the United States and its allies.
Thae Yong Ho is the most high profile North Korean defector in two decades, meaning he is able to give a rare insight into the secretive, authoritarian regime.
According to Thae, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is “desperate in maintaining his rule by relying on his [development of] nuclear weapons and ICBM.” He was using an acronym for intercontinental ballistic missiles — a long range rocket that in theory would be capable of hitting the U.S.
North Korea is currently developing an intercontinental ballistic missile known as the “Taepodong 2” that will have a range of approximately 8000 kilometers.
In other words, it would be capable of striking cities in the western portion of the United States.
It is unthinkable that we would allow a tyrannical leader that is literally insane and that is obsessed with destroying the United States to have such a weapon.
But the moment that we start dropping bombs on North Korea we will start a war in which millions could die. Whatever nuclear weapons are missed in the first assault will likely be fired at U.S. military bases in Japan or at South Korea’s capital city of Seoul. Approximately 10 million people live in Seoul, so the death toll would be absolutely enormous. And even if all North Korean nuclear devices are destroyed by the first attack, the North Koreans still have thousands of artillery guns and rocket launchers trained on Seoul, and they would not hesitate to use their vast stockpile of chemical warheads.
After the initial North Korean barrage, the fourth largest military on the entire planet would start pouring across the border in a massive invasion of South Korea. The U.S. military would be forced to respond with large scale ground forces if South Korea would have any chance of surviving, and just like in the first Korean War the Chinese may decide to respond to that move by committing their own troops to the war on the side of North Korea.
This is a season of “wars and rumors of wars”, and most Americans have no idea how dangerously close we are to the beginning of World War III. My hope is that a peaceful way out of this crisis can still be found, but at this point that is becoming increasingly difficult to imagine.
If Donald Trump decides to go to war with North Korea, he needs to hit them with an absolutely overwhelming first strike that takes out every single North Korean nuke, the bulk of North Korea’s artillery and rockets, and the entire North Korean leadership team within the first few minutes of the attack.
It is hard to imagine a scenario that does not involve nukes that would accomplish that.
And Donald Trump better get the public approval of South Korean and Japanese leadership before ever attempting such an attack, because they will likely pay the highest price if North Korea is able to strike back.
If South Korea or Japan balk at backing such an operation and then they get hit by North Korean nukes, the United States could lose them as friends and allies forever.
The stakes are incredibly high, and there are so many things that could go wrong.
So let us pray for peace, because the alternative is almost too horrible to imagine.
The United States and China are the two largest economies in the world by far, and the upcoming trade war that is about to erupt will be cataclysmic for both sides. The Trump administration and the Chinese government are both gearing up for a prolonged trade war, and this is going to have very severe implications for the entire global economy. During the campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly stated that we “can’t continue to allow China to rape our country”, and he was quite correct about that. Over the past ten years, the U.S. has run a trade deficit of over $2 trillion with China, and as a result of imbalanced trade we have lost tens of thousands of manufacturing businesses, millions of good paying jobs, and hundreds of billions of dollars of tax revenue.
So clearly something needs to be done to balance our trade with China and other countries. But the situation must also be handled delicately, because trade disruptions could bring substantial short-term economic pain.
Prior to winning the election, Trump threatened to unilaterally impose a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports. Unfortunately, China is not just going to sit there and take whatever Trump throws at them. Every single time the U.S. has imposed tariffs on Chinese goods in the past, China has responded by slapping tariffs on U.S. goods.
And this time around, the Chinese are already preparing a very harsh response even though Trump has not officially made his move yet…
The policy advisers believe the Trump administration is most likely to impose higher tariffs on targeted sectors where China has a big surplus with the United States, such as steel and furniture, or on state-owned firms.
China could respond with actions such as finding alternative suppliers of agriculture products or machinery and manufactured goods, while cutting its exports of consumer staples such as mobile phones or laptops, they said.
Other options include imposing tax or other restrictions on big U.S. firms operating in China, or limiting their access to China’s fast-growing services sector, they added.
When this coming trade war erupts, economic activity will be reduced significantly. And considering the fact that U.S. economic growth is projected to be about one percent in the first quarter of 2017, that could be more than enough to push us into a deep recession.
Some of the biggest U.S. exports to China include airplanes, autos and agricultural products, and the Chinese are ready to attack on all of those fronts. The following comes from CNN…
Here’s what Global Times, a newspaper backed by the Communist Party, had to say about how Beijing would respond to tariffs of 45%:
“A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by Airbus,” the paper said Monday. “U.S. auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and U.S. soybean and maize imports will be halted.”
But once again, something must be done for the long-term good of our country. We have been allowing the Chinese to flood our shores with super cheap goods, but meanwhile they have already been hitting our products with ridiculously high tariffs. Here is just one example…
U.S.-made cars exported to China face tariffs of at least 25 percent, including American-made Cadillacs. The American-made Jeep Grand Cherokee costs $27,490 at U.S. dealerships and cost at least $85,000 in China.
What we have with China today is very far from “free trade”, and if they want to trade with us they need to do so on a level playing field.
But China will never allow that to happen. As Donald Trump has correctly stated, they have been “raping” us for years, and they are going to fight very hard to keep anything from upsetting the status quo.
Trump has got to do something for the long-term good of the U.S. economy, but he has also got to try to find a way to avoid a major trade war, because a major trade war would be exceedingly painful for both countries.
Most Americans don’t realize this, but more iPhones are actually sold in China than in the United States. And it is being projected that Boeing will sell nearly 7,000 airplanes to China over the next decade…
By the end of 2015, Chinese consumers bought 131 million iPhones. The total sales to U.S. customers during the same period stood at only 110 million. And iPhones are only a small part of U.S. exports. Boeing, which employs 150,000 workers in the U.S., estimates that China will buy some 6,810 airplanes over the next 20 years, and that market alone will be worth more than $1 trillion.
So what happens if all or part of that economic activity goes away?
According to one study, in the short-term millions of U.S. jobs could potentially be at risk if a major trade war happens…
“Millions of American jobs that appear unconnected to international trade—disproportionately lower-skilled and lower-wage jobs—would be at risk,” according to the PIIE study.
And of course a major trade war would hit American consumers very hard as well.
Just think about it. When you go into a Wal-Mart or a dollar store, are more of the products made in the United States or in China?
A trade war would hit all of us in the wallet as the cost of living goes up. And considering the fact that about two-thirds of the country is essentially living paycheck to paycheck, that would not be a good thing.
So yes, our trading relationship with China definitely needs to be rebalanced, but Trump needs to find a way to make this transition as minimally disruptive as possible.
A major trade war is just one of the “black swans” that could push us into the kind of economic nightmare scenario that I have been warning about for a very long time. And sometimes a trade war can serve as a prelude to a real war. The South China Sea has become a major sticking point between the U.S. and China, and the Chinese are getting ready to cross one of the “red lines” that Barack Obama established while he was still in office…
Beijing has plans to start construction on the disputed Scarborough Shoal this year.
China has reclaimed land in both the Spratly and Paracel Islands and constructed military outposts, but it has been hesitant to start construction on the Scarborough Shoal. Xiao Jie, the mayor of Sansha — an administrative base for China’s South China Sea activities masquerading as a city — said this week that China intends to construct environmental monitoring stations on a number of territories in the South China Sea, including the Scarborough Shoal.
So how will Trump respond when construction on Scarborough Shoal actually begins?
It will be very interesting to watch how that plays out.
The relationship between the United States and China was starting to deteriorate badly even before Donald Trump was elected, and it is very easy to see how it could totally break down in the months ahead.
And considering how interconnected the global economy is today, the United States and China could easily end up dragging down everyone else along with them.