Monday Morning Briefing

Blog Post
Good Morning Oahu!
This is the early morning view from the balcony. It’s not unique, because this is the morning view from the balcony almost every day. We’re in week two in Hawaii while I am homeless, waiting for construction at the White Wolf Mine to be complete. I’m advised that it will be finished before Christmas. 
All I can tell you is that while the general contractor can’t be relied on to do things in a timely way, it is getting closer (as is Christmas). Meanwhile, I am making do as best I can.
The conclusion of the Van’s Triple Crown of Surfing will likely be played out tomorrow and I’ll be there at Sunset Beach to watch the action.
Work still requires that I be on the phone two or three hours a day, but I’m living with that…again…as best I can.
In Paris, the French riot police took off their helmets and refused to subdue the crowd because they identify more with the people than with their elite masters. There comes a point in time when taxes get too high. Macron and his backers (bankers) need to review the situation and consider that the police are the canary in the mine.
In Mexico City, President Lopez-Obrador is assuring the cartels that he has their back and that the police and defense establishment (SEMAR and SEDENA – Navy and Army, respectively) will no longer target drug kingpins nor their empires. Many Mexicans believe that the narcotics problem is a consumption problem in the US that shouldn’t touch their daily lives. The PRD or communist party, has never taken power in Mexico before and everyone is hanging back to see how things will work out.
The Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) is a socialist/collectivist political party that has been one of the three major political parties in Mexico over the last several decades, the others being the Institutional Revolutionary (PRI) Party and the National Action (PAN) Party.
The hand grenade attack on the US Consulate still have many in the US State and Justice Departments concerned. The bottom line is that Mexico is not safe for US Government employees or tourists who visit Mexico. The nation loves the money that it brings, but can’t guarantee much. The narcos own many of the hotels and resorts that Americans visit and try to keep things safe because they have a financial interest in the outcome. And still, it just isn’t safe.

In The Koreas
On 1 December, a North Korean soldier defected to South Korea across the eastern land border. 
Additional information will become available, but the timing of this defection during a period of reconciliation raises questions about what North Korean soldiers are being told. Why would a soldier choose to defect during a time of eased tension and unification moves? Why have more soldiers not defected? What is the content of the daily indoctrination sessions that soldiers must attend?
At this point there are a lot more questions than answers. At the same time South Korea is moving ahead with reconciliation moves and North Korea is letting them pay for it.
In China’s Pacific Ocean Domain
The guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville sailed near the Paracel Islands on 26 November to challenge China’s “excessive maritime claims”, the US Pacific Fleet said in a statement.
China foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, told a daily news briefing the US ship entered Chinese waters without permission and China had made its position known with its “stern representations”. The Peoples’ Liberation Army’s Navy said it sent ships and aircraft to watch the US ship and to warn it to leave.
This was the second of three US Navy ship transits of waters that China claims in a week. Chinese reaction was restrained in advance of the G-20 conference in Argentina. The US cruiser conducted the freedom of navigation operation near the Paracels after departing Hong Kong.
Two days later, on 28 November, the guided-missile destroyer, USS Stockdale, and the naval oiler, USNS Pecos, transited the Taiwan Strait. China was outraged as usual. The Taiwan Strait is 130 km/81 miles at its narrowest point. That means ships can transit the Strait and remain in international waters as defined by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Warships are under no requirement to make the transit under conditions of innocent passage. 

27 thoughts on “Monday Morning Briefing

  1. I am so sorry you are having to make do in Oahu. Especially with the traffic in town. There also seems to be no accountability or customer service anymore. The finish the WFM in his own sweet time, by God.

  2. I'm not staying downtown in Traffic. I'm staying 30 miles away at KoOlina, near the Disney resort.

    The contractor (bless his heart) will be finished when he's finished.

  3. Roughing it in Oahu, eh LL?

    Much like eating at a 5 star restaurant, and the waiter informing you that they are fresh out of their chateau briand, and of course because you are flexible, you rough it and order the lobster tail.

    Don't know if you heard, but northern AZ got pelted with some snow last week. Contractors in that area love snow: gives them a semi-legitimate excuse for booking a few more side jobs that slow down your job, all the while telling you it's the weather's fault.

    Yes, those guys love snow.

  4. LL,

    I'm actually leaving for a cruise to Hawaii in the morning. I'll be in Honolulu on the 9th. Never been before ads it's important to me to visit Pearl before I leave this earth an pay my respects.

    As always, great recap on the general state of sf foreign affairs. I have come to value your insight.

    Enjoy the rest of your vacation

  5. Yes, they did get snow. He says that he endeavors to persevere (a line from the feature film, "The Outlaw Josie Wales"). I have to be back sometime next week to pick up the mail, which is now delivered there, and to check in on the place. Who knows what I'll find?

    He is pushing me to pay ancillary costs. I told him, "when it's complete". He didn't like that response. – but I'm here on the lanai, watching the waves, send another Mai Tai and pass the sweet and sour shrimp please.

  6. Hand salute to render honors to the USS Arizona. It's a touching memorial, lest we forget. I think that I'm leaving about the same time as you dock. I'll need to check the tickets. Have a nice cruise, Mr. Brandon!

  7. I'd seen on RT that the police union was struggling with their orders but as of the time of the statement, they hadn't refused to obey them. If CRS and RAID have now both taken off their helmets in solidarity with the protesters, then Macron has already lost the game.

  8. My understanding is that they'd taken off their helmets. Macron has some fancy footwork ahead of him if he wants to keep ahead of the mob.

  9. Nice we have a President with stones. The Chinese may overstep and get into a shooting war with their neighbors, like Vietnam. The Chinese track record with neighborhood skirmishes isn't good.

    I've been away from the construction biz a long time but….before you finish paying, or take occupancy, you might run it by a lawyer. When I was on the contracting end, my rule was, "If it is good enough to live in, it is good enough to pay for". Flat would not let them move any possessions into the house or even have access without us being there. I'm sure you have considered all of this.

  10. Regarding the commies in power in Mexico:
    I recommend reading up on the Christeros war in northern Mexico in the late 1920s.
    We were not taught about this in school.
    250,000 Mexicans that were displaced during this war ended up in L.A.
    The communist government decided to liberally and figuratively kill the Catholic Church in Mexico.
    They closed the church-ran schools and killed a number of padres.
    This really ticked off the wimin-folks who encouraged the men-folk to start killing communists and fererales (tomato/tamaato).
    My paternal grandfather who ran a guide business for hunters into northern Mexico crossed the border and brought his sister out during this time.
    She had been teaching school for the children of employees of an American company in Vera Cruz.
    My dad's birth certificate lists his dad's occupation as "Hunter and Trapper."
    He lived an interesting life.
    But I digress.
    Seriously, check out the Christeros war.
    The casualty ratio for fererales vs "revolutionaries" is eye opening.
    And it affected the demographics of California to a surprising amount.

  11. I have lawyers on retainer.

    As to the Celestials of the Middle Kingdom, they are predictable. And they've f-ed up a lot. From an WSF perspective, envision a society that buys new cars but has no tradition of automotive repair or a spare parts distribution chain in place.

  12. The Mexican Revolution (1910-20) spawned very interesting results, such as those you cite above in the Christeros War. It's racist to talk about these wars so they're ignored. The "Punitive Expedition, U.S. Army" operation was conducted by the United States Army against the paramilitary forces of Mexican revolutionary General Francisco "Pancho" Villa between March 14, 1916, and February 7, 1917. We don't talk about that, about Black Jack Pershing, Second Lieutenant George Smith Patton, etc. We should, but it's just too racist.

    The part about killing fererales may come into fashion again. Time will tell.

  13. Yes, Chief Dan George quoting the lying white eyes bureaucrats, 'endeavor to persevere.' Love that movie.

    Clint: 'when I get to liking someone, they ain't around long.'
    Chief Dan George" ' I notice when you get to disliking someone, they ain't around long, neither.'

    Gotta love Clint Eastwood movies. And contractors.

  14. Clint did bring the "empty chair" into the political lexicon. Yes, it was racist and probably also Islamophobic since Barry is a closet Muslim.

  15. God Bless Clint Eastwood!

    And since I now live in the High Plains, and have no visible means of support, does that make me an honorary High Plains Drifter?

  16. My grandmother took the whole family to Hawaii for Christmas in 1964. I was eleven. We got there a day or two after that Alaska earthquake, and they were still mopping up in some of the beach front shops.

    My uncle did a hitch in the Navy. He was posted as a cook aboard the heavy cruiser USS Chicago (CA-136), sailing from Long beach in January of 1946. I still remember our visit to the USS Arizona.

    If allowed to, I would OD on papaya with lemon.

    Regarding the French police, I have remarked to more than one LEO here that if things go sideways, they may well be forced to choose between their oath to the constitution and their badge.

  17. You can have both Hawaii and France… Nice graphic on the SCS, with the 9 dash line. I wonder how many know what that even is.

  18. You need to buy a duster and a hat and wear it around, smoking one of those small hand-rolled cigars. You can pull it off, DRJIM. Squint a lot and sic Pebbles-the-Wonder-Dog on anyone who doesn't see things your way.

  19. I appreciate this in depth update while you are making do in Hawaii. 🙂

    Your contractor may be slow, but hopefully as the finishing time draws near, he will go faster and still pay attention to detail.

  20. I have more time on my hands in Hawaii, which may sound a little strange, but it's true. I've been on the phone for work about four hours a day and into the evening (time zones, etc., which is strange with the HI Time Zone, but it is). Thus, I need to stay on top of things and so forth. Why not share a few thoughts.

  21. Thanks for the briefing. Hawaii looks idyllic but you need an infinity pool. Not the same one as the Obama's, obvs.

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