Jerry Brown Plays President; Signs Climate Deal with China
“California Governor Jerry Brown signed a new climate change agreement between the State of California and the People’s Republic of China on Tuesday.
The gesture continued Brown’s efforts to expand ties with China, as well as his diplomatic campaign to push for more action on climate change. It came in the immediate aftermath of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords.
A statement by Gov. Brown’s office described the new agreement as follows:
Specifically, the agreement expands cooperation on the advancement of low-carbon, renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies such as zero-emission vehicles, energy storage, grid modernization and low-carbon urban development. Under the agreement, California and China will also deepen their partnership and coordination on greenhouse gas emission and air pollution reduction programs, including emissions trading systems and carbon capture.
The Associated Press reports, however, that the agreement does not bind either China or California to specific greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.”
BOMBSHELL: Obama NEVER Warned State Election Officials About Russian Election ‘Hacking’
“A new and exclusive report by The Daily Caller – Neither Obama nor any member of his cabinet warned state election officials of any Russian effort to hack or interfere with the country’s electoral systems, according to the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State.”
China Threatens To Bomb North Korea’s Nuclear Facilities If It Crosses Beijing’s “Bottom Line”
“With everyone putting down new and/or revised “red lines”, be it on Syria or North Korea, it was now China’s turn to reveal its “red” or rather “bottom line”, and in a harshly worded editorial titled “The United States Must Not Choose a Wrong Direction to Break the DPRK Nuclear Deadlock on Wednesday” Beijing warned it would attack North Korea’s facilities producing nuclear bombs, effectively engaging in an act of war, if North Korea crosses China’s “bottom line.”
The editorial in the military-focused Global Times tabloid, owned and operated by the Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper, said that North Korea’s nuclear activities must not jeopardize northeastern China, and that if the North impacts China with its illicit nuclear tests through either “nuclear leakage or pollution”, then China will respond with force.
“China has a bottom line that it will protect at all costs, that is, the security and stability of northeast China… If the bottom line is touched, China will employ all means available including the military means to strike back. By that time, it is not an issue of discussion whether China acquiesces in the US’ blows, but the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will launch attacks to DPRK nuclear facilities on its own.”
This, as the editorial puts it, is the “bottom line” for China; should it be crossed China will employ all means available including the military means to strike back,” warned the editorial.
It is worth noting is that shortly after publication, the article seems to have been retracted without explanation, the URL now returning a “404” error. However not before the original article was cached on a webpage owned by China Military, courtesy of google.
In the editorial, the author also declared that the “People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will launch attacks to DPRK nuclear facilities on its own. A strike to nuclear facilities of the DPRK is the best military means in the opinion of the outside world.” The northeastern Chinese provinces of Liaoning and Jilin share borders with North Korea. These two provinces and Heilongjiang are part of the Shenyang Military Region, one of seven military regions of the People’s Liberation Army.
The editorial also explained the advantages to the world of a Chinese attack on North Korea’s nuclear facilities.
It noted China and the world know the locations of North Korea’s nuclear facilities. Once the PLA attacks these nuclear sites, North Korea will permanently suspend its nuclear weapons programs.
North Korea “has limited resources of nuclear materials and is strictly blockaded in the outside world, erasing the possibility for DPRK to get the materials again.”
China also noted that “nuclear weapons is DPRK’s trump card for its defiance of China and the United States. Once this card is lost, it will become obedient immediately.”
The author then speculated rhetorically that if North Korea’s “nuclear facilities are destroyed, they will not even fight back, but probably block the news to fool its domestic people. The DPRK will freak out if its nuclear facilities are destroyed.” And yes, a Chinese author said “freak out.”
The report also said that “the DPRK must not fall into the turmoil to send a large number of refugees, it is not allowed to have a government that is hostile against China on the other side of the Yalu River, and the US military must not push forward its forces to the Yalu River.” It notes that “this sentence is meant for the United States, because the premise of it is that the US military has launched attacks to the DPRK.”
US deploys THAAD missile defence, special operatives that took out Osama bin Laden to North Korea
“The crack US Navy Seal team that took out Osama bin Laden is reportedly in training in South Korea, conducting “field training operations”, amid rising tension with North Korea.
South Korean media claims the famed Seal Team 6 — which killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011 — is part of the Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercise being carried out from March 7 to April 30 in South Korea.
While US military would not confirm the reports, it said “ground, air, naval and special operations” are taking part in “several joint and combined field training operations” which involve up to 17,000 troops.
The special operations teams are thought to also include the Army Rangers, Delta Force and Green Berets. The training commenced one day after US deployed its state of the art THAAD missile defence system to the region.
South Korea’s JoongAng Daily has claimed the teams would take part in a drill to simulate the removal of Kim Jong-un — a move denied by Former US Navy Commander Gary Ross.
Asked about the Navy team’s participation in March, Commander Ross said: “There are variety of Special Operations Forces (SOF) participating in Foal Eagle, as they do in most regional exercises.”
“Foal Eagle is a regularly-scheduled, annual exercise that is the culmination of many months of planning and it is not being conducted in response to the current situation on peninsula,” he said.
KEY LINE OF DEFENCE
The training began the day after the US deployed their mobile THAAD missile defence system to South Korea that is becoming increasingly important as tensions mount with Pyongyang.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) is a “hit to kill” system that provides capability to intercept and defend population centres around the world. Makers Lockheed Martin claim it has a 100 per cent success rate and describe it as “one of the most advanced missile defence systems in the world.”
‘Ban Cars to Stop Terror’ Says Sweden’s Best-Selling Newspaper After Stockholm Attack
“Cars and other vehicles “have turned into deadly weapons”, and should be banished from cities to stop attacks like the one in Stockholm from happening in future, according to Aftonbladet editorialist Eva Franchell.
Crackdowns on immigration or extremist ideology are not the way forward when it comes to terror prevention, according to the veteran journalist, writing after Friday’s terror attack in Stockholm left four people dead.
Instead, it is cars — which she calls “effective murder machines” — that Franchell says “must simply be removed from city centres and places where people gather, if people are to be protected in future”.
Vehicles are “easy to steal, and so nothing has been able to stop their advance”, writes Ms. Franchell.
“It just isn’t reasonable that a big truck can be driven right into one of Stockholm’s busiest streets on a Friday afternoon right before Easter.”
Noting how it is a popular destination for tourists, Franchell says the city centre must be a “safe environment” for visitors to enjoy. She described it as “remarkable” that it is possible to drive around the Swedish capital’s medieval old town.
Outlining her vision for a car-free Stockholm, she argues: “Most problems with regards to mobility and public transport can be solved, and deliveries to shops and restaurants could take place at times when people aren’t out on the streets.”
“Vehicles have been allowed to dominate our cities for decades and it’s the people who need space. It’s vital now that cars be regulated,” the piece concludes.
The idea of reducing the number of cars in Swedish cities was backed last month by Sweden’s environment minister, who argued that driving is a gender equality issue as well as a matter of shrinking the nation’s carbon emissions.
“Cars are driven largely by men so by giving a lot of space to cars; we’re giving a lot of space to men — at the expense of women,” Karolina Skog explained.”
China Punishes Apple Over Encryption by Shutting Down iTunes and Movies
“Despite years of Apple Inc. succeeding in gaining huge market share by apparently granting China state security authorities “backdoors” into its product encryption, communist regulators shut down Apple’s iBook Store and iTunes on April 22.
Key to China’s State Internet Information Office allowing Apple to grow in the “Forbidden Kingdom,” which is now the largest smartphone market on the planet, has been Apple willingness to cooperate with the “needs” of the China security agencies.
State-run People’s Daily reported in January that Apple chief executive Tim Cook had informed Internet czar Lu Wei that the company would let China’s State Internet Information Office conduct “security checks” on all products sold on the mainland. The Beijing News Agency added that Apple was the “1st foreign firm to agree to rules of Cyberspace Admin of China.”
But the very public announcement regarding Apple’s full cooperation in China came at same time Apple was refusing to give the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation source-code-level-access to the iPhone 5C of Syed Farook, who slaughtered 14 people and seriously wounded 22 in the San Bernardino terrorist attack.
In a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit filed to force Apple to cooperate, the San Bernardino District Attorney’s told a federal court that law enforcement needed a backdoor into the iPhone because there was “compelling governmental interest in acquiring any evidence of criminal conduct, additional perpetrators, potential damage to the infrastructure of San Bernardino County, and in protecting the California Constitutionally guaranteed due process rights of the victims, deceased and living, arising from state crimes committed on December 2, 2015,”
An embarrassed Cook quickly denied there was a double standard on cooperation between the U.S. and China by stating, “There were rumors that Apple built back doors in its devices, and let third parties have data and access those devices, but that was never true and that we would never do that in the future either.”
When questioned by Beijing News about Apple reneging on their China deal, Lu Wei said, “It doesn’t matter what you say, you should let our internet safety department do a safety assessment. We need to reach our own conclusions to put the consumer at ease.”
30 Years of ‘Free Trade’ Brings 400% Trade Deficit with China
“There is much debate over the negative effects of massive trade deficits, and what the best strategy for correcting them might be, but it’s hard to deny the U.S. trade deficit with China is staggering in scale … and it got that way after just a few decades of old-school “free trade” orthodoxy.
Raul Amoros of HowMuch.net puts the issue in perspective:
The start couldn’t be more balanced: in 1985, the U.S. exported $3.9 billion to China, and imported goods and services for the exact same amount. But by 2015, there was a staggering imbalance, to China’s advantage, of $365.7 billion – an all-time record, not just for U.S.-China trade, but for any bilateral trade, ever.
It’s not that U.S. exports to China haven’t increased. They have, and by a lot.America exported an impressive $116.2 billion into China last year, 30 times more than in 1985. That makes China the U.S.’s third-biggest export market, nearly twice as important as Japan ($62.5 billion), in fourth place. But that’s still a lot less than U.S. exports to Canada ($280.3 billion) or Mexico ($236.4 billion). Meanwhile, Chinese exports to the U.S. have exploded. In 2015, China exported $481.9 billion to the U.S. – an amazing 123 times more than in 1985.
Amoros illustrated this with an animated GIF that shows billion-dollar blocks building into towers of trade for the U.S. and China. The American side of the graph rolls in and out like the tide a few times, while the Chinese tower climbs relentlessly upward to four times the American size.
As Amoros puts it, U.S. trade grows in “fits and starts,” while Chinese trade shows a “strong and consistent rise.” The best news he can give America is that at least the Chinese trade deficit is no longer growing exponentially larger.
Actually, he’s got a little more good news later in his analysis, but it leaves a somewhat bitter aftertaste. In Amoros’ judgment, one of the major reasons for the huge trade deficit is that “China’s economy may be huge, but on a per-capita basis, the Chinese themselves are still relatively poor.”
That means few Chinese workers can “afford all those nice expensive things made in America, by workers who make a lot more than they do.” That situation could change as China grows richer, and its per capital income increases… precisely because it’s beating the pants off the U.S. in trade, due to the far lower cost of Chinese labor.
Meanwhile, Americans are encouraged to enjoy the benefits of cheap consumer goods produced by that inexpensive foreign labor – the nearly universal response to criticism of trade deficits, accompanied by the warning that any sort of tariff or “trade war” would “ultimately end up hurting U.S. workers and consumers,” as Amoros puts it.
Economic issues are always a matter of scale, so the general proposition that trade deficits benefit the American consumer might become a bit harder to defend in the shadow of a $365 billion imbalance.
Economic discussions must also factor in the element of time, and it’s not entirely heartening to think our immense deficit will level itself out years or decades in the future… at which point we lose all those cheap consumer goods, and we’ve permanently lost a huge number of jobs to foreign competitors. If the shot-callers of 1985 had seen what the next 30 years would bring, would they have considered the trade-offs a good deal, and made the same policy choices?
We may also wonder if hitching so much of our economy to potentially unstable foreign systems, whose labor policies would be considered illegally abusive in the United States, is either wise or moral.”
…Continue reading the excellent article by John Hayward @ Breitbart
Obama: ‘Hopefully, We Can Learn From’ Cuba About Improving Human Rights In America
“Speaking to reporters in Havana Monday, President Barack Obama said that, “hopefully,” the United States can learn a thing or two from Cuba’s record on improving basic, human rights.
“Our starting point is that we have two different systems,” Obama explained. “What I have said to President Castro, is that we are moving forward and not looking backwards.”
“President Castro, I think, has pointed out that it, in his view making sure that everybody is getting a decent education or health care, has basic security in old age, that those things are human rights as well.”
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Meets with China’s Propaganda Chief
“BEIJING (AP) — Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg held a rare meeting with China’s propaganda chief, at a time when Chinese authorities are tightening control over their cyberspace.
Liu Yunshan told Zuckerberg in their meeting Saturday that he hopes Facebook can share its experience with Chinese companies to help “Internet development better benefit the people of all countries,” China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported. Zuckerberg was in Beijing to attend an economic forum.
China has called for the creation of a global Internet “governance system” and cooperation between countries to regulate Internet use, stepping up efforts to promote controls that activists complain stifle free expression.
Facebook and other Western social media, including Twitter, are banned in China. Zuckerberg has long been courting China’s leaders in a so far futile attempt to access the country with the world’s largest number of Internet users – 668 million as of last year.
China has been increasing control over its Internet, dubbed the Great Firewall because it is already heavily censored. Liu, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the ruling Communist Party’s top leadership panel, recently said that all Internet users must not cross the “baseline” when discussing China’s governance.
Chinese censors have introduced a slate of new regulations to better enable them to police digital and social media as closely as traditional publications. The country’s top Internet regulator has repeatedly warned that an untamed cyberspace would pose a risk to domestic security, and that the government should decide who to allow into “its house.”
DiCaprio: Communist China Is Becoming A ‘Hero On Climate Change’
“Leonardo DiCaprio said China, one of the most polluted countries in the world and ruled by a communist government, has an opportunity to become the “hero of the environmental movement” for its concerted efforts to curb carbon emission output.
DiCaprio, coming off his big Oscar win, heaped praise on China while promoting his new movie “The Revenant” in Beijing Sunday.
“As we all know, the United States and China are the two biggest contributors, and I think that China has made radical movements forward as far as alternative energy and ways to be sustainable,” he said at a press conference.
China has the opportunity “to change the world and I have all the confidence in the world that that is their intention,” DiCaprio added.”