Wednesday, March 7, 2018

PSA: March for our Lives


This is the most important thing to happen in some time. The students who are organizing this are truly the best we can be, and deserve tremendous credit. Congress has failed to deal with anything related to gun control. It couldn't even bring itself to ban bump stocks. Inaction translates to disregard for the lives of innocents.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

B-2 bombers on Guam and the real Duty to Warn


Business Insider recently published a story with an alarming headline: “US stealth bombers in Guam appear to be readying for a tactical nuclear strike on North Korea.”  Well, no.

The U.S. deployment of B-2 bombers to Guam signals nothing. The U.S. has deployed B-2 bombers to Guam for years. Andersen Air Force Base is only base in the Western Pacific capable of supporting large bombers, such as the B-52.

The Business Insider story doesn’t back up the flame-bait headline, because it can't. President Donald Trump’s strategy on North Korea is unclear. But if you want insights into what Trump might do please read “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.”

This book is a collection of essays by 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts. This community follows the Goldwater Rule, a professional guideline that prohibits mental health professionals from diagnosing a public official without examining the person. But with Trump, a counter-movement has emerged called “Duty to Warn.”

“Duty to Warn” argues that psychiatrists already have a responsibility to alert authorities if a patient informs them, for instance, of a plan to commit a violent act. The psychiatrist believe they have a similar duty about Trump because his behavior is putting the nation at risk. The authors president a formidable case against Trump as unstable. 

The consensus view on North Korea is any military action will be horrific and will risk nuclear confrontation.  What really scares is the possibility that Trump will goad North Korea’s leader into doing something reckless -- something that gives U.S. a thin reason to take military action. This administration may be hunting for justification. 

If not for North Korea, a leading area of concern might be China's island and military base building in the South China Sea. An excellent book on that risk is “Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap,” by Graham Allison.

Sending some B-2 bombers to Guam tells us nothing about Trump or the U.S. plan, if there is one. But the real danger here isn’t North Korea or China. It's our leadership and its very real potential for bad decision making. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

America's day begins on Guam, and so does the government shutdown

Photo: "Area Closed For Turf Restoration" by Patrick Thibodeau, 2017 

If you're reading this right now, it's Sunday, about 6 p.m. or 1800 hours Eastern. It's 9 a.m.  Monday, on Guam, the place where the government shutdown begins in earnest.

Guam has about 4,000 federal civilian workers, which makes up about 6.5% of Guam's roughly 64,000 civilian workforce.

Guam is known as the place where "America's day begins," because of its location in the Pacific. It's the first part of America to see the start of the new day.

But for our purposes, this is also the place where the federal government shutdown impact truly begins.

The government shutdown has been affecting jobs on Guam since the shutdown began Saturday, Eastern Time. But Monday is the day that the impact will be felt.

It's not fully clear what federal services will be impacted on Guam. The PNC has a rundown of what's known so far.