Nuclear Friday: Disaster Tax Holiday

I was at the hardware store this morning picking up some new extension cords for work after I was the second person who almost Darwin Awarded himself using one of our defective ones. I noticed a sign on the door that April 22-24 is an official Emergency Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. I’m not sure why they picked this weekend. Tornado season is almost over and hurricane season is a couple of months away. Still, it might be a good time to stock up on emergency supplies. Recent video from North Korean domestic broadcasts showed an attack on targets inside the US. There’s no real reason to worry about such an attack, and I will explain why later in this post, but the Trump administration’s mishandling of the current situation in Korea indicates that there may be future mishaps that would make it worthwhile to take basic civil defense precautions.

If you look on the list of tax exempt items, you might see hatchets. I’m going to buy one tomorrow. But the official Big Board recommendations for disaster preparedness are always keeping at least half a tank of gas in your car and a Rubbermaid Brute trash can full of water.

Let’s take a look at the cluelessness that requires these preparations:

The Ghost Fleet of the Pacific:

Last week I believed the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group had been diverted directly from a port of call in Singapore to the Sea of Japan near the Korean Peninsula. Most news sources reported this and North Korea issued an official response. We were all horribly misinformed. While PACOM did officially state that that the Vinson group would be heading to near Korea, they did not say when. Vinson was NOT heading to the Sea of Japan directly from Singapore. But we didn’t know that until three days ago when the US Navy posted this image of the Vinson in the Sunda Straits of Indonesia: 170415-N-BL637-044

You can see the official Navy commentary here. The Vinson was on its way to fly planes with the Australians, and would steam back north only after completing this scheduled exercise.

So what the hell happened? I can’t piece together what happened because no one seems to know. The best sources I can find are this NYT article and this feeble attempt from CNN to construct a timeline of what happened. TPM seems to have constructed the most coherent narrative about what might have happened, but I can’t be sure.

Secretary of Defense Mattis seems to have really believed the Vinson group really did depart from Singapore to the Sea of Japan. How could he be so misinformed? Is he cut off from PACOM?

And as far as I can tell from watching Trump and Spicer videos last weekend, they may have really believed that the Vinson group was on its way. Spicer has since blamed the press for any misunderstanding.

Some might argue that Trump was cleverly trying some kind of Mincemeat or FUSAG deception. But no, Pence has admitted that any “misunderstandings” about the Vinson were unintentional.

The military commands and the President and Cabinet are clearly unable to communicate. You should be afraid.

Domestic Propaganda:

You may have seen this bootleg North Korean video depicting a “super-mighty” strike against the US. Sorry to post the Fox News version here, but they have the best sound:

First off, this video is ridiculous. Why are the missiles still under thrust near apogee? Russia Today never gets this sort of thing wrong. Learn from your superiors.

This is an internal propaganda video. No NK attack on the US is possible at this time. Every communication from the Foreign Ministry of North Korea has suggested that NK has a reasonable nuclear use policy. North Korea has not even threatened “launch on warning” the way they did during Obama’s last standoff with North Korea back in late September to mid-October of 2016. That standoff didn’t make the news much because we’d been through a few at that point and by then there was never any question about clarity of communication between the Executive and the military. And there almost never had been even since 2009.

Why you should buy disaster supplies:

Stock up, and learn to Duck and Cover. We seem to have no clear communication between the military and the executive branch. Even if North Korea goes as badly as it might, and as I argued in my previous Nuclear Friday North Korea is the saner party, this would be only a regional exchange.

But knows what will come next? Stock up.

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