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President Trump revealed that he showed Kim Jong-Un a video depicting how prosperous his nation could become if he chose peace and openness over aggression. But I don’t think anyone imagined just how well-written and stunningly produced it was. You can watch it at this link. It might be the greatest sales job since Prof. Harold Hill convinced River City residents to save their town from a pool table by funding a boy’s band.
Created to resemble a movie trailer that plays to Kim’s ego by flattering him as the potential hero alongside co-star Donald Trump, it's so persuasive that I’d be surprised if Kim isn’t right now hacking into Sony’s computers to try to download the full movie for free. (He might download "The Rocketeer," thinking it's about him.)
Watch it at the link, but I warn you: it might make you want to rush out and try to buy a timeshare condo in Pyongyang. If any former Obama Administration officials start to mock it, remind them that they sent Hillary to meet with Putin, carrying a prop red "reset" button that didn't work.
I knew the anti-Trump elements in the media would never be able to give him any credit for his historic meeting with Kim Jong-Un, but I have to top my MAGA cap to them: I didn’t think that even they would be able to depict it as the unmitigated, outrageous, horrifying, Code Red DISASTER that they did.
Listening to some of the commentary, you’d think that Kim had totally snookered Trump: that he’d been made to look like a great, respected leader and gotten all the concessions while giving up nothing in return. All because the paper the two signed didn’t spell out in ironclad legalese everything that would be expected of him. (Incidentally, what if it had? Previous Administrations got such papers signed. They waved their copies at photo ops while Kim used his as kindling to cook Korean barbecue.)
As Trump made clear, the paper was simply a statement of intentions, not a treaty or agreement. There are still many more meetings to come in which the details will be hammered out. Kim affirmed his intention to end his nuclear program, along with other concessions such as dismantling a missile engine testing facility and returning the remains of American POWs and MIAs. And he’s already released three Americans being held there. In return, Trump gave him…not much, other than some flattery and a photo op. The US-South Korean war games were put on hold; but they can be rescheduled at any time if Kim fails to live up to his word. The sanctions have not been lifted, and won’t be until the start of denuclearization is verified.
Oh, and as for the criticism that Trump wouldn’t bring up the sorry state of human rights in North Korea with Kim? Turns out he did:
In short, if Obama had come home with the same deal, those same persnickety critics would have already given him another Nobel Peace Prize, a Grammy, an Oscar and carved his face on Mount Rushmore. The Instapundit blog did a great job of illustrating the double standard with just three headline links:
June 12: “’The View’ Bashed Trump for Meeting Kim Jong-Un: Went ‘Too Far!’”
February 12: “’View’ Hosts Trash ‘Hypocrite’ Mike Pence for Not Giving North Korea Due ‘Respect’ at Olympics”
March, 2016: “’The View’s’ Behar: Obama Critics Hate ‘Reaching Across the Aisle’ to Iran, Cuba.”
I sometimes wonder if liberals in Los Angeles or San Francisco would rather be vaporized by a North Korean nuke than give Trump credit for preventing it.
MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” somehow managed to book former Obama undersecretary for political affairs in the State Department Wendy Sherman, who was appalled that the summit showed American and North Korean flags side-by-side, which she said conferred power on Kim, adding, “We aren't equals to each other.” Well, at least if Trump bent over a bit, it was to reach down and shake Kim’s hand, not to bow to him.
She also gave the children a fine example of good old fashioned hubris by declaring, “We have not only been here before, but we’ve been here before with much greater specificity,” adding that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “needs to go back and understand a little bit more about history and he needs to go forward with a team that knows what they’re doing.” Ah yes, if only he’d listened to the wise counsel of the previous team, who did such a bang-up job of preventing North Korea from getting nuclear warheads and missiles. And by “bang,” I refer to the sound their missiles made when they landed.
Still, my coveted Huck’s Hypocrisy Award must go to former Vice President Joe Biden, who was among those declaring that he was “troubled” by the summit. He released a statement complaining that Trump has given North Korea multiple “wins up front without getting anything in return.” I’ll take that seriously when he can tell me what his boss got in return for kowtowing to Cuba and Iran. I’d settle just for getting our planeload of money back from Iran. As for Cuba, he didn't even get the political prisoners released. Not even close, and no cigars.
Thankfully, not everyone is being a partisan ingrate. The parents of the late Otto Warmbier said they appreciated the President’s kind comments about their son and that they are hopeful something positive could come from the summit.
Gee, people hoping for something positive. It’s been a long time since we’ve heard radical talk like that.
Multi-tasker-in-Chief: While returning from the historic summit with North Korea, President Trump found time to give Robert DeNiro a nickname that will follow him to the grave.
From the Vaults: For those who claimed President Trump wasn’t prepared for his meeting with Kim Jong-Un, here’s video of him discussing the need for negotiations to head off North Korea's nuclear ambitions on “Meet The Press”...from 1999.
Most of the votes in Tuesday’s primaries elections are now counted. Most races went pretty much as expected, although there were a few interesting notes.
Once again, the much-ballyhooed “blue wave” of Democrats super-energized by Trump hatred to rush to the polls was more like a trickle from a broken drinking fountain. Overall, turnout wasn’t unusually strong. In North Dakota, just 19.6% of eligible voters cast a ballot, the lowest in the past 10 primary elections. You know the economy is doing amazingly well when even the most "progressive" Democratic primary voters actually have jobs they can’t take time off from.
For all the talk about how “toxic” President Trump is, several candidates he endorsed won, and sometimes against the odds.
The most surprising came in South Carolina, where former Governor and incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford lost his district’s nomination to state Rep. Katie Arrington. Sanford has been one of Trump’s most outspoken GOP critics. Arrington blasted him as a “NeverTrumper,” and Trump endorsed Arrington, launching a Twitter volley at Sanford as "very unhelpful," “MIA and nothing but trouble."
The Democrats have a tricky situation on their hands in South Carolina, where Archie Parnell easily won the primary to challenge incumbent Republican Rep. Ralph Norman in District 5, a seat the Dems thought they might flip. But last month, Parnell admitted to attacking and beating his ex-wife 45 years ago, which led to her getting a restraining order against him. The news prompted the national and state parties to abandon Parnell. But he stayed in the race anyway and won. In a victory statement, he wrote, "Tonight, the people sent a clear message to everyone. You don't have to be defined by your worst mistake. You don't have to be cast aside. You are not alone. You can be better. And, together, we can be better."
It will be interesting to see if, in the era of “MeToo,” the argument that a politician should be forgiven for making one mistake (when it was beating his wife) will actually work. I can only imagine how well it would work for a Republican. Note to District 5 voters: he's right, you can do better.
And while this wasn’t part of the primary results, it’s still major election news: backers of “Cal 3,” the referendum to split California up into three states, obtained over 400,000 signatures on a petition, which means it will appear on the November ballot. Even if it passes, the government wouldn’t be required to split up the state. It will just tell them whether or not it’s the will of the people, and we all know California politicians have no problem with governing against the will of the people.
There are actually millions of Californians outside the big coastal cities who are fed up with being ruled by wack-a-doodle leftists who are trying to drive them into bankruptcy. To them, it would be a California dream come true being able to live in a state not governed by Sacramento without having to pay the premium rate to rent a U-Haul truck to move to Texas.
While media attention has been focused on the astounding events unfolding quickly in Singapore, a longtime standoff between Congress and the DOJ is coming to a head. And like an erupting skin lesion, the result is not going to be pretty.
We’ve learned that at a tense meeting held in January of this year, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reacted to the possibility of being hit with contempt charges by threatening to subpoena the emails, phone records and other documents of Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee and their staff. In emails reviewed by Catherine Herridge at FOX News, the scene was characterized by aides as a “personal attack.”
One committee staffer summed it up: “Let me just add that watching the Deputy Attorney General launch a sustained personal attack against a congressional staffer in retaliation for vigorous oversight was astonishing and disheartening….Also having the nation’s #1 (for these matters) law enforcement officer threaten to ‘subpoena your calls and emails’ was downright chilling.” The DOJ will try to defend this threat as a call for “discovery” in the event Rosenstein is held in contempt of Congress –- a richly deserved charge at this point –- but the staffer read it as “a not-so-veiled threat to unleash the full prosecutorial power of the state against us.” FOX News’ Gregg Jarrett has called it “likely an abuse of power and obstruction.”
The staffer’s account is disputed by representatives of the FBI and DOJ. Alleged Attorney General Jeff Sessions has just defended Rosenstein publicly against charges of threatening, saying, “We do believe that we have tried to be cooperative with them and made progress as the months have gone by, and, in fact, have had some good relationships with top members of Congress.”
I guess by “good relationships” he’s referring to the mysterious passivity of “pod people” Trey Gowdy and Paul Ryan. Otherwise, only another pod person would call the relationship between the DOJ/FBI and Congress “good,” and in the strangely subdued video clip of Sessions, he does appear to have been taken over. So what is it going to take for Congress to get key documents relating to the FBI’s Russia investigation? After all the fighting for months and months over their release, one has to ask: what in the blue blazes are they trying to hide?
Things have only gotten more contentious in recent weeks. Tom Dupree, former principal deputy assistant attorney general under George W. Bush, views the attempts at intimidation as symptomatic of not just a deteriorating relationship, but much worse: “a massive breakdown in the system.” Committee Chairman Devin Nunes had set Tuesday as the deadline for the receipt of documents relating to the use of a “confidential human source” (SPY) to SPY on some associates of the Trump campaign, and now Tuesday has come and gone. Rosenstein and others have offered to have yet another talk-fest on Thursday –- apparently without the documents in question. If this is just one more verbal briefing without the actual evidence, it is unacceptable. (Incidentally, Thursday is the date set for the release of the Inspector General’s report.)
House Oversight Committee members Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan appeared on Tuesday’s Laura Ingraham show and responded to Sessions’ lame defense of Rosenstein, outlining the many instances of documents being withheld or redacted for no acceptable reason. Jordan slammed Rosenstein for threatening to go after their communications when they’re just doing their constitutional duty. Meadows pointed out that since they are a separate branch of government, the DOJ doesn’t have the right to come after them in that way unless they’re under “some kind of criminal investigation.”
He said Sessions doesn’t know what he’s talking about. “I’m here to tell you,” he added, “we’re fed up with it.”
He announced that they were planning to file a resolution on Wednesday to compel the DOJ to turn over the documents. Since a subpoena hasn’t worked, they want the whole House of Representatives to pass their resolution, theorizing that this will add more force. Really?
Obviously, they don’t want to file contempt or impeachment charges unless all other efforts have been exhausted. But surely they know the DOJ is not going to comply. It has drawn the line. We can see now that there really is a “deep state,” and this is is the hill it apparently chooses to die on, most likely protecting...someone...who did...something...unspeakably bad.
Today’s must-read, by Matthew J. Peterson at American Greatness asks the vital question on every foreign policy expert’s lips: Does Donald Trump have enough experience and expert wisdom to screw up as many things, give away as much for nothing, start as many wars and create as many terrorists and refugees as the foreign policy experts have over the past 30 years? Or are his lack of the “skills” prized by diplomatic hothouse-bred, Ivy League “experts” and his real-world experience at dealing with thugs in the construction business precisely why he is able to accomplish on the world stage things they would never even attempt?