Thursday, January 18, 2018

North Korea, Russian Cheating, the Winter Olympics, and Trump, the Message Master

THE NEWS TODAY IS ALL ABOUT THE "STABLE GENIUS" OF PRESIDENT TRUMP. The mainstream media and the ProgDems had a lot of laughs over the President's comment, but it turns out his doctor says he is just fine mentally and fit to serve, as well as being healthy, needing less sleep and having more stamina than the rest of the White House staff. That gives President Trump more hours to get his tweets ready so we can watch the ProgDems and MSM jump at every little piece of bait Trump tosses at them, while they try to stay afloat in the conversation that Trump controls. • • • QUIET -- STABLE GENIUS AT WORK. Some of Trump's tweets have already become classics -- Crooked Hillary, Pocahontas Warren, Rocket Man, the Swamp. But, the Progressive elites still refuse to believe that they are dealing with a man they have no chance of besting. • The latest proof is in the two Koreas. For a year, the world has said that Trump's aggressive calling out of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would lead to a nuclear World War III. Trump persisted. So far, the result is that we have no war and, except for a mistaken or deliberate push of an ICBM button in Hawaii, no NK rockets flying around the Pacific. But, what we do have is a North Korean delegation coming to the Winter Olympics in South Korea, the two Koreas marching together under one flag for the event and playing a women's ice hockey match together on the same team. • • • THE NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR PROBLEM STILL EXISTS. To be sure, the nuclear program in North Korea is still pumping along. And, Kim Jong-un is as unpredictable as ever when it comes to launching ICBM test rockets over South Korea and Japan. But, things have changed in the last year. American Thinker put it this way on Monday : "Kim Jong-un is an isolated leader who had gotten used to stealing Obama's lunch money every day....It was all so predictable with Barry, but he is terrified of Donald Trump....He knows that attacking America would signal the end of his regime and his life. The Chinese have already said they won't come to his defense if he starts a war. (Note: They never did that when Barry was in charge.) So what does Kim have? Threats worked well against Barry, but everything worked well against Barry, whose brilliant idea on North Korea was a policy of 'strategic patience' -- you know, a seven-course meal of 'do nothing and leave it for the next guy,' only with a clever, pithy name because Barry never tired of showing poor deplorables how smart he was. 'Do nothing' was, incidentally, his idea about almost everything, unless it was something where he could pretend to be an emperor ruling with his pen and phone. If you watched the news this past week, there was Kim taking a meeting with his counterpart in South Korea, and there was the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, thanking Trump for helping to make it happen. Wow : I guess his confrontational approach might actually bring results after all." • • • OLYMPICS DIPLOMACY. TheHill reported the North-South Korea agreement on Wednesday : "North and South Korea to march together at Winter Olympics...athletes from their countries will march together at the opening ceremony of the upcoming Winter Olympics. They will also form a joint women’s ice hockey team, the first joint Olympic team from the two Koreas in history, The New York Times reported. The games will take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, putting the spotlight on the Korean peninsula where tensions are running high over the North’s expanded nuclear testing. North Korea said earlier this month that it would send a delegation of more than 500 people to the Olympics, though only two figure skaters qualified to compete. The country will also send a delegation to the Paralympics later this spring....North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in his New Year’s Day speech that he was open to diplomatic talks with the South for the first time in years. President Trump, who has traded insults with Kim, said earlier this month that he has a 'very good relationship' with the leader and wanted to see North Korea 'involved' in the Olympics." • Sadly, even #NeverTrump Republicans in the Swamp refuse to accept Trump for the "stable genius" that he is. And, of course, it was Senator Lindsey Graham who led with his chin one more time. Senator Graham -- who previously said the United States should skip the Olympics if North Korea attends -- said Wednesday that South Korea is "undercutting" President Trump with the talks. TheHill's Ellen Mitchell reported Graham's remarks : "South Korea, they're a great ally, they're in a bad spot. But I think the signals that they're sending to North Korea are undercutting what Trump's trying to do. Which will make it more likely that we will build up military capability, not less." Keep in mind that Senator Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, likened North Korea's visit to the Games to the way Adolf Hitler used the 1936 Summer Olympics in Nazi Germany to further his agenda by using "the largest stage in the world." Senator Graham even suggested that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un might believe his missile and nuclear weapons tests are not as unacceptable as international criticism has suggested. • It was two Democrats who traveled to South Korea recently who said that the talks are a good sign, but that nobody has any illusions North Korea is continuing to advance its nuclear weapons program. Senator Tammy Duckworth said : "It is a positive sign that the North Koreans are participating in the Olympics, but also very clearly from our military leaders...they're not refraining from continuing to move forward with their efforts to solve the final problems with being able to nuclearize an intercontinental ballistic missile that can hit the American homeland. So while they're doing this, they're still continuing to pursue their nuclear development, and that was not something that anybody that we talked to had any illusions about, whether it was civilian or military." Representative Ruben Gallego also called it "a good thing that they're talking and that there is an effort by the South Koreans and North Koreans to work together at the Olympics. Whether it changes anything, we can't tell right now. But without a doubt they're going to continue to be, not doing overt testing such as ballistic missiles or nuclear testing, while this is going on, but they're going to be doing anything they can to perfect their [intercontinental ballistic missiles] in the meantime." • We hope Senator Graham was listening to his Democrat colleagues. • • • TRUMP IS NOT LETTING UP ON NORTH KOREA. Dare we hope that Senator Graham followed the results coming out of the meeting of 20 nations, who met in Vancouver on Tuesday and agreed to consider tougher sanctions to press North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. The Vancouver meeting was reported by Reuters. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Pyongyang it could trigger a military response if it did not choose negotiations. A US-Canada hosted meeting of countries that backed South Korea during the 1950-53 Korea War also vowed to support renewed dialogue between the two Koreas “in hopes that it leads to sustained easing of tensions” and agreed that a diplomatic solution to the crisis was both essential and possible. Tillerson said : “We all need to be very sober and clear-eyed about the current situation...We have to recognize that the threat is growing and if North Korea does not choose the pathway of engagement, discussion, negotiation, then they themselves will trigger an option. Our approach, in terms of having North Korea choose the correct step, is to present them with what is the best option -- talks are the best option; that when they look at the military situation, that’s not a good outcome for them. It is time to talk, but they have to take the step to say they want to talk.” The Vancouver meeting pledged to ensure that UN sanctions already in place were fully implemented and the participants said in a joint statement they agreed “to consider and take steps to impose unilateral sanctions and further diplomatic actions that go beyond those required by U.N. Security Council resolutions.” Tillerson said the meeting had agreed that China and Russia, which did not attend the Vancouver talks and sharply criticized them, must fully implement UN sanctions. Tillerson said North Korea must not be allowed “to drive a wedge” through allied resolve or solidarity and reiterated Washington’s rejection of a Chinese-Russian proposal for the United States and South Korea to freeze military exercises in return for a freeze in North Korea’s weapons programs. A senior State Department official told Reuters that US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis briefed the Vancouver participants over dinner on Monday and stressed the US preference for a diplomatic solution, while keeping a military option on the table. The official said : “It was a chance to raise people’s confidence that we have thought through this, that we definitely prefer a diplomatic solution." • In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Canada and the United States were demonstrating a “Cold War mentality” that would divide the international community and damage chances of an appropriate settlement on the peninsula, adding : “Only through dialogue, equally addressing the reasonable concerns of all parties, can a way to an effective and peaceful resolution be found.” • Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said in Vancouver that the world should not be naive about North Korea’s “charm offensive” in engaging in talks with the South : “It is not the time to ease pressure, or to reward North Korea. The fact that North Korea is engaging in dialogue could be interpreted as proof that the sanctions are working.” • South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said she hoped the dialogue would continue well beyond the Olympics, but stressed that existing sanctions must be applied more rigorously. • On Wednesday, President Trump called out Russia for helping North Korea evade sanctions during an interview with Reuters. The President, who has been accused by critics in the past of taking a friendly tone toward Russia and its President Vladimir Putin, sharply rebuked Moscow for filling the gaps created by China's decision to restrict oil and coal supplies to North Korea. President Trump told Reuters : "Russia is not helping us at all with North Korea. What China is helping us with, Russia is denting. In other words, Russia is making up for some of what China is doing." US officials have previously said that Russia is helping North Korea get around sanctions, but Trump himself had said little about the accusation against Russia until his Wednesday tweet. But, the following Reuters report shows that the Trump administration has been busy dealing with Russian transfers of petroleum products to North Korea. • On December 29, Rueters reported that Russian tankers "supplied fuel to North Korea on at least three occasions in recent months by transferring cargoes at sea, according to two senior Western European security sources, providing an economic lifeline to the secretive Communist state." The sales of oil or oil products from Russia, the world’s second biggest oil exporter and a veto-wielding member of the United Nations Security Council, breach UN sanctions, the security sources said. Reuters stated that the transfers in October and November indicate that smuggling from Russia to North Korea has evolved to loading cargoes at sea since Reuters reported in September that North Korean ships were sailing directly from Russia to their homeland. A second source, who independently confirmed the existence of the Russian ship-to-ship fuel trade with North Korea, said there was no evidence of Russian state involvement in the latest transfers. Russia’s RIA Novosti state news agency reported that the Russian Foreign Ministry said the country was observing sanctions against North Korea. But, according to Reuters, the two security sources cited naval intelligence and satellite imagery of the vessels operating out of Russian Far Eastern ports on the Pacific, declining to disclose further details to Reuters, saying it was classified. Reuters said it was unable to independently verify that the vessels had transferred fuel to North Korean vessels, whether the Russian state knew about the sales, or how many Russian vessels were involved in the transfers. It was also unclear how much fuel may have been smuggled. Ship satellite positioning data consulted by Reuters show unusual movements by some of the Russian vessels named by the security sources including switching off the transponders which give a precise location for several days. The US State Department, in a statement, called on Russia and other UN members to “strictly implement” sanctions on North Korea and to work “more closely together to shut down UN-prohibited activities, including ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum and the transport of coal from North Korea.” Last September, Reuters reported that at least eight North Korean ships that left Russia loaded with fuel headed for their homeland despite declaring other destinations, a ploy that US officials say is often used to undermine sanctions. A Russian shipping source with knowledge of Far Eastern marine practices told Reuters that North Korean vessels had stopped loading fuel in Russia’s Far Eastern ports but that fuel is delivered at sea by tankers using ship-to-ship transfers, or even by fishing vessels. Reuters reported that according to documents seen by it in December, the United States had proposed that the UN Security Council blacklist 10 ships for illicit trade with North Korea -- it accused the vessels of “conducting illegal ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products to North Korean vessels or illegally transporting North Korean coal to other countries for exports.” Three North Korean ships were among the 10 were blacklisted, along with a Panama-registered vessel. • • • SOUTH KOREA HAS A CAUTIOUS APPROACH. South Korea says it will continue high-level talks with North Korea with "clear eyes" amid global warnings that Pyongyang might be playing for time to continue its nuclear-arms program. "We have to make the most" of the opportunity, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told the BBC. The two Koreas earlier agreed to march under a "unified Korea" flag at next month's Winter Olympics in the South. The talks come as the US and its allies vowed to keep pressure on the North. Kang told the BBC : "I think we understand North Korea better than anybody, having dealt with North Korea for decades, having had series of discussions off and on. We haven't had any significant engagement in the recent past -- but this is an opportunity. You can have all kinds of theories of why they are here (at the talks). There are, obviously, calculations going on the part of the North Korea decision-makers as to their actions. But in the end we have to make the most of it." Kang also said South Korea and its allies were "very much on the same page" regarding the longer term -- the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. And the foreign minister said Seoul wanted more humanitarian aid to be sent to North Korea as sanctions were beginning to take effect. • If plans go as agreed, several hundred North Koreans will go to South Korea for the Winter Olympics, in a delegation including 230 cheerleaders, 140 orchestral musicians and 30 taekwondo athletes. The two countries have also agreed to field a joint team for the sport of women's ice hockey. It would be the first time athletes from both Koreas have competed together, although South Korea's hockey coach and conservative newspapers have expressed concern about the prospect of a united hockey team, saying it could damage South Korea's chances of winning a medal. The North has also agreed to send a smaller, 150-member delegation to the Paralympics in March. The agreement will have to be approved by the International Olympic Committee meeting on Saturday, because North Korea has missed registration deadlines or failed to qualify. South Korea will also need to find ways to host the North Korean delegation without violating UN Security Council sanctions outlawing cash transfers to Pyongyang and blacklisting certain senior North officials. • It was also agreed that a military hotline between the nations, suspended for nearly two years, would be reinstated. Analysts say the sudden and dramatic change after months of tension between the Koreas is a positive sign. But few believe Pyongyang has any intention of giving up its nuclear arsenal or halting tests. Experts say Kim Jong-un has become increasingly fearful that the US is planning a military strike against him, and has decided he must do something to de-escalate tensions. The BBC says it remains to be seen whether the inter-Korean talks can provide a starting point for tackling bigger problems : "There may be a lull during the Olympics, but what happens after that is far from clear. Previous efforts at rapprochement - notably the Sunshine Policy 20 years ago - did not lead to peace." • • • DEAR READERS, and while the Swamp is focused on the shutdown and churning in its partisan habitual ways, President Trump dropped a real surprise into the middle of things by announcing his Fake News Awards for 2017 -- will the mainstream media follow the ProgDem rants about DACA or defend themselves in the last 24 hours before the stopgap or budget deal must be passed??? We already know that when the list was published on < >, it got so many hit that the site crashed for a time. Who says the Deplorables are not alive and following their leader?? • Here is the list of the Trump Fake News Awards of 2017, which carried the note that “studies have shown that over 90% of the media’s coverage of President Trump is negative.” It went on to call 2017 “a year of unrelenting bias, unfair news coverage and even downright fake news.” (1)The New York Times’ Paul Krugman claiming markets would ‘never’ recover from Trump presidency. (2) ABC News' Brian Ross’ bungled report on former national security adviser Michael Flynn. (3) CNN report that the Trump campaign had early access to hacked documents from WikiLeaks. (4) TIME report that Trump removed a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Oval Office. (5) The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel tweeting that Trump’s December rally in Pensacola, Florida, wasn’t packed with supporters. (6) CNN’s video suggesting Trump overfed fish during visit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (7) CNN’s retracted report claiming Anthony Scaramucci-Russia ties. (8) Newsweek report that Polish First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda did not shake Trump’s hand. (9) CNN report that former FBI Director James Comey would dispute President Trump’s claim he was told he was not under investigation. (10) The New York Times report that the Trump administration had hidden a climate-change study. (11) In Trump’s words, "‘RUSSIA COLLUSION!’ Russian collusion is perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people. THERE IS NO COLLUSION!” • What a great way for Trump, the Master of Messaging, to begin 2018 -- by reminding the world and his supporters just how botched and Fake the 2017 news coverage of him truly was.

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