Friday, May 25, 2018

Of Course They Did

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is out with a book that answers the question about Russian influence in the 2016 election.

“Of course the Russian efforts affected the outcome. Surprising even themselves, they swung the election to a Trump win. To conclude otherwise stretches logic, common sense, and credulity to the breaking point. Less than eighty thousand votes in three key states swung the election. I have no doubt that more votes than that were influenced by this massive effort by the Russians.”

Was there active collusion between the Trump campaign — or the candidate himself — and Russian proxies or agents? Clapper does not go that far because he doesn’t have proof. But what he calls Trump’s “aggressive indifference” to the intelligence community’s detailed presentation of Russian activities is, in his view, damning enough. “Allegations of collusion and the results of the election were secondary to the profound threat Russia posed — and poses — to our system,” Clapper writes, and he does a fair job explaining why.

It’s understandable why Trump would display “aggressive indifference” to the Russian activities: it was his magnificent gloriousness and broad appeal to the masses that won the election, see.  Anything else calls into question his legitimacy, and worse, it would be an admission that he was just a pawn in Putin’s attempt to get back at the U.S. for all their meddling in Russia and their proxies during the Cold War.  Putin didn’t want Trump to necessarily win; he just wanted us to lose.

It’s Good It Didn’t Happen

The way things were going for the North Korea summit before Trump sent his petulant I-don’t-wanna-play-in-your-yard letter to Kim, it was lining up to be a disaster on the scale of the Hindenburg meets New Coke.  We’d already gotten China and Japan nervous, and then sent out Bolton and Pence to basically threaten North Korea with comparisons to the regime change in Libya.  Trump would have come out of Singapore looking more like the blundering vulgarian that we already know he is, except this time he’s done it on a global scale with real lives — several million in one blow — at stake.

And the Swedish Academy can breathe a sigh knowing that they won’t have to worry about pussy-grabbing in Oslo in December.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

No Show

The North Korea summit is off.

“I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” President Trump wrote to Kim in a letter released by the White House.

The summit had been planned for June 12 in Singapore.

Gee, what a shock.  Trump and the gang have done everything to provoke a nasty response from Kim Jong-un, and now he — Trump — is blaming it all on him for reacting.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Stockholm Syndrome

Don’t start rehearsing that Nobel Peace Prize speech yet, Trump.

North Korea threw President Trump’s planned summit meeting with its leader, Kim Jong-un, into doubt on Wednesday, threatening to call off the landmark encounter if the United States insisted on “unilateral nuclear abandonment.”

The statement, made by the North’s disarmament negotiator, came hours after state media warned that the summit meeting might be canceled to protest a joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea that began this week.

The warnings caught Trump administration officials off guard and set off an internal debate over whether Mr. Kim was merely posturing in advance of the meeting in Singapore next month or was erecting a serious new hurdle.

In a statement Wednesday, Kim Kye-kwan, a vice foreign minister, rejected the administration’s demand that it quickly dismantle its nuclear program as Libya did 15 years ago, singling out John Bolton, Mr. Trump’s new national security adviser, for condemnation.

“If the United States is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the D.P.R.K.-U.S. summit,” the statement said, using the abbreviation for the North’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Mr. Kim said his country would never follow the path of Libya and Iraq, which he said met a “miserable fate” at the hands of “big powers.”

He said North Korea had “shed light on the quality of Bolton” in the past, “and we do not hide our feelings of repugnance towards him.”

This could be just them posturing and jockeying for position, but it could also be that North Korea saw them coming a mile away and Trump and Bolton got played big time.

It will now be up to Trump et al to come up with a cogent response that assures the world that no one really meant to suggest that North Korea would have to get rid of all of their nukes, which is exactly what Trump has been saying they promised to do all along.

In other words, the Trump folks were talking results and crowing about polishing up their plans for Stockholm next winter without bothering to go to all the trouble of having a successful summit in the first place.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Monday, April 9, 2018

Friday, April 6, 2018

Short Takes

Oklahoma teachers continue their march to the state capital.

Pruitt under pressure: EPA chief’s problems keep growing.

Yeah right: Trump says he was unaware of payment to Stormy Daniels.

Cyclist fired for flipping off Trump sues her former employer.

New Russia sanctions go after oligarchs.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Short Takes

87 million: That’s the number of Facebook users who got swept by Cambridge Analytics.

Trump backs off immediate Syrian withdrawal.

National Guard at the border will not touch immigrants.

No kidding: Rubio says federal funds needed to help the Keys recover from hurricane damage.

There are dozens of black holes at the center of the Milky Way.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Friday, March 23, 2018

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Monday, March 19, 2018

Friday, March 16, 2018

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018