“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"Let them eat chocolate cake"

War Cries Drown Out ‘America First’ by --

"Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem?" tweeted President Donald Trump on Easter Sunday.

Earlier, after discovering "great chemistry" with Chinese President Xi Jinping over "the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake" at Mar-a-Lago, Trump had confided, "I explained … that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!"

"America First" thus takes a back seat to big-power diplomacy with Beijing. One wonders: How much will Xi end up bilking us for his squeezing of Kim Jong Un?
Trump once seemed to understand how America had been taken to the cleaners during and after the Cold War. While allies supported us diplomatically, they piled up huge trade surpluses at our expense and became virtual free-riders off the U.S. defense effort.

No nations were more successful at this than South Korea and Japan. Now Xi is playing the game – and perhaps playing Trump.

What is the "North Korean problem" Beijing will help solve in return for more indulgent consideration on future U.S.-China trade deals?

North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. As 80 percent of Pyongyang’s trade comes through China, Trump believes that Beijing can force Kim to stop testing missiles and atomic bombs before he produces an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the U.S.

But what is to prevent Xi from pocketing Trump’s concessions and continuing on the strategic course China has long pursued?

For in many ways, Pyongyang’s goals parallel China’s.

Neither could want an all-out war on the Korean Peninsula. For Kim, this would devastate his country, bring down his regime, and cost him his life. For China, war could mean millions of Koreans crossing the Yalu into Manchuria and a disruption of Beijing’s march to Asian hegemony.

A continuing crisis on the peninsula, however, with Trump and the U.S. relying on Beijing’s help, could leave Xi in the catbird seat.

And now that North Korea has declared its goal to be building missiles with nuclear warheads that could hit all U.S. bases in Asia – and even California – the clock is running for the White House.

"It won’t happen," Trump has said of North Korea’s developing an ICBM that could hit the United States. "If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will."
"The threat is upon us," says outgoing deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland. "This is something President Trump is going to deal with in the first year."

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Vice President Mike Pence have declared that our policy of "strategic patience" with Pyonyang is at an end.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster said Sunday the U.S. has "to take action, short of armed conflict, so we can avoid the worst" in dealing with "this unpredictable regime."

With a stunning parade of missiles in Pyongyang on Saturday, the North’s failed firing of a solid-fueled missile that same day, and the promise of new missile tests weekly, Kim is forcing our hand.

Either he backs away from building atomic bombs and long-range missiles or Trump and his generals must make good on their warnings.
How did we get to this point?

Why, 64 years after the Korean War, a quarter-century after the Cold War, are we still obliged to go to war to defend South Korea from a North with one-half the South’s population and 3 percent of its gross domestic product?

Why are we, on the far side of the Pacific, still responsible for containing North Korea when two of its neighbors – Russia and China – are nuclear powers and South Korea and Japan could field nuclear and conventional forces far superior to Kim’s?

How long into the future will containing militarist dictators in Pyongyang with nuclear missiles be America’s primary responsibility?

Another issue arises. Before the U.S. launches any pre-emptive strike on North Korea, Congress should be called back into session to authorize any act of war against the North.

Perhaps this time, Congress would follow the Constitution.
Though Korea is the crisis of the moment, it is not the only one.
Not since 9/11 have the Afghan Taliban been stronger or controlled more territory. The United States’ commanding general there is calling for thousands more U.S. troops. Russia and Iran are reportedly negotiating with the Taliban. Pakistan is said to be aiding them.

To counter Vladimir Putin’s Russia, we have moved U.S. and NATO troops into Poland, the Baltic States, Romania and Bulgaria. We have fired missiles into Syria. We are reportedly preparing to back the Saudis in the latest escalation of their war on the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Twenty-four years after "Black Hawk Down," the weekend brought reports of U.S. troops returning to Somalia.

The promise of a Trump presidency – that we would start looking out for our own country and own national interests first and let the rest of the world solve, or fail to solve, its own problems – appears, not 100 days in, to have been a mirage.
Will more wars make America great again?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Churchill, Hitler, and “The Unnecessary War”: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at

Read more by Patrick J. Buchanan





    So why did the United States become involved in the Korean conflict?

    The decision to intervene in Korea grew out of the tense atmosphere that characterized Cold War politics. On the eve of the North Korean invasion, a number of events had made Truman anxious. The Soviet Union exploded an atomic bomb in 1949, ending the United States' monopoly on the weapon. In Europe, Soviet intervention in Greece and Turkey had given rise to the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, which funneled aid to war-torn Europe in the hopes of warding off communist political victories. In early 1950, President Truman directed the National Security Council (NSC) to conduct an analysis of Soviet and American military capabilities. In its report, known as "NSC 68," the Council recommended heavy increases in military funding to help contain the Soviets.

    Events in Asia also contributed to an increased sense of insecurity. In 1949 China underwent a revolution that brought Mao Zedong and his Communist party into power. The nationalists, led by Chiang Kai-Shek, had retreated to the island of Formosa (Taiwan) while they continued their war with mainland China. Mao quickly moved to ally himself with the Soviet Union, and signed a treaty with the Soviets in 1950. The Truman administration faced criticism from Republicans who claimed he had "lost" China. They criticized him for not providing enough aid to the Chinese nationalists. The suggestion by Secretary of State Dean Acheson that the administration recognize the communist government of China only gave them more ammunition for their attacks.

    The Truman administration also faced internal criticism regarding its commitment to anticommunism at home. Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin had recently begun his infamous hunt for communists within the U. S. Government. Although McCarthy was just warming up, the recent trials of Alger Hiss and others for espionage left the Truman administration apprehensive about its anticommunist credentials. Truman and his advisors found themselves under increased domestic pressure not to appear "soft" on communism abroad.

    Thus, when North Korean troops invaded the South, the Truman administration seized upon the opportunity to defend a noncommunist government from invasion by communist troops. Determined not to "lose" another country to communism, and interested in shoring up its anticommunist credentials, the Truman administration found itself defending a nation a world away from U.S. soil. Yet Truman's response was not merely a response to internal pressure. The invasion of South Korea made Truman genuinely fearful that the Soviet Union and China intended to expand the sphere of communism throughout Asia.

    Truman's statement of June 27 illustrates his concern with communist aggression and expansion. In it, Truman argues that "communism has passed beyond the use of subversion to conquer independent nations and will now use armed invasion and war." Truman's statement suggests that he believed the attack by North Korea had been part of a larger plan by communist China and, by extension, the Soviet Union. The President believed that the Korean situation was similar to that of Greece in 1947. He informed his advisors that he believed the invasion was "very obviously inspired by the Soviet Union." This gave America a moral imperative to act. "If we don't put up a fight now," Truman observed to his staff, there was "no telling what they'll do."

    - US Government Archives

  2. Let me repeat the last two sentences:

    This gave America a moral imperative to act. "If we don't put up a fight now," Truman observed to his staff, there was "no telling what they'll do."

    Almost seven decades later, we are still obsessed with Korea.

    Let's do some math. Bush senior attacked Iraq in force in 1991. That is 26 years ago. We are 39% of our way to another seven decade war that we will never win.

    Outfuckingstanding by any OOrah measure.

  3. Truman was right about one thing "no telling what they'll do.". All depends on who "they" is.

  4. Oh good, we will outsource North Korea to China!

    Pence reassures Japan of U.S. resolve on North Korea, to work with China

  5. It's time to let China get in on the fun.

  6. Christ, why not give two or three carriers to China, let them pickup the tab, reduce the debt and build the wall? US carriers are the Lamborghini Class of carrier. Those bitches will haul bigly. Trump's flipped a few projects. This could be big.


    From James Freeman, WSJ

    Today is the day,” writes Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez in an email this afternoon to party donors. “Bernie Sanders and I are headed to Portland, Maine where we’ll kick off our big cross-country tour tonight,” adds Mr. Perez. The Democratic Party honcho also tells donors that “Donald Trump’s administration has been an unmitigated disaster” and that Mr. Trump has “torn apart families.”

    But if email recipients think Mr. Perez is putting tough rhetoric in writing, wait until they hear him on the road this week. At a recent political rally in New Jersey, the DNC chair claimed that Mr. Trump “didn’t win” the 2016 election and that Republicans “don’t give a s— about people.” He also claimed: “What history will record is that on January 21, the resistance took over in this country.”

    The comments are remarkable coming from the man who was supposed to be the moderate in the recent race to lead the Democratic Party. And Mr. Perez is backing up his radical rhetoric by touring with Sen. Sanders, an avowed socialist who seems to be finding a permanent home in the Democratic Party—at least when he’s not staying in one of his other homes.

    The Washington Post recently reported that the Perez-Sanders tour would visit Kentucky, Florida, Arizona, Nevada and perhaps other states. The Post also described the budding relationship between the tour’s two headliners:

    Sanders was an early and vital backer of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Perez’s chief rival for the DNC job; he pointedly criticized Democrats for urging Perez into the race.

    “Running for chair, Tom said that his views were not substantially different than Keith Ellison’s, who I strongly supported,” Sanders said. “I’m sorry he did not win. But during that campaign, Tom said that the Democratic Party had to be refocused, had to be rebuilt, and I trust that he will keep those promises. The fact that he’s prepared to travel with me around the country and pick up half the cost of this is a positive sign.”

    Perez said that he and Sanders had met several times, most recently on Wednesday at his office near the Capitol.

    Anyone who thought in 2016 that Bernie Sanders was an accident of history—the only available vehicle for Democrats to cast a protest vote after Clinton money had scared off the most formidable potential candidates—needs to think again. The Senate’s longtime Marxist crank is now at the center of the effort to rebuild the Democratic Party for 2018 and beyond.

    As a presidential candidate, Mr. Sanders advocated spending increases of at least $18 trillion and tax hikes of more than $6.5 trillion. And those are just the plans he discussed publicly. Given Mr. Sanders’s history of praising communist regimes, the reported figures may have vastly underestimated his potential to reallocate wealth from private to public hands.

    In any case, the party that in 2016 was routed in swing states of the Midwest seems to have decided that the Vermonter will be a key part of its comeback strategy. The party led by Bill Clinton in the 1990s has shifted leftward so rapidly that on current pace Bernie Sanders could be the Democratic establishment candidate by 2020.

  8. .

    Bernie Sanders?

    Heck, we’ve got problems much bigger than Sanders and much more immediate. Some call it the ‘Trump Doctrine’, others call it the ‘Trump Method’, and others simply call it ‘Militant Ignorance’.

    Trump and The Problem of Militant Ignorance

    It is what we might call ‘the consensus judgment’ that President Trump is a deeply ignorant man and perhaps a profoundly ignorant President. But it is worth stepping back and considering just what this means, the different kinds of ignorance that exist and how they differ.

    Without making a direct comparison, it is worth remembering that each of the last three Presidents came to office with a steep learning curve about the modalities of the presidency and many aspects of the challenges and issues they would face. Clinton, Bush and Obama were each, in different ways, pretty green. Bush’s father, since he had served in Congress, as head of the CIA and especially because he had served as a fairly active Vice President for the previous eight years, came in knowing quite a lot about the specifics of the Presidency.

    Some of the difference with Clinton, Bush and Obama (let’s call them CBO) is that they had good staff or at least knowledgable staff who could help them understand what they didn’t know and advise them on the almost infinite number of details they could never hope to understand in depth. But there’s another key issue. You don’t become President by being excessively humble. Yet CBO each had a sense of what they did not know. At a bare minimum, they didn’t advertise it when they learned something they later realized a lot of other people knew.

    What is endearing, terrifying and hilarious about Trump is not simply his ignorance, really his militant ignorance, but his complete lack of self-awareness about his ignorance. Trump told a reporter for The Wall Street Journal that his understanding of the problem of North Korea changed dramatically after hearing ten minutes of history from the President of China. Needless to say, Trump didn’t need to admit this. But neither was it candor.



    1. {...}

      So far the Trump Presidency has been a sort of Mr Magoo performance art in which the comically ignorant Trump learns elemental or basic things that virtually everyone in the world of politics or government already knew – things that the majority of adults probably know. Health Care: “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.” North Korea: “I felt pretty strongly that they had tremendous power. But it’s not what you think.” There are perhaps half a dozen examples equally stark.

      In other words, President Trump is open about his discoveries and even eager to share them but universally projects his previous state of comical ignorance onto the general public or whomever he is talking to. In other cases, this would make sense. If Trump discovered that humans could fly if they hold their nose, close one eye and say “Shazam!” I’d want to know. Because that’s awesome. And I wouldn’t think worse of Trump for not knowing it before. Because this is new and amazing information.
      But learning that health care policy is complicated is a different kind of discovery.

      Remaining ignorant is probably a good adaptive strategy for him because it allows him to pretend that everything is obvious, that he can solve any problem and generally act like he can do anything – in a way, this allowed him to become President.

      What is key though is to understand that this is not just ignorance. Ignorance is just the first stage of Trump’s fairly advanced problem. He is not only ignorant but clearly unaware of his level of ignorance. This is compounded by a seeming inability to understand that everyone else isn’t equally ignorant to him.

      Those of us who are parents know the wonder of discovery experienced by small children. They find out there were things such as dinosaurs or close primate relatives called lemurs. As loving parents we indulge them, sometimes feigning ignorance of things we actually already knew to support a child’s joy in discovery.

      But Donald Trump is a 70 year old man. And not a terribly nice man.

      His ignorance is not endearing. We don’t need to lie to him to make him feel good about himself. Still it is good to understand his condition. Ignorance is just lack of information. But there’s something wrong with Trump’s brain – maybe cognitive, perhaps simple entitlement or just broad spectrum derp – which appears to make it genuinely impossible not to project his own ignorance onto everybody else.

      -Josh Marshall [TPM]


    2. broad spectrum derp

      Ho ho ho

      In Quirk-O lingo I suppose this means 'he don't know shit'.

      Ha hah ha ha ha

      I think Quirk-O's got BSD.


      Ho ho !

    4. Can anyone find another definition of broad spectrum derp ?

    5. Where's Doug when I need him most ?

      He'd come up with something good.

    6. I see Quirk's taken up cruising the article listings at RealClearPolitics, just like me.

    7. Here's a more interesting article -

      Life: Is Major League Baseball Ready to Use Forth Outfielder? - RCLife

      I've wondered about a 4 point line in basketball.

    8. boobie smearing his shit all over another one of Quirk's posts. He just can't help himself.

      re. Trump - It appears he doesn't read. I figure he can, a bit anyway, he just doesn't. That poses a serious problem if one hopes to not be ignorant especially in POTUS stuff - like foreign policy. Being able to get through briefing paper would be, on would think, essential.

    9. .

      Briefing Papers?

      Can you get it all in 140 characters? That seems to be the limit of the POTUS attention span.


    10. The benefit of the tweet is that it should demand clear concise precision in expression.

    11. .

      And again, the operative word is 'should'.


  9. We need to hook Quirk up to this -

    Mind-reading machine turns thoughts into words....DRUDGE

    and see what prints out.

  10. Replies
    1. I gotta run, but, I was wondering if you might know what broad spectrum derp might be ?


  11. interesting how you ignore Trump's support of the 2 pipelines, the loosening up of coal regs?

    China has decided to stop buying North Korean coal..

    Even if Korea sells coal to others?

    america coming back online as an exporter of coal on the world market depresses the price, increases the supply..

    thus Trump is showing what real "art of War" is about..

  12. .

    Donald Trump is going to teach the Chinese the "Art of War".


    Good one.



  13. Fresno Bee Frontpage filled with killing links, no sign of "Akbar"

    1. Fair and balanced MSM coverage.

    2. Speaking of the ability to discern truth in today's media - how is Hillary's Parkinsons developing?

    3. The old criminal is out of the news now, so no one is following it, or cares.

  14. .

    French Election Polls

    RCW Averages:

    Macron 23.6

    Le Pen 22.5

    Fillon 19.6

    Melenchon 19.0

    (Machon +2.1)


    Run-Off Election: Macron vs La Pen

    Macron 62.9

    La Pen 37.3

    (Macron +25.6)


    Run-Off Election: Fillon vs Le Pen

    Fillon 56.6

    Le Pen 43.6

    (Fillon +13.0)


  15. I can't eat chocolate cake.

    Or rice, either, which turns to sugar immediately, I was told.

    But, I can eat all the steak I want !!

  16. Some dude named Ali Mohammad guns down three in Fresno, yells the akbar, and here's the headlines on Drudge -


    R i g h t

    1. Oops, missed this -


  17. Still no definitive evidence on the charge that the Syrian government made a sarin attack. The four-page white paper released by the White House, purporting to prove that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical weapons attack, does not provide any evidence that successfully supports the US claim beyond claims made by Turkey.

    The report from MIT expert, Theodore Postol, dismantles the claim with credible evidence. Washington continues to make claims not supported by evidence. If such irrefutable evidence exist, where is it?

    1. ...that’s still an incomplete picture. The dubious or untrue stories Syria is to be “held to account” over seem to conceal genuine crimes, the authors of which remain free and unindicted by the U.S.-led “world community.” In fact they would have been rewarded for their use of banned chemicals and banned methods, as the crimes are being systematically blamed on the shared enemy in Damascus, maintaining the moral basis of supporting the armed insurgency. And the supposed watchdogs at the UN and OPCW, naturally, seem hard-wired to not receive this big picture and acknowledge the immense crimes they may have been party to all this time. Until something in this picture changes, we’re locked on course for more of the same.

    2. Bottom line. There is no question that a crime has been committed. Based on all that I have read, the assertion that Assad did it, is incorrect. It fills an agenda but is factually not true and perversely, by not investigating further, the real criminals are getting away with murder.

  18. The reason poison gas has been 'outlawed' it that it is ineffective.

    Barrel bombs are better, artillery too. B-52's, wonderful.

    Why the World Banned Chemical Weapons
    Yes, it’s because they’re morally hideous. But it’s also because they don’t work.
    By MARK PERRY April 13, 2017

    On the late afternoon of April 22, 1915—in the midst of World War I—Algerian and French soldiers in trenches along the Western Front, near the Belgian town of Ypres, noticed a yellowish-green fog drifting toward them. Believing the cloud masked advancing German infantrymen, the soldiers prepared for an attack. In fact, the cloud was chlorine gas, released by the Germans from 6,000 pressurized cylinders. The gas crept forward, then lapped into the allied trenches in a ghostly tide. The effect was immediate: Thousands of soldiers choked and clutched at their throats, unable to breathe, before falling dead; thousands more fled in panic, opening a four-mile gap in the allied lines.

    The Ypres attack was not the first time gas was used in the conflict (both the French and Germans had used tear gas earlier in the war), but it was the first time in the conflict that a poisonous gas was used in mass quantities. The effects of the attack were horrific, causing “a burning sensation in the head, red-hot needles in the lungs, the throat seized as by a strangler,” as one soldier later described it. More than 5,000 soldiers were killed in this first gas attack, while thousands more, stumbling to the rear and frothing at the mouth, suffered the debilitating aftereffects for decades.

    What took place earlier this month, in Syria’s Idlib province, had the same effect as the gas used at Ypres, as Syrian-flown SU-22 jets released bombs filled with sarin gas near the town of Khan Shaykhun. The attack killed dozens of Syrian civilians, including 11 children. The effects of the sarin, a deadly nerve agent, were similar to those of 1915: The victims choked and vomited as their lungs constricted, then suffered through tormenting muscle spasms and eventual death.

    1. In both cases, the use of gas was nearly universally condemned. After the Ypres attack became public knowledge, London’s Daily Mirror issued a banner headline describing the horror—“Devilry, Thy Name Is Germany”—then repeated the theme in bold type more than 100 years later, after Khan Shaykhun: “Assad Gassing Kids Again.” The “again” was a not-so-veiled editorial comment, for Khan Shaykhun marked the second time Assad had used sarin to kill civilians; the first incident took place in August 2013, when the Syrian regime used the nerve agent in an attack on Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, killing an estimated 281 to 1,700 civilians (the numbers remain uncertain) while injuring thousands. The pictures of the victims, caught in the throes of their final moments, shocked the world.

      President Donald Trump, who hadn’t previously shown much concern for Syrian civilians, said the April 4 gas attack had changed his “attitude” toward Assad, and he ordered a missile strike on the airfield where the sarin had been stored. Trump’s turnabout stunned many observers, and it prompted some to wonder why, exactly, chemical weapons triggered a U.S. response when the vast majority of the half-million or so Syrians who have died in the country’s civil war were slaughtered by conventional means. Why, in other words, do we ban chemical weapons, but not equally deadly weapons like machine guns that rip through bodies and barrel bombs that tear them apart?

      One answer is that while gas attacks are terrifying, the weapon has proved to be militarily ineffective....

      ....Whatever was really behind Hitler’s reluctance, it confirms what advocates for the banning of certain classes of weapons have suspected for years—that the world’s militaries are loath to ban weapons that kill effectively, while acceding to bans of weapons that they don’t need. Put another way, military leaders agreed to the banning of poison gas in 1925 not because it was horrifyingly effective, but because it wasn’t....

    2. Assad is, I think we would all agree, great at barrels bombs.

    3. What is the difference between the lethality of a Syrian barrel bomb or a US 15,000 pound Daisy Cutter bomb that destroys anything in a 600-yard radius? We used daisy cutters in Viet Nam, on Iraqis in the Gulf War and in Afghanistan. We used napalm.

      The US used white phosphorous in Fallujah and Israeli has used them in Palestine and Lebanon. We just used a 30,000 lb. precision guided bomb with 5300 lbs. of explosive in Afghanistan. We used an AC-130 in Afghanistan on a hospital with Gatling guns and a 75mm howitzer.

      As to barrel bombs, we used 388,000 tons of napalm in Viet Nam. All delivered in aerodynamic canisters or barrels.
      Napalm is a "barrel bomb" loaded with plastic polystyrene, hydrocarbon benzene, and gasoline. Napalm burns at 2000° F.

      I think we can all agree we are the greatest and world leader at barrel bombs

  19. Probly some Methodist Meth head:

    ‘God is great’

    Fake News Media Covers For Fresno Terrorist, Omits ‘Allahu Akbar’ From Report

    The Associated Press did everything possible to make sure that their article about the Fresno terrorist named Kori Muhammad didn’t come off as Islamic terrorist attack.

    Muhammad killed 3 people today, targeted whites and a Catholic charity and screamed ‘Allahu Akbar!’. The Associated Press decided to put that he shouted ‘God is great’ instead of the Arabic ‘Allahu Akbar’.

    Some may argue that it means the same thing, however; the Arabic profession of ‘Allahu Akbar’ is a war cry and carries great significance.

  20. Boris Johnson yesterday likened Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to a ‘monster’ that needs ‘decapitating’.


    The cabinet minister went on: 'I hope I have the support of everybody in this House when I say I call on the Russians to end their blind support for Assad.

    'Stop the gas attacks and the barrel bombs, allow the delivery of aid to those who need it, deliver a real ceasefire and begin the political process that will include a transition away from Assad.'

  21. British Olympian: North Korea has really got a “handle on obesity”

    The first time I watched I thought he was making a rhetorical point about how no country in the world really has a “handle” on obesity. Only the communist countries, North Korea and Cuba, have succeeded, and they did it by solving the problem of abundant food.

    But no, upon a second viewing, I think he’s sincere. His point, it seems, is that government should lead the fight against obesity and that may require being “controlling on behavioral change.” The only two countries that seem to have figured that out are North Korea and Cuba. Which, yeah — he’s not wrong. When it comes to state control of public behavior, those two really could teach you a thing or two.

    This guy is running for parliament as a conservative.

    He apologized afterward, sort of:

    Sky News ✔ @SkyNews
    .@jamescracknell says North Korea is one of only two countries in the world that has "a handle on obesity"
    James Cracknell ✔ @jamescracknell
    @SkyNews Yeah, sorry guys. I take it on the chin. Trying to make a point that came out badly.
    1:55 AM - 18 Apr 2017
    19 19 Retweets 98 98 likes

    Exit question: Does Kim Jong-un really have a handle on obesity? Honestly.


    1. Kim Jong-un so fat he can’t walk
      North Korean dictator has weight, health problems

      FILE - In this May 10, 2016, file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves at parade participants at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea is marking Kim Jong Un's birthday Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017 in a decidedly low-key manner. Though the young leader's birthday is well-known throughout the country, it has yet to be celebrated with the kind of adulatory festivities that accompany the birthdays of his late grandfather and father. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

      FILE - In this May 10, 2016, file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves at parade participants at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea is marking Kim Jong Un’s birthday Sunday, Jan. 8, ... more >

      By L. Todd Wood - - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

      North Korea’s dictator has been packing on the pounds. It seems he has a lust for cheese and pleasure squads of young Korean girls. In December, he was shown limping, favoring his right leg, in further evidence of ill health, during a state media video showing him visiting a shoe factory. He has had problems with his left leg before.

      “Kim’s leg injuries have been linked to obesity in the past and recent pictures show the Korean leader appears to have put on extra weight. His waistline has grown during his rule over North Korea apparently because of his love for cheese. Aside from gaining 90 pounds in four years, he also is rumored to be a heavy smoker, which doesn’t bode well for his health,” reports the International Business Times.
      “At the current stage, it is premature to talk about the state of Kim’s health,” Jeong Joon-hee, South Korea’s unification ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing.

      “There is a need to closely watch related information,” reports The Korea Herald. It is speculated however that his ankle problems occur from obesity.

      He underwent a procedure to remove a cyst from his left ankle in 2014 and extra weight may be preventing the condition from healing properly.

      Last year, the Chinese government blocked web searches for Kim Fatty the Third after North Korean government representatives made an official complaint.

    2. Venezuela is well on the way to seriously attacking its obesity problem as well.

  22. The World Bank Group stands ready to assist Venezuela, a member and shareholder of the institution, if the government asks for help in dealing with a punishing economic crisis, the bank's top executive for Latin America said.


  23. Bad Reviews For Trump's Korea Policy
    Except in, um, Korea.
    11:02 AM, APR 18, 2017 | By ETHAN EPSTEIN

    Vice President Mike Pence is briefed by U.S. Gen. Vincent Brooks from Observation Post Ouellette in the Demilitarized Zone near the border village of Panmunjom, South Korea on April 17, 2017.
    Photo credit: Sipa via AP Images.

    The notices are in, and they're brutal. Donald Trump's nascent North Korea policy—announcing the end of "strategic patience" (Barack Obama's code for sitting around and doing nothing about the North's pursuit of nuclear weapons), leaning on China to rein in Pyongyang, strengthening sanctions, and issuing ambiguous threats about possible military strikes—is being panned by American foreign policy experts and journalists.

    The New York Times bemoans Trump's "recklessness." Ishaan Tharoor, a Washington Post blogger with the modest remit of covering the entire world, warns of the "dangers" of Trump's policies. Even Ian Buruma, an expert on Dutch politics most famous for his bizarre attacks on the exceptionally brave Ayaan Hirsi Ali, has weighed in on Trump's approach to North Korea: Apparently it "plays into North Korea's hands."

    And yet, the Trump approach is receiving plaudits precisely where it matters most: in South Korea.

    South Korea, perhaps because its population is among the world's oldest, remains a country dominated by print newspapers, which are highly influential. An official affiliated with the country's dominant conservative party estimates to me that more than half of Koreans still read a daily newspaper. And those newspapers' editorial boards have praised Trump's North Korea policy.

    The Dong-a Ilbo, citing the Roman adage, "if you want peace, prepare for war," warns American and South Korean officials not to take a military strike off the table: A "'no preemptive strike' message would adversely affect the U.S. deterrence on the North's reckless provocation and send a wrong signal to Pyongyang," the newspaper argues. Earlier this month, the same newspaper praised the move to relist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, an action that, if enacted, will automatically reimpose several harsh sanctions on the regime.

    Meanwhile, the Hankuk Ilbo celebrated Vice President Mike Pence's recent visit to South Korea, hailing two "very important outcomes": a reaffirmation of the strong ties between South Korea and the United States, and Pence's "clear message" to Beijing that it must do more to stop North Korea. The Chosun Ilbo, meanwhile, the country's highest circulation daily, while cautioning against a pre-emptive strike, warns against pursuing the kind of diplomatic approach beloved by American journalists and self-proclaimed wonks:

    The North Korean nuclear impasse began in the early 1990s and has since gone through a vicious cycle of heightening tensions leading to talks and rewards, only to be followed by the North reneging on all its promises and ratcheting up tensions again. This was partly due to the U.S.' focus on short-term, easily publicized achievements rather than seeking fundamental changes. The pattern must not be repeated.

    At the same time, left-wing presidential candidate Moon Jae-in (the South will elect a new president on May 9), who supports "engagement" with North Korea, has suffered from recent slippage in the polls. He's losing ground to a centrist candidate who is making loud noises about his tough approach on Pyongyang and lambasting Moon's weakness on the issue.

    Could South Koreans know something that Ian Buruma doesn't?

    As usual, authorities aren’t sure whether or not it’s terrorism.
    April 19, 2017 Robert Spencer

    On Tuesday morning around 10:45AM, a Muslim named Kori Ali Muhammad walked through Fresno, California, shooting three men dead at random, including one in the parking lot of Catholic Charities. When he was arrested, he screamed “Allahu akbar.” According to the local ABC station, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer “indicated it was ‘still too early’ to know if the shootings were an act of terrorism.”

    Of course. And for those who refuse to acknowledge the nature or magnitude of the Islamic jihad against the West, it will always be too early, even if Kori Ali Muhammad presents Dyer with an ISIS membership card and a letter signed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi commanding him to carry out this attack. In this case, the familiar dance of denial by non-Muslim authorities intent on absolving Islam of all responsibility for the crimes done in its name and in accord with its teachings is not the central lesson of the attack – that sad charade has played out all too often in the past, and will many more times in the future, and there is nothing new to say about it.

    The key story in the murders committed by Kori Ali Muhammad is that they constitute a jihad attack carried out by an apparent member of the Nation of Islam, the racist black supremacist pseudo-Islamic group headed by Louis Farrakhan. According to the Los Angeles Times, “a Facebook profile page for a Kori Ali Muhammad from Fresno paid homage to black pride and black nationalism, with images of the red, green and black Pan-African flag and images of a raised fist. The page listed him as a ‘warrior’ for RBG Nation, referencing red, black and green.”

    What’s more, “in recent days, he repeatedly posted images to his frenetic Facebook page with the hashtag #LETBLACKPEOPLEGO. He referenced ‘white devils’ and praised melanoma skin cancer. In a post Monday, he wrote in all caps: ‘MY KILL RATE INCREASES TREMENDOUSLY ON THE OTHER SIDE ASÈ ALLAH U AKBAR.’ Shortly before that, he posted: ‘BLACK WARRIORS MOUNT UP AND RIDE OUT *ASÈ* #LETBLACKPEOPLEGO.’” Ase, according to the Times, “is a term from the Yoruba people of Nigeria, referencing a concept that there is power in our spirituality, words and feelings.” Muhammad also referred to “white devils” and the Nation of Islam’s mythical evil figure who created white people, Mr. Yakub.

    1. If Muhammad is indeed a member of the Nation of Islam, he demonstrates yet again how members of the Nation of Islam, even though orthodox Sunni and Shia Muslims consider the Nation a heretical sect, can identify with the global jihad, and place themselves in its service. The most notorious example of this is the Beltway Sniper, John Allen Muhammad, who along with his accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, murdered seventeen people in sniper attacks in the Washington, D.C. area in October 2002. Muhammad had joined the Nation of Islam in 1987; Malvo was discovered to have kept notebooks in which he drew portraits of Osama bin Laden and other jihadis and declared his determination to wage jihad himself.

      When Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan spoke at the Nation’s annual gathering in Detroit last February, attendees greeted him with thunderous cries of “Allahu akbar” and listened raptly as Farrakhan railed against not against the Nation’s bogey, white people, but against the Jews: “I want to disabuse the Jews today of the false claim that you are the chosen of God — that Israel or Palestine belongs to you. I want to disabuse you of that. I’m going to tell you about your future. You that think you have power to frighten and dominate the peoples of the world. I’m here to announce the end of your time.”

      He has, of course, spoken this way many times before. That Farrakhan would so often use the platform of his racist cult to attack the Jews suggests that he is interested in currying favor with mainstream Muslims who are well aware of how deeply embedded anti-Semitism is in the Qur’an. Orthodox Islam does not blame the evils of the world on white people, but the Nation’s Jew-hatred is certainly mainstream Islam, and an indication of how the Nation is often a way station: African-American men convert to it and then pass from it into orthodox Sunni groups, or turn to jihad even without doing so. Kori Ali Muhammad is just the latest example of this.

      If authorities ever decide that the random shooting of three non-Muslims by a Muslim screaming “Allahu akbar” might possibly be terrorism, they might begin investigations that would make all this clear to them and help them prevent it from happening in the future. But nothing seems much less likely.

    2. He wants Black Peopl Lego, what's wrong with advocating for Black Lego toys?

  25. With Democrat Jon Ossoff Winning “Rare Data Error” Delays Georgia Special Election Results

    "The current occupant of the White House spent a month discrediting the US elections while working with the Russians during the 2016 campaign, if the American people want their elections to once again be a shining example of democracy, they are going to have to take matters into their own hands, run for state and local office, and fix this problem themselves."

  26. O wonderful -

    April 19, 2017
    Could North Korea Destroy the US?
    By Daniel John Sobieski

    As both Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has stated, the Clinton-Obama era of “strategic patience” with North Korea is over. The usual suspects in the mainstream media have been warning that Trump is provoking Pyongyang into war on the Korean peninsula. The counter is that the administration isn’t willing to wait till North Korea has the operational capability to nuke an American city like Seattle or Honolulu.

    What is not being discussed is a much bigger and more imminent threat which makes action imperative, an existential one for the United States.

    The nightmare scenario of an America sent back centuries in time before electricity, refrigeration, and smart phones has grown unnervingly closer with the presence of two North Korean satellites with orbits over a blissfully unaware American populace and an Obama administration that was indifferent to the apocalyptic threat of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.

    On Feb. 7, 2016, North Korea launched a second satellite, the KMS-4, to join their KMS-3 satellite launched in December of 2012. In an article in the Washington Times on April 24, 2016, R. James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Peter Vincent Fry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security as well as director of the Nuclear Strategy Forum, both congressional advisory boards, warned of the dangers of an apocalyptic EMP attack that these and similar satellites pose:

    Both satellites now are in south polar orbits, evading many U.S. missile defense radars and flying over the United States from the south, where our defenses are limited. Both satellites -- if nuclear armed -- could make an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack that could blackout the U.S. electric grid for months or years, thereby killing millions.

    Technologically, such an EMP attack is easy -- since the weapon detonates at high-altitude, in space, no shock absorbers, heat shield, or vehicle for atmospheric re-entry is necessary. Since the radius of the EMP is enormous, thousands of kilometers, accuracy matters little. Almost any nuclear weapon will do.

    Moreover, North Korea probably has nuclear weapons specially designed, not to make a big explosion, but to emit lots of gamma rays to generate high-frequency EMP. Senior Russian generals warned EMP Commissioners in 2004 that their EMP nuclear warhead design leaked “accidentally” to North Korea, and unemployed Russian scientists found work in North Korea’s nuclear weapons program....

    Maybe we are living in hell ?

    1. Oops. Bumbling our way to Armageddon -

      Oops: Aircraft carrier which was supposedly en route to North Korea was actually headed to Indian Ocean

      It’s easy to fool the enemy about the location of your warships. Only a highly sophisticated military power can succeed at fooling itself.

      No harm, no foul, I guess, but note that none of the sources are claiming that this was deliberate deception. Apparently it was a genuine screw-up. Imagine if North Korea, spooked by reports of a U.S. armada approaching the coast, had tested a nuke or even attacked South Korea, and the U.S. … did nothing, because it didn’t have its military assets in place. Headline: “NEW KOREAN WAR BEGINS AFTER U.S. ANNOUNCES PHANTOM DEPLOYMENT.” How do you think Trump’s approval rating would be doing today?

      As worries deepened last week about whether North Korea would conduct a missile test, the White House declared that ordering an American aircraft carrier into the Sea of Japan would send a powerful deterrent signal and give President Trump more options in responding to the North’s provocative behavior.

      The problem was, the carrier, the Carl Vinson, and the four other warships in its strike force were at that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean, 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula.

      White House officials said on Tuesday they were relying on guidance from the Defense Department. Officials there described a glitch-ridden sequence of events, from a premature announcement of the deployment by the military’s Pacific Command to an erroneous explanation by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — all of which perpetuated the false narrative that an American armada was racing toward the waters off North Korea.
      “Wrong-Way Trump,” they’re calling him. Well, no, not yet. But probably soon.

      The jig was finally up yesterday when, er, the Navy posted a photo taken Saturday of the Vinson off the coast of Indonesia. The Times itself reported the phantom deployment to Korean waters on April 9th citing a statement by the head of the Navy’s Pacific Command: “The Vinson and three guided-missile destroyers and cruisers steamed out of Singapore on Saturday [April 8th] for their new mission in the Western Pacific.” A press release posted on Pacific Command’s website on April 10th seemed to confirm that, noting that the Vinson “will operate in the Western Pacific rather than executing previously planned port visits to Australia.” And yet, five days later, the ship was still cruising around Indonesia. When exactly did Trump and Mattis find out that their “armada” wasn’t where they thought it was? That failed North Korean missile test happened two days ago, on the 16th, when the Vinson was supposed to be in the area, but wasn’t.

      The ship is now reportedly finally en route towards North Korea. A new question for the White House: If the NorKs keep their promise to start testing missiles weekly, do we make a statement by shooting one down? The THAAD anti-missile system based in South Korea could do it, but that’s still reportedly a few weeks away from being operational. The Aegis system could also do it, but those missiles are based on destroyers — like the ones in the Vinson’s strike group, which isn’t yet in the vicinity of North Korea. Here’s Trump last Wednesday talking about the “very powerful” armada he’s sending to watch Kim. Where did he think the ships were when he said this?

      Bradd Jaffy ✔ @BraddJaffy
      WH said Trump was sending a powerful message to North Korea… but U.S. warships were headed in the opposite direction
      Bradd Jaffy ✔ @BraddJaffy
      Trump on North Korea, a week ago: “We are sending an armada. Very powerful…”
      11:21 AM - 18 Apr 2017