North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, during his national New Year’s address, warned the United States that the nuclear button is always on his desk.
Newt Gingrich said Thursday that Democrats are headed for a major political upset in 2018, mostly due to the mainstream media’s dishonesty and the party’s inability to learn from its own mistakes.
“The great political surprise of 2018 will be the size of the Republican victory,” the former Republican House Speaker wrote in a column for Fox News. “After members of the elite media have spent two years savaging President Trump, lying about Republican legislation, and reassuring themselves that Republican defeat was inevitable, the size of the GOP victory in 2018 will be an enormous shock.”
Mr. Gingrich said the most glaring example of “fake news” is the media’s handling of the GOP’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which he said will be “the 2018 proving ground of media liberal bias and dishonesty.”
“First, the media lied about the tax bill in an effort to convince most Americans their taxes would go up,” he wrote. “Then, the media took surveys of people who opposed the GOP bill based on the false information supplied by the media. Then, the media talked again and again about how unpopular the Republican plan was and how it was going to weaken Republican candidates in 2018. Then, the bill passed, and unsurprisingly, it turned out to be dramatically better for Americans than the elite media had described.”
SENATE PRESIDENT ON RIGHT WITH HIS WIFE ON LEFT ACCUSED OF GRABBING THE TESTICLES OF THOSE SEEKING STATE MATTERS…..WHO THE HELD ELECTED THIS PERVERSION? WHO ELECTED THE PERVERT AS PRESIDENT OF MASS SENATE?
FEDERAL; GRAND JURY A MUST!
It’s become a sadly predictable spectacle: President Trump issues an executive order that’s fully within his authority, but is deeply disliked by liberals. Liberals run to court, seeking an Obama-, Clinton- or Carter-appointed federal judge who is willing to ignore the limits of his or her own authority and issue an order against the Trump action. The result is often months of legal positioning between the Justice Department and the plaintiffs, all just to establish that the president of the United States is legally permitted to govern.
Ordinarily this would not be a controversial proposition. But because the president is Donald Trump, and because left-wing federal judges are increasingly willing to issue orders they have no legal authority to issue, we end up having court battles over every little thing – until it ultimately ends up being decided by the Supreme Court.
The good news is that SCOTUS is consistently coming down on the side of the law, which is to say they’re ruling that lower courts can’t issue orders striking down legal presidential orders just because they don’t like the order or don’t like the president. And last week the Supremes did it again, this time telling the ultraliberal Ninth Circuit to get out of the way and stop trying to save Barack Obama’s ill-conceived DACA program protecting illegals who arrived here as children:
Be honest, do you think Barack Obama is a Muslim – this famous actor sure does!
DEC 27, 2017
WASHINGTON – Actor James Woods tweeted the once unmentionable over the weekend about Barack Obama.
“He is a Muslim,” wrote Woods. “He can deny it, his apologists in the media can refute it, and his enablers can promote a narrative that he is a Christian. It’s a pack of lies. Obama is a Muslim and that is where his allegiance lies. Always has. Always will.”
The statement came in response to this tweet: “Obama targeted Christian Churches and Conservative Charities with the IRS, but ordered investigations into Hezbollah to be stopped. Let that sink in.”
He is a Muslim. He can deny it, his apologists in the media can refute it, and his enablers can promote a narrative that he is a Christian. It’s a pack of lies. Obama is a Muslim and that is where his allegiance lies. Always has. Always will.
In President Trump’s previous life, the one of a savvy and successful businessman, he moved mountains by being brash, confrontational, and wouldn’t accept “no” for an answer.
This style of leadership has universal qualities in getting things accomplished which we need a lot of in the United States, especially after the less than helpful previous president.
One of the areas of interest that President Trump has directed his energy towards has been that of releasing American citizens that have been taken captive by foreign governments.
Fox News reported:
“Immediately after President Trump took office, he told Secretary [of State Rex] Tillerson to prioritize bringing home Americans who’ve been wrongfully detained or held hostage in foreign countries,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told Fox News in an email.”
During Trump’s first year in the Oval Office, he and his administration have successfully brought 10 wrongfully detained, or outlandishly sentenced, people home through diplomatic efforts.
The liberals like to twist the truth, claiming Trump has not accomplished anything, or how he isn’t good for American efforts.
Reuniting loved ones sounds like a pretty successful feat, the same loved ones that Obama couldn’t seem to get here with his “diplomatic efforts.”
While Obama was running foreign diplomacy, it took him 8 years to finish what Trump did in 1.
Ned Price, spokesman for Obama, speaks on the detainees released during Obama’s terms.
“Their tireless efforts resulted in the release of at least 10 Americans from North Korean custody during the course of the Obama administration.”
The efforts were so tired because of the Obama administration’s energy being spent elsewhere, like trying to do away with the sanctity of marriage or making sure citizens can kill their babies.
There are still many United States citizens, many of whom the Trump administration hasn’t named yet, whose release is being aggressively pursued.
For now, let’s take proper note of the publicized Americans that were brought home in 2017.
North Korea: Nuclear
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Pentagon is scrambling to protect America’s power grid amid fears of imminent nuclear attack by North Korea.
North Korea warned the U.S. on Monday that “nuclear war may break out any moment.”
President Trump is facing this threat head-on and he is not backing down. Trump announced North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
Former CIA Director James Woolsey:
“According to the Congressional EMP Commission, a single warhead delivered by North Korean satellite could blackout the national electric grid and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures for over a year – killing 9 of 10 Americans by starvation and societal collapse.”
North Korea realizes they can’t beat us with brute military force on the conventional battlefield. We are way too strong for that.
However we do have a weakness that North Korea or other foreign terrorists can use against us…
Our crumbling electric grid.
Former CIA official Dr. Peter Pry warns, “There is an imminent threat… to the national electric grid and not just to a single U.S. city.”
When our electric grid fails, it will be like watching America have a heart attack right before your eyes. Because when the heart stops pumping… everything shuts down and the patient flat lines.
Our enemies could cripple our great country in a matter of minutes, without having to fire a single bullet. They could just sit back and watch as we self-destruct through looting, rioting and the targeting of police officers.
It’s a frightening idea, but worst of all…
It may already be happening.
On April 21, three major U.S. cities – New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco – experienced virtually simultaneous power outages. Businesses emptied. Schools closed. Subway commuters were stuck underground in the dark.
Rumors immediately started flying that a cyber-attack had caused all three blackouts.
The “official” word in San Francisco was that the outage was caused by a fire in a substation. In Los Angeles, high winds were blamed. In New York, an equipment failure was the announced culprit.
Perhaps those were the real causes. Or maybe these simultaneous blackouts were dry runs for future attacks.
We may never know the truth.
But former CIA official Dr. Peter Pry says that attacks on just 9 of the nation’s 55,000 electrical substations could result in nationwide blackouts for up to 18 months.
Our government is woefully unprepared.
It seems like the government has been fixated on taking more and more away from people who worked hard to earn it, while doing virtually nothing to secure our nation’s infrastructure.
They’ve ignored dire warnings from experts about the grid’s vulnerability to physical, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and cyber-attack by North Korea, Russia, China and even ISIS and other terrorist groups.
“Our death toll would be staggering” reports FOXNews. We’re all fine when the power goes out for a few hours and even days. But an extended blackout would be devastating.
Frank Gaffney, founder of the Center for Security Policy predicts, “… should the power go out and stay out for over a year, 9 out of 10 Americans would likely perish.
Text of a Letter from the President to the Congress of the United StatesE
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, as amended (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), I hereby report that I have issued the enclosed Executive Order (the “order”) declaring a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States posed by serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world. In addition to taking action under IEEPA, the order implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Public Law 114-328) (the “Act”) and delegates certain of its authorities.
The order blocks the property and interests in property of persons listed in the Annex to the order. It also blocks the property and interests in property of any foreign person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General:
(1) to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse;
(2) to be a current or former government official, or a person acting for or on behalf of such an official, who is responsible for or complicit in, or has directly or indirectly engaged in:
(a) corruption, including the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources, or bribery; or
(b) the transfer or the facilitation of the transfer of the proceeds of corruption;
(3) to be or have been a leader or official of:
(a) an entity, including any government entity, that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, any of the activities described in (1), (2)(a), or (2)(b) above relating to the leader’s or official’s tenure; or
(b) an entity whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the order as a result of activities related to the leader’s or the official’s tenure; or
(4) to have attempted to engage in any of the activities described in (1), (2)(a), or (2)(b) above.
The order also blocks any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General:
(5) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of:
(a) any activity described in (1), (2)(a), or (2)(b) above that is conducted by a foreign person;
(b) any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the order; or
(c) any entity described in (3)(a) above where the activity is conducted by a foreign person;
(6) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the order; or
(7) to have attempted to engage in any of the activities described in (5) or (6) above.
In addition, the order suspends entry into the United States of any alien listed in the Annex or determined to meet one or more of the criteria above.
I have delegated to the Secretary of the Treasury the authority, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to take such actions, including adopting rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA and the Act, as may be necessary to implement the order and relevant provisions of the Act. I have delegated to the Secretary of State the authority to take such actions, including adopting rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA and the Act, as may be necessary to implement the provisions of the order and the Act suspending entry into the United States of certain aliens. All executive departments and agencies are directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to implement the order.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,
December 20, 2017.
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley announced Sunday that the United States negotiated a $285 million cut in the United Nations’ “bloated” budget for next year.
“The inefficiency and overspending of the United Nations are well known,” Haley said in a statement from the US Mission. “We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked.”
Haley added that the “historic reduction” in spending is a step in the right direction and that the US would make many other moves toward a more efficient and accountable UN.
“In addition to these significant cost savings, we reduced the UN’s bloated management and support functions, bolstered support for key US priorities throughout the world and instilled more discipline and accountability throughout the UN system,” the statement said.
The new deal for the 2018-2019 fiscal year is $285 million less than the world body’s staggering $5.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2016-2017.
The ambassador went on to say that she hopes to help make even more reductions in the UN’s budget in the years to come.
Haley’s announcement came just days after she slammed the UN for “singling out” the United States and voting on a resolution to oppose President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The former South Carolina governor went on the warpath last week over the UN’s resolution — and said the US would be “taking names,” as a result.
“The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out in this assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation,” Haley told member nations ahead of their v
“We will remember it when, once again, we are called up to make the world’s largest contribution to the UN, and we will remember it when many countries come calling on us to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”
Out of the 193-member General Assembly, 128 countries voted in favor of declaring Trump’s recognition of the city as the Jewish state’s capital “null and void.”
Guatemala, meanwhile, became the first nation to follow Trump’s lead when it announced Sunday that it would be moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
President Jimmy Morales said he made the decision after discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Guatemala was one of the nine nations that voted against the UN’s resolution on Jerusalem.
The country has long had ties with Israel, especially in security matters.
No other country has chosen to move its embassy to Jerusalem since Trump’s decision, although the Czech Republic has said it is considering it.
The White House has decided to quietly withdraw from all its ties with the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas.
DEBKAfile’s exclusive sources report that the Trump administration has resolved to scrap all ties with the Palestinian leadership in retaliation for its campaign against US President Donald Trump and his Jerusalem policy. Several warnings to Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) of what was in store if he did not desist from castigating the US president fell on deaf ears.
Last week, two Arab crown princes, Saudi Muhammed bin Salman and UAE Sheikh Muhammed bin Zayed, summoned Abbas to their capitals and urged him strongly to back away from his attacks on President Trump. He got the same advice from the ruler of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Al Thani, who conferred with Washington on the subject – all to no avail. The Trump administration has therefore set out an eight-point program of sanctions, which is first revealed here:
- The Israeli-Palestinian peace plan under preparation in Washington will not be submitted to Ramallah – only to Israel and the relevant Arab governments.
- US-Palestinian interaction is to be suspended – not just at the senior levels but in day-to-day interchanges. The administration has notified Palestinian and other Arab parties to stop addressing queries on political and economic matters to the US consulate in Jerusalem, because they will not receive answers.
- The status of the PLO office in Washington will be reevaluated with a view to shutting it down.
- Palestinian officials will no longer be invited to Washington by the US government, including the State Department and Department of Treasury.
- Above all, they will not be welcome at the White House or the National Security Council where US Middle East policy is designed. Senior US officials congratulated the senior Palestinian negotiator Saab Erekat, who also holds the PA’s American portfolio, on his recovery from illness, at the same time warning him that he would no longer be received at the White House.
- The Trump administration will not make any public announcement of the cutoff of financial aid to the Palestinians. Since the funds are mostly earmarked for specific economic projects, each allocation will simply be held back on the pretext of the need for a “reappraisal.”
- The US will halt its contributions to the UN Work and Relief Agency (UNWRA), an estimated one billion dollars per annum.
- The US administration moreover intervened with the governments of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Qatar with a request that they freeze or slow their economic aid to the Palestinian Authority.
According DEBKAfile’s sources, Palestinian officials in Ramallah were devastated by news of the sudden cutoff of the main sources of the PA’s revenue. Even the Qatar ruler, whom Abbas visited last week as a last resort to save the PA from economic meltdown, refused to release any more funding.
The United States has vetoed a U.N. resolution that would have required President Trump to rescind his declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The Egyptian-sponsored Security Council resolution was approved by the 14 other council members, a reflection of the depth of global opposition to Trump’s action.
Arab nations knew in advance that the United States was certain to veto the resolution, but they sought the vote to demonstrate that countries everywhere and even many U.S. allies such as Britain, France and Japan are against Trump’s action.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called the resolution “an insult” that won’t be forgotten, saying the United Nations forced the U.S. to cast a veto simply because of its right to decide where to put its embassy.
One of our nation’s most aggressive and stubborn enemies may have finally pushed their luck with the Trump administration a little too far.
In an interview with The Atlantic, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) offered a bold prediction about North Korea. He stated that there is a three in 10 chance of the United States conducting military operations against North Korea if they continue along the path they are on, with that chance jumping to 70 percent if Kim Jong-un and his regime move forward with any more nuclear testing.
U.S. will have no other option but to attack North Korea militarily, former American ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said here Saturday night.
Negotiations have not stopped North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and China has not done what it could to deter the North from proceeding with work that would allow it to hit U.S. cities with a nuclear weapon, Bolton told about 450 at the annual holiday dinner hosted by former Republican Congressman Charles Taylor. The event attracts Republicans from across Western North Carolina.
“Nobody wants to use military force against North Korea because of the risks to
South Korea. Nobody wants to see this happen,” Bolton told the crowd at the Crowne Plaza Resort Asheville.
But he said the risks to the United States of North Korea having nuclear weapons may outweigh that concern.
“You have to make the choice at some point whether the risks are greater in preventing North Korea from getting the capability of blackmailing or actually attacking the United States against the dangers of, the consequences of, a preemptive strike,” Bolton said.
Israeli Defense Forces set out to retaliate in the wee hours of Monday morning for the disrupted lives and endless hours of rocket attacks aimed at southern Israel this past week-plus by Gaza terrorists
Earlier Sunday evening, a Jewish home sustained a direct hit by one of the rockets. Although the family was safe because they made it into their shelter just seconds earlier, it sent more than a few residents into trauma, and the rocket damaged the home. A second rocket landed in a open area, both in areas along the Gaza border.
Residents of Ashkelon and even Ashdod reported overnight hearing massive explosions emanating from Gaza. Gaza sources claimed the Israeli Air Force attacked a dozen sites.
Other sources claimed three targets were hit in northern Gaza.
Among the sites struck by the Israeli Air Force was a rocket launcher site in the northwestern section of Gaza which contained five rockets, according to one military source.
According to a new ABC Online report Saturday night, Kory Langhofer, counsel to Trump for America (TFA), has accused the General Services Administration (GSA) for unlawfully sent Robert Mueller materials from Trump for America, when President Trump’s transition team used GSA facilities in the period between winning the general election and his inauguration.
An estimated 2 million residents of Seoul would be killed if a nuclear weapon of the same size as the device tested by North Korea on Sunday detonated above the South Korean capital.
As North Korea has gradually elevated the yield of its nuclear weapons, the US and South Korean governments have conducted repeated tests simulating the explosion of increasingly potent warheads on the city and its population.
A test carried out by the US Defence Department in 1998 – fully eight years before the North was able to carry out its first underground test – simulated the detonation of a 15-kiloton warhead over the US military’s Yongsan garrison, in the centre of Seoul.
ONE NK NUKE ON NYC …INSTANT DEATH TO 9 MILLION AMERICAS AND ALL NYC IN RADIOACTIVE DUST!
Israel’s position: Jerusalem is the united capital
In May, Israelis and Jews around the world celebrated 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalemduring the Six Day War. The official position of the Israeli government is that Jerusalem must remain the undivided capital of the Jewish state. Ahead of Trump’s speech, the leading opposition parties supported that position. Speaking Wednesday at the Jerusalem Post‘s Diplomatic Conference, Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid expressed hope that the president would recognize a “united Jerusalem.” Avi Gabby, head of the Zionist Union alliance, told Israel Radio, “Jerusalem will remain undivided under Israeli sovereignty in any future peace agreement.”
Today, the reading of Chateaubriand imposes on us more than ever.
Chateaubriand understood Jerusalem and its light like no other. He also understood how important it was for those who did not want to leave him, regardless of their living conditions.
For a long time, too long, Jerusalem has been the subject of political blackmail and serves as a pretext for terrorist actions.
Jerusalem, finally recognized as Capital of Israel, makes the news.
This news has given me the desire to share this text with you again.
“While the new Jerusalem comes out of the desert, shining brightly, cast your eyes between mount Zion and the temple, see this other little people who live apart from the rest of the inhabitants of the city. to complain, he suffers all the insults without asking for justice, he lets himself be overwhelmed with blows without sighing, he is asked for his head: he presents it to the scimitar.If any member of this proscribed society dies, his companion will go, during the in the night, bury him furtively in the valley of Jehoshaphat, in the shadow of the temple of Solomon.
Enter the abode of this people, you will find it in a terrible misery, making read a mysterious book to children who, in their turn, will make it read to their children. What they did 5000 years ago, This people is still doing it. He has witnessed the ruin of Jerusalem seventeen times, and nothing can discourage him; nothing can stop him from turning his gaze to Zion.
When one sees the Jews scattered on the earth, according to the word of God, one is doubtless surprised; we must see these legitimate masters of Judea, slaves and strangers in their own country; it is necessary to see them waiting, under all oppressions, for a king who must deliver them.
The Persians, the Greeks, the Romans have disappeared from the earth; and a little people, whose origin preceded that of those great peoples, still exists unmixed in the ruins of their country.
If anything among the nations bears the character of the miracle, we think that character is here. “
Journey to the East, Route from Paris to Jerusalem and from Jerusalem to Paris, Chateaubriand, 1811
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has come out swinging against national concealed carry reciprocity, contending it puts police officers at risk.
In a statement issued in conjunction with the Commonwealth’s district attorneys association and police chiefs lobby groups, Healey railed against this week’s successful vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on a measure that would force states to recognize valid concealed carry permits from other jurisdictions.
“In the aftermath of so many mass shootings, it would be tragic for this to become the next deadly loophole in our nation’s gun laws,” said Healey, a Democrat who has aggressively enforced the state’s gun laws in recent years. “This legislation is dangerous for the state of Massachusetts, our law enforcement officers, and our residents.”
In additional comments on social media, Healey warned that 12 states allow constitutional or permitless carry, and painted a picture of police placed in dangerous situations if the practice spills over into the state. Massachusetts borders two states, Vermont and New Hampshire, that do not require licenses for concealed carry.
“If concealed carry reciprocity becomes law, police officers on the beat would have to determine—often in an instant or under duress—whether an armed individual not permitted to carry a concealed weapon under Massachusetts law, may legally carry in the state in which he purports to be licensed,” said Healey.
Massachusetts is a “may issue” state for concealed carry permitting and its laws are among some of the most strict in the country. Non-residents who wish to carry in the state have to apply for a $100 temporary license as the state does not recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states.
Healey has been locked in a federal lawsuit with gun rights advocates and firearms trade industry groups over her 2016 interpretation of the state’s longstanding ban on “assault weapons” which eliminated a number of guns from the market that had been seen as in compliance with the law. She has also launched an investigation into the safety of guns made by Glock and teamed up with the Massachusetts Medical Society to provide voluntary guidance to healthcare professionals on the subject of talking to patients about firearms.
Healey is among 17 attorneys general from 16 states and the District of Columbia opposed to national reciprocity. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley last week joined 23 other states in support of the measure.
French-Jewish families are being forced from their homes in Paris suburbs as Europe continues to be convulsed by levels of anti-Semitism not seen since the end of the Second World War.
The Paris commuter newspaper 20 Minutes documents an “internal exodus” during 2017 of Jews from the Seine-Saint-Denis department, saying it is emblematic of broader concerns that French Jews, like their brothers and sisters across Europe, are finding it increasingly difficult to reconcile their faith with the changing demographics of the continent.
The paper reports that Jews are leaving their homes on the northeastern fringe of Paris to escape the open hostility that French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Sunday condemned as “well-rooted.” The newspaper reports:
This ‘internal exodus’ is difficult to quantify, but it is clear that many synagogues of Seine-Saint-Denis have closed, for lack of people. In Pierrefitte, the rabbi has recorded a 50 percent decline in the congregations since his arrival thirteen years ago. A similar story is told in (nearby) Bondy, where attendance on Yom Kippur (the holiest day of the Jewish calendar) has fallen from about 800 to 400 in the last decade.
The Bondy synagogue president saw a “deteriorating climate” of the last 15 years as driving the exodus, “It’s hard to explain, it’s provocations, it’s looks,” he lamented. “There are places where we do not feel welcome.”
Illegal immigration across the Southwest border has surged back to Obama-era levels, according to the latest data released Friday that suggests the gains President Trump made early in his tenure have worn off.
Nearly 40,000 illegal immigrants were nabbed attempting to sneak in at the border in November, which was up about 12 percent compared to October, and more than twice the monthly numbers from March and April, when Mr. Trump touted his early accomplishments.
Perhaps just as worrisome for officials is the rise in families traveling together, which surged 45 percent last month, and unaccompanied minors traveling without parents, which rose 26 percent in November.
Lindsey Graham: There’s a 30 Percent Chance Trump Attacks North Korea
“I don’t know how to say it any more direct: If nothing changes, Trump’s gonna have to use the military option, because time is running out.”
It’s become a grim ritual in Washington foreign-policy circles to assess the chances that the United States and North Korea stumble into war. But on Wednesday Lindsey Graham did something different: He estimated the odds that the Trump administration deliberately strikes North Korea first, to stop it from acquiring the capability to target the U.S. mainland with a long-range, nuclear-tipped missile. And the senator’s numbers were remarkably high.
Graham said that the issue of North Korea came up during a round of golf he played with the president on Sunday. “It comes up all the time,” he said.
“War with North Korea is an all-out war against the regime,” he said. “There is no surgical strike option. Their [nuclear-weapons] program is too redundant, it’s too hardened, and you gotta assume the worst, not the best. So if you ever use the military option, it’s not to just neutralize their nuclear facilities—you gotta be willing to take the regime completely down
Graham takes the possibility of war seriously enough that, to prevent it, he would support direct talks with the regime “without a whole lot of preconditions.” It was a noteworthy statement coming from one of the foremost North Korea hawks in Congress. He wouldn’t rule out a Kim-Trump summit. “I’m not taking anything off the table to avoid a war. … When they write the history of the times, I don’t want them to say, ‘Hey, Lindsey Graham wouldn’t even talk to the guy.’”
The South Carolina Republican—a brutal critic of Trump’s during the 2016 presidential campaign who has since become an unlikely ally on issues like countering North Korea and plugging holes in the Iran nuclear deal—expressed greater certainty about a related matter. Graham says Trump “has 100 percent made up his mind that he’s not gonna let Kim Jong Un break out,” which Graham defined as achieving the capacity to “marry up a missile and a nuclear warhead that can hit America effectively.”
Many experts think North Korea has essentially reached this milestone already through its increasingly sophisticated nuclear and missile tests, while others argue that the North is still months or years away from that goal. But Graham bypassed these technical debates to focus on a central tension in the Trump administration’s approach to the issue: The Kim regime is sprinting toward breakout, while the Trump administration’s diplomatic campaign to persuade China and other countries to impose stiffer sanctions and other forms of pressure on North Korea is moving forward, but slowly. It’s a race. And there’s currently a clear frontrunner.
“I don’t know how to say it any more direct: If nothing changes, Trump’s gonna have to use the military option, because time is running out,” Graham said. “I don’t care if North Korea becomes a Chinese protectorate. … I don’t care who [the Chinese] put in charge of North Korea, as long as that person doesn’t want to create a massive nuclear arsenal to threaten America. There are a couple ways for this to end: The Chinese could kill the guy if they wanted to, or they could just stop oil shipments [to North Korea], which would bring [Kim Jong Un’s] economy to [its] knees.” Graham’s scenarios for resolving the crisis short of war, along with his vision for war, notably conclude with regime change in North Korea, which the Trump administration claims to not be pursuing.
During a week in which the Trump administration sent conflicting signals on North Korea—with the national-security adviser describing increased isolation of the North as “our last best chance to avoid military conflict” while the secretary of state, on the same day and at an event just a mile away, offered to talk with the North Koreans about anything, including the weather and the shape of the negotiating table, without preconditions—Graham spoke with clarion confidence about the president’s intentions. He said that one of Trump’s first big decisions as president was whether to adopt a policy of denying North Korea a long-range nuclear capability or of containing that capability by, for example, making clear that North Korea would be destroyed if it used its nuclear weapons against the United States. He described his first conversation with the president after Trump’s election victory, over lunch at the White House, in which Graham advocated for the “denial” option: “I said, ‘I don’t think we should live our lives based on what [Kim Jong Un] might do. We should focus on what he can do.” As Graham tells it, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster agreed with the senator’s assessment. Trump eventually chose denial, according to Graham, and that choice is now “in our rearview mirror.”
Graham walked me through the case he had made for denial—and how he justified the dark calculation it relies on: that it’s worth initiating an actual conflict on the Korean peninsula, placing thousands and maybe even millions of real lives at risk in East Asia, in order to avert the potential deaths of Americans from hypothetical threats. Of the type of “preventive” war Graham has in mind, Dwight Eisenhower once observed, “none has yet explained how war prevents war. Worse than this, no one has been able to explain away the fact that war creates the conditions that beget war.” But Graham has a ready explanation. The veteran lawmaker, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who for years served in the U.S. Air Force Reserves while in Congress, and who once toldvoters not to support him if they were sick of war, argues that there are times when people’s aversion to conflict creates the conditions that beget war. He seems preoccupied these days with how the history of the present will be written in the future.
“It always seems in the times in which you live that avoiding conflict is a good thing,” Graham said. “I’m sure they really believed that [Britain’s appeasement-era agreement with Nazi Germany in] Munich was ‘peace in our time.’ When you look through history and you see where democracies blink in the eyes of naked aggression, you think, ‘[British Prime Minister Neville] Chamberlain was a fool.’ … World War II was preventable about 10 different times.”
“Fifty years from now, long after I’m dead and gone, what will they say about this time?” Graham asked. “I don’t want people 50 years from now having to live with the consequences of us getting this wrong.”
“I am literally willing to put hundreds of thousands of people at risk, knowing that millions and millions of people will be at risk if we don’t. And that’s why this whole exercise sucks so much,” Graham said. “I get, like, zero joy out of having this choice for President Trump.”
Graham is fundamentally not convinced by the logic of deterrence in the case of North Korea—that if the regime has nuclear weapons, fear of retaliation will prevent it from using them. “North Korea is the ultimate outlier in world order,” Graham argued. “It is a country built around the philosophy of the divinity of a family. And the person who’s inherited the mantle is, on a good day, unstable. Look what they did: He’s killed his own half-brother, blew his uncle up with an anti-aircraft gun. … I don’t know how to put North Korea in a historical context.”
North Korea’s outlier behavior in the world, and its history of selling missiles and nuclear-related materials to countries such as Syria and Iran, inform Graham’s belief that more likely than North Korea firing its nuclear weapons at the United States is the North putting them on the black market. The biggest risk to the U.S. homeland and mankind as a whole is weapons of mass destruction making their way to people who wouldn’t hesitate to use them, he argues. And today those people belong to terrorist groups like ISIS or al-Qaeda. “What would be the source of those weapons?” Graham asked. “An unstable regime, cash-starved, controlled by a crazy man, called North Korea. … I don’t see China selling [terrorist organizations] nuclear weapons. I don’t see Russia selling them nuclear weapons. I think for [terrorists] to build one of their own would be really tough and we’d probably know about it. I think the transfer of technology from North Korea to these groups would be very difficult to monitor.”
BREAKING NEWS ALERT
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun looking into allegations that Bryon Hefner, the husband of state Senator Stanley C. Rosenberg, assaulted several men to whom he also boasted of his influence on Beacon Hill, according to two people familiar with the inquiry.
The agents are interested in whether Hefner offered a quid pro quo to his alleged victims — whether he used his position as Rosenberg’s husband to influence the business of the Senate in return for sexual favors. Rosenberg was the state Senate president but has stepped down temporarily.
“Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of ‘Tavis Smiley,’ produced by TS Media, an independent production company,” the public broadcaster said. “PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley. This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley. The inquiry uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision.”
Sources close to the production told Variety that PBS hired attorney Sarah Taylor Wirtz of the firm MSK to oversee an investigation into Smiley’s behavior after receiving allegations of misconduct by Smiley, who hosts and produces the talk show. Wirtz declined Variety‘s request for comment. According to sources, MSK took reports from 10 witnesses, a mix of men and women of different races and employment levels in Smiley’s organization, most of them former staffers.
Experts say that after North Korea’s last nuclear test, minor tremors were detected near Mt Mantap, located close to the nuclear site. However, Pyongyang is now engaged in additional tunnel work at the site.
According to experts at 38North, a US-based think tank, the fresh activities were detected at the West Portal of the site – indicating that the site may be undergoing an expansion. Meanwhile, the North Portal, where the previous five tests were conducted, appears to have been temporarily abandoned.
“At the West Portal, there has been a consistently high level of activity since North Korea’s last nuclear test. This includes a routine presence of vehicles and personnel around the portal, movement of mining carts from the portal to the adjacent spoil pile and signs of fresh spoil being dumped onto the pile,” 38North experts said in a blog. “These activities suggest that tunnel excavation is underway at the West Portal, as the North Koreans expand the site’s potential for future nuclear testing.”
Ryan Barenklau, CEO and founder of Strategic Sentinel, a Washington-based nonpartisan geostrategic consulting agency, told IBTimes UK, “The tunneling is occurring at the West Portal and activity near that area has been relatively high for the last month. They are most likely digging deeper and expanding the complex underneath so they can continue their normal operations.”
“The complex is probably unstable seeing how many tremors have been recording, forcing new tunnels to be created. The West Portal area will probably be where the next nuclear tests will be conducted if there are anymore to come.”
Breanklau added that it might be a while before North Korea conducts its next nuclear test. “The last two tests were conducted one year apart. These mining operations take time and there is no telling just how badly the mountain has been damaged due to the previous tests.
Over the weekend, Strategic Sentinel tweeted that Pyongyang Radio had broadcast secret coded messages over its 6400kHz radio station. Such transmissions have previously been observed preceding major weapons tests by North Korea.
However, it remains unclear if the continuing activities at Punggye-ri and the sudden influx of coded messages being transmitted indicate that North Korea might be ready to conduct yet another major weapons test.
“Pyongyang likes to send out coded messages on the weekend, especially Saturday morning US time, and does this regularly. December 9th was one of those weekend messages,” Barenklau told IBTimes UK.
“Rarely, Pyongyang will start to send them out at random times multiple times per week. That is usually indicative of a large provocation or diplomatic move, but not always. Again, we really don’t know for sure what they are doing with those messages. We don’t necessarily care to try and understand the messages themselves. We look for how often and when.”
|Officials said the New York suspect was a would-be suicide bomber who told investigators that he chose one of Manhattan’s busiest commuter corridors because of its Christmas-themed posters, invoking ISIS strikes in Europe against holiday markets.|
|The suspect said he set off the bomb in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria and elsewhere, several law enforcement officials said.|
North Korea’s nuclear threat may presently have the world’s attention but ballistic missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland aren’t the only weapons of mass destruction in Kim Jong Un’s arsenal. Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities are well understood and high on the agenda of President Donald Trump in his ongoing five-country trip to Asia, but a recent study from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School reported on a less well known aspect of North Korea’s armaments program: biological weapons. Andrew C. Weber, former assistant secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs, commissioned the report over concerns that the biological weapons threat received too little attention. Unlike the testing of rocket technology, the weaponization and cultivation of viruses can be carried out behind closed doors. Experts are unable to attest to North Korea’s development of threatening pathogens, but they do believe the regime has built facilities that could be used to produce biological weapons.
Amid attacks in Europe on Jews following the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe condemned anti-Semitism “that always tries to justify itself with new pretext,” and which he said has deep roots in France.
Philippe’s remarks, which were unusual for his acknowledgment of the phenomenon’s depth in his country, came Sunday during a speech before approximately 700 participants in the eight annual conference of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities.
“In our country, anti-Semitism is alive. It is not new, it is ancient. It is not superficial, it is well-rooted and it is alive. And it hides always behind new masks, attempts to justify itself through diverse reasons. This ideology of hate is here, it’s present and it’s making some French Jews to make aliyah,” Philippe said, using the Hebrew word for immigration by Jews to Israel. “It should be a spiritual choice but it pains all citizens of the republic when it’s a form of self exile, made out of insecurity and fear.”
Following President Donald Trump’s declaration Wednesday on Jerusalem, a kosher restaurant was attacked in the Netherlands by a Palestinian waving his national flag, and 20 men hurled firebombs at a synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden. In Paris and Lyon, protesters against the declaration promoted a boycott of Israel, which is illegal in France, and cheered and called for freedom for Palestinians convicted of murder charges who are in Israeli prisons.
OUR FOUNDERS PASSED THE 2ND AMENDMENT BECAUSE THEY WANTED CITIZENS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AND THE NATION…POLICE WERE BUT SECONDARY!
911 HERE WAS TO DAMN SLOW….REACHING FOR HIS WEAPON THE AMERICAN CITIZEN WITH THE BLESSING OF THE FOUNDERS WOULD HAVE PLACE THIS ALLEGED ARMED THUG INTO INSTANT JUSTICE!
THE CORRUPT STATE SENATE AND HOUSE HAVE MADE MASSACHUSETTS A STATE WHERE ARMED THUGS FEEL FREE TO RAPE KILL MURDER SINCE THE ORDINARY CITIZEN UNLIKE IN VT MAINE NH HAS NO RIGHT TO REACH FOR HIS/HER WEAPON UNLESS BLESSED WITH A LTC……WANT TO SAVE MASSACHUSETTS FROM NIGHTMARES.?….OBEY THE 2ND AND TRASH LTC!
MASSACHUSETTS IN A MORAL CRISIS UNSEEN EVER BEFORE AND GROWING….
THE MASSACHUSETTS SENATE IS A DEN OF DECEIT FROM SENATOR CREEM PERMITTED TO TRASH THE HONESTY OF THE PROBATE COURT EVEN IN APPEARANCE TO A SENATOR ADDING A MILE TO HER WORCESTER RIDE FROM 49 T0 50 MILES FOR A 5K BONUS TO A EX SENATOR NOW CHARGED WITH FEDERAL CRIMES , THAT MAKE EX SPEAKER DIMASI SMALL TIME, AT THE RISK OF A 16 YEAR FEDERAL SENTENCE….WHY? THE APPOINTMENTS OF DEVAL EVEN TO THE SJC WERE POLITICAL AND IMO TRASH….NOT A WORD FROM THE SJC OR BBO AS CREEM MAKES A FOOL OF THE SYSTEM OF JUSTICE DEMANDED BY THE 14TH AMEND….THE GOLDEN DOME SENATE IS A ‘CRIME IN PROCESS’ THAT HAS ROOTS WHEN A DRUNKEN PERVERT KILLER ‘TEDDY’ WAS IN EFFECT UNPUNISHED AND REELECTED AND SENATE WARREN A UTTER DAMN FRAUD,,,,THEY SEND A MESSAGE AND THE MESSAGE SO CLEAR TO THE EX SENATOR NOW INDICTED TO RISK 15 YEARS BECAUSE THE ODDS OF BEING CAUGHT DE MINIMIS…..SILENCE IS ALL YOU HEAR FROM THE OVERSEERS OF STATE JUSTICE…A JUSTICE TRASHED BY INACTION AND DISGRACE!