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Kim-Trump summit: Democrats put Partisanship before prospects for peace

In 1972 Democrats were able to praise Nixon for going to China, but the reaction to Trump’s summit in Singapore shows how far we’ve come since then

Joe Lauria

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This article was first published by Consortium News and is republished with the author’s permission.

When Richard Nixon returned to Washington after his historic 1972 trip to China, he was welcomed with strong support from Democrats.

“From the initial Congressional reaction, it was apparent that the President, home from his China trip, would find broad bipartisan support for his move toward closer relations with Peking,” The New York Times reported on Feb. 29, 1972.

Even Democratic Senate leaders Edward Kennedy and Mike Mansfield praised Nixon’s diplomatic gamble.

Forty-six years later President Donald Trump took a similar political risk in agreeing to the first ever summit with a North Korean leader. Cautious optimism emerged from the summit that peace on the Korean peninsula may finally be within reach 65 years after a truce silenced the guns of the Korean War.

But instead of the support Nixon received from the opposition party, Trump has been blasted by Democrats, who’ve put any prospect for peace behind their partisan quest to regain power.

“It sure looks as if President Trump was hoodwinked in Singapore,” wrote liberal New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof on Tuesday. “Trump seemed to believe he had achieved some remarkable agreement, but the concessions were all his own.”

“Kim seems to have completely out-negotiated Trump, and it’s scary that Trump doesn’t seem to realize this,” Kristoff wrote.

Nixon toasting Zhou.

The Times editorial board was even harsher. “President Trump was on his best behavior, as is so often the case when he is dealing with dictators,” it wrote. “Mr. Trump was even more effusive about Mr. Kim after their session, sounding more like he was deconstructing a blind date than analyzing a diplomatic meeting.”

In case the reader didn’t get the message the editorial went on: “Whatever he does or does not understand about history or policy or statecraft, Mr. Trump has a keen sense of how to engage authoritarian thugs who crave respect and legitimacy. It’s how he’s wired.”

And then it piled on: “Mr. Trump has a deep and abiding fondness for strongmen … The more ruthlessly they have had to act to hold on to power, the more he respects them.”

“Dealing with men like Mr. Kim is, on some level, comfortable ground for Mr. Trump,” the Times editorial said. “Such negotiations are a higher-stakes, global version of the world he came up in, one of cutthroat real estate developers and shady businessmen and mobsters. … The world sneers at strongmen like Mr. Kim, Mr. Putin and Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, regarding them as uncivilized thugs, and Mr. Trump feels similarly disrespected. Dispositionally speaking, these are Mr. Trump’s people.”

A Beginning, Not an End

There wasn’t a word about what the two leaders agreed to in Singapore, namely the start—not the end—of what Trump called “an arduous process” that could lead to peace on the Korean peninsula. Trump could not have been clearer. He even said he could be wrong if the agreement is not realized.

The Times editorial never mentioned the agreement. In essence both sides agreed to work towards a peace treaty to end the Korean War, and the U.S. agreed to provide security guarantees to North Korea in exchange for the denuclearization of the peninsula. This was always meant to be a broad agreement on principles at the summit to kick start the indeed arduous negotiations to follow.

That the Times editorial board purposely ignored this fact to score cheap partisan points could not be clearer. The risks inherent in war on the peninsula, which should be of bi-partisan concern, were apparently of no concern to the editors on Eighth Avenue who decidedly took the low road.  By contrast, the 1972 Times editorial said Nixon’s summit, though it was only the start of negotiations, contained “concrete achievements.” And Times‘ columnist James Reston called the summit “Mr. Nixon’s Finest Hour.”

Senate Democrats were no less uncharitable to Trump, seizing what they thought was an opportunity to score partisan points, while ignoring the promise the summit holds. “What the United States has gained is vague and unverifiable at best,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “What North Korea has gained, however, is tangible and lasting. By granting a meeting with Chairman Kim, President Trump has granted a brutal and repressive dictatorship, the international legitimacy it has long craved.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said: “In his haste to reach an agreement, President Trump elevated North Korea to the level of the United States while preserving the regime’s status quo.”

The questions asked at Trump’s post-summit press conference is illustrative of the partisan nature of today’s press. He was repeatedly asked about giving away the store without getting anything in return. But Trump made clear he had already gotten the return of three American prisoners, had gotten a commitment for the remains of Americans killed in the Korean War to be returned, and most crucially, a promise to begin the task of denuclearization.

America’s devastation of North Korea. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Yes it’s a promise. But the process has to begin somewhere. The very hard work to make that happen will begin now, and no peace loving person would not want to give it a chance instead of seeking to gain  short-sighted partisan advantage.

Trump said sanctions would remain and that war games with South Korea could resume if the deal does not materialize. After the devastation wrought by the United Sates on North Korea 65 years ago Trump incredibly agreed that those war games were seen as provocations by the North. He is being roasted for putting himself in the position of his adversary and seeing things as they do—a fundamental principle of diplomacy, and presumably journalism too.

The press also badgered Trump about North Korean human rights. They wanted to know how he could make a deal with such a repressive country. Would the alternative be war to enforce human rights? Trump said human rights were raised with Kim but were separate from the imperative of denuclearization. He felt that if peace were achieved and the North Korean economy improved (with the likely participation of U.S. corporations) that human rights would improve.

Turning the Tables

I’m disappointed Kim Jong-un did not take the opportunity to raise with Trump the utterly dismal US human rights record, from mass incarceration of millions to rampant police murder of Black citizens,” tweeted Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the website The Electronic Intifada. “Any credible deal must be predicated on US respecting its own people.”

Journalist Max Blumenthal tweeted: “The US committed genocide during the Korean War, killing 20% of North Korea’s population, burning literally all of its cities to the ground w/ napalm, & nearly nuking it. Today it threatens w extermination. Reporters must ask Kim how he can make peace with such a brutal country.”

“Democrats attacking Trump from the Right on Korean Summit,” added writer and filmmaker Tariq Ali in a tweet. “Pity Obama didn’t have the guts to visit Teheran.”

What we are witnessing is an inability, or unwillingness, to break down Trump’s positions and examine each one individually, something that Democrats like Ted Kennedy were able to do with Nixon. But we are in a totally different era. A non-partisan approach to Trump would be able to decry his positions on climate, torture, health insurance, taxes, immigration, Iran and Palestine, and yet welcome his stated desire to lessen tensions with Russia and North Korea.

Instead we get tweets like this from former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh: “America is the brightest, most benevolent nation on earth. North Korea is the darkest, most horrific regime on Earth. We just gave them equal billing. We just sat at a table with them. There had better be something really, really good coming in return.”

Clearly some criticism of Trump for meeting Kim is bipartisan, but none of the praise is. Such an attitude of Walsh’s, andThe New York Times, rests on a misunderstanding of America that is intended to reflect well on those who conveniently leave out the darkest chapters of America’s history, of which there have been far too many. The napalming and destruction of North Korea is among them, but hardly alone.

Deleting the context of decades of election meddling, coup plotting, assassinations and invasions of sovereign lands in the reporting and editorials of august organs like the Times, indeed in the entire corporate media, leaves Americans with a comic book understanding of their history, cast adrift in a bubble from the reality of the rest of the world.

Attacking other nations’ human rights record while ignoring one’s own, or one’s allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, is classic projection designed to wash one’s conscience clean. It helps to hold a position in the post-War Western-dominated international system making it easy to convince oneself of one’s righteousness, though self-reflection would reveal that that system has become a grotesque image of its former self.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston GlobeSunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe .

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The only thing right about this is that the real peace maker is Kim not Trump, he had to swallow his hate for a country that utterly destroyed his and never offered any reparation, destroyed nuclear test site, released prisoners, and restarted summit talks after Trump threw his childish temper tantrum. Despite his young age he showed to be the wisest. Kim for the Nobel!

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Zuckerberg Clings To Power While Sandberg Claims Ignorance After Damaging NYT Report

The New York Times reported that Facebook hired GOP PR firm, Defenders, to smear liberal detractors as Soros operatives. 

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Facebook executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are battling backlash over an explosive investigation by the New York Times into Facebook’s mercenary damage control tactics in the wake of several major scandals.

Despite fresh calls from investors for Zuckerberg to step down in his dual role as CEO and chairman and appoint an independent director to oversee the board, the 34-year-old tech titan brushed off the suggestion during a Thursday call with journalists.

“A company with Facebook’s massive reach and influence requires robust oversight and that can only be achieved through an independent chair who is empowered to provide critical checks on company leadership,” said New York City comptroller, Scott Stringer.

Zuckerberg disagrees. “I don’t think that that specific proposal is the right way to go,” said the Facebook CEO when asked if he would consider stepping down, adding that other initiatives had been launched to “get more independence into our systems.”

The measures include creating an independent body to advise the company on decisions over whether controversial content should remain on the site.

Ultimately, he said Facebook is never going to eradicate mistakes. “We’re never going to get to the point where there are no errors,” he told reporters. “I’m trying to set up the company so that way we have our board, and we report on our financial results and do a call every quarter, but that also we have this independent oversight that is just focused on the community.” –Business Insider

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, meanwhile, is claiming ignorance – telling CBS This Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell “we absolutely did not pay anyone to create fake news – that they have assured me was not happening.”

In their Wednesday exposé – the culmination of interviews with over 50 current and former company executives, lawmakers, government officials, lobbyists and congressional staff members,the New York Times reported that Facebook had hired GOP PR firm, Defenders, which smeared liberal detractors as Soros operatives – and worked with a sister company to create negative propaganda about competitors Google and Apple.

Mr. Kaplan prevailed on Ms. Sandberg to promote Kevin Martin, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman and fellow Bush administration veteran, to lead the company’s American lobbying efforts. Facebook also expanded its work with Definers.

On a conservative news site called the NTK Network, dozens of articles blasted Google and Apple for unsavory business practices. One story called Mr. Cook hypocritical for chiding Facebook over privacy, noting that Apple also collects reams of data from users. Another played down the impact of the Russians’ use of Facebook.

The rash of news coverage was no accident: NTK is an affiliate of Definers, sharing offices and staff with the public relations firm in Arlington, Va. Many NTK Network stories are written by staff members at Definers or America Rising, the company’s political opposition-research arm, to attack their clients’ enemies. –NYT

Meanwhile, Sandberg stressed that Facebook was undertaking new security measures, telling O’Donnell: “Our strategy was to shore up the security on Facebook and make major investments there,” and that the company had made significant investments in combatting fake news and foreign influence.

“It was not what I was doing nor was it the company’s strategy to deflect, to deny or to hire PR firms to do things. That’s not the strategy. And I was part of none of that. We’ve taken great steps, we’ve made huge investments. We’ve invested a ton in AI and technology and if you were following us before the election you saw those efforts pay off. We were able to take down lots of stuff over and over, over and over because we were now focused on this,” said Sandberg.

When asked if rank-and-file employees are confident in her, Sandberg replied: “Yes, I believe so.

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Hillary Clinton Ordered To Answer Additional Questions Under Oath About Private Email Server

A federal court ordered Hillary Clinton to answer more questions about her illicit email system.

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Via Zerohedge


A federal judge has ordered Hillary Clinton to respond to further questions, under oath, about her private email server.

Following a lengthy Wednesday court hearing, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan (who is also presiding over fmr. National Security adviser Michael Flynn’s case), ruled that Clinton has 30 days to answer two additional questions about her controversial email system in response to a lawsuit from Judicial Watch.

Hillary must answer the following questions by December 17 (via Judicial Watch)

  • Describe the creation of the clintonemail.com system, including who decided to create the system, the date it was decided to create the system, why it was created, who set it up, and when it became operational.
  • During your October 22, 2015 appearance before the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Benghazi, you testified that 90 to 95 percent of your emails “were in the State’s system” and “if they wanted to see them, they would certainly have been able to do so.” Identify the basis for this statement, including all facts on which you relied in support of the statement, how and when you became aware of these facts, and, if you were made aware of these facts by or through another person, identify the person who made you aware of these facts.

Sillivan rejected Clinton’s assertion of attorney-client privilege on the question over emails “in the State’s system,” however he did give Clinton a few victories:

The court refused Judicial Watch’s and media’s requests to unseal the deposition videos of Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills and other Clinton State Department officials. And it upheld Clinton’s objections to answering a question about why she refused to stop using her Blackberry despite warnings from State Department security personnel. Justice Department lawyers for the State Department defended Clinton’s refusal to answer certain questions and argued for the continued secrecy of the deposition videos. –Judicial Watch

Wednesday’s decision is the latest twist in a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit targeting former Clinton deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin. The case seeks records which authorized Abedin to conduct outside employment while also employed by the Department of State.

“A federal court ordered Hillary Clinton to answer more questions about her illicit email system – which is good news,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is shameful that Judicial Watch attorneys must continue to battle the State and Justice Departments, which still defend Hillary Clinton, for basic answers to our questions about Clinton’s email misconduct.”

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May Forces Brexit Betrayal to its Crisis Point

We’re 29 months later and the U.K. is no closer to being out of the EU than the day of the vote. 

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


The only words that were left out of Theresa May’s announcement of achieving Cabinet approval over her Brexit deal were Mission Accomplished.

Theresa May was put in charge of the U.K. to betray Brexit from the beginning.  She always represented the interests of the European Union and those in British Parliament that backed remaining in the EU.

No one in British ‘high society’ wanted Brexit to pass.   No. One.

No one in Europe’s power elite wanted Brexit to pass.  No. One.

No one in the U.S.’s power elite wanted Brexit to pass.  No. One.

When it did pass The Davos Crowd began the process of sabotaging it.  The fear mongering has done nothing but intensify.  And May has done nothing but waffle back and forth, walking the political tight rope to remain in power while trying to sell EU slavery to the both sides in British Parliament.

We’re 29 months later and the U.K. is no closer to being out of the EU than the day of the vote.  Why?

Because Theresa May’s 585 page ‘deal’ is the worst of all possible outcomes.  If it passes it will leave the EU with near full control over British trade and tax policy while the British people and government have no say or vote in the matter.

It’s punishment for the people getting uppity about their future and wanting something different than what had been planned for them.

Mr. Juncker and his replacement will never have to suffer another one of Nigel Farage’s vicious farragoes detailing their venality ever again.  YouTube will get a whole lot less interesting.

It’s almost like this whole charade was designed this way.

Because it was.

May has tried to run out the clock and scare everyone into accepting a deal that is worse than the situation pre-Brexit because somehow a terrible deal is better than no deal.  But, that’s the opposite of the truth.

And she knows it.  She’s always known it but she’s gone into these negotiations like the fragile wisp of a thing she truly is.

There’s a reason I call her “The Gypsum Lady.” She’s simply the opposite of Margaret Thatcher who always knew what the EU was about and fought to her last political breath to avoid the trap the U.K. is now caught in.

The U.K. has had all of the leverage in Brexit talks but May has gone out of her way to not use any of it while the feckless and evil vampires in Europe purposefully complicate issues which are the height of irrelevancy.

She has caved on every issue to the point of further eroding what’s left of British sovereignty.  This deal leaves the U.K. at the mercy of Latvia or Greece in negotiating any trade agreement with Canada.  Because for a deal between member states to be approved, all members have to approve of it.

So, yeah, great job Mrs. May.  Mission Accomplished.  They are popping champagne corks in Brussels now.

But, this is a Brexit people can be proud of.

Orwell would be proud of Theresa May for this one.

You people are leaving.  Let the EU worry about controlling their borders.  And if Ireland doesn’t like the diktats coming from Brussels than they can decide for themselves if staying in the EU is worth the trouble.

The entire Irish border issue is simply not May’s problem to solve.  Neither is the customs union or any of the other stuff.  These are the EU’s problems.   They are the ones who don’t want the Brits to leave.

Let them figure out how they are going to trade with the U.K.  It is so obvious that this entire Brexit ‘negotiation’ is about protecting the European project as a proxy for the right of German automakers to export their cars at advantageous exchange rates to the U.K. at everyone’s expense.

Same as it was in the days of The Iron Lady.

If all of this wasn’t so predictable it would be comical.

Because the only people more useless than Theresa May are the Tories who care only about keeping their current level of the perks of office.

The biggest takeaway from this Brexit fiasco is that even more people will check out of the political system. They will see it even more clearly for what it is, an irredeemable miasma of pelf and privilege that has zero interest in protecting the rights of its citizens or the value of their labor.

It doesn’t matter if it’s voter fraud in the U.S. or a drawn out betrayal of a binding referendum. There comes a point where those not at the political fringes look behind the veil and realize changing the nameplate above the door doesn’t change the policy.

And once they realize that confidence fails and systems collapse.

Brexit was the last gasp of a dying empire to assert its national relevancy.  Even if this deal is rejected by parliament the process has sown deep divisions which will lead to the next trap and the next and the next and the next.

By then Theresa May will be a distant memory, being properly rewarded by her masters for a job very well done.


Please support the production of independent and alternative political and financial commentary by joining my Patreon and subscribing to the Gold Goats ‘n Guns Investment Newsletter for just $12/month.

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