A top South Korean defense official admitted this week that Seoul has a plan in place to assassinate North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un.
The Asia Times reported that Defense Minister Han Min-koo made the remarks Wednesday during a parliamentary meeting in the country’s capital. He was asked about rumors circulating about such a plan.
“If it becomes clear the enemy is moving to attack the South with nuclear missiles, in order to suppress its aims, the concept is to destroy key figures and areas that include the North Korean leadership.”
— Defense Minister Han Min-koo
“If it becomes clear the enemy is moving to attack the South with nuclear missiles, in order to suppress its aims, the concept is to destroy key figures and areas that include the North Korean leadership,” Han said. He said Seoul is “considering launching a Special Forces unit to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.”
Meantime, North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong Ho railed against the United States in his United Nations General Assembly address, warning the U.S. of “tremendous consequences” for its aggression and justifying Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program and nuclear tests to defend North Korea from American hostility. Read the rest of this entry »
Lawmakers, press and the public need to understand the strength of this “doubling down” phenomenon of and guard against it when adopting policy positions.
In simplified form, the dynamic runs as follows:
1) Government, in response to a perceived need, takes action to meet that need in a manner that distorts economic behavior and produces predictable adverse effects.
2) The public consequently experiences problems and expresses concern.
3) The problems themselves become justification for additional government actions that worsen the distortions and the resultant problems.
4) As problems worsen, the public more urgently demands corrective actions.
5) Steps #3 and #4 are repeated ad infinitum.
We have seen and continue to see this dynamic operate in many areas of economic policy. To cite but a few:
Worker Health Benefits
With the best of intentions the federal government has long exempted worker compensation in the form of health benefits from income taxation. Lawmakers aren’t scaling back the flawed policy that fuels these problems.There is wide consensus among economists that the results of this policy have been highly deleterious. As I have written previously, this tax exclusion “depresses wages, it drives up health spending, it’s regressive, and it makes it harder for people with enduring health conditions to change jobs or enter the individual insurance market.” Lawmakers have reacted not by scaling back the flawed policy that fuels these problems, but rather by trying to shield Americans from the resulting health care cost increases. This has been done through the enactment of additional health programs and policies that further distort health markets and which themselves drive personal and government health spending still higher.
Federal Health Programs
The federal government has enacted programs such as Medicare and Medicaid to protect vulnerable seniors and poor Americans from ruinous health care costs.
The positive benefits of these programs co-exist with well-documented adverse effects. For example, it is firmly established that creating these programs pushed up national health spending, driving health costs higher for Americans as a whole. Consumer displeasure over these health cost increases subsequently became a rationale for still more government health spending, rather than reducing government’s contribution to the problem. Examples of this doubling down include the health exchange subsidies established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as its further expansion of Medicaid. As the problem of high health care costs remains, proposals have proliferated to expand government’s role still further; for example, some have proposed making Medicare available to the entire US population. Though intended to provide relief, such legislation inevitably adds to national health spending growth. Read the rest of this entry »
It matters to all of us whether we live in the United States or not, if a hostile country can undermine our democratic process.
There is even more alarming evidence this is happening during this election cycle.
Theresa Payton reports: Changing who controls the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) so close to our presidential election will jeopardize the results of how you vote on Nov. 8 unless Congress stops this changeover. When the calendar hits Sept. 30, a mere 6 weeks before our election, the United States cannot be assured that if any web site is hacked, the responsible party will be held accountable. We cannot be sure if a web site is a valid. We cannot be sure if one country is being favored over another. These are all the things ICANN is responsible for and has worked perfectly since the Internet was created. Why change it now and so close to the election? Why does that matter to you as a voter?
Take a look at recent cyber activity as it relates to the election. The Democratic National Convention was breached comprising the entire party’s strategy, donor base, and indeed, national convention. Everything the DNC had done to prepare for a moment four years in the making (if not longer) was undermined by a hacker who had been in their system for some time but waited for the optimal moment to spring it on the DNC – opening day of the convention. The FBI and other U.S. agencies, as the headlines blare, suspect Russia is responsible for the hack. Recently, Vladimir Putin went so far as to say, “Does it matter who broke in? Surely what’s important is the content of what was released to the public.”
During a Florida congressional debate, the audience began to jeer and guffaw after one of candidates said he was voting for Hillary Clinton because of her honesty.
Republican Florida Congressman David Jolly is locked into a heated race with former Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democratic governor Charlie Christ in Florida’s 13th district. Monday night, the two candidates debated for the first time at St. Petersburg College.
“I am proud of Hillary Clinton. I think she’s been a very good Secretary of State, a very good senator from the state of New York,” Crist said when asked if he would vote for his party’s candidate. “The thing I like most about her is she is steady. I believe she is strong. I believe she is honest.” It was the last remark that caused a sudden swell of laughter. Read the rest of this entry »
“Are you all right Mr. President?” the North Korean playing a White House aide said to the other actor whose head is wrapped with a bloody bandage, NK News reported.
“I smacked my head on the bathroom floor and broke four tiles on it,” the president answered, “as I was so shocked from the North’s hydrogen bomb detonation!”
“So Mr. President, you were testing the hardness of your skull while the North was testing its hydrogen bomb? ” the aide joked, according to NK News.
“I smacked my head on the bathroom floor and broke four tiles on it, as I was so shocked from the North’s hydrogen bomb detonation!”
The 80-minute comedy show’s title roughly translates as “The stage of optimism that Songun (military-first policy) presented — Volume 11.” The skit was televised Sept. 1, according to a South Korean government database. Read the rest of this entry »
In foreign affairs, unlike math, the ultimate determination of success or failure isn’t immediately obvious. Major foreign events — wars, revolutions, coup d’etats and treaties — can take a long time to play out.
The Korean Conflict, once nearly as unpopular as the Vietnam War, is now probably viewed by most Americans as a “good war,” and Washington’s 63-year defense of Seoul as a worthwhile investment. Thirty-seven thousand U.S. servicemen, a number that dwarfs those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, didn’t die in vain.
Historical judgments are temperamental and subject to change until sufficient good news or bad piles up — and even then things can change given the mood and character of the nation looking back.
Few Democrats really want to expend much effort touting the foreign-policy successes of Jimmy Carter; more Democrats, but still not many, want to remember how ardently they believed Ronald Reagan would bring on Armageddon. Read the rest of this entry »
Hillary Clinton cannot seem to seal the deal with voters, and the left is lashing out at the media in frustration.
Noah Rothmans writes: For months, frustrated liberals have bemoaned the fact that Donald Trump receives any fair coverage at all. His xenophobic policies and racially toxic rhetoric, they contend, render him beyond the pale. To “normalize” him as though he were just another politician is irresponsible, and the press should not be giving him equal footing with a more responsible candidate like Clinton.
This view has recently received traction among liberal commentators and mainstream Democrats as it becomes ever clearer that Hillary Clinton’s post-convention halo is gone. Worse, Donald Trump continues to be mired in scandal, alleged misconduct, and potential fraud, and yet none of it seems to be affectinghis polling.
“He is playing you guys like a Stradivarius. Dominating news instead of Newsweek story, Trump Foundation. Pathetic.”
— the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza
Instead, superficial matters like the health of both candidates—propelled along by absurd displays like Trump’s apperance with celebrity physician Dr. Oz—are sucking up all the oxygen. These have been the prevailing conditions since Donald Trump entered the political fray, but only when Clinton became vulnerable did they become intolerable.
“He is playing you guys like a Stradivarius. Dominating news instead of Newsweek story, Trump Foundation,” perennial Republican critic Norman Ornstein barked at the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza. “Pathetic.”
“[Y]ou can ask any question about Trump, Trumpism or anti-Trumpism except the existential ones,” wrote newly minted GQ pundit Keith Olbermann, “because the existential ones could lead him to stop calling in to your morning show and providing you with your highest-rated hour for free.”
Even President Barack Obama has become a media critic. “We cannot afford suddenly to treat this like a reality show,” Obama said, lambasting the press for covering the 2016 campaign as though both candidates were acceptable alternatives. “We can’t afford to act as if there’s some equivalence here.” Read the rest of this entry »
Kyle Olson reports: Barack Obama was out stumping for the ailing Hillary Clinton today, but that didn’t stop him from talking about himself.
The president rallied with Clinton supporters in Philadelphia and when doing so, managed to mention himself 137 times.
At one point, after running down a list of what he considered accomplishments of his presidency, someone in the audience shouted out about lower gas prices.
“Thank you for reminding me,” he replied. “Thanks, Obama,” he said to himself. Read the rest of this entry »
Things just keep getting worse and worse for Hong Kong’s paper of record.
Now, if you try to log onto South China Morning Post‘s Chinese-language news site or lifestyle site you are redirected to the paper’s English-language website and informed that SCMP’s Chinese-language services have been closed in order to better “integrate resources.” The message concludes, “We thank you for your past support.”
And just like that years of Chinese-language reporting by the SCMP has been wiped out. Current and former employees told Quartz that they were not told in advance about the decision to close the site. This is backed up by the fact that SCMP’s Chinese-language news site, nanzao.com, was still posting stories on Facebook as late as this afternoon. Read the rest of this entry »
Here are 18 separate attacks he unloaded while in China and Laos:
- There are still too many poor children in the United States
- Too many children in America are not getting enough to eat
- Despite America’s wealth, we’re not providing sufficient educational resources in poor communities
- America lacks the “political will” to help poor inner cities that have suffered discrimination.
- Americans are “lazy” in thinking we don’t need to learn about foreign nations.
- Colin Kapernack is justified protesting the National Anthem, as the NFL star is raising “real, legitimate issues” about things America needs to be talked about.
- America suffers from racism, conflicts between ethnic groups, and discrimination against immigrants.
- Criticisms of America being imperfect and having problems with racism discrimination are accurate.
- America still has “situations where women are not treated equally.”
- America “didn’t think through” our policy in Vietnam War, as dropping cluster bombs proved counterproductive to “winning hearts and minds.”
- America’s treatment of Native Americans was “tragic.” Read the rest of this entry »
In a series of swing-state appearances this week, Mr. Clinton struck back at criticism of the family foundation, by turns sarcastic and almost pleading.
At last, Bill Clinton could not help himself.
He paced the stage during a speech on Tuesday in North Carolina, holding his microphone close. He raised his left index finger. And at once, the meandering address turned sharply, and without prompting, to his charitable foundation, a magnet for criticism in recent weeks.
“We live in a Snapchat-Twitter world,” Mr. Clinton lamented, tilting his head theatrically — a septuagenarian embracing his age, decades after reveling in saxophone cool.
“It’s so much easier,” he said, “just to discredit people and call them names.”
For Mr. Clinton and his extended circle, this election has at times felt like a campaign devised to discredit the former president and call him names.
And after more than a year of uncharacteristic restraint — a notable shift from eight years ago, when his simmering instincts often burdened Hillary Clinton’s first presidential run — Mr. Clinton seems to have had enough.
“Did I solve every problem? No,” he told a crowd on Wednesday in Orlando, Fla. “Did I get caught trying? You bet.” Read the rest of this entry »
Arguing that the Obama administration is affected by the Iran payment, Charles Krauthammer said that the information as well as how it came to light are humiliating.