Why the US Hasn’t Brought “Fire and Fury” to North Korea

As the world ponders the meaning of President Donald Trump’s threat of “fire and fury” on North Korea, it’s worth asking why his predecessors never took those steps to stop its nuclear program. Trump isn’t the first president to threaten North Korea. The others were all bluffing.

When Bill Clinton was confronted with the threat of North Korea’s exit from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, he considered military force. But he ended up going for negotiations in what became known as the Joint Framework Agreement. The North Koreans froze their plutonium program in exchange for fuel shipments and a light water reactor from the U.S. Neither side ever fully delivered.

Then there was George W. Bush. He didn’t like North Korea. He put the nation in the original “axis of evil.” On his watch, the U.S. discovered Pyongyang had a secret uranium enrichment program, in violation of the spirit of Clinton’s deal. Then in 2006, North Korea tested its first nuclear device. By 2007, Bush had lifted crippling sanctions on the regime’s elites and entered into new negotiations. And surprise: The North Koreans backed out of those talks at the end, too.

By the time Barack Obama came into power, the North Koreans were back to building up their program. They perfected missiles, sunk a South Korean ship and shelled a South Korean island. The current tyrant, Kim Jong Un, ascended to power and proceeded to consolidate his position, killing his uncle and later his half brother. All the while, Obama pursued a policy of “strategic patience,” aimed at not rewarding Kim’s regime for its provocations and rogue behavior.

Now Trump has inherited a mess. Not only is Kim testing ballistic missiles at an alarming rate, as the Washington Post reported this week, but also the Defense Intelligence Agency now assesses North Korea can miniaturize a nuclear warhead so that it can fit inside a missile. Game, set, match.

So why didn’t the last three presidents take out North Korea’s nuclear facilities when they had the chance? The answer is Seoul, the thriving capital of South Korea. The North has enough artillery pieces within range of this metropolis to kill hundreds of thousands of people, which could very well begin a world war and throw the global economy into a tailspin.

Past presidents have understandably feared the North would retaliate in this way. But for some today, that fear is fading. John Plumb, a former director of defense policy and strategy for Obama’s National Security Council, told the Atlantic last month: “If I were the Trump administration, I would be looking at the threat to incinerate Seoul and trying to figure out how real it is. Because to me, it’s become such a catchphrase, and it almost — it starts to lose credibility. Attacking Seoul, a civilian population center, is different from attacking a remote military outpost. It’s dicey, there’s no doubt about it.”

Intelligence officials have said in recent months that this threat remains very real. While there are steps the U.S. can take to mitigate the problem, such as dropping cluster munitions on the big guns, it’s an imperfect and high-risk strategy. An attack on North Korea would be unpredictable and could unleash far worse on U.S. forces (which have been stationed in South Korea for more than 60 years), not to mention allies like Japan.

All of this gets back to Trump’s bluster. At this point we as Americans ought to expect more careful words from the president. At the same time, nothing Trump said was that different from the implicit threat against North Korea, or any power that threatens American cities with nuclear destruction.

Don’t get me wrong: There are few people on the planet more deserving of “fire and fury” than Kim Jong Un. But would such a strike even eliminate its nuclear program? How far is Trump willing to go? Will he order an invasion of North Korea to topple the regime? And if he does, would he commit the manpower, capital and time to stabilize the country once the Kim dynasty falls?

According to retired Admiral William Perry, Clinton’s second secretary of defense, the U.S. couldn’t even take out North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure with military strikes, given how much it has expanded in the last 20 years. What’s more, the price paid by South Koreans would be unacceptable. This is what he told a group of journalists this spring at an event sponsored by the Hoover Institution.

It’s possible that Trump is counting on his reputation as an impetuous novice — one who Kim just might fear would roll the dice by attacking North Korea. But Trump’s ultimatum allows the boy-tyrant in Pyongyang to test the president’s mettle. (Already the North Korean state media has threatened Guam.) We can expect more taunts and threats in the coming days, proving Trump’s threat was hollow. As hollow as past presidents’ pledges to do the same.

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Yep, It’s Definitely Donald Trump Who’s the Tyrant Here

Hitler. Mussolini. Stalin. Pol Pot. al-Assad. Hussein. Gaddafi. Franco. Kim Jong Il. Each one is considered a dictator, a tyrant who’s greed for power is only surpassed by their cruelty and inhumanity.

If you were to wade into the depths of #TheResistance on social media (which I don’t recommend), you’d also see a movement to brand Donald Trump a dictator and his administration a lawless tyranny over the nation.  To be sure, the Trump administration has done itself no favors is coming across as inept, overly ambitious and yet clearly out of its depth. They have said things that, yes, are frightening.

But let us be absolutely honest here. When it comes to tyranny in America, there is no tyranny except for that of the mob.

Social media is both a blessing and a curse. The instant communication of thoughts to the world allows for breaking news to break faster and hard-hitting news to hit harder. The downside is that it opens you and everyone you know and love up for ridicule, petition, and even expulsion from society.

Case in point, the lad from Google who wrote what is being called a “manifesto” opposing Google’s diversity policy. It seems that, virtually instantly, this person was the target of a mob whose sole purpose was to flush him out of The Collective.

It worked, too. Google fired the man (interestingly, a new social media platform called “Gab”, which touts itself as an ad-free, free speech platform, offered to hire him), and the Left was delighted that the wrongspeak was punished.

This is not the first time, however, that someone’s livelihood was destroyed over thinking or believing the “wrong” thing. We’ve covered countless times the bakers, photographers, and other business people whose lives were ruined and their businesses shuttered because they dared to not conform with the Left’s ideology.

“But Mr. Reagan Conservative,” some on the Left might cry, “this isn’t tyranny because mobs aren’t the government.” If you think that, you are wrong. It is with the help of the courts that these attacks on private businesses have flourished. It is the politicians who speak out and encourage this behavior that ruins the lives of people whose only crime is thoughtcrime.

For another example, take Chelsea Handler, the so-called comedienne who actually suggested we criminalize speech.

Where, exactly, does this type of legislation begin and where does it end? By the Left’s standards, virtually everything is racist, so that means if you laugh at something someone else deems is racist, you’re going to (at best) be fined. This is an actual proposal from someone who thinks there is no problem with criminalizing what someone finds funny. There is no end to this slippery slope, either.

Or take the case of Dana Loesch, who is under attack from journalists and Leftists because she appeared in an NRA video ad and says she wants to fact-check the media. The number of people who want to silence her by reporting her to the feds, threatening her husband and her children, and making graphic, sexual threats to and about her is appalling.

But this is the new norm. This is the world we live in now. We have to deal with the tyranny of the mob before we can move on to the tyranny of any White House occupant.

So, forgive me when someone calls Donald Trump a fascist dictator with one breath and turns around to advocate banning speech because they don’t like it.

 

Illegals Foregoing Food Stamps Over Deportation Fears

Yahoo News ran a very interesting article last week about what they claim is a recent uptick in illegal aliens declining food stamp aid out of fears of deportation, naturally due to President Trump’s policy-leanings when it comes to illegal immigration.

The post was light on stats but heavy on emotion as it wove tragic tales of hard-working illegals being forced to choose between food and deportation.

A crackdown on illegal immigration under President Donald Trump has driven some poor people to take a drastic step: opt out of federal food assistance because they are fearful of deportation, activists and immigrants say…

…A 52-year-old woman interviewed in New York City, a Mexican in the country illegally, told The Associated Press she was motivated in January to drop a benefit that was supporting her teenage daughter, a U.S. citizen, purely because she was afraid of being in the food stamp system, which requires applicants to state their immigration status.

“I had been told that it’s OK to apply for food stamps. But, for the moment, I don’t want to take any risks,” said the woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of her immigration status and was introduced to AP through an organization that helps immigrants, the Mexican Coalition of the South Bronx.

“I need it but I have peace of mind because my case is closed,” said the woman, who makes $8.50 an hour cleaning houses and lives in small apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

A Honduran immigrant and single mother with one child in Silver Spring, Maryland, decided not to renew the food stamps she received when they expired in January. “We fear deportation,” said the 29-year-old immigrant, who also spoke on condition of anonymity and was introduced to AP through a local nonprofit. She normally earns about $350 per week answering phones at a travel agency but has been working extra hours cleaning homes to make up for the loss of about $150 per month in food stamps.

The idea that people are actually opting out of food stamps over deportation actually boosts the idea that our welfare programs are bloated and wasteful. Since I haven’t seen any recent stories about illegal immigrants dropping dead in the streets from starvation it is safe to assume they’re finding a way to feed themselves. Yes, it might be a struggle but there is no constitutional right to never struggle. Is their struggle here in America worse than their struggle in whatever country they fled?

Welfare isn’t just a form of financial aid, it’s a state of mind. When the money was there and trouble-free, people who are otherwise healthy and able to earn a living took advantage of it. When the money came with certain standards suddenly many of those people are finding alternatives to the free help. They’re helping themselves. How many other legal citizens on food stamps might be inclined to earn their grocery budget through other means if they were held to stricter standards?

The Department of Agriculture administers the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and their own guidelines are contradictory. While requirements  for qualifying for SNAP include being a legal resident or refugee…

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…if you dig long enough you can find a statement in PDF form that reassures illegals that they will not be reported or deported for receiving food stamp benefits.

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This is a government agency blatantly flouting the law of the land, rewarding law-breakers and contradicting the mission of a fellow government agency, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

It is no wonder that average, hard-working Americans are feeling taxed beyond their abilities and financially stressed beyond reason. Many of are bearing the burden of their own families and communities as well as that of people who obviously can survive without taxpayer money but choose not to.

Reading the Yahoo article, it isn’t hard to understand why so many people have such vocal problems with the current state of immigration in our country. Americans feel left behind by their own government, which consistently takes the side of illegal aliens who flout our laws, avail themselves of benefits they don’t need and don’t pay for, and then ungratefully shame and ridicule those Americans who say they can give no more.

Kathy Griffin’s Distasteful Act Reflects Media’s War on Trump

It was not really surprising to see comedian Kathy Griffin put out a video of herself holding the bloody, decapitated head of President Trump. This is not surprising because Ms. Griffin apparently lives in a bubble populated by ideological fanatics, some of whom really do wish violence on the president.

In entertainment circles, it is now commonplace to demean Donald Trump in almost barbaric ways. It’s a nasty business and business is good. Stephen Colbert has gone from worst to first in the late night ratings by eviscerating President Trump daily. The cable news programs that also do this have seen their audiences grow as well. Many Trump haters have an addiction and their habits need to be fed. That man standing under the street lamp signaling cars to pull over may be Colbert.

So, Ms. Griffin must have been stunned when outrage came her way. It is clear from the video of her putting together the beheading exposition that she was fully engaged in her presentation and had no qualms about doing it. But almost immediately after she dropped the grotesque image on the internet, she began to get hammered on social media. Presto, she had an epiphany. She made a terrible mistake, she said. The video was not funny. She asked for forgiveness.

Shortly after her regretfulness, CNN fired Kathy Griffin from its New Year’s Eve coverage but gave the story little airtime. Speculation about Russia compromising the Trump campaign drives CNN’s news agenda, and there is little room for anything else.

I take her apology to be sincere. The comedian was just pandering to the folks with whom she hangs.

But all Americans should understand that the demonization of Donald Trump by the left-wing national media has desensitized folks like Ms. Griffin to the point where right and wrong is not even considered anymore.

The anti-Trump media is now the mob holding torches while marching up to Frankenstein’s castle; it is Steven Spielberg’s vicious shark attacking at will.

It all has to do with revenge. The progressive left feels betrayed by the American people who rejected Hillary Clinton and voted Trump into office. So they are going to destroy Trump’s presidency and delegitimize him as a human being in full view of the people who like him. He’s evil, and if you support him — you’re evil too. Thus, the anti-Trump media believes it is justified in bringing harm to the president. It’s for the greater good, you know. We need to send a message.

Of course that rationalization is off-the-chart dangerous.

As stated, it is more than likely that Kathy Griffin believed she would be pleasing her audience while bringing attention to herself. I don’t believe this incident will have any lasting effect or even wise anybody up. But she certainly got the attention.

The brutal truth is that we have become a hateful nation with the media leading the way. There is big money to be made in the destruction industry and few restraints in place. How many news organizations do you think are seeking the truth about President Trump? How many?

The answer may be zero. It is much easier and more profitable to put a cable news panel together and insult the man, or run five “Trump is a jerk” op-eds a day in the paper.

Donald Trump may not fully understand the destructive forces arrayed against him but, if he wants to succeed as president, he should listen up. There is blood in the water and truth doesn’t matter. The anti-Trump media not only wants Trump’s head, but the scalps of those who dare to even give him a fair shake. In many newsrooms, anyone supporting Trump risks unemployment.

So, Kathy Griffin has served up an image that is stark and offensive but also may be prophetic.

There are no boundaries anymore.

On Attorney General Jeff Sessions…

As I’ve said before, the Democrats and much of the press want to produce evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. There’s no question about that. When then-Senator Jeff Sessions testified at his confirmation hearing for Attorney General, the Russian issue came up, where Sessions was “unable to comment on that issue at that time.”

Two nights ago, the Washington Post published a story that Sessions met with the Russian ambassador twice last year. However the question that was asked of him at his confirmation hearing was about the Trump campaig, not about Sessions’s duties on the Armed Sevices Committee. Yesterday in a press conference, the Attorney General reiterated that the question in his hearing was in the context of the Trump campaign. Sessions also said that he did nothing wrong, told the truth, but is recusing himself from the case. 

I believe that Sessions did the right thing. The FBI is currently investigating whether the Russians influenced the presidential vote and who was involved. The investigation has to be above reproach, that is why the Attorney General is out of it. 

One footnote: Democrats in Congress did not call for then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch to recuse herself from the Hillary Clinton investigation, after Lynch had met with Bill Clinton at a Phoenix airport. Once again, hypocrisy is on full display.

Now here’s what should happen going forward. The FBI should continue its investigation and Director James Comey should testify in front of Congress. A special prosecutor should be appointed if there is evidence presented that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. There should be a methodical investigation by the FBI and a determination by Congress if a special independent probe is needed. That is a fair, honest, and efficient game plan in this intense political climate.

Even though the press wants to destroy President Trump, the American people should want to know if there were any secret dealings with the Russians during the campaign.