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U.N. Security Council Imposes Punishing New Sanctions on North Korea

Jamie Florence

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U.N. Security Council Imposes Punishing New Sanctions on North Korea

 

The measure’s unanimous approval was a diplomatic victory for the Trump administration and partly reflected growing impatience with North Korea by China, which historically has called relations between them as “close as lips and teeth.”

President Trump has repeatedly cajoled China to exert more pressure on North Korea over its nuclear belligerence.

Whether Mr. Trump’s badgering played any role in China’s support for the resolution is unclear. But its willingness to enforce the resolution’s provisions will be critical to its effectiveness.

China’s ambassador to the United Nations, Liu Jieyi, hinted at his country’s vexation with North Korea in his Security Council remarks after the vote. He urged the North Korean authorities to “cease taking actions that might further escalate tensions.”

But Mr. Liu also criticized the United States, calling for the dismantlement of a missile defense system it has begun installing in South Korea, which China also regards as counterproductive.

Since 2006, North Korea has defied a half-dozen Security Council resolutions over its nuclear and missile development, which North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has called a necessary, just response to military threats by the United States and South Korea.

The latest resolution was a direct reaction to two North Korean tests last month of intercontinental ballistic missiles that appeared capable of reaching the continental United States.

Under the resolution’s provisions, all exports of North Korean coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood will be prohibited. The resolution also imposes new restrictions on North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank and bans the country from increasing the number of workers it sends abroad.

Those workers’ earnings are an important source of foreign revenue for Mr. Kim’s cash-starved autocracy. Human rights advocates have criticized his exploitation of their toil as slave labor.

The Security Council vote was held against the backdrop of mixed signals by the Trump administration on how to deal with North Korea, which has remained in a suspended state of war with the United States since the Korean War armistice in 1953.

Even as Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson signaled recently that the United States did not want to pick a fight with Mr. Kim and was not interested in regime change, the American military tested an intercontinental ballistic missile and conducted military drills with South Korea.

On Saturday, Mr. Tillerson arrived in the Philippines for a meeting with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. His counterparts from North and South Korea will also attend.

While it appeared unlikely that Mr. Tillerson would meet with Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho of North Korea, there was a possibility that Mr. Ri would meet with South Korea’s new foreign minister, Kang Kyung-wha.

If an opportunity “naturally occurs, we should talk,” Ms. Kang said on Saturday when she arrived in Manila, news agencies reported.

 

Via: NYTimes

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More Fears Senate Pages Won’t Be Safe Around Roy Moore (TWEETS)

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More Fears Senate Pages Won’t Be Safe Around Roy Moore (TWEETS)

 

Late last week, veteran Republican consultant Steve Schmidt asked a question that few people had asked about the prospect of Roy Moore going to the Senate–what was being done to keep the Senate pages safe?

This isn’t an idle concern. Given the very credible accusations that Moore molested women and pursued girls young enough to be his daughter, we have to hope that someone is at least thinking about a plan to protect the high school juniors who spend a semester serving as Senate messengers and aides while learning how our government works.

Well, it turns out that at least one Senator shares Schmidt’s concerns–Cory Booker. Just before heading to Alabama to campaign for Moore’s Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, the New Jersey Democrat threw down the gauntlet to Moore.

Booker was referring to a speech Moore gave on Tuesday while campaigning alongside Steve Bannon. Moore, a West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran, took a swipe at preparations for the armed forces to allow transgender Americans to enlist.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If I’m in a foxhole, I don’t want to know if this guy next to me is wondering if he’s a woman or a man or is flipped back and forth. That’s not a military–we need a strong military.”

So a guy who has been credibly accused of molesting teenagers is worried about serving alongside a transgender soldier? No wonder Booker was upset.

Later on Saturday, Booker revealed that a number of former pages were unnerved at the thought of Moore winning on Tuesday, and shared an op-ed in The Washington Post from one of them.

The article was written by Madison Haddix, who served as a Senate page from Tennessee in her junior year. She fears that if Moore wins, it will represent a betrayal of “the trust that young people have in our leaders.”

Haddix recalled that even though she worked with a number of Senators whose political beliefs were radically different from hers. She is a staunch Democrat, but was appointed by Lamar she had a “mutual respect” for them. She was aware that the goal of the page program was to ensure that “the future generation learns from the present, and the present learns from the future.”

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For that reason, Haddix said, pages look up to the Senators they serve. She recalled seeing Bernie Sanders give a speech on health care, and James Lankford speak on the national debt. She also remembered the “pride” she felt when Joe Biden stopped to talk with the cafeteria staff, and was in “awe” when Tammy Duckworth and Kamala Harris were sworn in.

Haddix then wrote about what the pages would see in a Senator Roy Moore.

“If Moore joins the Senate, each time he makes a speech, 30 pairs of eyes will be looking up at him from the rostrum — 30 16-year-olds who should be able to look up to him as a mentor, who should be guided by his actions. Whoever fills the seat from Alabama should be able to look at the pages and see hope and innocence. But Moore does not appear to see children that way. How can Moore be expected to make decisions with the interests of children at heart when he stands accused of betraying children? How can he learn from pages, and how can pages learn from him, when he is accused of viewing girls our age through such a twisted lens?”

Haddix went on to say that if Moore wins on Tuesday, it would damage “the hope and trust my generation should be able to have” in our nation’s leaders. No doubt other former pages are thinking the same thing.

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It has been amply established that Moore is not just an Alabama matter, contrary to what Bannon and other Republicans would have you believe. But this is yet more proof that Americans at large have every right to be concerned. We should not have to ask if we can trust our Senators around kids. One would hope that those in a position to address this matter are at least thinking about how to do so.

(featured image courtesy Moore’s Facebook)

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Fox News Briefly Rejoiced After Trump Critic Gets Hurt (VIDEO/TWEETS)

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Fox News Briefly Rejoiced After Trump Critic Gets Hurt (VIDEO/TWEETS)

 

For some time, right-wing diehards have tried to make us believe that there’s an 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of Donald Trump.” To hear them talk, the consequences for doing so are very severe. For instance, Carrie Underwood fell and broke her wrist earlier in the month. To hear the Trump diehards talk, it was punishment for daring to mock Trump at the CMA Music Awards a few days earlier.

Well, apparently that mentality has spread to Fox News Channel. For a few hours on Sunday, the fair and balanced network skipped and danced after one of the most decorated athletes in American history suffered a grave injury. Why? Because she dared to criticize Trump.

On Wednesday, Lindsey Vonn, the most successful ski racer that this country has ever produced, sat down for an interview with CNN to talk about her preparations for the 2018 Winter Olympics. When asked about how she would feel competing for a country whose president is Trump, Vonn minced no words.

Vonn was in St. Moritz gearing up for the World Cup, the last major competition before the Olympics. She told CNN’s Christina Macfarlane that when she heads to Pyeongchang, “I hope to represent the people of the United States, not the president.” She also said that if she won a gold medal, she would not accept an invitation to the White House.

Oh, how the right howled. On “Fox & Friends,” Peter Hegseth all but called Vonn and other athletes thinking of following her example ingrates for “preemptively declaring their resistance” to Trump. Ainsley Earhardt said that Vonn was “very un-American.”

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Right-wing Twitter was no less outraged.

The scolding continued on Saturday, when Tomi Lahren accused Vonn of disrespecting other Americans as well.

Later that day in St. Moritz, Vonn was crossing the finish line at a World Cup super-G race when she collapsed and grabbed her lower back. She later told her Twitter fans that she’d jarred her back during the race.

By Sunday morning, Vonn’s back hadn’t healed enough to let her compete in that day’s events. However, she was still in high spirits.

Unfortunately, a number of commenters on both Twitter and Facebook felt the need to kick Vonn when she was down.

A few hours later, the folks who run Fox News’ Website got in on the act. This was the original headline for their story on Vonn’s injury.

(screenshot courtesy Fox News via ThinkProgress)

(screenshot courtesy Fox News via ThinkProgress)

The story’s second sentence drove the supposed point home.

“The injury occurred two days after she criticized President Donald Trump in an interview about the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea.”

This was, without a doubt, one of the lowest blows ever struck by Fox News in its 21-year history. The fair and balanced network was essentially taking a victory lap over a Trump critic being injured. What makes it even worse is that it didn’t come from one of Fox News’ commentators or contributors. This came from the news side.

By Sunday afternoon, someone had the decency to cut out “after Trump comments” from the headline, and also removed “after Trump comments” from the slug. Posts about the story on Fox News’ official Facebook and Twitter feeds also omitted this cheap shot. However, the story still contains the sentence noting Vonn was injured after criticizing Trump. A search on Google still reveals a link containing the original cheap shot headline and slug.

Granted, this is to be expected from Fox News. After all, it saw fit to trash Jimmy Carter on its official Twitter account just hours after it was announced that his liver cancer had begun spreading. But can you imagine what would have happened had MSNBC, CNN, or a Big Three network news site seen fit to suggest a right-leaning athlete had gotten hurt for speaking ill of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton? There would have rightly been demands for whoever wrote the headline and the story to be fired.

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Regardless of what you think about Vonn’s comments, this was several miles over the line. Fox News needs to delete that sentence suggesting Vonn was hurt for criticizing Trump, discipline who wrote this story, and issue an on-air apology to Vonn. Let Fox News have it on Facebook and on Twitter.

(featured image courtesy Duncan Rawlinson, available under a Creative Commons-BY license)

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Alabama’s Other Senator Could Not Bring Himself To Vote For Roy Moore (VIDEO)

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Alabama’s Other Senator Could Not Bring Himself To Vote For Roy Moore (VIDEO)

 

The GOP has no idea what to do with Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. He has been ignored, endorsed, told to withdraw from the race, and every other option available. One significant person does not want him anywhere near the Alabama Senate seat, however: the man who would be his fellow Senator representing the state of Alabama, Richard Shelby.

Shelby appeared on CNN’s State of the Union this morning, and he had some interesting insights into the Alabama Senate race between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore. He told host Jake Tapper:

“I’d rather see the Republican win, but I’d rather see a Republican write-in. I couldn’t vote for Roy Moore. I didn’t vote for Roy Moore.”

Shelby did not vote for Jones, Moore’s Democratic opponent. Instead, he wrote in a candidate. He did not say who he voted for.

Multiple women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct, including one woman who says that Moore acted inappropriately towards her when she was only fourteen years old. Multiple sources have stated that Moore’s behavior towards young girls was a bit of an open secret in Alabama over the past few decades. Moore has denied all charges against him.

Shelby also told Tapper that Republicans and the state of Alabama all deserve better than Roy Moore.

President Donald Trump steered clear of the Alabama Senate race for many weeks, but recently held a thinly-disguised rally for Moore in nearby Pensacola, Florida. He also recorded a robocall supporting the embattled candidate.

Many power Republicans, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), originally said Moore should step aside after the many allegations against him surfaced. Many of those same Republicans have now started to walk back those claims, and the GOP is once again funding the Moore campaign.

Hopefully the citizens of Alabama make the right decision on December 12.

Featured image via Flickr user Medill DC / CC BY 2.0.

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