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Archive of Articles in the "North Korea" Category

Trump's North Korea Bluster Is Not Believable

[ Posted Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 – 16:59 PDT ]

President Donald Trump gave his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, which was notable for the amount of bluster it contained. Now, blustering is a time-honored tradition at the U.N., but it is usually reserved for heads of state from countries that are insecure in their standing in the world and led by charismatic totalitarians. Think: Hugo Chávez, or Fidel Castro in his prime. So it was pretty unusual to hear such a speech from an American president, who at one point threatened to obliterate another country from the map. Bluster has long been a cornerstone of Trump's foreign policy (such as it is) -- a deep-seated belief that talking tough with lots of swagger will cause all foreign countries to see the error of their ways and thus do exactly what the United States (or Trump) wishes them to do. It hasn't been working in any noticeable way yet, but that didn't stop Trump from giving it another try yesterday on the world stage.

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Rocket Man?

[ Posted Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 – 17:18 PDT ]

The problem with Trump's use of Rocket Man is that it isn't particularly insulting. It actually sounds pretty cool, in a retro 1950s-sci-fi kind of way. Elton John and Bernie Taupin didn't write the song until 1972, and Taupin admitted being influenced by a 1970 song of the same name by the band Pearls Before Swine. But both songs were inspired by a short story by Ray Bradbury ("The Rocket Man," from the book The Illustrated Man), which is about as retro 1950s-sci-fi as you can get.

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Friday Talking Points [453] -- Deal? Or No Deal?

[ Posted Friday, September 15th, 2017 – 17:27 PDT ]

As is true during most weeks of the Trump administration, a whole lot happened in the political world last week. But most of it was completely overshadowed by the game of "Deal, or no deal?" that Trump was playing. For the second week in a row, President Donald Trump shocked the leadership of his own party by sitting down and (quite literally) breaking bread with Democrats. Yes, Donnie had Chuck and Nancy over for dinner, and Washington hasn't been quite the same since.

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Friday Talking Points [451] -- Riders On The Storm

[ Posted Friday, September 1st, 2017 – 17:45 PDT ]

Donald Trump began last week (as we measure time here, from Friday deadline to Friday deadline) by pardoning a racist sheriff who had been convicted (but not even sentenced yet) of ignoring the Constitution and defying the federal courts. Trump announced this just as Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, in the hopes that nobody but his base would notice. He also sent formal instructions to the Pentagon to begin turning away transgendered Americans who want to serve their country, also in the hopes that few would notice. In the midst of all this "news dump" frenzy, Steve Bannon's acolyte Sebastian Gorka was unceremoniously shown the door at the White House. That all happened late in the day last Friday, so for us it was a fairly jaw-dropping start to the week.

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Distracted Reporting

[ Posted Monday, August 28th, 2017 – 16:31 PDT ]

On Friday, President Donald Trump attempted a trick many previous U.S. presidents have used to good effect, and so far at least it seems to be working out for Trump quite well. The trick is to get sensitive news out late on a Friday, in the hopes that the American public (and the press) will be so distracted by the weekend that the story will have much less impact than it normally would have. Really bad news is usually released right before a three-day holiday weekend, so it'll have even less reach and an even-smaller impact. Trump took this to another level last Friday, by releasing some contentious news right in the midst of the biggest hurricane to hit the U.S. in over a decade.

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Friday Talking Points [449] -- Cleanup On Aisle Trump

[ Posted Friday, August 18th, 2017 – 17:39 PDT ]

Welcome back to Friday Talking Points! Let's see... anything big happen in the two weeks while we were away?

We're kidding, of course. The flood of sewage from Donald Trump's mouth was so pervasive, it was downright impossible to ignore it from anywhere on the planet. So last week we watched in fear as Trump got in a shoving match with Kim Jong Un, and this week we remained agape while Trump told us what he really feels about people who march with swastikas while screaming about Jews -- that they're "very fine people."

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Trump's Tailspin

[ Posted Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 – 15:30 PDT ]

So, America, are we tired of all that "winning" yet?

Yes, that was a facetious question, intended to point out that America is not so much tired of "winning" right now as it is increasingly tired of President Donald Trump's antics. Because his presidency just keeps right on hitting new lows, on a weekly basis (sometimes on a daily basis, in fact). Every time you think: "Well, he certainly can never top that one," he roars back to set the bar even lower, oftentimes with jaw-dropping impact.

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Crisis? What Crisis?

[ Posted Wednesday, August 9th, 2017 – 18:30 PDT ]

So I take a few days off to do some tourist stuff, and suddenly we're almost at war with North Korea? I guess with Donald Trump running things you can't afford to ignore the news for even a few days.

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Friday Talking Points [448] -- Rogue Elephants!

[ Posted Friday, August 4th, 2017 – 17:39 PDT ]

As time goes by, more and more elephants in Washington seem to be going rogue. By this, we mean that resistance to Donald Trump is growing... within the Republican Party. Just last week, three GOP senators (Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and John McCain) denied Trump his sought-after "repeal and replace Obamacare" bill. Senator David Perdue from Georgia summed it up as: "We had three chairmen who went rogue on the Republican caucus and cost us this vote." Since then, other elephants have been going rogue at an increasing rate.

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Congress Unifies... Against Trump

[ Posted Thursday, August 3rd, 2017 – 17:23 PDT ]

President Donald Trump finally got a major piece of legislation to sign. However, he wasn't too thrilled about it and I doubt he'll be bragging much about it in the future. Because while it could be called a rather stunning bipartisan congressional victory, it certainly wasn't any sort of political victory for Trump. Unless you count "unifying Congress... against Trump," which I kind of doubt he would.

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