If we can do this with North Korea, then what exactly was wrong with the Iran Deal?!?

Honest question: if we can make these kinds of concessions in advance to the North Koreans, then what exactly is the complaint about the Iran Deal? And if your answer is “Obama did it, so it’s automatically bad,” you’re doing this entirely wrong.

U.S. negotiators are no longer demanding that North Korea agree to disclose a full accounting of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs as part of talks this week between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, according to current and former senior U.S. officials.

The decision to drop, for now, a significant component of a potential nuclear deal suggests a reality that U.S. intelligence assessments have stressed for months is shaping talks as they progress: North Korea does not intend to fully denuclearize, which is the goal Trump set for his talks with Kim.

The Trump administration is hoping to get a significant concession from North Korea on Yongbyon, but it’s unclear if the U.S. can offer something in exchange that Kim would accept. North Korea wants sanctions relief, and U.S. officials have advised the president against taking such a step at this stage in negotiations. North Korea has offered to freeze activity at Yongbyon in past rounds of negotiations with previous U.S. administrations.

Current and former U.S. officials note that North Korea has other sites with similar capabilities, however, and they are raising concerns that Pyongyang won’t negotiate on all aspects of its weapons programs if it’s not forced to disclose them.

In recent months researchers have discovered that North Korea has as many as 20 undisclosed ballistic missile sites, according to Beyond Parallel, a project sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a defense think tank. One of the sites is the Sino-ri Missile Base about 130 miles north of the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea, where about 28,000 U.S. troops are stationed.

Read More: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/u-s-drops-demand-full-accounting-n-korea-nuclear-program-n977251

So Iran having nuclear power is an existential threat to the US, but giving it to the Saudis is A-OK? This makes sense how?!?

They wanted to sell nuclear technology to the Saudis for their personal profit. This makes sense to the “all Muslims hate us and want to impose sharia law” how? This makes sense to the “Trump is the one who will finally put America first” people how? This makes sense to the “Uranium One is treason, and she should be jailed or worse” people how? How can anyone — and by that I literally mean anyone — think this makes ANY sense?

The Saudi Kingdom is one of the very few nations on earth that has an issue with energy supply, and I’m fairly confident I don’t need to explain why. So no, they don’t want nuclear power for power; they want it because they want a weapon. Everyone involved in this scheme understood that, and yet they enthusiastically went ahead with it anyway. Think about that. And as you do, remember how many times they promised to “never forget” 9/11.

The project was an effort to transfer U.S. nuclear energy technology to Saudi Arabia for the development of nuclear energy sites there. It was spearheaded by a company called IP3 International. Between June 2016 and December 2016, Flynn served as an advisor to a subsidiary to IP3 International called IronBridge Group, Inc. He faced scrutiny for omitting certain details about his relationship with the group on his government security clearance application forms.

From the beginning of the Trump administration, Flynn’s top aide Derek Harvey pushed for the project, described as a Middle East Marshall Plan, according to the report. Harvey claimed that Flynn had already made the decision to move forward with with the project during the transition, the report said.

Flynn is now cooperating with Mueller’s investigation, where he pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about Russian contacts during the transition.

In early 2017, Harvey was warned by career staff that the White House would need to comply with Atomic Energy Act, which requires congressional approval of any transfer of nuclear technology to a foreign country, according to the report. Yet, Harvey ignored these warnings, the report said.

“Both career and political staff inside the White House reportedly agreed that Mr. Harvey’s directive could violate the law,” the report said. “One senior political official stated that the proposal was ‘not a business plan,’ but rather ‘a scheme for these generals to make some money.’ That official stated: ‘Okay, you know we cannot do this.’”

talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/report-officials-pushed-flynns-saudi-nuke-project-after-warnings-it-broke-law

US suspends nuclear arms treaty with Russia

Why why WHY?!? Suspending this treaty in reaction to their alleged violations gives them EXACTLY what they want. Rather than reign them in, it gives them a perfect excuse to push violate them further. “Well, if the United States isn’t going to follow it, why should we?!?”

We don’t need more nuclear weapons, not even if they are building more of them. We already have enough. Suspending this treaty will do nothing other than hand the Russians a needless PR victory.

Now why would we go ahead and do something like that?!? MAGA, ammirite?

www.cnn.com/2019/02/01/politics/us-russia-nuclear-arms-treaty-pompeo/index.html

WSJ: “We cannot recall a more absurd misstatement of history by an American President.”

I mean…they’re not wrong, except perhaps for a half dozen other thing Trump has said. Still though, for my entire adult life, conservative foreign policy experts have insisted that the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and our subsequent intervention on behalf of the anti-Soviet forces there was one of the key drivers in the collapse of what Saint Ronnie called “the Evil Empire.” So for Trump to suddenly and it of nowhere parrot the community party lie that the invasion was a smart move aimed at preventing domestic terrorism….I mean…yeah, that IS pretty absurd.

www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-cracked-afghan-history-11546560234

Tariffs are taxes paid by American businesses on the purchase of foreign products

Although it’s incredibly simple, I feel like this cannot be repeated enough:

Tariffs are taxes paid by importers on imported goods. So, for instance, the cost of a US-imposed tariff on a Chinese product is paid by the US company purchasing that product from China; it is not paid by the Chinese government.

www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/1/4/18168860/trump-news-conference-shutdown

Tariffs are taxes paid by Americans when buying foreign products. They are a tax. Not by the strained logic Republicans have used to declare things a tax these past four decades, but a straightforward “government imposing a mandatory financial charge” tax. I don’t know if the President doesn’t understand or if he thinks his base doesn’t, but thats entirely irrelevant. He raised taxes on American businesses, and they are passing that cost on to us.

Not even hard.

Bad earnings by US firms puts pressure on China? I mean, OK, but…

This is, I suppose, true so far as it goes. The problem is that it doesn’t go nearly far enough in the right direction.

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said Thursday that “it’s not going to be just Apple” that faces revenue shortfalls as a result of the trade tensions initiated by President Donald Trump between the United States and China.

“It’s not going to be just Apple,” Hassett, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said. “I think that there are a heck of a lot of U.S. companies that have a lot of sales in China that are basically going to be watching their earnings be downgraded next year until we get a deal with China. And I think that that puts a lot of pressure on China to make a deal.”

Source: WH Economic Adviser: ‘Not Going To Be Just Apple’ Feeling Effects Of China Trade War – Talking Points Memo

Yeah, over time this would put pressure on China’s political system. But much more quickly, it’s going to put pressure on the parts of America’s political system that began this trade war, including but not limited to the White House this dude is advising. So, like…I mean, OK, but also…?

New player, same pattern

Some interesting new details on Manafort’s work on behalf of Russian interests around the world. When you step back and take it all in, what you see Manafort engaging in a series of near-identical interventions on behalf of Russia, of which his work with Trump was only the last in a long series.

At the time, the fact that a guy with tons of experience working on behalf of Russian oligarchs would suddenly who up and volunteer his services to Trump for free made no sense. No one chooses to become a volunteer campaign manager, not at that level, and especially not after having spent decades working elsewhere. And yet Manafort did. Then, all of a sudden and out of nowhere, the GOP reverses its official position on Ukraine, and Russians suddenly start reaching out with both covert and overt offers of support for the campaign. And then, when Manafort’s role in all that starts to get attention, he leaves his official campaign role while his deputy and partner stays behind.

You can think that’s all random happenstance if you want, but given how utterly unprecedented and illogical it all is in the absence of the Russian explanation….

Anyway. Interesting new details in this story from Time: time.com/5490169/paul-manafort-victor-boyarkin-debts/