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North Korean Nukes: Why Trump Suddenly Doesn’t Want to Talk About His Buddy Kim Jong-un’s Health

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Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un allegedly reappeared in public yesterday — at the ribbon cutting of a fertilizer plant — after being MIA for 20 days following rumors of him being “gravely ill” after heart surgery.

Trump confusingly said Monday evening, “I do know how he’s doing, relatively speaking,” and “I hope he’s fine,” before stating, “I can’t tell you, [but] yes, I do have a very good idea… I just wish him well. You’ll probably be hearing in the not too distant future.”

Two years ago, Trump said of himself and Kim, “The relationship is very good. He likes me. I like him. Some people say, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t like him.’ I said, ‘Why shouldn’t I like him?’ I like him. We get along great. We’ll see what happens.” His comments made sense considering his admiration for strongman leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte.

But Trump was far terser and much less chummy about Kim Friday evening though. When asked about Kim’s health shortly before the North Korean leader’s reappearance, Trump said, “I’d rather not comment on it yet. We’ll have something to say about it at the appropriate time.” It was a rather short reply for a guy who has boasted about re-kindling warm relations between the U.S. and the Stalinist dictatorship.

Trump could just be choosing his words carefully now because Margaret Croy, an expert on East Asian nuclear proliferation, has said North Korea’s fertilizer plants could actually help the country create nuclear materials by extracting uranium from phosphoric acids.

If so, then Trump’s newfound silence about Kim may underscore Trump’s failure to achieve his Sept. 27, 2017 goal of North Korea’s “complete denuclearization.”

Quick history recap: After nearly two years of saber-rattling — with Trump tightening sanctions and cutting off humanitarian aid while Kim tested missiles towards Japan, South Korea, and Russia — Trump met with Kim in a June 2018 Singapore summit. There, Trump declared Kim “an honorable partner,” despite Kim murdering his own half-brother, his own uncle, American student Otto Warmbier and using secret camps to work, torture, and starve political dissenters and their families.

Thinking the U.S. could get more with honey than vinegar, Trump furthered his historic ambitions with  Kim in late June 2019 by meeting him North Korea — a U.S. presidential first. By then, Trump said he wasn’t in a rush to rid the country of its nukes; he later tweeted that it was no longer a threat, though he didn’t say why.

Despite their agreements to restart nuke negotiations, nothing has materialized since.

Even though Trump and Kim “fell in love” after meeting, bringing the two closer than any U.S. and North Korean leader ever have been, and even though North Korea hasn’t launched a missile or conducted a nuclear test since fall of 2017, Trump knows he hasn’t de-neutralized Kim as a regional threat. In fact, as recently as a year ago, Kim was busy rebuilding a long-range rocket test site.

So now, as Kim’s first public appearance in two weeks hints at his continuing nuclear ambitions, it highlights Trump’s failure to secure a North Korean peace declaration or nuclear ban — something no American president has been able to do — effectively undermining his persona as a dealmaker and showing just how little he has actually achieved with his new friend.

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Every House Republican But One Just Voted to Shut Down the Federal Government

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212 House Republicans – all who voted but one – voted to shut down the entire federal government Thursday evening. It was an act that would have massive implications for many Americans, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, amid the emergence of a new variant, and as the holiday travel season quickly approaches.

The continuing resolution passed 221-212 thanks solely to Democrats and Republican Adam Kinzinger.

Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia “was speaking for virtually her entire conference,” Axios reporter Andrew Solender said in a tweet, when she demanded, “shut it down.”

“This government should be shut down,” Greene angrily cried . “Do not pass this CR. Shut it down.”

“Because the people in here cannot control themselves,” she continued, claiming they “don’t understand how to balance a checkbook.”

The crisis is not yet over. The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate, where a small group of Republicans, and currently it appears Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, are demanding Democrats “defund” President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate.

Stay tuned.
 

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Watch: Marjorie Taylor Greene Calls for Government Shutdown Because ‘The People in Here Cannot Control Themselves’

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Congress has about 30 hours to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to allow the federal government to stay open past Friday midnight. And while nearly everyone is on board, from President Joe Biden to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, some powerful members of Congress are trying to prevent the CR from passing.

They include Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who oppose vaccine mandates and are trying to include an amendment to “defund” President Biden’s executive order.

And then there’s Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who just wants to shut it down.

Literally, those were her words: “shut it down.”

“This government should be shut down,” Greene said minutes ago on the House floor, as Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman reports. “Do not pass this CR. Shut it down.”

Why is Greene demanding a full federal government shutdown?

“Because the people in here cannot control themselves,” declared Greene, who was stripped of all her committee assignments almost immediately upon being sworn in to Congress. “The people in here don’t understand how to balance a checkbook.”

According to information from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget shutting down the federal government could force TSA and air traffic controllers to work without pay, and could halt new applications for federal assistance like Medicare, and halt EPA and FDA inspections – possibly leading to massive illness on top of the coronavirus pandemic, amid the emergence of the new omicron variant.

That’s just for starters.

New mortgage and loan approvals could be halted as the IRS would be unable to verify Social Security numbers, and people who receive food stamps could lose that vital source of funds.

 

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Joe Manchin Appears to Be Siding With Republicans Who Are Pushing to Shut Down the Government Over Vaccine Mandates

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‘Quickly Turning Into a Joe Manchin Rodeo’

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is being described as the necessary and “most likely” the “51st vote” for shutting down the federal government over President Joe Biden’s vaccine “mandate.” Republicans, especially Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, are working to pass an amendment that would ban vaccine mandates nationwide, in exchange for voting to keep the federal government open, just weeks before Christmas.

Sen. Mike Lee, a far right pro-Trump Christian conservative from Utah, “wants an amendment to strip money from vax mandates at 50-vote threshold.” says Punchbowl News co-founder Jake Sherman. “If he gets it, he’ll consent to speed up proceedings, which would likely — almost certainly — avoid a shutdown.”

If he doesn’t, it’s possible the federal government could shut down on Friday.

The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis says “as with most things round these parts, this is quickly turning into a Joe Manchin rodeo.”

CNN’s Manu Raju adds that Sen. Manchin “doesn’t rule out supporting [an] amendment to DEFUND vaccine mandate on businesses. This is why Republican Sens. Marshall and Lee are demanding a 51-vote threshold. Says he backs mandate on feds but tells us he’s ‘less enthused’ with business mandate.”

At CNN Raju and other reporters explain the situation:

Key negotiators from both parties announced a plan Thursday morning that would keep the federal government funded, but due to Senate rules governing procedure, all 100 senators would need to agree in order to quickly pass the plan before Friday, and a handful of GOP senators are standing by their threats to delay the process over the vaccine rules.

Stay tuned.

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