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What follows are the readings for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, July 1, 2018.

These are for Year B in the three-year Lectionary cycle.

Emphases mine below.

First reading

Readings from the Books of Samuel continue; we are now in 2 Samuel.

King David laments the death of Saul. David and Saul’s son Jonathan had a mutual covenant from boyhood:

2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27

After the death of Saul, when David had returned from defeating the Amalekites, David remained two days in Ziklag.

David intoned this lamentation over Saul and his son Jonathan. (He ordered that The Song of the Bow be taught to the people of Judah; it is written in the Book of Jashar.) He said:

Your glory, O Israel, lies slain upon your high places!
How the mighty have fallen!

Tell it not in Gath,
proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon;

or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice,
the daughters of the uncircumcised will exult.

You mountains of Gilboa,
let there be no dew or rain upon you,
nor bounteous fields!

For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
the shield of Saul, anointed with oil no more.

From the blood of the slain,
from the fat of the mighty,

the bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
nor the sword of Saul return empty.

Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely!
In life and in death they were not divided;

they were swifter than eagles,
they were stronger than lions.

O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,
who clothed you with crimson, in luxury,
who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.

How the mighty have fallen
in the midst of the battle!

Jonathan lies slain upon your high places.
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;

greatly beloved were you to me;
your love to me was wonderful,
passing the love of women.

How the mighty have fallen,
and the weapons of war perished!

Psalm

The Psalm talks about faith, hope and trust in the Lord and a call to the tribes of Israel to wait for Him:

Psalm 130

1 Out of the depths have I called to you, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice;
let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.

2 If you, Lord, were to note what is done amiss,
O Lord, who could stand?

3 For there is forgiveness with you;
therefore you shall be feared.

4 I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for him;
in his word is my hope.

5 My soul waits for the Lord,
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.

6 O Israel, wait for the Lord,
for with the Lord there is mercy;

7 With him there is plenteous redemption,
and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.

Epistle

Readings continue from Paul’s letters to the Corinthians.

Paul encourages them to press on with a holy life in Christ through love and charity:

2 Corinthians 8:7-15

As you excel in everything– in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you– so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.

I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something– now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has– not according to what one does not have. I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written,

The one who had much did not have too much,
and the one who had little did not have too little.”

Gospel

Gospel readings from Mark continue. Here we have the story of Jesus healing Jairus’s daughter and the woman with the 12-year hemorrhage.

Mark 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” So he went with him.

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

For those wondering about the different layout, the Lectionary pages from the Vanderbilt Divinity Library — my usual source — were offline while I was putting these readings together.

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Yesterday’s post covered the Inter-Korean Summit, which took place on April 27, 2018 and resulted in the Panmunjom Declaration between the two nations (great photos here and here).

Today’s looks at the Singapore Summit between the US and North Korea, which took place on Monday, June 12, 2018 at the Capella Hotel, Sentosa Island.

President Trump understands the complexity of negotiations with North Korea, because China controls that country. Graphic below courtesy of The Conservative Treehouse (CTH):

Consider the magnitude of the events of this year, so far. This was Dilbert’s Scott Adams’s take early in April:

After the Inter-Korean Summit, Trump was careful to remember China’s Xi:

After six decades, the Korean War is finally ending. Trump was a little boy when the last shot was fired. Even CNN acknowledged that he’s been instrumental in making it happen, although he humbly tweeted (emphases mine):

KOREAN WAR TO END! The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!

This was the scene in South Korea after the two Korean leaders met:

Trump spoke with South Korea’s Moon and Japan’s Abe with a view to US talks with North Korea.

Although military-industrial sector stocks dipped, on Monday, April 30, President Moon said that Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize. From Reuters:

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said U.S. President Donald Trump deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the standoff with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, a South Korean official said on Monday.

“President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize. What we need is only peace,” Moon told a meeting of senior secretaries, according to a presidential Blue House official who briefed media.

Conservative commentator Charles Payne took a Twitter poll: 83% agreed with Moon.

As a US trade delegation headed to China, Trump toyed with the idea of holding the US-North Korea summit at Peace House, where the Inter-Korean Summit took place.

On May 3, the South Koreans were still thinking about their president’s words on Trump’s deserving the Nobel Peace Prize:

If only Trump were as highly regarded in his own country …

The following day, North Korea switched to South Korea’s time zone in a significant step towards reunification:

Meanwhile, John Bolton met with South Korea’s national security office director Chung Eui-Yong about the Inter-Korean Summit as well as plans for President Moon’s trip to the White House on May 22.

On May 9, Trump held a cabinet meeting:

On May 10, North Korea released three American hostages. They returned to the United States, where President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were on hand to greet them and Mike Pompeo, who had secured their release.

The next day Pompeo pledged American help to North Korea, under certain conditions:

Pompeo also met with South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha at the White House that day. She was the one who told CNN’s Christine Amanpour that President Trump deserved much credit for the Inter-Korean Summit.

On May 12, news circulated that North Korea would dismantle its nuclear site on May 23, with rumours that only journalists from selected countries could cover the event. Trump tweeted:

On May 15, a North Korean statement put the Singapore Summit into doubt:

This was Trump’s response:

On May 17, CTH offered this analysis:

President Trump met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House today for a bilateral meeting on EU security and trade issues. During the Oval Office press availability both made remarks but president Trump took the opportunity to have an impromptu presser on other current issues …

It was not coincidental the stompy-feet assertions of Kim Jong-un and the DPRK were timed at the exact moment Chinese Vice-Premier Liu arrived in the U.S. for important trade talks. Once again Chairman Xi Jinping is using his proxy province of N-Korea to leverage economic benefits

POTUS Trump knows exactly what Chairman Xi is doing. Xi is leveraging the N-Korea talks for a better trade outcome.

On May 21, a commemorative coin to mark the Singapore Summit appeared:

President Moon arrived at the White House as scheduled, on May 22. CTH offered this analysis:

An important meeting today in the Oval Office between U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Obviously the primary discussion was over the issues of North Korea nuclear program, and the possible denuclearization summit between President Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un …

After a second meeting with Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping, the voices behind Chairman Kim Jong-un changed their tone in media presentations and and became more hostile toward the goal of a denuclearization summit. This example showcase Beijing exerting control over the DPRK to gain strategic trade and economic benefits.

Trump and Moon held a press conference. Trump answered a question on trade with China:

… President Xi and I have a great relationship, as President Moon can attest. But there is no deal. We will see what happens. We are discussing deals. We’re discussing various deals. We can do a 301. We can do — where we don’t need China, where we can just say, look, this is what we want, this is what we think is fair. That’s always a possibility if a negotiated deal doesn’t work out.

As I said, we lost $500 billion a year for many years. And then it varied from $100 billion to $500 billion. When you’re losing $500 billion a year, you can’t lose in terms of a negotiation. It’s really easy to win. But I want this to be a great deal for the United States, and I want it to be a very good deal for China, too, if that’s possible. It may not be possible

On May 24, Kim Jong-Un cancelled the Singapore Summit.

Trump responded in writing. The last two paragraphs are absolutely brilliant — and personal. The AP said that national security adviser John Bolton dictated the text of the letter:

CTH had this take:

Ultimately the decision to withdraw is an outcome of changes in posture initiated strategically by China and Chairman Xi Jinping. China hoping to leverage a U.S. trade outcome by playing the strings on DPRK Chairman Kim Jong-un.

The timing of the meetings between China and DPRK, mirrors the changes in posture by the DPRK and reflects a transparency. Communist Beijing is engaging with the Trump administration in traditional dragon-mode their zero-sum outlook. In response, President Trump drops the Panda approach and confronts the manipulation directly.

Likely President Trump will immediately increase sanction enforcement and reposition again for a pending naval blockade.

Earlier that day, North Korea blew up its nuclear test site. No inspectors were present, and the White House said that was the reason for Trump’s letter:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he received no North Korean response to earlier requests about setting up meetings during the summit. From the Daily Mail:

The North Korean government completely ignored the Trump administration’s efforts to nail down details of a planned June 12 nuclear arms summit in Singapore, effectively disappearing in the middle of pre-meeting protocol negotiations.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had met personally in April with Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang, sketching out the contours of the face-to-face that President Donald Trump canceled Thursday morning.

In testimony during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Pompeo said there was no chance of ‘a successful outcome,’ in some part because Kim’s team was AWOL when it counted.

‘Over the past many days we have endeavored to do what Chairman Kim and I had agreed, [which] was to put teams, preparation teams together, to begin to work to prepare for the summit,’ he told senators. ‘And we had received no response to our inquiries from them.’

By May 25, the talks were on again, with a North Korean statement. CTH reported:

Within minutes of President Trump withdrawing from the June 12th summit, Beijing realized all of their trade leverage was just wiped out. Playing deceptive panda isn’t going to work this time …

This is a battle, a massive economic battle, between U.S. President Trump and Chinese Chairman Xi. Period.

Whenever this geopolitical economic trade confrontation is resolved; that’s when Chairman Xi will instruct Chairman Kim to take the knee. Not a moment before.

Until the U.S. -vs- China economic confrontation is solved, Xi will continue to use the DPRK threat as his principle leverage in the negotiations.

CTHTheLastRefuge — had more on Twitter. From May 25:

Kim’s back in Beijing for next set of instructions. LOOK=>: “A high-ranking North Korean official appears to be visiting Beijing, a source with knowledge of the matter said Thursday, as the country has been bolstering ties with China.”…

Finally, at least one media outlet — Fox News — understood:

By May 26:

On May 27, CTH reported:

President Trump has announced via Twitter the U.S. advance team has arrived in North Korea to position for a possible June 12th summit between President Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un.

Yesterday South Korean Prime Minister Moon Jae-in and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un held an impromptu summit/meeting in the DPRK to display their unified smiles.

Trump gave a bit more detail:

We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea. Meetings are currently taking place concerning Summit, and more. Kim Yong Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to New York. Solid response to my letter, thank you!

On May 29, Kim Yong Chol flew to Beijing first, then on to New York. Pompeo was his host:

On June 1, Kim Yong Chol went to the White House to meet with President Trump and deliver a large, mysterious envelope:

Kim Yong Chol arrived in North Korea on June 3. Interestingly, North Korea replaced their top three military officials the same day.

On June 5, Trump was looking forward to the Singapore Summit. On June 7, he tweeted that he was looking forward to meeting his ‘good friend’, Japan’s Shinzo Abe, at the G7 to discuss trade and North Korea.

Trump left the G7 early for the Singapore Summit:

Air Force One landed in Crete for refuelling. Meanwhile, Air China provided Kim Jong Un with an Airbus A330 to get him to Singapore. Kim received a cordial welcome when he arrived (motorcade photo here).

China sent best wishes:

Pompeo was already conducting preliminary meetings:

The White House issued a statement saying that discussions were going very well indeed, ‘more quickly than expected’.

North Korea’s state media was also positive:

Here’s the historic handshake between Trump and Kim (a photo here of the room beforehand):

This composite video of the two leaders at the summit marks pivotal, historic moments for both countries and the world:

Trump and Kim met privately. This is what happened on the way:

They also made brief statements:

They took a walk after lunch:

Bilateral meetings also took place:

This is worth noting:

Talks went so well that Trump was able to leave Singapore earlier than expected.

Who would have expected these results only a few months ago?

Kim also pledged to finally return the remains of Americans who died in the Korean War.

Ultimately:

Incidentally, here is a bit more about the large, mysterious letter Kim Yong Chol delivered to the president on June 1. On June 11, just before the Singapore Summit began, the Straits Times reported:

According to South Korean daily Joongang Ilbo, citing a source in Singapore, Mr Kim has invited Mr Trump to North Korea to hold a second summit in July.

The invitation was in a letter written by Mr Kim to Mr Trump and hand delivered by Mr Kim’s right-hand man, General Kim Yong Chol, to the White House on June 1.

While Mr Trump has not revealed what was written in the letter, he seemed happy to get it. He told reporters then it was “a very nice letter” and “a very interesting letter”.

Although Trump flew back to Washington after the Singapore Summit, Pompeo’s work was far from over:

In closing, the impact of the Singapore Summit was not lost on the world.

In India:

In Los Angeles:

Amazingly, in North Korea:

This is a very exciting time for not only North Korea, South Korea, Asia and the United States — but also for the world.

It will be interesting to see how North Korea develops, particularly since the nation is sitting on trillions of dollars of mineral resources.

Post-Summit analysis to follow next week.

The Singapore Summit took place in June 2018.

Before then, the historic Inter-Korean Summit took place on April 27.

How far things progressed over the past six months!

This post covers the events and negotiations that led to the Inter-Korean Summit.

On December 28, 2017, President Trump tweeted his disappointment that China was ‘allowing oil to go into North Korea’.

Who can forget this tweet from the New Year in 2018?

Four days later:

A week later, Trump rightly took the Wall Street Journal to task for misquoting him:

… I said “I’d have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un,” a big difference. Fortunately we now record conversations with reporters…

Then he began consulting with geopolitical veterans, including Henry Kissinger:

On March 5, Reuters reported (emphases mine):

Feeling the pressure of sanctions, North Korea seems “sincere” in its apparent willingness to halt nuclear tests if it held denuclearization talks with the United States, President Donald Trump said on Tuesday as U.S., South Korean and Japanese officials voiced skepticism about any discussions …

Word of possible talks was delivered by a South Korean delegation on its return from a first-ever meeting with North Korean leader Kim in Pyongyang on Monday.

The following day, the AP reported that talks between North and South Korea would be scheduled for April:

Chung Eui-yong, the South Korean official who spoke after participating in talks with Kim in Pyongyang, also said the North Korean dictator had agreed to meet with South Korea’s president at a border village in late April.

North Korea didn’t announce what South Korea on Tuesday described as agreements between the rivals. But the North’s state media earlier reported Kim had “openhearted” talks with South Korean envoys, expressed his willingness to “vigorously advance” North-South relations and made a “satisfactory” agreement on the inter-Korean summit talks.

On March 7, the AP featured a timeline article on progress, including this:

South Korea also said North Korea has agreed to halt tests of nuclear weapons and missiles if it holds talks with the United States on denuclearization.

The Conservative Treehouse (CTH) said that this had been in the works since at least August 2017 — when Charlottesville occurred — and that other countries, particularly China, were involved:

All of this was generally under-reported and took place months before President Trump arrived in Asia last year.  The U.S. media was busy pushing racism and Charlottesville narratives.  More importantly this quiet activity took place while President Trump directed US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer to begin a section 301 trade investigation (Intellectual Property theft) into China.

President Trump was ramping up the economic pressure on Chinese President Xi Jinping; but more specifically Lighthizer’s action was targeting Beijing’s command and control economy along with the behavior of North Korea.

China -vs- U.S. moves have been taking place in Europe, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Cuba, Venezuela, India, Libya as well as Mexico, Canada and ASEAN nations.  When dragon puts a footprint in Mexico, eagle puts a footprint in Vietnam.   When eagle puts a print in India, dragon puts a print in Pakistan…. this has been going on for well over a year, well beyond the media horizon, and almost no-one’s paying attention.

On March 9, BT.com reported that Trump and Kim were to meet in May:

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump plan to meet in May for nuclear disarmament talks …

It would have been an unthinkable suggestion just a few months ago, when the insults were at their peak — Mr Trump was a “senile dotard” and Mr Kim was “Little Rocket Man”.

Trump officials had received a briefing in Washington from the South Koreans beforehand.

Even normally critical media pundits acknowledged that Trump’s ‘madman approach’ to North Korea was working.

The South Koreans issued an affirmative statement. The South China Morning Post reported:

South Korea’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong made the announcement of Kim’s offer in Washington on Thursday (Friday morning Hong Kong time).

Chung said Kim was “committed to denuclearisation” and would refrain from any further nuclear and missile tests.

He said Kim wanted to meet Trump as “soon as possible” and that Trump said “he would meet Kim Jong-un by May to achieve permanent denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula.

The White House posted Chung Eui-yong’s full statement, including this:

Kim pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests. He understands that the routine joint military exercises between the Republic of Korea and the United States must continue

The Republic of Korea, along with the United States, Japan, and our many partners around the world remain fully and resolutely committed to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Along with President Trump, we are optimistic about continuing a diplomatic process to test the possibility of a peaceful resolution.

The Republic of Korea, the United States, and our partners stand together in insisting that we not repeat the mistakes of the past, and that the pressure will continue until North Korea matches its words with concrete actions.

A video of his announcement can be found here.

That Sunday, March 11, the news shows were abuzz with analysis of the upcoming US-North Korea talks, including perspectives from John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.

Even the anti-Trump Independent in the UK had praise for the American president:

… during a recent, daily grumble about The Donald, I got thinking; if you look past the ridiculous Twitter pronouncements, and the President’s general veneer – what has he actually done? How bad has the 45th President of the United States actually been for the country?

The answer, it might surprise you, is not that bad at all.

Stock market up, unemployment down. After plateauing for much of 2015 and 2016, numbers of manufacturing jobs have been on the rise since Trump’s inauguration …

On foreign policy, he’s been brash and unpredictable, but successful. He can’t take full credit for the defeat of Isis in their traditional strongholds, but they have been defeated. He can’t take full credit for defusing tensions with North Korea – but under President Trump, Kim Jong-un is becoming more receptive to talks with South Korea, and even sent a team to the Winter Olympics. His “quirky” style of diplomacy has led to, in the past few days, talk on the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and the closest thing to a peaceful North Korea we’ve seen in years. On Friday it was even announced that Trump will be meeting with Kim Jong-un

On Wednesday, March 14, news emerged that North Korea was involved with Syria. The Washington Free Beacon reported:

Regional reports have begun to surface indicating North Korea has neared completion of the construction of an underground military base located near Qardaha in Syria, the hometown of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“According to … satellite images and a military source the underground facility has been under construction for seven years, started by the beginning if the Syrian revolution in March 2011,” Zaman Al Wasl, a Syrian news outlet, reported earlier this month. “The high level of secrecy and tight guard in the North Korean base raise speculations whether it’s a nuclear facility or overseas depot for North Korean weapons.”

U.S. officials told the Washington Free Beacon they are monitoring these reports and efforts by North Korea to help Assad rebuild Syria’s chemical weapons factories.

“We are aware of reports regarding possible DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] assistance to Syria to rebuild its chemical weapons capabilities,” a State Department official, speaking on background, told the Free Beacon. “We take these allegations very seriously and we are working assiduously to prevent the Assad regime from obtaining material and equipment to support its chemical weapons program.”

The Trump administration has been engaged in efforts to counter North Korea’s proliferation in Syria, particularly its efforts to supply Assad with chemical weapons.

On Friday, March 23, Legal Insurrection reported that Trump signed the Omnibus Bill with North Korea — and Iran — in mind:

Why the need for government funding for at least 6 months? That could have waited for another short term funding bill, some more muddling through, perhaps even muddling through until the November elections.

What was the rush to sign a bill with increases in authorized military spending NOW?

While Trump ran as someone who wasn’t looking at foreign policy as his reason for election, his presidency and attention increasingly are turning to foreign potential conflicts. In the next couple of months Trump will be dealing with two major potential conflict areas: North Korea and Iran.

As to North Korea, Trump is gearing up for talks with “Little Rocket Man.” As to Iran, Trump is facing fights both with the Europeans and the Iranians as to whether Obama’s Iran Nuclear deal survives. Trump already has made moves to strengthen the U.S. posture. Adding John Bolton as National Security Advisor sends a get-tough signal, a message that Trump will not repeat the appeasement mistakes of Obama-Kerry.

As Trump approaches potential conflict with North Korea and Iran, he could spend the prior months rolling through one “shutdown” after another, one-month spending bills, an inadequate military budget held hostage by Democrats, and the prospect of months more such turmoil at least through the midterm elections.

Alternatively, Trump could approach the North Koreans and Iranians with government funding in place including substantial increases for the military.

Do you think the North Koreans and Iranians care about the domestic spending fights that now occupy media coverage? I doubt it. I do think they care about a Trump focused on rebuilding the military and a U.S. military which has just been given additional resources. Trump wants to be the strong horse, a dramatic change from the Obama administration posture. Add to this increased military aggressiveness by Russia and China.

Elsewhere, speculation returned to a soundbite from the end of 2017 about ‘freeing 25,000,000 slaves worldwide’. Was it about human trafficking or was it about North Korea, as Q commented? (Image below courtesy of Reddit’s Q-oriented GreatAwakening)

On March 28, Trump tweeted:

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders had this to say:

That day, the KORUS trade agreement between the US and South Korea was agreed upon in principle:

On March 29, the AP announced that a highly historic summit between North and South Korea would take place on April 27:

Summit meeting will be only the third time leaders of the divided Koreas have met in the 65 years since the end of the Korean War.

On April 9, WND interviewed Peter Schweitzer, author of Secret Empires: How Our Politicians Hide Corruption and Enrich Their Families and Friends, who said that China was a huge part of the North Korea picture:

“My view has always been that absent China skirting the rules and going fast and loose with commercial ties, North Korea would be on the brink of collapse,” Schweizer told WND in an interview.

“I think that’s the opportunity that Trump has, to go to the Chinese and say: ‘Look, the bottom line is you need to deal with this. You need to cut off trade, you need to cut off commercial ties to help us deal with North Korea. Nobody else is in the position to do it the way that you are.’”

Schweizer said critical sectors such as minerals and energy “are what keeps North Korea bumping along while the people are starving.”

“You take that stuff away and the regime has a massive, economic problem,” he said.

On April 17, just days before the summit between the two Koreas, CNBC reported:

North and South Korea are in talks to announce a permanent end to the officially declared military conflict between the two countries, daily newspaper Munhwa Ilbo reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed South Korean official.

Ahead of a summit next week between North Korean premier Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, lawmakers from the neighboring states were thought to be negotiating the details of a joint statement that could outline an end to the confrontation

Pyongyang and Seoul have technically been at war since the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended with a truce — and not a peace treaty. Geopolitical tensions have occasionally flared up since the armistice, although to date both countries have managed to avoid another devastating conflict.

CTH’s TheLastRefuge — aka Sundance — pointed out the change in 12 months:

That day, Trump welcomed Japan’s prime minister Abe to Mar a Lago along with a delegation. CTH told us:

The formal bilateral meeting began shortly before 4 p.m. POTUS Trump and PM Abe together with translators and delegations. The U.S. side: Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Adviser John Bolton, US Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty and National Security Council Asia director Matthew Pottinger.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said their one-on-one meeting was productive. On North Korea, “for the first time in the history of the world there will be a summit meeting between the United States and North Korea”, Abe said. Prime Minister Abe said “Trump has applied maximum pressure on the North and credited it for leading to the direct talks.”

Trump described their meeting as ‘great’.

The next day, we found out that Mike Pompeo had already been in North Korea on secret talks:

The White House declined further comment.

On April 19, South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in was optimistic about the upcoming summit. NBC reported:

Moon said big-picture agreements about denuclearization, establishing a peace regime and normalization of relations between the two Koreas and the United States should not be difficult to reach through summits between the North and South, and between the North and the United States.

“I don’t think denuclearization has different meanings for South and North Korea,” Moon said during a lunch with chief executives of Korean media companies. “The North is expressing a will for a complete denuclearization.”

“They have not attached any conditions that the U.S. cannot accept, such as the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea,” he continued. “All they are talking about is the end of hostile policies against North Korea, followed by a guarantee of security.”

On April 21, Yonhap News Agency reported:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has announced that the country will suspend nuclear and missile tests and shut down a nuclear test site in the northern area, state media said Saturday.

From April 21, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles,” the Korean Central News Agency said.

Trump was delighted.

Even CNN had to acknowledge this was yuge news — ha ha — on Wolf Blitzer’s show no less. Mediaite has a report and video:

CNN’s Will Ripley, one of the few journalists who regularly reports from the repressive Hermit Kingdom, phoned in to Wolf Blitzer’s show on Friday night to cover the breaking news …

“Wolf, I have to say, I am really almost speechless here at the pace at which North Korea has done this U-turn,” Ripley reacted. “This all started with Donald Trump agreeing to sit down with a summit with Kim Jong Un.”

Meanwhile, Mike Pompeo was able to guarantee North Korea’s release of three American citizens that day. They returned home on May 10.

On April 22, Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin met with the South Koreans:

Productive discussion with South Korean DPM KIM Dong-Yeon. The US remains committed to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

That day, we found out more about Mike Pompeo’s secret trip to Pyongyang from the Korean Noon news agency:

Mike Pompeo met with KJU 3-4 times during his 3-day stay in Pyongyang per Asahi Shimbun. KJU reportedly said he’s on the same wavelength with Pompeo: “This is the first time I’m meeting someone who has the same fire in the belly as I do” (loose translation)

Also:

Per Asahi, KJU conveyed to Pompeo NK could “completely denuclearize” and that USFK would not have to leave. KJU wants full diplomatic relations with US and easing of UNSCR & bilateral sanctions in return. Pompeo went with 5 CIA staff and was aided by NIS

Pompeo first met with Kim on April 1:

The meetings were very successful per Asahi. Pompeo first met KJU on April 1 and that’s when he was told about “complete denuclearization”. Pompeo was aided by NIS chief Suh Hoon, who has formed working relationships with both Pompeo and NK’s Kim Yong-chol

Not everything was 100% successful:

But there are still differences: Asahi says while KJU may have expressed “willingness to denuclearize,” he was reluctant to include specific, time-based clauses as part of summit agreement, while calling for diplomatic relations and easing of sanctions.

Noon also told us of an ongoing CIA presence in North Korea:

CIA employees in Pyongyang? You don’t have to travel that far down the memory lane to realize this happened before: Avril Haines and Michael Morel were both in Pyongyang in 2012 during Obama’s term but they didn’t get to meet KJU. But they’ve had contacts

Pompeo was finally confirmed as Rex Tillerson’s replacement at State on April 26:

The historic Inter-Korean Summit between the two Korean leaders took place as planned on April 27 (videos here, here and here):

Kim walked across the border to South Korea for the summit, which was held in Panmunjom in the DMZ.

Kim wrote this message in the guest book at Peace House:

‘new history starts now; age of peace, from the starting point of history’

The leaders issued a joint statement:

The description for that video reads, in part:

During the Friday summit, the first between the two Koreas’ leader in more than a decade, Kim was accompanied by his sister and confidante, Kim Yo-jong, and the 90-year-old nominal head of the North Korean state, Kim Yong-nam.

During the meeting, the South Korean president expressed hope for achievement of a “bold agreement.”

The White House sent this message:

On the occasion of Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-ins historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, we wish the Korean people well. We are hopeful that talks will achieve progress toward a future of peace and prosperity for the entire Korean Peninsula. The United States appreciates the close coordination with our ally, the Republic of Korea, and looks forward to continuing robust discussions in preparation for the planned meeting between President Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong Un in the coming weeks.

By the end of the day (full video here):

The Korean leaders then shared dinner together.

Ambassador Chris Hill summed up the first day as follows:

President Trump sent his congratulations. The South Korean foreign minister remembered Trump in an interview with CNN’s Christine Amanpour:

South Korea’s Foreign Minister tells me in Seoul that “clearly credit goes to President Trump” for bringing North Korea to the negotiating table. “He’s been determined to come to grips with this from day one,” Kang Kyung-wha says.

The Straits Times published the full text of the Panmunjom Declaration for peace, prosperity and unification of the Korean Peninsula which resulted from the Inter-Korean Summit. Excerpts follow:

1) South and North Korea affirmed the principle of determining the destiny of the Korean nation on their own accord and agreed to bring forth the watershed moment for the improvement of inter-Korean relations by fully implementing all existing agreements and declarations adopted between the two sides thus far.

2) South and North Korea agreed to hold dialogue and negotiations in various fields including at high level, and to take active measures for the implementation of the agreements reached at the summit.

3) South and North Korea agreed to establish a joint liaison office with resident representatives of both sides in the Gaeseong region in order to facilitate close consultation between the authorities as well as smooth exchanges and cooperation between the peoples.

4) South and North Korea agreed to encourage more active cooperation, exchanges, visits and contacts at all levels in order to rejuvenate the sense of national reconciliation and unity.

5) South and North Korea agreed to endeavour to swiftly resolve the humanitarian issues that resulted from the division of the nation, and to convene the Inter-Korean Red Cross Meeting to discuss and solve various issues, including the reunion of separated families.

6) South and North Korea agreed to actively implement the projects previously agreed in the 2007 October 4 Declaration, in order to promote balanced economic growth and co-prosperity of the nation.

The two leaders agreed, through regular meetings and direct telephone conversations, to hold frequent and candid discussions on issues vital to the nation, to strengthen mutual trust and to jointly endeavour to strengthen the positive momentum towards continuous advancement of inter-Korean relations as well as peace, prosperity and unification of the Korean Peninsula.

In this context, President Moon Jae In agreed to visit Pyongyang this fall.

Tomorrow’s post will feature analysis and the events that led to the Singapore Summit, which President Trump attended after the G7 in mid-June.

My previous post discussed the 2018 tariff war, featuring the United States, China, EU nations, Canada and Mexico.

On June 1, President Trump levied tariffs against EU countries, Canada and Mexico.

The media said this was unfair. Trump took issue with one outlet:

Canada retaliated immediately with an incredible list of tariffs on various US products. Please read the National Post article for the full list and explanations. Excerpts and a summary follow.

American products include sleeping bags, affecting the manufacturers in California and Colorado.

Breakfast foods are on the list: fresh orange juice from Florida, strawberries for jam from California and, surprisingly, maple syrup (emphases mine):

Because a producers’ association in Quebec — what Conservative MP Maxime Bernier likes to call the “maple syrup cartel” — uses quotas to regulate the amount of maple syrup the province turns out, U.S. producers have been increasing their imports to Canada. Since the early 2000s, Quebec has experienced the slowest growth in maple syrup production of any syrup-producing market in North America — about 60 per cent, according to the Montreal Economic Institute. Meanwhile, Maine’s production grew 131 per cent and Vermont’s 254 per cent.

A tariff on felt pens affects Pennsylvania, the primary state of their manufacture. Also:

In one of his few decisions that didn’t break from White House norms, Trump is using the same type of pen for executive orders that Barack Obama and George W. Bush used. You guessed it: a felt pen.

A tariff on ketchup also affects the state:

As of Thursday, U.S.-produced mustard and ketchup are facing new tariffs. In the ketchup category, it’s no surprise that Heinz rakes in a big market share. Of the more than $264 million in ketchup that Canada imports from the states annually, $81.4 million comes from Heinz’s home state and congressional battleground state Pennsylvania

Wisconsin will be affected by tariffs on a number of products:

A long list of tariff categories announced Thursday seem to target the state of Wisconsin, farmers from which apparently inspired some of Trump’s harshest anti-Canada words when in an April 2017 speech in the state he called NAFTA a “complete and total disaster” for the U.S., taking particular aim at Canada’s system of dairy supply management.

Among U.S. states, Wisconsin is the top exporter of handkerchiefs, tissues, tablecloths, soy sauce and fruit spreads (the category in which we are penalizing strawberry jam, specifically); it is the state from which we get the second-most yogurt and toilet paper.

The cherry on top: most of the soy sauce produced in North America comes from Kikkoman’s plant in the Wisconsin congressional district held by Speaker Ryan, who announced earlier this year he won’t be running again.

The gist of the article is that Canada’s tariffs could adversely affect the Republican Party’s chances of winning seats in this autumn’s mid-term elections on the assumption that voters will turn against Trump for his tariff policy which, in turn, brought new and wide-ranging tariffs from Canada. We shall see.

On June 5, The Hill reported that GOPe senators, led by Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), want to rein in Trump’s trade policy, including tariffs:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he will not bring up a free-standing bill to push back on President Trump’s trade agenda, but that GOP senators might be able to add it as an amendment to other legislation.

Support among Republicans has grown for legislation backed by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that would give Congress power to authorize or reject any new tariffs imposed because of national security concerns.

GOP senators say McConnell doesn’t want to risk a confrontation with the president but also wants to be responsive to the concerns of colleagues who think Trump’s trade agenda has run amok.

Then, the G7 took place in Canada, where tariffs were very much on the agenda:

The G7 countries were unhappy Trump had actually imposed tariffs. They had been given several weeks before then to negotiate …

The G7 communique became an issue. Justin Trudeau had been nice to Trump at the meeting. After Trump left early for the Singapore Summit, ‘Justin from Canada’, as Trump likes to call him, changed his tune:

An interesting dynamic had been in play between Canada and the EU:

By June 21, this had changed:

Trump wants these negotiations in order to achieve trade reciprocity. Until the US can reach truly fair trade deals with the countries affected, tariffs will remain in place.

Fox’s Lou Dobbs’s survey of June 19 showed that Americans largely agree with Trump’s policy:

Meanwhile, exemptions are being granted to certain US companies:

On June 21, The Conservative Treehouse reported on a Wall Street Journal story about Germany’s fending off US tariffs:

Yup, Germany, without consulting with Emmanuel from France, just unilaterally announce the EU is willing to drop all trade tariffs against U.S. auto manufacturers as part of their strategy to fend-off steel, aluminum and crushing auto tariffs

Don’t overlook Angela Merkel making this announcement without consulting with Emmanuel Macron. The German auto-sector is vital to the German economy. Lose the support of the auto industry in Germany and Chancellor Merkel is toast.

As Trump says:

Regardless of the media outcry, Trump’s trade plan will ultimately work to the benefit of all nations involved.

Whenever I think of tariffs, I am reminded of history class.

Tariffs are quite boring to most people, myself included, so I never really paid much attention to them and, with reference to history class, the subject never came up as a test question!

This is the reason tariffs are such a pervasive subject in US history class:

Bill Mitchell makes an excellent point.

More recently:

Jack Posobiec makes a great point, too.

Going back even further — to 1983 — Ronald Reagan raised the tariff on imported heavyweight motorcycles in order to protect Harley-Davidson.

President Trump has imposed tariffs on European, Canadian and Mexican goods in addition to those from China.

On March 5, 2018, Sky News reported (emphases in the original):

Donald Trump appears to have rejected Theresa May’s appeal over his plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports into the US.

On Sunday, the Prime Minister used a telephone call with the US President to express her “deep concern” at his proposal, which has prompted an escalating war of words between Washington and the European Union.

Mrs May told Mr Trump that “multilateral action was the only way to resolve the problem of global overcapacity in all parties’ interests”, a Downing Street spokeswoman said.

The article includes this tweet:

However, as The Conservative Treehouse pointed out when that news item appeared, the EU imposed anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel in 2017, so it’s not as if Trump has come up with anything novel or alarming.

On March 8, The Conservative Treehouse explained Trump’s tariff strategy on steel and aluminium in full. Excerpts follow (emphases mine):

This trade specific issue, and many more soon to follow, are important to this president. This is President Trump’s subject area of specific expertise. These trade policies are the issues he has been discussing for over thirty years.

♦ … the target of the tariffs is China.  The specific target has always been China; and POTUS Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, USTR Robert Lighthizer and Trade Policy Adviser Peter Navarro know to hit their target they have to get past the hurdle of trans-shipments of Steel to proxy nations by China to avoid the tariff.

So what does POTUS Trump do…. he takes the position of the tariff opponents and amplifies it.  Trump’s trade policy opponents, realizing something was going to happen regardless of their opposition, started demanding “targeted tariffs”; that is, tariffs applied against target nations.  POTUS Trump brilliantly spins their position and says: ok, let’s target by granting “exceptions” to the tariffs.

What POTUS will announce is “targeted exemptions” to the trade tariffs on Steel and Aluminum.  Not “targeted tariffs”, but rather “targeted exemptions”.

The exemption approach puts more power in the hands of Team ‘America-First’ than targeting the steel dumpers directly. Team Trump will reward good behavior.

Any nation that acts like a Chinese proxy in the trans-shipment problem will not get relief from the tariffs. However, the nations that manufacture and trade honestly will be granted tariff relief. This allows Team Trump to evaluate the origin of the Steel used by countries that want to import their finished goods into the U.S. If they are using Chinese Steel, the tariff applies. If they are using their own manufactured steel, there is no tariff

No country will want to lose access to the U.S. market by engaging in the sketchy trans-shipping arrangement with China. POTUS Trump holds all the cards.

This approach also puts Mexico and Canada (NAFTA) on notice that if they use Chinese steel they will face a tariff despite our NAFTA agreement. Again, more leverage.

The stock market went up that day, and, on the next, there was more good news:

Trump discussed tariffs at his rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, on March 10, saying that the levies would help steel and coal return to the industrial heartland.

This is what happens when one country floods another with cheap goods. See the last two sentences (‘our’ should be ‘out’ and ‘works’ should be ‘workers’):

Then, there is the situation with the EU, as The Conservative Treehouse explained on March 11:

The protectionist EU hypocrites simply cannot afford to go toe-to-toe with the U.S. on trade.  The UK is in the process of formalizing their Brexit terms; the EU (essentially ‘Germany’) needs to find a way to make up for the lost revenue (billions in taxes) from the UK economy.  Currently the UK pays Brussels approximately a billion per month on a $2.5 trillion economy; that will stop.

Brexit reduces the overall EU GDP by $2.5 trillion.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel cannot -and will not- challenge President Trump.  In addition to being politically weak, Merkel has attached her economy to expansive environmental regulations (Paris treaty), though she is now attempting to pale down those regulations.  Chancellor Merkel cannot afford to run the risk of losing any access to the U.S. market.

A 25% decrease within the German auto sector alone would be enough to throw the entire nation of Germany into a recession; and functionally Germany is the EU.   President Trump holds all the leverage within the trade discussions with the EU…

…. WE ARE THE CUSTOMER in this equation.

Even the head of the AFL-CIO thinks Trump is doing the right thing:

A week earlier, Richard Trumka issued a statement on tariffs. The Hill reported:

The nation’s largest federation of unions on Thursday praised President Trump‘s plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, even as GOP lawmakers in Congress and U.S. trade partners condemned the proposal. 

For years, we have called attention to the predatory practices of some steel exporting countries. Such practices hurt working people and cheat companies that produce in the U.S. We applaud the administration’s efforts today to fix this problem,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement …

This is a great first step toward addressing trade cheating, and we will continue to work with the administration on rewriting trade rules to benefit working people,” Trumka continued.

On March 15, The Conservative Treehouse stated that perpetual trade deficits are bad for national security:

Another broad concern revolves around national security. A perpetual trade deficit is a statement about the competitiveness of the U.S. economy itself. By purchasing manufactured goods overseas for a long enough period of time, U.S. companies lose the expertise and even the factories to make those products; ex: try finding a pair of shoes made in … America. As the United States loses manufacturing competitiveness, we outsource more jobs, and our total standard of living declines.

Experts understand this:

As The Conservative Treehouse said, exemptions would be forthcoming:

On March 23, BT.com reported that the exemptions were temporary:

European Union member countries have been temporarily exempted from steel and aluminium tariffs announced by US president Donald Trump.

As well as the EU nations, six other countries – Canada, Mexico, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, South Korea – will also be free from the tariffs of 25% on imported steel and 10% on aluminium.

The White House said the levies have been suspended until May 1 this year, pending further discussions, as tariffs on other countries came into effect on Friday.

Mr Trump authorised the “pause” for the EU and other countries as Theresa May and European leaders were due to discuss the import duties on Friday.

European Council president Donald Tusk had said it was “time for politicians on both sides of the Atlantic to act responsibly”, while Mrs May had told Mr Trump of her “deep concern” over the plans.

US trade representative Robert Lighthizer had earlier signalled that the EU along with a number of other countries would receive temporary exemptions.

China immediately hit back with tariffs of their own against the US. At first, it was a threat. On April 2, it became a reality, as The Conservative Treehouse reported:

In retaliation for $50 billion in U.S. trade tariffs against Chinese imports, China laughably hits back with $3 their own billion tariffs against the U.S. According to most reporting Beijing has selected U.S. pork and scrap aluminum as targets for a 25% tariff, along with wine and fruit tariffs around 15%.

It should be emphasized the approach by China is rather ridiculous considering the Chinese government purchased the largest U.S. pork manufacturer Smithfield in 2013 for $5 billion; at the time the purchase price was 30% more than the company was worth.  Smithfield, now a Chinese company, represents 25% of all U.S. pork products.

Do you really think China is going to not import its own pork products… or subject them to a domestic tax?  Think about it.  It’s ridiculous.  China knows they have ZERO leverage in a trade-dispute with the U.S., they cannot afford to lose access to the U.S. market.

The example of Smithfield foods is exactly what we have outlined in how China cannot sustain itself and needs to control the assets of foreign countries.  Hence, their one-road/one-belt program for securing products and raw materials.  China is a dependent economy, they need to exploit global trade to surviveChina cannot feed itself. This is the inherent flaw within their short-sighted authoritarian government-controlled economic model.

On April 5, Trump upped the ante:

By March 9, China had backed down:

On the other hand, trade negotiations were going very well with South Korea. The Conservative Treehouse explained:

The deal is known as “KORUS” (KOR+U.S.), and has been in negotiations for over a year.

Part of the recent agreement within the auto-sector of the deal, between Moon Jae-in and President Donald Trump, via Lighthizer and Ross, is an exemption of U.S. steel tariffs for South Korea in exchange for a doubling of U.S. auto exports; from 25,000 to 50,000 American made cars, per U.S. automaker, per year.  (link)

This trade deal also has a role in talks with North Korea. The Singapore Summit hadn’t yet taken place at this point:

The timing for a U.S. leveraged KORUS deal could not be better.  On the geopolitical stage President Trump, through his sheer will, has thrown open the doors to a denuclearized Korean peninsular and is about to engage in direct discussions with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The ramifications for peace on the Korean peninsular, and the economic outcomes therein, are seismic for South East Asia.  Thus we see today stunning reports of Kim Jong-un heading to Beijing for discussions of unknown substance.

There is no doubt both Kim Jong-un (DPRK) and Chinese President/Chairman Xi Jinping must engage in talks about the ramifications.  China has long used the DPRK as a proxy province for their own geopolitical strategy against the U.S. and western interests.

POTUS Trump using economic leverage to break down the walls of totalitarian regimes is a stunning position for two nations (China and DPRK) who must have thought such an action would be unconscionable a mere eighteen months ago.

There is more about KORUS here and here, including videos.

The other contentious areas of tariffs concern the US’s NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada.

On April 17, The Conservative Treehouse explained:

This Reuters article is framed around Mexico making a surprise announcement they will support the U.S. steel tariff against China by shutting down the NAFTA back door on that specific trade segment….  However, the bigger story is Mexico’s admission/concession to the U.S. trade position that Canada and Mexico structure access to the U.S. market inside their trade deals with other nations

By shipping parts to Mexico and/or Canada; and by deploying satellite manufacturing and assembly facilities in Canada and/or Mexico; China, Asia and to a lesser extent EU corporations, exploited a loophole.

Through a process of building, assembling or manufacturing their products in Mexico/Canada those foreign corporations can skirt U.S. trade tariffs and direct U.S. trade agreements. The finished foreign products entered the U.S. under NAFTA rules.

Why deal with the U.S. when you can just deal with Mexico, and use NAFTA rules to ship your product directly into the U.S. market?

This exploitative approach, a backdoor to the U.S. market, was the primary reason for massive foreign investment in Canada and Mexico; it was also the primary reason why candidate Donald Trump, now President Donald Trump, wanted to shut down that loophole and renegotiate NAFTA.

This loophole was the primary reason for U.S. manufacturers to relocate operations to Mexico. Corporations within the U.S. Auto-Sector could enhance profits by building in Mexico or Canada using parts imported from Asia/China. The labor factor was not as big an aspect of the overall cost consideration as cheaper parts and imported raw materials.

All nuanced trade-sector issues put aside, the larger issue was always how third-party nations will seek to gain access to the U.S. market through Canada and Mexico. [It is the NAFTA exploitation loophole which has severely damaged the U.S. manufacturing base.] That’s why this trade admission by Canada and Mexico is stunning.

Once truly fair trade deals are struck, this is what happens:

On May 31, Reuters reported that tariffs against the EU countries, Canada and Mexico would begin on Friday, June 1:

The United States on Thursday said it was moving ahead with tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, ending a two-month exemption and potentially setting the stage for a trade war with some of America’s top allies.

U.S Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters on a telephone briefing that a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico would go into effect at midnight (0400 GMT on Friday).

This is the background to what happened in June, to follow tomorrow.

Who knew tariffs could be so interesting?

Since Donald Trump’s 2016 victory, a stream of Democrats have been leaving the Left for the MAGA side.

Many more have crossed over in 2018.

Blacks see the truth:

Bernie Sanders’s supporters do, too:

Steps 5 through 8 look into the future:

5. Trump wins, CNN loses. Media learns it can’t push another Cold War for HRC.
6. Tariffs against countries that impose tariffs against us, or don’t play fair is a good thing.
7. Trump wins, Brennan, Clapper and prior intel chiefs lose, fail in Russia myth.
8. HRC indictment

Then there are others, like this man:

Then we come to the new #WalkAway movement, started by Brandon Straka, designed to unite ex-Democrats together with conservative Trump supporters:

This is a great video — short, to the point and with subtitles:

Regardless of what you think about gay rights, he refuses to let the Democrats take credit:

People do not want to be seen as victims:

Even hard core Democrats are leaving:

#WalkAway is garnering publicity:

The Populist Wire article of June 17 quoted Brandon Straka, who had strong words against identity politics and notional victimhood (emphases mine):

The distorted framework of this credo is sold to us under the banner of that slick advertisement which promises us that “diversity is our strength”. And yet, here we are- more divided than ever. Incapable of civil disagreement in matters of politics and culture. Nuanced opinion has been replaced with irate and mindless groupthink. The left has abandoned common sense and critical thinking while embracing its campaign of rage.

And sadly, the Democratic Party and liberal media have not only adopted but fed and nurtured this climate of extremism.

The #Walkaway Campaign is a grassroots movement dedicated to sharing the stories of people who can no longer accept modern “progressive” liberalism, and have chosen to walk away. It is a Facebook campaign set up to allow people to share their stories by video or text- about why they walked away, are going to walk away, or why they are encouraging others to walk away.

But the campaign also serves another purpose. It is an opportunity for the Silent Majority on the right to take back the narrative of who they truly are, which has been misrepresented for far too long by those on the left. This campaign is a platform for those on the right to use their voices and tell the world what it means to be a conservative in America today, and to erase the oft-repeated sentiment from the left that conservatives do not welcome minorities on the right.

I believe this campaign has the potential to usher in a new era of conservatism. One that is inclusive, energized, and solution-oriented- and which encourages unity, not diversity. Our true strength is realized in coming together as a common tribe- that of the American people.”

The article said that Straka will be joining Populist Wire as a contributor and included this tweet:

Conservative talk show host Wayne Dupree also talked about Straka:

Dupree voiced his approval:

This young man is different. He has forged a path to help others wake up and leave the Democratic Party. I’ve said on many occasions that anyone can be a voice to win over voters from the other side and this young man is doing it

I am so proud of this video and the specific points he has made. I hope that you find a spot on your timeline for this message as it is clear-cut ready to help others leave that evil political establishment.

I wish Brandon Straka all the best in his campaign, especially with mid-term elections this year:

There is much, much more to write about this significant political shift. Suffice it to say, Democrats with common sense are waking up.

Bible evangewomanblogspotcomThe three-year Lectionary that many Catholics and Protestants hear in public worship gives us a great variety of Holy Scripture.

Yet, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

My series Forbidden Bible Verses — ones the Lectionary editors and their clergy have omitted — examines the passages we do not hear in church. These missing verses are also Essential Bible Verses, ones we should study with care and attention. Often, we find that they carry difficult messages and warnings.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Acts 19:1-7

Paul in Ephesus

19 And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland[a] country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in[b] the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.

————————————————————————————————————-

Verse 1 mentions that Apollos was in Corinth. Luke wrote that because he related Apollos’s story at the end of Acts 18, which my previous entry discussed.

‘Inland country’ in that verse refers to Asia Minor, as Paul was revisiting churches he had founded.

Upon his return from his trip, he reached Ephesus, which he had previously left (see link in previous sentence) and said he would return to if it were God’s will. At that point, he met 12 disciples (verse 7) and asked if they had received the Holy Spirit when they were baptised. They replied that they had not heard of the Holy Spirit (verse 2).

Paul then asked into what they were baptised and they told him, ‘John’s baptism’ (verse 3).

They were talking about John the Baptist. There were many followers of John the Baptist at that time, e.g. Apollos.

Most probably these men had encountered a false teacher purporting to be one of John the Baptist’s followers. This is because John the Baptist had spoken of the Holy Spirit, therefore, the man who baptised these men would have known that if he had been a true follower. John MacArthur says (emphases mine):

the point here is that John the Baptist did teach about the Holy Spirit … I love what he says to them. Verse 3. He says, “Unto what then were you baptized?” And we know what he didn’t say. He didn’t say what kind of faulty instruction have you had?

Paul explained to them that John’s baptism was one of repentence to prepare them for Jesus (verse 4). After the first Pentecost, converts began being baptised ‘in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’. That could not have been done until a) after Christ ascended to Heaven and sent b) the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Matthew Henry’s commentary explains:

according to the tradition of their nation, after the death of Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, the Holy Ghost departed from Israel, and went up …

The men were duly baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus (verse 5). Henry does not think that Paul baptised them himself:

but by some of those who attended him.

Therefore, while there was a relationship between John’s baptism and that in the name of Jesus, these men needed the latter baptism in order to receive the Holy Spirit. They were baptised in the appointed form that continues to this day: ‘in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’. John the Baptist could not have recited those words because he and Jesus were of the same age, he was beheaded while Jesus was still in active ministry and the arrival of the Holy Spirit was still to come.

As soon as Paul laid hands on the baptised men, the Holy Spirit descended upon them (verse 6). They immediately spoke in tongues and began prophesying.

MacArthur makes important points about that verse and the Pentecostal churches. He says this was not necessarily a blueprint for all future baptisms:

He had his hands on them and at that point the spirit came and they spoke with languages and prophecy. You say there it is, there’s the norm, there’s the norm. That’s how it happens. Now wait a minute. That’s the last time it ever happens in the New Testament. Did you get that? That’s it. Now where are we, what book? Acts, transition. You say well why does it happen? Does it say command that this is the way it will always be is nothing about that there. verse 7 simply says, “and all the men were about 12.” It doesn’t say and this is how it’ll always be.

It just wraps it up there.

As for the glossolalia:

You say, well why did they speak in tongues? Two reasons. One, what did I tell you earlier that God wanted to do? He wanted to tie everybody into one church, didn’t he? Because let me give you an even stronger reason. These people had never heard that the Holy Spirit had come. And God knew that they needed a strong convincing that the Spirit had come. And so God and His wonderful wisdom just extended Pentecost to them. So that they too would know the Spirit came.

Henry says that these 12 men were destined for the ministry:

This was intended to introduce the gospel at Ephesus, and to awaken in the minds of men an expectation of some great things from it; and some think that it was further designed to qualify these twelve men for the work of the ministry, and that these twelve were the elders of Ephesus, to whom Paul committed the care and government of that church. They had the Spirit of prophesy, that they might understand the mysteries of the kingdom of God themselves, and the gift of tongues, that they might preach them to every nation and language. Oh, what a wonderful change was here made on a sudden in these men! those that but just now had not so much as heard that there was any Holy Ghost are now themselves filled with the Holy Ghost; for the Spirit, like the wind, blows where and when he listeth.

Priscilla and Aquila were already evangelising in Ephesus, but these men had received special divine gifts of the Spirit enabling them to lead the church there.

Next time — Acts 19:8-10

What follows are the readings for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, June 24, 2018.

These are for Year B in the three-year Lectionary cycle.

There are three sets of first readings, each with an accompanying Psalm from which the celebrant can choose. I have given the second selection blue and the third purple subheadings below. Emphases mine throughout.

The first two selections continue with readings from 1 Samuel.

First reading

This is the story of David’s attack on Goliath, the giant Philistine:

1 Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23), 32-49

17:1a Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle; they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim.

17:4 And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.

17:5 He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze.

17:6 He had greaves of bronze on his legs and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders.

17:7 The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron; and his shield-bearer went before him.

17:8 He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me.

17:9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.”

17:10 And the Philistine said, “Today I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man, that we may fight together.”

17:11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

17:19 Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.

17:20 David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, took the provisions, and went as Jesse had commanded him. He came to the encampment as the army was going forth to the battle line, shouting the war cry.

17:21 Israel and the Philistines drew up for battle, army against army.

17:22 David left the things in charge of the keeper of the baggage, ran to the ranks, and went and greeted his brothers.

17:23 As he talked with them, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines, and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him.

17:32 David said to Saul, “Let no one’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”

17:33 Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are just a boy, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”

17:34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and whenever a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb from the flock,

17:35 I went after it and struck it down, rescuing the lamb from its mouth; and if it turned against me, I would catch it by the jaw, strike it down, and kill it.

17:36 Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, since he has defied the armies of the living God.”

17:37 David said, “The LORD, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine.” So Saul said to David, “Go, and may the LORD be with you!”

17:38 Saul clothed David with his armor; he put a bronze helmet on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail.

17:39 David strapped Saul’s sword over the armor, and he tried in vain to walk, for he was not used to them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these; for I am not used to them.” So David removed them.

17:40 Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the wadi, and put them in his shepherd’s bag, in the pouch; his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine.

17:41 The Philistine came on and drew near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him.

17:42 When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was only a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance.

17:43 The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

17:44 The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the field.”

17:45 But David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

17:46 This very day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the Philistine army this very day to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the earth, so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel,

17:47 and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not save by sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hand.”

17:48 When the Philistine drew nearer to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.

17:49 David put his hand in his bag, took out a stone, slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.

Psalm

The Psalm recounts God’s goodness to His people as they struggle against enemies:

Psalm 9:9-20

9:9 The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

9:10 And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

9:11 Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion. Declare his deeds among the peoples.

9:12 For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

9:13 Be gracious to me, O LORD. See what I suffer from those who hate me; you are the one who lifts me up from the gates of death,

9:14 so that I may recount all your praises, and, in the gates of daughter Zion, rejoice in your deliverance.

9:15 The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid has their own foot been caught.

9:16 The LORD has made himself known, he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah

9:17 The wicked shall depart to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.

9:18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the poor perish forever.

9:19 Rise up, O LORD! Do not let mortals prevail; let the nations be judged before you.

9:20 Put them in fear, O LORD; let the nations know that they are only human. Selah

First reading

This passage from 1 Samuel continues the story after David struck down Goliath. Jonathan was one of Saul’s sons and faithful to the Lord. He became good friends with David. Meanwhile, Saul grew jealous and afraid of David:

1 Samuel 17:57-18:5, 18:10-16

17:57 On David’s return from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with the head of the Philistine in his hand.

17:58 Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”

18:1 When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

18:2 Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house.

18:3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.

18:4 Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.

18:5 David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him; as a result, Saul set him over the army. And all the people, even the servants of Saul, approved.

18:10 The next day an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand;

18:11 and Saul threw the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.

18:12 Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him but had departed from Saul.

18:13 So Saul removed him from his presence, and made him a commander of a thousand; and David marched out and came in, leading the army.

18:14 David had success in all his undertakings; for the LORD was with him.

18:15 When Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in awe of him.

18:16 But all Israel and Judah loved David; for it was he who marched out and came in leading them.

Psalm

The theme of the Psalm is the joy found in unity:

Psalm 133

133:1 How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!

133:2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes.

133:3 It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion. For there the LORD ordained his blessing, life forevermore.

First reading

The Lord spoke to Job, emphasising His almighty power. It was a rebuke to Job for allowing his three friends to mislead him:

Job 38:1-11

38:1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind:

38:2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?

38:3 Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

38:4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.

38:5 Who determined its measurements–surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?

38:6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone

38:7 when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?

38:8 “Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?–

38:9 when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band,

38:10 and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors,

38:11 and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?

Psalm

The Psalm reflects the theme of God’s almighty nature and His faithfulness to those who love Him:

Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32

107:1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.

107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, those he redeemed from trouble

107:3 and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.

107:23 Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the mighty waters;

107:24 they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep.

107:25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.

107:26 They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their calamity;

107:27 they reeled and staggered like drunkards, and were at their wits’ end.

107:28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out from their distress;

107:29 he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.

107:30 Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.

107:31 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.

107:32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

Epistle

Paul encouraged the Corinthians to hold fast to the Christian way of life, even though others did not accept it:

2 Corinthians 6:1-13

6:1 As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain.

6:2 For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!

6:3 We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry,

6:4 but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities,

6:5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger;

6:6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love,

6:7 truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left;

6:8 in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true;

6:9 as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see–we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed;

6:10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

6:11 We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you.

6:12 There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours.

6:13 In return–I speak as to children–open wide your hearts also.

Gospel

The Gospel reading continues with more accounts from Mark. This one is about the tempest which terrified the Apostles, so Jesus calmed the water. Afterwards, He questioned their faith:

Mark 4:35-41

4:35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”

4:36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him.

4:37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.

4:38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

4:39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.

4:40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”

4:41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

These readings tell us much about maintaining faith in adversity and knowing that God truly loves His people.

On Wednesday, June 20, 2018, President Trump held a rally in Duluth, Minnesota — exactly 17 months after his inauguration.

A man in the audience was wearing an tee shirt with a huge Q on it. President Trump publicly acknowledged him (photo courtesy of qanon.pub):

Here is a close up of the shirt:

Many are still sitting on the fence about Q. Some openly criticise Q.

They should stop carping and start reading Q’s messages.

Nearly all the messages have links to a Q research thread on 8chan.

Q leaves a message and expects 8chan contributors to research the facts behind it. Those who find 8chan too weird can read the greatawakening board on Reddit instead.

With regard to the president’s recognition of Q, this is message 1581 (emphasis mine):

Q !CbboFOtcZs ID: 682934 No.1838471 📁

We serve at the pleasure of the President.
We left the decision on timing to him.
Today, at the rally, he made his decision.
Shift in tactics.
Attacks ^
Q

Message 1582 includes the tweet posted above:

Q !CbboFOtcZs ID: a38ba8 No.1840075 📁

Now that’s what I call a VIP!
https://mobile.twitter.com/Q_ANONBaby/status/1009614122642825217/photo/1📁
Q+

Note the sign off ‘Q+’. A few messages have Q+. Although there is no clear indication yet, speculation abounds that Q+ could be Trump himself.

In any event, we now know that President Trump knows Q.

The G7 took place this month in Charlevoix, Québec.

Vladimir Putin has not been invited in recent years, something President Trump took issue with. Obama’s Susan Rice objected to Trump’s stance.

These are the participating countries:

This is another important fact:

Prior to the summit, G7 ministers met in Whistler between May 31 and June 2:

… G7 Ministers responsible for development cooperation met in Whistler, Canada, to discuss their shared priorities on some of the most pressing global development and humanitarian challenges, including advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

But there was a more pressing subject, as The Conservative Treehouse (CTH) pointed out on June 2:

… as the G7 finance ministerial sessions wrapped up today, all the talk centered around their collective, and stunningly hypocritical, angst at new United States trade policy; specifically the imposition of Steel and Aluminum tariffs on imported goods.

France, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Italy all have trade tariffs and trade barriers far higher than the U.S. Each of the G7 nations has exploited the overwhelmingly one-sided access to the U.S. market for decades. As President Trump demands “reciprocal and fair” trade agreements – those same nations now balk at the same rules and duties they impose on the U.S. now being imposed against them.

CTH cited a Reuters article:

Finance leaders of the closest U.S. allies vented anger over the Trump administration’s metal import tariffs but ended a three-day meeting in Canada on Saturday with no solutions, setting the stage for a heated fight at a G7 summit next week in Quebec.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed to soothe the frustrations of his Group of Seven counterparts over the 25 percent steel and 10 percent aluminum tariffs that Washington imposed on Mexico, Canada and the European Union this week.

The other six G7 member countries asked Mnuchin to bring to President Donald Trump “a message of regret and disappointment” over the tariffs, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau said at a press conference after the end of a three-day meeting in the Canadian mountain resort town of Whistler, British Columbia.

On June 6, two days before the G7 began, Trump’s National Economic Council (NEC) Chairman Larry Kudlow held a press conference to discuss the upcoming summit. Kudlow is a friendly economic face who can explain Trump’s strategy clearly to those with no background in finance. He has had a high-flying career in the financial industry, has written four books and has hosted his own television and radio shows. When asked about challenges with trade among G7 members, he said:

Well, look — we’re talking everything through. There may be disagreements. I regard this as much like a family quarrel. I’m always the optimist. I believe it can be worked out. But I’m always hopeful on that point. This is a G7 meeting, and the presidents and heads of state will get together.

Let me add one thought to that, though. The President — President Trump is very clear with respect to his trade reform efforts that we will do what is necessary to protect the United States, its businesses, and its workforce. So that we may have disagreements, we may have tactical disagreements, but he has always said — and I agree — tariffs are a tool in that effort. And people should recognize how serious he is in that respect.

When pressed on trade and tariffs, he explained (emphases mine):

Here’s the President’s key thought on this: reciprocity. And one of the problems, one of the reasons for the breakdown of the trading system — the world trading system, as I described, which the President is trying to fix — in the last 20-some-odd years, we’ve seen a lack of discipline; tariff and non-tariff barriers have gone up. There has been a lot of protectionism.

The United States, by the way, we have the lowest average tariff in the world. And if you go down a laundry list of industries, you will see we are much lower. Our tariff rates are much lower than our competitors.

So his point is we should all have a level playing field. He calls it “reciprocity.” I think it’s a very apt description. And that’s the problem. If you bring down the barriers, and you equalize the level of the playing field, then we’ll let nature take its course, we’ll let markets take their course, and we will see.

But I think the products we make here have improved enormously and will continue to improve enormously. And that’s really the message of this economic recovery.

So we’ll wait and see on that, but that’s the mechanism. As I said to the other question, the way you lower your trade gap, the way you increase your exports is lower the barriers.

And again, I want to say, other Presidents, in both parties, have paid lip service to this issue of the lack of reciprocity and China’s particularly bad behavior, but nothing ever comes of it. This President has the backbone to take the fight, and he will continue to make the fight because he believes it is in the best interest of the United States and also the rest of the world.

Some trade initiatives — GATT — and organisations — the WTO — were fine during their time, however, circumstances have changed over time:

Don’t blame Trump. Blame the nations that have broken away from those conditions. Very important point. All right? I’m not here at the podium to call out countries and individual names and so forth. But you know from our own work, Trump is trying to fix this broken system.

It was a good system — I agree with you — and it lasted for a bunch of decades. But that system has been broken in the last 20 years-plus. The World Trade Organization, for example, has become completely ineffectual. And even when it makes decisions, even in the rare moments when it makes decisions, important countries don’t even abide by them.

So you’re right about that framework from the mid-1940s on. I think it worked beautifully. I think free world trade is a very good thing indeed. But it is broken, and President Trump is trying to fix it. And that’s the key point.

Incidentally, Larry Kudlow suffered a heart attack a few days later. Fortunately, he’s now out and about:

Now onto the G7 summit. Before his arrival in Charlevoix on Friday, June 8, Trump tweeted:

The tension about Russia’s exclusion — and tariffs — mounted. That day, BT.com reported:

Donald Trump has dealt another blow to G7 unity after calling for Russia to be readmitted to the group – a call rejected by Theresa May.

The Prime Minister said Vladimir Putin’s Russia – thrown out of the group of leading industrialised nations in 2014 – should not be readmitted until it could demonstrate a change of course.

Mr Trump was already at odds with the rest of the group – the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – over the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium.

His comments on Russia – backed by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte – added further to the tensions at the summit in La Malbaie in Canada.

Mr Trump said: “Russia should be in the meeting, should be a part of it.”

But Mrs May told the BBC: “I have always said we should engage with Russia but my phrase is ‘engage but beware’.

“We should remind ourselves why the G8 became the G7, it was because Russia illegally annexed Crimea …

“So we need to say, I think, before any such conversations can take place Russia needs to change its approach.”

The article says that Prime Minister May met formally with every other leader except President Trump:

The US president is expected to depart the two-day summit early on Saturday, leaving the rest of the group behind.

Asked if Mrs May believed she had been snubbed, a Downing Street spokeswoman replied: “No.”

But the Prime Minister twice refused to say whether she had requested a formal bilateral meeting with Mr Trump.

Trump arrived that day (videos of arrival at Canadian Forces Base Bagotville here and here; arrival in Charlevoix here).

‘Justin from Canada’, as Trump refers to Premier Trudeau, looked rather weak:

Trump’s grandfather, a German immigrant, built a hotel in the Yukon as a young man. That was during the time of the Gold Rush:

The two leaders met privately then answered questions from the press, which ended with this:

Q Prime Minister, are you disappointed the President is leaving early?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, he’s happy.

Strangely enough, that day:

Trump also met with French president Emmanuel Macron in the early evening:

PRESIDENT MACRON: I wanted to thank President Trump. I think we had a very open and direct discussion this afternoon. We always have this kind of discussion.

And I think, on trade, there is a critical a path, but there is a way to progress altogether. We had a very direct and open discussion. And I saw the willingness on all the sides to find agreements and have a win-win approach for our people, our workers, and our middle classes.

We will have, this evening, a group discussion on North Korea — and you will have a very important meeting in Singapore — on Syria, on Iran, obviously. But I want to say that sometimes we disagree, but we always speak and share, I think, common concerns and common values. And we share the willingness to deliver and get results together.

So I wanted to thank you for that, once again.

Their meeting had been rescheduled from earlier that day, as Trump was delayed in leaving the White House.

There was the usual handshake and friendliness, but Macron had issued a warning to Trump the previous day via the press:

The Hill reported Macron’s remarks from Thursday, June 7:

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday delivered a stark message to President Trump, promising to resist “hegemony” and warning that no leader lasts forever.

Asked whether Trump did not care about “being isolated” from other world leaders, Macron responded, “Maybe, but nobody is forever.”

Macron’s statement comes as leaders from the Group of Seven prepare to meet at the G-7 summit in Canada on Friday — a meeting where Trump’s trade policies are expected to take center stage. 

Macron could reasonably apply his views on Trump to his own good self, as he has been lording it over the French for over a year now.

This is the reality of Trudeau and Macron:

This is what happened on Day 1:

This is a rather nice video summarising Friday’s events:

CTH has a meatier summary of what took place:

French President Emmanuel Macron responded to Trudeau’s plea and arrived two-days early to coordinate the strategic message.  Together they were looking for leverage in advance of Godzilla Trump’s arrival.  Germany’s Angela Merkel, and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May even brought non-G7 members European Council President Donald Tusk, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker as back-up.

Apparently the six-against-one plan was considered unfair to the six, so they added two moreUnfortunately for Canada, France, Germany and the U.K., Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte are not foolish enough to take on Godzilla.

As an entirely predictable outcome, President Trump won again.  It’s just so darned funny to watch this play out.  The era of the titan is back, and deliciously the titan is an American President, Donald J Trump.  He’s one guy, and he has them all surrounded; and he’s laughing the entire time.  He’s impenetrable, sharp, funny as heck and monolithic in stature making all of his opposition look decidedly less-than.

This video of everyone gathering around the table is interesting:

Photographs from June 9 lent further credence to CTH‘s summary:

Trump made a new friend at the G7, who also wants Russia re-admitted to the summit in future:

Trump held a press conference before leaving the G7 for the Singapore Summit:

Among his messages were:

Economic Security is National Security

CNN is “Fake News”

Then it was time for him to depart for Singapore:

Trump later instructed US representatives at the G7 to reject the summit’s communique:

This is because he thought Justin from Canada was being disingenuous with him after he left (see Trudeau’s closing press conference):

On Sunday, June 10, BT.com reported more on that and the rest of the summit, excerpted below:

The summit in Canada was marked by the US president’s controversial trade policy which has put him at odds with the rest of the G7 leaders.

He warned that retaliation against metal tariffs – 25% on imports of steel and 10% on aluminium from countries including the UK and the rest of the European Union – would be a mistake after previously calling the EU approach to business “brutal”…

During the meeting, Mr Trump accused other states of “robbing” his country through their trade policies and proposed scrapping tariffs across the G7.

But Theresa May hit back, branding the tariffs “unjustified” and saying the EU would respond – although she warned against further tit-for-tat escalation.

Despite the tensions at the gathering in Canada, Mr Trump rated his relationship with their leaders as a “10” – naming Germany’s Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Mr Trudeau, but not the UK Prime Minister.

As well as criticising the tariffs, Mrs May also opposed Mr Trump’s call for Russia to be readmitted to the group of leading industrialised nations.

But Mr Trump insisted it would be an “asset” to have Vladimir Putin back at the summit table.

That day, White House Trade Policy Adviser Peter Navarro told Fox News that Trudeau had made a huge mistake — the ‘biggest miscalculation in Canadian political history‘ — and more:

Of course, as Trump was in Singapore, he couldn’t readily tweet about the G7 until he returned to Washington. On Friday, June 15, he had a few points to make:

He also told Fox & Friends that the leaders had wished him a happy birthday on June 14, Breitbart reported.

More on tariffs to follow.

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