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A Twitter user from Britain enquired what people’s impressions of President Trump were during his visit to the UK last week.

The poll was taken by:

Here are the poll results:

A superb comment thread follows. This poll did not go as planned:

I especially liked this comment from MAGA!!! Mattdaddy:

Nice one!

Oh, well, better luck next time!

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Detailed posts on the NATO summit and President Trump’s visit to the UK will follow next week.

For now, Prime Minister Theresa May’s husband Philip May hosted First Lady Melania Trump on Friday, July 13, 2018, more about which below.

As the Trump baby balloon was being inflated before floating over Parliament Square, President Trump was on his way to Sandhurst with the US ambassador to Britain, Robert Wood ‘Woody’ Johnson.

BT.com reports:

He is expected to view a joint US-UK special forces military demonstration at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst …

The president flew into the British Army’s official training centre on Marine One, preceded by two accompanying helicopters.

Woody Johnson, the US ambassador to Britain, was onboard with Mr Trump.

Also attending Sandhurst are several of the president’s aides, including John Kelly, John Bolton and Stephen Miller.

The report left out the Prime Minister:

Meanwhile, Philip May met Mrs Trump at the historic Royal Hospital Chelsea. Suzanne Johnson, the ambassador’s wife, accompanied her. They were greeted by Lieutenant Colonel Nicky Mott, hospital CEO Gary Lashko and Chelsea pensioners John Riley, Alan Collins and Marjorie Cole:

Mrs Trump also met pupils from Saint George’s Church of England primary school, who were making Remembrance Day poppies:

When she arrived into the room, she said “good morning” and asked the children if they would like to show her how to make the poppies.

Mrs Trump had a go at making one, and told the children: “Thank you for helping me.”

She showed Mr May her effort and joked: “Very professional.”

After the poppy making, Mrs Trump listened to school children talk about values and service.

Mrs Trump sat in front of a poster which said “Be the best you can be”.

Mrs Trump recently launched a campaign for American schoolchildren called ‘Be Best’, a poster for which shows in the following tweet:

St George’s has a programme called ‘Be the Best You Can Be’:

Then it was time for bowls:

Meanwhile, Prime Minister May and President Trump were engaging in talks at the weekend home of British prime ministers, Chequers:

One can only imagine what is going through Trump’s mind. Probably something along the lines of, ‘This is a historic moment, because, next time I come here, Theresa May will no longer be Prime Minister’. Sadly, that is a very real possibility — through her own doing for a ‘soft’ Brexit.

By the time this post appears, President and Mrs Trump will have enjoyed tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle and will be in Scotland at Trump’s golf resort, Turnberry, for the weekend.

Mrs Trump tweeted her thanks for a lovely Friday morning:

In closing, for those who are interested, this BT.com article has more information on Mrs Trump’s attire.

A 20-year old self-described financier and Trump supporter recently posted an excellent tweet of eight Time cover pages:

His tweet got this response:

Of course, an anti-Trumper tweeted:

I bet you can’t produce a date or the group that conducted this poll….

It was easy enough to find the source — a July 2, 2014 USA Today article by David Jackson, ‘Poll: Obama “worst president” since World War II’. This was the reality of the situation four years ago (emphases mine below):

In a new Quinnipiac University Poll, 33% named Obama the worst president since World War II, and 28% put Bush at the bottom of post-war presidents.

“Over the span of 69 years of American history and 12 presidencies, President Barack Obama finds himself with President George W. Bush at the bottom of the popularity barrel,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

Also:

Obama received only 8% in the best presidents poll.

The Quinnipiac poll also reports that 45% believe the nation would be better off had Mitt Romney defeated Obama in the 2012 presidential election; 38% say the country would be worse off with a Romney presidency.

The media purposely mislead people. It’s high time we stopped believing their propaganda.

Incidentally, if you missed my post on the ties intelligence agencies have with journalists, please do read it.

Udo Ulfkotte was a German journalist who died of a heart attack in 2017 at the age of 56.

Strangely enough, he never studied journalism, but rather jurisprudence and politics.

He had a distinguished career, which included being assistant editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung for several years; he left the paper in 2003. Between 1986 and 1998, he lived in several Middle Eastern countries. He also wrote several investigative books during his lifetime.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51gdGRKeFjL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgOne of his books that is nearly impossible to buy is Gekaufte Journalisten (‘Bought Journalists’), which appeared in English as Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys the News. It sells for a whopping $900 on Amazon.com.

Image credit: Amazon.com

It’s worth reading the comments on the aforementioned English language Amazon page for the various comments. In effect, the book is being censored. Here is a good representative comment, where the reviewer gave the book five stars (emphases mine below):

No, I haven’t read the book, because it is priced completely out of my reach. I am giving it five stars anyway because of what I’ve read *about* it, as I’ve followed its author’s sagathe blackout by German media of the original German edition Gekaufte Journalisten (Bought Journalists) for a couple of years now, raids by German police on the author’s house, his noting how he feared for his life, and his finally being found dead on January 13 of this year “from a heart attack” (he was only 56, and because it is possible to kill someone in ways that look like a heart attack, some people believe he was murdered).

The fate of a whistleblower against one of the world’s most powerful organizations in a controlled society being passed off as a democracy?

Two things are abundantly clear: (1) The English translation of this book has been “privished.” There are a couple of good recent discussions of what it means to “privish” a book, but Amazon will not allow me to link to them. So let’s just say: the purpose of “privishing” is make a book with an unwanted message disappear without a trace by limiting information about it, destroying its marketability by printing too few copies, and refusing reprint rights, so that the copies available are too expensive for readers of ordinary means (which is nearly all of us). (2) Anyone who claims there are no conspiracies, that there are no behind-the-scenes efforts by powerful people to suppress information that would expose their efforts at global domination, is full of crap.

Privishing = private + publishing.

Until I read that review, I thought the word had positive connotations, as in a publishing house saving a title and making it more affordable and better-known.

I could not have been more mistaken.

Privishing is meant to kill off a title.

On January 8, 2018, Off Guardian published a good post on the book and the implications of privishing; James Tracy’s ‘English Translation of Udo Ulfkotte’s “Bought Journalists” Suppressed?’ is a must read. A summary with excerpts follows.

A US-Canadian publishing house, Tayen Lane, released the title through their imprint Next Revelation Press in May 2017. Ulfkotte had died earlier, in January. However, in 2015, when James Tracy enquired as to whether there would be an English release, Ulfkotte responded:

Please find the link to the English edition here http://www.tayenlane.com/bought-journalists

The page, at that time, gave an expected publication date.

Today, the page no longer exists.

Tracy explains:

When a book publisher determines that it has acquired a politically volatile or otherwise “troublesome” title it may embark on a process recognized in the industry as “privishing.” “Privishing is a portmanteau meaning to privately publish, as opposed to true publishing that is open to the public,” writes investigative journalist Gerald Colby.

Also:

Privishing often takes place without the author knowing, simply because it involves breach of contract and potential liability.

Tayen Lane will likely not face any legal challenge in this instance, however. Ulfkotte died of a heart attack on January 13, 2017, at age 56.[4]

Tracy provided an update to his article to say — see the tweet below — that someone had ordered a copy of the book, only to receive a cancellation:

Tracy included a 2014 video of Ultkotte saying that he had to work with intelligence agencies at the risk of losing his job. Ultimately, intelligence agencies gave him articles to publish under his own name:

Tracy gives us more about the content of the video:

The German journalist explains how he was recruited during the 1980s to work in espionage. This began through an invitation proffered by his graduate school advisor for an all-expense-paid trip to attend a two-week seminar on the Cold War conflict in Bonn.

After Ulfkotte obtained his doctorate he was given a job as a reporter at “the leading conservative German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, oddly appointed despite no journalistic training and hundreds of other applicants.

Serving as a correspondent throughout the Middle East, Ulfkotte eventually became acquainted with agents from the CIA, German intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Britain’s MI6, and Israel’s Mossad, all of whom valued his ability to travel freely in countries largely closed to the West.

His editors readily collaborated in such intelligence gathering operations,”[5] for which journalist possess “non-official cover” by virtue of their profession.

“Non-official cover” occurs when a journalist is essentially working for the CIA, but it’s not in an official capacity,” Ulfkotte explains.

Tracy includes one of Ulfkotte’s last tweets prior to his death:

Tracy says that intelligence agencies’ ties to media outlets accounts for a) the CIA’s antipathy towards WikiLeaks (which could no doubt make all this public) and b) the media’s insistence on pushing the Trump-Russian collusion narrative.

An American Free Press article from October 2014 — the same year the RT video above was made — has more on Ulfkotte’s book and how he came to be part of the intelligence agency network. Ronald L Ray’s ‘Reporter Admits Most Media Work for CIA, MI6, Mossad‘ is also a must read.

While most of us would say ‘no’ to becoming part of an intelligence network, this is how Ulfkotte described his recruitment:

Prior to a particular semester break, when he hoped to visit Italy and meet young women, a professor asked if he would like to attend a two-week seminar in Bonn on the East-West conflict. This was during the Cold War in a divided Germany. Ulfkotte was not at all interested, but university professors in Germany were (and are) highly respected. It was difficult to refuse.

He was promised that his travel would be paid for, as well as lodging and meals, and he would receive spending money into the bargain. For a young man from poor economic circumstances, this was too much. Relates Ulfkotte, “I suddenly felt this deep feeling inside me that I had ‘always’ wanted to go” to such a seminar. Such “innocent” beginnings were the first bribes, which would draw him ever deeper into a widespread network of corruption and spying, where no one considered such behavior immoral, but rather “accepted practice.”

No one said, “I’m from the CIA,” or from the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND)—the German intelligence service. But the seminar leaders sorted out “who was communist and who was pro-Western” among the young attendees. After further similar events, someone asked Ulfkotte if he would work for the BND—the last thing on his mind. But again, a professor—his doctoral advisor—pressured him to “think about it.” And once more, a poor boy found a free automobile and a good salary very attractive.

Ronald L Ray relates that Ulfkotte’s journalistic career as a war correspondent was a good one in these terms:

Eventually, he did indeed meet agents of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), BND, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6 (Military Intelligence, Section 6), and Israel’s Mossad, who valued his ability to travel freely in countries largely closed to the West. His editors were knowing accomplices.

What follows is how Ray, using Ulfkotte’s experiences, describes the system working.

This is far worse than I had imagined.

There are the ‘unofficial covers’ — people who work with an intelligence agency but are not on their payroll as actual agents:

It is a broad, loose network of “friends,” doing one another favors. Many are lead journalists from numerous countries. This informality provides plausible deniability for both sides, but it means an “unofficial cover,” as Ulfkotte became, is on his own if captured.

Those involved leave their various connections and affiliations unknown. Ray says that Ulfkotte once accompanied then Chancellor Helmut Kohl to Jordan. There, he attended a function at which the president of Israel was also present. Ulfkotte began shaking the hands of journalists and officials he knew. All of them had intelligence agency ties:

He was ordered sharply back to his place. Otherwise, “everyone would know” who the other intelligence assets were. It must have been an appreciable percentage, because Ulfkotte then realized they were “all in the same boat.”

Ulfkotte’s ‘friends’ often asked for special favours, e.g. soil samples from various trips or a description of political opinions of leaders in certain countries.

But there was more — an ongoing bribery system of lavish favours — which he received when an intelligence agency or powerful institution approached him with an article to put under his own byline:

Large sums of money, gifts, public recognition and significant career advancement go to those journalists who provide useful information on people they meet or know, or on places to which they travel. Many times, the reporter, like Ulfkotte, need only put his name on an article written for him by some spy agency or financial institution. Money and gifts change hands; doors open to elitist groups, like the Trilateral Commission, Atlantik-Brücke, the Aspen Institute and the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Those who do not cooperate are fired.

Ulfkotte also believed that the CIA created Germany’s BND:

Because Iran has no U.S. embassy, he would enter the Turkish embassy and follow a then-secret, underground escape tunnel into the German embassy, where he would turn over his reports for the CIA or BND. In a recent RT interview, Ulfkotte noted that the BND was created by the CIA. To him, it is a symbol of Germany’s status as a “banana republic,” a “colony of the U.S.”

In closing, here is a direct quote from Ulfkotte that Ray included in his article (emphasis in the original):

“I’ve been a journalist for about 25 years, and I’ve been educated to lie, to betray—and not to tell the truth to the public. . . . The German and American media [is trying] to bring war to the people in Europe, to bring war to Russia. This is a point of no return, and I am going to stand up and say it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do, and have done in the past, because they are bribed to betray the people not only in Germany, but all over Europe. . . . I am very fearful of a new war in Europe, and I don’t [want to see] this situation again. There are always people who push for war, and this is not only politicians, it is journalists too. We have betrayed our readers. . . . I’m fed up with this propaganda. We live in a banana republic [Germany], and not in a democratic country where we have press freedom.”  — Udo Ulfkotte

Reading that quote from 2014 and thinking about President Trump’s attempts at negotiating world peace, one can better understand exactly why the media — not to mention the Left and their paymasters — want Trump de-legitimised and, ultimately, suppressed.

May the Hand of God continue to protect the American president, his staff and his family.

Further reading:

‘THE WORLD – upside down’ – Udo Ulfkotte article about his experience in the Middle East (2006)

‘Leading German Journalist: CIA Media Pushing for World War’ – Infowars (2014)

Today, by chance, I found an interesting Breitbart article from April 5, 2016, ‘13 Amazing Facts We’ve Learned About Donald Trump’s Campaign‘, which summarises a New York magazine article.

The people New York interviewed were adviser Sam Nunberg, press secretary Hope Hicks and campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Nunberg fell at the first hurdle and endorsed Ted Cruz in March 2016; Paul Manafort replaced Lewandowski as an experienced political operative who got Trump his delegates; and Hicks followed Trump to the White House only to resign as communications director a few months ago.

Never mind that.

This is what the scene looked like just two weeks after rioters prevented Trump’s Chicago rally from going ahead in mid-March 2016. That was the time I started to study his campaign closely.

These insider titbits came as news to me (emphases mine below). Quotes are from New York:

1. Years before he announced his candidacy, Trump had a former aide listen to talk radio to discover what issues Americans cared about most.

I listened to thousands of hours of talk radio, and he was getting reports from me,” [Sam] Nunberg recalled. What those reports said was that the GOP base was frothing over a handful of issues including immigration, Obamacare, and Common Core. While Jeb Bush talked about crossing the border as an “act of love,” Trump was thinking about how high to build his wall.

2. That former aide says he first met Trump when he was a child at a WWE (then WWF) event.

Nunberg is a lawyer wired into right-wing politics who has long looked up to “Mr. Trump,” as he calls him. “I first met him at Wrestle­Mania when I was like 5 years old,” Nunberg told me.

7. Sherman [author of the article] says not even Trump himself expected to become the frontrunner at first.

When he launched his campaign, Trump suspected it would eventually fizzle and he would return to The Apprentice. “You know, when I first got into this, it was for other reasons,” he told a friend. As weeks and then months passed with him remaining out front, he began to think winning the nomination was a real possibility, even as he resisted calls to professionalize his campaign. Why bother, when what he was doing was working so well?

10. Trump’s campaign has less than 1/8th of the national staff that Hillary Clinton does.

Trump’s campaign employs a core team of about a dozen people; his campaign lists 94 people on the payroll nationwide, according to the latest Federal Election Commission filing (Hillary Clinton has 765).

11. The Trump campaign claims to have built a millions-strong email list at virtually no cost just by requiring registration from rally attendees.

After the rallies, Trump makes sure his fans stay mobilized. Everyone who attends a rally has to register by email, and the campaign uses this list, which Lewandowski estimates is “in the millions at this point,” to turn out voters. Most campaigns spend a lot of money to acquire voter lists; Trump largely built his own. “If you look at what the Obama campaign achieved many years ago, they were successful at bringing new people in, and then communicating with those people. What we’re doing is not dissimilar,” Lewandowski explained. “He had a brilliant plan, which was to go in and attract huge crowds,” added Ed McMullen, Trump’s South Carolina co-chair. “We had extremely strong interaction with them, and we were dedicated to keeping track of who those people were.” Trump supporters receive frequent email updates and phone calls from phone-bank volunteers.

12. Trump often writes his infamous Instagram ads and has one employee produce them for almost nothing.

He buys few ads, and when he does, he likes to write them himself.

Trump has aired only six unique TV commercials, according to Hicks, while his GOP rivals have aired more than two dozen separate ads each. Through February, he spent only $10 million on ads; Jeb Bush spent $82 million. Trump relies mostly on essentially free Instagram spots produced by 29-year-old Justin McConney, the son of Trump’s corporate comptroller, whom Trump put in charge of building his social-media profile a few years ago. (One ad he made that featured Hillary barking and Putin laughing got a ton of — free — press.)

That really is amazing, in every respect. Of course, the campaign evolved that year through staff changes meeting ever-advancing challenges.

Thinking back, even up to the Electoral College vote, most people said, ‘Trump can’t win!’

And, today, look where America is under President Donald Trump, still resisted by some:

Thank goodness a savvy businessman is in the White House — the first in living memory! Of course, being a savvy businessman is only half the story. The other half is that Trump truly loves the United States and the American people.

Dr Trump is quickly working to restore the Great Republic to health, but she is still gravely ailing.

This film, ostensibly about Q, is more of a general op-ed piece about the state of America today. For that reason, I would recommend watching the last two minutes for a glimpse of a brighter future. Even though I’m on the fence about the first several minutes as being representative of Q, a lot of people like the video, so here it is:

On this note, on July 1, 2018,the Washington Times published a good editorial by L Todd Wood, ‘America really did have a Manchurian Candidate in the White House‘.

L Todd Wood is:

a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, flew special operations helicopters supporting SEAL Team 6, Delta Force and others. After leaving the military, he pursued his other passion, finance, spending 18 years on Wall Street trading emerging market debt, and later, writing. The first of his many thrillers is “Currency.” Todd is a contributor to Fox Business, Newsmax TV, Moscow Times, the New York Post, the National Review, Zero Hedge and others. For more information about L. Todd Wood, visit LToddWood.com.

Excerpts from his editorial follow, emphases mine:

After returning from a tour of some of the war zones in the Middle East — which ended with the Free Iran Gathering 2018 in Paris — I am struck by the realization that America really did have a Manchurian Candidate in The White House for eight years. If you look at the evidence, there really is no other conclusion. The calamitous consequences of the Obama presidency will be felt for the foreseeable future.

In the short year and a half that President Trump has been in office, he has put in place policy that has mitigated the damage that President Obama inflicted on our national security and on our allies. The speed with which Trump has been able to turn things around points to the diabolical depths the Obama administration went to in order to undermine our national strength and way of life. All Trump had to do was stop doing things that hurt America; America could then take care of itself. The results are plain as day. However, it will take decades for the Obama damage to be completely undone. The deviousness of the Obama sedition runs deep.

Todd then analyses the destabilising effect Obama’s policies in the Middle East had not only there but on the rest of the world — well worth reading.

He concludes:

I won’t go into why Obama ran up more debt for the United States than all previous presidents combined. I won’t ask why he weakened our armed forces. I won’t ask why he used tyrannical policies, like using the agencies of the federal government to go after his political opposition. I won’t ask why he politicized our security apparatus in an attempt to frame President Trump.

What I will say is that there was a big fox in the hen house for eight long years. Eight long years for people like Brennan, Hillary, Kerry, Clapper, Comey and Jarrett to really hurt us regarding our safety and security.

Trump has a lot of house cleaning to do. Thank goodness he’s being quick about it.

Indeed.

On this Fourth of July, it is important to honour the Great Republic and to be aware that much still needs to be done to restore her to health.

I hope my American readers enjoy a happy Independence Day. Please remember the nation the Founding Fathers had in mind and pray for her continued recovery.

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?

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