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My past two posts have been about the US, North Korea and China.

The first post discussed developments that immediately followed the US-North Korea Singapore Summit held on Monday, June 12, 2018.

Yesterday’s concerned Mike Pompeo’s meetings in North Korea and Japan early in July as well as the trade war between the US and China.

Today’s entry looks at events from the past month.

On July 19, news emerged that China was nearly doubling the amounts of crude oil they were sending to North Korea, possibly jeopardising UN sanctions. From OilPrice.com via South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper (emphases mine):

The surge in Chinese shipments to North Korea is raising additional concerns that China could undermine the international sanctions against Kim’s regime.

Pipeline volumes of between 30,000 tons to 40,000 tons are enough in the summer to keep the pipeline from China to North Korea unclogged, while this volume is around 80,000 tons in the winter, Chosun Ilbo’s source said. Although it’s summer, China has recently increased the oil flow to the winter levels, the source told the South Korean outlet …

If China sends 80,000 tons of oil to North Korea every month, this volume already brings the amount to 960,000 tons a year—above the 525,000 tons limit for a 12-month period in the sanctions, Chosun Ilbo argues.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley met with the UN Security Council the next day. The crude oil shipments were one of Pompeo’s first topics. He reminded the UN of the collective responsibility member nations have in enforcing sanctions. From the State Department transcript:

Right now, North Korea is illegally smuggling petroleum products into the country at a level that far exceeds the quotas established by the United Nations. These illegal ship-to-ship transfers are the most prominent means by which this is happening.

These transfers happened at least 89 times in the first five months of this year and they continue to occur. The United States reminds every UN member-state of its responsibility to stop illegal ship-to-ship transfers, and we urge them to step up their enforcement efforts as well.

We must also crack down on other forms of sanctions evasion, including the smuggling of coal by sea, smuggling by overland borders, and the presence of North Korean guest workers in certain countries. North Korean cyber thefts and other criminal activities are also generating significant revenues for the regime, and they must be stopped.

President Trump remains upbeat about the prospects of denuclearization of North Korea. So do I, as progress is happening. It is the Trump administration’s hope that one day the DPRK could be in our midst here at the United Nations – not as a pariah, but as a friend. Imagine UN Security Council meetings in which the DPRK nuclear and missile programs were not the agenda time and time again. We’ll be able to focus our energy on so many urgent problems that face our world.

I believe this reality is possible, and so does President Trump. But it will take full enforcement of sanctions for us to get there. It will also take Chairman Kim following through on his personal commitments that he made to President Trump in Singapore. The path ahead is not easy; it will take time. But our hopes for a safer world for all of us and a brighter future for North Korea remains our objective, and that hope endures.

That day, President Trump signed into law House Resolution (HR) 2061, the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorisation Act of 2017:

At the end of the month, things began happening in North Korea, not all of which made sense.

On July 23, North Korea began dismantling key facilities at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station:

However, on July 25, Mike Pompeo said the country was still producing fuel for nuclear bombs:

Asked at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing whether North Korea was still making bomb fuel, Pompeo responded to Democratic Senator Ed Markey by saying: “Yes, that’s correct … Yes, they continue to produce fissile material.”

Pompeo declined to respond when asked whether North Korea was continuing to pursue submarine-launched ballistic missiles or whether its nuclear program was advancing generally.

He said he would be happy to answer the latter question if necessary in a classified setting, but suggested public statements on the issue would not help “a complex negotiation with a difficult adversary.”

The following day, a new North Korean military chief of staff was appointed:

On July 27, as North Korea pledged, remains of US soldiers from the Korean War landed in Hawaii. US Air Force veteran flying ace Chuck Yeager tweeted a tribute:

On August 1, Vice President Mike Pence presided over a ceremony and reception of the fallen soldiers’ remains in Hawaii, their return being part of the Singapore Summit agreement.

Meanwhile, interesting discussions took place between South Korea and China regarding the Korean War Armistice. Noon in Korea has an excellent Twitter thread from July 31, excerpted below:

Excellent news! The Korean War could finally come to an end!

Meanwhile, back in China — North Korea’s controller — an article on American Thinker excerpted another from the Financial Times, which says the Chinese think that President Trump is ‘a genius’. On July 29, American Thinker‘s Monica Showalter wrote:

Has anyone ever called the Chinese ‘stupid’? Not those guys.

So now they’re reading President Trump, and unlike the childish Eurotrash of western Europe, they see a shrewd, wily, chess-playing, Sun Tzu-grade genius, who could easily checkmate them, and they’ve got a lot of reasons for thinking so.

That’s the report from a European policy-domo, who actually went to Beijing and asked the local leaders what they were seeing.

Instapundit also has excerpts from the FT article, written by the European Council of Foreign Relations President Mark Leonard:

I have just spent a week in Beijing talking to officials and intellectuals, many of whom are awed by his skill as a strategist and tactician. . . .

Few Chinese think that Mr Trump’s primary concern is to rebalance the bilateral trade deficit. If it were, they say, he would have aligned with the EU, Japan and Canada against China rather than scooping up America’s allies in his tariff dragnet. They think the US president’s goal is nothing less than remaking the global order

In Chinese eyes, Mr Trump’s response is a form of “creative destruction”. He is systematically destroying the existing institutions — from the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement to Nato and the Iran nuclear deal — as a first step towards renegotiating the world order on terms more favourable to Washington.

Once the order is destroyed, the Chinese elite believes, Mr Trump will move to stage two: renegotiating America’s relationship with other powers. Because the US is still the most powerful country in the world, it will be able to negotiate with other countries from a position of strength if it deals with them one at a time rather than through multilateral institutions that empower the weak at the expense of the strong.

My interlocutors say that Mr Trump is the US first president for more than 40 years to bash China on three fronts simultaneously: trade, military and ideology. They describe him as a master tactician, focusing on one issue at a time, and extracting as many concessions as he can. They speak of the skilful way Mr Trump has treated President Xi Jinping. “Look at how he handled North Korea,” one says. “He got Xi Jinping to agree to UN sanctions [half a dozen] times, creating an economic stranglehold on the country. China almost turned North Korea into a sworn enemy of the country.” But they also see him as a strategist, willing to declare a truce in each area when there are no more concessions to be had, and then start again with a new front.

Why don’t Westerners view Trump the same way the Chinese do?

Nevertheless, China isn’t going to go down without a fight.

On August 4, Trump posted a series of tweets about the success his tariffs on Chinese goods. This was the first:

The Conservative Treehouse correctly predicted what lay ahead:

Do not be surprised if North Korea launches another provocative missile test soon. Watch China, not N.Korea. It’s Chairman Xi’s people in the DPRK who are taking action. Kim Jong-Un is an expendable proxy regime. The war is the U.S. -vs- China trade and economic confrontation. North Korea is the Potemkin backdrop for the Beijing puppeteer.

The following day, Reuters reported:

China’s state media on Monday lashed out at the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump in an usually direct attack, accusing him of “starring in his own carefully orchestrated street fighter-style deceitful drama”.

Trump’s wish for others to play along with his drama is “wishful thinking,” the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper said in an editorial.

The editorial said the United States had escalated trade friction with China, and turned international trade into “zero-sum game”.

“Governing a country is not like doing business,” the editorial said, arguing that Trump’s actions imperiled the national credibility of the United States.

The Conservative Treehouse explained what was going on:

Each time China takes aggressive action (red dragon) China projects a panda face through silence and non-response to opinion of that action;…. and the action continues. The red dragon has a tendency to say one necessary thing publicly, while manipulating another necessary thing privately.  The Art of War.

President Trump is the first U.S. President to understand how the red dragon hides behind the panda mask

It is specifically because Trump understands Panda is a mask that President Trump messages warmth toward the Chinese people, and pours vociferous praise upon Xi Jinping, while simultaneously confronting the geopolitical doctrine of the Xi regime.

In essence Trump is mirroring the behavior of China while confronting their economic duplicity.

On August 6, ZeroHedge confirmed Trump’s strategy in an article about the continuing decline of China’s currency, the renminbi: ‘China Is Now Left With Just Three Options, And They Are All Equally Bad’ (emphases in the original):

  1. intervene in currency markets to offset market pressures risking a new wave of reserve depletion;
  2. raise interest rates to defend the currency causing monetary tightening and risking economic weakness; or
  3. let the currency depreciate beyond the above critical levels along with market pressures risking capital outflows and a more abrupt move

It goes without saying that all three choices have severely adverse consequences for the market and the global economy, and yet Donald Trump would be delighted with any of the three. After all, recall what One River CIO Eric Peters … laid out what may be the best long-term foreign policy recommendation for Trump, or any other administration: crash China…

Engineering a decade of rolling Chinese financial crises would be the most effective foreign policy the US could run.” Forget about the South China Sea, don’t bother with more aircraft carriers, just let Beijing try to cope with their financial system.

“And we’re 80% of the way there – we instigated a trade war, implemented a massive fiscal stimulus, which created the room to raise interest rates. The combined policy mix makes capital want to leave at the same time it makes the dollar more attractive and effectively shuts down new investment inflows to China.”

On August 7, ZeroHedge discussed the aforementioned dismantling of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station and disparaged the lack of Big Media coverage on it, especially as the dismantling goes beyond what the US and North Korea negotiated:

activity at the launch pad appears to go beyond that commitment.

ZeroHedge said:

As we previously noted, these stories of supposed North Korean betrayal by NBC, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal are egregious cases of distorting news by pushing a predetermined policy line. But those news outlets, far from being outliers, are merely reflecting the norms of the entire corporate news system

As we concluded previously, a media complex so determined to discredit negotiations with North Korea and so unfettered by political-diplomatic reality seriously threatens the ability of the United States to deliver on any agreement with Pyongyang. That means alternative media must make more aggressive efforts to challenge the corporate press’s coverage... and today’s news seems positive (but we will see what spin it gets).

Last weekend, North Korea and the United States held working meetings in Panmunjom. Mike Pompeo was not there, although it is now thought he could be making another trip to North Korea.

On Monday, August 13, representatives from North and South Korea met in the city. It is now thought that a summit between the two countries could be held in September.

On August 15, Yonhap News Agency reported that South Korea’s:

President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday used his Liberation Day address to pitch his Korea peace drive, calling for railway, energy and economic cooperation with the North as a cornerstone for Northeast Asian peace and prosperity.

Speaking at a ceremony marking Korea’s independence from the 1910-45 Japanese colonial rule 73 years ago on the day, he renewed his commitment to end the division of the Koreas, saying “true liberation” can only be achieved when the two countries establish a lasting peace and economic community.

On August 16, CNBC reported that a fresh round of trade talks between the US and China could take place later in August. This was good news for the Dow Jones.

Coming next week:

These families have been separated for over 60 years.

All of these news stories lead to a conclusion best voiced by entrepreneur and media host, Jon Taffer:

I couldn’t agree more, Jon! This is an exciting, positive time in world history! What’s not to like?

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Monday, June 4, was a big day for President Trump:

Kellyanne Conway, the first female manager of a winning presidential campaign, told Fox News’s Judge Jeanine Pirro:

Brad Parscale succeeds Conway as Trump’s campaign manager for 2020:

Promiseskept.com has a clean layout that is easy to navigate. Click on the various topics to read achievements, future plans and the latest news.

This polling statistic stands out:

Of course, the media avoids reporting the positive:

The June 4 Press Briefing was mostly negative. Only one reporter, Lalit, asked press secretary Sarah Sanders about the 500 Days:

Lalit.

Q Thank you. What does the President think is his top foreign policy achievement in the first 500 days?

SANDERS: I think that there have been a number of major foreign policy achievements. Certainly, I think the strengthening of relationships with a number of foreign leaders. I think that the conversation that we’re looking forward to having here in the next couple of weeks is certainly a step in the right direction. Moving the embassy in Israel would certainly be on that list. Being tough on Russia. Being tough on trade and making sure that countries that have engaged in unfair trade practices are held accountable. Those are just a few. But certainly, I think the list is quite lengthy. And we’d be happy to provide some more details.

The media’s negativity towards Trump should be raising people’s suspicions. Why do they hate him so? His policies are making Americans safer and more prosperous. Only someone not right in the head could dislike a president who says:

Our families will thrive. Our people will prosper. And our nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free.

Just before the May employment figures came out, the media accused Trump of breaking some sort of rule by sending out a brief teaser tweet. The interview below shows Obama giving interviews about employment figures prior to their release, but they gave him a pass:

Then, there’s Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California) who spouts utter rubbish:

For those who missed them, here are the facts:

With regard to the economy and jobs:

With a successful Singapore Summit, there is more greatness to come in the next 950+ days!

MAGA!

Many years ago, this little boy lived in Queens:

Today, the man lives at the White House.

Friday, January 19, 2018, marks the end of President Donald Trump’s first year in office. Below are incredible achievements he and his administration have made, despite the most hateful efforts on the part of Democrats, the media and Republicans to oppose him and even end his presidency.

This is a long post of the Trump administration’s achievements. It has most of the news Big Media won’t tell you. They’re too busy nattering about how many scoops of ice cream, hamburgers and Diet Cokes he consumes.

If you prefer a short version, the GOP can oblige (scroll down past the Fake News Awards).

Health

Last week the president, aged 71, had a health examination, which Rear Admiral Dr Ronny Jackson conducted:

The president requested — and received — a cognitive examination in addition to a physical.

Contrary to media reports, he isn’t crumbling under the pressure of the presidency:

Foreign policy

Because so many people around the world still think Trump will start World War III, below are excerpts of what Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on December 15. Emphases mine below.

North Korea

The main strategy involves economic sanctions:

We have put in place now over the past many months the most comprehensive set of economic sanctions that I think have ever been assembled through two very comprehensive UN Security Council resolutions with the support, notably, of both China and Russia, clearly indications of how they view the seriousness of the threat as well.

These sanctions now have banned all coal exports from the North – from North Korea. They have ended their textile exports. They have put limits and will bring to an end the export of forced labor. They have also limited the imports of fuel and reduced all imports, each – with each action increasing the pressure on North Korea.

We do know that these are having effects on the North. This is evidence in terms of what we see happening with fuel prices for North Korean citizens, which initially jumped 90 percent. They’re now back to where they’re up only 50 percent. We also know there are shortages beginning to appear, and there’s also, though appearing on the shelves of North Koreans, products which previously had been exported. So now they have to be consumed internally.

These are combined with diplomatic sanctions where we have called on nations the world over to not just fully implement the UN Security Council economic sanctions, but where they have a sense and a desire to do so, to also isolate the North Korean regime further by recalling their diplomats, closing their offices, and letting North Korea know that with each one of these provocative tests, they only become more and more isolated.

More than 22 countries have sent North Korea’s diplomats back home. And for some, it may not seem significant, but for small countries that may not have a lot of economic influence, it is yet another important signal. So from nations like Peru to Spain to Italy to Portugal have cut off the diplomacy ties as well. And we know the regime notices when that ambassador comes home because they’re not representing that office elsewhere, further isolating them from their contact with the rest of the world.

China and the Indo-Pacific

The US is working well with China and India on creating a free and open Indo-Pacific region:

So I think with respect to our relationship with China, we now have a very active mechanism in which we can put complex issues on the table. And we have differences, such as the South China Sea and China’s building of structures, militarization of these structures, and how that affects our allies in the region as well in terms of free and open trade. As we’ve said to the Chinese, we hope we can find a way to freeze this particular activity. Whether we can reverse it remains to seen. But it is not an acceptable – it’s not acceptable to us that these islands continue to be developed, and certainly not for military purposes.

In Southeast Asia, we had a – we put forth a policy here not too long ago of a free and open Indo-Pacific, and this was built on the back of some of our views about China’s One Belt, One Road policy. China’s One Belt, One Road, we understand, is a policy they have to continue their economic development, and our policies do not seek to contain China’s economic development. But China’s economic development, in our view, should take place in the system of international rules and norms, and One Belt, One Road seems to want to define its own rules and norms. I like to quote Secretary Mattis’ comment on One Belt, One Road. For China, he said: Well, the U.S. and the rest of the world has many belts and many roads, and no one country gets to decide what they are. So a free and open Indo-Pacific means all countries have access to continue their economic development and free access for trade through the region.

As part of the free and open Indo-Pacific, we have elevated our engagement with India. We’ve long had a trilateral relationship in the Indo-Pacific between Japan, Australia, and the U.S., and we’re now working towards whether this will become a quad relationship to include India because of the importance of India’s rising economy as well and I think shared national security concerns that we have with India.

ISIS

Obama’s ‘JV team’ is defeated in Iraq, and good progress continues in Syria:

In moving to the defeat ISIS campaign quickly, in Iraq and Syria, as the President entered office, he took a significant policy shift in the war to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria and ordered aggressive new strategies and empowered our military commanders on the ground to carry out battlefield decisions in a way that would win the war on the battlefield. After fully activating the DOD approach of buy, with, and through others, with his authorities the military has, in fact, begun to make significant gains. And as we know today, Prime Minister Abadi recently declared ISIS defeated in Iraq. We are still defeating ISIS in Syria, but significant progress has been made.

As a result of the military success, we in the State Department have really had to run fast to catch up with the military success with the diplomatic plans as to what comes after the defeat of ISIS, and we’ve executed much of this through the Coalition to Defeat ISIS, a coalition of 74 members, 68 countries and including organizations such as NATO, INTERPOL, EU, and others.

Seven and a half million people have now been freed of ISIS’ clutches in Iraq and Syria; 95 percent of territory previously controlled by their caliphate has now been liberated. Our efforts now are to stabilize these areas after liberation to avoid a re-emergence of ISIS but also to avoid a re-emergence of local conflicts between various groups.

So our work with the DOD is to deconflict the battlefield and to stabilize areas, and we’ve had success working with Jordan and with Russia in Syria to create de-escalation zones that prevent the re-emergence of a civil war – all directed towards moving the talks in Syria to Geneva to fully implement UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which calls for a new Syrian constitution and elections be overseen by the United Nations in which all Syrian diaspora will vote. So this includes the voting of Syrians who have been displaced because of the fighting, whether it be due to the civil war or subsequently due to ISIS’ emergence.

A very important joint statement was issued by President Trump and President Putin on the margins of APEC in Danang, Vietnam, in which both leaders affirmed their commitment to this process as the way forward to ensure a unified, whole, democratic, and free Syria. Talks have begun in Geneva again with a reformed opposition representation. And we have asked Russia to ensure the regime participates in these talks, and the regime has been present at the talks. And now, we need to keep everyone at the table. We will continue to work with Russia in areas where we can and Syria to continue to promote a de-escalation of the violence, stabilization of the areas, and a resolution for Syria that will be a product of the Geneva process.

In Iraq, the liberation of all areas is now complete, and in both the campaigns we’ve now recaptured the caliphate’s capitals of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria. I think the early engagement in Iraq with Arab neighbors has been important to the future of Iraq also being sustained with its democratic government and sustaining Iraq as a unified country. Having Arab neighbors engage early as the war to defeat ISIS progressed, importantly with the historic visit because it’s been more than three decades since the Arab world had relationships with Baghdad, the Saudis were the first to engage and have created now economic talks and consultative committees. They’ve reopened two border crossings, they’re resuming flights between Baghdad and between Riyadh, sending an important message to all Iraqis that – and reminding them that Iraqis are Arab, and you should re-engage and reunite with the Arab world.

Central and South America

The State Department is working well with nations in Central and South America:

So lastly, in the Western Hemisphere, the things that we’ve been concerned with are obviously migration from Central America, from Mexico, transcriminal organizations, the narcotics trade in particular, which also supports human trafficking trade. But we do see many other opportunities with Central and South America. We have developed strong transcriminal organization dialogues with Mexico. We’re hosting another round this week at the ministerial level. We co-hosted an event in Miami this year to – on Central American security and prosperity. And we are working together on the situation in Venezuela, both through the OAS and through the Lima Group.

Economy

On December 14, 2017, Reuters reported that the economy was on a roll. Retailers had an unexpectedly good November, with a 0.8% increase in sales. October’s sales showed a 0.5% increase, surpassing the previously reported 0.2%.

Also:

Retail sales accelerated 5.8 percent on an annual basis. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales increasing only 0.3 percent in November.

The dollar .DXY rose against a basket of currencies after the release of the data, while prices for U.S. Treasuries fell. U.S. stocks were trading higher.

In 2018:

2018 could be historic:

Stock market

The stock market has never been healthier:

In 2018:

Industrial production

Contrary to what naysayers predicted, 2017 saw an increase in industrial production:

Energy

For the first time in 60 years — 1957the United States became a net gas exporter, thanks to exports of LNG (liquid natural gas). That means America’s trade imbalance got that much smaller.

On November 27, 2017, Shale reported that the Rust Belt could boom again thanks to the Marcellus and Utica Shale development:

which has proven to be an answer to the prayers of communities up and down the Ohio River. These communities are now reporting that union halls are empty due to a surge of oil- and natural gas-related work. Shale has not only been a game-changer — it’s been a life-changer for thousands of families in some of the hardest hit regions of the country. Manufacturing is starting to come back, and we are even making and shipping domestically produced steel again along the Ohio River. It’s hard to imagine now, but the Rust Belt may soon shed its longtime persona and emerge as a new hub where domestically produced products proudly display “Made in America.”

For the past few years, the building and construction trade unions have been aggressively fighting against fringe environmental activists and the “keep it in the ground” agenda. From a political perspective, this trend played out on the national stage in November: For the first time in years, a majority of Ohio union households voted Republican in a presidential election. President Trump won the union vote by 9 percent over Hillary Clinton in the Buckeye State. Why? Because the building and construction trades are going back to work thanks to shale development, which Trump unabashedly supports.

Please take the time to read the rest of the article, which is really encouraging. Thousands of people are back to work.

In early July, just in time for Independence Day, gas prices were the lowest since 2005. Politico reported:

AAA said Monday that the national average of $2.23 per gallon was the cheapest gas has been all year.

A further drop took place just before Christmas.

Unemployment

On December 14, Reuters reported:

the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropping to near a 44-1/2-year low last week.

2017 was the best year for employment figures since … 1973!

This was good news for the whole country:

Deregulation

On December 14, The Conservative Treehouse posted an excellent article explaining the Trump administration’s progress on promised deregulation.

In the following tweet, you see two stacks of paper. The small one represents the amount of regulation in the United States in 1960, and the gigantic one is today’s:

This costs small businesses an astounding amount of money:

Mick Mulvaney, head of the Office of Management and Budget, says that huge progress was made in 2017:

The Conservative Treehouse article says:

Notably, President Trump said his administration plans to keep regulations that have been beneficial to our nation. Those will remain on the books, he said, specifically ones tailored for protecting workers, ensuring clean water and air, and protecting our country’s natural beauty. But POTUS described each unnecessary page in the stacks as representing hidden tax and harmful burdens for workers and businesses. “Unnecessary regulations,” he said, “threaten our entire Constitutional system, not just the U.S. economy.”

Tax cuts

On December 19, Trump tweeted:

Democrats are downplaying this legislation, but it immediately had a huge effect in the United States:

On December 20 — when the bill passed — a number of large companies made announcements about bonuses and investment:

Comcast announced it would give $1,000 bonuses to more than 100,000 eligible employees and:

invest $50 billion over the next five years in infrastructure “based on the passage of tax reform”.

Boeing announced:

$300M employee-related and charitable investment as a result of legislation to support our heroes, our homes and our future.

AT&T said it would give $1,000 bonuses to 200,000 employees and:

invest $1.0 billion.

FedEx said the new tax plan would add to their earnings, fund the pension plan and facilitate hiring more employees.

First Third Bancorp raised their hourly minimum wage to $15 and gave employees $1,000 bonuses.

Wells Fargo also raised their hourly minimum wage to $15 and said it would aim to give $400m in philanthropic donations in 2018.

On January 17, 2018, Apple announced it would be hiring 20,000 more people in the United States and open a new campus. The company also gave employees $2,500 bonuses in the form of restricted stock units. It will be investing $350 billion over the next five years in the US. Trump applauded the move.

Other corporations also reacted positively to the new legislation.

Veterans Affairs

Dr David Shulkin has done sterling work this year on improving the healthcare, housing, wellbeing and job prospects for American veterans. His full report is here.

The Veterans Administration has been a shambles for decades. Much work remains to be done, but in one year it has undergone many positive changes and reforms.

Trump’s supporters

Unlike past presidents, Trump’s base has probably increased over the past year:

Among Trump voters, the mood is buoyant. I understand CNN broadcast this clip only at 4:50 a.m. and at 7:50 p.m. (better pic/video here):

Fox News also interviewed Ohio voters. I bet they broadcast this clip more often than CNN did theirs:

Conclusion

I’ll let the president say it in his own inimitable way (includes video):

AMERICA will once again be a NATION that thinks big, dreams bigger, and always reaches for the stars. YOU are the ones who will shape America’s destiny. YOU are the ones who will restore our prosperity. And YOU are the ones who are MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

Trump gave that speech in Pennsylvania on January 18.

Reach for the stars, Americans! MAGA!

On Saturday, January 6, 2018, Newsbusters posted an article about a BBC interview with Michael Wolff, author of Fire and Fury, which is about President Donald Trump.

Incidentally, the book is currently available for free online. As such availability likely violates copyright law, I have not posted the link.

Nicholas Fondacaro’s article, ‘Wolff Touts Book “Will Finally Bring Down…This Presidency”’ recaps a BBC interview Wolff gave to the BBC’s Nick Robinson last Saturday. Excerpts follow (emphases in the original):

In an interview with BBC Radio on Saturday, Michael Wolff, the author of the dubiously sourced gossip book targeting President Trump, boasted to host Nick Robinson that “the story” that he told, “will finally end…this presidency” once and for all …

Now, all of this is fascinating, it’s an insight, it’s gossip some of it, it may not be enough to stop him from being president. Whereas, the allegations about Russia may be,” Robinson prefaced. “Do you believe that anything in the book will actually change the chances of the allegations of collusion with Russia being found to be true and therefore leading to the impeachment of the President?

Wolff said:

You know, I think one of the interesting effects of the book so far is a very clear emperor-has-no-clothes effect. That, the story that I have told seems to present this presidency in such a way that it says he can’t do his job. The emperor has no clothes. Suddenly everywhere people are going: ‘Oh my God, it’s true, he has no clothes.’ That’s the background to the perception and the understanding that will finally end this – that will end this presidency.

As retired courtroom lawyer Lionel says, such talk is potentially dangerous:

Incredibly, Wolff told Robinson that Trump hardly has any staff and that he will do little as president. Despite stellar economic results in 2017, Wolff said:

The economy is booming possibly because you’ll have someone who’s not capable of actually implementing any policies or regulation.

In a way, that makes no sense.

In another, such a statement implies that the economy does better with less government interference.

Trump’s insistence on rolling back Obama era regulations has helped the economy improve. Trump was also busy last year negotiating various trade initiatives, such as coal.

In June, the New York Post published an article on coal by Salena Zito, who does an excellent job of covering small town life in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

‘Don’t be so quick to dismiss Trump’s coal mining initiative’ is an eye-opener. For the first time in a decade, a new coal mine opened in Acosta, Pennsylvania. Trump sent his congratulations via video shown to local residents (emphases mine below):

The Acosta Deep Mine in Somerset County marks a dramatic upturn for the area. And while President Trump cannot claim that he brought the industry back here personally (this new mine was already being developed before the election), he is an effective cheerleader for folks who’ve been discounted by the political elite.

“We will begin by employing 70 to 100 miners and we hope to open a total of three new mines in the next 18 months — and that will mean additional hiring,” said George Dethlefsen, CEO of Corsa Coal, which owns the mine.

More than 400 people applied for the first wave of jobs that will pay from $50,000 to $100,000, Dethlefsen said.

In a region where the median household income is $29,050, and nearly 12 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, the economic injection is huge.

It also creates a ripple effect: For every new job generated by the mine, even more jobs like waitresses, hotel workers, barbers or grocery workers are needed to support the community.

Absolutely.

Furthermore, the coal mined in Acosta is being used for steel production:

The coal from this mine is not going to be used for energy — instead, it will be used for the production of steel for the next 15 years. (According to the World Steel Association, coal is used to make 70 percent of the steel today.)

Every single one of us relies on steel in our daily lives. It’s found in our cars, bikes and public transportation. Those wind turbines so loved by environmentalists? Made of steel. The utensils we use to eat? Steel. Medical devices used to save lives? Steel.

Roads, bridges, appliances and even iPhones and computers all contain steel.

Exactly.

This is a great move.

And there is more good news on the coal front. In July, The Conservative Treehouse reported on the increase in American coal exports. This came as news to me:

U.S. EIA data shows a gain of 60.3% so far this year in exports of both steam coal (used to generate electricity) and coking coal (metallurgical coal used for steel manufacturing) as a direct consequence of President Trump’s common sense energy policy.

Interestingly, the largest destinations for the growth in American coal export are the U.K. (+175%) and a doubling of tonnage to both France (+100%), and Asia (+100%). High transport costs to ship coal to the EU are being offset by U.S. coal manufacturing efficiencies and improvements in mining productivity.

Reuters has more:

“Simply to know that coal no longer has to fight the government – that has to have some effect on investment decisions and in the outlook by companies, producers and utilities that use coal,” said Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association.

Shaylyn Hynes, a spokeswoman at the U.S. Energy Department, said: “These numbers clearly show that the Trump Administration’s policies are helping to revive an industry that was the target of costly and job killing overregulation from Washington for far too long.”

Coal could also be a major economic weapon used against North Korea, one of China’s principal coal suppliers.

Recall that China’s president Xi Jinping met with Trump at Mar a Lago on April 6 and 7, 2017. On April 11, Reuters reported:

Following repeated missile tests that drew international criticism, China banned all imports of North Korean coal on Feb. 26, cutting off the country’s most important export product.

To curb coal traffic between the two countries, China’s customs department issued an official order on April 7 telling trading companies to return their North Korean coal cargoes, said three trading sources with direct knowledge of the order …

The Trump administration has been pressuring China to do more to rein in North Korea, which sends the vast majority of its exports to its giant neighbor across the Yellow Sea …

North Korea is a significant supplier of coal to China, especially of the type used for steel making, known as coking coal.

To make up for the shortfall from North Korea, China has ramped up imports from the United States in an unexpected boon for U.S. President Donald Trump, who has declared he wants to revive his country’s struggling coal sector.

Eikon data shows no U.S. coking coal was exported to China between late 2014 and 2016, but shipments soared to over 400,000 tonnes by late February.

This trend was exacerbated after cyclone Debbie knocked out supplies from the world’s top coking coal region in Australia’s state of Queensland, forcing Chinese steel makers to buy even more U.S. cargoes.

I digressed from Wolff. However, he and his fellow ilk in the media deserve to have their collars felt by the authorities. What Wolff is doing with his book and what the media have been doing with fake news could be construed as advocating the overthrow of government, or, as Lionel tweeted, sedition.

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