Monday, June 25, 2018

A #murderino meditation about the bag of bones I found when I was 12





In a sleepless pre-dawn diversion, tired of watching the end of the West in the echo chamber of outrage at Trump and his cronies, I asked Twitter friend why she called herself a . That started me down memory lane, as it were, to a bag of human-size bones I discovered when I was 12 in Milwaukie Oregon. Following is the text from that thread:

If you ever saw the film “Stand By Me, “ that was very similar to my junior high days. Sometimes I even took a shortcut home from school on a train trestle. My parents had managed to rent a huge house overlooking the Willamette, next to a country club...

My father was a poet and professor at Reed College. We didn’t belong to the club. But of course a buddy and I would go exploring. And one day on a dirt service road at the back of the club not far from the low bluff over the river, we smelled something awful. ...

In the bushes was a big cloth sack, like a grain bag, covered with the dust from the road and the brown stains of dried blood that had seeped out. The smell caught in my throat. The bag was not tied shut. ... Is a memory like this worthy of a ? ... Anyway ...

My buddy, Marc, took a stick and poked the bag, then lifted a corner so we could see inside. ... Bones. Big bones. Big enough to belong to a man or woman. But, despite the smell, I don’t remember seeing any flesh. Maybe too scared to look....

We ran back to the big house by the river, which was only a couple of hundred yards away. Which was also a scary thought - that someone or something that big was rotting in a bag so close to home. I get a chill remembering. My mother called the police....

I told the police where to look, and said I would show them, but they said not to come. Eventually an officer came back and said the bones were from a deer. And my parents were really relieved. And so was I. Story over. But as I tell you this now, more than 50 yrs later ...

I remember a shadow of doubt about the story the police told. When Marc and I looked in the bag we did not glimpse any meat or hoofs or hide. Just the bones. And even as a 12 year old I thought there might be something the cops didn’t tell us or want us to know. ...

That was in the spring or summer of 1964. We moved to LA not long after, and I have not been back to Milwaukie since. On Google maps satellite view I see in these silent early morning hours that the remnants of the trestle across Johnson Creek may still be there. ...

From above I see our big old house is gone, replaced by something even bigger overlooking the river. But the Waverly Country Club is still there, and the service road. I try to enter with Google "street view" but the gate is closed. And the mystery as well.

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Bottom Line in Afghanistan: From Bad to Worse





May 1, 2018 Press Release from the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction


Today, SIGAR released its thirty-ninth Quarterly Report to Congress.

Key points:

-- USFOR-A reported that the actual assigned strength of the ANDSF as of January 2018 was 296,409, which includes 165,622 ANA and 130,787 ANP personnel. These figures represent a sharp decline in strength from the same period last year: the ANA saw a 4,818-person decrease, and the ANP a 23,210-per¬son decrease, for a total of 35,999 fewer personnel in January 2018 compared to January 2017.

-- As of January 31, 2018, 14.5% of the country’s total districts were under insurgent control or influence—the highest level recorded since SIGAR began receiving district control data—and 56.3% of districts were under Afghan government control or influence.

-- Since SIGAR began receiving population-control data in August 2016, Afghan government control has decreased by roughly four percentage points, and the overall trend for the insurgency is rising control over the population (from 9% in August 2016 to 12% in January 2018).

-- Despite a 63% increase in Afghan land under opium-poppy cultivation and an 88% increase in raw opium production in 2017, USAID informed SIGAR this quarter that it will not plan, design, or implement any new programs to address opium-poppy cultivation.

-- From December 15, 2017, to February 15, 2018, the UN recorded an average of 55.9 security incidents per day—nearly four incidents per day higher than the same period two years ago.
 


-- The total of 1,186 munitions dropped in the first quarter of 2018 is the highest number recorded for this period since reporting began in 2013, and is over two and a half times the amount dropped in the first quarter of 2017.

-- UNAMA’s records indicate that air operations in 2017 caused 631 civilian casualties including 295 deaths—the highest number of civilian casualties from air strikes recorded in a single year. In contrast, RS provided a much lower figure for civilian casualties caused by Coalition air strikes, only 51 such casualties in 2017 and 11 between January 1 and March 2, 2018.

-- The UN stated that up to 90% of drug production currently falls within Taliban-controlled areas, however, SIGAR analysis found that strictly in terms of poppy cultivation, there are districts under Afghan government control or influence with significant levels of cultivation. In certain provinces, the districts with the largest area of opium-poppy cultivation for 2017 are under government influence or control.



-- With one of the highest population growth rates in the world and nearly half of its people under 15 years old, Afghanistan will need to add 400,000 jobs annually just to keep pace with new entrants to its labor market—a situation described by an International Labor Office consultant report as a “socio-economic time bomb.”

-- USFOR-A provided only cursory ANDSF performance assessments in an unclassified format this quarter. SIGAR is unable to determine the basis for these unclassified assessments with the data provided.

-- In its most recent Corruption Perceptions Index, Transparency International gave Afghanistan a score of 15 on a 0-100 scale (0 being “highly corrupt” and 100 being “very clean”).

-- From 2008 through March 20, 2018, over 3,520 interdiction operations resulted in the seizure of 463,342 kg of opium. But the sum of these seizures over nearly a decade would account for less than 0.05% of the opium produced in Afghanistan in 2017 alone.

-- USAID’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) reported Afghanistan was experiencing substantial rainfall deficits likely to have adverse effects on crops, particularly wheat. USAID added that “dire consequences” were likely for other crops.

-- DOJ reported a “growing risk that the debts (from Kabul Bank theft) will not be repaid.” DOJ added that the Afghan Attorney General told US Embassy officials he did not intend to pursue further charges – a direct contradiction of Kabul Compact Benchmarks.

-- As of March 31, seven new polio cases were reported in Afghanistan in 2018; half as many as reported in Afghanistan in all of 2017 (14), according to UNAMA.

-- Progress toward increasing equitable access to education, particularly for girls, only “moderately satisfactory,” according to the World Bank-administered EQUIP II.

Full Quarterly Report: https://www.sigar.mil/pdf/quarterlyreports/2018-04-30qr.pdf

Quarterly Report by Section: https://www.sigar.mil/quarterlyreports/index.aspx?SSR=6

Report Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sigarhq/albums/72157666400977397


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Dictator Envy - A brief note on Trump's zero-sum narcissism, and some recent writing


Zero-sum narcissism is Trump’s trademark pathology: if you win I lose; if you are tall I am short (probably a factor in his ire directed at Justin Trudeau; James Comey; Obama); I can’t make America great “again” without trashing my predecessors and allies. This is what the G6 has to contend with. Sometimes Trump tries to soften his brutal edge with what wiseguys would call "kidding on the level," saying what he means but calling it a joke. Even that frustrates him, however, which is why he so obviously longs for the powers of a true tyrant. Call it dictator envy.

I spoke about this briefly with Katy Tur on MSNBC.

Some of my recent writing on Trump and other would-be dictators:

The Madness of King Trump on Full Display at the G7
The Group of Seven is a club that is supposed to represent shared values. But, um, Trump doesn’t share any of them. No wonder he wanted his buddy Putin back in.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-madness-of-king-trump-on-full-display-at-the-g7


Facing Down the Death Squads of Nicaragua
In Nicaragua’s second great uprising, an aging, corrupt leader of the first revolt has become the savage enemy of the new one.

(with Bianca Jagger reporting from Managua)
https://www.thedailybeast.com/facing-down-the-death-squads-of-nicaragua-33


Former intelligence chief’s argument that Putin did indeed sway the 2016 vote
My review of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's memoir, in The Washington Post.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/former-intelligence-chiefs-argument-that-putin-did-indeed-sway-the-2016-vote/2018/05/22/0d26c13a-53ac-11e8-a551-5b648abe29ef_story.html


Finally, this is the White House transcript of Trump musing with the press on the lawn a couple of days ago:





North Lawn
9:03 A.M. EDT
Q    (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  No, I think that James Comey was (inaudible).  I think what he did was a disgrace.  I think he goes down as the worst FBI Director in history, by far.  There’s nobody close.  And I think I did the country a tremendous favor by firing him.
Q    (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  No, I think — actually, if you take a look, when he totally exonerated her — because I call it “Comey Three.”  You had one, two, and then you had Comey three.  He totally exonerated her.  And if anything he’s saying is correct, what she did is they tried to pretend it didn’t happen.  I would have gone out there and I would have had the greatest news conference in history.  They tried to pretend the exoneration didn’t happen.
Now, the exoneration was incorrect because there’s no way they could have checked that number of emails in just a few days.  But if you remember, just before the election, he went out and he exonerated her and they didn’t even talk about it.  That was the greatest political mistake.
With all of that being said, I won Wisconsin, I won Michigan, I won states that a Republican hasn’t won in many, many decades, years.  She didn’t do a good job and you never gave me credit for doing a great job.  But the fact is, I did a great job.
Q    Mr. President, there was a Fox news report this week that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is pushing back and threatening to investigate the congressional investigators who just want documents.  Do you think that that is appropriate?
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I hope that’s not so.  And I know they’re getting documents.  And I purposely — look, if you see what I’ve done with North Korea and with the State Department, Mike Pompeo, it’s running so well.  It’s — I have this running so well.  I have purposefully, because of this ridiculous witch hunt, I have said I’m going to stay away from the Justice Department until it’s completed.  So I wanted to stay away.  Now, that doesn’t mean I have to, because I don’t have to.  I can get involved.  But I don’t want you people to say that I’m interfering, that I’m doing anything.
I think that the report yesterday, maybe more importantly than anything, it totally exonerates me.  There was no collusion.  There was no obstruction.  And if you read the report, you’ll see that.
What you’ll really —
Q    On North Korea —
THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me.  Wait, wait, wait.  What you’ll really see is you’ll see bias against me and millions and tens of millions of my followers.  That is really a disgrace.
And yet, if you go — and yet, if you look at the FBI, and you went in and you called the FBI — the real FBI — those guys love me, and I love them.
Q    Are you going to suspend Mueller?  Are you thinking of suspending Mueller?
THE PRESIDENT:  No, but I think that whole investigation now is — look, the problem with the Mueller investigation is everybody has got massive conflicts.  You have Weissmann who was at Hillary Clinton’s funeral, meaning, her party that turned into a funeral.  And they were screaming and crying and they were going crazy.  How can you have people like this?  So you have — I call them the “13 Angry Democrats.”  You have a tremendous animosity.
Now, here’s the good news: I did nothing wrong.  There was no collusion.  There was no obstruction.  The IG report yesterday went a long way to show that.  And I think that the Mueller investigation has been totally discredited.
Q    Mr. President, you have spoken so passionately about the circumstances that led to Otto Warmbier’s death.
THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.
Q    In the same breath, you’re defending now Kim Jong Un’s human rights records.  How can you do that?
THE PRESIDENT:  You know why?  Because I don’t want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you or your family.  I don’t want to see —
Q    By the way, you declared the nuclear threat from North Korea is over.
THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me.  Because I don’t want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family.  I want to have a good relationship with North Korea.  I want to have a good relationship with many other countries.  And what I’ve done, if you remember, if you’re fair, which most of you aren’t — but if you’re fair, when I came in, people thought we were probably going to war with North Korea.  If we did —
Q    You say the threat is over.  Is it over?
THE PRESIDENT:  Quiet.  Quiet.  Quiet.  If we did, millions of people would have been killed.  I don’t mean like — you know, people are saying 100,000.  Seoul has 28 million people 30 miles off the border.  You would have had 30, 40, 50 million people killed.  Who knows what would have happened?
I came in; that was what I inherited.  I should have never inherited.  That should have been solved long before I got there.  I did a great job this week.  The fake news said, “Oh, you met.”  But the only thing they saw that I gave up — one broadcast said, “He gave up so much.”  You know what I gave up?  I met.  I met.  We had great chemistry.  He gave us a lot.  You haven’t had a missile test in seven months.  You haven’t had a firing.  You haven’t had a nuclear test in eight and a half months.  You haven’t had missiles flying over Japan.  He gave us the remains of our great heroes.  I have had so many people begging me — parents, and fathers, mothers, daughters, sons — wherever I went, “Could you please get the remains of my boy back?”  They’re giving them back.  Nobody thought that was possible.
Q    Sir —
THE PRESIDENT:  Wait, wait.  They’re doing so much.  And now we’re well on our way to denuclearization.  And the agreement says there will be total denuclearization.  Nobody wants to report that.
So the only thing I did was I met.  I got along with him great.  He is great.  We have a great chemistry together.  That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.
Q    How can Kim love his people if he’s killing them?
THE PRESIDENT:  I can’t speak to that.  I can only speak to the fact that we signed an incredible agreement.  It’s great.  And it’s going to be great for them, too.  Because now North Korea can develop and North Korea can become a great country economically.  It can become whatever they want.  But there won’t be nuclear weapons and they won’t be aimed at you and your families.
Q    Mr. President, why did you offer to halt the military exercises with South Korea?
THE PRESIDENT:  That was my offer.  Just so you understand.  Military —
Q    (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  Okay, you want to hear?
Q    Yeah.
THE PRESIDENT:  Okay?  Military — I call them “war games.”  I hated them from the day I came in.  I said, why aren’t we being reimbursed?
Q    That’s North Korea’s term.  “War games.”
THE PRESIDENT:  That’s my term.
Q    They use it too.
THE PRESIDENT:  They might use it.  We pay for it.  We pay millions and millions of dollars for planes, and all of this.  It’s my term.  I said, I’d like to halt it because it’s bad to be negotiating and doing it.  It costs us a lot of money.  I saved lot of money.  That’s a good thing for us.
Okay, go ahead.
Q    What did you mean just now when you said you wished Americans would sit up at attention when you spoke —
THE PRESIDENT:  I’m kidding.  You don’t understand sarcasm.  Who are you with?
Wait, wait, who are you with?  Who are you with?
Q    CNN.
THE PRESIDENT:  You’re with CNN!  Hey, you are the worst.
Q    Mr. President —
Q    (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  Wait, wait, we have time.
Q    So there’s some high-profile court cases going on.  You’ve got a former campaign manager, your former lawyer.  They’re all dealing with legal troubles.  Are you paying close attention —
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I feel badly about a lot of them, because I think a lot of it is very unfair.  I mean, I look at some of them where they go back 12 years.  Like Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign.  But I feel so — I tell you, I feel a little badly about it.  They went back 12 years to get things that he did 12 years ago?
You know, Paul Manafort worked for me for a very short period of time.  He worked for Ronald Reagan.  He worked for Bob Dole.  He worked for John McCain, or his firm did.  He worked for many other Republicans.  He worked for me, what, for 49 days or something?  A very short period of time.
I feel badly for some people, because they’ve gone back 12 years to find things about somebody, and I don’t think it’s right.  I don’t think it’s right that they burst into a lawyer’s office on a weekend and early in the morning.  I never heard of that before.  I mean, could you imagine if they burst into Barack Obama’s lawyer’s office?  It would not be acceptable.  It would not be acceptable.  I mean, that’s really a terrible thing.
Now, I feel badly for a lot of those people.  I feel badly for General Flynn.  He’s lost his house.  He’s lost his life.  And some people say he lied, and some people say he didn’t lie.  I mean, really, it turned out maybe he didn’t lie.  So how can you do that?  How can you do that — because who has lied more than Comey?  I mean, Comey lied a tremendous amount.
Q    You say that you feel badly.  Is there any consideration at any point of a pardon for any of the people that you —
THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t want to talk about that.  No, I don’t want to talk about that.  They’ll (inaudible).  But look, I do want to see people treated fairly.  That’s what it’s all about.
I mentioned the other day — you saw what I did with the woman — she’s in jail for 23 years on charges where other people are out after three months.  I thought it was a very unfair.  It was brought to — and she had another 20 years left, okay?  She was 63 years old.
Q    What about those who don’t have a celebrity talking for them?
THE PRESIDENT:  What?
Q    What about all those folks who don’t have Kim Kardashian speaking on their behalf?
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I’m looking at them too, if you don’t mind.  I’m looking at them too.
Q    Do you worry that Michael Cohen might flip?
THE PRESIDENT:  One second.
Q    Are you worried that Michael Cohen might flip?
THE PRESIDENT:  Look, I did nothing wrong.  You have to understand, this stuff would have come out a long time ago.  I did nothing wrong.  I don’t do anything wrong.
Q    Is Michael Cohen still your friend?
THE PRESIDENT:  It’s really nice.
Q    Is he still your friend?
THE PRESIDENT:  I always liked Michael Cohen.  I haven’t spoken to Michael in a long time.
Q    Is he still your lawyer?
THE PRESIDENT:  No, he’s not my lawyer anymore.  But I always liked Michael, and he’s a good person.  And I think he’s been —
Q    Are you worried he will cooperate?
THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me, do you mind if I talk?
Q    I just want to know if you’re worried —
THE PRESIDENT:  You’re asking me a question; I’m trying to ask it.
Q    I just want to know if you’re worried if he’s going to cooperate with federal investigators.
THE PRESIDENT:  No, I’m not worried because I did nothing wrong.
Q    Got it.  Got it.
THE PRESIDENT:  Nothing wrong.
Q    Mr. President, did you tape that statement about Don Jr.?  Did you dictate the statement about Donald Trump, Jr.?
THE PRESIDENT:  Let’s not talk about it.  You know what that is?
Q    But can you tell us?
THE PRESIDENT:  It’s irrelevant.  It’s a statement to the New York Times — the phony, failing New York Times.
Q    Well, just to clear it up.  To clear it up.
THE PRESIDENT:  Just wait a minute.  Wait a minute.  That’s not a statement to a high tribunal of judges.
Q    Understood.
THE PRESIDENT:  That’s a statement to the phony New York Times.
In fact, frankly, he shouldn’t even speak to the New York Times because they only write phony stories anyway, although yesterday they wrote a nice story about what a (inaudible).
Q    Thank you, sir.  On the IG report, you’ve said twice now that it exonerated you and it proved there’s no collusion.  The IG report —
THE PRESIDENT:  Look, if you read the IG report, I’ve been totally exonerated.  As far as I’m concerned —
Q    It had nothing to do with collusion.  It had nothing to do with that.
THE PRESIDENT:  Take a little at it.  Take — no, take a look at the investigation.  Take a look at how it started.  Take a look at the horrible statements that Peter Strzok, the chief investigator, said.  And take a look at what he did with Hillary Clinton.  Take a look at —
Q    (Inaudible), sir, that has nothing to do with collusion.  Why are you lying about it, sir?
THE PRESIDENT:  I’ll tell you what — you’re asking me about Peter Strzok being fired.  I am amazed that Peter Strzok is still at the FBI, and so is everybody else that read that report.  And I’m not even talking about the report; I’m talking about long before the report.  Peter Strzok should have been fired a long time ago, and others should have been fired.
Q    Mr. President, are you going to fire Scott Pruitt?
THE PRESIDENT:  I’m looking at Scott, and Scott has done a fantastic job at EPA, but — you know, we’ll — we’ll make —
Q    You don’t see anything problems with his ethical —
THE PRESIDENT:  I’m not happy about certain things, I’ll be honest.
Q    Are you going to fire him?
THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me.  Excuse me.  I’m not happy about certain things.  But he’s done a fantastic job running the EPA, which is very overriding.  But I am not happy about it.
Q    Do you think he’s used his position for private gain?
THE PRESIDENT:  I hope not.
Q    Mr. President, do you agree with children being taken away from (inaudible)?
THE PRESIDENT:  No, I hate it.  I hate the children being taken away.  The Democrats have to change their law.  That’s their law.  They will force —
Q    Sir, that’s your own policy.  That’s your own policy.  Why do you keep lying about it, sir?
THE PRESIDENT:  Quiet.  Quiet.  That’s the Democrats’ law.  We can change it tonight.  We can change it right now.  I will leave here —
Q    You’re the President.  You can change it right now.
THE PRESIDENT:  I will leave here — no, no.  You need their votes.  You need their votes.  The Democrats, all they have to do —
Q    Mr. President, you control both chambers of Congress.  The Republicans do.
THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me.  By one vote?  We don’t need it.  You need 60 votes.
Q    (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me.  We have the one vote — excuse me.  We need a one-vote — we have a one-vote edge.  We need 60.  So we need 10 votes.  We can’t get them from the Democrats.
Q    What about executive action?
THE PRESIDENT:  Now, wait.  Wait.  You can’t do it through an executive order.
Q    On North Korea, sir.  On North Korea.
Q    Mr. President, why —
THE PRESIDENT:  Can we do one question at a time?  Wait.  One question at a time.
Q    (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  The children can be taken care of quickly, beautifully, and immediately.  The Democrats forced that law upon our nation.  I hate it.  I hate to see separation of parents and children.  The Democrats can come to us as they actually are — in all fairness, we are talking to them — and they can change the whole border security.
We need a wall.  We need border security.  We got to get rid of catch-and-release.  You catch a criminal, you take his name, you release him, and he never shows up again.  He goes into our society, and then we end up getting him in a different way, oftentimes after he’s killed somebody.  We’ve got to change our laws.  The Democrats have control because we don’t have the votes.  The Republicans need — we need more Republicans, frankly.  And that’s why I think we’re going to do so well in the midterms.  That and because —
Q    Do you support the immigration compromise, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT:  Wait.  That and because we have the strongest economy in the history of our nation.  We have the best jobs numbers in the last 44 years.  Top of Drudge: “The best job numbers in 44 years.”
Q    But then, Mr. President — but then why did Jeff Sessions announce a zero-tolerance policy at the border on May 7th?  Is that not a Republican —
THE PRESIDENT:  Because he’s following the law.
Q    Is that not a Republican policy?
THE PRESIDENT:  No.
Q    Is that not a Republican policy?
THE PRESIDENT:  No.  He’s following laws.  He following a law that —
Q    But that was a direct order to —
THE PRESIDENT:  Can I answer your question, please?
Q    Yes.
THE PRESIDENT:  Okay?  You’re just asking me the same question over and over.  He’s following laws, very simply, that were given to us and forced upon us by the Democrats.
Q    That’s not true, sir.  That’s not true.
Q    But there’s no law that says families have to separated at the border.  There’s another way to go about it, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT:  The Democrats gave us the laws.  Now, I want the laws to be beautiful, humane, but strong.  I don’t want bad people coming in.  I don’t want drugs coming in.  And we can solve that problem in one meeting.  Tell the Democrats, your friends, to call me.
Q    Mr. President, at the end of the “Fox & Friends” interview, you said that you were going to spend Father’s Day weekend doing work, and you said that you were going to have a call with North Korea.  Who are you going to talk to in North Korea?
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I’m going to speak to people in North Korea, and I’m going to speak to my people who are over in North Korea.  A lot of things are happening.
And I will tell you this: We now have a very good relationship with North Korea.  When I came into this job, it looked like war — not because of me, but because — if you remember the sit-down with Barack Obama, I think you will admit this, he said the biggest problem that the United States has, and by far the most dangerous problem — and he said to me — that we’ve ever had, because of nuclear, is North Korea.
Now, that was shortly before I entered office.  I have solved that problem.  Now, we’re getting it memorialized and all, but that problem is largely solved, and part of the reason is we signed, number one, a very good document.  But you know what?  More importantly than the document — more importantly than the document, I have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un.  That’s a very important thing.
I can now call him.  I can now say, “Well, we have a problem.”  I told him — I gave him a very direct number.  He can now call me if he has any difficulty.  I can call him.  We have communication.  It’s a very good thing.
People are shocked that this is the kind of — you know, they thought Trump was going to get in and he was going to start throwing bombs all over the place.  It’s actually the opposite.
But we’re building a military so strong — $716 billion next year; $700 [billion] this year.  We’re building a military so strong, nobody is going to mess with us.  But you know what?  I never want to have to use it.
Q    (Inaudible.)
Q    What’s the verification process?
THE PRESIDENT:  Quiet.
Q    You told Americans that they can sleep well at night, and you declared there’s no more nuclear threat.
Q    What’s verification process going to look like?
THE PRESIDENT:  We’re going to have a very strong verification process.
Q    What’s it’s going to look like?
THE PRESIDENT:  Now, if you read the agreement, which most of you didn’t, point after point after point he gave, including getting back our — the remains of our great heroes, okay?  Of our great, great heroes.  Which made — some people are crying in the streets they’re so happy.  Nobody thought we were going to get that.  Point after point.
All they said about me is, “You met.  He met.  It’s terrible you met.”  Of course I met.  Meeting is a good thing, not a bad thing.  By the way, it was good for the United States; it was good for them.
I spoke with China.  They are very happy.  Actually, they were much happier.  Now, they may not be as happy today because of what I’m doing with trade.  You probably heard that.  I assume it’s been announced by now.  But we’re putting tariffs on 50 billion dollars’ worth of technology and other things because we have to, because we’ve been treated very unfairly.
But China has been terrific.  President Xi has been terrific.  President Moon, everybody — we’re all working together because of me.
Q    How long will you give Kim Jong Un to follow through on denuclearization before you —
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we’re working it as fast as possible.
Q    Is he coming to the White House soon?
Q    — before you put sanctions back on?
THE PRESIDENT:  We’re working it as fast as possible.
Q    Is he visiting the White House, Mr. Trump?
THE PRESIDENT:  We’re working that.  We’re working denuclearization as fast as possible.
Q    Are you planning to meet with Putin this summer?
THE PRESIDENT:  It’s possible that we’ll meet, yeah.  And I thought — you know, this all started because somebody — one of you — asked, “Should Putin be in the G7?”  I said, no, he should be in the G8.
A few years ago, Putin was in what was called the G8.  I think it’s better to have Russia in than to have Russia out, because just like North Korea, just like somebody else, it’s much better if we get along with them than if we don’t.
So it’s possible.  Just so you understand —
Q    Is Crimea part of Russia?  Do you —
THE PRESIDENT:  No, no.  President Obama lost Crimea, just so you understand.  This was long before I got there.  Just — I want to make it so the fake news prints it properly.  President Obama lost Crimea.
Q    So it’s his fault?
THE PRESIDENT:  Wait, wait.  That’s his fault.  Yeah, yeah, it’s his fault.  Yeah, it’s his fault.
Q    How is it not Putin’s fault, sir?
THE PRESIDENT:  The President — just so you understand —
Q    How is it not Putin’s fault, sir?  How is it not Putin’s fault?  He invaded them.
THE PRESIDENT:  Because — because Putin didn’t respect President Obama.  President Obama lost Crimea because President Putin didn’t respect President Obama, didn’t respect our country, and didn’t respect Ukraine.
But President Obama, not Trump — when it’s my fault, I’ll tell you.  But President Obama gave away that.  Now, President Obama, by not going across the red line in the sand that he drew — I went across it with the 59 missile hits.  But President Obama, when he didn’t go across the red line, what he gave away, nobody even knows.
But just to put it — one more time, President Obama gave away Crimea.  That should have never happened.
END
9:21 A.M. EDT 

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

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