North Korea tensions: US installs missile defence system in S. Korea

Missile defence equipment was transported to a former golf club in Seongju on Wednesday/AFP

Missile defence equipment was transported to a former golf club in Seongju on Wednesday/AFP


The US military has started installing a controversial missile defence system at a site in South Korea, amid high tensions over neighbouring North Korea’s nuclear and missile ambitions.

The Thaad system is designed to protect against threats from North Korea.
Hundreds of local residents protested against the deployment, as vehicles carrying equipment arrived at the site in the south of the country.

China argues Thaad will destabilise security in the region.

The US has in recent days deployed warships and a submarine to the Korean peninsula, amid fears North Korea could be planning further missile or nuclear tests.

The Trump administration, which has been urging China to rein in its ally, North Korea, is due to hold a classified briefing for senators on the situation at the White House later on Wednesday.



Posted in Defense, North Korea, U.S. Military | Tagged as: , , , , ,

Ryan on the hot seat to deliver for Trump

“Is Paul Ryan in a tough spot? Yes … In some ways it’s harder than it used to be because the president is now the leader of the party,” said a senior House Republican. | Getty

“Is Paul Ryan in a tough spot? Yes … In some ways it’s harder than it used to be because the president is now the leader of the party,” said a senior House Republican. | Getty


The speaker is entering a critical stretch under pressure to notch wins on repealing Obamacare and funding the government.




Paul Ryan is entering a crucial stretch of his speakership, with the White House pressing him to notch wins on President Donald Trump’s priorities even as he faces the same internal dynamics that sunk his predecessor.

As lawmakers return from their two-week Easter recess, Ryan will be on the spot as the party tries to avoid a government shutdown and push a repeal of Obamacare through the House after failing the first time. Yet the House leader is being buffeted by forces beyond his control, including an unpredictable president unschooled on how to get legislation passed in Congress, and a group of GOP lawmakers who’ve so far resisted pressure to compromise on health care.

A victory on either or both issues would deliver a crucial boost for Ryan, coming off his rocky start as speaker under Trump. The Wisconsin Republican’s failure last month to persuade his conference to pass his Obamacare replacement plan forced the White House to intervene. On top of that, the most critical piece of his tax reform plan has been dismissed by many Republicans.

The setbacks threaten to relegate the speaker to playing a backup role to the White House in the looming debate over tax reform, the speaker’s longtime pet issue. They also have undermined the influence of his position, as conservatives sidestep him to negotiate directly with the White House and moderates grow frustrated that they’re being steamrolled by a White House too busy courting the far right.

Posted in Obamacare, Paul Ryan, Politico, President Donald J. Trumo | Tagged as: , , , , ,

Dems, Tell Hillary to Go Back to the Woods


real clear politics

By A.B. Stoddard

Before Hillary Clinton puts more miles on her comeback tour, Democrats should let her know she’s done enough damage and it’s time to pack it in. That won’t stop her, since even after losing to Donald Trump she fancies herself some misunderstood martyr, but it might slow her down a bit.

While they crawl out of the wilderness that both Clinton and President Obama left them in, any moments Democrats spend amusing their failed 2016 nominee as she tries to find a way back to some sort of relevance is more than wasted energy — it’s self-sabotage.

Last week Clinton sat in sanguine reflection at a carefully timed interview at a Women in the World Summit event and blamed everyone but herself for her staggering loss five months ago. After telling New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof that personally she’s just fine, but that “as an American, I’m pretty worried,” she listed the causes for her loss: WikiLeaks, for publishing real emails about her campaign; Russia, for interfering in the campaign; FBI Director James Comey; and misogyny. When asked about future office, she did not rule it out, repeating that she wants to do “interesting things” and has “no plans” to ever run again. It was, well, Clintonian in its predictability.



Posted in Hillary Clinton, Real Clear Politics | Tagged as: , ,

Political Cartoons: Michael Ramirez…..”United Airlines Security”


Posted in Michael Ramirez, North Korea, Political Cartoons | Tagged as: , , , , ,

Fox Is Reportedly Preparing for Bill O’Reilly’s Exit

Protesters rally against O’Reilly in front of Fox News headquarters on April 18, 2017. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Protesters rally against O’Reilly in front of Fox News headquarters on April 18, 2017. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images


By Margaret Hartmann   NYMAG.COM

When Bill O’Reilly left for vacation on April 11, he stressed that the break was preplanned to counter the notion that it had something to do with the New York Times’ revelation that five women were paid $13 million to settle harassment claims against him. A week later, it looks increasingly unlikely that he’ll ever return to his show.

New York’s Gabriel Sherman reported on Tuesday afternoon that “the Murdochs are leaning toward announcing that O’Reilly will not return to the air,” according to three sources. Later that evening multiple outlets said support for O’Reilly is eroding within Fox News. Most notably, The Wall Street Journal — which is also owned by the Murdoch family — reported that Fox News is “preparing to cut ties” with the O’Reilly Factor host. The paper said 21st Century Fox is holding a board meeting on Thursday, and O’Reilly’s fate could be announced by the end of the week.

Politico notes that while Fox News initially insisted O’Reilly would be back, network spokespeople have stopped responding to questions about his status.


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Political Cartoons: Branco……”Mother of All Fizzles”

Credit: Branco at


Posted in Foreign Policy, North Korea | Tagged as: , , , ,

What’s So Good about Good Friday?

Jesus Pontious Pilate Good Friday




By: Justin Holcomb

What is Good Friday and why do we call Good Friday “good,” when it is such a dark and bleak event commemorating a day of suffering and death for Jesus?

For Christians, Good Friday is a crucial day of the year because it celebrates what we believe to be the most momentous weekend in the history of the world. Ever since Jesus died and was raised, Christians have proclaimed the cross and resurrection of Jesus to be the decisive turning point for all creation. Paul considered it to be “of first importance” that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and was raised to life on the third day, all in accordance with what God had promised all along in the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3).

On Good Friday we remember the day Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins (1 John 1:10). It is followed by Easter, the glorious celebration of the day Jesus was raised from the dead, heralding his victory over sin and death and pointing ahead to a future resurrection for all who are united to him by faith (Romans 6:5).

Still, why call the day of Jesus’ death “Good Friday” instead of “Bad Friday” or something similar? Some Christian traditions do take this approach: in German, for example, the day is called Karfreitag, or “Sorrowful Friday.” In English, in fact, the origin of the term “Good” is debated: some believe it developed from an older name, “God’s Friday.” Regardless of the origin, the name Good Friday is entirely appropriate because the suffering and death of Jesus, as terrible as it was, marked the dramatic culmination of God’s plan to save his people from their sins.

In order for the good news of the gospel to have meaning for us, we first have to understand the bad news of our condition as sinful people under condemnation. The good news of deliverance only makes sense once we see how we are enslaved. Another way of saying this is that it is important to understand and distinguish between law and gospel in Scripture. We need the law first to show us how hopeless our condition is; then the gospel of Jesus’ grace comes and brings us relief and salvation.

In the same way, Good Friday is “good” because as terrible as that day was, it had to happen for us to receive the joy of Easter. The wrath of God against sin had to be poured out on Jesus, the perfect sacrificial substitute, in order for forgiveness and salvation to be poured out to the nations. Without that awful day of suffering, sorrow, and shed blood at the cross, God could not be both “just and the justifier” of those who trust in Jesus (Romans 3:26). Paradoxically, the day that seemed to be the greatest triumph of evil was actually the deathblow in God’s gloriously good plan to redeem the world from bondage.


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Foreign journalists in North Korea gather for ‘big and important event’ amid tensions




Foreign journalists visiting North Korea gathered in Pyongyang for “a big and important event” on Thursday with tensions high over the possibility of a new weapons test by the isolated state and as a US carrier group sails towards the Korean peninsula.

North Korea marks the 105th anniversary of the birth of the state founder Kim Il-sung on Saturday and in 2012 launched a long-range rocket carrying a satellite to mark the date. It tested a newly developed intermediate-range missile last year.


Posted in Foreign Policy, North Korea, U.S. Military | Tagged as: , ,

Political Cartoons: Michael Ramirez……”The Elephant in the Room”


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US Navy aircraft carrier reverses course, heads back toward Korean peninsula




The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, Carl Vinson, previously scheduled for a port call in Australia has reversed course — and currently is heading back to waters off the Korean peninsula following recent provocations from North Korea.

The carrier group includes the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, with support from several missile destroyers and missile cruisers.

Last month, the USS Carl Vinson strike group had participated in annual military exercises with the South Korean military — that North Korea regards as rehearsal for invasion. In a show of defiance, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles into the ocean off Japan last month. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. began bringing in equipment for the long-planned deployment in South Korea of a missile defense system, known as THAAD.

The Pentagon continues to see signs North Korea is preparing for another nuclear test, following two last year. Officials are concerned that the country could one day place a nuclear weapon atop a missile, which could reach the United States.

On Saturday, President Donald Trump and South Korea’s leader, acting President Hwang Kyo-Ahn, spoke by phone. The White House said the two agreed to stay in close contact about North Korea and other issues.

The U.S. Pacific Command directed the carrier group to sail north to the western Pacific after departing Singapore on Saturday, according to a Navy news release.


Posted in Foreign Policy, President Donald J. Trumo, U.S. Military | Tagged as: , , , , , , ,