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An unstable authoritarian is threatening to destabilize east Asia with his petulant approach to foreign policy ― and Kim Jong-un is involved, too. Nikki Haley complained on Twitter that North Korea ruined her Independence Day ― and remember: This is the Cabinet member that Serious Republicans© like. And the DOJ is trying to purge voter rolls, and we suspect the GOP won’t rest until your local voter rolls only contain the names of a few hundred Oakleys-wearing Big Ten graduates named Carter. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, July 5th, 2017:
CONGRATULATIONS TO WHATEVER FOREIGN SERVICE DIPLOMATS ARE RUNNING OUR KOREA OUTREACH – We tried to make some kind of “kimchi-whiz, get a load of this!” headline but it wasn’t really working. Marina Fang: “Instead of tweeting, there’s one immediate goal Trump could accomplish that could help address his complaints: nominate an ambassador to South Korea. That key position remains vacant. Marc Knapper, formerly the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, is temporarily serving as the top U.S. diplomatic official in the country. It is among numerous diplomatic posts at the State Department that the Trump administration has yet to fill. The top official on East Asia policy, Susan Thornton, is also serving in an acting capacity, as is the top official on International Security and Nonproliferation, Eliot Kang. While these important posts remain unfilled, Trump has nominated people to represent countries such as the Bahamas, as political scientist Brian Klaas pointed out on Tuesday. In May, the president named Doug Manchester, one of his top campaign fundraisers, to serve as ambassador there.” [HuffPost]
MAYBE TWEETING WILL STOP NORTH KOREA – Nick Visser: “Trump resumed tweeting Wednesday morning, before leaving for the G-20 summit in Europe, taking aim at China’s economic relationship with North Korea: ‘The United States made some of the worst Trade Deals in world history. Why should we continue these deals with countries that do not help us? Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us – but we had to give it a try!’ The United States and South Korea on Tuesday had fired back at North Korea’s military provocations, as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the situation a ‘new escalation of the threat’ from the reclusive nation.” [HuffPost]
No, tweeting will not stop North Korea: “U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley would like the country to know that while its citizens were eating hot dogs and watching fireworks, she was spending the Fourth of July in meetings due to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un launching the country’s latest missile test. ’Spending my 4th in meetings all day. #ThanksNorthKorea′ [Haley tweeted].” [HuffPost’s Rebecca Shapiro]
THINGS ARE GOING JUST FINE – Smart move by China to enlist one of the president’s good friends. Emily Rauhala: “In the wake of Tuesday’s test, China and Russia issued a joint statement condemning North Korea and calling for what they called a ‘double suspension,’ a plan that would see the United States and South Korea suspend joint military exercises and North Korea suspend weapons testing…. South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo said there is high probability that Pyongyang will stage another nuclear test. He also noted gains in its efforts to miniaturize a warhead — both steps toward developing nuclear-tipped weapons capable of hitting the mainland United States. North Korean state media carried gleeful descriptions of the test. Official accounts had Kim ‘feasting his eyes’ on the ICBM.” [WaPo]
WAR IN KOREA WOULD BE BAD ― VERY, VERY BAD – Motoko Rich: “Over the years, as it does for potential crises around the world, the Pentagon has drafted and refined multiple war plans, including an enormous retaliatory invasion and limited pre-emptive attacks, and it holds annual military exercises with South Korean forces based on them. But the military options are more grim than ever. Even the most limited strike risks staggering casualties, because North Korea could retaliate with the thousands of artillery pieces it has positioned along its border with the South. Though the arsenal is of limited range and could be destroyed in days, the United States defense secretary, Jim Mattis, recently warned that if North Korea used it, it ‘would be probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes.’″ [NYT]
THAT SOUND YOU HEAR IS PUTIN LAUGHING HIS ЖОПА OFF IN MOSCOW – Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Glenn Thrush: “President Trump has been briefed repeatedly. His advisers have alerted him to the web of potential risks, complex issues and diplomatic snags. But even his top aides do not know precisely what Mr. Trump will decide to say or do when he meets President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia face-to-face this week on the sidelines of the Group of 20 economic summit gathering in Hamburg, Germany. And that is what most worries his advisers and officials across his administration as he embarks Wednesday on his second foreign trip, first to Warsaw and then to Hamburg…. Mr. Trump’s team said he might bring up Russia’s documented meddling in the 2016 election, but he is unlikely to dwell on it: Doing so would emphasize doubts about the legitimacy of his election.″ [NYT]
Fałszywe wiadomości! “Polish media reports say the government promised the White House cheering crowds as part of its invitation. Ruling party lawmakers and pro-government activists plan to bus in groups of people for Trump’s speech.” [AP’s Darlene Superville and Ken Thomas]
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GOOD THING WE DIDN’T GUT THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OR ANYTHING – Rockabilly bars and summery polka dot dresses aren’t the only 1950s throwbacks that are hot right now. Disenfranchisement is, too! Sam Levine: “Former Department of Justice officials and voting advocates are seriously alarmed over a DOJ letter sent to states last week that they say could signal a forthcoming effort to kick people off voter rolls. This comes as national attention focuses on several states blocking a request for voter information from President Donald Trump’s commission to to investigate voting fraud, which does occur, but is not a widespread problem. The DOJ sent the letter to several states last Wednesday, the same day the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity sent a letter controversially requesting personal voter information. The DOJ letter requests that election officials respond by detailing their compliance with a section of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), which was enacted to help people register to vote, but also specifies when voters may be kicked off the rolls.” [HuffPost]
WHITE HOUSE GENDER PAY GAP HIGHEST IN DECADES – Damn, when AEI is saying you have a pay problem… Christopher Ingraham: “The pay gap between male and female White House staffers has more than tripled in the first year of the Trump administration, according to an analysis by economist Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. The median female White House employee is drawing a salary of $72,650 in 2017, compared to the median male salary of $115,000. ‘The typical female staffer in Trump’s White House earns 63.2 cents per $1 earned by a typical male staffer,’ Perry writes. The 37 percent gender pay gap in President Trump’s White House is more than double the 17 percent gender pay gap nationally. According to the Pew Research center, the Trump White House gender gap is wider than the national gender pay gap stood in 1980.” [WaPo]
IVANKA TRUMP DELIVERS HEAD-SCRATCHING DEFENSE OF PAID FAMILY LEAVE – Remember, she’s not into politics! Emily Peck: “Ivanka Trump hit back at the Wall Street Journal’s opinion editors this week with a well-reasoned rejoinder to their criticism of her paid parental leave proposal, which calls for six weeks of federally funded time off for new parents. There’s only one problem with her elegant argument, published as a letter to the editor in Wednesday’s Journal: it’s undercut by reality…. President Donald Trump’s administration is hell-bent on cutting key health and economic benefits to women, such as defunding Planned Parenthood and limiting access to affordable birth control. And, crucially, Trump supports the GOP’s efforts in Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with plans that would drastically cut Medicaid funding.” [HuffPost]
THE DAILY NEWS FRONT-PAGE TEAM EXISTS FOR THIS – Nothing like squashing talk that you can’t handle foreign affairs quite like a face-to-face with Vladimir Putin. Peter Nicholas and Nathan Hodge: ”Donald Trump sets out Wednesday on the second foreign trip of his presidency, a rapid-fire series of meetings with world leaders that all could be upstaged by his first face-to-face encounter since the election with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. The two will meet Friday afternoon in Hamburg, Germany, in what the White House on Tuesday began describing as a ‘bilateral’ session, rather than the more casual and impromptu encounters that sometimes play out at world summits. Mr. Trump first will stop in Poland and then head to Hamburg for a two-day summit of leaders from the Group of 20 nations that figures to be tense. European leaders have signaled they are prepared to confront Mr. Trump over an ‘America first’ doctrine they see as harmful to both free trade and the environment.” [WSJ]
WHITE HOUSE CONTINUES TO UNIRONICALLY CALL OUT CONFLICTS OF INTEREST – Matt Zapotosky: ”At least seven of the 15 lawyers Mueller has brought on to the special counsel team have donated to Democratic political candidates, five of them to Hillary Clinton — a fact that President Trump and his allies have eagerly highlighted. These critics also point to some of the lawyers’ history working with clients connected to the Clintons and Mueller’s long history with former FBI director James B. Comey as they question whether those assigned to the investigation can be impartial. Many lawyers and ethics experts say they can see no significant legal or ethical concerns with the team’s political giving or past work, and they note that Trump often misstates the facts as he casts aspersions. But others say the optical problem is a real one that threatens to undermine public confidence in the probe.” [WaPo]
FAKE NEWS CNN STILL MORE TRUSTED THAN TRUMP – Carla Herrera: “Even as controversy continues over President Donald Trump’s tweet of a video showing him beating up a personified version of CNN, a poll released Tuesday shows the cable news outlet edging him in trust among most Americans. The survey also showed the New York Times, Washington Post and the broadcast television networks faring better than Trump in trustworthiness. But the poll, conducted by Survey Monkey and published by Axios, also illustrates the stark political divide in the U.S. The poll, conducted between last Thursday and Monday, showed that 50 percent of American adults trust CNN more than Trump, with 43 percent favoring the president. Trump posted his disparaging CNN tweet on Sunday.” [HuffPost]
Here, read about the stupid thing with CNN and the guy who made Trump’s stupid meme, if you absolutely must.
HOW ABOUT WE LEAVE THE CONCENTRATION CAMP FOOTAGE TO THE HISTORY CHANNEL? Hooo, boy. Louis Nelson: “A congressman’s video taken inside a gas chamber at the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz has drawn criticism from the Polish museum and memorial that oversees the site where hundreds of thousands of people were murdered during the Holocaust. During a trip to the concentration camp, Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) shot a roughly five-minute video…. ‘The world’s a smaller place now than it was in World War II. The United States is more accessible to terror like this, horror like this,’ Higgins said.” [Politico]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR – Here’s a duckling.
DONALD TRUMP IS GOOD TO HIS FRIENDS – Now do us, Mr. President! Marina Fang: “Viewership for MSNBC’s ′Morning Joe′ skyrocketed last week after President Donald Trump attacked the show’s hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, in a series of offensive tweets. On Friday, one day after Trump lashed out at ‘Psycho Joe’ and ‘low-I.Q. Crazy Mika’ and claimed Brzezinski ‘was bleeding badly from a face-lift’ the show averaged 1.66 million viewers, nearly 70 percent more than its usual audience of just under 1 million viewers, according to Nielsen ratings released Wednesday. It was the number one cable news program that morning, beating Fox News’ ‘Fox and Friends,’ which usually claims the top spot.” [HuffPost]
– Make your own coin sorter.
– This year’s worst fireworks fail.
– Someone posted an entire commercial break from Nickelodeon from the 1990s. Can you handle this much tubularness?
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