Since the former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures began showing up in the Washington Post and the Guardian, the political debate over the American surveillance state has been stuck in the 20th century.
The public has feared a secretive, all-seeing eye, a vast bureaucracy that could peer into our online lives and track the numbers our smartphones dialed. Privacy as we knew it was dead. The era of Big Brother was here.
President Barack Obama responded to the Snowden leaks by commissioning a blue-ribbon panel that ended up concluding the way the National Security Agency did business often trampled on legitimate civil liberties concerns. The government did not need to store our metadata or the numbers, times and dates of our phone calls.
It turns out though that the questions prompted by Snowden were only part of the story. A recent expose from the New York Times tells a very different, and more frightening, tale. In this case, the proper analogy is not Big Brother, but an outbreak. A shadowy network of hackers, known as the shadow brokers, stole the NSA’s toolbox of cyber weapons it had used to peer into the computers of our adversaries. This network then offered subscribers the fruits of powerful cyber weapons that the U.S. government was never supposed to even acknowledge. The virus is no longer confined to the lab. It’s out in the wild.
And while the cyber weapons appear to be dated from 2013, the extent of the damage is still being assessed. The Times reports that the NSA still hasn’t found the culprits. NSA cyber warriors are subjected to polygraphs, and morale at the agency is low. Was there a mole? Was there a hack? The world’s greatest surveillance organization still doesn’t know.
Aside from puncturing the aura of the NSA as an all-seeing eye, the Times story also shows that today the greatest threat to our privacy is not an organization with a monopoly of surveillance power, but rather the disaggregation of surveillance power. It is not the citizen versus the state. Rather it is a Hobbesian state of nature, a war of all against all. Today, foreign governments and private hackers can use the same tools we all feared the U.S. government would use.
It’s enough to make you wish for a simpler time when the greatest threat to our privacy came from our own government.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE MIDDLE EAST MONITOR)
The UAE and Israel are like brothers, said one of Abu Dhabi’s senior military general.
During an interview with an American news agency Defence & Aerospace Report, Staff Major General, Pilot Abdullah Al-Hashmi, answered questions about UAE military capability.
Al-Hashmi said that that US should have no concerns about arming the UAE because the Emirates seeks to become not just an ally but “the strategic ally” of the US. Relations between the two countries is a “win-win situation …. because when you build the UAE capability you are building the USA capability,” he explained
Later in the interview, Al-Hashmi was asked if increasing UAE military capability was a threat to Israel is any way. The General implied that the two countries are like brothers and that the USA was like the “older brother” who can oversee any differences the two countries may have.
“If there is a solution between Israel and Arab, or Palestine, it’s going to be done on the table because I don’t think we are a threat to Israel nor we think Israel is a threat on UAE.”
He continued to explain: “Because we understand that like we are allies of the United State, Israel is an ally of the United States and we have like a big brother.”
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(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE GUARDIAN NEWS AND THE NORTH KOREAN NEWS ‘DPRK’)
North Korea and China announce visit by Xi Jinping envoy
Unclear if illegal nuclear program is on the agenda after Donald Trump asked Chinese president to put pressure on neighbor
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Reuters in Beijing
A senior Chinese diplomat will visit North Korea from Friday as a special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing has said, without revealing whether it is about North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
China has pushed for a diplomatic solution to the crisis but in recent months has had only limited high-level exchanges with North Korea. The last time China’s special envoy for North Korea visited the country was in February 2016.
In a brief dispatch, the official Xinhua news agency said Song Tao, who heads the Communist party’s external affairs department, would “inform the DPRK of the 19th CPC National Congress and visit the DPRK”. CPC refers to China’s recently concluded Communist party congress at which Xi further cemented his power.
North Korea’s KCNA news agency confirmed the visit but said only that it would take place “soon”.
The trip will come a week after Donald Trump visited Beijing as part of a lengthy Asia tour where he pressed for greater action to rein in North Korea, especially from China, with which North Korea does 90% of its trade.
It is not clear how long Song could stay but he has already visited Vietnam and Laos to inform them of the results of the Congress, a typical courtesy China extends other communist countries after such important meetings.
It is also unclear where Song will meet the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.
Kim and Xi exchanged messages of congratulations and thanks to the Chinese party congress but neither has visited the other’s country since assuming power.
Song’s department is in charge of the party’s relations with foreign political parties and has traditionally served as a conduit for Chinese diplomacy with North Korea.
A department official said in October that China’s Communist party continued to hold talks and maintain contacts with its North Korean counterpart, describing the two countries’ friendship as important for regional stability.
China’s new special envoy for North Korea, Kong Xuanyou, who took up his position in August, is not believed to have visited the country yet.
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The Trump administration on Thursday said it had reversed a ban on hunters importing elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
The FWS said the move, which reverses a prohibition enacted by the Obama administration in 2014, follows a revaluation based on new information about the elephant populations and their management in those countries. New estimates show there are 80,000 elephants in Zimbabwe, according to the FWS. The agency does not say what the estimate was in 2014. The government of Zimbabwe issues permits to hunt 500 elephants annually, collecting fees that hunting backers say supports conservation.
“Sport hunting, as part of a sound wildlife management program, can provide benefits to conservation,” the FWS said in a bulletin announcing the decision. “When the Service announced an interim suspension on the import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe on April 4, 2014, we based our decision on the limited information available to us… the facts on the ground have changed and improved.”
The agency will immediately begin issuing permits to carry elephant trophies — typically the elephant’s severed head — back to the U.S. as a symbol of the hunt. The practice received public outcry in 2015 after reports that an American dentist had killed a lion in Zimbabwe illegally. Still, trophy hunting remains popular among a small group of hunters, including the president’s children, Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric.
Trophy hunting remains controversial in the U.S. with animal protection groups arguing that it contributes to unsustainable population decline in a slew of threatened species. Elephants, in particular, remain an endangered species with a rapid decline continuing as a result of poaching and the ivory trade.
“The global community has rallied to stem the ivory trade,” said Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle in a blog post. “And now, the U.S. government is giving American trophy hunters the green light to kill them.”
The FWS service said it was still evaluating whether to allow hunters to import elephant remains from Tanzania.
A Northern California man who killed his wife on the eve of a rampage that claimed four others and included a stop at an elementary school was ordered earlier this year to give up his firearms, officials said Wednesday.
Kevin Neal — killed Tuesday morning by police officers near Corning — was told he could not own weapons as part of a protective order for two female neighbors with whom he had a confrontation in late January, according to Tehama County District Attorney Gregg Cohen.
Cohen said Neal, whom he called a “deranged, paranoid killer,” was being prosecuted by his office on several charges related to that incident.
Neal fired shots at the women, stabbed one and held them hostage, Cohen said. He made $160,000 bail and repeatedly harassed those alleged victims, officials said. A protective order was served in February.
Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston told reporters he did not know whether Neal had surrendered the weapons. The shooter illegally manufactured guns he used Tuesday, officials said. Handguns police recovered were not registered to him, Johnston said.
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Neal “was not law enforcement friendly” and authorities a number of times had come to his house after complaints that shots were fired from the property, Johnston said.
Charges against the gunman included assault with a deadly weapon, robbery and false imprisonment, Cohen said.
Neal’s deadly rampage may have been prompted by his fatal shooting of his wife, authorities said. He shot and killed his spouse on Monday night and concealed her body under a floor in his home, Johnston said.
The discovery of the spouse’s body brought the death toll to six, including the gunman. All of the dead were adults.
“We believe that’s probably what started this whole event,” Johnston said of the wife’s shooting.
Neal’s sister told CNN’s Sara Sidner that he had struggled with mental health issues for at least 20 years.
“My mom spent a great deal of her time and nearly all her energy trying so hard to placate him,” said Sheridan Orr, who was with her distraught mother in North Carolina.
Neal’s mental state began a steep decline about a year ago, said Orr, adding the family had tried to get him help.
Before police shot him dead, Neal injured at least 10 others in a string of shootings that spanned at least seven sites in the small community of Rancho Tehama, west of Corning, police said.
Those locations include a locked elementary school that the shooter fired into from the outside, injuring a boy.
The shootings started in Neal’s neighborhood shortly before 8 a.m., where he killed a woman neighbor who had a protective order against him, Johnston said. Neal had been arrested and charged in January on suspicion of assaulting her with a deadly weapon, he said.
He then stole a pickup truck and went on a 25-minute rampage in town, shooting at homes, motorists and eventually the school, apparently at random, Johnston said.
Ramming through the school’s gate
“This guy was bent on … driving by residences and arbitrarily shooting at them,” Johnston said. Still, it “could have been so much worse.”
Wearing a tactical vest and armed with extra magazines, the gunman attempted to enter classrooms at Rancho Tehama Elementary School.
The gunman arrived at the small school — about 2 miles from his home — just before classes were to begin. The staff, having heard gunfire nearby or been alerted to it, had already begun to take action.
Doors were locked and students rushed inside, where they hit the floor underneath desks and tables.
The shooter rammed the stolen pickup through the school’s locked gate, walked into the schoolyard and fired his rifle through windows and walls.
He could not get inside and left six minutes later, apparently frustrated, Johnston said.
One student was in fair condition after being wounded by gunfire, the school district said. Others were hurt by flying glass.
Before reaching the school, the gunman had fired from his vehicle at passing motorists and homes, Johnston said. At one point he shot and severely injured a woman who was driving her three children to school.
The woman was being treated for life-threatening injuries. A boy who was in the vehicle was hit by gunfire or shrapnel but was not seriously wounded, according to Johnston.
“She has no clue who he was,” the official said.
After leaving the school, the shooter intentionally crashed the pickup into a car.He exited the truck and gunned down at least one person there, Johnston said.
He then stole someone else’s sedan and “went back on his rampage,” Johnston said.
Eventually, two police officers encountered the gunman at an intersection. They returned fire, killing him, the assistant sheriff said.
Aside from the first shooting in his neighborhood, the killer appeared to be shooting people at random, Johnston said and did not seem to have any connections to the school either.
“This is an individual who armed himself, I think with the motive of getting even with his neighbors, and when it went that far (that someone was killed) he just went on a rampage,” Johnston said.
Mom raced back to school to warn people
A fearless mother may have also helped warn staff at the school about the danger.
Sara Gonzalez said she had dropped her daughter off at the school when the gunman attempted to shoot her as their vehicles passed. She said thinks the gunman’s windshield stopped the bullet.
She turned her vehicle around.
“I went to my daughter’s school and started honking, making people know what was going on,” she said.
Gonzalez said the gunman fired at her as she tried to get out and find her daughter. She saw the man’s face but he said nothing.
Jessie Sanders told CNN affiliate KCRA he tried to draw the gunman’s attention away from the school.
He said he ran over to the school when he heard the crack of a semi-automatic rifle.
“When I get there, the dude was shooting through the windows,” he told the Sacramento TV station. “And I said, ‘Hey why don’t you shoot this way instead.’ “
Sanders said a bullet grazed his right forearm.
Inside the school, the children tried to stay low. Gonzalez’s daughter, Arianna Ibarra, was on the floor with her fourth-grade class.
“Our teacher told us to get under our desk and keep flat in case he comes inside,” Arianna said.
The teacher blocked the door with a computer, the 10-year-old said.
CNN’s Sarah Aarthun, Steve Almasy, Faith Karimi, Mayra Cuevas, Sonya Hamasaki and Dan Simon contributed to this report.
Nine people have contracted Legionnaire’s disease after visiting Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.
Disneyland voluntarily shut down two water cooling towers in one of its backstage areas after discovering they contained high levels of the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s, according to the Orange County Register. The towers were chemically treated to combat the problem, and there is no ongoing threat to guests’ health, the Register reports.
Legionnaire’s Disease is a serious lung infection most often caused by inhaling microscopic water droplets tainted by the bacteria Legionella. It typically strikes the elderly and people with compromised immune systems and can be fatal, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Twelve cases of the disease have been reported in the Anaheim area; among those, eight people had visited Disneyland in September and one worked there, the Register reports. One person, who had not visited Disneyland, died from the disease. The victims’ ages range from 52 to 94.
Trump Says U.K. First, Putin Says Iran First, Xi Says Egypt First
Before you freak out, or, think that I have done flushed my brain down a toilet I need to let you know that, no, of course they didn’t say any such a thing. So, why did I say such things in the headline? There are two simple reasons, first, to draw your attention to the article, two, to make people think a little bit. The first is self-explanatory. Now, concerning the second of the two reasons. Anyone who reads my articles knows quite well that I believe that Donald Trump is the biggest idiot and the biggest ass to sit in the Oval Office since Andrew Jackson back in the first half of the 18 hundreds, and friends, that is really saying a whole lot because we have really had a lot of trash as Presidents in our Nations History.
There are many people, it seems mostly Democrats, who think that it is a horrible slogan that Mr. Trump came up with during his primary run, “America First.” Here is where I have to say that you folks who are ragging him over this slogan, you are quite goofy yourself. What the heck was the man suppose to say, England First, or Mexico First? Just what do you think any politician at any level, of any country, should do? If President Putin at the next Russian election started putting out propaganda saying that the Russian people and government need to start putting Iran, or Syria first, do you think that even in Russia that he would win the election? Possibly even worse, it would probably get him shot. Even as powerful as President Xi Jinping is in China if he came out with a policy saying China is going to start putting Egypt or North Korea before the people of China do you honestly believe that he would live five more years to finish out his term?
What I am getting at is that you folks here in the U.S. that are whining about Mr. Trumps ‘America First’ slogan are showing the world just how big of dummies you are. Also, the U.S. Media outlets who fall in line with such ignorance help fuel Liberal stupidity in European countries and in a few other Nations as well. For politicians and for the people of every Country on Earth, if you are not putting your country first, then you are truly a traitor to every person in your Country. For we folks who are Christians or Jewish, we all need to look at the teachings of Scriptures. You should know very well that we are supposed to cater to the needs of our families first and once our families are secure and safe, then we are to be charitable from the inside out. By this, I mean our family, our community, then outward, such as our County, our State, our own Country, then the world. We are to take what we really need from our own work, our own earnings, then use the rest to help others. This is where we are told not to hoard, not to store up for many years ahead for ourselves, but to use the extra that we have to help others. This is why we are told that charity covers many sins.
Even though I know that Donald Trump doesn’t have a clue about the teachings of the Bible it does not mean that everything he says is incorrect, most everything, but not all things. As our President, Mr. Trump is supposed to ‘Put America First’, if he is not doing so, then he is a traitor to the American people. Unfortunately, I personally do not believe that this ‘slogan’, to him, is anything but a slogan, something he thinks his voter base wants to hear. Personally, I have no doubt of any kind that Donald Trump, his Dad, and his adult kids, as well as his son in law Mr. Kushner, have done, or will do, anything except and ONLY, put themselves first, always! Yet in U.S. politics, do you honestly expect anything except selfishness?
Donald ‘the fraud’ Trump’s political base is uneducated white males of which I am considered one of. Because I am very technology challenged I guess I am one of ‘those people’, you know whom I mean, the deplorable’s. The political talking heads say Trump’s base are white males with only a high school education or less. I have an Associate Degree in Sociology and Anthropology but I had to work my behind off to obtain a 2.72 GPA. What I am saying is that I am not a genius, I am just an average person. I do try my best to be a good Christian person, I know that I fail at my efforts constantly though. I do say these things to you so that you know that I do not consider myself as being better than you, or anyone else, well, except for the IDIOT in Our White House. It is a bit difficult to believe that anyone on the planet is more clueless than ‘the Donald.’
Now let us get down to the reason for this article today. Our glorious ‘habitual Liar in Chief’ is on a 12-day trip to Asia. Yesterday he made a speech to the South Korea Congress and today he is in China with his “good friend” President Xi Jinping. Before he went to South Korea he spent time in Japan with their leader Mr. Abe and I hear that they spent time on a golf course together. You know the only place that you normally hear more lies told than on a fishing boat, is on a golf course. This is especially true when Donald Trump enters the course. I read a lot of newspapers from all over the world almost every day and one of the things that is very clear is that no one anywhere believes anything that comes out of this mans mouth. It does seem that the only place you may find anyone here in the States who actually believes anything he says is on the Fox News Network.
If you are an ally of the United States these days, Mr. Trump has very plainly made it clear that he doesn’t give a flip about such things as longstanding treaties or friendships. Remember the fiasco/lies about the US Aircraft Carrier battle group that was “speeding toward Korea” as a sign of strength to our friends in South Korea and as a warning to North Korea? The same battle group that was actually heading in the opposite direction headed toward Australia to take part in ‘war games’ off of Australia’s northeast coast! This ‘bluff’! Do you remember the anger of the South Korean people and government officials when they found out that Mr. Trump had basically set them up as bait? Mr. Trump lies so often and changes his mind so often people with any sense at all have trouble remembering the last time he ever told the truth about anything. Just as our Ally’s have learned they cannot trust his word on anything, government leaders have also learned this same truth. President Putin and President Jinping both must be giddy as all heck realizing that there is an ignorant fool in the White House, it is obvious that both of these men are a whole lot wiser, smarter, and intelligent than Mr. Trump. You know what else, even the ‘Little Rocket Man’ knows all of these things about him also. The only question is, will the Republicans in the Senate grow a set and impeach this Fool before he starts a nuclear war with North Korea and their friends in China? I used the word ‘Fraud’ in the headline because to me, if you cannot believe a single thing that comes out of a persons mouth not only are they a habitual liar, they are a FRAUD and to me, these terms fit Mr. Trump perfectly!
For those of you who do not like it that I am calling out Mr. Trump for the person that he is please take a moment and get your Bible out. Now in the index look up the words Fraud and Fool. I was going to use a couple of passages that describe what the Bible says about these two kinds of people so that you could match them up with Mr. Trump’s actions. As you can see I didn’t waste the writing space because there were so many that describe Mr. Trump so perfectly that I decided to simply request that you see/read them all for yourself.
BEIJING — For more than a year, China has railed against South Korea, calling for boycotts of its products over Seoul’s decision to let the United States deploy an anti-missile system, which Beijing fears threaten its own security.
On Tuesday, however, China abruptly changed course, essentially saying “never mind,” as the two countries agreed to end their dispute even though South Korea is keeping the system in place.
China’s unexpected move to settle the rancorous dispute could scramble President Trump’s calculations about how to deal with allies and North Korea on the eve of his first trip to Asia.
The decision, by the newly empowered Chinese president, Xi Jinping, appeared to reflect a judgment that China’s continued opposition to the deployment of the American missile defense system was not succeeding in fraying the South Korean government’s alliance with Washington.
But it could also pose a fresh challenge to Mr. Trump, as he attempts to build support in the region to put greater pressure on North Korea to curb its nuclear and missile programs.
South Korea’s liberal president, Moon Jae-in, is more receptive to diplomacy with the North Koreans than either Mr. Trump or Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe. Drawing Mr. Moon closer to Beijing, analysts said, could create a new alignment on how to deal with the North, with China and South Korea facing off against Japan and the United States.
“It’s going to undermine the Trump administration’s effort to build solidarity among the U.S., Japan, and Korea to put pressure not only on North Korea but on China to do more on North Korea,” said Michael J. Green, an Asia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Much about the rapprochement is not known, Mr. Green cautioned, and the Chinese could be exaggerating the implications of the agreement. But it adds yet another volatile element to Mr. Trump’s 12-day, five-nation tour of Asia, which begins this weekend.
Formally, the Trump administration welcomed news of the thaw. The State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, told reporters on Tuesday, “We see that as providing better stability, greater stability for a region that desperately needs it because of North Korea.”
Ms. Nauert, however, said she did not know whether China’s move indicated it no longer had objections to the deployment of the antimissile system, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or Thaad.
The White House has not publicly addressed the rapprochement. A senior administration official, who asked for anonymity to discuss a sensitive diplomatic issue, acknowledged it could complicate matters, but said there should be no inherent conflict in South Korea restoring its relations with China while at the same time pushing to keep maximum pressure on North Korea.
In restoring better relations with South Korea, Mr. Xi appeared to have decided that he could afford to blink. But he also does not face a vigorous political opposition or press, which could accuse him of flip-flopping on the issue.
Even under Mr. Moon, whose outlook toward China had been more favorable than his predecessor’s and who has called for a more balanced diplomacy between Beijing and Washington, Mr. Xi made no headway in achieving his stated goal of stopping the deployment of the Thaad.
A second phase of the missile defense system, intended to defend South Korea from the escalating nuclear and missile threats from North Korea, was installed despite China’s protests in September, just four months after Mr. Moon took office. China had insisted it would not tolerate Thaad’s powerful radar so close to its own missile systems.
Mr. Xi’s tough stance against South Korea also included the informal, though punishing, economic boycott that helped reinforce the American relationship with Seoul, undermining China’s long-term goal of replacing the United States as the pre-eminent power in Asia.
“This is the reversal of an ineffective and costly policy on the part of China,” said Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University of China.
In agreeing to restore cordial relations, South Korea pledged not to accept additional Thaad launchers and agreed not to join a regional missile defense system with the United States and Japan. The agreement not to accept any more Thaad deployments had been a longstanding policy stance of Mr. Moon anyway, a South Korean government official said on Wednesday.
South Korea also promised not to join a trilateral military alliance with the United States and Japan. Mr. Moon, like his predecessors, had shown no interest in expanding military relations with Japan, its former colonial master.
With the increased threat from North Korea, Mr. Moon had aligned himself more closely with Mr. Trump and Mr. Abe.
The three leaders met on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit meeting in Germany in July and agreed to enhance their defense capabilities against the North Korean threat.
In warming up to South Korea, Mr. Xi probably recognized that Mr. Moon would be more malleable to favoring dialogue with North Korea than was his conservative predecessor, Park Geun-hye.
At the recent party congress in which he was elevated to a second five-year term as president, Mr. Xi showed himself determined to project China’s power in a “new era.” Resolving the North Korea crisis dovetails with that theme, and any move toward talking with the North would be easier with Mr. Moon by his side.
South Korea and China announced their decision to restore relations just before Mr. Trump’s visit.
The timing was interpreted in Beijing as a way to blunt some of the impacts of the American president’s stop in Seoul, where he is expected to deliver a speech to the National Assembly.
Indeed, the rapprochement between China and South Korea carries risks for the United States. How far Mr. Moon would now lean toward China is something that Washington needs to watch closely, said Evans J. R. Revere, a former State Department official who has dealt with the Korean Peninsula.
In agreeing not to join a regional missile defense system, South Korea is addressing China’s concerns about what it views as the United States’ aim to “contain” China.
“Beijing was worried that Thaad would eventually be succeeded by ‘son of Thaad’ — a regional missile defense system involving the United States, South Korea and Japan and others that would be aimed at dealing with China’s offensive missile force, unlike the current Thaad, which it is not,” Mr. Revere said.
For Mr. Moon, the Chinese government’s efforts to discourage the purchase of popular South Korean goods as punishment for the Thaad deployment has taken a toll. China is by far the biggest trading partner of South Korea; two-way trade is bigger than South Korea’s trade with the United States and Japan combined.
The Hyundai Research Institute found that the Thaad dispute was likely to have cost South Korea $7.5 billion so far this year, a 0.5 percent hit to its gross domestic product. China lost $880 million, just a 0.01 percent drop of its G.D.P., the institute said.
South Korean car sales plummeted in China. Lotte, the retailer, recently put 112 of its stores in China on the market after customers abandoned it. South Korean movies and cosmetics also suffered.
The government-encouraged boycott — coupled with what was perceived as Beijing’s interference in South Korea’s internal affairs over Thaad — hardened the view of China as a bully among the South Korean people.
“We have seen anti-Chinese sentiments rising in South Korea,” said Seo Jeong-kyung, a professor at the Sungkyun Institute of China Studies in Seoul. “So did the approval ratings for the Thaad deployment, and calls mounted for strengthening the alliance with the Americans.”
Despite the apparent resolution of the standoff between the two countries, there was no guarantee that the accord would stick.
People’s Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper, issued a somewhat friendly, but mostly stern, editorial. “Only proper resolution of the Thaad issue can bring the Sino-Korean relationship back onto the right track,” it said.
It was possible that both sides agreed to resolve their differences so the two leaders, Mr. Xi and Mr. Moon, could meet in Vietnam next week during an Asian economic summit meeting. After that, there is the talk of Mr. Moon visiting China before the end of the year.
“This is a direct result of South Korea’s efforts to mend fences,” said Cheng Xiaohe, an associate professor of international relations at Renmin University. “China also realizes that Thaad should not hold hostage the whole relations between the two nations. But I think the Thaad issue is just shelved, not resolved.”
In a race closely watched by Democratic and Republican operatives from across the country, the former Republican National Committee chairman spent millions on ads that sounded Trumpist themes of the risks of immigration and the need to protect America’s heritage.
But Democrat Ralph Northam, the state’s not-particularly-inspiring lieutenant governor, roundly defeated Gillespie, 54 to 45 percent, as Democrats rode a wave of victories in other statewide offices and the state’s House of Delegates.
The nation’s foremost expert on all things Trump, one Donald J. Trump of New York City, had an explanation: Gillespie just wasn’t Trumpy enough. Taking advantage of Twitter’s new 280-character maximum, the president of the United States explained Tuesday night that Gillespie “did not embrace me or what I stand for.”
Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for. Don’t forget, Republicans won 4 out of 4 House seats, and with the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!
But he more than embraced what Trump stands for, as evidenced by his campaign ads.
There’s another explanation. Trump was the ultimate outsider: a reality TV personality and billionaire developer who had never run for office or served in an elected position who pledged to “drain the swamp.” Gillespie was a creature of the swamp, a former party official who advised George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, worked as a lobbyist and ran unsuccessfully for Senate.
And then there are the views of political scientists. For all its history as the heart of the Confederacy, Virginia is a state whose demographics are trending blue. Trump’s approval rating is lower than any modern president. And Virginia has tended to vote for governors from the opposite party of the incumbent president in recent years. Maybe a loss was baked in.
All of these explanations hold some truth to them, but most of them are not good news for Donald Trump.
If Trumpism only works with Trump on the ticket, the president is going to find his Republican allies thinning out.
If Trumpism only works when the candidate is a true believer, the president may find there aren’t enough people who fit the bill and have the wherewithal to win a race. (That’s one reason former Trump advisor Steve Bannon’s potential picks for 2018 included several wealthy people who could self-fund.)
And if Trumpism is subject to the usual rules of politics — something Trump managed to evade in his unlikely 2016 campaign — then the president will find his party losing seats in the upcoming midterm elections.
There were other signs on Election Night that Trump could be in trouble.
In New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy decisively defeated Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, second-in-command to Trump’s erstwhile ally, Chris Christie, in a campaign in which he called on the blue state to turn an even deeper shade of blue.
In Maine, voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum to expand Medicaid under terms set by the Affordable Care Act, a move that Republican Gov. Paul LePage vetoed five different times. That’s not a positive sign for Trump, who vowed to repeal Obamacare as president.