Tag Archives: North Korea

2017: Year in Review

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The year 2017 is about to slip fully into the annals of history, and what a truly historic year it was. For good and bad, the news headlines were dominated by one man. But there was still plenty more to make this past year memorable.

On January 20, Donald J. Trump was sworn-in as the 45th President of the United States. Trump, a New York City businessman, thus became the first person to ever hold the highest office of the land without having served previously in the political arena or the U.S. military.

Trump’s wife, the former Melania Knauss, became just the second First Lady born outside of the United States and the first-ever naturalized U.S. citizen to take on that role.

Mike Pence, the former Governor of Indiana, was sworn-in as Trump’s Vice-President. He would provide a stable, measured, traditional balance to Trump’s bombastic style in office.

Much as he had in winning the Republican primaries and then the general election, Trump rallied support for his initiatives through the use of social media. The use of his Twitter account produced some notable gaffes, but also galvanized his loyal followers.

The President and those in his administration pushing out his first-year agenda would run into a number of roadblocks, most publicly from the Democratic Party and from liberal court jurists. However there were a number of big victories for the freshman POTUS.

Neil Gorsuch was nominated and confirmed, putting a jurist with a conservative record on the Supreme Court of the United States. Trump utilized the power of his office to roll back numerous Obama-era regulations, as well as some on Cuba.

It was Trump leadership that led to FCC repeal of so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules. The President pulled the United States out of both the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris climate deal. Under his direction, ICE had its most active year ever in combating illegal immigration, and the Border Patrol has similarly had a banner year in stopping illegal border crossings.

And as Christmas approached, the leadership of the President was key in getting tax reform done for the first time in decades. The act to reduce and reform taxation in the country would also eliminate the Obamacare individual mandate, basically killing that program. In addition, it opened up areas of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling, creating more economic opportunity for the nation.

On the day following the inauguration, millions took to the streets in the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. Though it was known as the “Women’s March”, it was actually anti-Trump, with American leftists rallying against the new president’s stated campaign goals.

On February 11, North Korea fired a ballistic missile over the Sea of Japan. This began a year-long war of words and military posturing between Trump and North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un.

March 29 saw more major international news when the United Kingdom began Brexit negotiations aimed at withdrawing Britain from the European Union.

On April 13, the U.S. military dropped MOAB (Mother of All Bombs) on ISIL (also known as ISIS) troops in Afghanistan. This was the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used, and resulted in the deaths of 94 militants along with four commanders.

By years-end, the U.S. military, loosed by President Trump from reigns imposed under his predecessor, had virtually destroyed ISIL. On the last day of the Barack Obama administration, some 35,000 ISIL troops controlled 17,500 square miles in Afghanistan. Today there are only about 1,000 fighters left controlling some 1,900 square miles.

Mass casualty violence reared its ugly head at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England on May 22. Islamic terrorists set off a homemade bomb, killing 22 people and injury over 500 others.

Tensions with North Korea heightened even further on June 12 when an American student, Otto Warmbier, was returned home following a year and a half imprisonment there. In January of 2016, Warmbier had been accused of attempting to steal a political propaganda poster from the hotel room where he was staying as a tourist.

On his return, Warmbier was in a coma and found to have suffered severe neurological damage. He never regained consciousness, and died on June 19. It is believed that at least three U.S. citizens are still being held in North Korea.

On July 4, both Russia and China urged the North Koreans to halt development of their missile and nuclear weapons programs. Then on August 5, the United Nations hit North Korea with sanctions on trade and investment.

These developments came after North Korea successfully tested its first ICBM. Not to be dissuaded, the North Koreans would conduct their most powerful nuclear test to date on September 3. It is now estimated that their missiles are capable of hitting targets anywhere in the United States.

Cyberattacks became a late-spring, early-summer phenomenon. On May 12, computers around the world were hit with ransomware cyberattack. Then on June 27, the Ukraine suffered from a series of cyberattacks.

News was made in the heavens on August 21 as The Great American Eclipse took place. Passing from the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts, the total solar eclipse was the first in the United States since 1979.

On September 13 it was learned that the Summer Olympics would be coming back to the United States. The city of Los Angeles, California was awarded the 2028 Games, with Paris awarded the rights to the 2024 Olympics.

In between those two feel-good happenings, Hurricane Harvey brought death and destruction as a Cat4 storm. There was tremendous loss in the Houston, Texas area as the storm lingered for nearly a week. With just under $200 billion in damages, it was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. There were at least 90 deaths reported from the storm.

Mother Nature wasn’t done with the Americas yet. One week after Harvey moved out, Hurricane Irma slammed through the Caribbean and struck the United States at Florida. The storm caused at least 134 deaths and $63 billion in damages.

And there was still more of nature’s wrath to come this year. A pair of earthquakes struck Mexico in September, with a 7.1 quake striking on September 19. There were more than 350 deaths and 6,000 injuries as a result.

Puerto Rico and Dominica took major hits from Hurricane Maria on September 19-20. There were at least 94 deaths and over $103 billion in damages. The islands are still trying to recover now, more than three months later.

Death did not take a holiday in October. In fact, the month began with the deadliest mass shooting ever perpetrated by a lone gunman in American history. As the Route 91 music festival was taking place in Las Vegas, Stephen Paddock opened fire from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel overlooking the festival. His attack left 58 dead to date, with 546 injured.

On November 15 the art world was rocked when an original painting titled ‘Salvator Muti’ (Savior of the World) purported to be by Leonardo da Vinci himself went for $450 million during an auction at Christie’s in New York. The price was the most ever paid for any work of art.

On December 5, Russia was banned from the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics, scheduled to be held in South Korea during February. The Russians were banned following an IOC investigation into state-sponsored drug doping of athletes.

A day later, President Trump kept a campaign promise when he formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This was something that the U.S. Congress had called for, and that a number of previous American presidents had pledged. Trump was the first to back up his words with actions, standing up for the United States’ greatest ally in the Middle East.

In one of the largest entertainment media deals in history, the Walt Disney Corporation announced on December 14 that they were acquiring 21st Century Fox for $66 billion dollars.

As December was winding down, the Thomas Fire in southern California was finally, mercifully being brought under control. Lasting nearly the entire month, it was the largest such fire in California history, burning away nearly 282,000 acres, or 440 square miles. It destroyed more than 1,000 structures, damaged hundreds more.

The fire caused $177 billion in damages, and forced more than 100,000 residents to flee their homes. At the peak, there were more than 8,500 firefighters battling the blaze in various locations. Miraculously, but still tragically, just one firefighter and one civilian were killed.

We had to say goodbye to a number of celebrities and public figures known to many Americans during this past year. Those who have died in 2017 (with still a few days to go) include the following: Hugh Hefner, Mary Tyler Moore, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lewis, Glen Campbell, Tom Petty, Fats Domino, Don Rickles, Roger Moore, David Cassidy, Erin Moran, Jim Nabors, Bill Paxton, Al Jarreau, Gregg Allman, Chester Bennington, Walter Becker, Prodigy, Adam West, Miguel Ferrer, John Hurt, John Heard, Powers Boothe, Sam Shepard, Mel Tillis, Chris Cornell, Malcolm Young, Della Reese, Dick Gregory, Jana Novotna, Monty Hall, Mike Connors, Robert GuillaumeBarbara Hale, Frank Vincent, Martin Landau, Glenne Headley, Jay Thomas, Stephen Furst, Richard Hatch, Judge Joseph Wapner, Richard Anderson, John Hillerman, Jake LaMotta, Bobby Heenan, Terry Glenn, Bobby Doerr, David Rockefeller, George Romero, Jonathan Demme, William Peter Blatty, Dina Merrill, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Helmut Kohl, and Manuel Noriega. Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, also died this past year.

I’m from Philly, and a huge baseball fan. My hometown Philadelphia Phillies baseball franchise lost three of their historic figures this past year: Hall of Famer and former U.S. Senator Jim Bunning, pitcher Roy Halladay, and catcher Darren Daulton.



As you can see, 2017 was a momentous year. I began my look back at the year yesterday in a piece on yet another loss, my biggest personal loss with the death of my father, Matthew J. Veasey Jr.

I’ll conclude this year at my blog in the next day or two with the annual naming of the 2017 American of the Year. Last year’s honoree was perhaps the key architect of the historic Trump campaign victory, Kellyanne Conway. She was also the first-ever female winner of the honors. Who will it be for this past year? Stay tuned right here to find out.

 

Where Will You Be When the Missiles Drop?

During his State of the Union address back in January of 2002, President George W. Bush famously called the nations of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea an “Axis of Evil”, criticizing nations that sponsored terrorism and were seeking weapons of mass destruction.

Liberals everywhere, and especially their cheer leading media, called Bush a war monger and a liar, among other choice names.

Sitting here over seven years later, we understand far better that President Bush was in actuality simply a truth teller.

At the time of Bush’s speech, former Iraqi leader Sadaam Hussein was still in power. He had already shown his propensity for evil and terror by using weapons of mass destruction on his own people.

He tortured political enemies, and his sons used ‘rape rooms’ to satisfy their own lusts and to further punish political enemies. Thankfully, the United States acted to rid the world of this evil power structure.

In Iran, a crazed President came to power under with the blessing of the Islamic religious leadership. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began to assail the United States with threats of destruction and domination by Islam and accelerated Iranian efforts to develop or otherwise obtain nuclear weapons. A nuclear weapon in the hands of a fundamentalist Islamic regime will mean devastating war at some point in the near future. They are simply that crazy.

For years, as the U.S. took the first steps against that ‘Axis of Evil’ by destroying and dismantling the repressive Iraqi power structure and installing the beginnings of a nascent democracy, and while we kept up pressure on Iran to change course of its own volition, we pretty much turned a blind eye towards North Korea. Oh, there were statements made, and back channel discussions held, but nothing concrete.

So what have the North Koreans done during that time under the direction of their crazed, despotic ruler Kim Jong Il? They have aggressively pursued a nuclear weapons and missile strategy, warning western nations not to interfere, and now have nuclear weapons and are developing the missile systems necessary to deliver them against their enemies.

For the past few days, the USS John McCain, a Navy destroyer, has been tailing a Korean ship named the Kang Nam, off the Chinese coast. The reason is that this ship has been found to transport illegal goods in the past. Korea stated on Wednesday that if the U.S. intercepted the ship, they would consider it an act of war: “If the U.S. imperialists start another war, the army and people of Korea will…wipe out the aggressors on the globe once and for all.”

Very soon, the U.S. leadership under President Barack Obama is going to be faced with the choice of confronting North Korea militarily, or facing a world where a hostile dictatorial regime has nuclear weapons capable of wiping out American cities.

Will Obama try to talk while the North Koreans build missiles and bombs? Will America become like Europe, issuing strongly worded statements, with nothing to back them up? Will he fiddle while Rome burns?

It turns out that President Bush was not lying about these aggressive regimes after all. Maybe we can just allow as many nations that wish to do so to build nuclear bombs and missiles, right? After all, who are we to tell other countries what they can and cannot do? How arrogant, right? As long as we are nice to them, they won’t bother us, right? If only the world had been nicer to Adolf Hitler, right?

Peace comes through one thing, and one thing only: strength. If you have it, but show that you are unwilling to use it, then you may as well not have it at all. Now many have voted for Obama to get us out and keep us out of military conflict.

Perhaps if you’re a liberal who voted for him, the more important question that you should be asking yourself is, where will you be when the missiles drop?

Repeat a Lie Often Enough, It Becomes the Truth

President Barack Obama and his Democratic Party cohorts have told the lie so many times in recent weeks that one has to wonder if they even believe it themselves.

The President said that his stimulus bill included tax cuts for “95 percent of working families” or what he calls the middle class.

That is great, isn’t it? We have a President who cares about you and me, the working people that keep America moving forward. The hard-working everyday folks. Thank God we finally have someone in the White House who cares about us, right?

Well, that only floats if you actually believe what Obama is telling you.

Do you, and if so, why do you? Because a network news anchor tells you to believe it? Because the head of your union tells you to believe it? Because your city newspaper tells you to believe it?

President Barack Obama and his administration are simply lying to us. They are lying boldly to our faces by using positive-sounding rhetoric because they simply don’t believe that we will care enough to look deeply into the details.

Let’s start with the people who he will be raising taxes on, those making $250,000 and more. Do you know who makes up the vast majority of individuals in that category? It’s not professional athletes, or motion picture stars, or recording artists, or business CEO’s.

The vast majority of those who make that $250,000 and even a little more than that are small business owners, that’s who they are. The enterpreneurs who run the businesses such as auto mechanic shops, barber shops, restaurants, bars, art galleries, boutiques, and many more.

These people have taken risk and started businesses. They have hired employees and helped to stabilize their neighborhoods and communities.

Are they wealthy? Hardly. Sure, they enjoy the fruits of their labor and the rewards that come with successfully overcoming the many risks involved in starting up a business in the first place.

But to call most of these people ‘wealthy’ or ‘rich’ would be a gross overstatement. But these middle class enterpreneurs are going to be hit hard by President Barack Obama’s tax increases.

And what do you think they are going to do when they get that bigger tax bill? Well, take less profit, that’s what, right? No. They are going to raise the cost of your haircut, your auto repair bill, your drinks, your clothing, and your food.

Then President Obama talks about how his team is going to save “$2 trillion dollars over the next decade.” Wow, that is exciting. That is just what we have been wanting from Washington, more responsibility. It is a very Republican Party concept actually. We Republicans should be ecstatic with this development.

The only problem is that it is an outright lie. Most of this ‘savings’ is coming from those very tax increases on the +$250,000 income crowd that we just discussed. The rest is supposed to come from anticipated savings in ending the Iraq War. But the President cannot guarantee that savings, because he already is hedging his previous pledge to get out of Iraq fully.

Today he announced that 100,000 troops will come home gradually over the next 18 months, but that some 35-50,000 US troops will remain in Iraq at least through 2011.

With unstable situations involving Iran, Israel, North Korea, and many other locations throughout the world, the President is planning on saving money that he cannot make plans with. Unless he is planning on America sticking our head in the sand in world matters and just allowing terrorism-sponsoring regimes to arm themselves with nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.

I get the feeling that he is willing to take just such a risk, and in so doing he is completely forgetting the lessons that we should have learned on September 11th, 2001. How big of a successful attack on America or one of our allies will it take to wake up Obama and his supporters to the need for a strong military presence in the Middle East?

But in any event, he is not actually saving money. His budget calls for increased spending of at least 12% next year, and has been filled with thousands of political pork earmarks thanks to Congressional lobbyists.

Don’t believe it? I don’t want you to. Just get a copy of the budget for yourself and actually read it. President Obama and his supporters are betting that you won’t do that, and they are probably correct in that judgement.

One part of the President’s misguided and misnamed ‘stimulus’ bill provided large monies to the states in order to increase unemployment payments. Basically ‘free money’ to the state treasuries from the Feds.

That is how it was being sold by Obama and his people. But the truth is that some of the governors began to reject the funding. Why? Well the reality is, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Didn’t we all learn that in something like 5th grade?

The truth is that the Federal funds were temporary, but came with requirements that the states receiving the funding change the laws regarding how they handle their unemployment insurance. These changes would require the states to continue the funding once the Federal money ran out. In other words, the states would have to raise payroll and business taxes to meet these new requirements.

It’s the classic Democratic Party shill. Here, take this money, it will make you feel better today. Damn tomorrow. Crow about all the improvements that you are making now, let the folks feel happy, and when the bill comes due later, so what? Smile, tell the lie, and as long as everybody feels good today, that is what is important.

Oh, and how about that little old ‘cap and trade’ procedure that is going to provide over $600 trillion dollars in revenue over the next decade. Where is that revenue going to come from?

Well, it’s going to come from your fuel bill, your electric bill. It is going to come from increased energy costs for both those small business owners who will already see a direct increase in their taxes, and the energy bills of all those middle class citizens who allegedly were receiving tax cuts.

You see, the Democrats in general and President Barack Obama in particular are lying to your face. They are telling you that your taxes will go down when in reality every move they make will increase costs to you in the long run.

They also are placing a burden on business that is going to force companies to raise prices and costs, or cut employee jobs, or both.

This helps the middle class how, Mr. President? Look at it in a simple way each and every day. Why do you think that the stock market drops every single day these days?

The educated investors that make up the majority of stock purchases in this countries leading businesses see where all this is going. Higher costs to everyone leading to higher unemployment, leading to businesses leaving the country, leading to fewer revenue streams, leading to further cost increases, leading to fewer purchases by consumers, leading to business collapses and fewer jobs, and on and on in a never ending Democratic Party-induced debacle.

President Obama has set the country on a tragic economic course. If something is not done to change things it will simply be a race to what gets us first: economic disaster of an unparalleled magnitude that we cannot even fathom at this point, or a major terrorist attack that cripples our country and kills Americans at a magnitude never before seen.

But hey, it is going to get better. Your taxes are going down. We are going to turn this around through our new Socialist policies and programs. Sure. Tell a lie often enough, have it perpetuated by vocal supporters, and it becomes the truth to many.