Day in Brief 5/15/18

The hits just kept coming today.

 

At the eleventh hour, North Korea has pulled out of a high-level summit with South Korea that would have begun just about now. Reports are that Kim Jong Un is also threatening to pull out of the summit with President Trump that is scheduled for June 12th.

 

The North Koreans are blaming joint US-South Korean military drills, calling them a provocation and claiming they are a rehearsal for an invasion of North Korea.

 

Gina Haspel has secured enough votes to be confirmed as the next CIA director.

 

Tensions stayed high in Gaza as tens of thousands attended funerals of the protestors killed on the border with Israel on Monday. The US blocked a UN Security Council probe of the violence, Russia blamed it on Trump’s embassy move to Jerusalem, Nikki Haley blamed Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority recalled its ambassador from DC.

 

On Monday, Trump reversed his position and said he’d lift sanctions against Chinese phone maker ZTE. Now, we learn that a state-owned Chinese company just agreed to invest $500 million in a Trump resort project in Indonesia. Conflict of interest, anyone?

 

Republican senators lunched with Trump at the White House, and while they covered a series of important topics, ZTE and the insulting comments made about John McCain by a Trump aide were not among them.

 

Also, a new fissure spewed lava on Hawaii’s Big Island and Trump tweeted that the first lady is doing “really well” the day after her kidney surgery.

 

In our alternate universes segment, the great divide between liberal and conservative media, despite other big news, the focus on the White House soap opera continued on both sides. ZTE was big on the left, ignored by the right. The left is still outraged over the McCain insult, while the right is full of indignation over the leak of the insult. Watching the left, one of the biggest stories of the day was that Republican senators didn’t raise McCain in their meeting with Trump. Watching the right, you wouldn’t know they hadn’t. The insult and the leaks were seriously wrong, but the hypocritical coverage on both sides is too.

 

Finally, I enjoyed many an hour reading books written by Tom Wolfe (and wasted a couple of hours watching the horrible movie they made out of his “Bonfire of the Vanities”). The dapper, white-suit-wearing author was an award-wining reporter who inspired the “New Journalism” movement before he penned “The Right Stuff” and other best-sellers. He was 88 when he died in New York City on Monday.