Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
⇒Linked articles in bold purple
◆ There are two overriding stories today:
1. Trump, the Russians, and the FBI (of course)
2. North Korean missiles fired toward Japan, creating an ever-growing crisis in the region
The North Korean story has not received the attention it deserves.
◆ North Korea launches more four missiles; three of them land in Japanese waters (Washington Post)
The launches follow a remarkable month in which Kim Jong Un’s regime tested a solid-fuel rocket that it says is part of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States and in which the regime is accused of assassinating the leader’s half brother. Both actions have angered allies and adversaries in the region, and Monday’s launches will only exacerbate that. . . .
The launches have ratcheted up the tensions in the region. . . .
In Japan, the government said three of the missiles had landed perilously close to Japan, splashing down within its exclusive economic zone and within about 200 miles of its coastline in Akita prefecture.
“These missile launches clearly show that North Korea has developed a new threat,” a visibly worried Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters in Tokyo. “We will collect information and strongly protest to North Korea.” –Washington Post
Comment: The obvious reason this is dangerous is the immediate threat to South Korea and Japan and, in a few years, to the US mainland. There are now very strong incentives for Japan to build military capacity. That is not good for China, and China knows it. The fact that they cannot or will not curb Pyongyang shows how delicate these issues are.
There are less obvious risks, too. One is that Kim Jong Un’s willingness to use a weapon of mass destruction in a foreign airport, surely knowing it would be attributed to North Korea, strongly suggests the regime is quite unstable and willing to take those risks to remove other Kim family members the Chinese could install if they engineer a coup. If the regime does melt down, the complications from Chinese and Western involvement will be enormous, with commensurate dangers.
◆ The clearest statement of the Trump wiretapping imbroglio is this tweet by Senator Ben Sasse
Sasse is one of the most intelligent and thoughtful members of the Senate. Elected from Nebraska in 2015, he is a Republican who never backed Trump.
◆ GREAT MEDICAL NEWS: “Sickle cell anemia patient ‘cured’ by gene therapy, doctors say” (Fox 31 Denver)
In a world first, a teenager with sickle cell disease achieved complete remission after an experimental gene therapy at Necker Children’s Hospital in Paris, researchers say.
People with sickle-cell disease, a group of inherited blood disorders, have abnormal hemoglobin in their red blood cells, causing blood to clog in the tiny vessels and organs of the body.
After 15 months since treatment, the patient — who began therapy at age 13 — no longer needs medication, and his blood cells show no further sign of the disease, according to a case report published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine. –Fox 31 Denver
Comment: The treatment is a proof of concept and could bring hope to millions. Worldwide, 275,000 babies are born each year with the disease.
◆ Shocking: The New York Times says criticism of Kellyanne Conway is “sexist,” and that Democrats deserve blame (New York Times)
They quickly add that Hillary Clinton receives the same criticism and Republicans deserve blame for criticizing her.
Misogyny, it seems, remains a bipartisan exercise. Whatever legitimate criticisms can be leveled at each woman, it’s striking how often that anger is expressed using the same sexist themes, from women as well as men.
Witness the furor over [Conway] sitting on her knees on a couch in the Oval Office during a reception for presidents of historically black colleges. While she drew fire for disrespect, some of the criticisms included digs about her spreading her legs and raunchy allusions to oral sex, Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton. Representative Cedric L. Richmond, Democrat of Louisiana, told a now-notorious joke that hers was a “familiar” position in the Oval Office of the 1990s, drawing a rebuke from none other than Chelsea Clinton.–NYT
Comment: The Times is certainly correct in saying the criticism of Conway has been suffused with contempt, some because she is a woman, some because she is a Republican. In fact, she is the first woman to manage a successful Presidential campaign. She grew up in a lower-middle-class area of New Jersey, raised by a divorced mother and relatives. She deserves enormous credit for her professional success, all while raising a family, including four kids.
◆ Turkey’s Erdogan compares German behavior with Nazi period (Reuters)
Why such a fierce attack? Because Erodgan wants a positive vote for his April 16 referendum that would abolish the checks and balances on his power that still remain. He has already gotten rid of many, and he wants to remove the rest.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused Germany on Sunday of “fascist actions” reminiscent of Nazi times in a growing row over the cancellation of political rallies aimed at drumming up support for him among 1.5 million Turkish citizens in Germany.
German politicians reacted with shock and anger. German Justice Minister Heiko Maas told broadcaster ARD that Erdogan’s comments were “absurd, disgraceful and outlandish” and designed to provoke a reaction from Berlin. . . .
The row has further soured relations between the two NATO members amid mounting public outrage in Germany over the arrest in Turkey of a Turkish-German journalist. It has also spurred growing demands for Merkel to produce a more forceful response to Erdogan’s words and actions.–Reuters
◆ There are real hate crimes, but there are fake ones, too. Kevin Williamson argues that the scale of hate crimes in the US has been exaggerated. (National Review Online)
The Left desperately wants Americans to be indecent people who go around attacking Muslims and foreigners with funny names, but, by and large, we aren’t. Campus feminists desperately want “rape culture” to be a reality, and so they invent phony rape stories from Duke to the University of Virginia, making sure to target fraternities and sports teams, which are to them symbols of patriarchy. These stories are given currency and credence by incompetent journalists. –Kevin Williamson in National Review Online
♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ Graham Lewis for the Kevin Williamson article on hate.
◆ Eliot Cohen and Bob Pahre for the Ben Sasse tweet on Trump and wiretapping