Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
⇒Linked articles in bold purple
◆ Dr. Tom Price finally approved by Senate to head Health and Human Services after harsh words (Washington Post) Another party-line vote in the Senate on what the WaPo calls a “polarizing” candidate.
⇒ Related Story: This year’s Obamacare sign up reported at 12.2 million (US News)
Comment: It is the policies that are really polarizing. Trump and the Republicans are determined to kill off Obamacare and know full-well that they will own not only the replacement but responsibility for the entire health-care system when they get rolling on it.
The 12.2 million number is striking to me. The whole US health system was upended for such a small number and such skimpy coverage.
◆ Trump tells China’s Xi that US will honor supports “one-China” policy, does not support Taiwan’s independence (New York Times)
Comment: In the campaign, Trump had expressed doubts about the “one-China” policy, which is an issue Beijing will fight for. This is hardly the end of the increasingly militarized confrontation between China and its neighbors, though. Recently, China has (verbally) asserted its right of sovereign control over some islands that have long been Japanese. The US has reaffirmed that the islands are not only Japanese but that the US will help Japan fight for them under our bilateral defense arrangements.
◆ Related story: Japan’s Prime Minister Abe to meet with Trump this weekend (Wall Street Journal) The WSJ expects the visit to soothe worried US allies in Asia. Abe and Trump already have a strong relationship.
◆ North Korea Purges Its Chief “Enforcer,” the man who purged others. (New York Times)
Comment: When this kind of turmoil reaches the upper-tier of political officials, as it has now, the regime is clearly unstable. That poses dangers for all the surrounding countries.
◆ Russia, Iran supporting Taliban fighters against US in Afghanistan So say top US commanders there. (Washington Free Beacon)
Comment: Trump’s idea that Putin could cooperate in fighting terror group looks like a pipe dream in Afghanistan as well as Syria.
◆ Luther Strange is Alabama’s new senator, appointed to replace Jeff Sessions, now Attorney General
Comment: “Luther Strange”? No relation to Lex Luthor or any other comic-book villain, as far as we know. Still, a great name.
◆ And finally