ZipDialog Roundup for Thursday, July 13

Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple

 US had a clear shot at killing Kim Jong Un recently but decided not to pull the trigger (Yahoo News)

They had him in their sights when he went to the ICBM launch. The fear, of course, is that a US strike would begin a devastating war.

Comment: So, what’s behind this leak? The US is sending a very threatening message to Kim. Move against us and you die. Or you might want to live underground for a while.

 Politico reports: White House aides feeling ‘helpless’ as Trump Jr. scandal explodes

The news in the story is that key White House aides are not bothering to play down this meeting as fake news or a false scandal, though some of Trump’s staunchest supporters do.

Comment: The in-fighting will increase and, with it, the leaks. 

If you think it’s bad now, imagine how much worse it gets if Congress cannot enact bills on healthcare and tax reform.

Another strange aspect of the “Russian lawyer” story: Why did Loretta Lynch’s DOJ give her special permission to come to the US? (The Hill)

This revelation means it was the Obama Justice Department that enabled the newest and most intriguing figure in the Russia-Trump investigation to enter the country without a visa. –The Hill

Comment: She appears to have been given permission to come to do some specific legal work for a client but quickly shifted over to lobbying for Russian sanctions relief.

◆ Another day in Florida: Instagram model arrested for attacking police during nude encounter at Florida hotel (Fox News)

According to the Clearwater Police report obtained by The Smoking Gun, [25-year old Brissa] Dominguez had trespassed onto the Edge Hotel’s property at approximately 4:20 a.m. on July 5. Officer Richard Edmonds later arrived on the scene to find Dominguez naked, so he handed her a towel. But instead of covering up, Dominguez used the towel to “strike [Edmonds] in the face by swinging it in a whipping motion.”

Dominguez then proceeded to kick at the responding officers. The police report says she also tried biting and spitting on an officer before delivering a “mule kick” to Edmonds as police attempted to restrain her.

 Brazil’s former leader, Lula da Silva, indicted for corruption  (Washington Post)

Comment: The corruption seems to have been pervasive in his government and that of his party.

 Fed Chair Janet Yellen: US economy strong enough to warrant more interest-rate increases  (Washington Post)

Comment: Barring some shock, expect a couple more increases this year.

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Beyond the Front Page…today’s stories (Thursday, Aug. 18)

Department of Justice is ending contracts with private prisons. The change will be phased in and could be changed, of course, by the next President and her AG (but that seems unlikely if HRC wins).

Brazilians say US swimmers merely threatened with death, not robbed. Whew. That’s a relief. (Chicago Tribune)

Turkey’s “Reichstag” Fire. A sobering analysis of Erdogan’s political strategy by Michael Rubin (Commentary) 

Susan Rice, Pres. Obama’s national security adviser, says things are just swell. Here’s an idea: send her on the Sunday shows. (Vox)

State Department admits the $400 million to Iran was conditional on the hostage release. Still not a ransom, they insist to increasing disbelief and rising concerns over the message that “contingent payments” cause. (Politico)

Angela Stent on where US-Russian relations are headed and what the next president can do. Stent is one of the best analysts of that topic, as well as US-European relations. She is experienced, thoughtful, and insightful, as this piece shows. (Washington Post)