The Morning Roundup: North Korea Is Becoming Trump’s Cuban Missile Crisis | News

The Morning Roundup: North Korea Is Becoming Trump’s Cuban Missile Crisis


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Hope everyone had a great weekend. Let’s kick things off with some cheery news.


1. North Korea is “a Cuban Missile Crisis in slow motion.”

Despite North Korea’s failed missile test this weekend, the crisis appears to be speeding up. From The New York Times:

All the elements of the North Korean nuclear crisis — the relentless drive by Kim Jong-un to assemble an arsenal, the propaganda and deception swirling around his progress, the hints of a covert war by the United States to undermine the effort, rather than be forced into open confrontation — were on vivid display this weekend.

There was the parade in Pyongyang’s main square, with wave after wave of missiles atop mobile launchers, intended to convey a sense that Mr. Kim’s program is unstoppable. Then came another embarrassing setback, a missile test that failed seconds after liftoff, the same pattern seen in a surprising number of launches since President Barack Obama ordered stepped-up cyber- and electronic-warfare attacks in early 2014. Finally, there was the test that did not happen, at least yet — a sixth nuclear explosion. It is primed and ready to go, satellite images show.

What is playing out, said Robert Litwak of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, who tracks this potentially deadly interplay, is “the Cuban missile crisis in slow motion.” But the slow-motion part appears to be speeding up, as President Trump and his aides have made it clear that the United States will no longer tolerate the incremental advances that have moved Mr. Kim so close to his goals.

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson has said repeatedly that “our policy of strategic patience has ended,” hardening the American position as Mr. Kim makes steady progress toward two primary goals: shrinking a nuclear weapon to a size that can fit atop a long-range missile, and developing a hydrogen bomb, with up to a thousand times the power than the Hiroshima-style weapons he has built so far.

2. President Trump spent Easter Sunday on a Twitter rant.

Some perfectly normal Easter morning thoughts from your commander in chief, who was dealing with a nuclear crisis from his Florida country club.

3. Tax Day anti-Trump protests take place all over the country, including in Raleigh.

About those protests that were the subject of Trump’s Twitter ire:

PALM BEACH, Fla. — In a Tax Day groundswell of calls for President Trump to release his tax returns, hundreds of protesters marched to Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago getaway on Saturday in Florida, and thousands more gathered in Washington and other cities across the country.

On a waterfront patch facing Mr. Trump’s resort, where he is spending the weekend, demonstrators chanted “Pay! Your! Taxes!” and held signs calling him “Chicken in Chief” — the chicken being a symbol at the rallies of how Mr. Trump was “scared” to follow decades of presidential practice in releasing the returns.

This was part of a nationwide protest. There was also an event in Raleigh Saturday.

Hundreds of demonstrators marched around the North Carolina State Legislative Building Saturday afternoon demanding to see President Donald Trump's tax returns.

The Raleigh arm of the national "Tax March", as it's been dubbed, was organized by Progress NC Action. They joined other protests around the country demanding for transparency and accountability. […]

Presidents are not required to release their tax returns. But President Trump is the first in roughly 40 years to refuse to release his full tax returns. During his candidacy, he said he wouldn't release those returns because he was being audited. Since his inauguration, he's said people simply don't care to see them.
4. The N&O’s Rob Christensen offers a historical perspective on the General Assembly’s plans to shrink the N.C. Court of Appeals.

The gist: it’s poorly considered and 100 percent political.

The legislature is considering multiple changes in the judiciary – most of them proposed without having sought the advice of the judges, their staff, the state bar or the public.

Last week the legislature passed a bill that would reduce the Court of Appeals from 15 members to 12 members through attrition.

The stated reason from Rep. Justin Burr, a bail bondsman from Albermarle, who is the bill’s chief sponsor, is that the court’s workload is shrinking.

It has shrunk some. The number of appeals heard by the appellate court declined from 1,715 in 2006 to 1,339 in 2016. The number of cases disposed of decreased from 1,761 to 1,500 during that same period.

But the more important factor seems to be the pending mandatory retirement of three Republican Appeals Court judges – J. Douglas McCullough next month, Robert Hunter Jr. in March 2019 and Ann Marie Calabria in October 2019. In each case, their replacement would be named by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

The GOP now holds an 11-4 majority on the Court of Appeals, but with the retirements that could narrow to an 8-7 margin.
5. Politifact NC decides that Representative Larry Pittman’s claim that the Civil War was unconstitutional is worth of a fact-check.

Spoiler alert: no. And Pittman’s also wrong about President Lincoln being responsible for the deaths of eight hundred thousand people.

The historians PolitiFact NC spoke to said Pittman was also wrong to call Lincoln “personally responsible” for 800,000 dead. Not that many people died in the war, they said, and Lincoln doesn’t hold full responsibility.

Dan Sutherland, president of the Society of Civil War Historians, said he thinks war could have been avoided in the years leading up to it.

“People on both sides – mainly the politicians – simply miscalculated and mishandled a number of issues that, if approached differently, might have produced another outcome,” said Sutherland, who is also a history professor at the University of Arkansas.

But once the Confederacy took Fort Sumter, experts tend to agree, there was no going back.

Paul Finkelman, a legal historian who teaches constitutional law at the University of Pittsburgh Law School, said the war was clearly necessary.

“The president of the United States has an absolute obligation to defend the nation from a military attack, right?” Finkelman said. “... And the United States did not make war on the Confederacy. The Confederacy made war on the United States.”

Tara Helfman, a Syracuse University Law School professor and co-author of “Liberty and Union: A Constitutional History of the United States,” also agreed but for different reasons.

“If war is politics by other means, then the Civil War was necessary,” she said. “When Southern secession began in 1860, it was because any national political compromise on the slavery question had become impossible.”

6. Despite the HB 2 repeal and replacement, cities and states are keeping their travel bans intact.

North Carolina mayors are asking them to reconsider.

But as large cities and states across the nation reaffirmed their travel bans to North Carolina to take stands against LGBT discrimination, questions remain about the effect of the compromise law adopted in HB2’s place.

Sixteen mayors from across North Carolina – including Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines – have sent a letter to mayors in Seattle, New York City and Chicago urging them to consider putting North Carolina back on their travel lists.

“(W)e won’t stand by idly when discriminatory policies threaten the rights of any single group or community,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday. “Until North Carolina acknowledges the rights of the LGBTQ community and treats all individuals fairly, the City of Chicago will be taking our business elsewhere, and we encourage others to do the same.”

The North Carolina mayors in their letter, released Friday, said that even though they do not have the same authority as the state General Assembly, their cities “remain safe, welcoming places for all people.” The compromise that allowed the repeal of HB2 allows conversations about LGBT rights and protections to continue “without the heated rhetoric,” the N.C. mayors added.

That’s it for today, everyone. Happy Monday.


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