Great misspeaks of the ages!

Or typos. One treasure is the “Wicked Bible” of 1631.

Marked_Wicked_bible

Unfortunate. Such a bother, that word “not”! Churchill, you know, REALLY meant to say “this was NOT their finest hour”, and Mark Antony REALLY meant to say “DON”T lend me your ears.” So who can blame poor Donald J Trump who, overcome by standing so close to Vldimir Putin yesterday, tells us today that pesky N-word wreaked its havoc on what he REALLY meant to say.

The push for a hearing reflects a growing Republican backlash against Trump after his closed-door meeting with Putin and a stormy press conference where he sided with the Russian leader and discounted the U.S. intelligence community’s findings on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

On Tuesday, Trump walked back those comments, reading from a written statement saying he had “full faith” in the U.S. intelligence community and that he misspoke when he said he didn’t think Russia interfered in elections.

Speaking alongside Putin in Helsinki on Monday, Trump said: “He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

On Tuesday, he corrected that sentence, saying: “The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.’ Sort of a double negative. So, you can put that in. And I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself.

Do I believe him? Do you?

By the way, if you think I am a bit biased about the poor old Donald, check out James Traub in US magazine/site Foreign Policy. Ouch! Not to mention Arnie of course….

The “Governator” took to Twitter and excoriated Trump for his supine performance, deriding him as a Putin “fan boy.” “You stood there like a little wet noodle, like a little fan boy,” Schwarzenegger said in the Twitter video. “I was asking myself when you are going to ask him for an autograph or a selfie or something like that.”

Finally, which is correct? 1) The CIA interfered in Australian politics in 1975 OR 2) The CIA did not interfere in Australian politics in 1975. No prize offered. And yes, some still debate that one. The link goes to John Pilger, and I have to say I don’t always rely on him either!

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That was quite a show!

For the record — history worth preserving:

President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.

President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth, and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new U.S.-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Convinced that the establishment of new U.S.-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:

1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.

2. The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

Having acknowledged that the U.S.-DPRK summit — the first in history — was an epochal event of great significance and overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un commit to implement the stipulations in this joint statement fully and expeditiously. The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-on negotiations led by the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the U.S.-DPRK summit.

President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new U.S.-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.

June 12, 2018

Sentosa Island
Singapore

Yes, I spent a lot of yesterday watching the rolling coverage on ABC News 24, and this morning I rose early to watch France24, Al Jazeera, and BBC courtesy of SBS.

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So many opinions about what it might mean! Is it comparable to this, for example?

Chairman Mao Zedong met US President Nixon in Beijing on Feb. 21,1972.

Or should we be reminded of another famous meeting? See Singapore summit echoes Hitler-Chamberlain meeting in 1938, but offering ‘lots of great condos’ in our time.

Our Foreign Minister was quite judicious on Channel Nine this morning, I felt.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is “cautiously optimistic” following yesterday’s summit between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, but believes the truly historic day will be when the last of North Korea’s nuclear weapons is dismantled….

Ms Bishop described the summit as the first positive development involving North Korea in more than a decade, but said the test would be verification Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program had been destroyed.

“We’ll have to see the concrete steps that North Korea takes,” she told the ABC.

Peter Hartcher in The Sydney Morning Herald was even more cautious. I was even more impressed by what he wrote yesterday. Do read that.

And then there is the New York Times.

The most remarkable aspect of the joint statement was what it didn’t contain. There was nothing about North Korea freezing plutonium and uranium programs, nothing about destroying intercontinental ballistic missiles, nothing about allowing inspectors to return to nuclear sites, nothing about North Korea making a full declaration of its nuclear program, nothing about a timetable, nothing about verification, not even any clear pledge to permanently halt testing of nuclear weapons or long-range missiles.

We can but hope! Question is, is Donald J Trump now an American Augustus, or is he instead (or also!) the latest incarnation of P T Barnum? There is no doubt about one thing: yesterday on my TV I saw the Greatest Show on Earth, that’s for sure. I hope like I am sure you do that it will turn out to have been much more than a show.

Update 15 June

Well worth reading Justice Michael Kirby, who headed the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea  a few years ago: I’ll rejoice in Trump’s triumph when Kim opens his gulags to scrutiny.

Many have learned to live with the bomb. But its fearsome power demands urgent global responses if our species is to survive.

Against this background, one has to welcome the initiative taken by President Donald Trump to hold a meeting with the supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un in Singapore this week. Jaw, jaw is, as Churchill declared, much better than war, war. Especially in the age of nuclear weapons. Particularly because North Korea now possesses a number of these weapons and missiles to deliver them far from its own borders.

President Trump got the North Korean leader to the conference table. He has declared that the meeting was a great success. But what has really been achieved?…

And further to our Foreign Minister Julie Bishop:

Ms Bishop has been determinedly circumspect in the face of the unprecedented geopolitical upheaval, sticking to careful talking points.

Not on Thursday. You could hear disbelieving chortles in the audience. This was Julie Bishop Unleashed.

She admitted it was disorienting to see the leader of the free world chumming up to a man who oversees a vast gulag of political prisoners.

Particularly in the wake of an acrimonious G7 meeting which saw Donald Trump take furious pot shots at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is not exactly a traditional enemy of the United States.

“The US trade representative said there was a special place in hell for Justin Trudeau, while President Trump said he had a special bond with Kim Jong-un, aka Little Rocket Man,” Ms Bishop said.

She then veered into gentle mockery, admitting she had been transfixed by the pictures beamed back from Singapore.

“After a while I became quite mesmerised by the contrasting hair styles of the two leaders,” Ms Bishop said….

Random items on Queen’s Birthday

Let’s start there, as it is a good news story! Yes, it is the Queen’s OFFICIAL birthday and the local version of the Honours List is out. I am pleased to see a familiar Wollongong face — my boss 40 years or so ago.

Rex Cook still keeps in touch with students he first taught when he started teaching at Grafton High School back in 1950. The love and affection these students, many of whom are aged in their 70s and 80s, still have for her father, is one of the reasons Wendy Cook-Burrows nominated Mr Cook for an OAM.

She said the 92-year-old Mount Ousley man was “gobsmacked” when notified of his OAM for service to the community of Wollongong, and to education….

And I taught Wendy back then too…

Next: Getty Images has released a set of slides claiming to be Australia’s oldest. This one is particularly evocative, though there are no details of its provenance.

AAylY3v

Now to the weird and wonderful present. China Daily has posted this on Twitter, probably with due glee:

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Yes indeed. Read Donald Trump adviser says ‘special place in hell’ for Justin Trudeau as White House steps up G7 row (not from China Daily.) I for my part am considering joining the Justin Trudeau Fan Club! After all, his country is a fellow Commonwealth member!

And we are all on tenterhooks with eyes on Singapore now. I hope the famous one-minute body language reader reads correctly. (Maybe I should warn him that if a Korean gives you full eye contact it is not necessarily a good sign, despite our western assumptions.)

. Looking just past the person’s face is generally the norm from what I’ve noticed. I don’t think you need to stress over the occasional direct glance, but you should be careful about “gazing”, or staring directly into someone’s eyes for a long period of time. It’s considered challenging and possibly even aggressive, depending on circumstance.

Grotesque spectacle? I rather think it was…

I refer to this account by Michelle Goldberg of the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

…The event was grotesque. It was a consummation of the cynical alliance between hawkish Jews and Zionist evangelicals who believe that the return of Jews to Israel will usher in the apocalypse and the return of Christ, after which Jews who don’t convert will burn forever.

Religions like “Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism” lead people “to an eternity of separation from God in Hell,” Robert Jeffress, a Dallas megachurch pastor, once said. He was chosen to give the opening prayer at the embassy ceremony. John Hagee, one of America’s most prominent end-times preachers, once said that Hitler was sent by God to drive the Jews to their ancestral homeland. He gave the closing benediction.

This spectacle, geared toward Donald Trump’s Christian American base, coincided with a massacre about 80 kilometres away….

Indeed, indeed.

See also Philip Williams, Trump’s embassy opening in Jerusalem is a warm embrace for Israel but a strategic blow for Palestinian hopes.