North Korea says it launched a missile from a submarine. The country says the launch gives it a fully equipped nuclear attack capability and puts the U.S. mainland within striking distance. (Aug. 25) AP
The nation is celebrating its first successful test of a submarine-launched missile.
The country’s leader — Kim Jong Un — says the U.S. mainland is now within striking range of his nuclear weapons.
That sounds like a threat.
Joel Wit, a former U.S. nuclear negotiator with North Korea, says he’s concerned, but not worried. “Because — despite this success — we’re not within striking range of their nuclear weapons.”
The threat to the U.S. mainland does not yet exist; there’s no evidence North Korea has yet been able to miniaturize its nuclear weapons to fit into a warhead.
It’s also extremely unlikely they could get a submarine within range of the U.S. coast: The new North Korean missile only appears to have a range of about 600 miles. But Wit says there is cause for concern, “because this is just one more step in terms of steady progress that North Korea is making in building nuclear weapons and building missiles to deliver them.”
“I’m concerned, and I think it should be ongoing concern for everyone.” The biggest concern, says Wit, is that North Korea is working to develop a working Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, or ICBM. “If they get that thing working then they will be able to reach the United States, and that, of course, is a serious concern for all of us.”
He does not expect North Korea would use weapons like these aggressively, but he says they would seriously complicate relations. He says, for example, North Korea could threaten other countries in order to secure its objectives.
It could also complicate U.S. thinking when it comes to its assurances to allies like Japan and South Korea to defend them. Up to now, those promises were relatively simple, he says. But if North Korea could threaten the U.S. mainland, then that’s a whole different calculation.
Wit concludes, however, by saying he has some understanding of the North Korean concerns. The United States would like to see a unified Korea that’s democratic, “and if you’re North Korean, that would make you fairly nervous.”
The directive is a revision of a February guidance, which called for Zika testing of Whole Blood and blood components donated in areas shown to have active Zika transmission. The new guidance demands that all individual units of Whole Blood and blood components donated across the United States and its territories be screened using FDA-approved methods. Additionally, an FDA-sanctioned pathogen-reduction device can be used for plasma and some platelet donation.
“As new scientific and epidemiological information regarding Zika virus has become available, it’s clear that additional precautionary measures are necessary,” Luciana Borio, the FDA’s acting chief scientist, said in a statement.
Blood testing will not expand all at once, as the FDA has advised that donation organizations in 11 states — Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, South Carolina and Texas — begin testing for Zika in the next four weeks. These states include areas where Zika is actively spreading by various means, including mosquitoes and sexual transmission.
Donations in all states will be required to receive Zika testing within 12 weeks, according to the FDA.
Zika can spread through infected Aedes species mosquitoes, sexual contact, blood transfusions, laboratory exposure, or from a mother to her fetus. The virus is particularly dangerous to pregnant women and future mothers as it may cause microcephaly, a neurological birth defect that can cause a newborn’s head and brain to turn out smaller than normal, among other developmental issues.
Four out of five people with Zika do not develop symptoms, the FDA says, which can include fever, joint pain, maculopapular rash, and conjunctivitis.
There has been a total of 2,517 documented cases of Zika in US states and the District of Columbia, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only 29 of those cases pertain to acquisition via mosquitoes, with 2,487 associated with travel and 22 with sexual transmission.
US territories have reported more than 9,000 cases, with nearly all acquired via local transmission. The CDC says that with US territories, local transmission of Zika is impossible to parse between mosquito-borne infection or sexual contact.
In December 2015, the first local, non-travel related transmission of Zika was reported in Puerto Rico, then soon after in American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands. In July, the first local or non-travel related transmissions in the continental US were discovered in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
Testing of blood donations is already occurring in Florida and Puerto Rico, as well as other areas where Zika has been acquired via mosquitoes.
Zika has not been transferred via blood transfusion in the US, according to the CDC. There has been once case of laboratory acquisition.
“There is still much uncertainty regarding the nature and extent of Zika virus transmission,” Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said Friday. “At this time, the recommendation for testing the entire blood supply will help ensure that safe blood is available for all individuals who might need transfusion.”
The federal government is currently scrambling to fund Zika-prevention initiatives, as lawmakers have refused to compromise on the issue. In February, President Barack Obama requested $1.9 billion for fighting the virus, but the Republican-led Congress rejected such an amount without further details of how exactly the funding would be spent.
In June, the GOP’s bill allocating $1.1 billion to fight Zika was blocked by Democrats because of certain caveats like restricted funding of reproductive health outlets and weakened standards for pesticide use near water sources. Congressional action in the coming months will be hampered given lawmakers are now busy campaigning amid the homestretch prior to the November election.
The Obama administration’s signature trade deal to establish regulations between a dozen countries in the Pacific Basin has been largely negotiated in secret. Its opponents say these regulations would undermine jobs in the US and work to the benefit of corporations rather than the 12 nations’ workers.
McConnell wasn’t willing to kill the deal completely, however, saying that it could see a vote in 2017 if some changes are made.
“It will still be around. It can be massaged, changed, worked on during the next administration,” he said.
The controversial TPP has made for some strange political bedfellows. Both presidential candidates have come out against the deal, although Democrat Hillary Clinton supported it while serving as secretary of state during President Barack Obama’s first term in office. A number of senators from both sides of the aisle oppose the agreement, including Clinton’s vice presidential nominee, Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), and Republicans facing tough reelection battles like Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
“I hope America will stay in the trade business,” McConnell said. “To do that, it’s going to have to be done on a bipartisan basis.”
On Thursday, Representative Joe Crowley (D-New York), vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, said that the“onus is on the Republicans” to pass the bill through the end of the so-called “lame duck” Congress by the end of the year. However, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) said earlier in August that he doesn’t see a point in bringing the TPP up for a vote because “we don’t have the votes,” Reuters reported.
“It’s hard to say what’s going to happen at this point. I think… quite frankly that the onus is not on the Democratic Caucus,” Crowley said at an unrelated press conference in Long Island City. “I think that the number of votes that are there that are known is roughly about 27. Really the onus is on the Republicans. They control the House of Representatives. Do they have the votes to pass? At this point, I do not intend to support the legislation.”
The TPP has also strengthened divisions between typical foes. Last Thursday, UPS CEO David Abney threw his weight behind the deal.
“It’s going to create jobs, it’s going to create opportunities, it’s good for companies, employees, and our country,” he told Fox Business Network. “The US International Trade Commission said it would be positive from a financial standpoint, that it would increase exports and that it would increase jobs. You have to remember 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the US. We need to embrace that future; we need to address that 95 percent of market opportunity.”
Meanwhile, union members employed by the US Postal Service, a rival of UPS, gathered in Miami, Florida on Wednesday toofficially oppose the TPP.
Although McConnell helped Obama muscle a related trade agreement, the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), through the Senate last year, he’s not sure he wants to put himself in the same position with the TPP. The TPA gives the president the ability to fast-track multilateral deals like the TPP through Congress.
“I was aligned with Barack Obama against [Senator] Harry Reid [D-Nevada] and [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi [D-California],” he said. “Almost an out-of-body experience, now that I think about it.”
McConnell’s pronouncement was the inevitable conclusion to his hesitancy about the TPP. He has previously said that the chances of the deal receiving a vote during the “lame duck session” were “slim” or “bleak.“
BY RICK WELLS
Lou Dobbs has some thoughts on the disappearing act that Hillary Clinton is pulling, her seriously curtailed campaign schedule and the fact that we’re now in day 263 of playing, “Where’s Hillary,” with it having been that many days since her last press conference.
Mr. Dobbs notes that Clinton is pursuing a run-out-the-clock bunker strategy, waiting for all of this corruption stuff to fade, at least until election day, now just seventy-five days away. He says, “She hasn’t held a press conference since early last December and her most recent rally a week ago in Cleveland.”
Dobbs points out that Clinton has been instead engaged in a fund raising blitz, all of it of the closed-door variety. He says, “I think these are signals of what you might expect if she were to be elected president. There are so many signals, aren’t there? Hillary Clinton appears only to be granting audiences to those who pay, much like her time at the State Department, after a bombshell report from the Associated Press revealed more than half of her non-government meetings were with donors to the Clinton Foundation.
He makes the astute observation that while Donald Trump is slamming the Clinton corruption, Republican leaders in Congress are nowhere to be found. He points out that even the national liberal mainstream media is covering aspects of the story now, but not a peep from the GOP “leaders.”
Dobbs also reveals that, “Despite all the growing charges of corruption and demands to shut down the foundation that is at the center of these scandals, we find the Clintons just can’t help themselves. We learned today that no matter what, Chelsea, you forgot about her didn’t you, Chelsea Clinton will remain on the board of the Clinton Foundation regardless of whether her mother wins in November or not.”
He wonders where the missing persons, Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are in the debate over the Clinton criminality and the foundation racketeering organization. He credits their jealousy of Trump with their silence, but there is also the strong possibility that support from Mr. Soros and the banking elites have clouded their vision and tempered their outrage.
Well, the CEO of the company is the daughter of Democrat Senator Joe Manchin, West Virginia Senator. So you have the daughter of a Democrat Senator price gouging 400% and nobody in the Drive-Bys is making that connection that it’s the daughter of a Democrat Senator that’s a CEO of the pharmaceutical company.
RUSH: Now, back to this EpiPen for a second. This is really fascinating on a number of levels. Mylan Pharmaceuticals manufactures the EpiPen. The cost of one of these EpiPens has skyrocketed 400% recently. It’s a classic example of the things the left said we needed Obamacare for.
We’ve got to keep these out-of-control corporations in check. They don’t care about their patients. They don’t care about their customers. They’d be just as fine if they died, as long as the patients pay for the medicine, they don’t care. That whole line from the left about evil corporations, how they kill their customers, they don’t care, they rape them financially.
Well, here’s one that apparently has, and the company behind the EpiPen, it’s Mylan Pharmaceuticals, has partnered with the Clinton Foundation on numerous projects. The Mylan Pharmaceuticals company has donated money to the Clinton Foundation. It might be pronounced Mylan. It’s M-y-l-a-n, so I’m kind of combining pronunciations. I don’t want to be wrong about it, but I haven’t seen it pronounced anywhere.
Now, the CEO of Mylan Pharmaceuticals, the CEO is the daughter of Joe Manchin, who happens to be a Democrat senator from West Virginia. And for some reason the Drive-By Media have ignored both of these details reporting on the EpiPen story. They have ignored the ties that Mylan Pharmaceutical has with the Clinton Foundation and they have ignored the ties that the CEO has to a Democrat Senator, i.e., she is his daughter.
Now, according to the New York Post: “Records available on the website of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation reveal Mylan, the company that manufactures the EpiPen, has donated up to $250,000.” Also, the company behind EpiPen, Mylan, has partnered with the foundation on projects and donated money to various projects in addition to the foundation. What else here?
“On Wednesday, Clinton released a statement blasting her family foundation’s donor. ‘Over the last several years, Mylan Pharmaceuticals has increased the price of EpiPens by more than 400%. That’s outrageous — and it’s just the latest troubling example of a company taking advantage of its consumers.”
It’s exactly what the left says about every corporation, I don’t care if it’s Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Retail, big whatever. She said, “It’s wrong when drug companies put profits ahead of patients, raising prices without justifying the value behind them.” Well, then here’s a chance for the Clinton Foundation to actually step up and do something. Why don’t the Clinton Foundation, why don’t they stand up — here’s what they could do. Hillary and Bill could announce a press conference and tell everybody that they are going to give away EpiPens to everyone who needs one in the next two or three weeks out of embarrassment for the fact that this company is a huge donor to the Clinton Foundation and has given them $250,000 when that money could have been used to make the product cheaper.
I mean, if the Clintons really want to demonstrate the good — have you ever thought, have you ever asked yourself, here’s this massive foundation, it exists ostensibly to do good charitable workers, why do we not ever hear of any of those good works? In Louisiana the floods, perfect opportunity for the Clinton Foundation to get in gear and go down there and help out. Didn’t happen. The cynical view is, “Well, there’s really not a whole lot of money to be scored down there because the Clintons show up and leave with money. They don’t leave money; they leave with it.”
But now that we know that Mylan Pharmaceuticals, huge supporter of Hillary, huge supporter of the Clinton Foundation is ripping off customers with the price of the EpiPen, a great opportunity for Hillary to put some distance between herself and the company and announce some great — and they don’t even think of it. No. They don’t have to. I’m just saying, it could go a long way to mitigating some of the damage, but the Clintons are just — it wouldn’t happen. They don’t give away their own money. Try hard not to, anyway.
Hillary Clinton claimed that Donald Trump was embracing “dark conspiracy theories” before going on a conspiracy theory-obsessed rant in which she attacked Alex Jones and claimed that he had a “black heart”. Whether it’s the body count behind the Clintons, Hillary playing a major role in the creation of Al-Qaeda and ISIS or the blood trail left behind after Libya was destabilized, if anyone should be accused of having a black heart, it’s Hillary Clinton.