Britain’s Prime Minister proves she can be unpredictable too, suddenly calling for new elections.
- Theresa May says a bold move is needed to strengthen and solidify support for her Conservative Party as the UK moves to exit the European Union. If approved by parliament, the vote would come on June 8. (Yes, you heard that right: campaigns in Britain are mercifully short!)
- While May would not be calling for elections unless she feels she has great momentum, the element of surprise also aims to catch the opposition Labour party way off guard as it still licks its Brexit wounds. It may also help her bring into line figures within her own party who opposed Brexit.
- While early elections require the consent of 2/3rds of Parliament, and early polls show her party way ahead, the opposition was quick to say if she wants an election, they’ll give her one. Even though polls show her with a strong lead that could add to the Tories’ thin margins, it also gives places like Scotland, which was solidly against Brexit, the opportunity to dig in as well.
- This is a complete 180 for Theresa May, who has repeatedly insisted there would be no new vote until 2020. So a lot will come down to who can organize most effectively, most quickly. Prime Minister May is betting it’s her.
Ever wonder why South Korea doesn’t ALREADY have a missile defense system? Well, there are two answers: It’s coming. And China.
- Lockheed’s High Altitude THAAD defense system has been in the works for years. And although a firm timetable is not set, components are apparently arriving as we speak. What’s taken so long? (Especially since similar systems have been in place for years in places like Israel and Guam?)
- This is where China comes in. It’s pressured South Korea not to install THAAD because the powerful tracking system could tip the balance of power in the region toward the U.S. And China hasn’t just talked tough: it suddenly found fire code violations at 87 of 99 Chinese branches of Korea’s Lotte Department Store, forcing them to shut down.
- Meanwhile US and South Korea Air Forces kicked off their annual “Max Thunder” joint combat training exercises, which run through the end of the month. These types of events are held twice-annually, largely to annoy North Korea.
- And one would think while the U.S. is putting South Korea in the cross-hairs, we might cut them some slack on trade. But, no. Part of Vice President Mike Pence’s message on his visit to the South is that the 5-year old US/South Korea free trade agreement would be reviewed and revised.
- Our opinion: Perhaps Kim Jong-un’s best play right now might be to pick up the phone and give President Trump a buzz. Trump seems to respond favorably to strongmen who come calling. Maybe they’d even be friends. Anyway, that’s what we’d do if we were Kim. But we’re not. (Editor’s note: Then again, there’s always a chance the phone call could start World War 3. Remember Trump’s call with our ally Australia.)
Yesterday, we wished out loud that President Trump wasn’t paying close attention to the referendum in Turkey.
- That country’s President, Recep Erdogan apparently convinced a majority of voters to dismantle the constitution in favor of, well, him. But Trump apparently was on top of this one, and felt a congratulatory phone call was in order.
- Erdogan lashed out at critics, saying they should “know their place.” And that any subsequent reports critical of the vote are fake news. And that no one is more democratic than him. We are not making this up.
Georgia Special Election
- This one’s not that hard to figure out: if Democrat Jon Ossoff does not win 50% of the vote today, giving him the seat outright, he’ll head to a June 20 runoff against the top Republican finisher, at which point it’ll be an uphill battle for the Dems. Republicans are pulling out the stops (as they did last week in Kansas,) with robo-calls from President Trump, etc. The contested seat belonged to Tom Price, who’s now Secretary of Health and Human Services.
This is kind of a cheap shot. That doesn’t mean it’s not priceless.
We’ll refrain from saying anything further. Just go to the video tape.
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