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Neon lights, a Nobel Prize; then a mirror speaks, the reflection lies

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President Donald Trump examines a fire truck from Wisconsin-based manufacturer Pierce on the South Lawn during a “Made in America” product showcase event at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 17, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Olivier Douliery (Photo credit should read OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images)

The art of the deal:

North Korea is rapidly moving the goal posts for next month’s summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump, saying the United States must stop insisting it “unilaterally” abandon its nuclear program and stop talking about a Libya-style solution to the standoff.

The latest warning, delivered by former North Korean nuclear negotiator Kim Gye Gwan on Wednesday, fits Pyongyang’s well-established pattern of raising the stakes in negotiations by threatening to walk out if it doesn’t get its way.

This comes just hours after the North Korean regime cast doubt on the planned summit by protesting joint air force drills taking place in South Korea, saying they were ruining the diplomatic mood.

If the Trump administration approaches the summit “with sincerity” for improved relations, “it will receive a deserved response from us,” Kim Gye Gwan, now vice foreign minister, said in a statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday.

“However, if the U.S. is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the DPRK-U.S. summit,” he said, using the abbreviation for North Korea’s official name. He also questioned the sequencing of denuclearization first, compensation second.

Time for another round of stories asking “what if Trump is able to pass a huge infrastructure bill make a masterful deal to get North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program? CHECKMATE LIBS! [flips over Candyland board.]” When this very plausible scenario happens it will truly be the day Donald Trump becomes president.

…as Warren Terra observes in comments, this Yglesias piece is excellent:

Donald Trump is a liar. More than that, he’s a fraud. Not just a person who makes factual misstatements but a person who has gotten ahead in life through extensive use of bullshit, leaving in his wake a trail of broken promises.

From his unpaid bills to contractors to his scam university to his brief period ripping off the shareholders of his eponymous company, this is what Trump does — he exploits normal human nature to sucker people into trusting him, and then he exploits his own ever-growing fame and power to get away with breaking the rules.

As president, this pattern has only continued.

He never delivered his much-promised plan to release a “terrific” Obamacare alternative that would cover everyone. Instead, he backtracked on his promise to protect Medicaid from cuts. He’s dropped the promise to negotiate lower prescription drug prices for Medicare, dropped the promise to break up big banks, dropped the promise of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, and dropped the promise to develop a tax program that would leave the rich paying more — and, of course, his version of “draining the swamp“ has brought a level of corruption to official Washington that would have embarrassed the congressional barons of the Gilded Age.

None of this is even remotely controversial. Democrats scorn Trump’s lies while Republicans rely on the fact that he’s a liar to safeguard their ideological orthodoxy. He never took on the National Rifle Association, he never delivered a solution for the DREAMers, and of course Mexico isn’t going to pay for the wall.

Everyone knows this, which raises the question of why everyone is pretending to believe that Trump may make a diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea.

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