Who would have possibly foreseen the future when, in a 24-hour span, Bill Cosby is convicted as a sexual predator and the Korean peninsula declares an end to hostilities. I mean, maybe one or the other, but not both. Technically the Korean peninsula has been in a state of war since the ceasefire was issued in 1953. Ever since that time, North and South Korea have been basically in a standoff. That all changed in the past 12 hours as Kim Jong Un stepped foot into South Korea, the first in the North’s dynasty to do so in over 60 years. In return, South Korean President Moon Jae-in also walked into North Korea as a show of unity.
News on this from the Associated Press:
The leaders of North and South Korea played it safe Friday, repeating a previous vow to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons but failing to provide any specific new measures or forge a potential breakthrough on an issue that has captivated and terrified many since the rivals seemed on the verge of war last year.
In a sense, the vague joint statement produced by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in to achieve “a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through complete denuclearization” kicks one of the world’s most pressing issues down the road to a much-anticipated summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in coming weeks.
Even so, the Koreas’ historic summit Friday might be remembered as much for the sight of two men from nations with a deep and bitter history of acrimony holding each other’s hands and grinning from ear to ear after Kim walked over the border to greet Moon, and then both briefly stepped together into the North and back to the South.
Standing at a podium next to Moon after the talks ended, Kim faced a wall of cameras beaming his image live to the world and declared that the Koreas are “linked by blood as a family and compatriots who cannot live separately.”
What happened Friday should be seen in the context of the last year – when the United States, its ally South Korea and the North threatened and raged as the North unleashed a torrent of weapons tests – but also in light of the long, destructive history of the rival Koreas, who fought one of the 20th century’s bloodiest conflicts and even today occupy a divided peninsula that’s still technically in a state of war. Kim’s single step across the cracked, weathered concrete marking the Koreas’ border made him the first ruler of North Korea to step on South Korean soil since the war.
It should go without saying that the West should be skeptical of Kim Jong Un’s moves here. The man is still a murderous dictator accused of starving and imprisoning his own people, so all the smiles of unity are nice, but there is a lot further to go before North Korea joins the civilized world community, if ever. All of this news comes as a precursor to the potential meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong, sometime perhaps in May or June.
In other completely unrelated news, Bill Cosby was convicted yesterday of drugging and sexually assaulting an incapacitated woman back in 2004. Keep in mind that in a previous trial last year, the result was a deadlocked jury on these same charges.
Wendy Murphy, an opinion writer for the Boston Herald, believes that the justice system may have turned a corner since the Harvey Weinstein revelations and may begin more forcefully holding predators accountable:
Cosby, “America’s dad,” a rich and powerful popular culture icon who assumed he would never be held accountable, is facing jail time.
Because of today’s verdict, a new page has turned. A legal system notoriously bad at holding men of influence to account when they abuse women has effectively declared an end to that era.
The world has changed, and abusive men everywhere should beware that if Dr. Huxtable can be held accountable, then anyone can be held accountable.
And make no mistake, the word of one woman is enough. Though several of Cosby’s other victims also testified that he drugged and violated them, too, their testimony was admitted only to show that he had an unusual modus operandi. Constand alone delivered the key evidence. Win or lose, Constand would have achieved justice because her voice was heard, and it was loud, clear and strong.
It seems plausible that a jury in 2018 may be more empathetic to a female claiming sexual abuse of this nature than a jury in 2016 or 2017. After all, how could “America’s Dad” be guilty of such crimes given his thoughtful and friendly demeanor playing Cliff Huxtable on the Cosby Show in the 1980s and 90s. However, with the rampant revelations of sexual harassment, and in some cases rape, from the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Bill O’Reilly and countless others, people seem to be less inclined to discount claims of sexual advances as easily as they did just a few years ago.
In other totally unrelated news, former FBI Director James Comey spent the week giving interviews to varioues media outlets and even held a “town hall” with CNN. Speaking to Fox News, Comey denied that what he did was considered a “leak” when he sent memos to his friend with intention of getting them to the New York Times:
Former FBI Director James Comey, in a wide-ranging interview with Fox News on Thursday, defended sharing his memos about conversations with President Trump with multiple people, while denying it was a “leak.”
“That memo was unclassified then,” Comey told anchor Bret Baier during an appearance on “Special Report.” “It’s still unclassified. It’s in my book. The FBI cleared that book before it could be published.”
Comey acknowledged giving the memos to at least three people including his friend, Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman. He said he sent Richman a copy of the two-page unclassified memo and “asked him to get the substance of it out to the media.”
“The reason I’m smiling, Bret,” Comey said. “I don’t consider what I shared Mr. Richman a leak.”
Well, alright, but most would consider these actions to be a “leak” when government information somehow makes its way to the media from unnamed sources. That may be a moot point anyway because it appears that, technically speaking, Comey didn’t release anything that was classified in nature, though that investigation is still ongoing.
Also, if you’re interested, CNN has made the entire Comey town hall available via YouTube, embedded below for your viewing pleasure:
Stay tuned next week for whatever news stories we can wrap up nicely for your on Friday. Enjoy your weekend!