Tweeting towards Armageddon

Only 200 days into the current administration and we are apparently on the brink. Another brilliant accomplishment for the man-baby!

The last time talk of nuclear strikes was so public and scary was in October, 1962. The Soviet Union had installed missiles in Cuba, and President Kennedy had to figure out what to do about it. He understood that the greatest threat he faced during the crisis was the accidental triggering of an action because of a misunderstanding, a misperception, or a miscommunication. He was very careful with the words he used and strictly controlled the messages coming from others in his administration.

He had read Barbara Tuchman’s “The Guns of August” not long before, a book which focuses on how WWI got started, and the thought of just how easy it was to blunder into war was very much on his mind. He asked his generals how many Americans would die  if a single missile struck the U.S., and was told 600,000. He immediately pointed out that this was more than all the casualties of the Civil War, and that we hadn’t come close in 100 years.

J.F.K. had served with distinction in the Navy in WWII, and was a serious student of war, history, and the presidency. He had a lot to draw on to make the important decisions needed, and he succeeded in averting war and getting the missiles out of Cuba.

Donald J.Trump, on the other hand, brags of never having read a book, successfully dodged military service, and demonstrates over and over that he knows little of war, history or the presidency.

The bluster that’s been coming out of North Korea has rarely been taken seriously in recent years, and Kim Jong Un has been regarded as an eccentric, somewhat comical pariah. But with Tweety carrying the nuclear football, things have changed. His “leadership style” is the same as that of Kim Jong Un. They both “value” unpredictability and will say anything. In the case of Donald J. Trump, his “thoughts” almost always take the form of 140-character tweets, and they are never validated or vetted by anyone else beforehand. Tweet first, ask questions later is the rule he has lived by.

This is an excellent recipe for the accidental triggering of nuclear war. But unlike incendiary tweeting on other subjects, there will be little opportunity for walking it all back, “explaining” what was really meant, or blaming others as is his wont (there is already some viral disinformation blaming Bill Clinton for North Korea’s nuclear program).

I would imagine there are very few Europeans, for example, who would say there is any difference between Trump and Kim at this point – neither can be trusted and neither seems to be making any more sense than the other.

In 200 days, Trump has managed to reduce the status of President of the United States to the level eccentric, somewhat comical pariah.

But in the mind of the man-baby, “standing up” to Kim in this way is a unique “accomplishment”, and completed faster than anyone else in history! Best of all, talk of Russian meddling in the election has been knocked off the internet, and everyone knows your approval ratings get a huge bump when you start a war!

Well done.

nuke

Fire and fury, shock and awe

Yesterday, your Tweeter-in Chief responded to the news that North Korea now has the ability to hit New York with a nuclear weapon this way:

 “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Bluff and bluster. Dumb and dumber.

It doesn’t matter one bit that North Korea would lose in a nuclear exchange with the U.S. Everyone else would lose, too.

We would lose plenty. Even if the fat lunatic running things over there didn’t get a shot off, we would be saddled with a huge humanitarian crisis. Having broken it, we would own it, a lesson we apparently never get tired of not learning. Does the fat lunatic running things over here have a plan for “the day after”?

And if Kim Jong-un did manage to nuke a U.S. city, who will say that was a worthwhile cost to bear to shut him up?

men-babies

Our ally, South Korea, would lose more than anyone. Seoul is only 35 miles from the North Korea border. The damage to their population would be huge and the entire Asian and world economies would take an incredible hit.

China would face a huge immigration problem. Guam would be obliterated.   The world would turn against us (even more than they already have, if you can imagine that). ISIS would be emboldened, and would achieve a huge proxy victory just by doing nothing.

I’m not even going to think about the environmental catastrophe that would result.

If you want to hear a very interesting analysis of the four possible approaches we have for dealing with this, and why none of them are good, have a listen to this.

Spoiler alert: the least worst option is to let the North Korean man-baby have what he wants.

The millions who enthusiastically voted for Donald J. Trump only nine months ago may be finding out very soon what a huge mistake they made.

Ken Starr, please be quiet.

The other day Kenneth Starr said that the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller might be overstepping its bounds, and should not turn into a “fishing expedition”. He said the original “gravaman” of the investigation was Russian collusion in the election, and that it would be inappropriate to go beyond this question into other areas.

On hearing this, everyone who remembers Ken Starr’s years-long quest to find something, anything, that would reflect badly on Bill Clinton threw up a little bit in their mouths. CNN filed this story under the headline “Ken Starr killed irony today”.

For those too young to remember, Ken Starr was the “Independent Counsel” charged with investigating the potential wrongdoings of Bill and Hillary Clinton in a failed 1970’s real estate development called “Whitewater”. The Clintons lost money on this investment, there was never any wrongdoing found , and they were never charged with anything. There was no “there” there.

Starr was appointed to head a three-judge panel to investigate “the scandal” in 1994, just a year and a half into the Clinton administration. Even though there was never anything to it, Republicans were bound and determined to keep the travesty going, and Starr moved from one subject to the next until, with the investigation finally winding down in 1998, he got wind of some inappropriate sexual conduct  between Clinton and an intern named Monica Lewinsky.

The Lewinsky scandal became a 24/7 cable news obsession in 1998, basically blocking out the sun and other real news for months on end. It led ultimately to Clinton’s impeachment trial for lying under oath about the nature of his relationship with Lewinsky. He was absolved and continued in office.

Today is the anniversary of the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The bombings were carried out by operatives of Osama bin Laden, and presaged the 9/11 attacks. 224 people were killed in the bombings, including 12 Americans, and 4500 were wounded.

On August 20, 1998, Clinton ordered a retaliatory attack on bin Laden’s sanctuary in Afghanistan and 70 missiles hit three al Qaeda sites there, killing 24 people, but not bin Laden. 13 missiles hit a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, killing a night watchmen.

But because of the relentless and idiotic persecution of Bill Clinton by Ken Starr, who had clearly exceeded the “gravaman” of his original investigation, none of these events were regarded as particularly alarming or even newsworthy, and, tragically, none led to any increased effort to neutralize al Qaeda.

Instead, the events were reported, mainly but not exclusively by the young FoxNews network, as “wagging the dog”, meaning Clinton trying to create a distraction to get Monica Lewinsky off the TV for a day or two. A typical example of the coverage from the Washington Post:

Several Republicans yesterday raised the issue expressly. Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) said: “After months of lies and deceit and manipulations and deceptions — stonewalling — it raised into doubt everything he does and everything he says,” Coats said.

Administration officials said yesterday they had anticipated criticism that Clinton was following a “Wag the Dog” strategy — so-named after the recent movie in which a president tries to draw attention away from a sexual scandal by staging a phony war — but had no choice but to ignore it.

Perhaps there is a legitimate discussion about Mueller’s scope to be had now, but Ken Starr should not be part of it. His past transgressions and current hypocrisy exclude him. I don’t think it’s going too far to say that without this biased, self-important, corrupt and disingenuous fool, we may well have succeeded in limiting al Qaeda’s ability to carry out the 9/11 attacks.

To Ken Starr, I would say, “Thanks for nothing and shut the fuck up.”

Mother of Exiles redux

On July 4th, I wrote about how America is still the greatest country in the world because of the ideals laid out in the founding documents and elsewhere, e.g. in the Emma Lazarus poem “The New Colossus” inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.  My point was,  “If we come up short in trying to make those ideals reality, that’s one thing. But if we abandon them altogether, we are lost.”

The New Colossus described Lady Liberty as the “Mother of Exiles”, and for the millions who saw those words for the first time on entering New York harbor, it validated all the sacrifice,  hardship, and uncertainty they had faced to make their way here.

liberty

Among those millions were the antecedents of Donald J. Trump and many others in the current administration, including Stephen Miller, the vile little worm who is “policy adviser” to your president.

miller

A couple of days ago, Miller was explaining the administration’s new immigration policy, which drastically reduces the number of legal immigrants we will accept, requires them to speak English, etc., and he got into an exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta, who asked Miller if these new rules honored the spirit of Lazarus’ poem.

Miller took the opportunity to say,

“the poem that you’re referring to was added later. It’s not actually part of the Statue of Liberty.”

No duh. So what? It was added because that’s what the statue meant to us (and the world), and continued to mean for the next 115 years. Until now. Miller dismisses it as something like graffiti that needs to be cleaned off.

Maybe the time is now at hand when we can no longer claim to be the greatest nation on earth because of our ideals. Maybe we are now officially lost.

I have often said that the Germans, of all people, should not presume to provide moral guidance to anyone. Not for another hundred years or so, by which time the project of re-writing history to expunge their crimes will surely be complete. I have said that until then, they can just keep their teutonic pie-holes shut and let others criticize us.

Well, maybe their time has also come sooner than I imagined. Here are some images from their Rose Monday parades a while back. You decide.

Tweety wants an “accomplishment”

Your president has changed his message so many times on Obamacare, it’s hard to keep it all straight. He’s veered wildly from asserting he had a “beautiful” health plan ready to go, saying that Obamacare should be replaced with a Republican alternative, saying it should be repealed first and replaced within hours or days, and so on. But, really, what difference does it  make? Don’t burn any calories trying to decipher today’s “message”, because it will certainly change by the time you’ve done it.

But, for the record, here’s Tweety’s current wisdom:

repeal

Tweety wants to accomplish something, anything at all, really,  to add to his non-existent list of already-accomplished accomplishments.

The phrasing is kind of odd, though, suggesting “Republicans should…”. Shouldn’t that be “We should…” or “”We Republicans”? I suppose this is what happens when you only give yourself 140 characters to enunciate policy and couldn’t be bothered about working with legislators to understand the details of what you’re offering.

Or maybe it’s just another way to distance yourself from those losing losers who will be blamed for not delivering on the “promise” that swept them all into office.

Remember? They all promised to take away health insurance from the tens of millions who were able to acquire it after the A.C.A. was passed seven years ago (oh, and cut taxes for rich people who don’t have to worry about coverage). And all their ecstatic constituents waved their flags and chanted “lock her up” at the prospect. So much winning.

sick

Problem is, many of those same constituents have started to rub the pixie-dust from their eyes and have woken up to the reality of what’s about to happen, even though Mitch McConnell did his best to ram the whole scam into law without anyone knowing what they were voting for, even his fellow senators.

According to this Failing New York Times piece, entitled Old Truth Trips Up G.O.P. on Health Law: A Benefit Is Hard to Retract , Susan Collins, Republican (in name only) from Maine,

“said she was besieged by constituents who urged her to oppose the Republican plan: a conservative Republican who was worried about the impact on her grandson, who has cystic fibrosis; a small-business owner in a town where the hospital depends on Medicaid for more than 60 percent of its revenues and is the second-largest employer; a working single mother and her 9-year-old daughter who, for the first time in the girl’s life, were both able to get affordable insurance.”

Interestingly, most of the Republican opposition in the Senate is not of the Collins variety, though. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas, are opposing the bill because it’s still too “generous”. They want not only to repeal Obamacare, but completely gut Medicaid as well.

For the moment, the repeal effort is dead and Tweety will have to accomplish something else instead. On the plus side, he’s doing very well in the polls. His approval rating dropped to a record low 36%, but he noted that that’s almost 40%! Not too bad!

polls.JPG

Tweety, you’re the best and no one can deny it. Everyone loves you.

 

“Do you know who I am?”

The Judiciary Committee here at GOML headquarters has proposed new sentencing guidelines for anyone who uses the phrase, “Do you know who I am?” in the commission of a crime. All prison time should be doubled with no possibility of consideration for good behavior. Clearly, the “good behavior” ship has sailed and it isn’t coming back.

The answer to the question, “Do you know who I am?” is virtually always, “No ones gives a rat’s ass who you are, and be careful  suggesting you deserve special treatment, because you just might get it.”

A couple of days ago, a 23-year-old punk named Joseph Daniel Hudek IV assaulted a flight attendant and a couple of passengers while trying to open the emergency door of a plane an hour out of  Seattle heading to Beijing. Maybe he was trying to kill himself (and others). Maybe he was having a psychotic break. Maybe he’s a tweaker who had too much. Don’t know, don’t care. During the mêlée, he shouted “Do you know who I am?”, thus automatically disqualifying him from any sympathetic consideration of his actions.

hudek

Saying these words immediately establishes his guilt, irrespective of mitigating circumstances, such as mental illness. Saying these words is worse than fat-shaming, which is worse than just about anything else.

First of all, he’s nobody. But that really isn’t the point. He thinks he’s somebody, possibly Napoleon, or perhaps a super-hero who can fly without the assistance of an airplane. Or he thinks his mother is somebody, and therefore he is somebody. He was flying in First Class as a non-rev on a “dependent pass”, and apparently the mother works for Delta in some capacity. Also irrelevant.

After smashing a wine bottle over his head to no effect, the crew enlisted the help of some passengers who finally were able to get Joey into some comfy zip-ties. Here’s what the galley looked like at that point:

galley

In this country, even if you are “somebody”, you’re nobody. If the people you’re beefing with haven’t already taken your identity into consideration, trying to convince them of your “status” in the middle of a set-to only makes things worse.

Remember the “Nut Rage” incident a couple of years ago?  It was another “Do you know who I am?” incident. Cho Hyun-ah, at the time an executive of Korean Air and the daughter of its CEO, had a big jet turned around on the runway in New York and returned to the gate, inconveniencing hundreds of other passengers. The problem? Her macadamia nuts had been served in a bag, not on a plate.

From the link:

She has denied physically assaulting the chief steward, Park Chang-jin, who says she made him kneel and beg for forgiveness before jabbing him with a document folder.

She then ordered the plane to go back to the terminal at New York’s JFK airport to offload the attendant, who was fired on the spot before the plane proceeded on its journey. He has since been reinstated.

Her father, Korean Air chairman Cho Yang-Ho, has apologised for his daughter’s “foolish act”. Mr Cho also said his daughter would step down from all her posts in companies under the Cho family-owned Hanjin Group, which also owns Korean Air.

This is just the beginning of what should happen to this special snowflake, but it didn’t work out that way. She was sentenced to 10 months in prison, as the international outrage she sparked demanded, but the court suspended the sentence, so if she doesn’t turn any other jets around for two years, she won’t have to go to prison at all.

From this piece about the incident:

The episode cannot be explained “except by the fact that Vice President Cho Hyun-ah was a member of the chairman’s family,” said the civic group People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy. It said the case exemplified how the personal wishes of a member of the family that owns a leading South Korean conglomerate often override official regulations and common sense.

“No pilot is going to oppose an order from the daughter of the company owner,” said Lee Gae-ho, a lawmaker affiliated with the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, the main opposition party.

Fortunately, in the United States, being the daughter of the boss doesn’t give you the right to make policy that affects people’s lives.  Everyone knows we have nepotism laws that ensure we operate as a meritocracy.

I haven’t read this article, yet, which is entitled “Ivanka Trump takes father’s seat at G-20 leaders’ table in break from diplomatic protocol”, but I’m sure we have nothing to worry about.

Ivanka in charge

Fox and Chicken conclude secret talks

A meeting of the Fox and the Chicken took place yesterday in Hamburg, resulting in a historic agreement being reached on the future protection of the Henhouse.

fox

The meeting was unprecedented in that there were only four attendees, no notes were kept, and no media was present to record what was said. Only the Chicken has reported on the outcome so far, characterizing the meeting as “tremendous”, saying it had been an honor to meet with the Fox, and boasting that he made the Fox swear that he had never and would never enter the Henhouse for any reason.

coop

Talk radio stations and other “conservative” media heralded the event, noting that the Chicken was an extremely experienced negotiator who had a long history of always getting better “deals” than anyone else, and pointing out that the Fox had been a much more dependable ally of Chickens in general, and of the Henhouse in particular, than any “liberal” had ever been.

In return for assurances of the future security of the Henhouse, the Chicken agreed that all eggs produced therein would be licensed in perpetuity to the Fox.

The Fox has been an admirer of the Chicken for years, affectionately referring to him as “Tweety”, and has been quoted as saying the Chicken was the most handsome, talented, intelligent, and skilled partner he has ever had.

pootie