Rex Tillerson- Icon of Lesser Evil.

Discord between President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, his chief diplomat, is reportedly at an all-time high. It’s been spilling all over the public view in recent days. It was crowned with a NBC News report released Wednesday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron” in a Pentagon meeting.

John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, abruptly scrapped plans to travel with President Donald Trump on Wednesday so he could try to contain his boss’s fury. and manage the fallout, according to six senior administration officials. It’s enough to make a sane man sick, watching these animals and their incompetence drag this venerable American through the mud this way. Forcing a four-star general to manage a kindergarten full of nitwit monstrosities is nothing short of a crime.

Vice President Mike Pence, who was still basking in the glow of being the keynote speaker at the Koch network’s upcoming convention, is basking no longer. This latest chaos is said to have had Pence fuming during his recent travel to Phoenix, seven officials told NBC News. He and Tillerson spoke on the phone before the secretary’s public appearance on Wednesday morning, and one can imagine how that conversation went.

There’s no doubt it is very satisfying to see yet another Trump pick go up in smoke. Bearing witness to the discomfiture of a smug oil tycoon arch-polluter like Tillerson has also been worth the price of admission. However, as tempting as it might be to see Trump’s White House even further on the rocks, it isn’t what’s best for the country.

In this madhouse of a White House, Rex Tillerson is one of the few sane voices left.

Nobody knows where all this is going. That has been true all along. Ever since the sickening theft of the presidency last November, we have seen things get worse and worse. Blood in the streets was predicted last year on election night. That’s exactly what we’ve gotten, at Charlottesville.

It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that Trump didn’t think he had a chance, any more than most of us did. The Trump campaign headquarters were all but silent, the night of the election, right up until he won. The tens of supporters present did their best to kick up a big roar, but there were more cops and drug dogs there than actual people, which will put a damper on just about anything. As the night rolled on, and the districts kept coming back red, they were just as shocked as the rest of us.

Since then, the collective hope of the country has flickered badly. Robert Mueller alone represents our ability to get rid of Trump, there’s a new disaster daily in the news, and we’re stuck in the mud completely in terms of getting anything done. On the contrary, we find ourselves and our value system completely under assault.

Trump chips away at something fundamental every day. Our system has never had to withstand the test of such a concerted and thorough attack on our foundations before. Its unusual potency arises because it is spearheaded by the very man charged with its leadership and upkeep. Today, he managed to scrap part of Obamacare relating to Planned Parenthood, under the grounds of religious freedom.

There’s no doubt at all that a guy like Rex Tillerson being anywhere near a Presidential cabinet  would be a travesty, under normal conditions. It sickens one to look back on the 1989 oil spill of Exxon- Valdez. Tillerson became general manager of the central production division of Exxon USA this same year, and as such, bears personal responsibility for that environmental disaster.

Six years later, he replaced Lee Raymond as the CEO of the company. The reckless and cavalier attitude of the fossil fuel industry is well known. It was a darkly ironic travesty, that someone in charge of the company responsible for the second worst man-made climate disaster was made the overseer of United States diplomacy on climate change.

While all of this is true, and while it certainly makes Rex Tillerson an unpalatable occupant of a presidential Cabinet, he is still part of the bedrock. He’s a solid American, if nothing else. He is also one of the last members of the civilian world to have any voice in the Trump White House, which is well on its way to being another wing of the Pentagon.

We are grateful beyond words for the Pentagon’s role in holding up our country out of the muck this past year, but we can’t stress enough the paramount importance of civilians continuing to govern civilian life. Both are necessary. They provide stability, check, and balance to the other. Every part of our American society helps to achieve a certain balance.

For Tillerson’s part, anyway, he has announced an unequivocal intent to remain at his post. For this reason, Kelly, Tillerson, and their ally Defense Secretary James Mattis had an emergency meeting at the White House to discuss a path forward, according to three administration officials.

However, it is said that Trump was beyond enraged that Tillerson refused to disavow having called him an idiot on TV, which is not surprising. He was telling the world he meant exactly what he said. I’m sure Trump was enraged.

It seems likely that if it were not for the military men who have become Trump’s inner circle, Tillerson would have been gone long ago.

Trump has grown resentful of what he considers Tillerson’s high- handed manner of deciding policy issues. He feels his secretary of state to be overly dismissive at times. Trump is insecure above all else, and a plain-spoken old timer like the Secretary of State is not likely to have much patience for the tender ego of a seventy year old billionaire man-child.  People willing to speak up to this large orange tyrant is what this country needs.

Going forward, it is necessary to realize that until next year when we Democrats take back the Congress- #RiseAndOrganize– there are no good choices, when it comes to Trump’s personnel. Only less bad ones. Rex Tillerson has become the walking embodiment, of the lesser evil.

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Make Peace or Perish- The Only Way Forward in the Nuclear Age.

North Korea caused an earthquake today, while conducting its sixth and most powerful nuclear test. Their statement claimed it was caused by the testing of an advanced hydrogen bomb for a long-range missile.

The announcement from Pyongyang came a few hours after international seismic agencies detected a man-made earthquake near the test site in the North. Japanese and South Korean officials said it was around 10 times more powerful than the tremor picked up after its last nuclear test a year ago. According to Kim Jong-un, the test was a “perfect success.”

North Korea has often tried to catch us off guard by conducting major weapons tests around American holidays, which is why we’ve received this nice treat for Labor Day. Mr. Kim called his country’s first ICBM test, conducted on July 4, a “gift package for the Yankees”.

America is considering halting trade with any country doing business with North Korea, and this at least seems reasonable. Economic sanctions are the one civilized strategy available. However, this gives rise to another disturbing aspect of this particular mess. Putin has been lobbying the North Koreans too, attempting to angle his own toehold of influence into the mind of the panicked and isolated Kim.

This comes at an all-time low point in historical relations between Moscow and Washington. On Thursday, Trump’s administration announced it would shut down Russian diplomatic missions in US cities, seemingly in response to an order from the Kremlin expelling 755 American diplomats toward the end of July. YouTube videos were taken of the Russian embassy in San Francisco earlier this week, before it was vacated. Clouds of black smoke rose from it for hours. The fire department was denied entrance. It is believed they were burning documents.

Becoming a player in this North Korean missile crisis would likely suit Putin very well. Both Moscow and Beijing seek to keep the United States at bay to protect their own interests in the area, and the arrogance and youth of Kim makes his susceptibility to flattery very likely. Putin has proven himself able to manipulate disjointed dictators before, using this trick. “Russia believes that the policy of putting pressure on Pyongyang to stop its nuclear missile program is misguided and futile,” Putin said in an article released by the Kremlin. That’s the kind of talk Kim likes to hear.

James Person, an expert on Korea at the Wilson Center, is of the opinion that by giving the North Koreans our recognition somehow, we can still defuse this- before it’s too late.”The important thing is, the US has to recognize that only it has the ability to give Pyongyang what it wants,”Person said, but he failed to state exactly what that is. No one really knows.

United States Defense Secretary Jim Mattis threatened a “massive military response” to any attack on the United States or its allies, following this news. There’s no doubt he means it, should the North Koreans actually strike first somewhere, but other than that it’s all really just talk at this point. North Korean possession of nuclear technology is a fait accompli, for better or worse. The Pentagon will be busy planning.

These are very scary times, and no mistake. The hydrogen bomb is vastly more powerful than the atomic bombs used against Japan at the end of World War Two. How powerful are they? Think of it like this- They use atom bombs, just as a trigger. The explosion is comparable to ten million tons of TNT.

Trump doesn’t seem to get that his bombast and threats aren’t helping. Every time he starts in with his nonsense, Kim dares him to actually do something with another and even worse experiment. It’s a vicious cycle that may very well cause a tragedy. Furthermore, he refuses to take responsibility for any of it, preferring instead to point the finger at South Korea.

“South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!” Trump tweeted.

He also warned South Korea it would have to pay, for using the US missile defence system (Thaad). And on the eve of the nuclear test, he was reported by the Washington Post to have been on the point of withdrawing from a five year old free trade agreement with Seoul.

Jon Wolfsthal, a former special assistant to Barack Obama on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, said that “Reassuring South Korea is a top priority”, and that“The Trump administration is failing this test. Threats about the Thaad bill and now the trade agreement are very damaging.” By alienating Washington from Seoul with that kind of talk, Trump is playing right into Kim’s hands.

The only real solution we have is to come to the table with the newest member of the nuclear community. A clean and surgical first strike doesn’t even happen in the movies. Unless we are willing to accept the death of many millions, worldwide heartbreak for mankind, and bringing our species one step closer to the brink of a nuclear omnicide, a first strike is out. What else is there but to try and find room to coexist?

Going forward, it is clear that as usual, or biggest obstacle is Donald Trump. He has made what is already a very bad situation far worse. He thinks he’s sounding like George Bush. He doesn’t understand that fire and fury is not the way to go here.  It’s time to calm down, and start working together. We’ve been through this before. We lived through it when Russia got the bomb, and again when China did. The only way forward was to accept one another as equals, and move on with our lives.

The fact it took nuclear weapons to bring that about is pretty sad, but that is no longer the issue. We’ve got to find a way. The only option is to adapt to the changing situation, using the only true weapon we have ever had, with which to resist the power of darkness. Love. We must now place all our hopes and all our faith, in love. Love of the world, love of each other, love of ourselves. For the love of all that’s holy, we have got to make a genuine peace or perish. It’s that, or the end.

 

No Shutdown or Wall, Alone and Small- Donald Trump, This Is Your Life.

Ugly.

The White House has backed down again. It has announced that it will not shut down the government in October if Trump doesn’t get the money to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border,“Build that wall,” Trump said at the Aug. 22 rally in Phoenix. “The obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it. But believe me, if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.”

However, the predicted job growth this August showed up short to the tune of tens of thousands. The cataclysm that was Hurricane Harvey will have us doing cleanup for years. And a second hurricane, Irma, is growing stronger off the coast of the Caribbean. These are just a few of the many reasons Republicans in Congress have told Trump to focus on other parts of his agenda, and postpone his holy war regarding the the border wall for now.

Others are telling Trump what to do a lot, these days. The Oval Office has become his prison. Anyone wanting to pay him a visit must clear it with Chief of Staff John Kelly. Defense Secretary James Mattis openly contradicted him on North Korea earlier in the week. Roger Stone, former campaign adviser, noted the trend. “Kelly is trying to treat Donald Trump like a mushroom. Keeping him in the dark, and feeding him sh*t”.

Although Trump managed to hide his frustrations about it long enough to tweet out his support for Kelly this morning, he received perhaps the harshest personal blow of his presidency, in the form of the news that his closest personal aide will be deserting him. President Donald Trump’s longtime aide and current director of Oval Office operations Keith Schiller has told people he intends to leave the White House, three sources familiar with the decision told CNN.

Schiller has been a constant presence at Trump’s side for nearly two decades and was among a handful of aides from Trump’s previous life as a businessman to follow Trump onto the campaign trail and into the White House.

While Trump’s other personal bodyguards left when the Secret Service took over as Trump’s protective detail, the 6’4 Schiller remained at Trump’s side. He continued on in his capacity as a bodyguard and personal aide. During the campaign, it was Schiller who often had the best sense of Trump’s mood and needs during the campaign. By all appearances, Trump is heavily dependent on him. Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to believe it, commenting curtly that the story was “not true”.

One source said Schiller has also grown frustrated with the new system installed by White House chief of staff John Kelly aimed at restricting access to the President.

As Trump continues to grapple with Kelly’s more isolating measures, just two close aides who worked for Trump at the Trump Organization will remain at Trump’s side: Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, and Dan Scavino, the social media director.

If it were nearly any other person, one might be tempted toward pity. Donald Trump, after all, is no geopolitical chessmaster, attempting world domination Illuminati-style at the head of some terrifying conspiracy, like either George Bush probably was. He’s a banal and limited man, who was given a bunch of money and a carte blanche at the beginning of life, and told to cut loose. He belonged in a professional wrestling ring, or on a reality TV show. It’s been a sad thing, to watch him ruin himself. Eric Trump told reporters this week that the treatment of his father, might cause him to commit suicide.

However, we must harden our hearts nonetheless. So long as Donald Trump remains in the White House, his unpredictability and savage bursts of temper make him a clear and present danger, to every living being on this planet. He’s the one who’s got the nuclear codes. Until such a time as he decides to tap out, write this off as a mistake, and go home to Trump Tower, he will have to be kept in check.

John McCain made the following statement on the matter before heading home to start his brain cancer treatment.

“Congress must govern with a president who has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct,” McCain wrote in a powerful op-ed in The Washington Post.  “We must be diligent in discharging our responsibility to serve as a check on his power.” Those are not the words of a ringing vote of confidence.

When the day comes when Trump is impeached, and we’ve got someone in the Oval Office who isn’t causing the type of climate that led to the Charlottesville tragedy, we can start to rebuild, and turn our eyes skyward again. Until then, it’s going to be game on.

 

Keeps Him In Dark, Feeds Him Sh*t- Kelly Treats Trump Like Mushroom

Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone said earlier this week that the new Chief of Staff, John Kelly is “Treating Donald Trump like a mushroom. Keeping him in the dark, and feeding him sh*t.” This is true. Although the president does not seem to much like his new diet, the Pentagon has been making sure he sticks to it.

Not many people are happy with Donald Trump. Earlier this week, when North Korea fired a missile over Japan, he burst into his tough talk rhetoric, taking to Twitter with the message that “talking is not the answer” to the nuclear missile development of North Korea and the stress-filled standoff that comes with it.

However, Trump’s defense chief James Mattis was quick to contradict him. This has been happening to Trump a lot lately. He’s been increasingly isolated in a White House once filled with friends. People used to stop by the Oval Office, just to hang out. Now, they’ve got to have an official appointment, approved by Kelly.

Meanwhile, Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have partnered and pooled resources to investigate Paul Manafort and examine his financial ongoings, several people familiar with the matter told Politico.

 Since the US president is unable to pardon state crimes, this collaboration is probably an effort to pressure Manafort to cooperate in the broader Russia investigation under Mueller. Schneiderman can charge Manafort with a variety of state crimes, even if Trump did try and pardon him to spare him from questioning. He can hem him up directly. Many have felt that Manafort was the most direct key to all this. His house was raided last month, by the FBI.

Trump’s unusual pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, issued before his federal case was even finished, has sparked a debate over whether the president could end Mueller’s Russia probe with a clean slate of preemptive pardons. The answer is probably yes- but only on the federal level. State prosecutors would then have the option to try the cases in their own courtrooms.

Given the circumstances, this is much more likely than usual. State prosecutors usually defer to federal ones, but given the likelihood of Trump attempting a ,mass-pardon of everyone involved, there’s a very good chance that in this case they will do just the opposite.

It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that America needs to see justice done, before we’ll see closure on this. Closure here is big, because until we get it, we won’t have our faith in our government restored. Mueller is fighting to remind everybody that America’s been great all along. We never needed the help of Donald Trump.

We never needed Donald Trump’s brand name all over stuff we already had. We accepted him, and made room for him, even though it was widely known that he was New York’s most obnoxious celebrity– which ranked him high among the populace of Earth in general. But we never needed him. We never asked him to come along and start making us great. Trump can hardly spell great; in fact, even the very typing of his slogan has become too oppressive a burden for him. He sent out a self-pitying tweet this morning, informing us all that all he wants to do, is MAGA! As in Israeli martial arts?

Trump is mired so deeply in his own person, that he isn’t stopping at all to consider how much harm he is doing the country. We have been divided right to the bone by his election. Particularly since the Charlottesville incident, there has been unrest and violence nationwide. It has been a blow to our stability that we haven’t felt the like of since Vietnam. And regardless of who they blame it on, everyone is feeling the pinch. Even his own supporters, usually loyal as a pack of dogs, used words like “Outrageous”, “Let Down,”, and “Disappointed’, when speaking to a focus group in Pittsburgh Tuesday night. According to a recent Fox News poll, 56% of voters in general feel that he’s tearing the country apart.

 

Like the recent disaster that was Hurricane Harvey, the real challenge- that of cleanup and recovery- has not even had a chance to begin yet. We’re still not quite through with even the first semester of this infant presidency. The way things are going now, it’s not looking good for him. Even Mitch McConnell privately speculated recently as to whether or not Trump could save his job.

He’s still in power for now, though, and until Mueller finishes, he has the capacity to do a lot of damage with it. The best hope we have for maintaining order in the meantime is John Kelly, but Trump is already unhappy with him. Although the circus our executive branch has resembled since January has at least now been restricted to rings, Trump feels that he is being managed, by an old fuddy-duddy who his old loyalists do not much like. They derisively call the old gentleman “Kelly the church lady”, considering him strict and morally superior.

“He’s having a very hard time,” one friend who spoke with Trump this week said of the president. “He doesn’t like how Kelly’s handling him.”

The President of the United States of America, has been reduced to sneaking phone calls to Steve Bannon– when Kelly’s not around. How did it come to this?

 

Decay and Discipline- Pentagon Stomping Trump

Trump’s rambling rant last night in Arizona was a continuing sign of his degradation as a leader. It provided many examples of the threat that he still poses. It is clear he will continue to stoke racial division, for what appears to be a deeply cynical purpose .Former chief strategist Steve Bannon suggested evilly that the administration plans to bait Democrats with racial issues, while they focus on the economy, so as to “crush us“. That strategy led us directly to Charlottesville and the murder of Heather Heyer.

Trump hinted that he’ll soon expand his deportation dragnet last night. He threatened a government shutdown over his Mexican wall. He also continued to hint at the Arpaio pardon. It was announced on Wednesday that the paperwork has been drawn up, and the pardon is expected to actualize very soon.  This is certain to seriously amplify the ugliness and polarity surrounding the immigration issue in America today.

The “fake news” attacks on the press have already eroded a great deal of public faith in the American press. That will cause long term damage and short term violence. An effort to remove Mueller in a modern day Saturday Night Massacre remains a very real possibility. Worst of all, he holds the nuclear codes, and he has yet to face any kind of serious national crisis.

For all these reasons, and others, the Pentagon has stepped in. High-ranking military officials Kelly, Mattis and McMaster have become a constant presence in American political life. They see their job to be not the mere executing of Trump’s directives, but guiding him away from moves that they fear could have disastrous effects. They are repeatedly winning arguments inside the West Wing. They are making a habit of publicly contradicting the president, and they outright refused him on the issue of banning persons of transgender from being soldiers. Five of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were recently hailed for condemning hate groups in stronger terms than Trump did.

Many establishment figures, in both political parties, have come to view them as safeguards for the nation in a time of turbulence. There is no doubt whatsoever that they are vastly preferable to letting Trump and the freak show continue to muck things up. Nevertheless, it has raised serious concerns with national security experts and even other retired generals. They argue that if Trump keeps stacking critical jobs with military men alone, it will eventually lead to an undue emphasis on military force in American foreign policy.

This is the only time in modern presidential history when we’ve had a small number of people from the uniformed world hold this much influence over the chief executive,” said former acting director of the CIA, John E. McLaughlin.

Satisfyingly, Ann Coulter was very upset when the generals carried the day against Steve Bannon, tweeting out “The military- industrial complex has won.” It’s true, however, that this is a trend that could get out of hand.

The famous words of Eisenhower come to mind. “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.” His successor, of course, was John F. Kennedy.

Author David M. Kennedy made some good points on the developing issue in a 2013 New York Times op-ed. “Together, these developments present a disturbingly novel spectacle: a maximally powerful force operating with a minimum of citizen engagement.” This trend has gained ground with an absolutely tremendous velocity in the last few weeks and months.

We believe in the decency and goodness of our military. We both recognize and are grateful that it is propping up the country during this time of disorder and unrest. But it’s important to remember that checks and balances are in place not just for this generation, but for all the generations to come.

America is great because its people have always had the freedom to explore. Exploration is how the human race found everything cool that it has. To take that away would ruin us. An excess of order and discipline drains the spirit of a people, and strips its search for meaning bare. There were no fine arts, in Sparta, and that is why the Golden Age of Greece ended with its victory over Athens. Freedom is what defines us as a people, and we must fight to preserve it against any threat- whether sought, or unsought. Vote a straight blue ticket.

The current balance in the White House is comprised of a delicate and tenuous balance between decay and discipline. Its fragile and perilous nature is a significant threat to our nation’s power structure. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that the continued stuffing of the civilian government with military leaders will set an alarming precedent for the future, if we’re not careful. As the newest generation of voters, we face the task of learning from the past and applying those lessons toward the future. We will have to keep an eye on this. #RiseAndOrganize.