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Israel and the Iran Deal Pullout- 45th Upends Middle Eastern Balance.

Trump ruins all he touches.

Donald Trump has dealt a severe blow to the global order with his decision to pull the United States out of the Iranian nuclear agreement, causing a major rift with European allies and raising tensions in the Middle East.

Concerns are growing daily that the recent decisions made by Donald Trump will do much to destabilize a region that has long been unstable anyway.

Israel and Iran, both of whom seemed emboldened in the face of the new situation, fired missiles at each other Wednesday across the Syrian border. They followed up with bristling threats in a steep escalation of tensions.

In days, we’re set to make the Israeli embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, something other US presidents have held off on, due to their reasonable belief that it would not help us keep the peace down there.

The merits and flaws of the embassy move itself are not our points of focus here. It’s a separate issue.

We’d like to give our best wishes to the people of Israel and Iran, and all other people, for that matter. If everybody there is cool with the embassy being in Jerusalem, then we’re happy for them. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Our issue is the haphazard and ill-thought out manner in which the current executive administration made this decision. There is no sign at all that Trump fully understands just how serious his decisions have become. He’s not a reality TV star anymore.

We have also seen this recently in North Korea, as Trump boasts of his ability to “bring the North Koreans to the table”. The North Koreans bring themselves to the table, every time they need a few bucks. But Trump doesn’t get it. He seems to really think that Kim is giving up his nukes.

Kim is never giving up his nukes, of course, and neither will anybody else who manages to get them, now that they’ve seen how Trump reneged on the nuclear arrangement we had with Iran. What a mess. It’s been quite a while since Iranians were burning American flags in the streets, and screaming “Death to America!” But they sure are doing it now.

Former Mideast negotiator Dennis Ross, speaking on NPR, said Trump’s decision to abrogate the terms of the nuclear deal is likely spurring Iran to show the US that it will pay a price, which most likely led to the missile launches Wednesday.

Dr. Alina Polyakova of the Atlantic Council gave a talk on the world order last year, in which she illustrated its fracture points, meaning geographical locations that constitute stressors upon it. Ukraine was one, Syria was another. We can now add Iran and Israel to that list.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe could no longer depend on the United States, comments that were echoed by French President Emmanuel Macron. Both leaders had made eleventh-hour trips to Washington to try and talk Trump out of the leaving the Iran pact.

“It’s another blow to the trans-Atlantic alliance,” said Sen. Bob Menendez(D-N.J.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “The Europeans don’t know what to make anymore about how strong and how deep our alliance is with them. And we need them. We critically need them to achieve many of our goals, both as it relates to Iran and other things.”

Everyone in the world seems to get this, except for our 45th president.

Perhaps the situation was summed up worst by the National Security Council’s senior director for strategic assessment, Victoria Coates.

“I think it shows you that the President is absolutely doing the right thing here,” Coates said to reporters during a press conference held Friday. “It is not upsetting any regional balance; in fact, his leadership is what’s bringing the region together.”

Good thing Iran doesn’t have any nukes. In a few years, though, hold on to your hats.

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North Korean Nukes- 45th Boasts Of Imaginary Deal.

#NeverTrump

As North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the United States President Donald Trump prepare to meet, the world is feeling the tension. It is not clear that either of the two fully understands what is at stake.

Trump went around last month tweeting that North Korea had agreed to denuclearization. “Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed…Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!”

“We should all root for a diplomatic solution to the decades’ long North Korean conflict,” Chuck Schumer said April 18 on the Senate floor. “That’s why the United States should pursue a diplomatic opening, including through direct diplomacy with Pyongyang. But thus far we’ve not seen any indication that North Korea is willing to take concrete measures towards denuclearization.”

Nor will we, in the opinion of this Millennial Democrats contributor.

The only place that smooth meeting happened was in Trump’s mind. North Korea agreed to no such thing. They talked about it. That’s all. A conversation is a long way from a signed agreement.

For decades, the international community has tried to stop North Korea’s nuclear weapon and missile development. It has failed. The thought of Trump pulling it off is absurd.

Kim is never giving up his nukes. He will nuke himself before he gives up his nukes. He nuked his own backyard and ruined the mountain above the facility where he makes his nukes, rather than stop testing.

Nuclear weapons are the one sure insurance plan that a small power can have against a great one. The world was watching when George W. Bush kicked down the door of Saddam Hussein’s palace.

Kim knows we’ll do the same to him anytime we get a chance. He’ll never let that happen.

In related news, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew home from North Korea yesterday with three U.S. citizens who had been detained there. We welcome them home and are grateful for their safety; Kim snatched them under dubious circumstances and gave them back like bargaining chips.

To the unpleasant occupant of the Oval Office, who has been going around boasting that he’s cut the big deal of a lifetime, that must pass for a denuclearization agreement.

“People never thought you were going to have a situation where we’re having serious and positive communications with North Korea. And we are,” Donald Trump told reporters yesterday morning.

On the contrary, this has been tried again and again. We have engaged in on-and-off nuclear negotiations with North Korea since the end of the Cold War. They failed to prevent Pyongyang from developing nuclear weapons. We have not established diplomatic relations, and a peace treaty ending the Korean War has not been signed.

We did have a serious, positive denuclearization deal with Iran, though. Trump scuttled it earlier this month. So much for bargaining skill.

Kim gave those people back because it put on a good show. His goal here is to get us to relieve the sanctions that are crippling his economy again for a while. His father did the same to Bill Clinton and to George W. Bush after him. It is not the brilliance of Trump diplomacy that has suddenly brought them to the table.

This reticent and peculiar country has promised disarmament more than once, only to backtrack on its commitments. It has duped multiple U.S. presidential administrations, each of which has passed the North Korea problem onto the next.

That pattern is likely being repeated.

Going forward, the usual task of raising awareness will fall on us, since conservative talk radio is already gloating and spinning this up as a Trump win. Regardless of his boasting, Trump did not accomplish anything here. He’s spinning his wheels like every single other American president has done.

The difference is that during the tenure of past presidents, North Korea did not have the hydrogen bomb. Those presidents were not maniacs, hanging around on Twitter deriding the size of the North Korean leader’s buttons and calling him Little Rocket Man.

It’s a complex situation, and a lot of different things might happen, but at least one thing is for sure. If anything good does happen here, it won’t be the fault of Donald Trump.

Praying for a Peaceful Winter Olympics- Put Away The Nukes!

Put down the nukes!

The Winter Olympics will be held in South Korea this year, a fact that has caused anxiety to a great deal of the world.  The Korean peninsula has been a troubled place for a long time. It is the site of both the first and last active conflict of the Cold War.

North Korea has urged the U.S. to end international calls for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to instead support ongoing peace talks geared toward ending the long-running hostilities. To that end, they’ve been going out of their way to be reasonable.

At one point it was feared that North Korea would use the opportunity to try for a hack or an attack or a disruption of some other kind, but it doesn’t really look like that would be necessary.

Kim has his nukes. It’s a fait accompli. He’s got no more real reason to worry, as long as he doesn’t nuke anyone else first. Even the sloppy drunk Steve Bannon had to concede this. There’s no military solution here.

To forget Kim’s nukes, and try peace, like one headline I saw today said, is the only choice we have. It’s that or be ashes. We can’t nuke another country, just because they made more nukes.
If we were going to go that route, we’d have had to nuke the Soviets back in the 50’s.
These days, forget it. You’re nuking half the world, and hoping not one of their nukes will hit you back. Good luck wiping China, Russia, and India off the map. 
Nuke. What a stupid sounding word. Can’t we get past this? Do we really want to live in a world, where our leaders go around like baboons, growling and threatening one another while comparing the size of their…buttons? Haven’t we learned anything at all?
It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that living constantly under the shadow of nuclear annihilation is very boring, but we recognize that is not the opinion of Donald Trump. It’s another one of those 1980’s Glory Days kinds of things, that he and Putin both so love.
I mean, we miss the Go-Go’s, too. Just because we were little kids, doesn’t mean we didn’t love the 80’s. Sadly, however, all good things must come to an end. Like She-Ra. Or the Satanic Panic.
Most of us do not miss the Cold War, or any other war, because we know that war is bad. For human beings, it really is that simple. We don’t want to be smouldering ashes, as Mr. Kim promised we would be, and we think it sensible to imagine that the North Koreans felt much the same when Trump made them a similar promise.
We don’t need to have this fight anymore. It’s pointless and it’s stupid. Everyone knows that. So why does it keep going on? Who benefits? If America were to reopen hostilities with North Korea, who would stand to gain?
When North Korea did its first missile test, on May 19th of this year, the move drew worldwide condemnation. In an all-but-unanimous rejection of any more nukes, the world made known its mind.
Still, all-but-unanimous is still not the same as unanimous. There were a few lone voices of dissent from the wilderness. One of them should not surprise us. That name is Vladimir Putin.
Putin immediately spoke up for Pyongyang, warning the international community against thoughts of military action, and posing as the leader of the world.
One might expect Moscow to show some concern about North Korea’s missile tests. Russia, after all, is one of only three countries to border with North Korea by land. It also wants to keep the nuclear club small. And the missile even landed in Russia’s territorial waters. But Putin did not seem to mind. The casual observer might be tempted to conclude that he is up to something.
In what ways and to what degree does Russia have leverage over North Korea? What outcome would best advance the interests of the Kremlin?

The key to the problem most likely begins and ends with oil. Russia has long been suspected of supplying North Korea with oil, even though international sanctions limit such activity.

However, recent reports from a collective of journalists called Asia Press International claim that the price of oil there has fallen by 40 percent.

We do not know the exact amount of oil Russia has exported to North Korea, but it’s easy to see why Russia would want to help Pyongyang. Keeping the North Koreans dependant could help keep them compliant, which creates leverage that Russia could use in future negotiations with China or the United States.

In addition, Putin’s personal fortune and control of Russia are both completely dependant on Russian oil reserves. His ability to manipulate those markets is the backbone of his empire.

At any rate, it will all have to wait until after the Winter Olympics- an event at which millennials are the bulk of the competitors. The South announced on Thursday its president would meet the North’s Olympics delegation on Saturday. The games will soon be on, and we’d like to send our best wishes and hopes to South Korea along with the American competitors.

Onward to victory!

 

Two Minutes To Midnight- A Looming Shutdown.

Two Minutes To Midnight

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic Senate Minority leader, wrapped up a closed-door meeting with Trump at the White House, as these words were being written.

Trump, the self-billed master negotiator, would not make a deal to avert a shutdown. Or to spare the misery of uncertainty to 200,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals(DACA) program.

Schumer told reporters outside the Capitol: “We had a long and detailed meeting. We discussed all of the major outstanding issues. We made some progress, but we still have a good number of disagreements. The discussions will continue.”

Every time this comes up, it’s enough to blow my mind. I just can’t believe it. Who cares where they were born. These are Americans. Millennials, mostly. People we went to school with. To have them all ripped out of our lives, and sent tumbling backward into a place they’ve never even been to, over a wall that would be good for nothing but a big mess and an eyesore?
Leaving all the rest aside, fixed fortifications never work. The Great Wall of China is the one human creation we can see from the moon. Neat. But did it save the Chinese when the Mongols came to conquer them? No! They just hopped right over it!
This as compared to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. Nobody crosses it. Ever. The zone is so free from human habitation that flora and fauna live there that can be found nowhere else on Earth. The will to keep people out is there and enforced with absolute rigor.
There’s also no wall.
Democrats and any other citizens of conscience have no choice here but to push for a solution for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and insist that it be addressed before the next deadline Friday evening. That is now about four hours away and counting- and it’s not clear whether the two parties will reach an agreement by then.
A senior White House official gave a rather miserable summary of the day’s meeting, confirming that a lengthy list of obstacles still remains. But he was eager to tell everyone it was “cordial”, i.e. Trump was wearing pants, and he did not hop up on his desk and defile the bipartisan proposal in the manner of a baboon.
That’s the progress Chuck Schumer was referring to.

So what does a government shutdown mean, and how would it affect our lives until it ended?

Every federally funded agency, program, and service will be classified “essential” or “non-essential”.

If you’re a government employee, depending on which category your agency falls into, you may not be going to work tomorrow. Worse yet, you may be going to work tomorrow without compensation.

The military is essential, of course. But if the government shuts down tomorrow, servicemen won’t receive money for their work until it reopens.

Agencies and departments who are classified nonessential, including agencies that pay out small business loans and process passport requests, will cease to work until Congress is able to agree on a bill for the federal budget. Their employees will be on furlough.

The last time the government went through a shutdown was in 2013. Afterwards, everyone who stayed home was paid retroactively after an agreement was reached in Washington, but this administration couldn’t be more different than the one running the show in 2013. Trump is mean and vindictive. He will seek to punish and destroy. He will do everything he can to deny those people payment, so he can turn around

In the Art of the Deal, Trump writes, “Go for the jugular so they won’t wan’t to mess with you.”

And that’s all this is really about. Going for the jugular. Viciousness and cruelty as a legitimate means of deterrence. It’s the political equivalent of a countersuit. The ghost of Roy Cohn must be gnashing its teeth in glee, down there in hell.

The one positive is that Robert Mueller’s investigation will continue unhampered. In every other way, this is very bad news.

My mind just keeps coming back to my friends.

One guy I know is really good at detailing cars. The very best.

Another man I know has had a kind word and a smile for me, every day I’ve known him. Some days I was really down, and it helped, just to have a human interaction, to be reminded that I wasn’t alone.

I would miss that man. Very much.

The situation is terrible, and the maniac in charge of it will not bend just out of spite. We can’t either. It’s impossible. Such a thing can never be.

It’s either stand up for our Dreamers or accept the end of every American value that has meaning.

As we proceed forward into these last few hours, it’s important to take stock of why this is happening- and to bear witness. Donald Trump, the Nero of our time, the tyrant and petty dictator who is gambling with the futures of 200,00 human beings, will be vilified by this for all eternity.

By glorious misdeed, he has made himself renowned. After this step, he will not turn back.

His frenzy, feeding on its own violence, with outrage ever fresh will mark his days.

But in the end, the people, sick and tired, will add his name to the list of his other victims. And in the days to come, his name will transform into a slight to cast at other wicked presidents.

The very name of Trump will be an insult.

Bannon Calls Trump Treasonous- President Sick With Rage.

Trump is unhappy.
Donald Trump is rumored to be in a New Year’s fury. Anger at his legal team for offering shifting timelines about when the Russia investigation would end seems to have gotten the best of him. And his divorce with Steve Bannon is said to have placed him near a state of apoplexy.

Many predicted that we were in for an interesting afternoon. We were not to be disappointed.

According to two sources familiar with the President’s mindset, the anger has continued.

It is said to have begun worsening around afternoon Wednesday. At the time, Trump was helping to draft his blistering break-up letter to former chief strategist Steve Bannon.

His recent interviews with author Michael Wolff delivered a brutal flaying of Trump, and his family.

Bannon’s characterization of Ivanka Trump as dumb as a brick is said to have enraged the president in particular. But what can you do? Divorce is always hard on the kids.

All of this has followed the criticism and ridicule his taunting tweet Tuesday evening directed at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has brought him. My button’s bigger than your button. Has it really come to this?

The rest of the White House was said to have been caught badly off guard by the whole situation, as was everyone else. It renewed worry worldwide about whether the President fully comprehends the risks he’s taking in adversarially provoking an insane dictator with childish taunts.

After Trump’s North Korea broadside, aides inside the White House reached out to some of Trump’s allies seen as having influence over the President to talk to him about his tweets and the risks they carry. Millennial Democrats would like to wish these aides the best of luck.

In the meantime, we found out today that in April, Kim Jong Un ordered the launch of a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile that failed shortly after launch and ended up hitting the city of Tokchon, roughly two hours from the capital.

Since it’s North Korea, it’s hard to get much information, but it is probable that casualties were taken. Another key integer not reported was that the missile fell on an urban area.

They’ve been firing off missiles over Japan.

All it’s going to take is one stupid miscalculation and millions could die overnight, wiped out forever in one single blundering instant. But Trump does not seem to understand that and continues to risk nuclear war by pointlessly antagonizing Kim.

His recent out-of-the-blue decision to recognize Jerusalem is another potentially explosive example of this. Trump appeared to slur his words during the speech.

It is for this reason that yet another precedent has been broken by this president.

For the first time in history, members of the Congress have had to be briefed on the mental health of their president, and asked to keep it in mind when crafting laws.

In America, it’s an old lawmaker’s trick, proposing some ridiculously extreme or idealistic notion that could never possibly get passed, by way of making some point or another. But this trick is no longer safe to use. If some random crazy bill were ever to make it to Trump’s desk, it might actually get passed. This president is different.

Politico reported Wednesday that more than a dozen lawmakers last month met with a Yale University psychiatry professor for two days to discuss President Trump’s fitness for office, raising questions once again about the 25th Amendment, by which an unfit President can be voted out of the job by a majority of Cabinet members and the Vice President.

Dr. Bandy X. Lee reportedly met with the group of lawmakers on Dec. 5 and Dec. 6 and warned them the president is “going to unravel.”

Trump will sign anything. He will do anything. He is desperate to avoid boredom. Whims and caprice are all that govern his decision-making process. He has proven time and again that he will lash out at random when he’s angry. And right now he is very angry indeed.

He’s realizing now that his lawyers have been sugarcoating some very unpleasant truths, one of which was summed up by Steve Bannon quite succinctly.

Bannon referred to Donald Trump, Jr’s June 2016 meeting with a group of Russians as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic”. No doubt.

Breitbart News was a cornerstone of Trump’s alt-right base. and propaganda machine. When Trump fired him, it sent all of them a message loud and clear. I don’t need you anymore.

Trump also sent Bannon a cease-and-desist order today from making speeches about his time in the Trump machine, which is laughable.

Trump’s presidency is the biggest failure in modern American politics. It’s a lumbering, out of control golem that has risen to consume its makers. One way or the other, this thing has got to end. When even the likes of Steve Bannon come to realize it, it’s clear most of America is now on the same page. People are waking up.

The reality of the situation dictates that anyone with a sound and stable mind use it, to concentrate on finding a way of bringing this nightmare to an end.

But, yeah. Hillary’s emails.

The 25th Amendment- A Nuclear Moron and a Presidential Sanity Clause.

The 25th Amendment. Honestly, how many of us even knew what it was, twelve months ago? One person who didn’t is writing this article. But since then, a lot of things have changed.

What it is, is a type of political ripcord regarding the position of chief executive. A ripcord is what you pull to release a parachute, your last hope to not die if you’re in a plane that’s going to crash. Hopefully by now this metaphor requires no explanation. At any rate, the amendment allows for the removal of a President in the case of his being unfit to serve, for any reason.

Its purpose is to provide a failsafe, a legal mechanism outlining a process for the chief executive to be legally  stripped of power and removed from office. This would require a vote by 13 Cabinet members and the Vice-President. Basically, it means there is hope beyond Russiagate, for getting out of all of this alive and before 2020.

People have been talking about this for a while now, but lately it’s been catching a lot of attention. Bob Corker, Tennessee’s junior senator, recently said in a New York Times interview that the White House is like an adult daycare center and that Trump could lead the country into World War III.

That statement resonated in hearts worldwide. Bipartisan support has exploded for Corker, who joins a growing number of Congressional Republicans in deciding not to seek reelection. Since announcing his retirement, Corker has spoken his mind thoroughly about the large orange infant stinking up the White House. It’s too bad more of the Republicans won’t join him. Long-time columnist Frank Rich recently referred to it as “the disgrace of Republican silence“. Well said.

On Monday, CNN host Michael Smerconish said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) is “planting seeds” to call into question President Trump’s fitness for office.

“I’m thinking of the 25th Amendment, Section Four, which speaks to a president who’s unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” Smerconish said on CNN.

Several White House officials on Wednesday denied an NBC News report, that Trump said we needed 10 times the nuclear weapons we currently possess. This increase in the nuclear arsenal was proposed during the heated meeting that ultimately led to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson referring to the President as a “moron.”

Of course they denied it. What else are they going to do? Just come stark, and flat out say it’s true? Yes, the Secretary of State has indeed told the truth, and called our President the moron a moron?

Speaking in the Oval Office on Wednesday, Trump called the nuclear moron report “fake news.”

“I never discussed it,” Trump said ahead of talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “Right now we have so many nuclear weapons. I want them in perfect condition, perfect shape.”

“When they said I want 10 times what we have right now, it’s totally unnecessary, believe me,” Trump continued. “It’s got to be in tip-top shape.”

Trump denied a rift has developed between himself and Tillerson.

“We actually have a very good relationship,” he said, going on to concede that his views on North Korea do differ from those of his top diplomat.

“I think I have a little bit different attitude on North Korea than other people might have. And I listen to everybody,” he said. “But ultimately my attitude is the one that matters, isn’t it? That’s the way it works.”

Well, maybe not.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has been telling people he thinks Trump has about a 30% chance of completing his four-year term.

Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” host Joe Scarborough urged Republican senators need to “take immediate action” to limit President Donald Trump’s “ability to launch nuclear weapons. Criticism of Trump from Morning Joe is far from unexpected, of course. What was unexpected, is that the article was done by Breitbart News.

The situation at the White House has only gotten worse since Bannon crunched his number. Trump’s moods have grown even darker. There is verification that the President wanted to up the US nuclear arsenal tenfold. It was this suggestion that prompted Tillerson to call the President a moron.

Earlier this month Trump publicly said Tillerson was wasting his time, trying to open talks with North Korea. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that no other sane option exists. Any military solution would cause the death of millions and involve nuclear weapons for a certainty. This is a no-brainer.

A sane and competent president would ask his secretary of state to try and start some talks with Kim. Nixon was not a big fan of North Vietnam; he dropped more bombs on it in his first week of reelection than all the bombs in World War Two combined. But he still sent Henry Kissinger to bargain with Le Duc Tho, Hanoi’s equivalent.

There is also the Iran issue. Trump is on the verge of scrapping the nuclear agreement we have with them, for reasons that remain unclear. Acting on such a concept would be inane beyond verbal description.

The downside would be that if we did back out of the deal, Iran would not give us our money back, and would start back up with their nuclear weapons program. The upside, at least in the mind of Trump, is that it would help him negate the legacy of Barack Obama. Robert Reich said in a letter to Rex Tillerson that Trump’s narcissism is endangering the world.

The last hope of the Republicans for getting something done with Donald Trump’s presidency is John Kelly, the retired Marine general serving as Trump’s second chief of staff. Kelly has managed to tighten up the flow of information and visitors to the president, bringing order to an unruly White House.

On days that Trump feels like taking orders from his betters, It all works like something resembling a viable White House. Increasingly often, however, he does not. Reports of screaming matches between the two have become increasingly common.

We’ve been here before, plenty of times. Trump melts down, others put him back together, and the lurching golem that is this abortive presidency slouches on for a few more miles. But we’re reaching the point of getting low on people to attend the repairs.

Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi were having good luck for a while, talking sense into him on the DACA deal, but Sean Hannity overruled them. Hannity pointed out that Trump’s base wants him tough on immigration. Trump went with Hannity.

So, on Sunday, Trump presented the Democrats with a list of demands that effectively scuttled the new bargain. It would have assured our Dreamers a path to legal citizenship, but that was not as important as appeasing his alt-right base. So here we are again. Mired in the mud and spinning our wheels.

The 45th president of America’s foolishness and incompetence will be legend throughout all of time. It will almost certainly lead to a career-ending blunder even if Robert Mueller does not have enough to bring charges.

If the Fates should prove cruel, and deny us justice with regard to an impeachment,we do have the 25th Amendment as a last hope to fall back on. If such a vote among the Cabinet ever does come to pass, Rex Tillerson, for one, has got to be inclined to cast his vote in the direction that gets rid of Trump. It’s the only rational choice.

Let Freedom Ring, and Let Kaepernick Play Football.

Why is Colin Kaepernick unemployed? It has nothing to do with football. Dan Orlovsky is not a better player. Thad Lewis is also not. The answer was already obvious, by the time the Dolphins called Jay Cutler out of retirement. The NFL was literally resolved on signing any quarterback available, other than Kaepernick, this year.

This has created a real eyesore of a situation for the NFL, and the USA. One would think the bigots might have been a little smarter. All they would have had to do, to make this go away, was ignore it and let it blow over. At this point, Kaepernick has said he’ll stand for the national anthem, if he can go back to playing football. His point has long been made. It’s over. So why is he still unemployed?

One unnamed GM who spoke to Sporting News recently had the following to say.

“The kid is talented enough to play in this league. He is a Super Bowl quarterback for a reason. But it’s the handling of the situation,” the GM said, in part. “It makes you pause … It is an issue of mentality, personality. I think it boils down to maturity.”

He doubted Kaepernick’s leadership, claimed he could “kill a locker room,” described his anti-racism activism as “all that garbage” and as “questionable judgment.”

That’s the modern way of saying that he’s uppity.

It has now been confirmed that NFL ratings are down across the board. The racist billionaires that own it all, have now clearly revealed themselves. They have put the spotlight right on themselves. Before, everyone suspected, that purely athletic considerations were not the only reasons for a player to be hired or not hired. Now, we all know for a complete and total certainty, and that is why no one is watching these games.

Instinctively, every one of us knows what that means. It means the sanctity of the game, the purity of the sport, has been politicized and therefore degraded. If it wasn’t for all these worries, common sense tells us, of course the guys could play better. The human race is capable of playing better football than the NFL is allowing.

These owners are ruining the sport, and nobody can hold them accountable due to private property laws. But a sport beloved by the whole world, cannot truly be private property. That is causing an obvious paradox, and a worsening one. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that all sporting teams should be owned by the country itself. These are national pastimes. Let them be regulated by the same laws as the nation.

In other news, North Korean hackers managed to steal joint South Korean- United States war plans today, but we’re not going to have the time. We found out Rep. Devin Nunes, the California Republican who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, issued subpoenas to a U.S. firm involved in the Donald Trump dossier without consulting the Democrats on the committee, in a cheap attempt to hamstring the investigation’s outcome, but that too will have to wait. Mike Pence walked out of the Colts game over the weekend, at the personal request of Donald Trump. That’s more like it.

The big news today, is that the NFL is getting ready to pass rules forcing players to stand for the national anthem, instead of the United States getting ready to pass laws to prevent black people from getting murdered. There are people all over America who take greater offense at black people using their voices, than at seeing them silenced forever. That is nothing short of a moral abomination, and one that is tearing this country apart. So today, we’re going to hit this one as hard as we can.

In our lives, when we come up against a wrong too big to be ignored, it forces us to make a choice. We either take a side or turn a blind eye. We are given a voice for a reason. The time has come to use it, for every American. We are in the midst of facing a major existential crisis, one to set the direction for the entire nation’s paradigm.

Simply stated, the question is: Are we going to keep working toward being that great, unselfish, compassionate country that Robert F. Kennedy always said we were? Because there’s a lot of people out there saying no.

The President of the United States of America publicly cursed and reviled Colin Kaepernick, a private citizen, for exercising a perfectly legal priority. He even went so far as to in effect bemoan that a hate crime hadn’t befallen him, at the hands of an owner who would then “be the most popular person in this country”.

A more revolting set of priorities is hard to imagine.

Five years ago, in a gated neighborhood in Sanford, Florida, a young man named Trayvon Martin was followed down the street and shot dead by a paranoid resident. His death, and the subsequent acquittal of his killer, was a major factor in the rise the Black Lives Matter movement. Critics of BLM are always asking, “Don’t all lives matter?” Of course all lives matter. That’s precisely the point. The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that in today’s America, black lives simply don’t.

The legacy of Trayvon Martin was to get America to start taking a hard look at the racial bias in America, both by and large and in our justice system. That work is far from finished, and has been badly sidetracked by the catastrophic result of the 2016 presidential election.

When Obama was President, and Kaepernick first kicked his protest off, names like Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant made international news and caused worldwide sorrow. But there have been numerous unarmed black males killed in 2017 so far, and little has been said of it.

One of these was Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old high school freshman who was shot in April by a police officer in a Dallas suburb. An officer in Balch Springs opened fire with an AR-15 rifle on Edwards and his friends as they drove away from a party, according to news reports. How do you bring yourself to unload an automatic rifle, at the back of a young guy like that? One of your own countrymen?

It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that every human being shares a bond, but being countrymen with someone is an especially sacred thing.

It means, when the mess comes down, these are the guys you will find yourself standing next to. If there’s a war, we’ll be in uniform together, or our children will be. If there’s a natural disaster, like Hurricane Harvey or the wildfires slashing through California right now, those are the guys you can count on to be there, regardless of skin color.

That’s what society is for. It’s a fundamentally necessary bond. To discard and overlook that essential connection, based on the pigmentation of a person’s skin is not only vicious; it’s stupid, too. We need each other.

There are only two outcomes, for the ending of this national anthem protest. Either a repressive law will force players to their feet, against their will, to let freedom ring with voices filled with nothing but quiet desperation, or Colin Kaepernick will be allowed to go suit up. One of these outcomes involves taking every single value this country holds dear, and smashing it. The other involves letting a pretty good quarterback throw a football.

Toxic Trump and Bubonic Brexit- Symptoms of a Nazi Plague.

2016 may well go down in history, as the year that everything changed. Polls became worthless. Rationalism became a diminishing return. Electoral power was wrested from the many. Geopolitical explosions have continually shaken the earth.

From the election of the foulmouthed Duterte in the Philippines, to the first North Korean nuclear testing, the global civilization of mankind was staggered last year with a terrible succession of tremors. But of them all, none has been more indicative of this bubonic plague of a trend known as Brexit.

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) is a political party in Great Britain. Its principal aim is to see the UK leave the European Union(EU), which it has been a member of since the end of World War Two. In June of 2016, it succeeded.

The idea of some kind of a Brexit has been gathering steam since 1988, when  Margaret Thatcher decried a European superstate on the horizon. But it wasn’t until 2004 that the UKIP really started gathering momentum.

Within the next few years, UKIP, the British version of the Trump voting alt-right was increasingly threatening the right-flank of the Conservative Party.

With this in mind, following his party’s victory at the 2015 UK general election, then- Prime Minister David Cameron decided it was time to settle the UKIP once and for all. So he called their bluff by announcing the referendum.

This reckless and ridiculous choice was based on Cameron’s hope more people than not were just grumbling about aspects of membership in the EU, and would vote to stay if it came right down to it. They didn’t, and their choice has thrown the entire global order into disarray.

Many of the people who voted for the Brexit have bemoaned their decision ever since it went through, which is not something many thought would happen. The polls all said otherwise, as did every other conventional metric.

We learned this year to treat metrics and poll results with a grain of salt. Polls (and the betting markets) all showed a narrow victory for “Remain.” Instead, Britons voted 52 to 48 percent for “Leave.”

In many ways, Brexit was Great Britain’s version of the Donald Trump campaign. It started as a protest vote, a way of expressing displeasure with a trend of developing liberalism that was moving too quickly to suit those unprepared for it. One is reminded of the people here in America last November who used their vote- something thousands died to give them- to write in Mickey Mouse, or Bernie Sanders.

BBC reporter Fiona Trott wrote about a scene that summed up the general mood, in Hartlepool, a town where seven out of 10 people backed Brexit. “It’s been a vote against the establishment,” one man said. Unemployment here is 9.4%. People feel hard done by. So why not vote for change?”

Economics writer Chris Dillow has argued that, among other factors, feelings of bitterness and defeat contributed strongly toward convincing people to make a decision likely to worsen their lot even more. The sociological concept of Prospect Theory may help us to shed some light. This concept points out that people who feel they’ve lost a bet, want to gamble even more to break even.

Working class British citizens who felt they had lost out from immigration, voted to Leave. They felt they had little to lose from doing so. On the contrary, most who voted to stay had educations and money, and had been able to survive under the current system. The vote highlighted Britain’s fundamental divisions.

This closely resembled the section of the American populace who voted for Trump. Nixon once called them the Silent Majority. In Britain, the term “The Left Behind” was used to describe these older, socially conservative white voters.

Many of these people have seen their ranks thin and their neighborhoods become economically marginal with the passing years. Their tendency has been to blame new arrivals on the job market, rather than the large-scale social issues that are stopping society from making room for everyone. In the case of both Trump and Brexit voters, this manifests in anti-immigrant sentiment.

The World Economic Forum, in 2017, discussed in its Global Risks Report that “the Brexit and Trump victories featured appeals to sovereignty rooted in national identity and pride” and that it would “be challenging to find political narratives and policies that can repair decades-long cultural fault-lines”.

Nigel Farage, the leader of the UKIP and the most iconic spokesman for Brexit, was able to isolate and target those faultlines. And he had a lot of help. Farage has close ties to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The head of the CIA described that outlet as a “hostile intelligence service” that cooperated with Russian agents.

Links between Farage, Assange and the Russian government have made Farage a “person of interest” in the US counter-intelligence investigation that is looking into possible collusion between the Kremlin and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Guardian reported in January.

As with the Trump campaign, disinformation- and often Russian disinformation- proved an effective tool against a stubborn and truth-resistant public. Russia used its vast intelligence apparatus during the run up to the U.K.’s June referendum on EU membership in favor of the winning “leave” vote.

Russia is also believed to have leveraged its “troll army”– the very same producers of fake social media content who made our lives a hell all through the primary and general elections here in America last year- to focus on messaging around the referendum campaign.

Both RT and Sputnik, which are Kremlin-funded English-language news outlets, produced often misleading news coverage sending a message matching the campaign’s, urging voters to leave the EU. Michael Dougan, Professor of European Law at the University of Liverpool,  described the Leave campaign as resorting to “dishonesty on an industrial scale.”

The Leave campaign has been identified as one of the first large-scale examples of what is now being referred to as “post-truth politics“. Debate is now to be framed largely by appeals to emotion, rather than the details of policy or objective factual analysis. As one Trump voter said last year on a thread discovered by Millennial Democrats, “Liberals just use facts, so that they don’t have to think for themselves.”

That is one criticism we Democrats are glad to accept, at least in part. We do use facts; actually, this is what allows us to think for ourselves effectively. That is why there is not a Democratic analogue of Rush Limbaugh.

That is also why we don’t ever fall for nonsense like the toxicity of Trump or the breaking bad of Brexit. We have known all along that America never stopped being great for one second. We understand the importance of maintaining strong social cohesion with our allies in Europe and elsewhere. We don’t need a party line developed by propaganda specialists. We have critical thinking skills.

We are going to need them now more than ever. Because Brexit isn’t just Great Britain’s problem, any more than Trump is a threat only to us. What is happening here transcends national bounds. America and Brexit and Trump are entwined. The Trump administration’s links to Russia and Britain are entwined. In point of fact, Brexit is a key component of a consistent and growing sequence of aggressive Russian attempts to rebuild at the expense of NATO and the United States.

Russian efforts to hack the French elections between President Emmanuel Macron and Marine  Le Pen last year run parallel to their efforts in our election. They have also been actively attempting to undermine and hamstring Angela Merkel in Germany’s election this month.

There is a worldwide, far-right conspiracy in this world right now being headed by Vladimir Putin.  His strategy is to divide us internally, dissolve the bonds that link our alliances, and separate us from our holdings one piece at a time. His motivation is to make Russia the foremost world power. Above all, Putin wants to be respected, but he will settle for merely being feared.

Our defense is simple. We stick together, we involve ourselves in each other’s battles. No one goes into a fight alone. We have all the troops, and we’ve got justice on our side. Going forward, it will be necessary for us to realize that we’re all fighting the same fight against the Nazis. Regardless of where you happen to be, know that you have backup. #RiseAndOrganize!

 

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.

 

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