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.

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.