According to the latest intelligence reports, North Korea now has the ability to miniaturize a nuclear weapon so that he can be carried by an intercontinental ballistic missile and has a missile capable of hitting at least the West Coast of the US and perhaps as far as Chicago.
The fact that North Korea has been allowed to travel down this road toward becoming a nuclear power for the past 20 years is an incredible story of ineptitude by the US government, whose most important job is to protect Americans from foreign aggressors.
The time to stop North Korea was before it developed nuclear bombs and before it developed intercontinental ballistic missiles, but that train has left the station because the US has done virtually nothing to halt North Korea’s steady movement forward.
Now, according to the latest security intelligence, the Americans living west of Chicago could be wiped out by a mad man who has nuclear weapons.
So far, other than a few incidents at sea, North Korea has not attacked anyone. Maybe they never will. But wouldn’t the world be a safer place if at some point in the past 20 years one of our presidents had stepped up to the plate and stopped North Korea before it developed nuclear weapons.
The US and the rest of the free world allowed it to happen and now we are going to have to pay the price, which might not be high. The price may be additional wariness and a better missile defense system, but then again the price might be Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle or Chicago. A nuclear weapon the size that North Korea has wouldn’t destroy any of those cities, but it would kill a lot of people and create a radioactive disaster.
Maybe North Korea doesn’t actually have a bomb small enough to fit on a missile and maybe its missiles are not reliable enough to place a nuclear warhead on them yet. But maybe it’s time to do something, because one thing we do know is that North Korea continues to get better at the missile and bomb making business.
Wouldn’t we be far better off if 20 years ago the US had stepped up to the plate and put a halt to the North Korean nuclear program? Do we have to wait for Kim Jong Un to launch a missile at the US before we take action?
Both China and Russia have increased their troop levels on their borders with North Korea. It appears they want to be ready in case something does happen.
Is President Donald J. Trump on vacation or not? He has moved out of the White House so they can install a new heating and air conditioning system, but he is staying at his own golf club. Maybe it’s a semi-vacation.
But it is interesting that according to the mainstream media there is no doubt that he is on vacation because he is not at the White House. I guess working offsite hasn’t reached the level of the presidency yet, especially if it is a Republican president.
It does make you wonder how it would be reported if former President Barack Obama had moved out of the White House for renovations. Would that be reported purely as a vacation?
I watched with interest when White House Policy Advisor Stephen Miller held a White House press briefing on the proposed new green card regulations. The press corps didn’t like the proposed regulations one bit because they give priority to people who have job skills, can pay their own way once they arrive and speak English.
It makes perfect sense to me. Why would the United States want to bring people into the country and give them green cards so they can get on the government dole? These new immigrants haven’t put anything into the economy but they want to come to take advantage of the generous policy that the US has toward those who don’t or can’t work. If you don’t think the policy is generous then you need to do some traveling outside of northern Europe and see how jobless people in the rest of the world live. It isn’t pretty.
If the US opened its doors to everyone, the population of this country would probably double overnight, double again in the first week and then double every week after that until it was standing room only. Allowing people into the country that are likely to have high paying jobs will help the economy while allowing people in who are likely to have no jobs or low paying jobs doesn’t.
As Miller pointed out, creating more competition for low skill jobs makes it tougher for Americans or immigrants already here to get jobs, since newly arriving immigrants are often willing to work for less, which is still more than they would be paid for a similar job in their home country.
I have friends who are married and have children who have been trying to immigrate to the US for years. He is Dutch with a BA from the University of North Carolina at Asheville; she is Portuguese with a doctorate from UNCG and he has. They have well paying jobs that they can do from anywhere in the world, but the place they would most like to live is North Carolina. Former Congressman Howard Coble wrote a letter on their behalf asking that they be considered for green cards, but he told them it wouldn’t help and they would have to get in line and wait for years before their names came up.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to allow in people like them who will immediately start contributing to our society rather than allow people into the country who will immediately be a drain on our government?
The US policy should be based on what is best for the US, not what is best for people who want to come to the US.
If Attorney General Jeff Sessions actually plans to subpoena journalists about the White House leaks, he’s barking up the wrong tree. He needs to find the leakers, not the leakees, or whatever the proper term is for someone who publishes leaks. The problem is not that journalists are doing their job, it’s that people in the Trump government are working around the clock to undermine the president.
If Sessions finds the leakers then they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If a couple of leakers who have leaked classified material were caught and put on trial, it would stop a lot of the leakers in their tracks. Right now, if you are a Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton supporter working in the White House, there is no downside to leaking the most damaging information you can find. It’s been going on for over six months and not a single leaker has been identified, much less fired and prosecuted.
Sessions and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly need to work together and clean the White House of leakers, whatever that takes. It might mean moving some innocent folks along with the guilty, but if the innocent won’t turn in the guilty they are guilty also. Get rid of them.
Trump’s biggest mistake so far was not firing FBI Director James Comey on Jan. 20; his second biggest is not firing everyone else in the White House who isn’t loyal to the president of the United States – not loyal to Trump but loyal to the office and the country. He has left far too many people in place whose loyalties are to Obama and who see the current president as an interloper. Those people have to go and should have gone long ago.
What head of state is going to have a serious conversation with Trump where they openly express their views, given the fact that those words may end up on the front page of The Washington Post?
In the National Football League, if a quarterback continually loses games, he is replaced.
But in the national league of politics, the Republicans have a quarterback who can’t figure out how to get the ball in the end zone when he has first down on the one.
In fact, if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were an NFL quarterback in the final seconds of a big game down by three with a first and goal on the one foot line, the coaches, the players on the bench and all the fans would be saying a silent prayer, “Don’t fumble.” And they would all know in their hearts that he was going to fumble, and then quarterback McConnell would fumble spectacularly. McConnell is a fumbler, there is no way around it.
In fact, the very best thing that could happen to McConnell would be for him to step down, have someone else become the Senate majority leader and let them fail, proving that it isn’t McConnell. And if McConnell were certain this would happen, he would be on a plane back to Kentucky so fast nobody would know he had left until they found a post-it note on his desk that said, “I resign.”
But McConnell doesn’t know that will happen. If some Republican senator who still has blood in their veins and a spring in their step took over and actually passed bills, then it would make McConnell look like exactly what he is.
Somehow, during the break, the Senate Republicans should be figuring out how to get rid of McConnell, but it isn’t likely to happen. Too many Republican senators, like Sen. John McCain, like McConnell because they know they can push him around.
Imagine the gall of McCain getting up out of his sickbed to come to Washington to cast the final “no” vote on repealing Obamacare. Think about it. If he were going to vote no there was no reason for McCain to come to Washington. The Obamacare repeal would have still failed if he had been absent. The only way it could pass was for McCain to vote yes and then for Vice President Mike Pence to break the tie. With McCain in Arizona, Obamacare repeal still fails.
But McCain would not have been in the limelight. He would not have been able to stick it to Trump like he’s been dying to do ever since Trump made the crack about McCain being captured during the Vietnam War. It was a cheap shot by Trump but McCain could have proven he was the better man by voting with his party and repealing Obamacare, instead he got right down in the mud with Trump.
McConnell announced that the Senate would work the first two weeks of August, but evidently the senators whined and complained and McConnell gave in; they worked the first two days of August instead.
That’s not leadership, that’s wimpership. McConnell should have told his whiney senators that they could go on their month long summer vacation when they had completed the work they were supposed to have done. On that list is passing something about healthcare insurance.
The Republicans don’t seem to understand that they are in the majority and they can’t simply vote no and go home like they have done for years. They are supposed to govern, which means they have to find a way that 50 of them can vote yes.
McCain has gotten well-deserved blame for not voting for the Obamacare repeal bill. But it isn’t his fault alone. McCain was joined in his dissent by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
The majority party has ways to bring people in line – money and power are the two most frequently used. Collins and Murkowski both have legislation they would like to see passed. They both are in favor of bringing more federal funding to their states. Both states have federal facilities that put a lot of money into the local economy. If the two want to vote like Democrats then they should be treated like Democrats.
On Murkowski’s website she congratulates herself for bringing transportation money to Alaska for essential air service. According to her website it passed a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, and now that Murkowski has proven that her loyalties lie somewhere other than with her Republican colleagues, they should let her know they got the message by killing the appropriation.
She also brags about bringing home money for Alaskan fisheries, navigation and infrastructure. These also passed the Senate Appropriations Committee of which she is a member. Why is she a member of such a powerful committee?
If the Republicans want to govern, and there is absolutely no indication that they do, Murkowski should be stripped of all of her powerful committee positions and the funding that she has added for her home state should be stripped from all the appropriations bills until she starts voting like a Republican.
The Republicans can’t govern by being nice to everyone regardless of how they vote. If Murkowski wants to be a Democrat, let her change parties. It’s easy to do. All she has to do is go down the local board of elections while she is on her month-long vacation and tell them she wants to be a Democrat. Voila, she would be in a party of likeminded individuals who don’t want Obamacare repealed. And the Republican two-vote margin on paper, but not in reality, would become a one-vote margin.
Sen. Susan Collins on her website brags about bringing an $8 million grant for railroads to Maine. In the federal budget $8 million does not even rise to the level of a rounding error. The allocation should be revoked, repealed, eliminated, whatever the proper term is. It should not go to Maine. Instead Collins should have to go back to Maine and explain that, because of her actions, federal spending in her home state had been cut to the bone.
She is chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations subcommittee. Why? What other Democrats are chairmen of subcommittees. The fact that she is a nominal Republican shouldn’t matter. She votes like a Democrat, treat her like a Democrat.
The Democrats don’t have any trouble with party loyalty. When the Democrats needed votes to pass Obamacare, they got them. Some they got through pure bribery, giving billions to states with senators who didn’t want to vote for a health insurance system they thought would fail. Some they got through strong-arm tactics, but they got the votes and in the Senate at the time they needed all 60 Democratic votes. The Republicans have two votes they can give away and they still can’t get it done.
Is it possible that McConnell can’t count? He knew he had 52 Republicans and needed 50 votes. Why didn’t he get them? It’s his job.
Before becoming vice president and then president, Lyndon Johnson was Senate majority leader. He knew how to lean on people. According to those who served with him, it wasn’t pretty but Johnson got his bills through the Senate.
There must be some Republican senator who knows how to get things done, and the Republicans need to elect him Senate majority leader. All McConnell seems to know how to do is make excuses and fail.
Everyone is opining about Kelly taking over as White House chief of staff and trying to bring some order to chaos. But I’ve read several places about how Kelly hasn’t stopped Trump from tweeting.
Being a retired four star Marine general, if there is one thing that Kelly understands, it’s the chain of command. Kelly’s job is to control the White House, not the president. Trump is the one that gives Kelly orders. Kelly no doubt will offer the president advice when he is asked, but otherwise he is going to carry out the president’s orders to the best of his ability.
If Trump decides that he wants people lined up in alphabetical order by middle name outside his office in the morning, that is what Kelly will do.
If after a few weeks Trump decides that some of his chief advisors, like his daughter and son-in-law, don’t have enough access, then Kelly will come up with a plan to give them more access without disrupting the daily schedule.
To think that Kelly is going to be able to control Trump, or that he would try, is to ignore what got him where he is. The military is all about following orders. People who can’t follow orders they don’t like with enthusiasm don’t get far in the military.
The truth about McCain is that he is a registered Republican only because anybody can register in any party they want. The party doesn’t’ get to choose its members. Its members choose the party.
McCain could just as easily be a Democrat and would probably fit in best as an independent. But he could never get elected as an independent.
It is a sign of how incredibly weak the Republican Party is that he won the Republican presidential nomination. But then he foxed the Republicans who nominated him by running one of the worst campaigns in modern political history and managed to lose to a candidate who had virtually no experience doing anything of note except being a fantastic self-promoter.
Congress takes more breaks than your average kindergarten class. But this month-long break comes at a good time for Republicans, if they take advantage of it.
The Republicans are like a basketball team where the opposing team has gone on a 10-0 run against them and the only thing preventing it from becoming a complete blowout is halftime, where the team with the hot hand is given time to cool off and the team that can’t get the ball up the floor for a good shot is given a chance to regroup, get a pep talk from their coaches and come out in the second half with a new game plan and a better attitude.
So far the Republicans, who took complete control of the federal government on Jan. 20, don’t have much to brag about.
Trump did appoint a conservative Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch, which makes a huge difference, and Trump has completely changed the country’s policy on illegal immigration. It turns out we don’t need a wall nearly as much as we needed a sensible policy on people who come to this country illegally.
But as far as Congress goes, it has been a bust. The Republicans have no leadership. The worst is the Senate. The Senate continues to be the place where legislation goes to die. Republicans who voted in favor of repealing Obamacare when Obama was in office – and everyone knew the vote was meaningless – refuse to vote for it now that the vote means something.
Republicans have no party unity at all. The Republican Party is broken up into warring factions, which is fine. In fact a good argument can be made that having different factions is a good thing. But only if the factions can come together, and when a policy is devised that the majority of Republicans in Congress support, the warring factions have to put away their knives and work together to get the compromise passed into law. The Republicans are doing the opposite. Every faction demands it get everything it wants or it won’t support the legislation. It’s never going to work.
What the Senate is desperate for is strong leadership. During the break, McConnell could have major back surgery where a steel rod is implanted in his spine in place of the jelly that is there now, or McConnell could be tossed aside.
It appears that one reason McConnell is the Senate majority leader is that all the warring factions know he isn’t going to actually do anything. No one will be shunned, no policy will be singled out for passage. Instead of working together to pass more conservative legislation, the warring factions are allowed to continue at war.
It’s a sad state of affairs and Republicans, particularly those in the Senate who will be up for election next year, need to start thinking about what they are going to be telling their constituents when it comes time to campaign for reelection. Where is their list of achievements?
For the past seven years the Republicans have gone to the voters and said they would repeal Obamacare. If they don’t what are they going to say to the voters. “Give me one more six year term and we will repeal Obamacare and reform the tax code.” I don’t see how that is going to fly.
Wouldn’t it be far better for all Republicans if they could say, we repealed Obamacare, made major changes in how health insurance is provided in this country and we continue to work on providing Americans with the best health insurance in the world?
And we passed major tax reform legislation.
Then they have issues they can campaign on and win.
Some bad news for the Al Gore team. August is going to be unusually cool throughout the eastern United States and Australia decided to be honest about its temperature reporting and revised its temperatures down by as much as 10 degrees.
Gore has launched the sequel to his movie that made so many predictions that didn’t come true that only someone with an ego the size of Gore’s could even imagine a sequel. The fact that his sequel is coming out during a period of unusually cool summer weather didn’t help, and no one is going to see it.
Some clever journalist might even notice that New York City is not under water, the sea level rise has not changed perceptibly and the global temperature didn’t rise for almost 20 years. But this is a case where the facts don’t matter. Industry is evil except when it produces private jets and big limousines for Gore so that Gore can travel around the world in comfort and talk about how horrible it is for humans to burn fossil fuels.
The only folks that even approach Gore for the best snake oil salesman of the century are some of the teleevangelists who also travel around in private jets and talk about the evil of money.
The Washington Post is clearly horrified that the American people would have the audacity to elect a businessman as president. No only a businessman, but a successful one who still owns his business, although he doesn’t run it.
The focus of an article in The Washington Post was how unseemly it was to have a hotel right down the street from the Capitol that bears the same name of and is owned by the president.
What is even more horrifying to The Post is that people go there because the president owns it and the people who work for him frequent it.
What The Washington Post can’t find is anything illegal, immoral or unethical about electing a president who actually works for a living.
Certainly the American people should know that they are supposed to elect a professional politician who hasn’t worked in decades, or even better, someone like Hillary Clinton, who was not a professional politician but most of her adult life made her living by being married to one.
I don’t see Trump supporters being aghast to find that President Trump owns hotels, including one right down the street in Washington. Why shouldn’t he? This is America; it was built on the free enterprise system. The people who elected Trump president knew that he was a businessman when they voted for him and are not shocked that he owns hotels and buildings that he named for himself.
But, of course, those who hate Trump find the fact that Trump has a profitable business venture to be horrific, just like the folks at The Washington Post.
Maybe I’m missing something but when did Russia become such a threat? When Obama was president he sent then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to “reset” the relationship with Russia. Hillary Clinton of course botched it, turning the whole diplomatic effort into a huge blunder, but the idea was to have a better relationship with Russia.
Obama allowed Russia to take Crimea without any consequences other than freezing the bank accounts of some Russians who may or may not have had bank accounts the US.
When Russia attacked Ukraine, Obama sat on his hands and wouldn’t even provide the Ukrainians with weapons.
Hillary Clinton, doubling down on her relationship with Russia, agreed to a scheme in which Russia bought uranium mining rights in the US. Bill Clinton made a lot of money on the deal, but of course the two are not in any way connected – if you believe the Clintons.
Now, since Trump has been elected, for anyone associated with Trump to have talked to a Russian is something deemed worthy of having a special prosecutor investigate.
When Trump chats with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a huge state dinner at the G20 Summit, somehow that is big news. Since when has it been big news for the American president to speak with a foreign head of state at a meeting designed for heads of state to meet? Was Trump supposed to pretend that he couldn’t see Putin, like they were rivals in middle school or something?
But the mainstream media report on all of this as if it had some tremendous significance.
Is anyone even investigating the contacts that the Hillary Clinton campaign had with foreign nationals? Did anyone in the Hillary Clinton campaign speak with a foreign ambassador during the campaign? Were any of them even in the same room with a foreign ambassador?
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was called to task for being at a meeting of an estimated 500 people that the Russian ambassador also attended because Sessions did not list that as a meeting with the Russian ambassador.
It all seems to have reached a level of ridiculousness, but now Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has empaneled a grand jury. A grand jury only hears one side of the argument, which means they are heavily biased in favor of the prosecution.
Legal experts are in agreement that Mueller will get whatever he wants out of the grand jury, and what prosecutors want are indictments.
This is a self-inflicted wound. The Republicans have done this to themselves. More specifically, Trump has done this to himself by not being savvy to the ways of Washington.
Trump should not have senior people in the Justice Department who worked for Obama. But he did and he still does.
He should not have people working at high levels in national security who worked for Obama but he does, and his national security advisor is getting rid of Trump loyalists, not Obama loyalists, which means things are going to get worse.
There is a huge learning curve to being an elected official. People who are elected for the first time soon learn that they can’t make statements like they have made all their lives, unless they want to see them on the front page of the paper. But the learning curve for stepping into the highest elected position in the land is straight up. Trump has made big mistakes, but it appears he is learning and moving up the curve.
One of the things he should be learning is that he can’t make jokes, like calling the White House a dump. Whatever he says is going to be taken out of context and then put on the front pages of newspapers all over the country.