Kim Jong Un has been talking crazy trash about the United States since he became the leader of North Korea 7 years ago, continuing the tradition of his father and grandfather. Until recently the United States has responded diplomatically, but that was BT (before Trump).
Donald Trump knows all about crazy trash talk and there was no way he was going to miss an opportunity to hurl some back at Kim. Kim had to respect this, and the next thing you know he warmed up to the South Koreans over the Olympics and got Trump to agree to meet with him.
Now the serious negotiation starts. Kim has already started to mess with Trump by adding new demands before a meeting can occur. There will be more back and forth, but the key to understanding any negotiation is to look at what each side really wants.
- To be recognized as a ‘player’
- To remain in power
- Economic gains
The first goal has already been accomplished – Trump agreed to meet with him. Even if the meeting never takes place, Kim wins. The second objective is not really under threat, so call that a win too. Kim has already won some on the third objective as well. He has reopened economic discussions with S. Korea and any deal is likely to result in some sanctions relief.
- favorable headlines
- favorable headlines
- favorable headlines
Trump will do almost anything to get a deal, because that would give him the press he craves. He is going to have to get through hardliner John Bolton to do that, but Bolton works for him so that should not be too hard. When and if the meeting between him and Kim ever happens, Trump will announce that he has just done “the best deal EVER”.
There is a pretty good chance that once the fine print and Kim’s post deal maneuvering (cheating) are taken into account the deal will turn out to be not so great after all. The irony for Trump is that he may get the headlines he craves when the deal is announced but for months afterwards he will likely get the opposite: stories about how he the US got snookered. If Trump is not careful, the Great Dealmaker’s N Korea folly may give the Democrats some juicy material going into the November elections.
At this point, does anyone really think that Donald Trump didn’t sleep with Stormy Daniels? Or the former Playboy model? Or the Russian prostitutes? Or the ____________? Of course not.
The real question is whether it makes any difference. The answer is an emphatic NO! And the main reason it doesn’t make any difference is that Bill and Hillary Clinton made it OK for a president to have an affair. Trump owes both of them a huge “thank you”.
When Bill Clinton was outed for fooling around with Monica Lewinsky the left was disappointed, not appalled. Sure, Bill was a horndog, but how could he be so stupid as to have an affair with an intern in his workplace instead of someone more innocuous? Why couldn’t he have done it with the reporter who said she was so happy with his politics she’d give him oral sex?
Hillary made it worse. She didn’t leave him or kick him out – instead she publicly forgave him. So why should Trump be any different, his supporters say? Sure, he shouldn’t cheat on his wife, but that’s between him and her. Even the religious right is giving Trump a bye on this because they like his politics (although so far not enough to offer him oral sex).
Bill did get impeached, but that was for lying about the affair, not having it. Trump lied too, but he won’t get impeached because Clinton demonstrated that trying to convict the President for lying about an affair doesn’t work. If Trump does get impeached – which is unlikely – it will be for laundering Russian money, not an unlaundered dress.
If you were wondering why Donald Trump went manic on twitter over the past weekend it wasn’t because he was trying to convince everyone that James Comey was a liar. It was simply to suck the oxygen out of the Comey news. As usual, the press went for it.
Comey’s interview on ABC aired Sunday night. The stories in the mainstream press the next morning were a win for Trump. Yes, they reported that Comey felt Trump was “morally unfit” to be president and a serial liar. But the stories largely only devoted 1/3 of their ink to Comey and what he had to say.
The other two thirds of the stories focused on what Trump said in his tweets. The press seems to be under some compulsion to repeat almost all of them word for word.
Trump knows that, so whenever something is in the news that he doesn’t like, he tweets to either change the subject or suck up all of the news with his viewpoint.
The unbelievable thing is that it continues to work. The press feels it needs the “can you believe he said that?” factor that Trump’s tweets provide to get readers.
Here’s a suggestion, men and women of the press. If you really need to print all of the Trump’s tweets, put them at the bottom of your story, like an appendix. For example,
“James Comey appeared on 60 Minutes last night and asserted that Donald Trump was ‘morally unfit’ to be president and ‘lies constantly’.” In a series of tweets before and after the interview Donald Trump in turn called Comey a liar and disparaged his character.”
That’s it. Don’t quote Trump’s tweets until the end of the story, and at that point, just print them out one after another. Leave some oxygen for the rest of the story.
Every couple of weeks speculation surfaces that Vladimir Putin has the goods on Donald Trump and is somehow blackmailing him. The same speculators go on to wonder what it is that Putin has.
It is not women. Trump may well have slept with women in Russia while married, but no one really cares. His supporters accept that he is a philanderer. After all, here is a guy who boasted about the size of his penis in a presidential debate. Of course he is going to use it any chance he gets.
Steve Bannon was right. What Putin has over Trump is money laundering. Specifically, Russian money. It will probably come out that either Trump’s business or his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s business depended on laundered Russia money, breaking all sorts of laws.
Unfortunately for Putin, using this blackmail evidence carries some costs. He can’t just say that Trump was money laundering. He has to do it indirectly, which will probably mean sacrificing one of his oligarch allies and charging them with Russian crimes that would then highlight the money trail and expose Trump’s laundering.
In addition Putin’s leverage may decline over time. Special counsel Robert Mueller will likely put it all together on his own and charge Trump’s and/or Kushner’s organizations with money laundering. Of course, Putin retains some leverage in that he could still be able to supply some details that make Mueller’s case airtight.
Any way you look at it, in all probability Trump’s son or his son-in-law is going to need a presidential pardon.
The discussion about guns has unfortunately been twisted into a right vs. left identity politics debate: if you are on the left you are ‘against’ guns and if you are on the right you are ‘for’ them. While this is nonsense, it is a testimony to the effectiveness of the NRA that they have been able to turn the question of gun ownership into “us vs. them” at a gut level.
The reality is that the issue is not about whether you are for or against guns. The issue should be about responsible ownership. No one is against cars, even though they kill tens of thousands of people every year. Ooops – cars don’t kill people, drivers kill people. The NRA is right – guns don’t kill people, shooters kill people.
If you want to drive a car, you need to prove that you are a proficient driver. The same should be true for guns. Local governments administer driving tests and issue driving permits (licenses). They should do the same for firearms. Oh wait, they already do, but only if you want to carry a concealed weapon. This should be expanded to owning any gun. In addition, it should be tightened up. In some jurisdictions all you have to do to get a permit is squeeze one round off and you are “qualified.”
You cannot drive if you are under age, mentally impaired or a convicted bad driver. They same is true for guns – the federal government has a program to check the background of gun purchasers. It is imperfect and should apply to private sales, but it exists.
The one thing that has no parallel in gun ownership is insurance. Drivers are required to have a minimum amount of liability insurance in case their car damages a person or property. The private sector provides this insurance.
The private sector offers insurance to gun owners, but it is about replacing their guns if they are stolen which is not the same thing. Gun owners should be required to secure their guns, and the private sector should sell insurance to cover this.
High risk drivers have high premiums. Gun owners with a high risk of being careless about securing their firearms would also have high premiums. How do you define high risk? Let the private sector work it out the same way they worked out who are high risk drivers.
The bottom line is that gun owners should have to show that they have firearms securement insurance, just like drivers have to show that they have automobile liability insurance.
If Donald Trump ever snaps, and that is a very big if, it will likely be on Twitter. Trump will send a series of rambling tweets late at night or or early morning.
- HE WILL LIBERALLY USE CAPITAL LETTERS.
- There will be exclamation points!!
- He will blast FAKE NEWS while promoting some of his own
- His innocence will be asserted
- Blame will be placed on Hillary and/or Obama
- He will claim that the law is unfair or misunderstood
- His supporters will be mobilized mentally and physically
Barely coherent, his Twitter rant will do little to help his cause and instead do it significant harm. Trump may backtrack a bit once his advisors get to him later that day. But his supporters will get the message. When it is time to take to the streets, they will be there.