Russia Is America’s Most Dangerous Enemy

Vladimir Putin has done many things in recent years to incur the wrath of the American politicians. Russia invaded and annexed Crimea. Russia attempted to influence the recent U.S. presidential election. Russia is supporting the murderous regime of Bashar al Assad of Syria in alliance with Iran, to name a few.

U.S. presidents have always attempted to have cordial relations with the Soviet Union and Russia with little success. During World War II it was often difficult to ascertain Stalin’s endgame. He fought the Nazis with the allies, and but then forcefully engulfed Eastern Europe. Russia and the U.S. then fought a long and costly Cold War that ultimately resulted in the demise of the Soviet Union.

Putin is an old school communist who dreams of reestablishing Russian dominance in the world. He is deceitful, secretive and unwilling to live in peaceful coexistence with the U.S. He is jealous of American exceptionalism and totally corrupt domestically. Why then is Trump so anxious to deal with this man? Is Trump too naïve to understand the realities of reasoning with a person hell-bent on world domination?

Given that Russia has as many and maybe more nukes than the U.S. along with a standing army in the millions, it makes sense to at least try to have friendly relations.

However Putin has not grown to understand that imperialism is an antiquated policy in the 21st Century. In this day and age militarily strong countries should not invade neighbors. Imperialism among other issues was what drew America into WWII and could have a similar impact today.

Also disturbing is that Russia always takes the opposite side of the U.S. in virtually every diplomatic showdown. It’s logical to expect that two of the world’s leaders would find areas of mutual agreement. Even the fight against ISIS and terrorism has not been enough to bring the antagonists closer as Russia thinks Assad is good for the Middle East.

In a bipartisan way (believe it or not,) Congress has decided to intervene in foreign policy as it pertains to Russia in defiance of the president. This is a good thing because Putin would never accept an olive branch from America. No matter what accommodations are made by the U.S., Russia will continue to act like our mortal enemy.

Of all the inane objectives of Donald Trump, his vision of peace with Russia is the most farfetched. It’s not possible with Putin as Russia’s leader. Trump’s appeasement of Putin is almost laughable. It is probably one of the greatest miss directions of the administration. The U.S. should not be appeasing Russia, it should be punishing the country every time it misbehaves. Economic sanctions are the way to force Russia to act more civilly.

Frankly neither the U.S. nor Russia is going to escalate direct military action. The threat level is rising and currently is most obvious in Syria where the U.S. and Russia have military assets. The U.S. and Russia will continue to flex their muscles, and it will be disconcerting. But large-scale military action is not a viable option for either country even in the face of more aggression by Russia similar to Crimea.

The better strategy is to effectively bankrupt Russia once again as Reagan did 40 years ago. Economically Russia is being pinched by low oil prices and huge outlays for military purposes. Domestic conditions are deteriorating, and the U.S. should do everything possible to expedite the process.

Russian leadership has been overly bellicose for over a century. It’s in their DNA to act this way. The U.S., with effective sanctions, could gently nudge Russia in a more productive direction.

Congress is spot on about increasing sanctions even in direct confrontation with the president. It’s good to see that Republicans and Democrats can work together in stressful times.

 

The Federal Government Is Unproductive And Ineffective

Americans are becoming more disgusted with their leaders and lawmakers every day. Citizens loyal to both parties are sick and tired of the non-stop partisan rhetoric and the scandal-a-day mindset of the media. The way politicians and average Americans speak about the president is becoming more disrespectful with each passing day, even though a large amount of criticism is well deserved.

Very few times in our history has the government been more unproductive legislatively. Our elected officials hate their opposition and are taking action against each other that ensures no chance of compromise in the halls of Congress.

Our nation desperately needs reform and/or strengthening in so many areas. These crises are being waylaid and deferred by politicians incapable of passing a bill. Among the most important are health care, infrastructure, national security, immigration, military readiness and taxes. Also many in the country have serious problems with privacy issues, the rights of minority groups, climate change and the stability of our economy.

Normally concerns are identified by politicians and debated. Then solutions are voted on and become law. Political parties fiercely express their vision along the way. In more productive times compromise and bipartisanship win the day and the nation benefits.

Today there is almost no comity or desire to enact bipartisan and needed legislation. Republicans have a majority and control the presidency. And yet, even with complete domination of the government, the G.O.P. has been unable to muster a majority vote on very important legislative matters since the 2016 Elections.

Imagine that. The opposition is neutered, and the majority’s inability to control its caucus results in legislative paralysis. Contributing to this condition are Republicans who have deserted their president and their party for esoteric and philosophical reasons.

Democrats are no better and have become the no-idea party. Their mission is to obstruct and destroy the presidency. Using filibusters and parliamentary game play, Democrats have halted the legislative wheels of progress for political gain.

The president has resorted to executive mandates undoing the damage done by his predecessor with his mandates. What’s a president to do when the opposition obstructs and his own party is not supportive?

Frankly mandates used in place of traditional lawmaking is borderline unconstitutional. Congress has the responsibility to enact laws, not the president, or judicial activists for that matter. Is this tactic damaging our government? Damn right it is.

The new president has convinced the world he is unmoved by history, tradition and old-fashioned diplomacy. He thinks that tweeting is the most effective way to govern. He is not interested in trying to work with the opposition. In fact many doubt the president or any of his advisors are even capable of eliciting support from Capitol Hill.

Trump’s grating personality and has proven to be ineffective domestically and internationally. He doesn’t understand that Putin, Kim Jung-un, Assad and other problematic world leaders know political enemies at home are handcuffing the president’s administration. They want to take advantage of the fact that Trump is a weak.

What is the endgame? Is America going to limp into the 2018 and 2020 elections and make massive changes? Will our emasculated Congress do anything positive? Is it too late for Trump to change his ways?

The Federal Government Has Become Dysfunctional And Ineffective

Something is terribly wrong with America and our system of government. The nation is being torn apart by the radical left and legislative extremists on both sides of the aisle.

Many issues affecting the U.S. have become sacrosanct, and political correctness has replaced common sense and fairness. Every group other than white males has a chip on their shoulder. Their advocates lurk in the weeds waiting for anyone to make a false move or an unacceptable comment.

Congress best exemplifies the schism separating Americans. This should not come as a surprise as our lawmakers are supposed to represent the majority of voters in their voting districts. And so most big states are populated with large minority groups that are predominately liberal minded while small states and rural areas are more conservative.

There is nothing wrong with political diversity if both sides have the freedom to express their preferences without animosity from the opposition. For centuries our country prospered because perspectives were welcomed at every level of government. Our leaders then debated and decided what proposals would become law.

Unfortunately the system has broken down completely. Lawmakers at the federal level are unable to do their jobs because compromise is no longer an option. Some people say that a do-nothing Congress is a good thing because no legislation is better than bad legislation. But there are other aspects of government that need immediate attention.

Infrastructure must be modernized. The military must remain strong to combat threats that seem to grow every day from terrorists and megalomaniacal leaders. Affordable and effective health care must be available enabling our citizens to live long and productive lives. All these things and so much more are funded by annual budgets, which can no longer be approved by Congress because of partisan politics.

Unlike any other time in recent history the president of the U.S. is hamstrung by the opposition, and more recently by members of his own party. It is nearly impossible to enact new laws because the opposition’s mission is to bring down a duly elected president. It makes no difference if proposals benefit the country. The response of the opposition is always no.

The opposition party has completely abandoned good government in which both sides present their vision of America. No new ideas come from the other side. This group exclusively conspires to obstruct and embarrass the president.

For seven long years the former president did many things to infuriate his opponents. He ignored them even after they assumed the power to restrict his actions. (Note: Obama unconstitutionally circumvented Congress by issuing mandates.) A wiser man or woman would have enabled our lawmakers to do their job. But no, the president treated his foils with scorn because their vision of America was different than his. This resulted in one of the least productive presidential administrations in recent history.

The most important co-conspirator with the political opposition in America is the national press. Over the years the press’ image of itself has grown. It believes that current events and governmental decisions are not understandable to the average American. They think the latter is stupid and uninformed. Newspapers have transformed themselves from a source of facts to ideological purveyors of the news in the form of personal perspectives by smug, pseudo-intellectual journalists. Entire newspapers have become a gigantic opinion pieces.

The tradition in most of the media is to be more liberal. This suits the high and mighty self-image of journalists. Fact is, most of these people have overstepped their bounds and hide behind the skirt of the Constitution every time they are challenged or criticized.

The media is not infallible (consider the 2016 Election), and they are not our mentors. Everyone would be better serve if journalists kept their opinions to themselves and allowed Americans to make up their own minds. The onslaught perpetrated by the press since the recent election is nothing less than shameful.

What can be done to change the status quo? Frankly it is difficult to see any light at the end of this tunnel. The world is so demanding and dangerous that a president does not have the time to stroke the massive egos of members of Congress. He must deal with domestic and international events that endanger our very existence every day. And he must do it while liberals are calling for his impeachment and making it impossible to implement his agenda.

The only thing we can hope for is the electoral defeat of the most partisan leaders and lawmakers in Washington. The current residents of the Senate and House, the ones with the lowest approval ratings in history, must be replaced very soon for the benefit our republic.

 

How Is Trump Performing In Recent Weeks?

Donald Trump has had more than his share of crises since becoming president. Terrorism, health care, Russia, Syria and North Korea are only part of the story. As important are the actions, or inaction, by Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

Let’s review Trump’s performance and status of the aforementioned challenges.

Terrorism. The threat of radical Islamic terror attacks is not abating. Although ISIS is being defeated in the Middle East, it has become a worldwide, decentralized terrorist organization. Young people are being recruited to conduct jihad against civilized and non-Sunni nations across the globe.

Related to this disturbing trend are the untiring efforts by Trump to prohibit most immigration to the U.S. from unstable countries in the Middle East in an effort to avert another terrorist attack. It appears that the Supreme Court will give the administration a green light to proceed with this sensible strategy.

Health care. The health of America is a huge responsibility. Most important are health care expenses, which are a large part of governmental and personal expenditures. Frankly Obamacare will likely create serious financial stress on our economy and the federal budget if the entitlement is not repealed and/or reformed in the near future.

Everybody agrees that Obamacare needs to be overhauled, at a minimum. Yet political bickering and treachery on both sides of the aisle are making progress nearly impossible.

Democrats want to obstruct every initiative by the Trump administration. Very few times in the history of our country has the opposition party taken such a stance against a sitting president. In the worst of times Congress has done its work and legislation beneficial to the country moved forward. Not for Schumer and Pelosi, They want to obstruct every proposal even before the details are available.

But more disconcerting is the position of ten or so Republicans in the Senate that has stymied Trump’s efforts to do anything about Obamacare. When has a majority in Congress fought among its own to waylay reform of a law as large as health care? As this column has suggested previously, the Republican outliers should lose their seats in the forthcoming elections for their disloyalty.

This is not to say that any of the proposed plans for replacing Obamacare have been perfect. But they are far better than the status quo. Republicans must unite to get health care fixed and leave the do-nothing Democratic Party in the cold.

Russia. Just because Russia always seems to be on the other side of every conflict opposing the U.S., it doesn’t mean that America should eschew all contact with Russia. Certainly Russian interference in our election is a monstrous slap in the face, and sanctions are in order. But Russia has a comparatively large number of nukes and a huge standing army. Russia is a force that we must engage with every time it crosses a line. Seeking peaceful resolution of our differences with diplomacy is critical.

Trump has attempted to walk a tightrope with Putin. It hasn’t been easy and the two leaders have found little agreement. America must be totally supportive of its president as he navigates through this treacherous diplomatic minefield.

Most important is that the nonsensical accusations of collusion between Trump and Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton must end. Clinton deserved to lose because she was a horrible candidate. There was no collaboration and most of the accusations about Trump are lies and exaggerations by Democrats.

The latest issue is a perfect example. Donald Trump Jr. spoke with a Russian attorney in mid 2016 that supposedly had incriminating evidence about Clinton. Let’s not be naïve, every political campaign seeks out dirty laundry about the opponent, so Trump Jr. took a meeting with this person. Trump Jr.’s desire to find a political advantage for his father from this source was clumsy and unwise. Incidentally the meeting Trump Jr. had with the Russian attorney did not provide any useful information. And Trump Sr. did not participate in any conversations, nor did he know his son met with this Russian until a short time ago.

Syria. Syria represents a real problem for the Trump administration. A megalomaniac and mass murderer leads the country. Yet he has actively fought against ISIS, which is everyone’s enemy throughout the world. The situation is complicated because the U.S. wants Bashar al Assad ousted, while Russia and Iran are supporting him. Trump has shown strength and courage by launching cruise missiles at Syria in response to bombing of innocents by Assad. This situation will become worse before it improves.

North Korea. Trump inherited this situation from several U.S. presidents that preceded him. Kim Jung-un’s grandfather initiated the problems when he allied with China after the Korean War. Since then China has used North Korea, and supported it, as a buffer. Unification of the Korean peninsula, which would likely be controlled by South Korea, would put a capitalistic, democratic and Western leaning country on China’s border. China is resisting this aggressively.

The strategic importance of this to China is understandable, but at what price? That price to this point has been the evolution of North Korea as a nuclear power governed by a series of crazy, unstable leaders. Somehow a dirt-poor country has managed to build missiles that may be able to transport nuclear bombs to South Korea, Japan, Alaska, Hawaii and the continental U.S.

Trump is seemingly becoming more aggressive towards North Korea and China. His discussions with Chinese leadership appeared to have been productive initially, but the Chinese have disappointed the Trump administration in recent days. The possibility of a military confrontation with North Korea is growing every day as the existential threat towards the U.S. increases. The ultimate outcome of this confrontation is up in the air. Things are very difficult now as North Korea continues to test and perfect its nuclear capabilities.

The world is becoming more dangerous every day. America must stand behind Trump. We must ignore his annoying and immature foibles and support his strategic initiatives relating to terror, health care, Russia, Syria and North Korea. Tying his hands will only enable our enemies to gain more strength.

 

 

Here’s A Plan To Reform Obamacare

The current plan being bandied about in Congress is to vote to repeal Obamacare now. It would become effective in one year. During the ensuing 12 months Congress will attempt to craft a replacement for the existing law. The big question is what will happen if a new law cannot be enacted during said time period?

The proposal is meant to encourage bipartisanship between battling elements of the Republican Party and between Republicans and Democrats. But what will be different during the next 12 months if no interested party is in the mood to compromise? Well, for one thing, the entire health care system might come crumbling down. But this sort of existential threat did little to encourage lawmakers to cooperate in in the past.

Something must change to make this new plan work. It has everything to do with Republican outliers who committed political treason by not supporting their president. It has everything to do with obstructionism by Democrats only interested in bringing down a despised sitting president. The same group is unwilling to offer any suggestions to deal with the health care dilemma. In fact their default solution is to leave Obamacare in place even though most experts are saying the law is going to destroy our health care system and maybe our economy.

At the current low point of congressional and presidential approval ratings it might be a good time for Americans to demand bipartisanship. The leaders of both parties must first consent that unless Congress finds compromise the country is going to be in deep trouble. Moreover this plan can only work if Congress overtly concurs to keep the positive aspects of Obamacare and excise the provisions that are making the entitlement a disaster.

For instance retention of the provision that enables Americans to buy insurance even if they have preexisting conditions, and the provision that allows children up to 26 years of age to stay on their parent’s policies should be included in the new deal. These items are generally acceptable to everyone. Also the sale of insurance across state lines should be permitted to ensure that Americans have access to competitive and diverse sources of coverage.

On the other hand Democrats must allow Republicans to strike down the mandate provision of the law. It is one of the most hated aspects of Obamacare, especially among young, healthy Americans. No one should be forced to buy insurance that is excessively expensive because it contains unwanted protection. And usurping resources from the healthy to subsidize the unhealthy in this manner is bad policy, if not unconstitutional.

The solution to this important issue is to give Americans the opportunity to tailor coverage that meets individual needs, rather than forcing more extensive and costly coverage on them. For instance a healthy 30 year old might only want catastrophic coverage for serious injuries and maladies. This person would buy hospital coverage and would pay for everyday problems out of pocket. The result would be a lower premium and a happy insuree.

Another issue is that Americans are not being told the whole truth about Obamacare. First, and related to the comments about the mandate, is the fact that a new program, as outlined by Republican senators, would effectively cause millions to loose their insurance. This is not quite correct.

Some people who now have insurance were forced to buy it or face a penalty. If this mandate were to be stricken from the law some Americans would voluntarily opt out of the system, a right they should have. This phenomenon could be mitigated, as delineated earlier by providing tailored and cheaper coverage. In any case using the loss of coverage as a scare tactic will not get us to a viable new law.

Also comments by liberals that Republicans want to take health coverage away from the poor people are total nonsense and unproductive. Republicans have not indicated this is an objective. Rather they want a program that is fair to the poor and to taxpayers. Just because Medicaid was jacked up during the Obamacare years does not mean the level of coverage is not excessive. This aspect of the law will require a great deal of effort, compromise and sensitivity. But Medicaid aids about 70 million Americans. It is a monstrous cost to taxpayers that must be dealt with carefully.

Here is a suggestion that will force our lawmakers to compromise and do their jobs. The political penalties to our lawmakers must be significant if they are unable to resolve the Obamacare dilemma.

Consider the following. The filibuster should be eliminated to expedite the enactment of a law to replace Obamacare. If may be a fact that the law will not fixable if a supermajority is required for passage of the entire plan or its parts. The ability of the minority to waylay negotiations must be eliminated.

In the same vein Republicans should be required to deliver a law approved by a majority in both houses or face a severe penalty (keep in mind the Republicans currently have a majority in both houses of Congress). In this regard all members of Congress would submit their resignations if they are unable to enact a new law. They then would compete in a special election enabling the American people to replace those in power that have been an obstacle to new health care legislation.

The aforementioned is radical, but the current health care situation is becoming a serious existential threat. It must be corrected in the near future with or without the current cast of lawmakers in Washington.

The Next President May Be A True Socialist

Congress has proven to America that it is dysfunctional. It’s difficult to believe that duly elected lawmakers are unable to enact new laws of any real consequence. Even more incredible is that they are not concerned about the damage being caused by obstructionism relating to the biggest issues facing the country.

Both parties are participating in the emasculation of our legislative process. Democrats are unwilling to support any Trump initiatives even if they would benefit the country. Nor have they offered new ideas to improve disastrous entitlements such as Obamacare.

Several Republican senators, after lambasting Obamacare for almost eight years, refused to pass legislation that could have “improved” our health care problems. Ironically this could have been done without one Democratic vote. Many Americans hope that every one of the Republican dissenters is challenged in their next election. They are not loyal members of the party and totally unreliable.

So what are the real motivations behind all the sanctimonious and unproductive jaw flapping taking place on Capitol Hill? Do Republicans and Democrats really despise each other so much?

The most important considerations of a politician are retaining his position and building a power base, which are on the line every time a vote is cast or speech is made. These hacks don’t really care about America despite their rhetoric to the contrary.

Things are likely going to change in Washington even if the current crop of political misfits finds some iota of nonpartisanship in the months ahead. Many in Congress will thankfully be tossed out in 2018 and 2020. More importantly is that another political outlier will likely be given a chance to govern the country, as Donald Trump was. The electorate will resist candidates from the old regimes.

This candidate will be far different than typical Washington hacks currently skulking the Capitol. I predict the next person Americans elect as president will be a socialist. It’s the only untested political perspective that country has yet to adopt. This person will be more liberal than Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Obama governed as a populist and a socialist regarding many issues. But he was not really extreme even though he despised wealthy Americans. Millennials who already are the largest social group in the U.S will support more change in government.

The candidate will promise to bring down our capitalist system and install new federal government controlled entitlement programs relating to health care, education, wages and employment. To accomplish this the wealthy will be taxed heavily, and the benefits of being affluent will be stripped away. We will all be economically equal. Income inequality will no longer exist, nor will American exceptionalism.

Wake up America. The people you have sent to Washington are flunkies that are destroying our ways of life. Replace them with others that want to make America better, before it is too late.

The Liberal Press Is Unduly Influencing Americans

Newspaper and TV outlets are breaking journalistic traditions and supporting the most liberal political perspectives in America. They are becoming a truly formidable force given the influence they have on everyday Americans.

Journalism has historically been presented in two distinct manners, reporting and editorial commentary. The lines between these techniques have blurred in recent years.

Reporters are supposed to offer readers facts. They may be helpful or harmful to either side of the political spectrum, but they should be unbiased.

One of the major roles of the press is to act as watchdog for the average citizen. With this in mind our forefathers added protection of the press to the Constitution. This ensures that the press will never be censored, and it will always have the ability to keep Americans informed about current events and political issues.

It’s folly to think that any writer can completely cast off his or her biases when reporting the news. Informed readers must appreciate that some tilting of the news is inevitable. It should be considered when reading or listening to a news article. But if the slant becomes to extreme the piece should not be part of the reporting of a newspaper.

This may seem like a relatively unimportant issue, but so many readers form opinions about current events based upon what they read and hear in the media. This includes commentary disguised as reporting.

The editorial section is the place where opinions of editors and journalists should be domiciled. This serves as a warning to readers that facts are being presented in such a way as to move public opinion.

In the editorial section the senior editors of the newspaper offer readers biased analysis of critical issues such as health care reform. In this commentary a newspaper may vociferously support one side of the debate. The experienced reader understands that writers are interpreting news facts as they offer their perspectives on controversial issues. While reading these pieces the reader can make mental adjustments to reflect his or her inherent biases.

Commentary includes opinions offered by columnists that are extraordinarily biased. In fact newspapers encourage readers to respond positively and negatively to these articles. Supposedly the authors are “experts” and/or experienced about the subjects they write about. Note: This essay qualifies as an op-ed because the author is offering his personal assessments of how the press is behaving, and whether it is adhering to generally accepted journalistic principles.

How is the press doing? If you ask President Trump he would say the press is overly critical of his administration. He would say many news outlets are liberal-based and are exaggerating and misrepresenting the facts. He would say the liberal press is responsible for “fake news” in an attempt to discredit and destroy his administration. Keep in mind the president is not really directing his venom towards editorials and commentary. Rather he is saying that reporting of facts has morphed into reporting of opinion.

The liberal press would counter Trump’s criticism by indicating that he is irresponsible, making a mockery of the Constitution, trying to take money from the needy and reduce taxes for the affluent, starting wars with Iran and North Korea, destroying our health care system, etc.

All this may be true and would be entirely appropriate commentary if delineated in the opinion section of the newspaper. But if a reporter wrote that Trump’s health care plan is tantamount to murder, as the needy will not receive essential medical services, it’s inappropriate.

Another issue that weighs heavily on Americans is that the press thinks it has a divine right to interpret news for the uninformed public. The primary function of the press as mentioned earlier is to report the facts. Nobody including our forefathers ordained the press as the final word about controversy.

Exacerbating the situation are efforts by reporters trying to scoop stories. Often times they cut corners to publish a story before ensuring that all their reporting is substantiated. This has resulted in a string of firings at major news organizations.

Further, news stories are fraught with numerous sources that are anonymous or unnamed. Who are these sources, many readers ask? How can readers be sure of the truth when so many leakers and “deep throats” are dominating reporting?

The liberal press decided to destroy Trump the minute he made them look like fools after the 2016 Election. Never in modern times has the press so obviously and viciously attacked a duly elected president even before he began his term in office.

Readers beware. The press does not have noble intentions. Reporters are overstepping their bounds and intentionally trying to mislead the public. In the long run this strategy will backfire.

Is North Korea An Existential Threat To America?

The threats and propaganda emanating from North Korea are quite disconcerting. The specter of having nuclear weapons aimed at America may soon be a reality. What’s the endgame for North Korea and how will the global community of nations react to the growing nuclear ambitions of a two-bit despot?

Kim Jong-un has managed to intimidate China, South Korea, Japan and the U.S. with his tough talk and belligerent attitude. It’s astounding that a dirt-poor nation with 26 million people and gross national product of $25 billion (Vermont’s GNP is $30 billion) can generate so much angst for two of the world’s super powers. It goes to prove that a nuclear capability can be a game changer for any country.

Let’s examine the options available to China and the U.S. since they are the only nations with enough clout, militarily and economically, to subdue North Korea.

Most people believe the Chinese are in the best position to rein in North Korea. The latter is totally dependent on China to survive. North Korea has very few other trading partners. If the Chinese were to pressure Kim it’s possible that he would relent. Exactly what that would mean is up in the air.

Would North Korea end its nuclear development program? It’s highly unlikely because a nuclear capability is the only diplomatic stick at Kim’s disposal. Without it all other countries would ignore him. It should be noted that North Korea has a huge standing army that is a threat to South Korea.

China could cease trading with North Korea and bring down its economy. This action would profoundly increase immigration of North Koreans into China, something Beijing wishes to avoid. However it could also destabilize the government and result in regime change.

The principal reason why China is reticent about taking drastic action against North Korea is the likelihood that North and South Korea would attempt to unify if Kim’s regime failed. The resultant nation would be dominated by South Korea, capitalistic and allied with the U.S. China will do almost anything to avoid having an ally of the U.S. on its border.

The U.S. is North Korea’s other main foil. Currently the U.S. is applying various types of pressure to force North Korea to end its nuclear efforts. These include United Nations sanctions, which have been supported by China and most of the world, economic sanctions prohibiting other countries from trading with North Korea and relocation of military assets to the region as if a military strike is inevitable.

The urgency for the U.S. to act militarily is increasing at a feverish clip as North Korea continues to test its nuclear arsenal. The main problem is that no one knows the true capability of North Korea’s missiles at this moment. Can they transport a nuclear package? What is their range and can they reach South Korea, Japan Hawaii, Alaska or the continental U.S.? Are they accurate?

If the U.S. were sure that North Korea was unable to deliver a nuclear warhead at this time it would be advisable to forge ahead and attack the country now. But if North Korea could retaliate with nuclear-armed missiles the ensuing damage would be horrific.

So the conversations and speculation continues in China and the U.S. reminiscent of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Does North Korea have deliverable weapon of mass destruction or not? In the meantime North Korea is testing its weaponry regularly evoking fear among its neighbors. Moreover Kim has further infuriated the U.S. by torturing and ultimately killing a college student for a petty misstep.

The stakes are growing every day. The Trump administration will have to make some tough decisions in the near future regarding North Korea. In any case it’s doubtful that a diplomatic or military solution is possible without significant Chinese participation and concurrence.

 

The Trump Administration In Freefall

I just returned from a trip abroad to find that not much has changed in the world of U.S. politics. Washington is still abuzz with a never ending leaks by government officials seeking to discredit the president, inane tweets by our leader, indecision relating to foreign relations and anticipation of the special counsel’s investigation of Russian influence over our election.

However certain issues are beginning to crystalize. Obamacare continues to be more of a problem as insurance premiums are increasing while coverage is deteriorating. Our lawmakers are incapable of piecing together a compromise to fix the entitlement. Repealing the law is too aggressive for many Americans, and one special interest group or more will likely block amendment of it.

Every American wants tax relief. It could be in the form of lower rates or tax credits for those that pay little or no taxes. But how will these be funded is up in the air. The obvious choices are to decrease certain tax benefits currently available to the affluent, such as mortgage interest deductions, tax deductions for charitable contributions and deductions for depreciation of equipment. These are all nonstarters because of intense lobbying.

Internationally conflict is intensifying all over the globe. The Sunni/Shiite feud is revving up with agitation by President Trump. He’s decided to side with the Sunnis against Iran, the leader of the Shiite world. The problem with this strategy is that the Saudis and other Sunni states fund terrorist groups. It’s becoming more difficult to justify the hypocrisy of our federal government as it lambastes certain countries for supporting terror while looking the other way when economic powers like Saudi Arabia and China are violating the human rights of their constituencies.

Trump is entertaining and visiting with foreign leaders regularly. But as soon as the meetings are concluded criticisms of the president abound. Great Britain, Australia and Canada (historically strong allies of the U.S.) have even denigrated our president.

Possibly one of the most dangerous situations is the discord within the White House. The president’s advisors are unable to control what their leader says. His off the cuff remarks in speeches and on Twitter are contradicted or walked back by presidential aides daily. What does the world think when our government appears so disorganized? And what are they to think when Trump’s own party doesn’t support him with any enthusiasm.

Regarding terror, it’s clear to many Americans that our immigration policies must change. No longer can we freely accept visitors, students and immigrants without doing more diligence. Europe, the most receptive place for immigrants, is becoming a shooting gallery because of previous decisions to allow easy entry.

There are no precise statistics, but it sure seems like the gunmen, bombers and reckless drivers attempting to run down innocents are usually people influenced by radical religious groups in the Middle East. How long will law enforcement continue to ignore the facts? Some ethnic groups are bound to feel persecuted if America takes action, but it’s just too bad.

The ultimate nightmare is a heartbeat away. Americans hope and pray that 9/11 will never occur again. The impetuous to stop a new attack should be stronger than ever. Our first responders should be allowed to work without idiotic encumbrances mandated by the politically correct. Americans should opt to protect their families, friends and their way of life at all costs. If someone or some group is offended, we can apologize later after the terrorists are in jail or killed.

And finally there are our leaders. Some Americans think that liberals are more concerned with destroying the president than anything else including the welfare of our nation. And it’s obvious that short-sighted Republican traitors are prepared to let Democrats have their way. Trump is in a worse predicament than Julius Caesar. His enemies and a growing number of political allies are plotting to stab him in the back (metaphorically speaking).

In times of distress Americans have always rallied and joined together to fight those that threaten us. Many Americans now believe that the insatiable drive for political influence has superseded our instincts to fight as one against oppression.

 

Public Theater’s Presentation Suggests That Trump May Experience The Same Fate as Caesar

There was treachery amiss in Central Park during a presentation of “Julius Caesar” produced by The Public Theater. The play is a modern day interpretation of the magnificent work by William Shakespeare. But something was rotten in Denmark to quote “Hamlet,” another play by the Bard.

Julius Caesar was a “magnetic, populist, irreverent” leader of the Roman Empire. After his victories in the Gallic Wars , Caesar increased his control over Rome thereby creating opposition in the Senate, most notably from Cassius, Brutus and Casca.

Cassius convinced the others that Caesar longed to be emperor of Rome, and he would usurp the power of the democratic Senate. They agreed to assassinate Caesar after Brutus concluded, “his love of Caesar was less than his love for Rome.” The dastardly deed occurred on March 15, 44 B.C.- on the Ides of March. The balance of the story pits the assassins against Mark Antony (interestingly played by a woman).

The character that stole the show was Julius himself for all the wrong reasons. The producers opted to present the characters in 21st Century attire, suits and ties for the men and dresses for the women. The most significant aspect of this sidebar to the actual play is that Julius looks like, sounds like and acts much like Donald Trump.

In a very clever way Caesar delivers Shakespeare’s actual words in a way that the impersonation of the president is unmistakable. Even more important was that Caesar’s actions, which were treacherous in the eyes of Brutus and Cassius, were correlated to the policies and agenda of the Trump administration. The very strong implication is that like Caesar, Trump is a traitor to democracy and deserving of a similar fate as Caesar- assassination.

Many people in America dislike and even hate President Trump. Yet has a strong group of supporters and was fairly elected in a democratic election. In our civilized society changes in government are supposed to happen in the voting booth.

In Julius Caesar it is reasonable for the audience to be sympathetic with Brutus’ perspective but his actions were not good for Rome moving forward, and he committed a capital crime. For what it’s worth Dante relegates Brutus and Cassius to his ninth ring of hell in his Inferno. He called them the vilest sinners in history along with Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus Christ.

As I was preparing this essay I came upon an article indicating that Delta Air Lines and the Bank of America “were [revoking] sponsorship of New York’s famed Public Theater because . . . [it] is staged with an assassinated title character who resembles Donald Trump.” The article also referred to the despicable posting by Kathy Griffin of herself holding a fake severed head of Trump. Griffin was fired from CNN and elsewhere for the misstep.

Encouraging assassination of public leaders, even for artistic purposes, is inexcusable and immoral. Julius Caesar, the play, was excellent, but the imagery of our president was disturbing.