Life Without A President is OK

Luckily, the authors of our Constitution didn’t mean the presidency to be the dominant branch of government. Some just wanted the title to be “Chief Magistrate” but abandoned that argument in tribute to George Washington, who actually rejected other calls for loftier titles than President.

Trump’s meltdown of a press conference today, the events of the past few days and indeed the entire opening months of his time in office has led to a moment where we can truly say that for all intents and purposes we don’t actually have a president.

Because the “Deep State” — as his alt-right pals call it — has him surrounded. And all he can do is blaspheme and bluster on his twitter account. Or stand in front of his Trump Tower elevators and brag about the Virginia winery he owns.

His military ignores his tweets on transgenders in service. His own party in Congress pays less and less attention to him. The intelligence community and many in the Justice Department despise him, and are obviously undermining his authority.

Unwittingly Trump has taken us back to what most of our founders intended, a Chief Magistrate subservient to Congress, which was created by Article ONE of the Constitution for a reason.

[Cross-posted via HuffPost]

Little Kim Blinks? Or Winks?

Wall Street Journal: “North Korea pulled back its threat to attack a U.S. territory, after days of trading increasingly bellicose rhetoric with U.S. President Donald Trump, and hours after China took its toughest steps against Pyongyang to support U.N. sanctions.”

Here’s the thing: Trump et al will tout this as success. But this looks to me like it’s more about China playing Trump for the fool, buying time for North Korea to back down for a while until we’re not paying attention and then get back to business as usual becoming a nuclear state. Agreeing not to bomb Guam is a laughable concession, not something ever intended in the first place. So it’s back to status quo, advantage North Korea (and China). Trump couldn’t handle Atlantic City. Why should we expect him to navigate the Pacific?

Trump’s Way: Insulting His Employees

President Trump celebrated Russia’s expulsion of American diplomats, saying he’s thankful they’re off the payroll: “We’re going to save a lot of money.”

He treated his own party’s Senate Majority Leader like a loser on his former TV show, “The Apprentice.”

Trump appealed to many voters because they wanted a CEO to run government like a business. Is this how successful business leaders operate? Ridiculing their own workers?

He’s turning his own government against him, and my guess is he’ll regret it. No more so than how he’s alienated the intelligence community, which is obviously behind stirring the pot against him on several fronts. They’ll never forget how in January he compared them to Nazis: “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to “leak” into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?” he tweeted.

If there wasn’t a “Deep State” before Trump got here, there is now. And he is in their crosshairs.

Let Kim Go Nuclear, Conspire With China To End His Regime

Reviewing the options I don’t see any reasonable way out other than accepting North Korea as a nuclear power, then invite them to the big-boy table and insist they play by the rules.

There are plenty of countries we tolerated going nuclear when we didn’t like it, going way back to the Soviet Union many decades ago. Deterrence, as in mutually assured destruction, has worked so far. In North Korea’s case it would be more like unilateral destruction — and it won’t be us. And that’s all we can do, have ever been able to do, ever since we “distinguished” ourselves as the only nation every to rain down a nuclear holocaust on an enemy.

Letting North Korea go nuclear isn’t ideal, but I don’t see an acceptable alternative.

On The Backend

For the long-term big picture, it seems overdue for the U.S. to seriously (and secretly) talk with China about a unified, peaceful and non-aligned Korean peninsula that sends Little Kim and South Korea’s corrupt government packing. This could be a good time to start anew on this question. China and the U.S. each would have to give up long held policies to get there, but surely this crisis demonstrates our combined self-interest in putting this ridiculous running gag of two Koreas behind us.