Is Ivanka Trump Complicit? You Betcha!

“Dear Ivanka, your father gave you opportunities because your adult brothers are idiots.”

I found myself in a discussion on my Facebook page regarding the role Ivanka Trump plays in her father’s administration. My initial comment was the following”

“Dear Ivanka, your father gave you opportunities because your adult brothers are idiots.”

My comment was in response to Ivanka Trump’s presence at the W20 Women’s Conference where she advocated policies favorable to women that are diametrically opposed to the actual policies of her father. Ivanka spoke of equal pay for women and paid family leave. Ivanka’s own clothing line used suppliers without paid maternity leave. Her father’s cabinet has less diversity including women than any in recent history. She expounded on how well she was treated as his daughter. One of Trump’s ex-wives worked in a Trump company for a salary of $1. Not exactly equal pay.

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Photo: twitter.com

While most people that responded generally agreed, one felt that Ivanka had no control over who her father was and shouldn’t be held  responsible. She pointed out Ivanka’s experiences when her father and mother divorced and how the media wrongly mistreated her and I agree it was no way for then teenaged Ivanka to be treated. She thinks Ivanka is being a good daughter and any advocacy is a natural thing. I say she’s a complicit enabler that makes it possible for others to ignore Trump’s misogyny.

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Photo: bossip.com

Let’s take a good look and see whether Ivanka is simply being a good daughter, or helps make Trump’s misogynist policies palatable. Let’s take a look.

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Photo: yahoo.com

 

  1. One of the questions Ivanka received in Berlin was who did she represent in her role in the Administration. “Your father as President of the United States, the American people, or your business?” Ivanka initially replied, “certainly not the latter!” But is that really true? On the same day she and her father dined with Chinese President Hi Jinping and after Donald gave a positive report of the meeting. The Chinese government granted Ivanka’s companies 7 new trademarks with 32 others pending. Already a multi-millionaire in her own right. Ivanka is racking up due to the role she plays and the nepotism that got her there. Despite the fact that she recused herself from her companies while she serves in the White House. She’s still the 100% owner and is profiting all the same while we ignore her conflicts of interest.
  2. Ivanka speaks favorably of programs that empower women. This includes the STEM Program (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) for young women and girls. What she doesn’t mention is that her father’s budget drastically cuts funding to those programs making it harder for women instead of better. She is the pleasant distraction while he executes his ruthless plan.
  3. Ivanka had a ballyhooed meeting with Planned Parenthood leaders shortly after the election. She was represented as being the olive branch. Trump just signed an Executive Order to cut Federal funding from Planned Parenthood. Her father was the saw.
  4. Ivanka was asked about the more than a dozen charges of sexual misconduct and assault levied against her father. She explained that it was “the media” and “politics” and assured women that her experience as a daughter was nothing like what those women were saying. She defined her father as being, “a champion for all Americans” including women. Tell that to the Muslim-Americans who watched their family members, some with green cards, unable to get back into the country after Trumps 1st version of the Muslim Ban. Tell it to African-Americans as Trump tries to bring back “Stop & Frisk” and as he enables Voter Suppression and dismantles Consent Decrees intended to monitor rogue police departments. Tell that to Native Americans who saw him put pipelines ahead of people. Tossing aside past treaties and human rights as well. Tell that to Hispanics who now face checkpoints and see families around them torn apart due to Trump’s immigration policies. Tell it to the citizens of Flint who still don’t have good drinking water. Trump is the champion for all rich Americans as his proposed tax plan makes known.

Ivanka Trump isn’t responsible for developing her father’s policies. He doesn’t know what most of them are himself. Had she stayed on the sideline and simply loved her father in spite of anything others say. I’d have nothing but empathy for her. Since she took a job as a top advisor in the White House. Since she used her access to foreign leaders to expand her businesses. Since she dismissed the claims of over a dozen women who came forward to accuse a powerful man of heinous acts, knowing there would be retribution. Since she knowingly offered the women who voted for Trump a reason to believe he was something other than he was. I say yes she’s complicit. Yes she’s an enabler. And yes she’s taking all that to the bank.

Featured Photo: twitter.com

Donald Trump: The Worst Hundred Days

The kindest thing I can say about Donald Trump’s first 100 days as President is that he doesn’t know, and doesn’t realize he doesn’t know. His bull in a china shop approach to legislation, filling out his administration and both domestic and foreign policy has made him a dismal failure on every level. The one thing he can claim. Getting a Supreme Court pick confirmed wasn’t really his win. The selection was made for him by right wing think tanks. The confirmation was navigated by Mitch McConnell who changed Senate rules to make it happen. Trump and Republican Senators overlooked plagiarism which has derailed past nominees. He most likely appreciates Gorsuch’s propensity for valuing corporations over people and dismissing the rights of women and the LGBT.

You Surround Yourself With People Who Demand So Little Of You

Photo: twitter.com

Then are of course the lies. Even if we gave him a clean slate for every lie he told before the inauguration. He began anew on his first day in office by saying his crowd size topped that of Barack Obama’s first inauguration despite all the visual evidence refuting it. His administration is still deluged with new information about undisclosed contacts with Russia which many of them lied about as well. What should be worrisome to Trump is that his second hundred days may be even worse than the first given the various investigations closing in on members of his administration, his family and possibly Trump himself. Let’s review:

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Photo: americannews.com

  1. Trump’s inauguration would have went off without incident but for claims that it was “the biggest ever” which was obviously untrue. He then gave us his White House spokesman Sean Spicer who introduced himself to America and Saturday Night Live by dressing down the press and began the trend of “Trumpsplaining,” defined as trying to justify the lies Trump tells. The inauguration and related concerts and balls were noteworthy for his inability to attract major entertainers because there were some things they wouldn’t do for money.
  2. Technically, the failures of the Trump administration began during the transition. Perhaps due to not really believing they would win and having to relieve Transition Coordinator Chris Christie who had problems of his own (Bridgegate). They were unprepared to conduct normal transaction activities. Outsider Trump had few around him with any actual government experience and they frankly didn’t know what they were supposed to do. On a visit to the White House a month just before the election. Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner was overheard asking an Obama official about the hundreds of people working there, “How any of these people stay?” The answer was supposed to be, “none of them.” Because the Trump administration was unprepared to fill the jobs that ran a government. They ended up asking a large number of Obama staffers to remain temporarily. This doesn’t keep Steve Bannon and others from referring to the people literally bailing them out as “the deep state.” Viewing them as spies and leakers.
  3. Trump got to work on his image of being an impactful President. He rushed to sign executive orders. Some of them insignificant photo-op’s. Others harmful like the hiring freeze which did far more harm than good. Then there was the Muslim Ban which in two separate versions has been declared unconstitutional and would have kept out Iraqi translators who served alongside Americans in the Iraq war. The first would have blocked current Green Card holders who were already authorized to re-enter the country. Let’s not forget the “beautiful babies” from Syria that he rushed to allegedly save from chemical attacks from the Assad government in Syria. But his ban wouldn’t care those same babies died from starvation, barrel bombs or any number of causes that made them legitimate refugees.
  4. Trump backed a Health Care plan he had no understanding of in an attempt to have some sort of legislative victory. He reversed himself on campaign promises to preserve coverage for preexisting conditions and to make premiums lower. The actual plan would have thrown 24 million people off their healthcare and raised premiums for many. The only benefit would be to the rich who would have received tax cuts based on no longer participating in paying for The Affordable Care Act which was the Obama healthcare plan. This attempt to “repeal and replace” Obamacare was thwarted by the American people who showed up at town halls across the country to let their representatives know what they thought of the new plan. Although Trump tried to dismiss the protesters as being “paid.” Republican legislators got the hint and failed to bring the plan to a vote.
  5. Speaking of protests. The Trump Presidency has brought out a level of protest not seen since the Vietnam War and which may soon be exceeded. Not long after his Inauguration. We witnessed the Women’s March in Washington, DC which was also larger than the Trump’s big day although he denies that as well. All across the country since January we’ve seen continued protests against Trump policies.
  6. While Trump loved many of the polls during his campaign. He isn’t feeling them so much now. His approval ratings are the lowest in history for the first 100 days of a Presidency. His disapproval ratings are the highest. He hovers somewhere on average in the high 30’s. In his favor is that a high percentage of Trump supporters would vote for again. Fortunately the rest of the country sees him clearly and this mistake won’t be repeated after four years.
  7. His Cabinet is the wealthiest in the history of the nation. That isn’t bad in and of itself but some of them intend to go right on enriching themselves while allegedly serving the rest of us. Of course they are led by the example of the President himself. Starting with the Cabinet; DeVos, Price, Pruitt and others have clear conflicts of interest that remain unresolved. DeVos along with Carson have the secondary issue of being totally incompetent to run their Departments but they were loyal. Carson has apparently turned the other cheek after Trump said about him during the Republican nomination process that Carson had a “pathological temper.”
  8. Trump promised at every campaign stop that we would build a wall along our southern border and that, “Mexico will pay for it.” Another promise unkept as we aren’t building and Mexico isn’t paying. Trump just removed funds for the wall from his proposed budget with more promises he’d get back to it.
  9. There’s so much about Trump’s first 100 days worthy of mention but one thing that cannot be left out; Russia. The country except in some deep corners of Trumpland realizes that Russia interfered in our elections. The questions being asked louder and more often is, “Did the Trump campaign collude with Russia” and “What did the President know and when did he know it?” Michael Flynn left his role as National Security Advisor after 24 days once undisclosed contacts with Russia were exposed. We also learned about undisclosed payments from Russia and he retroactively disclosed his role as a Foreign Agent for Turkey. A role he still played during the Trump campaign. Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General with a history of racist comments, had undisclosed meetings with Russia as well. Something he denied under oath when testifying to Congress. He has since recused himself from the Justice Department’s Russia Investigation although he personally is pushing to find out who’s leaking about the same investigation where he may ultimately appear as a witness… or defendant. Jared Kushner had undisclosed meetings with Russian officials and bankers. Ivanka only met with China and on the same day got multiple patents approved in that country which is different I guess, but not so much. Carter Page has had FISA warrants out to uncover his full relationship with Russia. Paul Manafort left his role as campaign manager after cash payments from Russia friendly Ukrainians came to light. Trump himself has collected millions in real estate deals with Russians, some of those deals were far above the market value of the property. What we know now will forever taint his Presidency. What we learn later may end it.
  10. Apologies to all the issues I didn’t really get to. His misogyny, ongoing lawsuits from women he sexually harassed. The settlement of the Trump University lawsuit for $25 million. His vouching for fellow serial harasser Bill O’Reilly. His failure to pass any significant legislation despite having a Republican House and Senate to work with. His failure to condemn Russia for anything looms large given their actions and the charges against him. Bombing Syria doesn’t count because he warned them and told them to move. His child-like bickering with North Korea and lying about an aircraft carrier. Let’s not forget his continued blaming everything he’s done wrong on Barack Obama. The White House just refused to provide requested documents on Michael Flynn to the House Select Committee on Intelligence. Stay tuned for the Second Hundred Days, assuming he lasts that long.
  11. Also forgot tweets, nepotism and a whole article about Trump’s own conflicts of interest. The worst hundred days should actually be a book and not a blog post.

Featured Photo: cnbc.com

What The 46th President of the United States Will Face

Not a minute too soon. Someone will become the 46th President of the United States, following Donald Trump. What he or she will inherit will depend greatly on how long Trump is allowed to inhabit the Oval Office. Whether it be the full four years of his term or whether his stay is interrupted by impeachment… or resignation.

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Photo: palmbeachdailynews.com

In some respects their job will be easy. The current bar is now so low that to be perceived as effective they need only be an average public speaker with an adequate vocabulary. They should avoid not only the perception of conflicts of interests but also numerous obvious ones. It will be hard to be more dishonest than the current President so we’ll already credit them for being a vast improvement in that area. They’ll need to actually fill the posts required to run the government and not place all the responsibility in the hands of their immediate family. It would help if half the administration didn’t have ties to foreign powers. The new President cannot help but be seen as better than Trump. Unfortunately, they will also inherit what he leaves behind.

The current President will leave a foreign policy in disarray. Former allies will be wary because every promise, treaty and norm under previous administrations were proven to be flimsy. American promises will be seen as subject to the whims of the President and therefore able to be changed every four years. Should they still be in place, other nations would be concerned about the fate of NATO, NAFTA, The Paris Accords, The Iran Nuclear Deal. The new Commander in Chief will have to mend relationships across the world. In addition to having bombed Syria and Afghanistan, sent belatedly “an armada” towards North Korea, and threatened Iran. His administration has threatened Venezuela, and criticized Australia, Britain and France.

Domestically, the President will have to contend with fractured relationships with the Hispanic community that lived with suspicion and raids. Muslims who are spied on in their religious communities and fear to travel abroad lest they not be able to return. Native Americans who watched one more treaty ignored when the government valued dollars over promises. African Americans witnessed voter suppression attempts and rogue police departments befriended by the current President and Attorney General. Women lived with the known misogynist and sexual predator keeping his job while Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly did not. The American people had to come to grips with the possibility that our country had literally sold its soul to special interests; foreign and domestic. There will be much for the new President to repair but will have an initial abundance of goodwill to attempt it.

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Photo: xatric.com

They will likely still inherit a Congress committed to partisanship that places Party above Country. Depending on the circumstances leading to the end of the current President’s term. We can only hope that the few adults in the room will lead and that common sense will result in a restoration of a purpose not dictated solely by the desire to be reelected. The 46th President will carry the hopes of all Americans that they take the office seriously. That they take the American people seriously and not merely as pawns in their reality show attempt to increase  personal wealth. We will hope and pray that 46 is worthy of the office.

Featured Photo: worlddaily.com

The Trump Defense: Three Strategies to Fend Off Claims of Russian Collusion

As multiple investigations (FBI, Senate, House et.al.) continue and as media reports detailing items related to charges of the Trump campaign collusion with Russia. It appears that Trump will eventually have to settle on a strategy for dealing with the implication that the now President of the United States. Committed treason to get there. Unlike a courtroom where a defendant can present multiple theories describing their innocence, hoping to convince a single juror. Trump will eventually have to come up with a single strategy because he cannot present to the public more than one version of his truth.

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Photo: lockerdome.com

There are hints of what defenses Donald Trump might attempt. Or he could try what has worked to some degree for others. Here are some of the ways Trump might attempt to defend himself and the potential pitfalls.

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Photo: nytimes.com

 

  1. The Chris Christie Defense: This defense relies on his ability to deny any personal involvement like Christie in Bridgegate, despite the coordinated efforts of all the top people around him. It requires we suspend belief and accept that his underlings individually and jointly decided to work with Russia. Several of them actively purporting to be speaking on behalf of the candidate/President. We must believe that his top advisors including some family members went unnoticed when they traveled to Europe and elsewhere to meet with Russian officials. We also have to conclude that Trump is a puppet who simply repeated what he read in InfoWars or Breitbart or saw on Fox & Friends which just happened to coincide exactly with Russian propaganda. This strategy depends on all the participants showing great personal loyalty to Trump. Refusing to name him as a participant or if they do, lacking the credibility to make it stick. Where it falls apart is that because Trump was new to government. These are new associates with whom he had no deep long standing relationship. Can he really expect Carter Page or Mike Flynn to choose Federal prison if given the chance to name Trump and possibly go free? The other problem is that some of the people involved are family. Will Ivanka stay silent if Jared goes to jail. Will Donald, Jr and Eric watch their father stand silent as they take the rap? After two years of Trump claiming he keeps his own counsel and makes all the decisions. The Chris Christie defense cannot stand up to the pressure.
  2. The Fake News Defense: This defense has been in full effect since the middle of the campaign. The theory is to deny the credibility of all the facts presented against him in spite of witnesses, photographs and video’s in some cases. It’s basically the, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”, defense. Trump has trotted this one out after the release of the TMZ video where Trump admitted on tape to committing sexual assault, famously saying you can, “grab ’em in the pussy.” There are two problems with the Fake News defense. One is that he’s used up its credibility to trotting it out in defense of obvious lies like the crowd size of his inauguration and in defense of his many outlandish tweets. The second is that it depends on his base to never, ever, acknowledge that the Emperor has no clothes. Despite Trump’s claims he could “stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” There comes a point where even his base will turn away because they love their country too. More than Trump ever has or will.
  3. Throw Yourself On The Mercy Of The Court: While he’s not there yet. Donald Trump may eventually acknowledge the inevitability of a loss and seek to mitigate any punishment by appealing to the public. Of course Trump famously never apologizes and a mea culpa seems totally outside the realm of possibility but one can always hope. The obvious fail of this plan is that he forgets how little mercy he’s shown to others. The list is long of those Trump has abused. Imagine his plea falling on the ears of Muslims, African-Americans, Hispanics, the LGBT community, women and the disabled. All the “beautiful babies” and their families that Trump doesn’t mind dying from starvation or barrel bombs, as long as chemicals aren’t involved. Should Trump ask Americans to forgive him for conspiring with Russia to win an election. How will the country respond?

Featured Photo: local.10.com

America’s Hypocrisy and Why We Must Do Better

The United States keeps saying that Iran is the “biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.” I wonder how many countries say the same thing about us? How many governments have we overthrown? How often have we sponsored “regime change?” How many rebel groups do we provide arms to? In how many places are we trying to impose Democracy and/or Christianity. Doesn’t the other side believe they’re right too?

We condemn other nations over their elections. The very structure of our electoral college was designed to provide more power to slave holding states. Today it takes power from large urban areas (read minorities) and helps maintain what I’ll refer to as the status quo. We allow gerrymandering and redistricting that are specifically designed to dilute minority voting strength. Are we really better?

We monitor and condemn other nations over “human rights” yet look at how we treat Native Americans,  LGBT’s, women, minorities. Some of our big city police forces are almost immune from prosecution whatever their excesses.

America considers itself the greatest nation on the earth. Perhaps it actually is which says more about all the rest rather than being a testament to our actual greatness. What is true is that we have so much potential. We have stated ideals which if realized would make us greater still. This President won’t make America great again. He and his Attorney General are taking us back to America’s worst excesses of the past. He appeals directly to those who once we were ashamed to acknowledge.

America has so much potential. We settle for so little from our political parties, our leaders, our governments national, state and local and our media that focuses on profit making formulas rather than straightforward and factual news.

Yet…

I am reminded that in few countries could I publicly criticize the President. I see a general trend toward progress with occasional steps back. Americans have an ability to assert themselves through public protest and a voting process that while flawed does give the people the possibility of enacting change. We still have too few options but even that can change if we will it. While most of the media on average only serves their customers. There are voices that bring us truth that often finds a way into the mainstream. We the people must not be satisfied with the meager choices we are given. We must insist on,… and do… better! Only by exerting our collective will can we achieve our potential. Here’s to moving forward!

The Death Spiral of Donald Trump’s Presidency

Unlike the much purported but unreal death spiral Republicans try to claim about the Affordable Care Act. There is a real death spiral involving the Presidency of Donald Trump. He’s losing in the courts. There are daily revelations about his collusion with Russia. There’s growing concern about his conflicts of interest combined with his failure to release his tax returns. He operates with a total lack of transparency and faces a steady erosion of public opinion. Even his steadfast supporters are beginning to concede the Emperor has no clothes.

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Photo: pinterest.com

There are multiple drains down which his Presidency is swirling. The potentially fastest is the Russia drain where we are knowing more and more about his campaign conspiring with Russian intelligence to affect the Presidential election results. We know Trump will sacrifice all his operatives before taking personal blame. What will happen if his family faces criminal charges. Son-in-law Jared, Donald, Jr., Eric, Ivanka? And what did Donald himself know and when did he know it? If it’s proven that the result of the election was affected by collusion involving Trump’s campaign itself. Not only must Trump go, but how can the result stand?

Recent polls have shown that his recent bombings of a Syrian airport, a remote Afghanistan site, and his war of words with an equally child-like North Korean leader have not increased his popularity. Instead we learn that fewer American’s consider him trustworthy. More people view him unfavorably. Many are actually fearful. Despite his public failures to decimate healthcare, impose a Muslim Ban and build a wall. He actually is being effective in eroding civil rights, removing Federal supervision of police department. Eliminating environmental protections and filling the henhouses with foxes.

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Photo: vanityfair.com

Things that are likely is that his tax returns will be seen if not by the public; by the investigations into his ties to Russia. We’ll hear about more meetings with Russians and more details about known meetings involving Jared Kushner, Gen. Michael Flynn, Erik Prince, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and others. Even the right wing media support will decline because capitalistic enterprises will not continue to market propaganda to a segment of the public no longer buying.

There are those (myself not included) who consider Trump a marketing genius. What he is good at is overwhelming us with distractions to cover up the things that if in a vacuum would already have overwhelmed him. Does anyone think he’s a man of such character he wouldn’t collude with Russia? Is he capable of starting a war to win a news cycle? How far will he go to protect his Presidency? Isn’t it really all about his brand?

The Age of Trump has a time stamp on it. It will not last past January 20, 2021. There’s a growing chance it will end long before that. Rather than rely on hope alone. A goal should be to supplant the Republican House and Senate who has failed to act as a check and balance of Donald Trump. Many of the Cabinet Members the Senate confirmed are either knowingly incompetent (DeVos, Carson) or corrupt (Price, Ross, Pruitt).

It is incumbent on Americans to actually vote in percentages far greater than we typically do to offset gerrymandering and redistricting which are impediments to Democracy rather than protections. The one drain that could surely swallow up the Trump Presidency is the election of those who will first stop Trump in 2018 and then vote to replace Trump himself in 2020. Assuming he’s still there.

Featured Photo: youtube.com

Trump’s Wars: The Week in Review 4/14/17

Donald Trump is not a veteran. He attended the New York Military Academy where he was named a Captain for his Senior year. According to the Washington Post, after a month he was transferred to another position with no command responsibilities. Trump says he “got promoted because he did such a good job.” Other cadets said he, “delegated leadership responsibilities to others while staying in his room” which “allowed problems to fester.” It’s reported a hazing incident played a major role in the position change. Trump then, much as he does now, declared victory while moving to the new position. Trump has no actual military experience. He isn’t a General. He just want’s to play one on TV.

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Photo: twitter.com

He doesn’t have the focus or the knowledge to make foreign policy decisions. Watching him is like seeing the movie “The Sum of All Fears” come to life. In this case we watch Trump playing at war in Syria, Afghanistan, North Korea and who knows where else. Trump isn’t the fictional Jack Ryan who is guaranteed to win at the end of the film. He’s a blustering, narcissist who is currently sabre rattling all over the world. He’s not speaking softly while carrying a big stick. He’s yelling at the top of his lungs, “I’m king of the world!,” which even the American President is not. Trump’s wars:

Trump's Wars

 

Photo: trumpfamily.com

  1. In possibly a “Wag the Dog” move to distract from Russian collusion investigations. Trump unleashed 59 Tomahawk Missiles on an airport in Syria. He did it, “because of the beautiful babies” that he still doesn’t want in this country. He apparently doesn’t want them dying on national television from chemical weapons. It’s acceptable however for them to die from starvation, disease and barrel bombs. Syrian planes resumed flights the day after the US Strike and resumed bombing the remaining babies.
  2. The United States used for the first time the M.O.A.B. (Mother of All Bombs) in a remote location in Afghanistan which was a reported ISIS location complete with fortifications and tunnels. Some reports indicate 36 ISIS members were killed. A number often cited as the cost of the bomb was $314 Million putting the average price per terrorist killed at just under $9 million each. What appeals to Trump however is the ratings, and a news cycle not dominated by talk of Russian spies within his administration.
  3. Trump reacts to North Korea’s missile tests by sending an aircraft carrier and two destroyers into the Korean Peninsula. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has threatened the United States with nuclear war if they continue. The United States has leaked they have a plan for a “first strike” against North Korea should it appear a new nuclear test be imminent. In a variation of John McCain’s statement. We have “two crazy fat kids” leading their respective nations. Each dreaming of being a general. What could go wrong?

Featured Photo: newrepublic.com