The Universal Notebook: Not with a bang but a tweet

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Donald J. Trump is the problem he is trying to solve. The sooner he realizes this, the sooner he can get back to making money and stop losing respect. We all just have to pray that when he goes down, he doesn’t take America with him.

Take the Affordable Care Act, for example. Rather than try to reform the ACA or replace it with a better, more affordable plan to cover more Americans, Trump and the Republicans in Congress, having failed to repeal and replace, are doing everything they can to make sure Obamacare fails and Americans suffer. Getting rid of the individual mandates and defunding subsidies guarantees rate increases. The problem isn’t Obamacare. The problem is Donald Trump.

Lack of public confidence in the election system? It’s not the phony voter fraud that cynical Republicans are investigating with a bogus commission that is undermining public confidence. It’s GOP voter suppression efforts, ID laws, gerrymandering, and reducing the number and hours of polling places for students and minorities that are worrying voters. That and a Trump victory aided and abetted by Russian hackers.

When it comes to the investigation of Trump-Russian collusion, the fact that Trump refuses to release his tax returns or divest himself of assets exacerbates and prolongs the problem. Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and his threat to fire special prosecutor Robert Mueller lead a lot of Americans to conclude that the president of the United States may be owned by Russian oligarchs.

On immigration, Trump’s incendiary anti-immigrant speeches and his administration’s tightening of work visas is making it harder for Americans to do business both internationally and domestically. And Trump’s support for white supremacists, KKK and neo-Nazis has driven away most of his remaining support among American businesses. People like Trump and Gov. Paul LePage legitimize and embolden racists. Who was responsible for the violence in Charlottesville? Donald J. Trump.

Trump’s adolescent addiction to Twitter and his inability to keep his mouth shut now pose the greatest existential threat America faces. What does he expect a murderous North Korean dictator to do when he threatens them with “fire and fury?” Personally, I have more faith in Kim Jong Un than I do in Donald J. Trump. With apologies to T.S. Eliot, “This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a tweet.”

What I fear most is that Trump will try to prop up his plummeting approval ratings by starting a war. War is good for presidential popularity polls, at least until the bill comes due in terms of taxes and human capital. I fear that Trump may be willing to trade 10 million South Korean lives for another three years in office.

It would be one thing if it were just an inconsequential liberal columnist in a Maine weekly newspaper worrying about Trump’s access to the nuclear codes, but last week Ret. Lt. Gen. James Clapper, former director of National Intelligence, expressed the same concerns.

“In a fit of pique he decides to do something about Kim Jong Un; there’s actually very little to stop him,” Clapper said. “The whole system is built to ensure rapid response if necessary. So there’s very little in the way of controls over exercising a nuclear option, which is pretty damn scary.”

Now some in Congress are looking into ways to limit Trump’s first-strike nuclear capability.

Currently, we have Gens. Mattis, McMasters and Kelly as the adults in the room keeping an eye on Trump’s Camp Chaos. If Trump tries to pull the nuclear trigger in the middle of the night in a fit of Twitter rage, I pray the military will disobey him, just as it ignored his lame brain order to ban transsexuals from the military.

“Okay, Mr. Trump, that’s it. We’ll take over from here,” the generals will say as they escort Trump from the Oval Office and institute martial law. Bannon has already been ousted, so it will just be a handful of zealots like Borka and Miller left to resist the coup.

The ensuing violence around the country, inflamed by Breitbart and Hannity, will likely be worse than in 1968, when leaders were assassinated, protesters rioted, police tried to crack down and cities burned. It’s just that this time, the anti-establishment fervor will come from the right rather than the left.

The election of a totally unfit Donald Trump over a highly qualified Hillary Clinton will likely be seen by history as the last desperate gasp of white male supremacy before all the patriarchal racism is purged from the American system. That, of course, presupposes America survives Donald J. Trump.

Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Brunswick. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.

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  • Chew H Bird

    “In a fit of pique he decides to do something about Kim Jong Un; there’s actually very little to stop him,” Clapper said. “The whole system is built to ensure rapid response if necessary. So there’s very little in the way of controls over exercising a nuclear option, which is pretty damn scary.”

    Actually, the ball has a lot of hills to roll down before anyone actually “presses the button”. Even when faced with an “instant crisis”, advisers are called upon to validate action and the basis for it. Should a rogue “middle of the night” order occur without senior advisers being consulted, there are safeguards in place to prevent a catastrophe.

    However, should the right people be brought into the loop, and a consensus decision reached, the term “tapid response” is an understantment.

    • David R. Hill

      “tepid” or “rapid” — or is this a clever melding of terms?

      • Chew H Bird

        Wish I were bright enough to have thought of that… I intended to write “rapid”. Now fixed. Thank you.

        • David R. Hill

          I kind of liked “tapid.” That might accurately describe the response of a sane leadership.

    • Queenie42

      Where or from whom did you get this info, Chew? I have read that there is little anyone can do to stop him.

      • Chew H Bird

        I work with government clients in the DC area who have direct knowledge of the process…

      • poppypapa

        In a Forecaster op-ed column?

      • Ted Markow

        It depends on where one gets the information and who one listens to.

        I was one who thought there were more safeguards in place to prevent an impetuous president from indiscriminately firing off some nukes. While there may be a case where someone in the chain of command refuses to comply, that’s not the official national command authority.

        “Only the President can direct the use of nuclear weapons by U.S. armed forces, including the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP). While the President does have unilateral authority as commander-in-chief to order that nuclear weapons be used for any reason at any time, the actual procedures and technical systems in place for authorizing the execution of a launch order requires a secondary confirmation under a two-man rule, as the President’s order is subject to secondary confirmation by the Secretary of Defense. If the Secretary of Defense does not concur, then the President may in his sole discretion fire the Secretary. The Secretary of Defense has legal authority to approve the order, but cannot veto it.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Command_Authority

        “How much power does the president alone have to launch a nuclear strike? Bloomberg News asked Bruce G. Blair, a former Minuteman missile-launch officer and research scholar at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security, to spell out the step-by-step procedure.

        “The president considers a nuclear strike…
        The commander-in-chief’s power is clear: He or she has sole authority to use nuclear weapons.” https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/graphics/2016-nuclear-weapon-launch/

        The bottom line is that absent at least one cool head strong enough to prevail, the President of the United States can kick off a nuclear strike in short order.

        • Chew H Bird

          Actually, the bottom line is if the exact process were public information it would be a threat to national security so any major media sources are presenting an opinion rather than actual fact.

          • Ted Markow

            Well, excuse me if I choose not to believe your unnamed clients over everything and everyone else.

            I’m not saying that someone couldn’t step in and temporarily forestall a president’s decision (as did Kissinger with Nixon’s drunken decision to start the process against N. Korea), just that the official process gives POTUS a lot of leeway to start a nuclear conflagration. Too much.

          • Chew H Bird

            I would not expect you to “believe” an internet source on a discussion board. However I would expect you to believe that if the exact process were made public it would be a matter of national security…

    • EdBeem

      Since Trump has no uidea how anything else in govt worls, I am just imagining him p.o’ed at 3 a.m. and firing off tweet salvos. Tghen in one of his many adolescent piques of fury, he tries to nuke someone. As I wrote, that is when the military will have to step in and stop him.

      “Only the President can direct the use of nuclear weapons by U.S. armed forces, including the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP). While the President does have unilateral authority as commander-in-chief to order that nuclear weapons be used for any reason at any time, the actual procedures and technical systems in place for authorizing the execution of a launch order requires a secondary confirmation under a two-man rule, as the President’s order is subject to secondary confirmation by the Secretary of Defense. If the Secretary of Defense does not concur, then the President may in his sole discretion fire the Secretary. The Secretary of Defense has legal authority to approve the order, but cannot veto it.”

  • Charles Martel

    “The election of a totally unfit Donald Trump over a highly qualified Hillary Clinton will likely be seen by history as the last desperate gasp of white male supremacy before all the patriarchal racism is purged from the American system.” Roseanne Roseannadanna could write a better article than this one.

    Fyi, James Clapper once said, “The Muslim Brotherhood is largely secular and has eschewed violence” and he’s someone you trotted out for a statement?

  • Little crow

    Please provide specific evidence, a quote, anything that shows that Donald Trump supports white supremacists, the KKK and neo-nazis.

    • EdBeem

      The extended conversation about white supremacists came on CNN’s State of the Union, where Jake Tapper asked if Trump would distance himself from an endorsement by David Duke, former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Duke has told his radio audience that voting against Trump would be “treason to your heritage.”

      Trump refused to condemn that endorsement or say he didn’t want the support of white supremacists — four times.

      “I don’t know anything about David Duke. I don’t know what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacist. I don’t know. I don’t know, did he endorse me, or what’s going on?” he said. That prompted a back-and-forth that went, in part:

      Trump: I don’t know what group you’re talking about. You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. … If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them and certainly I would disavow them if I thought there was something wrong.

      Tapper: The Ku Klux Klan?

      Trump: You may have groups in there that are totally fine and it would be very unfair. So give me a list of the groups and I’ll let you know.

      Tapper: I’m just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here.

      Trump: Honestly, I don’t know David Duke.

      • Danfire

        You expect us to believe those sites…all leftist liberal sites? I very much disliked Obama but I never held the visceral hate for him that liberals and some conservatives hold for Trump! SMH

        • EdBeem

          Obama is a thoroughly decent man and will be ranked among the best US presidents. Trump is not a good man nor a good president.

      • Little crow

        Obviously Trump can be clumsy in an interview, but that does not make him a supporter of white supremacists. But why is it that Donald Trump has to denounce someone he doesn’t know and whose support he does not seek?

        Why isn’t Hillary Clinton asked to disavow her mentor, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who was a Grand Kleagle of the KU KLUX KLAN? He was called the “dean of the Senate” by his Democrat admirers, and Hillary not only said she admired him, but that he was her mentor. Or how about Bill Clinton’s mentor and white supremacist, Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arakansas, who voted against the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965. Should Vice President Al Gore denounce his father and white supremacist Sen. Al Gore Sr., who also voted against the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965? Should the Democrat Party denounce itself for its association with the Ku Klux Klan at the 1924 Democrat Convention, which was called the “Klan Bake” because the Klan marched in the streets of New York City in support of the Democrats? That was the year the Democrats refused to pass an anti-lynching plank to the party platform.

        • justanotherfakename

          He is more than ‘clumsy,’ when he speaks contemporaneously, rather than reading a script someone wrote for him, his true feeling are obvious enough. Unless you prefer to see what folks who reinterpret his words claim he…’really meant.’

          • Little crow

            Most of the reinterpreting is done by people who claim Trump is a bigot because he said he doesn’t know David Duke. I think he should be taken at his word, clumsy or not.

            I asked Ed Beem to give even one example that backs up his claim that Trump supports white supremacists and neo-nazis, and he failed to do it. He should write a retraction and apologize to Mr. Trump.

    • EdBeem

      WASHINGTON — President Trump buoyed the white nationalist movement on Tuesday as no president has done in generations — equating activists protesting racism with the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who rampaged in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.

      • Little crow

        He denounced the white nationalist movement, as he should have. The “activists” he also denounced were clubbing people with bats, and in recent riots have burned cars, attacked people and smashed storefronts. If they are protesting racism, I would be curious as to what result they hope to generate with this behavior.

        The only president who has “buoyed the white nationalist movement” would be Woodrow Wilson, a devout racist who resegregated the federal government, and encouraged his friend to make the film “Birth of a Nation” which glorified the Ku Klux Klan.

    • EdBeem
      • Little crow

        OK, I read that one, too, and still nothing that indicates Trump supports white supremacists. In fact, it presents lots of evidence that Trump is quite open-minded about race, such as denouncing organizations that refuse membership to Jews and minorities. The settlements he had with housing authorities concerning discrimination are the sort of bureaucratic snafus that plague every landlord and prove nothing. It is hard to miss, however, the numerous mentions in the article of Trump’s tolerance that seem to contradict what you wrote in your piece.

    • EdBeem
      • Little crow

        OK, I read that one; and there’s nothing there that indicates Mr. Trump supports white supremacists. It wasn’t even the writer’s opinion that Trump supports them. I’l have to check your other references as time allows.

      • Lucy Ball

        Is this ONE of the articles that NYTimes corrected after they spread misinformation?

        • EdBeem

          Not that I’m aware of. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the honorable thing to do to correct mistakes. Trump, on the other hand, never apologizes for his lies and deception. NYT=good. DJT=bad.

  • Lucy Ball

    I do remember the “gerrymandering” in FL when the Dems took out Allen West because he didn’t stay on the plantation.

    • Just Sayin’

      Reality Check:

      You’re saying that the 2010 redistricting of Florida was a case of Democrat-led gerrymandering to oust a Republican Candidate?

      In state where the governor and the state senate were Republican controlled, with the redistricting being decided by both the Senate and House panels that were each over 2/3rds Republicans? Really?

      The same redistricting that was overthrown in 2014 when a state judge determined that -Republicans- “Conspired to manipulate the boundaries to protect the party’s majority in Washington and ‘made a mockery’ of the rules of transparency in the process.”

      How exactly were the Dems responsible for this?

  • Mainer1

    It is the left in collusion with the Fake News media (same ones who colluded with the DNC and gave the Presidential debate questions to Hillary in advance) such as yours that is trying to bring down America. You just make up lies, what about the big Russian Investigation?

  • Mainer1

    It is the left in collusion with the Fake News media (same ones who colluded with the DNC and gave the Presidential debate questions to Hillary in advance) such as yours that is trying to bring down America. BLM and Antifi are just as bad. You just make up lies, what about the big Russian Investigation?

    • Just Sayin’

      No need to repost. If the question was sane enough to answer, it would have been done already.

  • justanotherfakename

    I concur with Edgar, the fear many of us share is that to divert attention from his upcoming issues with the Russia investigation, possible impeachment proceedings necessitated by his abuse of power, he will divert attention by starting a war with N.K. No one will be talking about Trump’s tax returns if they are concerned with survival.

  • funfundvierzig

    Off the beam Edgar puts out a Category 5 deception: President Trump supports the KKK and Neo-Nazis! Dare to think for yourself and express a differing thought, and hostile liberals will try to shut you down (often with violence) and label you with one of their simpleminded “ist” words:

    “Racist”
    “Misogynist”
    “Nativist”
    “Nationalist”
    “Ageist”

    and our favourite, “Body Shameist”

    And the liberal elite wonder why they suffered a massive loss countrywide last November, with the Democrats’ worst defeat in a century? How did that cynical game of divisive identity politics work out for them?

    …funfun..