Dangerously incompetent

Donald Trump is blustering at North Korea.

North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening – beyond a normal statement – and as I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which the world has never seen before.

This is total madness: mad threats against a paranoid semi-religious cult of personality. It can only lead to the death of millions.

Mark Bowden gives a detailed analysis of our options, none of them good. Bowden, you may recall, is the author of Blackhawk Down, so he has some experience in examining military cluster-fucks, and this looks like the cluster-fuckiest of them all.

I visited Seoul a while back, and it is a lovely, prosperous city of about 10 million people. It will be the first casualty if Trump decides to John Wayne his way against an egomaniac with a wall of artillery aimed at the place, and Tokyo would be next on Kim Jong Un’s list of targets. We have to shut down our American version of Kim Jong Un before he unleashes unspeakable tragedy.


  1. blf says

    This article was written before hair furor’s latest burblings (see the OP), White House confusion over North Korea poses growing threat, analysts say:

    Trump and the top members of his team have issued conflicting statements — and ‘each time they contradict a policy, it makes it harder to go down that route’

    The Trump administration has given widely diverging versions of US policy on North Korea, making negotiations less likely and increasing the risk of miscalculation, analysts have warned.

    The US envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, won a significant diplomatic victory on Saturday, with a security council vote to impose a substantial new package of sanctions on North Korea, in response to its accelerating work on developing a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile.


    The regime in Pyongyang threatened to retaliate with physical action. And in a formal statement at a security forum in Manila, it said it would never put its nuclear weapons programme on the negotiating table as long as the US maintained a hostile policy towards the isolated nation.

    This position — which has been a consistent theme of the Kim Jong-un’s regime — gives an opening for diplomacy, many analysts argue, in which military exercises and rhetoric by the US and allies could be among the bargaining chips.

    However, the new administration has given dramatically conflicting signals about its readiness for such negotiations — and shown little ability to corral different foreign policy factions.

    The window for talks may not be wide, given the belligerence of North Korea and the importance of the weapons programme to Kim’s legitimacy inside the regime. But most observers argue negotiations are worth exploring in the absence of a viable military option. […]

    In Manila, the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said the US was willing to open talks if North Korea halted its missile tests. […]

    However, Mike Pence, the vice-president, has said that the administration is not seeking engagement with North Korea […]

    And while Tillerson last week assured Pyongyang that the US does not seek regime change, a few days earlier, the CIA director, Mike Pompeo, hinted heavily that regime change was at the heart of Washington’s approach […]

    “The Trump administration has contradicted itself on every piece of its North Korea policy,” said Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. “They continue to look for easy answers where there are none.”

    “Each time they contradict a policy, it makes them harder to go down that route,” Mount added. “And with very few tools to choose from, they are severely limiting their own options. Meanwhile, they have been neglecting pressing imperatives: reassurance of American allies, re-evaluating whether allied deterrence posture remains sound, and enforcing the sanctions authority they already have.”


    “We have openings. You have to hand it to Nikki Haley. The new security council measures go much further, but where is the rest of the plan? There is a deep state of incoherence on North Korea,” [the president of the Ploughshares Fund, Joseph] Cirincione said.

    “I don’t think there are many in the administration whose intention is to start a new Korean war, but there are many who could stumble into one.”

  2. lanir says

    The reason we have the director of national intelligence spelling out that North Korea has learned from Libya and Iraq that it cannot afford to forego having nukes and the ability to use them against the US is because it’s not a secret. Everyone else has figured it out and this was just a polite notice to the American people. The US can’t make any promises to North Korea now because they reneged on promises to the other two nations.

    Hopefully someone in Trump’s circle has enough sense to tell him he can expect the same treatment from allies if his blunders cause mass casualties in Seoul and Tokyo. It’s not the right reason to do the right thing but I’ll take craven stupidity over pointless gestures and mass casualties any day.

  3. lotharloo says

    Remember the dumbass Sam Harris’s hypothetical scenario involving a nuclear power house fanatical, suicidal, and Jihadist Islamic country that could be met by pre-emptive nuclear assault? Of course you do. Lots of real and virtual ink was wasted in debate of that extremely unlikely and implausible scenario. Do you remember him or anyone talk about the very possible scenario of a dangerous and unstable man leading USA, one of the already existing super-powers? I do not. Now think about, if a nuclear war happens in the future, do you think it is more likely that an Islamic nuclear super-power initiates it or USA ruled by a nutjob? Of course the latter is more likely, specially given the election of Trump but the election of Bush was good enough evidence of it as well. Yet another reason why Sam Harris and the co are absolute shoddy thinkers.

  4. Chancellor says

    I will not allow some trigger happy doorknob to kill me and everyone that isn’t a jackass because he wants to feel like the big man on campus. The feeling I have for Trump isn’t even contained within “contempt.”

  5. says

    This is dangerous and terrifying. Not least, between much of N Korea and the US is Canada, and who trusts their ICBM to be able to make it the full distance? Beyond my own personal fears, though, is the thought of Seoul looking like Sarajevo or Mosul or #NameDestroyedCity. That’s a LOT of people.

  6. dbinmn says

    That crazy Kim Jong Un. An immature, intemperate, unpredictable bully who delights in tossing out bombastic threats and angry insults. He with the insatiable appetite for attention, the aggressive response to criticism, the obsessive demand for loyalty, to the point of attacking even his friends if they do not serve his interests. Here’s a man who has little familiarity with facts or truth-telling but thrives instead on fictions and show, the more ego-inflating the better.

    He claims his countrymen love him, and stages rallies to entice their adoration, dutifully given. But he’ll freely impoverish millions of them, while he and his collaborators live high, including many members of his own family. The nation’s interests come second to his own. Nonetheless his high-ranking loyalists bend readily to his will, not daring to challenge him, for they know such subservience may be needed to safeguard their positions. Thank heavens we don’t have such a sorry state of affairs in America. Oh, wait a minute…

    — Ken Burrows, Colorado Springs


  7. says

    I’m just worried some general will decide it’s strategically sensible to set off a war, which will mainly hit the Asian countries. Someone might think that Beijing, Seoul, and Tokyo getting hit is a good thing.

  8. blf says

    I’m just worried some general will decide it’s strategically sensible to set off a war

    There may indeed be such a kook, Admiral Says He Would Launch A Nuclear Strike On China If Trump Ordered It (27-July):

    At a security conference in Australia on Thursday, this scenario was posed to the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet: If ordered to do so by President [sic] Trump, would he would launch a nuclear attack on China next week? His response: Yes.


    There are attempts to claim it was the only possible answer to the question poised, and other attempts to distract (What if Trump Ordered a Nuclear Strike on China? I’d Comply, Says Admiral).

  9. weylguy says

    So Seoul is a lovely, prosperous city of about 10 million people, while Tokyo is also nice. But American neoconservative war hawks consider all these people to be nothing but inferior Asian gooks, so they say let them die in Trump’s glorious nuclear fires. Millions of deaths you say? Trump could care less, and Americans will collectively praise him in their weekly Sunday services. Welcome to “Christian Nation” America!

  10. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    It’s already August 9 in Japan, which means it’s the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki. That’s the baseline for Il Douchebag’s threat.

  11. Matt G says

    They will be met with two things: fire, fury and power…three things! Fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which the world has never seen before.

  12. says

    I’ll bet a stack of dollars to a donut that the timing of the sanctions was deliberately cpincident with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These are the same lawmakers who passed legislation for open carry in Texas, deliberately, on the day of the Texas State tower shootings. They’re sick disgusting fucks.

  13. blf says

    The article excerpted in @1 has now been updated with hair furor’s bombblast (and retitled, Trump’s dire rhetoric echoes language of North Korean propaganda):

    The US president’s [sic] threats have made a dangerous standoff more unpredictable — and analysts say the attempt to intimidate Pyongyang could backfire
    The US president’s fire and fury rhetoric echoed the language of North Korean propaganda, and served as the reminder that on both sides of the lines in the confrontation, there are now volatile and brittle leaders, each insecure in their position and anxious to bolster their strongman image.

  14. says

    Trump and Kim have similar psychopathology, but Kim is far smarter and more competent. Kim is also in a context in which his psychopathology is basically effective. I think this malignant clownishness from Orange Julius is going to finally get some kickback from the military leadership.

  15. blf says

    Oh great, there is an actual General Buck Turgidson, Retired Air Force general: The US could wipe out North Korea in 15 minutes:

    Retired US Air Force Lt Gen Tom McInerney told Fox News on Monday that in the event of a nuclear attack from North Korea on the US or South Korea, Pyongyang would have about 15 minutes to bask in its glory before the US flattened the country.

    If he gets our full nuclear retaliatory capability, within minutes after one round going into Seoul, there will be nothing left, McInerney told Fox’s Liz Claman on “Countdown to the Closing Bell.”

    If you go to airborne alert […] with nuclear weapons, and then we start building up our other forces, et cetera, he will not last 15 minutes, McInerney said.


    Gen Turgidson then goes on to advocate a “Nato”–style alliance against both Big China and N.Korea, and a higher level of alert. Diplomacy is not mentioned. Nor is the impact on S.Korea and elsewhere of a radioactive mushroom farm in the north.

  16. jrkrideau says

    Crump is an incompetent loose cannon seemingly intend on starting one or two wars and Pence is a right-wing religious fundamentalist.

    From a Canadian point of view Pence would probably be a better president as he is apparently fairly rational and less likely to start wars but I could be wrong. Who knows just how bad his internal polices would be?

    We had better start setting up more refugee camps in either case. We are only getting 200 or so from the USA now but the flow may increase any time.

    Trump reportedly has already violated the agreement with Iran and it could get worse as he fought against certifying that Iran was in compliance and it reportedly took a full day of argument to get him to sign the certification. Then he said he was not going to sign the next one in 90 days.

    After Saddam Hussein and Qaddafi, the Koreans would be mad to trust the USA. Iran is probably seeing if Russia or anyone will sell them more arms.

  17. robro says

    At what point in the nadir of his pole numbers do you think the Dumpster will unleash two or three things…maybe four…that the world has seen plenty of in the past 100 years? Or will it be Mueller subpoenaing T-jr or Kushner or worse, some of the lesser folks who might squeal to avoid prosecution? Or both? All to distract the American people…particularly his base. The man and his team are acting desperate. They are definitely trapped by the circumstances they created, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better.

  18. Saad says

    No, no, PZ. Clinton would have been dangerously incompetent. We’ve dodged a bullet here.

  19. Pierce R. Butler says

    … A tale told by an idiot
    Full of fire and fury,
    Signifying double trouble,
    Boil and bubble!

    — with apologies to all bards everywhere

  20. consciousness razor says

    From a Canadian point of view Pence would probably be a better president as he is apparently fairly rational and less likely to start wars but I could be wrong. Who knows just how bad his internal polices would be?

    Very bad, probably worse than Trump for quite a few policies. He may also have semi-plausible ways of carrying them out. With Trump, you do see lots of spectacular twitterstorms, trying to control the media every way he can, etc., but mostly it’s all show and no pony. Plus, there are the endless rallies, as if he’s either still campaigning for something or will any day now announce the final solution. Not much time left after all that to do much actual work.

    So, the government’s certainly dysfunctional because of arrogant fuckbags like him, but Pence is a bit different. As you said, he thinks he’s on a mission from God. He wouldn’t just fart away his time at golf courses, make everything revolve around him like a fucking reality show, be obsessed with constantly making himself look important, cause chaos with whatever stream-of-consciousness crap that comes out of his head next, etc. Pence would very methodically accomplish some of the horrific shit he genuinely cares about, wars and all. Trump doesn’t care about any of it. Both are scary enough, but in a very depressing way, you could say we sort of dodged a bullet…. If people in DC had any sense, that might explain why Trump hasn’t already been run out of town, but I’m sure the real story is much worse.

  21. Chris Capoccia says

    the substance of what the president is saying is not that much different than what the past several presidents have said. axis of evil, nothing is off the table, etc. the main problem i see is both of these guys are unhinged and seemingly incapable of strategizing. i don’t want to get caught in the middle of them playing chicken. would be much better if trump had demonstrated any kind of successful strategy over the last several months and could be trusted to understand the nuances and difficulties of korean reunification

  22. willj says

    I thought Trump fancied himself as a winning negotiator. This might just be some preliminary chest-thumping from two dim-witted hominids It’s galling to watch NK develop their nuke capability under our noses, but I can’t see military action without at least an attempt at negotiations. But there’s not much time. If NK won’t talk or is completely deranged, then yeah, prepare for a strike.

  23. DanDare says

    Four. Four things. Fire fury power rocks and incredible devotion to the Trump. FIVE. Five things…
    ….ill come in again…

  24. jrkrideau says

    If NK won’t talk or is completely deranged
    I don’t think they are deranged at all. From their point of view they see the missiles and warheads as some insurance against a deranged Washington and it seems very deranged.

    The USA has invaded too many states since WWII for the Koreans to trust them and since Trump seems in the process of betraying the Iran agreement as well, they would be deranged to agree to US terms.

    I don’t have all the invasions/interventions handy but Vietnam, Cuba, Granada, Panama, covert support for contras in Nicaragua, , Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, support for the coup in Haiti, support for the attempted coup in Venezuela. Clearly I am forgetting a lot, oh well.

  25. chigau (違う) says


    Secretly, we know we’ll survive. All those other folks will die. That’s what after-the-bomb stories are all about.
    All those after-the-bomb stories were lies. Lies, lies, lies.

    This is the only true after-the-bomb story you will ever read.

    Everybody dies. Your father and mother are decapitated and crushed by a falling building. Rats eat their severed heads. Your husband is disemboweled. Your wife is blinded, flashburned, and gropes along a street of cinders until fear-crazed dogs eat her alive. Your brother and sister are incinerated in their homes, their bodies turned into fine powdery ash by firestorms. Your children … ah, I’m sorry, I hate to tell you this, but your children live a long time. three eternal days. They spend those days puking their guts out, watching the flesh fall from their bodies, smelling the gangrene in their lacerated feet, and asking you why it happened. But you aren’t there to tell them. I already told you how you died.


  26. consciousness razor says

    Clearly I am forgetting a lot, oh well.

    Since WWII? You didn’t mention the Korean War…..

  27. Alt-X says

    Trump will be itching for a fight. The best thing that could happen to him (in his eyes) would be a war. He gets to be surrounded by generals and the military complex, inflating his super, super ego to great heights. Get’s to play with the army, navy and airforce like a WW1 royalty playing with tin toys. Public support will soar (because war), and he gets to think of himself as a great military leader, going down in the history books like Alexandrea the Great, but Greater (because Alexandrea died young, weak!). I bet he goes to sleep every night praying North Korea does something he can declare war on. He’s going to do what he can to bait NK into war for the next 3 years. Just you watch.

  28. says

    @#2, lanir

    The reason we have the director of national intelligence spelling out that North Korea has learned from Libya and Iraq that it cannot afford to forego having nukes and the ability to use them against the US is because it’s not a secret. Everyone else has figured it out and this was just a polite notice to the American people. The US can’t make any promises to North Korea now because they reneged on promises to the other two nations.

    I’m not sure that this is notice to the American people, because those of us here in America who actually pay enough attention to care worked that one out quite a while ago. I was saying this sort of thing as far back as 2004, and I saw it show up in analyses online… and I think in an article on Cracked.com.

    @#3, lotharloo

    Dunno where you were hanging out at the time, but at the time of Harris’ screed I saw people pointing out that the U.S. was already a loose cannon and the only country which had a reliable record of starting wars in recent decades. And also that we have nukes. And there’s a fascinating commentary dating from 2004 by Steven Notley (it’s on this page, scroll down to the heading “NMD”) pointing out that the U.S. government’s actions suggest that it wants to use nukes preemptively. (And we should remember that some of the new nukes we’re building at Obama’s request are “tactical”, rather than “strategic”, meaning they are designed with the intent to be launched in battle rather than to be used as a Mutually-Assured-Destruction deterrent. And Clinton wrote the proposal for him, and put in inquiries about whether we would be able to put ship-based anti-missile systems in the Atlantic in order to safely invade North Korea and/or China. Trump isn’t “going rogue” by agitating for war with Korea — it’s one of the points on which he agrees with the orthodox Washington establishment. The only difference is that he isn’t pretending he’s reluctant.)

    @#17, jrkrideau

    Dunno about that. There are two things about Pence which ought to give us pause:

    1. He’s a genuine religious nutjob in a way that no president in modern times has been, with the possible exception of Reagan. He tones it down a bit in public, but by all reports he’s the kind of Christian who thinks that the Left Behind series is accurate. He thinks there’s an inevitable apocalyptic war coming between the Christian Good Guys (i.e. the U.S.) and the Forces of Evil, and that this war is something to look forward to. Trump may get us into a war by being a twit with no understanding of the realities of the situation, but Pence might get us into a war on purpose. He might also decide that the Canadian government is too liberal, and needs punishment, because that’s the way that sort of Christian thinks.

    2. I have relatives in the state of Indiana, where Pence was governor. They tell me that the state Republican Party (Indiana is pretty heavily Republican) hates Pence, because he managed to whip up just enough support to get a few horrifying things passed, refused to take steps on issues which were so important that even the Republicans wanted to do things about them (such as infrastructure) until it was too late, and in general screwed things up very, very badly, to the point where the party is actually having to put effort into campaigning again and might even lose control if things go badly. He got his position by being glib and telegenic (he was a talk show host before he became a successful politician) and would probably be able to line up the stupider Republicans in government to back some really stupid policies if he became president.

  29. robro says

    Clearly I am forgetting a lot, oh well.

    Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Congo, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Iran, Lebanon, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Pakistan

  30. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    I will not allow some trigger happy doorknob to kill me and everyone that isn’t a jackass because he wants to feel like the big man on campus.

    You can’t really stop him.

    The pieces of rat shit who did anything other than show the fuck up and vote against him 9 months ago could have.

    If the rest of us end up dying for their PURITY I hope they linger with radiation sickness for a while.

  31. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    And I mean actually vote AGAINST him, not for him by another name,

  32. says

    @ Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y:

    It’s moderately hilarious that you’re choosing to get upset about that over this issue, when your own chosen candidate has confirmed that she would have started a hot war with Russia over Syria, and is known to have asked for estimates for whether we could put oceangoing anti-missile systems around China and use their cover to invade North Korea. (The answer was “we could try but it would probably not work”. There is no record of her reaction, but given that this was a person so stupid that in the face of the monumental failure of Iraq she still supported invading Libya, only someone delusional would think that that would necessarily make her do otherwise.) Foreign and military policy was an issue where the choice you backed was fully as bad as the other, and if Trump had lost we would probably already have had thermonuclear war with Russia about three months ago, because it’s obvious from her geopolitical screwups that Clinton had no judgement, and everyone who reported on the question said, unanimously, that she was in favor of all proposed wars at all times. But, hey, don’t let that stop you. And certainly don’t let it make you try to stop the Democrats from running whoever is the least-popular candidate in the party in 2020 — it worked so well in 2016, after all.

    If Trump backed down now, he would actually thrill all his fans, because it would mean that not only did his posturing fail to cause a war but he also upset all their enemies (i.e. us). Heck, if North Korea will just be quiet for a few weeks, he can even claim victory and back down. (And, of course, his supporters — and, ironically, pretty much all of the Washington establishment — won’t be upset if nobody backs down and North Korea gets nuked, whether or not that involves sacrificing other cities, even some of our cities. Destroying North Korea has been a dream of both parties for a couple of decades, now.)

  33. raven says

    This reminds me of the old days, growing up.
    We lived near a lot of cold war military bases, including a Trident nuclear submarine base.
    We knew that if there was a nuclear war, we were going to get hit hard.

    The roads into the mountains, all had “evacuation route” signs.
    In school we had duck and cover drills and post nuclear bomb instructions.
    We were supposed to go home, gather food and survival supplies, wait for our
    parents to come home from work, and take us into the mountains. To await the restart of civilization, I guess.
    There was nothing about what to do if our parents didn’t come home from work because they had been incinerated.

    Good times for a little kid. And…it is looking like we should revive the whole civil defense program. Again.

  34. KG says

    It’s galling to watch NK develop their nuke capability under our noses, but I can’t see military action without at least an attempt at negotiations. But there’s not much time. If NK won’t talk or is completely deranged, then yeah, prepare for a strike. – willj@23

    You’re the deranged one, fuckhead.

  35. KG says

    when your own chosen candidate has confirmed that she would have started a hot war with Russia over Syria, and is known to have asked for estimates for whether we could put oceangoing anti-missile systems around China and use their cover to invade North Korea. – The Vicar

    Let’s have specific links for these claims. I can find Clinton calling for bombing Syrian government airfields – which of course Trump has already done. I can find multiple articles saying her policies would risk war with Russia. I can’t find any with her saying she “would have started a hot war with Russia over Syria”. As for the “oceangoing anti-missile systems around China and use their cover to invade North Korea”, the source for this is an alleged email leaked by Wikileaks. As far as I can discover (I can’t find the leaked alleged email itself), even in that document, which purportedly reported what she said in private to a wunch of bankers, she did not say anything about attacking North Korea under the cover of the missiles.

    So come on, Vicar – specific links, not unsourced allegations, or STFU.

  36. jrkrideau says

    @ 27 consciousness razor

    Since WWII? You didn’t mention the Korean War…..

    I thought about it but considered it was more of great power standoff to some extent. Maybe I should reconsider.

    Clearly though after this morning’s news of NK threateening to bomb Guam the North Koreans may be a bit more deranged than I thought they were.

    @ 31 robro

    Well it was late and I was tired. There were a few more than I thought :(

  37. jrkrideau says

    @ 30 The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    Pence might get us into a war on purpose

    Oh Hades, I forgot we’re in the End Times.

    Of course we’ve been there since about 60 CE but those batshit crazy fundamentalists seem to think it’s tomorrow. Yah, Pence might want to help things along.

    In terms of internal policies, is there a single Republican governor in the USA who is not a crazed, sadistic fool?

  38. numerobis says

    North Korea thinking the US might invade is 100% about North Korea having been invaded by the US not that long ago.

    Iran wanting a bomb is about that more than anything, also. The US/UK overthrew the elected leader, then after the revolution it invaded by proxy (Iraq), it’s frequently talked of invading, and it gives lots of military aid to another proxy (Saudi).

    The US has never invaded a nuclear power.

  39. says

    One of the most aggravating quotes I’ve read recently was some American muckety-muck saying Iran was honouring the letter of their agreement but not “the spirit”. There is no winning for Iran with the people who really want to go to war with them (and by “go to war” I mean “crush them with the weaponry of a nation that spends more on its military than the next ten nations combined”). No matter how much fear the talking heads try to instill in me, I can’t blame North Korea for not capitulating. They can see what has happened to the rest of the “axis of evil”.

  40. says

    Cross posted from the Political Madness All the Time thread.

    Rep. Ellen Tauscher, a Democrat from California, used to serve in the Obama administration, first as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, and later as Special Envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense at the State Department. She tweeted this:

    Where is the Trump Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security? NO ONE has been nominated? Unheard of in 40 years. I should know.

    Trump has not nominated anyone to fill that post. Trump does not have the personnel in place to handle the growing crisis in North Korea. Trump’s approach to the crisis only makes things worse.

    Steve Benen provided a partial list of posts for which there is no presidential nominee:

    * Undersecretary for arms control and international security affairs
    * Assistant secretary for intelligence and research
    * Assistant secretary for arms control, verification, and compliance
    * Assistant secretary for international security and nonproliferation affairs
    * Assistant secretary for political-military affairs
    * Assistant secretary for conflict and stabilization operations
    * Assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs
    * Special envoy for North Korea human rights issues
    * Special representative of the president for nuclear non-proliferation

    Trump blames the empty posts on “Democratic obstructionism,” but that is a lie. The Senate can’t confirm people who haven’t been nominated.

    Read more: https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2017/08/04/discuss-political-madness-all-the-time-3/#ixzz4pGuD11DB

  41. says

    Trump lied about modernizing the nuclear arsenal of the USA:

    My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before….

    Barack Obama started the $1 trillion renovation of the nuclear arsenal. The modernization process will take about thirty years to complete.

    Trump’s first “order” was related to health care, and not to the nuclear arsenal. (The health care action was an executive order telling all and sundry to try to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.)

    What did the lying sack of orange bloviation actually do? He signed an executive order directing the Pentagon to “initiate a new Nuclear Posture Review to ensure that the United States nuclear deterrent is modern, robust, flexible, resilient, ready, and appropriately tailored to deter 21st-century threats and reassure our allies.” The review is still underway. It changes nothing. It does nothing. Trump did see video of himself signing that vague pronouncement with much posturing and preening for the camera, so I guess he considers his work done.

    The stupid, boasting, nonsensical tweet quoted above is from this morning. So you can be sure that Trump continues to reside in LaLa Land.

  42. says

    From Steve Benen:

    […] And what’s striking is how routine this [distribution of conflicting messages] has become. We talked last week, for example, about the competing messages from Trump World about whether or not the administration would engage North Korea diplomatically, with Trump and Tillerson opening the door to talks, while U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Vice President Mike Pence saying largely the opposite.

    As Rachel noted on last night’s show, Tillerson has taken two different positions on what North Korea would have to do in order for the administration to consider negotiations.

    We’re left with an untenable dynamic. Confronted with a burgeoning nuclear crisis, what’s the Trump administration’s position on North Korea? It apparently depends on the day – and which administration official one chooses to believe.

    Responding to a reporter’s question at a White House event last week, the president said, “We’ll handle North Korea. We’re going to be able to handle them. It will be handled. We handle everything.”

    I have a hard time believing anyone can take such assurances seriously.

  43. throwaway, butcher of tongues, mauler of metaphor says

    Campaign manager and Trump, August 2020, a conversation.

    CM: Sir, we have to do more to appeal to your base. The upcoming election is looking bleak. Polls have shown-
    Trump: Fake news! Fake news!
    CM: Sir, no! I didn’t mean to s-
    *Secret service enters and briskly usher the campaign manager off. A brand new white male in three-piece suit slides down a chute to take his place*
    New CM: Sir, these numbers are looking great. One more strike and I’m sure your ratings will be at 100%.
    Trump: That’s a fact. Probably the greatest fact. I am the best president. *picks up phone on a Fisher-Price Chatter Phone* Call it in, General.
    *Flash of white, mushroom cloud in distance*
    New CM: That takes care of the last of your opposition. Hold on –
    *New CM answers phone*
    New CM: Yes, I’ll tell him right away. Sir, good news. The polling devices we’ve attached to the cockroaches are working. Your poll numbers are now at 100%.
    Trump: Not good enough!
    New CM: Sir! Wait! I mean… mrmfmfmfrmf
    *New CM gets muffled and shuffled away much the same way as the prior CM, and a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach takes his place*
    New New CM: Sir, your poll numbers show you are at eleventy-bajillion percentage points. *crick* *hiss*
    Trump: (fingers steepled) Excellent.

  44. Gregory Greenwood says

    A lot of people made jokes about Trump destroying swathes of the world after he entered office. I made them myself (something I am feeling a little bad about at the moment), but even then you could see that the jokers fell into two camps. There were those who said it gleefully, clearly thinking it was all a hoot and nothing would come of it, that somehow the overgrown toddler-in-chief would ‘mature into power’ (my father said that about George W. Bush. He later regretted the sentiment profoundly) and that everything would work out in the end, or that Congress or the US system’s checks and balances would pull his teeth before he could cause any trouble, and that in the meantime it was in some manner humorous to watch a manifest incompetent flail about in high office.

    The second camp made those jokes as a defence mechanism, with brittle humour the way they dealt with what they already knew would be a total disaster for America and the world, choosing dark comedy over stunned, horrified silence or rocking backwards and forwards in the corner in shock. I was one of those people, and as soon as it became clear that I wasn’t actually laughing at the notion that Trump was truly dangerous, but rather laughing at the madness of a world under such a man since the alternative was to cry, even in the UK the usual right wing suspects crawled out of the wood work to complain that people like me were doom-mongering, and/or to imply that if I was so aghast at a Trump presidency I must somehow have sympathy for the ‘enemies of the free world ‘ (I would contend that Trump is one of those enemies). They all said that Trump would at worst be a bit bombastic and would then settle down after his advisers got a handle on him, with no small number of them acting like he was the ‘strong man leader’ the world needed after what they saw as the weak indecisiveness of the Obama years.

    Even then it was obvious to me that they couldn’t be more wrong if they tried – Trump wasn’t just a loudmouth on the campaign trail who would metamorphose into a sober-sided statesman the second he was worn into office. He was (and remains) a dangerous buffoon too stupid to understand the weight of his new (and unearned ) responsibilities, and too arrogant and narcissistic to take the advice he desperately needs. Every painful, increasingly dark day of his premiership since Trump has passed up no opportunity to demonstrate just how unsuitable for the office he truly is

    This is one of those days when you find out just how much you can hate being right. I can’t imagine how much worse it is to be living in South Korea or Japan right now, and see potential catastrophe bearing down on you, knowing that your fate lies in the hands of a self obsessed, posturing nitwit you didn’t even have the opportunity to vote for or against.

    Trump on the one side, Kim Jong-Un on the other – as a friend of mine said today, it is like watching two not especially bright toddlers fight over a live hand grenade, and not being able to do anything about it.

  45. says

    Cross posted from the Political Madness All the Time thread.

    Follow-up to comment 212 on the Political Madness thread.

    Trump’s exact words:

    If anything, maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough. It’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country. […]

    If North Korea does anything in terms of even thinking about attack of anybody that we love or we represent or our allies or us, they can be very, very nervous, I’ll tell you what. And they should be very nervous. North Korea better get their act together or they’re going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world, okay?


  46. militantagnostic says

    If North Korea does anything in terms of even thinking about attack of anybody that we love or we represent or our allies or us, they can be very, very nervous,

    Ironically, this ignorant bellicosity is making those allies very nervous.