I’m too young to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis (what a pleasure, for once, to be ‘too young’ to remember something). From what I know of it, it sounds like a truly terrifying time. The USSR was installing nukes on Cuba, within easy reach of the U.S. mainland. The U.S., not surprisingly, objected. This resulted in a showdown between the world’s only two nuclear powers. For a few days, the threat of nuclear war hung in the air like a radioactive cloud.
There hasn’t been anything quite like it since. I’m not saying we’re witnessing a repeat of that scary time today, but we’ve never been closer. And this one looks like it’s going to be around for a long time.
Consider the situation. A rogue nation, a true hell-on-earth called North Korea, is ruled by a diminutive, fat-faced, all -powerful dictator named Kim Jong-un. North Korea has nukes, and Kim says he’s not afraid to use them against South Korea, Japan, and even the U.S.
Incredibly, he’s the least of our worries.
Another rogue nation, the former beacon-of-democracy called the United States of America, is ruled by a fat-faced, orange-hued lunatic named Donald Trump. The U.S. has nukes, lots and lots of nukes, and Trump says he’s not afraid to use them.
Of the two demented leaders, the one that scares me is Trump.
Kim knows, I am sure, that a first strike from North Korea will result in an instant counterattack that will vaporize his shabby little country, killing tens of thousands and causing thousands of dollars in damage (nothing in North Korea is worth much). Kim, and whatever brain trust he has around him, surely knows that an unprovoked nuclear attack by his country will end his regime, and destroy all the monuments to his father and grandfather. That’s a pretty big deterrent.
Trump has the upper hand, with a much larger arsenal and the support of the western world – IF the U.S. is attacked first. A preemptive strike by the U.S. would surely work to crush the North Korean threat, but America’s allies would turn against the country and plunge the entire world into chaos (exactly what Russia’s Vladamir Putin, the World’s Most Dangerous Man, would like).
Kim Jong-un may be a tinpot dictator, but Trump is nuts. Vanity Fair published a truly disturbing story about the Trump which said he is, basically, teetering on the brink of full-on nuttiness. Here’s a sample…
One former official even speculated that (chief of staff John) Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have discussed what they would do in the event Trump ordered a nuclear first strike. “Would they tackle him?” the person said. Even Trump’s most loyal backers are sowing public doubts. This morning, The Washington Post quoted longtime Trump friend Tom Barrack saying he has been “shocked” and “stunned” by Trump’s behaviour.
While Kelly can’t control Trump’s tweets, he is doing his best to physically sequester the president—much to Trump’s frustration. One major G.O.P. donor told me access to Trump has been cut off, and his outside calls to the White House switchboard aren’t put through to the Oval Office. Earlier this week, I reported on Kelly’s plans to prevent Trump from mingling with guests at Mar-a-Lago later this month. And, according to two sources, Keith Schiller quit last month after Kelly told Schiller he needed permission to speak to the president and wanted written reports of their conversations.
Oh, my. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
It’s election time …. zzzzzzzz
It’s election time in Edmonton, and never have I been more disengaged. And this comes from a lifelong political junkie.
I live in a ward with an interesting race, in that there is no incumbent and a number of candidates who seem quite viable (with one exception; I won’t mention this name, but let me just say do NOT put your X next to a guy whose name starts with the same letter). But the Edmonton mayoralty race is a joke, a sham, a bit of a disgrace to the city. Take a look at this clip compiled by CBC from “highlights” of this week’s mayoralty forum. There is no legitimate alternative to Don Iveson, which is a shame since the deadly dull Iveson has been a bit of a flop as mayor. He should be on the ropes, but he’s young and pretty and ‘progressive’ and projects the image Edmonton wants to project to the world. Incumbent mayors only get turfed when they’ve gone well past their best before date, and even then it takes a herculean effort and lots of money. Unfortunately, Iveson is utterly unbeatable, and with the financial bar set so ridiculously low for any chump to enter the mayoralty, the result in a gong show.
I am a little envious of Calgary right now, where there is a full-on brawl for the mayoralty. Incumbent Naheed Nenshi could actually lose to a guy named, believe it or not, Bill Smith. Switching from the first elected Muslim in a major city to a white bread guy named Bill Smith is enough to give you whiplash. But left-right politics have taken hold in the civic election in Calgary. Right-wingers – chaffing under the double yoke of an NDP government in Edmonton and a Liberal government in Ottawa – have set their sights on the progressive Nenshi, and there is a real chance he could lose. What fun!
And finally in Calgary, I have to mention the story of incumbent councillor Ward Sutherland. At a public forum, he was commenting on a hot issue in Calgary (public art, and how it is chosen) when he said the following: “As I dove into the weeds, I found one of the biggest issues was the fact that the people, the committee that was picking the art, first of all, 10 out of the 10 people were artists. And, when they were looking at it, they’re going, ‘Well, Johnny Jew from New York, he’s the best artist, so we’re going to use him and not even look at it.”
‘Johnny Jew’? Yikes. The backlash threatens to destroy his re-election chances. But later, Ward came up with this absolutely stellar explanation: he didn’t say ‘Johnny Jew’, he said ‘Johnny Choo’, which he said was “a famous New York designer with the last name of Choo”. Unfortunately for Ward, the comment is on tape, and if you think Ward said ‘Johnny Choo’, get yourself to an audiologist. You can watch it here.
Y.A. Tittle, 90, American hall of fame QB with Baltimore, San Francisco and New York.