The San Diego Comic Convention has come and gone, and all the new movie and tv previews are hitting the internet. And I felt like when I was watching the previews for shows like the Walking Dead and Titans…that fiction was feeling less strange than reality. Honestly, if it turned out that there actually ARE Lizard People are running the government and that Donald Trump was one, or that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have been turning Congress into an undead, zombie horde, echo chamber of yes men, that would be less surprising than ANYTHING I saw in the Aquaman trailer. If 5 years ago, I pitched the actual events of the Trump presidency to AMC as their new Breaking Bad, I’d be a wealthy man right now.
He’s still pretending everything is cool with North Korea! Despite literally everything seemingly falling apart, North Korean officials all but saying so. Also, those remains that Trump kept harping on? Where are they? They’re certainly not here. North Korea has continued accelerating their nuclear program on a number of levels…it’s a fiasco guys It’s a FIASCO. And there Trump is, saying “No! No! It’s all cool guys! Seriously, look at this totally legit letter that Kim Jong Un sent me! That’s more legit than literally everything else!” I mean…is he just going crazy now or what? Because at a certain point, he can’t pretend everything is fine, can he?
Despite Donald Trump’s constant self back pats about his unprecedented success in North Korea, there seems to be a growing cause for concern that MAYBE Kim Jong Un isn’t as committed to de-nuclearizing the peninsula as he first might have seemed. In fact, intelligence reports seem to indicate the exact opposite, with him expanding nuclear research sites and funding into fuel for nuclear weapons. Basically the EXACT opposite of what Trump “negotiated”. Now, pettier people might go for a fun little “I told you so!” number complete with laughter and finger pointing, but I do feel like it’s appropriate to point out that he’s not the first guy to get that promise out of a Kim on the exact same thing that never came to fruition. Though it might ache a little harder for Trump considering he couldn’t help talking up how unprecedented this whole thing was. I just wonder how long Trump will feel it’s appropriate to stay in denial about it before he finally decides he’s been had?
So while Trump continues to toot the horn of Kim Jong Un, insisting that he’s a good, true leader with integrity and loyalty, Kim Jong Un continues to show why he is very much none of those things. Recently a story broke that Kim ordered the execution of a Lieutenant General. Not for insurrection or corruption. Not for going off the rails as a military leader. No, this man’s crime was feeding his soldiers and their families. The Fiend! Seriously, in case anyone had forgotten, Kim Jong Un is a cruel dictator who keeps his people scared, hungry, and traumatized. The very last thing anyone, most especially the leader of the free world, should be doing, is trying to sell the merits of a monster.
So, Trump reportedly gave Kim Jong Un his personal phone number, a direct line to him…which is weird. I get the feeling most leaders of nations actually allied to the US don’t have that, but a murderous dictator who has a history of sabotage and subterfuge, and of murdering family members, does. Now, there are some legit security concerns with that. There is a lot that a tech savvy person could do with a phone number, or if you’re not tech savvy, but do have an army of hackers at your disposal. But more than that, why would you want a crazy person having the ability to call you and chat? I feel like Trump should know better. If you’ve ever dated a crazy person who calls you at 3 in the morning to spread their crazy, then you know better.
So, naturally, the G7 summit went swimmingly. And by “swimmingly, I mean, it was a total disaster that further isolated the United States from our closest global allies. Not only did Donald Trump continue to push unnecessary and ill thought out tariffs against our friends, but then he called the leader of Canada a liar publicly. He’s really taking this idea of “nationalism” to an uncomfortable level. It’s like he found out that the people of North Korea are told to worship Kim Jong Un as a god, and Trump asked his advisors how that happened and is following a road map: discredit the free press? Check. Isolate the country from the rest of the world? Check. Make friends with classically evil dictator figures? Double check. I wonder what Kim and Trump talk about over dinner?
Listen, I think it’s fair to give Trump some credit over this North Korea thing. Not even just because Trump has a bad habit of escalating problems. Frankly, even if Trump was a more laid back character, North Korea likes to be provocative in their own right. So the fact that the summit in Singapore seemingly went off without a hitch, and that some semblance of peace was established for the near future is positive. I won’t try to say that isn’t a victory. BUT, Trump and staff is trying to establish his summit as some unprecedented victory, as if North Korea has never made these promises before and for less. In fairness, I didn’t know until I bothered to look. But the reality is that North Korea has agreed to scrap their nuclear program no less than half a dozen times in almost 30 years, going as far back as when Kim Il Sung was still alive. In 1994, the they agreed to scrap the program and stop researching plutonium and uranium enrichment for food aid. Trump promised to stop our military maneuvers in South Korea, something we’ve done for 50 years, for a re-affirmation of their earlier promises from the last 30 years, with no time table or verfication process, things they’ve given in the past. Hell they didn’t even bother to promise to stop their Uranium program. In fact, by all appearances…the great negotiator got out negotiated. Again, I want to point out, the world feels a little less close to nuclear destruction than it did a week ago, and that’s a positive development. But that Trump secured a loose promise of Denuclearization…well, that feels less impressive.
One of the hosts of Fox and Friends called Donald Trump a dictator, and I could not be more tickled about it. Seriously, I’ve watched the clip like 4 times, and I laughed equally hard every time. The only big shame is that the camera wasn’t on Abby Huntsman or any of the other jackasses, including Anthony “the Mooch” Scaramucci, at the time, so I couldn’t see them look deer in headlines. That would have been television magic on par with the moon landing. Huntsman later went on to clarify that it was just a slip of the tongue in the moment on Live TV. I’d like to offer an alternative explanation: She said what she thought was true at the time and had to be corrected later. I can’t prove that, but I think we all know it’s the truth in our heart of hearts.
Donald Trump really wants the world to know that he deserves the Nobel Peace prize. And honestly, he’s got some people on board with that rhetoric, and not just his usual sycophants. Listen, I don’t feel like I know how much Trump’s input had in how things are shaking about between both Korean states, but at this point, I don’t know that it’s fair to say that anyone but the people involved really know. South Korea’s president wouldn’t object to Trump receiving the honor. But from my perspective, it seems like Trump’s rhetoric could’ve done more to provoke war than peace. And despite his insistence that any positive developments out of North Korea are entirely his fault, maybe, just maybe, the delegations from South Korea and Japan have also, perhaps, been involved in making some headway. I dunno. I mean, surely Trump isn’t a braggart who likes to bolster his own accomplishments and prop up weak or non-existent victories. Right? But at the end of the day, I’m just worried it sets a poor precedent if you give a Nobel Peace Prize to people who threaten Nuclear Armageddon.
So Trump called Kim Jong Un “honorable”, and…well let’s just say it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. I mean, I kind of understand where Trump is coming from on this. He’s acknowledging that Kim has given the appearance of openness and open-mindedness preceding talks between world leaders, and that is not a bad thing, but to call him “honorable” feels like a total slap in the face to everyone who opposes him and to everyone under his tyrannical thumb. Seriously, North Korea is on the constant verge of starvation, citizens have very few rights, they’re encouraged to spy everyone around them, which no doubt makes trust impossible. They have gulags and re-education facilities that are basically torture factories, and at the tippy top of that pyramid is Kim Jong Un, a man who never had to work for anything, is pampered and treated basically like a god. “Honorable” is not a word that feels appropriate sitting anywhere near Kim Jong Un.