The Thoughts and Musings of Tom Allain

If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it

Stephen Colbert
(b.1964)

my quotation file is here
Tom
at Safeco Field

Email Tom

What is Tom Reading?

Tom's Homilies 2013

Tom's Homilies 2014

Tom's Homilies 2015

Tom's Homilies 2016

Tom's Homilies 2017

Luke







Give to DonorsChoose

Archive for the ‘Trump Chronicles’ Category

The Trump Chronicles, Volume 68: The Ongoing Unraveling of the Story of Mr. Comey’s Firing

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Today marks a week since the firing of FBI director James Comey. It’s been quite a week and it’s hard to imagine a week that’s shown better how President Trump can create chaos.

My best example comes from the series of explanations President Trump gave for the firing:

  1. It wasn’t my idea. In the letter Mr. Trump sent to Mr. Comey, he claimed he was simply responding to the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein. This didn’t last long as Mr. Rosenstein threatened to resign unless the White House admitted that he wrote his memo at the direction of the President (he has since denied this).
  2. It was because of his treatment of Hillary Clinton during the Presidential campaign. This didn’t last long as there was tape of Mr. Trump praising Mr. Comey last October 31st. Last Thursday Mr. Trump sat down with NBC News anchor Lester Holt and said this (I did some editing for clarity the previous link takes you to the interview):
    Mr. Trump: [Rob Rosenstein] made a recommendation. He’s highly respected. Very good guy, very smart guy. And the Democrats like him. The Republicans like him. He had made a recommendation. But regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it. And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself — I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.

    In other words he didn’t act on Mr. Robenstein’s recommendation because he had already decided to fire Mr. Comey (and fired him for a different reason).

  3. Mr. Comey led the FBI poorly. In the same interview with Mr. Holt, Mr Trump said this:
    “Look, he’s a showboat. He’s a grandstander. The FBI has been in turmoil. You know that, I know that, everybody knows that. You take a look at the FBI a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil — less than a year ago. It hasn’t recovered from that.” It’s worth noting that the FBI’s interim director, Andrew McCabe said this: “I can tell you that I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard. I have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and his integrity and it has been the greatest privilege and honor in my professional life to work with him. I can tell you also that Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does until this day. We are a large organization, we are 36,500 people across this country, across this globe. We have a diversity of opinions about many things, but I can confidently tell you that the majority — the vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to Director Comey.

It’s been my experience that when someone gives me several reasons for an action or decision, it’s usually because he doesn’t want me to know the real reason. Today we learned that in February Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey to end the Russia probe. It’s not a stretch to think that Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey out of disloyalty. Mr. Comey chose serve his country over his boss. If this is true, bravo Mr. Comey.

The Trump Chronicles, Volume 67: You Really Don’t Get Why We Think Firing James Comey Was a Bad Idea

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

Dear Don:

Wow, it’s hard sometimes to understand your thinking. Tuesday evening you shocked us with the news that you fired FBI director James Comey.

Mr. Comey has directed the FBI since his appointment on September 4, 2013. He was appointed by President Obama for a ten year term. While FBI directors serve at the pleasure of the President, it’s assumed that they will fulfill their term, and the ten year term assumed they would not be dependent on the occupant of the White House.

Yeah, that’s not what happened. During the campaign, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was investigated for her use of a private email server at her home in New York. On July 5, 2016 Director Comey announced that while Secretary Clinton showed poor judgement in using this private email server, neither she nor her staff broke any laws. This robbed the Republican party of what they convinced would lead to her being led off in handcuffs. Well, they kept making that charge, but we all knew that wouldn’t happen.

On October 28th, days before the election, Mr. Comey wrote a letter to Congress that emails surfaced that may reopen the investigation. Even though nothing in those emails implicated Secretary Clinton, and even though Mr. Comey announced (two days before the election), “never mind” it impacted how some voted.

Many of us, including the respected blog Five Thirty Eight, feel his October 28th letter cost Secretary Clinton the election.

At the time you cheered Director Comey, as you can find here. As a matter of fact, on January 22nd (two days after your inauguration) you hugged him.

But when the FBI began to look at possible ties between your campaign and Russia, things began to unravel. And that’s where it gets interesting. In March Mr. Comey refused to back up your false claim that President Obama wiretapped you.

But I suspect Mr. Comey’s exit happened when he requested more funding for the investigation of Russia’s meddling in the election. Interestingly enough, Mr. Comey approached deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. I attempted to provide a hotlink, but when I clicked on his webpage I got this broken link.

You see, Don, I think Mr. Comey wasn’t fired for any other reason than this: he was getting close to finding a link between you, your staff, and Russia. The fact that your explanation of the events of the last 48 hours continues to unravel makes my case as well as anything can.

Seriously, Don, call me. You’re running out of time.

The Trump Chronicles, Volume 66: Apparently You’re Not Smarter Than a Fifth Grader

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Dear Don:

Don, Don, Don, what are we going to do with you? A few days ago you sat down with Salena Zito of the Washington Examiner and said this about the Civil War:

I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw with regard to the Civil War, he said ‘There’s no reason for this.’ People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?

I’m still wrapping my head around this quote, but I think you were trying to make the point that if President Andrew Jackson were still President in 1861 he could have prevented the Civil War.

When it was pointed out to you that President Jackson left office in 1837 and died in 1845, you doubled down on Twitter and claimed that “President Andrew Jackson, who died 16 years before the Civil War started, saw it coming and was angry. Would never have let it happen!”

Yeah, that’s not true. President Jackson owned slaves and almost certainly would have opposed the election of Abraham Lincoln and supported succession.

OK, you’re a real estate developer and I’m a history buff and I’m trying to be understanding about this. I don’t expect all of us to know our history, but I do expect our President to have a basic understanding of the history of the nation he leads.

So Don, let me school you on the causes of the Civil War. It’s really all about slavery.

We really need to begin with the first few years after the Declaration of Independence. Starting in 1781 we were governed by the Articles of Confederation. Slavery, which began in the American Colonies in 1619 had, by the 1780s, survived almost exclusively in the Southern States.

But the Declaration of Independence declared that all men (and we hope women) are created equal in the eyes of God. The Articles of Confederation, written in 1777, said nothing about slavery, but soon our founders met to “update” the Articles in 1787.

This led to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. Delegates from all thirteen states grappled with values, dreams, hopes, fears, and their faith. In the end they created a Constitution that we all admire and promise to protect.

But while valuing separation of church and state, free speech, and countless other interests, they failed to decide the future of slavery. Southern delegates, like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson recognized the irony of owning slaves in a “free” country but couldn’t bring themselves to call for abolition. To use a modern term, they kicked the can down the road.

But by the early 1800s our new nation faced the can they couldn’t kick: While the Constitution did not prohibit slavery, it decreed that slaves counted as 3/5 of a person for the purposes of the census. This benefited Southern slave owners as 60% of their slaves were counted in the census but didn’t vote.

You see, Don, the Southern economy depended primarily on agriculture, and with the invention of the cotton gin in 1794, cotton became incredibly valuable and created the large plantation system. Most Southern farmers didn’t own slaves but the Southern economy depended on slave labor.

At the same time our nation was growing. Until 1803 the Mississippi River constituted our Western border; that year we purchased the Louisiana Territory that brought us to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. By 1853 we owned all the land we now call the 48 contiguous states.

And that created a problem. Everyone knew that these vast territories would eventually coalesce into states, but the Southern (slave) states feared that the newly formed abolitionist movement, founded in the Northern states, would gain enough influence in Congress to abolish slavery. They demanded that Western expansion allow for the expansion of slavery, at least in the Southern territories.

By 1850 Congress attempted to admit states in pairs: one slave state and one free state.

But the election of 1860 made war inevitable. This is hard to imagine but the Democrats divided over the issue of slavery. Northern Democrats didn’t want slavery to expand West and backed Stephen A. Douglas. Southern Democrats backed John Breckenridge who found the expansion of slavery as necessary for their survival.

Democrats split their vote between Stephen Douglas and John Breckenridge, and Republicans voted for Abraham Lincoln. As he was an opponent of slavery, 11 states seceded.

Don, I’m telling you this because this war was inevitable. You may admire President Jackson but he would have been more of a problem than a solution. He was a Democrat and a slave owner.

The Trump Chronicles, Volume 65: Your First Hundred Days Used To Matter to You

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

The first 100 days of any President’s term mark the first milestone is his term; this tradition first gained notoriety in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first term, beginning in 1933.

Other than being a round number, the number 100 is fairly arbitrary, a point President Trump has tried to distance himself from, calling it “ridiculous.” But at the same time you can see on the White House website that he’s bragging about all his accomplishments in his first 100 days.

People like me who continue to pay attention and attempt to keep him accountable point to a speech he made last year on October 22, 2016 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. History buffs like me revere Gettysburg as a turning point in the Civil War, and for the Gettysburg Address delivered by President Lincoln on November 19th of that year.

On that hallowed ground candidate Trump outlined his plans for his first day in office. You can read the speech here but let me highlight his promises:

  • proposing a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress
  • directing a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health)
  • directing a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated
  • directing a 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service
  • directing a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government
  • proposing a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.
  • announcing the intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205
  • announcing our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • directing the Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator
  • directing the Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately
  • lifting the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal
  • lifting the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward
  • cancelling billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure
  • cancelling every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama
  • beginning the process of selecting a replacement for Justice Scalia from one of the 20 judges on my list, who will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States
  • cancelling all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities
  • removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back
  • suspending immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered extreme vetting.

In the next paragraph he outlined what he would do in his first 100 days:

1. Middle Class Tax Relief And Simplification Act. An economic plan designed to grow the economy 4% per year and create at least 25 million new jobs through massive tax reduction and simplification, in combination with trade reform, regulatory relief, and lifting the restrictions on American energy. The largest tax reductions are for the middle class. A middle-class family with 2 children will get a 35% tax cut. The current number of brackets will be reduced from 7 to 3, and tax forms will likewise be greatly simplified. The business rate will be lowered from 35 to 15 percent, and the trillions of dollars of American corporate money overseas can now be brought back at a 10 percent rate.

2. End The Offshoring Act Establishes tariffs to discourage companies from laying off their workers in order to relocate in other countries and ship their products back to the U.S. tax-free.

3. American Energy & Infrastructure Act. Leverages public-private partnerships, and private investments through tax incentives, to spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years. It is revenue neutral.

4. School Choice And Education Opportunity Act. Redirects education dollars to gives parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. Ends common core, brings education supervision to local communities. It expands vocational and technical education, and make 2 and 4-year college more affordable.

5. Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act. Fully repeals Obamacare and replaces it with Health Savings Accounts, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines, and lets states manage Medicaid funds. Reforms will also include cutting the red tape at the FDA: there are over 4,000 drugs awaiting approval, and we especially want to speed the approval of life-saving medications.

6. Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act. Allows Americans to deduct childcare and elder care from their taxes, incentivizes employers to provide on-site childcare services, and creates tax-free Dependent Care Savings Accounts for both young and elderly dependents, with matching contributions for low-income families.

7. End Illegal Immigration Act Fully-funds the construction of a wall on our southern border with the full understanding that the country Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such wall; establishes a 2-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for illegally re-entering the U.S. after a previous deportation, and a 5-year mandatory minimum for illegally re-entering for those with felony convictions, multiple misdemeanor convictions or two or more prior deportations; also reforms visa rules to enhance penalties for overstaying and to ensure open jobs are offered to American workers first.

8. Restoring Community Safety Act. Reduces surging crime, drugs and violence by creating a Task Force On Violent Crime and increasing funding for programs that train and assist local police; increases resources for federal law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors to dismantle criminal gangs and put violent offenders behind bars.

9. Restoring National Security Act. Rebuilds our military by eliminating the defense sequester and expanding military investment; provides Veterans with the ability to receive public VA treatment or attend the private doctor of their choice; protects our vital infrastructure from cyber-attack; establishes new screening procedures for immigration to ensure those who are admitted to our country support our people and our values

10. Clean up Corruption in Washington Act. Enacts new ethics reforms to Drain the Swamp and reduce the corrupting influence of special interests on our politics.

It’s little wonder he’s not sure how he feels about the 100 days.

The Trump Chronicles, Volume 64: Are You Seriously Complaining that Your Job is Hard?

Friday, April 28th, 2017

Dear Don:

I feel no joy in writing this post, but I read the interview that Reuters published yesterday. One of your quotations struck me: “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know I’ve been telling you for months that serving the American people as our President is difficult. Last December 11th I raised the concern that you were not taking advantage of daily briefings. Five days later I suggested that it wasn’t a good idea to ignore intelligence that you didn’t like. On February 9th I pointed out how little you know about the balance of power and the role of the judiciary in our government. The next day I pointed out that your ignorance of the START treaty puts us all at risk.

I could go on and on, but here’s my point: you ran on a platform where you claimed that you were smart enough to not need to learn how to govern. Now we find that you believed all along that running our country would be easier than turning a small fortune into a big one in real estate. Last year I suggested that if we look only at the numbers I’ve been more of a success than you have. Don, I tell you that my father, who worked for the federal government from 1953 to 1988, knew something you’re still figuring out: government service is complicated. It requires a work ethic, and willingness to learn how to do the job. I’m proud of him because putting food on our table meant he needed to learn, to listen, to hone his skills, and to do a good job. And he didn’t spend every weekend playing golf at Mar a Lago.

Seriously, call me.

The Trump Chronicles, Volume 63: Tread Carefully, Mr. Trump

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Dear Don:

As I write this we appear surrounded by possible international crises, and frankly I’ve been expecting it. Back in December I expressed concern that you don’t do your homework and believe yourself smart enough not to need to. My concern centered on the real possibility that another country will test you and you won’t know what to do.

Now I see that you are sabre rattling on North Korea, even to the point of lying about an “armada” heading their way. Even though Iran has complied with the terms of our nuclear treaty you insist that you will review it. In August of 2015 you called the treaty “terrible.” You ordered a bombing in Syria (using tomahawk missiles) after watching pictures of dying children. I could go on but I think you see my point.

Last month I wrote about the 100th anniversary of the US entrance into World War I. I didn’t write then about the reasons but it’s worth a look. Simply put, World War I resulted from a series of secret agreements, a push by crumbling empires to appear relevant, and a general disregard for the human cost of war.

Amazingly it all began with a small spark that ignited an immense powder keg. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was crumbling but still insisted on exerting influence on the nations of Bosnia and Herzegovina. A 19 year old Serbian named Gavrilo Princip (1894-1918) shot to death Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, next in line to the Austro Hungarian throne.

Austria-Hungary soon declared war on Serbia, and within weeks World War I formed between the Central Powers and the Allies.

On an autobiographical note, my wife’s grandfather was born in Austria-Hungary in 1882. When he was 20 his father put him on a ship to America to avoid his being drafted into the army for yet another war. It went well for him, and for me.

Don, my point is this: World War I casualties list 16,500,000 dead and 20,000,000 wounded. And it began with secret treaties and posturing between large nations. And the world went to war when a small spark from a 19 year hold hit a mountain of gunpowder.

The Trump Chronicles, Volume 62: Sean Spicer And Amateur Hour Part 4

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Yesterday we saw the Press Secretary take Amateur Hour to a new high. Past recipients of the Amateur Hour award include Kellyanne Conway, President Trump, and Presidential Aide Stephen Miller. We can now add Sean Spicer to that list.

The full transcript of the briefing is here. In the course of his press conference he was asked what made President Trump think he can get President Putin to pull back his support for President Assad. Mr. Spicer responded:

I think a couple things. You look — we didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II. You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons. So you have to, if you’re Russia, ask yourself is this a country that you and a regime that you want to align yourself with? You have previously signed on to international agreements rightfully acknowledging that the use of chemical weapons should be out of bounds by every country. To not stand up to not only Assad, but your own word, should be troubling. Russia put their name on the line. So it’s not a question of how long that alliance has lasted, but at what point do they recognize that they are now getting on the wrong side of history in a really bad way really quickly. And again, look at the countries that are standing with them: Iran, Syria, North Korea. This is not a team you want to be on. And I think that Russia has to recognize that while they may have had an alliance with them, that the lines that have been crossed are ones that no country should ever want to see another country cross. (italics mine)

Later in the briefing he was asked to clarify his remarks on how Hitler did not sink the level of using chemical weapons. Here is his response:

I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no — he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing, I mean, there was clearly — I understand your point, thank you. Thank you, I appreciate that. There was not — he brought them into the Holocaust center, I understand that. But I’m saying in the way that Assad used them, where he went into towns, dropped them down to innocent — into the middle of towns. It was brought — so the use of it — I appreciate the clarification there. That was not the intent

.

In fairness he later apologized and recognized that he violated the First Rule of Politics: Never compare anything to Hitler.

And while I accept his apology, I’m more troubled by his clarification that his original statement. We all know that millions of Jews (and others) were gassed by Zyklon B, a chemical weapon. And I can understand how, in the heat of the moment, he forgot about that. But when asked to clarify (and when he could have easily admitted he was mistaken), he spoke about how President Assad’s crime was more serious than Hitler’s because Hitler didn’t use it on “his own people” and that Assad “dropped them down to innocent, in the middle of towns.”

Whether he intended it or not, Mr. Spicer claimed that Jews and others in the concentration camps (or the Holocaust center) were not “his own people.” This plays exactly into Hitler’s claim the Jews were not “our people” but outsiders.

Welcome to the Amateur Hour club.

The Trump Chronicles, Volume 61: What Exactly Is Going On In Syria?

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Dear President Trump:

In my last post I suggested that your are learning that you have a hard job. It got me thinking that you might need to understand what’s going on there. Here is my analysis (you’re welcome):

In 2011 we witnessed the Arab Spring. It began in Tunisia and spread to Egypt, Lybia, Yemen, and Syria. They all attempted to overthrow dictators and return power to the people.

The Arab Spring has mixed results, but for our purpose let’s concentrate on Syria. The people of Syria certainly had motivation. Since 2000 they have lived under the oppression of President Bashar al-Assad; he succeeded his father Hafez al-Assad who ruled from 1970 until his death. By all accounts Bashar is a chip off the old block: Hafez was just as cruel as his son.

This might be a good place to talk about the role of religion in all this. The majority of Syrians are Muslim but like Christianity, there are divisions within Islam. For example, I am Catholic and you are Presbyterian, but we are both Christians.

Almost from its beginning, Muslims have divided into two groups: Sunni and Shia. Most Muslims are Sunni, but there are pockets of Shia, including Iran.

In Syria a small group of Shia Muslims branched off to a group called Alawites. Mr. Assad and his family are Alawite.

So what does this mean? If you hear nothing else from this post hear this: the war in Syria is a three way war. Three groups all battle for victory, and claim foreign sponsors. Let me try to explain this as best I can:

  • Mr Assad leads the first group. As I said he is an Alawite and claims Syria’s only future lies in a continuation of his regime. He believes everyone who opposes him wants to destroy Syria and his backing comes from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Syrian resistance composes the second group. They viewed the Arab Spring and saw an opportunity to overthrow Mr. Assad. Three of four of them identify as Sunni Muslims and believe they have suffered from oppression at the hands of the Assad’s. The United States supports this group.
  • Finally, ISIS rounds out these groups. They are Shia and view both Alawites and Sunnis as infidels and want Syria to comprise part of a larger caliphate. They are backed by Iran.

Yes, Mr. Trump, this is complicated. Your fawning over Mr. Putin may well come back to haunt you as you have sent your Secretary of State to scold Mr. Putin. It likely won’t work. In any three way conflict, an alliance between two of them will almost certainly defeat the third. If Iran and Russia join forces, Syria may become a caliphate that none of us want.

Last September you told us you had a secret plan to destroy ISIS. At the time you refused to reveal it out of a fear that one of your opponents would appropriate it.

You no longer have opponents for your office. Maybe now is the time to reveal it.

Call me.

The Trump Chroncles, Volume 60: Here’s What’s Good and What’s Bad About The Syrian Bombing

Monday, April 10th, 2017

Let me being by saying this: no act of war is good. War is sometimes necessary but it’s never good. I write this blog post knowing that “good” means “the best of a series of bad choices.”

A few days ago I spoke about how President Trump is learning that his election propelled him into a tough job. He ran on a platform of America First, meaning that regardless of our history or our place in the world, we bear no responsibility for atrocities outside of our border.

But inventions in the 19th and 20th Centuries (telegraphs, telephones, cameras, radios, televisions, computers, the internet, social media, OK, you get the idea) provide us access to events thousands of miles from us within seconds. And this access brings with it a moral compass (religious or not) that commands that we care about people we don’t know and do what we can to defeat injustice and value human life regardless of where they live and what they look like.

In the 21st Century our recognition that we know what evil rulers are doing to their own people and it matters to us. As Americans who care about human rights we cannot ignore what is happening in Syria because if it can happen to them, it can happen to us. Their lives matter to us and once we learn of their plight we cannot look away or pretend it isn’t happening.

And so for of us who weep for those who died at the hand of President Bashar Al Assad we applaud last week’s airstrike. We applaud Mr. Trump’s decision to move away from his belief that we don’t care about what happens outside our borders.

But, at the same time, I worry about the path ahead of us. Both President Assad and Russian President Putin condemned these actions I’m not certain Mr. Trump has a plan for what happens next. I recognize that Mr. Trump was horrified by pictures of dead and dying children from Sarin attacks from Syria, but what does he do next?

Mr. Trump proclaimed last week that he is not the “president of the world.” On March 30th Secretary of State Rex Tillerson proclaimed that only the Syrian people should decide who leads them.

Let me state simply my concern: President Trump ordered the attack on Syria because he saw horrific pictures on Faux News. It’s likely more complex than this. Presidential advisor Steve Bannon argues against foreign intervention and almost certainly opposed the strike. On the other end of this issue, Presidential son in law Jared Kushner certainly argued in favor of it. The last few weeks have shown that Mr. Trump listens to his son in law more than his advisor and I’m certain this contributed to the strike.

That said, I’m not certain anyone in the White House has a 2nd step to a policy nobody seems to articulate. In the days since the strike Mr. Assad has continued to murder his own people.

A “first strike” is the easy part. Now comes the hard part: What do we do now?

The Trump Chronicles, Volume 59: This Is Exactly What We Feared

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Last month I wrote about President Trump’s admission that he was surprised that health care was complicated. This alarmed many of us as he appeared to the be last American who understood this.

Alas, he campaigned on a platform that claimed everything was easy for him and if we voted for him he would fix everything. Famously he announced that I alone can fix it, speaking about all the troubles we face.

He told us he had a plan to defeat ISIS a year ago. Several times he’s promised to defeat North Korea without telling us how. He continues to blame President Obama for the carnage in Syria but promises a solution without telling us what it is.

In the last few days he’s learned that Syria is also complicated. As I write this he is ordering an airstrike against a Syrian airfield. I appreciate he is choosing some action instead of complaining about the “mess” he inherited. But I fear he thinks this will end the conflict in Syria. It won’t. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad won’t surrender and Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t change his support from President Assad to President Trump.

And if Syria isn’t enough, Mr. Trump is also dealing with an ongoing crisis in North Korea. President Kim Jong Un clearly allows his people to starve while he concentrates on building a nuclear weapon that can reach the United States.

As I write this, Chinese President Xi Jinping is meeting with Mr. Trump in Florida. Simply put, only China can seriously pressure North Korea to do anything, but China has little reason to do so. North Korea has no desire to bomb China and China fears not a nuclear North Korea but a collapsing North Korea. Anything that destabilizes North Korea runs the risk of creating the kind of chaos that would cause thousands, and perhaps millions, of starving North Koreans to pour into China. Clearly China doesn’t want this, and Mr. Trump could probably only suggest they build a wall.

Being President is hard, and I think Mr. Trump is only now recognizing this.