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The Cohen Mutiny (Ep. 196)

This week the gang discusses Michael Cohen’s public congressional testimony and offer up their dream tickets for the Democratic nomination.

Kim-Trump Summit: Thank God It’s Over

by D.J. McGuire

About a week ago, I wondered if Trump would cave to Kim Jong-un at the Hanoi summit. It turns out he did. However, it wasn’t enough to get a “deal,” for which we should all be very grateful.

Prior to the summit, there was widespread concern about what Trump might offer the bloodthirsty tyrant of northern Korea. As it began, we found out (NBC News).

U.S. negotiators are no longer demanding that North Korea agree to disclose a full accounting of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs as part of talks this week between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, according to current and former senior U.S. officials.

The decision to drop, for now, a significant component of a potential nuclear deal suggests a reality that U.S. intelligence assessments have stressed for months is shaping talks as they progress: North Korea does not intend to fully denuclearize, which is the goal Trump set for his talks with Kim.

Negotiations between U.S. and North Korean officials in advance of Trump and Kim’s second summit…have focused heavily on a core component of Pyongyang’s program, the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, officials said.

To be fair, Donald Trump is notthe first president to decide a deal with the Kim family is worth jettisoning key priorities in the American interest. In this case, he was merely repeating the mistakes of his three predecessors.

Within hours, however, he ventured into territory none of them dared – and that wasn’t a good thing (NBC).

Kim Jong Un was not responsible for the horrific injuries sustained by American student Otto Warmbier, who died shortly after being released from 17 months of detention in North Korea, President Donald Trump said Thursday.

“Some really bad things happened to Otto — some really, really bad things. But he tells me that he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word,” Trump said, referring to the North Korean dictator.

The president added that Kim told him that he “felt very badly about it.”

There’s no way to spin this: that was utterly nonsensical and offensive to the Warmbier family – who made their feelings clear afterwards (NBC).

“We have been respectful during this summit process. Now we must speak out. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto,” Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a statement. “Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that.”

The concessions and “lavish praise” were not followed by a codification of surrender, although Trump did cancel a military exercise with South Korea (Fox News via Twitter), likely to make Kim happy.

So while the summit was not the failure it could have been it certainly wasn’t a success. Avoiding a bad deal can be done without any meetings. All one has to do is look at the disastrous proposal from the other side and turn it down. Instead, we got … well, we got the aforementioned – with some added “likes,” if you will, afterwards (Fox News via Matt Gertz).

A few years back, the UN Human Rights Commissionerreported on the regime led by the fellow Trump “likes.” Now, I get the “UN” and “Human Rights” have been hard to say in the same breath sometimes, but this paragraph in the report says it all.

“These crimes against humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation,” the report says, adding that “Crimes against humanity are ongoing in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea because the policies, institutions and patterns of impunity that lie at their heart remain in place.”

Oh, and they developed and produced nuclear weapons despite promising not to do so in 1985 … and in 1994 … and in 2007.

Donald Trump has a horrible blind spot when it comes to tyrants: from Vladimir Putin to Kim Jong-un. The only nice thing to say about his meeting with the latter is that it could have been a lot worse …

… but that was a reason not to have the summit in the first place.

D.J. McGuire – a self-described progressive conservative – has been part of the More Perfect Union Podcast since 2015. He is also a contributor to Bearing Drift.

The Kim Summit: Is Trump Caving?

by D.J. McGuire

From The Art of the Dealapparently to the Art of the Cave (CNN):

As President Donald Trump prepares to meet face-to-face with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un for a second time, his administration is weighing backing off an earlier demand that North Korea agree during the upcoming summit to make a full accounting of its nuclear and missile programs as a prerequisite for US concessions, multiple administration officials tell CNN.

Keep in mind, without a full accounting, we will have no idea if the Kim regime will have stopped its nuclear weapons production, let alone whether it will have truly denuclearized — as every Administration has demanded since Reagan.

Then again, it’s quite possible the regime could get what it wants (an end to economic sanctions) without even pretendingpromising to denuclearize (same link):

On NBC News this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that some US sanctions would be removed when “We’re confident we’ve substantially reduced that risk” from North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. In June of last year, at the time of the first Trump-Kim summit, Secretary Pompeo tied sanctions relief to full denuclearization.
“We are going to get complete denuclearization; only then will there be relief from the sanctions,” Pompeo said in June.

Last summit, of course, Trump “shocked top advisers by agreeing to cancel joint U.S.-South Korea war exercises, which was seen as a major concession to Pyongyang.” This time, they clearly won’t be very surprised, as Pompeo et al are already preparing the ground for a cave … in particular Stephen Biegun, who already hinted that some sanctions could be dropped soon (Washington Post).

Add to that all of the whispers of Trump looking to pull American troops out of South Korea (although, to be fair they are only whispers), and it looks like Trump will be the most dovish American president in history regarding North Korea.

Given the regime’s close ties to Beijing and Moscow, appeasing it at the expense of our allies in South Korea and Japan would be a terrible mistake.

D.J. McGuire – a self-described progressive conservative – has been part of the More Perfect Union Podcast since 2015. He is also a contributor to Bearing Drift.

Republican Snowflakes (Ep. 151)

This episode of the MPU podcast looks at comedian Michelle Wolf’s turn as the headliner at The White House Correspondence Dinner, dictator Kim Jong-un’s turn as a statesman in South Korea, President Donald Trump’s turn as a guest on Fox and Friends, and Bill Cosby’s turn as a convicted sex offender. Amazingly, the only one who came off well was Kim Jong-un! What does that say about the world we live in?

Don’t forget to check out OPEN FIRE POLITICS on Facebook.

Stormy Weather (Ep. 144)

This episode of The More Perfect Union podcast covers Trump’s confusing tariff proposal, this week’s Pennsylvania special election, the growing Stormy Daniels scandal, and whether Sen. Elizabeth Warren is really going to take a knee in 2020. Will Greg be running for president in 2020? Listen carefully to find out.

Nuclear Memo War

by Kevin Kelton

By approving the reckless release of the politically-explosive Devin Nunes memo, President Trump has now demonstrated that he cannot be trusted to heed urgent warnings from his senior advisors. He ignored the dire pleas of his FBI Director, Deputy Attorney-General, Assistant Attorney General, intelligence chiefs, Senators John Thune and Lindsey Graham (both loyal Trump confidants), and probably a few White House higher-ups that we don’t know of yet. When the DOJ and FBI warned him it would be an “extraordinarily reckless” act, the president reportedly erupted in anger and still acted on his reckless impulses.

So how can we trust he will listen to his senior advisors’ warnings not to release a nuclear military strike if that day ever comes? Who is to say that Jim Mattis or HR McMaster will have any more sway over him than the FBI Director,  DAG, and AAG that Trump himself handpicked?

With that in mind, Republicans and others now enabling this reckless president should watch carefully how Trump navigates the next few months. Watch how he responds to a counter-strike memo from Democrats. Will he impulsively escalate the battle? Does he feel the need to always one-up his enemy, always taking the fight to the next level regardless of warnings or consequences? Will he try to fire Rod Rosenstein or Mueller himself, indifferent to the warnings of senior staff?

If so, is this the behavior of a man you truly entrust with the security of your country and your family?

If the 45th president can’t be trusted to suppress his worst urges in political warfare, what makes you think he’d be able to do it in real warfare? The pressure Trump is under from the special counsel investigation is beyond intense. It’s pretty clear to any objective observer that he’s having some kind of nervous breakdown (as most guilty parties do when the police are banging at their front door). If a mannered and proper adversary like Robert Mueller is breaking him, how would he hold up psychologically against a wily, no-rules nemesis who can read Trump’s neurotic wiring and manipulate him like a puppet master working a marionette?

Because if you think Kim Jong-un isn’t watching and reading how Trump handles all this, guess again. Every foreign leader is watching how this game plays out, reading Trump’s weaknesses and his “tells.” Trump is trying to bluff his way out of the Russia scandal with a losing hand, and his pupils and brow sweat are obvious for everyone to see.

So Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, John Kelly, and every senator, congress person and cabinet officer, pay close attention now. Do you really trust this man under pressure? Is he someone whose worst instincts you’ll be able to contain when the going gets extremely rough?

It’s not a joke or a wild hypothetical. We just saw him launch a reckless nuclear first strike on his political enemies. The next one may be with missiles, not memos.

The Price Is Wrong (Ep. 120)

Episode 120 of “The More Perfect Union” podcast covers Trump’s various feuds with the Mayor of San Juan, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tom Price, Rex Tillerson, Kim “Little Rocket Man” Jong-un, Cuba, China, Canada, Boeing, the estate tax, John Kasich, Bob Corker, and even Alec Baldwin. And that was one of his good  weeks!

Like what you heard? Subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a podcast. 

And if you like talking politics, join us in our Facebook political debate group, OPEN FIRE, where you can discuss news and politics with Kevin, D.J., Greg, Rebekah, Cliff, Molly, Helena, and lots of other smart, fun people.

Find us on Twitter at @MPUpodcast

Labor Day Missile Sale! (Ep. 116)

The Labor Day episode of The More Perfect Union podcast covers labor unions in America, missiles in North Korea, flood waters in Texas, and Twerkers in our fan club.

Like what you heard? Subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a podcast! 

And if you like talking politics, join us in our Facebook political debate group, OPEN FIRE, where you can discuss news and politics with Kevin, D.J., Greg, Rebekah, Cliff, Molly, Helena, and lots of other smart, fun people.

Alt-Wrong (Ep. 113)

On this week’s More Perfect Union podcast, the gang looks at the constitutional right of peaceable assembly in the wake of the deadly white nationalism riot in Charlottesville, the fear factor caused by the Trump Administration’s nuclear showdown with North Korea, and the potential repercussions from the FBI raid of Paul Manafort’s home.

Like what you heard? Subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a podcast! 

And if you like talking politics, join us in our Facebook political debate group, OPEN FIRE, where you can discuss news and politics with Kevin, D.J., Greg, Rebekah, Cliff, Molly, Helena, and lots of other smart, fun people.

Chinese Territorial Disputes and North Korean ICBM launches: One Heck of a Coincidence

by D.J. McGuire

In mid-June, the Chinese Communist Party faced two threats to its ever-growing geopolitical ambitions. Less than a month later, its North Korean ally test-fired its first missile capable of hitting the continental United States.

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Mother Of All Bombs (Ep. 92)

Episode 92 of The More Perfect Union podcast looks at Trump’s potential plays in Syria, Korea, and the Fed. (And which one he’s likely to nuke first.) Then the gang has some laughs over Sean Spicer’s most recent verbal gaffes and shares their thoughts on the airline industry in light of the United Airlines passenger ejection assault.

Like what you heard? Subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a podcast! 

And if you like talking politics, join us in our Facebook political debate group, OPEN FIRE, where you can discuss news and politics with Kevin, D.J., Greg, Rebekah, Cliff, Molly, Helena, and lots of other smart, fun people.

More Perfect, After Dark: War and Peace (Ep. 87)

This special “After-Dark” episode takes listeners behind the scenes to hear what the hosts talk about after the podcast ends. This week they discuss the North Korean nuclear threat and how it compares to past situations in Iraq and Syria, how Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is handling his new role on the world stage, and whether President Trump is up to the task of international diplomacy.

Like what you heard? Subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a podcast! 

And if you like talking politics, join us in our Facebook political debate group, OPEN FIRE, where you can discuss news and politics with D.J., Greg, Rebekah, Kevin, Cliff, Molly, Helena, and lots of other smart, fun people.