Melania, you could save us

It occurred to me today that Melania Trump could singlehandedly save the Union and be the most beloved First Lady in history. It might take her a few hours, tops.

All she would have to do is call a press conference, and during it denounce her husband’s presidency and behavior, and announce she is filing for divorce.

I don’t think the GOP has any possible countermove to that. Neither does Trump. Attacking her in any way would backfire. They would have to maintain a stony silence while she undercuts everything that he has claimed about himself.

I don’t think she has the guts, though. There is little chance she married this man while blind. And I’m sure such an action would violate her prenup. Trump would have been sure to muzzle her with a threatened lawsuit and a cutoff of funds.

However, I’m positive a grateful nation would make sure she wasn’t left penniless. Do the right thing, Melania. It is easy when you know what is right – much harder, though, when you don’t.

Let’s Just Buy Them

I wonder if anyone of the U.S. representatives that has bargained with North Korea in the past has considered, or even offered, to just buy their nukes to get the process started.

The estimates I’ve seen for the total cost of Kim’s nuclear program are between $1-3 billion. To the U.S., that’s spare change, so why not just buy them?

NK is thought to have about 60 nukes. Offer $500 million cash for each complete warhead successfully delivered to Oak Ridge for decommissioning. That’s $30 billion total, giving Kim at least a 1000% return on investment if he spent $3 billion to get them. An infusion of cash nearly three times his country’s GDP (12 billion) would be hard to turn down, even if he just uses it to build better torture chambers and more statues of himself.

To us, it would be completely worth it, even if we paid twice that. $60 billion is a bargain to avoid a nuclear exchange, and $30 billion is a steal.

Kim could try to game this. He could turn over 50 or so older warheads, collect $25 billion, and keep 10 or more modern ones, losing very little capacity to strike. But we could combine the offer with insistence on unrestricted inspection, not shipping or paying for them except all at once after confirming we have all of them, and sweeten the deal by placing zero restrictions or expectations on how the money could be spent and signing a peace treaty. Now that would be something.

In any case, as complicated as that would be to arrange, all that would really only be Step 1 of disarmament. Next would be deals for the missiles, the reactors, the technology, the facilities – all the apparatus to start it all easily would have to be destroyed and then constantly checked forever afterward. That’s what Trump can’t understand. This is not like buying a hotel. I struggle to come up with a sufficient parallel. The scope of Superfund comes to mind.


Some professional updates.

Another rejection came in, this one for a co-authored piece.

I can’t figure out what it was rejected for, though; the editor gives no hint, and the reviewers didn’t find anything serious, just trivia. One of them even praises it in their opening (misstating the thesis, of course) like it’s an acceptance or at least an R&R, and doesn’t undercut it afterward.

So my overall reaction is… huh. Like the other two rejections I’ve gotten this year, there is little evidence they understood the argument at all. I have communicated to my co-author, a grad student, that this is not surprising, and the long process continues.

In brighter news, I just completed a very lengthy, complicated R&R that I have been sweating for months, so the same day one comes back, another goes out! There is no other productive response to rejection, especially silly ones, but persistance.

Trump is played again

The master dealmaker just got played by a ruthless dictator 35 years his junior. This worse than I could have imagined; Trump gave away a meeting with a US President and major military exercises in exchange for… nothing. He threw South Korea and Japan, close allies for over sixty years, under the bus… for nothing.

Oh, wait. He did get something. Ego-stroking attention, and distraction from Mueller.

When Chamberlain left his last meeting with Hitler in ’38, he carrid triumphantly a piece of paper in his pocket that Hitler had signed, pledging their mutual desire for peace. Hitler commented to Ribbentrop after that the paper was of no significance. Guess what happened a year later.

You cannot count on a dictator to behave. Diplomacy, to them, is simply manuvering into a more advantageous position to maintain and exert their power. This is exactly what Kim has done. Now he is in a much better position to bargain with China.

Shitting on Canada and the rest of our Western allies over the weekend over tariffs and Russia wasn’t enough, I suppose. Now our Eastern allies are pissed too.

At what point does this kind of incompetence cross over into open treason?

Is it on or not?

I am still not convinced the summit is going to happen – and certainly not the way Trump wants it to – even though Kim and Trump are in Singapore right now.

When you’re an absolute dictator, you are worried about only one thing – maintaining power long-term. So the summit is in the end about power maintenance for Kim.

I have five bucks on a sudden withdrawal by Kim to make Trump lose face (which I have mentioned before), get points with China, and unsettle the South as part of a long con to get sanctions lowered for essentially nothing in return.

Hitler had three “summits” with Chamberlain in 1938.


One commissioner in particular, Justice Kennedy wrote, had crossed the line in saying that “freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust.”

Justice Kennedy wrote that “this sentiment is inappropriate for a commission charged with the solemn responsibility of fair and neutral enforcement of Colorado’s anti-discrimination law.”


The above statement that Kennedy is ruffled about is an correct statement of fact, as any historian of religion could testify. It is not a “sentiment.” One could also, say, accurately, that religion has been a great force for good. However, I doubt Kennedy would have had a problem with that particular “sentiment.”