The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Sound and Fury

Rich Galen

Thursday August 10, 2017

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    From Albuquerque, New Mexico
    (Not one of those many other Albuquerques)

  • A couple of weeks ago I was watching one of the morning cable shows and, when I decided I had a grasp on what they thought was important for the day, stepped into the shower.

  • When I got out of the shower the hosts and guests were chattering like prairie dogs on snake alert because Donald Trump had issued not one, not two but three Tweets.

  • Later that day, speaking to a reporter, I said "You can't take a shower without missing something out of this White House."

  • Yesterday morning was a little different. I actually turned the TV up loud enough so I could hear it in the shower (I also up-tuned my hearing aids) not to be aware of any Presidential Tweets, but to be aware of a Presidential declaration of war.

  • Happily there was none.

  • Trump uttered his "fire and fury" line at an event that was supposed to focus on the opioid addiction crisis in America.

  • The full quote (delivered, sitting with his arms crossed) was:
    "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and the fury like the world has never seen."

    He went on to say that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "has been very threatening beyond a normal state, and as I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before."

  • Thus, employing that unique verbal tic that Trump has, repeating himself. I believe he has developed it to give himself time to think of what he wants to say next. Sort of a Trumpian "uh."

  • After sounding like Macbeth in Act V; Scene 5, the opioid crisis was dismissed as the message of the day and "What-Did-He-Mean-and-How-Did-He-Mean-It" became the question of the day.

  • Being a veteran of these things, I also know that every booker on the planet was brought in to (a) call and cancel (known in the trade as "being bumped") the opioid experts they had booked for the afternoon and/or (b) call anyone who could find the Korean Peninsula on a map to come in and share their knowledge.

  • All this happened after I had done a segment on CNN International's "State of America" with Kate Boldoun (I'm huge in Jakarta) where we talked about Trump's dismal poll numbers and his having Tweeted some secret intelligence about the North Koreans loading cruise missiles onto boats.

  • One of the pro-Trump panelists said he was still in a "learning curve" with all this Presidential stuff. I said (and was Tweeted by a producer)
    "The learning curve is, 'Don't give away secrets.' How big of a learning curve is that?"

  • Trump upped the ante the next morning when he Tweeted:
    "My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before"

  • As Sam Cooke never sang:
    Don't know much about nuclear physics;
    Passed in high school using crib sheet gimmicks …

  • Ok. That's why I live in Alexandria, Virginia and not Nashville, Tennessee.

  • I am not alone in this thinking. Someone who may actually know what he is talking about, Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association is quoted in the Washington Post yesterday as saying, "The nuclear arsenal is the same as it was the day before Inauguration Day."

  • …Don't know what a slide rule is for.

  • But I do know that the curve - learning or otherwise - to "renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal" is longer than six months. Especially with Rick Perry as the Secretary of Energy, a post about which there has been some discussion he didn't understand included paternity over every nuclear weapon in our arsenal.

  • Kim Jong-un - who, if you don't include Donald J. Trump, has the worst hairdo of any leader of any country on the planet and maybe in the Milky Way Galaxy - threatened, not South Korea, but Guam.

  • We sort of own Guam which, according to the CIA World Factbook, has a population of 162,742. Compare and contrast with South Korea which has a population of about 51 million - MILLION.

  • We would almost certainly make North Korea a hole in the Sea of Japan if Kim attacked Guam, but I think it is telling he didn't bring South Korea into the discussion.

  • I also think it is safe to get into the shower.

  • That quote, by the way, from Act V; Scene 5 is the one that contains:
    Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more: it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to Act V; Scene 5 of Macbeth, to a video of Sam Cooke singing "What a Wonderful World", to the CIA summary of Guam, and to the WaPo article on the state of our nuclear arsenal.

    The Mullfoto is a shot of Concourse A yesterday morning at ATL.

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