When Will President Trump Bomb North Korea?

By Dr. Glenn Mollette

Americans hope that President Trump and his team can resolve the North Korean tension. Nobody wants anyplace in America to be struck by an atomic or hydrogen bomb. We are not totally clear on what North Korea can do with a missile but it is growing clearer their program has advanced and growing stronger almost day by day. Although few people seem to believe North Korea has a hydrogen bomb.

We were blindsided by Japan December 7, 1941 when they attacked Pearl Harbor. The Japanese killed 2,335 servicemen. An additional 1,143 were wounded. They attacked us for 110 minutes from 7:55 a.m. until 9:45 a.m. Hundreds of Japanese planes sank or damaged 21 warships and destroyed more than 150 planes on nearby airfields. That was a horrendous day in our history that we never want repeated.

There is no way to be blindsided by North Korea. Kim Jong -un doesn’t like the United States and has not made that a secret. North Korea appears to have the ability to hit major US cities according to experts with their increasingly developed missiles.

What has not been determined is how heavy a payload the missile was carrying in its most recent test. According to experts the heavier the payload the shorter the range. Experts have estimated that test missile had the ability to hit Alaska.

The state run Korean Central News Agency said Saturday that the most recent missile test was a Hwasongt-14, the same missile tested earlier this month. The news agency also added that Washington should regard the launch as a “grave warning.” Kim Jong -un has been quoted saying “the whole US mainland” is now within North Korea’s reach. He called Pyongyang’s weapons program “a precious asset” that cannot be reversed or replaced, according to the agency.

In light of North Korea’s advancing missile program what should President Trump and his current leadership do?

We must continue to work with China and Japan and all others to impose economic sanctions on North Korea. Diplomacy must always be the first effort. We aren’t interested in hurting North Korea. We aren’t their enemy. Unfortunately, they have not only threatened our nation verbally but they are demonstrating an advancing ability to hurt us.

Eventually our President will have to do what no one in our country wants to happen and that is make an effort to destroy Yongbyron which is North Korea’s nuclear facility built in 1965. Some reports indicate there may be as many as twenty nuclear bombs at Yongbyron and that North Korea has enough highly enriched Uranium to make six to eight additional nuclear bombs a year.

The repercussions of us making an effort to destroy or greatly impair Yongbryon and their missile launching capabilities could greatly jeopardize South Korea’s safety. Almost 30,000 American troops are in South Korea. North Korea could in probability launch some kind of attack against South Korea which could be catastrophic.

We come back to the bottom line and that is the security of our homeland. We cannot wait for North Korea to have a successful attack against the United States. Unless severe economic sanctions are imposed and carried out successfully with International support we will be placed into a stalemate scenario and have to react aggressively to protect our country.

Our own recent missile test this week from Vandenberg Air Force base in California was a chess move by our own Pentagon to remind North Korea they are playing with fire and about to be burned. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson assured North Korea, “We are not your enemy,” but said that Pyongyang “is presenting an unacceptable threat to us and we have to respond.”

When will President Trump bomb North Korea? If we do not receive some word from Pyongyang that they are going to back off and live in peace with the world, then look for us to strike them after their next missile test.

Glenn Mollette is a syndicated columnist and author of twelve books.

Economy / Business

You Can Vote Every Day — With Your Dollars

Support workers, communities, and the planet every time you reach for your wallet.

By Eleanor Greene

August 2, 2017

All shopping is not created equal — we all have our preferred soaps and phone brands. I’d rather walk a bit further to my favorite grocery store than the closer one at the end of the block.

Sometimes these choices are based on convenience, familiarity, quality, or price. But how often are they based on the impact they’ll make on the world?

Since I started learning about environmentalism, I’ve discovered the dark sides of products I’d been blissfully ignorant of — like that they come from companies with no regard for the environment, or they’re made by people who don’t get a living wage.

With politics the way they are, it can feel like big business will soon be able to get away with anything. It can all seem unbearable, and it’s not possible to campaign 24/7 — making dozens of phone calls a week or marching every weekend.

So how can I make sure my purchases aren’t undermining my values?

By voting with my dollars.

Voting with your dollars can be done every day. It’s a goal, but it’s flexible.

For example, I buy fair trade coffee. It might cost a dollar more, but I know the farmers who grew those beans in Ethiopia, Colombia, or Peru are making a wage they can get by on. Fair Trade works by paying a premium to producers, which is then reinvested into improving the farm or community.

It’s a start at least. I could take another step and buy coffee from a local business instead of the chain I go to. I also shop at a grocery chain, but I could do better by going to local businesses or farmer’s markets more often. I buy organic dairy and eggs, but if I had a bigger budget I’d go all organic.

When I learned that my bank doesn’t treat customers well — and worse, loans money for fossil fuel projects — I changed to a local credit union. It’s not like I’m making so much that a big bank will miss me. But in a credit union, my money goes into home loans, local businesses, and development I support.

Last fall, during the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline, we learned that big banks including Sun Trust and Wells Fargo were giving loans to the company building it.

Now at least I know I’m not supporting that project. And if you write or call your bank when you leave explaining why, they’ll know, too.

We can’t expect ourselves to be perfect, but we can push ourselves to be better.

Sometimes voting with your dollar means keeping it in your wallet. Every dollar you don’t spend on junk is a dollar you can put in a community bank or credit union to finance jobs, housing, and social services that every community needs. Or it can be donated to a charity that helps the less fortunate, combats hate, or takes action on climate change.

The organization I work for is trying to build a green economy. That means more than trying to avoid supporting harmful corporations — it means actively supporting businesses that adopt green practices, grow local economies, and pay suppliers fairly.

Where you shop and what you buy send a direct message to business owners. If enough of us shift our spending and investments at once, it can force large corporations to reconsider their supply chains and business practices. And it can help small businesses stay afloat.

It can be hard to feel like your voice matters when you vote. But your money has the power to support Earth-friendly practices, fair wages, healthy food, and local economies. It has that power every time you reach for your wallet.

Trumping Up Our Trains

The president promised a huge infrastructure boost. So why won’t he fix our trains?

By Alyssa Aquino

August 2, 2017

Every time the train derails, my mother begs me to stay put. But how can I?

Along the densely populated eastern seaboard, your life is structured around transport. Not everyone can live in New York City or Washington D.C., so millions of people who work there commute in. The car traffic qualifies as its own hell, so many take the rail.

Joe Biden famously commuted on a train from Delaware to D.C. These days, I less famously commute from Maryland to D.C. So when Donald Trump announced an ambitious $1.1 trillion infrastructure plan, I was actually excited.

You see, American infrastructure isn’t so great. We have the world’s biggest economy, but our transit systems rank behind 10 other countries, according to the Global Competitiveness Index. Our trains are tied with Malaysia’s.

As a commuter, these statistics aren’t surprising.

New York, a global financial capital, boasts an intensely convoluted transportation system, where the subway stalls and overcrowds and overheats amidst the press of 4.3 million daily commuters. The stations leak so badly you could say many have permanent waterfall features.

The D.C. metro? It catches on fire. No, really. It does.

The derailments along the lines connecting neighboring states to New York are an even deadlier inconvenience. In 2015, 237 people were killed from Amtrak rail incidents alone, according to the Infrastructure Report Card.

That’s nearly double the number — 136 — who died in airline crashes. And nearly 1,000 more were injured.

As someone whose livelihood is intimately tied to accessing a city, transportation is important to me. So I was a bit let down (if not surprised) when Trump’s campaign promise didn’t pan out.

First, the numbers kept changing. Was it $1 trillion? Or $500 billion? Or $200 billion, mostly in tax breaks for businesses?

Well, he figured out his math eventually — his budget proposal actually cuts $2.4 billion from the Department of Transportation.

The money needed to fix the Metro-North line? Gone. That’s a pretty callous way for Trump to treat his home state.

But it’s also cruel to Trump’s supporters in places like Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana — rail-poor places sometimes jeered as “flyover country.”

Indeed, most of Trump’s proposed transportation cuts come out of railway systems that those states use, too. Trains through the Midwest already run late half the time, yet all 15 long-distance Amtrak lines get the axe in Trump’s budget.

Right now, 23 states are only serviced with long-distance trains, a figure that breaks neatly into 220 communities and 140 million people. That service is at risk — and so are thousands of jobs for the people who work the trains.

And who knows how many jobs might be lost by commuters? Already, delays along the Northeast lines cost the area $500 million a year when people can’t get to work.

Beyond the economic impacts are the long-term consequences that could arise from a less connected country. Historically, rail expansion didn’t just connect heartland areas to coastal cities — it allowed the agricultural industry to really take root, a fact of huge cultural as well as economic importance.

Protesters rallying from Denver to Cincinnati decided, no thank you, we want our trains. And Congress paid attention, kind of — it’s decided to keep the status quo for now. But that status quo was enough for Trump to decide that a $1.1 trillion transfusion was necessary to fix it. So where’s the plan?

Meanwhile, as I wait each day on D.C.’s often-late subway, I can’t help but think the people in “flyover country” are missing the same thing.

Alyssa Aquino is a Next Leader at the Institute for Policy Studies. Distributed by OtherWords.org.

Good Communication Lies at the Heart of Our Democracy

By Lee H. Hamilton

Do ordinary citizens still have a voice in Washington and in their state capitals? Despite the cynicism of these times, my answer is, yes, we do… But we have to exercise it.

I don’t just mean going to a town hall meeting and yelling, or shooting off a letter or email. I mean making an appointment to sit down with your representative — in his or her office, at a cafe in the district, or wherever else you can meet — and holding a real conversation. We don’t do this often enough in our country, perhaps because most people think it’s impossible to arrange. It’s not, although it might take patience to get an appointment with a busy representative. And to my mind, it’s the most effective way for citizens to communicate with their representatives.

This is important because the heart of a representative democracy does not lie in its electorate, or even its elected officials. It rests in the communication between them, in the give and take that allows each to understand the other. Over my years in office I noticed a few things about how to make this conversation more fruitful and effective, and, for what it’s worth, I pass them along.

My guess is that in almost all cases, the representative will be gracious, attentive, and welcoming; he or she will see the meeting as a chance to reach out and perhaps win a constituent’s support. What makes the difference in these meetings is the manner in which the voter approaches them.

So my first comment is that you want to keep the discussion respectful and polite. Incivility and confrontation are counter-productive. If you want to have an impact, do not be argumentative or confrontational. Explain how the issues affect you personally and make it clear that you’re seeking to establish ongoing communication, not just a ‘one and done’ meeting.

If your representative comes to respect you because of your approach and your knowledge, that’s an important step forward in expanding your influence. Because don’t forget that the reverse can also be true: You’ll make it easy to ignore you by behaving ungraciously.

This next part may seem daunting, but it shouldn’t be: Do your homework. It goes without saying that you should identify yourself and whoever else is with you, let your representative know whom you’re representing — don’t exaggerate your numbers — and above all, make it very clear what you want him or her to do or not to do. And you’ll be far more effective if you’re well-informed about the core facts on the issues and about the person you’re speaking to: his or her party, length of service, committees, interests, views, ratings and priorities.

Understand that legislators deal with many challenging relationships: voters, donors, constituents, interest groups, party officials, congressional or legislative leadership, governors and presidents, and an array of others. So, listen carefully and ask a lot of questions, and get clarity about where your representative stands on your issues and why. Test his or her knowledge of the issues, and the depth of commitment to the views he or she takes. Be firm in insisting on direct answers, but don’t be adamant or unreasonable. If you want to, record the session, but be sure to advise the representative you are doing so.

In short, having a productive conversation with elected representatives comes down to being informed, remaining courteous, being curious and open to dialogue yourself, and stating your views and understanding of the issues as clearly as possible.

If you engage in this fashion with your representatives on a regular basis, I think you’ll have reason to be satisfied that you’re stepping up to your responsibilities and raising your effectiveness as a citizen. And if conversations of this quality are multiplied across the country, it really will improve the quality of our representative democracy and contribute to the direction and success of our country.

Lee Hamilton is a Senior Advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a Distinguished Scholar, IU School of Global and International Studies; and a Professor of Practice, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

For a photo of Hamilton, see: http://www.centeroncongress.org/lee-hamilton-photo-gallery

For information about our educational resources and programs, visit our website at www.centeroncongress.org. “Like” us on Facebook at “Indiana University Center on Representative Government,” and share our postings with your friends.

Lee Hamilton is a Senior Advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a Distinguished Scholar, IU School of Global and International Studies; and a Professor of Practice, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

Don’t Lie to Poor Kids About Why They’re Poor

Those at the bottom — and the top — deserve to know why their experiences are so different.

By Josh Hoxie

Work hard and you’ll get ahead — that’s the mantra driven into young people across the country.

But what happens when children born into poverty run face first into the crushing reality that the society they live in really isn’t that fair at all?

As new research shows, they break down.

A just released study published in the journal Child Development tracked the middle school experience of a group of diverse, low-income students in Arizona. The study found that the kids who believed society was generally fair typically had high self-esteem, good classroom behavior, and less delinquent behavior outside of school when they showed up in the sixth grade.

When those same kids left in the eighth grade, though, each of those criteria had degraded — they showed lower self-esteem and worse behavior.

What caused this downward slide?

In short, belief in a fair and just system of returns ran head-on into reality for marginalized kids. When they see people that look like them struggling despite working hard, they’re forced to reckon with the cognitive dissonance.

childhood-poverty-child

(Photo: Shutterstock)

This problem doesn’t afflict the well-off, who can comfortably imagine their success is the result of their hard work and not their inherited advantage.

Erin Godfrey, a psychology professor at New York University and the study’s lead author, explains that for marginalized kids who behave badly, “there’s this element of people think of me this way anyway, so this must be who I am.” She points out that middle school is the time when many young people begin to notice personal discrimination, identify as a member of a marginalized group, and recognize the existence of systemic discrimination.

The existence of a permanent and rigid system of inequality can be hard to grapple with at any age. The United States leads the world in overall wealth yet is also near the top in childhood poverty, with one in five kids born into poverty.

Despite an often-repeated myth about social mobility — the ability of the poor to become rich — the United States lags behind in this category. Canada now has three times the social mobility of the United States.

The gap between the rich and poor starts early. A 2016 study by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund reports: “From as early as the age of 3, children from more affluent backgrounds tend to do better in cognitive tests.” By age 5, children from poor families are three times more likely to be in the bottom 10 percent in cognitive ability.

It’s a complex problem. But the solutions to this deep structural inequality are actually fairly straightforward.

In short, we need major investments in universal public programs to rebuild the social safety net, ensure early childhood education as well as debt-free higher education, and good-paying jobs.

In other words, we need to help those born without inherited assets to get the same shot at education and employment as everyone else — and also reassure them that if they fail, they won’t end up homeless.

Those who claim the country can’t afford such programs should look at the massive subsidies lavished out to the ultra-wealthy. In 2016, half a trillion dollars were doled out in tax subsidies, overwhelmingly to the already rich.

But before we do all that, we simply have to tell the truth: Our economic system is far from fair. It’s tilted heavily against marginalized communities.

Teaching that to kids, rather than perpetuating a myth about “fairness,” is an important step forward.

Josh Hoxie directs the Project on Taxation and Opportunity at the Institute for Policy Studies. Distributed by OtherWords.org

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