Here's a question for readers and friends who served in the military, particularly those who worked with nukes (I know you're there). Can a president order a nuclear strike with no intermediating checks in the National Command Authority?
Everywhere else in the military where nuclear weapons are involved, the "two man rule" applies, from authenticating an Emergency War Order and turning launch keys to even being in the vicinity of warheads and delivery systems. I always thought this applied at the top, where the ironically nicknamed "Mad Dog" Mattis would have to authenticate the so-called Gold Codes along with the president. Mattis is the most rational person in the administration. And yet, people have told me this is wrong: Donald Trump can give the launch order on his own. How about it? With the Martin Bormann/Joseph Goebbels clone Steve Bannon now a member of the National Security Council and an unhinged president, this inquiry takes on a certain...urgency.
The progressives have their marches — many thousands in city centers and airports over the weekend — and they believe they are mighty. Farhad Manjoo, the savvy technology columnist for the New York Times, appears to agree:
We’re witnessing the stirrings of a national popular movement aimed at defeating the policies of Mr. Trump. It is a movement without official leaders. In fact, to a noteworthy degree, the formal apparatus of the Democratic Party has been nearly absent from the uprisings. Unlike the Tea Party and the white-supremacist “alt-right,” the new movement has no name. Call it the alt-left, or, if you want to really drive Mr. Trump up the wall, the alt-majority.
Or call it nothing. Though nameless and decentralized, the movement isn’t chaotic. Because it was hatched on social networks and is dispatched by mobile phones, it appears to be organizationally sophisticated and ferociously savvy about conquering the media.
I'm not so sure. Crowd psychology is a funny thing and it can lead to magical thinking. Some have been mentioning 1968, as if that year of famous civil unrest ushered in a new progressive era. Quite the contrary happened, as the American liberal consensus was shattered and conservatives ("law and order") triumphed. Now I am suspicious of the progressive echo chamber on social media and in "the streets."
There's good reason to be. Donald Trump was elected by nearly 63 million votes. Although this was less by a record margin than the tally Hillary Clinton received, it's difficult to believe many of these Trump voters have buyer's remorse. He is doing exactly what he promised, and fast. I suspect they dig it, to use 1968 slang. It's what they voted for. But they are easy to ignore because they don't hold massive street demonstrations and they don't dominate social media. They just vote. And this has left us with the Republicans in charge of both the White House and Congress, 25 statehouses in entirety (including Arizona), and soon the federal courts. The ramifications of this fact are beyond enumeration.