There is so much news this morning that I was once again wondering where to begin, but then all hell broke loose. This morning tRump attacked Bob Corker on Twitter again.
Corker quickly responded on Twitter:
This all started because Corker said last night that tRump’s luncheon with GOP Senators today would be nothing more than a “photo op,” implying that tRump has no clue about the tax bill the Senators will be discussing. Corker had more to say this morning on Good Morning America: Republican Sen. Bob Corker to Trump: ‘Leave it to the professionals.’
Republican Sen. Bob Corker today stood by his remarks criticizing the White House as an “adult day care center” and arguing that President Trump is putting the United States on a path toward “World War III.” ….
“When you look at the fact that we’ve got this issue in North Korea and the president continues to kneecap his diplomatic representative, the secretary of state, and really move him away from successful diplomatic negotiations with China, which is key to this, you’re taking us on a path to combat,” Corker told “Good Morning America” today.
He added that when it comes to the diplomatic efforts underway to manage the rising tensions with North Korea, he would like for Trump to “leave it to the professionals for a while.”
“The president undermines our secretary of state [and] raises tensions in the area by virtue of the tweets that he sends out,” Corker told “GMA.”
Another negotiation Corker wants Trump to stay out of is the tax debate….
Corker, as Trump plans to travel to Capitol Hill today to pitch tax overhaul to Senate Republicans during their policy lunch, told “Good Morning America”, “What I hope is going to happen is the president will leave this effort, if you will, to the tax-writing committees, let them do their work and not begin taking things off the table that ought to be debated in these committees at the proper time.”
After the Twitter exchange, CNN reporter Manu Raju interviewed Corker in person: Trump-Corker feud explodes ahead of critical Hill visit.
Corker, asked if he should have backed Trump’s presidential campaign, said he “would not do that again.” He also said Trump has “great difficulty with the truth.”“You wouldn’t support him again?” Raju asked.
“No, no way,” Corker said.
“The president has great difficulty with the truth,” Corker said in a CNN interview at the Capitol, where Trump is due to meet with senators later in the day to forge consensus on a tax reform plan. “He is purposely breaking down relationships we have around the world that had been useful to our nation.
“I think the debasement of our nation is what he’ll be remembered most for.”
Of course tRump had to respond.
In more substantive news, I was really glad I watched Lawrence O’Donnell’s show last night. He gave a clear explanation of what’s going on in Congress with the budget bill and tax cuts. I panicked when I read that the Senate had passed a budget bill with deep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid; but it turns out that the House still has to go along with what the Senate did. O’Donnell said he expects some in the House to put up a fight.
O’Donnell also expressed doubts about Congress passing a tax cut bill, particularly because tRump keeps interfering. For example, Trump undercut Congress by tweeting that the proposal for cuts to how much Americans can contribute to their 401K plans was not going to happen.
This proposal was to be used as a negotiating tool, along with the proposal to eliminate deductions for state and local taxes. But tRump has ruined that now. I can’t find the segment on line, unfortunately.
After this morning’s tRump-Corker blowup, there’s a good chance the tax bill is dead.
The New York Times: Cutting Taxes Is Hard. Trump Is Making It Harder.
President Trump said on Monday that he would oppose any effort to reduce the amount of pretax income that American workers can save in 401(k) retirement accounts, effectively killing an idea that Republicans were mulling as a way to help pay for a $1.5 trillion tax cut.
The directive, issued via Twitter, underscored a growing fear among Republicans and business lobbyists that Mr. Trump’s bully-pulpit whims could undermine the party’s best chance to pass the most sweeping rewrite of the tax code in decades. When you want discount codes for markets, go to Aldi website.
Overhauling the tax code was never going to be easy given that it requires targeting lucrative and politically popular tax breaks to mitigate the magnitude of cuts Republicans are envisioning. Lawmakers must mitigate the revenue loss from those tax cuts in order to avoid a Democratic filibuster and pass a bill along party lines.
Publicly and privately, supporters of the Republican tax effort say they are concerned that Mr. Trump will make a hard task even harder. The Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act was a similarly difficult effort, and the president’s comments and actions were often not helpful. For instance, Mr. Trump hosted House Republicans in the Rose Garden to celebrate passage of a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, only to call the same bill “mean” later. Last week, he confounded Republicans again by backing away from his endorsement of a bipartisan Senate proposal to stabilize health insurance markets.
“The Trump calling things ‘mean’ threat is very real right now,” said Jon Lieber, a former top aide to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader.
President Clueless Moron.
Last night The Washington Post broke another corruption story about Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke: Small Montana firm lands Puerto Rico’s biggest contract to get the power back on. The firm has only two regular employees and is located in Zinke’s hometown of Whitefish, Montana.
For the sprawling effort to restore Puerto Rico’s crippled electrical grid, the territory’s state-owned utility has turned to a two-year-old company from Montana that had just two full-time employees on the day Hurricane Maria made landfall.
The company, Whitefish Energy, said last week that it had signed a $300 million contract with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to repair and reconstruct large portions of the island’s electrical infrastructure. The contract is the biggest yet issued in the troubled relief effort.
Whitefish said Monday that it has 280 workers in the territory, using linemen from across the country, most of them as subcontractors, and that the number grows on average from 10 to 20 people a day. It said it was close to completing infrastructure work that will energize some of the key industrial facilities that are critical to restarting the local economy.
The power authority, also known as PREPA, opted to hire Whitefish rather than activate the “mutual aid” arrangements it has with other utilities. For many years, such agreements have helped U.S. utilities — including those in Florida and Texas recently — to recover quickly after natural disasters.
The unusual decision to instead hire a tiny for-profit company is drawing scrutiny from Congress and comes amid concerns about bankrupt Puerto Rico’s spending as it seeks to provide relief to its 3.4 million residents, the great majority of whom remain without power a month after the storm.
Charles Pierce has a few choice words about this deal: A Rather Serious Clog in That There Swamp Drain.
It’s quite fitting thatof the Drain The Swamp administration* is the Department of the Interior, presided over by that famous campaign-finance wrangler, Ryan Zinke. After all, the department has responsibility for the public lands, such as they may be once these thieves and vandals get through with them. This includes the public swamplands.
Check it out at Esquire.
More information is coming out about the ambush in Niger in which four U.S. soldiers died.
An emerging theory among U.S. military investigators is that the Army Special Forces soldiers ambushed in Niger were set up by terrorists, who were tipped off in advance about a meeting in a village sympathetic to local ISIS affiliates, three U.S. officials who have been briefed on the matter told NBC News. There are now going to be installing these high security gates to protect villages from terrorist.
The group of American Green Berets and support soldiers had requested a meeting with elders of a village that was seen as supportive of ISIS, and they attended the meeting at around 11 a.m. local time on Oct. 4, after a long night of patrolling, the officials said. Such meetings are a routine part of the Green Beret mission, but it wasn’t clear whether this meeting was part of the unit’s plan….
Investigators are leaning toward a conclusion that local militants used the meeting in the village of Tongo Tongo to mount a sneak attack, officials said. Villagers sought to delay the troops as they tried to leave the village, according to officials. Once they departed, in unarmored vehicles, militants attacked them with small arms and machine-gun fire, the officials said.
The solders dismounted and began returning fire, and were soon facing mortars and rocket-propelled grenades launched from “technical” vehicles — light military vehicles — the officials said.
The soldiers got back in their trucks and retreated about a mile before they were ambushed again. The attackers had trapped the Americans in a kill zone, the officials said, where they could envelop them in fire.
The two separate ambush sites could explain why Sgt. La David Johnson’s body was found more than a mile from the coordinates from which the other dead and injured troops were evacuated by helicopter.
Nearly three weeks after the deadly ambush on U.S. Special Ops forces in Niger, ABC News has learned chilling new details about the mission gone wrong from a survivor of the attack and a senior U.S. intelligence official.
Their accounts, provided in separate interviews, raise questions about why a second, potentially more dangerous mission was tacked on late in the day even after a second team that was supposed to join them was unable to do so.
What was started as a reconnaissance mission to meet with local leaders turned into a kill-or-capture mission aimed at a high-value target, according to both sources.
That target – codenamed Naylor Road – has ties to both al Qaeda and ISIS, according to the intelligence official.
According to multiple intelligence sources, this target is one of the U.S.’s “top three objectives in Niger,” one that the U.S. has been “actively pursuing.”
But that change in plan meant that the team was out for over 24 hours and put them at greater risk.
“They should have been up and back in a day. Because they were up there so f—— long on a mission that morphed, they were spotted, surveilled and ultimately hit,” the official said.
Regarding Sgt. La David Johnson:
Despite being massively outnumbered, the American and Nigerien troops held their own — including Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in the ambush, the sources told ABC News.
“He was the best kid you could ask for,” the survivor said of Johnson, who fought back the militants with machine gun fire from the back of a pickup truck, before grabbing a sniper rifle and continuing to shoot.
“The guy is a true war hero,” the survivor added. “I really want his wife and kids to know that.”
There’s more interesting stuff at the link.
I’ll add more links in the comment thread. What stories are you following today?
I found some really interesting things for you to read and watch today but let’s just do a quick Drumpfistan Detritus Dump first. It’s easy to look at US History and recoil from the dark side with its huge numbers of crimes and cruelties inflicted by ‘White Christian Hegemony’. Andrew Jackson’s removal of hundreds of thousands of indigenous Americans from their Tribal Lands on the Trail of Tears should be forced reading every time we celebrate any holiday like Columbus Day. The contributions of women in this country have long buried, discounted, and discouraged. The absolute impact of how our country was built on the slave trade and on the institution of slavery which has created lasting effects of racism that just do not go away is poorly understood by many Americans. This last year we have learned how vested so many are in the idea of White Christian Male Hegemony that it hurts to watch any action taken by any one in the White House. They will destroy everything to protect it.
Racist and misogynistic attacks by this Administration on two black women US Representatives–Maxine Waters and Frederica Wilson–and a young black gold star widow–Myeshia Johnson–continue to gall. The blatant misogyny and racism and this ongoing dog whistle and bait show provide us a glimpse into minds that obviously believe that some gold star families are more ‘sacred than others.’ This leaves me shocked and deeply saddened. The attacks are also awash with lies and so disrespectful that none of these old, white, ‘Christian’–yes I’ve taken to using ironic quotation marks–men can’t even speak their names correctly if at all.
This is not the power of soft bigotry. This is full on white supremacist mode. No thinking person can deny this.
A grieving, pregnant widow and mother of small children has been compelled to go on Network TV to defend the Congresswoman that mentored her late husband. We all believe Frederica Wilson.
The pregnant widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson, who was among four U.S. service members killed in Niger earlier this month, expressed a mix of blame and sorrow today on “Good Morning America,” saying she was “very angry” about President Donald Trump‘s condolence phone call and upset because she says he struggled to “remember my husband’s name.”
ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos spoke to Myeshia Johnson, who criticized Trump’s handling of the phone call that started a firestorm of controversy.
I still can’t move beyond this. Meet a retired Chicago police officer …
We continue to stand witness to the suffering of our country men and women in the Virgin Islands and in Puerto Rico. The fact we now likely have incredibly failed military policy in Niger that ended the lives of 4 soldiers is at the heart of the Drumpf-created media circus that we’re watching. It serves to take our minds off of that and the suffering in our Caribbean territories. McCain has joined in with swipes at Drumpf’s successful Draft Dodging during the Vietnam war. Bone spurs? Seriously? Now would be a really great time for Congress to have some truth seeking hearings but their heads are up the asses of millionaires and billionaires seeking tax cuts.
Meanwhile, we have “Forever Wars”. It also seems the groundwork is being laid for a few more. It’s the belief of quite a few of us that the entire West Wing and the Drumpf Pentagon is out looking for an excuse to preemptively strike North Korea.
While President Donald Trump rattles sabers on Twitter and slams “Rocket Man” Kim Jong Un, there is also a perceptible hardening of tone among senior officials. Military action to halt North Korea’s march to a missile tipped with a nuclear warhead that could hit the US mainland appears to be a growing possibility.
Trump upped the rhetoric another notch in an interview with Fox Business Network broadcast Sunday, in which he said Washington was “so prepared, like you wouldn’t believe” for any contingency with Pyongyang.
“You would be shocked to see how totally prepared we are if we need to be,” Trump said. “Would it be nice not to do that? The answer is yes. Will that happen? Who knows, who knows.”
Trump’s power to shock has been eroded by the extraordinary spectacle of his nine months as President.
Yet it’s still stunning to hear an American President speaking so openly about the possibility of a war, that could, under some scenarios, cause the most devastation of any US conflict, at least since the Vietnam War.
And then, again, he talks shit about our allies who will probably leave us high and dry on any Drumpf war adventure.
Donald Trump has blamed a rise in crime in the UK on “radical Islamic terror”, despite there being no evidence to support the claim.
In an early morning tweet the President said: “Just out report: ‘United Kingdom crime rises 13% annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror.’ Not good, we must keep America safe!”
So, enough of this … let’s end on the UPSIDE of humanity.
Paleontologists in Germany have discovered 9.7 million-year-old fossilised teeth that a German politician has hailed as potentially “rewriting” human history.
The dental remains were found by scientists sifting through gravel and sand in a former bed of the Rhine river near the town of Eppelsheim.
They resemble those belonging to “Lucy”, a 3.2 million-year-old skeleton of an extinct primate related to humans and found in Ethiopia.
However, they do not resemble those of any other species found in Europe or Asia.
Scientists were so confused by the find they held off from publishing their research for the past year, Deutsche Welle reports.
Herbert Lutz, director at the Mainz Natural History Museum and head of the research team, told local media: “They are clearly ape teeth. Their characteristics resemble African finds that are four to five million years younger than the fossils excavated in Eppelsheim.
“This is a tremendous stroke of luck, but also a great mystery.”
At a press conference announcing the discovery, the mayor of Mainz suggested the find could force scientists to reassess the history of early humans.
I discovered a gem of a page on FaceBook. It’s called History’s Women Adventurers. It’s loaded with video after video of amazing women. Now, I’m looking for more about them.
From Scary Mommy: GIFS of “women just destroying SHIT”. Yup. You’re enjoying some of them on this post! Do take a brief look at the lives of two adventurous women! You’ll be glad that you did! The Facebook page is an amazing collection of short videos of adventuring women’s lives. Here’s an article about the effort to celebrate the legacies of these women.
Also, go Check out Doug McCash’s tweeter feed for artwork on homes and buildings through out New Orlean’s 7th ward. Doug is an Arts and Entertainment writer at The Times-Picayune. There’s some really fine street art out there.
So, at least I ended my rant with something uplifting. Destruction and creation and evolving life; What could be more human?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Sitting on a hotel bed on Friday night, watching Maddow, I was introduced to this woman:
Video of the interview is at this link:
This quote is from her book, Thieves of State:
Corruption, it made plain, was not solely a humanitarian affair, an issue touching on principles or values alone. It was a matter of national security—Afghan national security and, by extension, that of the United States. And if corruption was driving people to violent revolt in Afghanistan, it was probably doing likewise in other places. Acute government corruption may in fact lie at the root of some of the world’s most dangerous and disruptive security challenges—among them the spread of violent extremism. That basic fact, elusive to this day, is what this book seeks to demonstrate.
I wish I could imbed the whole first chapter, because it grabs you immediately.
Here are some links and pdf downloads to take a look at:
Leading corruption expert explains how Trump has created a ‘kleptocracy’ — and how it might be his undoing
This week Sarah wrote and filed an amicus brief, follow this link to read that brief that Maddow sites in the interview.
I hope that these links work, I’m doing this post on my phone in a hotel room in Helen GA.
This is an open thread.
I’m going to litter this edition of the latest attacks of the petty dictator and his general on some one simply doing her job with the work of Gustav Klimt. And no surprises! It’s a black woman congressman who has represented her Florida District supremely well.
The Despot of Drumpfistan needs enemies to prop up his regime and his ego. There is nothing he goes after with more relish than a woman. It seems General Kelly shares that belief. They have attacked a strong, principled woman of color and this shows their vision of white nationalism even more. John Kelly’s lecture to Congresswoman Wilson included a list of what he considered American values which sounded a lot like the fever dreams of the patriarchy. Both Drumpf and Kelly did not use the names of any black woman involved in their attack. How positively dehumanizing!
First up, a Klimt break … because this thread is going to outline gross incompetence, pettiness, and meanness by Kremlin Caligula and the supposedly sane and normal general protecting the interests of our Republic.
Okay, I lied. First I’m going to highlight words spoken by former Presidents Obama and Dubya Bush about our country. Then, I’m going full bore be cause I believe Frederica Wilson and I watched Rachel last night.
Our identity as a nation – unlike many other nations – is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood. Being an American involves the embrace of high ideals and civic responsibility. We become the heirs of Thomas Jefferson by accepting the ideal of human dignity found in the Declaration of Independence. We become the heirs of James Madison by understanding the genius and values of the U.S. Constitution. We become the heirs of Martin Luther King, Jr., by recognizing one another not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
This means that people of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed. (Applause.)
And it means that the very identity of our nation depends on the passing of civic ideals to the next generation.
We need a renewed emphasis on civic learning in schools. And our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.
“We’ve got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry, to demonize people who have different ideas, to get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage,” Obama told the 7,500 people gathered in the Greater Richmond Convention Center. “So the question for you tonight for the next 19 days: Do you want a politics of division and distraction, or do you believe in a better kind of politics?”
He praised Northam, a former Army doctor, pediatric neurologist and current lieutenant governor, as the kind of leader the country needs.
“At a time so many of us are cynical about government and public service, to have someone step up who you can trust and just wants to do right by the people of Virginia, that’s worth something,” said Obama, who in 2008 became the first Democrat to carry Virginia in a presidential race in 44 years.
Joy Ann Reid recognizes what’s what better than many since she reported on politics in Florida from Florida for a number of years. She delivers the facts to Kelly and his boss.
Frederica Wilson is no liar. On Thursday, Gen. John Kelly, President Trump’s chief of staff, confirmed that. Kelly also made clear that he works for a man who has redefined the meaning of shameless.
The Florida congresswoman is the latest—and pointedly, the latest woman and person of color—to be attacked by Trump for daring to tell the truth about him. She joins a roster that includes broadcaster Jemele Hill, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and before that, a Latina former Miss Universe. Now add in Hillary Clinton and the more than a dozen women who have accused Trump of sexual harassment or assault. Trump has attacked or threatened a few men too, notably black NFL and NBA stars, Gold Star father Khizr Khan (along with his wife), decorated Vietnam War veteran John McCain and other United States senators, but he typically reserves his greatest vitriol for those who aren’t white and male. We’re all still waiting for the president’s sure-to-be-blistering response to Eminem.
Trump on Wednesday used one of his increasingly frequent press availabilities to essentially call Wilson a liar, after she told the world what he said to the widow of Staff Sgt. La David T. Johnson; one of four special forces soldiers killed during a still murky mission in Niger. Wilson first gave her account to local reporters in Miami who met the limousine carrying her, Myeshia Johnson and Staff Sgt. Johnson’s adoptive parents to the funeral home to claim the body of the fallen soldier. Apparently, the White House had alerted the media that he would call Johnson’s widow, evidently hoping to reap some rare good press for the most hated president in modern U.S. history.
She later repeated what she heard to national news outlets and to this reporter.
Trump goes on the offensive when he’s trying to hide something and cover up for his huge mistakes. Rachel Maddow believes that the huge mistake of putting Chad on the travel ban list may have cost Staff Sgt Johnson and his comrades their lives. She makes a most compelling argument.
When President Donald Trump’s White House instituted the travel ban and randomly added the African country of Chad to the list, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow says it may have destabilized the region. That lack of allied troops could have then been the cause of the deaths of the four soldiers killed two weeks ago in Niger.
Maddow began by walking through the extensive history of the groups of African and French fighters who have managed to battle Islamic extremists like ISIS and Boko Haram in central Africa and actually win. Most of these groups are headquartered in Chad, because the best of the best soldiers managed to run out the majority of the terrorist groups.
Yet, somehow, Chad ended up on Trump’s travel ban list. When it did, there was an uproar of foreign policy experts who warned this was a terrible decision because it would destabilize the region and isolate American troops fighting there. Both the State and Defense Departments were also opposed to Trump’s decision to put Chad on the list, because they knew it would cause military problems in the area. But the Trump administration demanded it.
“Several terrorist groups are active in Chad,” Maddow cited the administration’s reasoning. “If that’s the reason you end up on the travel ban list, why wouldn’t you put Mali or Niger or even Iraq and Afghanistan?”
A former State Department official who worked on that region went even further, telling the New York Times that putting Chad on that list could truly put Americans in harm’s way.
Chad then began to withdraw their troops from the fight against Boko Haram in Niger. In fact, Chad’s troops were gone a week after Trump added Chad to the ban list. According to Reuters, once the soldiers left, Boko Haram moved back in and people began to flee for their lives again. Shortly after the “battle-hardened” Chad fighters left, four American soldiers were attacked and killed in an ambush by ISIS extremists in Niger. Chad announced it began pulling its troops out two weeks ago on Oct. 13, which Maddow said would put their timeline for withdrawal at the end of September.
“Which would be the Friday after the Trump administration made this decision to insult and harm our closest military ally in that region, against ISIS and Boko Haram where ISIS has been trying to establish another caliphate,” Maddow said. “But those Chadian troops were really doing something in Niger. They were protecting those villages in that whole region from ISIS militant groups being able to operate freely and be able to take more territory from there once again. And pulling those troops out had an immediate effect in emboldening those ISIS attacks.”
Within days of the Chadian soldiers beginning to pull out from protecting those villages from ISIS, four soldiers were ambushed.
What’s worse, is the attack now has turned to Gold Star Families and Congresswoman Wilson. Kelly got it very wrong and used patronizing and racist dog whistles to attack the Congresswoman.
When White House Chief of Staff John Kelly condemned a Miami congresswoman on Thursday for sneering at President Donald Trump’s condolence call to a soldier’s widow, the retired general recalled when the two attended a somber ceremony in Miramar to dedicate a new FBI building named after two slain FBI agents.
Kelly criticized Democratic U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson for claiming “she got the money” for the new building during the 2015 ceremony while he and others in the audience were focused on the heroism of agents Benjamin Grogan and Jerry Dove, killed during a 1986 shootout with bank robbers south of Miami.
Thursday night, Wilson said Kelly got the story flat-out wrong. In fact, she said Washington approved the money before she was even in Congress. The legislation she sponsored named the building after Grogan and Dove, a law enacted just days before the ceremony.
“He shouldn’t be able to just say that, that is terrible,” Wilson said of Kelly’s remarks in the White House briefing room, the latest volley in the controversy over Trump’s condolence call to a military widow from Miami Gardens, an area Wilson represents. “This has become totally personal.”
In 2015, Wilson won praise from Miami Republicans for sponsoring the bill to name the long anticipated federal building after two agents who became legends in local law enforcement.
Kelly called US Congressman Frederica Wilson “an empty barrel”.
I think Kelly took on the wrong Congresswoman. She is not going to be moved and she has righteousness on her side.
So, here’s a picture of Gustav Klimt and his cat! Have a good Friday and a great weekend!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
It just keeps getting worse. Yesterday, decent Americans watched in horror as Trump repeatedly insulted a gold star family and in the process politicized and diminished all fallen soldiers and their families. How much lower can he go? I guess we’ll find out, because there doesn’t seem to be anything too sacred for Trump to trash and disparage.
The Washington Post Editorial Board: Trump trivializes the deaths of four soldiers.
STAFF SGT. Bryan C. Black, 35, always relished a challenge. As a child, he drove himself to learn chess; as a teen, he excelled as a wrestler; and as an adult, he joined the Army, where he finished Ranger school and joined the Special Forces. Deployed to Niger, he learned the local dialect.
Before joining the Army, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah “J.W.” Wayne Johnson, 39, owned and operated a successful business. In uniform he became a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist. Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, was a good student and talented athlete. When he joined the Army he continued a family military legacy dating to 1812.
Sgt. La David T. Johnson, 25, was known to be both determined and playful, as demonstrated by how he commuted to a job at Walmart — removing the front wheel of his bike and becoming known as the “Wheelie King.”
These are the four soldiers who were killed Oct. 4 when their unit was ambushed by Islamist extremists in West Africa. Their lives, their brave service and the sacrifice of their grieving families should be discussed and honored. Instead — thanks to a president with a compulsive need to be the center of attention — their deaths have been trivialized. President Trump reduced condolences to a political competition and treated the grieving families who received them as pawns in a game.
You know the rest; if not you can read it at the Post. At this point, the entire world knows our shame–that the U.S. president is a disgrace and unfit for the office he holds.
Aaron Blake at the Washington Post: Trump’s unmoored week shows just how aimless he is.
President Trump’s most faithful supporters like to believe he’s always a step ahead of the media and the political establishment — that he’s playing three-dimensional chess while we’re stuck on checkers. Where we see utter discord, they see carefully orchestrated chaos.
This week should disabuse absolutely everybody of that notion.
On two issues — health care and calling the families of dead service members — the White House has shown itself to be clearly unmoored, careening back and forth based upon the unhelpful and impulsive comments and tweets of its captain.
Again, you probably know the rest. I spent the day yesterday on the verge of tears, trying desperately not to sink into depression. Unlike Trump, I’m capable of empathy. I have my own life issues to deal with, as we all do; but always the fear of what is happening to our country hangs over everything and makes it difficult to handle day-to-day worries.
I can’t imagine what White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and his family must be feeling. CNN reports: Sources: Kelly didn’t know Trump would publicize that Obama didn’t call when his son died.
Chief of Staff John Kelly told President Donald Trump that President Barack Obama never called him after his son’s death prior to Trump raising the issue in a Tuesday radio interview, multiple White House officials told CNN.
But, according to these sources, Kelly never thought the President would use that information publicly.
Kelly and much of the White House were caught off-guard by Trump’s comments, one official said, struck by how the President took a story Kelly has tried to keep private — the death of his son — and used it to defend his handling of four soldiers killed in Niger.
Trump, in defense of his own previous claim that Obama didn’t call the loved ones of fallen soldiers, floated the idea Tuesday that reporters ask Kelly, a retired general, whether Obama called him after his son died in Afghanistan.
“As far as other presidents, I don’t know, you could ask Gen. Kelly, did he get a call from Obama? I don’t know what Obama’s policy was,” Trump said during a Fox News radio interview.
It’s not clear to me why Kelly expected Trump to keep his confidence. Trump is a sociopath. He doesn’t care any more about Kelly or his dead son than he does about any of the grieving families. He cares only for himself and filling the dark empty hole in his soul with flattery and praise from others.
Kelly should resign or at least begin working with other cabinet members to invoke the 25th amendment before it’s too late.
NBC News Opinion: The 25th Amendment Proves Why Trump’s Mental Health Matters, by Richard Painter and Leanne Watt.
The 25th Amendment is the ultimate constitutional “check” — a corrective mechanism for an American president who is physically or psychologically unable to lead. Most important, it grants legal authority to those closest to power — first, the vice president and Cabinet members, then members of Congress — to stage an intervention. At the very least, these individuals are authorized to call a temporary timeout if the president is judged unfit to govern.
Is America today in need of such an unprecedented intervention?
The amendment, ratified in 1967 after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, was constructed to assure a smooth transition when a president becomes incapable of leadership. (Its vague wording leaves room for both physical and psychological justifications.) By the 1960s, the dangers of an incapacitated president were far greater than at the founding of our country. But arguably, the stakes have only gotten higher. With tensions flaring around the globe, there can be no doubt as to the fitness of the man or woman in possession of U.S. nuclear codes.
Pundits and politicians alike have called for the amendment’s implementation over the past few months. But it is both practically and philosophically a tool of last resort. Unlike impeachment, which is controlled solely by Congress, the 25th Amendment requires action by the majority of the president’s Cabinet and potentially Congress. This means that even in today’s polarized climate, partisan removal is unlikely. In addition, the bar for diagnosing mental health conditions is quite high.
This is a deep dive into what would be required to invoke the amendment to rid the country of a dangerous president. I hope you’ll read the whole thing.
Today, Trump is off on a new tangent because he’s apparently worried about the Russia investigation again. It started yesterday with baseless attacks on former FBI Director James Comey and Hillary Clinton.
Today he actually accused the FBI of colluding with Russia and Clinton against him.
Those are all lies. Clinton did not sell uranium to Russia. Two people from Fusion GPS did take the 5th, because they have refused to accept the unilateral subpoena issued by Devin Nunes, who is supposedly recused from the Russia investigation. Natasha Bertrand at Business Insider: The founders of the firm behind the Trump Russia dossier appeared before the House Intel Committee and refused to testify.
The founders of the opposition-research firm that produced the dossier alleging ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russia met behind closed doors with House Intel Committee staff on Wednesday and asserted their constitutional privileges not to testify.
The founders of Fusion GPS — Glenn Simpson, Thomas Catan, and Peter Fritsch — were required to appear before the committee by its chairman, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, who had subpoenaed them earlier this month.
Fusion’s counsel, Josh Levy, wrote a 17-page letter to Nunes earlier this week urging him not to force Simpson, Catan, and Fritsch to appear before the committee, because if they did they would have no choice but to assert their constitutional privileges not to testify.
“We cannot in good conscience do anything but advise our clients to stand on their constitutional privileges, the attorney work product doctrine and contractual obligations,” Levy wrote.
Nunes required them to appear anyway, prompting Levy to release a blistering statement accusing Nunes — who stepped aside from the committee’s Russia investigation in April but still has subpoena power — of abusing his power as chairman.
“No American should have to experience today’s indignity,” Levy wrote. “No American should be required to appear before Congress simply to invoke his constitutional privileges. But that is what Chairman Nunes did today with our clients at Fusion GPS, breaking with the practice of his committee in this investigation. The committee has not imposed this requirement on any other witness, including the president’s men.”
He added that the “disparate treatment and abuse of power” by Nunes was “unethical, according to the DC Bar rules.”
That Trump would accuse the FBI of conspiring with Russia against him is beyond belief. How can anyone doubt that this man is mentally incompetent?
I just noticed that George W. Bush gave a speech this morning that seems directed at the dangers of Trump’s presidency. Excerpts from The Hill:
Former President George W. Bush said Thursday that “bigotry seems emboldened” in the modern U.S.
“Discontent deepened and sharpened partisan conflicts,” he observed during a speech for the George W. Bush Institute. “Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.”
Bush also said that public confidence in the country’s institutions has declined in recent decades.
“Our governing class has often been paralyzed in the face of obvious and pressing needs. The American dream of upward mobility seems out of reach for some who feel left behind in a changing economy,” he said.
There are signs, Bush said, that the intensity of support for democracy itself has “waned.”
Former President George W. Bush said Thursday that America should not downplay Russia’s attempts to meddle in the U.S. election.
“Our country must show resolve and resilience in the face of external attacks on our democracy,” Bush said in a speech sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute and others in New York. “And that begins with confronting a new era of cyberthreats.”
“America has experienced a sustained attempt by a hostile power to feed and exploit our country’s divisions,” he said. “According to our intelligence services, the Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other. This effort is broad, systemic and stealthy. It’s conducted a range of stealthy media platforms.”
“Ultimately, this assault won’t succeed,” he added. “But foreign aggressions, including cyberattacks, disinformation and financial influence should never be downplayed or tolerated.”
That Bush is speaking out seems like a good sign. Will Republicans in Washington DC listen?
That’s all I have for you today. What stories are you following?
You can feel good
It has been so long since I think anyone of us can say…yes, I feel good.
I found that image somewhere on the net….Instagram, Facebook…I’m not sure.
Oh and btw…the widow is pregnant.
Let’s try this:
This is an open thread.