Thanksgiving Day Reads

Claude Monet, The Turkeys, 1876, Musée d’Orsay

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I hope everyone has a lovely day whatever you choose to do. As always these days, there is plenty of news even though it’s a holiday. Some stories to check out if you want a distraction from cooking, eating and visiting with family and friends:

The Washington Post: Ken Cuccinelli walked into a bar. And Martin O’Malley lit into him.

A liberal ex-governor walks into a bar, followed by a conservative Trump administration official.

Instead of a punchline, what followed, one witness said, was a “shame-invoking tirade” by Martin O’Malley, the former Democratic governor of Maryland, directed at Ken Cuccinelli II, the former Virginia attorney general who is acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

The two political polar opposites crossed paths Wednesday night at the Dubliner, a Capitol Hill Irish pub popular on Thanksgiving Eve with Gonzaga College High School graduates. Both men attended the school, graduating five years apart in the 1980s.

Doris Lee, Thanksgiving, 1935, Art Institute of Chicago

Siobhan Arnold, who was visiting from Philadelphia, had just met O’Malley at the bar when Cuccinelli walked in. Soon the two men were face-to-face, she said, with O’Malley excoriating Cuccinelli over the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

O’Malley said “something about his [Cuccinelli’s] grandparents,” Arnold said in an interview. Cuccinelli said little if anything in reply, she added, quickly leaving the pub.

“O’Malley was shouting,” Arnold said. “I don’t think Cuccinelli was responding. I think he’s like, ‘Time to go. Just got here and I’m leaving.’ He pretty much retreated.”

More from Newsweek:

Speaking to the Post over text message, O’Malley, who served as Maryland governor from 2006 to 2014 and made an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, confirmed the incident, but said he did not believe he had shouted at Cuccinelli, but had simply raised his voice “just to be heard” in the popular venue.

The former governor said he also was not the only one to air his grievances with Cuccinelli, who he described as “the son of immigrant parents who cages children for a fascist president,” that evening.

“We all let him know how we felt about him putting refugee immigrant kids in cages,” O’Malley said, adding that such practices were “certainly not what we were taught by the Jesuits at Gonzaga.”

Ousted Navy Secretary published an op-ed at the Washington Post: Richard Spencer: I was fired as Navy secretary. Here’s what I’ve learned because of it.

The case of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL who was charged with multiple war crimes before being convicted of a single lesser charge earlier this year, was troubling enough before things became even more troubling over the past few weeks. The trail of events that led to me being fired as secretary of the Navy is marked with lessons for me and for the nation.

Painted Creatures, by Hans Heysen

It is highly irregular for a secretary to become deeply involved in most personnel matters. Normally, military justice works best when senior leadership stays far away. A system that prevents command influence is what separates our armed forces from others. Our system of military justice has helped build the world’s most powerful navy; good leaders get promoted, bad ones get moved out, and criminals are punished.

President Trump involved himself in the case almost from the start. Before the trial began, in March, I received two calls from the president asking me to lift Gallagher’s confinement in a Navy brig; I pushed back twice, because the presiding judge, acting on information about the accused’s conduct, had decided that confinement was important. Eventually, the president ordered me to have him transferred to the equivalent of an enlisted barracks. I came to believe that Trump’s interest in the case stemmed partly from the way the defendant’s lawyers and others had worked to keep it front and center in the media.

After the verdict was delivered, the Navy’s normal process wasn’t finished. Gallagher had voluntarily submitted his request to retire. In his case, there were three questions: Would he be permitted to retire at the rank of chief, which is also known as an E-7? (The jury had said he should be busted to an E-6, a demotion.) The second was: Should he be allowed to leave the service with an “honorable” or “general under honorable” discharge? And a third: Should he be able to keep his Trident pin, the medal all SEALs wear and treasure as members of an elite force?

On Nov. 14, partly because the president had already contacted me twice, I sent him a note asking him not to get involved in these questions.

Read the rest at the WaPo link.

One of the Family, Frederick George Cotman

CNN: Worry rises in military over Trump’s decision-making.

Tensions that have been mounting for months between some of the nation’s most senior military officers and President Donald Trump are boiling over after his decision to intervene in the cases of three service members accused of war crimes.

A long-serving military officer put it bluntly, telling CNN “there is a morale problem,” and senior Pentagon officials have privately said they are disturbed by the President’s behavior.
Dismay in the Pentagon has been building over Trump’s sporadic, impulsive and contradictory decision-making on a range of issues, including his sudden pullback of troops in Syria. But now there are new and significant worries, as multiple military officials and retired officers say Trump’s intervention into high-profile war crimes cases cannot be ignored….

Trump had upped the ante at a rally on Tuesday by issuing an extraordinary declaration that he took action in the face of “deep state” opposition. In fact, senior Pentagon officials had been unanimously opposed to the President’s intervention because they believed it would undermine military discipline and order.

The President’s comments and his intervention — at the urging of Fox News commentators — reflect another worry among military leaders that Trump continues to be influenced by the network in ways that encourage him to politicize the military, an institution that is meant to stay above the political fray.

Read more at CNN.

Currier and Ives, Home to Thanksgiving

Some uncomfortable stories have been coming out about Trump’s EU Ambassdor and impeachment witness Gordon Sondland.

First up, did he fabricate the call in which he claimed Trump said “I want nothing….no quid quo pro?” The Washington Post: Witness testimony and records raise questions about account of Trump’s ‘no quid pro quo’ call.

Sondland’s recollection of a phone conversation that he said took place on Sept. 9 has emerged as a centerpiece of Trump’s defense as House Democrats argue in an impeachment inquiry that he abused his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democrats.

However, no other witness testimony or documents have emerged that corroborate Sondland’s description of a call that day.

Trump himself, in describing the conversation, has referred only to the ambassador’s account of the call, which — based on Sondland’s activities — would have occurred before dawn in Washington. And the White House has not located a record in its switchboard logs of a call between Trump and Sondland on Sept. 9, according to an administration official who, like others in this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

But there is evidence of another call between Trump and Sondland that occurred a few days earlier — one with a very different thrust, in which the president made clear that he wanted his Ukrainian counterpart to personally announce investigations into Trump’s political opponents.

The conflicting information raises serious questions about the accuracy of Sondland’s account, one that Trump has embraced to counter a growing body of evidence that he and his allies pressured Ukraine for his own political benefit.

More Sondland stories:

The Daily Beast: Sondland’s Ties to Romanian Official Set Off Alarms at National Security Council.

ProPublica: Multiple Women Recall Sexual Misconduct and Retaliation by Gordon Sondland.

By Norman Rockwell

Bad news for Trump at The New York Times: Russia Inquiry Review Is Expected to Undercut Trump Claim of F.B.I. Spying.

The Justice Department’s inspector general found no evidence that the F.B.I. attempted to place undercover agents or informants inside Donald J. Trump’s campaign in 2016 as agents investigated whether his associates conspired with Russia’s election interference operation, people familiar with a draft of the inspector general’s report said.

The determination by the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, is expected to be a key finding in his highly anticipated report due out on Dec. 9 examining aspects of the Russia investigation. The finding also contradicts some of the most inflammatory accusations hurled by Mr. Trump and his supporters, who alleged not only that F.B.I. officials spied on the Trump campaign but also at one point that former President Barack Obama had ordered Mr. Trump’s phones tapped. The startling accusation generated headlines but Mr. Trump never backed it up.

The finding is one of several by Mr. Horowitz that undercuts conservatives’ claims that the F.B.I. acted improperly in investigating several Trump associates starting in 2016. He also found that F.B.I. leaders did not take politically motivated actions in pursuing a secret wiretap on a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page — eavesdropping that Mr. Trump’s allies have long decried as politically motivated.

But Mr. Horowitz will sharply criticize F.B.I. leaders for their handling of the investigation in some ways, and he unearthed errors and omissions when F.B.I. officials applied for the wiretap, according to people familiar with a draft of the report. The draft contained a chart listing numerous mistakes in the process, one of the people said.

More news, links only:

The Washington Post: North Korea launches two projectiles in Thanksgiving message to Trump.

The New York Times: Time Is Running Out for Trump’s North Korean Diplomacy, Analysts Say.

The Washington Post: Appeals court stays ruling that former White House counsel Donald McGahn must comply with House subpoena.

AP: Judge upholds charges that could put Weinstein away for life.

The Verge: Apple alters Maps and Weather to show Crimea as a Russian territory.

The Washington Post: Trump official who suggested dropping nuclear bombs on Afghanistan now responsible for arms control issues.

Edward Luce at The Financial Times: How money laundering is poisoning American democracy.

HuffPost: Trump Has Spent $115 Million On Golf Trips ― Or 287 Years Of Presidential Salary.

Mother Jones: Rudy Giuliani Has a Foreign-Lobbying Problem, and It Just Got Bigger.

Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine: Report: Trump’s Business More Fraudulent Than Previously Known.

Have a wonderful, relaxing Thanksgiving Day, everyone!!


31 Comments on “Thanksgiving Day Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

  2. bostonboomer says:

  3. bostonboomer says:

  4. bostonboomer says:

  5. bostonboomer says:

  6. bostonboomer says:

    • NW Luna says:

      We have the best candidates! Compassionate and walking their talk.

      Can you imagine Trump doing anything like this? Even when he hands out Halloween candy he does it like a jerk.

  7. Delphyne49 says:

    Happy Thanksgiving BB and Skydancers! Hope the day is filled with good food, friends and family!

    Lots of great links, BB!

  8. dakinikat says:

  9. dakinikat says:

    “Criminology researchers are retracting five studies that have sparked a bitter battle over potential scientific misconduct and issues of race. The episode has riveted the criminology community—and severed a once close relationship after one of the researchers accused his former mentor of falsifying data.”

    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/11/quintet-study-retractions-rocks-criminology-community?utm_campaign=news_daily_2019-11-27&et_rid=338180283&et_cid=3099119&fbclid=IwAR0knGyvSWLBdxbJBVSt494Pv62HjKiWf0E75OoqXKCS-ThaQqWYTnX79IE

  10. dakinikat says:

    Poignant and sad words from Charles Pierce in Esquire:

    “In my life, I have watched John Kennedy talk on television about missiles in Cuba. I saw Lyndon Johnson look Richard Russell squarely in the eye and and say, “And we shall overcome.”

    I saw Richard Nixon resign and Gerald Ford tell the Congress that our long national nightmare was over.

    I saw Jimmy Carter talk about malaise and Ronald Reagan talk about a shining city on a hill.

    I saw George H.W. Bush deliver the eulogy for the Soviet bloc, and Bill Clinton comfort the survivors of Timothy McVeigh’s madness in Oklahoma City.

    I saw George W. Bush struggle to make sense of it all on September 11, 2001, and I saw Barack Obama sing “Amazing Grace” in the wounded sanctuary of Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

    These were the presidents of my lifetime. These were not perfect men. They were not perfect presidents, god knows. Not one of them was that. But they approached the job, and they took to the podium, with all the gravitas they could muster as appropriate to the job. They tried, at least, to reach for something in the presidency that was beyond their grasp as ordinary human beings. They were not all ennobled by the attempt, but they tried nonetheless.

    And comes now this hopeless, vicious buffoon, and the audience of equally hopeless and vicious buffoons who laughed and cheered when he made sport of a woman whose lasting memory of the trauma she suffered is the laughter of the perpetrators. Now he comes, a man swathed in scandal, with no interest beyond what he can put in his pocket and what he can put over on a universe of suckers, and he does something like this while occupying an office that we gave him, and while endowed with a public trust that he dishonors every day he wakes up in the White House.

    The scion of a multigenerational criminal enterprise, the parameters of which we are only now beginning to comprehend. A vessel for all the worst elements of the American condition. And a cheap, soulless bully besides.
    Watch him make fun of the woman again. Watch how a republic dies in the empty eyes of an empty man who feels nothing but his own imaginary greatness, and who cannot find in himself the decency simply to shut the fuck up even when it is in his best interest to do so. Presidents don’t have to be heroes to be good presidents. They just have to realize that their humanity is our common humanity, and that their political commonwealth is our political commonwealth, too.

    Watch him again, behind the seal of the President of the United States. Isn’t he a funny man? Isn’t what happened to that lady hilarious? Watch the assembled morons cheer. This is the only story now.”

  11. dakinikat says:

    50 years!

  12. NW Luna says:

    Rebecca the White House Raccoon

    A Mississippi resident sent a raccoon in a top-slatted soap box to the White House in November of 1926. The idea was that the animal would be slaughtered and prepared for a Thanksgiving feast, according to news reports. But President Calvin Coolidge didn’t care for raccoon meat. Turkey would suit.

    Also this was, first lady Grace Coolidge later wrote, “no ordinary raccoon.” The animal was lively and seemingly tame. So instead of eating the raccoon, the Coolidges, who adored animals, kept her as a pet. They named her Rebecca, and when she was indoors, she roamed the White House apartments. She liked to sit in a bathtub and play with a bar of soap.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2019/11/25/this-raccoon-could-have-been-presidents-thanksgiving-meal-it-became-white-house-pet-instead/

    • dakinikat says:

      That’s a wonderful story!!!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Wow! I never heard that one. Thanks, Luna.

    • quixote says:

      Lordy. I’m having flashbacks. Raccoons, whole families sometimes, would wander across my back patio which was full of large and small plants in pots, rocks from godknowswhere, and enough leaf litter to grow cabbages because housekeeping is not my forte.

      It’s like midnight or 1 am and I wake up because of funny noises. Sounds like something being scraped along the patio. I get up slowly so as not to startle whatever it is so I can figure out what it’s doing.

      It’s a raccoon. Not foraging or doing anything that makes sense. Dragging rocks around as far as I can see. Pushing them around, shoving them from hand to hand. (In my book, raccoons have hands.)

      After a while I figure I’m not going to understand what it’s doing and I’d like the raccoon to do whatever it is somewhere else. So I stand up suddenly right in front of the glass patio door.

      It looks up at me in a what-might-your-name-be sort of way, and goes back to shoving rocks. I gradually realize it’s playing, and having way too much fun to have any intention of stopping. At this point I’m *trying* to startle it. It looks pleased I’m wanting to play too. I put outside clothes on and go out on the patio. It backs behind a big pot, keeping an eye on me, wondering if I’ll come up with some neat new wrinkle on the rock game.

      I like raccoons (I know, I know.) so I don’t want to terrify it, so no roaring or jumping. But anything less obviously doesn’t get through. After a while, I go back inside. Raccoon goes back to pushing around these cool new rocks.

      I don’t remember when I finally got back to sleep.

      • NW Luna says:

        Of course raccoons have hands! Lol, the last interaction I had with them was camping in the scrub-sage lands east of the Cascade Mtns. Middle of the night I heard animal screams and snarls. I jumped up, ran to it stamping my feet and yelling “Damnit stop that right now!” and several raccoons waddle-ran away. The smallest one climbed a tree. I think one was getting hazed.

        Raccoons do have sharp teeth and can be aggressive. In our neighborhood cats and small dogs have sometimes been attacked by them.

  13. dakinikat says:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7735543/Deutsche-bank-exec-signed-Trump-loans-commits-suicide-age-55.html?fbclid=IwAR0jZLIcYmdPNHkpYYjB4DcD22xbxxkRej6ijaDOYP84rigbRL9Xk40CPrA

    Deutsche Bank executive, 55, who signed off on controversial Donald Trump loans commits suicide in his Malibu home
    Thomas Bowers died on November 19 in his home in Malibu, California
    The 55-year-old banker is survived by his three adult children
    His wife Abby died in 2017 from unknown causes
    Bowers left Deutsche Bank in 2015 but had overseen Trump’s private banker, Roemary Vrablic
    Deutsche gave Trump $2billion over a period of several decades before he became president
    The loans have come under congressional committee investigation

  14. dakinikat says: