Tuesday Reads: Today’s Blizzard of NewsPosted: November 13, 2018 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Amy Totenberg, arlington cemetery, CNN, Dana Rohrabacker, Donald Trump, Emmanuel Macron, Harley Rouda, helicopters and weather, Jim Acosta, Kyrsten Sinema, Marine One, Matthew Whitaker, Stacey Abrams, Ted Olson, veteran's day 22 Comments
We’ve gone through two years with an unfit, incompetent “president,” but I don’t know how much longer we as a country can deal with this quickly worsening situation. Thank goodness the Democrats won the House and will be able to exert some control over this maniac beginning on January 3, 2019. In the meantime, the government is likely going to continue getting more dysfunctional; and every day we’re hit with so much news that it’s impossible to process all of it.
As comic relief, I’m illustrating this post with photos of dogs’ facial expressions when they’re getting treats. Click the link to Vieler Photography to learn more.
Here is some of what’s going on today.
Robin Wright at The New Yorker: Trump Completes a Shameful Trip to Paris, Just as He Needs the Global Stage.
In unrelenting rain, more than sixty world leaders—Presidents and Prime Ministers, kings and princes, from a third of all the nations on Earth—shared big black umbrellas as they marched together down the Champs-Élysées, in Paris, on Sunday. They gathered to mark the hundredth anniversary of the Armistice that ended the fighting of the First World War, and to express global unity. Donald Trump was not among them. He drove to the ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in the dry comfort of his limousine. Aides cited security. The only apparent threat was from an unarmed topless activist, with the words “Fake Peacemaker” emblazoned across her chest, who tried to run near his motorcade.
The President did the same thing the previous day, calling off a trip to honor the more than two thousand Americans buried in the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, some fifty miles outside of Paris. (All told, fifty thousand Americans died in the First World War.) The White House cited foul weather. The response was fast and furious on the President’s favorite medium. Nicholas Soames, the grandson of the former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and a Conservative Party member of the British Parliament, tweeted, “They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate @realDonaldTrump couldn’t even defy the weather to pay his respects to The Fallen.” He added the hashtag “#hesnotfittorepresenthisgreatcountry.” Michael Beschloss, the Presidential historian, tweeted a picture of President John F. Kennedy and the French President Charles de Gaulle getting soaked (without umbrellas) in Paris when they honored the war dead, in 1961. There were numerous jibes on Twitter, including one from @votevets, about whether the decision had something to do with Trump’s hair. The same day, despite the rain, the leaders of France and Germany managed to visit Compiègne—also fifty miles from Paris—where the Armistice was signed in a railway car a century ago.
Trump flew his entourage almost four thousand miles for the commemoration but showed little interest in most of it. He lunched with his counterparts and offered brief remarks at a second American cemetery. But, otherwise, it was a dud of a trip. His disdain was all the more striking for the fact that he needs the rest of the world more than ever. The U.S. midterm elections produced a divided Congress, limiting movement on major domestic issues for the next two years. As he mounts his reëlection bid for 2020 Trump will need foreign-policy breakthroughs to appear either productive or Presidential. Yet he seems, instead, to be withdrawing further.
And back in Washington, Trump also failed to visit Arlington Cemetery on Veterans Day. Today, he’s on Twitter making excuses for his behavior.
At the Atlantic, James Fallows questions the “helicopter can’t fly in the rain” excuse:
Why, exactly, did Donald Trump not join Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, and Justin Trudeau at Saturday’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the original Armistice Day? I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone outside the White House does at this point.
What I do know is that one hypothesis that has shown up in many stories about his no-show—that Marine One, the presidential helicopter, “can’t fly” in the rain—doesn’t make sense.
As you’re looking for explanations, you can dismiss this one. Helicopters can fly just fine in the rain, and in conditions way worse than prevailed in Paris on November 10.
Fallows is a licensed pilot and flew on Marine One when he worked for Jimmy Carter. Click on the link to read why Trump’s excuse is complete bullshit. I hope someone in the Marines speaks up about this.
Trump is also busy trolling Emmanuel Macron on Twitter. The Washington Post: In a morning tweetstorm, Trump takes repeated aim at France’s Macron.
In the first of several barbs Tuesday on Twitter, Trump again misrepresented what Macron had said during last week’s radio interview and reminded him of the U.S. military’s role in aiding France in World War I and II.
“Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia,” Trump wrote. “But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two — How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along.”
Trump also inaccurately summarized Macron’s comments when he initially tweeted about them Friday while on Air Force One arriving in Paris. Trump said he found Macron’s comments “very insulting” and said that France should “first pay its fair share of NATO.”
In his tweet on Tuesday, Trump again referenced France’s spending, writing: “Pay for NATO or not!”
I won’t bore you with anymore of the “president’s” churlishness, but there’s more at the link.
Matthew Whitaker’s appointment as acting AG is being challenged in court. Charlie Savage at The New York Times:
The State of Maryland is expected to ask a federal judge on Tuesday for an injunction declaring that Mr. Whitaker is not the legitimate acting attorney general as a matter of law, and that the position — and all its powers — instead rightfully belongs to the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein.
Mr. Trump may not “bypass the constitutional and statutory requirements for appointing someone to that office,” the plaintiffs said in a draft filing obtained by The New York Times.
The legal action escalates the uproar surrounding Mr. Trump’s installation of Mr. Whitaker as the nation’s top law-enforcement officer, from criticism of his basic credentials and his views on the Russia investigation to challenges to the legality of his appointment. Last week, Chuck Schumer of New York, the Senate’s top Democrat, sent a letter demanding to know why Mr. Trump chose an “unconfirmed political appointee” as acting attorney general, rather than follow the Justice Department’s statutory line of succession.
Maryland is asking a judge — Ellen L. Hollander of the Federal District Court for the District of Maryland, a 2010 Obama appointee — to rule on who is the real acting attorney general as part of a lawsuit in which it sued Mr. Sessions in his official capacity. Because Mr. Sessions is no longer the attorney general, the judge must substitute his successor as a defendant in the litigation, so she has to decide who that successor legally is.
The stakes are extraordinary. The acting attorney general is the most powerful law enforcement official in the United States and wields tremendous influence, from overseeing criminal and national-security investigations to deciding how to enforce immigration, environmental and civil rights laws.
Rep. Adam Schiff, who will likely chair the House Intelligence Committee next year warns Whitaker in today’s Washington Post: Matthew Whitaker, we’re watching you.
The president and Whitaker should heed this warning: The new Democratic majority will protect the special counsel and the integrity of the Justice Department. Should Whitaker fail to recuse himself — all indications are that he plans not to — and seek to obstruct the investigation, serve as a back channel to the president or his legal team or interfere in the investigations in any way, he will be called to answer. His actions will be exposed.
It is no mystery why the president chose Whitaker, an obscure and ill-qualified official never confirmed by the Senate, which many legal experts believe makes the appointment itself unconstitutional. Trump chose him to protect himself, his family and his close associates from the special counsel’s investigation and other investigations within the Justice Department.
Though I had many profound disagreements with Sessions, he was correct to follow the rules meant to ensure public confidence in the fair administration of justice and recuse himself, even though the president viewed Sessions’s compliance as a singular act of disloyalty. We must demand the highest ethical standards of everyone at the Justice Department, including the attorney general.
There is no indication that Whitaker has likewise consulted with ethics officials, as his past public statements, associations and the manner of his appointment make clear that he should have no role in overseeing the special counsel’s investigation or any matter related to the president and his campaign.
Read the rest at the WaPo.
CNN has decided to quit playing around with Trump and Sarah Huckleberry. NBC News: CNN files lawsuit against Trump administration over Jim Acosta’s press credentials.
CNN has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for revoking correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials, the network said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process,” a statement from CNN reads.
The network filed the suit in a Washington, D.C., district court, according to the statement, saying they have asked for “an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned” to Acosta.
Listed as defendants in the suit are Trump in addition to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Deputy Chief of Staff Bill Shine, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, and the U.S. Secret Service and its director Randolph Alles and an unnamed Secret Service agent….
The lawsuit says that Acosta and CNN have been favorite targets of the administration, adding that they intend this suit to “ensure that the press remains free to question the government and to report the business of the nation to the American people.”
A number of derogatory tweets and comments made by Trump about CNN are mentioned in the suit. The suit noted that Trump retweeted “a video depicting him tackling and punching a man with a CNN logo superimposed on his face, adding the comments ‘#FraudNewsCNN’ and ‘#FNN.'”
Read more at NBC News. Interestingly, CNN is represented by legendary conservative attorney Ted Olson, who turned down Trump’s attempts to hire him.
Counting of votes from last Tuesday’s election continues in several states. Yesterday, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema was declared the winner of Jeff Flake’s Senate seat in Arizona. Russia-friendly Dana Rohrabacher lost to Democrat Democrat Harley Rouda. The Florida recounts continue, and Democrat Stacey Abrams is still holding out in Georgia.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Judge orders review of provisional ballots in Georgia election.
A federal judge on Monday ordered election officials to review thousands of provisional ballots that haven’t been counted in Georgia’s close election for governor.
U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg’s order calls for a hotline for voters to check if their provisional ballots were counted, a review of voter registrations, and updated reports from the state government about why many voters were required to use provisional ballots.
The court decision comes as votes are still being counted in the race for governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp. Abrams trails Kemp and would need to gain more than 20,000 additional votes to force a runoff election.
Totenberg said she’s providing “limited, modest” relief to help protect voters. The order preserves Tuesday’s deadline for county election offices to certify results and the Nov. 20 deadline for Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden to certify the election. The ruling enjoins Crittenden from certifying the election before Friday at 5 p.m.
Amy Totenberg is the sister of NPR’s SCOTUS reporter Nina Totenberg.
That’s it for me. What stories are you following today?
Sunday Reads: A look at Miss Europa…before, during and after WWII.Posted: January 17, 2016 Filed under: morning reads | Tags: arlington cemetery, History, WASP, Women, WWII 13 Comments
Tonight is another Dem Debate…I am hopeful that I will be able to see this one live. But, the chances are unlikely if I can’t find a live feed online. (Supposedly there is a live feed here: http://www.nbcnews.com/ Coverage starts at 8pm.)
How to Watch the NBC News-YouTube Democratic Debate – NBC News
First Read: Previewing Tonight’s NBC News-YouTube Democratic Debate – NBC News
We will have a live blog up and running.
Let’s get on with the post…I can’t take much of this political stuff now. It gets me worked up, I’d prefer looking at depressing pictures of war-torn nations and reading about the dickheads who are keeping women pilots from WWII out of Arlington National Cemetery.
The pictures you will see are images from the first Miss Europa Beauty Pageant 1930. A time when war was on the horizon, and the countries participating were bringing their best and prettiest young ladies to compete for a prize of Miss Europa. Is it ironic that Miss Switzerland was “withdrawn.”
As you look at these women, remember the beauty and pride they exude for their respective countries because only a short few years later, many of those countries were overtaken…and the image turned horrific.
I will show you some of the women, (not the same women of course…but women from the same countries several years later) the difference in the faces. Granted they are not “beauty queens,” but you can see the beauty of the women underneath.
I also have transposed with these images…pictures of women who show pride…in themselves, for different reasons. Not because of the ideal beauty that they represent in their country…but the pride that comes from their hard work and equality to men during wartime, as they represent their country fighting in the field, and at home. Doing the jobs men left behind, even though they were not paid the same as the men…but dammit they did a better job then the men. (Ya know it too!)
Now the images, from the blog Vintage Everyday.
vintage everyday: Beautiful Vintage Portraits of European Girls from the Miss Europe 1930
Miss Europe 1930 was the second annual Miss Europe competition. Miss Greece won and 19 girls from Europe competed in the pageant. Belgium, Czechoslovakia and Miss Turkey participated for the first time and one candidacy, that of Switzerland, was withdrawn.
- Austria – Ingeborg von Grinberger
- Belgium – Jenny Vanparays
- Bulgaria – Konika Tchobanova
- Czechoslovakia – Milada Dostálová
- Denmark – Esther Petersen
- England – Marjorie Ross
- France – Yvette Labrousse
- Germany – Dorit Nitykowski
- Greece – Aliki Diplarakou
- Holland – Rie Van der Rest
- Hungary – Maria Papst
- Ireland – Vera Curran
- Italy – Mafalda Morittino
- Poland – Zofia Batycka
- Romania – Zoica Dona
- Russia – Irene Wentzel
- Spain – Elena Plá Mompó
- Turkey – Mubedjel Namik
- Yugoslavia – Stephanie “Caca” Drobujak
Miss Greece won the pageant. I think Miss Russia is absolutely gorgeous. The fashions are wonderful to look at…as I said, this is 1930, so take a look at each woman carefully…because many would be representing countries that no longer would exist (as these women knew them) within the next decade.
The above pictures are from these blog post. I urge you to check out every one of them because I have not used all the photos in the threads below…go to each link and learn and see the photographs.
vintage everyday: Interesting Photos of Women in World War II
vintage everyday: Inside Nazi-Occupied Poland, 1939-1940
vintage everyday: Black & White Photos of Daily Life in Campobasso, Italy in 1944
vintage everyday: Pictures of Collaborator Girls in World War II, Some are Shocking Ones!
vintage everyday: Rare Images of the Battle of the Bulge – WWII
vintage everyday: Ghostly Photos of Kaliningrad Looked Both in World War II and Now
vintage everyday: 50 Breathtaking WWII Colorized Photos Look Like They were Taken Yesterday
Vintage Everyday has countless numbers of blog post with shit-tons of images about everything you can ever imagine. Spend some hours over there, you will be going back to this wonderful site again and again.
These are the pictures of the women who fought and worked during the war:
vintage everyday: 20 Interesting Black and White Photos of U.S. Women in World War II
vintage everyday: Interesting Photos of Women in World War II
The point to all this, is the latest shit fest on the Hill. There is a bitter fight going on about the WASP, Women Airforce Service Pilots…and their rights to buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Women Airforce Service Pilots: History and background on the WASPs
One thousand-one hundred U.S. women served as pilots for the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. This collection is the official WASP repository, containing digital photographs, letters, oral histories, and descriptions of personal and military records and memorabilia.
In the Beginning:
In 1939, on the day after Germany’s tanks rolled into Warsaw, Poland, pilot Jacqueline Cochran sent a letter to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt encouraging the use of women pilots in the armed forces. In May 1940, another pilot, Nancy Harkness Love wrote the Ferrying Division of the Armed Air Forces with a similar idea but the Army was not ready to put women in the cockpit of its planes. By September 1942, however, all that was changing.
The demand for male combat pilots and warplanes left the Air Transport Command (ATC) with a shortage of experienced pilots to ferry planes from factories to points of embarkation. The leaders of the ATC remembered Nancy Harkness Love’s proposal and hired her to recruit twenty-five of the most qualified women pilots in the country to ferry military aircraft. These outstanding women pilots were called the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron or WAFS.
WASP Facts and Stats
- WASP served as part of the Army Air Forces from September 1942 to December 1944
- 30 women invited to join the WAFS
- 28 WAFS assigned to operational duties
- 25,000 women applied for WFTD/WASP training
- 1,830 were accepted
- 1,074 graduated from the program and were assigned to operational duties
- 900 WASP and 16 WAFS remained in service at the time of deactivation, December 20, 1944
- 38 died while in the WASP program
- 60,000,000 miles were flown
- WASP earned $150 per month while in training, and $250 per month after graduation
- They paid for their own uniforms, lodging, and personal travel to and from home
By September 14, 1942, General Henry “Hap” Arnold, Commanding General of the Army Air Forces, also approved a program that would train a large group of women to serve as ferry pilots. The program was placed under the direction of Jacqueline Cochran, and named the Army Air Forces Women’s Flying Training Detatchment (WFTD).
On August 5, 1943, the WAFS and the WFTD were merged and re-designated the Women Airforce Service Pilots or WASP. Cochran was appointed the Director and Love was named WASP Executive with the ATC Ferrying Division.
The Atlantic has a good article on this battle that has gone on for years, too many mutthafukken years:
Female World War II Pilots Fight for Spot in Arlington Cemetery – The Atlantic
The World War II pilots fought for their right to be recognized for decades, but have been barred from being buried on the grounds.
Seventy years ago, Women Airforce Service Pilots flew 77 types of airplanes 60 million miles during World War II. Forty years ago, they won formal recognition for their service and were finally granted their honorable discharges. Five years ago, they received the Congressional Gold Medal. But last year, the Secretary of the Army rescinded their eligibility to be inurned at Arlington National Cemetery. Now, the families of this dwindling group of veterans are fighting to ensure that the United States honors their service.The WASPs flew the heaviest bombers, fastest pursuit planes, and lightest trainers during World War II. They ferried planes across the U.S. and flew Army chaplains from base to base for services on Sunday. They test-flew planes that had been repaired to make certain they were safe for the male cadets who would learn to fly and fight in them. They trained gunners on the ground and in B-17s, towing targets behind their own planes while the men fired live ammunition at them. Of the 1,102 who earned their Silver Wings, 38 died during the war. The WASPs served their country when it needed them and then fought to be remembered when their nation forgot them—over and over again.
The press on both the left and right are picking this up….
This female pilot was denied equal pay during WWII. Now Arlington Cemetery bars her remains. – The Washington Post
Elaine Harmon and her comrades flew Army planes across the country. They helped train pilots on how to operate aircraft and instruments. They towed targets behind them while soldiers below fired live ammunition during training. Harmon was aware that her service could cost her life: For 38 other women, it did.But few people in 1944 wanted Harmon or women like her to be part of the military. Not Harmon’s mother, who believed that Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) “were all just awful, just probably loose women” and was ashamed that her daughter would be one of them. Not civilian male pilots, who felt threatened by the female recruits. And not Congress, which voted down a bill that would have granted the female pilots military status for fiscal and political reasons. As World War II drew to a close, the program was disbanded and largely forgotten. It wasn’t until the Air Force began accepting women for pilot training in 1970 that anyone remembered women had flown for the military previously, and it was not until 1977 that the female pilots were finally granted veteran status.Harmon, who helped campaign for WASPs to get that status, was at the first full veteran’s funeral for a WASP in 2002. It was a world apart from the brief affairs she had attended before, when urns containing a woman’s ashes were unceremoniously placed inside an outdoor structure at Arlington National Cemetery. It made Harmon proud to know that she also would be afforded full military honors when her time came — in April of last year.Which is why Terry Harmon, Elaine’s 69-year-old daughter, was angered when Secretary of the Army John McHugh reversed the old rule and said that ashes of WASPs can no longer be inurned at Arlington Cemetery.
Female World War II pilots barred from Arlington National Cemetery – Washington Times
Congresswoman fights ban on burying female WWII pilots at Arlington
Family Fighting to Allow Female World War II Pilots to Be Laid to Rest in Arlington National Cemetery – ABC News
AP via Fox: Women pilots who served in WWII can’t have ashes laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery | Fox News
The WASPs Are Being Denied Burial At Arlington Cemetery | TexasGOPVote
Meanwhile there is a bill just introduced that could change things:
LI Lawmakers Push Bill To Protect Cradle Of Aviation, Republic Airport « CBS New York
Each day we lose more and more of our World War Two veterans. Now, a movement is underway to preserve, mark and commemmorate unique sights in aviation history.
Long Island’s congressional delegation is backing a bill directing the government to preserve key sites and formally designate parts of Long Island as a unit of the National Parks Service, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
“That federal designation would allow them to get funding and preserve the rich history, which is so criticial to the country’s history,” U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice said.
The bill designates three key sites: Bethpage, which was home to Grumman Aerospace, one of the largest manufacturers of planes during World War II; Republic Airport, formally known as Fairchild Flying Field in East Farmingdale; and Hempstead Plains, the “Cradle of Aviation,” which is home to three iconic airfields: Roosevelt Field, Mitchel Field and Curtiss Field.
Rice announced the bill at the Cradle Of Aviation Museum in Garden City on Thursday. She was accompanied by Jane Gilman, whose mother — Margaret Weber — served as a Women Airforce Service Pilot, or WASP, during World War Two.
“She was a tow target pilot , she would tow the targets the men would practice live artillery on,” Gilman said.
Garden City is also home to the site where the first U.S. Air Mail flight took off, leaving from the Nassau city bound for nearby Mineola. The short distance between the two villages — just a couple of miles–did not give the pilot enough time to land. The first U.S. Air Mail was literally dropped from this plane onto the roof of the Mineola post office.
The entire Long Island congressional delegation backs the national aviation bill.
Video at that link.
If you are wondering about what is a low target pilot, look to the Atlantic article and especially the WASPs website for more information.
Let’s make this an open thread….I will end it with a fabulous picture of a WASPs in front of one of her ferry planes…