Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Iraq: a Hot Mess

Wasn't one of the reasons we "had" to take out Saddam Hussein because he was attacking the Iraqi Kurds?  Isn't Turkey our ally?

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Good Reason to Do Them Favors While in Office

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.


Summoned to the Palace

The Trump administration has asked every member of the US Senate to meet at the White House on Wednesday for a briefing on North Korea, in a rare and unusual move, amid mounting tensions with Pyongyang.

All 100 senators have been asked to attend the Wednesday briefing, which will be conducted by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Monday.

Wouldn't it be more logical for Tillerson, et al., to go to the Senate?
The briefing was originally scheduled for a secure room at the Capitol, but was changed after President Donald Trump suggested a shift to the White House, according to congressional aides cited by Reuters.
...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

What Would It Cost?

Since "the wall" is estimated to cost over $20 billion dollars, I'm wondering if it wouldn't be cheaper to choose one or two states - Arizona? North Carolina? Wyoming? - and put up a guarded, razor wire fence around them and then move everybody inside who is afraid of terrorists and Mexicans.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

We May Soon Get a Wall at the Canadian Border

The Trump administration announced on Monday that it would impose new tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber imports, escalating a longstanding conflict with America’s second-largest trading partner.

  New York Times


He's apparently seen the news.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

He Who Hesitates

Trump, in a private meeting with conservative media outlets, said he might wait until Republicans begin drafting the budget blueprint for the fiscal year that starts on 1 October to seek government funds for building a wall along the US-Mexico border, the White House confirmed.


Trump, whose approval ratings have steadily declined since he took office, is facing a deadline on Friday for Congress to pass the spending bill funding the government through to September or risk marking his 100th day in office on Saturday with a government shutdown.


If no spending measure covering 29 April to 30 September is in place by midnight on Saturday, government funds will halt and hundreds of thousands of the country’s several million federal employees will be temporarily laid off.


Trump’s border wall was a central campaign pledge that he still insists Mexico will pay for in the end, though Democrats and even most Republicans doubt that will ever come to pass.   Guardian
His latest weasel is that Mexico will pay for it "in some form."
Earlier on Monday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump’s demand that Congress include funds for the construction of the wall remained a White House priority.

“The president has made very clear that he’s got two priorities in this continuing resolution: number one, the increase in funding for the military and number two, for our homeland security and the wall,” Spicer told reporters.


The border wall spending is fiercely opposed by Democrats and also unpopular with many Republicans.


Cost estimates range beyond $20bn and the White House had been seeking $1.4bn as a down payment in the spending bill.


Department of Homeland Security internal estimates have placed the total cost of a border barrier at about $21.6bn.


Although Republicans control both chambers of Congress, a funding bill will need 60 votes to clear the 100-member Senate, where Republicans hold 52 seats, meaning at least some Democrats will have to get behind it.
And I wouldn't bet that some won't.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.


Apparently he's seen the news.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Torture & Murder in Milwaukee Jail

A mentally ill man who last year died of severe dehydration in a jail run by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke was kept in his cell for seven days straight after jail employees cut off his water supply, a prosecutor in Wisconsin said Monday.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that prosecutors told a six-person jury on Monday that cutting off water to Terrill Thomas’ cell was “highly irregular and contrary to standard operating procedure in the jail.” The comments came as part of an inquest into Thomas’ death, in which the jury decides whether there’s probable cause to charge anyone with a crime in Thomas’ death.

There's a question?!
Assistant District Attorney Kurt Benkley told jurors that it “became apparent” that Thomas “was unable to tell people about his basic needs,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
A jailer needs to be TOLD that a person has a basic need for water?!
Clarke, a high-profile supporter of President Donald Trump who makes frequent appearances on conservative news outlets, appears to take a hands-off approach to managing the jail he’s charged with running and has deflected blame for the deaths that occurred on his watch.
You're allowed to "run" a jail with a "hands-off approach"?!

Jesus F Christ.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Among Other Things

UPDATE 4/25:
The US embassy in London has taken down a web page publicising Donald Trump’s country club at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, triggering outrage as the latest example of the blurring of lines between public institutions and the president’s business interests under the new administration.


The web posts gave details of the opulent past of the eight hectare estate and 114-room mansion, built in 1927 for a cereal heiress and socialite, Marjorie Merriweather Post, who willed it to the US government in 1973. However, neither Richard Nixon or Jimmy Carter used it and it was returned to private ownership in 1981.

The website suggested that “Post’s dream of a winter White House came true with Trump’s election in 2016”.


The use of the state department website for such publicity was denounced by the president’s critics and government ethics experts.


Norman Eisen, who was special counsel for ethics and government reform in the Obama White House, said the web page broke federal regulations because the state department and embassies “are using official channels to promote a private business, which happens to be that of their ultimate superior, the president”.


“The intention of the article was to inform the public about where the President has been hosting world leaders,” a state department official said. “We regret any misperception and have removed the post.”


He Got Sidetracked

He started that tweet about the wall "stopping drugs from pouring into our country" and then something shiny caught his attention. He's finished it now.

Four hours ago...

Then he got distracted...

Three hours ago...

One hour ago...

Oh, yeah...talking about the wall.  It's the only thing that's going to "fix" the "rug situation"  - at least "the way it should be!"

Has he given up on talking about the wall to stop the Mexicans themselves?

Must be having some trouble convincing people of the rationality of such a thing.  Perhaps not everybody is easy prey to a snake oil salesman?

 ...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s top two defence officials have resigned after a Taliban attack killed more than 140 soldiers at an army base, as the US defence secretary, James Mattis, touched down on an unannounced visit to meet American troops and Afghan officials.


Mattis arrived 10 days after the US dropped the largest conventional bomb it has ever used on Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan, and a day after 300 additional US marines were deployed to bolster Afghan security forces in the embattled Helmand province.


Mattis was scheduled to meet the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, for probable discussions on the fallout of the strike on 13 April in Nangarhar. The Afghan government said the assault killed more than 90 Isis militants. The US has not yet commented on the result of the strike.


The attack on Friday at the largest Afghan army base in the north, possibly the deadliest inflicted by the Taliban on the country’s security forces since 2001, involved up to 12 militants. They breached the base by posing as injured soldiers, in fatigues and military vehicles, wearing leg bandages and arm drips.

After setting off explosives at one checkpoint, they went on a shooting rampage outside the base mosque and inside the mess hall where they gunned down crowds of unarmed soldiers.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.