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Niger

Over at Charlie Pierce’s place Robert Bateman provides background on the attack in Niger. He also reports on the duty specialties on those who were killed: Staff Sergeants Bryan Black [Green Beret & Medic}, Dustin Wright {Green Beret & Engineer], Jeremiah Johnson [Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Specialist], and Sergeant La David Johnson [Light Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic]. That makes it look like a “hearts & minds” mission, not combat.

Lawrence O’Donnell provides some background on John Kelly.

Rachel Maddow reports on the inexplicable Trump travel ban decision that preceded US Niger exposure. Fox & Friends attacks her reporting and Trump repeats the attack on Twitter.

Back to Congresswoman Wilson. She wears the hats in memory of her grandmother. While Trump may find honoring your elders to be “wacky”, but it is a rather mainstream concept in most religious beliefs. She explained her relationship with the area in Africa where the soldiers were killed. She is certainly more familiar with the area than Trump, and possibly Kelly. She has visited as part of her desire to find and release all of the girls kidnapped from school by Boko Haram. She supports our involvement in the area.

On a personal note: General Kelly’s suggested script for the call to Mrs Johnson was the dumbest damn thing I could have imagined. Wives and mothers will accept sympathy, but you don’t try to convince them that it was anything other than a tragedy. That script might be acceptable to two old soldiers, one of whom may regret a child’s decision to follow him into the military, but don’t try to sell that to a civilian. Also, the printing of Sgt. Johnson’s name obviously wasn’t large enough for Trump to read. Just contact the volunteers at Arlington, they know how to do this.

October 22, 2017   2 Comments

Annoying Everyone

Trump apparently believes that the rest of the world wants his advice. The British government is not amused: Anger over Donald Trump’s UK crime tweet.

The BBC also noted that Obama and Bush decry deep US divisions without naming Trump. The CBC takes it a bit further: ‘The old guard in revolt’: Why ex-presidents are violating code of silence to fight ‘Trumpism’.

While all five of the living former Presidents are at a benefit concert for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, the current holder of the title was playing golf at one of his clubs, as usual.

October 22, 2017   No Comments

He Said, She Said?

Actually, no: Video Of Rep. Wilson’s FBI Building Dedication Proves Gen. Kelly Lied.

It’s really simple, Donald Trump politicized his son’s death, and John Kelly attacked a Congresswoman who complained about Trump, lying to do it.

October 20, 2017   No Comments

Why?

Charlie Pierce notes that General Kelly embraces the dark in his support of Trump’s conduct in the call to Sergeant Johnson’s family. But Jake Tapper realized that the General’s account indicates that Trump said what Congresswoman Wilson reported and Trump lied about it.

Apparently General Kelly is upset that Congresswoman Wilson noticed what Trump said and repeated it. The General seems to think that the family is at fault for not understanding what Trump supposedly meant in his comment to Mrs. Johnson.

The General noted that President Obama didn’t call him after his son’s death, but didn’t mention that his son’s wife would have been the next of kin, not him. I’m sure that that was just an oversight and not an intentional swipe at President Obama.

October 19, 2017   No Comments

He Needs A Time-Out

Trumplethinskin has been having a series of tantrums that put his lack of empathy and overabundance of pettiness front and center.

Trump perceived John McCain’s remarks at the ceremony where McCain received the 2017 Liberty Medal of the National Constitution Center [text] as a personal attack because, like his favorite interior designer, Louis XIV, Trump believes that “L’etat, c’est moi.” Trump reacted by threatening McCain. McCain responded by noting: “I’ve faced far greater challenges than this.”

When the media asked why the White House hasn’t mentioned the deaths of four Special Forces NCOs in Niger, Trump headed off on a tangent that unlike Obama and earlier administrations, he sends letters and calls the next of kin of service members who are killed in action. This set off statements from former members of both the Obama and Bush staff about the response of those Presidents on the deaths of members of the military. [It is now known that the National Security Council staff prepared a statement the day after the soldiers were killed, but nothing was done with it.]

Then when Trump finally called the wife of Sgt. La David T. Johnson he told her that [her husband] “knew what he signed up for …but when it happens it hurts anyway.”

The call was on speaker phone and Congresswoman Frederica Wilson and Sgt. Johnson’s mother were also in the car. Both women agree that Trump said that, and both are angry about it and the fact that Trump never mentioned Sgt. Johnson’s name. As usual Trump denied saying that and threatened Florida Congresswoman Wilson [known for her hats].

October 18, 2017   6 Comments

Post-Tropical Cyclone Ophelia – Day 7

Post-Tropical Cyclone OpheliaPosition: 49.2N 13.3W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: North [010°] near 44 mph [70 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 85 mph [140 kph].
Wind Gusts: 110 mph [175 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 275 miles [445 km].
Hurricane Wind Radius: 70 miles [110 km].
Minimum central pressure: 969 mb ↓.

Currently about 220 miles [ 355 km] Southwest of Mizen Head, Ireland.

The storm has transitioned to a post-tropical cyclone. It will strike Ireland tomorrow, possibly with hurricane force winds. This is the final National Hurricane Center advisory.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Hurricanes” for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

October 15, 2017   No Comments

Hurricane Ophelia – Day 6

Hurricane OpheliaPosition: 37.3N 21.5W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: Northeast [055°] near 28 mph [44 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 115 mph [185 kph].
Wind Gusts: 140 mph [225 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 150 miles [240 km].
Hurricane Wind Radius: 45 miles [ 75 km].
Minimum central pressure: 960 mb.

Currently about 305 miles [ 490 km] East of the Azores.

Ophelia is now the 6th major hurricane of the season, the 10th hurricane, the 15th named storm, and the 17th tropical cyclone in the Atlantic in 2017.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Hurricanes” for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

October 14, 2017   No Comments

Another Display Of Ignorance

If you have been in US scouting, the military, or a military school there are four bugle calls that you will recognize because you heard them every day:

Reveille – wake up and raise the flag.

Retreat – return to base, the duty day is done, and the flag will be lowered.

To the Color – a salute to the flag as it is being lowered.

Taps – lights out or the final salute to a fallen comrade.

The retreat ceremony predates the Revolution and originally used drum rolls until bugles became common in the mid 19th century. The practice has been traced back to James II of Britain in 1690.

Robin Williams was a comedian and donated his talent to USO shows for deployed troops. He started a show a little early and was interrupted by the retreat ceremony. He wasn’t sure what was going on, but as a professional he took his clues from his audience and stood quietly until the the ceremony was over. Then he asked what had happened.

Donald Trump is a joke who happens to be the Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United States. When his interview with Sean Hannity at an Air National Guard base in Pennsylvania was interrupted by the retreat ceremony, Trump ignored the reaction of the military audience and continued to talk. That is not how you react when you claim to respect the flag and the military. Trump went to a military school, so he has heard the bugle calls before.

October 13, 2017   16 Comments

Hurricane Ophelia – Day 5

Hurricane OpheliaPosition: 33.0N 30.6W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: East-Northeast [060°] near 20 mph [31 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 100 mph [155 kph].
Wind Gusts: 125 mph [200 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 90 miles [150 km].
Hurricane Wind Radius: 25 miles [ 35 km].
Minimum central pressure: 971 mb.

Currently about 400 miles [ 645 km] South-Southwest of the Azores.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Hurricanes” for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

October 13, 2017   No Comments

Hurricane Ophelia – Day 4

Hurricane OpheliaPosition: 30.7N 34.7W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: East-Northeast [060°] near 7 mph [11 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 105 mph [165 kph].
Wind Gusts: 125 mph [200 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 90 miles [150 km].
Hurricane Wind Radius: 25 miles [ 35 km].
Minimum central pressure: 970 mb ↓.

Currently about 670 miles [1075 km] Southwest of the Azores.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Hurricanes” for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

October 12, 2017   No Comments

Graven Images

There are a number of religious sects that do not ‘honor the flag’ because they consider it a graven image. They don’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance or participate in the National Anthem.

The flag serves a real purpose that has nothing to do with politics. The first flag was adopted by the Continental Congress in 1777 to help the American forces identify friend from foe. There is a military ceremony, trooping the colors, that amounts to show-and-tell, where the troops are formed up and shown the flags of their side so they know who not to kill. Flags are military signals.

The rest of Trump’s latest faux outrage is 20th century psuedo-patriotism.Having nothing better to do after they decided that nothing could be done about the Great Depression, Congress passed a law making the Star-Spangled Banner the national anthem in 1931. John Charles Linthicum, Congresscritter from Maryland, entered 6 bills to accomplish that beginning in 1918, but it took a petition by the Veterans of Foreign Wars to finally move Congress to adopt a poem by a Maryland slave owner set to the music of a British bar song.

Trump has absolutely no claim to honoring the military based on the disrespect shown to Senator John McCain and a Gold Star family. If he had any respect for the military he should have said something about the four Green Berets killed in Africa. I doubt he knows about them, or that as Commander-in-Chief, he is supposed to know about them.

The demonstration by sports figures is covered by a Supreme Court decision:

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.
— Robert H. Jackson, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette

All public officials take an oath to support and defend the Constitution, not flags or songs. The Constitution says the NFL players can kneel.

October 11, 2017   15 Comments

Hurricane Ophelia – Day 3

Hurricane OpheliaPosition: 30.0N 35.7W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: Northeast [040°] near 3 mph [ 6 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 85 mph [140 kph].
Wind Gusts: 110 mph [175 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 70 miles [110 km].
Hurricane Wind Radius: 25 miles [ 35 km].
Minimum central pressure: 986 mb ↓.

Currently about 745 miles [1195 km] Southwest of the Azores.

The tenth hurricane of the season at 4PM CDT.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Hurricanes” for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

October 11, 2017   4 Comments

Tropical Storm Ophelia – Day 2

Tropical Storm OpheliaPosition: 30.7N 37.6W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: Southeast [140°] near 6 mph [ 9 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 50 mph [ 85 kph].
Wind Gusts: 75 mph [120 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 60 miles [ 95 km].
Minimum central pressure: 1002 mb ↑.

Currently about 785 miles [1265 km] Southwest of the Azores.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Hurricanes” for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

October 10, 2017   No Comments

Tropical Storm Ophelia

Tropical Storm OpheliaPosition: 32.3N 39.0W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: Northeast [040°] near 7 mph [11 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 50 mph [ 85 kph].
Wind Gusts: 65 mph [105 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 105 miles [165 km].
Minimum central pressure: 1002 mb ↓.

Currently about 785 miles [1260 km] West-Southwest of the Azores.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Hurricanes” for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

October 9, 2017   No Comments