November 12, 2018
“I’m about to lose everything that I own and become homeless… I don’t want to be that veteran on the street begging for change because I haven’t received what…
"I’m about to lose everything that I own and become homeless… I don’t want to be that veteran on the street begging for change because I haven’t received what I was promised."Tens of thousands of veterans haven't received GI Bill benefits for months due to ongoing IT issues the the Department of Veterans Affairs: https://nbcnews.to/2T7QPP0
Posted by MSNBC on Monday, November 12, 2018
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders
“When I ran against Gerald Ford, you know how much money we raised for the general election? Zero.” Jimmy Carter understands how disastrous the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has been for American politics.
"When I ran against Gerald Ford, you know how much money we raised for the general election? Zero." Jimmy Carter understands how disastrous the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision has been for American politics.
Posted by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on Sunday, November 11, 2018
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders
November 12, 2018
The worst of climate change was supposed to be decades away, but the worlds top climate scientists just came out with a report saying it’s closer than we ever could have ever imagined. via The Years Project
Democracy Dies in Darkness
Does anyone love our military less than President Trump?
By Karen Tumulty, Columnist November 12, 2018
President Trump speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 7. (Evan Vucci/AP)
Nearly every day lately, President Trump has found a new way to show us how little regard he has for the sacrifices of our nation’s military.
The latest came the very morning that the nation was commemorating Veterans Day, when the commander in chief made a radical and illegal proposal:
Trump: The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night.
Forget for a moment that Trump and the Republicans have been pushing, without evidence, conspiracy theories of massive election fraud. Trump’s off-the-wall proposal to “go with” the election night totals would throw out a great number of military and overseas ballots, which are required by Florida law to be counted if they arrive by Friday, so long as they were postmarked by Nov. 6.
This comes after Trump on Saturday skipped a ceremony at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France, where there are headstones for 2,289 U.S. troops, many of whom were killed in the bloody 1918 Battle of Belleau Wood. The names of more than 1,000 others who were never found are inscribed on a wall there.
Macron, Merkel mark WWI Armistice hand-in-hand
German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined French President Emmanuel Macron at the Clairiere de l’Armistice in Compiegne, France, on Nov. 10. (Elysee via Storyful)
The reason Trump decided not to show? Rain. As my colleague Max Boot wrote over the weekend:
“The White House explained that bad weather grounded the helicopters that Trump and his entourage were planning to take. Yet somehow bad weather did not prevent French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel or Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from attending outdoor ceremonies commemorating the end of World War I that afternoon. Somehow bad weather did not stop Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and retired general John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, from attending the very ceremony that Trump could not make.”
Meanwhile, now that the election is over, Trump is no longer talking about the supposed “invasion” of this country by a migrant caravan. But 5,600 U.S. troops are still having to live with the effects of the stunt he pulled, when he rushed them to the border to perform the vital mission of — well, that still isn’t exactly clear.
It is far from certain when, where or even if the destitute, footsore migrants will arrive. And yet the New York Times reported:
“Instead of football with their families on this Veterans Day weekend, soldiers with the 19th Engineer Battalion, fresh from Fort Knox, Ky., were painstakingly webbing concertina wire on the banks of the Rio Grande, just beneath the McAllen-Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge.
Nearby, troops from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State were making sure a sick call tent was properly set up next to their aid station. And a few miles away, Staff Sgt. Juan Mendoza was directing traffic as his engineer support company from Fort Bragg, N.C., unloaded military vehicles.
Come Thanksgiving, they most likely will still be here.
Two thousand miles away, at the Pentagon, officials privately derided the deployment as an expensive waste of time and resources, and a morale killer to boot.
Leading up to the midterm vote on Tuesday, the military announced that the border mission would be called Operation Faithful Patriot. But Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Election Day told officials to drop the name, and the Pentagon sent out a terse news release a day later saying the operation was now simply to be known as border support. The term “faithful patriot,” officials said, had political overtones.”
Though he is nearly two years into his presidency, Trump has yet to visit U.S. troops in a combat zone, something his four most recent predecessors all did. Last month, Trump, who has spent more than 100 days of his presidency golfing, told the Associated Press that he believed such a trip is not “overly necessary. I’ve been very busy with everything that’s taking place here.”
All of this perhaps should not be surprising, given how Trump as a candidate mocked the suffering of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in a North Vietnamese prison and attacked a Gold Star family.
Yet he often pounds his chest and claims “nobody has been better at the military.”
Just last Friday, as he was leaving for Europe, Trump told reporters: “I’ll never forgive [Barack Obama] for what he did to our U.S. military. It was depleted, and I had to fix it. What he did to our military made this country very unsafe for you and you and you.” Military spending did indeed take cuts while Obama was president, but he shares the blame for that with the Republican Congress, which imposed automatic curbs, known as sequestration, as part of a deficit-reduction package.
The president has also claimed that he gave the military its first pay raise in a decade or more. That is a flat-out lie. Military personnel get a raise every year. While this year’s pay boost of 2.4 percent is the largest in eight years, increases in 2008, 2009 and 2010 were all 3.4 percent or greater.
The U.S. military deserves better than a commander in chief who treats it as a prop. Rather than throwing a big parade, the president should make sure the rights and needs of those who put everything on the line are respected and honored.
Rick Scott Really Doesn’t Want All the Votes to Be Counted in Florida
Rolling Stone November 9, 2018
Florida Governor Rick Scott appeared to have won his race to replace incumbent Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate. He gave a big victory speech on Tuesday night. President Trump even called to congratulate him. But Nelson knew not to concede. The race was close, there were still votes to be counted and, in Florida, an automatic recount is triggered if the margin of victory is half a percentage point or less. As provisional, absentee and otherwise unaccounted for votes have been tallied over the past few days, the race has indeed moved into recount territory, with Nelson now reportedly trailing Scott by just over 15,000 votes, or around .18 percent, a small enough margin to ensure the recount is done by hand. Scott is not happy, and on Thursday night he called reporters to the Governor’s Mansion to announce he is suing the left-leaning counties responsible.
“I will not stand idly by as unethical liberals try to steal this election from the great people of Florida,” Scott said while wondering how so many additional votes were found after Tuesday’s election. “The people of Florida deserve fairness and transparency and the supervisors are failing to give it to us. Every Floridian should be concerned there may be rampant fraud happening in Palm Beach and Broward counties.”
In addition to filling a lawsuit, which names both Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes and Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher, Scott called for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the post-election ballot counts. A spokesman for the FDLE confirmed to The Hill that the department plans to investigate Snipes and Bucher as requested by Scott. “He owns FDLE,” Snipes said when asked to comment, referring to Scott. Snipes was appointed to supervise Broward County’s elections in 2003 by Republican Governor Jeb Bush, and has since been reelected to the position four times. Her performance has been sharply criticized, however, and in May a judge ruled that she had illegally destroyed votes during the 2016 election.
President Trump is hot on the case, as well. “Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in #Broward and Palm Beach,” he tweeted Thursday night. “Florida voted for Rick Scott!”
On Friday, he joked that the Russians are to blame and wrote that he is sending lawyers to Florida to “expose the FRAUD!”
Trump: You mean they are just now finding votes in Florida and Georgia – but the Election was on Tuesday? Let’s blame the Russians and demand an immediate apology from President Putin
Trump: As soon as Democrats sent their best Election stealing lawyer, Marc Elias, to Broward County they miraculously started finding Democrat votes. Don’t worry, Florida – I am sending much better lawyers to expose the FRAUD!
Scott on Thursday night singled out Marc Elias, the lawyer Nelson hired after the election, as complicit in the alleged scheme to “steal” the election. “Senator Nelson hired one of Hillary Clinton’s lawyers from D.C., and one of the first things he did was tell reporters that he is here to win the election,” Scott said. “He does not say that he wants a full and fair election, or even an accurate vote count.” Scott went on to read off a list of what he believes to be questionable comments the lawyer has made in the past.
On a conference call Thursday morning, Elias said he doesn’t know how many more ballots still need to be counted in Broward County, but that he’s confident in his client’s chances once the recount concludes on Saturday. “The results of the 2018 Senate election are unknown and I think that you and the elections officials should treat it as such,” he said. “We believe that at the end of this process that Senator Nelson is going to be declared the winner.”
Nelson has accused Scott’s lawsuit as being “politically motivated” and “borne out of desperation.”
Nelson for U.S. Senate: The goal here is to see that all the votes in Florida are counted and counted accurately. Rick Scott’s action appears to be politically motivated and borne out of desperation.
Marc Caputo: In Broward County, Miramar Elementary School teacher Lakeisha Sorey came across a box labeled “Provisional ballots” left behind at the school from Election Day & she’s concerned it might have votes. She didn’t look in the box because she didn’t want to tamper with it.
Though Nelson and his team are confident he’ll be able to prevail, it looks like he’s still going to have to make up around 15,000 votes when the recount takes place on Saturday. This is going to be tough, regardless of whether Scott’s lawsuit holds water. The state’s gubernatorial race also looks to be headed for a recount, and the prospect of Democrat Andrew Gillum overtaking Republican Ron DeSantis appears even slimmer. But Scott and Republicans want to lock in Tuesday night’s results, while Democrats just want every vote to be counted, which seems reasonable. It’s the tenet upon which the United States was founded, after all.
“Mr. @FLGovScott — counting votes isn’t partisan — it’s democracy,” Gillum tweeted after Scott announced his lawsuit Thursday night. “Count every vote.”
Washington (AFP) – A US federal judge on Thursday halted construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, arguing that President Donald Trump’s administration had failed to adequately explain why it had lifted a ban on the project.
The ruling by US District Judge Brian Morris of the District of Montana dealt a stinging setback to Trump and the oil industry and served up a big win for conservationists and indigenous groups.
US President Donald Trump on Friday denounced the ruling as a political decision while the Canadian government said it was “disappointed.”
Trump had granted a permit for the $8 billion conduit meant to stretch from Canada to Texas just days after taking office last year. He said it would create jobs and spur development of infrastructure.
In doing so the administration overturned a decision by then-President Barack Obama in 2015 that denied a permit for the pipeline, largely on environmental grounds, in particular US contribution to climate change.
The analysis of a cross-border project like this is done by the State Department.
The same environmental analysis that the department carried out before denying the permit in 2015 was ignored when the department turned around last year and approved it, Morris found.
“An agency cannot simply disregard contrary or inconvenient factual determinations that it made in the past, any more than it can ignore inconvenient facts when it writes on a blank slate,” Morris wrote.
He added: “The department instead simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal.”
The judge also argued that the State Department failed to properly account for factors such as low oil prices, the cumulative impacts of greenhouse gases from the pipeline and the risk of oil spills.
At the White House, Trump decried the ruling as a “political decision.”
“I think it’s a disgrace,” he said, adding that it was likely to be reviewed by an appellate court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, that he also accused of political bias.
“We’re slowly putting new judges in the ninth circuit.”
Vanessa Adams, a spokeswoman for Canadian Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi, said Ottawa was disappointed in the decision.
The project is “important for good, middle-class jobs in Canada and for a successful energy export market,” she added.
Thursday’s ruling is temporary, and requires the government to do a more thorough review of how the project might affect the climate, cultural resources and wildlife.
In a statement to AFP, pipeline builder TransCanada said it was reviewing the ruling.
“We remain committed to building this important energy infrastructure project,” spokesman Terry Cunha said.
– ‘Flawed and dangerous’ –
The pipeline is designed to run from tar sand oil fields in Canada’s Alberta province, through Montana, South Dakota and part of Nebraska, to existing facilities in that last state.
From there it would flow to Oklahoma and on to the Texas Gulf Coast.
The US stretch of line that needs to be built would be 875 miles (1,450 km) long.
Construction of the US leg had been scheduled to begin next year.
Environmental and indigenous groups sued TransCanada and the State Department in March to halt the project.
One of the plaintiffs, the Sierra Club, welcomed the judge’s decision.
“Today’s ruling makes it clear once and for all that it’s time for TransCanada to give up on their Keystone XL pipe dream,” Sierra Club senior attorney Doug Hayes said in a statement.
“The Trump administration tried to force this dirty pipeline project on the American people, but they can’t ignore the threats it would pose to our clean water, our climate, and our communities.”
Jackie Prange, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, also hailed the ruling, saying: “As the court has made clear yet again, the Trump administration’s flawed and dangerous proposal should be shelved forever.”
In Canada, Greenpeace called the decision “a big step backwards” for the project and “a huge win for aboriginal people, the environment and the thousands of people who have been fighting this pipeline for almost 10 years.”
Also, said Greenpeace spokesman Patrick Bonin, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government should view this decision as a harbinger of “the inevitable legal hurdles it will face if it continues to rush” an unrelated pipeline from Alberta to the Pacific coast.
Ottawa nationalized the Trans Mountain pipeline in August, but has had to relaunch a part of the regulatory process after a court quashed its approval, siding with indigenous people worried that increased tanker traffic will harm whales along the coast.
Following the ruling, shares in pipeline builder TransCanada Corp closed sharply lower on stock exchanges in New York and Toronto.
I often think about what legacy means, and I’ve learned something important about it in the 14 years since my first husband, Pat Tillman, was killed in Afghanistan. The way all of us live our lives is important to how we are remembered; but when you’re an icon, which Pat became, your legacy has to be guarded. An icon’s life and image enter the public domain, and people often try to co-opt it to suit their own needs.
Since last year I’ve watched from the background as professional athletes have taken a knee to draw attention to injustice and racial inequality in the United States. Pat was in the military, so many people want to attach a brand of blind allegiance to him and use him to argue that kneeling during the national anthem is unpatriotic. Pat was also against the Iraq War, so many others want to use him to argue against American involvement in overseas wars. His essence is bent to fit an agenda.
Pat’s life has become symbolic, but he was a flesh-and-blood man, and there was nothing about him that fit into a neat category. He was an athlete who didn’t really pay much attention to sports. He was outspoken and opinionated, but a convincing argument could change his views. His nuanced thinking was what I loved most about Pat — that he could love his country so much that he would sacrifice his life to protect it, but also so much that he could challenge it.
I’ve been asked to comment countless times on what Pat would have thought about the National Football League protests, but I’ve always declined. Over the years, I’ve become used to people wanting to know what he would have thought about something in the news, or assign a way of thinking to him based on what they know about who he was at 27. They want to freeze him in time. I find it ironic because Pat was always known as a free thinker who was constantly growing. He was very different when we got together at 16 from who he was at 27, and he would have been different, too, at 42. We should be able to respect his willingness to sacrifice for what he believed in without looking at it through the lens of today’s divisive political climate. So while I still refuse to speak for Pat, I will speak as a widow, a wife, a mother, an American, and, yes, a patriot.
I think that patriotism is complex, like Pat himself. It is not blind or unquestioning. And it’s a fool’s errand to argue over who’s allowed to claim sacrifice. Many of the kneeling athletes say they are protesting as American patriots who want the nation to be better than it is. When I look around at the vitriol aimed at them for expressing their beliefs, and at the compulsion to simplify complicated issues in order to pit people on opposing sides, I want to kneel, too. Because I believe we are at our best as Americans when we engage in constructive dialogue around our differences with the goal of understanding one another.
This mind-set is where change happens, progress is made and bridges are built. I believe that in our hearts we are all the same: We all want our children to be healthy and safe and to have opportunities. We may have significant differences in how we think we should get there, but divisive rhetoric will only deepen the chasm and make us forget all that we share.
Pat lived his life with passion and respected this quality in others, once writing that, “to err on the side of passion is human and right and the only way I’ll live.” Pat was also deeply curious, constantly reading to learn more, and always striving to understand why someone felt or acted the way he or she did. After reading Jon Krakauer’s “Under the Banner of Heaven,” for instance, about Mormon fundamentalists, he called a Mormon cousin to engage in a discussion with him. He was always looking to understand views or perspectives different from his own.
I can’t say how Pat would have felt about race in the United States today or kneeling during the national anthem. But I can say that he would have engaged in thoughtful and respectful discourse, never shying away from the nuance, never taking the easy way, and looking, always, for a conversation instead of a fight.