The Jury Talks Back

1/11/2020

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 9:34 am

[guest post by Dana]

Feel free to talk about anything you think is newsworthy or might interest readers.

I’ll start.

First news item: Yes, we did it:

Iran has admitted it unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane hours after launching ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases hosting U.S. troops, blaming “human error” for the “great tragedy” that killed all 176 people aboard.

“Armed Forces’ internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people. Investigations continue to identify & prosecute this great tragedy & unforgivable mistake,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Twitter.

As if they didn’t already know this. Further, Iran couldn’t just own it – they also had to point the finger at the U.S.:

Based on a preliminary conclusion by the armed forces, “human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif tweeted

Second news item: One of three Republicans in House who voted against the war powers now being shunned:

Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) vote in favor of the ‘War Powers Resolution’ on Thursday, meant to curb Trump’s authority in armed conflict with Iran, has reportedly prompted the president to complain about him and led to the White House icing him out. According to The Washington Post, a senior White House official said the administration would not be returning Gaetz’s communications, “smoke signals or his kneelings in the snow” after his “super uncool” and “quite unwise” push for other Republicans to reclaim “Congressional power” as the “Constitutional conservative position” in an email. “The Trump administration was disappointed in the congressman’s vote and is hopeful that as the president’s foreign policy continues to unfold, he will reconsider his points of view,” head of legislative affairs for the White House, Eric Ueland, told the Post. Gaetz and his spokesman have not spoken publicly on the matter.

Third news item: About “Megxit,” “Brand Sussex,” or whatever you want to call it:

This is not about Harry and Meghan going quietly into the night; what they want is a ‘progressive new role within this institution’. In other words, they want to be able to give their leftist views using the royal platform. They don’t want to be traditional members of the royal family; they want to be royal celebrities and use their royal connections to push a leftist agenda. Harry is going to make the Duke of Windsor, who abdicated to marry the divorcee Wallis Simpson, look like a model son and Royal.

We certainly know what Meghan and Harry don’t want: the dull protocol, the service to the public, the boring plaque-unveiling events in the North of England. Most of all they don’t want the burden of duty and tradition.

Fourth news item: Four U.S. embassies???:

Confronted by persistent questions about his military action in the Middle East, President Donald Trump and his top officials offered a string of fresh explanations Friday, with Trump now contending Iranian militants had planned major attacks on four U.S. embassies.

Just hours earlier, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said the U.S. didn’t know when or where attacks might occur. Trump and other officials insisted anew that Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani had posed an imminent threat to the U.S., but they rebuffed repeated attempts to explain what they meant by “imminent.”

Hmm…:

President Trump’s claim of bomb threats to embassies is falling apart.

1. No threat to an embassy in intelligence briefings to Congress

2. Two senior administration officials appear to be admitting to WaPo that Trump’s claim is false

Two senior officials “said they were only aware of vague intelligence about a plot against the embassy in Baghdad and that the information did not suggest a fully formed plot. Neither official said there were threats against multiple embassies.”

Telltale sign: No warning to embassy in Baghdad

“The embassy in Baghdad did not receive an alert commensurate to the threat Trump described….When the U.S. government has specific information about threats to embassies, warnings or alerts are often sent to embassy personnel”

Telltale sign: No travel advisories for Americans

Brett Holmgren, former CIA, DOD, NSC:

“it would’ve been routine for the Departments of State or Defense to issue a travel or threat warning to American citizens or US military personnel in the region”

Holmgren also adds:

“An imminent threat of attack should have triggered the Intelligence Community’s Duty to Warn obligations or the State Department’s No Double Standard Policy and resulted in some type of public alert.”

Fifth news item: AOC defends not paying her fair share:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Friday defended her decision not to pay dues to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), saying she would instead seek to funnel money directly to Democrats in tough races.

Asked by The Hill if she intended to pay dues to the House Democratic campaign arm this cycle, Ocasio-Cortez replied, “I don’t think so.”

[…]

Ocasio-Cortez has spoken critically of the DCCC in the past, particularly after it began sidelining vendors who work with candidates seeking to challenge incumbent Democrats in primaries.

She said that instead of paying the DCCC dues — about $250,000 for the 2019-2020 election cycle — she would seek to give directly to Democratic candidates.

“We are trying to raise the equivalent of my dues directly to other members,” Ocasio-Cortez told The Hill. She said the money she has raised has so far gone to backing House Democrats, as well as nonincumbent candidates.

Have a great weekend.

–Dana

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