Col. Morris Davis: John McCain’s Meddling in the Bergdahl Trial

The following op-ed appeared in the New York Times.  Colonel Morris Davis discusses the repercussions of Senator John McCain’s meddling in military justice.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is to appear this month at the next hearing in his court-martial at Fort Bragg, N.C. After Sergeant Bergdahl walked off his Army outpost in Afghanistan in 2009, he was abducted and tortured by the Taliban, who subjected him to nearly five years of harsh captivity.Sergeant Bergdahl faces charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, yet two senior military officers conducting separate, impartial investigations into his case have recommended no imprisonment. That outcome would be consistent with hundreds of other post-Sept. 11 desertion cases.

But that does not sit well with certain politicians who have treated Sergeant Bergdahl’s case as if it were a political piñata. Foremost among them is Senator John McCain of Arizona, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

In March 2015, the Army warned the committee that holding any congressional hearing on Sergeant Bergdahl could undermine military justice. Two months later, after a senior McCain staff member raised the prospect of the senator’s doing just that, an Army official repeated the warning against holding such a hearing. “To do so,” he added, “would be unprecedented and deviate from defense oversight committees’ longstanding practice of deference to allow ongoing military justice matters to proceed to completion without direct congressional involvement.”

Yet, in October, just after the second investigator made his recommendation of no imprisonment, Mr. McCain said, “If it comes out that he has no punishment, we’re going to have to have a hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee.”

Mr. McCain also declared that Sergeant Bergdahl was “clearly a deserter.” Such prejudgment of Sergeant Bergdahl’s case is only slightly less alarming than the statements of the Republican presidential nominee (and potential commander in chief) Donald J. Trump. He has said repeatedly that Sergeant Bergdahl is “a no-good traitor” who would have been executed 30 years ago.

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Sean Hannity conducts a health probe of Hillary

Washingtonpost.com:

Every night this week, Fox News’ Sean Hannity has drawn attention to a story that was largely debunked before Monday morning. Again and again, Hannity has summoned a “Fox News Medical A-Team” to probe the claim that Hillary Clinton has serious medical issues, covered up by a press that won’t demand her medical records.

Hannity’s crusade has given the theories of a looming Clinton health crisis their highest-profile airing. A year ago, when Republicans hoped that one of several younger candidates would win their nomination, jokes about Clinton’s age and health were rampant. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said at the Conservative Political Action Conference that the Democratic nomination fight looked like “an episode of ‘Golden Girls.'” The Washington Free Beacon ran jokey investigations of a photo that showed Clinton holding the back of a chair, asking whether she was using a walker. (She was not.)

Excuse me.  Since when it is polite to make fun of senior citizens?  Do ageists  seriously think that their discussion is appropriate?   The “investigation” into Hillary Clinton’s health is absurd.  Sean Hannity is absurd and he needs to find something else to do.

Some of these conservatives really don’t seem to have any limits.  This new focus must be the last ditch effort to make up for the fact that the fools in the GOP have hi-jacked their party and are leading it to ruination.

 

Trump: Pinocchios, burning pants and bad judgement

Washingtonpost.com:

WILMINGTON, N.C. — Donald Trump was ticking through a list of reasons to support him over Hillary Clinton on Tuesday when he decided to linger on one.

“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Trump said with a shrug at a rally here after accusing Clinton of wanting to strip Americans of their gun rights. He paused, then softly offered a postscript: “Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

The denouncements came swiftly from Clinton’s campaign and her allies — and from outside politics. The insinuation, critics said, was that Trump was inciting his followers to bear arms against a sitting president. And Trump’s response was just as swift: He’d said nothing of the sort but was merely encouraging gun rights advocates to be politically involved.

The pattern has repeated itself again and again. First come Trump’s attention-getting expressions. Then come the outraged reactions. The headlines follow. Finally, Trump, his aides and his supporters lash out at the media, accusing journalists of twisting his words or missing the joke. It happened last week, when Trump appeared to kick a baby out of a rally, then later insisted that he was kidding. It happened the week before, when he encouraged Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, then claimed he was just being sarcastic.

And with each new example, Trump’s rhetorical asides grow more alarming to many who hear them — and prompt condemnations from an ever-wider universe of critics. On Tuesday, for instance, even Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), one of Trump’s most ardent defenders, struggled to fully embrace his comments. Sessions insisted in an interview on CNN that Trump did not mean to encourage violence, but he acknowledged that Trump’s words were “awkwardly phrased.”

Do I think Trump really threatened violence against Clinton? No. What he did was innuendo. The danger of such statements is that some not-too-stable person might take his innuendo literally and attempt to cause bodily harm.

That’s why saying “bomb” at an airport or on a plane is a really stupid thing to do. Homeland security doesn’t know you aren’t some nut-job.

Once again, poor judgement on Trump’s part.  With Trump, there is just a sea of stupid remarks to deal with that reinforce his incredibly poor judgement.  Additionally, Hillary does not want to abolish the 2nd amendment.  That is a pure lie.  4 Pinocchios.  7 pairs of pants on fire!

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50 former national security officials declare Trump unqualified and reckless

Washingtonpost.com:

A group of 50 former national security officials, all of whom have served Republican presidents from Richard M. Nixon to George W. Bush, have signed an open letter calling Donald Trump unqualified to be president and warning that, if elected, “he would be the most reckless President in American history.”

The letter offers a withering critique of the GOP nominee, saying he “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president. The signatories declare their conviction that he would be dangerous “and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

They state flatly that none of them intend to vote for Trump in November. Some have decided to vote for Hillary Clinton, while others intend to sit out the election or write in another name, said John Bellinger III, a former legal adviser to Condoleezza Rice and the writer of the letter’s first draft.

“We also know that many have doubts about Hillary Clinton, as do many of us,” the letter says. “But Donald Trump is not the answer to America’s daunting challenges and to this crucial election. We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless President in American history.”

In a statement, Trump said the letter writers share the blame for “making the world such a dangerous place.”

What a scathing indictment.  Trump just isn’t getting it.  These officials know what is involved in being president.  How can Trump keep surviving people from his own party rebuking him?  One CIA director and 2 homeland security secretaries are included in the open letter.  All say they cannot support or vote for Donald Trump.

Not my America: Compilation of hate from Trump rallies

 UNCENSORED WARNING!!!

At some point, we really have to address bad behavior.  This video shows the type of behavior inspired by a Donald Trump rally.  Are these really the people we want to decide the next president of the United States?

It’s difficult to decide what is the most offensive in a sea of filth.  I think that perhaps the flag-motiffed testicles  might just be the nadir of various spectacles.

Perhaps it is mostly gender-driven.  Are women just less likely to accept this hideous behavior than men are?  I don’t think that I could live in this country if that were the standard.  I would fear for my life with thugs running things.

Some of my contributors might not like the democratic candidate.  That’s fine.  But who do you really have to blame for the Trump existence?  These things don’t happen in a vacuum.  Why the frustration?  It seems to me like a minority  showing their temper over not getting their total way.  This country was made great by compromise.  Great deals have been worked out in the past, although probably not in the past 20 years.

The GOP congress (both houses) have set out to stymie any advancement, any compromise.  Now that their “base” has turned against them, perhaps they want to rethink all of that.  Trump isn’t a conservative.  I don’t know what he is.  Perhaps some political Frankenstein cobbled together by various factions of hate and distrust of anything government or intellectual.

 

 

Republican Party leaders voice alarm over Trump

Washingtonpost.com:

Turmoil in the Republican Party escalated Wednesday as party leaders, strategists and donors voiced increased alarm about the flailing state of Donald Trump’s candidacy and fears that the presidential nominee was damaging the party with an extraordinary week of self-inflicted mistakes, gratuitous attacks and missed opportunities.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was described as “very frustrated” with and deeply disturbed by Trump’s behavior over the past week, having run out of excuses to make on the nominee’s behalf to donors and other party leaders, according to multiple people familiar with the events.

Meanwhile, Trump’s top campaign advisers are struggling once again to instill discipline in their candidate, who has spent recent days lurching from one controversy to another while seemingly skipping chances to go on the offensive against his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

“A new level of panic hit the street,” said longtime operative Scott Reed, chief strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “It’s time for a serious reset.”

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Open Thread……………………………………August 1, 2016

8-august-poppyAugust is the end of summer.  We look for the Perseids meteor shower, dog days, and the cicadas are especially loud.

Kids prepare for the inevitable–going back to school.  There is a tax free weekend.  Some kids in Virginia are going back to school August 9.  That just seems uncivilized.

The wild flowers are darker and more abundant.  The median strips on highways are full of them.  The Skyline Drive has a wonderful assortment.  Perhaps they are giving us their last show before the big competition arrives–FALL!

Trump calls on Russia to hack his opponent’s email

NYTimes.com:

DORAL, Fla. — Donald J. Trump said Wednesday that he hoped Russia had hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, essentially encouraging an adversarial foreign power’s cyberspying on a secretary of state’s correspondence.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said, staring directly into the cameras. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

 Mr. Trump’s call was an extraordinary moment at a time when Russia is being accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential election. His comments came amid questions about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, which researchers have concluded was likely the work of two Russian intelligence agencies.
Later in the news conference, when asked if he was really urging a foreign nation to hack into the private email server of Mrs. Clinton, or at least meddle in the nation’s elections, he dismissed the question. “That’s up to the president,” Mr. Trump said, before finally saying “be quiet” to the female questioner. “Let the president talk to them.”

The Clinton campaign immediately accused Mr. Trump of both encouraging Russian espionage against the United States and meddling in domestic politics.

 “This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent,” said Jake Sullivan, Mrs. Clinton’s chief foreign policy adviser. “This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”
Trump simply works outside the law.  When has any presidential candidate called on a foreign state to spy on his opponent?  I have been around a long time.  I have never seen anything like this thuggery from a candidate.

 

American intelligent agencies believe Russia responsible for hacking DNC documents

putin

NYTimes.com:

WASHINGTON — American intelligence agencies have told the White House they now have “high confidence” that the Russian government was behind the theft of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee, according to federal officials who have been briefed on the evidence.

But intelligence agencies have cautioned that they are uncertain whether the electronic break-in at the committee’s computer systems was intended as fairly routine cyberespionage — of the kind the United States also conducts around the world — or as part of an effort to manipulate the 2016 presidential election.

The emails were released by WikiLeaks, whose founder, Julian Assange has made it clear that he hoped to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency. It is unclear how the documents made their way to the group. But a large sampling was published before the WikiLeaks release by several news organizations and someone who called himself “Guccifer 2.0,” who investigators now believe was an agent of the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence service.

The assessment by the intelligence community of Russian involvement in the D.N.C. hack, which largely echoes the findings of private cybersecurity firms that have examined the electronic fingerprints left by the intruders, leaves President Obama and his national security aides with a difficult diplomatic and political decision: Whether to publicly accuse the government of President Vladimir V. Putin with engineering the hack.

Is it just me?  Is anyone else concerned that Russia might be attempting to manipulate our national election?   It seems that all the emphasis to date has been to moan and groan over Debbie Wasserman-Schultz putting a weighted thumb on the process.

It’s very concerning to me that any foreign country would attempt to manipulate our elections.  It is even more concerning that one of these countries is Russia.  I guess Putin figures  he would be better off with Trump in charge rather than Hillary.

The Democratic Convention…How’s it working?

It has begun. It was a rocky start. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, former chair of the DNC is gone. Donna Brazile is in. The Bernies misbehaved, especially the California delegation. Sarah Silverman told them they were ridiculous.

The great speakers of the night were Corey Booker, Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. There was lots of excitement in the air. Hopefully the Bernies have been put in their place and will now play nice with others, especially since Donna Brazile gave a very specific apology.

How, what are others walking away with as they watch?

Jon Stewart does a Trump take-down

He’s back….at least temporarily!!!!

God, I have missed that man. I needed a Jon Stewart laugh, especially after that convention.

Speaking of which, I think Hillary should recruit Ivanka for her introduction. Ivanka is the most closeted Democrat I have ever hear….or rather not-so-closeted.

What will become of Faux News without Roger Ailes?  Hats off to Gretchen Carlson for delivering the death-blow.  Now I know why a smart woman, Valedictorian of her class, Stanford graduate, acted like such a bimbo.

Perhaps the biggest take-away from the skit:

theDailybeast.com:

“I saw a lot of people on the convention floor with their ‘Blue Lives Matter’ rhetoric who either remained silent or actively fought against the 9/11 first responders’ bill reauthorization,” he continued. “So I see you, and I see your bullshit,”  (triggering CBS’s censors.)

Melania Trump: Just a little plagiarism?

Nothing wrong with a little plagiarism as long as you don’t get caught. First Lady Wannabe Melania Trump needs a new speech writer–one who uses original words, not plucked from the speech of the current first lady.

Then again, Melania’s competition is Bill Clinton.  I have to admit, she is prettier than he is, just not as smart.

The Trumpers need to get this one behind them and fast.  Campaign manager Paul Manafort will have none of that, according to TPM.com:

Jarrett Hill appeared to be the first to notice that Melania Trump’s speech lifted significant portions from Michelle Obama’s speech, but Manafort blamed reports of plagiarism on Hillary Clinton.

“This is once again an example of when a women threatens Hillary Clinton, how she seeks out to demean her and take her down. It’s not going to work,” he said on CNN.

It seems to me that the video comparison speaks for itself.  The Trump campaign has to own this one.  The denial is pathetic.

 

Police officers ambushed and killed in Baton Rouge

After Dallas, after Baton Rouge, after so much violence, can we put the myth to bed that keeps telling us that all that is needed is “a good guy with a gun.”

I am sure these officers were well-armed. Their guns didn’t do them a lot of good, did they? The officers are still dead.

The platitude and slogans have to stop. Wayne LaPierre is simply not correct. A good guy with a gun isn’t an instant cure for the violence in this country.