Back to Afghanistan

Update: I doubt I will watch Trump. I'd rather take a spin class on my Peloton. Please use this thread to comment on his speech.

From the Washington Post: Derek Chollet, an assistant secretary of defense in the Obama administration, says:

“This is Trump’s war now,” Chollet said. “Putting 50 percent more troops in Afghanistan — that’s ownership. And it’s not something he can blame on his predecessor.”

Donald Trump will interrupt our TV schedules tonight to give a speech to the American public about his decision on how the U.S. should move forward on Afghanistan and South Asia.He's going to announce an increase in U.S. troops in this unwinnable war. [More...]

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Secret Service to Run Out of Money to Protect Trump

Donald Trump and his family's travel and vacation expenses will result in 1,100 Secret Service agents working overtime this year, and the Secret Service today said it will run out of money November 30.

The spending limits are supposed to last through December, but the cost of protecting the president and members of the extended first family, who have traveled extensively for business and vacations, has strained the Secret Service, local governments and at least one other federal agency, the Coast Guard.

Presidential travel for Trump and the first lady — who fly to their oceanfront Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., and to their golf club in Bedminster, N.J., on many weekends — has added costs for taxpayers and complications for the government. The Secret Service also must provide protection for Trump’s four adult children.

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Total Eclipse of the Sun Today

NASA's eclipse site is here.

The eclipse in Denver will begin at 10:23 a.m. and finish at 1:14 p.m. Colorado is only getting a 75% partial view. Wyoming, Nebraska and Kansas are among the states that will experience the totality. Wyoming, which has a population of 600,000, is expecting another 600,000 people toll converge on the state to witness the event.

According to CDOT (Colorado Dept. of Transportation) all our highways, north and south, east and west, will be filled with people headed to and from Wyoming and Nebraska from Colorado and New Mexico (for whom we are likely to be a pass-through state.) CDOT says this may be the most significant traffic event of the year. The worst will be after the eclipse on Monday, when everyone leaves to go home, wherever that may be:

Imagine 6 Denver Broncos games all getting out at the same time on the same highway to go home.


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Memo to Trump: Don't Forget to Turn Off the Lights On Your Way Out

There is a hugely scathing (and in my view, pretty accurate) op-ed in today's New York Times by Frank Bruni, The Week When ... Trump Resigned.

Bruni opines that Trump voluntarily abdicated the Oval Office on Tuesday: [More...]

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White House Confirms Steve Bannon is Out

Sarah Huckabee Sanders today at the press briefing:

“White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”

Am I the only one who sees Jared's and Ivanka's hand in this?

The Washington Post must have been in a hurry to get this news out. It's rare to seem them print a typo like this:[More...]

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Friday Open Thread

Update: I'm really excited -- My friend M. is at the Peloton store in Denver right now -- after hearing me rave on and on about it -- and she just texted me she bought it. I was on the phone with her 3 hours ago and we were both stuck in traffic -- she was on her way to an appointment. I thought she was going to go to Peloton over the weekend. That might be a record -- 2 hours to test it out and say "I'm in." She's in really good shape and about a decade younger than me so I knew she would love it, but 2 hours is really something. It took me 3 separate visits and hours of research to commit. I just got done riding with my 46th ride.

Original Post

It's a jail day for me, which means an open thread day for you.

All topics welcome, but please be civil.

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Donald Trump is No "Teflon Don"

Donald Trump may already be a lame-duck. He is so embattled that none of his plans are going through and Congress is practically at a stand-still.

The White House announced yesterday he was ending two advisory commissions: one on manufacturing and one on infrastructure.

"[Donald Trump] has announced the end of the Manufacturing Council and the Strategy & Policy Forum. In addition, the President's Advisory Council on Infrastructure, which was still being formed, will not move forward," a White House official said Thursday.

The Teflon Don he is not. Republicans are so concerned about his effect on their re-election, they are distancing themselves from his as much as possible. Democrats just want to scrape him off the bottom of their shoes. His chances of doing anything while occupying a desk in the Oval Office are zilch.

Will he resign? Don't count the chickens before they're hatched. The pressure must stay on and the media must do the job now they failed to do during his campaign. [More...]

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ISIS Claims Credit for Attack in Barcelona

ISIS' news agency A'maq has issued a release claiming responsibility for the attack in Barcelona that killed 13 and injured many more. The UK Sun has a set of about 50 graphic photos showing the horror in Barcelona. Police have two men in custody but neither was the driver of the van. This is a photo of Driss Oubar released by the police of Driss Oubar, who they say rented the van.

Spanish police confirm they foiled a second attack in Cambrils, a beachside area southwest of Barcelona, and killing 5 suspected terrorists. Here is the official twitter feed for MOSSOS, the police in Catalonia.

The State Department today designated two alleged ISIS leaders as terrorists. They are Ahmad Alkhald and Abu Yahya al-Iraqi, and the State Dept. says they are responsible attacks in Paris and Brussels in 2015. Alkhald is reportedly a bomb-maker.[More...]

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National Revile at Donald Trump

Donald Trump keeps imploding. Here's the transcript and video of his latest debacle. How bad was it?

“You had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest, and very legally protest – because I don’t know if you know, they had a permit,” Trump helpfully explained to the astonished press corps at Trump Tower. “The other group didn’t have a permit. So I only tell you this: there are two sides to a story.”

From Richard Wolffe at the Guardian:

Sadly for Trump, there is only one side to the political reaction to his comments: sheer disgust. As an apologist for racist protestors – even though they obtained a precious permit – Trump has magically created a sense of spine in his own Republican party.

I agree about the disgust, but I do not think Republicans have that kind of spine. I wish they did.

Trump's response to Charlottesville is utterly predictable. Since he has such a limited playbook, his reaction to the negative publicity is also likely to be predictable. Which member of his team will he turn on and blame for the negative reaction? I suspect it will be the one who encouraged him to walk down this thorny path. Steve Bannon comes to mind. [More...]

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Switzerland Hotel in the Doghouse After Posting Anti-Semitic Notice

A hotel in Switzerland is in the news, but not for a good reason. The Paradies Arosa, an Alpine establishment in Arosa, a city outside Davos, posted this notice a few days ago:

The text of the sign shown in the photo was written in broken English and read: “To our Jewish guests, women, men and children, Please take a shower before you go swimming and although after swimming. If you break the rules, I’m forced to cloes the swimming pool for you.”

The hotel removed the sign but defended it and said it was not anti-semitic.

Ruth Thomann, the manager of the hotel, confirmed the signs had now been removed. She insisted that many Jews visit the hotel, particularly at this time of year, and they are very welcome.

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New Yorkers Protests as Trump Visits Trump Tower

Donald Trump returned to Trump Tower yesterday. He was met by throngs of protesters and Bronx cheers.

Trump Protesters are a very very diverse group. Not so much Trump supporters (from one of his campaign rallies):

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Monday Open Thread

Time for a new open thread. All topics welcome.

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Jury Finds Former DJ Mueller Assaulted Taylor Swift

Update: It's a home run for Taylor Swift. The Jury found former DJ David Mueller intentionally assaulted Swift and that her mother and music director did not interfere with his contract. He was ordered to pay Swift $1.00. Swift's statement:
"I want to thank Judge William J. Martinez and the jury for their careful consideration, my attorneys Doug Baldridge, Danielle Foley, Jay Schaudies and Katie Wright for fighting for me and anyone who feels silenced by a sexual assault, and especially anyone who offered their support throughout this four-year ordeal and two-year long trial process," Swift said in a statement.

"I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, in society and in my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this. My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard. Therefore, I will be making donations in the near future to multiple organizations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves."


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Taylor Swift Victorious in Groping Trial, Her Mom and Bell Not Yet

Bump and Update: Taylor Swift emerged victorious yesterday when the Judge in her trial issued his order on the Rule 50 motion described below.

I received this email from Clerk of Court who sent it to everyone on the approved media list:

When the case goes to the jury on Monday; it will go forward on the tortious interference with contract claims against defendants Andrea Swift and Frank Bell; any damages for the plaintiff will be limited to plaintiff's 2-year employment contract; and the defendant's counterclaims will go forward. In other words, none of the claims against defendant, Taylor Swift, survived the defendant's Rule 50 motion.

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Friday Open Thread

What's next for Taylor Swift after the trial? I hope it's Carpool Karaoke with James Corden. According to Billboard today, she's at the top of his list.

What TV is everyone watching this weekend? I have four episodes of Senor de Los Cielos to catch up on.

Other than that, I'm going to ride my Peloton and read a lot of wiretap transcripts. I'm ignoring Trump again, for now, until his next disasterous move.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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