80 Killed in Kabul, Shakeup Begins
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Vol. 6, No.142
Permawar: As many as 80 people were killed and 350 wounded in a massive vehicle bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan today. The bomb went off in the area of the German embassy and blew out windows for hundreds of feet. No one has claimed responsibility.
The White House Mess: So it begins. After weeks of a rumored staff shakeup, President Trump decided to start by shooting the messenger. Communications director Michael Dubke has been fired. Dubke issued a statement saying, “The reasons for my departure are personal,” but it’s clear that he was fired. Other staff changes may be coming.
President Trump is frustrated that the news cycles are dominated by the Russia investigation while his legislative agenda is stalled. The President has discussed setting up a “war room” to deal with news reports that are hampering his administration, but much of the information is coming from White House staffers.
The irony is that Trump has been setting up his communications staff to fail. He didn’t prepare them for the firing of FBI Director James Comey, then contradicted the explanation provided by the press office. He has left them sputtering to explain his angry self-promoting tweets.
So far, Trump has not been able to drive through a single major piece of legislation. He tweeted yesterday, “The U.S. Senate should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved, fast and easy. Dems would do it, no doubt!” His message demonstrated his ignorance. The healthcare bill is already moving under rules that prohibit a filibuster and allow it to pass with just 51 votes. Despite a majority of 52, the Senate Republicans still don’t believe they have the votes.
They could attempt tax reform under the same rules, and have the same problems: not enough votes and an ignorant president.
The Russia House: Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen has refused to cooperate with congressional investigators, saying in a statement, “there has not been a single witness, document or piece of evidence linking me to this fake Russian conspiracy.”
CBS News reports that former national security adviser Michael Flynn has agreed to turn over some documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee, despite having initially refusing to answer a subpoena.
Black Lives: The police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice while he played with a realistic pellet gun in a Cleveland park has been fired.
Officer Timothy Loehmann was not fired for killing the boy in the 2014 incident, but for lying on his employment application. He had been fired from his previous police job and didn’t mention it. His partner the day of the shooting, Frank Garmback, was given a 10-day suspension for violating department rules in the incident and ordered to undergo further training.
No criminal charges were ever brought against the officers.
Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, told the NY Times over the telephone, “Shame on the city of Cleveland for taking so long to render a decision like this.”
Nation: The man accused of stabbing to death two men on a Portland, Ore. train entered court yesterday shouting his message. “You call it terrorism. I call it patriotism.”
Jeremy Christian, 35, is accused of slashing three men, killing two of them, when they tried to stop Christian from harassing a young woman wearing a Muslim head scarf.
In court, Christian also shouted “Death to the enemies of America”, and “Leave this country if you hate our freedom.” — Both the police and golfer Tiger Woods agree that he was not under the influence of alcohol when he was arrested for DUI over the weekend. Woods had his fourth back surgery in April and said he had a bad reaction to a combination of drugs. He even fell asleep while talking to a cop.
Real News: The New York Post reports that Scott Pelley has been removed as anchor of the CBS Evening News and is being assigned permanently to 60 Minutes. The Post says Pelley’s Evening News office was being cleared out while he was away. Pelley has never broken the show out of third place and the Post says he doesn’t play well with CBS News president David Rhodes. He doesn’t play well with anyone. CBS was not confirming the story.