Trump Shocked by Assad, No Ad Zone

Thin Red Line: President Trump said the use of nerve gas has changed his attitude toward Syria and its dictator Bashar al-Assad. Trump said he was shocked by the video of children and babies gasping for breath and dying from exposure to nerve gas and that it “crosses many lines, beyond a red line, many many lines.”

Until last week the Trump Administration had said it was not going to do anything about Assad’s control of Syria.

Trump’s “red line” reference was an opening to blame President Obama for what happened. Obama had said the use of chemical weapons would be a “red line,” but when Assad used them, Obama took no action. “I think the Obama administration had a great opportunity to solve this crisis,” Trump said. “When he didn’t cross that line, after making the threat, I think that set us back a long ways. It was a blank threat.”

It’s now up to Trump to decide whether he wants to step up US military action in Syria, risking a military clash with Syria’s close ally, Russia. At the United Nations, Ambassador Nikki Haley said, “When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action.”

The Accused: In an interview with the NY Times, Trump said he thinks former National Security Adviser Susan Rice broke the law when she sought to “unmask” the names of US citizens picked up in surveillance of Russian agents and officials. Those names included people associated with the Trump campaign.

Trump didn’t say what law Rice may have broken. In her position with the Obama administration, she had the right to know the names.

Rice told MSNBC, “The allegation is that somehow the Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes. That’s absolutely false.”

Kremlinology: Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon has been removed from his seat on the National Security Council. It was unusual to have a political operative serving and Bannon’s ejection is a sign that the new National Security Adviser HR McMaster is taking control.

No Ad Zone: Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has lost more than 40 advertisers since the NY Times published a story about his financial settlements involving sexual harassment on the job, but the groper-in-chief is defending him. President Trump yesterday said O’Reilly should not have settled the complaints for a reported $13 million. Without any knowledge of the facts, Trump said, “I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”

Showdown at the Senate Corral: Senators spoke woefully on the floor yesterday about the expected clash today over the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and their fear of irrevocable damage to the Senate. Democrats are expected to filibuster the nomination, and Republicans are expected to change the rules to push Gorsuch through with a simple 51-vote majority. Both sides fear that abandoning the 60-vote rule on Supreme Court nominations will set a precedent for changing the rule on legislation, and making the Senate a purely partisan body.

A Plus: When the Pittsburg, Kansas High School got a new principal, one of the student newspaper reporters set about the routine job of writing a profile.

The school district announcement of the appointment of Amy Robertson cited her “decades of experience in education, which include international exposure as a teacher and administrator.” But when the newspaper, The Booster Redux, checked out Robertson’s credentials, they found that Corllins University, from which Robertson said she earned her master’s and PHD degree, was an online diploma mill with no accreditation. Robertson said she had earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Tulsa, which does not confer that kind of degree.

When interviewed, Robertson was evasive about her credentials and career. When the story was published, she resigned.

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Page Two

Jaw Meet Floor

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Small President

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cuba Diaries

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Alphabet of Maladies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Healthcare Confusion Act

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freedom from Speech

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too Big to Fire

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Probable Than Not

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Been Said

"One of the things that actually Trump has benefited from is that, on a daily if not hourly basis, there are things he says that you could never have imagined any other American president -- left, right, up or down -- saying, and they kind of bleed into each other. And you sort of forget, 'Oh, yes, 72 hours ago, he said this...'"

-Jeff Greenfield on CNN’s "Reliable Sources"

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