Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The mother of a soldier killed in an ambush in Africa said Wednesday that President Trump "did disrespect my son" with remarks in a condolence telephone call. Sgt. La David T. Johnson's mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told The Washington Post that she was present during the call from the White House on Tuesday to Johnson's widow, Myeshia Johnson. Johnson's mother also stood by an account of the call from Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) that Trump told Johnson's widow that her husband "must have known what he signed up for." "President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband," Jones-Johnson said. Wilson had said that the Johnson family was "astonished" by Trump's remarks during the phone call, which Wilson said she heard via a speaker phone while riding in a car with the Johnson family. "She was crying the whole time, and when she hung up the phone, she looked at me and said, 'He didn't even remember his name.' That's the hurting part." read more

U.S. President Donald Trump told U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson's widow Tuesday that "he knew what he signed up for ... but when it happens it hurts anyway," when he died serving in northwestern Africa, according to Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens. ... "Yes, he said it," Wilson said. "It's so insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn't have said it." The president called about 4:45 p.m. and spoke to Johnson's pregnant widow, Myeshia Johnson, for about five minutes. read more

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

President Donald Trump on Tuesday sought to deflect criticism of his widely disputed comments on fallen service members by invoking his chief of staff's son, who was killed in combat. When Fox News' Brian Kilmeade raised the matter Tuesday on his radio show, Trump responded: "You could ask [White House chief of staff] General [John] Kelly, did he get a call from Obama?" Kelly's son, Robert, died in 2010 when he stepped on a land mine while serving in Afghanistan. Both father and son were Marines. Ned Price, a National Security Council official under Obama, reacted angrily to Trump broaching the death of Kelly's son to continue taking swipes at Obama. "Kelly, a man of honor & decency, should stop this inane cruelty. He saw up-close just how -- and how much -- Obama cared for the fallen's families," Price tweeted. read more

U.S. President Donald Trump told U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson's widow Tuesday that "he knew what he signed up for ...but when it happens it hurts anyway," when he died serving in northwestern Africa, according to Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens. "Yes, he said it," Wilson said. "It's so insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn't have said it." The president called about 4:45 p.m. and spoke to Johnson's pregnant widow, Myeshia Johnson, for about five minutes. She is a mother to Johnson's surviving 2-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter. The conversation happened before Johnson's remains arrived in a commercial Delta Airlines flight at Miami International Airport. Wilson witnessed as the widow, who is expecting their third baby in January, leaned over the U.S. flag that was draping his casket. Her pregnant belly was shaking against the casket as she sobbed uncontrollably.

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Monday, October 16, 2017

In the 10 days since four Green Berets were ambushed and killed in Niger, President Donald Trump has used his Twitter account to attack a sports commentator, call for a curtailing of the free press, denigrate his political enemies, sell a book, draw attention to Vice President Mike Pence's public protest at taxpayers' expense, and congratulate himself for a job well done. Yet he's failed to say anything about the four U.S. service members killed in Western Africa: Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, and Sgt. La David Johnson. About a dozen troops were ambushed on Oct. 4 while on a joint patrol with Nigerien troops; five Nigerien soldiers were also killed. This marks the deadliest-yet engagement for U.S. troops since Trump took office, and yet Trump himself has issued no tweets or personal statements about the matter, 10 days after the fact. read more


But the conditions these troops were put under needs to be fully investigated so that other US troops won't face the same isolated conditions that these troops perished under. Anything less would be contemptible as it regards respecting the troops in the field and doing the very best possible to insure their safety or at least remove their vulnerability to sneak attacks by overwhelming forces without any timely or effective back up.

#2 | POSTED BY TONYROMA AT 2017-10-17 10:20 PM

There may be a very good reason that Trump wants to downplay the ambush in Niger and it goes right back again to his achilles heel.
Russia to sign military cooperation deal with Niger

Military & Defense August 10, 13:33

Russia plans to sign a military cooperation deal with the Republic of Niger in West Africa, including interaction in the war on terror and measures to strengthen international security, according to a Russian government resolution published on the government's legal information web portal on Thursday.

Under the document, the Russian government had made a decision "to approve a draft military cooperation agreement between the government of the Russian Federation and the government of the Republic of Niger submitted by the Defense Ministry and approved by the Foreign Ministry of Russia and other departments concerned."

Could this be connected in some way? Investigations surely seem to be called for under any circumstance at this point.

Here is another reason I loathe the mindless emphasis on what our jurists interpret that often stands opposed to common sense and the correct application of empirical data.

Supreme Court justices have a tough job. They are required to hand down decisions that can affect millions of people and cost billions of dollars. And while some of the issues before them are purely legal, many turn on complex policy questions: Do black voters in the South still face substantial discrimination? How reliable are eyewitnesses? Are people convicted of sex offenses very likely to reoffend?

These questions can be answered only by understanding what the data says. Unfortunately, a report released by ProPublica on Tuesday suggests that the justices struggle with that task. Looking at a random sample of cases from 2011 to 2015, ProPublica found that the court cited faulty research or introduced their own errors in nearly a third of the 24 cases that relied on such facts.

In 2013, for example, Shelby County v. Holder invalidated a critical portion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it arguably one of the most consequential cases in recent years. Justice John G. Roberts Jr., arguing that the South had taken great strides that made the protections of the act unnecessary, based his decision in part on a Senate Judiciary Committee analysis that misinterpreted how the Census Bureau reports race and ethnicity data and wrongly suggested that registration gaps between minorities and whites had shrunk significantly, an error that neither he nor his clerks caught.

As ProPublica itself acknowledges, its sample is too small to draw any solid statistical inferences, but the results are still troubling. They are also not particularly surprising. None of the justices has any serious training in statistics, and the clerks who assist them are almost all recent law school graduates, who rarely have any formal statistical background. Empirical facts are central to what the court does, but its members lack expertise.

Sometimes justices seem almost amused by that lack. When presented with potentially critical empirical evidence in a major gerrymandering case this month, Chief Justice Roberts joked that "it may be simply my educational background" before describing the material as "sociological gobbledygook."

The arrogance projected by those who erringly believe the interpretations of fallible, prejudiced men are somehow sacrosanct is only compounded by a reticence to acknowledge a reliance on sophistry masquerading as some higher understanding that simply doesn't exist but for their overindulgent sense of conflated superiority. It is past time for the people to demand laws that serve their interests and not soley be defined by it's "interpretation" to serve the empowered elites, thinking only they know what the law actually is.

The problem I have with conservative interpretations of the law is that they often completely ignore the fact the entire purpose of law is to see that justice is served and that the powerful cannot exploit or retard the liberty of the weaker or poorer. The vast history of our common law is based upon this broad general principle. There is a simple reason many things aren't mentioned in our Constitution and today's GOP and certain conservatives operate in this oversight with impunity: Our Founders and their descendents never thought that elected representatives would take the absence of written prohibition to be used to violate the unarguable spirit of the law's purpose.

Yeah, yeah, I get it, the Garland travesty violated no law, therefore nothing can be done. Wrong. This is why judges matter. Judges who understand the purpose behind laws as much as the words written to establish them. Our Founders thought the elected would always put the nation's normal operational interests above politics but they never imagined the McConnell-led GOP Senate - 2009-present. Statesman would have stood up and shamed the party into doing what's right even if that mean't rejecting Obama's nominee. But it should have been for a cause other than the GOP's political desires. The Founders were obviously not trying to protect the right to outright deny a duly-nominated candidate any Senate consideration whatsoever purely for political reasons. The Constitution wasn't about empowering one party over another in this manner.

UPDATE (10/18, 10 a.m.): Sgt. Johnson's mother told the Washington Post that Wilson's account of what Trump said during the call is accurate.

From the Post:

Johnson's mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told The Washington Post on Wednesday that she was in the car during the call from the White House and that "President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband."

Jones-Johnson, speaking to The Post via Facebook Messenger, declined to elaborate.

But asked whether Wilson's account of the conversation between Trump and the family was accurate, she replied: "Yes."

Gracie, we await your outrage....

The morning after a congresswoman said President Donald Trump made "insensitive" comments to the widow of a soldier killed in Niger, the President hit back on Twitter, accusing Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) of fabricating his comments and claiming that he has "proof."

Wilson told the Washington Post that Trump said to Johnson, "He knew what was signing up for, but I guess it hurts anyway." The conversation left Johnson in tears, Wilson said.

Upon learning of Trump's tweet Wednesday morning, Wilson told CNN that she also has proof of the conversation between Trump and Johnson.

"I'm not the only person that was in the car. I have proof too. This man is a sick man," she told CNN. talkingpointsmemo.com

Every single thing is zero-sum with this man, he will never admit that he was wrong or take the high road when defending himself. There were at least 5 adults in the car who heard the complete conversation since the entire call was done on speakerphone. One of the witnesses was a Master Sergeant. As the Congresswoman stated, she was asked a question about the call upon exiting the vehicle and answered honestly about what she heard and witnessed. No one on the family's side was trying to create another political football for this President to kick around, but that's what it's become. A truly compassionate man would probably say that he was sorry if his words strayed from consoling and respectful admiration for the family's sacrifice and loss, then leave it at that. But now, another multi-ring circus act will play out in public at the worst possible time because this President feels he was attacked by those grieving their loss, who simply repeated his words and the wife's reaction.

According to the Congresswoman, at the end of the call the wife lamented through tears that the President never called La David by his first name the entire time they spoke on the phone.

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