LEST WE FORGET

David von Drehle has a very poignant piece at WaPo Sunday.

We’ve never needed Remembrance Day poppies more than right now

One can still see red poppies pinned to lapels on Remembrance Sunday across Britain. The tradition, marked this year on Nov. 10, persists even though the creators of the holiday are gone, but I doubt that younger Britons wear the symbolic flowers with the same solemnity as their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents. It’s hard to remember something that defies belief, and the further we go from the events in question, the more incredible they seem.

*****

Nationalism is ascendant across Europe, from Poland to Hungary to Turkey. The dormant pathologies of xenophobia and anti-Semitism are awakening throughout the West. Fascists have marched in Charlottesville and in Marseille and even, incredibly, in Berlin. Stalinism is countenanced in the outlaw state of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. China is building a 21st-century totalitarianism.

Bankrupt impulses and failed ideologies of the 1920s and 1930s are taking root again in another generation of disillusioned and demoralized leadership. But it’s not too late to remember the bitter, bloody fruit of those fields and change course. What better time to start remembering than on Remembrance Day?

Amen, bruddah.

Do what?

So I’m just casually reading Washington Post tonight and start reading Dana Milbank‘s latest column. You know I’m a lawyer right? So anyway I’m reading Dana’s column and come across this interesting paragraph:

Charles Kupperman, Trump’s former deputy national security adviser, blatantly defied a congressional subpoena Monday, standing up lawmakers who had come to hear his deposition. Instead, he filed a lawsuit saying Trump’s “assertion of immunity against congressional process may override the House subpoena.” Kupperman, the lawsuit said, “is aware of no controlling judicial authority definitively establishing which branch’s command should prevail.”

Did I mention I’m a lawyer? Thought so. Well, as a lawyer, I read that and really thought “What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” Clearly not the work of a Lawrence Tribe.

So what am I missing here?

WELCOME TO EAST BUMFUCK.

Suspicious insulin injections, nearly a dozen deaths: Inside an unfolding investigation at a VA hospital in West Virginia

Wapo reports:

By Lisa Rein 


Oct. 5, 2019 at 6:03 p.m. EDT


CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Four months after Melanie Proctor’s father was buried with military honors for his combat service in Vietnam, she came home to her farm to find an unfamiliar tan SUV in the driveway.


Two federal agents stepped out into the hot sun in August 2018. Proctor, a tax preparer, wondered whether one of her clients was in trouble.


“We’re here about your father,” the FBI agent said. “We don’t believe he died of natural causes.”


Flipping open a laptop on her kitchen counter, the agents showed Proctor her dad’s records from the three days he had been hospitalized at the local VA medical center.
What the line graph showed was alarming.


In the early morning hours that April, Felix McDermott’s blood sugar had bottomed to dangerous levels. The retired Army sergeant his family knew as “Pap” died the next morning from severe hypoglycemia.

Someone had given her father, who was not a diabetic, a deadly injection of insulin, the investigators told Proctor — and he was not the only one.
Multiple veterans had died under similar circumstances on the same ward, and the agents had come to Proctor’s farm in a hamlet 42 miles east of Clarksburg to ask the unthinkable: They wanted to dig up Pap’s body.

Proctor agreed, and her father was one of seven bodies exhumed in an investigation of 11 suspicious deaths at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center, according to a person familiar with the case who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because it is ongoing.
The 14-month inquiry is the latest criminal investigation to engulf the Department of Veterans Affairs, intensifying questions about whether the country’s largest health-care system is doing enough to protect the veterans in its care.

Welcome to my backyard.

A Trillion Here, a Trillion There… Before Long You’re Talking Real Money. (Apologies to the Hon. Everett Dirksen)

Citing the CBO’s forecast of the Federal Deficit (and at these reates it deserves to be capitalized) , WaPo reports that the Deficit will increase by $80o Billion MORE than expected over the next 10 years.

The United States’ annual deficit will come close to hitting $1 trillion in 2019, an unusually high number during a period of economic growth, the CBO added. Driving that number is spending as well a large tax cut in corporate and individual income taxes passed by Republicans in 2017.

“We all know we are already on a troubling fiscal path, but today’s CBO report shows us that our leaders [and by leaders he has to be talking about the Orange one’s White House and Moscow Mitch’s Republican Congress that passed the tax cuts that have led to the increased deficit numbers] are making things considerably worse,” said Michael A. Peterson, chief executive of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which advocates for lower deficits.

It figures that somehow the government under the Orange Clown’s leadership (where can I get one of those baby blimps by the way?) has gotten into a deficit fix that precludes SFB finally doing something that would benefit working folks – reducing or eliminating the payroll tax.

So Cuba Becomes a Potential “See if Anything Sticks” Distraction

From Washington Post:

As sanctions bite in Cuba, the U.S. — once a driver of hope — is now a source of pain

HAVANA — Just like that, the cruise ships are gone, along with thousands of cash-toting Americans who oohed and aahed — and shopped — amid the crumbling grandeur of Old Havana.

For Cubans, it’s a bitter reversal of fortune. President Barack Obama’s opening of relations here, leading to his historic visit three years ago, inspired hopes of an economic boom, bringing American investment and visitors back to this communist island largely shut off from the United States for more than a half-century. A new crop of restaurateurs, IT entrepreneurs, artists and fashion designers, reveling in a fresh sense of optimism, began building businesses to tap into the seemingly lucrative detente.

But as a deepening frost settles in between the Trump administration and Havana, Cuba is instead confronting its worst economic setback in years. 

Lines have snaked for hours in front of markets selling rationed meat. The lawn of the Nicaraguan Embassy — a launch point for migrants seeking to enter the United States via Mexico — is overflowing with visa applicants.

The near collapse of Cuba’s most important patron, oil-rich Venezuela, and the Cuban government’s own failure to enact reforms more rapidly, have damaged the fragile economy, analysts say. But especially in recent weeks, nothing has stung more than stiffening U.S. sanctions.

* * *

The Trump administration is tightening sanctions only a year after Raúl Castro stepped down, leaving someone outside the family dynasty in charge of the island for the first time in nearly 60 years.

Administration officials say President Miguel Díaz-Canel is navigating a still delicate transition, and mounting pressure has led him to dial back support for Venezuela’s Maduro in his standoff with the U.S.-backed opposition leader, Juan Guaidó.

Analysts and some Cuban insiders say the brain trust in Havana has done itself a disservice by seeking to portray Díaz-Canel as a caretaker of continuity rather than a figure for change. Though Cuba has taken important steps toward modernization under Díaz-Canel — improving access to the Internet via smartphones and allowing private WiFi more broadly — it has moved far more slowly on the economic front and remains years behind the free-market reforms made by communist governments in China and Vietnam, for example.

Carlos Alzugaray is a former senior Cuban diplomat.

“This government has a problem,” he said. “And the first problem is the way they have framed themselves, by continually calling themselves ‘continuity’ — which might be pleasing ideologically for some but gives the bureaucracy the perfect excuse to change nothing.”

Trump administration officials accuse Cuba of maintaining “thousands” of military and intelligence personnel in Venezuela. Havana denies the claim.

Carlos Fernández de Cossío, Cuba’s director of U.S. affairs, said Havana supports “any process that avoids military action and that implies a negotiation that solves the Venezuelan problem.”

Asked whether that might mean accepting the U.S. insistence that Maduro leaves power, he said that depended on the Venezuelan leader.

“To start with, you have to ask if Maduro is willing to abandon power, because Maduro has significant support from the population,” he said. “No one knows exactly how much support, but it’s significant. It’s probably higher than some presidents of many Latin American countries have at this moment. It’s probably bigger than the support President Trump has.” 

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The stupidity from the White House is absolutely stunning. Does SFB REALLY think that Cuba has more sway over what happens in Venezuela than the US has?

And I REALLY wanted to visit Cuba. Oh, well.