The Thinker: Rich Galen

  
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Whatta Weekend

Rich Galen

Monday August 28, 2017

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  • I don't know about you, but after this past weekend, I need a couple of days off.

  • First and foremost there is erstwhile Hurricane and now Tropical Storm Harvey. It smashed into the Gulf Coast of Texas as a category 4 hurricane, described by the National Hurricane Center as having sustained winds of between 130-156 mph and:
    "Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months."

  • That hasn't been the worst of it. The small town of Rockport, Texas (pop. 10,000) was in the direct line of Harvey and was pretty much flattened.

  • The Weather Channel covered the eye of the storm in Rockport, but about 160 miles to the Northeast, Houston (pop. 2.4 million) was being inundated by the torrential rains generated by Harvey.

  • The Weather Channel predicts that by the time it is all over later this week, some areas could get 50 inches of rain - over four feet. That would be the worst flooding in Texas since ever.

  • Of course, Donald Trump could not allow three days to pass without being in the eye of a storm of his own making so he started things by issuing the threatened/promised pardon to Maricopa County,Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

  • The pardon was necessary because Arpaio had been convicted of criminal contempt. It seems he had been ordered by a federal judge to cease arresting people who looked Latino or spoke Spanish on the grounds that they might be in the U.S. illegally.

  • He didn't stop and the judge threw the book at him. Trump burned the book and Arpaio is free.

  • But, wait! There's more!

  • First, it was reported that Gary Cohn, Trump's chief economic advisor, had written a letter of resignation in objection to Trump's remarks following the Charlottesville riot. Cohn said he went to Bedminster, NJ where Trump is staying during the August break and decided not to hand it in, but to stay on.

  • That prompted one Tweeter to recall the Moody Blues' "Nsights in White Satin" by Tweeting: Letters I've written; Never meaning to send.

  • Which I wish I'd thought of.

  • That was followed by a report that the Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, speaking to young troops overseas said "Just hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other," according to a video posted on Facebook.

  • According to ABC News:
    "You're a great example for our country right now and it's got problems," Mattis says in the video. "You know it and I know it. It's got problems we don't have in the military. And you just hold the line, my fine soldiers, and sailors and airmen and Marines."

  • If that wasn't enough of a "Yikes!" moment, on Sunday morning, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson put as much daylight as possible at the end of Eclipse Week when, on Fox News Sunday.

  • According to CNN's reporting: Tillerson said on "Fox News Sunday" that the United States was committed to freedom and "equal treatment of people the world over" when posed the question by anchor Chris Wallace.

    "I don't believe anyone doubts the American people's values," Tillerson said.

    "And the President's values?" Wallace asked.

    "The President speaks for himself," Tillerson said.

  • While all that was going on, there was another one of those pesky riots in Berkeley, California. The Washington Post's headline pulled no punches:
    "Black-clad antifa attack peaceful right wing demonstrators in Berkeley."

  • Post reporter Kyle Swenson wrote:
    "Jumping over plastic and concrete barriers, their faces hidden behind black bandannas and hoodies, about a 100 anarchists and antifa - "anti-fascist" - barreled into a protest Sunday afternoon in Berkeley's Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park."

  • Trump, on Sunday, realizing that nobody was talking about him, decided to fix that by Tweeting:
    "With Mexico being one of the highest crime Nations in the world, we must have THE WALL. Mexico will pay for it through reimbursement/other."

  • He is setting up a battle to include money for the Mexican border wall to be included in the debt ceiling bill that has got to be passed by early October.

  • The Mexican foreign ministry responded:
    "As the Mexican government has always stated, our country will not pay, under any circumstances, for a wall or physical barrier built on US territory along the Mexican border."

  • And to think last week all started with the Total Eclipse that I thought would be the big story.

  • sigh

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to: Hurricane catagories, Sheriff Arpaio, James Mattis, Rex Tillerson, and Berkeley.

    The Mullfoto is of the Lad's dog, Buck - our granddog - dealing with all the news this weekend.

-- END --

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