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WaPo: Mike Pence is reliably, relentlessly wrong

The Post's View

By Editorial Board 

THE MORE undisciplined President Trump becomes in his scattershot defenses of his behavior toward Ukraine, the more robotically Vice President Pence seems to stay on message. Unfortunately, that message is an indefensible falsehood. During a television interview Monday with PBS’s Judy Woodruff, Mr. Pence said three times that anyone who reads the rough transcript of Mr. Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “will see the president did nothing wrong. There is no quid pro quo.”

The interview left us with the sense that Mr. Pence himself has not carefully read the document. As we pointed out in an editorial on Sept. 25, the day it was released, the transcript ends with a clear exchange of commitments between the U.S. and Ukrainian presidents. Mr. Zelensky promises to launch the investigations Mr. Trump had just requested of Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee; Mr. Trump responds by offering the invitation to the White House Mr. Zelensky was seeking.

More to the point, Mr. Pence appears determined to ignore the sworn testimony of senior officials who have since confirmed the quid pro quo that the White House claims doesn’t exist. The latest was National Security Council official Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, who told Congresson Tuesday that he attended a July 10 meeting with a senior Ukrainian official at which an ambassador appointed by Mr. Trump, Gordon Sondland, “started to speak about Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the president.”

Mr. Pence dismissed all this evidence on the grounds that it was “leaks” from secret hearings; never mind that most of the officials released their own opening statements. He criticized House Democrats for failing to hold a formal vote on impeachment proceedings and for not releasing the transcripts of testimony, even though they have announced they will do both. He seemed to believe that by mindlessly repeating the words “no quid pro quo” he could disappear the increasingly powerful case that Mr. Trump abused his office.


The fundamentally un-American attacks on Alexander Vindman

A documentary crew working for Ken Burns was exploring New York in the early 1980s, working on a feature about the Statue of Liberty as part of Burns’s “America” series. Near Brighton Beach, they found an elderly woman sitting on a bench with twin boys, then about 10 years old.

They'd come from Russia, from Kyiv, the twins told the camera, their explanations overlapping. “Our mother died, so we went to Italy,” one added, “and then we came here."
The twins, Alexander and Yevgeny Vindman, both ended up working for the White House under President Trump. Both Vindmans served in the U.S. Army, and both rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Each now works for the National Security Council.
The reaction to Vindman, though, reveals a fundamental hypocrisy in the Trumpian approach to immigrants. What Trump prioritizes in migrants who come to the United States is self-sufficiency and assimilation. He prefers migrants from Europe over Africa or the Middle East. What he wants is Alexander Vindmans — until Alexander Vindman points out where the loyalties of Trump himself might be questionable.


Katie Hill messed up, but she should not have resigned

The Antelope Valley freshman Democrat has been charged with no crime, is going through what appears to be a miserable divorce, has always been frank about her bisexuality, had a relationship with a member of her campaign staff, but has denied an accusation that she had an affair with a male congressional staffer when she got to Washington, D.C., earlier this year. She is now the subject of a House ethics probe.
If indeed she had a sexual relationship with a staffer in her congressional office, that should have earned a slap on the wrist for the 32-year-old Democrat. To show how seriously Congress takes that sort of thing, it wasn’t even until last year that the House changed its rules to prohibit relationships between members and their employees. For decades, male lawmakers got away with those sort of shenanigans. Wouldn’t you know it, the first one to fall afoul of the rule is a woman, and a bisexual woman, at that.
Someone released intimate photos of her that were published by the Daily Mail and the conservative website Red State, which has pursued this story with Kenneth Starr-like glee.
There’s one more thing: Her husband, Kenneth Heslep, who says in divorce papers that he’s a stay-at-home spouse, has asked for alimony. Good luck getting it, buddy, now that her career has imploded.


Black high school security guard fired after telling student not to call him the n-word

When a disruptive student called him the n-word multiple times, Wisconsin high school security assistant Marlon Anderson repeated the epithet while condemning its use. For that, Anderson said, he lost his job.

Days after the exchange between the security guard and the student, both of whom are black, the Madison School District told Anderson he was being dismissed. Officials pointed to a zero-tolerance policy on employee use of racial slurs, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The firing sparked outrage inside West High School and far outside it. As students staged a walkout to protest the decision, former U.S. education secretary Arne Duncan blasted it as “more evidence our country still can’t handle issues of race and racism.” Amid the backlash came a conversation about the effectiveness of a district policy that forbids the use of offensive language, no matter the context.

Anderson, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, said many students have used the n-word against him in his 11 years with the district, and he has always explained its history and meaning. He’s determined to get his job back.


Fighting continues on Turkey-Syria border despite U.S.-led cease-fire

Source: NBC News

CEYLANPINAR, Turkey — Gunfire, grenades and mortars could be heard in the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain on Friday despite a cease-fire drawn up by the United States and agreed Thursday night.

The agreement announced by Vice President Mike Pence in Ankara requires Turkey to suspend its military operations in northeast Syria for five days to allow Kurdish forces to retreat from a designated safe zone.

NBC News staff could both see and hear mortars, grenades, machine-gun and rifle fire in Ras al-Ain — although it remains unclear who was responsible.

Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — allies of the U.S. during the fight against ISIS — claimed on Friday that Turkish forces were not slowing down their assault.

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/fighting-continues-turkey-syria-border-despite-u-s-led-cease-n1068516

No, Trump, you're not getting a Peace Prize.

Soccer club fires coach for calling Greta Thunberg a 'whore' and the 'right age to take a pounding'

“This whore! A 16-year-old can take a pounding, she’s at the right age!” Tommaso Casalini, a former assistant Coach of Grosseto’s Giovanissimi A team, wrote in a post earlier this week. Grosseto immediately removed Casalini as a coach saying in a statement that the trainer was fired for “not acting in line with the club, who focus on moral values ​​even more than technical values​," according to Football-Italia. 
After Thunberg's riveting speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit last month, the teen has had to face criticism from conservative leaders and religious figures. On September 25, she took on her haters, accusing them of distracting people from the environmental crisis plaguing the world today.

 "The haters are as active as ever — going after me, my looks, my clothes, my behavior, and my differences. They come up with every thinkable lie and conspiracy theory," she wrote in a string of tweets. "It seems they will cross every possible line to avert the focus since they are so desperate not to talk about the climate and ecological crisis. Being different is not an illness and the current, best available science is not opinions — it's facts."

She added: "I honestly don't understand why adults would choose to spend their time mocking and threatening teenagers and children for promoting science when they could do something good instead."


Krugman: Here Comes the Trump Slump

Now the U.S. economy is going through another partial slump. Once again, manufacturing is contracting. Agriculture is also taking a severe hit, as is shipping. Overall output and employment are still growing, but around a fifth of the economy is effectively in recession.

But unlike previous presidents, who were just unlucky to preside over slumps, Trump has done this to himself, largely by choosing to wage a trade war he insisted would be “good, and easy to win.”

The link between the trade war and agriculture’s woes is obvious: America’s farmers are deeply dependent on export markets, China in particular. So they’re hurting badly, despite a huge financial bailoutthat is already more than twice as big as the Obama administration’s auto bailout. (Part of the problem may be that the bailout money is flowing disproportionately to the biggest, richest farms.)
The Trumpist trade warriors, it turns out, missed two key points. First, many U.S. manufacturers depend heavily on imported parts and other inputs; the trade war is disrupting their supply chains. Second, Trump’s trade policy isn’t just protectionist, it’s erratic, creating vast uncertainty for businesses both here and abroad. And businesses are responding to that uncertainty by putting plans for investment and job creation on hold.


Rachel Maddow is on NBC's Today right now!

It's interesting that even Saudi Arabia sees oil as a bad thing. Rachel says that the founding energy minister of Saudi Arabia said he wishes they discovered water instead of oil, and the founder of OPEC said he thinks of oil as "the excrement of the devil."

She notes that in countries with oil and gas-dominated economies, governance "sucks." It tends to dry up the rest of the economy, Russia being a prime example. Russia has no economy outside of its oil and gas insdustry, its all they've got, which Rachel notes resulted in Russia using oil as a weapon.

Oil really is a cancer.

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