* First up, I need to take care of some housekeeping business. As some of you know, we’ve had some problems recently with posts not showing up on the Political Animal Blog. Staff has been hard at work trying to solve that one. If you are still experiencing problems, we’d like to ask you to do two things. First of all, clear your cache. If the problem persists, please use this contact form to tell us what you are experiencing. Many thanks to all of you for your help with this matter!
Before arriving in Baghdad, Mr. Mattis was asked by reporters about Mr. Trump’s remarks during a visit to C.I.A. headquarters last month that the United States should have “kept” Iraq’s oil after the American-led invasion, and might still have a chance to do so.
“We’re not in Iraq to seize anybody’s oil,” Mr. Mattis said during a stop in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
This is not the first time that Mattis has had to deal with a suggestion that the president is considering committing a war crime. He was successful in talking Trump out of using torture.
* It will be interesting to watch how the man Trump just tapped as his next National Security Advisor handles the workings of this administration.
President Trump picked Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a widely respected military strategist, as his new national security adviser on Monday, calling him “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience.”…
General McMaster is seen as one of the Army’s leading intellectuals, first making a name for himself with a searing critique of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for their performance during the Vietnam War and later criticizing the way President George W. Bush’s administration went to war in Iraq.
As a commander, he was credited with demonstrating how a different counterterrorism strategy could defeat insurgents in Iraq, providing the basis for the change in approach that Gen. David H. Petraeus adopted to shift momentum in a war that the United States was on the verge of losing.
* Tucker Carlson’s interview with a filmmaker (Ami Horowitz) that prompted Trump to fear-monger about an immigrant crime wave in Sweden featured a clip of two police officers in that country. They have since spoken out about what happened.
Two Swedish police officers were interviewed in the film. Anders Göranzon and Jacob Ekström answered questions about how weapons are becoming more accessible. Horowitz also asked the officers about how crime has spread through cities. But the police officers now say that their answers were taken out of context, and are very critical of how their comments were portrayed on Fox News ”Tucker Carlson Tonight”. ”I don’t understand why we are a part of the segment. The interview was about something completely different to what Fox News and Horowitz were talking about”, says Anders Göranzon…
The excerpt they showed doesn’t say anything, we answered a different question. We don’t stand behind what he says. He [Horowitz] is a madman.”
* Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt also spoke out to make an interesting comparison between his country and the state in which Trump made his remarks.
Last year there were app 50% more murders only in Orlando/Orange in Florida, where Trump spoke the other day, than in all of Sweden. Bad.
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) February 20, 2017
* Frank Morris tells an important story about the small rural town of Garden City, Kansas which, in the 1970’s, made a decision that kept them from going in the direction of so many other rural communities…becoming a ghost town.
The town’s turning point came in the 1970s, says Sister Janice Thome, when city and church leaders debated bringing in a meatpacking plant…
Those leaders, as she recalls, “said, if we say ‘no,’ then Garden City is liable to become one of these ghost towns, like many other towns. If we say yes, then we’ve got a vibrant economy, but then we’re going to be bringing all of, quotes, ‘those people.’ ”
“Those people,” as in immigrants, mostly poor ones, who don’t speak English, and need significant help getting their footing in a new culture.
“They decided they didn’t want to be a ghost town, so they would say yes, and then they said, ‘OK, are we going to count the people that come in then, as a blessing or a curse?’ ” Sister Thome says.
Viewing them as a blessing won out. And after a lot of persistence, effort and patience, a pro-immigrant ethos has gradually taken root here.
Forty-five years later, Garden City is a vibrant town with a youthful population and an unemployment rate that hovers around 3%.
* Finally, here’s a great synopsis of the first 30 days of chaos.
Donald Trump has been President of the United States for 30 days. Here’s what has happened so far. pic.twitter.com/gunkruOt1J
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) February 19, 2017