* You might remember that last December, the president-elect tweeted this:
The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016
* That is the backdrop of this story from NBC News:
President Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation’s highest-ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room.
Trump’s comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1960s. Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve.
* Of course Trump called that report fake news and threatened the license of NBC News. His Sec. of Defense backed him up.
Secretary Mattis: “Recent reports that the President called for an increase in the US nuclear arsenal are absolutely false."
— Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) October 11, 2017
That reminded me of this observation from David Leonhardt on Monday about why Sec. Mattis is the one Cabinet member who has maintained his reputation through all of the Trump chaos and lies:
Can you recall a single time when Mattis has said something outright untrue? I can’t. That’s how he has retained his dignity in the eyes of so many people.
Does this mean that Mattis’s streak is over?
* I’m not sure what to make of this, but it’s worth noting.
— Taniel (@Taniel) October 11, 2017
* Interior Secretary Ray Zinke has an “innovative” argument for not taking down Confederate statues.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says that the Trump Administration will not remove Confederate monuments from federal lands out of consideration for the feelings of “native Indians.”
“Where do you start and where do you stop?” Zinke asked a Breitbart reporter in an interview published Sunday. “It’s a slippery slope. If you’re a native Indian, I can tell you, you’re not very happy about the history of General Sherman or perhaps President Grant.”
First of all, someone should tell him that the correct name is “Native Americans.” But my reaction was to shake my head in amazement at the lengths some white people will go to avoid a reckoning with this country’s difficult past.
* Speaking of wanting to avoid a reckoning, Mike Ditka said, “There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of.” Just how oblivious to history can one white man be?
Emmet Till would be the same age as Mike Ditka if he hadn't been lynched for being black when he was 14 years old.
— Dan Murphy (@bungdan) October 10, 2017
Since February, the DCCC has hired full-time paid organizers in 38 districts focused on building relationships with the grass roots. And on Tuesday, the organization is rolling out its latest effort to connect motivated activists with the national party’s resources, takeitback.com , an online “toolbox” that aims to put potential activists in direct touch with the party operatives on the ground in battlefield districts.
Democrats need a net gain of 24 seats to win the House majority, and DCCC Executive Director Dan Sena said his group’s aim is to “arm the rebels” — a conscious nod to conflicts abroad where, rather than fight every battle itself, the U.S. military has instead advised and supplied native forces most invested in winning.
* Finally, I don’t know what things look like where you are, but up here in the tundra, this is the first week where it looks and feels like fall. The leaves are turning, there’s a nip in the air, and we’ve already lost five hours of daylight as the sun heads south. We try to put on a brave face and appreciate the beauty of the fall colors, but underneath it all, we know what’s coming. That’s why this plaintive rendition of an old tune about autumn by Eva Cassidy captures the mood.