On June 6th, 1944, 156,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches at Normandy. And so we officially mark today as the 74th anniversary of D-Day, the massive Allied invasion that turned back the Nazi sweep of Europe in World War II. But it was called “The Longest Day” for more reasons than one. This wasn’t the kind of battle that ends at sundown.
A 50-mile stretch of the French coast had been divided into five sectors that Allied commanders planned to take separately, and then join. But by the end of the first day, only two had been joined. It took six more days of intense fighting before the entire beach was unified under Allied control. And that was just the toehold to begin the long march across Europe.
There were at least 10,000 Allied casualties on D-Day, and tens of thousands more were wounded. Among those who survived, there are fewer each year who are still alive to tell the tale. One soldier who landed on Omaha Beach that day, James Gabaree of the 5th Ranger Battalion, said he and his fellow soldiers were young when they went over there, but they came back as old men, if they came back at all. I’ve walked on those beaches and stood at attention at the flag ceremony in the US cemetery in Normandy. Few moments have caused me to reflect more soberly on the sacrifice of those brave men than to see the thousands of graves lined up ever so neatly in the well-kept cemetery.
There was nothing neat or orderly on June 6, 1944. It was pure, deadly chaos. But despite a hail of gunfire coming at them, those brave soldiers kept coming off those boats and moving forward. They did their duty to liberate Europe from Hitler and his war machine. Looking back at age 91, D-Day veteran Jacob Cutler of Long Island told Newsday, with the humility typical of the Greatest Generation, “We were 19, 20, 21 years old, kids sent to war. But we did the job.”
Once the heroes of World War II are no longer here to tell their inspiring stories, it’s up to us to preserve them, to read them to our kids and pass them on to future generations. Americans must never forget their incredible courage and sacrifice in saving the world from one of the greatest evils mankind ever faced.
If you can’t make it all the way to France to pay your respects to the heroes of D-Day, then consider taking your family to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. You can learn more at NationalWW2Museum.org.
For all of us who knew “the fix was in” on Hillary and the investigation of her mishandling of classified emails and destruction of evidence, the anticipation of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report has been like waiting for Godot. (Spoiler alert if you don’t know the play: Godot never arrives.) Now, sources tell Sara A. Carter that our worst fears about this interminable delay may be well-founded, as the report now sits in the hands of the DOJ and FBI.
Now wait just a minute! Aren’t the DOJ and FBI the subjects of this report? Yes, they are. And the report is expected to be scathing. But they get to see it before we do, and no doubt they’ll do whatever they can to lessen its impact: edit, add notes, change wording, redact. Numerous sources tell Carter that everyone mentioned in the report gets to review it before it sees the light of day. The 400-page report (some say 500) is expected to be extremely thorough –- and it better be, considering how long this has taken. Work started almost a year and a half ago.
Although the report has been finished for several weeks, its release has been repeatedly delayed. (Unbelievably, sources told Carter that Horowitz originally delayed releasing it until former FBI Director James Comey’s book tour was over! But I’m thinking that maybe he wanted to find out what Comey was saying in interviews.) It’s not known how long the current review process is going to take. Gosh, it sure will be ironic if the report turns out to criticize the DOJ and FBI for stonewalling, slow-walking and heavily redacting documents, because that’s what they’re probably doing with it RIGHT NOW.
Won’t it be hilarious if it turns out they redacted the part about all the wrongful redacting they do? Of course, somebody would have to get it un-redacted for us to ever know they did that.
Now, who might that person be? Alleged Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation into Trump’s campaign, but this IG report has nothing to do with that. It’s about the way Hillary’s use of a private server to conduct State Department was investigated --- or not --- by the DOJ and FBI. We already know that her “investigation” was handled very differently from most, so much so that I often feel compelled when discussing it to put quotation marks around the word “investigation.”
Anyway, there is no excuse for Sessions to retreat from this. He needs to take control of it and shine some light on it or be fired. This report concerns Hillary; it has nothing to do with the investigation of Trump, so if Trump fires Sessions over it, no one can say it’s obstruction. (Well, Chuck Schumer and everybody at MSNBC will call it obstruction, but it won’t be.)
So we wait. In the meantime, Congress is still conducting oversight hearings. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are trying to get Andrew McCabe’s testimony, but he reportedly wants immunity first. (Please don’t give him that; subpoena him and make him plead the Fifth if necessary.) And Bill Priestap, head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division and Peter Strzok’s former boss, was reportedly very cooperative during a closed-door hearing with members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees.
According to a report in The Hill, Priestap was involved in changing the description of Hillary’s handling of classified emails from the potentially criminal “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.” He also reviewed and edited the comments James Comey made in July 2016 that he would not be recommending criminal charges against Hillary. It’s good that they got him on the record.
So progress is being made on some fronts, But we’ll have to start screaming for some heads if the IG report is allowed to languish in the very departments it threatens to expose.
At this writing, ballots in some of Tuesday’s primaries all around the nation are still being tallied (some might not be settled for days). But the big news is already in, and it’s not good for Democrats: voters in California will have a choice in the Governor’s race, after all.
In California’s “jungle primaries,” there is no party split. The top two votegetters become the candidates. Democrats had hoped their stranglehold on California would result in a Governor’s race between two liberal former mayors, Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa, leaving Californians a Hobson’s choice between the guy who screwed up San Francisco and the guy who screwed up L.A. Instead, they are reeling over the news that the second-place finisher was Trump-endorsed Republican businessman John Cox.
While the “smart money” (i.e., the same people who bet the farm on Hillary winning) says that Newsom is a shoe-in, Cox has no intention of coasting to a gentleman's loss. He immediately pivoted from thanking his supporters into attacking Newsom on his record of making San Francisco a filthy, homeless-besieged sanctuary for violent illegal alien criminals that nearly half the residents want to flee.
In other words, this is going to be a fun race to watch. Even if Cox can't win (which might actually be impossible for a Republican, considering how many working people and business owners have bugged out in recent years), his campaign is still to fire up the GOP base and give whoever is still there a reason to turn out. Since the Dems’ hopes of retaking the House are built on surfing to victory in California on a “blue wave” of lopsided leftist enthusiasm, having Cox on the ballot lead to a gnarly wipe-out. Bummer, dudes.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that due to the backlog of business caused by the Democrats’ lockstep obstructionism, he’s decided to cancel the August recess and make all Senators stay in DC and work instead of going home.
As fully justified as this is (how many of uscould refuse to do our high-paying jobs, then take a month’s vacation?), there is a political component to it. This November, 24 Democrats and 9 Republicans are up for reelection. The Republicans are mostly from safe conservative states, but many of the Democrats are from states won heavily by Trump. Now, those Democrats won’t be able to spend August campaigning back home.
Democrats are trying to put the best spin on this, claiming they’re overjoyed to spend August in DC (does anyone actually believe that claim from anybody?) so they can focus on health care and demand that Trump stay and work with them instead of going to Mar-A-Lago to play golf. I think they might be sorry they did that: I was on the campaign trail with Trump and saw him put in long days that left aides half his age panting like tired plow horses.
Democrats have built their entire image on “resisting” everything Trump does. Will they really work with him if he shows up? If so, that would mean actually compromising with Trump to get some things done that they’ve been obstructing. That could be even worse for them than not campaigning, since their base wants no compromise and is convinced Trump is worse than Satan, Hitler and a diesel Humvee with fur upholstery all rolled into one.
Of course, this could all be political theater. McConnell might hold skeleton sessions with only a few people in the chamber, or work for a week or so to make a point, then let everyone go home. But I’d suggest that McConnell make a list of must-pass issues and let the itching-to-amscray Senators know up front that until every one of those items gets checked off, they will be suffering through August humidity that makes waterboarding feel like a cool, dry breeze.
In the first flush of news about the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of Christian baker Jack Phillips who was persecuted by Colorado officials for declining to design a same-sex wedding cake, I noted that while it was great news for Phillips, it was not great news for the First Amendment right to freedom of religious expression. The majority wrote the ruling based entirely on the open hostility to Phillips’ religion from the state officials, and left open the idea that states could pass laws requiring people to violate their sacred beliefs, as long as they weren’t so obnoxiously obvious about it.
Well, now that legal scholars have had a chance to digest the full ruling, they’re coming to the same conclusion. At the link is an excellent article by Constitutional scholar, author and former prosecutor KrisAnne Hall, laying out point-by-point the way the majority not only didn’t protect religious freedom or freedom of speech, they went out of their way to avoid protecting it.
She also examines the individual opinions of the Justices, noting that Clarence Thomas was the only one who made a solid argument for Phillips on First Amendment grounds. Meanwhile, dissenting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (currently being hailed by the left as a free speech heroine for her unprofessional public criticism of candidate Donald Trump) argued that the insulting comments by state civil rights commissioners about Phillips’ religious faith didn’t rise to the level of hostility or discrimination. To put that in perspective: to her, the state can insult your religion and order you to violate your sacred beliefs and it’s not discrimination…but declining to make a same-sex wedding cake (at a time when same-sex marriage was still illegal in Colorado) was actionable discrimination.
Any Republicans who were thinking it might be okay to stay home in November and let Democrats win back power over confirming Supreme Court Justices might read that and go get in line at the polls right now.
Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) love to mock President Trump when he boasts about having the greatest economy ever. But the mockery is getting harder because every day, some new statistic comes out that’s…well…the greatest ever.
Tuesday brought one that’s jaw-dropping. Ivanka Trump tweeted out news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that there are now 6.1 million unemployed Americans and a record-high 6.7 job openings. For the first time ever, there are more job openings than job seekers. I can only imagine the horrible name Samantha Bee is going to call Ivanka for delivering that news and undermining her reason for existence, which seems to be to yell into a camera lens about how bad everything is under Donald Trump.
All this good news, from the incredible jobs numbers to rising wages to GDP growth to the North Korea nuclear summit, must be terribly dispiriting for the people whose predictions of what life would be like under Trump sounded like the interior of Hawaii’s erupting volcano. Even the New York Times ran an article last week that admitted in the headline, “We Ran Out of Words to Describe How Good the Jobs Numbers Are.” And this is a paper that can ramble on for 10,000 words describing the cooking at a raw food restaurant.
I’d like to tell these poor folks to “cheer up,” but I’m afraid that would only depress them more.
Sympathy and prayers today for the family of fashion designer Kate Spade. In a shocking and tragic story, housekeepers found her dead Tuesday morning in her New York City apartment after she hanged herself. She was 55. She left a note telling her daughter she loved her and “this is not your fault. Ask Daddy.” A police source said it was sparked by her husband wanting a divorce, but her sister told the Kansas City Star that Kate had suffered from depression for years and come close to committing suicide many times, and that she may have been planning this since she became fixated on Robin Williams’ suicide by hanging. Her sister said, “Sometimes, you simply cannot save people from themselves.”
Kate Spade was a phenomenal American success story who seemingly had everything to live for. She had a 13-year-old daughter and a husband who was her business partner. Her dream of designing handbags came true beyond her wildest imagination. She won countless design awards before leaving her first line in 2007 to raise her daughter, then later returned with a new brand that now has over 300 stores worldwide. Whenever something like this happens – and it does happen more often than you’d think – I always recall the old poem, “Richard Cory,” about the handsome, successful man who was envied by everyone in town, and who, “one calm summer night, went home and put a bullet through his head.”
Fox News’ Brit Hume must have had similar thoughts. He posted the story on Twitter along with these words: “Everyone you know is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” He admitted he was stunned when that post drew a number of hostile anti-Trump comments. Why? Who knows? Maybe it’s just convenient to blame Trump for their own unwillingness to observe basic human decency. Or maybe they’re so angry over politics, it’s the only way they know how to react to anything anymore. Whatever the excuse, it’s another example of slimy behavior that the anonymous soapbox of the Internet has helped incubate.
Despite the rise of mass media and social media images that make us think we know all about a person, the lesson of “Richard Cory” that we can never know what personal pain someone might be going through behind closed doors is still as true today as it was when it was written over a century ago. Perhaps even more so, precisely because of the misleading images in mass media and social media.