Military Leaders Reject Trump
The real message from retired flag officers Gen. James Mattis, Gen. John Allen and Gen. John Kelly was the president pushed the limits of what the active duty general staff will tolerate when he threaten to use military force to suppress protests against police brutality springing up across the nation.
“The slide of the United States into illiberalism may well have begun on June 1, 2020,” Gen. Allen, now the head of the Brookings Institute, wrote in a blistering essay in Foreign Policy magazine. “Remember the date.”
Such a statement, even by a retired flag officer, is extremely rare and coming on the backs of similar remarks by two other generals, both of whom served in the Trump Administration, is a warning to the president that he is on very thin ice with the Pentagon.
Friction between Mr. Trump, who famously evaded serving in the military by claiming a minor foot injury exempted him from the military, but not from playing baseball at the New York Military Academy, and the general staff has been a constant since the real estate developer became president.
It hit a recent low in 2019 when the president effectively abandoned our Kurdish allies in Iraq and Syria, forcing American troops to retreat from positions gained by the spilled blood of Kurdish warriors who had earned the respect of their American counterparts.
And it got worse when Mr. Trump interfered in military discipline by describing convicted war criminals as “warriors” and excusing their misconduct by saying “We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!”
“That represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the American warrior ethic,” said retired USAF Lt. Col. Rachel Van Landingham, now a professor at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. “A true warrior is one who who exercises restraint and it requires moral courage to exercise restraint.”
By threatening to use American troops against our own people, Pres. Trump risks political disaster should some of our soldiers fail to “exercise restraint” during a protest, a prospect that Sec. of Defense Mark Esper clearly feared when he contradicted the president, saying;
“The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”
Not surprisingly, Mr. Esper is now on thin ice with impeached president Trump.
by Tony Wyman
The Queen of Katwe
Rated PG – for thematic elements, an accident scene an some suggestive material
Now available on Disney +
Here’s another story that not even the best writer’s could’ve come up with. Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga), the daughter of a single mother, Harriet, (Oscar winner, Lupita Nyng’o), scraping to make a living in Uganda, whose life is changed forever when Robert Katende (David Oyelowo), a struggling engineer turned mission coach, introduces young Phiona to the game of chess.
Directed by Mira Nair (“Monsoon Wedding,” “Vanity Fair”), “The Queen of Katwe” is both a coming-of-age and realization story. It’s about Phiona discovering who she is – her capabilities and limitations. But, it’s also the story of a reluctant coach, whose own life story is just as captivating as the queen’s.
Like “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”, the reality of the abject poverty of Phiona’s world is stark. Even among their own “better” countrymen and women, Phiona and her classmates seen not only incapable, but unclean as well. It’s a blunt reminder of the nation’s colonial past. Even the school where the first tournament is played was likely an old British building, constructed during their occupation.
As Robert Katende’s team rises in the ranks of the chess world in Africa, Phiona is shown what she can do. She is shown a world that is far bigger, and different than any she’s known before. And the reality of her own poverty begins to sink in.
Harriet’s words to Katende sum up Phiona’s internal conflict best, “They will not be able to return to their old lives, because they’ve tasted yours…[they will be] Like ghosts, who can’t rest.”
It’s when she faces a Canadian player at the Chess Olympiad, becoming the youngest player to even make an appearance in the Russian capitol, arguably the chess capitol of the world, according to Katende, that Phiona is faced with her limitations, as well. But it’s through this experience that Phiona learns her most important lesson.
“Reset the pieces, and play again.”
It’s here the film’s theme is articulated for the first time. It’s not what or how you lose, but how you react to, and in the face, of advisory. And in Phiona, and Katende’s case, extreme advisory. It’s here that we learn Katende is the son of a teenaged mom, whom he didn’t met until he was six.
It’s when Phiona becomes the best female chess player in Uganda, and becomes a true queen of Katwe, that her story becomes known to the rest of the world.
Phiona doesn’t realize her ambition of becoming a grand master by the end of the film, as she once desired. But she is able to give her family, and herself, the life they all truly deserve.
In a time when all of us have lost something or someone, “The Queen of Katwe” has something incredible to share. How, even in losing, it’s possible to still win.
by Tiffany Elliott
Trump’s prospects in “battleground states” are trending away from him and toward Joe Biden, as MSNBC‘s Steve Kornacki summarizes the latest polling, which may not fully reflect American views of his handling of the civil rights deficits and systemic racism that was exposed by George Floyd’s murder.
Trump is ready to move on from the subject of the killing of George Floyd.
“This is a great thing that’s happening for our country.” It’s a great day for him, it’s a great day for everyone. This is a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality.”
How is it a “great day” for George Floyd? It’s not that somehow racism has magically disappeared or that racial justice has magically appeared. Instead, it is that Trump’s job numbers showed some marginal improvement. That, Trump would have his listeners believe, is the panacea for inequality and excessive force.
No explanation has been provided regarding by what means Trump connected with George Floyd to learn that Floyd was having a great day. The one thing we can say with certainty, is that it is not a “great day” or a great week for George’s family.
But that is just a blip – if even, for Trump, who needs to get back to pissing on our legs.