WTF Community

Day 875

1/ Trump admitted that he'd "want to hear" from foreign governments with damaging information about his political opponents. Trump claimed "there isn't anything wrong with listening" to a foreign government if they contacted him and said "we have information on your opponent." Trump also rejected the notion that accepting damaging information from a foreign government would constitute election interference, saying "It's not an interference, they have information – I think I'd take it." FBI Director Christopher Wray during congressional testimony last month told lawmakers that "the FBI would want to know about" any foreign election meddling. Trump, however, said he might alert the FBI "if I thought there was something wrong," but then said "The FBI director is wrong, because frankly it doesn't happen like that in life." (ABC News / Associated Press / NBC News / New York Times / Bloomberg)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I’d like to share this quote from JFK I came across this week:
" Let us not seek the Republican answer, or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future."
I wonder what he would say about our current political issues. Without doubt he would be decisive.


The Trump administration and Congress owe D.C. more than $7 million in expenses from Trump’s inauguration, according to federal and city financial records. The total cost of the four-day celebration, which culminated with a parade and gathering of roughly 600,000 people on the Mall, was $27.3 million.

As a result, the District has been forced to dip into a special fund that covers annual security costs for protecting the city from terrorist threats and hosting other events such as demonstrations, state funerals and the visits of foreign dignitaries. That fund, which for years was adequately replenished by federal dollars, is now on track to enter the red by this fall, records show.

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Now that took guts. I imagine that most of these employees are raising families, yet they so strongly oppose this destructive move by Republicans that they are willing to put their livelihoods on the line.

I worked two summers in a vegetable canning plant in Eastern Washington and, trust me, the USDA keeps us safe. If it weren’t for them, we’d have no idea what’s in our food. Their inspectors were top notch and kept the company I worked for honest, canning wholesome, clean, safe food – without the USDA their canned goods would have been none of those things. The USDA that I saw at work delivered excellent value for our tax dollars. This move involves researchers, not inspectors, but I’m just making this observation to convey how much I respect the agency.

These researchers need to be close to lawmakers so they can have one-on-one communication with decision makers. Moving them a thousand miles from the center of power is obviously a way of marginalizing them. Anyone who has telecommuted knows that, although it has many advantages, one inevitable downside is that you have less clout at headquarters.

We have to put a stop to the Republican dogma that all “gubment” is inherently evil. Yes, the government can be wasteful and can needlessly interfere with our lives – we need to be ever vigilant and root out and correct those abuses wherever and whenever they occur, but simply slashing government infrastructure is not the answer; it is just plain destructive.

Employees from two Department of Agriculture research agencies stood and turned their backs to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue at an all-hands meeting Thursday to silently protest a decision to relocate the agencies halfway across the country.

Perdue announced earlier Thursday morning that the Economic Research Service, which provides research and statistical analysis for lawmakers, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which allocates federal research funding, will be relocated to Kansas City from Washington, DC, the final announcement in a process that began last year.

The department says the move will save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, but many employees view the change as politically driven and a way to disrupt climate research and other work their bosses disagree with. Both agencies recently voted overwhelmingly to unionize to push back against the move.


Holes are forming already in our account of the attacks in the Gulf of Oman,

Tanker owner seems to dispute U.S. account of Gulf of Oman attack

Tanker owner seems to dispute U.S. account of Gulf of Oman attack

Gulf of Oman tanker attacks: US says video shows Iran removing mine

The US military has released a video which it says shows Iranian special forces removing an unexploded mine from the side of an oil tanker damaged in an attack in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.

The US also released images of the Japanese tanker apparently showing the unexploded mine before it was removed.

A Norwegian tanker in the gulf also reported being hit by three blasts.

The US accused Iran of being behind the attacks. Iran said it “categorically” rejected the allegation.

The blasts came a month after four oil tankers were damaged in an attack off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The US blamed Iran for that attack, but did not produce evidence. Iran also denied those accusations.

My two cents: it feels highly unlikely somebody would go in and try to remove a mine in an area under intense scrutiny,

And here is another story; the Japanese company is contradicting our version of events and the supposed video

Trump rejects Iran’s denials that it attacked tankers, citing video released by Central Command, but the President of the Japanese company that owns the ships says they were fired upon, NOT attacked with mines


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This just a personal anecdote, I have a buddy who is an mechanical engineer at the Applied Physics Lab at the University of Washington, most of the work he does consists of designing submarine drones for the Navy to safely retrieve mines in water ways. He explained that these mines are everywhere, all over the world, just leftovers from past conflicts and wars.

And that’s what I know about mines in waterways. :thinking:


From the Washington post story,

However, the head of the Japanese shipping company that owns one of the targeted tankers challenged the U.S. assertion that the vessel was attacked with limpet mines. He said Friday that the crew reported it was hit by “a flying object.”

What’s a limpet mine?

A limpet mine is a type of naval mine attached to a target by magnets. It is so named because of its superficial similarity to the limpet, a type of sea snailthat clings tightly to rocks or other hard surfaces.

A swimmer or diver may attach the mine, which is usually designed with hollow compartments to give the mine slight negative buoyancy, making it easier to handle underwater.

Usually limpet mines are set off by a time fuse. They may also have an anti-handling device.

So it’s a bomb someone can attach to a ship that can be detonated remotely. Plausible theory. Not enough information though.

Ok but what about the many witnesses on the ship who saw something hit the boat from the sky? Also entirely plausible.

My take away, either Trump’s goading of Iran is finally provoking them to attack the area or the US is just inventing a conflict again. The President’s actions and remarks these past two years have been completely egregious and hostile toward Iran. He wants this tension no matter what actually happened because he believes it’ll help him politically.