Thursday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of forty-eight. Sunrise is 7:04 AM and sunset 6:18 PM, for 11h 13m 37s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 7.2% of its visible disk illuminated.
On this day in 1942, the United States engages Japanese naval forces at the Battle of Cape Esperance:
Shortly before midnight on 11 October, a U.S. force of four cruisers and five destroyers—under the command of Rear Admiral Norman Scott—intercepted [Rear Admiral Aritomo] Goto’s force as it approached Savo Island near Guadalcanal. Taking the Japanese by surprise, Scott’s warships sank one of Goto’s cruisers and one of his destroyers, heavily damaged another cruiser, mortally wounded Goto, and forced the rest of Goto’s warships to abandon the bombardment mission and retreat. During the exchange of gunfire, one of Scott’s destroyers was sunk and one cruiser and another destroyer were heavily damaged. In the meantime, the Japanese supply convoy successfully completed unloading at Guadalcanal and began its return journey without being discovered by Scott’s force. Later on the morning of 12 October, four Japanese destroyers from the supply convoy turned back to assist Goto’s retreating, damaged warships. Air attacks by U.S. aircraft from Henderson Field sank two of these destroyers later that day.
Recommended for reading in full — Nearly every line of Trump’s USA Today op-ed was false or misleading, Trump’s conflicts of interest with the Saudis, the Saudis don’t respect Trump, Republicans accept Trump’s corruption, and video on how to make a proper cup of tea (according to George Orwell) —
Glenn Kessler is Fact-checking President Trump’s USA Today op-ed on ‘Medicare-for-All’ (“Nearly every line of President Trump’s USA Today op-ed contained a false or misleading statement”):
President Trump wrote an opinion article for USA Today on Oct. 10 regarding proposals to expand Medicare to all Americans — known as Medicare-for-All — in which almost every sentence contained a misleading statement or a falsehood.
Many of these are claims we have already debunked. Presumably, the president is aware of our fact checks — he even links to two — but chose to ignore the facts in service of a campaign-style op-ed. Medicare-for-All is a complex subject, and serious questions could be raised about the cost and how a transition from today’s health-care system would be financed. Trump correctly notes that studies have estimated that the program — under the version promoted by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — would add $32.6 trillion in costs to the federal government over 10 years. (He doesn’t mention that costs in theory would go down for individuals, state governments and others, so overall national health expenditures may not increase and could even decrease.)
But this is not a serious effort to debate the issue. So as a reader service, we offer a guide through Trump’s rhetoric.
Russ Choma writes Donald Trump Has a Serious Saudi Arabian Conflict of Interest (“They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them?”):
The grisly details of an alleged Saudi government plot to murder dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi are roiling diplomatic and national security circles, but the Trump White House’s reaction has been strangely muted. Asked about the matter on Wednesday afternoon, President Donald Trump vaguely condemned the “bad situation,” while also praising King Salman, the Saudi monarch, as a “fine man.” He stressed that Saudi officials say it’s unclear what became of Khashoggi, who disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Turkish officials say he was killed within hours of entering the consulate by a Saudi hit squad on the orders of senior Saudi royal family members.
Trump’s meek response to the diplomatic crisis highlights the ongoing conflicts of interest posed by his business empire.
At a 2015 campaign stop, Trump bragged to the crowd about his business dealings with the Saudis. “Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them,” Trump said. “They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”
In 2001, the Saudi government bought the 45th floor of the Trump World Plaza building in New York City as part of its mission to the United Nations. And shortly before entering the White House, Trump was aggressively pursuing deals with Saudi investors and attempting to build hotels in the Saudi Arabia. In August 2015, in the midst of his presidential run, Trump registered new corporations to manage a prospective hotel in Jeddah, the gateway city to the Muslim holy sites of Mecca and Medina. That project never came to fruition, but the Washington Post reported that at least two of Trump’s US hotel properties—both called the Trump International Hotel & Tower, in New York and Chicago—have benefitted hugely from Saudi business.
Shadi Hamid writes Saudi Arabia Is Taunting Trump (“The disappearance of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of an American ally shows how little Saudi Arabia fears the repercussions of its actions”):
Even for those who care little about human rights in the Middle East, the disappearance of Khashoggi calls into question the reliability of an ally that has insisted on acting in such brazen fashion. If Trump’s foreign policy really is about “America first,” then allies who show blatant disregard for America, American values, and American interests should incur significant costs. What might those costs be? This is what the conversation over the future of U.S.-Saudi relationship must turn to. Trump is at least partly correct about Saudi dependence on the United States. As my colleague Bruce Riedel writes, the Saudi Air Force is “is entirely dependent on American and British support for its air fleet of F15 fighter jets, Apache helicopters, and Tornado aircraft. If either Washington or London halts the flow of logistics, the [air force] will be grounded.”
Bad allies, particularly in the Middle East where they abound, have been a recurring problem for successive U.S. administrations. U.S. policymakers need—or think they need—them, even when those allies go out of their way to undermine their relationships with the United States. Those allies believe—mostly correctly—that the United States will express concern and complain, but ultimately do little. The worst offenses will be forgotten in the name of national-security interests, as they have been so many times before. It is time to call Saudi Arabia’s bluff.
Greg Sargent writes Republicans keep stating openly that they’re totally fine with Trump’s corruption:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sat down for an extensive interview with Associated Press reporters, the full video of which you can watch here. One of the most telling moments was this one, in response to a question from the AP’s Dustin Weaver: (emphasis added):
Question: Democrats have made clear that if they do win back the House, they plan to launch many, many investigations into the president and the administration. They’ve made clear that one of their lines of inquiry is going to be the president’s tax returns, the president’s businesses, the president’s hotel contract. . . . Do you think that’s a legitimate line of inquiry for Democrats to be talking about?
McConnell: I think it’ll help the president get reelected. I remember the price we paid — actually, we did impeach Bill Clinton. I remember all the enthusiasm, lots of Republicans in the House and Senate — “boy, this is the ticket, this is gonna make us have a great year.” . . . It worked exactly the opposite. The public got mad at us. . . . This business of presidential harassment may or may not quite be the winner they think it is.
McConnell was asked directly whether President Trump’s tax returns and self-dealing constitute a legitimate topic for congressional oversight. He didn’t directly answer, but he did dismissively characterize such an inquiry as “presidential harassment.”