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Senator Tom Cotton on the Manchester Bombing, Trump’s Saudi Speech, and the Russia Investigation

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The Audio:


The Transcript:

HH: Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas joins me on a grim morning. 22 dead, 60 wounded in Manchester as a terrorist attacks the exiting teeny bopper crowd with their parents. Senator Cotton, we’ve talked on occasions like this before, unfortunately. There will be more in the future. Your reaction to this and to the President’s comment in Saudi Arabia that your souls will be fully condemned, an appeal for religious leaders to make that clear to their followers?

TC: Hugh, good morning. It is a sad morning after another horrific atrocity happening in Manchester last night, particularly appalling that it happened to teenagers and young children. It’s a reminder of the terrorist threat that we all face in the U.K., in the United States, and around the world. I strongly agree with President Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia to Arab Islamic leaders that not only must their governments combat terrorism on their own soil, that they must also stop the radicalization and the funding of terrorism from some of their private citizens and mosques, and the spread of that hateful ideology around the world, and that those leaders need to take responsibility for sharing that exact sentiment with their people, because ultimately, Western leaders, like Donald Trump or Theresa May or anyone else, can try to keep our country safe. But it’s ultimately going to have to be Arab and Islamic leaders like King Salman of Saudi Arabia or President al-Sisi of Egypt that speak to their own people and their own faith and have reform from within their faith.

HH: Senator Cotton, back in your Army days when you were walking platoon in Baghdad slums, you know firsthand what the President said in Saudi Arabia is true that Muslims suffer far more than anybody else in the world at the hands of the jihadists.

TC: Well, the vast majority of people killed by Islamic terrorists are other Muslims. I saw it in 2006 when Shiite and Sunni sects in terrorist organizations were committing atrocities against each other. And of course, the Islamic State’s number one target are other Muslims in Iraq and Syria as well. And while many Muslim terrorists have targeted the United States and targeted the West, we have also fought on behalf of Muslims who have been targeted around the world, whether it’s in Afghanistan or Iraq or Kuwait in 1990, or the Balkans in the 1990s as well. And that’s why we stand united with the countless Muslim victims of Muslim extremism.

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This Ugly Morning

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Yesterday some cowardly SOB decided he wanted to kill a bunch of little girls.  Let’s be realistic here, this is a new level of scumbaggery for these terrorist jerks.  Not satisfied with tourists or business people or even just the general public, they went after a concert crowd.  You know, a concert crowd with a known and specific demographic, a concert crowd that was predictably young and female.  The suicide aspect of this mess is way too good for this “perp.” (I am having a very hard time controlling my language right now.)  I know, public executions are barbaric but if anyone deserved it this guy did, and anyone that helped him select this target still does.  Honestly, the chopping block at the Tower of London would be good for this bunch.  If you have a hard time finding someone to wield the ax, give me a call.

And that is not even what I am most upset about this morning.  As I read through my news feeds this AM I found almost as many Trump bashing stories as  I did stories on the Manchester concert bombing.  And no, I’m not going to link to them.  I don’t care what you think about the job Donald Trump is doing right now, this is a time to unite behind the office, regardless of who occupies it.  The young, innocent and hopeful of our greatest ally were attacked yesterday, should that not be enough to suspend the bickering for a few hours?

Or are we so self-absorbed, so consumed with our own interests, that we find the news “sad,” but “there is still that guy I hate in the White House and I just can’t live with myself.”  Guess what – this is not about you!  And the worst part is when we carry on like this they win because we cannot get our act together enough to beat the bas&^%$s.  What’s it going to take people?  Is this not close enough to home?  Does it have to be a concert here rather than England? Or will a little girl in your particular life have to be killed?  Honestly, the most frightening aspect of what I am seeing this morning is not that terrorists want to kill us and our children, but that we are so enclosed in our tiny little bubbles that we refuse to see it.

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Of Men, Monuments and Memory

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My father is the son of Minnesota-settled German immigrants.  Garrison Keillor once said that German immigrants got lost looking for a place to settle, arrived in Minnesota and being too doggone proud to admit they were lost, settled.  That sounds about right to me.  My mother has a very different story; she is the stuff of southern aristocracy.  Some of her ancestry has been traced to the Mayflower.  Most of the older women in the family were D.A.R (Daughters of the American Revolution) having left behind The Daughters of the Confederacy when some of my grandparents generation moved north for work and found membership in that organization a hindrance.  My mom’s family once had very large cotton growing land holdings which means, of course, they were slave holders.  I grew up with cultural whiplash moving between the two sides of my family.  Both sides are rich in culture and tradition, just very different cultures and traditions.

Younger generations of my mother’s family contain noted and prominent civil rights advocates, but from the older generations I have heard and seen some very ugly racism.  I am old enough to have witnessed, in fact was born in, the truly segregated south.  The woman that cared for me as an infant while my mother worked and my father was in law school at the University of Mississippi was the daughter of a slave once owned by the family.  (My father chose Ole Miss because ALL he had in the world was GI bill benefits and that was the school where they would go the farthest.  For my mother it was a legacy.)  I have experienced the worst, save for slavery itself, the South has to offer when it comes to racial inequality.  It is not something that any decent person from the south is in any way, shape or form proud of.

But that said, my family was impoverished by the outcome of the Civil War.  The family is matriarchy because frankly all the men were killed, or rendered essentially useless, by the war.  It was up to the women to put the family back on a solid footing financially.  The family does not remember the Civil War fondly, but they do remember it proudly.  Not because of what was fought for, but because of what they have done in its wake.  The effects of the Civil War in the south cannot be underestimated.  It is a defining event.  No person of Southern heritage can possibly understand that heritage without understanding what the Civil War did to the south.  And they cannot celebrate that heritage without remembering that war, its effects, and what they have accomplished in its aftermath.

I repeat, no decent person of the south is proud of its racist past, but they are proud of themselves and what they have become.  The Confederacy and the Civil War are undeniably a part of that.  Where you may see monuments to racism and slavery, some see monuments to rebuilding, remaking and rethinking.  Where you see celebrations of the worst mankind has to offer, some see celebrations of becoming anew.  As Civil War monuments disappear throughout the south it is not always remembrances of slavery past that are being removed.  They are also markers on the road to redemption.

I have some sympathy with efforts in Alabama to preserve such monuments.  Needless to say, some of that sympathy is born in the very personal reasons I have just described.  But some of it is also based in the simple fact that history is real, and changing it is dangerous.  Slavery happened, the Confederacy was real, and the Civil War occurred.  Removing remembrances of them serves only to help us forget that which should never be forgotten.  As is often said, “Those that forget history are doomed to repeat it.”

I admit, there is a fine line here, but I am beginning to worry that we have crossed it.

What’s The End Game?

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Much of what swirl’s around President Trump right now is simply catharsis in my opinion.  People trying to come to terms with the fact that somehow Donald J. Trump, reality TV heavyweight, brander of everything from ties to steaks to an over-promising “university,” and successful real estate developer got elected POTUS.  I’ll confess, I did not think it could happen, but it did.  I’m pretty analytical about this stuff so catharsis is not what I need; I need data and explanations.  But for a whole lot of people this is emotional and catharsis is what they think they need to cope with the emotional consequences.

But catharsis is not always a good thing.  Let’s face it this catharsis is calling into question the legitimacy of the sitting president.  That’s not good at all.  To my read there is no serious stratagem underlying the current chaos, just a small and select number of individuals trying to make some hay while the sun shines.  But there are others that think differently.  Those select people are trying to capitalize on this massive wave of catharsis politically.  For some its about ideology, some its about party and for some it is deeply personal.  But regardless of motive,they actually do want to call into question the legitimacy of Donald J Trump as president.  But they have to be mighty careful at that game, they may not like the results they get.

What is the end game here?

Well, if it really is about catharsis, eventually its just going to run out of gas.  But that is where those select few come in.  Right now they seem to be able to scratch the cathartic itch at just the time it is about to subside and start the cycle anew.  And let’s face it, the president’s somewhat cavalier attitude does keep given them ammunition.  So let’s assume this business is not running out of gas anytime soon and pray we are wrong.  What’s going to happen?

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