Today Lawrence O’Donnell was forced to apologize to the world for airing a story on Donald Trump that had not been properly verified. The lawyers for Trump had pounced earlier in the day after the airing the previous night, demanding an apology, retraction, and a correction to the story.

Fine. They got him, but now there’s an elephant in the room. Is this really the one time he’s had to apologize to Trump? No other letters from the president’s lawyers after yeasr of stories? I guess they just consider the rest of it true enough not to bother with the demands.

For instance, where were they during all the Stormy Daniels stories?

Here’s the link: https://www.yahoo.com/news/lawrence-o-donnell-apologizes-russian-023149279.html

Once again our fearless leader has Mr. Beaned himself into a near miss with his about-to-attack, about face gambit over Iran. He claimed it was because 150 people would die. What a nice guy, eh? Once again casting himself in the role of both the bomber and compassionate leader as he saves the day from a disaster of his own making. But what does all this really say about the guy with the nuclear codes?

Well, let’s begin with a few relevant questions. First, and most obvious, how in the hell did it get to be ½ hour before bombs drop and Trump had no idea what the casualty count would be? That’s insane. The leader of the free world has planes in the sky and it never occurred to him to ask about casualties? (It’s frightening, by the way,  to read into the implications of that.)  And that begs the question. How did this information not make it to Trump’s desk, even if he didn’t have the moral compass to care about asking? What kind of military geniuses order and launch an airstrike, presumably using our most cutting edge military equipment, without having a clear idea of the estimated casualties?

But handling questions aside, what does all this say about the way Trump and his people think and strategize? I think it’s a flimsy excuse, frankly, but also one so stupid for its implications it’s hard to imagine what these people could be thinking for presenting it. 

Let’s assume it’s true for the moment. If Trump doesn’t think far enough ahead than planes in the air to ask about casualties, then are we not total idiots to trust this guy with all the other important things he’s monkeying with?

Keep in mind, this is the guy we’re also trusting to create a winning strategy with his Chinese trade war, not to mention his other tariffs and policies. I think something of this gravity, if true calls into question his fundamental ability to lead. This is a guy who almost dropped bombs on a country without having key details about the ramifications of such an act. Chilling. 

If Trump ever does something really egregious, we will have no one to blame but ourselves. It’s not like we couldn’t have seen this coming.  

Forest Gump once said, “stupid is as stupid does”, America. Let’s listen.

President Trump is in a pickle. He’s picked a fight he didn’t really want, goaded on by the unbending and unending voices of the far right echo chamber that fill his day with endless talk. If he backs down now, that’s would amount to a devastating political defeat that would serve only to embolden Pelosi. And it would also make his 2020 campaign nearly impossible. His followers will lose faith in his ability to execute their agenda and win fights, many would revolt in disgust. The hardcore people that back Trump have a view of winning that is only meaningful if the other side loses. With Trump all in on the shutdown for border wall funding, he has painted himself into a corner and he’d rather burn the country down from atop his ivory tower than fold his cards. He’s got nothing to lose in this fight.

Meanwhile, he’s also inadvertently boxed in Leader Pelosi. His aggressive posturing has only served to create an atmosphere where she feels she needs to stand up to his bluster and intimidation. A more subtle and less confrontational Trump could possibly have earned concessions by now. But his approach to governing by fiat has only hardened the will of Democrats in general who see this as a major test with Trump and believe that backing down must be avoided at all costs.

If Pelosi were to back down now, she would disappoint the millions counting on her to finally stand up to Trump. But that’s just one problem. The other problem she faces is that she too would lose the respect of Democrats were she to cave. She would be seen as weak and so for her, backing down from a confrontation with Trump is out of the question. She’s forced to go all-in as well.

So how does it all end? Painfully for everyone. The kind of pain that Americans will need to acutely feel before they really start picking up the phones to their congressmen. The only way this ends is for large numbers of congressmen to break with their own party who have also been put into this untenable position by Trump’s hardball approach. That’s why I think Republicans will ultimately be the ones to cave. Everyone knows this shutdown is due to Trump. We didn’t usually have these smack down, bare knuckle confrontations before he came to power and no one wants to look bullied or intimidated. I also think Republican congressmen, while publicly supporting him, privately gripe about the chaos caused though his poor leadership. Ultimately he’ll lose his coalition long before the Democrats reach a breaking point. No one has an appetite to let Trump strong arm negotiations but hardcore Trump backers and there aren’t enough of them to win.

Since neither Pelosi or Trump can afford to give into the demands of the other, the task will fall to members of congress who aren’t feeling the same pressures as Trump and Pelosi. That leaves Mitch McConnell as the only player with the ability to end the stalemate allowing both Pelosi and Trump to save face, and again, why the Republicans will ultimately be the ones to cave in.

The only possible resolution here leads to Trump being overridden by a veto proof majority from congress. Trump would rather shoot himself than concede defeat in such a public fight with Nancy Pelosi. And Pelosi simply can’t give in to Trump without destroying the morale of the entire Democratic party in the process. Its going to have to be others who end the shutdown. It won’t be Trump or Pelosi.

By now you might have seen today’s headlines about the incoming NRA president and former Iran/Contra scandal villain Oliver North. He claimed that school shootings were in part made worse by an epidemic of drugged kids who have been prescribed Ritalin.

His claim, without mentioning any kind of supporting evidence, isn’t just more unfounded fearmongering from a group who uniformly throws science to the dustbin when it’s counter to their objectives. It’s also copying a tried and true method of distraction used whenever things go wrong. Why? Because it’s exactly like the silly links that are pushed by the (generally anti-science) vaccine fearing crowd who are convinced that such things lead to autism.

Meanwhile, people who study this stuff say Ritalin leads to mostly calmer behavior in children. But North doesn’t seem to care. He has a new bogey man that will be argued about for years to come as a surrogate for gun control. Just like vaccines leading to Autism.

Does it matter at all that there’s no such link? That North grabbed this idea out of thin air? Nope, not a whisker. That’s the beauty of the Republican voter these days. They are usually too uninformed and disinterested to look this stuff up – or they do – on partisan and non academic sources, so now Ritalin is responsible for the violence and if we can just solve that problem there won’t be any more school shootings.

President Trump asked Bill Gates about forming a commission to investigate the link between vaccines and autism. Gates told him there is no link and that’s a “dead end”.

So one of the richest men in the world, and one who’s committed to donating the lion’s share of his vast wealth to charity, is forced to counsel the president that the people whispering conspiracy theories in his ear are full of crapola. Proof that disinformation reaches the highest levels, even if in this case, that happens to be our own Mr. Bean, President Trump.

I’m not an authority on autism or vaccines, but let’s face it: I’m going to trust the opinion of Bill Gates, the worlds most respected philanthropist, over that of the politicians who scorn academia like our hapless leader – who also had to ask the Gates to explain the difference between HIV and HPV – twice.

Once again, conservatives have willfully chosen to believe their politicians over academics and believe fake news and fake information. So now a whole army of innocently, stupid people are afraid to vaccinate because, you know, autism.

Oh, and we should hurry to fix the REAL problem we have in this country causing all the violence – Ritalin – before school shootings become horrific and commonplace!