FROM Scott Stephens
First the inferno, Now the clean-up. What then? The blazes in Northern California are being called "firestorms," "hurricanes" and "blizzards of flame." They've been compared to a "blowtorch." In a state where wildfires are hardly uncommon, experts say civilian casualties and property loss are "historic" — like "nothing [they've] ever seen." The death toll is at least 42; some 3000 homes were destroyed; 213,000 acres have been turned into charred wastelands. Survivors are warned that debris is too toxic to allow digging for beloved possessions; smoke and ashes are causing health problems for miles around. What caused the fires? Why did they spread? Can the next ones be prevented?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?