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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Former Congressman Leon Panetta, who served as budget director and chief of staff to President Clinton before being appointed to lead the CIA by Barack Obama, was confirmed in a 100-0 vote by the U.S. Senate today to take over for outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Panetta oversaw the U.S. military operation that captured and killed Osama bin Laden early in May, which no doubt burnished his reputation and helped guarantee his confirmation by a body that refused to even vote on whether a Nobel Prize-wining economist could serve at the Federal Reserve.

He will be the first Democrat to lead the Pentagon since 1997. Panetta will oversee the military when all indications point to the president outlining a substantial drawdown from Afghanistan during a speech Wednesday, reducing forces to their lowest level since the “surge” of late 2009. Nonetheless, roughly double the number of American soldiers will be in that country as when Obama took office, leaving room to his left for a less hawkish candidate–like former Utah Gov. and China Ambassador Jon Huntsman, who has galled the Republican establishment with his calls for relatively rapid withdrawal–to claim the anti-war vote, a bloc that backed the president in 2007 and 2008 because he opposed the Iraq War from the start.

"You dumb bastards" was the epithet hurled by Donald Trump yesterday at those enemies of the people in the news media, specifically CNN, who annoy him by continuing to report on the worst public health disaster in a century. While Trump keeps repeating that the pandemic is almost over, and other such absurd lies, it is in fact sickening more of us and taking more lives.

In her eloquent rebuttal today, CNN anchor Briana Keilar points out that Americans need to know what is happening as coronavirus cuts down their families, friends, and communities. They need to see their suffering reflected, despite Trump's sociopathic refusal to acknowledge the reality and deal with it. They need to grieve and honor the 220,417 dead, and counting...

The ruin wrought by Trump's numb incompetence has already made you angry, no doubt. This will make you angrier.