AP: Notes of support pour in for 2 who started California blaze

A couple whose flattened trailer tire accidentally started a massive fire in Northern California has received more than 100 cards and letters with supportive messages telling them not to feel guilty.

The outpouring of support for an 81-year-old man and his wife started after Rachel Pilli made a Facebook post offering to forward compassionate messages to the couple, the Record Searchlight in Redding, California, reported Wednesday.

Pilli doesn’t know the couple, but said a firefighter who knows them told her the woman blames herself and cries day and night. She decided to send them a card with a supportive message and then posted about the couple on social media.

“I couldn’t imagine the grief,” she said. “If I were the one responsible for the accident I couldn’t imagine the shame and the torture I’d feel.”

The blaze that has destroyed nearly 1,100 homes and killed eight people started on July 23 with a spark from a vehicle driving on a flat tire, fire officials said. It was 67 percent contained as of Wednesday.

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The Washington Post: Trump responds after hundreds of newspaper editorials criticize his attacks on the press

Hundreds of newspaper editorial boards across the country answered a nationwide call Thursday to express disdain for President Trump’s attacks on the news media, while some explained their decision not to do so. The same morning, the president tweeted that the “fake news media” are the “opposition party.”

The editorials came after the Boston Globe’s editorial board called on others to use their collective voice to respond to Trump’s war of words with news organizations in the United States.

Trump has labeled the news media “the enemy of the American people” and called much of the coverage “fake news.”

The Globe’s op-ed board wrote in an editorial published online Wednesday that, “Today in the United States we have a president who has created a mantra that members of the media who do not blatantly support the policies of the current US administration are the ‘enemy of the people.

“This is one of the many lies that have been thrown out by this president, much like an old-time charlatan threw out ‘magic’ dust or water on a hopeful crowd.”

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NBC: Trump revokes former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance

President Donald Trump has decided to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan’s clearance for access to classified information, he said in a statement read by press secretary Sarah Sanders on Wednesday.

The courtesy of allowing a former administration official to retain security clearance has been “outweighed by the risk posed by his erratic conduct and behavior,” Trump said in the statement. “Mr. Brennan has a history that calls into question his objectivity and credibility.”

He added that Brennan “has recently leveraged his status … to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations, wild outbursts on the internet and on television, about this administration.”

Brennan, who served as director of the clandestine intelligence agency in President Barack Obama’s second term, has been a frequent critic of Trump.

Brennan, a senior national security analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, fired back during an interview with MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace and on Twitter on Wednesday.

“If Mr. Trump believes that this is going to lead me to just go away and be quiet, he is very badly mistaken,” Brennan said, describing the move as “his way of getting back at me” and saying it was designed “to intimidate and suppress any criticism of him or his administration.”

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The New Yorker: Trump and His Toxic Twitter Insults of Omarosa

The President of the United States called someone a “dog” on Twitter Tuesday morning, another first for his debasement of Presidential rhetoric. It is, sadly, not a surprise. “Dog” has long been one of Trump’s favorite Twitter insults, and he is the first President in more than a hundred years not to have a dog as a pet in the White House. (Trump once told his biographer Tim O’Brien that he considered all animals “germy.”) A more or less complete list of those he has attacked with this label, just since his entry into national politics in 2015, includes: Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee, who “choked like a dog”; David Gregory, the former host of “Meet the Press,” “fired like a dog!”; Chuck Todd, Gregory’s replacement as “Meet the Press” host, “who will be fired like a dog”; Ted Cruz, one of Trump’s opponents in the 2016 Republican primary, who “lies like a dog—over and over again”; Ted Cruz’s former communications director, “fired like a dog”; Brent Bozell, the conservative columnist at National Review, who “came to my office begging for money like a dog”; Erick Erickson, the anti-Trump conservative blogger, “fired like a dog”; Glenn Beck, the former Fox TV host, also “fired like a dog”; George Will, the conservative Washington Post columnist, “thrown off ABC like a dog!”; and Arianna Huffington, the liberal-Web-site founder, “a dog who wrongfully comments on me.”

But all of those tweets, as intemperate as they were, were made before Trump actually became the President. Yes, he complained last October that the Tennessee senator Bob Corker, one of his few remaining public critics in the Republican Party, could no longer get elected “dog catcher.” And Trump has hurled playground taunts at a breathtakingly long line of targets during his eighteen months in office, from African-American football players to the Prime Minister of Canada. But, for whatever reason, Trump had restrained himself from using what is clearly one of his favorite insults until 7:31 a.m. on Tuesday: “When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”

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CNN: More than 100 newspapers will publish editorials decrying Trump’s anti-press rhetoric

“The dirty war on the free press must end.”

That’s the idea behind an unusual editorial-writing initiative that has enlisted scores of newspapers across America.

The Boston Globe has been contacting newspaper editorial boards and proposing a “coordinated response” to President Trump’s escalating “enemy of the people” rhetoric.

“We propose to publish an editorial on August 16 on the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date,” The Globe said in its pitch to fellow papers.

The effort began just a few days ago.

As of Saturday, “we have more than 100 publications signed up, and I expect that number to grow in the coming days,” Marjorie Pritchard, the Globe’s deputy editorial page editor, told CNN.

The American Society of News Editors, the New England Newspaper and Press Association and other groups have helped her spread the word.

“The response has been overwhelming,” Pritchard said. “We have some big newspapers, but the majority are from smaller markets, all enthusiastic about standing up to Trump’s assault on journalism.”

Instead of printing the exact same message, each publication will write its own editorial, Pritchard said.

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Politico: Trump wildfire tweets spark confusion about California water

Californians are stunned at President Donald’s Trump’s latest tweets on the state‘s catastrophic wildfires — and his insistence that the state is burning because leaders are letting too much fresh water flow into the Pacific Ocean.

Trump tweeted Monday that California “Governor Jerry Brown must allow the Free Flow of the vast amounts of water coming from the North and foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Can be used for fires, farming and everything else. Think of California with plenty of Water – Nice! Fast Federal govt. approvals.”

That tweet — on the heels of a Sunday tweet that referenced California’s “bad environmental laws” as a cause of the state’s current raging wildfires — drew an immediate reaction from veteran California GOP strategist Rob Stutzman, who responded via Twitter: “This is nuts’’ and also “low water IQ.” Stutzman has advised former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a host of national and state GOP candidates.

Trump’s comments may be referencing an unrelated dispute between Brown’s administration and California Republicans over how much of the state’s water can be diverted to Southern California farms and cities and how much must be allowed to flow naturally to benefit endangered and threatened fish species.

Wildfires around California have killed nine people, but firefighters have not raised concerns about the available water supplies.

“The notion that somehow more water would be mitigating or better in fighting these fires is just mind-boggling,’’ Stutzman told POLITICO on Monday. “I don’t watch ‘Fox & Friends,’ but it would seem that someone has put the idea in his head. It doesn’t even show an elementary understanding of water policy.’’

Fox & Friends had aired a segment about the California fires nearly five hours before Trump‘s Monday tweet but didn’t discuss water issues as part of the segment.

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KQED: In Wildfire-Hit Redding, Latino Family Offers Free Food — in Face of Racial Tensions

Elsa Ceja’s parents came from Mexico and opened La Cabaña restaurant in the city of Redding 22 years ago.

When the fires broke out last week, Elsa and her whole family were in Mexico on vacation. They landed in Sacramento last Saturday, July 28, when the blaze was at its height. Flames were consuming parts of the city.

“Everyone was scared,” Elsa says. “And I’m like no, we gotta go back. We gotta see what’s going on. We have to go home and see and help. We can’t just take off. We have to be there for our community. They’ve been there for us so many years. It’s time for us to be there.”

Elsa and her family rushed home. They posted on Facebook that they would give free food to first responders and firefighters, and 20 percent discounts to evacuees. They started distributing breakfast burritos at a nearby evacuation center.

For more help, Elsa called her sister, Alma Fragoso, in Sacramento, about 2½ hours away. Alma contacted her local priest to get donations — water, clothes, hygiene products and toys. They piled it all into a truck and drove it up to Redding.

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Politico: Trump calls on Sessions to stop Mueller probe

President Donald Trump called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to shut down special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation Wednesday, prompting a race by the president’s legal team to try to contain the fallout.

“This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!” Trump said in a series of tweets.

Trump’s personal lawyers quickly sought to downplay his comments, calling them an expression of his personal opinion — not an order to Sessions that could plunge the country into a political and constitutional crisis. And the Justice Department indicated it would take no action based on Trump’s Twitter venting.

“We have been saying for months that it is time to bring this inquiry to an end,” Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said. “The president has expressed the same opinion.”

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders Wednesday afternoon said Trump’s tweet was not an order, rather the “president’s opinion.”

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Wall Street Journal: What Duluth Can Teach America About Declining Political Civility

The decline of civility in political debate was alarming. Harsh rhetoric was getting in the way of resolving bitter disputes.

Worse yet, the nasty tenor of political discourse was so turning off young people that they were walking away from it, saying they didn’t want to get involved in such a nasty process.

Sounds like Washington today, right? Actually, it was Duluth, Minn., more than a decade ago as tensions rose over local budget strains. Then, as now on the national political stage, nastiness was becoming the norm, preventing well-intentioned people from coming together to solve problems.

The difference is that the leaders of Duluth decided to do something about it. Civic leaders launched something called Speak Your Peace: The Civility Project. They drew up a list of nine guidelines for civilized debate so simple they could and did fit on a wallet card.

Then, a funny thing happened. People took the idea to heart. All six major units of regional government—city and county boards and school districts—adopted the guidelines. As debate improved, so did the process of addressing problems. Today, Duluth’s mayor, Emily Larson, credits the civility project for helping the city work through an emotional, two-year debate over a new ordinance requiring employers to offer paid sick leave, which was adopted in May.

Is it naive to think that the experience of a city of 86,000 can be useful on a national scale? Perhaps. And maybe Minnesotans are just nicer than the rest of us.

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