All 100 senators are invited to the White House compound tomorrow for a briefing on North Korea. This is an unusual event. During the first Gulf War I was sent to the Congress every day to brief both houses. Notice that we went to them and not the other way 'round. Tillerson, Mattis, McMaster, Coates are reported to be the hosts. Some mighty skilled briefers will do the actual thing.
Sounds to me that the senators are being prepared for a probable failure of Trumpian policy with regard to the Chinese and North Korea. A declaration of war or an authorization for the use of military force would require a vote by both houses of congress. So … You can probably expect to see a lot of members of the House of Representatives visiting the White House soon if that has not already occurred.
The Carl Vinson battle group will be in Korean waters in a few days. USS Michigan, a cruise missile shooting submarine is in Busan, South Korea for R&R and re-vittling. As I have written there is the availability of two additional carrier battle groups in early June. This is all shaping up nicely if you are an armchair field marshal or fleet admiral.
At the same time, pressure is building on the international scene for a real investigation of the 4 April, 2017 gas event at Khan Shaykun in southern Idlib Province, Syria. There is so much now written about this that it seems inevitable that a high profile enquiry will be made. It appears that the R+6 will re-capture Khan Shaykun soon. That will create an interesting situation for the investigators whomever they will be.
The Turkish Air Force carried out intensive strikes on SDF Kurdish and Arab units over-night. Unlike the Russians they do not inform USCENTCOM of such events. USSF soldiers are in the field with the SDF and we could easily have lost men in this. USCENTCOM is not pleased but their assets are often based at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey and that presents a problem in deciding what to do about the Turks.
There are rumors about that Russia will respond favorably to an expected SAG request for Russian ground troops. If this is true then a couple of things are probably correct; 1- The Russians have decided that they are dealing with an unstable commodity in the occupant of the White House and that they need to present DT with a fait accompli in Syria as soon as possible to reduce the chance of further misadventure resembling the apparently erratic decision to attack the Syrian air base at Shayrat in "reprisal." 2. They may feel assured that introduction of their ground forces will not provoke another erratic response. Are they expecting that the US will be too pre-occupied elsewhere (like Korea) to interfere? That could be or it could be that the rumor of ground force intervention is simply press imagination or disinformatsya. pl
Apparently the Chinese have advised the WH to hold their guns. I wonder what the South Koreans are advising. It would seem that if things are going to go BOOM that they’ll need a total mobilization of all their forces.
It will be interesting to hear what the McMaster/Mattis duo are recommending to Senators and Congressmen.
When does the fat boy king have to mobilize his forces to prepare for the southward march to death with blazing guns?
Yesterday, all the 15 members of the UNSC were also invited at the WH on the same subject – NorKo.
The USUN has the UNSC Presidency seat this month and it is the first time ( that I know of) that the whole membership is invited. Usually FrUKUS do their lobbying at their missions.
What is “interesting” is that a lot of emphasis has been placed on Russia being ringed in with NATO troops, correctly. And that Russia is not happy about that. The Russian troops in Montreal analogy.
Apparently there are 28,500 American troops in South Korea. There is no treaty (sorry for the long quote):
“At 10 a.m., in Panmunjom, scarcely acknowledging each other, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William K. Harrison, Jr., senior delegate, United Nations Command Delegation; North Korean Gen. Nam Il, senior delegate, Delegation of the Korean People’s Army and the Chinese People’s Volunteers, signed 18 official copies of the tri-language Korean Armistice Agreement.
It was the end of the longest negotiated armistice in history: 158 meetings spread over two years and 17 days. That evening at 10 p.m. the truce went into effect. The Korean Armistice Agreement is somewhat exceptional in that it is purely a military document—no nation is a signatory to the agreement. Specifically the Armistice Agreement:
1)suspended open hostilities;
2)withdrew all military forces and equipment from a 4,000-meter-wide zone, establishing the Demilitarized Zone as a buffer between the forces;
3)prevented both sides from entering the air, ground, or sea areas under control of the other;
4)arranged release and repatriation of prisoners of war and displaced persons; and
5)established the Military Armistice Commission (MAC) and other agencies to discuss any violations and to ensure adherence to the truce terms.
The armistice, while it stopped hostilities, was not a permanent peace treaty between nations.
President Eisenhower, who was keenly aware of the 1.8 million American men and women who had served in Korea and the 36,576 Americans who had died there, played a key role in bringing about a cease-fire.”
Ukraine’s got a long way to go.
DT has gotten tied in knots by governing. He went to a military school. He’s got to want war as a way out. And boy will they give it to him, on both sides. I wonder when the vampire squid decides that self-immolation is not the best outcome?
Inviting all the senators for a briefing on North Korea seemed unusual. Who knows what the madhatters are thinking?
Hard to get good information about what is really going on, wheels within wheels, when there is so much mis- and dis-information disseminated. And so much of the action is meant to be symbolic, anyway.
It does worry me a bit that the best-armed empire in the history of the world is busily picking fights and creating new enemies all over the world. And apparently entering a trade war with its main trading partners at the same time. Is there any sensible rationale for all this or is it just part of the carnival distraction from having our pockets picked?
the trade war does need to be fought, unlike the military conflicts.
Recent Washington Post headlines; “Twenty-five million reasons the U.S. hasn’t struck North Korea” and “Japan warns citizens they might have only 10 minutes to prepare for a North Korean missile”. Coupled with the Pentagon blaming Russia for arming the Taliban and Turkey attacking American proxy forces in Syria, these are signs that the world is spinning out of control.
I suppose that not even Bernie Sanders will stand up and point out to the White House briefers (“Mad Dog” Mattis, “T-Rex” Tillerson and “The Iconoclast General” McMaster) that millions of western troops are required to seize Eastern Syria, North Korea and occupy Afghanistan, forever, not to mention Iran. This requires conscription, tank armies and each risks escalating into a nuclear war with Russia and/or China.
Rather than “coercive diplomacy” this seems like insanity to me.
Its all part of the McMaster plan, so we should be worried, very worried.
Clearly people share my concern over McMaster and continue to leak liberally to Mr Cernovich.
Thankfully the Russians continue to block or reverse many of the cretinous initiatives that have, and are being, concocted. I notice even the UAE had a very productive meeting with the Russians, presumably with a focus on Libya and the Khaftar fella as well as Syria. The sooner the borg accept the reality of a multipolar world, as I believe Trump does instinctively, the less likely the world is going to have a nasty accident.
As Col. Lang has been emphasizing for quite some time, the entire MSM “Borg media” is on an all-out wartime disinformation campaign, which makes it that much harder to discern what is actually going on. Of course with 100 Senators attending the White House briefing, there will be a proliferation of different accounts of what was said, leaked out to many different media. Some very private understanding was reached between Team Trump and Team Xi at Mar-a-Lago, and Trump and Xi have had at least two telephone conversations about North Korea since that Florida meeting. My basic question is: Between Mattis, McMaster, Dunford, Tillerson, Rogers and Pompeo, are there any sane adults in the room who will argue against arbitrary deadlines and flight forward? I have been told that one immediate objective is to get Kim Jung-un to accept the idea that the issue of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is open for negotiation. A lot of verifiable carrots would have to be included in any program aimed at that objective, which the US, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia all officially subscribe to. North Korea is a long way from having a warhead and a longrange missile, but they already have the conventional fire-power to obliterate Seoul. The 1994 deal–before the North Koreans had a bomb–was blown when Bush and Cheney came in and cancelled the plan. That experience burned in the brains of the North Korean leadership, when there was a higher appearance of sanity among them. Xi told Trump that most of the rational players in North Korea have been killed off.
Thank you for this primary posting. Yesterday when I heard about it I was going to do an ‘off topic’ comment–
The first question is whether there is a SCIF in the White House into which you can stuff 100 well-fed senators. The article says that the House of Representatives is working to arrange a similar “briefing”.
Rather than a briefing, this looks more like a desensitization session, or, one of those functions at a hotel meeting room after radio advertising in which those attending are given a pitch to attend Trump University (still in business?), or learn to flip houses without having any money to do so, or both! However, money at some point will be required, from you, to be given to the pitchmen and women running the hustle–
Unfortunately this is much more serious. And most likely, it will be kind of a similarly structured sales pitch, and one can only speculate at what lurid, alleged “facts” will be presented, because a basic sales technique is to create a sense of urgency in the buyer. By getting all the senators (the buyers) in one place, it will also be easier to get them into one mindset. What mindset might that be, since the subject is North Korea, and some grumbling was heard from a few members of congress that president Trump had ordered a multiple missile attack on Syria without a declaration of war or so-called “authorization”?
Three guesses, and the first two don’t count.
P.S. CIA director Mike Pompeo is not on the list of those expected to attend. He is probably still in New Zealand at the conference at the luxury resort with the other Five Eyes surveillance attendees–
Col. Lang, perhaps our minds seem to sometimes work in similar ways. I almost posted a speculative piece about Russian possibilities in Syria and Trumps response to North Korea the other day.
On the subject of President Trump, there is a suggestion by Josh Rogin in the WaPo that he has bought a Borg meme that “you have to escalate in order to de-escalate” that I find compelling from the point of view of motivating Trump because it suits the property developer mindset and Trumps personality.
My thought on Russian activities was on the possibility of a repeat of the Pristina airport operation – a drop of a Russian Airborne Brigade into Deir ez-Zor coupled with an advance by Syrian forces East from the Palmyra region with the objective of raising the siege and destroying as many ISIS fighters as possible in the process, perhaps via a blocking force operation North of the city as well.
I believe the Russians have the capability to insert troops into Deir ez-Zor what I don’t know, among many things, is the logistics angle. I don’t think they can be resupplied by air from Russia, there needs to be a logistics “tail” in Syria or Iran which is going to be difficult to hide in advance of operations.
This course of action would, in my opinion, preclude neocon mutterings about a protectorate in Eastern Syria and effectively deny the U.S. any role in a negotiated Syrian peace. It also kills the possibility of Trump “escalating to de-escalate”. Once Russian troops are inserted, It would appear to me that it would be difficult for the Trump Administration to intervene unless it was prepared to risk a shooting confrontation with Russia and/or overt logistics support for ISIS and Al Qaeda or provocations in Ukraine, Kaliningrad etc. To put that another way, if President Putin escalates firstest with the mostest then Trump has nowhere to go but nuclear war. I think there would also be a certain satisfaction for President Putin in calling Trump on this.
I discount the possibility of a U.S. raising of the siege, what happens when the unicorns meet the defenders?
The timing of the operation would synchronise with operations in North Korea as you suggested.
Regarding North Korea, my WAG is that Trump is planning a decapitation strike on North Korea because I fail to understand why South Korea would sanction anything else. Anything other than a decapitation proposal must contemplate the partial (or total) destruction of South Koreas economy together with a humanitarian disaster in North Korea – 25 million starving people.
Would such a preemptive strike not require advance briefing to the Senate, House and UNSC? I suspect the answer is yes.
Colonel thank you for a nice summery of what we got (is going) on the plate, globally east to west, plenty of stuff out ther to deal with. In my opinion this is more of DT’ now usual reality show detours, since embarrassingly they have accomplished very little in the first 100 days, other than few judiciary blocked exacutive orders, there are no forign or domestic proposal or even agendas to talk about, or to be legislated.
And can we count on any of our elected Congressmen/women to speak up and really question anything that is presented to them, whatever it may be?
I now remember a German woman who moved to one of the most inhabitable areas of our state. She had rattlesnakes and lizards and bugs for neighbors. She began stockpiling supplies. She said that after WWII she looked at our map and tried to find a place as far away from any area that might be the target of bombs as possible for building her compound. I’m wondering if I should find out if she is still there and if she has room for me.
Maybe Trump is remembering how times of war sometimes really improves the economy eventually. Maybe that is his master plan.
I’m just rambling and upset at this news.
I find it hard to believe that wanting to keep our access to Incirlik prevents us from telling the Turks no more bombing of the YPG whom we have trained, are some of the best fighters on the ground and there is the danger that they will kill American troops? The Turks always do this to us as in the first Gulf war. We found a way around using Incirlik then and surely we could find a way now.
Expanded bombing in Yemen, deployment of Marines and special ops to Syria, a big commando raid in Yemen, and possibly more troops headed to Afghanistan. Now this. Is there any policy deliberation going on at all or is everything military just green-lit and full speed ahead now that we have all those empty desks at the State Dept and an utter incompetent in the WH?
Not hard if you read Sputnik News. A few days ago Kim Jong-un visited the abattoir of a pig farm. If there was a deeper more significant message behind this I don’t know but it was the Thaechon Pig Farm of the Air and Anti-Air Force of the Korean People’s Army.
Has he weaponized pigs? I expect an anonymous briefing by a “Pentagon official” to that effect any day now.
Things have come to a “pretty pass” when we find ourselves having to practice kremlinology on what should be our own government to try and work out what the governators might be thinking/ doing.
Global Times is a mouth piece for the Chinese govt.
“Now would be a good time for Beijing to brief Washington on its pre-established position should a war break out. If Pyongyang’s unwavering pursuit of its nuclear program continues and Washington launches a military attack on North Korea’s nuclear facilities as a result, Beijing should oppose the move by diplomatic channels, rather than get involved through military action. It would be in Washington’s best interest if it would take into full consideration the high level of threat that could emerge over a revenge attack on Seoul carried out by Pyongyang. Such a revenge attack would be too heavy for Washington and Seoul to withstand.
However, if US and South Korea armed forces cross the Korean Demilitarized Line in a ground invasion for the direct purpose of annihilating the Pyongyang regime, China will sound its own alarms and ramp up their military immediately. Beijing would never sit back and watch foreign military forces overthrow the Pyongyang regime. If it has not done so already, Beijing will rather quickly illustrate their overall position in a clear fashion to both Washington and Seoul.”
Maybe the US attacks the nuclear program and NoKo just sits there and takes it. But the money is on NoKo retaliating especially against the Americans stationed there, which then leads to regime change which then leads to war with China.
The following 4/25 tweet(s) translation are from Channel10 military correspondent Or Heller. Several interesting nuggets here including an IDF assessment of the effects of possible American involvement in NK:
“Or Heller Or Heller
Senior officer in Tzahal: In an attack by the IDF in Syria (in which a missile was fired on Hiyas fired by the Arrow), 100 Syrian missiles were destroyed,
Or Heller Or Heller
Senior officer in Tzahal: Tensions in North Korea could have an impact on Israel’s security in light of the possibility that the conflict would harm the ability of the United States to assist in security
Or Heller Or Heller
Senior IDF officer: IDF had intelligence on use of sarin gas already in real time. According to him, Israel does not update Russia in real time on attacks by the IDF in Syria
Or Heller Or Heller
Senior IDF officer in Gaza: Within days there will be no electricity supply to Gaza and it will be interesting to see how Hamas will act, whether it continues to strengthen the terror infrastructure or divert resources to solve the problem
Will the usual warhawks demure on regime change; NK?
To add to the suspicions of direct Israeli contact with the terrorist elements within Syria, (‘IDF had intelligence on use of sarin gas already in real time’)?, Moshe Yaalon recently claimed:
“There was one case recently where Daesh opened fire and apologized”.
The incident in question occurred 11/16 and in an IAF retaliation for the small arms/mortar attack during a Golani Brigade “ambush raid”, 4 members of the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army were killed. Forelocks properly pulled.
I also believe that Russian ground combat troops are sorely overdue if Russia is to protect Assad’s government. The dynamics of Russo-USA relations seem a bit weird to me, though, at the moment.
Trump’s barrage of Tomahawks and the Carl Vinson feint lead me to believe that he is strategically posturing yet dodging actual contact. Won’t land a punch.
The Russians, on the other hand, calling for investigations and citing international law, are occupying the moral high ground. Methinks Putin is erring on the side of patience. If he is in fact avoiding deployment for fear that Trump would see it as a provocation and respond, I don’t see Trump’s posture as truly committed to war, for now, based on recent history.
Trump’s infamous bluster has not yet resulted in a self-inflicted death blow no matter how many times he seems to go over the edge. He also likes to move around, perhaps to avoid being targeted by assassins, or more likely to make everyone meet him on his own turf, be it Mar a Lago, Trump Tower, or having the Senate to the WH. Surely the 5 Eyes conference in NZ is routine, but taken together with the Senate presentation, adds spice to the context. Satellite feeds and nuclear warheads are pretty sexy. Could be a marketing ploy, but who knows?
NK may not be sufficient to distract the US masses away from domestic issues, in Trump’s favor, but what better time to move a Russian brigade or division into the Raqqa/Deir Ezzor AO? Before the momentum swings back and Trump needs another circus trick.
The Turks allegedly informed the U.S. and Russia one hour before the strike. Both protested but Erdogan went along. Some U.S. special forces were “uncomfortably” near when the bombs hit.
The strike in Iraq was intended to kick the PKK/YPK out of Sinjar mountains where they had rescued the Yezedis after the Barzani Peshmerga had fled from an ISIS attack. This strike was coordinated with the Turkish puppet Barzani. Due to “mistakes” five of Barzanis peshmerga were also killed by the Turks and Barzani blamed … the PKK. (Someone should urgently get rid of that Barzani mafia clan. It is a pest to its people.)
Turkey is turning more and more into another Pakistan. It does not have a Chinese sugardaddy yet but Qatar will finance it as long as Erdogan is kept in place.
The Turkish strike is a direct outcome of Trump’s congratulatory call for the referendum. Erdogan felt embolden and safe. The U.S. is till the only “western” country that congratulated him. An extremely stupid move with nothing to win from it.
Only the insane could imagine that a conflict in Korea is a winnable option without both Russia and China in agreement. The US has gone a long way to make both countries completely aware we are hostile to them and consider both to be subordinate in our never ending quest for global domination. Perhaps Korea is one bridge too far?
Both Russia and China are fully aware that the US is a paper tiger. It took one year to deploy the forces for the first Gulf War to engage ina relatively minor force. Should the US go “all in” for Korea then that leaves a lot of other fronts open such as Taiwan and Ukraine. We have gone far out of our way to screw up South America and Africa as well so many other areas would be left undefeated by the US if Korea became a real war. The major defect in American policy is the assumption the US will always have air superiority. With Russia and China this is not even remotely possible. Worse, it looks to me like the Russian jamming equipment is light years ahead of the US ability to respond in kind.
Domestically, there are a lot of Korean and Chinese immigrants and I wouldn’t be all that certain of their loyalties if push comes to shove. So, I think they must be completely insane to have started down this road and I fear they have painted themselves into a corner with no way out.
All protected in one place since mass casualty exercises are being conducted in DC, VA and MD today?
“I’ve never underestimated the Borg’s desire for war profits,” Amazing! At which graduate school did you imbibe this conspiratorial merchants of death stuff? pl
I think this likely comes from the very convincing case that was made by Lenin in his book, “Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism”.
He argued that World War I was due to economic competition among major powers. He was writing as a journalist then had all the charts and numbers for leading industrial complexes.
I do not recall the publication date but it was sometime during that war.
I wish the front page posters here would comment on this article from France 24:
“France’s foreign minister said Wednesday that chemical analysis of samples taken from a deadly sarin gas attack in Syria early April “bears the signature” of President Bashar Assad’s government and shows it was responsible for the deadly assault.
According to Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, France came to this conclusion after comparing samples from a sarin attack in Syria from 2013 that matched. The findings came in a report published Wednesday.”
As I wrote today I think the airborne option is too small and light. It risks a sudden reversal way out in the east. pl
I had a similar thought. Could this be a fire drill, loosely resembling the travel ban exercise a couple of months ago? All the Senators disappear for a day.
See commenter “pmr9″‘s response to “marko” on the next thread.
Russia remembers Afghanistan and Putin is reluctant to embed Russian troops into another “quagmire”.
Conversely, Russia has been able to observe the Western tendency to start eternal wars and misadventures, by any other name quagmires. Lavrov and Putin have become more overt in their denunciations, though not in actual combat. Could be a valid strategy to add just a bit of fuel to keep the Coalition in a state of quag without overinvesting. The only good Borg is a swamped Borg.
Would be nice to see a blocking maneuver in E and S Syria as well as elevated support in the Balkans and E Ukraine by the ME and Asian powers, increasing threat density and dispersion, if for no other reason than to save the west from itself.
Common sense would have Israel monitoring all cell phones of forces in the area, so person link doesn’t necessarily follow. Although not ruled out.
We have already seen a blocking maneuver in Afghanistan; 200 soldiers killed in a few minutes in Balkh, in Afghanistan.
So far all the reports have been “big waste of time” “the speakers were SERIOUS””a big fat nothing new”
One of the senators who went to the WH just called the WH classified briefing a “dog and pony” show. Sen Duckworth said the same team that briefed the senators went back to the Capitol to brief members of the House. Apparently our Idiot in Chief just wanted a photo op.
“Dog and Pony Show” is a term of art in the Washington briefing world. It has to do with how elaborate the briefing aids are rather than the content of the briefing. the term is value neutral on that. As to the briefers going to the House to brief, I do not think there is a chamber big enough in the WH compound to make it possible to brif all the members if the House of Representatives. pl
Your opinion of President Trump is well known, so this comment comes as no surprise.
Senator Duckworth is a newly elected Democrat from a NW Chicago suburb, her comments should come as no surprise either.
Thanks for pointing that out, Fred. Interesting comment.
There will be no winner of any hostilities in the Korean Pennisula IMO!
Why would a decapitation strike on NorKor prevent the prepositioned artillery forces from shelling Seoul until the shells run out? Wouldn’t all the artillery people be pre-instructed that if headquarters is “decapped” that all the shells should be fired off?
Imagine, are you referring to the Israeli claim of real-time intel of the “sarin” attack? I assume that’s the case. I don’t doubt they monitor cell phones but don’t think it matters as Moshe Yaalon let slip, Daesh somehow managed to convey an apology for the inadvertent attack on the Golani patrol. Was it via a friendly phone call or through highly secure encrypted comms, does it matter?
Israelis are also wondering at the implications of the slip. The following is a translation of a MAKO article regarding Bogie’s booboo;
Former Defense Minister: “Da’as once shot us in error and immediately apologized”
Is the verbal slap of former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon indicative of a direct connection between Da’ash and Israel?
Published 25/04/17 11:27
Last Saturday, former defense minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon participated in the cultural event in Afula. A Twitter tweet on Channel 10 quoted the former minister, who spoke about Syria-Israel relations and his words left many questions in the room: “We should not intervene in Syria, and Da’as once shot us in error and immediately apologized.” , Which raises the puzzling question: Does Israel have a channel of communication to the murderous terror organization?
Ya’alon’s comments apparently related to the incident last November – the Da’ash Force fired at an IDF force patrolling near the border in the southern Golan Heights. As a result of the incident, the IDF carried out attacks by means of an IAF aircraft on a facility belonging to the terrorist organization.
According to Ya’alon, Israel’s policy toward the situation in Syria is neutral. Israel, like most of the Western world, considers the organization of the Islamic state operating in Syria and Iraq as a murderous terrorist group, and as such, any association with it is illegal. Publications from foreign sources think differently: Based on the former defense minister’s slander, it appears that between Israel and the cell of the radical Islamic organization that is fighting on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, there is an open channel of communication.
Despite the fact that the State of Israel is “neutral”, it should be noted that only last month Israel exceptionally confirmed that it had carried out an attack in Syria, in which the IAF attacked a strategic weapons shipment destined for Hizbullah.
In Damascus, they were not surprised by Ya’alon’s statement. According to the Syrian government, the Israeli attacks in Syria are carried out intentionally and beneficially to the front of the Islamic State Organization and other terrorist groups. “Israel helps the terrorist groups every time the Syrian army advances,” Assad declared earlier this month, claiming that Israel was helping terrorist organizations in his country. “Israel attacks by various means and supports terror organizations in order to prevent them from losing control of the territory,” added the Syrian leader.
Ya’alon himself refused to respond to or approve the statements.”
What Jeff Merkley was, “We learned nothing you couldn’t read in the newspaper.” Bob Corker said “It was an OK briefing.” Angus king said that “I, frankly, don’t understand why it’s not easier to bring four people here than it is to take 100 there.” According to CNN, “afterward few said any new information emerged about the increasingly tense US standoff with Pyongyang.” My understanding is that briefings like this happen in secure rooms on Capitol Hill all the time. So it does seem like a stunt IMO, but I’m probably making too big a deal about it.
I’d like to take back my use of the term, “Idiot in Chief.” It was a poor choice. He is not that. But a showman he is and that’s about all I think this was.
And Duckworth was not alone in her opinion that the event was mostly for show. It would seem to have been the consensus opinion of Dems and Angus King of Maine.
If the things the Senators learned in that briefing are the kinds of things they could learn from reading the newspaper . . . and they mean one of the MSM newspapers, then the question arises: are some of the things they learned things that are not actually true? And would the Senators know enough to know if they have been told things which are not actually true? If they compare these things to what they have read in the newspaper . . . including the not-actually-true things?