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2020 American Political Scene

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  • Just one more in a long line of disparagements of the military.

    Had to keep a vessel named for one of the great Navy families of the 20th Century cause it would hurt someones feelings....

    And making the claim that military leadership has gone off the rails and taking military action to make money for defense contractors is beyond reprehensible.

    And the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs gets it and understands the role of military in a democratic society. Oh, and BTW, DC didn't need anything beyond its own National Guard...and even that was misused. The DC police have ample expertise in handling crowds but the Administration took control out of their hands which led to so many of the problems.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
    Mark Twain


    • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
      And making the claim that military leadership has gone off the rails and taking military action to make money for defense contractors is beyond reprehensible.
      That's especially rich when his lapdog Secretary of Defense is Mark Esperanto, a former defense industry lobbyist for Raytheon.

      If Trump wants a prime example of the military-industrial complex, he can start with his very own appointee, because Mark Yesper is the very definition of it:

      During his time with Raytheon, Esper focused on providing input on defense spending authorization bills crucial to the company’s bottom line, working specifically on acquisition policy and missile systems in 2016. Raytheon posted record federal lobbying spending during Esper’s tenure, peaking in 2013 when it shelled out more than $7.6 million. Link
      And then there's Trump's own repeated bragging and flogging of the US defense industry:

      On Monday, President Trump delivered one of his most baffling lines yet at a White House news conference. Asked again about the Atlantic story detailing his disparagement of wounded veterans and soldiers who died in war, Trump said the “top people” in the military “probably” don’t love him “because they want to do nothing but fight wars so all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”

      The idea that special interests hold too much sway at the Pentagon and ultimately benefit from its outsized budget is not a new one. Elizabeth Warren made pretty much the same argument in 2018 when she said, “It’s clear that the Pentagon is captured by the so-called ‘Big Five’ defense contractors-and taxpayers are picking up the bill.” But it’s confusing to hear Trump express that idea given his past actions regarding the Pentagon. Under Trump, the defense budget has risen for three straight years, an achievement he once was so proud of that he repeatedly exaggerated its scale and impact.

      Two months after taking office, he told a joint session of Congress that he planned to propose a budget “that calls for one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.” His resulting proposal did “not appear to be a significant departure from the Obama defense budget,” per the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ budget guru Todd Harrison, and if enacted, would have only been the “ninth-largest increase in the past four decades.” Even Congress, which was controlled at the time by Republicans, thought Trump could do better and ended up appropriating $37 billion more than Trump requested for general Pentagon operations “and another $60 billion for war operations overseas in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere,” the New York Times reported.

      Trump’s budget proposals in 2018 and 2019 similarly raised defense spending, but not by nearly as much as Trump claimed in speeches on the campaign trail or in front of US service members. His repeated claim that he invested $2 trillion to burnish a “totally depleted” fighting force has been debunked over and over again.

      But it’s not just the Pentagon’s budget; Trump has gone out of his way to boost defense companies directly. After the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered by agents of Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, Trump defended the Saudi dictator by noting that the kingdom had committed to spend $110 billion on “military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great US defense contractors.” During a meeting with the Vietnamese prime minister, Trump pitched him on importing weapons from the United States. “We make the best military equipment in the world by far, whether it’s jet fighters or missiles or rockets or anything you want to name, we make, we’re acknowledged to have made, we make the best,” Trump said. He’s also used the White House Twitter feed to promote companies like Lockheed.

      Far from being a critic of Pentagon waste, Trump has actively abetted it by rewarding defense contractors with high-level government jobs. Several ex-Boeing executives received plush national security jobs, including onetime acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. Mark Esper, the current Defense secretary, used to lobby for Raytheon. But now that his private remarks attacking the troops have become public, Trump, who spent three years exaggerating his own effort to boost defense spending, suddenly seems concerned about waste and corruption at the Pentagon. Link
      My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.


      • Moved several posts from the Presidential Election thread over to here
        My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.


        • Trump Makes A Bewildering Confession About Who's Paying For His Border Wall

          President Donald Trump on Tuesday seemed to finally admit that Mexico hasn’t paid to build the border wall as he has repeatedly vowed. Then he suggested yet another way he could get the cash: toll booths.

          “And you know, Mexico is paying for the wall,” he said at a rally in North Carolina on Tuesday. “Just so you understand, they don’t say that. They never say it. But we’re gonna charge a small fee at the border. You know, the toll booths.”

          “We’re putting a small toll on and maybe we’re going to do something with remittance,” Trump added. “All the money that we spent on the wall will be coming back.”

          Remittances refer to a tax or fee on payments sent overseas, such as when immigrants working in the United States send money home to family in Mexico, an idea Trump has floated in the past without much success.

          Trump’s promise to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it was a signature theme of his 2016 campaign, leading to chants from the crowd at his rallies. Since the election, USA Today noted, Trump has built 300 miles of wall, although much of that was a replacement for existing border fencing. Just 5 miles are new wall.

          Mexico hasn’t paid for it. Instead, Trump used U.S. taxpayer money for the segments of wall built during his administration and raided billions from his own defense budget to get the cash.

          He also claimed Mexico would pay via the benefits the United States may receive under a renegotiated trade deal, a claim that hasn’t held up to scrutiny. And he’s suggested that Mexico would pay “through longer-term reimbursement.” That also did not happen.

          Trump’s confession on Tuesday suggests he realizes that even his supporters know Mexico hasn’t paid a peso for the wall. Link

          You'd think he'd just quietly let this one die. Like his ACA replacement, his infrastructure proposal, and everything else he's reneged on.
          My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.


          • even worse.


            Woodward book: Trump says he knew coronavirus was ‘deadly’ and worse than the flu while intentionally misleading Americans

            President Trump speaks at a coronavirus news briefing at the White House on Aug. 13. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)By
            Robert Costa and
            Philip Rucker

            September 9, 2020 at 11:55 a.m. EDT

            President Trump’s head popped up during his top-secret intelligence briefing in the Oval Office on Jan. 28 when the discussion turned to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

            “This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien told Trump, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward. “This is going to be the roughest thing you face.”
            Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, agreed. He told the president that after reaching contacts in China, it was evident that the world faced a health emergency on par with the flu pandemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.

            Ten days later, Trump called Woodward and revealed that he thought the situation was far more dire than what he had been saying publicly.

            “You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”

            “This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated for emphasis.

            At that time, Trump was telling the nation that the virus was no worse than a seasonal flu, predicting it would soon disappear, and insisting that the U.S. government had it totally under control. It would be several weeks before he would publicly acknowledge that the virus was no ordinary flu and that it could be transmitted through the air.

            Trump admitted to Woodward on March 19 that he deliberately minimized the danger. “I wanted to always play it down,” the president said.
            There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov


            • 'Play it down': Trump admits to concealing the true threat of coronavirus in new Woodward book

              Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump admitted he knew weeks before the first confirmed US coronavirus death that the virus was dangerous, airborne, highly contagious and "more deadly than even your strenuous flus," and that he repeatedly played it down publicly, according to legendary journalist Bob Woodward in his new book "Rage."

              "This is deadly stuff," Trump told Woodward on February 7.
              In a series of interviews with Woodward, Trump revealed that he had a surprising level of detail about the threat of the virus earlier than previously known. "Pretty amazing," Trump told Woodward, adding that the coronavirus was maybe five times "more deadly" than the flu.

              Trump's admissions are in stark contrast to his frequent public comments at the time insisting that the virus was "going to disappear" and "all work out fine."
              The book, using Trump's own words, depicts a President who has betrayed the public trust and the most fundamental responsibilities of his office. In "Rage," Trump says the job of a president is "to keep our country safe." But in early February, Trump told Woodward he knew how deadly the virus was, and in March, admitted he kept that knowledge hidden from the public.

              "I wanted to always play it down," Trump told Woodward on March 19, even as he had declared a national emergency over the virus days earlier. "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."

              If instead of playing down what he knew, Trump had acted decisively in early February with a strict shutdown and a consistent message to wear masks, social distance and wash hands, experts believe that thousands of American lives could have been saved.

              The startling revelations in "Rage," which CNN obtained ahead of its September 15 release, were made during 18 wide-ranging interviews Trump gave Woodward from December 5, 2019 to July 21, 2020. The interviews were recorded by Woodward with Trump's permission, and CNN has obtained copies of some of the audio tapes.

              "Rage" also includes brutal assessments of Trump's presidency from many of his former top national security officials, including former Defense Secretary James Mattis, former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Mattis is quoted as calling Trump "dangerous" and "unfit" to be commander in chief. Woodward writes that Coats "continued to harbor the secret belief, one that had grown rather than lessened, although unsupported by intelligence proof, that Putin had something on Trump." Woodward continues, writing that Coats felt, "How else to explain the president's behavior? Coats could see no other explanation."

              The book also contains harsh evaluations of the President's leadership on the virus from current officials.
              Dr. Anthony Fauci, the administration's top infectious disease expert, is quoted telling others Trump's leadership was "rudderless" and that his "attention span is like a minus number."
              "His sole purpose is to get reelected," Fauci told an associate, according to Woodward.

              'The virus has nothing to do with me'
              Woodward reveals new details on the early warnings Trump received -- and often ignored.
              In a January 28 top secret intelligence briefing, national security adviser Robert O'Brien gave Trump a "jarring" warning about the virus, telling the President it would be the "biggest national security threat" of his presidency. Trump's head "popped up," Woodward writes.
              O'Brien's deputy, Matt Pottinger, concurred, telling Trump it could be as bad as the influenza pandemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide, including 675,000 Americans. Pottinger warned Trump that asymptomatic spread was occurring in China: He had been told 50% of those infected showed no symptoms.
              At that time, there were fewer than a dozen reported coronavirus cases in the US.
              Three days later, Trump announced restrictions on travel from China, a move suggested by his national security team -- despite Trump's later claims that he alone backed the travel limitations.
              Nevertheless, Trump continued to publicly downplay the danger of the virus. February was a lost month. Woodward views this as a damning missed opportunity for Trump to reset "the leadership clock" after he was told this was a "once-in-a-lifetime health emergency."

              "Presidents are the executive branch. There was a duty to warn. To listen, to plan, and to take care," Woodward writes. But in the days following the January 28 briefing, Trump used high-profile appearances to minimize the threat and, Woodward writes, "to reassure the public they faced little risk."

              During a pre-Super Bowl interview on Fox News February 2, Trump said, "We pretty much shut it down coming in from China." Two days later during his State of the Union address, Trump made only a passing reference to the virus, promising, "my administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat."

              Asked by Woodward in May if he remembered O'Brien's January 28 warning that the virus would be the biggest national security threat of his presidency, Trump equivocated. "No, I don't." Trump said. "I'm sure if he said it — you know, I'm sure he said it. Nice guy."

              The book highlights how the President took all of the credit and none of the responsibility for his actions related to the pandemic, which has infected 6 million Americans and killed more than 185,000 in the US.
              "The virus has nothing to do with me," Trump told Woodward in their final interview in July. "It's not my fault. It's — China let the damn virus out."

              'It goes through the air'

              When Woodward spoke to Trump on February 7, two days after he was acquitted on impeachment charges by the Senate, Woodward expected a lengthy conversation about the trial. He was surprised, however, by the President's focus on the virus. At the same time that Trump and his public health officials were saying the virus was "low risk," Trump divulged to Woodward that the night before he'd spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the virus. Woodward quotes Trump as saying, "We've got a little bit of an interesting setback with the virus going in China."

              "It goes through the air," Trump said. "That's always tougher than the touch. You don't have to touch things. Right? But the air, you just breathe the air and that's how it's passed. And so that's a very tricky one. That's a very delicate one. It's also more deadly than even your strenuous flus."

              But Trump spent most of the next month saying that the virus was "very much under control" and that cases in the US would "disappear." Trump said on his trip to India on February 25 that it was "a problem that's going to go away," and the next day he predicted the number of US cases "within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero."

              By March 19, when Trump told Woodward he was purposely downplaying the dangers to avoid creating a panic, he also acknowledged the threat to young people. "Just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It's not just old, older. Young people too, plenty of young people," Trump said.

              Publicly, however, Trump has continued to insist just the opposite, saying as recently as August 5 that children were "almost immune."

              Even into April, when the US became the country with the most confirmed cases in the world, Trump's public statements contradicted his acknowledgements to Woodward. At an April 3 coronavirus task force briefing, Trump was still downplaying the virus and stating that it would go away. "I said it's going away and it is going away," he said. Yet two days later on April 5, Trump again told Woodward, "It's a horrible thing. It's unbelievable," and on April 13, he said, "It's so easily transmissible, you wouldn't even believe it." Link

              The Soviet Union, in its wildest dreams, could never have imagined someone able to wreak as much havoc on the United States as Donald Trump.
              My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.


              • Originally posted by astralis View Post
                even worse.
                You're talking about a man who can't remember his own tweets in a 24 hour span.


                • Bob Woodward

                  According to audio recordings from some of veteran journalist Bob Woodward's interviews with President Trump for his new book "Rage," Trump went into detail on Feb. 7 with Woodward about how airborne coronavirus was.

                  He told Woodward, "It goes through air, Bob. That's always tougher than the touch. You know, the touch, you don't have to touch things. Right? But the air, you just breathe the air and that's how it's passed. And so, that's a very tricky one. That's a very delicate one."

                  Despite that, he continued to hold sixmore rallies with thousands of people in indoor venues with no masks or warnings.

                  He held one Feb. 10 in Manchester. Another Feb. 19 in Arizona. Colorado Springs on Feb. 20. Feb. 21 in Las Vegas. Feb. 28 in Charleston. And March 2 in Charlotte.

                  "What you hear time and time again is the President forgetting about the national interest, selling out the national interest, minimizing the national interest, and putting in his own interest, that of his family, that of his own finances," he said.


                  Trust me?
                  I'm an economist!


                  • If Woodward truly sat on this information and believed the information should have been released. It would appear Saint Woodward is Complicit!


                    • Originally posted by surfgun View Post
                      If Woodward truly sat on this information and believed the information should have been released. It would appear Saint Woodward is Complicit!
                      Click image for larger version  Name:	tony-stark-eye-roll.jpg Views:	0 Size:	12.1 KB ID:	1565636

                      That is incredibly weak, even for you
                      My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.


                      • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

                        Check out the American Politics thread.It's been more than 24 hours and it's looking more and more like he said it.

                        Let's face it: Donald Trump has openly and publicly sneered at American POW's as a group, disparaging their status as heroes and saying that he "likes people who weren't captured". He's done it multiple times over the years. He's had no problem saying it. He truly believes it.

                        Is it really that much further down that same indefensible and repugnant road for him to disparage American war dead as well?

                        It's blindly obvious that Donald Trump is a narcissistic sociopath. He is simply incapable of understanding or appreciating the concept of sacrifice, much less the ultimate sacrifice.

                        His "alleged" remarks are fully in character with this man.
                        Possibly but right now my schedule involves waking up at 5 AM to work until 11 PM, except for the 3 hours of childcare/chores, and every time I dig into this stuff it seems exaggerated WAY beyond what it should be (even if the actual underlying story is bad).

                        For instance, now we are apparently rewriting history so that we all knew Coronavirus was horrible back in late January. Trump did not tell Italy to underplay coronavirus, Trump did not tell the CDC to say that Covid would primarily spread via surface contamination which turned out to be entirely untrue, Trump did not tell health experts to say both lockdowns and masks would actually be COUNTER-productive, and Trump did not tell my extreme-liberal news feed to say all concern about COVID is overblown and probably racist against the Chinese.

                        Trump may have, as he put it, "downplayed COVID," because he didn't want to tell everyone that we were going to be storing bodies in refrigerator trucks.
                        "The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood"-Otto Von Bismarck


                        • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

                          Click image for larger version Name:	tony-stark-eye-roll.jpg Views:	0 Size:	12.1 KB ID:	1565636

                          That is incredibly weak, even for you
                          Watching the cult memebrs defend this has been particularly fascinating. Some are refusing to even address the comments, others are gonig for distraction, others aer just attacking Dems, yet more are trying to claim it was perfectly fine. It is desperate and deserpately confused. While that is pretty standard for Trumpers before they get their talking points from right wing media, this has been even worse than usual.

                          When I was a kid I visited a farm during a mouse plague. There was a stack of hessian sacks in a shed. We would lift one and dozens of mice would scatter wildly around the shed, running into each other, machinery, walls etc. This reminds me of that.

                          Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C


                          • Originally posted by surfgun View Post
                            If Woodward truly sat on this information and believed the information should have been released. It would appear Saint Woodward is Complicit!
                            Deflector Shields on Full!
                            Trust me?
                            I'm an economist!


                            • Originally posted by surfgun View Post
                              If Woodward truly sat on this information and believed the information should have been released. It would appear Saint Woodward is Complicit!
                              Woodward defends decision to withhold Trump's virus comments

                              NEW YORK (AP) — Bob Woodward, facing widespread criticism for only now revealing President Donald Trump's early concerns about the severity of the coronavirus, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he needed time to be sure that Trump's private comments from February were accurate.

                              In Woodward’s upcoming book on Trump, “Rage,” the president is quoted saying the virus was highly contagious and “deadly stuff” at a time he was publicly dismissing it as no worse than the flu. Woodward, the celebrated Washington Post journalist and best-selling author, spoke with Trump more than a dozen times for his book.

                              “He tells me this, and I'm thinking, ‘Wow, that’s interesting, but is it true?' Trump says things that don't check out, right?” Woodward told the AP during a telephone interview. Using a famous phrase from the Watergate era, when Woodward's reporting for the Post helped lead to President Richard Nixon's resignation, Woodward said his mission was to determine, “What did he know and when did he know it?”

                              On Twitter and elsewhere online, commentators accused Woodward of valuing book sales over public health. “Nearly 200,000 Americans have died because neither Donald Trump nor Bob Woodward wanted to risk anything substantial to keep the country informed,” wrote Esquire's Charles P. Pierce.

                              The issue of daily journalists presenting newsworthy information in books isn’t new. The competition for attention is intense, and headlines help boost sales and guest shots for interviews. Reporter Michael S. Schmidt of The New York Times recently attracted attention for his book, “Donald Trump v. The United States,” by reporting new details on an unannounced visit by Trump to Walter Reed military hospital in November 2019. Schmidt reported that Vice President Mike Pence was put on alert that he might have to briefly assume the powers of the presidency if the president had to undergo a procedure that required anesthesia.

                              Pence later said he didn’t recall being put on standby for the Reed visit, which the White House has said was part of the president’s routine annual physical. But Schmidt’s book renewed speculation about Trump’s health.

                              Political figures with book deals also have been chastised for holding back timely material. Former national security adviser John Bolton, whose scathing memoir “The Room Where It Happened” came out in June, declined discussing Trump's actions towards Ukraine while the impeachment hearings were being held earlier this year.

                              Woodward's book, which comes out next week, draws from 18 conversations with Trump between December and July. During his AP interview, Woodward said Trump called him “out of the blue” in early February to “unburden himself" about the virus, which then had few cases in the U.S. But Woodward said that only in May was he satisfied that Trump's comments were based on reliable information and that by then the virus had spread nationwide.

                              "If I had done the story at that time about what he knew in February, that's not telling us anything we didn't know," Woodward said. At that point, he said, the issue was no longer one of public health but of politics. His priority became getting the story out before the election in November.

                              “That was the demarcation line for me,” he said. “Had I decided that my book was coming out on Christmas, the end of this year, that would have been unthinkable.”

                              Asked why he didn't share Trump's February remarks for a fellow Post reporter to pursue, Woodward said he had developed “some pretty important sources” on his own.

                              “Could I have brought others in? Could they have done things I couldn't do?" he asked. “I was on the trail, and I was (still) on the trail when it (the virus) exploded.”
                              My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.


                              • Originally posted by Bigfella View Post

                                Watching the cult memebrs defend this has been particularly fascinating. Some are refusing to even address the comments, others are gonig for distraction, others aer just attacking Dems, yet more are trying to claim it was perfectly fine.

                                Well surfgun isn't in the group that says he never said it or that is not what he meant. No, he is in the group that indirectly admits Trump said it by the fact that they resort to deflection. Actually he uses deflection all the time which pretty much means he knows Trump did say all those things attributed to him like the virus and servicemen being losers. Quite the group...