No announcement yet.

2020 American Political Scene

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • A Striking Reversal: Trump's Attacks on the Military and Defense Contractors

    President Donald Trump mounted a public attack unusual even for him over the Labor Day weekend, accusing his military leadership of advocating war “so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”

    Even for a president who has never hesitated to contradict himself for political advantage, it was a remarkable shift. His questioning the patriotism and judgment of America’s military leaders, even accusing them of pursuing global conflicts to profit the military-industrial complex, marked an election-year shift in which he has turned against two of the remaining institutions he spent most of his first term embracing as pillars of his “America First” policy.

    It was Trump, from the earliest days of his transition, who talked reverentially about his “great generals,” telling two interviewers that he surrounded himself with them because they conveyed the sense of toughness he wanted to mark America’s global role.

    Nearly four years later, all of these generals have been banished from his inner circle.
    Trump himself has consistently championed U.S. arms sales, forgiving Saudi Arabia for the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the high civilian death toll from the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen — justifying it because the country buys billions of dollars annually in American weapons.

    “I don’t like the concept of stopping an investment of $110 billion into the United States,” Trump said just two weeks after Khashoggi, a Virginia resident, was killed by a Saudi hit squad. Trump’s defense secretary, Mark T. Esper, comes from Raytheon, a corporation at the heart of the military-industrial community. And Esper’s predecessor as acting defense secretary came from Boeing, and Trump’s Army secretary was at Lockheed Martin.

    Esper and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, responded to Trump’s tweets and comments during a furious round of phone calls to the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, according to administration officials.

    The Pentagon’s senior civilian and military leaders were particularly incensed by comments the president made Monday at the White House, when he said “the top people in the Pentagon” wanted to “fight wars so all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy,” according to these officials.

    These officials described the calls on condition of anonymity owing to the sensitive nature of conversations with the president. Trump has harshly criticized the senior officer corps before, but in private.

    On Tuesday, Meadows began a cleanup effort with White House reporters and on Fox News.

    “Those comments are not directed specifically at them as much as it is what we all know happens in Washington, D.C.,” Meadows told reporters. He left unclear which “top people” the president was referring to if not the most senior civilian and military leaders.

    It was the second time in three months that Trump found himself at odds with Milley and Esper: Both joined the president on his highly political walk across Lafayette Square during protests adjacent to the White House, and Milley later said he should not have been there. Both opposed Trump’s demand that the Insurrection Act be invoked to deploy active-duty military troops against protesters.

    In interviews, both former and current Defense Department and administration officials said Trump was lashing out in large part because he was angry over an article in The Atlantic that said he disparaged American troops who were killed or wounded in war and because he was frustrated that the military would not serve him — and solely him — as he would like.

    As one of these officials noted, Trump’s critique of the military-industrial complex was not an effort to embrace a warning that President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued in his famed 1961 farewell address — an apolitical moment, since Eisenhower was leaving office.

    Trump was a teenager when Eisenhower delivered that stinging critique. But he made no reference to it in his remarks.

    Instead, one former senior defense official said, Trump appeared angry at the Republican national security officials who last month publicly declared that he was a danger to the Constitution and especially at military contractors who were not donating more to his strapped campaign or, in his view, sufficiently grateful for how he has defended their sales. Trump never considered limiting sales to Saudi Arabia even after the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was implicated in international investigations of the Khashoggi killing.

    “I tell you what I don’t want to do,” he said on “60 Minutes” in October 2018, pushing back on pressure to suspend or limit sales. “Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon, all these com — I don’t want to hurt jobs. I don’t want to lose an order like that. There are other ways,” he said, to punish the Saudis — though there has been no punishment.

    In recent months, the president has continued sales to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates despite the thousands of civilians killed by their coalition in Yemen. And he has proposed new sales to the Emirates, including F-35 stealth fighters made by Lockheed Martin and Reaper drones made by General Atomics.

    His problem with the Pentagon leadership is more complex.

    After embracing retired Gen. Jim Mattis as his first defense secretary — he delighted in calling him “Mad Dog,” a nickname Mattis despised — the two men split on a variety of issues, including Trump’s decision to leave Syria. Trump mocked the briefing style of Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, his second national security adviser, and last week, reeling from accusations in the Atlantic article, he lashed out at his former chief of staff, retired Gen. John F. Kelly.

    Trump was said to have been especially angered at the pushback on using the Insurrection Act, and he fumed when he thought the Pentagon was resisting giving him the kind of military parade he wanted after witnessing one in France. It took a huge lift at the White House to create a Space Force, which many in the Pentagon thought unnecessary. His campaign quickly began selling Space Force paraphernalia.

    So it was no surprise that Trump’s comments Monday prompted sharp criticism from senior military officers still seething over the reports of the president’s disparaging comments about American war dead, and other veterans, including Sen. John McCain, who died in 2018.

    Even officials who said they have become used to taunts from the president reacted angrily to Trump’s latest attack.

    Officers currently serving must tread carefully, trying to avoid directly referring to Trump’s remarks while still making their point. The military is avowedly apolitical, sworn to uphold the Constitution and not to represent any political party or faction.

    Gen. James C. McConville, the Army chief of staff, pushed back against the thought that private companies could influence decisions to take military action. He told a virtual event with news media outlet Defense One on Tuesday that he felt strongly that “senior leaders would only recommend sending troops to combat when it’s required for national security and a last resort.”

    In interviews over the past two days that included a dozen current and retired generals and admirals, and other high-ranking active-duty personnel, several retired officers voiced outrage.

    “Trump has lost the right and authority to be commander in chief,” said Anthony C. Zinni, a retired four-star Marine general who commanded American forces in the Middle East. “His despicable comments used to describe the honorable men and women in uniform, especially those who have given the last full measure, demonstrated the lack of respect for those he is charged to lead. He must go.”

    Zinni noted that when he served as a director on the board of BAE Systems, a defense contractor, he publicly opposed the Iraq War. He also served in the Bush and Trump administrations as an unpaid special mediator to help resolve disputes between the Israelis and Palestinians, Qatar and other Persian Gulf states, and in Indonesia.

    To assert that Pentagon brass sought to prolong endless wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other hot spots around the globe to profit off weapons sales in those conflict zones was offensive, he said.

    “I have too many friends resting in Arlington to allow his disgraceful comments to stand,” Zinni said.

    Several senior active-duty officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid being punished for publicly criticizing the commander in chief, said Trump’s attacks on the armed services’ leadership and his ridicule of war dead had eroded his standing in the ranks and could affect his support among military families.

    And with both supporters and detractors of Trump in the Pentagon’s senior echelons hardening their positions amid the uproar, many national security analysts voiced concern that the president’s remarks could divide the nation’s top officer corps at a critical time.

    “At this point, he’s now into the ‘throwing spaghetti against the wall’ strategy,” said Derek Chollet, a former assistant defense secretary in the Obama administration. “It’s hard to divine the logic of what he’s doing because this is the same president who triumphantly championed major arms sales as if they were nothing more than a jobs program.”

    At its heart, Trump’s relationship with the military and the Pentagon is one of deep misunderstanding, even four years into the job.

    Echoing the main allegations in the Atlantic article, two senior U.S. officials said they had personally heard Trump question why troops go to war. The officials said Trump had said several times: “Why do these guys do this? With the kind of money they make?” The implication, the officials said, was that the monetary payment to troops did not justify the potential sacrifice.

    Chollet, who is now executive vice president at the German Marshall Fund, said Trump simply did not understand the role of the U.S. military.

    “Just as he is endlessly frustrated by a media that will not bend to his whim, he’s frustrated by a military that takes an oath to the Constitution and not to the president,” he said.

    Imagine having to defend this man, to explain or "clarify" his remarks....only to be cut off at your knees when he doubles and triples down on whatever despicable thing he's said.
    My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.


    • The Latest On Republican Efforts To Make It Harder To Vote

      Perry Bacon Jr, Sept 9, 2020,

      About a month ago, we laid out five ways that Republicans are making it harder to vote and more generally undermining the electoral process in 2020. We focused on Republicans for two reasons. First, making it harder to vote is a more controversial and anti-democratic goal than making it easier to vote, as Democrats are aiming to do. And second, President Trump is playing a central role in these voting wars. Trump has publicly said that he is opposed to efforts in many states to make absentee voting and voting by mail (the two are functionally the same thing) available to virtually anyone who wants to vote that way. He has also suggested that higher overall voter turnout would make it harder for Republicans to win elections.

      Over the last month, with the election approaching, Republican officials — from county-level election administrators to the president himself — have in some ways escalated their use of these tactics. So here’s an update on those efforts to complicate the voting process and oppose moves that would make it easier. These five categories, which we used in the last article, are generally ordered from least alarming to most alarming. (There is no formal system tracking every lawsuit concerning voting and the electoral process in all 50 states, so this article is based on our informal tracking, which means we might have missed a key development in a state or two.)

      Here’s what’s happening:

      1. Opposing changes to make it easier to vote amid COVID-19
      • Opposing or limiting the use of ballot drop boxes. Recent U.S. Postal Service changes enacted by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a GOP megadonor, have slowed down mail delivery and likely increased the potential that some mail-in ballots will get to elections offices too late to be counted. (In most states, mail-in ballots must be received by Election Day.)
        In response, to make sure that people don’t have to vote in person and to ensure that their ballots are received in time, Democrats have been pushing states and localities to expand the number of secure boxes where people can drop off their ballots so they can be picked up later by election officials. Republicans, though, are also opposing these drop boxes. In Ohio, the Republican secretary of state is blocking any county from having more than one ballot drop-off location — even though it would obviously make sense for counties with larger populations to have more than one. In Iowa, the Republican secretary of state is allowing such boxes only at government-owned buildings (as opposed to, say, outside grocery stores). Missouri, another GOP-dominated state, is barring the use of any drop boxes.
      • Opposing moves to make it easier to vote by mail. The GOP-controlled board of commissioners in Gwinnett County, Georgia (that’s suburban Atlanta), rejected a proposal to have applications for absentee ballots sent to all registered voters in the county. In Arizona, the Trump campaign is opposing a push to count any ballot that is postmarked by Election Day (as opposed to received by Election Day).
      • Limiting the use of NBA arenas as voting centers. After their brief strike in the days after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, NBA players successfully pushed the league to authorize using its arenas as voting centers. But despite owners offering the space to local governments, election officials in Miami (Florida) and Memphis (Tennessee) have opted against using those arenas. (Miami has a Republican mayor; the elections procedures in Shelby County, which includes Memphis, are set by a board whose members are appointed by the state’s GOP-controlled legislature.)
      • Opposing early processing of absentee ballots. In Michigan, Republican lawmakers so far aren’t pushing forward proposed legislation to allow elections officials to start processing mail-in ballots (basically removing the outer envelope that they are contained in and verifying voters’ signatures) before Election Day. Even under this proposed legislation, election officials would not start reading the ballots and counting votes until Nov 3. But starting the process of opening up the ballots before Election Day would help officials speed up the count.

      2. Seeking to invalidate laws that make it easier to vote amid COVID-19

      This is different from the prior category (and more concerning) because in these instances Republicans are seeking to overturn decisions already made to ease the voting process.
      • Pushing to get existing drop boxes removed. In Pennsylvania, Republicans are suing to prevent the use of drop boxes, as well as advancing legislation that would limit drop boxes to a few types of official sites, which would mean some existing boxes could no longer be used.
      • Stopping local officials from making absentee voting easier. Republicans in Texas filed and won a lawsuit to bar officials in Democratic-leaning Harris County (the Houston area) from sending absentee ballot applications to all registered voters in the county. In Iowa, the Trump campaign filed and won a lawsuit stopping officials in one of the state’s more urban and Democratic-leaning areas from sending voters absentee ballot applications that already had some information (like the voter’s name and birthday) already filled in. In Montana, the Trump campaign and GOP officials have filed a lawsuit to block a policy implemented by the state’s governor, who is a Democrat, that would allow all counties to set up comprehensive vote-by-mail programs.

      3. Advancing new practices and provisions that make it harder to vote
      • Complicating the voting process for felons in Florida. Not much has changed in the last month in this category. But Republican officials in Florida are continuing litigation to keep in place a law they adopted in 2019 that requires convicted felons to pay all fees associated with their sentence before their voting rights are restored. The law, in effect, limits a 2018 ballot initiative adopted by Florida voters intended to restore felon voting rights. In continuing this litigation, Florida Republicans are likely to be successful in basically running out of the legal clock and keeping the 2018 provision from truly going into effect in the 2020 election cycle.

      4. Anti-democratic rhetoric
      • Misleading statements about voter fraud. Trump and Attorney General William Barr continue to argue that widespread mail-in voting will lead to a lot of voter fraud, often making outlandish and inaccurate claims to support their position. There is no evidence that voting by mail leads to increased fraud, and in states like Washington and Oregon, where most people have voted by mail for years, there has been no evidence of widespread malfeasance.

      5. Fundamental changes to the electoral process
      • Encouraging people to vote twice. Trump has recently been encouraging people who vote by mail to also go to vote at the polls on Election Day. If the election systems are working properly, he argues, they won’t be allowed to vote in person. It is very unlikely that anyone’s vote will be counted twice, but encouraging people who have already voted by mail to also show up in person will complicate election officials’ jobs. If some people actually do vote twice, that would, of course, undermine the entire voting process — and break the law.
      • Downplaying potential Russian interference. Published reports suggest that Russian operatives are using measures similar to those they employed in 2016 to both boost Trump and increase political division in America. But the Trump administration has opted against clearly saying that Russia is engaged in such conduct or forthrightly condemning it. Instead, senior Trump officials have suggested that both Russia and China are trying to interfere, with China favoring Democratic nominee Joe Biden and Russia favoring Trump. But in reality, while the Chinese do favor Biden, according to published reports, there is no evidence that they are pursuing active measures to help him win, unlike Russia.

      In addition, the Trump administration — apparently in retaliation for congressional Democrats publicly indicating that Russia is trying to tilt the election toward Trump — has opted to limit briefings to Congress on election security. In particular, top intelligence officials will now only submit written comments to Congress, instead of meeting in-person with leaders from both parties on the key intelligence committees.

      There are plenty of Republican officials, even in some of the states listed above, taking steps to make it easier to vote. Texas, for example, increased the number of days in which early voting is available. So it’s not that all Republicans are trying to complicate the voting process. Rather, most of the officials trying to complicate the voting process are Republicans. Also, Republicans aren’t the only people filing a lot of lawsuits and pushing a lot of changes to the voting system — it’s just that Democrats’ extensive legal efforts are generally pushing to make it easier to vote.

      So the most surprising aspect of the voting process is what we have laid out here: One party seems to be systemically making it harder to vote and taking other steps that undermine the integrity of the electoral process. The big question is whether these tactics will work, either by keeping anti-Trump ballots from being cast or counted, or by throwing the election results (whatever they end up being) into doubt.

      Trust me?
      I'm an economist!


      • Originally posted by DOR View Post
        The Latest On Republican Efforts To Make It Harder To Vote

        President Trump is playing a central role in these voting wars. Trump has publicly said that he is opposed to efforts in many states to make absentee voting and voting by mail (the two are functionally the same thing) available to virtually anyone who wants to vote that way. He has also suggested that higher overall voter turnout would make it harder for Republicans to win elections.
        Well at least he's honest about it. (Ironic, no?)

        And he's hardly the only GOP official to admit it: Republicans are the minority party in the United States and have been for years.

        After the glory days of the 80s were over, the Republicans have scored exactly one popular vote victory in the last seven general elections..

        Their only hope for victory is voter suppression. How very American of them....
        My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.


        • Trump screamed at Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch in "humongous blowup" over "unfair" coverage: report

          President Donald Trump reportedly "screamed" at Fox News owner and media mogul Rupert Murdoch earlier this summer over alleged "unfair" coverage of him.

          Trump and Murdoch had the "humongous blowup" during a phone call, a new article by Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman revealed.

          "Trump yelled that Fox's coverage is unfair and the polling is fake," a source told Sherman, adding that "Rupert defended the network's standards and polling."

          According to the report, Trump blames Murdoch for airing critical segments about his presidency. Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin recently independently verified key parts of a bombshell exposé in which advisers close to Trump revealed to The Atlantic that he had called U.S. military heroes killed in combat "losers" and "suckers."

          "Sources who've spoken with Trump told me Trump thinks Murdoch wants him to lose," Sherman wrote.

          Individuals close to Murdoch told Sherman that the Fox Corporation co-chair believes Trump will lose in November. Murdoch seems more concerned with navigating his empire through a post-Trump political world, according to Sherman.

          "This is about business for Rupert," one source told Vanity Fair.

          Murdoch's son, James, and daughter-in-law, Kathryn, each gave $615,000 to the Biden Victory Fund in June, according to Federal Election Commission filings. The next month, James stepped down from the family's News Corp. media empire, citing editorial disagreements.

          The first presidential debate, scheduled for Sept. 29, will be moderated by Fox News host Chris Wallace, who is one of the few exceptions to the network's widely perceived political cronyism to the president.

          "Any Republican who thinks Wallace will go easy on Trump is badly mistaken," a former White House official told Vanity Fair. "He's no joke."

          The Trump campaign had angled for Bret Baier, Hugh Hewitt or Martha MacCallum — network hosts perceived as friendlier to the president. In July, Wallace challenged Trump on coronavirus statistics and the president's boasts about his "person; man; woman; camera; TV" cognitive test results.

          "Well, it's not the hardest test," Wallace said. "It shows a picture and it says, 'What's that?' And it's an elephant."

          "No. No. No. You see, that's all misrepresentation," Trump responded. "Because, yes, the first few questions are easy. But I'll bet you couldn't even answer the last five questions."

          "Well, one of them was count back from 100 by seven," Wallace said. "93 . . ."

          Wallace is spurned among pro-Trump hosts on the opinion side of Fox News, according to Sherman.

          "Chris hates Trump. He's a passionate Democrat," one network personality told him. Wallace has said that he registered as a Democrat in order to have more impact in local elections in Washington. (Fox News host Tucker Carlson has also copped to the same move.)

          Sherman said a Fox News spokesperson dismissed concerns that Wallace was out to get Trump, pointing out that he had also made positive remarks about the president and been critical of Democratic opponent Joe Biden.

          Trump, apparently unhappy with recent Fox News coverage, has taken to promoting competitor One America News — which has positioned itself significantly to the right of Fox — as a preferred, "fair and balanced" alternative.

          "Fox News is not watchable during weekend afternoons. It is worse than Fake News @CNN," Trump tweeted Aug. 16. "I strongly suggest turning your dial to @OANN. They do a really 'Fair & Balanced' job!" he added, quoting Fox News' retired motto.

          A Fox News spokesperson did not immediately reply to Salon's request for comment.

          Originally posted by surfgun View Post
          Tops, Fox is not a favorite. It has declined under the tutelage of those lefty Murdoch boys. They are hardly a chip off the old block.
          Looks like you were right, Fox isn't the fair haired boy anymore...and even the old block isn't above giving Trump the finger.

          My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.


          • Judge Andrew Napolitano: Trump goes on the attack --against the military
            Is Trump's presidency -- in his own mind -- showmanship or reality?

            I was appalled at the allegations against President Donald Trump leveled in a recent article in The Atlantic. The article claimed that the president referred to American soldiers killed in World War I and buried in France as “losers” and “suckers.” It also offered that the president is disdainful in general of military personnel who have been captured by the enemy or killed in combat.

            The article cited four anonymous sources, each of whom claimed to be physically close enough to the president to have heard him make these awful statements. Fox News and CNN have both independently confirmed the accuracy of the allegations.

            Nevertheless, we are eight weeks from Election Day, and so the president has forcefully and unconditionally denied making these statements. He has produced statements by more than a dozen others who were also physically close to him at the time, and they have denied hearing anything of the sort.

            Whom to believe? Why dwell on this? Here is the backstory.

            I have been a friend of Donald Trump since 1987 through the New Jersey legal community in which his sister and I were active as judges. Trump and I have also known each other through my on-air television work at Fox News. Trump enjoys a personal familiarity with many of my Fox colleagues and me. To this day, he and I speak on the phone from time to time over matters public and private.

            To be Trump’s friend does not immunize one from Trump’s wrath. On the contrary, he expects total loyalty, particularly from those in the media, and he will not hesitate to attack his friends publicly should he hear anything from them that displeases him.

            I am loyal to my friends, but foremost I am loyal to the truth. So, when special counsel Robert Mueller made allegations about the unlawfulness of Trump’s behavior in the White House, it was my job at Fox to explain that the allegations offered that Trump committed numerous criminal acts of obstruction of justice while president.

            When I explained on Fox how these allegations would result in indictments for anyone other than a sitting president, Trump took to Twitter to attack my intellect and my honesty. It bothered me for only a few hours, because I know him well.

            True to form, Trump called my cell and offered that he and I had some ancient dispute and it would be best if we forgot it! We then laughed and proceeded into the reason for his call.

            I provide this brief personal background as a setting for an analysis of this “losers” and “suckers” allegation. It appears more likely than not that he did say these things.

            I say this because -- for better or worse -- Donald Trump is unfiltered. He often says what first comes to his mind without thinking of the likely consequences -- including the hurt -- his words could produce. And he believes he can repair any hurt with more words.

            In all the settings in which it is now alleged that he disparaged the military dead, only one person was continuously and conspicuously with him, Gen. John Kelly. Kelly is a retired four-star Marine Corps general and the father of a young Marine killed while serving valiantly in Afghanistan. Trump is also alleged to have disparaged the younger Kelly in the presence of his still-grieving father.

            The elder Kelly -- who was the White House chief of staff when Trump’s “losers” and “suckers” comments and similar comments are alleged to have been made -- is the quintessential career soldier.

            But his silence is deafening. He either heard these horrible words from Trump’s mouth or he didn’t. You can judge for yourself what his silence means. To me, it means he did hear this stuff but his Marine Corps sense of duty not to disparage the commander in chief who trusted him outweighs his public duty to reveal known faults in the president’s thinking.

            Trump’s denials have been both ferocious and frivolous. He has attacked media figures who are merely reporting what credible sources have told them. He also denied calling the late Sen. John McCain “a loser” because he was captured, confined and tortured by the North Vietnamese. Many networks -- including Fox -- then ran clips of Trump calling McCain a loser, and Trump stopped denying it.

            Then, as if to pour gasoline on this fire, an unprovoked Trump offered this gem: “I'm not saying the military’s in love with me, the soldiers are, the top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”

            The military-industrial complex is a serious problem that is bankrupting the government, and Trump himself has signed off on the largest defense budgets in history. But Congress buys the hardware, not the generals. Under the Constitution, Congress declares war and presidents wage war. Generals do as presidents tell them. The last congressional declaration of war was on Dec. 8, 1941; yet, the U.S. has fought in more than a dozen undeclared wars since then -- all by presidential command.

            In the history of the U.S., no general has started a war. Trump himself has ordered his generals to attack Iran, Iraq and Syria without congressional authorization. None of the generals did so on his own.

            Does the president have a cavalier attitude about the truth? Does he mean what he says? Is his presidency -- in his own mind -- showmanship or reality? I don’t know the answers to these questions, and it troubles me to be asking them. But the voters will answer in November. Link

            No wonder Trump hates Fox these days, they're actually fact-checking him lol

            My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.


            • "I strongly suggest turning your dial to @OANN. They do a really 'Fair & Balanced' job!"

              Just when we thought The Trumpet had scraped the bottom of the barrel clean as a whistle ...
              Trust me?
              I'm an economist!


              • Op-Ed: Trump Reaps the Woodward Wind

                We flatter ourselves that we're pretty good at separating the things that might actually hurt Donald Trump (say, the article in The Atlantic) from those that probably won't (say, the new Michael Cohen book). But you know who is even better than we are? Donald Trump. And the fact that he spent Thursday spinning like a 1903 phonograph (78 RPM!) tells you he's scared to death over Bob Woodward's new book Rage.

                There are a number of revelations from the book that have already become public, like new reporting on the depth and the strangeness of Trump's relationship with Kim Jong-Un, or Trump's bragging about the existence of a top secret weapons system that Woodward did not have the clearance to hear about. But all the attention, of course, is being paid to the fact that Trump admitted, on tape, to knowingly and aggressively downplaying the virulence and seriousness of COVID-19. If you haven't heard the recordings, and you would like to, the two biggies are included in this video, along with some context (or, if you prefer, skip ahead to 0:52 for the "smoking gun"):

                The two very damning clips total about 10 seconds. A television commercial runs 30 seconds. Hmmmm....

                In trying to push back against the news, Trump took three approaches on Thursday. He started with the tried and true technique of denying everything, insisting that he never once lied to or misled the American people. The problem with this explanation is that, well, he's on tape admitting the exact opposite.

                With not the slightest bit of shame, Trump also took the polar opposite approach of the first, and explained that of course he lied about and downplayed COVID-19, but he did it for the good of the American people, in order to keep them calm and collected. Or maybe it's fat, dumb, and happy. The President compared himself, in this regard, to Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That's a pretty bold comparison for any leader to make under any circumstance, but in this case it's particularly inapt, and reflects (once again) Trump's historical illiteracy. Roosevelt and Churchill kept strategic plans and new weapons programs to themselves, it is true (ahem), but they were consistently frank with their citizenry about the challenges posed by the Axis Powers (see, for example, Churchill's famous "We Shall Fight on the Beaches" speech). Beyond that, anyone who thinks that Trump is unwilling to encourage panic among the citizenry has apparently missed the roughly 800 times he's railed about immigrant caravans, MS-13, BLM, rioters in the streets, Muslim terrorists, and all the other bugaboos that are coming to get you, particularly if you are a suburban housewife.

                The President's third approach, as he threw things at the wall to see what would stick, was to declare that if his remarks truly were dangerous, Woodward would have gone public with them immediately rather than waiting until the publication of his book. This is the most valid line of attack Trump put forward, if only because the other two are so clearly absurd. However, it's also a red herring, and a classic case of blaming the messenger. Whether or not Woodward should have come forward or not, it does not change what Trump said, and thus whatever culpability he has for the damage wrought by the pandemic.

                When it comes to the question of whether Woodward should have spoken up, public opinion is divided on that point, and there's no shortage of "Woodward put book sales ahead of his duties as a journalist" commentary on social media. However, the defense made by Woodward himself, and echoed by many other journalists (see here for one example) is pretty persuasive. In short, they observe that when Trump first made the recorded remarks, the damaging nature of his lies was not entirely clear. If Woodward had come forward then, Trump and his team would have dismissed the comments (as they did with many other things the President said on camera at that time), and would have continued along their same course. By taking the approach he did, Woodward was able to piece together an overall picture that is much more airtight and much more compelling. Put another way, there is nothing the reporter could have done to save the more than 185,000 dead, but there was something he could do to help the American people decide if this is the man they want running the country for the next four years.

                Incidentally, it's not just Trump who freaked out on Thursday. Pretty much the entire White House staff scurried around like ants searching for cover. After all, when things go south, it's never the President who takes the blame. Many of them pointed fingers at anyone and everyone, trying to deflect any responsibility away from themselves. Others went with the dismissive approach, sniffing "everyone has a book." There may be some truth to that, but not everyone has recordings of the President himself admitting to malfeasance, and not everyone is the dean of American political reporters who made their bones by taking down another president whose administration was rife with corrupt behavior.

                And that leaves us with one last question that is on everyone's mind: What on earth was Donald Trump thinking, agreeing to sit for 18 interviews, on the record and on tape, with Bob freaking Woodward? And the answer, in short, is pure hubris. Like being Time's "Person of the Year," the President saw a "partnership" with Woodward as a validation of himself and his presidency. Trump recognized how badly he came off in the reporter's previous book (Fear: Trump in the White House), and thought he could sweet-talk his way into a much more flattering portrayal. That's like saying "I just won an easy $20 from that guy with the custom pool cue, and the $200 we've bet on the second game is going to be even easier money!" or "This bank looks to have no security at all, guys—this is gonna be a breeze!" Anyone who thinks they can finesse a flattering book out of a battle-hardened reporter like Woodward, who has gone 14-for-14 on decidedly not flattering presidential books, clearly doesn't read. And all of a sudden, everything begins to make sense...

                Almost makes me wish for another four years of Trump, just to see the wheels continue to fly off....not only in his "Administration" but also his empty head lol

                My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.


                • ^^^^

                  Joe, know who else is totally complicit in lying to the American public about the seriousness of COVID 19 and the shitty federal response....Mike Pence.
                  “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                  Mark Twain


                  • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post

                    Joe, know who else is totally complicit in lying to the American public about the seriousness of COVID 19 and the shitty federal response....Mike Pence.
                    Yeah, pretty much everybody in Trump's inner circle...and beyond, no doubt.

                    But hey, let's try to deflect off onto Bob Woodward some more!

                    Click image for larger version

Name:	tenor.gif?itemid=16623875.gif
Views:	69
Size:	37.9 KB
ID:	1565708
                    My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.


                    • More rebuttal to the Atlantic scuttlebutt that belongs flushed down the head.


                      • Democrats exploits and angers wounded Army Veteran.


                        • Originally posted by surfgun View Post
                          More rebuttal to the Atlantic scuttlebutt that belongs flushed down the head.
                          I would be sick in the head also if I read these far right wing extremist sites. The give away with you is that there is no site that could ever be far enough right to be considered extremist while everything left of center is automatically extremist.

                          So your mission, Mr Phelps should you decide to take it, is to quote from an actual centrist web site. Are you up to the task?

                          Who am I kidding?

                          By the way you were one of those to accuse those guys who were shot by Rittenhouse of being felons and dirt bags. So the fellow shot in the arm, who may still lose it, was a paramedic and had no record despite right wing sites saying he did. I believe you owe Mr. Grosskreutz an apology for propagating damage to his reputation.



                          • So what municipality did this “fine“ gentleman work for? And what model of Glock Pistol was he waving about?
                            I really want to know who he was working for? Who furnished him with supplies and alleged training? I doubt if The People’s Revolution offered any compensation or training.
                            The individual in question was not a felon but has a record. One of his convictions is for carrying a pistol while intoxicated. One other for Disobeying a Police Officer. This guy is / was a menace.

                            and I did not realize that this was a “far Right” extremist site?
                            Last edited by surfgun; 12 Sep 20,, 03:37.


                            • Originally posted by surfgun View Post
                              and I did not realize that this was a “far Right” extremist site?
                              Nice try but he referenced the website The Political Insider and not American Military News

                              “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                              Mark Twain


                              • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post

                                Joe, know who else is totally complicit in lying to the American public about the seriousness of COVID 19 and the shitty federal response....Mike Pence.
                                Surely all biden needs to keep doing is pointing this out and reminding people about this woodward interview