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Would it have been cheaper to hire contractors since the Military personnel are unarmed while stringing razor wire. Would it have created some job even temporarily? MA
By Paul Sonne
November 3
The total price of President Trump’s military deployment to the border, including the cost of National Guard forces that have been there since April, could climb well above $200 million by the end of 2018 and grow significantly if the deployments continue into next year, according to analyst estimates and Pentagon figures.
The deployment of as many as 15,000 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border — potentially equal in size to the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan — occurs as the budgetary largesse the military has enjoyed since Trump took office looks set to come to an end.
Although the costs of the border deployments will be a tiny slice of a $716 billion annual defense budget, they arrive as the Trump administration is calling on the Pentagon to cut unnecessary expenditures. The White House recently ordered the Pentagon to slash next year’s budget for the military by about $33 billion in response to the largest increase in the federal deficit in six years.
Veterans and Democratic lawmakers have complained that Trump is wasting military dollars in a politically motivated stunt ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections, at a time when the Pentagon budget is under pressure.
“Instead of working in a bipartisan manner to make comprehensive, common-sense, and humane reforms to our immigration system, the President continues to turn to politically motivated fear mongering and uses [Department of Defense] resources and personnel as a means to drive his troubling anti-immigration agenda,” more than 100 House Democrats wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Nov. 1.
Retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described the deployment as “wasteful” in a message on Twitter and said Marines and soldiers were already overstretched.
Administration officials have defended the deployment. Mattis said this week that the military doesn’t do stunts. The commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan, argued that the deployment is necessary to “effectively and safely” handle the possible arrival of as many as 7,000 migrants walking toward the border in caravans from Central America.
But military planning documents, dated Oct. 27 and published by Newsweek, predicted that only 20 percent of the migrants, or about 1,400 at the higher end of estimates, were likely to complete the journey to the border, raising questions about the size of the deployment.
“The military has a lot of things that it needs to be doing these days,” said Susanna Blume, a former Pentagon official and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “Looking at estimates of the size of the caravan, you could ask the question as to whether this is the most appropriate use of U.S. active-duty forces.”
It isn’t clear how many U.S. troops will end up on the U.S.-Mexico border.
About 2,000 forces from the National Guard are already there, operating under an order Trump issued in April. Northern Command has said more than 7,000 additional active-duty troops will join them in Arizona, Texas and California. Trump said this week that he will be deploying between 10,000 and 15,000 troops but didn’t make clear whether those figures included the National Guard.
The cost of the National Guard deployment from April 10 through Sept. 30 amounted to $103 million, according to Pentagon figures. The Defense Department expects the Guard deployment to cost an additional $308 million through the end of next September, including the last quarter of 2018, as long as the operations continue apace.
Active-duty forces, which Trump deployed under his recent order, generally are less expensive because they don’t require additional pay or benefits.
Travis Sharp, a research fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budget Assessments, estimated that the cost of deploying 8,000 active-duty troops through mid-December in addition to the Guard would amount to $40 million to $50 million. Should the administration deploy 15,000 active-duty troops, as Trump suggested, the estimated cost would rise to as much as $110 million, Sharp said.
The forces could end up staying past mid-December, depending on the status of the caravans, which by most accounts are still weeks away from the border. An extension of the deployment could result in costs in excess of those estimates.
As of Saturday morning, about 3,500 active-duty service members have been deployed as a part of the mission, dubbed Operation Faithful Patriot, said Maj. Mark Lazane, a Northern Command spokesman. They include about 2,250 in Texas, 1,100 in California and 170 in Arizona, he said.
Lazane said soldiers who do not typically use firearms in their day-to-day jobs while stateside will continue to work without them, though Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the chief of Northern Command, has the authority to change that if desired.
Democrats have complained that in addition to paying for the border deployments, the Defense Department internally allocated $7.5 million to advanced planning for a 37-mile barrier along the side of a military bombing range in Arizona that abuts the border. Democratic lawmakers said the barrier alone could cost as much as $450 million.
Mattis offered a safety justification for the barrier in testimony to Congress earlier this year, suggesting that any migrants crossing the border through the range could end up hurt. Critics have said the project amounts to a move by the president to build part of the border wall he promised on the campaign trail by tapping military resources.
Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan said last week that the White House had instructed the Pentagon to prepare a $700 billion budget for 2020 — about 4.5 percent less than the $733 billion the department had planned.
Thomas Spoehr, a retired Army lieutenant general and director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense, said many of the units deploying to the border are fulfilling duties approximate to their wartime missions and could end up with good training from the field. He said the expenditure would be marginal in terms of the overall American defense budget.
“The military needs every dollar it can get. Having said that, this is not in the scheme of things a huge thing,” Spoehr said. “It probably will pass almost unnoticed in terms of the budget.”
Dan Lamothe contributed to this report.

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Chris Britt Comic Strip for November 05, 2018

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msn news
By LINDA QIU 4 hrs ago

What Trump said:
“We’re not letting them into our country. And then they never show up, almost, it’s like a level of 3 percent. They never show up for the trial. So by the time their trial comes, they’re gone, nobody knows where they are.”
False.
President Trump was referring to the rate that migrants show up to immigration court proceedings after being apprehended and released into the United States. Data from the Justice Department shows that most immigrants do, in fact, show up to their court hearings.
In the 2017 fiscal year, about 28 percent of immigrants failed to attend their court hearings — not the 97 percent Mr. Trump estimated.
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Among asylum seekers, only 11 percent did not show up for legal proceedings. Of the asylum seekers who participated in a pilot program tested as an alternative to detention, 99 percent attended Immigration and Custom Enforcement check-ins and appointments. And 100 percent turned up for court hearings.
The Trump administration ended the pilot program last June.
What Trump said:
“We can’t get any Democrat votes to change them. It’s only the Republicans that are in unison they want to change them. They want to make strong borders.”
This is misleading
Citing immigration laws that he said “are so bad,” Mr. Trump accused Democrats of causing overhaul legislation to fizzle in Congress. Left unsaid was that disarray among the Republican Party partly contributed to the bills’ demise.
In February, after Mr. Trump moved to rescind protections for the young immigrants known as Dreamers, the Senate rejected three immigration proposals. Fourteen Republican senators voted against the one that was backed by the White House; it received the least support from the president’s own party than any of the three.
After a public outcry over the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy that resulted in migrant children being separated from their families after crossing the border, the House rejected a hard-line immigration bill in June that was backed by the White House. Forty-one Republicans voted against it.
What Trump said:
“Nearly 100 percent of heroin in the United States enters through the southern border. Think of that, 100 percent almost of heroin comes in through the southern border, along with roughly 90 percent of cocaine and the majority of meth and a substantial portion of the ultralethal fentanyl killing our youth.”
This requires context.
Mr. Trump is right that most heroin smuggled into the United States enters through the southwest border, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s latest National Drug Assessment report.
Most fentanyl enters the United States from packages mailed directly from China, or through Canada from China, according to the report. Though “large volumes” of fentanyl are also smuggled through the southwest border, it tends to be less potent — and costs less — than the packages directly from China.
“We are miserably losing this fight to prevent fentanyl from entering our country and killing our citizens,” the president’s opioids commission reported last November. “We are losing this fight predominately through China.”
The drug agency also noted that the “most common method” of drug smuggling used by criminal organizations is by driving through official American ports of entry — not a migrant caravan of people on foot.
In some of those vehicles, the drugs are kept in concealed compartments; in others, they are mixed among legal goods on tractor-trailers. Smugglers also use tunnels, passenger trains and buses, drug mules and even drones and other aircraft.
What Trump said:
“The Democrat Party’s vision is to offer them free health care, free welfare, free education and even the right to vote.”
This is misleading.
Legal immigrants to the United States can receive some public benefits and have a pathway to citizenship and the right to vote. But that is a matter of law — not merely the political platform or policies of the Democratic Party.
Migrants who are granted asylum are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid and the Supplemental Security Income program. They are also eligible for the cash assistance program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for most public programs and cannot vote. While a 2013 Senate bill to overhaul the immigration system would have allowed undocumented immigrants who had arrived in the United States before December 2011 to apply for citizenship, the House never voted on the legislation. Mr. Trump’s own “four pillars” for immigration reform also included a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.
What Trump said:
“Nobody talks about that, but under President Obama, they separated children from the parents.”
This is misleading.
As The New York Times has reported, previous presidential administrations did break up families — but did so rarely, according to former officials and immigration experts. The Trump administration, by contrast, has knowingly enacted the practice that some officials have characterized as a deterrence against illegal entry.
What Trump said:
“And once that control is set and standardized and made very strong, including the building of the wall, which we’ve already started. $1.6 billion spent last year, $1.6 billion this year. We have another $1.6 that will be coming, but we want to build it at one time.”
This is misleading.
A spending bill signed by Mr. Trump in March allotted $1.6 billion for projects to replace old barriers along the border with new ones. But that bill did not allow spending funds on a new border wall.
Mr. Trump signed another spending bill in late September, which did not include any money for his border wall — a fact he seemed aware of, given his criticisms over the lack of funding.

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John Wagner 1 hr ago, Washington Post

President Trump defended his proclivity to spread misleading statements and falsehoods, saying in a television interview Wednesday that he tells the truth when he can.
“Well, I try. I do try … and I always want to tell the truth,” Trump said in an interview with ABC News. “When I can, I tell the truth. And sometimes it turns out to be where something happens that’s different or there’s a change, but I always like to be truthful.”

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker reported last month that Trump had made more than 5,000 false or misleading claims in the first 601 days of his presidency — an average of 8.3 claims a day — and that the pace is picking up.

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Since then, as Trump has ratcheted up his rhetoric in advance of the midterm elections, he has continued to mislead voters and invent facts.
He, for instance, said a middle-class tax cut would be passed by Nov. 1, even though Congress wasn’t in session and had no plans to reconvene before the elections.
He has repeatedly asserted that Republicans are more committed than Democrats to protecting people with preexisting health conditions, despite numerous past actions contrary to that claim.
And he has asserted that the United States is the only country to grant automatic citizenship to children born on its territory, despite the fact that more than 30 other nations have a similar “birthright citizenship” policies.
In the interview with ABC’s chief White House correspondent, Jonathan Karl, Trump also took issue with the media’s estimates of the sizes of caravans of Central American migrants slowly making their way toward the United States.
“You have caravans coming up that look a lot larger than it’s reported, actually,” Trump said. “I’m pretty good at estimating crowd size. And I’ll tell you, they look a lot bigger than people would think.”
Trump has often overstated the size of crowds he draws, starting with the first day of his presidency. At Trump’s direction, his then-press secretary Sean Spicer falsely claimed that the crowd at his 2017 inauguration was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.”

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TOTUS will be blamed and condemned from here on for his callous and reckless administrative style by a major portion of the United States and the longtime allies in Europe. To be clear Mr. Resident has conducted this administration like he has rub his business and that is to maintain chaos from event to event no matter the outcome. His sole objective is his own image which by the time his reign (not term of office) is done, there could be a general scrubbing of his name where possible. There have already been several hotels that have removed his name from their buildings. His tenure as CIC will not be fondly remembered but more of a cringe factor when mentioned. The next White House resident will have a huge gap to close and hopefully be up to the task. One can determine the state of Trump when you see him in a press conference with his arm crossed in defiance when hard questions are asked. This defiance is what his staff has to deal with daily but cannot say so. It is apparent that he is at once a revealer and concealer since his election has brought out the worst in us as a country and allowed the irresponsible Congress to pass a poor Tax program ( which is good for them) and attack the ACA which affects the health of millions (but not theirs). It is not possible to persuade any radical fringes until they themselves see the light as it were but it is possible to enlighten the uninformed with the truth because that is what we have and the truth will always remain so.

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The ‘Late Night’ host railed against the president and Fox News for trying to ‘both sides’ the blame for a string of attacks committed by those on the far right.

 

Marlowe Stern 

10.29.18 10:12 PM ET

 

“In moments of crisis like this, it is clear that not only is Trump incapable of providing the moral leadership that’s expected of a president, he’s just incapable of being human,” offered Seth Meyers, before throwing to footage of Trump not knowing how to close his umbrella. “I mean, look at him—the guy doesn’t even know how to close an umbrella. And then when he can’t close it, he just leaves it there. Trump’s the kind of rich asshole who, when his car runs out of gas, just leaves it on the side of the road.”

The Late Night host dedicated his “A Closer Look” segment Monday night to the wildly insensitive reactions from President Trump and his Fox News cheerleaders in the wake of the worst act of violence committed against Jews in U.S. history—the massacre at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a far-right gunman slaughtered eleven worshippers—and the arrest of a deranged Trump supporter who allegedly mailed pipe bombs to virtually the entire Democratic Party leadership, including the Obamas, the Clintons, and Joe Biden, as well as Trump critics CNN, George Soros and Robert De Niro.

As Meyers argued, “Trump is so incapable of mustering even the basic level of empathy that after the horrific anti-Semitic attack at a synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, he decided to keep all of his political events.” What’s worse, at one event, he joked that he almost canceled his stand-up set not in observance of the deceased, but because he was having “a bad hair day.”

The comedian then railed against Trump’s ridiculously unpresidential tweet in the wake of the mail-bombing assassination aVerified account

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Funny how lowly rated CNN, and others, can criticize me at will, even blaming me for the current spate of Bombs and ridiculously comparing this to September 11th and the Oklahoma City bombing, yet when I criticize them they go wild and scream, “it’s just not Presidential!”
12:14 AM – 26 Oct 2018 ttempts against his critics.

 

“That’s because it’s their job to cover you. Your job is to be president. They’re two different jobs!” Meyers exclaimed. “You’re like a guy who goes in for a check-up and says, ‘Funny how the doctor can check my prostate, but if I try to check his I get arrested!’”

Of course, those who never disagree with anything the president does—that would be those on Fox News (save Shep Smith), and those in the administration—sought to blame “both sides” for the violent acts committed by far-right lunatics (see: Charlottesville).

“Frankly, people on both sides of the aisle use strong languages about our political differences,” claimed Vice President Mike Pence. “People are dug in on both sides,” offered Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy.

“It’s not both sides! Only one side is repeating deranged conspiracy theories accusing Democrats of orchestrating an immigrant invasion, calling the press ‘the enemy of the people,’ and encouraging violence. Trump literally re-enacted a body-slam against a reporter at one of his rallies,” said an exasperated Meyers.

“There’s no use in waiting for moral leadership from a president who is so obviously unwilling to provide it,” he concluded. “The only option is to vote for people who will. And maybe while we’re at it, we could elect some people that know how to use an umbrella.”

·         Marlow Stern

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Fact-checking the Trump administration’s claims about the caravan
Drew Harwell, Tony Romm, Craig Timberg 8 hrs ago. Washington Post
The migrant caravan in Mexico and the attempted mail bombings of major political figures this week have unleashed torrents of false and misleading reports on social media, testing the limits of costly efforts by Silicon Valley to combat disinformation ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
Despite hiring thousands of employees and investing in teams dedicated to quelling phony information two years after the problem emerged during the 2016 presidential election, the country’s most influential tech companies have struggled to respond.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have resisted demands to remove some of the viral conspiracy theories and extremist content — a reflection both of the gravity of the task and of their belief that they should not serve as arbiters of truth.
The attempted pipe-bomb attacks, which targeted former president Barack Obama and others who have been critical of President Trump, were almost immediately characterized in widely shared Facebook and Twitter posts as a conspiracy engineered by Democrats to undermine the conservative cause. Michael Flynn Jr., the son of the president’s former national security adviser, said in tweets to his roughly 98,000 followers that the bombs amounted to a “political stunt.”
Claims that the bombs were a hoax and slurs against one of the bombs’ targets, liberal philanthropist George Soros, also proliferated widely on the Facebook-owned photo-sharing giant Instagram. Social media researcher Jonathan Albright said the Instagram posts amplified conspiracy theories and “some of the worst hate speech, Hillary Clinton memes and violently anti-Semitic messages I’ve seen to date.”
The caravan, a potent symbol of the brewing migrant crisis at the U.S. border, was portrayed by some prominent conservative figures as a violent horde mobilized for invasion, including through the sharing of falsely labeled images showing a bloodied Mexican policeman that was in fact taken elsewhere in the country in 2012.
That image, first posted early Sunday, spread virally on Facebook and Twitter, including through a post by Ginni Thomas, a conservative activist who is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
The hoaxes were amplified by accounts known to echo Kremlin propaganda, according to researchers who say the hoaxes are a form of manipulation they have detected repeatedly on controversial topics since the 2016 election. But the largest sources of disinformation on the caravan and the attempted bombings have come from domestic sources, researchers say.
The continued spread of misinformation this week shows how the sites continue to waver on even the most incendiary views related to potentially real-world violence.
“This is an example of where social media companies have a responsibility not to amplify propaganda that is demonstrably false,” Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democratic lawmaker who represents a part of Silicon Valley, said in a statement. “A newspaper or television station would never claim that the pipe bombs are fake, and they wouldn’t give that perspective the time of day. Similarly, social media companies need to have basic third-party verification so they are not allowing false claims to be retweeted or shared.” An investigation is underway after explosive devices were reportedly sent to the Clintons, the Obamas, and a host of other liberal and media figures.
The flood of misinformation has infuriated regulators, who have remained vigilant after other spurious users — including agents of the Russian government — stoked social and political unrest online with divisive messages of their own. To that end, lawmakers are especially wary that these hoaxes and conspiracy theories are resonating, and possibly intensifying, with the 2018 midterm elections less than two weeks away.
The tech industry has struggled to balance calls for combating misinformation with concerns about protecting free speech, especially at a time when conservatives have blasted Silicon Valley for a supposed pro-liberal bias.
“On one side, they are in the position where they really have to be thinking about protecting the public interest. And on the other side, they don’t want to tick off huge constituencies,” said Dipayan Ghosh, a former policy adviser at Facebook and in the Obama White House who is now a fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. The leading social media platforms are “far more hesitant to do anything because they’re afraid, they’re very afraid of the backlash they could get from conservatives in this country.”
“We have taken action,” Facebook said in a statement Thursday. “We’ve demoted stories rated false by fact-checkers, like content about police brutality by migrants and pipe bombs, and we’re removing content that violates our policies, like hate speech or support for the bombing attempts.”
Instagram, which belongs to Facebook, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Twitter said it relies on truthful tweets to correct and neutralize false information on its platform, unless messages break its rules, such as threatening violence. “Accounts that deliberately attempt to disrupt the public conversation, including sharing the same content repeatedly or trying to game trending topics, will face enforcement action pursuant with our policies,” a Twitter spokesman said.
Companies have moved more aggressively than in the past to shut down accounts acting in coordinated, deceptive and “inauthentic” ways while also dramatically stepping up the monitoring of disinformation. Facebook, for example, created a heavily publicized “war room” at its sprawling Menlo Park, Calif., campus to underscore its intensified efforts. It is also developing artificial intelligence that could flag false content or fake accounts, but the wide deployment of such technology is still years away.
But the companies still have difficulty in handling instances of Americans’ using social media to spread their political viewpoints, even when they are rendered in sensationalized ways that may include misleading information. Claims that survivors of a school shooting in Parkland, Fla., were “crisis actors” being paid to build support for gun control spread virally on social media, including climbing near the top of YouTube’s “Trending” list.
Although managing multiple accounts, using fake personas or employing automation can get users suspended from some platforms, the posting of demonstrable falsehoods generally will not. More often, platforms will limit the spread of misinformation if it detected or reported, as opposed to deleting it.
Jonathon Morgan, chief executive of New Knowledge, a security company that tracks online disinformation, said the social media companies have shown some recent success at tackling professional campaigns from state intelligence agencies and terrorist groups. But they have shown little progress or interest in tackling the domestic conspiracy theories and extremist rhetoric that often follows major news events.
“They don’t consider it their responsibility, and even if they did . . . it would be incredibly difficult to police,” Morgan said.
On Thursday, sites such as Twitter remained awash with content suggesting that the pipe bombs had been mailed as part of a “false flag” attack to benefit Democrats. Memes spread on Facebook through shares and likes. A popular right-leaning Twitter user, Candace Owens, questioned the timing of the bombs’ delivery. “Caravans, fake bomb threats — these leftists are going ALL OUT for midterms,” she said in a tweet shared more than 8,700 times. By Thursday afternoon, the tweet had been deleted.
Twitter did not suspend many of the accounts sharing such messages or limit the reach of their content, saying they did not break the platform’s rules.
Still, Twitter accounts known for pushing Russian propaganda appeared to popularize some of the conspiracy theories. On Wednesday and Thursday, accounts aligned with the Kremlin’s views — tracked by Hamilton 68, a project of the German Marshall Fund that monitors social media for Russian ma­nipu­la­tion — frequently promoted hashtags including “fakebombgate,” “fakebombs” and “bombhoax.”
Bret Schafer, a social media analyst for the group’s Alliance for Securing Democracy, said these accounts typically “hop on an existing bandwagon” to help boost the reach of hot-button political issues.
Social media posts about the migrant caravan have been particularly rife with misinformation. The network analysis firm Graphika studied 14,000 Twitter accounts that frequently posted about the caravan and found a high level of false and misleading information and images, including of the bloodied policeman. It also found that 22 percent of the posters showed signs of being bots, a term describing accounts that use automation software with minimal human control, signaling an unusually high level of manipulation of the caravan narrative.
“It’s a fantastic wedge issue that’s very close to the midterms and very easy to manipulate,” said Camille François, research and analysis director for Graphika
The Graphika analysis also showed that many accounts are spreading misleading information about the caravan and the attempted bomb attacks, often by using such popular hashtags as “jobsnotmobs,” popularized within the past week by President Trump.
Twitter suspended some accounts over the image of the bloodied policeman because of the coordinated efforts to spread it, the company said Wednesday, and Facebook made it less likely to spread on the platform after the fact-checking website Snopes labeled it misleading. The account of Thomas, who did not respond to requests for comment, remained active but the post was removed.
Albright, the research director for the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, traced the origin of false allegations about Soros’s funding the caravan to a number of tweets in March and early April. But just in the past few days, multiple posts have used identical language — “Well, now we know who is funding the caravan” — in pushing the claims about Soros.
Compared with disinformation spread by Russian operatives and others in 2016, Albright said, misleading information about the caravan is far more likely to spread among closed networks of influential social media accounts. Often, they use the same words and images copied repeatedly instead of targeting entire groups of people by demographic characteristics, as the Russians did.
“The method here is quite a bit more subversive,” Albright said. “It’s harder to pinpoint and take down.”
drew.harwell@washpost.com
tony.romm@washpost.com
craig.timberg@washpost.com
Andrew Ba Tran contributed to this report.

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TRUMP – Pinocchio to infinity. MA
Maria Pasquini, People 13 hours ago
On Wednesday, Donald Trump condemned the attempted pipe bomb attacks against multiple Democratic political figures and CNN headquarters and called for national unity. But so far the president has failed to take responsibility for the way his own words have a history of stirring up public resentment.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Trump traded in the combative language he normally directs at his political sparring partners to ask both sides of the nation’s political divide to come together against “these despicable acts.”
“I just want to tell you that in these times we have to unify,” he said. “We have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America.”
But the next day, Trump blamed the media for the surge of potentially dangerous mailings — saying the press was at fault for creating divisions in American society.
“A very big part of the anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the mainstream media that I refer to as fake news,” he tweeted. “It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream media must clean up its act, fast!”
One week earlier, Trump remarked during a campaign rally in Iowa that Democrats are “really evil people” who “want to destroy people.” During the same event, he also called the press “the enemy of the people.”
Echoing comments made by many on social media, Sen. Jeff Flake criticized the president for his many attacks on the press, saying they’ve had a negative influence on the public.
“What the president says matters, and if he were to take a more civil tone, it would make a difference,” Flake told CNN. “Civility can’t wait until after an election. The president shouldn’t refer to the press as the ‘enemy of the people.’ . . . People hear that and they follow it.”
On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the president and also took aim at the press.
“The president has condemned violence in all forms, has done that since Day 1, will continue to do that. But certainly feels that everyone has a role to play. But certainly feels that everyone has a role to play,” Sanders told reporters.
Asked whether the president regretted some of the strong words he’s used against his political adversaries, Sanders didn’t directly answer the question, instead remarking, “We should call out despicable acts, which is exactly what he has done over the last 24 hours.”
However, when asked by a CNN reporter about the president going so far as to call his opponents “evil,” she claimed that “it’s a word people have used on your network a number of times.
“You guys continue to focus only on the negative. There is a role to play,” she added. “Yesterday, the very first thing that the President did was come out and condemn the violence. The very first thing your network did was come out and accuse the president of being responsible for it. That is not okay. The first thing should have been to condemn the violence.”
So far, a total of at least 10 suspicious packages have been found, as a manhunt is underway for the sender. Previous packages have contained piped bombs packed with shards of glass, authorities have said. All have been disabled by police without any reported injuries.
Here’s a look at all of the ways Trump has insulted the Democrats who were targeted by pipe bombs this week.
Robert De Niro
The liberal actor and the president made headlines earlier this year for their mutual dislike of one another.
In March, during Trump’s first official trip to Los Angeles since his inauguration, the Goodfellas actor called Trump an “idiot” who “lacks any sense of humanity or compassion.”
Two days after the actor got a standing ovation at the Tony Awards for saying “f— Trump,” the president made it clear that the disdain was mutual.
Admitting to having watched the actor’s onstage appearance, Trump called De Niro “a very Low IQ individual” who had received too many “shots to the head by real boxers in movies.”
“I watched him last night and truly believe he may be ‘punch-drunk,’ ” Trump added.

Donald J. Trump
✔ @realDonaldTrump

Robert De Niro, a very Low IQ individual, has received too many shots to the head by real boxers in movies. I watched him last night and truly believe he may be “punch-drunk.” I guess he doesn’t…
4:40 AM – Jun 13, 2018

Barack Obama
Trump frequently attempts to place the blame for current political problems on his predecessor’s shoulders, and was also a leader of the “birther movement” to delegitimize the former president, but finally admitted — with little fanfare — in September that Obama was born in the U.S.
While his days in office may be over, Obama, 57, continues to advocate for Americans to vote for Democrats in the upcoming mid-term elections this November.
“Even if you don’t agree with me or Democrats on policy, even if you agree with more libertarian economic views, even if you are an evangelical and the position on social issues is a bridge too far,” he said last month. “I’m here to tell you that you should still be concerned and should still want to see a restoration of honesty and decency and lawfulness in our government.”
Trump and Biden, who may be facing each other in 2020, have a long history of trading insults.
Among his other criticisms, Biden has called the president a “joke” and called the Trump era “one of the most dangerous times in modern history.”
Trump has happily hit back. After Biden said he would have “beat the hell out of” Trump in high school for disrespecting women, Trump retaliated by calling Biden “crazy” and saying the former vice president would “go down fast and hard” in a fight.
Hillary Clinton
While on the campaign trail, Trump took every opportunity he could to criticize Clinton, whom he nicknamed “Crooked Hillary,” often leading crowds at rallies in a “Lock Her Up” chant.
Although Trump went on to defeat Clinton in the presidential election and the former secretary of state has not expressed a desire to run against him in 2020, he continues to rail against her. In fact, according to a January report from the Daily Beast, it was estimated that Trump mentioned Clinton “at least 229 times since taking office.”
Former Attorney General Eric Holder
Holder, who served as Obama’s Attorney General, drew criticism from Trump after remarking at a campaign event that when Republicans go low, “we kick them.”
Trump went on to call the comment “dangerous,” telling Fox News “he better be careful what he’s wishing for,” the Washington Examiner reported.
Former CIA Chief John Brennan
While Trump frequently rails against CNN on Twitter, the package containing a bomb that was found at the Time Warner Center, home to CNN’s N.Y.C. headquarters, was addressed to former CIA director John Brennan.
In one of his many tweets against Brennan, Trump tweeted out a quote he heard on Fox and Friends that claimed Brennan was a liar.
“John Brennan, no single figure in American history has done more to discredit the intelligence community than this liar. Not only is he a liar, he’s a liar about being a liar,” the tweet read.
Brennan, an analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, but not CNN, went on to slam Trump’s response to the pipe bombs. “Stop blaming others. Look in the mirror. Your inflammatory rhetoric, insults, lies, & encouragement of physical violence are disgraceful,” he remarked during an event in Texas on Wednesday, CNN reported.
George Soros

Donald J. Trump
✔ @realDonaldTrump

The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers
8:03 AM – Oct 5, 2018

The liberal philanthropist, who declared he thought Trump’s administration is “a danger to the world” in January, most recently drew criticism from Trump after two sexual assault survivors confronted Sen. Jeff Flake in an elevator, urging him to oppose the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Without proof, the president claimed Soros had “paid for” the protest. “The very rude elevator screams are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it!” Trump wrote on an inflammatory Twitter message.
Maxine Waters
The Democratic congresswoman, 80, and the president share an extremely antagonistic relationship.
In June, amid increased political unease stemming from Trump’s immigration policies, Waters encouraged constituents to confront “anybody” from the Trump administration if they were spotted in public, CNN reported. She also claimed that her criticism of Trump had resulted in death threats made against her.
In response, Trump christened her “Crazy Maxine Waters, said by some to be one of the most corrupt people in politics.”

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TOTUS is deflecting as usual, the “stable genius” seems to have forgotten his part in these actions. the name calling, the “lock her up” shouts and the derisive words used by him at his rallies. This is typical of a consummate liar and miscreant. MA 

John Wagner 4 hrs ago
President Trump doubled down Thursday on blaming the media for the nation’s incivility, as suspicious packages sent by a suspected serial bomber continued to target Trump’s outspoken critics.
“A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News,” the president said in a morning tweet. “It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”
Trump’s tweet was sent amid television coverage of police in New York swarming a block in Lower Manhattan after receiving reports of a suspicious package at a building where actor Robert De Niro has offices. The package was addressed to De Niro, who attacked Trump in June during a profane presentation at the Tony Awards.
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Investigators later found a package addressed to former vice president Joe Biden in a Delaware mail facility that was like the other pipe bombs found this week, according to a law enforcement official.
Trump also took aim at the media on Wednesday night, speaking at a political rally in central Wisconsin after a string of homemade bombs were sent to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, former president Barack Obama and others.
During the rally, Trump was relatively subdued as he spoke, interrupted himself several times to point out that he was “trying to be nice” and took no responsibility for his own role in contributing to the country’s degraded civic discourse.
“The media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative — and oftentimes, false — attacks and stories,” Trump said at the rally.
In an apparent swipe at Democrats, Trump also denounced those who “carelessly compare political opponents to historical villains” and who “mob people in public places or destroy public property.”
The president has long made the media a target of his ire, denouncing reporters as the “enemy of the people.”
The targets of suspicious packages in recent days have all been derided by Trump as well. After De Niro attacked him in June, Trump fired back on Twitter, calling him a “very Low IQ individual” who had taken “too many shots to the head by real boxers in movies.”
One of the undetonated devices was found Wednesday at CNN’s New York headquarters. It was addressed to former CIA director John O. Brennan. Since leaving the government, he has been an outspoken critic of Trump; he is an on-air analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, rather than CNN.
On Thursday, Brennan responded to Trump’s tweet with a scathing tweet of his own.
“Stop blaming others,” Brennan said. “Look in the mirror. Your inflammatory rhetoric, insults, lies, & encouragement of physical violence are disgraceful. Clean up your act. … try to act Presidential. The American people deserve much better. BTW, your critics will not be intimidated into silence.”
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) also condemned the president’s tweet.
“Rise up, America,” he said on Twitter. “The President of the United States is now blaming the attempted murder of Democrats on press criticism of him. I didn’t think his narcissism could sink to this ugly of a place. But it has.”
During an interview Thursday morning on Fox News, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders stressed that Trump has condemned the actions of the suspected bomber and said that he “could not have been more presidential” in addressing the crisis on Wednesday.
Asked by a Fox News host if Trump could go “the extra mile” to foster more civil political discourse, Sanders said: “Look, the president did exactly that last night.”
She argued that Trump has an obligation as president to point out differences in policy between the two major political parties.
“There is a major political, philosophical difference between Democrats and Republicans, and there’s nothing wrong with pointing those differences out,” Sanders said. “There is something wrong with taking that to a point of violence.”
Sanders also pushed back on a stinging statement by CNN World President Jeff Zucker hours after the package sent to Brennan led to the evacuation of the network’s staff from the Time Warner Center in Manhattan.
“There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media,” Zucker said. “The President, and especially the White House Press Secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that.”
On Thursday, Sanders said she found it “absolutely disgraceful that one of the first public statements we heard from CNN yesterday was to put the blame and the responsibility of this despicable act on the president and on me personally when the person who is responsible for this is the person who made and created and put these suspicious packages in the hands and in the arms of innocent American citizens.”
Josh Dawsey and Felicia Sonmez contributed to this report.

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POLITICS 10/22/2018 04:27 pm ET

By Jonathan Cohn
The Republican Party’s assault on the Affordable Care Act continued Monday as the Trump administration found yet another way to undermine the law’s insurance rules.
Health care has become a defining issue of next month’s midterm elections, and Republicans across the country, including President Donald Trump, are promising voters that they care deeply about protecting people with pre-existing conditions.
But Monday’s rule change almost certainly means that, overall, people with serious medical problems are likely to have a harder time finding coverage ― and, ultimately, paying their medical bills.
Under guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services that takes effect immediately but likely won’t affect insurance markets for another year, state governments will have new leeway to request waivers from some of the federal health care law’s core requirements.
That includes requirements affecting which benefits insurance plans cover, as well as requirements on who gets financial assistance and how much, and how the people choosing insurance can use that assistance.
It’s a complicated set of changes, but it means that some residents of states seeking the waivers could end up with easier access to cheaper, skimpier health plans, providing an alternative to those who cannot afford to pay for comprehensive coverage that the Affordable Care Act has made available.
The Trump administration is touting this possibility as proof that it is improving choice and affordability ― and, in the words of Seema Verma, the Trump administration official in charge of overseeing federal health programs, that it is working to “mitigate the damage of Obamacare.”
Verma, who addressed reporters in a conference call Monday, insisted that the new rules would not hurt people with pre-existing conditions. In so doing, she echoed claims that Trump and countless Republican candidates for federal and state office have made with increasing insistence over the past few weeks, as their longstanding support for repealing the Affordable Care Act has become a clear, possibly fatal political liability.
But this latest regulatory change is a reminder that the GOP has never given up on its goal of wiping “Obamacare” off the books, and that people with serious medical problems are likely to suffer as a result.
Comprehensive coverage will be more expensive for those who need it most.
Sabrina Corlette, research professor, Georgetown University
The less generous plans that Verma and the Trump administration are touting, and that Monday’s rule change will favor, frequently leave beneficiaries exposed to catastrophic costs if they get seriously sick or injured, precisely because they leave out benefits that people need when they have serious medical problems. Often, the buyers of these plans aren’t even aware of the limits until it’s too late, because deciphering the fine print of these plans is so difficult.
And people who want or need comprehensive insurance ― say, because they have diabetes or are cancer survivors ― are likely to have a harder time getting such coverage, because of how the markets will change.
“This new guidance allows states to set up parallel insurance markets that may be able to attract healthy people with plans that have lower premiums but fewer consumer protections, leaving ACA plans with a sicker pool and higher premiums,” Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, told HuffPost on Monday.
Levitt called the regulatory change “a major end run around the health law.”
The change raises the stakes on the 2018 midterms, because it means, among other things, that state officials, many of whom appear on this year’s ballot, will have even more power to shape (and reshape) their health care markets.
“Some states will keep working to expand coverage to the uninsured and keep it affordable and adequate, [and] in other states we’ll see a race to deregulate, with the result that comprehensive coverage will be more expensive for those who need it most,” Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at Georgetown University, said.
The GOP’s Obamacare Sabotage Campaign
Monday’s announcement represents the latest in a series of GOP efforts to accomplish through regulation what Republicans could not accomplish through legislation when they tried, and just barely failed, to pass legislation that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act outright.
These steps include dramatic cuts in funding for enrollment outreach and promotion, as well as a change in federal regulations that will allow people to hold on to limited-benefit, “short-term” plans for nearly three years. That change, along with repeal of the individual mandate’s financial penalty for people who don’t have comprehensive coverage, makes these short-term plans a more viable alternative for people.
These plans typically cover a lot less than the sorts of plans available through the Affordable Care Act. They may have weak coverage of prescriptions, if they have any at all, and leave out mental health altogether. Usually they do not cover pre-existing conditions and are often not available to people who have them.

Seema Verma, the Trump administration official who oversees federal health programs, says Monday’s rule change will give states more flexibility. The question is how much flexibility, whether it’s consistent with the law and ultimately how it would affect consumers.
All of this means the plans come with low premiums. But Monday’s announcement means that the less generous plans could become cheaper still ― and thus more attractive ― because states would have authority to redirect financial assistance. Today, the Affordable Care Act’s tax credits are available only to people who buy comprehensive coverage.
This guidance suggests the federal government will allow states to “target” assistance differently, as Verma confirmed Monday, which could mean giving people more assistance if they buy short-term or other alternative plans ― and less assistance if they stick with comprehensive coverage.
States have always had some flexibility to request these sorts of waivers, of course. But when the Obama administration was in charge, it set clear limits on state action. To get waiver approval, states had to demonstrate that residents wouldn’t end up with worse coverage as a result.
The Trump administration guidance means that it can interpret the law’s rules more loosely, in ways that will effectively let people move into less comprehensive coverage ― even though that means more exposure to medical bills.
“The guidance under Obama… meant that a state’s plan couldn’t result in fewer people enrolled in affordable, comprehensive coverage,” Corlette explained. “This new guidance is saying that so long as people in the state have ‘access’ to [comprehensive] coverage, it doesn’t matter what they actually do… If un-insurance spikes or there’s a big movement to [less comprehensive plans] a state won’t get dinged for that.”
Corlette noted that the Obama administration insisted that state waivers not hurt certain vulnerable populations, including those with severe medical needs. “This is saying that so long as things work out in the aggregate, then it’s OK if certain subpopulations are harmed,” she said.
Obamacare’s Problems And Two Visions For Fixing Them
The high cost of insurance, even with the Affordable Care Act in place, has been a major source of discontent with the law, especially among people in relatively good health who were able to purchase insurance previously ― and who had to pay more after the law took effect, because insurers for the first time were covering bills from people with severe medical needs.
The majority of consumers get tax credits that discount premiums, sometimes so deeply that coverage is basically free, and that’s one reason that the number of people without insurance has fallen to historic lows while access to care appears to have improved. But plenty of middle- and upper-income people are stuck paying more ― and in some cases coverage is now flat-out unaffordable.
Many of these people remember, angrily, the promise from President Barack Obama that they could keep their old plans if they liked them. And in states like Iowa, which have some of the highest rates for unsubsidized customers, GOP state officials have been among the most aggressive in seeking ways to weaken or eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s rules.
Officials in both parties have said this is a major problem they want to address. Democrats have proposed a variety of options, all of which entail some combination of bolstering the Affordable Care Act’s financial assistance, using government to control prices and creating new public plans that can offer alternative coverage.
Republicans have rejected all of those options, arguing that they would entail too much taxation, spending or regulation ― and ultimately do more harm than good. Their preferred strategy is to roll back the law’s existing regulations and, in many cases, reduce financial assistance. Monday’s action is consistent with that approach.
In fact, although Verma said a major goal of Monday’s guidance was to give states more flexibility, the guidance states explicitly that state waiver applications should “foster health coverage through competitive private coverage… over public programs.”
Some of the administration’s decisions have actually made it easier for people to buy comprehensive coverage, although by all accounts that was not intentional. In particular, the administration’s decision to yank some of the subsidies that insurers get under the law ended up making coverage more affordable for some buyers, because it meant they were eligible for more financial assistance. But the administration has not stopped trying ― and that includes through the courts.
At the moment, a federal judge in Texas is considering a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act that GOP officials in 20 states launched. The Trump administration, rather than defending the federal law as administrations normally do in such circumstances, filed a brief in support of the plaintiff’s claim about the law’s constitutionality.
Last month, consumer and patient advocates launched a lawsuit of their own, arguing that some of the Trump administration’s rule changes violate the Affordable Care Act’s coverage guarantees. It’s not clear whether the changes the administration announced Monday will provoke similar lawsuits, or how vulnerable the rule change could be.

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