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After having a conversation with an acquaintance this morning, I am claiming a minor political victory. The conversation was with an avid Trumper and dyed in the wool GOP (Dupublicans) member. The conversation began with the statement that “Scamocrats” ( Democrats) were going to jail based on ludicrous information derived from the Mueller report (odd connection). I then explained that for the past 25 to 30 years our politics have been fraught with poor representation from both major parties and we all should abandon party line politics. The exceptions on both sides have been few but effective in several cases. I stated that TOTUS’s election served to lay bare the poor Congressional representation we currently have and have had.  This conversation has reinforced my thinking that we are being entertained into poor voting choices. Mass media has given us many ways to get information and misinformation. Unfortunately, in entertainment, the truth is rarely found as it is an art form and not required to be entirely truthful. Our politics have become art in its lowest form while entertaining to some inspires no honest thought provocation on behalf of the recipient. Remember that “Botch” McConnell is turtle slow walking all legislation that he doesn’t halt altogether. It is evident to anyone of reasonable intelligence that our Congress is brought to its knees by the leaders who we apparently side with through our silence and ignorance.

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“Clinkers” is an understatement for a “Stable genius” MA.

Alexander Nazaryan

National Correspondent, Yahoo News•June 6, 2019

Yahoo News photo Illustration; photos: AP, Getty ImagesFrom left: Attorney General William Barr, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: AP, Getty Images)

Adapted from “The Best People: Trump’s Cabinet and the Siege on Washington” by Alexander Nazaryan. Copyright © 2019. Available from Hachette Books, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

They were the best people, the finest in the land, tasked with returning the nation to greatness. Only some of them had fallen by the wayside. They had not known it was improper to secretly communicate with Russian diplomats during the presidential transition (national security adviser Michael Flynn, 24 days in the Trump administration); they had not figured that good-government types might get to asking questions about $25,000 flights between Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia (Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, 231 days).

Yet even as the total number of inquiries and investigations into his Cabinet approached 50, Trump retained unwavering — or at least apparently unwavering — confidence in the men and women he said, during the presidential campaign, would be far superior to the public servants who came before them.

That much was clear when I spoke to Trump in February in the Oval Office.

A sheet of paper lay on a strikingly barren Resolute desk, which Trump appeared to use only for ceremonial occasions. With some weariness — the dinner hour was drawing close, dusk settling over the South Lawn — he picked up the sheet and began reading.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “has been fantastic.”

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao: “has been great.”

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta: “has been great.”

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson: “has done a very good job.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar: “fantastic.”

Energy Secretary Rick Perry: “has been great.”

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue: “he’s been great.”

Attorney General William Barr: “will be … really outstanding.”

White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney: “People are liking him a lot. I think he’s doing a good job. I’m very happy with him.”

The Cabinet, of course, was much bigger than that. Some of the men and women Trump declined to mention had clearly fallen out of favor. He had, for example, utterly lost faith in Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary (“He’s just not tough,” former chief political strategist Steve Bannon told me of Ross, lack of toughness being one of the worst sins in Trumpworld.) And he had little respect for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who had only gotten the job because she was connected and rich.

Still, the eternal salesman had to make the sale. Raised on Norman Vincent Peale’s “power positive thinking” quasi-philosophy, the president was attempting to convince both of us that his people really were the best people, even as evidence to the contrary presented itself daily in the form of damning news reports, mystifying congressional testimony and ethics reports that read like treatments for Mafia movies.

“There are those that say we have one of the finest Cabinets,” Trump claimed. That is not a commonly held view. In fact, it is difficult to think of anyone even halfway credible — Republican or Democrat — who has said anything approaching that. Even some of Trump’s most ardent supporters have expressed dismay at the people he has hired, which is why it fell to Fox News primetime anchor Laura Ingraham to push Trump to fire Scott Pruitt, the impressively corrupt administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Trump admitted that, during the presidential transition, he allowed himself to be influenced by outside groups, whether the Heritage Foundation or energy magnate Robert Murray. “I wouldn’t say that I agreed with all of the people,” he told me, “but I let them make their decision. In some cases, I was right.”

As for the other cases?

Well, he left that unsaid.

Once he got into office, Trump quickly signed a stern ethics order that seemed to close the notorious revolving door that allowed people to move freely between working for the federal government and lobbying the federal government on behalf of private interests. But he just as quickly granted waivers that allowed political appointees to violate the rules that Trump had just put in place. Promising to drain the swamp, he merely stirred its murky surface.

When I confronted him with this fact, Trump bristled. “We need certain people to run the country well, at the top level,” he argued. “We have granted waivers. How often do we grant waivers? Have you seen? Not too much, right?” At the same time, he seemed clearly discomfited by the fact that where Trump saw a political movement, others saw nothing but a means for profit. He did not know, for example, that Ryan Zinke, the interior secretary he had fired the previous December, had joined Turnberry Solutions, a Capitol Hill lobbying firm started by Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager.“I didn’t know that Zinke…” Trump began.Yahoo News photo Illustration; photos: AP, Getty Images

In fact, Trump didn’t know at all about the existence Turnberry Solutions. “That’s an interesting name,” he said sharply. The name was interesting because Turnberry was also the name of a Trump-owned golf course in Scotland. Nobody who wanted to exert influence in Washington would have missed the association. “That’s amazing,” the president said, though his amazement was plainly not of the felicitous variety.

Trump tried to rationalize how Zinke becoming a lobbyist did not fly in the face of the promises he had made as a candidate. “I guess you can’t stop people from going out and doing what they do,” the president said. “In some cases, they’ve been here from day one, when people said I didn’t have much of a chance. Then they work for years. Then all of a sudden they’re in a position where people are calling them because they think they’re geniuses and they want them to work for them. That’s been going on from George Washington until the present, let’s face it. That’s what happens.”

Zinke wasn’t the only one. A few days before we spoke, ProPublica had found that there were 33 former Trump administration officials who were either lobbying the federal government or were more or less doing the work of a lobbyist without actually registering as such. And it was true that lobbying was old as the republic itself, but had not Trump’s promise been that his administration would be unlike any other? He wanted to claim that he was exceptional, except for those instances when it suited him to claim that he was just like his predecessors.

There was also the matter of more than 100 key administration positions that remained unfilled. These needed Senate confirmation, and though some nominees have withdrawn, many of those positions never had a nominee in the first place, allowing some agencies and departmental offices to languish like unwatered plants.

Trump contradicted this, unsurprisingly, because it did not fit his radiant vision of his own administration, however warped that vision was. “I have 10 people for every job,” he added. “The hard part is choosing, because I have great people.”

Trump did allow that there been “some clinkers,” by which he presumably meant people like EPA administrator Pruitt and HHS head Price, both of whom left the administration in disgrace, as did several other of their colleagues.

“But that’s OK,” he said of hiring men and women who turned out to be less than they seemed and less than he’d hoped. “Who doesn’t?” True enough. But there’s a difference between a clinker and a charlatan, a man who is no good at his job and a man who sets out to do that job poorly.

“It’s very difficult for people,” Trump said, as if feeling the need to apologize for some of the people who work or once worked for him (not that the president ever actually apologizes). “Some people can’t take it. As much as they want to, they can’t take it.” Conversely, some thought that Trump’s people have done rather too much taking, not nearly enough giving of the kind public service usually demands.

He later acknowledged that “some of them got burned out.” That seemed closer to the truth, if not quite all the way there.

As our conversation came to its close, Trump complained about the books that had been written about him, which he said were uniformly unfair, though he also did not appear to have read any of them. He called Michael Wolff “a dopey guy,” referring to the journalist’s book as “Sound and Fury,” apparently conflating Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” with a William Faulkner novel.

Trump also became upset at senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, who was sitting in on the meeting, for apparently keeping Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward from interviewing the president for his own book “Fear,” which was also critical of Trump. “Kellyanne didn’t tell me he asked 10 times for a meeting. I wish she did,” he said bitterly of Conway. “I’m sure it would have been a little bit of a different book.” This obviously bothered him. “You should have told me,” he went on. Honestly, you should have told me.”

Conway just sat there, taking it as she has doubtlessly taken it from the boss many times before. You couldn’t last in this administration unless you were willing to take it daily, take with a smile and a “yessir,” take it even while knowing that much of the country loathed you, considered you complicit in one of the great political crimes in American history. And you would take it in this way that Conway was taking it now only if you truly believed in the man who was giving it, in his vision for the country. Unless, of course, there was something in it for you. There was that too sometimes.

It was now late afternoon, a winter dark descending on Washington. On Capitol Hill, members of Congress were debating Trump’s declaration of an emergency at the border with Mexico, and outside the gates of the White House, protesters were denouncing the same, mingling with religious pamphleteers and tourists in “Make America Great Again” hats. On any given day, you could stand out on Pennsylvania Avenue and watch the gorgeous squalor that was American democracy at work. If you stood there long enough, you might be converted into a Jehovah’s Witness, or a member of the anti-Trump resistance, but would you be any closer to understanding what all of it meant, what any of it meant?

These were questions for another time. I rose to go.

“Get the hell out of here, now,” the president told me. “All right. Good. Have a good time.”

 

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Let us not forget to “Baby Proof the world” MA.

POLITICS 06/02/2019 09:13 pm ET Updated 21 hours ago
Pentagon Reaffirms ‘Mandate’ To White House That Military ‘Will Not Be Politicized’
The message from acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan directly contradicts Mick Mulvaney’s claim that efforts to hide USS John McCain were “not unreasonable.”

By Mary Papenfuss
The Pentagon has delivered a stark warning directly to the White House that the military “will not be politicized” following the administration’s efforts to hide the USS John McCain during President Donald Trump’s trip to Japan.
The Pentagon’s message contradicts claims Sunday by acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney that attempts to hide the USS McCain to assuage Trump’s feelings were “not unreasonable.”
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Friday ordered his chief of staff, Eric Chewning, to speak with the White House military office to “reaffirm his mandate that the Department of Defense will not be politicized,” Shanahan spokesman Lt. Col. Joseph Buccino told The Associated Press Sunday. The message was delivered.
Shanahan revealed to journalists that the White House request was made directly to officials of the Navy’s Seventh Fleet, CNN reported. Shanahan, who spoke to reporters as he flew to South Korea Sunday, said he had not talked to the president about the controversial issue.
The U.S. Navy confirmed Friday that the White House Military Office wanted to “minimize the visibility” of the USS John McCain when Trump was in Japan because of the contentious relationship between the president and the late Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain. The ship is named for McCain, a decorated Navy veteran, as well as for his father and his grandfather, who were both admirals.
Shanahan also told reporters that he had a private phone conversation with McCain’ wife, Cindy McCain, about the situation, but did not reveal details.
The effort to hide or move the Navy ship was first reported by The Wall Street Journal last week. Trump said he knew “nothing” about the efforts, but said whoever was responsible for the effort was “well-meaning.”
Shanahan told reporters he won’t call for an investigation by the Pentagon’s internal watchdog “right now” because “nothing was carried out” to hide the USS McCain, despite White House requests.
But Shanahan is still looking into what happened. He plans to talk to Navy officials again when he returns to Washington. “How did the people receiving the information — how did they treat it?” Shanahan intends to determine, he told reporters. “That would give me an understanding on the next steps” to take, he added, the AP reported.
Shanahan said nothing was done to hide or move the ship. A tarp over the name (a photo of which appeared in the Journal) was removed before Trump’s visit, according to Shanahan. He said the tarp was initially erected for “hull preservation” during ship repairs.
Ship personnel — whose uniform hats carry the name of the USS McCain — were given a 96-hour shore leave during Trump’s visit. But Shanahan has said that was not connected to the White House request.
Mulvaney shrugged off concerns about the extraordinary incident on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday and said it would be “silly” to think anyone would be fired for trying to hide a Navy ship and its personnel because of a political rift and a miffed president.
He speculated that some young member of the advance team took it upon himself to arrange moving the ship to make the president happy, which was “not an unreasonable thing to do,” he said.
Shanahan said publicly on Friday: “Our business is to run military operations and not to become politicized.”

A defense official told the AP that Shanahan is considering sending out formal guidelines to military units to avoid similar problems in the future.


In reading this article I was struck by the thought that this person was just another part of the grand chaos of this adminstration.MA

Justin Sink 7 hrs ago
(Bloomberg) — Kevin Hassett, a fixture of conservative economic circles for two decades who vigorously defended President Donald Trump’s signature tax cuts, will soon be leaving his role as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
“Kevin Hassett, who has done such a great job for me and the Administration, will be leaving shortly,” Trump tweeted Sunday night after leaving for the U.K. “His very talented replacement will be named as soon as I get back to the U.S. I want to thank Kevin for all he has done — he is a true friend!”
Hassett, 57, who directed economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute before joining the administration, regularly credited the overhaul of the tax code with boosting financial markets and wages during television appearances and media briefings.
He provided relentlessly positive economic analysis, served as a booster for the president’s trade policies and was well liked at the White House. Hassett thrived despite initial skepticism from hardliners within Trump’s circle who were upset when he was first appointed because of his past support for immigration as a driver of economic growth.
But Hassett’s influence within the West Wing appeared tempered by a president who regularly bases policy decisions on gut feelings rather than detailed statistical analyses. His post was downgraded from a cabinet-level position, as it had been under recent presidents.
Hassett’s tenure was also marred by occasional factual miscues and the decision to quibble with traditional statistics that didn’t support Trump’s claims of historic economic growth. His office has regularly promoted alternative measures to data produced by the Congressional Budget Office, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau on key issues including wages, inflation, poverty and deficits, while complaining about outside analyses that showed the president’s trade conflicts hurting the economy.
Last year, Hassett told CNN that the economics team at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. “almost at times looks like the Democratic opposition” after the bank’s strategists estimated that Trump’s tariffs could hurt corporate earnings next year.
And other claims have proven inaccurate. In August, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump had tripled Obama’s eight-year job creation record for black workers in just 18 months, quoting inaccurate numbers. She later issued a correction, and Hassett apologized for the error.
Earlier in the year, Trump posted a false statistic on Twitter comparing U.S. gross domestic product to unemployment. Hassett said he didn’t know how the error was made.
“I’m not the chairman of the Council of Twitter Advisers,” he said.
–With assistance from Josh Wingrove.
To contact the reporter on this story: Justin Sink in Washington at jsink1@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at awayne3@bloomberg.net, Justin Blum, Daniel Ten Kate

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Continuing drama from our “Government” is more “entertainment” than substance. The current 1600 resident is so far out of his depth that a stepladder is required to keep the nose above water. The reason TOTUS is in place is lack of voters will to exercise their privilege of voting. Low voter turnout is the primary reason for this Presidency and its subsequent poor decisions. The stable genius has brought the wrong people into a respected office to do his bidding which is informed by misinformation and prejudice. This perfect storm of intolerance and mismanagement is aided by a neer do well congress who are looking out for themselves, not the voters who put them in office. What DJT has shown us (if you are paying attention) is that our long-serving Congress is essentially as prolific in misinformation and misrepresentation as our 1600 Pennsylvania resident. Staring with the first election cycle voters need to start replacing the longtime seat fillers with new people and be willing to replace them when needed. WE will never achieve better government until we vote for people who will do the work. We need to keep an eye on the lies and know the difference between them and the truth.

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With 24 Scamocrats vying for the nomination to run against TOTUS for the Presidency, there appears to be no common message across the group. Would it be practical or sensible to create a common narrative along with the party line (if there is one)?  The liars all follow the same lies up and own the ticket. If the Scamocrats followed the same formula perhaps more people would understand what their message is. A common message has more staying power than 25 different ones. Remembering that TOTUS has used the same lies time after time with great success and has an administration that carries the same message on a daily basis. TOTUS has well-known personalities who back him and advise him unofficially on air and in print. This is not to say that the Scamocrats have to follow the same route of using Opinionators but using the same message will create a cohesive block that is capable of winning in a big way. The current administration has brought spin to new heights and has no compunction in continuing lies even after being proven wrong. I would suggest that the defeat of a liar is the truth .

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lying .


Mark Landler and Eileen Sullivan
9 hrs ago

WASHINGTON — The White House’s directive to hide a Navy destroyer named after Senator John McCain during President Trump’s recent visit to a naval base in Japan was driven, administration officials said on Thursday, by a fear of bad visuals — the name of the president’s nemesis clearly visible in photographs of him.
In truth, it would have been a bad visual for only one person: Mr. Trump.
Yet an effort to airbrush an American warship by covering its name with a giant tarp and then hiding it with a barge demonstrates how anxious the Trump administration has become about the grudges of the president. It also shows the extraordinary lengths officials in the bureaucracy are willing to go to avoid provoking Mr. Trump.
Sailors from the McCain were not invited to Mr. Trump’s speech on another ship, the Wasp, at the Yokosuka Naval Base, although crew members from most other American ships at the base were, a Navy service member based at Yokosuka said.
When several sailors from the McCain — wearing uniforms that bore the ship’s name and insignia — turned up anyway at the Wasp to hear Mr. Trump’s speech, they were turned away, the service member said. The service member, who requested anonymity because he was not allowed to speak publicly, said that a gate guard told the two sailors they were not allowed on the Wasp because they were from the McCain.
The hide-the-ship scheme, which Mr. Trump insisted he knew nothing about but called a “well meaning” gesture, drew a torrent of criticism on Thursday from retired military officers. They said it was an egregious attempt to politicize the armed forces, while Democratic lawmakers termed it petty vindictiveness against a dead war hero.
The episode came at the end of a visit in which Mr. Trump had already sided with a foreign dictator against his national security adviser over the threat posed by North Korean missiles, and joined the North Korean regime in heaping ridicule on a former vice president, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The email instructing the Navy to obscure the ship, the John S. McCain, came from the White House military operations office, after consultation with a White House advance team working in Japan, according to an administration official. The Navy initially complied with the order by hanging a tarp over the ship’s name. But higher-level officers got wind of the plan and ordered the tarp removed and the barge moved before Mr. Trump arrived.
“It sounds like someone in the chain of command made a boneheaded mistake in judgment,” said Jack Keane, a retired Army general who advises Mr. Trump and said he once tried to broker a reconciliation between him and Mr. McCain.
It is not clear, in any event, if Mr. Trump even saw the McCain during his brief visit. He arrived in Yokosuka on Marine One, and addressed the sailors in a hangar bay below decks on the Wasp.
The acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, has denied knowing about the White House directive. But questions about why the Navy has acquiesced to it are likely to dog Mr. Shanahan when he goes before the Senate for his confirmation hearing in the coming weeks.
Mr. Trump is not the first president to politicize the military: George W. Bush famously landed on the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and spoke to sailors under a banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” during the Iraq war. Nor is he the first president to nurse grudges: Richard M. Nixon once ordered a reference to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” deleted from a speech because it was a “Kennedy song,” played at the funeral of Robert F. Kennedy.
But Mr. Trump has taken both habits to greater extremes. Some of the nearly 1,000 sailors and Marines at his speech in Japan wore round patches emblazoned with a likeness of Mr. Trump and the words “Make Aircrew Great Again” — a play on his campaign slogan — on their flight suits.
Critics said Mr. Trump’s animus for Mr. McCain set off a cascade of decisions by lower-level officials that not only dishonored the senator’s memory but also disrespected the sailors who serve on the McCain. In addition to Mr. McCain, the ship is named after his grandfather, John S. McCain Sr., a Navy admiral during World War II, and his father, John S. McCain Jr., an admiral in the Vietnam War era.
“It’s beyond petty,” Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said in a statement. “It’s disgraceful, and the White House should be embarrassed.”
The McCain had already suffered tragedy. The ship, which fired missiles during the Iraq war and survived cat-and-mouse games with Chinese vessels in the South China Sea, was docked at the base in Yokosuka for repairs after a deadly crash off the coasts of Singapore and Malaysia in August 2017, when it collided with a merchant marine vessel. Ten sailors died in the accident.
Mr. McCain took a personal interest in the ship, visiting it in 2015 in Vietnam, where he had been held as a prisoner of war. Cmdr. Micah Murphy, who took command of the ship after the accident, once served as a legislative fellow to the senator. He declined to comment on Thursday.
Mr. Trump said he would not have ordered the ship to be hidden, but he declined to apologize to the sailors who had been kept out of his speech. And he expressed sympathy for the motivations of his staff.
“Now, somebody did it because they thought I didn’t like him, O.K.?” Mr. Trump told reporters. “They were well meaning, I will say. I didn’t know anything about it. I would never have done that.”
“So, I wasn’t a fan of John McCain — I never will be,” he added. “But certainly, I couldn’t care less whether or not there’s a boat named after his father.”
Mr. Trump repeated his reasons for why he disliked Mr. McCain.
“John McCain killed health care for the Republican Party, and he killed health care for the nation,” Mr. Trump said, a reference to the late senator’s critical vote against the president’s health care proposal in July 2017.
Critics faulted Mr. Trump for what they said was a petty war of words against Mr. McCain, who died last year of brain cancer. They also derided him for what they said were his attempts to divide the military.
“We have a long history of keeping our military apolitical,” said Representative Elissa Slotkin, a Michigan Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee who is a former Pentagon official. “The president’s team felt it was appropriate to politicize this event.”
The email from the White House urging the Navy to move the McCain or make sure it was out of sight put officials in a difficult position. The McCain is still undergoing repairs, and moving it from its berth would be tremendously difficult, time consuming and set back the repair schedule.
Navy officials struggled to explain why a tarp was hung over the ship’s name, and later, where the president was scheduled to visit. The tarp, they said, was part of efforts to repair the hull; the barge was a painting barge.
But other officials offered a different account. They said the initial decisions were made by midlevel officers in Japan, working with the White House advance team. The tarp and barge were removed after more senior Navy officials, in Japan and at the Indo-Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii, thought better of complying with the White House request.
There were similar questions about the status of the sailors. Two ships at the base did not participate in the president’s visit: the McCain and the Stethem. Their sailors were given 96-hour weekend liberty for Memorial Day. Sailors from the other ships did not get the long liberty.
Officials claimed there was not room for all of the sailors to hear Mr. Trump on the Wasp, an amphibious assault vessel. But they did not explain why the McCain and Stethem were excluded, arguing only that ships were selected to have a broad representation of the sailors on the base. The Navy said that if any sailors were turned away from the Wasp, it was because the space on that ship was scarce.
Defenders of Mr. Trump said it was hard to imagine that he would penalize sailors because of his feelings for Mr. McCain.
“I expect he would see the sailors on the ship and want to talk to them,” Mr. Keane said, “and deflect the fact that the ship is named after Senator McCain.”
But other former military officers were withering in their condemnation of the White House and of the Navy’s role. Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired Army general who served in the Clinton administration, said on Twitter that if Mr. Shanahan knew about the White House’s order, he should resign.
Democrats vying to challenge Mr. Trump in 2020 lost no time in seizing on the episode.
“John McCain was a war hero, should be treated as a war hero — anything less than that is beneath anyone who doesn’t treat him that way,” Mr. Biden said to reporters in Delaware.
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, said: “This is not a show. Our military is not a prop. Ships and sailors are not to be toyed with for the benefit of a fragile president’s ego.”

Meghan McCain
✔ @MeghanMcCain

Trump is a child who will always be deeply threatened by the greatness of my dads incredible life. There is a lot of criticism of how much I speak about my dad, but nine months since he passed, Trump won’t let him RIP. So I have to stand up for him.

It makes my grief unbearable.

Rebecca Ballhaus
✔ @rebeccaballhaus
NEW: The White House wanted the USS John McCain “out of sight” for Trump’s visit to Japan. A tarp was hung over the ship’s name ahead of the trip, and sailors—who wear caps bearing the ship’s name—were given the day off for Trump’s visit. w/@gluboldhttps://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-wanted-uss-john-mccain-out-of-sight-during-trump-japan-visit-11559173470?emailToken=ca887c08f025f5a5b7a01dbde32c838etBzq0FwbTXJrUQ8MUigaUjoAwWzGVOHT66U4wF7JggEVN49VMPJcywDwL4QIC90yIeTde53bioBxoijKFGMKce+lggzjkFmquqfBI+eoiwkN6qJGKPyIRwCj2ZtjqkkRe2VMQFp9bRWUdJs0k7z4QA%3D%3D&reflink=article_imessage_share …
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Reporting was contributed by Eric Schmitt, Annie Karni, Julian E. Barnes, John Ismay, Emily Cochrane and Noah Weiland from Washington, and Helene Cooper from Singapore.

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Speech by a smart person highlighting future paths for Graduates. MA

Deirdre Fernandes 8 hrs ago

CAMBRIDGE — German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered a sharp and not-so-veiled rebuke of President Trump and his brand of nationalism during her commencement speech at Harvard University on Thursday.

Merkel never mentioned Trump by name, but warned graduating students of the dangers of building walls and approaching the world’s problems — from climate change and trade to terrorism and forced migration — with an isolationist, go-it-yourself philosophy.
“Tear down walls of ignorance and narrow-mindedness,” Merkel told a sea of Harvard students and their family members, alumni, and university leaders who gathered for the annual rite of passage. “Changes for the better are possible if we tackle them together. . . . Take joint action in the interests of the multilateral, global world.”

Merkel, who has served as chancellor since 2005 and announced that she will step down in 2021, has a fraught relationship with Trump. They have clashed on issues of trade and immigration, with Trump threatening tariffs on European cars because of the trade imbalance between the countries. Trump has also taken to Twitter to suggest that Merkel is “ruining Germany.”
On Thursday, Merkel argued that protectionism and trade conflicts jeopardize both countries and “the very foundations of our prosperity.”
She also took what was seen by many in the audience as an apparent dig at Trump’s frequent and often unrestrained Twitter postings, and urged graduates to “take a moment to stop, be still, think, pause. Certainly, that takes courage,” Merkel said to a rousing ovation from the crowd. “That requires us not to describe lies as truth and truth as lies.”
Merkel was one of nine notable figures to receive an honorary degree from Harvard during its 368th commencement ceremony events this week. The German leader, who grew up in East Germany before the country was unified and who was trained as a chemist, is considered one of the most powerful politicians in Europe.
Her presence was also a reminder of how far Europe and the United States have come in a couple of generations. Merkel reminded students that her parents were about their age at the end of Hitler’s reign, and she spoke in front of Harvard President Lawrence Bacow, who is Jewish and whose mother survived the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Merkel, who spoke mostly in German and used a translator, spent much of her speech reflecting on her career and her country’s transformation this past century. She noted that post-war Germany was shaped at a Harvard commencement ceremony more than 70 years ago, when retired General George Marshall gave a short speech outlining a massive aid plan for Europe that helped turn Germany from a US enemy to a close ally.
She also stood by the European Union, even as it has come under attack by Trump, nationalist forces in Europe, and Britain, which is trying to leave the membership.
However, when Harvard’s alumni president suggested in her introduction that Merkel was the “defacto leader of the European Union,” the chancellor shook her head in disagreement.
For Merkel, the speech offered an opportunity to defend the ideas that have been the backbone of the US-European relationship since after World War II and why they remain relevant to the next generation of leaders.
“The transatlantic partnership based on democracy and human rights has given us benefits on all sides that have lasted more than 70 years,” she said.
Merkel recalled being a young scientist in communist East Germany, where the government prosecuted political dissidents and monitored its citizens. She would pass the Berlin Wall, which separated her from democratic West Germany, on her way to work and have “to turn away from freedom at the last minute,” Merkel said. “The Berlin Wall literally stood in my way.”
But that barrier eventually came down in 1989 as a wave of anti-communist protests swept across much of Europe.
“The fall of the Berlin Wall allowed me to step out into the open,” Merkel said.
Merkel did not speak directly to Trump’s call for a wall at the US-Mexico border to deter immigration at the southern border.
Critics have argued that the wall would be an ineffective way to curb illegal crossings and limit drug trafficking, and they have accused the president of using fear tactics and demonizing Central American immigrants.
Merkel counseled the 2019 Harvard graduates to remain optimistic that they can address the challenges ahead, including climate change.
But she reminded them to remain vigilant.
“Freedom is never something that can be taken for granted,” Merkel said. “Walls can collapse, dictatorships can disappear, we can halt global warming, we can eradicate starvation, we can eliminate diseases, we can give people, especially girls, access to education. . . . Let us surprise ourselves by showing what is possible.”
Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at deirdre.fernandes@globe.com.

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Mitch McConnell said he’d work to fill any Supreme Court vacancy in 2020.How far would you trust this head Neer do  well?

The silence and impotent utterings of this so called leader should be troubling to us all no matter what party we ascribe to. His actions have been as divisive as TOTUS. He can smile since his retirement and investments are secure and he allowed the high court be shifted to an extreme which will affect us all.

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