Factory deal Trump touted puts the ‘con’ in ‘Foxconn’ — and how taxpayers will get taken

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LOS ANGLES TIMES)

 

How a factory deal Trump touted puts the ‘con’ in ‘Foxconn’ — and how taxpayers will get taken

The entirety of President Trump’s job-creation strategy was visible July 26 during a White House ceremony to announce a deal bringing a $10-billion video-screen factory for the Taiwan electronics company Foxconn to southeastern Wisconsin.

The elements included a claim about the number of jobs that was unverifiable and not believable; a description of the cost and terms of the $3 billion in tax incentives dangled in front of Foxconn that concealed their astronomical cost for Wisconsin taxpayers; the presence of political sycophants (in this case, Vice President Mike Pence, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and House Speaker Paul Ryan, [R-Wis.]) to attest to Trump’s role in negotiating the deal; and grandiose assertions by Trump himself that it’s all about him: “If I didn’t get elected, he wouldn’t be spending $10 billion,” Trump said of Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou, also in attendance.

Left unexpressed were doubts that the factory would ever actually be built, and that even if so, it would employ the extraordinary workforce of 13,000 that was claimed. Reporters on hand might have delved into that issue, but no questions were permitted.

So let’s provide some of the context that was overlooked on that occasion. Experts who have examined the proposed deal, which must be approved by the Wisconsin Legislature, have concluded that it won’t begin to pay off for state taxpayers for more than two decades, if then — or ever.

A good portion of the jobs will go not to Wisconsin workers, but to residents of Illinois, meaning that Wisconsinites will pay, and their cross-border neighbors will profit. The deal would exempt the Foxconn plant from a host of environmental regulations, placing the local water supply and ecology at risk.

In other words, the announcement was all flash and precious little substance. But what substance is known is disturbing.

“This is a transfer of wealth from Wisconsin taxpayers to Foxconn shareholders,” says Greg LeRoy, the head of Good Jobs First, which tracks government economic incentives handed over to corporations. LeRoy observes that even if the plant reaches its projected complement of 13,000 workers, that means the deal would cost about $230,000 per job.

“The average worker at Foxconn is never going to pay $230,000 more in state and local taxes than the public services she and her family will consume during her work tenure there,” he says. “For the taxpayers, it’s a guaranteed loser.” If the size of the workforce falls short, he noted, the cost per job could be much higher.

Under Gov. Walker, who briefly ran for the Republican presidential nomination last year, Wisconsin has been something of a sinkhole in economic development schemes. After Walker privatized the state’s main job-development agency, it became ensnared in scandal after scandalwhile failing to make much of a mark on job growth. The defining job program of Walker’s administration was a $6-million grant in 2014 to Ashley Furniture, which was allowed to lay off half of its 3,800 Wisconsin workers as part of the deal. A few weeks after the grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. was approved, Ashley’s owners donated $20,000 to the reelection campaign of the development group’s chairman, Gov. Walker.

The Foxconn proposal boasts similar elements of a glittery political veneer concealing signs of rot from the inside out. One blow was landed in Madison on Aug. 8 by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, which analyzes bills with budget implications. Among other points, the bureau pointed out that Foxconn would receive at least $1.35 billion and possibly as much as $2.9 billion in tax incentive payments even if it didn’t owe any Wisconsin tax, that increased state tax revenue from job growth wouldn’t offset the incentive spending until at least 2042 — and then only if the full complement of 13,000 jobs was reached and all went to Wisconsin residents.

But the bureau acknowledged that anywhere from 10% to half of the jobs could go to nonresidents. That’s because the proposed factory site in the Racine-Kenosha area — Paul Ryan’s home district — is within easy commuting distance of Illinois. If there are fewer jobs, and fewer go to state residents, the bureau said, the break-even point could be years or decades later.

Whether the plant ever will host 13,000 workers is doubtful; the legislative analysis acknowledged that some estimates place the probable payroll as low as 3,000. Trump touted the plant as a “state-of-the-art manufacturing facility,” but state-of-the-art electronics factories are replacing human assembly workers with robots, a trend the efficiency-minded Foxconn is unlikely to abandon.

The most important aspect of Trump’s participation in the Foxconn announcement may be what is says about his job development policies. They don’t seem to be aimed at anything special except generating photo opportunities. Foxconn itself is getting a reputation for making lavish promises and letting them lapse, as appears to have been the case with a project the company touted for Harrisburg, Pa., in 2013. That deal was for a $30-million plant employing 500 workers. But the plant hasn’t materialized.

Ever optimistic, Pennsylvania officials participated in a seven-state beauty contest Foxconn staged this year, playing Pennsylvania and Wisconsin off against Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Texas in its quest for the most lavish state and local incentives. This race to the bottom has the effect of all but eliminating any genuine economic gains the ostensible winner can claim from landing the plant.

Yet Trump explicitly endorsed such interstate shakedowns in December, when he bragged about keeping a Carrier air conditioning plant in Indiana. Employers “can leave from state to state and they can negotiate good deals with the different states and all of that,” Trump said then. “But leaving the country is going to be very, very difficult.”

Even Trump’s victory in the Carrier episode was predictably ephemeral. Even though the company supposedly pledged to retain more than 1,000 jobs rather than move them to Mexico, in June it emerged that Carrier will lay off more than 600 of its workers by the end of this year.

In Wisconsin, Foxconn is insisting that the state Legislature enact the package of proposed incentives by the end of September, or no deal. That means that for all the preening at the White House last month, the deal may end up like others sponsored by Trump and offered by Foxconn: real hype and false hopes.

North Korea Launches Missile: Blows Up Almost Immediately: Sources: S. Korea, U.S.

 

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) An attempted missile launch by North Korea on Sunday failed, US and South Korean defense officials told CNN.

The attempted launch occurred a day after the regime of Kim Jong Un showed off a bevy of new missiles and launchers at a large-scale military parade on its most important holiday.
A South Korean defense official said the action took place in Sinpo, a port city in eastern North Korea. That was the site of a ballistic missile test earlier this month in which the projectile fell into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.
The North Koreans use Sinpo shipyard for their submarine activity, and US satellites have observed increased activity there in April, a US official said at the time of the previous test.
South Korean and US intelligence officials are trying to determine what type of missile was used Sunday.
Here are the latest developments:
• US Vice President Mike Pence, en route to South Korea for a previously scheduled trip, was briefed on the launch, administration officials said. Pence and President Donald Trump have been in contact, aides to the vice president said.
• “The President and his military team are aware of North Korea’s most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The President has no further comment,” US Defense Secretary James Mattis said.
• South Korean officials called a meeting of the country’s National Security Council.
• US Pacific Command said it tracked a missile launch at 5:21 p.m. ET and said the missile blew up almost immediately.
• At this point, US military officials don’t believe the missile had intercontinental capabilities, a US defense official told CNN. The official said the missile blew up so quickly there is limited data.
• CNN’s Will Ripley in Pyongyang, North Korea, reported there was no immediate confirmation from North Korean state media about the launch.

Rising tensions

North Korea’s actions come as tensions on the Korean Peninsula have spiked to alarming levels.
The US Navy dispatched the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson strike group to the region last weekend, and Trump has been tweeting this week that if China can’t rein in North Korea’s nuclear program, the United States will.
Pence is headed to Asia this weekend, with planned stops in Seoul; Jakarta, Indonesia; Tokyo and Sydney.
Analysts had expected North Korea to conduct a nuclear missile test around the time of his visit, possibly on Saturday as the nation celebrated the 105th birthday of its founder — Kim II Sung, the late grandfather of North Korea’s current leader.
The status of the North Korean underground nuclear test program is unchanged, a senior US defense official told CNN’s Barbara Starr, and a test could come at any time.
The reported failed test comes at a time of year when North Korea has previously tried to launch missiles. Last year, Pyongyang attempted to launch a Musudan missile on April 15, an auspicious date on which millions celebrate Kim II Sung’s birthday.
That test also failed, as there was “no evidence the missile reached flight,” a US official told CNN.

V.P. Pence Is Floating His ‘Healthy Indiana 2.0’ Program To Replace Obamacare

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEWS SITE POLITICO)

When former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence embraced Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion with conservative twists — such as requiring enrollees to contribute to their care — critics lamented poor people would be locked out while backers cheered the program’s focus on personal responsibility.

Neither side’s expectations were quite borne out. Two years later, as the program emerges as a national model thanks to Pence’s role in the Trump administration, the reality on the ground shows what happens when political philosophy collides with the practical challenges of providing health care to tens of thousands of people, many of them in crisis.

Advocates for the poor in Indiana argue that liberal fears of depressed enrollment were overblown. More than 400,000 Hoosiers are enrolled, despite state requirements that low-income residents make nominal monthly contributions to their care or face stiff penalties.

Likewise, Republicans’ contention that the system would promote personal responsibility and prod beneficiaries to ration their care and make better decisions about what treatments to seek also turned out to be overly optimistic.

By all accounts, the expansion — known as the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 — has made a difference. Health officials in Scott County, Ind., a poverty-stricken community about 30 miles from Louisville, Ky., paint a picture of a program that’s bolstered a patchy social safety net — especially during a major HIV outbreak triggered by the opioid epidemic — without bankrupting the Hoosier State or punishing enrollees.

To be sure, the program isn’t perfect, they say. But they overwhelmingly give more positive reviews than not.

“I feel that it has been a good success,” said Dawn Sanders, an outreach worker for Covering Kids & Families of Indiana, a statewide consumer group working in Scott County. “It’s working.”

Healthy Indiana’s influence is expected to increase in the months ahead whether or not Obamacare survives, as state officials and the Trump administration look to replicate some of its conservative features, potentially unleashing a wave of new state restrictions on how non-disabled adults get coverage without any action from Congress.

“The Healthy Indiana Plan has long been, and continues to be, a national model for state-led Medicaid reforms,” HHS Secretary Tom Price wrote in response to senators after his confirmation hearing.

“It is important that Medicaid’s design helps its members to transition successfully from the program into commercial health insurance plans, as [Healthy Indiana’s] consumer-driven approach and underlying incentive structures encourage,” he told lawmakers.

Seema Verma, meanwhile, a Pence ally who helped design the program before she was tapped to run CMS, now has the power to give states greater flexibility to reshape their own programs according to conservative principles.

Kentucky and Arizona have already borrowed aspects of Indiana’s plan while others, including Wisconsin, could move to enact new limits that resemble the approach.

Indiana’s plan also provides a measure of political cover to lawmakers in red states where supporting Obamacare’s coverage expansion is still deeply controversial. Republicans across the country have found it easier to back an expansion of government-funded health care for the poor if it more closely resembles a private insurance market. Yet liberals remain deeply skeptical because of the way the system is designed to cut people off who don’t make monthly payments, at least temporarily.

Both sides could find their assumptions challenged based on the experience in places like Scott County.

The Indiana plan does punish people above the poverty line who stop making monthly contributions by locking them out of coverage for six months. But because most enrollees have incomes below the poverty line, lockouts have been rare, according to state evaluations of the first year of the program. Instead, those below the poverty line who don’t pay are bumped from plans with more generous benefits — including coverage of vision and dental care and better prescription drug benefits into skimpier plans with higher out-of-pocket costs.

“It sounds like, ‘Oh my gosh, people are going to have to pay.’ But people that were uninsured were paying for it already,” if they go to the doctor, said Beth Wrobel, who runs a federally qualified health center in Valparaiso, in the northern part of the state.

Diabetic patients who visited Wrobel’s clinic before the start of Healthy Indiana incurred significantly higher costs paying for their regular medical supplies and routine testing, she said. Now, under the more generous benefit package, “the most you have to pay is $26 a month, and that’s at the high end. Most of our patients pay between $1 and $10 a month,” Wrobel said.

“For the same amount that you were paying at that moment for your diabetic care, you could get medical, dental, behavioral health, optometry and pharmacy. [Healthy Indiana] treated the whole body,” she said.

Randy White, CEO of Fayette Regional Health System in Connersville, in the east-central part of the state, agreed that Healthy Indiana “is not harsh.”

If the liberal specter of a punitive system pushing out enrollees hasn’t quite materialized, neither has conservatives’ vision of a market-like system where patients with “skin in the game” make hard choices about their own health spending. That’s because family members, health workers and nonprofits are helping cover their out-of-pocket costs.

“With some people, I think [personal responsibility] might be a little bit lost,” Sanders said in her office at the Scott County Partnership, a nonprofit. “We try and do what we can in the little bit of time we have with them. But you can only give them so many pamphlets.”

About 2,100 of the enrollees who gained coverage through Indiana’s expansion live in Scott County, a poor, sparsely populated area that gained notoriety where an HIV outbreak took off two years ago, fueled by needle sharing and opioid abuse.

Sanders recalled how a man with substance abuse problems signed up for health coverage in the small town of Austin, Ind., which had set up a “one-stop shop” to get people enrolled and provide medical services like HIV screenings and vaccinations.

“He knew he had hit rock bottom. And he knew he needed help,” Sanders said. “He no longer lives in the area, but he had to be able to get away from this. He has stayed clean this whole time. He now has his children back. We have quite a few success stories, as far as that’s concerned.”

As of early April, there were 216 county residents with HIV, according to Scott County Health Department Administrator Michelle Goodin, but roughly three-quarters of the patients don’t have enough of the virus in their blood to spread it to others. New cases are still being diagnosed.

“We’ve got about 30 to 40 people usually that are HIV-positive in our facility,” said Sheriff Dan McClain, whose staff helps prisoners apply for Medicaid so that they can receive benefits, including mental health and substance abuse treatment, as soon as they are released. “We offer them a test for HIV and … we offer to sign them up for HIP 2.0,” he said.

With an ad-hoc support network fortifying the safety net, some liberal groups and Democratic lawmakers question whether the conservative tweaks are really adding value or simply burdening enrollees with unnecessary complications. Without those hurdles, they say enrollment would be even higher.

Progressives also fear that if the Indiana model is embraced in states that initially did traditional expansions of Medicaid, it would erode enrollment gains.

“Work requirements, lock-out periods, time limits and imposition of onerous premiums and cost-sharing on Medicaid families, who are generally living on a budget of roughly less than $15,000 per year, are not only punitive but also counterproductive in the long-term,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) wrote in a letter to HHS last month to discourage it from approving additional restrictions, many of which would be program firsts. “Requiring poor families to pay more than they can afford for care makes them less likely to access the care they need and less likely to maintain their coverage.”

State surveys of how Healthy Indiana is working present a fragmentary picture, and despite the program’s popularity in Indiana, there are some signs of hampered enrollment because of its complex structure and broader concerns about affordability. For example, roughly half of the enrollees in the more comprehensive benefit package worried about being able to afford their monthly payments. Left-leaning groups have used the data to raise flags about harmful implications for other states.

The first-year report also estimated that roughly 1,240 enrollees received financial help from nonprofits to pay their premiums, a paltry slice of overall enrollment. But residents here believe many more enrollees likely rely on family members, friends and others sources undetected by official surveys. Sanders and others pointed out that the premium cost of keeping someone covered in the program’s more generous benefit package — which includes vision and dental benefits as well as more robust coverage of prescriptions — is as little as $12 for an entire year.

“We’ve paid it out of our pocket many times at the office just to get them hooked up,” said Jeanni McCarty, a nurse at Foundations Family Medicine in Austin. McCarty said she has four family members affected by HIV and five relatives who have passed away from drug abuse-related problems.

Indiana officials by the end of the month will send CMS two more reports, including one that specifically examines the use of health savings-like accounts to help beneficiaries cover their costs. Pence’s successor, Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, has already asked the Trump administration to extend the program through January 2021 with a handful of tweaks — though notably absent is a request to institute a work requirement as a condition of receiving benefits.

“We don’t want to put policies and programs in place that are not member-centric,” said Jennifer Walthall, secretary of Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration. “Increasing barriers is not the name of the game.”

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence To Travel To South Korea, Japan And Hawaii This Weekend

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(CNN) Amid increasing tension with North Korea, Vice President Mike Pence will travel to South Korea Saturday, on a scheduled trip as part of his first official visit to the Asia-Pacific region.

The trip comes at a critical moment for the Trump administration and US allies, after escalated posturing from North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and growing concerns that the country may mark its most important holiday on Saturday with its sixth nuclear test.
Along with his visit to Seoul, the vice president’s tour will also include stops in Tokyo, Jakarta, Sydney and Hawaii. According to a White House foreign policy adviser, the trip is intended as a chance for Pence to lay out the administration’s policies to US allies in the region, and to offer an opportunity for him to develop personal relationships with government and business leaders.
North Korea tensions
  • Kim Jong Un shows symbol of strength
  • Nuclear test site ‘primed and ready’
Commitment will be the key message the vice president brings to US allies in the Asia-Pacific — both on security and the economy. Officials say the primary goal of the trip will be to reinforce regional security alliances. To this end, Pence will meet with the acting President of South Korea, Hwang Kyo-ahn, to reinforce the US commitment to consult with South Korea over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.
Security will almost certainly be a key point in discussions with Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, who said Thursday that North Korea may now may have the capability to deliver missiles equipped with sarin nerve gas.

Japanese PM issues warning about North Korea

 Japanese PM issues warning about North Korea 01:16

Along with a commitment to security, Pence will stress the Trump administration’s commitment to economic engagement in the region, and according to officials, communicate that the withdrawal from the Transpacific Trade Partnership should not be seen as a retreat.
In Tokyo, Pence and Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso will kick off the US-Japanese economic dialogue, which was first announced in February during Abe’s visit to the White House.
According to officials, these discussions between the vice president and Japanese leaders will be more about establishing a framework for future discussions, rather than delving into specific industries or working out a bilateral trade agreement.
The tour will also offer the vice president the opportunity to spend time with US troops abroad. In Tokyo, Pence will deliver remarks aboard the USS Ronald Reagan and will also visit troops in South Korea and Hawaii.
The trip comes as the tenuous stability of the region is resonating for the Trump administration. The Pentagon recently deployed a US naval strike group to the region in response to last week’s missile test by North Korea.

USS Carl Vinson heads to Korean Peninsula

 USS Carl Vinson heads to Korean Peninsula 01:18

And, in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, President Trump said he would be willing to make concessions on trade with China in exchange for their help deterring North Korea. “That’s worth having not as good a trade deal as I would normally be able to make,” said the President.
During a meeting at the White House on Thursday, Trump said that North Korea “is a problem” that will be “taken care of.”
Now, this upcoming trip will offer Pence the opportunity to deliver that message to the region in person.

President Trump Call India’s Prime Minister Modi “A True Friend And Partner”

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS)

Trump tells Modi India ‘a true friend and partner’, invites PM to US ‘later this year’

WORLD Updated: Jan 25, 2017 07:26 IST

Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington

Highlight Story

US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a scheduled telephonic conversation at 11:30pm IST on Tuesday.(Agencies File)

In a phone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said the US considers India a “true friend and partner in addressing challenges around the world”, according to a White House statement.The two leaders also discussed opportunities to “strengthen the partnership between the United States and India in broad areas such as the economy and defense”, the statement said without citing specific areas, sectors or goals.

Modi and Trump, who were speaking for the first time after the new US president took charge last Friday, also discussed “security in the region of South and Central Asia” and, once again the statement left out details.

South and Central Asia cover many areas of mutual interest to both India and the United States including Pakistan and Afghanistan and it could not be immediately confirmed if they discussed the drawdown of US troops in Afghanistan.

Read more

But the two leaders resolved, according to the White House statement, “that the United States and India stand shoulder to shoulder in the global fight against terrorism”, which has been a priority for both of them and both countries.

Trump is hosting Modi later in the year, but it was, once again, not immediately clear if that will be in September-October when the Indian prime minister comes to the US for the UN general assembly meeting, or some other time.

But the two, who first spoke in November when Modi was among the first foreign leaders to call Trump on his election, are likely to meet during the next meeting of the G-20, which is scheduled to take place in Hamburg, Germany in July.

Since that first call, India engaged with Trump on two separate occasions: The first was a meeting between Indian foreign secretary S Jaishankar and then Vice-President-elect Mike Pence, and the second on December 19 when Ajit Doval, national security adviser to PM Modi, met Trump’s NSA Michael Flynn.

Read more

And now the call. The US statement contained no details and it was not known if trade in services, read H-1B, came up during their phone call, as many had expected, since it being the one issue that had agitated New Delhi the most about Trump.

The fate of the temporary US visa programme for high-skilled foreign workers, which is at the heart to India’s burgeoning IT exports to the US, seemed uncertain, given the president’s own reservations about it, and those of leading members of his team.

They believe the H-1B programme is being abused by the US companies to outsource American jobs to temporary foreign workers, a large number of them from India, and they have been considering ways to make it harder for that to happen.

“There is no other area of potential dispute or differences with the United States under President Trump,” said an Indian official, who spoke strictly on background. He added, “H-1B is the only problem for us as of now.”

In response to a question about India-US relations, White House press secretary Sean Spicer had said Monday that as with other countries, the Trump administration is focussed on access to markets in manufacturing and services.

Since being sworn-in last Friday, the new president has begun engaging with world leaders and has spoken to prime minister and president of neighboring Canada and Mexico first — with whom he plans to renegotiate the NAFTA trade deal.

He has also talked since with Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, who he has invited to to a meeting in early February. And he meets Teresa May, prime minister of America’s closest ally the United Kingdom, on Friday.

The Tuesday call with Modi, on the second day of Trump’s first week in office, is being taken as sign of the priority he is attaching to the relationship, after an unprecedented outreach to the Indian American community during election.

At an election rally in New Jersey, Trump had said on his watch as president that India and the US will be “best friends” and, added in a typically Trumpian hyperbole that “there will be no relationship more important to me”.

At the suggestion of the Republican Hindu Coalition founder Shalli Kumar, who had organised the rally, Trump recorded a campaign call modeled on Modi’s election slogan “Abki baar Modi sarkar”, replacing Modi with Trump.

Also, Prime Minister Modi appears to have an admirer in Steve Bannon, chief strategist and senior counseller to the president, who had in 2014 called Modi’s election a “great victory … very much based on … Reaganesque principles”.

Bannon was then chief executive officer of Breitbart News, a stridently conservative news publication, and would become in 2016 a leading and early supporter of Trump, and later went on to head his campaign in August.

Former Special Forces Officer: Gen. ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Left ‘My Men to Die’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

NEWS
DEC 2 2016, 2:00 PM ET

Former Special Forces Officer: Gen. ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Left ‘My Men to Die’

A former Army Special Forces officer is accusing retired Marine General James Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to be defense secretary, of “leaving my men to die” after they were hit by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2001.

Mattis has not commented publicly on the incident, which was chronicled in a 2011 New York Times bestselling book, “The Only Thing Worthy Dying For,” by Eric Blehm. The book portrays Mattis as stubbornly unwilling to help the Green Berets.

His actions, which were not formally investigated at the time, are now likely to get far more scrutiny during the retired general’s Senate confirmation process.

Trump’s transition team did not respond to request for comment from NBC News. Nor did Mattis, whose 2013 retirement from the military means he would need a waiver from Congress to serve as the civilian Pentagon chief.

Mattis is a highly decorated former wartime commander who became famous for leading the 1st Marine Division’s lightning fast movement into Baghdad during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Image: James M Mattis on the USS Peleliu before Afghanistan mission
James M. Mattis (2R), U.S. Marine General, aboard the USS Peleliu in 2001. JIM HOLLANDER / EPA

On December 5, 2001, as the wreckage of the twin towers still smoldered in lower Manhattan, a team of Army Green Berets accompanying Hamid Karzai, the future president of Afghanistan, was hit by a U.S. smart bomb in a case of friendly fire.

Two American soldiers died instantly and a third was badly wounded. He would later die. Dozens of Afghans also were killed, and the CIA officer who now runs the agency’s spying arm protected Karzai with his body.

Mattis, then a brigadier general commanding a nearby group of Marines, refused repeated requests to send helicopters to rescue the Green Berets, people involved in the operation tell NBC News. The helicopters under Mattis’ command at Camp Rhino were about 45 minutes away, according to the book.

And, as commander, Mattis had final approval for the decision not to dispatch a rescue mission from there.

Who is Gen. James Mattis? 14:50

“He was indecisive and betrayed his duty to us, leaving my men to die during the golden hour when he could have reached us,” Jason Amerine, who led the Army special forces operation as a captain, said in a Facebook post Friday morning.

“Every element in Afghanistan tried to help us except the closest friendly unit, commanded by Mattis,” added Amerine, who retired as a lieutenant colonel and made news in recent years as a prominent critic of the Obama administration’s hostage policies.

The 15th anniversary of the Afghanistan friendly fire incident is Monday. Master Sgt. Jefferson Donald Davis, 39; Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Henry Petithory, 32; and Staff Sgt. Brian Cody Prosser, 28, were killed.

Ultimately, an Air Force Special Forces unit based three hours away, in Pakistan, sent older helicopters to rescue Amerine and his men. Three more Afghans and a badly-wounded American, Brian Cody Prosser, died on the way to the hospital, according to the book. It is not known whether any of them could have been saved.

Image: File picture of Gen. James Mattis testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing
FILE PICTURE: General James Mattis testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington July 27, 2010, on his nomination to be Commander of U.S. Central Command. YURI GRIPAS / Reuters

Mattis declined to be interviewed for the book, Blehm, its author, told NBC News. Other witnesses quoted Mattis saying that he didn’t want to send a rescue mission into an uncertain situation.

According to witness accounts in the book, Mattis reportedly questioned why a rescue mission was needed and worried about whether the situation on the ground was secure.

Later, when a special forces Sergeant, David Lee, protested his decision, Mattis threw him out of his office, Blehm wrote.

The Obama administration was criticized for years by many Republicans—including Vice President-elect Mike Pence — for failing to mount a military rescue when a diplomatic post was attacked in 2012 in Benghazi, Libya, despite military officials saying no rescue was possible.

In this case, another military unit had to act because Mattis did not, Blehm said.

“The Air Force Special Operations Command had the same exact information as Mattis. They launched immediately,” he said.

Image: FILES-US-POLITICS-TRUMP
Mattis with President-elect Trump and Vice president-elect Pence. DON EMMERT / AFP – Getty Images

Blehm spent three years researching the book, including a long interview with Karzai, he told NBC News.

He interviewed six of the surviving eleven Green Berets involved in the operation.

“Every one of them said, when they were this mass casualty situation, either wounded tending to the wounded of their buddies, every one of them were thinking, where in the hell are the Marines?”

In his Facebook post, Amerine — who declined to speak on the record to NBC News — said it was ironic that Mattis later became famous for relieving a battalion commander for alleged indecisiveness during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

“The delay of Mattis in launching MEDEVAC on December 5th was never in question, not even by him,” Amerine said. “The only debate was whether it was justified and how many died as a result.”

Mike Pence Is Absolutely Evil, He Hates Christians And Supports Muslims Who Butcher Christians

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHOEBATS WEBSITE)

 (I DO NOT NECESSARILY FULLY AGREE WITH EVERY SINGLE ISSUE PUBLISHED BY SHOEBAT IN THIS ARTICLE, BUT JUST LIKE WITH SEVERAL OTHER REBLOGS I DO FOR OTHER BLOGGERS I DO NOT TRY TO REWRITE OTHER PEOPLE’S WORK. IF I DID THAT, THEN EVERYTHING I PUBLISH FOR OTHER FOLKS WOULD ACTUALLY ONLY BE MY OPINIONS AND NOT NECESSARILY THEIR OPINIONS. I AM NOT SAYING THAT I AM ALWAYS CORRECT OR THAT OTHERS ARE ALWAYS CORRECT. MY BLOG SITE IS ABOUT TRYING TO GET PEOPLE TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES AND TO OPEN UP CONVERSATIONS. SO, PLEASE READ THEIR WORK AND SEE WHAT YOU THINK, FOR YOURSELF. THANK YOU, TRS)

Mike Pence Is Absolutely Evil, He Hates Christians And Supports Muslims Who Butcher Christians

By Theodore ShoebatMike Pence is absolutely evil, he hates Christians and supports Muslims who actually murder Christians. He supports the Muslim Turks and refuses to have America recognize the Islamic Armenian Genocide done by the Ottoman Empire. I did a whole video on this:

 

Here is an excerpt from my father’s article on this societal problem: 

GETTING OVER THE ELECTION HANGOVER
It is difficult to tell Americans anything right after an election hangover. Christians slumber and since they expect the new president to be like god believing that he will solve all their woes, they go into hibernation just as when Christ left His disciples at the Garden of Gethsemane. With republicans, when their god Reagan told the Russian god, Gorbachev “tear down that wall” they all clapped. And now their new god (Trump) tells the Mayan god “we will build a wall and you will pay for it” and they all clapped.

I avoid opinions from the jeering crowd that loves to clap after every sentence their god proclaims. They clapped during Reagan, when a wall was torn down that was meant to keep Nazism locked up and they will clap when another wall is erected.

Mesmerized crowds are not a good source of wisdom.

Trump will intend well. No doubt. But will he fully comprehend the real cunningness of the enemy?

Here is a simple challenge to the jeering crowds. Americans clapped when their idol, Ronald Reagan, sent weapons to Muslims in Afghanistan to fight the very Russian communists whom they rightly hated. But at the time they did not comprehend the cunning religion of Islam which we warned about will arise as a result. They were void of any wisdom. So they armed the Islamists to fight the Russians and now we have as a result, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS and an Islamist revolution in the Middle East. Was Reagan “smart’? Yes, but obviously he was naive when it came to facing the devil of Islam.

Trump now says: “I am a really smart guy” and “I will destroy ISIS”. Okay, but to combat the devil, one has to be as wise as Daniel, not just “smart” as Reagan was and as Trump is. This unwisdom will not cease in this new presidency as you will see Trump cozy up to Erdogan. Take Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a vice chair of the Trump transition running for a top national security post. Some on the left accuses him of being an Islamophobe. This is false. Flynn runs a consulting firm that is lobbying for Turkish interests. The Daily Sabah, which is an Erdogan mouthpiece denies such allegations. Why? Because they love Flynn’s love of the Turks. So which media do you want to believe; the conservative, the liberal or the Islamist Turks? It is here were wisdom is needed.

An article written by Flynn himself reveals the typical pro-Turkey view that caused the same mess we dealt with in the past during Reagan’s era. Flynn writes:

We must begin with understanding that Turkey is vital to U.S. interests. Turkey is really our strongest ally against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as well as a source of stability in the region. It provides badly needed cooperation with U.S. military operations. But the Obama administration is keeping Erdoğan’s government at arm’s length — an unwise policy that threatens our long-standing alliance.

Flynn’s argument begs the question: if Islamism is the obstacle to peace, Erdogan is a global Islamist. And if Obama was the “obstacle” to the world’s greatest Islamist, this would mean that we should praise Obama for “keeping Erdoğan’s government at arm’s length”. This senseless thinking will not change under Trump when it comes to Turkey. I remind, it was Mike Pence’s hypocrisy that sold out the Christian Armenian Genocide to please Turkey.

Exposing this under Obama was fine, but now, with Trump, it will only gains us a “pro-Obama” label. Under Trump, the slander from the jeering untrustworthy crowds will not minimize and in fact will increase. These were the same crowds who said that Reagan was smart in 1983. I believe that he was a great president like Trump will become, but Reagan made serious errors. May I remind the jeering crowd, that when Muslim Hezbollah blew up the marine barracks in Lebanon on October 23rd 1983, where nearly 300 of their best and finest marines were slaughtered; did Reagan dare arise to confront Islam? No. Their favorite idol simply tucked-tail, pulled out the troops from Lebanon and ran. Yet they still clapped because exactly two days later, Reagan diverted attention by invading Grenada. Reagan did not want to mess with Islam. Hezbollah got away. And now we hope, pray and clap, that our new idol, Trump, says he will kill some prostitute goddess named ISIS? He will give the mission to Turkey. Guaranteed.

May I remind, today, as a result of their other dead god, Reagan, with his war on Russia, we still have the Taliban, and the jeering crowd still worshiped the dead idol Reagan and they still clap while they hang any critique for blasphemy.

Trump is aware of this and is now mending with Russia. This, as many hate it, will be a good decision by President Trump.

I, many times, said on Radio and in my speeches “do not touch Iraq” and the jeering crowd looked at us Middle Eastern Christians with scorn. Trump (whom we predicted will win when he only had 4% approval) was right on this one and he had the sense to denounce it at the time. Americans at the time worshipped Bush, the Father, who invaded Iraq and then they worshipped Bush the Son who completely destroyed Iraq while the jeering crowd clapped with shouts of hip-hip-hurray.

As it turned out, it was all based on a manufactured lie about some chemical weapons that the Babylonian god, Saddam, supposedly stockpiled so that someday this god rains fire and brimstone on the U.S. It took decades for the clapping mesmerized crowd to wake up and smell the coffee while they all cursed us, the ones who correctly predicted the outcome of things to come.

Then a strange Cushite African god, Obama, (who mesmerized the same foolish crowd), this one springboard from the Bushes catastrophe in Iraq, he moved on the same path of destruction towards Libya and Syria while causing havoc in Tunisia and all the way to Egypt. It sent an Islamist shockwave devastating the entire Middle East where Islam re-arose by the neo-Ottoman Turks, exactly as we predicted will happen in our books. The Cushite god was hated, along with the two burning Bushes, but  Reagan was the god who got away to be praised and worshipped till Kingdom comes and reveal he too was a false god.

So here is my honest to goodness detailed opinion in an essay on what will happen during the era of this new god while this new cunning religion arises upon the earth: the new Islam.

The findings will shock you to a place of no return. It will reveal the true reality at hand and what Trump will face. You will finally understand what cunning is like from an x-cunning devil who was himself a wolf in sheep clothing. Decades from now you will re-read this to realize it will all happen just as we projected. As you read, you will run into arguments saying “so what” and “this is no major deal”, but continue, the devil wins when he succeeds in planting a kernel of leaven which Christ warned will “spoil the whole batch”.

Republican women are done with Trump: How Can Any Woman (Or Man) Not Be?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF POLITICO NEWS!) (How can anyone stomach this pampas ass any further?)

Republican women are done with Trump

Tape of the GOP nominee boasting about sexual assault has officials deserting him in droves.

161008-Carly-Fiorina-GettyImages-539261386.jpg
Donald Trump does not represent me or my party,” Carly Fiorina said. | Getty

Republican women are abandoning Donald Trump in a historic repudiation of their party’s nominee, a devastating development for the GOP candidate’s chances one month before Election Day.

Trump’s lewd, sexually aggressive comments about women, revealed in a 2005 audio recording that became public Friday, have prompted large-scale defections, from female Republican senators to conservative activists in the swing states. That dynamic further jeopardizes his chances with women voters, including white, married voters who typically back Republicans. After nearly two years of listening to Trump denigrate women — including Fox News host Megyn Kelly, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, Heidi Cruz and former Miss Universe Alicia Machado — Republican women have had enough.

A mass desertion by white, married women would effectively torpedo Trump’s chances of defeating Hillary Clinton. That demographic has been a core part of every Republican nominee’s constituency this century — Mitt Romney and John McCain won 53 percent of married women, and still lost the election — meaning that Trump, who struggles far more with party unity than previous nominees have, has even less room for error. But he is already losing badly with women overall, and Friday’s bombshell threatens to set him back further with women of all marital statuses.

High-profile Republican women over the weekend made clear that they have zero interest in helping Trump regain his footing, instead offering cover to other lawmakers looking to abandon Trump.

“I wanted to be able to support my party’s nominee, chosen by the people, because I feel strongly that we need a change in direction for our country,” said New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who is in a competitive re-election fight in a key swing state. “However, I’m a mom and an American first, and I cannot and will not support a candidate for president who brags about degrading and assaulting women.”

Ayotte will be writing in Trump running mate Mike Pence, she said. New Hampshire GOP Chair Jennifer Horn backed her up, saying in a statement, “there will be no repercussions from the party directed at those who choose not to support Donald Trump.”

One particularly notable defection: Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), who is perhaps Trump’s most prominent female defender in the Senate.

“The comments made by Mr. Trump were disgusting and totally unacceptable under any circumstance,” she tweeted. “It would be wise for him to step aside and allow Mike Pence to serve as our party’s nominee.”

Fiorina, once a target of Trump’s trash talk — “look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?” he mocked during the primary — released a statement Saturday asking the Republican National Committee to replace Trump with Pence.

Donald Trump does not represent me or my party,” she said. “I understand the responsibility of Republicans to support their nominee. Our nominee has weighty responsibilities as well. Donald Trump has manifestly failed in these responsibilities.”

In perhaps the most explosive moment to date in a campaign that has already been littered with shocking developments, an audio recording of a hot mic moment from 2005, first reported by the Washington Post, captures Trump bragging about groping women, without their consent.

“I don’t even wait,” he said. “And when you’re a star they let you do it…Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

In a sign of how toxic Republicans expect this remark to be in swing states, Rep. Barbara Comstock, who faces a competitive race in her moderate northern Virginia district, was among the first lawmakers to urge Trump to exit the race. But it’s not just Republican women from moderate states: Rep. Martha Roby, from deep-red Alabama, also called on Trump to get out of the race in a statement Saturday morning.

“Donald Trump’s behavior makes him unacceptable as a candidate for president, and I won’t vote for him,” she tweeted.

And West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, whose state is a Trump stronghold, said, “the appropriate next step may be for him to reexamine his candidacy.” Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) was one of several members of the Utah delegation to call on Trump to exit the race. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) did the same.

Such high-profile Republican rebukes come as early and absentee voting has already gotten underway in some key states, making it all the more difficult for Trump to regain his footing.

“Yesterday made me even more sick,” said Heidi Wixom, a Republican activist in Nevada. “It was kind of like, ‘Oh great, we’ve got Bill Clinton all over again,’ except Bill Clinton had class, intelligence about working with policy, so we could overlook a lot of things. But with Trump, how do you overlook this when he’s already a buffoon to start with? He doesn’t have any redeeming qualities for me, he doesn’t.”

But for all of her concerns about Trump, before Friday’s development, she had been slowly starting to consider whether she could hold her nose and vote for him. No more.

“I was starting to say, OK, I’m looking more at party policy, looking at vice presidential candidates, looking at the realities of the Supreme Court nominees,” said Wixom, who is involved in the Mormon community, which has emerged as an anti-Trump bastion. “I was just starting to say, ‘OK, I think I can go for this man because of all of the above.’ But now I’m back to, wow, what do I do now? I really cannot stomach this.”

Across the country, it’s the same story with center-right women in Pennsylvania, who were, most recently, deeply troubled by Trump’s Twitter assaults—barely more than a week ago—on Machado, the Miss Universe winner who has emerged as a Trump critic. The audio only compounds their distaste for Trump.

“Obviously it does not play well with those people who have either not made their decisions, or maybe tentatively were supporting,” said Leslie Gromis Baker, a former chief of staff to Gov. Tom Corbett (R-Pa.) who lives in the Pittsburgh suburbs. “I think this would have a major impact on them. I’m not saying they’re going to support Hillary Clinton, but I think they’re going to have a very difficult time supporting Donald Trump.”

Kristen Mayock, who served as a Republican area chair for nearly a decade in the Philadelphia suburbs, told POLITICO last weekend that Trump “has made some statements that have been concerning for those of us who call ourselves feminists,” and added that he was struggling in Chester County, a key, usually Republican-leaning collar county, especially compared to Mitt Romney.

In an email Saturday, she made clear where her focus is: “Trump’s comments are simply indefensible,” said Mayock, who is based in Chester County, a typically Republican-leaning collar county of Philadelphia. “I am hopeful that our intelligent voters in the county recognize that we have some incredibly qualified and dedicated candidates running down ticket.”

Trump’s challenge in wealthier, well-educated places like Chester County is fueled by his longtime struggles with women, particularly college-educated women, including those who usually vote Republican. One high-ranking Republican official from the county remarked, “I would’ve thought 70 percent unfavorable is as bad as it can get. But this may bump it up a bit more.”

Alex Smith, the first female president of the College Republican National Committee, tweeted, “The Party of Lincoln is not a locker room, and there is no place for people who think it is. Definitely not with her, but not with him.”

A high-ranking New Hampshire Republican said that in her state, the Trump remarks are disastrous with women.

“This just confirms the concerns that those women had all along,” the source said. “It’s worse, but it’s not unsuspected. And it’s not just center-right women. In New Hampshire we really have to worry about independent voters, no one wins New Hampshire without the independent vote…I think this just confirms it for these people who have had concerns, it’s what they suspected all along.”

Said one conservative female operative: “I think every one of these comments he makes about women is disturbing enough, but the magnitude over a period is just too much.”

Burgess Everett contributed to this report.

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