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Today We Say Never Forget But Let’s Be Brutally Honest, We Are Forgetting.

Westlake Legal Group 9-11-september-eleventh-300x157 Today We Say Never Forget But Let’s Be Brutally Honest, We Are Forgetting. white house washington D.C. War Veterans Social Media September 11th Politics Patriotism Morning Briefing migrants Middle East Media immigration Human Rights Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post donald trump democrats Culture & Faith Conservatives communism Allow Media Exception Abuse of Power 2019 #NeverForget

Today the United States of America once again pauses to take a moment to remember the events that reshaped the world on September-11-2001. Hard to believe that it has been 18 years since the purely evil events of that day unfolded. Yet here we are at another anniversary as time marches on.

Most of us will take to facebook and recount “where we were” when the planes struck and what an awful, tragic day that was. We will accompany those posts with memes that say “Never Forget” and then move on to September 12th and live our lives until next year. Which is of course what those who sacrificed their lives and those who were murdered would have wanted for us.

Let me very blunt here though.

We are forgetting and it is showing.

Here are some examples why…

On June 11th 2019 Luis Alvarez went before Congress to talk about the 9-11 victim compensation fund. Alvarez, a retired New York City Police Detective, and 9/11 first responder was there to plead for reauthorization of funds before a House committee.

Here is part of what he said according to Time

A little more than two weeks before his death, Alvarez – who was visibly very ill and thin – traveled to Congress and testified before the House Judiciary subcommittee, urging legislators to extend the fund.

“You made me come down here the day before my 69th round of chemo and I’m going to make sure that you never forget to take care of the 9/11 first responders,” he said. Comedian Jon Stewart testified shortly afterward, chastising Congress for taking years to make the program permanent and condemning the legislators who failed to show up to watch the first responders’ testimony.

At Alvarez’s chemotherapy appointment the following day, medical providers determined that his liver was failing and causing disorientation. Alvarez decided to enter hospice care shortly afterwards.

This hero died 18 days later.

You might have heard about this man and his colleagues going to Congress to ask for this without assistance from someone famous.

You DID hear about it because Jon Stewart had a meltdown, verbally undressing those elected officials for once again dropping the ball of simply keeping a promise. I know some reading this might have thought that Stewart did a bit of an acting job that day, well good for him if he was. He was at least ACTING as he cared on a day that was not Sept-11.

How does a nation that is saying “Never Forget” once a year allow our elected officials to forget those that responded first to these tragedies? They literally saved hundreds if not thousands of lives while giving up their own either on that day or a little bit each moment since, like Detective Alvarez.

“Never Forget” I guess does not apply to the still broken immigration system that this country has 18 years later. This has nothing to do with a wall but how we make sure that those that come here legally, stay here legally.  Five of the 19 hijackers were here illegally when the planes flew into World Trade Center One and Two, The Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

According to National Review

Did you remember that five of the 9/11 hijackers — Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, Hani Hanjour, Nawaf al-Hazmi, and Satam al-Suqami — carried out their killer plot after overstaying their visas, evading detection, and avoiding deportation?

Did you remember the other radical Muslim members of the Terrorist Visa Overstayers Club? They include 1997 New York subway bomber Lafi Khalil; 1993 World Trade Center bombers Mahmud Abouhalima, Mohammed Salameh, and Eyad Ismoil; 1993 New York landmark bombing plot conspirator Fadil Abdelgani; convicted Times Square bomb plotter Faisal Shahzad; and U.S. Capitol bomb plotter Amine El Khalifi, whose visa expired in 1999 and who escaped Homeland Security’s notice for 12 years before he was arrested in 2012 — just blocks from the Capitol building donning what he thought was a suicide-bomb vest.

Maybe we forgot.

How about the war in Afghanistan?

The reasons for going into that war were justified. The Taliban were harboring those that trained and plotted the attacks on America that fateful day. President Bush 43 was able to explain that clearly when the United States military invaded in early October 2001.

Now, 18 years later can anyone explain what the mission is and how we “win” this longest battle America has ever been in?

We have paid a heavy price according to Washington Post

The conflict had left 2,400 U.S. service members dead and more than 20,000 wounded; more than 145,000 people in all, including Afghan military, police and civilians, have died, according to a 2018 report from Brown University’s Costs of War Project; America has spent $737 billion on the war.

This doesn’t include the calculation of dealing with the long term effects of those who served in this conflict and the one in Iraq. They need our support just as much as those who stormed the towers on that clear Sept morning almost two decades ago.

Next year we will have High School seniors graduating in the United States of America that were born AFTER the attacks of 9-11. What that means is that the horrible events of that day will only be a recorded event for them much like Pearl Harbor or the Kennedy assassination was for us. Simply saying “Never Forget” will simply be an empty slogan for them unless those of us who watched those terrible events unfold that day make it mean something to them.

We need to be honest with them about what happened on that day and what has happened since.

We need to teach them that anyone with a badge or uniform is not automatically the enemy but people that deserve our respect.

We need to reinforce that there is evil in the world and ignoring it and hoping it goes away will only encourage it to thrive.

We need to teach them that “Never Forget” is not something we should not only do once a year but consistently throughout the year.  We should teach them this by doing it ourselves and showing by example not just by a Facebook post stating where you were for the 1000th time.

We need to ensure that those who rushed into the buildings and the regular folks who were thrust into horrifying circumstances and sacrificed themselves to save others are never forgotten.

Truly, Never Forgotten!!!!

Todd Beamer who was a passenger on United Flight 93 that crashed into Pennsylvania on this day along with some of the other passengers on his flight decided to storm the cockpit and stop their plane from being used as a weapon. Beamers last words as he was talking to a sky phone operator was “Let’s Roll” and he and others saved many lives while giving up their own.

If we do not fight the apathy that is creeping into the remembrances of what this day means during the other 364 days of the year, this country will turn Beamers last words into “Let’s Not” or “Who Cares” and that means, we will ultimately have forgotten.

So let us ban together to “Never Forget” so that “Never Happens”.

Check out my other posts here on Red State and my podcast Bourbon On The Rocks plus like Bourbon On The Rocks on Facebook and follow me on the twitters at IRISHDUKE2 

The post Today We Say Never Forget But Let’s Be Brutally Honest, We Are Forgetting. appeared first on RedState.

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Where I Was On September 11

Westlake Legal Group 9-11-attack-world-trade-center-620x317 Where I Was On September 11 War Front Page Stories Featured Story

FILE – In this Sept. 11, 2001, file photo, smoke billows from one of the towers of the World Trade Center and flames as debris explodes from the second tower in New York. A bill passed by Congress allowing the families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government has reinforced to some in the Arab world a long-held view that the U.S. only demands justice for its own victims of terrorism, despite decades of controversial U.S. interventions around the world.(AP Photo/Chao Soi Cheong, File)

Westlake Legal Group Towers Where I Was On September 11 War Front Page Stories Featured Story   Until September 11, 2001, I worked in the World Trade Center, halfway up Tower One. I wasn’t doing political blogging at the time, but was writing “the Baseball Crank” as a weekly baseball column for the online edition of the Providence (R.I.) Journal. Here’s my account of that day, written for ProJo two days later while it was all still fresh. We run this every year on the anniversary.

On Tuesday, they tried to kill me.

I am ordinarily at my desk between 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning, in my office on the 54th floor of one of the World Trade Center’s towers. Tuesday, I was running late – I stopped to vote in the primary election for mayor, an election that has now been postponed indefinitely. Thank God for petty partisan politics.

Around 20 minutes to 9, as I have done every day for the past five years, I got on the number 2/3 train heading to Park Place, an underground stop roughly a block and a half, connected underground, to the Trade Center. The train made its usual stop at Chambers Street, five blocks north of my office, where you can switch to the local 1/9 that runs directly into the Trade Center mall. The subway announcer – in a rare, audible announcement – was telling people to stay on the 2/3 because the tunnel was blocked by a train ahead of us. Then he mentioned that there had been “an explosion at the World Trade Center.”

Now, I grew up in the suburbs, so maybe I’m not as street smart as I should be, but after living in the city a few years, you develop a sense of the signs of trouble (like the time there were shots fired in the next subway car from mine). I didn’t know what the explosion was, maybe a gas leak or something, but I knew that I was better off getting above ground to see what was going on rather than enter the complex underground. So I got off the train to walk to work.

When I got above ground, there was a crowd gathering to see the horror above: a big hole somewhere in the top 15-20 stories of the north tower (having no sense of direction, I thought that was Number 2 at the time, not Number 1 where my office was), with flames and smoke shooting out. I quickly realized it would not be safe to go into the office, despite a number of things I had waiting for me to do, so as I heard the chatter around about there having been a plane crash into the building (onlookers were saying “a small plane” at that point) and a possible terrorist attack, I turned away to start looking for a place to get coffee and read the newspaper until I could find out what had happened. That was when it happened.

The sound was a large BANG!, the unmistakable sound of an explosion but with almost the tone of cars colliding, except much louder. My initial thought was that something had exploded out of the cavity atop the tower closer to us and gone . . . where? It was followed by a scene straight out of every bad TV movie and Japanese monster flick: simultaneously, everyone around me was screaming and running away. I didn’t have time to look and see what I was running from; I just took off, hoping to get away from whatever it was, in case it was falling towards us. Nothing else can compare to the adrenaline rush of feeling the imminent presence of deadly danger. And I kept moving north.

Once people said that a second plane had hit the other tower, and I saw it was around halfway up – right where my office was, I thought, still confused about which tower was which – it also appeared that the towers had survived the assault. I used to joke about this, telling people we worked in the only office building in America that had been proven to be bomb-resistant. I stopped now and then, first at a pay phone where I called my family, but couldn’t hear the other end. I stopped in a few bars, calling to say I was OK, but I still didn’t feel safe, and I kept moving north. In one bar I saw the south tower collapse, and had a sick feeling in my stomach, which increased exponentially when I saw Tower Number One, with my office in it and (so far as I knew) many of the people I work with as well, cave in. Official business hours start at 9:30, but I started reeling off in my head all the lawyers who get in early in the morning, and have for years. I thought of the guy who cleans the coffee machines, someone I barely speak to but see every day, who has to be in at that hour. I was still nervous, and decided not to think about anything but getting out alive. A friend has an apartment on 109th street, so I called him and kept walking, arriving on his doorstep around 1 p.m., and finally sat down, with my briefcase, the last remnant of my office. I had carried a bunch of newspapers and my brown-bag lunch more than 120 blocks. The TV was on, but only CBS was broadcasting – everyone else’s signal had gone out of the Trade Center’s antenna.

Finally, the news got better. I jumped when there were planes overhead, but they were F-15s, ours. American combat aircraft flying with deadly seriousness over Manhattan. My wife was home, and she had heard from people at the office who got out alive. It turns out that my law firm was extraordinarily lucky to get so many people out – nearly everyone is now accounted for, although you hold your breath and pray until it’s absolutely everyone. The architect who designed the towers – well, we used to complain a lot that the windows were too narrow, but the strength of those buildings, how they stayed standing for an hour and an hour and a half, respectively, after taking a direct hit by a plane full of gasoline – there are probably 10 to 15,000 people walking around New York today because they stayed up so long.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

By Wednesday night, the adrenaline was finally wearing off, and I was just angry. They had tried to kill me, had nearly killed many of the people I work with, and destroyed the chair I sit in everyday, the desk I work at and the computer I do my work on. And that’s before you even begin to count the other lives lost. Words fail to capture the mourning, and in this area it’s everywhere. I finally broke down Thursday morning, reading newspaper accounts of all the firemen who were missing or dead, so many who had survived so many dangers before, and ran headlong into something far more serious, far more intentional. My dad was a cop, my uncle a fireman. It was too close.

The mind starts to grasp onto the little things, photos of the kids and from my wedding; the radio in my office that I listened to so many Mets games on, working late; a copy of my picture with Ted Williams (more on that some other day); the little Shea Stadium tin on my desk that played “take me out to the ballgame” when you opened it to get a binder clip, the new calculator I bought over the weekend. All vaporized or strewn halfway across the harbor. The things can mostly be replaced, they’re just things, but it’s staggering to see the whole context of your daily routine disappear because somebody – not “faceless cowards,” really, but somebody in particular with a particular agenda and particular friends around the world – wants you dead.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

There’s a scene that comes to mind, and I’m placing it in the Lord of the Rings because that’s where I remember it, but feel free to let me know if I’ve mangled it or made it up. Frodo the hobbit has lived all his life in the Shire, where the world of hobbits (short, human-like creatures) revolves around hospitality and particular etiquette and family snobbery and all the silliest little things, silly at least in comparison to the great and dangerous adventure he finds himself embarked on. Aragorn, one of the Men, has been patrolling the area around the Shire for years, warding off invading creatures of all varieties of evil. Frodo asks Aragorn, eventually, whether he isn’t frustrated with and contemptuous of hobbits and the small, simple concerns that dominate their existence, when such dangers are all at hand. Aragorn responds that, to the contrary, it is the simpleness and even the pettiness of the hobbits that makes the task worthwhile, because it’s proof that he has done his job – kept them so safe and insulated from the horrors all around them that they see no irony, no embarrassment in concerning themselves with such trivial things in such a hazardous world. It has often struck me that you could ask no better description of the role of law enforcement and the military, keeping us so safe that we may while our days on the ups and downs of made-up games.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

And that’s why baseball still matters. There must be time for mourning, of course, so much mourning, and time as well to feel secure that 55,000 people can gather safely in one place. The merciful thing is that because, save for the Super Bowl and the Olympics, U.S. sports are so little followed in the places these evildoers breed – murderous men, by contrast, have little interest in pennant races – that they have not acquired the symbolic power of our financial and military centers. But that may not be forever.

But once we feel secure to try, we owe it most of all to those who protect us as well as those who died to resume the most trivial of our pursuits. Our freedom is best expressed not when we stand in defiance or strike back with collective will, but when we are able again to view Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens as the yardsticks by which we measure nastiness, to bicker over games. That’s why the Baseball Crank will be back. This column may be on hiatus for an undetermined time while the demands of work intrude – we intend to be back in business next week, and this will not be without considerable effort – but in time, I will offer again my opinion of why it would be positively criminal to give Ichiro the MVP, and why it is scandalous that Bill Mazeroski is in the Hall of Fame. And then I’ll be free again.

The post Where I Was On September 11 appeared first on RedState.

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Born In A World At War

Westlake Legal Group 9-11-september-eleventh-620x325 Born In A World At War War Terrorism terror September 11 school History Front Page Stories Featured Story Education Allow Media Exception 9/11

Eighteen years ago today, a series of airplane crashes changed the world.

These crashes were no accident. The September 11th terror attacks were a well-orchestrated strike into the hearts of Americans, killing so many of our countrymen and injecting a new and terrible fear into the hearts of us all.

The strikes brought down the World Trade Center in New York, a section of the Pentagon, and aimed to take out the White House (had it not been for the heroic actions of the Americans on board of the final plane, sending it instead into a field in Pennsylvania). They kept us out of sports arenas and large gatherings for fear of what might happen next. The United States began taking steps toward war to punish those responsible – a terror organization deep in the heart of the Middle East.

That war and the wars that followed have not ended since they started.

Across America today, there are students who are learning about this event in a solely historical context – this year’s graduating high school seniors were either less than a year old or not even born when the attacks happened. Yet, the world they are growing up in is a world built upon those attacks.

Many of them have parents in the military, who even now serve overseas in the same places that spawned the terrorists who attacked us. Others have family that has been lost in those conflicts. Still others come from families who support the war or families who oppose it.

The politics inspired by those terror attacks and the wars in the Middle East have shaped family discourse. While not solely due to the September 11th attacks, what has happened in the political realm has undoubtedly been shaped by them. Because of that, we now live in a very politically-charged era. Kids are becoming all-too-aware of the toxicity of it all, and it bleeds into the classroom.

It’s a world that they know all-to-well, but it’s not the world that my generation (the beloved millennial generation) and those older than I always knew. Sure, we can look at several events through history that have changed the world, and we can argue many generations have their own similar historical world-shaping events. It’s also true that this generation may well come to witness an event that shapes their worldview like September 11th, Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK, and other events affected previous generations.

With September 11th the most current of those events, however, it’s important for those of us old enough to remember it to explain why and how the world has changed. There are far too many people even in our media and political establishments who pretend as though history began sometime after 2002.

That type of worldview, the type that ignores the context of the times we live in, is actually dangerous. Context is what makes history something to learn from. Simply memorizing the dates and people and events of history isn’t enough. The context that makes them important fill in the gaps, and lead us from one event to the other, making it more than a timeline but an explanation of why the world is the way it is.

The students in our classrooms today need to understand the context of their world. They need to know the context of the world as it was before and leading up to September 11, 2001, and they need to understand the world now as it has been affected by those terror attacks.

The post Born In A World At War appeared first on RedState.

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Those Freaking Out About Negotiating With the Taliban Need a Better Argument

Westlake Legal Group media.townhall-2-2-620x317 Those Freaking Out About Negotiating With the Taliban Need a Better Argument War US Troops twitter Taliban soldiers Politics Peace Deal outrage Obama Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story donald trump democrats deaths David French camp david administration 9/11 2001 18 Years

Yesterday, a major story broke via Donald Trump’s Twitter feed involving the war in Afghanistan. He announced that he had cancelled a major negotiating meeting between the US and Taliban at Camp David. This came not he heels of the Taliban bragging about carrying out a terrorist attack in Kabul.

Because everything during the Trump era must produce moaning and gnashing of teeth, this turned into a major scandal, specifically among some on the right.

Here’s National Review’s David French, who naturally had to use this as a way to snark on Twitter and project his supposed moral superiority, because that’s his entire shtick.

Yes, I’m sure that’s it. I’m sure Trump, this entire administration, and the entirety of the Obama administration had no idea who the Taliban were until this week. We’ve been negotiating with them since 2013 completely clueless as to their true intentions or something. Trump was citing a recent attack, not asserting he had no idea they had committed such acts in the past.

Then there was Bill Kristol’s personal grifter and faux 2020 Republican primary candidate, Joe Walsh, making this silly comment.

Trump was hoping to end a nearly two decade long war that’s claimed thousands of lives. Walsh is going to walk around for a photo op while taking shots at people trying to end said war. Does he really think that tweet makes him look like the better person in this equation?

I despise this kind of intellectually dishonest tripe. We’ve been in Afghanistan for 18 years. Let me repeat that. We’ve been in Afghanistan for 18 years. There was a time when the war there made sense. It no longer does and the only way to negotiate a peace is to deal with the Taliban. Those are the realties of the situation on the ground. No amount of virtue signaling and prideful Twitter rants are going to change that.

Kurt is exactly right here. There is zero chance we are going to escalate Afghanistan into a major conflict again, complete with the civilian casualties it’d take to really hamper the Taliban. The United States citizenry has no stomach for it. Nor, do they have a stomach for staying there another decade or walking away in total defeat.

That leaves one option. You negotiate with the Taliban and try to get some concessions that allow us to keep a strategic hold in the area to prevent future terrorism. This was not some crazy idea made up by Donald Trump. These negotiations go back seven years and have held bi-partisan support since at least the last few years of the Obama administration. The right is just as apt to want an end to war in Afghanistan as the left are.

I’ve seen some say this is about meeting at Camp David and it being close to 9/11. If the administration felt they were close to a deal, why would anyone care about such concerns over optics? Shouldn’t ending the war and the bloodshed of American military members be the priority? I don’t get the moral argument there at all. It seems completely backwards to me.

Here’s the biggest issue though. People who want to argue for not negotiating because of optics, pride, or some other worry about decorum continue to make no effort to articulate their strategy for victory, nor what we are actually fighting for. It’s not 2001 anymore. Our surveillance and counter-intelligence technologies are far more advanced. We don’t have to stay on the ground in Afghanistan, having soldiers continue to die into perpetuity, just to be able to stop the possibly of future terrorist training camps being built.

The Taliban are not going anywhere. We have no path to extricate them from the country because the American people, nor its politicians on both sides support major escalation. We either negotiate with them and do what it takes to get a deal, even if that means a meeting at Camp David, or we continue slogging away, letting soldiers die while we are unwilling to put them in a position to win. The former is a much better option, much more moral option at this point.

————————————————

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The post Those Freaking Out About Negotiating With the Taliban Need a Better Argument appeared first on RedState.

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Biden on gaffes: I may get some details wrong but not details like locking migrant children up in cages

Westlake Legal Group jb-1 Biden on gaffes: I may get some details wrong but not details like locking migrant children up in cages War The Blog story migrant immigration gaffes colbert children cages biden

Via Becket Adams, I regret to inform poor Joe that he has this very important detail wrong too.

—“Speechless. This is not who we are as a nation.” — Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa, former Los Angeles mayor now running for governor, referring in a tweet Sunday to photos showing young-looking immigrants in steel cages

THE FACTS: The photos, taken by The Associated Press, were from 2014, during the Obama administration, but were presented by liberal activists as if they showed the effects of Trump’s immigration policy now. Villaraigosa, Favreau and some others deleted their tweets when the mistake was pointed out.

They had linked to a June 2014 online story by The Arizona Republic titled “First peek: Immigrant children flood detention center.” The story featured photos taken by AP’s Ross D. Franklin at a center run by the Customs and Border Protection Agency in Nogales, Arizona. One photo shows two unidentified female detainees sleeping in a holding cell. The caption refers to U.S. efforts to process 47,000 unaccompanied children at the Nogales center and another one in Brownsville, Texas.

Remember last year when lefties spent a few angry hours one afternoon posting photos of young immigrant kids lying face-down behind a chain-link fence, looking to all the world as if they’d been housed in a large kennel? That effort quickly petered out after outlets like the AP reminded them that the photos were taken in 2014. How Biden’s team could have missed that episode and sent him out onto Colbert’s show to insist that the Obama administration never put kids in cages, knowing that Republicans are already paying close attention to Democratic hypocrisy on this issue, is mind-boggling. It makes you wonder if he botched what he was supposed to say: He would have been on firm ground if he’d said “at least our administration didn’t separate immigrant families.” It was unaccompanied minors who ended up kenneled by the Obama team, not kids who arrived here with an adult.

He walked right into another gaffe, this one much more substantive than the usual “Biden forgets the name of the guy whom he ran with in 2008” stuff. Why?

Next thing you know, he’ll be telling people that he opposed the Iraq war from the beginning.

He absolutely did not oppose the war from the beginning and it’s freakishly stupid for him to insist that he did. Democrats proved three years ago that they’re willing to forgive a would-be nominee who voted for war in Iraq. The issue has less salience in this year’s race than it did in 2016 or, of course, 2008. All Biden had to do was follow Hillary’s lead — “I was misled by Bush about Saddam’s WMD, I’m deeply sorry, I’d do it differently if I could do it again.” The one sure way to put Iraq back on Democratic voters’ radar is to try to whitewash history on it. Which is exactly what he did a few days ago in an interview with NPR.

Again, why? Does he honestly not remember the positions that he and, later, the Obama administration took on certain major policies? That’s more alarming than the idea of Biden simply lying to try to cover his tracks.

In lieu of an exit question, enjoy Adams’s long list of media outlets that failed to fact-check Biden on locking up migrant children in their write-ups of his Colbert interview. I’m giving you the whole clip here because it’s fun watching Colbert grapple with the awkward role he’s in with Biden as a guest. He doesn’t want to hit him hard lest he damage the party’s most likely nominee (for now, at least) but he also has to come after him to placate the progressives in his audience who want Biden cleared aside for Bernie or Elizabeth Warren. Usually a big-name Democrat on Colbert’s show is a pure ally. Not quite here, and it shows.

The post Biden on gaffes: I may get some details wrong but not details like locking migrant children up in cages appeared first on Hot Air.

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Biden on the false war story he keeps telling: C’mon, the “essence” of it is true

Westlake Legal Group b-13 Biden on the false war story he keeps telling: C’mon, the “essence” of it is true Washington Post War The Blog story medal Iraq Chad Workman biden Afghanistan

I mean, it kind of is.

But if you already have misgivings about Grandpa Joe’s ability to do the job, you’re not going to feel reassured by his insistence that he’s still able to access the basics of his memories. The … “essence” of them, if you will.

This is not an office whose duties can be carried out effectively with anything less than total attention to detail. And by “total attention” I mean watching hours of “Fox & Friends” and sh*tposting on Twitter about personal enemies.

Biden’s obviously in no condition to handle a job as demanding as that.

Seriously, though, he doesn’t sound great here:

Based on the report, it seems like there were a few different stories that you may have combined into one, but there was a soldier —

“There was a soldier, that had to do with a humvee that had blown up. There was another story where a young man was in a forward-operating base where someone got shot and fell down a ravine, and the young man went down and picked that person up, carried him up and he died. I was asked by a commanding general, would I pin a medal on him? He didn’t want the medal either because he said he died even though he went down under fire and saved a man. They were the two stories.”

The reason why some people are looking at this story, even though it’s just about one story in New Hampshire that you told, is broader concerns about misstatements on the trail. Obviously folks have asked you about your age and you’ve said we should judge by your performance.

“I think it’s ridiculous. The essence — that there’s anything I said about that that wasn’t the essence of the story. The story was that he refused the medal because the fella he tried to save and risked his life saving died. That’s the beginning, middle and end. The rest of you guys can take it and do what you want with it.”

Joe is still jumbled up on the details, which is why he resorted to the “essence of the story” bit near the end of the excerpt to try to wriggle out of it. The soldier who rappelled down the ravine was Kyle White; he received the Medal of Honor from Obama at the White House. Biden had nothing to do with it. Another soldier, Miles Foltz, rescued a comrade who was in trouble and under fire; Biden witnessed the ceremony in which Foltz received the Bronze Star during a trip to Afghanistan as a senator in 2008. The third soldier, Chad Workman, tried to save a buddy who was trapped in a burning vehicle; he was the one who received the Bronze Star from VP Biden in 2011 and who told Biden that he didn’t want the medal.

When the reporter asked him if he might be conflating details from separate stories, though, he answered, “No I don’t think so, but I haven’t seen the article.”

So he really is confused. He’s not just taking a little dramatic license by consolidating war stories to punch up a stump speech.

WaPo caught up to him on the trail this afternoon and also asked him for reaction. Quote:

In an interview with Washington Post opinion columnist Jonathan Capehart after the report was first published, Biden suggested he was telling Workman’s story in New Hampshire, although almost none of the details he offered matched what actually happened to Workman.

“I was making the point how courageous these people are, how incredible they are, this generation of warriors, these fallen angels we’ve lost,” he said. “I don’t know what the problem is. What is it that I said wrong?

Is he pleading “fake but accurate”? (Or “larger truth!”, I suppose?) Or does he really not realize that he’s mixed up three different stories and people are wondering if that’s further evidence that his mind is … cloudy?

If he were prepared for these questions, he would have said he’s been touched by so many stories of courageous American soldiers behaving selflessly while in danger that he wanted to honor as many as he could by mentioning details from their different experiences when he talks about this. That would be tantamount to admitting to lying but under the circumstances a virtuous lie is better spin for him than “I get confused easily and have trouble remembering things now.” No one’s going to vote for Elizabeth Warren because garrulous Grandpa Joe took a little license by incorporating several true stories about U.S. troops risking their lives for comrades. They might vote for Elizabeth Warren, though, if they’re convinced his brain is turning to oatmeal.

Anyway, enjoy this while it lasts because questioning Biden’s mental fitness will be completely verboten by the media the moment he clinches the nomination.

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WaPo: Joe Biden keeps telling the same war story — and has nearly every detail wrong

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A new round of a fun game we might be playing for the next 15 months: “Knowing Liar Or Just Old”?

The wrinkle about the game is that “knowing liar” is actually a better outcome for Biden. If the public concludes that he’s deliberately exaggerating the details of some experience he’s had, well, that’s politicians for you.

If, on the other hand, it concludes that he’s too old to keep his memories straight anymore, that’s another reason not to trust him with a four-year term as president.

There’s actually a third option that might explain this WaPo report. Call it the political equivalent of “poetic license.” (“Political license”?) He’s taking major elements from several incidents that did happen and combining them into a single incident that didn’t. Where does that fall on the Joe Biden “BS or fugue state” scale?

The story Biden (usually) tells has to do with a Navy officer rappelling down a ravine under fire in Afghanistan to rescue a wounded comrade, except the comrade ends up dying. Biden shows up to pin a Silver Star on him for his valor but the officer doesn’t want it. He failed in his attempt to save his comrade’s life, after all. Such is his selflessness and his focus on his men’s welfare that he feels he let them down despite putting himself in harm’s way to try to save them.

WaPo investigated. Result: He’s confusing at least two different incidents. One of them happened when Biden was a senator, not VP. It was in Afghanistan, not Iraq, as Biden sometimes claims. There was no Navy captain, rather an Army specialist. He didn’t rappel down a ravine, he climbed a hill. His comrade didn’t perish but survived. It was a Bronze Star he received, not a Silver Star. And he didn’t try to refuse the medal. That was a wholly separate incident from several years later, in 2011, in which an Army staff sergeant attempted to rescue a fellow soldier from a burning vehicle but got there moments too late to save him. Biden did pin a medal as VP on that soldier — a Bronze Star, not a Silver — and the soldier acknowledges that he did tell Biden that he didn’t want it.

So: Political license by Grandpa Joe or is he genuinely confused? Since all the basic elements of the story are true (courageous soldier reluctantly receives medal from Biden for trying but failing to save fallen comrade), is it really a big deal? Note that the staff sergeant, Chad Workman, found his experience with Biden quite moving.

Workman’s company commander told him that the vice president was going to pin a Bronze Star on him for his heroism. “I tried to get out of going,” recalled Workman, who has since been promoted to first sergeant. “I didn’t want that medal.” Nevertheless on Jan. 11, 2011, a cold, gray day, Workman stood at attention as Biden pinned the medal to his chest. The moment is memorialized in a White House photo and in a 2016 interview that Biden did with National Geographic.

Here’s how Biden remembered it: “You see the look on his face — he says, ‘Sir, I don’t want it. I don’t want it. He died. He died.’ ”

Workman’s version is the same, but with one added detail. He recalled Biden meeting his gaze. Workman told the vice president that he didn’t want the medal.

“I know you don’t,” Biden replied softly.

Eight years later, Workman still remembers how Biden looked at him.

“He has that look where his eyes can see into your eyes,” Workman said. “I felt like he really understood.”

Biden being Biden, whenever he tells his own version of this story it’s punctuated with “This is the God’s truth” and “my word as a Biden.” Maybe he thinks he has his facts straight and just doesn’t. Or maybe that’s just a politician’s tic: “Trust me!”

WaPo’s video is more damning than the story. Watch below. Were this an isolated episode, I bet the story wouldn’t even have been written. There’s nothing in it about Biden somehow exaggerating his own courage, as Hillary did in recalling her visit to Bosnia; the worst thing he’s guilty of is deliberately or inadvertently conflating the details of different real-life episodes. But this isn’t an isolated episode, of course — there’s a rolling debate on both the right and the left as to whether he’s “lost a step” over time. It’s another data point for the conversation. The real question is whether this same news story would have been written the same way had WaPo reported it next year, after Biden has been crowned Democratic nominee. At the moment he’s an obstacle to the left’s preferred candidates, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, so WaPo will get no grief from progressives for having dropped this. Do it next year when Biden’s the only thing standing between Trump and a second term, though, and see what happens.

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Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo Once Again Says No To Running For Senate

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(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Even though Mitch McConnell really wants him to run, Mike Pompeo is happy right where he is now as Secretay of State.

In an interview that covered a number of topics, Pompeo was once again pressed on whether or not he would be interested in leaving the administration early and run for Senate in his home state of Kansas. He once again shot the idea down. Cold.

From the Washington Examiner…

Washington Examiner : You want people from Youngstown, Pittsburgh?

Pompeo: And Wichita. Yes, and small towns in Texas, and Alabama, and Mississippi, and Appalachia, and in Idaho and Montana. I want people to come from all around because we need those voices heard here at the State Department as well.

Washington Examiner : … and running for Senate?

Pompeo: I am going to stay here. I’ve talked about this. I’m focused on what I’m doing right now. You can go read about it. There’s lots of people talking about it. The only one who’s not talking about it—

Washington Examiner : Is you?

Pompeo: Is me. Precisely.

This is incredibly good news for the country and the Trump administration. Pompeo has been a steady hand at both C.I.A. and now at State. With the amount of overturn in this administrations cabinet, having the person at State Department being a valued asset to the President with North Korea, China, Hong Kong and Iran going on should be reassuring to most Americans.

Kansas is a usually reliable state for the Republicans. I fully understand why Senator Mitch McConell would want a candidate to run with the qualifications of Mr. Pompeo. However, if they can’t find another overly qualified person in Kansas to run on the GOP ticket than that should be worrisome to the overall chances for the GOP to retain control of that chamber in 2020.

For now, we have a steady hand at State during a critical time in U.S. Foreign policy and should be thankful for that.

Check out my other posts here on Red State and my podcast Bourbon On The Rocks plus like Bourbon On The Rocks on Facebook and follow me on the twitters at IRISHDUKE2 

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Ouch: Trump Once Again Calls Afghanistan The “Harvard Of Terrorists”

Westlake Legal Group AP_18268530657895-300x200 Ouch: Trump Once Again Calls Afghanistan The “Harvard Of Terrorists” white house washington D.C. War Social Media republicans President Trump Morning Briefing Middle East Media Mainstream Media Liberal Elitism International Affairs Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post donald trump democrats Conservatives Congress China Trade Talks Allow Media Exception 2019

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

This can NOT be a good recruiting tool for Harvard.

President Trump today in the Oval Office covered a wide range of issues from trade with China to the economy but he said something about the war in Afghanistan that stuck out as a “Trump moment.” He said that the country we have been fighting in for 19 years is like “Harvard University of terrorism.”

From Mediaite

He said the negotiations with Afghanistan and the Taliban are ongoing and “we’ll see what happens from it,” adding that the Taliban “would like to stop fighting us.”

When asked if the Taliban can be trusted, Trump said he believes “nobody can be trusted” and said, “We’ll always have intelligence and we’ll always have somebody there. But you could say that about a lot of places… But that does seem to be the Harvard University of terrorism.”

Kinda harsh.

The President has a very unique way of putting things and this is a clear example.

The ORGINAL reason we invaded Afghanistan back in October of 2001 was that the government led by the Taliban were allowing Al Queda to train and the government was helping fund these attacks all over the world. Yet 19 years later this place is STILL the Harvard of terror training? What have we done wrong or right? How many lives have we altered in doing what we have done?

I don’t blame any previous administration for doing what they thought was right but 19 years in we need to take a serious look at what we have done there and if we should continue to be there at all. In today’s presser, it sounds like the President is moving closer to wrapping up our time on the ground there. Hopefully, the introspection part begins before we leave.

Even if leaving means the “Harvard” of terrorism will go unabated with their activites, then we have to come up with a different strategy to fight this being the current one has no definable goal. If we don’t have a definable goal than we should never be putting our men and women wearing the nation’s uniform in harm’s way.

Ever.

Check out my other posts here on Red State and my podcast Bourbon On The Rocks plus like Bourbon On The Rocks on Facebook and follow me on the twitters at IRISHDUKE2 

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New Trump stimulus idea: A payroll tax cut?

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I laughed when I got to the part of this Times story where “Administration officials said the idea had not been pushed with Mr. Trump and tried to tamp talk of it down.” I can just imagine how the chatter about a payroll tax cut got started in the Oval Office:

“If Powell doesn’t cut rates and we end up in a recession, I’m finished next year. We need a stimulus! Gimme ideas, now.”
“We’ve already cut income taxes, Mr. President. There’s always the payroll tax, I guess, but—”
“Payroll tax! Great idea. Let’s start pushing cuts.”
“No, wait. There are like eight different reasons why Pelosi would never–”
“Payroll tax cuts!”
“Wait.”

Too late!

Why would Trump’s advisors be more cautious than he is in advertising a payroll tax cut proposal? For the simple reason that (a) Pelosi won’t lift a finger to help Trump goose the economy, knowing how that would help him in 2020, and, more importantly, (b) she can actually turn this around on Trump and use it as leverage to showcase unpopular parts of the GOP’s own agenda. Presumably POTUS understands the first point and thinks that he can use Pelosi’s refusal as electoral fodder against the Dems: “We proposed a tax cut that would directly benefit the middle class, not the rich. Democrats normally love the idea of cutting the payroll tax. But Pelosi turned us down because she doesn’t care about you!” And it’s true, incidentally, that Democrats typically prefer cutting the payroll tax to cutting income taxes since the payroll tax is regressive. In a vacuum, they’d be interested in this idea.

But we’re not in a vacuum, we’re 14 months out from an election in which Trump’s chances rest almost entirely on the pillar of economic growth. If that pillar starts to crumble, Nancy Pelosi isn’t racing in to reinforce it with a payroll tax stimulus. And, contra Trump’s suspicions, I don’t think it’d be easy to scapegoat her for refusing either. She’d have a salable argument against cutting payroll taxes, namely, that doing so would increase the risk that entitlements will be underfunded. We must save Social Security and Medicare! Then she’d go on offense, using Trump’s payroll tax proposal to refocus public attention on the less progressive tax initiatives the White House has championed in the past. Rick Newman sees it coming:

Pelosi and her fellow Dems would probably embrace the idea of a payroll tax—then ask Trump for a bunch of concessions he couldn’t possibly agree to. In exchange for Trump’s payroll tax, Democrats would need to show their own political base they got something to help their own election odds in 2020. What might that be?

They could agree to a payroll tax cut in exchange for rolling back the 2017 tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy. Or they could ask for a more aggressive estate tax and use the money raised to fund social programs. Or they could insist that the $10,000 cap on the deductibility of state and local income taxes, which hit Democratic states harder than Republican ones, be repealed. They could ask for all of those things.

Trump would say no to all of that, of course. The point here is to stimulate the economy by putting more money into the hands of taxpayers to spend, he’d note, not to take it out of the hands of the rich and deposit it into the Treasury. Nonetheless, lefties would use the debate to revisit all sorts of unpleasant trivia about the 2017 tax cuts that undercut Trump’s populist image:

Not only would Trump not end up getting his payroll tax cut, he’d end up with a snoutful of damaging Democratic messaging on tax policy for his trouble. Even if, against all odds, he managed to work something out with Pelosi, there’s no guarantee that he wouldn’t change his mind halfway through negotiations after Hannity or whoever started complaining loudly about the concessions he made to get a deal. And if that happened, with Trump walking away from a deal suddenly, Pelosi would then be able to argue that he’s the one ultimately who didn’t care enough about the middle class to make payroll tax cuts happen, not her.

His advisors see all of this coming from a mile away, which is why they’re eager to tell reporters that this idea isn’t seriously being pushed. Trump himself seems less concerned.

I wonder how he would react if Pelosi offered him a payroll tax cut in exchange for universal background checks on gun purchases. That’d be hugely risky on her part since both prongs of that deal would be very popular; if Trump agreed, he’d get a double shot of goodwill from the electorate, making it a huge miscalculation by Dems. The gamble on her part would be that he’s too afraid of disappointing his most populist fans on gun rights to agree to a deal like that and thus would rule out a measure that enjoys 90 percent popularity across the country. If/when he did, Pelosi would have a double whammy to use against him: “We were willing to work with the president to help the middle class but apparently he cares more about letting people buy guns without accountability than he does about putting money back in the pockets of the middle class.” Here he is this afternoon sounding more skeptical about expanding background checks after sounding much more enthusiastic two weeks ago.

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