View Full Version : Disrespecting the military

Norman Bernstein
11-13-2018, 09:25 AM
I never served, having come of age during the Vietnam war, but drawing a high number in the draft lottery. However, I do have tremendous respect for those who DO serve.

Sadly, we have a President who disrespects our soldiers, repeatedly.

WASHINGTON ― Two days after skipping a visit to an American military (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/topic/military) cemetery near Paris because it was raining, President Donald Trump (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/topic/donald-trump) called for effectively disenfranchising overseas military members voting in Florida, raising further questions about the draft-evading president’s commitment to the armed services.“The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged,” Trump tweeted (https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1061962869376540672) early on Monday, the observed Veterans Day (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/topic/veterans-day) holiday for the federal government. “An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!”

Scott and DeSantis are the GOP’s candidates for U.S. senator and governor in Florida whose election-night margins of victory have resulted in legally mandated recounts.

But skipping those recounts would not only violate state law, it would ignore the ballots of tens of thousands of Florida-based troops deployed overseas. Those ballots are supposed to be counted if they arrive by this coming Friday.

“It’s a nice commentary from the commander-in-chief on Veterans Day,” said Will Fischer, who served in Iraq as a Marine and is now with the VoteVets group.

Less than two-and-a-half hours after Trump’s 7:44 a.m. tweet, the White House announced that Trump would remain there with no public events for the rest of the day.

“He’s not going to Arlington. He’s not even going up to Walter Reed,” Fischer said. “Once again, Donald Trump only sees the military as props. If it doesn’t benefit him, he’s not going to do it.”

Arlington National Cemetery is minutes from the White House across the Potomac River in Virginia. Walter Reed is the Army hospital a short helicopter ride away in Bethesda, Maryland, where service members wounded in combat are treated.

The White House did not respond to repeated queries about the president’s lack of a schedule on Monday. Nor did it respond to questions about Trump’s decision to cancel a visit to the American cemetery in France on Saturday and instead remain indoors tweeting, rather than go to an alternate site closer by.

Military officials in charge of transporting Trump prefer not to fly the Marine One helicopter through rain or fog, and the Secret Service prefers not to use motorcades for long drives when abroad.

In a statement to reporters during Trump’s flight back to Washington on Sunday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that a motorcade to the Aisne-Marne cemetery some 55 miles northeast of Paris would have lasted two-and-a-half hours each way and required many hours of road closures that would have been a major inconvenience for local residents.

The two-and-a-half-hour estimate, though, is considerably longer than the estimates from both Google Maps (https://www.google.com/maps/dir/41+Rue+du+Faubourg+Saint-Honor%C3%A9,+75008+Paris,+France/American+Cemetery+%22Aisne-Marne%22+Belleau,+Rue+des+Chevaliers+de+Colomb,+Be lleau,+France/@48.9877408,2.5162581,10z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x47e66fcdd1192d dd:0xd0fb4605b78d8a6e!2m2!1d2.318614!2d48.86968!1m 5!1m1!1s0x47e8ec06452df5ed:0x3febe08d2a677cf5!2m2! 1d3.2917966!2d49.0784314!3e0) and Mappy (https://fr.mappy.com/#/6/M2/TItinerary/IFR41%20Rue%20du%20Faubourg%20Saint-Honor%C3%A9%2C%2075008%20Paris%7CTOAmerican%20Mili tary%20Cemetery%20Belleau%20-%20rue%20Chevaliers%20Colombs%2C%2002400%20Belleau %7CMOvoiture%7CPRcar/N151.12061,6.11309,2.82151,48.97063/Z10/), a site popular in France, which came up with one hour and 22 minutes on Monday afternoon. And presidential motorcades generally drive significantly faster than ordinary motorists are allowed to.

White House advance teams usually plan for contingencies, particularly weather, by coming up with alternative travel arrangements and alternative destinations.

“Advance teams, working in close coordination with the Secret Service, typically start building contingency plans weeks – if not months – in advance,” said Ned Price, a spokesman for then-President Barack Obama’s National Security Council who sat through many hours of advance team debriefs in the last administration.

“They do so with precisely this type of scenario in mind, and rain in this part of France would’ve been high on the list of envisioned contingencies,” Price said. “It would seem to strain credulity to believe that President Trump was unable to attend the ceremony. It seems much more likely that he chose not to.”

There are other American cemeteries and monuments (https://www.abmc.gov/) closer to Paris, and Trump could have visited one of them instead, even on short notice. Quick unannounced visits are often deemed relatively safe by the Secret Service because potential adversaries have no time to plan for them, either.

Instead, as other European leaders braved the rain Saturday to attend commemorative services at various sites around Paris, Trump remained at the U.S. ambassador’s residence the entire afternoon and into the evening, when he arrived more than an hour late to a state dinner hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Fischer, of VoteVets, is skeptical that the president even made good use of those hours. “I think he sat there in a bathrobe watching Fox News and tweeting ridiculousness,” he said.

During the afternoon, Trump had, in fact, issued tweets, including (https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1061335051294728194): “Trying to STEAL two big elections in Florida! We are watching closely!”

On the campaign trail in 2015, Trump claimed that he would be the “most militaristic” president the country had ever seen. (He likely meant he would be the most supportive of the military, rather than the one most prone to start wars, which is what that phrasing might more readily imply.)

Since he became president, Trump has made but a single visit to Dover Air Force Base to meet the returning coffins of fallen soldiers and has never visited troops in a combat zone. Even the two major accomplishments he boasts of ―providing record-high budgets for the military and passing a law to let veterans see local private doctors ― are both false.

Obama approved a $721 billion defense budget in 2010 and a $717 billion budget in 2011. Both were higher than the $716 billion budget this year that Trump repeatedly brags about – even before adjusting for inflation. And the “veterans choice” program that Trump claims passed because of him was actually also passed under Obama, in 2014.

And now, Trump has deployed thousands of troops to the Mexican border to string up barbed wire against what he describes as an “invasion” of Central American refugees seeking asylum, even though they are still hundreds of miles away. The soldiers are likely to remain there through the Thanksgiving holiday, at least.

“Ripping people from their families and their training and deploying them to the border for the purpose of, well, your guess is as good as mine,” Fischer said.

Trump himself avoided military service when he had the opportunity during the Vietnam War, receiving four education deferments and then claiming a medical exemption because of bone spurs in his heels.

He later compared the dangers of war to the risks of contracting sexually transmitted diseases from the women he was sleeping with. “It is my personal Vietnam,” he told radio host Howard Stern in 1997. “I feel like a great and very brave soldier.”

Despite his personal avoidance of military service, though, Trump has long described himself as a great supporter of the armed forces and has particularly enjoyed the pageantry associated with it.

After receiving much criticism for skipping Saturday’s visit to the cemetery near Bellau Wood, where nearly 2,000 American troops died in a critical battle in 1918, Trump did keep his scheduled visit to the cemetery at Suresnes on the outskirts of Paris just before his flight back to the United States on Sunday.

Anthony Zucker
11-13-2018, 09:33 AM
Imagine how Fox News would handle Obama if he skipped veterans' cemetery ceremonies!

Ian McColgin
11-13-2018, 09:36 AM
Trump's boundless disrespect for everything - people, institutions, art, values, truth, reality - goes well with his ignorance and feckless lying.

11-13-2018, 10:38 AM
It's even worse than Norm has described above,

It was Donald Trump, for example, who showed his deep concern for veterans by nominating someone to lead the VA whom the president later admitted “might not have been qualified.”

It was a couple of months earlier when we learned about “the Mar-a-Lago Crowd” that helped oversee Trump’s Department of Veterans Affairs. Pro Publica uncovered a dynamic in which three wealthy members of Trump’s Florida resort effectively helped run the VA for months, despite having no relevant experience, and despite no oversight or accountability of any kind, basically because they’re pals with the president through the club he still owns and profits from.

The triumvirate of Bruce Moskowitz, Ike Perlmutter, and Marc Sherman oversaw everything from the VA’s digital records system to personnel decisions, occasionally using their influence in ways that may have benefited their private financial interests.

Around the same time these revelations came to light, the Trump administration also took steps to suspend audits of lenders for violations of the Military Lending Act, which had the practical effect of making military families more susceptible to “financial fraud, predatory loans and credit card gouging.” (The move “surprised advocates for military families,” the New York Times reported in August.)

We can keep going. Under Trump, veterans have struggled to receive their benefits under the G.I. Bill. The president has misled the public about the VA Accountability Act. The veterans’ hotline the Republican promised to create during his 2016 campaign has turned into a bust. Trump has politicized the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in unprecedented ways. This morning, the Republican went so far as to inadvertently make the case for disenfranchising some veterans who cast votes while serving abroad.

Veterans “have no better friend” than Donald Trump? This White House has a curious definition of “friend.”

ron ll
11-13-2018, 10:42 AM
If he keeps badmouthing the military, it will be easier to send the generals in to pry him out of that oval room if he decides he wants to stay.

Norman Bernstein
11-13-2018, 10:56 AM
It's even worse than Norm has described above,

Yes, it is... and the Military Lending Act is a prime example. We've long known that the Trump administration wants to destroy consumer protection... but in particular, service members especially need that protection. Consider what they're doing:

Standing with the troops requires more than lip service. It also requires action.When the Pentagon found that predatory payday loan shops and unethical car dealers were trolling military bases and aggressively targeting the troops with interest rates of 300 percent and higher, the Pentagon urged Congress to act. And act they did, because those who defend our nation deserve to be protected from predatory lenders. Congress rallied around our troops more than a decade ago in the near-unanimous, broad bipartisan enactment of the Military Lending Act (MLA) (http://www.responsiblelending.org/payday-lending/research-analysis/Summary-of-MLA.pdf) to protect active-duty service members and their families from financial ruin.

However, unfolding before us now, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Acting Director Mick Mulvaney (https://thehill.com/people/mick-mulvaney) has vowed to end proactive oversight (https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/8/14/17684810/military-lending-act-mick-mulvaney-cfpb-loans) of payday lenders and other predatory lenders, accusing his own agency’s supervisors of being “overly aggressive.” This marginalization of crucial protections for our troops will re-invite exposure to predatory practices.

Just one high-interest payday loan can have a cascading effect — ultimately robbing a service member of the ability to own a home, buy a car, or even provide for their family. For example, a service member might borrow $800 for a broken refrigerator and find the debt cascades quickly into thousands of dollars. Like quicksand, these loans are easy to slip into but nearly impossible to escape.

The MLA’s protections include clear-cut guidelines for bank and non-bank lenders (https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/what-are-my-rights-under-the-military-lending-act-en-1783/). Among them, lenders can’t charge service members higher than a 36 percent interest rate, can’t push them into forced arbitration, and can’t charge a penalty for early payment.

Previously, using its authority to supervise for risk to consumers, the CFPB (https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/cfpb-statement-on-department-of-defense-military-lending-act-final-rule/)conducted periodic, proactive checks on lenders to ensure compliance with the MLA; the oversight worked as intended. Since its creation in 2011, the CFPB has delivered more than $130 million in relief (https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/our-office-servicemember-affairs-guides-you-through-financial-hurdles-your-military-career/) to military members and handled more than 72,000 consumer complaints from service members and their families. In the past, the bureau had a strong track record of taking action (https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/consumer-financial-protection-bureau-takes-action-against-payday-lender-for-robo-signing/) to protect consumers including service members and their families.

But Mr. Mulvaney would undo that. Under his proposed changes, the CFPB would rely on service member complaints to identify violations of the law. This is unrealistic, given the demands on the troops to focus on their mission. Eliminating proactive oversight will put our armed forces back in the crosshairs — risking readiness, damaging morale, and adding an unnecessary financial burden to our all-volunteer force.

The impact is not only on service members and their families. When service members are in financial hardship, they can lose their security clearance and eligibility to serve. And the damage goes further. The Pentagon estimates (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-29/pdf/2014-22900.pdf) it loses more than $57,000 in recruiting and training costs for each involuntary separation of a service member. And, each year, as many as 7,957 service members are involuntarily separated where financial distress is a contributing factor. Overall, the Department of Defense (DOD) estimates the MLA saves it as much as $133 million each year (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-07-22/pdf/2015-17480.pdf).

Congress made great strides to put together a bipartisan, bicameral Military Lending Act, passed into law to provide the much-needed protections. Weakening these protections will lead to exponentially problematic results, compounding an already constrained military recruiting and retention environment.

11-13-2018, 11:52 AM
It's even worse than Norm has described above,

Tom, where did that come from?

11-13-2018, 12:31 PM
And it is worser still . .

The Trump admin is now allowing predatory for-profit phony-ass "universities" to target active military and vets.

11-13-2018, 12:44 PM
And now he’s blaming the Secret Service for missing the ceremony in France. When all the experts say it was totally his call. His fragile ego just can’t accept the tiniest bit of blame. I’m sure this will sit well with his Secret Service detail.

S.V. Airlie
11-13-2018, 12:47 PM
And now he’s blaming the Secret Service for missing the ceremony in France. When all the experts say it was totally his call. His fragile ego just can’t accept the tiniest bit of blame. I’m sure this will sit well with his Secret Service detail.He's backpedaling so fast, I'm surprised he hasn't ended up on his butt! Look another divot!

11-13-2018, 12:49 PM
And it is worser still . .

The Trump admin is now allowing predatory for-profit phony-ass "universities" to target active military and vets.

He has experience in that field, at least.

Tom Wilkinson
11-13-2018, 12:50 PM
Tom, where did that come from?


(different Tom, but I found it)

11-13-2018, 03:29 PM
Tom, where did that come from?


John of Phoenix
11-14-2018, 02:38 PM
Now he's all torqued out of shape because sitting on his ass makes him look bad. He just doesn't get it. Leaders don't do things like this to make themselves look good, they do it to pay respect to soldiers who gave their lives in the name of freedom.

So you get wet. You don't get killed.