MAGA Republicans hijacked a bipartisan bill that is essential to U.S. national security

Heather Cox Richardson | Letters from an American

Heather Cox Richardson

July 14, 2023

Traditionally, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which funds the annual budget and appropriations of the Department of Defense, passes Congress on a bipartisan basis. Since 1961 it has been considered must-pass legislation, as it provides the funding for our national security.

For all that there is grumbling on both sides over one thing or another in the measure, it is generally kept outside partisanship. Late last night, House Republicans broke that tradition by loading the bill with a wish list from the far right.

Republicans added amendments that eliminate all diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs in the Defense Department; end the Defense Department program that reimburses military personnel who must travel for abortion services; bar healthcare for gender transition; prevent the military academies from using affirmative action in admissions (an exception the recent Supreme Court decision allowed); block the Pentagon from putting in place President Biden’s executive orders on climate change; prevent schools associated with the Defense Department from teaching that the United States of America is racist; and block military schools from having “pornographic and radical gender ideology books” in their libraries.

House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tweeted: “We don’t want Disneyland to train our military. House Republicans just passed a bill that ENDS the wokism in the military and gives our troops their biggest pay raise in decades.” In fact, the events of last night were a victory for right-wing extremists, demonstrating that they hold the upper hand in the House.

Representatives Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) and Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), both military veterans, expressed shock that so many Republicans voted to strip abortion protections from military personnel. “[T]hey will say, ‘this is a really bad idea,’ ‘this is not where the party should be going,’ ‘this is a mistake,’” Sherill said. “[W]ell then why did everyone but two people in the Republican conference vote for this really bad amendment?”The bill passed by a vote of 219 to 210, largely along partisan lines.

This year’s budget is $886 billion as the U.S. modernizes the military to compete with new threats such as the rise of China, and it provides a 5.2% increase in pay for military personnel. But Senate Democrats will not vote for it with the new partisan amendments and are working on their own measure. While there will be a conference committee to hammer out the differences between the two versions, McCarthy has offered a position on that committee to Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), one of the extremists. This is an unusual offer, as she is not on the House Armed Services Committee. House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said: “Extreme MAGA Republicans have hijacked a bipartisan bill that is essential to our national security and taken it over and weaponized it in order to jam their extreme right-wing ideology down the throats of the American people.”

“We are not going to relent, we are not going to back down, we’re not going to give up on the cause that is righteous,” Representative Scott Perry (R-PA) said.Representative Sean Casten (D-IL) summed up the vote today on Twitter. “The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is the bill that funds all of our military operations. It is typically bipartisan and is about as serious as Congress gets.

What weapons of war we fund, which allies we share them with, how we recruit. National security is a BFD. We can have our political debates about any number of issues but it is generally understood that when Americans are willing to sacrifice their lives to defend us, it’s time to check the crazies at the door. But today, the crazies won.“

They won first because [McCarthy] put the crazies in positions of power. But second because none of the “moderate” Republicans had the courage to stay the hell out of KrazyTown…. Is every member of the [House Republican Conference] a homophobic, racist, science denying lunatic? No. But the lesson of today is that the ones who aren’t are massive cowards completely unfit for any position of leadership. 

“There is space—and demand—for reasonable differences of opinion in our democracy. This isn’t about whether we agree. It’s about whether we can trust that—differences aside—we trust that we’ve got each other’s back if we ever find ourselves in a foxhole together. That’s usually a metaphor, conflating the horrors of war with the much lower-stakes lives that most of us are fortunate enough to lead. But today, the entire [House Republican Conference] told us—both literally and metaphorically—that they don’t give a damn about the rest of the unit.”

Trump: “A man’s man”?

Posted on Quora by Mark Zaborowski 8/31/22

I recently received a comment on another post. The commenter informed me that I was remiss for not understanding that Donald Trump was “a man’s man who said whatever he was thinking and didn’t care what anyone thought about that”. I think he also believed that Jesus sent him to save America, but that’s another story. Rather than immediately firing off a snarky reply, I looked up some definitions of the term. First, it doesn’t mean “gentleman’s gentleman”. That is just another way to say “valet”. Somehow, I don’t see Donald Trump running a bath or picking out which XXL red tie to wear for another man.

So, back to “man’s man”. There are any number of definitions, some espousing physical toughness, courage, and aggression, some concentrating on shouldering responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and dependability. As a bit of a side note, FOX News personality Tucker Carlson touts Trump as that strong guy that America needs. Carlson also seems very concerned with the sagging testosterone levels of American men, going so far as to promote testicle tanning as a way to jack up “manliness” in the male population. But since this was the look he preferred until Jon Stewart called him out on it some years ago, I think we can safely exclude Tucker from any discussion about easily recognizable masculinity.

Being a man’s man is supposed to mean that you are the epitome. You are the one that other men acknowledge as a prime example, the one that they aspire to be like. If that is the case for Donald J. Trump, why stop there? There are many other categories where he sets the standard, right? He is the:

Liar’s liar – 30,000 plus documented instances.

Tax-dodger’s tax-dodger – He doesn’t pay them because – as he said in a 2016 debate – “I am smart.”

Braggart’s braggart – He is the expert on any and every subject. Just ask him.

Draft-dodger’s draft dodger – 5 deferments, including one for “bone spurs”. Not a record, but still…

There are many more in his public life, but what about the more “intimate” stuff?

Man’s Man?

Voyeur’s voyeur – Walked unannounced into dressing rooms of any pageant he owned.

Adulterer’s adulterer – Has had 3 wives and cheated on each of them.

P***y grabber’s p***y grabber – OK, he claimed, because he was famous.

Finally: Pisser’s pisser, Moaner’s moaner, and Snowflake’s snowflake – Trump sets the gold standard for pissing and moaning and whining and crying about everything from “fake news”, to losing a free and fair election, to being endlessly “persecuted”, to having stolen documents forcibly retrieved from his sweaty clutches and put back where they belong. I think he fails the smell test for being a man’s man by the length of a walk from the White House to the Capitol building.

Quora is a social question-and-answer website. Users can collaborate by editing questions and commenting on answers that have been submitted by other users.  As of 2020, the website was visited by 300 million users a month.

Source: Quora

Need ammunition to prove Trump was the worst President ever? This author nails it

Writer Randy Weir, who describes himself as a devout Christian and conservative, used the social question-and-answer website Quora to challenge the notion that the Trump presidency was anything other than a complete dumpster fire.
Quora’s question was “How was Donald Trump bad as a president? Can’t we just forget about his flaws and acknowledge the good things he did?”

His response:

“He literally did no good things. At least not anything significant.

He immediately started a trade war that actually increased our trade deficit. By the end of 2018, almost 2,000 US manufacturing plants had closed because of his tariffs, resulting in 300,000 job losses, and American farmers went bankrupt as Russia supplanted the US as the chief importer of soy into China.

It took him eleven months to get his own party to pass his tax bill. And in the two years that followed, stock market growth and the decline in unemployment both slowed by about two thirds.

At the end of 2018, he shut down the government for the longest period of time in history because his own party wouldn’t fund the border wall he promised Mexico would pay for.

In 2019, the Fed lowered interest rates for the first time since Bush was President to combat the slowing economy, and Trump himself complained that they didn’t commit to do more to prevent a recession.

He spent 23 of the first 69 days of 2020 on vacation, during which time the Trump recession began, all the while repeatedly insisting that Covid was nothing to worry about—before declaring it a national crisis on day 70. Two weeks after he tweeted, “Stock Market starting to look very good to me!“, we saw the largest single day point drop in the history of the Dow followed by the most new jobless claims in history.

During the height of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, he literally was most concerned that gas prices were too low and that oil companies weren’t making enough money, so he forced OPEC into a two-year deal to slash production by 25% to create a global oil shortage and drive up high prices which are still rising today.

He also increased the annual budget deficit every year he was in office, something not even GW Bush accomplished, adding more to the national debt in one term than GW Bush and GHW Bush in twelve years combined, adding more in one year than Reagan added in two full terms, and becoming the first President in history to maintain a debt to GDP ratio over 100% for his entire term.

And that’s just the financial mess he created. He also set a record for indictments, guilty pleas and criminal convictions of members of an administration, eclipsing Nixon’s six-year record in less than three. He became the first President in history to be impeached twice, and the first to have Senators from his own party vote for his conviction—which happened both times. A special counsel testified that Trump encouraged Russian interference in the 2016 election and committed obstruction of justice by ordering his staff to falsify records relevant to an ongoing investigation to cover his actions. He repeatedly and publicly violated the emoluments clause and the Hatch Act. And he illegally withdrew troops from Afghanistan five days before leaving office in knowing violation of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Moving on from his crimes, he was and is an absolute idiot. He asked about nuking Hurricanes. He suggested destroying Notre Dame with tons of water to put out a fire. He suggested combating California wildfires by raking the forests. He forgot what country he bombed. He tweeted a classified photo. He misspelled a three-letter word on a device with spellcheck. He gave a speech about George Washington taking British airports at 19th century forts during the Revolutionary War under a flag that didn’t exist yet. He gave a speech on space where he had great lines like, “At some point in the future, we’re going to look back and say how did we do it without space?” And, “This is infinity here. It could be infinity. We don’t really don’t know. But it could be. It has to be something — but it could be infinity, right?” And he suggested people treat a virus by taking an anti-parasitic and by taking horse dewormer, and wondered aloud if we could just clean out the lungs of Covid patients with surface disinfectant and sunlight. He also painted himself orange and called himself a stable genius for passing a test he insisted on taking to see if he had a brain injury.

Moving on from his stupidity, he’s an objectively horrible person. He boasted that he was a repeat sex offender and a pedophile. He encouraged violence at his rallies, even stating, “You know, part of the problem…is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore, right? …And honestly, protesters, they realize it. They realize that there are no consequences to protesting anymore.” He repeatedly refused to denounce white supremacist groups, and attacked our own leaders on social media with childish name-calling. His entire candidacy was launched by him making racist personal attacks against President Obama, and his entire “build the wall” nonsense was birthed out of his handlers wanting to find a way to remind him to attack immigrants at every rally. He created a humanitarian crisis at the border by misusing existing laws designed to protect children in order to torture children in hopes of deterring refugees from legally seeking asylum in the US. And as soon as he left office, his own party voted almost unanimously to pass legislation to address the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans caused by his racist “China virus” rhetoric.

Now, should we talk about his legitimization of the North Korean dictatorship, his secret meetings with Putin, and how he sided with hostile dictators against our own intelligence agencies? Or what about how he deliberately sabotaged our operations in Afghanistan by inviting the Taliban to Camp David on the anniversary of 9/11, undermining the legitimate Afghan government by meeting with the Taliban in private, by freeing 5,000 Taliban terrorists, by promising to abandon the country to the Taliban about 100 days after he knew he’d be out of office, and by his aforementioned illegal removal of American troops on his way out the door?

And now almost 18 months after he left office, we’re still dealing with his mistakes. His four year war on imports, his bungling of the pandemic, and his OPEC deal are the primary reasons behind high inflation and high gas prices. Another major factor, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, was set up by his weakening of NATO, his illegal withholding of Congressionally authorized aid to Ukraine, and his strengthening of Russia.

And sadly I know I’m leaving out some major things under each and every one of those topics.

If you didn’t notice he was a terrible President, what were you doing for four years?”

Quora is a social question-and-answer website. Users can collaborate by editing questions and commenting on answers that have been submitted by other users.  As of 2020, the website was visited by 300 million users a month.

Source: Quora

Quora asks: Why is the US Army so disloyal towards Donald Trump?

Quora is a social question-and-answer website. Users can collaborate by editing questions and commenting on answers that have been submitted by other users.  As of 2020, the website was visited by 300 million users a month.

Why is the US Army so disloyal towards Donald Trump? Is some sort of purge necessary to bring it back to the standard?

Judy replies:

“Hardly disloyal, tolerant more like it since trump has used the military as a stanchion and deliberately undermined Pentagon efforts to remain apolitical.

He, who has never served in the military, had to try to find a safe haven after his 2018 visit to France when he referred to American soldiers killed during World War One as “losers” and “suckers.”

Looking back at trump’s speeches and tweets throughout his presidency including interviews with aides and military officials, his history shows a contradictory and steadily deteriorating relationship with the military. While he could gush with praise for his generals, there’d be other times when he portrayed them as incompetent.

And since the rabid exchange he’d had with John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general when he complained: “You fucking generals, why can’t you be like the German generals?” Is it any wonder they have any respect for him at all?

No, if there is any purge necessary, the ousting of trump will bring the military back to its rightful standard.”

Piere replied:

“This question was asked by someone called “Peoe”in August 2022.

Other questions he “pretends to ask” make it obvious he is a Russian troll.

What I find so amusing about this question are two things:

  • That Quora’s algorithms conclude in September 2022 that this may be a question I would like to answer.
  • That a Russian troll would really think some Americans can be that stupid about ex-president in August 2022″

Robert replies:

“How was the army disloyal to Trump? I can see the accusation that the army leadership right now is milquetoast, and gutless re Biden, but I don’t see the army as a whole being disloyal to either him or DT. Too bad for them, in a way, as they got slaughtered in Afghanistan under the current morons’ “incompetent “command”.

Source: Quora

GasLit Nation: Heading for the Light

August 31, 2022


Missouri has long been the bellwether of American politics, predicting presidents and anticipating trends – and lately, it’s been the bellwether of American decline. This week Gaslit Nation welcomes Jason Kander, a former Missouri Secretary of State,  Missouri Democratic Senate candidate, voting and veterans’ rights advocate, and bestselling author. Kander’s new book, Invisible Storm: A Soldier’s Memoir of Politics and Ptsd, is a raw and moving account of his battle with PTSD as well as a thoughtful overview of US politics and media. This is an unusual book for a politician to write, but Kander is not your average politician, which is one reason we were excited to welcome him to the show. (Also you should buy his book, all royalties go to the Veterans Community Project, a nonprofit organization serving homeless and at-risk veterans.)