Former Republican National Security Leaders condemn Trump, back BIden

Per an article in Reuters yesterday called “Former Republican CIA, FBI heads and national security officials to back Biden,” by Tim Reid:

“Over 70 former Republican national security officials including ex-CIA and FBI chiefs will endorse Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Friday while launching a scathing indictment of President Donald Trump, calling him corrupt and unfit to serve.

The group, called Former Republican National Security Officials for Biden, includes some of the most senior Republican members of the U.S. defense and intelligence establishment to have served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Trump.

The 73-strong group includes retired General Michael Hayden, who served as national security director and head of the CIA; William Webster, the only man to serve as both head of the CIA and FBI; John Negroponte, the first director of National Intelligence; Michael Leiter, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center; and Mike Donley, former Air Force secretary.

Their full-throated condemnation of Trump and backing of Biden will come three days before Trump’s nominating convention opens on Monday and underscores how the Republican president has alienated some members of his own party, especially among intelligence and foreign policy veterans.

‘Trump has demonstrated that he lacks the character and competence to lead this nation and has engaged in corrupt behavior that renders him unfit to serve as president,’ the group plans to declare in a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal on Friday.

‘We have concluded that Donald Trump has failed our country and that Vice President Joe Biden should be elected the next President of the United States,’ it adds.

The group is one of a number of Republican organizations opposing Trump’s re-election in the Nov. 3 election.”

This group joins others like The Lincoln Project, Republicans for the Rule of Law, Republican Voters Against Trump as well as well-known individuals like former GOP Ohio governor John Kasich, former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell, former DHS Chief of Staff Miles Taylor (under Trump) and conservative pundits George Will, David Brooks, Michael Gerson, and others to condemn Trump and support Biden.

These are voices that should mean something. Taylor said we are less secure under Trump, with our allied relationships weaker and enemies stronger. Former Secretary of Defense under Trump General James Mattis said Trump does not even try to unify the country. Condemning mail-in voting as unsafe, while other Republicans endorse it, to destabilize a process while doing nothing to make it better is just yet one more example of Trump’s divisiveness and deceit.

And, it should be noted the Republican led Senate Intelligence Committee just released a report that noted the Russian influence on the 2016 campaign was even more intrusive than concluded in the Mueller report. I would like to hear other Republican Senators answer the concerns of these voices.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-biden-republicans-idUSKBN25G2C5

Homeland Security approaches John Oliver’s Wall Cost Estimate

In previous posts, I have commented on the news analysis used in John Oliver’s comedy show called “Last Week Tonight.” Amid the comedy, there are detailed news stories about pay-day lending, supplemental drugs, court system abuse of low-income offenders, voting fraud, etc. During interviews, he has been recognized by at least two legitimate news sources, CBS News and PBS Newshour, for his team’s veracity.

Last year, well before the election, Oliver had a news/ comedy piece on our then campaigner, Donald Trump, about Trump’s estimates of his escalating price tag on his infamous wall. In various clips, Trump said $2 Billion, then he would increase it to $4 Billion then to $7 or $8 Billion, etc. I think Trump topped out around $12 Billion.

Oliver asked a construction engineer to come up with an estimate. Based on broad assumptions (height, materials, etc.), the engineer estimated $25 to $30 Billion. The engineer also added you have to factor in the cost of ongoing maintenance, which is not inconsequential.

Yesterday, Reuters published a story where Homeland Security estimates the cost of the wall. Here are the two lead paragraphs from Reuters:

“President Donald Trump’s ‘wall’ along the U.S.-Mexico border would be a series of fences and walls that would cost as much as $21.6 billion, and take more than three years to construct, based on a U.S. Department of Homeland Security internal report seen by Reuters on Thursday.

The report’s estimated price-tag is much higher than a $12-billion figure cited by Trump in his campaign and estimates as high as $15 billion from Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.”

There are two key takeaways here. Our now President likes to toss figures and data around like they are candy and offers them up without back-up. He just presumes people will take him at his word. In this case, a man who is a real-estate developer significantly underestimated the cost of building something.

The other takeaway is Oliver’s team should be commended for the underlying journalism in his comedy show. I have written before his team has far more credibility than some actual news sources who do not want to take the time to get it right or are so biased they take a politician at his word. So, the next time our President makes fun of Oliver, my suggestion would be to look more closely at Oliver’s position as he likely did more homework.