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The war in Afghanistan has gone on for so long that some US troops have watched their children deployed to the same fight

On Thursday, President Trump announced that the remaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan — which peaked at 100,000 under the Obama administration but has since been reduced to under 8,600 during the Trump administration — should be home by Christmas.

Trump touted the news on Twitter, saying, “We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!”

The withdrawal is the immediate result of a historic agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan struck in February in which the U.S. offered to withdraw all troops from the country by May 2021 in exchange for counterterrorism guarantees from the Taliban.

The president has been outspoken during his presidency about the need to end America’s “endless wars,” and has taken major steps to withdraw U.S. troops from areas such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

The total military withdrawal from Afghanistan would be a major achievement for the president. Though it should be noted that Trump’s tweet appears to be at odds with a statement made hours earlier by his national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, who said that the number of troops would be reduced to 2,500 by the new year.

The end of a nearly 20-year war

It was 19 years ago in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that American troops were first deployed to Afghanistan to root out and combat the terrorists responsible.

According to a startling report from Stars and Stripes that puts the length of the U.S. conflict in Afghanistan in perspective, some of those same troops have watched as their sons and daughters deployed to the same fight.

“When we started this, people asked why I was going, and my response was, ‘So my sons don’t have to fight this war,'” Master Sgt. Trevor deBoer told the military news outlet this week. deBoer has been deployed to Afghanistan three times with the 20th Special Forces Group since 2002, the outlet reported.

Despite his wishes, nearly two decades later, his son, Specialist Payton Sluss, was deployed to Afghanistan to fight on the same ground.

“My feet were walking the same land you were,” Sluss reportedly told his father in a joint phone interview, referring to Forward Operating Base Fenty, near the city of Jalalabad.

Michael Kreuger, a former Army sergeant, fought in Pech Valley in 2010. Eight years later, his son Trenton was deployed to Afghanistan to serve in the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, just like his father.

Kreuger told Stars and Stripes recently that he just hopes his grandson won’t also be deployed to Afghanistan to fight the same battles “for the same reason.”

The Mavalwallas, a father and son who share the first name, Bajun, had the unique experiencing of serving together in Afghanistan at the same time and even met up in 2012 while serving.

The Mavalwallas are not alone, either. Fox News reported last year about Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Kirby and his son, Specialist Kyle Kirby, who were deployed together in February 2019 to join more than 150 other soldiers serving in Afghanistan as part of Operation Spartan Shield.

“This is my 5th deployment, it’s his first, we’re fortunate to be in the same unit now, so I know mom’s pretty excited about that,” Michael Kirby said at the time.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: President Trump says remaining US troops in Afghanistan should be ‘home by Christmas,’ marking the end of a nearly 20-year war

A whole lot of nothing

Former Vice President Joe Biden formally accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for president Thursday night during the party’s national convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

What did he say?

In his acceptance speech, telecast from Delaware, Biden spoke often about “reclaiming the soul of America” — his campaign slogan — and appealed to Americans about the differences between he and President Donald Trump.

The 77-year-old nominee painted a picture of two very different Americas on the ballot this fall, contrasting his candidacy of “light” and “love” with President Trump’s candidacy of “darkness” and “hate.”

“I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness,” he said. “This is not a partisan moment, this must be an American moment.”

“Love is more powerful than hate, hope is more powerful than fear, and light is more powerful than darkness,” he added in his closing remarks.

The upshot: In the speech, Biden hoped to inspire hope for a better tomorrow with lofty rhetoric, but failed to provide hardly any real policy detail, save a call for a national mask mandate to stop the coronavirus.

The only other areas in which he came close to speaking specifically about policy was in mentioning the Affordable Care Act and his intentions to save it.

Biden did, however, specifically place blame for the over 170,000 deaths as a result of the coronavirus squarely at Trump’s feet, calling his handling of the pandemic “unforgivable.”

The former vice president also leaned into the promise of healing the country’s racial wounds, which have been at the fore of the campaign as Black Lives Matter protests continue to rage on across the nation.

“Will we be the generation that will finally wipe the stain of racism from our national identity?” Biden asked rhetorically after slamming Trump for “fan[ning] the flames of hate and division.”

Anything else?

The speech was considered to be a paramount test for Biden, whose appearances on the campaign trail have been few and far between and short since he became the party’s presumptive nominee earlier this year.

In the end, Biden appeared to have accomplished his goal of delivering an effective speech without any gaffes or major hiccups.

President Trump was not impressed, however. He tweeted following the speech that Biden’s claims were “just words” and nothing more.

Now, with the conclusion of the Democratic National Convention, Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) will look forward to hitting the campaign trail ahead of the election Nov. 3.

Republicans will host their own convention next week, Aug. 24-27, in Charlotte, North Carolina. President Trump is expected to deliver his acceptance speech from the White House.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Biden accepts Democratic Party nomination in speech about ‘light,’ ‘hope,’ ‘love’ — with little or no policy specifics

They claim their First Amendment rights were violated

Two pro-police organizations are suing Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for blocking them from painting a “Blue Lives Matter” mural outside the NYC police department last month while at the same time commissioning the painting of “Black Lives Matter” murals across the city.

The groups, Blue Lives Matter NYC and Standing Up for NYC, filed the lawsuit late Monday night, the New York Post reported.

In the suit, they accuse de Blasio and Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg of violating their First Amendment rights by allowing “city property to be used by private speakers” but refusing to allow a similar message to be constructed in support of police.

In July, the groups sent a letter to the mayor requesting the his permission to paint the mural, which they said was intended to “raise awareness regarding preventable murders of those who swore an oath to serve and protect their communities” and “honor the lives and memory of public servants whose heroic lives ended too soon.”

But de Blasio refused to grant them permission.

In a press briefing in late July, the mayor defended his decision to allow Black Lives Matter murals while rejecting others, arguing that the BLM movement “transcends any notion of politics” and is a “seismic moment in this country’s history.”

“This is about something much bigger than any one group,” he added.

In the lawsuit, the two pro-cop groups took umbrage at that perspective.

“The ‘Black Lives Matter’ message is highly political and is generally understood by the public to be and support a general anti-police message, include some extreme measures as defunding the police and ending police activity,” it reads.

Sgt. Joe Imperatrice, the founder of Blue Lives Matter NYC, told the Post that he simply wanted “to be granted the same privilege to bring to light a cause that we so believe in would change the trajectory of equality for all those with the same interest.”

Tatiana Davidoff, co-founder of Standing Up for NYC, added: “This mural is the smallest thing we could do to show our respect for them during these controversial times.”

Last month, in expectation of the mayor’s rejection, the two groups reportedly hired a constitutional lawyer to represent them.

Speaking with Advance/SILive.com, Davidoff questioned: “Once we start painting things on the street, who is there to decide whose life is more important as far as the message goes?”

Her fellow co-founder, Jason Cohen, said: “Once you open up the flood gates and you paint any life matters or whatever on a public street, you are giving other groups the constitutional freedom … to paint whatever they want because you can’t take sides and this mayor is taking sides. It’s hypocrisy.”

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Pro-cop groups sue de Blasio for blocking ‘Blue Lives Matter’ mural while commissioning BLM murals across NYC

That’s more than double what he spent in 2016

Liberal billionaire George Soros has donated more than $50 million to various Democratic campaigns and political action committees during the 2020 election cycle, breaking his previous record by tens of millions, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

What are the details?

The whopping sum of money more than doubles Soros’ previous record high of $22 million, which came in 2016 — and there are still more than three months to go until this year’s Election Day.

The Washington Free Beacon reports that Soros has poured the majority of the money into Democratic coffers through his Democracy PAC, which he created last year.

FEC filings show that last quarter, the Democracy PAC logged nearly $17 million in disbursements, bringing its total disbursements this election cycle to $48 million. The Free Beacon reported that Soros has personally doled out another $4 million to Democratic campaigns and committees without going through the PAC, making Soros’ total donations approximately $52 million.

The outlet noted that Soros’ huge donations fly in the face of what several of his benefactors, including former Vice President Joe Biden, have to say about big money in politics.

On his website, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee says “we could improve our politics overnight if we flushed big money from the system and had public financing of our election,” and “democracy works best when a big bank account or a large donor list are not prerequisites for office.”

His website also promises that, as president, Biden “will reform our campaign finance system so that it amplifies the voices of the public, not the powerful — particularly the voices of working Americans.”

Anything else?

Earlier this year, while speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Soros said that the “fate of the world” is at stake in the 2020 election.

During the speech, he said President Trump “is a con man and a narcissist, who wants the world to revolve around him.” He also said Trump is an “authoritarian” who is “willing to sacrifice the national interests for his personal interests.”

The Free Beacon reported that “some of [Soros’s] largest donations went to the Nancy Pelosi-linked House Majority PAC ($2 million), Chuck Schumer-tied Senate Majority PAC ($1.5 million), Planned Parenthood Votes ($625,000), and the dark money group Sixteen Thirty Fund ($1 million).”

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: George Soros has poured $50 million into 2020 elections, breaking his previous record by tens of millions with months to go

Police have been attacked with fireworks and lasers

A Democratic congressman representing Portland, Oregon, said the riots in the city — which have gone on for over 50 consecutive days and have resulted in police being attacked with mortars, lasers, clubs, and bottles — are “not out of control.”

Rather, there are simply “some people who have strong feelings,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer said Tuesday during a floor speech in Washington, D.C.

“Portland, Oregon, is not out of control. To be sure there are some people who have strong feelings,” Blumenauer said. “There are some who have done things that are inappropriate and unlawful, but that is the challenge of our local officials and our state officials to manage it, not having somebody unwelcome, uninvited, and unprepared coming in to take this difficult situation and make it worse.”

What’s the background?

Protests in Portland have raged for nearly two months since the death of George Floyd over Memorial Day weekend in Minneapolis, often devolving into violent chaos.

Much of the violence has surrounded the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse in the city, where protesters have graffitied the building, torn down fencing, and lit fires for weeks. Lately, rioters have assaulted officers attempting to defend the building using fireworks and high intensity lasers, injuring some.

Over the weekend, Portland police said “dozens of people with shields, helmets, gas masks, umbrellas, bats, and hockey sticks approached the doors” of the courthouse.

Police Superintendent David Brown said that 49 officers were injured during the riots on Friday. Eighteen officers were sent to the hospital, including one who suffered a broken eye socket when an explosive thrown toward police detonated.

Yet Democrats refuse help

Yet during the speech, Blumenauer joined fellow Democratic leaders in arguing against President Trump sending federal officers to the city to quell the riots.

The president, viewing some of the protesters as anarchists and agitators, ordered federal officers to the city in recent weeks.

Democratic Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler slammed the move calling it “a blatant abuse of police tactics by the federal government” and has argued that the presence of federal officers has “sharply escalat[ed] the situation.”

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.) added: “Trump and [Secretary of Homeland Security] Chad Wolf are weaponizing the DHS as their own occupying army to provoke violence on the streets of my hometown because they think it plays well with right-wing media.”

Even the state’s Democratic governor, Kate Brown, has chimed in, tweeting, “This is a democracy, not a dictatorship. We cannot have secret police abducting people in unmarked vehicles. I can’t believe I have to say that to the President of the United States.”

The “secret police” allegedly “abducting people” are U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group and Customs and Border Protection’s BORTAC officers deployed to protect federal property.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Oregon Democratic lawmaker says Portland riots are ‘not out of control,’ some people just have ‘strong feelings’

‘The paper pleaded guilty and begged for mercy’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Ky.) tore into the New York Times from the Senate floor Wednesday, accusing the paper of “lying” and bowing to the “angry mob” in walking back a controversial op-ed written by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) last week.

“One of our nation’s most storied newspapers just had its intellectual independence challenged by an angry mob and they folded like a house of cards,” McConnell blasted. “A jury of people on Twitter indicted them as accessories to a thought crime and instead of telling them to go take a hike, the paper pleaded guilty and begged for mercy.”

McConnell noted that the Times has, in the past, published pieces by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian propagandists, yet it was “800 words from the junior senator from Arkansas” that really caused a stir.

“The New York Times had erred grievously by making people confront a different viewpoint,” he added sarcastically. “It hurt their feelings by making them confront a different point of view.”

He acknowledged that the op-ed was controversial, yes, but hardly outside the realm of acceptable discourse. He argued it was a “legitimate view” and accused the paper of “lying about what Senator Cotton had said.”

In the opinion piece, titled, “Send In the Troops,” Cotton called for the military to be activated in order to halt riots, looting, and destruction erupting across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Cotton wrote, “nihilist criminals are simply out for loot and the thrill of destruction” and that “cadres of left-wing radicals like antifa” are “infiltrating protest marches to exploit Floyd’s death for their own anarchic purposes.”

The op-ed’s publication caused an internal firestorm at the paper, with several editors tweeting that running the piece put black staffers in danger. The outpouring of anger eventually led to the resignation of the paper’s editorial page editor, James Bennet.

The op-ed has now been updated with a condemnatory editor’s note, which says “the essay fell short of our standards and should not have been published.”

The new acting editorial page editor, Kate Kingsbury, has reportedly told staff to flag her if anything published “gives you the slightest pause.”

(H/T: Politico)

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Mitch McConnell hammers NYT for ‘lying,’ folding ‘like a house of cards’ over Tom Cotton’s op-ed

Exposed

The Biden campaign recently published an attack ad with misleading edits that made it appear like President Donald Trump was being dismissive of nurses during a White House visit.

The video, posted to Twitter by presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, appears to show Trump rudely interrupting a nurse after she notes that she has been reusing her N95 mask because supplies of personal protective equipment have been “sporadic.”

“Sporadic for you, but not sporadic for a lot of other people,” Trump cuts in. The video eventually closes with display text that reads: “Happy National Nurses Week from the president (only to nurses who agree with him).”

“But there’s some important footage missing from the ad,” Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler said.

What actually happened?

The video centers on a meeting that Trump hosted in the Oval Office last week with nurses to celebrate the signing of a National Nurses Day proclamation.

During the meeting, Sophia Thomas, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, mentioned that supplies of PPE have been, in some cases, “sporadic” in certain “pockets” around the country.

“I’ve been reusing my N95 mask for a few weeks now. I just broke out a new one to come here, just in case I needed to wear it,” Thomas said. “My youngest patient has been 4 days old — a 4-day-old infant. And so PPE has been sporadic, but it’s been manageable, and we do what we have to do.”

Following Thomas’ remarks, the president jumped in to counter, but not in the aggressive way that the Biden campaign’s edits make it seem.

Here’s a full unedited clip of the exchange:

Also, at Trump’s interjection, Thomas immediately replies, “Oh, no. I agree, Mr. President. Absolutely.”

Here’s more from Kessler:

The Biden video does two tricky things. First, it shows Thomas only saying “Oh,” eliminating the fact that she says she agrees with Trump. Then, the video highlights Trump crossing his arms when he says the line about hearing the opposite.

The impression left is that Trump is a jerk, cutting Thomas off mid-sentence and then folding his arms in a defiant stance. But that’s misleading, especially because she said she agreed with him. (We acknowledge that being challenged by a president might make many people back off a bit, but that’s still not an excuse for eliminating her response.)

The rest of the video shows Trump bragging about “tremendous supply.” It leaves out the fact that two other nurses at the event told Trump that they did not see any issues, including one nurse from New Jersey who said that she often saw news reports about supply issues, but that “in reality, I’m not seeing it. I’m in a hot zone right now.”

According to the Post, the Biden campaign defended the ad.

“Trump’s failure to act quickly — and his erratic leadership since — has left America dangerously behind where we need to be, especially in getting basic life-saving protective gear to nurses, doctors, and other essential workers on the frontlines of this fight,” a campaign spokesman said in a statement. “Instead of listening to the direct concerns of nurses and other heroes combating the coronavirus about the shortages of protective equipment they face, Trump decided to throw a tantrum in the Oval Office and downplay the fact that health care workers are being forced to risk their lives every day because he has abjectly failed to do his job.”

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Biden campaign gets caught deceptively editing video to make President Trump look bad

Is anyone surprised?

Several top officials sitting on the University of Delaware board — which is currently keeping Joe Biden’s Senate records secret despite previously promising to release them — have close personal and financial ties to the former vice president, Fox News reported Thursday.

John Cochran, the chairman of the board and longtime Biden donor, even paid “top dollar” for Biden’s house in 1996, reportedly paying $1.2 million despite it not being in great condition.

What’s the background?

In 2012, Biden delivered 1,875 boxes of “photographs, documents, videotapes, and files” and 415 gigabytes of electronic records to his alma mater, the University of Delaware. The records spanned his 36-year Senate career. At that time, the university said it planned to make the papers publicly available “two years after Biden’s last day in elected public office.” That would have been January 2019, but the day before Biden announced his presidential campaign, the board changed the timetable.

The records have still not been released, and that fact is more pertinent now than ever due to recent sexual assault allegations against Biden by former congressional aide, Tara Reade. Reade alleges that Biden assaulted her in 1993, forcibly penetrating her with his fingers after she was asked to bring the then-Delaware senator his gym bag.

Reade claims that she filed a sexual harassment complaint with the Senate in 1993. She also says that she told three other staffers more generally about Biden’s harassment, though not about the specific assault. Many believe that Biden’s Senate records could confirm whether those claims are truthful.

As pressure mounts for Biden to address the allegations, this week, both The Atlantic and the Washington Post joined the calls for Biden to instruct the board to release the records.

What are the details?

The board has come under increased scrutiny since the allegations resurfaced, as well. Now it appears that several members have close ties with the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Shortly after Biden’s house was purchased by Cochran for the full asking price, MBNA, a financial services company where Cochran worked, hired Hunter Biden into a lucrative management-prep role.

According to Fox News, “As Hunter cashed the checks, Biden was pushing successfully on the Senate floor for legislation that would make it harder for consumers to file for bankruptcy protection — benefiting companies like MBNA.”

Several others on the board have a history of donating large sums of money to Biden’s political campaigns.

Here’s more from the Fox News report:

Terri Kelly, the former president and CEO Of W.L. Gore & Associates, has served on the university’s board of trustees since 2014 — and donated the maximum legal amount to Biden in 2019.

Carol Ammon, who has been on the board since 2013, has given more than $10,000 to Biden’s campaign and affiliated PACs, federal election records show.

John Paradee, a lawyer, joined the board in 2018. He has also donated heavily to Biden.

John Carney, the state’s governor and another board member, has also donated more than $1,000 to Biden.

Claire DeMatteis served as counsel to Biden. Since 2001, she has given over $16,000 to Democratic PACs, including Biden’s, called Unite our States.

Chai Gadde, a CEO, has donated thousands to Biden.

William Lafferty, a partner at a Delaware law firm who serves on the board as well, has also given more than $2,500 to Biden’s campaign.

The Biden campaign has denied the allegations, but Biden himself has yet to face a single question on the matter.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: University of Delaware board members who refuse to release Joe Biden’s Senate records have close financial ties with him: report

‘We’re going to let the science, facts and data drive our decision-making’

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) announced plans to launch a statewide trial Monday to formally test the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine — the anti-malaria drug touted by President Trump — against the novel coronavirus.

The action makes South Dakota the first state in the nation to implement a trial to test the drug’s effectiveness in treating and preventing COVID-19.

In order to collect data about the potential treatment, doctors in the state have been instructed to prescribe the drug, along with the antibiotic azithromycin, to willing COVID-19 patients who desire to be a part of the trial.

“From Day One, I’ve said we’re going to let the science, facts and data drive our decision-making in South Dakota,” Noem said in a statement, according to Fox News.

Noem said that she has been in cooperation with the federal government in preparation for the trial.

“I made direct requests to President Trump and Vice President Pence to supply us with enough hydroxychloroquine so that it could be made available for every hospitalized person the state may have, as well as those for health care workers on the frontlines and those in the most vulnerable populations,” Noem said.

“Today, I’m pleased to report we have received the initial doses we need,” she added.

President Trump has been optimistic about hydroxychloroquine since three separate studies showed it to be a potentially effective at treating and preventing the disease. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration fast-tracked the drug for the treatment of COVID-19 in late March.

Health experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci have tempered the president’s optimism, saying that proof of the drug’s effectiveness is anecdotal.

“[Tests were] not done in a controlled clinical trial. So you really can’t make any definitive statement about it,” Fauci suggested, according to ABC News.

Now, South Dakota will attempt to scientifically settle that issue.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announces statewide hydroxychloroquine trial to formally test its effectiveness against COVID-19

President Donald Trump’s job approval rating jumped 5 percentage points to 49% in the latest Gallup survey, matching the highest mark of his presidency.

Trump enjoyed a 49% approval rating in late January and early February during the time of his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial. That week was a really good week for the president. But since then, his rating had dropped. Now it appears that the president is again enjoying a “small rally of public support,” as he has reclaimed his all-time high.

The bump is likely due to a favorable view of how Trump has handled the COVID-19 outbreak within the United States, Gallup reported:

Trump’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic may be behind his higher overall approval rating. Americans give the president generally positive reviews for his handling of the situation, with 60% approving and 38% disapproving. Ninety-four percent of Republicans, 60% of independents and 27% of Democrats approve of his response.Trump also gained favor from two unlikely sources: Democrats and independents. While the president’s approval rating among Republicans held steady at just over 90%, his approval rating among Democrats grew by 6 points and grew among independents by 8 points in the recent survey.

Gallup noted that in times of crisis sitting presidents often experience a boost in favorability, especially among members of the opposing party. Trump’s ramped up response to the coronavirus, starting on March 11 with his national address on the seriousness of the issue and moving into his 15-day social distancing advisory on March 16, appears to have played a major factor in the bump to his rating.

It remains to be seen if that rally of support continues, especially as the president weighs relaxing community mitigation measures in order to save the economy. During a virtual Fox News town hall Tuesday, Trump announced that he hopes to reopen the country and get the economy “raring to go” by Easter.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Gallup: Trump’s approval rating jumps 5 points to 49%, matching his all-time high

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