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  1. #12541

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Wealth re-distribution. Break up big banks. A decent minimum wage. Address climate change.
    What new ideas were you thinking about? I know you like to be a contrarian but you have to admit that in politics, NOT being as bad as the other group is a valid argument.
    Starry starry night

  2. #12542

    Re: Politics Random Random

    As Trump’s defense pick withdraws, he addresses violent domestic incidents
    By Aaron C. Davis and Shawn Boburg June 18 at 1:15 PM

    In the months that he has served as President Trump’s acting secretary of defense, Patrick Shanahan has worked to keep domestic violence incidents within his family private. His wife was arrested after punching him in the face, and his son was arrested after a separate incident in which he hit his mother with a baseball bat. Public disclosure of the nearly decade-old episodes would re-traumatize his young adult children, Shanahan said.

    On Tuesday, Trump announced in a tweet that Shanahan would not be going through with the nomination process — which had been delayed by an unusually lengthy FBI background check — “so that he can devote more time to his family.”

    Shanahan spoke publicly about the incidents in interviews with The Washington Post on Monday and Tuesday.

    “Bad things can happen to good families . . . and this is a tragedy, really,” Shanahan said. Dredging up the episode publicly, he said, “will ruin my son’s life.”

    In November 2011, Shanahan rushed to defend his then-17-year-old son, William Shanahan, in the days after the teenager brutally beat his mother. The attack had left Patrick Shanahan’s ex-wife unconscious in a pool of blood, her skull fractured and with internal injuries that required surgery, according to court and police records.

    Two weeks later, Shanahan sent his ex-wife’s brother a memo arguing that his son had acted in self-defense.

    “Use of a baseball bat in self-defense will likely be viewed as an imbalance of force,” Shanahan wrote. “However, Will’s mother harassed him for nearly three hours before the incident.”

    Details of the incidents have started to emerge in media reports about his nomination, including a USA Today report Tuesday about the punching incident in 2010.

    In an hour-long interview Monday night at his apartment in Virginia, Shanahan, who has been responding to questions from The Post about the incidents since January, said he wrote the memo in the hours after his son’s attack, before he knew the full extent of his ex-wife’s injuries. He said that it was to prepare for his son’s initial court appearance and that he never intended for anyone other than his son’s attorneys to read it.

    “That document literally was, I sat down with [my son] right away, and being an engineer at an aerospace company, you write down what are all of the mitigating reasons something could have happened. You know, just what’s the list of things that could have happened?” he said.

    As he wrote in an ongoing custody battle stemming from their divorce, Shanahan said Monday that he does not believe there can be any justification for an assault with a baseball bat, but he went further in the interview, saying he now regrets writing the passage.

    “Quite frankly it’s difficult to relive that moment, and the passage was difficult for me to read. I was wrong to write those three sentences,” Shanahan said.

    “I have never believed Will’s attack on his mother was an act of self-defense or justified. I don’t believe violence is appropriate ever, and certainly never any justification for attacking someone with a baseball bat,” he said.

    Kimberley Shanahan, who has since changed her name to Kimberley Jordinson, has not responded to repeated efforts by reporters since January to contact her via email, text, phone and social media seeking comment about the incidents.

    Patrick Shanahan’s response when his family was split by acts of domestic violence — including steps he took to manage his son’s surrender to police and attempt to keep him out of jail — is detailed in court filings that have not been previously reported. Court records also contain an earlier episode in which both Shanahan and his wife alleged they were assaulted by one another, and she was arrested.

    The Defense Department has long struggled with its own responses to domestic violence, and it has faced a fresh wave of criticism since shortly after Shanahan became deputy secretary of defense in July 2017.


    ...Shanahan and two of his children interviewed by The Post said Kimberley Shanahan was growing more erratic. One Thanksgiving, she threw the entire dinner on the floor, saying the family did not appreciate her efforts, they said. A birthday cake his daughter baked for Patrick Shanahan was similarly destroyed, they said.

    Things culminated with a physical dispute in August 2010. According to Patrick Shanahan, the incident began when he was lying in bed, following an argument with his wife about their oldest child.

    Shanahan said he had his eyes closed, trying to fall asleep, when his wife entered the bedroom and punched him in the face before landing blows to his torso.

    “I was seeing stars,” Shanahan said, but he didn’t react, saying he believes that only further enraged his wife.

    She then began throwing her husband’s clothes out of a window, according to police and court records, and tried to set them on fire with a propane tank she couldn’t dislodge from a barbecue grill, attempting again later by burning paper towels.

    Another physical altercation ensued, with police records indicating that Kimberley Shanahan swung at Patrick Shanahan. She called the police and claimed he punched her in the stomach, an allegation he denies.

    When officers arrived, they found him with a bloody nose and scratches on his face, police records show. Authorities charged his wife with domestic violence.

    Patrick Shanahan soon filed for divorce and dropped the charges. The file would grow to more than 1,500 pages.

    It was a hard time to see your son’

    Kimberley Shanahan won custody of the children and moved to Florida. Patrick Shanahan remained in Seattle, but the couple’s eldest daughter would soon rejoin him to attend college.

    Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011, Kimberley Shanahan and William got into “a verbal dispute” over her suspicion that the 17-year-old was in a romantic relationship with a 36-year-old woman, according to a police report.

    According to police, just after 1:30 a.m., William “shoved and pinned his mother against a bathroom wall” before grabbing a $400 Nike composite baseball bat “to swing at her head,” striking her multiple times.

    “I attempted to run away from Will, but as I reached the laundry room, he struck me with the bat in the back of my head,” Kimberley Shanahan wrote in a court filing in the custody case. “The last thing I remember from before I lost consciousness is the impact of the bat, and blood gushing everywhere.”

    William, Sarasota police wrote, struck several blows to his mother’s head and torso and left her “to lie in a pool of blood” and then “unplugged the landline phone cord depriving the victim and [the younger brother] the use of 911 to render aid.”

    As William fled the home, situated in an exclusive barrier-island development called Bird Key just outside Sarasota, he “tossed a bottle of rubbing alcohol” to his younger brother and told him “you clean her up,” according to the police report.

    The younger brother called 911 from a neighbor’s phone, according to police records.

    Within hours, William contacted his father, who immediately booked a predawn flight to Florida, according to court records and documents provided by Shanahan.

    Kimberley Shanahan was hospitalized early that morning and later required surgery, she wrote in a filing. Among her injuries were a fractured skull and elbow, according to the police report.

    While she was in the hospital, authorities began to search for William, according to records released to The Post by Sarasota police.

    Police distributed a photo of William to patrol cars on Bird Key. They tried to track the young man’s cellphone, but it appeared to be turned off, police wrote. They canvassed a local park and bridges to the mainland. They searched a local yacht club. But there was no trace of him, according to records.

    Patrick Shanahan landed in Florida just before 5 p.m. on Wednesday. He arranged to stay with William in a hotel.

    “Mr. Shanahan’s response when he learned of the assault was to book Will a hotel room,” Kimberley Shanahan wrote.

    Patrick Shanahan said it’s a bit of a blur.

    “It was a hard time to see your son — hopefully you’ll never be in that spot someday,” he said. “I wasn’t hiding. We got a hotel and talked to the attorney, and we just camped out.”

    Shanahan did not visit the hospital where his ex-wife was taken, she later wrote in a custody filing. Instead, over four days that included Thanksgiving, he worked to assemble a defense team and enlist family members and friends to attend an initial hearing to try to persuade a judge to let his son stay out of jail while he fought the charges.

    Derek Byrd, head of a well-known Sarasota defense firm hired by Patrick Shanahan to represent his son in the criminal case, said in an interview that the elder Shanahan acted appropriately by not contacting police until his son could consult a defense attorney, a process that was delayed by the Thanksgiving holiday.

    Byrd also said that Patrick Shanahan was not aware that police were searching for his son in the days after the attack.

    “I don’t think Pat handled that time frame inappropriately,” Byrd said in an interview. “I think he was just doing what a reasonable dad should probably do. I’m sure the timeline looks bad on paper, but he didn’t do anything that I consider out of the ordinary, and he wasn’t hiding Will.”

    Byrd said Patrick Shanahan first contacted his firm within a day of arriving in Florida, either Wednesday night or Thursday, which was Thanksgiving. He said a lawyer from the firm could not meet with the Shanahans until Friday morning, after the holiday.

    Later on Friday, another attorney from the firm contacted the detective handling the case, Kenneth Halpin.

    According to the detective’s report, the attorney said he would arrange for the younger Shanahan to turn himself in — after two more days, on Sunday evening, Nov. 27.

    “Detective Halpin trusted us to do that,” Byrd told The Post. “He said, ‘Fine.’ ”

    Halpin told The Post that he could not recall the conversation but probably would have cast it differently:

    “If someone calls and says they’re going to turn in a suspect on a Sunday night, and he’s already lawyered up with someone who has a reputation like Byrd, for being on TV, what can you do? You can’t force an attorney to turn in his client,” Halpin said, adding: “I’m sure I would have also told him that there’s paper out for him, so they’re still going to snatch him up if he’s found.”

    That Sunday night, Patrick Shanahan drove William to a police station to surrender, according to police records and a timeline of events prepared by a Shanahan spokesman.

    His mother attended his court appearance the next morning.

    “My neighbor took me to the court hearing, and both of us were shocked to see Pat in the courtroom,” she wrote in the filing, saying she had believed until then that he had been in Seattle.

    ‘He doesn’t believe in violence’

    Patrick Shanahan and Byrd came to the hearing prepared to plead for the younger Shanahan to remain out of custody, citing his baseball career at an exclusive youth sports academy and prep school attended by sons and daughters of major league athletes.

    “He’s a college baseball prospect. He has dreams. He has a future. His father is an executive of Boeing,” Byrd said, according to an audio recording that the court released to The Post. “If he has to sit in jail for 21 days, not only is that going to traumatize him, he’s not going to finish the semester, probably get kicked off the baseball team . . . everything is going to be over for him.”

    Patrick Shanahan also vouched for his son.

    “He doesn’t believe in violence,” he told the judge. “I’ve never seen him act aggressively toward his brother or any other family members, so it’s a shock to me what has happened.”

    The judge declined to release William Shanahan, calling pictures of the crime scene “horrendous.”

    He was initially charged with two felonies, aggravated battery and tampering with a victim, and faced up to 15 years in prison.

    In the custody filing is the four-page memo Patrick Shanahan wrote at the time.

    It lists “mitigating circumstances” that should be considered in evaluating the alleged assault.

    A Shanahan spokesman provided a copy of the email containing the memo retained by Shanahan’s brother-in-law, showing it had been sent on Dec. 8, 2011, two weeks after the attack, and 10 days after Patrick Shanahan was present at the court hearing with his injured ex-wife.

    First, Patrick Shanahan wrote, his 17-year-old son had “acted in self-defense.”

    “She fueled the situation by berating him repeatedly in his room in a manner that escalated emotionally and physically,” he wrote.

    The memo continues, alleging a history of substance abuse, emotional abuse and violent tendencies by Kimberley Shanahan. “Over the last 7+ years I have worked as much as possible, partially out of a desire to avoid inevitable conflicts with Kim,” Shanahan wrote. It casts his ex-wife as the instigator in conflicts with him and their children. “It appears that when I was not around to yell at, she started becoming intensely focused on berating, terrorizing and beat them down emotionally.”

    Kimberley Shanahan disputed those characterizations.

    “I have always been a very loving and dedicated mom,” she wrote in a court filing responding to the memo, “and I have never emotionally abused any of my children for any period of time.”

    Kevin Cameron, Kimberley Shanahan’s brother, said he was not bothered by Patrick Shanahan’s memo because he believed Shanahan wrote it before he had all of the facts about the assault.

    “If anything, I believe Pat fully understands and is better equipped to deal with domestic violence than most people,” Cameron wrote in a letter to The Post. “He has seen it. He has lived it. He understands that domestic violence is real and prevalent. He understands that it can impact anyone of any age, gender, race and socioeconomic status.”

    ‘We moved on’

    Kris Roberts, a police officer who assisted in the search for William Shanahan, recalled that after the arrest, his father was a “hindrance” in a follow-up matter, as police investigated whether there had been an inappropriate relationship between the adult woman and William. Under Florida law, William was too young at the time to have had a consenting sexual relationship with the woman. Roberts, a retired detective with the Longboat Key Police Department, said the father, whom she could not remember by name, would not turn over his son’s cellphone.

    After the surrender to police, “his father would not talk to me; he wasn’t helping,” Roberts said. “I remember he had a West Coast address, Seattle maybe, and when he left, the son’s cellphone was just gone.” Roberts said she believes Patrick Shanahan took his son’s cellphone back to Seattle with him.

    Roberts said that without the cooperation of the father, the investigation fell apart. “We only had one love letter between them, but it didn’t speak to anything sexual,” Roberts said. The adult woman “soon lawyered up, too, and we moved on.”

    Byrd, the attorney for William Shanahan; an attorney who represents Patrick Shanahan in Seattle; and a Shanahan spokesman said they were not aware of a formal request for the cellphone.

    Prosecutors would go on to charge William as an adult with one felony: aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He pleaded down to a third-degree felony, and in 2012, a state prosecutor agreed to a “withhold of adjudication,” curtailing the length of the sentence and probation. The post-sentencing maneuver is not recognized outside of Florida, and William’s record could not be sealed or expunged in the state because it involved a violent domestic assault.

    William was ordered to spend 18 months at a Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch and sentenced to four years’ probation. Both penalties were later reduced.

    The following year, in 2013, William enrolled at the University of Washington, according to his LinkedIn page. His father had recently joined the university’s board of regents. The family had other ties to the school. Patrick Shanahan’s father, Michael, had served as police chief for the university for more than two decades.

    William graduated last June with a degree in political science, a university spokesman said.

    Kimberley Shanahan lost custody of the couple’s youngest child in 2014, when a judge wrote that she had “engaged in abusive use of conflict that is seriously detrimental” to the child. According to multiple accounts, she is now estranged from all three of her children. At his last confirmation hearing, to become deputy secretary of defense in June 2017, all three children were sitting behind Patrick Shanahan.

    None of the senators asked him about domestic violence.

    Ashley Nguyen contributed from Seattle.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  3. #12543

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Acting defense secretary bows out of running to be confirmed as Pentagon chief

    By Missy Ryan , Dan Lamothe and Paul Sonne June 18 at 2:23 PM

    Acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan withdrew from consideration to be confirmed as Pentagon chief on Tuesday, President Trump said, plunging the Pentagon into leadership upheaval for the second time in six months.

    In a message on Twitter, Trump said that Shanahan, a former Boeing executive who has led the Pentagon on an acting basis since early this year, had “decided not to go forward with his confirmation process so that he can devote more time to his family.”

    Trump thanked Shanahan for his “outstanding service” and said that Mark Esper, another former defense industry executive who now serves as Army secretary, would be the new acting defense secretary.

    The decision upends what was expected to be an imminent confirmation process for Shanahan, injecting a new element of uncertainty into the Pentagon’s highest levels at a moment when the military is scrambling to maintain its technological edge over China and fears are mounting about a potential conflict with Iran.

    Shanahan pulled himself out of the running as media organizations including The Washington Post published reports shedding light for the first time on details of Shanahan’s contentious divorce, including a 2010 domestic abuse allegation and his role in an incident in which his son attacked his ex-wife with a baseball bat.


    From the moment he was named, Shanahan scrambled to prove to a skeptical Washington establishment that he had the chops to oversee the world’s most powerful military at a time of transformation, sometimes deferring to subordinates during congressional testimony and often taking a back seat on messaging with regard to burgeoning crises overseas.

    Shanahan’s six-month tenure as defense secretary has also been clouded by uncertainty about his fate. At first speculation mounted for months about whether Trump would pick him to be confirmed. In May, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said he would be nominated after the Pentagon’s inspector general cleared him of any wrongdoing in an investigation related to allegations that he may have acted improperly in favor of Boeing, a major defense contractor.

    But even following that, Shanahan had not been formally nominated, despite the fact he had initially been expected to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee for a confirmation hearing in mid-June.


    Esper, Trump’s new acting defense secretary, was confirmed as Army secretary in November 2017 after two earlier nominees for the position withdrew under scrutiny. A former top lobbyist with Raytheon, he has focused heavily on modernizing the service and innovation.

    Esper served 25 years in the Army and the Virginia National Guard and has varied experience in government that includes serving as a deputy assistant secretary of defense during the administration of President George W. Bush, national security adviser to then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R.-Tenn.) and legislative director to then-Sen. Chuck Hagel (R.-Neb.)

    A spokesman for Esper could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

    Joshua Dawsey, Robert Costa and Lisa Rein contributed to this report.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  4. #12544

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Democrats and some Republicans question Trump’s vetting process after Shanahan withdrawal

    By Karoun Demirjian June 18 at 5:56 PM

    Senators from both political parties are asking why they did not have advance notice of the domestic assault allegations that ended Patrick Shanahan’s bid to become President Trump’s permanent defense secretary, calling his nomination’s collapse the latest example of shoddy White House vetting.

    “Look what happens when you don’t vet,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters Tuesday. “This Shanahan fiasco shows . . . what a mess the administration’s national security and foreign policy is.”

    Democrats and Republicans said they were completely caught off-guard by news of Shanahan’s withdrawal, which came amid reports that he was involved years ago in an altercation with his now former wife and then, following their divorce, rushed to defend their teenage son after he attacked his mother with a baseball bat.

    There was particular consternation among some senators that neither the administration, the FBI, nor Shanahan apprised Congress of the incidents. As some lawmakers noted, a background check would have accompanied Shanahan’s nomination in 2017 to become the deputy defense secretary, a post he held until the departure of Trump’s first Pentagon chief, Jim Mattis, in December.

    “I don’t understand it,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). “These names, once they are out there, before they get made public, there has been a level of vetting that has gone on — so it does cause you to wonder.”

    But while Democrats are calling for a reckoning over the administration’s vetting practices, it is clear that most Republicans would prefer to simply move on.


    Democrats have called for deeper investigation. Standing beside Schumer on Tuesday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, questioned whether Shanahan’s past “was deliberately concealed or mistakenly covered up.”

    “I think there ought to be an investigation by the [inspector general] in the Department of Defense,” he said, contemplating whether Shanahan may have violated the law by failing to disclose to Congress the incidents that were documented in his divorce records.


    Several Democrats pointed to a long line of episodes in which Trump’s nominees have withdrawn from consideration for Cabinet posts, assistant secretary jobs, and federal judgeships after compromising personal or professional details emerged.

    “There ought to be a complete investigation of that whole process,” Blumenthal added, noting that lawmakers were concerned about the White House, but also needed to have faith that the FBI vetting process was “not only credible but also effective and penetrating.”

    Senators also have to be sure “that the FBI has no fear about asking for information that may reflect badly on a potential nominee,” Blumenthal said. “They can’t be intimidated from finding bad news.”
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  5. #12545

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Another yes-man bites the dust
    By Max Boot

    Just a few days ago, acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan was quietly campaigning to be formally nominated to his post. In a story published Friday, Politico reported that he made “more than two dozen trips to Capitol Hill in the past few months to win over lawmakers,” enlisted “the support of national security leaders in both parties” and made the case to Politico reporters “that he is an effective steward of the military — one who knows how to deal with the Trump decision-making style that has flummoxed so many past Cabinet members.”

    Then, on Tuesday afternoon, President Trump abruptly announced that Shanahan “has decided not to go forward with his confirmation process so that he can devote more time to his family.” It is hard to know whether this banal cliche was repeated mindlessly or cruelly. For it soon emerged that Shanahan’s family was the reason he is not only pulling out of consideration to become secretary of defense but leaving the Defense Department altogether.

    ...loyalty to his son can be forgivable. Less forgivable is the possibility that the administration concealed this incident from the Senate when Shanahan was confirmed for deputy secretary of defense — as members and staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee now say. That Shanahan’s FBI clearance process to be nominated for defense secretary was dragging along gives credence to the supposition that this domestic-violence incident had not been fully dealt with during Shanahan’s earlier confirmation. The kind of vetting that was automatic in past administrations is unknown in this one.

    So now the Defense Department is led by a new acting secretary, Army Secretary Mark Esper. Unlike Shanahan, Esper at least has military experience, and he has previously worked both as a congressional staffer and a Pentagon official. But like Shanahan, he comes out of the defense industry, so conflicts of interest abound. This is diversity, Trump style: replacing a former Boeing executive with a former Raytheon executive.

    Having no confirmed defense secretary for six months would be anomalous in any other administration, but it’s par for the course in this one. There is more “acting” in Washington than Hollywood these days. As my colleague Philip Bump has noted, “more than a fifth of Trump’s presidency has seen departments run by acting heads.” Trump has said he likes “acting” officials because “It gives me more flexibility.” What he really means is that acting officials are unlikely to challenge him. When he says jump, they ask, “How high?”

    Shanahan was a perfect example. As Politico reported: “Five current and former Defense Department officials who have worked directly with Shanahan, both uniformed and civilian, say the acting secretary is too easily manipulated by an unpredictable White House. These people say that in his six months of running the Pentagon, Shanahan has shown markedly less independence than former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a retired four-star general who slow-walked or outright resisted Trump’s policies on issues such as Syria strategy, transgender troops and the sending of military units to the U.S.-Mexico border. Shanahan, they say, is out of his league, outgunned by others in Trump’s orbit and so eager to get the job that he fails to defend the Pentagon’s position.”

    Presumably, Esper will be just as eager to curry favor with the president. The way things are going, Trump need never confirm another defense secretary again; he can just appoint one acting secretary after another.

    But while Trump appreciates Cabinet members who do not check his erratic impulses, America’s national security is not served by having yes-men or yes-women in senior positions of responsibility. Note that the crisis, which is drawing the United States and Iran to the brink of hostilities, did not start in earnest until after Mattis had left the Pentagon. Mattis had been a brake on Trump; Shanahan was an enabler.

    That the Defense Department is leaderless as the United States is embroiled in a national security crisis is symptomatic of the chaos that has engulfed the government from day one of the Trump administration. Most administrations function more smoothly with the passage of time because the president learns on the job and weeds out dud appointees. In this administration, the dynamic is reversed: Trump becomes more willful and erratic the longer he stays in office. Rather than strengthening his team, he weakens it by replacing appointees who display independence of judgment with sycophants who will affirm his greatness on command.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  6. #12546

    Re: Politics Random Random

    Seung Min Kim
    ‏Verified account

    Schumer tells reporters after the Big Four + Four Corners + WH3 that Shelby and Leahy had a budget deal but "unfortunately the White House stepped in and Leader McConnell said he’s not doing -- he’s just in obeisance to the White house. And so that’s where we’re stuck right now."
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

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