Monday, February 22, 2021

OPINION - Brooks and Capehart 2/19/2021

"Brooks and Capehart on President Biden’s first month in office and Rush Limbaugh’s legacyPBS NewsHour 2/19/2021


SUMMARY:  New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week in politics, including Republican infighting, the legacy of Rush Limbaugh and President Biden's first month in office.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  And now we turn to the analysis of Brooks and Capehart.  That's New York Times columnist David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart, columnist for The Washington Post.

So good to see both of you on this Friday night.

It's the first time we have seen you since the impeachment trial last week, ended last Saturday, President Trump.

Jonathan, it seems almost every day this past week, though, we have been hearing from different Republican state officials about how they were going to punish or censure Republican senators who voted to convict, whether it was Senator Cassidy in Louisiana, Senator Toomey in Pennsylvania.  There's talk that he will be censured.

How deep is the animosity toward these lawmakers who voted against former President Trump?

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post:  I think the animosity is deep, very deep.

I mean, these state party chairs, one might be responding in their own capacity, these state parties in their own capacity, but they are reflection of the Republican Party base.

You know, Judy, when I interviewed former RNC Chairman Michael Steele back in August of 2016, and I talked to him about the candidacy then of Donald Trump, running for President, being the nominee, and he told me then that he thought that the nomination of Donald Trump would hasten the conversation that the Republican Party needed to have about who they are, what they value, and certainly about the role of race within the party.

Fast-forward, Donald Trump becomes President, Donald Trump loses an election.  But, in the process, Donald Trump has transformed the Republican Party into one that is completely loyal to him.  And so people who voted for his impeachment, people who voted for him, voted guilty, wanted him to be convicted in the last go-round with this impeachment trial, they — those are the folks who are riling up this super loyal base within the Republican Party that is loyal to Donald Trump.

And I think what we're going to see down the road is, whether these censure votes, whether these reprimands of these Republicans, who I think voted their conscience, whether those actually have any political power, meaning bumping them from office in that way.

Judy Woodruff:  David, how do you see this animosity, division inside the Republican Party?

David Brooks, New York Times:  Well, Trump is popular.

And when Democrats in the media seem to be attacking Donald Trump, the Republicans sure rally around; 78 percent of Republicans say right now they want Donald Trump to play an important role in the future of the party.

Underneath that, there are divisions.  And they show up between the normal Republicans and the Trump Republicans.  And you can ask, do you feel more loyal to, the party or Donald Trump?  And there, it's about 50/50.  And then there's an important split when you ask Republicans, should we work with Democrats?

And there again, you see the regular Republicans vs. the Trump Republicans.  The regular Republicans, who seem to be a slight majority, want to work with Democrats.  The Trump Republicans do not.

I think the party leaders have decided, we can't have this fight over Donald Trump.  We have to displace Trump with policy-making.  And so, today — this week, Tom Cotton and Mitt Romney began to work together to create a bill that would raise the minimum wage and fix enforcement of immigration on the border.

And they're trying to make the party a regular party, so it's not just a media party, but a party that actually does legislation.  And I think that's a pretty promising way to try to displace Trumpism.

Judy Woodruff:  But, meantime, Jonathan, you had President — former President Trump coming out this week, appearing on three different, I guess, conservative TV channels, still talking about how the election was stolen, attacking Mitch McConnell.

Does — is McConnell hurt by this?  I mean, I guess I'm asking, how lasting is this damage the former President is still trying to level?

Jonathan Capehart:  Look, in a battle between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump, I would put my money on Mitch McConnell.

Senator McConnell is worried about two things, one of which he has succeeded.  Judges was the first one.  But the most important thing is power.  He lost the Senate majority, primarily because of what then President Trump did that allowed those two Georgia seats to flip to the two Democrats, Warnock and Ossoff.

But, also, Senator McConnell wants that majority back.  And so that's why I think we saw him on the one hand vote for the acquittal of Donald Trump, but then, after that vote, excoriate Donald Trump, lay the blame right at his feet.  And, in doing that, what I think Mitch McConnell is doing is creating an environment for his — for his caucus and those Republicans running for the Senate in 2022 and 2024, giving them the room to be able to run races that would give them the best chance at winning.

And when it comes to Donald Trump, it's all about him.  It's not about the party.  It's not about policy, as David was talking about.  It's about him and loyalty to him.  And so, if you're Mitch McConnell, and you are about power, but you're also about doing things that advance the Republican Party, you're going to do whatever it takes to push Trump to the side and make it possible for those candidates to come to the fore.

Judy Woodruff:  So, David, who's got more muscle, Mitch McConnell or Donald Trump?

And I do want to ask you both about Rush Limbaugh, but McConnell first.

David Brooks:  Yes, I was — I questioned McConnell's strategy last Saturday, doing that acquittal vote and then excoriating, as Jonathan said.

Napoleon said, if you're going to take Vienna, take Vienna.  But maybe Jonathan is right it sets the Republicans up for a good run in 2022.  And let's face it.  You would have to think it's likely the Republicans will take the House and Senate.  That's just the way — what happens in midterm elections.  The opposition party does very well.

And I think McConnell's main goal is to keep really extreme Trumpians from getting Republican nominations in these Senate races and House races.  And so maybe he's playing that game, just trying to ride this thing out and not try to fire everybody up and fire up the Trumpian base.

Judy Woodruff:  And, David, in just a few words, the legacy of Rush Limbaugh.

David Brooks:  Well, he changed media.  He changed AM radio.  Before Rush Limbaugh, hosts tended to be not too opinionated.  After Rush Limbaugh, on left and right, hosts are super opinionated.

He changed conservatism from George F. Will and William F. Buckley to what we have today.  So, he had a big positive effect on media, I think, or — and a pretty negative effect on American conservatism.

Judy Woodruff:  Jonathan, it was on the media, as David says.  It was also on the Republican Party and on conservatism broadly.

Jonathan Capehart:  Right.

My relationship when it comes to Rush Limbaugh is more than complicated, as someone who was attacked by him many times when he was on the radio.  I mourn for his family.  I mourn for his family and the people who loved him.

But I — I, quite honestly, do not, simply because of the corrosive nature of his radio programming and what he did with the power that he had, the corrosive nature that he had on American politics, on American political discourse.

And legacies can be good and legacies can be bad.  And I think, for me, personally, Rush Limbaugh's legacy is one that has harmed the country.

Judy Woodruff:  All right, President Biden, first month in office, after tomorrow.

David, what are you seeing so far?  And before you answer that, let me ask you both to respond to something President Biden said at the CNN town hall on Wednesday night, reminding us that he's not comfortable yet in this new job.  Let's listen.

Pres. Joe Biden:  I was raised in a way that you didn't look for anybody to wait on you.  And it's — we're — I find myself extremely self-conscious.  There are wonderful people that work at the White House.

But someone is standing there and making sure I — hands me my suit coat.

Judy Woodruff:  So, David, I guess I should have said not comfortable with the trappings of the office yet.

David Brooks:  Yes.

I mean, it's so weird being President.  Every president talks about this.  You're never alone.  They — Secret Service knows when you go to the bathroom.  They know when you're in the elevator.  George W. Bush would ride his motorbike — or his bike, his mountain bike, up at a training center, a Secret Service training center in Maryland, and he would try to ride in front of the agents, because he said that was the only time of his week when there weren't people in front of him, and he could look out and sort of be alone.

And so it's just very weird being President and I think very hard.

As for President Biden, I think he's doing a lot of sense of sensible things on his own.

What's different from the Obama start — and Obama had a bigger Senate majority — Obama passed some big legislation right away, Lilly Ledbetter week one, children's health care week two, the stimulus package week three.  So, there was a lot of legislative action.

There hasn't been as much from President Biden.

Judy Woodruff:  Jonathan, how do you see these first 30 days?

Jonathan Capehart:  Well, I see them as terrific, if only because we have a President of the United States who's focused on governing, who's focused on doing things on behalf of the American people, but who is also not focused on being in our faces 24 hours a day, seven days a week with all manner of vitriol and nastiness towards his political opponents or even regular citizens.

Judy, what I love about that clip you showed of President Biden talking about his not being comfortable with the trappings of the presidency is, that's the man the American people voted for.

It's a person who — for whom service, public service, the emphasis is on the service, but it's also the public, someone other than himself.  He is that boy from Scranton whose family had hard times, and he worked his way up to the highest office in the land.

And the idea that with this office comes someone who hands him his suit coat in the morning, or, to David's point, he and his family now are never alone, I think it resonates with the American people, because this is someone for whom power is something that's part of the jobIt wasn't anything that he strove for just for power's sake.

For him, being President of the United States is about helping people.

Judy Woodruff:  And, David, less than a minute, but your thoughts on whether he's getting people behind him?  I mean, is it your sense that he's building the kind of public support he's going to need?

David Brooks:  Yes, I think he is, actually.

He's amazingly done very well at holding the Democratic Party together, which was not natural.  I think he's done that extremely skillfully, his approval rating.  There really have been not so many flaws — not so many errors, one little error about — how when schools are going to reopen, but, pretty much else, it's a professional organization, just as it was a professional campaign.

Judy Woodruff:  All right.  It's only been a month.  We will do this every month, every week.  We will keep asking.


Judy Woodruff:  How's he doing?  How's he doing?


Judy Woodruff:  Very good to see both of you.  Have a good weekend.


David Brooks:  Good to see you too.

Judy Woodruff:  David Brooks, Jonathan Capehart, thank you both.

NEWSHOUR CANVAS - "The Democracy! Suite"

"Wynton Marsalis meets the moment with jazz and a focus on the nation’s founding principlesPBS NewsHour 2/19/2021


SUMMARY:  Trumpet player, composer and jazz ambassador Wynton Marsalis is one of the country’s leading cultural figures.  He is again meeting the moment with music, writing and recording his new composition "The Democracy! Suite" amid the pandemic.  Jeffrey Brown has the story as part of our arts and culture series, "CANVAS."


Jazz at Lincoln Center

MEMORIAM - Five Remarkable People Who Lost Their Lives to COVID-19

"Remembering 5 remarkable people who lost their lives to COVID-19PBS NewsHour 2/19/2021


SUMMARY:  As the death toll from the pandemic nears 500,000 in the United States, we take a moment to remember and pay tribute to five remarkable people who have lost their lives to COVID-19.


"theocracy" noun

  1. Government under the control of a state-sponsored religion. (like Iran)
  2. Rule by a God.

They are trying (over and over) to impose their religious belief on everyone else, by use of the law of the land.

"South Carolina places stringent new restrictions on abortionsPBS NewsHour 2/18/2021


SUMMARY:  South Carolina is the latest state to place tough new restrictions on abortions.  It is part of a renewed focus on abortion access with a new conservative majority on the Supreme Court.  Gavin Jackson a public affairs reporter for South Carolina ETV, and Mary Ziegler a Florida State University law professor, join John Yang to discuss.

PANDEMIC - Applying Lessons of the Past and the Toll

"Applying the lessons of Ebola to the fight COVID-19PBS NewsHour 2/17/2021


SUMMARY:  Dr. Paul Farmer has worked for decades to bolster public health care around the globe.  His new book, “Fevers, Feuds and Diamonds: Ebola and the Ravages of History,” looks at the 2014 Ebola crisis and what we can learn from it during our current pandemic.  Jeffrey Brown spoke with Farmer as part of our ongoing arts and culture series, "CANVAS."



"Battered by the pandemic, communities of color experience sharp drop in life expectanciesPBS NewsHour 2/18/2021


SUMMARY:  The pandemic's toll was highlighted in stark terms again Thursday as the expected life spans fell in the U.S. by a year on average in the first half of 2020.  It is the largest drop since World War II, and gaps along racial lines are profound.  Dr. Reed Tuckson, Washington, DC's former Public Health Commissioner and a leader in the Black Coalition Against COVID-19, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.

MASTER OF HATE - Rush Limbaugh Dead!

Need I say I really, really disliked this idiot hate monger who use his infamy to make money and garner power.  May he rest in Hell!

"Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh dies at 70PBS NewsHour 2/17/2021


SUMMARY:  Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh died Wednesday at the age of 70 after a battle with lung cancer.  For more than 30 years, he trumpeted his brand of conservatism with a take-no-prisoners style that won compliments and condemnation.  Lisa Desjardins looks at his career.

NASA - Mars 2020 Mission

Perseverance rover


Ingenuity helicopter


"NASA sets ambitious goals for latest mission to MarsPBS NewsHour 2/17/2021


SUMMARY:  If all goes according to plan, the United States will land its most advanced [Perseverance] rover ever on Mars on Thursday, nearly 300-million miles from where it lifted off last year.  It is a daunting task, one that will set up a more ambitious exploration of the Red Planet.  Miles O'Brien lays out the nerve-wracking challenges and goals of the mission.



"NASA rover lands on Mars, resuming search for remnants of lifePBS NewsHour 2/18/2021


SUMMARY:  The U.S. is back on the Red Planet after a nearly 300-million-mile journey.  NASA celebrated late Thursday afternoon when it landed its latest rover on Mars.  The rover is designed to explore new areas of the planet and look for clues for past life there.  Miles O'Brien joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the mission.


LIVE 2:38:30

AMERICAN JUSTICE - Searching for Justice

"How obtaining identification can complicate the road from prisonPBS NewsHour 2/16/2021


SUMMARY:  For men and women coming out of prison every year, one of the first steps to re-entering society can be one of the most difficult: simply getting a valid ID.  William Brangham reports on the many hurdles returning citizens often face trying to rebuild their identification as part of our ongoing series, “Searching for Justice.”


Hint....I don't like Donald Trump.  Donnie is only thinking of himself and how 'great' he is and a dictator-want-to-be.  He does not believe in the Rule of Law and has never supported the U.S. Constitution.

"With mounting legal challenges, what are the potential consequences for Trump?PBS NewsHour 2/16/2021


SUMMARY:  A top Democrat in the House of Representatives sued former President Trump Tuesday for allegedly inciting the Capitol Insurrection, adding to his growing legal challenges.  But what conduct is still being looked at and what consequences may result?  WNYC's Andrea Bernstein, who has been reporting on Trump's finances as part of the "Trump Inc." project, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.

PRESIDENT BIDEN - Foreign Policy Shift

"In foreign policy shift, Biden lifts terrorist designation for Houthis in YemenPBS NewsHour 2/16/2021


SUMMARY:  The Biden administration on Tuesday officially lifted the designation of the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen as a global terrorist organization.  That announcement comes within a larger review of the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia.  Nick Schifrin reports on the prospects of diplomacy, and speaks to Timothy Lenderking, the new U.S. Envoy to Yemen, to learn more.

NEW YORK - Nursing Home Deaths Backlash

"New York’s governor faces backlash after revelations on nursing home deathsPBS NewsHour 2/16/2021


SUMMARY:  From the earliest days of the pandemic when New York was an epicenter of COVID, Gov. Andrew Cuomo often has been in the spotlight.  But increasingly, there are questions about whether his administration was transparent enough about disclosing how many nursing home residents died.  Jesse McKinley, Albany bureau chief for The New York Times, joins Amna Nawaz to discuss the backlash against Cuomo.

WINTER STORM - The Consequences

"Millions remain without power in frigid temperatures after major winter stormPBS NewsHour 2/16/2021


SUMMARY:  Millions of American remained without power in frigid temperatures Tuesday as the U.S. continues to grapple with the effects of a major storm.  The demand for energy is taxing power grids, most significantly in Texas.  Stephanie Sy speaks with Michael Wara, director of the Climate and Energy Policy program at the Stanford University Woods Institute for the Environment, to learn more.



"Americans grapple with historic weather, with much of the U.S. still locked in deep freezePBS NewsHour 2/17/2021


SUMMARY:  Most of the nation is still locked in the deep freeze as a polar vortex that swept south is holding sway, claiming at least 30 lives and keeping the power off for more than 3 million people.  Stephanie Sy reports, and speaks to Mayor Harry LaRosiliere of Plano, Texas and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Mayor David Holt about how the weather is impacting their cities.



"After brutalizing much of the U.S., storm surge shines a spotlight on disparitiesPBS NewsHour 2/18/2021


SUMMARY:  The storms that have descended on much of the country, and their after-effects, have hit vulnerable groups the hardest, especially communities of color.  Dr. Robert Bullard, a professor at Texas Southern University who focuses on wealth and racial disparities related to the environment, joins Stephanie Sy from Sugar Land, Texas to discuss.



"Power largely restored in Texas, but millions remain without drinking waterPBS NewsHour 2/19/2021


SUMMARY:  The lights are back on in much of Texas, but for millions the water isn't working.  It is the latest crisis in a grinding week of winter storms that have claimed at least 60 lives.  Stephanie Sy reports, and speaks to Dr. Esmaeil Porsa, president and CEO of Harris Health System in the Houston area, to learn more about how water outages are severely impacting hospitals.



"Recovery may take months even as more help reaches storm-hit TexasPBS NewsHour 2/20/2021


SUMMARY:  President Biden declares a disaster in Texas on Saturday, allowing affected Texans to apply for emergency grants for housing and low-cost loans to cover losses from the winter storm, which has left millions in the state without heat, power and water.  For more on community impact and response to the winter storm, Hari Sreenivasan spoke with Texas U.S. Representative Colin Allred from Dallas.

NEWS HOUR CANVAS - "The Black Church"

"Henry Louis Gates Jr. on his new series ‘The Black Church’PBS NewsHour 2/15/2021


SUMMARY:  A new four-part series, “The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This is Our Song," premieres Tuesday on PBSIt’s a sweeping history of religion, politics and culture led by Henry Louis Gates Jr., the noted Harvard scholar and host of the PBS show "Finding Your Roots."  He joins Jeffrey Brown to discuss the documentary, as part of our arts and culture series, "CANVAS."

AMERICAN POLITICS - Jan 6, 2021 Insurrection Probe

"Former 9/11 investigator joins bipartisan calls for new commission to probe Capitol attackPBS NewsHour 2/15/2021


SUMMARY:  Former President Trump's second impeachment trial has concluded, but questions still remain over the Jan. 6 insurrection.  Now, former 9/11 Commission co-chairs Thomas Kean [R] and Lee Hamilton [D] are calling on President Biden to create an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the assault at the U.S. Capitol.  Kean, who is also the former New Jersey Governor, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.

AMERICAN AUTO - General Motors

"How General Motors is planning to become carbon neutral by 2040PBS NewsHour 2/15/2021


SUMMARY:  One of the main causes of the carbon emissions that drive climate change is automobiles.  And General Motors made big waves in its industry recently by announcing a dramatic ramp up in electric vehicle production, and plans to be carbon neutral by 2040.  William Brangham talks with Dane Parker [Chief Sustainability Officer], a senior executive for the carmaker, about the challenges of meeting those goals.

CLIMATE CHANGE - Current Severe Weather

"Is the recent wave of severe weather across the U.S. a harbinger of climate change?PBS NewsHour 2/15/2021


SUMMARY:  The winter of 2021 is writing itself into the record books this week, with large swaths of the nation seeing the coldest weather in memory.  But is this a particularly severe phase of winter weather or is there more to it than that?  Dev Niyogi, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin's Jackson School of Geosciences and Cockrell School of Engineering, joins Amna Nawaz to discuss.

AMERICAN MILITARY - Mishandling of Misconduct

First I am retired Navy (22yrs Vietnam Vet) and I am both appalled but not surprised by this attitude of the Marine Corps.  They have always been a macho male dominated arm of our military and have really never accepted that women should serve, especially the top commanders.  Note their statement, "refers to an allegation of misconduct regarding the wrongful appropriation and distribution of personal information."  They are coming back at her for releasing the video and not even addressing her complaint.  And she is supposed to trust "the opportunity to meet with senior representatives in her command?!" 


"Marine Whose Misconduct Was Cited in Viral Video Faces Administrative Separation, Officials Say" by Gina Harkins, 2/19/2021

Marine leaders on Friday met with a woman who appeared in a now-viral TikTok video complaining that a general officer was allowing a man who admitted to mistreating her a chance to remain in uniform, officials said in a statement.

Officials with II Marine Expeditionary Force provided few details about the case, saying only that the video "refers to an allegation of misconduct regarding the wrongful appropriation and distribution of personal information."

"The current administrative separation process for the accused perpetrator mentioned in the video is ongoing," Capt. Angelica Sposato, a spokeswoman for II MEF, said Friday.  "The Marine in the video is safe and has been afforded the opportunity to meet with senior representatives in her command."

The video, first posted Thursday on the social media site TikTok and later shared on Twitter, was viewed by the Defense Department's most senior leaders.  Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called the video "deeply disturbing" during a press conference Friday.

"We have to get the facts, we have to understand what just happened," Austin said.  "Let me also say that I care about each and every one of our troops, and certainly I'm going to ask that her chain of command makes sure that someone is looking out after her needs and make sure that we're taking care of her."

The video shows a woman in uniform crying as she reacts to finding out another Marine she claimed admitted to sexual misconduct against her would be allowed to remain in the Corps.

"This is exactly why ...  females in the military f---ing kill themselves," the woman yells through her tears.

Sposato, who said the Marine accused of misconduct is facing administrative separation, did not provide a timeline on when the process is expected to be complete.

"The Marine Corps and the Nation expect the highest standards of conduct from Marines and Sailors," she said.  "Those who do not uphold these standards will be held accountable in accordance with Marine Corps and Department of Defense policy.  We take all allegations of prohibited conduct and activities seriously to ensure our people are fully supported with appropriate resources specific to the nature of an incident."

Austin has made dealing with the military's sexual assault and harassment problems a top priority.  Last month, he ordered top defense leaders to report to him on the programs in place to combat the problem, along with proof to show they're working.

The Marine Corps, Sposato said, is committed to maintaining a culture of dignity, respect, fairness and trust.

Friday, February 19, 2021

U.S. NAVY - Eisenhower (CVN 69) Carrier Strike Group

"Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group Deploys After Extended Scrimmage" by Dave Ress (The Virginian-Pilot ), 2/18/2021

In a way, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower [CVN 69] and the three cruisers, four destroyers and nine Carrier Air Wing 3 squadrons that spent much of this winter out at sea have been running scrimmages to prepare for the big game, said Rear Adm. Scott Robertson, the strike group’s commander.

The big game is the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group’s departure Wednesday on deployment.  But those scrimmages, which the Navy calls COMPTUEX — a training exercise for composite units — came with some differences.

“COMPTUEX provided graduate-level training that simulates the full spectrum of operations, low intensity to high-end combat,” Robertston said.  Low intensity, for example, includes humanitarian missions; high-end, on the other hand, is the kind of great-power confrontation with Russia or China that is increasingly the focus of U.S. strategic thinking.

The COMPTUEX scrimmages included, for the first time in recent memory, scenarios with SEAL team sailors and Marines to test how they and a carrier strike group would support one another.

The exercises included live fire onshore, with the strike group’s sailors providing over-the-horizon targeting and directing combat aircraft in close-air support for SEALs onshore.

In addition, the strike group practiced the complexities of coordinated operations with an expeditionary strike force of an amphibious assault ship and the Marines they bring to hostile shores.

That practice was with a virtual expeditionary force — ships and Marines that lived within the computer screens, software and radio communications systems of the Eisenhower strike group.

The Eisenhower strike group also practiced operating with another carrier-centered task force — though this one, like the expeditionary group, was virtual.  Such combined strike group operations are what the most intensive confrontation with great power navies would almost certainly involve.

At the heart of much of the strike group did was what the Navy calls LVC training, for “live, virtual, and constructive.”  It’s a mix of operating real ships and aircraft with virtual ones.

To practice the most intensive kind of combat, it can be tough to bring together all the fighter aircraft that might attack a carrier, Robertson said.  But engaging with a relatively small number of real fighters or ships while radars and other sensors showed several more was a good way of practicing how to scramble in response, Robertson said.

“We had some days when the weather was really bad for flying, but we could run large attacks on radar that felt like the real thing,” he said.

The Eisenhower strike group’s COMPTUEX scrimmages also included operations with NATO’s Sea Centre of Excellence in Norfolk.

These involved practicing NATO communications procedures that differ a bit from U.S. Navy methods, mainly because they’d involve long-distance transmissions from NATO’s London-based Allied Maritime Command or its Naval Striking and Support Forces operation in Portugal.  This effort included working with different messaging formats, chat capabilities and security measures.

“This was a really good start; we got some great operating lessons out of it,” said Royal Navy Commodore Tom Guy, deputy director of Combined Joint Operations at the Sea Centre of Excellence.

Both NATO and the Navy have stepped up their focus on the North Atlantic in recent months, with the establishment of NATO’s Joint Force Command in Norfolk and the Navy’s decision to revive the Atlantic Fleet, renaming and refocusing its Norfolk-based Fleet Forces Command.

In the same way, COMPTUEX’s work with SEALs reflects a new strategic concern with great power confrontation, as special warfare operations strike a new balance with their heavy emphasis on counter-terrorism operations that dates from the 9-11 attacks two decades ago, said Capt. Donald G. Wetherbee, Commodore, Naval Special Warfare Group 2.

For Robertson, who is leading the Eisenhower strike group on its deployment after the carrier spent just six months at home, COMPTUEX marked the end of a months-long training program.  The destroyers and one of the two carriers in the current strike group were not part of the Eisenhower’s group in its previous, seven-month deployment.

The months since the Eisenhower’s return started with what Robertson described as a naval version of the start of a preseason football camp, with individual ships drilling and practicing their specialties before doing team drills, while strike group ships and aircraft drilled on operating together.  COMPTUEX ran through a wide variety of scenarios, designed and run by another carrier group, which also assessed the Eisenhower strike force’s performance.

The bottom line, said Robertson: “We’re ready to deploy.”

This article is written by Dave Ress from The Virginian-Pilot and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the Industry Dive publisher network.  Please direct all licensing questions to

Monday, February 08, 2021

JUSTICE IN AMERICA - Excessive Force

"Before George Floyd, Officer Derek Chauvin had a history of using excessive forcePBS NewsHour 2/6/2021


SUMMARY:  Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is awaiting trial for the murder of George FloydBut even before the killing that sparked nationwide protests last summer, Chauvin had a history of using excessive force.  Hari Sreenivasan speaks with Jamiles Lartey and Abbie VanSickle of The Marshall Project about their report on civilians who experienced Derek Chauvin up close.

OPINION - Brooks and Capehart 2/5/2021

"Brooks and Capehart on the Republican Party’s identity crisisPBS NewsHour 2/5/2021


SUMMARY:  New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week in politics, including tensions in the Republican Party, Democrats and bipartisanship, President Biden's economic relief plan and former President Trump's impeachment trial.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  And now to the analysis of Brooks and Capehart.  That's New York Times columnist David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart, columnist for The Washington Post.

Very good to see both of you this Friday night.

Let's start by talking about the Republican Party.

Jonathan, the Republicans in the House of Representatives this week voted — just in the last day voted not to take away committee assignments from Marjorie Taylor Greene, conspiracy theorist, someone who has made deeply disturbing statements.  They left to it the full House, meaning Democrats took the vote.

She said, Greene said today that it didn't really bother her, that committees didn't matter, and, besides, it's Donald Trump's party anyway.  Is she right?

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post:  Well, she's right in that it's Donald Trump's party, but she's wrong about the fact that it doesn't matter.

It does matter.  And if she doesn't think committee assignments or being assigned to a committee matters, then she shouldn't be in government.  She should resign her seat if she doesn't believe that sitting on a committee, doing the work of being an elected representative and representing your constituents in Congress, if that doesn't matter, then perhaps she should go back to Georgia.

But this is indeed Donald Trump's party, and we saw it with the votes that were taken within the Republican Caucus.  Marjorie Taylor Greene was able to hold onto her committee seat because the vote was a public vote within the caucus.  Liz Cheney was able to hold on to her leadership post within the Republican Caucus because that vote was a secret ballot.

And we talked all last week or all this week about how her hold on her [Cheney] leadership post was tenuous because the base was so angry, the caucus was so angry.  And yet, by secret ballot, she won reelection to that leadership post within the caucus overwhelmingly.

So, this might be Donald Trump's Republican Party, but, behind closed doors, within the Republican Caucus, at least as it's playing out in the House, there are some tensions there.

Judy Woodruff:  And, David, I mean, what Congresswoman Greene actually said was that it's a waste of time.  She views committees as a waste of time.

But my question to you is, I mean, what does this say about the Republican Party in Congress?

David Brooks, New York Times:  Yes, I have decided to look on the bright side.

I think this was the week we saw more anti-Trump activity in the Republican Party than any week in the last five years.  We had Mitch McConnell calling Marjorie Taylor Greene's ideas cancerous.  Liz Cheney won by 2-1.  That was not automatic.  And it shows there's a lot of people who — in the House Republican Caucus who are not with the Trumpsters.

They're a little intimidated by them, but, in private, that's not where their views are.  We had Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse with a very forthright assault on the GOP of one of the counties in Nebraska who wants to censure him.  And so people are beginning to stand up in ways that haven't happened.

And I think, partly January 6, partly looking at the things that Greene believes, they see, as McConnell said, that these are just disastrous cancers for the party.  And so it's not all the way there, but we're beginning to see much more of an assault than we saw before.

And then, just finally, we had 10 Republican senators break from a bit of their party and put out a COVID relief proposal.  So, I'm seeing progress.

Judy Woodruff:  Well, let's pursue that.

I mean, Jonathan, I interviewed former Missouri Senator John Danforth this week, who said that his party, who — he says he's still a Republican — has become, he said, a grotesque caricature of what it once was, that it's no longer conservative, it's populist at the extremes.

Do you see — where do you see this going, is the question.

Jonathan Capehart:  Well, I do agree with David that there are green shoots to use a phrase from a previous presidency, green shoots of progress, and maybe even green shoots of a new beginning.

But the Republican Party right now is going through — I think, is going to be a multicycle refreshing, that the these green shoots that we are seeing, will that mean that Republicans become more emboldened and stand up for themselves and, going into the midterm elections, the non-Trump Republicans get elected, maybe even Republicans take over the House, but not with Trump Republicans?  I don't know.

But what I do know is this.  The Republican Party is not — is not going to cure itself of what former Senator Danforth talked about until it has concerted leadership within the caucus to push the Marjorie Taylor Greenes and the other folks within that caucus, because she is not the only one, push them aside and get about the business of governing.

I focus on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who should have used the Marjorie Taylor Greene moment as a leadership moment to do what a leader is supposed to do and stand up for the values of the party and the caucus, and to push aside those who run afoul of that.

I don't know what Leader McCarthy stands for.  I don't know what the Republican Party stands for.  And if his calculations this week are about retaking the House in 2022, my question is, what is your program?  What are you for?

Because unless you can tell the American people, and particularly folks in the districts around the country, unless you can tell people what the Republican Party will do and what Leader McCarthy would do as speaker proactively, positively, then why should the American people look at the Republican Party as a viable alternative to the Democratic Party?

Judy Woodruff:  Well, speaking of what the Republicans can do, David, you mentioned the Republican role, I think, in COVID relief.

What role do you see them playing?  As the president is saying, we need to go big, Republicans and even some Democrats raising questions.

David Brooks:  Yes, I — Joe Biden ran on bipartisanship and unity.

He had a chance when the 10 Republicans put forth their $618 billion proposal to say, OK, let's try for a week.  I'm not going to give you more than a week, but I will give you a week, and we will see if we can get you over a trillion.  The Republicans have already voted for roughly $4 trillion dollars in aid.  I think they could have gotten a fifth.

But the problem is, aside from Joe Biden, I don't think there's any taste for bipartisanship in the Democratic Party, sometimes with justified reason.  They have just lived through the horror of the Trump presidency.  They just lived through January 6.  They just don't have much respect or trust for the Republican Party.

And so they don't want to do bipartisanship.  I think those 10 Republicans really do.  I think there are another 10 or 15 in the Senate who would prefer it.  They're not going to go as big as Biden wants to go, but I think they would like it.

But you can't tell people to trust people they don't trust.  Trust takes time.  And the trust is not there for bipartisanship in this Congress.  I think Biden really wants to do it.  It — the evidence of this week is, we're just not going to see that.

Judy Woodruff:  Jonathan, what do you see as the outlook for bipartisanship?

Jonathan Capehart:  Well, it depends on your definition of bipartisanship.

If bipartisanship, you mean sitting with people from the other — from the other side of the aisle, talking through the issues, talking through policies and programs, and then, as President of the United States, you decide that what you have heard does not meet the policy proposals that you have in mind and the mandate you feel you have from the American people, well, then, if you go a different route, that doesn't mean that you haven't been bipartisan.

It just means that you have a different governing philosophy.  I do think President Biden has lived up to his promise to be bipartisanship.  He didn't have to meet with those 10 senators, and yet he did.

I do think that David was absolutely right in his — in what he said and in his terrific column today in The New York TimesI don't think that Democrats don't want to do bipartisanship.  I do think that Democrats do suffer from a lack of trust, because they have been Charlie Brown to the Republicans' Lucy with the football.

When President Obama was in the White House, President Obama tried desperately to negotiate in good faith with Republicans, only to have them say no, be recalcitrant.  And having learned that lesson, President Biden, having been part of the Obama/Biden White House, does not want to be in that position, nor should he, especially when you have millions of Americans who are not only suffering through a pandemic, but also through the resultant economic crisis.

Judy Woodruff:  And, David, lingering effects?  If the Democrats end up doing this with Democratic votes, what's the fallout?  What does that mean for the future?

David Brooks:  Well, people do really like bipartisanship.

Our own Amy Walter had a good column this week saying that, when you try to pass something with — on a partisan basis, what happens is that piece of legislation tends to be unpopular, because independents would rather you do it on a bipartisan basis.

So, I think, in the long term, Democrats probably made it slightly more likely the Republicans will do very well in the midterm, if they ram this through on a partisan basis.

Having said that, I think the size of our social problems are so large that $1.9 trillion basically given to the least fortunate among us is about the right size.  And so I wish they had done it with bipartisanship.  I wish the Republicans had come up to like $1.2 trillion.

But I'm thinking about the country, I'm thinking about a country that is suffering from inequality, from decay, from declining prospects, from a rural-urban income gap.  And $1.9 trillion, can go a long way to setting us on a different social path, a more equal social path.

And so, despite my reservations about the way they're doing it, I still think it needs to be done.

Judy Woodruff:  Just a little over a minute left.

I want to get from both of you your expectations for next week's impeachment trial, the second one, Jonathan, for President Trump.  What do you think will happen?

Jonathan Capehart:  I think we will hear wrenching testimony, in that the House managers, the House impeachment managers, will present a case that will bring the American people and the witnesses/jurors back to that day on January 6.

I expect the moment to be probably one of the most impactful, emotional moments in recent American history.

But I also expect this trial to be short.  I wouldn't be surprised if we're talking about the end of this trial a week from today.

Judy Woodruff:  And, David, what do you expect?

David Brooks:  Yes, that sounds about right.

I'm mostly struck by how Donald Trump has sort of vanished.  Obviously, he's off Twitter, but he's not taking any measures to be anywhere.  And so it's just going to be a one-sided affair, which will end in an acquittal.  And then we will get back to business.

I will be very curious to see if the nation tunes in or whether they're really ready to move on from the Trump era.

Judy Woodruff:  Well, we are going to be covering it, and we are going to be asking the two of you about it one week from tonight at exactly this time.

David Brooks, Jonathan Capehart, thank you both.

Jonathan Capehart:  Thanks, Judy.

David Brooks:  Thanks.

BEIRUT - After Massive Explosion

"Months after massive explosion, a worsening pandemic complicates Beirut’s recoveryPBS NewsHour 2/5/2021


SUMMARY:  It's been six months since a massive fertilizer explosion at the Port of Beirut tore through the city, leaving hundreds dead and catastrophic destruction.  Lebanon was already mired in a deep economic crisis before the blast, and is now experiencing another calamity with COVID-19.  Special correspondent Leila Molana-Allen reports.

MEMORIAM - Christopher Plummer died at the age of 91

"A look back at actor Christopher Plummer’s most iconic rolesPBS NewsHour 2/5/2021


SUMMARY:  Award-winning actor Christopher Plummer died Friday at his home in Connecticut at the age of 91.  During his nearly 70-year career he became known for a wide variety of roles that won him an Oscar, two Emmys and a pair of Tony Awards.  Jeffrey Brown looks back at some of Plummer's most iconic roles.

REPUBLICANS - Fault-Lines and Debate on the GOP Future

I've said this before, the GOP as we knew it is dead.  It has been infected by the Trump Virus and morphed into a radical, undemocratic, power-at-all-cost party.  And that is sad, very sad for America.

"Debate over one of their own opens new fault lines in Republican ranksPBS NewsHour 2/4/2021


SUMMARY:  The U.S. House of Representatives spent hours on Thursday in impassioned debate over the future of Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and her past statements espousing support for conspiracy theories and violence against lawmakers.  The issue has widened an already serious partisan divide and fractures within the Republican Party.  Congressional correspondent Lisa Desjardins reports.



"Sen. Bill Cassidy on Rep. Greene: ‘She’s part of the conspiracy cabal’PBS NewsHour 2/4/2021


SUMMARY:  Sen. Bill Cassidy, of Louisiana, is one of 10 Republicans to meet this week with President Biden about the administration's COVID relief bill, and one of only a handful of medical doctors serving in Congress.  He joins Judy Woodruff to discuss Biden's plan, former President Trump's impeachment trial and the future of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

PANDEMIC - Updates 2/2/2021

"Reopening schools during the pandemic is proving to be a complex assignmentPBS NewsHour 2/2/2021


SUMMARY:  As the pandemic drags on, the toll taken on students and teachers, while trying to protect them from infection, has become one of the outbreak's most vexing and intractable challenges.  Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers union, joins Stephanie Sy to discuss.



"What impact is ‘the COVID slide’ having on students?PBS NewsHour 2/3/2021


SUMMARY:  The questions around when to re-open more schools for in-person classes remains front and center for millions of Americans.  Data show about 42 percent of all students between kindergarten and high school are in virtual-only schooling right now.  Christopher Morphew, dean of the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University, joins Stephanie Sy to discuss.



"In Virginia, a disconnect between supply and demand for vaccine rolloutPBS NewsHour 2/4/2021


SUMMARY:  States received a badly needed boost in shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government this week, but the supply still is not meeting the demand.  One state, Virginia, has had problems with its vaccine rollout since early on.  Amna Nawaz takes a closer look at the progress it has made and the daunting challenges ahead.



"As the pandemic rages on, finding ways to mourn and rememberPBS NewsHour 2/4/2021


SUMMARY:  Even as the pandemic rages on and deaths mount, communities, individuals and the federal government are finding ways to honor and keep loved ones close to their hearts.  Jeffrey Brown reports for our arts and culture series, "CANVAS."



"Who is bearing the brunt of the pandemic’s economic pain?PBS NewsHour 2/5/2021


SUMMARY:  President Biden's nearly $2 trillion stimulus package on Friday cleared a procedural hurdle in the Senate, as a tepid jobs report confirmed the economy is still sputtering from the pandemic.  Raphael Bostic, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss who has been most impacted and the federal government's response in reaching those in need.



"Paying homage to 5 remarkable people who lost their lives to COVID-19PBS NewsHour 2/5/2021


SUMMARY:  After a week reaching yet another tragic milestone in the COVID-19 death toll, we remember five remarkable individuals in the United States who have lost their lives to the pandemic.



"Are vaccines reaching communities in need?  We don’t have enough dataPBS NewsHour 2/6/2021


SUMMARY:  The Pentagon committed to sending around 1,000 active duty troops to help vaccinate people across the nation after the White House promised to open community vaccination centers, increasing availability to those in need.  Dr. Julie Morita, Executive Vice President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a NewsHour funder, joins to discuss the challenge of equal distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines.