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So What's Up With General Milley? He's About To Tell Congress!

Live on WonkTV!

There's been some controversy! Or probably more like NON-troversy.

Regardless, this morning's hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee with Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is probably going to be LIT.

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Military

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Happy Christmas, War Is Over

Defense contractors: What are they good for? (Absolutely nothin')

Here's your feel-good video for the morning, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) speaking Wednesday in favor of an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act that would cut 10 percent, or roughly $77 billion, from the defense budget. The amendment was offered by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin), with co-sponsors Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California), after the House Armed Services Committee voted earlier this month to add $24 billion to Joe Biden's requested defense budget, matching a similar spending boost by the Senate.

Ocasio-Cortez argued that there are plenty of better things we could be spending that $77 billion on right now:

During a time when our country is withdrawing from foreign wars, when COVID-19 and its fallout is one of the greatest threats that we face, when record levels of unemployment, housing and healthcare crises are among us, the United States should be reducing its military spending by at least 10% and prioritize the very needs of our communities here at home.

But wait! If we cut defense spending, won't that make America less safe? Surely we absolutely need every single dollar to protect America from its many enemies. AOC had some suggestions for stuff we might do without, in this excerpt of the debate posted to Twitter by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota):

Responding to a claim by ranking Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, Ocasio-Cortez said,

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Journalism

Is Bob Woodward Full Of Sh*t? A Question For The Ages!

Over here humming 'Maria.' The one from The Sound Of Music, not the one from West Side Story, you dolts.

Daniel Lippman and Lara Seligman at Politico reported yesterday that stories from Bob Woodward's new book about Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley secretly (and frantically!) calling China to reassure them that Donald Trump wasn't going to surprise-bomb them "are greatly exaggerated, according to two people familiar with the discussions."

So put your wiener dog back in the garage and simmer down, Marco Rubio and everybody else screaming TREASON!

Politico goes over Woodward's reporting:

A forthcoming book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa claims that Milley grew concerned about then-President Donald Trump's instability and the possibility that he might spark a war with China, prompting him to arrange a pair of secret phone calls with Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People's Liberation Army. The first was on Oct. 30, just four days before the presidential election, and the second on Jan. 8, two days after a mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol.

During the calls, Milley reassured Li that the United States would not strike, and pledged to give his counterpart a heads up if Trump ordered an attack, according to The Washington Post.

"General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we're going to attack, I'm going to call you ahead of time. It's not going to be a surprise," Milley is reported to have said.

Politico reported out the same claims and according to a defense official, they are "grossly mischaracterized." Not all wrong, mind you. "Grossly mischaracterized." Keep those words in mind.

The official said the calls were not out of the ordinary, and the chairman was not frantically trying to reassure his counterpart.

Politico's reporting says this wasn't Milley gone "rogue" either, like the book implies. Politico says he "asked permission" of (acting) Defense Secretary Chris Miller on what we're guessing was that second call. (The first call was before the election, before Miller was acting SecDef.) Miller more or less confirmed this to Politico, saying he thinks it was "perfunctory/routine." Politico has a lot of confirmations like this from various sources. Woodward and his co-author Robert Costa say they're stickin' by their reporting.

Meanwhile, Axios reported this week that in the days before the election, when that first call happened, then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper was ordering all kinds of back-channeling to the Chinese in response to what the Pentagon thought was bad intel the Chinese were getting about America's intentions. That's a heavy over-simplification of Axios's reporting, but like the Politico, it's quite a bit more nuanced than what Woodward is saying.

Which leads us to today's question:

Is Bob Woodward full of shit?

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WARBLOGGING

Little Marco Rubio GRRRR MAD That General Milley Did A Coup To Trump!

Shut up.

Little Marco Rubio, the GOP senator from Florida, is doing his big mad dance! He is hopping and jumping and and bouncing and putting on the cutest little cowboy costume with the chaps and the hat and he is saying "pew! pew!" in the air with plastic toy guns!

This is kind of what Marco Rubio would look like right now, if Marco Rubio was cute.

Giphy

Why are we talking so disrespectfully about Rubio's surely very serious and righteous anger right now? Oh, just because he wrote a big mad huffy letter to President Joe Biden, like he's a real grown-up or something, demanding Joint Chiefs Chair General Mark Milley be fired for undermining former barely elected clownfuck president Donald Trump, as Bob Woodward's new book reports Milley did. (Hit that link for a recap if you need it.)

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