Author Topic: Air Force One Kerfuffle  (Read 18732 times)

D.W.

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #50 on: July 19, 2018, 11:24:24 AM »
We don't NEED to know the details.  Trump's outrage was triggered at a specific price point.  Whether it was accurate or not, does not change that he reacted to it.

The final number is higher, yet he now claims we saved money.

If we were actually arguing about if the current deal is the best we could possibly get, then I concede your point that we don't know enough.  My argument however is that Trump stirs up outrage (or is himself legitimately outraged) by this "waste" only for it to not just be "no big deal" when under his watch, but rather to be an example of how great he is at negotiating.

He is quite literally having it both ways.  And you are, perhaps not defending it, but absolutely ignoring it.

Seriati

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #51 on: July 19, 2018, 11:30:40 AM »
So, if the original quote was for 2.5 billion, and the current expenditures  were for 4 billion and it wasn't finished, the fact that Trump said 4 billion  was outrageous, means that if he doesn't get the product finished and a refund he's a "fault"?

There's nothing wrong with being outraged at 4 billion for an unfinished product and having to negotiate for more for a finished product.  The point is that government keeps accepting low ball bids and then approving cost overruns rather than a real cost.  Whether he got a good deal is objective fact based on what has to be spent to finish, not based on the total cost or the sunk cost that was already expended.

The whole point of this thread is to impute the deal he negotiated is bad, it doesn't logically follow from what we know that this is the case.

D.W.

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #52 on: July 19, 2018, 11:39:13 AM »
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if he doesn't get the product finished and a refund he's a "fault"?
No, it just means he shouldn't have used it as a campaign talking point as an example of how HE wouldn't have settled for such a bad deal

He criticized a deal he apparently didn't know enough about to offer said criticism.  MAYBE he improved it.  (that would be handy to know) or maybe his involvement had no impact at all.  Or, maybe he's made things worse.  (that would also be good to know)

But the point is, he says a deal is bad, and crowds cheer.  No matter what outcome happens, he claims victory.  This is just... Trump.  And people eat this *censored* up.  I don't get it.

TheDrake

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #53 on: July 19, 2018, 11:43:12 AM »
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Nice grade school analysis.  Do you have anything definitive about the cost overruns and the final projections before negotiation started?  We already know the original estimate you cited turned out to be bunk, and the articles imply that your second estimate was of the same quality.

Did Trump have anything more than a grade school analysis when he criticized the program? Did he have anything definitive about the cost overruns or final projections?

I think he reacted on a tweet level to the kind of number that any human being would be stunned to read, assumed it must be because the previous administration(s) were just stupid. Then he went into full Trump mode threatening to cancel the order, which I doubt is legal. This didn't shock me, because that's what he does with his other contracts. Agree to something, wait until the supplier is fully committed, then threaten never to pay unless they change the contract.

Of course it might just be paying 25% more for parts due to tariffs.  :P

I'm surprised he didn't remove the media area and build a smaller plane...

Seriati

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #54 on: July 19, 2018, 12:23:34 PM »
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if he doesn't get the product finished and a refund he's a "fault"?
No, it just means he shouldn't have used it as a campaign talking point as an example of how HE wouldn't have settled for such a bad deal

Look up "sunk costs" and read about them in a basic economics primer.

What ever deal he could have gotten de novo is immaterial.  Whether he got a good deal is based on the future benefits compared to the future payments.

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He criticized a deal he apparently didn't know enough about to offer said criticism.

No.  In fact his criticism of the deal still holds.  The total deal is still too much, and that's because of a lack of accountability historically.

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MAYBE he improved it.  (that would be handy to know) or maybe his involvement had no impact at all.  Or, maybe he's made things worse.  (that would also be good to know)

If you want to criticize the deal making this is what you need to know.

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But the point is, he says a deal is bad, and crowds cheer.  No matter what outcome happens, he claims victory.  This is just... Trump.  And people eat this *censored* up.  I don't get it.

And?  It was a bad deal, he may have made it better.  That's literally what his point was.

Seriati

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #55 on: July 19, 2018, 12:30:12 PM »
Did Trump have anything more than a grade school analysis when he criticized the program? Did he have anything definitive about the cost overruns or final projections?

Don't know, fortunately a grade school analysis is enough to know that Boeing should have been able, with it's extensive experience, to submit an accurate bid.  Boeing would held accountable by its private counterparties at a much higher standard and it still manages to have a giant private business.

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I think he reacted on a tweet level to the kind of number that any human being would be stunned to read, assumed it must be because the previous administration(s) were just stupid.

Not stupid, corrupt maybe, more likely just part of an establishment that accepts this is the "way" government does business.

Seems like there was some phrase that Trump liked on this point, something about a swamp?  ;)

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Then he went into full Trump mode threatening to cancel the order, which I doubt is legal. This didn't shock me, because that's what he does with his other contracts. Agree to something, wait until the supplier is fully committed, then threaten never to pay unless they change the contract.

If it's not legal to cancel a government contract with near a 100% cost overrun then we have bigger problems.  Not least of which is it makes completely farcical the government requirement to get competitive bids.  Might as well just tell the provider you want what the current lowest bid is so they can undercut it knowing full well they'll be paid more. 

That Trump Derangement Syndrome has people defending the idea of massive government cost overruns is so far beyond silly as to be indefensible.

The allegation that this is a pattern for him actually flies in the face of his history.  There's like a couple instances where there was apparently a legitimate dispute.  Against a vast history of using and paying contractors.  Only in delusion world is that evidence of some kind of pattern.

Might as well say that a politician only eats hamburgers because they have a cheat day every other month.

TheDrake

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #56 on: July 19, 2018, 12:58:39 PM »
From what I've read, the bid wasn't inaccurate, they changed specifications to bring it down. I agree that that's a lot of money to spend. I think it would be cheaper to get a new president in the event of a war so catastrophic that this mobile command center is necessary to run things. There's really no way for anyone to know, since all the specs are going to be classified.

I'm not opposed to changing how government does contracts overall. The cost+ model is one that has been around for a while, but you have to do something about changing requirements - especially over a seven year contract. If the contract did stipulate that model, however, then cancelling it unilaterally if there has been no breach would likely be illegal. If there are checkpoints and phases, then there are built in no-fault exits - but the contractor is going to keep the money for the complete phases. In another bit:

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So there's a real possibility that the B-21 program isn't executable at the price the winning team bid -- which would mean either big cost overruns or program termination on President Trump's watch. Because the Air Force gave Northrop a "cost-plus" contract to develop the plane, taxpayers will have to absorb most of any cost overrun above the bid price. The production part of the contract, though, is fixed-price so that's where the program will likely run into trouble.

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Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, apparently shares that skepticism. He has requested more information about the program from the Air Force, including quarterly progress reports. The Air Force has rebuffed that request citing the program's secrecy. Which means the B-21 bomber program is likely to receive minimal congressional oversight until it really goes off the rails.

At which point the whole sorry story will start coming out, and President Trump will be blamed for a problem his predecessor allowed to happen.

A great way to save costs would be to slash military programs. You save 100% of the cost of a warplane you never build.

Seriati

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #57 on: July 19, 2018, 02:03:44 PM »
A great way to save costs would be to slash military programs. You save 100% of the cost of a warplane you never build.

Lol, did the Titantic save 100% of the costs of the lifeboats they didn't add?  Or did the ultimate costs of not having the lifeboats exceed that "savings"?

How do you calculate the cost "savings" of losing a war where your country is invaded?  Or the cost "savings" of allowing  a genocide because you were incapable of projecting force?

velcro

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #58 on: July 21, 2018, 07:49:40 AM »
Here are the critical facts:

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A statement from the White House claims that the deal will save taxpayers more than $1.4 billion from “the initially proposed $5.3 billion cost-plus contract.” However, Defense News and other publications have challenged that figure, which hasn’t been substantiated on any public documentation estimating the cost of the plane.

Trump himself tweeted that the cost of the program was around $4 billion in December 2016, when he called for it to be canceled if programs did not come down. Experts and Air Force sources at the same said that figure appeared to hue closely to their estimates.

Then in February 2017, he claimed that he had shaved $1 billion from the program — an entire year before the $3.9 billion handshake deal had occurred.

So Trump claimed the initial cost was $5.3B.  All available evidence says he made that up.
And he claimed he saved $1B, but it now costs the same as it did when he complained about the high price, and actually has fewer capabilities.

Some other sources:
Link1
Link2


Seriati

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #59 on: July 22, 2018, 11:51:59 AM »
Don't know if he made it up or not, but the fact that it's been cited as a "cost plus" contract appears in multiple credible sources, which means the final cost under the initial contract can't be calculated until the final costs are known, it also means the "initial" cost is still increasing as new costs are incurred.  It easily could be over $5billion depending on how much cost has been incurred.

velcro

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #60 on: July 22, 2018, 10:01:48 PM »
Don't know if he made it up or not, but the fact that it's been cited as a "cost plus" contract appears in multiple credible sources, which means the final cost under the initial contract can't be calculated until the final costs are known, it also means the "initial" cost is still increasing as new costs are incurred.  It easily could be over $5billion depending on how much cost has been incurred.

According to you, we don't know the cost.
Trump claimed it was $5.4 billion dollars.
Therefore, Trump made it up.

According to you, it could easily end up over $5B,  even if the initial cost is $3.9B.
Trump claimed he saved $1.4B to get it down to $3.9B.
Therefore, if it ends up at $5B, Trump took credit for savings that will never happen.

You are clearly a very intelligent person.  Why do you waste your time attempting to defend obvious stupidity?


D.W.

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #61 on: July 23, 2018, 09:25:19 AM »
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According to you, we don't know the cost.
Trump claimed it was $5.4 billion dollars.
Therefore, Trump made it up.
While the 2nd part of your argument holds, this seems to ignore the possibility that Trump has more info than the rest of us.  Granted, I don't have a high level of trust in anything the man says, but I'd like to HOPE he has more info at his disposal than me.

TheDrake

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #62 on: July 23, 2018, 12:23:25 PM »
arent government contracts public record? which terms were renegotiated?

velcro

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #63 on: July 23, 2018, 01:01:19 PM »
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While the 2nd part of your argument holds, this seems to ignore the possibility that Trump has more info than the rest of us.

I was basing the argument on Seriati's claims, that we can't know the cost until it is done.  Trump may have more information, but he can't see the future.

On a different tack, why would Trump not provide a source that would confirm or deny his number?  If the number itself is classified, Trump is a leaker, in spirit if not the letter of the law.  If the number is not classified, Boeing or the DoD should be able to confirm.  AFAIK, they both say the number is $3.9B.

Seriati

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #64 on: July 23, 2018, 02:12:51 PM »
According to you, we don't know the cost.
Trump claimed it was $5.4 billion dollars.
Therefore, Trump made it up.

We don't know the cost.  I guarantee the government has seen up to date expenditures and projections for cost to completion.  That would include Trump.  Your conclusion is not necessitated from your assumptions, ergo its erroneous and not logical.

As a note, it is beyond ridiculous that you think the President wouldn't be in better position than people relying on third party reports to know the actual cost.  Trump may be lying, doesn't seem terribly likely to me that he's lying about the projected cost to complete. But I don't have special insight into it.

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According to you, it could easily end up over $5B,  even if the initial cost is $3.9B.

The initial contract was for "cost plus", that is a variable term that anticipates that the final costs are unknown.  It's a reasonable contract term to include in a contract where there is no way to anticipate the final costs up front.  Whether it's a reasonable term here entirely depends on how effective the monitoring is to ensure that the included costs are limited to those originally agreed upon.

Flat out there was no "initial cost" of $3.9B.  There was only a projected estimate.  The actual cost could end up much higher, particularly if graft and corruption get involved.

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Trump claimed he saved $1.4B to get it down to $3.9B.
Therefore, if it ends up at $5B, Trump took credit for savings that will never happen.

If Trump got a cost plus 20% contract down to cost plus 10% that is in FACT a real savings over the original term. 

There's not enough data provided to solve for x in cost plus X%, nor to figure out if there were fixed components as well.  There literally is enough to conclude that Trump could have in fact saved $1.4B over the initial contract if it included variable terms that he reduced.  If those terms were reduced but not eliminated, the final cost of the contract could still be higher (but much less than the unmodified contract).

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You are clearly a very intelligent person.  Why do you waste your time attempting to defend obvious stupidity?

Didn't you claim you have several engineering patents?  How can you fail basic logic and math?

velcro

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #65 on: July 24, 2018, 12:54:34 PM »
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Don't know if he made it up or not, but the fact that it's been cited as a "cost plus" contract appears in multiple credible sources

Huh.  Could you provide two of those multiple credible sources?

But I'm betting you can't.

Here's a document describing the contract.
Go here and download VC-25B_J&A_Update_Redacted.pdf

Section II, "firm fixed price contract"
Section III, "the estimated...funding requirement is $3,900M"

So lets get back to the facts.

Trump said in February 2017 “They were close to signing a $4.2 billion deal to have a new Air Force One,”

That is the baseline.  That was the cost that was too much.  It doesn't matter if it is cost plus, fixed cost, variable cost, random cost.  That is his starting point that was too much. And please note, that cost is not to have a new Air Force One.  It is to develop and construct two aircraft.  Trump is ignorant on the basic facts.

Trump then said “we got that price down by over $1 billion, and I probably haven’t spoken, to be honest with you, for more than an hour on the project."

According to Trump, it started at $4.2B.  It is now documented fixed price at $3.9B.  Trump said he saved over $1B.

Seriati, since according to you I fail basic logic and math, could you please help me out with this?*  Is the math right?

Here's another fun fact from that link - the Air Force can't explain the $1B:

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The Air Force can’t account for $1 billion in savings that President Donald Trump said he’s negotiated for the program to develop, purchase and operate two new Boeing Co. jets to serve as Air Force One.

“To my knowledge I have not been told that we have that information,” Colonel Pat Ryder, an Air Force spokesman, told reporters Wednesday when asked how Trump had managed to reduce the price for the new presidential plane. “I refer you to the White House,” Ryder said. A White House spokesman didn’t respond to repeated inquiries about Trump’s comments.

And particularly appropriate is this:

"Secretary of Defense [Jim] Mattis has ordered a cost-cutting review of Boeing's next-generation Air Force One fleet, after President Trump was able to cap the cost at millions below that which was agreed to by the Obama administration," the [White House] website stated.

Of course, there were some capabilities that were eliminated as part of that cost savings.  And the airframes are leftovers from a Russian airline that went bankrupt. (Nothing risky there, I am sure).  But he saved millions.  That's millions with an M, not a B.  Oh, and in case you are still looking for those multiple sources, "cap the cost" means it is not cost plus.

But my favorite quote from that link is this.

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There’s no specifics available for where the program savings might stem, and with no budget documentation about the total cost [ none as of April 2017, but there is now, referenced above in the pdf], the president can "pick a number" and take credit for bringing costs down, said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst at the Teal Group.

"The whole thing is kind of embarrassing. I think the most embarrassing thing is that I’m sure there are people still out there that believe this stuff," Aboulafia said. "I’d love to see any documentation or supporting evidence that goes along with this."

Trump’s commentary about  Air Force One began before inauguration, when he tweeted that the program, worth $4 billion, should be cancelled because of cost. Analysts immediately debated the veracity of that figure, as the Air Force has not released their total estimated acquisition cost for development, testing and procuring two new presidential transport aircraft. [They have now.  $3.9B]

Since then, Trump met with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg, who personally promised the president that costs would go down. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in January then ordered a review of the program that would provide options for downsizing requirements in areas like survivability, communications and autonomy.

So on the one hand, Trump claims he saved $1B?  On the other hand, we have documentation, several experts, and the White House website.  To believe Trump, we have to believe that Boeing gave up $1B after talking to Trump for an hour.  We also have to believe him after seeing that he lied about how many floors were in his building, how much money he has, and literally hundreds of other items.

Are you still unconvinced that Trump is wrong?

*Please tell me where my previous failures in basic logic and math were, so I do not repeat my mistakes.  Please be as specific as possible in the math mistakes. If you can't be specific, I will just assume you made it up.

velcro

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #66 on: July 25, 2018, 07:56:04 AM »
One more little tidbit.

I said Trump didn't know the cost.  Seriati said

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I guarantee the government has seen up to date expenditures and projections for cost to completion.  That would include Trump.  Your conclusion is not necessitated from your assumptions, ergo its erroneous and not logical.

So my logic is faulty because I ignored that fact that as long as "the government" has seen something, Trump has knowledge of it.  Every last IRS return.  Serial numbers of all armed service members.  Social Security numbers, birth dates, and middle names of every citizen.  If "the government" has seen it, Trump has it at his fingertips, and undoubtedly references it before every Tweet.

That's your attack on my argument, proving my argument is "erroneous and not logical"

Do you stand by that?

Seriati

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #67 on: July 25, 2018, 09:48:49 AM »
One more little tidbit.

I said Trump didn't know the cost.  Seriati said

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I guarantee the government has seen up to date expenditures and projections for cost to completion.  That would include Trump.  Your conclusion is not necessitated from your assumptions, ergo its erroneous and not logical.

So my logic is faulty because...

Quit lying.  What you actually said is:

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According to you, we don't know the cost.
Trump claimed it was $5.4 billion dollars.
Therefore, Trump made it up.

The fact that WE don't know the cost does not necessitate that Trump does not know the cost.

The fact that Trump claimed it was $5.4 billion.  Does not prove whether it actually was $5.4 billion nor does it disapprove it.

Hence your conclusion "Therefore, Trump made it up" does not follow of necessity from your assumptions.  Ergo it is a false and erroneous conclusion.  For someone who demands others "concede" entire arguments because you don't like the way they phrase a minor point, it seems odd to defend such a clear failure of a logical argument.

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...I ignored that fact that as long as "the government" has seen something, Trump has knowledge of it.  Every last IRS return.  Serial numbers of all armed service members.  Social Security numbers, birth dates, and middle names of every citizen.  If "the government" has seen it, Trump has it at his fingertips, and undoubtedly references it before every Tweet.

Lol.  Argument by absurdity?  Why on earth would one have to impute the entirety of the Federal government's knowledge on every minor issue to support a statement that Trump has more information available to him about a project that he seems to have focused on?

Is it really your absurd and ridiculous argument that there is no way the President of the United States could obtain the information about a contract to develop and replace Air Force one?

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That's your attack on my argument, proving my argument is "erroneous and not logical"

Do you stand by that?

Of course.  Your argument is based on hidden and unproven assumptions that you have concluded are facts without any reasonable basis to do so.  it's conditioned on an inability to grant the benefit of the doubt to anyone with him you disagree and a beyond healthy bit of skepticism of anything Trump says.  It's the literal version of the idea that Trump could say the sky is blue and people would argue to the death that he's deliberately lying to us because that's what the Russians want us to believe.

D.W.

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #68 on: July 25, 2018, 10:38:44 AM »
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The fact that Trump claimed it was $5.4 billion.  Does not prove whether it actually was $5.4 billion nor does it disapprove it.
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Your argument is based on hidden and unproven assumptions that you have concluded are facts without any reasonable basis to do so.
I like your overall point here Seriati, but that you felt the need to include the first part I quoted goes a long way to explaining the second part I quoted.

Sloppy reasoning/debating?  Sure, but all that’s left is speculation when you yourself seem to concede we can take nothing from the man’s mouth at face value.

Seriati

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #69 on: July 25, 2018, 10:59:12 AM »
That's an overstatement of my point.  The point is the spoken words of anyone is generally not proof of a point.  We'd expect documentation, or evidence of expertise, particularly for a politician's statement to hold something up as proven.  However, I don't default, as Velcro does, to assuming every statement by Trump about a factual matter is a lie.

D.W.

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #70 on: July 25, 2018, 11:10:13 AM »
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We'd expect documentation, or evidence of expertise, particularly for a politician's statement to hold something up as proven.
I'm glad you still rank yourself among those who feel this way.  That's falling out of fashion in your party.

velcro

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #71 on: July 25, 2018, 01:08:13 PM »
Seriati,

My original statement is that Trump made up the figure of $5.4 B.
My follow-up statement is that Trump didn't know the actual cost.

You then accuse me of lying.  I do not think that word means what you think it means.

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I guarantee the government has seen up to date expenditures and projections for cost to completion.  That would include Trump.
Since you guarantee it, please prove that Trump has seen up to date expenditures

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Don't know if he made it up or not, but the fact that it's been cited as a "cost plus" contract appears in multiple credible sources
Please provide two sources. As already requested

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How can you fail basic logic and math?
Please point out my specific math failures.  With real numbers. As already requested

With all your accusations and distractions, you have not attempted to deny these three facts

According to Trump, it started at $4.2B. 
It is now documented fixed price at $3.9B. 
Trump said he saved over $1B.


Can you disprove them? Because if you don't then Trump lied about the $1B, or he can't do basic math.

And you don't address why the White House website said that he saved millions, not over $1B.

I'd like to have a rational discussion with you, but when you accuse me of lying, and neglect to provide sources for things you guarantee or that have "multiple credible sources", you make me doubt your credibility, or your willingness to argue in good faith.

If you need some time to dig up your sources, just let me know.  I will say this, if you don't present the sources, it will be very, very clear to everyone on this forum, that you are not to be trusted.  This is not a threat - I have no power here.  It is just an incentive for you to provide sources, or to think carefully before making unverifiable claims in the future. As I said, I'd like to have a rational discussion.

Of course, if you can come up with credible sources, I will be the first to admit I am wrong on those points.  I promise.

Seriati

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #72 on: July 25, 2018, 02:09:53 PM »
Velcro, there is no chance you are going to admit you are wrong on points, no matter the quality of the source.   You can't even admit when you're logic is flawed.   I've already demonstrated that you can't do basic math, that you're calling opinions fact, and that your conclusions don't follow from your statement.  I really only respond to trolls when I feel like it.

TheDrake

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #73 on: July 25, 2018, 02:16:12 PM »
Unless it comes out of OMB, I frankly don't trust any politician to accurately portray the cost of anything, and especially when they describe budget "cuts" as spending more money on an annual basis but not as much of an increase as they wanted. It seems there really isn't enough public information to prove anything.

I can judge whether the President is likely to know the numbers and communicate them accurately. I can judge whether a Fortune 50 company that got torched on their last government contract is going to follow through on a "handshake" deal with no paper, no due diligence, no communication with suppliers, etc.

I can judge whether or not it is strange that the Air Force refers all monetary questions about this program to the White House,

It lacks credibility, but I can't prove anything.

I can find tidbits like this:

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Boeing’s deal to turn two 747s into flying White Houses is actually somewhat sweeter than its initial $3.9 billion price tag. A newly released Air Force contract document shows that the Chicago-based aerospace giant will also receive a no-bid contract likely worth hundreds of millions of dollars to maintain the two jets for five years.

So the apples to apples comparison probably saved money, though it is murky how much.

the link that probably doesn't get read :)

velcro

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #74 on: July 25, 2018, 05:25:58 PM »
Velcro, there is no chance you are going to admit you are wrong on points, no matter the quality of the source.   You can't even admit when you're logic is flawed.   I've already demonstrated that you can't do basic math, that you're calling opinions fact, and that your conclusions don't follow from your statement.  I really only respond to trolls when I feel like it.

I will admit when I am wrong on points, when you provide sources instead of unsubstantiated opinion.  To claim I will not is an insult to my integrity.
Prove my logic is flawed. 
I asked you to prove my basic math is wrong, instead of just saying it is wrong. Twice.  You declined.  You have no standing to continue that claim until you back it up.

I am not trolling.  I am asking you to address, hard cold facts. You decline to do so.
I am not trolling.  I am asking you to provide sources for facts that you say are "guaranteed", or have "multiple credible sources". You decline to do so.

Ask me to back up any fact I ever stated, on any thread.  I will back it up or retract it.

Are you afraid to make the same claim? Because in the last few days, I have called you on it three times.  You have not provided the sources.

You have called me a liar, you have claimed I wouldn't admit it if you proved me wrong, you have questioned my intellectual capabilities.  On other threads, you have called people paranoid.  All distractions from the facts that you have declined to address.

If you don't present the sources, it will be very, very clear to everyone on this forum, that you are not to be trusted.  This is not a threat - I have no power here.  It is just an incentive for you to provide sources, or to think carefully before making unverifiable claims in the future. As I said, I'd like to have a rational discussion.

Should I take your last post as an admission that you will not be providing sources, or providing details on where my math was wrong? I am just asking because I want your response to be very, very, clear.

Here are facts. It doesn't matter where they came from, what you think of my integrity, or my mathematical abilities, or my reasoning.

Please address these facts:
According to Trump, it started at $4.2B. 
It is now documented fixed price at $3.9B.
Trump said he saved over $1B.
The Air Force does not know where the $1B number came from
The White House website says millions, not $1B in savings




Wayward Son

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #75 on: July 25, 2018, 06:42:08 PM »
Velcro, there is no chance you are going to admit you are wrong on points, no matter the quality of the source.   You can't even admit when you're logic is flawed.   I've already demonstrated that you can't do basic math, that you're calling opinions fact, and that your conclusions don't follow from your statement.  I really only respond to trolls when I feel like it.

Regardless of whether velcro would admit he was wrong or not (I believe that he would), some of us others might be interested in seeing your sources, for our own edification.  I wouldn't ignore the challenge just because of velcro.

OTOH, if you got nothing...  ;)

velcro

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #76 on: July 27, 2018, 01:26:46 PM »
Anyone else interested in seeing sources?
Please chime in.

And my offer still stands, open to anyone.

Ask me to back up any fact I ever stated, on any thread.  I will back it up or retract it.

I'll be offline for a few days, but will check back here soon.





Fenring

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #77 on: July 27, 2018, 02:08:19 PM »
velcro,

You are probably right that Trump would just as soon declare victory even if no real gains were made. That being said I think your presentation of the math is too pithy because we're not privy to all of the clauses in what must be an involved business deal. Just listing one simple number doesn't really explain what the cost is or what's being bought. I don't think Seriati, or anyone else, can furnish "proof" that you're short-circuiting your argument in the specifics, even though I think your broad point is probably more or less accurate, that Trump's claims of getting amazing deals are overblown hype.

Seriati

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #78 on: July 28, 2018, 11:29:24 AM »
Regardless of whether velcro would admit he was wrong or not (I believe that he would), some of us others might be interested in seeing your sources, for our own edification.  I wouldn't ignore the challenge just because of velcro.

I'm not ignoring it because of Velcro.  It's a nonsense challenge.  The only real claim I can see that I made is that I saw multiple sources say that it was a cost plus contract.  It's not terribly material one way or the other.  In fact the original "contract" appears to be a series of incremental contracts (you can see announcements of pieces if you search for the terms year by year).  You can also look at politifact, or several other sources that have a link to the original contract terms that were released.  It's clear that the final costs were largely an unknown, and that the individual year by year projections were capable of upward adjustments as they are awarded.

Here's the budget document itself, http://www.i2insights.com/library/defense_budget-documents/fy2017-defense_budget/3600F/3600F-0401319F-R.pdf.  Which again, is a projection as the future sub-contracts had not all been assigned, and based on history would certainly come in at higher values.  It's also very likely that this project will continue past 2021, which means this chart would have gotten longer.

While it's certainly possible to award later pieces to other contractors, there's a cost to do so where you don't retain the prior knowledge going back.

So is this what you want "two sources" for as Velcro likes to challenge?  What should be common knowledge on how the contract works - for anyone interested?  Or the specific claim about the cost plus?  Not sure how I was searching when I found those references the first time.  If you search for it expressly, it comes up as a question on the new contract which is often presented as for a fixed price, but for which experts seem to be expressing doubt because they don't believe Boeing would even consider a contract that isn't cost plus (which should lead to implications about the prior contract, but hey, inductive reasoning doesn't seem to be in fashion on here).

Or are you looking for me to provide two sources that somehow have been written on Velcro's bad math and logic?  I'm not aware that anyone in the national media has made that a priority.

I'm happy to respond to a troll when I feel like it, but it's not always entertaining, sometimes it's more entertaining just to call them out as being a troll.  For goodness sakes, he's written more directly nasty things to me than I have ever have to him.  Most of it setting arbitrary and childish demands that if I don't "answer to his satisfaction" prove to the board what a cad I am.  Lol.  If you guys want to think I'm a cad go ahead.  However, as always, I'm happy to expand on an argument and provide additional explanation, but I'm not anyone's research monkey.

So to respond to his "facts":

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According to Trump, it started at $4.2B.

Is this intended to be a quote or are you claiming it as a proof of substance?  The total, as I said before, would have been an estimate of the costs, as the contract literally, provided for future sub-contracts for which the final prices were not yet set (only the target budget) and if you look at the budget document, the end point and additional costs were still not included (meaning there could be additional costs past the limited term of the budget). 


It's actually very possible, that Trump could have had a source that gave him the 4.2 number, and even that it was far off from a then current estimate, and that the final bill could end up 5, 6, 10 billion as this runs over time.

Quote
It is now documented fixed price at $3.9B.

That is the announcement.  However, I note there seems there is skepticism that Boeing would agree to a hard fixed contract. 

This represents a change from an open ended contract that would certainly increase in cost over time, to a closed in one with a fixed budget.  That would literally create a savings.

Quote
Trump said he saved over $1B.

Again this is a "quote" sortof.  Whether its true substantively or not we can't verify.  Certainly possible given the potential realities from your first two "facts".  But as I've repeatedly said, we have no ability - with information in the public record - to determine if its accurate.

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The Air Force does not know where the $1B number came from

Is this an official position of the Air Force?  The only references I saw on this were ambiguous.  In any event, if the Air Force answered based on their budget then they could make this claim.  They may not, however, have been aware of the projections that Boeing and the deal negotiators were working with.

Or is this just induction from the Air Force's announcement of the no bid contract?

Quote
The White House website says millions, not $1B in savings

Does it?  Looks to me like they say $1.4 Billion.  https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-press-secretary-air-force-one-contract/.  Maybe I'm missing the correction?

I note it also specifically states the original contract was cost plus, if you really want to get into my "claims".

Pretty much Velcro cherry picks "quotes" and then acts as if they are proof of substance, notwithstanding that there is easy to find information (and an entire history of cost over runs on government contracts) on the substance.  It's not clear why Trump's pre-Presidency cost estimate, should be given such weight in any event, or why he'd believe that after becoming President Trump would not have a better understanding of the real costs.

Honestly I've wasted enough time on this.  The long and short of it, WE don't have insight into whether Trump saved us money or not, neither does Velcro.  But there is every reason to believe that a fixed price contract results in savings over one that is not.  Of course, that's entirely dependent on it actually being fixed price and not just another overrun approved model.  And in my view, Velcro's only real "doubt" about the numbers comes from his belief that everything Trump says is a lie. 

He has no substantive proof of the actual current cost estimate before the negotiation, and that is a necessary fact to determine the veracity of Trump's claim on cost savings (hence it can not be proven FALSE or true on the record we have).

velcro

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #79 on: July 29, 2018, 09:52:41 PM »
Quote
And in my view, Velcro's only real "doubt" about the numbers comes from his belief that everything Trump says is a lie. 

Are you certain of my belief?  Or is it your opinion that I believe that?  Should you really be speculating on what I believe?

Quote
For goodness sakes, he's written more directly nasty things to me than I have ever have to him.
Feel free to detail them.  Let the readers decide if it was directly nasty, or if I left it up to each readers' judgment. I have quoted what you said to me and others.  Nobody has to take my word on what you said.  We won't take your word on what you claim I said, so please provide quotes.

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According to Trump, it started at $4.2B. 
Lots of words from Seriati, but no sources, and no actual rebuttal of what Trump actually said. Because it is in a Twitter quote that I provided.

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It is now documented fixed price at $3.9B.
Lots of words, no sources, no actual rebuttal. "Some skepticism", no sources. The White House statement Seriati quoted supports this.

Quote
Trump said he saved over $1B.
This a paraphrase of a quote from Trump. A statement directly from Trump on his Twitter account that is recognized as an official channel.  Seriati calls this "a quote" sort of. Again, the White House statement Seriati quoted supports this.  Note that Seriati is distracting by saying we don't know if we saved $1B here.  I am saying simply that Trump claimed it.

Quote
The Air Force does not know where the $1B number came from. 
The official Air Force spokesman said he does not know where it came from, but according to Seriati, that is ambiguous.

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The White House website says millions, not $1B in savings.

That's what it said when this started.  A new statement was added last week that directly contradicts Trump's Tweet.  Who is lying?  The original cost did not change in the last year.  All available documentation agrees that the original cost was about $4B.

No actual substance on my alleged "faulty math", but he brought it up again.

Quote
He has no substantive proof of the actual current cost estimate before the negotiation, and that is a necessary fact to determine the veracity of Trump's claim on cost savings (hence it can not be proven FALSE or true on the record we have).

I don't need proof of the actual cost estimate before negotiation.  I need proof of what Trump thought it was before, and what he thought it was after.  I have provided that proof.

Trump tweeted that he thought it was $4.2B.  Fact.  Doesn't matter what it was, who knew what it was, or if anyone knew what it was. That is what Trump used as a starting number.
Trump tweeted that he saved over $1B.  Fact.
All available documentation says that it now costs $3.9B.

Now that people have called him on it, the White House Press Secretary released a statement that the original cost was $5.3B.  To the best of my knowledge, nobody anywhere has provided evidence for that number.  It contradicts Trump's tweets.

The sum total of your sources is a two paragraph statement from the Press Secretary.

According to Sean Spicer:
“Look, your job as press secretary is to represent the president's voice,” Spicer replied, “and to make sure that you are articulating what he believes, [what] his vision is on policy, on issues and on other areas that he wants to articulate. Whether or not you agree or not isn't your job.”

So if Donald Trump says it was $5.3B, the Press Secretary will release a statement that the original cost was $5.3B.  If it really was $5.3B, there should be some documentation.  There isn't.  If there is, I will gladly concede the point.

But a source is a source.  Still waiting for the second source on it being a cost-plus contract.  And the first source about your "guarantee" that Trump saw cost estimates before saying it was $4.2B.

And still waiting to find out what my faulty math was.

Does Seriati's post satisfy anyone that Trump didn't make up the $5.3B?

Greg Davidson

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #80 on: July 29, 2018, 11:39:45 PM »
If the government could convert a $4B cost-plus contract into a $B fixed-price contract with identical requirements (and those requirements were going to stay firm), then that could provide a substantial financial benefit to the government and all of us taxpayers. Alternatively, if the fixed-price contract had different requirements or a high likelihood of requirements change, that could be of enormous financial benefit to Boeing. In the aerospace industry, fixed price contracts have historically had higher profit margins than cost-plus contracts, and surprisingly often have had higher growth in government costs than comparable cost plus contracts.

However, the theory that President Trump is working from inside knowledge and insight of military acquisition, let alone insight into any government program that he tweets about is remarkably barren of substantiating evidence.  I am afraid that he has already consumed his entire portion of "benefit of the doubt" for the next decade, I think perhaps the last of it was lost when he explained his understanding of health insurance over a year ago:

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Trump told the Times that health insurance costs about $1 per month when you’re young. “Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan,” he said.
http://fortune.com/2017/07/20/donald-trump-health-insurance-comments/

This is the guy that you think understands the implications of the potential future evolution of requirements like cyber security on aircraft design and development?

TheDrake

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #81 on: July 30, 2018, 08:53:28 AM »
I'm just not sure how it seems credible that Trump accomplished anything in this magnitude.

Dec 2016 - Trump tweets cancel the order. I find it hard to believe that in the midst of his transition, he's reviewed the contract in any depth or that any President Elect could do so.

Feb 2017 - Trump meets with Boeing execs and declares an informal deal, not anything on paper.

July 2018 - Contracts are finalized.

Trump insinuated that the savings came because Boeing was trying to charge too much for the project, despite the fact that numerous subcontractors are involved. Did they all give up margin for the work?

Quote
"I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number," Trump said. "We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money."

It is possible that Boeing ate some of this contract in order to protect the $26 billion annual they get on all their government business, that would be the leverage point. Or at least pretended to and then put it back in.

Boeing's defense operating margin is 10%, so it doesn't seem like they have a whole lot to give up, or that they are rampantly fleecing the government.

Trump bought his private plane in 2011. He spent $100 million on it.

Quote
Donald Trump’s private Boeing 757 is the 8th of most expensive planes in the world. Its price seeks about $100 million.

He filled his plane with 24-carat gold. It has been reported insured at $35 million the year he bought it, and aviation experts estimate its current value as $18 million.

This suggests to me that Trump isn't exactly a big aviation cost-cutter in general, but his experience at buying an expensive private plane probably conditioned his reaction to the military project. 40 times more expensive, that's crazy!

Everything I've written is conjecture and opinion. I can't prove Trump didn't save X amount of money. But I would say that the burden on someone who makes a claim is to provide some proof or independent backup, and here we have none.

Greg Davidson

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #82 on: July 30, 2018, 10:10:37 AM »
Quote
But I would say that the burden on someone who makes a claim is to provide some proof or independent backup, and here we have none.

Are you saying that the burden of proof is on President Trump, or on someone who questions President Trump?

TheDrake

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #83 on: July 30, 2018, 11:19:51 AM »
Trump made the claim. "I saved X dollars"

I'd like to see some indication of that. I'd like to see the Air Force confirm that, at least the ballpark. I'd like to see any of the contractors including Boeing support that.

I looked back on Obama and his experiences estimating things - like Health Savings. He claimed his plan would save $120 billion a year. Even fact check blew him up on that.

But there were actual numbers to work with, so the analysis could be done. The Obama White House broke down all the sources of the supposed savings. His health adviser described how they came up with this.

In this case, we have a handful of experts who haven't seen the information who are dubious. And nothing concrete in support of these savings. The entire conversation winds up feeling like sightseeing on a foggy day.

President: "I saved you a billion dollars"
MAGA Dude: "Hey, thanks. That was awesome."
Dem Partisan: "No you didn't."
Me: "What?"

Fenring

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #84 on: July 30, 2018, 11:24:54 AM »
Quote
But I would say that the burden on someone who makes a claim is to provide some proof or independent backup, and here we have none.

Are you saying that the burden of proof is on President Trump, or on someone who questions President Trump?

It seems like the burden of proof in this thread is to demonstrate that Trump's statements cannot be reconciled with reality. This is a tough burden, because it means you'd have to know enough in the way of details to prove that there is no way Trump's statement about saving money can be accurate. From what we've seen so far it doesn't look like this sort of information is available to the public, so Seriati's initial assertion seems plausible, that adding up numbers from a few tweets isn't a very good way of vetting the claim of saving a billion dollars. However, WS's OP seems more to want to say that Trump regularly spews nonsense, of which this is probably an example (and it probably is), which is of a different tone than velcro's seeming claim that the numbers do not make sense.

It seems to me that the best conclusion we can draw from this is that Trump's hyperbolic statements should be taken as attempts at hype rather than attempts to elucidate specific facts. Perhaps the better strategy in inspecting his success or failure is to ignore his personal comments and to observe the actual results of his actions. The results don't need to paired up against some random tweet for consistency (little chance of that), but rather should probably be paired up against campaign promises to see if he's keeping to his general platform and serving his voters. That is, if overall consistency is what one is checking for. Consistency itself isn't relevant to the other main question, which is whether his moves are good or bad for the country.

Greg Davidson

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #85 on: July 30, 2018, 11:09:04 PM »
Quote
It seems like the burden of proof in this thread is to demonstrate that Trump's statements cannot be reconciled with reality.


Since Trump made the claim first, without evidence, the burden should be on him

Greg Davidson

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #86 on: July 30, 2018, 11:39:51 PM »
Quote
I looked back on Obama and his experiences estimating things - like Health Savings. He claimed his plan would save $120 billion a year. Even fact check blew him up on that.

TheDrake, the Fact check article was a June 2008 prediction about Obama's campaign plan for healthcare, and merely concluded "there’s a lot of room for [Rand's] estimates, and those of the Obama campaign, to be wrong"

However, there are far superior fact checks on the accuracy of Obama claims and healthcare costs.  The Affordable Care Act that was actually put into law was not the same as the plan Obama had in his campaign, but when the compromise bill was signed the Obama Administration made a prediction about its overall costs. We at Ornery had a giant debate on what would happen with Obamacare, and then I went back and gathered data and checked everyone's predictions. Here's one particularly salient quote (from the Wall Street Journal, so no one can shout "Fake News"):

Quote
“the health-care law will now cost 29% less for the 2015-19 period than was first forecast by the CBO when the law was signed in March 2010”
 

The link to the WSJ quote is embedded in the discussion one page 46 on the Obamacare predictions thread at
http://www.ornery.org/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/6/16270/46.html

Now, we don't have evidence to support the premise that every prediction that Obama said about healthcare costs in 2008 was accurate. The 2008 claim of $2,500 in lower premiums for a typical family seems hard to justify, unless the typical family was getting a subsidy, but at the same time the compromises in the ACA (and the outright Republican sabotage trying to fight Obamacare) also never achieved the goal of 100% health insurance coverage that was associated with Obama's prediction..   
 
But in terms of the larger question about the accuracy of the predictions of Obama and the Democrats about the effect on healthcare costs, it is absolutely true that the predictions of the Democrats were more accurate than every overall prediction made by every Republican in the country and every single conservative who posted a prediction on Ornery.  If you doubt me, go read the thread.





« Last Edit: July 30, 2018, 11:48:45 PM by Greg Davidson »

Fenring

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #87 on: July 31, 2018, 10:36:59 AM »
Quote
It seems like the burden of proof in this thread is to demonstrate that Trump's statements cannot be reconciled with reality.


Since Trump made the claim first, without evidence, the burden should be on him

That assumes Trump makes Tweets to 'prove' something. As I mentioned above, I think he does it to hype his actions. As such, he's not interested in providing material evidence here because I don't think his objective is to create mathematical demonstrations. But for those who do want to provide demonstrations - namely, that his math is impossible - then they would be the ones having to do the legwork. Unless those criticizing him have the same objective as him but in reverse - to hype how bad he is, rather than to provide demonstrations.

It's not that I like the fact that he randomly hypes everything he does regardless of what it is. But it should be taken for what it is, which is to say, hot air. Trying to deconstruct particular claims he makes is like dissecting a story written by a grade-schooler for dramatic structure. You can do it, but what are you really proving?
« Last Edit: July 31, 2018, 10:39:58 AM by Fenring »

TheDrake

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #88 on: July 31, 2018, 10:49:24 AM »
Greg, My point wasn't a general statement about healthcare. It wasn't even that factcheck was right in all their analysis. It was that numbers exist, the research that you did was possible, and the issue could be debated on its merits. If it helps, I'll stipulate that you won the argument.

This is common practice when describing the amount of money a government action might save, but absent here both in the claims made about potential savings (similar to the Obama claims about healthcare a priori) and in the execution of an eventual plan (it didn't match the original proposal).

Trump's tweet isn't so much the issue, it is the vacuum of information from the rest of his administration and the armed forces. He can run off at the mouth about how this will save a billion dollars, but then bureaucrats, policy wonks, and others are supposed to go for the goal. And explain at least in rough terms how they are doing it.

National security in this case makes some detail impossible. (We removed a defensive capability, or reduced a fuel tank).

Here is the best article I can find with any real numbers in it.

Quote
While last year’s Air Force budget proposal boasted about saving $191.6 million on the project, this year’s mentions no such savings.

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Service officials have struggled to lower the price of the next presidential planes. Instead of buying new aircraft off the production line, for example, the service last summer purchased two 747-8 airliners that were built for, but never delivered to, a bankrupt Russian airline. (How much did that cost? Air Force officials have said Boeing is preventing them from disclosing the exact price paid for the jetliners. Boeing said the pricing data is sensitive because the 747 is still being sold on the commercial market.)

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Privately, service officials say that the only way to substantially cut costs on the two-of-a-kind planes is to change the requirements for them, and hence reduce the amount of custom, expensive modification work. To date, the only major change is to eliminate a requirement for the plane to refuel in flight.

Another link talks about perhaps the origin of the billion dollar claim.

Quote
Two weeks after Donald Trump threatened to kill the plan to replace aging Air Force One jets, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg walked into Mar-a-Lago with some ideas for slashing its estimated $4.4 billion cost. In a Dec. 21 meeting with the president-elect, Muilenburg laid out four proposals. One of them would have cut about $1 billion, and Trump was soon boasting that he had saved that very amount.

But the Air Force — which oversees the jets’ acquisition and operation — rejected all of the proposals, saying that they would have produced a plane unsuited to the uniquely demanding requirements of flying the commander in chief in peace and war.

Quote
In his briefing, the Boeing CEO pitched four options:

Buy two new 747-8s. Equip one with the presidential cabin configuration and one with the standard wealthy-client VIP cabin: $4.2 billion.
Buy one new 747-8. Keep one of the current Air Force One jets: $3.88 billion.
Buy two new 747-8s. Reduce various requirements: $3.08 billion.
Buy two new 747-8s. Equip both with VIP interiors: $2.28 billion.


TheDrake

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #89 on: July 31, 2018, 11:29:35 AM »
It's not that I like the fact that he randomly hypes everything he does regardless of what it is. But it should be taken for what it is, which is to say, hot air. Trying to deconstruct particular claims he makes is like dissecting a story written by a grade-schooler for dramatic structure. You can do it, but what are you really proving?

If you told your boss that you saved the company $10,000 - and then it turned out it was $1 or $10... I suspect that wouldn't be laughed off as harmless hyperbole.

Trump's using claims like this to tell his base "look how great it is to have a business person in office, especially one of the greatest dealmakers of all time. I've saved you billions of tax dollars, created trillions of GDP, and millions of jobs!"

Except if it can't be supported on the evidence, it needs to be thrown out. Not so much to call him a liar and an exaggerator, but to gauge his actual effectiveness. Whether that is stellar, or whether it is abysmal. This is the way it has been for the previous 44.

The best I can parse his actual effectiveness in this case is that by shining a limelight on the procurement process, he generated new proposals and tighter review of requirements that resulted in maybe $200 million savings. You could also extrapolate that this sent a message to everyone that belt-tightening is in order - except we have counter examples of his cabinet members making excessive purchases and keeping their jobs for extended periods.

Fenring

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #90 on: July 31, 2018, 01:47:25 PM »
If you told your boss that you saved the company $10,000 - and then it turned out it was $1 or $10... I suspect that wouldn't be laughed off as harmless hyperbole.

Except that the American public isn't Trump's boss in any functional sense. Although in theory representatives serve the public they are not obliged to provide activity reports for review like you would to your boss. Although I do believe in major transparency on the one, on the other hand the public is in no position to give the President quarterly reviews, give him new instructions, or to chastise him for inefficiency. Polls might gauge that, but there is no direct feedback, and therefore your analogy doesn't really hold. In general I think it's a good idea for the President to gain the trust of the public, but in Trump's case he seems to prefer his usual brand of flair rather than earning simple trust. If that's his move then so be it, he'll find out the results sooner or later, but it doesn't make sense to treat his tweets as serious business disclosures.

Quote
The best I can parse his actual effectiveness in this case is that by shining a limelight on the procurement process, he generated new proposals and tighter review of requirements that resulted in maybe $200 million savings. You could also extrapolate that this sent a message to everyone that belt-tightening is in order - except we have counter examples of his cabinet members making excessive purchases and keeping their jobs for extended periods.

I don't know if you're right. But in terms of keeping people in line in such minutiae as spending habits, I think you'd find that even a literal king would find it nearly impossible to monitor and control the activities of underlings. You can issue general directives and try to see they're adhered to, and use your time as best you can to make strides in the direction you'd like, but you're not going to achieve some kind of new regime of efficiency unless you go all Louis XIV and keep everyone where you can see them at all times.

Wayward Son

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #91 on: July 31, 2018, 02:03:12 PM »
Quote
In general I think it's a good idea for the President to gain the trust of the public, but in Trump's case he seems to prefer his usual brand of flair rather than earning simple trust. If that's his move then so be it, he'll find out the results sooner or later, but it doesn't make sense to treat his tweets as serious business disclosures.

So, IOW, Fenring, since we know that Trump is a bold-faced liar, we shouldn't treat his pronouncements as truth nor criticize them as if they were factual.  We should just assume everything he says is a lie, and ignore them unless they are really important.

Somehow, that doesn't sit well with me.  :(

Fenring

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #92 on: July 31, 2018, 02:17:49 PM »
So, IOW, Fenring, since we know that Trump is a bold-faced liar, we shouldn't treat his pronouncements as truth nor criticize them as if they were factual.  We should just assume everything he says is a lie, and ignore them unless they are really important.

Somehow, that doesn't sit well with me.  :(

I can't exactly recommend what I think you should do with his tweets. Personally I observe them in order to see what he's trying to raise attention to, and sometimes what his offhand sentiments on a subject are. I don't treat them as official declarations. Funny enough, my way of treating them is probably more natural than taking them too seriously because of the general tenor of Twitter. When people tweet about things you're usually getting their immediate thoughts or offhand remarks. The reason the format is popular probably has a lot to do with how informal it is; it's sometimes like hearing a person's peanut gallery comments if you were standing around with them. Yes, occasionally businesses release well-constructed statements via Twitter, so it can have multiple uses, but in general when I see celebrity or general tweets it's about as well-thought out as something you'd mutter when walking down the street. That's pretty much the meat of the format and I don't expect more from it. I'm not sure that Trump has any more intention in using it than that, either. People here seem to be assuming it's the new de facto policy platform but don't stop to consider whether Trump isn't just using it in the same way most other people do. If you read his tweets as just being peanut gallery commentary on how he sees things then it will read very differently to you than if you read them as mini-State of the Unions. I know he's the President, and I'm not even addressing what I think of a President releasing offhand comments in this vein, but I'm just saying what I think he's doing. Basically it's more of a childish use than we'd hope for, but when seen as childish it stops looking so outrageous in terms of it being 'full of lies' or whatever. Like I said, I think he uses it for publicity and because he likes it, not to carefully disclose information.

TheDrake

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #93 on: July 31, 2018, 03:17:14 PM »
I don't know if you're right. But in terms of keeping people in line in such minutiae as spending habits, I think you'd find that even a literal king would find it nearly impossible to monitor and control the activities of underlings. You can issue general directives and try to see they're adhered to, and use your time as best you can to make strides in the direction you'd like, but you're not going to achieve some kind of new regime of efficiency unless you go all Louis XIV and keep everyone where you can see them at all times.

When your guy's rampant spending (somebody in your regal advisory circle - not a guy in the mailroom) makes it in the news almost once a week?

The guy that you vouch for publicly multiple times?

As far as Twitter goes, I think Elon Musk is proving that people in highly visible leadership positions really shouldn't just blurt out random reactive thoughts that come into their heads.

As far as Trump goes, every communication he does is like Twitter. It could happen at a rally, on a phone call to Fox, on a phone call to another world leader, at a press conference, during a photo op....

Fenring

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #94 on: July 31, 2018, 03:52:42 PM »
As far as Trump goes, every communication he does is like Twitter. It could happen at a rally, on a phone call to Fox, on a phone call to another world leader, at a press conference, during a photo op....

He does seem to be a fan of chatting rather than declaring, although he does occasionally give proper speeches, like his State of the Unions.

Wayward Son

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #95 on: July 31, 2018, 04:02:58 PM »
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but in general when I see celebrity or general tweets it's about as well-thought out as something you'd mutter when walking down the street. That's pretty much the meat of the format and I don't expect more from it. I'm not sure that Trump has any more intention in using it than that, either. People here seem to be assuming it's the new de facto policy platform but don't stop to consider whether Trump isn't just using it in the same way most other people do. If you read his tweets as just being peanut gallery commentary on how he sees things then it will read very differently to you than if you read them as mini-State of the Unions.

You know, Fenring, I might take your advice here, if Trump treated his tweets the same way.

But I do not recall him ever going back or modifying what he said on his tweets.

Do you recall him ever clarifying his tweets.  Admitting, "oh, I was just talking off the top of my head, this is how it really is"?  Yes, his spokespeople daily "clarify" what he said, but him?  IIRC, he usually doubles-down on what he says.

Trump has fired people on twitter.  He has announced major policy changes on twitter.  He defends his use of twitter as being the way he speaks directly to the American People, without the filter of the Main Stream Media.  I'm sorry, but he is not using it as a way just to express his passing thoughts and notions and peanut gallery commentary.

Do you think for one minute that Trump doesn't really believe he saved a billion dollars on the Air Force One deal? ;)

And if we can't rely on his tweets, what can we rely on?  His speeches during rallies?  His news conference utterances?  His formal speeches?  Is there any venue where we should take what he says deadly serious and be able to criticize it?

Trump says too many serious things on twitter for me to discount it.  If it's on a trivial matter, sure.  If he would correct himself, sure.  But when he goes forward and makes policy from what he tweets, then he should be accountable for what he tweets.  All of it.

Fenring

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #96 on: August 01, 2018, 10:49:51 AM »
You know, Fenring, I might take your advice here, if Trump treated his tweets the same way.

But I do not recall him ever going back or modifying what he said on his tweets.

Do you recall him ever clarifying his tweets.  Admitting, "oh, I was just talking off the top of my head, this is how it really is"?  Yes, his spokespeople daily "clarify" what he said, but him?  IIRC, he usually doubles-down on what he says.

I get what you're saying. But do you really think the atmosphere of an offhand comment 'muttered while walking on the street' is the sort of thing that should be taken seriously enough to be walked back, clarified, or retracted? Imagine you're strolling down the road, make a random remark commenting on something you see (like "oh man, so dumb!" at someone on the phone while crossing the road, or like "oh I like that!" at a nice soft pretzel stand). Do you really intend to spend time clarifying and inspecting the minutiae of them closely? If you were with someone who demanded to know why you claim to like the look of the pretzels, when you've never been seen eating one, or who specified that the person on the phone may have been making an emergency call - these aren't the sort of interactions that are generally desired regarding offhand comments. They're meant to be thrown out and then be done with; on to the next moment in life. As policy this would be very bad. As internal monologue on personal thoughts, well, that's sort of what Twitter is for usually.

You say that Trump doesn't treat the Twitter as I suggest because he won't edit his tweets or retract them, but in my view that only confirms my point. They aren't a platform for politics, they're just his musings, and if he doesn't care to curate his collection of previous tweets it's probably because his intent is to just say what he feels like and move on. I won't say whether this is good or bad, but the issue remains as it was when he was first elected, which is whether a President should be musing out loud to the public. But I basically do think that's what he's doing.

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Trump has fired people on twitter.  He has announced major policy changes on twitter.  He defends his use of twitter as being the way he speaks directly to the American People, without the filter of the Main Stream Media.  I'm sorry, but he is not using it as a way just to express his passing thoughts and notions and peanut gallery commentary.

Has he? I mean, specifically, did he only fire those people on Twitter, or was the firing done normally and he related that to the public on twitter as well? I agree he uses it to speak to the American people with no filter, but I don't agree that it amounts to State of the Union type messages or even informal but serious like fireside chats. 

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And if we can't rely on his tweets, what can we rely on?  His speeches during rallies?  His news conference utterances?  His formal speeches?  Is there any venue where we should take what he says deadly serious and be able to criticize it?

He rambles at the best of times, but his official comments on issues - however much they may or may not answer the questions - don't have the same tone as his Twitter comments.

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Trump says too many serious things on twitter for me to discount it.  If it's on a trivial matter, sure.  If he would correct himself, sure.  But when he goes forward and makes policy from what he tweets, then he should be accountable for what he tweets.  All of it.

It just sounds to me like fundamentally you don't like that he uses Twitter, and that's understandable. But once we acknowledge that he is going to use it, and in a peanut-gallery style (even on matters that should be treated more seriously), then I would advise just taking it for what it is rather than letting it get to you.

TheDrake

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #97 on: August 01, 2018, 11:22:40 AM »
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I get what you're saying. But do you really think the atmosphere of an offhand comment 'muttered while walking on the street' is the sort of thing that should be taken seriously enough to be walked back, clarified, or retracted? Imagine you're strolling down the road, make a random remark commenting on something you see (like "oh man, so dumb!" at someone on the phone while crossing the road, or like "oh I like that!" at a nice soft pretzel stand). Do you really intend to spend time clarifying and inspecting the minutiae of them closely? If you were with someone who demanded to know why you claim to like the look of the pretzels, when you've never been seen eating one, or who specified that the person on the phone may have been making an emergency call - these aren't the sort of interactions that are generally desired regarding offhand comments. They're meant to be thrown out and then be done with; on to the next moment in life. As policy this would be very bad. As internal monologue on personal thoughts, well, that's sort of what Twitter is for usually.


I think that when you are a celebrity or a person in power, there is no such thing as an offhanded comment. I had a CEO quip once that all our work must be done because we were hanging around in the break room. The room evaporated. I happened to know him pretty well, and he said "but I didn't mean it that way!". I said, it doesn't matter. Every word you say is going to be sifted for content. If you choose to tell a joke, people are going to attempt to divine meaning from it. Why did she choose now to tell a joke? Why did she tell that joke? What does it say about her as a person?

John Kerry took flack for mistakenly merging two Red Sox players into one guy "Manny Ortiz". A simple slip of the tongue, but he didn't catch himself and the reporter didn't help him out. That was a casual night out at the ballgame with a softball feel-good question.

Rick Perry tanked his chances at the Presidency because he forgot one of the three agencies he claimed he would close.

When you are one of these people, you need to understand the weight that your words can have, and the microphone is always hot. A CEO can tank their stock with a word, or embroil their company in a lawsuit. A world leader can start a war, or a riot. You can damage the reputation of your company, your country, your organization.

There is no informal chat for these people, no musing out loud, except possibly behind closed doors with advisors. When you are one of these people, you shouldn't be using Twitter like regular people. Heck, even I don't, my twitter is for professional purposes and I don't retweet politics or off-color jokes or make disparaging comments on any topic.

There's a lot of evidence that other powerful people understand they can't use twitter like a maniac. You can argue that Trump's style is great because it gives us access to the live thoughts of our President. But for the love of all, please, I want a filter. I want a communications director that will draft, test, and re-draft Presidential tweets. I want a carefully honed communication that conveys ethos, pathos, and logos.

Fenring

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #98 on: August 01, 2018, 11:58:35 AM »
That all makes sense, Drake. I'm not saying there are no repercussions from Trump's use of Twitter. I was simply offering my view of how I interpret his comments there. Others will no doubt take them more seriously, as your CEO's people did. That being said, how well did they know the CEO? Because I've known bosses whose humor and personality were known well to the staff and there was plenty of room for joking. In Trump's case I think we know him well enough to an extent to know he likes to be humorous, even when he should be serious. But yes, there's plenty of room for some people to 'know' he's joking while others 'know' he's being totally serious. Like for example that getting away with shooting someone line from a while back. I'm sure you can find ample people who believe he was stating he has a license to kill, while others are sure he was being ironic. I don't even think that kind of divide has to do with Twitter anymore, and is more to do with (a) people being unused to a jokey President, and (b) there being a vested interested for people to variously either be offended, emboldened, or entertained by him, and they will find whatever they want to find in his statements.

DonaldD

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Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« Reply #99 on: August 01, 2018, 12:48:20 PM »
That is all true, but there are clearly times when the president expects to be taken seriously on Titter; when he takes credit for specific amounts of savings, especially in an area many would consider his wheelhouse,  well, that would be one of those times.

If one is able to interpret his pronouncements in this area as not being serious, then basically one can throw out everything he says on Twitter as fiction.  Clearly, he thrives on that ambiguity and depends on it as a get out of jail free card, and his fans are more than happy to oblige him.