Decline & Fall Open Thread: Our Cosplay “President”

Despite frequent praise for the U.S. military and the appointment of military leaders to Cabinet positions, it took Trump almost half of his first term as president to visit U.S. soldiers in a conflict zone.

In contrast, Obama’s trip to Iraq took place less than three months after he was inaugurated. He would go on to visit another conflict zone, Afghanistan, twice in his second year in office. Obama’s own predecessor, President George W. Bush, had also visited Iraq less than a year after the U.S.-led invasion of the country began in March 2003…

Last week, Trump announced that these soldiers would be coming home, as the Islamic State was defeated. “Our boys, our young women, our men, they’re all coming back, and they’re coming back now. We won,” Trump said in a video message on Twitter. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced his resignation soon afterward.

But as he visited Iraq on Wednesday, Trump had a very different message — again, a real contrast to Obama’s message nine years before — for the roughly 5,200 U.S. troops deployed in Iraq. The message was that this time, there was no immediate plan to withdraw U.S. soldiers from Iraq. “In fact, we could use this as the base if we wanted to do something in Syria,” the U.S. leader added.

… “Arrogant” and “a violation of national sovereignty” were but a few examples of the disapproval emanating from Baghdad following Trump’s meeting Wednesday with U.S. servicemen and women at the al-Asad Airbase.

Trips by U.S. presidents to conflict zones are typically shrouded in secrecy and subject to strict security measures, and Trump’s was no exception. Few in Iraq or elsewhere knew the U.S. president was in the country until minutes before he left.

But this trip came as curbing foreign influence in Iraqi affairs has become a hot-button political issue in Baghdad, and Trump’s perceived presidential faux-pas was failing to meet with the prime minister in a break with diplomatic custom for any visiting head of state…

While Trump didn’t meet with any officials, he spoke with Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi by phone. A planned meeting between the two leaders was canceled over a “difference in points of view” over arrangements, according to the prime minister’s office.

The visit could have unintended consequences for American policy, with officials from both sides of Iraq’s political divide calling for a vote in Parliament to expel U.S. forces from the country…

Didn’t even go over so well with his intended Fox News audience, either…






166 replies
  1. 1

    If this trip was actually planned out long in advance, you’d think they would have made arrangements with the Iraqi government. Either it was a last minute thing and the claims about it being well planned are typical Trumpian bullshit, or they’re even less competent than we thought.

  2. 2
    p.a. says:

    “Mr. Lincoln, ‘last best hope’?”
    “Oh shut the fuck up. My own party, too…”

  3. 3
    Immanentize says:

    Why are all the SEALs Trump posed with white?

  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Roger Moore: According to the WaPo, they were unable to come to an agreement on where the 2 presidents (Iraq and the US) would meet. The US was insisting on at the airbase. The Iraqis were understandably not willing to accede to that demand.

    After all, they are a sovereign country and desirous of being shown the minimum of respect that a presidential visit to the palace would convey. trump of course could not rise to that level.

    So yeah, last minute.

  5. 5
    guachi says:

    @Immanentize: Because almost all SEALs are white. Every SEAL I deployed with in Iraq was white. That’s about 40 of them in the team I was with.

  6. 6
    Shantanu Saha says:

    Trump in a bomber jacket is not a good look.

  7. 7
    Raven says:

    I’d defer to Adam but my understanding is most Special Ops and line infantry outfits are white.

  8. 8
    Yarrow says:

    That last photo reminds me of George Costanza’s puffy jacket on Seinfeld.

  9. 9
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Trump claims that it was the troops’ own MAGA hats that he signed versus him handing out hats to the troops and then signing them. Either way, it’s always about him.

  10. 10
    Mike in DC says:

    I’d rather that he spend time visiting our fine penitentiary system. For 25 years to life.

  11. 11
    Immanentize says:

    @guachi: @Raven:
    That seems like a problem to me….

  12. 12

    The message was that this time, there was no immediate plan to withdraw U.S. soldiers from Iraq. “In fact, we could use this as the base if we wanted to do something in Syria,” the U.S. leader added.

    Is it just me, or does this make anyone else wonder how firm the pulling out of Syria plans actually are?

    EDIT – Also, Jesus Christ, I never appreciated what a tub of lard this guy was until I saw him in this jacket. By trying to hide his roundness, it creates a cave where you can see the vast distance between gut and ass.

  13. 13

    @Shantanu Saha:Clothes and make-up can only do so much to hide the ugly within. Also, orange skin and weird comb over looks bad no matter what the outfit and he has lost the battle of the bulge. His nemesis (Mueller) would cut a dashing figure in that outfit as would his predecessor.

  14. 14

    I am the only one in the office. It’s kind of eerie! But hey, free food.

    @Frankensteinbeck: It’s almost like he declares contradictory things at random and the Deep State™ just doesn’t implement any of them.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Either it was a last minute thing and the claims about it being well planned are typical Trumpian bullshit, or they’re even less competent than we thought.

    Obligatory: ¿Por qué no los dos?

  17. 17
    Amir Khalid says:

    I have no idea what the US Army calls those green jackets, or where it found one big enough to fit Trump.

  18. 18
    guachi says:

    @Immanentize: I think it starts with non-white people not applying to be SEALs in the first place in remotely the numbers demographics would indicate.

    EDIT: It’s possible the swim test has something to do with it. I’m fairly certain it’s not anecdotal that African Americans are overall weaker swimmers than whites are and if you can’t pass the swim you can’t even get past the initial screening.

  19. 19
    Immanentize says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    I wish that were more true that it seems to be. We will soon (2years top) be in the Democrats must fix everything! Phase of politics. Then, people will elect Republicans to mess it all up again.

  20. 20
    rikyrah says:

    Peanut watched Little Women for the first time last night. (Winona Ryder as Jo)
    She absolutely loved it and now wants to read the book. I felt happy and sad..I think all girls need to read Little Women…and yet, she’s old enough to really appreciate it. And, it was so interesting, listening to her thoughts about it. She’s growing up…sniff..sniff…I’m just not ready….sigh….

  21. 21
    rikyrah says:

    @Mike in DC:

    I’d rather that he spend time visiting our fine penitentiary system. For 25 years to life.

    Come sit by me.

  22. 22
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    Last week, Trump announced that these soldiers would be coming home, as the Islamic State was defeated. “Our boys, our young women, our men, they’re all coming back, and they’re coming back now. We won,” Trump said in a video message on Twitter. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced his resignation soon afterward.

    But as he visited Iraq on Wednesday, Trump had a very different message — again, a real contrast to Obama’s message nine years before — for the roughly 5,200 U.S. troops deployed in Iraq.

    Among the many, many things he doesn’t understand is that the troops have access to television and the internet. I think elsewhere in his rally speech he said something about Wall and how “you don’t know what’s going on back in the US”.

  23. 23
    Immanentize says:

    @rikyrah: one is never ready for the kids to grow up. All they will face….

  24. 24
    rikyrah says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Trump claims that it was the troops’ own MAGA hats that he signed versus him handing out hats to the troops and then signing them

    I don’t believe it.

  25. 25
    Barry says:

    @Raven: “I’d defer to Adam but my understanding is most Special Ops and line infantry outfits are white.”

    Since when are line infantry outfits white? In my day (early 80’s), the infantry units which I was in were at least 25% black and 25% Hispanic.

  26. 26
    JMG says:

    @rikyrah: When my son’s girlfriend, an NYC ad exec in her early ’30s, visited us in Lexington for Thanksgiving, her only request was a field trip to the Alcott house in Concord. It’s as close to a universal experience for US women as there is, I think, reading that book

  27. 27
    plato says:

    Today is Day 7 of the partial government shutdown.

    Republicans still control the White House, the Senate, and the House.

    — Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 28, 2018

  28. 28
    Yarrow says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Sometimes it’s easier to get stuff done with no one around to distract you.

  29. 29
    Aardvark Cheeselog says:

    I’d be down for helping to crowdfund a lawsuit against Trump, seeking an injunction against further interactions with enlisted men. Let him exercise his CinC authority via chain of command. This is fvcking Ceaser-wannabe-courting-the-Preatorians stuff he’s doing.

  30. 30

    @Barry: Here’s a thousand-mile view of military demographics: https://www.cfr.org/article/demographics-us-military

    Here is the large PDF that those numbers are drawn from: https://www.cna.org/pop-rep/2016/summary/summary.pdf

    Page 53 says that “Infantry, Gun Crews, and Seamanship” is (among men) 60% white, by far the highest percentage of white servicemen across service categories. (Women in “communications” show a similar disparity.)

    @Yarrow: And yet, here I am on Balloon-Juice.

  31. 31
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @rikyrah: Have you read Little Men? The chapter about the toy stove, circa 1870s-1890s, is something else.

    Also Eight Cousins. The book has a fascinating chapter in which the doctor uncle explains to his niece and her aunts why the modish dress for women of the era was damaging women’s health and why ‘rational dress’ was so much more healthful.

  32. 32
    raven says:

    @Immanentize: It’s complex, African Americans were over-represented in terms of casualties in Vietnam (especially in the early years) and the military is gun shy about that. There is more to it than that but I hope Adam will comment.

  33. 33
    dmsilev says:

    @Amir Khalid: I’m sure the Air Force has tarps suitable for draping over B-52s and the like.

  34. 34
    Dave says:

    @Barry: I think they are currently somewhat disproportionately white, though I haven’t seen hard data on this so grain of salt, but there are definitely a significant number of Hispanics in line units. Certainly the officer corp is whiter than than the general population and combat arms officer corp is whiter still. And the SEALs are very white and Special ops in general are as well. I could speculate on why this is and if I had to guess it’s probably several different things particularly enlisted vs officer and line vs special operations.

    And then I see Major Major Major Major gave an answer with data and whatnot.

  35. 35
    Yarrow says:

    @Major Major Major Major: We’ll never tell!

  36. 36

    @Shantanu Saha:

    Trump in a bomber jacket is not a good look.

    FTFY.

  37. 37
    RAVEN says:

    @Barry: Since motherfuckers started getting killed.

  38. 38
    The Dangerman says:

    @Roger Moore:

    …or they’re even less competent than we thought.

    I’m not sure this is humanly possible.

  39. 39

    @The Dangerman:
    No matter how low we set the bar, Trump manages to slither under it.

  40. 40
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @schrodingers_cat: minorities lack the intelligence and skill to perform complex and risky SEAL functions, much the same reason as why minorities aren’t qualified to play QB in the NFL. At least that’s what I read in National Review.

    Must be why you never see non-white doctors or scientists either.

    [I am being ironic, in case this post is too subtle. I am not being serious here. I do not believe these things to be true, except for the part about National Review writers being super racist. Thank you for your attention to this matter.]

  41. 41
    zhena gogolia says:

    @rikyrah:

    That’s sweet. That is by far the best version of Little Women.

  42. 42
    Amir Khalid says:

    @rikyrah:
    iNeither do I. Given how strict it is about not allowing personnel to express partisan sentiments while in uniform, it’s hard to believe the US military would allow them to have or wear items that reflect partisan leanings.

  43. 43
    comrade scotts agenda of rage says:

    @Roger Moore:

    No matter how low we set the bar, Trump manages to slither under it.

    This is the best one-sentence statement I’ve ever seen regarding the Popular Vote Loser.

  44. 44
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    OT: Did you have a good Christmas?

  45. 45
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Marcopolo: are any of those recommended books available in graphic novel form? Asking for a friend. Who goes by “Goku”. Zing!

  46. 46
    germy says:

    Why does Melania wear sunglasses at night?

  47. 47
    germy says:

    In the footage I saw, the troops seemed delighted with trump’s appearance. They cheered him and posed happily with him for photos.

  48. 48
  49. 49

    @germy:

    Why does Melania wear sunglasses at night?

    THE EIGHTIES WILL NEVER DIE.

    No matter how many times we stab them.

  50. 50
    Amir Khalid says:

    @rikyrah:
    I read the whole series when I was 11. It’s awesome.

  51. 51
    Marcopolo says:

    Hmm… Apparently my comment reposting President Obama’s end of the year list for books, songs, and movies was marked as spam. C’est la vie. Here’s the link to his FB page where you can view the list for yourself. Of course, it is impressive, and yes, of course, I’ve only seen, read, heard, of about a third of the things he cites. Otoh, I have read either a science fiction or fantasy novel just about every week this year and none of those appear on his list so I’ve got that going for me. And I wrote a shit ton of GOTV postcards that post election I am not sure accomplished as much as I had hoped but we must persevere.

  52. 52
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @germy: to obscure her view of her husband

  53. 53
    Yarrow says:

    @Steve in the ATL: We saw John Kelly’s racism up close and personal. Adam mentioned in comments that it calls into question how many of the POC he supervised did not get promotions or recommendations because of his racism. Even if he kept it from being overt it was still there and would likely affect his impressions of how people were doing their jobs, what they were capable of and if they should or should not be promoted.

  54. 54
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Yarrow: I’ve seen plenty of similar data in my years of both writing and defending affirmative action plans. Companies always have lots of excuses as to why the org chart gets more white and make the higher up you go….

  55. 55
    Marcopolo says:

    @Steve in the ATL: The list was there for a hot second then gone. And as someone with an 85 year old mom, I can attest that the books I am familiar with on the list are all available in audible form. I hear kids (cough cough) who appreciate nice artwork with their words sometimes revert to listening to books when they are being Ubered or Lyfted around to all the cool modern stuff they do.

  56. 56

    @rikyrah: @Amir Khalid: Me three. Also, grew up reading Frost’s poetry and now I live in his backyard. I appreciate the poetry at a whole another level.

  57. 57

    @Steve in the ATL: Same thing in India too, just replace white male by brahmin male.
    ETA: Human beings suck.

  58. 58
    Yarrow says:

    @Marcopolo: It’s there for me. I had a quick look and a lot of the books aren’t new this year. I love “Things Fall Apart” and it’s interesting it’s on his list this year.

  59. 59
    JPL says:

    @Steve in the ATL: She also returned to Mar-a-lago as soon as she could.

  60. 60
    Luthe says:

    @guachi: Historically, African-Americans were denied access to swimming pools and consequentially fewer of them learned to swim. In a few noted cases, after a black person had swum in a pool, the pool’s owner drained it, bleached the whole thing, and refilled it before anyone was allowed in again. The public swimming pools of New York City are unevenly distributed among neighborhoods because of Robert Moses’ racism, leading to fewer pools in areas of color. While there is no longer explicit bias against African-Americans swimming, the disparities of access and lack of role models for younger blacks have lead to a gap between the number of whites who know how to swim and the number of blacks who know how to swim.

  61. 61
    rikyrah says:

    Because a woman who raised five children and became Speaker of the House obviously doesn’t know how to walk and chew gum at the same time….
    Lips pursed.

    The real reason Trump wants the government shutdown to continue into January: “The more the focus is on the wall, the more Pelosi is forced to focus on this fight instead of the investigations,” said one source close to the White House. https://t.co/tI2mphcQ30

    — Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) December 28, 2018

  62. 62
    RAVEN says:

    @Steve in the ATL: SEAL’s volunteer and they make it, or don’t make it, through BUDS on their own.

  63. 63
    rikyrah says:

    @guachi:

    EDIT: It’s possible the swim test has something to do with it. I’m fairly certain it’s not anecdotal that African Americans are overall weaker swimmers than whites are and if you can’t pass the swim you can’t even get past the initial screening.

    It’s a historical thing…goes back to slavery…slaves couldn’t swim….
    Jim Crow…no facilities for Blacks to learn how to swim…
    and park facilities in the North were not evenly distributed…

    Because you’re talking about military, you mean men…but, the whole Black women and their hair issue with swimming (before the natural hair movements)

  64. 64

    Wasn’t there a movie starring Demi Moore about her character wanting to become a Navy Seal and the institutional misogyny she has to put up with. I also remember the conservative intelligentsia (oxymoron, I know) had a hissy fit about that movie.

  65. 65
    Marcopolo says:

    @Yarrow: So, hmm, I still don’t see the original post (though I can’t believe it is just my computer), but with the books Obama first lists his favorite reads of 2018 then his favorite new books of 2018. I had read a lot of his favorite reads including Things Fall Apart but not the new books. The only ones on my current list are Becoming, the Frederick Douglass bio, and There There. For folks here at BJ I’d also recommend Traister’s Good & Mad, and Unsheltered by Kingsolver.

  66. 66
    Yarrow says:

    @rikyrah: Hilarious that Trump thinks Nancy SMASH can’t do two things at once. Classic projection on his part. And a big mistake. Big. Huge.

  67. 67
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @rikyrah: And there just happened to be all those Sharpies on the table to sign them with.

  68. 68
    Yarrow says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Yep. “GI Jane.” She shaved her hair off, which was kind of a big deal.

  69. 69
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @rikyrah: The real reason Trump wants the government shutdown to continue into January: “The more the focus is on the wall, the more Pelosi is forced to focus on this fight instead of the investigations,” said one source close to the White House

    Of course he doesn’t get that there are a couple of hundred House members around Pelosi, and thousands of staffers around them, but can Kellyanne really not explain this to him?

    Also, if Jared or Fredo (or both!) get indicted between now and, say, the SOTU….? BOOM!

  70. 70
    Marcopolo says:

    @rikyrah: Remember it is always projection with these people. They cannot walk and chew gum at the same time (and let’s be honest what they call walking is more like stumbling around in the dark bumping into shit) so they assume that is the case for the rest of the world.

    As far as I am concerned (and apologies to all unemployed federal workers and other businesses that rely on them) Trump can keep the shutdown going on as long as he wants. It is a bad look for him beyond his base and actually gives Pelosi a lovely unifying issue with a caucus that is sure to have all kinds of internal divisions from policy fights, across racial & gender lines, and all the way to generational battles. I am sure she is up to the task but we have a very diverse group of Dem lawmakers in the House and it can’t hurt to have the orange blob focusing all of their eyes on the prize.

  71. 71
    stinger says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Clothes and make-up can only do so much to hide the ugly within.

    Others have said this before, but I’m struck every time I see her that the Third Lady looks so stiff and uncomfortable in her clothes, and they don’t seem to fit her in any part of her body.

    I know you were referencing the Orange One’s clothes and makeup, but it’s really odd to see such a poorly dressed former model.

  72. 72
    Yarrow says:

    @Luthe: An African American swimmer was on the US Olympic team either last Olympics or the one before that. He might even have been on the relay team with Michael Phelps–can’t remember for sure. I do remember they did a profile on him and he talked about being a role model for African Americans and he promoted swimming in AA communities as both a good form of exercise but also a health and safety issue since if you don’t know how to swim drowning is a bigger risk.

  73. 73
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Yarrow: And apparently is under the impression that she, personally, will conduct the investigations.

  74. 74
    Yarrow says:

    @stinger: I agree. She almost never looks comfortable in her clothes. And something almost always seems off with them: wrong color, weird belt, strange shape of skirt, shirt or jacket. Once in awhile she’ll wear something that works and it’s so noticeable because she looks good and comfortable. t seems like getting her clothes right would be the one thing she could do.

  75. 75

    @Yarrow: May be the Orange One decides what she should wear.

  76. 76
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Yarrow: line from a novel I read last night: “no one looks good in green except leprechauns!”

  77. 77

    @schrodingers_cat:

    May be the Orange One decides what she should wear.

    What she wears is absolutely part of her employment. As a trophy wife to a famous and vain man, her entire public image is consciously crafted based on what he wants other people to see. It is a tradition in situations like that, when you’re displeased with your job conditions, to deliberately fuck up the results.

  78. 78
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: he clearly can’t dress her as well as her escort service did

  79. 79

    @Steve in the ATL: I look good in dark emerald green, M’s jacket color on the other hand is hideous. Looks like throw up. No one would look good in that color.

  80. 80
    J R in WV says:

    @Gelfling 545:

    When in reality, all Nancy Smash needs to do is let slip the dogs of war….

    And then sit back and watch the bad guys being arrested, after being indicted by a Grand Jury sitting in majestic secrecy.

  81. 81

    @Frankensteinbeck: Possible or he could be telling her what to wear, because he knows everything about everything. Or so he thinks.

  82. 82
    Ocotillo says:

    Tim Duncan the great San Antonio Spurs basketball player was actually a competitive swimmer before a hurricane wiped out the swimming facility on St. Croix where he is from. The lack of a place to practice gave him the impetus to take up basketball instead.

    Regarding the troops greeting Trump, not doubt there are MAGAts in the military but I recall my own experience as a young airman (not in combat) when then President Gerald Ford came to the base. I went out and greeted him on the receiving line, got some great photos and then voted for Jimmy Carter in November. It was a case, it’s the president, hell you gotta go see him.

  83. 83
    debbie says:

    No way was this planned in advance. He never would have left the golf course. He’s scared about the shutdown, the new Congress, and about 2020 and is trying (ineptly) to make amends: His inappropriate remarks offended the military and his lack of protocol has offended Iraq. Good luck with their cooperation in the future, jackass. Base your ISIS strike-forces on your own territory, you summbitch.

  84. 84
    Marcopolo says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    line from a novel I read last night: “no one looks good in green except leprechauns!”

    Or some woman named Kate in England. Though to be honest it is probably just the effect of the hat pulling everything together that makes the look work.

  85. 85
    Eunicecycle says:

    @Luthe: The town where I live now actually closed their public pool rather than integrate.

  86. 86
    Yarrow says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Which jacket? The darker green one in the tweet by Kelly Heath up top? Or the yellowish one she’s wearing in the other pictures?

    I don’t think Donald would have the patience to decide what she wear but I would bet he voices his displease when he doesn’t like it.

  87. 87
    debbie says:

    @Shantanu Saha:

    I saw that. His suits must have built-in Spanx!

  88. 88
    debbie says:

    @Raven:

    I started Googling until I came to a statement that there weren’t any AA Seals because they can’t swim. I thought it best to terminate immediately. //

  89. 89
    SenyorDave says:

    Just came from the gym. We have access to three large gyms in the town (the facilities are run by the town association), and the closest one was remodeled and closed for seven months. The individual TVs still aren’t connected, so I was actually listening to Fox News on the large screen TV for a ten minutes or so. This is probably the longest stretch in years.
    There is a place in hell reserved for most of the Fox News people. They had on Thomas Homan, former acting director of ICE. He was almost gloating about the two children in custody who died. It is people like him who make me pray there is an afterlife, because he’ll be a slam dunk for St. Peter.

  90. 90
    trollhattan says:

    “Stop Making Sense” reference FTW.

    Couldn’t they at least have lost him over there? Was that too hard for them?

  91. 91
    trnc says:

    @rikyrah: Doesn’t matter either way. It’s a breach of protocol at the very least, and likely illegal. It wouldn’t be a problem if he had made sure it was not recorded, but of course he wanted it recorded so he’ll be able to use it in a campaign.

    The unit commander should be making a stink about it, too, regardless of whether he is a fan of Individual 1.

  92. 92
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @schrodingers_cat: the novel was fiction, so fashion tips contained therein may not be reliable. Lots of people look good in green, and I’ll bet you can pull off most colors.

  93. 93
    stinger says:

    @Marcopolo: The Duchess of Cambridge is the perfect contrast to Melania. Kate looks stylish and at home in her clothes. The two examples of green, Kate in your link and a seemingly pudgy and rumpled Melania in the tweet up top, really show the difference.

  94. 94
    Marcopolo says:

    Trump Administration Suggests Furloughed Workers Do Chores for Landlords to Help Pay Rent

    The U.S. Office of Personnel Management on Thursday tweeted advice to furloughed federal workers on how to explain their precarious financial situation to creditors and landlords—including one sample letter with the suggestion that they offer to perform chores in exchange for rent payments. “I will keep in touch with you to keep you informed about my income status and I would like to discuss with you the possibility of trading my services to perform maintenance (e.g. painting, carpentry work) in exchange for partial rent payments,” one sample letter to a landlord read. The agency also urged workers to “please consult with your personal attorney” for any required legal advice amid the partial government shutdown, during which nearly 800,000 workers have either been furloughed or asked to work without pay. On Thursday night, prospects looked even grimmer as the House and Senate both adjourned for the weekend, guaranteeing the shutdown will continue until at least next week

    Also too, who doesn’t just happen to have a personal attorney they can call at the drop of a hat or perhaps a legal firm on retainer to do this kind of thing?

    Okay, I have been postponing researching who I want to be my new primary care physician in 2019 (new insurance for next year via the ACA). Now I really need to get to it.

    Have a lovely morning everyone.

  95. 95
    Marcopolo says:

    @stinger: Class meet déclassé. Mind you there is no way in hell I would look good in green–or probably just about any other color as well. But that is just me and I am okay with it.

  96. 96
    rikyrah says:

    @Marcopolo:

    Was just reading this and being furious.

    These people work everyday.Phuck you and the horse you rode in on to even put this out into the universe.

    Phuck outta here.

  97. 97
    Yarrow says:

    @Marcopolo: What the hell? How is that even a thing? I hate these people more than I thought possible.

  98. 98
    JR says:

    I don’t particularly care for the “won’t visit military zones” line of attack.

    1) I don’t see a tangible benefit of having the executive visit war zones
    2) Its an easy bar to clear and now that Trump has cleared it, nothing has changed
    3) The criticism is pointless theater. Message discipline is important.

  99. 99
    Amir Khalid says:

    @schrodingers_cat:
    G.I. Jane. A weird title, considering Demi Moore’s character is a US Navy officer.

  100. 100
    rikyrah says:

    ☇RiotWomenn☇ (@riotwomennn) Tweeted:
    Jane Lindholm hosts the award-winning Vermont public radio program Vermont Edition. She is a native of Vermont.

    In this clip Jane does a nice job of demanding answers from Bernie Sanders about his failure to tell supporters that Russia was helping him

    https://t.co/CQhqgsnzlA https://twitter.com/riotwomennn/status/1078515008194179072?s=17

  101. 101
    Ken says:

    @Marcopolo:

    the shutdown will continue until at least next week

    I know the next Congress starts January 3, but is there a fixed end date for this one? Could they meet on Monday, or even in 2019? Also, has it ever happened before, or would this let us say “lamest lame duck Congress ever”?

  102. 102
    Parfigliano says:

    @Yarrow: Its called the Slovenian Hooker Chic look.

  103. 103
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    on MAGAt hats. This hadn’t occurred to me

    Joyce Alene @ JoyceWhiteVance
    So, they brought these items from home when they deployed & just happened to have them handy when Trump surprised them with his secret visit?

    Divya @ DivyaR12
    Yep and they all still had the cardboard inserts in them according to another pic

    puts a new perspective on the woman, an officer according to another tweeter, who was holding a trump campaign flag.

    Jennifer Epstein @ jeneps
    Trump flag (she dropped it after she saw me taking a photo)

    They passed campaign schwag out to active duty military personnel in a combat zone

  104. 104
    Mike in NC says:

    @Amir Khalid: Just one of many reasons why Demi Moore’s career went down the toilet. She made lots of terrible movies.

  105. 105
    Chyron HR says:

    @rikyrah:

    So is she just getting death threats, or death and rape threats?

  106. 106
    randy khan says:

    @rikyrah:

    The real reason Trump wants the government shutdown to continue into January: “The more the focus is on the wall, the more Pelosi is forced to focus on this fight instead of the investigations,” said one source close to the White House. https://t.co/tI2mphcQ30
    — Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) December 28, 2018

    More proof they’re idiots. The hounds already have been loosed; Pelosi doesn’t need to do much at all to make the investigations go forward.

  107. 107
    Mike in NC says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Violation of Hatch Act. But hell, Fat Bastard made an appearance at a Boy Scout event into a campaign rally. It’s what he does.

    PS: photos of the moron in chief in that green flight jacket seem to indicate he is closing in on 400 pounds.

  108. 108
    trollhattan says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    Who, deployed in a hostile desert environment, would keep a bright red hat handy to wear in those moments they wish to be really, really conspicuous? Does it say “MAGA, Aim Here”?

    Just curious.

  109. 109
    rikyrah says:

    A Black man was on the job as a door-to-door salesman for home security systems.

    When he rang the door of a policeman – the off-duty cop aimed a gun at his head before he could even make a pitch.
    https://t.co/ceEqO3r2pC

    — theGrio.com (@theGrio) December 28, 2018

  110. 110
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Mike in NC:
    The only other movie of hers I have seen is Striptease. She and her daughter Rumer were apparently the only cast members who weren’t told it was a comedy.

  111. 111
    Yarrow says:

    @Amir Khalid: Have you not seen “A Few Good Men”?

  112. 112
    The Moar You Know says:

    The U.S. Office of Personnel Management on Thursday tweeted advice to furloughed federal workers on how to explain their precarious financial situation to creditors and landlords—including one sample letter with the suggestion that they offer to perform chores in exchange for rent payments. “I will keep in touch with you to keep you informed about my income status and I would like to discuss with you the possibility of trading my services to perform maintenance (e.g. painting, carpentry work) in exchange for partial rent payments,” one sample letter to a landlord read.

    @Marcopolo: That is literally insane. I wonder which rocket scientist at OPM “we gave up all the information on people with clearances to every terrorist in the world” thought this horseshit up. It wasn’t Trump. He knows better.

    My first job out of college, and possibly the worst I have ever had (but quite educational) was working for a property management agency. No agency would accept such an arrangement and any sane private landlord wouldn’t either. Agree to that bullshit and you’ve agreed to it forever as a revision to the lease, at least here in California.

    The only response I’d give – could ever have given – to such a missive would be a couriered thirty day “pay or quit” notice and a call to the marshals to get ready to enforce an eviction.

  113. 113
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Yarrow:
    Yes, come to think of it. But it’s not her performance that people remember, is it?

  114. 114
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Dave: The Ranger battalion at HAAF was real, real white when I was there in 1994.

  115. 115
    rikyrah says:

    At this point, I can’t imagine any successful scenario for Democrats in 2020 without a woman or a person of color on the ticket.
    https://t.co/M6HLbRoSN1

    — Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) December 28, 2018

  116. 116
    Immanentize says:

    @rikyrah:
    Why not both?

  117. 117
    rikyrah says:

    This shouldn’t get lost in the avalanche of crazy. The wall we need is between DOJ and the White House. The foundation of our democracy- the rule of law- depends on it.

    — Sally Yates (@SallyYates01) December 26, 2018

  118. 118
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @plato: Just continue to call it Trump’s shutdown since that’s exactly what it is.

  119. 119
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @trollhattan: that would be exquisite Darwinism!

  120. 120
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Amir Khalid: a rare factual misstatement from Hollywood!

  121. 121
    guachi says:

    Where I’m stationed, almost every Sailor here is a CT (cryptologist) and it’s more white and female than the Navy as a whole. However, all of our dozen Yeoman but one is black. For whatever reason, there is heavy racial and gender skew in the various jobs in the Navy than an overview doesn’t catch.

  122. 122
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @rikyrah: I was unpleasantly surprised to hear Jason Johnson, whom I usually like a lot, writing off Kamala Harris yesterday on MSNBC because of her record in CA. I think she’s fantastic, but my charisma-meter is way out of tune with the rest of the electorate, and the Wilmerites might as well be speaking Klingon for all I understand them.

  123. 123
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Marcopolo: Hahahaha!! So OPM thinks renters can just bargain with their landlords for an indefinite time period? What about those of us with mortgages? What about our other bills?

    Such nonsense. How about Trump reopen the government and stop playing games with people’s earnings?

  124. 124
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @rikyrah: I have a feeling that Bernie’s support has cratered since 2016. He really should consider sitting 2020 out.

  125. 125
    trollhattan says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    I sense parallels between Harris and Gillibrand, who I’ve heard dismissed as “another typical Albany politician.” Harris is “another typical Sacramento politician” and not viewed locally with the same lens as she may be nationally. It’s difficult, if not impossible to sit in Sacramento and gain perspective of her chances nationally. Her best time in the public eye was probably the Kavanaugh hearings.

    She has a record both from her DA days and her AG days. Those will be dragged into view and surely not everything will be wonderful, as these things always go. I’m unaware of anything fatal.

  126. 126
    catclub says:

    @Marcopolo:

    U.S. Office of Personnel Management on Thursday tweeted advice

    Yes, I am old. This seems crazy and normal, for today.

  127. 127
    trollhattan says:

    @The Moar You Know:
    Loan officer spouse has a client in process who may not close their mortgage because of the furlough. More than “only a flesh wound.”

  128. 128
    Ruckus says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    It’s already started a military backlash.

  129. 129
    Yarrow says:

    @Amir Khalid: No, it’s not. She’s done a lot of different types of movies. About 15 years ago “Charlie’s Angels” was her big comeback movie.

  130. 130
    Spanky says:

    OT, as I often am, but I just ran across this:

    Congratulations to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (ISEF 2007) on winning her election to represent New York’s 14th Congressional District! In 2007, Alexandria placed second in the International Science and Engineering Fair in the Microbiology category with her project on the effect of antioxidants on roundworms.

    As a science student at Yorktown High School, Alexandria tested the effect of various antioxidants on the lifespan of roundworms, known as Caenorhabditis elegans.

    When organisms are under oxidative stress, there are more free radicals (chemicals with unpaired electrons) than antioxidants in the body to neutralize them. Those free radicals react quickly with many other chemicals, and without antioxidants to neutralize them, create cellular chaos. Such an unstable cellular environment has been hypothesized to be responsible for wrinkles, neurological diseases and even cancer.

    Alexandria chose compounds with the highest cited number of antioxidant capabilities and observed how they impacted longevity of the roundworms. In some cases, lifespan was prolonged for as many as 33 days, almost doubling the nematode’s normal lifespan. Her findings indicated that antioxidants could potentially help prevent degenerative illnesses induced by oxidative stress.

    The pics are a hoot – although typical of science fairs, IME.

  131. 131
    Yarrow says:

    @Ruckus: In what way?

  132. 132
    Spanky says:

    Typoed my nym on a comment and now in jail. Help?

  133. 133
    cckids says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    M’s jacket color on the other hand is hideous.

    Agreed. Almost no-one can successfully wear that color. Babyshit gold.

  134. 134
    Yarrow says:

    I missed this tweet from earlier this month. You have to click through to see the pic of Cher’s mom. The t-shirt. 🤣🤣🤣

    Mom Playing Around …..Notice 🕶 & Jacket…. pic.twitter.com/b4YyVMSTDx— Cher (@cher) December 11, 2018

  135. 135
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @celticdragonchick: I recall a couple of non-white in 3d bat in the mid-80s, but that only emphasizes how white the rest of us were.

  136. 136
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Steve in the ATL:
    I forgot to mention: not only is her character not US Army and not enlisted, she is also not named Jane.

  137. 137
    p.a. says:

    From TPM

    In Major Move, Census Bureau Offers Up Citizenship Data For Redistricting

    A step to create pro-conservative, in effect, ‘rotten boroughs’ by lowering urban populations for representation purposes.

  138. 138
    dnfree says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Bernie really should consider that he’s too old to be president. So is Biden.

  139. 139
    Cleardale says:

    From what I saw when I was in the army, whites might be slightly over represented in enlisted infantry, but not outrageously. Infantry officers on the other hand…I remember one that wasn’t white. I can’t speak to the SEALS, but in the army if you wanted to go to selection for special forces you would have needed help and permission from senior NCOs and officers. I don’t know if it’s actually required, but you would never get a chance if they didn’t clear a path for you. That could clearly affect who gets to even try out.

  140. 140
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @dnfree: I like Biden, but beyond his age– a question I’m always ambivalent about– somebody a generation younger needs to sit him down and explain to him that what popularity he has mostly comes from the “Uncle Joe”/Obama’s sidekick image that was thrust upon him, and that pre-Obama Biden– from Anita Hill to Iraq– is gonna have a much harder time with the post-Obama Democratic Party

    Apparently he’s leaking now that he’s hurt or offended that Obama is reaching out to younger people– l’d bet fifty quatloos that MoDo’s sunday column will be about “Barry” being forgetting his old friend. That shit has to stop.

  141. 141
    Chyron HR says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Hell no. That asshole quite literally burned down human civilization so that it could be “his turn” in 2020. Run, you wrinkled old racist fuck.

  142. 142
  143. 143
    rikyrah says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Hell no. That asshole quite literally burned down human civilization so that it could be “his turn” in 2020. Run, you wrinkled old racist fuck

    Lay waste to him.

  144. 144
    Tenar Arha says:

    @Shantanu Saha: In the earliest videos I saw, he looked even more ridiculous bc he showed up in his usual suit. That’s why he’s still got the dumb red tie, & the wrong collared shirt for that jacket.

  145. 145
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Chyron HR: @rikyrah: What I said in the summer of ’16 remains true today: Somebody on Team Clinton would do the world a service by “forgetting” that oppo file in a Starbucks where s/he just happened to be sitting next to a WaPo reporter.

  146. 146
    Yarrow says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Biden ran for President before he was VP and never got very far. I expect that would happen again.

    I do think someone with government experience will be attractive to voters because we currently have someone without any government experience and it’s an utter shit show. Not quite sure which candidate will thread that needle of being new and fresh but also having enough experience that they don’t seem like a newbie.

  147. 147
    Yarrow says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: They could “forget” get all over the place. Coffee shops next to reporters. Waiting for an order at Five Guys next to another candidate’s staffer. Hell, just hand it to Kirsten Gillibrand. She’ll stick the shiv in, no problem.

  148. 148
    Yarrow says:

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Walmart gains patent to eavesdrop on shoppers and employees in stores https://t.co/mxvBnGFLtz pic.twitter.com/mRuRIlLeRc— CNET (@CNET) December 28, 2018

  149. 149
    dnfree says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: People sometimes forget that Biden had an brain aneurysm when he was younger. I have often wondered if the inappropriate behavior and sometimes speech could be related to that. One of the side effects can be losing a “filter” on appropriate behavior.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/10/20/biden.health/

  150. 150
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    It was! I had a ton of fun playing Trouble with family.

  151. 151
  152. 152
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Must be why you never see non-white doctors or scientists either.

    Wait, you mean it’s not a law that all doctors must be Indian?

  153. 153
    Captain C says:

    @Luthe: cf. Lia Neal for anyone who tells you black folks can’t swim well for biological reasons (as opposed to the reasons you listed).

  154. 154

    And you may ask yourself, “Well… how did I get here?”

    Same as it ever was.

  155. 155
    Captain C says:

    @Patricia Kayden: I suspect that a good chunk of his support was from the “Not Hillary” crowd, and that he’s alienated some of the rest with his all-talk-no-action routine since (and really since way before) the election.

  156. 156
    Captain C says:

    @rikyrah: They won’t use kid gloves on him this time, and he has enough skeletons and problems to make it impossible for him to win anything national. Just the fact that Mr. I’m-The-Only-Honest-and-Transparent-One still won’t release his taxes should be enough.

  157. 157
    zhena gogolia says:

    @cckids:

    Audrey Hepburn. Charade (scroll down). Nuff said.

    https://alisonkerr.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/style-on-film-charade/

  158. 158
    Brachiator says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    I have a feeling that Bernie’s support has cratered since 2016. He really should consider sitting 2020 out.

    His support may be down, but the remnants of his supporters love Bernie to the point of mania. As a couple of other people have noted, the Berniacs are mounting intense attacks against potential rivals. For example see this article in NY Magazine, Why the Bernie Movement Must Crush Beto O’Rourke

    The first skirmish of the 2020 Democratic primary, a wave of attacks on Beto O’Rourke by supporters of Bernie Sanders, took almost everybody by surprise. On the outside, it looks like one of those inscrutable, personality-driven online spats that characterize the Twitter era. But the feud is neither petty nor personal nor irrational. It’s the first shot in a war that may well continue for the next year and a half….

    The Sanders partisans who are attacking O’Rourke — like Zaid Jilani, David Sirota, Branko Marcetic, Elizabeth Bruenig — are not representative of Sanders voters as a whole. This distinction is the key to deciphering the whole episode. Sanders attracts the intense support of a small left-wing intellectual vanguard who see American politics in fundamentally different terms than most Democrats do. The primary struggle in American politics as they see it is not between liberalism and conservatism, but between socialism and capitalism.

    I also see this fight taking place on YouTube and elsewhere, where programs like The Young Turks are attacking Beto because he is insufficiently pure, and of course, has corporate contributors, etc.

    These people also have to attack Obama, because he failed to become their Progressive Messiah. This is a tiresome bunch of dopes, but they cannot be reasoned with.

  159. 159
    Ruckus says:

    @Yarrow:
    The military has some pretty strict rules about being in uniform and that even any political talk while in uniform is out of the question. Believe it was on BJ yesterday that questions are being asked from higher up was linked. This is why people didn’t know about Kelly. If all your interaction was with him in uniform, most likely you’d never known his true nature.

  160. 160
    Ruckus says:

    @Patricia Kayden:
    Individual 1 has never had a paycheck to paycheck situation in his entire life.
    He has less than zero concept.

  161. 161
    Uncle Omar says:

    @cckids: “Babyshit gold.” Also known to farm kids as “calf-scour yellow.”

  162. 162
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brachiator: A “left wing intellectual vanguard” that seems to be predicated mostly on whining and limp snark.

  163. 163
    Ruckus says:

    @guachi:
    No real difference from 50 ys ago.
    If you want to know why blacks were a large segment of the early Vietnam war, a lot of them were draftees. And local draft boards could be rather racist in their choosing. Also the army was a job with a paycheck. Life is seldom fair, and even less so in this country if your skin isn’t lilly white.

  164. 164
    HuCat says:

    Contrary to CNN’s suggestion that this visit must have been planned far in advance, furious Iraqui leaders, and I beg to differ. That ain’t how the persimmon rolls!

  165. 165
    Mike G says:

    security measures were in place as he entered a war zone

    And yet he flew in a VC-25, the 747 with the presidential seal that screams “Air Force One”. It was reported by planespotters over Europe hours before he landed in Iraq. Bush and Obama flew in military cargo jets to keep a low profile, but I suspect that wasn’t ostentatious enough for Mr. Gold Toilet.

    https://www.indy100.com/article/donald-trump-iraq-visit-air-force-one-twitter-aircraft-trackers-8700366

  166. 166
    Miss Bianca says:

    @rikyrah: I just re-watched this a little while ago, first time since seeing it in the theater when it first came out (back in Chicago!) to see if it still held up. It did.

    I hate it that I can’t enforce my grudge boycott of any movie Susan Sarandon is in, because she’s made some damn good ones. And she was great as Marmee, props given where props due.

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