Open Thread: Yes, We Are Laughing At Your Mighty Sword, Mr. Gorka…

I’m very glad the military is choosing to publicly ignore Lord Smallgloves’ tweets about transgender service members, and not just because it gives me hope they’ll also ignore any future tweets wondering why America is spending so much money on nuclear weapons that “we” don’t even get to use.

Savvy analysts say Trump’s early-morning outburst was an attempt to shore up his base, aka The Deplorables, but of course one of his least useful “advisors” had to overshare the queasy homoerotophobia common to preadolescent boys and those whose emotional development was arrested at that age…



This is Not Normal

The fact that the GOP’s Cheeto Jeebus issued a series of tweets about an apparently new transgender policy (but not really, since there is no policy) has been discussed, but a couple quick things:

A.) They are not your fucking generals, you orange shitstain. None of this is yours, you anal drip, it’s OURS.

B.) While you are talking to your fucking generals, how ’bout that plan to defeat ISIS you kept talking about having ready in thirty days, cuz we’re still waiting for that shitshow.

C.) You did no consultation at all, and everyone knows that bible thumping fetus fetishist, rampant homophobe, mother of a modern HIV crisis, all around know-nothing bigot, and Grand Mullah of the American Taliban Mike Pence was doing it behind the scenes, and I guaran-fucking-tee that the first you heard of this was when it was mentioned to you in passing this morning and three minutes later your tiny little dickbeaters were pounding out this nonsense on what I am fucking also sure is an unsecured phone.

D.) They had no intention for you to go live with it so that is why there was a nine minute delay between your first tweet and the subsequent two, at which point they debated for a few minutes and decided “fuck it, it’s too late now, AND WHO THE FUCK TOLD HIM?” and parts two and three came out:

E.) And since you are a fucking clueless douchecanoe who has no idea how to govern and didn’t ACTUALLY consult with OUR generals about this, this fucking happened:

The Department of Defense referred all questions to President Trump’s administration. “We will continue to work closely with the White House to address the new guidance provided by the Commander-in-Chief on transgender individuals serving the military. We will provide revised guidance to the Department in the near future,” said Naval Capt. Jeff Davis, the director of defense press operations.

At the Pentagon, the first of the three tweets raised fears that the president was getting ready to announce strikes on North Korea or some other military action. Many said they were left in suspense for nine minutes, the time between the first and second tweet. Only after the second tweet did military officials receive the news the president was announcing a personnel change on Twitter.

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is on vacation this week, and defense officials said Mattis knew that Trump was considering the policy change. It is unclear if he approved it.

Fuck every single person who voted for Trump.



Late Night Cheap Laffs Open Thread: What If A Female Soldier Were to See… A Man-Tassel?

To the fainting couches! This was Phyllis Schafly’s best argument against the ERA, back in 1973: “Your daughters will be drafted and forced to share showers with naked men!”

I had four brothers, so the sight of male genitalia once I was old enough to… shall we say… have joined the Army, didn’t come as a nasty shock. My female friends without male siblings had all done enough babysitting (changed enough diapers) to have a working idea of the relevant anatomy. And we didn’t even have the internet to educate us!



Friday Evening Open Thread: Overlooked in the Noise

Yeah, probably just symbolic, but good for Rep. Barbara Lee [warning: autoplay]

The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved an amendment that would revoke a 2001 law giving the president authority to undertake war against al Qaeda and its affiliates unless a replacement provision is created.

Lawmakers applauded when the amendment was added by voice vote to the defense spending bill, highlighting the frustration many members of Congress feel about the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was initially approved to authorize the response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

It has since been used to justify the Iraq War and the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Despite the applause, it is unclear whether it will make it past the Senate and be included in a final version of a defense spending bill. The amendment would revoke the 2001 AUMF after 240 days following the passing of the act, forcing Congress to vote on a new AUMF in the interim…

Just in time for Independence Day, too.

What else is on the agenda as we start the (long, for some of us) weekend?



The Smoking Gun: Putin’s Specific Instructions for Active Measures Against the United States During the 2016 Presidential Election

The Washington Post reports (emphasis mine):

The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.

Specifically:

Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

The White House debated various options to punish Russia, but facing obstacles and potential risks, it ultimately failed to exact a heavy toll on the Kremlin for its election interference.

But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.

At that point, the outlines of the Russian assault on the U.S. election were increasingly apparent. Hackers with ties to Russian intelligence services had been rummaging through Democratic Party computer networks, as well as some Republican systems, for more than a year. In July, the FBI had opened an investigation of contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates. And on July 22, nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee were dumped online by WikiLeaks.

Miller, Nakashima, and Entous’s excellent, detailed reporting now tells us exactly what Putin’s guidance to his subordinates was. It also tells us what his strategic objective was: to elect Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States. It is important to be very, very, very clear here about what this reporting tells us. It confirms that not only did Putin order active measures against the United States, specifically during the 2016 presidential election. He did so specifically to damage Secretary Clinton and elect President Trump.  As I wrote in July 2016 we are at (cyber) war. And again in March 2017 – we are at war. The only question now is what do we do about it?

ETA at 1:05 PM EDT

The US government has specific actionable intelligence, that is assessed to be of high confidence, that a hostile foreign power has attacked and continues to attack the United States for its own ends. This is a national security problem. And every part of the solution, including election system reforms, need to be understood within the discussion national security responses and solutions to the threat we face.



The Overarching Middle East Problem Set: Proxy War and Forced Realignment

Over the past several weeks the just below the surface proxy wars and attempts to forcefully realign Middle Eastern politics, power dynamics, and alliances have come into full view. Over the past two weeks the Saudis and Emiratis have attempted to isolate their erstwhile Qatari partner. Turkey and Iran have come to Qatar’s aid as a result of the Saudi led blockade. ISIL conducted an attack in Iran and Iran retaliated with a missile strike on ISIL in Syria. We’ve also had ongoing Saudi operations against the Zaydi/Fiver Shi’a Houthis in Yemen and the ongoing low intensity war in Libya.

All of these actions and events have one thing in common: they are all about attempts to forcefully realign the politics, power dynamics, and alliances within the Middle East. A significant portion of this attempt to remake the Middle East’s political map is the result of a several year old proxy war between Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey for hegemony in the Middle East. This proxy war is being fought over who will be the preeminent regional power; a power that will speak not just for the region, but for Islam. And this latter component is a major complication. The Saudis are promoting the Wahhabi understanding of tawheed – the radical unity of the Deity, which also forms the basis for both al Qaeda’s and ISIL’s doctrine/theology. Iran seeks hegemony not just to represent the Ithna Ashari/Twelver Shi’a that are the majority in Iran, Iraq, and Bahrain, a significant plurality in Lebanon, a significant minority in Syria – including the Alawite sect, and are a minority in several of the other Gulf states, but also on behalf of the Ismaili/Sevener and Zaydi/Fiver Shi’a throughout the region. Finally, Erdogan’s Turkey seeks to not just reassume its historic role of being the North-South and East-West bridge and power player in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the trans-Caucasus, but also to represent and speak for Islam throughout the region. Specifically Erdogan’s politicized Islam.

Against this backdrop we also have the ongoing activities of al Qaeda’s regional proxies throughout the Middle East, as well as ISIL’s ever more tenuous attempt to hold on to actual physical territory as part of their self proclaimed caliphate: the Islamic State/al dawlah al Islamiyah.

Read more



The Navy Hymn