he’d sell them weeds

Jeebus on toast. This guy, I declare.

This is exactly the sort of tone-deaf, massively bone-headed thing Comrade Trump would do — assuming it’s not just another off-the-cuff lie he’s telling, which is entirely possible. Only a fuckwit like Trump would secretly invite the Taliban to the United States. The Taliban — the people who literally made it possible for al Qaeda to crash commercial jets full of innocent passengers into each of the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon (not to mention the disrupted attack that ended in an empty field in Pennsylvania. And to do it secretly? On the anniversary of that attack? That’s got TrumpThink written all over it.

But even though it completely fits in with Trump’s brand of idiocy, it’s still Trump. So we always have to ask if it’s a lie. Always. Because this would be a classic Trump sort of lie. It’s self-aggrandizing and dramatic. But IF he invited the Taliban to the U.S. for any reason at all, would he have invited them to stay at Camp David? No, probably not. He’d almost certainly have invited them to stay at a Trump property. That sounds like snark, I know, but it’s not. I’m sincerely convinced Trump would try to find a way to make a buck off of peace talks.

So I’m inclined to think this whole Taliban business is wrapped in a cocoon of lies. It’s probably not entirely a lie, or even mostly a lie. But I’d bet my paycheck (if I had a paycheck) that it involves a complicated and terribly dumb string of semi-related lies wrapped around a single kernel of truth.

But here’s the thing: we absolutely should be talking with the Taliban in order to find some way out of the now-pointless war in Afghanistan. And I have no problem with talking to them here in the U.S., though that seems awfully premature. But regardless of how and where it’s done, Comrade Trump should NOT be involved.

Nobody trusts him. Nobody believes him. Nobody can rely on him to honor a deal or keep a promise. He’s lied to and cheated on all of his wives; he’s lied to and cheated hundreds of businesses with whom he’s signed contracts; he routinely tells blatant lies to the public and to the news media; he’s negated treaties with our nation’s closest traditional allies and he’s cozied up to our enemies. Everybody — everybody — knows Trump is capable of changing his mind at any moment for any reason or perceived slight. Comrade Trump simply cannot be trusted on any level.

There’s an old Bedouin saying: La taqul bur lin twkyh. “Don’t say it’s wheat until you harvest it.” The Taliban aren’t Bedu, but I think the saying still applies. They aren’t stupid. They know Trump will sell them wheat and deliver only weeds. So it’s unlikely any serious peace talks will take place while Comrade Trump is in office.

weather report

Comrade Trump: I got it! I got it! Why don’t we nuke them?
White House Aide: Yes sir, we will. Who are ‘them’?
Trump: Hurricanes!
Aide: Hurricanes?
Trump: Nuke the shit out of them!
Aide: We’ll look into it, sir.

Aide: He wants to nuke hurricanes.
Other aide: What the fuck?
Aide: Yeah, I don’t know.
Other aide: Why does…wait, he…fuck me with a chainsaw.

Other aide: He wants to nuke hurricanes.
Journalist: What the fuck?
Other aide: Yeah, I don’t know. Don’t use my name.
Journalist: Okay. But how does he…I mean, why would…fuck me with a chainsaw.

“I got it! I got it! Nuke the shit out of ’em!”

Journalist: Mr. President, there are reports you’ve suggested nuking hurricanes. Your response?
Comrade Trump: I never said that! Fake news!
Journalist: Sir, you…
Trump: Excuse me. Obama had eight years, never did anything about hurricanes! Nothing! His hurricane policy was a total disaster!
Journalist: But Mr. Presi…
Trump: Excuse me. Nothing! Democrats love hurricanes! And open borders and crime! The Trump administration has done more for hurricanes than almost anybody, I can tell you that! By the way, you think it’s a coincidence that every hurricane is coming from south of the border? We’re building wall! New wall!
Journalist: Are you saying a border wall would…
Trump: Excuse me. Excuse me. Nobody knows more about hurricanes than I do! Nobody! Obama was weak! A disaster. I didn’t say nuke! I never said nuke! I could do nuke if I wanted, but I don’t want nuke! But I could! I inherited the hurricane situation from Obama! There were hurricanes before Trump! Long before! But I’m not saying nuke! I never said that! You’re fake news!
Journalist: Thank you Mr. President.

Journalist: Today President Trump stated he was instituting a ‘no-nuke’ policy regarding hurricanes, separating himself from previous administration policies.
Other journalist: It’s a complicated situation. Democrats have so far failed to come up with a hurricane proposal that’s acceptable to the president.
Journalist: Both sides need to work together to come up with a solution.
Other Journalist: Hurricanes shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

People of the World: What the fuck?

cheese will be provided

— Do you really think Comrade Trump will be impeached?
— I do.
— Really?
— Really. He’s going down.
— No, I mean do you really actually believe they’ll impeach him?
— He’s totally going down. No question.
— Okay. It’s just that…
— He’s going down like the Titanic.
— Yeah, you say that, but…
— Down like Betamax.
— Like what?
— Exactly.
— So you actually believe Trump will be…
— Down like Google+
— Holy crap.
— Down like a nine pound round of Double Gloucester cheese on Cooper’s Hill.
— …
— You know…the annual cheese rolling festival and massacre?
— No idea what you’re talking about.
— C’mon, it’s the most famous cheese rolling event in the world.
— Cheese rolling. Cheese rolling? What the fuck? Cheese rolling?
— Yeah. It’s an…
Cheese? Cheese rolling?
— Every spring for the last, oh, few hundred years the good and semi-sober people of Brockworth in Gloucestershire have held a sort of contest in which they roll a cheese down Cooper’s Hill.
— That’s it?
— Well, no. People chase the cheese down the hill. The first survivor at the bottom wins.
— Wins what?
— The cheese, you idiot.
— When you say ‘survivor’…
— It’s a steep hill. People fall. And tumble and roll and break bones.
— …
— Also spectators might get whacked by the cheese as it rolls and bounces down the hill.
— Hit by a cheese?
— A nine-pound round of Double Gloucester can top out at about seventy miles per hour. Cheese like that could kill a person. These are murderous cheeses.
— You’re making this up, aren’t you.
— How dare you!
— Why would anybody chase a cheese down a hill?
— Probably some sort of ancient primitive pagan fertility thing.
— That’s ridiculous.
— Dude, they’re British.
— Oh, right. Yeah, then it makes some sense. And people really do this? And they really get hurt?
— Watch this.

— Jesus suffering fuck.
— I know, right?
— That’s insane.
— Well, there’s cheese involved. And possibly alcohol.
— …
— …
— I totally want to do this.
— Impeach Trump?
— Fuck Trump. I want to chase the cheese. When does this happen?
— May 27th, five days from today. Around noon. Cooper’s Hill, Brockworth, Gloucestershire. Cheese and medical care are provided.
— This is why England will always be a great nation.

that kind of thing happens

In April of 2008, Lt. Michael Behenna — an Army Ranger and platoon leader in the 101st Airborne Division — was part of a convoy traveling north of Baghdad. A roadside IED detonated, killing two of Behenna’s platoon members and badly wounding several others. In war, that kind of thing happens. Bombs explode, people get killed and maimed.

An intelligence report linked a man named Ali Mansur to the attack. Mansur, like a lot of unhappy, resentful Iraqis, was suspected to be a member of al-Qaeda. He may have been al-Qaeda. He probably was, given that he was in Iraq with a Syrian passport. In any event, Mansur was detained and for two weeks he was interrogated by intelligence officers. They were unable to confirm a link between Mansur and the IED, so they ordered him released. That kind of thing happens in modern war; you can’t always distinguish the enemy from the disgruntled, or the disgruntled from the innocent. Innocent people get caught up and punished unfairly; guilty people walk.

Lt. Behenna was ordered to return Mansur to his village. Instead, Behenna and his platoon took the handcuffed prisoner to a secluded location near a railroad bridge. They used their knives to cut off his clothing. Without any authorization, they continued to interrogate him about the IED. Eventually they removed Mansur’s restraints, and at some point Lt. Behenna shot him twice, killing him. In war, that kind of thing happens. Troops under a massive amount of stress sometimes act irrationally and against orders. Sometimes in war, it’s not really clear what counts as rationality. If you send young men and women to war, some of them will commit war crimes.

The next day villagers found Mansur’s naked body, burned, stashed in a culvert below the railroad bridge. In July, Behenna was relieved of his command and charged with murder. Two of his platoon members and his interpreter testified against him at his court martial. The interpreter testified that Behenna told Mansur he was going to kill him, but had assumed it was just a threat to frighten Mansur. Behenna claimed he was acting in self defense when he shot Mansur. He testified Mansur had made an attempt to seize his weapon. Which is entirely possible. If I’d been questioned by military intelligence for two weeks, then told I was to be released but was instead taken to a remote area by the troops who had accused me in the first place, had my clothing cut off me, and was threatened with death while being interrogated again — if they removed my restraints, I might try to grab that guy’s weapon too. That kind of thing happens when you’re desperate and have nothing to lose.

In 2009, Behenna was found guilty of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. After a number of appeals and requests for clemency, his sentence was reduced to 15 years. Behenna was released on parole in 2014, having served less than five years. That kind of thing happens in the justice system, both civilian and military. There’s always a tentative and uneasy balance between justice and punishment.

Lt. Behenna and the men of “Mad Dog 5” — 5th Platoon, Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division.

Yesterday, President Comrade Trump gave Behenna a full pardon. Trump has issued eight pardons to date. His other pardons include

  • Dwight and Steven Hammond — cattle ranchers who threatened US Forest Service officials, and whose 2012 convictions for arson of federal property sparked the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by right wing terrorists.
  • Dinesh D’Souza — right wing pundit, conspiracy theorist, and provocateur who pled guilty to campaign fraud in 2014.
  • Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby — Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff who was convicted of one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury, and one count of making false statements in regard to leaking the identity of an undercover CIA agent in an effort to discredit arguments that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq — the pretense behind the Iraq War.
  • Kristian Saucier — a machinist’s mate in the U.S. Navy who was convicted of taking photographs of classified areas of a nuclear submarine, and who destroyed evidence after being questioned by the FBI. Saucier was given a less than honorable discharge and sentenced to a year in prison. His lawyers argued he deserved a lesser sentence because Hillary Clinton had classified information on her personal server and received no punishment. His lawyers also agreed the two cases were different, and that Saucier knew what he was doing was illegal.
  • Joe Arpaio — Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona and birther conspiracy theorist, who was convicted of contempt of court for refusing to comply with the court’s order to stop its racial profiling practices.

See a pattern? You can defy court orders, endanger national security, expose the identify of a NOC CIA agent, commit campaign fraud, commit arson, or murder a suspect in a war zone and burn his body; you do that and still receive a full pardon, if the president likes you. That kind of thing happens when hostile foreign nations influence a US election in order to elect an ignorant, narcissistic, malignant, compliant conspiracy theorist as President of the United States.

NOTE: I have a lot of compassion for Mr. Behenna. He and the men of Mad Dog 5 suffered horribly. In the IED explosion, one of his men was literally cut in half. Nobody can experience that kind of thing and not be affected by it. If he believed Mansur was responsible for that, I don’t blame him for wanting to execute the man. You can read a more detailed account of what happened at SCOTUSblog.

But here’s the thing: if you send people to war, they’re going to commit war crimes. It’s a given; we need to acknowledge that ugly truth. But even in the most horrific conditions we have to maintain military discipline and the rule of law. Behenna was an officer; he swore an oath; he knew what he was doing when he took Mansur to that bridge; he knew it was against orders. He did it anyway, and he tried to cover up his crime.

I have compassion for Behenna. But he’s not deserving of a pardon.

head explodes

One of the many unacknowledged problems with having a fuckwit as president is the frequency with which logical folks have to hip-check less-than-logical folks about really stupid stuff. Take, for example, this recent adventure in Trumpian fuckwittery:

“[T]hey say the noise [of wind turbines] causes cancer.”

It’s blatantly and profoundly stupid, right? But in an effort to be fair to Comrade Trump, some folks — even intelligent folks — might ask if there’s any basis in reality for the claim. Here’s a non-Barr summary of a conversation I had this morning:

Friend: I dunno, maybe the deep thrum of a wind farm can maybe possibly cause some form of cancer? Maybe?
Me: Nope.
Friend: I mean, if noise at a certain frequency can make your head explode, then why can’t it also cause cancer?
Me: What? I mean, what?
Friend: Sound at a specific frequency can make your head explode. You know…like glass.
Me: No it can’t.
Friend: I think it can.
Me: I’m pretty sure it can’t.
Friend: Pretty sure?
Me: Fuck you, it can’t. It just can’t.
Friend: Pretty sure?

So I — and I can’t believe I’m actually writing this — checked. And hey, I was right. It turns out a dry skull does have some acoustic vulnerabilities, mostly between the 9 and 12 kHz frequencies. But even prolonged exposure to concentrated sound in that range will, at most, cause a dry skull to vibrate a bit.

But here’s the problem: we’re not walking around with dry skulls. We’ve got them encased in layers of soft, soggy tissue and muscle. It’s like wrapping your head in a thick coat of bacon. That’s not all; inside that skull is a thickish fluid, and floating in that fluid is a hefty wad of squishy brains. All of that wet material would act as an acoustic dampener and would prevent your skull from shattering and your head exploding.

The low-frequency infrasound of a turbine farm might give you a headache, but it’s not going to give you cancer. And sound can’t make your head explode. Listening to Comrade Trump speak might make you wish your head would explode. But sorry, nope, ain’t gonna happen.

a short list of things that are more national emergencier than a wall

— health care
— gun violence
— climate change
— ocean pollution
— noise pollution
— light pollution
— every fucking kind of pollution
— protecting the Mueller investigation
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders
— equal pay for the US Women’s Soccer team
— urban e-scooters
— single cup coffee makers
— the men’s rights movement
— angry white men
— men
— televisions as big as autopsy tables
— the novels of Dan Brown
— Ann Coulter
— de-clutter fascists
— individually-wrapped ‘cheese’ tiles
— slasher movies
— WalMart
— the Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot
— everybody wearing ear-buds or headphones everywhere
— all those damned Kardashians
— sex robots
— Peeps-flavored coffee creamer
— drones
— kids living with their parents after age 25, or 21, or maybe 19
— designers who make women’s clothing without pockets
— everybody associated in any way with the Trump administration
— Trump

“I just want to stand on top of the Wall and piss off the edge of the world!” Tyrion Lannister

Comrade Donald Trump would be wise to hire the smallest Lannister, who at least understands the most important function of a wall.

classic trump

Comrade Trump’s latest tantrum/threat is quintessential Trump. It’s the distillation of all things Trump times five. He’s decided to ‘explore’ avenues for removing the security clearances of half a dozen senior national security and intelligence officials who’d served in the Obama administration. We’re talking about John Brennan (former CIA director), Michael Hayden (former CIA director), Susan Rice (former national security adviser), James Clapper (former director of national intelligence), James Comey (former FBI director), and Andrew McCabe (former FBI deputy director).

What makes this classic Trump? I’m a tell you.

  1. It’s petty, malicious, and vindictive. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, with a straight face, claimed these folks have (and I’m not making this up) have “politicize(d) and in some cases monetize(d) their public service and security clearances” by “making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influenced by Russia against the president.” Basically, they’ve criticized Comrade Trump and his handling of…well, just about everything in regard to national security. So they must be punished.
  2. It’s mostly pointless. None of these folks currently attend national security briefings. Revoking their security clearances will have absolutely no impact on the daily lives of most of them. As far as I can tell, only Hayden holds a position on the board of a private sector company that technically require a security clearance, which means he’ll likely lose some income. But in general, this move is like taking away their access to lockers in a gym they no longer attend.
  3. It’s incompetent. At least two of the people Trump wants to deny a security clearance have already lost their security clearances. When Comey and McCabe were fired (by Trump) from the FBI they automatically lost their clearances. The only reason they’re included on the list is because a) they’ve criticized Trump and b) nobody in the Trump administration could be bothered to check a few basic facts before announcing a plan of action.
  4. It’s inconsistent. Trump claims these folks have politicized and monetized their clearances, so they should have those clearances revoked. Yet his own former national security adviser (Gen. Michael Flynn, remember him?) retained his security clearance despite the fact that he stood on stage during the Republican National Convention and led the crowd in cheering “Lock her up!” He even kept his clearance after Trump learned he was under investigation for his dealings with Russia — the same dealings which led to his firing. Now that is some serious politicizing and monetizing of a security clearance. And lawdy, the Flynn scandal is small beans compared to that of Jared Kushner, who was given access to highly classified intel despite having to ‘correct’ his clearance application four times because he ‘forgot’ to include dealings with foreign officials, including…yeah, that’s right, Russians.
  5. It’s actually harmful to national security. Among the many detrimental aspects of the Trump administration, one of the most deleterious is its casual destruction of institutional knowledge by removing experienced people from positions of authority for political or ideological reasons. It’s bad enough in agencies that handle domestic concerns (like education and health care), but it’s a catastrophic loss in agencies that are concerned with international affairs. Past administrations have always relied on the expertise and experience of the administrations they replaced. Trump only relies on people loyal to Trump.
  6. It’s being implemented in a swarm of lies. This is no surprise. Comrade Trump seems unable to do anything without lying about something.

Top contender for Most Blackmailable Public Figure.

So, classic Trump. A mean-spirited, amateurish, contradictory move that not only won’t accomplish what he hopes it will, but will actually damage the nation — all accompanied by lies.

What’s most ironic about this is the fact that Comrade Trump, with his dodgy financial deals and a very long string of extramarital affairs, almost certainly wouldn’t be able to obtain any sort of security clearance at all if he weren’t POTUS. If there was a contest for Most Blackmailable Public Figure, Trump would be considered a front-runner.

This is the world turned upside down. And backwards. While drunk. And in heels. With one heel missing.