Four US soldiers die; Trump plays golf

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The U.S. Army’s Special Forces are known as the “quiet professionals.” They don’t seek fame or glory, but when soldiers are killed in action the decent thing to do is to acknowledge the sacrifice these soldiers made in service of their country.

On October 5, 2017, four soldiers assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group were killed by IS forces while operating in Niger.

While the remains of the fallen soldiers were returned by an honor guard to the United States, our “president” Donald Trump played golf. I guess he couldn’t be bothered with welcoming home those fallen soldiers.

For someone who claims to honor the military as much as he claims, the deaths of four American soldiers seems to be of less import to Trump than his Twitter war with Sen. Bob Corker, his spat with the NFL, “fake news” and whatever other bullshit drama he comes up with. As much as Trump loves to tweet whatever stupid fucking thing that pops into his degenerate brain, Trump hasn’t made any tweets yet regarding the four dead soldiers, or made much of  any public statements aside from the obligatory White House statement.

The reason why is obvious: Trump doesn’t care. The only reason he made a big show out of the death of Navy SEAL Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens earlier this year was to use the image of Owens’ grieving widow for political gain. It really is a despicable practice, but it’s what Trump does. He doesn’t respect the military. His whole life is a testament to that.

He dodged the draft during the Vietnam War, compared his time at a military-styled prep school to actually serving, mocked Senator John McCain, a former POW, and insulted the Muslim family of a US Army Captain who died in Iraq. This was all known before he was even elected, so if you voted for Trump thinking he is truly behind the military then you’re a fucking moron. And if you’re a veteran and you still support Trump then you’re a fucking hypocrite because Trump represents everything that America is not and I have no respect for you.

While it’s true that Trump really doesn’t give two fucks about our service members, I wonder if there is some other reason the White House is trying to brush this off. After all, four American soldiers died. Doesn’t that deserve more attention?

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I think Trump used his birthday wish to wish the “Russia thing” away.

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The birthday boy.

Donald Trump got two big presents for his 71st birthday: the notoriety that comes with having historically low approval ratings and an investigation into obstruction of justice. Isn’t that special? Not everyone gets to be the target of an investigation by a special counsel. Happy birthday! Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy.

Really, though, I think it was inevitable that Trump would come under investigation for something or other eventually. Might as well be obstruction of justice. And Jeff Sessions’ testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee didn’t help. It was a mess. Sessions appeared fidgety and nervous, and who would have thought that he had such a poor memory? The phrase “I don’t recall” popped up numerous times. And I find his excuse for not answering questions regarding his interactions with Trump ridiculous, claiming that it was “policy” (or maybe “principle,” he didn’t seem sure) to reserve a president’s executive privilege, even if that privilege has not yet been invoked(!). I think his testimony, though, was valuable for this reason. We can now just catalog all those questions he refused to answer and go after them.

But I have to say, not all of the senators were very good at questioning him. Some Republicans were laughably chummy and easy on Sessions, while some Democrats were unproductively combative. I did notice that Sessions had a particular tactic for dealing with his interrogators. It was particularly evident in his interaction with Sen. Kamala Harris (an interaction that also showed, by the way, the Republican bias in the Committee favoring Sessions). To Jeff Sessions a yes/no question requires babbling about anything that vaguely has to do with the topic of the question, including his thoughts and speculations at the time, irrelevant events leading up to the topic of the question and basically anything else he could say to use up the allotted five minutes each Senator had to ask questions, all in a slow, southern drawl. Sessions would have failed an audition for the old TV show Dragnet.

But really, I think Trump got the bestest most awesomest birthday ever. Happy birthday, you turd.

BTW, June 14 is also Flag Day, something that Trump wants you to remember coincides with his birthday and the birthday of the US Army, with is about the only thing that they share in common.

Trump’s address on Memorial Day is cheap lip service

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Today is Memorial Day, the day in which we remember and honor those US service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to country. It is one of the most, if not the most, meaningful of the American holidays.

As expected, Trump made a visit to Arlington National Cemetery to recognize Memorial day, his first as president. Eli Watkins of CNN writes, “President Donald Trump honored the US service members who made the ultimate sacrifice by visiting Arlington National Cemetery in recognition of Memorial Day Monday morning,” but I feel Watkins was perhaps a bit too generous with his words. In my opinion, Trump did no such thing as “honor” our service members. In fact, in light of Trump’s history of disparaging and belittling our military, Trump’s very presence at Arlington, to me, is cheap theater.

Let us on this day also remember all the ways our “president” has insulted our service members:

  • While in college, Trump received four student deferments from the draft, avoiding service in Vietnam. After he was briefly deemed medically fit for service, he then received a medical deferment claiming “heel spurs,” which don’t seemed to prevent him from walking around on the golf course, by the way.
  • Trump had the audacity to say of Senator John McCain, a former Navy pilot and POW: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” He never apologized.
  • Trump made the ultimate display of disrespect by attacking the family of a fallen American soldier. Army Captain Humayun Saqib Muazzam Khan
    made the ultimate sacrifice for his nation when on June 8, 2004 CPT Khan was killed by an IED-packed vehicle. He was 27 years old. Again, Donald Trump has never apologized. He even had the temerity to compare his own so-called “sacrifices” to CPT Khan’s sacrifice.
  • Trump disrespected the military Purple Heart award by accepting one as a gift, despite never having earned it. “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier,” he said.
  • Trump compared his escapades of sleeping around with loose women to the Vietnam War: “It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.”
  • Trump thinks that by attending a New York military-style prep school he had “more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military,” which is, of course, bullshit.
  • And, finally (but probably not finally), Trump rips off vets. To quote at length the New York Daily News:

    Trump has put his money where his mouth is when it comes to show how much he respects vets.

    Which is to say: Very little.

    In lieu of any service on his own, Trump has sometimes bought his way into veteran affairs by making donations that earned him a spot in, say, a parade or a memorial service.

    But there’s little evidence Trump has handed over the war chest of donations he has claimed.

    Trump spent the first few months of 2016 claiming he sent nearly $6 million to veterans groups nationwide, but Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold couldn’t find any evidence of any donations.

    After Fahrenthold asked and asked about the money, Trump held a news conference in May assuring he had sent out his donations.

    It turned out he sent most of them within a week of the press conference or, in some cases, on the same day Fahrenthold interviewed him about the mystery money.

    One of his biggest donations, of $1 million, went to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, a foundation that gave Trump an award the year before.

    Trump promised in the campaign that he would “take care” of America’s veterans, which, so far, has proven to be about as half-true as his donations were.

    His proposed federal budget gives the Department of Veteran Affairs an extra $4.3 billion, but it also cuts back on the cost-of-living adjustments for veteran benefit payouts, and it slashes funds for the Limb Loss Resource Center and Paralysis Resource Center, two organizations that help the VA with veterans suffering those ailments.

Trump’s history of insulting the men and women of our armed services make his words this Memorial Day seem very cheap indeed. Donald Trump, who has lived nearly his entire life in a self-centered bubble, has repeatedly disparaged, exploited and pissed on those very people who have sacrificed for his freedoms and the freedoms of all Americans. Memorial Day is something he could never understand. Being president doesn’t change that.

Trump places spotlight on grieving Navy widow for political gain

Last night I watched Donald Trump’s address to congress. I noticed right away that his demeanor was toned down to a more appropriate “presidential” level. Many in the media were very impressed by this. I wasn’t. It may be somewhat remarkable, given his usual disposition, but is far from impressive. He only had to stick to the script, which he mostly did, and you can train even a monkey to do tricks. One speech does not mark a presidential coming-of-age, as some may suggest.

And then the subject of the raid in Yemen came up and Trump point out Carryn Owens, the wife of fallen Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens. He said some kind things to her and made an eloquent tribute to Owens’ death. The audience gave Mrs. Owens a standing ovation and cameras focused on her tear-drenched face as she wept, overcome with emotion, for a minute and a half.  Honestly, I almost cried myself. But something didn’t feel right. Amidst the raw emotion and eloquent words, something felt artificial.

Mrs. Owens’s grief was real. A grief like that never leaves, but one can hope to someday make peace with it. Trump’s use of that grief for his own political gain was the disgusting manipulation.

When Ryan Owens died on January 29th, Donald Trump called Mrs. Owens personally to offer his condolences then added, almost as an afterthought, “By the way, I’m going to be giving this speech in February. If you feel comfortable, I would love to have you as a guest.” It’s not hard to imagine Trump and his camp considering even at this point how they can spin this situation in their favor.

Later, criticism of the raid surfaced. While the White House maintained that it was a “successful” mission, people questioned how a mission involving the deaths of a US sailor, civilian non-combatants and the loss of a multi-million dollar aircraft could be categorized as a “success.” People criticized how Trump make the decision to go ahead with the raid while having dinner with his strategist Steve Bannon, who had an unremarkable stint in the Navy, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has no military or policy experience.  Additionally, Trump was not present in the situation room when the raid took place.

The father of the fallen special warfare operator, Bill Owens, said publicly that he didn’t want to meet with Trump, he questioned the integrity of the decision-making process and called for an investigation. Trump unbelievably threw his military commanders under the bus when he shifted the responsibility from himself to the military leaders in charge. “They lost Ryan,” he said.

Then comes the address to congress. What better way to distract the people from Trump’s ignorance and ineptitude than to put the grieving widow on spotlight? What better way to turn an operation that he himself fucked up and took no responsibility for into a Trump-fest? Mrs. Owens cried. The audience gave her a standing ovation. Pundits praised his speech.

For Donald Trump everything is a media opportunity, even a grieving widow of a fallen sailor. It is certainly appropriate that Mrs. Owens should have been invited to some sort of private meeting with the president in honor of her dead husband. It is even arguably appropriate to bring up Ryan Owens’ death in an event such as this with wide media coverage to bring attention to his sacrifice. But the thing is, this was Trump’s address to congress, not a tribute to Ryan Owens. The purpose of this event was to present and bolster support for his policy plans. Mrs. Owens’ presence was useful to Trump. In the end, it was all about Trump.

What makes this even more insidious is that those who point out Trump’s crassness in this matter will be attacked by Trump and his press goons. They will accuse critics of being cruel to Mrs. Owens and dishonoring her husband, and who would do this to a grieving widow?

At the address to congress Mrs. Owens was given a standing ovation for a minute and a half. She deserved every second of it. But that applause was for her and her husband Chief Ryan Owens; not for Donald Trump.  This time, Mr. President, it isn’t about you.

Trump shifts blame to the military for Navy SEAL operator’s death.

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“It’s not my fault. I’m just the president.”

In an interview on “Fox ‘n’ Friends,” Donald Trump, in a most egregious example of piece-of-shittery, blames the military blames the military on the death of Navy SEAL operator William “Ryan” Owens, who died during a secret military raid in Yemen.

“This was a mission that was started before I got here. This was something they wanted to do,” Trump said.

“They came to me, they explained what they wanted to do. The generals — who are very respected, my generals are the most respected that we’ve had in many decades, I believe. And they lost Ryan,” he added.

“This was something that they were looking at for a long time doing, and according to [Defense Secretary Jim] Mattis, it was a very successful mission. They got tremendous amounts of information.”

Un-fucking-believable.  A commander, a leader, is ultimately responsible for everything that does or does not happen during an operation. It’s ridiculous that Trump is shifting the blame to the military commanders under him when, in fact, he was the ultimate  authority. He keeps saying “they,” meaning the military. “They came to me.” “They lost Ryan.” As if he, being the President of the United States had no say in the matter.

Ridiculous, but not surprising. Underneath Trump’s bravado, he’s a spineless wimp; a spoiled baby with a big head and a fragile ego. He’ll sell you out in an instant if he thinks it’ll save his own skin.

Truly sad.

Father of deceased Navy SEAL declines to meet with Trump

The father of the Navy SEAL who died in January’s raid in Yemen could not bring himself to meet with Donald Trump in a private meeting. “I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him,” said Bill Owens, a veteran, retired police detective and father of Chief William “Ryan” Owens, as reported by The Washington Post on on Sunday. Owens is critical of the way Trump and his administration handled the raid in Yemen, as well as his treatment of other veterans and their families.

I’ve said it before, Donald Trump does not care about or value our service members. Trump reportedly made the decision to go ahead with raid over dinner. He wasn’t present in the situation room when the raid was taking place. His biggest concern around that time seemed to be his Twitter feed. Sean Spicer called the intel-gathering mission that resulted in the death of a Navy SEAL as well as multiple non-combatant civilians and the loss of a multi-million dollar aircraft a “success.” Worse than being incompetent (which he is), Trump’s carelessness and lack of respect for the people who serve this country is offensive.

It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican, if you value our service members and veterans we have to speak up. The elder Bill Owens is not falling for Trump’s bullshit. Neither should we. No military operation is without risk, but Trump’s arrogant disregard for due care in this operation cannot be overlooked. As the Commander-in-Chief, the lives of our service members are in Trump’s hands, but they are not his to throw away.

HuffPo writes: “As SEALs Fought For Their Lives, Trump’s Account Sent And Deleted A TV Tweet”

Looks like I wasn’t the only one who noticed.  The Huffington Post writes:

As SEALs Fought For Their Lives, Trump’s Account Sent And Deleted A TV Tweet

I blogged about Trump’s twitter feed during this time before but I didn’t know that the tweet referenced in the article had been deleted since then.

As noted in the article, it is unclear who exactly made that tweet from @realDonaldTrump. It came from an iPhone, making it seem like a staffer may have tweeted it since Trump usually uses his Android phone. According to the article, though, one thing is clear: he was in the White House during the raid and not the Situation Room where he should have been monitoring the operation.

I notice this stuff. Others notice this stuff, too. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated, regarding the “success” of the operation: “The life of Chief Ryan Owens was done in service to this country and we owe him and his family a great debt for the information that we received during that raid…I think any suggestion otherwise is a disservice to his courageous life and the actions that he took, full stop.”

No, Sean. Donald Trump’s callous disregard for the value of America’s warriors is a is a disservice to Chief Owens’ courageous life and the actions that he took.

Full fucking stop.