Republicans, This Has Gone on Way Too Long

So Mr. Military Stable Genius declared this nearly a month ago:

President Donald Trump has ordered staff to execute the “full” and “rapid” withdrawal of US military from Syria, declaring that the US has defeated ISIS.

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. Planning for the pullout is already underway, a US defense official and an  administration official told CNN.

This was reported five days ago: U.S. Equipment, but Not Troops, Begins Exiting Syria in Chaotic Withdrawal.

This was reported today:

ISIS has claimed responsibility for a deadly explosion that killed US service members in the Syrian city of Manbij on Wednesday.

US service members were killed in the attack, according to a tweet from the spokesperson for the US-led coalition Operation Inherent Resolve.

“U.S. service members were killed during an explosion while conducting a routine patrol in Syria today. We are still gathering information and will share additional details at a later time,” the tweet said.

The original decision to send troops was questionable, IMO, but once troops are deployed they shouldn’t be un-deployed on a whim without a carefully thought-out plan that minimizes risk to troops and allies.


The number one topic on the evening MSNBC bobblehead shows was Trump’s desire to withdraw the U.S. from NATO.

Senior administration officials told The New York Times that several times over the course of 2018, Mr. Trump privately said he wanted to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Current and former officials who support the alliance said they feared Mr. Trump could return to his threat as allied military spending continued to lag behind the goals the president had set.

In the days around a tumultuous NATO summit meeting last summer, they said, Mr. Trump told his top national security officials that he did not see the point of the military alliance, which he presented as a drain on the United States.

Trump is too stupid to grasp that what other nations spend doesn’t impact what the United States spends. He seems to think that because they are spending less, we are spending more. He also doesn’t grasp that NATO leaders, who head representative democracies, cannot by themselves change spending levels. Budgets are the work of legislatures. Of course, he doesn’t really grasp how the U.S. government works, either. But one does wonder if his obsession with NATO isn’t coming from Vladimir Putin.

One would like to think that if Trump does get up one morning and tweet a withdrawal from NATO, Congress would block him. However, Congress has been helpless to stop him from wrecking everything else.

Greg Sargent writes,

The New York Times has an alarming new article documenting the economic damage that the shutdown is beginning to inflict. White House economic advisers are now acknowledging that it’s putting a greater damper on growth than previously anticipated. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers are furloughed or working without pay, and thousands of government contractors are sidelined.

With the economy already taking a hit from Trump’s impulsive and unpredictable trade war (anyone else noticing a pattern here?), economists warn that a damper on economic confidence could soon follow, possibly pushing the U.S. economy into contraction.

Considering that the economy was the one thing Trump had to brag about, you would think that he would be having second thoughts about continuing this farce. But he is now entirely surrounded by butt-kissers who encourage his worst impulses and tell him what he wants to hear. The crew at Fox News is telling him his shutdown plan is working to bring the Democrats to their knees. Indeed, yesterday he tweeted the result of a Quinnipiac poll that said 54 percent of Americans agree there’s a “crisis” on the southern border. Perhaps nobody told him about this part:

Quinnipiac finds that even larger majorities don’t believe the wall Trump wants will be effective in addressing that crisis. Voters say by 59-to-40 percent that a wall is not necessary to protect the border; they say by 56-to-43 percent that a wall won’t be effective in protecting the border; and they say by 55-43 percent that a wall will not make the United States safer.

See also It’s Week 4 Of The Shutdown. Americans Still Think Trump Is To Blame.

The one person who could put us all out of the shutdown misery is Mitch McConnell, who continues to refuse to allow the Senate to vote on bills that would end the shutdown. McConnell is up for re-election in 2020; maybe he’s afraid of the base. But the Louisville Courier-Journal is calling McConnell a gutless wonder for not standing up to Trump. The Lexington Herald-Leader is reporting that the shutdown is hurting people in Kentucky, especially rural people.  Trump’s trade wars have hurt Kentucky also. And Kentucky now has fewer coal jobs than it did when Trump took office.

Every Democrat in America needs to be talking to rural folks in Kentucky about why Trump and McConnell are doing them no good. And next time a Democrat runs against McConnell, let it be someone who isn’t conflicted about what he or she stands for, okay?

Update: See also The Gravedigger of American Democracy.

43 thoughts on “Republicans, This Has Gone on Way Too Long

  1. "Of course, he doesn’t really grasp how the U.S. government works, either"

    That is true, the one thing Trump does understand, perhaps better than most, is how politicians work, specifically race baiting, America first, right-wingers (Republicans). Everything Trump does is to put pressure on republican politicians, he knows the buttons to push (NATO, NAFTA, EU, Mexicans, Blacks, Elite Media, etc) and he pushes them relentlessly. I haven't quite decided if he is there to destroy government or just to exploit every asset of government to stay in power. Either way I'm sure he thinks he doesn't need to understand how government works because he only needs to make it work for him.

  2. " The one person who could put us all out of the shutdown misery is Mitch McConnell"

    Yes he is the key, but democrats are not doing what it takes to put pressure on him. Chuck and Nancy need to use the only thing that right-wingers understand, FEAR. they need to preemptively start blaming Mitch and the rethugs for the inevitable Commercial airline mishap (Air Traffic Controllers working without pay), the inevitable missed weapon allowed on a commercial plane (TSA agents working without pay), the inevitable MS-13 gang banger missed by the border patrol that are not being paid. Use the terror card!

  3. Mitch is just letting Trump know that the honeymoon is over. It's a simple case of… you want it? you got it! wear it in good health. Or,to put it another way..I'll teach your ass to play games with me. Or, don't write no checks that your ass can't cash.

  4. What tRUMP knows about… Well, any and every thing – combined! – could fit on the back of a matchbook!  With room to spare!!!

    And because of his bigotry, his remarkable ignorance and stupidity, and his unmatched narcissism, he is a danger not only to America, but to the whole world.  

     He, individually, has done more damage to this country – in less than 2 years!!!!! – than all of the "Fifth Columnists" could have even dreamed of.  

    The economy is starting to lose the momentum from Obama's policies; and between tRUMP's moronic trade wars and shutdown, we may soon have a recession – possibly a major one.

    He has soiled America's international reputation.  We may NEVER recover our honor (or rather, what was left of it after Cheney/Bush's wars, occupations, torture, rendition, etc..).  Our only hope may be that when tRUMP leaves office, our allies can be convinced that with that stupid maniac out of office, the new gal/guy will do whatever is possible to make amends.

    I could go on and on, but I don't want to bore you…

  5. Not just trump but Pence too.  He gave a speech today where he stated the caliphate was no more and that ISIS was defeated.  Right about the same time the troops were dying from an ISIS bombing.

    This is getting ridiculous.


  6.  I don't see a political solution until the civil system of air travel breaks down, possibly with hundreds of lives lost in a mid-air collision. Then Congress will act with a veto-proof margin. I'd like to see a wildcat strike of federal employees who are required to work with no paycheck. The unions are not allowed to organize a government strike – if they could it might save all the lives on two passenger jets.

    I watched the Barr hearings – there's good and bad. I'm encouraged that Barr is a personal friend of Mueller and knows he's a straight shooter. I do not think Barr is going to accept the story that this is the FBI gone rogue. IF (and I emphasize if) the Muller Report lays out hard evidence which proves a conspiracy between Trump and Putin, I do not think Barr will go out on a limb to protect Trump. Barr will throw Trump under the bus with malice.

    However, if the only evidence is testimony by crooks with incentive to save their own skins, and NO hard evidence (recordings, documents, bank records, Internet records, etc) I think Barr will bow to pressure from Trump to suppress as much as Barr can make up reasons to redact.

    Side note: If Trump is guilty and Barr takes an active role in obstruction, that's a crime. Nixon's A/G did 18 months, something Barr certainly knows. So IMO, it comes down to what Mueller has been able to prove.

  7. Trump may be less thrilled with the Barr appointment than he was a week ago. There's no reason for Barr to protect Trump if Trump is guilty. Barr will see the hard, cold proof. I think Barr suckered Trump into making the appointment with the memo Barr wrote but Barr seems to be keeping his own counsel. (That's not to say I would mistake Barr DOJ policy for Holder's policy.) He's almost Sessions except – Sessions was in on it, IMO and had to recuse or risk jail when the ship hit the fan. Barr isn't incriminated and I think he's way too smart to put his neck on the block for a dunderhead like Trump.

  8. Doug,

    I'm not as hopeful that Barr will do the right thing. He never ruled out firing Mueller, hell he even refused to say he would even release Mueller's report. Me thinks Trump picked him not only because of his audition letter but also because he's already been part of a right-wing crime spree cover-up. He was knee deep in HW's efforts to cover-up Iran Contra. I'm almost convinced that he's just another crooked republican.

  9. Pop quiz… Famous Quotes – 10 points

    Which famous where quote is attributable to the 45th President of the United States?

    1. "Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego" ?

    2. "Where's Waldo" ?

    3. "Where's my African American" ?


  10. The economic effects of the shutdown carry lessons for US debt and deficit hawks. 1) Government jobs are real jobs. 2) Government spending is a lynchpin of the economy. 

    Because of popular mythology about money, US government spending has gotten a bad name. People may worry about the government running out of money, or about whether the government can afford to do things. The US government is the ultimate source of the US dollar. If the economy needs dollars, the government can provide those dollars by spending. The shutdown shows what happens when the government curtails spending.

  11. Paradoctor,

    And pay without work is not an indicator of a "Welfare State" as our conservatives whine, but an aristocracy.

    And we see more and more evidence of an American aristocracy. 

    The ultra-uber rich aren't taxed anywhere near a level where their "trust-fund babies" actually have to work.

    Instead, the inheritor's of the money from the "malefactors of great wealth" can finance vanity projects – like tRUMP, who can play real estate mogul knowing his daddy will save his fat orange ass from fuck-up's of his own making. 

    And then, run for POTUS, because he convinced the gullible in our county that he was a great negotiator and business man.  NO!  HE WASN'T!!  HIS DADDY WAS!!!  But he and his daddy were/are great bigots!

    Our Founding Fathers didn't want an aristocracy in America.  But the 19th -20th Century  "Robber Baron's" did.  And now, our 21st Century Robber Baron's have all of the trappings of an aristocracy – minus the fancy-schmancy titles!

    I hope AOC can convince Americans that the best antidote to a growing aristocracy, is a high tax rate!  A VERY high one!!!

  12. JAYZOOS!!!

    Twit-filtered again!!!

    This is fucking wearying.

    I need a break from the constant filtering.

    Talk to all y'all later! 

    Much later…


  13. Never forget Giuliani worked for trump campaign transition etc.he says no collusion then says yesterday there was. Giuliana is a witness and perhaps a subject in this investigation masquerading as a lawyer.

  14. “There is not a single bit of evidence the President of the United States committed the only crime you can commit here, conspiring with the Russians to hack the DNC."

    Mayor Bug Eyes.

    Mueller has Trump nailed. Rudy knows it.

  15. I'm afraid my opinion is not going to be popular here, but I'm retired Army, and I don't see how Trump, as Commander in Chief, is at any way at fault in the deaths of these soldiers. He's supposed to be able to direct the deployment and withdrawal of troops and then competent generals are supposed to be able to conduct those maneuvers. I don't see how conducting a patrol in Manbij was any more hazardous today than it was last month. The U.S. forces there have known for at least the last six months that remnants of ISIS forces, supported by Saudi Arabia, have been sheltering in their neighborhood. Indeed, the SDF (Syrian Defense Forces, "rebel" forces supported by the U.S.) have been skirmishing with them and invited the Syrian government forces to move into Manbij last week to prevent the Turks from attacking them. The U.S. forces were not strong enouch to conduct kinetic operations and there purpose there seemed to be to protect the ISIS fighters. The Turks, PYG, and Syrian Army don't want to conduct operations there because if they come within five kilometers of the U.S. troops, i.e. where they can attack the ISIS fighters, they will be fired upon.

  16. I agree with Procopius.  Trump is the Worst President Ever, and a lousy human being, but getting US out of Syria is a Good Thing, and sooner is better than later.  Don't get sucked into opposing things just because… Trump.

  17. " Don't get sucked into opposing things just because… Trump "

    Well it works both ways, one shouldn't allow the ends to justify the means. Trump is pulling out of Syria not because he believes it was an unjust operation, he is pulling out because his fascist buddy Erdogan demanded it. Motive matters!

  18. ISIS is defeated as an organized military force, but there are some pockets of resistance left. Think of Japan in the last days of WWII. It had been defeated as a military force but that did not mean that some stubborn holdouts were not still shooting back on some island in the Pacific.

    The Syria Arab Army with Iranian and Hezbollah help and Russian air support has basically destroyed ISIS and a slew of other terrorist groups. The Manj (sp?) attack, while important, is essentially a sideshow to the main anti-terrorist war in Syria. Still someone has to clean them out.

    Still, the presence or absence of US troops is not essential to the continued defeat of ISIS. Where they are key is in what happens to the SDF and the Kurds in general. ErdoÄŸan is out for blood and none of the USA, the Kurds or the Syrian Gov't want him on Syrian territory, the Kurds in particular. Leaving the SDF and the rest of the Kurds hanging could be really, really nasty.

    The next two worries are, will ISIS et al. move into a long term guerrilla war in Syria and Iraq and what happens if a lot of the foreign contingent of these terrorist groups, apparently a large component, try to go home.

  19. Procopius seems unaware that ISIS is defeated in Syria. Trump said it. Pence said it within hours of the non-existent defeated threat turning four soldiers into corpses. 

    I was in the military, too. I was offshore for the evacuation of Saigon – a cluster-flock if ever there was one. I favored getting out of 'Nam but the final evacuation was a fiasco. This is shaping up that way.

    My criticism, and I think other people have also said this, is that Trump makes unilateral decisions without consultation. Trump has no military experience. You still make the final decision after consultation with the Pentagon and other experts but all indications this was an impulsive move illustrating the anus-extractus method.

    If you have any doubts, the very public resignation of Matis should be enough. 

  20. @ Procopius  •  Jan 17, 2019 @10:20 am

    <i>The U.S. forces were not strong enouch to conduct kinetic operations and there purpose there seemed to be to protect the ISIS fighters. </i>

    I had not considered that, palm slap,  but it certainly is a plausible hypothesis.  I had tended to think they were there more due to Washington's sheer bloody-mindedness but protecting ISIS makes a great deal of sense.

    Do you think the US would try to extract them somehow?


  21. My next comment will be a test of the twit-filter.

    It will consist o the late great George Carlin's 7 dirty words you can't say on TV.

  22. The publicly stated reason/excuse for putting US forces in Syria was to eliminate ISIS, but "regime change" (lousy euphemism for "rousting disobedient foreign leaders") has always been a part of the mission. 

    With US arms, air support, money, and advice, the Kurds did a damn good job of beating ISIS, wiping out their strongholds east of the Euphrates.  I admire the courage, discipline, and organizational skill they showed in accomplishing this.  We "owe" them for this, but we shouldn't pretend to owe them something we can't give: territory belonging to other countries (Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Iran).  Unfortunately, that's what they want.

    What we CAN do is help protect the Kurds from Turkey.  The best way to do this is to facilitate reconciliation between the Kurds and the Syrian Government; but this clashes with our other "mission" – regime change.

    I would agree that we should keep US troops in Kurdish areas until Syrian & Russian forces re-establish territorial integrity (keeping the Turks out). In that sense, yes, I'm for "orderly withdrawal", of course.

    But the US base in Al-Tanf should be shutdown ASAP.  It's in south-eastern Syria, where the borders of Syria, Jordan, & Iraq meet – far from Turkey, and not a Kurdish area.  Al-Tanf straddles the main road from Baghdad to Damascus, and our base is primarily there to block traffic from Iran to Syria (essentially, an illegal blockade).  The base has (intentionally or not?) protected ISIS & other jihadi groups from attacks by Syrian/Russian forces.  Shut it down.

  23. OK, by the process of elimination, "c*nt" is the only one of Carlin's 7 dirty words you can't say on TV that will ALSO get you twit-filtered

    So why do my comments, in which I NEVER use the "c"-word, get twitted?!

  24. Dear maha,

    Lose your inconsistent twit-filter, or lose a loyal 15+ year commenter.*



    *Maybe that's not much of a threat…


    • All: I have turned off the anti-spam filter for the time being to see if that helps. The real issue is that I need to update the template entirely. The one I’m using has been in use since 2005 and is no longer being supported or updated. A new one ought to give me access to updated tools, but I’m not able to take the time or spend the money to do that right his minute. It shouldn’t be long, though.

      This may or may not make any difference but I’ve been taking steps to acquire a SSL certificate. I bought one from the company with which the domain is registered, but that was a week ago. It’s been really difficult to get Dotster to slog through the installation steps.

      C u n d gulag, please don’t bail out on me now. I’m missing deadlines on my book as it is and am under a ton of pressure at the moment. I need your comments to keep me going!

  25. Gulag, I feel your pain, the twit filter seems as random as Trump's tweets! You missed one between F#ck and C#ckS%cker!

  26. Happens in other places too, to me.  I look at the bright side.  They're just comments, and not expensive products and services so common in our broken capitalism. 

  27. bill,

    Mine, dear sir, are NOT "just comments!" 😲😤

    They are carefully crafted word-turds!!! 🤔😎 


    Wth more than occasional bouts of verbal diarrhea… 😩

  28. maha,

    That was about as empty a threat as anyone's ever seen. 😁

    I love you and my family of fellow commenters too much to stop coming here for my daily dose of sanity. 😍

    And besides, you all know I can never shutup! 😆

    Because, in the words of that great American philosopher, Ralph Kramden: 



  29. OK, this stupid game is getting really boring, we are all losers and getting to be bigger losers every day. It is time to quit while we are all behind.  

    And the mess you make  needs to be cleaned up and those trenches filled in and the sod replaced.

    And I don't want to hear a twitter or a word out of any of you until you get it all done.

    This all gets me more in touch with my inner parent, as I crave adult leadership at times. These cravings are increasing in intensity and frequency of late.  I fear it may be related to overexposure to Agent Orange.  It could be Double Agent Orange, but I see little indication of any positive action in favor of the US, so I am going with Agent Orange for now. 



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