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January 05, 2017

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It's the pivot! The pivot, I say!!!

It's actually not entirely new, except that it's setting the approval authority a lot lower than Big Army, and making it policy rather than a series of Exceptions to Policy. So the Army is not up in arms about it - they're not gonna blink at this since they've seen its like already, and the most reactionary elements are still losing their collective s--t about women in Combat Arms. That actually probably helps, because there's been a lot of eyerolling about the end of the world and/or Army being repeatedly and increasingly hysterically predicted by those lot over the last 5-7 years - DADT being repealed was going to destroy the Infantry and its esprit de corps, Female Engagement Teams embedded with front-line units were going to do the same, women in Combat Arms were/are going to do the same... this is actually minor compared to that as far as Army culture goes. The Army is pretty good (for the most part - definitely for the most part) about being inclusive within its ranks - at least so long as we're not talking about gender, sigh.

I approved an Islamic accommodation some time last year for hair covering. It was supported by everyone in the chain of command as well as the Chaplains (who are tasked to ensure it is a sincerely held belief in an established religion), and there was no pushback. The Soldier was nearly in tears that it was approved, though. It is such a simple way to keep Soldiers, especially those who may have language and context we need. I have also seen several Sikh Soldiers wearing their head covering for a couple years. So I don't expect this to be a big issue.

jrudkis,

Considering that having a beard is nowadays rather normal, apolitical fashion, I suppose that Western militaries will probably allow it within a decade or so. Already, "an operator beard" is something many soldiers aspire to.

And yes, you can wear a beard and a gas mask, if you trim the beard appropriately. It is different if you want to wear an orthodox Jewish beard, though.

Honestly, the biggest reaction I saw to the announcement of the above on social media was in lines with what you're saying, Lurker: thinly veiled anticipation that beards for all and sundry were coming - not now, maybe not soon, but they were definitely coming.

cleek may be gone, but I stole this link from his place:

http://www.seattlereviewofbooks.com/notes/2017/01/03/revenge/

Wow, great poem Count. Am about to go to bed, but will spread this widely tomorrow.

Cornrows make a lot of sense for some women with longer hair as it is much easier to maintain presentable in field conditions. I approved that in my command back in 1995 (essentially meaning that I did not make the soldiers get rid of it even when the CSM complained to me). I agree that beards are not problematic tactically, and it is even preferable in the areas we are currently operating. But I would be surprised if they become common any time soon. The Army is too hierarchical and wedded to its unique fashion choices for that to happen quickly. For example, you still almost never see a male Soldier with a part in the middle of his hair, even though that has never been forbidden.

For example, you still almost never see a male Soldier with a part in the middle of his hair, even though that has never been forbidden.

Of course, it's also not 1982 anymore.

Republican Trump and his authoritarian fellow filth in Congress will fuck up any of the deviation from bullet-headedness in military coifdom as soon they get done murdering decent Americans who will no longer have access to healthcare.

Brigade-level commanders will find themselves making $1 per annum once they are identified as the ones who permitted any deviation from bulletheadedness. Hell, John Bolton's blood soaked moustache was passed over by Trump, despite being attached to cold-blooded fellow killer John Bolton.

But that will be double the 50 cents per annum that military personnel will be paid per annum who are shoring up U.S. Naval bases against the ravages of global warming, as soon as Trump identifies them. The money will be diverted to shore up Mar-a-Lago and Rush Limbaugh's and Matt Drudge's digs in Palm Beach.

Pat Buchanan:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/buchanan/the-rise-of-illiberal-democracy/

I remember years ago (it cracks me up that I possess institutional memory of this place, but that's what happens when Gary Farber flies the coop) when Moe Lane, who beshat himself for years over at Redstate after giving up the hunt for red dawn here wrote a post somewhere .... his place, here, probably at Tacitus ... officially exiling Pat Buchanan from the Republican Party (like Pat Buchanan gives a shit what a nothing like Moe Lane thinks), but how that Buchanan, the fascist, racist, anti-Semite, pro-Putin authoritarian, is in the ascendancy again under his new Fuhrer, (you have to shoot these c*unt cucks in the brainstem to be rid of them eternally), Lane has gone to ground:

http://moelane.com/

Buchanan won that one.

While on temporary hiatus, I was wandering around in the wayback machine to find some of my favorite malign pre-alt-Right pigf*ckers and I came across this specimen of dogshit's inhumanity to man's diary:

http://www.redstate.com/diary/streiff/2014/07/11/first-decade-red-state/

Quote:

"Before Hahn’s arrival we were more committed to dialog with the left (if someone is bold enough ask Leon about his time at swordscrossed.com), the rather naive concept being that the left was actually reasonable and we could all get along if they just understood where we were coming from. Hahn called bulls*** on that. He said that when you engage the left in dialog you come up against their KnownFacts(tm). You can’t convince them those KnownFacts(tm) are wrong so everyday you are arguing the same stuff over and over. Your contributors get tired. Your readers get tired. They quit or leave. The same way with the left’s issues. Their issues are not our issues. Every minute you spend talking to a lefty about a lefty issue is time you are not talking to the conservative base about conservative issue. In July 2005 Mike Krempasky posted Attn Lefties at RedState

Over the next few days and weeks, we here at RedState are going to spend some time purging y’all."

.... but, even worse, especially for those who remember Edward, a front pager at OBWI years ago, the art dealer, lovely guy, and for that matter, the rest of us, including Russell and decent conservatives here too, including Andy Olmsted, THIS:

"RedState of that era was interesting. The masthead contained, conservatively, a couple of dozen bloggers of various shades of right, most of whom never posted. Most of the commenters were leftwing scum that had followed Moe Lane over from Obsidian Wings or Josh Trevino from Tacitus. I quickly –and usually– found myself the only conservative commenting. The site was based heavily on dKos, including the community rating of comments and diaries. Within a couple of months I was appealing to management to remove the troll status I’d attained on the site, getting the rating meant that my comments were only visible to moderators. A couple of dKos regulars, “Armando” the famed lawyer/pompous douchebag, the ever batty Maryscott O’Connor, frequented the comments section. There was “Edward” from ether Obsidian Wings or Tacitus, an “out and proud” and obnoxious homosexual whom I was able to conjure up by simply writing “buggery” in a comment title (each comment had a title in those days) on any thread."

Now, thousands of examples of hater dogshit like Redstate Streiff are loose in my government, which I am now willing to wreck and kill and incinerate to get rid of this fascist killing infestation, much as I have to lose in the attempt.

They hate us, they've always hated us, long before anyone thought up the mild word "deplorable" and hurt their subhuman feelings.

Clinton and Obama are gone. Good, clear the decks. Get armed, and heavily, because you are going to have to to protect yourselves and your families.

I want the Republican Party, and its fellow fascist travelers across Europe, North Carolina, Russia and every other place this pox on humanity's ass had broken out dead.

Poland is a good place to start the bloodletting. I'll get to that in a bit.

HSH: Of course, it's also not 1982 anymore.

It is where many of our Soldiers come from.

@jkrudis:
So I don't expect this to be a big issue.

Not within the ranks, and probably not within the officer corps as a whole. But you can bet the kind of civilians who are publicly worried about Shariah Law will see it as one step toward Muslim conquest.

RM: I can certainly see how it could be demagogued, but the best part is that the change is based on the religious freedom laws used by the right to try and protect their version of Christianity.

It is where many of our Soldiers come from.

You'd know better than I would. I always pictured them coming from 1988 and having their mullets cut off. But now that I'm thinking of it, you can do the part down the middle nicely with a mullet in the back.

I hung out at RedState for a couple of years, posting as amos. This is a long time ago, back when everyone was using patristic fathers and other eccentric references as their pseudonyms. Apparently before Hahn showed up, whoever the hell he is. He came from Free Republic - all I'll say is that in my experience Free Republic is Breitbart for old folks who are off their meds. They're fucking lunatics.

streiff was actually a guy I didn't mind that much. He is mostly a hard-ass Army dude. Imade some points with him by observing that folks who get their asses out of bed every day and put in a day's work should be able to make enough money to live on. He sent me an email privately, he didn't want to go on record to that effect publicly on the blog. Credit where credit due, nonetheless.

Most of the other editors, notably Krempasky who was cashing checks from Walmart to blog favorably about them, and Erickson who saw a pot of gold at the end of the Regnery rainbow, were mercenary shits. IMVHO.

Less so Trevino, who while being pretty much a full-on fascist was at least not mercenary, and Thomas Crown (not his real name), with whom I struck up an surprising friendship in spite of his spirited defense of Pinochet and his odd nostalgia for the institution of dueling.

Honor culture, y'all.

My favorite RedState moment was when they asked the readership for volunteer techical help in upgrading the site. Kos was rolling out better features, they couldn't take that lying down.

The fact that Moulitsas was actually *paying his developers* seemed to escape them.

Good times.

Pat Buchanan: my brother in law once forwarded me a piece by Buchanan, explaining that blacks should quit complaining and be grateful for slavery, because it let them hear about Jesus. He got the piece from my sister.

Neither he or my sister consider that they have a racist bone in their bodies. They know black people, they never did anything bad to any black person.

America in a nutshell.

murica

I posted on Redstate once, and was immediately banned (2007ish) because I said that McCain at least served and had 'skin in the game' with his kid serving. Apparently it was not politically correct to talk about Chicken Hawks on Redstate.

So, is the US military going to start to look like the American Foreign Legion?...

...the change is based on the religious freedom laws used by the right to try and protect their version of Christianity.

What you are not understanding is that, for them, religious freedom doesn't apply to non-Christian religions. So invoking it in this instance is an irrelevance.

Roger Moore is right that the military won't have a problem with the new regs. It's the folks who fetishize the military, often without ever having been part of it, who will have (or can be demagogued into having) hysterics.

wj, yes, someone will always be pissy, but the people with power will see this as positive for the religious agenda (mistakenly, since they want to impose on others rather than get an accommodation.) But I agree there will always be someone who complains. 'Hey, that guy gets to wear a beard, which is no one's problem, why does my business have to serve gays?'

I started participating here just as Moe Lane was decamping. It was actually because I made a drive by comment about something and Edward gave me a reinforcing comment and I was off to the races. So I appreciate (in the same way I appreciate a doctor telling me some serious medical problem) the Count's posting of strieff's recollections.

I tend to think that you can find out a lot about a person just by paying attention to a lot of things that may not seem so important, and strieff's piece is a case in point. The picture is of Gustavus Adolphus before the battle of Lutzen, so it's not hard to think that he imagines himself as a foot soldier to fight against the heathens. Unfortunately, the Battle of Lutzen was in the Thirty Year's War, where the heathens were Catholics, which suggests Seb's tribalism on steroids. One could argue that the picture may not have been chosen by him, but Strieff was the name of Gustav's battle horse, so that whole notion of being the 'warhorse' upon whom rides the leader is probably built into everything he writes. Unfortunately, one wonders if he realizes that a horse doesn't really have any moral sense and would have done the same thing had he been on the other side.

In the quote that Count has, he says "I quickly –and usually– found myself the only conservative commenting." Not only the sense of 'I'm the only one fighting here!' but the sense of victimhood is palpable. Also the casual acknowledgement of homophobia with this

“out and proud” and obnoxious homosexual whom I was able to conjure up by simply writing “buggery” in a comment title (each comment had a title in those days) on any thread."

Breathtaking. And in the comments, someone said something about him (I don't know if it's a guy, but really?) appreciating that Strieff made him realize buggery has two g's.

Returning to the OP, what amazes me is that we are now the point where we think what sort of obviously useful rule or regulation or idea can be twisted into a dark attack on civilization as we know it.

I don't deny the usefulness of the military dress code since WWI, especially until the end of the draft. When only white guys served, beards and long hair were okay (plus lice from WWI trenches). I think society has changed enough to no longer need such a strict fashion code.

Other, more homogenous militaries did not need our grooming standards to help cohesion. With the 'professional' not draft military, there is less need for conformity. It took 30 years.

It is incremental, but it is positive.

It's the folks who fetishize the military, often without ever having been part of it, who will have (or can be demagogued into having) hysterics.

wj, there's also a contingent of veterans that'll be very vocal about this sort of thing. I refer to a certain slice of former non-careerists who endlessly sing the song of "I'm glad I got out when I did" or even "I got out because of this" regarding one cultural change after another, most of whom got out after one term because they didn't like the restrictions of military life. I generalize, obviously, but still.

Oh, and for a very different cohort of potentially aggrieved veterans, I'm pretty sure if any widespread outrage about this tries to get organized, Alan West and his ilk will also be among the loudest denouncers...

One could go back to the Roman division between the legions and the auxiliaries (where the natives fought partially keeping their own gear and fashion) ;-)

Half-seriously, I could imagine some people looking at the British colonial military system as a model to be followed. Re-segregation* would be one of the features of appeal of course (SCOTUS be damned).

But my bet is rather that Rumsfeld's mercenaries will make a glorious comeback. Cue hint at Roman late antiquity or Italian renaissance.

*not just along skin colour but also sex**, religion and ethnic origin.
**I vaguely remember a story about Norway having a submarine with an all-female crew thus avoiding the problems that previously blocked women from the silent service.

@liberal japonicus,

Streiff is a really stupid name choice. The main reason why Gustavus II Adolphus was killed at Lützen was his horse. Streiff was a gift he had received. It was much bigger and fiercer than the horses he had been riding to battle previously, and it seems that Gustavus was unable to control it.

The memory of Gustavus is two-fold. In Sweden, 6th November, the day of his death, is a celebration for neo-nazis only. In Finland, it is the day of Swedish language, celebrated by all if our Swedish-speaking minority, and respectfully observed also by Finnish-speakers who want to show open-mindedness. For example, I usually fly Finnish flag at my home's flag pole, if only to piss off right-wing.

Hartmut,

as far as I know, the Norwegian women serve aboard submarines quite normally. In Finland, we don't have a submarine service, but our small surface ships are quite cramped. Since we started accepting women to military service, a rule was instituted that women lodge with men in field and ship-board accommodations. So, no structural modifications were necessary. I don't know how it works out for on-board showers, though. When I was a conscript, the rule in the barracks was that the women would have the sole use of the only shower room for one hour a day, and movement from the barracks rooms into the shower would happen "decent": At least sports pants for men, at least sports pants and a regular issue t-shirt or the PT jacket for women, plus slippers for everyone.

Lurker, that's great stuff. thx.

http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/did-caligula-really-make-his-horse-a-consul

Read the last paragraph about humiliation.

We're there again, folks.

Streiff banned me from red state because he didn't read the subject line lead in of my comment. Good times.

Wait until Assange gets hold of us, ugh.

Social media as junior high school at the hands of the mean girls is bad enough.

Social media as conservative alt-right Stasi will be great fun.

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2017/01/07/early-morning-open-thread-wikileaks-proposes-weaponizing-doxxing/

Before January 20th, our outgoing President needs to order special ops to enter the Ecuadorean Embassy in London and special rendition Assange, with some appropriate roughing-up.

Then order the FBI to pick up Sean Hannity and Roger Stone for questioning (after a plane ride shackled in orange suits to Guantanomo would be a great idea, getting a head start on Trump's making of the joint a prime resort spa and BDSM dungeon for his enemies) about his connection to Russian state security and Assange, and hope the waterboarding gets just a little out-of-hand.

The thought of their lungs filling up with water gives me goosebumps.

Strieff was the name of Gustav's battle horse

that explains a lot, actually.

It is incremental, but it is positive.

Right on.

Then order the FBI to pick up Sean Hannity and Roger Stone for questioning (after a plane ride shackled in orange suits to Guantanomo would be a great idea, getting a head start on Trump's making of the joint a prime resort spa and BDSM dungeon for his enemies) about his connection to Russian state security and Assange, and hope the waterboarding gets just a little out-of-hand.

Even if it isn't waterboarding, somebody really needs to criminally investigate Trump (before he's exempt from prosecution in the White House - he's not there yet, so why not start it, Loretta Lynch?) and his associates. It seems more than likely that there's probable cause to investigate them all for conspiracy to steal information (Trump asked them publicly - joke? obviously not ).

The fact that people are discussing this, rather than acting on it is beyond insane.

I appreciate the alarm about POTUS Trump. I also think that the current administration, from Obama on down, is bending over backwards to ensure a clean transfer of power. And, I think that is a good call on their part.

I'm not sure it is, but I think it is.

Initiating a criminal investigation of Trump in the absence of truly clear and public evidence of criminal wrong-doing would *absolutely* be seen as a partisan attempt to deny a legitimatly elected President the office.

It would be a freaking disaster.

When Obama took office, there were calls for investigations of the obvious criminality of folks in Cheney's circle. Obama declined to do that. I didn't agree with that decision, but it was arguably the right call. Enough shit was hitting the fan as it was.

I think it's probably the right call now as well.

What would be really good would be if the (R)'s could find some executive candidates who were actually appropriate. Not my circus, however.

I think it's probably the right call now as well.

Perhaps. But the amount of damage he could do on Day 1 is pretty spectacular, in my opinion. I honestly don't see why Republicans don't want to get rid of him. After all, Mike Pence is almost as ghastly on policy, but doesn't have the traitor and conflict of interest baggage (as far as we know - I guess I should remain skeptical).

Hard to keep up with the crazy.

Trump national security pick Monica Crowley plagiarized multiple sources in 2012 book

"In the book, Crowley lifted an entire section on Keynesian economics from the IAC-owned website Investopedia.
In one instance, Crowley lists a variety of so-called "pork" items she claimed were part of the 2009 stimulus package. Many of the instances were copied wholesale from a conservative list of pork barrel spending, with some items dating back to the 1990s. Most of the copied instances were listed on a website for a podiatrist dating back to 2004."

These people are beyond belief.

I honestly don't see why Republicans don't want to get rid of him.

Because they want to get re-elected, and if they oust the president their constituents just voted in, they'll get torn to pieces. It's not complicated.

NV: "I'm glad I got out when I did" or even "I got out because of this".

Yes. I love to tell Soldiers who complain about current changes that they are welcome to leave. Conform, or get out, it is the military way. They just think it is others who have to conform, not them.

jrudkis,

That's a great privilege of an all-volunteer force. In an army with conscription, the rules of the military are realm a subject of public debate, because they touch every family. And you can't really ever get out. My service obligation lasts until 31st December of the year I get 60, although most likely, army drops me from the org charts of actual war-time units before that. However, until the end if my 60th year, they can call me up for up to 200 days, and in an emergency, for the duration. Getting out is not an option for me.

And to be honest, "conform or get out" is not really working either in US, if you happen to have stop-loss on-going.

Lurker,

Yes, I can't provide immediate release even without stop-loss. Most enlisted Soldiers have a contract that makes it difficult to get rid of them without a crime. Officers can sometimes be even harder if they fight it. As an aside, I always find the work protection rules for Soldiers incongruous with the majority conservative anti-union ideas.

So when I say 'conform or get out,' that may take 18 months or so. But when your have invested some years in a career that has great benefits and retirement benefits, has significant personal identity, most of your friends are part of it, that is huge.

But it is better than the old way, where someone had to pretend to be someone else to keep those same benefits.

I skimmed the IC report on Russian influence. Some of the report was ridiculous-- Russia Today encourages criticism of the US, its policies and the system. The nerve. Thank goodness the US never criticizes other countries or tries to influence them in any way.

But it's good to see a serious investigation by the oh so open intellligence community ( when's the full torture report going to be released again?) into the activity by the Russians. Perhaps we can start similar investigations by these oh so accountable folks into how others influence us. For that matter, how do the intelligence community folks influence our democracy with their spying on torture investigations and lying about it, just for starters?

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/hillary-clinton-wikileaks-email-isis-saudi-arabia-qatar-us-allies-funding-barack-obama-knew-all-a7362071.html

And all snark aside ( and all of the above was justified), that report was like something from the twilight zone, but that is what America is like now and I don't just mean the Trump supporters. We should know what exactly the Russians did and to what extent Trump and his associates have Russian connections. But don't stop there.

Marcy Wheeler's initial take on the report--

https://www.emptywheel.net/2017/01/06/the-declassified-russian-hack-report/

This YouTube tape of Kerry talking to anti Assad Syrians has been getting a lot of attention on some rightwing blogs.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=e4phB-_pXDM

Anne Barnard wrote a piece on it last fall but the most interesting parts are not mentioned. I listened to the whole thing. Most of it is Kerry expressing frustration over Syria with activists who wanted us to invade, but the interesting bits for me start around minute 25. Kerry says there have been huge amounts of arms and money poured into Syria by the US and Qatar and the Saudis and Turkey, but the other side then pours in more and Syrians lose. He then says that Russia entered the war because Isis looked like it might be a real threat. He says the us watched Isis grow and hoped this would mean Assad might negotiate, but instead Putin was invited in.

The IC report says that the Russians preferred Trump in part because they want an anti Isis coalition.

The Barnard piece in the NYT.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/09/30/world/middleeast/john-kerry-syria-audio.html

To be clear, I xpectvTrump to be a total disaster. The one area where he occasionally made sense was in his criticism of our Mideast wars, but based on his choice of people he will probably be a disaster there as well Dubya campaigned on a more humble foreign policy, iirc. Sounded nice, if you believed him.

But one of the bad effects of a Trump is that it gives an opportunity for people who are also terrible on some issues to oppose him and use their opposition as a kind of cover. I don't trust a coalition of people that includes McCain, Graham, and former CIA nutcase Michael Morrell. And James Clapper is in no position to lecture anyone on threats to Democratic norms.
( My iPad insists on capitalizing the word Democratic.). They want a proxy war with Russia in Syria. If they are patient, they may get a war with Iran instead. Or China, God help us.

Donald,

Yeah, sometimes there is no good answer, but sometimes there are worse ones. Avoiding the worse ones is not supporting the bad ones. Pretending there is some easy answer is not helpful.

Not sure what you mean, jrudkis. In the case of Trump there really isn't any reason to line up with and embrace the CIA to oppose Trump. Trump is showing every indication of being terrible on the environment, on civil rights, on most of foreign policy and so on. His choices for cabinet positions are horrible. I have to admit stories on finance put me to sleep, but I gather his Treasury Secretary pick is corrupt.

If you mean Syria the attempt at overthrowing Assad has been a catastrophe for Syria. The usual line is that we didn't provide enough aid. In fact we and others provided huge amounts, as Kerry said, and it just led to more fighting. Pretending that intervening is better than not intervening is not helpful. But you might not be talking about that.

I guess I'm unclear about why it's less of a problem if the Russians interfered with the election to punish Clinton, vs to help Trump.

'just' going after Clinton would have been a warning shot, a dirty one but not that out of the ordinary. A weakened Clinton would not have been a disaster per se and likely advantageous for Russia. Actively wanting Trump on the other hand is simply irresponsible even from the POV of an enemy of the US. Ras Putain is sufficiently intelligent to know that Trump is unstable enough to get out of control in a way that even the Kremlin cannot wish for. Too much of a gamble. Unless of course Old Barechest has a few more aces up his [whatever serves as sleeve equivalent for someone without a shirt] to get rid of Him The Donald in a hurry, if need be.

Just my feeling, but I don't think it is meaningful to say that Trump 'makes sense' on the Mideast. He was just lashing out at Jeb Bush, so what exactly he thinks about the Mideast are impossible to discern. He probably thinks that if he just gives them a piece of Trump Tower, everything will be copacetic.

As far as the difference between punishing clinton or helping trump, it seems to hinge on whether Clinton/the US is getting a taste of its own medicine or not, at least in what I have read. I see that in some of emptywheel's criticism. I can understand that some people might have a certain level of satisfaction with that, but I keep going back to the rule of unintended consequences. When Iran let Reagan get the boost holding on to the hostages (this is separate from the veracity of the October Surprise conspiracy theories), I wonder if they were planning on the complete and utter enmity of the US for the past 36 years (or even 16 years of Republican ascendency).

I probably need to state explicitly that I don't feel that this absolves the US of various behaviors.

I would just add to the whole Russia thing that the hacking is a problem, Russia, or any country, trying to influence our election is not new, or even really news. Obama went to the UK to make a highly publicized speech against Brexit, IIRC. That was certainly because he felt that Brexit was not in the US interest. I believe there were some in the UK that felt like his speech was meddling.

All only to say that we should keep our focus on the cybersecurity aspects and not trail off into how dare they try to influence our elections in general.

That doesn't discount the perfectly rational requirement for the American people to understand the specifics of Trump's relationship with Putin or the wealthy Russian cabal.

Obama went to the UK to make a highly publicized speech against Brexit, IIRC.

I hope you understand the difference between making a highly publicized speech preferring one outcome over another to illegally stealing private information and publicizing it.

Not to create a whole new controversy here, but so many people have been cheering when private information is not only stolen, but also made public (arguably at least two forms of crime, theft and violation of copyright, not to mention a serious violation of personal privacy that those same people frequently champion), that they now argue it's the new normal. When the violent crime rate goes up, I don't see people finding comfort in that, or thinking that somehow it's fine, just because it's more common.

Also, it seems to me that there's a difference between countries spying on each other, and one national government choosing individual victims from another country to ruin. Clinton is just one of many Democratic politicians that Putin sought to bring down.

In his own country, Putin has been known to poison his political opponents, jail and kill journalists, shackle, stigmatise, and ultimately silence critical NGOs, beat up dissidents, etc.

It's difficult enough to deal with our own government's shortcomings. When our government is working with another thug government to target individual victims, it becomes worse. Our new full-fledged Rethug dictatorship will probably do most of that quite well on its own, but it certainly doesn't help that Russia will be providing back-up.

But, let's be honest, we're probably doomed. I'm trying to read other things, while doing whatever campaigning and contributing I can, however hopeless I feel. Maybe I'm wrong and things will turn around. I'm wondering, when they actually "lock her up", who are the Clinton-haters going to turn to next for revenge?

Regarding Putin's crimes, don't forget that he sent two assassins to London to poison one of his enemies with Polonium, and nearly got away with it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_of_Alexander_Litvinenko

Oleg Gordievsky, the most senior KGB agent ever to defect to Britain, made a similar comment that Litvinenko's assassination was carefully prepared and rehearsed by Russian secret services,[86] but the poisoners were unaware that technology existed to detect traces left by polonium-210: "Did you know that polonium-210 leaves traces? I didn’t. And no one did. ...what they didn’t know was that this equipment, this technology exists in the West – they didn’t know that, and that was where they miscalculated."

And apparently, only certain hospitals, labs etc are equipped to identify Polonium, it was only because he was taken to a major teaching hospital in Central London that they eventually worked it out.

"..... perfectly rational requirement for the American people ....."

If Putin's agents in America (they are probably tenants in the NYC Trump Tower .. just follow the caviar shipments, one import that won't be subject to Trump's new tariff regime) had injected Hillary Clinton with Polonium in August before the election and she had turned green around the gills, exhibited the delerium tremens, and had to be hauled off-stage and poured into her limo like a gunny sack full of liquified kittens, we would have seen .... well, exactly what we experienced when she had the flu/near pneumonia episode ... an outbreak of bullshit/fake news (call it what it is: Republican propaganda propped up by their fake bunch of f*cking bullshit fascist teenager National Enquirer news outlets here, in Eastern Europe, and in Russia):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN-LJ7w5pwQ

Alt-Right teenagers. Ground them? Drown the puppies!

Further, any attempt by elite hospitals (a teaching hospital, by God, even worse) in exceptional America equipped to ferret out the crime would be met immediately by Republican House members and various Trump reality show contestants, (the ones who weren't finger-f*cked in the dressing room by the host .. correct that .. the ones who LIKED being finger-f*cked by the host) calling for and introducing legislation (you know, the regulatory kind) to defund all NIH research grant money to those hospitals AND the anti-science contingent in the same legislative body, now leaking over into the Senate, would declare the 84th element on the Periodic Table permanently removed because it isn't mentioned in the Bible, even though Christian cake-makers are trying to figure out a way to add the element as a leavening agent to the cakes they may be forced to supply to gay nuptials.

Oath Keeper (soon to be formally integrated, along with other Right-wing militias, into the U.S. Federal internal national homeland security forces) gunman would immediately take up positions near the entrances of said hospitals.

Crazy people (meh, looks very Trumpish black ops to me; I'd be investigating Trump's private security detail for ties to this crime), like the Fort Lauderdale airport killer, would find their way into the researcher's offices too, having heard voices in their heads while having the volume on their earbuds turned up full to FOX News and Brietbart.

Marty's (the nice guy, this isn't personal; but come and get me if you have to) 7:28am is a perfectly reasonable post, pristinely evenhanded in its tone. A model of sober restraint in a rule of law society. About Russian hacking and interference by the highest reaches of the Russian security and intelligence establishment into our elections, any hint of which at any time since 1918 would have caused conservatives/Republicans/and nearly all Democrats to froth at the mouth and speak in tongues, but NOW, "well, we must wait and see until all of the evidence is in. Heck, it happens all the time, what's to worry? After all, John Podesta used pleasecomef*ckme as his password, well, there you go, that's an open invitation for mischief.

Compare Marty's hysterical (not ha ha) posts day after day this past year regarding his contempt for Clinton (I'm not defending Clinton .. good riddance) and Obama, dropping Benghazi and Clinton Foundation and the ACA like cherry bombs into nearly every comment with very little substantiation, just to keep the words in front of us, but now "it is incumbent upon the American people to weigh the evidence pro and con for Russia throwing a U.S. election, sort of chew it over, file a report for all to read, and ponder the consequences in a rational manner".

I remember before the New Year, when I was lurking, Marty objecting to Google and other search engines (not that I necessarily disagree) vetting their searches to weed out objectional or disturbing (now THERE are two politically correct words) entries, and it occurred to me that I have always been uncomfortable with the Yellow Pages weeding out entries such as "AAAJEWgassingand MOLAR Removal Service", or ABCDriveup FAGBeatings, or AtripleAAA Whitey's Elite Professor Testical Removal, even when they are the first 900 entries in the book. I mean I can make up my own free mind about whether or NOT these services might be of use to me.

And don't get me started on the Dewey Decimal System. See, now you have gotten me started. Look, who are these snotty government librarians to impose a "system", alphabetical no less, the alphabet being the worst tyranny to befall a free people, who says "X" should come last, for example, I'd like to meet that guy and pistol whip him) on ME. Just pack the books on boxes and I'll find "Mein Kampf", or Mao's Little Red Book on my own, thank very much, without some overpaid clerk screwing its mouth up into a helpful expression.

Actually, I think in America at this fine turning point in -12 days Trump BT history if Brietbart has its way .. which I don't know if we've noticed, but it does ... if Google put up the first 20 entries on every "Liberal point of view" search as "Why all liberals should be rounded up and sodomized by automatic weapons by their politically-correct interest groups", the American people would pretty quickly get the hang of that and go and do exactly that, with the appropriate hurt feelings and grievances in tow, natch, because we are so collectively wise, unlike say those stupid Germans, or Serbians, or Turks, or whomever back in the day.

Why? Because there are no facts, there are no requirements for getting to the bottom of this diabolical Russian crap, because Sean Hannity and Brietbart say so and America is "just a bunch of f*ckin bullshit" and lots of conservatives have been working overtime for 50 years to make it so.

he sent two assassins to London to poison one of his enemies with Polonium, and nearly got away with it

I wonder if Marcy Wheeler wrote an article about how it was probably blowback for something he did wrong.

Did the Democratic party and its apparatchiks at the time try to blame all and every flaw of their party on said assassination, and paint the assassination as a personal attack on them, and therefore suggest that attacks on the Democratic Party and their leadership's preferred candidates were fundamentally an attack on democracy in the US?

(Which is of course to say, "blah, blah, blah, don't judge me by what I do, but rather by who I name my enemies and what they do"...)

Every time I read something from Breitbart I have a vision of 10,000 lonely loser guys who haven't been on a date in like 10 years, sitting in Mom's basement and hiding from the approach of middle age and their receding hairlines, and talking to each other about what a bunch of pussies everybody else is.

It's like Beavis and Butthead, only older and much less entertaining.

I am less concerned with whether or not the Russians used hacked e-mail to influence the election than I am that our national political parties' e-mail servers can apparently be routinely hacked. Ditto for the State Department. Along with successful attacks on utilities of various sorts. Does the 911 phone system work at the discretion of Russia or China? The natural gas pipeline system? The oil refineries?

If Trump and Congress are going to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure, I hope there's a few tens of billions of dollars going into fixing the damned network security problem.

BTW, the analytic capabilities for identifying polonium contamination are reasonably common, just not at hospitals. And with detection/identification abilities that are insanely sensitive, when compared with what even a high-end teaching hospital lab can do, IF someone thinks to look for that sort of stuff.

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

What actually worries me more than what the Russians did with hacked e-mails from the Clinton campaign is this. What did they find when they tried to hack the Trump campaign? The fact that we haven't seen anything from such a hack doesn't, after all, mean there wasn't one.

And what are they figuring to do with what they found? After all, given how easily and often Trump changes direction, even his love of Putin might be subject to change. Unless he is given a reason to avoid doing so....

Snarki, was that so ten years ago? Because it was presented as almost by chance they found out, and maybe it wasn't even identified by the hospital but by a specialist lab it was sent out to. Anyway, once they knew what it was they easily followed the assassins' trails so they could reconstruct what had been done, and when, and by whom.

As soon as we locate the individual in the circular firing squad that is the American Democratic Party who claims that all Democratic Party candidates are flawless and beyond blame, you can ask that person the question yourself.

In my opinion, had the flawed Hillary Clinton won the Electoral College, she would have been assassinated (or an attempt or three made) by now by one of the flawless deplorable Republicans, maybe more than one, with ties to the Trump movement and a history of believing Putin to be a strong leader, don't forget the grassy knoll, with subsequent celebrations in Moscow and Mar-a-Lago and parts of Texas and North and South Carolina and the House of Representatives (Republican Senators keeping their glee to themselves to maintain that body's dwindling but august mask) and we would be now discussing whether American Democracy had been attacked in dulcet, statesmanlike tones while Michael Flynn quietly moved tanks into position around the White House.

NV, you voted for Trump (yeah, yeah, I get it), he won, Clinton lost, as sapient acknowledges, not without some of her native snappishness, and why not, is there a statute of limitations on getting over losing an election, because if so, let Grover Norquist know for a change, so why don't you join her and hold the other end of the rocket launcher, metaphorical or not, to fight what you and the flawed but luckily now still living Clinton with her inept Hindenberg-type campaign ("inept" being one calibration point on the continuum and context of an overall dog shit disgraceful Presidential season as malign darkness now quickly disPENCEs run-of-the-mill ineptness) helped to wrought.

If the Democratic Party mimics the Republican Party's 2012 fake soul-searching after the latter lost to Obama when they promised to order the taco bowl every other day and acknowledge their own children's coming out of the closet celebrations as penance and then reverted and double-downed immediately to their native demonization and subhuman hate of EVERYONE not themselves, even if it was themselves, in some cases ..... in an attempt to peal off those Republican voters who might be pealable for the right reasons, well, that would be very nice and I would applaud too, because I would like to have nice things, too.

Kumbaya is kaputnik. Democrats never win with kumbaya, even when it is, at this very late date, now counseled by decent conservatives.

But I think the lesson from the Republican Party's feint to some sort of accommodation to the middle and then its reversion immediately to pigfucking ruthlessness on all fronts is that being more ruthless and pigfucking, and yes, violent and armed (I hope whomever the Democratic candidate is in 2020, should we have an election, picks out protestors, as trump did, at rallies and has his or her private security forces and supporters beat the shit out of them; those four criminals who beat the kid to crap in Chicago over his alleged Trump support didn't learn that behavior from Hillary Clinton or family dysfunction, they saw it on TV at Trump rallies and emulated it, regrettably) than they are is the only language they understand. After all, they now pollute our entire government as a result of those successful tactics, the f*cks.

Bannon is not inept. THAT's the bad news.

Two hundred thousand women are going to march in Washington near the Inauguration, I understand, in pink hats. That should get a good round of snickers from the he-c*nts and she-d*iks in the conservative ranks. Trump and the fat Breitbarts boys will look at that and invite them in for a little fingerf*cking and then call the security forces, who at this moment are learning Russian.

No. Get serious. Present. This ain't the fucking 1960s. Present their way, to gain grudging respect, because the gun is their bottom-line, as they have preached these many years, from the anti-government enemy, now fucking the government. Heavily armed, military-grade weaponry, lock step, openly carried, the size of clips that would make Brett Bellmore and Wayne La Pierre cream in their pants.

Two hundred thousand or more pissed off mother fuckers outfitted like cuck conservative present when they show up.

All peaceful, natch. Safetys on. No smiling and hugging. Serious fucking shit. Let them shoot first. They will.

And don't tell me it doesn't work. The Bundy Bill advances thanks to the Bundys' armed resistance and criminality.

http://flatheadbeacon.com/2017/01/04/zinke-house-gop-approve-rules-change-ease-federal-land-transfers/

Look like this, only better. Guns on women can be sexy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mX6dHWyqwNo

I agree, Michael Cain, with the codicil that if the Chinese or Russians are better at preventing hydrocarbon leaks on Native American lands and into our environment than the Ayn Rand Republican-operated American pipeline companies, than the former should be given discretion there.

Unfortunately, American shareholder capitalists and state capitalists in Russia and China work from the same narrow set of MBA books ... maintenance and regulation may hurt elite monied interests' returns and hurt efficiency and productivity and God help us, don't let the media or the public find out, so the two might be roughly equal.

Am I getting through to you, Mr. and Mrs. Beale?

This goes with that previous comment:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuBe93FMiJc

Trump and the fat Breitbarts boys will look at that and invite them in for a little fingerf*cking

I know some women who will be there. If the Breitbart boyos want to mess with them, it will be at their own risk.

Guns and threats of violence can be prety scary, but a lot of folks are just not going to put up with being intimidated.

Two hundred thousand women are going to march in Washington near the Inauguration, I understand, in pink hats.

Pussyhats. It's nonviolent. It's not just women.

I've been saving this link for weeks for just such as occasion:

Milo Yiannopoulus, Trump champion, who calls himself the gayest man in America, though that name don't sound 'murican to me, under the new politically incorrect rules of the game, and I'm just the right guy to play that fucking game:

http://www.breitbart.com/milo/2016/08/29/the-washing-machine-and-the-pill-the-two-worst-inventions-in-the-history-of-humanity/

Maybe Trump/Bannon could send this dude out to lecture the women at the march on what's good for them, or is it the Trump Monument now? I'd like to see the women have Milo do their collective laundry with his surly mouth and then remove his mother's ovaries so she can't produce any more over-confident gets like Milo, though it may lead to cottage cheese thighs, according to Mad Magazine.

Then cook him and eat him at the after-march barbecue and leave his wishbone on the marble mausoleum doorstep of the Trump Hotel in New York, since the White House apparently is going to be empty for the next four years save for the experts at Sotheby's and Christie's who will be brought in to place auction price tags on the art and furniture for quick marketing to Trump's suckup raft of rich pigs to round out their private collections, probably some among the Soviet Ayn Rand oligarchs.

Further, since proud politically incorrect Brietbart/Trump-speak is the shiny new thing in our political discourse, even for a compliant liberal, totally non-homophobe like myself, my opinion is that the worst, and most ruinous invention in America for the likes of our Milo pimp here is the interstate truck stop glory hole where he likely spends too much time, though I'm willing to concede kneepads were a comfort improvement for the lads.

If only Ben Carson actually knew how to do brain surgery (he's one of them Negro affirmative action fakes; the sensitive white nurses at Johns Hopkins had to cover for him all those years; medulla oblongatas were routinely misplaced by Ben) he could rearrange Milo's synapses into something more human.

Lucky he's now going to move on to urban housing, where expertise is the ticket.

Thank you, sapient. I was merely suggesting some improvements to the march.

But, what good are pussyhats if those underneath them aren't ready for a pussyriot?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/14/nadezhda-tolokonnikova-siberia-prison-colony_n_4272785.html

I'm sure Putin is on the horn to Trump offering plenty of Siberian islands as rendition locations for the march participants.

I've been saving this link for weeks for just such as occasion:

Unbelievable willpower!

Pussyhats. It's nonviolent. It's not just women.

Ha! a friend of mine in WV is knitting up a bunch as we speak.

My wife and I were going to be at the DC march - my Rep reserved an Amtrak car for folks from my district who want to attend. That would mean about 36 hours straight with no shower, which is beyond the pale for my bride.

So we'll be at the Boston one.

Maybe I'll wear a pussyhat. Maybe a Breitbart punk will find that amusing. Fine with me.

And not for nothing, but I probably know people who are way gayer than Milo. Not it matters one way or another.

Breitbart - Lord of the Flies in blog form.

Snarki, just reread and saw idiocy of my last: of course it was easy to identify if it was easy to track thereafter; the secret, as you remark, was thinking to look for it in the first place.

Am loving the image of Breitbart guys as grown up, fatter Beavis and Butthead, but alas Lord of the Flies rings really true. Will be thinking of you all in your pussyhats...

Folks here, y'all make me happy, even though I'm rude.

GftNC: it's not a matter of common awareness, but while chemicals (including biological chemicals) can typically be identified in microgram quantities, nuclear techniques can give detection at the level of a few atoms. Modern DNA PCR techniques are getting really good, but there's a big gap to cover.

microgram = roughly 100 billion molecules, more or less.

Grr..100 TRILLION molecules. I wanted to write 10^14, but hoped to make less jargony. But...IIRC, isn't the UK 'trillion' different from the US 'trillion'?

Either way, go with 10^14.

Lord of The Flies.

Yes, but when Brietbart, Trump, Alex Jones and Republican company send their armed followers to pizza shops to kill Piggy, all of them, including Bannon, need to be indicted for acting as accessories to capital crimes, including, assault, manslaughter and murder:

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/1/8/1616368/-Let-s-call-fake-news-what-it-really-is-propaganda

Unfortunately, our right wing courts will not take the judicial steps necessary to secure the public safety from this scourge of haters, so as with polluters after the EPA is hobbled or defunded, vigilante action will be required to take justice directly to the conservative perpetrators.

"Unfortunately, our right wing courts will not take the judicial steps necessary to secure the public safety from this scourge of haters"

I recall hearing about such "judicial restraint" in some other country, in the 1930's.

We've seen that movie before, and didn't like the ending.

BTW, I recall reading an article, many many years ago, about African American men in the military getting a medical dispensation to grow a (short?) beard, because shaving could cause a painful skin irritation with inflamed "bumps" and possible infections.

And yet, the world did not end. Funny, that.

I read that too and was looking for something to explain it, and found this

https://news.usni.org/2014/10/23/brief-history-grooming-u-s-navy

Of course, it's the Navy, so what do you expect?

"Of course, it's the Navy, so what do you expect?"

Yeah, the guys that wear single earrings, because TRADITION.

A (late) friend, in the Navy wore an earring, but on the "non-gay" side. He remarked that it was a surprise to learn that the the sides were different on the US Atlantic vs. Pacific coasts. Oops.

BTW, I recall reading an article, many many years ago, about African American men in the military getting a medical dispensation to grow a (short?) beard, because shaving could cause a painful skin irritation with inflamed "bumps" and possible infections.

Medical shaving profiles are certainly a thing, yeah, which is another reason the Army and people who actually dealt with it from the inside are mostly gonna shrug at this and drive on w/o comment.

I compiled this video collage of America's descent into its disgraceful political collapse, which started as a joke in the late comedian Andy Kaufmann's brain, now housed in a preservative jar in an unknown location. It explains everything. The fake Trump campaign, his fake Presidency, the fake nuclear war that is just around the corner, the fake genocide that serious vermin murderous Republicans, with Trump as headliner, will wreak on tens of millions of Americans and the poor around the world.

Remember, the future is going to be like anal sex at the hands of Ayn Rand. The secret is to relax.

It will take some time, but watch it in order if you can:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvkPn2MHX74

Hurting the feelings of the deplorables:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bAQg-zWmsI

Kaufmann/Letterman

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHo_K0-1bP4&t=51s

Tony Clifton, who I believe is going to be the new Solicitor General:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtHyc43Firk

Trump, practicing his campaign:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMKFIHRpe7I&t=73s

Linda McMahon, SBA (one scrap thrown our way, she's a supporter of LGBT rights, though I'll believe it when I see her pile drive Jeff Sessions and conservative Supreme Court Justices)

http://www.sde.co.ke/article/2000226179/trump-chooses-wwe-wrestling-magnate-linda-mcmahon-to-head-sba

Conway, the lying d*ck, denies Trump mocked the disabled reporter (translation into Trump-speak: spastic geek)

Trump mocking the spastic geek for all to see:

https://www.rawstory.com/2017/01/everybody-can-see-it-cnns-chris-cuomo-fights-kellyanne-conways-denials-that-trump-mocked-reporter/

http://juanitajean.com/how-many-heartless-bastards-does-it-take-to-screw-up-a-country/

Kelly Ann's c*nt husband, who collects pictures of what he believes are Bill Clinton's dick. No word on whether he has started his collection of Trump's meager manhood, but the c*nt probably doesn't have anymore room in his sock drawer for more dic pics.

http://heavy.com/news/2016/08/george-t-conway-iii-kellyanne-husband-photos-age-net-worth-lawyer-paula-jones-bill-clinton-hillary-drudge-federalist-society/

America, a sorry punchline in Andy Kaufmann's dead brain. Funny at first, but lethal in the hands of folks who have no sense of humor.

I should have given you this interesting nugget earlier, sorry, I've been travelling up to the North Country and lost track of the threads:

In the aftermath of Litvinenko's murder, there was of course tons of speculation about what exactly Litvinenko had done to warrant quite such a revenge, and many interviews with shadowy figures who (as I recall with some vaguely semi-credible journalistic verification) claimed to be ex-KGB, and a theory much mooted about was this. They claimed that when he was a fairly lowly KGB thug, Putin was videotaped having sex (as most of them were, for blackmail purposes) but in his case it was with young boys. They said that of course when he rose to great heights he destroyed all the evidence, but that naturally some of them still knew about it. They said that Litvinenko (who one gathered was no great brain) had talked or even written about this, and that it was this which sealed his death warrant.

I present this to you out of interest, but natch with no idea how likely it is to be true. On the other hand, all that weird bare-chest posturing, and the rumours of girl gymnast affairs do seem a bit odd and as if the gentleman doth protest too much.

GfTNC - there was this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uWEaKLzwUg

I should have said, these interviewees were literally as well as metaphorically shadowy: blacked out faces and altered voices. Very sensible, if the info was true....

True, Ugh, I had forgotten that little vignette.

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