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His middle initial is ‘N’? Jim Nad Dog Mattis?

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced late on Tuesday that he wouldn’t take any action on whether transgender members of the military can continue to serve until the issue has been studied by a panel of experts, effectively freezing the not-really-an-order that Donald Trump tweeted back in July. Before any more love letters to Mattis about how brave he is for “defying” the president, it’s worth noting that the actual guidance sent to the Pentagon contained a most cunning loophole that gives Mattis and the real generals a lot of discretion in shaping whatever policy emerges, and may even let them walk back the policy-by-Twitter devised by the imaginary generals in Trump’s head. This may not be Mattis getting all mavericky so much as a strategic advance to the rear, carefully planned by White House lawyers who drafted the real order for Trump to sign.

After Mattis’s announcement Tuesday, there was of course much rejoicing about Mattis’s “defiance” of Trump’s order, because it’s definitely very different from what Trump tweeted in July:

The thing is, Mattis’s announcement is in line with the actual directive the White House sent to the Pentagon Friday night while everyone was talking about either Hurricane Harvey or the pardon for Joe Arpaio. That memo does indeed lay out some serious changes, as Russell Spivak points out at Lawfare: It would bar the enlistment of new transgender recruits, and would halt Defense Department funding of sex-reassignment surgery for current personnel, “except to the extent necessary to protect the health of an individual who has already begun a course of treatment to reassign his or her sex.”

But there are a couple of loopholes written into the policy directive that you could drive an Abrams tank through, and they don’t appear to be mistakes at all, but rather a possible means to let Trump back away from his stupid Tweets while saying he’s listening to the wise counsel of “his” generals. The first is language that explicitly gave Mattis the option of doing exactly what he did, delaying any action on currently serving trans personnel:

As part of the implementation plan, the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall determine how to address transgender individuals currently serving in the United States military. Until the Secretary has made that determination, no action may be taken against such individuals …

As Spivak says, Mattis appears to have “tremendous leeway in how the military moves forward to implement the President’s mandate.” Which could very well include a recommendation by that advisory panel — which has yet to be actually formed — to keep all currently serving trans folks serving exactly as they have been.

As for the enlistment of trans individuals in the future, the memorandum even seems to offer the Pentagon wiggle room to let that go forward at some point, too:

President Trump explicitly left open the possibility the new policy might be temporary: the ban will remain in place “until such time as a sufficient basis exists upon which to conclude that terminating that policy and practice would not have the negative effects discussed above.” President Trump specifically notes that an about-face is possible if the Secretary of Defense “provides a recommendation to the contrary that I find convincing.”

As the Washington Post explains, there’s a fair chance Mattis will find a way to save Trump from his own rash, poorly-thought-out tweet:

Mattis declared in his statement that a panel of experts would be set up to “provide advice and recommendations on the implementation of the president’s direction.” Once the panel delivers some recommendations, Mattis continued, he’ll go back to the president.

Mattis could justifiably state, as he did, that far from defying the president, he was only carrying out “the president’s policy direction” and acting “as directed.”

Trump didn’t actually consult with “his” generals, but now that the Pentagon has been given the power to shape the final policy, it seems likely that military leaders — who didn’t expect the July tweet and were mostly appalled by the sudden, unjustified reversal of a policy the Obama administration had put in place after a year of planning — will let transgender men and women continue to serve their country.

Don’t be the least bit surprised if the Pentagon carefully studies the “disruptions” Trump worried about, finds them to be a non-issue, and then, come January, recommends that no soldiers, sailors, Marines, or airmen lose their jobs. Then Donald Trump can declare victory for having given his generals the time to carefully review Barack Obama’s hasty order. Chances are he’ll retain the prohibition on sex reassignment surgery, so he can tell his fundagelical supporters he Did Something, and then a saner president can quietly reverse that, too. All of that, of course, depends on Mattis and others being able to persuade Trump that he thought of it.

Or maybe Trump will tweet that he’s firing everyone in the Defense Department, depending on what’s going on with the Russia investigation.

[USA Today / WaPo / Lawfare]

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  • puredog

    ‘Nad Dog, more like.

    • armed_bears

      On Wonkette, even the cutlines snark hard.

  • Toomush_Inferesistance

    Okay, but someone else please keep on top of this shitshow – I’m trying to hang onto too many environmental and women’s issues and just plain Russiarussiarussia, ok?…

  • alwayspunkindrublic

    Anyone else’s blood go cold every time Trump utters the phrase “my generals”?

    • Too close to genital adventures for comfort.

    • MynameisBlarney

      Cold?
      No.
      It fucking boils.

    • Lance Thrustwell

      It shrinks my genitals.

    • armed_bears

      Yes. But when I hear “rear admirals”, I smile.

      • Querolous

        Or “vice admirals”

    • Lascauxcaveman

      I’m pretty sure most of the generals think it’s pretty annoying, at the very least.

  • Joe Beese
    • Michael Smith

      lol the hazards of driving and dialing

    • Jgb979

      Love the geocities caliber “food and health” graphic.

      Aww Netscape….shucks.

      • Lascauxcaveman

        Compared to the stuff I was viewing on Prodigy, ca. 1988, it’s pretty sweet!

      • Celtic_Gnome

        Did that give you a warm fuzzy like me when you saw that at the top?

    • FlemmishSpy

      Remember when you were supposed to pay for a Netscape license?

      • Joe Beese

        People back then were also interested in Sports and Showbiz. Just like us!

    • Michael R
      • Christopher Story
        • WeaselPoo

          My adulthood.

        • Ricky Gay
          • Christopher Story
          • Christopher Story

            I am just old enough to actually remember that. Oh, floppy disks. I can still remember why they were called “floppy

          • Ricky Gay

            Mine was 8 inches!

          • armed_bears

            TRS-DOS, anyone?

          • Ricky Gay

            how basic!

          • goonemeritus

            I learned Fortran with paper card punch machines.

          • DrBigHead

            Same here (except it was SAS and SPSS). Dropped the cards off at the computer center in the evening. Picked up the results the morning.

          • Ricky Gay

            I saved EDLs on paper tape…in the snow!!!

          • Persistent Demme

            Mr. Demme still calls it “Fortrash.”

          • goonemeritus

            Fortran is awesome, but then I miss the Latin mass so you can’t really go by me.

          • Persistent Demme

            I”ll bet it’s great, but the computer nerds back-in-the-day probably thought they were being clever and “insider-y.”

          • Toomush_Inferesistance

            My first work computer, the salesman tried to tell me that 10 megabytes was more storage than I would ever need…

        • Arolpin

          Back in the mid-90s I worked for a dial-up ISP. We were installing hundreds of new modems in our POPs every month. Not every modem we installed worked (we were ordering literally pallets of mid-range consumer grade modems at a time), so we would have to test suspected bad modems. You were supposed to connect the suspected bad modem to a test phone line (not part of the hunt group), then use another phone line and try to connect with the built-in modem on the laptop. Doing this meant you had to drop your internet connection, and then hope you could reconnect to email the results (we had 1000 line modem pools completely filled for most of the day). I realized that if I just called with a regular phone and whistled, you could at least verify that the modem was answering and sending that handshake sounds. Eventually, I got to where I could whistle well enough over the phone to get the modems to sync up at 14.4, and with a little luck, even at 28.8 for a second or two before it would fall back to a lower speed.

          • Covfefe

            With Cietnam era military phones, you could whistle to get the phone on the other end to ring.

          • Lascauxcaveman

            You’ve got some pretty high-tech lips on you.

        • Covfefe

          The sound of dail-up woke up my dog.

    • Michael Smith

      The worst part is now having to look back and realize that all of that was fake news.

    • Timothy Watson

      Oh my, god the “Critics warn of multimedia ‘hell'” story:
      “Some telecommunications experts fear the multimedia revolution is setting the stage for the eventual breakdown of society. The gloomy forecast was aired in a debate at a conference of the International Institute of Communications in Osaka.

      American lawyer Delbert Smith said the telecommunications revolution is about control and power. ‘Hell is a loss of privacy, and nothing brings us closer to hell than telecommunications technology,’ he said. ‘We will all end up consumers with no privacy in a technological world with no protections.'”
      http://www.cnn.com/TECH/9509/science_anarchy/

      Man, we were definitely warned.

  • Jgb979

    Normally I’d be a little concerned that were basically witnessing a soft military coup
    (Aka the adults have stopped paying attention to the toddler in the corner)

    But in this specific case- take away all of his toys Mattis! Put him in time out before he tweet wars us into a NK fight.

    • Stulexington

      To be fair, he’s not actually breaking any rules, the order specifically allows him to do this.

  • OddMan

    OT ish.
    As an old sailor I wonder about the capitalization of the words to describe members of the armed services. I see that the Doctor of Words has used the following “come January, recommends that no soldiers, sailors, Marines, or airmen lose their jobs.” and that seems to be the standard. Marines always get capitalized I guess.

    • FlemmishSpy

      Semper caps.

    • MynameisBlarney

      Nouns V Pronouns?

    • Beanz&Berryz

      I’ve struggled to find a word that adequately covers soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen, all together.. I appreciate the correct listing of everyone serving… Though were Coasties included in the ban, as if anyone would know from the original Tweet, and was is the word/term for them? Coast Guardsmen? Or, as a follow-up to a recent AsG thread, Coasts Guardsmen?

      • Lascauxcaveman

        They are all servicemen and women. Even the Coasties.

        • Beanz&Berryz

          Thank you!

        • Beanz&Berryz

          Or maybe even service members…

  • Spotts1701, Nothingburger Chef

    Well, it ain’t no Revolt of the Admirals. But it’ll do.

  • La forza del resistino

    Mattis will find a solution amenable to all parties – We won’t accept transgender enlistees with heel bone spurs.

  • Lance Thrustwell

    Y’know, it would be bad enough if the military stopped paying for gender reassignment surgery on the grounds that it’s not medically necessary. It would be wrong, but at least you could make some sort of argument for that.

    But an outright ban? That’s just pure, naked bigotry. I think even the more macho, asshole generals are starting to realize that.

  • TJ Barke

    A big old fuck you to that ratdick motherfucker Pence, and his craven lil xtianist supporters who are the ones that really want this.

  • WeaselPoo

    IMHO Trump isn’t invested in this personally and has already forgotten about it. When the recommedations come back to him he’s got the cover as noted in this article, but its not an issue he cam use in any meaningful way to look strong pr successful or play the victim or be praised.

    • Rags

      His staff clearly carved these loopholes into the document and 4-5 (likely) paid no attention when they gave him the memo and a crayon or (extremely unlikely) was aware of them and happy to turn the tweet into a nothingburger.

    • Lascauxcaveman

      I think you’re right. There is so little he actually cares about. The gays, the wall, etc, just a bunch of sound a fury to rile up his 23percenters.

  • Baconzgood

    “I wanted to ban transgengers but the liberal America hating generals wouldn’t let me”

    -Trump alienating another branch of government-

  • OddMan

    I remember on election night as the results started going south and I started drinking heavily I said, “If this fucker gets elected president we will have a fucking military coup.”
    Damn.

    • Beanz&Berryz

      And even it is looking like a good thing… in comparison…

    • janecita

      What we have is way too many generals with their hands in the pot. That shit scares me.

  • stumpknocker

    ok, you can take off the rest of your term now trump, you are the biggest fucking asshole to ever sit in the oval office.

  • JustPixelz (((Ω)))

    “DefSec Jim has “frozen” my Important tweet to kick out ALL the transgenders. I know more about military than generals.” #DeletedTrumpTweets

  • Wolf Tracker

    Trump is not winning any friends in the military leadership and Pentagon when he acts unilaterally against their advice and then throws them under the bus with his ex orders.

  • bookish

    IntelBrief. The Soufan Center.

    NORTH KOREA TAKES A VERY DANGEROUS STEP

    Bottom Line Up Front:

    • Early on August 29, North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over northern Japan.

    • North Korea’s actions have mobilized Japanese, South Korean, Chinese, and U.S. diplomatic and military efforts to avoid large-scale conflict.

    • While previous North Korean missile tests have always been highly provocative, the country’s August 29 missile launch is significantly more destabilizing than previous tests.

    • Pyongyang is now testing a missile every four to six weeks, an accelerated pace that both advances its timeline for obtaining a reliable, nuclear-capable, ballistic missile capacity, and shrinks the window of opportunity for the international community to break the deteriorating status quo.

    North Korea has taken a very dangerous step in the building crisis over its dual-tracked nuclear and ballistic missile programs. With every test flight of Pyongyang’s various classes of ballistic missiles, the country builds new data and lessons learned that put the country a step closer to missile systems that can reliably and accurately carry a nuclear payload. While previous North Korean missile tests have always been highly provocative, the country’s August 29 missile launch is significantly more destabilizing than previous tests.

    The missile was not launched from the normal testing facilities, but rather from near the Pyongyang airport. This was likely meant to demonstrate the system’s mobility, in an effort to build on a set of factors that would deter a potential U.S. preemptive strike; a system that is capable of movement and cover among population centers presents a much more difficult target for any attack by the U.S. against Pyongyang’s nuclear or missile capabilities. More importantly, the missile flew directly over Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, as opposed to simply passing through Japanese airspace. It is believed to be the first time that a missile of exclusively military purpose was launched over Japanese territory by North Korea; two previous missile launches in 2009 and 1998 that overflew Japan were said to have been capable of carrying satellites, but not a military payload. The missile launched in the August 29 test, believed to be a Hwasong 12 intermediate-range ballistic missile, traveled 1700 miles at an altitude that was much lower than that of previous launches, before splashing into the Pacific Ocean east of Japan.

    North Korea’s threat to bomb the U.S. territory of Guam generated understandable alarm, and the threat to South Korea and Japan, both U.S. allies, has serious implications for the region and world. Japan might have tried to shoot down the approaching missile had it not determined that it was a test, presenting a complex, high-stakes, and fast-paced scenario that no country wants to contemplate when facing an adversary as dangerous and unpredictable as North Korea. For any scenario in which Tokyo might attempt to shoot down a ballistic missile that it determined is a threat, Japan would have very little time to act—perhaps five minutes—and the chances of an accurate intercept are low, given how exceedingly difficult it is to hit one supersonic missile with another. Depending on where the intercept occurred, it may also pose a risk to people on the ground, though that risk pales in comparison to the larger danger of allowing an actual ballistic missile strike on Japanese territory.

    Pyongyang has warned against military training exercises being held between South Korea and the U.S.; the annual exercises—which are a mix of computer simulations and traditional exercises—are a source of great tension for North Korea, which considers them a pretext for an invasion and regime change. Last week, North Korea tested three short-range missiles capable of hitting U.S. and South Korean military targets. The U.S. and Japan are conducting joint military exercises as well. China had requested the U.S. cancel or delay its exercises with South Korea as a way to lower the tensions, an unrealistic request given the need for joint defense of South Korea, and North Korea’s continued refusal to even temper its rhetoric and actions. Pyongyang is now testing a missile every four to six weeks, an accelerated pace that both advances its timeline for obtaining a reliable, nuclear-capable, ballistic missile capacity, and shrinks the window of opportunity for the international community to break the deteriorating status quo.

    • Joe Beese

      Eh.

      Everyone knows he’s going to get reliable nuclear missiles at this rate. Everyone knows what it would take to prevent that from happening. And everyone who is not insane has already decided that the price is too high.

      So we accept what we can not change.

      • PubOption

        Donnie does not have the wisdom to know the difference.

  • Indiepalin

    I have heard that Mattis earlier stopped Trump from a tweeting an order that would ban all heterosexuals from the military.

  • Mpeg

    Can Mattis next plz throw himself onto Drumpfy’s phone toys effectively defusing his tweeter?

  • JustPixelz (((Ω)))

    “Go fuck yourself, Donnie.”

    – JustPixelz, June 16, 2015. Also June 17, 2015. Plus June 18, 2015. August 30, 2017. Also other many other days.

    • Jeffocaster in the West

      yep….

  • (((fka_donnie_d)))

    Nothing poorly thought out about it. He hates trans, so he wants to see them.

    • Mr. Blobfish

      I don’t think he cares one way or the other. This was just so the Freedom Caucus would fund his stupid wall.

      • armed_bears

        I agree with this assessment: He’s absent an ideology and just likes to hear clappy sounds.

  • Vincent Ricola

    Transgendered people in the military not only have to deal with the fear of the multiple threats of war made by predisent pussygrabber, but now they also have to face openly hostile rules that make sure they are dehumanized into the most stereotypical adaptation of themselves. This is not the understanding of a cohesive, battle buddy driven fighting force that I was raised to believe exists.

    TLDR; fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck yoooooooou discriminatory assholes.

  • Jeffocaster in the West

    Maybe he can put his supporter and biggest fan, Bruce Jenner in charge of the discharge and ban. Phony doing dirty work for another phony.

    • janecita

      I hate that fucking woman! She is a despicable human being.

      • Jeffocaster in the West

        He is not a woman. He is a man dressed as a woman who is a publicity whore.

        • doktorzoom

          Ahem. You know we don’t really go in for trans-shaming, even if we hate a trans person’s despicable politics? We actually don’t. Caitlyn Jenner is a woman, and a terrible person. See how easy that is? You don’t get to negate her gender identity because you don’t like her.

          — Dok Zoom, Yr Friendly Neighborhood Comments Moderator

        • Persistent Demme

          It’s a she, but she is a phony publicity whore, and a despicable human being (and a Ted Cruz supporter!).

        • Resistance Fighter Puipui

          Fuck you, asshole. You don’t get to deadname trans people because you don’t like them. You don’t get to insult all trans people as collateral damage in insulting one trans person you don’t like.

          And fuck the asshole who upfisted you, also too. You’re both garbage.

  • Michael Smith

    I was reading a story once about Fox News and the Iraq War. After the military took Baghdad with relative ease, some soldiers were hanging around with some Fox News guys. Meanwhile there were some locals hanging around, too. They all got to talking about how it might be cool to have the locals pull down the Saddam Hussein statue. The locals were into it, because they didn’t have any love for Hussein, and who doesn’t like breaking stuff when you know you can get away with it?

    The soldiers didn’t really have authorization, but the Fox News guys assured them it would be fine. So they got some more locals to come it and they attached a U.S. flag to the statue and tied a rope around it and started having the locals pull it down while the soldiers looked on. Then Fox started broadcasting it and saying that it was a spontaneous outpouring of joy and liberation on the part of the Iraqi people.

    The guy in charge of American military operations in the city saw it on TV and was like “what the hell?” He went over to try and put an end to it. He said something along the lines of “we are trying to paint this as liberating the people not conquering the country,” but realized it was kind of a fait accompli at this point because it was already making such great television for Fox and the Bush people liked it. He was at least able to add an Iraqi flag to the statue when they pulled it down, so it didn’t just seem to say “America conquered Iraq”!

    That guy in charge was Mattis. So he’s had a whole damn career of trying to stop these vainglorious wingnut idiots from screwing everything up.

    • Beanz&Berryz

      Mattis? Wow! Was he the one who OKed tying the statute to a Big-Assed Army truck to really pull down the statue?

      • Michael Smith

        I don’t remember all the details but I remember that Mattis wasn’t happy about any of it. He eventually decided not to put a stop to it, but hadn’t been consulted at the beginning of it. Fox figured if they painted it as a spontaneous thing started by the natives, that no one would have to run it by command.

        This was in The Loudest Voice in the Room, about Roger Ailes. It was written before I knew who Mattis was.

        • Beanz&Berryz

          I can read the military books.. I don’t think I could read one about Ailes…

      • shivaskeeper

        Doubtful. Troops do dumb shit. Junior leaders do dumb shit. Senior leader do dumb shit. Whoever is next in line up th chain of command has to try to unfuck the dumb shit they did. Then they have to explain the dumb shit to their superiors. Then the shit comes rolling back down hill.

        • Beanz&Berryz

          And if the shit already has a good enough roll going, whoever is next up just steps aside to let it pass, I imagine…

          • shivaskeeper

            Sort of. There is a point where the momentum of something is too much to stop. Or you just don’t have the time to stop it before it’s done. As in things have gone to far to stop or are done before you realize what is going on. Orders take time to get relayed to where things are happening. Just yelling, “Cut that shit out” into the nearest radio handset it’s going to to it.

            In either case, you end up dealing with the aftermath

        • Covfefe

          As someone who from time to time allegedly did stupid shit, the problem is that if you ask permission, you asking a superior to assume the risk for something you want to do. Not going to happen. You either assume the risk yourself or it doesn’t get done.

          • shivaskeeper

            There is an element of “better to ask for forgiveness than for permission” as well. Also speaking as someone who may or may not have done some stupid shit on occasion.

          • Lilliansmercurio

            Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family!!!
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        • Celtic_Gnome

          I had a friend whose father went into WWII as a buck private and came out a full-bird colonel. He was in charge of an installation in the Pacific at the end of the war. Some locals came up to ask what they should do with some Japanese POW’s they had.

          He said, “String ’em up for all I care.”

          Later, they came looking for him. Took him off to a tall tree near the base. Damned if they didn’t string ’em up, just like he told them.

  • jesterpunk

    OT but Ivanka is really working on women’s empowerment issues with her father.

    http://fortune.com/2017/08/30/ivanka-trump-equal-pay/

    President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump, who’s cast herself as an advocate of women’s empowerment, issued a statement supporting the White House’s conclusion that the data collected would be too voluminous to provide insight into pay practices.

    “Ultimately, while I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results,” she said. “We look forward to continuing to work with EEOC, OMB, Congress and all relevant stakeholders on robust policies aimed at eliminating the gender wage gap.”

    • Christopher Story

      Shorter version: “I got mine, fuck you.”

      • jesterpunk

        But Ivanka is supposed to be a moderating influence on Trump and supposed to be working on women’s issues from what every article about her says.

        • weejee

          And she’s a master of fig data, as in I don’t give a….

        • Vincent Ricola

          I mean, she’s got New York city friends which means she’s totally and sincerely liberal. Everyone knows that’s how personal morals and convictions work.

          • jesterpunk

            Well she had NY friends, now they don’t talk to her and her feelings are hurt and she has the sadz.

    • Joe Beese

      What a useless person.

      • jesterpunk

        Yes she is.

    • SayItWithWookies

      Wow — she’s literally saying that statistics are TMI. It’s an interesting strategy coming from a giant bureaucracy that handles massive amounts of numbers every day.

      • jesterpunk

        Dont they claim that they are successful business people? How can you run a business if you ignore data because it doesnt have pictures and is too long? They seem to kill their argument every day for why they should have jobs.

      • Ghenghis McCann

        ‘Math is hard’.

    • eggs ackly-wright

      Corporate wordspeak “robust” is annoying as hell.

  • MynameisBlarney
  • Skeptical_thinker

    Trump sucks dead gophers through a garden hose.

    It had to be said.

    • Augustus

      YOU’RE SO BRAVE

  • armed_bears

    Tillerson, Mattis, Cohen all begin in one way or another to wander further from Trump. By not responding to their challenges, Trump — who always ‘hits back 10 times harder than he gets hit’ — admits he is powerless or unwilling to do so.

    I happen to agree with these three in their waywardness… but I wonder how much I will like it if Rick Perry, Betsy DeVos or others go rogue… Dangerous times.

  • JustPixelz (((Ω)))

    As far as I can tell, the ban on new enlistments stands. Not that many trans patriots would want to join with their future status so uncertain.

    • doktorzoom

      That could also be reversed under the current order, if the Pentagon says it would not disrupt military readiness. The trick would be selling it to Trump. Catch him on a day when he hasn’t watched Fox…. Oh, dear.

      • theblackdog

        Only if there was a day-long power outage at the White House and his phone was lost.

  • goonemeritus

    It remains to be seen if the new military panel can complete their study before Trump is driven out of office.

    • Joe Beese

      Wouldn’t want to rush that. This needs to be studied very carefully.

    • TJ Barke

      You dreamer, you.

      • goonemeritus

        In truth I’m not sure I want him impeached, any Republican replacing him would have better luck passing legislation.

    • OutOfOrbit

      its been studied, the brass know tRump is a shithead, this “study” is just a pacifier for the babby-man

  • BigCSouthside

    Mattis just told Donny to shove his tough guy schtick with North Korea up his own ass too.

    I’m serious. Make trump ceremonial. He gets the house and planes and shit, and Mattis runs this thing.

    • Rags

      Great – a de facto military coup.

      • BigCSouthside

        jim Mattis is a civilian.

        • Rags
          • BigCSouthside

            I’d rather have an actual human turd, brought to life Frankenstein’s monster style then raised in a West Virginia meth den be president than Donald trump.

            Mattis has basically been the only adult in the WH since the Obamas left.

          • Rags

            Well, I’m somewhat more reluctant to abandon all Constitutional principles and install an unelected individual to have charge of our nation, but YMMV.

          • pstockholm

            History suggests this is a really bad idea.

  • TJ Barke

    OT but throwing up is fucking awful… at least you feel relief afterwards.

    • Vincent Ricola

      I get migraines sometimes and throwing up the only thing that makes me feel better. My family hates when I do it, but I don’t care because it is a last resort that I know will work.

      • Persistent Demme

        Whatever works!
        I have migraines, too.
        One of the medicines (I tried 6), made me nauseous, and I decided I would rather have the headache!

    • Joe Beese

      It’s the gastrointestinal equivalent of something Orwell wrote.

      It is a feeling of relief, almost of pleasure, at knowing yourself at last genuinely down and out. You have talked so often of going to the dogs – and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them, and you can stand it.

    • Persistent Demme

      Oh, TJ.
      It is awful, and I hope you feel better, soon!

      (Gatorade seems to get me feeling better sooner.)

  • Biel_ze_Bubba

    “…until such time as a sufficient basis exists upon which to conclude that terminating that policy and practice would not have the negative effects discussed above.”

    Translation: “If you realize what a fucking stupid idea this is, let’s just quietly fugghedaboudit, OK?”

  • shivaskeeper

    I think the second to last graf is the key here. The turmoil in the leadership and the ranks of having to change official policies regarding civil rights every time the other party is the CinC is not something anyone in charge will be willing to deal with.

    The rights were granted, it’s going to be next to impossible to legally take those rights away. Certainly it’s going to be impossible to do it without legal challenges. The haters will try of course, but the military as a whole has much more important things to do than have to change it’s policies every 4-8 years,

  • jesterpunk

    I read this article last night about the ban, it seems that the president might not be able to ban groups from the military and only the congress can do that.
    http://taskandpurpose.com/congress-trump-transgender-ban/

    • Covfefe

      President can ban trans genders from the Air Force. But Article I, Section 8 gives Congress the power “To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.”

  • Jeffocaster in the West

    And….SO THE FUCK WHAT if it costs medical bills and stuff. Like the welfare motherfucking sucking big military industrial shitbags treat the taxpayer money with respect. Every recruit comes with a cost to train, etc. SO THE FUCK WHAT?!?!?!

    • Vincent Ricola

      I know a lady who got breast implants at the VA in the early 2000s for no other reason than she wanted bigger boobs. No one asked questions. No one made her pay anything. No one needed Ted Cruz and his band of evangelical fucknobs to sign off on it. They just stuck the plastic lumps in her chest and everyone moved on with their day, as sky god intended.

    • Spotts1701, Nothingburger Chef

      And as has been pointed out, we spend more on fuel that pilots dump during carrier training than we spend on medical treatment for all transgender individuals in all the services.

    • OutOfOrbit

      run out of coffee? or Irish whisky?

      • Jeffocaster in the West

        no. but needs moar coffeefefe

  • Bub, the cynical zombie

    I can’t wait to hear Tomi’s take on the transgender ban. Ought to be good:

    https://twitter.com/ErikWemple/status/902909392634380288

    • jesterpunk

      She is blonde and dresses in the Fox uniform for female contributors.

    • Joe Beese

      I always read that as “Tom Lehrer”.

      Irritating.

      • Bub, the cynical zombie

        Apparently Tom had a pretty fine set of gams on him.

    • BigCSouthside

      Lolol of fucking course they did.

      Trailer trash barbie getting that wingnut welfare.

    • Spotts1701, Nothingburger Chef

      Scraping the bottom of the barrel now for the stereotypical Blond Republican Sex Kitten?

    • Daredevil

      The Saltine Queen is desperate to stay relevant.

    • TJ Barke

      Gotta love that wingnut welfare.

    • Persistent Demme

      This is news?
      I just assumed she was already there.

    • SeeTrain65

      Because Fox doesn’t have enough blonde airheads.

      Lookin’ at you, Doocy.

  • Jeffocaster in the West

    How about we have a ban on psychopaths being Commander-In-Chief?

    • OutOfOrbit

      too late

      • Jeffocaster in the West

        Well, he could write an executive order….lol

  • OrG

    Good. Now back to Russian Collusion?

    • Proud Liberal

      You mean treason?

      • MynameisBlarney

        Treason, and soooo much more.

      • OrG

        Yep.

  • Joe Beese
  • Daredevil

    So basically Trump’s tweets can be summed up with: “I don’t care about the rights of fellow Americans”. Transgender people show more courage just by going outside every day than Donald Trump ever has.

    • Parakeetist

      Hear, hear.

  • Proud Liberal
    • Spotts1701, Nothingburger Chef

      Because of course she is. Rapists have more rights than their victims.

      • OutOfOrbit

        the rapists are the victims of irresistible temptation

      • PubOption

        Especially when the rapist is the quarterback.

        • Spotts1701, Nothingburger Chef

          You don’t want us to lose the big game on Saturday, do ya? DO YA?!?

    • MynameisBlarney

      WTF?

    • Parakeetist

      No. Just no, damn you, no!

    • jesterpunk

      Devos did meet with MRA groups to tell her how men are the real victims here and how all women lie. She refused to meet with any victims groups.

      • Spotts1701, Nothingburger Chef

        And hired a person to oversee Civil Rights who basically believes anything but rape at the point of a knife or the barrel of a gun is just the woman regretting it the next day.

      • Toomush_Inferesistance

        Well, if those girls want to get an education,they’re just gonna have to take their chances….

      • Permit-holder Ron

        That would have just confused her.

    • Joe Beese

      Seriously, if Republicans just cared about siphoning wealth out of the system, it would be wicked, but at least within the normal compass of human greed.

      But they truly seem committed to the destruction of anything good or just in the world.

      • theblackdog

        Of course! So long as they can either make money off of it directly or lower their taxes so they can make more money they’ll be all for it.

      • Bad Tom

        I think they are overshadowed by evil.
        I really do.

    • Vincent Ricola

      Monstrous behavior. And not in the canned clams way.

    • The Librarian

      This shouldn’t come as a surprise when that dingbat hired a rape-shamer to her staff. Abhorrent, but goes along with her cluelessness.

      • Rick Hill

        She is the type of person that all you have to do to convince her is argle blargle at her about whatever conspiracy you need

        • The Librarian

          Yep, she’s an equal opportunity nut, as long as what you propose is horrible enough.

    • Mavenmaven

      I’m sure this is a pet project of Trump’s. To normalize his own behavior.

    • Rick Hill

      As if they weren’t lax enough before.

    • Cornelius Fussbudget

      Someone should check the college files of the DeVos children. I have a hunch there might be something interesting. What other explanation could there be to this bizarre crusade of hers?

  • DesertedPictures

    I admire your optimism… but I fear that this is just the first small, legal step in the rolling back of civil rights.

    • OrG

      NOT the first.

      • DesertedPictures

        I hasten to add, for lgbt in the military…

  • MynameisBlarney
    • Joe Beese
    • Bill D. Burger

      It must be like that Day 1 we kept hearing so much about in the election: ISIS gone on Day 1; Obamacare gone on Day 1;l full employment on Day 1…..
      “Believe me. You can believe me.”

      Yup! That’s it.

    • The Librarian

      Business as usual(!)

  • Bill D. Burger

    It would be foolish in the extreme for Orange Foolius to give Mattis the ‘heav ho’….soooo…..I’m setting my special “Countdown to Being Fired from the Trump Administration” clock to seven days for Mad Dog.
    Better start packin’ Mattis.

    • stumpknocker

      he ain’t going nowhere, congress knows he is the only man keeping trump from using nukes.

  • Hemp Dogbane

    An order written by lawyers skilled at using abortion to fleece the rubes leaves doors open to fleece the rubes again and again on this issue. Those email lists aren’t going to monetize themselves.

  • Robbertjan Brandenburg

    And in the meantime Mattis is pulling Tweetler back on his no more talking with NK crap:

    https://thinkprogress.org/mattis-quickly-walks-back-trumps-bellicose-tweet-about-north-korea-a45472063696/

  • bookish

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/kremlin-confirms-it-received-letter-from-trump-lawyer-about-stalled-moscow-real-estate-project-but-did-not-respond/2017/08/30/ee509c0a-8d80-11e7-8df5-c2e5cf46c1e2_story.html?utm_term=.4d86efe381c5

    MOSCOW — A spokesman for Russian President Vladi­mir Putin confirmed on Wednesday that he had received a request for assistance on a stalled Trump Tower real estate project in Moscow from a close aide to President Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, but added that the Kremlin did not respond to the letter.

    “I confirm that among a number of emails one from Mr. Michael Cohen came to us. This indeed happened,” said Dmitry Peskov, a personal spokesman for Putin, during a telephone briefing with Russian and foreign journalists. “But as far as we don’t respond to business topics, this is not our job, we did not send a response.”

    • Joe Beese

      Cohen has assured us that Trump knew nothing about this.

      • jesterpunk

        I have a used bridge for sale that is slightly water damaged if anyone believes that story.

      • If it wasn’t broadcast on Fox news or business channels, it is entirely possible that Trump was entirely ignorant about it. ;-)

      • cmd resistor

        Sez who?

    • Rags

      “We did not send a response.” ……(but we did act on it).

  • MynameisBlarney
    • Resistance Fighter Astraea

      Trump’s response to any event:
      1. How is this about me?
      2. How can I make money?
      3. Return to #1

      • Pisto75666

        4. How can I fit my inauguration crowd size/vote numbers from whatever state into the conversation

        • Permit-holder Ron

          He’s gotten pretty good at that one.

          • Jamoche

            Hasn’t hit any states where he lost yet. I suppose he’ll just talk about the record number of illegal voters.

          • Pisto75666

            There’s always room for improvement though.

      • bbayliss

        2. How can I make money/grab pussy?
        FIFY

    • notanncoulter

      grifter’s gonna grift.

    • Gayer Than Thou

      Also too, and not to get too proprietary about it, I think it’s particularly unseemly for the so-called president to be making money off the actual initials of our country.

      • Permit-holder Ron

        Didn’t you know? Now that he’s president* he’s the owner. It’s in the Constitution somewhere, near the back.

        • Gayer Than Thou

          Darn it! This is why you should never just scroll through the EULA and click on “I Agree.”

  • Joe Beese
    • TJ Barke

      That’s one hell of a Chinese hoax.

      • Joe Beese

        They’re crafty.

      • calliecallie

        They’re piping the water up to the highway through pipes installed the tunnels under the Walmarts. The operation is called Wade Helm.

        • Permit-holder Ron

          <groans>

  • The Librarian

    Thanks, Dok, my thoughts as well. Donnie Two-Faced is talking out of both sides of his pie-hole, pandering to the “de-based” as well as to all non-homophobic among us. I’m betting this doesn’t actually change anything in the long run, but using this scare tactic is most unfair to those Americans willing to serve.

  • SayItWithWookies

    Democracy is safe for now — and right up until Assmouth realizes that when lawyers write up his directives, they salt them with enough caveats that the cabinet secretaries who have to implement them can do so at their own discretion. You think we could get Fox News to play along with the charade and announce that his policies are being implemented, or would they blow the whistle and ruin it for the rest of us?

    • DesertedPictures

      I think him using lawyers for his insane ideas is probably more of a problem for democracy, than if he goes at it alone. (A muslim ban drawn up by lawyers at the very fitst suggestion of Trump would have been more effective)

      • SayItWithWookies

        He would get to that point eventually — and since Kelly’s his chief of staff, he’s probably insisting that these orders be written up professionally, not in rage-colored crayon.

        • notanncoulter

          sir… sir… using CAPSLOCK does NOT make it more impressive or important.

          • Hamilton Ω, AKA Formerly DN

            Nor does sending a certified letter, also too.

  • MynameisBlarney

    The “official” WH transcript of dermpf’s visit to Texas.

    https://www.democraticunderground.com/10029533305

    • Major_Major_Major

      30 foot putts, yo

  • Michael R
    • Nounverb911

      I thought they fired her several times already.

      • The Librarian

        Dumpster fire lights up again?

      • That was Blaze. But I am guessing she is kind of like herpes – and will keep popping up at the most inconvenient times.

      • Michael R

        I thought that was Megyn Kelly

      • Hamilton Ω, AKA Formerly DN

        She has many clones, all quite vapid, all with different names. Such confusion is understandable.

    • Elvis Causticfellow

      Thank the powers that be that her mature, seasoned wisdom will not go missing.

      • notanncoulter

        my sarcasm detector just broke.

      • Hamilton Ω, AKA Formerly DN

        I can’t even think of a sufficiently snarky addenda to your comment.

        {{{Shrugs}}}

    • Edith Prickly

      Of course they did.

    • you aint seein’ the basement…

      bitch!

      this is my own private domicile and I won’t be harassed…

      bitch!

  • Joe Beese

    Long-ish, painful, but important piece from the invaluable Charles Pierce about the environmental catastrophe Houston represents and the right-wing malfeasance that guaranteed it.

    http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a57276/harvey-longterm-effects/

    • Hamilton Ω, AKA Formerly DN

      {{{Outrage!}}}

    • But… but… we don’t need regulations! Freedom!

    • eyelashviper

      This should be on all the news outlets…

    • Permit-holder Ron

      Jesus.
      Bartolomeo.
      Christ.
      These people are INSANE.

    • eyelashviper

      Can you imagine, putting a level 4 bio lab on a hurricane prone barrier island?????

    • redarmyzombie

      You know what? I’m glad I don’t live in Texas. I don’t have to worry about all that shit, and I’m thankful for it every day!

      Now, if only California would get rid of those nuclear reactors on top of that goddamn fault-line…

  • bookish

    http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2017/08/what_it_means_for_the_economy_when_a_city_like_houston_shuts_down.html

    For the U.S. economy to lose New Orleans for a couple of weeks was a human and cultural disaster and an economic challenge. For the U.S. economy to lose Houston for a couple of weeks is a human disaster—and an economic disaster, too.

  • jesterpunk

    Oh good another storm that might turn into a hurricane is forming now. Also this is supposed to be a really busy hurricane season so Trump will have more chances to have rallies when he visits the affected cities.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/weather/hurricane/article170153002.html

    • I keep waiting for Trump to claim his wall will protect us from hurricanes. Seems like something he would try to sell.

      • unionthuggery

        The gulf isn’t sending us their best hurricanes. It is sending us it’s worst hurricanes. Criminals. Murderer and rapist hurricanes. And some of them, I imagine are good storms.

        • redarmyzombie

          Don’t you know there’s blame on ALL sides?

          • Amy!

            These hurricanes, they cause damage, on many sides. On many sides.

      • Marr

        Yep trapping the water like a bathtub sounds like a Trump plan.

    • Nasty Woman Persisted

      As a lifelong Houstonian, I am glad tRump stayed away from here.

      • As a life long American, I wish Trump would stay away from here. ;-(

        • Permit-holder Ron

          As a life-long resident of Planet Earth…

      • Hamilton Ω, AKA Formerly DN

        I have a suspicion that Trump is going to stay away from places where he is at high risk of being shot at by pissed-off locals.

        • Invidosa

          They go nowhere melonoma can’t wear stilletos to (wait, did I just murder English there? Eh, fuck it)

    • cmd resistor

      Yeah, now it’s time for the ones headed towards Florida that come off the African Coast. I remember the good old days when I didn’t know what an African wave was. Or the “cone of uncertainty.” I’m trying not to bookmark the NOAA hurricane page.

    • natoslug

      Y’know, if any of those storms want to drop a little water on those of us on the left coast, we wouldn’t complain too loudly. Especially if they aimed for the 107% of us that are currently on fire. No winds, though, we just want your water.

    • JD Mulvey

      Baseball hat sales will skyrocket!!

      • rocktonsam

        Do the hats come in rainbow colors?

  • Resistance Fighter Callyson

    As the Washington Post explains, there’s a fair chance Mattis will find a way to save Trump from his own rash, poorly-thought-out tweet

    “You already tried that one, Mr President: if you want to send out yet another diversionary tweet to distract us from your Russian collusion and your corruption and your incompetence you need a new topic!”

    (too obvious?)

  • foiled again

    Boy, I’ll tell ya: This morning I woke up feeling like The Dude’s Ford Torino.
    As in, ‘They finally did it. They finally killed my car.” https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ab9e119dca22035e26dcd5d486efdb997de9c6e6ef53a80165caf1e5056e1a12.jpg
    Fuckin’ nihilists.

    • MrTusks

      No, foiled, these men are nihilists, there’s nothing to be afraid of.

    • A Walker

      It was in the X-files, too.
      From IMDB:
      The Dude’s car is a 4-door 1973 Ford Torino. Two vehicles were used in filming: one was destroyed during the filming, the other was destroyed in the filming of The X-Files: Salvage (2001).

      • foiled again

        Thanks for the info. In X-Files was it also green. with… rust coloration?

    • BrendaKay

      Dude! I just watched The Big Lebowski this past weekend.

      • Cat Cafe of the Subpoenas

        Chomer fucking Shabbos!!!

    • CindyinEncinitas

      Well, at least it’s an ethos.

  • Paperless Tiger

    Jesus! Trump’s own cabinet is joining the Resistance. This is the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen.

  • Ryan Denniston

    “Then Donald Trump can declare victory for having given his generals the time to carefully review Barack Obama’s hasty order”

    You know he won’t. He’ll bitch about Deep State once his followers find out Trump is barred from curbstomping transgendered soldiers.

  • JD Mulvey

    Ha! I remember those July tweets, when there was a nine-minute gap between the first and second and all the military peeps thought Trump was announcing that he was starting WWIII. Simpler times…

    • Mehmeisterjr

      The official explanation for the nine-minute gap is that Rose Mary Woods accidentally taped over the tweets eleventy-three times.

      • Cat Cafe of the Subpoenas

        He saw a birdie outside. NICE birdie! What?

        • Dinz6315

          Squirrel! What?…

      • phoenix00

        OR he had to go take a dump…

  • wait! what?

    “But there are a couple of loopholes written into the policy directive that you could drive an Abrams tank through”

    Alternatives

    …you could controlled flight an Osprey into terrain through.
    …gravity fail a Blackhawk helicopter through.
    …fly an F-35 through. Kidding, there’s no such thing as a flying F-35.

  • Latverian Diplomat

    President Trump specifically notes that an about-face is possible if the Secretary of Defense “provides a recommendation to the contrary that I find convincing.”

    A convincing argument:

    TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP
    Record Electoral College Victory!
    TRUMP ᴺᵒᵗ ᵍᵒᶰᶰᵃ ᵈᵒ ᶦᵗ, ᵇᵉᶜᵃᵘˢᵉ ᶦᵗ’ˢ ᵈᵘᵐᵇ⋅TRUMP
    Largest Inauguration Crowds ever seen!
    TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP

  • BrendaKay

    So, we should cheer for the W.H. lawyers now? Yippee for loopholes!

  • Jeffery Campbell

    Here’s a transman soldier. He seems particularly suited to his career.

    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2015/04/10/army-soldier-becomes-first-openly-trans-person-in-u-s-military/

  • Zyxomma

    We have an all volunteer army. Anyone who wants to serve, and can, should be allowed to do so.

  • House0fTheBlueLights

    Trump doesn’t care about transgender service members. He just wants to throw bones to his rabid followers. It’s cynical to the point of malevolence.

  • unclejeems

    Doc, a little OT, but I’m happy you set “his” generals in quotes. So it must be “his” military and “his” White House and “his” Secret Service etc etc etc yadda yadda yadda. I see it as a tell. Trump thinks his election ceded him ownership to the whole federal government, which he now thinks he can run like one of his companies. It’s no longer “our” military but “his” military.

    And I’m sure “his” generals have a secret little giggle every time he says that. Let’s hope we don’t have long to wait before they can stop giggling, and get on with business. And the government is returned to us.

  • dshwa

    It’s all just temporary until Trump and Erik Prince get the American East India Company up and running in a Afghanistan.

  • Celtic_Gnome

    President Trump specifically notes that an about-face is possible if the Secretary of Defense “provides a recommendation to the contrary that I find convincing.”

    Which is lawyer-speak for convince Trump that it was his idea not to move forward on this.

  • April

    Color me cynical but I have a bad feeling this new “study” will be used as cover to kick all Trans troops out of the military. After all Trump needs to pander (and keep happy) his religious fundamentalists base.

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