[syndicated profile] plaidder_tumblr_feed

ACA enrollment schedule may lock millions into unwanted plans

Short story: In addition to cutting the enrollment period in half, they’re now doing away with the post-autoenrollment grace period. After autoenrollment happens, you won’t be able to change your plan. If you get your health care through ACA, go read the story so you can be forewarned. It’s not clear that HHS plans to notify anyone of the changes.

This bullshit is reason enough to impeach this @#$@!. He is not executing the laws of the United States any more than he is upholding and defending the Constitution.

80F - 51F : Sunny

Oct. 20th, 2017 08:09 pm
zhelana: (Games - Girl On Fire)
[personal profile] zhelana
Today was a total waste. Tara was supposed to come at 1. She texted and said she'd be here at 2. Then at 3 I texted and asked where she was. She got back to me at 4 and said she'd be here at 7. It is currently 8 and she's asking me what I want to eat next week, so I assume she's not coming over today. She wants to come tomorrow, which will be fine except Kevin will have to deal with her on his own, and I won't have a cell phone on me to be called home. So... Oh well.

Anyway, I read on the internet, reading some of the more modern research about Khazaria. I think they ignore too many things in trying to say "no it never happened" - ok then explain all the burials with Jewish symbols? And explain why all the names are Jewish names? Sighs. Some people's children. There's just too much evidence that it did happen, even if it is what passes for evidence of stuff that happened over 1000 years ago.

NaNoLanta chat is becoming active. But there is a Sushi and a SushiSandwich and I'm not sure if they're the same person or not.

That's about it for the day. I've mostly been bored and tired. Even when I woke up from my nap I was tired. I've done a lot of wandering from room to room today.

Post on Omniscient POV

Oct. 20th, 2017 01:34 pm
sartorias: (Default)
[personal profile] sartorias
Posting on the fly here--workshop still going on.

But recently Cat Rambo read my book Inda and asked me
>for a mini-interview on omni POV
. A subject I am always intensely interested in discussing.
musesfool: darth vader saying "He said what about his sister? Gross." (he said what about his sister?)
[personal profile] musesfool
I meant to link to this yesterday: 5 things Obi-Wan should have told Luke instead of lies. #obi-wan's casual relationship with the truth

Leaving aside all Doylistic reasons (i.e., that at the time, Lucas had no idea Obi-Wan was lying about anything!), given canon as it currently stands, I feel like I can only blame Obi-Wan for not clearing up 1 (Darth Vader is your father) and 5 (Princess Leia is your sister). More on that below but first, I will quickly dispatch the others:

- 2. Owen was Anakin's stepbrother and they only met once is irrelevant to Luke's situation, because Owen and Beru raised Luke and loved him and were his family in all ways that matter. Otoh, this part: Obi-Wan could have saved himself a lot of time by just telling the kid that he was hidden away to protect him from the Empire, and now it's time to step out I can agree with. That would have been perfect and not in any way set Owen and Beru up against Luke's father's 'ideals,' whatever those were meant to be at the time/according to Obi-Wan.

- 3. Yeah, it would have been great if Obi-Wan gave Luke some background on the Jedi Order, but I feel like there was time for that later, in ghostly chats during downtime or while training with Yoda. I don't know if you lead with philosophy and history when rescuing the princess and destroying the planet-killing space station are the top two things on your to-do list. And Luke spent a few weeks with Yoda so we don't really know what else he was taught aside from all the running and the handstands. He seemed to be doing all right in RotJ anyway, some Force-choking aside.

- 4. I don't think Obi-Wan was advising Luke to bury his feelings forever and ever. Luke may have interpreted it that way (certainly Anakin seemed to, despite ten years of Jedi training), so much as he was saying, don't let them overwhelm you while you're fighting the Emperor and Vader, because they will use your feelings and Leia against you if they can. And he's not wrong - Luke does get overwhelmed when Vader picks up on the whole 'sister' thing, but then he masters himself and wins out, at least in terms of 1. not dying and 2. bringing Vader back to the light. I feel like Coach Taylor lays it out best: "Every man at some point in his life is gonna lose a battle. He's gonna fight and he's gonna lose. What makes him a man, is that in the midst of that battle, he does not lose himself."

Now, the two lies that actually did some damage and Obi-Wan should have pulled on his big boy pants and told the truth (speaking from an in-text/Watsonian perspective):

1. "Darth Vader is your father" - I absolutely understand to some degree why Obi-Wan couldn't bring himself to tell Luke this, especially not early on. And I don't need to rehash all the reasons why for Obi-Wan it was not even really a lie! Why he could weasel around with "from a certain point of view" and still look his ghost-self in the ghost-mirror. I mean, I can if you want me to! I'm happy to discuss Obi-Wan at any time! but I feel like it is, like, 93% irrelevant to this particular discussion, because once Luke was leaving for Bespin, it was CRUCIAL that he have all the facts going into that confrontation, and he didn't and it cost him dearly. It didn't even need to be Obi-Wan who told him! he could have kept on with his "I'm not mad I'm just disappointed" bit as Luke left if he really needed to for his own peace of mind.

But Yoda should have done it instead of being cryptic and discouraging, and while I'm not anti-Yoda as so many people are, I do think he made a huge mistake there, and did so willfully instead of genuinely. I think it shows on both their parts that they continued to misunderstand what drove Anakin Skywalker (despite, on Obi-Wan's part, knowing him really well) and also a real unwillingness to question their own worldviews despite having them upended so terribly. I mean, twenty years of meditating in the desert/the swamp over everything that went wrong (and no doubt with a side order of routine self-flagellation for Obi-Wan, at least), and it never occurred to either of them to think, well, Anakin never did anything the way we expected, so why should he be a Sith in the expected way? (and remember, he's not actually that great at being a Sith.)

5. "Leia is your sister." I mean, I guess he'd been alone in the desert for 19 years, so maybe it wouldn't have occurred to him that cute teenagers in adrenaline-fueled and dangerous situations might end up kissing and stuff! Especially when BOTH of them were Skywalkers. I mean, he knew Anakin met Padme when he was 9 and was like, "She's the one for me!" and ten years later, actually made it happen, so I don't know what he was thinking when he neglected to mention that the girl currently inspiring Luke to radical notions of overthrowing the Empire was none other than his sister. It would have at least avoided some awkward situations and the potential for a very different sort of family tragedy, anyway. ("One more date and we would've had a Greek tragedy on our hands." - Soapdish) I guess he was just really confident in Han Solo's charms to win the princess's heart in the end? *g*

***

If...

Oct. 20th, 2017 12:10 pm
zhelana: (potter - hermione pissed)
[personal profile] zhelana
If you could have one person alive today call you for advice who would it be?

Worry

Oct. 20th, 2017 11:53 am
zhelana: (Games - Katniss)
[personal profile] zhelana
What do you worry about the most?

Kevin's health


the rest )

Julian Clare May (1931 - 2017)

Oct. 20th, 2017 10:03 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Angry Robot Books reports the death of Julian May.

In which bold plans go awry.

Oct. 20th, 2017 08:30 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
I gymmed on my lunch hour yesterday, so my evening would be free for either a haircut or a load of laundry, though probably not both.

It ended up being neither. Oh, well. Those things will keep.

I did eat some delicious pumpkin and tofu red curry, and read this week's Time magazine while in bed under my weighted blanket.

Tonight, I'm going to hear some Reformation-related music from Piffaro and the Rose Ensemble.

Today's ambiguity

Oct. 19th, 2017 10:47 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
"Resent" is both how one might feel about being told an email never arrived and also what one might do in response.

Wait

Oct. 19th, 2017 10:47 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The month was only half over last weekend. How can it be almost three quarters over only a week later?
[syndicated profile] plaidder_tumblr_feed

John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff whose son died in combat, defends president’s call to Gold Star widow

There’s a lot of disturbing stuff in this piece, but the takeaway is that we now know there is literally nothing Kelly won’t do to prop up this administration. 

Oh, also, Kelly thinks contemporary America is an amoral cesspool that does not deserve the sacrifice of its fallen soldiers:

Kelly, who had gone to great lengths to avoid injecting his personal story into political debates, did not reveal Thursday how he felt about Trump’s invoking his son. He confirmed that there had been no call from Obama but also said he did not fault the former president for not making one. In fact, Kelly said, he had advised Trump not to call the loved ones of dead soldiers.

“I said to him, ‘Sir, there’s nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families,’ ” Kelly said.

The 67-year-old retired Marine Corps general also sought to claim the moral high ground by deploring the degradation of modern American society. When he was growing up, he said, women, religion and the dignity of life were sacred. Now, he said, they no longer are.

Well, I’ll believe he asked Buttercup not to call the families. If I had his job I’d have done the same. I also believe his story about walking in Arlington Cemetary for 90 minutes yesterday “collecting his thoughts.” I bet he was collecting his thoughts. I would hope it would take him at least 90 minutes to talk himself into this performance.

But this whole “deploring the degradation of modern American society” thing…that’s not good.

Best attitude you can take to it is Rep. Wilson’s attitude: 

Wilson told Politico in response to Kelly’s remarks that Trump’s chief of staff is “trying to keep his job. He will say anything. There were other people who heard what I heard.”

I’ve always wondered WHY Kelly wants to keep this job. But if he really believes that America has become a wretched hive of scum and villainy since the 60s, that would explain the appeal of the Red Hat.

Plugin Problems

Oct. 19th, 2017 07:06 pm
jimhines: (Shego - Facepalm)
[personal profile] jimhines
My Journalpress plugin is no longer posting things to Dreamwidth. I've seen reports that this is due to a change Dreamwidth made in their site security or configuration, but I'm not sure.

I'll be looking for solutions, but in the meantime, you can always find everything on the website at http://www.jimchines.com/blog/

Rereading Dracula

Oct. 19th, 2017 01:39 pm
[syndicated profile] plaidder_tumblr_feed

I’d forgotten that Van Helsing makes his own anti-Undead tomb sealant by kneading crushed consecrated host into putty and then rolling it into strips and sticking it into the door cracks like caulking. I hope someone’s out there now working on some kind of paranormal DIY faux reality show featuring VanHelsing’s Premium Anti-Vamp Sealant, with real communion wafers, now available as sprayable foam.

Leaving Day

Oct. 19th, 2017 09:38 pm
naye: a photo of a yellow flower floating in a puddle with dead leaves (höstblomma)
[personal profile] naye
Tomorrow is my very last day at work in Cambridge. I started in August 2013, which makes this the longest I've ever been at the same job.

It's very strange.

I won't miss most of what I do, because - meh, it's just not very interesting, even though I do it well?

I will miss the people, though. Even though I'm not super close to anyone, there's so many people there I like.

And it will be extremely odd to not be doing this job anymore. To look ahead and realize it won't be until January 2022 I will have been at my Swedish library job as long as I was at my random UK admin job.

Time is weird. Change is hard. Stress is happening, but also anticipation - and to be fair, immense relief to be rid of a lot of aspects of the role that had been grating on me.

Makes it hard to know what I'm feeling, exactly.

So I watch Yuri on Ice with [personal profile] doctorskuld and tear up at all of Yuri's Free Skates and also when sweet things are said and done and it feels so close to my heart and also like I first watched it an eternity ago...

(no subject)

Oct. 19th, 2017 02:20 pm
zhelana: (Marvel - Iron Eye)
[personal profile] zhelana
Finished this week
Hit the target with 4 arrows at 30 yards
Score more than 24 points on a RR
have a clean office (Thanks Tara!)


Progress this Week
Score 3 Royal Rounds (Scored 2)
Go to 30 meetings (it was supposed to be dance but we didn't get up critical mass to dance and just sat around talking)
Attend archery 20 times
Post 100 Situations Prompts
Clean off desk
Clean off the table
Stripling
30 new kiva loans
Read 30 Jews Wikipedia page (Karl Marx)
Listen to 90 podscasts
Read the bible

My long-delayed trip

Oct. 19th, 2017 11:12 am
rachelmanija: (Default)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Two years ago, I meant to go to Japan in November. And then I had the most horrible two years of my entire life, and the trip was shelved.

I'm going to Japan in November! I'll be there for two weeks, divided between Tokyo, Kyoto, and Fukuoka. The last is a city further south than I've been before, with some very pretty day trips.

I'm going to use AirBnb, which I also haven't used before, but it looks pretty great. I have two lovely apartments all to myself for cheaper than a hotel room would be, and one room in a house with a lady who cooks breakfast, has a friendly toy poodle named Piccolo, and says understatedly, "I am a former hotelier who worked in the five star hotel. I think I can assist you well during your stay."

Any of you done anything fun in Japan?

Best

Oct. 19th, 2017 02:10 pm
zhelana: (Default)
[personal profile] zhelana
Describe the best day of your life so far.

It's funny because the best day of my life is probably my wedding day, but I honestly don't remember much of it. I remember my dad walking me down the aisle and seeing the photographer and Kevin, and I remember saying I do, and then the champagne started. I remember thanking Lowell, who owned the restaurant we got married in, and I remember a stuffed cheetah. But... most of it is gone.

the rest )

Narcissism All The Way Down

Oct. 19th, 2017 11:15 am
[syndicated profile] plaidder_tumblr_feed

wetwareproblem:

drst:

plaidadder:

northray:

plaidadder:

plaidadder:

So, you’ve probably heard the story about how Buttercup, when he finally got of his ass and started reaching out to the grieving families of the four American soldiers killed in Niger, told the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, “He knew what he was signing up for, but I guess it hurts anyway.”

We know this because Buttercup called while the widow was going to collect her husband’s body at the airport, and there were some people in the car with her, including Representative Frederica S. Wilson (D-Florida), who knew Sgt. Johnson and his family personally. The phone was on speaker, so everyone heard it. Wilson sort of went off on Buttercup about this in an interview. Naturally the story got picked up–“crazy shit Buttercup says” is a story everyone in the media loves now–and when asked about it, Buttercup claimed the story was completely made up. 

Wilson begs to differ:

Trump just said his comment to a war widow was ‘fabricated.’ In an interview, the witness pushes back.

Here’s what she had to say about Buttercup’s claims:

But Wilson said in our interview she is sticking by the story, and she asserted that there were other witnesses in the car, including the driver and the aunt and uncle of the deceased soldier. “I was not the only one in the car,” she said.

“Mr. Trump is crazy,” Wilson told me. “He’s a liar. He’s proven to be a liar.” She said she was more “concerned about the circumstances around his death” than about what Trump said.

When I pressed Wilson on whether she was sticking by her account that she heard Trump say, “he knew what he was signing up for,” she said “yes.” When I reiterated that Trump claims to have proof otherwise, she said, “How about you go get that proof and call me back?”

I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will: Obviously, Wilson is telling the truth and Buttercup is lying.

Apart from the fact that Buttercup lies like he breathes and that claiming something never happened is one of his go-to strategies after he’s fucked up–and that with Comey he also claimed to have ‘proof’ that he never had–who would make this up? Nobody–except maybe Buttercup. If he had just met the low bar for presidential consolation with a few meaningless platitudes, Wilson wouldn’t have dragged this soldier’s family into a national news story over it. The only thing that explains this is that Wilson is fucking furious over the way he hurt this family–as she has every right to be–and knows that they are too busy grieving to talk about how Buttercup made it worse.

This fuck-up is also, I want to point out, CLASSIC Buttercup, because it is all about how everything is always about Buttercup. “He knew what he signed up for” is not something you say to the grieving family. The only time, in this situation, anyone ever says “he knew the risks when he signed up” or words to that effect is when the grieving family is trying to console the person who’s taking responsibility for the death. For example: “I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m sorry that I led/ordered/fucked up the mission on which he died. I wish I could bring him back.” “Don’t feel guilty, sir, he knew the risks when he signed up and he was proud to give his life for his country.” This is how that phrase normally occurs in conversation or (more often) in television dialogue on cop shows &c, which is probably where Buttercup picked it up. By saying it to the grieving widow, Buttercup was trying to console himself instead of consoling her–while also trying to deflect responsibility, as he does with everything that’s his fault. And that is Buttercup in a nutshell. Fuck you and your pain–what about my needs?

He’s done things that are going to have worse consequences, but this may be the worst thing he’s done, interpersonally, since he was elected, and that’s up against some pretty stiff competition.

Oh wow. This is getting so much worse.

“Fallen soldier’s mother: Trump did disrespect my son”

Sgt. La David T. Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told The Washington Post that she was present during the call from the White House on Tuesday to Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson. She also stood by an account of the call from Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) that Trump told Myeshia Johnson that her husband “must have known what he signed up for.”

“President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband,” Jones-Johnson said.

And this:

Press secretary just admitted ‘proof’ doesn’t exist regarding Trump’s talk with soldier’s widow

All you need is the headline…but wait, there’s this:

While declining to talk about the specifics of their conversation, Sanders said that it was “completely respectful, very sympathetic” and that Trump “expressed . . . condolences.” She also appeared to confirm at least one claim Wilson had made, saying, “Just because the president says ‘your guy’ doesn’t mean he doesn’t know his name.”

Oh my God.

I am 100% certain someone printed Johnson’s name out on a card and gave it to Buttercup before he made the call. Either he can’t read or didn’t give a fuck. Or maybe both.

And of course the most important thing about all of this is the fact that Trump is deliberately diverting attention from the failed mission itself. I understand that it bears a striking resemblance to elements of the whole Benghazi thing the GOP has been thrashing Hilary with for forever. Honestly I don’t know ANYTHING about Benghazi, but I have heard so much fucking shouting about it (along with the damned emails) that I have to assume it would be a massive embarrassment for Lord Dampnut to have something similar happen on his watch. Why else would he be willing to wade into this PR nightmare on a topic NO ONE ASKED HIM ABOUT?

I think my Prime Minister is a bit of a putz, but this shit you guys are dealing with is fucking nuts.

I’m all about your second paragraph there, northray. It is indeed fucking nuts, and whoever your prime minister is, he can’t be as bad as Buttercup.

However…I see this “but this is just a carefully orchestrated a distraction to keep you from noticing X” commentary a lot, in the mainstream media and in social media, and it is my considered opinion that most of the time, y’all are giving Buttercup too much credit. Yes, he does like to manipulate the media and you can often see him going to a lot of trouble to do it. Pence’s walkout at the Colts game is a recent example. But a lot of the time…he’s doing this bullshit because he can’t stop himself.

And I think that’s what’s going on here. If you really wanted to stop the media from pursing the Niger story, the smart thing to do would be to read a statement of sorrow and regret, place your discreet calls to the families, maybe show up at a funeral for some Comforter-In-Chief photos, and be done with it. That’s a one-day news cycle and then everyone’s on to the next thing. 

Whatever’s going on in Niger, it’s the kind of story that Americans are extremely bad at paying attention to. Whereas the story of Buttercup the Bully is one that Americans are extremely good at paying attention to. By turning the Niger deaths from a foreign policy/military story into an interpersonal bullying story, Buttercup has just exponentially increased the number of people who will learn about this catastrophe in Niger, and therefore the number of people who will ask themselves why these soldiers died in the first place.

He didn’t want to do that. He’s supposed to be selling his fucking tax plan, which, don’t get me started. I believe this current fiasco is the inevitable result of a clusterfuck of Buttercuppian flaws: 1) a lack of empathy bordering on sociopathy 2) a penchant for creating chaos at the White House (no President organizes such details himself; your staff are supposed to take care of it and let you know when to pick up the phone) and 3) a pathological inability to take responsibility for anything or to apologize to anyone. So it goes like this: 1) Staff fails to be on top of it; 2) Buttercup doesn’t know what you say and don’t say to a grieving widow; 3) when challenged about this in the media, instead of issuing some vague non-apology like “my remarks were intended to praise Sgt. Johnson’s dedication and self-sacrifice; I regret having inadvertently caused pain to his grieving family,” which is what any other politician would do, Buttercup instead lies about it and then starts smearing the witnesses.

I think the FiveThirtyEight and TalkingPointsMemo people are right about this one: we should stop trying to find the political strategy behind a lot of what Buttercup does, because he’s basically acting on impulse and out of fear and anger. Looking for meaningful explanations of essentially meaningless behavior is a good way to drive yourself mad, and we’re all mad enough right now.

THERE IS NO 12 DIMENSIONAL CHESS GOING ON HERE, HE’S JUST THAT FUCKING STUPID AND EVIL AND HAS SURROUNDED HIMSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE EVEN WORSE.

Could we maybe not throw mentally ill people under the fucking bus every single time we open our mouths about Fuckface von Clownstick?

This is mostly insightful commentary, but it is so fucking tiring seeng people armchair-diagnose him with heavily stigmatized personality disorders.

Y'all are contributing to the already-considerable dangers mentally ill people face, and I hope you’re ashamed of yourselves.

Thank you for your response, and I will seek to be more considerate going forward. It’s pointless to go back and edit the original post because tumblr always replicates the original and revisions never catch up. But I don’t actually believe that Buttercup is mentally ill, so I shouldn’t use diagnostic terms to describe him. I’m sorry.

Narcissism All The Way Down

Oct. 19th, 2017 10:20 am
[syndicated profile] plaidder_tumblr_feed

meanmisscharles:

plaidadder:

northray:

plaidadder:

plaidadder:

So, you’ve probably heard the story about how Buttercup, when he finally got of his ass and started reaching out to the grieving families of the four American soldiers killed in Niger, told the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, “He knew what he was signing up for, but I guess it hurts anyway.”

We know this because Buttercup called while the widow was going to collect her husband’s body at the airport, and there were some people in the car with her, including Representative Frederica S. Wilson (D-Florida), who knew Sgt. Johnson and his family personally. The phone was on speaker, so everyone heard it. Wilson sort of went off on Buttercup about this in an interview. Naturally the story got picked up–“crazy shit Buttercup says” is a story everyone in the media loves now–and when asked about it, Buttercup claimed the story was completely made up. 

Wilson begs to differ:

Trump just said his comment to a war widow was ‘fabricated.’ In an interview, the witness pushes back.

Here’s what she had to say about Buttercup’s claims:

But Wilson said in our interview she is sticking by the story, and she asserted that there were other witnesses in the car, including the driver and the aunt and uncle of the deceased soldier. “I was not the only one in the car,” she said.

“Mr. Trump is crazy,” Wilson told me. “He’s a liar. He’s proven to be a liar.” She said she was more “concerned about the circumstances around his death” than about what Trump said.

When I pressed Wilson on whether she was sticking by her account that she heard Trump say, “he knew what he was signing up for,” she said “yes.” When I reiterated that Trump claims to have proof otherwise, she said, “How about you go get that proof and call me back?”

I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will: Obviously, Wilson is telling the truth and Buttercup is lying.

Apart from the fact that Buttercup lies like he breathes and that claiming something never happened is one of his go-to strategies after he’s fucked up–and that with Comey he also claimed to have ‘proof’ that he never had–who would make this up? Nobody–except maybe Buttercup. If he had just met the low bar for presidential consolation with a few meaningless platitudes, Wilson wouldn’t have dragged this soldier’s family into a national news story over it. The only thing that explains this is that Wilson is fucking furious over the way he hurt this family–as she has every right to be–and knows that they are too busy grieving to talk about how Buttercup made it worse.

This fuck-up is also, I want to point out, CLASSIC Buttercup, because it is all about how everything is always about Buttercup. “He knew what he signed up for” is not something you say to the grieving family. The only time, in this situation, anyone ever says “he knew the risks when he signed up” or words to that effect is when the grieving family is trying to console the person who’s taking responsibility for the death. For example: “I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m sorry that I led/ordered/fucked up the mission on which he died. I wish I could bring him back.” “Don’t feel guilty, sir, he knew the risks when he signed up and he was proud to give his life for his country.” This is how that phrase normally occurs in conversation or (more often) in television dialogue on cop shows &c, which is probably where Buttercup picked it up. By saying it to the grieving widow, Buttercup was trying to console himself instead of consoling her–while also trying to deflect responsibility, as he does with everything that’s his fault. And that is Buttercup in a nutshell. Fuck you and your pain–what about my needs?

He’s done things that are going to have worse consequences, but this may be the worst thing he’s done, interpersonally, since he was elected, and that’s up against some pretty stiff competition.

Oh wow. This is getting so much worse.

“Fallen soldier’s mother: Trump did disrespect my son”

Sgt. La David T. Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told The Washington Post that she was present during the call from the White House on Tuesday to Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson. She also stood by an account of the call from Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) that Trump told Myeshia Johnson that her husband “must have known what he signed up for.”

“President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband,” Jones-Johnson said.

And this:

Press secretary just admitted ‘proof’ doesn’t exist regarding Trump’s talk with soldier’s widow

All you need is the headline…but wait, there’s this:

While declining to talk about the specifics of their conversation, Sanders said that it was “completely respectful, very sympathetic” and that Trump “expressed . . . condolences.” She also appeared to confirm at least one claim Wilson had made, saying, “Just because the president says ‘your guy’ doesn’t mean he doesn’t know his name.”

Oh my God.

I am 100% certain someone printed Johnson’s name out on a card and gave it to Buttercup before he made the call. Either he can’t read or didn’t give a fuck. Or maybe both.

And of course the most important thing about all of this is the fact that Trump is deliberately diverting attention from the failed mission itself. I understand that it bears a striking resemblance to elements of the whole Benghazi thing the GOP has been thrashing Hilary with for forever. Honestly I don’t know ANYTHING about Benghazi, but I have heard so much fucking shouting about it (along with the damned emails) that I have to assume it would be a massive embarrassment for Lord Dampnut to have something similar happen on his watch. Why else would he be willing to wade into this PR nightmare on a topic NO ONE ASKED HIM ABOUT?

I think my Prime Minister is a bit of a putz, but this shit you guys are dealing with is fucking nuts.

I’m all about your second paragraph there, northray. It is indeed fucking nuts, and whoever your prime minister is, he can’t be as bad as Buttercup.

However…I see this “but this is just a carefully orchestrated a distraction to keep you from noticing X” commentary a lot, in the mainstream media and in social media, and it is my considered opinion that most of the time, y’all are giving Buttercup too much credit. Yes, he does like to manipulate the media and you can often see him going to a lot of trouble to do it. Pence’s walkout at the Colts game is a recent example. But a lot of the time…he’s doing this bullshit because he can’t stop himself.

And I think that’s what’s going on here. If you really wanted to stop the media from pursing the Niger story, the smart thing to do would be to read a statement of sorrow and regret, place your discreet calls to the families, maybe show up at a funeral for some Comforter-In-Chief photos, and be done with it. That’s a one-day news cycle and then everyone’s on to the next thing. 

Whatever’s going on in Niger, it’s the kind of story that Americans are extremely bad at paying attention to. Whereas the story of Buttercup the Bully is one that Americans are extremely good at paying attention to. By turning the Niger deaths from a foreign policy/military story into an interpersonal bullying story, Buttercup has just exponentially increased the number of people who will learn about this catastrophe in Niger, and therefore the number of people who will ask themselves why these soldiers died in the first place.

He didn’t want to do that. He’s supposed to be selling his fucking tax plan, which, don’t get me started. I believe this current fiasco is the inevitable result of a clusterfuck of Buttercuppian flaws: 1) a lack of empathy bordering on sociopathy 2) a penchant for creating chaos at the White House (no President organizes such details himself; your staff are supposed to take care of it and let you know when to pick up the phone) and 3) a pathological inability to take responsibility for anything or to apologize to anyone. So it goes like this: 1) Staff fails to be on top of it; 2) Buttercup doesn’t know what you say and don’t say to a grieving widow; 3) when challenged about this in the media, instead of issuing some vague non-apology like “my remarks were intended to praise Sgt. Johnson’s dedication and self-sacrifice; I regret having inadvertently caused pain to his grieving family,” which is what any other politician would do, Buttercup instead lies about it and then starts smearing the witnesses.

I think the FiveThirtyEight and TalkingPointsMemo people are right about this one: we should stop trying to find the political strategy behind a lot of what Buttercup does, because he’s basically acting on impulse and out of fear and anger. Looking for meaningful explanations of essentially meaningless behavior is a good way to drive yourself mad, and we’re all mad enough right now.

Let’s not overlook that this was directed at a Black woman, and a Black serviceman, and this Trashheap has consistently disrespected PoC, like with the Khan family. That is not incidental, and is in fact, done for the same reason this president will not distance himself from white supremacists. This discussion cannot be had without the racial element.

This is true, and if you compare this story with this other story the Post has done on other soliders’ families:

Trump offered a grieving military father $25,000 in a phone call

it does appear that Buttercup has done better on condolence calls with white families. Somewhat bizarrely, he offered the (white) father of Army Sgt. Dillon Baldridge $25,000 over the phone during his condolence call–according to Baldridge, this seems to have been an impulsive attempt to compensate for the fact that (according to Baldridge) his ex-wife would be getting all the survivor benefits. The story focuses on whether Buttercup actually sent the check (Baldridge says no; the WH spokesperson claims–literally–that the check is in the mail). But to me, it’s more interesting that he made this offer on the spur of the moment to a white guy with a grievance against his ex-wife.

The father of (white) Sgt. Cameron Thomas seems quite pleased with the 20-minute conversation he had with Buttercup after his son’s death in Afghanistan in April. Tellingly, Thomas says that after he told Buttercup he’d voted for him, Buttercup then went on for another 10 minutes about what a great job he was doing as President. The father of (white) Weston Lee reports being very moved by his conversation with Buttercup, who he says “spoke to them about ‘how impressive my brother was, how he had read the reports, reading everything about Weston, and he could tell how amazing he was. And talking to us, he could tell how strong we were and how strong he must have been. We were all pretty devastated.’”

There are two people the Post interviewed for this story who said they got no call from Buttercup: Quinn Butler, brother of (white) Green Beret Aaron Butler, and Uvince Brooks, father of (black) Army Sgt. Roshain Brooks. 

It’s still narcissism all the way down, but yes: much of Buttercup’s otherwise baffling behavior becomes explicable once you grasp that he really is sincerely, thoroughly, and unrepentantly racist. His racism is not just ‘playing to his base,’ though it is that; it’s possibly his only core value apart from self-interest, and it’s probably why he could discourse at length to Weston Lee’s father about Lee’s accomplishments but couldn’t remember La David Johnson’s name and then referred to Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, as “that woman” and “the wife” when responding to questions about his conversation with her. 

In the spirit of making racism part of the discussion, it’s also worth pointing out that the first Gold Star family Buttercup publicly attacked, the Khans, are Pakistani-American Muslims.

(BTW the Post piece I’m talking about doesn’t indicate anything about the soldiers’ demographics, apart from identifying Thomas as Mormon. I had to find this information by Googling the soldiers’ names.)

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