Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Ummm...well, gee, Dad, I wasn't...no, really...but...I...

I think the thing about this ridiculous Flynn Fiasco that gets me right in the giggy is that this joker was once the head of one of the United States' major intelligence agencies.

I mean, this guy isn't some Christopathic Amway chisler like DeVos or a greedy robosigning bankster like Mnuchin or even a neo-Nazi stooge like Bannon. Mike Flynn was not just boss of the DIA but "...commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, chair of the Military Intelligence Board, Assistant Director of National Intelligence, and the senior intelligence officer for the Joint Special Operations Command."

A noted nutbar conspiracy theory aficionado, too, but, nevermind. Point is, this guy's been in the snoop-and-spy game for donkey's years.

And yet, apparently, so fucking stupid it's pretty amazing that the gomer can walk and breathe at the same time.

I mean...think about how he got into this mess.

Guy calls the Russian Embassy. Chats with Ivan, good times, blah-blah-blah...hangs up and then proceeds to lie his little ass off about it like a teenager caught slipping into the house after midnight with his panties in his pocket when asked about what they said.

And never, not once, does he think "Gee...I bet the NSA has a recording of what we talked about because the NSA taps everybody's goddamn phone but double-secret-taps every Russian diplomatic phone 24/7 so lying at this point isn't just useless but is actively damaging to me and everybody else in the Fraudulency Administration that's gonna stand up for me..."


Maybe it's the old GI in me, but the thing that gets me about this - more than the lying, more than the playing-footsie-with-the-Russians, more than the probable-taking-emoluments-from-a-foreign-power - is the goddamn, stomp-down, pure-D, bone-stupid of it.

This guy, this guy who was so freaking stupid as not to think that the NSA was listening in on his dumb ass chatting with the Russian Ambassador, was for 24 days His Fraudulency's - a guy whose foreign policy knowledge can be summed up by the phrase "bag of hammers" - go-to guy for "national security".

Just sit and think about that for a moment.


  1. In this case, I would opt for arrogance over stupidity. Thought no-one would ever call him on it? Or thought that he would be protected? Or maybe that he could generate another conspiracy theory about the nasty libs in the FBI & intel community lying about him? That has already started as some of the Trumpettes in my local coffeshop were murmuring today that a good man had been taken down because of political gamesmanship. Same thing happened to Poindexter after he sold us out to Iran. He took the bullet for Reagan, then he was later making the big dollars in the defense industry, and finally put back in government service by Cheney and Rumsfeld.

    We Have not seen the last of Flynn. He'll be back unfortunately. But perhaps while he is no longer Director of Trump's NSC we won't have any more Yakla raids.

    Flynn does seem to be a bit bonkers with all of his conspiracy theories.

    Why isn't anybody chanting: "Lock him up!"

    1. "Thought no-one would ever call him on it? Or thought that he would be protected?"

      These go together. It's an extremely stupid thing to do, unless somebody else told him to do it.


  2. I'm sorry, mike, but there's not room for that much arrogance without a shit-ton of stupidity. That "good man" didn't think that he and his Tangerine-hued Overlord could start shit with the intel spooks and not immediately get in the freaking cross-hairs? He didn't for a moment think he could hang and shoot the breeze with the Russians without providing those same spooks with a big ol' hammer to hit him with?

    Nah. Arrogant or not, that's just freaking stupid.

    Sadly, tho, I agree; Dougie Feith was hired by Georgetown. Ollie North has his own TV show. Flynn will fall back into Wingnut Welfare and get a job in some "think tank" where he'll think a lot about Muslim pizza child sex rings.

    And I'd be happy to lock his dumb ass up. But the GOP long since concluded that Party >> Country, so with the entire federal government in their hands Flynn will simply sail off into the sunset, leaving the Tangerine Toddler to tap some other moron to "advise" him about national security which he TOTALLY doesn't need since he's, like, the smartest guy EVAH and knows everything already.


  3. FDChief -

    Flynn is just the scapegoat for Trump, or maybe for Tillerson's 500-billion dollar deal with Rosneft.

    My interest is in who will replace Flynn as NSC Director. Three names have been floated in the press:

    David Petraeus - unlikely as he would have to notify his probation officer if he gets picked.

    Keith Kellogg - Acting. I know next to nothing about this guy except wiki bio. Served with the 101st in Nam, later in the 82nd. I wonder if you or Ranger Jim ever served with him? Impressive chest jewelry with his Master Parachutist, HALO, and Pathfinder badges. What is the other set of wings on his right chest?

    Robert Harward - Admiral, former SEAL, thought to be Mattis' choice. Speaks Farsi. Graduate of MITs foreign policy program.

    I am thinking none of the above.

    1. Notice what these three have in common?

      Chestfuls of catch-me-fuck-me ribbons. When you're a general or admiral how often do you see "national security" through a gunsight?

      I'd buy a fucking $200K membership in the Mar-e-lago White House Club if this tool would tap some thoughtful civilian like Andy Bachevich for his NSA.

      Which is about as likely as Kellyanne Conway giving me a hot oil massage...

  4. Here's the other thing that gets me; your coffeeshop guys.

    I won't pretend that this is some kind of horrific black swan. As you point out, Reagan's crew and their Iran-Contra shenanigans were arguably worse (both since Iran was an active "enemy" at the time and for the illegal subversion of the Boland Amendment). Nixon's criminal conspiracies (both the Watergate coverup and sabotaging the Paris talks) were unambiguously worse. Cheney's ginning up a war of aggression and then the horrendous clusterfuck that was the CPA occupation were horrifically worse.

    And yet, through all this your coffeeshop guys are staunch Republicans. Appalled at Clintonian blowjobs. Furious at Kenyan Muslims giving doctors visits to the posts, and asylum to the ragheads. Complacent with the plutocracy and racism and corruption and illegal wars because they weren't forced to press 1 for English.

    The entire less-than-a-month-long reign of His Fraudulency makes it clear that there is literally nothing that the GOP will do that will make these people reconsider who they've sold their souls to. This is no longer an American political party. This is...some kind of cult. A People's Temple willing to force everyone to drink the poisoned Gilded Age kool-ade rather than accept any retreat from their destroy-the-New-Deal crusade.

    And I have no fucking idea how this nation survives that. The political institutions of 1789 weren't designed for that. The last time this nation faced an irredentist minority determined to either force the rest of their countrymen to live the loathsome ethos they cherished or break it took four years of bloody war and hundreds of thousands of lives to crush that arrogant brutality.

    At least that was over chattel slavery, a genuinely fraught moral dilemma. That these people are willing to slam the nation to the wall over a couple of lesbians getting married and having to read federal tax forms in Spanish and plutocrats being forced into a 35% top marginal bracket is ridiculous and infuriating.

  5. Guys,
    you all need a sight adjustment.
    maybe, just maybe it's all career GO's(WP'ers generally).Petraeus/McCrystal/Boykin/Powell(rotc) and hosts caught phonying travel vouchers and playing with the ladies.
    once entering O7 atmosphere they are in eschelons above reality, and they have drunk the cool aid.Did 1 go say- i'm not gonna invade a country preemptively.Not 1 did so.
    isn't that insane arrogance?aren't they smarter than that?
    the problem as i see it is that we have already lost the next war.
    i'm afraid that the problem is bigger than Flynn or Trump.the virus is systemic.
    ignorance is invading 2 countries that didn't aggress against us, and continuing that stupidity as we speak.
    why don't we address the real problem rather than the symptoms.??! flynn will be replaced by a replicant.
    jim hruska

    1. As I pointed out, jim we've had more the fifty years of this lack-of-paying-the-price for stupid-invasion and lawbreaking political clusterfuckery. Yes, it IS bigger than Flynn. Or Trump.

      But...I put it to you that the problem is what we're seeing; that one side of our politics has gone full-on Cult of Kali. That they're fine with these invasions and lawbreaking if they can have tax cuts and repeal the Clean Water Act.

      They have passive allies in the corporatist Democrats. BUT...the Sanders movement shows that there's still genuinely populist energy on the Left. There's still some actual American republicanism alive there.

      But We the People are in trouble if there's no similar energy on the Right. And there's not. All the energy there is even nuttier and more conspiracy-theory than Flynn. It was fear of that helped quash prosecution of the Bushies for criminal aggressive war crimes. That helped prevent jailing the Mnuchins for the 2008 griftopia.

      Until there's a sane Right to combine with the Sanders-Progressive Left there's no hope for a way forward to address the problems you detail.

  6. Chief ,
    in all fairness, the congress/courts and people did not care 1 iota that we had transgressed on the rules of warfare.
    the invasions started with Truman and not trump. korea was a phony war as was all of the actions granted campaign of ndsm's.it's not trump out of control-it's the imperial presidency that's short circuited.
    jim hruska
    both parties are flip sides of the same coin.

    1. I couldn't disagree more, jim, and, frankly, it's your "both sides" fixation that has gone a long way to get us here.

      Be that as it may, my point stands. It's the Sanders Left that's fighting for a return to accountability and small-r republicanism. Where are our allies on the Right? The GOP has total control now. Where is the furious Congressional demands and legislation to rein in this imperial presidency you claim is "both side's" problem? There's no impediment anymore. The GOP could, right now, be dismantling the surveillance state, recalling the fleets and military missions, defunding wars, and returning the levers of power to the People in Congress.

      Strangely...none of that has happened, is happening, or, trust me, will happen.

      Hmmm. I wonder why..?

    2. I won't argue that both the GOP and the mainstream Democrats play by Bachevich's Washington Rules.

      But you're kidding yourself if you think that farkling about in imperial adventures is the only problem, and I think you tend to look at D.C. through those lenses.

      Trying to return the U.S. to the economic, social, and political days of 1899 is a huge problem. That's what people like me and the Sanders movement are fighting from the Left. But I ask again; where are our allies on the Right?

      There aren't any, are there?

      THAT'S why the "two-sides-same-coin" analogy is dead wrong. And that's where people on the Right need to get in this fight and beat down the Reactionary/Trump wing of their own party.

      I'll be over here with my popcorn waiting to see that...

  7. Jim -

    Sadly, I suspect you are correct that Mad Mike will be replaced by a replicant. His original appointment does not show good judgement by POTUS.

    Re Korea, I am neither a fan of Harry Truman nor Syngman Rhee. Truman's gutting of US military forces was one of the key reasons that Stalin gave Kim permission to invade the south. And Truman initially wanted a Navy blockade of Korea instead of ground forces, but his gutting of the Navy had left them without enough ships for that job. IMHO the phony thing about the Korean War was Harry not asking for a declaration of war from the US Congress. Samo-samo for Viet-Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.

    As for both parties being flip sides of the coin: you should recall that the bedrock of the Democratic Party of Truman in 1950 and of LBJ in 1964 was the old south who are now the substratum of the Republican Party. I gave up on the GOP when they fell in love with pimps like Limbaugh (from Harry T's home state) and Faux. So until they get rid of the dittoheads and the tea party and other fringe idiots I will bet on Heads during that coin flip. And let Flynn and Trump and Rush bet on the tails side of the coin where the arsehole is.

    1. Mike: just finished reading something called "The President vs. The General" about Truman and MacArthur. Not particularly informative or well written, but it did makes some good points about the political climate in D.C. in 1950.

      Specifically, that the Democratic Party in general and Truman in particular were a) politically in trouble and b) prone to making bad decisions from political fear.

      And one of the worst was the Congressional Dems funking out of demanding either a declaration of war or and end to the war. The book's explanation was that the Dems were afraid of the minority GOP using the debate to embarrass and harass the administration, and empower the Taft wing (hard Right) of the GOP. Still, a huge mistake and one we're still paying for.

      One interesting bit of the work, tho, was reading the GOP hate of the New Deal. They HATED the idea that old people weren't dying broke, or that GIs were going to college on the public dime, or that...well, basically the America wasn't a Dickensian dystopia.

      In other words, just exactly like 2016 Republicans!

  8. I wasn't done looking up Flynn after all the claims I've read about the guy being a nutjob. It looked to me like kicking him out was an emergency braking.

    Trump was apparently about to assign a man as ambassador tot he EU who hates the EU.
    This administration is a parody of itself. It's no wonder that Trump gets no 100 days grace period from the press - everything could be broken by then.

    1. One view I've read, Sven, is that Trump doesn't really know anyone who knows anything about governing. He's tied in with the crackpot Bannon/Flynn/Miller nutjobs and that's who he goes to for his hires.

      Agree that Flynn was tossed to stop the hemorrhaging. And will be replaced with someone just as arrogant, kooky, and dim.

  9. I'm going with the reasoning being that he was following a directive from Mr Trump, leaving Mr Trump plausible deniability...And when caught with their mitts in the jar Mr. Flynn took one for the team
    No one is that stupid...I'm calling it a cold, calculated risk, and plan B was enacted.


    1. But then why the elaborate lies about lying to Pence, sheerah? Why not just pretend he never told anyone, that he was (as the story is being told now) a freelancing rogue warrior? Why bother with building a silly complex narrative; any spy knows the best lies are the simplest. Less detail to trip you up.

      And my points are 1) Flynn knew he and his boss were feuding with the spooks that 2) Flynn had to know were listening to the Russian phones. If he didn't think he'd get dimed he's nuts. That's why there can't have been a Plan B, or shouldn't have been. They should have known from the jump that this would leak.

  10. Chief,

    It is an unalloyed good thing that someone was fired for lying in the government and incompetence. It has been decades since that happened. And that it happened to someone who was foaming at the mouth for another war is even better.
    It was bad that he was there to begin with, of course, but an incompetent liar running national security has been happening so long, it is practically tradition. I don't think it was all that stupid of him to behave this way since he didn't break the law (so far as we know, hope there is an investigation which clears up this point one way or the other), and the American government doesn't fire people in these positions for lying, they cover ass and pretend it didn't happen. Take the win.

    PF Khans

    1. The problem with that, PF, is that it's not a "win", really. The whole business of his making offhand deals with the Russians was a mess and then lying about it - which, if you're so sure no laws or rules were broken, makes even less sense - why not confirm you were speaking for the boss? - then it just points up that this joker shouldn't have been allowed to play with sharp objects or "national security".

      And, as a couple of other commenters have pointed out, it's unlikely that this dummy will be replaced by a sharper, less nutty, cluster of fuck.

      No argument that many a high official has been vile, or mendacious, or criminal (Hank Kissinger hits the trifecta...). But most intel folks are at least sharp enough to know that their chats w Russian diplomats will go in an NSA file and plan accordingly.

      The fact that Flynn didn't moves him beyond the Bob McNamara grade of fuckup into a whole higher "...the fuck?" grade.

      We know this administration is chaotic and vicious towards anyone they see as their enemies. But the elevation of this dope, and the speed of his self-destruction, makes the Bushies - themselves vicious and only less turbulent by comparison - look like MENSA...

    2. And let me go further; it's never a "win" for the people of the United States when our elected representatives are foolish, or venal, or corrupt, or make ill-informed decisions in our name. God knows I think Trump and a huge proportion of his people are venal and corrupt idiots...but they're OUR executive branch and I sure as hell don't WANT them to be venal, or corrupt, or idiotic.

      So the fact that this promoted-above-his-competence-level conspiracy-theorist was ever placed in the position to be the "national security advisor" to a poorly-informed, impulsive, thin-skinned, egotist who has the power to send Americans to their deaths (and/or kill others) is a "loss", regardless of what happened to him.

    3. PFKhans -

      There is no win until Bannon and Steve Miller are also banished from the castle. And even though Breitbart and the Russian media is blaming the Dems and rogues in the US intel community, Lance Priebus the WH chief of staff is reportedly the one that got Trump to dump Flynn. He and a very few of the saner Republican establishment now are aiming their sights on Bannon and Miller. I am rooting for them.

  11. Flynn was, by all accounts, and excellent JSOC targeting officer. Somehow he was promoted way past his actual temperament and ability. His consistent twitter fellacio of Trump is what probably landed him the job but he lacked even basic competence. Goodbye Flynn, enjoy your 3 star retirement pay.

    1. Andy -

      Agreed. And I think he was one of McChrystal's boys in ISAF, probably leading the pack in the trash-talking back then.

      But what drove Flynn into being a nutjob with all the weird conspiracy theories? I mean the guy has an MBA, and is also a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College, and the Naval War College.

      How and when did he go weird? He is only 59. Is he bi-polar? Early onset senility? Steroid dementia syndrome from trying to max out the PFT? Oxycodone hallucinations? Maybe it is genetic as his son is also a conspiracy theorist.

    2. No idea honestly, I'm just glad he is gone.

  12. Interesting study on conspiracy theorists by the University of Kent in the UK. They postulate that people with Machiavellan tendencies are more liable to believe in conspiracy theories. The researchers established a link between conspiracy beliefs and a personal willingness to conspire.


    That sounds like Mad Mike Flynn IMHO.

    1. Or in other words; projection. It's common among politicians and people talking about politics.

  13. related

  14. To expand on my comment above...

    I don't consider any part of this entire clusterfuck a "win". When backstairs leaking is required to 86 a doofus who shouldn't ever come anywhere near the highest elected office in the land...that's not a "win". When nearly half my countrymen live in a fantasy world where "radical Islamic terrorism" is an existential threat and the need to return the U.S. to the social order of 1929 (or 1899!) is so critical as to elect, and then support, a visibly ignorant, ragefilled, thin-skinned, corrupt narcissist...that's not a "win". For me, or any other American.

    God knows I don't like the reality that the Trumpists are my executive branch...but they are. The welfare of my friends, my family, and I are vastly dependent on their foresight, their knowledge, and the judicious decisions they will make.

    Which is why this sort of fucktardry so infuriates me.

    As a GI I accepted that in war "shit happens". That mortar round will kill you sometimes whether you're a smart guy under overhead cover or a dumb guy skylining on top of a knoll. Life, and politics, can be like that; you do your best to look ahead, to make smart, careful choices...but sometimes bad shit just hits you. And you suck it up and drive on.

    BUT. Sometimes you work for officers who make that harder to do. They're stupid. Or careless. Or ambitious. Or foolish. And they make it another order of magnitude harder for you to get through the day alive.

    THAT is what chaps my ass here. That these jokers - Flynn and Bannon and Trump - are gleefully shooting craps with other people's lives and, apparently, without even bothering to put in the effort to think about what kind of doofy idiocy they're putting into the dice.

    I despised Darth Cheney for his callous and criminal eagerness to get others killed for his cynical geopolitical ends.

    But these guys? They'll get people killed for derpy conspiracy theories. Or out of pure ignorance. Or rage for revenge. Or...

    And while I know that "dead is dead" the inelegance of dying for some moron's loopy internet conspiracy REALLY irks me.

  15. Admiral Harward turned down Trump's offer to take Flynn's job as National Security Advisor. He was interested, but during discussions in the WH, he became disillusioned because of the lines of authority. Apparently he would not have a direct line to the Trumpster, but to someone else. Plus he wanted his own staff, not Bannon and not the Flynn leftovers.

    He reportedly told a friend that the job was a "shit sandwich".

    1. "Apparently he would not have a direct line to the Trumpster..."

      WTF? Mike, how the hell does the President's "national security advisor" - I mean, the guy who's supposed to "advise" (it's right there in his freaking job title, neh?) the President on "national security" not have a direct line to the guy he's supposed to, y'know, "advise" on "national security"????

      This is real down-the-rabbit-hole stuff here...

    2. Ok, it seemed nuts to me but it looks like you're right or close to right, Mike. From Fred Kaplan (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2017/02/robert_harward_turned_down_trump_now_others_can_too.html):

      "...the Financial Times, Washington Post, CNN, and other news outlets are reporting that Harward turned down the offer in part because Trump wouldn’t let him fire several officials that Flynn had hired for his staff and install his own team instead. This suggests that Trump is adamant on keeping certain people loyal to him—including Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland, a former Fox News commentator who Trump admired."

      So maybe not not-having a direct line but not-having control of his own staff. McFarland is another wingnut Islamophobe conspiracy-theory nutbar like Flynn.

      The really scary thing from the Kaplan piece, though, is this:

      "Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief political strategist, who wrote the executive order that placed himself on the NSC Principals Committee and has created a parallel NSC structure called the Strategic Initiatives Group, comprised of a few extreme right-wing associates."

      Holy "Office of Special Plans", Batman! Only a wingnut Republican would think that re-creating the gimmick that helped Darth Cheney get the U.S. mired in the Iraq tarbaby was a fucking good idea.

      These people. Honestly...

  16. This (https://action.donaldjtrump.com/mainstream-media-accountability-survey/) is worth a look just to see what the inside of the Fraudulency Administration's head looks like.

    Apparently thinking that all the black people in the U.S. know each other isn't the only whackadoodle thing these gomers believe...

    1. I suppose this thing about the reporter getting asked if she is friend with Black caucus is overblown. There's so much idiocy that there's no need to overemphasize the lesser exhibits.

    2. It's little stuff like that, tho, Sven, that points out how really down the rabbit hole the Tangerine Toddler is. Hell, I might have a hard time writing a fully legal executive order keeping Muslims out of the U.S. But I'd know better than to think "Oh, this reporter's black, she must know those "black caucus" darkies, too..."

    3. Remember the issue of desensitisation.
      I advise to focus on the big issues regardless of their entertainment value, particularly if they were covered up by other noise.

    4. I'd love to agree but for knowing the damn public and press as I do.

      The past campaign is a perfect example. Clinton talked obsessively about the "big issues" and made sense. Trump - when he wasn't just being utterly random - just crapped out ridiculous lies and improbable babble that shouldn't have fooled a third-grader.

      The news outfits repeated the babble as the equal of (or as often as not instead of) the issues. The ugly reality is that the U.S. public has been conditioned to react to silly trivia as "news". Attempts to engage the public in critical thinking or substantive policy consideration always loses to magical thinking and simpleminded slogans.

      If you respond "that's not healthy for a representative democracy" I'll agree completely. But that's where we are. So I'd argue that to hunt Trump on his awful policy ideas we have to have both; the public needs to hear a steady recitation of his juvenile stupidity so as to internalize him as a childish fool and see his policies as foolish and dangerous.

  17. I gotta agree with Sven. There are going to be a thousand lesser idiocies like that. They will all camouflage the Breitbart guy being in charge of our national strategy. And the raping of the environment. And the gutting of labor regulations.

    1. That presupposes the opposition to the Tangerine Toddler can't slap down his serious malfeasance while laughing at all the minor derpyness. I'm confident we can do both, and I actually suspect that mocking him for this dopey little stuff is a good way to get under his thin skin and keep him off-balance.

    2. Another thing to remember is that most of the policy stuff - gutting enviro and labor and financial regs - is coming from the Congressional wingnut monkeyhouse. The Trumpkins won't fight that, but their thing is racist, nativist, and (for Trump) grifting.

  18. I am going off topic here FDChief, but would love to hear your thought on this Guardian article regarding 50,000 year-old dormant microbes trapped inside crystals? If you don't mind putting on your geology hat for a bit.