It’s a true fact: this week’s column was meant to begin with my snotty Memorial Day entry, which you’ll find below. Then I was going to segue into Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride and go from there. It really just ate away at me, though, that I had the weirdest authentic Trump moment of all time and I was going to bury it halfway down the article. And with that image! That amazing, iconic, unedited, un-DC-Funk-Parade-foam-fingered image. So we’re doing things a little bit out of order, because, my friends, on this roller coaster that is life, the weird is in the driver’s seat, and all the rest of us are being pulled along remorselessly, with our hands and feet firmly secured inside the carriage at all times.
So what we see above is — and I swear I’m not making any of this up — president Trump, king Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, and president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt in a darkened room surrounded by fascinated onlookers, placing their hands on, um, a magical glowing devil orb as part of a ritual to end all terrorism forever.
No, that’s true.
That can only be the war in Yemen. This is a truly disgusting and cynical war; Yemen is almost impossibly poor, and is no threat to the United States in any conceivable reality, and your United States government is aiding and abetting the butchers that are the house of Saud in what amounts to the most lopsided partisan religious persecution of all time. This is a "war" fought for no purpose, with no defined endpoint, and with no objective other than the wholesale slaughter of helpless children, all to curry political favor with oil-rich barbarian war-chiefs.
Now, just because I labeled this an Obama war, don’t think I’m leaving the new guy off the hook. I was wholeheartedly in favor of giving him a chance, but at this point he’s had it, and he’s officially blown it. If the Trump administration can’t even see through this most insincere of all wars, it clearly has never seen and will never see a war it doesn’t like. All we can hope for at this point is that maybe they won’t start quite as many new ones as the last administration did.
You’ve probably heard by now, but the next president of the United States will be Hillary Rodham Clinton. We know this because a stalwart bastion of journalistic integrity said so — specifically Newsweek, which made the decision to go ahead and print its special commemorative "Madam President" issues well in advance of the election. Newsweek defended itself by pointing out that this is a common practice; production times being what they are, generally both commemorative issues do get printed, and only the correct one sees distribution. CNN even provided intellectual cover by referencing the true correct fact that MLB produced both Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians World Series championship memorabilia, but only sold the Cubs version (the Indians gear will be offloaded in the third world as discount apparel — no, that’s true). There’s just one problem with the story.
As CNN explains to its slower readers, "this is the media version of World Series keepsakes that were on sale in Cleveland and Chicago last week. Street vendors printed "Cubs win" and "Indians win" T-shirts, then trashed the Indians shirts after the Cubs won Game 7."
There is just one very notable difference: in the case of the World Series, there were two sets of shirts created. However, in the case of the infamous Newsweek special edition, the publishing company Topix, decided to print just one.
Guess which. [Emphasis original]
It can’t happen there
Let’s begin at the end, with the interesting tweet Wikileaks put out Sunday evening:
Julian Assange, the controversial editor of Wikileaks, has been unlawfully confined within the Ecuadorian embassy in London for almost six years now. Throughout all that time, he’s maintained his presence on the internet, continued operating Wikileaks, and assisted whistleblowers (such as Edward Snowden) in escaping the clutches of angry governments. Suddenly, six years into his internment, his internet connection has been "intentionally severed by a state actor." Why now? I’m sure I have no idea.
I’m sure you all remember what happened on 11 September 2001. How could you possibly forget? It was the seminal event upon which the modern American republic was founded. A quick recap, though, for those who overdosed on cocaine back in the 80s and have been in a coma ever since: a group of Saudi nationals, in the United States on Saudi passports, hijacked several aircraft and crashed them into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, killing thousands of innocent people and also the ones at the Pentagon too. Now, fifteen years later, the United States government has finally conceded that Saudi Arabia was perhaps — perhaps! — involved, and congress passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act:
This bill amends the federal judicial code to narrow the scope of foreign sovereign immunity by authorizing U.S. courts to hear cases involving claims against a foreign state for injuries, death, or damages that occur inside the United States as a result of a tort, including an act of terrorism, committed anywhere by a foreign state or official.
It amends the federal criminal code to permit civil claims against a foreign state or official for injuries, death, or damages from an act of international terrorism. Additionally, the bill authorizes federal courts to exercise personal jurisdiction over and impose liability on a person who commits, or aids, abets, or conspires to commit, an act of international terrorism against a U.S. national.
Pretty soon you’re talking real money
If you’re anything like me — and you know you are — you stay up nights worrying that the United States just doesn’t spend enough money on its military. America is only just barely spending as much money as the entire rest of the world combined; how can we possibly expect to be kept safe in the face of the overwhelming existential threat of border skirmishes thousands of miles inland on the other side of the ocean? Clearly our wonderful armed forces require a major overhaul, and I’m pleased to report that it’s only projected to cost a trillion dollars to do so. What a relief!
The price tag to rehabilitate the military after about 15 years of war and relentless overseas operations would be about $1 trillion over a decade, according to the Republican-led House Armed Services Committee…
A $1 trillion increase would require obliterating spending limits passed by Congress and doling out an average of an additional $100 billion each year on the military through 2027.
Oh, a trillion dollars spent over ten years would average a hundred billion a year? I had no idea! Since I was educated in the government schools, this kind of complex mathematical operation vastly overwhelms my tiny peanut brain. Thanks for helping, Stars and Stripes!
I return smack ack
Now that the Republican primary season is safely far, far behind us, the real senator Rand Paul has apparently been released by the Borg slavers who captured him in the spring of 2015 and replaced him with a neocon replicant. He’s made waves recently by opposing the Obama administration’s plans to sell the Islamic fundamentalists who run Saudi Arabia yet more weapons of mass destruction — this time totaling more than a billion dollars — to be used to slaughter additional tens of thousands of helpless Yemeni civilians. Paul’s opposition to this senseless waste of human life is based, apparently, on trivial things like law and morality, which came as a tremendous shock to ancient robotic newscaster Wolf Blitzer, who once won a Peabody award for announcing that being annihilated by a hurricane is bad for you, but can’t seem to extend the metaphor to cover annihilation by bombs:
"So for you this is a moral issue," he told Paul during the Kentucky Republican’s appearance on CNN. "Because you know, there’s a lot of jobs at stake. Certainly if a lot of these defense contractors stop selling war planes, other sophisticated equipment to Saudi Arabia, there’s going to be a significant loss of jobs, of revenue here in the United States. That’s secondary from your standpoint?"