Seen on the street in Kyiv.

Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

“The Mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” -- The TOFF *

"Foreign Relations Boil Down to Two Things: Talking With People or Killing Them." -- Unknown

“Speed is a poor substitute for accuracy.” -- Real, no-shit, fortune from a fortune cookie

"If you believe that you are talking to G-d, you can justify anything.” — my Dad

"Colt .45s; putting bad guys in the ground since 1873." -- Unknown

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"The Dildo of Karma rarely comes lubed." -- Unknown

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

* "TOFF" = Treasonous Orange Fat Fuck,
"FOFF" = Felonious Old Fat Fuck,
"COFF" = Convicted Old Felonious Fool,
A/K/A Commandante (or Cadet) Bone Spurs,
A/K/A El Caudillo de Mar-a-Lago, A/K/A the Asset,
A/K/A P01135809, A/K/A Dementia Donnie, A/K/A Felon^34,
A/K/A Dolt-45, A/K/A Don Snoreleone

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Corporations Playing Chicken With People's Lives and Homes

Explosions and fires rocked a flood-crippled chemical plant near Houston early Thursday, sending up a plume of acrid, eye-irritating smoke and adding a new hazard to Hurricane Harvey's aftermath.

The plant's owners warned more explosions could follow because a loss of refrigeration was causing chemicals stored there to degrade and burn.
Arkema, Inc. owns the plant.

This is an other example of the Fukushima Effect: What happens when a disaster strikes and the backup systems then fail? In the case of Arkema's chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, the answer is: "Plant go BOOM!"

Between the release of pollutants from flooded plants and refineries to tropical jungle levels of mosquitoes, Houston is not going to be a fun place to be.

Of Course They Will

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that the Treasury Department could scrap plans finalized under President Barack Obama to replace President Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman.
There are two reasons. First off, not putting Tubman on the $20 will please the shit out of the batshit racists in Trump's base.

Second, even though Old Hickory likely would have regarded Trump as a coward, Trump seems to believe that he is like Andrew Jackson. Well, maybe he's like Andrew Jackson's feces, but that's as far as it goes.

Also, Trump lied about seeing the effects of Hurricane Harvey. His Administration isn't even bothering to try to cover him on it. What Trump's idea of "first-hand observation" means that, if you watched any of the coverage on The Weather Channel, congrats: You saw it first-hand.

I wouldn't believe Sarah Huckabee Sanders if she said that the Sun was up at noontime.

Harvey and the GOP = Excellent Timing

President* Donald Trump is promising billions to help Texas rebuild from Harvey-caused epic flooding, but his Republican allies in the House are looking at cutting almost $1 billion from disaster accounts to help finance the president’s border wall.

The pending reduction to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief account is part of a massive spending bill that the House is scheduled to consider next week when lawmakers return from their August recess. The $876 million cut, which is included in the 1,305-page measure’s homeland security section, pays for roughly half the cost of Trump’s down payment on the U.S.-Mexico border wall that the president repeatedly promised Mexico would finance.
"Heartless" doesn't even begin to cover the ground with regard to Paul the Zombie-Eyed Granny-Starver and the rest of his caucus of humanity-deficient robots. They are despicable.

Meanwhile, Cruz is busily defending his lies about why he opposed disaster funding in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Now-VP Pence was a leader in using emergency disaster relief bills as a vehicle to cut programs he despised. It has never been about helping people cope with a disaster for those birds; it's always about not letting a crisis go to waste when it can be used as a hook to get to their goals.

And what the fuck, Texas? Are you surprised that people other than Southerners can nurse a grudge? Of course the people affected by Sandy haven't forgotten what your congresscritters said and did. New Yorkers are not shy about such things. The difference is that, while they'll remind the Texans about what sort of evil inhuman trolls that Texans sent (and have continued to send) to Congress, the New Yorkers won't follow the old political rule of "I'll do unto you like you did unto me." Even though, politically, they'd be justified in doing so, because payback is part of the game.

For the New York and New Jersey delegations are made up of people who can empathize with human suffering and work to ensure that the Federal government helps in recovering from a severe natural disaster. Unlike, say, the congressmen and senators from Texas.

The Iron Harvest Continues

Up to 70,000 people have been told to leave their homes in Frankfurt after an unexploded second world war bomb nicknamed “blockbuster” was uncovered.

The evacuation was due to take place on Sunday and is one of the biggest such operations ever mounted.

It will allow for the safe defusal of the 1,400kg British bomb, which German media said was nicknamed “Wohnblockknacker” (blockbuster) during the war for its ability to wipe out whole streets or buildings.
As I recall it, that's exactly wrong. The purpose of the heavy bombs that the Brits dropped was to break up the underground water lines so that the Germans would have a harder time in fighting the fires caused by incendiaries. Smaller bombs were dropped to break open the roofs of buildings. Then incendiaries were dropped like rain.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Putin's Poodle Is Hard At Work

President* Trump on Monday declined an opportunity to call out Russia as a security threat, saying instead that he considers “many countries threats.”

Trump was responding to questions at a joint press briefing with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö following their bilateral meeting in Washington.

When asked by a Finnish reporter whether he considers Russia as a security threat, Trump replied, “I consider many countries as a security threat, unfortunately, when you look at what’s going on in the world today.”
If you're a central or eastern European leader and you are not ramping up your defense spending and training, then you are whistling past the cemetery.

Trump also claimed that Finland was buying more F-18s, which is not true.

Only in California

Sunscreen's not supposed to be used to protect eyes, but that didn't stop people from trying.
"One of my colleagues ... stated yesterday that they had patients presenting at their clinic that put sunscreen on their eyeball, and presented that they were having pain and they were referred to an ophthalmologist," Patterson said.

She said it only takes a few seconds of staring directly at the sun for retina damage.
I'm sort of surprised that this wasn't headlined "Florida Man Put Sunscreen In His Eyes."

Another Member of Trump's Cabinet Implies That Nobody Should Listen to Trump

President* Donald Trump said Wednesday that "talking is not the answer" when it comes to reining in North Korea -- seeming to contradict a statement from his top diplomat that the US will continue to seek a peaceful resolution to tensions with Pyongyang despite its provocative missile tests.

"The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!" Trump tweeted just days after North Korea launched a missile that flew over northern Japan.
And this:
Mattis broke from that view, telling reporters asking about the tweet at the Pentagon, “We’re never out of diplomatic solutions.”
Funny how it's the fat old draft-dodger who is slavering at the idea of a war, while it's the wise old warrior who is counseling caution.

Maybe it's because Mattis knows something about war, while Trump only knows what he's seen at the movies.

In a normal administration, a cabinet member would be out the door for openly saying that the President should not be listened to. But Tillerson and now Mattis are saying just that.

That'll Buff Right Out

Nobody was hurt. The CL-415 flew back to its base.

He Finally Did It!

Aaron (The Shekel blog) is now a private pilot.

Slide on over there and show some love. He worked long and hard for that.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Pro Tip on the "Hot Water Challenge"

Another teenager has been injured in the sickening "Hot Water Challenge," where friends dump scalding hot water on an unsuspecting person.

An Arkansas boy suffered first and second-degree burns after his friends allegedly heated up water in the microwave and tossed it on him while he was asleep at a friend's house on Sunday.
Don't be surprised if a future victim opts to try the "Bullet Challenge" in retaliation.

This is no shit: Many decades ago, I was on a group camping trip. We had two large pots of water over the fire on a large steel grate for doing dishes. I was cleaning up (basically doing KP) and I was lifting the heavy pot of rinse-water from the grate. Another kid dashed up and, while I was holding the pot, rinsed his mess kit plate. When he pulled it out, he sprinkled boiling hot water onto my arms. I shrieked and dropped the pot, which sloshed boiling hot water over my legs.

I yelled a string of words, most of them not family-friendly, took three steps to the pile of of firewood and grabbed an axe. I yelled something else, probably an obscenity-laden war cry, and took off after the kid. He was no dummy, he began running as soon as he saw where I was going.

That kid was not a good runner. But he'd have blown right by Usain Bolt that day. I went maybe fifty yards and by then, the red haze of vengeance had faded. I went back to the campsite, where one of the parents poured cold water over my legs.

From then on, the rule was that the fire was to be allowed to go out over the hot water pots and they were to cool before anyone tried to move them. I didn't have to do any more turns at KP. And everyone seemed to have decided that the less said about my channeling Red Sonja, the better.

I Am of Two Minds On This

An army of anarchists in black clothing and masks routed a small group of right-wing demonstrators who had gathered in a Berkeley park Sunday to rail against the city’s famed progressive politics, driving them out — sometimes violently — while overwhelming a huge contingent of police officers.
But once again, counterdemonstrators frustrated efforts by police, who numbered about 400. As the crowd swelled to several times that size, officers stepped aside and allowed hundreds of people angered by the presence of the right-wing rally to climb over the barriers into the park, said Officer Jennifer Coats, a spokeswoman for Berkeley police.
I am aware of the history of the 43 Group and the 62 Group, who responded to fascist violence and intimidation in kind.

Nazis and fascists have no respect for democracy, free debate, or the rule of law. I have no doubt that they regard the American tradition of free speech and the constitutional protections of the First Amendment as weaknesses that they are all to happy to exploit. The past is more than clear in proving that fascist regimes have no tolerance for dissent. History is replete with examples of fascist street groups commiting acts of violence and intimidation, including the acts that resulted in the formation of the 43 Group.

So on the one hand, it does not bother me one iota to see fascist rallies crushed by counterdemonstrators.[1]

On the other hand, it allows fascists/Nazis like Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka and Donnie Trump to claim to their weak-minded followers that there is no difference between the "alt-right" (a cute term for fascists and Nazis) and those who oppose them.
[1] Nor does it bother me that the Nazis are being outed. Be nice, though, if those doing the outing exercised some due diligence to reduce the chance of mistakes.

Meanwhile, in Texas

Fort Nightly

When I was in middle school (which, back in the Stone Age, was called "junior high school"), my parents enrolled me in a ballroom dancing class. The class met every two weeks and it was known as "Fortnightly", which was always pronounced as two words.

I had forgotten about it until I bought a book of Dave Barry's columns at the animal shelter's resale shop, Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up. As hes said:
Our parents sent us to ballroom-dancing class, but it would have been equally cost-effective for them to simply set fire to their money.
True enough.

Like the class Barry wrote about, Fort Nightly was held in what now would be called a "multi-purpose room", but was the cafeteria with a stage at one end. To steal from him, the class started with the enemy genders lined up on either side of the room. The instructors then proceeded to try and teach the kids formal dancing.

They would have had had better luck teaching goats to speak Mongolian.

For one thing, the class was cruelly timed for the year that a lot of the girls had had their growth spurts and the boys had not. It was like watching a WNBA team try to dance with munchkins. But only if the munchkins in question had all of the grace and coordination of a troop of intoxicated baboons. The girls made sure to keep the boys at arm's length, mainly to avoid having their feet stepped on. The boys, in turn, responded the way that adolescent boys do in any uncomfortable situation: By hitting each other and making fart noises.

The final session had refreshments and the parents were invited to watch their kids try to dance. That went about as well as you might have guessed.

Except that one of the mothers asked the organizers where were the black kids. The school was about 30% minorities, mostly blacks, maybe a few Latinos and a couple of Asian kids and about that many Jews. The Asian and Jewish kids had been invited to enroll. Much consternation ensued.

Mothers' Day

Back to school!

(From here)

Monday, August 28, 2017

And the Grift Goes On.... Trump & Russia

A top executive from Donald Trump’s real estate company emailed Vladi­mir Putin’s personal spokesman during the U.S. presidential campaign last year to ask for help advancing a stalled Trump Tower development project in Moscow, according to documents submitted to Congress Monday.

Michael Cohen, a Trump attorney and executive vice president for the Trump Organization, sent the email in January 2016 to Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s top press aide.
Drip, drip, drip. Erosion happens.

I'm Shocked, Shocked That Trump is Restarting the "Tanks for Cops" Program

The Trump administration Monday lifted a controversial ban on the transfer of some surplus military equipment to police departments whose battlefield-style response to rioting in a St. Louis suburb three years ago prompted a halt to the program.

The new plan takes effect immediately and fully rolls back an Obama administration executive order that blocked armored vehicles, large-caliber weapons, ammunition and other heavy equipment from being re-purposed from foreign battlefields to America's streets.
What else would one expect from an authoritarian-wannabee administration with dreams of instituting a dictatorship?

Maybe they'll pose Trump in the driver's seat of a MRAP, with him leaning forward and yelling.



Without doing a smidgen of reading on the topic, I'm going to bet that the Texans in the Congress who voted against aid in the wake of Superstorm Sandy are now tying themselves into rhetorical knots in order to justify asking for Federal aid for Texas for Hurricane Harvey.

Also, with FEMA now all over southern Texas and likely being there for years to come, I'll bet that damn few of them are worried about a "Jade Helm"-style FEMA takeover. And yes, I'm looking at you, Governor Abbott, you fucking schmendrick.

Headline du Jour

Police: Suspects used stolen bat to steal wedding cake

Can Trump be Impeached on a Charge of Economic Terrorism?

The White House on Thursday reiterated its willingness to risk shutting down the government to obtain funding for President* Donald Trump's long-promised wall between the United States and Mexico.
Donnie the Petulant has always claimed that he's going to make Mexico pay for the wall. Mexico has, from Day One, told Trump to go fuck himself (in more diplomatic language, of course). So, realizing that the Mexicans aren't going to pay for The Great Wall of Trump, he'd shut down the government and default on the debt over his precious wall.

Makes some sense, when you think about it. The wall is popular with what remains of his base. So what if a goodly percentage of them will find themselves out of work in the subsequent recession? Trump's probably gambling that his base is too crazily batshit racist to figure that out for themselves.

The GOP should listen to their elder statesmen. Trump is in the process of turning the GOP into the American Nazi Party. Assuming that Trump can't destroy the electoral process, becoming the Party of Sheet-Wearing Racists will spell doom for the GOP.

If they don't want that to happen, they had better figure out a way to legally kick him out of office.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Little Bondo, Some Paint, and It'll Buff Right Out!

Trump, Arpaio and Muller;
Also: "Pay No Attention to the Crazy Man in the White House"

Trump may have been sending a signal to his underlings who are or may be under threat of indictment by the Special Counsel. The message is: "Stay strong, don't rat me out. Even if they convict you, I have your back."

Of course, Trump can't offer to cover their legal fees. That might be a political step too far, if not obstruction of justice. But Trump clearly has nothing but contempt for the judicial process and, when it comes to Federal criminal cases, he can fuck things up.

Spiro Agnew's spirit is probably bracing Nixon's and asking him "why the fuck didn't you help me like that?"

Meanwhile, The Secretary of State for Exxon went on a Sunday talk show and basically said that President* Trump does not speak for the United States.
Tillerson said on "Fox News Sunday" that the United States was committed to freedom and "equal treatment of people the world over" when posed the question by anchor Chris Wallace.

"I don't believe anyone doubts the American people's values," Tillerson said.

"And the President's values?" Wallace asked.

"The President speaks for himself," Tillerson said.
So the official policy of the State Department is that the President is a crazy old coot and everyone should ignore what he says.

Good to know.

Riding the Red Dot

I got in a Bullseye 900 match this weekend. It did not go particularly well.

First off, I recently did something to my right elbow. Holding a gun out at arm's length for any period of time hurt. so I had to shoot left-handed. That didn't go as badly as I thought it would.

Second, I had a couple of problems that may have been related to trying to run the gun left-handed. I might have slightly bumped the mag release, not enough to drop it out, but enough to get it out of position. Between malfing it and screwing up the trigger press, I probably lost six shots. Mucking around with the pre-travel adjustment might help.

Meh. But I still placed in the middle of the pack.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A Caravelle:

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Whachu Talkin' About, Donnie John?

There was so much craziness on display in Trump's ranting performance in Phoenix last Tuesday that he probably sent the people whose job it is to count his lies into heavy alcoholism. But one of them stood out for me, which was when he was foaming at the mouth about tearing down the statues of the Stalwart Defenders of Slavery and proclaiming that "they're trying to take away our culture!"

What? Trump is a New Yorker. His dad was a New Yorker. His grandfather was a Bavarian draft-dodger who married in Bavaria. His mother immigrated from Scotland. He has zero familial connections to the South or anyone who fought in the Civil War on any side. On any side.

Trump probably looks at the Old South and is envious that he missed out on the chance to own slaves. Because you know that if he could own slaves, Trump would be the archtypical brutal slave owner.

Meanwhile, after what happened yesterday, any Latino who supports Trump probably needs psychiatric help.


The Laundry Supervisor is checking on a load to be dried.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Bangity Upgrade

Crimson Trace LG-350 lasergrips for my Model 60.

I am a fan of enhanced sighting systems for defensive handguns. Lasers are the best, in my opinion, but night sights are good, too. There are plenty of situations where you can see the bad guy and seeing black iron sights may be difficult. Even a fiber-optic front sight is better than nothing.

I'm not a big fan of mounting flashlights. They're bulky, most of them and even if you light up your target, you still kinda sort have to aim at it. With lasers, put the red (or green) dot on the bad guy and fire. With luck, the bad guy sees that you've got a laser sight on him and he immediately goes away. Because he'll know that a dot on his chest means that's where he's about to catch a bullet.

Because It's Friday

A longish piece on the work of a fireman in this century.

A number of the ports for oiling seem to be capped with nothing more than corks.

Something is Wrong With Our Bloody Ships

Part two: Not only poor training, but shitty maintenance. Other than the COs not willing to say "no can do, boss", the responsibility for badly maintained ships goes a lot higher.

Sounds as though maintenance issues are worse than they were in the 1970s. Things were not good then, when ships posted security watches to keep sailors from other ships from stealing parts.

There was a thing called an "Operational Power Plant Examination" or OPPE. OPPE came about because, as lore had it, the engineering readiness of ships during the Vietnam War was pretty poor. The same reasons for that are being uttered now: High operational tempo, inability to have ships remain in port long enough to do more than patch up problesm and yadda yadda yadda.

Same shit, different war. And there were warnings, oh yes, there were.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Angry Old Racist Fool Prepares to Pardon Another Angry Old Racist Fool

The White House has prepared the paperwork for President Trump to pardon former sheriff Joe Arpaio when he makes the final decision to do so, CNN has learned.

An administration official said the White House has also prepared talking points to send to surrogates after he is pardoned.

One of the talking points is that Arpaio served his country for 50 years in the military, the Drug Enforcement Administration and as Arizona's Maricopa County sheriff, and that it is not appropriate to send him to prison for "enforcing the law" and "working to keep people safe."
Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt of court because he repeatedly held himself out to be above the law. It's the job of the legislature to pass laws, the job of the judges to say what the law means and it's the job of the cops to enforce the law. But only the law. The cops don't get to decide what the law is.

That's what Arpaio did, repeatedly. When he was told by judges to "stop doing that shit", he continued on doing it. Arpaio's willful defiance of the law and the Constitution has cost the taxpayers of his county over fifty million dollars, and that's just for one series of cases.

Arpaio has held himself out as being above the law. By his conduct over the decades, so has Trump.

No wonder Trump's planning to issue a pardon to Arpaio.

A Possible Spartacus Moment, or
Do You Want an Early Out from the Military?

Tell them that you identify as transgendered.
New transgender recruits to the US military would be banned and the US defense secretary would have the power to remove those currently serving, under the terms of a new memo from the White House described to reporters.

The Trump administration has not yet sent the directive, which takes the form of a two-and-a-half page memo, to military leaders. But its outline calls for the Pentagon to implement the new ban in six months.

Collisions at Sea- Stupid Fuckers

(Followup to this post)

Read this, too.

As someone who went through the SWOSDOC--> specialty school pipeline, this is all fucking horrifying.

Whoever proposed shuttering SWOSDOC ("Baby SWOS") should be flogged. Whoever approved it should be charged with intentional sabotage during wartime and then shot. If they have passed away, dig them up and shoot them, anyway.


Stay Safe in Texas

Harvey is coming.

(Teabaggers complaining how the Federal government isn't helping them in 3...2...1....)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Why You Shouldn't Take Business Advice from the Newspaper Industry

Look, I'm not in that business. But, as I explained seven years before, a newspaper offering its shit online and for free is run by morons who are committing business seppuku.

That's not how The New York Times sees it, of course:
It should be no surprise that The Village Voice has ended its print edition in favor of an online, digital-only presence. The alternative newspaper, whose weekly edition once helped set New York’s political and cultural agenda, is merely going the same route as a slew of other newspapers and magazines before it.
Yes, because they went online.

Most of those "paywalls" are about as effective as a chain-link fence is at preventing the flow of water. When a publication goes online, they are giving their shit away for free. You tell me, how does a private enterprise succeed by giving away its product?

I will give you an example of the dumbshitedness of The New York Times: They offer digital subscriptions in their print service areas. A regular 7-day print subscription in the New York metro area is about $15.50 a week. A basic digital subscription is $3.75. For $6.25 a week, you get two enhanced digital subscriptions.

So, for a quarter of the price, you get to read everything and all of those print advertisers lose eyeballs.

How the hell does that make business sense, people?

(And that would assume that The New York Times had a relatively impermeable paywall. Which they absolutely do not.)

A newspaper may be able to exist in its home market if it's a print-only operation. But most of them, if they go on line, will die, sooner or later.

ESPN = Extremely Stupid People Network

ESPN is facing criticism after deciding to take announcer Robert Lee off of a University of Virginia football game simply because his name is similar to the famous Confederate general.

The network came to the decision after a white supremacist rally protesting Charlottesville's planned removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee turned violent, culminating in a man driving his car into a group demonstrating against the neo-Nazis and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
Really, guys? You fuckers don't know that Lee is one of the more common surnames in both China and Korea? It'd be akin to getting upset because an Anglo was named John Brown.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Stupid Fuckers, USN Edition

The U.S. Navy’s top uniformed officer wants to bring in industry experts to help the service understand why it has suffered two serious crashes in the Pacific theater in the last three months.

Speaking to reporters Monday afternoon, Adm. John Richardson, the chief naval officer, said that he expects to bring in leaders from industry as part of a broader review on what might have led to Sunday’s crash between the destroyer John S. McCain and the Liberian-flagged merchant vessel Alnic MC.
"Industry experts". Right. About the only similarities between merchies and warships is that both types of ships float and move through the water.

Here's a better idea: Get together a few panels of post first-tour and second-tour junior officers. Ask them what the fuck is going on and task them with coming up with solutions. They know the problems of driving warships better than any bunch of "industry experts" with Ph.Ds in whatever.

Not that'll happen.

Stupid fuckers.

It's Your War, Now, Donnie

President* Trump put forward on Monday a long-awaited strategy for resolving the nearly 16-year-old conflict in Afghanistan, but he declined to specify either the number of troops that would be committed, or the conditions by which he would judge the success of their mission there.

In a nationally televised prime-time speech to troops at Fort Myer, Va., Mr. Trump said there would be no “blank check” for the American engagement in Afghanistan. But in announcing his plan, Mr. Trump deepened American involvement in a military mission that has bedeviled his predecessors and that he once called futile.
"Trump's plan" makes the war his war.

Smoke, mirrors and few, if any ideas. "Kill the enemy." Doing that without trying to minimize civilian casualties is a fairly terrible idea. "Rein in corruption in Afghanistan".... might as well go order the tide to reverse itself. The only Afghan regime since 1979 that was able to make inroads against governmental corruption was the Taliban, because they did it by the simple expedient of bribe-takers got shot.

Afghanistan is one of the most corrupt nations on the planet. It has been for a very long time.

And, to be blunt about it, the idea that Trump is going to come out against corruption is laughable.

Collision at Sea, Some Thoughts

If you want to get a look at the disaster that is the Navy's training of shipboard officers ("surface warfare officers"), then read this.

No surprise that the trainwreck became fully-formed during the Rumsfeld era.

Saying "oh, we'll train them on their first ship" was about as foolish as it gets.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Of Course Trump Looked Directly at the Sun

Maybe someone told Trump that Obama had tweeted a reminder to people to wear their eclipse glasses.

I can't even snark about the fact that we have a president who is so stupid that he doesn't know that one should not look directly at the Sun. Did he think the warnings not to do that were fake science?

The Great Eclipse

I didn't photograph it. I wanted to *see* it. And see it, I did.

Besides eclipse glasses, I bought a set of solar filters for binoculars and split them between two pairs. I taped lens covers over the non-projected objectives.

The group I was with had a shade tent by a tree. The tree acted like a pinhole camera:

Totality was quite possibly the most amazing thing I have ever seen, even more awe-inspiring than seeing the Grand Canyon from the south rim at sunset. The sky was dim and, all around the horizon, it looked like sunset. The temperature dropped. I removed the lens cover from the objective and looked at the corona around the black disc of the Moon. On the right side of the Sun, I saw the pink arc of a solar flare. There were planets and stars visible to the naked eye.

I understand, now, why people chase solar eclipses. If seeing one is not on your "bucket list", then take it from me: Put it there.

The next total eclipse that will be visible from the US happens in seven years. Make plans. And see it with a bunch of people.

Trump is Breaking the Secret Service

At least financially:
The Secret Service can no longer pay hundreds of agents it needs to carry out an expanded protective mission – in large part due to the sheer size of President* Trump's family and efforts necessary to secure their multiple residences up and down the East Coast.

Secret Service Director Randolph "Tex" Alles, in an interview with USA TODAY, said more than 1,000 agents have already hit the federally mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances that were meant to last the entire year.

The agency has faced a crushing workload since the height of the contentious election season, and it has not relented in the first seven months of the administration. Agents must protect Trump – who has traveled almost every weekend to his properties in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia – and his adult children whose business trips and vacations have taken them across the country and overseas.

"The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law,'' Alles said. "I can't change that. I have no flexibility."
Let's not forget that Trump was the guy who was lambasting President Obama for taking too much time off. Also, Obama used Camp David, which is already a federally-protected facility and to which he could travel by helo. Trump's gotta jet off to Mar-a-Lago by 747.

A great way to lose good people is by making them travel frequently and then not paying them, but offering them "comp time" that everyone knows will never be taken.

Collision at Sea, Again

Vessels from several nations are searching Southeast Asian waters for 10 missing U.S. sailors after an early morning collision Monday between the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker ripped a gaping hole in the destroyer's hull.
I'm going to go out on a limb and speculate that the impact appears to be that of a bulbous bow riding high in the water.

Collisions between warships and merchants were exceedingly rare. Two in a handful of months is a hell of a coincidence.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Did Trump Self-Identify with the Nazis?

Go listen to his press conference, starting at the seven-minute mark. Or here.

He may have said "what about the alt-left that came charging at us"

I'm not certain of that, but it sure sounds like it. On the other hand, it's what I'd expect to him to say if he thought he could get away with it. so you an take that into account.

Also, the petty little bastard can't let go of the fact that McCain voted against the Senate bill on the Obamacare repeal. Smart politicians know that, whether you win or lose on the vote on any bill, the next day is a new day. But not to Trump. His deep sense of butthurt, his willingness to take offense over anything and everything, does not bode well for his administration getting much of anything done.


Current Events Images (Heavy on Sarcasm)

The Fragility of President* Trump

Of all of the batshit-unhinged things he said at his press conference last Tuesday, this was one of the most nuts:
And honestly, if the press were not fake, and if it was honest, the press would have said what I said was very nice.
So what it comes down to is that Trump was suffering butthurt, because the commentators weren't lauding his statement that didn't outright condemn Nazis?

Well, I guess that should have been expected, given Trump's decades-long butthurt over the "short-fingered vulgarian" insult.

Or, more succinctly:

N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle Makes the Very Best...Fraudulent Products

Oh, this is going to be good:
A 325-page lawsuit filed in Connecticut this week by eleven plaintiffs claims that for more than 20 years, Nestlé Waters’ marketing and sales of Poland Spring water has been “a colossal fraud perpetrated against American consumers.”
Noting that Nestlé bottles 1 billion gallons of Poland Spring water per year, the complaint points out that even if the eight sites the company uses to bottle water did contain a spring, it would have to flow at an average rate of 245 gallons per minute. That’s more force than a two-inch diameter fire hose spraying at 40 pounds per square inch.

“Such a spring would be plainly visible – more like a geyser than a spring – and undoubtedly well known,” the lawsuit states. “Yet there is no photographic proof that even one such spring – much less eight – exists on or near defendant’s sites in Maine.”

To that end, the complaint claims there is no historical evidence for six of the purported springs, and that two are former springs that no longer exist.

“The famous Poland Spring in Poland Spring, Maine, which Defendant’s labels claim is a source of Poland Spring Water, ran dry nearly 50 years ago, decades before Defendant bought the Poland Spring brand name,” reads the lawsuit. “The ‘spring’ Defendant now claims exists in Poland Spring is at the bottom of a lake. It has never been proven to exist, and the evidence that Defendant itself filed with Maine regulators shows it does not exist.”
If the water in your area is sketchy, purified bottled drinking water is usually cheap enough.

Your Sunday Morning Bomber Noise

New and old:

Saturday, August 19, 2017

"Dear Mother: We Had to Turn Back. Resistance Was Too Strong."

The portly defender of slavery seemed to be a little dejected. He would have been an anomaly, anyway. The Confederate Army was pretty shitty at logistics. Most of their soldiers were ill-fed and ill clothed.

Anyway, the guesstimates seem to be that less than a hundred Nazis and their fellow-travelers showed up on Boston today for their rally. The number of counter-protesters was somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000.


(A break from blasting Nazi and Klan thugs.)

I shot a match this morning, my first this year.

The course of fire was, all holster-draw:
5 yards: Five shots from a primary handgun (one hand hold) at a B-27 target in five seconds.
Five shots from a backup gun (one hand hold) at a 3x5 brain card in five seconds.

7 yards: Five shots from a primary handgun (one hand hold) at a B-27 target in seven seconds.
Five shots from a backup gun (one hand hold) at brain card in seven seconds.

15 yards: Five shots from a primary handgun at a B-27, two-handed hold, reholster, draw the backup, five shots at a brain card, in 20 seconds.

25 yards: Five shots with the primary handgun, two hand hold, reload, five more, reload, five more (barricade optional), in 60 seconds.
Scoring for the brain card was 10 points for a hit, zero for a miss.

It was pretty hard. Previous matches were all shot with one gun at a B-27 with the same round count. The top shooter before, who shot in the 445 range (450 max), was down around 420.

I pretty much sucked.


A shelter cat contemplates jumping up onto some cat furniture:

He looks a lot like Chip, he even has a torn ear. But Chip's left ear is torn and Chip's tiger striping goes down onto his front legs.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Word! (Plus Bannon)

Steve Bannon, a forceful but divisive presence in President* Donald Trump's White House, is leaving.

Trump accepted Bannon's resignation on Friday, ending a turbulent seven months for his chief strategist, the latest to depart from the president's administration in turmoil.
"Voluntary".... right. Kind of like those Russian soldiers voluntarily going into battle with NKVD "encouragement troops" behind them. Trump probably should have been reminded about what LBJ had to say about Jedgar Hoover.

Do Women Owe Their Rights to Racism?
And, of Course, Our White-Supremacist-in-Chief

That's an arguable point. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was amended on the floor of the House at the last minute to include outlawing discrimination based on sex. It's been a long-standing premises that the amendment was a legislative poison pill that was added to increase the chances of killing the bill.

On the other hand, there's also an argument that the congressman who introduced it, who was a southerner, was a strong supporter of rights for women. So he might have seen it as a "win-win" situation: If the bill died as a result, his contributors constituents would be happy and if it didn't, one of his legislative goals would be achieved.

Now, back to Trump:
Another advisory group is walking away from President* Donald Trump after his equivocation on neo-Nazis and white supremacists, with the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities resigning en masse Friday morning.

“We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions,” members write in a joint letter to Trump obtained by POLITICO, which ends by calling on the president to resign if he does not see a problem with what’s happened this week.
The PCAH is an official agency. That makes this the first White House department to resign.
Mitt Romney released a long statement on his FB page. This is the first paragraph:
I will dispense for now from discussion of the moral character of the president's Charlottesville statements. Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn. His apologists strain to explain that he didn't mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric.
Romney was crystal-clear that there is absolutely no moral equivalence between Nazis and those who oppose Nazis. And unless you want to be saddened by the number of Nazi-sympathizers who are screaming at him in fury, then don't read the comments.

You might want to check your local congresscritters' social media sites: Their web site, Twitter feed, FB page and see what they are saying about the Nazis of Charlottesville. Mine has been radio-silent. If yours has been, call them out as the cowards that they are.

I put no stock in this. Though I do agree that Trump does not, nor has he ever known the difference between right and wrong. He knows the difference between what he can get away with and what he cannot, but that's as far as it goes.

And yes, it's wrong to call for Trump to be assassinated. Jesus, is that even a debatable proposition?

Because It's Friday

A "steam speeder":

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tear Down Those Confederate Statues. Every Motherfucking One of Them.

Statues are not put up to remember people. Statues of people are erected to honor them.

So I ask you: Why are we honoring men who turned their coats and took up arms against this country? Why do we have statues of traitors in our public places and in the halls of government buildings? Why do we continue to honor the memory of men who fought for the right of rich men to own slaves?

Funny how it's overlooked that over 100,000 white Southerners were in the Union Army. Apparently, every Southern state, other than South Carolina,[1] had at least one organized battalion (or larger) of white soldiers.

The only statue that I know of which depicts Benedict Arnold[2] is of his foot. We don't have statues of the Loyalists who fought for the British. We didn't erect a statue of Tokyo Rose, Axis Sally, Lord Hee Haw or Americans who fought on the other side in any other war.

There are a lot of people that whose names are taught in schools without having a worshipful statue to gaze at: General Cornwallis. General Howe. General Gage. Col. Tarleton. Kaiser Wilhelm. General Ludendorff. General Goering. Adolf Hitler. Vladimir Lenin. Josef Stalin. Mao Zedong. Ho Chi Minh. William Tweed.

We can remember the generals who fought for the Confederacy and slavery. But we sure as shit don't have to honor them.

Tear them all down.
[1] State Motto: "The Birthplace of Treason."
[2] And there is, as far as I know, no statue of Abigail Dolbeare Hinman, who tried to shoot Arnold in New London during his raid there in 1781. Her musket misfired.

Bet You Trump Doesn't Wait Two Days for "All of the Facts to Come In."

At least 13 people have died and 50 were injured after a van ploughed into crowds in Barcelona's famous Las Ramblas tourist area, police and local officials say.
Damn. I've had quite a few drinks there. It was a nice place to hang out and people-watch.

The Plans of President Bannon

But first, a few appetizers:

Now, to the main course:

Bannon gave an interview this week that is a little bit surprising.

Some things he said were things that have not emanated from Trump's mouth or twitter feed. For instance:
“There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”
He's also focused on getting a trade war going with China. That seems to be his only concern.

As to the white nationalists, the alt-right:
“Ethno-nationalism—it's losers. It's a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more. These guys are a collection of clowns.”
It would seem that Bannon believes that if Trump can get past Trump's reflexive support of racists and focus on economic nationalism, that Trump can gather steam.

I'm not sure he's wrong about that. But Trump is clearly one of the more self-sabotaging politicians out there, one whom has been in the process of self-administering the political equivalent of "death by a thousand cuts," so it's not clear to me that Trump can survive politically long enough to carry out Bannon's master plan.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Historical Antifascist Photo for You

More Crap for the Nazis

Trump was talking yesterday about the "alt-left".

There is no such thing.
Researchers who study extremist groups in the United States say there is no such thing as the “alt-left.” Mark Pitcavage, an analyst at the Anti-Defamation League, said the word had been made up to create a false equivalence between the far right and “anything vaguely left-seeming that they didn’t like.”
Trump has begun using that term to imply that those who oppose Nazism are no different from the Nazis themselves. Because, to the alt-right, opposing their agenda of racism and antisemitism makes those people just as evil as the Nazis that they oppose.

If you are opposing the Nazis, then you are on the side of righteousness. Angels ride on your shoulders.

Anyway, to change gears a little, Trump's presser yesterday was so full of bullshit, I'm surprised that they didn't bring in a steam-cleaning rig afterwards. He claimed that he waited two days to denounce the Nazis because he wanted to wait for all of the facts to come in? Since when has Trump waited for facts on anything else? Some half-baked allegation crawls across the bottom of his TV set and he is up on Twitter in less than a heartbeat. Trump is the best friend that the racists have had since maybe Wilson. His whining that the Nazis are being treated unfairly by the media was unseemly. His defense of the "good people" on the side of the Nazis was, frankly, insane. If the Nazis are marching with you, then you are a Nazi. If you don't want to be thought of as a Nazi when the Nazis appear on your side, then go the fuck home.

If you continue to stand behind Trump, who has been unalloyed in his support of white supremacists (other than when he is reading a statement that was clearly written by someone else), then don't be surprised if that stench rubs off. If you work in the Trump White House and you stay on the job after all of this, you will be known, for the rest of your career, by the company that you are now keeping. Savvy corporate executives have broken that code. So should you.

This clip seems to be "slash-dotted" at the moment, but it's worth seeing:

Not much has changed in fifty years:

By the way: Where were all of these Nazis who are screaming about taking down statues honoring traitors when statues of Lenin and Stalin were being pulled down all over eastern Europe? Where were they when the U.S. Army pulled down statues of Saddam Hussein? Wasn't that also destroying history?

And, if you think, as Donald Trump does, that there is no difference between General Washington and General Lee (other than maybe competence), then I sincerely implore you to go commit an unnatural act upon thyself.

A Jewish Wedding Without Jews

That happened recently in Poland.

Maybe next, they'll set up a Jewish version of Colonial Williamsburg.

I wrote about this sort of thing nearly ten years ago. My opinion has not changed.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Keep Bringing Those Nazi Flags to Your Protests, Boys

Keep doing it.

For what you are going to do is tie your "Southern heros"[1] to the the Nazis and their crimes against humanity. You are helping to make the case that slavery was a form of genocide.

Every time you stand in front of a statue and wave the Swastika, you help make the connection. Every time you do that, you make it easier and easier for the decision to be made to confine those statues to a scrapyard.

The day will come when a battery of howitzers will line up, open fire on the carvings on Stone Mountain and pound them into rubble. When that day comes, those who have marched in Nazi regalia, marched under the Nazi flag, given the Nazi salute and yelled "seig heil" will have made destroying the symbols of the Confederacy politically possible. They might as well have pulled the firing lanyards, themselves.

If you think this is far-fetched, remember this: For over fifty years, the Confederate descendants fought the removal of the Confederate battle flag[2] from the Capitol Building in South Carolina. But then one young white supremacist went into a black church and murdered nine parishioners. Almost immediately, that flag came down.

So keep marching, Nazis.
[1] Or "Traitors".
[2] Or the Flag of Traitors.


My view is that waving a Nazi flag is not only hate speech, but fighting words.

The Nazis industrially slaughtered over ten million people. When shooting and burying so many people turned out to be burdensome, they developed what could be described as factories of death-- industrial processes to murder all of the people who did not die of starvation or disease in their ghettos. Before the Nazis murdered a lot of them, Nazi "doctors" conducted "experiments" on them. Millions more died in the war of conquest that was unleashed by the Nazis.

All of that is factual. It is not open for discussion. (See, Rule 2.H)

If you wave a Nazi flag or wear a Nazi armband, then you are adopting that ideology. You are saying that you approve of all of the crimes committed by the Nazis. You are saying that, given the chance, you'd do the same.

And so, I maintain that waving a Nazi flag and wearing the swastika is not merely provocative speech or even hate speech. It is uttering fighting words.

Anyone who punches a Nazi or otherwise lays hands on them should be allowed to plead that the violence was justified because the Nazi(s) had it coming under the Toyota Rule:

They asked for it, they got it.


Hmmm. I Wonder If Trump Now Would Prefer That Everyone Was Talking About Russia.

Apparently the Russian government was very interested in Trump and early on.

And Robert Mueller may already have the tax returns of every person that he is interested in.

Even the Washington Times is falling out with Trump over the Russian investigation.

Meanwhile, back at Der Führerbunker Trump White House, business executives are fleeing his manufacturing council, because being associated with Donald "But Them Nazis Are My Peeps" Trump is not good for their corporate image. Trump is lambasting them far, far faster than he did his Nazi buds.

At this point, I don't know if even IG Farben would join forces with Trump. But still, the Party of the Confederacy is taking the stance one would expect.

By the way: Running over demonstrators is a wingnut thing.

Word! (But With Disagreement)

He's right that the "pencils down" moment for Trump to have said something effective was last Saturday night. It should have been easy to condemn the Klan and the Nazis. But he couldn't bring himself to do it. He didn't until, under political duress, he read a prepared statement two days later. Yet you can bet your ass if the Asswipe of Charlottesville was named "Achmed-Something", he would have been screaming about "Islamic terrorism" within 25 picoseconds.

I disagree with Mr. Meyers on one point: I think Trump has made his choice. He's in bed with the racists. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Trump has not been shy at lambasting everyone else.

We know where Trump's heart is in this. If you want to continue to support him, then don't be surprised if his stench attaches itself to you.

Heh. Heh. Heh.

Andy Borowitz on Trump's woodenlike statement yesterday.

The Mooch was on The Late Show last night. That took quite a bit of stones, given how tough Colbert has been on Scaramucci for the last few weeks. He stated that while he didn't know of Steve Bannon is a white supremacist, one thing he didn't like about the Trump White House was their toleration of white supremacy.

At the end of his appearance, Mooch gave Colbert a front-stabbing knife.

And then there's this:

Monday, August 14, 2017

Trump's Slow Denunciation of the Nazis.

Condemning the Nazis should have been a no-brainer, given that "Nazis are bad" has been official policy since the 1930s, but not for Trump. Which was not surprising, given his history of racially-tinged attacks, alleged discrimination, and his trio of Nazi advisors.

And so, nearly three days after the Tiki-Torch Nazis did their first march and two days after a Nazi drove his car into a crowd of people, killing Heather Heyer, Trump read a prepared statement condemning the Nazis (presumably while his Chief of Staff stood offstage, with a loaded revolver in his hand). Trump never denounces the Nazis on his own; it always takes an uproar and then, a few days later, he reads remarks that someone prepared and that someone convinced him that he has to read. It's never by Trump's own impulse to be a good person, an impulse that arguably would be as foreign to Trump as speaking in Mongolian.

Remember, this is the guy who, after the Central Park Five were exonerated, still believes they were guilty. He has approved of slaughtering demonstrators. He's cut funding for combating Nazi groups in the U.S.

For it should be pretty clear that Trump, in hi heart-of-hearts, stands with the Nazis.

Crush the Vermin Before They Multiply

Statuary Question

If we're going to have statues around the country to honor people who took up arms against the United States, then where are the statues for Benedict Arnold and other Loyalists, like Oliver De Lancey, Joseph Galloway, and Edward Jessup (to name only three)?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Trump's Message Received by the Nazis

It's pretty horrible when Trump's threatening a nuclear war wasn't the worst thing that he said last week.

The Nazis got the message that Trump is with them when Trump refused to denounce them.
The founder of the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi and white supremacist website that considers itself a part of the alt-right, celebrated the fact that Trump "outright refused to disavow" the white nationalist rally and movement.

"People saying he cucked are shills and kikes," wrote the founder, Andrew Anglin. "He did the opposite of cuck. He refused to even mention anything to do with us. When reporters were screaming at him about White Nationalism he just walked out of the room."
Didn't we settle this shit in 1945?

And right after the yelling of the Tiki-Torch Nazis, wasn't there supposed to be some massive face-melting?

I wanted to see face-melting.

What the Hell, It Worked in the `40s.

If you think I'm overreacting, this was one of the posters for the Citronella Nazis:

These vermin must be sent packing.

And those of you on the Right: They claim to be acting in your name. Denounce these fuckers and not only here, but in your own spaces.

Step up or be complicit.

Your Sunday Morning Big Prop Noise

How to fly a P-38, Part 1:

Click on the "Watch on YouTube" button and it'll automatically go to parts 2 and 3.

I'd really want to get some training on twin-engined emergency procedures, but my initial reaction was "yeah, I could fly that thing."

Too bad that P-38s are so rare. Back when they were available for about ten grand in today's money, too bad someone didn't buy up a bunch of them and store them (with spares) in someplace remote.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

How Many Wars Does Draft-Dodging Trump Want to Get Into?

Donald Trump said last night he was considering possible military action against Venezuela in response to Nicolas Maduro's power grab.

Mr Trump told reporters at his New Jersey golf course that he was "not going to rule out" a military option".
Afghanistan is ongoing. Resuming the Korean War, this time with nuclear weapons, is on the table. And now Trump is thinking about going into Venezuela?

Right. Cheap talk from a fat old man who has a family history of draft-dodging. Nobody in Trump's family has ever served in the armed forces, at least those who could have passed the ASVAB.

Trump is a chickenhawk, pure and simple. And, like all of the other chickenhawks, they are more than eager to send other people's kids off to fight and die. It never touches them.

Yet When Muslims Do It, It's Called "Terrorism"

A car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting a white nationalist rally Saturday in a Virginia college town, killing one person, sending at least 26 others to hospitals and ratcheting up tension in an increasingly violent confrontation.

And Trump can take his "many sides" shit and shove it up his and his neo-nazi staffers' asses. Is is the bitter fruit that Trump has sown with his embrace of the neo-nazis of the alt-right. The neo-nazis were very clear at the demonstrations that they believe that Trump is on their side and he has given them no reason to doubt that. When some act of terror or violence is committed by one of Trump's supporters, or people sympathetic to Trump, he is either silent or, when he does say something, it is his typical both-siderism bullshit.

Marco Rubio gets it:

And, as to this, no fucking shit:

But let's seem them handle it as terrorism, too.

Trump's Self-Fluffing

The Trump White House just gets stranger and stranger:
Twice a day since the beginning of the Trump administration, a special folder is prepared for the president. The first document is prepared around 9:30 a.m. and the follow-up, around 4:30 p.m. Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and former Press Secretary Sean Spicer both wanted the privilege of delivering the 20-to-25-page packet to President Trump personally, White House sources say.

These sensitive papers, described to VICE News by three current and former White House officials, don’t contain top-secret intelligence or updates on legislative initiatives. Instead, the folders are filled with screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those lower-third headlines and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of fawning TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump on TV looking powerful.

One White House official said the only feedback the White House communications shop, which prepares the folder, has ever gotten in all these months is: “It needs to be more fucking positive.” That’s why some in the White House ruefully refer to the packet as “the propaganda document.”
Past presidents have lamented that the White House is a bubble and they try, from time to time, to get out of it. Both Reagan and Bush41 made at least one shopping trip. Truman called the White House "the great white jail". Bill Clinton called it "the crown jewel of the prison system." Past presidents, even though they recognized the necessity of security, have chafed at the isolation that it brings. They're in a bubble and they find that they miss contact with people who are not fawning staff members or politicians.

Trump, on the other hand, seeks to armor-plate his bubble so that no bad news will get in. He won't read briefing folders, but he'll read folders full of self-laudatory materials.

As a nation, we are so screwed. And it is no surprise that, with Bubble-Boy in the Oval Office, America is losing influence in the world. Under Trump, the only reason that other countries will pay attention to our president is because of national military power. Which makes America not that much different from Russia. Or North Korea.

Trump is doing damage to American power and prestige that can not be easily undone. Nature hates a vacuum and that is true in the international realm. Other countries are stepping forward to take the place that Trump is vacating and, once there, they will not be easily displaced.