A Sword Never Kills: The Trump Administration’s Increasing Deadliness

This was absolutely revolting news:

It’s but one example of the increasing mortality under Trump’s administration. A Dreamer — an example of the former magnanimity of U.S. policy who could have been a stellar spokesperson for this country — baked to death in a trailer.

But wait, there’s more. Much more:

… Monitoring group Airwars, in new figures provided to The Daily Beast, estimated that the coalition killed over 2,200 civilians in ISIS-held territory in Iraq and Syria between Trump’s inauguration on January 20 and July 13. This represents more than 360 civilian deaths a month and at least 12 a day since Trump entered the White House.

According to the coalition’s figures, its strikes have killed 603 civilians since the beginning of the airstrike campaign against ISIS in 2014. Of those, Airwars estimates that around 40 percent of them came after Trump’s inauguration, alluding to the possibility of a greater disregard for civilian life at a time when ISIS’s hold on its self-styled caliphate is coming to an end. …

More unnecessary, unwarranted civilian deaths, at least double the rate of the previous administration since Inauguration Day — the utter sloppiness with which the military has now been authorized to operate against ISIS will only increase radicalization as it sows death.

This sloppiness was foreshadowed early in this administration with the January 29 raid in Yemen, resulting in the death of a Navy SEAL and 30 civilians including mothers and children. Whether any truly ‘actionable intelligence’ was obtained is up in the air; Trump, however, obtained public relations material for his first State of the Union address. How fortunate for him.

Yes, how fortunate for Trump that the American public has yet to realize he is not careful and judicious when it comes to human life. He is, instead, cruel, mean, selfish and reckless.

Today the Senate votes on a Motion to Proceed with the next iteration of Trump’s desired Repeal-and-Replace-ACA attempt. If the GOP succeeds in carrying out Trump’s aims to end ACA, people will be forced off health insurance keeping them alive today.

We’re all in the back of an over-warm trailer. We’re all in a house in ISIS-held Syria. But we don’t have to be.

Seneca the Younger said, “A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer’s hand.”

Take the sword out of the killer’s hand. It’s within our power.

Call your senator and ask them to reject any effort to repeal and replace the ACA, for starters. Millions of Americans will thank you, some of whom you surely know, many of whom we can save from death. We can start there.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.

54 replies
    • Rayne says:

      Not certain if we can ever say with certainty. IMO he fits in well with Wall Streeters who have a higher than expected percentage [pdf] as a forensic psychologist indicated a few years ago.

      This bit from Harvard Business Review:

      …First of all, it is possible to screen out almost and full-blown psychopaths during the hiring process and after. Some of the key indicators are:

      Glibness and superficial charm

      Lack of empathy

      Consistent decisions in their self interest, even where it is ethically questionable

      Chronic, sometimes transparent lies, even with regard to minor things

      Lack of remorse

      Failure to take responsibility for their actions, and instead blaming others

      Shallow emotions

      Ignoring responsibilities

      Persistent focus on gratifying their own needs at the expense of others

      Conning and manipulative behavior

      Wow. So familiar, huh?

       

    • Pete says:

      He may just be adding psychopath to his fairly clear sociopathic history.  Actually, my very old PSY 101 may have characterized sociopathy as gateway behavior to psychopathy.

      Pete

  1. Cold N. Holefield says:

    I agree with everything you said until you said Call Your Senator. I don’t have a Senator, so there won’t be a call and even if I did have a Senator, I still wouldn’t call. Why? Because Senators, especially Senators, aren’t listening since they don’t represent you/us. They represent those who OWN them and pretend to represent you & me, The Little People. If we want anything to Truly Change For The Better, we have to change THIS first.

    Divided, We Fall

    The following is a Keeper. Great Line. Thanks.

    We’re all in the back of an over-warm trailer. We’re all in a house in ISIS-held Syria. But we don’t have to be.

    • Rayne says:

      A call is data. They need the data. WE need the data. They may vote for their owners but the data will tell them they are on notice. Their owners may be treated like humans in the court but they still can’t muster bodies to vote.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Sociopath at least.  Trump has no positive feeling toward anyone but himself.  Others are reflections of himself, such as his children and Kushner, whom he treats reasonably well.  Or they are targets of opportunity from whom he can obtain value for as little input as possible; anything but adoration from them becomes an existential threat to Trump’s ego and deserves the harshest behavior in turn.

    Trump is different in degree, but not in kind, from many of the people running our largest corporations, and the academic, think tank and professional courtiers who assure them that they are doing everything right.

  3. harpie says:

    Today the Senate removes life support from their long bereft-of-meaning nickname:
     
    “World’s Greatest Deliberative Body”
    RIP

    • harpie says:

      This is rich:
      Daniel Dale‏Verified account @ddale8 
       

      McCain, after voting to proceed with unprecedentedly secretive process, is giving a general speech decrying a decline in Senate procedure.

      • harpie says:

        John Harwood‏Verified account @JohnJHarwood   
         

        weird thing is, McCain could have forced Senate to the regular order he says he wants by voting no on MTP. but he didn’t

    • harpie says:

      omFg:
      Kyle Griffin‏Verified account @kylegriffin1 
       

      McCain: People call the Senate the greatest deliberative body, “I’m not sure we can claim that distinction with a straight face.”

    • harpie says:

      Tamara Keith‏Verified account @tamarakeithNPR  

      @PressSec says @POTUS is waiting for McCain to finish his remarks on the senate floor before starting his press conference.

  4. harpie says:

    southpaw‏ @nycsouthpaw southpaw Retweeted Andrew Desiderio
     

    uh, police are forcing reporters to delete video of protests in the Capitol…

      • harpie says:

        They DON’T CARE about legal…they think they’ll be able to suppress enough voters before 2018, that they’ll never have to CARE again.

        #Trumpersdon’tcare

        • Rayne says:

          This is what the Electoral College voted for, based on highly gerrymandered districts and hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of suppressed votes.

  5. greengiant says:

    Good video of GOP senators laughing and smiling as they vote to permit millions of Americans die and to bankrupt millions of others.

  6. SpsceLifeForm says:

    OT?: So will the White House Comms only come from Trump, Scaramucci, and Sanders?

    Priebus to not last either?

    Amazing that Trump believes so many leaks come within the White House. Way more come from outside the White House.

    Is this all a twist of “Kill The Messenger”?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/07/25/white-house-purge-im-going-to-fire-everybody-says-scaramucci/

    “I’m going to fire everybody, that’s how I’m going to do it,” Scaramucci said. “You’re either going to stop leaking or you’re going to get fired.”

    The first to leave the West Wing on Tuesday was senior assistant press secretary Michael Short, who resigned after a report emerged in Politico hours earlier saying that he would be fired in Scaramucci’s quest to uproot leakers.

    [Can’t wait until Scaramucci becomes a leaker]

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      The irony and hypocrisy here is that it was likely Scaramucci that ‘leaked’ that Short was going to be fired. Short found out and resigned before he could be fired.

  7. Karl Kolchak says:

    Compare that to: over 6,000 dead civilians from Obama’s drone strikes, countless dead and millions of refugees from Obama’s destruction of Libya and Syria and countless dead from Obama’s Afghanistan surge.  Trump still has a long way to go to match the bloodthirstiness of his two immediate predecessors.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Your math is a little off, but you manage to conflate Obama and Shrub, a difficult trick even for an establishment Republican.

    • Rayne says:

      It’s only Day 205 of this administration and Trump has already doubled the death rate over the previous administration. He’s refused to take in those refugees you’re pretending to care about. Take your rah-rah-go-Trump someplace else.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The great hero John McCain.  His grandfather was a Navy admiral.  His father was a Navy admiral.  He retired as a Navy Captain.  Within short order he returned to public employment as a congresscritter.  For three generations he and his family have had the best medical care and retirement pensions the government could buy.

    With McCain’s wife’s fortune, he could buy a hospital.  But he just voted to proceed on a bill that would deprive tens of millions of Americans of reasonable access to health care.  (While millions more already languish without it.)  His tepid criticisms of McConnell’s tortured process do not make up for his hypocrisy.

    Mr. McCain should resign, put his tail between his legs, and retire to one of his several luxury homes, the number of which he could not remember when asked about it during his run for the White House.

    The 0.1%, which includes most congresscritters, have chose to let their countrymen be impoverished, insecure and die so that they can pay a little less tax.  The neoliberal Republican Party has chose “Let them eat cake” as their motto.  Even establishment Democrats should be able to see the opportunities this lavishes on them.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The repeal of the Goldwater rule is just in time.  The Orange President has just declared that he’ll be a greater president than anyone before him, but for, “the late, great Abraham Lincoln!”  Having been dead for 150 years, the great communicator might find it strange still to be described as “late”.  It’s as if Mr. Trump had just been informed about it. Washington, Jefferson and both Roosevelts might argue the point. William Henry Harrison would, too.

    And I’ll repeat that John McCain’s vote and his hypocrisy are a disgrace.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As for Trump’s treatment of “poor” racist incompetent Jeff Sessions, it’s what Trump does.  When he’s through humiliating Sessions, he’ll move on to another target.  It’s a high he can’t do without.  If he’s not humiliating someone else, he’ll feel the heat from his own inadequacy and implode.

    Tormenting others is how Trump preserves himself.  Sessions deserves to be unceremoniously retired.  But this behavior is about Trump’s inadequacies, not Sessions’s.

    It’s also about disrupting investigations into Trump and about keeping up the political Brownian motion Trump finds so useful in hiding what he’s done (corrupt deals), what he does (very little), and what he can’t do (everything that comes after winning the presidency).

    • bmaz says:

      There is a lot of mention on the Twitters that everybody should be glad Sessions may be fired,that it couldn’t be worse. I don’t agree with that, as horrible as Sessions really is. It easily could be someone just as bad or worse policy wise, and it would absolutely be someone willing to be slavishly pliable to the whims of Trump.

      The saw that the law is more important than the man applies here too. Though Sessions is just a horrible human.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        We deserve a better Attorney General, but I don’t think that’s what this is about.  It’s about destroying the DoJ well beyond the damage done to it by Bush/Cheney and Alberto Gonzales.

        This is not just for Trump, who apparently needs this to stay in office and out of prison.  It’s for every neoliberal who sees the law as an economic dysfunction that enables the enemy – the people – in their foolish insistence that there be effective regulations that place limits on excessive, harmful, dangerous profit-taking.  Along the way, more fully dismantling democracy, with its checks and balances that restrain oligarchy, must be a good thing.

        • jonf says:

          I am not at all sure Trump is headed for prison or impeachment. Maybe his buddies will remove him under the 25th amendment. But short of that I wouldn’t bet on anything else.

          But I agree the man certainly has a personality disorder. He seems incapable of handling situations or dealing with people in what one would call normal. He seeks constant praise for whatever he dreams up and is a vindictive man. I don’t mean to say he is stupid. He simply doesn’t care about much beyond himself. If you doubt it consider the Boy Scout Jamboree, his hatred and need for self praise was on stage.

  11. harpie says:

    About Trump’s latest tweets about transgender people in the military:
    Matthew MillerVerified account @matthewamiller Retweeted Jonathan Swan

    First of many to come. Trump is going to pull every divisive lever available as his agenda fails and his WH is consumed by scandal.   

    Swan:

    Just spoke to a Trump administration official about the transgender military decision. Here’s what they said…

     
    Quote from a Trump administration official:

    “This forces Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, to take complete ownership of this issue. How will the blue collar voters in these states respond when senators up for re-election in 2018 like Debbie Stabenow are forced to make their opposition to this a key plank of their campaigns?”

    • harpie says:

      And back to Maggie’s Myths:
      Donald Trump’s More Accepting Views on Gay Issues Set Him Apart in G.O.P.; NYT; Maggie Haberman; 4/22/16

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks, harpie. I’ve been trying to write something about this but I get so angry I have to stop and do something else until I cool off. They’re Nazis. Fucking Nazis. They’re picking off minority groups one at a time to exclude while serving their equally bigoted white nationalist base. We fought a war to get rid of this kind of moral assholishness. Argh.

      • harpie says:

        Me, too. So I’ve just finished the painting I had to do today [not the creative kind ;-) ] It seems a never-ending project lately…which is probably a good thing for my sanity, such as it is.

        Two additions to the commentary:
        Accept transgender troops, allow them medical treatment, Adm. Mike Mullen tells Congress; Former Jt Chfs Chair ADM Mullen; USA Today; 7/25/17
         
        Robbie Gramer‏Verified account @RobbieGramer  
         

        @paulmcleary actually scooped @realDonaldTrump on this story yesterday: Pence Working to Reverse Pentagon’s Transgender Policies; Foreign Policy; 7/25/17

        Of course, it would be Pence.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      First of many to come. Trump is going to pull every divisive lever available as his agenda fails and his WH is consumed by scandal.

      I’m afraid that’s true.  He’d rather play Nero or Caligula, is incapable of playing Claudius, and wouldn’t understand Marcus Aurelius in a lifetime.  But he thinks he’s Augustus.  What will the Senators do?  Mount their asses backwards and decamp from Rome or reinstate the Republic?

       

      • harpie says:

        That sounds about right and is very well done, and I know it’s not meant to be funny, but in my present state, it sounds like the pitch for a new Monty Python skit. :-)

    • harpie says:

      Trump’s first tweet this morning stated

      After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow….. 

      What apparently happened next

      […] At the Pentagon, the first of the three tweets raised fears that the president was getting ready to announce strikes on North Korea or some other military action. Many said they were left in suspense for nine minutes, the time between the first and second tweet. Only after the second tweet did military officials receive the news the president was announcing a personnel change on Twitter. […]

       
       

  12. lefty665 says:

    We might be well advised to get our heads up and take a little bigger view.  Assaults on Mosul and Raqqa, among other urban areas, to take them back from ISIL all have had very high civilian casualties, and refugees. They are Obama’s legacy, and in several ways. The illegal wars of aggression we have waged in the ME since 2003 have destroyed several countries, killed around a million civilians and created pushing 20 million refugees.

    One of the few likely bright spots with Trump was the potential to get us out of wars of aggression. We have been in Afghanistan for 15 years with no end in sight. The Soviets were bright enough to call it quits there after 9 years. Libya is a disaster of our creation. We have been in Iraq since 2003. Trump recently called a halt to CIAs recruiting, arming and training for al-Qaeda in Syria, and has negotiated a cessation in south west Syria. Not much, but steps in the right direction rather than more in the wrong.

    The US supports and facilitates Saudi war in Yemen that has destroyed much of what civilian infrastructure they had, brought on widespread starvation, with cholera as an added feature. Amazingly it is the Repubs in Congress who are initiating limits on our support of war crimes there. https://consortiumnews.com/2017/07/26/house-gop-seeks-to-curb-yemen-war/

    We came, we saw, they died and their civilizations were destroyed. We have a lot to answer for, and so far very little insight into the profound horror we have wrought.

    • jonf says:

      I saw this article someplace but it escapes me now; nonetheless, it suggested that the endless wars in the ME was also a factor in the rust belt states voting for the Idiot,  since they had more casualties than other places. I don’t know if that is true, but I can certainly see that this endless shit could affect how people vote. It seems the ME has been on fire since long before 2003, maybe all the way to after WW I.

  13. SpaceLifeForm says:

    OT: IT spy inside for over ten years?

    http://dailysignal.com/2017/07/26/wasserman-schultzs-aide-arrested-fbi-en-route-pakistan-300k-wire/

    Credit union officials permitted the wire to go through, and his wife has already fled the country to Pakistan, after police confronted her at the airport and found $12,000 in cash hidden in her suitcase but did not stop her from boarding, court documents show.

    “On January 18, 2017 at 12:09 pm, an international wire transfer request form was submitted [at the Congressional Federal Credit Union] at the Longworth House Office Building in the District of Columbia, in the amount of $283,000.00, to two individuals in Faisalabad, Pakistan,” according to an affidavit.

    Imran Awan, a Pakistani-born IT aide, had access to all emails and files of dozens of members of Congress, as well as the password to the iPad that Wasserman Schultz used for Democratic National Committee business before she resigned as its head in July 2016.

    • lefty665 says:

      Looks like we may have found the DNC hackers, and a lot more. Our friends the Paks who held onto bin Laden for us. Binney et al have been right all along. It’s not the Ruskies.

    • lefty665 says:

      Wonder if they used Wasserman-Schultz’s iPad to transfer the DNC files when she was on the network there? No physical access to DNC servers needed on their part, and pull the data off when she came back to Capitol Hill. That would be a pretty neat little hack, probably worth $238k.

  14. SpaceLifeForm says:

    OT: $4 billion bitcoin laundering thru BTC-e virtual currency exchange. Russian arrested.

    Dots of course here are ShadowBrokers, Wannacry, NotPetya, AlphaBay, Hansa.

    ShadowBrokers must have had inside intel before May 2017, which is why they bailed from Bitcoin to Zcash. (That is a huge hint BTW. Actually multiple hints)

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-greece-russia-arrest-idUSKBN1AB1OP

    Founded in 2011, BTC-e is one of the oldest and most obscure virtual currency exchanges, allowing users to trade bitcoin anonymously against fiat currencies, such as the U.S. dollar, and other virtual currencies. Until today, the people behind it had remained anonymous.

    It is known in crypto-currency markets as one with the most relaxed standards for checking the identity of its users, to combat money laundering, and for not collaborating with law enforcement.

    This helped make it “a favorite money-laundering location” and the exchange has been connected to recent ransomware attacks, said James Smith, chief executive of Elliptic, a company that works with law enforcement to track illicit bitcoin transactions.

  15. P J Evans says:

    jonf says:
    July 26, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Have they already forgotten that those wars were started by a Republican president? And that their Republican congresscritters refused to support getting out of the region?

    • lefty665 says:

      Libya, Yemen, Syria done by a Repub president? Not exactly. It has been a bi-partisan horror show of Repubs, Dems, neocons, R2Pers, elite profiteers and media. There is also a certain Dem who as a senator voted for the AUMF and later found it, much to her surprise, to be a barrier to higher office rather than a ticket.

    • PG says:

      https://www.thenation.com/article/obamas-expanding-covert-wars/

      “Despite these results and larger strategic failures in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, the Obama years have been the golden age of the gray zone. The 138 nations visited by U.S. special operators in 2016, for example, represent a jump of 130 percent since the waning days of the Bush administration. Although they also represent a 6 percent drop compared to last year’s total, 2016 remains in the upper range of the Obama years, which saw deployments to 75 nations in 2010, 120 in 2011, 134 in 2013, and 133 in 2014, before peaking at 147 countries in 2015. “

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