When Presidential Pets Attack, And Other Signs The World Is Ending This Week

Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

The wolf will lie down with the lamb, the monkey will do god knows what with the deer, and the Portuguese water dog will get you angry comments on Breitbart. You can be forgiven for feeling apocalyptic vibes these days.

Which is why Task & Purpose offers you this at-a-glance Friday roundup of the good, the bad, and the deeply fucked up in recent military and diplomatic news… plus a few pop-culture signs of Armageddon. Lock and load!

  • The largest U.S. military brigade in Europe since the USSR’s fall landed in Germany this week — 3,500 troops and 2,500 vehicles fanning out across Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, and the Baltic states. The move is intended to aid NATO allies, check Russian adventurism, and remind everyone how badass the Eighties were.

  • Iranian lawmakers voted this week to boost military spending, also expanding the nation's controversial ballistic missile program. That vote came the day after a U.S. destroyer fired warning shots at a group of approaching Iranian small boats. The president-elect has said that if such maritime harassment happens on his watch, Iran’s boats “will be shot out of the water.”
  • Abdul Ali Shamsi, a young Kandahar deputy governor who was restoring many Afghans’ faith in government, was among 11 people killed in by bombers on Tuesday. It was the last of three bombing attacks across Afghanistan Tuesday that killed as many as 60.

President Donald Trump hands a pen to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie during a spending bill signing ceremony at VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Associated Press/Evan Vucci)

The Trump administration wants to shift billions of dollars from government-run veterans' hospitals to private health care providers. That's true even though earlier this year the administration vehemently denied it would privatize any part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The privatization of essential government services is nothing new, of course. Over the years, countries have privatized dozens of services and activities that were once the sole domain of governments, such as the provision of electricity and water, road operations and prisons and even health care, with the ostensible aim of making them more efficient.

But before going down that road, the question needs to be asked whether privatizing essential human services such as those for military veterans serves the public interest. New research we recently published suggests that privatization may come at a social cost.

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Jilmar Ramos-Gomez was a lance corporal in the Marines and received awards for service in Afghanistan. (Michigan ACLU)

KENT COUNTY, MI – The ACLU is demanding an investigation after a Grand Rapids-born U.S Marine combat veteran was held for possible deportation.

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Ronald Reagan's dream of space-based lasers shielding the United States from ICBMs will not come to fruition in the near future, despite the Trump administration's focus on space.

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The Coast Guard is officially shit outta luck for a paycheck thanks to the government shutdown, which means that zero coasties have been paid to create some of the amazing memes being shared as a way to vent their frustration.

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