Friday Morning Open Thread: Traditional Silly-Season Fare

Of course he hasn’t got the funds to indulge in the traditional upper-class-male mortality-panic status goods, like cars or yachts, but couldn’t Melania introduce him to Funko Pops or Magic: the Gathering cards?

Per the Washington Post:

The presidential request has bewildered aides, some of whom continue to believe it isn’t serious, but Trump has mentioned it for weeks. The two people with knowledge of the presidential demand spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to reveal such White House planning.

As with many of Trump’s internal musings, aides haven’t told him the idea is preposterous and instead are waiting for more direction before they decide how seriously they should look into it.

Among the things that have been discussed is whether it is even legal, what the process would be for acquiring an island that has its own government and population, and where any money to purchase a giant landmass would originate…








Anti-American Open Thread: The GOP Wants to Make America Smaller

Per Vox:

This is not the first time the Trump administration’s effort to curtail legal immigration has brought it into public conflict with the Statue of Liberty. Back in August 2017, when the administration was pushing an ill-fated bill that would’ve restricted legal immigration while giving priority to fluent English speakers, CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta grilled White House policy adviser Stephen Miller during a news conference about how “what the president is proposing here does not sound like it’s in keeping with American tradition when it comes to immigration. … The Statue of Liberty says, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’”

Miller replied by trying to make a distinction between the statute and Lazarus’s poem, which wasn’t placed on it until years after the statue was installed in New York Harbor.
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He Can’t Help Himself – Open Thread

Yesterday, Donald Trump tweeted about the Russian explosion at Nenoksa.

A number of experts hastened to criticize on the grounds that the United States doesn’t have a program like Russia’s Burevestnik [NATO designation Skyfall], or, if we do, it must be highly classified.

But there’s something else worth noting. This may be the first time Trump has criticized Russia in any way.

And of course, it’s a dick-measuring contest. He can’t help himself.

 








Gradually, Then Suddenly: Losing Control of the Narrative

As we have often lamented, one of the factors behind Trump’s “victory” was the complicity of so much of the major media. No matter how badly the Oval Office Occupant disgraced himself and our suffering nation, the Media Village Idiots made excuse ranging from ‘he’s playing a multi-dimensional chess game whose final move is hidden from his critics’ to ‘he relies an expansive sense of what will please his base, regardless of outsiders’ opinions’. But the horrors of last week, and the complete inability of the Squatter-in-Chief to demonstrate even the most basic human emotions in the face of its victims, seem to be piercing the bubble…

From Trump’s staunchest “nonpartisan” defender, the NYTimes, “Trump Uses a Day of Healing to Deepen the Nation’s Divisions”:

Mr. Trump’s schedule was meant to follow the traditional model of apolitical presidential visits with victims, law enforcement officials and hospital workers after calamities like the mass shootings that resulted in 31 deaths in Dayton and El Paso and that created a new sense of national crisis over assault weapons and the rise of white supremacist ideology.

That plan went awry even before Mr. Trump, who has acknowledged his discomfort with showing empathy in public, departed Washington…

The result was the latest example of Mr. Trump’s penchant for inflaming divisions at moments when other presidents have tried to soothe them, and further proof of his staff’s inability to persuade him to follow the norms of presidential behavior


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The Way We Live Now Open Thread: People for Whom It Is Difficult to Feel Sympathy Edition

Calling out the people who fund campaigns is not a new tactic in politics, but the question of how much should be publicly disclosed about those donors has been an issue that Republicans, led by the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, have repeatedly raised in recent years. While the Supreme Court ruled in the 2010 Citizens United case to uphold public disclosure — with Justice Antonin Scalia, the court’s conservative stalwart, arguing later that without such revelations “democracy is doomed” — Republicans and wealthy allies like the Koch brothers have argued that it results in donor harassment and has a chilling effect on free speech…

But the Supreme Court’s support for campaign finance disclosure laws has a built-in exemption for people who can show a realistic threat of harassment, and the renewed scrutiny on Trump donors has also raised questions about what qualifies as donor harassment and who is entitled to privacy…

“Transparency is essential, Mrs. Clinton, unless it means that our favorite plutocrats might get snubbed in the Hamptons. That’s just inhumane!… ”