Wednesday Open Thread

There are several Mueller thread(s) below this post. I haven’t been watching, so I have no idea if the testimony is ongoing, but the latest thread is getting way long, so here’s a new one.

From what I gather from occasional glances at Twitter, the hearing aired facts established by the written report, including that: 1) the report didn’t exonerate Trump, 2) Russia fucked with our election for the purpose of helping to elect Trump, 3) the Trump campaign eagerly welcomed that help, 4) Trump obstructed the investigation.

However, the emerging media consensus seems to be that the hearings were a huge victory for Trump and the Republicans because 1) Mueller is old, and 2) pundits and reporters are bored with the proceedings. Does that about sum it up?

Open thread.








Russian State TV Implies the President Is a Woman Subservient to Putin

Karavai (the Russian spelling and pronunciation) is a traditional bread made by women and presented on a towel at weddings and other festivities by women in Ukraine (koravai), Belarus, Poland (korawaj), Bulgaria (kravai), and Russia. Russian state TV decided to memorialize the President’s meeting with Putin at the G20 summit this way:

Insult to injury.

Open thread.








Putin’s toady laughs off election interference again

President National Embarrassment is humiliating us abroad again at the G-20 summit in Japan. This brief exchange is almost as revolting as Trump’s obsequious performance in Helsinki. Trump, goaded by reporters to confront Russia about election interference, briefly wags a finger at the Russians and fulfills that brief with mock-stern sarcasm. So much incompetence, treason, self-pity and hubris is packed into this 20-second clip:

Putin smirks the whole while, like a blood and feather-coated fox licking its chops outside a newly emptied hen house. And why wouldn’t Putin smirk? The head of a third-rate, failing petrostate, Putin has pulled off perhaps the greatest foreign policy coup in the history of the planet by helping his geopolitical rival render itself utterly ridiculous with the ignorant, malevolent clown seated at his left.

Then the camera pans back, revealing the grin of the lumpish crackpot Pompeo as well as the vapid smirks of Ivanka and Jared, who are now running US foreign policy, dog help us. Truly a repugnant spectacle.








Unhinged (Open Thread)

Trump did a phone interview with a Fox News friendly this morning. It did not go well.

In the first clip below, Trump accuses Robert Mueller of a “crime,” claiming the special counsel “terminated” texts and/or emails between “stupid lovers” Strzok and Page.* Then he bellows about the content of the “illegally terminated” texts/emails, thus indicating that he somehow read them despite their being allegedly lost to posterity. It’s just incoherent.

The second clip is even worse since it pertains to a real issue rather than a demented fantasy: the Trump concentration camps at the border. Trump indicates he may not sign the funding bill from the House, underscoring yet again his intent to use abused children and their desperate families as pawns to get wall funding.

He also repeats the lie about the family separation policy (100% Trump’s) in short-hand fashion since, on Fox News, it’s an article of faith that President Obama created family separation and Trump is the hero who’s trying to end it. Trump then rants that his administration is doing a “great job” at the border and whines about people focusing on “one little site” (where children have been hideously abused!) instead of the big picture, which is also a heinous fail-parade of cruelty and misery by any objective measure.

The clips are almost worth watching just for Bartiromo’s facial expressions. She’s one of the many amoral sleaze-bags at Fox News who helped propel this raving lunatic to power, so watching her failed struggle to shape the interview so that her subject sounds more like a human being in control of his faculties than a semi-sentient YouTube comments thread is almost comical.

I’m past believing that any unhinged public performance by Trump will move the needle with the media or the public and affect coverage or approval ratings. At this point, such a hope is probably as vain as the pundit yearning for a “pivot” in which the lunatic in the Oval Office suddenly starts acting like a president — even a regular old bad, corrupt and incompetent president. But damn!

Open thread!

*BTW, do Strzok and Page have any avenue of redress for their constant vilification and defamation by a sitting president? Trump is so bizarrely obsessed with those two, never failing to use the word “lover” multiple times (and with maximum creepiness!) when discussing them. He apparently derives some sick, hypocritical satisfaction from emphasizing their alleged infidelity.

Trump routinely and baselessly accuses the two of participating in a conspiracy theory to take him down, and I don’t doubt that each renewal of that accusation prompts Trump’s unhinged fans to threaten the two. Trump’s fans have a history of threatening violence, sending mail bombs and amassing weapons and creating “kill lists,” so “irresponsible” doesn’t begin to cover Trump’s treatment of Page and Strzok. It’s criminal, or at least it should be.








Russia, If You’re Listening Open Thread

George Stephanopoulos scored an interview with the Orange Plague, and ABC is teasing it.

Ask Turab Lookman about that.

Lookman has been indicted for lying about his contacts with China and accepting research grants from China. He has pleaded not guilty and could go to prison if he is found guilty.

If, um, Norway (Trump really likes those Nordic folks) offered Adam Silverman some sweet deal having to do with his military interactions and it wasn’t vetted by the proper governmental folks, Adam would be in bigtime trouble too. (Norway is a member of NATO, so it’s entirely possible for Adam to cooperate with some of their programs.) But, of course, it’s not Norway that invited the Trump folks to all those get-togethers.

So yeah, it’s an invitation, just as surely as that campaign speech in which Trump asked Russia to get him Hillary’s emails.