Schadenfreude Open Thread: Don’t Go Away Mad…

“Trump, stung by midterms and nervous about Mueller, retreats from traditional presidential duties”

For weeks this fall, an ebullient President Trump traveled relentlessly to hold raise-the-rafters campaign rallies — sometimes three a day — in states where his presence was likely to help Republicans on the ballot.

But his mood apparently has changed as he has taken measure of the electoral backlash that voters delivered Nov. 6. With the certainty that the incoming Democratic House majority will go after his tax returns and investigate his actions, and the likelihood of additional indictments by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, Trump has retreated into a cocoon of bitterness and resentment, according to multiple administration sources.

Behind the scenes, they say, the president has lashed out at several aides, from junior press assistants to senior officials. “He’s furious,” said one administration official. “Most staffers are trying to avoid him.”

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, painted a picture of a brooding president “trying to decide who to blame” for Republicans’ election losses, even as he publicly and implausibly continues to claim victory…

As Peggy Noonan once said: Let us savor. From the Washington Post, “Five days of fury: Inside Trump’s Paris temper, election woes and staff upheaval”:

During his 43-hour stay in Paris, Trump brooded over the Florida recounts and sulked over key races being called for Democrats in the midterm elections that he had claimed as a “big victory.” He erupted at his staff over media coverage of his decision to skip a ceremony honoring the military sacrifice of World War I.

The president also was angry and resentful over French President Emmanuel Macron’s public rebuke of rising nationalism, which Trump considered a personal attack. And that was after his difficult meeting with Macron, where officials said little progress was made as Trump again brought up his frustrations over trade and Iran…

First lady Melania Trump shared her husband’s irritation and impatience with some of the staff. On Tuesday, amid reports that the president had decided to oust deputy national security adviser Mira R. Ricardel over tensions between her and other administration officials, the first lady’s office issued an extraordinary statement to reporters calling for her firing…

Melania Trump said in an October interview with ABC News that the president had people working for him whom she did not trust and that she has let her husband know. “Some people, they don’t work there anymore,” the first lady said…

First Lady Hillary Clinton channeled Eleanor Roosevelt; First Lady Melania Trump channels Edith Wilson.

…“Trump needs adulation, so heading into the midterms, holding these rallies, he was cheered and it became narcissistic fuel to his engine,” Brinkley said. “After the midterm, it’s the sober dawn of the morning.”…

Read more



Wednesday Morning: What I wouldn’t give for a large sock with horse manure in it. …


Read more



Open Thread: Oh, Yay, Another Crappy Repub Reboot!

I got my daily aerobics rolling my eyes over Ocasio-Cortez’s Big Sit-In Protest this morning, too. But in her defense, she’s a twenty-something whose last job was bartending, not a sixty-something “billionaire executive” with access to the nuclear football.

And when the Oval Office Occupant is an incurious moron, the worst members of the Greedy Old Perverts party start to get ambitious

If she succeeds, Cheney will be the only woman in House Republican leadership — and follow in the footsteps of her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, who won the same post more than 30 years ago.

She is seeking the position of GOP conference chair, which would put her at the forefront of the House GOP’s communications strategy when Democrats take over the chamber in January. House Republicans are looking for a more forceful approach to communications…

The Republican leadership elections are set for Wednesday. The conference chair is the third-ranking position and comes with several duties, including organizing regular weekly meetings and developing the GOP’s message to voters.

Cheney is running unopposed after the current chair of the conference, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, declined to continue in the post.

Cheney’s father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, won the conference chair position more than 30 years ago after four terms as Wyoming’s congressman. By landing the position after just one term, Liz Cheney would leave little doubt that she’s a rising political star in her own right…

Since winning office by a wide margin in 2016, Cheney has served on the Armed Services and Natural Resources Committees. More remarkably for a freshman member of Congress, she landed a seat on the Rules Committee, which sets the terms for floor debate on legislation.

“That kind of is an indication that she has a constituency within the Republican conference — that she would be considered knowledgeable on issues, someone who is going to help advance the party’s leadership agenda,” said University of Wyoming political science professor Jim King.

The Republican conference chairmanship will be especially important now that Republicans look to rebrand themselves after losing the House majority, or at least improve their messaging to voters.

Deregulation, such as rolling back parts of the Dodd-Frank banking reform law, and federal income tax cuts are important accomplishments that Republicans can sell to voters, Cheney said…

THE LOOTING WILL CONTINUE UNTIL VOTER MORALE IMPROVES!!!

If there needed to be yet another reason to give Nancy Pelosi back her gavel, then watching Darth Cheney, Mk II circling would be an excellent one.



Late Night Open Thread: It Would Be Funnier If the Punchline Didn’t Involve Nuclear Weapons

A fine pigbladdering of a most deserving pig, by David Roth, for Deadspin“This Is All Donald Trump Has Left”:

This is more or less what Trump has always thought the news should be like: people with microphones clamoring for his opinion and asking him about himself. For decades the man has dreamed of reporters calling out “please, sir, what’s the latest on your personal feuds” or “sir, how did you achieve this amazing success?” while he delivers flirty winking answers. That this is not the way it goes now that he’s president clearly causes him great frustration. Watch these pissy helicopter-adjacent scrums and you may see a lumpy pink dope bellowing “we’re looking into that very strongly” in response to questions he transparently can’t answer and dispensing whatever thudding speculative idiocy he thinks will get him to the next question. Other people will see what Trump sees. The important thing for him is that the microphones are still pointed in the right direction.

The culture has been inching further and further into Trump’s gilded funhouse for years now, and you surely do not need me to tell you that it fucking sucks in there. But we are, by now, all the way in. Trump is nearly as ubiquitous in the culture as he has always believed he should be; the one deeply held belief that has been evident throughout his whole faithless disgrace of a life is people should be talking about Donald Trump more, on television, and he has just about seen that part through. All Trump wants, all he has ever wanted, is to be able to keep doing and taking and saying whatever he wants whenever he wants. He ran for president for this reason and this reason only.

His politics, to the extent that they’ve ever been legible, have always been off-the-rack big city tabloid bullshit—crudely racist exterminate the brutes/back the blue authoritarianism in the background and ruthless petty rich person squabbling in the front. His actions since becoming president have been those of a dim, cruel child playacting at being powerful—giving orders without quite knowing what they mean or how they might be carried out, taunting enemies, beating up the people he can afford to beat up without having to be called to account for it, lying as needed or just for yuks. He hasn’t changed a thing since graduating from punchline to president. It’s been clear for decades that Trump was both an asshole and a dummy; this is now a problem not just for the odd unlucky cocktail waitress and his staff of cheesy apparatchiks but literally every person on earth…

Trump won’t stop. He won’t stop because he’s never told the truth in his life and because this is all he has and all he has ever had. He wakes up every day to the mess he’s made and says and does whatever he must, at whatever cost, to get through the day. Like many in his generation, Trump has mistaken the end of his life for the end of the world. He can’t imagine, let alone care about, what will be left after he is gone, if only because no one who matters to him will be around for it. His politics, such as they exist, boil down to this: he is trying to hold on, and will spend the rest of his life trying not to be found out. Every day is like this now. He could do this forever—he talks often about serving for longer than one more term—but that’s mostly because he has so much invested in never stopping. He is over-leveraged as always; he can only ever do more…



#GlobalFacepalms Open Thread: The Trump-Putin Bromance in Paris

For all Trump is supposed to be ‘a master of visual media’, sure looks like Putin who has the better grasp of the optics here…

Last time I saw a grin/grip/lapel-adjustment like this, literally, was a senior VP hearing at the company roundtable that his division would get its full funding after all. Not just relief, but a public signalling of renewed confidence in one’s business superior.

It’s a Tristan & Iseult romance for our times!

Of course Putin’s mostly trolling, but can you imagine if it were any other American president who got caught kowtowing this way? Even a Republican?



On the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month of 1918 World War I Did Not Come to an End

(Satwinder Sehmi’s Calligraphy: In Flander’s Field)

As Veteran’s Day 2018 comes to a close, and with it the commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, it is important to remember that World War I did not actually end on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. While it is true that the armistice was signed and peace talks would soon begin, World War I did not stop on November 11, 2018. Rather, and more accurately, it transformed into a series of low intensity conflicts that would simmer until reigniting into World War II. At the heart of those conflicts was a war of ideas. One of these ideas was national identity. Specifically, how ethno-national minorities that were left behind the lines, so to speak, when the armistice was signed would relate to the governments they now lived under, their ethno-national majority neighbors, and how those governments and those neighbors would relate to them. Out of these tense, taut, and often violent relationships between ethno-national majorities and minorities in post World War I Europe would grow other even more dangerous ideas such as fascism, in its corporatist, nationalist-syndicalist, and racist forms. Even, to a certain extent, Leninism, was unable to escape the nationalist tensions that resulted from the way World War I never really ended.

The great power competition that had led to World War I was changed by these clash of ideas – nationalism, fascism, communism – and, as a result, World War II and the Cold War were as much wars of ideas and ideology as they were wars of conquest and for territory. These ideas were about how to better organize state and society. And they placed the ideas of liberty and liberal democracy in all of its various types in direct conflict with the totalitarian ideas of fascism on the extreme right and communism on the extreme left. And just as different forms of liberal democracy would develop, so to would different variations of fascism and communism. These clash of ideas, of how states, societies, and even the global system should best be structured, would lead to both World War II, a long Cold War, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and a number of conflicts fought by the proxies of the two post World War II superpowers. to a certain extent they are also an undercurrent in the US’s seeming forever war against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As 2018 moves towards 2019, the world is once again faced with a war of ideas. The ideas of well ordered liberty and its expression in the different types of liberal democracy are once again facing off against totalitarian ideas from both state and non-state actors. Vladimir Putin challenges the US and its EU and NATO allies and partners with his promotion of managed democracy as a façade for the kleptocratic organized crime state he has created in Russia. Xi Xinping, recently declared as President for Life, promotes his fusion of Maoism, state controlled capitalism, and Chinese nationalism through his Belt and Road Initiative. ISIS continues to promote an extreme version of tawheed, the Islamic theological understanding of the unity of the Deity, which includes violently imposing its doctrine on believers and unbelievers alike. 

The War to End all Wars did not do so because it could not do so. Nor did World War II. Now has any other war. So while we recognize and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, we need to be realistic about what we face both within and without the United States. We need to remain vigilant in order to ensure that well ordered liberty prevails in this 21st century war of ideas.

Open thread.



Sunday Morning Open Thread: Trump’s State Visit to France, Illustrated

The little man who wasn’t there. As our opponents would say: This is the world Repubs want.


Read more