The World Laughed At The Black Guy, They Said. Friends and Foes Will Respect Us, Again, They Said

Or not: Vice President Pence, speaking today at the Munich Security Conference, told our allies that he brought greetings “from the 45th president of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.”

He paused.

He waited a little longer.

And then one beat more.

Crickets.

Four seconds in, Pence gave up, and picked up his speech.

Video here.

American power can be measured in all sorts of ways — including the degree to which we are valued, trusted and respected by our allies.

 

The US under Republican misrule has squandered an enormous amount of that informal power.  We are not an irrelevant nation — any more than the United Kingdom was after the half a century in which its empire dissolved.  And we haven’t gone all the way to the position Britain found itself in by, say the late 1950s, an unmistakably second rank power.

But any delusions about an American 21st century are pretty well exploded now, as indicated by the utter disdain for the President of the United States felt by everyone sentient observer — and for the political party and movement that still, against all reason, stands by him.

We won’t see an America that can persuade as well as bully the world until the Republican Party rubs shoulders with the Whigs.

Image:  Umberto Boccioni, Laughternot later than 1916.



Late Night Schadenfreude Open Thread: It’s All Fun & Games Until You Tweak the Wrong Oligarch

It’s the mixture of high crimes & low comedy (cf: Watergate’s ‘plumbers’, or Spiro Agnew’s literal envelopes of graft money) that guarantee a scandal that will run and run!


Read more



Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Truth & Reconciliation

Among the things I remember least fondly about working on a Michigan state college campus in the early 1980s was the ongoing brushfire of “ironic” racist cosplay by milkfed frat bros and frat-wannabes newly empowered under President Reagan’s “states rights” backlash. It was the dawning of the “If hip-hop artists can use the n-word on the radio”… victimization-claiming, when every heir to a suburban car dealership or autoworker’s son fearful he wasn’t going to step into the kind of guaranteed-for-life sinecure as his old man gleefully translated Ronnie’s “Morning in America” campaign the same way they’d applaud Trump’s “MAGA” warcry a generation later. Yeah, the fact that a lot of college men in Virginia during the same period didn’t see anything wrong with blackface surprises me… well, as much as it would surprise me to discover that some of those same young men indulged in underage drinking, Brett.
Read more



GOP Venality Open Thread: Everybody Must Get Stone’d

In a court filing Thursday, prosecutors said the FBI seized physical devices from his home, apartment and office. They said multiple hard drives containing several terabytes of information have been recovered, including bank and financial records and the contents of numerous phones and computers…

.
Speaking of which…



Operational Security is Painless, It Brings on Many Changes, and John Bolton Can Take or Leave It if He Pleases…

Ambassador John Bolton, the Assistant to the President – National Security Advisor (APNSA) and the Frank Burns of American national security professionals, is also a master of operational security!

For those that can’t quite make that out:

And now the close up!

That says:

3) Afghanistan -> welcome the talks; 5,000 troops to Colombia

Nothing like the element of surprise when violating the War Powers Act!

Bolton has to be one of the absolutely stupidest national security professionals ever. Anyone want some action on whether he was one of the 30 people that were denied a clearance by the professional adjudicators and then granted one by Carl Kline, just like Jared Kushner was? He makes Alcibiades pushing the Athenian government to invade Sicily look like a military genius fusion of Pericles, Julius Caesar, Sun Tzu, and Clausewitz! And I don’t want to hear from you Jomini fan boys in the comments either! Keep it to yourselves you freaks!

Open thread!