Thursday Morning Open Thread

(Tom Toles via

The Repubs may be starting to regret their latest corrupt bargain. Greg Sargent, at the Washington Post, “After Republicans prostrate themselves before Trump, he humiliates them further”:

Senate Republicans have been searching for a way out of a very difficult jam. They will be forced to vote Thursday on President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency. Yet, with four of them apparently ready to vote to terminate the emergency, this will mean Trump would have to veto the measure, enraging both the president and his voters.

So Republicans hit on a preposterously absurd scheme, in which they would vote on a measure that would place limits on future national emergencies — by requiring regular congressional votes to keep them going — without placing any limits on this particular one. This was supposed to give cover to Republicans, enabling them to stand with Trump’s national emergency while creating the impression that they are generally concerned by the issues raised by the president’s abuse of power.

But it now turns out that Trump is killing this effort, too…

Senate Republicans will now be forced to vote Thursday on the resolution terminating Trump’s national emergency because the House passed one recently, and under the law, the Senate is required to act on it. And Republicans will not be able to vote to limit national emergencies later, to give themselves political protection from Thursday’s vote.

To be clear on what just happened here, Republicans tried to come up with a way to give Trump the national emergency he wants, while also giving themselves a way to mitigate the political damage from it…

If any of the entrapped GOP members know anything about history, they might be meditating upon the idea that Caligula didn’t appoint his horse to the Roman senate because he had such respect for horses.

Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Kollege Admissions

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Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Boeing 737 Max8 Edition

Experts — pah! Who needs them? Of course, Trump never flies commercial, so… Mr. Pierce, at Esquire:

I’m sure this has something to do with the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 that killed 157 people over the weekend. (This was the second disastrous crash of this new aircraft since last October.) Several countries have grounded the new plane until, to coin a phrase, they figure out what the hell’s going on. The United States has not. Of course, the president* has not yet nominated anyone to be the head of the FAA, so that could complicate things. Maybe he’s shorting Boeing stock. Who knows? But what is obvious is that this is another sample drawn from his endless reservoir of self-regard—Look, I’m an aeronautical engineer!—combined with a healthy dose of his trademark disrespect for any form of actual expertise.

Trump Crime Cartel Open Thread: “Security” Clearances for the Blatantly Insecure


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Doesn’t That Make us Mercenaries?

Cheeto Benito’s latest brainstorm:

For years, President Donald Trump has complained that countries hosting American troops aren’t paying enough. Now he wants to get even, and then some.

Under White House direction, the administration is drawing up demands that Germany, Japan and eventually any other country hosting U.S. troops pay the full price of American soldiers deployed on their soil — plus 50 percent or more for the privilege of hosting them, according to a dozen administration officials and people briefed on the matter.

In some cases, nations hosting American forces could be asked to pay five to six times as much as they do now under the “Cost Plus 50” formula.

Trump has championed the idea for months. His insistence on it almost derailed recent talks with South Korea over the status of 28,000 U.S. troops in the country when he overruled his negotiators with a note to National Security Adviser John Bolton saying, “We want cost plus 50.”

This guy.