Late Night Open Thread: More “Greatest Hits from the 1980s”

Donald Trump really has encouraged all the worst Republicans of the past forty years to crawl back from under their rocks into the media spotlight, hasn’t he?

And they’re garnering new fans, too…


(Linked video obviously NSFW)

Notice, unfortunately, there’ more than a few young bros among the AARP Trumplodytes. And of course some folks have brought their kids, just like their granpas would’ve brought them to a public lynching…



Seriously: Mr. Khizr Khan Has Very Long Fingers

Thanks to several commentors for the link.

I’d post this during the daytime when more people would see it, but if it makes you sob as much as I am, better to be in private.

ETA: For those whose browers won’t show the embed, watch here: MSNBC.

Via Gawker:

My conscience compels me under these very difficult circumstances—very raw emotions—I am a very composed person. I don’t become that emotional in public discourse. But there is so much at stake. And I appeal to both of these leaders [Mitch McConnell & Paul Ryan]: This is the time. There comes a time in the history of a nation where an ethical, a moral stand has to be taken regardless of the political cost. The only reason they’re not repudiating his behavior, his threat to our democracy, our decency, our foundation, is just because of political consequences.



Friday Night PopCult Dreams Open Thread: Trump Fantasizes Himself James Bond

Guy who wrote Art of the Deal for Trump:

Foreign security expert; Professor, Naval War College:

As many critics have pointed out, Ian Fleming wrote the first James Bond novels just as the sun was conclusively setting over the British Empire. While grey little MI bureaucrats coped with rationing coupons and currency restrictions, every day seemed to bring news of another embassy ceded or outpost overrun by lawless wogs and ungrateful colonials. But the imaginary Bond was an invicible Trickster, breezing past every finger-wagging Moneypenny and shadowy figurehead M to play one exciting scenario after another in a world of limitless funds, fast cars, exciting tech toys, bangable women, high-end cuisine, and a whole carefully-curated shopping list of the top consumer brands in every category. Even President Kennedy — who knew to a nicety just how much it cost to live like Bond — enjoyed the paperback fantasies where constant physical discomfort and the subliminal Cold War drumbeat of Mutually Assured Destruction could be ignored, however briefly.

Half a century later, as the American Exceptionalism empire ebbs, and even the bedrock verities of white racial superiority and ‘natural’ patriarchy are under assault, an aging New York developer stands in front of a full-length gilt mirror in his knockoff penthouse, adjusts his made-in-China self-branded tie, and whispers to himself “Trump. Donald Trump.”

First time as tragedy, second time as farce.
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The Siberian Candidate

The Trump story of the morning appears to be a clumsy attempt to walk back yesterday’s folly/treason.  The ferret-headed Benedict Arnold now says he was just kidding.

In the reality-based universe this looks ridiculous, a twelve year old bully’s gambit to duck out of trouble when his mouth makes a promise the rest of him can’t back up.

In a political world described to the electorate but a media community that is either complicit (Fox, et al.) or cowed into ineffectuality (at best), it’s at least a solid move by Trump, and maybe more so.  He gets two main benefits out of what should be a candidacy-killing blunder.

The first is a refocusing of attention onto the Hillary email story, never mind that the actual hack — and the evil thereof –was not on Clinton’s server but was instead an attack against one of America’s two major political parties.  To all those — I spoke to one yesterday — who see Hillary as guilty, guilty, guilty, any means necessary to bring her down is just fine, and this story helps fuel that hunger while reminding everyone, yet again, that Hillary is the worst ever traitor/murderess/spy/arglebarglegabblegibberish….

The second, and even more potent benefit to Trump is the distraction his invocation of Russian spycraft offers the media.  This is classic misdirection. Focus on the more sensational, but ultimately off-the-point element of a story instead of the meat of the matter.

That would be, of course, how Trump has already, and will likely continue to pay off on Putin’s investment in his sorry ass.  Josh Marshall wrote an elegant bill of indictment a week ago, and our own Adam has gone into some detail on the extraordinary damage Trump is wreaking on more than a half a century of American geopolitics.

To do the TL:DR — Trump increasingly depends on Russian money as more and more of the major players in the western financial system have learned to their sorrow that he’s a litigious deadbeat.  That means that Trump doesn’t have to be a witting agent of the Kremlin; he’s already been bought and paid for (and, as Adam has noted, he’s long curried favor with/genuinely supported Russian authoritarians).

Giotto_di_Bondone_-_No._28_Scenes_from_the_Life_of_Christ_-_12._Judas'_Betrayal_-_WGA09213

You can see how much vig he’s paid already:  threats to NATO and other allies, the signals he’s sending on Putin’s ambitions in the Baltic, Chamberlain-esque appeasement in his seeming willingness to accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea, explicit changes the GOP position on Ukraine in an unequivocal shift towards the Kremlin line.

Does Trump believe in any of that, independently of a Russian handler? Who knows and who cares.  The threat Trump’s Russian connections poses to US and world security exist whether or not he’s a dupe, a useful idiot, a debtor, or (easily the least likely, IMHO) an actual witting asset of the FSB.  The real story lies in two strands and two only.  First:  follow the money.  What does Trump owe to whom? Where does/can he lay his hands on cash these days?

Second:  look at what Trump has done and proposes to do.  Not the conditional BS — how great it would be if Putin hacked HIllary.  The real stuff, the weakening of the western alliance, down-the-line support for Kremlin actions and arguments.

This is a test of our political media, one I’m afraid is already being flubbed.  Trump is a good — no, a great — three card monte player.  The patter conceals the real action.

This is how a Siberian Candidate gets the job done.

For our part, it’s a matter of keeping the story alive as much as we can in every venue we can: calling representatives, hitting social media, writing letters to the editor, and above all, talking to voters who need help seeing what’s at stake in this election.

Image:  Giotto di Bondone, Judas Receiving Payment For His Betrayalbetween 1304 and 1306.

 



Open Thread: Good Job Breaking It, Repubs!



Open Thread: Donald Trump’s Foreign Affaires

From the article:

Just weeks after she started preparing opposition research files on Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort last spring, Democratic National Committee consultant Alexandra Chalupa got an alarming message when she logged into her personal Yahoo email account.

“Important action required,” read a pop-up box from a Yahoo security team that is informally known as “the Paranoids.” “We strongly suspect that your account has been the target of state-sponsored actors.”

Chalupa — who had been drafting memos and writing emails about Manafort’s connection to pro-Russian political leaders in Ukraine — quickly alerted top DNC officials. “Since I started digging into Manafort, these messages have been a daily oc­­­­currence on my Yahoo account despite changing my p­­a­ssword often,” she wrote in a May 3 email to Luis Miranda, the DNC’s communications director, which included an attached screengrab of the image of the Yahoo security warning.

“I was freaked out,” Chalupa, who serves as director of “ethnic engagement” for the DNC, told Yahoo News in an interview, noting that she had been in close touch with sources in Kiev, Ukraine, including a number of investigative journalists, who had been providing her with information about Manafort’s political and business dealings in that country and Russia…

Republican party’s first semi-official 2020 presidential candidate ‘Freedom Coalition’ leader asked about credible reports that Trump is being spoon-fed disinformation by Putin, says, ‘Yeah, but wait’ll he finds out what a nasty fella Vlad really is.’

Can you imagine the non-stop BREAKING chyrons if anyone who had so much as taken a selfie with Hillary Clinton said something like this to a reporter?
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Monday Evening Open Thread: Meanwhile, From the Real Enemy of Our Democracy…

Because not being in the media spotlight for even one day makes the Combover Caligula break out in the cold sweats, like any other junkie. Just imagine how happy Paul Ryan and Reince Preibus must be about Trump threatening to use this information to punish all his enemies! It’ll make finding a viable candidate so much easier in 2020…

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Apart from all the poo-flinging monkeys, what’s on the agenda for the evening?


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