Just In Time For Dinner…

A snarkalicious palate cleanser:

Just days before the state visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach private club, Florida restaurant inspectors found potentially dangerous raw fish and cited the club for storing food in two broken down coolers.

Inspectors found 13 violations at the fancy club’s kitchen, according to recently published reports — a record for an institution that charges $200,000 in initiation fees.

Three of the violations were deemed “high priority,” meaning that they could allow the presence of illness-causing bacteria on plates served in the dining room. [h/t TPM]

Now that’s how you consummate foreign affairs! Poison visiting leaders. Introduce projectile vomiting as an Olympic event.  Introduce our allies to the miracle of American health care!

Is there anything the shitgibbon touches that isn’t a whited sepulchre? Asking for a friend.

Consider this a break from waiting for the war(s) to start.  Open thread and all that, with a special request for receipe/dish names to be served at Mar-a-Microbe.

Image: Giovanni Bellini, The Feast of the Gods, 1514.



Open Thread: Carter “LEEE-Roy Jenkins!” Page

When the figurehead for the crime cartel is a two-bit grifter with a loose lip, it’s hard to recruit good wetwork men…



Early Morning Open Thread: Yogi Berra Wept

If you find yourself suffering from an excess of optimism, or brain cells, the Washington Post transcribed that whole Bartiromo interview with Trump.

We. Are. So. Fucked. THANKS, REPUBLICANS!



Cheryl Rofer Guest Post on What is Going on in the DPRK Right Now: Fireworks

(and a mushroom cloud hat too!)

Sunday is the anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the father of North Korea and grandfather of its current president, Kim Jong Un. The North Koreans promise a big event and may have prepared some fireworks for the celebration. Reports of activity at their Punggye-ri nuclear test site suggest that the biggest firework will be underground.

Sunday is also Easter for Christians and part of Passover for Jews. North Korea likes to intrude on others’ holidays. It’s something of a tradition. And this year brings the added frisson of showing up an American president whose bluster approaches Kim Jong Un’s.

The New York Times has an extensive article on the preparations. 38 North has better overhead photos.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests and is working toward a nuclear weapon small enough to be carried on their missiles, which they also have been testing and improving.

The way in which this test could be different from the previous five is that an American carrier group is heading toward Korea. Its purpose has not been stated, but it is obviously part of the Trump administration’s desire to show off its military strength. There is nothing it could do, short of starting a war, to stop a nuclear test.

I’ve been thinking about the estimates of North Korean nuclear weapons. The common way to estimate is to take the estimate of fissile material, an estimate of what is needed for a weapon, and divide the second into the first. But there are other considerations. I’ve worked some of them out and come to the conclusion that North Korea doesn’t have as many nukes as sometimes is claimed. My best guess is a half-dozen or fewer. But even that could cause a lot of damage.

Cheryl has indicated she’ll hang around in comments for about an hour to answer whatever questions you all might have.



Open Thread: Mockery of A Sham of A Mockery

Ms. Bartiromo sure understands how to draw out an aging narcissist. You could subtitle this exchange “When Granpa Bought a Second-Hand Convertible for the Part-Time Hooker Down At the VFW”.

I will never forgive the Republican Party for “gifting” us, and the world, with this grifting clown.



Wednesday Evening Open Thread: Once Again, My Excessive Optimism Is Deflated

Since the world hadn’t blown up after a whole 72 hours, I assumed the Mar-a-Lago China summit was just another pointless Trumpstunt. Should’ve known, by now, that all statements about Trump’s actions should be ended with the caveat “… yet.”

Today, in the Wall Street Journal:

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he has offered Chinese President Xi Jinping a more favorable trade deal for Beijing in exchange for his help on confronting the threat of North Korea.

Mr. Trump, in a wide-ranging interview with The Wall Street Journal, said he would accept, for instance, a trade deal with China that does less to address trade deficits…

Mr. Trump also said his administration won’t label China a currency manipulator in a report due this week, despite promises he made on the campaign trail. Mr. Trump said China has stopped manipulating its currency and that it was more important to focus on cooperation with China on North Korea…

Earlier in the day, China described the call somewhat differently and didn’t link trade and North Korea as issues. The foreign ministry said Mr. Xi noted that both sides had numerous mechanisms in place for high-level dialogue and mentioned the two sides’ agreement on a “100-day action plan” on trade, which previous official Chinese accounts had ignored…

Mr. Trump described his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin as nonexistent, but said he developed a warm rapport with Mr. Xi after their first meeting last week at his estate in south Florida.

He said they hit it off during their first discussion. Mr. Trump said he told his Chinese counterpart he believed Beijing could easily take care of the North Korea threat. Mr. Xi then explained the history of China and Korea, Mr. Trump said.

“After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,” Mr. Trump recounted. “I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power” over North Korea,” he said. “But it’s not what you would think.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that at the Mar-a-Lago summit, both presidents had agreed to keep in closer touch through phone calls and meetings.

Mr. Chu said he didn’t believe the U.S. would take military action against North Korea, noting that Pyongyang could retaliate with lethal force against U.S. ally South Korea.

So Mr. Chu assumes — or is willing to say on the record — that the U.S. military doesn’t necessarily take its orders from that ranty dude in the Oval Office. At least not without a cooling-off period, length to be determined. Because, after all, Ranty Dude is a senile idiot, easily distracted by any shiny object or vagrant idea!

Apart from [headdesk]-ing, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



Good News: The Mar-A-Lago China Summit Seems to Have Been Mostly Pointless


(If by ‘chemistry’ you mean ‘they’re both thinking about the really strong hand sanitizer’)

The Washington Post:

PALM BEACH, Fla. — The United States and China wrapped up a two-day presidential summit here by announcing a 100-day plan to improve strained trade ties and boost cooperation between the rival nations…

Trump aides who participated in the talks described a productive first meeting between the leaders, saying they exhibited “positive” chemistry. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the two sides agreed to speed up trade talks to help close a lopsided imbalance in China’s favor, a common campaign-trail complaint of Trump’s.

Trump advisers said the goal, at least from the U.S. side, was to increase American exports to China. But they offered no details about how they planned to achieve that.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said there was “acknowledgment” from the Chinese side “that we do need to get to a more balanced trade environment.”

But the surprise U.S. military response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians threw a wild card into the summit…

Serious readers only: “Trump had his first big foreign policy challenge. So what did we learn?”

Evan Osnos, in the New Yorker:

Trump always promised to behave this way—“We’re so predictable. We’re like bad checker players,” he said during the campaign—but, for China, handling the new President just got more complicated.
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