Schadenfreude Open Thread: On Below D-List!

*This* is the most significant BE BEST youth outreach the Oval Office Occupancy can come up with?

Kirk raises millions of dollars from Republican donors for his group Turning Point USA — an organization that fights liberalism (Kirk prefers the label “socialist”) on university campuses. Owens, 29, who works with Kirk at TPUSA and like him is a diehard Trumpist, caught the President’s eye recently when Kanye West tweeted “I love the way Candace Owens thinks.”

Behind the scenes: Kirk told me he and Owens talked to Trump about “black America, Kanye West, and the intersection of culture and politics,” and the “incredible progress being made for black America by President Trump and also historic pardon yesterday.”…

Charlie Kirk, of course, is the Wile E. Coyote Supergeenius responsible for Talking Points USA. Candace Owens, well…

Ten months ago, the 26-year-old posted her first politically themed video to YouTube, a reenactment of “coming out” as conservative to her parents. In November, amid allegations of racial bias, the conservative campus advocacy group Turning Point USA hired Owens, who is black, as its director of urban engagement. Last month, Kanye West tweeted his approval of Owens’ thoughts. Last week, President Trump tweeted that Owens was part of a group of “very smart ‘thinkers’” and that she is “having a big impact on politics.” And this week, Owens mingled with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump at the dedication of the new US embassy in Jerusalem.

Yet Owens, suddenly a new face of the American right, was less than two years ago the CEO of an online publication that frequently mocked then-candidate Trump, including conducting a mock “investigation” into his penis size. (The story determined that it was likely very small.) And in a 2015 column for the site lambasting conservative Republicans, Owens wrote that it was “good news” that the “Republican Tea Party … will eventually die off (peacefully in their sleep, we hope).”

Indeed, the speed with which Owens has gone from running a frequently anti-Trump, anti-conservative website to being one of the president’s most prominent new supporters illustrates the wild land grab still going on for influence in the pro-Trump ecosystem….


 
Hey, Repubs — You can have Charlie and Candace. We’ll keep standing with Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg.



Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Kicking Around the Sportsball… Players

I’ve written before about “extinction bursts”, where an organism that stops getting the expected response to an action will redouble its efforts in attempt to get its reward. The NFL seems to be in the middle of such an extinction burst — its TV revenues are dropping, and as a result, they’ve just doubled down on their worst authoritarian impulses. And Mike Pence is the GOP Extinction Burst made flesh, applauding the jingoism for the hardcore Deplorables…
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The Trump Administration Negotiates

Since before I joined Balloon Juice, since the 2016 campaign, I’ve said that Donald Trump stinks as a negotiator.

Most of us have some experience negotiating. One of my mentors said that every encounter is a negotiation. Some of our valued commenters are lawyers, whose jobs are mostly negotiation. We’ve bought cars or rented apartments. There are some basics that you learn just by living, unless you’ve lived an utterly protected life.

This thread is by an Obama administration official. I know that Twitter threads can be hard to read, but this one has some good links and visuals. And it’s not too long.



Editing Trump

Blake Hounshell, editor in chief of Politico magazine, provided a good example this morning of a problem with media. Here’s his tweet in a screenshot, because I hope he deletes it.

The link in the Blumenthal tweet is to an article in which Vice President Mike Pence is quoted.

“There was some talk about the Libyan model last week, and you know, as the President made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn’t make a deal,” Pence said Monday.

When it was noted that the comparison could be interpreted as a threat, Pence told Fox News: “Well, I think it’s more of a fact.”

The talk about a Libyan model came from National Security Advisor John Bolton and from President Donald Trump. But they were talking about two different Libyan models. Bolton said that he expected North Korea to hand over their entire nuclear program as Libya did in 2003. Trump said that if they didn’t, the United States would “decimate” them, as was done to Libya in 2011.

It’s often hard to understand what Trump is saying. This clip is more difficult than usual, but it’s pretty clear that Trump says the word “decimate” and talks about “the Libya model” in a different way than Bolton has. Before that, he said something about providing security to North Korea.

The Washington Post headline emphasized that part of the statement, even though, to my ears, the threat of “the Libya model” was more emphatic, with Trump spending more time on it.

Trump offers reassurance that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un would remain in power under nuclear deal

Acton may be right; David Nakamura and Philip Rucker may have been steered in that direction by White House aides telling them what it was that Trump was supposed to say.

Hounshell may have been subject to the same explaining, or perhaps the idea that the President is threatening war against North Korea in plain words is too uncomfortable for reporters to convey to the public.

Trump spouts word salad, a toss-up of ignorance, shaky sentence structure, vague referents, complaints, accusations, and threats. It is not the job of reporters to impose coherence on that word salad. It’s perfectly acceptable (to me, perhaps not to Trump) for them to report “In a windy set of impressions and inaccurate references, Trump contradicted Bolton and seems to have threatened war against North Korea, while putting forth a conditional security guarantee.”

Part of what they say should recognize the difficulty in knowing what Trump means. Trying to pin him down in his short press availabilities is difficult, but should be attempted. Yes, his words flow freely, unhinged from meaning, and he often refuses to answer requests for clarification.

Blake Hounshell didn’t respond to any of the comments and questions about his tweet, nor did he back up his conclusion. That conclusion will shape how he and Politico cover Trump’s actions toward North Korea. Hounshell believes, according to the tweet, “The U.S. won’t attack North Korea.” Apparently he doesn’t believe Trump’s own words. He should tell us why.

Update: Here’s a much more thoughtful and critical analysis of Trump’s words.

 

Cross-posted at Nuclear Diner.



Late Night Schadenfreude Open Thread: Confusion & Defeat to Them All

As any libertarian would tell you, taxes are theft, so Al Capone should never have gone to jail!

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Much closer to the center axis on the “Evil vs Stupid” chart… Ed Kilgore has a nice (in both senses of the word) dissection of St. Bernie’s latest shenanigans:

There were two big developments on May 21 in the political universe of Bernie Sanders, one upbeat, one not-so-much.

On the positive side, Sanders formally announced he is a candidate for reelection to a third term in the Senate, as was universally expected. The only slight mystery about his bid was resolved when he indicated that he would follow his past procedure by running in the Democratic primary, and then declining the nomination and running as an independent while accepting the “endorsement” of Vermont Democrats. The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake had a sardonic comment about that:

Sanders is going to run in the Democratic primary for no reason except to preclude anybody else from winning it — despite having no intention of running as a Democrat in the general election. Sanders basically wants to ensure he will face no Democratic opponent in November. A cynic might say the guy who complained about the rigging of the 2016 Democratic presidential primary is kinda, sorta rigging the 2018 Vermont Senate race for himself…

… The announcement is also another indication that Sanders thinks he’s good to go in national office until 2024 at least, when he’ll turn 83. Whether that means he’ll run for president in 2020 is another matter, of course.
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Thursday Morning Open Thread: Fibber McGee’s Closet

Spent my Wednesday dealing with the sort of niggly nitpicking IRL tasks that force both halves of any long-term couple to remind themselves that their partner has many fine qualities to go with their flaws. (If you’ve got any extra, please spare a good thought for a 16-year-old rescue dog who’s going through all the indignities common to old age. His name is Zevon.) So, of course, the Friday News Dump fell on a Wednesday this week…

Trump Crime Cartel minions are whistling past the graveyard –

Still Proud to Be A Democrat:



Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: This Is Who The Repubs CHOOSE to Be


 
When it comes to demonizing immigrants, the GOP doesn’t mind at all if their “President” Trump says the quiet parts out loud!

Pro tip from someone who’s actually read your Bible: If they can “contort themselves” into defending treating immigrants as other-than-human, they aren’t actually Christians.
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