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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Overnight/Early Morning Open Thread

England Prevails! Or not. The Invisible Hand is weighing in now.

 



Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: “Donald Trump does not have a campaign” (But the Repubs Are Stuck with Him)

Anybody got an anvil handy? The title is from MSNBC:

Republicans working to elect Trump describe a bare-bones effort debilitated by infighting, a lack of staff to carry out basic functions, minimal coordination with allies and a message that’s prisoner to Trump’s momentary whims.

“Bottom line, you can hire all the top people in the world, but to what end? Trump does what he wants,” a source close to the campaign said.

In reporting on Trump’s operation, NBC News talked to three Trump aides and two sources working closely alongside the campaign, all of whom requested anonymity in order speak freely.

Veteran operatives are shocked by the campaign’s failure to fill key roles. There is no communications team to deal with the hundreds of media outlets covering the race, no rapid response director to quickly rebut attacks and launch new ones, and a limited cast of surrogates who lack a cohesive message…
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Late Night Open Thread: Among the Wild Libertarians

Yes, it’s almost too easy a target. But then again, they’re Libertarians, so they should be used to it by now. The NYTimes:

In a year when the two major parties are consumed by tensions, defections and chaos, the Libertarian Party, which sees itself as their alternative, displayed some of the same traits as it wrestled with nominating two former Republican governors for its presidential ticket at its annual convention over the weekend. But there was also a palpable sense of excitement at the event, held at a hotel here less than 10 miles from Disney World.

For an antiwar party that promotes legalizing marijuana and tearing up the tax code, 2016 has brought hope that acceptance in the political mainstream is imminent amid broad discontent with the probable nominees from the major parties.

The Libertarian Party is the country’s third largest by voter registration, excluding people who consider themselves independent, but it is often overlooked as a political sideshow with a hodgepodge of positions that many consider to be either overly liberal on social issues or too conservative fiscally…

Dave Weigel, at the Washington Post, is far more sympathetic:

ORLANDO — Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson won the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination on Sunday, fending off five rivals from different factions on two closely fought ballots and securing more than 55.8 percent of the total vote.

But Johnson’s near-miss on the first ballot kicked off an afternoon of protests and delegate glad-handing, with the vice presidential race to be decided later. Johnson had run a careful campaign with an eye on the general election, picking former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld — like him, a Republican who switched parties — as his running mate. In Saturday night’s debate, Johnson, alone among the top-five contenders, said that he would have signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and that he thought people should be licensed to drive cars. He was loudly booed for both positions…

Johnson’s rivals, especially Libertarian activist Austin Petersen and software engineer John McAfee, saw an opportunity to drag out the process. They briefly huddled on the convention floor and worked delegates, as Johnson had unfruitful conversations with critics and then walked outside for an interview with MSNBC…

(Earlier WaPo reports here and here.)


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Doomed … ooops

The fact that United Healthcare was pulling out of most states on the individual market was a sign that the Exchanges and thus Obamacare (let’s forget about the very successful Medicaid expansion for a moment) were doomed.

There would be no competition and no one could make money on the exchanges.

Doom I tell you, Doom!

And then OOPS

 

Other insurers are submitting bids and prepping applications to expand into markets that United Healthcare is leaving.

Applying for approval in Kansas is a fairly low cost operation as a committment is not needed until mid-September but this means the build teams at Aetna and Medica had been working on these projects since last November and the decision to explore expanding was made last summer with numerous points where pulling the plug on the exploration could be done fairly easily and cheaply.

It could be competition is working the way it is supposed to work. Overpriced and undervalued firms leave markets that they don’t understand while new firms that think they have an interesting angle enter markets.

Was there a Scottish radical who wrote something about that a while ago… what was his name……



Friday Morning Open Thread: Simply Irresistable

From the Politico article:

Not to worry, says Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer: There’s no crisis in the GOP.

Speaking after Paul Ryan stunned the political world on Thursday by saying he wasn’t ready to back Donald Trump — and Trump shot back that he wouldn’t support Ryan’s agenda — Spicer said Republicans have “plenty of time” to unify their party, as many were anticipating the fight for the nomination to last longer.

Ryan and Trump will meet sometime next week, he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer…. When Blitzer asked which of the two men would change, Spicer said: “It’s not a question about changing. It’s a question about understanding.”

Blitzer asked if Trump would have to drop his proposals to ban Muslims from entering the country and deport millions of undocumented immigrants.

“That’s not what the speaker said. And I don’t think you’re going to have a question of ‘You give up this.’ It’s not a question of compromising. It’s a question of understanding,” Spicer reiterated.

Blitzer also asked who Republicans should consider the leader of their party: Ryan or Trump.

“It’s not an ‘either or,'” Spicer said, though Trump is “the largest voice out there.”

When asked about George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain skipping the GOP convention, Spicer said: “At the end of the day, this is what happens.”

Good eye, Ms. Haberman.

Apart from schadenfreude (so much more healthful than Reince Priebus’ Baileys-over-cereal breakfast), what’s on the agenda as we wrap up another nutballs-to-the-walls week?



Open Thread: On the Delicate Honor of Donald Trump, and His Most Fervent Supporters

I always enjoy Julia Ioffe’s journalism for her deadpan Sancho Panza/Twelve Chairs wit. When I read she was being twitter-mobbed by antisemitic Trump followers, I assumed their grievance would be associated with her latest Foreign Policy article, “On Trump, Gefilte Fish, and World Order”:

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I was eating my mother’s gefilte fish while watching Donald Trump’s foreign-policy address Wednesday afternoon. First, it was lunchtime; second, it is Passover; and third, the fish patties in front of me — an amalgam of lots of different ingredients (porgy, rockfish, matzo meal) that, mashed together, resemble nothing immediately recognizable as naturally occurring food — couldn’t help but echo the strange consistency of the policy combinations Trump put forward.

Punctuating his carefully scripted speech with Trumpian bursts of “believe me” and “very bad” — consider them bright bits of rhetorical magenta horseradish — Trump set out his vision of America in the world: America first, but America everywhere. America cutting down on its debt, but also expanding its standing army and revamping its nuclear arsenal. America standing up to China, but also striking an alliance with it. America supporting its allies, but also cracking down on them. America being restrained and judicious in its use of force, but also getting involved militarily and fighting to win…

Should’ve known better; the piece that so offended Der Trumpfuhrer’s fans was an apparently anodyne GQ profile of the woman a Stormfront blogger called “our Empress Melania”:

Back then, in 2005, it didn’t seem odd that she and Donald Trump would mark their happy occasion with the former president and First Lady, then a senator from New York. “When they went to our wedding, we were private citizens,” Melania reminds me. Just two private citizens getting hitched at the groom’s 126-room Florida palace. He in a tux; she in a $100,000 Dior dress that laborers’ hands had toiled upon for a legendary 550 hours, affixing 1,500 crystals—jewels fit for private citizens like them. A pair of ordinary people, really, uniting in matrimony in the presence of Rudy Giuliani and Kelly Ripa, as Billy Joel serenaded the couple and guests slurped caviar and Cristal in the shadow of a five-foot-tall Grand Marnier wedding cake.

Those were, in some ways, simpler times. But things change quickly—which is perhaps the enduring fact of Melania Trump’s entire improbable life—and when your husband works up a plan to make America great again, the very same Clintons you once smiled with on your wedding day can now become your family’s mortal enemies. And you can think, as Melania Trump says she does, that it’s no huge deal, really. “This is it, what it is,” Melania tells me. “It’s all business now; it’s nothing personal.”…
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