Saturday Morning Open Thread: How I Loathe This “Retro” Faddism


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Not The Onion — actually, the Washington Post:

President Trump on Friday assured the governor of Guam that the White House is “with you 1,000 percent” in the face of a threat from North Korea — and then told the governor that he’s becoming famous and predicted the attention would boost tourism “tenfold” in the U.S. territory.

Guam Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo (R) posted a video of his end of the call on Facebook, offering a candid glimpse of the dynamic between the two leaders…


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Needless to say, I blame the Republicans.
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Apart from bad reboots (poor Charlottesville), what’s on the agenda for the day?



Late Night Open Thread: A Fragile Snowflake Whose Delicate Ego Needs Continual Reassurance

To repeat the necessary disclaimer: Not the Onion!

The process of assembling the folder begins at the Republican National Committee’s “war room,” which has expanded from 4 to 10 people since the GOP won the White House. A war room — both parties have one regardless of who’s in the White House — is often tasked with monitoring local and national news, cable television, social media, digital media, and print media to see how the party, its candidates or their opponents are being perceived.

Beginning at 6 a.m. every weekday — the early start is a longtime war room tradition — three staffers arrive at the RNC to begin monitoring the morning shows on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News as they scour the internet and newspapers. Every 30 minutes or so, the staffers send the White House Communications Office an email with chyron screenshots, tweets, news stories, and interview transcripts.

White House staffers then cull the information, send out clips to other officials, and push favorable headlines to a list of journalists. But they also pick out the most positive bits to give to the president. On days when there aren’t enough positive chyrons, communications staffers will ask the RNC staffers for flattering photos of the president…

I guess that’s Lord Crankypant’s problem this week, not enough ego-massage. Established office-management wisdom: Never let all the admins / interns go on vacation at the same time, even — especially — when the CEO will be off-site. One never knows when The Big Guy will get bored on a rainy afternoon and call in for a ‘morale boost’…



Clown Shoes Open Thread: THE GLASSES, THEY DO NOTHING!!!

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry optimistically discussed expanding American coal exports to Ukraine and other energy matters during a lengthy phone call this month with a Russian prankster who Perry thought was Ukraine’s prime minister.

Perry actually was talking with comedians known in Russia for targeting celebrities and politicians with audacious stunts, Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said in a written statement.

Pranksters Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov are sometimes called the “Jerky Boys of Russia,” after an American duo who put out recordings of their prank phone calls in the 1990s. They have made faux calls to British singer Elton John, who thought he was speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and others…

During the 22-minute call on July 19, Perry, whose department oversees the U.S. nuclear weapons program, discussed a range of topics in a business-like tone, including sanctions against Russia and helping Ukraine develop oil and gas.

Perry said the Trump administration opposes Nord Stream 2, a Russian project to bring natural gas to Europe across the Baltic and that U.S. technology could help Ukraine develop gas.

“Giving Ukraine more options with some of our technology is, I think, in everyone’s best interest with the exception of the Russians, but that’s OK,” he said.

Perry also discussed the Paris climate accord and coal exports on the call…

But Moniz looked like some schlubby geek — not the sorta guy Lord Smallgloves wanted to see on his morning Fox News. Bad attitude, too, what with thinkin’ that as a nookalar scientist he might know more about energy and stuff than a real ‘Murican bidniz guy like our Rick!

THANKS SO MUCH, REPUBS!



Friday Morning Open Thread: So Very Presidential

(Jack Ohman via GoComics.com)
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What’s on the agenda, as we prepare for this week’s Friday doc dump (and for some lucky Americans, a long weekend?

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From the Washington Post, “Storm clouds: Independents turn away from Trump while his base turns inward”:

The first major poll of opinions shows that the health-care bill under consideration in the Senate is about as unpopular as the one that passed the House. A PBS NewsHour-Marist poll released Wednesday reveals that only 17 percent of the country supports the Senate measure, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Bad news for the Republicans advocating its passage, clearly.

Buried in the poll, though, is even worse news for the party. Democrats continue to be stalwartly opposed to President Trump and his party’s health-care proposals, unsurprisingly. But independents are similarly souring on the president and the party’s legislation — as Republicans and Trump supporters appear to tune out. November 2018 is still a long way away, but if that trend continues, it suggests the possibility of a disinterested Republican base and a hostile middle — bad news for Republicans in Congress in any sort of contested race.

Since February, approval of Trump’s job performance among independents has fallen by 9 points, from 40 percent to only 31 percent. Four months ago, Trump was 11 points underwater on favorability with that group, meaning that his unfavorable numbers were 11 points higher than his favorable numbers. That spread is now 28 points…

Consider Obamacare. The Republican effort to repeal Barack Obama’s signature legislation has served only to make the bill more popular, with most Americans hoping it remains in place and a plurality thinking that it should be strengthened, not repealed.

Trump’s presidency has been predicated on making direct appeals to his base of support. On health care, there’s no group that supports what he and his party are doing more than those voters. But Trump won the presidency by the skin of his teeth, thanks in part to independents willing to give him a shot over Hillary Clinton. If those independents are as antagonistic to him and the Republicans by this point next year — and if Republicans continue to find it frustrating to hear about what Trump is doing both from the media and from Trump himself — it’s hard to think that the composition of Congress in 2019 will be as favorable to Trump’s party.



Friday Night Fights Open Thread: No Such Thing As Slow-News Weekends Any More…

The conversations deeply concerned US intelligence officials, some of whom acted on their own to limit how much sensitive information they shared with Flynn, who was tapped to become Trump’s national security adviser, current and former governments officials said.

“This was a five-alarm fire from early on,” one former Obama administration official said, “the way the Russians were talking about him.” Another former administration official said Flynn was viewed as a potential national security problem.

The conversations picked up by US intelligence officials indicated the Russians regarded Flynn as an ally, sources said. That relationship developed throughout 2016, months before Flynn was caught on an intercepted call in December speaking with Russia’s ambassador in Washington, Sergey Kislyak. That call, and Flynn’s changing story about it, ultimately led to his firing as Trump’s first national security adviser…

Trump angrily denied any collusion with Russia this week and denounced the newest investigation — now in the hands of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III — as “a witch hunt.”

And he has remained steadfast in his loyalty to Flynn, even as the scrutiny surrounding his fired aide continues to weigh down his presidency. Trump urged then-FBI Director James Comey in February to drop the bureau’s investigation into Flynn and “let this go,” according to a memo Comey wrote at the time. The conversation, first reported by The New York Times earlier this week, has opened the President up to charges from critics of obstruction of justice.

Trump’s obvious bond with Flynn, like his relationship with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other top advisers, appears rooted in the fact that they supported his then-longshot presidential campaign last year at a time when most Republicans were ostracizing him.

Trump (or his handlers) going for the “too dumb to be in criminal collusion” defense, I guess. YES PUPPET! YOU’RE A PUPPET!

I repeat: Thanks, Republicans!



Friday Morning Open Thread: TGIF


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And who could blame her, given the last few days?…

And yet…


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What else is on the agenda, as we prepare to wrap up the week?



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.