‘Trumpland’ Open Thread: Down Among the Self-Owners

One might be vaguely sympathetic, Maggie, if only those poor sad souls hadn’t fought so hard to get exactly where they are now!… or if the GOP collapse wasn’t hurting so many innocents outside the Golden Tent. Gabriel Sherman, at Vanity Fair, ““Trump Is Nuts. This Time Really Feels Different””:

After Michael Cohen’s plea deal last week, Donald Trump spiraled out of control, firing wildly in all directions. He railed against “flippers” in a rambling Fox & Friends interview, and lashed out on Twitter at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department, and Robert Mueller. In the wake of his outbursts, White House officials have discussed whether Trump would listen to his closest New York City friends in an effort to rein him in. Two sources briefed on the matter told me that senior officials talked about inviting Rudy Giuliani and a group of Trump’s New York real-estate friends including Tom Barrack, Richard LeFrak, and Howard Lorber to the White House to stage an “intervention” last week. “It was supposed to be a war council,” one source explained. But Trump refused to take the meeting, sources said. “You know Trump—he hates being lectured to,” the source added. (Spokespeople for LeFrak and Lorber say they have no knowledge of a meeting. A spokesperson for Barrack didn’t comment.)

More than ever, Trump is acting by feeling and instinct. “Trump is nuts,” said one former West Wing official. “This time really feels different.” Deputy Chief of Staff Bill Shine has privately expressed concern, a source said, telling a friend that Trump’s emotional state is “very tender.” Even Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are unsettled that Trump is so gleefully acting on his most self-destructive impulses as his legal peril grows. According to a source, Jared and Ivanka told Trump that stripping security clearances from former intelligence officials would backfire, but Trump ignored them. Kushner later told a friend Trump “got joy” out of taking away John Brennan’s clearance. His reaction to the death of John McCain—quashing a White House statement in praise of the senator, and restoring White House flags to full staff—falls into the same self-indulgent category…

“He spent the weekend calling people and screaming,” one former White House official said. According to sources, the president feels cornered with no clear way out. His months-long campaign to get Sessions to resign—so that Trump could appoint a new A.G. who would shut down the Russia probe—not only failed to get Sessions to step down, but it’s caused him to dig in, as evidenced by Sessions’s rare statement asserting the independence of the Justice Department. “Trump knows at least through the midterms he won’t get another A.G.,” a former White House official said…

Inside the West Wing, a sense of numbness and dread has set in among senior advisers as they gird for what Trump will do next. “It’s a return to the abyss,” said one former official who’s in frequent contact with the White House. “This is back to being a one-man show, and everyone is on the outside looking in.”…

Hey, GOP, remember the proverb about falling into the pit one had dug for another?”...



Monday Evening Open Thread: Current Mood


 
AND WE KNOW WHO TO BLAME…



Open Thread: Steve Bannon, Holding A Boombox Under Donald’s Window

As Simon Maloy notes at MMA, Bannon is scattering those “exclusives” around like candy corn at a sad Halloween party. How humiliating must it be for a guy of Steve’s multifarious talents to be reduced to making little political trailers for the yammering Deplorables, as though he were a try-hard like that Dinesh dweeb? Steve is a macher, a BSD, just ask him! — why won’t the Important People around Donald answer his calls any more?

Tina Nguyen, at Vanity Fair:

On Thursday morning, Axios unveiled, with some skepticism, Steve Bannon’s latest attempt to re-insert himself into Donald Trump’s good graces: the trailer for Trump @ War, a documentary purporting to show the violent liberal backlash against voters who chose to make America great again. It is a fairly simple trailer, featuring footage that appears to show Trump supporters clashing with leftist antifa rioters, a generic, ominous orchestral soundtrack, and footage of CNN anchor and fake-news avatar Don Lemon ripping on Trump’s policies, interspersed with Trump’s favorite talking heads (Sebastian Gorka, Corey Lewandowski) and Bannon’s own personal allies (Raheem Kassam) calling for a midterm war. Their thesis: the midterms are a Trump “re-election campaign,” and voting in November is akin to voting Trump back into office—an easy case to make, considering prominent Democrats have repeatedly called for his impeachment. In an interview with Axios, Bannon insisted that the film would practically flood the polls with Trump voters—“If you’re a deplorable, you’ll literally be standing on your chair with your pitchfork saying: ‘I’ve got to get people out to vote’”—but also tipped his hand as to the film’s real purpose: “How jacked do we think Trump will be when he sees this?”

It was a typical Bannon move, both tonally and strategically. As one person who formerly worked with him told me, “He always used his second-rate filmmaking to get in with celebrities.” But this time, Bannon’s charm offensive included a few extra goodies to sweeten his re-entry: a new populist-nationalist political group called Citizens of the American Republic, a September event called the “Deplorables Conference” to coincide with the film’s premiere, and, of course, as much public praise as he could feasibly lavish on Trump. For any other ex-Trump employee, this would seems like overkill. But Bannon, whom Trump decimated in a statement as a leaker who had ”lost his mind,” has innumerable sins for which to atone. Not only was he directly responsible for the Republican Party losing the Alabama Senate special election to a Democrat, but he trashed Trump’s own children to a reporter, suggesting that Donald Trump Jr. had committed treason for holding a meeting with Russian lawyers. Even worse, he had reportedly begun mulling a challenge to Trump in 2020…

It was a bluff, Donny! A cry for attention!

Bannon’s loathsome, but he’s not stupid. He knows that he doesn’t wear well among normal human subcommunities — every few years, he has to start another Big Project with a new batch of potential marks. The whole Trump White House gig was supposed to be his ticket into serious politics, a platform where he could finally blossom into the Kissingeresque Great Strategist he knows he was born to play. If only he could’ve resisted blowing off steam to that Wolff dude! If only Rebekah Mercer hadn’t been so invested in her own dreams of being the next Pamela Harriman!…

Well, alea iacta est — the die is cast. And the reviews are… not kind.

Even worse, there’s a twitter hashtag — #stevebannonamovie



Friday Evening Open Thread: SPACE FORCE! Forces Space!

Riveted by the sociological significance of it all…

Per the Hill:

VoteVets, an organization that focuses on nonpartisan education and advocacy on behalf veterans and their families, said on Twitter that it has submitted a Letter of Intent with Washington, D.C., to hold the race around the National Mall next year.

The announcement came the same day Trump canceled his plans for a military parade in the capital, citing its soaring cost estimates.

“So, unless he kicks out a veterans race, [Trump] will not get his ego parade there, on that day next year, either,” the organization added in the tweet, with the hashtag #NoTrumpParade…

In an email asking for signatures to support their request, the organization also said that it decided to make the race five kilometers long to symbolize “each of [Trump’s] deferments.”…

Their statement arrives on the heels of Trump’s Twitter announcement on Friday morning that he was canceling plans for a military parade over the estimated $92 million cost.

The president said in his tweet that “local politicians” in D.C. were to blame.

“The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it. When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it. Never let someone hold you up! I will instead attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, & go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th,” Trump wrote…



Late Night Open Thread: ‘Owning the Libs’ By Shooting Themselves

Let’s be honest — Palin, and her enablers, were the Kaposi’s sarcoma of political rot. If the GOP hadn’t already incurred a deathly infection playing games with the wrong ideologies, the whole Who-Can-Be-the-Loudest-Ignoramus fad would never have taken hold so violently…

Raise your hand if you’ve ever posted anything online to quote unquote own the libs,” President Trump’s Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley recently asked a crowd of high schoolers. Most of the teens in the audience raised their hands, then exploded into uproarious applause. “I know that it’s fun and that it can feel good,” Haley continued, “But step back and think about what you’re accomplishing when you do this — are you persuading anyone? Who are you persuading?”

It would be ironic for a Trump official to admonish the youth for inflammatory political tactics if irony hadn’t died in 2016. But with Haley’s utterance of the phrase IRL, the concept of “owning the libs” officially went mainstream…

To own the libs is to partake in the pettiest of culture wars. But moreover, to own the libs is to own yourself, no matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on. As comedian Patrick Monahan, an early adopter of the meme, tells Rolling Stone, owning the libs is “laughing as you post ‘Trump is still your President’ memes in Facebook threads while the bank forecloses on your farm. It comes down to a need for community and some kind of cultural ‘win’ [for the right] since they perceive culture to be against them at all times.”

The actual actions that yield successful lib-ownage vary.

“The funny thing about owning the libs is that it’s textbook performative virtue signaling, from people who say they hate that,” Monahan says…

To be fair, right-wing culture warriors made fools of themselves for the sole purpose of pissing off the left long before the rise of social media. After France declined to support the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, George W. Bush supporters protested the country by purchasing bottles of French wine and dumping them out in the streets of New York and tried to rebrand French fries as “freedom fries.”
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Time-Killer Open Thread: Hey, Jim Jordan’s Gonna Be Looking for A New Job… “


 
… It doesn’t say anywhere that a SCOTUS judge has to be a good lawyer… “



Cosplay Stuntin’ Open Thread: Wolverines!… SKONKS!

High-dollar chew toy has opinions…

Her ‘conservative’ playmates rush in to assist…


(Bruenig, incidentally, is a professional “Christian”.)