Late Night Sideshow Open Thread: Colin Powell, Latest Victim of the ‘Trump Touch’

Gormless Midwestern bigot-politicians, anti-immigrant immigrant spokespersons, Mexican finance ministers — nobody who gets close to Donald Trump comes away without reputational damage. It’s like the Midas Touch, but in reverse!

Colin Powell has become another victim of the Trump Touch. Ever since garnering favorable attention from the Right People for his strong defense of William Calley, Gen. Powell has made a nice second career working the “We’re not racist, we just gave this reassuringly deep-voiced Black guy a six-figure sum to speak nicely to us” circuit. Not even his “aluminum tubes” stint shilling for Dubya’s Excellent Iraq Adventure could ding his reputation… maybe a few DFHs complained, but phhtb, hippies. Powell even made friends with Hillary Clinton, as they crossed paths while she was doing her own “We’re not vampire squids, we just gave this Democrat lady a six-figure sum” memoirs & speaking tours, and was kind enough to give her some advice about keeping her emails private.

But then Donald Effing Trump decided to get off the running-for-president pot, the Russian apparatchiks got busy in his support, and next thing you know, “Leaked Emails Reveal That Colin Powell, A 79-Year-Old Black Man, Acts Exactly Like Every 79-Year-Old Black Man*. Very funny, VSB! Now Colin Powell is just another joke-target on the internets!

The Washington Post reports:

Donald Trump is “a national disgrace and an international pariah” who gave voice to a “racist” movement to question President Obama’s citizenship, former secretary of state Colin L. Powell tapped on his keyboard.

Hillary Clinton, he typed in an email to another friend, is a “greedy, not transformational” figure who messes up everything she touches because of her “hubris” and has a husband still, well, entertaining “bimbos” while she is away.

Former vice president Richard B. Cheney and his daughter are “idiots” flacking their new book, and the Iraq War was mishandled from the get-go by the Defense Department’s top officials.

Other than that, the retired general and statesman wrote in one exchange, “alls well with the Powells.”
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Trump is a Goddamned moron, and has no honor.

But you already knew that.
Here’s where it matters.

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Thursday Morning Open Thread: Objectively Pro-HRClinton

This ad came out before last night’s Matt Lauer Trump-orgy. I assume it’s in heavy media rotation in the states where it will do the most good, but hey — those of you on Facebook / Twitter / SnapPeriwhatever, remember: Sharing Is Caring!

Speaking of the #CICForumDebacle...

Priebus is (deservedly) taking a lot of social-media stick for this, but so far my personal favorite:

Apart from endless relitigation, what’s on the agenda for the day?

The Actual Worst Part of the Forum For Me

There were a lot of really awful things that came out of Trump’s mouth tonight, including the reiteration of the correctness of this tweet:

“What did you guys expect? Our guys are rapists, amirite? Our military men have no self control!” Just disgusting.

But for me, the absolute worst moment of the night was this:

LAUER: Sir, thank you. Thank you very much for your question. Secretary Clinton, let’s talk about your vote in favor of the war in Iraq. You’ve since said it was a mistake.

CLINTON: Mm-hmm.

LAUER: Obviously, it was not something you said you would do again. I asked before for people to raise their hand if you served in Iraq. Can you do it again? How do you think these people feel when the person running to be their commander-in-chief says her vote to go to war in Iraq was a mistake?

When he asked how many of them would do it again, the camera panned to them, and they all had their hands raised.

BECAUSE OF COURSE THEY FUCKING DID. Had I been in there I would have raised my hand, too. These guys and gals are professional soldiers. They aren’t there to judge the worth or merit of the missions they are sent on, they are there to carry them out. And they do. He was trying to use the ingrained sense of duty of our vets as a weapon against Hillary.

It was disgusting.

Commander In Chief Forum

As most everyone knows by now NBC/MSNBC is hosting and The Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran’s of America is sponsoring a Commander in Chief Forum tonight at 8 PM EDT. Aside from the fact that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are running for President, of which one of the enumerated Constitutional duties is to be Commander in Chief of the Army, Navy, the militias of the several states, etc., it is named what it is named. It will be in a town hall format, so questions from the audience to each candidate. And each candidate will be on separately. Secretary Clinton will be going first as her representative lost the coin toss. Apparently both candidates wanted to go second, so they did a coin toss. Because IAVA is sponsoring the bulk of the attendees, and the questions from them, will be from veterans, those currently serving, and their family members. Here’s a link to a live stream at WBAL TV 11 in Baltimore. You can also go to the IAVA link above and access a live feed there or just tune to NBC or MSNBC.

You May Not Be Interested in Nuclear War, But Nuclear War May Be Interested in You


I wanted to take a moment to highlight that during the Cuban Missile Crisis, while under bombardment by depth charges, the captain of the Soviet Submarine B-59, exhausted and not understanding that the US was trying to get him to surface, not sink him, ordered one of his nuclear armed torpedoes be made ready to fire on the USS Randolph. Captain Savitsky was, fortunately, overruled by the Soviet Submarine Fleet Commander, Captain Vasili Arkhipov, refused to assent to firing the torpedo. Had he not done so the nuclear attack on the USS Randolph, which was leading the US Naval force, would have likely triggered the Single Integrated Operational Plan; America’s strategic plan for responding to a nuclear attack. Had this happened World War III would have begun and lasted only until the nuclear weapons stopped detonating…


I bring this up to remind everyone what others have done all day: nuclear weapons are meant as a deterrent and the stability of the global system has depended on all parties with nuclear weapons doing everything they can to not use them. Had Captain Savitsky – tired, overheated, stressed out from the nature and long hours of his operational assignment below the waters of Cuba – fired his nuclear armed torpedo he would not have been acting on orders from the Kremlin. The submarine fleet on station had been out of touch with their higher headquarters for days, but nuclear war would have started any way. Not because the Soviet leadership decided it was their only viable option left (not that that would have been a good assessment of the situation), but because of the misreading of the tactical environment by one worn out submarine commander. Captain Arkhipov based part of his decision to not authorize the use of a nuclear armed torpedo on the fact that they’d been out of touch with their superiors and had exceedingly limited intelligence and information on what was actually happening on the surface above them.

We don’t always realize that for all the grand strategies and carefully crafted policies that events are all too often out of the control of the people we think are in charge and that we’ve entrusted with the responsibility to make the hard decisions. All too often they are in the hands of the tired, stressed men and women – in diplomatic, military, and other service – at the sharp end just trying to make the best decision out of a range of bad options with incomplete information.

For more on Vice Admiral Arkhipov, the man who saved the world, here’s the link to the documentary about what occurred on Submarine B-59. And the embedded video below.

* Official Photo of Vice Admiral Arkhipov found here.

Open Thread: A Sidebar on How Normal People Respond to “Vicious Attacks”

The Angry Ambulatory Yam cannot stop complaining about how how he was “viciously attacked” by the Khans. He’s single-handedly turned the matter from a one-day convention story among many into a week-long kerfuffle.

“But what if it were Hillary who got attacked by a Gold Star parent?” Back last Sunday (seems longer than that, doesn’t it?) I bookmarked some tweets, even though I assumed they’d be too minor a campaign-trail detail to repost here…

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