Open Thread: Trumpocalypse, Naw

… “They started this too late and everyone has plans already,” said Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor and CEO of the drilling services company Canary, LLC. “Everyone will be there in spirit, but in reality, people planned their July 4th activities weeks ago.”

Less than 36 hours before the event, White House aides were crafting Trump’s speech, while administration and RNC officials finalized the guest lists.

A White House official declined to explain the system for handing out tickets or the various tiers of VIP access, except to say the reserved seating area — extending from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the middle the reflecting pool — will feature veterans, Trump family and friends and special guests. The first lady, vice president and second lady, and a number of Cabinet officials are expected to attend, as well as several senior White House officials — though the aide stressed this, too, was still coming together.

“They are creating this thing from scratch, and I do not know if anyone knows how it will go off,” said another White House aide. “There are questions about the ticket distribution and who will show up. The weather might be bad. Heads are spinning.”…

The Trump event has caused tension throughout Washington during what is a typically a quiet vacation week. Congress is on recess and many D.C. residents typically use this stretch of time to escape D.C.’s humidity…


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Respite for the Rest of Us Open Thread: Drew Magary Is An Excellent Read

If you are a devout member of the Church of the Bleeding-Heart Liberal, it can sometimes be hard to stay single-minded in your choice of target. Maybe they had a difficult childhood! Maybe they’re just too dumb to understand what they’re saying! But then there are people like NYTimes opinionator Bret Stephens, who are richly compensated to say unforgivable things — and, bless him, people like Drew Magary who are (much less richly) compensated to respond:

Bret Stephens went ahead and ruined everyone else’s by scribbling out a bunch of racist bumper sticker slogans in the New York Times. And this time, ol’ Bret did so without the veneer of preciousness that he usually grants to everything he touches…

Nothing bad is gonna happen to Bret Stephens for this, of course. He lives in the same magical fairy-tale land other conservative dudes live in where they receive the largest bullhorn and grandest sum of money possible to cry out to the world that they’ve been sent to the guillotine for daring to speak their precious truths… The Times isn’t gonna fire Bret Stephens. That joint employs some genuinely excellent take havers, such as Charles Blow. But the people in charge over there know that what REALLY drives engagement is letting smug pricks like Stephens and Bari Weiss and four-eyed penis David Brooks scream DEMOCRATS DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW TO PLEASE ME from inside the battlements of a supposed fortress of impregnable liberalism…

Stephens should apologize for being who he is every fucking day of the week. He’s a repulsive slug of a man. That the Times would let Stephens indulge in the cycle of saying nasty shit and then arrogantly proclaiming that he expects people like Soledad O’Brien—who has had herself quite a week interacting with enormous alt-right shitbags—to apologize to him for daring to question him, is emblematic of the way the paper of record allows itself to get worked over by our least oppressed members of society positing that they are actually history’s greatest victims. Employing Bret Stephens means the Times gets to dodge criticism for being too liberal by going, “Look guys, we even let a shithead like Bret Stephens onto our pages!” Therefore, Stephens gets ample inches of column space to sort out who counts as a real American and who does not, and even makes sure to take an indirect jab at people who seek refuge here and end up dying because of the right wing’s institutional hatred and indifference toward them. And then… THEN… he gets to performatively wallow in the misery he’s sown…

And Stephens, of all people, has the predictable gall to say that everyone ELSE is the reason Trump is gonna win in 2020. It couldn’t possibly be because supposed guardians of democracy have foolishly offered STEPHENS asylum, helping disseminate his garbage into the mainstream and to act as sentry for the entrenched powers that be, and then paying him handsomely for the privilege. Nooooo… couldn’t be. I’d tell this pile of shit to take a look in the mirror. But I already know he’d gladly take me up on the offer, just for all the wrong reasons.

STAY STRONG, MR. MAGARY!








Slowly at First, and Then Suddenly: How the Trump Election Conspiracy Unraveled

This weekend, the New York Times published a stunning report about a plan floated by a longtime emissary for the Saudis and the UAE in early August 2016, when Trump had just grabbed the GOP nomination but faced an uphill campaign against Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump Jr., aide Stephen Miller and Erik Prince, founder of the notorious mercenary outfit once know as Blackwater, listened intently as the emissary offered Team Trump millions of dollars in assistance, including a covert social-media campaign, to help Trump win that would be run by a former Israeli spy who specializes in psychological warfare, or psywar.

“The emissary, George Nader, told Donald Trump Jr. that the princes who led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win election as president,” the Times reported. Some key elements — exactly who was behind the plan, and what parts, if any, were carried out — remain murky.

But like a lot of Trump scandals, the smoke from any alleged fire was clearly visible. Nader became a Trump ally who met frequently with key players like then-national security adviser (and future felon) Michael Flynn. He also, according to the Times, later made a large payment to the ex-spy Joel Zamel, as much as $2 million. After Trump was elected, Erik Prince attended a then-secret meeting in the Seychelles believed to have been brokered by UAE to cement ties with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. After Trump became president, American foreign policy has been almost unwaveringly consistent in fighting for the foreign policy goals of nations believed to have supported his 2016 election: Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE — most notably with Trump’s rejection of the Iran nuclear deal that is seriously destabilizing the Middle East. These dealings increasingly appear to have benefited the Trumps and Kushners not just politically but financially — even as they are not helpful, and even counterproductive at times, to the American people whom Trump was allegedly elected to represent.
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Illuminati Open Thread: Pretty Dim Bulb Edition

Love the pic that was chosen to illustrate this: If brains were dynamite, this dude couldn’t blow his own nose. Okay, he’s not very smart, but Young Prince Jared has the original ‘Illuminati Master’ credential, as a member of the Lucky Sperm Club.

I remember reporter Tom Boggini as TBogg, the blogger who introduced me to Sadly, No… which introduced me to this joint. The wonders of networking, as reported by Raw Story:

According to a report from CNBC, White House advisor and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has accepted an invitation to attend the secretive Bilderberg meetings this week at a time when the president is embroiled in battles with Europe’s leaders.

The report states Kushner will be in Montreux, Switzerland, for the meetings on Thursday, describing the conference — long the subject of conspiracy theories — as, “Founded in 1954, the Bilderberg Meeting was designed to foster warmer relations between the United States and Europe. The annual talk-fest is considered secretive as guests are not allowed to reveal who said what at the meeting.”

As CNBC, reports, “The clandestine nature of the Bilderberg Meeting regularly sparks conspiracy theories and accusations of a ‘secret world order’ but organizers say the restricted gathering with rules on reporting simply allows more freedom within discussions.”…

CNBC also notes that Kushner will be joined at the meetings with Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will also be attending, the reports states, although, unlike the president’s son-in-law, he is not listed on the official Bilderberg guest list…

Topics to be discussed in private include “Brexit, The Ethics of Artificial intelligence, The Importance of Space, and Climate Change and Sustainability.”

Tinfoil-hat interpretation: “Using ‘populist’ elections and robot entertainment to distract the masses while preparing Ruling Class evacuation to space or New Zealand”. Your turn!

(Seriously, though: The Washington Post points out that Pompeo is visiting Bilderberg as a “side trip” to the important stuff:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo heads to Europe on Thursday to meet with officials from two governments that maintain close ties with Iran, just days after President Trump suggested he would welcome negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program.

Pompeo’s itinerary includes three days in Switzerland, an unusually long time for him to spend in any one country. Switzerland represents U.S. interests in Iran, which has imprisoned at least five Americans the United States considers hostages and is believed to know the whereabouts of a sixth who disappeared there 12 years ago…

State Department officials said Iran is one of many issues that will be discussed when Pompeo visits Berlin, the Swiss capital of Bern and The Hague in the Netherlands before joining Trump on a state visit to London…








Sunday Evening Hate-Read Open Thread: SALT in Our Wounds


 
It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it.” — George Carlin

In the Washington Post (which should know better by now), “Anthony Scaramucci was fired from the Trump White House after 11 days. Now, he’s convening A-listers for bipartisan healing”:

Scaramucci, fired from the White House in 2017 after a disastrous 11-day tenure, convened a parade of other jettisoned Trump administration figures, including Chris Christie, Jeff Sessions, Corey Lewandowski and, most remarkably, Gen. John F. Kelly, the former White House chief of staff who axed him.

They mingled in the Bellagio meeting rooms with Obama-era figures such as Jarrett, former national security adviser Susan E. Rice, former CIA director David Petraeus and Adm. William McRaven, the former Special Operations chief who orchestrated the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Scaramucci appeared onstage with Kelly, in their first public appearance together since the firing, to talk about their newfound friendship. Then he sat beside Jarrett for another panel, in which they discussed topics including climate change and gun control and agreed as much as they disagreed.

“I think what they are trying to tell us is that it’s okay to be together,” said Robert Wolf, the Fox News commentator who moderated the discussion. “It’s okay to respectfully disagree. And it’s okay to agree on things we should agree on.”

Many in the crowd of nearly 2,000 investors, hedge fund managers and entrepreneurs applauded that kind of political diversity…

Discussions ranged from the future of private equity to business opportunities in the cannabis industry to how artificial intelligence is changing investing.

But permeating much of the conference was the lament that political dysfunction in Washington was bogging down economic opportunities in the real world…

The Daily Beast, which has a better nose for the difference between business and bullshit — “The Mooch’s Hedge-Fund Festival Where MAGA Has-Beens Are Great Again”:

In the past, SALT has drawn big names on both political and cultural planes, counting Joe Biden, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, as well as Al Pacino, Kobe Bryant and will.i.am among its guests. One night over drinks, a 10-year SALT veteran whose chest hair burst from his Hawaiian shirt, boasted it had been “the greatest hedge fund conference in the country.”

But the line-up this year reflected the degree to which Donald Trump has become the center of the cultural solar system, around which everything and everyone else orbits. Instead of titans of finance and bigwigs of industry, the conference was dominated by former Trump officials—fired and resigned: #MAGA hangers-on like TPUSA founder Charlie Kirk and almost-Federal Reserve Board appointee Stephen Moore; and an assortment of other miscellaneous politicos, like former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and Democratic presidential contender Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI). The whole thing was MC’d, of course, by the archetypal ex-Trump official: The Mooch…
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