Helsinki “Optics” Open Thread: The HAND, Sarah!


If your goal is to present this ‘summit’ as just another diplomatic meeting, WHY WOULD YOU PICK A PHOTO WHERE PUTIN SEEMS ABOUT TO UNZIP HIS FLY?


 
Party like it’s July 1914, Mike!…

Even the ever-supplicant Media Village courtiers Axios

President Trump’s press conference with Vladimir Putin was a disaster. And that was the assessment of many of his GOP allies…
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Late Night SCOTUS Scrotes Open Thread: “Baseball Tickets”…


 
… Is that what the kidz are calling it, these days?



The Elders Have Authorized a Public Service Announcement for Alex Jones: There is No Civil War Planned for Independence Day 2018, Just the Global Conspiracy Round Robin Softball Tournament and Picnic!

On behalf of the Elders, I have been authorized to inform Alex Jones, using this platform, that there is no Civil War scheduled for Independence Day. Instead we have, as per tradition, scheduled the annual Global Conspiracy for World Domination round robin softball tournament and picnic.

The Elders would like Mr. Jones to know that his claim of a Civil War is #Fake News! And since he is not responding via the device we had his dentist implant in the filling in his left, front, bottom molar when he had his wisdom tooth removed, we have had to resort to this manner of communication. Also, Mr. Jones, please see your dentist soon so we can have that thing serviced. Thanks!

Anyhow, as we do every year, at the recreational facilities at our undisclosed location (because it’s part of the global conspiracy for world domination, duh!), we will be having our annual round robin softball tournament and picnic. And let me tell you what a pain in the tuchas that is. Every year, EVERY FREAKING YEAR, it’s the same thing. The Illuminati sign up to bring the sides. And every year, EVERY FREAKING YEAR, they screw them up. How hard is it to make decent cole slaw? All you’re doing is shredding red and white cabbage with carrots, salting and peppering to taste, mixing it all together with the good mayonnaise and cider vinegar, and then tying it together with celery salt. How hard is that? If you can’t make cole slaw, how can we expect you to run your part of the global conspiracy? Don’t even get me started on their potato salad, macaroni salad, baked beans, and macaroni and cheese. How do you screw up baked beans? Open can, pour into baking pan. Mix with good stone ground mustard, brown sugar, and a shot or two of bourbon to taste. And make one batch without the fatback for those who don’t eat pork or meat. Nope, they just open the can, pour into a pot, and heat it up. Weak!!! SAD! Low Energy!!!!

As for the Bilderbergers. Masters of the Financial Universe my tuchas!!! Cheap bastards is more like it. They’re even worse than the Illuminati. I get it, if you splurge all the time, you’ll fritter away your fortunes, but these cheapskates sign up to bring the cups, plates, plastic flatware, and napkins every year. And they can’t even be bothered to get the solo cups and the decent plastic plates. No they get the styrofoam coffee cups and the flimsy, poorly wax treated paper plates. And sporks. I get the KFC connection, but really order some plastic flatware from Amazon for crying out loud!

The Trilateral Commission always brings the crappy, store bought chemical cake deserts! For Deity’s sake, every decent grocery store actually has a bakery if you can’t be bothered to go to a stand alone bakery. The good news is the Freemasons are good at setting up and running that nice brick grill every year. And we finally got the Romneys – all 300 of them including the Romney-McDaniels – to stop bringing the jello salad. We told them that the Pope was allergic to gelatin (Don’t tell anyone…) Also, he brings the good chiarascura and chimchurri. All Benedict every brought was sauerkraut. The Reptiloids just bring their own food because they have specific dietary restrictions…

Sorry, where was I? Oh yes: Attention Alex Jones! There is not a planned Civil War scheduled to kickoff on Wednesday. Please lie down in a cool dark room for a nap. And if that doesn’t help, please seek professional help before you get someone so worked up they decide to take the 2nd Amendment out for a walk and kill someone. Or lots of someones. And don’t forget to see your dentist soon, so we can get that receiver in your molar fixed. In fact we’re going to upgrade you and put one in the molar on the other side so you can receive our transmissions in stereo. For no extra charge. And have a nice day!

Stay suspicious.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled web browsing.

Open thread!



Begun The Trade War Has!

Apparently the brace of geniuses that are Commerce Secretary Ross and Director of the President’s Trade Council Peter Navarro have prevailed in their attempts to trounce the (((globalists))) in order to put America First and Make America Great Again. You’ll notice we’re punishing our oldest and strongest allies and partners here. Apparently they needed to do something to keep anyone from paying attention to the fact that the President’s promises regarding economic growth are DOA.

And that the Paul Ryan Tax Cut for the People Who Have Been Subsidizing His Entire Political Career and Lavish Lifestyle at the Expense of the Public Good Act of 2017 is, as anyone who could do even basic addition and subtraction without having to take off their shoes to get to 20 (cough – not Speaker Paul Ryan – cough) will tell you, a colossal failure at stimulating the economy. Though it is the massive handout to the people that needed more money the least!

Who ever could have predicted?

Also, noted felon, all around self righteous hypocritical scumbag and wife abuser Dinesh D’Souza is getting a full pardon. Because why not. Anyone want to wager that this didn’t go through the regular pardon process? Anyone, anyone?

Treated so unfairly that he never actually had to serve any time in prison. And got to continue all of his normal scams money making activities while serving his sentence doing community service in a half way house. As opposed to Matthew Charles who, because of an error, is now being sent back to prison because the Department of Justice under Attorney General Sessions can’t abide an African American man being treated decently within the criminal justice system. It is important to note that Kim Kardashian has been advocating for Charles to receive a pardon or clemency as part of her prison reform advocacy that brought her to the White House yesterday. It didn’t actually make a difference because Matthew Charles doesn’t make factually inaccurate, ideologically slanted, and proto-fascistic documentaries about the President’s political opponents.

Open thread!



Megan McArdle Knows Absolutely Nothing About Any Form Of War And Wouldn’t Even If A Member Of The Military Bit Her!

Which I wouldn’t recommend, because despite all the vaccinations they’re given, I’m pretty sure they don’t cover whatever variant of Jakob Cruetzfeldt disease afflicts libertarian pundits who have never held an actual job and have absolutely no real world experience. But I repeat myself!

Now that the throat clearing is out of the way, I want to make a quick follow on point to AL’s cataloguing of McArdle’s idiocy. Specifically that the US has never actually fought a civil war. A civil war refers to a form of low intensity warfare – as in less than interstate war* -where the supporters of two or more claimants to power fight for control of the state. The claimants may have either de jure (legal) or de facto (extant) claims to control the state. This is not what happened in the US in the 1860s. Rather, what we call the US Civil War was actually a rebellion in support of secession from the state in the attempt to set up a new one. There was no dispute as to the legitimacy of the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency. What was in dispute is that the southern states that would become the Confederacy refused to accept the election’s outcome and sought to breakaway and form their own nation-state.

Had supporters of Secretary Clinton, including Democratic elected and appointed officials at all levels of government, refused to accept the President’s election as legitimate and contested his inauguration, including violently, once they learned that the US intelligence community had determined that the Russians had interfered in the US election with the specific objections of electing the President, then we’d be talking about a civil war. That did not happen despite some of the comments posted here over the past 18 months or so…

What McArdle doesn’t understand, because she knows nothing about war – theoretically, conceptually, and/or experientially – is that there has been a low level insurgency in the US going back decades. We sometimes call this the culture war. Sometimes it’s referred to as the Southern Strategy, but it involves one of the two major political parties and its supporting movements, including religious movements, in the US refusing to accept the legitimacy of any other ones. It includes frequent use of dehumanizing language and threats of violence ranging from legislatively and regulatorily directing the power of the state, utilizing lawfare, and actually threatening and sometimes undertaking violence against their opponents or the objects of their dehumanization campaigns when the insurgents don’t get their way. And these people – elected, appointed, voters, supporters, pundits, etc – are McArdle’s fellow travelers! They are part of the larger political, ideological, dogmatic religious, and sub-cultural groups and movements that McArdle has been marinating in since she was an undergraduate.

They also make the mistake that they are the only ones that get to define patriotism and to actually care about the US and its ideals. They have convinced themselves that they are the only ones who can properly interpret the Constitution when in fact they are the poorest of linguistic and political historians of the late 18th Century, which leads to constantly misunderstanding and misapplying the Constitution. And they have deluded themselves into thinking that because their opponents believe in civility that their opponents are also unwilling to actually defend themselves in the political, ideological, social, religious, economic, and/or legal arenas. And those delusions include the mistaken belief that they don’t have the means to do so.

Right now the US is experiencing one of its periodic bouts of growing pains. As was the case in the 1780s and 1790s, the 1830s and 1840s, the 1860s, the late 1870s through the 1890s, during WW I, in the mid to late 1930s, and in the middle 1960s through the early 1970s, a period of imperfect progress is being met with a backlash against it. It is ugly. It is unpleasant. It is damaging. People who do not deserve to be hurt are being hurt. The real question that McArdle should have asked, yet is incapable because she is as the one who does not know how to ask, is what does it really mean to form a more perfect union? And what are the best ways to go about perfecting the union? Those are the real questions of American civic life. Not whether Democrats in urban areas know how to use guns.

Finally, that McArdle would even contemplate tweeting about this on Memorial Day weekend is insensitive and disrespectful for those who have given their life in service to the US. Discussing whether Americans should or could kill each other again en masse in pursuit of political power on this of all weekends should lead her to remove herself from opining. She needs to flee the public square and contemplate that the people who have given their lives for the US, with the exception of those fighting on behalf of the Confederacy, did so despite their political and ideological and regional and religious differences. They did it to ensure there would be a union to continue to perfect. McArdle is a poor excuse for a public intellectual. Unfortunately she’s an all too perfect an example of a poorly informed and poorly educated American ideologue.

And in case she or one of her followers sees her name in the post title on Cole’s twitter feed and decides to pop over and ask who am I to question her expertise in regard to war, here’s my abbreviated professional bio:

Adam L. Silverman is a consulting national security subject matter expert. In 2016 he assisted XVIII Airborne Corps in their strategic assessment of the Iraqi and Syrian Operating Environment for their deployment as the command element of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve. In 2015 he served as a Senior Fellow at SOCOM’s Center for Special Operations Studies and Research. Prior to that he served as a Subject Matter Expert with the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Security Dialogue and US Army Europe from June through August 2014. From July 2010 through June 2014, he was the Cultural Advisor and Professor of National Security and Strategy at the US Army War College. In June 2014 he was awarded the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal by MG Anthony A. Cucolo, III.

Dr. Silverman has advised and provided support to the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Security Dialogue, US Central Command, US European Command, US Special Operations Command, US Army Europe, the US Army Institute for NCO Professional Development, the US Army Sergeants Major Academy, US Army Special Operations Command, US Army Central, the US Army’s Office of the Provost Marshal General and US Army Corrections Command, I Corps, III Corps, XVIII Airborne Corps, 1st Armored Division, the 101st Airborne Division, the Department of State’s Near East and South Asia Desk, and JIEDDO’s Science Directorate. From NOV 2013 to AUG 2014 he served as the Cultural Advisor to the Commanding General of US Army Europe on temporary assignment. From OCT 2012 to NOV 2013 Dr. Silverman served as the Cultural Advisor to the Civil Affairs Branch Chief on temporary assignment. During 2012 Dr. Silverman served as the Cultural Advisor to the Commanding General of III Corps on temporary assignment from JAN through AUG. In 2010 he was the external subject matter expert on temporary assigned control to US Army Civil Affairs Branch’s Capability Based Assessment and then through JUN 2011 to the US Special Operations Command’s Joint Civil Information Management Test Development program. He previously served as the Cultural Advisor to the Commander, 2nd Brigade Combat Team/1st Armored Division from OCT 2007 through OCT 2008 and was deployed with the brigade in Iraq in 2008. Upon returning from Iraq he served as a social science advisor in US Army Training and Doctrine Command’s G2 (2009). He routinely provides operational support to a number of US Army, DOD, and other US Government elements. Dr. Silverman holds a doctorate in political science and criminology from the University of Florida, as well as masters’ degrees in comparative religion and international security.

* An interstate war involves two or more sovereign states whose militaries are fighting in uniform under their states’ flags with a minimum of a thousand battlefield deaths. Interstate wars will often include types of low intensity warfare, such as rebellions, revolutions, insurgencies, and terror campaigns on one or more sides of the conflict.

Open thread!



The Trump Administration Negotiates

Since before I joined Balloon Juice, since the 2016 campaign, I’ve said that Donald Trump stinks as a negotiator.

Most of us have some experience negotiating. One of my mentors said that every encounter is a negotiation. Some of our valued commenters are lawyers, whose jobs are mostly negotiation. We’ve bought cars or rented apartments. There are some basics that you learn just by living, unless you’ve lived an utterly protected life.

This thread is by an Obama administration official. I know that Twitter threads can be hard to read, but this one has some good links and visuals. And it’s not too long.



I Will Be Treated Fairly Or Else: Lesley Stahl Explains The Application Of The Trump Doctrine To The News Media

The President has had a long and largely unpleasant relationship with the news media since he declared his candidacy. As in he’s been unpleasant to the news media. A good chunk of this was set early on with his penning of reporters in at his campaigns and using them as foils, as well as his successful attempts to roll the cable, network, and print news media into treating him “fairly” or receiving an “or else”. He pulled this early and successfully in the primary season with Fox News when he demanded that Megyn Kelly be pulled from her moderator duties. When Fox refused, he scheduled a competing event.

At last night’s Deadline Club awards dinner, Lesley Stahl provided a very detailed explanation of how the President has applied the Trump Doctrine of “I will be treated fairly or else” to the news media. Talking Points Memo has the transcript:

“At one point he started to attack the press. And it’s just me and my boss and him, in— He has a huge office. And he’s attacking the press. And there were no cameras. There was nothing going on, and I said, ‘You know, that is getting tired. Why are you doing this? You’re doing it over and over, and it’s boring, and it’s time to end that. You’ve won the nomination (sic). Why do you keep hammering at this?’

“And he said, ‘You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.”

Here’s the video, which is set to start at the 21:23 mark with her stating what the President told her regarding how he treats the media and why:

Whether the Trump Doctrine is the result of just gut instinct or forethought doesn’t matter. Here we have a first person recounting of the President explaining it in regard to how he deals with the news media. Eventually his supporters are going to get tired of screaming “lugenpresse” at the penned in reporters at his rallies. Or telling them to get out of their country like the lovely gentleman below. Eventually one or more will actually attack and most likely kill a reporter. I certainly hope the news media has thought out how it is going to respond when that happens. Hope, however, is not a strategy.

Stay frosty!

Open thread.