Excellent Read: “The President of Blank Sucking Nullity”

This appeared before last night’s shitshow in Phoenix, but it seems a perfect explainer. Underrated sports writer David J. Roth, in The Baffler, on what dogs and Donald Trump have in common. [Probably NSFW, especially if your workplace frowns on employees simultaneously laughing & weeping]:

It is not quite fair to say that Donald Trump lacks core beliefs, but to the extent that we can take apart these beliefs they amount to Give Donald Trump Your Money and Donald Trump Should Really Be on Television More. The only comprehensible throughline to his politics is that everything Trump says is something he’s said previously, with additional very’s and more-and-more’s appended over time; his worldview amounts to the sum of the dumb shit he saw on the cover of the New York Post in 1985, subjected to a few decades of rancid compounding interest and deteriorating mental aptitude. He watches a lot of cable news, but he struggles to follow even stories that have been custom built for people like him—old, uninformed, amorphously if deeply aggrieved.

There’s a reason for this. Trump doesn’t know anything or really believe anything about any topic beyond himself, because he has no interest in any topic beyond himself; his evident cognitive decline and hyperactive laziness and towering monomania ensure that he will never again learn a new thing in his life. He has no friends and no real allies; his inner circle is divided between ostensibly scandalized cynics and theatrically shameless ones, all of whom hold him in low regard and see him as a potential means to their individuated ends. There is no help on the way; his outer orbit is a rotation of replacement-level rage-grandpas and defective, perpetually clammy operators.

To understand Trump is also to understand his appeal as an aspirational brand to the worst people in the United States. What his intransigent admirers like most about him—the thing they aspire to, in their online cosplay sessions and their desperately thirsty performances for a media they loathe and to which they are so helplessly addicted—is his freedom to be unconcerned with anything but himself. This is not because he is rich or brave or astute; it’s because he is an asshole, and so authentically unconcerned. The howling and unreflective void at his core will keep him lonely and stupid until the moment a sufficient number of his vital organs finally resign in disgrace, but it liberates him to devote every bit of his being to his pursuit of himself. Actual hate and actual love, as other people feel them, are too complicated to fit into this world. In their place, for Trump and for the people who see in him a way of being that they are too busy or burdened or humane to pursue, are the versions that exist in a lower orbit, around the self. Instead of hate, there is simple resentment—abject and valueless and recursively self-pitying; instead of love, there is the blank sucking nullity of vanity and appetite…



Open Thread: More “Nuremberg in the Desert”

From the beginning of the rally…



(Possible) Good News About Tonight’s Phoenix White Supremacy Trump Campaign Rally

Unless, of course, Lord Smallgloves changes his mind once he’s in front of the cameras and a mob of his biggest fans. DADDY NEEDS ANOTHER HIT OF THAT SWEET, SWEET EGO BOOSTER, BABY!

White House officials won’t say exactly what’s on Trump’s agenda when he holds a campaign-style rally here. But it’s widely expected he will go after GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, a loud critic of the president who recently published an anti-Trump manifesto, “Conscience of a Conservative.”

Whatever he says about Flake, the president is clearly determined to send a message. State Treasurer Jeff DeWit, who is weighing a primary challenge against Flake, will join the president on Air Force One on Tuesday, according to two people briefed on the plans. And the daughter of another potential GOP candidate, former state GOP Chairman Robert Graham, is slated to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

In the days leading up to Trump’s Arizona trip, Senate GOP leaders have implicitly warned Trump that attacking Flake, who faces a treacherous path to reelection, would only serve to further rupture his relationship with a congressional GOP wing that he’s grown increasingly isolated from in recent weeks. It came after Trump, in a tweet after the Phoenix event was announced, called Flake “toxic.” The president had earlier threatened to spend as much as $10 million to take out the incumbent Republican…

Trump’s decision to venture to Flake’s home state goes to what senior Republicans say is a much deeper concern: that the president seems more interested in exacting revenge against members of his own party than defeating Democrats. It is highly unusual for the president to openly campaign against a sitting member of his own party, let alone someone as vulnerable as Flake…

You knew what Trump was when you hugged him to your bosoms, Repubs.



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: It’s A Start


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Apart from preparing for tonight’s Phoenix campaign rally (don’t forget the anti-nausea meds), what’s on the agenda for the day?

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One last farewell. Look backwards — but don’t stare at the eclipse!…


Read more



Open Thread: If Someone Persuades Trump He’ll Have to Cover Secret Services Expenses Himself, Will He Quit?



Afghanistan Address Spoilers

Even if you don’t use Twitter, you’ve probably heard about the amazing predictive powers of Trump’s Twitter archive. For every stupid action Trump takes as president (and there are no other kind), there is an equal and opposite reaction tweet from the Trump Twitter archive. The many Trump tweets criticizing President Obama for golfing or vacationing are just the most obvious examples.

Tonight, Trump will announce a “new” strategy in Afghanistan. If the Nostradumbass principle holds true, Trump will follow the well-worn path of pouring yet more billions into the pockets of kleptocrats, war lords and contractors. Dan Eggen (@daneggenwpost) at the Washington Post pulled up some tweets from the archive:

Dickish backseat driving aside, these tweets express a fundamental break with both the Bush 2 and Obama administrations’ approach to Afghanistan. And while it’s likely that only a handful of certified idiots would have voted for Trump specifically to change those policies, he’s about to expose them for the suckers they are: Tonight, Trump will find a way to walk that shit back while making it all about himself.

Expect much praise for the sagacity of the generals and much more for the wisdom of Trump himself in tonight’s address, with emphasis on how past presidents were total losers but Trump will win because he’s a winner. It will, as usual, be a tapestry of lies. The only winners will be the kleptocrats, war lords and mercenaries, who have been winning all along.



Dark Night of the Soul Open Thread: Now They Figure It Out…

‘Course, some people totally approve of Trump’s latest stunts…

Just don’t call them Deplorables.