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…

Stolen Children Update

Here’s the current status of the children still held by Trump administration kidnappers:

The administration keeps trying to squirm out of its responsibility for this atrocity, at one point suggesting that it’s on the ACLU to go find the parents our government dumped in their countries of origin without their children. The judge wasn’t having that nonsense, but the fact remains, the court is dealing with a group of recalcitrant shit-goblins who aren’t interested in reuniting these families.

If it were up to me, the court would commandeer the White House as headquarters for the family reunification effort and designate Air Force One as the transport plane. Maybe that would get the lead out of their asses.

But it’s good that the court has ordered ongoing updates of the government’s progress. Everyone should know how many children are effectively orphaned by the Trump administration. It was done in our name and will be a stain on our country long after the current set of criminals is driven from power.

Chillin’ with Villains

Sarah Huckabee Sanders is notorious for going on camera and defiantly declaring that up is down and black is white. That’s pretty much her job. But she won’t say unequivocally that there’s no tape of Trump using a racial slur because she’s knows there’s a distinct possibility the tape will surface:

The Trump people must be shitting themselves, wondering what bit of audio Omarosa Manigault Newman will drop next. She already caught Katrina Pierson in a big fat lie today.

Meanwhile, Manigault Newman claims she’s been interviewed by Mueller and says Trump definitely knew in advance about the hacked emails from the Clinton campaign:

It would be hilarious and fitting if an ugly beef with his former reality TV villain — plus an association with living comic book villain Roger Stone — is what finally brings Mango Mussolini down. I don’t say it will — just that it would be both hilarious and fitting.

In related news, the Manafort trial is almost over — the defense rests without calling any witnesses, and Manafort declined to testify, so only closing arguments are left (I think). Any predictions?

Open thread.

Tuesday Morning Open Thread: “Well, He’s Trying… “

Extremely trying, sometimes. If this were any outlet but Politico, I’d suspect them of tongue-in-cheek snark:

Several times in the first year of his administration, President Donald Trump wanted to call Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the middle of the afternoon. But there was a problem. Midafternoon in Washington is the middle of the night in Tokyo — when Abe would be fast asleep.

Trump’s aides had to explain the issue, which one diplomatic source said came up on “a constant basis,” but it wasn’t easy.

“He wasn’t great with recognizing that the leader of a country might be 80 or 85 years old and isn’t going to be awake or in the right place at 10:30 or 11 p.m. their time,” said a former Trump NSC official. “When he wants to call someone, he wants to call someone. He’s more impulsive that way. He doesn’t think about what time it is or who it is,” added a person close to Trump…

Trump’s desire to call world leaders at awkward hours is just one of many previously unreported diplomatic faux pas Trump has made since assuming the presidency, which go beyond telephone etiquette to include misconceptions, mispronunciations and awkward meetings. Sometimes the foibles have been contained within the White House. In one case, Trump, while studying a briefer’s map of South Asia ahead of a 2017 meeting with India’s prime minister, mispronounced Nepal as “nipple” and laughingly referred to Bhutan as “button,” according to two sources with knowledge of the meeting…

Another former Trump NSC official said Trump sometimes avoids saying certain words or names when talking to a foreign leader because he’s unsure whether he can pronounce them properly. The White House official said Trump always wants to be respectful and make sure he gets pronunciations right.

At times, he wings it with unfortunate results. Meeting with a group of African countries at the United Nations General Assembly last September, Trump, in public remarks, referred to the country of Namibia as “Nambia.” (Trump did impress some of his own aides in the meeting, however. “He did a very good job of saying Côte d’Ivoire,” said one.)

Trump also raised eyebrows during the same gathering when he announced that “I have so many friends going to your countries, trying to get rich. I congratulate you” — prompting cringes among some aides aware how such talk would resonate on a continent that well remembers the exploitations of its colonial era. (Some African entrepreneurs said they appreciated the comment.)…

Trump’s love of talking on the phone has created special problems for his top national security officials, who say that he sometimes places calls that have no clear diplomatic purpose…

Can toddlers still random-dial strangers, now that rotary and pushbutton phones have effectively vanished? Or are they reduced to punching the ‘last dialed’ numbers for mommy’s work colleagues and daddy’s business contacts? Because I remember my three-year-old siblings were really fascinated by the telephone game, back in the day…

Our Failed Meritocracy / Media: “OMGarosa!!!

(This was scheduled to pop up at 10am this morning, but FYWP… )

Read more

You’re the Puppet

I hesitate to pay any attention to relentless self-promoter Omarosa Manigault Newman, but her latest broadside against Trump is something. She appeared on the Today show this morning and released a recording of a conversation she had with Trump the day after Kelly fired her, in which Trump acts like he didn’t know about the firing.

This sent Twitler into a Twitter tizzy, as you can imagine. He called “Wacky Omarosa” a loser and shares that everyone in the White House hated her guts but he hired her because she “begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok.”

Trump also says, “When Gen. Kelly came on board he told me she was a loser & nothing but problems. I told him to try working it out, if possible, because she only said GREAT things about me – until she got fired!”

This is confirmation that, as we suspected, the only criteria for working for Trump is to kiss his ass. Trump goes on to say, “While I know it’s ‘not presidential’ to take on a lowlife like Omarosa, and while I would rather not be doing so, this is a modern day form of communication and I know the Fake News Media will be working overtime to make even Wacky Omarosa look legitimate as possible. Sorry!”

Christ on a pony. For her part, Manigault Newman claims Trump is unfit to hold office and that John Kelly is actually running the White House, and hence the country:

“I don’t think he’s fit. He doesn’t even know what’s happening in his White House. General Kelly — John Kelly is running this White House, and Donald Trump has no clue what’s going on. He’s being puppeted, and that’s very dangerous for this nation.”

So, when a pair of notorious liars trade accusations, how can we know who’s telling the truth? Filtering their words through their documented behavior makes sense to me.

I suspect Trump DID know that Kelly canned Manigault Newman — he’s a chickenshit who doesn’t confront people to their faces, so it makes sense that he would outsource the firing to Kelly or at least okay the termination on Kelly’s say-so and then wimp out and plead ignorance when he talked to Manigault Newman.

I also suspect Trump doesn’t really run the country, per se. If he did, he’d be too busy to live-tweet Fox & Friends, engage in petty vendettas on Twitter, etc.

As our first retiree president, Trump plays golf every four days and watches Fox News. He gets trotted out for ceremonial purposes, and there are probably a few people whose job it is to give him things to do, like handing out medals, meeting Bikers for Trump and attending campaign rallies. But Kelly likely does a lot of the actual work, perhaps with the assistance of Pence and others in the West Wing.

And yes, that’s “very dangerous for this nation” as Manigault Newman says, but probably no more so than if Trump were actually running things. It remains surreal that these battling reality TV villains are/were in charge of anything important, let alone the goddamned U.S. government.

Late-Night Horror-Farce Open Thread: Orange Is the New “Glow”

If there *is* a tanning bed — I’m agnostic on the topic — my bet would be it was a bargaining chip for Melania: I can’t possibly leave New York for exile in D.C. until… It’s the sort of just-this-side-of-reasonable demand common to any diplomatic negotiation between the corteges of a medieval baron and his third royal princess, a delaying tactic to test the sympathies of the new court. (And to make an aging monarch look slightly ridiculous, whether or not he complied.) Wasn’t there a media kerfuffle, right after the inauguration, about “Melania’s people” wanting to install an expensive professional-media-quality hair salon / makeup room in the West Wing?

Read more