{FacePalm} Open Thread: Greenland, Unlike the Trump Administration, Is Not For Sale

“Losing” — ?!?








Open Thread: Trump Has No Friends, Just (Temporary) Accomplices

For years they ran parallel grifts, and they got along nicely. Then Don (with a little help from his Russian buddies) got a big promotion, and Tom made the mistake of thinking he could draft in his old buddy’s wake. SAD!

If Trump had been able to grasp the concept of social reciprocity as well as your average kindergartner, he wouldn’t have managed to bankrupt more than one casino. Which is probably related to the fact that nobody in Trump’s circle can be trusted alone with more than fifteen cents in cash…

Trump was “really upset” to read reports about Barrack’s role in allegedly making it easy for some foreigners and others to try to spend money to get access to Trump and his inner circle and whether some of the inauguration money was misspent, according to a senior administration official…

… According to the Mueller report, Barrack recommended that Trump hire his old friend Paul Manafort, who was initially brought onto the campaign to smooth Trump’s path at the Republican convention. Manafort went on to assume a larger role in the campaign after the firing of Corey Lewandowski, only to be ousted himself amid media scrutiny of his business dealings in Ukraine — and later to be indicted for those activities.

And as other prosecutors have dug into Barrack’s handling of the inauguration fund, Trump has privately soured on his mentor…

All the money raised for the convention, a record $107 million, was for the specific purpose of covering inauguration costs, but it came from a number of people and companies Barrack couldn’t convince to give money to the campaign or to outside groups when he was raising money for Trump during the 2016 campaign, according to the senior administration official.

“Trump improbably wins and they’re like, ‘Holy crap, I better send a check.’ They send a check to the inauguration and are like, ‘Look at me, six- or seven-figure check, I’m involved, I support your presidency,’” this person said. “But you didn’t support his candidacy three days ago.”…

The harsh spotlight goes well beyond the inauguration as Barrack, a Lebanese-American who is friendly with several Middle East leaders, has been accused of promoting his own business interests in his dealings with the president.

A report recently released by Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee showed that Barrack worked with well-connected UAE businessman Rashid Al-Malik to make suggestions for an energy speech Trump gave in 2016 to be more favorable toward the Middle East and urged Manafort to get Trump to mention Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed…
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Open Thread: Appreciating the 1619 Project for Its Detractors

I’m nowhere near finished reading the NYTimes‘ whole 1619 Project (wish I’d found a print edition yesterday, frankly), but IMO it will have an impact on The Discourse similar to that of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Atlantic article. And, yes, one sure signifier of its importance is the volume and intensity of the hatred directed against it by the Usual Suspects (few, if any, of whom could’ve read so much as Nikole Hannah-Jones’ introductory essay before taking their grievances public). The pushback was, thankfully, immediate…


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Late Night Open Thread: Not What They Were Expecting

The one attendee, actually, was A DEMOCRAT, per the Iowa Starting Line:

It was early Saturday morning, and Jessica Birch didn’t feel like getting out of bed. Hungover and tired, the 21-year-old University of Northern Iowa student could easily have turned off her alarm.

But the night before, she saw a Facebook event for Congressman Steve King’s town hall forum in Grundy County come across her feed, and she felt a civic duty to attend. So, Birch forced herself out of bed and headed 17 miles down the road to the Grundy Center Community Center.

She arrived to peculiar scene: out of the over 12,000 people that live in Grundy County, Birch was the only one to show up to King’s forum.

“It was just odd, because I don’t know what the record was for the world’s smallest town hall is, but one person I think has to be it,” Birch told Starting Line in an interview this morning.

A photo of the near-empty room by a Reuters photographer quickly went viral Saturday afternoon, showing only two people in a room of mostly-empty chairs. However, as Birch explained, the other woman on the left in the photo was an intern for King. Birch, who lives in Dike, Iowa, was the only constituent of King’s not required to attend to show up.

“I was the only person who was not paid to be there,” she said…

King’s trained his constituents out of expecting town halls — or, presumably, any other normal constituent services. Murphy the Trickster God willing, perhaps they will reward him by failing to show up at the polls, if they can’t bring themselves to vote for a not-Republican.








Open Thread: And If I Were A Foot Taller, My BMI Would Be Admirable!

We’re doomed. Financially as well, because the Repubs don’t want a President, they want a god-emperor. And the top applicant for that position turned out to be — surprise! — insane. Per the Washington Post:

Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, and White House trade director Peter Navarro between them appeared on all five Sunday morning shows to defend the president’s economic record and argue that his trade offensive against China isn’t harming American producers or consumers.

Their push came days after bond market investors sent a powerful signal that they see a potential downturn looming, and economists from Wall Street and beyond further whittled growth forecasts for a record-length economic expansion that appears to be slowing.

“I don’t see a recession at all,” Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday.” On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he urged Americans, “Let’s not be afraid of optimism.”

“Consumers are working at higher wages,” Kudlow said. “They are spending at a rapid pace. They’re actually saving also while they’re spending. That’s an ideal situation. So I think actually the second half, the economy’s going to be very good in 2019.”

On ABC News’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Navarro maintained that a recession could be staved off if the Federal Reserve stops raising interest rates and banks in Europe and in China make similar moves…

Actual economists insist that neither of these mooks are capable of predicting a bathroom run after an all-night boozer, but the important part of their job is telling the Oval Office Occupant that his every passing delusional outburst is a work of unparalleled brilliance.