Late Night Open Thread: Something Is Rotten, But It’s Not Denmark

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

“Losing” — ?!?

Local Elections Open Thread: What of Iowa’s Staunch GOP?

The down-home, folksy variant I remember was “You’ve only got two hands”, but maybe Senator Ernst was thinking of “Four legs good, two legs better”?

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst returned Monday from a trip to the U.S-Mexico border with a message for her constituents: “The humanitarian crisis at our southern border is absolutely real.”…

“I saw firsthand what is going on there, and what I want to get out first and foremost is that our border patrol agents are doing a tremendous job,” said Ernst, describing the men and women as “good-hearted” and “extremely compassionate.”

“They were taking dollars out of their pockets — when Democrats refused to step up and help us fund the items necessary for these areas — to pay for diapers and formula and hygiene items for the men and women that are there,” she added…

Ernst said she was told the migrants were “receiving [medical] care,” but it was obvious the system was “overwhelmed.”

“It’s overwhelmed,” Ernst said, describing her observations as she walked through the facilities. “But I felt completely safe and at ease.

“Even walking in and around the migrants, I felt comfortable,” she said. “Not all of them were in restricted areas. Some of them were sitting, waiting to be processed and some were going through their health screenings — and they all are going through health screenings. They’re being provided medical care.”…

It’s hard for the old-school mom & pop white nationalist heartland populists to compete when the national megachain moves in on their markets. Look at what’s happening to Steve ‘Pigmuck’ King, who thought he had a sinecure for life! Ed Kilgore, in NYMag, “Is Steve King Finally Running Out of Money and Luck?”:

National Republicans would just as soon hand King an anvil and show him the nearest cliff. But he’s not going away quietly and is running for a tenth term in the House in his very conservative fourth district of Iowa. He is not, however, doing very well on the fundraising front, as the Des Moines Register noted after second-quarter reports came in:

King raised a total of almost $92,000 this period and ends the quarter with about $18,000 on hand.

In comparison, [primary opponent Randy] Feenstra raised $140,000 in the second quarter and ended it with almost $340,000 on hand.

Feenstra is a prominent state senator who is generally regarded as King’s toughest opponent among the three who are currently in the race. He is running not so much against King’s racism as against the loss of clout the state and district have suffered thanks to the incumbent’s disgrace, which is probably smart in a district where Donald Trump won 61 percent of the vote in 2016. But then again, even Trump is keeping his distance from King so far…

More likely, Trump’s handlers are doing their best to keep King well away from the Oval Office Occupant.

… In 2018, after a campaign dominated by discussion of his pithy views regarding the Lesser Breeds, King came within three points of losing to an actual Democrat, J.D. Scholten, who outspent the incumbent by nearly a four-to-one margin.

National Democrats would very much like Scholten for an encore in 2020, but he’s instead eyeing a Senate race against Joni Ernst (even as Chuck Schumer tries to clear the field for another candidate, Theresa Greenfield) — probably because the presidential race could make the fourth district a tougher climb than in 2018, and possibly because, if King loses his primary, the general election will be all but unwinnable for a Democrat (barring some third-party run by the incumbent on the White Supremacist ticket)…

More bad news for Pigmuck King: Talibangelical ‘Family Leader’ Bob Vander Plaats has endorsed King’s primary opponent Feenstra, supposedly on the grounds that King has been saying the quiet parts a little too loudly. (“In January, he tweeted that King’s comments were “a bridge too far.””) Since Vander Plaatz is supposed to have an unerring instinct for what will work for his flock, it seems like the remoras may be deserting their shark.

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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Flying Saucers Redux

Wouldn’t it be nice if kindly space people suddenly appeared to lead us out of this mess we’ve gotten ourselves into? The New York Times thinks so.

Back in the late 1940s and early 1950s, there was also a continuing saga of flying saucers, as they were called then. I was intrigued, being a kid who read science fiction and was terrified of atom bombs. As recently a year ago, on a trip to Texas, I made sure to drive through Levelland, where a famous sighting had taken place.

We’ve got an international mess right now. Creeping fascism and authoritarianism. The United States and Britain consumed with their own crazy. It would be so nice if the kindly space people would land, with their wisdom.

The space people are always kindly, never mind the examples otherwise we have on earth.

Our aviators sometimes see blobs on their radar or with their own eyes that move in ways, without obvious means of propulsion, that seem to defy the laws of physics. Wild speed and instantaneous maneuvering. There are not a lot of these sightings. It was the same with flying saucers, but we are more judicious now and call them Unidentified Flying Objects. There are a few people in the military who believe they should be investigated. Some are found to be reflections or electronic glitches, but others don’t have enough information to know.

Movies were made about flying saucers and the high intelligences that piloted them. The genre never entirely went away, and now folks look back to the kindly ET who needed to call home. Official organs of the state acknowledged the existence of flying saucers too.

The New York Times has had a number of articles on UFOs in the past year. A year ago, Dan Zak of the Washington Post told the story of the rock star who has been pushing UFO lore. No matter, there was another in the Times this week.

The movements of the blobs in the videos look to me like the way reflections seem to move. That’s as scientific as the judgments in the stories.

Perhaps it’s a coincidence that these apparitions arrive at times when we are faced with what seem like international conundrums. Flying saucers became less visible into the 1960s, as we sorted out how to deal with the problems we had made for ourselves. We can sort out today’s problems too. Just us.


Open thread!


Graphic from here, but I recall this one from long-ago accounts of the Levelland sitings.