Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Trump and His ‘Base’ Rally Each Other

Dave Roth, at Deadspin:

Donald Trump believes that everything he says is made true by virtue of him having said it, and once he begins believing something he is incapable of not believing it. This is why he says things more than once. The challenge is figuring out how he says things for the first time.

So: Trump got it into his head that he had received a Michigan Man Of The Year Award, and despite some complicating factors—he didn’t, for one, and also such an award does not appear to exist—he has continued to bring it up whenever the mood strikes him. There’s a whole story around it, and as is his custom he tends to retell it with more additions of the words “very” and “sir” as the years go by. “I’ve been fighting for the car industry for years,” Trump said the first time he told the story, in Michigan and two days before the 2016 Presidential election. “I was honored five years ago. Man of the Year in Michigan. That was a great honor for me.” As Trump told and has since re-told the story, he was criticized for giving a speech in which he talked about “what Mexico and these other countries are doing to us. And especially what they’re doing to Michigan.” …

What is useful about this, and what would be beautiful about it if everything around it was not so luridly toxic, is how plain it all is. Trump is a being of pure reaction and grievance and avarice, and as such is never really very difficult to parse. When he lies about money it’s because he wants people to think he has more of it than he does; when he lies about golf it’s because he wants people to think he’s a better golfer than he is. Those lies tell you something about how Trump wants to be seen, but they’re incidental to the bigger questions of who and what he is. Stranger lies like the Michigan Man one reveal more about how he sees the world and understands his relationship to the other people in it, which is fundamentally as someone cleaning up at an endless televised awards show.

Most of the idiocies at the core of Trump’s being were created in the same way that pearls are—an irritant lodges itself in the spongy matter of his mind years ago, actively or passively, and then is worried into something bright and very hard. In this case, though, we can watch this accretive work happening in real time—some dumb speech, long forgotten, grows into a great honor bestowed by strangers who admired him, and then into a controversial stand for which he was criticized but for which he boldly refused to apologize. And now it is something he can bring up, whenever he is feeling under-appreciated or anxious or when nothing else will come. He stalls and sputters and his pale eyelids flutter and suddenly then there it is, glistening on the dais in front of him—that time that Charles Woodson called to concede victory in the Michigan Man Of The Year Award, a few years ago or whenever it was. “Sir,” the Heisman Trophy winner said through his tears to Donald Trump, “you deserve this more than anyone.” What a beautiful memory.

Read more








Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: The Repub Revanchists

No matter how grotesquely sexist / racist / classist the GOP as a whole devolves, Rep. ‘Pigmuck’ King will strive to be that little bit worse. From the Des Moines Register“U.S. Rep. Steve King: If not for rape and incest, ‘would there be any population left?'”

U.S. Rep. Steve King told the Westside Conservative Club on Wednesday that humanity might not exist if not for rape and incest.

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” he said at the event in Urbandale, Iowa…

The Kiron Republican was defending his position of not allowing exceptions for rape and incest in the anti-abortion legislation he tried to pass in Congress. Republican leadership had prevented the bills he sponsored on banning abortions from advancing through the House, despite GOP support for the measures, King said…

He actually said that, in front of the cameras — there’s video. Of course the whole forced-birth ‘But what if that aborted baby would’ve been the next Einstein?’ trope has been in use for at least the last forty years, but count on Rep. Pigmuck to bring his own personal touch. And he’s not sorry, either; he insists the outcry that’s greeted his flapmouth bigotry is nothing but a plot by his enemies…

In the hours after his remarks to the breakfast meeting, condemnation of his comments poured in from Democrats, including those running for president, as well as some Republicans…

“People think it was an organic media feeding frenzy, but no, it was orchestrated from the beginning,” he said Wednesday. “They had told me, ‘Heads up before Christmas: They’re going to try to drive you out of office and get you to resign.’ Within 24 hours, you had people saying, ‘Resign, resign, resign.’ Why? Because the New York Times misquoted me?”
Read more








Election 2020 Open Thread: Brad Parscale Would Like to Be A Dangerous Person

He is dangerous, but only because — like his purported employer — he’s the idiot catspaw for at least one foreign power. If he were even halfway competent, he’d keep his head down and his mouth shut. But then, who would know what a Big Swingin’ D*ck he is?

In their chilling new documentary, The Great Hack, Academy-Award-nominated filmmakers Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim follow the personal stories on both sides of the 2018 Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal that exposed the private data of 87 million Facebook users. Through the eyes of Professor David Carroll who sues Cambridge Analytica to release his personal data, Brittany Kaiser, a top Cambridge Analytica executive-turned-whistleblower, and investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr, the film reveals how Cambridge Analytica used the same military-grade tactics of information warfare they employed against populations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Eastern Europe to manipulate national political elections around the world, including the UK Brexit vote and the 2016 US presidential race. As one former Cambridge Analytica employee expressed, “It’s a grossly unethical experiment, playing with the psychology of an entire country without their consent or awareness.”…

Way to panic the rubes, dude. You’ll be lucky Zuckerberg doesn’t… er, that mysterious entities with tons of money and a strong interest in keeping Facebook profitable don’t find it in their interest to make your career go bye-bye, putz.








Smart Money, Scared Money. Plus, Bonus Tikka

First the reward (no sing-for-your-supper spiritual joylessness here!).

Here’s one fat cat that is Warren-curious:

 

Tikka has views on the e-book vs. book-books debate. E-books…nah.

Yup. Books it is!

(I find myself more and more on the opposite side of this divide; I spend more than half of my reading time on my Kindle these days.  But Tikka’s most definitely old school.)

Now to money.  Got my email update from Krugthulu today (Paul and I are like that, I tell you!).  While he notes, in effect, that the bond market and its economist watchers have correctly predicted eleven of the last three recessions, there’s no way to construe what’s happening in with US debt in any comforting fashion:

So the slump in long-term yields since last fall, from a peak of 3.2 percent to just 1.63 percent this morning, says that investors have grown drastically less sanguine about the economy. Long-term rates are now notably lower than short-term rates — and this kind of “yield curve inversion” has in the past consistently been the precursor to recession…

Why the long faces?

Krugman offers a few reasons why bond folks might be running scared.

For one, the ginormous, “self-financing” tax cut has failed; it hasn’t come close to stimulating enough economic activity to avoid blowing a hole in the deficit.

Trade wars, so easy to win, turn out to be a predictable idiocy, not just costly in themselves, but as they foment uncertainty, a deterrent to capital investment.  And last, he notes, economic troubles elsewhere, especially Europe, are beginning to affect us.

What might all this mean? Well, maybe a recession, maybe not:

The truth is that nobody is very good at calling turning points in the economy, and calling a recession before it’s really obvious in the data is much more likely to get you declared a Chicken Little than hailed as a prophet. (Believe me, I know all about it.) But the bond market, which doesn’t worry about such things, is looking remarkably grim.

And if the smart money here is also the correct money then, as Krugman writes…

I leave the possible political implications as an exercise for all of you.

Bonus Krugman — four key paragraphs from today’s column “Useful Idiots and Trumpist Billionaires”:

More to the point, Trumpism is about much more than tax cuts: It’s an attempt to end the rule of law and impose an authoritarian, white nationalist regime. And even billionaires should be terrified about what their lives will be like if that attempt succeeds.








Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Schadenfreude Open Thread: Bizarro-Trump Feels Badly Used

THEY SAID THEY LOVED HIM FOR HIS VAST POLICY PROPOSALS, BUT NOW THEY ARE MOCKING HIS SAGGING POLLS!


Read more