Overnight/Early Morning Open Thread

Have at it!

form*

* I don’t remember where I found this image. So hat tip to the Internet!








Open Thread: On the Delicate Honor of Donald Trump, and His Most Fervent Supporters

I always enjoy Julia Ioffe’s journalism for her deadpan Sancho Panza/Twelve Chairs wit. When I read she was being twitter-mobbed by antisemitic Trump followers, I assumed their grievance would be associated with her latest Foreign Policy article, “On Trump, Gefilte Fish, and World Order”:

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I was eating my mother’s gefilte fish while watching Donald Trump’s foreign-policy address Wednesday afternoon. First, it was lunchtime; second, it is Passover; and third, the fish patties in front of me — an amalgam of lots of different ingredients (porgy, rockfish, matzo meal) that, mashed together, resemble nothing immediately recognizable as naturally occurring food — couldn’t help but echo the strange consistency of the policy combinations Trump put forward.

Punctuating his carefully scripted speech with Trumpian bursts of “believe me” and “very bad” — consider them bright bits of rhetorical magenta horseradish — Trump set out his vision of America in the world: America first, but America everywhere. America cutting down on its debt, but also expanding its standing army and revamping its nuclear arsenal. America standing up to China, but also striking an alliance with it. America supporting its allies, but also cracking down on them. America being restrained and judicious in its use of force, but also getting involved militarily and fighting to win…

Should’ve known better; the piece that so offended Der Trumpfuhrer’s fans was an apparently anodyne GQ profile of the woman a Stormfront blogger called “our Empress Melania”:

Back then, in 2005, it didn’t seem odd that she and Donald Trump would mark their happy occasion with the former president and First Lady, then a senator from New York. “When they went to our wedding, we were private citizens,” Melania reminds me. Just two private citizens getting hitched at the groom’s 126-room Florida palace. He in a tux; she in a $100,000 Dior dress that laborers’ hands had toiled upon for a legendary 550 hours, affixing 1,500 crystals—jewels fit for private citizens like them. A pair of ordinary people, really, uniting in matrimony in the presence of Rudy Giuliani and Kelly Ripa, as Billy Joel serenaded the couple and guests slurped caviar and Cristal in the shadow of a five-foot-tall Grand Marnier wedding cake.

Those were, in some ways, simpler times. But things change quickly—which is perhaps the enduring fact of Melania Trump’s entire improbable life—and when your husband works up a plan to make America great again, the very same Clintons you once smiled with on your wedding day can now become your family’s mortal enemies. And you can think, as Melania Trump says she does, that it’s no huge deal, really. “This is it, what it is,” Melania tells me. “It’s all business now; it’s nothing personal.”…
Read more



I’ll Hire The Muscular Descendants Of Roman Gods To Do The Heavy Lifting

Spring Tulips1

This is my neighbor’s yard. Every year I say I’m going to take photos and every year they are done before I remember. Not this year! I made a point the other morning to get it done. Click on the photos to see full-sized.

Spring Tulips2

Just a small sampling. Next up are his irises, followed by roses and assorted summer blooms. He uses crushed coconut shells mulch, which is not only beautiful, but stays nice all season long. He refreshes it each spring and that’s it. No weeds. It is difficult to keep Bixby out of it, because it must smell really good.

No recipe exchange tonight, I didn’t even look at my kitchen this week. Back at it next week. Have a great weekend – TaMara

Consider this an open thread.








Shit Happens and Things Change

hillary

About fifteen years ago when I was a budding young fascist and started this blog, I never figured I would one day be voting for Hillary Clinton for President. But shit happens, and people change, and so I just got home from early voting where I happily cast my vote for Hillary and also chose to vote for Jeff Kessler.

I don’t think she is going to do very well here, and the polling indicates that Bernie will win and Trump is going to take the state in the fall anyways, as her great performance in 2008 in West Virginia was basically because then new Sheriff Obama was a… community organizer. Regardless, I always like to vote because I think it is so important, so I went and got a haircut, went to the courthouse and voted, and then went and treated myself to a fish sandwich and coleslaw for lunch.

And no, it wasn’t even remotely difficult to “pull the lever” for Hillary as a reformed Republican. I’ve talked to a lot of people who say shit like “I can’t believe I am going to have to vote for her,” and that’s just stupid nonsense talking. In a two party system, you vote for the person who will do a better job. It’s just that simple. You aren’t voting for pope or choosing your spouse. And there is no question that of all the remaining candidates and all who have run in 2016, Hillary is, by a wide margin, the best option. So sack up and go do your duty to the country and stop wanking about as it is all about you.

BTW- 15 blog years is like 175 human years. I’d wager there are not too many blogs that have been around this long.



Threading the Needle (Updated)

Created with Microsoft Fresh Paint

It’s instructive in a “compare and contrast” sense to read today’s NYT columns from David Brooks and Paul Krugman. Brooks is contemplating the Trumpocalypse and what it all means for professional plutocracy apologists like himself. He warns us to gird ourselves for more Applebees salad bar stories, as Doug points out downstairs, dog help us.

Brooks attributes Trump’s rise — and Sanders’ too — to a broad sense of American decline:

This election — not only the Trump phenomenon but the rise of Bernie Sanders, also — has reminded us how much pain there is in this country. According to a Pew Research poll, 75 percent of Trump voters say that life has gotten worse for people like them over the last half century.

In the morning thread, sharp-eyed commenter Jeffro noticed Brooks’ rhetorical switcheroo there, speaking of Sanders and Trump voters and then citing a poll result exclusive to the Trumpenproletariat, as if Sanders voters share the exact same concerns. And it is a sly form of both-sides-do-it-ism.

Krugman has a different take on why the Trumpites are angry as well as an explanation for why the GOP establishment candidates went down to humiliating defeat while Clinton is prevailing on the Dem side:

Both parties make promises to their bases. But while the Democratic establishment more or less tries to make good on those promises, the Republican establishment has essentially been playing bait-­and-­switch for decades. And voters finally rebelled against the con.

Krugman is right. But Brooks isn’t 100% wrong when he says there is pain on both sides of the political divide, even if he is dishonest in how he frames it. There is real pain out there, and it’s not all attributable to aggrieved white men who are finally getting a taste of the economic insecurity the rest of the world has been swallowing for decades.

Ostensibly middle-class families are one outpatient surgery deductible away from financial catastrophe. Students are graduating with crushing debt. Parents have no idea how they’ll ever retire. The unemployment rate is at a 40-year low, but try finding a decent job if you’re a 50-something woman or a 17-year-old black kid.

These things are real. And what Hillary Clinton is going to have to do is thread that needle – highlighting, protecting and expanding what President Obama and his Democratic predecessors have accomplished on the one hand while at the same time communicating that she understands how much further we have to go. It won’t be an easy task.

Yesterday, Bernie Sanders gave a speech in which he allegedly dialed back the criticism of Hillary Clinton a bit but lambasted the Democratic Party instead:

“The Democratic Party has to reach a fundamental conclusion: Are we on the side of working people or big-­money interests? Do we stand with the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor? Or do we stand with Wall Street speculators and the drug companies and the insurance companies?”

When I heard that, my first thought was, gosh, that’s not particularly helpful. How about at least acknowledging that there’s exactly one party that recently expanded healthcare coverage to 20 million people, passed Medicare, Social Security and CHIP and imposed any regulation at all on Wall Street and Big Pharma? And over the screaming intransigence of the only other party that is relevant in US elections?

But aren’t Sanders’ remarks a perfect segue for Clinton to deliver the message she must communicate? I still think Sanders will come around to endorsing Clinton and urging his supporters to support her and elect the Democratic Congressional majority she’ll need to get shit done. But in the meantime, maybe starting this conversation will do. If Hillary is going to sew it up, it’s time to thread that needle.

ETA: A piping hot new version of Cleek’s pie filter has just come out of the oven. Lay claim to your slice here.



Panic at the Applebee’s salad bar

Bobo recommends we tune in, turn on, drop by the Applebee’s salad bar:

I was surprised by Trump’s success because I’ve slipped into a bad pattern, spending large chunks of my life in the bourgeois strata — in professional circles with people with similar status and demographics to my own. It takes an act of will to rip yourself out of that and go where you feel least comfortable.

[….]

But this column is going to try to do that over the next months and years.Trump will have his gruesome moment. The time is best spent elsewhere, meeting the neighbors who have become strangers, and listening to what they have to say.

It’s not surprising, and hardly a crime, that many, maybe most, people socialize primarily with people similar to themselves, but….most people haven’t made a career out of pretending to be experts on “patio men” and chain restaurants.

I liked condescendingly jokey Bobo better than sad panda Bobo, I’ll admit it. But, to paraphrase the great Joe Cabot, I’ve got a joke for you. A bunch of Republican elites, sitting in the “Meet The Press Greenroom”. All wondering how the fuck Donald Trump got to be their nominee. What should we have done, what didn’t we do, who’s fault is it, is it my fault, your fault, his fault, all that bullshit. Then one of them says, hey. Wait a minute. When we were planning the conservative movement, all we did was sit around telling jokes about Al Gore and other dirty hippies. Get the message?



Black Donald Trump

Everything about this is amazing. And all real Donald quotes.

Smug.

Jordan Klepper as hype man- who knew?








Entrenching the ACA

Kentucky is the test case to see how embedded a fully implemented and operational Death Star  Obamacare really is.

It has a virulently anti-Obamacare governor and a political configuration that is not particularly supportive of broad based social welfare programs. And yet Obamacare survives. It takes a few punches as Kynect has shut down but the core functionality transfers to Healthcare.gov. The Medicaid Expansion is fundamentally intact even as Governor Bevin makes waves at seeking a harsh, punitive and counter-productive 1115 waiver.

Kentucky can do marginally dumb things that makes Obamacare work less well and reach fewer people but the Kentucky political establishment is unwilling and unable to kill implementation in their state because it costs too damn much.

This is good news for the morning.



Friday Morning Open Thread: Klown Prince JEB! Rejoins the Conversation


(h/t commentor Omnes Omnibus)

I’d actually forgotten Jeb had endorsed Ted “Lucifer in the Flesh” Cruz. Guess that’s why ThanksGeorge decided to wander back into the field of fire, via CNN:

A reflective Jeb Bush said he had no regrets Thursday about his failed presidential bid, saying in his first interview since leaving the race that Donald Trump could still lose the nomination fight.

“There’s a possibility that he won’t get 50% on the first ballot,” Bush told CNN’s Jamie Gangel, giving his first television interview exclusively to CNN after dropping out of the presidential race in February. “And if he doesn’t do that, there are a whole lot of people who don’t believe he’s the proper guy.”

Bush, who has endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for president but been largely invisible as a surrogate, wouldn’t say whether he would support Trump as the nominee in November, though he added there’s no way he would vote for Hillary Clinton. When asked repeatedly how he would vote if Trump became the nominee, Bush responded, “I’m hopeful he won’t be.”

The former governor said only two people could win the nomination, seeming to not recognize the argument made by Ohio Gov. John Kasich that he could emerge as the nominee.
Bush said he observed Trump’s foreign policy speech Wednesday with bewilderment, saying, “I don’t think he is a serious person.”

It’s Insert Your Own Jokes Here time!

Apart from recycling, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up another long week?
.



Thursday Night Open Thread: Breathe


(h/t commentor SCAV)
.

Feels like we need a break. What’s on the agenda?
.








Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy Speech Part the Second: The Trump Doctrine

I’ve had a chance to read and reread the transcript of Donald Trump’s foreign policy speech, as well as reflect on both what was written and what was delivered. I will leave the fiskings and point by point takedowns of the contradictions, flaws in logic, petty vindictiveness, and inconsistencies to others. I want, instead, to focus in on the core of the address, which could, perhaps, be referred to the Trump Doctrine. The Trump Doctrine, at its core, can be boiled down to America (we) will be treated fairly. As I wrote yesterday in my initial impressions, this is essentially National Security Narcissism. The Trump Doctrine of America being treated fairly runs through all of the five weaknesses he identified in his remarks. Even when those weaknesses don’t bear a lot of close scrutiny or resemble reality or contradict each other. More than that, however, is that the Trump Doctrine is really the animating force or theme of the entire Trump campaign. The other candidates had better treat Donald Trump fairly, the Republican National Committee better treat Donald Trump fairly, the Republican establishment better treat Donald Trump fairly, the media better treat Donald Trump fairly, the state level parties that handle the primaries and all the delegates chosen better treat Donald Trump fairly. And Donald Trump will make them treat him fairly! And the only candidate, nay the only person in America who can ensure that you are treated fairly is Donald Trump. And if he isn’t treated fairly or the US isn’t treated fairly, then he will get even!

In one way this is pure genius. It seamlessly connects the domestic and foreign policy, for lack of a better term because there really has been no discussion of policies (or even the shorthand of ends and objectives by Mr. Trump or his campaign surrogates), within the campaign’s messaging. And by doing so it reaches right out to and connects with those supporting Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and ambitions. The average American, in some cases even the above average American, really does not know how policy is formulated or strategy is developed for domestic issues, let alone for foreign or defense issues. Donald Trump’s speech yesterday cut through all of that reality – that how the official business of America at the Federal, state, and municipal levels is done is often arcane and messy – and reached right for his supporter’s guts. Donald Trump has consistently been telling Americans – in his Washington Post interview, as well as the one in the New York Times,  in his media appearances, at debates and town halls, and at his rallies – that they are being taken advantage of and that only Donald Trump can stop this. All he’s now done is formally extend it into the realm of foreign and defense policy and connect the pieces together.

So what does the Trump Doctrine, America will be treated fairly, really mean? Donald Trump has provided some explanation. NATO members must start paying their minimums and the alliance’s focus must be adjusted for a post Cold War world. Never mind that the Obama Administration was already engaging on the European defense spending issue and that NATO has already adjusted their mission set for the post Cold War world. Our other allies and partners must actually pay us for the privilege of our partnerships.  The reality is that South Korea and Japan, who were both explicitly mentioned in this regard, already do so. And while there was a small amount of aid given to Saudi Arabia for military training, $10,000, that is not even a rounding error in the foreign military sales budget. It also means that if trade deals don’t actually work out to the US’s advantage, that the US will simply walk away from them. While this may work in private business deals in the US, it is not that simple when dealing with multilateral agreements negotiated through diplomatic channels. Of course it may also not mean any of these things as it is not at all clear that beyond the concept of fair treatment, Mr. Trump has actually thought through most of what would happen should he, as President, try to respond when he feels that the US has not been treated fairly.

The only people that should be happy with Mr. Trump’s foreign policy remarks are Vladimir Putin, the leadership of the People’s Republic of China, and the Islamic extremists running the Islamic State and al Qaeda. Mr. Trump’s doctrine of America will be treated fairly screams a revanchist approach to foreign and defense policy. Should the US not be treated fairly, the US will then retaliate. Maybe that’s taking our things and going home. Maybe that’s getting even. Maybe its something else, but because Donald Trump’s emphasis is on unpredictability there is no way to really know.

Vladimir Putin must be thrilled. Especially over the tough talk directed towards NATO and the EU, China and the Middle East. One of the cores of Putinism is to roll back NATO’s post Cold War expansion and weaken, if not outright dissolve, the EU. Both because he feels they are interfering in his near abroad and because part of Putinism is also revanchist; seeking retribution (h/t for both to: Stiftungleostrauss) for American and European predation on a weak post Soviet Russia. Putin also would love to have the US pull back from the Middle East and Asia so he could extend his influence there, as well as open up new opportunities and markets.

Similarly, the Chinese leadership would love for the US, in a snit, to take its expeditionary military presence in the Asia-Pacific region and go home. It seems to have escaped Mr. Trump’s notice that the only thing keeping China from not just fully capturing the Senkaku and Diaoyu Islands, but from China’s actions in regard to them from turning into a full out Asian-Pacific war is that the US’s military presence keeps the sea and ground lines of commerce and communication open in the region. The People’s Republic would be thrilled if the US pulled its personnel out of Japan and South Korea and ended regional exercises in a snit of alleged unfair treatment. They would also, just like Vladimir Putin, like to be able to seek new opportunities in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Arab North Africa. They are already pursuing their own interests in all of these places, as well as sub-Saharan Africa, so having the US pull out because its new President’s feeling were hurt would be a dream come true.

Finally, the Islamic extremists that run the Islamic State and al Qaeda are most likely giving prayers of thanks every time Mr. Trump talks about excluding Muslims from the US, going after not just suspected and identified terrorists, but members of their families as well, and bringing back water boarding and then adding worse – whatever worse is. Aside from alienating the leadership of the Muslim majority countries that we need to be partnered with to contain and ultimately attrit the Islamic State and al Qaeda until they are incapable of causing the harm, destruction, and chaos they currently do, Mr. Trump’s remarks are the best recruiting material an Islamic extremist could ask for. Rather than having to destroy the gray zone themselves in order to force Muslims to chose a side, the Islamic State and al Qaeda can sit back and watch Mr. Trump’s rhetoric do it for them. And then leverage it in recruiting materials.

While Donald Trump’s doctrine of America will be treated fairly may not make a lot of specific policy sense in regard to the global system that the US exists within, it makes perfect sense as a campaign theme to further connect Trump with his supporters. The real genius behind the Trump Doctrine is that it is Donald Trump’s promise to his supporters and anyone amenable to his message that: Donald Trump will be treated fairly, only Donald Trump can ensure Americans will be treated fairly, and only Donald Trump can ensure that America will be treated fairly. National Security Narcissism indeed.



NHL and NBA Open Thread

Go Penguins- beat those damned Caps.








Thursday Evening Open Thread: Sanders Tells Staffers Things Are Not Necessarily Developing to Their Advantage*

From the NYTimes, yesterday:

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Battered by four defeats in Tuesday night’s primaries, Bernie Sanders is planning to lay off hundreds of campaign staffers across the country and focus much of his remaining effort on winning the June 7 California primary…

Despite the changes, Mr. Sanders said he would remain in the race through the party’s summer convention and stressed that he hoped to bring staff members back on board if his political fortunes improved. But political experts say the layoffs signal Mr. Sanders is beginning to accept that he will not be the Democratic nominee and is now focused on pulling the party toward a more progressive agenda.

“We want to win as many delegates as we can, so we do not need workers now in states around the country,” Mr. Sanders said in an interview. “We don’t need people right now in Connecticut. That election is over. We don’t need them in Maryland. So what we are going to do is allocate our resources to the 14 contests that remain, and that means that we are going to be cutting back on staff.”…

Rumor is that the layoffs were not handled to best-practice standards:

Well, about that last tweet… The Washington Post, today — “Sanders is biggest spender of 2016 so far — generating millions for consultants”:

The small-dollar fundraising juggernaut that has kept Bernie Sanders’s insurgent White House bid afloat far longer than anticipated has generated another unexpected impact: a financial windfall for his team of Washington consultants.

By the end of March, the self-described democratic socialist senator from Vermont had spent nearly $166 million on his campaign — more than any other 2016 presidential contender, including rival Hillary Clinton. More than $91 million went to a small group of admakers and media buyers who produced a swarm of commercials and placed them on television, radio and online, according to a Washington Post analysis of Federal Election Commission reports. Read more



Beach Bird (Open Thread)

Looks like everyone is busy. Here’s a lovely bird to look at:

beach bird

What is your favorite bird, and why?








Random Food Prön Open Thread

Hey y’all.  Some mid-morning entertainment here.

I’m home today with a pair of bum knees (bursitis flying out of control) and — as I’ve compensated for my bad wheels — spasms around a bulging disk around L4 or L5.  I feel like a water heater with a ten year guarantee staring glumly at my eleventh birthday.

But it’s hard to complain (actually, it’s not) when these are actually minor and remediable dings.  So I’m getting on with things.  First task to do was to get a standing desk going.  I’ve got one of these at my office and it works fine, but at home it’s just the kitchen counter, which isn’t quite high enough.  So here’s my solution:

gourmet

For those straining to read my crap photo, that’s Vol. 2 of the Gourmet Cookbook from 1957.

My favorite recipe in this particular tome — and what I find to be something of a metaphor for this election? That would be his one:

Caneton

“Turn the pressure wheel and force the sauch and blood through the press…”  Sounds about right.

And finally, for a little bit of sheer madness, here’s something from Alain Ducasse’s Flavors of France.  I picked this up years ago at a used cookbook sale for something like five bucks.  I’ve yet to make anything out of it; I chose it for the utter decadence of both recipes and photos.  True “don’t know how to define it but know it when I see it” food prön from soup to nuts.  To keep within the bounds of my fowl obsession, here’s Ducasse’s ingredient list for boiled chicken:
Chix

I mean, whut?

What’s the most insane recipe you ever attempted (and what happened)?

Oh — and open thread.