The Open Thread for August 15, 2017

Too little too late, Mr. President.  Like Seth Meyers said below, pencils down on this moment of presidential leadership was Saturday night.  You failed the test.  Your words were hollow.  Your body language revealed you to be very unhappy at being forced to make that statement.

And your other actions that day revealed what you actually are: a racist.  Your immediate attack on the Merck CEO just 45 minutes after he released a statement leaving your bullshit manufacturing council.  Yeah, that was a tell. It shows that when the President gets angry about something, he immediately reacts.   He got angry that a black man didn’t know his place and criticized him, so Donald lashed out. Immediately.  He was not angry that Nazis committed terrorist attacks and violence in his name for 48 straight hours, because, guess what, he wasn’t angry.   It probably pleased him.  Because if there is one thing that Donald loves it is self aggrandizement.   Even at the hands of Nazis.

One of the things Trump did to reassure his Nazi base that he was still with them was to reveal his intention to pardon the racist birther sheriff from Arizona.

“President Trump may soon issue a pardon for Joe Arpaio, the colorful former Arizona sheriff who was found guilty two weeks ago of criminal contempt for defying a state judge’s order to stop traffic patrols targeting suspected undocumented immigrants. In his final years as Maricopa County sheriff, Arpaio had emerged as a leading opponent of illegal immigration.

“I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio,” the president said Sunday, during a conversation with Fox News at his club in Bedminster, N.J. “He has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration. He’s a great American patriot and I hate to see what has happened to him.””

Intel said that CEO Brian Krzanich was leaving President Trump’s American Manufacturing Council, “the latest executive to distance himself from the president following the weekend’s events in Virginia,” Ina Friedreports.

Said Krzanich: “I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing. Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base.”

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier quit earlier today and was berated by Trump on Twitter.

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank also said he was leaving the advisory group to focus on inspiring people through “the power of sport.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has decided not to launch a threatened missile attack on Guam, Pyongyang’s state media reported, but warned that he could change his mind “if the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Mr. Kim added that the planned launch could still be carried out at any moment, and said that such a strike would be a “most delightful historic moment” that would “wring the windpipes of the Yankees and point daggers at their necks.”

“The special Senate election in Alabama is a crucial test of President Trump’s influence with Republican primary voters but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has the most to lose there on Tuesday,” the Washington Examiner reports.

“Trump endorsed appointed Sen. Luther Strange in what is essentially a three-man contest… But it’s McConnell’s credibility on the line after his affiliated super PAC and associated nonprofit organization invested millions of dollars to boost Strange over Rep. Mo Brooks and Roy Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.”

Associated Press: “Loath to appear to be admitting a mistake, Trump was reluctant to adjust his remarks…. He expressed anger to those close to him about what he perceived as the media’s unfair assessment of his remarks, believing he had effectively denounced all forms of bigotry.”

“Several of Trump’s senior advisers, including new chief of staff John Kelly, urged him to make a more specific condemnation, warning that the negative story would not go away and that the rising tide of criticism from fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill could endanger his legislative agenda.”

“Reading from a teleprompter, he made a point of beginning with an unrelated plug for the strength of the economy under his leadership. Then, taking pains to insist ‘as I said on Saturday,’ Trump denounced the hate groups.”

Politico: “As a candidate, Donald Trump constantly called NAFTA the worst trade deal in history and promised ‘to get a better deal for our workers.’ Now that he is president, Trump is about to find out how hard it is to get an agreement that satisfies not only those workers who feel ‘shafted by NAFTA’ but also the powerful business interests currently benefiting from billions of dollars in cross-border sales.”

“Top trade officials from the United States, Canada and Mexico sit down on Wednesday to begin thrashing over hundreds of issues as distinct as Canadian dairy barriers and digital trade issues affecting both countries.”

Just after Donald Trump named his campaign foreign policy team in March 2016, new adviser George Papadopoulos offered to set up “a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss US-Russia ties under President Trump,” telling them his Russian contacts “welcomed the opportunity,” according to internal campaign emails read to the Washington Post.

“The proposal sent a ripple of concern through campaign headquarters in Trump Tower… But Papadopoulos, a campaign volunteer with scant foreign policy experience, persisted. Between March and September, the self-described energy consultant sent at least a half-dozen requests for Trump, as he turned from primary candidate to party nominee, or for members of his team to meet with Russian officials.”

“Papadopoulos emerges from the sample of emails as a new and puzzling figure in the examination of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian officials and their proxies during the 2016 election, now the subject of a special-counsel investigation.”

Ronald Klain: “This is the vice-presidential prisoner’s dilemma: There is no distance he can achieve, no political support he can muster, no congressional chits he can collect, no donor base he can assemble that can survive the fallout from a failed presidency. A vice president is either implicated as being in the loop or looks foolish if he insists that he was out of it. There’s too much video of any vice president praising, promoting and partnering with his boss to say, ‘President who?’”

“A vice president’s record behind the scenes in the administration is, by definition, obscure to voters. As a result, for better or worse, a vice president must run on the president’s record: If Trump’s record is bad enough to prevent him from running in 2020, it will flatten Pence as well.”

“If Pence seeks the presidency in 2020 because Trump has been forced out of office, or pressured not to run for reelection due to unpopularity, he will suffer the same fate as Hubert Humphrey in 1968, Ford in 1976, Walter Mondale in 1984 and Dan Quayle in 2000: defeat. Nothing Pence is doing now will break him out of a political imprisonment of his own creation.”

New York Times: “Rupert Murdoch has repeatedly urged President Trump to fire him. Anthony Scaramucci, the president’s former communications director, thrashed him on television as a white nationalist. Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser, refused to even say he could work with him.”

“For months, Mr. Trump has considered ousting Stephen Bannon, the White House chief strategist and relentless nationalist who ran the Breitbart website and called it a ‘platform for the alt-right.’ Mr. Trump has sent Mr. Bannon to a kind of internal exile, and has not met face-to-face for more than a week with a man who was once a fixture in the Oval Office, according to aides and friends of the president.”

“So far, Mr. Trump has not been able to follow through — a product of his dislike of confrontation, the bonds of a foxhole friendship forged during the 2016 presidential campaign and concerns about what mischief Mr. Bannon might do once he leaves the protective custody of the West Wing.”

LOL.  The Times also reports that one of the main sins Bannon has committed in Trump’s eyes is “appearing to revel in the perception that he is the mastermind behind the rise of a pliable Mr. Trump. The president was deeply annoyed at a Time magazine cover article that described Mr. Bannon as the real power and brains behind the Trump throne. Mr. Trump was equally put off by a recent book, Devil’s Bargain, by the Bloomberg Businessweek writer Joshua Green, which lavished credit for Mr. Trump’s election on Mr. Bannon.”

Now here is an argument for socialism.  Bernie, get on this.  Kristen Ghodsee: “A comparative sociological study of East and West Germans conducted after reunification in 1990 found that Eastern women had twice as many orgasms as Western women. Researchers marveled at this disparity in reported sexual satisfaction, especially since East German women suffered from the notorious double burden of formal employment and housework. In contrast, postwar West German women had stayed home and enjoyed all the labor-saving devices produced by the roaring capitalist economy. But they had less sex, and less satisfying sex, than women who had to line up for toilet paper.”

“This generational divide between daughters and mothers who reached adulthood on either side of 1989 supports the idea that women had more fulfilling lives during the Communist era. And they owed this quality of life, in part, to the fact that these regimes saw women’s emancipation as central to advanced ‘scientific socialist’ societies, as they saw themselves.”

John Podhoretz: “For years, under the radar and likely with the guidance of his political guru Roger Stone, Trump built a powerful and loyal following through what could be called—yes, I know this is going to sound condescending and elitist, but what can I say, I’m condescending and elitist—the proletarian media.”

“I’m talking about Alex Jones and Infowars, the conspiracy-theory radio-show/website on which Trump has appeared for years; the radio show has 2 million listeners a week, and Jones was said in 2011 to have a larger online presence than Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. I’m talking about the WWE, which televises wrestling and which, in 2014, could claim a weekly audience of 15 million and on whose programs Trump intermittently served as a kind of Special Guest Villain in the manner of a villain on the 1960s Batman show. I’m talking about American Media, the company that owns the National Enquirer, the Star, the Sun, and the Weekly World News run by Trump’s close friend David Pecker; the combined weekly circulation of its publications is well in excess of 2 million. Trump helped make the birther issue a major one for a month in 2011 by talking about it on Meet the Press and Good Morning America, on network television. But he was surfacing an issue that had been roiling in the proletarian media, stirred and shaken constantly by his political guru, Roger Stone.”

“Talk about flying under the radar. These media institutions have no cultural purchase whatsoever except for the contempt they breed… By paying them heed, Trump was not only feeding his inexhaustible maw for attention. He was reaching a group of disaffected Americans entirely on the margins of American life, politically and culturally and organizationally.”

Politico: “Inside President Donald Trump’s White House, no one seems to be looking forward to September. Senior officials have described the coming month as ‘brutal,’ ‘bad’ or ‘really tough’ because of the confluence of complicated issues — but they also say it’s pivotal to getting the presidency back on course. Aides hope to have a better blueprint for how the president wants to proceed on a series of thorny issues — the nation’s debt ceiling, the 2018 federal budget, tax reform, infrastructure spending and perhaps another stab at repealing Obamacare — after a series of meetings in New York this week.”

“Their goal is to partially temper Trump’s expectations, hammer out some compromises and get a competing band of aides on the same page… Trump, who is impatient, wants it all done immediately, said people close to the president — and he has ratcheted up pressure on aides in recent weeks, even though he doesn’t always engage with the substance of issues.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

4 comments on “The Open Thread for August 15, 2017

  1. I don’t see how Trump gets rid of Bannon or the Alt-Right (aka Nazis, white supremacists, KKK). Bannon would go after him and turn a large part of Trump’s base (racists, bigots, misogynists) against him. He’s stuck. Luckily he’s stuck with an ideology he believes, so there’s that.

  2. Pandora: I just saw that the governor’s new taxes-to-businesses program has recommended a bond refinancing for Independence School.

  3. Rep. Mo Brooks, US representative and Republican Senate candidate:

    I’m not in a position to form a judgment as to who is or who isn’t responsible until I have more factual information. I just have news clips. Certainly, the guy who drove his car into other people — that was dead wrong, and he ought to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and if the death penalty permits, he ought to be executed.

    But I also saw other film clips of different groups of people assaulting each other, but from the scrum it was difficult to determine who was who.

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