Monday, August 21, 2017

Nothing Is Real

I just saw another piece, which I won't bother to link because I'm tired of rewarding this stuff and the sourcing was more abysmal than usual (really, it's so often at the level of "some guy who heard something at a bar"), but it was all about White House Intrigue. Basically, it's WHO IS LEAKING AGAINST WHO IN THE PRESS. Of course "the press" know this precisely, but can't say, so you get all these weird stories. And while they're fun gossip and they can matter - to the extent that who is up and who is down can influence policy - none of these people seem to care about anything except shitting on each other in public and none of them know a damn thing about policy.

Morning Thread

Thank goodness Dear Leader's vacation is over. I don't know how much more of the madness I can take. Maybe now that he's back at work and too busy to watch tv news, things will calm down.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Everyone Else Should Be A Hero

We can question the efficacy of speaking out, but I'm pretty sure the largely silly norms of journalism (conventions that make it work, not exactly commandments on a holy tablet) are less important than the fate of the nation. If all those people think this and are not saying it, maybe you should tell us who they are and why specifically they think it? It's pretty important!

"Republicans in Congress, the highest of intelligence officials, the highest of military officers in our country, leaders of the business community -- all of whom have dealt with the White House, and many of them dealt personally with Donald Trump -- have come to believe that he is unfit for the presidency," Bernstein told CNN's Brian Stelter on Sunday.

He said those people are "raising the very question of his stability and his mental fitness."
That's a big story! Probably bigger than "oh boo hoo nobody will ever talk off the record with Carl Bernstein again."

Afternoon Thread

enjoy

Whatever

Which White House aides aren't completely horrible incompetent human beings? All the ones we are aware of are.

"You have no idea how much crazy stuff we kill": The most common response centers on the urgent importance of having smart, sane people around Trump to fight his worst impulses. If they weren't there, they say, we would have a trade war with China, massive deportations, and a government shutdown to force construction of a Southern wall.
"General Mattis needs us": Many talk about their reluctance to bolt on their friends and colleagues who are fighting the good fight to force better Trump behavior/decisions. They rightly point out that together, they have learned how to ignore Trump's rhetoric and, at times, collectively steer him to more conventional policy responses.
"Trump's not as evil as portrayed": All of them talk up the president as more reasonable off Twitter and TV than on it. This gives them hope (though almost all increasingly say it's fleeting hope) he will listen to his better angels, or at least the pleas of Ivanka.

Source for that last one: Rhymes with Mivanka.

Why Doesn't Everybody Love Me

By all accounts, Trump has always been a social climber, desperate to get the approval of celebrities, models, important businessmen, rich people, etc. Now he's president and most people are too embarrassed to even be seen with him.

If only Trump had read this sucky blog and heeded its wisdom, he'd have known that he would really hate being president.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Saturday Night

I think? I don't even know what year it is most of the time these days.

That Is Why They Call Me Rolf

Have a video.

Curious

If shutting down a white supremacist rally (nonviolently) is good, why is shutting down white supremacists like Charles Murray from speaking at universities bad?

More Thread

Sucky blogging schedule I think (you never know!). Gotta tune out sometimes.

Random Thought

There is something deeply wrong with a country in which "see your credit score for free!" is actually an enticing marketing tactic.

Morning Thread

Have a song.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Cars Are Deadly Weapons

This isn't my usual car thing, just for many many years I've wondered, mostly to myself, but rarely on this sucky blog, "why don't terrorists who are willing to die just run people over with cars and buses and even big trucks?" "Willingness to die" is what really makes terrorism scary. That's the part that makes it hard to prevent. Gotta be crafty to do something without getting "caught." Easy to do just about anything if you don't care much.

Hijacking planes is hard. Making bombs correctly and setting them up to be especially dangerous is pretty hard. Not incredibly hard, but you gotta work at it a bit. Running people over with large vehicles is really easy.

I wondered it mostly to myself because I thought, "how the hell do people not know this?" I was a bit scared to say it out loud because... what if this is some big secret that only I am aware of? That's silly, I know, but the fact that it wasn't a regular occurrence, to the extent the terrorist attacks were regular occurrences (not so regular in non-war zones, though that requires a digression into how we define terrorism, but they happen), confused me.

But now they're a thing. That's bad, and I have absolutely no idea what to do about it from a security perspective. I suspect it isn't that big of a deal compared to the number of non-terrorism (as we define these things) gun deaths we have in the US, but in Europe they don't have the guns. My point is not "OH MY GOD THE CARS ARE GOING TO KILL US ALL." My point is...yah, really, there's nothing to be done about it.

Do They Literally Not Have Anything To Do

There are a couple of reporters who get most of the White House Kremlinology, but there are many many who get some. It's like these people just call or text or whatever reporters all day, and presumably they need to do so in a way which doesn't get traced back to them (not overheard, not tracked electronically, whatever), so.. do any of them ever bother going to work?

I don't get it.

Do They All Take Cocaine?

Just asking, of course. The endless puffing out of the chests, WE WILL OWN YOUR ASSES ON TWITTER kind of stuff that hasn't been seen since the glorious warblogger era when the Keyboard Kommandos all enlisted and typed furiously for victory.


Cernovich made the claims that he’d release a series of “scoops” if Bannon is officially pushed out of the White House on an eleven-minute, self-recorded Periscope Thursday night.
“If they get rid of Bannon, you know what’s gonna happen? The motherlode. If Bannon is removed, there are gonna be divorces, because I know about the mistresses, the sugar babies, the drugs, the pill popping, the orgies. I know everything,” said Cernovich.
“If they go after Bannon, the mother of all stories is gonna drop, and we’re just gonna destroy marriages, relationships—it’s gonna get personal.”

Hey, sure, but...I doubt it.

Nothing To Do But Knife Each Other

The "fun" - if ultimately scary, too - part of this administration is just the sheer volume of leaks to hated failing outlets like The New York Times which provide some useful information but are mostly just stupid shitty office workers trying to get the boss to fire their awful coworkers. I can't even remember what the "factions" are in the White House because they all seem to hate each other and Javanka basically take credit for everything, no matter who is up or down.

Also He's A Coward

I think it was Haberman (author of this article) who made this clear earlier, but the "You're Fired" guy's dirty little secret is that he doesn't have the guts to fire people so he gets other people to do it or informs them via New York Times news alert.

President Trump has told senior aides that he has decided to remove Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled White House chief strategist who helped Mr. Trump win the 2016 election, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion.

The president and senior White House officials were debating when and how to dismiss Mr. Bannon. The two administration officials cautioned that Mr. Trump is known to be averse to confrontation within his inner circle, and could decide to keep on Mr. Bannon for some time.

...and a twist! These people are all hilarious. I mean, except for the destroying the world part.


Bothsidesing

I don't even want to get into the debate of whether Lenin Was Just As Bad As Some Bad People. I don't care about these kinds of bong hit arguments generally (was Stalin worse than Hitler??? Actually, did you know people were killed in the AMERICAN REVOLUTION under the command of that revolutionary GEORGE WASHINGTON???), but more to the point Lenin was not a man who committed treason against the United States of America in order to preserve the enslavement of people living here. Also, both of these statues are on private property which isn't the issue* (you might be an asshole for flying your confederate flag, but I am not actually demanding the government ask you to take it down. I am asking the government to take down government-sponsored symbols on public land.) This is just a mayor trying to BOTHSIDES an issue to look Reasonable. On the one side, Democrats love Lenin! On the other, Republicans love Jefferson Davis! BOTHSIDES!!

SEATTLE — Seattle’s mayor wants Fremont’s privately owned Lenin statue taken down, likening it to Confederate monuments as a symbol of “hate, racism and violence.”

A day after a small group led by conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec called for the statue’s removal, Mayor Ed Murray agreed it should be taken from its spot in the Seattle neighborhood.

The other point is, whatever the merits of Lenin (and I do not care about this argument), he isn't actually beloved by huge numbers of members one of our main political parties. He is not relevant. So the BOTHSIDESING is, as usual, false.

*The public/private distinction is not always clear, as is the case with say, local sports teams which get massive subsidies and have racist symbols.

Cosplay

Lots of people like to play dressup. I'm not entirely sure why. Arguably everyone with an interest in fashion beyond doing the bare minimum to stay warm and keep your job does. Until recently some kinds of playing dress up - what we do call Cosplay - was thought to be weird and nerdy, but even dressing up as your favorite superhero or a hobbit or whatever is now, at least at the right place and time, fairly respectable.

Before that we had all types of "manly" cosplay which were perfectly socially acceptable. Dudes wearing football jerseys. Dudes dressing up like soldiers and pretending to shoot each other on Civil War battlefields. That kind of thing.

And of course there's long been the militia costumes. Guys in camo and fake military uniforms (often designed convey the idea that they were in the military despite not necessarily being veterans). Also guns. Real guns. So that's a bit more scary.

Morning Thread

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Today's Hottest Take

Pure fire.

A Fitting Conclusion To Infrastructure Week

I don't even know if it was infrastructure week but I think so?

President Donald Trump will not move forward with a planned Advisory Council on Infrastructure, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.

The council, which was still being formed, would have advised Trump on his plan to spend as much as $1 trillion upgrading roads, bridges and other public works.