Thursday Reads: Is This Reality or a Twisted Dr. Strangelove Remake?

Good Morning!!

Is anyone else getting the feeling that we’re living in an even crazier remake of “Dr. Strangelove?” Except in this version, the “president” is complete nincompoop who resembles a combination of Gen. “Buck” Turgidson and Brig. Jack D. Ripper.

Despite Trump’s appointment of Gen. John Kelly as WH chief of staff, the leaks are still streaming out of the place Trump calls “a real dump.”

Yesterday NBC News revealed that threw a tantrum in a meeting with generals because they haven’t been able to “win” the war in Afghanistan despite the fact that Trump has refused to sign off on a strategy to do so. I guess he thought a 15-year war could be wrapped up in his first few months in office simply because he was now in charge.

President Donald Trump has become increasingly frustrated with his advisers tasked with crafting a new U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and recently suggested firing the war’s top military commander during a tense meeting at the White House, according to senior administration officials

During the July 19 meeting, Trump repeatedly suggested that Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford replace Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, because he is not winning the war, the officials said. Trump has not met Nicholson, and the Pentagon has been considering extending his time in Afghanistan.

Over nearly two hours in the situation room, according to the officials, Trump complained about NATO allies, inquired about the United States getting a piece of Afghan’s mineral wealth and repeatedly said the top U.S. general there should be fired. He also startled the room with a story that seemed to compare their advice to that of a paid consultant who cost a tony New York restaurateur profits by offering bad advice….

Trump’s national security team has been trying for months to come up with a new strategy he can approve. Those advisers are set to meet again to discuss the issue on Thursday at the White House. The president is not currently scheduled to attend the meeting, though one official said that could change.

Here’s a reaction form Kevin Drum at Mother Jones: Afghanistan Plan Killed Because ‘21’ Closed For Remodeling 30 Years Ago. This Is Not a Joke.

Trump chatted with a few soldiers who were unhappy about this and that—after all, it’s the God-given right of every buck private in the Army to know exactly how the brass are botching things up—and therefore decided to reject his generals’ plan. And before you all start yammering about how Trump said last year that he already had a plan ready to go, that was for Iraq. He never said he had a plan for Afghanistan. OK?

And now, for some more comic relief, here’s an inside look at how Trump comes up with these bright ideas:

To underscore his view that the veterans who fought in the war may be better positioned to advise him on an Afghanistan strategy, Trump compared the policy review process to the renovation of a famed New York restaurant in the 1980s, officials said. Trump told his advisers that the restaurant, Manhattan’s elite ‘21’ Club, had shut its doors for a year and hired an expensive consultant to craft a plan for a renovation. After a year, Trump said, the consultant’s only suggestion was that the restaurant needed a bigger kitchen.

Officials said Trump kept stressing the idea that lousy advice cost the owner a year of lost business and that talking to the restaurant’s waiters instead might have yielded a better result.

The ‘21’ Club, which has been one of Trump’s favorite New York spots, closed for two months in 1987 while it underwent a full renovation and reopened to great fanfare.

Consensus reality is that the run-down 21 Club closed for two months after it changed ownership,¹ and then reopened after a big renovation. Trump reality is that his favorite haunt was closed forever and they didn’t even fix whatever petty gripe he probably had at the time. Because of this, he rejected the new Afghanistan plan. That’s quite the butterfly effect, isn’t it?

Actually the restaurant closed for three months, but definitely not a year. Poor Donnie really missed eating out in that place, and now it’s his metaphor for what’s wrong in Afghanistan. Maybe he should try actually visiting Afghanistan instead of golfing all the time. He could stop in Iraq on the way back to the dump. Trump claims he didn’t say that, but according to a witness, At least 8 people heard Trump call the White House a ‘dump.’

Alan Shipnuck told Golf Magazine that eight or nine people heard Trump call the White House a dump.

Shipnuck published a report about Trump’s golfing hobby in Sports Illustrated this week, which included the revelation that Trump called the president’s house a “real dump” compared to his New Jersey country club.

Shipnuck told Golf Magazine that a White House spokeswoman called him to demand a retraction for the statement, but that he would not do so because he heard it from multiple people and that he believes they are credible sources.

“It might be inconvenient for her boss and she might wish he didn’t say it, but it’s not a lie,” he said.

“They definitely don’t waste any time trying to be charming or friendly, these people in the White House communications department,” he added.

During the White House briefing yesterday, one of Trump’s white supremacist aides attacked the Statue of Liberty. Slate: Stephen Miller Doesn’t Care for Your Stupid Poem, Statue of Liberty.

White House senior adviser for policy Stephen Miller spoke at the daily press briefing on Wednesday to tout Donald Trump’s newly announced plan to cut legal immigration in half and make it harder for non-native English speakers or low-skill workers to enter the country

When he was challenged on this part of the proposal by CNN reporter Jim Acosta, Miller decided to explain who America’s real enemy was: The poem on the Statue of Liberty.

Acosta asked:

The Statue of Liberty says “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” It doesn’t say anything about speaking English or being able to be a computer programmer. Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country if you’re telling them you have to speak English? Can’t people learn how to speak English when they get here?

And Miller’s response:

I don’t want to get off into a whole thing about history here, but the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of liberty enlightening the world; it’s a symbol of American liberty lighting the world. The poem that you’re referring to that was added later and is not part of the original Statue of Liberty.

(For those interested, here is a brief history of how that poem came to become synonymous with the Statue of Liberty and this country’s assimilation of immigrants.)

Acosta and Miller then got into a lengthy back-and-forth about what it means to be an immigrant to this country. Acosta accused the administration of attempting to limit immigration in a way that was “trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country.” Miller responded that Acosta betrayed his “cosmopolitan bias” and “ignorance” by suggesting that the administration was trying to limit immigration to certain types of people.

By the way, “cosmopolitan” is term that was historically used to attack Jews. Charles Pierce: The Historical Significance of ‘Cosmopolitan’ as an Insult.

The way Miller leaned into the word “cosmopolitan” while answering Acosta has a long and ignoble history in 20th century authoritarianism, especially the anti-Semitic variety. During World War II, for example, the Soviet government under Stalin used to rail regularly at “rootless cosmopolitanism,” especially in the arts. The Nazis were fond of tossing it around, too. There is no context in which Miller’s use of the word against Acosta makes sense except as a historical signaling device.

Also, Miller doesn’t know dick about Emma Lazarus and the Statue of Liberty. She wrote the poem, “The New Colossus,” from which the famous lines on the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal were taken in 1883 for the purpose of raising funds for … wait for it … the Statue of Liberty.

How do you put this uninformed goon in front of the camera? Jesus, these really are the fcking mole people.

This morning we got more juicy leaks from The Washington Post. They somehow obtained transcripts of Trump’s January calls with Mexican and Australian leaders. You can read them at that link, and/or check out this article: Trump urged Mexican president to end his public defiance on border wall, transcript reveals.

From the Mexico call:

President Trump made building a wall along the southern U.S. border and forcing Mexico to pay for it core pledges of his campaign.

But in his first White House call with Mexico’s president, Trump described his vow to charge Mexico as a growing political problem, pressuring the Mexican leader to stop saying publicly that his government would never pay.

“You cannot say that to the press,” Trump said repeatedly, according to a transcript of the Jan. 27 call obtained by The Washington Post. Trump made clear that he realized the funding would have to come from other sources but threatened to cut off contact if Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto continued to make defiant statements.

The funding “will work out in the formula somehow,” Trump said, adding later that “it will come out in the wash, and that is okay.” But “if you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore because I cannot live with that.”

A little more:

Trump seemed to acknowledge that his threats to make Mexico pay had left him cornered politically. “I have to have Mexico pay for the wall — I have to,” he said. “I have been talking about it for a two-year period.”

“On the wall, you and I both have a political problem,” Trump said. “My people stand up and say, ‘Mexico will pay for the wall,’ and your people probably say something in a similar but slightly different language.”

Trump seemed to acknowledge that his threats to make Mexico pay had left him cornered politically. “I have to have Mexico pay for the wall — I have to,” he said. “I have been talking about it for a two-year period.”

 

New Hampshire voters will love this from the call with Nieto. CNN: Trump argues he won New Hampshire because it is a ‘drug-infested den.’

During the call, according to the Post, Trump lashed out at Peña Nieto for the quantity of illegal drugs that come into the United States from Mexico.
“We have a massive drug problem where kids are becoming addicted to drugs because the drugs are being sold for less money than candy,” Trump said.
He later bragged that he won the Granite State because of the opioid epidemic.
“I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den,” he said.

Trump doesn’t even know that drugs come into NH from Canada.

The Hill on the call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull: Trump to Australian prime minister: ‘Putin was a pleasant call, this is ridiculous’

Trump argued with Turnbull over an agreement on refugees he thought was unfair during their first conversation following his inauguration.

“I have had it,” Trump told his Australian counterpart during the Jan. 28 call, according to a transcript obtained by The Washington Post and published on Thursday. “I have been making these calls all day, and this is the most unpleasant call all day.”

Trump also told Turnbull that his conversation with the Russian leader was far more enjoyable. “Putin was a pleasant call,” Trump said. “This is ridiculous.”

I’m going to work my way through these two transcripts, but I may wait awhile, because I spent a long time yesterday reading Trump’s insane interview with the Wall Street Journal, and I don’t want to have that Twilight Zone/Dr. Strangelove feeling all day today.

What stories are you following today?

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40 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Is This Reality or a Twisted Dr. Strangelove Remake?”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    How much longer before Trump gets us into really dangerous international crisis? I sure hope Mueller is getting close to some indictments.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Good piece by Gene Lyons.

    Why Trump Could Never Be A Putinesque Strongman

    http://www.nationalmemo.com/trump-putin-strongman/

    • cheekos says:

      But, Trumpie surely could audition to be the Executive Producer of that old, snd boring British TV show: “The Weakest Link!”

  3. dakinikat says:

    This is kind’ve an interesting little story. There was a little mermaid house found floating south of Grand Isle by the coast guard. They’ve discovered who it belongs to now.

    The Coast Guard has found the owner of a tiny house with a mermaid painted on its side that was found drifting in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The dock was found floating approximately 180 miles south of Grand Isle, Louisiana, when it was reported to the Coast Guard Wednesday, CBS affiliate WWL-TV reports.

    An airplane crew from the Coast Guard Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Alabama, went out to search for signs of distress. Finding none, they issued an alert to nearby vessels, and asked the public for information about the object.

    On Thursday, the Coast Guard said it had found the owner, WWL reports. The dock broke off from its mooring behind the Parrot Key Hotel in Key West, Florida, during a tropical storm, the Coast Guard said, adding that no one was onboard at the time it broke free.

    Key West is approximately 500 miles from the spot where the dock was spotted.

    • NW Luna says:

      What a cute little house! I was hoping it belonged to a family with a couple of young kids.

  4. dakinikat says:

    Australia’s Prime Minister Slowly Realizes Trump Is a Complete Idiot

    The transcript of Donald Trump’s discussion with Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull obtained by the Washington Post reveals many things, but the most significant may be that Trump in his private negotiations is every bit as mentally limited as he appears to be in public.
    At issue in the conversation is a deal to settle 1,250 refugees who have been detained by Australia in the United States. I did not pay any attention to the details of this agreement before reading the transcript. By the time I was halfway through it, my brain could not stop screaming at Trump for his failure to understand what Turnbull was telling him.

    Jonathan Chait

    • NW Luna says:

      A 3-yr old has more cognitive ability than Trump!

      We are so fucked.

      • Pilgrim says:

        Several years ago, we in Canada had the embarrassment of Rob Ford as mayor of Toronto, a huge source of laughs on American tv. Now America has a much more serious, hideous clown in charge, and it ain’t very funny. But may you also be able to hope that “This too shall pass.” It did for us. Now we have Trudeau, and are quietly proud again. Here’s hoping you too get something very good when this bad patch passes.

  5. NW Luna says:

    On the wall, you and I both have a political problem,” Trump said.

    No, Trump, it’s only you with the problem. And it’s your own damn fault.

    What a whiner. Being (allegedly) rich won’t get him off the hook now. He can’t order other countries’ leaders around and expect them to jump when he says frog. Can’t you just see him throwing himself on the floor kicking and screaming after that call?

  6. NW Luna says:

    Completely different topic, on wellness. Moderate activity is good — it doesn’t have to be strenuous.

    Are we fighting thousands of years of evolutionary history and the best interests of our bodies when we sit all day? That question is at the core of a fascinating new study of the daily lives and cardiovascular health of a modern tribe of hunter-gatherers. The findings strongly suggest that we are born to be in motion, with health consequences when we are not.

    The vast majority of this activity was moderate. The tribespeople rarely ran or were otherwise vigorously active…They remained active, too, well into middle age and beyond, with those tribespeople in their 70s moving as much as or even more than the young.

    Perhaps most important, the tribespeople also had enviable heart health. The scientists found that the Hadza typically showed low blood pressure and excellent cholesterol profiles across their life spans, even deep into old age.

    Some of this robust, lifelong cardiovascular health is no doubt a result of diet, Dr. Wood says, but the data intimate that the Hadzas’ active lifestyle, consisting of plenty of walking, lifting and generally being up and doing, helps to protect their hearts against disease.

  7. NW Luna says:

  8. Enheduanna says:

    Thank you BB and everyone for keeping me up on the news. I can barely watch cable news anymore.

    BB – I’m so glad I didn’t have any food or drink in my mouth when i read this:

    “He could stop in Iraq on the way back to the dump.”

    hahahahahahahahaha – whatajerk

    • dakinikat says:

      I feel like we do news … Trump lives in fake news world … and we’ll never ever figure him out other than he’s bugfuckcrazy.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    WSJ reports that Special Counsel Mueller has empaneled a grand jury in the Russia investigation. — MSNBC

  10. Fannie says:

    News here! Wall Street Journal is reporting that Mueller is impaneling a Washington Grand Jury! Yes, he is going for a conviction!

  11. Fannie says:

    More Breaking News: W.Va. Governor Jim Justice, has converted to GOP. He is all in for Trump! I guess Trump is giving him sore free dirt.

  12. NW Luna says:

    Does not surprise any of us:

  13. dakinikat says:

  14. Enheduanna says:

    Do we know if any president has taken this long of a vacation?

    http://shareblue.com/trump-flees-for-luxury-vacation-as-grand-jury-pursues-russia-collusion/

    17 days? I myself have only done that very rarely and none of my colleagues (except in Europe) take more than a week at a time.

    GWB and tRump sure loved/love them some down time.

  15. cheekos says:

    Even during the Fuhrocracy of that old “Star” of B-Movies, and “Death Valley Days”, which was sponsored by (20 mule team) Borax laundry soap, I never kept returning to the very same thought as I do today, when Trumpie invades reputable TV: “What a JackAss!”