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Update III, Helsinki, Trump, Putin, and Tweets

Hopefully, this is the last of these just-to-keep-things-ticking-over-with-some-tweets posts.

Last week, I had a Needs Assessment by an Occupational Therapist. As a result, I’m expecting a new chair within the next week or so.

Otherwise things are pretty much the same on the home front. “My cat” (really the neighbour’s cat who has chosen me as her daytime caregiver) spends more are more time here. I now have a policy of NOT letting her in before sunrise though. A week ago today, I got the delightful gift of a dead bird. I fed her about 6 am, then went out to the kitchen again about 6.30 to get a drink and found a rather big surprise. She’d eaten her breakfast, and brought me an effing blackbird for mine!

Cartoon Putin ref pussy-grabberDonald Trump and Helsinki

I doubt there’s a person with any awareness of the news who doesn’t know what the Traitor-in-Chief is up to these days. For months my spare moments were spent collecting small amounts of data for a post proving it’s not just many USians who disrespect him, but most of us in the rest of the world too. That post  is now pretty much moot. Anyone who doubts that now is not part of reality.

Unbelievably, there is still a significant number in the US who do respect him. A CBS News poll told us on Thursday that 68% of Republicans approve of how Trump did at the Helsinki summit! Overall, the figure was only 32%, showing that Independents and Democrats are better judges of reality. The problem is, I think, that the political atmosphere in the US is now so bad, that party supporters can no longer admit when their leaders do badly.

If Trump can't speak for himself, he shouldn't speak for the nation.There was a lot more wrong with the press conference than just failing to stand up to Putin regarding Russia’s cyber warfare on the 2016 election. When Trump said more than a day later that he’d said “would” instead of “wouldn’t,” many Republicans said they’d take his word for it!

(Please don’t refer to what the Russians did and are doing in relation to the US elections as “meddling” either. Meddling is your mother not passing on a message from your boyfriend because she doesn’t like him. What Russia did was an attack on US democracy that more than likely resulted in the best qualified candidate for president for decades failing to win the election. Instead, you have an ignorant fool prepared to be a useful idiot to Putin.)

The Helsinki Conference

Another area where Putin beat Trump was leading the walk out to the podia and making the introductory statement. In that statement he spoke of the agenda the two had agreed on privately, which included no weapons in space (so much for Trump’s Space Force) and no US anti-missile batteries around the world. These are a bugbear of Russia – they don’t like the US putting them on the borders between Russia and NATO countries. Does this mean Trump made an agreement to get rid of them? The US military won’t let that happen of course, but it’s scary Trump may have agreed to that.

Cartoon Russia providing weapons to SyriaPutin had the cheek to mention Syria too. That country’s as bad as it is primarily because of Russian intervention. Yes, the US and Syria will need to get together on this issue, but to whitewash what Russia did there in the way Putin did was completely unacceptable. He actually had the gall to say he wants to help refugees! He has a moral responsibility to help those refugees since so many are in that situation because of him and the help he gave Syrian president Bashir al-Assad.

Cartoon Putin presenting Aleppo to AssadPutin also spoke of close cooperation between the US and Russian military in Syria. During the Obama administration, this was avoided because Russia could not be trusted to keep the information from the Assad regime. It sounds like Trump thinks he can trust Putin here too. Again, I trust the US military to persuade Trump this can’t happen and thereby prevent Trump fulfilling what it sounds like he told Russia he would do.

Helsinki was Fodder for Comedians and Tweets

There’s a lot more there of course, but there is extensive coverage everywhere in the media. Instead of me going on about it, here are some bits of fun. First up, Jonathan Pie’s take on the press conference.

 

A good tweet:

 

Third, an absolutely hilarious new song from Randy Rainbow. (DON’T play this at work!)

 

And fourth:

 

Fifth:

 

Last, but definitely not least:

 

Political Tweets

Now that’s a REAL man …

 

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen this clip in a tweet in the last few days. All I can say is, “It says it all.”

 

Trump creates his own reality. That’s not the problem. The problem is the tens of millions who buy into it. No wonder he doesn’t want to fix the education system and put someone like Betsy De Vos in charge of it.

 

Poor bastard has clearly been forced to apologize, despite his boss being the one who is in the wrong. If this was a rare thing, then he should be the one to apologize. In this case, the Republicans should be looking to do something about who’s president.

 

A note about parliamentary democracies like New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Great Britain. If any of our prime ministers put in a performance like that of Trump in Helsinki, there would be calls either for a resignation or a snap election. If the prime minister had a history like Trump, one or the other would occur. Under the US system, it’s like Trump is king. It’s all but impossible to get rid of an incompetent president.

 

Economics Tweets

Trump is dangerous combination of ignorant and irresponsible. It’s not the bank’s money. The money belongs to the country and to real people. Because of his trade war, people will lose their homes and livelihoods.

 

Human Rights Tweets

There are less and less mansplainers around, but unfortunately they still exist. Here’s how you know if you’re one:
(Via Ann German.)

 

 

Science Tweets

Brian Cox  and Robin Ince are now puppets!

 

Beautiful! I could watch this over and over.

 

Architecture Tweets

You wouldn’t want to see this for the first time when you were drunk …

 

Interesting.

 

Art Tweets

Very unusual, but strangely compelling. (Click through to the tweet to see all four pics.)

 

A little creepy!

 

Comedy Tweets

No comment required.

 

Oh dear!

 

There’s a bit of a trend in today’s comedy tweets …

 

Okay. One more …

 

Reptile Tweets

Anything that looks like this gives me the creeps! It’s kinda good to know this one isn’t top of the food chain.

 

Bird Tweets

The wonderful NZ Kakapo.

 

I’ve never heard of the white-eared Catbird. Told you Twitter was good for something!

 

The best Owl tweet ever!

 

Dog Tweets

What a cutie!

 

Another lovely story.

 

Another cute kid vs dog story.

 

Cat Tweets

Awww …

 

What a cool kitten! (And a beautiful dog.)

 

Nearly!

 

And So We Win Again!

 

 

 

 


 

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51 Responses to “Update III, Helsinki, Trump, Putin, and Tweets”

  1. “Don’t do it.” 😹

    I love Jonathan Pie; he always gets it right. I always wonder whether he writes the material first or if it’s just impromptu. A stable genius who can’t employ proper grammar 😹

    I hope you get the chair soon;but, I suspect your new cat will steal it from you!

    • When it comes to furniture, the cat has a definite preference for the sofa so I’m not worried about that. She sits on me when she’s after the body warmth and loves any attention I give her, but mostly I think my main attractions are underfloor heating and food!

    • nicky says:

      Yes, Pie’s rants ring with truth.

  2. Yakaru says:

    I really like the first cartoon — “I grabbed him by the presidency…” because it shows the flipside of Trump’s authoritarianism — his pathetic submissive behavior towards those who dominate him.
    Dems liberals need to emphasise this more, I think — try to change the way Trump is perceived by his follwers and the ignorant, rather than screaming and shouting from the moral highground, which won’t change anyone’s mind or vote. They should brand him weak and a loser, over and over again.
    Instead, I fear, they will again underestimate what they are up against, and get drawn into complicated explanations about why the US should not be aligned with the Russian government, for all these complicated ethical and geo-political strategic reasons. They won’t realize that Putin’s imminent presence in the US before the mid-terms isn’t a “gift to the Democrats, chuck chuckle guffaw guffaw”, but rather a way to make Putin appear benign– “so why all the fuss about collusion? Yep, maybe he colluded, but it stopped Hillary, so who cares?”
    They don’t realize they are not headed for an inevitable victory and gloating rights over the other half of the population, but rather heading directly into the abyss.

    • I agree. Trump is typical of bullies in that he’s a coward ar heart, behaving that way to cover his insecurities. They need to post constant pics pointing out things like the submissive posture and handshake he adopts with Putin, the way he’s always the first to make looking-for-friendship-from-a-superior touches on the arm gestures to people like Kim and Putin, his military deferments etc. They need to think about what makes a candidate attractive to a conservative and attack him on those points. The problem is often that they choose things that make him unattractive to Dems, like his sexism and racism, that conservatives make loud noises about but in reality are happy to overlook.

    • nicky says:

      I think you’re right there Yakuru. Mr Putin clearly has Mr Trump by the balls, and can squeeze them anytime.
      And yes, showing Mr Trump submissive to his boss may indeed be less ineffective than accusing him of racism and other moral high ground issues his cultists and their hangers on are not interested in anyway. They fear ‘open borders’, ‘MS 13′, sanctuary cities’ and the like.
      – How to convince some -not the hard core cultists, that is impossible- that immigration reform does not equal ‘open borders’ etc.
      – Show the groveling Mr Trump.
      Most importantly, focus on the issues close to the lives of most, such as eg. health care
      – Make clear that the low unemployment rate and GDP growth are following a trend started in late 2009.
      A daunting task.

  3. Linda Calhoun says:

    Heather, I’m glad that there’s light at the end of the tunnel for you. Please take care of yourself, whatever that means. Don’t feel that you have to “produce” for us until you really feel up to it.

    I was struck by something Angela Merkel said. She said that Germany knows what it means to be under Russian domination.

    The Berlin wall came down in November of 1989. There are still plenty of people around who can describe in detail life in East Germany. We should use their narratives to make the point that, contrary to having “freedom”, Americans are about to lose their right to choose whether to stay here or leave, which career they will choose, how much money they might make, whether they are able to freely express an opinion, and lots more.

    People who are currently “winning” the culture war don’t ever stop to consider what it might be like to be on the receiving end of what they’re dishing out. They conceive of life beyond next year as more of the same, and they’ll use whatever means they have at hand to get there.

    But, the means of Russian interference in our elections has a major downside. The Russians are not interested in the wingbats’ culture issues. They are, like their treasonous allies here, interested in money and power, and they will step on whatever necks they need to in order to get those. Once the wingbats outlive their usefulness, they will be sacrificed.

    And, Trump and the rest of the traitors will be sacrificed, too.

    L

    • Thanks Linda.

      Yeah. Putin’s goal is to make democracy look bad so that his people don’t demand it. At the same time, anyone who might be a rallying point for an effective opposition is murdered, as is any journalist who tries to expose him.

      At the same time the Russian Orthodox Church has made a deal with the devil. The government gives them the “moral” policies they want e.g. anti-gay, and they support the government. It’s like the medieval cooperation between Church and State. It’s no different from Islamic Republics, except the murders are less public.

      Merkel, as a former resident of East Germany, can see it all, plus more the rest of us can’t, clearly.

      • nicky says:

        I suspect that Mr Putin’s goal is much larger than making democracies look bad for internal consumption (although that almost certainly is part of it).
        I suspect he wants to restore the Russian Empire, as embodied by the former USSR, and probably even more.
        Breaking up the Western alliance and isolating the US is of course a sine qua non. When that is achieved, after Ukraine, the Baltic states ( especially Estonia and Latvia, with sizable Russian minorities) are next. After that? Anybody’s guess.
        Mr Trump has made the post Cold War world a more dangerous world.

        • Definitely. I’m not sure if I said it in this post, but I’ve mentioned Putin’s designs on the Baltic states several times in the past. Membership of NATO is the only thing protecting them from Putin imo. Montenegro now feels safe for the first time in years after completing the joining process last year. Ukraine and Georgia both want to join, but their current conflicts with Russia prevent that. Ukraine was in the process of joining, but it was stopped by Putin puppet Yanukovich. After he was run out of office, Russia started their machinations on the border before the new government had a chance to renew the process.

          • nicky says:

            Yes, I think we agree that the Baltic states are extremely vulnerable, but I suspect Mr Putin’s aims are greater, at least the former Soviet block (Belarus, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, etc.) and possibly more.
            It (especially the ‘more’) will not necessarily be a military occupation (although that is not excluded), but more in terms of ‘vassal states’. If NATO crumbles that is far from impossible, in fact, if NATO actually crumbles it is nearly a given that about the whole of Europe will fall under Russian ‘influence’ within a quite short time.
            Note, I do think that Mr Putin is much smarter than Mr Hitler, he will not start actual wars (unless very limited in scope), but we see how it plays out in the Ukraine. He had a setback with the removal of Mr Yanukovych, but how independent is Ukraine now? A smoldering civil war… There are many ‘Yanukovyches’ waiting in the curtains, I suspect, and I do not specifically mean in Ukraine.
            Maybe I’m a bit pessimistic, and maybe I’m thinking Mr Putin is more imperialist that he is, but on the other hand, he may even be more so, we do not really know. One thing is clear, putting a shill in the White House is his biggest success until now, an absolute master stroke. One has to give it to Mr Putin, one cannot but admire how he did that, as a tactic and strategy, I’d say.

          • I think you’ve got it right here. And I think Putin is super-imperialist.

    • Yakaru says:

      Yes, and remind USians how after risking their lives to defeat Hitler, US pilots were then ordered to risk their (and lose) their lives during the Berlin Airlift, to feed and protect the same Germans they’d previously been bombing — and that there was a reason for this…

    • Diana MacPherson says:

      Andrew Sullivan has a good article about Trump’s motivation for supporting Russia. It’s quite compelling and very depressing because basically Trump and his supporters believe in a world of zero sum gains where strong nations bully weaker ones and force their will on others. It’s why Trump dislikes the EU, NATO & NAFTA. It doesn’t bode well for Canada or the rest of the world. Gbjames posted it on FB. Here is the link: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/andrew-sullivan-why-trump-has-such-a-soft-spot-for-russia.html

      • nicky says:

        Althoughthat theory has something going for it, I don’t really believe it.
        It does not explain why Mr Trump does not want to release his tax returns, ever since he went to Russia (and it’s vassals) after US banks did not want to lend him money anymore.
        It does not explain why Mr Trump is groveling as soon as Mr Putin is around.
        And it leaves the Sater email unexplained.
        I think Mr Trump is deeply in the ‘ kompromat’ and the ‘sistema’. As said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr Trump was ‘pushed’ by his creditors to run for president.

        • Obviously I could be wrong, but I don’t think what you say, and what Sullivan says, are incompatible.

          I think there are two main reasons he’s not releasing his tax returns. Firstly, he doesn’t think he should have to. He simply doesn’t think he should have to follow the same rules as the rest of us. He’s got away with not doing it without losing votes, so he never will voluntarily either. The second is obviously what they’re hiding. I suspect there will be stuff about his finances in the results of the Mueller investigation and we’ll see it then.

          I think Putin probably does have Kompromat on Trump too. I think that’s why Trump never cruticizes him, and why he’s walked back his walk back. In a warped way, I think Trump even admires him for that. He sees it as a sign of strength. I wonder if there are some parallels with his relationship with his father – fearing him, admiring him, in awe if him, wanting to be like him.

          • Diana MacPherson says:

            Yeah I think it can be both things too.

          • nicky says:

            Well, as said, I ‘admire’ Mr Putin too. I have that in common with Mr Trump. But what we admire is different, I do not admire Mr Putin’s ‘strong man’ antics and nationalist, nearly jingoistic, rhetoric, but his shrewdness to get a shill in the White House. That takes some doing. Mr Trump used to be a Democrat, but he was ‘groomed’ to be a populist quasi-Republican. Mr Trump’s domestic rhetoric is not very different from Mr Putin’s.

      • I go along with everything Andrew Sullivan says.

  4. Randall Schenck says:

    A really good post and it must be because I cannot find anything wrong with it. I hope that chair arrives soon.

    Interesting observation you bring up – Impossible to get rid of an incompetent president. It was not intended to be that way when they created the govt. outline back in 1787 but the conditions for impeachment have not made it easy enough. The founders could not have considered the conditions today but the idea of 2/3rd vote in the Senate is a near impossible thing. But even the idea of party politics was not yet invented. James Madison is rightly considered the father of our Constitution but if you look back, he lost several fights in the room that summer in Philadelphia, important ones that are killing us today. One big one was representation in the legislature. In the House it was fine with numbers based on population but his plan for the same in the Senate was a killer in favor of equal representation for each state. The small states kind of revolted and carried the day in voting this way but the really bad thing is, we have left it that way for 230 years. Remember, things can be changed in this document but to do this is also too hard. The other really terrible thing that went against Madison was that mysterious thing called sovereignty. He often referred to it as Veto power over the states and that battle was also lost. I could go into reasons why these things happened but it is good enough to know that they did and then know that they could have been fixed. The fact that they have not is the real crime and bad news for us until they are.

    • Linda Calhoun says:

      I don’t know, I think there are downsides to making things too easy.

      Bill Clinton might have been convicted if it had been easier to do.

      And, right at this moment we have “pre-emption” laws going into the books at the State level, where municipalities have passed laws preventing fracking, polluting water, net neutrality, etc., and have been blocked by laws at the State legislatures not allowing them their autonomy because the wingbats (jeez, it’s always them, isn’t it?) didn’t like the restrictions on businesses.

      What I see as the big looming problem is population vs. geography. I don’t hear any discussion of it, either.

      Gore won the popular vote by half a million. Clinton won it by almost three million. At what point along the continuum does that become problematic? Five million, ten, twenty? If the will of the overwhelming majority is thwarted by geographic distribution, and especially the way it is now, where the legislative majority cuts the minority out of the loop entirely while shoving through laws that most people don’t support, do those of us in the actual majority have any recourse? If we have no real representation, but we’re still required to pay taxes, didn’t we already fight a war over that?

      I have been against gerrymandering for a long time, but I’m changing my view of that. My feeling is now that, since the Republicans have shown themselves to be traitors to our national stated philosophy, if we get control of State legislators for the next reapportionment after the next census, we should gerrymander the heck out of everything. The Supreme Court has said it’s OK.

      I’m more than willing to share our country with people of different philosophies and beliefs. I’m not willing to share our country with traitors.

      L

      • The ideal of course would be to get rid of gerrymandering as most countries have done. It’s sad you should have to get into the mud to get a fair go. That can’t end well. But when you can’t even trust the Supreme Court to do the right thing, surely it’s time to realize your country is in serious trouble.

        Imagine Christopher Hitchens on the appointments of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.

        • Randall Schenck says:

          Gerrymandering is just another example of states doing their own thing. The Federal govt. is not allowed to simply pass a bill or declare a veto against this undemocratic redistricting. You will soon see as you go through all of your complaints on this country that they are almost all connected to what I said above. The theory behind the Constitution and the reason for having that meeting in Philadelphia was to correct how badly the Articles of Confederation had worked. But many of the states were in fact, not ready for change. They were all still thinking in terms of their states. And they insisted the state have the power. If you go back to the words and the reasoning – A government of the people, by the people – you do not have that if you give everything to the state. The state is not suppose to be where the vote is. It belongs with the people. We still do not understand this after 230 years. We have a disaster in the making because we are to damn dumb to understand our own history and our own government.

          It reminds me of all the worry and concern about N. Korea and it’s nuclear weapons. We are all on the verge of death. It is BS. If you want to know what is the most dangerous thing for this country besides what I have already said, consider Cyber. I have not seen any nuclear bombs dropping on us but there has been a great deal of cyber attack. The stupid thing in charge right now does not even acknowledge this.

      • Randall Schenck says:

        Not so sure we are on the same wave or subject here on all of this. The Fracking business you were speaking of was local vs State laws and Federal would not be involved. I cannot agree that Clinton would have been impeached if say the Senate vote required 60. The election problems such as Gore or CLinton would not have happened if we had simple done away with this silly electoral college thing. Just another example of not getting the change that is needed and practical. The idea of two votes for each State is pathetic and has giving a gold mine to one party – the republicans. It is not even close to democratic. The sharing of sovereignty is also doing great damage to this county is many ways. Just to name a few, our education system is a joke (run by each state mostly). Women’s rights to equality and medical care is being hijacked by each state as they please. Even down to the simple things such as driver’s license. Why do we need 50 different state licensing agencies to do the same thing? I could go on but will not.

        • Linda Calhoun says:

          As of this morning, there is an attempt on the table for the Feds to preempt California’s Clean Air Act.

          L

      • nicky says:

        Yes, despite the fact I can see the rationale of smaller states needing some ‘protection’ from the ‘dictature’ of the larger ones., the present system (EC) is deeply unfair. I’d think that the Senate, 2 senators per State, regardless of its size, already accounts for that protection.
        As you say, at present a vote in Wyoming, regardless of any Gerrymandering, carries 3.5 times the weight of a vote in New York or California. That is not healthy. It is very far from the ‘one man, one vote’ principle (or one woman, for that matter). One could envisage a rule that that skew may never exceed 2, for example.

        Gerrrymandering consists in ‘packing’ and ‘fracking’. The latter technique is not without it’s risks, getting a small majority in as many districts as possible, makes it imminently possible to overturn that small majority. I hope a lot of that 9will happen in November.
        Note there are two measures that would make elections in the US infinitely better, even without reforming the financing of political parties or the EC
        – Redistricting should be done by an impartial or bipartisan body.
        – Elections should be overseen by an impartial or bipartisan body.
        I find it unbelievable that in both cases the partv that happens to be in power is tasked with those. That is inviting all kinds of fraud (as we have seen in the 2016 elections with great discrepancies between exit polls and count).

        • I think the rule where a party has to only get 50% + 1 to get all the Electoral College votes could and should be changed quickly. I think two states already hand them out proportionally. If everyone did that, it would help a lot.

          • nicky says:

            I agree 100% there, this ‘first past the post’ system is undemocratic, simply wrong.
            So, until now we have 4 points of improvement:
            1 – Reform the financing of political parties (I think Randall had some things to say about that)
            2 – Proportional EC votes
            3 – Independent or bipartisan drawing of voting districts
            4 – Independent or bipartisan overseeing of elections
            Although those measures would not be very difficult to carry out in theory, and would be completely democratic, useful and justified, I somehow fear their implementation in practice in the US is close to impossible.

    • I agree. It’s one of the reasons on the “against” list for having a formal written constitution, or at least what to include in it. Society, culture, language, and more, all change over time, usually for the better, and a constitution can hold you back. There will always be those with an interest in maintaining the status quo and are prepared to do anything to keep it that way. (There are also always those who don’t get the potential consequences of change, such as those who currently want to get rid of your First Amendment.)

      The language thing is obvious in the battles over the 2nd Amendment. It always makes me SMH that everyone got it until 2006, when the so-called originalists got it to mean something different than it always had.

      I’ve mentioned this before too. Our system of government wasn’t working. (It used to be similar to the UK, but with no House of Lords.) Political parties could get as much as 15% of the vote or more but no representation in parliament. The party that won the election didn’t necessarily have the most votes. So we had a series of referenda and a massive public education campaign about whether we wanted to change the system, and if so, what we wanted to change it to. We changed in 1996. Although it’s not perfect, I happen to currently think it works better and more fairly than any other system in the world. There are other good ones too though, and many more at least fairer than the US.

      Any system is necessarily going to be a compromise. The US system was obviously groundbreaking when it was founded. However, as you say and also imo, it hasn’t kept pace as the country has improved in other ways beyond letting more people vote (and it even allowed that to be done reluctantly in many places).

  5. Mark R. says:

    Man, I thought you had your new chair by now. At least there is light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for the erudite insight into US politics and all the tweets. That freezing soap bubble was really cool. I’ve read that raising children around pets (cats and dogs) also boosts their immune system and staves off allergies.

    Coats’ response on live television that Trump invited Putin to the white house says it all. Baffled…nervous laughter…”it’s gonna be special”. Even though he gave a half-assed apology, I bet his days are numbered. Above all else, Trump demands loyalty from his subjects.

    We learned many interesting facts this week: Trump knew that Putin instructed the election hacking two weeks after his inauguration (so he’s effectively been lying about this for over 1.5 years); Trump knew about payoffs to silence McDougal (implying the FBI has many other Cohen tapes); Putin said he wanted Trump to win the election (this part of their press conference has been omitted from the white house’s official transcript); he thinks the EU is our ‘foe’. Not surprising that Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas said: “We can no longer fully rely on the White House. The first clear consequence can only be that we need to align ourselves even more closely in Europe.”

    Of course Trump’s deluded supporters don’t see anything fishy in all of this. If Trump likes Putin, they like Putin. If Trump is Putin’s puppet, who cares? Still better than Hillary. Though the % of republicans who still back Trump are high, the actual numbers of republicans is diminishing. Both parties are diminishing to be fair…independents outnumber both parties. But the republican party doesn’t attract young people and is losing voters more dramatically. The Millenials will soon have their say. I’m glad they lean democratic.

    • Robert Reich sent a letter to four Republicans (McCain, Flake, Collins, and Murkowski) this week suggesting they become Independents and caucus with the Dems on key Bills to save the country. He, like many of us, isn’t so sure we can rely on things changing in November because a lot of people talk and don’t vote, and the Republican voters still like Trump. If two of them do it, it would take away their Senate majority. McCain and Flake might. Neither is coming back and both have stood against Trump in a big way. Flake virtually called him a traitor the other day.

      It’ll take longer for the demographics to change, though that’s happening too, as you point out.

    • nicky says:

      “If Trump is Putin’s puppet, who cares? Still better than Hillary.” Unbelievably, that is an attitude I’ve actually seen in many comment sections on, say, The Hill or Politico.
      I wonder if Trumpists are really posting that, or if it is just Russian trolls. It is difficult -impossible for me- to distinguish.
      I mean, a traitor who destroys the Western alliance, and hence the US as a world power, better than Ms Clinton? How warped can one get?

      • There’s a Vox YouTube video from 2016 about how Hillary Clinton would govern. It’s pretty good. It doesn’t speak to her qualifications enough, and it’s clearly partly about mollifying Bernie voters, but it’s worth a watch. It’ll be a few hours before I’m on a device where I can easily add a link, but it should be easy enough to find.

  6. Jenny Haniver says:

    Glad you’re back! But like Mark R, I assumed your chair would have arrived by now.

    The news broke just a couple of hours before I comment here (late Sun. night in Berkeley, CA), maybe you’ve heard it, maybe not –Trump has now recanted or “walked back” his previous walk back — the statement about his double negative, made under obvious duress. Now, he says the supposed meddling by Russia is nothing but a “hoax.” I wondered how long it would take him to say that — a little longer than expected, but not by much.

    And thanks for the replay of that segment of the debate between Trump and Clinton. It’s disgusting, but priceless. Of course, I was reminded of this old R&B number, “I’m Your Puppet” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tyvn3QR7BRk. Hillary should have just played that song.

    I also wonder if you’ve seen this article “Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler? A plausible theory of mind-boggling collusion.” http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/trump-putin-russia-collusion.html by the journalist? Admittedly, a speculative conclusion, but built on hard facts. It’s about 24 pp. so very long, but fascinating, and puts a lot of things in perspective, insofar as these byzantine, Roshomon-like machinations can be put in perspective .

    The little owl bathing is so dear. His pal looks like he wants to get in the bigger dish to make is proper ablutions.

    • Jenny Haniver says:

      Oh, dear, if Hillary played the song, it would come off like it’s validating Trump;s accusations of her being a puppet. It needed to be played at Helsinki.

    • I’m really worried that because of the way Trump is behaving, a coalition of Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the USA is going to attack Iran. Trump appears to be deliberately causing diplomatic incidents with Iran, despite Iran actually mostly behaving well since the Iran agreement. Trump pulling the US out started a downhill slide.

      China could come in on Iran’s side too because they get most of Iran’s oil, and because of the already ongoing trade war.

      The only thing that might stop Trump is Putin. Maybe we need him after all!

      • Randall Schenck says:

        He is just doing his regular thing. It is a kind of a diversion from all the stuff that is not going well for him. He is being attacked by most for the great performance with his handler and he is pissed at N. Korea for doing nothing for him. The really watershed moment thing he has done today is to say that several X intelligence professional should have their security clearances removed. They have said unkind things about it. Brennan is at the top of the list. Appears another nut job congressman from Kentucky told him he should try this one – Rand Paul.

        The wheels seem to be coming off. Maybe the investigation is stressing him out or it could just be because he is nuts.

        • If anyone should have their security clearance yanked, it’s him. He would never have got it if he wasn’t president, and he’s already proven he can’t be trusted, such as when he outed an Israeli agent to the Russians. And who knows what he said to Putin in Helsinki!

          I think he’s probably stressing out. Perhaps even in the alternate reality he has created for himself he realizes the wheels are about to fall off? Or maybe Ivanka told him off; she’s the only one where that might upset him.

          • Randall Schenck says:

            Yes, she may be withholding something from him. Oh, I can’t believe I said that. They may jerk my security clearance, as if I had one.

      • Diana MacPherson says:

        And his tweet today confirms your suspicions.

    • nicky says:

      I commented on that article by Jonathan Chait, but it somehow did not appear.
      It confirms my worst fears about the Trump presidency. It also gives quite some information I was not even aware of. Thanks for the link, Jenny.
      I deem it beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Trump is the ‘Russian candidate’ (albeit without implants), that he will continue to carry out Mr Putin’s agenda, and that the ‘free world’ is doomed if he cannot be stopped. I think there is no way the importance of this can be overestimated. Mr Trump is a kind of Yanukovich, but the US is, contrary to Ukraine, a superpower.
      Since there is no serious counter to the Russian interference in the US elections, I also fear that the ‘Blue Tsunami’ in November will not happen, or rather, will be smothered. Whichever way we look at it, the West, the ‘free world’ (that’s you and me), is very likely toast.

  7. John Switzer says:

    Thank you for publishing again. I look forward to reading your take on the world.
    John

  8. nicky says:

    Dan Coats is accountable to the POTUS, which nowadays is indistinguishable from being personally loyal to Mr Trump.
    He’s clearly conflicted, I think he should either have stuck to his guns, or have resigned.

  9. Randall Schenck says:

    If you really want to make yourself sick in Trump land he now seems to want to pull these security clearances on 6 people. Two of them do not even have their security clearance any longer. The others would just tell him to stick it. His reasoning – that they are “monetizing” their security clearances. Trump accusing others of monetizing their position?? He is monetizing his position at our expense every day by the MILLIONS. All the money he makes off the Hotel right down the street from the White House. All the money we shove out for his golfing. The secret service has paid his golf courses more than $135,00 in golf cart rentals to guard him.

  10. Randall Schenck says:

    More tonight on MSNBC on the Trump train. Everyone knows that we are all in the dark on the 2 hr. meeting with Putin. Suggestion is that one thing that must have been discussed was Syria. Apparently Trump agreed that the U.S. and Russia would work together. However, no one in the U.S. or the Commander overseas knows anything about it. Now the Russians are going after this U.S. Commander for not following orders from his commander. I am not kidding on this, it was on Maddow’s show. Also, in the press conference that Trump and Putin had after this meeting a news person asked Putin point blank, did you want Trump to win the election and did you have people assist him in winning. He sad, yes, yes. However, now this question has been removed from the white house transcript of this press conference.

    The Cohen taped conversation of his discussion on the playboy model issue with Trump was played over and over with lots of discussion. Also, there are many more tapes that we may or may not get to hear.

    • This Syria thing is really, really bad! I saw some stuff on Twitter, including a clip from Maddow’s show. Un-effing-believable!

      • Randall Schenck says:

        Yes, I think we had our chance to do something way back when this first started but we did not have the stomach for it. It is amazing that the people of that area of the world have so little regard for life or decency. Another thing that is pretty clear about the U.S. They have joined most of the rest of the world in the do nothing category. Heck, we separate families at the boarder and think nothing of it.

  11. John Cassie says:

    You are not alone in questioning whether meddling is the best word to describe Russian interference in the 2016 election, the lawfareblog has joined you.

    https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-election-meddling-and-when-did-everyone-start-using-term

    • Interesting. Thanks John.

      I see that the thing about Putin calling Trump “brilliant” comes up in that article too. I saw an interview with a native Russian speaker, and I think that may have been on Fareed Zakaria’s show too, and she said that “brilliant” as in “intelligent” was an incorrect translation of the word Putin used. The word he used was more akin to “flashy”.

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