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  • TalkRational: i guess the only reason there aren't already IRA style murals of PZ and the struggle is that none of these people ever go outside.

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Messages - el jefe

I already did my job with the provocative rhetorical questions.  now, You Decide
can you translate that into american russian?
- they tried (and possibly succeeded) at influencing our election, in multiple ways. 

- they seem to have sketchy connections with our president and his friends. 

- they are friendly with a new nationalist movement that has upended our politics. 

- they have apparently hacked the shit out of US government information systems, often by coming in the front door with Kaspersky Antivirus software

- and now we're hearing that they bought (or at least tried to buy) half our uranium industry


what.  the.  fuck.

what is going on here?  how did this happen?

I mean I guess it has to be because if I think about the fact that we basically alienated a country that was helping us for the most idiotic possible reasons, it's just  :gonk:  :staregonk:  Like, on top of the flat-out evil stuff this administration is doing, there's this disastrous stuff they're doing because they're just fucking idiots who have no idea what they're doing. It's just...yeah. This administration can't end soon enough.
ever since the election, I've thought that sheer incompetence would be and is the most important thing to recognize about the trump administration, in terms of explanatory power. 

he came into this not knowing anything about government or policy.  that matters more than people think; the details don't just work themselves out because "his aides know how to do the paperwork" or "something something leadership skills".  it's just like any job: if you don't know how to do it, you're going to suck at it.  ....  and his ignorance hasn't changed much in office, because he is too lazy to learn anything and too paranoid to consistently trust the advice of people who do know what they're talking about.

and he makes up for all that by having the impulse control of an 8-year-old, relying on flaky gut - based reasoning, and showing a general lack of seriousness about everything.

just overwhelming incompetence
yeah that was pretty funny
John Kelly, Trump's chief of staff whose son died in combat, defends president's call to Gold Star widow

The voice of reason.

Hard position to be put into. On one hand, you want to honor the memory of your son. On the other hand, you want to round up and deport latinos. Sometimes you have to put yourself second.
ironically, kelly's defense of trump better corroborates congresswoman wilson's version of the conversation.

one possibility they don't address there is that Wilson herself might have been paraphrasing to an extent.  however, I am comfortable assuming most or all of the distortion happened between the prepared statement and trump's mouth.
So is anyone else suspect like I do that Trump is doing everything he can to avoid talking about the mission in Niger that got those soldiers killed?

He didn't say anything about the event for almost two weeks, no Tweets, no public statements or bothering to contact the families until it became a PR issue. Which seems a little unusual for someone who talks smack all the time and boasts and struts about military action and whatnot. He's been asked about it and deflected to some other crap or kept moving without reacting to questions.

Then it came out that a white house press statement had been prepared by someone in the administration right after the incident occurred. That it was signed off on by his security council, apparently it had been shared with the pentagon and some others as well, and was then passed on to Trump who didn't sign off on its release and let the whole thing die. Someone, I forget who, tried to contact the main author of the statement who immediately hung up the phone when asked about it.

So far there's been no explanation at all about what happened in Niger whatsoever. Not even a general one, like, total radio silence. Which in this case is slightly more than unusual (to me) given that there's nothing in Niger that could make this about some massive need for secrecy. There's no action against nuclear installations or theft/destruction of high technology to keep covered up. Seriously, what the hell is in Niger that you have to keep 100% silent about any action there?

Of course I'm speculating, but it's starting to look like Trump was not happy that he didn't have anything to actually brag about after turning up the "blowhard" rhetoric to 11 for weeks with North Korea, boasting about "power and destruction like the world has never seen" and his smug cryptic "calm before the storm" statement (which I don't necessarily think is directly related). I suspect he was directly involved with ordering some operation that totally went to shit and got soldiers killed. That perhaps he personally chose the riskiest scenario of action or even went directly against his military advisors advice and ordered something that got people killed and he's been trying to behave as though the whole thing never happened until it became a PR shit storm.

Also, there's that amazing shitty thing where apparently he was talking to the father of some solider who got killed (not in Niger) and Trump offered on his own, out of the blue, to send the man a check for $25,000 dollars and never sent it until that became a public embarrassment.
Trump as Master Troll fallacy.  potter's explanation is more likely.
Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
if I had put blame on one of these guys speaking out against trump, I would put more on mccain, for picking Sarah Palin as running mate.  that I think did more damage to our standards, and did more to pave the way for trump.

still, dubya himself was the first major step in that direction.  before him, presidents were expected to be at least halfway intelligent.  folksy and down-to-earth, but not stupid.  people understood that it is an important job and we should have standards for the people we choose for it.  even a relative airhead like reagan was at least well-spoken and quick-witted.  bush and clinton were not stupid. but then bush jr fed the idea that having a president who understands the job is less important than having one that average joes can relate to.  people bought it and voted for him.  and, sure enough, he spent 8 years talking like a dumbass and showing disastrously poor judgment.
Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
hey now, brugroffil.  we welcome converts
Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
if he contributed to the current mess, I would say it was by encouraging ignorance worship
Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
I'm sure he's worse than terrible by normal standards.  but if he is one of only 2 or 3 people who hovers over trump and dissuades or distracts him whenever he starts talking about nuking NK, I don't want him to quit.

eta:  also, he reportedly keeps trump from reading info wars and shit like that.  that could conceivably save the country from a disaster or two.
what I'm really upset about here is the job killing regulations
Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
cabinet and congressional gop are too invested and cowardly to kick him out.  Kelly staying there doesn't protect trump, it protects the country.
Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
not sure it's good for the country if he resigns.  reportedly, he is one of the handful of people who is managing trump's crazy and containing his more potentially disastrous impulses.
Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
I didn't say the gop wants to govern or return to normalcy, I said it's in their political interest and predicted they will.

it seems clear to me that:
1) they have failed at repealing the ACA, have decided it is unachievable for the foreseeable future, and are back-burnering the effort for the rest of this congress
2) they are close to similarly failing at tax reform
3) if they can't execute on either of the legislative goals they share with trump, that leaves legislative goals they don't share with trump
4) if they get no legislative results, they risk a significant backlash from donors, primary voters, and general election voters

therefore, I think, they now have a political interest in moving legislation trump doesn't like.  and given their narrow senate majority, that is pretty difficult without doing stuff that has bipartisan support.

yes, they have been cozy with trump and tried to work with him on healthcare and taxes.  that was because they had similar goals and thought they could get results.  but that ship has more or less sailed. .....  and, yes, they were worthless obstructionists during the obama years.  but they're looking at a different set of political incentives now that they are in power.  they have to get legislative wins, and they seem to get that.
politico reads my posts

although they address the scenario where tax reform does get passed, and also predict the gop blows off trump afterward.  the reasoning is similar:  tax reform is the last goal they have in common, so when that fight is over (one way or another), they're done working with trump.
another house republican is retiring.  pat tiberi, a relative moderate, and from a swing district.

this one is a surprise, so it had not been factored into anyone's projections.  the disappearance of a multi-term incumbent from a swing district probably moves a safe republican seat to a toss-up.  and possibly early enough for the democrats to recruit a good candidate.
if the gop does fold on this, guapo predicts it will be after the midterm primaries next year, but before the midterm general
yeah, if having additional security because he attracts violence and charging him for it is viewpoint discrimination, then provide and charge for a normal level of security.
Science / Re: Neutron star collision detected
I think it's unwise that we're digging into things we weren't meant to know
yeah, those lines have always annoyed me a little too.  though I get past it because it is goofy, tongue in cheek song
you know you want to comment, meep.  you're eventually going to cave.  we both know it.
Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
idk.  he also pulled a 180 on the bipartisan healthcare fix.  shortly after his executive order, he opposed it.  then he told people he wanted a bipartisan deal soon.
I suppose that's part of his usual destructive-blackmail strategy: "Whoops, I keep blowing everything up and setting it on fire, such a shame, wouldn't it be great if we all came together and stopped things from being blown up and on fire? Think about it while I shoot this puppy".

But the McConnell thing is weirder IMO. Maybe Mitch convinced Trump that he doesn't want him as an enemy?
it's really bad for both of them if they don't get tax reform done.  and they stand a better chance of success if they aren't publicly trashing each other.  maybe trump advisers got that point through to him.