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    • And three high-level staffers have been thrown out of DC restaurants this week. (Mexican food? Really?) I'm just a little bit ambivalent about all this. While I find this administration entirely reprehensible, I don't think that it's a good thing that competent people be discouraged from public service. One of the problems with the mess that the administration has created with refugee children is that they may not be capable of fixing it. That's not doing anybody any good, other than right-wing nihilists who would destroy government altogether. Nevertheless, people should be held accountable for participating in deplorable actions. Dunno--my gut feeling is probably schadenfreude but my rational side isn't happy.

    • I was listening to a small group of reporters who cover his rallies, and they said it feels like the more Trump comes under fire in the media the more the devotion of his base increases because they feel he and his staff are becoming unfairly targeted.

      Trevor Noah said the other night Trump is not unique. If you grew up in Africa you're familiar with other leaders who share his personality. I often wonder if other populist leaders generate this much devotion and what happens if things don't work out as they hoped. I have a bad feeling that things like the tax cuts, tariffs and dismantling health care are not going to work out for many rural communities, and what happens if they don't?

    • Huh. Fascinating article. Liz Plank is arguing that putting Melania in the jacket was a way to bait the press to talk about the jacket so they could then say "Look the press is focusing on the jacket instead of the children." It's a strategy to delegitimize the press.

      I wonder how you know something like that for sure. She wore stiletto heels to inspect hurricane damage, Donald threw paper towels into a crowd in Puerto Rico, and those seemed to lack understanding and empathy, so I would have thought the choice of jacket was the same. Except Trump himself said it was directed at the press.

    • It's hard to say whether these incidents are part of an intentional strategy or simply a matter of Olympic tone deafness. I suspect the latter, but unless an insider decides to come clean and go public, we'll probably never know. What does seem clear is that Trump is fully committed to promoting divisiveness as a political strategy and so far, it seems to be working for him. Not so well for the rest of us. Sadopopulism, in Timothy Snyder's term--if the Trump supporters lose out because of his policies, it doesn't matter as long as someone else is hurt even more.

    • I don't think competent people are being discouraged from anything except serving in this administration. They famously won't hire (or they deeply mistrust) anyone who isn't a Trump sycophant. They pass on people whose expertise would help them because of their boss' paranoia and insecurity.

      Listen, I'm about as vengeful as the average person. Which means I think I'm not, but I really am.

      This particular administration is so toxic, so rejected even by otherwise mainstream Republicans (for example, Steve Schmidt, Nicolle Wallace) that I hope the taint of working for it follows them out of government and into their next lives. I hope that if they really are having trouble finding dates, that it's a sign that they will also have trouble finding new jobs.

      Normally, working in the White House is a ticket to a good gig. I hope that for this bunch, the opposite is true. That aside from a handful of hard right outfits, nobody wants them onboard because of the abhorrent policies and actions they either actively defend, or abet by standing mutely by instead of resigning.

      Immorality should cost something.

    • Well...

      1/ There's no question that the media follows the shiny object and overlooks things of substance. It happened during the election and it's happening now. So there's no argument against her position on that matter.

      2/ The jacket? That's another matter entirely. We really can't know what it's about. Possibly, only she knows. Two more theories for you to digest: (a) It was her passive-aggressive way of getting back at Donald Trump for his affairs. They force her to go to a camp to show the administration's softer side, she responds by wearing a jacket that's going to distract from the intended message and upset her husband. He then has to cover for her by inventing a reason for the jacket. (b) She's from a part of Slovenia that's deeply familiar with Italian fascists and their slogan in WWI, which was "I really don't care."

      All we can do is speculate about her motive.

    • At first, I was completely appalled at the whole jacket thing. Then Chris’ observation that the president’s recent rallies have continued to solidify his base made me give a lot more credence to Plank’s opinion.

      A friend shared this video of Noam Chomsky talking about Trump which I found insightful.

    • Wow, Noam Chomsky's video... It sounds depressing and outrageous and I don't want to believe it. But it makes such sense.

      I remember after 9/11 how we seemed to collectively lose our minds. George Bush's approval went to 82%, we boycotted French restaurants and put them out of business because they questioned the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, we tried to rename French fries to freedom fries, and we invaded. Now we look back and wonder what we were thinking.

      We look back and wonder what we were thinking at other times too, like when we invaded Vietnam or did Japanese internment.

      And now it feels like we've lost our minds all over again.

    • And now it feels like we've lost our minds all over again.

      Only some of us, and not even a majority. It is worth repeating: we still have time to stop the madness if only we can get people to the polls in November. Friends don't let friends (or relatives) sit this one out. Do something about it while you still can, and tweeting doesn't count.