Chatological Humor (July 17)

Jul 17, 2018

One poll today.

You asked for it and you got it. Gene will now be holding weekly mini-chats, where he takes your questions about what's happening in the country -- and anything else you want to discuss.

Good afternoon. 

Wow. 

Someone on Twitter speculated that Trump might have finally shot that guy on Fifth Avenue.  Now we need to wait and see if he does lose support.  

I'm not going to add my feeble, ignorant voice to the millions of words of condemnation flowing out this morning.  This is probably the wisest and best and most blunt take I read this morning, by the Post's conservative mensch Michael Gerson.

The thing that's interesting about this particular outrage perpetrated by Trump is that it looks like it is going to stick. He has defined himself as a coward, a weakling, and a subservient  lickspittle to the leader of a hostile foreign power that is literally waging war against this country.  "Treason" is not too harsh a word to at least discuss. But most to the point, he has done all this in a way that particularly disgusts rock-ribbed conservatives.    Russia!  He's choosing to believe Rooskies over Merkins!  

And we're hearing from them!  They're appalled. 

Here's a quote: "President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin. It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected—-immediately." That's from... Newt Gingrich.

Now, sure, "clarify" is a weasel word, suggesting Donald meant something wonderful but somehow said it wrong, and "mistake" compounds that, but still, this is lapdog Newt criticizing his master. 

Fox News -- Fox News! -- was pretty condemnatory, at least for Fox.   Fox and Friends Weekend host Abby Huntsman tweeted:  “No negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus.”

On Fox's website, Douglas Schoen gave this delicious instant analysis: "Putin eats Trump's lunch at Helsinki."

At Fox Business Network, host Neil Cavuto, said Trump had been "disgusting."  His co-host, Trish Regan, tweeted Trump had been "unpatriotic," a hair-stands-up buzzword for conservatives. 

Sean Hannity called Trump's performance "repulsive" and "ignorant" and "deeply indicative of a bromance-besotted adolescent ready to surrender his country to a hostile power."  

Haha.  No, Hannity was the usual suckup Hannity, criticizing Trumps critics.

Anyway, the questions remain: Has Trump  finally shot that guy on Fifth Avenue.  And will it hurt him signifcantly?  As the TV hacks say, time will tell. 

(The best part of this, for me, is that Trump can't escape the fallout.  He is watching -- not reading; our president doesn't read -- TV, where people are calling him "weak."   That's gonna bother Trump a lot.  He'd rather be called a pedophile cannibal than be called "weak."

--

Just one more unrelated comment: I think cities should outlaw certain passenger vehicles from certain streets, and enforce it with vigor and fines.  I am talking about narrow two-way  streets -- 9th Street SE in D.C., for example, which can't have more than 14 feet clearance -- and big, fat piggy cars.

Make people who drive a Hummer find another route or get popped with  $50 fine.

On a narrow street, every head on encounter with, say, a Chevy Silverado, is a near sideswipe experience, even if you both are driving carefully.  People regularly lose their side-view mirrors to these behemoths.  The Silverado is literally 8 feet wide.  Javier Sotomayor could not jump over a Silverado that was lying on its side.  

Okay, rant over.   We start at noon.  

Take the poll, which is funnier today than it was yesterday. 



Can we talk about Barnaby today? The top of my head has blown off and I'm still reeling from the NATO - Helsinki disasters.

Barnaby's latest outrage was just a week ago.  I saw him out of the corner of my eye, racing hell-bent-for-leather, lickety split, away from the kitchen and up the stairs to the bedroom.  He had something in his mouth.  He clearly had scored a major cat achievement.  Chased him.  It was a roast duck leg.   He gave it up immediately.  I'm not sure he really wanted to eat it -- he was just thrilled he had murdered a duck. 

Meanwhile, here is a picture of Barnaby, as a 2 month old kitten the day after his rescue, and Murphy.  It was taken by Caitlin Gibson.  You are welcome. 

Now, alas, on to what is shaping up to be pretty much an all-Trump chat.

Nothing changed yesterday. Some hollow finger shaking from those on the right which will all be forgotten in a week or two. There will be no change in policy, no administration staffers are going to resign as Ms. Marcus wrote, this is all a nothing burger. 30-40% of this country has a higher opinion of Putin then they do of H. Clinton.

We'll see with the next round of polls.   But I do think there is a difference here, a substantive difference.   This is a revolting thing he has done, to conservatives.  More than to any other group.  He is seling us out to ... Russia.

We'll see.   I do see your point. 

I figured it was made up, but the fact is that if it were true, it wouldn't have surprised me. We're talking about Pres. Trump here. If it is insane and smacks of racism, it's on brand.

Insane might not be the right word.  Adolescent?  Building  wall is not exactly an insane idea.  It's a completely immature and stupid idea. 

Which reminds me, we should all watch this every six months or so. 

AAAAAHHHHH!!!!! I'm done. I can no longer have even a smidgen of respect for people who still support this dotard. And this includes friends I have known my entire life, many of whom I consider intelligent and well-informed. They just will not open their eyes to the mangling of our democracy in which this idiot is engaged. At least some Republicans (and even Fox News!) are tepidly pointing out that this is a problem. WHY is he such a female body part with regards to Putin? My wife thinks the Russians have quietly bought all of his debt and now completely own him, and he knows they could ruin him completely. He would be poor, which is likely the most terrifying thing for him.

I object to your negative objectification of the female body part.   We need an alternative.   Wussy is kind of too tame.  Can anyone suggest anything?  It has to convey craven weakness.  I am taking nominations. 

I'm sorry to drag up a comment from last week, but this one drove me crazy: "I'm a Democrat but please stop bringing up the popular vote. It just makes you look dumb. If the election would have been decided by the popular vote winner, the Republicans would have had a massive get out the vote campaign in California. They would never have won California, but they would have lost it by much less." This is a great argument for abolishing the electoral college! A democracy should be based on increasing voter turnout everywhere! There should be an all-out spring for each party to turnout every single vote it can, activating non-voting populations, and making it easier for everyone. I know this presupposes that improving access will affect disparate populations equally, but "the other party would be motivated to turn out more voters" is a terrible way to argue against moving to a popular vote electoral system.

The get-out-the-vote argument is a good one, the best I've heard, but I don't think it outweighs the principal values of the EC.   I've said this before.  Here it is. 

We've been having close elections and that is likely to continue.  Imagine another election like 2000, where the popular vote victory margin is super thin.  You know what  would happen?  It would be bedlam.  Every state would become florida.  There'd be recounts in every state. A new president would not be chosen for months and months.   Florida was bad enough. 

The second reason is philosophical.   I know this was not true in 2016, but the electoral college tends to magnify the size of the victory, better legitimizing the winner.  

Here's an attack on the electoral college that ignores all of those points and creates straw men instead. 

If we truly want to make Donald not just resign, but disappear we need to get him to use a racial slur openly like that guy from the pizza chain. We need Kelly to slip him a note saying, "Do not say the N word.". POTUS won't be able to resist.

No, it would have to be more like, "whatever you do, don't use the N word.  It is very politically incorrect and will upset a lot of sensitive people."  He is a child. 

I am writing this early because next week I will be on vacation in your home town of NYC and have no plans to bring anything to access the chat. What has surprised me most about this administration isn't even about Trump himself. With all of the things I learned in history, civics classes, books I've read, I am shocked at how many loopholes there are in our system of checks and balances. I always thought our system was designed to not let a tyrant take over, but I keep finding out how nebulous the system really is. For example, if you believe Alan Derschowitz, even if Trump were caught on full video talking to Putin and saying, "hey, if you give me dirt on Hillary and I win, I'll make those sanctions go away," this is not illegal or unconstitutional. Or that Ivanka, Jared and the Trump Organization can profit directly from the presidency does not seem to be illegal or unconstitutional. Like the person that wrote in last week about all the evidence about Russian interference and/or collusion, none of this is illegal or unconstitutional! Who knew? To me, its obvious that Trump has committed obstruction of justice, but so what? Outside of impeachment proceedings, which will never happen as long as Reps control the House & Senate, there is nothing that can be done. No federal criminal charges can be brought against a sitting president. These are the things that have surprised me the most. There really are no checks and balances.

And even when there are, they can be skirted.  A president can't declare war, but he can WAGE war by another name, as Johnson did in 'Nam.  It was a more complicated scenario -- Congress DID pass the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, but to my memory never actually authorized the "war" that killed tens of thousands of Americans. 

As far as no one taking action, that's entirely on the spineless, feckless, selfish, cowardly Republicans.   They may act if Trump's shameless behavior results in a real hit to his approval ratings, but don't bet on it.   

The chilling distinction is that Trump didn't express doubt in the IC assessment because of past intelligence failures. He didn't express doubt because his own personal standards of proof are so very, very high. He expressed doubt for one specific reason: the word of Putin.

It was as disgusting a performance as I have ever seen from a president.   

"Yellow-bellied sap sucker" works for me, if you don't mind negative objectification of birds.

Too complex.  And it doesn't really convey weakness.  

I suggest earlobe. In all 1950s TV shows, grabbing and pulling someone by the earlobe rendered them completely powerless. Oh, and please fix the long AAAAHHH. It screwed up the formatting.

Earlobe is pretty good.  

Gene 2,0, can you address the formatting?

please break up AAAHHHH! so it doesn't hyper-expand the minimum width of the page, and also maybe avoid posting such in the future. Thanks!

Edited it to be a more reasonable scream into the void. Thanks for the heads up!

necessitating scrollling from side to side as well as up & down. You might want to have the producer check it out.

He is.   Should be fixed. 

I'm so tired of hearing the retiring Republican Senators (Flake, Hatch, and Corker) tut-tut over Trump and moan about how awful everything is, blah blah blah, but they still vote as they're told by McConnell. Time to put their money where their mouths are. If they won't jump parties and give the Democrats the majority, they could at least vote their conscience and put a stop to some of this lunacy. What can McConnell do to them - kick them off committees? Who cares - they're retiring! What can Trump do to them - tweet hysterically? Who cares - they're retiring! What can the hard-right voters do to them? They're retiring! (And McCain needs to do this, too - he's not coming back.) In my happy place, the three retiring Senators, McCain, Collins, and Murkowski walk into Schumer's office and tell him he's now the Majority Leader. Yeah, I know, but...

I have asked all of these questions, too.  Espcially the McCain, Collins, Murkowski one.  It would be an act of real heroism and patriotism, and they'd probably be able to negotiation awesome chairmanships. 

It's a fine old insult for a weak and wobbly nebbishy type of person. It has the added virtue of being a snooty foreign (British) putdown.

Well, it was popularized by an American in a comic strip about Caspar Milquetoast, the timid soul.  "Caspar speaks softly and gets hit with a big stick." 

I think if he's a body part, he's a prolapsed sphincter. A healthy sphincter at least serves a purpose, and is somewhat muscular, if disgusting.

That's revolting.  I like it. 

So we have learned something from the chatter who spelled AAH with 49 letters and added 58 exclamation points with no spaces in between. Apparently the chat software automatically resizes the column width accordingly. So, thanks, pal.

We have indeed learned that. 

Could we make it so that wide vehicles have to take one designated north-south street en lieu of 9th AND have Trump tied spread eagled in the middle of that street❓Naked would be good, too. Then see how many times his fat, treasonous butt gets tire-kissed by humvees and the like...then just hose down the street. All good❓

This is very rude and made me laugh.

Friends and I were recently in an Uber driving down a very narrow street with cars parked on each side. Someone parked on the side opened their door and the Uber driver hit the door. My friend, who was in the front seat, saw that the door was opening. Why didn't the driver? Who's at fault in an accident like this? The driver, or the person in the car who should look before opening the door on such a narrow street?

I think by law it is the driver who opened the door, unless the Uber driver was egregiously negligent.  

Our President just got dominated by a foreign leader, the head of the (former) most valuable car company just called a guy a pedo on Twitter, and the (former) head of one of America's lousiest pizza companies just resigned in a cloud of scandal over racist language. What a strange world this is.

Wait.  The Papa John's guy ... resigned?  Or is he still CEO.  I didn't think what he did was that awful, if I understand it correctly.  He was discussing the horrible nature of the N-word, no?

Nope. Quite literally, nothing matters to Trump supporters. They have zero principles, except hating others. And to the person who asked in a previous chat - does knowing that someone supports Trump change your opinion of them? Yes, yes it does. My parents are enthusiastic supporters. They defend the child separation policy. They have contorted their values in astonishing ways to embrace his new world view. He made that original comment about shooting someone on Fifth at their alma mater, by the way. They are fools, and our relationship will never recover from this.

Understood, and I agree.  

When do congressional Republicans say "Enough"? After Kavanaugh gets confirmed, cementing a conservative majority on the Supreme Court for the first time since the 1930s?

Lisa Shroder has come up with the best idea I've heard yet for a campaign slogan for the eventual Democratic nominee.  Just one word, and a period:  "Enough."

This is another plausible news article. Just flesh it out with well-written details about plausible issues. What about the Eskimos? What about Sarah Palin? What about the original $7.2M purchase price? What about the pipeline? What about the melting glaciers? What about Canada’s reaction? What about the cruise ship industry? Will residents be allowed to keep their guns? So sad that we now live in an America where a reader cannot immediately tell an Onion article apart from a true news story in the mainstream media. Irony, satire, sarcasm, black humor, or straight factual truth?

I love this idea. 

Not sure if this has been done yet, but I suggest those who protest within ear shot of Trump (outside golf course, etc.), or while his motorcade drives by, should not be chanting anything. They should all just point and laugh at him.

Oooooh, wait!!

I've got it.  Holy crap.  This should have legs.  

All the protestors should be women.  And they all should be silent, but hold up a single pinky finger.  Or maybe two, in a modified F.U.

 

 

 

 

I don't have an alternative for that word, but I also strenuously object to this usage. That is probably THE most bad-ass part of any body, male or female. You know what that thing goes through? That word should be used to describe extraordinary strength and resilience.

Agreed.

I also object to the idea that showing strength means "having balls."  I often say something strong means "having ovaries."

Is he an even more craven attention whore than Giuliani? And crying about being shunned on Martha's Vineyard wasn't the best ruse to evoke sympathy.

I fear there is something wrong with Dersh.  Some cognitive thing.  I hope not. 

also new research that pedestrian deaths have risen along with proliferation of SUVs. Can't blame it only on people looking at phones.

I am serious in my recommendation.  It would raise revenue for cities in a completely fair and satisfying way. 

Sorry, owners of Hummers and Silverados, but you have piggy vehicles. 

Any such people wish to defend themselves?

I used to be part of a right wing discussion site. Although I am moderate myself, I enjoyed the lively debate. I joined it during the Bush (II) administration, before 9/11. One thing I loved about this site is that discussion was usually civil, even when the disagreements were profound. It was moderated, preventing the usual trolls from taking over. Then came the election of 2016. I began to notice a disquieting tendency towards nastiness, and I noticed that sometimes we were disagreeing on basic facts, not opinion. Sometimes even the meaning of words were called into question. Truth started to take a backseat to dogma. I couldn't take it anymore and quit. Today, I went back to see what they were saying about the Helsinki press conference. Gene, Trump shot the guy on 5th avenue and didn't lose any voters. The Kool-aid is strong, and I am very disappointed.

Boy, I hope you're wrong. 

McCain could become a Democrat. By Arizona law the governor is required to appoint a replacement from the same party as the outgoing senator, so the change would remain a check on Trump for a little while, even after McCain is dead or too infirm to continue as a vote against the abuses of power he proclaims to abhor.

Wow, that's an interesting law. 

They stripped him of everything, including access to the HQ ... leaving him with only about $60,000,000 more because the stock went up immediately. And from what I can tell, he dropped the N-bomb on a conference call about diversity (!)...

I don't know enough about this to express an opinion, but my memory is that he dropped the n-bomb while making the point that Colonel Sanders was awful for having used it.  Was it more complicated than that?  Was he fired just for saying the word, context be damned?

No, he used the word in a complaint that the Colonel of KFC never got in trouble for using that word so why was he getting flack for saying that the NFL players who kneel were responsible for him selling less pizza on game days (simplified version).

Hm, okay.   A bit less defensible, but still not in the worst possible context.  But this makes a little more sense. 

My husband and I finally saw Hamilton last night and loved it. Seeing people of color playing GW, Hamilton, Jefferson, etc was very moving and made me proud of this country, the same way I was when Obama was elected (I'm a white female, 46). Now we are here. I can only imagine if this administration and the "base" went to see this show, they would hate it. Like Megyn Kelly's "santa is white, kids" episode. I just don't get their fear/hatred feeling threatened by of people of color. I've been so sad since 2016.

What I find interesting and horrifying is the effect one bad guy can have.  Trump has legitimized bigotry and class hatred, and now we are seeing it all around us.   His bigotry is giving permission to all of them out there to come forward and show themselves without fear. 

I wonder if men have really thought through the fact that if abortion becomes illegal in (however many) states, just as the woman will be forced to bear the child, they will be forced to become a father or at least pay child support, if the woman chooses to keep and parent the child. Forty years ago, proving paternity would, I assume have been difficult but nowadays, it would be dead easy. Just a thought.

It should be a major vein of assault against the assaulters of Roe, since men, appallingly, still pretty much set the abortion rules.  It may not work.  The right sanctimoniously embraces the issue of "personal responsibility," so might embrace the idea of more dads having to answer for their "sins."   You know?   

I honestly do not know how anyone could even have thought that was a true story.

That's why I did it.   To me the results were impressive.  A quarter of you thought it was at least possible. And I honestly think it might be higher because I said it was a fake before asking the question.   

Apart from the content of Trump's remarks, what do you think about the insight into the way his mind works? His speeches are bad enough, but at the press conference he demonstrated disjointed, rambling, confused, barely coherent thinking. Is that what's he's like at White House meetings? Is that how he responds to intelligence briefings?

Of course it is.  He is a petulant 11-year-old.  He has no attention span.  He write incoherently, as seen by his tweets. 

Speaking of his tweets, he seems to be silent this morning about his performance in Helsinki.  Is there anything new?

I live in Tennessee, where practically every Republican candidate's campaign ads promote their desire to do Trump's bidding once elected. Even one of our Democratic candidates says that he will support Trump if the policy is good for Tennesseeans. There are an overabundance of candidates, and they can't all will this one, so they will presumably plan to run in future elections. The ads are going to come back these candidates in the ass, right?

I wonder if now is the time for one person, in a place like Tennesse, to say, hey.  Emperor.  Clothes.  I am opposed to Trump, and you should be too, and here is why.

I think they also should be required to park in a separate area in parking lots, the farthest from stores. Of course this would have to be actively enforced because the owners wouldn't obey the rules. Also, someone did a study a few years ago that should SUV drivers are the worst drivers. There is an area in Berkeley where the rich folk live and back in the 70's when rich folks owned big cars, in this neighborhood it was Mercedes instead of Cadillacs. The streets were too narrow and twisty and the owners were smart. How about putting some sort of barrier that doesn't allow vehicles 8 feet wide to drive on the street like those overhead things in parking garages that keep up tall vehicles?

That's exactly the right idea. 

Speaking of bad drivers and SUVs, I know a woman who bought a large boat of a car for the following reason: "I am not a good driver, and if I get into an accident, I want a car big enough to protect me." 

AND DESTROY ALL OTHERS.

Auugh. 

(Spellcheck tried to change the above word to "augur"

Gene, You don’t have to go very far into Twitter threads or Facebook posts to find people who are saying “who cares about Russia? as long as Trump seals our borders and keeps the economy strong I don’t care about Russia.” It’s demoralizing.

It sure is.  I wonder how they would feel if it were proven he was somehow, tangibly, under Russia's thumb.  Like if they were paying him off.  Or had compromising material. 

The Trump Baby balloon was a genius move. And Trump hates it. We should make some more and fly them everywhere.

I still think the pinky thing is great.  It would INFURIATE him, the way the small hands thing did, only exponentially worse. 

I don't know how anyone who lived through yesterday couldn't conceive that anything is possible.

Exactly.

Now that POTUS has acquired a taste for kissing men on the face on international television, do you think that is the part of Vlad Putin's anatomy POTUS intends to kiss when they get together for his performance review next week?

I have a jokes-as-poems contest coming up that explores this important issue.

Well, I was already getting ready to rant to you about the state of America and how deep in the hole we are, and then I read Carlos Lozada's piece about whether truth can survive this president, and now I feel even more ranty. Gene, I live in a deeply red state, and I have no hope that we will have a changing of the guard in 2020. Nor in 2024, for that matter (different president, same BS). The people in my community are generally good people (the ones I have met, anyway), and yet they are up to their necks in the conservative Kool-aid. They believe that the current administration is doing good things, such as lowering their taxes (ha!) and killing ISIS (ha!!) and keeping the immigrants' grubby hands off their jobs (do they know how many farm workers are keeping the state's economy going?). They believe that the Democrats are just going to take their guns and kill their babies and let the whole world come live in America, the greatest country to ever exist, anointed by God himself. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will change their minds or get them to consider that maybe the information they're being fed is incorrect, or even maliciously false. They are willfully ignorant, because they have been taught to stick with their tribe rather than question what they hear. Maybe some people who voted for Trump will come to their senses and sit out 2020, or maybe even switch sides, but there are still SO many people who buy into the cynical, self-serving, shameless dogma being preached by so many conservative politicians out there that even if Trump goes down, the trend toward this new twisted conservatism, and the idea that the methods don't matter as long as the "correct" people have power, will remain. People will still vote down-ballot for politicians who do not have their constituents' best interests at heart, because they have been politically educated in a post-truth world. Possibly the only Democrat that they would ever vote for is Jesus himself, but I don't think their love affair would last long. I was idealistic and optimistic for such a long time, and now I believe that even if Trump loses in 2020, the same nonsense will continue, because the people who oppose Democrats will work even harder to discredit and dismantle anything they try to do, on all levels. For the conservatives in power, it's not about doing good for their country, it's about retaining power for themselves and the people who support them financially. Lozada's piece doesn't end on a hopeful note, and I'm not hopeful either. Thanks for letting me rant.

You are welcome.  I agree with you completely but want to point out that conservatives would not accept that Jesus was a Democrat.  They'd declare that he was a Republican, much in the way some conservatives claim MLK was a Republican. (MLK never joined a party, but, um, if there anything he was not, it was a Republican.)

What do you think of him? I've spent more time reading about him than actually watching much of his movies or shows. I thought his original idea on British TV 20+ years ago was quite creative and different, but the joke has gotten old. I don't have any real problem with his deceptions -- being caught saying what you actually think because you thought you were among fellow travelers is not a good platform for complaining. I just find most of the results squirm-inducing to watch and also not really funny, which it seems to me is his real failure. What do you think? Would he be more effective if the results were funnier? Is it his fault that they're not? Or are you going to declare me an idiot for not realizing that he's brilliantly funny?

I basically agree with you.  

There is also a certain cruelty in some of what he does, even when he is funny.   Remember how he duped the workers at a hotel?   This was a terrific 45 seconds, but as I recall, he got it by misleading them about what he was going to do.

I'm conflicted.  He's funny.  He's mean.  And yes, he is a pony with one trick. 

Think you should have had us vote before you told us you made it up. I suspect fewer would have said it was made up.

But vote on what?

Sometimes people who use wheelchairs due to physical disability need a large vehicle for transportation. So LW's proposal won't pass the ADA test (unless Trump abolishes the ADA).

Well, that's different!  If you have a disability, your license tag says that, and there are all sorts of advantages open to you.  

Agree with you when you say that the female body part should not be a synonym for weak. Nothing weak about giving birth. Now, if you want to use a body part as a sign of weakness, ain't nothing weaker or sadder than a flaccid penis. So what's a good nickname for that?

Hm. 

I'm not saying no, but, um, without getting gross here, penises are flaccid 98 percent of the time.  All penises. Yours.  Assuming you have a penis. 

You asked if there was anything new regarding Trump and Russia. According to CNN Trump is going to make a statement about his meeting with Putin at 2:00 this afternoon.

I am on tenterhooks. 

I predict he will not apologize,but talk tough about Russia.  That is his MO.  When he is in the presence of the world leader -- like Trudeau -- he is courtly, even deferention.  Then, later, he takes to Twitter...

I am quite gullible, yes, and I believed it. I do not think there are any limits to what this (expletive) will try to do. He wants to change the paint job on Air Force One, for crying out loud. He is wasting our money and ruining our democracy <-- understatement du jour

Statistically, many dozens of people also felt it was true. And this is a very smart crowd here. 

I actually can completely understand why Trump said he believes Putin over our Intel folks. First, the DNC NEVER TURNED OVER the server that they say was hacked by the Russians to the FBI, NSA, the CIA, or anyone else in the Federal Government to investigate. The DNC refuses to make it available to anyone other than their 3rd party investigator. Second, Peter Strzok blatantly put his bias on public display during his testimony last week. Openly speaking of how he could "Smell" the Republicans in a Virginia Wal-Mart. There is no taking any of that out of context. Third, Trump has thoroughly pissed off the political establishment, poking his thumb in their eye and causing a huge threat to disrupt the 2 party system that keeps the cronies and backslappers in charge. I've always been told that if you're pissing someone off, you're doing your job. Look, Obama was caught on open mic telling Putin he'd have more flexibility when he was re-elected. The right went nuts, the left said he was working on the relationship. Trump is working on the relationship, and both sides are flipping out. The left wants us to get along with other nations, but only under the left's terms. It's hypocritical, and I love it when both parties are losing their minds, because they're scared of Trump's ability to actually pull this off, thereby making the Dems and Repubs look like imbeciles and spoiled brats. Which they are.

Who did you get to write this for you, Donald?  The spelling and syntax are too good for you to have done it yourself. I leave it to the chatters to pick apart all your fact-based "logic."

Some media people have been calling Trump’s discussions with Putin treasonous. While I think it’s probably a first that a leader of a country chooses not be believe their own security agencies and to instead to believe the leader of a traditional foe, I don’t see how it’s treason. There are a few lawyer types in your chat group - can any of them opine on what amounts to treason?

I believe it would include giving aid and comfort to the enemy. 

Yesterday's performance by SCROTUS was the most disgusting performance on an American "president" that I have ever seen. Please tell me that this is all going to come to and end soon. I am shocked that anyone can still support this buffoon. My fear, however, is that nothing is going to happen and things will continue to get worse. Is there any reason at all to be optimistic?

Only that he MIGHT have finally shot that guy on Fifth Avenue. 

One has to have a modicum of erudition to know Emma Lazarus's poem. Because Trump lacks this, the story had to be a fabrication. However, when the U.S. ambassador to Estonia resigned, I told my partner that Trump said "if the ambassador was a REAL ambassador, he wouldn't be assigned to Estonia. No one even knows where Estonia is. If he were a REAL ambassador, he'd be in Paris or Moscow, not, um, what's the capital of Estonia? No one knows!" My partner believed me. It's believable, no?

This made me laff.  Yes, that's entirely plausible. 

I just watched the POTUS' treasonous presser with Putin and I want to say this loud and clear. The GOP is currently occupied by our enemy Russia. Anyone who thinks to lecture us about civility under these circumstances can kiss my black ass.

As I've said before, I think what we need is hostile, fact-based, angry, devastatingly effective civility.  And my reason is not about politeness, it is about effectiveness.  If we are in the mud pit with them, people on the fence think there is no distinction.  

In your Twitter feed you cite Trump's statement that "I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics." Risk peace? As the total tool that he is, Trump is assuming that the Russia probe, the Mueller investigation. are "politics" that jeopardize the peace. The more Trump carries on, the more I am convinced that Jonathan Chait is on to something. How long can this nonsense go on?

Chait speculated that the Russians really DO have something on Trump.   He and you wrote this before his treason at Helsinki. 

I thought it was unlikely.  I am now more inclined to believe it. 

I might have considered a dim possibility that it was true for maybe 30 seconds if you had left out the part about actually moving the statue and made it only about getting rid of the inscription. The statue itself is too iconic a part of the NYC image for an NYC boy to mess with it. The Golden Gate, on the other hand -- fair game.

Well, the problem there is that it's not QUITE outrageous enough to force a difficult decision.  I wanted it outrageous, and as I am writing this, twenty-six percent of the respondents thought it was true, or possibly true. 

Accommodations, please. Having a disability that qualifies a person for a license tag is not, nor is any downstream result of this, any kind of advantage.

Okay.

I think people don't remember/understand why Russia = bad. In the 80's, we were steeped in the "Russia is a bad guy" narrative... think about all the 80's movies featuring Russians as the villains: Bond, War Games, Rocky, etc. In recent decades, the villains have shifted-- to Muslims/Middle Eastern countries for the late 90's through 2010ish, and now to the "Mexican rapists and MS-13 job-stealers". So people who aren't wonks or who are under age 40 don't get how truly TERRIBLE it is to have a President in the pocket of Putin-- it just doesn't terrify people the way it would have in the 80's.

I think this is part of it, yes.

Trump has tweeted today about 1. How NATO is going to cough up more money because of him "(bad for Russia!)", 2. How his meeting with Putin was even better than his meeting with NATO, 3. Thanking Rand Paul for defending him, and 4. "The economy of the United States is stronger than ever before!"

Thank you.

Silverados are pickup trucks, and actually smaller than Ford trucks.

I researched widths yesterday.  Unless I made a mistake, Silverados are the widest vehicles. 

Were you there in Section 311? Someone looking like you was there...sitting in front of Dave Jaegler.

No.  It was Groucho Marx. 

Not me. 

This rhetorical question is hardly original to me, but I think it's becoming harder and harder to argue: if Trump were beholden to the Russians, either because of past financial dealings, compromising information they hold, interest in future business dealings, or some combination of the three, how would he act any differently than he is?

He would act exactly as he is acting: kowtowing to Putin against his best political interests.  He HAS to be compromised in some way, probably one of the ones you mentioned. 

We have a cat that we rescued under similar circumstances to Barnaby. She's a pretty nice cat overall, but our problem is that she's young and spirited and bullies our old Beagle mix. He is a prince among dogs, and we agreed previously that we should not get a cat because we did not want him to live out his golden years in fear or discomfort. But, she literally was on our doorstep, and due to other circumstances, we decided to keep her. So, most of her bullying is rooted in play, but it scares him and he did get an ear bloodied recently. We believe our first obligation is to the dog - but can we train her to be nicer? It would also seem unfair to uproot her life after 6 months of living with us. Do you have any moral or practical advice?

You are stuck with the two, now. 

And if I knew how to tame a cat, Barnaby would not be Barnaby. 

My only consolation is that cats tend to get less rambunctious.  That is the good news.  The bad news is that it happens around 2 years old. 

The other thing about Trump is that it is quite possible that mid-stage dementia is also contributing to the behavior we see.

He's always been like this!   EXACTLY like this.

I poked around on Fox News today to see what the talking points were - the big one making its way into the discourse is "I THINK IT'S GREAT THAT HE'S MAKING PEACE WITH RUSSIA, HOORAY FOR SOLVING DECADES OF POLITICAL TENSION." This is a tricky one to defeat because it's appealing on its surface to a wide swath of people (who doesn't love peace and friendship?). The GOP leaders are publicly huffing in dismay, but they still know that a huge percentage of their voting base will turn on them the second they cross Trump the Great. They summoned up this demon from the ether and now they don't know how to send it back, so they go back and forth between trying to appease it and making comments which seem to have the primary aim of ensuring the history books don't judge them as harshly as they could.

I like the genie analogy.  I think it's true here. 

How does someone like that end up in this chat? I'm always surprised when you have a Trump defender in here.

Happy to have him though he might also be a Trump troll who trawls liberal sites. 

Okay, we're done.  And thanks.  I loved this discussion.  You'll find many questions I didn't get to in the update. 

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Gene Weingarten
Gene Weingarten is the humor writer for The Washington Post. His column, Below the Beltway, has appeared weekly in the Post's Sunday magazine since July 2000 and has been distributed nationwide on The Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

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