Open Thread for Wednesday, September 7, 2016

If he'll build the Navy back up, I MIGHT vote for him. No, I won't. Just kidding...

If he’ll build the Navy back up, I MIGHT consider voting for him… No, I won’t. Just kidding…

I’ve been really tired all day, after giving platelets last night. But that doesn’t seem to be a thing, from my Googling. Oh, well — tomorrow’s another day, allegedly. In the meantime:

  1. Trump pledges big US military expansion — Which goes to show ya, not even he is all bad. But one thing he consistently is is inconsistent. That’s never bothered him, or his supporters, either, apparently.
  2. Clinton should stop pretending she’s not elite — Amen to that, David Ignatius! It may be all the rage this year to be unqualified, but the thing is that she is qualified, and she should flaunt it. Enough with the populist posing! As Mr. Ignatius says, “But let’s be honest: Her strength is that she’s the voice of experienced, centrist leadership.” Absolutely. She’s a legitimate member of the responsible governing consensus, and that is her one saving grace. Harrumph.
  3. Dallas Morning News endorses Hillary Clinton, backing first Democrat in 76 years — The remarkable thing is that they endorsed her, rather than merely saying we have no alternative. I continue to hope my friends at The State are paying attention, and thinking hard about this. This is no time in our nation’s history to abdicate responsibility.
  4. Conservation group founder retiring — That’s what the headline says. They mean Ann Timberlake, who has been quite a player on the environmental front with her Conservation Voters of South Carolina.
  5. Mexico’s Finance Minister Resigns After Trump Visit — The Trump invitation? His idea. El bobo!

That’s enough for now. Bring up whatever interests you, within reason of course…


Also, as Trump expands the military, I’d like to see him replace all the guns on our frigates with 24-pounders.

35 thoughts on “Open Thread for Wednesday, September 7, 2016

  1. Mark Stewart

    Not that his supporters will care; but Trump’s egrigious support for the “leadership” Putin is showing in Russia was beyond any rational defense of his inane comments.

    His defense budget plan did show how out of touch wth the real (non-wonky) world he really is. But it isn’t just him, it’s the entire US legislature.

    Still, the irony is so thick around Trump’s core supporters being the same Tea Party types who agitated for such reduced federal spending over the past 8 years. Now they blindly support Trump without a clue as to the mental disconnect involved. Typical…

  2. Bob Amundson

    Gary Johnson yesterday (on “Morning Joe”) when asked what he would do about Aleppo: “What is Aleppo?”

    1. Bryan Caskey

      I don’t even think the word Aleppo or Syria was mentioned in the town hall debate last night. I had it on in the background while I did some other things.

      Both Hillary and Trump were awful. Trump doesn’t know what Aleppo is. Hillary does, but her policy is awful.

      Can’t anyone here play this game?

      1. Bob Amundson

        I was very disappointed too. Neither impressed. My wife, a Clinton supporter, rated Hillary’s performance a 5 (on a scale of 10). She said Hillary “looks and sounds tired.” She rated Trump a 2 or 3. Of course, I agreed with her.

      2. Dave Crockett

        I forced myself to watch, as I am one of the large group of voters who are not happy with any of the choices offered (including Libertarian). Hillary still wants to appear contrite on the e-mail server issue (“…it was a bad decision..”) while clinging to the contention that it wasn’t a security threat (“…nothing had a ‘confidential’ header…”). The Donald still wants us to believe that he can wave a magic wand and all our problems abroad will fall away (“…the generals will have 30 days to come up with a plan…”) and that he has other secret plans based on his belief in his own phenomenal acumen on all topics to resolve everything else (“…I don’t want to give them away…”).

        I’ll force myself to watch the “debates”, too, but I doubt that my civic depression will subside. I guess I’ll have to make a decision before election day lest I find myself dawdling in front of the voting machine and holding everyone else up intermidably. I can’t just not vote. Sigh…

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    I hate to admit this, y’all. but I wasn’t aware that the forum last night was happening, and didn’t watch.

    I wonder if I would have if I’d known. Possibly, if only to build Twitter followership. Such events are good for that.

    I’ve read about it, and of course, neither candidate seems to have said or done anything that would have altered my impressions so far.

    Y’all tell me Trump made an ass of himself, and Hillary was uninspiring. Yep. Already had that information.

    I looked at Carl Leubsdorf’s column about how the debates could make up the minds of the undecided (which is scary, if Hillary’s performance was indeed that poor).

    And I can’t help wondering — if a person is undecided, which is to say that person might actually consider voting for Trump but hasn’t quite made up his mind — then I think I’d rather that person stay home.

    Yeah, I know, that’s what partisans say about us independents — if we haven’t “made up our minds” yet, we’re not paying attention.

    When of course, it’s the opposite. We’re constantly making up our minds, and actually thinking about each discrete decision. We haven’t surrendered that responsibility, the responsibility to think and discern, to a party. And since we have so very many more decisions to make than partisans do, we have more practice at it.

    But those among us who haven’t figured out THIS discrete decision should probably just take a vacation from voting. The evidence necessary to make a decision was fully available the moment it became a possibility that Trump would get the nomination. Nothing we’ve learned since then has added to or taken away from the equation.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      Yeah, you didn’t miss much. Both candidates revealed how truly awful they are. The two worst moments (one for each candidate) were:

      1. When Trump said we should have “taken the oil” from Iraq, because that would have somehow prevented ISIS from arising and it would have been “spoils”. I mean, the guy is literally off the rails.

      2. Hillary said “We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again and we are not putting ground troops into Syria,”. The CiC shouldn’t say things like this. If you’re going to fuss at Trump for saying dumb things, we have to fuss at Hillary for this. I know this sort of thing plays well with the isolationists (and Putin) but it’s malpractice to commit to something like this. Also, in case Hillary isn’t aware – we already have thousands of ground troops in Iraq right now. Right now.

      Last number I saw was over 4,000.

      Our two candidates are Dumb and Dumber.

      1. Mark Stewart

        Not to defend Hillary, because her comment wasn’t defensible; but I heard that as the Clinton’s careful spinning of language. Too clever by half.

        My dog whistle ear heard she say that we would not commit regular army divisions again to a ground war (“ground troops”), leaving the unspoken door wide open for air, naval and of course special forces. She is more used to counseling and giving depositions than anything else, I think.

        I think that is in fact the current state of affairs in Iraq and Syria, no “ground troops” involved. Just SOCOM and mercenaries…

        1. Bryan Caskey

          Well, we’re currently fighting ISIS from the air and with special forces (h/t to the Navy). No offense to our military guys, but that’s been pretty much enough to do absolutely nothing of substance. We’ve been “fighting” them for years without much effect. All I heard from Hillary was more of the same policy that Obama has had.

          Super, we’re just going to continue to poke ISIS with a stick and pretend we’re fighting them real hard.

          Honestly, I do not understand this half-ass fighting we’re engaged in now. Either fight and win – hard, tough, and brutal, or don’t be there at all. This Mickey Mouse stuff is malpractice.

          Speaking of malpractice, I thought it was journalistic malpractice for Matt Lauer to somehow fail to ask each candidate: “Syria is a failed state in open war, generating hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of refugees on a scale unprecedented since the end of WWII. These refugees are flooding into Europe and the US. What is your plan for Syria? How is it different from the current administration’s plan of doing essentially nothing?

          By the way, who picked Lauer to do an interview on military/foreign policy?

          1. Harry Harris

            Those troops and air support seem to be actually doing a lot in terms of allowing local forces to take territory to the point where ISIS forces appear to have little left going for them other than shielding themselves with non-combatants. They are losing ground in Syria, also – again to local forces. What’s happening may not be hasty enough for the neocons over here, especially those who’ve never served in combat, but it is squeezing the out to the point where all they have left is terroristic acts and desperate means on the battlefield.

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          Well, maybe it’s parsing words, but I’m very disturbed to see in the NYT that she said “We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again, and we’re not putting them into Syria.”

          I think of her as someone who knows better than to say something like that. In fact, I consider the fact that she IS someone who knows better than that to be her greatest strength. (OK, second greatest strength, after not being Trump).

          “Ever again” sounds irresponsibly Shermanesque to me. Grotesquely so. I mean, if we tried hard, we might be able to come up with scenarios in which even Bud or Doug would see the need to send troops into Iraq.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            We should make that a contest: Who can come up with the best scenario that would cause Bud or Doug to send troops into Iraq?

            No rules. It can involve Nazi zombies from outer space if you’d like. In fact, it might HAVE TO involve Nazi zombies from outer space…

            1. Doug Ross

              Easy – if Iraq starts a war with us or a close ally. Then we respond with full force.

              Nothing pre-emptive, no nation building, no intervention in civil wars.

              1. Doug Ross

                Well they’ve been “about” to do that for, what, decades? What would ground troops do to prevent that?

                Why don;t we let Israel handle that one?

      2. bud

        Congratulations Bryan Caskey. You have earned your diploma from the Brad Warthen School of False Equivalency! Trump just had a cringe worthy night. I had to hide my eyes watching the orange buffoon thrash about in a totally clueless display of narcissism and arrogance. He rambled on and on without any hint of discussing policy in a coherent manner. He lied about his support of the Iraq war. His comments about stealing Iraqi oil was a throwback to the dark days of American imperialism circa 2003. He compared Obama to Putin, even suggesting he was worse than the Russian strongman. Worst of all he blamed female soldiers for getting raped. Shameful.

        On the other hand Hillary had a pretty good night overall. I think her best moment was when she said she would not put combat troops back into Iraq. Perhaps she could have phrased it better but I give her huge kudos for suggesting we can’t accomplish anything constructive in that part of the world with combat troops. Isn’t that obvious? And to learn from her mistakes is a great quality to have in a POTUS. She did a nice job explaining the e-mail thing. Matt Lauer should be ashamed asking her 4 questions on that pretty worthless topic. I’m sure with your new credentials Bryan you can get a job as a journalist. Seems like a pretty important skill, especially this election cycle.

        1. Bryan Caskey

          I’ll say this for you, bud – you are getting funnier. First the Atilla the Hun thing, and now the diploma. I do enjoy a good sense of humor, and you’re bringing a good one lately. Just so you know…it’s appreciated.

          Oh, but did you read my criticism of Trump? He’s far worse than Hillary. No equivalence. She’s bad – he’s worse.

    2. Claus

      I wouldn’t say Trump made an ass out of himself, he was much more presidential acting than Hillary. All she did was point fingers and make excuses. The “no more boots on the ground” just showed the veterans in the group how far removed she is from actual being able to run the military. Matt Lauer handed Hillary softball questions which she did poorly with, and he went into full ultra-liberal Democratic mode when talking to Trump. It would be nice if the debates would be moderated by an unbiased moderator, but the next two are run by NBC and CNN so I expect them to go easy on their endorsed candidate.

        1. John

          Everybody has a different perspective of course. What I saw was Lauer repeating one basic question to each candidate with different window dressing.
          To Clinton: Can you please please PLEASE just give us the short version?
          To Trump: Did I just hear you say (fill in the blank) ?!?
          The answers were “No” and “Make America great again!” respectively. If we had planned the evening better we could have made a drinking game out of watching it.

        2. Claus

          Ha!!!! The Washington Post is using a comment Trump used on The Howard Stern Show. The same show where A-List celebrities have gone into closets and measured themselves or fondled and in more than one case used a sex toy.

            1. Claus

              “Sock it to me???”

              So you’re saying a business man from New York City (which is where the program airs from) should refuse an interview on the widest broadcasted morning radio program in the world? Would you refuse to go on the program where you could advertise your blog?

              What I’m saying is that anyone who has ever listened to the Howard Stern show knows that nothing taken on that show is serious.

            2. bud

              Nixon on Laugh In. Clinton playing the Sax. Obama playing the fool on Jimmy Falon. Not sure Trump on Howard Stern is really that much of a big deal especially since he wasn’t running for anything at the time. There is just so much about Trump it’s probably best to just ignore the small stuff. But this seems big. From Mother Jones:


              Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is calling on federal authorities to investigate Trump Model Management for alleged labor and immigration violations, in the wake of a Mother Jones investigation of the company.

      1. Bryan Caskey

        “I wouldn’t say Trump made an ass out of himself, he was much more presidential acting than Hillary.” -Claus

        Are you kidding? Things said by Trump last night:

        “If we would’ve taken the oil, you wouldn’t have ISIS. Because ISIS formed with the power and the wealth of that oil.”

        What the what? The USA was going to secure Iraqi oilfields, bring in people to extract the oil, provide security for the oil to the coast, and then ship it home? Yeah, that would go over really well with the Iraqis. We would be under attack (rightly) by the ENTIRE COUNTRY! And that’s his plan to LEAVE! How does leaving involve staying and taking the oil? I mean hell, it might be a better idea to just nuke the whole place.

        “If Putin says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him.”

        Again, what? How about you…oh I don’t know…tell the TRUTH about people regardless of what they say about you? This sounds like something a middle-school kid would say when he’s trying to sit a the “cool kids” table at lunch.

        “I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Putin. And I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Russia … He does have an 82% approval rating…”

        Sure. Let’s be friends with Putin. He’s a really swell guy. Are you kidding me?

        Lauer tried to a good job with both Hillary and Trump, but Hillary filibustered him and Trump just went all over the place like chicken with his head cut off, and Lauer just couldn’t rein him in. Lauer was hopelessly under-prepared for both of these candidates. I mean, I could write pages and pages about all the stupid things they said, but who has the time for that?

        1. Claus

          Why would we put our own workers in the field when we could have come to a comprimise with Kuwait? Why couldn’t we just take a cut at the port? Would Kuwait shut down the oil field and port if we were taking 10%? As it stands we got 0% and gave them money to rebuild.

          Have you heard politicians speak? “My good friend…” is the most widely used phrase at the State House and 10 minutes later they’re ripping that same person a new one on the House/Senate floor.

          What does Russia think of Obama or Clinton? Do you think things will change if Hillary is elected? If anything it’ll make things worse with Russia because they’ll refuse to even speak to her. Will things improve with China? Will they bring a ladder to Hillary’s plane and laugh as she tries to climb down? Will her mother be called a whore? I can tell you right now that foreign affairs will continue to spiral downward with Hillary in office.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That’s what I hear.

      On the radio awhile ago, I heard that some unnamed NBC exec is saying as much.

      Personally, all I know about Lauer is that I think he did a cameo appearance on “30 Rock” once…

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