Open Thread for Thursday, June 1, 2017


Sorry I haven’t been posting. Super busy. And I’m in a rush to get done today because my grandson’s in an “opera” at school this evening.

Remember, this is an open thread, so feel free to introduce your own topics:

  1. Trump Expected to Withdraw From Climate Deal Today — So, ya know… that planet thing? Fuggedaboudit. What do we need with a planet anyway? We got America. Except for California, which will probably do its own thing.
  2. First cases of highly contagious dog flu confirmed — I feel bad for the pooches, but I’m basically just including this for the pictures, for you dog lovers. We’ve got sad pictures (which, let’s face it, is not a stretch for a dog), and even some with surgical masks — see below. Just search on Twitter for “dog flu,” and you’ll get your fill of pitiful cuteness. And if this doesn’t do it for you, try “Stolen puppies go for a wild ride in Mercedes as alleged thieves flee down interstate “. I’m thinking Disney’s already taken out an option on that one… Let me guess — are these the suspects?
  3. Nigel Farage is ‘person of interest’ in FBI investigation into Trump and Russia — Exclusive from The Guardian. This is like the TV version of “Batman” — the same villains keep cropping up.
  4. High IQ and mass murder: Files shed more light on Roof — You know what? I sorta already know all I want to know about this guy. You? And I find the “high IQ” bit highly doubtful…
  5. Grieving SC parents shed light on addiction in 2 obituaries — We owe a debt of gratitude to these parents for their frankness. We need to know what’s going on in our communities. I’ve got a peeve about obits that don’t list the cause of death. Sometimes, disclosing that provides a public service.
  6. Trump decides to keep U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv — for now — OK. I wonder what the position will be next week?

36 thoughts on “Open Thread for Thursday, June 1, 2017

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    And if you’ll forgive me, I’m going to register a purely pedantic objection to this headline I encountered while compiling this:

    Our ugly racism’s newest artifact: The noose left at the African American Museum

    Obviously, this is a terrible thing. But what is meant by “ugly racism?” Is there another kind? Is there such a thing as lovely racism, or perhaps merely presentable racism?

    I’m reminded of one of those new translations we’ve been using in the Catholic Mass the last few years, over my objections:

    May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands
    for the praise and glory of his name,
    for our good
    and the good of all his holy Church.

    Why holy Church? Does God have another kind? I don’t think so…

    1. Bryan Caskey

      Jessup: I ordered Markinson to have Santiago transferred off the base immediately.

      Kaffee: Why?

      Jessup: I felt his life might be in danger once word of the letter got out.

      Kaffee: Grave danger?

      Jessup: [sarcastically] Is there another kind?

  2. Phillip

    It’s still not 3 PM yet so Trump could surprise us with his Paris Accord announcement. perhaps the leaks were deliberate to mislead us. One can still hope.

    But if things are they appear to be, then adding that to the Chinese overtures to Germany and Europe in the wake of Trump’s overseas trip, how long before most Western liberal democracies and the world in general starts looking more toward China and less to the US as the guarantor of global stability, and now planetary health one might say. Certainly if Trump takes this step that puts us squarely in the category of rogue nation when it comes to this central issue facing the planet. I wish there was more that other nations could do to put counterpressure on the US to do the right thing.

    1. Norm Ivey

      how long before most Western liberal democracies and the world in general starts looking more toward China and less to the US as the guarantor of global stability, and now planetary health one might say

      This is what I’ve been trying to explain to people for some months–we are ceding our leadership role in the world to a nation that is perfectly poised to assume that mantle.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Actually, you know what — as I was out grabbing lunch just now, it occurred to me that he could reverse himself on Paris, if only to screw with the media over all the reports on what he’s going to do.

      After all, he backed off on Jerusalem today.

      Sometimes he follows through on the stupid stuff he promises — such as backing out of TPP, repealing Obamacare and his Muslim ban.

      Other times he doesn’t….

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yeah, that’s right, Doug. He’s just like every other president. Just like George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

          Every one of them was a stupid, lying jerk just out for himself, and ultimately motivated by money.


          Doug, this is a black-and-white thing. It doesn’t involve any sort of nuance. There’s everyone who has ever held the office — or even come close to the office — before, and there’s Trump. Like night and day.

          Either that hits you like a ton of bricks, or I just don’t know what to say…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Oh, and I forgot — as you reminded us earlier today, the United States is just like every other country there has ever been in the world. There’s nothing special about it at all, for better or worse, and it really doesn’t matter whether the international order is led by the United States, Russia, China or, I don’t know, Venezuela. We all do the same things for the same reasons, and the effect on the world is the same.

            Have I got it now? Is my mind right?

            1. Doug Ross

              Think what you’d like. I don’t waste my energy on things I have no control over.

              We’re all just super special people because we’re Americans. Each and every one of us. There’s nobody in the world capable of comparing with our excellence.

    3. Brad Warthen Post author


      Phillip, I just read that again. Are you sure you’re not turning into a neocon, with all that stuff about the United States and its leadership role in the world, and the danger of leaving a vacuum?

      The indispensable nation!


      1. Phillip

        No, hardly. The Paris Accord is something pretty much every nation in the world (except for Syria) could agree on. The military footprint and activism in the world of the US, which has often led to unforeseen (or not always unforeseen) consequences, is far less uniformly endorsed by the world. Moreover, climate change is a problem that probably dwarfs any one particular geopolitical challenge in the world, even perhaps nuclear proliferation.

        And I’m not bothered in the abstract if China becomes the nation that leads the way in the 21st century towards global stability, a more or less peaceful globe, and investing in the energy innovations needed to steer away from the climate precipice. We’re not indispensible as the leader in this effort. But our participation in the Paris Accord effort is indispensible simply because we have been historically the leader in greenhouse gas emissions, and without our participation the effort may well be significantly blunted, though not thwarted completely.

        So I’m OK with China leading. I’m only sad about it from a personal, patriotic standpoint, that I feel this country has (or had) the potential to be a global leader for a unified global goal, and as an American I like my country to do things that make me proud to be an American. Neocons seem primarily to take pride in accomplishments achieved at the point of a gun—that kind of “leadership” rarely works out anymore, and the neocon/exceptionalist philosophy is really just the flip side of the same “America First” or “MAGA” coin, fueled by the same odd lack of confidence in the strength of actual American ideals.

        The Paris Accord, on the other hand, was a triumph of many nations large and small understanding that all of us share one common home, and the only one we have. As I heard Jeffrey Toobin say on CNN tonight as they were discussing the domestic political ramifications of Trump’s decision, “the climate doesn’t care about politics.”

        1. Richard

          Is it bad of another country takes the lead in something? Or does the US have to be the leader in every single issue and action? It’s nice when someone else pulls their weight.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            “Or does the US have to be the leader in every single issue and action?”

            No. Just the important ones, such as this one.

            It’s OK if the Norwegians are better at ice-fishing…

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          Dang. I welcomed you to our ranks too soon. Because I am most definitely, assuredly not OK with an oppressive regime such as China being the world’s guarantor of peace and security.

          And this isn’t correct: “Neocons seem primarily to take pride in accomplishments achieved at the point of a gun.”

          Not at all. It’s just that when folks on the left disagree with neocons, that’s what it’s about.

          Neocons are for all the soft power, too. They have to be. Force is just another tool in the box, and neocons don’t rule it out.

          We need to guard against being defined by our differences, and work together on the areas where we agree.

          And the need for the United States to lead on this issue — in ways that China and India cannot — is something we can agree on…

          1. Phillip

            Well, frankly I don’t know that any one nation can or should be the “guarantor of the world’s peace and security,” because to me any nation so powerful as to potentially fulfill that role also inherently undermines, to some extent, peace and security for many in the world. That is exactly where you and I disagree, of course. A unipolar world is inherently unstable, no matter who the “pole” is.

            As for China, granted they are not a democracy in our sense, but if they don’t seek territorial gains, are they oppressive in a global sense? What if they show the leadership (the kind Doug referenced in the later post, as in the we’ll-go-first-and-good-luck-catching-up-with-us kind) in transforming the way humans conserve and consume and recycle energy?

            You mentioned the uses of “soft power,” and that reminded me of an article I had meant to send you for awhile now, about China’s vigorous use of the same with its Confucius Institutes, which are very active all around the US, including here in Columbia with a very strong presence both at USC and via institutions such as the fairly new charter elementary school East Point Academy. I’ve always viewed that effort by the Chinese government as fairly benign and a good vehicle to foster increased understanding and connections between our two nations in the years to come, but I was surprised to read that a number of US universities have basically kicked the Confucius Institutes off of their campuses. Would be interested to know your take on this.

      1. Karen Pearson

        I hadn’t learned of his decision to keep it in Tel-Aviv for now (6 mo). He could change it then.

  3. Claus2

    I’m curious, are countries like China and India involved in the Climate Deal? Because when I think of clean air I think of those two countries first.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yes, they are. They’re taking a leadership role, just the way China is in other areas where the United States, by backing away, is rolling out the red carpet for them.

      In fact, I heard on the radio this morning that China is actually exceeding the pace for its goals. That’s partly because of the economic slowdown, but also a matter of policy, and the fact that if they don’t stop burning all that coal soon, they’ll all choke to death.

      You can go listen if you like

      1. Richard

        How soon before we can go to Bejing or New Delhi and breath that clean fresh air? If things go are as you’re saying I’m guessing around the year 2300.

          1. Richard

            Yeah I’ll believe it when I see it… or don’t see it. I know people who have worked in India and they say you can smell and taste the country before you even deplane. China does everything as cheap as they can, which also isn’t the most environmentally friendly. Both countries will have to change how they do things from a manufacturing standpoint before we’ll see any change in air quality. Those changes will be expensive. I’m not holding my breath, unless I get sent over to either of those countries.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Right. That’s why is was so important to have them on board.

              The U.S. might have an excuse to stay out if India and China did. This way, we don’t. It’s extremely boneheaded on our part not to encourage these kinds of moves in these countries that have been such massive polluters as they have grown…

    2. Norm Ivey

      They are. The only nations that did not sign on were Syria and Nicaragua. Nicaragua refrained from signing because the agreement wasn’t tough enough on the big offenders (like us). And Syria’s a bit preoccupied these days. Trump’s getting us out because he doesn’t understand 6th grade science.

      1. Richard

        So because we didn’t sign the world treaty, that means we’ll be dumping sludge into the water, pulling filters off of smokestacks, allowing littering, and basically turning the US into India. Got a dead body, toss it in to the Broad River. Just because we don’t sign what everyone else signs doesn’t mean we abandon all EPA policies. Lots of Chicken Littles around here lately.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Actually, it does NOT mean “we’ll be dumping sludge into the water, pulling filters off of smokestacks, allowing littering, and basically turning the US into India.”

          Here’s a point that Doug should like: The private sector isn’t going to let that happen. American corporations — along with governmental entities such as our cities — won’t stand for it. You know why — because the market (especially the global market that large corporations rely on for growth) won’t stand for it.

          No, the terrible thing about pulling out of Paris isn’t what will happen to the planet. The terrible thing is the way the United States is isolating itself from the world on one of the top issues that most countries care about. It’s about the destruction done to foreign relations than to the environment.

          It’s about playing to voters — essential voters to Trump — who have a very narrow understanding of the world, based on what they perceive (erroneously) to be their personal interests. To them, any money or effort spent out of their sight is a resource wasted. And pandering to them is what this nihilistic, deeply anti-intellectual “America First” move is all about….

          1. Mark Stewart

            And then of course, Scott Pruett and Trump are in fact intent on gutting the EPA. That’s pretty clear already.

            So what we have is a leader who has abdicated his role a leader (of this country and in a way the West and the entire globe, too) to satisfy a campaign snit. Trump is an erosive force – and that is all. He flies high and fails epically. It’s just that this time we are all along for the ride until we decide he must be removed from office for the good of the country.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    Full disclosure: I have no reason to believe the dog pictured at the top of the post suffers from flu. I just did a search for “sad dog” pictures that were free to use, and that was one of the results. As I said, it’s not an uncommon look for dogs…

  5. JesseS

    3.) Man, it just keeps getting crazier and crazier. Before it’s all said and done, we’ll have hours of footage of Alex Jones in a Congressional hearing, ranting about cosmic psychic vampires while Roger Stone sells t-shirts and books on the Capitol steps.

    Of course Stone should be the one in the hot seat. If you are going to be enough of an idiot to openly brag that you’ve been in close contact with Guccifer 2.0, it might be time you answer some questions. Sure, it’s likely to be 90% self-aggrandizing on Stone’s part, but if you are gonna talk the talk, we might as well make sure you haven’t walked the walk.

    4.) If I were a betting man, during the trial I would have assumed his IQ was in the 80-95 range. Perhaps a low IQ is what we want to assume. Maybe it takes a wee bit of smarts to come to horrible conclusions?

    Honestly, I’ve only encountered a few self-described white supremacists, Men’s Rights Activist, or Neo-Confederates in my time and none of them struck me as mentally challenged. Generally they had massive gaps in their knowledge, were given to self-delusion/willful ignorance, and had holes in their soul you could drive a truck through.


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