Trump's bungled stimulus stunt: A reminder that the self-described master negotiator is a dud
Mr. Art of the Deal strikes again: Trump's ham-fisted extortion effort blows up in his face
By AMANDA MARCOTTE
DECEMBER 28, 2020 5:54PM
(Salon) Donald Trump is clearly unhappy with having to sign the stimulus bill meant to relieve the massive economic pain from his bungled response to the coronavirus pandemic. Why else would he sign it abruptly, as he did late Sunday, to no fanfare? After all, this is a man who demands adulation at his every waking moment. Yet when it came to signing a bill that will send checks to millions of Americans, Trump was curiously camera-shy. Trump eschewing a camera is like a dog rejecting his favorite treat clearly, the manbaby president isn't feeling so hot about how the stimulus standoff ended.
The reason is not particularly mysterious. Signing the bill, for Trump, was yet another massive failure in his long list of massive failures.
For six days, Trump has been threatening to tank this bill, possibly with a pocket veto. He was holding the economy hostage and more specifically, holding hostage the chances of Republicans winning a Georgia Senate runoff or two clearly hoping that doing so would be sufficient leverage to force Republican leadership on Capitol Hill into voiding his presidential election loss and illegally granting him a second term. But as often happens when Trump tries to live up to his own declarations of being a master negotiator, he face-planted this time in a spectacularly humiliating style. So humiliating, that he approached signing the stimulus bill with the same attitude of a kid presenting himself for after school detention.
No, as I argued last week, what Trump was up to was likely an extortion scheme, which is the only trick up his sleeve and one he's not even particularly good at pulling. Trump believes, incorrectly, that McConnell and other Senate Republicans know how to steal the election, but are holding out on him. He hoped that by threatening McConnell's meager bill and therefore threatening the re-election of the two Georgia senators McConnell needs to hold onto his Senate majority Trump could shake the secrets to election theft out of McConnell. But, being bad at this, Trump didn't consider certain flaws in the plan, starting with the fact that McConnell simply has no way to steal the election for him and extortion will not change that fact. Nor did Trump consider that he would have to endure the humiliation of Democrats dunking on him non-stop. ...........(more)
America's military reckoning: It's time to stop the ritualistic fawning over veterans
Most who've served deserve our praise. But military veterans don't get a free pass to spread sedition or hatred
By GREGORY A. DADDIS
DECEMBER 28, 2020 11:00AM
(Salon) It's time for Americans to end their ritualistic fawning over veterans. When former members of the U.S. armed forces visit the White House to promote military coups, they prove that veterans do not automatically, uncritically warrant our praise.
In an era of perpetual war, this may appear blasphemous. America's all-volunteer force has borne the burden of a militarized foreign policy in the wake of 9/11 that has sent more than two million servicemen and women overseas to keep our nation safe. These veterans have sacrificed immensely, some in heroic fashion. Incredibly brave men and women still populate our military ranks.
Yet in society's haste to thank them for their service, veterans have become, in far too many ways, an inviolable sect beyond reproach. Any criticism risks bringing forth a slew of anti-patriotic opprobrium. Such blanket adulation must end. And this most chaotic of years demonstrates why.
In one of the more contentious political seasons in American history, few malefactors have exceeded the duplicity of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who has called on President Trump to suspend the Constitution and declare martial law so military leaders can oversee a redo of the 2020 election. Never mind that Flynn, who pled guilty to misleading the FBI, once swore an oath to uphold that very Constitution. ............(more)
(Detroit News) Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel fired back at criticism from President Donald Trump Sunday morning, telling the Republican to "stop obsessing about those women from Michigan."
The exchange started just after midnight when Trump tweeted that Nessel, a Democrat, should be "sanctioned" for stating that she would seek penalties for lawyers who filed suits against the state's election results with claims that featured "intentional misrepresentations."
"These lawyers are true patriots who are fighting for the truth and, obviously, getting very close. AG should be sanctioned. Fight on!" Trump posted at 12:28 a.m. Sunday, sharing an article from the conservative news outlet Breitbart.
Nessel, Michigan's top law enforcement official, responded by tweeting that "a patriot is a person who vigorously defends their country against its enemies and detractors."
"History will reveal which you were. I wish you loved your country half as much as you love yourself," Nessel said. "Also, time to stop obsessing about those women from Michigan. Youre not our type." .........(more)
(Guardian UK) When Joe Biden is sworn in as president on 20 January, cable news viewers may witness one of the most dramatic 180-degree turns in history.
After four years of slavishly promoting the president, Fox News is expected to pump on the brakes within seconds of the inauguration ceremony.
All of a sudden, the person in the White House is not a Republican. More than that, the network can no longer rely on the willingness of the president or his aides to call into Fox News any time of the day or night.
The rightwing TV channel, and its big name hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, will spend the next four years as the party of the opposition. The network has done this before, of course the eight years of Barack Obamas presidency werent that long ago but Biden presents a different challenge. ...........(more)
My year of obsessive, indifferent baking
I've never needed my kitchen, and needed to get away from it, more
By MARY ELIZABETH WILLIAMS
DECEMBER 26, 2020 10:30PM
(Salon) The baking started immediately. My eldest daughter, arriving home from college for what was supposed to be spring break but we all knew was an indefinite campus shutdown dropped her bags near the door and requested chocolate chip cookies. It was March 13. I haven't taken my apron off since. I'm not unique in baking my way through this dumpster fire of a year. But what has surprised me in all of this has been discovering the limits of even the most consoling of rituals.
I don't know how I thought this was going to go it's my first pandemic. However, I can say that I definitely overestimated my own degree of "Keep calm and carry on" competence. In other times, getting food on the table was a pleasant occupation, a daily ritual built on equal parts muscle memory and creative expression. In other times, though, there weren't four full-sized individuals doing their jobs and school work and managing a full slate of new, suddenly life-and-death routines all day long in the confines of one tiny, inescapable New York apartment.
The clock and the calendar, abruptly bereft of events to fill them, have contorted themselves in peculiar ways. There have been sleepless nights that felt endless. There have been many, many weekends worked straight through. There have been days when I looked up that had somehow turned into evenings. Always, there has been the need to keep everyone fed, a seemingly round the clock, out-of-tune drumbeat.
The kitchen has long been my chief place of solace and joy. It still is It's just also now my prison, too. How, at the end of a day filled with grim news and constant interruptions a delivery of groceries once easily purchased in person, a new COVID-19 case at a parent's nursing home does one balance the need to feel reassured, to feel civilized with the bone-weary desire to do absolutely zilch? How does one create comfort, while simultaneously feeling so afflicted? My therapist told me I needed to create more routines. But in the chaos, where does one find them? ...........(more)
Remember that stupid thing Donald Trump did? Hard as it is to pick, here are the top 10
Donald Trump is a dull, nasty and childish man but his legacy of amazing idiocy will be long remembered
By AMANDA MARCOTTE
DECEMBER 26, 2020 1:00PM
(Salon) We're tentatively starting to emerge from the four year-long national nightmare of Donald Trump's presidency, but the reckoning of what the nation endured will take years to really understand. Trump was terrible in so many ways that it's hard to catalog them all: His sociopathic lack of regard for others. His towering narcissism. His utter ease with lying. His cruelty and sadism. The glee he took in cheating and stomping on anything good and decent. His misogyny and racism. His love of encouraging violence, only equaled by his personal cowardice.
But of all the repulsive character traits in a man so wholly lacking in any redeemable qualities, perhaps the most perplexing to his opponents was Trump's incredible stupidity. On one hand, it was maddening that a man so painfully dumb, a man who clearly could barely read even on those rare occasions when he deigned to wear glasses still had the low cunning necessary to take over the Republican Party and then the White House.
1) That time Trump suggested injecting household cleaners into people's lungs to cure them of the coronavirus. Even for connoisseurs of Trumpian idiocy, it was a shocker when, after hearing that bleach and Lysol can kill the coronavirus on surfaces, got behind the podium in the White House briefing room and declared, "I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute. ... Is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning, because, you see, it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs?"
5) That time he asked members of the National Security Council if they could nuke hurricanes rather than letting them hit the U.S.
Hurricanes drew out Trump's fatuousness like a good cheese draws out the notes in fine wine.
6) That time Trump was told to talk about Frederick Douglass at a Black History Month event, clearly had no idea who that was, and while trying to bullshit his way through the talk, implied that Douglass was still alive.
"Douglass is an example of somebody who's done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice," Trump said, using the same strategy that a sixth-grader who hasn't read the book might employ to bluff through a book report. There was a piece of paper in front of Trump that likely had more information about the author and abolitionist who was born enslaved and died in 1895 as one of the most famous Americans, but Trump, as ever too vain to wear his glasses in public, probably couldn't read it. ..............(more)
(CNN) Over the course of its long history, the Boeing 737 has acquired more nicknames than any other commercial aircraft.
Among them are Baby Boeing, Tin Mouse, Light Twin, Guppy, Bobby, Rudder Rotor, as well as a few less flattering ones, such as Fat Freddy and Dung Beetle.
But none of these is as notorious as Max, the name Boeing has given to the 737's latest incarnation -- now synonymous with disaster, as well as one of the worst corporate blunders of all time.
"In my view, the Max was a series of modifications too far. They should have never come out with it in the first place. They should have sat down with a blank computer screen to design an entirely new aircraft," says Simons. According to internal documents released in early 2020, one Boeing employee described the airplane as "designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys."
Already on its knees from the pandemic, the aviation industry still awaits the final verdict on the 737 Max saga. ..............(more)
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