bizarre

Rudy’s Bizarre Adventure (Recollection Remix)

#DimensionTrump | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Composite image: Donald Trump speaks to the National Rifle Association convention, in Dallas, Texas, 4 May 2018 (Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters); Rudy Giuliani speaks at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C., 5 May 2018 (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP Photo); uncredited protest image of Vladimir Putin.

The intersection of #DimensionTrump and coming right out and saying it is itself a futile endeavor; something can easily go here about parallel lines, overlap, and single tracks. Meanwhile, there is a no longer confidential memo from John Dowd to Robert Mueller, in January, and it is worth reconsidering the last several months of presidential simmer and tantrum in light of what we learn. Steve Benen tries, today, explaining one particular aspect:

This was the first time Trump World acknowledged the president’s direct role in dictating the wording of his son’s statement to the New York Times. In fact, the president’s legal team and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders specifically told the public, on multiple occasions, that Trump had nothing to do with crafting that statement. Those denials, we now know, were plainly false.

Over the course of the last year, Trump and his team have already changed their story about the purpose of the meeting—more than once—and these new revelations take the evolving narrative in an even messier direction.

Asked about the contradictions, Rudy Giuliani told ABC News yesterday, “This is the reason you don’t let the president testify. Our recollection keeps changing.”

And there you have it. Something, something, mumble, murmur only goes downhill from there. Or not. Giuliani could stand at the bottom of a giant sinkhole and tout the merits of natural engineering, and for some reason people would try to take him seriously.

Oh. Right.

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What They Vote For (Yellowhammer Special)

#supremacism | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Lebanon's memories: Pictures of Lebanon's family, in happier days. (Detail of frame from Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, episode 5, "Gunsmoke Blows, Life Flows...")

This is the sort of thing only voters can achieve:

Rep. Mo Brooks is moving on after a distant third-place finish in the Republican primary on Tuesday for the Alabama Senate special election.

And Brooks is doing that without endorsing either of the two men, Judge Roy Moore and appointed Sen. Luther Strange, who beat him to enter a runoff on Sept. 26 to decide the GOP nominee.

(Connolly)

More precisely: After rejecting Rep. Mo Brooks to replace Attorney General and former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, voters find themselves presented with a choice between the disgraceful Luther Strange and the disgraced Roy Moore, and history reminds that state voters have already re-elected the twice-disgraced former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court after his first tumble from grace for abuse of authority. What chance does Luther Strange have? All he ever did was take his dispute against human rights, on behalf of religious supremacism, to the Supreme Court and lose.

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Just Another One of Those Things No Republican Has the Courage to Answer For

#WhatTheyComplainedAbout | #WhatTheyVotedFor

U.S. President Donald Trump dances with a sword as he arrives to a welcome ceremony by Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at Al Murabba Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. (Photo: Thomson/Reuters)

“The announcement that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will donate money to her fund was a ‘pay to play’ far more blatant than anything Hillary Clinton ever dreamed of.”

Anne Applebaum

The lack of complaint from Republicans and Trump supporters about the sort of thing they usually complain about is, historically speaking, precisely unsurprising.

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Image note: U.S. President Donald Trump dances with a sword as he arrives to a welcome ceremony by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at Al Murabba Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 20 May 2017. (Photo: Thomson/Reuters)

Appelbaum, Anne. “Trump’s bizarre and un-American visit to Saudi Arabia”. The Washington Post. 21 May 2017.

A Steady Drip (Carter Page)

#PutiTrump | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Composite — Donald Trump: Detail of photo by Mark Peterson/Redux for msnbc; Carter Page: AP Photo; Puti-Toots: Artist unknown.

Something goes here about the headlines that drop in the evening; in the week before President Trump’s infamous tweetstorm accusing President Obama of wiretapping him, evening headlines kept the White House running ragged night after night. And, yes, there is some irony that we have now come far enough ’round the circle that Carter Page might well be the answer to what the president was on about. Or, as the evening headline from the Washington Post has it, “FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor Trump adviser Carter Page”:

This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents. Such contacts are now at the center of an investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with the Russian government to swing the election in Trump’s favor.

Page has not been accused of any crimes, and it is unclear whether the Justice Department might later seek charges against him or others in connection with Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The counterintelligence investigation into Russian efforts to influence U.S. elections began in July, officials have said. Most such investigations don’t result in criminal charges.

Rachel Maddow spent some effort on msnbc last night driving a point about how unusual it is that we should see leaked such details of a FISA warrant. In that context perhaps it behooves us to consider whether or not the prospect of leaking this FISA warrant would come about at all were it not for President Trump’s twitterpated tantrum after a week of bad evening headlines.

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A Point Most Obvious (Far More Serious)

#resist | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Retired Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump's incoming National Security Adviser, listens during the presidential inaugural Chairman's Global Dinner, Tuesday, 17 January 2017, in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo)

Steve Benen brings the Monday morning update―

The fact that Donald Trump relied on a foreign agent as a top campaign adviser—and a trusted member of his inner circle—during the presidential campaign looks bad. Not necessarily stop-the-presses bad, but the fact that the Republican was paying Michael Flynn while Flynn was also paid by Turkey is a tough controversy to simply explain away.

What’s becoming a far more serious story is Team Trump lying about all of this now.

―and perhaps a sense of fatigue we feel should not be ignored.

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The Ted Cruz Show (Michelangelo Fist)

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), speaks at a rally Sunday, 21 February 2016, in Pahrump, Nevada. (AP Photo/John Locher)

It is, as we have recently observed, easy enough to pick on David Brooks but then along comes Charles Hurt to remind why meandering desperation in lieu of useful analysis is still a better option than attending a hardline conservative posturing as some manner of serious mind. While the New York Times endures Brooks, Mr. Hurt’s résumé is a proper slime trail leading from the New York Post on through Breitbart, Newsmax, FOX News, and the Washington Times; just to make the point he picked up a gig with Drudge. For The Hill, however, Hurt attempts to explain “The problem with Ted Cruz”. It’s a doozy:

While the media attention has focused entirely on the exuberant and entertaining traveling carnival nature of the Trump campaign, this overlooks another, deeper problem conservatives have today: Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas).

Washington Times columnist Charles Hurt appears on FOX News in December, 2015.In the past eight years, no one has captivated the realistic hopes of conservative constitutionalists the way that Cruz has in this election. On every single issue of importance to conservatives, Cruz is right. He is a walking, living, breathing Supreme Court dissent, masterfully articulated and extensively annotated on paper.

Then, he opens his mouth. And people scream. They run for the exits as if their hair is on fire. They want to take a shower.

We might fixate on the phrase, “captivated realistic hopes”, all day, and never figure out what the hell the author intends. The nearest thing to a realistic hope we might project for these “constitutional conservatives” is to somehow elect Ted Cruz, watch him get crushed by Congress and Court alike, and spend the next twenty years like they have the last, complaining about evil gov’ment and the usurpation of democracy just like they’ve been mewling at least since Romer v. Evans.

Still, though, Charles Hurt is a conservative; it is unfair to expect that he should make sense according to reality.

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Hopeless, Fumbling Elbow Jelly

Detail of frame from FLCL episode 5, 'Brittle Bullet'.

This is hopeless:

In one experiment, the researchers … asked nearly 5,000 people (ages 18 to 76) if they would consider dating a virgin. Most of the people in the study who’d had sex before reported that they would not date a virgin―but but here’s where it gets really interesting: An even greater number of virgins said they, too, would not date someone who had not previously had sex. Younger people in their 20s were particularly less likely to say they would date a virgin―even though most virgins were in this age range —and women were more likely to report not wanting to date someone without sexual experience than men. Virgins, in other words, were themselves not attracted to other virgins and, in fact, sexually experienced people were more likely to date virgins than virgins themselves.

(Basu)

Okay, as briefly as possible:

• The headline, “Adult Virgins Say They Don’t Want to Date Other Adult Virgins”, pretty much sums up the Duh! factor.

• To the other, while Science of Us blogger Tanya Basu does, in fact, note explicitly, “Once considered a virtue, virginity may now be more of a liability for late bloomers”, and while I do recall the punch line from Dennis Miller, late in his Funny Period, about the seventy-two virgins and eventually just wanting someone who knows how to slip you the finger, some manner of amazed insinuation about the time-tested corrupt-the-innocent fantasy value about the idea of virginity goes here. It is almost as if the idea of beggars demanding to be choosers just blundered face-first into one of the most bizarre side effects we might never have imagined, unless the time-tested corrupt-the-innocent fantasy value about the idea of virginity really was an empty trope that only I―and maybe, what, twelve other people?―was ever aware of? Never mind. It’s just that a, Wait, WTF? factor asserts itself.

• And, you know, honestly, I feel some need to stick up for sexual inexperience, here. Listen to me, virgins: If I’d just stuck with all the boyish fooling around, we all, for the most part, would be better off.α So, you know, really, use funny names and fumble embarrassingly through the best time of your life, because, you know, familiarity really does breed contempt, and if we’re lucky it’s merely spending our days lamenting how our partners can’t fuck just so. So get with yourselves and figure it out, because those of us with experience sure as hell haven’t done much by it. Seriously, here you go: Bungee spider web, olive oil, grape jelly, graham crackers, plastic pants, and a box of disposable frosting bags. What’s that? Don’t know what to do with all that? Neither does anyone else; the only rule is, have fun figuring it out. Seriously, expectation is the death of your sex life.β

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α No, really, the kid is the kid is the kid, but the rest of her mother and me getting ahead of ourselves was pretty much a disaster.

β No, seriously, all those embarrassing, awkward, failed relationships and it turns out I was gay the whole time. Who knew? Oh, right―everybody. Strange how they only get around to telling you later. Yeah, you always knew, which is why you never said a goddamn thing. Which was, you know, why? That’s right: Expectation. No, doesn’t mean you need it to the elbow, or anything like that. But, you know, fuck expectation. And no, there is no pretty way under the sun to take it elbow-deep, but you know, most days the only person who can tell you how ridiculous you look getting off with someone impaled elbow-deep into your body is the person who looks even more pathetic for shoving elbow-deep into another human being, so as long as that’s what you want, don’t worry about it. And, for the record, the rocket science of driving to the elbow is simple and twofold: (1) It isn’t rocket science, for fuck sake. (2) Not everyone can take it elbow-deep, so, you know, be kind, be decent. You know. For fuck sake.

Basu, Tanya. “Adult Virgins Say They Don’t Want to Date Other Adult Virgins”. Science of Us. 4 April 2016.

Indeed Bizarre

Dan Savage in NYC, uncredited photo ca. 2011.

Curtis M. Wong of Huffington Post brings us the headline, “Dan Savage Is Tied To University Of Oklahoma Racist Fraternity Scandal, FRC Pundit Claims”, and we’re just going to leave it at that, because, well, you know, it’s not that we would doubt Mr. Wong, it’s just that the lede―

The Family Research Council’s Ken Blackwell bizarrely pulled outspoken lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocate Dan Savage over into the racial controversy at University of Oklahoma’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

―is exactly accurate insofar as this really does not make any sense.

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Wong, Curtis M. “Dan Savage Is Tied To University Of Oklahoma Racist Fraternity Scandal, FRC Pundit Claims”. The Huffington Post. 12 March 2015.