obvious point

The Laughingstock

#AmercianPrestige | #WhatTheyVotedFor

United States President Donald Trump reacts to being laughed at during a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, 25 September 2018. (Image credit: CNN)

Some remind there is an audience of one. And it is not unheard of to suggest that the tone is set at the top. These points are not exclusive of one another. Steve Benen, for instance, notes:

... just as odd was Haley’s explanation for diplomats laughing at Donald Trump during his remarks to the General Assembly yesterday.

United States ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speaks during a United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in Myanmar at UN Headquarters in New York, 28 August 2018. (Photo by Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images)UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said Wednesday that world leaders who laughed during President Donald Trump’s speech to the United Nations did so because “they loved how honest he is.” […]”They love that he’s honest with them and they’ve never seen anything like it, so there’s respect there,” she said. “I saw that the media was trying to make it something disrespectful. That’s not what it was. They love to be with him.”

Look, I realize people in the president’s orbit feel the need to be sycophantic toward him, if for no other reason than to protect their job security. This is especially true when it comes to officials appearing on “Fox and Friends”—a program Trump has been known to effectively live-tweet.Haley must’ve known that her boss was watching, so she wasn’t in a position to be candid about foreign diplomats’ opinions of the controversial American leader.But that hardly justifies the ambassador’s rhetoric.

There is a certain obvious point to be made; the one and only Dana Milbank headlines the highlight, that President Donald J. Trump “is the laughingstock of the world”. (more…)

Rudy’s Bizarre Adventure

#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor

President Donald Trump leaves after speaking during the first meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, 19 July 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

In truth, the problem with calling Rudy Giuliani the gift that keeps on giving is not the fact of its politic, but, rather the disaster that statement represents. Caroline Orr, for instance, noted yesterday—

Speaking about the Mueller probe, Rudy Giuliani tells Judge Jeanine: “Maybe they think Manafort’s somebody they can flip faster.”

… hence implying that Manafort has incriminating evidence on Trump that would give him leverage to flip.

—and that ought to be hilarious except for the fact that it is real. And toward a certain political objection we might simply note that regardless of aesthetics and sincerely held beliefs, there really are investigations afoot, and one of President Trump’s attorneys really is putting on some extraordinary manner of flaming excremental spectacle.

The lede from Zeke Miller for Associated Press is striking insofar as it is a lawyer saying it instead of some conservative pundit on cable news—and, sure, go ahead and make the obvious point about Rudy Giuliani as a pundit, but what, really, is anyone to actually do with it?—but then we also face the prospect that this is an attorney for the President of the United States, which ought to be significant in and of itself even before begging the question of a sitting president pleading the Fifth:

President Donald Trump’s new attorney, Rudy Giuliani, won’t rule out the possibility that the president would assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in the swirling Russia investigation.

“How could I ever be confident of that?” the former New York City mayor and U.S. attorney said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

Giuliani said despite Trump’s openness to sit down with special counsel Robert Mueller, he would strongly advise Trump against it.

“I’m going to walk him into a prosecution for perjury like Martha Stewart?” Giuliani said. Stewart was convicted in 2004 of lying to investigators and obstruction in an insider trading case.

Giuliani suggested that Trump wouldn’t necessarily comply with a subpoena from Mueller, but he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the president sitting for an interview with Mueller.

“He’s the president of the United States,” Giuliani said. “We can assert the same privileges other presidents have.”

That last is, technically, true; many critics will rightly point out it is also functionally meaningless; asserting privilege is different from actually exercising them insofar as one must make the assertion stick, and history does in fact seem clear on this point, which in turn means invoking and asserting a constitutional right: The President of the United States will not convey any true information that would incriminate him.    (more…)

A Public Service Announcement: For the Boys

Suou rejects street harassment. (Detail of frame from Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, episode 4, "The Ark Adrift on the Lake …".)

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that if a woman’s got headphones on, she doesn’t want to talk to you.”

Jenna Amatulli

The only problem with that sentence, brothers, is that quite clearly someone is willing to disagree. Don’t be that dick.

No, seriously: You should not need to be told.

____________________

Image note: Just say no ― Suou rejects street harassment. (Detail of frame from Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, episode 4, “The Ark Adrift on the Lake …”.

Amatulli, Jenna. “Wondering How To Talk To A Woman Who’s Wearing Headphones? Don’t.” The Huffington Post. 30 August 2016.

A Note Regarding the Obvious, a Point That Should Not Need Making

Although a pathetic preface, I would recall here a common discussion my father and I had through the years of my youth, about business and politics, results-oriented justifications, and other such notions. Maybe it’s just easier to go with the sports version*: By the time one achieves the premier level of anything ….

You can fill in the blank, as such. You don’t get to the top of the business world by making bad decisions. You don’t get to the White House without being smart. You don’t get to the NFL without having respectable talent and discipline.

And so on.

Thus prefaced, we might consider Steve Benen’s explanation:

PPP has discovered that Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) is in even worse shape, with an approval rating of 32%. And like McConnell in December, the Arizona Republican is responding to the news by blaming the messenger.

Who am I?Responding to a survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling that showed his popularity in the gutter, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on Monday questioned the accuracy of the pollster. […]

“If we believed PPP polls,” Flake told The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis, “I wouldn’t be here at all.”

It’s not clear what Flake is referring to, exactly. PPP had Flake leading for much of his 2012 race, including a five-point margin shortly before Election Day, when he won by three. Flake would have lost if he believed PPP results? That doesn’t make sense.

We all know that the political art is that of rhetorical sleight, but they’re not even trying.

The branches of the United States government are the premier league of rhetorical sleight in the nation. The Executive and Legislative weave tangles of rhetoric, and the Judicial wields a sword to cut away the knots.

Whatever else, I think we can expect better of Flake and his Republican colleagues. PPP outdid Pew, the major news outlets, and far exceeded Rasmussen and Gallup in the 2012 cycle. Benen reminds—

If there was ever a time GOP officials could dismiss Public Policy Polling results as unreliable, that day has long since passed.

—but at least as important is Flake’s flaccid critique against PPP. “If we believed PPP polls, I wouldn’t be here at all.”

Dealing with poll numbers can be a tricky business, but come on, Senator, at least show up for the game.

I promise you, sir, the polling firm isn’t the problem.
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* A former collegiate football coach, he is still the most reliable mind I know with whom to discuss the game, though that is hardly surprising given the lack of performance pressure since he’s not analyzing for television or anything like that.

I know, I know. Just … just work with me, here. Thanks.

Allow me, please, to reiterate the preceding note.