A.M. Links: Trump vs. Merkel, Manuel Noriega Dead at 83, North Korea Warns of 'Bigger Gift Package' for U.S. After Ballistic Missile Test

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  • Gage Skidmore

    Mike Dubke, the communications director for the Trump White House, is resigning.

  • "Fresh off his first international trip as president, one in which he spent time at two meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday that the U.S. relationship with Germany is 'very bad for U.S.' and 'will change.'"
  • Manuel Noriega, the former dictator of Panama, has died at age 83.
  • A car bombing has killed at least 23 in central Baghdad.
  • "Hundreds of protesters opposing Texas' tough new anti-'sanctuary cities' law launched a raucous demonstration from the public gallery in the Texas House on Monday, briefly halting work and prompting lawmakers on the floor below to scuffle—and even threaten gun violence—as tense divides over hardline immigration policies boiled over."
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned the U.S. of a "bigger gift package" after North Korea conducted its latest ballistic missile test.

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  1. Mike Dubke, the communications director for the Trump White House, is resigning.

    Or was he… fired!

    1. Hello.

      Merkel is some piece of work.

      1. “Merkel met with the former U.S. president last week”

        WTF. Is the ex-president setting up some kind of shadow government now?

      2. Relations haven’ been this bad since the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

  2. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned the U.S. of a “bigger gift package” after North Korea conducted its latest ballistic missile test.

    The gift will only look bigger in the president’s hands.

    1. Which one, Trump or Kim? ‘Cause they both got those freaky little dollbaby hands.

      1. Pssh, Trump’s handled bigger packages.

        1. He grabbed ’em by the package? Huh, and yet people call him a homophobe.

    2. Asians are NOT known for big packages.

  3. Manuel Noriega, the former dictator of Panama, has died at age 83.

    That’s what drugs will get you.

    1. I have heard that everyone who has anything to do with drugs ends up dead.

      1. “This is your corpse on drugs. Any questions?”

      2. Each time you use drugs you are closer to death.

        1. what if I don’t use drugs?

          1. Death won’t think you’re cool.

    2. What’s that song again?

  4. …prompting lawmakers on the floor below to scuffle?and even threaten gun violence?as tense divides over hardline immigration policies boiled over.

    So can you mess with Texas or not? I’m getting mixed signals here.

    1. It’s not customary to shoot six shooters in the air and yell “Yee haaaw!!” after passing a bill in the Texas legislature?

      1. That Schoolhouse Rock! had it all wrong.

      2. Member from the Rio Grande Valley yell “?Arriba, arriba! ??ndale, ?ndale!” instead.

  5. …President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday that the U.S. relationship with Germany is ‘very bad for U.S.’ and ‘will change.’

    You know who else changed for the better America’s relations with Germany?

    1. David Hasselhoff?

    2. Heidi Klum?

    3. Huffpo had the Merkel reaction as their top headline for a while. She said

      The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over,”

      Which huffpo took to mean that she saw that Trump was so perfectly awful that nobody could rely on the USA any more.

      But in context with everything else, it is apparent that Trump delivered the message that has long been bubbling around the water cooler: Why do we pay for Germany’s entire defense budget, leaving them free to have all that extra capital devoted to their own economic development?

      Her further comments:

      Europe can no longer completely rely on its longstanding British and US allies, Angela Merkel has warned ? saying the EU must now be prepared to “take its fate into its own hands”.

      Echo that sentiment, from a German point of view. The US and Britain are indeed making noises that they are tired of paying the lion’s share of the freight for the rest of the western world to be able to live at peace.

      We were in the same place back in the 90’s after Gulf War I. Europe (and specifically the Germans) were chiding us not to be the world police. So when Bosnia happened, they said “we got this”.

      And then a year later they were bitterly complaining that the US was not showing leadership on the conflict. After a couple of years of failure, Clinton sorta, kinda got involved.

      The cycle repeats.

      1. You know who else thought Germany should take responsibility for organizing the rest of Europe?

        1. The Holy Roman Emperor?

        2. Johannes Gutenberg?

        3. Frederick the Great?

        4. The majority of all Germans ever.

          1. Whoa, that’s pretty racist.

      2. Europe’s been so invested in maintaining their socialist welfare states for the last 70 years, and so reliant on the US for sustaining a military umbrella against the Russians, that they’ve forgotten in the span of about three generations what it’s like to have an economy and society that’s centered around military strength, which was the norm on that continent going back to the Romans.

        Having to send forces over to Afghanistan for the last 15+ years hasn’t helped their military readiness, either. If Trump got a wild hair up his ass and decided that NATO needed to be renegotiated or even decided to pull out of Europe entirely (not likely on the latter, but one can dream), states like Germany, France, and the Scandanavian member states would suddenly be forced to confront that “guns or butter” dilemma again.

        1. It’s the “end of have story’ mentality that pervades the continent. The age of war and power struggles is over, they thought. No need for military in post-history.

          In truth, I don’t think they’d really need to to rearm much of the US pulled out entirely. Putin won’t attack western or Central Europe. His country is economically going down the shitter; he can’t afford to.

      3. “But in context with everything else, it is apparent that Trump delivered the message that has long been bubbling around the water cooler: Why do we pay for Germany’s entire defense budget, leaving them free to have all that extra capital devoted to their own economic development?”

        I am tired of paying for the Euro’s rotten medical care, 30-hour workweek, 4-month vacations and early retirement.
        Yes, Ms. Merkle, you can no longer “totally rely” on me. Time to grow up.

        1. My suspicion is it has a lot to do with trade actually. Germany is one of the biggest exporters to the US next to China, and Donald won’t rest till we’re all driving shitty American made cars that cost twice as much.

    4. Kraftwerk?

    5. Joseph Kennedy?

    6. Prescott Bush?

    7. Stalin?

  6. Sources: Russians discussed potentially ‘derogatory’ information about Trump and associates during campaign

    Boris and Natasha called home about Rachel Maddow’s “Trump Tax Return Find.”

    1. Sources: Russians discussed potentially ‘derogatory’ information about Trump

      with potential terrorists, no doubt.

      1. 13-year-olds in Texas?

    2. The details of the communication shed new light on information US intelligence received about Russian claims of influence. The contents of the conversations made clear to US officials that Russia was considering ways to influence the election — even if their claims turned out to be false.

      What would a Russian disinformation campaign look like if not getting CNN to act as a Russian stooge by running endless attack pieces on Trump being a Russian stooge? Maybe somebody should investigate this, or at least think about it for a second. Maybe the Russian influence on the campaign is nothing more or less than getting the US media to endlessly question the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency.

      1. It’s special prosecutors all the way down!

      2. Schrodinger’s media narrative.

      3. I doubt the Russians would frame themselves if they were writing the script.

  7. Why Have So Many Women Quit on Mayor de Blasio?

    One factor mentioned repeatedly was the mayor’s management style. It can be deliberative to the point of plodding, and several people said that it had produced a high level of frustration among top officials. They said that promising projects sometimes go many months awaiting approval or simply languish, drowned in a flood of memos, indecision and political strategizing.

    Another factor cited by some who frequently dealt with the mayor involved his personality; he often lectures his staff during meetings in what people describe as a condescending tone, and he is known for berating or belittling subordinates in front of others or shooting off emails criticizing them in brusque terms.

    Bonus! Would would would would wouldn’t would would would would would would wouldn’t.

    1. That’s a long winded way of saying he’s an asshole.

      1. But he is mayor of the City of Assholes, why should that bother his constituents?

        1. As long he keeps making with the handouts, he can be all the asshole he wants to be.

      2. But the women were there to make a difference – the struggle for wokeness shouldn’t be hindered by personal differences.

        /”She persisted” my ass.

    2. So a guy whose political persona is based on nagging micromanagement turns out to be like that in private, too?

    3. Weiner would have had a better staff.

    4. The two on the left? Really? They’re even uglier than that 11 year old boy on the far right.

  8. So which is it? Women want to be free of kids and unpredictable husbands, or not?

    But reader: There’s a plot twist. It turns out that Jill Filopovic ? feminist, badass, rejecter of all that is conventional ? is .?.?. engaged! “I had never been so immediately drawn to someone or felt myself so eager to talk to someone,” she tells us of her new love, and she embarked upon “a love affair unlike anything I had experienced.” It turns out that he has a big, important job in Africa, and ? screw feminism! ? she packed her bags and followed him. It’s bliss: “He is sometimes the only person I talk to in the course of a day” ? and she loves it. “There is a long list of reasons I would marry him,” she confides chattily, queen bee at the Tri Delt pajama party.

    A scathing book review, kiddos.

    1. “Come on home, girl” Mama cried on the phone
      “Too soon to lose my baby yet, my girl should be at home”
      But try to understand, try to understand
      Try, try, try to understand, he’s a magic man, Mama, ah, he’s a magic man

    2. From the comments:

      “vmax02rider_former
      5/28/2017 8:27 PM MST
      societal coercion to have kids must end, because it is not in the best interests of individuals or the planet.”

      Catty Facebook comments are ruining mother Gaia.

      1. Xe must be loads of fun at parties.

  9. a man who had been known for brandishing a machete while making defiant nationalist speeches and living a lavish, libertine life off drug-trade riches, complete with luxurious mansions, cocaine-fueled parties and voluminous collections of antique guns.

    So with the exception of the machete, Charlie Sheen basically culturally appropriated Manuel Noriega.

  10. Mattress Girl’ questioning art and politics through BDSM in new performance

    Performed at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Project Space, Sulkowicz wears a Whitney-branded bikini, while a white man in a business suit and Whitney, acting as the dominatrix, tie her up, beat her, humiliate her, and literally turn her into the masthead of a ship, tied around a big wooden beam and suspended from the ceiling.

    Sulkowicz told Broadly she sees it as a fitting metaphor the “impotence of artwork during our given circumstances” and created the piece to question the interplay between politics and art (as an institution). “We’re acting out this sadistic-masochistic relationship between the institution with all of its financial power, and this program that wants to be political but can’t be really because it’s being tied up by this institution,” Sulkowicz explained.

    I mean…

    1. So…. I clicked through to the original article at Broadly. You know. Like you do….

      And I was not disappointed. There are mountains of wonderful quotes available. I was about to pick a few choice ones, then I read the correction at the bottom. So someone else will have to bring back some of the choice bits. Because, here, without further ado is the quote of the week:


      Correction: This story originally gendered a concerned viewer at Emma Sulkowicz’s ‘The Ship Is Sinking’ performance as “she.” They use pronouns “they/them.” We regret the error.

      so there ya go. Top that!

      1. As someone with multiple personalities, we find the use of plural pronouns appropriation of our culture. No, you shut up.

        1. In fairness, a significant chunk of HnR’s comentariate probably boils down to about 4 people and a boatload of sock puppets.

          So “identifying as” having multiple personalities isn’t exactly a distinguishing feature around here. There’s probably only a couple dozen of us regulars that eschew the sock puppet. (and though I don’t like the sock puppet, I used to love the joke handle in the old days.)

          1. Shut up, Tulpa.

      2. So she’s gonna make whole career out of this little delusion of hers.

        On the bright side, at least she won’t be on welfare?

    2. Would someone *kindly* explain the significance of “Whitney”?

      1. Whitney is the museum. She (or they, as it were) represents art in the time of Trump, and the white man beating her is Trump, and everything he stands for.

        Duh doy.

        1. Whitney-branded bikini

          I confuse.

          1. It is not well-written, but I believe “whitney” – or at least the letter “w” is written on the bikini.

    3. I am not sure the writer understands the exact meaning of “dominatrix”, if they mean it to refer to a man dressed as a man.

      1. Sexist, homophobic, cis-gendered shitlord! If one identifies as a “dominatrix”, he/she/xie/they are a dominatrix.

    4. Outputting longs streams of gibberish is an impressive skill. Young people pay impressive sums to learn how to do that.

    5. Sulkowicz told Broadly she sees it as a fitting metaphor the “impotence of artwork during our given circumstances”

      She’s spot on, if we take “given circumstances” as broadly as possible.

    6. Finally, someone is turning porn into a recognized art form. Also, congratulations to Mattress Girl for living out her sexual fantasies.

  11. My favorite story continues: Feminists Get Trolled At ‘Women Only’ Wonder Woman Screening

    What he did was clever, and the reaction is hilariously pointless.

    1. The feminist blogger “this is epic” response to him that I saw was a tweet from the theater saying “thanks for the money”.

      Which is pretty funny.

    2. It was a masterful troll. Best troll I’ve seen since Mike Doughney registered “peta.org” for People Eating Tasty Animals.

      -jcr

    3. Awesome. Glad someone’s fighting back against the stupid.

    4. The best part of this little piece of virtue-signaling is the utter cluelessness that Wonder Woman was always a B-grade hero to Batman and Superman, was created by a writer with a bizarre bondage fetish, and whose most notable pop-culture touchstone is a cheesy 70s series that highlighted Lynda Carter’s bounteous bosoms.

    5. Wait, that’s it? I was expecting some sort of ending to the story.

      So he bought a ticket, and that’s the trolling?

        1. Was the “clever” description sarcastic?

          1. I think it was clever way to show how public accommodation laws work.

            1. MEH.

              Maybe his timeline focused on that more. The article seemed more tickled by the joking about it being a Chris Pine movie and identifying as female.

              That’s Not Funny.

                1. STILL ONLY HALF CONVINCED

                  I’m mostly ornery now that I ignored this outrage last week. I could’ve wasted time shouting into the wind over at the AVClub.

                2. From crusty’s article, a tweet:

                  “Yes but you are also barging into a space you’ve been asked not to enter, and doing it for lulz. This is a rapist’s mentality.”

                  Here in Denver ( or Wheat Ridge to be more precise), a couple of activists went around trying to find a bakery that wouldn’t bake their gay wedding cake. By all accounts the baker who became the target of their “lulz” was polite about his refusal. He was dragged before a civil rights commission, yet the asshole activists could’ve been civil when “barging into a space they were asked not to enter” by going to any other bakery in town. Instead, they doubled down and became celebrated heroes of a righteous cause.

                  Also, one of these Alamo Drafthouses just moved into the neighborhood. They launched a campaign a year or two ago to convince the neighborhood what great, polite neighbors they would be. Judging by the snark and vitriol their national spokesperson has exhibited when this Miller guy exposed them (or, more accurately, their army of twitter defenders) as hypocrites, I’m calling bullshit on that.

                  1. “and doing it for lulz.”

                    That’s the hook isn’t it? Every time they transgress some boundary it’s always and inevitably for a ‘higher good.’ While nothing this guy could ever do would be acceptable.

                    Even if all he’s doing is demonstrating exactly how public accommodation laws operate.

                    1. demonstrating exactly how public accommodation laws operate in the face of sex discrimination.

      1. Yeah good point. I just assumed he went.

    6. Civil rights are only for certain groups.

      1. Approved groups.

  12. Koreans nuke Portland or SanFran, giving the U.S. carte blanche to grind them into the dust, Win/Win.

    1. Except why do we give a shit about grinding them into dust?

      I get their point of view. They are an entire nation obsessed with the war with the US and the dictatorship controls all information absolutely, so the US is their one and only true and forever enemy.

      But why does the US engage with them at all? Who gives a crap?

      Or conversely, why not just take them out one 4 day weekend and be done with it, if it is such a big deal to have a crazy dictatorship next to a couple of your closest allies.

      Either way, I don’t see them rating anything above a “Nelson from the Simpsons” Ha-Ha.

      1. And anyone who doubts the “they are crazy” line, please enjoy this Vice documentary.

      2. Definitely, unless they rise to being an actual threat, a good Full Muntz is the proper response.

        But damned if the clatter of their saber rattling doesn’t get annoying. If the U.S. govt adopted an official We’re Just Going To Pretend Cartman North Korea Is Dead policy, would the media go along and ignore them too?

        1. “If the U.S. govt adopted an official We’re Just Going To Pretend Cartman North Korea Is Dead policy, would the media go along and ignore them too?”

          If they could use it to blame Trump, you bet they would.

      3. Because while we could take them out in a four day weekend, they could take out Seoul in 4 hours. If they actually develop weapons that could reach the US, the calculus changes. For now, we get more of the same.

        1. Maybe, but doubtful. Yes they have lots of tubes fortified in mountains, ostensibly pointing at Seoul. But how many are operational? How many are supplied with functional munitions? How many are staffed by people capable of operating them, and willing to fire, much less willing to keep firing until the inevitable counter battery fire immolates them?

          Dictatorships are the same all over. Rest assured that many of those emplacements have been ‘stocked’ with the same ordnance that travels on a perpetual inspection circuit – just ahead of the inspectors. And much like Saddam’s ‘fourth largest army in the world’ proved to be nothing of the sort, I suspect the threats to Seoul are (while serious) not nearly what many make them out to be.

          1. They also supposedly have a handful of nuclear weapons that may or may not actually explode on command. I’m not sure of their delivery mechanism. They certainly ain’t getting anything delivered by airplane, so I’m assuming they have designed them for intermediate range missiles.

            So if they can get one missile through, they can go a long way toward killing the people in Seoul. Also, even though we have the capability to silence their artillery, the sheer numbers they have along the border means that we would have to bring a massive amount of ordinance into the area to be able to take it all out – which would be difficult to do without provoking a strike from the NK army.

            So any way you slice it, a lot of people in Seoul would get hurt in such an exchange – even if it only lasted hours.

            So, how many cluster munitions can we deliver in a 20 minute period? It is a lot, but is it enough to shut down all of the artillery north of the DMZ? We don’t have huge numbers of bombers, only 160 total heavy bombers, almost all are B-52’s. And cruise missiles are expensive for taking out ground units.

  13. I see Kellyanne Conway has flatly stated Sean Spicer has the complete confidence of the president and isn’t going anywhere so I guess that’s it for Sean Spicer. He’ll be gone by the end of the week.

    1. That sounds like hours, rather than days. The kiss of death, the appellation.

    1. Wrong tool, wrong job.

      1. Yeah. You are definitely doing it wrong.

    2. Justin Theroux is hardly a kung-fu master.

  14. ‘I keep other people awake at night’: Battle-hardened Defense Secretary Mattis says NOTHING stops him from enjoying a good night’s sleep as he warns war with North Korea would be ‘catastrophic’

    The battle-hardened, tough-talking retired Marine Corps general was asked during CBS’s Face the Nation what keeps him awake at night.

    But Mattis, who was entrusted with some of the most challenging commands in the military, simply replied: ‘Nothing.’

    ‘I keep other people awake at night.’

    America, fuck yeah!

    1. as he warns war with North Korea would be ‘catastrophic’…

      *dons sunglasses*

      “…for Them.”

    2. I’m not in favor of more foreign adventurism, but I gotta admit I do enjoy seeing this country get some of its swagger back. Swagger that’s been absent for about 25 years.

      1. ^^THIS^^

        Even George Washington said “Free trade with our allies, a strong defense against our enemies”

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