Subscribe via RSS Feed

Fealty to the Emperor

[ 212 ] June 12, 2017 |

Trump is feeling good today, after a Cabinet meeting designed for all his appointees to assure the president of his super awesomeness.

President Trump on Monday used his first full-fledged Cabinet meeting to try to make a case that, despite the Russian investigation and other distractions, his administration is racking up accomplishments at a record clip.

“Never has there been a president, with few exceptions — case of FDR, he had a major depression to handle — who has passed more legislation and who has done more things than what we’ve done,” Trump, referring to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, said during the meeting at the White House.

“I think we’ve been about as active as you can possibly be at a just about record-setting pace,” Trump said.

The meeting was also notable in that Trump allowed his Cabinet members, in full view of the media, to take turns praising him and his policy agenda.

“We thank you for the opportunity and blessing . . . to serve your agenda,” White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said in remarks that were echoed by other senior members of the administration.

Tom Price, the secretary of health and human services, also lavished Trump with praise, saying “what an incredible honor it is” to lead his department “at this pivotal time under your leadership.”

“I can’t thank you enough for the privileges you’ve given me and the leadership that you’ve shown,” Price said.

Staged public events that serve to massage the president’s ego will totally be taken at face value by future historians.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • D.N. Nation

    “Never has there been a president, with few exceptions — case of FDR, he had a major depression to handle — who has passed more legislation”

    What legislation?

    • kped

      Lots? All of it? You would know if you weren't a dumb libtard who gets his news from the fake lamestream media. Cuck.

    • Derelict

      That was my question. This ignoramus has signed all sorts of things: Executive orders, memoranda, letters, hats, menus, shirts. But actual legislation? Not so much.

      So far, he hasn’t been able to get a single one of his initiatives through Congress. And neither Ryan nor McConnell have been able to get their caucuses to agree to enough of anything to put any bills together.

      • True, but his cabinet members seem to be making good progress destroying their agencies. So there’s that.

        • Colin Day

          Hah!! The Department of Education laughs at Devos’ puny attempts to destroy it!

          • No Longer Middle Aged Man

            DeVos at least came off in that video with enough dignity to talk only about her goals at Dept of Education, she skipped the Trump ass-kissing. Probably the same motive as Bloomberg – a real billionaire looking down on a fake one.

      • patrick II

        Just to quibble, but Ryan got the anti-healthcare bill thru the house. Which means he can get his caucus sociopaths to agree at least one thing. Which I think has been aptly illustrated here as “more money for me, fuck you”.

      • DrunkProwlingWolf

        That was my question. This ignoramus has signed all sorts of things: Executive orders, memoranda, letters, hats, menus, shirts. But actual legislation? Not so much.

        I had that question too. But I was able to think of several very plausible answers. Such as:

        Maybe he thinks that once you become president, everything you sign your name to becomes law.

        Or my favorite theory:

        During one of the administrations never-ending crises, his staff was trying to keep him away from the TV and the Twitter for a few hours so they could take care of this shit for once before he could make it worse. So somebody had the idea to just tell him that a bunch of bills had come over from Paul Ryan that needed his signature. So they went to the supply closet and got some Very Important looking Pens, found some Very Important looking People and told them to clap and take turns asking him for pens (those two are really his favorite parts, apparently.) Then they just had him sign some Very Important looking Papers.

        And of course they’ve had to do it more than once, so in all fairness he has a pretty good reason to think they’ve been passing bills at a record rate.

    • tsam

      YER FAKE NEWS

    • Hogan

      You know, that thing . . . and . . . you know . . . the other thing . . . .

      • Lurking Canadian

        Sure. The Thing he had with Comey. And the Brooklyn thing. But not the thing from downtown.

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Surely they have at least named some Post Offices by now.

      • sibusisodan

        Per govtrack, there have been 39 bills passed. At least 3 named post offices. Many of them disapproved of various rules.

        Obama’s first Congress looks to have passed fewer bills at this stage (~25?). ARRA and Lily Ledbetter being fairly substantive, of course!

        • CrunchyFrog

          A few were pretty nasty. Not able to get all details now, and would need research to find which Lieberdems went along with them to get them through the Senate, but when the revolution comes they will be put in the line up against the wall.

          • The rule repeals can’t be filibustered, so they don’t need Democrats to go along. This is frequently not mentioned on the rare occasion that the GOP’s rule repeals have been mentioned in the media at all.

            • CrunchyFrog

              I did NOT know that – thanks! Based on subsequent research all of the nasty ones were rules repeals. So, maybe there haven’t been any Lieberdems (certainly hope that is the case).

              • lunaticllama

                From the few rule repeals that I followed and called my house representative on, all of the egregious repeal votes have been along party lines.

        • Lost Left Coaster

          Thank you for doing the research I was too lazy to do.

    • Hells Littlest Angel

      What about all the muslim bans? So many muslim bans! USA!!

    • Ask Me Gently

      If he didn’t open with a bald, easily-unproven lie, people might think he’s an imposter.

    • Donalbain

      What? You think post offices just name themselves!?!

  • Hayden Arse

    “Let us praise [Don]. Oh [Don], oooh you are so big. So absolutely huge. Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here I can tell you.”

    • lizzie

      “Oh [Don], please don’t burn us”

    • I wonder if they will be this happy in six months.

    • Pat

      Does anyone else remember the post Farley had about the letter the rocket scientists sent Stalin about how grateful they were to have a chance to work for him?

      And that when Stalin got the letter, he noticed that one guy hadn’t signed it, but was reassured that that man was already dead.

  • N__B
    • I forgive Schumer almost everything for that fine piece of trolling.

    • davidsmcwilliams

      Damn, that’s pretty funny.

    • Karen24

      That is truly a work of art. “How did my hair look coming out of the gym this morning?” I nearly choked on my drink at that one.

      • Murc

        It’s a very Schumer joke, as well.

        Schumer is one of the pols of his age who I think actually has a relatively decent substantive grasp of how social media works, as opposed to having a very good staff who curates it in his name. (Although of course he has that as well.) I’ve followed the man for awhile, he is my Senator, and I lot of what I see from him always strikes me as “this is the man himself navigating the online shoals, not some PR flack.”

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        “You know they from Brooklyn, so they bound to fight”

  • Q.E.Dumbass

    KNEEL before GRODD, my motley menagerie of surrender monkeys!”

    • NBarnes

      Going full frontal nerdity there?

  • Arla

    I liked that play better when it was called King Lear.

    • brad

      Except now it’s irony’s corpse, propped up, with a small bluetooth speaker in the mouth.

    • Nate W.

      Except King Trump doesn’t reward flattery with a share of the kingdom—the only reward for fawning over Trump is humiliation.

    • dmsilev

      He’s more like King Leer.

      • Arla

        You win.

      • Karen24

        AAANNNDD I’m adding King Leer to my list of Trump insults.

        • Pat

          Also totally stealing that.

    • Hann1bal

      As I said on Twitter, it’s King Lear without a single Cordelia to be found.

      • Warren Terra

        To be fair, if only he could find (or remember) Tiffany maybe she’d do for Cordelia.

      • Sly

        Cordelia offered only honesty, and so she was fired for not closing the investigation into Cornwall’s interference in the succession.

  • Mark Field

    “Tell me, my daughters,–
    Since now we will divest us both of rule,
    Interest of territory, cares of state,–
    Which of you shall we say doth love us most?
    That we our largest bounty may extend
    Where nature doth with merit challenge. Goneril,
    Our eldest-born, speak first.”

    Edit: Damnit, Arla.

    • Arla

      Haha, sorry! I’m sure lots of folks have independently made some version of that joke.

  • daves09

    Going full North Korean there.
    What could possibly compensate for that level of abasement?

    • so-in-so

      Getting to pick who gets shot with the AA guns?

      • Jack M.

        Give it time. If someone comes up for the death penalty in a federal prison, Il Douche will probably want to pull the lever/trigger/switch himself.

        • Karen24

          Seriously, he’s too much of a coward.

          • BiloSagdiyev

            But what if he could press a button on his smartphone, while playing golf in FL?

    • Mike G

      Next, Trump shoots a round of golf — 18 holes-in-one!

    • keta
  • Thom

    Well, it is true that there has never been a US president quite like this one!

    • cpinva

      “Well, it is true that there has never been a US president quite like this one!”

      I’ve been told (by competent authority) that he has really big hands. huge hands even. one could say ginormous hands!

  • Q.E.Dumbass

    I sort of understand the reason, but am still at a loss at intuitively grasping the answers: How comes it’s only within the last millennium (and really only the last 600 years or so) that drawing and painting weren’t completely dogshit?

    • Honoré De Ballsack

      How comes it’s only within the last millennium (and really only the last 600 years or so) that drawing and painting weren’t completely dogshit?

      There’s a kind of clueless condescension in that question that’s akin to “how is it that all music before Black Sabbath totally SUCKED?” but I’ll assume you’ve been day-drinking and let it go.

      Short answer: because outside of classical Rome and the contemporary West, the kind of realist approach (or what experts such as yourself might term “not dogshit”) to image making simply wasn’t valued, culturally. Realism in painting is an outgrowth of Renaissance/Enlightenment humanism. Feel free to enroll in Art History 101 if you want more detail.

      • Well, now that you mention it, all music before Black Sabbath did kinda suck…

        • Hogan

          “Let me put it this way. Have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates?”

          “Yes.”

          “Morons.”

      • twbb

        “to image making simply wasn’t valued, culturally”

        Do you have any citations for such an extraordinary, broad claim?

        • rm

          I took Art History for Non-Majors, and I get Honore-accent-aigu’s point. Linear perspective is a technique developed in Renaissance Italy that has not been practiced in all times and all places. Our eyes are trained to it, so we may tend to think of realistic scale and perspective as “not dogshit,” but this is a historically contingent matter of taste.

          • twbb

            That’s certainly an unfortunately common view among some cultural theorists but I don’t find it convincing in this case. You can’t tell me that the near photorealistic quality of Renaissance painting would have been met with shrugs by anyone who wasn’t historically conditioned to enjoy it, and that if someone in another cultural milieu had felt like it they could have done it if they felt like it.

            Additionally, the poor visitors to the churches where a lot of that art was weren’t “trained” to it either, but it was still impressive to them — that’s why it was put in churches, to awe the parishioners.

            There’s plenty of non-European cultures who produced work aesthetically superior to what the Europeans usually were managing in other media, like ceramics, jewelry making, textiles. When it reached Europe it tended to be immensely popular, despite the fact that Europeans’ eyes weren’t “trained” for it.

            Obviously some artistic taste is conditioned by cultural context, but it’s just incredibly implausible that ALL artistic taste is.

            • rm

              I didn’t say any of the stuff you paraphrased my straw effigy as saying. I said context is everything and our tastes are culturally and historically contingent, not that we are INCAPABLE of appreciating unfamiliar stuff. On the contrary, I was imploring QED to look at that unfamiliar image and imagine how someone could find it good. The astonishing art of the Renaissance is pretty much appreciated everywhere, but I could imagine a person wholly unaccustomed to its conventions seeing it as a pattern of flat colors, like a blind person gaining sight for the first time in adulthood and seeing the world as colors and splotches instead of objects and shadows. The first time Moscow audiences saw a close-up in a movie they thought they were seeing a decapitated head.

              • twbb

                The OP, to which I was responding to, said perspective painting “wasn’t valued” which is ridiculous. That was Honore-accent-aigu’s point.

            • ackfoo

              Of course, the “near photo-realistic” paintings were anything but– they were crammed with symbolism about the importance of the subject in the vast majority of cases, as they were commissioned by important (rich) people.

              In addition, missing from this discussion in general is the fact that there were religious restrictions on “true to life” representations of living beings, which led to more symbolic (though recognizable) depictions of humans and other life.

              Finally, there was a less widespread “supportive class” of accomplished artists to assist in the overall creative effort. By the 15th century, at least in Italy (Florence/Rome) we see the division of labor that allowed individual artists to scale their work with a group of apprentices. I may be wrong, but I don’t think this was a widespread practice in painting prior to that era.

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        I had more in mind medieval art and stuff like the original “Hanging Gardens” depiction; of course there’s a difference between stylization (e.g., contemporary South Asian art, the Greek amphorae) and, well, whatever the fuck that shit is above – and it’s as wide a difference as Frank Miller’s TDKR and DKSA.

        But you haven’t explained how or why said art would consistently indicate disinclination rather than incapacity for perspective, etc., so DIAF.

        • What elements of contemporary South Asian art, Greek amphorae, etc. lead you to interpret them as “stylized” and medieval European art as simply inept? Just aesthetics?

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            Going through my ~800-page “History of Art” for examples (and admitting this and the OP was an overly broad description), I would guess that mosaics, pottery, etc. were drawn within limitations, and that early Middle Ages drawing and painting took a few centuries– until about 1300, and earlier for painting — to work out how the prior limitations weren’t necessary for drawing/painting surfaces.

      • Brad Nailer

        Gee, tough crowd. Guy asks a simple question and gets pounded for his trouble. “Clueless condescension”? That’s a pretty condescending comment in itself, but then maybe you’ve been day-drinking and just lost it for a second.

        • I dunno, generally calling thousands of years of human artistic endeavor “complete dogshit” is the kind of question that should be expected to raise hackles. There are people who spend their entire lives studying that “complete dogshit”.

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            To be fair, I was mainly thinking of medieval Europeean writing and painting.

            I still have no idea why the gap between sculpture and 2-D art, or how the hell perspective wasn’t widely a thing until 500 years ago.

            • Hogan

              Who wanted paintings until 500 years ago?

              What did they want them for?

              • tsam

                Maybe people did look that way. Got any photographs? No? That’s what I thought.

                • Most people were 2 dimensional until fairly recently and actual looked like that depiction above. DaVinci invented the 3rd dimension in 1586. I learned this on the History Channel.

              • rm

                Exactly.

                Edit: agreeing with Hogan, not tsam, though that is a funny idea. John Crowley has an endless series of novels with the premise that before the scientific revolution, magic and alchemy were real, and then the Enlightenment changed how the universe works.

                • GeoX

                  “Endless?” It’s only four books…

                • twbb

                  The last one is endless though.

        • rm

          Well, QED did just tell folks to die in a fire, so.

          One of the qualities that makes the image in the post good art is that the figures are more iconic, more cartoon-like, than realistic 3-D perspective with highly advanced renderings of individual faces and figures. It lacks the virtues of that kind of art, but it has different virtues of its own. In medieval scenes the figures are closer to written words, closer to the lower-right corner of Scott McCloud’s triangle. When I look at a Renaissance portrait I feel I know what this person looked like and maybe their personality; in a medieval portrait like this I have all kinds of clues to their social position, their reputation, importance, place in a story — colors of clothing, formal postures, the size and placement of the figure. (For a comics analogy to this, think of our first view of Dr. Manhattan as a giant in Watchmen — his power and importance demonstrated by the way he towers over other figures.) In Renaissance paintings I can’t tell which saint I’m looking at because they look so much like real people; in medieval paintings I can easily tell if I know their iconic stock features (like the iconic look of a superhero). One kind of art is more beautiful and technically accomplished, but the other is good for storytelling, and it fit a medieval world where most people could not read, so they got their stories from paintings and sculptures. And look at those bright colors.

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            Huh. The “cartoonification” of art in Western Europe also affects sculpture to an extent during this period, which would indicate a stylish choice. And perspective doesn’t fully catch on in South/Western Asia until a few centuries later; my adverse reaction is probably an allergy acquired from four years of exposure in HS humanities, and as a result its styles look much more “off” to me.

            • rm

              Well, once you go Michelangelo, it’s hard to go back.

              • Q.E.Dumbass

                The fading over the ages does not help matters (and the colors here actually seem rather drab to me).

    • BigHank53

      Look up the history of perspective; the earliest surviving example dates from 1415…yep, 600 years.

      The wheel is a deceptively simple idea, too, but someone did have to invent the damn thing.

      • John F

        “The wheel is a deceptively simple idea, too, but someone did have to invent the damn thing.”

        Nature invented the wheel (round rocks/ round logs)
        the Axle, now that was something someone had to invent

        • RobNYNY1957

          Likewise, the button. The button existed (either decorative or tied with laces), but the button hole needed to be invented, apparently in Germany around 1200 CE.

        • gmoot

          All music sucked before Axl Rose.

          • N__B

            That statement leave open the possibility that all music sucks with and after Axl Rose.

            • gmoot

              It also leaves open the possibility of something vaguely pornographic.

    • wengler

      Ancient mosaics are great.

    • hypersphericalcow

      I once saw a painting of the Nativity that was set in some Renaissance-era part of Italy. It was apparently made in that weird period when perspective had been completely figured out, but anatomy trailed far behind. So the building and the background where almost photo-realistic, but Jesus had microcephaly and the angels had broken necks and messed-up knees. It was kind of disturbing.

    • rlc

      Uhhhh:

      http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/06/23/first-impressions
      I can’t find the best one on this topic anymore, but that one will do. Herzog has opinions, too, but we all knew that.

      I’m on my way to Naples next winter to have a look at the wall frescos and the mosaics from Pompeii and Herculaneum.

      One thing I’ve learned at an almost too late age that I can pass on to the young whippersnappers: Try very hard to see the good stuff in person. There really is no comparison with the emotional impact between a digital image and the thing before you. I got this pounded into my skull in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. A 50 century old bust I had known from online images for quite some time was a different thing altogether to gaze at from multiple perspectives. I had a sense of wonder, and loss: how much have I missed by not putting my eyeballs on as beauty as possible? Modern man is at least 50 centuries old.

      Skip the Mona Lisa though.

      • That is true of world heritage sites, as well. I went to the Amber Fort https://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/amber/attractions/amber-fort/a/poi-sig/1286368/1329231in India a few years ago and it just blew my mind.

      • Karen24

        I saw the bust of Nefertiti at the Amon Carter in Ft. Worth. It was amazing. Even more amazing was seeing Knossos in person on my 21st birthday. That was life-changing. Yeah, seriously, see it in person.

        When, after what I hope are many many more years, my mother goes on to her reward, if she leaves an estate of the value it is now, I am going to establish a scholarship for students at A & M Commerce to spend a summer in Europe. No classes, just two months traveling, (scheduled to be determined, but Greece, Italy, France, Germany, and Austria will be part of it. Possibly Spain and Denmark.) The one requirement will be that the student has never been out of the country before, and has to be a liberal arts major.

        • rlc

          My wife and I are engineers, and justified going to England when we were relatively poor undergrads and self-supported because we could earn credits through a summer chemical engineering program at UCL. And spent lunchtimes, more often than not, in the British Museum, a 5 minute walk. We didn’t turn out like many of the engineers people think about when they think about our folk. The benefits of a grand tour voluntarily undertaken might not be wasted on many.

          Spain has Guernica and the Prado, the Alhambra, and the constructions of Gaudí. Not to be missed by questing eyeballs.

          • Cheap Wino

            Spent a day in the Louvre and another in the British Museum (thanks Mom & Dad!). Have also spent days in the Smithsonian. I lack the eloquence to convey how rewarding and important those days have been in my life.

        • N__B

          Even more amazing was seeing Knossos in person on my 21st birthday. That was life-changing.

          Melania Knossos?

        • Cheap Wino

          “The one requirement will be that the student has never been out of the country before, and has to be a liberal arts major.”

          You are a wonderful, beautiful human being.

      • Lurking Canadian

        I disagree with you about the Mona Lisa. I went in expecting ho hum. This is, after all, probably the most recognizable image in Christendom. If I’m not mistaken, Gary Larson did a cow version.. It still blew me away. There is Something about that painting.

        • Karen24

          I had the same reaction, also to Botticelli’s “Primavera” and “Birth of Venus.” I’ve seen tons of images of those paintings and nothing affected me like seeing them in person.

          • DrS

            Birth of Venus Is amazing. Even the most beautiful representation is nothing compared to seeing that in person. Amazing.

            • lunaticllama

              I also felt that way by El Greco’s paintings. The depth of the colors he used can’t be conveyed through any type of reproduction or copy.

        • rm

          She had the highway blues, you can tell by her smile.

      • wjts

        Skip the Mona Lisa though.

        Especially because, as I recall, the next gallery over has Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa in it. Seeing that one in person blew my goddamn mind. Also, up on one of the upper floors where no one ever goes is Bruegel’s The Beggars. I probably spent half an hour in an otherwise deserted gallery looking at that one. Chardin’s Le singe antiquaire and Le singe peintre are also up there somewhere, and they’re almost as funny as a Gary Larson cartoon. Other highlights are the Diana of Versailles and some anonymous classical genius’ depiction of the eternal struggle between toddlers and geese.

        • rlc

          I am more partial to Winged Victory and the Middle Eastern halls. I would like the Greek and Roman halls better if not for the damn selfie-takers.

          • sibusisodan

            The Babylonian stuff is mind blowing. Makes me smile just remembering it.

      • tsam

        Stop that shit. It’s in the Louvre. You don’t skip anything in the Louvre. Take trip to France, spend a whole day in the Louvre and just skip a 500 year old art piece, the most famous piece in Western history, painted by DaVinci? Really?

        • wjts

          Nah, you can totally skip both the Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace.

          • tsam

            Might as well skip The Starry Night too, since you can get prints at Target and all the Proles have one in the living room.

            • Hogan

              You know what? Fuck the Louvre. Musee d’Orsay, bitchez!

              • sibusisodan

                Musee Rodin or bust!

                • N__B

                  Maison de Verre or fight!

                • wjts

                  I was kind of disappointed by the Musée Rodin.

                • Linnaeus

                  If y’all find yourselves in Detroit, the Detroit Institute of Art is well worth a visit.

                • N__B

                  If y’all find yourselves in Detroit,

                  We tried to visit the zoo over Memorial Day weekend, but apparently there are only five parking spots for it and we declined to wait the hour plus we were told it would take. Mini__B was at the end of his tether, so it was back to Ypsilanti to play with the dog.

                  Maybe next time I’ll suggest the Institute of Art.

                • Hogan
                • Cheap Wino

                  “Get it while you can.”

                  Why am I thinking there will be a next time with this article and it wont be good news?

                  Also, if this isn’t a sign of how misplaced our priorities are as a nation? We struggle to keep our greatest cultural assets while the DOW brings us more millionaires and wealthier billionaires every day.

                • Dr. Acula

                  If you can, check out the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam sometime.

              • tsam

                On my trip I did go to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, which was more memorable than the Louvre. Unfortunately, that was 35 years ago. But I will return at some point.

              • wjts

                Musee d’Orsay, bitchez!

                Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle is where it’s at.

                ETA: For Foucault’s Pendulum fans, the periscope display described in the Conservatoire des arts et métiers is, based on my visit a few years ago, no longer there.

            • John F

              “and all the Proles have one in the living room.”
              Hey, I moved mine to my bedroom

        • rlc

          Oh yes you do skip shit in the Louvre. We’ve been there five times. We practically run through the royal living rooms. And seriously, the Mona Lisa is viewed through glass, from a distance, and the crowd… good gawd. Compare to the Van Goghs at the Musée d’Orsay.

          Screw you wjts ;-) I like me some Winged Victory. The Venus is pleasant, but not a shocker like that bust in Cairo. There is no accounting for taste.

          • wjts

            IT DOESN’T HAVE A HEAD! WHAT’S THE FUCKING POINT IF IT HASN’T GOT A HEAD?

            • rlc

              drapery?

              • wjts

                Pfft. I can see that in my living room curtains.

          • tsam

            I sadly went when I was 14 and unable to appreciate the works the way I would now. For many people, a trip to Paris is a once in a lifetime thing. I get what you’re saying, and in my 10 minutes in that room, 2 dumb motherfuckers used a flash and shut the light off. But still, I saw it in person. That means something–at least to my ignorant self.

            • rlc

              I want to put a plug in for travel hacking. Together my wife and spend about $200/yr for two credit cards each. It’s quite stupid to pay an annual fee, unless you’re focusing on getting the maximum benefit. For us, it’s every year a set of efficient tickets to the EU. We usually pay less than $200 both RT for ~12 hour each way PHX to the EU. Right now the sweet spot for us PHX -> DFW -> CDG. Leave in the afternoon, arrive in the morning. Going back, leave in the morning arrive in the afternoon, same day. Then you AirBnB an entire apt. (Loomis call off those hit squads) and cook at night out of the local markets, and eat yogurt and berries and croissants and pain de chocolate for breakfast. This drives down costs and drives up happiness. Splurge on lunch, in the middle of things.

              Yall really want to go to Paris. And a lot of other places too. It’s about $75 to fly from CDG to VCE, for instance; flights every 1.5 hrs.

      • Linnaeus

        There really is no comparison with the emotional impact between a digital image and the thing before you.

        Walter Benjamin may have had a point.

        • Hogan

          I just brought that up for a rereading. Aura of the original!

          • Hogan

            “Just as water, gas, and electricity are brought into our houses from far off to satisfy our needs in response to a minimal effort, so we shall be supplied with visual or auditory images, which will appear and disappear at a simple movement of the hand, hardly more than a sign.”

            Paul Valery. DAMN.

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        I don’t know if I was exactly “awestruck” when I went to the Met, MoMA and Guggenheim when I was 16, but I really loved going to all three of the museums.

        Also: “The art” is the #1 reason I want to become Pope/take over the Vatican, despite being an agnostic.

        • rlc

          Oh yes.

        • Karen24

          The Vatican Museum was the one and only experience I’ve every had of Museum Overload. My husband and I went to Italy on our honeymoon, and of course spent a day at the Vatican. Because we were young and foolish, we decided to take one of the long routes, beginning in the Egyptian gallery and ending up at the Sistine Chapel and “School of Athens” rooms. Every. Single. Inch. Of that place is covered by priceless and legendary masterpieces. The Sistine was everything we expected and more, but the time we got out, all we wanted was a Coke. We spent the next day shopping to recover.

          • CD

            Yep. One of my memories was rushing through some passage on the way to the Sistine chapel and finding myself in the Vatican’s modern art collection, which I didn’t know existed. Holy shit, there’s a Jacob Lawrence, a Dali, a Diego Rivera. Good ones, and no time.

            What I’ve learned to do is see any serious museum at least twice on different days, because my brain clogs. The Louvre I visited multiple times. Got one of those passes that let you stroll in any time. Did a gallery or two, went out for a glass of wine. Liquor is the other secret to art appreciation.

        • dogboy

          I think you meant “the wine.”

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            Is “aesthetically religious” a thing anybody can actually be? Because I am exactly that thing.

        • Colin Day

          As long as you accept the existence of The School of Athens,

  • Warren Terra

    Is it normal for the first full cabinet meeting to take place halfway through June?

    It’s almost certainly not normal that the full cabinet meeting contains practically every administration official confirmed by the Senate …

    • cpinva

      that depends on what your definition of “normal” is.

    • sibusisodan

      I also have these questions.

      In fairness, he is new at this.

      • Lost Left Coaster
      • The Lorax

        That phrase needs to be hung around Paul Ryan’s neck. It really bothers me that when this comes crashing down it won’t bring Ryan and McConnell with it. Everyone will say that Trump wasn’t *really* a Republican. And the media will avoid talking about GOP complicity in Trump’s crimes because they need it to be true that both sides are relatively equal and equally to blame.

        OT: I saw Conway holding court with a bunch of journalists at a DC cocktail party this weekend. What the fuck is that? How do those Washington Week assholes sleep at night?

        • efgoldman

          How do those Washington Week assholes sleep at night?

          Very, very well. It’s easy when you’re dreaming of your bank account.

  • Warren Terra

    Note that the LGM Twitter feed includes this

    @BraddJaffy
    Here’s the full, 11-minute video of Trump going around the table listening to each of his Cabinet members praise him http://nbcnews.to/2s3Os2m

    But from commentary I saw on Twitter before that, Trump apparently opened the meeting with a monologue that was, as I recall, described as being nearly ten minutes and not a single true statement.

  • wjts

    It would be trivial and pointless to record how Gaius treated such relatives and friends as his cousin King Ptolemy of Mauretania (the son of King Juba and grandson of Antony by his daughter Cleopatra Selene), or Macro the Guards Commander, with his wife Ennia, by whose help he had become Emperor. Their very nearness and services to him earned them cruel deaths.
    Nor was he any more respectful or considerate in his dealings with the Senate, but made some of the highest officials run for miles beside his chariot, dressed in their togas; or wait in short linen tunics at the head or foot of his dining couch. Often he would send for men whom he had secretly killed, as though they were still alive, and remark off-handedly a few days later that they must have committed suicide. When two Consuls forgot to announce his birthday, he dismissed them and left the country for three days without officers of state. One of his quaestors was charged with conspiracy; Gaius had his clothes stripped off and spread on the ground, to give the soldiers who flogged him a firmer foothold.

    • sibusisodan

      President maniculae is nowhere near that imaginative.

    • Colin Day

      Caligula?

      • COnrad

        Straight out of Suetonius, Caligula Chapter 26.

        • N__B

          Straight out of Suetonius

          That’s some old school rap.

  • Nick never Nick

    I predict the next step in the reduction of our world to poorly-plotted video-game fan-fic will be the spontaneous creation of this sort of video by the American populace.

  • DamnYankees

    People say this shit is awkward and makes him look like an idiot. I really feel the opposite – this is nefarious as shit.

    One of the ways you change people is by just making them do things. The first time they do it, they hate it and its awkward. The second time, less so. You make them do it over and over and it just becomes normal.

    This is how you cultivate a cult of personality. Not by convincing everyone of the merits of your greatness, but just by getting people to play along. Play the part. Even if you don’t believe, just do it. Because then, eventually, it just becomes *normal*. You don’t think about it anymore.

    Anyone with an ounce of fucking dignity doesn’t do this even once. What the fuck is wrong with these people.

    • Nick never Nick

      You’re totally right, and the thing that’s wrong with these people is that they’ve already done this a hundred times — with Trump, of course, but also every step of their way up to prominence in the Republican party. This is just the exposed tip of the volcano as it pokes out of the ocean.

    • NonyNony

      Anyone with an ounce of fucking dignity doesn’t do this even once. What the fuck is wrong with these people.

      I think your first sentence basically answers the second, doesn’t it?

    • wengler

      Anyone with an ounce of fucking dignity doesn’t do this even once. What the fuck is wrong with these people.

      Gross wealth inequality requires rituals of obedience and indignity to survive.

    • John F

      “This is how you cultivate a cult of personality.”

      The difference here and now between North Korea, Romania under Ceaușescu, USSR under Stalin, Germany under Hitler, Ancient Rome under various despots is:

      1. These guys don’t HAVE to abase themselves under pain of death;
      2. These guys are and will be publicly mocked- hopefully relentlessly.

      • JustRuss

        Is SNL in hiatus? Because, damn…..no matter how far they took this, it wouldn’t be too far.

        • Hogan

          Could that be why they didn’t have a cabinet meeting until now?

    • Rugosa

      They are the abused spouse still making excuses for the abuser: “He/She is stressed out at work,” etc.

    • tsam

      Yeah. One thing I think I can say for sure is that there would be no loyalty oath or other prostrating behavior from me. I wouldn’t quit, either. I’d make Little Gloves fire me and then spill all the beans in my possession. I fucking hate people like him, and I can be a spiteful asshole when I want to be.

    • e.a.foster

      I don’t know why they do this, perhaps for the money, the power, or what they think is power. tillerson’s expression said about all there was to say. he wasn’t happy. but omg it was funny. No wonder Trump isn’t going to G.B.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      When Stalin says dance, you dance. (IIRC, his cabinet members (not sure if that’s the term) were forced to dance while Stalin watched. Er, this is when people danced cheek to cheek, And cabinets were all men.

      He did it because he could, and to let the know he did it because he could.

      • Lurking Canadian

        The thing is, Stalin’s “or else” had real teeth. When breaking rocks in the cold was the best disloyalty could buy you, it would take a genuine hero (or suicidal madman) not to go along.

        What is Trump going to do? Fire them? Most of them are millionaires (or billionaires) already. They don’t need the job. Sure, being fired is humiliating, but so is this ritual self-abasement.

        • John F

          This ritual self-abasement is FAR worse on the humiliation scale than being fired.

    • Lurker

      You kno, this cult-like expression of fealty is not really out of place in the overall American culture. No, instead it is simply an expression of rather everyday heaping of praise.

      When an American student gets a scholarship, someone gets an award, someone tells about their job in public, it is rather customary to utter similar enthusiastic expressions of being grateful for a wonderful opportunity, a great privilege of being able to be so excited about this wonderful new chance to…

      This is not really different to these obligatory praises that are socially required from about every American at various occasions. Thus, a large part of Americans will not see anything weird going on. Trump’s cabinet members are simply behaving like they had been drafted to a major league team. They are simply not conscious or don’t care that members of Cabinet are not supposed to act like that.

  • Alex.S

    Forget the “Imagine if Obama did that!”.

    Go straight to the “Imagine if your boss did that.”

  • Aaron Morrow

    Now we know who has been reading Michael Kinsley, I guess.

  • I eagerly await when all school children will be required each morning to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to Donald Trump.

    • Colin Day

      The Two-Minute Stupidity?

      • ryan.denniston

        One can only hope it’s two minutes.

        • Lost Left Coaster

          Nah — it’s going to be like 15 seconds. Two minutes is way too long — who has the attention span for that?

          Or maybe the “three bullet points of stupidity.”

      • Thirtyish

        The 140-character stupidity.

    • Marlowe

      Err, since that is probably coming next year, it’s really not so funny.

      • Lost Left Coaster

        All humour is gallows humour in the Trump era.

  • Predisent Putinfluffer
  • twbb

    Two thoughts:

    I foresee literal DECADES of the people in that room trying to rationalize why they did that, painting themselves as heroic martyrs sacrificing them to keep the country afloat in the face of Trump’s incompetence.

    I know Schumer trolled him, but is there going to be a coordinated Democratic campaign to point out how bizarre this is? Maybe throw the phrase “third world dictator” out enough times that even the slow-witted media starts framing it that way? Or are they making the same mistake they always do and assuming the low-info voters who decide every election saw it and are critically evaluating it on their own?

    • Karen24

      This really is the time for the court jesters to step up their game, and for the Dems to scream.

      • twbb

        Yes, exactly.

    • tsam

      These guys will make Rice and Powell appear to have souls by comparison.

    • Davis X. Machina

      “Third-world dictator” is precisely what 60 million people wanted, and voted for, last year.

      the low-info voters who decide every election

      These people.

      I’m not sure the charge has the explosive power necessary to shift things

      • twbb

        No, “Third-world dictator” is what 30 million people wanted, and voted for. A lot of the others weren’t paying attention, or had some vague sense that Washington DC should be “punished,” or got it in their heads that Trump was like an awesome businessman and he would get them all raises.

  • ColBatGuano

    Man. I wonder who has the knee pad concession for that group.

    • Hogan

      Ivanka. Duh.

  • Pete

    “Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was the most reserved in his comments, offering praise for the ‘men and women of the Department of Defense’ but not Trump specifically.”

    I’d expect this crap grates on him.

    • davidsmcwilliams

      How long before he gets Ned Starked?

    • Lost Left Coaster

      When Mad Dog Mattis is the most reasonable person in the room…

      • Lurker

        From this side of the pond, it looks as if Mattis and the DoD were the only islands of stability in a sea of chaos that is the Trump administration.

  • SatanicPanic

    His dipshit followers probably love this “look at me, I got all these Washington elites to say how great I am!” They imagine being in his shoes.

    • John F

      Of course most of Trump’s cabinet members are not “Washington Elites”- the real Washington Elites are snickering at this (the Dem ones are doing so openly)

  • dcoffin

    What this shows is that T. Rump is a weak, insecure man who feels he must surround himself with syncophants who will praise his every action. And it also shows that there are a lot of people, some of them with real accomplishments, who will abase themselves in order to serve such a man.

    • Thirtyish

      Authoritarians gonna authoritate.

    • e.a.foster

      they must be getting something out of it. just follow the money.

      • BigHank53

        Authoritarians only love one thing more than kissing up, and that’s kicking down.

  • ryan.denniston

    I will echo Wonkette. I never thought I’d see a White House blow job in my lifetime.

  • keta

    [George climbs up on a London postbox.]
    George Spiggott: I’m God. This is my throne, see? All around me are the cherubim, seraphim, continually crying ‘Holy, holy, holy’. the angels, archangels, that sort of thing. Now you be me, Lucifer, the loveliest angel of them all.
    Stanley Moon: What do I do?
    George Spiggott: Well, sort of dance around praising me, mainly…
    Stanley Moon: What sort of things do I say?
    George Spiggott: Anything that comes into your head that’s nice – how beautiful I am, how wise I am, how handsome…that sort of thing. Come on, start dancing.
    Stanley Moon: You’re wise!, You’re beautiful! You’re handsome!
    George Spiggott: Thank you very much.
    Stanley Moon: The universe! What a wonderful idea – take my hat off to you!
    George Spiggott: Thank you.
    Stanley Moon: Trees – terrific! Water – another good one!
    George Spiggott: That was a good one…
    Stanley Moon: Yes! Sex – top marks!
    George Spiggott: Now make it more personal… a bit more fulsome please. Come on.
    Stanley Moon: Immortal… invisible… you’re handsome… you’re glorious… you’re the most beautiful person in the WORLD!
    [Stanley performs a headstand, removes his hat and wipes his brow.]
    Stanley Moon: Here, I’m getting a bit bored with this. Can’t we change places?
    George Spiggott: That’s exactly how I felt.

    Julie Andrews!

  • LexJackle

    I come from the UK. We have a literal Queen, who appoints a privy council and a system which runs with a great deal of actual bowing and scraping. Our Parliament has 8 Irish MPs who don’t take up their seats because Parliament requires a loyalty oath to the Crown. A great deal of `I am but your obedient servant…’ and literal ring kissing goes on. However, we don’t display it on TV. The cameras don’t roll and fleet street isn’t let in. But here’s the rub, all that sycophancy is done to the crown. It doesn’t happen towards anyone who makes policy or who is elected office. Our actual leader instead humbles themselves with their peers to the crown and undergoes the same humiliation. Its not a good thing, the fundamental inequality of the UK starts at the top and the upper orders, but it is ironically democratic. We are all but obedient servants to the crown, who is above politics, and all equally brought low by its majesty. Or so our constitution goes. This humiliation is done with an proviso; we are yours to command your majesty, so long as you don’t give any actual commands. Any such command even over trivial matters would trigger a constitutional crisis. Indeed, the fact that the Crown can cause a crisis has a chilling effect on the government passing any extreme measures, quite a useful check in our system. Plus, every week since 1721, our Prime Minster has had to present themselves to the Queen and give an account for themselves and their government. The PM must then do the same for Parliament, every Wednesday at noon. Both givings of account are some of the most harrowing, effective and democratic political tools ever devised.

    Their is another deep irony. Our Prime Minister is primus inter pares (first among equals) in their cabinet. They are a leader, but we have a long tradition of the cabinet disposing of the PM when they cease to become equal to the task. Its what killed Wilson and Thatcher. Major battled with his party and fought off leadership challenges and elections, especially from 1995, but couldn’t command the loyalty of his cabinet. Brown famously entered a biumvirate with Blair until Brown made Blair’s tenure end. Brown fought off pretenders until he lost to Cameron. Cameron had Boris, always in the wings, and after Brexit he couldn’t fight him and other contenders. So Cameron did a Caxit. What followed, after Boris was stabbed in the back by Grove and fierce infighting left only May standing. Anyone who follows British politics knows that May has been condemned and her party is just letting the ink dry on her death warrant.

    The deep irony is that in a society with a deep class structure and a rigid hierarchy (we still have hereditary Lords (equiv. to Senators)), with many positions closed to the lower orders, we have an amazingly democratic leadership dynamic. We expect them, our PM, to lead and command respect. They do this in a pit of vipers and knowing that their leadership will not die of their choosing. Parliament is lead by someone who must command authority and wield it deftly, knowing that despite everything that they will fall. If a PM is in any way incapable, if a scandal rocks the ship of state too much and it gets swamped, or someone with more authority develops, they are gone. Because of this, Britains leader is someone who has to have authority, political capital and public support. Otherwise, they will join Ms May as yesterdays man and have their honorary place in the Lords. Anything that deeply compromises the PM, real or imagined, kills their tenure.

    The irony is made deeper by the fact that this doesn’t exist in the supposedly democratic cousin across the pond. In Britain, Mr Trump would be Lord Trump of Maralago (or Sir Trump), enjoying a modest stipend from some private sector sinecure, long since deposed and disposed. But in America, he is instead sured up by his leadership. Loyalty pledges are made in ways reserved in Britain only to the unpolitical Crown. Embarrassing sycophancy is employed for pure political ends in a crass way. Where we give honorary titles to our politically dead (See Lord Prescott and Sir Major), the GOP is giving them to give someone political life. To be an active politician in Britain is to be treated with complete irreverence. To be a PM means facing an almost permeant constitutional coup, justifying yourself to an ultimate authority every Tuesday and being ripped apart in PMQs on a Wednesday. Trump may of promised to say something under oath at some point. Our PM calls that Wednesday. It is not pretty or graceful, but its far more magnificent than empty round of praise by a cabinet can ever be.

    In Britain, who’s modern founders despised Democracy (Gladstone proudly said that Britain isn’t one and Disraeli cheered) and which doesn’t have a constitution in the American understanding of the word, we have somehow got a functioning democracy with accountability that the average American can only dream of. It has lead to great stupidity (see Brexit), but at least our leader is held to account and not allowed to bring down and humble a nation by demanding the nation bow down and humble themselves to them. Somehow, a nation with a Queen, unelected Lords and a rigid class system shouldn’t be by contrast showing up a nation without those things. That says, America has a leader, and party, that wants a King-President, unelected Senators (for what else is gerrymandering?) and a rigid class system. But without the accidents of history that produced a good democracy.

    • tsam

      Great comment!

    • John Revolta

      Fancy talk from somebody whose government is currently in thrall to ten hard-right religious fanatics from an illegitimately held colony

      • Donalbain

        Out of interest, what would engender more legetimacy than a referendum on both sides of the border holding that the ultimate decision on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland should be decided by a majority of the people of Northern Ireland?

        • John Revolta

          Honestly? I just threw that last bit in because I was feeling a little pissy.
          I’m not a big fan of partition but at this point I believe in making the best of a bad situation and leaving things as they are. And I know really it’s none of my damn business anyway.

    • Colin Day

      One can gerrymander the House, but not the Senate.

      • HowardBannister

        The Senate is of course inequitable and anti-democratic by nature, since you don’t have to do any gerrymandering at all to give vast empty swathes of land the exact same vote as one-tenth of the citizens of the United States. (my state has half a million people; California has 39 million; same number of Senators to both!)

        I.e., whilst it ain’t gerrymandered, and so they should have used a different word for what’s wrong there, it still ain’t right.

    • bender

      Your description of how PMs get replaced reminds me of a wolf pack, except that the deposed Prime Minister usually survives the experience.

    • CD

      “We are all but obedient servants to the crown”

      That’s long been how I’ve rationalized my polite participation in various religions: however comically absurd the gods, shared abasement might be a useful exercise.

      • tsam

        There’s supposed to be an underlying sentiment that states we submit that the job, the nation is bigger than ourselves, and we serve that higher purpose. Not sure a ritual like that makes that happen, but the reminder can’t hurt.

  • The Temporary Name

    ♫ The holistic team
    Of working for America
    Is making results
    in each and every area ♫

  • e.a.foster

    omg that was so funny. first thought it was the Stephen Corbett show and then realized omg, this actually has the real people doing this show and then it all came back to me: this is Chairman Mao all over again. Yes, Chairman Mao used to have similar displays of loyalists. then again if you want to be a tad more up to date, looked like a cabinet meeting in North Korea. Both presidents have bad hair, both are nuts jobs. Preibuses lines came right out of some cultural revolutionary guard’s book. omg, this is funny. perhaps not, this is happening in the U.S.A. and this nut job has a nuclear arsenal which works. Perhaps it is time for the rest of the west to do what they did with Iran, negotiate terms for the country to give up the nuclear stuff. the U.S.A. simply can’t be trusted to have armaments like this anymore. there is an idiot in charge.

    • djw

      this is Chairman Mao all over again. Yes, Chairman Mao used to have similar displays of loyalists.

      I’m told there’s a scene in the Idi Amin documentary that’s eerily similar to this one.

  • Cheap Wino

    So, over/under on how long before the leak about how this group fellatio experience was organized? I’m guessing we’ll know the details by early Thursday, leak(s) emerge late Wed.

    I’ve still convinced myself that the buffoonery emanating from the top serves to hamstring the vile republicanism that affects our country. That Rubio, tip-toes Bush, Cruz, etc. would be more effective implementing the GOP horror show. But damn if this kind of thing isn’t scary long term. This is some serious centuries old retrograde bullshit. George Washington would have been appalled.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      It was a cabinet meeting. What is there to leak about how it was organized?

      • Cheap Wino

        Was “Go around the table and heap praise on the narcissist” a spontaneous happening or item 1 on the agenda? It looked like an agenda item to me. Assuming so, I want to know how that decision was made and who made it.

  • The headline image depicts the feudal ceremony of homage. This was stylised, and carefully designed to establish a new or confirmed relationship of vassalage. This was asymmetrical, but the vassal retained rights which the lord promised to respect and defend. After the vassal knelt and made the oath, the lord took the vassal’s hands and raised him to his feet. The Western European idea of the constitutional state has its roots in feudal vassalage.

    What Trump is up to is more like Muscovite Tsar’s audience with a boyar. The underling – a great man owning thousands of serfs – had to prostrate himself, and refer to himself as a slave in the affectionate diminutive used with small children. Compare the full Oriental kowtow. The subject here has no rights against the sovereign.

  • Bitter Scribe

    Can anyone possibly imagine Obama—you know, the guy whom right-wing pundits sneered at for eight years as the liberal Messiah—surrounded by a Cabinet saying shit like that?