Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

The American Experiment in Exile

Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) comments at the security conference in Munich in recent days garnered the most attention in the US press. But the really significant comments and warnings came from Germany and France. The countries' defense and foreign ministers respectively warned the US about trying to sow divisions in Europe or even break up the European Union. (It is worth remembering that strong words aside, McCain is still providing President Trump with strong legislative support and for all hist outspokenness was not even willing to utter President Trump's name in his speeches, despite being the main target of his remarks. He's got a good way to go.) As the storied and long-serving retired US diplomat Nicholas Burns put it in a tweet, America's erstwhile European allies are now worried about America as a threat to the international order.

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About 'The Press Conference'

This is that rare time when I think the cliched phrase is appropriate: That press conference speaks for itself. There's very little I can think to add. It all amounts to a confirmation of what most of us already know. This man is not emotionally or characterologically equipped to serve as President. He lacks the focus, the ability to commit to even a passable amount of work without immediate emotional gratification. Thus his decision to hold a campaign rally in Florida on Saturday. (It's literally a campaign event, put on by his 2020 reelection campaign). Trump lacks the emotional resilience or toughness to deal with what is the inevitable criticism and difficulties of being President, which - lets be clear - are great.

These different deficits all feed upon each other. He lacks the steadiness for the job.

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Extremely Dangerous Ground

I want to take a moment to discuss two articles which have been published in recent days which focus on the idea that Michael Flynn was run out of office by a cabal of enemies in the intelligence and law enforcement establishment which actually has as its goal driving President Trump from office.

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"Bring Back the Crowds"

Sometimes a single tweet can tell you as much as a ten-thousand word article.


Russians Lament anti-Trump Purge

Quite an astounding article published this afternoon in The Financial Times.

Russian government officials say President Trump is the target of an information war and a purge of pro-Russian officials on a par with the Great Terror of the 1930s when Stalin purged vast numbers of party officials and military officers. No, I'm not kidding.

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This Isn't Going Away

From MarketWatch:

Under Armour Inc. was downgraded Wednesday to a rare bearish rating at Susquehanna Financial, which cited the “reputational risk” created by the chief executive’s praise of President Donald Trump.

Analyst Sam Poser cut his rating on the athletic apparel and accessories company UAA, +0.11% to negative, after being at neutral since Jan. 31, and at positive since Aug. 11. Only four of the 310, or 1.3%, of the companies covered by Susquehanna were rated negative through Tuesday.

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Very Dangerous

Yesterday The New York Times published an article about how Russia has now deployed a cruise missile which the Pentagon believes violates the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), a key agreement which was part of the winding down of the Cold War. After the article about the newly deployed missile there were further stories about a Russian spy vessel lurking off the East Coast in international waters. This is an example of the perilous position the country is now in, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think.

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Ask your Qs about education, Betsy Devos, etc. today at 1 p.m.!

Two editors from the national education news network Chalkbeat will join us in the Hive today for a live chat about education. Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news organization covering education in Colorado, Detroit, Indiana, New York, Tennessee, and across the country.

Feel free to submit your questions to Sarah Darville and Candace Carrington about anything from public schools, common core, education reform, charter schools and more. Drop your questions here -- if you'd like to participate but don't have a Prime membership, join here.

Flynn Doesn't Matter. This Is About Trump

For all we've learned over recent days about retired General Michael Flynn and his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, it's overshadowed by much more that we do not know. Indeed, based on the current evidence we don't know whether Flynn's actions were just wildly inappropriate (undermining the current president's actions with a foreign adversary weeks before taking office) or part of a larger, darker design. Whether Flynn lied to the FBI (we don't know) or lied to his colleagues is an interesting legal and possibly political question. But again, they are relatively straightforward matters which only become truly significant in terms of the bigger picture, if there is one. The truth is Michael Flynn does not matter. We have before us a question that has stood before us, centerstage, for something like a year, brazen and shameless and yet too baffling and incredible to believe: Donald Trump's bizarre and unexplained relationship with Russia and its strongman Vladimir Putin.

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