Clown Car Open Thread: Will No One Sit At the ‘President’s’ Right Hand?

Uhhh… why did this just pop up?

Sing, Little Songbird, Sing


Maria Butina, a Russian gun rights activist, is poised to plead guilty in a case involving accusations that she was working as an agent for the Kremlin in the United States, according to a new court filing.

Attorneys for Butina and federal prosecutors jointly requested in court documents Monday that U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan set a time for Butina to withdraw her previous plea of not guilty. They said they could be available for her to enter her plea as early as Tuesday.

“The parties have resolved this matter,” Butina’s lawyers and D.C.-based prosecutors wrote in their joint filing.

A plea is not final until it is entered in court and accepted by a judge. Monday’s filing did not indicate to what charge she will plead.

Butina was accused of working to push the Kremlin’s agenda by forming bonds with National Rifle Association officials and other conservative leaders and making outreach to 2016 presidential candidates.

I wonder how most gun owners feel about their NRA dollars being spent to please the KGB?

It’s only generic collusion conspiracy

The Washington Post has a blockbuster on collusion between generic drug manufacturers:

Executives at more than a dozen generic-drug companies had a form of shorthand to describe how they conducted business, insider lingo worked out over steak dinners, cocktail receptions and rounds of golf.

The “sandbox,” according to investigators, was the market for generic prescription drugs, where everyone was expected to play nice…

Officials from multiple states say these practices were central to illegal price-fixing schemes of massive proportion.

Generic drugs have the ability to offer large costs savings. Those savings only occur when there is real competition. Research ** has shown that generic drugs are significantly cheaper than brand name drugs when there are many manufacturers.

Collusion and c Conspiracy to fix prices is a direct pickpocketing by the generic manufacturers out of the pockets of patients and insurers.

This is going to be a huge deal if the collusion conspiracy can be proven.

** December 28, 2017 N Engl J Med 2017; 377:2597-2598 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1711899

Lying liar necessitates new WaPo fact-checker category

The Post debuted a new fact-check category today in an attempt to capture the unprecedented fire-hose volume of repeat lies coming out of Trump’s lie-hole. They call it the “Bottomless Pinocchio” category:

Trump’s willingness to constantly repeat false claims has posed a unique challenge to fact-checkers. Most politicians quickly drop a Four-Pinocchio claim, either out of a duty to be accurate or concern that spreading false information could be politically damaging.

Not Trump. The president keeps going long after the facts are clear, in what appears to be a deliberate effort to replace the truth with his own, far more favorable, version of it. He is not merely making gaffes or misstating things, he is purposely injecting false information into the national conversation.

To accurately reflect this phenomenon, The Washington Post Fact Checker is introducing a new category — the Bottomless Pinocchio. That dubious distinction will be awarded to politicians who repeat a false claim so many times that they are, in effect, engaging in campaigns of disinformation.

To qualify as a Bottomless Pinocchio, the lie must have been repeated at least 20 times since receiving a 3- or 4-Pinocchio rating from The Post. Glenn Kessler, WaPo’s chief fact-checker, says 14 of Trump’s lies already qualify.

The failure of the mainstream press to adjust the way it covers presidencies in the wake of the election of a pathologically lying stooge of a foreign autocrat has been nothing short of calamitous, IMO. The Bottomless Pinocchio isn’t a serious enough change, but it’s a start since it at least acknowledges the unprecedented nature of this maladministration and its liar-in-chief.

On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at

Have a wonderful day – enjoy the pictures and dream of warmer climes!

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Monday Morning Open Thread: Everybody Have A Nice Restful Weekend?

Let the motherfucker burn

Pretty good article on how the Republicans’ scummy shenanigans are firing up liberals in Wisconsin and Michigan: GOP power grabs pour gas on ‘resistance’ in key Midwest states: Republican legislators in Wisconsin and Michigan have reignited Democratic energy since the midterms in two narrow Trump states.

Burn, motherfuckers, burn.

Give here to the Wisconsin Democratic party.

Goal Thermometer

Give here to the Michigan Democratic party.

Goal Thermometer

Realistically, either Trump gets blown out (and loses AZ and NC) or it comes down to these two states. So let’s keep on it.

Sunday Night Open Thread

I’m tired and I have one of those headaches in my eye- you know what I mean.

Watching a show on Netflix called Pine Gap. I’m on episode three but I don’t know how I feel about it, but at this point I suppose I am all in because i have to know how it ends.

I may take my melatonin early.

This blog used to be a raging party site, now it sounds like someone left the microphone on at the retirement home.

GOP Clown Car Open Thread: Kelly Is Out, But Nobody Wants In

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Get Me Outta Here

“Here’s your rose”

“Oh, hell no”

Leaves Washington altogether.

Criminal Abuse Open Thread: Ready Player Individual-1

Balloon Juice commentor Waldo:

What prosecutors say: The president was in on it.
What Trump hears: The president was innocent.

I’ll Hide My Shoe Somewhere Near Your Shirttail

Here is a little gem that figured into a couple of mixtapes a friend made me way back when mixtapes were actually tapes. I remembered the words and the exuberant strumming style, but I’ll be damned if I could ever have pulled the un-bluesman-like name of Doug Quattlebaum (“Have you met my accountant?”) out of long-term storage.

But with scant information I found this quickly on YouTube. It’s funny to think how hard-won this kind of musical knowledge used to be. Hours of haunting out-of-the-way record stores, cultivating a collection of fellow-traveler weirdos, keeping an ever expanding inventory of lusted-for albums ready to mind. You might even have to read a book or two to get up to speed. And the only way to hear these hidden treasures was to be within earshot of a physical copy of a recording.

I would have to say I prefer, no, vastly prefer being able to hear virtually anything I can think of on demand. But, and I know this is a commonplace sentiment, I’m certain I don’t appreciate the triumph of discovery, the revelation of finding something really superior nearly as much as when it was a demanding and sometimes expensive quest.

Our New Surreality

It’s kind of weird where we are right now. Pretty much everyone now knows and has internalized that our President and many of those who surround him, including Pence, have either committed multiple felonies or were a party to them. And that’s just the stuff we know about right now. Who knows what else Jared and Trump’s spawn have done that haven’t even been released yet. And we have barely scratched the surface of his rogues gallery of cabinet appointments.

But even knowing that, our nation’s elites are still tip-toeing around the basic fact that our President is a criminal who broke who knows how many laws. Instead of a national conversation about how we are going to prosecute him, it’s more horse-race nonsense- “Will it hurt Democrats to bring impeachment charges? Can a Trump win in 2020 and outlast the statutes of limitations?”

It’s kind of insane. It’s sort of analogous to when we knew all the Catholic priests were molesting those kids, but people were more afraid of uprooting the church than dealing with the monsters. So people talked in veiled terms and looked the other way, and never dealt with the problem or really held anyone accountable.

The Republicans are so corrupt that even with everything we already know, they will not convict in the Senate. We’re basically just going to have to live with a criminal President until the economy craters and the money guys decide to cut their losses. It’s nuts.

Very Important Jackal Announcement

From the redoubtable, irreplaceable EFGoldman:

I’m home.

After my 90th day in various hospitals and rehabs.

Surgery in October. Some rehab, much farther to go.

No sharing, I don’t do that.

I’ve been weeping for an hour.

I think I speak for the Balloon Juice community: Welcome home!

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Shutting Down for the Season

As we approach the hinge of the year, some reminders of better days, from the indefatigable & gifted Ozark Hillbilly:

We had a rather colorful Fall, with each tree in turn, turning its appropriate colors. As usual the oaks were mostly on the subdued side but the dogwoods, maples, and hickories more than made up for them.

Peak color came in the 1st week of November. (I remember when the 3rd-4th week of October was peak color. Global warming anyone?)

Then our first snow came on November 8th, followed by the 2nd on the 11th, and the 3rd on the 14th.

At top: I have several stands of maples and a few of pines. This pic captured the best of both.

Our dogwoods were special this year, taking on many colors.

A view of one of my stands of maples looking down a holler.

I planted Mexican Sunflowers for the first time this year. While I was disappointed in how they propagated, I was not disappointed in the pollinators they drew.

“I’m not dead yet!”

By the 2nd measurable snow fall, my mums, and my garden, had succumbed.