Early Morning Open Thread: Douchecanoes, All the Way Down

Allegedly reformed alleged car thief Darrell Issa is “having a moment“:

After two years of feverishly chasing any hint or suggestion of wrongdoing by the Obama administration, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) may finally be having his moment….

Issa’s double-barreled investigations have forced the administration to navigate some of Washington’s most cliched political territory — explaining what officials knew, and when they knew it…..

But the White House is banking on Issa overplaying his hand; Democrats say that is his preternatural instinct and a tendency that has undermined his credibility in the past…[T]o date none of Issa’s investigations, or any other GOP probe, has forced a Cabinet secretary out of office. No independent prosecutor has been appointed of the sort that hounded the previous four administrations. Democrats believe this is because Issa is drawn to headlines, chasing the hot story rather than committing himself and his staff to the long slog of digging through documents to uncover hidden information…

Yeah, every so often our senior rescue dog “has a moment”, and it always degenerates into the two human householders arguing about which of us let him get into the garbage/catbox/Indian food leftovers while we clean off his hairy arse.

The Washington Post profiles the ‘activist’ who’s “asked 1,000 people to march across the Potomac on July 4 carrying loaded rifles”, and it turns out he’s not even a real gun nut — just a giant drama queen/performance artiste:

… Invoking Gandhi while advocating the carrying of loaded firearms is typical of Kokesh, who in his six years as a professional rabble-rouser has embraced positions on every side of the political spectrum.

His past activism has been focused on issues other than guns — things such as peace in Iraq, free speech in the U.S., and presidential candidate Ron Paul. And in most cases, his past stunts didn’t carry a risk of violence; they were theatrical, sometimes even comic.

The one constant through all of it: Kokesh’s tactics are designed to bring media attention to him personally — as well as whatever cause he’s fighting for. In that way, this one is like the rest.

“The thing about Adam is he’s a publicity hound. He loves the attention. He’s got a huge ego,” said Medea Benjamin, a co-founder of the women’s peace group Codepink, who has worked with Kokesh on past protests. “And I think he’s really enjoying this one.”…

When Medea Benjamin calls you a publicity hound, well…

Meanwhile, Slate‘s Will Oremus reports back on Larry Page’s talk at the Google I/O Conference:

To recap, Page criticized Microsoft for treating Google as a rival, blasted Oracle for caring too much about money, and then whined about everyone being so negative. Heck, if it weren’t for those other companies standing in the way, Google would have probably already solved world hunger. Well, except for all the laws and bureaucrats and journalists who are also standing in the way.

Fortunately, Page has an idea. What if Google could just build its own country with its own rules and do whatever it thought best for everyone?

“Maybe we can set aside part of the world,” he mused. “I like going to Burning Man. As a technologist maybe we need some safe places where we can try things and not have to deploy to the entire world.” (As The Verge noted in its live blog, “Larry wants a beta-test country, guys.”) He later lamented that people are reluctant to disclose their medical problems and speculated that the insurance industry was to blame. “We should change it so they have to insure people,” he said. “Maybe we have a safe place where people can go live in a world like that and see if it works.” Other tech companies could presumably come too, as long as they agreed to give Google free access to all their products and data and not to worry about making money themselves…

Hey, maybe Darrell Issa and Adam Kokesh could move to Larry Page’s country, and UNLEASH THE AWESOME! To be honest, I thought we already had a “beta-test” no-rules region right here in these semi-United States, and it is called “Texas”. Now if Ted Cruz and Louie Gohmert can just persuade Rick Perry to change its name to “GoogleWorld”, or maybe “Galtonia”…

50 replies
  1. 1
    Calouste says:

    Jeez, that Larry Page runs a $200 billion company? How about looking at the rest of the developed world to see how mandatory health insurance works? You don’t need Googletopia to see how that works.

    What’s he going to suggest next? That we should test in Googletopia whether banning guns or banning video games result in fewer shooting deaths? That things like mandatory seatbelts really prevents car makers from inventing safer cars?

  2. 2
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Doesn’t look like Eric Holder is going to resign given his tough performance yesterday afternoon. I doubt Issa/Repubs are going to get anything substantial from all these “scandals”.

  3. 3
    raven says:

    @Patricia Kayden: He stuck it to that schmuck didn’t he?

  4. 4
    Ben Cisco says:

    I haven’t watched any of this nonsense (personally, I think cable “news” is an insult to anyone who passed the ninth grade), but if there is some hue and cry over this in the general public, I’ve yet to see or hear any. Nothing at work, nothing standing in line at the store, nothing in waiting rooms, nothing – and NC hasn’t been exactly Leftie Central of late. Of course, they’re overreaching AND overacting – NeoConfederates always do – but I also think people are finally getting sick and tired of the Flea Circus. Way past time these seditious bastards got the hook.

  5. 5
    raven says:

    @Ben Cisco: If they are not paying attention I doubt if they are sick and tired of it.

  6. 6
    p.a. says:

    Any resignations would just be a bonus for them, they’re really just stirring the pot to get a big mouth-breather turnout in ’14. Maybe ding Hillary a little for ’16.

  7. 7
    Schlemizel says:

    @Ben Cisco:

    From the last half of the Clinton era through Boy Blunders maladministration I thought the real goal of all the gooper bullshit ‘scandals’ was to make it impossible for Congress to really do the job of controlling the worst aspects of Presidential power. It certainly seemed that way. People are so tired of the witch hunts that clowns like Army and Issa launched that it is going to take something really awful before the public believes the President committed a crime worthy of impeachment.

    This works to the next gooper Presidents favor as the field of contenders make Boy Blunder look like the love child of Einstein and Mother Theresa

  8. 8
    Keith G says:

    I thought we already had a “beta-test” no-rules region right here in these semi-United States, and it is called “Texas”. Now if Ted Cruz and Louie Gohmert can just persuade Rick Perry to change its name to “GoogleWorld”, or maybe “Galtonia”…

    Yeah, go ahead and take the easy path by making sweeping generalizations about Texas.

  9. 9
    NotMax says:

    @Keith G

    Guten tag, y’all..

    The incipient demise of Texas German.

  10. 10
    JoyfulA says:

    @NotMax: Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch) is still running strong since the 1700s, thanks to the Plain People, Amish and Old Order Mennonites, for whom it’s the first language.

    But my mother is among the last of the Fancy People to speak it. What the film clip doesn’t say was that the German language and dialects were severely stomped on in the World War I era, with German speakers, even of 1720 vintage, treated as treasonous and potential spies and saboteurs. Sauerkraut was renamed “liberty cabbage.”

  11. 11
    Keith G says:

    @NotMax: When I got to Texas in the early 80s and traveled about, I (who was used to the ethnic neighborhoods of Toledo Oh) was thrilled to stumble into small towns awash with thick German and Czech accents – and a lot of fantastic eats.

  12. 12
    Kay says:

    We did change it so they have to insure people.

  13. 13
    John S. says:

    @Keith G:

    How charming! When I used to travel about Florida in the 90s, I was always perplexed by the small towns I would stumble into with the people awash in thick southern drawls. I even had a gas station attendant in Lorida ask me what part of England I was from (I’ve lived in South Florida since I was 4).

  14. 14
    Todd says:

    Kevin Williamson goes all Death Wish VII on the cellphone of some rude woman at a play, and gets ejected from the theater.


    It was not. The lady seated to my immediate right (very close quarters on bench seating) was fairly insistent about using her phone. I asked her to turn it off. She answered: “So don’t look.” I asked her whether I had missed something during the very pointed announcements to please turn off your phones, perhaps a special exemption granted for her. She suggested that I should mind my own business.

    So I minded my own business by utilizing my famously feline agility to deftly snatch the phone out of her hand and toss it across the room, where it would do no more damage. She slapped me and stormed away to seek managerial succor. Eventually, I was visited by a black-suited agent of order, who asked whether he might have a word.

    It gives me laughs all the way around. Rude woman gets her phone snatched and thrown, and an effete douchebag gets ejected and possibly prosecuted. What’s not to like? The only way it could have gone better would have been if the rude old bat had decided to “stand her ground” by unloading an entire magazine into Williamson’s face.

  15. 15
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Still didn’t prevent that firebagger BBB on the dKos FP to suggest he resign. Granted, he hasn’t been great on everything, but those fools need to understand just how bad politically something like that would look. They’re just as short-sighted as the teabaggers sometimes.

  16. 16
    Valdivia says:


    I love your ending better! I do have to say I hate people who insist on talking on the phone on the theater. But his actions were a bit much.

  17. 17
    Suffern ACE is a Basset Hound says:

    @Kay: someone should notify HR immediately!

  18. 18
    Baud says:


    Yeah, that was dumb. That post even admitted that Holder was not at fault for the AP thing, but thought this was a good opportunity for him to resign anyway.

  19. 19
    Kay says:


    Holder has been the best AG on voting rights that I recall, on both actual enforcement and advocacy.

  20. 20
    Kay says:

    @Suffern ACE is a Basset Hound:

    ” we should…”

    Oh, we already did all that.

    Bill Gates wants to spend 5 billion dollars videotaping teachers in their classrooms. This is taken seriously.

  21. 21
    Ulthaviolet Thunder says:

    I can’t sleep.
    All Obama’s fault.

  22. 22
    Pseudonym says:

    I know Larry Page, distantly, from back when I worked at Google. He’s a smart guy who’s fundamentally unconstrained by reality. I think he still buys into Paul Buchheit’s credo of “don’t be evil” to some extent. It’s not like he’s denying Google employees health insurance or fair compensation or anything. There’s just a certain whiff of naivete there about the rest of the global economy and the way it fails to adhere to the “don’t be evil” maxim, to say nothing of how Google treats its own contractors.

    Rules are a pain in the ass when trying to innovate. There’s no question about that. In many cases those rules are counterproductive and harmful to everyone. But not many companies are trying to innovate to that extent. (Honestly, Google is doing pretty new things.) Most are just optimizing their revenue streams while minimizing their risk and competition, and many times those rules are the only thing stopping them from screwing over their customers and/or employees.

  23. 23
    debbie says:

    Has anyone figured out how much Issa’s investigations and hearings are costing taxpayers?

  24. 24
    Suffern ACE is a Basset Hound says:

    @Kay: videotape? Like Betamax?

    Is that so we’ll find out what it is like to be in a classroom? Or is it part of the technological utopia where everything is streamed, everything is tele-, and we never have to leave our houses again?

  25. 25
    Kay says:

    @Suffern ACE is a Basset Hound:

    Is that so we’ll find out what it is like to be in a classroom?

    No, it’s so they can be evaluated, sorry, “assessed” is the new softer term. It’s not intrusive or horrible or nanny-camish because they’ll set the monitoring up themselves. That’s the “empowering” part.

    He can’t be everywhere, you know. There’s only so many hours in a day.

  26. 26
    Suffern ACE is a Basset Hound says:

    @Kay: maybe the cameras will come in three convenient sizes and two colors. Choice is empowering that way.

    Now, I really doubt anyone is going to review the footage of 1200 teachers. I wonder if that’s where Big Data consultants come in with their solution.

  27. 27
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @PsiFighter37: Bill Press is demanding his resignation as well. I don’t get liberals/progressives sometimes. We so easily capitulate to the Repubs when the kitchen gets a little hot.

  28. 28
    Baud says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Yep. And then we wonder why Democrats don’t fight like Republicans.

  29. 29
    Suffern ACE is a Basset Hound says:

    Since I’m thinking about technological utopia, on my last trip returning from out of the country, I flew into Newark. There is now a flat panel TV in the shape of a person projecting the image of a woman that welcomes you to the country. It stands after one clears customs and are about to exit into the horde-of-family-and-drivers. Since I’m pretty much limited on my international flights to Newark and Kennedy, I wanted to find out if this telewelcomer is elsewhere.

  30. 30
    Kay says:

    @Suffern ACE is a Basset Hound:

    Now, I really doubt anyone is going to review the footage of 1200 teachers. I wonder if that’s where Big Data consultants come in with their solution.

    The cluelessness is breathtaking to me. It’s like they’re completely unaware that the governors they back have absolutely gutted education funding. Do they even know where “education funding” comes from?
    Everyone who lives in these places knows this. It’s in the news, every day. They’re having this teacher evaluation “conversation” in some sort of fantasy world. Which would be fine, I guess, they may talk amongst themselves, but they dominate, and they dominate because they are wealthy. It’s like a vicious cycle of cluelessness. They don’t know anything because they’re wealthy and famous and insulated, and they dominate the debate because they’re wealthy and famous.

  31. 31
    Maude says:

    When Bill Gates went to show the new Windows 98, it wouldn’t start. It was great.
    Then there is Vista.
    People with a lot of money think that everything they think is right.

  32. 32
    mai naem says:

    Jeez, can we leave the google people alone. They’re one of the few companies in the country that are trying stuff that they may not make a dime off. Look into the stuff that the Google X lab is doing. And I like the way Page and Brin have set up Google’s stock so that they maintain ultimate control and make it way less likely for Wall Streeters to push their “how much did you make this quarter?How come you’re not making more more more?” crap.

  33. 33
    Chris says:


    From the last half of the Clinton era through Boy Blunders maladministration I thought the real goal of all the gooper bullshit ‘scandals’ was to make it impossible for Congress to really do the job of controlling the worst aspects of Presidential power

    I don’t think there’s a “real” goal, it’s multiple things all at once. It allows them to discredit the mechanism of impeachment, like you said. It allows them to make the government dysfunctional, which is useful both in the short term (it fucks up a Democratic President’s administration) and in the long term (it erodes any faith the public might have in government). It allows them to give free rein to their personal loathing at the President for beating them and usurping what they see as their birthright (the White House). It gives them cover with their voters – as long as the mouth-breathers see that they’re doing everything they can to bring down the Usurper, they don’t have to worry about getting primaried from the right. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll dig up something that’s good enough that it’ll actually work.

  34. 34
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Pseudonym: If there’s one glimmer of truth in Atlas Shrugged, it’s this: Most corporate people and corporations aren’t inventors; they want everything to stay the same so that they continue to be where they are. For the mundaneness of most of Atlas Shrugged, I continue to think she got most corporate executives correct: They think they can force everyone to buy what they offer, and a solution to an economic crisis is to turn off the lights on the upper floors of their offices.

  35. 35
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Keith G: Keith, as a Texan, the only thing this statement misrepresents is that this state is really in trying to figure out how to turn its citizens into Soylent Green. You did see the report the other day on how Texas has more fires as industrial sites than all other states combined, and that we lead the country in worker deaths, right?

  36. 36
    Chris says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Deliciously ironic, then, that most of Ayn Rand’s groupies seem to consider the CEOs of our day to be the real world equivalent of John Galt.

    They abandon Adam Smith’s writings in favor of Ayn Rand’s bastardized version, then they can’t even get that right…

  37. 37
    Amir Khalid says:

    Interesting how Texas German has drifted from Hochdeutsch. I noticed in the video how the old lady translates “What did they name the child?” as ,, Was haben sie das Kind geheißt ? ” rather than genannt. Also ,, Die Kuh ist über die fence gejumpt. ”

  38. 38
    Gex says:

    If these grand libertarian utopian plans didn’t seem to involve all the same problems of the initial grand libertarian utopia (the colonial period), meaning we haven’t seen a lot of people displaced from their homes to give real estate to these Galtian geniuses, I’d be really pleased every time I see one of these projects.

    This is a beautiful, beautiful flaw in the way libertarians work. They can not possibly learn from history, apply context, or determine that people who insist they are doing things for the best of society by doing whatever is best for themselves are often full of shit.

    So libertarians will fall for this over and over. They are convinced their little thought experiments are correct and if someone would finally just give them everything they need to run a real world experiment, they’d totally prove it.

    I couldn’t be happier to see this particular version of rich white guys shaking down the rubes.

    ETA: It turns out a fundamental truth of society is that involves a lot of work that people don’t willingly do if they have other options. So a society of people who just own things doesn’t work. That they even think it does is further proof of how fucked their thinking is. Work doesn’t get done without workers. It can get done without CEOs.

  39. 39
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Gex: The colonial period was not particularly libertarian. I t may have been so in the fevered imaginations of of the Tea People, but, in reality, colonial life required a great deal of community action – hell, it even featured property owned communally, e.g., Boston Common.

  40. 40
    Mike in NC says:

    San Galtonio would be a good name for a ghost town in Texas.

  41. 41

    I think it’s less than that. Folks talking about the ‘goal’ of these scandals are vastly overestimating the Republican Party. A few of the smarter congressmen and operatives after the fact go ‘Hey, we could make Hillary look bad before the 2016 election!’ or one of the other explanations, but the truth is the Republican Party Elite ARE mouth breathers just like their constituency. There may have been a day when canny, ruthless, cynical partisans were manipulating the racists and Xianists with conspiratorial fearmongering, but they have long since drunk their own Kool-Ade. They’re throwing shit because they’re monkeys and they like throwing shit. Some of them are monkeys in suits, but screaming and throwing shit is who they are.

  42. 42
    Gex says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I mean in terms of how white men envisioned what they were doing with respect to the world. There’s a whole lot of Galtian in setting out to colonize. Obviously real world survival requirements called for cooperation. It is pretty clear that these libertarian white men implicitly cooperate and work together when dealing with the rest of humanity.

  43. 43
    Chris says:


    This is a beautiful, beautiful flaw in the way libertarians work. They can not possibly learn from history, apply context,

    I mostly hate South Park, but the conversation they have with the hippies trying to start their own commune comes to mind every time I hear libertarians describe their “no government, no authority” utopia:

    Hippie#1: Yeah, there’s going to be like one guy, who like makes bread. And like another guy, that like looks out for other people’s saftey.
    Stan: You mean like a baker and a cop?
    Hippie#2: No, no no. Can’t you guys imagine a place where people, like live together and provide services for each other in exchange for their services?
    Kyle: Yeah. It’s called a town.

    Given that Stone and Parker identify as libertarians, I’m putting it up as a self-awareness fail with a dose of hippie-punching projection.


    True, but even monkeys can form plans, however shitty they may be.

  44. 44


    self-awareness fail with a dose of hippie-punching projection.

    You’ve just described the whole show.

    True, but even monkeys can form plans, however shitty they may be.

    And they ARE able to form plans, but you shouldn’t interpret those plans from our perspective. Issa’s plan is to have Obama impeached and thrown out of office. No, it’s not going to happen, but This Time For Sure because they really believe this is a coverup and Obama deliberately let those folks die. They actually believe gutting the safety net will save the country by making those welfare queens get a job. This message ALSO revs up their racist base and they know it, but if it didn’t they would still be trying to screw the poor. Any interpretation of Republican strategy must start from the premise that most of the power brokers believe their own lies (like ‘the polls must be skewed’) rather than they’re adopting positions for political gain.

  45. 45
    Chris says:


    Yeah, but I think the “tying up the government” thing works into it too. Grover Norquist has pretty much flat out said that sabotaging the government intentionally is what they should all be doing, and quite a few people listened to his gospel.

    The primarying fear is very real, too. Prior to 2008/2010, you might have found some Republican moderates to not go along with it, but not anymore.

  46. 46
    catclub says:

    @p.a.: Someone posted a poll saying Hillary over Biden is 65-10 in New Hampshire. I was surprised. Both of them would be quite old, if they even run, but why no Biden love?

  47. 47
    burnspbesq says:

    Perhaps we could persuade San Diego County voters that it’s no longer in their interest to keep re-electing this schmuck. Proposing the closure of Camp Pendleton might be a good starting point.

  48. 48
    jl says:

    I clicked to the WaPo article to see whether Anne Laurie made a mistake. I thought, gee, that WaPo piece must have been published a couple of years ago.

    Isaa is having come kind of moment now, but it is not the kind of moment discussed in the WaPo peice. Issa is having an ‘the emperor has no clothes moment’. Cripes, I would think after his ridiculous nano-parsing the difference between ‘terrorist’ and ‘terror’ that would be clear.

    But, its the WaPo. If you read Brad DeLong and Dean Baker on a regular basis, you will see that there is a good case that the WaPo is the most editorially corrupt major paper in the U.S., even worse than the Murdoch WSJ.

    And that leaves aside the issue of a lazy uninformative press that pumps out Tiger Beat style who’s up and who’s down pieces instead of writing honest and informative news reports.

  49. 49
    mclaren says:

    We already have a beta-test country with no conventional rules. It’s called “Somalia.”

    If you didn’t realize Larry Page is a clueless asshole, take look at that incident a few years back when those critics lambasted Page and Brin for destroying everyone’s privacy to whom Page responded “If you’re worried about online telling everyone what you’re doing, then maybe you shouldn’t be doing the things you’re doing” — and then the critics published Page’s house address, and Larry Page went berserk. All these Silicon Valley billionaires are total assholes. They all believe — really, truly believe — that they are Galtian geniuses who created their billion-dollar empires entirely by themselves, with no one else helping, no on else involved. That internet they use to make their billions…that wasn’t invented by DARPA, it wasn’t funded with government tax money, no, they created it, personally, themselves! And no on else had anything to do with it!


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