Friday Night Fights Open Thread: Bannon, the Mucker

Since he first shambled into media view, I’ve thought of Steve Bannon as a mucker… which was not, in the Irish-American community when I was growing up, exactly a term of endearment. To us, a mucker was a guy known to be connected, not exactly a leader but intimately associated with the leadership — someone you called a friend because you sure as hell didn’t want to be known as his enemy.

The Dominican nun who taught theology at my parochial high school said that St. Peter was a mucker (possibly the patron saint of muckers): He was an early, enthusiastic supporter of The Big Guy; he seemed to be around for all the important events, usually making needless trouble; and when worse came to worst, he publicly denied any association with his chieftain, not just once but three times. And yet — as soon as Jesus the radical insurrectionist emerged triumphant from that whole torture-and-crucifixion incident, look who ended up in charge of the Jesus Empire, with his name at the top of the historical plaque!

Steve Bannon, also Irish-American, would’ve been taking catechism classes at approximately the same time as I was. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he heard some version of the the St. Peter, Patron of Muckers story. Everybody needs a role model…



I’ve been working on a draft about Bannon for some time, but there was so much churn. Here’s Haberman’s Grey Lady, less than a week ago:

For months, Mr. Trump has considered ousting Stephen K. Bannon, the White House chief strategist and relentless nationalist who ran the Breitbart website and called it a “platform for the alt-right.” Mr. Trump has sent Mr. Bannon to a kind of internal exile, and has not met face-to-face for more than a week with a man who was once a fixture in the Oval Office, according to aides and friends of the president.

So far, Mr. Trump has not been able to follow through — a product of his dislike of confrontation, the bonds of a foxhole friendship forged during the 2016 presidential campaign and concerns about what mischief Mr. Bannon might do once he leaves the protective custody of the West Wing.

Not least, Mr. Bannon embodies the defiant populism at the core of the president’s agenda. Despite being marginalized, Mr. Bannon consulted with the president repeatedly over the weekend as Mr. Trump struggled to respond to the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va. In general, Mr. Bannon has cautioned the president not to criticize far-right activists too severely for fear of antagonizing a small but energetic part of his base…

Now, “leaders” like Donald Trump always have a Bannon in their inner circle. In his heart of hearts, Steve Bannon — Naval Reserve officer, Glittering Steel mogul, Seinfeld backer, Chief Breitbart Mean-Nickname-Assigner — is the guy Donald Trump wishes he could’ve been. Even their names… Steve Bannon sounds like a James Bond pseudonym; Donald Trump sounds like Bond’s CPA.

And Bannon appeals to the people in Trump’s “group” who don’t actually trust Trump. The lifelong Repub barons, proud hayseeds and haters of all who are not exactly like them, eternally suspicious of city-folk globalists and liberal turncoats intruding on their turf…

Don’t count Bannon out yet, is all I’m saying. Like shingles or herpes, he’ll be lurking in the GOP bloodstream, waiting to reemerge in his full ugliness as soon as the wounded beast’s immune system is sufficiently compromised.

137 replies
  1. 1
    Jeffro says:

    That’s good – Trumpov needed MORE friction with GOP leaders on Capitol Hill, with the media, and with corporate America. Absolutely. Go Steve Bannon go!

  2. 2
    randy khan says:

    The prospect that Bannon will turn on Republicans on the Hill is delightful.

  3. 3
    eclare says:

    Yes, looking forward to the fights between the WH and Capitol Hill. I have a hunch who will fight dirty.

  4. 4
    NotMax says:

    They can run away from the radioactive Russo-honcho but they can’t hide.

    “We invited every single Republican senator on this program tonight — all 52,” Chuck Todd said on MSNBC’s “MTP Daily” on Wednesday. “We asked roughly a dozen House Republicans, including a bunch of committee chairs, and we asked roughly a half dozen former Republican elected officials, and none of them agreed to discuss this issue with us today.”

    That’s about 70 rejections altogether, and other news anchors had the same experience on Wednesday — even on Fox News.

    “Our booking team — and they’re good — reached out to Republicans of all stripes across the country today,” Shepard Smith told his viewers. “Let’s be honest: Republicans often don’t really mind coming on Fox News Channel. We couldn’t get anyone to come and defend him here. Because we thought, in balance, someone should do that. We worked very hard at it throughout the day, and we were unsuccessful.” Source

    As for Bannon, posit that the Dolt 45’s dinner with Murdoch where the latter told him to fire Bannon was the straw that broke that camel’s back.

  5. 5
    Ken says:

    the guy Donald Trump wishes he could’ve been

    Don’t forget the physique. Trump’s clearly aspired to have a body like that for a long time, with his “extra scoop of ice cream” diet and “exercise uses up your precious bodily resources” training regimen.

  6. 6

    How fucking stupid do you have to be when you go out of your way to piss off half the country to make nazis smile, only to then piss them off three days later?

  7. 7
    Jeffro says:

    Can I just suggest that even the NYT-dislikers in this pack of jackals read Frank Bruni’s piece? Devastating. When Trump Resigned.

    Trump resigned the presidency already — if we regard the job as one of moral stewardship, if we assume that an iota of civic concern must joust with self-regard, if we expect a president’s interest in legislation to rise above vacuous theatrics, if we consider a certain baseline of diplomatic etiquette to be part of the equation.

    By those measures, it’s arguable that Trump’s presidency never really began. By those measures, it’s indisputable that his presidency ended in the lobby of Trump Tower on Tuesday afternoon, when he chose — yes, chose — to litigate rather than lead, to attend to his wounded pride instead of his wounded nation and to debate the supposed fine points of white supremacy.

    He abdicated his responsibilities so thoroughly and recklessly that it amounted to a letter of resignation. Then he whored for his Virginia winery on the way out the door.

    Just. Wow.

  8. 8
    Jeffro says:

    More from Bruni:

    I kept coming across variations on the verdict that he had “failed to lead,” and that phraseology is off. “Fail” and “failure” imply that there was an effort, albeit unsuccessful.

    Trump made none. He consciously decided that he didn’t care about comforting or inspiring those Americans — a majority of them — who weren’t quick and generous enough with their clapping. He was more interested in justifying himself.

    So he picked division over unity, war over peace. And make no mistake: He didn’t merely shortchange the presidency. He left it vacant.

    I do believe Trumpov’s going to end up the most reviled president, if not the most reviled person, full stop, in modern American history. If he ‘wins’ that title while sitting in a jail cell, so much the better.

  9. 9
    germy says:

    @NotMax:

    Dolt 45’s dinner with Murdoch where the latter told him to fire Bannon was the straw that broke that camel’s back

    And when it didn’t happen immediately, Rupert’s papers started running all sorts of embarrassing stories about dolt45.

  10. 10
    different-church-lady says:

    @Jeffro: Apparently he’s already forgotten how much damage McCain can do with just his thumb.

  11. 11
    NoraLenderbee says:

    Mr. asswipe has sent Mr. dirtbag to a kind of internal exile

    Always formal, the Times.

  12. 12
    Yarrow says:

    Bannon met with with Robert Mercer this week.

  13. 13
    jl says:

    Some say St. Pete was pretty insistent on getting a very handsome expense account after he got on the payroll. That part of the mucker reputation?

  14. 14
    Jeffro says:

    @Yarrow: Both Bob and Rebekah, apparently. I think they’re preparing to write Trumpov off if they have to and let loose at the elements that have brought the ‘Trump Train’ to a standstill. It’s a long list of elements, all of whom are capable of firing back, so I wish the Mercers well (not really)

  15. 15
    Yarrow says:

    @Jeffro: Yep. They spent a lot of money and have not got a lot of the things they want. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re unhappy.

  16. 16
    Mike in NC says:

    @Jeffro: Tells us so much that Trump lacks the decency and empathy to reach out the the family of a murdered woman, but is eager to pimp his shitty third-rate winery.

  17. 17
    Jeffro says:

    @Yarrow: And despite Bannon being out, Kellyanne’s still inside the WH(!!) She can feed Bannon/Mercers/Breitbart all the inside ‘scoop’ about what the president* is doing on a daily basis…

  18. 18
    jl says:

    ‘ Talked to Rep. Steve King, who says Trump agenda imperiled: “With Steve Bannon gone, what’s left of the conservative core in the West Wing?” ‘

    Obvious what King thinks as the conservative core: bigotry, racism, xenophobia, and mindless self-destructive nationalism. But we knew that. (Edit: even more important than big tax cuts.)

  19. 19
    Jeffro says:

    @Mike in NC: Which he doesn’t even own – it’s Eric’s. And it’s not even one of the largest wineries, as he also claimed. What a douche.

  20. 20
    lollipopguild says:

    We have a President of our country who when given a choice between America or The Nazi’s he picked the Nazi’s. When I was thinking about this and I realized what he had done I laughed out loud. God Bless America!

  21. 21
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Jeffro:

    I do believe Trumpov’s going to end up the most reviled president, if not the most reviled person, full stop, in modern American history. If he ‘wins’ that title while sitting in a jail cell, so much the better.

    He will not understand your “most reviled President” or even “most reviled person.” He understands “winner” and “loser.” Label him “loser” and forget all that “most reviled” stuff.

    I am with you on the jail cell.

  22. 22
    Another Scott says:

    It’s great to see Bannon gone, it’s an unqualified good.

    But I do wonder if we’re missing something important in all this chaos. I remember how impossible it seemed that Donnie would be elected in the first place… :-(

    LOLGOP at Eclectablog – Trump doesn’t care about Confederate statues any more than he cared about Obama’s birth certificate:

    Like voter ID laws, the preservation of Confederate statues polls quite well. This could be an odd correlation, but I think you get what both of these wedge issues are about preserving.

    Trump has a preternatural sense of stoking and capitalizing upon white grievance. It’s a pattern that he developed well before he met Steve Bannon. And it will be the one great consistency in his life, regardless of what happens to Bannon.

    Trump seems to have used white racial anxiety in his youth to increase rents on his family’s properties. It’s how he became the world’s most famous birther and a hero to the right. It’s how he became president, with some help with the too human failings and nefarious forces that collected to oppose Hillary Clinton.

    Obviously, Trump doesn’t give a shit about the history of the Civil War, or history in general.

    You don’t fake a Civil War monument or crush actual historic art to save a couple weeks of construction time on Trump Tower if you care about our shared heritage.

    Trump doesn’t care about the truth. He understands the power of a lie and knows that he has never been hurt by lying. It’s when he tells the truth — as in how he feels about Judge Curiel, the Khan family or “very fine” white supremacists — that the public gets the sense of what he’s all about.

    He’s all about preserving power, mostly his power and the power of people with his name and, sometimes, of people who look like him. That’s why “culture” is central to his strategy.

    His race-baiting is so repulsive to those on the left that we assume that it’s not only unhelpful but will sow the seeds of his demise. In reality, it’s the core of his appeal and the reason he appeals to voters who wouldn’t normally consider voting Republican.

    […]

    Read the whole thing.

    Our national government is too important to assume that they can’t steal elections again. We have to fight them and not assume that they’re going to implode.

    I’m going to donate more to VoteRiders and the LWV and other groups this weekend. We have to fight to get every vote that they are trying to suppress that we can.

    Eyes on the prize.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  23. 23
    Jeffro says:

    @jl: “But Rep King, are you saying Trump isn’t a conservative? Then why did you support him for president and still support him today? Are you saying he lacks principles and needs a ‘core conservative’ in there to manipulate him?”

  24. 24
    Jeffro says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: “Loser” it is – you’re right. (But in all fairness, I thought he would get ‘reviled’ – he does have “the best words”, after all ;)

  25. 25
    Yarrow says:

    @Mike in NC:

    is eager to pimp his shitty third-rate winery.

    Supposedly it’s not his and Eric is running it.

    “Trump Winery is a registered trade name of Eric Trump Wine Manufacturing LLC, which is not owned, managed or affiliated with Donald J. Trump, The Trump Organization or any of their affiliates,” a disclaimer on the company’s websites says.

    While Trump purchased the vineyard in 2011, he turned management over to his son, Eric, in 2011. It is now owned by Eric Trump Wine Manufacturing LLC, according to the winery’s website.

    Poor Eric. Always the least loved.

  26. 26
    Yarrow says:

    @Jeffro: Yeah. She works for the Mercers, as Adam reminds us. Doesn’t matter what her title is.

  27. 27
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I have a small rant: I know that a number of commenters here and Cole started as GOPers. I know you have repented and are on the tight side now. I appreciate that. What about the prior years where you, at least, tacitly supported what they were doing? Thos crap didn’t appear like Athena from Zeus’s brain.

    Welcome to our side, but WTF?

  28. 28
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Don’t count Bannon out yet, is all I’m saying. Like shingles or herpes, he’ll be lurking in the GOP bloodstream

    Well, you’re certainly a cheerful soul!

  29. 29
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It’s complicated.

  30. 30
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Yarrow: Poor Eric. Always the least loved.

    Somewhere in Calabasas or Cambridge, Tiffany sees your comment, and weeps…. “I can’t even win that prize!”

  31. 31
    James Powell says:

    Bopping around the news more than I usually do, I’m hearing that this might finally be the Big Pivot that Chuck Todd and the Beltway Courtiers have been calling for the last year and a half. They really want Trump to be normal so badly that they are just going to keep pretending that this time it’s different he’s going to be normal.

  32. 32
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    If you all want to feel better about yourselves and the world, you should take a look at what’s happening in Australian politics right now. The country is roiled by scandal because a lot of white federal reps (MPs and Senators) have just discovered they have dual citizenship which disqualifies them from holding federal office. This started with a murdoch media hit against 2 green senators who resigned, then teh greens retaliated and exposed 2 nationals (rural right wing), then the national DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER and DEPUTY LEADER owned up to dual citizenship and now the highest profile crossbencher has been exposed as a secret dual UK citizen. No one knows what’s happening, the govt may not be a govt anymore and it’s all going in front of the high court. The kicker, the majority of these people (and especially the Dep PM) are in the ‘we don’t want foreigners in our country, restrict visas to brown people, brown people born here are not real australians’ camp. It’s been a really good escape from madness up in your hemisphere.

    This is a pretty good rundown of the last week of WTF in Australian politics. I hope it soothes your souls a bit.

  33. 33
    Yarrow says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I bet these days she’s not too sorry about being the least-remembered child. Just needs him to keep signing checks. And needs those checks to clear.

  34. 34
    Yarrow says:

    @James Powell: Oh, good. Can’t wait for their hopes to be dashed. Possibly as early as tomorrow morning when he decides to tweet.

  35. 35
    jl says:

    @Jeffro: Some say King has a head the size of a cantaloupe. Not sure what could be inside. Must be very seedy.

  36. 36
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Tells us so much that Trump lacks the decency and empathy to reach out the the family of a murdered woman, but is eager to pimp his shitty third-rate winery.

    Oh, but he did!! Several times, during her funeral. I mean, who doesn’t read and respond to texts when they’re in the middle of burying their daughter, FFS?? (Maybe he thought Trump Wines would be a nice accompaniment to the funeral baked meats. I’ll bet he would even have given the family a good price, a discount, just to show everyone what a winner he is.)

  37. 37
    NotMax says:

    re: the winery.

    Patricia Kluge, Who Built What Became Trump Winery, Says the Wine Is “Not Good Anymore”

    Kluge opens up about what it was like to do business with the Donald and what she thinks of the vineyard today.
    [snip]
    Kluge, for her part, was not surprised: “He lies a lot, and he knows that, and everybody knows that, but he can’t stop himself,” she said. “All of us who have known Donald in New York for a long time have always known that, and you have to find a way of working around it because it’s part of his makeup.”
    [snip]
    “I have had several people in Palm Beach lament that it’s the only wine they have on the menu at Mar-a-Lago,” Kluge said. Source

  38. 38
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Not to me. In college and for a few years afterwards, I thought that the Dems had tacked too far left. People like me literally got Clinton elected in 1992. I worked on his campaign.

  39. 39
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @TheMightyTrowel:

    Thanks. Have several friends in Oz and am glad of any explication.

  40. 40
    Another Scott says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: I’ve seen dribs and drabs about that. People who were dual citizen via a grandparent or something that had dual citizenship via one of their parents. It sounds like a good principle that is being used as a cudgel. It’s hard to imagine that the intent of the law was to apply to long-forgotten cases like that.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the Supreme Court ends up ruling on that – the text is unequivocal, but how far back should those connections apply?

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  41. 41
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It is a generational difference. And an acknowledgement that in my day, most women (including me) pretty much accepted their husbands’ “wisdom” including political views. It took me several years to break free and think/vote for myself.

  42. 42
    Yarrow says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: Wow, that’s crazy. I hope you end up with some kind of a government.

  43. 43
    Mike in NC says:

    Brian Williams on MSNBC is talking about Mueller’s investigation into Donnie the Lesser’s sleazy contacts in Russia. Let’s hope the sniveling little shit gets a cell right next to dad’s. All of this stuff is exhausting, but it looks like the wheels are coming off.

  44. 44
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: My mom and my dad happened to agree on political things. I can tell you that my mother never accepted her husband’s view’s about fuck all.

  45. 45
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @Another Scott: Apparently it’s been a known issue with the law’s wording since the 80s but no one has bothered to fix it. And you’re right, it’s almost all birthright citizenship issues (UK and Oz), mostly because they had parents with foreign citizenship (if your mom or dad is kiwi you are too). The issue is that hte wording of hte law is unabiguous so it has to be changed, but right now the govt is so heavily implicated that it won’t be able to change this law in good faith without likely triggering a vote of no confidence. Also Joyce (the Dep PM) has been making bombastic statements about what the high court is OBVIOUSLY going to decide and there’s nothing the Australian high court hates more than legislators sticking their noses in.

    Mostly i’m just eating popcorn and watching them torch each other.

  46. 46
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Good for her. I wish I had been less spineless in the early 1960s.

  47. 47
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Yarrow: Quarterly review with the boss.

  48. 48
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jeffro: Even Eric doesn’t own it. It’s actually another branding deal. Their name is on it, but they don’t own it.

  49. 49
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: She got knocked up, got married, and then got brave. Hello, me.

  50. 50
    Yarrow says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Yeah. I wonder when KellyAnne has hers.

  51. 51
    Yarrow says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Seems they don’t own much of anything.

  52. 52
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: I’m sorry, if you all are going to do a spin off of dysfynctional government in former British colony we’re going to have to insist on a franchise fee.

  53. 53
    sukabi says:

    @jl: no it’s a gourd…yes there are a few seeds, but mostly it’s a thick skin surrounding a void.

  54. 54
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @jl: Given a common alternate name for a canteloupe is a mush melon, I think that’s pretty appropriate.

  55. 55
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @Adam L Silverman: But it’s all so hilariously incompetent! Yes minister or The Thick of It deserve our franchise fee more!

  56. 56
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    But, but, the American Revolution was fought to get rid of the imposition of royalty.

    ;)

  57. 57
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Yarrow: They’ve done very little actual construction since the late 80s/early 90s. Almost everything has been branding and licensing deals.

  58. 58
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: Gotta love a political scandal that amounts to: “I have no idea where I’m actually a citizen of”.

  59. 59
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: So I’ve been told.

  60. 60
    Betsy says:

    @Jeffro: thank you. Enjoyed that. From your lips to God’s ears.

  61. 61
    Aleta says:

    So weird.

    Eric Trump‏@EricTrump
    Eric Trump Retweeted Donald Trump Jr.
    Well said…

    Donald Trump Jr. @DonaldJTrumpJr
    The most interesting measure of a friend is the difference between their personal texts to you and their FB posts.

  62. 62
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @Adam L Silverman: and the subtext of ‘but i’m white so how could my citizenship be in doubt’ adds a delightful spice to it all.

  63. 63
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I was lucky not to get knocked up (at least, not then, but that’s another story). But the Randroid grip in the 1960s was strong, and took some real spine to pull away from. Not the happiest chapter of my life, in retrospect.

  64. 64
    eclare says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: Link does not work. And get back to me when you don’t have healthcare or gun control.

  65. 65
    Yarrow says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: It really is. Someone will no doubt make an excellent TV show or film about it.

    @eclare: That’s weird. The link worked for me.

  66. 66
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: But of course.

  67. 67
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @eclare: Lighten up Francis

  68. 68
    BBA says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: A number of the politicians had dual Aus/NZ citizenship. The funny thing is, the Australian constitution lists New Zealand as one of the colonies eligible to join the Commonwealth – they’re just the only one that chose not to. So is New Zealand a “foreign power” within the original intent? For that matter, is Britain? (Not that originalism applies to any other country’s constitutional law, American exceptionalism and all that.)

  69. 69
    frosty says:

    @Jeffro: Instead of “I wish the Mercers well” how about “Good fucking luck with that!”

  70. 70
    Another Scott says:

    @BBA: I saw a BBC report on this stuff a few days ago. Someone brought up the fact that Elizabeth is the soverign but she’s not a citizen, so what about that? The answer was that the restriction only applies to members of the legislature and she’s above the legislature – but the person giving the answer recognized the obvious problem with the distinction and the logic of the requirement….

    It’s a mess. But if it helps to expose (or even remove) the racist/nativist/etc. kooks, well that’s a good thing.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  71. 71
    Calouste says:

    @NotMax: Duh. Who is so stupid to buy wine from a guy that doesn’t drink? Of course it is going to be shut.

  72. 72
    Mary G says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’ve never been a Republican. I registered first as a Democrat, mainly to piss off my Republican mother and voted for Jimmy Carter in my first election. I switched to “decline to state a party” in 2005 after Kerry couldn’t get it done and have never changed it back. My mom ended up a Democrat with an Obama sign in the yard.

  73. 73
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @frosty: I think what you’re looking for is: “well bless their hearts”.

  74. 74
    eclare says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: I get it, but I get my health insurance through the ACA exchange. I’m 48, a heart attack, stroke, or appendicitis would bankrupt me. Hard not to take it seriously, and yes, I am on edge. I am sorry, we all have stuff to get through. I took it personally, and I am sorry.

  75. 75
    Spinoza Is My Co-Pilot says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Omnes, you’re one of my favorite regular commenters here, and I understand your question regarding former rightwingers (like our esteemed bloghost) who have moved from that stunted and nasty worldview, but now I have my own “WTF?” for you:

    When have the Dems ever “tacked too far left”? You said you were in college (and a few years after that) at the time so, ok, young and all, but what in the world made you think any such thing had happened? Perhaps in answering that about yourself you might get at least a glimmer of understanding of how some rightwingers have come to realize their earlier views about life, the universe, and everything were, well, at least kinda fucked up, if not majorly so.

  76. 76
  77. 77
  78. 78
    frosty says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I’m (apparently) only 10 years younger than you and it would never have occurred to my wife or me that she should vote my way. Seems the same with my parents(b1920s) and grandparents (b1890s). Maybe cultural and not generational?

    My maternal grandfather put two daughters through college and supported my grandmother in a PhD when only 10% of American women went to college. So our family is probably an outlier. 😀

  79. 79
    frosty says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: It does sound like a popcorn moment. Sheesh.

  80. 80
    Fair Economist says:

    I used to be a libertarian. I was quite taken with all the “proofs” that government actions were always inefficient (“proofs” based on absurd premises, but hey, it was a pretty idea.)

    Then Enron turned off my lights in the California electrical crisis and I learned about reality. Well, actually, it took a while after that. I mocked all the conspiracy theories about cackling Snidely Whiplash types at Enron having engineered many of the critical electrical shortages during the events. Then later they turned out to be the literal truth, down to the cackling. Quite a lesson.

  81. 81
    frosty says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Bless their hearts works too, but not being raised a Southerner, it wasn’t the first thing that came to mind.

  82. 82
    NotMax says:

    @Mike J

    Trivia: Zanzibar was the site of the briefest war in history – usually cited as lasting 38 minutes.

  83. 83
    MisterForkbeard says:

    On a COMPLETE tangent (on an apparently mostly dead thread), would anyone like a gifted copy of “Fortnite”? I’m really enjoying it, and the version I bought came with two extra copies.

  84. 84
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Damn. I was hoping Bannon was going to tear into Trump himself

  85. 85
    Amir Khalid says:

    @NotMax:
    I think I read somewhere that the war was declared over before anyone had time to fire a shot in anger.

  86. 86

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: It’s still rather early to decide he’s not going to…

    @MisterForkbeard: I would be interested.

  87. 87

    @Amir Khalid: So they stuck to sorrow or something?

  88. 88
    ruemara says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: I saw some of that on the Twitters since science twitter has a lot of NZ folks. It was wild. I still don’t quite get the why.

    Just downstairs listening to music while the new roommate is upstairs practicing. I made a pretty nice pepper encrusted tuna steak wrap and a fig and cucumbre salad. I wasn’t entirely sure about living with him, but I feel very relaxed and comfortable around him. I am going to stop cooking for him though.Or he has to do sous chef duties.

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    frosty says:

    @ruemara: Good luck with the roommate. For me, it worked sharing duties when we knew each other from school or work before we moved in. Otherwise it was each of us on our own, and that worked too. Just get it defined soon.

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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    From that article from the previous thread:

    Patterson also recalled Mercer arguing that, during the Gulf War, the U.S. should simply have taken Iraq’s oil, “since it was there.” Trump, too, has said that the U.S. should have “kept the oil.” Expropriating another country’s natural resources is a violation of international law. Another onetime senior employee at Renaissance recalls hearing Mercer downplay the dangers posed by nuclear war. Mercer, speaking of the atomic bombs that the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, argued that, outside of the immediate blast zones, the radiation actually made Japanese citizens healthier. The National Academy of Sciences has found no evidence to support this notion. Nevertheless, according to the onetime employee, Mercer, who is a proponent of nuclear power, “was very excited about the idea, and felt that it meant nuclear accidents weren’t such a big deal.”

    Mercer, for his part, has argued that the Civil Rights Act, in 1964, was a major mistake. According to the onetime Renaissance employee, Mercer has asserted repeatedly that African-Americans were better off economically before the civil-rights movement. (Few scholars agree.) He has also said that the problem of racism in America is exaggerated. The source said that, not long ago, he heard Mercer proclaim that there are no white racists in America today, only black racists.

    “Most people at Renaissance didn’t challenge him” about politics, Patterson said. But Patterson clashed with him over climate change; Mercer said that concerns about it were overblown. After Patterson shared with him a scientific paper on the subject, Mercer and his brother, Randall, who also worked at the hedge fund, sent him a paper by a scientist named Arthur Robinson, who is a biochemist, not a climate expert.

    “It looked like a scientific paper, but it was completely loaded with selective and biased information,” Patterson recalled. The paper argued that, if climate change were real, future generations would “enjoy an Earth with far more plant and animal life.” Robinson owns a sheep ranch in Cave Junction, Oregon, and on the property he runs a laboratory that he calls the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. Mercer helps subsidize Robinson’s various projects, which include an effort to forestall aging.

    Patterson sent Mercer a note calling Robinson’s arguments “completely false.” He never heard back. “I think if you studied Bob’s views of what the ideal state would look like, you’d find that, basically, he wants a system where the state just gets out of the way,” Patterson said. “Climate change poses a problem for that world view, because markets can’t solve it on their own.”

    Magerman told the Wall Street Journal that Mercer’s political opinions “show contempt for the social safety net that he doesn’t need, but many Americans do.” He also said that Mercer wants the U.S. government to be “shrunk down to the size of a pinhead.” Several former colleagues of Mercer’s said that his views are akin to Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Magerman told me, “Bob believes that human beings have no inherent value other than how much money they make. A cat has value, he’s said, because it provides pleasure to humans. But if someone is on welfare they have negative value. If he earns a thousand times more than a schoolteacher, then he’s a thousand times more valuable.” Magerman added, “He thinks society is upside down—that government helps the weak people get strong, and makes the strong people weak by taking their money away, through taxes.” He said that this mind-set was typical of “instant billionaires” in finance, who “have no stake in society,” unlike the industrialists of the past, who “built real things.”

    Another former high-level Renaissance employee said, “Bob thinks the less government the better. He’s happy if people don’t trust the government. And if the President’s a bozo? He’s fine with that. He wants it to all fall down.”

    The Mercers must die for America to survive.

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    @ruemara: glad the living situation is working out.

    I’m on a very undergeared raid right now, whee.

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    Amir Khalid says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    I misremembered. Per NotMax’s Wikipedia link. there was time for shooting, but not much. In those few minutes the British Royal Navy, then the mightiest navy on the planet, had time to take out the puny Zanzibari artillery, and even to sink the King’s yacht.

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    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    The Mercers must die for America to survive.

    As a writing exercise, let’s try to come up with better ways to express the same idea. For example, the Mercers must be stopped.

    @NotMax: yep. Currently at the demonic inquisition.

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    NotMax says:

    @Amir Khalid

    Decades later, of course, but once Zanzibar became independent it took them all of a month to send the governing Sultan packing.

    Things apparently moved fast there before merger with Tanganyika. :)

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    Mike G says:

    Flying Spaghetti Monster,
    If you want Trump impeached, give us a sign. Blot out the sun!

  97. 97
    NotMax says:

    @Major Major Major Major

    I unheart raids and avoid them if at all possible. YMMV.

    Fair warning if any of your folks happens to be a rogue: The quest for the rogue class mount is brutal and mean. Blizzard – for whatever reason – had it in for poor little rogues, in spades, clubs, hearts and diamonds.

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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    the Mercers must be stopped.

    And how do you propose to do that without them shuffling off this mortal coil? Bob Mercer is a monster who’s not going away anytime soon. He wants to transform this country into something between Somalia and Russia. He won’t stop voluntarily.

    His political activities have ruined millions of lives, not just here but abroad in the UK:

    Mercer was an activist in the campaign to pull the United Kingdom out of the European Union, also known as Brexit. Andy Wigmore, communications director of Leave.EU, said that Mercer donated the services of data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica to Nigel Farage, the head of the United Kingdom Independence Party. The firm was able to advise Leave.EU through its ability to harvest data from people’s Facebook profiles in order to target them with individualized persuasive messages to vote for Brexit. However, Leave.EU did not inform the UK electoral commission of the donation. A law demands that all donations valued over £7,500 must be reported, but the advice given does not have a hard-set value.[6]

    Perhaps if we ask him real nicely, he’ll stop. Give me a break.

    I won’t try anything so don’t worry about that. I just know the world would be a better place without Robert or Rebekah Mercer.

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    @NotMax: I usually hate raids but I actually enjoy the new one.

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    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Cool. I’ll use the contact form on your webcomic and send you the URL for the gift copy.

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    NotMax says:

    @Major Major Major Major

    If you do have a rogue and don’t want spoilers skip this.

    If you don’t have a rogue, you’ll understand what I’m talkin’ about.

    Have to off new, very powerful NPCs (who are not necessarily alone) in a specific order – one each in every opposing faction city. The fourth and final one is inside the main auction house of the opposing faction’s hub city (Stormwind or Orgrimmar).

    Needless to say, repair vendor pockets a bundle afterward.

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    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    I just know the world would be a better place without Robert or Rebekah Mercer.

  104. 104
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    ?

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    James Powell says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    What’s striking about the Mercers’ ideas – as expressed in the quoted article – is that they are essentially mainstream Republican views. I hear the same opinions from people who don’t have 0.001% of the Mercers wealth.

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    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    I just know the world would be a better place without Robert or Rebekah Mercer.

    Can you not see how this sentence is better than “the mercers must die for America to survive”? (Edited)

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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    I thought that’s what you meant. Just thought maybe you had more to add or something and forgot.

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    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: fat fingered the comment button on my phone and then a boss fight started.

    ETA: I just want our side to be a little more careful to not sound eliminationist and such. There are loud people, at least in sf, who actually mean that stuff.

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    karenmarie says:

    @Ken: A+

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    Millard Filmore says:

    @Major Major Major Major: There is a practical consideration. Mercer is rich. With violent writings against him he could pay Sessions to have Balloon Juice declared a terrorist hangout. Then this blog would have to go get registered in Russia!

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    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    I know. It pissed me off so much that this 70 year old dingleberry has such outsized influence on the government. It’s bullshit. What gives Robert Mercer the right to run roughshod over the government and our political culture in defiance of the wishes of hundreds of millions of Americans?

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    Shalimar says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: Picking a fight with GOP congresscritters on Trump’s behalf is better. By all means, try to alienate and destroy the people who will eventually vote on impeachment.

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    Raid over. I got two things. Whee.

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: It’s not fair, it sucks! But unless there’s a 100% inheritance tax (an interesting proposition!), his influence isn’t going anywhere even in death. It’s really awful! Just watch your language a little, is all I’m saying.

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    NotMax says:

    @Major Major Major Major

    Agreed. It is over the top and beyond the pale. Additionally, that is the type of comment which gets nutpicked and used to smear the left/progessive side.

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    TS says:

    @Another Scott:

    It’ll be interesting to see how the Supreme Court ends up ruling on that – the text is unequivocal, but how far back should those connections apply?

    Most white Australians know their connections and did/do use them to their advantage – especially when travelling to Europe/UK. Used to be a UK grandparent which allowed free access to the UK (close relative got permanent residence and a UK passport c. 1979 via the grandparent link) and c. 1982 it became a parent. NZ wasn’t so important as until relatively recently there was open travel between the two countries (still relatively easy), so I would be more inclined to think there is more knowledge in Oz about UK citizenship than that of NZ.

    If you are wanting to be a MP in Oz – should be standard to check your citizenship. Ex PM Abbott may have had a similar problem some years ago – he was born in UK. I think he said the papers where he resigned his citizenship were “lost”.

    After years of refusing to respond to questions about his citizenship and eligibility to be a member of parliament, Tony Abbott has finally confirmed that he renounced his British citizenship. Mr Abbott released a copy of a letter, dated January 5, 2015, from UK Visas & Immigration as proof that he gave up his British citizenship some 23 years earlier, in October 1993.” Abbott’s response to this issue for many years should have made other’s aware they needed to check.

    To me, the constitution is clear & they should all have to resign and get it sorted – the PM, however, seems to think the court should rule otherwise.

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    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Major Major Major Major: We all must die. It’s in the Birth Contract.

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    Betty Cracker says:

    @Major Major Major Major & @NotMax: Thank you, gentlemen. Sincerely.

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    akryan says:

    @Jeffro: the first sentence made his entire premise invalid. “-if we regard the presidency a job of moral stewardship,”. that went out the window early in the campaign. no one that voted for him gives one gold flaked shit about the presidency being a job of moral stewardship. he will have republicans to the very end for no other reason than he is a total asshole bully.

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    Matt McIrvin says:

    I so despise these people who love only power and publicly revel in cruelty–and remain powerful, in or out of office, because such a large segment of the electorate seems only to want to hurt others.

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    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @Another Scott: Unfortunately I think that blogger is right, at least based on the white grievance nursers on my facebook page. I grew up in Michigan, and they’re all in high dudgeon about how “our history” is being destroyed by the removal of Robert E. Lee statues. Lee had nothing to do with Michigan other than being responsible for the deaths of thousands of Michigan troops. They probably haven’t actually given Lee a half second thought before this week in their entire lives because they’re completely ignorant of U.S. history. To them, until this week, he was just a name on a souped up Dodge Charger that two good looking hayseeds drove in a TV show. They probably couldn’t tell Lee from James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Howard Taft, Dwight Eisenhower, or any of a dozen of other famous, but not too famous, people from America’s past. That still doesn’t mean they don’t feel butthurt about it though, because Trump feels butthurt. The South’s propaganda machine to sanitize and rewrite the cause of the Confederacy into something noble worked only too well.

    There’s a riverboat in a small town about 15 miles from my home town that was, until this week, named the Robert E. Lee – it’s owned by the municipality and they decided to rename it. Everyone is suddenly pissed that they’re changing the name. If it’s got to be named after a Civil War general you’d think folks in Michigan would prefer one that’s from their side – Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman are more colorful names anyway. But no, it’s got to be Lee because history? Like those guys weren’t historic?

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    Regnad Kcin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Plus you have to remember, pre-Southern Strategy, there actually were reasonable Republicans to be found

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    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @Regnad Kcin: Yes, this is a big reason. Even after the Southern strategy there were reasonable republicans. Before democrats decided to tackle civil rights it was arguably the republicans that were the more enlightened party on race. Look at Mitt Romney…enacted Romney-care and while he’s not perfect on race he’s not a race baiter. Gerald R. Ford was reasonable – had he not pardoned Nixon he might be fairly well admired today as a term and a half successful president…the guy who represented the district I grew up in for years – Verne Ehlers – was pretty progressive on a lot of issues, including the environment. It wasn’t until the Gingrich revolution that the party lurched so far right those guys no longer had a home.

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    Regnad Kcin says:

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: Agree re: Newt and the dropping of all pretense, but the roots of the modern landscape start with Milhous. Add a soupcon of Raygun + Viguerie, and the stage was set for Newt + Norquist

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    @Regnad Kcin:
    Republicans have grown crazier over the decades. It tracks exactly with increasing visibility of minorities. Needless to say, there was a huge leap when a black man became president, but they’d already gotten pretty extreme.

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?:
    Give Romney NO credit for being reasonable. His reputation for moderation comes from a Democratic supermajority overriding his veto repeatedly to pass progressive legislation. That includes so-called ‘Romneycare’, which he opposed fiercely but could not stop. He is reasonable only compared to Teabaggers, and not by much.

    Edit – And he’s racist as Hell, but Mormons are far too polite to say publicly what they think about the mark of Cain.

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    Regnad Kcin says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Ditto Celucci, plus my neighbor Charlie B

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    Percysowner says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I was very briefly a registered Republican. It was around 1974. I hated Nixon, don’t get me wrong, I had a bumper sticker on my car that read “Nixon’s through in 72” for years (we were off by 2 years). However, my local Republicans were pretty good guys, fiscally conservative, but not particularly racist or sexist and I figured that, all in all, I voted for more local positions than national ones and by registering as a Republican, I could keep the quality of those candidates up when Primaries were being held. That didn’t last long, just a couple of years, by 1976 I was back to being a Democrat, but it was partly an attempt to keep the party sane at a local level.

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    Ksmiami says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: the better way to say it is The Mercer family is a terrorist organization against America and Renaissance Technologies should be investigated as part of a thorough RICO charge

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    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @Regnad Kcin: I agree it started with Nixon but it took two decades of effort to drive all the actual progressive or centrist Republicans out. For a while it was not clear that the dixiecrat wing would achieve anything like total ascendancy. The centrists played footsie with those guys, and that’s bad, but unless you were immersed in politics full time it wasn’t obvious what was happening, so people who weren’t at all racist had a place in the party for quite some time after the early days of the Southern strategy. I’m not saying those folks were blameless, I’m just trying to explain the original question of how guys like Cole ever found a home in the party. I’m Cole’s age so I get it, even though I personally worked to get Mike Dukakis elected in the first election I was old enough to vote in.

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    Regnad Kcin says:

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: Ha! I was the Duke’s driver for a bit.

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    ruemara says:

    @NotMax: oh my god. My rogue is never gonna get her mount.

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    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Can we tax them down to upper-middle class levels of income?

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    Jeff says:

    @eclare: Both sides of that power struggle will fight dirty.

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    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    @Formerly disgruntled in Oregon: would be even better to seize their assets after the conspiracy to commit treason conviction is handed down…

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    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Something about showing a picture of Steve Bannon with the caption “this is what your telling is ‘Racially Superior’ looks like?”

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    Radiumgirl says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: Sounds like Mercer is a batty old rich git who thinks the purpose of government is to help him make more money. I don’t care if dingbats like him exist or have lot of money, I’m outraged that they should have outsized influence on policies that affect the rest of us.

Comments are closed.