Grifters All The Way Down

Here’s what I don’t get.  Trump’s Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, is a rich guy. Seriously rich: on the order of a half a billion in net worth, w. a cool $70 million in 2016 earnings.  If he wants to check out a cool event — a total eclipse, say, a desire I wholly understnd — he can afford to do so at any level of comfort he chooses, and never miss the lucre.

Instead, he scams:

Last week, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin took Mitch McConnell, some other Republican lawmakers, and his wife, Louise Linton, to Kentucky, ostensibly to touch large piles of gold at Fort Knox. Coincidentally, Kentucky also happened to be one of the best places to watch the total solar eclipse, which happened to occur on the day of their trip.

This trip had already attracted a bit of unwanted attention (back in those halcyon days before Melania’s stiletto adventures) after Linton instagramed the following:

“Great #daytrip to #Kentucky! #nicest #people #countryside,” Linton wrote, according to a screenshot of the now-private post, before tagging the labels she was wearing “#rolandmouret pants, #tomford sunnies, #hermesscarf #valentinorockstudheels #valentino #usa.”

Nothing says populist like that kind of fashion profile, eh?

Now, however, it turns out that drawing eyes to the family outing might have been more than a mere PR flub:

The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Inspector General is reviewing the flight taken by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, last week to Louisville and Fort Knox, Ky., following criticism of their use of a government plane on a trip that involved viewing the solar eclipse.

“We are reviewing the circumstances of the Secretary’s August 21 flight . . . to determine whether all applicable travel, ethics, and appropriation laws and policies were observed,” counsel Rich Delmar wrote in a statement to The Washington Post late Thursday.

“When our review is complete, we will advise the appropriate officials, in accordance with the Inspector General Act and established procedures,” Delmar added.

Yo! Mnuchin! Pay attention here.  The Air Force is not your personal air taxi service. You want to take a day off? Fine. You’re the boss. You can play hooky to join millions jazzing on the sun’s waltz with the moon.  And you can pay for it your own damn self, just like I did, my brothers, and everyone I know.

More seriously:  someone who actually takes public service as service knows not to give even the appearance of putting one’s hand in the cookie jar.  And it’s not as if this puts Mnuchin through any hardship.  As noted above, he is far and away rich enough to pay for all his pleasures; there’s no meaningful gain to him to sleaze a little grift off the top.  But apparently, he can’t help himself.

These guys!

Scum floats — but how can you tell when it’s scum all the way down?

Image: Elihu Vedder, Corrupt Legislation (detail), mural in the Library of Congress, 1896.

130 replies
  1. 1

    Valentino rock stud heels are so passe’ and ugly and every other fashion blogger has been parading them for years.

  2. 2
    Tom Levenson says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Outside my area of competence, so I’ll defer to your expertise.

  3. 3
    JDM says:

    With his wealth, even an index fund investing strategy should get him a half million bucks a week, say a quarter of a mill after taxes (yeah, I know he isn’t paying anywhere near that rate really). About $35,000 each and every day. A self-paid first class trip to Kentucky during eclipse time for his family should be able to be done and still leave him richer at the end of the trip. Putz.

  4. 4
    swiftfox says:

    This happened two weeks ago. It’s old news.

  5. 5
    Hunter Gathers says:

    He’s just another upper-class cheapskate. They all do this. They make more money than they know what to do with, but refuse to pay for anything.

  6. 6
    Yutsano says:

    Mnuchin wanted one thing: his sweet capital gains tax cuts. It’s now looking less and less likely he’ll be getting them.

    Also: he’s never had scrutiny like he gets now. I hope he boils until he resigns.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    efgoldman says:

    @swiftfox:

    This happened two weeks ago. It’s old news.

    Hey look everybody, a new troll!
    Was the Inspector General part “old news”?
    Of course, if the IG says he has to reimburse at the first class rate, he’ll bitch and whine and then deduct it as a business expense.

  9. 9
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    @Yutsano:

    Yes, boil! I hope the lot of them are chaffed, irritated, hounded, humiliated, and made disappointed, embittered. I hope deep down he and his shallow, vapid wife sense the scorn of tens of millions.

  10. 10
    Chat Noir says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Agreed. The wife is textbook basic. I’m surprised she wasn’t wearing a blouse with those ugly cutout shoulder treatments that will look dated in short order.

  11. 11
    Eljai says:

    I’m shocked to find that the guy who kicked an old woman out of her home is a cheapass grifter.

  12. 12
    efgoldman says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Majorly fugly and expensive.

    Less than a thousand bucks, and not quite as ugly as snowshoes. What’s the problem? I bet Nordstrom can’t keep them in stock…..

    ……..

    ….nor should they. Yick.

  13. 13

    @efgoldman: They were really big about 5 years ago. Now you can get a lightly used pair on eBay for $100 bucks.

  14. 14
    debbie says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Careful! Can’t be bad-mouthing women’s fashion choices around here lately!

  15. 15
    debbie says:

    @Yutsano:

    It’s now looking less and less likely he’ll be getting them.

    Good. This may be a valuable opportunity to see if rich people cry real tears.

  16. 16

    @debbie: Heh why not? I am sure Mnuchin didn’t marry her for her inner beauty.

  17. 17
    jeffreyw says:

    Charles Clymer🏳️‍🌈 ✔ @cmclymer
    It’s authentic. Joel Osteen’s church asked flood victims for donations at a service Weds. night. See the folks near end passing out plates?
    6:40 PM – Sep 2, 2017
    1,672 1,672 Replies 8,281 8,281 Retweets 7,617 7,617 likes

  18. 18
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @efgoldman: $995? For that?

    I’ve spent over $500 on a pair of boots, but they were goddamn nearly state-of-the-art ski boots. I have to admit, though, I’d look pretty foolish wearing them to an eclipse-watching party on top of Fort Knox.

  19. 19
    Ruviana says:

    I hate the pretentious “sunnies” for her sunglasses. #Yourlifeiscute.

  20. 20
    efgoldman says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Now you can get a lightly used pair on eBay for $100 bucks.

    Do they come in my size?

    @debbie:

    Can’t be bad-mouthing women’s fashion choices

    This here’s a blog. We can bad mouth santa claus and the easter bunny.
    Anyway, clearly there is not, and never has been, a correlation between money and taste.
    Tacky is as tacky does

  21. 21

    @Ruviana: Its twee fashion blogger speak.

  22. 22
    Ruviana says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Prezackly, emphasis on *twee*. Makes me want to break her sunnies.

  23. 23
    Achrachno says:

    @schrodingers_cat: They look practical for yard work. Do they come in men’s sizes?

  24. 24
    efgoldman says:

    @Achrachno:

    They look practical for yard work.

    You can also color-co-ordinate! They come in three colors!!

  25. 25
    lgerard says:

    These types are used to subsidizing their lifestyle choices by charging off much of it as business expenses

    Why would they change now?

    They are also the first to claim that the Federal Government wastes money and should be starved of funds

  26. 26
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    @Ruviana:

    Ugh. What a twee little word.

  27. 27
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    I swear, I was typing my twee comment before seeing yours!

  28. 28
    efgoldman says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I’ve spent over $500 on a pair of boots

    mrs efg used to have a pair of $500-$600 hand made Frye walking boots. But she paid ~$60 for them in Marshall’s as a lucky find, and wore them for at least 10-12 years.

  29. 29
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    Been seeing commercials for Nutrish dog food. I hate that name and I’m not even sure why.

  30. 30
    Tom Levenson says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Wow. That looks like a kind of couture trolling: see if the rich folks will pay for any old shit we make.

  31. 31
    Felonius Monk says:

    @efgoldman:

    This here’s a blog. We can bad mouth santa claus and the easter bunny.

    And, on occasion, even bad mouth the BlogMeister, albeit lovingly.

  32. 32
    Another Scott says:

    That’s a neat painting. There are lots of wonderful treasures at the Library of Congress. (I haven’t seen the Reading Room yet.)

    I like the description:

    Summary: Photo of semi-circular panel in five-part mural called “Government” shows man, woman, and child in classical garb, with woman seated and holding an unjust scale.

    I can’t figure out what the young girl is holding though.

    Even the Corrupt Legislation woman had enough smarts to wear sensible shoes. Our villains these days don’t even have that figured out….

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  33. 33
    Mnemosyne says:

    These assholes are starting to make old-fashioned robber barons like Andrew Carnegie look good.

  34. 34
    Ruckus says:

    @schrodingers_cat:
    I see a lot of women walking around in shoes that look a lot worse than those. What were they thinking? Ugly. Have to be very uncomfortable. Of course a lot of them don’t look all that expensive, OK what I mean is they look cheap. Have a friend that in the 70s made shoes. Not what you’d call comfortable or in my mind stylish, I think camp was the word. One pair had fish swimming in them. They looked better.

  35. 35

    I’m a bit torn, here.

    One of the perqs of certain jobs is, if you have a reason to do X, you can schedule it for day_y, which happens to coincide with your plans (e.g., to view the eclipse). In a healthy democracy, this might be a bit of unkind gossip – assuming that one can justify the trip to Fort Knox, that is. There, you could kinda-sorta call it grifting, but the *honest* sort of grifting, where you do your job, but expect to pick up some bennies along the way… things you’re not *exactly* entitled to, but that aren’t really forbidden either. That is: if he had reason to go to Fort Knox in 2017, there’s nothing wrong with choosing to do it on the day of the eclipse; it’s a bit skeevy and it looks bad, and it does raise the question of a conflict – what if it would clearly have been better to visit on a non-eclipse day?

    Except, we’re not in a healthy democracy. We’re in a nation where there was a widespread effort to dishonestly proclaim a political opponent was a criminal. Where people complained that one of the best people, and most competent Presidents, who has ever served, was lawless, dishonest, and PLAYED GOLF.

    So, you know what? I don’t care if the bastard was Constitutionally obligated to visit Fort Knox once a year. Have at him!

  36. 36
    efgoldman says:

    @West of the Rockies (been a while):

    Been seeing commercials for Nutrish dog food.

    I’m getting ads for a RI dee-yew-eye lawyer on multiple sites. I know they’re driven by algorithms based on word search, but it’s nothing I’ve needed or searched. Unless it picks up random references to the profession.

  37. 37
    Mike in NC says:

    “Real Housewives of Trump’s Corrupt Cabinet” would be one hell of a reality TV show. Their collective monthly shoe allowance would feed a small town for a few weeks.

  38. 38
    Gravenstone says:

    @jeffreyw: About that point I’d have turned the nearest collection plate into a fucking Frisbee – aimed at the altar is I was close enough.

  39. 39
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I’m not on the social media, but isn’t hash tagging every word kind of demented? “day trip”? “nicest”? I know one of the Kardashians, maybe all of them, Katie, get paid some obscene amount of money to simply hashtag brands. Was Louise trying to muddy the grifting waters?
    This woman probably thinks Ivanka trump’s life is something to aspire to

    @West of the Rockies (been a while): Oy, Rachel Ray.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @swiftfox: This happened two weeks ago. It’s old news.

    it’s a lot less stressful than the new news

  42. 42
    efgoldman says:

    CHERYL ROFER you still around?

    mrs efg just wandered in to tell me that NoKo just tested a 360-megaton H-bomb. But (a) she’s watching CNN, which tends toward hysteria; (b) she is arithmeically/numerically challenged, (c) she often mis-hears scary things.

    Have you (or anyone) got any more current info since late last night?

    ETA: Based on last night’s posts, I don’t find the test unlikely, but the yield seems exaggerated to me.

  43. 43
    patrick II says:

    It’s a status thing. After all, the President (how I hate to write that in the current context) takes Air Force One to golf in Florida most weekends, why can’t Mnuchin, who is just about as wealthy (the measure of all things) take his government jet where he wants? Mnuchin will not be treated as a second class citizen.
    Plus, he got away with it when in private industry — and probably even got a tax deduction.

  44. 44
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Yikes! They’re awful. I’ve never shopped haute couture, so have no clue about what these fancy pants brand names actually look like.

  45. 45
    Van Buren says:

    @LongHairedWeirdo: One of the journalists in the Republic might be bothered to research the last time a Treasury Secretary felt compelled to visit Ft. Knox. Might be illuminating.

  46. 46

    @Mnemosyne: At least he built some fine libraries.

  47. 47
    opiejeanne says:

    @Another Scott: Classical garb for women: boobs hanging out. Also, the artist chose a woman to portray corruption? Ugh.

  48. 48
    Brachiator says:

    More seriously: someone who actually takes public service as service knows not to give even the appearance of putting one’s hand in the cookie jar.

    Dope Trump voters are hot to see the government run like a business. A corollary to this is that the top executives of this United States Corporation are the elite who get to treat the assets of the country like perks, fringe benefits.

    They also follow the example of their Dear Leader, El Trumpo, who freely mixes his personal holdings with government assets because he is above any silly notions of conflicts of interest.

  49. 49

    TBH, I do like to look at fashion blogs and mags like Vogue and Bazaar. Dressing well is an art, and can be fun, and you don’t necessarily need to spend tons of cash.
    Two of my favorite fashion blogs are Atlantic-Pacific, Blue Collar, Red Lipstick.

  50. 50
    efgoldman says:

    @Brachiator:

    They also follow the example of their Dear Leader, El Trumpo

    Maybe they’ll follow him into orange jump suits and financial ruin.

  51. 51
    jeffreyw says:

    @Gravenstone:
    Well, I would not have been there in the first place. Joel is just one step lower than most of them, I see all organized religion as a grift. Last time I attended church services was when we were marched to an Easter service in a platoon formation while in the Army circa 1969. The platoon sergeant explained that it was Charlie company’s turn that year.

  52. 52
    Ruckus says:

    @efgoldman:
    Not sure it’s a troll. I think I’ve seen this name before. But I was wrong once so it could happen again.
    But it could be a commentary on how much stupid and crappy things this maladministration is doing that keeping tabs for longer than two weeks will just make one lose their mind. Anything is possible.

  53. 53
    Gravenstone says:

    @efgoldman: Considering that the highest yield device ever detonated was ca. 50 MT (Tsar Bomba) , I’m thinking mishearing something us the order of the moment.

  54. 54
    Kelly says:

    He’s mistaken the Air Force for the corp biz jets he’s had at his disposal for many years. Probably genuinely surprised this is wrong.

  55. 55

    @Chat Noir: The ugly shoulder cutout look is so gross. Only teens look good in that, in my opinion. More of an evening look than a day look.

  56. 56
    Epicurus says:

    The only remaining question is whether or not Trump and Mnuchin have managed to gut the IG’s office as they have the rest of the government. I will be surprised, but pleased, if they recommend any punishment for this obvious misuse of government resources. My bet is he doesn’t even get a slap on the wrist. I hope to be proven wrong.

  57. 57

    @jeffreyw: Doncha know the only shelter Ostend’s church provides is from those moocher taxes.

  58. 58

    I really don’t give a damn if a government official gets a government ride as a ‘business trip’, even if it’s on a plane. I care moderately if this breaks ethics rules. They should be followed. I care quite a bit that his wife was an utter privileged bitch about it lecturing her lessers for daring to disapprove.

    @schrodingers_cat:
    Criminy, those are hideous.

  59. 59
    Gretchen says:

    Yes, I love the karmic justice of this story . If she hadn’t bragged on instagram, and then gratuitously attacked a nobody who lobbed a mild criticism at her, the Treasury Dept. probably would never have noticed.

  60. 60
    Mike J says:

    @efgoldman:

    mrs efg just wandered in to tell me that NoKo just tested a 360-megaton H-bomb. But (a) she’s watching CNN, which tends toward hysteria; (b) she is arithmeically/numerically challenged, (c) she often mis-hears scary things.

    The largest bomb ever built was 50 MT. More likely 360 kilotons.

  61. 61
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    there’s no meaningful gain to him to sleaze a little grift off the top.

    You miss the point, Tom. It’s not about money, everybody already knows he has money. It’s about power. He did it to show everyone that he could do it. At worst he will end up having to pay for the flight and if so, for a sociopath like him, it will be worth it.

    “I can have the US Airforce fly me anywhere I like. Top that bitches.”

  62. 62
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    RamblinJohn‏ @ RamblinJohn 17h17 hours ago
    Concept: a reality remake of Green Acres, but starring Donnie & Melanie, in some coal mining town that voted for him @ realDonaldTrump

    “Darlin’ I love ya but I’m taking the kid and my jewelry and all the cash I can stuff into a carry-on and hauling ass back to Slovenia” doesn’t quite scan….

  63. 63
    Brachiator says:

    @opiejeanne:

    Classical garb for women: boobs hanging out. Also, the artist chose a woman to portray corruption? Ugh.

    Peace and Prosperity, in a companion painting by the same artist in the same building, is also a woman.

    The painting plays on images of Justice as a noble woman. This goddess of corruption comes across as a 19th century floozy, relaxed, hanging out, carelessly dangling the scales of justice. She is also deliberately ignoring the young girl who is respectfully pleading her case. The Man on the other side of Corrupt Legislation is her partner in crime. He may be dressed soberly, if that is important to you, but at his feet, banknotes are spilling out. He knows that he can have all the justice that money can buy.

    All in all, a great reminder of the corruption at the heart of this Age of Trump.

  64. 64
    Another Scott says:

    @opiejeanne: Blind Justice holding the scales is traditionally a woman.

    I think it’s well done, but I wish I knew what he was saying with the young girl.

    Cheers,
    Scott.
    (The two sets of factories, the broken pot, and the two sets of low walls is saying something too…)

  65. 65
  66. 66
    germy says:

    Steve is rich and can easily afford to pay for his own eclipse viewing, but I suspect he was showing off for the benefit of his trophy wife. Taking her on a tour of fort knox and then to the roof for the eclipse was sort of compensating for the fact he’s an ugly older dude. It was a display of power to impress her.

    Also, these “captain of industry” types aren’t used to the level of scrutiny civil servants face. The hearings must have pissed him off, the twitter bullshit must have pissed off his wife, and now this investigation has them both boiling.

    Good.

  67. 67
    rikyrah says:

    When white liberals abuse Black boys to death and still insist on calling them “friends”
    By Hari Ziyad
    August 29, 2017

    “[Ed Buck] would have my son to go out to … Santa Monica Boulevard looking for young gay Black guys so he could inject them with drugs, see their reaction and … take pictures of them.” — LaTisha Nixon, mother of Gemmel Moore.

    On July 27, 26-year-old Gemmel Moore was found dead after overdosing on crystal meth in the West Hollywood home of 63-year-old Ed Buck, a prominent Democratic political donor. Moore was a gay Black sex worker, whose journal—which was collected posthumously—corroborated what friends told his mother about the man whose apartment he would ultimately die inside:

    “I honestly don’t know what to do. I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that,” a December entry reads. “Ed Buck is the one to thank. He gave me my first injection of crystal meth it was very painful, but after all the troubles, I became addicted to the pain and fetish/fantasy.”

    According to the L.A. Sentinel, The Los Angeles County Coroner immediately classified Moore’s death as an accidental overdose, but more of Buck’s victims have since come forward to recount similar stories of his “Tuskegee Experiment like fetish”—injecting drugs into young Black men, often without their permission, after they’ve been given a “date rape” drug or while they’re unconscious.

    After push-back from Moore’s mother and more stepping forward to confirm the story of Buck’s fetish for abusing young Black men with drugs, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says they are now investigating Moore’s death as a possible homicide.

  68. 68
    Kathleen says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I never liked the sheer sleeves either.

  69. 69
    Brachiator says:

    @efgoldman:

    Maybe they’ll follow him into orange jump suits and financial ruin.

    To qoute an old SNL skit, “hear me now, and believe me later.” Neither Trump nor any of his family will ever do jail time or face financial ruin.

    He’s got too much protection from both the GOP leadership and from Putin. The Republicans can never let Trump get what he truly deserves, because it would reflect back on them their vile, cynical stupidity in backing him in the first place.

    And of course Putin is so very fond of his butt buddy Donald, that he would never let him fall too badly.

    ..

  70. 70
    Mnemosyne says:

    @rikyrah:

    Unfortunately those victims hit the trifecta of things that police and prosecutors don’t care about: Black, gay, and working as prostitutes.

    ETA: Also, a rich white guy who lives in West Hollywood is gay, FWIW.

  71. 71
    rikyrah says:

    To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now

    Neil Irwin @Neil_Irwin SEPT. 3, 2017

    ROCHESTER — Gail Evans and Marta Ramos have one thing in common: They have each cleaned offices for one of the most innovative, profitable and all-around successful companies in the United States.

    For Ms. Evans, that meant being a janitor in Building 326 at Eastman Kodak’s campus in Rochester in the early 1980s. For Ms. Ramos, that means cleaning at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., in the present day.

    In the 35 years between their jobs as janitors, corporations across America have flocked to a new management theory: Focus on core competence and outsource the rest. The approach has made companies more nimble and more productive, and delivered huge profits for shareholders. It has also fueled inequality and helps explain why many working-class Americans are struggling even in an ostensibly healthy economy.

    The $16.60 per hour Ms. Ramos earns as a janitor at Apple works out to about the same in inflation-adjusted terms as what Ms. Evans earned 35 years ago. But that’s where the similarities end.

    Ms. Evans was a full-time employee of Kodak. She received more than four weeks of paid vacation per year, reimbursement of some tuition costs to go to college part time, and a bonus payment every March. When the facility she cleaned was shut down, the company found another job for her: cutting film.

    Ms. Ramos is an employee of a contractor that Apple uses to keep its facilities clean. She hasn’t taken a vacation in years, because she can’t afford the lost wages. Going back to school is similarly out of reach. There are certainly no bonuses, nor even a remote possibility of being transferred to some other role at Apple.

    Yet the biggest difference between their two experiences is in the opportunities they created. A manager learned that Ms. Evans was taking computer classes while she was working as a janitor and asked her to teach some other employees how to use spreadsheet software to track inventory. When she eventually finished her college degree in 1987, she was promoted to a professional-track job in information technology.

    Less than a decade later, Ms. Evans was chief technology officer of the whole company, and she has had a long career since as a senior executive at other top companies. Ms. Ramos sees the only advancement possibility as becoming a team leader keeping tabs on a few other janitors, which pays an extra 50 cents an hour.

    They both spent a lot of time cleaning floors. The difference is, for Ms. Ramos, that work is also a ceiling.

  72. 72
    Shana says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Oy Rachel Ray indeed. I could almost strangle her for “sammies” instead of sandwiches.

  73. 73

    @rikyrah:
    My lesser reaction is eye-rolling annoyance that they had to prominently point out the guy is liberal, as if this has anything to do with liberalism.

    My greater reaction is, Jesus fucking Christ, what a slimy, evil, wildly racist murderer, and… there aren’t even words to say how tragic Gemmel’s fate is. That poor guy.

  74. 74
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    @rikyrah:

    Unfortunately those victims hit the trifecta of things that police and prosecutors don’t care about: Black, gay, and working as prostitutes.

    Nobody cared much about the young white women who overdosed on drugs while partying with the dean of the USC Keck School of Medicine.

    ..

  75. 75
    sukabi says:

    @jeffreyw: holy füçk. Hope Osteen gets dragged so hard he has to close shop. What a piece of 💩💩💩💩.

  76. 76
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Brachiator:

    And of course Putin is so very fond of his butt buddy Donald, that he would never let him fall too badly.

    Bullshit. Putin would sell Donny boy out in a NY second the second Donny boy ceases to be of use to him. When it comes to the GOP tho, you may well be right.

  77. 77
    Steeplejack says:

    @Shana:

    I could almost strangle her for “sammies” instead of sandwiches.

    Yeah, this. I also get a twinge from “sammich.”
    :: side-eye to various commenters here ::

  78. 78
    Steeplejack says:

    @efgoldman:

    Possibly snark. Jury still out.

  79. 79
    debbie says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    I do too. Thanks for those links!

  80. 80
    Steeplejack says:

    @LongHairedWeirdo:

    The clear indication of skeeviness is that Mnuchin took Mitch McConnell and “other senators” along with him. Really? All of them were needed to perform the ritual fondling of the gold ingots?

    Also, when this story first broke, one article pointed out that even cabinet secretaries are expected to use commercial flights unless there are extenuating circumstances. (No link—lazy Sunday for me.)

    It was a junket. End of story.

  81. 81
    HeleninEire says:

    @schrodingers_cat: @West of the Rockies (been a while): I’m kinda in love with the word “twee.”

  82. 82
  83. 83
    lgerard says:

    @Steeplejack:

    Mitch McConnell would argue that he was meeting with one of his constituents….the pile of gold

  84. 84
    Brachiator says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Bullshit. Putin would sell Donny boy out in a NY second the second Donny boy ceases to be of use to him.

    Yeah, I see your point. I think that Putin enjoys playing with Trump and possibly sees him as a convenient conduit for oligarch cash. But yeah, the relationship could sour.

    ..

  85. 85
    sharl says:

    @efgoldman: Cheryl Rofer and a number of her fellow experts on nukes and DPRK have been tweeting all morning. There is still some number crunching and verification going on, but the consensus is that this is real and serious, and (not surprisingly) illegal and dangerous. There is also consensus that Twitler’s usual ranting – including dumping on South Korea and threatening to cease trade with anyone doing business with DPRK – ain’t helping one bit. (And on that trade threat, this would include China, one of our biggest trading partners for better and worse; I’m sure various U.S. business groups and government trade officials were DELIGHTED to see that tweet!)

    On that number your wife cited, I’m sure Mike J. at #60 is correct – it is 360 kilotons, not megatons. First reports last night were saying something on the order of one megaton, but as more data rolled in and the experts adjusted their calculations accordingly, the reduced number was arrived at.

    Cheryl had returned to DPRK tweeting the last I looked, but she may have needed to walk away from it for a bit (or maybe was just hungry)

    I'm going to make some green chile stew now.— Cheryl Rofer (@CherylRofer) September 3, 2017

  86. 86
    Another Scott says:

    @Steeplejack: Supposedly McConnell was already in KY at the time.

    The deleting and covering-up and story-changing is making me dizzy.

    Yeah, it was a junket.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  87. 87
    opiejeanne says:

    @Brachiator: Aha. Ok, thank you. The photo was tiny, my eyes are not great right now (cataracts not quite ready to be removed) and I didn’t know about the other panels. That makes me feel a bit better that all of the main characters were women.

    (However, classical garb for women seems to have at least one breast exposed)

  88. 88
    Steeplejack says:

    @jeffreyw:

    Yeah, buddy, you’re one of the prime offenders! Only your great recipes and general farmstead/​pet pics save your ass.

  89. 89
    Brachiator says:

    OT. Another notable death. From the Guardian

    John Ashbery, regarded as one of the world’s greatest poets, has died at age 90, his husband confirmed on Sunday.

    David Kermani said the poet died early Sunday at home in Hudson, New York, of natural causes.

    His 1975 collection Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror was the winner of the American book world’s unofficial triple crown: the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle prize.

    Loved his work.

    A breeze like the turning of a page
    Brings back your face…

  90. 90
    StringOnAStick says:

    Not only are those shoes seriously ugly and insanely expensive, they’ll trash every joint you’ve got from the big toe on up. Too much of high fashion stuff looks to me like it is best suited for women working the oldest profession, and I would never consider wearing such crap. That designers can get rich idiots to buy this tacky stuff seems like undercover, lucrative trolling to me.

  91. 91
    zhena gogolia says:

    @jeffreyw:

    Bea looks good on the September BJ calendar page.

  92. 92
    Steeplejack says:

    @lgerard:

    Point taken.

  93. 93
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    After thinking about it, it’s pretty clear that Buck is a serial killer. I’ve heard of other cases of serial killers who were poisoners, and this guy fits right into the mold. One famous 19th century one would give prostitutes a “health tonic” with strychnine.

    Comparing him to the Tuskeegee experiment is a little insulting to those victims of a corrupt medical system, IMO. He’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy who chose a different murder method.

  94. 94
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    He means “former” prime minister
    Glenn Kessler‏Verified account @ GlennKesslerWP 8h8 hours ago
    When the foreign prime minister of Sweden feels free to mock the US president–>

    Carl BildtVerified account @ carlbildt
    I guess Donald Trump is now preparing to launch a tweet. It will lift off in smoke and fire, and then with a roar disappear into nowhere.

    they’re laughing at you, Don, even the Swedes

  95. 95
    Steeplejack says:

    @Another Scott:

    From that story:

    On Thursday, Jordan Libowitz, the director of the watchdog group [Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington], told Vanity Fair that “a number of things don’t quite add up.” For one thing, the assertion that Mnuchin was eager to tour the mint raises questions. “First, why was [Mnuchin] going to inspect the gold in the first place? He’s the first treasury secretary to visit [the gold vault] in nearly 70 years. No one has gone since 1948.”

    Fuckers.

  96. 96
    feebog says:

    @lgerard:

    Mitch McConnell would argue that he was meeting with one of his constituents….the pile of gold

    Gold ingots are people too, my friend.

  97. 97
    gene108 says:

    In the good old days, back in the 1980’s and 1990’s, public pressure would cause a resignation over something like this.

    Now the crooks in charge can no longer be shamed into doing anything.

  98. 98
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Ruckus:

    One pair had fish swimming in them. They looked better.

    That also sounds like it qualify for animal abuse.

  99. 99
    James Powell says:

    @gene108:

    If this involved a Democrat, there would be resignations & incriminations and if it involved a Clinton, at least three congressional investigations.

  100. 100
    RaflW says:

    That insane drive home we made from Columbia, MO feels a bit different knowing that this rich-ass jerk scammed a free Air Force ride.
    It was worth it for us, no doubt. Very amazing experience.
    But I deeply resent a man who can easily charter his own jet blowing taxpayer money
    Swamp? Definitely not drained.

  101. 101
    Shana says:

    @HeleninEire: Then you should check out Belle and Sebastian.

  102. 102
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    MSNBC reporter just said “even Lindsey Graham” is saying we may need to take military action against NORK. “Even” Lindsey Graham has never met a war he didn’t like, and has been jonesing to declare war on NORK for years. And Iran. And Syria. And to occupy Libya. And re-occupy Iraq, and….

    ETA: @Shana: had I a beverage, I would’ve probably spit-took on that

  103. 103
    RaflW says:

    @LongHairedWeirdo: Perqs like that in private business? Yeah, ok, part of the package in the C-suites. On taxpayer dime? No.
    And that he didn’t know or bother to ask, or have a staffer with the knowledge to warn him? Bullshitty.

  104. 104
    Brachiator says:

    @Steeplejack:

    “First, why was [Mnuchin] going to inspect the gold in the first place? He’s the first treasury secretary to visit [the gold vault] in nearly 70 years. No one has gone since 1948.”

    Mnuchin was the first Bond villain to visit Fort Knox since Goldfinger.

    ..

  105. 105
    LS says:

    It’s status, pure and simple. I’ve worked with lots of guys like him. The money isn’t enough. They like to be able to boast about the perks, be it a corporate jet, even if they can afford first class, or in this case a government jet. It’s very petty.

  106. 106
    jeffreyw says:

    @zhena gogolia: Yes she does, thanks for the mention! I hadn’t even turned the page yet. My calendar is on my phone these days.

  107. 107
    JDM says:

    @Brachiator:

    “First, why was [Mnuchin] going to inspect the gold in the first place? He’s the first treasury secretary to visit [the gold vault] in nearly 70 years. No one has gone since 1948.”

    Mnuchin was the first Bond villain to visit Fort Knox since Goldfinger.

    Yeah, if it’d turned out all that gold was gone you’d be thanking him for finding out!

  108. 108
    efgoldman says:

    @Brachiator:

    The Republicans can never let Trump get what he truly deserves, because it would reflect back on them their vile, cynical stupidity in backing him in the first place.

    People thought similar things, albeit having nothing to do with the Russians, about Watergate. And most Republiklown politicians liked, or at least respected, him.

  109. 109
    Mary G says:

    I’ve read a few right-wingers and the “both sides” sort of pundits say the fact that McMunchkin’s trip was originally scheduled for a different date means that no eclipse-viewing motive exists. Uh, ever hear of two birds with one stone?

    I also read some fashion blogs, not for personal wearing purposes, as I am into 100% cotton muu-muus that I buy online when they are 50% off, but mostly snarky ones like Tom & Lorenzo, Fabulous & Opinionated, who refuse to cover Melania, though they covered “Shelley O” quite a bit.

    Their pet peeve is the Nudist Sandal, which is still ubiquitous on the red carpet and looks hideous on pretty much everybody. Cheaper than Louis Linton’s outdated rockstuds, though. I think fashion bloggers are wearing them because Valentino’s giving them out to wring the last few sales out of the market until he comes up with another idea. It’s amazing how badly some of the shoes women wear fit; half the time their toes are squished or there’s a good half inch between their heel and the back of the shoe.

    Linton’s Instagram wouldn’t have been a big deal except for the snotty reply to the woman who called her #deplorable and talking about all the taxes she & her husband pay and how much they are sacrificing by doing this job, yadda yadda yadda.

  110. 110

    @Steeplejack: There’s a CT in RWNJ land that there’s no gold in Ft. Knox, so as Secretary of Treasury he had to debunk the CT.

  111. 111
    Wolvesvalley says:

    @Another Scott: I believe that the thing the girl is holding in her right hand is a distaff, and I THINK the thing in her left hand is a spindle (although it’s kind of an odd-looking one). Both are empty — no unspun wool on the distaff, no thread on the spindle. I’d hazard the interpretation that her work has been taken from her and she’s seeking redress (which she’s obviously not getting).

  112. 112

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Putin’s agents have made some of the worst leaks that make it clear Trump works for him. Pooty-poot clearly wants the scandal to keep going. That does match what Adam has told us about his primary goal being delegitimizing democracy.

  113. 113
    Shana says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: In a good way or a bad way?

  114. 114
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mary G:

    I read T&L sometimes and I suspect they don’t cover Melania because they like to both praise and criticize (sometimes the same outfit) and EVERYTHING that woman wears is tacky. They would feel like they were shooting fish in a barrel.

  115. 115
    Another Scott says:

    @Wolvesvalley: Thank you. Makes sense.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  116. 116
    Ruckus says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:
    The fish weren’t sealed in them, they could be taken out and the shoes cleaned, fresh water and all that. And yes you are right, even given all that. I believe he made one pair of the fish shoes. Most of them were less glamorous than that. It was the late 60s early 70s after all and there may have been substances with no nutritional value ingested by a percentage of the population at the time.

  117. 117

    @Mary G: That sandal looks uncomfortable. I am not much into red carpet and celebrity fashion, but I have checked out Tom and Lorenzo after Oscars etc.

  118. 118
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Shana: it made me laugh, and I don’t even know B&S that well

  119. 119
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Ruckus:
    I was thinking of the shocks the fish would feel during walking. But yeah, I’m sure it was a weird time for fashion

  120. 120
    Mary G says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’m pretty certain it’s personal and political. I can’t find it in a superficial search, it may have been on their podcast, but they said they wouldn’t give her any coverage sometime after the election. They didn’t say why, but, well, they went to DC from Philly to participate in the Women’s March, and have made offhand remarks since that indicate their approval rating of Twitler is maybe negative 27%. On a good day. They are even clearer on Twitter.

  121. 121
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Ruckus: I could’ve sworn those shoes were from the I Love the Nightlife (I love to boogie (on the disco ra-hoooounrd!)) proto-video, but I just scrolled through a youtube and they didn’t show her shoes. Maybe a different song/video?

  122. 122
    Ruckus says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    His shop was in Hollywood and I know some of his art made it into music videos. I have no idea which ones anymore. I also knew someone who had a major product placement in a Tom Petty video. He’s passed on now but it was fun back then.

  123. 123
    joel hanes says:

    @Steeplejack:

    I also get a twinge from “sammich.”

    I believe that Albert the Alligator used that locution in Walt Kelley’s “Pogo”.
    In that context it seems appropriate.

  124. 124
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Tom Levenson:
    I’ve always beieved that haute couture is a scam that preys on rich and wannabe-rich women.

  125. 125
    Jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

    @RaflW:

    Then I won’t tell you I watched it sitting in a lawn chair on my patio.
    There has to be some cosmic consolation for being represented by
    McConnell and Paul.

  126. 126
    J R in WV says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Wow, those ARE ugly.

    And I wouldn’t buy used shoes unless I was barefoot in January… Yetch!

    We spent the nights before and after the eclipse at a very nice hotel with a great restaurant, where we had lobster the first night and tune poke (me) and I forget what Mrs J had the second night, but it was good. Oysters too. Opened champagne after totality, shared with a trio from Baltimore/Kansas City where it was cloudy, they drove from 4 am into western KY.

    We were in a rural roadside wide spot, with shade, which counted because it was beastly hot! Probably hotter at Fort Knox, which we were west of a little ways.

    I would have let Steve have a sip of our champers! HAWHAWHAW no I wouldn’t have!!! Be dry you rich piece of crap! We stayed hydrated with fizzy water on ice, I got great pics which should be part of the Great Eclipse B-J On the Road festival whenever Alain gets around to it.

    Wouldn’t have touched that ride with Steve and his crew, bunch of greedy zombies!

  127. 127
    Steeplejack says:

    @joel hanes:

    Only in that context. Not from Rachael Ray and not here!

  128. 128
    TenguPhule says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    These assholes are starting to make old-fashioned robber barons like Andrew Carnegie look good.

    What do you mean starting?

    The Robber Barons were Assholes.

    But they were American assholes who actually donated serious money back to their country.

    This generation’s grifters aren’t fit to lick their undead boots clean.

  129. 129
    TenguPhule says:

    @jeffreyw:

    It’s authentic. Joel Osteen’s church asked flood victims for donations at a service Weds. night. See the folks near end passing out plates?

    That man has a long overdue date with the tumbrel.

  130. 130
    TenguPhule says:

    @Epicurus:

    The only remaining question is whether or not Trump and Mnuchin have managed to gut the IG’s office as they have the rest of the government.

    OId news. They neutered it. The guy in charge quit in protest and wrote an angry letter calling them out.

    Our media in their infinite wisdom, pretty much ignored it in favor of the shiny new toy.

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