Disclose & Divest

U.S. journalists sometimes use the phrase “Russian oligarchs” to describe obscenely rich Russians affiliated with Vladimir Putin, who doles out wealth to consolidate power. It’s meant to convey the corrupt, anti-democratic nature of Putin’s regime.

We’ve got our own oligarch problem. While Trump has thus far proved too soft and stupid to replicate a Putinesque regime on American soil, it hasn’t been for lack of trying or scarcity of resources. In addition to the Republican Party, Trump has American oligarchs in his corner, including Robert and Rebekah Mercer.

The Mercers, along with Steve Bannon, are investors in Cambridge Analytica, the shady data company that played a role in Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mr. Mueller’s team and the congressional committees are investigating.

The jury is still (technically) out on whether the Mercers colluded with a hostile foreign power to swing the election. But earlier this month, BuzzFeed exposed the Mercers as direct funders of Nazi and white supremacist outreach on behalf of Trump and the Republican Party, via Bannon and his repulsive henchman Milo at the Breitbart hate site.

These Nazi-linked American oligarchs are continuing to amass wealth and influence, largely under the radar — and some of our most well-known institutions are helping them do it via a hedge fund called Renaissance Technologies. Jedd Legum and Danielle McLean at ThinkProgress published a terrific piece yesterday about “RenTech” and how foundations, public sector pensions, scientific institutions, etc., are funding white supremacy, whether they know it or not. An excerpt:

Neither Mercer’s involvement in Breitbart, nor his support for Yiannopoulos, nor charges of discrimination, have appeared to negatively impact his business. Renaissance Technologies now manages $45 billion in assets, up from $27 billion at the start 2016, according to Forbes. Outside investors pay a hefty fee for the privilege of accessing a Renaissance fund and a good deal of that money ultimately ends up in Mercer’s pocket.

The identity of Renaissance’s investors has largely remained secret. The company is not obligated to disclose their clients, who are generally required to invest at least $25 million. ThinkProgress, however, has been able to identify numerous investors in Renaissance by identifying institutions that, either voluntarily or by law, disclose how they invest their money. This includes reports from public pension plans, non-profit filings, and university endowment reports.

Here are the 10 RenTech investors ThinkProgress revealed in the piece:

The Public Schools Employee Retirement System of Missouri
Columbia University
Michigan State University
The Employee Retirement System of the City of Providence
Los Angeles Water & Power Employees Retirement Plan
National Academy of Sciences
Baltimore Fire and Police Employees’ Retirement System
The William Penn Foundation
American Physical Society
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

When I was a college student back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, anti-apartheid activists took on universities, pressuring them to divest from US-based multinational companies with South African holdings. Shouldn’t companies run by American oligarchs with Nazi ties get the same treatment?

It’s likely the institutions ThinkProgress revealed as RenTech investors had no idea they’re helping to inject Nazism and other flavors of white nationalism directly into the bloodstream of one of our two major political parties, thus undermining American democracy itself. Well, now they know, and it’s time for them to choose a side.

128 replies
  1. 1
    MattF says:

    One should, specifically, look into which financial institutions are marketing this hedge fund to institutional investors. I’d guess Goldman Sachs, but maybe that’s just me being suspicious.

  2. 2
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The Koch brothers and the Mercers are direct threats to the United States of America.

    They should be dealt with appropriately, as should all their minions.

  3. 3
    Corner Stone says:

    I am enjoying the fact that Stephanie Ruhle continues to repeat that a Bank of America analyst downgraded the rating on stock of Chipotle – because they pay their workers too much money.

  4. 4
    Betty Cracker says:

    Well, looky here…

    I figured someone had that video. Good old Sun-Sentinel.

  5. 5
    Corner Stone says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Confiscation is becoming the only clear answer to counter this kind of threat.

  6. 6
    Kryptik says:

    When I was a college student back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, anti-apartheid activists took on universities, pressuring them to divest from US-based multinational companies with South African holdings. Shouldn’t companies run by American oligarchs with Nazi ties get the same treatment?

    Why else do you think Sessions et. al are treating college activists like the greatest threat to free speech ever?

  7. 7
    geg6 says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Ha! Been waiting for this video to surface. What a piece of shit Kelly is.

  8. 8
    Corner Stone says:

    @Betty Cracker: First of all, it’s her freakin job to take care of her constituents. So even if she had twisted some arms and made some back scratching deals to secure funding I saw – good job Congresswoman. As long as the funding isn’t going to your uncle’s construction company on a no-bid contract with 3X cost overruns, that’s what representatives should be doing.
    The fact that Kelly made baseless accusations against her is completely unsurprising. Calling her a noisy “empty barrel” was a nice touch, I thought.

  9. 9
    Corner Stone says:

    I am unable to get any audio on the video clip. Tried 3 browsers.

  10. 10
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Kryptik: Yep. Rep Ted Yoho of Florida couldn’t even condemn the Nazis who visited Gainesville yesterday without a “both sides” bleat referencing antifa.

  11. 11
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Corner Stone: Worked for me on Chrome. Took a while to load, though.

  12. 12
    BBA says:

    RenTech’s founder, Jim Simons, is a major Democratic donor. Mercer only took over from him in 2009.

  13. 13
    JPL says:

    Gen. Kelly knows what’s important, and that’s a lie lives forever on Fox news.

  14. 14
    martian says:

    Inflammatory off topic: I don’t do the twitter thing. Someone in comments at TPM said Kelly tweeted about Clinton asking permission to sell uranium to Russia, and twitted something like “should have asked those interns for permission before raping them.” From someone who can see his tweets – is this utter bullshit? It was not immediately called out as such at TPM.

    I’d be floored if it were true, but, well, Trumpers gonna Trump. So, I’m asking.

  15. 15
    Corner Stone says:

    @Betty Cracker: Weird. The SunSentinel little wooshing sound effect plays but then all I see is her lips moving and she’s obviously announcing VIP attendees. But no further audio.
    Oh well. Just another black woman taking credit for scamming the govt out of some free money and handouts for her lazy peeps, one assumes.

  16. 16
    Kay says:

    @geg6:

    They voluntarily ruin their own credibility. It’s amazing to watch. He could have given that speech without mentioning her at all and it would have been better. I understand getting caught in a lie but this is different- it’s running out to tell a lie knowing they’ll get caught.

  17. 17
    gene108 says:

    I keep reading about far right groups taking control in Europe, such as the recent elections in Austria, but I do wonder, if these groups are actually more right-wing than our very own Republican Party, in terms of what they are proposing.

    Also, too why we need to oppose proposed tax cuts like we did repeals to the ACA. The tax cuts will lock in the power of people like the Mercers for decades to come.

  18. 18
    Corner Stone says:

    @martian: It is a parody account, not verified.

  19. 19
    germy says:

    @martian: You don’t have to be a member of twitter to see his tweets.

    Bill Clinton asked permission to sell Uranium to Russia. Too bad he didn't ask 4 permission from his interns b4 he proceeded to rape them.— General John F Kelly (@GenJohnFKelly) October 20, 2017

    This HAS to be a spoof account. No way is the real general tweeting these things. He may THINK them, but I doubt he’d put them online.

  20. 20
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I got audio but it’s very faint. Noise-isolating headphones might help.

  21. 21
    Kay says:

    It’s like you can’t even track it anymore. You have to trace it back to the original lie but first you shovel off all the bullshit they piled on it.

    This all came about because someone asked Donald Trump why he hadn’t mentioned the 4 soldiers deaths. He then turned that into a lie about calling soldiers families- which no one asked and he could have not even reached since that wasn’t the question- and they were just down the rabbit hole.

  22. 22
    gene108 says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Confiscation is becoming the only clear answer to counter this kind of threat

    Yup.

    Or at the very least our oligarchs should know fear that their are angry masses, who want to take them down by any means necessary.

    They are too comfortable.

  23. 23
    martian says:

    @Corner Stone: THANK YOU!

    Not a very funny parody. More like deliberately sowing confusion. Trumpers are such that I felt it was necessary to double check, though.

  24. 24
    Corner Stone says:

    @Kay: But now some reporters are racing to heroically debunk the obvious lie. While all this time it doesn’t matter. It has been said and is now true.

  25. 25

    Good post. While we haven’t yet gone full Russia (and won’t—their flavor of theirs is distinctly Russian in nature), Trump, or more accurately his enablers, are doing their damnedest to set up an American simulacrum. This is a greater danger now than it was post 9/11 and than it would have been with presidents McCain and Palin. Part of this is John Roberts’ fault and part of it is the natural rot in the Republican Party, and part of it is literally Russia’s doing, though the vast bulk of the blame is with the people who keep voting for republicans and people who can but don’t vote for democrats.

  26. 26
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Betty Cracker: Kelly needs to apologize to Rep Wilson and then resign his position. He’s just another liar for Trump.

  27. 27
    PIGL says:

    @Corner Stone: Yup. Much as they deserve to be slowly strangled in the own entrails over an even slower fire, confiscation of their assets would suffice. And is, as you say, a matter of urgent interest. And is about as likely as the more gothic forms of judgement that I favour.

    I am simply astonished that the institutes of state surveillance can not catch these people in the act of illegal conspiracies of subversion. If I were president, I’d be using the infinite powers of the Patriot Act to have these people swinging by their thumbs in a black prison.

    But this raises an interesting question. How much armed force would be required to serve and execute a warrant for the arrest of the Koch’s or Mercers?

  28. 28
    Brachiator says:

    @Kay:

    They voluntarily ruin their own credibility. It’s amazing to watch. He could have given that speech without mentioning her at all and it would have been better. I understand getting caught in a lie but this is different- it’s running out to tell a lie knowing they’ll get caught.

    They don’t care and they know that they don’t need to care. Their supporters pre-believe them. They are just waiting for confirmation of their biases.

    @gene108:

    Or at the very least our oligarchs should know fear that their are angry masses, who want to take them down by any means necessary.

    Currently, the angriest of the masses are on the side of, and in the pockets of, the oligarchs. Not too far removed from the situation in Russia, where a good chunk of the people love Putin. But love or fear is acceptable, as long as the people go along with the program.

  29. 29

    @martian: good parody is hard to come by, most of the supposed parodies you find online are shitty. Kind of like that one.

    Although it would be funny if there were Russian trolls pumping out shitty parody that wasn’t self-evidently parodic and served only to fan the flames.

  30. 30
    martian says:

    @germy: Thank you. I tried to quickly look around but got nowhere but into a Megyn Kelly thicket.

    Yeah. At this point, I’m assuming that not much is beyond Kelly’s *thoughts*, because he’s a retrograde, Fox-zombie Trumper. But saying it out loud? Very shocking. I give him credit for better civility camoflauge than that.

  31. 31
    El Caganer says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I’m less worried about Russians buggering our political system than I am about Americans buggering it. All those state legislatures and the Kris Kobach Klown Kar are doing a bang-up job of destroying representative government here via gerrymandering and voter suppression.

  32. 32
    JPL says:

    @Patricia Kayden: He’ll do that when pigs fly. His short tenure at Homeland Security showed what type of person he is.

  33. 33
    Bill Arnold says:

    One important thing to know about Robert Mercer is that he is a very intelligent man. E.g.
    Robert L. Mercer receives the 2014 ACL Lifetime Achievement Award (Association for Computational Linguistics).
    Including early statistical machine translation work, before computers were fast enough to do it in real time.

  34. 34
    germy says:

    @Kay:

    Laura Sessions‏ @laurasessions10 19h19 hours ago

    THREAD What happened in Niger.

    While everyone is so busy talking about the president’s handling of his call to the widow of the soldier killed in Niger….

    you ‘re all missing the important part of that story…the part about what happened that night in Niger.

    The story that is emerging is so much worse than anything that happened in Benghazi

    but the same GOP Congress that investigated Benghazi with a fury seems to have little or no interest in this story.

    Here’s what we know so far…
    .These soldiers went to a meeting in an area near the border with Mali a well known hot spot for ISIS

    Our soldiers were not backed up by US Military air support- backed up by the French, who were not authorized to intervene or even fire

    Our soldiers did not have armored vehicles. They traveled in pickup trucks.
    .
    Our soldiers were given faulty intel… that said

    “it was unlikely that they would meet any hostile forces.” Of course, they walked into an ISIS ambush-chaotic and they took three lives

    It took the French 30 minutes to arrive. When they did they were not authorized to help.

    So, a dozen of our Green Berets fought a battle with more than 50 Isis fighters, without help, for 30 minutes.

    Finally, a rescue helicopter arrived, but it was not a US military helicopter.

    No, we apparently outsourced that job to “private contractors.”

    So, these contractors landed and loaded the remaining troops, the injured and the dead.
    .
    Here’s where this gets really bad…

    Because they were not military, they never did a head count. That is how Sgt. La David Johnson was left behind.

    That’s right…they left him behind.

    According to the Pentagon, his locator beacon was activated on battlefield, which indicates that he was alive when they left him there

    They recovered his body 48 hours later but are refusing to say where.

    According to his widow, she could not have an open casket. This means that he was mutilated after being left behind on the battlefield.

    This is what led to the nonsense we’re obsessing over. This is the real story.

    The Trump Pentagon gave these men bad intel, no support, outsourced rescue people and then,,,

    tried for more than a week to pretend it never happened. In that time, Trump spoke on many occasions and never mentioned it.

    He tweeted attacks on many but never mentioned this
    Only after pressure from the media did he acknowledge these men and their service..

  35. 35
    Woodrowfan says:

    @germy: next up, the RW blames the French!

  36. 36
    martian says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I had actually immediately suspected that the comment at TPM was Russian trolling. That’s not paranoid anymore, is it? The tweet I take for an intentional poe. So, again, maybe Russian trolling, but people are assholes, so, who knows.

    Is anything else on that account actually funny?

  37. 37
    germy says:

    Link:

    THREAD 1. What happened in Niger.— Laura Sessions (@laurasessions10) October 19, 2017

  38. 38
    tobie says:

    @germy: My twitter skills are non-existent but even I can tell this is a fake account. Kelly’s supposed bio on the account says this about him:

    I Enjoy Parody Roast Covfefe with 2 Shots of Liberal Tears

  39. 39
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Betty Cracker: Yoho is appropriately named…for mocking.

  40. 40
    PJ says:

    @Corner Stone: @Kay:

    His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.

    – OSS psychoanalyst Walter Langer, who was tasked with analyzing Hitler during the war. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_lie

  41. 41

    @martian:

    Is anything else on that account actually funny?

    Based only on that one tweet, I can extrapolate to a likely “no”.

    @tobie: See? Not funny.

    @El Caganer: Yep, our voters have agency, they did this above all.

  42. 42
    martian says:

    @tobie: How did you find the account? Nonexistent skills would be a step up for me, apparently.

    Does the real Kelly even have an account?

  43. 43
    Corner Stone says:

    @PIGL:

    But this raises an interesting question. How much armed force would be required to serve and execute a warrant for the arrest of the Koch’s or Mercers?

    If Trump loves and admires Putin so much, here’s his chance to emulate him and slap an oligarch or two around. That’ll show ’em who’s boss.

  44. 44
    PIGL says:

    @Corner Stone: @Corner Stone: I like the way you think. Do you have a newsletter or something?

  45. 45
    MomSense says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Gen. Kelly slandered Rep. Wilson. I didn’t like him for his horrible tenure (short as it was) at Homeland but he straight up lied at the podium and slandered a member of Congress. WTF. This would be a firing offense for any administration except maybe this one.

  46. 46
    lollipopguild says:

    I used to think that “Hunger Games’ was a young adult fantasy, now it looks more like Pre-History.

  47. 47
    cmorenc says:

    To ask a crass, nevertheless important question: how good has the rate of return on investment in Renaissance been, relative to alternative, less jaded, available investment opportunities for the institutions listed in Danielle McLean’s Think Progress peice? True, it’s infuriating to find out that purportedly respectable institutions, many of which are doing at least somewhat public good by progressive measures, are using such tainted investment vehicles – but nevertheless, it’s near-certain that many of these institutions chose Renaissance purely based on their purported investment return record, without looking into who the Renaissance principals were politically connected to or supporting. Its a good bet that money rather than politics did the talking and connecting here.

    By observing this, I am *not* thereby saying these institutions shouldn’t strongly consider dumping Renaissance now that they are being made aware of the dark side of whom they were dealing with for financial reasons. But I am saying that money alone more probably did the talking in persuading them to go with Renaissance.

    The Public Schools Employee Retirement System of Missouri
    Columbia University
    Michigan State University
    The Employee Retirement System of the City of Providence
    Los Angeles Water & Power Employees Retirement Plan
    National Academy of Sciences
    Baltimore Fire and Police Employees’ Retirement System
    The William Penn Foundation
    American Physical Society
    Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

  48. 48
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Corner Stone: Raise the inheritance tax to 90% on marginal estate worth over $10 million.

  49. 49
    Corner Stone says:

    @PIGL: I am still curating my source intel. But be assured I am actioning that task as priority and efforting a solution shortly.

  50. 50
    tobie says:

    @martian: If you click on the date of the tweet, it brings you to the original twitter thread. You can close that thread and look at the account as a whole. The poster’s bio is on the left side of the screen. That’s where I found the reference to “covfefe.”

    I will now go and call my senators to ask whether Congress can censure Kelly for slandering a Congresswoman.

  51. 51
    Ruckus says:

    @germy:
    Not in any way supporting drumpf here, he is the scum that scum scrapes off it’s shoes, but how much of this type of operations has been going on for a while now? And how much operational control did any president have? Yes he’s the commander in chief but other than maybe authorizing the military being there, how many levels down does he really have control? First of all, would you want to have this president in strict charge of what happens on the ground? Second, do understand that our military is not the size it used to be. They have to use contractors or restart the draft to do the level of ops that are being done around the world. One of our commenters here, her son has done 5 tours in the Middle East. In our day few did more than 3 tours in Vietnam and we had a 600 ship navy, not 300. Yes some of those 600 were way past their prime and should have been scrapped but a 500 ship navy or enough Marines and Army solders would mean that contractors wouldn’t be necessary. The other way would be to not be everywhere, not be doing ops in places with no support. You want to be an unstoppable force, you actually have to do that, not just talk about it. Imagine our budget if we actually acknowledged that we are at war in most of the world. Or the political fallout around that world, let alone at home. Also how much of this fallout is the direct result of GWB’s 2 wars? We have a drug war going around the world and yet it seems our own big pharma is at least as much at fault. And we aren’t invading their headquarters and leveling their executive suites.

  52. 52
    Elizabelle says:

    @MomSense: I think General Kelly is a short-timer. He gave away his credibility.

    FWIW, he might have believed that Rep. Wilson said what he asserted — falsely — that she said. A lot of fake news floating around in the rightwing bubble, which Kelly apparently resides in too.

    But: there was absolutely no reason to even slag on Rep. Wilson. None. He brought all this on himself.

    Also: bad, bad, bad staff work. Trump is an unqualified president who does not do off the cuff well. He should have been prepared with notes — including Sgt. La David Johnson’s full name and family names — and been coached to never go off script.

    Bad bad bad hire of an illegitimate, Russian-complicit President. I have about had it.

  53. 53
    germy says:

    The woman behind ‘Me Too’ knew the power of the phrase when she created it — 10 years ago

    Tarana Burke was watching as #MeToo became an Internet phenomenon Sunday. Soon, she started to panic. By the time celebrities were tweeting #MeToo, encouraging every woman who had survived sexual harassment or assault to do the same, Burke knew she had to do something. She didn’t know where to start.

    “If this grows big,” she recalled thinking at the time, “this is going to completely overshadow my work.”

    #MeToo, the viral awareness campaign that inspired millions of posts on Facebook and Twitter, did not begin with Alyssa Milano. It didn’t even begin as a response to the dozens of women who have spoken out about the alleged sexual misconduct of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. It did not begin in 2017.

    More than a decade ago, Burke was the one who identified the power of the phrase “Me too” as one that could help women. She founded the “Me Too” movement in 2006 because she, as someone who experienced sexual assault, wanted to do something to help women and girls — particularly women and girls of color — who had also survived sexual violence. She’s in the middle of working on a documentary, called “Me Too,” that comes out next year.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2017/10/19/the-woman-behind-me-too-knew-the-power-of-the-phrase-when-she-created-it-10-years-ago/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_metoo-1210pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.bc378203a004

  54. 54
    Corner Stone says:

    @A Ghost To Most: I think as far as wealth goes, we were tossing around the ridiculous number of $1B. Anything over $1B gets got and is applied to some investment in the commonweal.
    I would honestly like to see someone try and make the case why anyone needs more than $1B. Not the American Dream or Freedom argument, but tell me what you can do with $5B that you can’t with $1B.

  55. 55
    MomSense says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Didn’t he say he was there at the ceremony? Jesus I hope someone here knows because I really don’t want to have to watch that horror show again.

  56. 56
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Too high. It still leaves income inequality too big.

  57. 57
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Elizabelle: IIRC, Kelly says he was there when Rep. Wilson gave the offending remarks that we now know she didn’t say. He straight-up lied.

    WaPo has a recording made by a wife who spoke to Trump after her husband died. It’s actually not bad. Trump isn’t eloquent at all, but he doesn’t sound like an insensitive oaf. The family was pleased with the call.

    So, did he stick to the script? Just in a better mood? Who the hell knows. It’s exhausting, having to wonder about this buffoon all the time. I’ve about had it too!

  58. 58
    BBA says:

    @cmorenc: RenTech is the single most successful investment fund in existence.

    Another question is, does the money that Democrats and other worthy causes get from Simons become tainted, because he’s the one who hired Mercer?

  59. 59

    @Corner Stone: Lose 4 billion and still be a billionaire.

  60. 60
    tobie says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    He straight-up lied.

    Wherever Kelly goes in public, he should be met with a loud chorus screaming, “You lie.”

  61. 61
    germy says:

    @Ruckus: drumpf appoints ex-Exxon head. Ex-exxon head puts Chad on travel ban, because Chad had a complaint against Exxon. Chad pulls back anti-terrorism forces.

  62. 62
    MomSense says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I’ve about had it too!

    Enough is enough! I have about had it with these motherfucking liars in this motherfucking white house.

    Works for every situation – fools, nazis, traitors

  63. 63
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Police in Gainesville, Florida on Thursday arrested three white men in connection to a shooting that took place following a speech by avowed white supremacist Richard Spencer.

    Tyler Tenbrink, William Fears and Colton Fears—two of whom police say have known ties to extremist organizations—are being held in the Alachua County Jail on charges of attempted homicide after allegedly firing on another group of people during a violent encounter shortly after Spencer’s speech.

    According to police, the trio argued with and threatened a group of protestors demonstrating against Spencer, who was addressing a small crowd at the University of Florida Phillips Center for Performing Arts.

    The men reportedly began threatening to “f*cking kill” and “shoot” the protestors, before eventually offering the Nazi salute and shouting “Hail Hitler.” Police say Tenbrink, a convicted felon, fired the shot. One of the protestors managed to write down the license plate of the silver Jeep the three men were riding in.

    rawstory

  64. 64
    trollhattan says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Read that with great interest. Wall Street continually knocks Costco for the same reason: excessive employee compensation getting in the way of higher dividends. Thus, I shop Costco, maybe I need to acquire a Chipotle habit (come to think of it, my kid does so they’re getting my money already).

    Going public can be one of the worst things to happen to a corporation.

  65. 65
    Brachiator says:

    @Elizabelle:

    But: there was absolutely no reason to even slag on Rep. Wilson. None. He brought all this on himself.

    There was no reason for Kelly to speak at all. The whole point of the appearance was to defend Trump. Because Trump can never be wrong, he can only be wronged.

    Also: bad, bad, bad staff work. Trump is an unqualified president who does not do off the cuff well. He should have been prepared with notes — including Sgt. La David Johnson’s full name and family names — and been coached to never go off script.

    There ain’t no such thing as keeping Trump on script. He does what he wants, even when coached and cautioned. Trump always looks for an opportunity to break free and unleash whatever nonsense he has been thinking.

  66. 66
    Tazj says:

    @MomSense: Yes, and also insulted her as you know, calling her an empty barrel. He didn’t have to do that to defend the president. He could’ve said that the president meant well, didn’t mean to offend anyone and apologize. Well, Trump should have apologized but that’s another story. But, that’s not enough for these people. They have to destroy everyone else and if that means lying about them, so be it.

  67. 67
    Another Scott says:

    ObOpenThread? WaPo – Judge rules Donnie’s pardon of Arpaio doesn’t erase his conviction.

    The case raised the novel question of how far a presidential pardon actually reaches.

    In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton said the pardon only freed Arpaio from possible punishment. In a four-page order offering a check on the president’s executive power, Bolton wrote that a pardon could not erase the facts of the case.

    “The power to pardon is an executive prerogative of mercy, not of judicial recordkeeping,” Bolton wrote in the decision. “To vacate all rulings in this case would run afoul of this important distinction. The Court found Defendant guilty of criminal contempt.”

    The president issued the pardon, and Arpaio was spared “from any punishment that might otherwise have been imposed,” the judge wrote. “It did not, however, ‘revise the historical facts’ of this case.”

    Good, good.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  68. 68
    trollhattan says:

    @germy:

    She’s in the middle of working on a documentary, called “Me Too,” that comes out next year.

    Timing, she has it. Too bad it’s still so relevant a decade later but there it is. When will we start hearing from the Trump victims?

  69. 69
    germy says:

    What is even the point of satire anymore? pic.twitter.com/dfOrDycVQU— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) October 20, 2017

  70. 70
    Corner Stone says:

    @trollhattan: I find it interesting because it is a real time example of what companies will do if they get a tax cut or free tax repatriation, etc. What they have always done – larger bonuses for executives and large stock buybacks or increased divs. Or all three. That is just historically factual.
    But Chipotle being extorted in real time is an easy story to tell. Because that’s what this is – extortion. Get ready for “activist” investors to stage a revolt against the board and try and force them to change compensation policies.

  71. 71
    germy says:

    #Maddow connects the dots on how Trump adding Chad to his travel ban may have gotten soldiers killed in Nigerhttps://t.co/9oFFPW6lpc— Raw Story (@RawStory) October 20, 2017

  72. 72
    Brachiator says:

    @Another Scott:

    “The power to pardon is an executive prerogative of mercy, not of judicial recordkeeping,” Bolton wrote in the decision. “

    I like that. Trump tried to rewrite history. It is a thing with him. He was prevented from doing so with his pardon.

  73. 73
    catclub says:

    @trollhattan:

    Timing, she has it.

    well, good timing would mean her documentary just came out.

  74. 74
    catclub says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Get ready for “activist” investors to stage a revolt against the board

    The most insidious lie about corporations is that their only purpose is to boost shareholders profits.

  75. 75
    TriassicSands says:

    Kelly is a liar? Who would have believed it? What’s next, a president who lies? Shocking!

  76. 76
    catclub says:

    @germy:

    What is even the point of satire anymore?

    baby meat sandwiches.

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    WaPo has a recording made by a wife who spoke to Trump after her husband died. It’s actually not bad. Trump isn’t eloquent at all, but he doesn’t sound like an insensitive oaf. The family was pleased with the call.

    Okay, I’ll go there — was the family and/or the soldier white?

  78. 78
    Sloane Ranger says:

    @germy: Coming up on Breitbart and/or Infowars. Speculation that Sgt. Johnson was captured and gave away military secrets in a vain attempt to save his life. Ergo a traitor of Berghal like proportions not worthy of military honours and ignoring the whining of the widow and her enablers the patriotic thing to do.

  79. 79
    Baud says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    WaPo has a recording made by a wife who spoke to Trump after her husband died.

    I assume Kelly will chastise the wife for not treating the call as sacred.

  80. 80
    bemused says:

    @Kay:

    The egos in the WH write checks they can’t cash. Doesn’t deter them. They just keep writing more bad checks.

  81. 81
    Mnemosyne says:

    @germy:

    I’ve seen some people say that Maddow is stretching since the 4 Green Berets were killed on the opposite side of the country, more than 700 miles away from the border with Chad.

    However, that quibble doesn’t speak to the question of WTF happened on the ground and why one soldier may have been left behind while he was still alive. 😤

  82. 82
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ruckus:

    I know what you’re saying, but presidents have always been held responsible for military disasters because the president is the one who sets the policy. “The buck stops here,” and all that.

    If Hillary was considered to be personally responsible for the deaths of 4 people at Benghazi, I don’t see any reason why Trump should be allowed to wiggle out of his equal or greater responsibility for this. And that’s even before we get to the Republicans whose financial and foreign policy decisions of the past 16 years this clusterfuck.

  83. 83
    Duane says:

    @Kay: Trump and his administration don’t know when to SHUDDUP!

  84. 84
    bemused says:

    @Tazj:

    Kelly has quite an inflated head. The empty barrel insult completely wiped out his words that women are sacred. I don’t get the sacred women thing at all either. I don’t want to be treated as sacred, just as another human being with common courtesy and respect. If one of my grown sons ever talked about a woman in public as Kelly talked about Rep Wilson, I’d be horrified and the kid would have mom whooping his ass.

  85. 85

    @Mnemosyne: He is responsible. He wants to drape himself in the flag right? He is the C-in-C, after all.

  86. 86
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    If Hillary was considered to be personally responsible for the deaths of 4 people at Benghazi, I don’t see any reason why Trump should be allowed to wiggle out of his equal or greater responsibility for this. And that’s even before we get to the Republicans whose financial and foreign policy decisions of the past 16 years this clusterfuck.

    This trying to hold Hillary Clinton responsible was all bullshit. She was not the president.

    It was some seriously weird, typical white man bullshit that as far as Benghazi was concerned, Hillary was magically the de facto president, and Obama, what? Just present in the room?

    Typical Republican misdirection. But Trump is not responsible for anything, presumably because he is a white man who loves the military and loves his generals, and so he has some kind of cloak of presidential infallibility.

  87. 87
    zhena gogolia says:

    U.S. journalists didn’t invent the “oligarch” label. It was common parlance in Russia before I ever heard it here.

  88. 88
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Brachiator:

    Currently, the angriest of the masses are on the side of, and in the pockets of, the oligarchs.

    Not according to a lot of polls.

  89. 89
    Davebo says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Watching that video I was STUNNED! STUNNED IS SAY!

    I remember a time, in my childhood, where a woman would never post a link to that video!

  90. 90
    gvg says:

    @Corner Stone: Are you sure that is why? Chipolte has had some well publicized food poisoning incidents that are causing my relatives who like there food, not to eat there. I’d say it’s been over a year they haven’t gone in. now i didn’t care for the taste and never went back, so I haven’t paid attention, however just yesterday my father started to turn in there, then mentioned the food poisoning, and we went on to Moe’s.
    If I were an investor advisor, I would be downgrading that company for that reason. As I was told it was multiple stores, closing and corrections of policy, reopening and more food poisonings…

  91. 91
    Gretchen says:

    The maddening thing about this whole story is that, any decent person, upon learning that they said something that upset a grieving widow, would try to make it right with her. Something as simple as “I’m sorry my words upset you. That didn’t come out the way I meant it. I just wanted to convey my sorrow for your loss and the gratitude of the nation for your husband’s service, Mrs. Johnson.” (Using her name, which none of these bastards did). That’s all it would have taken. Instead, they ignore Mrs. Johnson and the parents, and attack a close family friend. All they want to do is either say he didn’t say it, or he said it or it was fine (which it wasn’t if it upset the widow, no matter how righteous they thought it was), and attack family friends. We knew Trump was clueless, but Kelly shouldn’t have been. And Lara Trump joined in this morning.

  92. 92
    PIGL says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I think by consulting with some accountants and demographers, one could come up with the progressive and estate tax program that prevented the accumulation of dynastic wealth, while allowing people to be otherwise as rich and ostentatious as they could legally accomplish. There’s no need to set arbitrary values (10,000,000, 1billion) to accomplish the policy objective, is my point: we can estimate them from data. The broader question of what people deserve or should have is another discussion, which as a socialist I would be happy to engage in.

  93. 93
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @martian: Assuming it’s true “So while it’s commendable General Kelly you detest sexual assault, even when it’s only rumored, how do you justify working for a man with so many charges of assault against him as President Trump has?”

  94. 94
  95. 95
    Ruckus says:

    @germy:
    I get the Chad thing. What I’m saying is that a country can not fight a “war” on all the fronts that we are without adequate support and training. We have closed a lot of the training bases we had 40-50 yrs ago. We don’t have the level of training support that we had then. A lot has to be outsourced to get anything done. And that depends on the capitalistic goodness of the people being paid, not the military structure. We had the same problems though in the 50-70s because we were trying to do too much with the resources we had. The military reached overload because of what they were being asked to do, with the resources available. Today we are asking a similar level of work out of half the people and resources. That’s a disaster in action. So whose fault is it? Congress? The president? Us? In some ways it’s all of us. As a nation, we expect too much from our military, congress wants to have a lot of expensive airplanes because it helps jobs and grift, presidents think we have to do a lot to fix the worlds problems because congress and a lot of the people tell him that. And the world does have a lot of issues. How many of them are own goals? How many can be fixed? How can they be fixed? Is military force best or would just buying them off be cheaper?

  96. 96
    Duane says:

    @Corner Stone: In other words, you’re trying to find the remote for the TV.

  97. 97
    Gretchen says:

    @bemused: `Lawrence O’Donnell had a barn burner about Kelly last night. Said Kelly and Wilson had something in common: growing up in segregated schools. O’Donnell grew up in the same Boston Irish neighborhoods that Kelly did. Ran footage of Boston Irish throwing stuff at schoolbuses of black kids integrating the schools. As for women being “sacred” back in Kelly’s day, O’Donnell remembers plenty of women being beaten by their drunk husbands on a regular basis and being told by their priests that they had no choice to stay and make the best of it. That’s the “sacred”, religious, respectful time Kelly wants to go back to.

  98. 98
    J R in WV says:

    @Ruckus:

    I suspect that what keeps them from resuming the draft isn’t fear of the death toll, but unwillingness to pay the salaries for all those young men and women, both in the military and in the civilian services. Staff is really expensive!

    The USN is spending billions trying to build ships that don’t need a crew of 375 sailors, called the Zumwalt, it won’t have enough sailors to patch a hole in the hull, put out a fire, and run the ship’s defenses at the same time. Which mission critical task to you drop first? Idiots in charge!

  99. 99
    Gretchen says:

    @Corner Stone: We’ve got to figure out a way to make companies consider something besides stock price as a measure of success. Henry Ford paid his workers enough that they could afford to buy the cars they made. Somehow we’ve lost the ability of companies to decide that treating workings well is as much of a value of success as stock price, which only benefits the already-comfortable.

  100. 100
    Ruckus says:

    @Brachiator:

    he has some kind of cloak of presidential infallibility

    I think he has a cloak of stupid fallibility. That means they backed him because they thought they could control him and finding out that they can’t, they have no idea what comes next. Conservatism can not fail, it can only be failed. It’s all bullshit but many of the powers that be in the conservative world have no understanding of that. So they double down, just like drumpf does. Many of them do share the underlying character flaws that drumpf has, they just don’t know it.
    I think it’s actually pretty easy to see who is a rabid conservative, when called on their bullshit they double down first and hope for the best. That it doesn’t actually solve anything isn’t an issue. It’s misdirection. That it has become so obvious is the problem for them. And how will they understand? Kelly is mad because no one believes him. He’s used to having that and now that he’s in the public eye and people can tell him to go fuck himself, they are. Of course he’s going to double down and make it worse. He wants what he wants, when he wants it. Sound familiar?

  101. 101
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @lollipopguild: I used to think that “Hunger Games’ was a young adult fantasy, now it looks more like Pre-History.

    You could almost see it happening like this

    “we just had to show the city people we rural folk were the real Americans, so we allied with the Russians, took advantage of the rural skew in the Constitution to sabotaged the government and we were going to starve them out of their cities. Then we found out there were a lot of more of them than us and they controlled all the money and power. Now they call us traitors, ridicule us as ignorant, make us starve and force our children to kill each other while we can only watch”

  102. 102
    Chris says:

    @PIGL:

    I am simply astonished that the institutes of state surveillance can not catch these people in the act of illegal conspiracies of subversion.

    I am still slightly stunned at the number of them who don’t give a shit. I can well imagine the FBI not caring about white supremacists on general principle, but not caring about Russian infiltration and one of the two main candidates being a Russian sympathizer, to the point of covering for him while bringing down his opponent, that’s still mind-boggling. I can’t say it’s all that out of character given the entire law enforcement community’s massive case of Liberal Derangement Syndrome, but the fact that it went this far is insane.

  103. 103
    Ruckus says:

    @J R in WV:

    Which mission critical task to you drop first? Idiots in charge!

    Why would you expect anything to go wrong? We have the best military and spend by far the most to get it. As money is the root of everything and more money buys better stuff that never goes wrong what do you even need to think about mission critical tasks that are for the survival of the project, you can just spend more money.
    We have a perfection problem in this country, we think we are. Our laws are perfect, our form of government is perfect, our bigotry is perfect, our misogyny is perfect, our religion is perfect, we just are. OK we would be if all the liberals would just stop fucking up and not allowing us to control them like perfect little robots. And that’s conservatism in one sentence.

  104. 104
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    So, did he stick to the script? Just in a better mood? Who the hell knows. It’s exhausting, having to wonder about this buffoon all the time. I’ve about had it too!

    I think it’s simply Trump put his foot in his mouth with “He knew what he was getting into” line, and instead of just apologizing and moving on, he has to double down and try to BS everyone he didn’t make a mistake.

  105. 105
    Ruckus says:

    @Chris:
    If you promise someone exactly what they want, when they want it, they will not think bad of you. Especially if you deliver. Conservatives wanted power, they were promised that and they got it. The fact that they will fuck up, because that’s what they do is irrelevant. And the entity promising them power knew they are fuck ups because that’s obviously what they do. The Russians didn’t have to invade, they just needed to do enough to let the conservatives win. I’m not sure if they understood that the conservatives would fuck up this badly and openly but in reality why would they care?

  106. 106
    J R in WV says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Speaking to a white military widow, or a black military widow? Southern accent, or mid-west? All that matters a lot to Trump and his fascist minions.

    ETA and clean up a little:
    I worked with lots of black sailors in 1970-73. I’ll bet there weren’t any black students at Trump’s “military school”!!

  107. 107
    El Caganer says:

    @Gretchen: The ‘maximizing shareholder value’ idea took over the business schools in the 70’s; prior to that businesses were supposed to be part of their communities, which include not just shareholders, but workers, customers, neighbors, etc. It’s actually not that old an idea: https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2013/06/26/the-origin-of-the-worlds-dumbest-idea-milton-friedman/#45ddc8a7870e

  108. 108
    Chris says:

    @Brachiator:

    To be fair, they tried to blame it on quite a few people at first, not just Hillary. Susan Rice was easily the most obscene smear of the bunch, given that she had no responsibility over the whole mess either as President or SecState, and that her big crime was reading the information that Petraeus’ CIA put in front of her. (Note that Petraeus, on the other hand, went through the whole thing smelling like a rose, despite the fact that as CIA director, he was just a little involved. He’s a general, doncha know. And not much opportunity for liberal-punching there).

    I remember plenty of wingnut rage at Obama at the time, but because they’re fucking morons, they settled on “he didn’t call it terrorism!” as their big complaint, which was going well until Mitt Romney tried to use it and ended up with egg all over his face. That was pretty much the end of that. And then he got reelected and interest shifted to how the whole mess could be hung around Hillary’s neck.

  109. 109
    Chris says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    Of course, if The Hunger Games ever happened in America, the Capitol would be the random rural place in the middle of nowhere, and the tributary districts would be the nation’s various big cities, rather than the other way around.

  110. 110
    J R in WV says:

    @Corner Stone:

    …what companies will do if they get a tax cut or free tax repatriation, etc. … larger bonuses for executives and large stock buybacks or increased divs. Or all three. That is just historically factual.

    But Chipotle being extorted in real time is an easy story to tell. Because that’s what this is – extortion. Get ready for “activist” investors to stage a revolt against the board and try and force them to change compensation policies.

    And this MBA short term thinking is what is killing the working economy of this nation. Pay the least you can, and eventually no one will be able to afford your products. Who will be buying Buicks when we all make $8/hour on a part time job?

    Henry Ford raised his crew’s wages to where they could afford to buy a Ford vehicle. And the other manufacturing managers raised hell about it, because it meant they should be paying more, which was going to come out of their own pocket!!

    But Ford [ who was otherwise pretty despicable ] started selling WAY more cars than Olds, REO, Stutz, etc. Which meant he made more money paying those higher wages than Olds, REO, Stutz, Dusenberg did paying the bare minimum!

    Business Schools and their MBA short-term thinking are the worst thing to have happened to management ever!

  111. 111
    Chris says:

    @Ruckus:

    We have a perfection problem in this country, we think we are. Our laws are perfect, our form of government is perfect, our bigotry is perfect, our misogyny is perfect, our religion is perfect, we just are. OK we would be if all the liberals would just stop fucking up and not allowing us to control them like perfect little robots. And that’s conservatism in one sentence.

    Yeah. We’re kind of like the Soviet Union in that at some point, the ideals our nation was founded on stopped being a goal to be striven towards and started being a utopia we’d already reached. Every recitation of the creed that America is the best and freest and perfectest nation in the world sounds more and more like the Soviets responding to every criticism of poverty and suppression of rights with “here we have true democracy, the workers already own everything!”

  112. 112
    J R in WV says:

    @Brachiator:

    “This trying to hold Hillary Clinton responsible was all bullshit. ”

    Indeed it was, because the Republicans drastically cut the budget for State Department Security, way past the Secretary’s budget for security. If anyone should be blamed for Bengazi, the Republican members of congress are more at fault than anyone beyond the attackers, who were, of course really at fault.

  113. 113
    Robin Gittelman says:

    @Betty Cracker: I’ll bet actually money that the family is white. And I never gamble . . .

  114. 114
    J R in WV says:

    @Gretchen:

    ….. Boston Irish throwing stuff at schoolbuses of black kids integrating the schools. As for women being “sacred” back in Kelly’s day, O’Donnell remembers plenty of women being beaten by their drunk husbands on a regular basis and being told by their priests that they had no choice to stay and make the best of it. That’s the “sacred”, religious, respectful time Kelly wants to go back to.

    A lot of those wives got raped on a regular basis too, which the priest probably enjoyed hearing about in the confession box. And well commented Gretchen, good job!

  115. 115

    @PIGL: I was just answering CS’s question.

  116. 116
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mnemosyne & @Robin Gittelman: I believe the husband was white and the wife was black.

    @zhena gogolia: I don’t claim U.S. journalists invented the word, just that they USE it, but only when talking about rich fucks in Russia. They should apply it to obscenely wealthy folks who meddle in the government here as well, IMO.

  117. 117
    Gretchen says:

    @J R in WV: we won’t even be able to eat at Chipotle if we’re all making $8 an hour. My favorite burrito bowl there costs $9.25.

  118. 118
    Ruckus says:

    @Chris:

    the workers already own everything!

    They of course left out the control part and the money they were stealing part.

  119. 119
    Gretchen says:

    @El Caganer: thanks. That article explains a lot.

  120. 120
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    We ain’t the Russians! We’re exceptional and special. It could never happen here!

  121. 121
    Ruckus says:

    @Gretchen:
    If you work 80 hrs a week at $8/hr that’s $640, the same as working 40 hrs and making $16. What’s wrong with that? $640/week is good money.
    /conservative asshole

  122. 122
    Chris says:

    @Ruckus:

    True.

    Soviet workers “owned” everything in the same sense that I still “own” that bicycle someone stole from me six or seven years ago. Legally speaking, it is still my property, I paid for it and everything and might even still have the receipt somewhere. But it turns out owning something doesn’t necessarily mean you get to use it, ever.

  123. 123
    Ruckus says:

    @Chris:
    It can get worse. Think about National Parks. We all own them. Or the police. They all work for us. We “own” the buildings, the cars, the riot tanks, the radios. Try to borrow any of those some day and see what ownership really means.

  124. 124
    Groucho48 says:

    For those who can’t get sound on the dedication speech, it was a nicely written but standard dedication speech. She thanked and shouted out to local pols, then, thanked Boehner and Marco Rubio for their bipartisan support it getting the naming bill through Congress in record time, then, praised LEO in general and had all of them in the audience stand up for a round of applause, then, focused on the two agents who had been killed in action and who the building was going to be named after.

    She didn’t claim credit for the funding. She didn’t brag about how how she talked to Obama and got what she wanted.

    “And a congresswoman stood up, and in a long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building, and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money, and she just called up President (Barack) Obama, and on that phone call, he gave the money, the $20 million, to build the building, and she sat down,” Kelly said. “And we were stunned, stunned that she’d done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.”

    Absolute lies.

  125. 125
    DissidentFish says:

    @Groucho48: Well, more than lies. That is straight up racist calumny. It’s the march to kristallnacht. It is without a doubt the vilest thing I have heard a government official say in my entire life. “THEM BLACKS GOT THE MONEY AND LAUGHED”.

    Kelly’s got to resign.

    In that after that lie, that libel, we, the people, know there’s no stop on him. He would order our deaths in a second.

  126. 126
    Gretchen says:

    @DissidentFish: Agreed. That’s not how government works. You don’t call up the President and he personally gives you $20 million for a building. So either he has no idea how government works, or he knows and slanders her with “those Negroes don’t respect the system. They just hand out the money to their unworthy allies.” Even though the recipient was the FBI.
    Lawrence O’Donnell’s description of the culture Kelly grew up in is a straight line to this. And Trump’s segregated Queens rental policy is a straight line to this. If the widow had been a prettily tearful blonde from Iowa, and her Congressman Steve King, this wouldn’t have happened. It would have been all sympathy. Ugly.

  127. 127
    barb 2 says:

    @J R in WV:

    Re: “Modern Navy” and reduced Navy personnel. I recently talked to the wife of a ship’s captain — civilian who is the captain of one of the many Naval ships sailing out of the Puget Sound region (Washington State). This captain’s crew is largely civilian as well. I had heard about this shift in the Navy Sea — hiring contractors and civilians to do jobs traditionally performed by Navy personnel. The sailors and officers are trained in “training facilities” with mock-ups of the interior of ships on every conceivable disaster. Computers are in heavy use on the modern Navy ships — and the sailors learn how to repair the computers at sea. Subs are heavily computerized and the other newer Navy ships as well. There is a huge ancient US Navy mothball fleet in the SF Bay — north. The newer ships look almost like drones in comparison to the antique models — reinforced and fortified, not the classic lines we see in old photos.

    But standing watches are still required of sailors and then full days of work — so that part of the old Navy still survives. Perhaps not all Navy — Air, Submarine, and Sea. Wives of submariners complain about the endless duty schedules of their spouses.

  128. 128
    Jay Noble says:

    @trollhattan:

    “going public can be one of the worst things to happen to a corporation.”

    Having been going through the whole Cabela’s to Bass Pro affair for the last 2 years, how true.

Comments are closed.