Schadenfreude Open Thread: Hire A Grifter, Prepare to Be Scammed

Oh, look, “No Labels” is up to their old tricks…

My sincere thanks to commentor TenguPhule for this link from the Washington Post“Contractors sue nonpartisan group No Labels”:

The nonpartisan political group No Labels, along with a number of affiliated super PACs, is facing a lawsuit from contractors who say they were stiffed for millions of dollars of work in the 2018 cycle, let go in favor of political strategists with ties to the group’s president, Nancy Jacobson — and her husband, Mark Penn.

In the complaint, which was filed in the Supreme Court of New York this week, strategists Matthew Kalmans and Sacha Samotin say that their firm, Applecart, helped conceive No Labels’s current strategy of creating PACs that can invest in primaries and general elections to boost centrist candidates; they seek $3.7 million in damages, saying that money they were owed was shunted away from them, in breach of contract…

Penn, a former political strategist for both Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, has gained new national attention for criticizing special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of the Trump administration. While not affiliated with No Labels, he used a Tuesday appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to talk up a plan — advanced by No Labels — to elect a speaker of the House with bipartisan support.

“There’s a problem-solvers group that is looking to have some influence, if the result is close, in terms of changing the rules and naming the speaker,” Penn said.

The 45-page complaint tells a story of political blunders that Applecart blames on Penn and that No Labels affiliates blame on Applecart. According to the complaint, it was Kalmans and Samotin, Republicans who identified as moderates, who presided over the group’s first political successes…

… Former senator Joseph I. Lieberman, a No Labels co-chair, said that Applecart had looked promising but wilted under inspection.

“They were charging us for things they had not even done,” Lieberman said.

Kalmans and Samotin say the pushback is simply false — that Applecart was simply not paid for 1,714 hours of completed work … That debacle, they say, was “a pretext on which to hand over strategic oversight of No Labels’ super PAC campaign to Penn.” And the rest will be fought out in court.

“No Labels” was a Repub scam from the get-go, with “Independent” Droopy Dawg Lieberman’s involvement as a leading indicator.

Nice to see the GOP is dumb or venal enough to pick up a guy who could outpush even the Clintons’ notorious loyalty to long-time associates, just in time for him to further sully the GOP’s “Okay, Trump’s A Criminal But Hey, Tax Cuts!” message for the midterms.

67 replies
  1. 1
    Darrin Ziliak (formerly glocksman) says:

    This may get posed twice in different phrasing due to varying nicks, but here’s what I believe.

    Mark Penn may have a foot fetish, and I don’t care, but he may also have other ‘issues’ that he’d rather not become public.

  2. 2
    SiubhanDuinne, Badass Jackal says:

    Wasn’t David Brooks a big “No Labels” fan a few years ago? Or am I thinking of Tom Friedman? (Or, of course, quite possibly los dos.)

  3. 3
    Anne Laurie says:

    @SiubhanDuinne, Badass Jackal: IIRC, David Brooks was a big No-Labels booster, but Tom Friedman wasn’t sure they were quite bipartisan enough... by which he meant ‘I don’t see a clause forbidding them to support Democrats, and you *know* how sneaky those Democrats can be about nonstarters like ‘rule of law’ and ‘human rights’…

  4. 4
    Schlemazel says:

    Oh come on now! If Mark Penn and Joey Lieberman are involved it must be a great orginization

  5. 5
    Mike in NC says:

    We’ve all read about another asshole who regularly stiffed contractors, and was very cozy with organized crime in NYC, but it apparently pales in comparison to using a private e-mail server.

  6. 6
    James E Powell says:


    The Villagers still love Holy Joe and consider him a man of unquestioned integritude.

  7. 7
    Duane says:

    No Labels should rename itself No Morals. It would be the only honest thing about them They obviously want republicans in charge. Don’t they know we can see them?

  8. 8
    NotMax says:

    Something smells mighty fishy.

    Controversial Guantánamo judge joins Jeff Sessions in immigration judge ceremony

    The military judge who got headlines for convicting a Marine general of contempt and confining him to his Guantánamo quarters has apparently found a new bench — as an immigration judge, prompting defense lawyers to demand that all his rulings since 2014 be thrown out.

    Air Force Col. Vance Spath, the former judge in Guantánamo’s USS Cole case, had filed to retire on Nov. 1 from 26 years military service, an Air Force spokeswoman said this summer. He could clearly be seen in civilian clothes at Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ elbow in an Associated Press photo of an event Monday in which Sessions welcomed “the largest class of immigration judges in history — 44 new immigration judges.”
    In their brief the defense attorneys said that, based on an Immigration Court timetable for the hiring of new judges, Spath had likely applied for the job more than 250 days ago, and sought to rush Nashiri’s death-penalty case to trial. In addition, [Navy Capt. Brian] Mizer noted that immigration judges, by law, “serve at the pleasure of the attorney general.”

    “Colonel Spath was, at best, attempting to rush the proceedings forward so that he could wrap up [Nashiri’s] case before his employment with the Department of Justice was scheduled to begin, or more nefariously, seeking to curry favor as a ‘reliable’ employee as his application to be an immigration judge was being reviewed,” Mizer and co-counsel Navy Lt. Alaric Piette wrote. Source

  9. 9
    NotMax says:

    Here’s a label: Deadbeat Cads.

  10. 10
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Darrin Ziliak (formerly glocksman):

    Mark Penn may have a foot fetish

    Wait, that was Dick Morris, wasn’t it?

  11. 11
    smedley the uncertain says:

    @NotMax: Dog, they’re all crooks. Decency doesn’t even enter into it.

  12. 12
    dmsilev says:

    @Darrin Ziliak (formerly glocksman): Foot fetish guy was Dick Morris. Mark Penn was the guy who managed the impressive feat of being wrong more often than Bill “always wrong” Kristol.

  13. 13

    Penn, a former political strategist for both Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton

    Note to self: ‘Political strategist’ means ‘mercenary.’

  14. 14

    Hey you guys, if you’re on twitter, can you share this. It’s one of Scout’s cousins. There seems to be a ring operating in Colorado Springs stealing full breed dogs.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: Someone is getting a court martial.

  17. 17
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Sister Golden Bear: Moron.

    (not you, the idiot in the video)

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TaMara (HFG): This was a huge problem when I lived in Little Rock. People would drive all over and snatch dogs out of people’s back yards.

  19. 19
    stinger says:

    In other words, if the Democrats win the House, these guys will “change the rules” in order to finagle a Republican Speaker.

  20. 20
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    These tactics enforcing minority rule remind me more and more of the kind of shit Southern politicians did in the decades leading up to the Civil War. The one specifically I’m thinking of was the Gag rule where they would “gag” people to stop them from speaking about slavery during sessions in the House IIRC

  21. 21
    stinger says:

    There’s been a pretty nice “love has no labels” commercial airing for the last couple of years or so. Is it paid for by these jerks? Disappointing.

  22. 22
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @stinger: The problem solvers caucus is functionally useless. The GOP members always vote with the rest of the caucus on anything important where the vote will be close and are “released from the whip” to vote however they want when it isn’t.

  23. 23
    stinger says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: They are shameless. Luckily, the long arc of history is is going to pin their slimy hides to the wall. Right through their corrupt, two-sizes-too-small hearts.

  24. 24
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    I also really like that Wikipedia edit calling the GOP illegitimate. It should be repeated more. Because it’s true and they have no legitimacy, having received a minority of votes cast. This is due to gerrymandering, structural advantages built into the Constitution, and voter suppression.

    Republicans are apparently unmoved when accused of being undemocratic, saying America was founded as a “republic”, not a democracy. But what good is a republic without accurate and fair representation? And if we want to get technical, every modern liberal democracy is a “representative democracy”.

  25. 25
    Anne Laurie says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    These tactics enforcing minority rule remind me more and more of the kind of shit Southern politicians did in the decades leading up to the Civil War.

    Bingo. The Repub Revanchists know it’s their last fvcking chance to steal everything that can be pried loose, including ‘locking down’ a gerrymandered electoral college to ensure the Greedy Old Perverts can limp along for a few more years. It’s not a long-term strategy — one way or another, they know they’re doomed — but they desperately want to fvck things up long enough to last out their lifetimes. And the pre-Civil War Southern strategy was a pretty good template, if that’s the kind of political thimblerigging you’re after.

  26. 26
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    I have three labels for that group: incumbent and male as well as GOP. Doesn’t seem revolutionary to me at all.

  27. 27
    danielx says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    IIRC, David Brooks was a big No-Labels booster, but Tom Friedman wasn’t sure they were quite bipartisan enough…

    That fragment right there tells one everything one needs to know about the No Labels scam, which is more or less the Republican Party as it exists in David Brooks’ imagination. You know, Reagan Republicans. People who have no fucking responsibility for the current infection of the body politic.

    And in keeping with current events, I was moved by this picture of what appears to be kitten rescue.

  28. 28
    Mary G says:

    No labels is NPR Republicans (don’t say the bigoted stuff out loud.)

    I just got home from the teen’s birthday party – I didn’t want to go and got talked into it. If you’ve never been to a Dave & Buster’s before, stay far, far, away.

  29. 29
    Shalimar says:

    “Bipartisan” always seens to mean electing a Republican chief for a Democratic majority. I suspect that idea will be quietly dropped if Republicans hold their majority.

  30. 30
    Redshift says:

    Contractors sue nonpartisan group No Labels

    Root for injuries!

  31. 31
    OzarkHillbilly says:


  32. 32
    jayjaybear says:

    Ugh! Mark Frickin’ Penn and Lanny Frickin’ Davis have now both been named in my news/blogs in the last month. Will no one rid me of these troublesome “consultants”?

  33. 33
    NotMax says:


    Easy for you to say.


    Mr. I. N. Somnia paying a visit?

  34. 34
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @NotMax: Yep. Woke up at 2:30. Why bother?

  35. 35
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Awwwwwwwwwww, pobrecito: Willie Nelson upsets fans with plans to perform at Beto O’Rourke rally

    Conservative fans expressed anger that the musician will headline a free outdoor show in Austin, Texas, in support of the Democrat

    What a bunch of snowflakes. Hey! I know! Why don’t you protest this betrayal by burning all your WN albums, CDs, and tapes?

  36. 36
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: me, too. Finally got up at 3:30 to move to a chair to doze for a bit since I knew sleep wasn’t happening, now having my first cup of coffee for the day. It’s a market day, so no sense even trying to sleep any more. Have to leave in two hours anyway, if I fell back asleep now I’d be late. Much coffee morning.

  37. 37
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby: You have my empathies.

  38. 38
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: and you mine. I suspect naps are in both our futures. Which will make us repeat this tomorrow night.😟

  39. 39
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby: Yes, a mid morning nap is forthcoming, but my nightly sleeps are more dependent upon my nightly melatonins than anything else.

  40. 40
    satby says:

    Dervish Casper Tunch 1rst update: one of the reasons for my sleep deprivation is that he didn’t move to the kitten foster house. A respiratory infection swept through there. It’s like a preschool, if one gets sick they all catch it, so he had to stay with me an extra week. So we brought a healthy kitten, Henry, here to keep him company. They’ve completely taken over my bedroom and especially love collapsing my bed tent and then attacking me in my sleep through the fabric. I’ve been sleeping (not well) on my (antique, narrow) couch all week. Henry and Dervish are set to go to the kitten foster house tomorrow now that the gang there is mostly recovered. I’m going to miss the little buggers, but not a whole lot. I miss sleep too.

  41. 41
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: if past practice is any indication, I will get home from the market at 3, take all the dogs out, sit down “for just a minute” by 3:30, and wake up again around 5:30.
    I lead a very boring life.

  42. 42
    Amir Khalid says:

    So when will you be fostering your next rambunctious young feline?

  43. 43
    satby says:

    @Amir Khalid: hah! It’s like you know me 😉

  44. 44
    low-tech cyclist says:

    Dear GOP: You want Mark Penn? He’s yours, gratis. Might as well have all the sleazeballs in one party. (Feel free to take Lanny Davis while you’re at it.)

  45. 45
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby: At our age, boring is almost too much excitement.

    On our new addition, Percy (short for “persistent” as in “just wouldn’t leave”) has slid right into our home like a hand into a glove. Miss Kitty has finally accepted him (Woof never had a problem, a little unusual for Mr. Jealousy) and he tends to follow me where ever I go about the place. Took him in for his shots the other day and found he has an extreme aversion to vehicles (no motion sickness) so obviously he has a few issues left over from his previous life. (also cowers when I bend over to pet him). He likes to wander afar and that should lessen once we get him snipped but the beagle in him will always want to follow every scent. A very sweet boy has found his forever home.

  46. 46
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @Mary G:

    I just got home from the teen’s birthday party – I didn’t want to go and got talked into it. If you’ve never been to a Dave & Buster’s before, stay far, far, away.

    My division had its holiday party at a D&B’s one year, and it was a lot of fun.

    Of course, we were there at lunchtime to mid-afternoon in the middle of the week, not on a Friday night. I expect that might make a significant difference!

    My son just started middle school, and the school had its first dance of the year last night. The kid made it very clear that he barely wanted me to be seen while dropping him off and picking him up. He had a great time, though, and that’s the important thing.

  47. 47
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: how nice! Cowering means abused usually, as I’m sure you know. Even years later one of my herd still cowers when I speak too sharply to him, and then I feel bad imagining what he may have gone through that those memories haven’t faded. Glad your little guy found you.

  48. 48
    satby says:

    @low-tech cyclist: welcome to the years of being an acute embarrassment to your offspring. I used to have a lot of fun with that, really. Especially if you dance, kids love that shit (not).
    Don’t take it personally and it becomes almost enjoyable.

    And then they hit their 20s and start to think you’re pretty smart and cool again. Except when I dance.

  49. 49
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    Cowering means abused usually,

    Yes it does but I hold back from that diagnosis as he does not exhibit some of the other symptoms. He does have an inch plus scar on his forehead that I wonder about.

  50. 50
    J R in WV says:


    Me too. can usually get back to sleep after I spend a few minutes here. Or doing something to change my train of thought. Anything.

  51. 51
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @J R in WV: If I get up, it’s over.

  52. 52
    J R in WV says:


    Rescues! Our older pupper won’t take the food bowl from us, we can’t just put it down for her. I slide it under the kitchen table several feet, where she can be under the table to eat.

    She will now take a milk bone from anyone. After 10 years. She was stolen off a back yard chain where she was left alone 23:45 hours a day, and beaten for barking a lot — can’t imagine why. She was hoarse when we brought her home from our vets.

    She also had heartworm, bad, and was in the vet’s kennel for 9 months before they released her for adoption to us. But she adapted to farm life quickly, and then taught newer adoptee how to chase chipmonks, which are now rare around the house, as in gone, mostly.

    They get so much better so fast in a better home. Congrats on your new one!! Beagles can really be hyperactive, so be prepared! Enjoy. Out neighbors had a beagle who rode out the holler on the hood of their car, like he was surfing, and then would trot home when they got to the pavement.

  53. 53
    J R in WV says:

    “If I get up, it’s over.” Just the opposite for me… I can lay there thinking bad things, but if I get up for 20-30 minutes and catch a bit of news, that derails those thoughts about whatever, then I can go back to sleep.

    Otherwise I’m doomed to think about the same thing over and over… gonna try going back down now, see ya later!

  54. 54
    ian says:

    The term (reagan democrats/reagan repulbicans) has always sickened me. I found Reagan to be a well spoken Trump, immoral and callous to the harm he caused ‘lesser’ people. The ability to portray one-selves to the outside world as normal or even ‘respectable’ is a trait of a well honed sociopath.

  55. 55
  56. 56
    Amir Khalid says:

    Today I need to restring The Girl again: while working on string bends, I broke a high E string. (I think I was unwisely going for a two-tone bend.) That and the Tottenham Hotspur-Liverpool match tonight are my main weekend plans.

  57. 57
    low-tech cyclist says:


    @low-tech cyclist: welcome to the years of being an acute embarrassment to your offspring. I used to have a lot of fun with that, really. Especially if you dance, kids love that shit (not).
    Don’t take it personally and it becomes almost enjoyable.

    I’m getting a kick out of it, actually. In less than two years, the kid’s gone from being uncomfortable with playing in the back yard without one of us being outside and nearby, to being a very independent kid, taking charge of his life in lots of ways. From rearranging the furniture in his bedroom to his liking, to trying out for and getting a plum part in the school play, he’s suddenly coming into his own. I’m so proud of him I could burst, and the whole ‘don’t want to be seen with dad’ bit was (a) totally expected, and (b) way down in the white noise AFAIAC, just ain’t no thing. A source of amusement more than anything else. Not to mention, I’m sure the next few years will have *real* challenges, and in the meantime I’m not gonna get worked up over stuff that doesn’t matter.

    And then they hit their 20s and start to think you’re pretty smart and cool again. Except when I dance.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m embarrassed by my dancing when I’m forced to do it, which fortunately hasn’t happened in ~25 years.

  58. 58
    Procopius says:

    Wait, “Weepin Joe” Lieberman? I thought the No Labels crew was another one of Peter G. Peterson’s “we must cut Social Security” creations. Mark Penn? No wonder … Oh, never mind.

  59. 59
    Procopius says:

    @satby: Boring is good. Believe me, I’m retired from the Army, and there is absolutely nothing better than boring. I’ve reached an age where I had to stop drinking coffee after 2:00 PM, but I still wake up every couple of hours. I find I often have to do what I did in kindergarten. Just lie there with my eyes closed. Sometimes it works.

  60. 60
    MagdaInBlack says:

    I strive for boring. I suspect most of us have earned the right to be “boring.” 😉
    Go for it!
    Besides, “boring” is relative. 😎

  61. 61
    MagdaInBlack says:


    Melissa Tweets
    Some people think they own everything. Patriotism, the military, Willie Nelson… Maybe you’re not as big a fan of his as you pretend to be if y’all ever thought Willie was a Republican. He’s been an activist for years.
    1:17 PM – Sep 14

  62. 62
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MagdaInBlack: Yep, that’s the best part of it.

  63. 63
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @stinger: No Labels always seems most active when Democrats are on the ascent. Funny that.

  64. 64
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @ian: this. Reagan was an evil piece of trump and doesn’t deserve to be held up as an honorable Republican.

  65. 65
    jimmiraybob says:

    “presidential alert” system

    Oh goody. I was afraid that I could be beyond the reach of his lies for a precious few moments of the day.

    I can only assume that he’s hired the best and the brightest to run the system.

    I predict a nuclear emergency alert on November 6th at……well, whatever time the polls open. (File under gallows “we’re all-doomed” humor. Note to self, dig the bunker another 10′ deeper and put the crews on 24-hour shifts.)

  66. 66
    stinger says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    an evil piece of trump

    . I’m stealing that!

  67. 67
    John Fremont says:

    @MagdaInBlack: Willie Nelson spent many years performing at Farm Aid alongside of Bruce Springsteen back in the 80’s. Just because Willie performed a few duets with Toby Keith after 9/11 the GOPe’r’s think he’s a conservative

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