Wednesday Morning Open Thread: The Beat Goes On

Per the Washington Post:

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton have emerged as key targets for House Democrats in their impeachment investigation of President Trump after explosive testimony about the president’s pressure on a foreign leader to investigate a political rival.

House Democrats on Tuesday began discussing the possibility of summoning both men — who would be the highest-ranking individuals to testify — as the investigation has accelerated in recent days with the cooperation of several current and former administration officials.

The actions of Mulvaney and Bolton attracted considerable attention after two witnesses testified that the acting White House chief of staff was involved in setting up a separate channel to handle diplomacy with Ukraine, which angered Bolton…

“Mulvaney has the inside understanding of why the money was withheld on the security assistance,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, who said the two men should testify.

“They’re going to be good witnesses,” quipped Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.). “I suspect we will [need to hear from them]; we need to get the facts.”…


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Late Night Debate Postmortem Open Thread (Part One)


 
Dumbest Moderation Decision of the Evening:


 
DUMBEST POSSIBLE ‘SERIOUS PERSON’ TAKE OF THE EVENING:


(Bruenig deleted this tweet, but not quite soon enough… )


 








Oh Christ Another Debate Why is Tulsi still on the Stage Open Thread

Just go away crazy people.








Democratic Debate Open Thread

The Democratic Debate is available on CNN.com with no login. I can’t find an embeddable version. Maybe Adam will show up with one.








Pre-DNC Debate Open Thread: The NYTimes Looking to Polish Up Its Anti-Democratic Credentials Tonight

Because twelve candidates, each with their own agenda, is not enough of a fustercluck already:

… [I]n the Trump era, the Times has become one of the most reliable targets of the outrage economy, incurring the wrath of its left-leaning constituency with remarkable frequency. When it’s not being pursued with pitchforks for publishing details about a whistle-blower, or for butchering a headline about Trump and race, or for supposedly being too soft on the president for this or that, surely there’s some radioactive op-ed, or offensive editor’s tweet, or #MeToo controversy that the institution needs to address head-on. It seems clear at this point that the Times is never going to live down Hillary’s emails, or “No Clear Link to Russia,” or the end of the public editor…

[Not that the FTFYNTimes is trying to atone for any of its past errors, of course…]

It is within this tempestuous atmosphere that the Times will cohost, with CNN, the latest grudge match leading up to next year’s Democratic primaries. National editor Marc Lacey will share the moderators’ table with Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett, with a whopping 12 candidates squaring off at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio on Tuesday night. That’s more candidates than have ever shared a single primary debate stage. Three hours, live in prime time. No pressure. “It’s a really big field and a really critical point in the campaign,” one editor told me. “The stakes couldn’t be higher in terms of how the Times comes across.” As another Times journalist put it, “Something will happen, I’m sure, where the angry left blue-check-mark mob will find something to be outraged about.”…

[Step right up, wingnuts, for your latest Bad Faith Concern Troll Show!]

Several sources said it was noteworthy that the Times landed on Lacey as opposed to someone from the politics team, like, say, a Maggie Haberman. The thinking was that, as national editor, Lacey could approach the debate through a different lens—race or unemployment or opioids or any other number of topics. But there’s another way of looking at it. “I think they were smart to shield their high-profile political reporters,” said a veteran Democratic strategist. “Those people have such loaded presences online and in the public conversation, whereas Lacey”—who was a White House correspondent in a gentler era—“is someone who doesn’t really have that baggage.”

[Send in the redshirts, Ken Vogel & Maggie Haberman have a book contract to protect.]

I asked the Democratic strategist what he thinks some of the potential landmines might be come Tuesday night. “What I think angers Democrats is when journalists parrot Republican talking points as their own questions. That’s been a criticism in other debates, and that becomes a real danger, especially for the Times given the hot seat they’re already in,” he said.

[Ya THINK?]

I know I’ve said this before, but this debate I may actually, actively avoid watching in real time. There’s only so much my blood pressure medication can handle.








Lock His Ass Up

Frogwalk this motherfucker:

Rudy Giuliani dared House Democrats to take him to court Tuesday, declaring he won’t comply in their “abomination” of an impeachment inquiry despite facing a subpoena over his shady campaign to find political dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine.

Having decided to not cooperate, the ex-mayor said he has parted ways with his attorney, Jon Sale, for the time being, claiming it would be “silly to have a lawyer when I don’t need one.”

However, Giuliani said he may rehire Sale if Democrats hold him in contempt over his refusal to cooperate with the subpoena, which requests documents and testimony on his Trump-endorsed attempts to strong-arm Ukrainian officials into investigating unfounded corruption claims about Biden’s family before the 2020 election.

“If they decide to do an enforcement, I’ll need someone to go to court with and we’ll figure that out at the time,” Giuliani told the Daily News before he was set to attend a Yankees game in the Bronx. “I’m not worried. It’s not authorized what they’re doing in secret. It’s an abomination of due process. I can’t imagine a court would tolerate what they’ve done.”

The defining characteristics of modern conservatism are racism, greed, and an open contempt for democratic processes. Lock this loudmouth motherfucker up.








Swamp Life (Open Thread)

High temps are dropping into the upper 80s this week — time to bust out the parkas! We’re starting to see a little color in the leaves:

Here’s an anhinga (aka snakebird) swimming in the river. His or her mate (I think) is perched on the left-most end of the fallen tree, hidden a bit by other greenery.

The mates converse throughout this aquatic operation with ratchet-like calls. I imagine the treed bird is nagging the other to mind the gators, and the swimming bird is replying I know already…

Last but not least, a turtle pokes its head out of the river for a look around:

It’s a red-bellied river cooter, I think. (Yes, that’s really what folks call them.)

That’s all I’ve got, friends. Just loading up on serenity before the debate, which I definitely plan to watch. You?

PS: I miss the “critters” tag, but I dare not restore it!








“Impeach the Motherfucker” (signed, “The Motherfucker”)

Damn, is Nancy Pelosi a 13-dimensional chess playing, time-traveling, ninja Jedi master or what? Talk about “self-impeaching”!

He ran out of room, but what Scammy McFraudface was trying to say is that you can’t impeach a president when the economy is good. My recollection of the Clinton impeachment is hazy because I had a new baby at home back then, but I’m pretty sure the economy was roaring along, and the Republicans impeached ol’ Bill for a consensual blow job anyway.

In other news, Ronna ROMNEY McDaniel viewed the Hunter Biden interview and is troubled by the specter of nepotism:

The gargantuan gonads on these people! They’re going to try to just brazen it out. That’s all they’ve got:

What will Sondland tell the committee under oath, I wonder? NBC News says he’ll tell them U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was “great” and that he was unaware of any issues that led to her ouster. And this:

Sondland will also testify that after he attended Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s inauguration in May, he met with Trump, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and former U.S. special envoy Kurt Volker in the Oval Office. In that meeting, Sondland will say, Trump told them that any in-person meeting between Trump and Zelenskiy would have to be approved by Rudy Giuliani.

Sondland will testify that it was only later that he became aware that a public commitment by Ukraine’s new government to address corruption – including Burisma Holdings – was a prerequisite for a Trump-Zelenskiy meeting. Sondland will also say that at the time that he learned that, he did not know that Burisma was linked to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

If that’s accurate, it sounds like maybe Sondland is ready to cut his losses? Anyhoo, we’ll find out on Thursday.

Open thread.








Susie baby looks like we goofed again

Susan Collins now trails a generic Democrat by 3 points. That goes up to 7 points in the poll when voters are asked who they would vote for if Collins opposes impeachment, which she likely will. Last month she led a generic Democrat by six points.

Give here to the Balloon Juice Senate Fund, split among eventual Democratic nominees in several of the most competitive Senate races. Feel free to distribute the money among them however you like!

Goal Thermometer

Thanks again everybody. I’ll do some fundraising for the guv races in LA, KY, and MS soon.








The Contact Form Is Offline

Folks,

The contact form is offline and shall not return, but do not fret, we’ve still got balloon-juice.com email addresses you can use. We just don’t like to publish them in machine-readable format to reduce the bots harvesting them, then harassing us.

I copied these instructions from Watergirl’s post last evening:

Quick note: I have mentioned several times that we are changing the method for contacting a front pager, but in case anyone has missed it, I wanted to call attention to it in the title.

You can reach any front pager by email simply by addressing email to their nym at balloon-juice.com.  If their nym has is made up of multiple words, you put a dash in place of the space.  If the front pager is Humpty Dumpty, you would send email to Humpty-Dumpty at balloon-juice.com; and yes, sending email to humpty-dumpty at balloon-juice.com also works.

This system has been in place for at least a couple of months now, but the Contact a Front Pager form is being taken down tonight, so please start using the new method now.

Since some folks may have missed that post last night, I wanted to ensure that the announcement had maximum exposure.

Open thread, I’m not around, just wanted to post this and now, back to packing.








Open enrollment thoughts

The Medicare open enrollment period has started. There are some issues with the plan assistance tool, Medicare Plan Finder. I think it is worthwhile to go over some general thoughts and decision rules about open enrollment. We’ll talk generally and then specifically for Medicare.

Picking an insurance plan, be it Medicare, be it group insurance through work or individual insurance on the Exchange is tough. It is a cognitively demanding task that has multiple threads of uncertainty pulling your decision processes in conflicting directions.
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Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Crowded Field

Tonight is the fourth DNC primary debate, 8pm EDT, at private liberal arts college Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus.

Despite her ‘threats’ last week, Tulsi Gabbard will be on stage. As will Tom Steyer, ratite-resembling billionaire, for his first (and I devoutly hope last) appearance. (He’s already qualified for the November debate, but maybe tonight’s experience will wean him off his electoral fantasies.) Apparently 12 candidates on one stage is a new record — here’s to cutting that number in half by next month!

Elsewhere…








Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Meanwhile, at the Other Pole of the Horseshoe…

The Trump administration is doing what it does, but on steroids. Meanwhile, the Too-Woke-To-Settle-For-A-Mere-Imperfect-Democrat “Left” is… acting out that Nietzsche quote. “… When you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”


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A Badly Executed Mob Shakedown: The President’s Ukraine Mess Is Just An Extension of His Russia Mess

On Friday I wrote the following in an email explaining what is actually going on with the Ukraine mess that the President has made:

I amazed that all of this current brouhaha is just a really bad Russian mob shakedown. The play here is to get Parnas’s and Fruman’s boss in the Russian mob, Dmitri Firtash, off of house arrest and out from under the extradition warrant to the US so he can go back to Kyiv and take over the Ukrainian natural gas industry, strip it of every last penny, then crash it on behalf of Putin and the Russian mob. This then forces Ukraine to buy natural gas from Russia, which allows Putin to then further knuckle Ukraine by sucking resources out of Ukraine to create leverage to force Ukraine back into his orbit. As was reported last night, Giuliani is on Parnas’s payroll and has been for a while. Parnas is on DiGenova’s and Toensing’s payroll, who are working pro bono with Giuliani on behalf of the President, though they’re using him as their translator for their legal work for Firtash. Parnas and Fruman report to Firtash in regard to Russian organized crime activities. Firtash works for the Kyiv born Semion Mogilevich, who is the titular head of the Bratva. Mogolivech works for Putin who is the functional krysha/roof/protector of the Bratva. The Biden stuff is simply disinformation recycled from the Russians from 2014 as part of the maskirovka.

Earlier this evening, Andrew Weiss, who is the Vice President for Studies of The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and is in their Russia and Eurasia Program, tweeted the following explainer that really delineates all the parts of the network I was describing in my email from last Friday. (I’m going to put the first half above the jump and the second half below it).

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Site Update: How to Contact a Front Pager + Ask Me Anything

Hello!

The previous Ask Me Anything posts about the new site have all been on the weekends, so if you are not a weekend Jackal, this is your chance to ask me anything about the new site.  So, ask away!

Quick note: I have mentioned several times that we are changing the method for contacting a front pager, but in case anyone has missed it, I wanted to call attention to it in the title.

You can reach any front pager by email simply by addressing email to their nym at balloon-juice.com.  If their nym has is made up of multiple words, you put a dash in place of the space.  If the front pager is Humpty Dumpty, you would send email to Humpty-Dumpty at balloon-juice.com; and yes, sending email to humpty-dumpty at balloon-juice.com also works.

This system has been in place for at least a couple of months now, but the Contact a Front Pager form is being taken down tonight, so please start using the new method now.

Back to questions… if you have any, ask away!