Monday Evening Open Thread: Vladimir’s Men Are Very Disappointed

Their choice of catspaws just aren’t doing the job of relitigating the Cold War. But the gentlemen at Foreign Affairs permit themselves a small frosty smile concerning “Russia’s October Surprise“:

The month of October is never a quiet one in a U.S. presidential election year. But this time, the run-up to the vote has been marked by a series of high-stakes cyber-skirmishes between Washington and Moscow. Over the summer, intent on derailing the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Russia released damning emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), leading to the resignation of chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Hoping to create yet another stir, Russia then handed over a batch of Clinton’s e-mails to WikiLeaks on October 7. But much to Moscow’s chagrin, Washington was able to rob Moscow of the element of surprise, and Russia’s “October surprise” fizzled.

Just before the WikiLeaks dump, the White House released a statement in which it directly accused Russia for the first time of hacking the e-mails of DNC and Democratic Party members. The unexpected and unprecedented announcement dominated the headlines, leaving Russia’s and WikiLeaks’ attempts to show Clinton as shifty and close to Wall Street as a sideshow….

The failure of Russia’s long-planned October surprise to tip the election appears to have angered Moscow, which had planned this operation well in advance in hopes of destroying Clinton’s chance of winning the presidency.
While news of the DNC hacks first surfaced in June, it was widely reported that they had taken place months earlier, and the e-mails were purposely released in July just before the Democratic National Convention. On July 27, Trump explicitly welcomed Russia’s release of the hacked e-mails, stating, “I will tell you this, Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. . . . I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” When the leaked e-mails failed to get sufficient attention, Trump supporters were deeply disappointed. Trump associate Roger Stone tweeted on October 1, “@HillaryClinton is done. #Wikileaks.” There is every reason to believe that Russian hackers and their sponsors felt the same way and were disappointed when Hillary’s support surged after the release, while Donald Trump’s campaign hit the shoals…

Trump’s continued decline in the polls throughout October suggests that Russia’s saber rattling has not had any clear electoral impact. International affairs are simply not central to most voters in this election. This is a fact that is hard for average Russians to understand, as their television propaganda keeps them on high alert to the possibility of a Western invasion. As a result, they tend to believe that Americans are also centrally focused on Russia, which is clearly not the case…

On October 17, a British bank announced that it was shutting down the United Kingdom­–based bank accounts of Russia Today, a pro-Kremlin media channel. Although the measure will not take Russia Today off the air in Europe, it will most likely make it extremely difficult for the Russian state propaganda network to operate in the United Kingdom. This is the first time that a Western government apparently intervened directly in the media to curb Russian English-language propaganda stations. The move comes just before France and Germany face vitally important elections in the next year. Russian hackers are also suspected of stealing the e-mails of Germany’s Christian Democrat Union parliamentarians, who face a challenge from pro-Russia right-wing extremists. There will probably be selective releases of e-mails from the incumbents there, too, as the election approaches.

Ecuador’s decision to deny WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange Internet access should probably be read in the same light. Although the circumstances of Ecuador’s decision remain unknown, there is every reason to suspect that it capitulated to Western government pressure, given the sensitive timing of Assange’s involvement in the U.S. presidential campaign. After all, external efforts to covertly undermine democratic elections have an unfortunate resonance in Latin America…


Once having acknowledged that the 1960s are never coming back, thankfully, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

Obama Ices Issa

Some of y’all mentioned this in earlier threads, but additional details about the Obama-on-Issa smack-down make it all the more delicious. Via Jezebel:

California Rep. and wheezing obstructionist Rep. Darrell Issa (R), locked in the closest race of his congressional career thanks to the half-melted pile of candy corn from Halloween ‘83 that he endorsed for president, has proven himself rather immune to irony; most recently, Issa tried to praise President Obama, the man he’s spent 8 years demonizing, in a campaign mailer. Unfortunately for Issa, Obama is about to leave office and has nothing to lose.

Last week, Issa sent out a mailer that included, according to the Los Angeles Times, “a nice photo of Obama at his desk” and a quote from Issa saying he was “very pleased” that Obama signed the Survivors Bill of Rights into law. At a fundraiser on Sunday night for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Obama praised Issa’s opponent, retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate, and called Issa “shameless.”

“Let me just point out that as far as I can tell, Issa’s primary contribution to the United States Congress has been to obstruct and to waste taxpayer dollars on trumped up investigations that have led nowhere,” Obama said, referring to Issa’s use of his image as “the definition of chutzpah.”

THWACK! I hadn’t realized the smarmy car thief was trying to hide behind PBO’s coattails. Yeah, “chutzpah” is the word, alright.

Issa was reduced to bleating about Benghazi in a follow-up statement, a sure sign that President Obama’s haymaker floored the slimy congressman. It would be great to see that sanctimonious, hypocritical prick Issa hit the bricks. C’mon California!

You’ve been so kind and generous

We blew way past our 50K goal, and now past our 75K goal. Let’s keep it going.

Goal Thermometer


This is hilarious:

The Trump campaign built a large policy shop in Washington that has now largely melted away because of neglect, mismanagement and promises of pay that were never honored. Many of the team’s former members say the campaign leadership never took the Washington office seriously and let it wither away after squeezing it dry.

Donald Trump often brags about having experts and senior former officials advising him. Wednesday night in a forum on national security, he said, “We have admirals, we have generals, we have colonels. We have a lot of people that I respect.” It’s true that Trump is getting high-level policy advice on a regular basis from senior experts such as Rudy Giuliani and retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn. But Trump has never acknowledged the policy shop based in Washington that has been doing huge amounts of grunt work for months without recognition or compensation.

Since April, advisers never named in campaign press releases have been working in an Alexandria-based office, writing policy memos, organizing briefings, managing surrogates and placing op-eds. They put in long hours before and during the Republican National Convention to help the campaign look like a professional operation.

But in August, shortly after the convention, most of the policy shop’s most active staffers quit. Although they signed non-disclosure agreements, several of them told me on background that the Trump policy effort has been a mess from start to finish.

“It’s a complete disaster,” one disgruntled former adviser told me. “They use and abuse people. The policy office fell apart in August when the promised checks weren’t delivered.”


One Vote in Florida Banked for Hillary Rodham Clinton


Today is the first day of early voting in Florida, and I was there within an hour of the polls opening. I was more moved and excited about the chance to vote for the first woman president than expected this morning. To mark the occasion, I decided to wear all white in honor of the suffragettes — as Hillary herself has done.

I was much less fancy, of course — decked out in white shorts, white t-shirt and white oxford button-down against the 70-degree morning chill. This being Florida, anyone who noticed my snowy ensemble probably assumed I’m a surprisingly Caucasian-looking Santeria initiate. But it meant something to me.

vote-2016Anyhoo, our election day polling place is right around the corner at a church, but the early voting location is at a library several miles away and near a fairly sizable retirement community. There were no lines before 8 AM, but the polling place was doing a brisk business. There were signs for candidates lining the driveway and thickly planted in every grassy median in the parking lot, mostly for Republicans.

There were two electioneering ladies in the parking lot, one holding a conventional sign for the more conservative-leaning candidate running for a non-partisan circuit court seat, and the other holding a three-tiered tribute to Trump-Pence. The latter featured a standard yard sign plus two homemade signs fore and aft, all held aloft on a single yardstick.

I suspect the holder of the Trump-Pence sign compelled her grandchildren to construct the homemade components, given the quality of the penmanship and the volume of glitter and streamers. That lady was wearing Mickey Mouse ears; I shit you not.

So, I voted. And for the next 15 days, I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure other Democrats vote too. Let’s win this thing — bigly.

Monday Morning Open Thread: We’re Great Already (Could Always Be Better, Though!)


Another Canadian, the editor of TNR:

Apart from all that, what’s on the agenda as we start another week?

It’s 11pm. Do You Know Where Your Dog Is?

This goober likes to sit on my lap and look back up at me:


He’s a really weird dog.

Pet Photo Pro-Tip

Genius idea:


It wouldn’t help with the quality of the photo, but it would keep the pet’s attention.

Where is everyone today? Getting out the vote, I hope. I was helping turn Florida blue this weekend. And tomorrow, I’m looking forward to voting early.

Open thread!

Sunday Afternoon Open Thread: WASP Humor

Yep, another Bush cousin. Thanksgiving at Kennebunkport is going to be a barrel of laughs, this year.

Speaking of barrels and their bottoms, Curt ‘Wave the Bloody Sock’ Schilling held the weekend’s saddest Trump rally…

… but at least he’s found his true media home, according to NYMag:

On Monday, Breitbart plans to announce former Red Sox pitcher and Trump supporter Curt Schilling will begin hosting a daily online radio show featuring political commentary and calls from listeners. The broadcast will eventually include a video livestream. The show marks Schilling’s return to media six months after ESPN fired him for sharing an anti-transgender Facebook post with a message that read: “A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.”…

Schilling’s jump to Breitbart will give him a national platform as he prepares to challenge Elizabeth Warren for her Senate seat in 2018…

Senator Warren’s reaction?

Weekend Movie Club: Unfaithfully Yours

Courtesy of our own Schroedinger’s Cat, this weekend’s review by Mnemosyne, aka “The Insufferable Movie Snob”:

As you’ve probably figured out by now, I have a weakness for Hollywood iconoclasts, and Preston Sturges was one of the biggest iconoclasts of the old studio system. Like Ernst Lubitsch, Sturges was allowed to put themes and scenes into his films that few other directors or writers had the freedom to do; of Sturges’ The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944), where Betty Hutton’s character is impregnated by a mystery man after a night of drunken revels and goes on to birth sextuplets, film critic James Agee famously said “the Hays office must have been raped in its sleep” to have allowed such risqué content.

Unfaithfully Yours is a bit like that — it has scenes that you won’t see in any other Hollywood film of the era, because no one else would have been allowed to film those scenes. Was Sturges a drinking buddy of Joe Breen’s? Did his writing seem innocuous on the page but play very differently in front of the cameras? Did his bosses tell Breen to lay off because Sturges was making pots of money for them? Nobody knows, but we’re all happy he managed it.

I filed this under “dark comedies” because, make no mistake, this film is dark. Hot-tempered conductor Sir Alfred de Carter (Rex Harrison) becomes convinced that his much younger wife (Linda Darnell) is cheating on him and, during a concert, he imagines three different scenarios for how he’s going to handle the situation, only to have each of them go hilariously awry when he tries to put them into practice in real life.

Harrison gets a lot of praise for his acting in this film but to me Darnell has the more difficult role. She plays the real Daphne — a doting but confused young wife who doesn’t understand why her ardent husband is suddenly rejecting her — plus three additional adulterous versions that Harrison’s character conjures up in his head during his fantasies. Darnell is able to play these distinct characters with panache and make all of them believable while never letting the audience lose sight of what Daphne is really like. It’s a bravura performance…

Click over for the rest of Mnem’s review.

Sunday Late Morning Open Thread

I come from a fairly down-to-earth background. Farmers, shoe makers, immigrants and yes, very conservative beliefs, these are my people. So I kinda get this guy.

I may not agree with them, but I sure as hell can’t give up on them.

Anyway I find him funny. You probably won’t….

So talk about whatever. There’ll be some kind of NFL thread around before you know it.

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Autumn Memories


I asked you guys to send me photos from your archives if you didn’t have new garden pics, and commentor Ozark Hillbilly responded nobly:

Our colors this year are somewhat muted but years past have been very colorful as the top pic shows. I took it it in 2012.


The last Dogwood leaves always seem especially vibrant to me.


This rose may or may not have been that years last, but those beetles certainly thought it would be.


This clematis has been blooming in Oct as well as spring for 2-3 years now. Not sure why it chooses to.


We had quite the haul of winter squash and gourds last year. The Woofmeister thought they were getting far too much attention. This year I did not plant any as I just did not feel like battling the squash bugs and was hoping that they would go elsewhere if I had no squash to share.


What’s going on in your garden(s) this week?

Love and Happiness

I really want to see this full concert, many of the past ones are posted here.

I love me some Jill Scott.

Late evening open thread…

Dodgers Vs Cubs: The Game Sixing!




Sportsball Open Thread. I’ve been informed I’m a bad, bad person for posting the score in the post the other day, so I won’t be doing that again. 😭

Open Thread: Last Stand At Gettysburg?

Anyone who watches TV news knows there’s a tipping point in the aftermath of every natural disaster where the local authorities switch from insisting that everything is just fine (so as not to discourage business/tourism) to bewailing the unprecedented destruction and its devastating effects on a suffering population (to garner relief funds as quickly as possible). Maybe I’m just a Democratic optimist, but it’s beginning to feel like the GOP and its media enablers are pivoting from Step #1 to Step #2 concerning the political disaster that is Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

The Washington Post reports:

GETTYSBURG, Pa. — Donald Trump traveled Saturday to the site of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, where he suggested that the United States is nearly as divided now as it was then. But instead of laying out his vision for uniting the country, as President Abraham Lincoln once did here, Trump declared that the system is rigged against him, that election results cannot be trusted, that Hillary Clinton should have been barred from running for president, that the media is “corrupt” and that he will sue all of the women who have accused him of sexual assault…

Trump said the system is “totally rigged and broken” because Clinton has been allowed to run for president, even though he says that she broke “so many laws on so many different occasions.” Trump also implied that what he called rampant voter fraud could cost him the election and said the media was “dishonest.”…

After spending more than 13 minutes listing his grievances, Trump read several numbered lists of things that he would do on his first day in office or during his first 100 days. Nearly all of the items were things that he has repeatedly promised to do, but this was the first time that he listed them in a speech….

In his speech Saturday, Trump listed more than two dozen things that he wants to do, including amending the Constitution to create term limits in Congress, renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade deals, overwriting “every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama,” and suspending immigration from “terror-prone regions.”…

Trump was joined in Gettysburg by his top two campaign aides, Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, along with former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg. As Trump spoke, Conway and Giuliani stood to the side of the stage and watched.

After his speech, Trump visited the Gettysburg National Military Park, where a small crowd of onlookers had gathered to see him.


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