Late Night Russiagate Open Thread: Sometimes It’s What Doesn’t Get Said…

The RNC discovers the sunk cost fallacy, will stop throwing good money after bad:

Trump defense lawyer John Dowd said that following payments by the Republican National Committee, the president began paying the bills and now wants to make the party “even.” The RNC confirmed it is no longer paying the bills…

Also, they’re not tearing up the IOUs until Trump’s check clears — assuming it ever arrives. Do newspaper classified columns still include those post-divorce announcements that Mr./Ms. X “will no longer be held responsible for any bills charged to [his/her] former spouse Y”?

The expenses cover personal lawyers representing Trump in special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s probe of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in last year’s election…

Special White House counsel Ty Cobb said the administration was working with others to establish a legal fund for current and former staffers. Dowd said White House counsel Don McGahn and campaign lawyer Ben Ginsberg of Jones Day are working to structure that fund, which would be subject to rules that prohibit staff from receiving gifts or pro bono legal service.

The president is exempt from those rules, Dowd said.

“The geniuses are working on it,” Dowd said. “If it passes muster with the tax lawyers and accountants, then it has to pass muster with the Office of Government Ethics.”

During former President Bill Clinton’s administration, private funds were raised to cover Clinton’s legal expenses related to the Whitewater investigation

I think we may have uncovered the spark behind last week’s BUT WHAT ABOUT TEH CLENIS!!! noisy public kabuki. It’s not as though Donald “I Am So A Billionaire” Trump could count on his base to chip in for his legal bills… and his usual donors don’t want to draw further attention to themselves.

… In August, Reuters first reported that the RNC was paying Trump’s legal bills, which amounted to more than $230,000 that month. The payments were made to Trump’s outside legal team, which includes Dowd.

Additionally, Trump’s re-election campaign paid more than $300,000 this year in bills to lawyers representing his son, Donald Trump Jr., according to public disclosures. The campaign did not respond to a request for comment on whether it will continue to pay for Trump Jr’s legal expenses…

While previous presidential campaigns have used these funds to pay for routine legal matters such as ballot access disputes and compliance requirements, Trump is the first president in the modern campaign finance era to use such funds on the costs of responding to a criminal probe, said election law experts.

Upcoming Trump tweet: Once Again I have acheived UNPRESIDENTED accomplishment!!! — not like Crooked Hillary who had to Pay for Her own … (1/x)



A Brief Interlude

I’m sitting here, belly full, in a nice, warm, clean house, with three animals on top of me and one on the floor, watching the Punisher, and I just thought I would acknowledge how good I have it and stop bitching for ten seconds.

Ok, that ten seconds is over. Fuck motherfucking Donald Trump and everyone who voted for him.

What are you all up to tonight?



Uncivil Liberties Open Thread: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III Feeling Pretty Good About His Chances

I piously hope that Mr. Mueller’s investigators are taking notes at the Federalist Society, because the Malevolent Leprechaun spelled out why he’s going to all that trouble playing Blanche DuBois in front of unsympathetic Democrats…

Sessions had a bounce in his step Friday as he took aim at “judicial activism” of judges legislating from the bench and took a moment to tick through the changes he’s made to return Justice Department to the “rule of law” in a wide-ranging speech at Federalist Society’s national convention.

“Elections really do have consequences,” Sessions said with a smile…

Despite the fact that four of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees have received a rare “not-qualified” rating by the American Bar Association and come under fire for controversial blog postings, Sessions said Trump has been appointing “extremely well-qualified” lawyers who will be “neutral umpires, calling balls and strikes.”…

“I get frustrated, too,” Sessions said, but vowed his “department will not make decisions based on politics” and will not confirm investigations to get a few “cheap headlines.”…

(Mike Luckovich via GoComics.com)
.

Per the Washington Post:

Sessions has been under fire in recent weeks for his shifting account of his and other Trump campaign aides’ dealings with Russia. On Tuesday, he spent more than five hours before the House Judiciary Committee answering questions about the matter.

Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s former ambassador to the United States, is a key figure because Sessions had long ago denied having any communications with Russians, only to have The Washington Post reveal he had twice met with Kislyak during the campaign.
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I wake up screaming

Jake Tapper used to show up here and I always respected his attitude. I didn’t always agree with his positions, but it seemed like he gave a fuck. And giving a fuck is the most important thing. I like this a lot:

Jake Tapper sometimes wakes up angry. This may be a good thing for America.

Amid the chaos of the Donald Trump presidency, and the deep partisanship that filters through seemingly all aspects of American life in 2017, Tapper is motivated by the same forces that have animated much of his career in journalism. He can’t stand hypocrisy. He can’t stand unfairness. He can’t stop talking about it.

“I recognize that it’s probably a pain in the ass for a lot of people now,” he told The Atlantic. “But it is just who I am.”

“I’m just like, I don’t want any of this to be happening,” he added. “There are so many lies and so much indecency, and I’m not only talking about President Trump. There is just a world of it exploding—and we are, I fear, as a nation, becoming conditioned and accepting of it. And it’s horrific.”








For the good times

Many of you seem like good, virtuous people. You live responsibly, making economical dishes in your slow cookers. You volunteer, you probably canvas for candidates you support, you may already be in local government in some capacity. You do all of these things even when they seem like a grind.

I’m not like that at all, unfortunately, but I spent a ton of time working with local candidates for the House and State legislature from 2006 through 2008. It was a lot of fun! It was fun because we had the winds at our back and because that was when blogging was new and exciting. I got into huge fights with other local activists, felt betrayed by a charismatic candidate who turned out to be a sex harasser (Eric Massa), and burned out on the whole experience.

The next few years are going to be like 2006-08 on steroids, though maybe “on crack” would more accurate. The generic polls have Dems up by 10 and on average Dems are outperforming Hillary 2016 by 10 points in special elections. Democrats in Virginia gained 15+ seats out of 100 in State House elections. That’s the equivalent of 65+ seats in the US House.

Things are likely to get worse for Republicans. They’re either going to fail at all attempts at major legislation or, much worse, pass wildly unpopular legislation. There will mostly likely be more indictments. Trump will probably pardon several people and/or fire Mueller. The economy is unlikely to keep going like this for another year.

The potential for Democratic gains is immense. It’s also going to be nuts, completely fucking nuts. Breitbart will be throwing crazy shit against the wall to try to tar Democratic candidates. There may be bogus DOJ investigations of Democrats. Russians will be trying to hack our elections to help Republicans, and in some cases Republicans officials will be working hand in hand with them.

It’s so exciting that I wish I could throw myself into it, but this is the busiest time of my life professionally plus we are having a baby next month. So I can’t. But you should. It’s going to be a blast. You don’t have to be the kind of person who is naturally good. You can just go into to it to have a good time. You will. Start a local blog. Have a ton of coffee or a different beverage of your choice and knock on doors. Whatever you do, it’ll make a difference. And this is probably a once in a lifetime cycle. It will make for a lifetime of good stories.








Not College Football Open Thread

I’m on my way to the beach, so I can’t post today’s matchups (image source not particularly mobile friendly). Here are some nice biscuits I made instead:

I’ll be joining my sister to watch the crappy Gators play a hopefully even crappier team. We’ll also eat unhealthy foods and possibly drink too much.

Feel free to discuss football, biscuits, beer, barbecue, whatever.








Open Thread: What Kayla Moore “Knew”

It is not, so I’ve read, uncommon for men with socially-unsanctioned sexual urges, once they approach forty, to “settle down” with a wife… who may, or may not, be aware of her spouse’s proclivities. Of course the hormones are less urgent as one ages, but just as importantly, an older man has much more to lose if his undercover activities are exposed; his credentials, his career, his network of social contacts become more valuable than the young man’s fantasy of escaping to a fresh start and a new identity. Frequently such men — such couples — become dependent, even to a cult-like degree, upon a rigid religious or ethical text that will “protect” them from the vile temptations of our sinful world. Roy Moore seems to have been a “social Christian” before his marriage; his determination to drag the rest of us into his interpretation of “Bible-based law” came with his… maturity.

Did Kayla Kisor know about her prospective husband’s dubious habits, back in 1985? She was in the same class as the woman who Roy called out of trig class to ask on a date. And she was sufficiently aware of possible embarrassment that she claimed they met at Bible study — when in reality, Roy would say that he first noticed her when she was 17 and performing at a junior college dance recital.

But what she knows now, for certain sure, is that she’s put 32 years into a fruitful working relationship, and suddenly it’s all coming undone, because Godless liberals:

“He has never one time lifted a finger to me. He is the most gentle, most kind man that I have ever known in my life. He’s godly. He’s loving — and everybody in this community knows it,” Kayla Moore, 56, said, looking around at the people gathered that night. “These are our church members, these are our family, these are our friends, these are people that know him just like I do.”

Over the past week, as several women have come forward to publicly accuse Roy Moore, 70, of pursuing them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s, Kayla Moore has become her husband’s most visible and aggressive defender. In addition to her defense on Monday night, she has used Facebook to question the credibility of her husband’s accusers, threaten lawsuits and spread information that sometimes turns out to be false…

Friends describe Kayla Moore as a deeply religious wife, mother and grandmother who has devoted her life to her family and gushes lovingly about her four children and five grandchildren. She served on the board of her husband’s Foundation for Moral Law, which he founded to promote Christian values, and then took over the nonprofit as president in January 2013, when Roy Moore was elected to a second term on the state Supreme Court.

For years, Moore has helped coordinate her husband’s political campaigns. In his race for the Senate this year, the two have traveled nearly everywhere together — with him often at the wheel as she navigates…

The FML also paid Kayla Moore a total of $195,000 over three years through 2015″, on top of Roy’s “salary of $180,000 a year for part-time work.” (And of course when she’s right by his side, it’s that much easier to be sure ol’ Roy doesn’t let his eyes or his hands wander.)
Read more



Breakfast for Dinner, The Punisher, and These Dorks

Had a great dinner- I made Gordon Ramsey’s scrambled eggs and sausage (from a farmer down the road from me), and Tammy made avocado toast, which I had never had before:

It’s very good!

I am upstairs watching the Punisher in the office with Samantha, and Tams is downstairs with Lily texting me pictures:

Clowns.

The Punisher is very good! The new detective in the show, Amber Rose Revah, is going to be a star and we are going to see her in a bunch of stuff. Mark my words!



Late Night {Face*Palm} Open Thread: Horseshoes, Clown Shoes

Why do we make the mistake of chewing on each others’ ankles, when there are “professionals” like Stoller to do that for us?

The horseshoe theory of politics states that theorists out towards the far end of opposing ideas eventually start to bend towards each other — thus, far-right authoritarians and far-left “purists” may have more in common with each other than with those of us closer to the center of the bell curve. And you didn’t even know that horses could wear clown shoes!

As for Atrios — whose post set Young Stoller off — IIRC, he’s an economist, and therefore disappointed in President Obama’s solutions to the Great Recession. I also think he’s wrong about how “history” will view Obama’s tenure. While he may have been unduly respectful of both the Republican opposition and his “centrist” so-called allies, I still think President Obama is going to end up in the Top Ten Presidents list if only for what his enemies chose to label Obamacare… among other things.



Floriduh Man to Ohio Man: Hold My Beer!

In a clear attempt to maintain Florida’s well earned status as the home of turning the crazy up to 11, a Florida Democratic Party Official has turned to his Ohio Man counterpart and said hold me beer!

From The Tampa Bay Times:

Stephen Bittel’s rocky tenure as Florida Democratic Party chairman ended in disgrace Friday after he resigned following accusations from women that he leered at them, made suggestive comments and created an unprofessional work environment.

Bittel said he is working with party leaders to set a date to elect his successor.
Elected in January after a contentious internal campaign, Bittel lasted less than a year on the job.  His departure marks the latest case of sexual impropriety shaking the state Capitol.

Bittel’s position became untenable after all four major Democratic candidates for Florida governor urged his ouster following a Politico Florida report late Thursday in which six women anonymously complained about Bittel’s behavior. They said he was “creepy” and “demeaning.” Bittel apologized, but it was not enough.

Bittel appears to have gone all out in his attempt to earn his Floriduh Man! card and keep Florida much, much stranger than Ohio.

Floriduh Man: offensive and educational!

Open thread!



You’re Not Helping Brosef

Sitting Ohio state Supreme Court Justice and soon to be former Democratic candidate for Governor Bill O’Neill:

So basically a Supreme Court Justice doesn’t know the difference between consensual sex and sexual assault/harrassment/rape. Awesome.

Heterosexuality needs no defense. It’s quite popular. But as I have said elsewhere, no one is trying to stop you from being heterosexual or a “man” or even a disgusting general pig. If you’re girlfriend or wife wants you to simulate feeling her up while wearing body armor and pretending to be asleep, go fucking crazy. We’re just trying to stop you from inflicting it on uninterested and unwilling others.



Friday Evening Open Thread: All the Turkeys



Friday Afternoon Open Thread

Saw a beautiful lady woodpecker chasing bugs on a light pole early today:

She made it to the top:

Then looked over her shoulder at the morning sun:

The end.








Even More Vapid Than Usual

This is what consultants do.

It is hard to imagine how Exxon survived Rex Tillerson. He engaged two pricey consultancies, and he didn’t even get a t-shirt out of it.

It’s possible to argue that the State Department needed some reorganization. The one substantive suggestion I’ve seen coming out of Tillerson’s shop (as distinct from the State Department) is that the number of special envoys needs to be decreased.

That’s actually a reasonable suggestion. A President sees a particular problem in foreign relations and appoints a person as special envoy to deal with it. Some are successful, some not. The existing organization is usually uneasy about them, sometimes hostile. They, or their office, may linger after the problem is no longer essential to address.

I’ve griped, mostly on Twitter, about the lack of information about this reorganization that Tillerson wants to bring about. What are his objectives? How does he plan to go about achieving them?

The State Department is not like Exxon. It is the primary governmental interface for the United States with the rest of the world, not a profit-making organization. Exxon’s objectives are much simpler: to get oil out of the ground in the cheapest way possible and sell it for the highest price possible.

That can become more complicated than the oilmen would prefer, so refineries must be built and the oil must be processed into a form that consumers want to buy. And so on. As an international corporation dealing in many types of sales in many countries, however, Exxon has a department that is not unlike the State Department in that it must learn about those countries and how to deal with them, again with much more limited objectives. So one might think that Tillerson has some sense of how the State Department works.

You might think that a proposal for a reorganization of the State Department might require as much information as is in the preceding few paragraphs, perhaps even more – that State issues passports and helps Americans abroad; that it develops the background information necessary to negotiate treaties; that it supports cultural and scientific exchanges, and more. Those functions are not the same as cost centers.

But consultants don’t even need to know that. They have apps that require only the name of the client to be input and can spit out a hash of processes, impact, execute, build, framework, and other buzzwords. “Elevate their leadership” and “appetite for change” are nice.

So look through this briefing for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. No mission statement. No description of what people actually do or are expected to do. No org chart for what the department will look like after the reorg. Thin even for what consultants do.

Does Rex Tillerson believe that this represents substance? Is he trying to BS Congress? As is so often the case in this administration, incompetence vies with maleficence.



(New) Cat Rescue Bleg – Denver Area

From commentor Hedgehog:

A friend of one of my co-workers has been keeping a couple of cats in her shop. The shop owner has told her the cats have to go. I’ve posted to all of my social media contacts but no luck. The cats are in Denver metro.

The black one, Bubby, aka Mr. Bubbles, is about 6 and has been living inside with us for 2.5 yrs. Before that, he was living in our shed as a stray. He has a very shiny, medium length, black fur with mahogany tones. He keeps himself very clean and is a pretty easy going guy. His favorite things are to sit in your lap, and to eat!

He loves attention, but is used to spending a lot of time on his own. His eyes are often a brilliant green.

The tortie is Mama, as she had 3 kittens in 1 of our sheds at a very young age. Consequently, she is on the small side. She has bunny soft fur, and only has ½ of a tail.

She was feral when I trapped her and the kittens, but she has learned to like people. She loves to be petted, and is a bit of a talker. She is about 3, and moved inside 2 winters ago. She can be a bit sassy, after all, she is a tortie, but is a very sweet girl and likes to flirt.

Both cats have been neutered. If you know anyone who would like to meet them, I’d be happy to have them come by and visit. They are both really nice cats.

They could go together, as they get along, but they are not bonded so could easily go separately.

If you know anyone who might be interested in one or both of these sweethearts, leave a comment, or email me (‘contact a front pager’ or annelaurie.bj@gmail.com) and I’ll forward your message.