I don’t know how someone can be as strong as this woman. I know how it feels to have a child in the hospital, but ours survived. I can’t imagine combining that with financial ruin. Michelle has two first graders now, and this is her website.
Read a fucking book.
mistermix has been a Balloon Juice writer since 2010.
The right thing to do on this is for all Democrats to condemn Russian interference. There are plenty of legitimate issues to bring up if Sanders isn’t your preferred candidate. One thing we know for certain is that any candidate on the debate stage on Wednesday would be terrible for Putin, especially compared to the current occupant of the White House.
In a reversal, former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg said Friday he will permit his company to release women who have accused him of sexual harassment from three non-disclosure agreements, after increasing pressure from his fellow presidential candidates.
Bloomberg also said that, after “a lot of reflecting,” he would not offer confidential agreements to resolve sexual misconduct claims going forward.
“I recognize that NDAs, particularly when they are used in the context of sexual harassment and sexual assault, promote a culture of silence in the workplace and contribute to a culture of women not feeling safe or supported,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
Bloomberg said the company has identified three non-disclosure agreements this would pertain to, and that if they’d like to speak about their allegations they may ask for a release.
Perhaps I’m cynical, but I’m doubting that there were only three. I mean, we all know that there were “a very few,” but I’m thinking two digits, minimum.
He has the best consultants money can buy. I was listening to Pod Save America’s debate review today, and they were pointing out that Bloomberg’s performance reflected a stubborn candidate who didn’t listen to the best consultants money can buy. To quote a song Betty might like, “Quizás, Quizás, Quizás” (Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps). My alternate theory is that, just maybe, the “best consultants money can buy” aren’t that good. This little gambit sure doesn’t seem like a genius move, but I guess even the best can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit.
This story was on the TPM morning reading list:
But in some places, the four-day concept is taking off like a viral meme. Many employers aren’t just moving to 10-hour shifts, four days a week, as companies like Shake Shack are doing; they’re going to a 32-hour week — without cutting pay. In exchange, employers are asking their workers to get their jobs done in a compressed amount of time.
Last month, a Washington state senator introduced a bill to reduce the standard workweek to 32 hours. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is backing a parliamentary proposal to shift to a four-day week. Politicians in Britain and Finland are considering something similar.
I went to the grocery store this morning, since I work from home and have a flexible schedule, and it’s a big hassle to go when everyone else is out of work. It’s school break week here in Rochester, so a lot of kids were shopping with both of their parents, which of course isn’t the case on school days. The younger kids were just loving life: no school, and time with Mom and Dad, a very precious commodity when both parents work 40 hour weeks. It’s even worse for children of parents who have to work multiple jobs because of the shitty low wages and crap benefits.
In our robot manufacturing and service economy future, less time worked for more pay, and semi-skilled jobs that pay enough so only one parent has to work, would mean that we would have enough jobs to go around, and that parents could spend more time with their kids. But it’s kind of like a Presidential candidate saying he or she is an atheist, or perhaps even worse, for one of them to say we all need to work less. How would the Waltons and Jeff Bezos survive if they paid their employees more for less work? It’s simply unimaginable.
Trump didn’t like an actual-factual professional at acting DNI, because he told the truth:
A senior U.S. intelligence official told lawmakers last week that Russia wants to see President Trump reelected, viewing his administration as more favorable to the Kremlin’s interests, according to people who were briefed on the comments.
After learning of that analysis, which was provided to House lawmakers in a classified hearing, Trump grew angry at his acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, in the Oval Office, seeing Maguire and his staff as disloyal for speaking to Congress about Russia’s perceived preference. The intelligence official’s analysis and Trump’s furious response ruined Maguire’s chances of becoming the permanent intelligence chief, according to people familiar with the matter who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter.
So instead we get another clown, Richard Grennell, Ambassador to Germany and FoxNews asslicker for Trump. This guy is so qualified that he’s going to be acting DNI and keep his current job. I’m not surprised by that because incompetent managers like Trump like having one or two “go to” guys for everything, because figuring out who’s in charge of what is too difficult for them.
I think Jennifer Rubin has been right about a lot of things in the Trump era, but she’s pretty wrong on this one. Her post-debate column barely mentions Warren, naming Biden (!?!) and Buttigieg (!?!) as the winners. Were she and I watching the same debate?
As we go forward, a bunch of never-Trumpers who have DC sinecures are going to lecture Democrats on who can win, why they can win, how they can win and so forth. We would be stupid to listen to them. Even if their advice is given sincerely (and I think in Rubin’s case, it is), their feelers are tuned to feel what an ever-shrinking group of moderate Republicans feel. In the real world, a lot of those moderate Republicans are already going to pull the lever for Trump because they can’t stomach voting for a Democrat. Some of them are going to vote for whichever Democrat makes the ticket (James Joyner at OTB is a good example). The rest of them may or may not vote. Rubin, Rick Wilson, David Frum and others like them just don’t represent a big enough constituency to be bothered about what they say. They’re great at criticizing Trump, but not so good on helping Democrats pick a candidate to beat him.
Most of the first hour of last night’s debate consisted of each candidate taking a shit on Michael Bloomberg, and Elizabeth Warren aiming a shit cannon at him. I’ve watched a lot of debates, and I’ve never seen someone own a debate like Warren. She absolutely devastated Bloomberg in the exchange on non-disclosure agreements. When Warren — who was appropriately aggressive in demanding talk time — wasn’t speaking, one of the other candidates chipped in and threw a shot at Bloomberg. She looked strong, she looked smart, she was nimble, and she could beat Trump. A bravura performance.
As anyone could have predicted, Bloomberg was weak for the first hour because he hadn’t been debating on national TV for a year. He also came off, as predicted, like an out-of-touch plutocrat at times. His only moments of strength were when he was making technocratic points on areas of policy that he’s focused on, like climate change. “I am a manager,” the start of his closing pitch, couldn’t motivate a dog to walk across the kitchen floor to pick up a steak. His massive ability to advertise might stitch up some of the damage inflicted on him last night, but his electability argument took a big hit with the legitimate criticisms on stop-and-frisk, the mortgage crisis, and his issues with women. Referring to Warren as “the Senator standing next to me” was a moment where he took a massive hammer and drove home the nail that, despite his protests to the contrary, he has a big problem with women.
Klobuchar wasn’t as good as she was in New Hampshire. She seemed a little shaken in the first hour, and in the second hour, her pure, white-hot hatred for Pete was on full display, and the longest exchange they had didn’t do either of them any favors. However, it was some good TV, and Pete is lucky that she didn’t have a stapler on her podium. Unfortunately, she didn’t have a good moment when the Telemundo moderator asked her about forgetting the President of Mexico’s name, and that moderator had a good follow-up on Latin American policy that wasn’t kind to her, either.
Pete didn’t miss an opportunity to criticize anyone on the stage, to a fault. He often pivoted at the end of a response to criticize someone else. No nit was too small to pick for Pete, and I thought Warren made him look small when she defended Klobuchar for forgetting AMLO’s name after he had gloated over remembering it. He also continues to rely on platitudes. In his defense, as someone who has a message of unity and being an alternative to divisive politics, it’s hard to look good in the Bloomberg pile on that had to happen last night.
Bernie took a few more hits than he did in New Hampshire, but I don’t know if they did any real damage. One of the issues with attacking Sanders is that he’s held the same positions since Jesus was a baby, so when he gets attacked, he has a ready answer. What else is there to say about a completely known quantity? He profited from everyone’s desire to dunk on Bloomberg, because in another debate, they’d be dunking on him. It looked like Jane went to the Burligton Costco and got him a new shirt and tie after reading my assessment that he was dressed like a 1980’s business traveler in the last debate.
Biden was weaker than the last debate. He suffers from the need to pack 10 things into a period of time that can only accommodate 5. I don’t think I’m talking about his stuttering – I’m talking about him starting a sentence, and then driving off to make a point that may or may not be related, then going back to the topic at hand, then going somewhere else. He made a lot of statements about all the foreign leaders he knows, which I think is weak sauce. There were very few “Good Old Joe Biden” moments.
I realize this is sounding a bit like movie criticism, but with the combination of the need of the candidates to tamp down Bloomberg, and the “hey let’s you and you fight” questions from the (mostly, and predictably) awful moderators, it was a pretty fighty and shouty affair. If you haven’t watched it, I can’t really over-emphasize how Warren took over. In the last debate, she was really good at staying on message, and articulating her programs. In this debate, she wasn’t as concerned about staying on message. Instead, she showed us that she was the best lawyer on the stage – she was on message where appropriate, and attacked when necessary. I thought her run down of why she could win rather than every other candidate was well done. She was gracious while Pete was petty. She was confident and composed while Klobuchar seemed a little shaken. She was coherent and focused while Biden rambled. She was a capitalist while Bernie was defending socialism. She was deft while Bloomberg was clumsy. I hope it does her some good, because she deserves it.
Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a pardon if he would say Russia was not involved in leaking Democratic party emails, a court in London has been told.
The extraordinary claim was made at Westminster magistrates court before the opening next week of Assange’s legal battle to block attempts to extradite him to the US.
Dana Rohrabacher supposedly passed the message to Assange, so who knows what really happened.
I know that Betty posted something about Bloomberg below, but I had this written up already, and it’s from a different angle, so consider it an open thread:
Either you examine the skin of the elephant in the room, or you ignore it. Let’s take a look at two things about Bloomberg:
First thing: Bloomberg says he’s going to sell his company if elected. The proceeds will go to his charity. Better than Trump, but Bloomberg has different goals than Trump. Trump is a not-really billionaire who wants to make money directly from the Presidency. Bloomberg is a real-deal billionaire who wants to advance his agenda and keep people from saying mean things about him. He’s already shown that his big contributions will keep nonprofits in line. His charity will do the dirty work for him if he’s elected, and that would be ugly.
Second thing: With Sanders now holding down a pretty good lead in the national polls (9+ points), surging in Nevada, showing momentum in South Carolina, and looking like a lock in California, everyone on that stage except for Bernie and Bloomberg have a very difficult mission: hit Bloomberg and hit Sanders. They need to show that Bloomberg is weaker than his ads, and that Sanders has serious issues that make him a bad choice as a general election candidate.
When you have six debaters, five moderators (including Lester Holt and Chuck Toddler, bleagh), and two hours, things are going to be bad for the back of the pack. The moderators will probably lavish the new hotness, Bloomberg, with attention and softball questions. Warren might get to say her name, once, and Klobuchar might get out a sentence if she interrupts someone.
Bloomberg and Sanders are the only candidates that are free to do much tonight. Sanders has that freedom because he’s ahead. Bloomberg has that freedom because of his money — he doesn’t have to worry that donors will drop off if he screws the pooch tonight. If Bernie and Mike are smart, and neither of them are dummies, they’ll both pivot from attacks on them to attacks on Trump. They will look like general election candidates, and feed the base the red meat that they really want: meat that’s topped with a MAGA hat.
This is what’s going to hurt the other candidates: they must attack to distinguish themselves and bat down the front-runner and the media darling. But in doing so, they aren’t going to show how they can beat Trump.
That’s a long way of saying the second thing about Bloomberg, so let me restate: he fucks up the debates because this would be the natural time for a Bernie-alternative to stand out in a debate performance. But his presence prohibits that from happening, unless he’s to be that alternative. I think Warren could fit that spot, but good luck to her making that happen in tonight’s shit show.
Another factor is that if I’m Amy Klobuchar, I have to at least considered the position of VP to Bloomberg. She seems to me to be the obvious choice: Midwesterner, female, young and healthy, tough as nails. I have too much respect for Klobuchar to think she would pull punches, but I also have too much respect to think that she’s not considered and even planned for the possibility of VP Amy.
I hope all none of the Bill Barr fans in the audience are sitting down, because there was a WaPo news alert last night that you might have missed:
Attorney General William P. Barr has told people close to President Trump — both inside and outside the White House — that he is considering quitting over Trump’s tweets about Justice Department investigations, three administration officials said, foreshadowing a possible confrontation between the president and his attorney general over the independence of the Justice Department.
Almost every word of this is bullshit:
- Nobody is “close to” President Trump. He has no close advisors – he just have people who do his bidding, try to manipulate him, or try to curry his favor.
- There’s no “administration” – there is no “White House” as it was conceived by journalists in the past, something Jay Rosen is constantly pointing out.
- Barr is considering quitting in the same way that I’m considering flying to the moon on a spaceship made of spun unicorn hair and hobbit spit.
- A “confrontation” between Trump and Barr over the “independence” of the Justice Department is impossible, because you need to have a disagreement to have a confrontation, and both of those guys are in violent agreement about the role of Justice in enabling Trump to do whatever the fuck he wants.
This is just noise, but every day the noise is different. The four (!) reporters bylined on this story just live in a box that won’t allow them to admit the obvious truth that Barr is fully on board with whatever Trump wants. So, we have this “breaking” news that just shows us that the DC media is broken.
A few minutes ago, Judge Amy Berman-Jackson denied a motion to delay Roger Stone’s sentencing hearing after he decided, after the fact, that having a black, female Democrat as the foreperson of his jury was bad and moved for a new trial. Trump has been stinking up Twitter all morning, decrying the unfairness of having a black, female Democrat on one’s jury. If only we could go back to the good old days when only white men could be on juries, because only white men could vote.
Trump should just pardon Stone and get it over with, but I guess he’s building a white resentment case for the forever-whining MAGA hat snowflakes whose special God-given privileges are always being taken away by people of color who have the temerity to expect the same rights, privileges and respect as a white person.
The answer to the question “Has Trump Gone Too Far?” has been a resounding “no” for the last three years, but this is interesting:
The head of the Federal Judges Association is taking the extraordinary step of calling an emergency meeting to address the intervention in politically sensitive cases by President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr.
U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe, the Philadelphia-based judge who heads the voluntary association of around 1,100 life-term federal judges, told USA Today that the issue “could not wait.” The association, founded in 1982, ordinarily concerns itself with matters of judicial compensation and legislation affecting the federal judiciary.
I think anyone who thinks that Barr will quit over this is living on the edge of reality, but I guess it could happen if the federal judiciary has a quiet revolt led by a GWB appointee.
According to the legal experts on Twitter (ha!), Stone has no case for a new trial since the juror disclosed that she had run for office as a Democrat in the past, and his crack(head) legal team didn’t bump her from the jury. But those same legal experts also say that Stone will probably be able to delay going into the hoosegow while his appeal is active. So, good news for Roger, I guess.
We all know how a right-winger’s book becomes a bestseller – it’s just another form of wingnut welfare. Bolton clearly won’t get a handout this time, so he’s gonna need to raise the cash to buy his T-bones and flat screens the old-fashioned way, by shilling his book. Unfortunately for him, since our democracy hangs in the balance, I don’t think this act will work:
When asked if Trump’s infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky was as “perfect” as Trump insists, Bolton merely responded, “You’ll love chapter 14.”
He gave a similar answer when the moderator asked him how he dealt with Trump’s bonkers press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018, during which Trump refused to condemn Russia’s election interference and instead attacked the U.S.’ own intelligence community.
“I could read a chapter from my book here and give you the answer to that question,” Bolton teased. […]
Bolton complained about Trump’s attacks on Monday night.
“He tweets, but I can’t talk about it,” he grumbled. “How fair is that?”
Go away and take your mustache of sadness and betrayal with you, you cowardly grifter.
I mean, it’s been almost a week since Ted Cruz whined about an Alabama “forced vasectomy” bill and nobody has posted to make fun of him. Sometimes I think we’re losing our touch. Anyway, the long and short of it (in Ted’s case, almost certainly, the short of it), is that an Alabama state rep, Rolanda Hollis, introduced a bill that would force men to have vasectomies when they reach age 50. This is the counterpart to a stupid Alabama anti-abortion bill that was struck down last Fall, as well as all the other stupid publicity stunt bills that Republican state legislators introduce all the time.
Why should Republicans have a lock on these stunts? The simple answer, as Ted’s news release that pushed this story into the our collective inboxes shows, is that they shouldn’t. Sometimes, when you fight stupid with stupid, you make your point, especially if an asshole like Ted picks up on it.
Wonkette has a good run down on the whole thing that’s worth a read as a pleasant diversion.
My only comment is that men are such weaklings about this little operation, and it doesn’t surprise me one bit that faux tough guy Cruz chose this stunt bill to whine about. Women, who already shoulder all the risks of a sometimes deadly act (reproduction), are expected to shoulder all the work and risk of birth control*, according to guys who are too chickenshit to have a short, low risk, at worst slightly painful procedure that is done under local anesthetic. Fuck those guys, really. Or if you’re a woman with one of them, don’t fuck ’em. (I actually knew a woman who did that to get her point across.)
* Yes, I know condoms exist. Still, are you going to tell me that Ted Cruz and his ilk would use one without whining like a pissy little baby? Damn right you’re not going to tell me that, because it isn’t fucking true.
My God, this little tidbit from a story in Politico about the Nevada Caucus is the opposite of hallelujah (not linking to Politico, read it via LGM):
Party officials scrambled to streamline their vote reporting system — settling on Google forms accessible through a saved link on the iPads — after scrapping a pair of apps they’d been planning to use until a similar app caused the fiasco in Iowa two weeks ago.
Again, any process that runs once every four years is really hard to test, and therefore a major technological and human factors challenge. Add to that the fact that it is a new process that someone dreamed up in a couple of weeks, which has to be executed by harried, poorly trained volunteers, and you have a failure waiting to happen. At least they’re using iPads that they control, and Google Forms probably won’t shit the bed on caucus night, but other than that, Titanic II.
Some kind of verified (multiply witnessed) paper record, along with a process to call the results in to a phone bank, and a pre-stamped envelope to send that record to the party via certified/registered/whatever mail, is the right technology for a caucus. But that just avoids the obvious fact that the right solution for picking a candidate of a party is a fucking primary election.
Atrios posted this clip today and I decided to listen to it instead of relying on the summary. It’s somewhat out of context – it sounds like Bloomberg is in the middle of giving a short history of work, starting with farming, moving to the industrial revolution, and ending with the information age. His point was that most of the work done today requires a lot more skill than farming 300 years ago.
This is just bog-standard business conference stuff. Does he sound a little condescending? Yeah. Is this going to sink his battleship? Probably not.
Just as pure political strategy, I think attacking stuff like this for being “out of touch” is a political mistake. If you get this riff into context, Bloomberg probably has some solution that may or may not work to address the legitimate issue of what to do about an economy where a lot of people are locked out due to lack of technical skills. My guess is that his solution was unworkable, but he’s identifying a problem that resonates in “the heartland” — high tech skills and high tech jobs are few and far between in rural areas.
Frankly, the answer to this problem that is sometimes given by “moderate” Democrats’ – turning miners or assembly line workers into coders or network engineers – is just as vacuous as most of the conversations at business conferences. I spent a lot of time in “the heartland” last year, and the only “coder” I saw was when I looked into the mirror, because there are essentially no coding jobs in rural areas. What I did see was two paramedics in their late 50’s or early 60’s, men who had other jobs prior to retraining, who were now working in the only technical field in most rural areas, medicine. There were also a lot of nurses and aides, and home health care workers. Those home health care workers worked for agencies charging what, for that rural area, is a lot of money (like $25-35/hr), but I doubt that the aides saw a fraction of that. I also saw closed down nursing homes, and families struggling to take care of their elderly parents and grandparents at home when they really should have been in an assisted living facility or a nursing home.
A solution that really could help these rural areas is a huge infusion of money into Medicaid (which pays for most nursing home care, in the end), more assistance to pay for home health aides, and adding a requirement that aides and paraprofessionals be paid a much better wage. Then, retraining programs could be for medical jobs that actually exist in rural America, not IT jobs that exist in New York. But if you stand in front of a bunch of unemployed farmers or factory workers and tell them that, they’ll think you’re trying to sell them crappy jobs, because, today, those jobs don’t pay shit, and they’ve seen a lot of those jobs leave town.
The information economy is real, but so is the healthcare economy. The biggest employer in a lot of small towns is the hospital and/or nursing home — if they’re lucky enough to still have one or both of those facilities. That’s the reality in the heartland. Maybe Democrats could start addressing that if they want to win over a few voters in those places.
There’s plenty of other stuff that Bloomberg is terrible on – just attack him on that.