Saturday Morning Open Thread: We Persist

… Because we must. From Politico:

Former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, in California as part of her 16-city book tour, said Monday that Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren will need “a high pain threshold” if they run for president in 2020 because of the way female candidates are treated.

When asked what she would say if she were advising Harris (D-Calif.) or Warren (D-Mass.) on a run for president, Clinton said she would counsel that “you have to have a high pain threshold, because the double standard is alive and well … this is endemic to our political system, to business, to the media, to every part of society. So don’t be afraid to talk about it and take it on.”

“[J]ust be prepared … to have the most horrible things said about you,’’ Clinton advised. Based on descriptions on some websites, she explained, “I’m … the most amazing serial killer you ever met.”

“There’s a particular level of vitriol, from both the right and the left, directed at women,’’ she said. “Make no mistake about that.” …

“Everyone, regardless of political parties, should be disturbed that Russian agents used Facebook and Twitter and Google to place targeted attack ads … not only to hurt my chances, but to fan the flame of divisions within our society,’’ Clinton said. But Vladimir “Putin is not just interfering in our discourse because he’s bored … he’s got a strategy,’’ she told the audience, which greeted her with wild cheers and applause. “His goal is to undermine and perhaps even destroy Western democracy itself. Their weapons of choice may not be tanks or missiles. But let’s not mince words. This is a new kind of Cold War, and they are just getting started.”

She noted that new findings show that “Russians posed as gun rights advocates,’’ civil rights advocates and LGBT activists to stir up dissent on social media sites like Facebook — and that Facebook has acknowledged it sold $100,000 worth of ads that were “seen by at least 10 million people in crucial states” like Michigan and Wisconsin — two of the states that “decided the election by razor-thin margins.”

Clinton said Russia’s hacking activities during the 2016 election, which also involved “getting into voter rolls and looking for weaknesses,’’ may be a worse transgression than Watergate. “Watergate was a good old-fashioned physical burglary’’ between political adversaries, she said. But Russia is “a foreign adversary.”

Clinton said that while some critics, even in her own party, have suggested she get off the stage and retire into private life, she has no intention of muffling her voice on such issues. “I’m going to do everything I can, going forward, as an active citizen to speak out.” …


Apart from staying strong, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Speaking of persistence:

To celebrate 100 years of women’s suffrage in the state, the Museum of the City of New York’s new exhibit focuses on New York’s contributions to the women’s rights movement. The exhibition will chronicle the struggle leading up to women’s suffrage in 1917 and through the 2016 presidential campaign. Divided into four periods, it will feature Eleanor Roosevelt’s handwritten speech from 1932, a signed Shirley Chisholm campaign poster, and one of Clinton’s pantsuits among other photos, costumes, and ephemera. The exhibit also looks to the future with an interactive installation that will prompt visitors to voice their opinions on issues women face today. Beyond Suffrage: A Century of New York Women in Politics opens this week and is on display until July 22, 2018…

Maybe a little too on-the-nose, sometimes…

EMBARGOED President Donald J. Trump’s New Strategy on Iran – And Open Thread

This seems to be the talking points for Donald Trump’s new strategy on Iran. Looks to me like lots of bluster, not going to be good for relations with Iran and probably Europe, but doesn’t destroy the nuclear agreement. And given the effectiveness of the bunch of clowns in the White House, may turn out to be a nothingburger.

It’s pretty long, so I’ll let you pull out your fave parts.

Some criticism now arriving:

Also one confirmation that the document is genuine from a person I am reasonably confident would not say that unless he knew.

I’m feeling a bit more like kittehs tonight, but this is what we’ve got. Feel free to talk about your kittehs, however.


The Nuclear Chain of Command

Donald Trump has been musing about nuclear war since the 1980s, and now he’s bringing our fears to life with his tweets against North Korea. Also, playing the role of a decisive and serious executive, he told the military back in July that he wanted to increase the US’s arsenal of nuclear weapons back to the maximum we had during the Cold War. That seems to have been the trigger for Rex Tillerson to call him a moron. Tillerson wasn’t wrong.

As always with Trump, it’s a good idea to have the facts before us. So here are some.

A president launches nuclear missiles via an electronic briefcase (“the football”) that is always at his side, carried by a service member at the O4-O5 level. That’s a major – lieutenant colonel or lieutenant commander – commander. The services rotate, and both male and female service members have been in this role. One of them made the news back in the spring of this year when he allowed Mar-a-Lago patrons to take selfies with him. Their role is to be unobtrusive and to follow orders.

Some of us have been discussing the chain of command since the election. This article contains a nice graphic that explains how a president would order a nuclear strike. Unfortunately, it’s too big to steal and insert into this post. One of the questions we had was whether the Secretary of Defense is a necessary part of the decision chain. Alex Wellerstein found documents that clearly say no: the President is the sole decider, although he may consult with others. Read more

Thursday Morning Open Thread: Thoughts & Prayers?


The news stays this bad, people are gonna revive the old superstition about the health of a nation depending on the health of its king. Given the season, Trump’s handlers should probably be suspicious of any invitations for him to visit an oak grove, Bohemian or not…


Apart from doing what we can to help those most in need, what’s on the agenda for the day?

When You’re A “Star”, They Have to Let You Do It…

Props to Mr. Crews for speaking out, because his experience is further proof: It’s not about sex for powerful predators, it’s about the rush of knowing that they can treat “the help” like pets or furniture.

Liz Meriwether, at NYMag‘s The Cut, “I’m A Coward”:

Years ago, I went to a meeting in a hotel room with a powerful man. We started talking. He asked me about my sexual past, and I laughed and told some funny stories. I expect to talk about relationships and love and sex in meetings, since that’s what I write about. It was just the way he was asking me — he was pushing for details. I was suddenly aware of how alone I was in that room. Then he pointed to the bed next to us and said, “You know there’s a bed in here.” Like a young Dorothy Parker, with eloquence and wit beyond my years, I responded: “Yeah. I see that! Cool bed, man!”

Eventually the meeting was over, and he walked me to the door of the suite. I was starting to feel relieved it was over, when he suddenly grabbed my shoulders and held me in front of the gilded hallway mirror. I couldn’t move. He was watching me through the mirror. I could barely bring my head up. He said, “Look. Look at yourself. Do you see how beautiful you are?”

It was at that moment that I did something insane. I started laughing. Like, uproariously laughing. It was not a fun laugh. It was one of those crazy, terrifying laughs. Suddenly, I was Laura Linney in an Oscar clip. I turned my head and looked at him, still laughing, and said, “This is my worst nightmare!” That must have surprised him or offended him, because then he let me go. I headed for the door, walked through the lobby of the hotel, and didn’t stop walking until I was back inside my apartment downtown. I walked the way I walk in dreams, without feeling my feet on the ground. I was buzzing. I didn’t feel real.

It must have been my fault. It must have been something I said. Was I flirting with him? I shouldn’t have told that story. I shouldn’t have gone to his hotel room. What can I do about it? Who do I tell? I don’t have enough money for a lawyer. I don’t want to suddenly become unemployable because of something he chose to do to me. Was it that big of a deal? Did I make it up? It wasn’t an assault — it was just, like, an aggressive mirror hold. There are no laws against forcing people to look at themselves in the mirror. I’m fine. I’m tough. I’m one of the guys. It was just a weird thing that happened, and now it’s over, and I’m fine. What if I said something and he stopped me from getting another job? So I made a decision: I chose to stay quiet. I kept working with him. As I said, I’m a coward…
Read more

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Maybe It’ll Get the Mango Mule’s Attention

[Warning: NSFW]

To be honest, I assume Fox News doesn’t cover the BET Awards, and so Trump won’t hear about Eminem, at least in time for his morning tweet-tantrum. But the Media Village Idiot courtiers (helloooo, Mr. Cillizza) who dance attendance on Lord Smallgloves have heard, and it’s gonna make them that little bit more uncertain about him. Kidz, these days! Who knows when they’ll turn on you? Anybody got Rex Tillerson’s booker’s number?…

Monique Judge, at the Grapevine:

On Tuesday night’s presentation of the BET Hip Hop Awards, a pre-recorded video from Oct. 6 showed Em flowing for four-and-a-half minutes on the dangers of the Trump presidency made everyone stand at attention…

Em threw the gauntlet down and told everyone to put their fists in the air and keep them there. He called out the shenanigans of Trump warring with the NFL over player protests. He told everyone that Trump is going to “lead us into a nuclear holocaust” and then “fly around in his plane until the bombs stop.”


“This is his form of distraction. Plus he gets an enormous reaction, when he attacks the NFL, so we focus on that, instead of talking Puerto Rico and gun reform for Nevada. All these horrible tragedies, and he’s bored and would rather cause a Twitter storm with the Packers,” Em seamlessly flowed acapella.

He called your president everything but a child of God, and it was magnificent…

Apart from being grateful that The Youngs are willing to take some of the weight, what’s on the agenda for the day?

(For those who don’t pay even a little attention to Michigan politics, there was some silly-season enthusiasm about car-dealer’s kid Robert ‘Kid Rock’ Richie running for Debbie Stabenow’s seat, before the enthusiasts realized it was all a publicity stunt for RR’s arena tour. Kid Rock will challenge Stabenow right after Curt Shilling successfully challenges Elizabeth Warren, and that will happen on the twelfth of Never.)

Tuesday Evening Open Thread: Somebody’s Gotta Keep the Lights On…

While the NYTimes dutifully attempts to weave a dark romance around “powerful survivor” and nativist bigot Steven Miller, Nancy Pelosi is out there fighting to defend the DREAMers (not to mention the rest of us). From the original Washington Post article quoted in the top tweet:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) dismissed President Trump’s new hard-line immigration proposals as “a complete non-starter” Monday, adding that her caucus may withhold support for must-pass spending bills later this year if Congress can’t reach agreement on how to protect “dreamers” from deportation.

“I fully intend to use every possibility” to strike a deal on the status of young immigrants protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Pelosi said. But, she added: “We’re not at that place yet. Right now, we’re trying to get Republicans to vote on what we believe.”…

On Monday, Pelosi dismissed the fresh immigration policy ideas unveiled by the White House. Based on documents released Sunday night, the Trump administration is demanding full construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, restrictions on legal immigration and a plan to curb young migrants from leaving Central American nations to cross illegally into the United States. The new proposals came after Trump last month decided to end DACA and gave Congress six months to pass a solution he could sign into law…

Pelosi said that the administration’s new plan is “un-American” and that “there’s nothing in it to negotiate because it does not have shared values of who we are as Americans. As long as we understand that, let’s go on with what we can agree on.”…


Apart from cheering NANCY SMASH!, what’s on the agenda for the evening?