Russiagate Open Thread: Russian Oligarchs and Their Money

Mueller’s team is now questioning at least three Russian oligarchs on whether they donated money to Donald Trump’s campaign.

The approach to Russian oligarchs in recent weeks may reflect that Mueller’s team has already obtained records or documents that it has legal jurisdiction over and can get easily, one source said, and now it’s a “wish list” to see what other information they can obtain from Russians entering the US or through their voluntary cooperation.

Mueller really does love to meet people at the airport. His people stopped two of the Russians as they arrived.

In January, FBI agents stopped and questioned George Nader, a Middle East specialist, when he arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport….

Ted Malloch, a self-described informal Trump campaign adviser, last week issued a statement saying he was stopped in Boston when returning from an international trip by FBI agents who took his cellphone and questioned him about Republican political operative Roger Stone and WikiLeaks.

George Papadopoulos, too, if I recall correctly. Read more

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Fifty Years On

(Mike Luckovich via

From the Washington Post, “King was unpopular and demoralized before he died. He pressed on anyway.”:

In our long effort to moderate King, to make him safe, we have forgotten how unpopular he had become by 1968. In his last years, King was harassed, dismissed and often saddened. These years after Selma are often dealt with in a narrative rush toward martyrdom, highlighting his weariness. But what is missed is his resilience under despair. It was when his plans faltered under duress that something essential emerged. The final period of King’s life may be exactly what we need to recall, bringing lessons from that time of turmoil to our time of disillusion.

Celebrating the march out of Selma, Ala., and his early prophetic optimism made sense in the heady Obama years. Now, we need King’s determined faithfulness.

Once refusing to get on a flight in 1967, King called his wife, Coretta, from the airport saying, “I get tired of going and not having any answers.” His opposition to the Vietnam War cost him support. At a time of emerging Black Power, King’s dream of integration and nonviolence seemed to many insufficient, almost passé. Yet he died still trying to confront “the evil triplets,” how “racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together.”

A week before his assassination, King told performer and activist Harry Belafonte that he worried the civil rights movement was “integrating into a burning house.” But when Belafonte asked what they should do, King replied, “I guess we’re just going to have to become firemen.” As he fought to be heard, to still be relevant, King’s determination awed those close to him, even as they feared for his emotional and physical welfare….

Fifty years later, it would look too familiar to the King of 1968 to see our continued economic inequality, hawkishness, backlash to civil rights gains, and racist violence from Charleston to Charlottesville. His response then was to resist exhaustion from the deluge of issues and to enlarge his work instead, hold firm his insistence.

Every era finds the King it needs. The version we need now is a King who pressed on through doubt to see a radical vision, as we must find one to match the challenges we face. King ran out of certainty but never faith.

Locked him up

One down… many to go

I will defer to Adam and Cheryl for analysis.

Open Thread

Open Thread: Happy Easter / April Fools Day, 2018!


On the other hand, this is what Christian Easter is supposed to convey…

“Holy Saturday” Open Thread: Conservatives Don’t Really Care for Easter


All vernal equinox festivals tend to celebrate the new, the young, and the throwing off of outworn properties to make way for fresh growth — things bound to raise hives on conservative hides at the best of times. But to those rightwingers raised in the Christian tradition, where Easter is (believe it or not!) the most sacred Holy Day, it’s gotta be especially irksome. Scripture preaches that the literal embodiment of the One True Father God allowed himself to be captured, manhandled, and murdered by the government. Bad enough that the totally-within-their-rights civil authorities and their licensed security thugs should be cast as being on the wrong side… however can they reconcile this “Prince of Peace” pussified Jesus with the Flaming Sword Wrongness Punisher of their hearts’ desire?

(Of course, my own understanding here was strongly influenced by parochial school nuns who put a lot of stress on the deliberate pacifism of Easter Week, for reasons. In 1968/72, explaining to a bunch of sullen teenagers who considered their NORAID donor buttons the height of political correctness that St. Peter deserved to be rebuked for whipping out his sword at Gethsemane can’t have been easy.)

Modern pop culture isn’t easy for our ‘conservative’ opposites to enjoy, either — every time they think they’ve found a good violent shoot-em-up to applaud, mouthy Lie-brals start pointing out how ‘oppressed young special-needs minority types’ are shown more sympathetically than ‘the duly appointed legal authorities’. But ya gotta give them points for trying!

Open Thread: Graphically Against Gunhumpers

(Jack Ohman via

Hard politicals times are an inspiration for gifted political cartoonists…

( via

(Jim Morin via

(Tom Toles via

(Drew Sheneman via

(Matt Davies via

Open Thread: All the Privacy You Can Buy, Citizen!

(Reminder: Schooley writes cartoon shows for a living. Yes, it’s a joke!)

Now, *this* is depressing: Tim Cook is happy to tell us that privacy — like clean water, decent health care, education, and so many other valuable commodities — is just another luxury good…

Speaking at a town hall event hosted by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and Recode’s Kara Swisher, Cook said Facebook put profits above all else when it allegedly allowed user data to be taken through connected apps. The event is part of MSNBC’s “Revolution” series.

When asked what he would do if he were in Zuckerberg’s position, Cook replied: “What would I do? I wouldn’t be in this situation.”

“The truth is we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer, if our customer was our product,” Cook said. “We’ve elected not to do that.”…

Of course, Apple’s already made such ‘tons of money’ selling to “discerning” customers that its biggest problem is not drawing undue attention from government authorities, so Mr. Cook can afford to look down his nose at penny-an-ad barrel-scrapers like Zuckerberg…