Late Night Russiagate Sidebar Open Thread: Beyond His Skill Set

I think Dana Houle is right — as much of a gift as it must have seemed at the time, the mainstream media’s cossetting of Sanders’ 2016 campaign did him no favors over the long term. Between their long-term baseless hatred of HRC, her campaign’s unwillingness to be (further) labelled as ‘divisive’ and ‘anti-progressive’, and the Putin regime’s covert thumb on the scales, the old man never had to stretch himself. He could trundle happily around the country, demanding the Democrats fund his private planes and top-line venues, preening for more cameras than he’d ever drawn, repeating his greatest hits (bankstahs! bill-yanayahs!) in front of adoring audiences. When he confronted genuine opposition (like those BLM activists in Seattle), or was challenged to explain his policies (consider the Daily News fiasco), he did so very poorly — but those shabby little failures were easy to overlook in the non-stop rush of Trump-Mania and But Her Emails!!! “news”. And he never *did* have to address any other-than-hagiographic stories from his own past. Now he seems to be revving up for another national campaign… and he’s already showing how very little he’s learned from the last one…

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Repub Venality Open Thread: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, Still A Monster

While everyone was busy gawking at the noisier acts in Donny Dollhand’s Thirteen-Ring Circus, the Malevolent Leprechaun decided to cosplay Marcus Welby, M.D. The current uptick in white suburban narcotic deaths doesn’t change the party line for Sessions’ biggest fans: Addicts are weak-willed parasites, led down the wrong path by swarthy drug cartels and shuffling ghetto drug pushers!

For the rebuttal, Julia Lurie at Mother Jones:

At a Heritage Foundation event celebrating Ronald Reagan’s birthday this week, Jeff Sessions made a familiar argument: Easy access to marijuana is helping fuel the opioid epidemic. The Drug Enforcement Agency says that the vast majority of heroin addiction starts with prescription painkillers, he acknowledged, but “We think a lot of this is starting with marijuana and other drugs, too.”

Accordingly, last month, Sessions rescinded the Obama-era guidance to deprioritize prosecuting dispensaries in states that had legalized marijuana.

But a growing body of evidence suggests that legal access to medical marijuana could in fact help reduce overdose deaths. The latest study, published by the RAND Corporation this week, found that states that allowed liberal access to marijuana through legally protected dispensaries saw reduced deaths from opioid overdoses. States that legalized the drug but didn’t allow dispensaries didn’t see the same pattern.

Among states with dispensaries, those that legalized medical marijuana before 2010 saw larger reductions in opioid deaths than those that legalized it afterwards. The authors hypothesize that’s because the late adopters tend to have more stringent rules that make it harder to get marijuana, requiring patients to take additional steps such as registering with the state or repeatedly seeing a doctor to confirm a need for medical marijuana. (The researchers examined state-level data from 1999 to 2013, so weren’t able to gauge the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana altogether.) “The key feature of medical marijuana law that facilitates a reduction in overdose rates is a relatively liberal allowance for dispensaries,” the researchers concluded…

Lest We Forget Russiagate Open Thread: Hey, What About Those “Sanctions”?

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Open Thread: Getting Harder & Harder to “Protect” Granpa Trump

Note the timestamp — he wasn’t sundowning, this was early afternoon.

Is there a DC-area hotline for elder abuse? Because the Repubs would seem to be determined to ignore the old man’s openly stated wishes…

Seriously, though: Our “president” can’t make a coherent statement about one of the top priorities he’s just been prepped to discuss on camera, and the GOP is totally fine with that.

Fire&Fury-gate Open Thread: COMPLICIT

Michelle Goldberg, in the NYTimes, “Everyone in Trumpworld Knows He’s an Idiot”:

There are lots of arresting details in the book. We learn that the administration holds special animus for what it calls “D.O.J. women,” or women who work in the Justice Department. Wolff writes that after the white supremacist mayhem in Charlottesville, Va., Trump privately rationalized “why someone would be a member of the K.K.K.” The book recounts that after the political purge in Saudi Arabia, Trump boasted that he and Kushner engineered a coup: “We’ve put our man on top!”

But most of all, the book confirms what is already widely understood — not just that Trump is entirely unfit for the presidency, but that everyone around him knows it. One thread running through “Fire and Fury” is the way relatives, opportunists and officials try to manipulate and manage the president, and how they often fail. As Wolff wrote in a Hollywood Reporter essay based on the book, over the past year, the people around Trump, “all — 100 percent — came to believe he was incapable of functioning in his job.”…

And yet these people continue to either prop up or defend this sick travesty of a presidency. Wolff takes a few stabs at the motives of Trump insiders. Ivanka Trump apparently nurtured the ghastly dream of following her father into the presidency. Others, Wolff writes, told themselves that they could help protect America from the president they serve: The “mess that might do serious damage to the nation, and, by association, to your own brand, might be transcended if you were seen as the person, by dint of competence and professional behavior, taking control of it.”…
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Late Night Open Thread: Collateral, DAMAGED!

All those toilsome years of HRClinton-bashing, followed by eighteen months of gently nurturing the hothouse flower of Lord Smallgloves’ self-esteem, and some celebrity raconteur blows the whole thing sky-high. OH THE SIMULACRA-OF-HUMANITY!

Let’s Do Something For The Real Forgotten Men and Women of the US: Toys For Puerto Rico

Despite the President’s and the White House’s Spokeswoman’s Office constantly harping on the forgotten men and women of America (aka the same cranky white conservatives that everyone has been pandering to for over 200 years), there are actually real forgotten Americans. They live in Puerto Rico. Many (most?) still don’t have reliable power and won’t for several more months. And since the GOP controlled Congress is happy to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit for corporate and affluent tax relief and to further screw Puerto Ricans over by treating it as not part of the US for import purposes, but not to actually properly provide for the general welfare of US citizens that live in Puerto Rico, let alone any other US citizens that aren’t wealthy, the rest of us have to step up.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, an example of someone who is doing an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice, has taken the initiative to make sure the children of Puerto Rico have as merry a Christmas as possible. Puerto Ricans traditionally give gifts on the Feast Day of the Three Kings/Dia de los Tres Reyes, which is on 6 January. So he’s been pushing Toys for Puerto Rico, as well as Unidos: Disaster Relief and Recovery Program to Support Puerto Rico.

Chef Jose Andres and his colleagues are still going above and beyond trying to feed all the Puerto Ricans in need.

Here’s the link to World Central Kitchen’s page.

I know someone here is always asking you all for money. Usually it is Doug! using ActBlue to actually pay for his new kid’s college fund er, um, fund Democratic candidates. And that is very important. But too many of our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico have lost almost everything and with all the other meshugas going on they’ve largely dropped off the news media and political radar. So if you can afford to help make sure a girl or boy in Puerto Rico has something to brighten their holiday or to help make sure they and their family get a hot meal or necessary disaster relief, please pitch in.

And for those in the path of the bomb cyclone – stay warm, stay safe!

Open thread!