Friday Morning Open Thread: Because Those Sheets Would Never Be the Same

Poor little Charlottesville (so close to DC, so far from… the concrete canyon haunts of scary urban types, ifyouknowwhatimeanandithinkyoudo) is not looking forward to the weekend. Per the SPLC:

Hundreds of Alt-Right activists and white nationalist extremists are set to descend on the small community of Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday in what’s shaping up to be the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States.

“Unite the Right” is expected to draw a broad spectrum of far-right extremist groups – from immigration foes to anti-Semitic bigots, neo-Confederates, Proud Boys, Patriot and militia types, outlaw bikers, swastika-wearing neo-Nazis, white nationalists and Ku Klux Klan members – all of whom seem emboldened by the Trump presidency…

Those Out’n’Proud racists better bring their RVs and camper tops, because I am happy to note that the local Airbnb is not sympathetic. Per the Washington Post:

As city leaders worked Monday trying to defuse an increasingly tense situation, the lodging rental company Airbnb quietly booted users who it believed were searching for lodging to attend the rally.

The company confirmed they had taken action in a statement to NBC29: “When through out background check processes or from input of our community we identify and determine that there are those who would be pursuing behavior on the platform that would be antithetical to the Airbnb Community Commitment, we seek to take appropriate action including, as in this case, removing them from the platform.”

That stance didn’t sit well with the rally’s organizer, Jason Kessler.

“This is outrageous and should be grounds for a lawsuit,” Kessler told The Washington Post on Monday night. “It’s the racial targeting of white people for their ethnic advocacy.”…

What a fragile snowflake. To quote my Orange-bred granny: Go boil yer head, it might be useful then [as cabbage soup].

Much more on the proposed rally and counter rallies here, here, and here — in the NYTimes:

[T]he rally’s leaders have complained in their social media posts of a “heckler’s veto,” saying that the counter-protests are effectively censoring their free speech rights.

“There is just an incredible amount of discrimination from the city government and other elements of the community to keep people from eating at the restaurants they want to eat at, to keep people from renting,” Mr. Kessler said. “There’s just an enormous amount of hostility.”

Asked if he was surprised by the pushback, he said, “I think that I’m surprised by the venom and rancor from some individuals. It’s a little over the top.”

***********
Apart from hoping the bigots are seized by a great confusion & fright causing them to turn on each other with the same rancor, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the week?



Open Thread: Worst. Reboot. EVER!

Because nothing can be original any more, Ollie North emerges from his cushy right-wing cave and tries to promote a false equivalence between Donald Trump and… Thomas Jefferson. FDR. Even Ronald Reagan would reject the comparison! — he may have been a cynical mouthpiece for a bunch of greedy oligarchs, and sinking into organic dementia, but at least he was a professional. His meanest critics would admit that Reagan never shirked the less pleasant aspects of his White House job, always hit his camera marks, and mouthed the lines he was given with sincerity.

Ours is a coarser era, and Russia a rather more potent enemy; I suspect that even some portion of the Fox-News-addled “base” will be quick to turn on Trump as soon as it’s obvious he’s not going to “win” against a grand jury. Heel to hero back to heel — professional “reality” infotainment at its finest!

…. Oh, look, another needy has-been from the RWNJ swamps!…



Must Have Been The Brown Acid…

ETA: Given Betty’s post immediately below, this should settle any last doubts that this blog is not a member of any organized political party…(a gazillion quatloos to all those (many here) who nod to the illustrious forebear who put that opening to such good use).  I’ll leave this one up for the Rose-Mary Woods photo, which is worth the price of admission. But Betty got there first in all the relevant detail, so that’s where I’m heading for the fun of the discussion.)

———————————–

…the flashbacks seem so real.

At 8:32 this morning, the usurper occupying the Oval Office tweeted this:

I have several reactions.

First, this:

(For all you kids out there, that’s Nixon’s secretary, Rose Mary Woods, demonstrating how she managed to “accidentally” create an eighteen minute gap in the Oval Office tapes, perfectly placed to eliminate some very interesting discussion of Watergate matters.)*

Second: A question for the legal minds here:  Bob Bauer has an interesting piece over at the Lawfare Blog assessing where Trump has reached on the obstruction of justice spectrum, clearly written before the shitgibbon released the tweet at the top of this post.  He argues (as I, a non-lawyer, read him) that there is an emerging fact pattern consistent with obstruction, but further focused inquiry would be needed to generate an actual case.  So, does this new tweet, explicitly threatening a potential witness in such an obstruction, advance the argument that the president is engaged in an actual, legally-jeopardizing attempt at obstruction?

Third: “Subpoena” has such a lovely ring to it, doesn’t it.  I shouldn’t still be surprised, but I am: how dumb do you have to be to announce the possibility of evidence that one had no prior reason to suspect might exist?  This tweet from Garry Kasparov is so spot on:

And with that, it’s back to the 18th century for me! (Isaac Newton, musing on the virtues of government debt…)  Have at it, y’all.

*Ancient tech nerd that I am, I am totally grooving on the IBM Selectric there. What fabulous machines… ETA: So — you can retire my tech-nerd creds. That’s not a Selectric. Ahh well….

 



Unifying the party through jobs

From this morning’s Politico:

Hillary Clinton’s team is moving to shore up an area where she urgently needs help — the campaign has hired Bernie Sanders’ director of student organizing to serve as her national campus and student organizing director, a Clinton official confirmed to POLITICO.

Kunoor Ojha is the Clinton campaign’s first major hire from the Sanders campaign, and her move to a role where she will work with the state teams to mobilize young voters represents a significant step in the former secretary of state’s outreach to the Vermont senator’s most ardent backers.

The party unifies when a bunch of people who were doing a good job on the Sanders campaign get good jobs on the Clinton campaign.

I remember in 2008 as the Democratic primary was winding down that a bunch of Clinton operatives got jobs on the Obama team.

I remember in 2004 that the digital/internet/blog outreach folks from the Dean and Clark campaigns got scooped up by the Kerry/Edwards team.

Echoing Doug, just chill……

 

 



The Company He Keeps

Look who Ted Cruz has recruited as his economic advisor:

If it’s true that a man can be judged by the company he keeps, what are we to make of the appointment of former Sen. Phil Gramm as economic advisor to the Presidential campaign of Ted Cruz?

Cruz made the appointment Friday, when he collected Gramm’s endorsement of his quest for the Presidency.

As Micheal Hiltzik points out in his coverage of this — what’s the word?– curious appointment, Gramm is exactly whom you’d choose if one global financial meltdown just wasn’t delicious enough:

Gramm left a long record as a dedicated financial deregulator on Capitol Hill, with much of his effort aimed at freeing up trading in derivatives. That’s why he’s often identified as one of the godfathers of the 2008 financial crisis, which was spurred in part by banks’ imprudent trading and investing in these extremely complex financial instruments.

JMWTurner_Sunrise_with_Sea_Monsters

Gramm himself is undeterred by his own disastrous record, and clearly Cruz is equally unbothered.  That would be why both men are ignoring Gramm’s last appearance as a campaign surrogate:

Gramm’s previous stint as a Presidential campaign advisor ended inauspiciously. That was in 2008, when he served as co-chairman of John McCain’s Presidential run.

Gramm’s most notable moment in that position came on July 10, 2008, when he dismissed the developing economic crisis as “a mental recession” in an interview–and video–released by the conservative Washington Times. “We’ve never been more dominant,” he said. “We’ve never had more natural advantages than we have today. We’ve sort of become a nation of whiners.” McCain immediately disavowed the remarks, and a few days later Gramm stepped down as his campaign co-chairman.

I’m assuming that Ted Cruz does actually hope to become president, and thus makes his choices in the belief that they will advance him to that end.  So I can only see two possible interpretations for this exhuming of one of the most egregious poster children for GOP economic failure.

One is that this is what epistemic closure looks like when it’s at home.  It takes a hermetic seal between you and reality to think the “nation of whiners” trope is a winner this year (or ever, really, but especially now).

The other is that this is just trolling, or rather yet one more instance of believing an action is simply good in itself, transcendently so, if it pisses liberals off.  Which lands Cruz — and the GOP — in exactly the same place as option one: doubling down on the crazy for reasons extremely clear only to those with the correct implants in their upper left second molar.

All of which is to say that I remain firm in my belief that the entity identifying itself as Senator Cruz is in fact one of these guys.

“Where are we going?”

“Galt’s Gulch”

“When?”

“Real soon!”

Image:  J. W. M. Turner, Sunrise With Sea Monsters, 1845



Centrist Dalek Horror Theater Presents: The Schoening

As the New Hampshire primaries get underway today, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg confirms this week that he is considering entering the 2016 presidential race as an independent, something that made the rounds as a trial balloon two weeks ago.  Now however Bloomberg himself is saying he’s considering making the jump.

The billionaire media mogul and three-time former New York mayor told Financial Times in an interview published Monday that he is “looking at all the options.”

Fellow New York billionaire Donald Trump has been leading polls on the Republican side for months, and Hillary Clinton only narrowly escaped Iowa with a victory over a self-described “democratic socialist.” Bloomberg, who is considering running as an independent, said Americans deserve “a lot better.”

Bloomberg has set a March deadline to determine whether he will run, and should he decide yes, he told the FT he would have to begin getting his name on ballots next month. He has signaled he could spend at least a billion dollars of his own money to sustain a campaign, according to a New York Times report citing anonymous sources briefed on his deliberations.

That’s not the funny part.  The funny part is who’s advising him.

Bloomberg’s pollster, Douglas Schoen, outlined the case for his boss’s potential White House bid in an op-ed last week for the Wall Street Journal.

Pundits are missing a large group of centrist voters who opt out of partisan primaries, Schoen argued, pointing to the low turnout in Iowa.

“That’s the new silent majority: the millions of Americans who don’t participate in Democratic or Republican primaries. They are equally as fed up with the status quo, but they have a different approach to problem-solving and different policy prescriptions than those on the ideological extremes,” Schoen wrote.

That has created an opportunity for someone to mount an independent run, he argued:

“Who fits the bill? Michael Bloomberg, a centrist with a clear (and arguably unique) record in business as an entrepreneur and in politics as a three-term mayor of New York. Mr. Bloomberg is a fiscally prudent conciliator who advances pro-growth policies and takes tough stands.”

That’s right, the guy running Bloomberg’s numbers is none other than our old friend pollster Doug Schoen, who along with his partner in crime Pat Caddell is the obnoxious No Labels/Americans Elect centrist grifter that warned Obama could never win re-election in 2012 and that Hillary had to primary him, that Obama had to champion the Simpson/Bowles Catfood Commission, that the Democrats were the real extremists, that Obama had to become a right-wing Democrat in order to attract Tea Party votes, that Trump should have gotten into the race in 2012 as in independent, and my personal favorite, that Barack Obama should have dropped out of the 2012 race completely for the good of America.

It looks like Doug has found his Trojan Horse to sink the Democrats and get his massive austerity cuts by splitting votes in favor of the GOP in Bloomberg, so if there was any doubt that a Bloomberg run is more Nader than Perot, the fact that Doug Schoen is involved should have you running for the exits.

The Centrist Daleks are back to TRIANGULAAAAAAAATE it seems, and should Bloomberg actually run, keep in mind it only takes ruining one swing state with a third party bid to throw the presidency.



Adapt Or Die

The Benghazi strain is dying in the wild:

Hillary Clinton will be testifying before the Select Committee on Benghazi on Thursday, and by the time she walks out of that hearing room, chances are that all the Republicans’ hopes of using this issue to bring Clinton down will be officially gone.

The timing of Clinton’s testimony couldn’t have worked out better for her, coming as it is after a string of revelations and embarrassments for the committee. First, then-presumptive Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy said on Fox News that the committee’s purpose was to bring down Clinton’s poll numbers, a “gaffe” that had an extraordinary impact, especially when you consider that he was only acknowledging what everyone in Washington already knew. Then we learned that the Select Committee has all but abandoned investigating Benghazi to focus on Clinton’s emails (and that committee staffers are so busy they’ve formed a wine club and a gun-buying club).

Then we learned that a former staffer for the committee is suing them, alleging that he was fired because he wanted to keep investigating Benghazi and not Clinton. Over the weekend, we learned that Democrats are questioning committee chair Trey Gowdy’s accusation that Clinton recklessly used the name of a secret CIA source in an email. According to Democrats, the CIA says the information isn’t sensitive. “I would say in some ways these have been among the worst weeks of my life,” Gowdy told Politico. No wonder.

So it will just have to mutate and adapt to the new climate:

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) recently spoke with talk radio host Matt Murphy and said the real issue with Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state is “how many lives she put at risk by violating all rules of law that are designed to protect America’s top-secret and classified information from falling into the hands of our geopolitical foes who then might use that information to result in the deaths of Americans.”

Brooks added Republicans are going to make sure this issue follows Clinton into office, should she be elected president in 2016.

“And in my judgement, with respect to Hillary Clinton, she will be a unique president if she is elected by the public next November, because the day she’s sworn in is the day that she’s subject to impeachment because she has committed high crimes and misdemeanors,” he said.

At least Republicans in 2008 waited until the day after President Obama’s inauguration before plotting to sabotage the country.  You have to admire their efficiency in attempting to impeach someone years before she’s even nominated for the White House, let alone elected, but here we are.