He’s just fucking with us now…

It sorta looks like Putin is pushing back on opposition to the puppet he bought fair and square, but more likely, he’s just fucking with us. Via Bloomberg:

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he doesn’t believe that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump met with prostitutes in Russia, calling the accusations part of a campaign to undermine the election result.

Unsubstantiated allegations made against Trump are “obvious fabrications,” Putin told reporters in the Kremlin on Tuesday. “People who order fakes of the type now circulating against the U.S. president-elect, who concoct them and use them in a political battle, are worse than prostitutes because they don’t have any moral boundaries at all,” he said.

You guys — I think he just called Jeb Bush a sad, low-energy hooker! Moreover, the dead-eyed revanchist implied that Trump hardly needed to patronize Moscow sex workers since he owned all kinds of choice tail at the time:

The U.S. tycoon-turned-politician was last in Moscow in 2013 for the staging of the Miss Universe contest that he owned. He hoped unsuccessfully to meet Putin, tweeting in June that year about the possibility the Russian leader would attend the beauty pageant.

Trump is “a grown man, and secondly he’s someone who has been involved with beauty contests for many years and has met the most beautiful women in the world,” Putin said. “I find it hard to believe that he rushed to some hotel to meet girls of loose morals, although ours are undoubtedly the best in the world.”

My guess is the most low-rent, indiscriminate prostitute in all of Russia has more morals in her pinky toe than Putin, Trump, their entire families and wretched hangers-on put together and multiplied by infinity. But it’s easy to see from these statements why Trump formed a schoolgirl-on-Bieber-like crush on Putin. And it’s laughably plain that Putin knows how to play Trump like a fiddle.



Open Thread: Arrogantly Clueless, or Deliberately Evil?

When it comes to the President-Asterisk’s administration, we’ll never be sure! The Washington Post‘s art critic reports “The controversy behind the painting that will hang at Trump’s inaugural luncheon”:

Since Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration in 1985, an American painting has served as a backdrop during the inaugural luncheon, at which members of Congress play host to the newly installed president. When Donald Trump is made the 45th president of the United States on Jan. 20, George Caleb Bingham’s “The Verdict of the People” will be the chosen painting, hanging on a partition wall behind the ceremonial head table in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall.

The painting was finished in 1855 by an artist best known for his Mississippi River scenes, which burnished the rough-and-tumble and often violent West into a benign and mythological place, ready for investment, development and full participation in American political life.

“The Verdict of the People,” which shows a large crowd celebrating or mourning election results in a Missouri town, is part of a series of three large canvasses created in the 1850s, each taking up the theme of democratic self- governance… Despite the title, “The Verdict of the People,” and the seeming jubilation of many of the figures in the picture, Bingham was representing a despairing moment in the life of his state, and American politics.

“Bingham is a Whig Painter, using these images to depict a Democratic victory,” says Adam Arenson, associate professor of history at Manhattan College in New York, and an expert on Missouri history. As a Whig, Bingham was anti-slavery while the Democratic Party, at the time, was either proslavery, or complicit in status-quo acceptance of it. “The Verdict of the People” was painted just as Congress passed the disastrous Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which put a future of slavery in Kansas to a popular vote. Thugs from Missouri got in the fray, crossing the border to attack abolitionist settlers. One of the state’s senators, David Atchison, called on his supporters “to kill every Goddamned abolitionist” if necessary to secure Kansas as a slave state.

“Bingham is painting out of a great fear that popular sovereignty and the Kansas-Nebraska act will lead to an irreparable divide in the country,” says Arenson. “It represents a moment when democracy was unable to handle the conflict of the country.”…

And so Bingham’s painting is an almost ideal emblem for a president who came to power on a promise to “Make America Great Again.” Blunt seems to read this painting as a reassuring sign that American electoral politics have always been messy and fractious. But he chose an image that in fact depicts a (likely) proslavery candidate triumphing in the name of an America that denies not only full suffrage, but basic human and constitutional freedoms to its African American population.

The painting’s use at the inauguration also highlights a problem that opponents of the new president will face again and again: Is there method in what appears to be simply blundering cultural ignorance? Is there design in casual remarks and off-the-cuff observations that seem to be deliberately provocative? …



They’re Already Here

Institutional momentum is a hell of a thing. Even desiccated institutions that have proved too hollow to perform the functions for which they were designed — e.g., to prevent an unstable, unqualified puppet of a foreign power from ascending to the office of the U.S. presidency — have a heft that keeps them rolling in their well-worn grooves toward a predetermined destination.

That’s why, though we can hope for deus ex machina in the form of a CIA bombshell, etc., we will almost certainly see Putin’s poodle sworn in as POTUS at noon this Friday, with most Democratic lawmakers in attendance. That’s when the real work of the resistance will begin.

But in the meantime, between calling our reps to try to save the ACA, I don’t see why we can’t have a little fun at the expense of the brittle narcissist who is almost certainly furious at the prospect of his inaugural becoming a very public flop that is insufficiently staffed by celebrities and attended by citizens. Read more



Monday Morning Open Thread: Re-litigating the 1960s At Their Worst


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Here come the cheap thugs in their ill-fitting, flag-pin-bedazzled suits…


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Apart from uplifting fantasies, what’s on the agenda for the day?

(Tim Eagan via Gocomics.com)

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Late Night California Nightmarin’ Open Thread: Guvernator Thiel

From the Politico article:

Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and was an early investor in Facebook, has been discussing a prospective bid with a small circle of advisers, including Rob Morrow, who has emerged as his political consigliere.

Morrow has worked at Clarium Capital, the San Francisco-based investment management firm and hedge fund that Thiel started.

Those who have been in touch with the 49-year-old entrepreneur are skeptical that he’ll enter the race. He is a deeply private figure, and California is unfriendly territory for a Republican — particularly a pro-Trump one. The president-elect won just over 30 percent of the vote there.

But they add that Thiel has conspicuously yet to rule out a bid and that those around him continue to discuss it…

Thiel, who is worth an estimated $2.7 billion, would fill an important need: the ability to self-fund. Waging a gubernatorial bid in California, where campaigns are famously expensive, could cost over $100 million.

He isn’t the only billionaire who may run. Environmentalist Tom Steyer, a prolific giver to Democratic causes, is also seen as a possible contender.

With Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown term-limited, several high-profile Democrats, including former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and state Treasurer John Chiang have already launched campaigns…

I’m assuming, from my perch here on the opposite coast, that Thiel is just drafting in Trump’s slipstream, getting his vanity stroked by Repub apologists like Politico without having to task his highly evolved brain with grubby political calculation.

Another sign of the President-Asterisks’s negative effects on the general political sphere — he hasn’t even been inaugurated, and he’s already encouraging the worst sort of anti-human grifters to speculate about following his slimy path.



Open Thread: Rep. Steve ‘Pigmuck’ King Lunges to Defend His Title

… as the Dumbest Mean Legislator / Meanest Dumb Legislator in DC. Sure, Donald Trump has the advantage of being born with a gilt-plated spoon in his mouth (and he never risks being confused with Rep. Pete ‘IRA Mucker’ King). But when it comes to world-class vicious stupidity, STEVE KING WILL NOT BE IGNORED!!!

I guess if you assume the real American voter is a cruel, ignorant bigot wholly in thrall to megacorporate filth producers, Iowa really deserves its premier spot in the quadrennial presidential race.



Late Night #FacePalm Open Thread: “Rebels” Without A Clue

The grifters / nitwits / true believers in President-Asterisk Trump’s entourage are busily stumbling from one unforced error to another…

The transition team for President-elect Donald Trump asked the head of the D.C. National Guard to remain in command throughout Inauguration Day after media reports that he would leave in the middle of the ceremony created controversy, the Guard said.

Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz told The Washington Post on Friday that he will be removed from his post immediately after Trump is sworn in as president. That irked at least one D.C. Council member because Schwartz will have to abandon his post during one of the Guard’s most important operations, helping maintain security and order during Washington’s highest-profile event.

As is customary for presidential appointees, Schwartz had offered his resignation after Trump was elected. In an interview Friday, Schwartz said he learned he would be replaced on Jan. 20. He said the transition team ultimately asked him to stay in the job for a few additional days, but only after the report of his departure had been published Friday on The Washington Post website.

Schwartz said he turned down the transition team’s offer because, by then, he had begun packing up his office and notified his staff. He said he believes the offer came only as a result of the negative attention his departure attracted…

Transition officials for the new administration on Friday said the team asked Schwartz to stay on through the inauguration to maintain continuity. They did not immediately respond Saturday to questions about when and how that offer was extended…

*Somebody* thought it would be a fine display of alpha-male dominance to order That Black Guy’s old staffers out the door the very minute His Short-Fingered Lordship was crowned inaugurated. Or maybe they just didn’t know enough to realize this guy had an actual job to do, what with all those Very Important People scheduled to stand around in a very public space. Either way, bad optics!

… So now we’re supposed to pretend to believe this was all a minor clerical error — either Maj. Gen. Schwartz didn’t understand what Trump wanted, or else he’s a Democrat partisan who just wants to embarrass the President-Asterisk. Or maybe the “Fakeington Post” made it all up, as the Lugenpress will do! Because Trump cannot fail, he can only be failed!

Guy isn’t even in office yet, and he already has his cult members on high alert. NOT. NORMAL.