Flint Nation

Corrupt swamp monster Scott Pruitt wants you to pay for his jet-setting lifestyle, but he doesn’t want you to hear any criticism of the way he mismanages his agency for the benefit of his and Trump’s paymasters:

The Environmental Protection Agency is barring The Associated Press, CNN and the environmental-focused news organization E&E from a national summit on harmful water contaminants.

The EPA blocked the news organizations from attending Tuesday’s Washington meeting, convened by EPA chief Scott Pruitt.

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox told the barred organizations they were not invited and there was no space for them, but gave no indication of why they specifically were barred.

Pruitt told about 200 people at the meeting that dealing with the contaminants is a “national priority.”

Guards barred an AP reporter from passing through a security checkpoint inside the building. When the reporter asked to speak to an EPA public-affairs person, the security guards grabbed the reporter by the shoulders and shoved her forcibly out of the EPA building.

The story isn’t even a headline at CNN. It should be. This is outrageous.



Flip a Coin

If you want an expert’s insights on the issue of North Korea’s nukes, head over to CNN and read a piece featuring our own Cheryl Rofer. All I’ve got is something deeply weird and worrisome about the upcoming summit; the Trump White House issued a commemorative coin for it:

Kim Jong-Un’s PR shop must be stoked — what could signal Kim’s arrival as a legitimate player on the world stage more effectively than the U.S. president pairing his own image with Kim’s as an equal? Oh, right — nuclear weaponry.

This premature victory lap is disturbing on so many levels. From The Guardian:

Trump has reportedly been focusing on the pageantry of the summit rather than immersing himself in detailed briefings on the complex issue of North Korea’s nuclear program. He has been particularly interested in suspense-filled announcements that could come out of the meeting, according to the Associated Press.

Of course Trump has focused on the show biz angle — that’s who he is. But Trump is also a vengeful bully who is likely to go apeshit when he doesn’t get what he wants. And he’ll have Bolton whispering in his ear on the long plane ride home.

I don’t think anyone’s gonna win this coin toss.



Late Night Schadenfreude Open Thread: Confusion & Defeat to Them All

As any libertarian would tell you, taxes are theft, so Al Capone should never have gone to jail!

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Much closer to the center axis on the “Evil vs Stupid” chart… Ed Kilgore has a nice (in both senses of the word) dissection of St. Bernie’s latest shenanigans:

There were two big developments on May 21 in the political universe of Bernie Sanders, one upbeat, one not-so-much.

On the positive side, Sanders formally announced he is a candidate for reelection to a third term in the Senate, as was universally expected. The only slight mystery about his bid was resolved when he indicated that he would follow his past procedure by running in the Democratic primary, and then declining the nomination and running as an independent while accepting the “endorsement” of Vermont Democrats. The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake had a sardonic comment about that:

Sanders is going to run in the Democratic primary for no reason except to preclude anybody else from winning it — despite having no intention of running as a Democrat in the general election. Sanders basically wants to ensure he will face no Democratic opponent in November. A cynic might say the guy who complained about the rigging of the 2016 Democratic presidential primary is kinda, sorta rigging the 2018 Vermont Senate race for himself…

… The announcement is also another indication that Sanders thinks he’s good to go in national office until 2024 at least, when he’ll turn 83. Whether that means he’ll run for president in 2020 is another matter, of course.
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Every Day Is Opposite Day

In the run up to the 2016 election, the FBI did indeed give one campaign special treatment: Its director, James Comey, publicly trashed Hillary Clinton at the conclusion of the bureau’s investigation into how Clinton handled emails as secretary of state and precipitously and needlessly revealed that the investigation had been reopened in the final days of the campaign. The FBI remained silent about the far more serious and substantial allegations that the Trump campaign had been infiltrated by figures acting on behalf of a hostile foreign power.

Now, the beneficiary of that special treatment is waging all-out war on the FBI and his own Department of Justice, which appears to be intimidated enough to roll over and piddle on its own belly.

During the 2016 campaign, candidate Trump loudly complained about corruption in Washington DC and endlessly invoked the specter of the “forgotten men and women” who were getting ripped off by elites.

Now, Trump has installed a breathtakingly corrupt cabinet and auctioned off U.S. foreign policy for the financial benefit of himself and his family members. A Trump-installed Supreme Court justice just wrote the majority opinion on a decision that allows companies to force workers into individual arbitration rather than pursuing class action lawsuits.

Some days, I think the Trump junta won’t get away with its many crimes. Other days, I think maybe they will. In the morning thread, Kay said we keep breaking through institutional safety nets, and the last one is the vote. She’s right. If we don’t roll these bastards back hard in November, they’ll cut enough holes in that final safety net to destroy it too. Fellow citizens, I think 2018 is our last shot.



The Invisible Hand in the “Sexual Marketplace”

The first person the Santa Fe shooter killed was a 16-year-old girl who had refused to go out with him, according to the victim’s mother. Most of the victims were women and girls, including an exchange student from Pakistan who was due to go home next month, and two teachers.

Since the shooter chickened out on his suicide plan, maybe some explanation for his actions will be forthcoming. But online and offline misogynists think they’ve already figured it out:

It’s a mystery, Mark, but maybe I can explain. What Mark here describes as the “destabilization of the sexual marketplace” is what I call women’s freedom to function in society as a fully realized human beings.

Just a scant few generations ago, the Invisible Hand of the “sexual marketplace” grabbed women by the pussy like a metaphorical Trump and traded us between fathers, husbands and other male “protectors” like a commodity. If love, respect and companionship entered into the bargain, it was usually luck rather than the objective of the transaction.

Women disrupted that marketplace by claiming their own agency. The men who are “hard hit” by that need to examine why they have to rely on coercion to get laid. Or they could use their not-so-invisible hand to jerk off. Really, guys, this shouldn’t be our fucking problem.



GOP Miscreants Open Thread: I’m Not Alone…


 
What a fitting metaphor! Perhaps some of you will also take pleasure in the hope that Roger Stone’s time in the barrel has come?

The subpoena was recently served on John Kakanis, 30, who has worked as a driver, accountant and operative for Stone.

Kakanis has been briefly questioned by the FBI on the topics of possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the WikiLeaks website, its founder Julian Assange, and the hacker or hackers who call themselves Guccifer 2.0, one of the people with knowledge of the matter said.

Mueller has not scheduled a grand jury appearance for Kakanis, the person said…

In an emailed statement to Reuters on Friday, Stone said he believed that Mueller’s scrutiny on him stemmed from “misapprehensions and misconceptions” created by the media, and that he would ultimately be exonerated of any alleged wrongdoing.

“I sincerely hope when this occurs that the grotesque, defamatory media campaign which I have endured for years now will finally come to its long-overdue end,” wrote Stone, one of Trump’s closest political advisers in the years before he ran for president.

During the 2016 Republican primaries, a Stone political action committee paid more than $130,000 to an entity called “Citroen Associates” for “voter fraud research and documentation” and “research services consulting,” according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Florida state records identify the owner of Citroen Associates as John P. Kakanis.

The subpoena handed to Kakanis is the latest development suggesting that Stone, an early Trump backer whose reputation as an aggressive political operative dates back to the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, is being looked at by Mueller.

Reuters reported earlier this week that FBI agents working for Mueller delivered two subpoenas to Jason Sullivan, a social media and Twitter expert who worked for Stone during the 2016 campaign, and that agents told him Mueller’s team wanted to question him about Stone and WikiLeaks…

Other Trump associates who have been questioned by Mueller, including former campaign advisors Sam Nunberg and Michael Caputo, have also been asked about Stone and WikiLeaks.

“They asked me about Roger’s businesses – who he worked with prior to the 2016 election. They asked me about Roger’s tax returns,” Nunberg said in a phone interview earlier this week, adding that he believed Mueller was stepping outside his mandate in casting such a wide net around Stone’s activities.

The irony is, the better Stone disciples Kakanis and Sullivan are, the more swiftly they’ll turn on their mentor (and their fellows). If Roger and his Nixon tattoo end up in a cell because some low-ranking minion trades their freedom for his, the poetic justice alone might cause him to stroke out. And if — this is just daydreaming, on my part — if exposing Stone’s rotten Trump dealings should happen to officially unmask some of the other beneficiaries of a 40-year history of GOP ratfvckery, he might not be the only one…



Stupid Watergate Open Thread: The President’s Blame Is Missing (The Most Likely Suspect)

Yeah, let’s be honest even if that’s impossible for Republicans: The person most probably responsible for the worst leaks from this Oval Office Occupancy is named, shall we say, “John Barron”. Or maybe “Meredith McGiver”.

They’ve reached intermediate-stage Watergate levels of paranoia and we’re not even at the first midterms. Nixon is supposed to have wandered around the White House late at night, talking to the portraits of former presidents. Trump doesn’t even drink, and he’s probably already talking to the (newly installed surplus of) gilded mirrors…


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