For-the-Record Open Thread: No Bottom to Trump’s Presser Nadir

That’s weird in and of itself (traditionally, one recited the Pater Noster when in immanent peril, as the best emergency method of preparing one’s soul against Hell or Purgatory) but some eagle-eyed observer noticed the signs so prominent behind Melania…


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And shorty got low low low low

Trump’s approval rating is converging downwards towards the crazification factor. I’m sure Chuck Todd will swear that the base still loves him but the base just isn’t that large.








Today in Veganism: No Swiss for You Ms!

The residents of the Swiss town of Gipf-Oberfrick have denied a Swiss passport to a Dutch born vegan.

A Dutch vegan who applied for a Swiss passport has had her application rejected because the locals found her too annoying.

Nancy Holten, 42, moved to Switzerland from the Netherlands when she was eight years old and now has children who are Swiss nationals.

However, when she tried to get a Swiss passport for herself, residents of Gipf-Oberfrick in the canton of Aargau rejected her application.

And what did the Dutch vegan in question have to say about this?

Ms Holten, a vegan and animal rights activist, has campaigned against the use of cowbells in the village and her actions have annoyed the locals.

The resident’s committee argued that if she does not accept Swiss traditions and the Swiss way of life, she should not be able to become an official national.

Ms Holten told local media: “The bells, which the cows have to wear when they walk to and from the pasture, are especially heavy.

“The animals carry around five kilograms around their neck. It causes friction and burns to their skin.”

She added: “The sound that cow bells make is a hundred decibel. It is comparable with a pneumatic drill. We also would not want such a thing hanging close to our ears?”

And for the counterpoint, here is a representative of the local Swiss People’s Party (motto: No Dutch Vegans Allowed!!!!):

Tanja Suter, the president of the local Swiss People’s Party, claimed Ms Holten has a “big mouth” and that residents did not want to grant her citizenship “if she annoys us and doesn’t respect our traditions”.

This is now the second time that Ms. Holten has been denied Swiss citizenship.

Responding to the rejection, Ms Holten said: “I think I spoke my mind too often, and I say it out too loud.”

Ms Holten, who describes herself as a freelance journalist, model and drama student, has also campaigned against a number of other Swiss traditions like hunting, pig races and the noisy church bells in town.

She was previously rejected for citizenship in 2015 after residents voted to block her initial application.

We interrupt this post for the obligatory:

We now return you to your regularly scheduled vegan bashing.

The case has now been transferred to the Cantonal government in Aargau, which can overrule the decision and can still grant her a Swiss passport despite the objections of the locals.

Local residents in Switzerland often have a say in citizenship applications, which are decided by the cantons and towns where the applicants live rather than federal government.

It is still very difficult to be granted Swiss citizenship and being born in the country does not give the children or even the grandchildren of immigrants the automatic right to be Swiss.

As far as I’ve been able to determine Ms Holten is not a Marine and does not do crossfit…



Today in Stochastic Violence and Terrorism

News started to break yesterday of the horrific kidnapping, brutalization, and torture of a mentally/developmentally disabled Chicago man by four others – one of whom was an acquaintance.

A mentally disabled man attacked and racially taunted on a Facebook Live video was able to leave a West Side apartment after a neighbor complained about the noise and distracted his attackers, authorities said Thursday.

Two of them followed the neighbor downstairs and the 18-year-old victim took the opportunity to leave the building in the 3300 block of West Lexington Street, ending a five-hour ordeal, police said at a news conference.

Officers found the man wandering the streets in the Homan Square neighborhood around 5:15 p.m., police said. “I observed him wearing a tank top, inside-out, backwards, jean shorts and sandals on,” said Officer Michael Donnelly. “He was bloodied, he was battered.

“He was very discombobulated,” he added. “He was injured. He was confused.”

The four perpetrators are facing felony charges, including hate crimes charges:

Four people face felony criminal charges including hate crimes and kidnapping in the brutal beating and torturing of a mentally disabled man that was broadcasted on live on Facebook.

Jordan Hill,18, of Carpentersville; Tesfaye Cooper, 18, of Chicago; Brittany Covington, 18, of Chicago; and Tanishia Covington, 24, of Chicago; face felony criminal charges of aggravated kidnapping, hate crime; aggravated unlawful restraint; aggravated battery deadly weapon; robbery; PSMV and residential burglary.

Chicago police were made aware of the video Tuesday afternoon. The footage shows the suspects kicking, hitting and cutting the hair of the victim while he was gagged. Shouts of “F*** Trump!” and “F*** white people!” can be heard in the background.

At one point, the victim is held at knife point and told to curse President-elect Donald Trump. The group also forces the victim to drink water from a toilet.

The victim was held hostage for at least 24 hours and as long as 48 hours. Police believe the kidnapping took place in an apartment in the 3400 block of West Lexington on the West Side. Chicago police found the victim “in distress” walking along a street, authorities said.

CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi called the footage “reprehensible.”

What has gotten a lot of play, and some of it absolutely falling in line with preconceived notions and prejudices, is that the victim is White and the perpetrators are African American.

I want to make this very, very clear: people, regardless of ethnicity, what we call race in the US, religion, or any other demographic descriptor we can come up, do horrible, terrible things to their fellow humans. And they do it all the time. In this case the victim/perpetrator realities lined up to provide grist for certain people’s mills, but what happened in Chicago is, unfortunately, not restricted to any one particular ethnicity or religious group. It is also unacceptable. And it would be unacceptable if the victim was African American and the perpetrators were white. Or if the victim was LatinX and the perpetrators were Jewish-American. Or if the victim was LGBTQ and the perpetrators were Asian American. Wrong is wrong is wrong regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, sexual orientation, or national origin. There is enough evil in the world without looking to shoehorn it into one’s ideological prejudices to score political points.

It is more important now than ever to remember and take to heart the wisdom of President Washington from his Letter to the Jewish Congregations of Newport, Rhode Island:

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

 



Florida Man: Tutu Edition! Updated at 10:15 PM EDT

Another day, another embarrassing act by someone from my home state (Like BettyC, I’m a native. We’re on 6 hour shifts!).

– Two men, one wearing a tutu, broke into Tampa Farmer’s Market to eat fruit and drink soda early Tuesday morning.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office released surveillance footage of the suspects breaking into the Fletcher Avenue store in hopes that the public can help identify them.

According to HCSO, the suspects gained access to the store by breaking out the glass door at approximately 1 a.m. on November 1, and proceeded to consume fruit and soda once inside.

A sheriff’s office spokesperson shared the following descriptions of the two suspects:

#1 – white male, thin build, possibly dressed in a cheerleading costume, wearing a TuTu, possibly wearing a wig.

#2-  male (unknown race), wearing a hoodie with an image of an owl on the front.

Anyone with any information reference these suspects is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 247-8200 or anyone with any information regarding the identity and whereabouts of these suspects and who wants to be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477).

There’s video at the link!

Open, night before Thanksgiving open thread!!!

Updated at 10:15 PM EDT

Allow me to regale you with more tales of the nightlife of Tampa!

– Newly released surveillance video could help Tampa Police locate the man who drove his car onto a sidewalk in Ybor City, hitting two people and a bar early Tuesday morning.

Around 3:25 a.m. Tuesday, after businesses had closed, a group of men began fighting outside the Bad Monkey Bar on East 7th Avenue in Tampa.

Surveillance cameras captured the brawl, including one subject involved in the fighting who attempted to leave the scene by driving away in a black Nissan.

“He tries to do a U-turn, and it’s really too tight of a street to do that. He gets hung up on the curb,” said Steve Hegarty, spokesperson for the Tampa Police Department.

The driver jumped the sidewalk and crashed into several men who were still fighting. One of the men was pushed through the window of the Bad Monkey bar when the car made impact, smashing the glass.
After crashing through the building, the driver left the scene.

Detectives are working to determine if the driver intentionally accelerated his car or if the crash was accidental.

“That’s a big question that we have right now. At the very least, it’s a hit and run. There was damage to the building, clearly, someone was injured and he left the scene,” said Hegarty.

Only one of the men on the sidewalk, Michael Silhol, 25, was hurt in the crash. Silhol suffered a minor leg and head injury.

The Bad Monkey bar was left with $15,000 worth of damage. It was closed at the time of the crash.

Video at the link, too, also, again!



Florida Woman! (Not BettyC!)

Florida Woman strikes again:

Police have arrested a 24-year-old Waldo woman who they believe called in a bomb threat to the University of Florida last week.

Jessica Ward was charged with making a false report concerning planting a bomb, which is a felony, according to a news release today from UF police.

The threat was made against the university’s engineering building, and Ward worked in the building’s Java Hut Coffee Kiosk, the release says.

Students were evacuated from the building Wednesday after a note was found on the first floor of the building in a restroom, and classes in the building were canceled for the rest of the day.

Later, during an interview with police, Ward said she wrote the threat. She told them she wanted to leave work at the threat’s indicated time so she could have “me time,” according to the release.

Ward was arrested this morning and remained at the Alachua County jail on a $15,000 bond.

Open Thread!



The Midday of the Plastic Sporks Begins

And so it begins…

NBC is reporting:

The Donald Trump transition, already off to slow start, bogged down further Tuesday with the abrupt resignation of former Congressman Mike Rogers, who had been coordinating its national security efforts.

Two sources close to Rogers said he had been the victim of what one called a “Stalinesque purge,” from the transition of people close to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who left Friday. It was unclear which other aides close to Christie had also been forced out.

The Trump transition did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prior to entering politics, Congressman Rogers was a Special Agent in the FBI. He worked in the Chicago Field Office specializing in organized crime and public corruption.

NBC goes on to report:

Rogers was initially seen as a leading candidate for CIA director, but now is likely off the list, a source told NBC News. Rep. Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is now a top contender.

Rogers’ departure follows Christie’s demotion from head of the team to a vice-chair, with Vice President-elect Mike Pence taking over for him last week.

The purge indicates the emphasis on loyalty — and significant influence of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, husband of Ivanka — that characterized Trump’s campaign will carry over into his White House.

Multiple sources indicated that Christie was demoted because he wasn’t seen as sufficiently loyal to Trump, failing to vocally defend him at key moments on the campaign trail.

Elliot A. Cohen, a former senior advisor to Secretary of State Rice, has reversed his position of last week:

Cohen’s statement above is a reversal of his thoughts last week published at The American Interest.

You asked what I thought about going to work in a Trump Administration. I do not have to worry about that, of course: I was one of the ringleaders in denouncing him as unfit by temperament, character, and judgment for political office. They will have no use for me, or, to be fair, I for them. But others, including some of my younger friends, will have jobs dangled in front of them, because the government has to be staffed.

It seems to me that if they are sure that they would say yes out of a sense of duty rather than mere careerism; if they are realistic in understanding that in this enterprise they will be the horse, not the jockey; if they accept that they will enter an administration likely to be torn by infighting and bureaucratic skullduggery, they should say yes. Yes, with two conditions, however: that they keep a signed but undated letter of resignation in their desk office (as I did when I was in government), and that they not recant a word of what they have said thus far. Public service means making accommodations, but everyone needs to understand that there is a point where crossing a line, even an arbitrary line, means, as Sir Thomas More says in A Man for All Seasons, letting go without hope of ever finding yourself again.

It goes without saying that friends in military, diplomatic, or intelligence service—the career people who keep our country strong and safe—should continue to do their jobs. If anything, having professionals serve who remember that their oath is to support and defend the Constitution—and not to truckle to an individual or his clique—will be more important than ever.

It is unclear if Cohen’s reversal applies to those currently serving – I would hope it does not, we need them to do exactly what he suggests they do in that third paragraph.

None of this – the purging as related by NBC or the vindictiveness and revanchism related by Cohen – should be surprising. It was both a hallmark of the campaign, but it is also emblematic of the President Elect’s social darwinian outlook and belief in eugenics.

In an interview for US TV channel PBS, the Republican presidential nominee’s biographer Michael D’Antonio claimed the candidate’s father, Fred Trump, had taught him that the family’s success was genetic.

He said: “The family subscribes to a racehorse theory of human development.

“They believe that there are superior people and that if you put together the genes of a superior woman and a superior man, you get a superior offspring.”

As well as Steve Bannon’s avowed Leninism.

Then we had a long talk about his approach to politics. He never called himself a “populist” or an “American nationalist,” as so many think of him today. “I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed.

 Shocked, I asked him what he meant.

“Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Bannon was employing Lenin’s strategy for Tea Party populist goals. He included in that group the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the traditional conservative press.

Bannon isn’t the only avowed Leninist on the American right.

[Norquist] talked about how to build a broad coalition. “If you want the votes of people who are good on guns, good on taxes, and good on faith issues, that is a very small intersection of voters,” he said. “But if you say, Give me the votes of anybody who agrees with you on any of these issues, that’s a much bigger section of the population.” To illustrate what he meant, Norquist drew three intersecting circles over a piece of paper. In the first one he wrote “guns,” in the second he wrote “taxes,” in the third he wrote “faith.” There was a small area where the circles intersected. “With that group, you can take over the country, starting with the airports and the radio stations,” he said. “But with all of the three circles that’s sixty percent of the population, and you can win politically.”

While I have a longer post on personalities matter, relationships matter, and personnel is policy coming later this week, the keys to continue to watch as this attempt at transition occurs are largely the positions for staffing key White House positions, many of which do not require Senatorial confirmation. We’ve already seen the Chief of Staff position go to someone with no experience except as a party functionary (largely for Governor Scott Walker) and the Chief Strategist/Senior counselor position go to an anti-Semite and white supremacist with no government service other than a ten year stint in the Navy. Reaching the rank of Officer Level 3 (O3) as a lieutenant senior grade in the Navy is not something that prepares one for elected or appointed office at the National strategic level. This has readily been apparent with several former O3s who are now serving in Congress.

So keep an eye out for the picks for National Security Advisor and Deputy National Security Advisor, as well as Spokesperson and Deputy Spokesperson, as well as the speech writers. The important Cabinet level picks to watch for are Attorney General, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and Director of Homeland Security. The Directors of the FBI, CIA, and Directorate of National Intelligence all have time left on their appointments that extend past the end of the Obama Administration. The Director of the FBI serves a fixed, single ten year term – so he is very hard to replace, but the Director of Central Intelligence and the Director of National Intelligence both serve at the pleasure of the President, so they will offer, at least, pro forma resignations. It will also be important, though we likely won’t see it until late January 2017, what happens with the Service Chiefs, as well as the Director of the NSA. All of these gentlemen are four star general officers/flag officers. What is important to realize right now, however, is that the Trump transition team has not, as of yet, even responded to the requests from the Department of State and Department of Defense to begin the transition work. This may very well be because of the sentiments expressed by Cohen and others to other Republican and conservative foreign, defense, and security policy professionals to not accept appointments in the Trump Administration. I’ll have more on this in the upcoming personnel is policy post later this week.

Update at 4:40 PM EST

After considering several comments regarding the title of this post, I have appropriately renamed it. We now return you to your regular Tuesday afternoon.