Open Thread: Never Let It Be Forgotten

The entire GOP leadership was willing to sell out the country to a foreign power, in return for their own petty perks and prerogatives. We’re past kleptocracy and into kakistocracy, and Donald Trump is the perfect figurehead for the band of hypocritical traitors that put him into the Oval Office.



Late Night Schadenfreude Open Thread: Image of Ernst Rohm with A Single Tear Trickling Down His Cheek

If there’s any upside to the President-Asterisk’s “I have the biggest Tomahawks, believe me, all the best people say so” expensive shot-show last night, it would be the sound of prominent neo-Nazis and white nationalists yowling as they imagine themselves victims of a social-media-friendly Night of the Long Knives. Reports Politico:

The fractured elements of what was once called the alt-right were unified once more on Thursday night in condemning Donald Trump’s airstrike in Syria as a mistake. Or as Milo Yiannopoulos put it, “FAKE and GAY.”

This loose confederation of Web-savvy, anti-establishment right-wingers formed an important vanguard of Trump’s online support in last year’s election, and its unified opposition to the airstrike forewarns a political downside to intervention in Syria. While foreign wars tend to boost presidents’ popularity in the short term, Trump risks losing the segments of his base that flocked to his isolationist, “America First” message.

In addition to its nationalist, anti-interventionist and anti-“globalist” views, the alt-right and its fellow travelers have also displayed a marked affinity for Syria’s ally Russia, whose government has returned the love by tweeting images of the alt-right’s mascot, Pepe the Frog, from official accounts. In reacting to the airstrikes, leaders of the movement placed those ideological reflexes over their personal loyalty to Trump.

Most noteworthy were the herculean efforts of blogger Mike Cernovich, who took to the livestreaming application Periscope to rally opposition to the strike in a marathon session that went on for several hours…

Other callers offered even more disturbing theories. One man expressed his concern that the “deep state” had approached Trump and threatened to kill him and his family if he did not get in line and voiced his suspicion that “the whole thing” could be traced back to Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice. “Yeah, could be,” responded Cernovich…

Meanwhile, internet troll Charles Johnson was not prepared to accept that the U.S. really had struck at Assad, saying that a source at CENTCOM told him the strike had actually targeted the Islamic State. “I’m very skeptical of any claims made in the media on military matters,” he said. “Especially since the Iraq War.”

NYMag‘s Jesse Singal, “It Makes Perfect Sense for the Alt-Right to Start Abandoning Trump”:

[A]ll of this should be seen not as a shocking parting of ways, but as a sensible move for the media personalities of the alt-right. Renouncing Trump, and eventually abandoning him, might actually be the most advantageous play for alt-right celebrities trying to maintain their peculiar online kingdoms, while handling the weird ramifications of having won…

…[W]hile it’s popular to conflate the alt-right and the mainstream right — say, the core GOP base — they really are two different beasts. The mainstream right will continue to support Trump because it is vested in the future of the GOP, and Trump is a GOP president. The alt-right, on the other hand, has different goals and allegiances in mind. Here are three main reasons it’s tactically smart for the alt-right’s big names to renounce Trump, if not ditch him entirely.

1. It gets them attention. One thing all the biggest alt-right accounts have in common is that they view virality as the most important goal…

2. It allows them to stay in the opposition. Those on the alt-right are, like Trump, not particularly sophisticated policy thinkers. They’re more into resentful grunts about how immigrants are bad, migration is a cancer on Western (read: white) society, and how cucks control everything. From this stance, it is much easier to criticize powerful politicians than to support them…

3. More specifically, denouncing Trump allows the alt-right to continue fueling conspiracy theories about how globalists (read: Jews) control everything.

The outsiderism really is key here. Remember that despite the noxious anti-Semitism and racism of the alt-right, the movement has always tried to maintain a pranky, anti-establishment feel. It’s much more difficult to retain that feel when your man is in charge, running everything and bombing other countries. Much as the GOP itself learned that in certain ways it’s less fun to hold power than to criticize power, the alt-right, in its own way, seems to be internalizing the same lesson.

Of course, that means the Proud Pranksters of FREEDUMB!!! need a new flag-carrier. Per the Daily Beast:

White-nationalist agitator Richard Spencer, founder of the term “alt-right,” appeared to switch his support to Hawaii Democratic congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who had met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in January. On Thursday night, he tweeted, “I absolutely condemn Washington’s military strike against Syria. #Syria #NoMoreWar,” then “Tulsi Gabbard 2020.”…

While Pepe-promoter Stephen “#RedSteeze Not the WH One” Miller proposed an even less likely scenario:

Who’d have thought The Big Swinging Boyz KKKlub would turn to a couple of not-even-white penis-lackers in their hour of torment?…


(h/t Jesse Singal)



Open Thread: Mitch McConnell, Partnering with Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III

Addison Mitchell “Mitch” McConnell Jr. is generally regarded as a political opportunist whose only real loyalty is to the career of Mitch McConnell. But his latest maneuvers to steal a Supreme Court seat for the most retrograde elements of the Republican Party put him in cahoots with fellow flower-of-Southern-manhood, Attorney-General-by-grace-of-the-President-Asterisk, Jeff Sessions. Future historians — assuming there are any — will speak of these two and their GOP cronies as modern historians do of the antebellum Congressional cabal that was willing to tear the country apart rather than give up their “inherent privileges”…



Late Night Sketch-y Comedy Open Thread: Sgt. Peeper’s Lonely Pharts Club Band

[Laughter]

Here is the interview from which that quote came:

The Haberman/Thrush interview is getting all kinds of attention, because it is just full of what might be called “nuggets” (aka “lies”). This no doubt pleases them, since H&T seem to have decided to play court jesters in Lord Smallgloves’ four-year promotional project, but what seems IMO to be under-discussed is the degree to which the people around Donald Trump just don’t trust him to be left unsupervised. The NYTimes “partial transcript” reads like a reboot of the Marx Brothers’ Night At the Opera stateroom scene

At least six White House aides were sitting in: Gary D. Cohn, President Trump’s lead economic adviser and a former president of Goldman Sachs; Reed Cordish, an assistant to the president; Sean Spicer, the press secretary; Hope Hicks, a long-serving Trump aide; and eventually Vice President Mike Pence and the chief of staff, Reince Priebus…

Also — and not for the first time — if your grandpa couldn’t stay on topic any better than this, you’d be planning to hide his car keys and checkbook before something terrible happened:

GLENN THRUSH, White House correspondent: Why do you think Democrats feel the need to oppose Gorsuch? What do you think the politics is?

TRUMP: Well, I think that some of it had to do with the election. They thought they were going to win. You know, winning the Electoral College is, for a Republican, is close to impossible and I won it quite easily. And I think they are still recovering from that, but they are recovering now. I think the Susan Rice thing is a massive story. I think it’s a massive, massive story. All over the world, I mean other than The New York Times.

HABERMAN: We’ve written about it twice.

TRUMP: Huh?

HABERMAN: We’ve written about it twice.

TRUMP: Yeah, it’s a bigger story than you know. I think —

HABERMAN: You mean there’s more information that we’re not aware of?

TRUMP: I think that it’s going to be the biggest story…
******
HOPE HICKS, White House director of strategic communications: Can we get to infrastructure? [Laughter.] Because I know we are sensitive about time.

HABERMAN: I understand. I just want to ask one last follow-up on that note, and then we’ll move on, not on O’Reilly.

TRUMP: You certainly covered O’Reilly big. Not Susan Rice, boy, O’Reilly [unintelligible]. He’s taking my place. He’s taking my place.

HABERMAN: Sir, if you could give us more information about Rice. If the administration would give us more information —

TRUMP: No, you have a lot of information. No, you have so much information…

THRUSH: [Transportation Secretary] Elaine Chao said that [Trump’s infrastructure bill] would likely come “later in the year.” Are you thinking about accelerating?

TRUMP: I am. I’m thinking about accelerating it. I’m thinking about putting it with another bill. Could be health care, could be something else. [Cross talk.] Could be tax reform.

HABERMAN: What’s your time frame, at this point, that you’re looking at as an accelerated?

TRUMP: Well, we’re working — you know when people said, when you guys, because you know we have a very solid administration. We have some very, very good people. This man was the president of Goldman Sachs. I mean, he was, like, the president of Goldman Sachs…

It’d be mildly funny, in an improv skit, with the right cast. But I actually found myself thinking, Well, I’m 61 years old, I’ve had a pretty good run, if they manage to break the world…

We.Are.So.Fucked.

THANKS, REPUBLICANS!



Numbers of Interest: “New database details White House officials’ finances”

From the Center for Public Integrity:

On Friday night, the White House began releasing financial disclosures for scores of key employees — including familiar names such as Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway and Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon.

Reporters from dozens of news organizations, including the Associated Press, the New York Times, ProPublica and the Washington Post, then compiled and reported on the documents, which the White House released one-by-one.

The Center for Public Integrity compiled data from those disclosures into a searchable, sortable database, which provide a window into the wealth, assets and business interests of many of the people closest to President Donald Trump. The Center for Public Integrity’s news developer, Chris Zubak-Skees, extracted these details from more than 90 reports, released in PDF format, using a software tool he created

No doubt all kinds of interesting details might be extracted; Bannon has a dozen lines on the database, but Jared Kushner has no fewer than 265



Steve Bannon Removed From National Security Council, Which is Reorganized

From Bloomberg:

President Donald Trump reorganized his National Security Council on Wednesday, removing his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, and downgrading the role of his Homeland Security Adviser, Tom Bossert, according to a person familiar with the decision and a regulatory filing.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster was given responsibility for setting the agenda for meetings of the NSC or the Homeland Security Council, and was authorized to delegate that authority to Bossert, at his discretion, according to the filing.

Under the move, the national intelligence director, Dan Coats, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, are again “regular attendees” of the NSC’s principals committee.

 

This is somewhat good news, I would think. Hopefully this is McMaster taking some more control and setting up some clear lines and authority. I know Adam will chip in or add his own expertise to this or a dedicated post, but this is important news to discuss.



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Priceless

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Apart from the usual Trump-related shenanigans, what’s on the agenda for the day?


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