Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner Live Feed: Its All Good Fun Until…


Late Night Open Thread


Creepy sheepy!

I can’t sleep for some reason. I’m happy that Clinton kicked Trump’s ass all over the debate stage. But the whole spectacle has been deeply disquieting.

The only acceptable outcome is a beat-down of historic proportions. Let’s make it so.

It is Important to Bear Witness: This Shall Not Go Unremarked

I’ve done a couple of these  so far. One dealing with that whacked out sentence in the rape case in California. One in regard to anti-Semites threatening a reporter on twitter.

Earlier today, during her interview with Anderson Cooper, Melania Trump indicated that if she becomes First Lady she intends to focus on combating the negativity on social media.

Perhaps she should ask her step son in law why this is unacceptable and then speak with her husband and ask him to publicly tell his supporters that this is unacceptable. And it cannot go unremarked.

I do not know Ms. Gold, but she needs to know that others will stand up with and for her if necessary. And the same to anyone else who is being threatened like this on twitter and other social media platforms regardless of their ethnicity or religion or gender or sexuality.

Stuff like this is also why the owners of Twitter can’t get anyone to actually buy it.

Yesterday in American Sedition: (Not Actually Mentioned in the) Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers & Senators Too Edition

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke had some interesting thoughts he decided to share on social media yesterday:

You remember Sheriff Clark, the (sheriffs aren’t actualyl mentioned in the) Constitutional Sheriff and Peace Officers Association Law Enforcer of the Year Award Winner? You know, the tough guy that tried to call in the Wisconsin National Guard about six weeks ago even though he was not the law enforcement officer in charge of what was happening in Milwaukee with demonstrations, protests, and riots? The actual officer in charge would be Milwaukee Chief of Police Edward A Flynn. And he had this to say about Sheriff Clarke:

“Nobody has got more to say about law enforcement and less to do with it,” Flynn said of Clarke, calling him a self-serving man who seeks “celebrity.”

Sheriff Clarke would be the tough guy that had an inmate die of thirst in the jail*, the oversight of which is one of his few actual primary responsibilities, because his subordinates specifically and purposely cut off water to the inmates cell – an inmate who was mentally ill.

So what is it that Sheriff Clarke actually does/is actually supposed to be doing? His actual jurisdiction is running the jail, providing security at municipal facilities, and patrolling the part of the interstate as it runs through Milwaukee County.

“By statute and by practice, the sheriff plays only a limited role as a traditional law enforcement agency,” Abele said in his budget remarks to the County Board on Sept. 29, 2011.

“For example, in 2009 the sheriff reported only 12 crimes to the FBI, compared to 41,000 for the City of Milwaukee and 3,200 for West Allis, and even 242 for the UWM Police Department.”

There are no unincorporated areas in Milwaukee County and each of these incorporated municipalities have their own police departments.

Last year, the administration of Milwaukee County ExecutiveChris Abele released some eyebrow-raising statistics on the Sheriff’s Department, noting that:

  • Milwaukee is the state’s only county with no unincorporated area, meaning there are municipal police patrolling every part of the county. Besides Milwaukee, there are 18 suburban police forces in action.
  • In 2009, the sheriff reported only 19 crimes to the FBI, compared to 41,375 for the Milwaukee police, 3,288 for West Allis police, 1,908 for Wauwatosa and even 242 for the UW-Milwaukee police. That’s right, the UWM campus police handled 12 times more criminals than the Sheriff’s Department.
  • Just 10 percent of Sheriff David Clarke’s requested property tax levy was for police services. As Abele put it, “the sheriff plays only a limited role as a traditional law enforcement agency.”

The deputy sheriffs staff the Milwaukee County Jail and County Correctional Facility South (formerly House of Correction), handle the courthouse’s system of bailiffs, and patrol the freeways.

Earlier in the day he was complaining about how long it took his NICS check to go through so he could buy a new AR pattern rifle. Insinuating that this is not how law enforcement should be treated (because, you know, they’re not just citizens too or something).

In case anyone was wondering, NICS checks for gun purchases are done by the FBI – law enforcement genius!

Anyone else get in the game yesterday? Why yes, yes indeed. Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III.

You know, this Senator Sessions.

And thus an uncomfortable light shined once again on a man plainly hidden in the ranks of the Senate for a dozen years now. A man known to be one of the most consistently conservative legislators on Capitol Hill. A man noted for hisobstructionist tendencies. A man with a chequered history linked to America’s racist past. A man, who has been, arguably, waiting for this moment for the last two decades.

Sessions’s first national exposure was, surely, mortifying for the would-be federal judge. It was 1986, and the then-39-year-old US attorney for the Southern District of Alabama was a Reagan nominee to the federal bench. Sessions had good reason to believe he’d be rubber-stamped through to a judgeship – some 200 of the Gipper’s judges had already been heavily sprinkled throughout the federal judicial system. But Sessions stopped up the works. The young lawyer became only the second man in 50 years to be rejected by the Senate judiciary committee.

The reasons for his rejection, as I explained in this 2002 New Republic story had to do with a soupy mix of dubious and arguably racist moves, comments and motivations on the part of the Alabama native that led senator Ted Kennedy to announce it was “inconceivable … that a person of this attitude is qualified to be a US attorney, let alone a United States federal judge.”

And finally a quick update by addition (unintentional omission) from Friday’s Today in Hashtag Violence, Terrorism, and Leaderless Resistance post:

Two Texas men, working in California, have been charged in a brutal assault and battery on Maan Singh Khalsa – a Sikh-American. They first threw something at his car, then followed him and at a stop light pulled him from his car, beat him, ripped off his dastar (turban), and cut/pulled out some of his hair. The attackers have had the hate crime additions added to the charges they face.

Just 24 days (inclusive of today) to go until the election. Stay frosty!

* The Journal-Sentinel did a deep dive into deaths in the Milwaukee County Jail from 2008 to 2014,

Happy Kitty Open Thread

Remember that kitten who was so wretched during her bath this morning? Here she is all dry, fluffy and happy:


Wow, two cat posts from this dog person in one day! If I could get my dogs to do something besides denting my sofa cushions, they too could amass page views. Oh well.

Open thread!

Today in Hashtag Violence, Terrorism, and Leaderless Resistance.

Today we have several examples of hashtag (stochastic) violence and terrorism and leaderless resistance.  First up is a thwarted militia plot from Kansas. Three Kansan militia men were arrested today by the FBI and are now in the Sedgewick County Jail awaiting arraignment for plotting to attack an apartment complex housing Somali refugee families and a mosque in Garden City, KS on 9 November (h/t: Charles Johnson at LGF).

Next up, from yesterday actually, we have two fine, upstanding Trump supporters that decided to demonstrate that support by standing in front of Jane Dittmer’s campaign office in Palmyra, VA for 12 hours while legally open carrying handguns. Daniel Parks, who organized this two man protest, had this to say:

I’m just trying to provide a voice for someone who might be closet supporters of Trump. Other people that are a little worried to speak out because of possible persecution. We’re not a threat to anybody, the only threat is ignorance, and ignorance will breed fear.

Su Wolff who was onsite at the time volunteering in Ditmmer’s campaign office said:

He turned sideways to be sure that we would see that he has an open carry gun, which is legal, it’s fine, but it’s intimidating,” she said of one protester. “If he wants to support his candidate that’s fine, but don’t come here and stare into the office all day.

It is important to note that Virginia is a legal open carry state. That said, Mr. Parks remarks about the “only threat is ignorance and ignorance will breed fear” is part of the open carry argument of gun normalization. Gun normalization is the argument (belief?) that if open carry is legal, people will see open carriers open carrying and when they don’t see open carriers do anything threatening or illegal or anything bad happen, then they will stop being afraid of guns and the people that carry them – openly or otherwise.

Finally, we get to Trump’s own rally in Greensboro, NC where a couple of his supporters in attendance decided to rough up a protestor that displayed the American flag upside down, which is the classic symbol for distress.

Only 26 days to go… Stay frosty!

The Maskirovka Slips Part 2: Gentlemen I Thought I Told You to Synchronize Your Watches


More circumstantial evidence linking the hacks of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails, as well as the DNC and DCCC hacks, back to Russia has emerged. RT (Russia Today) went public, both by tweet and with reporting, on the most recent dump of Podesta’s emails before Wikileaks actually posted them.

RT is widely considered to be a Russian government funded propaganda outlet. As Putin stated in a 2013 interview with RT:

I’d like to emphasize something of the key importance. We never expected this to be a news agency or a channel which would defend the position of the Russian political line. We wanted to bring an absolutely independent news channel to the news arena.

Certainly the channel is funded by the government, so it cannot help but reflect the Russian government’s official position on the events in our country and in the rest of the world one way or another. But I’d like to underline again that we never intended this channel, RT, as any kind of apologetics for the Russian political line, whether domestic or foreign.

As the investigation into the hacked emails and other data files continues, as well as the investigation into Trump foreign and economic policy advisor Carter Page’s ties to Russian government officials, I think its important to reflect a bit on where Russia may be coming from. Especially as we see renewed statements that the US never takes Russia’s interests into consideration (by the aforementioned Carter Page) or that the election of Secretary Clinton would lead to a nuclear war. Putin is an old KGB hand; he came up through that intelligence service and it has been argued that his training and acculturation within it shapes his worldview and actions. One of the seminal pieces attempting to get American policy makers to understand Russia within the Soviet Union, which is the Russia that Putin grew up in both personally and professionally, is the Long Telegram.

On February 22, 1946 George Kennan* sent a lengthy diplomatic cable from Moscow Station, as the US Embassy in Moscow is sometimes called, back to the State Department in DC. Kennan was the Charge de Affairs at US Embassy Moscow and he would go on to publish in 1947, as Mr. X, an outline of his Long Telegram in Foreign Affairs. This is why the Long Telegram is sometimes called the X Article. While Russia and the Russians have undergone many changes in the 70 years since Kennan wrote his lengthy cable, it is still one of the best examples of a true subject matter expert, with deep regional and socio-cultural expertise, attempting to get non-subject matter experts, over half a world away, to understand the people behind the challenges and threats that they were facing and to avoid mirroring/the wilderness of mirrors. It is well worth reading even as Kennan’s argument for containment of Soviet expansion may no longer be necessary, desirable, or even possible in regards to modern Russia under Vladimir Putin. For those interested, the entire Long Telegram is below the fold.

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