Late Night Open Thread: Big Swinging… Mouths

What world is this, where I am forced to agree with the words of a professional Republican strategist?

… and Tom Nichols…

To be fair, unlike most of her fellow wingnut bloviators (lookin’ at you, Sean Hannity!), I don’t think Laura Ingraham would fold like a cheap patio chair at the first sign of physical threat. Pull an illegal can of pepper spray, plant a switchblade on her opponent’s writhing body, and lie about the altercation afterwards — yeah, that’s more what I’d consider Ingraham style.



It is Important to Bear Witness: Protestors Beaten by Erdogan’s Bodyguards

Yesterday after Turkish President Erdogan’s meetings with the President, his bodyguards decided to give a beat down to a number of protestors (Kurdish Americans, Yazidi Americans, Kurdish and Yazidi immigrants to America, Americans who are neither Kurdish or Yazidi) in front of the Turkish ambassador’s residence. VOA Turkish has the video.

Andrea Mitchell confirmed what I suspected last night:

A similar response by Erdogan’s bodyguards to protestors also took place last year.

But the event was seemingly upstaged by proceedings outside the venue, where protesters appeared to clash with Erdogan supporters, as well as the controversial Turkish leader’s security detail.

During the 2016 incident Erdogan’s security detail actually went so far as to attack their hosts at the Brookings Institute.

Later, a shoving match between what appeared to be a Brookings Institute worker and Turkish security broke out. “I am in charge of this building,” the apparent Brookings employee shouted as the two tangled. A Foreign Policy reporter and others holding cameras outside the event were also scolded by Turkish security.  One cameraman was chased across the street by Turkish guards.

In yesterday’s incident, as I would have expected in the 2016 one, the official bodyguards to President Erdogan were armed, which has been confirmed by analysis of stills from the video.

A number of folks in comments last night, as well as in comments today have asked why the DC Police responded the way they did. I think my answer in a comment from last night makes sense:

The cops did a decent job with less than lethal force. Given that the Turks who were assaulting and battering the protestors would clearly have beaten them to death if given the chance, I would not have been opposed to them escalating to lethal force. Unfortunately that is really the only thing that the guys giving out the beatings respond to.

As to why they didn’t? They had most likely been prepped by the Department of State Diplomatic Security folks and given instructions about what the rules of engagement would and would not permit. This is a diplomatic incident. And people have been severely beaten and hurt. But it is containable. Ventilating the first goon to charge the protestors when he ignored the order to stop and back off would be a major, major problem.

Given that Erdogan’s security detail were armed it is a good thing that the Metropolitan Police officers responding on site did not escalate from less than lethal to lethal responses. Doing so could have turned a group beating into a shoot out and likely a bloodbath. This would have created the conditions for an even larger rift with a NATO ally that could be exploited by the US’s competitors (Russia).

So what happens now? Under any other administration the Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, working in conjunction with DC’s Metropolitan Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security would be working to positively identify the members of Erdogan’s security detail involved. They would then be declared persona non grata and barred from reentry into the United States. What will actually happen given the current administration I have no idea.

Update at 1:30 PM EDT

Before anyone asks why no one being threatened/beaten didn’t draw a firearm and defend themselves, the simple reason is that Washington DC has dragged out implementing the Supreme Court ruling Heller V DC. As a result it is almost impossible to get a concealed carry permit in DC. Additionally, Washington DC’s code defines self defense in the following manner:

You are entitled to claim self-defense: (1) if you actually believe you are in imminent danger of bodily harm; and (2) if you have reasonable grounds for that belief. You may use the amount of force which, at the time of the incident, you actually and reasonably believe is necessary to protect yourself (or a third person) from imminent bodily harm. This may extend to the use of deadly force if you actually and reasonably believe you are in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm from which you can save yourself only by using deadly force against your assailant.

Even if the other person is the aggressor and you are justified in using force in selfdefense, you may not use any greater force than you actually and reasonably believe is necessary under the circumstances to prevent the harm you reasonably believe is intended or to save your life or avoid serious bodily harm.

Under the case law of the District of Columbia, the District is neither a “right to stand and kill” nor a “duty to retreat to the wall before killing” jurisdiction. The District case law has established a “middle ground.” 2

You should take reasonable steps, such as stepping back or walking away, to avoid the necessity of taking a human life, so long as those steps are consistent with your own safety. However, you do not have to retreat or consider retreating when you actually and reasonably believe that you are in danger of death or serious bodily harm and that deadly force is necessary to repel that danger.

 



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Can We Come Up With A Better Tag Than “Comeygate”?

Politico — “Behind Comey’s firing: An enraged Trump, fuming about Russia“:

[T]he fallout seemed to take the White House by surprise. Trump made a round of calls around 5 p.m., asking for support from senators. White House officials believed it would be a “win-win” because Republicans and Democrats alike have problems with the FBI director, one person briefed on their deliberations said.

Instead, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told him he was making a big mistake — and Trump seemed “taken aback,” according to a person familiar with the call.

By Tuesday evening, the president was watching the coverage of his decision and frustrated no one was on TV defending him, a White House official said. He wanted surrogates out there beating the drum.

Instead, advisers were attacking each other for not realizing the gravity of the situation as events blew up. “How are you not defending your position for three solid hours on TV?” the White House aide said…

“We just have no idea why this happened. No idea,” said one recently retired top FBI official who worked closely with Comey on many high-profile investigations. “No one knew this was coming. Everyone is just shocked that this happened.”

There was no immediate front-runner for the job, one White House official said. “If there’s a list, I haven’t seen it,” said one senior White House official.

While shock dominated much of the FBI and the White House, the mood was more elated at Roger Stone’s house in Florida. Several Stone allies and friends said Stone, who has been frequently mentioned in the investigation, encouraged the president to fire Comey in conversations in recent weeks…

(That’s one fly in the soup, as far as I’m concerned: Assuming — as is widely rumored — that Stone has been trying to cut a deal to save his own Nixon-tattoo’d skin, it would make me sad if Trump’s latest move gave him any leverage.)

Apart from readying the pitchforks (and the popcorn), what’s on the agenda for the day?



Special Investigator or Congressional Investigation?

The question came up earlier about clarifying the ways of dealing with the mess Trump and his cronies have inflicted on the nation. The options basically come down to two: a special investigator or a congressional investigation.

A special investigator can be appointed only by the Attorney General. That’s right, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. Read more



100 Days of Resistance

For my money, “The Simpsons” provided the definitive recap of the nonstop fail parade that is Twitler’s first 100 days:

As the announcer says, we’re 6.8% of the way home!

January 20, 2017 marked a modern low for the United States of America with the swearing in of a racist, sexist, xenophobic demagogue who scraped to electoral college victory with an assist from a hostile foreign power, GOP voter suppression, the ineptitude and/or malice of James Comey and the worst instincts of our fellow citizens.

Trump has since compounded the eternal shame of his election by behaving exactly as the decent people who opposed him said he would: he’s a bumbling, corrupt, narcissistic, clueless, feckless asshole who is more concerned with filling his pockets and feeding his massive ego than running the government.

But if January 20, 2017 showed how low the U.S. could sink, the next day provided clues to how it might rise again. I was in D.C. to witness it, and many of you were there too or at sister events held all over the world:

It may have been the largest single-day demonstration in the history of the United States. It almost certainly set a record for the most women rejecting a specific man in the history of humankind. That’s kinda cool.

Even more cool, resistance to Trump hasn’t been a one-off. I’ve never seen such sustained outrage about anything, ever. And it’s not just inchoate rage; the bone-deep anger people feel has translated into action, including boycotts of Trump products and follow-up marches to support science and protest Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns.

Never thought I’d see my wingnut congressman in a +20 GOP district jeered and shouted down in a packed town hall, but it happened. Never thought our sleepy local Democratic committee meetings would be flooded with new members who not only showed up at the first post-election meeting but continue to show up and mobilize for local protests and receive training to run as candidates and turn out voters.

Trump’s presidency and the GOP agenda have been stymied, not only due to their own epic ineptitude, not only because this administration is mired in scandal and infighting but also because Republicans are fearful. I look forward to making them fear us for the next 100 days, and the next 100 after that.

What have you seen that gives you hope?



Open Thread: Best April Fool Prank in… Well, Forever

Per the Hollywood Reporter:

The actor tweeted that he will be running for a seat in Congress before posting another tweet hours later indicating that it was just a joke.

Actor George Takei, best known for his role as Mr. Sulu on the original Star Trek television series, got in on the April Fools’ Day action early, posting on Twitter late Friday night Pacific Time (but after midnight on the East Coast) that he was running for Congress…

This news from io9 sounds very cool, also:

George Takei’s recounts of his time at a Japanese-American internment camp have been put to page and brought to the stage. Now, he’s signed a book detail with IDW Publishing to create a graphic novel about what it was like for those imprisoned because of their heritage.

According to a press release, the graphic novel will dive into President Roosevelt’s unconscionable Executive Order 9066, which authorized the internment of over 100,000 people, most of them American citizens, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Takei was 5 years old when he was taken to a camp, and the graphic novel will dive into his story and show how his experiences helped him become who he is today.

Takei has been extremely vocal about violations of civil liberties in the United States, especially in the wake of President Donald Trump’s violent rhetoric and thinly veiled threats against, among many others, Mexican Americans and Muslim Americans. Takei made headlines in 2015 when he left a seat open for Trump during the Broadway run of Allegiance, the musical also based on his life story. Trump never took him up on his offer…



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Stee-RIKE!


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Apart from booing the Coward-in-Chief, what’s on the agenda for the day?

A trip to the mound for Donald J. Trump in the near future would be anything but ceremonial. It would mark the first time our president, who ran on the platform of American Toughness, showed his face in public since his inauguration. Over the last three months, Trump has been safely chauffeured from the White House to one of his hotels to his campaign rallies to his private club and back again, insulated by a gauzy cocoon of yes-men who tell him that any polls that show him to be unpopular are fake, and any people protesting against his agenda are paid. In the early days of his own presidency, Barack Obama participated in town halls, appeared on The Tonight Show, and sat courtside at an NBA game between the Wizards and the Bulls. Trump on the other hand was forced to cancel his only public appearance yet, a friendly trip to a Harley-Davidson factory in Milwaukee, out of fear that protesters would steal his headlines and undercut his populist narrative.

Potential booing aside, Trump would surely welcome a chance to show off his athletic prowess and Adonis-like physical form. After all, according to his personal physician, the soon-to-be-71-year-old is the “healthiest individual ever elected president”—George W. Bush’s six-minute miles and Barack Obama’s visible abdominal muscles be damned.

Trump has actually already thrown out a ceremonial first pitch once, as a civilian back in 2006 in honor of the Jimmy Fund (see photographic evidence here), so I know it’s possible. And with the baseball season rapidly approaching, I decided to sleuth it out myself….

[NSFB Warning: Do *not* click on that link during breakfast or while consuming fluids]