Wednesday Evening Open Thread: Everybody Fake Surprise Now

Chris ‘Mad Bitcher’ Cillizza, now that he’s on the way out the door at the Washington Post, decides to demonstrate he can so commit journalism if he feels like it:

Against such strong denials from people in a position to know, the White House has offered up, well, not much. Trump has largely gone silent since making the allegations 10-ish days ago. His White House senior aides have been backpedaling; the latest being White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s decidedly odd argument that “wire tapping” and wiretapping are simply not the same thing. (Breaking news: They are!)

As I wrote at the time that Trump leveled these very serious allegations: The burden of proof was on him. To suggest that a former president orchestrated a listening program using the tools and resources of the federal government during a heated national campaign is a big charge. To do so without providing evidence — then or now — is eye-popping.

The repercussions of such charges should be serious. After all, this is conspiracy theorizing at the top levels of government. But they almost certainly won’t be, as a Republican Congress is unlikely to scold a Republican president so new to the White House. And Trump, if past is prologue, will somehow declare victory and move on.

Thanks, Repubs!

Apart from the healthful exercise involved in rolling our eyes, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



Late Night Open Thread: “Class Tells When There Is No Class”

The Notorious RBG had the best idea — she didn’t bother to show up.

What’s going on that does not involve the Dolt-in-Chieftests?



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: “Nevertheless, She Persisted”

It’s not as though Mitch McConnell would be going down in the record books for any positive actions, after all. Given the history of Southern racists’ fragile ‘honor’, I suppose we should be grateful these ‘gentlemen’ are no longer allowed to carry weapons in the chamber. Per the Washington Post:

Senate Republicans passed a party-line rebuke Tuesday night of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for a speech opposing attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, striking down her words for impugning the Alabama senator’s character.

In an extraordinarily rare move, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) interrupted Warren’s speech, in a near-empty chamber as debate on Sessions’s nomination heads toward a Wednesday evening vote, and said that she had breached Senate rules by reading past statements against Sessions from figures such as the late senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and the late Coretta Scott King….

“Sen. Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation,” he said. “Nevertheless, she persisted.”

Other Democrats later came to her defense and tried to have King’s letter placed into the Senate record. But Republican senators quickly objected. They did so again when Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), the chamber’s only African American woman, asked that Warren be allowed to resume participation in the debate…

Public reaction quickly intensified online. RedBubble.com, an online clothing website for independent designers, began selling a “She Persisted” T-shirt or sweatshirt — seizing on McConnell’s admonition of Warren. Democrats began using #LetLizSpeak on Twitter and posted copies of King’s letter on Facebook to draw more attention to Warren’s speech…

(Olivia Pope would’ve told McConnell he was making a serious mistake, one suspects.)



Open Thread: #MichiganMen (Totally Not Terrorists)

I owe some commentor a hat tip for this link to the Detroit News:

Two men were arrested Sunday after allegedly walking into the Dearborn Police Department wearing tactical vests and armed with cameras, an AP-14 and handgun.

Video shot by one of the men shows a brief but tense standoff…

Dearborn police were called Sunday afternoon to the shopping district near Ford and Southfield to investigate a report of “two suspicious men in a vehicle wearing tactical vests and masks,” officials said in a statement Monday.

The men left the area before officers arrived, but a police sergeant later spotted their vehicle in a park around three miles away. He conducted a brief traffic stop and did not see any visible weapons.

After being released, the suspects went to the police station to “make a complaint,” according to video posted online.

“So we’re here, outside the Dearborn Police station. We’re going to go in and make a complaint because we were illegally pulled over about an hour ago,” said a man identified by police as a 24 year old resident of Leonard, Mich. “We felt a little afraid for our lives when we were pulled over, so we figured we better protect ourselves.”

The man, his face hidden in a mask and his eyes behind sunglasses, held his camera out to reveal a large rifle strapped to his chest. Accompanying him was a 40 year old Jackson, Mich. resident who was unarmed but also clad in a tactical vest with cameras rolling.

Police have not named either suspect. They are free Monday on $1,500 bonds, but officials did not disclose their charges…

… because ‘being a godsdamned menace to yourselves and everyone around you’ is not in the criminal codes, worse luck.

Yes, as you may recall, Dearborn was (as of the 2000 census) almost 30% Arab-American and the site of North America’s largest mosque. Jackson, on the other hand… houses the state prison, which used to be the single major employer in the region. Twenty-odd years ago (when I was still a Michigander) the local welcome-to-Jackson signs changed their message from “You may never leave!” to “We like it here,” for some reason.

The nimrods in question seem to be open-carry advocates hoping to spread their message. Anyone wanna bet things might’ve gone a bit differently if a couple swarthy-complected fellas decided to walk into the Jackson police headquarters, waving their penis extenders?

And no I do *not* think it is a coincidence that the President-Asterisk’s minions just removed white nationalists from the official terrorism watch list…



Friday Morning Open Thread: “Routine Resistance”

From the Washington Post, “Thousands demonstrated against Trump in Philly“:

The rally didn’t start until 11 a.m., but Jackie Hamilton and Barb Beattie had shown up to the downtown plaza by 9:45 a.m. Planning to march in support of the Affordable Care Act, the retired schoolteachers donned attire that they sensed, wearily, would get a lot of use over the next four years.

“Ready?” asked Beattie, 68, putting on the pink knit hat she’d acquired for the Women’s March on Washington just days earlier.

“I feel like we’re being stirred up,” said Hamilton, also 68, adjusting the pink sash she got at the same place. “Trump is stirring us up and distracting us with all of his — whatever — and meanwhile Congress . . .” She trailed off. “I’m so angry. I can’t believe we’re having to deal with all this stuff. Still. Again.”

Several thousand protesters converged Thursday in Philadelphia, hoping to have their voices heard by President Trump and Republican members of Congress, who were meeting in a hotel blocks away to plan their legislative agenda for the coming months…

[M]arching — an age-old protest strategy — has taken on new meaning as a tool against a leader who is uniquely preoccupied by numbers and size.

The crowd that gathered in Thomas Paine Plaza focused on one of the most aggressive measures of the new Republican administration — an effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Signs at the rally protested this plan but raised other angers as well, residual and new: “Scientists Against Trump.” “Not a Journalist, and I want to see your tax returns.” “Stand Up Against Alternative Facts.”

Organizers said that about 5,000 people showed up in response to their invitation to try to disrupt the new president’s first jaunt away from the White House. The protests appeared to unfold peacefully, with no reports of widespread arrests or clashes…

The WaPo‘s local-color area columnist, speaking for the worker bees in the city whose monopoloy industry is national politics:

Meetings? Deadlines? Schedules? All plans are soft in the District, a city where people chanting in the streets or rappelling off construction cranes bring traffic to a halt. The working world is feeling it. #Thisisnotnormal.

I have to confess that I’ve always been a street protest skeptic… But this time feels different. Keep it up, protesters, because this time, it’s working. You’re getting to him.

This daily public humiliation — the massive, televised rejection of the direction of this administration — Donald Trump cares about that…

He’s a showman, a ringmaster, a ratings junkie. And nothing angers an attention addict more than a bigger, louder show next door.

This is Trump’s language.

It’s not going to change policy, but it will rankle and distract him. And it will signal to the rest of the world that most of America isn’t on board the lying train to Absurdistan…

***********

Apart from buckling down for the long haul, what’s on the agenda as we await the Friday news dump (now with extra NPD-ism)?



Breaking News: Gag Order for US Department of Agriculture Lifted

The Department of Agriculture has reportedly lifted an order that called for scientists and employees of its research arm not to release any of its work to the public.

After a report that the agency had told staff to stop releasing any “news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content,” BuzzFeed reported that another memo was sent Tuesday night from a top official for the department’s Agricultural Research Service that the original order should not have been issued and “is hereby rescinded.”

Prior to the memo, the agency disavowed the gag order, calling it “flawed” and indicating that new guidance would be sent to its employees.

“This internal email was released without Departmental direction, and prior to Departmental guidance being issued,” the USDA said in a statement.

“ARS will be providing updated direction to its staff. ARS values and is committed to maintaining the free flow of information between our scientists and the American public.”

Phone lines are open. Operators are standing by…



We Got PHOTOS!

I’ve got the ‘flu EVEN THOUGH I LET THEM TALK ME INTO A GODSDAMNED FLU SHOT, and the pictures and stories here are the only things that have taken me out of the misery, however briefly.

First, a note from Claudia:

Hi, just wanted to let you know that the March in Chicago was cancelled after a larger than expected crowd showed up. According to organizers the route was flooded with people and they couldn’t march so they turned it into a rally in Grant Park. The organizers expected about 50k, they’re estimating about 150k showed up. It’s now just a rally. Here’s a link to the Chicago Tribune coverage: “Thousands fill Loop after Women’s March rally in Chicago draws 250,000”

That’s as many people as showed up for the President-Asterisk’s inaugural yesterday — and the Women’s March didn’t have to pay seat-fillers!

Judy Little sends shots from the Boston March. Two-sided signs:

And a threat to chill the hardest spirit:

From O. Felix Culpa,

Howdy! Here are pictures from the Santa Fe march. We had at least 10,000 (I’ve seen estimates as high as 14,000), which is darn good for a small city in a state of only 2 million. There were also marches in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Farmington, and a bunch of New Mexicans bused it to D.C.

Photos are:
1. Me
2. A mother/daughter pair in matching pussyhats
3. Santa Fe crowd scene