Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Interesting Analogy…

The story Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) tell about their legislation during speeches and news conferences is a straightforward, seemingly innocuous one ― that they are simply transferring money and authority away from the federal government.

To their colleagues in the Senate, Graham and Cassidy make a different, more nuanced pitch. With key Republicans nervous about what the bill would mean for coverage of their constituents, Graham and Cassidy are promising the vast majority of Republican states would end up with more money, not less, if the proposal becomes law.

The story Graham and Cassidy are telling the public is a vast over-simplification, one that leaves out the bill’s most important elements. And the story they are peddling to colleagues? That’s even more misleading…


Open Thread: Spoilsports At the Emmys


Colbert, per NYMag:

— “And we all know the Emmys mean a lot to Donald Trump. Because he was nominated multiple times for Celebrity Apprentice but he never won. Why didn’t you give him an Emmy? I tell you this. If he had won an Emmy, I bet he wouldn’t have run for president. So in a way this is all your fault.”

— “I thought you people loved morally compromised antiheroes. You like Walter White. He’s just Walter Much Whiter.”…

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Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: The Loneliest Monster

The Media Village Idiots at Politico are trying on a new narrative: Trump is just a uniquely “self-contained” individual, who doesn’t respond to normal primate responses like ‘friendship’ and ’empathy’. He’s not really a monster, he’s just isolated, poor thing!

As someone who also has trouble connecting with humans, I will attest that this is the biggest load of shit since Ringling Brothers disbanded its animal acts. Trump, like any other circus performer, is an entertainer. He’s spent his entire life crafting a “Donald Trump” character, a media-friendly mock-up of everyone’s nightmare Big Boss Business Guy… the guy behind the curtain is just a meatsack that craves familiarity and doesn’t want to be touched.

The tragedy, for the rest of us, is that just as the aging monster’s physical and mental decline became inevitable, a confluence of Republican venality, American stupidity, and Russian cupidity propelled the Donald Trump Show into the White House. Great news for the parasites, not so much for the rest of us:

He’s increasingly isolated in the White House, but for Donald Trump, being alone is not a liability. It’s where he’s most comfortable…

His critics might see his growing isolation as a product of his political inexperience—an aversion to the norms of the legislative process, a penchant for topsy-turvy management. But as unprecedented as this might be in the annals of the West Wing, it’s merely a continuation of a lifelong pattern of behavior for Trump. Take away the Pennsylvania Avenue address, the never-ending list of domestic and international crises, and the couldn’t-be-higher geopolitical stakes—and this looks very much like … Trump throughout his entire existence. Isolated is how he’s always operated…

“One of the loneliest people I’ve ever met,” biographer Tim O’Brien said in an interview. “He lacks the emotional and sort of psychological architecture a person needs to build deep relationships with other people.”

It’s been this way always, because he’s always been foundationally, virulently untrusting. “There’s a wall Donald has that he never lets people penetrate,” a former associate told me. Trump has a dark, dour view of humanity. He considers the world “ruthless,” “brutal” and “cruel.” Through this zero-sum, dog-eat-dog lens, friends aren’t friends—there’s no such thing. “They act nice to your face, but underneath they’re out to kill you,” he wrote in his 2007 book, Think Big. “… they want your job, they want your house, they want your money, they want your wife …” Why he’s like this is the subject of vigorous discussion among psychology experts. The deep-seated influence of his formidable father? The wound of the alcohol-fueled death of his more mild-mannered older brother? Simple genetics? Trump is not self-reflective—“I don’t like to analyze myself because I might not like what I see,” he told a biographer several years back—but he can be self-aware. And on this front, he’s been quite clear, and remarkably consistent.
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Trump’s “Voter Fraud” Commission: Yes, They Are Indeed Fraudulent

I keep starting long, link-heavy posts about Kobach’s hand-picked vote-suppression committee… and the evil bastids keep getting ahead of the news. Shorter: These guys are more dangerous to the American way than a coalition of acting-out white supremacists ganged up with a band of black bloc window-breakers.

In an September 7th article for Breitbart News, Kobach claimed that 5,313 New Hampshire voters were not residents of the state. The only “evidence” he could muster, however, was that the 5,313 had registered to vote with out-of-state driver’s licenses but had not registered a car in New Hampshire. Kobach forgot—or just intentionally ignored in furtherance of his own agenda—that thousands of New Hampshire college students from other states reside and attend classes in New Hampshire districts that saw high voter turnouts in 2016.

Kobach added that New Hampshire Democrat Maggie Hassan likely only won her senate race because it was “stolen through voter fraud.” He did not even claim to have proof.

Assembled by Trump by executive order in early May, the commission was tasked with completing a report about “vulnerabilities and issues related to voter registration and voting.” Its creation followed erroneous claims repeated by the president alleging widespread voter fraud which the president has claimed cost him the popular vote. Seemingly emasculated by having obtained fewer votes nationwide than Clinton, Trump asserted weeks after his inauguration that between 3 and 5 million illegal ballots were cast for his opponent…

Kobach and Pence eventually appointed five Democrats and seven Republicans to the commission, though Democrat Luis E. Borunda, Maryland’s deputy secretary of state, has since resigned. But it remains completely under the direction of the Republicans.

“Any truly bipartisan commission on these things has to have bipartisan leadership,” Danielle Lang, an attorney for the Campaign Legal Center, told Gizmodo. “There has to be some kind of bipartisan power on the commission—or it’s just a fig leaf. If you look at all of the former commissions that this would be similar to, they all had Democrat and Republican vice chairs. Instead, in this case, you have Kris Kobach and Mike Pence. That alone truly disqualifies it from being truly bipartisan in any meaningful way.” …

And given his background, Hans von Spakovsky should be particularly ashamed of himself, if only he understood the concept of ‘shame’.

Friday Evening Open Thread: Watch What He Does, Not What He Says

Just in case anyone’s got elderly relatives in Hurricane Irma’s path who’ve been unwilling to evacuate because they’ve been listening to RW charlatans…

“May as well… announce this. I’m not going to get into details because of the security nature of things, but it turns out that we will not be able to do the program here tomorrow,” Limbaugh said Thursday. “We’ll be on the air next week, folks, from parts unknown.”…

Limbaugh did not recant his earlier statements about Irma, and he did not encourage his listeners in the area to evacuate. In fact, Limbaugh seemed to even double down on his earlier views…

On his show Tuesday, Limbaugh said he was reading the paths of the hurricane and was certain it would curve into the Atlantic, and even if it did so, Limbaugh said “official” meteorologists and the media would have accomplished their goal.

“If it ends up not hitting where you are, hits somewhere else, you might temporarily breathe a sigh of relief, but you’re still gonna think, ‘Man, there might be something to this climate change,” Limbaugh said. “Do not doubt me, with everything being politicized, of course it is an objective of some, not everybody, of course, but some of the people involved here.”

Even Big Water was in on the conspiracy, Limbaugh concluded, as people were stocking up on cases of bottled water for the storm that wouldn’t come when they could just use the water coming out of their taps…

Apart from praying that people won’t die because they believed this charlatan for everyone in the storm’s path, what’s on the agenda as we start the weekend?

Friday Morning Open Thread: ALWAYS Be Grifting!

High praise, from a professional who knows how investigative reporting should work. USAToday, “Trump gets millions from golf members. CEOs and lobbyists get access to president”:

Dozens of lobbyists, contractors and others who make their living influencing the government pay President Trump’s companies for membership in his private golf clubs, a status that can put them in close contact with the president, a USA TODAY investigation found.

Members of the clubs Trump has visited most often as president — in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia — include at least 50 executives whose companies hold federal contracts and 21 lobbyists and trade group officials. Two-thirds played on one of the 58 days the president was there, according to scores they posted online.

Because membership lists at Trump’s clubs are secret, the public has until now been unable to assess the conflicts they could create. USA TODAY found the names of 4,500 members by reviewing social media and a public website golfers use to track their handicaps, then researched and contacted hundreds to determine whether they had business with the government.

The review shows that, for the first time in U.S. history, wealthy people with interests before the government have a chance for close and confidential access to the president as a result of payments that enrich him personally. It is a view of the president available to few other Americans.

Among Trump club members are top executives of defense contractors, a lobbyist for the South Korean government, a lawyer helping Saudi Arabia fight claims over the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the leader of a pesticide trade group that sought successfully to persuade the Trump administration not to ban an insecticide government scientists linked to health risks.

Members of Trump’s clubs pay initiation fees that can exceed $100,000, plus thousands more in annual dues to his companies, held in a trust for his benefit.

The arrangement is legal, and members said they did not use the clubs to discuss government business. Nonetheless, ethics experts questioned whether it’s appropriate for a sitting president to collect money from lobbyists and others who spend their days trying to shape federal policy or win government business…

Presidents have long socialized with the wealthy and well-connected, including campaign donors. But although the Kennedys visited country clubs in Palm Beach and the Roosevelts “were hobnobbing with the moneyed rich in the Hudson Valley or in Manhattan, the very people (Trump) is hanging out with are paying to be there in that setting with him,” said Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.

“This is unprecedented on so many levels,” she said…

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Angry Incompetents

It was last Thursday, and Sessions and one of his former aides, Stephen Miller, who now serves as Trump’s senior policy adviser, tried to get into the Oval Office to see Trump and talk again about their opposition to protections for Dreamers, according to a person familar about the situation. They saw the president wavering and wanted to remind him of the legal argument and the stakes.

Kelly stopped them.

Kelly, the former secretary of homeland security, had a solution in mind aimed at allowing Trump to fulfill a campaign promise while easing the president’s clear misgivings about ending a program geared toward children — many of whom had no idea they were being brought to the country illegally. Delay the program’s end by six months, Kelly told Trump.

There was a practical benefit of this approach too; it would give Congress time to devise a legislative fix to protect nearly 800,000 Dreamers.

“General Kelly either wants a delay on the decision or to keep DACA, and is very frustrated by the attorney general and his former staffer Stephen Miller’s efforts to pursue their own agenda, given the president told his staff in the past he wants to keep DACA in place,” according to a person familiar with the situation.

Kelly used the weekend to call congressional leaders and lock in support. As details leaked, the administration’s decision was now set…

“Former Secretary of Homeland Security” and ICE defender Kelly is hardly a big fan of open borders, but he can spot an oncoming FUBAR with the best of them. Yes, the Malevolent Leprechaun has gotten his perverse jollies by announcing the Trump maladministration’s big plans to punish non-white people. But he clearly didn’t get to enjoy his ‘triumph’ much… the big-business donor base of the GOP are publicly renouncing the “rescission” in all available media. And every pundit with an IQ higher than cottage cheese is pointing out how one more ugly, ultimately unwinnable battle is *just* what the Repubs needed when they’ve got a heaping platter of legislation to deal with before they can get to the really important goal (more tax cuts for millionaires). Not to mention that Paul Ryan is already sweating like a cardsharp caught with a fifth ace and a little stash of counterfit chips — anything that makes Paul Ryan miserable has to be good for America.

Now it’s our job (and the Chamber of Commerce’s) to fight this xenophobic bullshit until Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and his fellow racists are driven back under their white hoods.