IOKIYAR Open Thread: Mick Mulvaney, All-Too-Honest Grifter

Yesterday:

 
Also yesterday:

In any other modern administration, Mulvaney would be gone by the time this post pops up (I’m writing it just after finishing the early-morning open thread). In *this* one, he’ll probably be given some special Trump-branded award for public service.

Mr. Mulvaney, who also runs the White House budget office, is a longtime critic of the Obama-era consumer bureau, including while serving in Congress. He was tapped by President Trump in November to temporarily run the bureau, in part because of his promise to sharply curtail it.

Since then, he has frozen all new investigations and slowed down existing inquiries by requiring employees to produce detailed justifications. He also sharply restricted the bureau’s access to bank data, arguing that its investigations created online security risks. And he has scaled back efforts to go after payday lenders, auto lenders and other financial services companies accused of preying on the vulnerable.

But he wants Congress to go further and has urged it to wrest funding of the independent watchdog from the Federal Reserve, a move that would give lawmakers — and those with access to them — more influence on the bureau’s actions. On Tuesday, he implored the financial services industry to help support the legislative changes he has requested…

The association, which invited Mr. Mulvaney to give the keynote address at its conference, strongly backs his efforts to consider the financial burdens on banks imposed by the bureau’s actions…


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Open Thread: The DC Press Corpse & Its Greasy Thumb on the Political Scales

Amy Chozick’s “sometimes cubicle-mate” at the FTFNYT stands up to defend her, and his employer. One of a long twitter thread:

To quote everybody’s mom: If ‘every news organization’ jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?


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Like Every Other Pundit, Amy Chozick Will Never Forgive Hillary Clinton for Amy Chozick’s Mistakes

From the excerpts I’ve seen, Chozick’s new “tell entirely too much” book reads scarily like it was written by a teenage girl looking to pick a fight with her stepmother. Selfish beeyotch kept lecturing me about how that new boy ‘couldn’t be trusted’, so of course I *had* to go to the party with him, and now that I’m stumbling home barefoot with a roofie hangover, I want the world to know that it is ALL HER FAULT!

(A sentiment with which, of course, too many of her fellow NYTimes access journalists concur.)

Carlos Lozada, at the Washington Post has a thoughtful review of a thoughtless person book:

Amy Chozick, the lead New York Times reporter on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, believes that the news media’s focus on Clinton’s private e-mail server — a story the Times broke and that Chozick would write about extensively — was excessive. She even grew to resent it. Chozick also thinks that reporting on campaign chairman John Podesta’s hacked emails turned journalists into “puppets” of Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, and she struggles to explain why they did it anyway. She contends that sexism played a big role in Clinton’s defeat but also encounters it first-hand among Clinton’s campaign staff. And while she hammers the candidate for having no clear vision for why she sought the presidency, Chozick allows that competence, experience and policy were hardly selling points in 2016, when it “turned out a lot of people just wanted to blow s— up.”

These are some of the revelations and contradictions permeating Chozick’s “Chasing Hillary,” a memoir by turns poignant, insightful and exasperating. It’s a buffet-style book — media criticism here, trail reminscences there, political analysis and assorted recollections from Chozick’s past tossed throughout — and while the portions are tasty, none fully satisfies. In the unending debate over what happened in 2016, and whether journalists contributed to Donald Trump’s victory, Chozick offers plenty of self-recrimination, but she still blames Clinton for not grasping how the game was played…

“Chasing Hillary” offers some searing moments surrounding election night, as when the Clinton team’s data guru grasps that his Florida models were off (Latino turnout lower than expected, white turnout huge in the Panhandle), then turns to campaign manager Robby Mook and says, “But, Robby, if our models were wrong in Florida, they could be wrong everywhere.” Mook eventually delivers the news of impending defeat to Clinton. “I knew it. I knew this would happen to me,” she answers. “They were never going to let me be president.”

The next day, Times reporters consider what they’d missed — and why. “God, I didn’t go to a single Hillary or Trump rally,” a colleague of Chozick’s admits, “and yet, I wrote with such authority.”…

When she felt insecure at work, Chozick would channel Clinton. “I adopted Hillary’s mood,” she recalls. “I went around despondent and aggrieved, pissed off at the world, at my editors, at myself for not being ‘likable enough.’ ” But that’s not the Clinton she wants to remember, Chozick concludes. She wants to remember the Hillary who “tried to hold it all together — her marriage, her daughter, her career, her gender, her country.” The Hillary who taught her about grit, to believe she could excel but also to allow herself to stop striving.

“Hillary taught me all of that,” Chozick writes in her final lines. “So what if she hated me?”

Reading this book, I often had the same question.


 
The excerpt the NYTimes chose to highlight did Chozick no favors…

“Several people told me” is the media version of Trump’s “Many people have said” — that most pointless of metaphors, a transparent figleaf.


(Again: I strongly suspect this is very much still the playbook at the NYTimes.)



Friday Morning Open Thread: Compare & Contrast

Seared by memories of seeing their friends murdered at a place they believed to be safe, these young leaders don’t intimidate easily. They see the NRA and its allies—whether mealymouthed politicians or mendacious commentators peddling conspiracy theories—as mere shills for those who make money selling weapons of war to whoever can pay. They’re as comfortable speaking truth to power as they are dismissive of platitudes and punditry. And they live to mobilize their peers.

Already, they’ve had some success persuading statehouses and some of the biggest gun retailers to change. Now it gets harder. A Republican Congress remains unmoved. NRA scare tactics still sway much of the country. Progress will be slow and frustrating.

But by bearing witness to carnage, by asking tough questions and demanding real answers, the Parkland students are shaking us out of our complacency. The NRA’s favored candidates are starting to fear they might lose. Law-abiding gun owners are starting to speak out. As these young leaders make common cause with African Americans and Latinos—the disproportionate victims of gun violence—and reach voting age, the possibilities of meaningful change will steadily grow…

***********
 


 
(I have a post about the leak of the Comey memos scheduled for 8am EDT, if you wanna get coffee & breakfast before reading.)



Civic Obligations Open Thread: Tax Reax

You can tell a country is sinking into kleptocracy / kakistocracy when basic bureaucratic systems break down under predictable stress, and everybody’s reaction is {shrug emoji}…

Couple interesting tax-related pieces:

From Governing, “Why Low-Tax States Could Come to Dislike the New Tax Law, Too”.

When Congress capped the state and local tax deduction at $10,000 as part of its tax overhaul late last year, it was mostly officials from high-tax states such as California, New Jersey and New York that cried foul. But new research shows that taxpayers in more than one-third of states — some with relatively low income taxes — could be negatively affected by the change.
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Late Night Russiagate Open Thread: Maybe Mitch McConnell Is the GOP Green Lantern?


 
Elsewhere in the twitterverse…


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Open Thread: “Sensible Centrists” of the GOP, An Invertebrate Clade

From the hometown Philadelphia Inquirer:

Dent, regularly sought out by national media outlets as one of Congress’ leading centrist voices and a frequent critic of President Trump, had already said he was not seeking reelection this year. A busy primary was already underway to replace him in his Allentown-based district. But his departure next month will open up a congressional seat and remove his voice from the daily fray even sooner.

The vacancy could also trigger another special election — though it’s unclear whether it would occur before November’s general election.

By law, Gov. Wolf must decide within 10 days of Dent’s departure when to hold a special election. It would have to be at least 60 days after Dent’s departure. That would mean any vote to fill the seat would happen well after Pennsylvania’s May primary, and in July at the earliest. At that point, there would be less than six months left in the term, with Congress planning to be in recess for much of that time. One option that would spare the state added expense – but leave the district without a representative – would be to hold the special election concurrently with November’s general election…

The Washington Post adds:
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