To the pain

Susan Collins thinks her supporters are suckers.

We don’t.

Let’s make 2020 as unpleasant as possible for her.

CrowdPAC has been fundraising to support a general election challenger with almost $2 million dollars in pledges being held contingent on the Kavanaugh vote. Let’s go.

And also the core organizing principal should be that “these go to 11” in a world where “51 and Fuck you” is the most recent precedent:

Excellent Read(s): Trump Is A Thief & A Tax Cheat, As Well As A Lousy Businessman

Well worth the time it takes to read the whole thing. From the NYTimes, “Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father”:

President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

Mr. Trump won the presidency proclaiming himself a self-made billionaire, and he has long insisted that his father, the legendary New York City builder Fred C. Trump, provided almost no financial help.

But The Times’s investigation, based on a vast trove of confidential tax returns and financial records, reveals that Mr. Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire, starting when he was a toddler and continuing to this day.

These maneuvers met with little resistance from the Internal Revenue Service, The Times found. The president’s parents, Fred and Mary Trump, transferred well over $1 billion in wealth to their children, which could have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million under the 55 percent tax rate then imposed on gifts and inheritances.

The Trumps paid a total of $52.2 million, or about 5 percent, tax records show…

But if you’re pressed for time, they’ve provided a Shorter: “11 Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation Into Trump’s Wealth”

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Michael Lewis on THE FIFTH RISK: “I think [Trump] moves through the world avoiding colliding with information”

Christie volunteered himself for the job: head of the Donald Trump presidential transition team. “It’s the next best thing to being president,” he told friends. “You get to plan the presidency.” He went to see Trump about it. Trump said he didn’t want a presidential transition team. Why did anyone need to plan anything before he actually became president? It’s legally required, said Christie. Trump asked where the money was going to come from to pay for the transition team. Christie explained that Trump could either pay for it himself or take it out of campaign funds. Trump didn’t want to pay for it himself. He didn’t want to take it out of campaign funds, either, but he agreed, grudgingly, that Christie should go ahead and raise a separate fund to pay for his transition team. “But not too much!” he said.

And so Christie set out to prepare for the unlikely event that Donald Trump would one day be elected president of the United States. Not everyone in Trump’s campaign was happy to see him on the job. In June, Christie received a call from Trump adviser Paul Manafort. “The kid is paranoid about you,” Manafort said. The kid was Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law… The Kushners apparently took their grudges seriously, and Christie sensed that Jared still harboured one against him. On the other hand, Trump, whom Christie considered almost a friend, could not have cared less.

Christie viewed Kushner as one of those people who thinks that, because he is rich, he must also be smart. Still, he had a certain cunning about him. And Christie soon found himself reporting everything he did to prepare for a Trump administration to an “executive committee”. The committee consisted of Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump, Manafort, Steve Mnuchin and Jeff Sessions. “I’m kind of like the church elder who double-counts the collection plate every Sunday for the pastor,” said Sessions, who appeared uncomfortable with the entire situation. The elder’s job became more complicated in July 2016, when Trump was formally named the Republican nominee. The transition team now moved into an office in downtown Washington DC, and went looking for people to occupy the top 500 jobs in the federal government. They needed to fill all the cabinet positions, of course, but also a whole bunch of others that no one in the Trump campaign even knew existed. It is not obvious how you find the next secretary of state, much less the next secretary of transportation – never mind who should sit on the board of trustees of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation…

The first time Trump paid attention to any of this was when he read about it in the newspaper. The story revealed that Trump’s very own transition team had raised several million dollars to pay the staff. The moment he saw it, Trump called Steve Bannon, the chief executive of his campaign, from his office on the 26th floor of Trump Tower, and told him to come immediately to his residence, many floors above. Bannon stepped off the elevator to find Christie seated on a sofa, being hollered at. Trump was apoplectic, yelling: You’re stealing my money! You’re stealing my fucking money! What the fuck is this?
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Late Night Open Thread: Toxic Narcissist Resents Some Other Arrogant White Dude Sucking Up All the Attention

If that Kavanaugh dude is distracting everybody by being an aggressive misogynist, Donny Dollhands is more than ready to up the ante…

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For the Record: Brett Kavanaugh Is *NOT* A Good Man

I have my doubts about his skill as a lawyer, and Murphy the Trickster God knows how much harm he’s already done on the bench, if Thursday’s performance was a fair sample. But there’s no doubt whatsofeckingever that he’s a loyal little Repub partisan, and that might be enough at this moment in time.

People of varying political views are talking about an “1850s moment“. That’s when the Republican Party was founded, explicitly to fight the grossest civil injustice of the day; perhaps there is some narrative arc demanding that today’s debased GOP die fighting to defend the worst current crimes against the Constitution.

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#UniversalFacePalm Open Thread: Trump Against the World

Spencer Ackerman, at the Daily Beast:

Diplomats and heads of state from all over the world laughed at President Donald Trump’s boast that he has “accomplished more than any administration in the history of our country.” At the podium of the United Nations General Assembly, Trump took it on the nose—“Didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s OK”—and then sleepily delivered a bellicose, 35-minute presentation of international cooperation as a threat to America…

Trump’s message was hardly one of leaving the world to its own peaceful devices. It was one where Trump sets the conditions for the world to follow, cloaked in revisionist history. Global free trade, for decades pushed on developing economies by the U.S. and yielding substantial wealth transfer upwards, was portrayed as a mechanism for other countries to “rig the system in their favor.” In between praising the Trump-coaxing regime of Saudi Arabia, Trump attacked OPEC as “ripping off the rest of the world” before demanding protection money: “We want them to start lowering [oil] prices, and they must contribute substantially to military protection from now on.” U.S. efusal to participate in the 2016 Global Compact on Migration, an entirely voluntary framework, was premised on preventing an “international body unaccountable to our own citizens.”

Everywhere Trump looked, he saw global avarice encircling to choke the life out of America–an America he defined in the blood-and-soil terms of “a culture built on strong families, deep faith, and strong independence”…



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Late Night Puerto Rico Open Thread: Lest We Forget

Under normal circumstances, I’d be posting this tomorrow when more readers would see it… but Murphy only knows what skeletons will fall out of various Repub closets for this week’s Friday News Dump…