Late Night Open Thread: Creepy Clowns on the Loose!

And I’m not talking about the Alabama teenagers pranking easily frightened authority figures…

He’s his old man’s son, that’s for sure…

… not only is it a disgusting metaphor, Don Jr. ripped it off without attribution… and from “the best” sources, too:



The Best People

There is this guy.  He’s running for president.  He himself is not particularly experienced at most (all) of what a president does, but we’re not to worry.

Why not?

Because he’s not the detail guy.  He’s the big picture guy, the boss.  He hires the folks who lift and tote.

But that’s OK.

Why?

Because:

“My motto is ‘Hire the best people…”  (Donald Trump: Think Big, 2007).

And now, let us savor:

Donald Trump’s new presidential campaign chief is registered to vote in a key swing state at an empty house where he does not live, in an apparent breach of election laws.

Stephen Bannon, the chief executive of Trump’s election campaign, has an active voter registration at the house in Miami-Dade County, Florida, which is vacant and due to be demolished to make way for a new development….

John_Sell_Cotman_-_Ruined_House_-_Google_Art_Project

Election officials in Miami-Dade make clear to prospective voters that they are required to actually live in the county and to use their home address in election paperwork. “You must reside in Miami-Dade County,” their website states. It adds: “When you register to vote, an actual residence address is required by law.” A county spokeswoman did not respond to questions relating to Bannon’s situation.

Three neighbors said the house where Bannon is currently registered to vote had been abandoned for three months. When the Guardian visited the property on Thursday a large window in the front aspect was missing. A soiled curtain was blowing through it. The driveway was a mess of tree branches and mud.

Bannon never appeared at the house, according to the neighbors.

What’s most striking is that this apparent prima facie  voter fraud — while the more likely to get Bannon into actual legal difficulties — is in a moral sense the lesser of two scandals that have dropped over the last twenty four hours.  Because we’ve also learned this:

Stephen K. Bannon, the new CEO of the Donald Trump campaign, was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness following an incident in early January 1996, though the case was ultimately dismissed, according to a police report and court documents.

That witness:

The Santa Monica, Calif., police report says that Bannon’s then-wife claimed he pulled at her neck and wrist during an altercation over their finances, and an officer reported witnessing red marks on her neck and wrist to bolster her account. Bannon also reportedly smashed the phone when she tried to call the police.

The details get uglier:

Bannon then got his lawyer on the case, who allegedly “threatened” Piccard and told her she “would have no money [and] no way to support the children” if the case went to trial.

Bannon then told Piccard to skip town.

He said “that if I wasn’t in town they couldn’t serve me and I wouldn’t have to go to court,” she claimed in the document.

Piccard left for two weeks before Bannon’s attorney said she could return, according to the declaration.

“Because I was not present at the trial, the case was dismissed,” she said in the documents.

That second quote is from The New York Post. That would be the Rupert Murdoch-owned Post, which is an added twist to this tale.  What is the true state of Trump-Murdoch relations?

But leave aside that kind of political inside baseball.  The most compelling element to the story of Bannon’s thuggery is that it is an unexpected, deep look into his character.  Through it we can discover what kind of person Donald Trump — a major party nominee for President, with a genuine, non-zero chance of achieving that office — thinks is one of  “the best people.”

It ain’t pretty.  The Post‘s coverage continues:

Bannon had allegedly also earlier told Picccard, who was then his girlfriend and the expectant mother of their twin girls, that he would only agree to marry her if the kids were “normal.”

He married her on April 14, 1995, three days before the twins were born.

George_Romney_-_Mother_and_Child_-_Google_Art_Project_(2220591)

Worst of all — at least it seems to me — Bannon is a man who would do this:

Piccard alleged in another document that Bannon believed in corporal punishment for the girls, even though he rarely saw them.

She cited as one example that Bannon allegedly spanked one of his toddler daughters to try to stop her from hitting her head against the crib.

Piccard claimed that when she intervened, he exploded, calling her “f—ing crazy” and saying if he hadn’t been interrupted, “she wouldn’t be banging her head anymore.”

Beating any adult is reprehensible.  Whacking on a child, a toddler? (And no, I don’t think “spanking” in this context is likely to have been a gentle swat on the bum.)  There are special circles of hell for those folks.

I left out the last half of the Trump quote at top.  In full, it reads “My motto is ‘Hire the best people, and don’t trust them.’”

As none should him.

Images:  John Sell Cotman, Ruined House betw. 1807 and 1810.

George Romney, Mother and Childundated, before 1802.



The “Alt-Right” Is… Neither an Alternative, Nor Correct

From the Washington Post, company paper in the town whose monopoly industry is national politics:

On the eve of a planned speech here on Donald Trump’s ties to the “alt-right,” Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Wednesday accused her Republican opponent of “taking a hate movement mainstream.”

Clinton is scheduled to deliver remarks Thursday about a conservative movement often associated with white nationalism and fervent anti-immigration views that has cheered Trump’s candidacy, including his campaign’s recent hiring of the chairman of a website that caters to the alt-right.

“Donald Trump has shown us who he is, and we ought to believe him,” Clinton told host Anderson Cooper Wednesday night on CNN. “He is taking a hate movement mainstream. He’s brought it into his campaign. He’s bringing it to our communities and our country.”…

The alt-right began with a speech conservative writer Paul Gottfried delivered in 2008, after the Republican Party’s electoral wipeout. Gottfried called for an “alternative right” that could defeat “the neoconservative-controlled conservative establishment.” That idea was soon adopted by the “identitarian” nationalist Richard Spencer, who founded an Alternative Right website, but it was also claimed by supporters of Ron Paul and conservatives who opposed multiculturalism…

And “misogynist neo-Nazi xenophobes” just didn’t seem mainstream-friendly.

But it was Donald Trump’s presidential campaign that brought the movement into the mainstream. From the moment he told a national audience that Mexico was sending rapists and drug-dealers across the border, Trump surged in the polls….
Read more



Compare and Contrast

Seems like we could use a little more thread to chew upon, so here’s some not-quite-random material to masticate:

Hillary, today in the Church of Latter-Day Saints owned Deseret News:

Trump’s Muslim ban would undo centuries of American tradition and values. To this day, I wonder if he even understands the implications of his proposal. This policy would literally undo what made America great in the first place.

But you don’t have to take it from me. Listen to Mitt Romney, who said Trump “fired before aiming” when he decided a blanket religious ban was a solution to the threat of terrorism.

Listen to former Sen. Larry Pressler, who said Trump’s plan reminded him of when Missouri Gov. Lilburn Boggs singled out Mormons in his infamous extermination order of 1838.

Or listen to your governor, who saw Trump’s statement as a reminder of President Rutherford B. Hayes’ attempt to limit Mormon immigration to America in 1879.

Instead of giving into demagoguery, Gov. Gary Herbert is setting a compassionate example and welcoming Syrian refugees fleeing religious persecution and terrorism. Once they’ve gone through a rigorous screening process, he is opening your state’s doors to some of the most vulnerable people in the world.

Americans don’t have to agree on everything. We never have. But when it comes to religion, we strive to be accepting of everyone around us. That’s because we need each other. And we know that it so often takes a village — or a ward — working together to build the change we hope to see.

 

The Polyester Cockwomble, uttering word-like strings of sound in the Old Dominion State:

Trump himself made a veiled reference to the flap during a rally Wednesday in Abingdon, Va., protesting media coverage and drawing loud applause by telling the crowd that “the Second Amendment is under siege” from Clinton and other politicians.

738px-Paul_Cézanne_-_The_Murder_-_Google_Art_Project

Thomas Friedman in today’s The New York Times (sic! I know):

During the Republican convention, with its repeated chants about Clinton of “lock her up,” a U.S.-based columnist for Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, Chemi Shalev, wrote: “Like the extreme right in Israel, many Republicans conveniently ignore the fact that words can kill. There are enough people with a tendency for violence that cannot distinguish between political stagecraft and practical exhortations to rescue the country by any available means. If anyone has doubts, they could use a short session with Yigal Amir, Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin, who was inspired by the rabid rhetoric hurled at the Israeli prime minister in the wake of the Oslo accords.”

People are playing with fire here, and there is no bigger flamethrower than Donald Trump. Forget politics; he is a disgusting human being. His children should be ashamed of him. I only pray that he is not simply defeated, but that he loses all 50 states so that the message goes out across the land — unambiguously, loud and clear: The likes of you should never come this way again.

Me, on the subject of  the “inarticulate” excuse for Trump’s “Who will rid me…” meditation on political assassination:

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 4.55.26 PM

The first Tuesday in November can’t come too soon.

Image:  Paul Cezanne, The Murder, 1867-70.



Long Read: “‘Clock Boy’… can’t escape that moment”

Poor kid. I tell myself that many of us spent our adolescence waiting to escape the grip of our family’s dysfunctions, and mostly succeeded, or at least survived. From Jessica Contrera, in the Washington Post:

The news crew is here, but the famous boy is still asleep. He had just flown 22 hours, back to this squat stone house where he used to live when he was just a regular 14-year-old. His bright green go-kart is still out back. A year ago, he could have woken up and spent hours tinkering with its engine. He could have spent the day on his trampoline, or just watching funny YouTube videos on his phone.

Instead, he’s waking up to the sound of more reporters in the living room. Because he’s not Ahmed Mohamed, a regular 14-year-old. He’s “Clock Boy,” a viral sensation, the accidental embodiment of a national debate about Muslims being dangerous — or not. A black youth mistreated by overzealous cops — or an example of vigilance against potential terrorism…

The reporters are from Fox 4, a local TV channel. [Ahmed’s father] Mohamed invited them here, on Ahmed’s first day back in Texas after nine months in Qatar. They moved a month after Ahmed was arrested for possessing a homemade clock that his school deemed suspicious-looking. The move, it seemed, was an attempt to escape the spotlight, or at least the hate mail and death threats that came with it.

And yet, Ahmed’s summer homecoming was heralded to reporters with a news release sent out by the family and its supporters: Clock Boy is back, and ready to be interviewed…

***********
… His parents had a choice: deal with this quietly, or tell someone. Their son had been placed in handcuffs and interrogated, in a town known for its resentment of Muslims. So they called the media, and soon Ahmed was trending on Twitter, and everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to President Obama was sharing messages of support.

Two days after he was arrested, the charges were dropped.

“This is what happens when we (IPD) screw something up,” one Irving Police Department detective wrote in an email later uncovered as part of a public records request from Vice. “That thing didn’t even look like a bomb.”

And so came the next choice: Let this all die down, or seize the platform they’d been given and use it.

So they put Ahmed on “Good Morning America,” MSNBC and “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore.” He told reporters how kids in school called him ISIS Boy. Sympathetic crowdfunders raised $18,000 for his education. He visited the White House, the Google Science Fair and the president of his home country of Sudan (a wanted war criminal, but Mohamed said it would be rude not to accept the invitation)…

His dad tells him that this is God opening doors for him. Something bad happened, but God turned it to make it good. God chose him for this, so he can make the world a better place.

Only now, he feels safer on the other side of the world. As trolls tried to pick apart his story, someone posted the Mohameds’ home address on Twitter…
Read more



They Are Who We Thought They Were: Georgia Senator Edition

I know that for some people it is literally impossible to get over their core belief:  presidenting while Black is a mortal sin.  But I have to admit that I haven’t lost all of my capacity to feel shock, outrage, loathing, whenever I hear something like this:

“In his role as President, I think we should pray for Barack Obama. But I think we need to be very specific about how we pray,” Perdue told the audience at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C. “We should pray like Psalm 109:8 says, that says, ‘let his days be few.’”

 That’s a United States Senator representing a former Confederate state praying for the death of the President of the United States, someone who, it need not and must be said, happens to be the first African-American to hold that office.
Those who get the reference — which would certainly include Mr. Perdue’s audience of ostentatiously and ostensibly religious believers — would certainly get the reference in all its full flavor:

8: May his days be few;

may another take his office.

9: May his children be fatherless,

his wife, a widow.

10: May his children wander and beg,

driven from their hovels.

11: May the usurer snare all he owns,

strangers plunder all he earns.

12: May no one treat him with mercy

or pity his fatherless children.

13: May his posterity be destroyed,

their name rooted out in the next generation.

What kind of person wishes on President Barack Obama death and the utter destruction of his family?

Senator Perdue, that’s who.

It’s not just him, of course. Perdue didn’t come up with this “joke” on his own.  Via Wikipedia:

In 2009, the media has reported more widely on its usage in reference to President Barack Obama,[3] by those such as Pastor Wiley Drake.[4]

In January 2010, a Florida Sheriff’s officer was suspended from his force for circling the passage in a bible and scrawling “The Obama Prayer” beside it.[5]

In January 2012, Kansas Speaker of the House Michael O’Neal sent an email quoting Verse 8 to his Republican colleagues that stated:[6]

At last — I can honestly voice a Biblical prayer for our president! Look it up — it is word for word! Let us all bow our heads and pray. Brothers and Sisters, can I get an AMEN? AMEN!!!!!!

Assholes.  Vicious weasels.  The kind of people who claim the mantle of religion, and yet, as Charles Pierce says of Ralph Reed, are all “future timeshare owner[s] in Hell.”

Hieronymus_Bosch_-_The_Garden_of_Earthly_Delights_-_Hell

Senator Perdue does get a gold star, though:  he’s the most senior Republican elected official to offer up this knee-slapper. Remember him every time anyone tries to tell you that Trump is an aberration; that the Party of Lincoln™ would never truly condone his viciousness and vulgarity.

Trump’s only real diversion from GOP orthodoxy lies in his ill-mannered refusal to use the proper codes when spewing bile.

To echo Deuteronomy.  I do not wish their deaths — not Perdue’s, not the rest of the GOP thugocracy who just can’t seem to get past their fear of this president.

No. This is what I want:

I want them to suffer through Barack Hussein Obama’s brilliant post-presidency — and the reality of his successor’s ability to govern, despite her obvious chromosomal deficiencies.

IOW:  May they experience nether probing by oxidized agricultural implements.  (Which I believe is the central message aimed at falsely religious poseurs in Psalm 151.)  In aeternum.

Image:  Hieronymous Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights — Hell (inner right wing), between 1480 and 1505.



Mansplaining Feels The Bern

Not to put a downer on the site after the quadrapedal delights below, but this nugget from the festering gob of one Jeff Weaver caught my attention:

While he was not at Saturday’s convention, Weaver said that based on the account of Sanders surrogate Nina Turner, the reports of a violent atmosphere had been overblown.

“She said, no one went on the stage. No one had the right to feel threatened,”

Oh no — no right at all to think a howling claque might do harm, wasn’t already doing so.

Thomas_Gainsborough_-_Study_of_a_Woman_in_a_Mob_Cap_-_Google_Art_Project

Instead, Weaver argues, it’s all the fault of those facing what he sees as righteous fury:

“What happens is when you rig the process, and you get an angry crowd, you know they’re not used to that.”

Again with the bullshit about a rigged process — one in which Bernie’s folks failed to show up, didn’t register, and all that.  But that’s beside the point here.

Rather…what the f**k?

Here’s some  middle aged white guy telling those — headed by a women — running a meeting what they get to feel, what they’re allowed to view as a danger.

Makes me weep for my Y chromosome, as well as my party and my country.

I know this is piling on the Balloon Juice Bernie-bile, but I have to say — this one makes the MRA strain in the Sanders campaign shine in high relief for me, and it ain’t pretty.  More to the point — it ain’t what Bernie asked folks to sign up for months ago.  Power — just the whiff of power — corrupts even (or especially) those convinced of their own sanctity.

Image:  Thomas Gainsborough, Study of a Woman in a Mob Cap, undated (before 1788). [Sorry — couldn’t resist the pun]