Open Thread: MAGAts Greatest Hits Tour, Pittsburgh Edition

Fun for that one guy, and of course his most fervent supporters!

Will any of them show up to vote for Saccone on Tuesday? How many of them are eligible to do so? How many of them even know who Saccone is?

Well, at least the stupid putz deserved exactly what he got…

The rally, which had been rescheduled after the deadly Parkland, Fla., shooting last month, capped a frenzied stretch of fund-raising and campaigning on behalf of Mr. Saccone, who is locked in a tight race with the Democratic nominee, Conor Lamb.

“He’s an extraordinary person,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Saccone, dismissing Mr. Lamb as “Lamb the Sham.” “The people of Pittsburgh cannot be conned by this guy Lamb, because he’s not going to vote for us.”…

While the rally was not specifically advertised as one for Mr. Saccone, a loss by him would mark the third time that Mr. Trump had thrown his political might behind a candidate without success. With his low poll numbers, Republican leaders and the White House are trying to determine how to handle his desire to campaign in the midterms…


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NRAngst Open Thread: The Elephant in the House (And the Senate, Too)

Ask any of us who works in national security what to do about ISIS, and we’d have no problem pitching you ideas. Even if we lack expertise in the topic or don’t work directly on it, we’d still have opinions and thoughts, because we’ve been swimming in a sea of articles, op-eds, books, hearings, programs, and overall research and debate for years. But ask us about right-wing extremism, a violent ideology that’s killed more Americans than ISIS in the last decade, and most of us would pause — either because we were unaware of the problem or, worse, we were afraid to speak openly about it…

Over the last decade, individuals and groups fueled by this virulent ideology have committed 71 percent of the known politically or religiously inspired killings in our country — that is, 274 of the 387 Americans murdered by extremists. Reports now indicate it was part of the recent murder of 17 school children and teachers in Florida, just as it was part of mass shootings that have happened everywhere from California to Charleston. It has not just hit inside the US, but has struck many of our closest allies, both causing near-tragedies and horrible massacres. It is not a new threat; it has killed hundreds of Americans in past decades. But it is growing in power and influence, worrisomely being stoked by foreign nations like Russia that wish our nation harm. It is a clear, present, and proven danger to the United States. Yet we find it awkward to talk about.

There are many reasons why we have a hard time acknowledging the deadly threat from the cluster of groups that gather inside our country under the hateful flags of white nationalism, white supremacy, anti-government militia, and Neo-Nazism. One reason is to avoid appearing too partisan, a desire to be even-handed. There is irony in that we seek to avoid appearing biased, even when the threat espouses bias to the point of justifying hating and even killing their fellow Americans. So, after each episode of right-wing violence, we avoid talking about it, even to the point of reaching in the opposite direction. For instance, after these groups united to march on Charlottesville, culminating in the killing of a young woman, major U.S. papers ran more op-eds condemning the counter-protesters, who have yet to commit a mass killing, than those who committed the crime…

We also have to admit that we are quiet about right-wing extremist violence out of calculation. The cost-vs.-gain equations that shape our choices are simply different from other topics. Compare the professional benefits to the potential risks of publishing an article, creating a college course, writing a book or dissertation, organizing a conference, hosting a speech, creating a university or thinktank project, funding a foundation program, etc., on right-wing extremism. It is not just that there is no great profit in it. It is that every one of these endeavors would be far more difficult, and would likely create far more headaches for us and our bosses, than a similar project on pretty much any other topic in our field.

This isn’t to say there aren’t fantastic researchers on this topic; there are many, who have valuably shaped much of what we know about the issue. But we in the rest of the field must acknowledge that they’ve chosen a more professionally risky path than most of us, even though the very object of their study has killed more Americans over the last few years than essentially any other problem we are working on…



Thursday Morning Open Thread: The CPAC Clown Parade Is Back in DC


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… and this year, they have a drum major!

Remember when we could laugh at these creeps, grifters, bloviators, and post-college hopefuls trolling on Craigslists’ M4M?


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I want a better acronym than “Clowns Pandering to Aging Christofascists”. Any suggestions?

One extremely promising-for-parodists panel has already been cancelled…


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Russiagate Open Thread: Foreign Policy Joins the ‘Fake News’ Parade

President Donald Trump pressed senior aides last June to devise and carry out a campaign to discredit senior FBI officials after learning that those specific employees were likely to be witnesses against him as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, according to two people directly familiar with the matter.

In testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, recently fired FBI Director James Comey disclosed that he spoke contemporaneously with other senior bureau officials about potentially improper efforts by the president to curtail the FBI’s investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election…

Not long after Comey’s Senate testimony, Trump hired John Dowd, a veteran criminal defense attorney, to represent him in matters related to Mueller’s investigation. Dowd warned Trump that the potential corroborative testimony of the senior FBI officials in Comey’s account would likely play a central role in the special counsel’s final conclusion, according to people familiar with the matter.

In discussions with at least two senior White House officials, Trump repeated what Dowd had told him to emphasize why he and his supporters had to “fight back harder,” in the words of one of these officials…

While Dowd’s private advice to the president would ordinarily be protected by attorney-client privilege, Mueller might be able to probe comments that Trump made to others about that legal advice by asking him directly about it as well as anyone else he shared that advice with.

A person with direct knowledge of the matter said although Dowd explained the risks of senior FBI officials joining Comey in testifying against Trump, that information was part of a broader presentation to the president about Mueller’s investigation. It is not improper, but in fact is a duty, for an attorney to explain to a client how they are at risk, the source said. What may have been improper, however, were actions Trump took upon learning that information.

Since Dowd gave him that information, Trump — as well as his aides, surrogates, and some Republican members of Congress — has engaged in an unprecedented campaign to discredit specific senior bureau officials and the FBI as an institution.

The FBI officials Trump has targeted are Andrew McCabe, the current deputy FBI director and who was briefly acting FBI director after Comey’s firing; Jim Rybicki, Comey’s chief of staff and senior counselor; and James Baker, formerly the FBI’s general counsel. Those same three officials were first identified as possible corroborating witnesses for Comey in a June 7 article in Vox. Comey confirmed in congressional testimony the following day that he confided in the three men.

In the past, presidents have attacked special counsels and prosecutors who have investigated them, calling them partisan and unfair. But no previous president has attacked a long-standing American institution such as the FBI — or specific FBI agents and law enforcement officials…

That Trump may have been motivated to attack specific FBI officials because they were potential witnesses against him could demonstrate potential intent that would bolster an obstruction of justice case.

You’d think, given the Mafia contacts NYC building developer Trump has allegedly developed, he’d have been told by now that ‘okay, we’ll just get rid of those troublemaking witnesses’ is *not* as easy and foolproof a tactic as ‘declaring bankruptcy and walking away from my latest failure’. But then again, maybe he’s What His Party Wants…



GOP Idiocracy Open Thread: Today, Mike Pence Became Truly Vice-Presidential

Transcription:

Somewhere, ol’ Lyndon is saying, “Damn, that’s no way to treat a man who willingly cut off his own pecker so you could carry it in your pocket!”

Truly, this is the strangest timeline, when even Bill Kristol is not reliably 100% always wrong…
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ATTN: Wingnuts! We Have a Problem!

Wingnuts have a new hero:

By one metric, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Alejandro Villanueva has emerged from the NFL’s current controversy as the most popular player in the league.

In the last 24 hours, Villanueva’s No. 78 is the best-selling jersey on Fanatics, the biggest retailer of sports merchandise, after the offensive tackle and ex-Army Ranger stood on the field for the national anthem while his teammates stayed out of sight.

And, as heroes go, he’s really not that bad a choice. But wait, it gets better:

Villanueva says he asked quarterback Ben Roethlisberger if he could be out in front with the captains during the national anthem and they agreed to it, but when he went to the front of the tunnel to see the flag, he went too far unintentionally.

“When we came out of the locker room into that tunnel, it was a very small area. There was a flag or something coming off the field so there were a bunch of Bears fans, coming off the field holding that going in front of us, so it kind of held us up,” Villanueva said.

The rest of the team remained in the tunnel.

“I made my teammates look bad, and that is my fault, and my fault only,” Villanueva said. “We as a team tried to figure it out, but obviously butchered it.”

During his press conference, the former Army Ranger says he is absolutely okay if teammates kneel or sit during the national anthem.

“People that are taking a knee are not saying anything negative about the military, they’re not saying anything negative about the flag, they’re just trying to protest that there are some injustices in America,” Villanueva said.

He says some players who have been kneeling during anthems have even approached him before or after games and thanked him for his service including other players in the NFC North.

I wonder how many of those jerseys will now be cancelled.

On a side note, there is no fucking aspect of this country that Trump is not going to fucking poison.








Open Thread: Even the Very Serious People Think He’s Lost the Plot


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Yes, I fully agree it’s croggling to find any point of agreement with James ‘NSA’ Clapper… but there it is.

Lord Smallgloves is well on his way to achieving a warped form of his vision of ‘America United’ — we all agree the man is lacking. And dangerous.


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