Late Night Cheap Mockery Open thread: Bill de Blasio Is A Schmuck

Despite his (literally) lordly stature, he doesn’t rise even to the putz level.

His NYC subjects are sceptical! NYMag:

All that mayor of New York and presidential hopeful Bill de Blasio wanted to do on Monday was to travel by SUV caravan to a home of the current president and lambaste him for the steep emissions emanating from his buildings. But de Blasio’s conference at Trump Tower was derailed when a group of protesters counterprogrammed the mayor’s eight-minute speech by playing surprisingly loud music in the lobby, chanting “you suck” (the jack-of-all-trades of heckling phrases), and holding signs that read “Trump 2020” and “Worst Mayor Ever.”

It shouldn’t be surprising that the event was inundated with protesters, considering that three out of four New Yorkers don’t want the mayor to run for president and he held the speech at the historic capital of Trump World. But de Blasio held his ground: “This is a public space where people are allowed to express their views. In New York City, we’re perfectly tough. If people want to offer their opposition, it doesn’t change me one bit.”

On paper, de Blasio’s speech was meant to promote the NYC Green New Deal and publicize a City Council bill passed in April requiring buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to cut emissions. De Blasio, who has yet to sign the bill, said it’s a symbol of the city’s intention to hold all landlords accountable, “even the president of the United States.”…

Against all evidence, de Blasio remains convinced that, if the White House is to be occupied by a “brash, big-picture” New Yorker, it should be him — no matter what all those timid timeservers in his own inner circle may say behind his back. From the Atlantic, last week:

Multiple people close to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gave up trying to talk him out of running for president earlier this year. Now he’s reportedly going to try to win Iowa and New Hampshire without most of his friends—or even people on his payroll—supporting him…
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Thursday Evening Open Thread: ‘Dumb’ vs. ‘Willfully Ignorant’

I first read Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi when I was 9 or 10 (my English-teacher mother gave me a copy when I told her Tom Sawyer was a terrible book, and I was having doubts about Twain’s literary stature). That book made explicit one of the great ‘secrets’ of American life: There’s a considerable percentage of our fellow citizens who genuinely admire con artists, thugs, and those who ‘know how to get what they want, whatever it takes.’

The number of such secret fellow-felons has certainly grown no less, here in our second Gilded Age. It’s not necessarily that all Trump voters are stupid (although many of them *are* plenty stupid; look at the Fox talking heads!), but they choose to insist on being ignorant enough to believe the crap Fox / Trump / the entire GOP ladles into their gaping maws…

As another great American artist once said, You can’t cheat an honest man…


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GOP Stupidity Open Thread: Devin Nunes Is… Seriously Misled About the Internet

*Somebody* on his pricey legal team should’ve explained the Streisand Effect… or at least a little more about how American libel law works. Because Rep. Nunes just stepped up on a global platform wearing a giant MOCK ME t-shirt…

If you’re a connoisseur of snark, it’s worth clicking on any of the his tweets to read Gabriel Malor’s whole thread:


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Open Thread: Seth Moulton Will Go Far, Possibly One Step Ahead of An Angry Mob

Seth Moulton is a tragic character, if there was an Edith Wharton for this second Gilded Age. He’s the last Sensible, Moderate New England Republican — a breed for which the region, not to mention the country, has no more use. Smart (Haavahd), feisty (honorable service in the Marine Corps), of impeccable English-colonial/lace-curtain Irish ancestry, from a corner of our commonwealth where being a White Dude is still a political necessity… his only problem is that he was born some fifty years too late.

Seth Moulton intends to be President, and not in the distant future, either. He’s got the disadvantage of coming up in a state that has famously underperformed in the presidential sweeps since 1963, and the further handicap of being enrolled as a Democrat (because here in the Bay State we only elect Repubs to the mostly-ceremonial office of governor). His impetuousness and pugnacity have been previously rewarded, so apparently he presumed the Blue Wave could also be turned in his favor…

Then came the Unfortunate Comparison…


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A Penetrating Glimpse Of The Obvious

Thirty six years ago, on September 12, 1982, a Lebanese Maronite militia invaded two refugee camps occupied by Palestinians.  As The New York Times remembered on the 30th anniversary of the disaster,

In the ensuing three-day rampage, the militia, linked to the Maronite Christian Phalange Party, raped, killed and dismembered at least 800 civilians, while Israeli flares illuminated the camps’ narrow and darkened alleyways. Nearly all of the dead were women, children and elderly men.

That reference to the flares points to the miserable truth behind the blood and broken bodies:  the people on the spot, those militiamen handled the killing.  They pulled the triggers, broke the women, shattered the bodies. They were guilty of those crimes; they did the worst that human beings can do.

But there were others who stood aside, hands nominally clean while the predictable result of their actions and their studied inactions played out in Sabra and Shatila.

After the fact, the Israeli government ordered an investigation into the massacres, and they got a real one.  It concluded that

Israeli leaders were “indirectly responsible” for the killings and that Ariel Sharon, then the defense minister and later prime minister, bore “personal responsibility” for failing to prevent them.

Sharon didn’t fire a single shot; no blood spattered the shoes of his colleagues, and the Israeli soldiers on the front lines in Lebanon did nothing more than stay out of the way.  But as the report concluded, those in charge in Israeli knew what would happen if the Maronite militias gained free rein in the camps, and they let events unfold anyway. They were guilty not of murder, but of enabling the killings, of giving permission for an atrocity.

Adam, below and elsewhere, has laid out a compelling case that Donald Trump is similarly guilty of complicity in the ongoing racist and anti-Semitic violence occurring now in America’s civic space.  When you tell armed and angry supporters that they have enemies, that those enemies are ruthless, relentless, and Jewish or Black or Brown, then for all that Trump himself never slams home a magazine, he’s the man giving those who do kill a target list and permission to go after it.

What I want to add to that is that this responsibility, this complicity in the slaughter of innocents lies with the entire public apparatus of the Republican Party.  They have had every opportunity to push back on Trump’s white supremacy, his barely-coded demonization of Jews, his overt and explicit racism.  Concerned Jeff Flake and sincere Susan Collins — and the more important figures, the Paul Ryans and the Mitch McConnells and the Mitt Romneys and the rest — all had opportunity after opportunity to say no.  Just no: that this isn’t what the Republican Party is about; that it’s dangerous and hateful and so on.

Instead we got the pieties, “incivility” policing and the rest.

And now we have a body count of at least ten in just the last two days, not even to mention the assassination campaign that fortunately did not succeed.  They were all victims of exactly the kind of hatred Trump explicitly fomented as recently as last night — after the two deaths in Louisville, KY.

Democrats’ condemnation is important, because the country has to hear that hate is vicious, deadly, and to be reviled.  But as a matter of effectiveness, the Republicans have a far greater duty here: they can hold Trump priorities hostage, and they give permission to the GOP “tribe” to recognize that there are, there need to be, lines beyond which our politics should not go.

That’s the duty the Republican party has entirely failed. It’s why the current GOP must go, root and branch.  And it is why each Republican in power — the elected officials and their staffs, the party apparatus, all of them — bear exactly the same kind of indirect responsibility carried by the Israeli commanders and politicians who presided over those massacre.  It didn’t take a genius to realize that a nightly incitement to violence would end in actual murder. As it has, repeatedly over the last two years, and ten more times in the last two days.

I got nothing more. The US government is in the hands of a cabal that is, so far, willing to trade street murder for tax cuts and Supreme Court seats.  That rule has to end.  Which we knew.  Hence the PGO.

Images: Nicholas Poussin, Massacre of the Innocents, before 1665.

Mattia Pretti, Pilate washing his hands, 1663.