Thursday Morning Open Thread: Take Heart, and Keep Fighting

We can’t stop pushing for every single vote, but let’s not get discouraged by the Cult of the Savvy insisting that the GOP have the election in the bag. Peter Hamby, at Vanity Fair, “Get Over Your Election-Needle P.T.S.D.: The Blue Wave Is Real, and It’s a Monster”:

National polling organizations have never really bothered to spend time or money polling House races, instead devoting their energy to sexier statewide Senate campaigns or approval ratings about the president. As a result, national pundits keep getting floored by the “shocking” success of insurgent Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, Andrew Gillum in Florida, and Ayanna Pressley in Massachusetts. If they had paid attention to the yard signs and chatter, or the opinions of the people living and breathing in those states and districts, political journalists might not have been blindsided…

For any American with a pulse and even a whiff of political intelligence, two things are now self-evident with just two months until Election Day. Democrats everywhere in the country will walk over broken glass to vote in November, and Republicans are about to confront an unholy midterm bloodbath up and down the ballot. Every single piece of on-the-ground reporting suggests a wipeout on par with 2006 or 2010.

So why are the experts unwilling to say as much? Yes, the idea that Democrats will take over the House has congealed into conventional wisdom, and Republicans on Capitol Hill will privately tell you they’re bracing themselves for a turnover in the lower chamber. But few journalists or pundits are willing to step out further and declare what should be pretty obvious to any reporter who has covered campaigns in the past: the vaunted blue wave is coming. Not only will it buoy Democrats to retake the House, but it will also propel Democratic Senate candidates in red states and power down-ballot Democrats into state legislative seats in every corner of the country. That’s exactly what happened in Virginia’s elections last year, right? That’s how it feels right now, a total wipeout for Republicans, even ones we assumed were safe. But in politics, the heart and the head are always at war.

“There is some P.T.S.D. from 2016,” said Amy Walter, the editor of the Cook Political Report. “Nobody wants to go out and feel too confident because of the ‘what if’ factor. All of the indicators are, ‘Boy, this is going to be really bad for Republicans.’ If you’re the party in power, and your incumbents in districts that were easily held before are now only up within the margin of error, that’s not good. Or you can look at it and say, ‘Well in 2016, Hillary was up by the margin of error and look what happened!’”…

‘What happened’ — as we know now — was that a foreign power colluded with the leaders of the GOP (and a deeply supine media) to steal the Presidency for a grifting moron and the thieving phonies who’d support him. But if we keep our eyes on the prize, that’s a trick that can’t be repeated. Constantly proclaiming that we’re all doomed doyouheardoomed is just another trick to distract us.

Manafort? Never Heard of Him.

Ouch, sister:

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s daughter has filed paperwork to officially change her last name, a move that would distance herself from her father, a convicted felon.

Jessica Manafort filed name-change paperwork in the Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday, according to multiple reports.

She is seeking to take her mother’s maiden name, Bond.

“I would like my new name to be Jessica Anne Bond, in place of my present name,” the 36-year-old wrote in the filing, adding that it “more closely suits [her] profession.”

Her profession is apparently not bribery, fraud, tax evasion, witness tampering, perjury, and treason, like her father.

Mike Pompeo’s Masculine Meltdown

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a meltdown last night after he had earlier claimed the talks with North Korea were “productive” and made progress “on almost all of the central issues,” followed by North Korea’s blast at “unilateral and robber-like denuclearization demands as [complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization (CVID)], declaration and verification that go against the spirit of the North-U.S. summit meeting.”

Pompeo returned that if the US is behaving like a gangster, then so is the rest of the world, referring to United Nations resolutions that North Korea disarm. (One Korean speaker says that “robber” is a better translation than “gangster.”) He then went on to say that North Korea did not have an issue with CVID, directly contradicting North Korea’s statement of its position. He also went back to the importance of “maintaining maximum pressure” on North Korea, after Donald Trump had backed off from that phrase. Read more

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Fight On!

The Washington Post:

It took 13 days to organize Saturday’s demonstration against the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy and the detention of children and families. It was the fastest that organizers could patch something together.

They guessed about 5,000 people would attend.

The National Park Service is now prepared for 10 times that — 50,000 people — to rally outside the White House and march on the Department of Justice, according to a permit issued this week. Demonstrators will demand an end to family detentions and the reunification for at least 2,500 children separated from their parents at the country’s southern border.

Several speakers, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of “Hamilton,” and actors America Ferrera and Diane Guerrero, will take the stage at Lafayette Square to kick off the protest, which begins at 11 a.m. People who have lived through the Holocaust, Japanese internment camps and Trump’s family separation policy are expected to speak.

About 750 similar protests have been planned throughout the country in every state, from big cities such as New York and Los Angeles to tiny ones such as Antler, N.D., population 28…

The rally will cap off a week of demonstrations in Washington that included the arrests of 575 people Thursday at the Hart Senate Office Building during a women-led protest and another outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters, in which dozens called for the agency’s dissolution…

Looking forward to reports / pics from the various rallies across the country!

Interesting Read: Jill Abramson Is Not Impressed

Remember, Abramson was fired by the FTFNYT because she was perceived as “pushy.” That certainly hasn’t been a problem with her replacement, Dean Baquet. But the lady is correct, once again…

… “Kind of pisses me off that @ nytimes is still asking Who Is Ocasio-Cortez? when it should have covered her campaign,” Jill Abramson erupted on Twitter on Wednesday morning—a biting reference to the newspaper’s original headline concerning the 28-year-old socialist’s shocking Democratic primary upset, a landslide actually, over incumbent Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th Congressional District…

“Missing her rise [is] akin to not seeing Trump’s win coming in 2016,” Abramson added in her tweet—an even more biting reference to the Timesself-acknowledged failings in the paper’s reporting of the presidential campaign.

In response to Abramson’s critique—which she elaborated in several emailed comments shared with the Times—Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told The Daily Beast: “We have enormous respect for Jill and deeply appreciate her passion. Criticism and feedback helps us do better work and we’re always open to it. On these specifics though, we just disagree with Jill.” A few hours after Abramson’s tweet, the headline phrase that pissed her off, “Who is Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez?” was changed online to “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: A 28-Year-Old Democratic Giant Slayer.”…

Abramson, 64, famously held [the executive editor] job for nearly three years—the first and only woman to do so—until she was summarily sacked amid an unseemly public-relations melee in May 2014…

“I fear sounding like a jealous old-timer. I’ve resisted critiquing the place publicly, but this shit is bad,” Abramson wrote in an email to this reporter, in which she elaborated on her tweet…

… [T]he NYT… it’s making horrible mistakes left and right. Here are a few:

“Not covering the ‘stunning’ upset of Joe Crowley. It’s the NYT that was undeservedly stunned, letting down its readers.

“That horrible 3,000-word exposé on Ali Watkins [the Times reporter who’s caught up in a leak investigation involving her ex-boyfriend, a former top staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee] that aired her sex life and conflicts while not probing why she was hired, responsibility of editors, or, most crucially, the value of her journalism (her Carter Page scoop in BuzzFeed actually helped lead to appt of Mueller)…

“Decision by international and new TV show plan to focus on personal feelings and experiences of NYT journalists covering news.

“More narcissism: It’s always about us. Yikes. Distance is part of journalism’s discipline.

“They need a course correction.

“Am I wrong?”…

So, tell me: What exactly do Jill Abramson, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ali Watkins have in common? Do you suppose the Grey Lady’s current elites might just have a tiny wee bit of a problem with women who don’t know their place?

This is Spot On

There is so much to excerpt here but I will just give you this:

One thing that people who wield great power often fail to viscerally understand is what it feels like to have power wielded against you. This imbalance is the source of many of the most monstrous decisions that get made by powerful people and institutions. The people who start the wars do not have bombs dropped on their houses. The people who pass the laws that incarcerate others never have to face the full force of the prison system themselves. The people who design the economic system that inflicts poverty on millions are themselves rich. This sort of insulation from the real world consequences of political and economic decisions makes it very easy for powerful people to approve of things happening to the rest of us that they would never, ever tolerate themselves. No health insurance CEO would watch his child die due to their inability to afford quality health care. No chickenhawk Congressman will be commanding a tank battle in Iran. No opportunistic race-baiting politician will be shunned because of their skin color. Zealots condemn gay people—except for their own gay children. The weed-smoking of young immigrants should get them deported—but our own weed-smoking was a youthful indiscretion. Environmentalist celebrities fly on carbon-spouting private jets. Banks make ostentatious charity donations while raking in billions from investments in defense contractors and gun manufacturers and oil companies. This is human nature. It is very, very easy to do things that hurt others as long as those same things benefit, rather than hurt, you. Self-justification is a specialty of mankind.


This is all going to get more extreme. And it should. We are living in extreme times. The harm that is being done to all of us by the people in the American government is extreme. To imagine that Mexican immigrants should happily cook for and serve meals to people who enable a man who is determined to demonize and persecute them as subhuman criminals is far more outrageous than the idea that those enablers should not be served in restaurants. I do not believe that Trump administration officials should be able to live their lives in peace and affluence while they inflict serious harms on large portions of the American population. Not being able to go to restaurants and attend parties and be celebrated is just the minimum baseline here. These people, who are pushing America merrily down the road to fascism and white nationalism, are delusional if they do not think that the backlash is going to get much worse. Wait until the recession comes. Wait until Trump starts a war. Wait until the racism this administration is stoking begins to explode into violence more frequently. Read a fucking history book. Read a recent history book. The U.S. had thousands of domestic bombings per year in the early 1970s. This is what happens when citizens decide en masse that their political system is corrupt, racist, and unresponsive. The people out of power have only just begun to flex their dissatisfaction. The day will come, sooner that you all think, when Trump administration officials will look back fondly on the time when all they had to worry about was getting hollered at at a Mexican restaurant. When you aggressively fuck with people’s lives, you should not be surprised when they decide to fuck with yours.

No one is calling for political violence or anything like that. But you take away people’s ability to vent their frustrations by yelling “Fuck you fascist” or doing something minor like telling some scumbag to get the fuck out of your restaurant, well, then you’re actually heading down a dangerous road.

Mississippi Man! And He Sticks the Landing!!!!

6.8, 6.8, 3.2 from the Bulgarian judge – they’ve been very tough this year…

Stay alert, stay alive!

Open thread.