Open Thread: Rage — Rage! — Against the Dying of “HIS” Light…

The only difference between this guy and your racist great-uncle when the family had to commit him to a full-time ‘memory care’ facility is that your RGU didn’t have (theoretical) access to the nuclear codes…

“Don’t forget, the Democrats have ruled the inner cities for 100 years. This is their rule. Very rarely do you have a Republican that — but this is their rule,” Trump said on Fox News’s “Hannity.”

“That can be turned around. We can do so many things but the Democrats have truly ruled. And when I was running I would always say, ‘What do you have to lose?’ ”…

“I don’t know what they’re doing in Chicago to have this many shootings and this many killings and all of the different things that are going on,” Trump said. “When you look at the Obama years. Chicago: one city, his adopted home town, 3,900 people were murdered. In the last six years of Obama’s presidency, 18,000 shootings. I don’t think he mentioned it but three or four times.”…

“Well first of all, minorities want police protection more than anybody. They need it more than anybody. What’s going on is crazy. And you look at some of these inner cities where it’s just out of control, and remember, I was saying things like we will — you know, what do you have to lose?” Trump said. “We will fix it. We’re going to fix it. But one of the things we’re doing very strongly now is the inner cities.”…

All he can hold in his addled mind are some random word-strings related to his many longstanding grievances. Which would be quite dangerous enough, except that too many other fearful old men and their enablers have a death-grip on both the government and the Very Serious Media. Some of those fearful old men are even, theoretically, Democrats. Like Thomas Edsall:

A Pew Research Center survey released earlier this month documented the growth of the partisan divide: “the median (middle) Republican is now more conservative than 97% of Democrats, and the median Democrat is more liberal than 95% of Republicans.”… Much of the current polarization is driven by difference of opinion on issues of race and immigration…

Disrupting this linkage is an uphill battle for Democrats…

Nathaniel Persily, a professor of law and political science at Stanford, makes the point succinctly, focusing on the importance of candidate recruitment: “How can the party nominate someone, or be led by someone, like Bill Clinton, rather than Hillary Clinton?”…

Newsflash, my friends: Bill Clinton is never running for President again. Neither is Barack Obama — or, for that matter, Ronald Reagan or Richard Nixon. Or FDR. Or Abraham Lincoln!

To be fair, despite many paragraphs of hand-wringing (and the usual NYTimes RWNJ-pleasing headline), Edsall pulls himself out of his bothsiderist funk to finish on a note of hope:
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Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: The Latest Version of Trump’s Travel Ban

Being as we live in his fiefdom now, the first thing I noticed was that Granpa Comment Section sounds like he’s sundowning again. But seriously — why is Sudan in, and Chad out? Apart from “gotta have some bunch of black Africans to kick around”, which is I assume Steven Miller’s advice?

The BBC — which, globally trusted source — suggests a different angle:

Observers wonder whether Chad’s troubles started when it attempted to slap a record $74bn fine on US oil giant Exxon Mobil.

At the time, the current US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson headed the company.

Exxon Mobil was accused of not making royalty payments but eventually avoided the fine, more than seven times Chad’s gross domestic product, as both parties reached a settlement.

There is however little to suggest it was the cause of this ban…

“We’re just saying, is all.” Because Rex Tillerson’s reputation. Also, too:

… Chad might feel hard done-by to suffer this punishment despite its counter-terrorism track record, while its eastern neighbour Sudan – labelled as a state sponsor of terrorism – is being removed from the US’ bad books.

Sudan will see its omission from the travel ban list as a sign that the Trump administration will also remove wider economic sanctions on the country on 12 October.

The sanctions were first put in place in 1997 when Sudan was named a state sponsor of terrorism, while further penalties were imposed for alleged abuses carried out in the troubled Darfur region.

The State Department concluded that Sudan was cooperating better on counter-terrorism, and in improving humanitarian access to conflict areas, like Darfur…

And when this doesn’t happen, because c’mon, Trump administration/GOP, then what?



Russiagate Open Thread: The Facebook Conundrum(s)


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Until Adam or Cheryl can post more expert information, I’m just gonna toss out some links that seem like they might be important. Per CNN:

Facebook did not give copies of the ads to members of the Senate and House intelligence committees when it met with them last week on the grounds that doing so would violate their privacy policy, sources with knowledge of the briefings said. Facebook’s policy states that, in accordance with the federal Stored Communications Act, it can only turn over the stored contents of an account in response to a search warrant.

“We continue to work with the appropriate investigative authorities,” Facebook said in a statement to CNN.

Facebook informed Congress last week that it had identified 3,000 ads that ran between June 2015 and May 2017 that were linked to fake accounts. Those accounts, in turn, were linked to the pro-Kremlin troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency.

In those briefings, Facebook spoke only in generalities about the ad buys, leaving some committee members feeling frustrated with Facebook’s level of cooperation.

Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN last week that Facebook had not turned over the ads to Congress. Warner has also called Facebook’s review “the tip of the iceberg,” and suggested that more work needs to be done in order to ascertain the full scope of Russia’s use of social media…

Are those “contents” significant? This guy — “Former federal prosecutor. Legal expert for TV and print”thinks so:


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Tuesday Morning Schadenfreude Open Thread: Never Give the Son-in-Law A Real Job

Trump can’t even screw up like a normal grifter. Be interesting if the key to breaking the Trump Crime Cartel’s grip turns out to be that 1950s comedy figure, the Otherwise Unemployable Idiot Son-in-Law. Per the Washington Post:

A small group of White House lawyers this summer urged that President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner step down from his White House role amid a broadening probe into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russians in the 2016 election, according to multiple people familiar with the discussion.

Some of the lawyers worried that the presence of Kushner, a senior adviser with a broad domestic and foreign policy portfolio, created potential legal complications for Trump, while the probe threatened to limit Kushner’s ability to perform his job, these people said.

Kushner had several interactions with Russian officials in the campaign and transition that have drawn interest from investigators, and some White House lawyers warned that even casual discussions between him and Trump could spark additional scrutiny.

The debate, first reported Monday night by the Wall Street Journal, took place before a July shake-up of the legal team. The idea to press Kushner to leave was ultimately rejected.

In a statement Monday night, White House lawyer Ty Cobb blamed the disclosure of the internal debate on former White House staffers seeking to tarnish Kushner, who Cobb described as “among the President’s most trusted, competent, selfless and intelligent advisers.”…

Of course, in the Trump White House, “most trusted, competent, selfless and intelligent” is not exactly a high bar, is it?

… Cobb declined to say which former staffers he believed were trying to undermine Kushner. Former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon, who was dismissed last month, had been a rival to Kushner in the West Wing. Bannon did not respond to requests for comment…

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Apart from stifling our snarky guffaws — or not! — what’s on the agenda for the day?



Late Night Rant Open Thread: Speaking of Cranky Old Grifters…

Politico, of course, is rooting for Democratic injuries — but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a real problem. I give Bernie Sanders due credit: With a mere fraction of the economic advantages Donald Trump or even Jill Stein were born to, he (eventually) achieved a rewarding career that did not require more than three days’ work per week, and that doing what he loved best. Tragically, a confluence of larger forces during the 2016 election gave him a much larger platform for his talents, attracting a motley crew of fellow cranks and perennial malcontents along with the media-friendly innocents who actually believed that he offered a working alternative to our current two-party political system. If he’d only had the smarts to shut up and go back to his Senate sinecure no later than December 2016, I would not dismiss him as the least effective Presidential Change Agent since Leon Czolgosz

But it’s not just the outside agitators that Democratic lawmakers, operatives and activists are annoyed with: They’re tired of what they see as the Vermont senator’s hesitance to confront his own backers, either in public or through back channels.

Tensions boiled over recently when a handful of Sanders loyalists bashed freshman Sen. Kamala Harris — a rising star in the party and potential 2020 hopeful — as an establishment tool. Democrats were also rankled that other prominent Sanders allies said support for single-payer health care should be a litmus test for candidates.

In response, Democratic senators and outside groups have begun telling Sanders and friendly intermediaries that if he wants to be a leading figure for Democrats ahead of 2020’s presidential election, he needs to get his supporters in line — or at least publicly disavow their more incendiary statements…
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Kelly vs. Gorka: “Kill A Chicken to Frighten the Monkeys”

… which is an old Chinese proverb meaning ‘Eliminate a minor figure to keep the outside agitators in line”. Consensus seems to be that John Kelly, in his new role as Gatekeeper, pushed Gorka out to show the Breitbrats he’s gonna do his utmost to protect Lord Smallgloves from himself. Best summary I’ve seen, from the Washington Post:

Sebastian Gorka, a controversial White House staffer who served as a fiery spokesman for President Trump on national security matters, abruptly left the administration on Friday as his nationalist faction was being silenced, four people briefed on Gorka’s exit confirmed.

Gorka, a deputy assistant to the president, is a close ally of former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who departed the White House last week. Together they saw their roles as enabling and promoting the president’s combative populism and revolutionary impulses.

Although Trump enjoyed watching his cable television appearances, in which he performed like a pit bull and taunted many news anchors for peddling what he and the president deemed “fake news,” Gorka had run afoul of many of his colleagues, including some on the National Security Council who considered him a fringe figure.

Officials said it was widely known that White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, who has been restructuring the West Wing to stem infighting and chaos within the staff, was eager for Gorka to depart the administration.

While Gorka publicly released a resignation letter expressing his displeasure with the changes that he felt left his faction silenced, two White House officials insisted Gorka did not resign but rather was forced out. A third White House official said the “writing was on the wall” that Kelly wanted Gorka to leave…

Now, way back on Thursday (doesn’t that seem like a long time ago?) Politico, Axios, and the NYTimes each published upbeat stories about how Gen. Kelly was gonna bring Marine-style discipline to this sloppy, disorganized, overweight White House, hoo rah!


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Cartman in the Oval Office

Update Thank you to Adam for finding live footage of Trump’s current Cabinet meeting: