Open Thread: “What Did the President Know, and When Did He Know It?… “

This answers, this time around, are probably “Not very much” and “He never remembered for more than 48 hours, no matter how often the information was repeated.” But still!

“With few exceptions,” clause doing a lot of work in that sentence:

Of course, when Nixon got busted, he’d just achieved a landslide 49-state win. This guy?



Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Theory of (Tiny, Broken) Mind

Unfortunately, I find David Roberts’ theory all too plausible…


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Saturday Morning Open Thread: “I Thought It Would Be Easier”

THANKS, REPUBLICANS!

Lazy weekend morning, time for the BJ hive mind to ‘enjoy’ the full panoply of this week’s Worst Interview(s) Ever…

More than five months after his victory and two days shy of the 100-day mark of his presidency, the election is still on Trump’s mind. Midway through a discussion about Chinese President Xi Jinping, the president paused to hand out copies of what he said were the latest figures from the 2016 electoral map.

“Here, you can take that, that’s the final map of the numbers,” the Republican president said from his desk in the Oval Office, handing out maps of the United States with areas he won marked in red. “It’s pretty good, right? The red is obviously us.”

He had copies for each of the three Reuters reporters in the room…

He frequently turns to outside friends and former business colleagues for advice and positive reinforcement. Senior aides say they are resigned to it.

The president has been at loggerheads with many news organizations since his election campaign and decided not to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington on Saturday because he felt he had been treated unfairly by the media.

“I would come next year, absolutely,” Trump said when asked whether he would attend in the future…

And it gets… “better”!…



Late Night Open Thread: Nazi Pajama Games

The Repubs have soooo much respect for our military, they want to use it as a dumpster for all the fantasists and grifters who aren’t sharp enough for the business grifts:

Mattis was widely embraced on both sides of the aisle when President Donald Trump nominated him. Republicans and Democrats alike expressed hope that the retired four-star general would be a moderating force on the volatile commander in chief.

But Republican lawmakers and senior congressional aides said in recent interviews they’re running out of patience with Mattis’ staffing decisions, which have disappointed Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee hoping to see their ideological allies elevated to senior levels in the Defense Department. Others are grumbling about Mattis’ refusal to advocate a bigger increase in the defense budget, which defense hawks believe was gutted disastrously under President Barack Obama.

“He certainly has got a tough job, but it sometimes feels like he forgets that we won the election,” said one aide to a GOP senator on the Armed Services Committee, who declined to speak on the record for fear of publicly alienating the defense secretary.

“We’ve waited eight years for this, to be able to fill these posts with Republicans,” said another top GOP Hill staffer. “We know Trump isn’t part of the establishment and that it’s going to be a bit different, but it should go without saying that a Republican administration is expected to staff federal agencies with Republicans.”…

Defense Department veterans say the White House has put Mattis in a nearly impossible position given that a large swath of the Republican foreign-policy establishment was openly critical of Trump during the campaign. Some say that has left Mattis with little choice but to turn to Democrats and to those without a political background to fill senior posts.

“In picking Mattis, the president got someone who had bipartisan credibility and was seen as a tough national security official who wasn’t going to toe the White House or the GOP line,” said Jeremy Bash, a former Pentagon spokesman under Secretary Leon Panetta. “Independence is an important attribute in a SecDef. But when you get that, you get frustration from the political folks. When you’re not coming out of the establishment, you have the credibility to do bipartisan things. You’re just going to take incoming from Democrats and from Republicans from time to time.”…

There’s also a longwinded story about Mattis paying insufficient attention to Senators Cotton and Cruz and their Very Serious Military Theorists cosplay, and a sidebar that he’s not sympathetic to re-introducing GOP grifters into Pentagon budget planning.

… Others said it’s crucial that Mattis embrace the reality of navigating the Hill. “Everybody thinks very highly of him, but he doesn’t have any political sense, and he doesn’t think he needs any political sense,” said one former Bush administration Defense Department official. “But it’s quintessentially a political job.”

We don’t want capable people with experience! We want cushy berths for our grifters and ideologues!

Bonus watching, another Trump ‘terrorism expert’ gets Bee-burned..



Long Read: The KKK ‘Imperial Wizard’ Murdered by His Cat-Hoarding Wife

Gotta say, this seems like another sad case where the ‘Flower of White Christian Manhood’ cosplay comes off as a particularly toxic attempt at self-deception. Disheartening for those of us who support animal rescue, too — reminder that the twist leading to animal hoarding too often coexists with other mental-health problems. Doyle Murphy, in the St. Louis Riverfront Times, with one of the great ledes of all time:

Frank Ancona, the imperial wizard of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, smelled like cat piss.

The stench clung to the 51-year-old’s graying hair and mustache. It seeped into the fabric of his clothes and hung on him like a blanket. He was unhappy about it, but he did not seem to know what to do. He lived in a small, beat-looking house in the rural southeast Missouri town of Leadwood. The windows of the front porch had been pulled out and the wood frames wrapped in chicken wire — a project his wife had undertaken one evening after he headed off to his job as an overnight courier for a St. Louis-based shipping company.

Malissa Ancona, 44, seemed intent on turning their home into a giant kennel. It was well-known that the bleach blonde ran an off-the-books — some would say infamous — animal rescue. Dozens of cats and two dogs shared 1,000 square feet with the Klansman and his wife. They nested in piles of dirty clothes, pawed through open garbage and kicked litter across the floors. A neighbor estimates as many as 70 cats lived there during peak times…

There’s not much money in Leadwood. Set in the hills about 70 miles south of St. Louis, the median household income is about $31,000, nearly $20,000 less than the statewide figure. The population of 1,282 is 99 percent white. For diversity, residents identifying as American Indian outnumbered African-Americans two to one. That’s not a ratio: Census workers counted a total of two Native Americans and one black person in the 2010 tally.

Leadwood is the kind of place where people might not agree with the KKK, but they also don’t get too worked up about a Klan leader living next door. The Anconas moved in five or six years ago. Frank’s dad lived one house over to the south, and the local fire station was across the street. The younger Ancona seemed intent on settling in after years spent bouncing around Missouri and Illinois. The Leadwood house was a lease, but Frank had worked out a rent-to-own arrangement with the homeowners, relatives say. Shortly after moving in, he hung a red flag with the KKK’s “blood drop” cross to the left of the front door and a replica of the Klan’s historical flying dragon pennant to the right.

His only real problem was Malissa…

When word spread that Frank had gone missing February 9, no one seemed too surprised. His son, Frank Jr., knew something was wrong when his father’s employer called to say he had not shown up for work for the first time in nearly a decade. The son called police and headed over to the house.

He and the officers were just about to go inside when Malissa returned home with her son from a previous relationship and barred their way. Frank Jr. remembered a feeling of dread sweep over him.

“I had a gut feeling right then and there she’d done something bad.”…



You Get What You Vote For

Ho hum:

Almost 23,000 retired coal miners and their dependents on Wednesday received official notification that they could lose their health care benefits by April 30.

“This is causing tremendous mental and in some cases physical trauma to these senior citizens,” United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts said Wednesday. “They will now have to begin contemplating whether to continue to get medicines and treatments they need to live or to buy groceries. They will now have to wonder if they can go see a doctor for chronic conditions like black lung or cancer or pay the mortgage.”

For the last year, U.S. senators representing Ohio and West Virginia have worked to preserve health care coverage and pensions for retired coal miners. Roberts and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said the health care coverage was originally slated to expire at the end of 2016, but Congress passed a four-month extension at that time.

Wonder how we got here:

When Sen. Mitch McConnell strode into the Capitol for last month’s State of the Union speech, he took with him a guest whose presence was sure to be seen as a slap against the Obama administration and its policies on coal.

“I brought along this unemployed coal miner here,” McConnell (R-Ky.) said, gesturing to fourth-generation mineworker Howard Abshire, “to see the person who put him out of work.”

The Senate majority leader said he wanted to call attention to President Obama’s “heartless” regulations that he argues have devastated communities in Abshire’s native eastern Kentucky. Yet just weeks earlier, McConnell’s office had delivered its own blow to Appalachian coal towns: It blocked efforts to rescue health and pension funds on which thousands of retired and disabled miners rely.

A plan that would ensure the solvency of the funds nearly made it through Congress in December as part of the bipartisan budget deal that cleared both chambers. But the bailout attempt — backed by key lawmakers from both political parties — was excluded from the deal at McConnell’s request, according to four Senate officials directly familiar with the events.

McConnell’s spokesman does not dispute that telling of events. And McConnell has not publicly explained his opposition to the measure.

His opposition is simple. He is in a blood feud with the UMWA and if thousands of miners get crushed in the process, well, killing the union is more important. Also, this:

Further complicating the problem is that new technologies allow coal companies to extract the mineral with far fewer employees than the process once required. This means the number of active miners paying into the union pension fund is minuscule compared to the number of retirees and their dependents collecting benefits from it.

In fact, senators estimate the number of active miners paying into the pension fund to be only 10,000, while there are 120,000 retirees drawing from it.

But what about all those new mining jobs?

Anyone with two neurons firing knows that coal jobs are not coming back, that what Trump and company are going to do is deregulate so that mining companies can extract coal more profitably because they don’t have to worry about miner safety and environmental regulations. And they will do things like this, which happened just today:

A bill that allows increased discharges of toxic pollution into West Virginia’s rivers and streams now is headed for the state Senate, after it was passed by the House of Delegates Wednesday following a somewhat confusing and emotional debate.

The House voted 63-37 to approve the legislation. House Bill 2506 would change the type of stream flow measurements the state Department of Environmental Protection uses when it sets the amount of pollution that chemical plants, factories and other industrial facilities can routinely discharge into the state’s waterways.

Fucking morons all the way from our representatives down to our voters.








Nightmare Open Thread: Overgrown Toddlers with Weapons of Mass Destruction

A-B-C! One spoilt princeling with Chemical weapons, trumped by another with Atomic fantasies…

Thanks for breaking the world, Repubs!