Blowed Up (Open Thread)

There are a million reasons to rejoice at Doug Jones’ victory over the lawless, bigoted, kid-diddling theocrat Roy Moore. But I have to admit one of my favorites is this: It’s another example of how thoroughly the literal walking Confederate monument Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has exploded in Trump’s ugly face.

Sessions is one of the most abject toadies who ever licked a would-be authoritarian’s boots. Recognizing a fellow bigot, Sessions jumped on the Trump train early, giving establishment imprimatur to a racist, sexist, xenophobic demagogue when most elected Republicans still believed Trump would blight their 2016 prospects.

Then Trump won, and Sessions was rewarded with a plum post. All Sessions ever wanted to do was advance the worst aspects of Trump’s bigoted agenda. He’s doing that. But despite his devotion, Sessions has proved a personal liability for Trump at almost every turn, and in the process, he’s earned his boss’s utter contempt.

Trump blames Sessions for the Russia probe. He publicly humiliated him over it. And I’m sure Trump blames Sessions for losing the Alabama senate seat too because nothing is ever Trump’s fault.

Trump is a three-time loser in Alabama — first picking Sessions, then backing Strange and then endorsing Moore. Sessions is taking a wrecking ball to civil rights, so it’s cold comfort. But he’s been a fucking disaster for Trump, despite his best intentions, and I bet Trump reminds him of that at every opportunity.

When It All Falls Down

People are weird:

Bitcoin is in the “mania” phase, with some people even borrowing money to get in on the action, securities regulator Joseph Borg told CNBC on Monday.

“We’ve seen mortgages being taken out to buy bitcoin. … People do credit cards, equity lines,” said Borg, president of the North American Securities Administrators Association, a voluntary organization devoted to investor protection. Borg is also director of the Alabama Securities Commission.

“This is not something a guy who’s making $100,000 a year, who’s got a mortgage and two kids in college ought to be invested in.”

Bitcoin has been soaring all year, starting out at $1,000 and rocketing above $19,000 on the Coinbase exchange last week. The price on Coinbase, which accounts for a third of bitcoin trading value, is often at a premium over other exchanges.

The cryptocurrency was trading at just under $16,700 on Coinbase at 2:21 p.m. New York time Monday.

I kinda feel like people buying bitcoin right now are the folks who headed to the Gold Rush in California in 1856. Just a couple years late, guys. But who knows!

At any rate, if there is a bitcoin crash, what impact could it have on the economy?

Well, that escalated quickly…

You guys, I think Trump just called Senator Gillibrand a slut:

Is there a German word yet for that feeling when you think something has to be from a parody account but it’s really not? The senator clapped back:

I’m out of can’ts to even.

For reasons too convoluted to explain, I’m hanging out alone in a remote cabin that had Fox News blaring when I walked in the door. There is a bewildering array of remote controls, none of which seemed to affect the volume or power.

I follow Fox News on Twitter to see what the bastards are up to, but watching it live is another experience altogether. Non-stop fear-mongering! Even the commercials portend doom; it’s all survivor seed packets, bunker rations and gold.

I found a button that changed the channel and jumped out of the frying pan into the hell-fire — an old-timey evangelical preacher! I frantically pushed every button at once and landed on Dan’l Boone TV show reruns. That’ll do, although it’s vaguely disturbing that there’s a raccoon HEAD on his coonskin cap!

Hope your day is less of a catastrophuck!

Midday Odds and Ends

The Washington Post on the attempted terrorist attack in NYC this morning:

Authorities said a low-tech device was detonated in the New York City subway in an incident that the mayor called “an attempted terrorist attack.”

A man suspected of setting off the explosion Monday morning in Midtown Manhattan was identified by authorities as Akayed Ullah. The blast, which occurred in the area of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, at 42nd St. and 8th Ave., resulted in serious injuries to the suspect and minor injuries to at least three others, authorities said during a morning news conference.

Ullah sustained burns and lacerations to his hands and abdomen, authorities said. Police said he was taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment and then taken into custody. Three other people also suffered minor injuries caused by being in the vicinity of the explosion, including ringing in the ears and headaches, police said.

Thank dog the idiot attacker was inept. Oddly, as of this moment, Trump has not tried to make political hay of the attack on Twitter, which is unusual to say the least. Maybe he’s keeping his powder dry until 10:30 AM, when Brave New Films will hold a press conference with some of the 16 women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct:

There should be an investigation. Trump surrogates are claiming people already knew about these allegations and voted for Trump anyway, so no backsies. But there was never an investigation, and he wasn’t an elected official then. There should be one now.

Speaking of degenerates, reports that two polls show Roy Moore with a lead over Doug Jones in the AL senate race. But a Fox News poll shows Jones with a big lead:

Is this Fox News trying to goose Moore supporters to the polls? Possibly.

What else is going on? Did anyone else binge-watch “The Crown” this weekend? Open thread!

Unity Schmunity (Open Thread)

Have we discussed the DNC Unity and Reform Commission findings yet? I’ve looked online and can’t yet find a copy of the recommendations, so I’m relying on media reports. HuffPo has a run-down of the key points; from what I gather there and elsewhere, there are three major changes proposed:

1. Fewer superdelegates (60% reduction according to HuffPo)

2. Absentee ballots for caucus states and allowing voters to register or switch party affiliation on the day of the caucus; also, possible penalties for states that hold closed primaries if they don’t allow same-day registration or party affiliation changes.

3. More transparent budget.

One of the main arguments I’ve heard to retain the superdelegate system is that it could allow the party to rid itself of an unqualified lummox like Trump. I don’t personally find that convincing, since the lummox in question is now squatting in the Oval Office. The Republicans weren’t going to get rid of Trump because their voters would have rebelled, and the Democrats wouldn’t either, should a Trump-like figure arise in the Democratic Party.

The second proposal troubles me the most, especially the prospect that closed primary states that don’t allow same-day registration and party affiliation changes will be penalized in some way, possibly through loss of delegates, if they don’t do “everything in their power” to conform to the same-day rules. States set voter registration and party affiliation change rules, not parties.

There are arguments to be made for closed and open primaries, but they need to be made on a bipartisan basis at the state level. Penalizing Democrats from closed primary states because of rules they can’t control is just another form of “rigging,” IMO. This time, it’s the Sanders people who look like they are trying to grease the skids.

If you agree that penalizing closed primary states isn’t fair, you might want to bring that up with your local party delegate or make your feelings known to the DNC through other channels. The URC recommendations have to be adopted by the DNC rules committee before they go into effect.

Other than that, open thread!

Franken Sense (Open Thread)

So, Senator Al Franken is scheduled to make a statement on the floor of the US Senate at 11:45 ET (C-SPAN link). He’ll probably resign. And because he’s basically a good guy and a strong Democrat, he’ll likely do so in a way that reaffirms the party’s commitment to equality for women and underscores the Republicans’ hypocrisy on the issue.

If he resigns, I’ll be sorry to see Al go. I’ve always liked him — he’s funny, smart, almost always right on the issues and can draw a map of the United States freehand. I have two or three of his books on my shelves. My favorite Franken quote comes from Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. It’s about the difference in how liberals and conservatives love America:

“We love America just as much as they do. But in a different way. You see, they love America like a 4-year-old loves his mommy. Liberals love America like grown-ups. To a 4-year-old, everything Mommy does is wonderful and anyone who criticizes Mommy is bad. Grown-up love means actually understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad and helping your loved one grow.”

That’s true about patriotism, and it’s also true to some extent about political parties, which is why Republicans are fine with electing a man who has been credibly accused of child molestation and attempted rape (and that smirking creep from Texas who used taxpayer funds to pay off accusers) and Democrats are cleaning house — over-zealously, according to many.

Personally, I’m conflicted about Franken’s case for a whole bunch of reasons that I’ve expressed in other threads and therefore won’t bother rehashing in this post. But I do have a request, which, to paraphrase Ulysses McGill, is probably the “acme of foolishness” to make on this blog: Can we elevate the discussion a tad and try to keep it free of bad faith assumptions about fellow Democrats?

Can we entertain the possibility that people might have reasons other than rank stupidity or opportunism to believe Franken should resign? Can we stipulate that those who believe Franken should remain in the senate care deeply about addressing sexual harassment? At least until they say something that indicates otherwise? Because this issue is important. I’m willing to try if you are. Anyhoo, have at it.

Busy Tuesday News Dump

There’s a lot going on in politics and in the world today. Here are some of the stories that caught my eye:

Mr. Mueller subpoenaed Trump’s bank records at Deutsche Bank, which is a BFD for several reasons, not least of which Trump indicated that if Mueller started poking around his (Trump’s) business interests, that would cross a “red line.” Via Vanity Fair:

Back in July, The New York Times asked Donald Trump how he would react if Robert Mueller started looking into his finances beyond the Russia investigation. At the time, the president said he couldn’t say whether he would fire the special prosecutor because he was fairly confident Mueller wouldn’t go there, warning that it would be “a violation” if he did. Now, we may get to find out: Bloomberg reports that Mueller issued a subpoena to Deutsche Bank several weeks ago, demanding that it turn over documents pertaining to its “relationship with Trump and his family.” In a statement, the bank indicated it would comply with the request, saying “Deutsche Bank always cooperates with investigating authorities in all countries.”

Commenters here seem divided over whether Trump can or cannot fire Mueller. I don’t know. Experts disagree. But if anything tempts him to try it, this might — Trump is crooked as a dog’s hind leg, and an analysis of his finances will surely reveal that. Not to mention he’s probably in hock up to his bulging eyeballs to Putin’s pals, which is a bad look. Anyhoo, we’ll see.

In other news, Trump announced he’s moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. He can tick that item off mega-donor Sheldon Adelson’s wish list as he hurls a lit match into the dynamite storage facility.

The Supreme Court is hearing the case about the baker who refused service to a gay couple. Observers seem to be saying it’s going badly for equality. We’ll see.

Russian got banned from the Winter Olympics for egregious cheating. Can’t win ’em all, Vlad.

Wild fires are exploding in Southern California. Stay safe, juicers in that locale.

That’s all I know. What else is happening?