Open Thread: Suite “Home” Alabama

That “unsure” 11% seems important. CNN:

Democrat Doug Jones — once thought to be a longshot in the Deep South — has tied Republican nominee and former judge Roy Moore in Alabama’s US Senate race, a new poll shows…

Moore and Jones will face off in a special election to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former seat December 12.

The poll confirms Republicans’ fears that Moore — who campaigns on a theocratic, anti-LGBT message and has twice been ousted as state Supreme Court chief justice, once for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument and once for refusing to follow the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage — would be a uniquely vulnerable candidate in a state President Donald Trump won last year by 28 percentage points…

Jones, a former prosecutor who convicted two former Klansmen in the bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, has sought to portray Moore as someone who would embarrass Alabama on the national stage…

Moore has a history of under performing compared to national Republican leaders in Alabama. In the 2012 race for state Supreme Court chief justice, he won by just 2 points over little-known circuit court judge Bob Vance in a year Mitt Romney won the state by 22 points…

Roy Moore’s Senate run is turning into the roadshow version of Trump’s campaign, and that was a farcical imitation of a real campaign…

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Late Night Primitive Vertebrates Open Thread: Young Jared Would Like to Move On Now, Thank You Very Much

Young Jared glides through his very nice life like an eel through water, boneless and frictionless, buoyed up by an ocean of money. Sometimes he darts out to snatch at something eye-catching — a building development, a newspaper, the well-appointed daughter of another powerful ocean-dweller. If his foray doesn’t work, he glides away, on to the next target, impossible to entrap. Or so it has been, until now. Suddenly the ocean seems smaller, the lights brighter, the predators larger and meaner…

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser messaged the former chief White House strategist to say he thought the TV hit was a success, according to multiple people who were dining with Bannon at Del Frisco’s steakhouse across the street from Fox News’ Manhattan studios when the message popped up.

The attaboy from a campaign ally-turned-West Wing nemesis was surprising on multiple fronts. For one, Bannon associates and White House officials said Kushner hasn’t reached out to Bannon since he was ousted from his White House post in August.

But even stranger was that members of the Del Frisco’s dinner crew, which included conservative media personalities, thought Kushner was belatedly endorsing an anti-establishment strategy that has many Republicans concerned about losing control of the Senate altogether — one that undercuts the very members of Congress the White House needs as partners if Trump wants to pass any part of his domestic agenda, including tax reform…

Kushner has recently been hosting bipartisan dinners at his Kalorama mansion, Axios reported, breaking bread with people like conservative Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin to identify areas where the White House can score “bipartisan wins” on issues like criminal justice reform.

His thumbs-up to Bannon — which one person said elicited a warm thanks in response — seemed at odds with that patina of dinner party diplomacy. And it could be seen as a sign of the irreparable relationship between the White House and Corker. The outgoing chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was once one of the Republican senators closest to Kushner, advising him on Middle East issues and defending him publicly amid reports that he tried to set up a back channel with the Russian ambassador during the transition last year…

No hard feelings, Steve! Nothing personal, Bob! Aren’t we all inhabitants of the same ocean?

Via Dan Drezner’s twitter feed, Newsweek:

Jared Kushner “enriched himself” by not revealing his ownership of a real estate tech business that raised millions of dollars while he served in the government, said a member of the House Judiciary Committee, calling it part of a pattern of unethical behavior that he believes should cause the White House Senior Adviser to be stripped of his security clearance.

Congressman Ted Lieu told Newsweek that Kushner’s failure to list a company called Cadre on his initial financial disclosure forms—an oversight that could mean millions for the president’s son-in-law—is an ethical lapse that should have severe ramifications…

The timeline suggests more than just an inadvertent oversight, but an effort by Kushner to hold onto Cadre rather than be forced to divest his interests in the emerging company, according to ethics experts.

On March 9, Kushner submitted his original financial disclosure form to the Office of Government Ethics. It did not specifically list Cadre as one of Kushner’s assets, though he co-founded the company with his brother, Joshua Kushner and his Harvard classmate Ryan Williams, who remains Cadre CEO.

The company was already attracting attention in New York’s real estate and tech circles because of its promise to disrupt both industries by allowing investors to buy shares in real estate developments much like they would buy shares of companies on the stock market.
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Why Does Chris Cillizza Have a Job?

This is the actual front page at CNN:

What kind of fucking moron thinks that Hillary Clinton condones rape and sexual assault? Other than Donald Trump, I guess the answer is Chris Cillizza. The same Chris Cillizza seen here joking with Dana Milbank calling her a “mad bitch”:

At this point, it is beyond fair to wonder whether Cillizza just has a problem with women. He’s dragged Clinton for so long, that I am wondering if it extends far beyond her to other women.

Make no mistake, this is no “analysis” as he has it labeled. And the thing you need to realize is Cillizza KNOWS that Clinton doesn’t support rape and sexual assault, he just wants make her respond. It’s him using his forum to make her jump- he might as well be saying “Dance, mad bitch, dance,” because we all know that if she does respond, Cillizza’s next piece will be “what took her so long” and “was she sincere” and so on.


You’re Wrong and They’re Also Sending a Message, You Clueless Numpty

Being a libertarian at Reason means never knowing anything other than whatever the left is doing, they are wrong. Here is the latest:

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is angrily condemning a memo released today by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that it describes as “an all-out assault on LGBTQ people” creating “a sweeping ‘license to discriminate'” in furtherance of President Donald Trump’s “cynical and hateful agenda.” The memo does this via provocative language such as “freedom of religion is a fundamental right of paramount importance” and “government may not interfere with the autonomy of a religious organization” by, for example, forcing an Orthodox yeshiva to accept female rabbinical students.

Don’t get me wrong—we’re not exactly fans of Sessions here at Reason. But today’s memo shouldn’t make your list of reasons to dislike the man, who is much more fittingly criticized for being a lover of asset forfeiture and a drug warrior extraordinaire.

Haters of the religious liberty memo seem to believe (or, perhaps more accurately, want you to believe) that it establishes a new right for businesses and government agencies to turn people away on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. They should be comforted, then, by the revelation that virtually everything in the document is merely a restating of existing law and Supreme Court precedent.

Ok (hold on to your hats folks, but a glibertarian is wrong), this is not true:

Today, HRC responded to the Trump-Pence Administration’s latest attack against the transgender community. At the direction of Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice (DOJ) rescinded a memo issued by the Obama Administration. Sessions replaced the important instructions with a discriminatory memo, arguing that anti-discrimination protections under Title VII do not apply to transgender people. DOJ instructed all U.S. attorneys to adopt this dangerous position in all pending and future matters.

But let’s pretend this idiot is correct, and nothing has changed. Then why did they release a memo that, in her words “does little more than reiterate what federal law has been for years.” And let’s note that the weaselly “little more” nonsense, which is an admission that her entire premise that nothing has changed is, umm, a fucking lie.

The answer is because after consulting with Christianist extremists to help craft this memo (which, again, does more than just restate federal law), is that they are sending a message that the Justice Department and the weight of the government is open for business for bullshit religious grievances and eager to advance case law trashing minority parties for the benefit of religious lunatics. It’s “hey guys, we’re stacking the courts, you have a Justice Department that isn’t going to do shit to defend the rights of all Americans, and we’ll have the Supreme Court soon, so start getting these cases into the pipeline. It’s go time for religious bigotry.”

Because that’s how this shit works in America. No one is going to successfully introduce and pass a bill that says all gay people need to be stoned in the public square (well, at least not yet). So what they do is slowly chip away at constitutional protections afforded all individuals, eroding their rights, and creating a separate second class of American citizens which has the added benefit of making the lives of LGBT people miserable. On top of the overt actions in the memo, that’s what is really happening.

And the assorted douchebags at Reason either know this but their kneejerk hatred of “teh left” trumps that knowledge, or they don’t understand what the fuck is going on out side their myopic Randian universe. Either way, they should probably shut the fuck up until they know something.

Open Thread: Seriously Broken


And we’re all stuck in the nightmare…

“We have gone all out for Puerto Rico,” Trump said during the televised briefing Tuesday. “It’s not only dangerous, it’s expensive.”…

“I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you are throwing our budget out of whack,” he said. “We’ve spent a lot of money in Puerto Rico.”

(As I explain here, FEMA has yet to authorize full disaster aid for Puerto Rico).

The most uncomfortable part of Trump’s remarks came when he began to compare Puerto Rico to Hurricane Katrina based on how many people had died, implying what was happening in Puerto Rico wasn’t a “real catastrophe.”

“If you look at the — every death is a horror, but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds of people that died and what happened here with a storm that was just totally overbearing. No one has ever seen anything like that. What is your death count?” he said.

“Sixteen,” responded Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

“Sixteen certified,” Trump said, and then told the leaders assembled that they should all be “very proud.”

The reality is that the death count is far higher, as my colleague Eliza Barclay has noted. The situation is so bad in Puerto Rico that the government can’t even issue death certificates to count the deceased…


Impeach the Motherfucker Already

Pre-Dawn Open Thread: He SHOULD Be Miserable!

The nuns in my childhood parochial school were not fans of self-esteem. One of the first things they taught us (right after handing out little blue Baltimore Catechisms, which were just on the verge of being declared obsolete) was that if we’d done something wrong, we should feel terrible about ourselves. Guilt and shame were God’s way of discouraging us from persisting in bad behavior. Donald Trump, of course, is incapable of either guilt or shame… but at least I can take pleasure in seeing that he’s not enjoying his ill-gotten office!

President Trump spent the final days of August dutifully performing his job. He tended to the massive recovery from Hurricane Harvey. He hit the road to sell his tax-cut plan. And he convened policy meetings on the federal budget and the North Korean nuclear threat.

Behind the scenes during a summer of crisis, however, Trump appears to pine for the days when the Oval Office was a bustling hub of visitors and gossip, over which he presided as impresario. He fumes that he does not get the credit he thinks he deserves from the media or the allegiance from fellow Republican leaders he says he is owed. He boasts about his presidency in superlatives, but confidants privately fret about his suddenly dark moods.

And some of Trump’s friends fear that the short-tempered president is on an inevitable collision course with White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.

Trump chafes at some of the retired Marine Corps general’s moves to restrict access to him since he took the job almost a month ago, said several people close to the president. They run counter to Trump’s love of spontaneity and brashness, prompting some Trump loyalists to derisively dub Kelly “the church lady” because they consider him strict and morally superior…

Meanwhile, people close to the president said he is simmering with displeasure over what he considers personal disloyalty from National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, who criticized Trump’s responses to a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. He also has grown increasingly frustrated with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has clashed with the president on issues including Afghanistan troop levels, the blockade on Qatar and Cuba policy…
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