Schadenfreude Open Thread: Getting Woodies from Their Own Hand-Crafted Crosses

The professional Trumplodytes are crappy, soulless little homunculi whose closest approach to honest emotion is sharing tales of their social martyrdom with each other — and the more gullible among the Media Village Idiots:

For as long as the White House has existed, its star occupants have inspired a voluble mix of demonstrations, insults and satire. On occasion, protesters have besieged the homes of presidential underlings such as Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s political strategist, who once looked out his living room window to find several hundred protesters on his lawn.

Yet what distinguishes the Trump era’s turbulence is the sheer number of his deputies — many of them largely anonymous before his inauguration — who have become the focus of planned and sometimes spontaneous public fury.

“Better be better!” a stranger shouted at Stephen Miller, a senior Trump adviser and the architect of his “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, as he walked through Dupont Circle a few months ago. Miller’s visage subsequently appeared on “Wanted” posters someone placed on lampposts ringing his CityCenterDC apartment building.

One night, after Miller ordered $80 of takeout sushi from a restaurant near his apartment, a bartender followed him into the street and shouted, “Stephen!” When Miller turned around, the bartender raised both middle fingers and cursed at him, according to an account Miller has shared with White House colleagues.

Outraged, Miller threw the sushi away, afraid that someone in the restaurant had spit in or otherwise tampered with his food, he later told colleagues.

On Saturday, as Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s former strategist, browsed at an antiquarian bookstore in Richmond, a woman in the shop called him a “piece of trash.” The woman left after Nick Cooke, owner of Black Swan Books, told her he would call the police…

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This Friday’s Trump-Dump Open Thread: Sucking Up to His Master, Putin… and #Failing

I will not stoop to being a member of any club that would have me as a member, you loser!
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Stupid Watergate Open Thread: The President’s Blame Is Missing (The Most Likely Suspect)

Yeah, let’s be honest even if that’s impossible for Republicans: The person most probably responsible for the worst leaks from this Oval Office Occupancy is named, shall we say, “John Barron”. Or maybe “Meredith McGiver”.

They’ve reached intermediate-stage Watergate levels of paranoia and we’re not even at the first midterms. Nixon is supposed to have wandered around the White House late at night, talking to the portraits of former presidents. Trump doesn’t even drink, and he’s probably already talking to the (newly installed surplus of) gilded mirrors…

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Elections Matter

It appears the consequences of your own racism and stupidity have a bite:

“Eddie Devine voted for [Trump] because he thought he would be good for American business. Now, he says, the Trump administration’s restrictions on seasonal foreign labor may put him out of business. ‘I feel like I’ve been tricked by the devil,’ said Devine, owner of … Devine Creations Landscaping. ‘I feel so stupid.’”


That’s why Devine thinks the Trump administration’s stifling of guest-worker programs has more to do with racism than economics. ‘I think there’s a war on brown people,’ he said.

“But what makes him most angry is that Trump’s properties in Florida and New York have used 144 H-2B workers since 2016. ‘I want to know why it’s OK for him to get his workers, but supporters like me don’t get theirs,’ Devine said.”

No shit, Eddie? I guess you just missed the racism during the campaign. This one is great, too:

China buys 60 percent of all U.S. soybean exports, and growers of the crop could be pressed hard if the administration cannot cut a deal with Beijing. Soybean-producing counties went for Trump by a margin of more than 12 percent in 2016.

Dave Walton, who voted for Trump and tends soybeans, corn and livestock in eastern Iowa, is not sure his farm could take the added stress. “If this turns into a longer-term thing, we’re going to see friends and neighbors go out of business,” he told Caitlin Dewey last month. “If this stretches into years, we ourselves won’t be able to sustain it.”

Walton’s 800-acre farm, in his family for 118 years, has already been struggling to stay above water with falling crop prices, and tariffs could profitability difficult. “Right now, soybean growers in Iowa and across the nation are encouraging the administration to engage positively with China,” he said. And if that doesn’t happen, he added: “Iowa leads the nation in many things. The presidential election is one of them.”

Pound corn, prick. It was all fun and games when we were calling all Mexicans rapist, chanting “BUILD THAT WALL,” an d screaming about China. Deal with it.

(I’m fully aware that this post will one day be used to demonstrate my coastal elitism. From bumfuck, West Virginia.)

FBI- Fapping Bunch of Insufferables

Apparently the entire FBI is filled with moralizing blowhards patterned after Michael Shannon’s character in Boardwalk Empire, Agent Nelson van Alden:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has struck a stoic and righteous tone in private conversations he has had this week about the fate of his job as President Donald Trump has launched public criticism against him and considered firing him, according to three sources who have spoken to Rosenstein.

In those conversations, he has repeated the phrase, “Here I stand,” a reference to Martin Luther’s famous quote, “Here I stand, I can do no other.” Coincidentally, former FBI Director James Comey, whom Rosenstein fired, repeated the same phrase to President George W. Bush in a conversation that has been widely reported and that Comey describes in his forthcoming book.

That’s right on the heels of this portion of a NY Times mutual masturbation society meeting:

What books over the years have most influenced your thinking?

Reinhold Niebuhr’s “Moral Man and Immoral Society” and “The Nature and Destiny of Man” had a huge impact on me, as did Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style,” which was one of 12 books in my college course “Significant Books in Western Religion.” The professor believed that all ideas are wasted that can’t be clearly expressed. King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” was also one of the 12 books and is the only book I’ve read repeatedly as an adult. More recently, I was really struck by Jonathan Haidt’s “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.”

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?

I read “Lean In,” by Sheryl Sandberg, when I was the F.B.I. director and recommended it to the workforce, so Ms. Sandberg would be invited. And if she doesn’t mind eating with dead people, I’d also have Reinhold Niebuhr and Martin Luther King Jr. Both were remarkable observers of human nature and America. It would be really interesting to pick their brains about current events.

The bonus of it all is he didn’t need to fucking think about whether or not to go give that speech tanking Clinton. It didn’t require any Niebuhresque judgment, it just required he follow the fucking DOJ guidelines that were already in place:

The day before the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, sent a letter to Congress announcing that new evidence had been discovered that might be related to the completed Hillary Clinton email investigation, the Justice Department strongly discouraged the step and told him that he would be breaking with longstanding policy, three law enforcement officials said on Saturday.

Senior Justice Department officials did not move to stop him from sending the letter, officials said, but they did everything short of it, pointing to policies against talking about current criminal investigations or being seen as meddling in elections.

That Mr. Comey moved ahead despite those protestations underscores the unusual nature of Friday’s revelations, which added a dramatic twist to the final days of the presidential campaign. His action reignited a firestorm that Mrs. Clinton believed she had put behind her when the F.B.I. decided in July not to charge anyone in the investigation into the handling of classified information on her private email server.

Remember, that was after he had already created new Clinton rules in July and decided to speechify about Clinton when they decided not to prosecute the nothingburger of an email case. He called Clinton “careless,” when in fact it was he who was being careless and reckless.

For the record, it’s entirely possible to, as I do, think that Comey and company are a bunch of insufferable pricks while also thinking they are telling the truth about Orange Julius Caesar. I also maintain that Comey was convinced Clinton was going to win and was trying to shore up GOP losses in the House and Senate and also sending a shot across the incoming President’s bow about who the boss in town was, as well as settling an old score with the Clenis on the Mark Rich pardon.

In closing, fuck these guys. They make you long for the days of FBI agents who were merely vindictive monsters who secretly liked women’s clothing but kept their mouths shut in public. Additionally, we need to stop allowing college students to read Niebuhr, Luther, Oakeshotte, etc., unless they sign a NDA stating they will not issue any public mention of them without first having their statement approved by their old professor or someone with standing in the field who actually understood what they read.

Wingnut Whisperers

My sister from another mister touched on the Williamson firing at the Atlantic, but I thought I would add my two cents. I’d be remiss if I didn’t start this whole discussion by asking why we need more conservative voices to begin with. Conservatives currently hold the Presidency, the House, the Senate, right wing voices are dominant on the Supreme Court and should someone drop dead, even more so. They control the overwhelming majority of state legislatures and governor’s office, control AM radio, have their own national news network on television and via Sinclair are closing in on dominating local television, and this doesn’t even get into all the wingnut welfare ventures like Red State, the Daily Caller, Breitbart, the Federalist, and so on so forth. So it’s not like anyone in this country is missing out on hearing conservative viewpoints.

At any rate, Noah Berlatsky hada good piece the other day in the Huffington Post titled “Bad Ideas Aren’t Worth Debating“:

The issue is not left intolerance. The issue is that conservative intellectuals make bad, often nonsensical arguments, and spout opinions that are hateful and harmful on their face.

Nor is this a surprise, given the last several decades of American history. Anyone looking objectively at the GOP’s record in politics over the last 30-odd years would reasonably conclude that conservatism is a bankrupt and harmful ideology, built on bigotry and a fetishization of tax cuts for the rich. The previous Republican president, George W. Bush, presided over an unnecessary and catastrophic war, a horrifyingly incompetent hurricane relief effort, and a historic, devastating financial collapse. The current Republican president is an incompetent would-be authoritarian whose main accomplishments so far have involved empowering a fascist police force to harass and deport innocent people. The Republican Congress put forth incoherent health care plan after incoherent health care plan, before ramming through a similarly incoherent tax cut for the wealthy.

Conservatism in office has brought Americans war, financial disaster, misery, and rising fascism. Conservative pundits, meanwhile, write column after column propounding ill-informed, bigoted, and cruel solutions to problems that don’t exist, while denying the existence of real injustices and misery.

This is not some sort of coincidence. Conservative governance is a disaster because conservative thinking is bankrupt. Giving more space to conservative thinkers is not going to make our polity more diverse and vibrant. It’s going to fill our public sphere with prejudice and ignorance. Ibram X. Kendi challenges and enlightens. Kevin D. Williamson does neither of those things.

So not only are we deluged with conservative ideas, they’re usually bad ideas not even worth debating. Actually, they are pretty much always bad ideas. Actually, they’re not even ideas. Modern conservatism doesn’t have actual ideas, they have self-reinforcing belief systems, and feelings, and an ever shifting concept of us vs. them. They don’t actually debate whether climate change is worth dealing with, they just deny it’s happening or claim it’s made up and then bring snowballs into the well of the Senate to prove… I have no idea what they are trying to prove. And it’s like that with EVERYTHING.

I mean, name an actual new conservative idea from a prominent conservative intellectual in the last decade. Go ahead. Alright, now try to name a new conservative idea or approach from anyone. Yeah. You can’t. And there’s a reason for that- there haven’t been any.

For all the bluster about conservative intellectualism, there just isn’t really any. Hell, look at the role of George Will, David Brooks, Bret Stephens, etc. They aren’t thought leaders, they just try to put an intellectual veneer on the same old horseshit that comes seeping out of the stupid right. They’re wingnut whisperers. Human babelfish for rightwing babble. It’s why all they talk about is liberal intolerance or why every other column by Bret Stephens and Will is a weak jab at climate change. It’s quite literally all they have.

And if you look at it that way, I guess you can give Kevin Williamson some credit for calling black people primates and for lynching women who have abortions. While not new ideas in any sense of the term, they are new to mainstream publications, so there’s that.

Shithole President. Shithole Party.

So, this happened, as reported in The Washington Post:

Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to African countries and Haiti. He then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he met Wednesday.

As Josh posted at TPM, highlighting a blunt and unequivocal report on this over at CNN, such a pure distillation of racism is too blatant to be ignored, even by the most circumspect MSM venues.

There is, in a sense, nothing new here: anyone paying attention has known that Trump is and has been for his entire adult life a gaping maw of racism, a bigot who doesn’t just loathe black and brown people, but has a record of seeking to do them harm.

It remains astonishing to hear anyone in 2018 say such filth in their outdoor voice, but no one can say they’re surprised that if anyone in American public life were to go loud and proud on the crudest expressions of race-hatred, it would be the –tragic– occupant of the Oval Office, that tiny-fingered and terrified little scrub, Donald Trump.

But if Trump is merely making it more obvious that he’s a one-man lynch mob in waiting, now with the levers of power at his vicious disposal, there’s another set of accessories, the men and those occasional women they allow into the clubhouse who lead the Republican Party.

They were the ones who accepted the devil’s bargain — trade American democracy to wield power through the presumed-to-be biddable Trump.  And now they face, and routinely fail, the test their notionally smart and stable leader poses for them:  stick with Trump, or defend this norm or that.

As everyone reading this knows, to date, it’s been Trump, and to hell with the notion of democratic governance, any of the expectations of the Founders and their heirs.  From judges to taxes to tolerating personal corruption in the White House, and on to the terrifying surrender of huge swathes of government to incompetent cronies, to the attempted capture of law enforcement as a tool of the president, and more, through the whole wretched catalogue, the GOP has chosen to see nothing, to hear nothing, to say nothing — and thus has associated themselves with each sin, all the blows to traditional forms, and every outright felony the Trump crime family commits.

And now this:  Trump, uttering out loud the hate soundtrack that loops constantly through his lizard brain.  This time, he was so obvious as to make it clear even to the meanest comprehension (not implying anything about CNN).  There’s no hidden meaning, no subtext in his words.  This ain’t eleven dimensional chess or brilliant electoral strategery.  January 11, 2018 ain’t the day that Donald Trump became President.

It’s the one on which he reminded us exactly what kind of president he is, what kind of leader the GOP accepts, welcomes, follows.

And thus the test: every single GOP member of Congress, every cabinet official, every White House staffer who fails to condemn this statement, owns it — along with all the sentiments and intentions behind it. They become the bigots, aiders and abettors of the worst impulses in the public sphere. They are to be named and shamed; small children should grimace to see them and each of us will spit on the sidewalks as they pass.

Or, more practically — every single one facing the voters in 2018 and as long as Trump is present on the American political scene has to be asked where they stand on shithole countries.  Ryan and McConnell and all the rest have to be made to choose: Trump and the worst tendencies in our country, or not.

/rant over.  Only this to add:  my stomach hasn’t unknotted since I read this.  Not to Godwin, or anything, but it’s a truly sad day when the President of the United States utters words that would have fit perfectly in Adolf Hitler’s mouth.

Image: Hieronymous Bosch, The Last Judgementbetw. c. 1482-1516