Open Thread: Trial Buffoon Balloon


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Mamma needs a new grift! Per CNN:

“I’ve had people contact me and urge me to run for that Senate seat,” Bachmann said. “The only reason I would run is for the ability to take these principles into the United States Senate,” she said, later adding, “The question is should it be me? Should it be now? But there’s also a price you pay. And the price is bigger than ever because the swamp is so toxic.”

“We’re trying to be wise,” Bachmann continued, suggesting that Franken was dropped by Democrats because the party wants to be able to hurl false accusations against Republicans in coming elections…

Bachmann has been accused of employing gay conversion therapy at her Counseling Care clinics over the years, and the clinics have been hit with health inspector violations in 2005, 2009 and 2017, according to NBC News. In her interview with Bakker, she referenced the clinics, claiming that false allegations had left her clinics nearly bankrupt twice.

“My husband and I aren’t money people,” Bachmann said, suggesting that political candidates are now even larger targets for “frivolous lawsuits.”

“If you’re a billionaire, you can maybe defend yourself,” she said, later adding, “If you’re trying to go against the tide in DC, if you’re trying to stand for biblical principles in DC and you stick your head up out of the hole … the blades come whirring and they try to chop you off.”…

I suspect that about-to-be-appointed replacement Senator Tina Smith will be duly grateful for Ms. Bachmann’s timely announcement. Because there’s “not exactly the most riveting candidate”, and then there’s “ongoing national punch line”



Late Night Open Thread: The Grifter-in-Chief


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Once Trump has been removed from office, I vote we charge the RNC back for every bloody penny.

Mr. Charles P. Pierce takes the long view:

All of this, and so much more of which we are probably unaware, is nakedly, blatantly unconstitutional. It’s not even a close call. When the president* turned the presidential coin into an advertisement for himself, it was only the most literal example of his coining the presidency into gold. And Judge George Daniels has dumped it right in Paul Ryan’s lap. He has challenged Ryan’s patriotism to Ryan’s face. And Ryan has shirked his constitutional duty to his country in this as he has shirked it in so many other areas. He also has dumped it in the country’s lap as well. If you don’t want to be represented by people who don’t give a damn about the Constitution, his decision says, vote them out of office—or else join them in sad complicity.

Sidebar: Note the Democrats consistently take less time off than the Repubs…



Tax Bill Protests Open Thread: “A Corrupt, Cruel, Budget-Busting Hairball”

John Cassidy, in the New Yorker:

Grant the Republican Party leaders one thing: their tactics in passing their hugely unpopular tax bill have been consistent—consistently evasive. A few weeks ago, the Senate version of the bill was passed in the middle of the night. This weekend, the final iteration of the legislation was made public on Friday evening—a traditional dumping ground for bad news. The Republicans intend to hold votes on the bill early next week in both houses of Congress, and it seems certain to pass.

It is hardly surprising that Republicans don’t want to give anyone too much time to look closely at their latest handiwork. The final tax bill is the product of a conference committee that was tasked with reconciling the different bills passed in the House and the Senate. Almost eleven hundred pages long, the final bill is just as regressive and fiscally irresponsible as either of the two earlier bills, and it is arguably more so. At its center is a huge tax cut for corporations and unincorporated business partnerships—such as the ones that Donald Trump owns—while arrayed around the edges are all sorts of carve-outs and giveaways to favored industries and interest groups…

As for fairness, that principle was junked a long time ago. The final bill reflects the same principle as the previous two G.O.P. bills: Dom Perignon for the plutocrats, cheap swill for the masses. The bill is also cruel. In abolishing the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to purchase health insurance, it will make individual plans even more costly and more difficult to obtain, especially for sick people. This isn’t just a tax bill. It is a backdoor effort to overturn the principle of universal access to health care.
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Late Night Repub Venality Open Thread: Roy Moore Goes Back to Full-Time Grifting

I’d wondered whether Roy Moore was endangering his established Christianist-bubble “calling” by keeping the media’s attention focused on his failed campaign, but then I’m not a professional grifter. Looks like he’s gonna keep looking for the missing birth certificate — I mean, the 20,000 “fraudulent” Doug Jones voters…

Roy Moore’s campaign announced Friday that it is seeking donations for an “election integrity fund” following the former judge’s unsuccessful bid for an Alabama Senate seat….

The campaign is seeking to meet a deadline to report cases of voter fraud before Alabama’s secretary of State certifies the vote. The election will be certified between Dec. 26 and Jan. 3.

In a letter sent out to supporters, the campaign said its budget “ran through” on Tuesday, the night of the Alabama special election, and asked supporters to help raise another $75,000 to collect reports of “voter fraud and other irregularities at polling locations throughout the state.”

“My campaign team is busy collecting numerous reported cases of voter fraud and irregularities for the Secretary of State’s office,” the statement said…

Rally on, “Judge” Moore… the more you posture, the worse your claims look to the loosely political non-Deplorable voting population. Give us Democrats a chance to make you and your chaos-muppet buddy Steve Bannon the face of the GOP for 2018!



Bitcoin: Beanie Babies for Techno-Libertarians?

I’ve got nothing against collectibles, and I have the Franklin Mint plates to prove it. But most of the little I know about economics I got from reading J.K. Galbraith, so whenever people start talking about Free money — guaranteed to appreciate!, the alarm bells go off. From the Washington Post:

Bitcoin soared past the $17,000 mark on Thursday, a dizzying run for a digital currency that was worth less than $1,000 at the start of the year and was once largely the preoccupation of technologists or those looking to avoid scrutiny to launder money or buy drugs and weapons online.

The fast rise — it has gone up more than 40 percent this week alone — is creating a buying frenzy among eager speculators around the world and helping push bitcoin into the mainstream. And it is also forcing U.S. regulators to grapple with whether to legitimize a product that operates outside the control of any government or financial institution.

The run-up in price comes as bitcoin enthusiasts prepare to reach a new landmark. On Sunday, a bitcoin product will trade for the first time on a U.S. financial market, making it almost as easy to bet on the virtual currency as oil, corn or the euro…

McClatchy:

Much of the computer power sustaining bitcoin occurs at massive complexes – or farms – in rural China running on electricity from coal-fired generating plants in Sichuan and Inner Mongolia. Reporters from Quartz and Bloomberg visited one of the massive farms in August, and said it had eight warehouses containing 25,000 processing machines, or about four percent of the global bitcoin network.
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Late Night Creepshow Open Thread: Grifters Applaud Their Own

“United in Purpose” has an even lower profile than Ginni Thomas’ main grift, “Liberty Central”, whose main purpose seems to be keeping Ginni too busy to drunk-dial Anita Hill again. But if you assume UiP’s real purpose is to provide a conduit from “conservative” suckers with too much money to “activists” with more greed than sense…

NYMag:

The “heroes” honored by United for Purpose had to meet certain criteria laid out on the website for the Impact Awards. These are people who show “tenacity, courage and perseverance even under hostile attacks” and are “respected among their peers,” among other things. O’Keefe, who just made a fool of himself in an attempt to stick up for a sexual predator, apparently meets that criteria in the eyes of right-wing activists.
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Open Thread: Good News for Democrats Satirists

Murphy the Trickster God, never a subtle scripter:

On Thursday, a spot opened [for] him to run for the House of Representatives. Franks, who represents Arizona’s 8th congressional district, announced his intent to resign from his seat following reports that he had approached two female staffers about the possibility of serving as gestational surrogates for him and his wife. The House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation into whether Franks “engaged in conduct that constitutes sexual harassment and/or retaliation for opposing sexual harassment.”

Reached by The Daily Beast while grocery shopping, Arpaio said he had not yet heard of Franks’ impending resignation.

“He is a great man, and a great friend, and it’s a great loss for Arizona and our country,” said Arpaio, after being informed of the news. But Arpaio, a former six-term county sheriff, dismissed the possibility of running to replace Franks, noting that he did not reside in the Arizona 8th congressional district…

“No, I would not consider it, but I am considering running for the Senate, Flake’s seat,” Arpaio told The Daily Beast while buying a half-pound of meat at the deli counter. “I feel like I just gave you a little scoop there.”…

Should Arpaio enter the field, it could very well split the Trump political orbit. Kelli Ward, a former state senator, is already preparing a run. And she has the backing of a pro-Trump Super PAC as well as the Mercer family, which is closely associated with Trump political adviser Steve Bannon.

But Arpaio is undeterred…

Dr. Kelli “Very Concerned About the Chemtrails” Ward and Bekah Mercer, versus “Sheriff” Joe “Convicted Felon” Arpaio and… who’s his sugar daddy, Arizonans?

ETA: Way late, but several commentors pointed out Snopes said it was fake, so I deleted a meme-tweet here.