Sunday Evening Open Thread


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What’s on the agenda as we wrap up the weekend?



GOP Fustercluck Open Thread: The Donald Went Down to Georgia Pensacola


(McEntee, according to Politico, is Trump’s “body man”.)

He wasn’t gonna campaign for Roy Moore, because Moore could still lose. (Luther Strange? Who he?) He couldn’t not make some kind of show of support, because Moore just might win, and if that happens Trump plans to take 110% of the credit. So, Pensacola’s not that much of a detour from Mar-a-Largofvckyourself and its well-groomed golf greens…
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Late Night Fustercluck Open Thread: Billy Bush Goes to Canossa

… and he didn’t even have to kneel in the snow for three days. Color me not impressed!

In fact, Billy’s relationship to the Bush Crime Family is the only real point of interest, as far as I can tell. For all the vast social ineptness of various politically-oriented Bushes, they have demonstrated a keen sense of what the zeitgeist requires, whether that involves banking gold for the Nazi Party or volunteering to shoot down Japanese warplanes. If Billy thinks it’s time to make a public show of renoucing Donny and all his works, it’s a strong indicator that the Permanent Republican Party (such as it is, in these fallen days) still thinks it can shake off the Trump/”populist” (racist) stink with the aid of a few well-placed sacrifices. Since the Bushes have been intimately involved with the CIA since it was the OSS, one can but assume they have some knowledge of what’s been going on behind the Putin curtain…



Russiagate Open Thread: Cheap Japes Edition



Friday Night “Comic” Relief Open Thread

That’s at least one Republican quite happy with the timing of the Flynn indictment…

Rep. Blake Farenthold used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim brought by his former spokesman — the only known sitting member of Congress to have used a little-known congressional account to pay an accuser, people familiar with the matter told POLITICO.

Lauren Greene, the Texas Republican’s former communications director, sued her boss in December 2014 over allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment…

…[I]n a joint statement both Greene and Farenthold prepared at the time of the settlement but never released — a copy of which was shared with POLITICO by Alderman on Friday — the two confirmed they reached a deal in part to save taxpayer dollars.

“[A]fter it became clear that further litigating this case would come at great expense to all involved — including the taxpayers — the parties engaged in mediation with a court-appointed mediator,” the statement read. “After extensive discussion and consideration, the parties jointly agreed to accept the solution proposed by the mediator.”

The statement added: “The parties believe that the mediator’s solution saves the parties, and the taxpayers, significant sums that would be expended in further discovery and/or trial.”…


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Friday Morning Open Thread: Thank (Murphy the Trickster) God It’s Finally Friday


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Happy nice news!

Apart from bracing ourselves for the inevitable Friday news dump, what’s on the agenda for the day?

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There’s been a lot of public tone-deafness this week, but Young Prince Jared will not be outdone. per Vanity Fair:

2017 has not been the year many of us hoped for. Yet the holiday season—a time for giving thanks, and sharing bounties, and passing around joy—is upon us all anyway, Kushners included, and some semblance of normalcy must be kept. For Kushner Cos., that means continuing an annual tradition of sending around company-branded swag to its usual group of real-estate developers, bankers, and business acquaintances. Three years ago, the company gift was a black, Kushner Cos.-branded hooded sweatshirt with white piping; two years ago, a similarly branded black vest; last year, a pair of headphones. This year, according to a person who has seen the gift, Kushner Cos. sent its friends a white bathrobe embossed with its logo on the right shoulder.

A full-length branded bathrobe would be, in any year, an unusually intimate corporate gift to send around. But in late 2017, as several recipients have noted, a bathrobe comes loaded with suggestive connotations. The bathrobe figures prominently in several women’s accounts of alleged sexual harassment by both Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Rose. Images of Trump in a robe of his own proliferated online earlier this year after Sean Spicer, responding to a New York Times story depicting the president wandering the East Wing in a bathrobe, denied that he even owned one. It has become a symbol, fairly or not, of something unseemly—hardly something that anyone wants to be reminded of as they unwrap presents around the menorah or tree.

“There are plenty of people who have gotten [the robes] who are shocked,” one person who saw the robes and spoke with others who received them told me. “Lots of rich white guys can’t believe it, given what’s going on in the world, with harassment and misuse of bathrobes. It’s the most tone-deaf holiday gift of all time.”

“Custom holiday gifts are ordered many months ahead of time—long before bathrobes were in the news,” Christine Taylor, a Kushner Cos. spokeswoman, said. “So not tone deaf at all, just a thoughtful holiday gift.“

“Sometimes a robe is just a robe,” she added…

Yeah, like you’ve never felt the urge to just slop around the house Oval Office, too exhausted even to dress properly. Poor lad is just depressed, is all. And can you blame him! [/snark]



Open Thread: The Dim-Witted, Angry, Acting-Out Madness of “King” Donald

President Trump has told confidants that a government shutdown could be good for him politically and is focusing on his hard-line immigration stance as a way to win back supporters unhappy with his outreach to Democrats this fall, according to people who have spoken with him recently.

Over the past 10 days, the president has also told advisers that it is important that he is seen as tough on immigration and getting money for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to two people who have spoken with him. He has asked friends about how a shutdown would affect him politically and has told several people he would put the blame on Democrats.

Trump’s mixed messages on a partial government shutdown could hamper the ability of congressional Republicans to negotiate with Democrats, whose support they need to pass spending legislation in coming weeks. Many Republicans said this week that a shutdown is a possibility they hope to avoid. Even inside the White House, aides fret about the possibility, saying it would not poll well…

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THIS IS FINE, Repubs reply.

President Donald Trump over the summer repeatedly urged senior Senate Republicans, including the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to end the panel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, according to a half-dozen lawmakers and aides. Trump’s requests were a highly unusual intervention from a president into a legislative inquiry involving his family and close aides.

Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the intelligence committee chairman, said in an interview this week that Trump told him that he was eager to see an investigation that has overshadowed much of the first year of his presidency come to an end.

“It was something along the lines of, ‘I hope you can conclude this as quickly as possible,’” Burr said. He said he replied to Trump that “when we have exhausted everybody we need to talk to, we will finish.”

In addition, according to lawmakers and aides, Trump told Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Republican leader, and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., a member of the intelligence committee, to end the investigation swiftly…

Trump’s requests of lawmakers to end the Senate investigation came during a period in the summer when the president was particularly consumed with Russia and openly raging at his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for recusing himself from any inquiries into Russian meddling in the election. Trump often vented to his own aides and even declared his innocence to virtual strangers he came across on his New Jersey golf course.

In this same period, the president complained frequently to McConnell about not doing enough to bring the investigation to an end, a Republican official close to the leader said.

Republicans downplayed Trump’s appeals, describing them as the actions of a political newcomer unfamiliar with what is appropriate presidential conduct…

During this time, Trump made several calls to senators without senior staff present, according to one West Wing official. According to senators and other Republicans familiar with the conversations, Trump would begin the talks on a different topic but eventually drift toward the Russia investigation.

In conversations with McConnell and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Trump voiced sharp anger that congressional Republicans were not helping lift the cloud of suspicion over Russia, the senators told political allies. The Times reported in August that the president had complained to McConnell that he was failing to shield Trump from an ongoing Senate inquiry…


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