Wonk shade

Dan Diamond brings together the wonderful health nerd traditional of #HealthPolicyValentines and topical commentary on the firing of the NSA for being compromised by the Russians.

I needed this laugh.

Open Thread

Open Thread: Jason Chaffetz, Craven Careerist

And the venal little bastid couldn’t wait to run bragging to his Media Village Idiot buddies, because of course he did.

Chaffetz described an inquisitive, “chit-chatty” president, eager to learn about Postal Service reforms, undoing President Barack Obama’s move to turn Utah’s Bears Ears into a national monument, embassy security and reining in costs associated with the federal workforce. The elephant in the room — Chaffetz’s power to investigate Trump and his administration — never came up, he said. Nor, he added, did his ongoing investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server…

Chaffetz credited Priebus — an ally since the two traveled together during Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign — with arranging the Oval Office sitdown…

Chaffetz said Trump was supportive of him conducting vigorous oversight during their Philadelphia chat.

“He was the one who said proactively, feel free to investigate anything you want. That’s your job, that’s your role,” he said. “He is not going to put a heavy hand in one direction nor the other. We have a job to do and we’re going to do it.”

Sure, investigate the King’s enemies like you were screening for skin cancers. Just never investigate the King, because His Majesty is incapable of error.

Chaffetz says Reince Preibus, of the RNC, put this little confab together. The GOP is happy to let everyone know: IOKIYAR is now official government policy.
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Open Thread: Smogging Up the Hall of Mirrors

Increasingly clear that the Repubs don’t mind their country being run by a hostile foreign power, as long as they get to reap some short-term advantages…

But the new fashions will be fabulous!…

Friday Morning Open Thread: Holiday Dreams

“Oh, like you’ve never dreamed of going Godzilla on the whole JOYFUL HOLIDAY SPIRITZ schtick.”

Speaking of widespread destruction, the Washington Post gives James Comey an early Xmas gift:

Justice officials laid out a number of arguments against releasing the letter. It violated two long-standing policies. Never publicly discuss an ongoing investigation. And never take an action affecting a candidate for office close to Election Day. Besides, they said, the FBI did not know yet what was in the emails or if they had anything to do with the Clinton case.

Remarkably, the country’s two top law enforcement officials never spoke. As Comey’s boss, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch could have given the FBI director an order to not send the letter. But Lynch and her advisers feared that Comey would not listen. He seemed to feel strongly about updating Congress on his sworn testimony about the Clinton investigation. Instead, they tried to relay their concerns through the Justice official whom the FBI had called.

Their efforts failed. Within 24 hours of the first FBI call, Comey’s letter was out…

Lynch’s meeting in June with Bill Clinton on a tarmac in Phoenix led to a crisis in leadership at the department over how to handle the Clinton email investigation. Rather than formally recuse herself, Lynch left ambiguous who would be making final decisions on issues regarding Hillary Clinton.

Into that vacuum stepped Comey, an FBI director who prides himself on having a finely tuned moral compass that allows him to rise above politics. Weeks before the letter, Comey had advised against the Obama administration public statement admonishing Russia for the Democratic Party hacks, arguing it would make the administration appear partisan too close to the election. But to him, the Clinton email investigation was different…

See, it was all the Black lady’s fault — hers, and Bill Clinton’s. Thank GOP god Cthulhu for that ‘finely tuned moral compass’ in Comey’s back pocket!

What’s on the agenda, apart from prepping for the last winter holiday before Trumpageddon?

There’s Never Just One…

This, via TPM:

A 41-year-old lawyer has accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of groping her in 1999 when she was a young foundation fellow in Washington, D.C., National Law Journal reported Thursday.

The lawyer, Moira Smith, said that Thomas repeatedly touched her rear multiple times as he pleaded for her to sit next to him at a dinner party hosted by the head of her scholarship program. The alleged incident occurred, Smith said, when just the two of them were alone near the table she was setting for the party.


It’s been clear since her testimony (at least to me) that Anita Hill was a truthful and courageous witness to Clarence Thomas’s craptastitude, and hence his unfitness to be a Supreme Court justice.  There were rumors at the time that there were more women, with more stories.  But they never testified.  So Thomas survived on the “he-said; she-said; who knows?” defense.

But if there’s anything the intervening decades have taught us, it’s that powerful men who use their positions to impose their sexual demands on women don’t stop at just one.  See, of course, Mr. Donald Trump.

And now this.  Thomas is blanket denying, of course:

“This claim is preposterous and it never happened,” Thomas said in a statement to National Law Journal.

That’ll keep him securely in place, until and unless the next woman comes forward, and the next, and the next…

My bet?

Well, there’s never just one.  But keeping Thomas in his seat is so important to so many of the worst people in the country that I would be utterly unsurprised if (a) Moira Smith gets hit by a world of hurt and (b) anyone else who might have knowledge of any misdeeds by Trump receiving that message loud and clear.

We’ll see.

Image: Artemisia Gentileschi, Corisca and the Satyr, betw. 1630 and 1635.

Shameless Hypocrites Open Thread: Ken Starr, Straight from 1992

The very special prosecutor who chased rumors of Bill Clinton’s infidelities all over the national media has a major grievance. Per Liam Daniel Pierce at Vice Sports:

File this under: you’ve got to be fucking kidding me. Former Baylor president Ken Starr seems to have forgotten what a real victim is, as, in an interview with the Texas Tribune [Saturday], he said that “a grave injustice” was done to Baylor’s fired football coach Art Briles. Injustice? Starr might be forgetting the sexual assault victims that received absolutely no justice under his and Briles’ tenure.

The Baylor University football team was rightfully embroiled in a scandal earlier this year, after an investigation revealed that the university and its football program repeatedly failed to respond to sexual assault accusations against Baylor’s football players. In at least one incident, the investigation discovered, university administrators even retaliated against a complainant. Starr was forced to resign and Briles was fired—and I guess that’s the injustice he was talking about?…

“I’m going to resist the issue, or the characterization, that there was an endemic problem,” Starr said…

Recap Open Thread: Trump Is Dangerous, and “Our” “Free” Press Is Enabling Him

And that was within the first minutes of Lauer’s Trump tongue-bath!

To be fair, a lot of the tweets here are from newsroom professionals. But the suits in charge of what gets said on the Big Megaphone are blatantly tipping the scales for a thoroughly unqualified, self-confessed liar and amateur. Because optics! horse race! eyeballs! both sides! chickenshit cowardice!

Nope, not sarcasm. Trump said all that — and more!

Much more below the fold — and, believe me, it’s still a heavily pruned selection…
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