Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Don’t You Think He Looks… Tired?

Guess it’s true that the rigors of the office ages every president, even the ones who don’t even pretend to be doing the job (looking at you, Warren G!).

Actually, I’d assume yesterday’s performance just meant his handlers have been recalibrating whatever mixture of pharmaceuticals they use to keep him more-or-less on topic and in line… but even the intimation that he’s losing it is bound to drive Tang the Conqueror further out of his tiny mind, so let’s all speculate!

Decompensation or not, he’s not a happy camper right now, and November 2020 is still a long way down the road for a guy who gets bored so easily…








Late Night Cheap Speculation Open Thread: Who *Does* Fund The Federalist?

Admitted plagiarist and general internet nuisance Ben Domenech is the founder, editor, and biggest booster of a left-twitter punching bag known as The Federalist. Since I am not the only person who thinks of The Federalist as a kind of wingnut-wurlitzer sink trap, watching its public face throw a nutty on twitter is always mildly entertaining…

… The path of conservative media has largely mirrored the challenges of digital and print news operations broadly over the last decade, with wild experimentation in form and content, waves of consolidation, and a series of high-profile collapses…

And others have adapted to [Trump’s] rise and his style. The Daily Caller went populist, amplifying Trump’s anti-immigrant politics. Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire remained skeptical of the president but drew a huge following “owning” his liberal enemies. The Federalist followed a version of this second path.

The site launched in 2013. In a post introducing the outlet, publisher Ben Domenech compared its mission to that of the original Time magazine, which “aimed to cover and distill the news of politics, economics, world affairs, and culture for the nation’s rising middle class.” The site published a wide-ranging group of writers on a variety of political and cultural topics. Over the years, it has adapted to the Trump moment by criticizing perceived excesses of his detractors in the media and relentlessly questioning the Russia investigation.

Unlike some peers and more like Breitbart, which only revealed its ownership structure under pressure from a committee from which it was seeking congressional press credentials, the Federalist has been resolutely opaque about its finances. The site is owned by a private company and doesn’t have to disclose its ownership or funding structure; its parent company, FDRLST Media, was incorporated as a limited liability company in Delaware in 2016. And the omertà on the topic has prompted a considerable amount of speculation in the political media world, with the phrase “Who funds the Federalist?” becoming a recurring meme, often tweeted at the site’s top brass. The Federalist has winked at the controversy, selling at one point an “I Fund the Federalist” T-shirt.

Despite the air of mystery, publicly available information does shed some light on some of the Federalist’s financials, though it’s not necessarily the full picture — or anything that explains why the secret has been so closely guarded…

I personally assume Ben’s mother-in-law Cindy McCain is using her personal $200 million fortune to keep Domenech busy and out of her basement, because hell, given the option, wouldn’t you?








Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Trump and His ‘Base’ Rally Each Other

Dave Roth, at Deadspin:

Donald Trump believes that everything he says is made true by virtue of him having said it, and once he begins believing something he is incapable of not believing it. This is why he says things more than once. The challenge is figuring out how he says things for the first time.

So: Trump got it into his head that he had received a Michigan Man Of The Year Award, and despite some complicating factors—he didn’t, for one, and also such an award does not appear to exist—he has continued to bring it up whenever the mood strikes him. There’s a whole story around it, and as is his custom he tends to retell it with more additions of the words “very” and “sir” as the years go by. “I’ve been fighting for the car industry for years,” Trump said the first time he told the story, in Michigan and two days before the 2016 Presidential election. “I was honored five years ago. Man of the Year in Michigan. That was a great honor for me.” As Trump told and has since re-told the story, he was criticized for giving a speech in which he talked about “what Mexico and these other countries are doing to us. And especially what they’re doing to Michigan.” …

What is useful about this, and what would be beautiful about it if everything around it was not so luridly toxic, is how plain it all is. Trump is a being of pure reaction and grievance and avarice, and as such is never really very difficult to parse. When he lies about money it’s because he wants people to think he has more of it than he does; when he lies about golf it’s because he wants people to think he’s a better golfer than he is. Those lies tell you something about how Trump wants to be seen, but they’re incidental to the bigger questions of who and what he is. Stranger lies like the Michigan Man one reveal more about how he sees the world and understands his relationship to the other people in it, which is fundamentally as someone cleaning up at an endless televised awards show.

Most of the idiocies at the core of Trump’s being were created in the same way that pearls are—an irritant lodges itself in the spongy matter of his mind years ago, actively or passively, and then is worried into something bright and very hard. In this case, though, we can watch this accretive work happening in real time—some dumb speech, long forgotten, grows into a great honor bestowed by strangers who admired him, and then into a controversial stand for which he was criticized but for which he boldly refused to apologize. And now it is something he can bring up, whenever he is feeling under-appreciated or anxious or when nothing else will come. He stalls and sputters and his pale eyelids flutter and suddenly then there it is, glistening on the dais in front of him—that time that Charles Woodson called to concede victory in the Michigan Man Of The Year Award, a few years ago or whenever it was. “Sir,” the Heisman Trophy winner said through his tears to Donald Trump, “you deserve this more than anyone.” What a beautiful memory.

Read more








Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: The Repub Revanchists

No matter how grotesquely sexist / racist / classist the GOP as a whole devolves, Rep. ‘Pigmuck’ King will strive to be that little bit worse. From the Des Moines Register“U.S. Rep. Steve King: If not for rape and incest, ‘would there be any population left?'”

U.S. Rep. Steve King told the Westside Conservative Club on Wednesday that humanity might not exist if not for rape and incest.

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” he said at the event in Urbandale, Iowa…

The Kiron Republican was defending his position of not allowing exceptions for rape and incest in the anti-abortion legislation he tried to pass in Congress. Republican leadership had prevented the bills he sponsored on banning abortions from advancing through the House, despite GOP support for the measures, King said…

He actually said that, in front of the cameras — there’s video. Of course the whole forced-birth ‘But what if that aborted baby would’ve been the next Einstein?’ trope has been in use for at least the last forty years, but count on Rep. Pigmuck to bring his own personal touch. And he’s not sorry, either; he insists the outcry that’s greeted his flapmouth bigotry is nothing but a plot by his enemies…

In the hours after his remarks to the breakfast meeting, condemnation of his comments poured in from Democrats, including those running for president, as well as some Republicans…

“People think it was an organic media feeding frenzy, but no, it was orchestrated from the beginning,” he said Wednesday. “They had told me, ‘Heads up before Christmas: They’re going to try to drive you out of office and get you to resign.’ Within 24 hours, you had people saying, ‘Resign, resign, resign.’ Why? Because the New York Times misquoted me?”
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Election 2020 Open Thread: Brad Parscale Would Like to Be A Dangerous Person

He is dangerous, but only because — like his purported employer — he’s the idiot catspaw for at least one foreign power. If he were even halfway competent, he’d keep his head down and his mouth shut. But then, who would know what a Big Swingin’ D*ck he is?

In their chilling new documentary, The Great Hack, Academy-Award-nominated filmmakers Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim follow the personal stories on both sides of the 2018 Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal that exposed the private data of 87 million Facebook users. Through the eyes of Professor David Carroll who sues Cambridge Analytica to release his personal data, Brittany Kaiser, a top Cambridge Analytica executive-turned-whistleblower, and investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr, the film reveals how Cambridge Analytica used the same military-grade tactics of information warfare they employed against populations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Eastern Europe to manipulate national political elections around the world, including the UK Brexit vote and the 2016 US presidential race. As one former Cambridge Analytica employee expressed, “It’s a grossly unethical experiment, playing with the psychology of an entire country without their consent or awareness.”…

Way to panic the rubes, dude. You’ll be lucky Zuckerberg doesn’t… er, that mysterious entities with tons of money and a strong interest in keeping Facebook profitable don’t find it in their interest to make your career go bye-bye, putz.