Cosplay Stuntin’ Open Thread: Wolverines!… SKONKS!

High-dollar chew toy has opinions…

Her ‘conservative’ playmates rush in to assist…


(Bruenig, incidentally, is a professional “Christian”.)



Late Night Schadenfreude Open Thread: Confusion & Defeat to Them All

As any libertarian would tell you, taxes are theft, so Al Capone should never have gone to jail!

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Much closer to the center axis on the “Evil vs Stupid” chart… Ed Kilgore has a nice (in both senses of the word) dissection of St. Bernie’s latest shenanigans:

There were two big developments on May 21 in the political universe of Bernie Sanders, one upbeat, one not-so-much.

On the positive side, Sanders formally announced he is a candidate for reelection to a third term in the Senate, as was universally expected. The only slight mystery about his bid was resolved when he indicated that he would follow his past procedure by running in the Democratic primary, and then declining the nomination and running as an independent while accepting the “endorsement” of Vermont Democrats. The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake had a sardonic comment about that:

Sanders is going to run in the Democratic primary for no reason except to preclude anybody else from winning it — despite having no intention of running as a Democrat in the general election. Sanders basically wants to ensure he will face no Democratic opponent in November. A cynic might say the guy who complained about the rigging of the 2016 Democratic presidential primary is kinda, sorta rigging the 2018 Vermont Senate race for himself…

… The announcement is also another indication that Sanders thinks he’s good to go in national office until 2024 at least, when he’ll turn 83. Whether that means he’ll run for president in 2020 is another matter, of course.
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This Will End Well

Via The Washington Post we learn that former Trump aide and Mueller invitee will not go gently into that dark grand jury room:

Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg said Monday that he has been subpoenaed to appear in front of a federal grand jury investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 but that he will refuse to go….

 

This is the subpoena folks have been talking about over the weekend:

Among those the subpoena requests information about are departing White House communications director Hope Hicks, former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon, Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and adviser Roger Stone.

Nunberg is deeply offended by the idea (a) that he should comply with a federal subpoena, or that anyone would think Donald Trump and the Russians had anything to do with one another.  On the one hand, he has a point:

“The Russians and Trump did not collude,” Nunberg said. “Putin is too smart to collude with Donald Trump.”

On the other, he’s kinda saying “trust me” when, if I may be so bold, I don’t.

In  any event, Nunberg is in full “Hell No I Won’t Go” mode, and that, I have to believe, won’t end well.

Nunberg said he does not plan to comply with the subpoena, including either testimony or providing documents.

“Let him arrest me,” Nunberg said. “Mr. Mueller should understand I am not going in on Friday.”

Here’s my question: do you think orange is his color?

Special Snowflakes Are Special open thread.

Image: Francisco de Goya, A Prison Scene, either 1810-14 or 1793-4.



Russiagate Open Thread: “Perjury Trap”

Swear to Murphy the Trickster God, Trump’s defenders sound like they have no idea what the concept of “ethics” involves; they seem to think it’s a synonym for “tactics”.

Randall D. Eliason, in the Washington Post:

The word “trap” connotes a snare set by investigators for the innocent and unwary. Should the president end up charged with perjury or false statements, you can expect to hear arguments that the charges are illegitimate because Mueller unfairly caught the president in a trap. Or perhaps the president and his lawyers will use the perjury-trap claim to justify refusing to be interviewed altogether.

But “perjury trap” is a specific legal defense, related to entrapment. A claim of a perjury trap is really a claim of prosecutorial misconduct. It refers to an abuse of the legal process, whereby a prosecutor subpoenas a witness to testify not for a legitimate investigative purpose but to try to catch him in an inconsistency or falsehood — even a relatively minor one — that can then trigger a perjury charge…

Being called to testify and therefore having the opportunity to commit perjury does not make that testimony a perjury trap. If that were the case, every witness could make the same argument. Claiming that Trump’s testimony would be a perjury trap is like saying driving a car is a “speeding trap” because being behind the wheel gives you the opportunity to exceed the speed limit.

Characterizing the president’s interview as a potential perjury trap is simply wrong. But it is of a piece with the broader effort by the president and his political allies to discredit Mueller’s investigation. It suggests — wrongly — that Mueller is treating the president unfairly. If the president commits perjury or false statements, it will be because he chose to lie — not because he was caught in a “trap.”…

Of course, Ken Starr’s freewheeling ‘Whitewater’ investigation hinged on exactly this kind of ‘perjury trap’ — the Repubs couldn’t prove Clinton had committed any of the crimes they were sure he was responsible for, but by GOP Jeebus they could indict him for lying about what he did with Monica Lewinsky. I guess they must still consider that incident a great success, and can’t understand why Democrats wouldn’t pull the same sort of two-bit theatrical shystering, given a chance…


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Friday Night Open Thread: Sliding Standards


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Speaking of walking shitholes / mudslides, via journalist Yashar Ali’s twitter feed, from CNN:

Donald Trump in 2013 asked James O’Keefe, the controversial conservative filmmaker, if he could “get inside” Columbia University and obtain President Obama’s sealed college records, according to a passage in O’Keefe’s forthcoming book, a copy of which was reviewed by CNN…

According to O’Keefe, Trump “suspected Obama had presented himself as a foreign student on application materials to ease his way into New York’s Columbia University, maybe even Harvard too, and perhaps picked up a few scholarships along the way.”…

O’Keefe said he explained to Trump that the request did not fall into his “line of work,” and that he considered himself and his colleagues to be journalists, not “private eyes.”

But that didn’t seem to deter Trump. At the end of the meeting, O’Keefe wrote, “Trump shook my hand, encouraged me to keep up the good work, and half-whispered, ‘Do Columbia.'”

Trump’s desire for these records would likely have had its roots in his obsession with Obama’s birth certificate, and the false conspiracy theory that Obama was born outside the U.S. Several of the many varying and often contradictory threads of the conspiracy theory centered on Obama’s records from Columbia, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in 1983. Some of the conspiracy theorists believed, without evidence, that there would have been something suspicious in his records from that period…

A spokesperson for the White House did not respond to a request for comment from CNN. O’Keefe declined to address the substance of this story, only telling CNN through a spokesperson that he would “be more than happy to go live on the air to answer questions regarding the book.” CNN received a review copy of the book from its publisher…

Publisher seems to be “All Points Books”, nepotism beneficiary Adam Bellow’s attempt to escape the stench of having published “some of the most controversial and notorious right-wing books of our era, including “The Bell Curve” by Charles Murray and Richard J. Herrnstein, Dinesh D’Souza’s “Illiberal Education” and David Brock’s “The Real Anita Hill.”

Gonna be interesting to see how Trump (or his twitter handlers) decide to address this little D-list wingnut-welfare parasite trying to steal some reflected “glory” from His Gilded Majesty. Especially since soliciting the commission of a crime is the sort of behavior that just might interest New York City prosecutors… *if* this story were being told by someone with any credibility.



Late Night DACA Open Thread: Good DREAMers vs Lousy Fantastists

SOOO successful! Just ask the Grey Lady’s finest knob-polishers:

For 55 minutes, with cameras rolling, President Trump engaged in a vigorous discussion of immigration with congressional leaders of both parties in a setting usually reserved for bland talking points and meaningless photo opportunities.

In effect, the president and his visitors threw away the blah-blah scripts and negotiated possible legislation in front of the nation. “I hope we’ve given you enough material,” a pleased Mr. Trump joked with reporters as he finally ushered them out of the Cabinet Room in the White House.

That was the point. After days in which his very fitness for office was debated, Mr. Trump appeared intent on demonstrating that he could handle the presidency. He was in command of the meeting while inviting input. He did not berate anyone. He did not call anyone derogatory nicknames. He signaled that he was open to compromise.

The bar, of course, was historically low given that Democrats and even some Republicans have been describing him as so unstable that he should be removed from office. For his advisers, the meeting was a relief, a chance to reset the narrative and make Mr. Trump look more like a traditional president. And his critics, grading on a curve, called it a welcome change, a moment of constructive engagement that they hoped would lead to more.

Yet it was a measure of Mr. Trump’s political weakness that anyone seemed surprised.

He did not lapse into incoherence but neither did he demonstrate mastery of policy details after a year in office. At one point, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California seemed to lead him into agreeing to an immigration deal on terms that she and fellow Democrats have sought, only to have an alarmed Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Republican leader, jump in to steer him back toward his own policy.

Indeed, Mr. Trump made clear once again that the details of governance do not really matter to him as much as success, telling congressional leaders that he would approve whatever they send him. “I will be signing it,” he said. “I’m not going to say, ‘Oh, gee, I want this or I want that.’ I’ll be signing it.”…

YAY “Our Team” for the win! At least the Repubs have found someone to blame it on…


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(Just One More) Open Thread: Trump Hires Rufus T. Firefly, Esq.

Last for a few hours, anyways. I’m up way past my bedtime, and (not) looking forward to a long evening of shoveling heavy wet snow. BUT!…