Open Thread: The Peasants Are Revolting!


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“Well, we don’t actually test it… See that little camera up there? The boss just likes to watch.”

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Apart from the obvious jokes (and the President-Asterisk is an endless source for those!), what’s on the agenda for the evening?



President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning’s Sentence

I’m sure this will piss some of y’all off, but maybe it was the right thing to do. Manning seems like a lost soul, vulnerable to the manipulation of unscrupulous people (i.e., the scumbag Assange). She’ll get out next May instead of 2045. Via the NYT:

In recent days, the White House had signaled that Mr. Obama was seriously considering granting Ms. Manning’s commutation application, in contrast to a pardon application submitted on behalf of the other large ­scale leaker of the era, Edward J. Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who disclosed archives of top secret surveillance files and is living as a fugitive in Russia.

Asked about the two clemency applications on Friday, the White House spokesman, Joshua Earnest, discussed the “pretty stark difference” between Ms. Manning’s case for mercy with Mr. Snowden’s. While their offenses were similar, he said, there were “some important differences.”

“Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing,” he said. “Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy.”

In other words, don’t hold yer breath, Eddie. What do y’all think?








Open Thread: Repeal and…. Uhhh…

(Jack Ohman via GoComics.com)
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It’s all fun and games, until your constituents realize they’ll be losing their insurance…

Of course, the GOP’s own President-Asterisk has been running his mouth without bothering to check on the Party Line — it’s HIS party now…


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He’s just fucking with us now…

It sorta looks like Putin is pushing back on opposition to the puppet he bought fair and square, but more likely, he’s just fucking with us. Via Bloomberg:

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he doesn’t believe that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump met with prostitutes in Russia, calling the accusations part of a campaign to undermine the election result.

Unsubstantiated allegations made against Trump are “obvious fabrications,” Putin told reporters in the Kremlin on Tuesday. “People who order fakes of the type now circulating against the U.S. president-elect, who concoct them and use them in a political battle, are worse than prostitutes because they don’t have any moral boundaries at all,” he said.

You guys — I think he just called Jeb Bush a sad, low-energy hooker! Moreover, the dead-eyed revanchist implied that Trump hardly needed to patronize Moscow sex workers since he owned all kinds of choice tail at the time:

The U.S. tycoon-turned-politician was last in Moscow in 2013 for the staging of the Miss Universe contest that he owned. He hoped unsuccessfully to meet Putin, tweeting in June that year about the possibility the Russian leader would attend the beauty pageant.

Trump is “a grown man, and secondly he’s someone who has been involved with beauty contests for many years and has met the most beautiful women in the world,” Putin said. “I find it hard to believe that he rushed to some hotel to meet girls of loose morals, although ours are undoubtedly the best in the world.”

My guess is the most low-rent, indiscriminate prostitute in all of Russia has more morals in her pinky toe than Putin, Trump, their entire families and wretched hangers-on put together and multiplied by infinity. But it’s easy to see from these statements why Trump formed a schoolgirl-on-Bieber-like crush on Putin. And it’s laughably plain that Putin knows how to play Trump like a fiddle.



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Encourage Dissent


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A note from commentor Lizzy L:

For those worried about ACA coverage for themselves and their families…. After hearing about the midnight repeal of the pre-existing conditions clause, a friend of mine called Senator Warren’s office. The woman she spoke to said they are being flooded with calls, as are the offices of Speakers Ryan and McConnell.

Senator Warren’s staff member told her that what would help the most would be to call the five Republican senators who have broken away from the GOP to demand a slow down of the repeal. Tell them how much you appreciate their efforts to stop this train wreck! If this issue affects you or someone you love, share your story with the staffer who answers the phone. (Remember the time difference when you call.)

The senators are:
Senator Bob Corker – (202) 224-3344
Senator Lisa Murkowski – (202) 224-6665
Senator Rob Portman – (202) 224-3353
Senator Susan Collins – (202) 224-2523
Senator Bill Cassidy – (202) 224-5824

if you call the number and get VM, one approach would be to leave an appreciative and encouraging message. I know people who prefer to do that, since calling a Representative’s office often means waiting on hold for a loooong time.

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Apart from encouragement — and resistance — what’s on the agenda for the day?
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Late Nightmare Open Thread: “Expertise” Is for LUZERS!!!

It’s not like I trust these particular individuals, but it would be nice if there was someone in the President-Asterisk’s office who knew that electrical outlets were not made for having forks stuck in them. And from what I know of corporate practices (in or out of government), we have to assume that if the top offices are being filled with newbies and know-nothings, then the bureaucratic middle ranks are now divided between nervous people busy shopping around their resumes, and time-servers/incompetents/fellow true believers…

From the company paper in the town whose monopoly industry is national politics, the Washington Post, “‘Never Trump’ national-security Republicans fear they have been blacklisted“:

They are some of the biggest names in the Republican national security firmament, veterans of past GOP administrations who say, if called upon by President-elect Donald Trump, they stand ready to serve their country again.

But their phones aren’t ringing. Their entreaties to Trump Tower in New York have mostly gone unanswered. In Trump world, these establishment all-stars say they are “PNG” — personae non gratae.

Their transgression was signing one or both of two public “Never Trump” letters during the campaign, declaring they would not vote for Trump and calling his candidacy a danger to the nation…

The president-elect has virtually no experience in national security and foreign policy, and his transition team could presumably benefit from the broadest pool of applicants for the influential appointive positions in the State Department, Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security.

But the purportedly blacklisted figures report to their jobs at Washington law firms and think tanks in a state of indefinite limbo as their colleagues, some working in the same offices, are flirting with potential administration jobs.

Last week, the Trump transition held a private briefing for secretary-of-state nominee Rex Tillerson to prepare him for his Senate confirmation hearing. One former Bush national security official who works at a Washington think tank said that some of his younger staff assistants were invited to participate but that he was not. He assumes it was because he signed the letter.

“It’s hostile,” said this person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of further retribution. “It’s not just that we’re frozen out. . . . I was told they said there was an enemies list.”

Among those who signed at least one of the letters are Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, the first two secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security; two former U.S. trade ambassadors, Carla Hills and Robert Zoellick; two former heads of U.S. intelligence agencies, John Negroponte and retired Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden; a former ambassador to NATO; and several former deputy secretaries of various U.S. government agencies.
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A Final Thought on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on MLK Day 2017

While a number of people, both here and other places, have written moving thoughts on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today, I wanted to highlight something we are aware of, but don’t think of enough: the anger that his actions generated. It was almost Newtonian – each action generated an equal and opposite reaction.

(Figure 1: Letter from J. Edgar Hoover, written anonymously, to MLK, Jr.)

(Figure 2: Hate mail sent to MLK, Jr.)

(Figure 3: Hate mail sent to MLK, Jr.)

These are just a sample. And it is important to remember the letter in Figure 1, believed to have been sent by J. Edgar Hoover, was an attempt to drive Dr. King to suicide. Dr. King’s movement, which eventually led to long overdue, long denied progress in the US wasn’t just opposed vehemently at the time, but led to immediate attempts to push it back. His efforts, and those that worked with him and supported him, and the progress they made is just one example of the fitful progress that is made in the US. Every time, from the first founding and the Articles of Confederation to the second founding and the Constitution and Bill of Rights to the post Civil War amendments to the New Deal to the Civil Rights era and the Great Society and to the achievements of the last 8 years, progress has been met with this same Newtonian response. Anger and obstruction while the progress is occurring and an immediate attempt, sometimes successful, sometimes not, to roll it back.

I know a lot of the readers and commenters here are on edge. Once again we are in unsettled times, this has begun to dawn on even a lot of people that voted for the President-elect as his inauguration approaches. And I know many are looking for or thinking about what to do. I can’t answer that, but I can say that whatever strategies arise, and there will likely be more than one, it is important to remember that they are often not what they seem. While Dr. King’s philosophy of non-violence has been codified and commented on, it is important to remember that part of the reason he arrived at this strategy was concern. Concern for the African Americans that would have to survive the backlash and pushback that would be concurrent with his movement’s actions and push for progress on Civil Rights. Even as he was willing to risk his own life, part of his strategic focus and concern was for those who did not have the time, the money, the resources, and the wherewithal to engage in the active portion of his movement. He understood that no progress in the US came without a steep price and an immediate opposite reaction. As a result, his concern for their wellbeing, for what violence could be done to them in an attempt to pressure him to stop, went into his strategic calculus. The movement he led was unable to fully safeguard them, just as, at the end, it was unable to safeguard him.

As the clock ticks and MLK Day turns to the first day of a shortened work week that ends with a Presidential inauguration, remember that progress isn’t always made by the spectacular works of elites and notables, but by the slow, steady, and often routine work of everyone. And remember that whatever strategies you choose to follow as the US moves into new and uncharted territory should include Dr. King’s strategic calculus.