Saturday Evening Cheap Shots Open Thread: Further Adventures of Milo Y, Boy Provocateur

Well, that was quick — and on a weekend, too. Turns out that Tucker “Walking Proof That the Best Schools Can’t Fix Stupid” Carlson may not have “standards”, as the term is usually recognized, but he’s getting quicker at spotting a publicity disaster in the making:

The Daily Caller has fired its opinion editor amid controversy over the site’s publishing of a column by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, the editor-in-chief confirmed to a CNN reporter Saturday.

Geoffrey Ingersoll, the right-leaning news site’s top editor, confirmed Saturday to CNN’s Oliver Darcy that opinion editor Rob Mariani was fired. The confirmation came shortly after Yiannopoulos posted about his column ending on Facebook…

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And here I’d been saving this little amuse-bouche for a late-night larf. Points to ThinkProgress and Mr. Legum…

In the letter announcing his resignation, Mercer specifically calls out Milo Yiannopoulos, a popular, controversial former Breitbart senior editor, saying he has only caused “pain and divisiveness.”…

Yiannopoulos served as a key intermediary between white nationalists and Breitbart. He published a lengthy feature piece that served as a guide to so-called “alt-right” that he allowed prominent white nationalists to edit before publication, and was caught on video in the company of known white nationalist Richard Spencer as he signals a “Sieg Heil” salute in front of a crowd — both of which were revealed in a recent Buzzfeed expose.

These revelations and Mercer’s disavowal hasn’t hurt Yiannopoulos’ reputation in some circles, however, as he was just given a new weekly column at The Daily Caller, a conservative publication ran by Fox News host Tucker Carlson…

Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart in February following outrage over past comments he made regarding pedophilia.

And what was Yiannpoulos’ first column for The Daily Caller? An article titled “A Round Of Applause For Kevin Spacey,” a reference to the recent allegations made by men who claimed Spacey preyed on them sexually when they were minors. In it, Yiannopoulos claims that Spacey’s response to come out as gay rather than take responsibility for his actions is the reason why “identity politics” is bad for the country, which Yiannopoulos frequently blames on the left…

And it gets “better”…



Things I Did Not Know: Mercer-nary Objectives?

We were all, understandably, agog yesterday over Robert Mercer’s sudden decision to step down from his hedge fund (and also cut Breitbart loose). But I was working my ADD-addled way through the tweetstreams late at night, and read for the first time about Mr. Mercer’s disagreements with the IRS:

Suddenly, the government’s seven-year pursuit of Renaissance Technologies LLC is blanketed in political intrigue, now that the hedge fund’s reclusive, anti-establishment co-chief executive, Robert Mercer, has morphed into a political force who might be owed a big presidential favor.

With Trump in the Oval Office, Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, who has become his public voice, seem armed with political firepower every which way you look – and that’s even though presidential adviser Stephen Bannon, their former senior executive and political strategist, appears to have recently lost influence.

Since the IRS found in 2010 that a complicated banking method used by Renaissance and about 10 other hedge funds was a tax-avoidance scheme, Mercer has gotten increasingly active in politics. According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, he doled out more than $22 million to outside conservative groups seeking to influence last year’s elections, while advocating the abolition of the IRS and much of the federal government.

The Mercer Family Foundation, run by Rebekah Mercer, also has donated millions of dollars to conservative nonprofit groups that have called for the firing of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, an Obama administration holdover whose five-year term expires in November…

IRS leader Koskinen has said publicly that he intends to finish his term. On his watch, the agency hasn’t been cowed by the Mercers.

The IRS recently released a little-noticed advisory stating that its top targets in future business audits will include so-called “basket options,” the instruments that Renaissance and some other hedge funds have used to convert short-term capital gains to long-term profits that have lower tax rates…

More detail from an Oct. 27 Bloomberg article:

Members of the Internal Revenue Service’s Office of Appeals are scheduled to meet with lawyers for Renaissance in New York on Nov. 7, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The meeting kicks off a review by an independent branch of the tax agency and suggests a resolution may be years away.

Although the dollar amount at issue has never been made public, Senate investigators estimated that Renaissance employees may have pocketed about $6.8 billion through what a bipartisan panel in 2014 called an “abusive” tax shelter. Renaissance executives maintain the transactions at issue were within the law and weren’t driven by tax savings…

Trump named David Kautter to become acting IRS commissioner after the term of John Koskinen, an appointee of Barack Obama, expires Nov. 12. Kautter doesn’t require Senate confirmation. Rootstrikers, a group critical of the Trump administration, began a petition drive Friday opposing the Kautter appointment, calling it an “end run around the Senate” that “could lead to a massive payback for billionaire Trump donor Robert Mercer.”…
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Sunday Evening Open Thread: Saying the Quiet Parts Out Loud


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Even the Most Racist Guy in Congress can’t avoid the Trump Reverse-Midas touch. The Sun-King joke is waaaaaay off-brand for Steve “Pig Muck” King, who was campaigning on an I love the poorly educated, they’re my base! platform back when DJ’s daddy was still an aspiring reality-show host.

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Apart from pointing & jeering, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the weekend?



Russiagate Open Thread: Cambridge Analytica Apocrylyptica

Alexander Nix, who heads a controversial data-analytics firm that worked for President Donald Trump’s campaign, wrote in an email last year that he reached out to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about Hillary Clinton’s missing 33,000 emails.

Nix, who heads Cambridge Analytica, told a third party that he reached out to Assange about his firm somehow helping the WikiLeaks editor release Clinton’s missing emails, according to two sources familiar with a congressional investigation into interactions between Trump associates and the Kremlin. Those sources also relayed that, according to Nix’s email, Assange told the Cambridge Analytica CEO that he didn’t want his help, and preferred to do the work on his own.

If the claims Nix made in that email are true, this would be the closest known connection between Trump’s campaign and Assange…

Those 33,000 messages were a central focus of Trump and his allies during the campaign. At least one Republican operative tried to recruit hackers to obtain those emails, according to The Wall Street Journal. And at a press conference on July 27, 2016, while the Democratic National Convention was underway, Trump—then the Republican nominee—said he hoped the Kremlin would recover those emails.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’ll be able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said.

And on the campaign trail, Trump praised WikiLeaks and tweeted about its findings. Politifact calculated that he mentioned the site about 137 times during the campaign….
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Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: They Come Out At Night

More like Speechwriter for Evil, Speaker for Evil, and Chaotic Evil, to be honest.
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Late Night Dark Fantasy Open Thread: Mercenary Prince Wants New Dress-Up Costume

Prince better have kept up his SEAL training, because when Liz Cheney finds out about his latest attention-getting stunt, she’s not gonna be hapy with him stepping on “her” turf. Steve Bannon’s got a high opinion of his own Chaotic Evil worth, but Liz’s daddy was corrupting public office when Stevie was just learning to set the bullies against the nerds in middle school:

Over the weekend, Mr. Prince traveled to Wyoming with his family to explore ways to establish residency there, said one person who had spoken to him.

If he runs, Mr. Prince would face formidable obstacles in seeking to unseat Mr. Barrasso, a popular and genial but low-profile senator who will have the full backing of Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, and the well-funded political committees loyal to him. Mr. Prince, who has never run for public office, has been a polarizing figure for years, as Blackwater faced a welter of ethical and legal problems over its work for the military in places like Iraq, including an episode in 2007 in which its employees killed 17 civilians in Baghdad…

Though Mr. Prince carries baggage, Republicans have privately said that a primary challenge against a lawmaker like Mr. Barrasso is the kind they fear most: an out-of-the-blue run by a renegade from the right against a senator whose sin is not a lack of conservative credentials, but an association with Mr. McConnell and other party leaders…

In 1997, Mr. Prince founded Blackwater as a private, for-profit force to aid the military, and he is wealthy enough to self-finance his race. For months this year, Mr. Prince — with Mr. Bannon’s support — pushed a plan to replace soldiers with contractors in Afghanistan. The proposal, which would have radically changed the way the fight in that country is conducted, was vehemently opposed by the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, and the defense secretary, Jim Mattis.

Beyond his support of the use of contractors in war zones, Mr. Prince’s views on political issues are less widely known. He has been described as a libertarian. In 1992, he supported Pat Buchanan’s run for president.

Mr. Prince is emblematic of the type of parallel government apparatus that Mr. Bannon built inside the administration during his time as Mr. Trump’s chief strategist. Mr. Bannon, with help from the Mercer family, is now trying to build the same kind of parallel structure inside the Republican Party. And Mr. Prince is not the only candidate on his wish list…

Between his sister Betsy and failed MI Gov. Rick Snyder, forecasts for the GOP in Michigan are not so great right now, which probably has something to do with Bannon trying to persuade him to up sticks to a place where the lands are larger and the voters fewer. Also, Debbie Stabenow is not exactly a pushover, as the deVos klan has reason to know.



Open Thread: Oh Joy, Another Crappy Reboot…


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… Of a series nobody enjoyed the *first* time…

Matthew Yglesias, at Vox“The Harriet Miers of the Fed is ready for a comeback”:

Back in the younger and more innocent days of January, 2006, then-President George W. Bush decided to appoint a nice-looking and well-off young man named Kevin Warsh to a seat on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors that he had no apparent qualification for…
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