Repub Venality Open Thread: The Permanent GOP Sidles Away from Its Dear Figurehead Leader

If you are old & cynical, like me, you will remember that by the time Nixon coptered off the White House lawn, many Very Serious Persons (looking at you, Bob Woodward, not to mention Henry Kissinger) were informing us that Tricky Dick was a rogue psycopath — a lone gunman, even! — who wormed his way into the all-too-innocent Republican Party and corrupted a bunch of trusting younglings (like Dick Cheney) with his wicked political perversions.

Now cometh rumbles, amid the pleadings & sentencings of a new generation of Repub grifters, that the current Oval Office Occupant will be getting sent to the same Potemkin Coventry.

Today, for instance, Big Oil lifer Rex Tillerson trudged out in front of an audience to share horror stories of serving under the Squatter-in-Chief…


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Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: G20 Glimpses

Omens presaging the death of kings…

The Japanese Prime Minister throws shade:



Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver Open Thread: Requiem for A World-Class Fraud

Almost titled this “Respite from A WCF”, because we know he’ll be back on the Very Serious Media no later than Jan. 6 2019 (even sooner, if Trump completely decompensates and/or flees the country before then), making bank to represent whichever batch of oligarchs and kakistocrats offers him a dirty dollar.

But in this happy moment, let us remember the True Paul Ryan: lifelong suckler upon the gubmint teat, devout Ayn Rand fanboi, personage who stood out for unlikeability even in a party figureheaded by Donald Trump and frontlined by such specimens as Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and Stephen Miller…

A special panel dreamed up by Speaker Paul Ryan to end the constant cycle of government shutdowns crashed and burned on Thursday.

The special panel tasked with recommending budget fixes overwhelmingly rejected its own set of proposals, even after lawmakers admitted the package included only modest changes to the way Congress approves budgets and funds the government…

Over several months, the leadership-appointed panel swatted down the most ambitious ideas for overhauling the budget process. The final text of the agreement contained changes like requiring Congress to pass a budget every two years, instead of annually. It also would have required a “fiscal state of the nation” report each year.

Sweeping proposals to “de-weaponize” the debt ceiling, tighten spending limits and disband Congress’ budget committees were all voted down or withdrawn…

He’s going out as he came in, attempting to delegitimize votes along strictly partisan lines…

Gee, ZEGS, let’s try to parcel this out, shall we? You fronted for an administration* that was xenophobic to the point of ripping families apart, apparently for sport, and for taking a brutally hard line on all immigrants, legal and otherwise. A somewhat gentler version of that was enough to end Pete Wilson’s political career in California 20 years ago. And Wilson was reasonably popular at the time and not a maniac…

Remember when people thought this guy was smart?

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Late-Night Pundtwit Open Thread: But If Political Scientists Get to Use the (Other) N-Word…

Trump and his hardcore base are making it very difficult for the Maestros of Bothsiderism to blanket the Repubs’ hate speech in a warm fuzzy cloud of pap, but give Ross Doubthat and his fellow Very Serious Opinioneers full marks for trying!


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Ari Fleischer, once again a shonda fur die goyim:



Kavanaught Open Thread: Red Red Wine, Rich White Whine

The Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute June 11, 1988 at Wembley Stadium

 


From the Bloomberg article:

Kavanaugh first cursed at the man. After the man responded in kind, Kavanaugh threw a beer in his face, said Charles Ludington, a former Yale basketball player who’s now a history professor at North Carolina State University. The act precipitated a brawl that drew in their other friend — Yale basketball star and future NBA player Chris Dudley — and eventually prompted a call to police.

Kavanaugh was frequently “belligerent and aggressive” after drinking and had lied to senators about his experience with alcohol, Ludington said in a statement released to the news media Sunday. The barroom fisticuffs were the most searing example of Kavanaugh’s behavior he remembers, Ludington said in an interview with Bloomberg News, where he expanded on his statement for the first time…

The White House had no immediate comment when asked about Ludington’s account, instead referring a reporter to statements issued earlier by Dudley and another classmate attesting to Kavanaugh’s character…

President Donald Trump said Kavanaugh’s testimony last week showed that his second Supreme Court nominee had “a little bit of difficulty” with alcohol when he was younger.

“I was surprised at how vocal he was about the fact that he likes beer and he’s had a little bit of difficulty, I mean, he talked about things that happened when he drank,” Trump during a Rose Garden press conference Monday….

Further detail at the link.



Russiagate Thread: Saudi Arabia, Putin’s Russia, ‘West Michigan’ — All Oligarchies Together!

Per the Daily Beast:

Joint U.S.-Russian raids to kill top terrorists. Teamwork between an American government agency and a sanctioned Russian fund. Moscow pouring money into the Midwest.

These are just a few of the ideas the head of a Russian sovereign wealth fund touched on during his meeting with former Blackwater head Erik Prince in the Seychelles, just weeks before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, according to a memo exclusively reviewed by The Daily Beast.

The meeting between Prince, an influential Trump ally, and Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of the sanctioned fund, took place on Jan. 11, 2017, at the Four Seasons Hotel in a bar overlooking the Indian Ocean. George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman who advises the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates, was also present…

Since Prince’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Mueller’s team has received information that the meeting was a pre-organized effort to set up a backchannel between the Trump administration and the Kremlin, according to The Washington Post.

Still, the exact details of the conversation between Prince and Dmitriev in the Seychelles have remained murky. But a memo Dmitriev sent after the meeting—described here for the first time—sheds new light on the conversation and indicates it addressed some of the thorniest diplomatic challenges facing the United States and Russia…

My old friends from the Grand Rapids area treated the deVos-Prince oligarchy as second only to Michigan mosquitoes on the list of local pests that could be withstood but never completely avoided. Sam Tannenhaus’ Vanity Fair article helps explain why. ““I’m Tired of America Wasting Our Blood and Treasure”: The Strange Ascent of Betsy DeVos and Erik Prince”:

In the solar system of elite Republican contributors, Richard DeVos Sr., who died [in early September] at age 92—one of the two founders of Amway, the direct-sale colossus—occupied an exalted place, and his offspring did too. Since the 1970s, members of the DeVos family had given as much as $200 million to the G.O.P. and been tireless promoters of the modern conservative movement—its ideas, its policies, and its crusades combining free-market economics, a push for privatization of many government functions, and Christian social values. While other far-right mega-donors may have become better known over the years (the Coorses and the Kochs, Sheldon Adelson and the Mercers), Michigan’s DeVos dynasty stands apart—for the duration, range, and depth of its influence.

Start with the think tanks, advocacy organizations, and colleges. In the Grand Rapids area alone there are three conservative academic bastions: Grand Valley State University; Calvin College, attended by several generations of DeVoses, including Rich’s daughter-in-law Betsy DeVos, 60, who is now Trump’s secretary of education; and Northwood University, her husband Dick’s alma mater. The DeVoses are also major backers of Hillsdale, the libertarian-plus-Christian liberal-arts college in southern Michigan. One celebrated alum: Betsy DeVos’s brother, Erik Prince, 49, the swashbuckling military contractor who has come to the serious attention of investigators looking into the Trump team’s alleged dealings with Russia. Other recipients of DeVos largesse: the Heritage Foundation, the Institute for Justice, and the American Enterprise Institute—the list goes on…
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GOP Misogyny Open Thread: “A Female Assistant”

Shorter McConnell: We are powerful white men, and when we make a mess, it is our right to demand that a woman come in and clean up after us. Per the Washington Post:

Republican senators have selected Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh and the woman who has accused the Supreme Court nominee of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, a top senator announced Tuesday.

Mitchell is the chief of the special victims division of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, which deals with sexual assault cases, among others. A registered Republican, Mitchell has worked for in the county attorney’s office for 26 years.

In enlisting Mitchell to join their staff, Republican senators are taking an unusual step. They are turning to her to ask what are expected to be personal and potentially painful questions about the woman’s youth on live television, sparing the all-male panel of 11 Republican senators on the committee some uncomfortable exchanges that could sway the public’s opinion about the session…

The division Mitchell heads deals with family violence, physical and sexual abuse of children, and sex offenses, including sex assault cases. Mitchell oversees about 40 to 50 people in the division, said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

Mitchell has a long history of investigating years-old sex crimes and allegations that are difficult to corroborate, including in her role re-examining hundreds of cases that were unresolved and inadequately investigated by the sheriff’s office, Montgomery said.

“Over the course of Rachel’s career, she has dealt with victims in this very circumstance of delayed disclosure and circumstances where allegations were difficult to corroborate,” Montgomery said. “She has had to make a decision as a prosecutor whether or not those cases can move forward.”…


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