All around the world, statues crumble for me

Whenever I bring up the looming constitutional crisis of Trump firing Mueller or pardoning himself, people think I’m either being too flippant or too doom pr0nographic. But I don’t see how we can ignore it.

I think something changed last week after Charlottesville. I don’t think — never thought really — that Trump will be able to turn Confederate statues into a wedge issue that appeals to the NASCAR dads in the I-20 corridor or however Chuck Todd would describe it. And I now think something I never thought before: that the media’s (justifiably strong) reaction to Trump’s repulsive comments is a sign that they won’t go easy on Dolt 45 when he fires Mueller or pardons himself. I still don’t think Republicans will do anything to Trump if/when he does this, but I now think they’ll pay a big political price for refusing to do so.

What do you think? Am I being too optimistic here?

I’ve seen your picture, your name in lights above it

Even the liberal MSNBC network:

Peggy Noonan, a conservative columnist at the Wall Street Journal, has joined NBC News and MSNBC as a contributor, the cable channel announced Sunday.

Right now, MSBNC is beating CNN and Fox in terms of ratings. But Andy Lack (who’s rocking the Steve Bannon look in his Wiki picture) is determined to change all of that.

I hate most of the people on MSNBC except Rachel Maddow. I don’t object to having conservative guests. But if I wanted to listen to washed-up vodka drinkers defend Trump, I’d turn on RT.

Open Thread: The Prince Who Would Be Viceroy

Erik “Don’t Call It Blackwater” Prince would very much like to be out of the country, and behind a wall of his personal mercenaries, should something really bad happen…

The White House is actively considering a bold plan to turn over a big chunk of the U.S. war in Afghanistan to private contractors in an effort to turn the tide in a stalemated war, according to the former head of a security firm pushing the project.

Under the proposal, 5,500 private contractors, primarily former Special Operations troops, would advise Afghan combat forces. The plan also includes a 90-plane private air force that would provide air support in the nearly 16-year-old war against Taliban insurgents, Erik Prince, founder of the Blackwater security firm, told USA TODAY…

The plan remains under serious consideration within the White House despite misgivings by Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, an Army three-star general, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Other White House officials, such as chief strategist Stephen Bannon, appear open to using private contractors…

Prince rejects criticism that he and others would profit from it. He said it would represent a cost savings for American taxpayers. “The idea of innovation and risk taking is certainly part of America,” he said.

Blackwater has attracted controversy under Prince’s leadership. In 2007, four Blackwater security personnel were accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad. Last week an appeals court overturned a murder conviction for one of the guards and ordered the other three to be re-sentenced.

Blackwater was renamed Xe Services two years after the incident that sparked international outrage. The privately owned company is now Academi…

How bad, you ask?…

Read more

Maybe Men Just Don’t Have the Temperament to Be Secretarys-of-State…

I don’t remember such stories when Hillary Clinton, Madeline Albright, or Condolezza Rice held this position, she said piously. (And we couldn’t help remembering, because Fox News would bring any such “explosion” up approximately every other hour, 24/7/365.)

On the other hand, those women didn’t have Jared ‘Son-in-Law’ Kushner trying to undercut them:

The normally laconic Texan unloaded on Johnny DeStefano, the head of the presidential personnel office, for torpedoing proposed nominees to senior State Department posts and for questioning his judgment.

Tillerson also complained that the White House was leaking damaging information about him to the news media, according to a person familiar with the meeting. Above all, he made clear that he did not want DeStefano’s office to “have any role in staffing” and “expressed frustration that anybody would know better” than he about who should work in his department — particularly after the president had promised him autonomy to make his own decisions and hires, according to a senior White House aide familiar with the conversation…

The encounter, described by four people familiar with what happened, was so explosive that Kushner approached Peterlin afterward and told her that Tillerson’s outburst was completely unprofessional, according to two of the people familiar with the exchange, and told her that they needed to work out a solution

Just in case Ragin’ Rexy wanted to know who was spreading the story around. There’s this MBA misconception that a good assassin always signs his work.

… It was the loudest manifestation yet of how frustrated Tillerson is in his new role. He has complained about White House attempts to push personnel on him; about the president’s tweets; and about the work conditions in a West Wing where he sometimes finds loyalty and competence hard to buy. Above all, the former ExxonMobil CEO, accustomed to having the final word on both personnel and policy in his corporate life, has balked at taking orders from political aides younger and less experienced than he is…

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Open Thread: All Klass, This Guy

The judge’s wife screamed “let the man go free”

The New York Times’ crush on Jared Kushner has taken a strange turn. On Friday night, after the Washington Post broke the story of Kushner’s request for a back channel with Moscow, the Times ran a piece assuring everyone that the back channel was “to discuss strategy in Syria and other policy issues, according to three people with knowledge of the discussion.” Although it wasn’t obvious, the subtext of the whole article was “calm down everyone, it was for legitimate purposes.” It turns out the same people who fed this load of shit to the Times also tried to feed it to the Post but the Post wouldn’t run it unless the three people agreed to be described as Kushner surrogates.

Just now, the Times ran this ridiculous tongue bath of Kusher (via):

His preppy aesthetic, sotto voce style and preference for backstage maneuvering seemingly set him apart from his father-in-law — but the similarities outweigh the differences. Both men were reared in the freewheeling, ruthless world of real estate, and both possess an unshakable self-assurance that is both their greatest attribute and their direst vulnerability.

Mr. Kushner’s reported feeler to the Russians even as President Barack Obama remained in charge of American foreign policy was a trademark move by someone with a deep confidence in his own abilities that critics say borders on conceit, people close to him said. And it echoes his history of sailing forth into unknown territory, including buying a newspaper at age 25 and developing a data-analytics program that he has said helped deliver the presidency to his father-in-law.

He is intensely proud of his accomplishments in the private sector and has repeatedly suggested his tenure in Washington will hurt, not help, his brand and bottom line.

What is this about? Presumably it’s about cultivating Kushner and his people as surrogate, but, seriously…what the fuck? Other self-respecting papers don’t give their hand-jobs this publicly.

Thought by now you’d realize

Jim Comey is a real piece of work:

Perhaps Comey’s most surprising revelation was that Huma Abedin — Weiner’s wife and a top Clinton deputy — had made “a regular practice” of forwarding “hundreds and thousands” of Clinton messages to her husband, “some of which contain classified information.” Comey testified that Abedin had done this so that the disgraced former congressman could print them out for her boss. (Weiner’s laptop was seized after he came under criminal investigation for sex crimes, following a media report about his online relationship with a teenager.)

The New York Post plastered its story on the front page with a photo of an underwear-clad Weiner and the headline: “HARD COPY: Huma sent Weiner classified Hillary emails to print out.” The Daily News went with a similar front-page screamer: “HUMA ERROR: Sent classified emails to sext maniac Weiner.”

The problem: Much of what Comey said about this was inaccurate. Now the FBI is trying to figure out what to do about it.