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.



Peak Dude Bro

As predicted yesterday, Hillary Clinton’s Wellesley commencement speech riled up the usual suspects because Hillary Clinton. But I found the reaction from unpaid New Republic intern (I hope) Graham Vyse particularly irritating.

Not because it was worse than the drivel poured forth at Fox News, etc., but because it exemplifies a particular strain of post-election posturing about Clinton that makes me want to gather the sisterhood and embark on a cross-country nut-punching spree. The first fucking line is infuriating:

Hillary Clinton is auditioning for a role in the Trump resistance.

Motherfucker, do you even know WHY there is a Trump resistance? Do you understand how it launched? It’s because on November 8, 2016, the retrograde racist, sexist, xenophobic, authoritarian element that has sandbagged this country from its founding banded together with Eurotrash white nationalists to push a highly qualified woman aside and deliver the presidency to an ambulatory genital wart.

This outrage was unprecedented in its scale. But it reflected literally hundreds of millions of incidents every competent woman in this country has experienced at multiple points in her life. It was the ultimate confirmation of what women have felt in their bones from toddlerhood: We’ll never be good enough. We are second-class citizens.

Vyse goes on, citing as evidence of Clinton’s overweening ambition tweets from fellow dudes:

Clinton is adopting the language of the Trump resistance, and indeed there are indications that she wants to be a key figure in that movement.

Motherfucker, Clinton IS a “key figure in that movement,” whether she wants to be or not. Trump’s elevation to the presidency was and is a tragedy for the entire planet. Everyone who comprehends that fact has a role to play in mitigating the damage, pointing out the corruption and attempting to roll back this grave injustice.

But you can’t erase the most high profile victim of this crime and delegate Michael Moore or Bernie Sanders to lead the movement that sprang up in response to that outrage. We won’t let you.

And by “we,” I mean the millions of women who knitted caps until there was no more pink yarn. The women who drove all night to descend on Washington DC on January 21 and dwarf Trump’s inaugural crowd. Those who turned up to march in cities all around the world to form the largest single-day protest in the history of the planet. And the millions of women who are still calling, faxing and emailing their elected representatives to this day.

No, it wasn’t all about Hillary Clinton. It never was! But when you try to sideline her, many of us perceive that as a dismissal akin to the one we heard loud and clear on November 8. That pisses us off. And you wouldn’t like us when we’re pissed off.

Vyse concludes:

Clinton shouldn’t be a central resistance figure. What losing presidential candidate, after all, has ever returned to lead the opposition? Not John Kerry, not Al Gore, not Michael Dukakis. The Democratic Party is right to be elevating its younger rising stars. But clearly she still feels the pull of politics, and who’s going to stop her from giving speeches and interviews whenever she pleases? The Bernie Sanders wing of the party might want to wish her away, but only she has the power to decide that.

Kerry, Gore and Dukakis? Just shut the fuck up right there, Mr. Vyse. Kerry, Gore and Dukakis weren’t trying to become the first woman to ascend to the presidency in the 241-year history of our republic. They didn’t win more popular votes than anyone besides Barack Obama only to be robbed by corrupt traitors colluding with a hostile foreign power to install an embarrassing and incompetent demagogue.

And in case you didn’t notice while cherry-picking Clinton’s speech to find triggering evidence of female ambition, the central theme of it was to motivate the enthusiastic young women graduating that day to take leadership and create change. Hell, she even said “run for office.” It’s right there in her speech. We heard her. Did you?

As for the “Bernie Sanders wing of the party,” I can only speak for myself when I say I stand with all Democrats who are united in resisting Trump and the Republicans’ disastrous agenda. I’m glad Clinton called it what it is — a con. I’m glad a $15 minimum wage is now official Democratic Party policy. But no faction within our party gets to tell the other to sit down and shut up. Not now. Not ever.

That said, I would like to offer a piping hot mug of shut the fuck up to Mr. Vyse and the countless other young white fellas in prominent perches throughout our liberal media. But after that, the fucking kitchen is closed. Make your own goddamned sammitch.



Excellent (Depressing) Read: “The Seth Rich conspiracy shows how fake news still works”

Today, Dave Weigel published a story in the Washington Post on “The life and death of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory”:

When Seth Rich’s Gmail account received an alert this week from Mega.com, attempting to start a new account on a website created by the New Zealand-based Internet businessman and convicted hacker Kim Dotcom, his family knew that something was off.

Over seven frenzied days, Dotcom had become a leading purveyor of the theory that Rich, a staffer at the Democratic National Committee who was shot dead near his home in Northeast Washington last summer, had supplied DNC documents to WikiLeaks and was killed as a result. Multiple security analysts and an FBI investigation have tied the release to hackers with ties to Russia. D.C. police have said repeatedly that they think Rich was slain in a random robbery attempt…

All that began to unravel Tuesday afternoon when Fox News retracted a story that had claimed the same Rich-WikiLeaks connection, telling readers that the article was “not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting.” Fox News did not respond to a request for comment, but Dotcom wrote on his website that he would not speak further about his allegations…

Of course, this being the internet (and certain people & networks happy to be ghouls for profit) the morbid feasting on other peoples’ tragedy will never actually end.

Here’s Weigel’s original story, on May 20: Read more



Fox News Trifecta? (Open Thread)

As you’ve probably heard, Trump toady Sean Hannity has been shamelessly exploiting the tragic death of DNC staffer Seth Rich to distract folks from the RussiaGate scandal that is engulfing Trump’s administration. Fox News went along for a while. But as it became increasingly clear that the story is an absurd conspiracy theory propagated by disreputable louts, even Fox News retracted it:

On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich. The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.

We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted.

Hannity kept beating the drum on his show, despite the Rich family’s direct appeal to his producer to stop exploiting their dead son. Last night, Hannity was supposed to reveal “game-changing” information from known fraudster Kim Dotcom. He even teased it by retweeting this deeply idiotic cartoon tweeted by the fraudster himself:

But according to the WaPo story linked above, Kim Dotcom tried to access the late Mr. Rich’s Gmail account to plant fake evidence this week but was rebuffed. So, no big reveal on the Hannity show. Instead, Hannity pretended to grow a conscience and drop the matter “out of respect for the family’s wishes.” But to satisfy his mouth-breather audience, he hinted on Twitter that he’s still pursuing the story:

My guess is that, in addition to the Dotcom bust, the network’s lawyers told him to STFU. Right now, #FireHannity is trending on Twitter, and Hannity is bellowing like a ruptured bull about his persecution by Soros-Hillary-Satan:

MediaMatters has a handy list of Hannity’s advertisers here. I don’t know if Hannity is in any real danger. He’s probably screaming at the top of his lungs about being silenced to save face after being taken in by a known bullshit artist. But it would be cool if he got shit-canned right after O’Reilly was kicked to the curb and Ailes croaked.

Anyhoo. Open thread!



PSA: DeFOXifying Your Elders (Open Thread)

I’ve mentioned before that my grandma morphed from a sweet (if conservative) little old church lady into a frothing rage-bot due to toxic exposure to Fox News…and how we used subterfuge and deception to combat that malign influence. Below the fold, the cartoon version of the story! Open thread! Read more



History Turns on Small Things

There were too many factors that contributed to the outcome of the 2016 election to identify just one overriding cause, IMO. You can count them off like stone weights of varying sizes that, combined, sunk the SS Clinton: sexism, racism, Russian interference, Comey’s overweening self-regard, the “change” election dynamic, a click-driven-Clinton-hating Beltway media, celebrity culture, etc.

But a case can be made that one key pivot-point for the 2016 election was the oft-photographed contents of Anthony Weiner’s underpants. Via WaPo, Weiner’s latest round of legal trouble, which unearthed irrelevant emails that nonetheless upended the election, will be resolved today:

Former congressman Anthony Weiner is expected to appear in federal court Friday to plead guilty in a sexting case, according to a representative with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan said Weiner will appear at 11 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska but declined to release further information. The New York Times, citing an unnamed source, reported that as part of a plea agreement, Weiner plans to plead guilty to a single charge of transferring obscene material to a minor. He has reportedly turned himself over to federal agents, according to the Times.

The contemptible shit-stain will probably get probation and community service for sending dick pics to a 15-year-old girl. I guess that’s roughly commensurate with the magnitude of the crime.

But even if the judge throws the book at him and sentences him to 10 years, it would feel inadequate as payback for what Weiner set in motion. The orange fart cloud that engulfs the planet did not emerge from Weiner’s shorts. Still, how ironic, nauseating and infuriating on every level that the nasty little pervert played a role at all.

History turns on small things. Sometimes very, very small things.



Open Thread

I was flipping a coin between this and the Kevin Bacon Animal House All is Well memes.

Open thread