Late Night Open Thread: Not What They Were Expecting

The one attendee, actually, was A DEMOCRAT, per the Iowa Starting Line:

It was early Saturday morning, and Jessica Birch didn’t feel like getting out of bed. Hungover and tired, the 21-year-old University of Northern Iowa student could easily have turned off her alarm.

But the night before, she saw a Facebook event for Congressman Steve King’s town hall forum in Grundy County come across her feed, and she felt a civic duty to attend. So, Birch forced herself out of bed and headed 17 miles down the road to the Grundy Center Community Center.

She arrived to peculiar scene: out of the over 12,000 people that live in Grundy County, Birch was the only one to show up to King’s forum.

“It was just odd, because I don’t know what the record was for the world’s smallest town hall is, but one person I think has to be it,” Birch told Starting Line in an interview this morning.

A photo of the near-empty room by a Reuters photographer quickly went viral Saturday afternoon, showing only two people in a room of mostly-empty chairs. However, as Birch explained, the other woman on the left in the photo was an intern for King. Birch, who lives in Dike, Iowa, was the only constituent of King’s not required to attend to show up.

“I was the only person who was not paid to be there,” she said…

King’s trained his constituents out of expecting town halls — or, presumably, any other normal constituent services. Murphy the Trickster God willing, perhaps they will reward him by failing to show up at the polls, if they can’t bring themselves to vote for a not-Republican.








Open Thread: And If I Were A Foot Taller, My BMI Would Be Admirable!

We’re doomed. Financially as well, because the Repubs don’t want a President, they want a god-emperor. And the top applicant for that position turned out to be — surprise! — insane. Per the Washington Post:

Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, and White House trade director Peter Navarro between them appeared on all five Sunday morning shows to defend the president’s economic record and argue that his trade offensive against China isn’t harming American producers or consumers.

Their push came days after bond market investors sent a powerful signal that they see a potential downturn looming, and economists from Wall Street and beyond further whittled growth forecasts for a record-length economic expansion that appears to be slowing.

“I don’t see a recession at all,” Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday.” On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he urged Americans, “Let’s not be afraid of optimism.”

“Consumers are working at higher wages,” Kudlow said. “They are spending at a rapid pace. They’re actually saving also while they’re spending. That’s an ideal situation. So I think actually the second half, the economy’s going to be very good in 2019.”

On ABC News’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Navarro maintained that a recession could be staved off if the Federal Reserve stops raising interest rates and banks in Europe and in China make similar moves…

Actual economists insist that neither of these mooks are capable of predicting a bathroom run after an all-night boozer, but the important part of their job is telling the Oval Office Occupant that his every passing delusional outburst is a work of unparalleled brilliance.








Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Trump and His ‘Base’ Rally Each Other

Dave Roth, at Deadspin:

Donald Trump believes that everything he says is made true by virtue of him having said it, and once he begins believing something he is incapable of not believing it. This is why he says things more than once. The challenge is figuring out how he says things for the first time.

So: Trump got it into his head that he had received a Michigan Man Of The Year Award, and despite some complicating factors—he didn’t, for one, and also such an award does not appear to exist—he has continued to bring it up whenever the mood strikes him. There’s a whole story around it, and as is his custom he tends to retell it with more additions of the words “very” and “sir” as the years go by. “I’ve been fighting for the car industry for years,” Trump said the first time he told the story, in Michigan and two days before the 2016 Presidential election. “I was honored five years ago. Man of the Year in Michigan. That was a great honor for me.” As Trump told and has since re-told the story, he was criticized for giving a speech in which he talked about “what Mexico and these other countries are doing to us. And especially what they’re doing to Michigan.” …

What is useful about this, and what would be beautiful about it if everything around it was not so luridly toxic, is how plain it all is. Trump is a being of pure reaction and grievance and avarice, and as such is never really very difficult to parse. When he lies about money it’s because he wants people to think he has more of it than he does; when he lies about golf it’s because he wants people to think he’s a better golfer than he is. Those lies tell you something about how Trump wants to be seen, but they’re incidental to the bigger questions of who and what he is. Stranger lies like the Michigan Man one reveal more about how he sees the world and understands his relationship to the other people in it, which is fundamentally as someone cleaning up at an endless televised awards show.

Most of the idiocies at the core of Trump’s being were created in the same way that pearls are—an irritant lodges itself in the spongy matter of his mind years ago, actively or passively, and then is worried into something bright and very hard. In this case, though, we can watch this accretive work happening in real time—some dumb speech, long forgotten, grows into a great honor bestowed by strangers who admired him, and then into a controversial stand for which he was criticized but for which he boldly refused to apologize. And now it is something he can bring up, whenever he is feeling under-appreciated or anxious or when nothing else will come. He stalls and sputters and his pale eyelids flutter and suddenly then there it is, glistening on the dais in front of him—that time that Charles Woodson called to concede victory in the Michigan Man Of The Year Award, a few years ago or whenever it was. “Sir,” the Heisman Trophy winner said through his tears to Donald Trump, “you deserve this more than anyone.” What a beautiful memory.

Read more








Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: The Repub Revanchists

No matter how grotesquely sexist / racist / classist the GOP as a whole devolves, Rep. ‘Pigmuck’ King will strive to be that little bit worse. From the Des Moines Register“U.S. Rep. Steve King: If not for rape and incest, ‘would there be any population left?'”

U.S. Rep. Steve King told the Westside Conservative Club on Wednesday that humanity might not exist if not for rape and incest.

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” he said at the event in Urbandale, Iowa…

The Kiron Republican was defending his position of not allowing exceptions for rape and incest in the anti-abortion legislation he tried to pass in Congress. Republican leadership had prevented the bills he sponsored on banning abortions from advancing through the House, despite GOP support for the measures, King said…

He actually said that, in front of the cameras — there’s video. Of course the whole forced-birth ‘But what if that aborted baby would’ve been the next Einstein?’ trope has been in use for at least the last forty years, but count on Rep. Pigmuck to bring his own personal touch. And he’s not sorry, either; he insists the outcry that’s greeted his flapmouth bigotry is nothing but a plot by his enemies…

In the hours after his remarks to the breakfast meeting, condemnation of his comments poured in from Democrats, including those running for president, as well as some Republicans…

“People think it was an organic media feeding frenzy, but no, it was orchestrated from the beginning,” he said Wednesday. “They had told me, ‘Heads up before Christmas: They’re going to try to drive you out of office and get you to resign.’ Within 24 hours, you had people saying, ‘Resign, resign, resign.’ Why? Because the New York Times misquoted me?”
Read more








Election 2020 Open Thread: Brad Parscale Would Like to Be A Dangerous Person

He is dangerous, but only because — like his purported employer — he’s the idiot catspaw for at least one foreign power. If he were even halfway competent, he’d keep his head down and his mouth shut. But then, who would know what a Big Swingin’ D*ck he is?

In their chilling new documentary, The Great Hack, Academy-Award-nominated filmmakers Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim follow the personal stories on both sides of the 2018 Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal that exposed the private data of 87 million Facebook users. Through the eyes of Professor David Carroll who sues Cambridge Analytica to release his personal data, Brittany Kaiser, a top Cambridge Analytica executive-turned-whistleblower, and investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr, the film reveals how Cambridge Analytica used the same military-grade tactics of information warfare they employed against populations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Eastern Europe to manipulate national political elections around the world, including the UK Brexit vote and the 2016 US presidential race. As one former Cambridge Analytica employee expressed, “It’s a grossly unethical experiment, playing with the psychology of an entire country without their consent or awareness.”…

Way to panic the rubes, dude. You’ll be lucky Zuckerberg doesn’t… er, that mysterious entities with tons of money and a strong interest in keeping Facebook profitable don’t find it in their interest to make your career go bye-bye, putz.