Reminder Open Thread: Trump’s Undercard Mike Pence Is Also Deplorable

What with one thing and another, I didn’t get to post this draft last week, but Pence’s latest LAWN ORDURE! news conference reminded me…

The more out-of-control Trump acts, the more the “establishment” Republicans try to pretend he’s some kind of unpredictable phenomenon that came down upon their beleaguered party like a new version of Ebola. Let’s not let them get away with this, because the standard GOPers on offer are no better:


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Late Night Small-Minded Open Thread: Lest We Forget



Late Night Open Thread: The Bush Family Once Again Demonstrates Its Principle

Because, let’s be honest, they have but one: Whatever keeps the Bush clan in the game.

Patrick Svitek reports for the Texas Tribune:

Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who has not endorsed Donald Trump, is now asking Texas Republicans to support the party’s presidential nominee.

Addressing state GOP activists Saturday, Bush said it was time to put aside any lingering animosity from the primaries — where Trump defeated Bush’s dad, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, among others — and get behind Trump.

“From Team Bush, it’s a bitter pill to swallow, but you know what? You get back up and you help the man that won, and you make sure that we stop Hillary Clinton,” Bush said, according to video of the remarks provided by an audience member.

Bush was speaking in his capacity as the Texas GOP’s victory chairman, who is responsible for overseeing the party’s statewide campaign in November. Bush had been criticized for taking the role without backing the party’s presidential nominee…

Since the end of the primaries, many members of the Bush family and its network have declined to offer any support for Trump. They include Jeb Bush, former President George W. Bush and former President George H.W. Bush.

The old bulls have run their last races. George P. is the rising star; he’s no doubt sad that Trump pantsed his dad so brutally, but business — after all — is business.

Remember that brief happy moment when we allowed ourselves to believe that ‘Low Energy’ JEB!’s public embarrassment at the hands of a manic carnival barker meant we might never hear from the Bush Crime Syndicate again?

ETA:



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: The RNC Clown Show Continues

gop 2016 convention condolences davies

(Matt Davies via GoComics.com)
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The people responsible for writing the 2016 GOP platform are… divided. Per Buzzfeed:

[A] growing number of delegates — unofficially labeled as “the brevity caucus” — [have become] frustrated with the volume and complexity of its party’s platform. These delegates believe the more than 60-page draft platform is straying from its original purpose of communicating the party’s principles to voters and veering off into unnecessary, wonky debates.

“There’s two main camps right now: There’s a small group, who want to use this for door-knocking,” said Ben Barringer, a delegate from Iowa. “The other groups wants to use it to holding legislators accountable. They want to be more verbose.”…

Graves later told BuzzFeed News in an interview that the platform committee included “frustrated policy wonks” and that the platform was getting too long and complicated to share with the average voter.

“It needs to be more of a communications tool and not the Magna Carta,” she said. “I don’t know who reads these many, many pages.”…

Checking off every single ideological box is a trademark of parties whose members feel doomed to minority status, and this year’s Repubs have a long, long list of boxes to check.

Per the Washington Post:

The Republican Party on Tuesday moved closer to firmly embracing a series of staunchly conservative positions on abortion, gay rights, gun rights and immigration reform in a platform document that takes sharp aim at Obama administration policies and reinforces long-standing party orthodoxy on major issues.

Among the specific policies the platform committee endorsed here is a “border wall” that would cover “the entirety of the Southern Border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”…

There was widespread agreement on the party’s position on economic and national security issues and the tougher stance on social issues reinforced the party’s conservative view despite Trump’s calls for relaxed abortion restrictions and his support for some rights for gay and transgender Americans.

Trump was barely mentioned by the 112-member platform committee, composed mostly of longtime conservative activists. The candidate and his team had little presence during the discussions, ceding the details of the platform to party faithful…

And then the last Republican president showed up on everybody’s social media feeds, just to remind us how bad things were, and could be again…


(via The Hill)

Solemn, formal occasions have always been difficult for Dubya to endure, but trying to start a line dance at a memorial service is… special.



Chilcot Drops

A.Y._Jackson_-_A_Copse,_Evening,_1918

This is something I hope Adam will take up in earnest, but we should probably have a thread for the Chilcot report on Tony Blair and the British rush to war in Iraq.  Here’s a link to the Guardian’s coverage.

In brief, and in my reading of the press reports only, it looks like Sir John Chilcot has produced a devastating body of work that effectively condemns both Blair and Bush — and by extension the many more who enabled them in their catastrophic rush to war.

That’s obviously going to hurt, and we’ve already got a taste of the derp to come in David Frum’s claptrap, discussed below.  We’ll see a lot more ass-covering, excuse-bandying, and outright bullshit from all the usual suspects over the next few days.

But what struck me most in the immediate reaction to Chilcot’s report was one snippet from the few minutes of Tony Blair’s press conference that I managed to catch.

There, he admitted the failure to plan for what to do after an initial military victory (you think?) — but he said he stood by his decision to go to war and would make the same decision now, given the intelligence at the time.  He admitted that the intelligence was faulty, but noted that leaders have to decide based on what they know at any given time, which is certainly true.

The problem with that pivot to “bad intelligence” is that it is bullshit.

Those in a position to know understood at the edge of war that Saddam did not have weapons of mass destruction as generally understood.  I give you a speech that should be much better known than it is, Robin Cook’s personal address to the House of Commons to explain his resignation from Tony Blair’s government:

 

Here’s a text version.

Our leaders knew that the stated reason for war in Iraq was false.  They did it anyway.  There’s plenty of blame to go round — and while it’s not clear how much individual members of Congress or Parliament knew, compared to the heads of government and the cabinets in both the US and the UK, some of that responsibilty certainly accrues to those legislators who went along to get along.

But the central villains of this piece are the leaders who made the choice to cajole and coerce their colleagues and their countries into war.

One last thought:  the upcoming election is between someone who’s learned from the Iraq disaster, and someone who just yesterday hearts him some murderous Saddam.

Image:  A. Y. Jackson, A Copse, Evening 1918, 1918



Late Night Open Thread: Trump Doubles Down on Defending the Indefensible

If this dude wasn’t the presumptive presidential nominee of one of the two major parties right now, I swear this would be a ‘let’s talk about taking Gramp’s checkbook and car keys away before something terrible happens’ incident. As described at Bloomberg Politics [warning: autoplay]:

An embattled Donald Trump urgently rallied his most visible supporters to defend his attacks on a federal judge’s Mexican ancestry during a conference call on Monday in which he ordered them to question the judge’s credibility and impugn reporters as racists.

“We will overcome,” Trump said, according to two supporters who were on the call and requested anonymity to share their notes with Bloomberg Politics. “And I’ve always won and I’m going to continue to win. And that’s the way it is.”

There was no mention of apologizing or backing away from his widely criticized remarks about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing cases against the Trump University real-estate program.

When former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer interrupted the discussion to inform Trump that his own campaign had asked surrogates to stop talking about the lawsuit in an e-mail on Sunday, Trump repeatedly demanded to know who sent the memo, and immediately overruled his staff.

“Take that order and throw it the hell out,” Trump said.

Told the memo was sent by Erica Freeman, a staffer who circulates information to surrogates, Trump said he didn’t know her. He openly questioned how the campaign could defend itself if supporters weren’t allowed to talk.

“Are there any other stupid letters that were sent to you folks?” Trump said. “That’s one of the reasons I want to have this call, because you guys are getting sometimes stupid information from people that aren’t so smart.”

Brewer, who was on the call with prominent Republicans like Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, interjected again. “You all better get on the page,” she told him….

When former AZ Gov. Jan Brewer is your voice of reason & moderation, well…it’s time to find some leftover from a prior GOP administration who’ll speak for the dark side. In the Washington Post, Alberto R. Gonzales, WH counsel & U.S. attorney general in the George W. Bush administration, “Trump has a right to ask if Judge Gonzalo Curiel is fair”:

[S]ome have said that Trump’s criticism of the judge reflects on his qualifications to be president. If the criticism is solely based on Curiel’s race, that is something voters will take into account in deciding whether he is fit to be president. If, however, Trump is acting from a sincere motivation to protect his constitutional right to a fair trial, his willingness to exercise his rights as an American citizen and raising the issue even in the face of severe criticism is surely also something for voters to consider…

Trump’s not different or worse than prior Republican presidents; he’s just more overt.



Wednesday Evening Open Thread: Lest We Forget

The Repubs have been just this bad for a loooong time. But in Dubya’s day, they could get away with being less public about their non-stop venality.

Apart from adjusting the signal-to-noise ratio, what’s on the agenda for the evening?