Because Some Asshattery Needs Its Own Snark

Like several valued commenters, I can’t help but love this story:

The [North Carolina] state GOP sent out a tweet Wednesday night saying it was “shameful” for Kaine to wear the flag of Honduras during his speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Kaine was, of course, wearing a Blue Star Service pin, which people wear to signal they’ve a family member on active duty during a war or a conflict.

Here’s a typical version:


To the wingnut mind, which is to say the Twitter account of the North Caroline GOP, this subtle and simple acknowledgement of pride and moment in a son’s service was the Honduran flag, and Kaine’s brazen display of that unAmerican allegiance was, and I quote, “shameful.”

To which I reply: Morans!

One additional note:  the Military Times article linked above contains an error.  It states that “North Carolina Republicans have apologized to Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine…”

Maybe so, but the only acknowledgement of their feckless, incompetent asshattery I’ve been able to find is a thank you to the person who pointed out what Kaine was actually wearing.  No contrition aimed at the nominee, his son, or the Democratic Party.

Which is to say that the NC GOP is not merely incompetent, feckless and having trouble peering through its own colon; they’re a bunch of ill-mannered boors whose parents should have (and maybe tried to) raise them better.

ETA:  as pointed out by valued commenters Hoodie, Omnes Omnibus, and in a prior thread Raven, the executive director of the state GOP did issue a clear apology to Tim Kaine and his family this afternoon.  So my dudgeon was accurate at the time I first read this story, and was superceded by the time I wrote my snark.  I regret that error — and exactly none of my disdain for the impulse that produced the initial last-refuge-of-scoundrelism.

TL:DR?  “Bless their hearts.”

Image:  from this catalogue.



Open Thread: Good Job Breaking It, Repubs!

Story of Russian Meddling in U.S. Election Has Legs


Following up on Adam’s excellent post yesterday about the DNC server hack, it looks like the story is indeed gaining legs, with an assist from the president.


President Barack Obama won’t rule out the possibility that Russian President Vladimir Putin could be attempting to tip the US presidential election toward Donald Trump.

His comments came after US officials said this week that there is strong evidence that the Democratic National Committee data breach was carried out by hackers working on behalf of Russian intelligence.

“Anything’s possible,” Obama responded when asked during an interview whether Russians could be working to influence the contest between Republican nominee Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

“Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin,” Obama said during the sit-down with NBC News that aired Tuesday. “And I think that Trump’s gotten pretty favorable coverage back in Russia.”


President Obama on Tuesday waded into the controversy over the leak of Democratic National Committee emails, saying the hack of party records was characteristic of Russian government behavior and suggesting a potential motive for that country to meddle in the U.S. presidential election.

“What we do know is that the Russians hack our systems, not just government systems but private systems,” Obama told NBC. “What the motives were in terms of the leaks, all that — I can’t say directly. What I do know is that Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed admiration for Vladi­mir Putin.”

Obama’s comments align with those made Sunday by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, who said the Russian government was behind last week’s release of DNC documents on the website WikiLeaks as a way to help Trump.

The New York Times:

American intelligence agencies have told the White House they now have “high confidence” that the Russian government was behind the theft of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee, according to federal officials who have been briefed on the evidence.

But intelligence officials have cautioned that they are uncertain whether the electronic break­in at the committee’s computer systems was intended as fairly routine cyberespionage — of the kind the United States also conducts around the world — or as part of an effort to manipulate the 2016 presidential election.

The emails were released by WikiLeaks, whose founder, Julian Assange, has made it clear that he hoped to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency. It is unclear how the documents made their way to the group. But a large sampling was published before the WikiLeaks release by several news organizations and someone who called himself “Guccifer 2.0,” who investigators now believe was an agent of the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence service.

Even the Trumpenführer felt moved to address it today, though of course he filtered it through his narcissistic prism and missed the point entirely:

For the record, Putin never called Trump a “genius” — that description is rarely bestowed on the critter at the business end of the leash. Now release your tax returns like a good boy, Deadbeat Don.

PS: This episode removes all doubt (as if there were any) that Julian Assange is an unmitigated douchebag.

Lumpish Trump and Rootin’ Tootin’ Putin

Josh Marshall, who has been on fire during this primary season, IMO, has a must-read piece up at TPM on the ties between Trump and Putin. An excerpt that summarizes the case for closer scrutiny:

To put this all into perspective, if Vladimir Putin were simply the CEO of a major American corporation and there was this much money flowing in Trump’s direction, combined with this much solicitousness of Putin’s policy agenda, it would set off alarm bells galore. That is not hyperbole or exaggeration. And yet Putin is not the CEO of an American corporation. He’s the autocrat who rules a foreign state, with an increasingly hostile posture towards the United States and a substantial stockpile of nuclear weapons. The stakes involved in finding out ‘what’s going on’ as Trump might put it are quite a bit higher.

There is something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of circumstantial evidence for a financial relationship between Trump and Putin or a non-tacit alliance between the two men. Even if you draw no adverse conclusions, Trump’s financial empire is heavily leveraged and has a deep reliance on capital infusions from oligarchs and other sources of wealth aligned with Putin. That’s simply not something that can be waved off or ignored.

Marshall explores the strong circumstantial evidence that suggests a Putin-Trump connection, including the fact that Trump owes his recovery from multiple bankruptcies to infusions of cash from Putin-connected oligarchs, Trump campaign boss Paul Manafort’s strong connection to the Kremlin and the fact that the Trump people’s sole involvement in the GOP platform was a pro-Putin intervention.

Marshall is sticking to publicly available facts, so he doesn’t address in depth the suspiciously timed Wikileaks DNC doc dump, which exposed emails that were obtained by a Russia-connected hacker and emphasize Democratic discord that Trump is playing to the hilt. But that’s one of the clearest signs yet that Putin is trying to manipulate the U.S. election, just as he supports right-wing nationalist movements in Europe to weaken the Western alliance that keeps his revanchist ambitions in check.

It remains to be seen whether the hardcore Sandersites will play the useful idiots here; I don’t think there are enough of them to swing the election, but it’s clear that is the aim of the wingnuts who are playing up the “Bernie wuz robbed!” aspect of the Wikileaks story, including Trump, who has been tweeting like a madman about it.

And maybe this is just me being paranoid, but this latest blatant attempt to divide the Democrats and advance Trump’s prospects explains a longer-term trend I used to find puzzling but no longer do: a weird affinity for the autocrat Putin among the fringier left in the U.S. I’ve seen it in the crackpot corners of the web for far longer than Trump has been a credible candidate: a drive to paint Putin as a victim of U.S. aggression. I used to write it off as individual crackpottery, but maybe Putin has been playing a long game.

FWIW, I don’t think Trump is directly taking orders from Putin. I think Trump is a vain and silly man, and Putin is playing him for a fool. But while Trump is certainly a clown, Putin’s interference in U.S. politics is serious shit. It would be swell if the Very Serious Persons in the Beltway would spend 1/100th of the effort they’ve expended on Secretary Clinton’s email server on the ongoing attempts of a hostile foreign government to manipulate a U.S. election.

Late Night “Yup, Still the Wrong Choice” Open Thread

From the NYTimes article:

After declaring that he had unified the party in one of the most “love-filled” conventions in political history, Mr. Trump launched an extended diatribe against Mr. Cruz, who pointedly declined to endorse him during his own convention speech on Wednesday and instead urged people to vote their conscience. The speech embarrassed Mr. Trump and cast a shadow of discord over the convention, which had already been marred by plagiarism in a speech by Mr. Trump’s wife, Melania, on Monday.

“I don’t want his endorsement,” Mr. Trump said angrily, in a rambling stream-of-consciousness performance that seemed half stand-up routine, half vengeful rant. “If he gives it, I won’t accept it.”

The remarks were a noteworthy display of lingering tension within the party and Mr. Trump’s inability to let go of grudges.

They also represented a seemingly inevitable reappearance of Mr. Trump’s irrepressible id. Having spoken from a teleprompter for more than an hour on Thursday, the final day of his convention, he seemed almost incapable of restraining himself any longer as the campaign moved into its next phase…

Mr. Trump briefly turned his focus from Mr. Cruz to Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent, who will be formally nominated next week at her party’s convention in Philadelphia. Attention is expected to shift to the Democrats in the coming days, but Mr. Trump said that he did not expect to watch Mrs. Clinton’s speech because she is “boring.”…
Read more

Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree

Josh Marshall has a tweet stream going talking about the Trump-Russia alliance.  As he sees it, the Manchurian-by-way-of-Queens Candidate isn’t even trying to hide his alliance with/subservience to Putin.

I’m not sure I wholly believe it, but I can’t come close to ruling it out, and that cranks the dangers of this election up to eleven. Which is why I found this story a welcome bit of comic relief:



Shop Ivanka’s look from her #RNC speech: #RNCinCLE


This isn’t Ivanka Trump tweeting, technically. It’s @IvankaTrump, but that’s the Twitter handle If one has one’s own clothing line, it seems natural that you’d wear pieces from it; perhaps the marketing folks saw an unplanned opportunity to plug the outfit on Twitter. It’s $138 at Macy’s; apparently her father’s boycott of the chain doesn’t apply to her. The garment is described as a “sophisticated sheath dress” that “works wonders at both social and professional occasions” — and, clearly, political ones.

Oh, also? The dress is “imported,” according to its description.

So perhaps this was a just a smart move by the site’s marketing team to capitalize on the moment. Possible. Or perhaps Ivanka Trump has been doing this for the entire convention, posting a series of photos from the event at her website with personalized captions to each — and links to where you can buy all of the things she’s wearing or carrying.

So yeah, maybe the Trump campaign is Putin’s Hail Mary attempt to reverse the outcome of the Cold War.  And maybe it’s just one long grift, the true family business now being carried on by the smart child.

Of course, there’s no reason that what we’re seeing isn’t both a floor wax and a dessert topping.

Image:  John Singer Sargent, Madam X (Madame Pierre Gautreau)1883*

*Yeah. This is one of those posts that exist at least in part so that I could post that picture. Sue me.


Be just, and fear not

Good question, Bernie. I didn’t watch Trump’s speech live, but from viewing the highlights and reading the transcript, Trump’s Mussolini-class confidence in himself as the only cure to the country’s ills struck me too. This isn’t the way a believer in small “d” democracy thinks or behaves.

Of the many stupid and frankly crazy reactions Republicans have had toward President Obama’s public pronouncements, one of my least favorite has been their ransacking of speech transcripts to count the number of times the president said “I” or “me” — to demonstrate how uppity he is, I guess.

Think they’ll parse speeches for “I” and “me” now that they’ve nominated a clinically diagnosable narcissist as their standard-bearer? Nope. Trump is the arsonist selling fire protection. He sows chaos and anger to sell “law and order.”

But as clownish as the GOP convention was, and as dark, dystopian and distorted as Trump’s vision of America is, the Republicans will almost certainly get a bump in the polls from being the focus of a week’s worth of media coverage, much of it undeservedly positive.

Let’s try not to pee down our legs when that happens, okay? Instead, let’s work our asses off to keep Trump, his pack of parasitic kin and his legion of goons and henchmen away from the White House. Let’s keep in mind that we have a much better story to tell — and far better people to tell it.

I happen to think Hillary Clinton will be a great president. In the 25 years or so I’ve followed her career, our views on every issue haven’t always aligned. But she’s running a truly inclusive campaign that will build on the progress the Democratic Party has made under President Obama’s leadership.

And when Clinton speaks on policy, it’s readily apparent there’s a keen mind at work there — even if you don’t agree with a specific proposal. Contrast that with Trump, who possesses only the will to power and the cunning to advance his personal glorification in the handiest manner.

The Republicans told many lies during their convention, but one thing they said was true: This is now a binary choice — Trump or Clinton. After considering the four-day hate-fest in Cleveland, now more than ever, I’m with her.