Friday Morning Open Thread: TGIF (While It Lasts)

The unusual fundraising haul is the latest sign that President Donald Trump is motivating Democrats in extraordinary ways as the party looks to win back the 24 seats it needs to retake the House of Representatives in next year’s midterm elections and put Rep. Nancy Pelosi back in the Speaker’s chair.

The DCCC raised $20 million in online contributions since the start of the year from contributions averaging just $18, according to the group, beating the $19.7 million the committee raised during 2015, the last off-year ahead of an election year.

The campaign arm of House Democrats said more than 2.2 million people joined the committee’s grassroots email lists since the beginning of January, including 156,00 new donors.

“The DCCC is actively building the largest battleground in a decade, and that’s a testament to the grassroots energy that we’re witnessing every day, in every corner of America,” said DCCC Spokesman Tyler Law. “Our record smashing grassroots, online fundraising haul is further evidence that House Democrats are on offense while Republicans are in a full meltdown.”…

Because, well…

What’s (that we know about) on the agenda as we look forward to wrapping up the week?



Thursday Evening Open Thread: Bravo, Trevor Noah

The Daily Show doesn’t usually top the chart for political commentary, but this one is brilliant — even Noah’s vocal mimicry of the various players!

What’s on the agenda for the rest of the evening?
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What Will the Afternoon Bring? (Open Thread)

Published at The Washington Post this morning:

The White House’s absolutely brutal night, in 6 headlines

For any president, one of these headlines would be very bad news. For President Trump, they all came in a span of 12 hours:

“Justice Department to appoint special counsel to oversee probe of Russian meddling in 2016 election”
“House majority leader told colleagues last year: ‘I think Putin pays’ Trump”
“Flynn stopped military plan Turkey opposed — after being paid as its agent”
“Trump Team Knew Flynn Was Under Investigation Before He Came to White House”
“Israeli Source Seen as Key to Countering Islamic State Threat”
“Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians — sources”

It was a dizzying Wednesday night for political reporters and followers alike, with a bevy of new information being thrown at them on multiple fronts. And it continued into early Thursday morning with that last headline, from Reuters.

More scandals in 12 hours than Obama had in eight years!

Then came the Ailes news! And word that Twitler is holding a press conference at 3:45. This is shaping up to be a schadenfreudelicious day.

But I think the shitgibbon’s gonna harsh my mellow at this press conference by announcing Joe Lieberman as his pick for FBI director. That will have two terrible consequences, one long-term, the other short-term. Here they are in that order:

1) We’ll have to look at Lieberman’s stupid fucking face and hear his mewling voice for the next 10 goddamn years.

2) The appointment will be heralded as a sign that Trump is finally growing into the job. Serious people will speak of bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle, as if Lieberman wasn’t a sanctimonious prick who is never happier than when he’s shivving a Democrat while polishing McCain’s knob.

Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he is what we knew he was all along: an unhinged, impulsive, narcissistic bully whose only real talent is for swindling and self-promotion. But I think the vapid Beltway choir has one more chorus of the Pivot Polka left in them. We shall see.

Open thread!



Wednesday Evening Open Thread: Not Even Baby Ducks Are Safe When the Repubs Are in Town

Because we’re living in the Doonesbury archives, these days. It *would* be a Repub from North Carolina; I guess he’s cranky that he’s not allowed to beat up pregnant women and transgender kids outside his Republic of Gilead:

Political turmoil rocked the nation’s capital again on Tuesday evening as politicians from both parties responded to President Trump’s — you know what, never mind. This is a story about ducks.

Ducklings, to be precise. Ducklings walking up a ramp and stepping off it into the waters of the Capitol Reflecting Pool, which can be difficult for them to do unassisted because they are very small.

The two ramps at the reflecting pool are a new feature whose arrival Monday attracted attention (from humans, at least) only after a congressman voiced his displeasure. This is happening in Washington, after all, so it may not surprise you to hear that the duck ramps were controversial…

In a statement posted online on Monday, Erin Courtney, a spokeswoman for the architect’s office, said that the ramps were needed because getting into and out of the reflecting pool, just west of the Capitol, often posed a problem for the ducklings. Four families of mallards have “made the pool their home,” she said…

Anne Lewis, the president of City Wildlife, said a ramp could be the difference between life and death for the ducklings. “Ducklings get into the water — often helped there by visitors — and then can’t get out because of the high curb at the water’s edge,” she said in an email. “They will drown from exhaustion or die of starvation unless they have a way to get out of the water.”

Your modern GOP: People angry that “mooching” baby ducks aren’t literally dying in front of them.



Loose Tweets Cost Seats?

Because they’ve hitched their wagon to a deranged, ignorant, pussy-grabbing “star,” the Republicans and sundry government employees have been compelled to undertake quasi-serious investigations into false and frankly ridiculous claims and allegations. This began literally on Day One, when Trump pressured the US Parks Service to produce nonexistent photographic evidence to support his lies about the inauguration crowd size.

To stave off the narcissistic injury of his massive popular vote loss, Trump claimed that millions of illegal ballots were cast, sending Republican minions scurrying to bolster that absurd claim. Now a panel headed by a racist vote suppressor has been convened, at taxpayer expense, to support that lie and hatch additional racist voter suppression schemes as a bonus.

The “wire tapp” lie about President Obama similarly goaded Republicans into investigating an absurdity. Trump was just repeating fatuous nonsense from Breitbart and Fox News, but he is no longer some random ranty douchebag flinging spurious allegations like verbal turds from his perch on a golden toilet; the morons who yoked their fate to his were obligated to treat the accusation seriously.

But if Brian Beutler is correct in a New Republic piece published today, the tweet below has the most potential to bring the whole house of cards crashing down on Trump’s head:

Beutler notes that while versions of the truth provided by Trump and his White House flacks tend to vary wildly, they’ve been notably consistent in keeping mum about the tapes alluded to in the tweet. He speculates that’s because those within the administration capable of higher cognitive functioning know they’ve boxed themselves in but good:

For a White House as undisciplined as this one, the tape stonewalling scans less as a political position than a legal one. White House counsel Don McGahn, or someone else who understands the potential gravity of the situation, may well have told everyone to keep their mouths shut. If the White House were to acknowledge that there are no tapes, Trump would be caught in a very troubling fabrication to intimidate a witness, but if the White House confirms that tapes exist, Trump would face the legal obligation to preserve them and perhaps even surrender them to Congress.

We know to a near certainty that the White House will come under immense pressure to come clean. If Comey testifies publicly before the Senate, it is likely he will confirm under oath that Trump sought his personal loyalty, thus resolving the mystery of the White House tapes one way or another. Trump might dispute Comey’s claims, but if he doesn’t release any tapes to prove his case, it would suggest either that the tapes don’t exist or that they vindicate Comey. The question at the heart of the tape scandal would tighten from “Do the tapes exist?” to “Did the president lie about the existence of the tapes, or about their content?” That’s a question people working in the White House will feel much more pressure to address than the one they face today.

It strikes me as overwhelmingly likely that the truth lies in one of these two scenarios. But even if Trump has recordings of his conversations with Comey, and they vindicate Trump—as he coyly suggests in his tweet—it is small solace because he will have recorded himself using his power to fire Comey as leverage to discourage an FBI investigation. That is, he will have gathered evidence against himself, documenting his attempt to obstruct justice.

Check and mate? Not while the Party Before Country Party hopes it can wring tax cuts, court appointments and voter suppression measures (as a bulwark against its overwhelming unpopularity) out of Trump.

But you know the establishment GOP is longing to wrestle the Tang Tyrant down, wind duct tape around his big fat mouth and break his tiny tweeting thumbs. It’s difficult to see how they make this White House “tapes” bullshit go away, given the dilemma Beutler outlines above.

There are really no good ways to spin it. And even if the GOP manages to avoid an independent investigation for now, if the party is increasingly seen as carrying water for an addled liar leading an incompetent fail parade, that may cost them enough seats to lose control of congress. And then all bets are off.



Light Night B-Movie Horrorshow Open Thread: The Dunghill Ouroborous

FOX News ginns up conspiracy fantasy, demands answers about said conspiracy from nonplussed bystanders, proclaims their baffled silence further proof of THE CONSPIRACY!!! The giant dungworm swallows its own tail, announces that it is delicious!…

At least when the whole flimsy construction falls to pieces, George Will’s ideological bastard son has all that freshly-stirred manure, ripe for his sweaty flinging…



Tuesday Afternoon Open Thread

My kiddo likes to give me inexpensive children’s toys on present-giving occasions such as Mother’s Day because 1) they’re inexpensive, and 2) I enjoy them. Here’s a portrait of Kim Jong-un I made with a Hairy Harry metal shavings and magnet toy I received Sunday:

A passable likeness. The Twitler Clown Show is wrecking my productivity, but I’ll admit I’m enjoying watching the minions spin and flail. The headlines are all very Watergate: “Turn over the tapes!” “White House under siege!”

What will happen during the overseas trip, do you think? Will Trump piss on the Western Wall? Demand a BLT from the Saudis? Grab the Queen by the…corgi? Proclaim that Anne Frank is doing an amazing job and being recognized more and more?

I am rooting so damn hard for Trump’s utter failure and disgrace at this point. It’s the patriotic thing to do, IMO. I want to see the whole rotten bunch driven from the White House, their “brand” in tatters and their ill-gotten gains confiscated for damages.

I want the big game hunter sons reduced to auctioning off their guns, and when that money runs out, contracting to some disreputable canned hunting outfit in Texas that caters to rich douchebags, with Uday and Qusay beating the bushes to flush out game and getting gored in the balls by Axis deer.

I want to see Javanka hawking knock-off bags at Walmart Supercenter grand opening events after daddy is resettled in the shittiest dacha in the worst suburb of St Petersburg. The Russia one.

You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.

Anyhoo, open thread!