Late Night Open Thread: One Could Almost Feel Sorry for Romney

… Except, y’know, the silly bastid is willfully submitting himself to this shiteshow. Per AP:

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who is heading the transition effort, teased “a number of very important announcements tomorrow” as he exited Trump Tower Monday night.

Pence is said to be among those backing Romney for State. Romney was fiercely critical of Trump throughout the campaign but is interested in the Cabinet position, and they discussed it during a lengthy meeting earlier this month.

Other top Trump allies, notably campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, have launched a highly unusual public campaign to warn the president-elect that nominating Romney would be seen as a betrayal by his supporters. Conway’s comments stirred speculation that she is seeking to either force Trump’s hand or give him cover for ultimately passing over Romney.

Three people close to the transition team said Trump had been aware that Conway planned to voice her opinion, both on Twitter and in television interviews. They disputed reports that Trump was furious at her and suggested his decision to consider additional candidates instead highlighted her influence…

Trump was also considering former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for Homeland Security secretary, according to those close to the transition process. Giuliani was initially the front-runner for State and is still in the mix. But questions about his overseas business dealings, as well as the mayor’s public campaigning for the job, have given Trump pause…

Yeah, among the many things I hold against Trump is that he’s made Willard ‘Mitt’ Romney look like the good, sane alternative for a powerful political office. Mitt’s certainly touched some nerves among the Trump Crime Cartel, though…

I kinda like Josh Barro’s theory…

Remember the calculus for the C-listers who signed up with Trump early.

They debased themselves by signing up with a candidate who was widely considered ridiculous and unacceptable by Republican insiders. In exchange, they would line up — in the unlikely event Trump won — for administration jobs for which they would otherwise be considered laughably unsuitable.

This calculus seems to have worked out for Michael Flynn and perhaps Ben Carson. But a Romney appointment would be a severe threat to the dynamic the Trump sycophants depend on.

If a consummate party establishmentarian who did not support Trump — indeed, one who said Trump was “playing the American public for suckers” — can be forgiven and given a top job, what role would be left for Rudy Giuliani or Mike Huckabee?…


Read more



Monday Morning Open Thread: Cold Comforts

cranky-geezers-have-better-brains-sylvia

(Sylvia/Nicole Hollander via GoComics.com)
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At last, a little uplift for the Balloon Juice commentariat! (And, yes, this front-pager, who just turned 61.)

Speaking of long-range tactics, I think Dana Houle has a good point here:

Jared Kushner is a NYC businessman, heir to a convicted felon real estate developer. Reince Priebus is a leading product of the GOP political machine. Steve Bannon is a sociopath who sees the neo-Nazi, white-supremacist “alt right” as a tool for random social destruction, which he finds entertaining / useful for his private goals. (Bannon is acting as the third corner of the traditional GOP Golden Triangle, Business/Bureaucracy/’Church’, which is its own kind of weird American success story.) The three of them have converged, temporarily, to push an aging “celebrity” to the top of the American political pyramid. Their common interests started diverging immediately after Clinton’s concession speech… and the cracks are widening by the day.

Our strategy, as Democrats and citizens, must include encouraging the dissension between ‘good for the Trump/Kushner business conglomerate’‘Good for the GOP party’‘Good for the dank lulz’. Yes, it would be nice if the pivot weren’t Donald Smallgloves Trump, but then again, he’s not going to make life easier for the triumvirate, either.

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Apart from soldiering on, what’s on the agenda as we start another week?



Open Thread: Walk and Chew Ankle

A responsible observer can do both!



Friday Evening Open Thread: Working As Intended!

“Ambulatory cream cheese sculpture” Hewitt, not seeing a downside!


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Apart from meditating on the never-ending revanchist urges of our GOP compatriots, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



Late Night Open Thread: Do You Think He Will Be My New Best Friend?

Quote’s from Politico. What a pathetic excuse for a human being President-Elect Smallgloves is — desperate for any indication that he’s something other than a failed heir and reality-show grifter elevated far beyond his competence. Any sign of positive attention, and he expands like a soaked sponge.

Further evidence, from the NYTimes, “Less Defiant Trump…: ‘I Hope We Can All Get Along’“:

On Twitter Tuesday morning, President-elect Donald J. Trump was the media-bashing firebrand many of his supporters adore, denouncing The New York Times as a “failing” institution that covered him inaccurately — “and with a nasty tone!

Eight hours later, after a lunchtime interview with editors and reporters for The Times — one that was briefly canceled, after Mr. Trump quarreled over the ground rules, then restored — the mood of the president-elect, it seemed, had mellowed.

“The Times is a great, great American jewel,” Mr. Trump declared as he prepared to leave the gathering in the newspaper’s 16th-floor boardroom, where portraits of former presidents adorn the walls…

The president-elect had sounded less gracious Tuesday morning when he abruptly called off his meeting at The Times in a Twitter post, contending that the paper had changed its terms for how the conversation could be reported.
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Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way to Screw the American People

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Donald Trump, the GOP, and his wealthy backers had a real problem. On December 1st, an Obama administration rule that would expand by multiple millions of people the number of those who were eligible to receive overtime pay up to those who earn $47,500 a year was set to start:

In 2014, President Obama directed the Secretary of Labor to update the overtime regulations to reflect the original intent of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and to simplify and modernize the rules so they’re easier for workers and businesses to understand and apply. The department has issued a final rule that will put more money in the pockets of middle class workers – or give them more free time.

The final rule will:

– Raise the salary threshold indicating eligibility from $455/week to $913 ($47,476 per year), ensuring protections to 4.2 million workers.

– Automatically update the salary threshold every three years, based on wage growth over time, increasing predictability.

– Strengthen overtime protections for salaried workers already entitled to overtime.

– Provide greater clarity for workers and employers.

The final rule will become effective on December 1, 2016, giving employers more than six months to prepare. The final rule does not make any changes to the duties test for executive, administrative and professional employees.

The Republicans did not want this to go into effect, because if it did, they would find it difficult to repeal on 20 January, because even the American people are not dumb enough to notice their overtime being cut just two months after they started to receive it.

Fortunately for the Republicans, this just happened:

A Texas judge blocked President Obama’s bid to expand overtime pay protections to millions of Americans on Tuesday, thwarting a key presidential priority just days before it was set to take effect.

The Labor Department rule would have doubled the salary level at which hourly workers must be paid extra for overtime pay, from $23,660 to $47,476. Siding with business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Texas District Judge Amos L. Mazzant III halted it.

The rule, finalized in May, represented the first such change in more than a decade and was hailed at the time as the most consequential action the Obama administration could take for middle-class workers without congressional involvement.

And with that, a significant payraise to millions of voters, economically anxious and otherwise, was strangled in the crib, and no fingerprints were left behind. Come January 20, Trump, Paul Ryan, and the coterie of wealthy industrialists and banksters who run this nation will quietly rescind the rule change, and no one will even know it ever existed.

America, fuck yeah!



If His Lips Move, He’s Lying…part [n]

Donald Trump has yet to meet with the prime minister of the United Kingdom — arguably the closest ally of the United States.  He has found time to meet with representatives of Britain’s Lets-Play-Footsie-With-Fascists UKIP party including its well-dressed proto-fascist leader, Nigel Farange.

In that meeting Hair Führer focused on what really matters in the trans-Atlantic alliance.

Offshore wind farms in Scotland [h/t TPM]:

[Andy] Wigmore, who coordinated the communications effort for the push for Britain to leave the European Union, told The Express and the New York Times that Trump asked them to oppose new wind farms….

Wigmore told The Express that Trump “is dismayed that his beloved Scotland has become over-run with ugly wind farms which he believes are a blight on the stunning landscape.”

Rich guy doesn’t like looking at windmills. Rich guy manages to grasp real power. Rich guy starts f**king with other nations’ energy policy, land use decisions and the rest because…he can.

Welcome to the post policy presidency.  Trump has no idea what energy mix makes sense and he doesn’t care.  Just doesn’t like looking at turbines.  So lose the buggers, amirite!

paul_gauguin_-_the_queens_mill

Apparently, Trump’s intervention appears to have worked, sort of:

Wigmore said that Trump “did suggest that we should campaign on it” and that the conversation “spurred us in and we will be going for it,” according to the New York Times.

Going for it, in this case, meaning that a party and a leadership roundly loathed in Scotland will argle bargle pwfft or something.  But gotta stroke the ferret-heedit shitgibbon, and talk is cheap.

The lagniappe, utterly unsurprisingly, is that the default position of the Trump crowd to any challenge is to lie:

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks denied to the New York Times that Trump discussed wind farms during his meeting with Farage. When the Times told Hicks that Wigmore gave an account of the wind farm discussion, Hicks did not respond with further comment, according to the Times.

With every passing day it becomes yet more clear that there is no way that Donald Trump can handle the presidency.  With each passing day his presidency draws closer.

WASF.

Image:  Paul Gauguin, The Queen’s Mill, Østervold Park1885.