Late Night Schadenfreude Open Thread: Confusion & Defeat to Them All

As any libertarian would tell you, taxes are theft, so Al Capone should never have gone to jail!

Much closer to the center axis on the “Evil vs Stupid” chart… Ed Kilgore has a nice (in both senses of the word) dissection of St. Bernie’s latest shenanigans:

There were two big developments on May 21 in the political universe of Bernie Sanders, one upbeat, one not-so-much.

On the positive side, Sanders formally announced he is a candidate for reelection to a third term in the Senate, as was universally expected. The only slight mystery about his bid was resolved when he indicated that he would follow his past procedure by running in the Democratic primary, and then declining the nomination and running as an independent while accepting the “endorsement” of Vermont Democrats. The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake had a sardonic comment about that:

Sanders is going to run in the Democratic primary for no reason except to preclude anybody else from winning it — despite having no intention of running as a Democrat in the general election. Sanders basically wants to ensure he will face no Democratic opponent in November. A cynic might say the guy who complained about the rigging of the 2016 Democratic presidential primary is kinda, sorta rigging the 2018 Vermont Senate race for himself…

… The announcement is also another indication that Sanders thinks he’s good to go in national office until 2024 at least, when he’ll turn 83. Whether that means he’ll run for president in 2020 is another matter, of course.
Read more

GOP Miscreants Open Thread: I’m Not Alone…

What a fitting metaphor! Perhaps some of you will also take pleasure in the hope that Roger Stone’s time in the barrel has come?

The subpoena was recently served on John Kakanis, 30, who has worked as a driver, accountant and operative for Stone.

Kakanis has been briefly questioned by the FBI on the topics of possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the WikiLeaks website, its founder Julian Assange, and the hacker or hackers who call themselves Guccifer 2.0, one of the people with knowledge of the matter said.

Mueller has not scheduled a grand jury appearance for Kakanis, the person said…

In an emailed statement to Reuters on Friday, Stone said he believed that Mueller’s scrutiny on him stemmed from “misapprehensions and misconceptions” created by the media, and that he would ultimately be exonerated of any alleged wrongdoing.

“I sincerely hope when this occurs that the grotesque, defamatory media campaign which I have endured for years now will finally come to its long-overdue end,” wrote Stone, one of Trump’s closest political advisers in the years before he ran for president.

During the 2016 Republican primaries, a Stone political action committee paid more than $130,000 to an entity called “Citroen Associates” for “voter fraud research and documentation” and “research services consulting,” according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Florida state records identify the owner of Citroen Associates as John P. Kakanis.

The subpoena handed to Kakanis is the latest development suggesting that Stone, an early Trump backer whose reputation as an aggressive political operative dates back to the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, is being looked at by Mueller.

Reuters reported earlier this week that FBI agents working for Mueller delivered two subpoenas to Jason Sullivan, a social media and Twitter expert who worked for Stone during the 2016 campaign, and that agents told him Mueller’s team wanted to question him about Stone and WikiLeaks…

Other Trump associates who have been questioned by Mueller, including former campaign advisors Sam Nunberg and Michael Caputo, have also been asked about Stone and WikiLeaks.

“They asked me about Roger’s businesses – who he worked with prior to the 2016 election. They asked me about Roger’s tax returns,” Nunberg said in a phone interview earlier this week, adding that he believed Mueller was stepping outside his mandate in casting such a wide net around Stone’s activities.

The irony is, the better Stone disciples Kakanis and Sullivan are, the more swiftly they’ll turn on their mentor (and their fellows). If Roger and his Nixon tattoo end up in a cell because some low-ranking minion trades their freedom for his, the poetic justice alone might cause him to stroke out. And if — this is just daydreaming, on my part — if exposing Stone’s rotten Trump dealings should happen to officially unmask some of the other beneficiaries of a 40-year history of GOP ratfvckery, he might not be the only one…

Stupid Watergate Open Thread: The President’s Blame Is Missing (The Most Likely Suspect)

Yeah, let’s be honest even if that’s impossible for Republicans: The person most probably responsible for the worst leaks from this Oval Office Occupancy is named, shall we say, “John Barron”. Or maybe “Meredith McGiver”.

They’ve reached intermediate-stage Watergate levels of paranoia and we’re not even at the first midterms. Nixon is supposed to have wandered around the White House late at night, talking to the portraits of former presidents. Trump doesn’t even drink, and he’s probably already talking to the (newly installed surplus of) gilded mirrors…

Read more

Friday Morning Open Thread: Good Stuff to Ponder, Before the News Dump

I would also like my life to get back to its version of normal, so that I could keep a posting schedule that would please all y’all. Unfortunately, part of the recent discombobulation involves the fact that I can only garden during daylight hours, something that’s not gonna change in the immediate future…

Fun facts to share! (Charlie Kirk is the TP-USA grifter) —

Meanwhile, Maggie Haberman goes full-metal gossip columnist…

Thursday Morning Open Thread: Fibber McGee’s Closet

Spent my Wednesday dealing with the sort of niggly nitpicking IRL tasks that force both halves of any long-term couple to remind themselves that their partner has many fine qualities to go with their flaws. (If you’ve got any extra, please spare a good thought for a 16-year-old rescue dog who’s going through all the indignities common to old age. His name is Zevon.) So, of course, the Friday News Dump fell on a Wednesday this week…

Trump Crime Cartel minions are whistling past the graveyard –

Still Proud to Be A Democrat:

Open Thread: Drip… Drip… Drip

Always fun, mocking The Most Powerful Guy, who can’t rest for those godsdamned mosquitos…

In case you missed the original kerfuffle…
Read more

Late-Night Oddity Open Thread: Elaine Chao “Finally Gets Her Own Ethics Scandal,” Kinda

As NYMag describes it:

While other Trump Cabinet officials have been in the news constantly for all sorts of ethical violations, we’ve barely heard anything about Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. She drew attention most recently for two issues that involved no wrongdoing on her part: her revelation that the president personally asked House Speaker Paul Ryan to block funding for a New York infrastructure project, and being subjected to racist attacks from a Republican candidate in West Virginia who doesn’t care for her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

So is Chao the rare Trump official who’s doing her job and not abusing her office in any way? Apparently not. Politico reported on Sunday that since her nomination, she’s appeared in at least a dozen interviews with her father James Chao, the founder and chairman of the Foremost Group shipping company, which carries goods between Asia and the U.S. All of the interviews are with Chinese and Chinese-American media outlets, and the secretary is otherwise press shy; she’s never held a press conference for beat reporters and usually refuses to answer reporters’ questions after public events.

Federal employees are prohibited from using their office for their “own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.” But Chao makes no apparent effort to show she’s promoting her family’s business only as a daughter, not as U.S. Transportation secretary, and in fact, it appears several of the videos were filmed in her government office. DOT flags are shown in several of the spots… and one video features the state flag of Kentucky, highlighting her tie to the majority leader…

Thing is, there’ve been ‘questions raised’ about Chao’s family’s Taiwanese / PRC connections going back at least to Mitch McConnell’s last Senate race (the Foremost Group has, IIRC, always provided a big chunk of his campaign funding), so why are these comparatively anodyne videos suddenly news?…

Oh. Well, Tuesday night’s WV primary results are gonna be interesting.

But, apart from that, where’s that famous “Senatorial collegiality” that the Media Village Idiots love to laud? Why aren’t his fellow Republicans standing up to defend their Majority Leader?

It’s almost as though Mitch doesn’t have any friends — just co-conspirators.

Gosh, imagine how hard it will be for him, should the upcoming Blue Wave reduce him to a mere Minority ‘leader’…