Tuesday Evening Open Thread: Admirably Succinct

Also, an important note from the Rude Pundit:

I know a shit-ton of people down South and in the Midwest, working- and middle-class whites, most of whom never went to college, some not even graduating from high school, who think Donald Trump is a fucking hateful fraud, a showboating pissant, and a giant talking turd. When you try to “figure out” what drives Trump supporters and think that those of us who say, “Yeah, fuck them” are smug coast-clinging liberals, you are insulting the fuck out of the millions of people in Trump country who grew up in similar circumstances and decided that being racist, sexist, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, and conspiracy-theory-loving jerk is wrong and work to make their area of the United States a little more tolerant and progressive…

As we keep slogging towards the election, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

Monday Evening Open Thread: Media (Fizzle) Notes

My interpretation: If Jared Kushner can’t be the Nancy Reagan of a new generation — the ‘kitchen cabinet’ director running the Oval Office behind a photogenic, semi-demented figurehead — he figures he can at least dream of being the next Roger Ailes.

The Financial Times story is behind a paywall, but HuffPo says:

… [T]he Financial Times reported that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner spoke with a boutique media deal-making firm about the prospect of launching a television network. Kushner, who owns the New York Observer, contacted LionTree founder and chief executive Aryeh Bourkoff within the past couple months, according to the paper…

Vanity Fair reported in June on Trump’s media plans and noted that Kushner said at a dinner party how “the people here don’t understand what I’m seeing” and that “you go to these arenas and people go crazy for him.” The New York Times added in August that Trump and Kushner had “quietly explored becoming involved with a media holding, either by investing in one or by taking one over.”

But even if Kushner contacted Bourkoff, Politico’s Mike Allen reported Monday that the LionTree executive has no interest in working with Trump…

Kushner, the scion of a New Jersey real estate family who married Trump’s daughter Ivanka in 2009, has been one of Trump’s closest advisers. One Trump source recently told The New Yorker that Kushner ― who keeps a low profile and rarely gives interviews ― has been Trump’s “real campaign manager.”…

Apart from the NOBODY IS THE BOSS BUT MEEEEE tantrum such reporting is liable to spark from Lord Smallgloves (rumors of civil war within Trump Tower?), there’s the problem of finding enough content to ensure a paying audience…

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Open Thread: We’re All NPCs in Trump’s Tiny Mind

(Beyonce original here)

In role-playing games, Non-Player Characters (NPCs) are the no-name silhouettes who sell the real characters weaponry, provide clues as to the location of the treasure, and queue up to get slaughtered at the climax. They’re what theatre people call spear carriers; interchangeable bit parts labelled by role (the Butler, a Messenger, Soldiers) who show up to announce the play’s premise or to carry news from outside the stage setting. Scientists tell us that developing a theory of mind (the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives that are different from one’s own”) — the understanding that, as the saying goes, Nobody is a spear-carrier in their own mind — is a key component of normal development.

Donald Trump doesn’t seem to have developed much of a Theory of Mind, especially pertaining to the female half of the human race (not that he’s alone among men in that respect). So I found Josh Barro’s tweets here interesting…

Two days later:

Early Morning Open Thread — Answer: Yes.

Trump’s like one of those porch lights that sends out a pheromonal signal to moths, only for horrible people instead of nuisance insects.

I’m honestly afraid to speculate on actions that might be too base even for Littlefinger ShitGibbon, because then there will be another tape released of those very actions within 24 hours…

Consent: The Rosetta Stone to Decipher the Wingnut Mind

Yesterday, as we were jointly consuming barrels of popcorn while watching the Trump campaign reap the whirlwind, some of y’all mentioned Rush Limbaugh’s odd Trumpologia, which centered on the concept of consent. Here’s the mind-blowing quote from that ass pustule which sparked the conversation:

You know what the magic word, the only thing that matters in American sexual mores today is? One thing. You can do anything, the left will promote and understand and tolerate anything, as long as there is one element. Do you know what it is? Consent. If there is consent on both or all three or all four, however many are involved in the sex act, it’s perfectly fine. Whatever it is. But if the left ever senses and smells that there’s no consent in part of the equation then here come the rape police. But consent is the magic key to the left.

FSM knows Limbaugh wasn’t the only Trump apologist saying absurd things for broadcast consumption yesterday. One of his more ridiculous surrogates went airplane armrest truther to try to discredit one of the women who accused Trump of non-consensual groping on a flight.

But I think Limbaugh’s failure to grasp the role consent plays in regulating behavior between human beings is telling. It’s an explanation for his own serial depravities, certainly, but perhaps it is also a portal into the wingnut worldview that can help us decipher their thinking and behavior more fully.

Trump views women as objects he can grab and manipulate for his own ends, and we’re seeing a fraction of the results of what happens when a man lives 70 years on the planet with that mindset. He’s not done yet, of course: rounding up the women who’ve accused Bill Clinton of sexual abuse and displaying them at the recent debate was another example of Trump using women as a commodity.

If reports from the Trumpenbunker are to be believed, he plans to double down on that strategy. And if Hillary Clinton were to respond in kind, she might have to charter a fleet of 747s to transport Trump’s accusers to the next presidential debate.

But the problem isn’t just obvious creepers like Trump and Limbaugh: Apply their boggled view of consent beyond Trump’s serial molestations to actual GOP policy practiced by so-called respectable Republicans, and it explains a lot.

Mainstream Republicans like governors Scott Walker and Tom Corbett, as well as a number of House GOPers, support legislation to force women seeking an abortion to undergo invasive transvaginal ultrasounds. It may sound like “state rape” to you and me, but if women are merely fetus-bearing vessels without an claim to consent, what’s the problem?

Even the “Never Trumpers” are revealing their views of women as they criticize Der Gropenführer. Here’s the godly and upright Erick Erickson on Twitter this morning:

See what he did there? In the featured article, he even helpfully links to a Wikipedia page describing the role of Bill Clinton campaign operative Betsey Wright in quelling rumors of Bill’s extramarital affairs, i.e., “bimbo eruptions.” Erickson unconsciously conflates consensual affairs with non-consensual groping, which is telling.

People like Erickson are going to solve the Republicans’ Trump problem? As my old ma used to say, “Bullshit!”

Anyhoo, as many have pointed out, 2008 taught us a great deal about America’s crushing problem with racism. And 2016 is revealing the depth of our misogyny problem. We’ve got a lot of work to do.

Comic Relief Open Thread: Ted Cruz, Reaping What He Sowed

Remember the old line about “We’ve already established you’re a whore; now we’re just haggling over your fee”? Well, Ted Cruz sold himself early, while the market was hot. What with all the breaking Trump news, I never got the chance to post Politico‘s story — Cruz profited off Trump well before endorsing him“:

It took Ted Cruz four months and three weeks of “careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience” to declare publicly that he would vote for Donald Trump.

He made the decision to profit by selling his supporter list to Trump far faster than that.

Just six weeks after he dropped out – and more than a month before Cruz would dramatically snub the nominee at the Republican National Convention – the senator quietly began renting his vast donor email file to his former rival, pocketing at least tens of thousands of dollars, and more likely hundreds of thousands, that can be used to bankroll the Texan’s own political future…

The exact details of Trump’s financial arrangement with Cruz are unclear, and loose federal record-keeping makes it impossible to verify. But an email rate sheet obtained by POLITICO shows that Cruz asks campaigns to pay more than $22,000 for the right to send a single email his list of 280,000 digital donors. He charges more than $51,000 to ping his full email file of 1.28 million supporters. Because Trump has rented Cruz’s list so often, he is almost surely receiving a negotiated discount from the list price, industry veterans say.

“You are just a send away from reaching the most engaged and generous supporters in Republican presidential primary history,” the Cruz rate sheet says. More than $20 million was raised from Cruz’s email list, it says.

Since he exited the presidential race in May, Cruz’s campaign committee has reported a total of roughly $290,000 in list rental income, Federal Election Commission records show. Trump’s campaign directly rented Cruz’s list five times in June and since early July his joint fundraising committee with the Republican National Committee — which gives 80 percent of its proceeds to Trump — has rented the Cruz’s list more than 25 times…

In addition to paying to rent Cruz’s list, his campaign has offered some candidates the ability to strike so-called “revenue-sharing” agreements where, unbeknownst to the donor, Cruz and the renter split the donation. The rate sheet suggests Cruz would receive 60 percent of those funds, while the renter would receive 40 percent…

Nowhere in the fine print of the Trump emails does it disclose to recipients that they ended up on the GOP nominee’s email list by previously signing up for Cruz’s list.

After campaigns end, many candidates hire third-party vendors to manage their valuable email lists, paying them a portion of the profits for their services. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who ended his brief presidential campaign deep in debt, has made back $441,000 in list rentals in the last year, FEC records show…

Much more detail at the link — it’s always interesting to see how many behind-the-scene grifters experts get a swig of the mother’s milk of politics.

The “Alt-Right” Is… Neither an Alternative, Nor Correct

From the Washington Post, company paper in the town whose monopoly industry is national politics:

On the eve of a planned speech here on Donald Trump’s ties to the “alt-right,” Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Wednesday accused her Republican opponent of “taking a hate movement mainstream.”

Clinton is scheduled to deliver remarks Thursday about a conservative movement often associated with white nationalism and fervent anti-immigration views that has cheered Trump’s candidacy, including his campaign’s recent hiring of the chairman of a website that caters to the alt-right.

“Donald Trump has shown us who he is, and we ought to believe him,” Clinton told host Anderson Cooper Wednesday night on CNN. “He is taking a hate movement mainstream. He’s brought it into his campaign. He’s bringing it to our communities and our country.”…

The alt-right began with a speech conservative writer Paul Gottfried delivered in 2008, after the Republican Party’s electoral wipeout. Gottfried called for an “alternative right” that could defeat “the neoconservative-controlled conservative establishment.” That idea was soon adopted by the “identitarian” nationalist Richard Spencer, who founded an Alternative Right website, but it was also claimed by supporters of Ron Paul and conservatives who opposed multiculturalism…

And “misogynist neo-Nazi xenophobes” just didn’t seem mainstream-friendly.

But it was Donald Trump’s presidential campaign that brought the movement into the mainstream. From the moment he told a national audience that Mexico was sending rapists and drug-dealers across the border, Trump surged in the polls….
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