Friday Evening Open Thread: Thoughts & Prayers


 
Paulie don’t care, he’s out the door come January if not sooner…



International Disgrace Open Thread: Happy Fathers’ Day, Repubs!



Open Thread: Invertebrate Paul Ryan Indicates A Shift in the Political Tide


 
Cynics point out that Paulie No-Balls waited until well after Trump’s bullshite ‘spygate’ fantasies had become settled wisdom among the Deplorable Base, but I think any sign of Ryan developing an allergy to Republican lies has to be a positive for truth, justice, and the American way:

Ryan (R-Wis.) described as “accurate” an initial assessment offered by week by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, who told Fox News that “the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do” in investigating information alleging certain Trump campaign advisers had suspicious ties to Russia…

Ryan was careful Wednesday not to disparage all of Nunes’s complaints with the Justice Department, a list of grievances that includes several unfulfilled demands for documents unrelated to the spying accusations. Democrats maintain Nunes is determined to undermine the law enforcement agencies and, by extension, the foundations of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the election’s outcome.

Ryan’s announcement appeared to surprise some fellow Republicans pushing for release of that information. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who has floated the possibility of impeaching Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller’s probe, declined to comment on Ryan’s take until after he had spoken directly with the speaker…


 
And speaking of organisms supremely sensitive to shifts in the prevailing ‘wisdom’…



Lyin’ Ryan Is the Fig Leaf for Trump’s Racist Immigration Agenda

One of the few amusements the Trump Error affords is reading accounts of awful people getting dressed down by an even more awful person. From Greg Sargent at The Post:

The New York Times reports that Trump erupted in a rage at Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other Cabinet members over the alleged failure to make “progress towards sealing the border.” According to the Times, Trump also raged about the “continued failure of his administration to find a way to build a wall along the southern border.”

The Post adds more reporting, noting that Trump’s “blowup lasted more than 30 minutes.” His face “reddened” as he railed that Nielsen must “close down” the border and shouted: “We need to shut it down. We’re closed.”

Other outlets reported that Nielsen, who tried to explain the complexity of the border situation but was shouted down, “almost resigned” over Trump’s tirade, composing but not handing in a resignation letter.

Gary Cohn allegedly wrote but didn’t submit a resignation letter after Trump defended Nazis in Charlottesville. I guess the unsubmitted resignation letter is the cabinet/adviser version of “Ivanka privately opposes.”

In The Post, Sargent points out Paul Ryan’s towering hypocrisy on the immigration issue:

Vulnerable Republicans in the House are pushing a discharge petition that would force a vote on immigration bills, including two measures that would grant the dreamers legal status, one of them packaged with fortifications to border security. Seventeen Republicans have signed the petition, meaning that if organizers can get eight more, it would pass, since Dems will support it — forcing a full House vote on whether the dreamers will be protected or remain in limbo.

Ryan is trying to stop this from happening. He justifies this by claiming that there’s no sense in voting on measures protecting the dreamers that Trump would veto. As Ryan put it: “We actually would like to solve this problem, and that is why I think it’s important for us to come up with a solution that the president can support.”

But this is utter nonsense, because there isn’t any deal that Trump is willing to support that can pass Congress… Ryan is trying to prevent a vote to protect the dreamers precisely because such a measure could pass the House… A deal protecting the dreamers in exchange for border security would probably pass the House by a comfortable margin, and it might pass the Senate — after all, passage in the House would bring tremendous pressure on moderate Republican senators — especially if the White House didn’t actively lobby against it.

But Trump will not accept any deal to protect the dreamers, even though it could very likely pass both chambers, unless it also contains deep cuts to legal immigration. So if the House passed it, the White House would lobby the Senate against it, and if that failed, Trump would then have to veto it. Either of those would look horrible, because after House passage, suddenly protections for the dreamers would appear in reach. This is the spectacle that Ryan is trying to avert — all to protect Trump from having his true priorities revealed in all their ugly glory.

Ryan no longer has to worry about reelection or hanging onto the speaker’s gavel, but he’s willing to hold a fig leaf over Trump’s ugly bits. Why? Because the Republican Party hopes to stock the courts with more fanatics, enable corporations to pollute and despoil without regulatory oversight and slash programs and policies that benefit the vulnerable, and while Trump is a big, fat, embarrassing, racist baby-man, he’ll happily sign that shit if they call it a “win” for him.

Oh well. At least we won’t be subjected to paeans about Ryan’s wonkishness, fiscal rectitude and principled conservatism much longer since he’s gonna cut and run after this term expires. That day can’t come soon enough.



Repub Venality Open Thread: Paul Ryan, Within the Limits of the Law

If there’s any doubt as to why Trump figured his bagman could practically plaster “THIS SPACE FOR RENT” signs on the Oval Office, here’s a Politico story — “Sheldon Adelson kicks in $30M to stop Democratic House takeover”:

The long-sought donation was sealed last week when, according to two senior Republicans, House Speaker Paul Ryan flew to Las Vegas to meet with the billionaire at his Venetian Hotel. Also at the meeting with Adelson was his wife, Miriam; Norm Coleman, the former Minnesota senator who chairs the Republican Jewish Coalition; Corry Bliss, who oversees the super PAC; and Jake Kastan, Ryan’s No. 2 political aide. They laid out a case to Adelson about how crucial it is to protect the House.

As a federally elected official, Ryan is not permitted to solicit seven-figure political donations. When Ryan (R-Wis.) left the room, Coleman made the ask and secured the $30 million contribution…

Adelson’s donation comes at a perilous moment for House Republicans, who are facing growing headwinds as they try to save their majority. With dozens of incumbents being outraised by emboldened Democratic challengers, desperate party officials have been hoping that Adelson — the party’s most prominent benefactor — would give more than he traditionally does, and earlier in the election cycle.

Adelson came through by giving now, as opposed to waiting until late summer or the fall.

The $30 million contribution is three times as much as Adelson gave to [the Congressional Leadership Fund] in 2016. And the cash comes much earlier in the cycle: In 2016, Adelson gave CLF $10 million in August, as the campaign headed into the homestretch…

Accepting a “love offering” is not illegal if you’re careful to be out of the room when the check gets passed.

Donald Trump is not some kind of malignant oddity that took over the formerly innocent Republican Party. Donald Trump is just the latest refinement on the GOP standard.



Lest We Forget Open Thread: Paul Ryan — Bad Man, “Good” German Republican

(Jim Morin via GoComics.com)
.

Paul Waldman, at the Washington Post, “A scam of a party says goodbye to its top fraud”:

The proximate cause of Ryan stepping down is that his party looks increasingly likely to suffer an electoral disaster in November’s midterm elections. He is facing an unusually strong challenge from Randy Bryce, the likely Democratic nominee in his Wisconsin district, so he probably calculated that there were two realistic outcomes for him. The worse one would be that he is defeated while his party loses the majority, as happened to then-speaker Thomas S. Foley (D-Wash.) in 1994. The better one would be that he holds on to his seat while Republicans lose the majority, which might not be better at all. Being speaker may have meant plenty of headaches for Ryan, but being House minority leader is a total drag; you still have to manage your unruly caucus, but you have no real power and can’t make any progress on your agenda…

For years, Ryan has presented himself as someone deeply concerned with fiscal discipline, committed to getting America’s books in order. As anyone with any sense realized, this was a scam: Like all Republicans, he used the deficit as a bludgeon against Democratic presidents, then forgot all about it while a Republican was in office.

At the same time, Ryan — a lifelong admirer of Ayn Rand, the philosopher of selfishness — dreamed of destroying the safety net, eviscerating Medicaid, privatizing Medicare, slashing food stamps, and generally making life in America more cruel and unpleasant for all those who aren’t wealthy.

But as Paul Krugman observed, Ryan failed at both his pretend goal and his real goal. He will leave office after setting the deficit on a path to exceed $1 trillion in 2020, and yet, he failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act and didn’t even bother to wage an assault on Medicare, almost certainly because he knew how disastrous it would be for his party.

So what does he mean when he says “I have accomplished much of what I came here to do”? He can only mean the tax cut Republicans passed last year. In other words, engineering a giant giveaway to corporations and the wealthy was enough for Ryan to say “My work here is done.”

Osita Nwanevu, at Slate, on “The Wolf in Wonk’s Clothing”:

[I]t’s worth revisiting now, as Ryan prepares his exit from politics, the thrust of the argument that the tale advanced—that, in general, the 20 million children in this country who receive free lunches have parents who clearly don’t care about them and that in providing food to those children, the government enables bad parenting. That sweeping judgment is impossible unless one considers poverty and economic hardship themselves personal failings. For about a decade now, Ryan has demonstrated that he believes precisely this—that those who have trouble making their way in the world are personally defective, that those immiserated by circumstance have willingly surrendered their lives to dysfunction, and that the best remedy society can offer to those who lack is to deprive them, in cuts to already meager social programs, of even more.

Shaping that dogmatism into pseudo-wonkery has taken years of wild and reckless obfuscation. Most of the analyses of where Trump “came from” have sought and found precedents for his open xenophobia, conspiracymongering, and boorishness in the rhetoric and behavior of Republican politicians in the recent past. But his mendacity and the constant consequence-free dissembling of his administration still baffle all those who’ve wondered aloud, over the past year and a half, how we so suddenly entered a new age of “post-truth” politics. We haven’t, really. Paul Ryan understood, like Trump, the extent to which the norms governing conventional political journalism have always been poorly equipped to handle naked and persistent dishonesty and disingenuousness. His speech to the 2012 Republican National Convention was littered with blatant lies…
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Farewell Ryan Open Thread: Requiem for A Heavyweight Fake


 
Nobody loves a quitter, but dayyum Paul Ryan has a lot of enemies! Of course, he’s taken credit for a budget bill that will explode the deficit while giving still more of our common wealth away to the least deserving plutocrats, while failing to rein in the worst impulses of the leaders of “his” party. And he’s abandoning ship just in time for an actual avowed white supremacist to take the lead in the GOP primary for his replacement, and guaranteeing that we’ll all get to watch at least two of the least appealing Repub congresscritters (Kevin McCarthy & Steve Scalise) fight like crazed weasels to take over his “throne”. Also, he’s the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver. But the Media Village Idiots always seemed to love him — yet the concensus of public comment right now seems to be GOOD RIDDANCE, at best. Of course the NYTimes is still slobbering over his “bravery”, and there may be television pundits still standing up for their Pauly Blue Eyes…


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