Election 2020 Open Thread: Buttigieg & the Primary Season Are Both Still (Comparatively) Young

Mayor Pete seems to have, among other assets, the priceless politician’s gift of timing in his gaffes. The gopbots and cosplay socialists who’d otherwise be laboring all night to gin up internet dissension over Buttigieg’s unfortunate remarks are too busy huzzahing their idiot king to make things worse, and it’s still a long year until the first primary votes are actually cast. Here’s the ever youth-romantic Dave Weigel at the Washington Post:

Buttigieg, who was elected mayor of South Bend, Ind., before he turned 30, is used to the double-takes. As his dark horse candidacy has gotten more attention, he’s leaned into his age, declaring himself a member of the “school shooting generation” that will live through the “business end of climate change.” The people who come to see him, sometimes clutching copies of his memoir, marvel at how he graduated from Harvard, attained a Rhodes scholarship and fought in Afghanistan — all before he combed gray hair.

“He’s the smartest guy I’ve ever met,” said Eric Schronce, 43, an Indiana-based attorney who left his family vacation in Myrtle Beach to drive to a Buttigieg event in Columbia, 150 miles away. “The last election was about emails and porn stars and whatever. I want an election about issues, and Pete knows the issues inside and out.”

The Indiana Democrat, who is expected to officially launch his candidacy next month, has turned years of “next big thing” coverage into a genuine presidential boomlet. He raised more than $1 million after a CNN town hall and appeared to have met the standard for entering the first Democratic debates. He’s adding to a skeletal staff, expanding his campaign headquarters and beginning to build the sort of operation that could compete in early states…

My emphasis; I for one had forgotten that Mayor Pete is not officially a candidate, just yet, under the arcane rules of our quadrennial political circus. Which is more reason to weight how much the current outrage will actually hurt Buttigieg, assuming he can avoid repeating his mistakes.

Long story short, for those of you who are not Extremely Online, at least during the weekends: Tweets from last July where Buttigieg ‘defended’ Mike Pence resurfaced, leading to some heated discussion over whether a mayor refusing to whole-throatedly attack his state’s former governor was permanently disqualifying or merely a mistake that his enemies would weaponize.

Then came The Interview:


If only he’d stopped there:


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Jesus Wept…While The GOP Laughed

I hope I never have enough snark in me to snark at this:

A 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died of dehydration and shock after she was taken into Border Patrol custody last week for crossing from Mexico into the United States illegally with her father and a large group of migrants along a remote span of New Mexico desert, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Thursday.

This child was in CBP custody for more than eight hours before she started seizing.  When someone finally checked her out, they found that

she “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days.”…

…An initial diagnosis by physicians at El Paso’s Providence Hospital listed the cause of death as septic shock, fever and dehydration, CBP said.

The quoted official response centers on a lie:

“Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstances…”

If they had done so, of course, she and all the refugees in her group would have received water in less than one third of a day.

The warehousing and brutalization of refugees is being done in our name, by people and an infrastructure at the border that is at best ill-equipped and insufficient for the task, and at worse, deliberately engaged in a campaign of exemplary mistreatment designed to décourager les autres.

So children die. In the care and under the “protection” of the US government; our government.  As a result of a policy that uses neglect as a tool of border enforcement.

This policy, this explicit choice is Donald Trump’s. But it is far from his alone. The GOP controls Congress. It could have chosen not to be party to the misery and sorrows unto death.  It did not.

Every Republican in national office is complicit.  All of them share in this tragedy, and the others we’ve heard about and the (likely) many more we haven’t.  The moral stain on America as a whole ain’t fading anytime soon, and the reckoning won’t even be able to begin until the GOP as it is now constituted goes the way of the Confederate States of America.

Last thought: I note we are in the midst of the holiday season, the culmination of which, as conservatives hasten to remind us, is the day on which Christians remember the birth of the Prince of Peace. What Babies Would Jesus Starve?

Image: Albrecht Dürer, Christ as the Man of Sorrows, c. 1493.








Fighting Fascists Open Thread: The Weekend Portland Protest

I couldn’t figure out why the “Proud Flesh Bois” and their “Patriot Prey-er” buddies picked last weekend for their cosplay riot, until I found this Daily Beast article by Corey Pein:

Hundreds of armed supporters of President Donald Trump, led by a fringe Republican congressional candidate, marched on Saturday, leaving blood from scattered street fights in their wake.

Ostensibly a campaign event for long-shot U.S. Senate hopeful Joey Gibson, members of his group Patriot Prayer urged the president to lock up his political opponents, including Hillary Clinton, and promised violent retribution for anyone who threatened their right to “free speech” or armed self-defense. Groups of Trump supporters swarmed through the streets, singling out people of color to fight, some of whom appeared to belong to small vigilante squads of local anti-fascists, as well as others who appeared to be mere passersby. Police announced four arrests, but gave no estimate of injuries.

Extremist group watchdogs such as the Southern Poverty Law Center warned ahead of the event that it could turn into “another Charlottesville.” It did not, but only in the sense that no one was killed. Such warnings, prompted by Gibson’s provocations, put all eyes on the rally…

His supporters flocked from around the West Coast and the country, a contingent of Proud Boys, “Three Percenter” militia members, Trump-supporting bikers, fundamentalist Christians, and college Republicans. Gibson had insinuated that his supporters would bring guns into the city and many apparently did, although to comply with local ordinances, the weapons stayed stowed in backpacks…

Per the local Oregonian, today:

A traumatic brain injury. Third-degree chemical burns. Open wounds.

At least three people who gathered to protest a rally by right-wing group Patriot Prayer were hospitalized Saturday because of injuries sustained from crowd-control munitions fired by Portland police, according to activists, counter-protest organizers and a media report.

The city’s police chief, Danielle Outlaw, on Monday offered her most passionate defense yet of officer tactics used to keep the rival poetical factions apart.

Police succeeded in preventing violent clashes between armed demonstrators that many had feared, she said…

“It was going to be a very rowdy, physically violent ruckus and it was not that because of the actions that the officers took,” Outlaw said…


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By Their Works Shall Ye Know Them

With Trump and his Trumpkins — aka the entire Republican power structure — the extremes of grotesque behavior serve a purpose: in the disgust they evoke, they distract us from the point of the whole exercise.  That would be, of course, extracting as much cash as possible through the exercise of arbitrary power.

Today’s example — actually, now about a week old — comes from griftmonger supreme Scott Pruitt.  All the grandiose corruption, stiffing aids for hotel rooms, buying a Maxwell Smart cone of silence, unobtanium-infused skin cream and the rest was the sizzle. The steak was wrecking the environment at the behest of one corporate master or another.  This was true to the bitter end:

In his last act as EPA Administrator on Friday, Scott Pruitt vacated an Obama-era ruling that dramatically restricted sales of polluting “glider” trucks.

What are glider trucks, you may ask? (I did.)  Do they serve any useful social purpose?

You be the judge:

The glider trucks, led by manufacturer Fitzgerald Glider Kits, are new truck bodies and frames fitted with old, diesel engines that pre-date emissions controls.

Those engines emit as much as 43 times the carcinogenic particulate matter and 13 times as much smog-forming nitrogen oxides as modern diesel truck engines. In the presence of sunlight, nitrogen oxides form smog, which has been linked to asthma.

The whole thing was a scam, exploiting a loophole that was supposed to allow the reuse of new engines if a rig was totalled, but instead installing pre-2007, high polluting engines in new truck bodies.

Pruitt used a debunked and then retracted study that claimed the highly polluting engines were somehow magically transformed into cleaner ones in their new clothes in a move that bars the EPA from enforcing the Obama-era rules this year and next.

I’m not sure exactly what Pruitt’s profit-center is here, given that everyone — and I mean everyone — hates these things.

Manufacturers such as Virginia-based heavy-truck maker Volvo, Illinois-based Navistar, and Cummins, which makes diesel engines in Indiana, all opposed Pruitt’s efforts to keep the loophole open, as did UPS, which buys thousands of long-haul trucks. Name-brand truck and engine makers have invested millions in developing the cleaner engine technology.

“I cannot recall an issue with such a breadth of opposition,” Paul Billings, national senior vice president for advocacy at the American Lung Association told the Washington Post.

Was this simply bidnezz–some quid pro quo between Pruitt and the one truck company making a buck of these shit-spewing rigs? Or was this just one last f**k you to liberals on the way out?

I guess it could be both, or rather, it was certainly the latter, plus whatever personal corruption Pruitt was able to extract from the deal.  But my point (and I do have one, besides generalized disgust and impotent rage) is that this his how Trump’s administration rolls, and it’s exactly as the Republican Party and its paymasters intended it to.

While the gaudy scandals dominate our attention and most of the media effort, the executive departments and agencies are keeping very busy, creating or gutting rules, making decisions, operating almost completely unexamined, in ways that transfer wealth to the chosen few, and risk and consequences to everyone else.

I’m not sure there’s a shovel big enough to clean manure pile these assholes are depositing in our stable.

Pace Adam:  I’m doing a really crappy job staying frosty these days.

Open thread.

Image: Elihu Vedder, Corrupt Legislation, mural in the main reading room, Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, 1896



Open thread

Open thread