Open Thread: #Persisting


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Meanwhile, on Planet Repub…

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Further Russiagate Open Thread: A Caution from Kindly Uncle Ben…

a/k/a Benjamin Wittes, at LawFare:


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That being said…



Early Morning Open Thread: Roy Moore — Take the Money & Sc(r)am?

Huntsville, Alabama news station WHNT:

The Republican Senate Nominee Roy Moore was the keynote speaker Thursday night at the Madison County Liberty Gala. It was his first major public appearance since several news stories broke this week involving his personal and campaign finances.

Most notably, the Washington Post ran a story about him taking more than a million dollars in undisclosed money from a charity, later run by Moore’s wife.

Moore was scheduled to speak to reporters after the speech, but we got word just about an hour before his address that Moore was not going to be taking any questions.

No reason was given for why that was canceled.

Moore did not directly address any of the controversies that surrounded his campaign but did say, he’s been accused of things he has not done…

Urban cynic that I am, I begin to suspect that ol’ Judge Moore had settled happily into a quasi-legitimate semi-retirement grift until the unexpected success of a certain Donald Trump roiled up the rubes all across thisyere great nation. What with a Godless fella like Trump getting his face and philosophy all over the tee-vee, suddenly doing a trickle of expense-account speaking gigs while his family cashed steady checks for their talent at being related to Judge Moore just didn’t seem… sufficient for God’s devoted servant.

Then the WaPo struck again — “Charity once led by Roy Moore has listed its headquarters for sale, a move that could bring him $540,000 windfall”:

The 1850s-era building was put on the market in April for nearly $1.9 million by Moore’s wife, Kayla, now president of the charity, said Ed Fleming, the listing agent for the property. Fleming said Kayla Moore and her husband were “thinking of moving and retiring” at the time.

“I deal with Kayla. She made the decision,” he said.

The circumstances of the listing add to questions swirling around the charity and more than $1 million in compensation for Roy Moore while he was working part time from 2007 to 2012. Kayla Moore took over as president in 2013, earning $65,000 a year.

On Wednesday, The Washington Post revealed that the nonprofit group, the Foundation for Moral Law, agreed to pay Moore $180,000 in annual salary, far more than the charity reported paying him in most of those years, and to honor the agreement even in years it did not have enough in contributions.

Moore was given a promissory note for back pay in 2011, tax filings and mortgage documents show, the first public indication that his annual compensation surpassed what had been reported. The note, backed by a second mortgage on the building that serves as the charity’s headquarters, was eventually worth $540,000, mortgage records show.

Kayla and Roy Moore declined multiple requests for interviews…
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Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Delicious!

I try to keep this first post of the day upbeat & happy, and by gods this makes me happy. From the Washington Post:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lost just about every way possible on Tuesday.

The Kentucky Republican had to abandon, again, an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act amid an uprising from the more moderate wing of the GOP caucus. Then he learned that one of his most influential Republican chairman would not run for reelection next year, setting up a potentially divisive race to succeed the senator.

Finally, before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, McConnell suffered the final indignity: His preferred candidate in Alabama, Sen. Luther Strange (R), lost the GOP nomination in embarrassing fashion to a conservative insurgent who vowed that his victory would send a message that McConnell and his allies should “run scared for a while.”

While no stranger to defeat in the past — he spent eight years as minority leader — McConnell’s string of losses in such a short timespan Tuesday punctured much of his well crafted image as the consummate insider who could deliver.

Each blow had its own unusual circumstances, with President Trump’s own erratic performance playing a role, but McConnell’s failures came in nearly every facet of congressional leadership…

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Apart from wishing (ever more) confusion to our enemies, what’s on the agenda for the day?

One senior Trump administration official told The Daily Beast that the president is “well prepared to” shovel blame onto McConnell if and when the latest Obamacare repeal effort goes down in flames later this week. Another Trump confidant noted that the president regularly vents about “Mitch’s” seeming inability to get “anything over the finish line.”

A White House official joked that it has proven a winning “formula” for Trump to go after the unpopularity of top GOP brass, including McConnell, ever since the campaign. Trump even spent the last few days hammering home the point that Strange (who is locked in an election fight against former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice Roy Moore) isn’t even all that close to McConnell politically or personally, and that Strange would be “fighting Mitch” in the Senate as an authentic conservative…

… Possibly I’m not quite as happy as the Talibangelical-humping mouthbreathers of the far right, but then I can envision further than 48 hours into the future. If they wanna make Mitch even more uncomfortable, I fully endorse their choice of target. And I’m not the only one:



Late Night Open Thread: Enjoying the Chaos, for Once

Politico is every bit as surprised as the #MAGA-heads! “GOP Feels Betrayed… “

Donald Trump’s latest fling with Democrats has plunged the Republican Party into a state of confusion and outrage that far surpasses the frustration with his debt ceiling deal with the minority last week.

While GOP leaders were able to brush off the debt pact as no big deal, after Thursday they were reminding the president that they — not the Democrats — run Congress. Though they differed on whether to bill it as a deal, Trump and Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi agreed in some fashion that they want to shield so-called Dreamers from deportation and beef up border security, leaving the fight over the border wall for later.

That left Republicans grappling with a frightening new potential reality: that Trump will cut controversial deals with Democrats and leave them to pick up the pieces…

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) suggested Trump was duped by Democrats’ rush to declare a deal, and that the president didn’t actually agree to set aside funding for his prized border wall.

“One side runs out and tries to frame what was said in there and then he has to go out and clarify. That’s not healthy,” McCarthy said.

Still, Trump’s exasperation with GOP leadership is boiling over. After watching the Obamacare repeal effort crash and burn after seven months of work, two weeks of talks with Democrats have yielded far more action. Trump has signaled that he wants the talks to continue, and a person familiar with Wednesday night’s meeting described it as “jovial” and far more pleasant than meetings with GOP leaders…

Yeah, it won’t last — as soon as the Repubs start talking tax cuts, they’ll be “President” Manbaby’s best buds once again. But the more bitter memories come between them when that happens, the better it will be for the rest of us.



Saturday Evening Open Thread: *Whew!*

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We’re going out of town for a few days. I’ll be bringing my laptop, but if this is my last post for a while, blame it on the tech gremlins.
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With that load off his tiny mind, Lord Smallgloves can give full attention to his more recent grievances. AP‘s joined the media crowd poking him with sticks:

After a summer of staff shake-ups and self-made crises, President Donald Trump is emerging politically damaged, personally agitated and continuing to buck at the confines of his office, according to some close allies.

For weeks, the West Wing has been upended by a reorganization that Trump has endorsed and, later, second-guessed, including his choice of retired Marine Gen. John Kelly as chief of staff. The president recently lashed out at Kelly after a boisterous rally in Phoenix, an incident relayed by a person with knowledge of the matter. In private conversations, Trump has leveled indiscriminate and harsh criticism on the rest of his remaining team.

Seven months into his tenure, Trump has yet to put his mark on any signature legislation and his approval ratings are sagging. Fellow Republicans have grown weary of his volatility, and Trump spent the summer tangling with some of the same lawmakers he’ll need to work with in the coming weeks to pass a government funding bill, raise the country’s borrowing limit and make a difficult bid for tax overhaul legislation.

“He’s in a weak position,” said Christopher Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax and a longtime Trump friend. “A lot of the Republican establishment has not been supportive, his poll numbers are down and he has spent most of his early presidency appealing to his base while most presidents would be seeking more consensus.”…

…[T]he government’s largely well-received handling of [Hurricane Harvey] has not soothed Trump’s own frustrations, according to those who speak with him regularly. Trump told one associate he missed his old life in New York. And he’s become increasingly focused on the prospect of losing support among his core supporters — the voters he once said would stick with him even if he shot someone on New York’s Fifth Avenue.

“I don’t think it’s a worry or a concern as much as it’s a reality,” Roger Stone, a longtime informal adviser to the president, said of Trump’s preoccupation with his base. “It’s a reality that he understands politically.”

Polls show Trump losing a bit of ground with some of his core constituencies. A Fox News survey released last week put Trump’s overall approval rating at 41 percent, and notably cited a 7 percentage point drop among conservatives and a 9 point drop among whites without a college degree, one of Trump’s strongest voting groups…



Schadenfreude Open Thread: XXXSCARAMOOCH!

My old man always told me, never trust a man who makes up his own nickname. The new WH Communications Director is proud to announce that he calls himself “The Mooch”.

Of a certain Sicilian-import social club, during my Bronx youth, the saying went: Those who know don’t talk; those who talk don’t know.

New Yorker journalist Ryan Lizza is a happy man today, because Tony ‘the Mooch’ Scaramucci talks a lot:

On Wednesday night, I received a phone call from Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director. He wasn’t happy. Earlier in the night, I’d tweeted, citing a “senior White House official,” that Scaramucci was having dinner at the White House with President Trump, the First Lady, Sean Hannity, and the former Fox News executive Bill Shine. It was an interesting group, and raised some questions. Was Trump getting strategic advice from Hannity? Was he considering hiring Shine? But Scaramucci had his own question—for me.

“Who leaked that to you?” he asked. I said I couldn’t give him that information. He responded by threatening to fire the entire White House communications staff. “What I’m going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team and we’ll start over,” he said. I laughed, not sure if he really believed that such a threat would convince a journalist to reveal a source. He continued to press me and complain about the staff he’s inherited in his new job. “I ask these guys not to leak anything and they can’t help themselves,” he said. “You’re an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country. So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.”…

I asked him why it was so important for the dinner to be kept a secret. Surely, I said, it would become public at some point. “I’ve asked people not to leak things for a period of time and give me a honeymoon period,” he said. “They won’t do it.” He was getting more and more worked up, and he eventually convinced himself that Priebus was my source.
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