Open Thread: 990 Reasons (But A Bigot Ain’t Got One)

From the Washington Post, “IRS punishes Richard Spencer’s white-nationalist group for failing to file returns“:

The nonprofit organization run by prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer has been stripped of its tax-exempt status after failing to file financial returns for three years.

The Washington Post reported in December that Spencer’s think tank, the National Policy Institute, had been allowed by the federal government to operate in financial secrecy since 2013. The IRS, Spencer said Tuesday, told him a few days ago that his Virginia-based organization had lost tax-exempt status because it hadn’t submitted the necessary records when it was supposed to…

The institute, which promotes a form of American apartheid, has functioned as a public charity that relies heavily on contributions. The IRS almost always requires such organizations to file returns that detail where the money comes from and how it is spent. For reasons the agency still hasn’t explained, Spencer’s group had been categorized among those not obligated to file any returns whatsoever, according to an examination by the Post

Despite the IRS’s miscue, the experts added, Spencer still had a duty to provide the documents, known as Form 990s. The error allowed the institute to avoid public scrutiny at a time when the alt-right — the term Spencer coined to describe a movement seeking a whites-only state — had garnered international attention…

The setback, Spencer said, shouldn’t devastate the institute’s fundraising efforts, in part because many donors wish to remain anonymous and wouldn’t claim the tax deduction anyway…

Gosh, one wonders why those generous individuals should be so shy about their public-spirited philanthropy?



Late Night Open Thread: Impotent Outrage All Over the Trump Compound

DougJ linked to this Washington Post article, but it’s too schadenfreudelicious not to share more:

Trump enters week seven of his presidency the same as the six before it: enmeshed in controversy while struggling to make good on his campaign promises. At a time when White House staffers had sought to ride the momentum from Trump’s speech to Congress and begin advancing its agenda on Capitol Hill, the administration finds itself beset yet again by disorder and suspicion.

At the center of the turmoil is an impatient president increasingly frustrated by his administration’s inability to erase the impression that his campaign was engaged with Russia, to stem leaks about both national security matters and internal discord and to implement any signature achievements…

Gnawing at Trump, according to one of his advisers, is the comparison between his early track record and that of Obama in 2009, when amid the Great Recession he enacted an economic stimulus bill and other big-ticket items…

Trump, meanwhile, has been feeling besieged, believing that his presidency is being tormented in ways known and unknown by a group of Obama-aligned critics, federal bureaucrats and intelligence figures — not to mention the media, which he has called “the enemy of the American people.”…

Trump was brighter Sunday morning as he read several newspapers, pleased that his allegations against Obama were the dominant story, the official said.

But he found reason to be mad again: Few Republicans were defending him on the Sunday political talk shows…

Gosh, Lord Smallgloves wonders why the GOP apparatchiks he tore up and climbed over to reach the Oval Office aren’t loyal? ‘Tis a puzzlement!

Much more chewy detail at the link. Betting line among the Media Village courtiers seems to be that Reince Preibus (speaking of party apparatchiks) is next off the sledge, but there’s so many weird characters in Trump’s train, there’s always another plot twist.

Not to mention the Rosencrantz & Guilderstern characters, such as a certain foundational Nixon-alumni ratfvcker, who (per Esquire) “Forgot Other People Can Read His Tweets[warning: possibly NSFW]:
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Open Thread: Just What Trump’s Heartland Fans Secretly Wanted

… Holiday television “staples” from the days when everyone watched the same three channels, mostly in black & white. For one brief shining moment, they can pretend Vice-President Nixon has succeeded Ike, and that snotty-nosed Papist with the funny accent never showed up to spoil everything.

Trump himself being a big-city sophisticate (for very cheesy values of ‘sophisticate’), it’s chapping his spray-tanned outer-borough arse, per TheWrap:

Donald Trump is so displeased with his team’s inability to lock in A-list talent for his inauguration events next month that he’s ordered a “Hail Mary” shakeup of his recruiters to try to book performers, a person familiar with the situation told TheWrap.

Mark Burnett, who produces “Celebrity Apprentice” with Trump and has been overseeing entertainment for inauguration festivities, has brought in talent recruiter Suzanne Bender, a former “Dancing With the Stars” and “American Idol” booker, to end an effective freeze-out by Hollywood, the insider said…

The Trump transition has been struggling for weeks to secure A-list talent for the inauguration celebration. The only person confirmed to perform at the event is Jackie Evancho, a 16-year-old former “America’s Got Talent” contestant. She is set to sing the national anthem before he takes the oath of office…

Performers who are known to have rejected requests include Elton John, country singer Garth Brooks and opera star Andrea Bocelli. According to the insider, many of those approached have said they do not want to “normalize” Trump’s presidency.

A knowledgeable individual said Bocelli met with the president-elect and agreed to perform, but then bowed out under pressure from fans. The individual also said longtime Trump friend and Vegas hotelier Steve Wynn had promised to deliver Celine Dion, but could not do so.

Wynn also failed to book Brooks, whom he signed in 2009 for a reported multi-million dollar four-year residency at one of his Las Vegas properties…

“If anyone does do it, I hope that the check that they get is in the nine figures. Because it’s probably the last check they’re ever going to get,” Dixie Chicks manager Simon Renshaw told TheWrap on Friday…

And they better be sure that check clears in advance, too.



Open Thread: Trump’s Dropping All Pretense

And you didn’t even know he had pretense! From the Washington Post article:

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has effectively shut down his high-dollar fundraising operation for the rest of the campaign, a highly unusual move that deals another serious blow to the GOP’s effort to finance its get-out-the-vote operation before Election Day.

Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s national finance chairman, said in an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday that Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee between the party and the campaign, held its last formal fundraiser on Oct. 19. The luncheon was in Las Vegas on the day of the final presidential debate.

While Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is headlining her last fundraiser Tuesday night in Miami, her campaign has scheduled 41 other events between now and Nov. 3 featuring high-profile surrogates such as her daughter, Chelsea, running mate Tim Kaine and the entertainer Cher, according to a schedule sent to donors this weekend.

Mnuchin said the Trump campaign decided to keep the candidate’s final weeks focused on taking his message to the voters in person rather than on raising money. There may be a handful of events in coming days featuring Trump surrogates, including his son Donald Jr., according to people familiar with the internal discussions. But Mnuchin said “there is virtually nothing planned.”

… Trump’s decision effectively turns off one of the main spigots to the Republican National Committee, which collected $40 million through Trump Victory as of Sept. 30. The party has devoted a large share of the funds to pay for its national voter mobilization program to benefit the entire Republican ticket.

RNC officials said that party leaders, including chairman Reince Priebus, are continuing to bring in resources for the party. “The RNC continue to fundraise for the entire GOP ticket,” said spokeswoman Lindsay Walters.

Mnuchin said Trump does not need high-dollar fundraisers because his campaign is being buoyed by online donations, which he said are on track to hit a new record in October…. But the RNC gets only 20 percent of the money that Trump raises online in conjunction with the party, while the vast majority of the big checks contributed to Trump Victory are routed to the party…

Trump has no respectable surrogates, and he’s lost interest in doing fundraisers now that it’s clear the party hopes to salvage other peoples’ campaigns rather than pumping up his. Sucks to be you, RNC!



The Republican Party is tearing itself apart. It’s about damn time.

The following is from a Tweetstorm I composed yesterday in the hours before that shitshow of a “debate.” There are probably some spelling and grammar errors, because for the most part, I just copied and pasted from my Twitter account, @soonergrunt.

Someone asked me recently why I’m a dick to Conservatives who engage me on Twitter. I’m not to everyone. @RadioFreeTom is a notable example. There are others. But I’ll tell you the answer now. I came to political conscience in the age of Ronald Reagan. I liked him as a person, but I didn’t agree with him on much. But I respected him. He was my President, for one thing, but also my parents taught me that the other side were decent people who wanted what they saw as best for the country. They just happened to usually be wrong. And sometimes they were right. That kind of consideration is something I’ve rarely received in return. Rare enough that I remember a lot of those respectful interactions.  They stick out due to their rarity.

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Late-Night Open Thread: Access! Hollywood!

Fahrenthold didn’t hesitate. Within a few moments of watching an outtake of footage from a 2005 segment on “Access Hollywood,” the Washington Post reporter was on the phone, calling Trump’s campaign, “Access Hollywood” and NBC for reaction.

By 4 p.m., his story was causing shock waves…

Fahrenthold, a 16-year veteran of The Post, said he knows who pointed him to the “Access Hollywood” video, but he will not reveal the identity because he promised anonymity to his tipster. But like many readers, he said he was surprised and shocked by what he saw on the tape…

Fahrenthold’s story proved to be the most concurrently viewed article in the history of The Post’s website; more than 100,000 people read it simultaneously at one point on Friday. The interest was so heavy that it briefly crashed the servers of the newspaper’s internal tracking system…

To be honest, I don’t think Trump’s boasts were about sex — they were about establishing his superior power/potency to a younger (better-looking, higher-status) young man. Of course, most sex crimes are less about sexual urges than about establishing the criminal’s “power” over another person, but Trump turns every human interaction into another simple-minded display of primate dominance. I could fuck her, if I wanted to, believe me! Because I’m a powerful hard-driving guy, with lots of money — a STAR!

Meanwhile, at the same paper, Chris “Mad Bitcher” Cillizza:

Mr. Cillizza: Delete your account. Fuck it — delete your career.

[ETA:]


===============

On Monday, according to an NBC source, one of the entertainment newsmagazine’s producers remembered Trump’s 2005 taping session with former “Access” co-host Billy Bush…

By mid-week, executive producer Rob Silverstein and his producing team had taken a look at its contents…

By Friday morning, Silverstein had decided to broadcast it, and a script had been written. The story was not slated to air on Friday night’s edition of the show, however.

That means the earliest it would have aired is Monday night — after Sunday’s presidential debate.

Another NBC source confirmed that “Access” was working on a story, and that NBC News knew about it, but said that as of Friday morning the story “wasn’t quite finalized.” …

Sounds to me like NBC was dragging the process out until they could see who “won” the debate Sunday night. If Clinton does well (as even the haterz are assuming she will), they’d have a little nugget of tribute to indicate their good intentions. If things weren’t so clear-cut, well…

And speaking of political criminals, yes Billy is one of THOSE Bushes…

Bush, 44, is the nephew of George H.W. Bush and cousin of George W. Bush. He got his start in radio before landing a job at the NBC affiliate in New York. He joined NBC’s syndicated entertainment program “Access Hollywood” as a correspondent in 2001 and has been a constant presence on NBC platforms ever since; he was eventually promoted to “Access Hollywood” co-anchor and frequently reported for the “Today” show, from award shows to Olympics coverage…

Bush was presumably added to the “Today” show roster to improve ratings for the 9 a.m. hour. But on Friday, as the Trump video circulated the Internet, comments flooded in, many from women — the “Today” show’s target audience….


Nobody
who hangs around Donald Trump comes off unscathed. Even the Bush crime clan can’t keep the stench off, and their founding father was a Hitler profiteer.



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.