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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Thursday Morning Open Thread: Rooting for Injuries (But Not Describing Them)

(Tom Toles via GoComics.com)
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Since I am not by nature a nice person, I’ll admit that stories like this make me quietly gleeful. From the Washington Post, “Senate Republicans have tolerated Trump’s controversies. His treatment of Sessions is different”:

Cornyn is not alone in rallying to the defense of Sessions, who, despite sometimes having waged lonely battles as one of the chamber’s most staunch conservatives, still has many friends among Senate Republicans. Most have issued statements of support, and several are making private calls to reassure Sessions that they are behind him.

But the tension over Trump’s treatment of Sessions goes beyond the senators defending a friend.

Unlike any other controversial move that Trump has pondered in his six months as president, Senate Republicans are sending preemptive signals that firing the attorney general or pressuring him to resign would be a terrible move.

Some have warned high-level White House officials that it would look as though Trump were making the move solely to shut down an investigation of his campaign and the White House, now overseen by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, while also making clear that they agree with Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from an investigation of the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia.

Replacing Sessions would be difficult, and the idea of Trump making a recess appointment during the planned four-week break in August is foolhardy. Democrats can indefinitely stall a resolution to fully adjourn the Senate, having already forced minute-long periods during even shorter breaks to prevent Trump from having the authority to make temporary appointments while the Senate is away.

Democrats may have vehemently opposed Sessions’s nomination, but they have no intention of allowing Trump to fire him and name a new attorney general with a recess appointment, and frankly, Republicans do not seem to want to give Trump that power either…

What’s on the agenda, as we start another bound-to-be-beleagured day?

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Speaking of public schadenfreude: Having grown up in the sort of family where interactions tended to start with a challenge and escalate explosively, I’ve spent the past forty years learning that not every dark thought needs to be described exhaustively. Not only does such gleeful venting disturb those who come from less toughened environments, but it’s really quite stressful to keep up the paranoia level that’s essential when you know at a bone-deep level that talking the talk is liable to lead to walking a very unpleasant walk.

This is John Cole’s blog, and it will never be mistaken for an Oberlin drum circle. But rest assured, no matter how inventive your torture scenarios for those public officials who most absolutely deserve them, there is no membership requirement that those scenarios be shared in the comments.

Venting is important, especially in this Trump era, but not everybody here has the same tolerance for violence porn. Wish all the bad cess on Republicans and other miscreants that they deserve, but try to keep in mind that it’s not a competition to see which of us can produce the most disturbing rant.



Late Night Open Thread: SAD!

(Courtesy of Schroedinger’s Cat)
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Not us Dems, of course — but this guy:

What’s that again, Donald?…



About This Afternoon

These messages, encountered on a foggy morning on the Venice (CA) boardwalk last week, seem on point:

Sorry for the soft focus — I had only time to grab a quick phone shot; these bearers of wisdom disappeared before I could unlimber some more sophisticated camera action.  But the point is made, I think.

I had a ten-day Flagyl imposed alcohol break, but that ended last night.  I plan to raise a cocktail tonight flavored with sweet, sweet wingnut tears.  La lucha continua, certainly.  But that doesn’t mean triumphs along the way can’t be savored. In fact the reverse.

Open thread, y’all.








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.