Open Thread: Take the Ride

Let’s acknowledge it: we’re in limbo vacillating between shock and cynical recognition. We can’t believe we’re reading/watching/hearing this escalating chaos and yet we’ve known and expected it since before Inauguration Day.

In the background there’s a clock ticking loudly, a countdown to mid-term election day. Many windows begin to close between now and then.

We’re pulling into Crazytown.

I’ve thought of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson too many times these past few weeks, wondering what he might have said about increasingly weird events unfolding. Would he have said once again,

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.

I think we’ve doubled down on insanity and it’s clearly not working.

Nor can I subscribe to his philosophy,

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

Somebody has taken this to heart and it’s cost the rest of us dearly — literally thousands of American lives lost, taken negligently by leadership living to their own extremes. This philosophy cares too little for others who are entitled to the same freedom to live fully.
But HST had a grasp on truth.

“In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”

Those who have taken control of our country don’t really care about others; they don’t care about the social contract. They only worry about getting their well-paved road to their personal oblivion and not getting caught along the way.

HST did leave us a helpful hint, though, in spite of his go-out-guns-blazing approach to life:

“We cannot expect people to have respect for law and order until we teach respect to those we have entrusted to enforce those laws.”

We may be pulling into Crazytown but we can teach the occupants a thing or two. Don’t shilly-shally about, either.

“A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.”

Buckle up and begin.

“Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

This is an open thread. Bring it.

126 replies
  1. Willis Warren says:

    It’s so bad I’ve quit drinking for a few months.

    I’m blown away by the blatant lying that Kavanaugh has done.  I mean, there has to be a way, legally, to basically undo the Trump years.  I would advocate a vicious removal of every fucking judge appointed during this shit show.

    • Rayne says:

      I hear you there. Who wants to see additional chemically-induced bats when there’s a plethora of monsters roaming about undaunted?

      And yes, add repairing the judiciary to the wash list. I’m glad Amy Siskind kept track of not-normal events every week so we can unwind this mess in detail and fix the underlying causes to boot.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        I remember feeling the same way after Bush the Younger, so much damage done, so much to clean up.  I remember a lot of discussion about how the Bush regime had pressured long-time civil service employees to leave and were filling the ranks with sycophants. How are we going to fix this?–the question was asked with great urgency.  Of course, nothing was done to correct the problem.  It was hard to believe then that the Dems weren’t sincerely as upset as I was, but the instant Dems controlled the WH and Congress, most of my erstwhile on-line allies forgot all about the sins they had been so passionate about when a Rep was doing it:  Guantanamo, illegal wars, drones, transparency of government, and on and on.  This time it’s even harder to believe that recent events haven’t sobered them up.  In fact, despite my lifelong experience, I can’t fully believe that, assuming our votes still can determine election results, that incoming Dems will not be sobered up by the danger these years of poor governance have created. Is control of the US by a hostile foreign power finally, at long last, a bridge too far? Cynical and freaky as he was, could HST envision such craven, seditious behavior as we see these days? Frankly, I doubt it.

        Dizzying times.

        • Rayne says:

          Dems were very upset; they created a blue wave in 2006 and laid the groundwork to elect the first black president.

          The problem began almost immediately after Obama took office: the DNC rejected the work Howard Dean as DNC chair had implemented and dropped the ball on maintaining a relationship with the voters who installed their candidate in the White House, at a time when the Kochs figured out how to use a synthetic grassroots organization to push the GOP further to the right. We lacked an effective counter in both party leadership and messaging to halt the rightward drift and overcome the inertia created by the illusion of success.

          I’ve pointed this out before: Obama said “Now make me,” borrowing from FDR. He was going to be pulled to the right to get anything done under a GOP congressional majority. We out here failed him. We didn’t provide the kind of cover necessary for him to remain center let alone move left. Look at the kinds of protests which helped change public sentiment about marriage equality and the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy — Lt. Dan Choi chained to the White House fence comes to mind immediately. Imagine what might have happened had we protested with the same vigor against permanent detention, crappy foreign policy, and climate change denialism as well as at state level with gerrymandering and other voter suppression techniques.

          We are the leaders we’ve been waiting for, for far too long.

          • Doctor My Eyes says:

            I couldn’t disagree more. We were called fucking retards the first week. First interview to Fox News. We would have had a little better chance of “making him” if any of us were included in policy meetings along with, say the insurance companies for health care. I canvassed for him. I knew his book of promises like the back of my hand. He ignored most of them and gave lip service to a few. “Whistleblowers are important”became most whistleblowers prosecuted in history. “Most transparent administration in history” became business as usual. When we the people tried a more active approach with the occupy movement, he coordinated a federal crackdown and lied about it. Activists were tortured in that crackdown. That’s how he responded to attempts to “make him”.

            • Rayne says:

              His own party needed to “make him.” The same thing that the Tea Party did to the GOP — which worked well enough to take Congress in 2010 and terrorize the GOP into lockstep for two more Congressional terms. The same thing Americans for Tax Reform did from mid-1980s up to the Tea Party’s inception; ATR wasn’t populated with Democrats.

              Think harder about the difference between a loosely-organized recently-established entity with little infrastructure which doesn’t have political clout in the form of candidates versus a long-established political party with representation approaching 1/2 of Congress in 2010.

              And then think about the blue wave of 2006 and Obama’s success in 2008. That was built by a progressive entity which deliberately went inside the Democratic Party to push it left. The Tea Party learned a lot from them.

              I’m done with this. I’ve got other posts to work on, let alone sleep deprivation to remedy.

              • Doctor My Eyes says:

                Just one thing, then I’m done commenting here.  The Tea Party weren’t a grassroots movement, they were a corporate creation.  They enjoyed free time on national media.

                Your condescension is duly noted, including the “tantrum” comment elsewhere.  I guess we who wanted accountability for torture and other war crimes are like children, purist, petulant. And it’s now somehow it’s mysteriously our fault that the Dems did not go take care of Kavanaugh along with Yoo.

                I’m working hard to elect Dems this time around because of the extraordinary situation.  Then I’m well and truly done with the lot of you. Your warmongering, corporate-friendly, incrementalism does not represent me. The condescension and insults are just the icing on the cake.

    • Ollie says:

      @willis warren.  I shared here my similar fears regarding the judges being set by Trump.  I believe it was Avattar (I hope it was) who assured me of basically this.  If the judges appointed by T are so bad, so ignorant in their job they won’t hold up to the scrutiny of other non political judges who are highly regarding and respected in the judicial arenas.  Anyhow, I get kinda anxious sharing publicly and I really hope I did Avattar justice in *paraphrasing/ sharing his comment.  I tried to find it but I’d be doing that for hours here, lol.  Anyway.  I get pretty stressed out over the bamboozling us people have to take over and over by poor representation in congress.  That said,

      I get an extremely great amount of comfort here at this blog.  The factual.ness of these dear souls, grounds me.  There is so much fucking information out there that it truly is overwhelming AND what really can you trust anymore?  Okay.  Enough out of me, hahaha

    • Rayne says:

      This is our fundamental problem: the left in this country still believes in sane, rational government while the right-wing has gone professionally weird, utterly trashing any ability to have reasoned discourse. Any attempt to talk about the inefficiency of an economic system rewarding the haves even when they fail while crushing the have-nots — the true majority in this country — and the right-wing goes even weirder, more irrational.

      We’re going to have to come to grips with our own weird and go pro.

  2. DrFunguy says:

    I agree with Pierce and others re. yesterday’s NYT editorial. Hiding behind anonymity is cowardly.
    You bought the ticket but now you are hiding under your seat while trying to trip the conductor from time to time.
    If they object so much to the President’s actions they can: loudly resign in protest, attempt a 25th amendment solution or shut up.
    They want to go back to their wingnut welfare jobs at Heritage or Federalist, get the courts packed with their sheet-sniffing hypocrites and allow businesses to poison the poors but some of his actions are a bridge too far? Oh please!

    • Bob Conyers says:

      I’m pretty ticked off that the NY Times opinion page published this.

      I read a dismissal email they wrote in response to a pitch from a liberal writer, and the gist of it was your stuff is well written but not original.

      Well, the anonymous piece they ran wasn’t original and it was poorly written. The news has been full of anonymous complaints from Trump officials and staffers about the moody old president that they continue to serve. And the arguments in the anonymous piece were hackneyed and dull.

      Bennet, if he had any soul, would have referred this writer to the news side and let them decide if there was anything newsworthy there. They probably would have screwed it up, but at least there’s a chance there would have been some real reporting around it, instead of an unfiltered bit of self justification. But of course Bennet was looking for the buzz, and why apply the usual standards when they can get the phony lift from a meaningless piece?

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      I found this tweet by


      Is he saying that HJC does *NOT* take public information into account?

      That HJC needs to be CC’ed in order to buy a vowel?

      “I have no respect for someone who would say these things—of whose truth I have no doubt—in an anonymous oped, rather than in a public resignation letter copied to the House Judiciary Committee.”

      [Maybe it is Pence. No way the Manchurian Candidate will resign]

      • Eric S says:

        They do it constantly, but just in terms of presentation, I hope the NYT would find it too deliberate and obvious a participatory relationship with Pence, to publish that pile, (unctuous self praise meant to clear out the oval office), and be a vehicle in such a nifty design to improve his odds to take over. That dramatically? Calling that much attention to themselves?

        The smarmy tone of the writing, the virulent superiority, and pride in being an evil  menace, the thought that destruction is competence, all do seem Pence-like.

        My mind keeps going to that episode where he pre planned in advance to go to a football game where the athletes would kneel, so he could walk out in a public huff, and join his waiting, expectant, scheduled to the minute, motorcade.  I can’t state the connection coherently, but its the same behavior as writing that anonymous bit.  Wimpy, manipulative, tattle-tale, best-boy behavior.

      • Eric S says:

        They do it constantly, but just in terms of presentation, I hope the NYT would find it too deliberately and obviously a participatory relationship with Pence, to publish that pile, (unctuous self praise meant to clear out the oval office), and be a vehicle in such a nifty design to improve the odds of a sitting vice president to take over the presidency. That dramatically? Calling that much attention to themselves?

        The smarmy tone of the writing, the virulent superiority, and pride in being an evil  menace, the thought that destruction is competence, all do seem Pence-like. All that is missing is a statement that marriage is between a man and a woman.

        My mind keeps going to that episode where he pre planned in advance to go to a football game where the athletes would kneel, so he could walk out in a public huff, and join his waiting, expectant, scheduled to the minute, motorcade.  I can’t state the connection coherently, but its the same behavior as writing that anonymous bit.  Wimpy, manipulative, tattle-tale, best-boy behavior.

    • Zardoz says:

      My anonymous ‘sources’ (in my head) say that the anonymous author was none other than QAnon himself … who knows about such matters – because he is one of the intel ‘insiders’. Thus he would have the bona fides to pass the NYT’s scrutiny (if QAnon is an actual person that is).

      But seriously, this editorial only serves to confirm in the minds of the 30%-ers that Trump’s and QAnon’s claims are indeed true. And recently, on the same day, or near to it, both Giuliani and John Brennan stated that we are near to violence breaking out into the streets.

      With Woodward’s book (helping bolster former insider Omarosa’s) and the NYT piece turning the orange jump suit into a raging volcano, are we near to Trump’s “Night of the Long Knives”? Thus preempting any chance of engaging with the 25th Amendment?

    • Lee says:

      My reading of the op-ed can be paraphrased thus:  “Yes, Trump is unfit for office.  But we, your loyal Republican bureaucrats, are bravely doing what needs to be done to keep the US from falling off a cliff.  Have heart.  Remember that Trump is a one-off, an anomaly, not the natural result of decades of failed GOP policies and politics.  We’re almost happy to have to defend you against Trump, since he’s so obviously bad that he makes everyone else (GWB???) look like saints by comparison.  We needed Trump to push our agenda for a little while, then when the time is right we’ll pull the 25th and let Trump go as the scapegoat for all the sins of the GOP.  In the meantime, there is no reason to panic and vote Democrat come November because you see, no matter how bad things look, there are adults in the shadows protecting your interests.  Like cutting taxes on the obscenely wealthy so they can afford yet another private yet, removing safeguards against the next financial meltdown and destroying the social safety net.  And looking the other way while Russia steals another election — all for your convenience.”

      How did I do?

      • Peacerme says:

        Yes. The way I read it….”there’s a group of us colluding with the crazy pres so that we can take advantage of him. We are too afraid to do the safest thing in protecting America. We feel powerless and prefer not being held accountable. Please don’t blame us for going along. We have to go along because all we can do is keep an eye on him and not make him mad. It not our fault. We are doing all we can. We are powerless victims.” Please!!! No grown up wrote that letter!!

  3. coral says:

    This is the post I needed to read today. After the news on Woodward book, the anonymous op-ed, the Supreme Court debacle, the shocking acquiescence of the entire GOP, the separation of children, and the polling showing Trump commands a steady 30-40%. I’ve been in semi-shock since Nov 2016, but after the exposure of Trump’s sheer insanity…I’m beginning to believe that this is the end of the America, flawed as it was, that I grew up with, along with any pretense of decency by the ruling party.

    It’s worse than disheartening. It’s terrifying. I truly have no idea what comes next.

    • Bob Conyers says:

      My guess is that we’re going to see an ugly lame duck session, assuming (fingers crossed, knock on wood) the Democrats take the House. McConnell, Ryan and Trump will try to jam through as much as they can, by any means possible. If the Democrats fail to take the House, we’ll see a bit more leisurely approach by the GOP.

      Even if the Democrats get lucky and take the Senate, there is no way they will defeat the filibuster and vetos, so the odds of legislation getting through is extremely low.

      On the plus side, you will see lots of investigations rolling, and subpoenas will fly. I suspect you will also see a lot of stonewalling by Trump, and a lot of court cases trying to wrench information and testimony from his administration. There will be legimate grounds for DOJ investigations coming out of Congress that the new Sessions will do everything in his power to squelch.

      But I think this will happen (again, knock on wood, fingers crossed) against the backdrop of increasing scandal and public disgust with Trump and the GOP. There is simply no way to stop all of the investigations, and people who were sloppy with their documents going back to 2015 are going to be miserable.

      Trump’s taxes will be released. Trump will only get more apocalyptic. The oligarchs will push their luck and make ever increasing demands on the GOP for even dumber moves. And we’ll see a stubborn retreat of support for the Republicans.

      Within the GOP, early 2019 is the deadline for any serious presidential run. And there is no way nobody takes the plunge. Even if they think 2020 is a lost cause, the pressure to establish a national base for 2024 means that somebody is going to try to be the face of the GOP renaissance starting next year. And others will proclaim their loyalty to Trump while setting up their claim to his voters should he not make it to 2020.

      Will the GOP try to come up with a pretext for removing Trump? I wouldn’t rule it out, but I can’t see him going easily. However, for Pence the clock is ticking. If he wants to be president in any meaningful way, he needs to make his move soon, and quite frankly I don’t think he has the independent strength he needs to make it happen.

      What scares me the most is not the expected run of events, however, but the unexpected. Trump has benefitted from an unusually quiet state of affairs. The economy can’t keep performing moderately well, no disasters on the scale of Maria have hit a place the media considers newsworthy, and there are no overseas crises that have focused on the rapid decline in US capacity to act.

      I’m hopeful that our system is still resiliant enough to correct for our political problems, but I fear what will happen if it is also hit with an external crisis while we are under repair.

  4. Ralphy says:

    When Mueller finally shows his cards and the President is proven to have conspired with Russia and others to defraud the United States of America, I want all of his Federal/Supreme Court appointees thrown out – because had he not stolen the election…

    • Bob Conyers says:

      I think back to the 1930s after the Supreme Court crippled much of the New Deal with nutty reasoning, until they backed down when Roosevelt proposed packing the Court.

      To be honest, I don’t think these guys will back down, and will force the issue and all of the collateral damage that will go with it.

    • CitizenCrone says:

      Ralphy–The only way that could happen would be to produce incontrovertible evidence that actual votes were manipulated in Trump’s favor as a result of Trump having conspired with Russia et al.  It’s not enough to conclude that votes were manipulated because minds were changed, as Brennan has (plausibly) concluded.

      It’s infuriating: the usurpation of so many norms and processes to stack the courts, undermine the voice of SCOTUS, erase the Obama presidency, decimate the State Department…all by an administration that looks increasingly to have been illegitimate from Day 1.

      It can’t be magically undone.  It will take a generation of EDUCATED and committed citizens to repair the damage–god willin’ and the crick don’t rise.

  5. getouttahere says:

    Profoundly trenchant and eloquent descriptions, opinions,  thoughts and explanations (some of the best have been here on this blog) have been written in connection with the present nightmare afoot, and though it is necessary to keep saying these things, and doing things to end the nightmare, what is happening is beyond words.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I’ve been critical of Kavanaugh since he was first put up for a seat on the DC Circuit.  His 2003 nomination was like giving a young major a two-star general’s command.

    Immensely foolhardy, it was typical of the BushCheney regime.  It put inexperienced conservative zealots into positions of power – in Iraqi government, at the Pentagon, across the administration, in the DoJ and among US Attorneys – for which they were not prepared or qualified.

    The agencies and their constituents who were burdened by such incompetents were deemed irrelevant.  All that mattered was bringing up a new cohort.  Kavanaugh was among them.

    In effect, the pope was appointing arch-conservative seminarians as bishops, so that the next pope – liberal or not – would have no one else from which to appoint new cardinals and, ultimately, new popes.  Dick Cheney always said that personnel was policy.  Brett Kavanaugh illustrates that splendidly.

    • Bob Conyers says:

      I hadn’t known much about him, but it’s abundantly clear he is a massive hack.

      Roberts was a major politico, but you get the sense he has some overriding concerns about the authority of the courts. Kavanaugh clearly sees his role as an enabler of the worst elements, a conduit through which they can do their will, and would happily turn over judicial authority to a conservative president. He makes Alito look principled.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        I’ve been able to catch snippets, but overall it’s hard to watch a man so ambitious and so completely socialized that he’s reaching for a Poisoned Chalice.  No one who is actually judicious would accept a nomination from a President who appears to be an unindicted conspirator in a racket involving other nations (plus Erik Prince).

        That he fails to see how his participation erodes the legitimacy of the very prize that he grasps is simply incredible to watch playing out.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Interestingly, Roberts, along with Ginsburg and Kagan, were academically superior to Kavanaugh.  All three had substantially greater and more diverse experience when nominated to the Supreme Court.  Roberts had worked in government and been a law firm partner.  Ginsburg had been a law professor and general counsel for the ACLU during turbulent years.  Kagan had been a successful government lawyer, professor with early tenure, and dean of the Harvard Law School.

      Kavanaugh, in contrast, had four clerkships (one is normal, two exceptional): two federal appeals courts, the Supremes and the Solicitor General’s office – for Ken Starr.  He followed Starr to his white shoe firm, Kirkland & Ellis.  He followed Starr when he investigated Clinton.  He worked in the White House, part of the time as one of many WH lawyers.

      Kavanaugh spent his time networking with powerful superiors.  Cheney, who controlled the Bush administration’s staffing policies, ultimately signed off on promoting Kavanaugh to the DC Circuit court, which took three years.

      Brett is an arrogant, entitled courtier, but a courtier.  The identity of his patrons may alter, but not his status as being dependent on and responsive to their demands.  If those patrons want to give Trump a free pass, Kavanaugh on the Supremes would give him one, and would do the same on any other issue important to them.

    • bmaz says:

      Kavanaugh is everything you say. But to say that he has less and less diverse experience than Kagan. Kagan was, by almost any measure, one of the least qualified and most inexperienced nominees in history. Somewhere in our archive is a post that lays out just that. Kavanaugh sucks. But he is not inexperienced in the sense that Kagan truly was.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I do remember long discussions about Kagan when she was nominated.  Her experience was entirely theoretical.  She was a law professor and law school dean, with a little time thrown in as a government lawyer, which designed as window dressing to help her nomination.

        She had almost no time in court, no time on the bench.  She had none of the background of Sotomayor, let alone Ginsburg.  But she scored well on the Obamameter, as a smart, risk averse bureaucrat in the mold of “safe hands” Dean Rusk.

        No bench work, no trial work, no criminal, defense or tort work, no public advocacy or work for people at the short end of the stick.  I remember saying her lack of experience in court and her Ivy League isolation from the problems of real people made her too inexperienced and too conservative – except for the equally risk-averse Obama.

        Kavanaugh is courtier in a different mold, more a cross between Kagan and Cheney, academic and cook willing to wash any bottle a patron might dirty.

        He was a courtier to his appellate court judges, to Ken Starr, for the White House.  He was tossed into a top appellate court seat as if he were a roll of paper towels.  He has a lobbyist’s streetsmarts, but no experience outside of Chevy Chase and the neocon bubbles – except for a few soup kitchen experiences as a volunteer.  No experience of what life is like for the people on the short end of the stick.

        • bmaz says:

          Yep, agree with that. And Kagan has proved to be a worthy writer. She has also proved to be pretty clueless about the actually day to day practice of law, especially on criminal issues. There really is no substitute for spending at least some time in trial courts.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      Yes.  I just now referred to those years in a comment above, specifically referred to the failure of the Dems to fight back when we gave them their turn at the wheel. And now we see where this led.  I wonder what the “deal” was that caused the Dems to let Kavanaugh by in 2006 after 3 years of insisting he was inappropriate material for the appeals court.

  7. joulie says:

    “I can feel the heat moving in, feel them out there making their moves, setting up there devil doll stool pigeons, crooning over my spoon and dropper I throw away at Washington Square Station,”

    “Did I ever tell you about the man who taught his asshole to talk? …After a while the ass starts talking on it’s own. He would go in without anything prepared and his ass would ad-lib and toss the gags back at him every time.”  Burroughs’ Naked Lunch

  8. Trip says:

    After the fireworks and pearl-clutching drama, Burck still comes across like a douche, even if he reveals the theater:

    Frank Thorp V‏Verified account @frankthorp

    Bill Burck, who’s running point on document review for Kavanaugh’s time working as George W Bush’s counsel, responds to @CoryBooker: “We were surprised to learn about Senator Booker’s histrionics this morning because we had already told him he could use the documents publicly.”

    So why did Grassley hold it back in the first place?

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Grassley was trying to run cover for Kavanaugh.

      Burck trying to run retro-cover for Grassley.

      These fucking crooks have no clue.

  9. SpaceLifeForm says:

    Give Senator Booker credit.  We need more people to stand up for the Country than worry about their own personal position.

    Grassley lied. Said Classified. Not.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The NYT release of a 2003 memo written by Kavanaugh contends that “I’m not sure that all legal scholars” consider Roe v. Wade settled law.

    Typical Kavanaugh.  “Legal scholar” would include a multitude of lawyers, including Kavanaugh.  His reasoning was that the Supreme Court could overturn any of its precedents and, in 2003, three of the justices – a third, well shy of a majority – would have overturned it.  That logic would deny any decision the status of settled law, which might be a Freudian slip.

    At his hearings, Kavanaugh tried to distance himself from a position that advocated reversing Roe, by saying that as a federal appeals court judge, he has considered Roe settled law.

    As an inferior court judge, he is obligated to consider Roe settled law.  So Kavanaugh’s claim says nothing about Roe, it says nothing about his political, social or religious objections to it, either in 2003 or now.  It says he performed the minimal requirements of his job.  Not an accomplishment that would qualify him for a seat on the Supreme Court.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      At his hearings, Kavanaugh tried to distance himself from a position that advocated reversing Roe, by saying that as a federal appeals court judge, he has consideredRoe settled law.

      This answer matches almost exactly the advice Kavanaugh gave an appointee for how to negotiate her testimony without actually discussing how she ruled and what she believed.  I’m frustrated I can’t find it now; the similarity is striking.

  11. Kick the darkness says:

    Thinking about Dr. Duke…I lived in Houston for awhile and another voice that would have been great to have had on this ride would have been Mollie Ivans. Too bad…she loved a good fight.

    “So keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin’ ass and celebratin’ the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.”

  12. SpaceLifeForm says:

    Crossing the fake border. No wall.

    Henry Crespo, past president of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida, praised the pick that for the first time, has a black man at the top of the ticket and a white man as his running mate.

    “Why not have ebony and ivory? This is what it’s about,” Crespo said. “This ticket represents the future of Florida as it relates to race relations. This is a first. Black, white, evangelical, progressive, young, a young black man from an urban corridor, a young white man from the suburbs who went to Harvard.”

  13. Sand says:

    What comes Next? I think I read about that somewhere . . .

    “His name was Gaal Dornick and he was just a country boy who had never seen [Washington] before. . . .”

  14. Fran of the North says:

    “We can’t stop here, this is bat country!”

    Bat shit crazy for sure.

    The Grifter in Chief is probably ineducable. But perhaps he is learning that loyalty isn’t something that can be commanded, nor can it be contractually guaranteed. It has to be earned. The best way to gain the trust and loyalty of another is to give that trust and loyalty first.

    Because little if any loyalty was given, none has been earned. Unfortunately, the constant barrage of misdirection and fawning press can no longer distract from the sense of the impending implosion. Many in the executive and legislative branches concerns to survival. It is everyone for themselves. Leaks turn into torrents, and justifications abound.

    And so the paranoia sets in with GIC, and the bats and rats darken both sky and ground.

    Pass the popcorn, this is gonna get fun.

    • Rayne says:

      Bat country, indeed. Wish I knew what chemical cocktail induced delusions of bats. They’re more attractive than that orange shitgibbon in White House.

      • Fran of the North says:

        Probably a random dose including many if not all of these:

        “We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers… and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls.”

  15. Raj S. says:

    Is this thread supposed to be about Kavanaugh (I was a little confused by Marcy’s introductory remarks)? If so I want to bring up one thing that seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle, and that’s voting rights and redistricting. Prior to the 1960s, the Federal Courts behaved as if these were not justiciable for a variety of reasons – most typically the idea of “political question.” There is every reason to believe that Kavanaugh and his four fellow conservatives will be willing to gradually roll back those cases. While poll taxes are now illegal by statute, there are zillion ways for Republicans to effectively disenfranchise urban voters in any state in which they seize control (basically any purple or red state is potentially subject to this). I’ll throw out a simple hypothetical – make it very difficult to get absentee ballots, end early voting and then mandate that every county have the same number of poll workers (regardless of population). Sounds ridiculous? (Well, it’s facially neutral isn’t it?) It’s just one idea, of course. But the bottom line is that Republicans have a huge problem and that is that their policies are unpopular with the vast majority of the nation, and they have also alienated large demographic voting blocs. Manipulating the electoral system puts the GOP in charge of the country for decades to come, and there is no point in arguing about (say) worker’s rights or women’s rights if Republicans control the courts, Congress, and the Presidency.

    • (Continued) says:

      BTW before someone replies to my post and mentions that things might be somewhat sane in the blue states, the thing about having Republicans control the federal courts plus Congress and the Presidency is that they can either use the courts to roll back blue-state protections for workers and the environment (the Supreme Court could even rule that a fetus is a person), as well as the Commerce and Supremacy Clauses. So basically there will be nowhere to hide. And they don’t need a lot of support. A quarter of the population will probably do the job. We are going to be in for a very rough ride. And Mitch McConnell may go down in history as the most effective American politician since FDR. (FDR put together a governing *majority*, whereas Mitch may end up having put together a governing *minority*.)

    • Continued says:

      [This did not post as far as I can tell, although it might end up as a duplicate.]

      BTW before someone replies to my post and mentions that things might be somewhat sane in the blue states, the thing about having Republicans control the federal courts plus Congress and the Presidency is that they can either use the courts to roll back blue-state protections for workers and the environment (the Supreme Court could even rule that a fetus is a person), as well as the Commerce and Supremacy Clauses. So basically there will be nowhere to hide. And they don’t need a lot of support. A quarter of the population will probably do the job. We are going to be in for a very rough ride. And Mitch McConnell may go down in history as the most effective American politician since FDR. (FDR put together a governing *majority*, whereas Mitch may end up having put together a governing *minority*.)

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It’s an open thread from Rayne, see the top, not EW. Bring any sincere comment.  Snark is good, too.

    • Rayne says:

      This particular post was written by me, not Marcy. Please note the bylines on all posts as we do have several different contributors publishing content. Welcome to emptywheel.

      This bit: Sounds ridiculous? (Well, it’s facially neutral isn’t it?) It’s just one idea, of course.

      I’m not certain where you’ve been but voter suppression is and has been a fact of life in the U.S.; it’s the reason the 1965 Voting Rights Act was and continues to be necessary, why the RNC and DNC entered into a consent decree in 1982 (unfortunately ending last year). The GOP continues as they have with a multitude of voter suppression techniques because they wish to maintain power — white (and male) supremacy over the U.S. political system — and the largest growing demographic in this country isn’t white. The GOP lost the popular vote in 2016; it’s only a matter of time before they lose the electoral college, too, which is why they are pulling out all the stops to put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.

      Our best response is to ensure an overwhelming turnout in November for Democratic congressional candidates, a number which can’t be manipulated by the usual suppression techniques.

      (NB: I note you have made four posts using the same email address; please use the same username on your posts as new names constitute a new user account. Thank you.)

      • Bob Conyers says:

        And the turnout needs to be an ongoing process. Reversing gerrymanders doesn’t happen until 2022 (except for a few exceptions, such as the result of court cases). Which means that the 2020 election down ballot races are essential to win back more state governments.

        And given the history of GOP efforts to screw with districts outside of the standard period following the census, it’s going to be necessary to keep up the turnout on an ongoing basis. They can’t be allowed back in the game.

        • Rayne says:

          We should be talking with the youth who are behind the March For Our Lives movement, talking about institutional memory and what has worked in the past, what failed, how to prepare themselves for setbacks and successes so they don’t lose ground. I know we failed to do this after 2008. I know I tried but it was like pissing into the wind and I’m not equipped for that.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      Your point is well taken, at least by me. As Rayne notes, you don’t need hypotheticals to find examples of voter suppression.  Quite recently Georgia managed to fight off an attempt to close 7 of 9 polling stations in predominantly black, poor districts, effectively disfranchising thousands of voters. The plan was no more subtle nor less egregious than what you imagine.

  16. galljdaj says:

    We (the usa) are at War with bunches of Nations and Peoples, killing many of them without even first thoughts let alone seconds and more. Why is there no ‘strategy’ being identified via evidence  and presented to all the ‘good folks’?

    Is it not the ‘good folks’ that are the targets of these wars?  Is it not the the grand scheme of those in the Power(s)  authorities and/or bribers that are gathering the ‘spoils’  and targeting the undesirables (the majority)? The real targets of the wars! Steal steal steal… .

  17. Cracker says:

    What happens to a new Supreme Court Justice who is impeached by the House during the period of his trial by the Senate?

  18. Thomasa says:

    The red eyed bats are now diving at the windshield. “God what if one hits squarely? Shoot the bastards. Where’s the pistol? In the glove box! I can barely reach that far. No no not through the windshield fool. Over the top. The top’s down. “ 
    Once we get to Vegas Adelstien will take care of any that you don’t hit. He don’t like bats. Since Uncle Duke’s been promoted from Viceroy of Berzerkistan to President he’s well connected. Bury the needle, there’s no cops around. Eric the prince took care of that. The Deep State fund raiser in Palm Springs was a blast. Hope they don’t figure out you were wearing a wire, Thompson. Watch for alligators in the hammer lane. They’re for real. And the ice man cometh on the side road. (With apologies to Thompson and Trudeau, Gary that is)

    To be continued- if the bats don’t get me. 

  19. cat herder says:

    Once the Kavanaugh unit is in place what mechanisms exist to stop them from doing, well, worse than the worst you can imagine? Military coup with for-real-not-a-parade ‘tanks rolling down Pennsylvania Ave’? Lower courts won’t matter, they’ll just get overturned 5-4. A Blue Wave won’t matter. Public opinion won’t matter. Impeachment won’t matter if the WH just completely ignores it. Who’s gonna enforce it? That only works if everybody agrees to play along and I don’t see any evidence these fools have any interest in playing along any more.

  20. lazlo says:

    “There are times, however, and this is one of them, when even being right feels wrong. What do you say, for instance, about a generation that has been taught that rain is poison and sex is death? If making love might be fatal and if a cool spring breeze on any summer afternoon can turn a crystal blue lake into a puddle of black poison right in front of your eyes, there is not much left except TV and relentless masturbation. It’s a strange world. Some people get rich and others eat shit and die.”
    ― Hunter S. Thompson, Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the ’80’s

    • Rayne says:

      He was so good and so prescient. There’s not much left except (streaming) TV and relentless (videogame) masturbation, is there? Thanks for sharing that and welcome to emptywheel.

      • AA Bender says:

        The current Kavanaugh hearings and the look back to the Bush era made me recall this other prescient HST insight from November 2000:
        “….Look around you.  There is an eerie sense of Panic in the air, a silent Fear and uncertainty that comes with once reliable faiths and truths and solid Institutions that are no longer safe to believe in.  There is a Presidential Election, right on schedule, but somehow there is no President.  A new Congress is elected, like always, but somehow there is no real Congress at all—not as we knew it, anyway, and whatever passes for Congress will be as helpless and weak as whoever has to pass for the “New President”.
        In the world of sports, it is like playing the Super Bowl that goes into 19 scoreless Overtimes and never actually Ends…or four LA Lakers stars being murdered in different cities on the same day.  Guaranteed Fear and Loathing.  Abandon all hope.  Prepare for the Weirdness.  Get familiar with Cannibalism.”
        The New Dumb 
        HST, 11/20/2000

        Sounds way too familiar.
        Except we are now almost two years into The New Weaponized Dumb.  Fortunately, something besides the ‘eat or be eaten’ and the ‘snatch and grab’ zeitgeist has survived these 22 months: Mueller’s investigation is still intact; voters seem to be mobilizing for repudiation even in the face of voter suppression efforts, gerrymandering, dark money, and outright lying; as important, there is now constant poking of Trump the bear which seems to be throwing him off his standard mafiosi game and driving him into debilitating ursine rages.
        I may be naive, but I am going to postpone my order of The Happy Cannibal cookbook (as per HST) until after November.  Instead, I’m going to make sure that the candidates I support get money and that everyone that I know gets out and votes. 
        That and a glass of wine here and there, purely for medicinal purposes of course, which will be carefully titrated to celebrate each new bear poke.

        • Rayne says:

          Oh dear lord, I’d forgotten HST’d written in the wake of that not-election, in the drift of hanging chads. Thanks for that, still amazing to read 18 years later.

          Yes, now is the time to pull out the stops and sink our cash and effort into candidates and vote mobilization. We can always resort to eating the tender-fleshed rich grilled over open flames once we’ve pried them from their bunkers — no cookbook needed.

          p.s. the secret is NOT in the sauce, contrary to what Sipsey said in Fried Green Tomatoes. It’s in slow, closed cooking — no cookbook needed. ~snicker~

  21. Anon says:

    It is worth remembering that many of the hardened ideologues who are involved in this like Grassley, Cruz, Ryan, and others all date from the “Regan Revolution” of the 80’s a time when the neoliberal cause of tax cuts, deregulation, God, guns, and whatever were the cool ideology that they embraced. Now as they have shown conclusively that is all they’ve got, when faced with an opioid epidemic that claims more lives than Vietnam and wars that have run longer all they can do is pass tax cuts, scream “just say no,” and put their faith in an over the hill property developer to make one more condo.

    In Generation of Swine Thompson himself asked this:

    “What do you do with a generation that has been taught that rain is poison, and sex is death?”

    • Rayne says:

      Yes, and political purists who insist gubernatorial candidates meet their single-issue tests or they won’t vote for a Democrat may be the difference between the Constitution we have now and an autocratic theocracy.

      • cat herder says:

        You think all this will still be around for the next election? Will the midterms or governorships or redistricting matter after Kavanaugh is sworn in? It only matters if they care and I don’t think they care if current events are any guide.

        Sorry to be Mr. Negative but this is really dangerous and people are still talking about process and policy and better education like everything’s still normal and it’s making me even more freaked out… it’s not normal and all the safeguards we count on in normal times are about to be irrelevant.

    • Kick the darkness says:

      I think that’s a great point.  I missed it earlier.  But do we need another generation or two of geographical sorting before we can find a new political alignment to accommodate each other?  I mean, on the one hand, supposedly Americans have been sorting themselves out geographically for decades.  On the other, it seems the more one drills down into regional voting patterns, in many cases the more one sees a granularity of purple.

  22. Desider says:

    Kavanaugh who used stolen Dem emails to cement GOP power in 2001-2003 is disqualified from serving a President who used stolen Dem emails to gain power in 2016.

    Aside from that, Kavanaugh seems the intellectual weight of a sophomore frat boy, a legacy admission to boot – certainly his smarmy poor delivery of non-answers suggest someone whose father will make sure he doesn’t get expelled no matter what.

  23. Trip says:

    Let’s use the press equivalent of the 25th Amendment on Rudy. He is batshit bananas. I wouldn’t be shocked if one of the personalities in his head writes an anonymous op-ed for the NYT. We are way past beating the horse carcass by reporting “will he, or won’t he?” news. Someone, please, just pat him gently on the back, hand him a cookie, and walk him away.

    • greengiant says:

      In another city the word on the street was that authorities planned on using the a) stock yards, b) train yards for holding those arrested if needed.

  24. DrFunguy says:

    While we’re on the topic of Uncle Duke. I know that Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is his best known work, but Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail (about the 1972 Presidential campaign) is an eye-opening read as well…

  25. Kick the darkness says:

    If we are going to have Thompson quotes, gotta have this one too.

    And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .

    So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”

    It would have been interesting to have been alive in that time and place. Now it does kind of feel that the sea is drawing out again. I guess we’ll see.

  26. Kick the darkness says:

    Since it’s an open thread I thought I would toss this in as well, thinking about the unpredictable nature of waves.  I imagine many EW readers probably took interest in Colin Woodward’s book “American Nations” which came out some time ago now.  The treatment is of an American that, from its outset, has been, and continues to be,  essentially a collection of competing nation states comprised, through the historical accidents of colonization and migration, along ethno-geographic fault lines.  In the end, he proposes three possible outcomes.  Who wants what’s behind door #1, door #2, door #3?

    1) Compromise of these federations on their competing cultural agendas….for the sake of a larger national unity.  See useful symbols in McCain’s final letter and eulogies.  Business as usual I guess.  Woodward does not appear to think this is long-term sustainable.

    2) A major political realignment between the federations is reached thought alterations to the existing Constitution.  So the US would continue to exist, but with a national governmental role limited to defense, foreign policy, regulating inter-state trade….along the lines of the EU or the confederation of 1781.

    3) A complete political fracture.  “Another outside possibility is that, faced with a major crisis…leaders will betray oath to the Constitution…With the Constitution abandoned the federation could disintegrate, forming one or more like minded regions.

    • Zardoz says:

      A year or two ago I saw an online article that mapped out 11 distinct sub-cultures within the USA. The project started out merely as an attempt to map out the so-called “gun culture”. Maybe this is the same as you reference? Many, but not all, of the sub-cultural regions flowed out from their respective coastal colonies, such as their “Cavalier Culture” out of Virginia, for example.

      But there are more that 3 ‘doors’, no?

      For example, here is a black man, a former Wapo bureau chief, throwing in the ‘integration’ towel and advocating for a two-state American Bantustan: A Two-State Solution May Be the Only Answer to America’s Racial Divide

      Ironically, this is essentially what our white, so-called ‘race nationalists’ are advocating for. But the existence of the 11 subcultural regions points to an even bigger problem, and none of this even deals with the problems seen by Native Americans, as is the case for indigenous peoples globally. That is from the ‘Conquistadors’.

      The root problem, as I see it, stems from a failure, on both the right and left, to own up to our central Western cultural narrative, in that it justifies the Conquest and colonization of others’ lands (and what riches flow from them). The ‘superior’ god of a ‘superior’ people Promised such, not only in the original Promised Land, but in the New Promised Land (hence such as New Canaan, CT). It was not enough for secular people, like me, to merely abandon the facade of the religion, we are all yet ‘cultural Christians’ (or similar cultural Jews or Muslims).

      Thus, many of your ‘waves’, which I prefer slightly differently as ‘cycles’, are driven by our cultural memes, writ large and small. This is why those particular sub-cultures flow west like they do, because most people prefer to hold onto the familiar aspects of life that comfort them from youth, as if like a security blanket.

      I believe that we need to understand such better, in order to truly understand the various phenomenon happening with the Trump tableau. Are we really witnessing, not only Trump himself, but the otherwise bizarre behaviors of fundamentalist Evangelicals and Republicans as otherwise anomalous, short-term political expediencies, or is there something deeper involved? For instance, why have such as the Evangelicals attached themselves so to a man that seems more like one of the Beasts from Revelation than that of most peoples’ notions of Christ? Some Evangelicals even see him as a ‘type’ of Samson character, the agent of mass chaos — who’s actions ultimately led to a new order. This ironically in the vacuum of the collapse of the Late Bronze Age, the ‘globalization’ period of the day. At least, that’s what our cultural narrative says.

      If one is a Biblical literalist, then, by default, one believes in a literal “end times”, or an end of a (corrupt) ‘cycle’ (in my secular POV), per the Book of Revelation. Imagine then, if you are a cynical elitist, or a group of them, and you then feed the cultural meme.

      In my historical research, my world was rocked recently by the book, Hitler’s Millennial Reich, by the scholar David Redles. He definitively demonstrates that the Nazi movement was organized around an apocalyptic spin-off of Christianity, which amplified the prior institutional [sic] antisemitism within the Church and thus the Holocaust – as a manifestation of their apocalypse. And yes, Hitler was their messiah whose aim was to deliver a 1,000 years of cleansed wonderfulness, … almost just like the Bible says.

      Now we have a rather eerie set of social parallels with Trump, such as MAGA. Redles discusses that there is a whole academic field of end times eschatology, and that they have identified that apocalyptic sects need four social aspects to be met for a phenomenon to occur as happened with the Nazis. Guess what? For one, only Trump can save us.

      The Nazis lost and Hitler died, so .. so what?

      So, currently I am reading a book, The Hitler Legacy, by Peter Levenda. He makes a good case, that we are really living out WWI — today — as if it was akin to the historical 100 Years War. Long story short, he documents how Kaiser Wilhelm and his good friend, Max von Oppenheim, ‘colluded’ with the Ottoman Turks to literally instigate what we today call radical Islamic extremism.

      Of course, you need a dialectic foil for such Machiavellian things, and the Brits (whose crown is really German) provided such by their ‘odd’ support of the foundation of Israel. Not to mention England’s George II (Hanover), in the 1730’s, sponsoring the first ‘modern’ university that produced the emotional bilge of the Romantic Movement as its ironic first academic product. One which created Euro-centric ‘racism’ as we know it, see Martin Bernal’s Black Athena, Vol. 1.

      Now, we have the (fake) orange agent from … Bavaria to deal with. The similar backstory with Samson is pretty interesting to0, whether it is historical-fiction or fact.

      • Kick the darkness says:

        The Woodard book is in here:

        I don’t remember anything about gun culture as a starting point, although I guess it could be.  Maybe there’s something about it in that documentary Gun Nation.  Anyway, glanced at introduction and it kicks off straight from cultural geography.  The clearest antecedent AFAIK is the writings of this guy Wilbur Zelinsky.

        Sure, many scenarios, many doors.  In a universe of infinite possibilities, I suppose theoretically one door must reveal an America in which Rudy the human shit-fog machine struts around, dressed up like Zed, and Trump’s head, rendered in stone, flies through the very air.  May that door remain forever sealed.  Or are we already through that door?  Seriously, I’m guess I’m just dry casting around on wither post-Trump American.  Can the experiment continue on it’s current trajectory?  How much United is left?  What Woodard thinks will not happen, as far as I can tell, are scenarios in which one confederation of nations wins out over the other.  To be clear, he views his nations as older, deeper and more persistent drivers of American history than red vs blue, one party vs another, the 1% vs the rest, class, race, etc.  So maybe he just does not want to contemplate what one confederation achieving victory over another might mean.  Which leaves him, I guess, with the three general scenarios: continuous ongoing and largely futile political skirmishing, accommodation along a negotiated political reorganization, or fracture.  Having grown up in the midst of a complete political collapse, I wonder which of those outcome our buddy Surkov might wish upon the West.

        • Zardoz says:

          and Trump’s head, rendered in stone, flies through the very air.

          Surely you are not blaspheming Zardoz are you?

 (The most important movie (and real god) EVER!!!)

          I found Woodard’s map and it’s only similar to the one that I remember, but close.

          Regarding Surkov, it sounds like he’d be handy in the loop between Trump and Putin. The below references Egor, from Surkov’s novel, Almost Zero.

          The heights of creation! Egor’s god is beyond good and evil, and Egor is his privileged companion: too clever to care for anyone, too close to God to need morality. He sees the world as a space in which to project different realities. Surkov articulates the underlying philosophy of the new elite, a generation of post-Soviet supermen who are stronger, more clearheaded, faster, and more flexible than anyone who has come before.

          When I worked in Russian television, I encountered forms of this attitude every day. The producers who worked at the Ostankino channels might all be liberals in their private lives, holiday in Tuscany, and be completely European in their tastes. When I asked how they married their professional and personal lives, they looked at me as if I were a fool and answered: “Over the last 20 years we’ve lived through a communism we never believed in, democracy and defaults and mafia state and oligarchy, and we’ve realized they are illusions, that everything is PR.”

          “Everything is PR” has become the favorite phrase of the new Russia; my Moscow peers were filled with a sense that they were both cynical and enlightened. When I asked them about Soviet-era dissidents, like my parents, who fought against communism, they dismissed them as naive dreamers and my own Western attachment to such vague notions as “human rights” and “freedom” as a blunder. “Can’t you see your own governments are just as bad as ours?” they asked me. I tried to protest—but they just smiled and pitied me. To believe in something and stand by it in this world is derided, the ability to be a shape-shifter celebrated.

          Egor’s god transcends good and evil? The Abrahamic god claims that he is the author of all such good and evil, from Isaiah 45:7 (only using a correct translation though). Same difference? Zardoz must rest his heavy head.

            • Zardoz says:


              In some cases sufficient context is more helpful to those who might gloss over some seemingly random ‘Surkov’. There needs to be a tool to allow one to point to such longer texts inside of even longer linked works.

          • Kick the darkness says:

            I would never blaspheme Zardov.  For one thing, the penalties are clear.  For another, my god, the fashion.

            I think if you exchanged the god of Abraham for Ilyin that would be about right in this case.  Not cause Surkov believes any of that clap trap, but Putin does, and its a useful button.  I guess I’m getting obsessed with the dude.  He’s almost certainly brilliant, and, as your quotes make clear, what ever the formative experiences, he’s at the center of a group where nothing means anything.  The worry is that with Trump they are only just starting to experiment with the best way to fuck with us.  And with someone like Surkov, the end goal is not strategic per se; its philosophical, maybe even personal.

            • Zardoz says:

              Surkov, and Trump, have already been playing a game on their respective targets that was well understood by the deepest political manipulators.

              A classic example is the “National Socialists” — NSDAP ‘workers’ party, which Hitler took over after he infiltrated it. The name was indeed meant to attract disaffected workers during the problems of the post-WWI period. One of the original leaders, Otto Strasser, was a socialist, and he stated in his book, Hitler and I, that once Hitler felt secure in his takeover of the party that the party was now directed at doing the bidding of the industrialists, and not the workers. But they deceptively kept the name ‘socialist’.

              In David Redles’s recent Hitler’s Millennial Reich, he clears up this seeming paradox in that the ‘socialism’, within the new Nazi ideology, was really more of a spiritual construct (requisite for their new millennium) than what everyone else considers as a politico-economic construct.

              As such, the NSDAP became a deceptive front for interest groups whose common agenda, hidden or otherwise, was (still is) the defeat of any form of ‘leftism’, but especially forms of collectivism, whether socialism or communism.

              In my other life, I have amassed numerous evidences that Trump indeed has a more sane alter-ego, one where he can speak like a normative human, even in legal depositions (all which you can find online). Note the otherwise normal, yet wimpy, approach he took with talking to Bob Woodward about why he didn’t get interviewed by Bob. He wasn’t in character, … for some reason.

              What’s needed by the ‘left’ and ‘right’ target demographics is a paradigm shift in how they perceive the ‘gameboard’, and what they themselves really represent to the others. And doing so in that such as the ‘left’ is more than one thing. And that the alt-right doesn’t own the term cuckold. Our orange coo-coo bird is more cuckold than coo-coo IMHO.

              • Kick the darkness says:

                With your reading on Hitler, I was curious and looked up how long from the beer hall putsch (sp?) till Dachau.  10 years.  That’s mind bending.

                • Kick the darkness says:

                  And I was going to add I probably don’t quite grasp the “gameboard” metaphor.  Then again, I struggle with a political spectrum of left and right.  Can it be derived down to a bell shaped curve of scores on Altemeyer’s right wing authoritarian personality test?  I’m sure that is simplistic.  Maybe that’s why I liked Woodard’s book-it really doesn’t come at things from that angle per se.

        • Zardoz says:

          More direct to your question about Surkov’s wish upon the West (especially the  text I bolded), the article author (from the same link as before) states that Surkov’s Without Sky was published a few days before Russia invaded Crimea. Rather Orwellian vision it seems.

          “It was the first non-linear war,” writes Surkov in a new short story, “Without Sky,” published under his pseudonym and set in a dystopian future after the “fifth world war”:

          In the primitive wars of the 19th and 20th centuries it was common for just two sides to fight. Two countries. Two groups of allies. Now four coalitions collided. Not two against two, or three against one. No. All against all.

          There is no mention of holy wars in Surkov’s vision, none of the cabaret used to provoke and tease the West. But there is a darkling vision of globalization, in which instead of everyone rising together, interconnection means multiple contests between movements and corporations and city-states—where the old alliances, the EUs and NATOs and “the West,” have all worn out, and where the Kremlin can play the new, fluctuating lines of loyalty and interest, the flows of oil and money, splitting Europe from America, pitting one Western company against another and against both their governments so no one knows whose interests are what and where they’re headed.

          “A few provinces would join one side,” Surkov continues. “A few others a different one. One town or generation or gender would join yet another. Then they could switch sides, sometimes mid-battle. Their aims were quite different. Most understood the war to be part of a process. Not necessarily its most important part.”

          The Kremlin switches messages at will to its advantage, climbing inside everything: European right-wing nationalists are seduced with an anti-EU message; the Far Left is co-opted with tales of fighting U.S. hegemony; U.S. religious conservatives are convinced by the Kremlin’s fight against homosexuality. And the result is an array of voices, working away at global audiences from different angles, producing a cumulative echo chamber of Kremlin support, all broadcast on RT.

          • Rayne says:

            We shouldn’t miss the “four coalitions collided.” There are more than the Kremlin and its factions conducting asymmetric warfare within and through the EU and U.S. political system — by which I mean countries, not entities of persons united by ideology alone.

            • Zardoz says:

              Yes. And we should also understand that when such wars are undertaken that transnational corporations having interlinking directorships and such can, and did (during WWII), continue to do business, move funds and other assets.

              Such metaphoric “shape-shifters” exist in all countries and …  political parties, e.g. Clark Clifford and BCCI, the Harrimans, etc..

              • Rayne says:

                I think we will find fossil fuel profits specifically drive the connections and conflicts between the shapes, shifting as profits and losses move across borders, with armaments profits increasing tensions because they don’t increase revenues unless they are used.

            • Kick the darkness says:

              Your fair warning on fair use is fair and noted.  :)

              Is the emphasis on countries because it takes the resources of a nation state to implement asymmetric warfare successfully?   What about this Federalist Society, for example, with trying to ram Kavenaugh through?  Not a country, but it seems that there is, in essence, a long-running plan or scheme to exploit our democratic system to basically undermine a part of it.  Probably not what Madison and Hamilton had in mind.  From your knowledge in this area, does that count as asymmetric warfare? Thanks for open thread.

              • Rayne says:

                I emphasized countries, because the Kochs have already long been at work in broad scale attacks against democracy using the U.S. system as it has been and is being constructed to aid them (Piketty’s r>g here) while foreign nation-states have not been involved in doing so at this level until 2016.

                But the same impetus driving the Kochs — increased profitability, particularly of their oil-related businesses — also drives Russia and two or more other countries involved in asymmetric warfare via U.S. election system. At least one other country involved has a vested interest in policy outcomes related/tied to success/failure of other tinkering countries.

                Too many moving parts may have thwarted intelligence as well as deep systemic biases which obscures ability to see these different entities.

                • Kick the darkness says:

                  Thanks.  I guess if I think of the insanely wealthy as kind of a distinct “culture” with global aspirations, chafing at the restrictions (gentleman, we must increase “r”) imposed by traditional western democracies that helps.  With something like the UAE, I suppose, serving as a prospective model.  Attack from both within and without makes some sense from that perspective.  Timothy 6:10.

          • Kick the darkness says:

            It’s funny.  I think I linked pretty much the exact same quote from Empty Sky a little while ago.  I agree with what you say about it.  Ultimately, what is the purpose of the propaganda, what is the goal?  According to Timothy Synder’s new book, “the Road to Unfreedom”, at least my take on it, it’s 1) RU is not strong, so weaken anti-aligned governments for strategic gain; 2) acclimatization to instability and cruelty are necessary preconditions to what Synder calls the politics of eternity, where kleptocracy can thrive unchallenged.  That’s quite the export.  I saw this thing where the founding fathers were quite concerned, in planning out the mechanisms of the US of A, of the destabilizing affects of foreign intrigue.  So I suppose this is nothing new really.  But with modern technology propaganda comes with a new muzzle velocity whose effects on the battlefield are not completely known.

  27. Kick the darkness says:

    In light of current events, the end part seems apropos
    “one thing is certain: if Americans seriously want the United States to continue to exist in something like its current form, they had best respect the fundamental tenets of our unlikely union….We won’t hold together if presidents appoint political ideologues to the Justice Department or the Supreme Court of the United States, or if party loyalists try to win elections by trying to stop people from voting rather than winning them over with their ideas….Other sovereign democratic states have central governments more corrupted than our own, but most can fall back on unifying elements we lack: common ethnicity, a shared religion, or near-universal consensus on many fundamental political issues. The United States needs its central government to function cleanly, openly, and efficiently because it’s one of the few things binding us together.”

  28. Zardoz says:

    I just happened across the following financial backstory to Michael Cohen, far more important than what I had believed – merely just a taxi boy (“taking the ride”) doing Donald’s odd jobs. Along with boyhood friend, Felix Sater, they used their FSU (former Soviet Union) contacts to funnel money into the then flailing Trump real estate empire. This is why Cohen didn’t get to go along to D.C., to try to stay out of the limelight.

    Cohen’s FSU connections include the familial through Ukraine, via his wife and especially sister-in-law.

    The original text from this link if apparently from last year, so there are a few anachronistic comments to gloss over:

    • Zardoz says:

      Obviously …. my posting the link above has precipitated Cohen to vacate his NDA with Stormy (on ‘Rayne’s’ thread). Avenatti says that this is a ploy to stop him from deposing both Cohen and Trump. Wasn’t the NDA made on behalf of client Trump, and how could Cohen’s “declaration of independence” make any difference regarding Trump? Or is the NDA made in the name of Essential Consultants?

      With Stormy and similar, perhaps further reminding us typologically of Samson’s fatal attraction to such ‘Philistine’ women, are we yet being distracted from such as this (from the link in my prior post) and more:

      There are any number of perfectly legitimate ways for Cohen to amass the funds necessary to purchase entire buildings. Usually, however, the source of such wealth can be ascertained. In Cohen’s case, the source is unclear— and Cohen refused to discuss the origin of those funds with WhoWhatWhy.

      It should be noted that Russians and others from the former Soviet Union seeking to move funds West are among the biggest buyers of New York real estate.

      But Cohen’s Ukrainian ties run even deeper. His wife, Laura, is from the Ukraine. So is Bryan Cohen’s wife, Oxana.

      From here we follow a trail through a somewhat complicated cast of characters. At the end, you will see how all of these people are connected to one another as well as to Trump — and to Russia.

      The trail begins with Bryan Cohen’s father-in-law, Alex Oronov, born in Kharkiv, Ukraine, who emigrated with his family to the United States in 1978. He ran a Manhattan art gallery, and eventually, and surprisingly, managed to convince the old-school communist government to partner with him to sell lithographs based on the collection of the State Russian Museum. His influence or skills of persuasion were so good that he even persuaded Kremlin authorities to permit him to open a gift shop at the museum, a rarity in the USSR.

      Following Ukrainian independence in 1994, Oronov spotted a far more lucrative opportunity: Ukraine’s privatized bounty of grain. Ukraine has some of Europe’s largest acreage of arable land — and it is highly fertile and productive, making it the “breadbasket of Europe.”

      He founded an agribusiness firm, Harvest Moon (later rebranded as Grain Alliance); Bryan Cohen notes in his own online biography that he served as General Counsel and Executive Vice President for Grain Alliance, Americas. It’s not clear where the funding for the enterprise, which had more than 100,000 acres in production at one point, came from.

      BTW, I should have stated “out-of-date” rather than “anachronistic” in the first post.

      Stormy, precipitate, Rayne

      • bmaz says:

        NDA may have covertly been on behalf of Trump, but it was executed only by Cohen on behalf of Essential Consultants.

        • Zardoz says:


          Is that an ethics violation, acting covertly for a client?

          In any case, I just reviewed the Samson story once more and realized that, with regard to such as the Ukrainian “Grain Alliance”, that I can add even more parallels to my already long list. Samson tied a firebrand to two foxes’ tails (Cohen and Sater?) and set them loose in the Philistine’s fields.

          The Philistines retaliate and kill Samson’s Philistine wife and her father, and Samson strikes back, then goes back to dwell at the top of the rock Etam (Trump Tower?). With the chaos seeming to get out of hand, 3,000 of the tribe of Judah arrest Samson on top of the rock, turning him over to the Philistines.

          Then we all know that, with his Nazarite long (and orange?) hair shorn, it regrows and thus he can collapse two pillars of the Philistine’s temple. And in the process the approximately 3,000 dancing celebrants on the roof die in the collapse.

          In Levenda’s book, The Hitler Legacy, he discusses that the broad global and domestic USA depth of contemporaneous parallels to the German Nazi movement. It is in this light we might better reflect upon Trump and such as Chancellorsville. Levenda adds that:

          Emblematic of the tenor of extreme anti-Roosevelt rhetoric is the rant of prominent anti-Semitic South Philadelphia schoolteacher Bessie R. “Two Gun” Burchett. She was the founder of the Anti-Communist Society (ACS), and a critic of what she called the “Jew Deal.” She had this to say about Roosevelt in a pamphlet she distributed in 1939: “The president is a traitor. We must do all we can to break down the president, and have the people know what kind of man he really is, and then proceed to impeach him. If Hitler does come here, he should drop a bomb on the right place in New York. You all know where I mean. … a skyscraper full of Jews.7 That this would anticipate the events of September 11, 2001 when New York City skyscrapers were indeed “bombed” by anti-Semitic Arabs, has gone unnoticed by most. But Burchett’s odd presentiment of events that would take place sixty-two years in the future was not the only one.


          Pelley was also inspired by the works of David Davidson, a British-Israelite (a movement founded around the belief that the English and not the Jews are the true Israelites) and member of the Silver Shirts, who wrote that the Great Pyramid of Giza was a kind of cosmic calendar that could be used to foretell future events. The most important of these events was the Second Coming when Jesus would return to rid the world of the Jews and bring about Paradise on earth (with the assistance of the Silver Shirts, of course). According to the calculations of Pelley based on those of Davidson, the exact date when the Jews would be destroyed was given as September 17, 2001.9 Six days off from the day “the world was changed” on September 11, 2001; we might say “close enough for government work.” Both Burchett’s and Pelley’s statements were published about the same time, in 1939 and before America entered the Second World War. This eerie prediction of Pelley’s—when combined with the plea of Bessie Burchett that Hitler come to New York City and bomb a skyscraper full of Jews—seems to indicate more than just a coincidence of history but a deeper preoccupation of the radical Right that will persist to the present day. Pelley would eventually be arrested by the US government and indicted for a variety of offences including sedition, and he would spend some years in prison, getting out only in 1952. Although the political involvement of his Silver Shirt militia would wane once the war started, its ideological influence would be felt for decades. Pelley’s Silver Legion was the inspiration for the Christian Identity movement and the Posse Comitatus, another extreme-right, con-spiratorialist movement founded by a former member of the Silver Shirts, Henry Beach.

          Of course, there is a chronological problem in the narrative, with such as the collapse, and an inverting of who the 3,000 are. But with the latter, in such pseudo-Christian apocalyptic as the Nazi’s, the Jews are indeed their evil, dialectic ‘Philistines’.

          The same type of analysis explains why Trump’s Evangelicals also like the Russians so much. No not the former Communist Russians, but that former KGB operative, Putin, has made his apocalyptic bed with the ultra-conservative Russian Orthodox Church.

          [The bold emphases below are mine]

          Malofeev’s affection for Russia’s president and his system is clear: “We believe that Putin is the best and the only leader [for Russia]… He is trying to make Russia the state where Christians can live and can save their souls for eternal life.” While the deeply Eastern nature of Orthodoxy means it has little appeal for Western Christians, there’s no doubt that Kremlin messaging is reaching some, especially American Evangelicals, whom Moscow sees as potential allies abroad.

          The notorious gadfly Aleksandr Dugin goes further: “Simply said, the Antichrist will not come before there will not be anymore supporters [of Orthodoxy]… What is the coming of Antichrist? It is secularism. It is modernization. Westernization. Materialism. Scientific development. The concept of progress.” He added that Putin is “exactly” the figure who is resisting the Antichrist on earth.

          Dugin, it should be noted, isn’t some random flake or religious nut, he’s a Big Idea thinker who’s taken somewhat seriously in the Kremlin, although his real role seems to be Moscow’s ambassador-at-large to the Western far-right. He is close to the Russian security services and he runs a website that pushes his hardline Orthodox nationalist message in several languages, including English. Its name comes from the Greek word for “he who resists the Antichrist.”

          Of course, only the lower followers of such movements are true-believers, the people at the top are just cynical ‘players’.

  29. Zardoz says:

    Back from my prior ride, here’s a proposed tactic, below, to defeat Kavanaugh. It’s been a long time since my junior high civics … so?

    Yet even if they act with strength, is there a way to win?

    The answer is yes. The tactic that put Gorsuch on the Court was extreme but constitutional. The tactic that blocks Brett Kavanaugh is no more extreme, and no less constitutional.

    It’s this: First, if Republicans don’t agree to table the nomination until 2019, every Democratic senator but one will boycott the Senate chamber for the rest of the year. Then the one remaining Democrat, a rotating position, will rise to deny unanimous consent on every matter the Senate tries to take up, including each quorum call. This means all 50 Republicans (with the passing of John McCain) must be in or near the chamber on any day Republicans wish to do business.

    It is proposed that this tactic continue on till the next Senate is seated, as further leverage.

    • Rayne says:

      This is good; would be worth proposing to Schumer and Durbin. I want to know what Schumer got in exchange for agreeing to expeditiously process the last batch of judicial nominees; did he get a crack at doing this? Probably not.

      • Zardoz says:

        Just realized that John Kyl became official on the 5th, the same day as the article. And it appears that 51 makes a Senate quorum.

        • Rayne says:

          Which is why we are watching a few key senators closely — Flake (who talks a big game of resistance), Collins and Murkowski, who often vote in favor of women’s reproductive rights. Also any R running for re-election (hence the date their seat is up) if polling in their state is leaning away toward D.

        • Rayne says:

          He’s not going anywhere because he’s a right-wing Christian fundie — there’s no other party for him to call home and he’s not enough of a leader to form one on his own. Sasse is also spineless; there’s nothing stopping him from doing what Jason Chaffetz did and quitting the Senate so that his constituents can democratically choose another senator. Nothing stops him from changing to independent and caucusing with either party as he sees fit for his constituency.

          It’s all just useless gum flapping like Jeff Flake.

          • Zardoz says:

            Yes, agreed. But is he a true-believer fundie, or a ‘player’? I haven’t followed him enough to know.

            He also told Chuck Todd that while not going blue, that he does support Warren’s ethics reform package. Maybe more gum flapping or seeking leverage. However, doing the latter would serve to garner support from those Trumpies that truly want to “drain the swamp”. Trumpies that would otherwise have voted for Sanders if they had that choice.

            • Rayne says:

              He’s closer to the 1990s version of GOP — the Christian right-wingers who don’t want to pay taxes and use ethics violations to nail Dems in order to retain power. 20 years of that is why Al Franken was whisked out of office so quickly — Franken may have been in the wrong but the speed with with Dems clean house has everything to do with being gun-shy after two decades of Sasse’s type of governance. But…that kind of Republican doesn’t have a home in an utterly corrupt party which has been wholly bought by undemocratic (little d) interests. Still thinking of Paul Ryan’s invocation of omerta in the House. Whatever it is they’re hiding, Sasse doesn’t want yet he’s too indoctrinated, too chickenshit to talk out of school.

    • bmaz says:

      Nothing. If he and his wife had not have been dumbfucks, George was headed to a straight probation sentence. After that, I thought he would likely get 30 days, same as van der Zwaan. But Papadapa got enough religion to show real remorse yesterday. The sentence is fine, and extremely within the guidelines.

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