April 20 Open Thread: Who’s the Brains of This Operation?

Filed in National, Open Thread by on April 20, 2018

I’ve seen enough crime movies to know every criminal outfit has to have a guy nicknamed “The Brain.” The question is, who would possibly qualify for that sobriquet in Trumpworld? Certainly not the genius who thought it would be a great idea to release the Comey memos. It took all of one hour from the time the Republicans in Congress got hold of them for the memos to show up on Fox News, because, bizarrely, RWNJs somehow got the impression the documents make Trump look good. Normal humans, otoh, think they bolster Comey’s account, and make Trump’s obsession with Russian hookers stand out even more than usual. GOP operative Rick Wilson said, “The stink of guilt is all over him.” No, Mr. Wilson. That smell is urine.

So what were Republicans thinking? Always hard to tell unless you’ve received a lobotomy, but Slate’s Jeremy Stahl has a plausible theory: Based on false Fox News reporting, they might have thought they caught Comey releasing classified information.

Anybody who paid attention has known for 30 years that Donald Trump was lying about his wealth. All the evidence you needed was the fact that he bragged about it, though there’s also plenty of documentation in things like casino licensing investigations. Most people on the Forbes list of richest people wanted to downplay their net worth, but Trump lobbied the magazine relentlessly to increase his standing, as Jonathan Greenberg extensively documents in this WaPo story. Greenberg was a young reporter with Forbes back in the ’80s, and he comes clean about it here, complete with tapes of “John Barron” phone calls (here’s one that’s not behind a paywall).

Like so many others in Trump’s orbit, Rex Tillerson is a reprehensible human being who looks a lot better when he’s standing with his erstwhile boss. Ronan Farrow interviewed the oilman-turned-diplomat, who wasn’t shy about identifying the fingerprints on the knife in his back. Spoiler alert: It rhymes with Kared Jushner.

In turn, Trump is starting to look like a garden-variety psychopath when compared to Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, whose refusal to step down after his rapey ways became public is dragging down the entire GOP in a state that has gone from purple to red in recent years.

Amy Chozick’s new book on the Clinton campaign, “Chasing Hillary,” doesn’t appear to have any big revelations in it, but it does offer some revealing glimpses into the miscalculations that led to her defeat.

“A week earlier, she’d cut off Joel and the pollster John Anzalone, as they walked her through the almost daily reminder that half the country disliked her,” Chozick writes. “You know, I am getting pretty tired of hearing about how nobody likes me,” she said. “‘Oh, what’s the point? They’re never going to like me,’ Hillary told this friend.”

That sense of resignation about the candidate’s limitations infected her campaign, writes Chozick. “After the convention, donors asked what they planned to do to pull Hillary’s trust numbers out of the toilet. The answer was always the same: nothing. Podesta would explain ‘I remember no one trusted Bill Clinton and he won twice.’”

I wonder which person on the campaign was known as The Brain?

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  1. mouse says:

    So I thoight about you guys last night when I went to Cooter Browns in Rehoboth and Park City Kathy was having a campaign fund raiser.

  2. Arthur says:

    remember in all those crime movies they get away with it till they get caught and the brain always gets caught. (Side note, the gimp never gets caught). So in trump world i’d say he’s the brain

  3. nathan arizona says:

    The gimp got caught in “The Usual Suspects.” But then it turned out he was the brain too.

  4. Alby says:

    @Arthur: You have identified the problem.

  5. Jason330 says:

    That Clinton campaign… JESUS CHRIST!!!! Save us from brilliant Democrats.

  6. Alby says:

    @Jason: The problem wasn’t the campaign, it was the candidate. Her self-pity is disgusting.

  7. Liberal Elite says:

    “it was the candidate.”

    Yep. She really needed to have a dick between her legs. Then “he” would have been an acceptable candidate…

  8. Alby says:

    Well, see, if she had a dick between her legs she never would have risen to her position as the wife of a guy who couldn’t keep his dick in his pants.

    Victim much?

    Also, what explains our criticism of all the male politicians who are criticized here daily? Seems your gender-based interpretation of the world fails here, as it does everywhere.

    Next time, see if you can make an accusation that contains something beyond your own biases.

  9. Liberal Elite says:

    It wasn’t just the Russian bots that were spewing misogynistic crap… for the entire campaign.

  10. Liberal Elite says:

    @A “Also, what explains our criticism of all the male politicians who are criticized here daily?”

    Quite honestly… Your (royal “your”) criticism of women politicians is worse… and it’s different.

  11. Alby says:

    Criticizing a woman is not automatically misogynistic. It is, however, the last refuge of people with no legitimate argument to make. And the first refuge for Clintonistas.

  12. Alby says:

    I can’t answer for others. The only gender-specific complaint I have about Hillary Clinton was that she got where she did through marriage.

    And don’t bother to point out that should could have accomplished it on her own. That she chose not to refutes that argument.

  13. Alby says:

    “Your (royal “your”) criticism of women politicians is worse… and it’s different.”

    This should be easy to illustrate. Let’s see you do it.

    How, for example, has the criticism of Nicole Poore differed from the criticism of Dick Cathcart? How did the criticism of Patty Blevins differ from the criticism of John Viola? And so on.

  14. Alby says:

    On a more important note than LE’s wounded fee-fee, Josh Marshall makes an interesting point about Trump’s lies in the Comey memos:


  15. RE Vanella says:

    If you think Hillary lost because she’s a woman, you’re wrong. Also this mistake is going to put you in the category of “not helping”. Steel yourself for the fight.

  16. Liberal Elite says:

    I think progressives have a large problem with women. You need the women vote to win. Yet, you seem to have no idea to attract them to your cause.

    This website is a case in point. What women have been added? I know several
    who’ve been driven away. But where is the excitement from women here?
    It’s absent.

    Maybe you don’t see it as a problem you guys need to work on… Fine. But that doesn’t mean the problem isn’t blatantly obvious.

  17. Alby says:

    All depends on what you define as a problem. Though I can’t speak for others, I’m not interested in “attracting them to my cause,” because my cause is calling bullshit on the copious bullshit in politics. I don’t care what they or anyone else does about it. It’s all up to them.

    Electing people because they’re female is no better than failing to elect them because they’re female. Indeed, my chief disagreement with Hillary and people like her, male or female, is that they think if we just had a perfect reflection of societal demographics in power, something would change.

    They’re wrong. Power corrupts, and it corrupts women just as readily as men.

  18. Liberal Elite says:

    “All depends on what you define as a problem.”
    The female vote. The extent of female involvement in progressive causes.

    “I’m not interested in “attracting them to my cause””
    There’s a difference between failing to attract and driving them away.
    It’s better to not drive them away…

  19. Alby says:

    I’m completely uninvested in who votes for whom. Not my area of responsibility, not my area of interest. I’m certainly not interested in pandering for votes.

    If they can be driven away from voting their self-interest by something they read on a blog, they aren’t very smart, are they?

    Women celebrating woman in power are operating from the same set of principles as white people celebrating whites in power or blacks celebrating blacks in power — it’s a foolish attempt to gain power from someone else’s accomplishment. While women like to bitch about white men’s hold on individual political power, they fail to notice that 99% of white men have no individual political power either.

  20. Alby says:

    “This website is a case in point. What women have been added? I know several
    who’ve been driven away.”

    Driven? I don’t recall them leaving of anything but their own accord, all because of some men’s refusal to lie about Hillary because otherwise we were helping the opposition. Clinton dead-enders like you are still at it on Daily Kos; if you’re looking for soulmates I suggest you try there.

    Hillary Clinton is no less my opposition than Donald Trump, just as all RepublicanLite Democrats are the opposition.

  21. Liberal Elite says:

    “If they can be driven away from voting their self-interest by something they read on a blog, they aren’t very smart, are they?”

    The irony… it’s overwhelming.

  22. Alby says:

    If I voted my self-interest I would vote straight Republican. And yet I voted for Hillary.

    You folks just couldn’t accept that we might not like her but we’d vote for her anyway.

    And you really couldn’t stand us saying that. Sorry, but you’re the dumb assholes who lost the election by demanding not just that we vote for her, but that we like her.

    If you insist on making power-sharing a zero-sum game, you’re going to need every woman’s vote to overcome those of us with dicks. And you couldn’t even get a majority of white women.

  23. Jason330 says:

    “Yep. She really needed to have a dick between her legs. Then “he” would have been an acceptable candidate…”

    Poor chap.

  24. Alby says:

    The most persistent bleat from Clintonistas was that by criticizing Hillary we were defeating her. This entire theory depends on their understanding of other people as nearly brainless beings at the mercy of whatever messages they see.

    I don’t know anybody who says, “I’m really easily influenced by whatever I hear.” Yet that’s what they want us to believe about “the voters.”

  25. Liberal Elite says:

    There’s a difference between criticizing and demeaning. It went well beyond…

  26. Alby says:

    Yes, we never demean anyone else here.

    The problem isn’t us being demeaning, it’s your over-identification with your avatar. Really, there are lots of places that will pander to your victimhood. This isn’t one of them.

  27. jason330 says:

    It is a tribute to the power of Clinton’s appeal as a victim of the patriarchy, that some people are still dragging that dead horse around.

    I guess “victim” is a frame that certain personality types feel very comfortable with. I mean, I find myself wrestling with it at times when – for example – my kid’s sports team suffers a close lose I might say “the refs were horrible.” That is comforting. It was not us, our weakness or lack of effort. It was the pernicious influence of external forces.

    Then, after cooling off, I have the self-awareness to check myself.

  28. Alby says:

    My comment that apparently triggered this was that I found her self-pity disgusting. When an aide told her it was over, she had lost, she said:

    “I knew it. I knew this would happen to me…. They were never going to let me be president.’”

    That’s why I said the weakness was the candidate. She ran as if she “knew this would happen” to her.

  29. Jason330 says:

    It was not us, our weakness or lack of effort. It was the pernicious influence of external forces.

  30. Alby says:

    Also, this, again from Chozick:

    Hillary always broke down Trump supporters into three baskets.
    *Basket #1: The Republicans who hated her and would vote Republican no matter who the nominee.
    *Basket #2: Voters whose jobs and livelihoods had disappeared, or as Hillary said, ‘who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens in their lives and their futures.’
    *Basket #3: The Deplorables. This basket includes ‘the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it.’
    The Deplorables always got a laugh, over living-room chats in the Hamptons, at dinner parties under the stars on Martha’s Vineyard, over passed hors d’oeuvres in Beverly Hills, and during sunset cocktails in Silicon Valley.

    Yes, Obama said hicks who haven’t fled the Rust Belt cling to their guns and religion, which happens to be absolutely true, just as Clinton’s statement is. But he didn’t go public with it. If I had to identify one active mistake, that would be it.

  31. RE Vanella says:

    Kerri Harris
    Tizzy Lockman
    Cynthia Nixon
    Elizabeth Warren
    Nina Turner
    Briahna Joy Gray
    Emma Gonzalez
    Jennifer Flynn…

    Women are leading this fight. It’s not about women. You’re wrong. Hillary was neoliberal scum. Sort yourself out because if you don’t get your shit together quickly we’re in trouble.

    Put down the fucking wine and the twat hat. People doing real political work laugh at people like you behind your back.

    Hashtag resistance is going to get us all killed.

  32. RE Vanella says:

    We have a four alarm stolen valor alert.

    Google “Pompeo” and click news….

    Haha. It’s embarrassing.

  33. mouse says:

    She was the most unlikable candidate I ever voted for. I was excited to vote for an have a woman POTUS, I thought she was competent and could maintain status quo but I didn’t think she was sincere nor that she really cared about anything substantive other than gaining power.

  34. Liberal Elite says:

    Looks like global warming will claim 96% of Delaware, due to the rising seas.


    Only Florida fares worse (97% loss of land).

  35. Alby says:

    Yeah, in 10,000 years. Humanity, having fouled its own nest, almost certainly won’t last that long.

  36. Liberal Elite says:

    It’s already started. There will be flooding damage in our lifetimes. The only question is “How fast?”

  37. spktruth says:

    Hilary Clinton was never a liberal or a progressive. it was Bill Clinton who brought Wall Street banksters into the democratic party and destroyed from within. Women are leading the fight all across this country, along with the young who brilliantly understand that incrementalism gets us no where. Women operate with both sides of their brains, look for solutions to big issues and can work across the aisle. We also don’t let the little head overrule the big head.

  38. Alby says:

    “It’s already started”

    Which is why I live 300 feet above sea level and don’t invest in land at the beach. If you want to invest in beachfront property, buy in Felton and wait 100 years.

    My point was it won’t reach 96% coverage until 10,000 years from now. That’s according to the article.