Bills must be paid in advance — a good policy for this administration

There’s going to be some kind of ridiculous Trump rally in Minneapolis tomorrow — I reserved two seats, but somehow, I don’t think my butt is going to be filling them. The Minneapolis mayor has the right idea, though: he is billing the Trump campaign in advance for security and the venue. Smart move. Trump has a reputation for stiffing the cities he visits.

With impeachment threatening to end the Donald Trump gravy train, the white supremacist con man in chief is retreating to what he does best: holding fact-free campaign rallies. The problem with Trump’s rallies is that they cost a ton, and, as with everything Trump, the bill for them is never paid. Some cities, such as Orlando, have asked that the costs for the rallies be covered upfront. Minneapolis, Minnesota, is expecting a Trump Nazi rally on Thursday. It has reportedly sent a $500,000 bill to the campaign to cover security costs and the use of the Target Center. Early Tuesday morning, Trump began his usual childish Twitter attacks, this time against the “lightweight mayor” of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey. Retweeting his campaign manager Brad Parscale, Trump moaned about Frey trying to stop his rally. Of course, Frey isn’t stopping the rally; he’s merely being proactive and fiscally responsible in trying to get his constituents reimbursed ahead of time, due to the Trump campaign’s history of stiffing or shorting cities on huge security bills.

Of course, Trump’s countermove is to threaten to sue the city, claiming the bill is inflated. I suspect it’s a conservative estimate. I wouldn’t want to be driving around the city tomorrow.

The city said it reached the $530,000 estimate based on the methodology it used to determine the costs of past major events, like the 2018 Super Bowl and Final Four. The public safety expenses are expected to be around $400,000 and the other $130,000 would be the result of lane closure fees, traffic control and various other costs, Minneapolis spokesman Casper Hill said in an e-mail Tuesday.

The Trump campaign said in the statement that if the city does not agree to honor the contract by 11 a.m. Tuesday that they would go to court.

You know, he never intends to pay what he owes, ever.

What is Zuckerberg’s net worth in rubles?

This would be unbelievable if it were a scene in a Red Scare movie made 70 years ago, but this is from an official intelligence report from congress.

Kremlin-directed operatives opened champagne when Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016, according to a communication disclosed in a new Senate Intelligence Committee report outlining Russia’s sweeping social media efforts to help him win.

“We uncorked a tiny bottle of champagne … took one gulp each and looked into each other’s eyes …. We uttered almost in unison: ‘We made America great,’” one operative at the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency said in the message obtained by the Republican-led committee.

The long-pending report by the Intelligence panel concluded that Russia directed an aggressive social media campaign to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton and help Trump in the 2016 presidential election and warns similar efforts to interfere in U.S. politics are still under way. It was a bipartisan endorsement of the finding made by U.S. intelligence agencies and often questioned by Trump.

It really needs to be read with a thick Russian accent, and with mocking laughter at the end. One of the operatives ought to be Mark Zuckerberg. Somebody make this movie, now!

A new edition of Morris’s own North Star!

Here we go again, another crop of [SATIRE!] wackaloon conservative students here have published their [SATIRE!] alternative newspaper, The North Star. As is their custom, they’ve splattered the cover with the bold declaration that this is [SATIRE!], which only tells me that some of our students have no literary understanding at all. Satire should poke holes in the conventional wisdom and be vaguely interesting, taking the status quo and extrapolating it out to a worrisome conclusion, but this is just a recitation of far right wing talking points with no self awareness at all. Maybe if this were put out by liberal students mocking the right, it could be called satirical…but even at that, it’s clumsy and heavy handed, and not at all entertaining.

The first article is a breakdown of the first amendment to the Constitution. It’s 3 paragraphs that simply restate the words of the amendment, and is [SATIRE!] anodyne, shallow, and boring, written by a [SATIRE!] student who is likewise anodyne, shallow and boring. Fine, keep it up. It’s the highlight.

The second article is intended to welcome freshmen, and warns them about the liberal professors who are going to try and indoctrinate them, makes the usual jokes about “safe spaces” and how conservatives don’t need them, babbles about “victim cards” and “blue hair”, and declares that if you’ve got a penis, you’re a boy, and that there are only two genders. The author is simply an [SATIRE!] ignorant nitwit.

The third article is more insipid reactionary nonsense, trying to explain why politics is treated like a football game. It explains that Obama was one of the most divisive presidents in history, and the Republicans simply elected someone even more divisive, and the Democrats are just as bad. [SATIRE!] Get stuffed, wingnut. That’s just stupid.

The fourth article…oh, boy. It’s titled Dixon’s Tranny Corner, by Dixon. You can guess how bad it is. Being trans is either a mental illness, or you don’t deserve societal support. [SATIRE!] The author is a fuckwit trying to justify their contempt for a minority. They promise to continue this strain of hate speech in future issues.

The fifth article is about feminism. Did you know that many women who claim to be feminists think that having a baby and a career is impossible? True feminists don’t get married or have babies. [SATIRE!] The author really needs to learn what she’s talking about before she opines in a newspaper. [SATIRE!] Ignorance of this caliber ought to be embarrassing.

The final article is about how Tulsi Gabbard is bad because she wants is to reduce military aid to to Israel and withdraw from Middle East hotspots, and that under it all she’s just another far left Democrat like Bernie Sanders. [SATIRE!] He almost convinces me to support her! Then I realize that this isn’t actually satire, it’s just another [SATIRE!] MAGA-hat wearing doofus declaring America Uber Alles.

Sorry, world. I just have to be honest and admit that [SATIRE!] some of our students are goddamned morons.

What do Erick Erickson, Glenn Beck, Lindsey Graham, L. Brent Bozell III, and so many others have in common?

They were all dedicated never-Trumpers who used terms like “racist”, “fascist”, “immoral”, “charlatan”, “fundamentally dishonest”, and “disgusting” in reference to Donald Trump in 2016, and who are now praising him and telling everyone to vote for him again. In addition to the named hypocrites, throw all of Evangelical Christianity in the sack, along with practically every Republican office holder. Digby doesn’t seem to be able to listen to them anymore, and neither can I.

Watching these people on TV making excuses for Trump and preening before his cult followers is more than I can take these days.

They know what they are doing. They are not rubes being brainwashed by Sean Hannity. And they know very well that Democrats are not an existential threat. With the exception of some of the evangelicals who have been lying their entire lives about who they are and what they care about, this is a calculated career decision based on cowardice.

They aren’t rubes, and we certainly can’t make the excuse that they are “economically distressed”. These are craven liars who are in on the grift.

The president of Finland has invited us to come visit!

What if we want to stay? Can we stay at his house? Will he at least invite us to dinner one night?

He says nice things about us, but I suspect he’s had about enough Americans for now.

Here’s a list of words that mean the opposite of “diplomacy”. It’s amazing how every single one of them applies to Donald Trump.

Why does it have to be a science teacher?

Matt Baish is a terrible person.

He’s “angry” about Greta Thunberg visiting his area, so he “jokes” about not having a sniper rifle. Funny. Hilarious. Except that it’s sad how going right-wing causes atrophy of one’s sense of humor.

Fortunately, he’s been placed on administrative leave, so he won’t be poisoning students’ minds. This still disturbs me:

Baish, who is listed as a science teacher on the Waterloo West High School’s website, was placed on administrative leave after responding to a Facebook post about Thunberg visiting Iowa City this week, a local ABC affiliate reported.

Thunberg’s reputation rests on her fierce support for taking action against climate change; she spoke to congress and told them to listen to the scientists. This bozo so strongly hates that message that he’d make veiled threats against her? How can he be teaching good science?

When did “liberal” become a slur?

It wasn’t when the Republicans started sneering at the word. That was a mark of honor. I was happy to call myself a liberal during Reagan’s term.

It really started going rancid when Bill Maher adopted the label. “Liberal” now meant sexist hack and apologist for war and racism.

A week previously, Maher appeared on MSNBC’s flagship breakfast show, Morning Joe (9/12/19), where he claimed that the Democrats’ left-wing (i.e., Bernie Sanders) was a “cancer” destroying the party, warning that the left is “scarier and crazier than Trump,” and nominating a leftist as its presidential candidate would spell disaster in the next election. (Decrying the supposed unelectability of the left is a favorite pastime of elite pundits—, 2/26/19, 7/2/19, 8/21/19.)
Media almost unanimously present Maher as a “liberal” (e.g. Salon, 10/11/14, 9/21/19; USA Today, 7/8/18; New York Post, 6/29/19) or even a “progressive” (The Hill, 2/2/17) comedian. Yet any inspection of his political positions dispels this illusion. To be sure, he generally supported President Barack Obama and opposes Donald Trump (although he has been known to do the opposite of both). But he also has a long history of repeatedly taking reactionary positions on many subjects, especially war.

On his previous Comedy Central show Politically Incorrect, Maher praised the Vietnam War as “necessary,” arguing it helped end the Cold War. (The US officially began its involvement in Vietnam 36 years before the dissolution of the Soviet Union.) In 2013, he joked about killing antiwar activist Medea Benjamin after she interrupted Obama, and recanted his anti-Iraq War position, claiming, “Iraq is doing better than I thought it would be.” He praised George W. Bush for “creating a country” there.

Need I point out that he’s also an anti-vaccination atheist, and a libertarian? He uses his criticisms of Trump as a merkin to cover up his fundamental illiberalism. But this part is legitimately true:

Ultimately, Maher has built up an impressive following and continues to espouse snarky elitist hot takes weekly for HBO, earning an estimated $10 million per year doing so. Call him a racist, a bigot or an astute businessman; just don’t call him a liberal.

Although I can’t say that embracing the values of the 1990s through the Trump years to his own profit is exactly the mark of a principled person.

Jacob Wohl gives Elizabeth Warren a lock on the presidency

Once again, Jacob Wohl claims to have a sexual assault victim, and once again he gives a presser in Burkman’s driveway. This time, it’s an accusation against Elizabeth Warren, that she had sex with a Marine bodybuilder. Surprise, the “victim” showed up this time.

Whoa. A 70 year old woman had sex with a muscular 24 year old man? As long as it was consensual, good for her. I have to agree with this sentiment.

Spectator writer Caroline McCarthy joked, “Look, I get that this is BS and the “decorated, former U.S. Marine” will mysteriously cancel on the event, but Elizabeth Warren being a voracious cougar who hooks up with 24-year-old bodybuilders would make me want to vote for her.”

Except, of course, that this is a Jacob Wohl story, so you know it’s all lies. It’s also already falling apart. The Marine tried to claim that the scars on his back are a result of wild crazed sex with Warren (woohoo!), but unfortunately someone dug into his instagram feed and found his original explanation.

I prefer to imagine a naked Elizabeth Warren totally dominating a beefy young man, lashing him viciously with a chain, but I’m sorry, it just didn’t happen. Jacob Wohl never says anything accurate.

Why isn’t he in jail already?

You mean whining about being insulted doesn’t work?

An interesting historical anecdote: Andrew Johnson was a reviled president who went on a whistlestop tour — you know, campaign rallies — to energize his followers and stir up support. It didn’t go well. He was frequently insulted, and his response was to go on furious rants (sound familiar?) and rage at everyone. Guess how that went.

Johnson angrily denounced with one of the strangest tirades of the tour: “I have been traduced! I have been slandered. I have been maligned. I have been called Judas — Judas Iscariot and all of that.”

By the time it was over, Johnson had been humiliated and his reputation was in tatters.

I’ll be curious to see how effective the temper tantrum strategy will be for a president whose reputation is already in tatters.