Liveblog: BANNON: OUT

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It was Facebook Live time again. Did a little look back that the week and and defended my Ron Swanson statue.

Just a side note on Justice Taney, whose statue on the grounds of the Maryland State House was unceremoniously removed by the ignoramus governor.

Taney inherited slaves but freed them and gave pensions to the older slaves. He was also a strong defender of the law as he ruled that Lincoln acted illegally in suspending the cherished right of habeas corpus. Taney believed that only Congress could suspend such writs. Lincoln ignored him, believing that the suspension of habeas corpus was a wartime exigency and he was acting as commander in chief.

He never lived the Dred Scott decision down - it followed him to his grave. But should we punish an otherwise distinguished jurist for one decision he made more than 150 years ago?

Madness stalks the land. We have become a demon haunted world.

The past often takes on a pleasant haze, so you might not remember just how rocky Reagan's two terms were, especially his relations with Capitol Hill. The House was controlled by Democrats led by Tip O'Neill, the last of the old school Democrats from FDR's New Deal coalition. He was opposed to Reagan on damn near everything except for cocktails. The Senate was sometimes, but not always controlled by the GOP -- and was just as creaky and cantankerous as it is today.

Nevertheless, Reagan got major legislation passed. Major. Tax cuts, military buildups, radical tax simplification, and more. Reagan used his personal popularity and his unmatched skill at the bully pulpit to put enough Fear of God (aka Ronald Dang Reagan) into just enough House Democrats just enough of the time to get his way.

But the Senate was a different story, because Senators aren't subject to the same popular passions that Congressman are -- or at least not as often. Whipping Senators into line took a different approach, especially when it came to recalcitrant Republican Senators. And there were at least as many of those in the '80s as there are today.

How'd Reagan do it?

Only a few people really know, and most of them are dead.

There was a story recounted in one of the major newsweeklies 20 or 30 years ago, so long ago that I've never been able to find a reference to it online. The story was told by one of Reagan's bigwigs -- probably either James Baker or Donald Regan, maybe Mike Deaver. If this short tale I'm about to tell rings a clearer bell with you, please let me know who it was.

So the question was put to Baker/Regan/Deaver/Whoever: How did you whip stubborn Senators into line?

The answer, and this part I remember exactly, was, "We held them over an open grave."

And that's the whole story. That's as much as they were willing to reveal.

Now we can make an educated guess as to what constituted an "open grave." Two things spring to mind, in fact. The first is that Reagan could use his position as party leader to cut off campaign funds. The other is that Reagan could turn his bully pulpit against, should the need arise, a 1980s-era RINO (Reaganite In Name Only).

Keep that in mind as you read the following headline:

Trump's border wall hits Senate snag.


The author of the legislation, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, backs a border wall, but is advocating his comprehensive approach over an immediate infusion of money.

"We don't know how that $1.6 billion fits into an overall plan for the entire southern border," Cornyn said this month. "Doing this on a piecemeal basis I think is really not the most efficient and most practical and most effective way to do it."

That plan clashes with the one put forward by President Trump, whose fiscal 2018 budget includes $1.6 billion for a "bricks and mortar" wall along the southern border. Still, Republicans seem to be on a path toward negotiating a spending deal with Democrats, whose support is needed if the bill is going to clear the Senate's 60-vote filibuster hurdle by the end of September.

Now this is when someone like Baker/Regan/Deaver would take someone like Cornyn aside, oh-so-discreetly, and show them the working side of an open grave.

Trump, bless his smartphone, will likely take to Twitter.

Now I'm not saying there's no utility to Twitter -- far from it. Trump used it successfully to launch his seemingly unlikely bid for the GOP nomination, and again for his even more unlikely bid for the White House. But it takes a lot more than "Sad!" to shove around a wily old Senate bull like Cornyn or McConnell.

Trump did some smart work in the first two months of his Administration, bringing Capitol Hill leaders into the Oval Office and actually listening to them. That must have been a welcome change from Barack Obama, who openly disdained pretty much everybody on the Hill, including members of his own party. But sine then, POTUS 45 seems to have retreated back to Twitter.

And the results are telling: No ObamaCare repeal; no wall; no tax cuts. These were the three major tenets of Trump's legislative agenda, and so far he's racked up one big fail, is looking at a looming failure, and his last item is on hold -- maybe until next year, maybe never. He can blame RINOs or whatever all he likes, but at some point, yes, the Buck Stops at the Resolute Desk for Trump's legislative troubles. I mean, what the hell kind of Republican can't get a tax cut?

Reagan had a hostile House and a just-as-jerky Senate to deal with, but worked the informal part of our political system to get what he wanted. Trump could use some of that old-fashioned politicking if he wants to start winning again.


Something from Mediaite:

Steve Bannon‘s protégé, Milo Yiannopoulos, is defending his old boss after news broke that Bannon was out  from the Trump White House.

The political and media worlds were rocked by news that the now-former strategic advisor will soon be leaving his White House role. Mediaite reporter Caleb Ecarma reached out to the former Breitbart tech editor, and Yiannopoulos offered up his first response to the current development.

“Steve Bannon is a patriot and a hero — and far more dangerous outside the White House than in it. Does it say good things about the Trump Administration? Not at first glance. But boy am I looking forward to having Steve back in the trenches again.”

Next year at this time we'll all share a good  laugh about the turmoil of the last couple of weeks when new White House Communications Director Ann Coulter tweets about yet another record stock market performance.

Random thought.

It took Joseph Stalin three months of brutal winter warfare, thousands and thousands of tanks and warplanes, about 150,000 men dead or missing, and a further 190,000 injured or captured, in order to breach Finland's Mannerheim Line. On the other side of the Line, the Finns suffered about 75% fewer casualties than the Soviets. It's fair to say then that the Finnish resistance, though ultimately doomed by sheer weight of Communist numbers, was nothing short of heroic. Miraculous, even. But that was 1939, 1940.

Today's attacker in Turku was likely welcomed into the country.

Pouring a 100-gallon barrel of motor oil on the already slippery blacklisting slope:

If you have your retirement plan managed by The Vanguard Group you may have received this invitation to vote on a proposal that would give the company permission to cull "problem companies" from their investment herd. Vanguard, based in Malvern, Pennsylvania, has over $4 trillion in assets under management. While it's good that the board is recommending against the proposal, the fact that it's escalated to the point that they're voting on it is troubling. Do we really want to see witch hunts for CEOs who, ten years ago, tweeted something offensive? That's what this kind of action could lead to.

Continuing on with our slippery slope them, this from Ars Technica:

When right-wing trolls and outright racists get kicked off of Twitter, they often move to Gab, a Twitter competitor. Gab was founded by Donald Trump supporter Andrew Torba, who says it's devoted to unfettered free expression online. This week, Andrew Anglin, editor of the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer, became an active Gab user after a succession of Internet companies refused service to his website, forcing it offline. The site also hosts controversial right-wing trolls like Milo Yiannopoulos and Andrew "weev" Auernheimer.

On Thursday, Gab said that Google had banned its Android app from the Google Play Store for violating Google's ban on hate speech.


Google explained the removal in an e-mail to Ars. "In order to be on the Play Store, social networking apps need to demonstrate a sufficient level of moderation, including for content that encourages violence and advocates hate against groups of people," the statement read. "This is a long-standing rule and clearly stated in our developer policies. Developers always have the opportunity to appeal a suspension and may have their apps reinstated if they've addressed the policy violations and are compliant with our Developer Program Policies."

Google is following in Apple's footsteps here. Apple has long had more restrictive app store policies, and it originally rejected the Gab app for allowing pornographic content to be posted on the service—despite the fact that hardcore pornography is readily available on Twitter. In a second rejection, Apple faulted the app for containing content that was "defamatory or mean-spirited"—Apple's version of the hate speech rule.

Because there's nothing "mean-spirited" on Twitter or something.

To get yourself up to speed on this topic read these:

Tech Companies Begin Blacklisting Alt-Right Sites, Purging Them from the Internet

The Slippery Slope of Internet Blacklisting



Meanwhile, from the "America Suddenly Notices Statues" file:

I guess it is an "emergency" because they're afraid of another leftist mob statue-toppling protest. The official statement doesn't mention that, of course. It does manage to dutifully get "alt-right" into the public record.

Make America Statue Free Again or something.

Steve, we now have Tom Knighton's piece up with an eyewitness report the stabber was yelling "Allahu akbar".

It's on:

According to Axios, a source close to Bannon said, "This week is a good window into what Bannon outside the [White House] would look like: A strong defense of POTUS and 'fire and fury' for enemies of The Trump agenda."

The Axios report also suggested that  Bannon could "return to the outside world, a leader in the populist nationalist movement worldwide, with a partner in hedge fund billionaire Bob Mercer, who has deep pockets and would make Bannon even more of a force to be reckoned with on the outside. Plus he has the killing machine of Breitbart to return to." [Emphasis added]

So...a war against Trump or against the scapegoats in his hand-chosen administration?


That's not how this works, Kim.