“No Thank You, Mr. Pecker” is baller in like 47 different ways at the same time

There are so so SO many things I want to say about Bezos’ response to attempted extortion by AMI and the National Enquirer, but I honestly don’t know where to begin.

They put all that in writing? To a guy with more money than God? To a guy who owns half the web servers in the world AND a newspaper? To a guy whose life they’ve already tried to destroy?

How many other people have they done this to who didn’t have the means to respond like this? How many people have they done this to on behalf of Trump? What do they have on Republican members of Congress? Will Bezos investigate this? Who has already contracted him, and what will he do with that information?

And what about this “we each have a natural copyright on our personal photos, so you cannot publish them without my permission” claim? Is he going to make that claim in court?

What is this universe we live in? What is even happening here?!?


The plan was always to profit from the election, win or lose. Apparently it never occurred to them that they might get caught?!?

The brazenness of this is really extraordinary. It’s as if they’d spent their lives assuming that all the worst caricatures of politics were so true that they described everyone, then set about testing their limits.

Confusing fantasy for reality always has a cost, but when you’re playing this particular game this particular way and get caught? The indictments that get handed down from this one are going to be extraordinary. Because this isn’t just pay-to-play; it’s also money laundering. And THAT can get you a LONG time behind bars.


Two quick thoughts on Gov. Ralph Northam’s yearbooks photos

1) Obviously an apology isn’t nearly enough. Northam needs to go, and he needs to go this weekend. I was in eighth grade in VA back in 1984, and I knew that blackface was f’d and the KKK was evil. He was in medical school. He was an adult. He could’ve addressed this at any time, but he waited until he got caught. And that tells you everything you need to know about who he is. That matters.

2) This yearbook has been available for anyone to see for decades. His Republican opponents could’ve used it at any point but didn’t. More to the point, rather than use the obvious line of attack this presented, they instead chose to attack him for turning his back on VA’s confederate past. Put more plainly, rather than attack him for being a racist, they instead attacked him for not being sympathetic enough to racists and nominated an avowed neoconfederate to run against him . That also matters. Remember that as they pretend to be outraged.

Gov. Ralph Northam ‘deeply sorry’ after photo emerges from his 1984 yearbook showing blackface, KKK hood
— Read on www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/local/virginia-politics/va-gov-northams-medical-school-yearbook-page-shows-men-in-blackface-kkk-robe/2019/02/01/517a43ee-265f-11e9-90cd-dedb0c92dc17_story.html

US suspends nuclear arms treaty with Russia

Why why WHY?!? Suspending this treaty in reaction to their alleged violations gives them EXACTLY what they want. Rather than reign them in, it gives them a perfect excuse to push violate them further. “Well, if the United States isn’t going to follow it, why should we?!?”

We don’t need more nuclear weapons, not even if they are building more of them. We already have enough. Suspending this treaty will do nothing other than hand the Russians a needless PR victory.

Now why would we go ahead and do something like that?!? MAGA, ammirite?


Cory Booker and his relentless optimism are in. But is that really what Democrats want right now?

If you liked Obama’s brand of hope-and-change, then you’re gonna LUV yourself some Booker. God knows there have been times when I have too. But is this really want Democrat’s want from their front man right now? I don’t think so.

The party is at a moment when it’s taking things very seriously, and although it absolutely continues to believe that things can and will get better, I don’t think “hope and promise” are going to carry the day. We tried “look forward, not backwards” in 2008, and that’s part of what got us here. We need someone who can simultaneously offer a promise of change and prosecute the case against the opposition, who can be both a happy warrior and a determined foe. We’ve all seen Booker do the first, but the second has never really been part of his public persona. And I just don’t think democrats are willing to take the one without the other, not this time.

Booker as a VP? No doubt. He’d CRUSH that role. But President? Not this time, I don’t think. Not this time.

An Update on the Race for the Democratic Nomination

Just added an update to my Democratic Contenders post, but given how many of you read via RSS or other similar method, I thought I would post the update separately as well.


I added Buttigieg and Gabbard to the list of those running for reasons other than to win, and removed the handful of people who have formally announced that they do not intend to run.

As of today, it seems to me that Biden isn’t likely to be a legitimate contender, both because I don’t think he really wants to run and because I think Kamala Harris will crush him should he choose to. She is to me the very clear front runner as of this moment, and barring some kind of screw up, she is the one most likely to win the whole thing.

Gillibrand has been surprisingly quiet since announcing, and although it is obviously still very very early, it seems to me that she’s going to have a very hard time getting traction so long as Kamala Harris maintains the perception that she’s going to be hard to beat.

Warren….is who she is? I love her as my Senator. I think she’ll be a powerful force for good in the campaign. But no way do I think she wins the nomination. I thought that before she formally announced, and I think it much much more so since.

Tulsi Gabbard unexpectedly threw her hat into the ring, which is bizarre given her truly bizarre past, and it’s all quite predictably gone sideways very quickly (see, for example: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/29/tulsi-gabbard-2020-election-1134055). Not only is she not going to win the nomination, she’s not likely to make it past the spring, and now she’s got a DailyKos-backed primary challenger to boot. Which is great, because she is truly awful

Schulz, the Starbucks dude, is out there pretending to be a disaffected Democrat preparing to run, but no way he sees this through to the end, and anyway, he’s really just a disaffected moderate Republican confused about how partisanship works in American politics. The fact that he hates what the REpublican Party has become does not even remotely mean he is a Democrat, or that he will appeal to Democrats, or that his influence will somehow help Trump get elected. That’s all very backwards.

Beto is making exactly the kinds of noises that a person who doesn’t want to run but feels sort-of-but-not-really compelled to , so while I’m making predictions, let me put myself down as him formally announcing he will NOT run sometime in late-Spring.

And hey….why not go all in. If I had to bet money today, I’d either go with Harris-O’Rourke or Harris-Hickenlooper.

Howard Schultz opposes Democratic priorities because he isn’t a Democrat. This is supposed to be a threat to Democratic chances how exactly?

People have this all wrong. Schultz isn’t going to run as a Democrat because he isn’t a Democrat. He says so himself when he tells you that he opposes nearly every major policy the Democratic Party stands for. Schultz isn’t a Democrat. He’s a pre-Trump Republican in the mold of a William Weld or a Jeb Bush or a W Bush prior to 9/11. You know, a “fiscally conservative but socially liberal” and “free markets forever” sort of guy.

If he were to stay in the race — which he almost certainly will not — he will function as the equivalent of as what we now call a “Never Trump Republican,” except that because he’s confused about how our institutional structures work, he’d call himself an “independent.” Which is fine. It’s just branding, after all.

So Democrats, stop fretting. He almost certainly won’t run for real, but if he does, he will get the handful of votes from voters who cannot vote for Trump but also would never vote for Democrats, because Democrats want things that he and his fellow Never Trumpers abhor.

Alternative hypotheses welcome, so long as they include an explanation of Steve Schmidt’s role in Schultz’s new organization. Schmidt worked for McCain and for W, among others, and comes with an extensive set of ideological and political pre-commitments.