Open Forum

Where you can't be off topic because there IS no topic.

The floor is yours.

Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    McConnell has said if House impeaches Trump, Senate must have trial.

    So Senate repugs will need to take a stand.

    Now imagine if you are a member of the House Intelligence Committee that has been given the lead in the impeachment inquiry, how do you go forward. Perhaps the best short and long term move is to pay lip service to Tiny at the beginning of your questioning, i.e. Let’s get to the bottom of this witch-hunt, thereby ingratiating yourself to the rubes and then ask honest hard questions. At least then when the House of Tiny collapses, you can claim to have done your job.

  2. Teve says:

    Glenn Kirschner
    · 13h
    Sen Flake just said he’d heard reported that if a secret vote were allowed there would be 30 Republican senators that would vote for impeachment. Flake said that is untrue, adding, it would be “at least 35.” Who will be the first R brave enough to take a patriotic stand?

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
    “If it’s a secret, I’ll vote for it.”

    For a party that brands itself on being so tough, they sure run around DC like a bunch of cowards.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Watching the unfolding internecine warfare at FOX could thoroughly schaden my Fruede:

    On Tuesday, the semi-moderate Smith invited Judge Andrew Napolitano, a legal analyst, on to his show. Napolitano voiced that Trump had committed a “crime” by pressuring Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to consider investigating former vice-president and current Democratic 2020 hopeful Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

    “It is a crime for the president to solicit aid for his campaign from a foreign government,” Napolitano said. “This is the same crime for which the Trump Organization was investigated by Bob Mueller.”

    That evening, the vociferous conservative host Tucker Carlson called on his own judicial analyst, the former prosecutor Joseph diGenova, who duly called Napolitano a “fool”.

    “I think Judge Napolitano is a fool and I think what he said today is foolish,” DiGenova said. “No, it is not a crime. Let me underscore emphatically that nothing that the president said on that call or what we think he said on that call constitutes a crime.”

    A day later, Smith was on air, calling Carlson “repugnant” for not backing up Napolitano.


    But other disputes also broke out. Juan Williams, a host on the afternoon opinion roundtable show The Five, opined that Trump loyalists, including his colleagues at Fox News, appeared to be repeating the White House’s talking points on the issue.

    The Five’s Jesse Watters and Greg Gutfeld bristled at the implication: “What does that mean?” Gutfeld yelled. “Are you saying I got talking points?! You got to answer to the accusation!”

    Watters added: “Are you telling me I was told what to say?”

    Gutfeld went on to accuse Williams of taking his lines from the liberal-leaning watchdog Media Matters.


    “It’s management bedlam,” a Fox staffer remarked, according to Vanity Fair report. “This massive thing happened, and no one knows how to cover it.”

    The dilemma for Murdoch is how to position Fox News as defendant of conservative-thinking viewers in a post-Trump world – a path advocated by former House speaker Paul Ryan, who joined the Fox board earlier this year.

    “Fox is about defending our viewers from the people who hate them,” the source told the magazine. “That’s where our power comes from. It’s not about Trump.”

    That logic may now be coming to the forefront. Over the past several months Fox News management has noted that following Trump’s line has begun to cost the channel advertising revenue.

    After the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Carlson disputed that Trump ever “endorsed white supremacy or came close to endorsing white supremacy” and dismissed white supremacy as “actually not a real problem in America”.

    According to Media Matters, the number of paid ads supporting Carlson’s show drastically plummeted. The host left on vacation – which Fox New flacks claimed was planned in advance – as advertisers, including Stein Mart, HelloFresh, and Nestlé severed ties with Tucker Carlson Tonight, and the fast food chain Long John Silver’s pulled its advertising from Fox News entirely.

    Nearly 50 companies have issued statements dropping Carlson’s show since December, when he asserted that immigrants make America “poorer and dirtier” – and dozens more quietly cut ties without saying anything publicly.

    Bloomberg News reported an overall decline in ad revenue for Fox, rejecting Fox claims that ad revenue is steady.

    Pass the popcorn please.

  4. CSK says:

    “Can you imagine if these Do Nothing Democrat Savages, people like Nadler, Schiff, AOC Plus 3, and many more, had a Republican Party who would have done to Obama what the Do Nothings are doing to me? Oh well, maybe next time!” — DJT, Twitter


  5. @Sleeping Dog:

    So #MoscowMitch realizes he has to follow the Constitution. Isn’t that special.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Old news, I know but, Oh how the mighty have fallen:

    Adam Neumann was poised to become one of the world’s richest people this year, crystallising a personal fortune of as much as $14bn (£11.3bn) from the flotation of WeWork, the shared working space company he co-founded with a mission to become “the world’s first physical social network”.

    But in a bruising fortnight Neumann has been forced to pull the float, quit as chief executive, halt all of WeWork’s lease expansion plans, and seen the company’s credit rating cut to “junk” status. He has also had to fend off a series of increasingly damaging allegations about his personal conduct, including the revelation that he smoked marijuana on a private jet. The company is now selling the $60m Gulfstream G650 plane that Neumann had used to fly around the world to attend tequila-fuelled parties with the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jared Kushner and Will Smith’s son Jaden.

    Oh noooooes, he smoked some dope on a plane!

    At a company party last year he told his staff that WeWork’s mission was to “to elevate the world’s consciousness” and that “there are 150 million orphans in the world. We want to solve this problem and give them a new family: the WeWork family.”

    Was also going to come up with a cure for cancer, fix the climate, and end all wars.

    However, Neumann’s arrogance did not go down so well with Wall Street investors when WeWork published its flotation prospectus in August. It warned potential investors that: “Adam’s voting control will limit the ability of other stockholders to influence corporate activities and, as a result, we may take actions that stockholders other than Adam do not view as beneficial.”

    The prospectus, which mentioned “Adam” 169 times ( by comparison, Apple’s IPO prospectus from 1980 mentioned “Steve” Jobs three times), demanded that each of his shares should carry 20 times the votes of ordinary shares, and that his wife should have a say in selecting his successor should he die. The documents also showed that WeWork’s board would include no women.

    Anger from potential investors caused WeWork to change all of these policies, cutting his voting rights to 10 times and later three times those of other investors. The role of his wife Rebekah – a cousin of Gwyneth Paltrow – in succession planning was dropped, and the firm added Frances Frei, an academic at Harvard Business School, to its board.

    Wow, I can’t imagine why investors would object to those very minor conditions.

    The president of the Boston Federal Reserve Bank, Eric Rosengren, has warned that the business model of co-working companies like WeWork could make the next recession worse by sparking a run on commercial real estate. WeWork has signed long-term rental commitments worth $47bn with US landlords alone. If WeWork were to go bust, its landlords will struggle to collect the promised lease payments they are owed. That could leave property companies struggling to pay their bank loans, and in turn leave banks facing losses.

    Because banks are the true victims?

    WeWork’s prospectus had said: “If Adam does not continue to serve as our chief executive officer, it could have a material adverse effect on our business.” Son, and WeWork’s other investors and board members, thought otherwise and last week began attempts to oust Neumann as chief executive.

    Finally, late on Tuesday, Neumann stood down, telling staff that “the scrutiny directed toward me has become a significant distraction, and I have decided that it is in the best interest of the company to step down as chief executive”. His wife, her brother-in-law and about 20 other high-level employees who are close friends of Neumann are expected to also leave the firm, according to the Wall Street Journal. Internally they were referred to as Neumann’s “oval office”. Now, the firm must prove it has a long-term future without them.

    My Fruede is Schadened on both sides now.

  7. grumpy realist says:

    *ahem* your daily Brexit repor–

    Oh the heck with it. Just the Same Old Stuff. You know the drill.

    Here’s a link to a basket of purring kittens, instead.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: A first time for everything, Doug. //

  9. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Scott Galloway on the Pivot podcast has been all over this all summer. Very entertaining 🙂

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I first heard of it about a month ago, and boy have I been enjoying it.

  11. Teve says:
  12. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway don’t fanboi all over Silicon Valley assholes and it’s very refreshing. Also recommended: Anand Ghiridharadas and Nick Hanauer.

  13. CSK says:

    DJT’S subsequent three tweets today:




  14. Bill says:

    From here in South Florida-

    Teacher reassigned over quiz question about President Trump

    Back in 1977-78 I was in the 11th grade , I took American history. The class was about 55-60 students but we had 2 teachers. It was the 2nd or 3rd day of class and the teachers (One of the teachers was Mr. Muir) put up some early American history for us to jot down in our notebooks. I raised my hand 1 or 2 times because the teachers had three mistakes on the blackboard.

    What happened- I got kicked up to the AP American history class. I bumped into Mr. Muir around 1995. He hadn’t forgotten me.

  15. MarkedMan says:

    The behavior of our resident Trumpers makes more sense if you think of them as rabid nationalists. The Republican Party is their country and Trump is the symbol of that country, i.e. their flag. And we are foreigners. Rabid nationalists may grouse about their country to each other but they will never abide foreigners insulting it. It doesn’t matter whether any particular criticism is true or false, a foreigner disparaging their motherland must be angrily shouted down. We have no right! And when we point out Trumps shortcomings what they hear is someone insulting their flag. We say it has funny colors and is tattered and torn, so they hoist it higher and wave it with more enthusiasm. Their nationalism is judged by how vigorously they promote their national symbol. It doesn’t matter what the symbol is, It just matters that a foreigner is attacking it.

  16. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: It’s religion.

  17. Teve says:

    Brendan Karet

    Lou Dobbs: “why are there no whistleblowers involved in Democratic scandals? Isn’t that odd? Like Benghazi.”

    Speculawyer -American

    He’s soooo close to figuring it out. Just a little more thinking there, Lou! I know you can do it!

    Narrator: He could not do it.

  18. Teve says:
  19. Jax says:

    My 5th grader brought home a pocket constitution yesterday, complete with a quiz for the parents on their constitutional knowledge. I’m feeling pretty proud of myself for acing it without cheating. Even better was her reaction “How can you remember all that stuff?! You are a constitutional genius!”

    At least she thinks I’m smart. Way more fun than the teenager who constantly reminds me how dumb parents are. 😉

  20. grumpy realist says:

    Huh. Did run across an interesting article looking at the vocabulary which has sprouted up around the B-word (hard/soft, rough/smooth) and how the linked metaphors have been used by both sides to manipulate emotion (and to over-simplify a very complicated situation.)

    It’s an interesting analysis, worth reading for the cautionary lesson it teaches: if you can control the new vocabulary generated to describe a new issue, you can define what will be the opposing sides and manipulate the support for either.

  21. CSK says:

    @Teve: Of course it is, which is why the Massachusetts ban on all legal products is idiotic.

  22. Teve says:

    @CSK: super idiotic.

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @grumpy realist: I almost missed the kittens because I had to listen to Wayne La Pierre’s NRA blather first, but that was a nice break from the norm. Thanks!

  24. Kathy says:

    On other things, Season 4 of “The Good Place” just dropped on Netflix, but only one episode per week.

    I wouldn’t mind not bingeing on it, but the episode list is complete, and the first ep is a two-parter. So I’m going to wait at least until next week to get started. I’d wait til late November for the whole season to be available, but I’m guessing work will be on high tempo then.

  25. michael reynolds says:

    I bow in the general direction of Mike Schur, the show-runner, a genuine no-bullshit brilliant writer. But that said I thought that first ep was weak. But that does not discourage me – Schur consistently beats my expectations.

  26. Teve says:

    John Henson
    Who would have ever thought that a pathologically dishonest, egomaniacal, trust fund baby with 6 bankruptcies, a fake tan, a horrific combover, a long history of racism and a sexual fixation on his daughter would be a bad President?

  27. Kathy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    He did a good job setting up intriguing story lines over the past 3 seasons(*). So he could phone it in in season 4, and I’d still watch because I want to know how it all gets resolved.

    (*) It seems odd to call ten 22-minute episodes a season. It amkes for decent story-telling, but a season ought to be 20+ eps. In Groening’s Disenchantment calls them “parts.” Also worth watching, BTW, even if the story line building is flimsier than cobwebs.

  28. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Surprising isn’t it

  29. grumpy realist says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I haven’t the foggiest idea how YouTube makes its decisions as to what crap-in-the-way-of-ads it will throw up before allowing you through to the video. It does seem to be somewhat topic-specific but otherwise it’s totally random. Minuscule videos throw up Liberty Mutual insurance ads, anything I’ve watched about alternate day fasting usually produces various yoghurt and treadmill ads, sometimes I get hysterical Illinois political ads (makes sense; I live near Chicago)–and then there’s a loopy pharmaceutical ad (I think) which has three women sipping drinks on floats in a swimming pool supposedly talking about whatever-it-is but with absolutely no context and nothing in fact mentioned (guys–if I can’t figure out what your ad is for–swimsuits?–you gotta problem.) Usually before any of the animal videos I get ads for cat litter and family movies.

    If YouTube is paying a bunch of code monkeys for this level of AI I think they had better go back to the drawing board….

  30. Jen says:

    A concerted effort currently underway in whack-o-sphere to ID the whistle-blower.

    While analysts aren’t as protected as operatives, I firmly believe that CIA is more than capable of handling this, and I would assume they’d work hard to protect one of their employees. I hope they’ve whisked this individual off under cover/disguise for a multi-week vacation someplace nice.

  31. Gustopher says:

    @Jen: It’s going to turn out to be Hunter Biden, isn’t it?

  32. Jen says:

    @Gustopher: Ha!

    No idea. I just think it’s sort of amusing (and disturbing) that a random crew of people are out there trying to doxx someone who works for a place that basically hides people professionally.

  33. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “But that said I thought that first ep was weak.”

    Agreed, but I laughed out loud at both lines from the unicorn made of light…

  34. Jax says:

    WaPo reporting that State has “intensified” a probe into Clinton’s emails. FFS, there is no length they will stop at with the whataboutism. Will some “myseriously” be found on the code red server?

  35. Jax says:

    Annnnnd now I feel like I need a porcupine. I’ll get him a little squire’s hat for his head and call him my attack porcupine.

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @grumpy realist: Maybe the AI has seen my posts here lauding the heroic guns sacrificing their lives to make man hole covers and it wants to change my mind. 😉

  37. Teve says:

    @Jax: I think I saw that little guy eating a pumpkin a few months ago.

  38. DrDaveT says:


    “Fox is about defending our viewers from the people who hate them,” the source told the magazine. “That’s where our power comes from. It’s not about Trump.”

    This is a key insight. Fox’s product is validation — “watch us and feel good about who you are, even (especially) if you’re hateful”. Trump has tapped into the hateful views of those hateful people, but Fox is even more invested in that market than Trump is.

  39. DrDaveT says:

    Evangelical MAGA “Build that wall” Trump rally on the National Mall today. By my eyeball count, amused bystanders outnumbered actual participants by at least 2-1. The participants might have been able to fill a schoolbus, but it was close.

    Full disclosure — the event I saw was on the Mall, near the Smithsonian metro station. The link is for an event at the White House. No idea whether they’re the same thing, but the times match.

  40. An Interested Party says:

    @Bill: I loved Rick Scott’s reaction to that…it is wrong for “liberal” teachers to use tax dollars to “indoctrinate” kids in Florida…but where he is concerned, it is perfectly acceptable to use tax dollars to commit Medicare fraud…the perfect example of GOP values…

  41. Jax says:

    @DrDaveT: No word on whether they actually managed to circle the White House? Is that even legal?

    Hehe….feast of Trumpets. The jokes make themselves. I suppose the local McDonald’s was on high alert?

  42. de stijl says:

    I used to have an opossum at my last house who would creep in two three hours after sundown and nosh on the tiny bitter grapes off the vines that basically enveloped my porch.

    Would climb up the vines and sit in my windowsill munching on tiny grapes.

    Possums make sloths look hyper. How do they survive? That acting dead shit is like a superpower.

    I called him Blossum. He or she was my bud.

  43. de stijl says:

    Public Enemy – Rebel Without A Pause

    Chuck D is the man.

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl:

    Possums make sloths look hyper.

    They can move *kind of fast* when they want to. I once witnessed a fight between a pair. It sounded a like pure hell was being unleashed but it was actually a pretty tame affair.

    **relative to their normal speed anyway.

  45. Teve says:

    Washington Post says Mike Pompeo is reinvestigating Hillary Clinton’s emails as Secretary of State and retroactively classifying emails that were sent years ago.

    Keep plucking that chicken, GOP.

  46. Teve says:

    Guess who’s melting down on Twitter

    Donald J. Trump
    Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called “Whistleblower,” represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way. Then Schiff made up what I actually said by lying to Congress……
    Donald J. Trump
    His lies were made in perhaps the most blatant and sinister manner ever seen in the great Chamber. He wrote down and read terrible things, then said it was from the mouth of the President of the United States. I want Schiff questioned at the highest level for Fraud & Treason…..
    6:53 PM · Sep 29, 2019·Twitter for iPhone
    Donald J. Trump
    Replying to
    ….In addition, I want to meet not only my accuser, who presented SECOND & THIRD HAND INFORMATION, but also the person who illegally gave this information, which was largely incorrect, to the “Whistleblower.” Was this person SPYING on the U.S. President? Big Consequences!

  47. Teve says:
  48. Teve says:

    Donald J. Trump
    “Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats can’t put down the Impeachment match. They know they couldn’t beat him in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, and they’re increasingly aware of the fact that they won’t win against him in 2020, and Impeachment is the only tool they have to get….
    Donald J. Trump
    ….rid of Donald J. Trump – And the Democrats don’t care if they burn down and destroy this nation in the process. I have never seen the Evangelical Christians more angry over any issue than this attempt to illegitimately remove this President from office, overturn the 2016….
    Donald J. Trump
    ….Election, and negate the votes of millions of Evangelicals in the process. They know the only Impeachable offense that President Trump has committed was beating Hillary Clinton in 2016. That’s the unpardonable sin for which the Democrats will never forgive him…..
    Donald J. Trump
    ….If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.” Pastor Robert Jeffress,
    9:11 PM · Sep 29, 2019

  49. de stijl says:


    I would pay a lot of cash money to see two possums fighting, and then they both decide to play dead at the same time. That would amuse me tremendously.