"Kellyanne, that makes no sense."
February 14, 2017 7:46 AM   Subscribe

10 unanswered questions after Michael Flynn’s resignation: #1: What, if anything, did Trump authorize Flynn to tell the Russians before his inauguration? Today is day 26 of the Trump presidency; this morning, Matt Lauer eviscerated Kellyanne Conway on the Today show regarding the resignation of General Michael Flynn, which Paul Ryan is now claiming President Trump asked for. The AP is reporting that the North Korea leader's brother, Kim Jong Nam, was slain at airport in Malaysia, and Fox News is reporting that a Russian spy ship is patrolling off the East Coast of Delaware. posted by roomthreeseventeen (2859 comments total) 112 users marked this as a favorite

 
My god, we're only in week four.
posted by darkstar at 7:48 AM on February 14 [150 favorites]


This is US politics now. Short of a miracle in 2018 and 2020 involving the wholesale rejection of this conduct, the US body politic will be permanently deformed.
posted by Talez at 7:49 AM on February 14 [51 favorites]


looks like the Bannon faction in the white house has found their angle
posted by murphy slaw at 7:49 AM on February 14 [32 favorites]


Gosh, it's been so long since we've fed soldiers into a meat grinder. And look, my kids are approaching draftable age! Surely I'll be a proud parent as I send my child off to defend "freedom" or something.
posted by prepmonkey at 7:50 AM on February 14 [27 favorites]


"May you live in interesting times." indeed.
posted by INFJ at 7:50 AM on February 14 [13 favorites]


At least both the press conference(s) and this week's SNL re-enactments will be glorious.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:51 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Franco-American is apparently replacing him with another Rhode Island native, Robert Harward, so I've got that going for me, which is nice.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:52 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


11. Who's the next major official to go?
posted by tilde at 7:53 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


That Today Show clip is what listening to Radio 4 felt like when I first moved to the UK: interviewers actually asking probing questions and holding their guests to account? Shocking stuff, having come from W's USA.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 7:53 AM on February 14 [26 favorites]


"looks like the Bannon faction in the white house has found their angle"

Who's Breitbart's White House source?

/s
posted by I-baLL at 7:53 AM on February 14 [29 favorites]


It's only Tuesday; there is sure to be something more nuts than this on Thursday or Friday for SNL to skewer.
posted by notyou at 7:53 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


At least both the press conference(s) and this week's SNL re-enactments will be glorious.

SNL isn't back until March 4th.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:53 AM on February 14


Holy crap, Matt Lauer sems to have spontaneously grown a tiny piece of residual spine. Someone call the NBC surgeon and have it removed, stat!
posted by The Bellman at 7:53 AM on February 14 [25 favorites]


This Twitter account is just a bit on the spammy side, but they do raise an interesting question about the possibility of Trump "doing something really stupid in North Korea to divert attention."

That factor, plus the assassination of Kim Jong-Un's half-brother today, are worrisome? Or...just...business as usual in these times?
posted by witchen at 7:56 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


As long as the interview subject is female Matt Lauer has no problem going after her.
posted by saladin at 8:00 AM on February 14 [74 favorites]


Next to go has to be one (or more) of the WH's increasingly unpopular, ridiculed and ineffective propaganda mouthpieces: Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Miller.

I'm having difficulty remembering when a more obnoxiously punchable threesome was ever tasked with communicating anything to anybody, ever.
posted by darkstar at 8:00 AM on February 14 [20 favorites]


Millers more of a policy Nazi that gets drafted in, isn't he?
posted by Artw at 8:01 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't assume the US is involved with KIM Jong Nam's assassination.

That spoiled asshat was an inveterate gambler and, in the eyes of KIM Jong-un, a potential threat to his legitimacy.

My money is on NK agents or a bookie.
posted by qcubed at 8:01 AM on February 14 [20 favorites]


How radioactive is the corpse?
posted by Artw at 8:02 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]


Surely I'll be a proud parent as I send my child off to defend "freedom" or something.

This time it'll probably be “Judeo-Christian Traditional Values” or something equally fascistic sounding.
posted by acb at 8:02 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Kim Jong-Nam was, until now, best having known for having forfeited the post of hereditary God-Emperor of Best Korea to sneak out to Tokyo Disneyland. So it could be said that he died out of a love of Mickey Mouse.
posted by acb at 8:04 AM on February 14 [9 favorites]


I wouldn't assume the US is involved with KIM Jong Nam's assassination.

Not implying that, just that there's so much chaos afoot. But I'm relieved to hear about the gambling. That makes more sense and is less likely to feed the chaos.
posted by witchen at 8:04 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Dennis Miller is apparently champing at the bit to play KellyAnne on SNL, and Rosie O'Donnel has herself made up like Steve Bannon as her Twitter avatar as an unsubtle hint she's onboard, too. March is going to be the single best month in SNL history if they follow through with this and bring back McCarthy as Spicer and have McKinnon as Stephen Miller.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:04 AM on February 14 [13 favorites]


This Twitter account is just a bit on the spammy side, but they do raise an interesting question about the possibility of Trump "doing something really stupid in North Korea to divert attention."

Besides handling the news of NK's latest missile launch in front of everyone at dinner at Mar-A-Larceny?
posted by tommasz at 8:05 AM on February 14 [16 favorites]


The liquid was too fast acting for radiation to be the causative agent of Kim's death. Also, given external application, for radiation to have been said agent, the entire airport would have to be shut down.
posted by qcubed at 8:05 AM on February 14


Dennis Miller can go fuck himself with shitgibbon's tiny shit-covered fingers.
posted by qcubed at 8:06 AM on February 14 [123 favorites]


From last thread:

the one real drawback to gerrymandering is that all those 60R:40D districts that result from shaping a couple of 10R:90D districts start looking really shaky during moderate swings in voter sentiment.

In places where there has been no mid-decade redistricting, the end-of decade elections are when the gerrymander starts to weaken: old people die, young people turn 18, people arrive and move away.
posted by holgate at 8:07 AM on February 14 [14 favorites]


My take based on current public info.

IC has managed to orchestrate the ousting of one of Trump's minions. They went for the one that was relatively easy as well as one that posed the biggest direct threat to national security and to their own ability to work. They also managed to take out a key loyalist to Trump and one of the pillars of his power base. That is going to hurt Trump.

Meanwhile it looks like the different factions vying for power in the WH are still at it. They sorta agree on the tack to take (it's media etc destabilizing) but will spin that to their own interests.

I expect that IC has more on Flynn. I expect that if he hadn't resigned we would have more Flynn 'leaks' in the coming days. Flynn likely suspects this, which is why he resigned or agreed to resign. There is more then just he lied to Pence as a reason he resigned. Now the WH is in full on damage control and trying to pre-discredit future leaks. Someone in there knows what could come down. IC is full on waging a cold war right now and they've won the first round. I

I expect there will be a bit of a pause on their part to see how Trumpco's response shapes out and how the power balance has changed in practice, because it has changed now. The question I have is if IC has plans where they could take him down (likely by picking other minions off) or if the plan is to kneecap him and reduce he and the minions power.
posted by Jalliah at 8:08 AM on February 14 [31 favorites]


Dennis Miller is apparently champing at the bit to play KellyAnne on SNL

Dennis Miller can go shit in his hat for all I care. That dude spent years frothing at the mouth as a Tea Party hero. Whatever his comedic background, he is dead to me.
posted by darkstar at 8:08 AM on February 14 [104 favorites]


Also, maybe you're thinking of Denis Leary wanting to play Conway?
posted by qcubed at 8:08 AM on February 14 [51 favorites]


So when do they start denying Flynn was ever part of the administration? Tomorrow?
posted by drezdn at 8:08 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Look, guys, I've got inauguration + 18 months in the quits or is forced out impeachment pool. You cannot start resigning in week four.
posted by zippy at 8:09 AM on February 14 [29 favorites]


OK, everybody set your alarms: White House Daily Briefing with Sean Spicer, 1:00 pm

I'm sure he'll be late as usual -- although this is perhaps not the best day to leave a bloodthirsty roomful of reporters twisting in the wind for too long.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:09 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Jeet Heer in The New Republic:
By some accounts, a staff shakeup is exactly what the Trump administration needs. After all, it’s fairly common for new governments to get off to a rocky start until the president finds a team that gels. That was certainly true of presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. Writing in Axios, Mike Allen predicted that Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner “will outlast everyone. Many Republicans think the two will recognize the damage to Trump’s brand and their own—and help engineer a return to a more conventional West Wing.” Writing in Politico, Josh Dawsey and Alex Isenstadt suggest that Trump was “mulling an early staff shake-up.” To add to these rumors, Trump reportedly is meeting on Tuesday with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has been hovering like a vulture in the hopes of returning to Trump’s inner circle.

The idea that a staff shake-up might bring order to a chaotic White House is superficially plausible, but crumbles on closer inspection. Unlike Carter, Reagan, and Clinton, Trump has no political or governmental experience whatsoever. His management style—fomenting chaos and insecurity among his subordinates so they compete to please him—might have served him well as an entertainer but less well in enterprises that involve more than performance and brand-burnishing. Hence Trump’s long string of business failures and bankruptcies in fields outside of entertainment and brand licensing.
posted by murphy slaw at 8:10 AM on February 14 [32 favorites]


Crap, not Dennis Miller, Dennis Leary wants to play KellyAnn. Dennis Miller died of the Brain Eater in September of 2001.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:10 AM on February 14 [95 favorites]


In the basement of the White House, an intern sits, busily photoshopping Flynn out of all officially approved pictures...
posted by darkstar at 8:11 AM on February 14 [40 favorites]


Thanks for this new thread roomthreeseventeen!
can you add the "usa" tag to it?
posted by The_Auditor at 8:11 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Also, maybe you're thinking of Denis Leary wanting to play Conway?

Nope, gotta be Jon Lovitz as Tommy Flanagan. Yeah, that's the ticket!
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:11 AM on February 14 [23 favorites]


That factor, plus the assassination of Kim Jong-Un's half-brother today, are worrisome? Or...just...business as usual in these times?

The current regine had previously attempted to have him killed, without success; that's pretty much (very depressing) business-as-usual, if they were behind his death.

The missile test is also substantially business-as-usual, albeit terrifying business-as-usual -- ramp up threats to create a negotiating position. Trump's response (or lack of response) is, I think, more worrying as a hypothetical. Shinzō Abe's presence was, hopefully, a moderating influence that will frame Trump's response, and Flynn's departure is well-timed in that regard, too.
posted by cjelli at 8:12 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


My arguments with my "traditionalist Catholic" mother have led me down a path I never would have expected.

Bannon is not some lone nutcase who came up with all this crazy stuff on his own. He represents a (currently out of favor!) faction within the Catholic church. And in a sense, what is happening right now is Catholic church internal politics escalating into American national politics, courtesy of Bannon.

WaPo:
How Pope Francis can cleanse the far-right rot from the Catholic Church


This article is pretty remarkable. Short version: it seems that while Pope Francis is pro-refugee and anti-border wall... Cardinal Burke (an American) is a bonafide member of the alt right, with deep ties to Bannon and Breitbart, and belief that Islam is not a religion but a political system like communism, poised to conquer Europe through immigration rather than invasion. He has been meeting with fascist-quoting Italian political party leaders behind Pope Francis's back, and clashing with Francis publically on a variety of issues. He has many followers, especially in the US, who respect his teachings more than Francis's. (My mom apparently is one!)

The links in that Washington Post article are just damning. The first one is to an article in Breitbart which quotes Burke saying that "Islam, through sharia, their law, will rule the world and permit violence against infidels, such as Christians. [...] Many people do not understand what Islam really is,” he added. “They create these slogans: we all believe in the same God, we are all united by love and so on. It’s not true.” "The problem is that Muslims aim for expansion,” he added. “The whole history of the Islamic presence in Europe is an attempt to conquer it.”"[...] "“Several times I have heard Islamists explaining: ‘What we failed to do with weapons in the past, we are doing today with birth rate and immigration.’ The population is changing. If this keeps up, in countries like Italy, the majority will be Muslim.”"

There is a link to an Italian source quoting Burke saying "capitulating to Islam would be the death of Christianity”. And also 'Burke says he is “very satisfied” with Russian autocrat Putin’s “defense of life and family” and believes he may have “converted” since his KGB days.'

Later it links to this amazing Guardinan story.
With this lede: "A powerful American cardinal who is engaged in a bitter feud with Pope Francis has met Matteo Salvini, the rightwing Italian nationalist who is a staunch supporter of Donald Trump and has praised Benito Mussolini."

And! the New York Times is also reporting on the Burke/Francis clash:
"Cardinal Burke has become a champion to conservatives in the United States. Under Mr. Bannon, Breitbart News urged its Rome correspondent to write sympathetically about him. And at a meeting before last month’s anti-abortion March for Life rally in Washington, Cardinal Burke received the Law of Life Achievement, or Nail award, a framed replica of the nail used to hold the feet of Christ to the cross. According to John-Henry Westen, the editor of Life Site News, who announced the award, the prize is awarded to Christians “who have received a stab in the back.”
For ease of reference, here's the NPR story on this I linked the other day. Which cites Breitbart headlines like " 'A Vatican Expert: Pope Francis a 'Friend of Islam' "

And that link someone else provided earlier about Bannon quoting Italian fascist philosopher Julius Evola, who inspired Richard Spencer's "Children of the Sun" language.

My mom is a big fan of Cardinal Burke. I now feel like she's in a cult, and he's the cult leader. And Bannon is in the same cult. And we've got some crazy cult guy running the country. Francis really does need to clean house.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:13 AM on February 14 [279 favorites]


Crap, not Dennis Miller, Dennis Leary. Dennis Miller died of the Brain Eater in the September of 2001.

Nah, it was before that, when he was on Monday Night Football.
posted by Melismata at 8:13 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Oh look an R said something. Are pigs now flying?

GOP Senate Intel Member: Exhaustive investigation into Trump-Russia connections needed following Flynn resignation

(CNN)Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Tuesday called for an exhaustive investigation into connections between President Donald Trump and Russia and said the Intelligence Committee should immediately speak with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Flynn resigned Monday evening amid revelations that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about conversations he had in December with Russia's ambassador to the US about sanctions placed on Russia. Pence had defended Flynn on television and denied he discussed sanctions after initial reports of the conversations.
"I think everybody needs that investigation to happen," Blunt said on KTRS radio. "And the Senate Intelligence Committee, again that I serve on, has been given the principle responsibility to look into this, and I think that we should look into it exhaustively so that at the end of this process, nobody wonders whether there was a stone left unturned, and shouldn't reach conclusions before you have the information that you need to have to make those conclusions."

posted by Jalliah at 8:14 AM on February 14 [56 favorites]


"I hope the CIA and the Pope can save us" -- 2017 everybody, wubba lubba dub dub
posted by prize bull octorok at 8:16 AM on February 14 [200 favorites]


Dennis Leary! Hadn't heard that name in 20 years
posted by thelonius at 8:17 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Oh look an R said something. Are pigs now flying?

Blunt was just re-elected. He doesn't have to worry about anything for almost six years.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:17 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


GOP Senate Intel Member: Exhaustive investigation into Trump-Russia connections needed

That marks a turning point.
posted by diogenes at 8:18 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]




I expect there will be a bit of a pause on their part

Possibly. Perhaps the focus turns to Congress. You got Nunes and Chaffetz saying "he's out, nothing to investigate, la la la", while McCain/Graham make grumbly noises and Dem senators lose their shit, and if the IC wants to make the "no investigations" position untenable, it may seek ways to do so.
posted by holgate at 8:18 AM on February 14 [9 favorites]


Adding "Save us, Roy Blunt!" to the list, right after "Save us, Chinese environmental policy!"
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:19 AM on February 14 [60 favorites]


Oh look an R said something. Are pigs now flying?

So far, the only GOP members to complain are (1) in the Senate, while the House (under Nunes and Chaffetz) is responsible for investigations; and (2) not up for re-election in 2018.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:19 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Abbreviated conversation with my boyfriend just now:

Him: Trump should resign for lying to the American people. Didn't we have impeachment trials for Clinton for the same reason?
Me: No. They impeached Clinton for lying under oath.
Him: Bah! It's the same thing.
Me: As far as I know there's no line about telling the truth in the presidential oath of office.

Guys, I found the loophole. Let's close it.
posted by INFJ at 8:20 AM on February 14 [9 favorites]


they do raise an interesting question about the possibility of Trump "doing something really stupid in North Korea to divert attention."

oh god he's going to build a juche golf course isnt he
posted by Greg Nog at 8:20 AM on February 14 [36 favorites]


<>That marks a turning point.

And maybe this.

Schiff: More info coming soon on Flynn-Russia ties

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told House Democrats Tuesday that the recent revelations about former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn's conversations with the Russians are only the beginning, and more information will surface in the coming days, according to multiple sources in a closed party meeting.

Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, also said that any conversations that Flynn had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Donald Trump took office would not be covered by executive privilege, potentially making some information subject to congressional investigations.

posted by Jalliah at 8:20 AM on February 14 [53 favorites]


Oh look an R said something.

Eh, his kid's funnier.
posted by Etrigan at 8:22 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]


Are all comedians named Dennis awful?

The thing with Leary playing Conway is that the idea is based on a misconception of how Trumpian patriarchy works. The McCarthy as Spicer bit didn't get until Urmpt's skin because of gender-bent casting; instead, it was because a man was being played by a woman.

Having a man play Conway, especially a 90s-bro like Leary, would make Purmt like her more, not less.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:22 AM on February 14 [15 favorites]


My rep, Islamophobic shitbag Pete King, did tell CNN yesterday that he would like to see the transcripts of Flynn's calls. Which is a very small glimmer of light, a firefly at the bottom of a chasm.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:22 AM on February 14 [10 favorites]


The last 3 weeks have been probably the longest feeling of my adult life.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 8:23 AM on February 14 [98 favorites]


Zach Braff also angling for the Miller SNL gig.
posted by zakur at 8:23 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Casting a permanent Conway is tricky. Perhaps the way to go is to make the Conway role itself a rotating guest spot, with different actors all the time (like Catwoman or Bobby Draper), which you could then compare and contrast against some Platonic ideal of Conway impersonations.

Example: "John Goodman's Kellyanne was silly nonsense, of course, but it really did annoy Trump." "True, but I much prefer Steve Buscemi's grasp of her craziness, or Joe Pesci's fanaticism."
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:23 AM on February 14 [44 favorites]


I kinda wonder how many proud Republicans named their baby girls Kellyanne in the last few months and are starting to call them by their middle names now.
posted by Etrigan at 8:25 AM on February 14 [43 favorites]


The original phone taps - were they targeting the ambassador or Flynn? Were they a one off or is this an ongoing practice? Who ordered them? On what grounds?

Google fails me and I've not been following this closely, so any answers from those who have would be most appreciated.
posted by IndigoJones at 8:26 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]



Possibly. Perhaps the focus turns to Congress. You got Nunes and Chaffetz saying "he's out, nothing to investigate, la la la", while McCain/Graham make grumbly noises and Dem senators lose their shit, and if the IC wants to make the "no investigations" position untenable, it may seek ways to do so.


I know. It's all just speculation of course but it looks like they do have several different avenues to play with right now. WH has been pushed to full on defensive mode and I expect is going to fling and flail around trying to get back to some sort of solid offensive position. The 'omg look at all the leaks, omg bad' is them trying to do this.
posted by Jalliah at 8:26 AM on February 14


I expect that IC has more on Flynn. I expect that if he hadn't resigned we would have more Flynn 'leaks' in the coming days. Flynn likely suspects this, which is why he resigned or agreed to resign. There is more then just he lied to Pence as a reason he resigned. Now the WH is in full on damage control and trying to pre-discredit future leaks. Someone in there knows what could come down. IC is full on waging a cold war right now and they've won the first round.

I cant pretend like the sources im seeing it from are remotely verifiable, but there seems to be a strong current of "Pence stepped in and forced Flynn to resign" going around which would cut against this view.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:26 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Dennis Leary wants to play KellyAnn.

This is the only time I've ever wondered if Denis Leary wasn't quite leathery and dessicated enough for a role.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:27 AM on February 14 [81 favorites]


Casting a permanent Conway is tricky. Perhaps the way to go is to make the Conway role itself a rotating guest spot, with different actors all the time (like Catwoman or Bobby Draper), which you could then compare and contrast against some Platonic ideal of Conway impersonations.

A rotating guest spot within the same sketch, which all the other actors acknowledge but which the Kellyannes Conway fervently deny.
posted by cjelli at 8:27 AM on February 14 [166 favorites]


Schiff: More info coming soon on Flynn-Russia ties

Dear craven Republican lickspittles: you're gonna need a bigger boat.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:27 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


The cold light of day also brings new focus on the timing: the WH was told by Yates about DOJ's concerns three weeks ago, and the president was either ignorant of those concerns last Friday or part of the cover-up. And again, that only gets us as far back as late December.

Given that Flynn only resigned after the Ignatius WaPo story blew the doors off, and that the White House occupant is whining about leaks, those in the IC with their hair on fire may feel that there's no time to pause for reflection.
posted by holgate at 8:27 AM on February 14 [13 favorites]


oh god he's going to build a juche golfcourse

Consistent with the principles of juche, you start by forging your own irons and hewing your wood.
posted by zippy at 8:27 AM on February 14 [10 favorites]


so any answers from those who have would be most appreciated.

There's an entire subsite where you can Ask.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:27 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


I kinda wonder how many proud Republicans named their baby girls Kellyanne in the last few months and are starting to call them by their middle names now.

Ivanka's brand is tarnished, now, too.
posted by notyou at 8:27 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


The one saving grace in this horror show of an administration is their sheer incompetence and the fact that they're wasting more energy fighting each other than fucking over the rest of us.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:28 AM on February 14 [52 favorites]


I kinda wonder how many proud Republicans named their baby girls Kellyanne in the last few months and are starting to call them by their middle names now.

"Look, we just decided your middle name sounded prettier, Riefenstahl"
posted by Greg Nog at 8:28 AM on February 14 [190 favorites]


IIRC legally the NSA isn’t supposed to tap the phones of US citizens - but the phone of the Russian ambassador to the US? They’re going to target that 100% of the time.
posted by pharm at 8:29 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]


Now, for a good chuckle, there's this from the official WikiLeaks Twitter:
Trump's National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigns after destabilization campaign by US spies, Democrats, press
posted by tommasz at 8:29 AM on February 14 [49 favorites]


"The problem is that Muslims aim for expansion,” he added. “The whole history of the Islamic presence in Europe is an attempt to conquer it.”

This literally made me snort my coffee. Beyond the fact that this is a flat-out lie about most Muslim immigrants... how can a prominent member of the Catholic Church say this with a straight face?

Are we sure his face wasn't twitching from the effects of cognitive dissonance?
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:29 AM on February 14 [75 favorites]


So far, I think every role in the SNL Trump administration is to be filled by a woman who was a Ghostbuster until proven that a man could do it better or is needed because there is, sadly, only one Kate McKinnon.

I am absolutely okay with this plan.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:29 AM on February 14 [62 favorites]


hot damn, vanity fair:
A source close to the president, who was not there but had knowledge of the situation, told me that Trump was going around tables during dinner asking guests what he should do about Priebus and Spicer
posted by murphy slaw at 8:30 AM on February 14 [138 favorites]


oh god he's going to build a juche golfcourse

Consistent with the principles of juche, you start by forging your own irons and hewing your wood.


Par is 34 so you always remember how much lesser you are than Kim Jong Il.
posted by Etrigan at 8:30 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Exceptional_Hubris: "I cant pretend like the sources im seeing it from are remotely verifiable, but there seems to be a strong current of "Pence stepped in and forced Flynn to resign" going around which would cut against this view."

I'm not usually a conspiracy guy, but Pence forcing Flynn to resign is not incompatible with a full court press by IC, and if anyone can run this whisper campaign and keep their hands relatively clean, it's them.
posted by TypographicalError at 8:30 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]


I cant pretend like the sources im seeing it from are remotely verifiable, but there seems to be a strong current of "Pence stepped in and forced Flynn to resign" going around which would cut against this view.

Sure. That would only change it being Flynn seeing what was coming, not that Pence or others didn't have an inkling or straight up knowledge of what is out there on Flynn and potentially others and decided he needed to try to stop it from going further.
posted by Jalliah at 8:31 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


I am really wishing right now that I was the antacid supplier to the Trump White House. #showmethemoney
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:32 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]


The original phone taps - were they targeting the ambassador or Flynn? Were they a one off or is this an ongoing practice? Who ordered them? On what grounds?

The Patriot Act makes it legal, if not actual policy, to record the communications of any foreign agents with Americans. Which, as some have noted, is the kind of thing that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (who is currently shutting down investigations of Flynn) should be aware of, especially since he's actively pushed for expansion of said policies.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:33 AM on February 14 [11 favorites]


I am really wishing right now that I was the antacid supplier to the Trump White House. #showmethemoney

Somebody, somewhere, is writing a play from the perspective of one of these staffer's therapists.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:33 AM on February 14 [9 favorites]


tommasz: "Now, for a good chuckle, there's this from the official WikiLeaks Twitter:
Trump's National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigns after destabilization campaign by US spies, Democrats, press

Wikileaks isn't even bothering to try sounding like anything but Russian propaganda at this point.
posted by octothorpe at 8:34 AM on February 14 [80 favorites]


to record the communications of any foreign agents

Ha, that still doesn't clarify whether Flynn or the Russian ambassador was the target.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:36 AM on February 14 [15 favorites]


would make Purmt like her

Can we not do this? Actually reality is hard enough to take in without randomly switching the names around.
posted by Dr Dracator at 8:36 AM on February 14 [44 favorites]


For fuck's sake, nobody who announces publicly that they want to play someone on SNL should be allowed to be on SNL. That's like posting a Facebook status and asking people to like and share it.

Let the writers and Lorne decide. They know the show pretty well.
posted by bondcliff at 8:37 AM on February 14 [24 favorites]


I still want Iggy Pop to play KellyAnne
posted by pxe2000 at 8:37 AM on February 14 [153 favorites]


oh god he's going to build a juche golf course isnt he

nah, they already have one
posted by indubitable at 8:37 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


going around tables during dinner asking guests what he should do about Priebus and Spicer

There's no specific Greek term for government by leathery Florida dentists and real-estate developers who spend enough on lawn care to cover people's health insurance, and swap out their wives for a newer model every five years, but there will be.
posted by holgate at 8:40 AM on February 14 [18 favorites]


Ha, that still doesn't clarify whether Flynn or the Russian ambassador was the target.

The reports so far seem to indicate that the ambassador was. For instance, here's the Post:
Neither of those assertions is consistent with the fuller account of Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak provided by officials who had access to reports from U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies that routinely monitor the communications of Russian diplomats.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:40 AM on February 14


a rotating guest spot, with different actors all the time (like Catwoman or Bobby Draper)

Okay so I maybe had a tiny little confused panic but I am pretty sure you mean the serial philanderer's son and not the Martian gunnery sergeant. Deep breaths...
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:40 AM on February 14 [14 favorites]


From that Vanity Fair link:

The mood tensed slightly, however, as guests became apprised of the Trump administration’s first foreign crisis. Not long after Trump and Abe’s theatrical entrance, North Korea test-fired a ballistic test missile into the Sea of Japan, sending shock waves across both the region and the international community. It was a chilling reminder of the grave threat presented by the opaque North Korean state. But it wasn’t enough to totally ruin dinner.

At first I thought this sounded like something from a Jean Renoir film, but ultimately its surrealist edge makes it more of a Luis Bunuel thing.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:41 AM on February 14 [65 favorites]


There's got to be dirt connecting Cardinal Burke to one of the various cover-ups of molestation. Please let there be some folks investigating this!
posted by Strange_Robinson at 8:47 AM on February 14 [10 favorites]


Secret Service director to step down, giving Trump chance to select his own security chief

Just in case any of you felt you were getting too giddy over Flynn.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:47 AM on February 14 [18 favorites]


IC has managed to orchestrate the ousting of one of Trump's minions.

I see no reference to "IC" in this thread other than this comment. Is it too much to ask that one spell out the meaning of arcane abbreviations at least ONCE before littering a comment with references to it?
posted by pjern at 8:48 AM on February 14 [53 favorites]


That was no “evisceration”. That was a “harsh grilling”. Let’s keep our exaggerated metaphors straight.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:48 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Oh oh oh, get Petraeus confirmed but also get him an aggressive journalist girlfriend with a tight book contract.
posted by sammyo at 8:49 AM on February 14 [17 favorites]


Alexandra Petri at WaPo
The Trump administration is doing exactly what I do when I try to assemble Ikea furniture, in the sense that it has clearly not consulted any instructions and now before it has finished its cabinet a big piece has fallen off.
posted by murphy slaw at 8:50 AM on February 14 [199 favorites]


Secret Service director to step down, giving Trump chance to select his own security chief

Just in case any of you felt you were getting too giddy over Flynn.


The Worst Fears lobe of my brain says Erik Prince.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:50 AM on February 14 [29 favorites]




I see no reference to "IC" in this thread other than this comment.

Intelligence community, the catchall for all the different spook houses in DC
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:51 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]


I see no reference to "IC" in this thread other than this comment. Is it too much to ask that one spell out the meaning of arcane abbreviations at least ONCE before littering a comment with references to it?

IC == Intelligence Community
posted by mmascolino at 8:51 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


More here on the full-court Intelligence Community press, some of which may have contributed to the ouster of Flynn, but be warned, there is speculation that the NSA is actually withholding:

A senior National Security Agency official explained that NSA was systematically holding back some of the “good stuff” from the White House, in an unprecedented move. For decades, NSA has prepared special reports for the president’s eyes only, containing enormously sensitive intelligence. In the last three weeks, however, NSA has ceased doing this, fearing Trump and his staff cannot keep their best SIGINT secrets.

Not good, folks, if true.
posted by eclectist at 8:52 AM on February 14 [20 favorites]


Not long after Trump and Abe’s theatrical entrance, North Korea test-fired a ballistic test missile into the Sea of Japan, sending shock waves across both the region and the international community.

Just started listening to the most recent Pod Save America podcast (Jons Favreau and Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor), titled "C’mon, Shinzo… they’ve paid me a fortune!" and it's incredible the difference in handling of sensitive information/situations between the Obama and Trump admins. When on the road in an unsecured location, Obama and crew would retreat to specially dedicated hotel rooms with what's basically a tent inside to protect against hidden cameras, noise machines to drown out any listening microphones, etc.

Trump asks his friends to shine their cell phone camera lights on sensitive docs.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:52 AM on February 14 [68 favorites]


The Worst Fears lobe of my brain says Erik Prince.

How many members of the same family (or families) can be on the same cabinet?
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:53 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]




I called Chaffetz' office this morning (I live in his district part-time) and the staffer who answered the phone actually argued with me, which was interesting. She seemed to really want to persuade me that Chaffetz, in his capacity as Chair of the House Oversight Committee, wasn't going to pursue the Flynn/Russia line of inquiry because it didn't comport with the Committee's "waste, fraud and abuse" mission and that I should call Rep. Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, instead because that's where the pertinent authority on threats to national security rested.

I replied that this rationale would be more plausible if it were consistent with the reasons Chaffetz gave today re: executive privilege and Flynn's resignation and pointed out that Chaffetz, just a few weeks ago, vowed to continue the investigations into Hillary's emails on national security grounds, so he wasn't being consistent there either. The response: Hillary never resigned. Me: Sure she did, in early 2013 and that's why John Kerry became SOS, so under Chaffetz' rationale of today, the email investigation should have been dropped. We argued about that for awhile, but eventually she conceded, which was nice.

So I asked if I could count on Chaffetz urging Nunes to pursue the investigation to its conclusion, regardless of where it lead, especially since he said back in November that he would hold the next administration's feet to the fire (of course, he thought it would be HRC in the big chair). I didn't get an answer, but she promised to pass on that request. My parting words concerned the importance of Chaffetz not behaving like a party hack--especially since he is already on record as stating that his Town Hall was disrupted by paid provocateurs which makes him appear willfully ignorant--which will not play well in 2018.

I really did appreciate being engaged. My experience with my Wisconsin federal elected officials is that they just pretend to take dictation.
posted by carmicha at 8:54 AM on February 14 [149 favorites]


there seems to be a strong current of "Pence stepped in and forced Flynn to resign"

There's definitely a desire to paint Pence as the good guy (with clean hands) right now.
posted by diogenes at 8:54 AM on February 14 [12 favorites]




Secret Service director to step down, giving Trump chance to select his own security chief

Just in case any of you felt you were getting too giddy over Flynn.

The Worst Fears lobe of my brain says Erik Prince.


If there's anyone who'd be willing to put a bullet through Trump to get Pence onto the golden throne, it's Erik Prince. He won't get anywhere near the job.
posted by Etrigan at 8:55 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


[Folks, general note: one-line comments with links to tweets of every tiny update/random junk fill up these threads and make them load slower. Please be judicious.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:57 AM on February 14 [26 favorites]


11. Who's the next major official to go?

Tossup between Spicer and Preibus.
posted by Theta States at 8:57 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Is "Kellyanne, that makes no sense," this generation's "Jane, you ignorant slut"?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:58 AM on February 14 [37 favorites]


The White House is now conforming Paul Ryan's story. White House Official: Flynn Was Asked To Resign: Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was asked to resign, a White House official told TPM on Tuesday.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:58 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


11. Who's the next major official to go?

White House Counsel McGahn?
posted by ghharr at 8:59 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


In the last three weeks, however, NSA has ceased doing this, fearing Trump and his staff cannot keep their best SIGINT secrets.

Not good, folks, if true.


I concur, but if the only alternative at present is to have it spread across greasy prime rib plates at the fucking country club and posted on Instagram, it may be the better option, god help us all. Seriously, even without the massive ongoing Russia debacle, the 500 clearly documented lapses in basic, first-grade-level info security, violations of Presidential Records Act, etc., are mind-boggling.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:00 AM on February 14 [26 favorites]


The White House is now conforming Paul Ryan's story. White House Official: Flynn Was Asked To Resign

So the official line is Moon Door for Flynn.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:00 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]


"Please hand in your resignation!!" - Donald Trump, The Apprentice
posted by theodolite at 9:00 AM on February 14 [30 favorites]




Guy just looks like the villain for war character from a movie. Yah, judgment based on appearance; and yah; so movies typecast character actors. Shame everywhere!
posted by buzzman at 9:01 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


republicans in congress are like "for the love of God, don, can you just hold it together long enough for us to get rid of medicare and social security? is that too much to ask?"
posted by murphy slaw at 9:02 AM on February 14 [89 favorites]


The White House is now conforming Paul Ryan's story. White House Official: Flynn Was Asked To Resign

So the official line is Moon Door for Flynn.

Dang it Flynn doesn’t deserve to hang out with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:03 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Well, this should be fun: Russian Cruise Missile, Deployed Secretly, Violates Treaty, Officials Say

Fuuuuuuuuuuuu.

My big fear, the way this story is going, is that if the wolves start circling and the leaks tying Trump to Russia get more and more incriminating and verified, he'll turn on Putin and start some insane war to distract us.

"See, no puppet. Puppets don't bomb their puppet masters!"
posted by dis_integration at 9:03 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


The White House is now conforming Paul Ryan's story. White House Official: Flynn Was Asked To Resign: Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was asked to resign, a White House official told TPM on Tuesday.

Now let's see if any members of the press jump on this, seeing as how the acting Attorney General who relayed this information to Trump et al three weeks ago was fired less than 24 hours after she did so.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:03 AM on February 14 [37 favorites]


He must be jumping little slug hoops in his little slug brain trying to reconcile the fact that him getting ratings for firing people (or eliminated from presidential races) on TV is not the desired business model this time out. He must also hate the White House with its cramped non gold shitters.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:04 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]



He must also hate the White House with its cramped non gold shitters.


You gotta figure within the next month he'll start just staying in Florida instead of taking weekend trips.
posted by ghharr at 9:06 AM on February 14 [19 favorites]


I wanted to share this idea my wife and I had, to help our mental well-being. In honor of Trump's "two regulations out for every new regulation in" policy, we have a new "tell two good things for every bad thing" rule. It had seemed like when we sat to talk everything was overwhelmingly depressing. We found that if we made a conscious effort to remember 2 good stories (national news, or about friends/relatives, or our day) before ranting about the latest way Trump was trying to destroy everything, the good things were actually there! and if we make ourselves focus on two happy things before letting ourselves dive into the heartbreaking news of the day, it helps us generally feel better.

It may not work for everyone. There is a LOT of bad going on. But, you don't have to talk about ALL of the bad ALL the time. And if you just stop for a minute and look for the good, you may surprise yourself how much good is actually going on.
posted by jermsplan at 9:06 AM on February 14 [125 favorites]


New HHS rule: employees must receive written authorization from an agency ethics official in order to accept an unsolicited offer of free attendance to a widely attended gathering.

WAG defined as anything with a large number of persons. Large remaining undefined. So some poor office is about to get several dozen passive aggressive emails per research seminar. I get something like four a day, and I did not put my name onto any extra mailing lists.

RIP ethics office email clients.
posted by Slackermagee at 9:07 AM on February 14 [18 favorites]


Whoops, relevance being that Tom Price just took over and this reeks of someone who has never set foot on a research campus.
posted by Slackermagee at 9:08 AM on February 14 [17 favorites]



Now let's see if any members of the press jump on this, seeing as how the acting Attorney General who relayed this information to Trump et al three weeks ago was fired less than 24 hours after she did so.


I watched some MSNBC and CNN last night and this morning. They've been talking about this over and over. Even Matt Lauer was all of Conway about the WH knowing three weeks ago.
posted by Jalliah at 9:08 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


In honor of Trump's "two regulations out for every new regulation in" policy, we have a new "tell two good things for every bad thing" rule.

We're going to run out of kittens/puppies/baby sloths.
posted by acb at 9:09 AM on February 14 [10 favorites]




Okay, everybody who kept saying how horrible it is to elect "Washington Insiders" - this is the kind of thing that happens when you put people in power who don't understand how government works, and thinks you can just stop in there and run things any old way you feel like.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:11 AM on February 14 [144 favorites]


I heard the Groupies Of Putin have a new motto: "Espionage? Treason? IOKIYAR!"
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 9:12 AM on February 14 [9 favorites]


this is the kind of thing that happens when you put people in power who don't understand how government works, and thinks you can just stop in there and run things any old way you feel like.

In fairness, I wouldn't trust them to run a 7/11 either.
posted by Artw at 9:13 AM on February 14 [67 favorites]


republicans in congress are like “for the love of God, don, can you just hold it together long enough for us to get rid of medicare and social security? is that too much to ask?”

Things is: if Trump resigns or is impeached, the Rs still hold both houses and the Presidency, which makes one fear that an unravelling of all the secrets would lead to more substantial issues.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:14 AM on February 14


I've always thought the perfect KellyAnn stand-in would be the Queen from Aliens.
posted by SPrintF at 9:14 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Buzzfeed: US Allies In Europe Have No Idea "What The Fuck Is Going On" With The Trump Administration: “I was hoping you could tell me what the fuck is going on over there,” said one European Union intelligence official who, like the other officials contacted, declined to speak about such a diplomatically sensitive situation on the record.

“There’s no guide for handling this sort of situation, happening with such an important and powerful ally,” the official said. “If anything, it’s a wake up call to European leaders that counting on America isn’t currently a smart policy. Of course this is exactly what Putin wants — to destabilize the Atlantic alliance — but I have to counsel my policymakers the best I can and right now it’s, ‘Prepare to handle some crises without US support.’”
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:14 AM on February 14 [107 favorites]


Things is: if Trump resigns or is impeached, the Rs still hold both houses and the Presidency, which makes one fear that an unravelling of all the secrets would lead to more substantial issues.

Trump is a self-torching Reichstag.
posted by acb at 9:15 AM on February 14 [19 favorites]


I'm a little surprised that Republicans aren't leaving themselves more wiggle room in their statements about Flynn right now. Some of them seem to be betting their careers on this not going deeper, and that doesn't seem like a wise bet. I expect cravenness, but I thought their sense of self-preservation would cause them to at least remain silent or speak more ambiguously.

In particular I'm looking at the statements coming from Nunes (Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee) and Chaffetz.

Maybe they are confident that their gerrymandered districts are 100% safe? I guess we're going to find out.
posted by diogenes at 9:15 AM on February 14 [15 favorites]


From the CNN article above: Lindsey Graham said "And I want to know, 'Did General Flynn do this by himself or was he directed by somebody to do it?'"
posted by diogenes at 9:18 AM on February 14 [37 favorites]


The House can stonewall all they want, but if the Senate goes forward with real investigations, members of the House are eventually going to be in an unsustainable position.
posted by diogenes at 9:20 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Quite obviously Tina Fey needs to return to SNL for the Conway cameo. Remember, she's the one who virtually single-handedly destroyed Palin?

I know it's a trivial point but it needs saying.
posted by spitbull at 9:21 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]


Oh hey guys, the NYT reports that the White House comments line finally re-opened yesterday. 202-456-1111

I wonder how long that will last.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:21 AM on February 14 [15 favorites]


It this point in time I think some of the Senators that are in safe GOP states and unlikely to face a primary from the right anytime soon are actually okay with an investigation taking down Trump at this point.

Pence is the guy that most of the GOP actually want to deal with. Yeah he's a total theocrat but he's completely predictable and more importantly less likely to result in the GOP facing an implosion in 2018 and 2020.
posted by vuron at 9:21 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


"And I want to know, 'Did General Flynn do this by himself or was he directed by somebody to do it?'"

And there we have it: a senior Senator from the President's party asking (basically) the question: What did the President know, and when did he know it?

Day 26.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:23 AM on February 14 [124 favorites]


Oh hey guys, the NYT reports that the White House comments line finally re-opened yesterday. 202-456-1111

"Your call cannot be completed at this time. Please try again later. " Over and over.
posted by carmicha at 9:24 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Okay, everybody who kept saying how horrible it is to elect "Washington Insiders" - this is the kind of thing that happens when you put people in power who don't understand how government works, and thinks you can just stop in there and run things any old way you feel like.

This is the gold standard now for why we don't elect someone with zero political experience.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:24 AM on February 14 [13 favorites]


Well, this should be fun: Russian Cruise Missile, Deployed Secretly, Violates Treaty, Officials Say

We are all going to die.
posted by zachlipton at 9:25 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Kim Jong-Nam was, until now, best having known for having forfeited the post of hereditary God-Emperor of Best Korea to sneak out to Tokyo Disneyland. So it could be said that he died out of a love of Mickey Mouse.

Geez, now I'm starting to like this guy. Sounds like he got the brains in the family.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:25 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


so at this point if trump serves out his full term we don't have a functioning democracy anymore, right?
posted by murphy slaw at 9:25 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]


Who in the administration is IC? Did I miss a confirmation hearing?
posted by Carillon at 9:26 AM on February 14


(God it'll be Ollie North all over again.)

School House Rock for people who weren't born before 1980
posted by Talez at 9:26 AM on February 14 [45 favorites]


And there we have it: a senior Senator from the President's party asking (basically) the question: What did the President know, and when did he know it?

Yea, but it's NeverTrumper Lindsey Graham, he hardly counts. It's not like he's going to actually do anything about any of this.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:26 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Graham's question is the obvious one. Flynn was working for the Trump campaign, not as DNSC, when he made that call.

My theory is that Flynn and Manafort were both "minders" for Dimwit Dumbwood, there to make snarly sounds about what Russia had on him if he got too cocky.

And since it is Valentine's Day, let's all remember that good old "I need 3, no 5, no 8 million dollars for recounts" Stein was at that dinner with Flynn and Putin.

How deep does it go? Time for some pushback on the conspiracy theory rhetorical device from the Resistance.

Who paid Comey?
posted by spitbull at 9:26 AM on February 14 [12 favorites]


I'm a little surprised that Republicans aren't leaving themselves more wiggle room in their statements about Flynn right now. Some of them seem to be betting their careers on this not going deeper, and that doesn't seem like a wise bet. I expect cravenness, but I thought their sense of self-preservation would cause them to at least remain silent or speak more ambiguously.

The easiest explanation is incompetence. A somewhat more disturbing possibility is that some of these Republicans know for a fact that it does go deeper, because they're complicit, and they're betting their careers that no one finds out because they literally have no other choice now. This is the sort of conspiracy-theorist thinking I normally shy away from, but 2017 has broken my ability to properly reality-test.
posted by biogeo at 9:27 AM on February 14 [47 favorites]


This is the 14 karat gold-plated standard now for why we don't elect someone with zero political experience.

posted by murphy slaw at 9:27 AM on February 14 [21 favorites]


trump's (I lower case his name) connection to Russia can only be fully known with the release of his income taxes. He refuses to do this, after saying he would release them after the election.
posted by Postroad at 9:28 AM on February 14 [9 favorites]


Yea, but it's NeverTrumper Lindsey Graham, he hardly counts. It's not like he's going to actually do anything about any of this.

Eventually, one of these gomers is going to see which direction the crowd is going and jump out in front to "lead" it.
posted by Etrigan at 9:28 AM on February 14 [24 favorites]


I wonder if one way to fight Kellyane's interview dodging would be, as in this Vox video, to be able to immediately display the text of her answer and point out how it didn't answer the question. I think a clear, visual illustration like that might help viewers be less fooled by what she's doing. As it is, an interviewer can tell her she didn't answer a question, but her words have already slithered into the ether and she doesn't have to really own them.
posted by little onion at 9:29 AM on February 14 [25 favorites]


Well, this should be fun: Russian Cruise Missile, Deployed Secretly, Violates Treaty, Officials Say

We are all going to die.


Nah. Remember when the Taiwan call meant we were going to war with China? And Bannon went on record saying he expects war in the South China Sea? And then last week Trump meekly buckled to Xi Jinping's demands and said that he would abide by the One China policy.

Trump is a classic bully. Bluster and punching down, but backs down when challenged by a bigger bully.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:30 AM on February 14 [22 favorites]


The ever-eloquent Lindy West:
Today, during my morning routine of opening my laptop, clicking on literally anything, and just screaming and screaming, I made the astonishing discovery that Donald Trump has only been president of the United States for about three weeks. Which is weird, because I could have sworn we had fallen through a tesseract into the airless crush of a two-dimensional void at least seven eternities ago, or what would have constituted seven eternities if such a place had a linear concept of time. Turns out, though, it has only been 25 days, we are still on earth, and every cell in my body has not been excruciatingly flattened into pure math. It just feels like it.

It’s an understandable mistake, I think. Trump has really been eat-pray-loving his way through his first month as the most dangerous man on earth, seeding so many potential atrocities – including, perhaps, the breakdown of the republic itself – that human consciousness has been reduced to a panicked blur, a zoetrope of galloping despair. There are simply too many emergencies to hold all of them in your mind at once. Cecily Strong captured the feeling on this week’s Saturday Night Live: “Let me just say, you’re doing too much. I want one day without a CNN alert that scares the hell out of me.”
I must take issue with the fly thing, however. Our Dipteran friends are noble, beautiful, diverse and majestic creatures, totally unlike Donald Trump.
posted by byanyothername at 9:31 AM on February 14 [81 favorites]


Yea, but it's NeverTrumper Lindsey Graham, he hardly counts. It's not like he's going to actually do anything about any of this.

I don't know, I think we're close to having enough Republican Senators asking for Flynn to testify. And it's only the morning after he resigned.
posted by diogenes at 9:31 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]


. I think a clear, visual illustration like that might help viewers be less fooled by what she's doing

OMG there may be a non-trivial use-case for genius.com?
posted by spitbull at 9:32 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Well, this should be fun: Russian Cruise Missile, Deployed Secretly, Violates Treaty, Officials Say

We are all going to die.

Nah. Remember when the Taiwan call meant we were going to war with China? And Bannon went on record saying he expects war in the South China Sea? And then last week Trump meekly buckled to Xi Jinping's demands and said that he would abide by the One China policy.


Also, and I know this is a very weird sort of comforting, one new cruise missile doesn't alter the balance of power in any meaningful way. Mutual Assured Destruction is still as much in effect as it was two weeks ago, and two years ago, and so on.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 9:32 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


John Goodman's Kellyanne was silly nonsense, of course, but it really did annoy Trump." "True, but I much prefer Steve Buscemi's grasp of her craziness, or Joe Pesci's fanaticism."

The silliness of Goodman, the craziness of Buscemi, and the fanaticism of Pesci? Sounds like a job for Christopher Walken.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:33 AM on February 14 [31 favorites]


A somewhat more disturbing possibility is that some of these Republicans know for a fact that it does go deeper, because they're complicit, and they're betting their careers that no one finds out because they literally have no other choice now.

The human mind is excellent at rationalisation. Assuming that the Russians have kompromat on enough well-positioned Republicans to maintain power, if they only subtly remind them of that, it'll make it easier for them to sincerely believe that they're allied with Russia because of a shared belief in traditional values and hostility to decadent liberalism. And once they're deep enough, they're no more going to break ranks than a Scientologist who threw a quarter of a million into the hole just to find out it was Galactic Overlord Xenu.
posted by acb at 9:33 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


“The whole history of the Islamic presence in Europe is an attempt to conquer it.”

How soon we have forgotten The Crusades.
posted by archimago at 9:34 AM on February 14 [53 favorites]



"And I want to know, 'Did General Flynn do this by himself or was he directed by somebody to do it?'"

And there we have it: a senior Senator from the President's party asking (basically) the question: What did the President know, and when did he know it?

Day 26.


Nah, this is a setup for Flynn to fall on the sword, Ollie North Style, and pre-empt further investigation. Remember ole Ollie had a looong and very lucrative Wingnut Welfare career post-Iran-Contra investigation. I'm sure that Gen. Flynn will "do his Republican duty" and then jump into the waiting arms of some high-paying consultancy or think-tank position already being prepped for him...
posted by Chrischris at 9:35 AM on February 14 [26 favorites]


Mutual Assured Destruction is still as much in effect as it was two weeks ago, and two years ago, and so on.

Didn't Trump sack the contractors involved in maintaining the US nuclear arsenal? What was that all about?
posted by acb at 9:36 AM on February 14


(my code name for him is MANGO)

as in Mango Manchurian Candidate
posted by waitangi at 9:36 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


I've always thought the perfect KellyAnn stand-in would be the Queen from Aliens.

Here's a meme for you.
posted by zakur at 9:38 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]



some high-paying consultancy or think-tank position

Or like Ollie "Who Me?" North, a lovely weekly romp in self-marketing on FOX News.
posted by spitbull at 9:38 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


New HHS rule: employees must receive written authorization from an agency ethics official in order to accept an unsolicited offer of free attendance to a widely attended gathering.

Not new. WAG clearance has always been required, and is government wide.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 9:39 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Nah, this is a setup for Flynn to fall on the sword, Ollie North Style

And Flynn has an advantage over North in that Trump has been acting senile in public for years, whereas Reagan was relatively new at it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:40 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Im all for tax returns but...would he have reported any illegal Russian money? Not to say that he wouldn't have some traceable stuff, but if you're committing treason it seems silly to report it annually.
posted by Brainy at 9:40 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Who paid Comey?

There is still the possibility that Comey sent that letter to pre-empt leaks from the New York FBI office, which was apparently (for reasons I don't understand, still... Something to do with Guiliani?) in the tank for Trump.

Better, he may have thought, a measured and restrained letter simply notifying congress about an investigation and making it clear that it might be nothing, than a leak which implied something else...

I don't have a lot of evidence that Comey is one of the Grown Ups In the Room (or that there are any Grown Ups in the Room). Just the fact that Obama kept him around, the fact that in spite of his public scolding, he actually cleared Clinton of any actual wrongdoing, and the fact that he supposedly intervened to stop a plan to bypass the required approvals for the Bush-era wiretapping programs. And... the fact that these leaks keep happening, and now Flynn is out... But those facts give me a bit of hope that he is actually a professional, and might really be investigating this Russia stuff.

So along with hoping for the Pope, the CIA, Chinese environmental policy, and Roy Blunt to save us, I am hoping Comey will help save us too. Hey, I take my hope where I can get it!
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:40 AM on February 14 [19 favorites]


Secret Service director to step down, giving Trump chance to select his own security chief

Just in case any of you felt you were getting too giddy over Flynn.


Suits me just fine, really. The SS exists to be Hollywood's enforcement arm and protect the president. Making them more incompetent in the first is hunky-dory with me since I think it's fucking BS to have them handling what should be a civil matter. Making them more incompetent at protecting the president and his family... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I'm cool with him making that call for himself, though it worries me if they make the Obama detail less effective.

And yeah, I know they don't like to be called the SS. I'm not using that by accident.
posted by phearlez at 9:40 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


“The whole history of the Islamic presence in Europe is an attempt to conquer it.”

How soon we have forgotten The Crusades.


And the Holocaust....
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:40 AM on February 14 [13 favorites]


I wonder if one way to fight Kellyane's interview dodging would be, as in this Vox video, to be able to immediately display the text of her answer and point out how it didn't answer the question.

I think the next time someone interviews her, they should just ask her stupid questions that don't relate to politics. Like ask her about unicorns. While looking at their phone.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:41 AM on February 14 [40 favorites]


My arguments with my "traditionalist Catholic" mother have led me down a path I never would have expected

Which reminds me that my partner's mother, also a staunch, "traditional" Catholic, is fully on board with RaHoWa. Between that and the child molestation, the Church really has a lot to answer for, especially in the US.

Crap, not Dennis Miller, Dennis Leary.

You know, if SNL just does a full-on "Rule 64" gender swap with the Trump staff, that would blunt the usual unfunniness (and cruelty) of the "man-in-a-dress" gag. In this scenario, they really should let Leslie Jones play Trump. But I don't know who Baldwin would play.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:43 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Not new. WAG clearance has always been required, and is government wide.

Someone should let HHS know because the words "new rule" were used three times.
posted by Slackermagee at 9:43 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


acb: "Didn't Trump sack the contractors involved in maintaining the US nuclear arsenal? What was that all about?"

I think you're probably thinking about this incident. The tl;dr is "not exactly". The slightly longer version is that the incompetent buffoons in the new administration apparently didn't realize that they needed to either ask the previous NNSA administrators to stay on or appoint (and confirm) their successors.
posted by mhum at 9:43 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Nah, this is a setup for Flynn to fall on the sword, Ollie North Style

Flynn (and Trump) are working with the disadvantage of Flynn's conversations with Russia having been recorded.
posted by diogenes at 9:44 AM on February 14 [12 favorites]


The SS exists to be Hollywood's enforcement arm...

That's the FBI:
If you believe that a criminal infringement of copyright has occurred, you may contact the Intellectual Property (IP) Program of the Financial Institution Fraud Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
posted by Etrigan at 9:45 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


..would he have reported any illegal Russian money?

As I understand the utterly brilliant David Cay Johnson, even unreported activity leaves traces on one's legitimate filing at the scale and complexity of Trump's taxable interests. Reading between the lines is a thing with numbers too. It's a forensic craft.
posted by spitbull at 9:46 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


15 minutes to the press briefing. anyone want to put some fun money down on what shade of orange spicer will be today?
posted by murphy slaw at 9:46 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Folks asking for definitions: IC is the Intelligence Community -- NSA, CIA, DIA, etc etc.
posted by suelac at 9:47 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


$20 on burnt umber
posted by Existential Dread at 9:47 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


The SS exists to be Hollywood's enforcement arm

Maybe you're thinking of their function as anti-counterfeiting police? Which, yeah, ordinarily I'd say would be a big deal if it gets watered down too far, but at the rate we're going, the world will be off the petro dollar by 2018, and we'll be using old $20 bills as tinder for our garbage can fires, so it might well be moot.
posted by Mayor West at 9:48 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


> Mutual Assured Destruction is still as much in effect as it was two weeks ago, and two years ago, and so on.

Is it, though? This is Rick... He carries the "football" The nuclear football. Y'know, the one without which we can't launch a retaliatory strike, taking him out would take the Mutual out of Mutually Assured Destruction.

(Or so I've been lead to believe in popular media. But in the same world where the President could order to nuke the next country on Twitter to piss him off, and I and the rest of the world have to count on every last person down the chain of command refusing to launch, I'm not sure how much a physical briefcase is actually the important bit of machinery here.)
posted by fragmede at 9:48 AM on February 14


looks like the Bannon faction in the white house has found their angle

"Obama era sleeper cell holdovers."

When would these people even find the time to sleep?
posted by srboisvert at 9:50 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


$20 on burnt umber

ochre jelly
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:51 AM on February 14 [16 favorites]


The thread connecting Putin, Kushner, Bannon, Miller, Trump, Netanyahu, Flynn, Burke... seemingly very different people, from different backgrounds and even religions, is Islamaphobia. A fear and hatred of "sub-human" other, which is a fear and hatred shared by many Americans. It can be confusing to try to understand why all these people are aligned with each other until you remember that they believe they are battling an existential threat, and that this is their moment of glory and power.
posted by cell divide at 9:52 AM on February 14 [39 favorites]




$20 on burnt umber

ochre jelly


Gelatinous Cube
posted by hippybear at 9:53 AM on February 14 [17 favorites]


If anyone didn't open the Vanity Fair article that murphy slaw shared, note that the headline:

JARED KUSHNER EMERGES AS TRUMP’S TRUE BELIEVER
Far from being a moderating influence on his father-in-law, Kushner has embraced his inner Bannon.


Ivanka and Jared have really been promoting the angle, through leaks and social media, that they're a positive influence on Trump. A transparent attempt to save their careers/brands from the disastrous administration which they are complicit in normalizing. I'm very glad Vanity Fair is pushing back on that lie. Come on, folks, see the writing on the wall. None of you assholes will - or should - get out of this with your careers intact.
posted by Emily's Fist at 9:53 AM on February 14 [76 favorites]


Man, most of the Democrats standing in front of this microphone awkwardly reading statements about the Flynn scandal have all the charisma of a wet noodle. This is not going to do anything.
posted by Justinian at 9:53 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


"Obama era sleeper cell holdovers."

When would these people even find the time to sleep?


What would these sleepers do other than sit around expressing amazement at how the new administration appears to be machinegunning their own feet?

I don't think it's easy to manufacture a scandal bigger than having the NSA resign for inappropriate links with Russia.
posted by jaduncan at 9:53 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


> Speaker Ryan declines to call for congressional investigation into Gen. Flynn; says need to get more info before rushing to judgment.

"You know, the way we all did for Hillary Clinton. It's only fair."
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:54 AM on February 14 [28 favorites]


Senators that are in safe GOP states and unlikely to face a primary from the right anytime soon are actually okay with an investigation taking down Trump at this point.

Blunt doesn't fit that, he only beat Kander by 3% when Trump won Mo. by 18%.
posted by ridgerunner at 9:55 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Like ask her about unicorns. While looking at their phone.

That's sort of brilliant actually. To demonstrate her duplicity, figure out utterly trivial things that could be spun negatively for Trump and that are easily confirmable even to the average MORAN.

Imagine if the media had gone hard after the bathrobe thing -- "But Kellyanne, your press secretary said he didn't own a bathrobe but the internet is flooded with hundreds of pictures of him in bathrobes. So who is lying to the American public here, the president's spokesman or our own damn eyes looking at these pictures, some of which I will now show in the split screen?"

How's she gonna answer that? She will have to deflect with "Come on Jake, the American people who voted for Mr. Trump The President and Commander in Chief who by the way won the election because liberal media blah blah don't care about bathrobes Jake."

And then Jake says, "Ok, but let's just clear up this bathrobe thing."

And not let it go. The more trivial the better. As Bugs Bunny used to say, try a little "bit reverse psychology."
posted by spitbull at 9:55 AM on February 14 [24 favorites]


Speaker Ryan declines to call for congressional investigation into Gen. Flynn; says need to get more info before rushing to judgment.

If only there was some systematised process that could be said to gather info before producing a judgment!
posted by jaduncan at 9:56 AM on February 14 [59 favorites]


I have to keep forcing myself to remember it hasn't even been a full month yet.
posted by corb at 9:56 AM on February 14 [32 favorites]


Is it, though? This is Rick... He carries the "football" The nuclear football. Y'know, the one without which we can't launch a retaliatory strike, taking him out would take the Mutual out of Mutually Assured Destruction.

Well, maybe? Someone in the last thread similarly suggested 'maybe Russia is reevaluating first strike outcomes'. But, that's not really a good outcome for them either. Say taking out "Rick the Nuke Guy" does end our ability to launch at all, Russia still wouldn't want to fire on the US. Even a limited nuclear exchange would fuck up the world's atmosphere and cause a worldwide famine as crops failed for years. Russia isn't exactly food independent as is, much less in a world cooled by nuclear fallout.

The nuclear danger from Trump comes more from him starting something that provokes retaliation, not necessarily increased likelihood of a first strike on the US. Any first strike by anyone risks destroying the world. No one else in the world is stupid enough to not understand that, except Trump. Or North Korea (well, possibly Pakistan, but probably not even them).
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:57 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]


Pelosi just cited a fake tweet of Flynn calling himself a scapegoat...
posted by dilaudid at 9:58 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


NANCY NO
posted by pxe2000 at 9:59 AM on February 14 [27 favorites]


"Obama era sleeper cell holdovers."

Wait, so the idea is that evildoers in the previous administration stuck around and are desperately trying to discredit good and loyal Trump Men, and that Trump knows that this is happening, but still asked Flynn to resign even though he knows this is all a bunch of hooey because . . . he doesn't have the courage of his convictions?
posted by Copronymus at 9:59 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]


The nuclear danger from Trump comes more from him starting something that provokes retaliation, not necessarily increased likelihood of a first strike on the US. Any first strike by anyone risks destroying the world. No one else in the world is stupid enough to not understand that, except Trump. Or North Korea (well, possibly Pakistan, but probably not even them).

Pakistan hold nukes because in any serious conventional war with India they get crushed. It's a shield rather than a sword, because all it ensures is that India goes down too.
posted by jaduncan at 9:59 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Both CNN and MSNBC cut away from the Democrats taking turns reading statements about Flynn. That's how terrible it was. Guys, get your shit together!
posted by Justinian at 10:00 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]


Looks like we've got another case of acronym colision with the NSA [National Security Agency] likely holding intelligence on the recently-resigned NSA [National Security Advisor].
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:00 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Elijah Cummings is an American treasure.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:02 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]


It this point in time I think some of the Senators that are in safe GOP states and unlikely to face a primary from the right anytime soon are actually okay with an investigation taking down Trump at this point.

Counter-intuitive as it sounds, I really don't think it works this way. In a "safe" GOP state, the only person the incumbent is going to fear is an attack from the right (no Democrat is going to beat them in a general election, so the primary is more or less the whole enchilada).

I suspect it's more likely that states that are competitive might have GOP members willing to do something about this, because a far-right primary candidate would be in danger of losing in the general election.
posted by tocts at 10:02 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


If only there was some systematised process that could be said to gather info before producing a judgment!

You're forgetting that for Republicans, the purpose of investigations is not to gather information. It is to punish your enemies.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 10:03 AM on February 14 [53 favorites]


Even for Erik Erickson, credentialing Gateway Pundit is a bridge too far. Of course, he points out that they "posted a picture of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ victory parade and claimed it was a Trump rally," which is exactly the kind of reason the administration would credential them.
posted by zachlipton at 10:03 AM on February 14 [17 favorites]


Elijah Cummings isn't being particularly charming but I'm seeing a lot of pull quotes of "Flynn was secretly communicating with Russian officials at the same time that Russia was attacking our democracy.” which is a nice thing to get out there.
posted by Brainy at 10:03 AM on February 14 [32 favorites]


The SS exists to be Hollywood's enforcement arm

Maybe you're thinking of their function as anti-counterfeiting police?


Officially - ie, their real remit, not how I describe a part of their function when I'm feeling snarky and grinding my "copyright is a civil issue" axe - they deal with financial fraud, and that's covered a wide variety of shit over the years. I think you're right that the camel's nose under the tent is when there's physical media and that used to mostly mean burned DVD copies. But they're a part of these various task forces that go after all sorts of sharing & copying stuff. Etrigan points out accurately that there's an FBI group that deals with this as well and I think... yeah here's one from a 2005 press release
This case is the product of an extensive/joint investigation by the Sacramento Valley High Tech Crimes Task Force, which is comprised of more than thirty federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, including the United States Secret Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Motion Picture Association of America ("MPAA"), and the Recording Industry Association of America ("RIAA") also assisted with the case.
Everyone gets into the act, sure. I'm just saying that I'm not really all that worried about the SS becoming less effective. Another thing they do is deal with wire transfer issues, ie a big part of the War on (Some) Drugs. I'm gonna cry a river over that being less effective too.

Of all the law enforcement agencies that Trump can fuck up, the SS is one that I think he could turn into the Keystone Kops and not make average Americans less safe. Yes, there's plenty of other people they protect who deserve quality care and OMFG what sort of diplomatic incident they could create if a visiting dignitary gets injured under their care... but they're small ball in the "things I am worried Trump will fuck up" list.
posted by phearlez at 10:03 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


I have to keep forcing myself to remember it hasn't even been a full month yet.

Well, Donald did tell us that he would be, just, so presidential. Obviously we are feeling the time dilation effects of his massive gravitas.
posted by biogeo at 10:04 AM on February 14 [11 favorites]


C-SPAN link to Spicey Time, expected anytime now.
posted by zachlipton at 10:04 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


One of my friends is super freaked out by the role the intelligence community is playing here, saying it sets a terrifying precedent. And like - it's both 100% true and also, on the other hand, no one else seems to be lifting a finger to stop this insanity. I don't even know what to think about it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:04 AM on February 14 [38 favorites]


Putin wondering if his puppets are smart enough - Borowitz, New Yorker parody column
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:05 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


In a "safe" GOP state, the only person the incumbent is going to fear is an attack from the right

So far.
posted by Etrigan at 10:07 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


One of my friends is super freaked out by the role the intelligence community is playing here, saying it sets a terrifying precedent.

The alternative is worse.
posted by diogenes at 10:07 AM on February 14 [11 favorites]


A Russian backed fascist coup is a terrifying precedent. The IC stuff is like.... sprinkles on top?
posted by Artw at 10:08 AM on February 14 [31 favorites]




North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's brother has been assassinated in Malaysia, South Korean media reports.

Kim Jong-nam had just applied to our Great Leader, Trump, for US asylum, which was granted by EO, which is now the reason for conflict with N. Korea..... [fake News]


but, ya know, stranger EOs have happened.....
posted by Wilder at 10:09 AM on February 14


USA Today: White House posts wrong versions of Trump's orders on its website
A USA TODAY review of presidential documents found at least five cases where the version posted on the White House website doesn't match the official version sent to the Federal Register. The differences include minor grammatical changes, missing words and paragraph renumbering — but also two cases where the original text referred to inaccurate or non-existent provisions of law.
The sheer incompetence of it.
posted by zachlipton at 10:09 AM on February 14 [103 favorites]


One of my friends is super freaked out by the role the intelligence community is playing here, saying it sets a terrifying precedent.

ok you know how in The Phantom Menace when Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon are going through the planet core and they're getting chased by a giant fish and it gets eaten by another, more giant fish? it definitely sets a bad precedent to become dependent on increasingly massive fish to interdict your predators for you but on the other hand, what, do you want your bongo to end up as fish food? and that's where we are in America today
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:10 AM on February 14 [42 favorites]


Obama era sleeper cell holdovers.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, but I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:10 AM on February 14 [9 favorites]


Gee I wonder why the House doesn't want to open this can of worms it's not like House members are knee deep in this shit too.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:11 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]


One of my friends is super freaked out by the role the intelligence community is playing here, saying it sets a terrifying precedent. And like - it's both 100% true and also, on the other hand, no one else seems to be lifting a finger to stop this insanity. I don't even know what to think about it.

It's entirely a consequence of the system of checks and balances breaking down. It's happening as a consequence of the GOP going party and power over country and abdicating their part in the system. It is freaky but it's a symptom of a much larger problem.
posted by Jalliah at 10:11 AM on February 14 [60 favorites]


Melissa McCarthy as Spicer was incredibly funny when it was unexpected. Not so much anymore, and any other such swapping wouldn't be as novel.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:13 AM on February 14 [9 favorites]


One of my friends is super freaked out by the role the intelligence community is playing here, saying it sets a terrifying precedent. And like - it's both 100% true and also, on the other hand, no one else seems to be lifting a finger to stop this insanity. I don't even know what to think about it.

The facts that (a) the President is incompetent, dangerously erratic, and has surrounded himself with criminals, con artists, and fascists, and (b) Congressional Republicans, who have a bicameral majority, refuse to lift a finger to address the problem, mean there are quite literally no good options for our democracy right now. This is akin to the musings from an article posted earlier of whether the military would refuse to follow insane orders if Trump gave them, and whether it would be worse for them to follow insane orders for an illegal first strike and/or war crime, or to mutinously disobey such obviously illegal orders. I know where I stand (they must refuse, in service to their country and the Constitution), but even being in the situation where the problem is posed means we have already lost.
posted by biogeo at 10:13 AM on February 14 [43 favorites]


Overheard journalist, waiting for the Spicer press conference to start (paraphrased): "If the Daily Caller and Sinclair want to go first, they can go ahead and move up closer."
posted by mudpuppie at 10:13 AM on February 14 [11 favorites]


Melissa McCarthy as Spicer was incredibly funny when it was unexpected. Not so much anymore, and any other such swapping wouldn't be as novel.

SNL, running a good bit into the ground???
posted by theodolite at 10:15 AM on February 14 [57 favorites]


mudpuppie - I just heard that too.

seems like there is an ongoing conversation - how do they "know" they will be going first? is the Admin now okay with being so transparent in their cherry-picking of questions that they are pre-authorizing certain reporters and outlets?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:15 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Good evening, err afternoon, to you too, Sean!
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:16 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Spicer: "Happy Valentine's Day! I can sense the love in the room!" [real]
posted by mochapickle at 10:16 AM on February 14 [9 favorites]


Oh Spicer. Time to put your hand in the Pain Box again.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:16 AM on February 14 [24 favorites]


Im watching this live on Sky News and it is a few seconds (30) behind the CSPAN feed....is there a reason?
posted by Wilder at 10:16 AM on February 14


Mnuchin is starting the press conference today.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:16 AM on February 14


Spicer starts out with: "Good even--I mean, good afternoon. Happy Valentine's Day. I can sense the love in the room"

Then he shifts to the Venezuelan Vice President sanctions to distract us.
posted by zachlipton at 10:17 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Eugene Levy plays Mnuchin on the next SNL please
posted by rmless at 10:17 AM on February 14 [12 favorites]


war with Venezuela whooo sorry world
posted by angrycat at 10:17 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Good evening, err afternoon, to you too, Sean!

Spicer definitely did not get any sleep last night.
posted by dis_integration at 10:17 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


I did not know that Mnuchin was so metrosexual....odd fit with Trump
posted by Wilder at 10:18 AM on February 14



Spicer: Please ignore Flynn. The WH would like you to please talk about Venezuela and drugs.
posted by Jalliah at 10:18 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


I mean, it’s nighttime in Moscow.
--@rickporter
posted by zachlipton at 10:18 AM on February 14 [21 favorites]


First question to Mnuchin's statement on Venezuela is about Russian sanctions. It is ignored.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:18 AM on February 14


Mnuchin seems to have trouble saying the word "Russia."
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:19 AM on February 14


Q: Will there be sanctions on Russia/Iran?
Mnuchin: Sanctions are sanctiony and they exist. [summary /fake]
posted by rmless at 10:20 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


OMG, this is such rich data for students of micro-expressions...
posted by Wilder at 10:20 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Mnuchin clearly adheres to the Barney Stinson school of wearing a suit.
posted by carmicha at 10:20 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]



Well Mnuchin seemed like he's actually good at pressers.
posted by Jalliah at 10:20 AM on February 14


Is Spicer's face getting smaller or is his skull getting larger
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:21 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]


I like how Spicey said he wants to address Flynn "First and foremost" but actually did not talk about it first at all
posted by rmless at 10:21 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Ha! WH is changing the story from last night. Trump took charge and asked for his resignation because of a trust issue.
posted by Jalliah at 10:22 AM on February 14 [9 favorites]


Spicer: Trump "instinctively" thought that Flynn did nothing illegal.
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:22 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Rust: it's all that gum in his head
posted by flatluigi at 10:22 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


"...as Charles Krauthammer said..."

How you know you're failing as a Press Secretary.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:22 AM on February 14 [13 favorites]


Oh, wow. Mnuchin is engaged to Louise Linton. The same Louise Linton from the "skinny white muzungu with long angel hair" post last year.
posted by mochapickle at 10:23 AM on February 14 [23 favorites]


Mmmmm . . . That first taste of delish scandal. That question you always ask when the bite tastes this good: "What did the President know and when did he know it?"
posted by Ironmouth at 10:23 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


He also wants to blame those meddling Democrats for not confirming Sessions -- surely, if he was around, this would have gone totally differently.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:23 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


tough on Russia...


then why ask about Polish incursions in Belorus?
posted by Wilder at 10:23 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Spicer drops "the Ukraine" in the middle of his spiel about how much more the Trump administration cares about Crimea than the Obama administration did. Great.
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:23 AM on February 14 [12 favorites]


TheVerge: OKCupid now asks potential dates the big question: ‘Trump, yes or no?’
OKCupid is ... updating its questionnaires with a new category of topical questions that “daters are extremely passionated about.” Fifty new queries have been added, including: “Is climate change real?”; “Do you feel there should be a ban on immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries entering the U.S.?”; and — quite simply — “Trump?”
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:24 AM on February 14 [35 favorites]


Hey look over here at these crumbling dams!- Spicer now /mostly real
posted by rmless at 10:24 AM on February 14


Oh and 2 key points. 1st, NO WAY Russian sanctions get dropped. None. 2nd, a President-Elect has NO executive privilege.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:24 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


talking of the Oroville Dam sit, he had to read from autocue.....SRLY,

why is this not instinctive, you are protecting your own population??
posted by Wilder at 10:25 AM on February 14


Incidentally, why are people speculating about which celebrities should portray Conway on SNL? Did something happen to Kate McKinnon that I didn't hear about?
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:25 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Yet again, I am frustrated that you can't fast-forward through real life.
posted by rmless at 10:26 AM on February 14 [10 favorites]


why IS Ivanka in the audience? I don't get her role
posted by Wilder at 10:26 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


I'm a little surprised that Republicans aren't leaving themselves more wiggle room in their statements about Flynn right now. Some of them seem to be betting their careers on this not going deeper, and that doesn't seem like a wise bet. I expect cravenness, but I thought their sense of self-preservation would cause them to at least remain silent or speak more ambiguously.
They seem terrified to be honest.
One would assume they're tied to the trump train for something other than just political gain.
posted by fullerine at 10:26 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Just in case any of you felt you were getting too giddy over Flynn.

The Secret Service is demonstrably the most unprofessional law enforcement agency in a city that's chockablock with them. It's hard to imagine they haven't already hit rock bottom, what with the constant whoring on the clock and all.

Last year, one of them - strapped with an assault rifle and wearing body armor - yelled at my tiny, 2 year old daughter for stepping into the (pedestrian-only, not then visibly closed to its regular foot traffic) block of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the Corcoran Gallery. When I objected, he started in on me, and then threatened to arrest a woman who saw the whole thing and started calling him a thug and a fascist from the sidewalk, getting redder and more visibly flustered all the while. The general impression I got was "total loose cannon".
posted by ryanshepard at 10:27 AM on February 14 [77 favorites]


The thread connecting Putin, Kushner, Bannon, Miller, Trump, Netanyahu, Flynn, Burke... seemingly very different people, from different backgrounds and even religions, is Islamaphobia.

Yeah, that's what it comes down to, isn't it?

I guess it's been confusing because they all have other goals as well. Putin wants a Syrian client state and a new less-socialist USSR. Burke wants power within the church and to Make Patriarchy Great Again. Bannon and Miller are scared that white people will be a minority in America soon and want to make sure they won't be a minority of voters.

But... none of those agendas conflict with each other. In fact they complement each other. And they feel they have a common enemy in the whole religion of Islam. So these different groups -- Putin, the Americans nostalgic for the Confederacy, the Catholic revanchists -- have teamed up, and together they have a LOT of power and a large base.

But yeah there are a lot of people who DON'T want a global war with Islam too, including unlikely bedfellows like China, the American intelligence community, the Koch brothers (a global war is bad for business!), the Pope, etc. I mean yeah, a lot of people who don't get along under normal circumstances will team up against the threat of global war against a whole religion...

And then, of course, there's US! There are a lot of US! And we aren't fooled. We don't want to go to war against Islam. (In fact, US includes a lot of Muslims!) And in the end we're the MAJORITY and that's the best kind of political power to have. You can't really govern a whole country against the will of the majority for long, not one as big and spread out as the US, not in practical terms. We don't want to turn back the clock to the 19th century. They can't do it without our cooperation. And we aren't cooperating!

So jokes aside I'm actually fully on board the "We're the heroes we've been waiting for" train, even as I hope that some of our unlikely allies in this fight win some of their skirmishes.

I hope people in Europe are paying attention and will realize that refugees and immigrants are no kind of threat at all in comparison to this terrifying coalition of people who want to go to war with Islam. At least Trump exposed the threat! Imagine what could happen if those groups had installed a competent puppet in office?
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:27 AM on February 14 [37 favorites]


why IS Ivanka in the audience? I don't get her role

Dad's at lunch with Christie and can't watch; Spicer knows this, so Ivanka is there to remind him that Trump is always watching.
posted by notyou at 10:28 AM on February 14 [31 favorites]


“The whole history of the Islamic presence in Europe is an attempt to conquer it.”

I'll probably get in trouble here for saying something that could be mis-construed as support for the vile islamophobes, but: The Islamic Ottoman Empire conquered by military means large parts of southeastern Europe and ruled the Greeks, Slavs, Romanians and Hungarians there for centuries. They would have been very happy to extend their rule further by these means, but were turned back at the proverbial gates of Vienna in 1529.

Similarly, several centuries earlier, an Arab Muslim entity, the Umayyad Caliphate invaded Spain during the initial Islamic expansion and ruled there for centuries. They, likewise, would have been happy to extend their rule further north into Europe but were turned back in France by a Frankish army in 732.

So, the aim of conquering Europe is one that was held by major Muslim political entities twice in the historical past, and they were actually rather -- though not totally -- successful, for a time.

How soon we have forgotten The Crusades.

These Muslim empires were significantly more successful in their attempt to conquer Europe than the Christian Europeans were in attempting to conquer the 'holy land' during the crusades, in terms of size of area conquered, length of tenure and robustness of political presence. (The Muslims had conquered the 'holy land' previously from the Greek Byzantine Empire, successor to the ancient Roman Empire. And I don't believe the Christian crusaders had any ambition to continue on and conquer Arabia, say, at least officially.)

This history doesn't mean the islamophobes are right in how they interpret Muslims immigrating to Europe today. But it is history.
posted by bertran at 10:29 AM on February 14 [42 favorites]


Spicer really should motorize that podium.
posted by mochapickle at 10:30 AM on February 14 [10 favorites]


TheVerge: OKCupid now asks potential dates the big question: ‘Trump, yes or no?’

Wait, did they stop letting users make up their own questions, or did nobody ask that question already for some reason?
posted by wildblueyonder at 10:30 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


it's a good thing that spicer keeps stumbling over his words because otherwise his monotone would have put me to sleep by now
posted by murphy slaw at 10:30 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


He's really going on and on here, like he's trying to put off having to answer questions.
posted by azpenguin at 10:30 AM on February 14


Tomorrow: Netanyahu and Trump press conference (which means no Spicer).
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:31 AM on February 14


It's entirely a consequence of the system of checks and balances breaking down. It's happening as a consequence of the GOP going party and power over country and abdicating their part in the system. It is freaky but it's a symptom of a much larger problem.

Nine IC leaks on one newspaper story is the biggest "et tu, Brute" moment for quite a while. It's also the fact that this isn't like Snowden; there's no single source and no widely spread information. It's leaks from the leadership, just as it has been with the details of calls and off-the-record comments about how screwed the NSC is right now. So many agencies and people deploying that against the WH is really extremely unusual; that is, in and of itself, as much a sign as the details of what's being leaked that nobody close to the action sees this as normal times.
posted by jaduncan at 10:31 AM on February 14 [11 favorites]


Time for the meat!
posted by rmless at 10:32 AM on February 14


Spicer says they have been 'reviewing a legal issue" for 17 days, which White House counsel concluded there was not.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:32 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


So, the aim of conquering Europe is one that was held by major Muslim political entities twice in the historical past, and they were actually rather -- though not totally -- successful, for a time.

This is something that could be said of literally any political entity that tried to extend their power throughout history. That it's being used specifically to target Muslims--along with a lot of other Islamophobic stuff--is the problem.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:32 AM on February 14 [18 favorites]


there was No legal issue acc to Sean Spicer....I don't even...

if there HAD been a legal issue.....??
posted by Wilder at 10:33 AM on February 14


Mr. Glasses is punching Spicer in the face with some hard-hitting questions. Be my Valentine, Mr. Glasses.
posted by prefpara at 10:33 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Three weeks in and we're already on basically 'he lied, but we didn't break any laws.'
posted by zachlipton at 10:34 AM on February 14 [17 favorites]


Followed up with another whammer of a question from Mr. Pale Tie. I'm having fun. (sort of)
posted by prefpara at 10:34 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


How is blackmail not a legal situation?
posted by flatluigi at 10:34 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


WashingtonPost (The Debrief): Onstage with a fellow world leader, Trump acts the part (h/t The Daily 202)
... As Trudeau took his turn speaking, Trump stood stoically, gazing out at the reporters assembled in the White House’s lavish East Room. He did not fidget quite as much as usual.

For a man who has long been fascinated by celebrities, the opportunity to share a stage with another world leader is the ultimate reminder of just how far he has unexpectedly come. His demeanor is remarkably different in these moments. It appears as though he has been cast by a Hollywood director to play the very serious role of President of the United States.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:35 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]


I bet Spicer wants that moving podium right about now.
posted by Pendragon at 10:35 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


maybe charles krauthammer is in the running for the new press secretary?
posted by murphy slaw at 10:35 AM on February 14


Pretty sure he just referred to P.M. of Canada "Joe Trudeau".
Man, Spicer's game is tight.
posted by isopraxis at 10:35 AM on February 14 [10 favorites]


Spicey is taking the position that it was proper for Flynn to discuss sanctions with Russia during the transition...
posted by prefpara at 10:36 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Spicer is saying there's been a complete legal review of what Flynn said on the phone calls. That feels like it's just baiting releasing the transcripts.
posted by Brainy at 10:36 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


This history doesn't mean the islamophobes are right in how they interpret Muslims immigrating to Europe today. But it is history.

I mean, everyone tried to conquer everyone. The Catholic Church actually ran The Holy Roman Empire. But that's just humans humaning. It doesn't say anything about what some refugees escaping from Assad's death camps want today. I know you know this, but I think it's worth saying anyway.

On Facebook I've been arguing with conservatives who are quoting with horror some Muslim professor saying that the Koran doesn't necessarily forbid slavery, like "Look what a terrible religion Islam is!" As if there weren't a whole industry of Christian preachers explaining why the Bible didn't forbid slavery in the ante-bellum US. As if it were even hard to find Christian preachers making that same argument today! Humans gonna human. No nation or religion has clean hands. They've all had expansionist periods, and slavery in some form or another, pretty much.
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:36 AM on February 14 [37 favorites]


So, according to Spicer, over the past 17 days the White House was only assessing whether Flynn did something illegal (during which time Flynn performed his National Security Advisor role). After they decided there was no legal issue, only then could Trump consider whether it was a problem that Flynn had lied to Pence and other administration officials. While investigating the legal issues, Trump was completely agnostic about whether Flynn's behavior was untrustworthy.
posted by vathek at 10:36 AM on February 14 [16 favorites]


Spicer says he won't get into the specifics of what happened between Conway's statement yesterday and last night.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:36 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Or, let's have a respectful conversation with corb to find out why a majority of Americans voted the way they did.

I don't think corb is the right person to ask about Clinton's appeal to voters.
posted by Etrigan at 10:37 AM on February 14 [23 favorites]


Q: What happened during the course of the day to change Trump's mind?
Spicey: He made a decision all by himself in his head because he is a big smart boy. /fake
posted by rmless at 10:38 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


[A few comments deleted; better to just skip the thing about corb's view of previous Democratic congressional actions, it'll take us off track here in a way that I think everybody can pretty well rehearse for themselves by now.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:38 AM on February 14 [20 favorites]


Followed up with another whammer of a question from Mr. Pale Tie.

That's CBS News WH Correspondent Major Garrett, formerly of Fox News.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:38 AM on February 14


It cannot be overstated how badly the White House undermined Conway by letting her go out there to explain that Flynn had the "full confidence" of the President and then putting out an official statement from Spicer an hour later that expressed absolutely no confidence, followed soon thereafter by Flynn being asked to resign. Flynn got fired, but Conway got stabbed in the back there.
posted by zachlipton at 10:39 AM on February 14 [48 favorites]


Spicer: 'there was nothing about what he discussed that was a legal problem....
posted by Wilder at 10:39 AM on February 14


SOCOM commander, 4-star general:
Gen. Tony Thomas, head of the military’s Special Operations Command, expressed concern about upheaval inside the White House. “Our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. I hope they sort it out soon because we’re a nation at war,” he said at a military conference on Tuesday. Asked about his comments later, General Thomas said in a brief interview, “As a commander, I’m concerned our government be as stable as possible.”
#hashtagthisisfinehashtag
posted by holgate at 10:39 AM on February 14 [52 favorites]


The Catholic Church actually ran The Holy Roman Empire.

It technically still does, although admittedly I am now forced to look on their works and despair whilst the lone and level lands of other not-the-HRE states stretch far away.
posted by jaduncan at 10:39 AM on February 14



I'm not sure if Spicy and the Prez being so firm that Flynn did nothing wrong by talking to Russia is going to end well for them.
posted by Jalliah at 10:40 AM on February 14 [12 favorites]


flat out denial of the "omarosa dossier on reporters" question.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:41 AM on February 14


It really seems like they can't even throw someone under a bus properly.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:41 AM on February 14 [39 favorites]


The correct response is to just say "excellent, please release the transcripts so that can be verified".
posted by jaduncan at 10:41 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


That bump you feel is the car rolling over Omorosa's body.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:41 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]


Now he takes refuge in the Skype Seats.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:42 AM on February 14


"No dossier, just a binder I keep right here"

Not a joking matter, you fuck.
posted by eclectist at 10:42 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]


Let's go to Skype for a softball topic change!
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:42 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


We just got a baller good question from a Skype seat. Not sure what is happening today. Up is down, press conferences feel good? Now Spicey is scrambling to attack Dodd-Frank.
posted by prefpara at 10:42 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]


whoa, actually a tough question from Las Vegas on Dodd-Frank (since Las Vegas got absolutely murdered by predatory home lending)
posted by murphy slaw at 10:42 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Spicer called for that Skype Seat question like it was the last lifeboart leaving the Titanic.
posted by zachlipton at 10:43 AM on February 14 [22 favorites]


Spicy and the Prez

One is a genius, the other's insane.

Wait, no, the other thing. Both insane.
posted by Mayor West at 10:43 AM on February 14 [20 favorites]


Now he takes refuge in the Skype Seats.


Question from a Mr. PewPewDie...
posted by Artw at 10:43 AM on February 14 [13 favorites]


"Dodd-Frank was actually bad and made things worse and not better"
posted by flatluigi at 10:43 AM on February 14


The correct response is to just say "excellent, please release the transcripts so that can be verified".

Especially since we've established that the Logan Act hasn't been breached through Spicer's unimpeachable word, so no foreign policy issues exist to be disclosed, amirite*?

*I am not right.
posted by jaduncan at 10:43 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


It cannot be overstated how badly the White House undermined Conway by letting her go out there to explain that Flynn had the "full confidence" of the President and then putting out an official statement from Spicer an hour later that expressed absolutely no confidence, followed soon thereafter by Flynn being asked to resign. Flynn got fired, but Conway got stabbed in the back there.

They would have known that if any of them had bothered to watch the West Wing!

I do not recommend watching the West Wing right now, by the way. It will make you feel such strong saudade you may explode, the fear of which is why I stopped.
posted by winna at 10:43 AM on February 14 [20 favorites]


Reporter just asked what did the president know and when did he know it

ohh shiiiiiiiit
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:43 AM on February 14 [127 favorites]


Flynn must have some really great dirt locked up in a super secret safe.
posted by sammyo at 10:43 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


the president was "proved instinctively correct"?
posted by murphy slaw at 10:44 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Flynn got fired, but Conway got stabbed in the back there.

Quite the opposite: Trump makes Conway and Spicer (and everyone else) lie egregiously, in public, over and over again, about the stupidest possible things for the express purpose of tying them closer to him. It's a loyalty test, and she proved her loyalty. It also makes them utterly unemployable by anyone else, for two reasons:
1) The obvious "Really, you're sending her out to talk about this?" issues.
B) When the only thing you bring to the table is loyalty (after every other positive quality was stripped away), then you cannot ever quit, because that kills your last marketable skill.
posted by Etrigan at 10:44 AM on February 14 [53 favorites]


im clearly on a slight delay, but my oh my did the room not think spicey's 'joke' about dossiers/binders was funny.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:44 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


I thought that was actually a good question from Skype ... What's going on ?!?!?
posted by Pendragon at 10:44 AM on February 14


He has the best dirt. The greatest. Bigly dirt.
posted by winna at 10:44 AM on February 14


"He was proved instinctively correct" oooof- is this the theme that Trump wants hammered home? That he doesn't need facts first because he is always right? This is a dangerous way to brand.
posted by rmless at 10:44 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Go go pale tie #2!
posted by meowf at 10:46 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


spicer is decisively failing to draw a clear line between the illegality of flynn's actions and the "loss of trust" on the part of the president
posted by murphy slaw at 10:46 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Flynn must have some really great dirt locked up in a super secret safe.

Not to be all rah rah about this, but I would suspect that someone who ran an intelligence agency would have the foresight to have several subtly removed burn bags of it.
posted by jaduncan at 10:47 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


So now he's throwing the DOJ under the bus for the 17 day gap - y'know the same DOJ that he wants to execute his EOs.
posted by eclectist at 10:47 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Spicer is making a big deal out of the fact that the White House wasn't informed about Flynn's communications until January 26th, while Pence reported what Flynn told him on January 15th. The thing is that we already knew about Flynn's calls well before January 15th, because that's why Pence was asked about them on the Sunday shows to begin with. Face The Nation didn't randomly decide to ask Pence "hey, did Flynn talk to the Russians about sanctions." There were a number of leaks well before the 15th on the subject. Their timeline is off by weeks.
posted by zachlipton at 10:47 AM on February 14 [27 favorites]


It also makes them utterly unemployable by anyone else, for two reasons:

I admire your optimism, but Kellyanne could go out for a press conference tonight, rip off a rubber mask to reveal that she is just a seething mass of rats holding a vaguely human form, and demand blood for the blood god. She'd have a job on Fox & Friends by Thursday afternoon.
posted by Mayor West at 10:47 AM on February 14 [61 favorites]


Please, for those of us who have to read these threads on our phones most of the time, I beg of (some of) y'all to stop the context-free press conference livestream one-liners.
posted by Etrigan at 10:47 AM on February 14 [34 favorites]


Ha ha. Spicer: I am going to emphasize really, really, really strong "The President was decisive....unbelievably decisive....HE WAS DECISIVE about this as soon at he found out about it"

Liar, liar, liar
posted by Jalliah at 10:48 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]


"He was proved instinctively correct" oooof- is this the theme that Trump wants hammered home? That he doesn't need facts first because he is always right? This is a dangerous way to brand.

Well he calls his own shots, based largely on an accumulation of data, and everybody knows it.
posted by bassooner at 10:48 AM on February 14 [12 favorites]


Spicer chiding about press covering classified information in the context of leaks. Hmm, I wonder if there will be a follow-up question about handling classified docs on the Mar-a-lago patio?
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:48 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]


Not to be all rah rah about this, but I would suspect that someone who ran an intelligence agency would have the foresight to have several subtly removed burn bags of it.

Not to mention being an FSB asset on the side.
posted by Artw at 10:48 AM on February 14


'LEAKS! I CAN CHANGE THE SUBJECT!'
posted by flatluigi at 10:48 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Oh my god, Spicey is now lecturing the press about how people leaking national security info is the only important thing. He is stepping RIGHT INTO the "so why is Donny showing classified info to random people at Mar-a-Lago and discussing North Korea in front of waiters?" issue. And "what about WH staffers using Confide, Sean?"
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:49 AM on February 14 [14 favorites]


I really want someone to ask about the insecure M-a-l huddle. Come on guys! Keep up the gumption!
posted by prefpara at 10:49 AM on February 14 [9 favorites]


Obvious follow-up to Spicer expressing distress about the leaks: doesn't that problem reflect an issue with Trump's management style and/or "extreme vetting" of his staff?
posted by carmicha at 10:50 AM on February 14 [12 favorites]


"so why is Donny showing classified info to random people at Mar-a-Lago and discussing North Korea in front of waiters?"

They already said that there was no classified info at Mar-a-Lago. That would be illegal and improper and they would never ever do that ever they swear. Trust them.
posted by zrail at 10:50 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


I admire your optimism, but Kellyanne could go out for a press conference tonight, rip off a rubber mask to reveal that she is just a seething mass of rats holding a vaguely human form, and demand blood for the blood god. She'd have a job on Fox & Friends by Thursday afternoon.

They prefer 'friend of Cruz' as a term, thank you.
posted by jaduncan at 10:51 AM on February 14 [52 favorites]


This isn't a press conference, it's a fucking massacre.
posted by Talez at 10:51 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


> The thread connecting Putin, Kushner, Bannon, Miller, Trump, Netanyahu, Flynn, Burke... seemingly very different people, from different backgrounds and even religions, is Islamaphobia. A fear and hatred of "sub-human" other, which is a fear and hatred shared by many Americans. It can be confusing to try to understand why all these people are aligned with each other until you remember that they believe they are battling an existential threat, and that this is their moment of glory and power.

This comment has been bugging me for about an hour now. Guys, we just had a really huge anti-Semitism MeTa that went pretty badly, with several people having left, at least one (maxsparber) apparently permanently. Seeing Netanyahu thrown into that list alongside a massive list of US politicians who genuinely are acting in coalition--yes, including Kushner--feels pretty gross to me, and the juxtaposition of a whole bunch of Christian politicians, one Jewish politician who is genuinely in the thick of things, and then Israel invoked out of fucking nowhere to make the point that all of this is about Islamophobia and destroying Muslims is weird.

This is about a lot of things. The thread connecting all of the American politicians on that list--which is to say, all the damn rest of them!--is the desire for personal power and the sense that attacking marginalized groups in America, particularly immigrants and anyone who isn't Like-Us enough to count, is the way to attain that power. Israel has its own politics going on, and it does not make sense to lump them wholeheartedly alongside the current American dumpster fire as if they are identical in context and outcome to the details of what is going on over here. Shoehorning it in apparently out of nowhere feels really, incredibly gross and like a way of signaling blame to Jewish people for the shitshow happening here in the States.
posted by sciatrix at 10:51 AM on February 14 [53 favorites]


The current White House occupant might not have said "hey, Flynn talk sanctions to the Ruskies", but Flynn apparently considered it part of his job to call the Russian ambassador and raise the issue, and his boss seemed very satisfied with Putin's response to the post-election sanctions. The Cossacks work for the Czar.

Those transcripts will show up sooner than later.
posted by holgate at 10:53 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


I know Admiral Harward is the leading candidate to replace Flynn, but considering David Petraeus' name has been floated for the spot, Spicer's whinging about White House leaks is richer than Trump claims to be.
posted by enjoymoreradio at 10:53 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Israel invoked out of fucking nowhere

In fairness (and I do see where you're coming from here) Bibi was pretty partisan during the campaign.
posted by jaduncan at 10:53 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]


Question: You said the president was tough on Russia. Are you fucking kidding me? [paraphrase]
posted by murphy slaw at 10:54 AM on February 14 [26 favorites]



Wait what? "Federalist blog thing softball?

That was a very long and pompous way to say 'We don't like regulations that liberals make. What are you going to do about it?'
posted by Jalliah at 10:54 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, Canada is all aTwitter about the "Joe Trudeau" slip. We appear to be mostly amused instead of wondering if this signals some massive shift in relations.
posted by nubs at 10:54 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


In fairness (and I do see where you're coming from here) Bibi was pretty partisan during the campaign.

That's fair, but in context it still feels pretty "what the fuck?" to me. Like, frankly, Putin was as partisan if not more so, and he's the one who is actively trying to overthrow our leadership. Where the fuck is his name on that list?
posted by sciatrix at 10:55 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Spicer: Trump 'instinctively' thought that Flynn did nothing illegal.

"A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not."

-- Ronald Reagan
posted by kirkaracha at 10:55 AM on February 14 [71 favorites]


Greenwald on the leakers who exposed Flynn:
Yet very few people are calling for a criminal investigation or the prosecution of these leakers, nor demanding the leakers step forward and “face the music” – for very good reason: the officials leaking this information acted justifiably, despite the fact that they violated the law. That’s because the leaks revealed that a high government official, Gen. Flynn, blatantly lied to the public about a material matter – his conversations with Russian diplomats – and the public has the absolute right to know this.

This episode underscores a critical point: the mere fact that an act is illegal does not mean it is unjust or even deserving of punishment. Oftentimes, the most just acts are precisely the ones that the law prohibits.

That’s particularly true of whistleblowers – i.e., those who reveal information the law makes it a crime to reveal, when doing so is the only way to demonstrate to the public that powerful officials are acting wrongfully or deceitfully. In those cases, we should cheer those who do it even though they are undertaking exactly those actions which the criminal law prohibits.
posted by AceRock at 10:55 AM on February 14 [19 favorites]


Spicer keeps talking about how "the trust eroded" but refuses to state any possible reason for the erosion of that trust.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:55 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


"It's not about illegality; it's about eroding trust. The trust was eroding; there was rapid trust erosion." Man, that trust eroded harder and faster than the fucking Oroville spillway.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:56 AM on February 14 [15 favorites]


For those following along on phones, the last Skype guy was from the Federalist Papers Project who bloviated about the consent of the governed and rolling back government oversight. The kind of guy you'd edge away from at a dinner party. Total softball.
posted by mochapickle at 10:56 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Q: What else did Flynn f up and do you care?
Spicey: uhh there are a lot of people here so its cool /fake
posted by rmless at 10:56 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]




Glenn Greenwald is not your friend. He is about a step behind Wikileaks in all this TBH.
posted by Artw at 10:58 AM on February 14 [22 favorites]


Mar-a-Lago question. Thank you, Skype lady
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:58 AM on February 14 [13 favorites]


Where the fuck is his name on that list?

First.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:58 AM on February 14 [20 favorites]


YES!!! Skype caller banging him on insecure M-a-l convos!!!!!
posted by prefpara at 10:58 AM on February 14


You know shit is bad when you're getting hard questions from a Florida talk radio host.
posted by otenba at 10:58 AM on February 14 [49 favorites]


Is it weird that I'm nervous this is happening too soon, and it will be completely forgotten by the time the mid-terms roll around, and we need to pin people to the wall with their early support of trump?
posted by codacorolla at 10:59 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Spicer claims there's a SCIF (secure comms room) at Mar-A-Lago. Is there? Do we have evidence of this? Or is it just a lie?
posted by dis_integration at 10:59 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Glenn Greenwald is not your friend.

(GleGrinyf)
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:59 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Putin was as partisan if not more so, and he's the one who is actively trying to overthrow our leadership. Where the fuck is his name on that list?

On this list?

"The thread connecting Putin, Kushner, Bannon, Miller, Trump, Netanyahu, Flynn, Burke..."
posted by Myca at 11:00 AM on February 14 [17 favorites]


Spicer says Trump was not aware of conversations that Flynn had during the transition. Once DOJ told him, at that point, he was told there was no legal issue. It was appropriate in the normal course of action.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:00 AM on February 14


Spicer claims there's a SCIF (secure comms room) at Mar-A-Lago. Is there?

It's probably being set up as we speak.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:00 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Spicer claims there's a SCIF (secure comms room) at Mar-A-Lago. Is there?

Yeah, they prop up two menus and duck behind them to talk like a coupla dungeon masters
posted by Greg Nog at 11:01 AM on February 14 [131 favorites]


man spicer is trying to GTFO as fast as possible
posted by murphy slaw at 11:01 AM on February 14


Hey everyone, please remember this moment when Spicer was asked directly about whether Trump knew about Flynn talking to Russia about sanctions at the time, and he answered No.
I have a feeling we will be coming back to this.
posted by rmless at 11:01 AM on February 14 [94 favorites]


This is the media uploaded to Twitter by the fresh faced young fascist Spicer just cybered with.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:01 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Spicer claims there's a SCIF (secure comms room) at Mar-A-Lago. Is there? Do we have evidence of this? Or is it just a lie?

Also, is he under the impression that makes it better to sit an an unsecured party with cameraphones pointing at the relevant documents?
posted by jaduncan at 11:01 AM on February 14 [14 favorites]


Spicer suddenly shouts HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY and disappears in a cloud of cinnamon.
posted by mochapickle at 11:02 AM on February 14 [14 favorites]


[Folks, please ease back with the contextless liveblogging of "omg" reactions. Also if we need to continue the meta discussion of antisemitism further, it should happen over in the Metatalk for that.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:02 AM on February 14 [15 favorites]


Spicer claims there's a SCIF (secure comms room) at Mar-A-Lago. Is there? Do we have evidence of this? Or is it just a lie?

The President's entourage includes a mobile SCIF at all times. There are some pictures from the Obama administration of what it looks like from the outside, but basically it's a Faraday cage tent with a secure phone line.
posted by zrail at 11:02 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Spicer runs out literally screaming "Happy valentine's day!" and a reporter asks after him "Did you sign an NDA?"
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:02 AM on February 14 [17 favorites]


Whoa. He literally bolted. Wow.
posted by eclectist at 11:02 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Spicer claims there's a SCIF (secure comms room) at Mar-A-Lago. Is there? Do we have evidence of this? Or is it just a lie?

Whether there is or not (and I'm guessing there isn't), the whole "treason alfresco" thing was pretty well-documented.
posted by ryanshepard at 11:03 AM on February 14 [9 favorites]


Is it weird that I'm nervous this is happening too soon, and it will be completely forgotten by the time the mid-terms roll around, and we need to pin people to the wall with their early support of trump?

Quoting myself, but I guess I fully understand the strategy behind BENGHAZI-RAMA now. The difference here, is that investigating the trumpists would be well and fully justified instead of a dog and pony show.
posted by codacorolla at 11:04 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


That was incredibly strange, even for 2017
posted by theodolite at 11:04 AM on February 14 [14 favorites]


Spicer claims there's a SCIF (secure comms room) at Mar-A-Lago. Is there? Do we have evidence of this? Or is it just a lie?

Is the public dining room a SCIF?

Or, put another way: has Trump actually used a SCIF at Mar-A-Lago for all his communication? Has he used it properly? Did he bring his personal phone inside? Because 'it exists!' seems like a bit of evasion -- that's really not quite the concern.
posted by cjelli at 11:04 AM on February 14 [12 favorites]


Which Depeche Mode lyrics were you thinking of during Spicer's press conference today? Mine were either:

It's a question of lust / It's a question of trust / It's a question of not letting / What we've built up / Crumble to dust / It is all of these things and more / That keep us together

Or

You will always wonder how / It could have been if you'd only lied / It's too late to change events / It's time to face the consequence / For delivering the proof / In the policy of truth / Never again / Is what you swore / The time before
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:04 AM on February 14 [10 favorites]


Spicer is saying there's been a complete legal review of what Flynn said on the phone calls

Release the kraken transcripts.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:04 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]




I'm not sure I understand the White House's position.

So, Flynn emphatically did nothing wrong. BUT trump can't trust him because...why? Because he misled the Vice-President? About what?

Flynn did nothing wrong, but he didn't tell the VP that he did nothing wrong so they can't trust him now?

Am I missing something?
posted by sporkwort at 11:05 AM on February 14 [18 favorites]


Is the public dining room a SCIF?

Does gold plating the entire interior of a hotel count as a Faraday cage?
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:05 AM on February 14 [51 favorites]


Has this Kellyanne Conway tweet been linked here yet? Because crap, that's a little scary.
posted by nubs at 11:05 AM on February 14 [11 favorites]


Does gold plating the entire interior of a hotel count as a Faraday cage?

Oh honey, that's not gold.
posted by ryanshepard at 11:06 AM on February 14 [40 favorites]


Do you think they even know how badly this is going, or in their mind is this somehow all part of the plan?
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:06 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


They prefer 'friend of Cruz' as a term, thank you.

There are no "friends of Cruz." He was shunned by Scalia's clerks at Scalia's funeral, and he clerked for Rehnquist. You know no one likes you when you get shunned at a funeral.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:06 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


I've mentioned in the past that Glenn Greenwald looks eerily like Gentleman Caller. This election has made that resemblance REALLY WEIRD.
posted by pxe2000 at 11:07 AM on February 14


Flynn did nothing wrong, but he didn't tell the VP that he did nothing wrong so they can't trust him now?

Am I missing something?


You're not missing anything. It doesn't make sense or add up.
posted by diogenes at 11:07 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Oh honey, that's not gold.

Yeah, yeah. I was being facetious.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:08 AM on February 14


That Conway tweet reads like some bizarro mentat mantra she utters every monring.
posted by cmfletcher at 11:08 AM on February 14 [34 favorites]


Has this Kellyanne Conway tweet been linked here yet? Because crap, that's a little scary.

Also scary, this one, where she sends some Valentine's Day love to all the "Hapless Haters" and a random tweeter with #WhiteIdentity in their twitter bio.
posted by zachlipton at 11:08 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Is the public dining room a SCIF?

No, people did social media from it...and shockingly SCIFs don't tend to fit a couple of hundred non-vetted people.

Or, put another way: has Trump actually used a SCIF at Mar-A-Lago for all his communication? Has he used it properly? Did he bring his personal phone inside? Because 'it exists!' seems like a bit of evasion -- that's really not quite the concern.

I would argue that it ironically makes it much worse. Choosing not to bother to walk five minutes to a secured location when you do not yet know what the documents say or how the situation will develop is something I'd have expected to be on charges for.
posted by jaduncan at 11:09 AM on February 14 [27 favorites]


Am I missing something?

No, the position is incoherent on multiple levels.

First, if Trump fired him because of lying, he should've fired him right away. You can investigate the legal issues later. The firing and the legal investigations are entirely disconnected.

Second, if he did nothing wrong, then why did he lie about it? Why lie about a call that is just "perfectly normal regular diplomat stuff" (paraphrasing). I guess because you're a complete fuckup, like Flynn? But really, if there was nothing wrong about the call then there was no reason to lie.

Third, if Trump really fired him just because of "trust issues", then why did the firing come immediately in the wake of the leaks. Surely he could've come to this decision much more quickly than he did. In fact, it looks pretty clear that the leakers set the agenda here, not the President, and that Flynn would not have resigned if everything had been kept under wraps.

Nothing about this position makes sense. But then again, nothing about Trump makes sense so maybe it's all true (it's not).
posted by dis_integration at 11:09 AM on February 14 [26 favorites]


Has this Kellyanne Conway tweet been linked here yet? Because crap, that's a little scary.

just a mercenary letting us know in no uncertain terms that she's a mercenary. hella less scary than a lot of other shit that gets barfed down the twitters
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:11 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


That's fair, but in context it still feels pretty "what the fuck?" to me. Like, frankly, Putin was as partisan if not more so, and he's the one who is actively trying to overthrow our leadership. Where the fuck is his name on that list?

As context goes, mentioning someone who will be appearing in a dual press conference with Trump within 24 hours doesn't seem all that random to me.
posted by phearlez at 11:11 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


That was like watching All The President's Men on salvia
posted by theodolite at 11:12 AM on February 14 [45 favorites]


That Conway tweet reads like some bizarro mentat mantra she utters every monring.

Cultist gotta Cult.
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


The Mar-a-Lago SCIF must be like the bottle of vermouth to people who think a martini is just a cold glass of vodka with an olive.
posted by holgate at 11:14 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]


Kellyanne Conway ‏@KellyannePolls 1h1 hour ago
More
I serve at the pleasure of @POTUS. His message is my message. His goals are my goals. Uninformed chatter doesn't matter.


It also has an undertone of 'he told me to say full confidence, don't blame me.' [subtext, not a quote]
posted by jaduncan at 11:15 AM on February 14 [15 favorites]


I kind of hate to say it, but do we need to set up a Daily Press Briefing Fanfare for people that want to liveblog reactions so that the main threads don't fill up so fast?

This is really a Meta issue, if we want to have a proper discussion about it, but: I think it would be better to keep the discussions of the briefings within the context of the Potus45 threads, rather than in Fanfare, but try to exercise restraint in commenting on the briefings -- fewer one-liners, less live-blogging-without-context, and fewer comments on them overall. I really appreciate the substantive discussions about the briefings, and shifting some part of it off into FanFare would be confusing and not, I think, actually helpful.
posted by cjelli at 11:16 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]


Re: Conway, I fully support poffin boffin's suggestion of Alaska Thunderfuck or Sharon Needles. It's caaahmedy. How would we have gotten thru 7-Eleven without caaaaahhhhmedy
posted by en forme de poire at 11:17 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Casting idea: Jonathan Banks for Stephen Miller?
posted by The Tensor at 11:17 AM on February 14




Is it weird that I'm nervous this is happening too soon, and it will be completely forgotten by the time the mid-terms roll around

If it's forgotten by the mid-terms, it'll be because mindblowingly worse shit has come to light.
posted by Existential Dread at 11:18 AM on February 14 [18 favorites]


Chaffetz didn't like being yelled at it seems like. But Conway seems like the least of those issues. I guess some action is good action?
posted by Carillon at 11:19 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


I kind of hate to say it, but do we need to set up a Daily Press Briefing Fanfare for people that want to liveblog reactions so that the main threads don't fill up so fast?

Chat had an elections room as well; that's a totally viable option (pretty quiet there right now)
posted by Existential Dread at 11:19 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Breitbart puts Priebus on notice

Matthew Boyle, Breitbart News’s Washington political editor, citing unnamed sources close to the president, reported that Priebus may be next on the chopping block after the Monday night resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Someone isn't satisfied with Priebus's late-night ASMR sleepytime skills.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:19 AM on February 14 [19 favorites]


I would argue that it ironically makes it much worse. Choosing not to bother to walk five minutes to a secured location when you do not yet know what the documents say or how the situation will develop is something I'd have expected to be on charges for.

But what if getting to it involves Trump's nemesis, stairs
posted by jason_steakums at 11:20 AM on February 14 [37 favorites]


Nothing about this position makes sense. But then again, nothing about Trump makes sense so maybe it's all true (it's not).

Well, it makes perfect sense if you read it as proof that the administration is weak and disorganized. If they were remotely competent they'd give a short "we knew what was going on all along and our investigations and actions were completed last night" rather than this ongoing leaky no-coherent-message nonsense from multiple people, but they're incompetent as well as being weak and disorganized. So for anyone who knows anything about the internal goings-on of DC it's just more evidence they are about as graceful as a monkey fucking a football.

The more interesting and pertinent stuff is what this looks like to folks outside the political obsessives. I find it impossible to figure, but a lot of that comes from my ongoing cognitive dissonance from having lived through the last twenty years of the cold war and now finding myself living under a Russian stooge as a President and 91% positive Republican voter opinion of VLADAMIR FUCKING PUTIN. So I have come to accept that it might just be impossible for me to understand the "average voter."
posted by phearlez at 11:20 AM on February 14 [15 favorites]


But what if getting to it involves Trump's nemesis, stairs

and here I thought his nemisis was properly-fitted suits.
posted by Carillon at 11:21 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


The real nemesis is a good, stiff wind.
posted by mochapickle at 11:22 AM on February 14 [14 favorites]


Kellyanne Conway ‏@KellyannePolls 1h1 hour ago
More
I serve at the pleasure of @POTUS. His message is my message. His goals are my goals. My biological and technological distinctiveness has been added to him. Uninformed chatter is futile.
[fake]
posted by thelonius at 11:22 AM on February 14 [22 favorites]


Well, it makes perfect sense if you read it as proof that the administration is weak and disorganized.

And compromised.
posted by diogenes at 11:23 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Shee-it. Even Rob Ford had a months-long honeymoon period where he was steamrolling the opposition, getting bylaws passed and not firing or accepting the resignation of staffers seemingly every day.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:23 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]


Other Nemesii include: Words, facts, women, anyone not white, the growing blob of disorganized tissue in his cerebellum.
posted by Artw at 11:23 AM on February 14 [14 favorites]


Choosing not to bother to walk five minutes to a secured location when you do not yet know what the documents say or how the situation will develop is something I'd have expected to be on charges for.

The worst part of that is, how awesome must it be for someone to walk up to you in a dining room and say, "Sir, we need you to come to the extremely secure facility because of very important events that we need you to president us through" and then walk out of the room as everyone looks at you and thinks Wow, I'm gonna be able to tell my grandkids about how I was there when that guy presidented us through some very important events? Trump manages even to fuck up being a narcissist poser.
posted by Etrigan at 11:24 AM on February 14 [73 favorites]


But what if getting to it involves Trump's nemesis, stairs

You know who else's nemesis was stairs?

Daleks.
posted by lowtide at 11:25 AM on February 14 [54 favorites]


These are some interesting comments from a Republican Congressman (Raúl Labrador, Idaho) about Obamacare:
Something that Republicans need to be concerned about is that if we're just going to replace Obamacare with Obamacare Lite, then it begs the question: Are we just opposed to Obamacare because it was opposed by Democrats? Then we're very hypocritical. Then we're just taking a political position, not a policy based position. What was our fight about the last six years?
...
If all of a sudden we're not worried about pay-fors for our spending, then we've been hypocrites for six years
It's so cute watching a Republican discover IOKIYAR for the first time.

To be clear, Rep. Labrador wants to repeal the whole thing completely and is upset that might not actually happen. But hey, I completely disagree with him on policy, yet he's the only one to have accurately summarized the stupidity of the GOP's position on this right now.
posted by zachlipton at 11:26 AM on February 14 [130 favorites]


ou know who else's nemesis was stairs?

Daleks.


Great. Now fanboy nerds are going to be all over how Trump can actually fly now.
posted by Artw at 11:27 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]


In other news: By a vote of 23-15, Republicans just voted to not request President Trump's tax returns from the Treasury Department.

The Republican House Ways and Means Committee's phone number is (202) 225-3625. I just called them and told the staffer who answered that I hope they reconsider their decision.
posted by panic at 11:27 AM on February 14 [10 favorites]


Do you think they even know how badly this is going, or in their mind is this somehow all part of the plan?

If there is anything I'm sure of on Day 25, it's that there is no plan. These people are clearly just flailing about day by day trying to come up with some not-even-remotely-plausible cover story for the multiple clusterfucks-du-jour. They're the cat who slams facefirst into a cabinet and then gives you a nonchalant "I meant to do that" look.

Even the truly evil Idea Guy plotters of the crew -- Bannon and Miller -- obviously have no damn idea what's going on. It's Keystone Kops all the way down. But I'm sure they're all still positive in their narcissistic Enron-like hubris that they're the smartest fascists of all.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:27 AM on February 14 [63 favorites]


You know who else's nemesis was stairs?

Daleks.

*and* Daleks were also famously down on non-billing healthcare providers.
posted by jaduncan at 11:28 AM on February 14 [22 favorites]


Matthew Boyle, Breitbart News’s Washington political editor, citing unnamed sources close to the president, reported that Priebus may be next on the chopping block after the Monday night resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Woah, Bannon really has won Kushner over hardcore. This is not what I expected. Batten down the hatches, shit is about to get even weirder. Especially with pushback from OGE etc.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:29 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


A low level SCIF is no big deal. For example in Hillary Clinton's homes in DC and NY it was just a room with a lock on the door. A courier would bring a classified paper document and after reading it in the SCIF room, Clinton would put it in a burn bag.

That's it. No phone. No computer. Just a room with a lock for reading paper classified documents. In some cases an encrypted fax machine.
posted by JackFlash at 11:30 AM on February 14 [9 favorites]


Pretty sure he just referred to P.M. of Canada "Joe Trudeau".

If you want to pull that shit on a French Canadian you have to say "Guy Trudeau".
posted by srboisvert at 11:31 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Seeing Netanyahu thrown into that list alongside a massive list of US politicians who genuinely are acting in coalition--yes, including Kushner--feels pretty gross to me, and the juxtaposition of a whole bunch of Christian politicians, one Jewish politician who is genuinely in the thick of things, and then Israel invoked out of fucking nowhere to make the point that all of this is about Islamophobia and destroying Muslims is weird.

Netanyahu is a Trump supporter. He approves of the wall.

I would have also included Marine Le Pen, Frauke Petry, the current Polish government, Nigel Farage, and the rest of the European far right on that list. (Along with the other folks already on there like Putin, and Burke, who while a politician of sorts, and American, isn't really an American politician...)

Islamaphobia is a real and growing force right now, worldwide. It's really not just an American thing. I think that's a really really important point for people to realize at this moment, with elections in Europe coming up which will swing the momentum of history one way or the other... And while there's nothing about being prime minister of Israel that means you should get automatically included on a list of Islamaphobic leaders, there's nothing about being prime minister of Israel that should automatically exclude you either, when you've been publicly praising Trump.
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:31 AM on February 14 [40 favorites]





If Priebus ends up losing to the Bannon faction I wonder if that will make a difference with at least some Republicans in the legislature. I expect that there may be some using Priebus being on the inside and looking after things as part of the justification for quietly going along with everything right now.
posted by Jalliah at 11:32 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]


A low level SCIF is no big deal. For example in Hillary Clinton's homes in DC and NY it was just a room with a lock on the door. A courier would bring a classified paper document and after reading it in the SCIF room, Clinton would put it in a burn bag.

Still, I have to point out, significantly different from the non-SCIF location 'middle of an ongoing party with cameraphones for lighting'.

Quite aside from the fact that the rooms were doubtlessly swept for bugs and cameras, and were likely to have non-obvious alterations to make spying hard.
posted by jaduncan at 11:33 AM on February 14 [15 favorites]


The Mar-a-Lago SCIF must be like the bottle of vermouth to people who think a martini is just a cold glass of vodka with an olive.

That is the correct way to make a martini, especially in 2017. Turn over the bottle and count to 5.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:34 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]


So there's a lot of uncertainty about whether Trump fired Flynn as Spicer says or Flynn just resigned as Conway says. I don't see the contradiction. When it first happened & it was unknown if the decision would be popular, Flynn resigned. But later on as it became clear it was the right call, Trump retroactively made the decision to have done the firing.
posted by scalefree at 11:34 AM on February 14 [24 favorites]


> So I have come to accept that it might just be impossible for me to understand the "average voter."

My wife's best friend has some work associates in Alabama, all of whom are (white, Christian, female) Trump supporters; last week she was down there on a business trip and they got to talking about all this shit because, in her words, "I'd like to understand why you support this man." They all said the same things: Hillary would have been worse, you can't trust anything The Media (except Fox News, of course) says, Trump has to do these things to protect us from ISIS, etc., etc., etc.. They live in their own reality and there is no reaching them; any attempt to do so just makes them hostile and suspicious.

Eventually things got a bit heated and in the interest of not getting into a full-blown argument they mutually agreed to disagree and dropped it. But my wife's friend isn't sure she can continue having a friendly relationship with these women (who are of course, in true "banality of evil" style, lovely people on a personal level) outside of work.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:34 AM on February 14 [28 favorites]


Eli Lake:
Normally intercepts of U.S. officials and citizens are some of the most tightly held government secrets. This is for good reason. Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity. This is what police states do.
This is somewhat of a counterpoint to the Greenwald quote I posted up-thread. I don't think it behooves us to ignore how precedents set for the right reasons and for the right outcomes can come back to bite us in the future (as we are now seeing wrt executive power). But I also think that if the government has no mechanism, outside of leaking, to oust bad actors like Flynn, then leaking is what we are going to have to live with.
posted by AceRock at 11:35 AM on February 14 [13 favorites]


Yeah, they prop up two menus and duck behind them to talk like a coupla dungeon masters

Mostly to reference the house-ruled fumble tables they are obviously playing with.
posted by meinvt at 11:35 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


The increasingly essential Matt Negrin of GQ has put together a supercut of stuff Fox News covered as they avoided talking about Flynn.
posted by zachlipton at 11:36 AM on February 14 [8 favorites]


I expect that there may be some using Priebus being on the inside and looking after things as part of the justification for quietly going along with everything right now.

The thing I don't get about this general line of thinking is Why aren't the Republicans in Congress doing anything? Not anything about impeachment or anything else we want them to do, but literally anything at all. Trump would fucking kill to get some legislation on his desk. Anything to look presidential. It doesn't have to be an un-realignment of one-sixth of the American economy. He'd love to rename a fucking post office right now, and they can't get their shit together enough for that.
posted by Etrigan at 11:37 AM on February 14 [16 favorites]




Pretty sure he just referred to P.M. of Canada "Joe Trudeau".

A misnomer that was begging for a response of "Joe Who?"

(Maybe that's too Canadian-politics inside baseball, but it still would have been totally hi-lar-i-ous and MISSED OPPORTUNITIES.)
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:37 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]


So there's a lot of uncertainty about whether Trump fired Flynn as Spicer says or Flynn just resigned as Conway says. I don't see the contradiction. When it first happened & it was unknown if the decision would be popular, Flynn resigned. But later on as it became clear it was the right call, Trump retroactively made the decision to have done the firing.

If the past is any indication what you hear first, the jumbled up mess is closer to what actually happened. Then they finally manage to get at least some of their shit together and we get the 'official' story with the narrative they want to push.

This admin because of leaks and because of generally being disorganized and reactive is really bad and containing events until they can decide on a strategy and get their side out.
posted by Jalliah at 11:38 AM on February 14


>Spicer claims there's a SCIF (secure comms room) at Mar-A-Lago. Is there?

Humorous gif response, hashtag not real. Wait, hashtag probably not real.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 11:39 AM on February 14 [15 favorites]


some have resorted to a secret chat app — Confide — that erases messages as soon as they’re read

This likely violates several laws, most notably the Presidential Records Act.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:39 AM on February 14 [17 favorites]


Trump would fucking kill to get some legislation on his desk. He'd love to rename a fucking post office right now, and they can't get their shit together enough for that.

As Spicer was firing up the rocket skates he used to exit the press room today, he mentioned that they needed to prep for a bill signing.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:40 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


I feel like we just need one or two Rs to jump into the center of the aisle and be the champion of sanity in Congress, just get the ball rolling. This person would be a hero. We would hold this person up as a national treasure. Surely there is some power-hungry congressperson that would help simply for the chance to revel in that power and glory!! Who's on the fence? Who can we persuade?
posted by archimago at 11:40 AM on February 14 [14 favorites]


INT - PRESS SECRETARY'S OFFICE

SPICEY leans back in his chair, catching his breath from his high-speed exit from the briefing room.

SPICEY, to himself: ahhhhhhhhh, I think I cleared all that up pretty well.

A beat. A Washington Post headline appears on his screen: Trump knew Flynn misled officials on Russia calls for ‘weeks,’ White House says

SPICEY: Wait. What did I say in there?
posted by zachlipton at 11:42 AM on February 14 [50 favorites]


I feel like we just need one or two Rs to jump into the center of the aisle and be the champion of sanity in Congress, just get the ball rolling. This person would be a hero. We would hold this person up as a national treasure. Surely there is some power-hungry congressperson that would help simply for the chance to revel in that power and glory!! Who's on the fence? Who can we persuade?

Really, as much as I think he's someone who I dislike on a personal and political level, Ted Cruz really, really messed up by not taking the bet on Trump's failure by sticking with the one true conservative/#nevertrump stance.
posted by jaduncan at 11:42 AM on February 14 [18 favorites]


I feel like we just need one or two Rs to jump into the center of the aisle and be the champion of sanity in Congress, just get the ball rolling. This person would be a hero. We would hold this person up as a national treasure. Surely there is some power-hungry congressperson that would help simply for the chance to revel in that power and glory!! Who's on the fence? Who can we persuade?

This has been true for a month or six.

How long are these threads surviving these days?

About a tenth the length of an National Security Advisor's tenure, I think.
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:42 AM on February 14 [41 favorites]


Jason Chaffetz is requesting details from the W.H. on security protocols regarding sensitive information at Mar-a-Lago. [Tweet with image of Chaffetz's letter]

He gets a little fighty about this and Conway shilling Ivanka's brand but Russia stuff? What Russia stuff? la la la la chaffy can't hear youuu
posted by jason_steakums at 11:44 AM on February 14 [10 favorites]


As Spicer was firing up the rocket skates he used to exit the press room today, he mentioned that they needed to prep for a bill signing.

Honest question: What's the press secretary's role in that? Or did he have to wrap it up so others present at the daily briefing could attend?
posted by mochapickle at 11:44 AM on February 14


meanwhile, he signs his first bill.

we can dump waste in the water again? wtf. no evens.
posted by waitangi at 11:44 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]


What's the press secretary's role in that? Spicy is moonlighting as comms director, because no one wants the poisoned chalice.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:45 AM on February 14


If the past is any indication what you hear first, the jumbled up mess is closer to what actually happened. Then they finally manage to get at least some of their shit together and we get the 'official' story with the narrative they want to push.

I prefer my model of Trump having a special ability to make retroactive decisions, possibly by using a quantum computer brought to our time from the future. It explains so much. He can be on both sides of an issue for months until he acts & it turns out he was really on one side & not the other all along.
posted by scalefree at 11:49 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


that press conference made my brain imagine this scene happening in the cabinet room

but it's only a fantasy because there's no way trump is that self-aware
posted by murphy slaw at 11:50 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


we can dump waste in the water again? wtf. no evens.

GOP - Jobs ft. Lil Don

When I walk to the stream
All eyes on me
I'm watching them dump coal sludge
Bottled water is free
We like tailings
We love that slurry
We came to dump sludge
Everybody it's on

JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS
JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS
JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS
EVERYBODY
posted by Talez at 11:50 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Really, as much as I think he's someone who I dislike on a personal and political level, Ted Cruz really, really messed up by not taking the bet on Trump's failure by sticking with the one true conservative/#nevertrump stance.

He could rally Amash and the rest of the Freedom Caucus crew on the House side with promises of getting back at Ryan for Huelskamp, it's well within his ability and would tip both chambers for a temporary anti-Trump alliance... but he's a coward, he'll make a big show of turning on Trump if it comes to that but he'll be one of the last people to turn.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:51 AM on February 14


Spicy is moonlighting as comms director, because no one wants the poisoned chalice.

That's one of those things that I know but I keep forgetting because everything else is so weird but that is SO WEIRD that my brain refuses to keep it as a memory. Like it makes the staffing of the White House on Scandal seem normal
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:51 AM on February 14 [2 favorites]


some have resorted to a secret chat app — Confide — that erases messages as soon as they’re read

This likely violates several laws, most notably the Presidential Records Act.


I saw some folks speculating on Twitter that the Records Act doesn't explicitly mention text chat/SMS, so there's a gray area where you could argue that they're ephemeral conversations like phone calls that don't need to be retained. Dunno how valid that is.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:51 AM on February 14


Apropos of nothing, I just received an alert on my phone that DC HSEMA's (Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency for the District of Columbia) 24-hour watch center (JAHOC, the Joint All-Hazards Operations Center) is having telephone problems and is intermittently unable to be reached by phone. Instead, people in DC needing to contact HSEMA are being asked to use one of two cell numbers.

Funny how a telecom glitch can feel so incredibly unsettling these days, innit? (And by funny I mean where is the nearest fallout shelter)
posted by Westringia F. at 11:51 AM on February 14 [7 favorites]


How long are these threads surviving these days?

About a tenth the length of an National Security Advisor's tenure, I think.


Maybe this will be a unit of measure in the current Presidency: A Flynn

Q: "How long until the president signs a piece of legislation?"

A: " At least 4 Flynns"

Q: "Will the president cooperate with an investigation?"

A: "We'll know in about half a Flynn"

Q: "How often will the president skip off to m-a-l ?"

A: " Three times per Flynn"

and so forth
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:52 AM on February 14 [30 favorites]


Lol, Breitbart on Priebus:
Many other potential [Eileen] Yateses—holdovers from the Obama administration who have found their way into spots throughout the Trump administration—await throughout government.

“They’re hiding like sleeper cells everywhere,” one source said.

White House and other government sources say there are as many as 50 of them throughout government, and Priebus has full knowledge of their whereabouts, who they are, and what potential for damage they may cause. He is not doing anything about it, these sources add.
posted by AceRock at 11:53 AM on February 14 [10 favorites]


I prefer my model of Trump having a special ability to make retroactive decisions, possibly by using a quantum computer brought to our time from the future. It explains so much. He can be on both sides of an issue for months until he acts & it turns out he was really on one side & not the other all along.


It's like Schrödinger took a crap in a box...
posted by darkstar at 11:53 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Spicy is moonlighting as comms director, because no one wants the poisoned chalice.

Having your communications director and press secretary be the same person is also one of those "Well, on the West Wing..." things. (Youtube).
posted by AndrewInDC at 11:55 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Many other potential [Eileen] Yateses—holdovers from the Obama administration who have found their way into spots throughout the Trump administration—await throughout government.


uh, they're still there because you haven't gotten around to appointing their replacements yet, you doofuses
posted by murphy slaw at 11:55 AM on February 14 [27 favorites]


White House and other government sources say there are as many as 50 of them throughout government, and Priebus has full knowledge of their whereabouts, who they are, and what potential for damage they may cause. He is not doing anything about it, these sources add.
You can't blackmail an innocent person. That's kind of the point of blackmail. If you weren't all corrupt morons, the "potential for damage" would be zero.
posted by Etrigan at 11:56 AM on February 14 [25 favorites]


Maybe this will be a unit of measure in the current Presidency: A Flynn

I like this! A Flynn is exactly 1/3 of a Kardashian.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 11:56 AM on February 14 [15 favorites]


I saw some folks speculating on Twitter that the Records Act doesn't explicitly mention text chat/SMS, so there's a gray area where you could argue that they're ephemeral conversations like phone calls that don't need to be retained. Dunno how valid that is.

It absolutely isn't:
The Federal Records Act was amended in November 2014 and added a new definition for electronic messages at 44 U.S.C. 2911. The law states, “The term ‘electronic messages’ means electronic mail and other electronic messaging systems that are used for purposes of communicating between individuals.”

Electronic messaging systems allow users to send communications in real-time or for later viewing. They are used to send messages from one account to another account or from one account to many accounts. Many systems also support the use of attachments. They can reside on agency networks and devices, on personal devices, or be hosted by third party providers.

The following table includes a non-exhaustive list of types of electronic messaging and examples.

[...]
Chat/Instant messaging Google Chat, Skype for Business, IBM Sametime, Novell Groupwise Messenger, Facebook Messaging
[...]
Text messaging, also known as Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) and Short Message Service (SMS)
[...]
Other messaging platforms or apps, such as social media or mobile device applications. These include text, media, and voice messages. Twitter Direct Message, Slack, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Pigeon, Yammer, Jive, or other internal collaboration networks
posted by jaduncan at 11:56 AM on February 14 [57 favorites]


I'm picturing Trump's inevitable downfall being heralded by a muffled "GODDAMN IT" coming out of some closed-door meeting of an investigation Chaffetz was positive wouldn't connect to Trump/Russia stuff but Trump and his underlings couldn't fail to blunder their way into even the most unrelated issue with something incriminating.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:57 AM on February 14 [16 favorites]


Trump would fucking kill to get some legislation on his desk. He'd love to rename a fucking post office right now, and they can't get their shit together enough for that.

Trump signed the very first bill of his administration today. Draining the swamp? Nope, weakening Dodd Frank by repealing a rule aimed to root out corruption by requiring oil, gas and mining companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments in exchange for access to natural resources.

You know -- like Tillerson at Exxon and Russia. Can't have that sort of thing in the open. That's the very first piece of legislation passed by Republicans and signed by Trump.

Priorities.
posted by JackFlash at 11:58 AM on February 14 [95 favorites]


some have resorted to a secret chat app — Confide — that erases messages as soon as they’re read

I have it on good authority that confide is a bad app from an infosec perspective so they're introducing vulnerabilities onto their phones in the process.
posted by scalefree at 11:59 AM on February 14 [12 favorites]


I like this! A Flynn is exactly 1/3 of a Kardashian.

Future scholars are going to be puzzled why the barbaric twenty first century used these strange units of time.
posted by Talez at 11:59 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Future scholars

Optimist.
posted by Etrigan at 12:01 PM on February 14 [74 favorites]


White House and other government sources say there are as many as 50 of them throughout government, and Priebus has full knowledge of their whereabouts, who they are, and what potential for damage they may cause. He is not doing anything about it, these sources add.

Joe McCarthy much?
posted by BentFranklin at 12:02 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Re: Trump's tax returns. There has been a lawsuit filed over violations the Emoluments Clause (led by Norm Eisen, Richard Painter and others). We haven't heard as much about it recently because, according to Norm Eisen's twitter, the DOJ has 60 days to file a reply, which is on or around March 1st. I'm guessing we'll hear more about it after that.

As part of the suit, there's a good chance that the lawyers could force his tax returns through discovery:

There is some suggestion that CREW’s team may hope (and indeed have reason) to declare victory if awarded enough discovery to pry the President’s tax returns out of his hands. In announcing the suit, CREW’s Chair has stated that “President Trump is the first president in decades not to release his tax returns. Seventy five percent of Americans want to see the President’s tax returns and so do we. We will seek those in discovery in this case in order to establish the details of the emoluments clause violations here.”
posted by triggerfinger at 12:02 PM on February 14 [19 favorites]




Jason Chaffetz is requesting details from the W.H. on security protocols regarding sensitive information at Mar-a-Lago.

Since Chaffetz is so very, very concerned about information security, he may want to look into why the White House allowed Michael Flynn access to classified and sensitive information and let him continue to hold his security clearance for weeks after the White House was told he was vulnerable to Russian blackmail. That seems just as serious as the "cellphones as light sources" problem.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:04 PM on February 14 [44 favorites]


have it on good authority that confide is a bad app from an infosec perspective so they're introducing vulnerabilities onto their phones in the process.


Shocking.
posted by darkstar at 12:04 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Future scholars

Optimist.


Who is to say that the beetle civilization to come won't do good academic work?
posted by Artw at 12:05 PM on February 14 [43 favorites]



The Mar-a-Lago SCIF must be like the bottle of vermouth to people who think a martini is just a cold glass of vodka with an olive.

That is the correct way to make a martini, especially in 2017. Turn over the bottle and count to 5.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:34 AM on February 14


Trump's president, I can't afford the $2 upcharge for chilled vodka in a fancy glass and maintain the minimum BAC needed to make it through the day. Any glass is also a waste of time.
posted by ghost phoneme at 12:05 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Lil'Don remix feat. YelloBoi:

PULL THE ANTHRACITE OUT YO HOLES
TILL THIS COAL RUNS DCs HALLS
TILL ALL Y'ALLS RUST BELTS FALL


CULM CULM CULM ALL YOU GOBBERS
CULM IN THE WATER IS NOW PLANNED
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:06 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


So again: "we found some emails on Anthony Weiner's laptop" requires a full grade public FBI freakout, yet "we were investigating the brand new National Security Advisor in his first couple days on the job" gets not a word from Comey.
posted by zachlipton at 12:06 PM on February 14 [130 favorites]


I'm a traditionalist so all this talk of Flynns & Kardashians as names for units of time is rather confusing. Just give it to us in plain old Friedman Units.
posted by scalefree at 12:07 PM on February 14 [9 favorites]


NYT:
F.B.I. agents interviewed Michael T. Flynn when he was national security adviser in the first days of the Trump administration [before Sally Yates warned the WH about Flynn] about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, current and former officials said on Tuesday.

The interview raises the stakes of what so far has been a political scandal that cost Mr. Flynn his job. If he was not entirely honest with the F.B.I., it could expose Mr. Flynn to a felony charge.
posted by AceRock at 12:07 PM on February 14 [11 favorites]


Any glass is also a waste of time.

I agree, but my lips keep sticking to the bottle.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:07 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Question: In what world would a prospective National Security Advisor contact Russia about US foreign policy and that is not at the request of the president elect?

Answer: Not even this one.
posted by BentFranklin at 12:08 PM on February 14 [26 favorites]


Who is to say that the beetle civilization to come won't do good academic work?

Dear beetle scholars,

This place is not a place of honor. No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here. Nothing valued is here. This place is a message and part of a system of messages. Pay attention to it! Sending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:09 PM on February 14 [117 favorites]


Question: In what world would a prospective National Security Advisor contact Russia about US foreign policy and that is not at the request of the president elect?

Is this a trick question regarding FSB handlers?

Joke aside, quite possibly GRU in his case if he was talking to someone. The comments about having a rapport with GRU leadership were wince inducing.
posted by jaduncan at 12:11 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


>weakening Dodd Frank by repealing a rule aimed to root out corruption by requiring oil, gas and mining companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments in exchange for access to natural resources.

Link for this?
posted by Sing Or Swim at 12:12 PM on February 14


Question: In what world would a prospective National Security Advisor contact Russia about US foreign policy and that is not at the request of the president elect?

I think the reasoning goes something like this...

General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenceau once said about war?

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: No, I don't think I do, sir, no.

General Jack D. Ripper: He said war was too important to be left to the generals. When he said that, 50 years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:13 PM on February 14 [15 favorites]


Even so, it is inconceivable that Trump was not in that loop.
posted by BentFranklin at 12:15 PM on February 14


All that has to happen is for Trump to testify in front of Congress. The probability of a lie emerging from him is quite close to 1, and it's all over after that.
posted by Dashy at 12:16 PM on February 14 [22 favorites]


government sources say there are as many as 50 of themcommunists throughout government, and PriebusPresident Truman has full knowledge of their whereabouts, who they are, and what potential for damage they may cause. He is not doing anything about it, these sources add.

Remember to set your watches back sixty-five years this weekend!

On preview: Jinx, BentFranklin!
posted by Quindar Beep at 12:16 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]


Yesterday at the bar I saw (closed captioning) someone say Flynn made a "successful statement," regarding Iran. Is that a common thing to say that I've just never noticed before, or have things gotten so bad for this administration that a statement not immediately needing clarification/walking back needs to be marked as a victory?
posted by ghost phoneme at 12:17 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]


I shouldn't allow myself to hope, but I wonder if there is some endgame where Trump pulls a Palin and resigns with some sob story about how "I can't govern because the media is so mean to me, I have to let Pence lead for the good of the country."
posted by jcreigh at 12:18 PM on February 14 [8 favorites]


Is that a common thing to say that I've just never noticed before, or have things gotten so bad for this administration that a statement not immediately needing clarification/walking back needs to be marked as a victory?

The latter. Did you really need to ask?
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:18 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


this is the kind of thing that happens when you put people in power who don't understand how government works, and thinks you can just stop in there and run things any old way you feel like.

Obama was pretty much a Washington outsider and didn't seem to have these problems. The democratic party people he brought in had not been in federal positions for 8 years.

Inexperience or outsiderism isn't issue.

It's that the Republican party is fundamentally opposed to good governance.

The keys to the bus have been handed to a smash up derby driver.
posted by srboisvert at 12:18 PM on February 14 [45 favorites]


Link for this?

Try googling "Trump signs bill". Given he has only signed one, you can't go wrong.
posted by JackFlash at 12:18 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Exactly; it was a success in exactly the same way that any press conference in which Trump doesn't poop himself is a success.
posted by Justinian at 12:18 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Wait, would trump actually swear in before Congress? That's about the craziest thing yet.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:18 PM on February 14


Flynn: I was sent on a classified mission, sir.
Trump: It's no longer classified, is it? Did they tell you?
Flynn: They told me that you had gone totally insane, and that your methods were unsound.
Trump: Are my methods unsound?
Flynn: I don't see any method at all, sir.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:19 PM on February 14 [13 favorites]




And if the democrats didn't kill the filibuster then, Republicans would have killed it now, and we wouldn't have flipped the DC Circuit. Stop acting like the filibuster still exists, it's been dead since about 2007, except for the Republicans of course. Democrats were never going to be allowed to use it again after the Bush years.

Also, the filibuster on non-SCOTUS nominees was killed in response to Republicans using it to block nominations whose qualifications they completely supported in order to give a middle finger to the administration. The system was breaking down regardless.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:21 PM on February 14 [30 favorites]


It's that the Republican party is fundamentally opposed to good governance.

The keys to the bus have been handed to a smash up derby driver.


Declinism in action:

[W]hen Western countries actually do experience decline, it’s because people have elected a declinist. Pessimistic leaders tend to respond by doing things – closing borders to trade and immigration, restricting minorities, ending international co-operation, starting wars – that end up fulfilling their prophecies of decline.

That is the basic paradox of declinism: It’s simple-minded fiction, unless you believe in it and turn it into policy. Then, in your hands, it becomes history

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:22 PM on February 14 [61 favorites]


White House and other government sources say there are as many as 50 of them throughout government
Speaking before the Ohio County Women’s Republican Club in Wheeling, West Virginia, Senator McCarthy waved before his audience a piece of paper. According to the only published newspaper account of the speech, McCarthy said that, “I have here in my hand a list of 205 [State Department employees] that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.” In the next few weeks, the number fluctuated wildly, with McCarthy stating at various times that there were 57, or 81, or 10 communists in the Department of State. In fact, McCarthy never produced any solid evidence that there was even one communist in the State Department.
Put up or shut up, brah.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:22 PM on February 14 [18 favorites]


Kellyanne Conway Claims She Doesn’t Know Who Retweeted A White Nationalist From Her Twitter Account

Equal parts "are you fucking kidding me?" and "why do you think this makes it look better?"
posted by zombieflanders at 12:22 PM on February 14 [68 favorites]


Obama was pretty much a Washington outsider and didn't seem to have these problems. The democratic party people he brought in had not been in federal positions for 8 years.

He might have been a Washington outsider (. . . kind of, I mean he was a sitting senator beforehand), but he was also a constitutional law professor, which may give one insight as to what would be considered constitutional.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:22 PM on February 14 [23 favorites]


Trump: Are my methods unsound?

We're way ahead of schedule!
posted by Justinian at 12:22 PM on February 14 [9 favorites]


of course, in the dark enlightenment alt-right pepe the frog ideology, a cover story that makes no sense is a sign of great strength, like a handshake that attempts to dislocate somebody's shoulder. garbled nonsense is very alpha
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:23 PM on February 14 [11 favorites]


Kellyanne Conway Claims She Doesn’t Know Who Retweeted A White Nationalist From Her Twitter Account

Well, I'm having trouble telling from his profile photo whether it's actually this Seth Connell guy that Spicey just lent the megaphone to, or someone else from the same outfit, but if it is he's an open totalitarian.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:25 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


I was honestly flabbergasted at the phrase, but then wondered if it was a BEC moment rather than as horrible as it thought it was. I can now mock guilt-free.

I may need to up my BAC levels again.
posted by ghost phoneme at 12:26 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Aren't they all open totalitarians?
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:26 PM on February 14


Not that open.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:27 PM on February 14


snuffle, that quote is anti-totalitarian.
posted by prefpara at 12:27 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]


This place is not a place of honor. No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here. Nothing valued is here. This place is a message and part of a system of messages. Pay attention to it! Sending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.

oh god it's too real
posted by biogeo at 12:27 PM on February 14 [9 favorites]


It does makes the abuse of the word 'Federalist' even more tragically hilarious than usual though.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:28 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


uh, that statement from Hayek is anti-totalitarian (in the sense that he considers redistributionism inherently totalitarian)
posted by murphy slaw at 12:29 PM on February 14


snuffle, that quote is anti-totalitarian.

Yeah, OK, I guess I could credit him with using it as actually intended. Instead of the way it mis-reads.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:29 PM on February 14


But now it's not as funny and I need another martini.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:32 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


From way back in the thread, but:

Trump asked a principal today about whether she’s seen a rise in autism

If only there were some government agency tasked with collecting nationwide data on disease he could ask about that, rather than having to rely on the judgment of one principal who a) is not qualified to diagnose autism, b) does not systematically collect data on autism among her students, c) probably would not have a large enough sample size to draw a statistically significant conclusion (barring a truly massive increase in the incidence of autism), and d) has a geographically limited sample.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:32 PM on February 14 [84 favorites]


Justinian: We're way ahead of schedule!

"What are they going to say about him? What? Are they going to say he was a kind man? He was a wise man? He had plans? He had wisdom? Bullshiiit, man!"
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:34 PM on February 14 [8 favorites]


Trump asked a principal today about whether she’s seen a rise in autism

But he instinctively knows if it's true.
posted by BentFranklin at 12:34 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Oh my god, that's his plan. Get rid of the agencies, then bring them back and claim credit for creating them. He's the asshole boss who trashes your idea then steals it.
posted by ghost phoneme at 12:36 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Why turn to data where there's a corrupt deal to be made?

DeVos Won't Shed Stake in Biofeedback Company
Betsy DeVos, the billionaire school choice advocate selected by President Donald J. Trump to serve as education secretary, is a strong supporter of using biofeedback technology to help children and teenagers enhance their performance in school.
Ms. DeVos and her husband, Richard DeVos Jr., are major financial backers of Neurocore, a Michigan company that operates drug-free “brain performance centers” that claim to have worked with 10,000 children and adults to overcome problems with attention deficit disorder, autism, sleeplessness and stress.
...
The company’s website claims impressive outcomes: for example, that 90 percent of people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder report improvement and 76 percent “achieve a nonclinical status.” But Neurocore has not published results in the peer-reviewed literature.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:36 PM on February 14 [45 favorites]


The company's called Neurocore.

Of course it is.
posted by allthinky at 12:38 PM on February 14 [16 favorites]


The "Incurious Orange" hypothesis on Flynn's calls, point by point. Kicker: "Why would Flynn speak to Kislyak at all if he never told anyone that he did it even when it would have made him look good? It makes no sense."
posted by holgate at 12:38 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


@denormalize on twitter
Today Trump removed all open data (9GB) from the White House https://open.whitehouse.gov/browse but I grabbed it all Jan 20! Will distribute soon
posted by paper chromatographologist at 12:39 PM on February 14 [64 favorites]


This WaPo article catches something I missed:
Spicer said that "the evolving and eroding level of trust as a result of a series of other issues is what led the president to ask for General Flynn's resignation."
Other issues, eh Spicy? I mean we were just talking about the one but hey let's just flip over the log and see what crawls out.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:40 PM on February 14 [10 favorites]


Uh this is hard to follow. Didn't McConnell say no this morning? Did I misremember or is it changing this fast?

McConnell: Flynn investigation 'highly likely' in Senate committee
posted by Jalliah at 12:40 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Well, I'm having trouble telling from his profile photo whether it's actually this Seth Connell guy that Spicey just lent the megaphone to, or someone else from the same outfit, but if it is he's an open totalitarian.

No it's just some random racist on Twitter offering support & love. Nice happy tweet. Horrible person, obvious racist. She didn't check the profile & now she's scrambling.
posted by scalefree at 12:40 PM on February 14


The company's called Neurocore.

I wonder if biofeedback will be too much Woo for the 'Merika brigades. It'd be darkly amusing if it's a conservative distaste for alternative therapy and not the stink of corruption or incompetence that gets rid of her.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:41 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


The company's called Neurocore.

I'm sorry, I seem to have gotten my Cyberpunk: 2020 game mixed up with this politics thread.
posted by nubs at 12:41 PM on February 14 [33 favorites]


The company's called Neurocore.

The name of my Neurocore band is 3Jane and the Wintermutes.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:44 PM on February 14 [89 favorites]


Why turn to data where there's a corrupt deal to be made?

Hang all the ghouls and scorch the earth from whence they sprung.

I wonder if biofeedback will be too much Woo for the 'Merika brigades.

Haha, no, they don't actually give enough of a shit to call for DeVos' head over it, even if they find out. (As if Fox News is actually going to cover a story about actual government corruption.) The most I expect to happen is for the Office of Government Ethics to fire up an investigation like they're doing for Conway. And who knows if either of those investigations will actually come with teeth?
posted by tobascodagama at 12:48 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


SNL’s portrayal of Steve Bannon has Trump “especially upset”
It’s not the depiction of Bannon as the Grim Reaper that bothers Trump—the voice is undeniably male, after all— but the fact that the sketch ends with Trump addressing Bannon as “Mr. President” before giving up the big desk to go play with his toys. It’s the same sore spot that caused Trump to Tweet out, “I call my own shots, largely based on an accumulation of data, and everyone knows it” on February 6. Suuuuure, buddy. And you put the Scotch tape on your tie all by yourself, too.
Jackpot! Keep it up, SNL.
posted by Servo5678 at 12:48 PM on February 14 [91 favorites]


The timelines are really messed up here. To put it all in one place, here are the two versions of the timeline (see also The fall of Michael Flynn: A timeline, from which this list is derived). For classification, I've put the White House timeline in regular text and the bits the White House is pretending never happened in square brackets.

[Pre-election: Flynn talks to the Russian Ambassador]
[December 6: Pence, apparently misled by Flynn, tries to claim Flynn's son never had a security clearance requested for him and wasn't acting in an official capacity, when he had a government email account]
December 29: Flynn talks to the Russian Ambassador about whatever [five times], does absolutely nothing wrong
[December 29: Sanctions come down, and Russia says it will retaliate by expelling US diplomats/spies, then changes its mind]
[December 31: Trump, in response to Russia's decision, tweets: "Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!" This raises obvious questions about whether Trump was simply reacting to the news or was a participant in making it happen.]
[January 12: Reports come out about the Flynn calls and people immediately notice they took place the same day as the sanctions drama. Serious Questions are asked.]
Mid-January: Flynn tells Pence that he didn't talk about sanctions [because people are asking whether Flynn violated the Logan Act and/or committed some light treason]
January 15: Pence goes on Face the Nation and repeats what Flynn told him [Pence also claimed it was only one call]
[Sometime around January 22nd: The FBI interviews Flynn]
January 26: Sally Yates tells the White House Counsel that Flynn lied and therefore could be blackmailed. White House Counsel determines "immediately" that Flynn acted legally, though Spicer also claimed that Flynn stayed in his position so long because it was being reviewed
[January 31: Yates is fired, for other well-known reasons, but one has to ask whether this played a role]
[January 8: Flynn tells reporters twice that he didn't discuss sanctions during the calls]
[January 9: Flynn's spokesman attempts to unring the bell, says he can't remember discussing sanctions but he's not sure]
[January 10: Trump tells reporters he knows nothing of the reports on the Flynn situation]
February 13: Conway goes on TV and says Flynn has the "full confidence" of the President
[February 13: report comes out about Yates's warning]
February 13, literally one hour after Conway spoke: Spicer puts out a statement that doesn't express any confidence in Flynn whatsoever
February 13, a couple more hours later: Flynn resigns. [Administration officials push the narrative that he left voluntarily.]
February 14: Spicer says Trump asked Flynn to go because Trump's trust in Flynn has actually been "eroding" all along and that Trump had been reviewing the situation for weeks

So from all this, it's pretty obvious that the White House knew something was up at least by January 12, because they were being asked questions about the calls. They definitely should have known by the 26th, because the FBI would have interviewed Flynn by then and Yates called them up to let them know. Then they swept the whole thing under the rug for weeks and were prepared to do so forever as late as Monday afternoon, until the report about the Yates call came out. Only then did Trump fire him like a dog (or did he? there's a contradiction here too).

That means that they clearly knew Flynn was lying on January 8th and tried to ignore it too. It also means that Conway and/or Conway were lying and/or hopelessly uninformed, because she claimed Flynn had Trump's "full confidence" at the same time Spicer claims the trust was "eroding" and Flynn was under review.

The real unanswered questions are what was going on with the calls before the election and what the President's involvement was. Specifically, was Trump involved in discussions with the Russians asking them not to expel US diplomats?
posted by zachlipton at 12:51 PM on February 14 [94 favorites]


Neurocore

I'm a professional neuroscientist. After looking at this company's website, I'm prepared to lay 100:1 odds that this is bullshit.
posted by biogeo at 12:52 PM on February 14 [77 favorites]



I wonder if biofeedback will be too much Woo for the 'Merika brigades


Omg have you met these people? They love woo! The wooier the better! As long as it's not eastern mysticism or smacking of crypto-paganism they are all over it. The stereotype of woo being concentrated among the left-leaning is way outdated.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:53 PM on February 14 [50 favorites]


Specifically, was Trump involved in discussions with the Russians asking them not to expel US diplomats?

Is that the issue, or is it did Trump have knowledge and/or coordination with the Wikileaks releases? We have to dig waaay back through the compounding treasons here, but isn't that the original sin?
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:54 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Nazis fucking love woo, have you not seen Indiana Jones?
posted by Artw at 12:54 PM on February 14 [30 favorites]


maybe somebody at the Smithsonian can get Trump fixated on hunting down the Spear of Longinus or some shit
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:56 PM on February 14 [20 favorites]


President John Quincy Adams failed in his quest to discover the hollow interior of the Earth. C'mon, Donald, you can find it!
posted by biogeo at 12:58 PM on February 14 [8 favorites]


3Jane and the Wintermutes

You named yourself after the spoiled child of an unethical, paranoid, wealthy family who skirts the law and lives in a secluded resort out of reach of the millions of people they've exploited over the years?

Too soon.
posted by cmfletcher at 12:59 PM on February 14 [12 favorites]


The stereotype of woo being concentrated among the left-leaning is way outdated.

The Teapartiest of the Tea Partiers I have ever encountered is a Gluten-Free, GMO-Free, Pesticide-Free, Fruit-Juice-Toxin-Cleansing, Copper-Memory-Bracelet wearing woo believing racist shitbag. He even carries a power crystal in his pocket.

The woo respects not your political stereotypes.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:01 PM on February 14 [52 favorites]


Does anyone know what was on the Open Data page that's gone now?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:02 PM on February 14


This is fucking reprehensible. Why was all the focus during confirmation on vouchers and bears? This shit is actually fucking of the wall embarrassingly corrupt.

https://www.neurocorecenters.com/treatment/autism/
Children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have unique brain wave patterns. At Neurocore, we analyze the brain to understand how to best reduce the symptoms of ASD and improve the overall quality of life of the child and his or her family. [....]

There is currently no cure for ASD, but associated symptoms, including possible co-occurring ADHD or anxiety, may be reduced through Neurocore’s natural treatment program. First, we use advanced qEEG technology to identify what brain activity is behind the symptoms. Next, we use multiple neurofeedback sessions to train the brain to self-regulate and optimize its performance, resulting in a more calm and focused state.

Research shows that neurofeedback can be an effective treatment. One study demonstrated a 26% reduction in reported symptoms on the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklists (ATEC). Another study noted improvements in executive functioning, thought to be a central concern in autism. Parents in another study reported improved communication and social skills following neurofeedback.

That last study had a sample size of 13 individuals.
Neurocore may be covered by your insurance

Many insurance plans cover Neurocore’s services. We provide a FREE insurance consultation prior to the time of the initial neurological assessment to inform clients if and how much will be covered.

You may be able to use your Health Savings Account (HSA) for Neurocore services.

In Michigan, we are an in-network partner for Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) and Blue Care Network (BCN) and will directly bill your insurance for your convenience. If you are not a BCBS or BCN member, your out-of-network insurance may provide coverage for our program.

Of course. And now they'll get Dept of Ed money too. Maybe HHS. Disgusting.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:02 PM on February 14 [51 favorites]


So on a scale of 1 to Iran-Contras, does it look like this look more like a 3 or a 6?
posted by Carillon at 1:02 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


The Flynn stuff, not the blatant corruption of DeVos.
posted by Carillon at 1:03 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


For the record, Maddow had been covering the Neurocore study several times. This isn't news. Sometimes (often), Rachel Maddow is 100% on point.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:03 PM on February 14 [14 favorites]


I wonder if biofeedback will be too much Woo for the 'Merika brigades

Omg have you met these people? They love woo! The wooier the better!


I didn't realize the streams had merged to that extent. I know what you mean, but I feel like there's still a fair amount of contempt for Woo that comes off as touchy-feely. But I guess Neuocore's pitch sort of avoids that.

E-meters for the masses. Sigh.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:04 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


For the record, Maddow had been covering the Neurocore study several times. This isn't news.

Just because one journalist has covered a topic in the past doesn't mean it's not news.
posted by biogeo at 1:05 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


The Teapartiest of the Tea Partiers I have ever encountered is a Gluten-Free, GMO-Free, Pesticide-Free, Fruit-Juice-Toxin-Cleansing, Copper-Memory-Bracelet wearing woo believing racist shitbag. He even carries a power crystal in his pocket.

Hey! One of these things is not like the others.
posted by Existential Dread at 1:05 PM on February 14 [10 favorites]


For the record, Maddow had been covering the Neurocore study several times. This isn't news.

Maybe not news, but it wasn't being hammered like the other DeVos stuff and it seems way deadlier to me.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:06 PM on February 14


Just because one journalist has covered a topic in the past doesn't mean it's not news.

But a lot of people pooh-pooh Rachel Maddow here, and call her pedantic and off-point. She isn't.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:06 PM on February 14 [9 favorites]


oh man from the "O'Connell says Flynn investigation likely" article in WaPo:

But Cornyn, the Senate majority whip, was not ready to say Flynn should testify before Congress.
"I think it's symbolic of somebody with a distinguished military career making a bad mistake," Cornyn said of Flynn.


maybe you should have a goddamn investigation to see if that's the case and HOW BAD THE MISTAKE WAS YOU ASSHAT
posted by murphy slaw at 1:07 PM on February 14 [19 favorites]


In the sample group of people I know, the Copper-Fit advocates are mostly self described conservatives. There's huckster medicine throughout the political spectrum.
posted by cmfletcher at 1:08 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Anyone poo-pooing Maddow will get a wedgie.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:09 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


This is fucking reprehensible. Why was all the focus during confirmation on vouchers and bears? This shit is actually fucking of the wall embarrassingly corrupt.

https://www.neurocorecenters.com/treatment/autism/


I think Neurocore is very similar to Pence's repellent views about gay conversion therapy. There's so much horrible shit out there that certain communities (gay/autistic) are very focused on things that scare the shit out of them but they get lost in all the noise.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:10 PM on February 14 [13 favorites]


Put up or shut up, brah.

Good fucking LORD I wish the press would just yell that at every single spokeshead in the Trump administration and nothing else. It would save us all so much time.

Thankfully we're starting to see glimpses of it:

FEC to Trump: Show us the Voter Fraud.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:10 PM on February 14 [29 favorites]


(In other words, as somebody who lives with a gay man with autism, I'm surprised to hear that it wasn't common knowledge because of my own bubble.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:11 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


what in the world does "distinguished military career" have to do with making bad mistakes? it reads to me like someone who has had such a career is more likely to make poor decisions?
posted by INFJ at 1:12 PM on February 14


"Please hand in your resignation!!" - Donald Trump, The President Bannon's Apprentice
posted by tilde at 1:12 PM on February 14


So much hucksterism in the fringe circles. The Alex Jones track on the Election Profit Makers mixtape (thank you, Kid Midas) had a long cut of him advertising his own InfoWars nutritional supplement.

I imagine there's a huge overlap between that and people who'd buy a misspelled commemorative poster.

All I can think of today is a paraphrase from the MST3K episode Manos. "When is [this administration] going to start showing some simple competence?!"
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:12 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]


It means you can't criticize them because then you'd be not Supporting Our Troops, INFJ
posted by flatluigi at 1:13 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


This is fucking reprehensible. Why was all the focus during confirmation on vouchers and bears? This shit is actually fucking of the wall embarrassingly corrupt.

And hey, Amway employees get a $100 discount! Way to get some wages paid right back in woo-profits, DeVos family!
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:14 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


My WTF meter is broken.
My Sarcasm Detector is unneeded; this administration is oblivious to sarcasm.
My Oh-Dear-Lord-Hope-Me-They're-In-So-Far-Over-Everybody's-Heads danger flag is flying, unheeded, in the cold, cold, painful light of week 4 of Republican Congress + Republican President who is losing it, bad.

I knew it would be scary. I figured it would be terrifying to see the GOP get their way. This daily meltdown shit is only a little bit satisfying because there are Dangers out there, to say nothing of here in the US, and they are all seeing that things are so far out of control. I don't think it's overreacting to be out here on this ledge. The company's good, but it's real crowded.
posted by theora55 at 1:14 PM on February 14 [17 favorites]


People who lack critical thinking skills and who are terrified of everything are the target demographic for many, many different flavors of scam. For many years, these con artists have been actively and openly using political conservatism as a proxy for "gullible" in their marketing targeting.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:15 PM on February 14 [49 favorites]


And hey, Amway employees get a $100 discount!

Wait, can I get a [real/fake] tag?
posted by biogeo at 1:16 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


The rule that allowed these incompetent cabinet secretaries to waltz in on a 50+1 vote? That was instituted by Democrats, not Republicans, who thought checks and balances and needing to find compromise was inconvenient.

"Inconvenient" might not fit the description of what was going on, and this deserves a closer look by anybody who's willing to take it. Because sometimes, unless you're paying close attention enough to what "both sides are doing" to weigh in on what the fight was about, it's easy to miss people who are not acting in good faith.

The Republican minority in the Senate was not acting in good faith. They were doing the same kind of thing they were doing with Merrick Garland -- seeing how far they could push what was allowed by the rules because they could. Everybody who is acting in good faith knows full well Garland was exactly the kind of compromise choice that should normally have made it through a checks-and-balances system.

I think it's worth looking at The Myth of Republican Obstructionism, in One Chart, because it gives a picture of what the Republican narrative is. It's one that acknowledges that some "paint a picture of unprecedented obstruction" ... but of naturally the press is not telling you the real truth, right? Consider these (more or less true) observations:

*"Obama ended up with three more judicial confirmations than his Republican predecessor"
*"Obama appointed two of the eight current members of the U.S. Supreme Court."
*"liberal judges now control nine of the 13 federal appeals courts. That’s a staggering 70 percent."
*"Obama had a Democrat-led Senate for six of his eight years in office"

If you're not a critical examiner of what these imply, you might well come away thinking "oh, yeah, charges of obstructionism are poorly founded."

If you are, though, you might well realize:
* Number of confirmations alone is a misleading measure. Confirmations vs vacancies would tell you more. And it would seem more vacancies were a fact and were creating problems.
* Two SC appointments is median. Average is slightly higher (2.6). And those figures include one term presidents (like Bush 41). In any case, three SC vacancies came up under Obama's term, and you have to look back at least 50 years to find any comparable vacancy length and back to contentious pre-civil war periods for anything resembling a precedent for a straight-up refusal to let a President fill a seat. And, again, that's with a nominee like Garland who was a compromise choice from the start. The response was to make up a fake precedent about not confirming during election years.
* This one is really beautiful piece of misdirection -- a decided majority of courts controlled by liberal judges! Leaving aside the use of "liberal" as name-calling (or the important question of exactly who decides the justice is "liberal")... what exactly would you expect after 8 years of appointments? Well, it turns out at the end of Bush 43, you had 12/13 courts with majority Republican appointees. Suddenly 9/13 appeals courts having majority Democratic appointees looks anemic by comparison.
* Obama did have a D Senate for a while. That meant relatively smooth sailing for all of a few months with a supermajority. The rest of the time, Republican Senators used Senate confirmation rules to pursue a strategy of gaming the confirmations process not to moderate appointments, but, like with Garland, to try and kneecap any appointments at all, partly to shape the courts, partly to try and keep the executive from functioning effectively.

Seriously. Consider the history. Ask yourself if there were really no attempts to compromise. Consider that senior Senate Democrats were reported as being very proud of their good-faith deal-making to avoid the rule changes... and then found that again, Republicans filibustered more judges and executive-branch nominees.

In November 2013, when the rule changes were made, 168 presidential nominees had been filibustered over US history. 82 of those were Obama's.

Who didn't think about the implications and reasons why it was important for these cabinet secretaries to have broad support - in part, because they are in the goddamned Presidential order of succession. Tillerson? In line to be Pres. DeVos? In line to be Pres. Jeff Sessions? In the line.

I think they thought about them. I think they thought about them very carefully, to the point where they looked for another way to get things done for years, and tried to make deals and compromises.

And it became obvious that they were dealing with the kind of people who would reject a compromise like Merrick Garland, just because they could. And this was their only option if elections were still going to have consequences.

Trump's cabinet is what it is because of the people who voted for Trump, and because of those Senators who voted to confirm members of the cabinet.

The responsibility doesn't really belong anywhere else.

The responsibility for ending the filibuster belongs largely with those who brought its abuse to a new order of magnitude, though it's probably fair to share it with those who voted to end it, as long as one works to understand their reasons why.
posted by wildblueyonder at 1:17 PM on February 14 [183 favorites]


Obama was pretty much a Washington outsider and didn't seem to have these problems.

Oh, he did. There were various cocktail party stories I heard about dopey stuff that came out of the WH in the early months. My personal favorite was the one about how a staffer indignantly asked why there'd be this big cost estimate involved in shutting down Gitmo. The quote went something like "how does it cost that much for the last person to just turn off the lights?" My friend had to explain that moving a thousand people and support staff and securing a base wasn't exactly free.

But that's small ball, because the undoubtedly low level staffer who shoved their foot in their mouth (metaphorically since the doof actually wrote that in an email, FFS) took that input from a professional in government service and listened to it while assuming they were competent. The administration, through whatever fuckups, enlisted intelligent people and moved methodically. They didn't copy and paste EOs and they talked to lawyers and planned for success rather than just assuming they could do whatever they wanted.
posted by phearlez at 1:18 PM on February 14 [13 favorites]


And hey, Amway employees get a $100 discount!

Wait, can I get a [real/fake] tag?


Absolutely real, my friend.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:18 PM on February 14 [24 favorites]


I fucking hate this timeline.
posted by biogeo at 1:19 PM on February 14 [47 favorites]


So, this came up multiple times in the thread, but all of you snarking about SCIFs and martinis aren't even getting the fucking martini right.

A traditional martini doesn't use vodka, it uses gin, you chucklefucks.
posted by qcubed at 1:19 PM on February 14 [82 favorites]


Okay, everybody who kept saying how horrible it is to elect "Washington Insiders" - this is the kind of thing that happens when you put people in power who don't understand how government works,.....This is the gold standard now for why we don't elect someone with zero political experience........How deep does it go?

How deep do things go? How deep are you allowed to look? And what happens when you DO look - any actual repercussions not for the looker but for the 'insider' if 'untoward' things are found?

"Washington Insiders" is what brought you the $8000+ Dollar propane tanks delivered to troops in Iraq. Or the whatever the bill is for that new joint forces jet that isn't quite working.

What happens to Bunnatine Greenhouse, Sibel Edmonds, Thomas Drake, William Binney, Chelsia Manning, Edward Snowden and many others who try to bring forward and help the public answer "how deep"? How about Gary Webb or Danny Casolaro - how's looking into finding the answer "how deep" working out for them?

How does just turning your back on a public official work out? Ray MCGovern has an idea, and Sheriff Clarke thinks you can just go punch out someone who something quiet and non violent like that.

If one goes with the answer of 'there are no problems with Washington Insiders' - then by all means it *IS* horrible to not keep picking people who "understand how government works" and anyone who finds an issue must have a mental illness.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:21 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


So on a scale of 1 to Iran-Contras, does it look like this look more like a 3 or a 6?

Well, considering Trump doesn't have Joan Quigley to read the stars for him and manage things, it's probably two or three Flynns of Iran-Contras.
posted by dis_integration at 1:21 PM on February 14


Don't forget about Stan Jones, the libertarian pol who made a couple of unsuccessful runs for US Senate and governor in Montana in the early 2000s. He developed argyria (permanent blue-grey coloration of the skin) due to ingestion of colloidal silver, which he was making and dosing himself with because he was convinced that the Y2K bug was going to make it impossible to procure antibiotics. Right wing types have never been immune to woo.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:22 PM on February 14 [17 favorites]


The Teapartiest of the Tea Partiers I have ever encountered is a Gluten-Free, GMO-Free, Pesticide-Free, Fruit-Juice-Toxin-Cleansing, Copper-Memory-Bracelet wearing woo believing racist shitbag. He even carries a power crystal in his pocket.

The woo respects not your political stereotypes.


Yeah my biggest brush with this is my girlfriend's brother, who will not vote for her healthcare while she deals with cancer but he sure thinks gifting her a fucking polished rock with healing powers will make up for it.

The woo is a hop, skip and a jump away from "pray it away" and the Christian principles of these people are malleable as silly putty so it makes sense they'd latch on to crystal healing bullshit and not see the weird incompatibility with their supposed religion. Plus, y'know, voting against your own healthcare interests leaves you pretty desperate for any answer that isn't "I was wrong."
posted by jason_steakums at 1:25 PM on February 14 [21 favorites]


Also if you're super into the woo, it gives you an excuse to be heartless about health care because people don't need doctors and hospitals, man, they just need to think positive and not eat gluten! Our healthcare problems are solved! Anyone who needs expensive medical care did it to themselves by not following the All Woo Diet and thinking happy thoughts.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:26 PM on February 14 [29 favorites]


How much do you want to bet the the administration starts saber-rattling Russia over the missiles? It would have two big advantages for them: deflect attention from the current scandals, and "prove" they're not in bed with the Russians.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 1:27 PM on February 14


Or, jinx, jason_steakums
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:28 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Absolutely real, my friend.

Scroll down for the autographed picture of Betsy DeVos's brother-in-law (I think) posing in front of a private jet. What kind of asshole does that?
posted by zachlipton at 1:28 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


also for fuck's sake, which makes it even more ironic, the martini is an American invention and you chucklefucks are giddily pouring in a fucking Russian spirit
posted by qcubed at 1:29 PM on February 14 [27 favorites]


Over the course of my life thus far I've known more than a few people - of widely varying political affiliations - who would rather jump out a 5th-floor window than say "I was wrong," or in some cases even "I don't know."
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:29 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]


Anyone who needs expensive medical care did it to themselves by not following the All Woo Diet and thinking happy thoughts.

AKA the Just World hypothesis. Not even doctors are immune to this one; when I got my cancer diagnosis I had told the oncologist that I am a chemist and he immediately started speculating about what exposures I had subjected myself to.

OTOH, Stan Jones' hilarious argyria might lend credence to the Just World hypothesis.
posted by Existential Dread at 1:29 PM on February 14 [9 favorites]


A traditional martini doesn't use vodka, it uses gin, you chucklefucks.

Gin and waft the glass in the general direction of Italy.
posted by Talez at 1:29 PM on February 14 [15 favorites]


How much do you want to bet the the administration starts saber-rattling Russia over the missiles? It would have two big advantages for them: deflect attention from the current scandals, and "prove" they're not in bed with the Russians.

This doesn't exactly work if they're really in bed with the Russians. Putin holds all the cards here and Trump knows it. Trump can't rattle any sabers when he's busy balancing a towering pallet of kompromat on top of them.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:30 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Anyone who needs expensive medical care did it to themselves by not following the All Woo Diet and thinking happy thoughts.

And not praying enough or the right way or to the right god.
posted by cooker girl at 1:30 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


i didn't have a martini with my shitty lunch and it's making this regime even worse guys
posted by qcubed at 1:31 PM on February 14 [11 favorites]




any convergence of getting drunk and eating olives is a martini
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:32 PM on February 14 [49 favorites]


giddily pouring in a fucking Russian spirit

Just preparing for life under our new Russian Overlords. And giddily isn't the right term.

Plus I like gin too much to mix with vermouth.
posted by ghost phoneme at 1:32 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


I make martinis by putting the gin in the freezer.

That's it.

That's the recipe.
posted by dis_integration at 1:32 PM on February 14 [53 favorites]


How much do you want to bet the the administration starts saber-rattling Russia over the missiles? It would have two big advantages for them: deflect attention from the current scandals, and "prove" they're not in bed with the Russians.

Actually it could be a way for Putin to make Trump look good. I predict: Trump threatens and Putin backs down. All according to plan.
posted by BentFranklin at 1:32 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


On the bright side for Trump and Putin, one thing nobody is talking about today is those forbidden Russian cruise missiles.
posted by zachlipton at 1:33 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Please don't post pictures of that Trump martini ever again. Just thinking about it turns my stomach.
posted by Justinian at 1:33 PM on February 14 [19 favorites]


Let's all remember what Trump himself said four days ago about his knowledge of the Flynn situation and compare that with what Spicey said about the timeline today.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:33 PM on February 14 [8 favorites]


jesus fucking christ roomthreeseventeen i'd forgotten about that shit. surely this, i had thought, surely fucking this
posted by qcubed at 1:33 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


NSFL warning needed, roomthreeseventeen.
posted by ghost phoneme at 1:34 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Sorry, sorry. I hope you all have better looking martinis tonight. I am planning to!
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:35 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


> Actually it could be a way for Putin to make Trump look good. I predict: Trump threatens and Putin backs down. All according to plan.

But then when Trump is basking in the adulation of the crowd...WHAT'S THIS? PUTIN'S GOT A FOREIGN OBJECT!
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:36 PM on February 14


Bah, gin, I only drink jenever !!!
posted by Pendragon at 1:36 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]




None of you assholes will - or should - get out of this with your careers intact.

The Trump experience is a collection of other words to describe what is now going on.
I'd say the word Trump rises to being its OWN word to describe - like Nixon, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot are their own words to describe the shitstorms those people were.

To call 'em anything other than Trump weakens what is gonna become the Trump branding.

Every brand needs a jingle - what's gonna be the song that becomes the ear-worm for the Trump brand?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:37 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Dan Rather says "On a 10 scale of armageddon for our form of government, I would put Watergate at a 9. This Russia scandal is currently somewhere around a 5 or 6, in my opinion, but it is cascading in intensity seemingly by the hour."


I believe Dan Rather knows his shit.

Edit: I don't know how to make a facebeek link
posted by waitangi at 1:37 PM on February 14 [26 favorites]




Bah, gin, I only drink jenever !!!

and jenever stop talking about it
posted by murphy slaw at 1:38 PM on February 14 [29 favorites]


Please don't post pictures of that Trump martini ever again. Just thinking about it turns my stomach.

It took me longer than I'm willing to admit to figure out what is wrong in that picture.
posted by Existential Dread at 1:38 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


If the Republicans turn on the PVL (though I have my doubts), the question they should all have to answer repeatedly is:

WHERE THE FUCK WAS YOUR OPPOSITION BEFORE HE WAS IN THE WHITE HOUSE?!
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 1:39 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


I'm drinking scofflaws tonight. First served in Paris, but named for those who continued drinking in defiance of Prohibition.
posted by ghost phoneme at 1:39 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


It took me longer than I'm willing to admit to figure out what is wrong in that picture.

hint: everything
posted by murphy slaw at 1:39 PM on February 14 [13 favorites]


Kellyanne Conway Claims She Doesn’t Know Who Retweeted A White Nationalist From Her Twitter Account

So we should assume that all her passwords have been compromised and her clearance has been revoked bu the WH right?
posted by PenDevil at 1:41 PM on February 14 [19 favorites]


Well the olive looked nice.
posted by Carillon at 1:41 PM on February 14


It's the same tactic the adminstration uses. Do everything wrong, and it's hard to know where to start.
posted by ghost phoneme at 1:41 PM on February 14 [11 favorites]


Yeah, I don't even like martinis and I know that drink is a terrible crime against mixology and customer service.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:42 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Oh hey, there's a Russian spy ship hanging out near Delaware today.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:42 PM on February 14 [10 favorites]


*sips martini*
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:43 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


That Trump martini reminds of all the stupid, ignorant posturing about gin-only martinis, but they fucked it up and used olive brine instead of the gin. And I'm not even gonna get started on the glass or the vodka.

In unrelated Fuckheadsylvania news, apparently the new talking point is that blocking a woman who wants to eliminate public schools from entering a public school is exactly the same as blocking desegregation. Seriously. (There's a fucking awful political cartoon going around as well, but it's too fucking awful to even link to.)
posted by tobascodagama at 1:43 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


But then when Trump is basking in the adulation of the crowd...WHAT'S THIS? PUTIN'S GOT A FOREIGN OBJECT!
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:36 PM on February 14
[+] [!]

Bah, gin, I only drink jenever !!!
posted by Pendragon at 3:36 PM on February 14
[+] [!]


You followed up a wrestling gag with a comment starting with "Bah" and I had this confusing moment of reading gin opinions in Jim Ross' voice. BAH GAWD KING THAT'S TOO MANY OLIVES
posted by jason_steakums at 1:44 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Does anyone know what was on the Open Data page that's gone now?

Internet archive shows Obama stuff until 1/26. Now it says: Check back soon for new data.

I guess they're still making it up.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:45 PM on February 14


In unrelated Fuckheadsylvania news, apparently the new talking point is that blocking a woman who wants to eliminate public schools from entering a public school is exactly the same as blocking desegregation. Seriously.

Denying that the Southern Strategy was a thing, or still forms the core of the Republican base to this day, is one of their favorite rhetorical devices. See also: "Lincoln was a Republican" and "the Democrats are the party of the KKK".
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:46 PM on February 14 [25 favorites]


Oh hey, there's a Russian spy ship hanging out near Delaware today.

And the ship was previously near Havana, so its course to Delaware would have taken it directly past Mar-a-Lago recently.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:47 PM on February 14 [26 favorites]


As Malcolm Tucker puts it in The Thick of It, this is an omnishambles. It's like watching a clown running across a minefield.

I wonder how many Trump voters are experiencing buyer's remorse already.
posted by daveje at 1:47 PM on February 14 [14 favorites]


Putin's just like openly mocking and fucking with us all now, isn't he?
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:48 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


(There's a fucking awful political cartoon going around as well, but it's too fucking awful to even link to.)

I get not wanting to send awful people traffic, but some of us are both curious and masochistic
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:49 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


A traditional martini doesn't use vodka, it uses gin, you chucklefucks.

Go comb some more pomade into your moustache, and then when you're done bring me the vodka from the freezer.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:50 PM on February 14 [15 favorites]


Just google "Betsy DeVos Ruby Bridges" and have a bucket ready.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:51 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]


I get not wanting to send awful people traffic, but some of us are both curious and masochistic

Well, you asked.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:51 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


And the ship was previously near Havana, so its course to Delaware would have taken it directly past Mar-a-Lago recently.

Mensch keeps going on about Rybolovlev's plane being in the area during the Mar-a-Lago trip too - crowded place, maybe the room where Donnie pored over NK reports in public was the only one without Russian spies around!
posted by jason_steakums at 1:53 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Well, you asked.

holy mother of god
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:54 PM on February 14 [48 favorites]


Let's all remember what Trump himself said four days ago about his knowledge of the Flynn situation and compare that with what Spicey said about the timeline today.

During today's press conference, Spicer tried to skate past that by saying that Trump was asked specifically about the Washington Post article, and was only claiming that he hadn't seen that.

But on the tape, the reporter asks "What do you make about reports that General Flynn..."
posted by diogenes at 1:54 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Can we lock each member of this adminstration in a room with Malcolm Tucker? Just fifteen minutes each should suffice.

Also, I'm not sure that the guy who isn't calling chilled vodka by a fancy name is the stuffy one.

Not that we should judge anyone for their drinking choices in these dark times.
posted by ghost phoneme at 1:54 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Kellyanne Conway Claims She Doesn’t Know Who Retweeted A White Nationalist From Her Twitter Account

If she doesn't know who's posting from her account, she should lose "verified" status. The whole point of "verified" is "the public knows who said this."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:56 PM on February 14 [53 favorites]


@SteveKopack: "OGE to WH: 'There is strong reason to believe that Ms. Conway has violated the Standards of Conduct and...disciplinary action is warranted.”'
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:57 PM on February 14 [11 favorites]


And I'll cede vodka to Putin as readily as the countries that produce it. Fuck. That.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:58 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


And I'll cede vodka to Putin as readily as the countries that produce it. Fuck. That.

I'm fortunate in that there's a distillery in Boston that actually makes pretty good vodka for not too much money. Stoli, my previous go-to, is dead to me however.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:00 PM on February 14


[Folks, let's cap the liquor side discussion, trying to keep these threads from becoming a million comments on the first day.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:04 PM on February 14 [22 favorites]


The stereotype of woo being concentrated among the left-leaning is way outdated.

One of the ongoing points of contention I had with my now-estranged Trump-supporting mother was her long-term involvement with something called Celebrate Recovery, which was a church-run 12-step program where the leadership had no formal training with and mostly no experience with actual drug and alcohol addiction, and they had actual drug addicts in recovery doing the program alongside people with "all types of habits, hurts, and hang-ups"... which meant they'd profess success when someone who was recovering from a bad divorce seemed to be doing better, and ignore the fact that, for example, my mom on several occasions let a man with a serious drug and alcohol problem live in her house for weeks or months at a time, and every single time he relapsed.

At no point did they ever seek help from actual professionals or urge him to go to a proper rehab program.

Because all you need is Jesus.

My mom is not a member of some fringe Quiverfull kind of group. Celebrate Recovery is being currently run through, they claim, more than 29,000 churches. I didn't realize it was something that really existed on that scale until very recently. I know from her past involvement that there are similar programs for financial counseling that, for example, insist that you have to tithe before you pay down debt. But realizing the scale of these things, now, is seriously intimidating. Most people are only in public education until age 18. The number of years your church gets to influence your thinking grossly exceeds the number of years the schools get, and I think that's where these things come from. Everything my mom got out of her public education from 1957-1970 has long since been supplanted with information from Moody Radio.
posted by Sequence at 2:06 PM on February 14 [39 favorites]


Egg calling it like it is!

@Evan_McMullin: Republican leaders who cite Flynn's alleged lies to Pence as his primary offense are obscuring the real issue: White House ties to Moscow.
posted by diogenes at 2:07 PM on February 14 [72 favorites]


I don't know how to make a facebeek link

If you clink on the time under the poster's name, that gives you a direct link.

Here's the one you quoted.
posted by jammer at 2:13 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


I wonder how many Trump voters are experiencing buyer's remorse already.

Found some!

Iowa Police Officers/Firefighters: We Didn't Vote Republican To Get Stabbed In the Back.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:14 PM on February 14 [14 favorites]


I would so love for Pence to get tied up in this.
posted by diogenes at 2:15 PM on February 14 [9 favorites]


"I think it's symbolic of somebody with a distinguished military career making a bad mistake," Cornyn said of Flynn.

Whoops! I repeatedly treasoned! I'm so clumsy. Sorry not sorry.
posted by srboisvert at 2:15 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]


Stoli, my previous go-to, is dead to me however.

Whyever so? In its current incarnation, it's Latvian, the brand's managers have made a couple-few statements of support for LGBT issues they didn't have to, and above all it comes in a 100-proof variety.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:15 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


I'm thinking fucking around with Pence like this:


NBC: Sources tell NBC News that VP Pence was informed of DOJ warning about Flynn 11 days after White House and Pres. Trump knew


Is the only thing that will get Repubs in Congress off their asses because they see him as their guy and their um, trump card vs the 45 admin.
posted by ghharr at 2:15 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


I would so love for Pence to get tied up in this.

Isn't it exactly the opposite?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:16 PM on February 14


I would so love for Pence to get tied up in this.

Can they be impeached at the same time? Would Pence have to officially be President for like, an hour?
posted by waitingtoderail at 2:18 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Found some!

Iowa Police Officers/Firefighters: We Didn't Vote Republican To Get Stabbed In the Back.


And here I was just having a discussion with some local Dems about finding law enforcement people to run as Dems locally since that would be an easier sell to the rural crowd... and lo and behold, there's our sheriff making a good case for it.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:21 PM on February 14 [12 favorites]


New fantasy: we get a lefty majority in Congress in 2018 followed swiftly by a double impeachment.

Thanks, Metafilter!
posted by schadenfrau at 2:23 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


President Pelosi?
posted by Justinian at 2:24 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Egg calling it like it is!

I love Pod Save America's suggestion for Egg to primary the fuck out of Chaffetz.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:25 PM on February 14 [38 favorites]


Whyever so? In its current incarnation, it's Latvian

You buy Stoli, you support the economy of a Baltic state! The SPI-branded Stoli bottled in Latvia does contain some Russian-sourced distillates, though, IIRC.

If that bothers you, Finlandia is another good anti-Putin choice.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:25 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Can they be impeached at the same time? Would Pence have to officially be President for like, an hour?

Yes, they can be impeached at the same time as I understand it; the US Constitution says that
The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.
[my emphasis]
Pence, as VP, is a "civil Officer" and is therefore vulnerable to impeachment. I presume everybody else in the Presidential line of succession is too, but I don't know.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:25 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


I can't tell if the article is supposed to be good for Pence or not. On one hand, the fact that he was out of the loop for 11 days distances him a bit. But it means that he knew the truth after he told the public the exact opposite, and he didn't do anything to correct the record.
posted by diogenes at 2:25 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


President Pelosi?
posted by Justinian at 2:24 PM on February 14 [+] [!]


Okay so if indulging in unrealistic dreams about the institutions of electoral democracy bringing down Trump, can't we dream a little bit bigger? Forget President Nancy Pelosi. It's time for President Barbara Lee.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:25 PM on February 14 [26 favorites]


Can they be impeached at the same time? Would Pence have to officially be President for like, an hour?

If he feels the least bit vulnerable, Trump will probably throw Pence under the bus next, get him to resign in disgrace, and then appoint someone so fucking terrible to replace him that no one will dare impeach Trump himself.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:27 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


But it means that he knew the truth after he told the public the exact opposite, and he didn't do anything to correct the record.

It also means Donald Trump held off telling his Vice President a really fucking important detail for what reason?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:27 PM on February 14 [9 favorites]


Just google "Betsy DeVos Ruby Bridges" and have a bucket ready.

Good god. For those of you wondering... what comes up is possibly the worst political cartoon I have ever seen.
posted by AceRock at 2:27 PM on February 14 [11 favorites]


If he feels the least bit vulnerable, Trump will probably throw Pence under the bus next, get him to resign in disgrace, and then appoint someone so fucking terrible to replace him that no one will dare impeach Trump himself.

IDK, Vice-President would really be a step down for President Bannon.
posted by Existential Dread at 2:28 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


It also means Donald Trump held off telling his Vice President a really fucking important detail for what reason?

Yeah, that's a bit odd...
posted by diogenes at 2:28 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Glenn McCoy is a real piece of shit cartoonist and has done many similarly hateful cartoons. If you decide to look for them, bring some brain bleach.
posted by emjaybee at 2:30 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


then appoint someone so fucking terrible to replace him that no one will dare impeach Trump himself.

I always thought that was the idea behind Pence.
posted by daveje at 2:31 PM on February 14 [13 favorites]


It also means Donald Trump held off telling his Vice President a really fucking important detail for what reason?

You know, I believe that Trump doesn't tell Pence anything. Why would he? He's not collegial or fraternal or cooperative. He's Trump, and he's not going to waste his Twittering time with a fool whose only purpose is to someday replace him. There's good reason to believe that Pence did know, but it's not going to be because Trump condescended to help him prepare.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:31 PM on February 14 [13 favorites]


Incidentally, why are people speculating about which celebrities should portray Conway on SNL? Did something happen to Kate McKinnon that I didn't hear about?

But I read somewhere that Christine Baranski may be up for it and how on earth could she not?
posted by dilettante at 2:32 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


But I read somewhere that Christine Baranski may be up for it and how on earth could she not?

She volunteered for DeVos.
posted by chris24 at 2:34 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Can they be impeached at the same time? Would Pence have to officially be President for like, an hour?

You can't impeach a president and vice president for the same crime! #georgebluth #ihavetheworstfuckinglawyers
posted by jason_steakums at 2:36 PM on February 14 [25 favorites]


The NYT story on Flynn being interviewed by the FBI has been updated to add that "investigators believed that Mr. Flynn was not entirely forthcoming, the officials said." In other words, the anonymous sources don't just want us to know that the FBI interviewed Flynn; they want us to know that he lied to the FBI too.

As we watch to see who Flynn's replacement will be, note that Petraeus was also charged with lying to the FBI, though he only pled guilty to mishandling classified information.
posted by zachlipton at 2:37 PM on February 14 [23 favorites]


In first under Trump, Russian jets buzzed a U.S. destroyer at close range
Multiple Russian aircraft buzzed a U.S. destroyer patrolling in the Black Sea last week, in an incident the captain of the American ship called “unsafe,” the Pentagon said Tuesday.
...
During the campaign, President Trump had suggested that such incidents show “how low we’ve gone that they can toy with us like that.” He said that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be warned in a phone call to stop and if the flybys continued then “when that sucker comes by you, you gotta shoot.”
We are all going to die.
posted by zachlipton at 2:38 PM on February 14 [37 favorites]


If Flynn isn't charged with a felony we know the fix is in (again). He might cop to something lesser, like Petraeus, but he should be charged with a felony.
posted by Justinian at 2:40 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


But I read somewhere that Christine Baranski may be up for it and how on earth could she not?

She volunteered for DeVos.


You're right, she did and would be perfect for that. I am just conflating all my Trumpian horror figures together.
posted by dilettante at 2:41 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]




what in the world does "distinguished military career" have to do with making bad mistakes? it reads to me like someone who has had such a career is more likely to make poor decisions?

This strikes me as similar to when a male high school athlete has committed some egregious crime (typical sexual assault stories) where a horde of unwittingly-evil-by-nature people come forward and ring their hands about how charging the lad with crimes will "wreck his life" or "ruin his future." White guys in uniforms of all kinds are pardoned a whole spectrum of crimes if they were pretty good at the thing they did in the uniform. Or, you know, if they just wore the uniform.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:43 PM on February 14 [28 favorites]


During the campaign, President Trump had suggested that such incidents show “how low we’ve gone that they can toy with us like that.”

don't worry, now it's just a playful buzz between friends who respect each other's strength
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:43 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


But I read somewhere that Christine Baranski may be up for it and how on earth could she not?

It's just weird is all. Like, it would make sense if McKinnon was generally thought to be doing a bad job (e.g., Fred Armisen as Obama from several years back) but it's my understanding that her Conway is widely considered to be a highlight of the current SNL season. And yet people are all like: "Ooh, I know who we should replace her with—Australian comic sensation Yahoo Serious!!"
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:45 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


his own InfoWars nutritional supplement.

Is this the one with the high metals content? Some of 'em being heavy metals?

Because taking a sample and getting the metal values is a testable thing. Unlike The Machine Elves.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:45 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Well, theoretically you could have Kate playing some other Trump player and then have Baranski fill in because even Kate can't do 2 costumes at once.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:46 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Declinism in action:

[W]hen Western countries actually do experience decline, it’s because people have elected a declinist. Pessimistic leaders tend to respond by doing things – closing borders to trade and immigration, restricting minorities, ending international co-operation, starting wars – that end up fulfilling their prophecies of decline.

That is the basic paradox of declinism: It’s simple-minded fiction, unless you believe in it and turn it into policy. Then, in your hands, it becomes history
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:22 PM on February 14 [15 favorites +] [!]
In all of this mess my mind keeps going back to the quote attributed to Karl Rove:
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
posted by Billy Rubin at 2:46 PM on February 14 [13 favorites]


Carl Bildt, former PM of Sweden, tweeted this today:

Sudden test of readiness of military forces along Russia's Nordic/Baltic borders. Readiness for what?


Putin invading the Baltics or Finland before the window of opportunity opened by the Asshole in Chief and his cadre of compromised idiots is a far more likely scenario than I'm comfortable with.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:48 PM on February 14 [8 favorites]


Glenn McCoy is a real piece of shit cartoonist and has done many similarly hateful cartoons.

Well, now I know where one of my coworkers gets the comics that he posts on Facebook.
posted by ThreeCatsBob at 2:49 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Upthread someone mentioned the possibility of Trump pulling a Palin. I could easily see this happening.

There's a lot of anecdotes that this is not going the way he wanted. Obama, Bush, and Clinton all clearly relished the White House experience, living and working there, hosting heads of state, etc. But Trump seems lost there. The current wife has escaped him by staying in NYC. None of his other family members stay in the house, leaving him to watching TV in his bathrobe. He is about to return to FL for a third time, acting like a cubicle denizen who can't wait to get out of town to their lake cabin. It's not part of his comfort zone and he's clearly a man who functions poorly outside his bubble.

As the losses and controversies pile up, as the job gets harder and harder, he no doubt will face a natural disaster or two that he can't ignore, or a foreign crisis with no easy fix, the level of frustration for this man-child is going to grow to a boil. Add to that a Congress that has its own agenda, a judiciary that defies him, and a staff that will be always changing until he doesn't know who to trust. He's already staggered by the depth of the job and again, this is a man who just does not function well out of his comfort zone. His supporters are going to be asking for some of those promises to be meant: the jobs, the infrastructure, the ban on Muslim he can't bring about, and that goddamn wall. Shit just doesn't happen with swiping your pen across an executive order and that's mighty frustrating to someone with the patience and impulse control of a toddler. World leaders are already talking about him and not in the flattering way he prefers. His first trips overseas are going to see protests that will make the ones Bush saw seem small and quaint. It's going to get uglier every day.

If this Flynn crisis, or the next one, or even the one after that doesn't bring him down, the sheer dashing of his expectations and the blows to his ego just might do it.

I may need to buy more popcorn.
posted by Ber at 2:49 PM on February 14 [99 favorites]


tobascodagama: Putin invading the Baltics or Finland before the window of opportunity opened by the Asshole in Chief and his cadre of compromised idiots is a far more likely scenario than I'm comfortable with.

So, Okkupert season 2 is a go, then.
posted by emelenjr at 2:51 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]


Putin invading the Baltics or Finland before the window of opportunity opened by the Asshole in Chief and his cadre of compromised idiots is a far more likely scenario than I'm comfortable with.

I would have thought Putin's methods would be funding and equipping more right-wing extremist groups within the bordering countries, similar to the Ukraine invasion, as opposed to overt invasion. The plausible deniability gives both Russia and NATO cover to not engage in conflict, while giving Putin propaganda victories about Russophiles defending their own communities within foreign nations.

Of course, Trump's willingness to back down in the face of President Xi's hardline stance gives Putin the opportunity to push hard on US naval assets in the Black Sea...Trump hasn't exactly shown an understanding of foreign relations nor a spine of steel.
posted by Existential Dread at 2:55 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


I may need to buy more popcorn.

Our SCROTUS reminds me of that South Park episode "Dances with Smurfs". Cartman (Donald) is just shitting on Wendy, the student council president, for not fixing everything despite not having actual power. The rubes, encouraged by Cartman, push Wendy until she resigns with glee and Cartman becomes student council president. Then he finally realizes he can't do shit and the school starts shitting on him. It's not precisely the same because it's an allegory to Obama and Glenn Beck but I see so much of Trumps campaign and subsequent frustration in it.
posted by Talez at 2:57 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


I would pay money to see Lady Gaga portray Kellyanne on SNL.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 2:58 PM on February 14 [10 favorites]


I could swear I read somewhere -- was it reporting from the "dossier" maybe? -- a story about Russia supposedly scaling back their support activities on Trump's behalf during the campaign after his public fight with Khizr Kahn. Because they thought it showed that he was unstable.

At the time I thought that sounded plausible because what that fight did to his poll numbers had to make them doubt that he could win... But maybe they were actually more worried about this worse (from their point of view) scenario, where he gets into office and then gives the whole game away because he's just unable to control himself?

Anyway the Podesta e-mail leaks came after that, so I guess they decided to back him after all, but really I don't think they did themselves any favors. If he goes down it's much more disastrous for them than if he had never been elected. They really screwed themselves by choosing such a stupid, unreliable candidate to back... We're wise to their tricks now.

(I hope! France and Germany, are you paying attention?! Don't vote for the Putin puppets!)
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:58 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Rand Paul on Flynn: 'Makes no sense' to investigate fellow Republicans

See, Republicans can't commit crimes while Republicans are in office. That's in the Constitution!
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:59 PM on February 14 [69 favorites]


Cringe, cringe, cringe.
posted by pangolin party at 3:01 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Rosie Gray has got a good story in The Atlantic on the Breitbart wing gunning for Priebus, Obama "sleeper cells," etc...: The Nationalist Right Is Coming for Reince Priebus
posted by zachlipton at 3:02 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


I would have thought Putin's methods would be funding and equipping more right-wing extremist groups within the bordering countries, similar to the Ukraine invasion, as opposed to overt invasion.

Well, except that the "right-wing extremist groups" in the Ukraine invasion had quite a few Russian soldiers among them, from the reports I saw at the time. So the troops training right now might be participating even if Putin doesn't declare anything openly...
posted by tobascodagama at 3:03 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]




His first trips overseas are going to see protests that will make the ones Bush saw seem small and quaint. It's going to get uglier every day.

Overseas? He hasn't been out of the Eastern Time Zone since Jan 20. For the equivalent of last week in 2009, Obama went to Indiana, Florida and Illinois. But yes, the dog has caught the car, the lure of Mar-a-Lago has proved compelling, and the elected bits of government appear dysfunctional.
posted by holgate at 3:04 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


and a staff that will be always changing until he doesn't know who to trust.

**IF** the comments/rumors about Trump having mar-a-lago "wired" or the "I have dirt" (both the wired/I have dirt have been made in Trump threads on The Blue) on people who stayed at the hotel are true - how did he do it?

Things like the IP based phones seen sitting on the desks in photographs?

How are you gonna know if the mic is hot on the IP phone? You have to trust staffers SOMEWHERE in the chain of command. Trump doesn't have trust like that - ESPECIALLY if he's had wiretapping done of IP based phones by his own staff in his own operations because he knows what can be done.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:04 PM on February 14


We'll never even get started with doing the things we need to do, like repealing Obamacare, if we're spending our whole time having Republicans investigate Republicans.
Straight from the horse's mouth: the White House has total impunity as long as Republicans control Congress.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 3:04 PM on February 14 [63 favorites]


Oh, also, regarding pushing out obvious anagram Reince Priebus.

Priebus is RNC company man and the only person with government experience in the Trumpalot star chamber at the moment. Kick him out, and his advisors dwindle down to a pair of nazis (Bannon and Miller), his son-in-law, and maybe his daughter (though that picture of her at the desk seemed to be more like a patronizing thing than a mark of respect so I question how much direct influence she has over him).

Kicking out the one guy who sort of knows how the place works is par for the course for Trump, but the idea that removing the one guy who recognizes that government agencies can't work without employees will somehow "fix" the leak problem is one of the most idiotic things I can think of. Which means, of course, it will happen.

I am reminded of how The Clash famously fired Mick Jones only to later remember that he was the one who wrote and arranged most of the music. Their next album was Cut the Crap, which wasn't entirely unlike going from a great head of state to a nightmare person head of state in musical form.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:08 PM on February 14 [22 favorites]


Russia invading Finland has traditionally gone very poorly for the Russians. SISU!!!!!!
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:10 PM on February 14 [12 favorites]


Fan Fiction in Which Order is Restored to the Universe - After taking over the House following the 2018 elections, Democrats swiftly impeach Trump and Pence. President Pelosi appoints Hillary Clinton as her Vice President and resigns immediately. Hillary appoints Tim Kaine to be VP. Governor Jerry Brown then appoints Pelosi to fill her own empty seat. House Democrats reelect her to be Speaker. Roll credits.
posted by carmicha at 3:10 PM on February 14 [61 favorites]




If the ties to Russia are deep and provable, and the Republican congress still refuses to investigate, let alone impeach, then I would expect a military coup and the nation being run by a general until such time as they quell the riots and organize elections.
posted by rocket88 at 3:15 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


MSNBC is reporting that Trump didn't tell Pence. The MEDIA did.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:16 PM on February 14 [13 favorites]


Someone tell Trump he has only six days to beat William Henry Harrison's record
posted by theodolite at 3:18 PM on February 14 [38 favorites]


MSNBC is reporting that Trump didn't tell Pence. The MEDIA did.

Ha! Yeah, right. It sounds like either Pence is breaking out the knives for Trump himself, or someone wants Trump to think he is.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:19 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


The way they seem to be characterizing the story now is that Trump decided there was nothing wrong with the DOJ thinking Flynn was compromised. He didn't say anything to Pence. WaPo reported last week about the transcripts, and that's where Pence saw it. He confronted Flynn, who "couldn't remember."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:21 PM on February 14


Exclusive: U.S. arrests Mexican immigrant in Seattle covered by Obama program: U.S. authorities have arrested an immigrant from Mexico who was brought to the United States illegally as a child and later given a work permit during the Obama administration in what could be the first detention of its kind under President Donald Trump…. Daniel Ramirez Medina, a 23-year-old with no criminal record, was taken into custody last week at his father's home in Seattle by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:27 PM on February 14 [29 favorites]


Does Pence have a little figurine of the three monkeys on his desk? I'd like to see some focused reporting on just how much distance he's keeping.
posted by holgate at 3:31 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Really making America great again there, you spiteful petty fucks.
posted by Artw at 3:31 PM on February 14 [23 favorites]


I think he's going to pivot soon.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:33 PM on February 14 [23 favorites]


Wow, the rest of that quotation from Rand Paul is just . . .wow. There's so much to unpack there, it's mindboggling, that paragraph will be the basis of a master's thesis written by some future Poli-sci grad student (with a minor in semiotics):
"I just don't think it's useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party."
(Uh huh, except there have been zero investigations so WTF are you talking about? Secondly, the transparency with which he admits that its ok to investigate Democrats is amazing.)
"We'll never even get started with doing the things we need to do, like repealing Obamacare, if we're spending our whole time having Republicans investigate Republicans."
(So this is from the front page of the playbook: you always need to bring your main talking point back into the conversation. Except it feels more desperate than usual, he sounds like a robot stuck on one setting. Even the Obamacare card feels flimsy against the impending shitstorm that is brewing around foreign intervention at the highest levels of the Executive branch.)

You're going to need a bigger boat, Mr. Paul.
posted by jeremias at 3:34 PM on February 14 [34 favorites]


From the article roomthreeseventeen linked:
According to the lawsuit, Ramirez was asleep at his father's home last Friday morning when ICE agents arrived and arrested the father. When they entered, they asked Ramirez if he was in the country legally, and Ramirez said he had a work permit, the lawsuit stated.

ICE agents took Ramirez to a processing center in Seattle and he again disclosed his DACA work permit, the lawsuit stated.

"It doesn't matter, because you weren't born in this country," one of the agents said, according to the lawsuit.
posted by biogeo at 3:34 PM on February 14 [22 favorites]


A friend just forwarded the following link, which is a handy daily summary of the fuckery and dysfunction we've been discussing w/r/t the Trump Trainwreck:

https://whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com

[Spolier Alert] Day 26: Clusterfuck

I did a quick search and didn't see the link in the posts above this one.
posted by mosk at 3:34 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Priebus is RNC company man and the only person with government experience in the Trumpalot star chamber at the moment.

Rnc Prbs's only government experience is as a clerk for a Wisconsin legislative committee between college and law school. All of his time at the RNC was when Obama was president. Michael Jordan has spent more time at the White House than Prbs.
posted by Etrigan at 3:35 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Daniel Ramirez Medina was brought to the US at age 7 and has a 3-year-old son. The bastards.
posted by zachlipton at 3:35 PM on February 14 [40 favorites]


"We need to repeal Obamacare so badly, guys! People are getting health care! Nevermind that this whole shebang is coming apart at the seams and is basically on fire, we need to stop HEALTHCARE."
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 3:40 PM on February 14 [16 favorites]


ICE are a moral void that makes Republicans look human.
posted by Artw at 3:41 PM on February 14 [21 favorites]


How are you supposed to read the tea party leaves that @POTUS, @whitehouse and @realdonaldtrump have just stopped following @kellyannepolls?

(beyond some people have WAY to much time to note this 40 mins ago)
posted by rough ashlar at 3:42 PM on February 14 [15 favorites]


I put that picture of Ivanka behind the Oval Office desk in the same category I put the selfie with Rick the Football Carrier.... total diversionary non-issue.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 3:45 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Do we know that those accounts were every following her?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:46 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


How are you supposed to read the tea party leaves that @POTUS, @whitehouse and @realdonaldtrump have just stopped following @kellyannepolls?

I've been seeing this floating around and I'm not 100% sure any of these accounts ever did follow her?
posted by Andrhia at 3:47 PM on February 14


How are you supposed to read the tea party leaves that @POTUS, @whitehouse and @realdonaldtrump have just stopped following @kellyannepolls?

Basically this
posted by Existential Dread at 3:47 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


She's not on this list of people he followed as of late November, anyway.
posted by Andrhia at 3:49 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


♫ Kellyanne, Kellyanne
Says whatever the hell she can
Spins a web
Made of lies
All the facts, she denies
Look out!
Don't talk to Kellyanne ♫
posted by a car full of lions at 3:56 PM on February 14 [73 favorites]






I hadn't seen this interview between Rep. Shiff (House Intelligence Committee) and Wolf Blitzer from yesterday morning. It's amazing how matter of factly they talk about the possibility of Trump colluding with Russia during the campaign. The idea has quickly gone from being unspeakable in polite company to being part of the basic dialog going forward.
posted by diogenes at 4:08 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


I suppose it's a testament to the state of things when I cheer on shadowy intelligence organizations using strategic leaking to force out civilian appointed council members....
posted by lattiboy at 4:08 PM on February 14 [9 favorites]


Gah! Does he put that shit on by himself?
posted by Burhanistan at 4:09 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Trump wants this photo of his dodgy tan removed from the internet. Please do not share.

That's Bannon wearing Trump's face.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:10 PM on February 14 [25 favorites]


So now that the CIA/NSA et al. are openly gathering and deploying kompromat against the administration, you guys think they're gonna lay off on that shit next time it's a Democrat administration?

Do you think they're gonna lay off for a reason besides that administration having bent the knee?
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:12 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]


I don't think they did themselves any favors

What do you think the Russian end game is though? Because if it's diminishing America's standing and influence in the world, and creating enough distraction to get on with encroaching power in Europe and the Middle East, they are so far mightily successful.

Really your Republican Party is absolutely craven.
posted by glasseyes at 4:13 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


> Gah! Does he put that shit on by himself?

Not according to this pic of unknown veracity (NSFW or L)
posted by mosk at 4:13 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Martin Rowson cartoon in the Guardian.
posted by glasseyes at 4:15 PM on February 14


So now that the CIA/NSA et al. are openly gathering and deploying kompromat against the administration, you guys think they're gonna lay off on that shit next time it's a Democrat administration?

Do you think they're gonna lay off for a reason besides that administration having bent the knee?


I think that right now any circumstance that involves there ever being another Democratic administration (/democratic election) is awesome.
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:16 PM on February 14 [19 favorites]


So now that the CIA/NSA et al. are openly gathering and deploying kompromat against the administration, you guys think they're gonna lay off on that shit next time it's a Democrat administration?

It's not an ideal situation, but on the bright side, maybe the next Democratic administration won't be colluding with a hostile foreign power, so the kompromat won't be as effective.
posted by diogenes at 4:16 PM on February 14 [51 favorites]


Thank you for providing the source material for a thousand nightmares, mosk.
posted by Lyme Drop at 4:17 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]


So now that the CIA/NSA et al. are openly gathering and deploying kompromat against the administration, you guys think they're gonna lay off on that shit next time it's a Democrat administration?

They have always gathered kompromat. The Trumpmergency has necessitated them deploying it.
posted by Celsius1414 at 4:18 PM on February 14 [22 favorites]


In the Blitzer interview, Shiff says something about how Flynn tried to encrypt his communications with Russia, but since he was talking to Russia, he obviously wan't trying to hide it from them. I thought that was a good line.
posted by diogenes at 4:18 PM on February 14 [9 favorites]


mosk, is that picture from the "making of that terrible statue of naked trump". please let it be. oh god.
posted by lineofsight at 4:19 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


That's the thing, right? I mean, the intel community has always been scary as shit and they shouldn't have more power than they already do, but if they have information of actual illegal shit, would it not be worse for them to just sit on it?
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:20 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]


My current fanfic daydream: every time someone on the news says "independent investigation," Bill and Hillary do a jello shot.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:21 PM on February 14 [37 favorites]


The optimistic take is that this isn't about the IC wanting to control the world, it's about their lack of faith in the process. If they trust that concerns will be properly investigated and addressed through a regular process, they don't need to leak. I actually think this explains some of the FBI shenanigans before the election as well -- if they genuinely believed that the regular process was corrupted or would be preempted, their only option was to leak (or threaten to leak). Whether you agree or disagree with any intelligence agency's particular ideas about who should be in power and how things should go, I think we can all agree that when there is a good process in place for investigating the concerns they raise, they are far less likely to try to go outside the usual channels and leak.
posted by prefpara at 4:21 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Jesus, OF COURSE Trump follows Piers Fucking Morgan on twitter.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:22 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Guys, the Moustache of Understanding is PISSED.

Tom Friedman: What Trump Is Doing Is Not O.K. (NY Times, open in incognito mode if you're out of free articles)
We need to rerun the tape. Ladies and gentlemen, we were attacked on Dec. 7, 1941, we were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, and we were attacked on Nov. 8, 2016. That most recent attack didn’t involve a horrible loss of lives, but it was devastating in its own way. Our entire intelligence community concluded that Russia hacked our election by deliberately breaking into Democratic National Committee computers and then drip-by-drip funneling embarrassing emails through WikiLeaks to undermine Clinton’s campaign. And what have we done about it? Other than a wrist slap against Moscow, we’ve moved on.

That is not O.K.
He's not this time's Conkrite, but he's comparing the fucking election to 9-11. This is -- not usual.
posted by maudlin at 4:29 PM on February 14 [72 favorites]


How many Friedmans before Trump is out?
posted by notyou at 4:32 PM on February 14 [10 favorites]


Or are we counting in Flynns, these days?
posted by notyou at 4:32 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


I'm flabbergasted by the amount of good faith being shown Trump in this entire Flynn debacle.

When did Trump know Flynn had had improper communications with the Russians?

Most likely? Trump knew a few hours before this happened, while he was giving Flynn the orders to do so while talking on his unsecured Android phone.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:35 PM on February 14 [40 favorites]


Trump will be out within half of a Pence.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:35 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


It could be the IC is waiting for Trump to pin himself down on a date (we still don't have the Administration fixing that themselves, do we?), and then out comes the Android transcript.
posted by notyou at 4:37 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


So now that the CIA/NSA et al. are openly gathering and deploying kompromat against the administration, you guys think they're gonna lay off on that shit next time it's a Democrat administration?

Probably.

I don't think there's some secret super authoritarian regime hiding in the U.S. government waiting to be unleashed. I think power has already shifted well away from "the people" and that these institutions don't really benefit all that much from this kind of chaos. The GOP/Trump administration is a mess. A mess that has a terrifying amount of power but a mess none the less. And as shocking as all of this news is, it's also exposing how flawed our democracy really is. A more stable administration would/will continue to protect the status quo, which I imagine the intelligence communities would prefer.
posted by AtoBtoA at 4:37 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Not according to this pic of unknown veracity (NSFW or L)

*horrified high pitched shrieks*

*desperately fumbles through desk drawers for bottle of whisky*
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:38 PM on February 14 [9 favorites]


The absolute best outcome of this Flynn thing is personal for me:

The other day I got into a spirited discussion about alternative facts with an off-duty cop in a bar. The full-sleeve tatoo, shaved-head kind of cop.

He made two claims:
1. Three cops had been shot in the line of duty in our small Midwestern city last year. Actual number: zero. His Google fu could find plenty of officer-involved shootings, tho. To make sure this is clear: he is a cop in this city, and he either straight lied or was mistaken about the number of his colleagues who were shot in 2016.
2. Trump's travel ban was just a retread of Obama's. Again, Google betrayed him. All the search results were about the differences.

Both times he blamed mainstream media for burying the truth.

But we ended our conversation in a fun way. I said, I bet this Flynn thing gets pretty bad. He said if it does, he'll buy me a drink next weekend.

See ya Friday, Officer Trumpish! (But only at the bar, I hope.)

But my takeaway: although he was nice enough to me - fellow fortysomething white guy - there is literally nothing I could have done or said to move him one millimeter from his positions. I let him do the googling so he couldn't blame me for gaming the search terms, etc. To zero avail.
posted by Caxton1476 at 4:41 PM on February 14 [63 favorites]


What do you think the Russian end game is though? Because if it's diminishing America's standing and influence in the world, and creating enough distraction to get on with encroaching power in Europe and the Middle East, they are so far mightily successful.

I think that was their original goal -- put a thumb on the scale as much as they could for what appeared to be a shitty, incompetent, no-way-this-guy-can-win candidate so that Hillary would come in as damaged as possible and they'd have a stronger hand to play with.

They didn't realize that 27% +/- a few pct. of American voters are virulently racist & misogynist (and/or just raving conservative morons), and another 15% are just always going to pull the (R) lever, and that happened to be just enough energy, in just the right places, to make the Trump win happen.

Now, maybe Putin does, in his heart of hearts, believe that he can control Trump and minimize his puppet's danger. But this is a higher-stakes game than pushing around Ukraine or Georgia. This is a seriously unhinged guy in charge of a massive military and nuclear arsenal, who wields so much power that he can break a lot of things without even realizing it.

I genuinely wonder if Putin would do the same thing, if he could get a do-over.
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:44 PM on February 14 [19 favorites]


Three cops had been shot in the line of duty in our small Midwestern city last year. Actual number: zero.

[...]

Both times he blamed mainstream media for burying the truth.


Ridiculous. If you run into him again, ask him their names.
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:46 PM on February 14 [9 favorites]


I went into that Friedman article assuming it would be full of false equivalencies, or completely bypass the big picture, but nope, he's pretty straightforward:

Every action, tweet and declaration by Trump throughout this campaign, his transition and his early presidency screams that he is compromised when it comes to the Russians.
posted by diogenes at 4:47 PM on February 14 [15 favorites]


So now that the CIA/NSA et al. are openly gathering and deploying kompromat against the administration, you guys think they're gonna lay off on that shit next time it's a Democrat [sic] administration?

I mean, why do we have intelligence agencies if they don't warn us when the people in power are conspiring with an increasingly hostile foreign power that directly interfered in our election? It only got to the point of increasingly desperate and specific leaks after the White House ignored private warnings over a period of weeks.
posted by zachlipton at 4:48 PM on February 14 [45 favorites]


It only got to the point of increasingly desperate and specific leaks after the White House ignored private warnings over a period of weeks.

These people aren't leakers, they're whistleblowers, and Trump (+ the whole Bannon/Breitbart and Republican narrative) threatened this morning to hunt them down and punish them.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:52 PM on February 14 [21 favorites]


So now that the CIA/NSA et al. are openly gathering and deploying kompromat against the administration, you guys think they're gonna lay off on that shit next time it's a Democrat administration?

There are no good things about the Trump administration. But if there were a good thing about the Trump administration, it would be that finally people on the left, and even a few liberals, are acknowledging something that the right has always known: politics is not a game, and it's not about resolving disputes through debate. Instead, politics is about the organized exercise of force in order to win control of decision-making processes.

Asking "so now that the CIA/NSA are openly gathering and deploying kompromat... you guys think they're gonna lay off that shit next time it's a Democratic administration?" is roughly equivalent to a chess player saying "But if I take my opponent's queen, she might think it's okay to take my queen later!"

Now, one might wish that politics weren't a struggle between mortal enemies. But wishing doesn't make it so.

If you are concerned about the intelligence agencies getting involved in politics long-term, the proper response isn't to handwring about their current involvement or to argue that the Democrats should play like gentlemen or whatever. The proper response is to propose methods to smash the intelligence agencies... but only once they're no longer a useful instrument for achieving the end of Trump and Trumpism.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:54 PM on February 14 [89 favorites]


Historian Kevin M. Kruse lays out exactly why the DeVos carton is so awful and reminds us of some of the horror of the New Orleans desegregation crisis.
posted by zachlipton at 5:01 PM on February 14 [44 favorites]


Who Told Flynn to Call Russia?

--My view is informed by several years of knowing and following Flynn. After being fired as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency—where he was already behaving erratically—Flynn slid into ever-stranger behavior.

-- Recent reporting suggests he was lost in his West Wing office, too, unaware, for example, that the State Department and Congress play central roles in arms sales and clueless about how to call up the National Guard in an emergency.

posted by futz at 5:02 PM on February 14 [17 favorites]


Priebus is RNC company man and the only person with government experience in the Trumpalot star chamber at the moment.

Not really.
That is a lot of responsibility to put on the shoulders of an unflappable political survivor from Kenosha, Wis., who has never held a major government post before. He has instead accrued his power by courting wealthy donors on behalf of Republican candidates, tending to the gripes of the R.N.C.’s 168 committee members, closely monitoring his own Wikipedia page and mostly staying on the good side of the capricious Mr. Trump, his ambivalent patron.
posted by zakur at 5:06 PM on February 14 [10 favorites]


And that Rand Paul quote ("I just don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party") is infuriating but, at least to me, it's a sign of how untenable the GOP's position has become. Paul goes on to say that they need to focus on pushing forward with repealing Obamacare, an already troubled project, which feels almost quaint at this point. I have no idea how all of this is playing out on conservative media, but it's been less than a month and the party is already losing its illusion of coherency. All of the delicately balanced contradictions seem to be collapsing in on themselves.
posted by AtoBtoA at 5:11 PM on February 14 [10 favorites]


The Republican Party position is perfectly clear and perfectly tenable. It is that party comes before country, always.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:16 PM on February 14 [36 favorites]


So now that the CIA/NSA et al. are openly gathering and deploying kompromat against the administration, you guys think they're gonna lay off on that shit next time it's a Democrat administration?

You may have missed it, but the FBI installed Trump in the White House. It's a little late for hand wringing about the intelligence agencies.
posted by JackFlash at 5:16 PM on February 14 [24 favorites]


And that Rand Paul quote ("I just don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party")

Trump's gotten the rest of the party to abandon any and all dog whistles.
posted by klarck at 5:18 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Incredible shade about Confide, the messaging app White House staffers are now using to avoid archiving laws in Confide, a favorite app of Trump’s White House, is ‘a triumph of marketing over substance’ (it's a closed source "secure" messaging app that's never had an independent security review and the company that makes it doesn't even have any crypto or security people on staff):
Then again, not all cryptographers were willing to criticize Confide’s boom in the nation’s capital.

“As an opponent of the Trump administration, I would not want to provide sourcing to a story that might keep them from continuing to use Confide,” Thomas Ptacek, a security researcher at Latacora, told CyberScoop.
...
The app’s most high-profile known user is disgraced Democratic politician Anthony Weiner, who allegedly used it to communicate with underage girls. One accuser took photos of the “disappearing” messages from Weiner and shared them with reporters, a trivial task that undermines the app’s security promise. Those photos of Weiner’s messages haven’t disappeared, and now prosecutors are reportedly weighing child pornography charges against the former New York congressman.
posted by zachlipton at 5:27 PM on February 14 [26 favorites]


Hm. I was thinking about pulling down Confide and taking a look at its internals. Now I know what I'm doing tonight.
posted by jferg at 5:29 PM on February 14 [16 favorites]


Trump's gotten the rest of the party to abandon any and all dog whistles.

Well Paul has just finished a reelection campaign and in five and a half years the electorate won't care about Paul basically saying out loud that congressional investigations are just partisan tools and they won't hold "their team" to account. He also won his primary with 85% of the vote and the general 57-43. He could do the proverbial shoot someone on 5th avenue and it wouldn't mean jack shit.
posted by Talez at 5:35 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


The Intercept_: Oklahoma Lawmakers Want Men to Approve All Abortions
At first, Humphrey said that the original intention of the bill was to ensure that fathers are involved in supporting a child from conception. “I was wanting fathers to have to pay child support at the beginning,” he said, but that specific language was excised from the bill.

Ultimately, he said, his intent was to let men have a say. “I believe one of the breakdowns in our society is that we have excluded the man out of all of these types of decisions,” he said. “I understand that they feel like that is their body,” he said of women. “I feel like it is a separate — what I call them is, is you’re a ‘host.’ And you know when you enter into a relationship you’re going to be that host and so, you know, if you pre-know that then take all precautions and don’t get pregnant,” he explained. “So that’s where I’m at. I’m like, hey, your body is your body and be responsible with it. But after you’re irresponsible then don’t claim, well, I can just go and do this with another body, when you’re the host and you invited that in.”
posted by XMLicious at 5:37 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Trump just signed the rollback on disclosing foreign payments. All is now clear for the Russian sanctions to be dropped and we may never know who owns that 19.5% of Rosneft.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:44 PM on February 14 [31 favorites]


I wonder how many Trump voters are experiencing buyer's remorse already.

@Trump_Regrets is collecting some on Twitter. I don't know which I find more astounding - their honesty or their naivete.
posted by zakur at 5:46 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]


Iowa Police Officers/Firefighters: We Didn't Vote Republican To Get Stabbed In the Back.

Seriously? Never heard of Air Traffic Controllers? Never trust a politician unless you've got leverage.
posted by ridgerunner at 5:56 PM on February 14 [22 favorites]


How is the rollback of the royalty/fee transparency rule (as odious as that is) connected to the sale of a chunk of Rosneft to ... someone?
posted by notyou at 5:56 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Well Paul has just finished a reelection campaign and in five and a half years the electorate won't care about Paul basically saying out loud that congressional investigations are just partisan tools and they won't hold "their team" to account.

Maybe so, but I think that statement has utility beyond Paul. If the Democrats find a spine and smarten up enough to run the 50 State Strategy in 2018, an open admission that the GOP believes in IOKYAR is a gift to the ad campaigns of everybody challenging an R incumbent. Might as well take advantage of Citizens United and let some appropriately-named SuperPAC run with it. "Americans Against Government Corruption" or something. Make the bastards choke on his words.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:59 PM on February 14 [10 favorites]


From the second article that I linked here

-- Still, Mr. Flynn presents additional complications beyond his conversations with the Russian ambassador. His aides say he is insecure about whether his unfettered access to Mr. Trump during the campaign is being scaled back and about a shadow council created by Stephen K. Bannon...

-- So it was a rude discovery that Mr. Trump could not simply order the Pentagon to send more weapons to Saudi Arabia — which is clamoring to have an Obama administration ban on the sale of cluster bombs and precision-guided weapons lifted — or to deliver bigger weapons packages to the United Arab Emirates.

-- At an all-hands meeting about two weeks into the new administration, Ms. McFarland told the group it needed to “make America great again,” numerous staff members who were there said.

-- Mr. Flynn turned to Ms. McFarland and, in what seemed to be a self-deprecating joke, said, “I wonder if we’ll be here a year from now?” [Article is dated Feb 12 2017]

What a bunch of fucking SNOWFLAKES. Jalliah brought this up in the last thread:

News: Trump’s plan was to “buy time,” but tonight Flynn was "looking around the room and asking, 'Where's my friend?’” WH official says.

WTF. Was he dragging a blankie behind him when he said this?
posted by futz at 6:04 PM on February 14 [13 favorites]


Tom Friedman: What Trump Is Doing Is Not O.K. (NY Times, open in incognito mode if you're out of free articles)

This article is typical Freidmanism but holy shit, Tom Friedman, Iraq War adovcate, ultra-capitalist advocate, hobnobber with CEOs the world over (who give him great stories for his idiotic thinkpieces and books), is comparing 11-8-2016 with 9-11-2001? I mean, he's basically the mouthpiece of establishment consensus, a one man PR firm for anyone who might show up at a G8 summit or a meeting of the Trilateral Commission, and he thinks Trump colluded with Russia?

Maybe we really will see Trump get impeached.
posted by dis_integration at 6:07 PM on February 14 [48 favorites]


He could do the proverbial shoot someone on 5th avenue and it wouldn't mean jack shit.

I think eventually though it will. Maybe I'm being overly hopeful or naive, but I really think there is an end to this style of politics that doesn't require the total destruction of the U.S. government and that we're witnessing the beginning of that end now. Which doesn't mean we should just sit back, let it play out and it'll take care of itself. On the contrary, we (the news/the left) need to keeping pushing. It's been less than a month and prior to the election all of the signs were pointing straight towards the problems the administration is facing now. Watching it all play out is shocking but it's not exactly unexpected. And rather than putting together an effective strategy to deal with this, they're letting everything compound. It's getting harder and harder for them to twist their positions into populist rhetoric. They're being pushed into increasingly bolder contradictory positions.

The idea that the Republican Party/their supporters are all completely unhinged yet totally in control, that there are no limits to their extremity and power feels incredibly defeatist to me.
posted by AtoBtoA at 6:12 PM on February 14 [8 favorites]




CNN: First on CNN: Details of Rand Paul, Mark Sanford Obamacare replacement bill

Basically boils down to insurance companies can sell you anything they want. You can set aside to $5000 a year in a tax free HSA. And then there is this little tidbit:
The legislation also proposes restricting the use of taxpayer funds for abortion by banning people from using HSA funds for elective abortions.
In other words you can't use your own money from your savings on an abortion. Libertarianism, how does that work?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:14 PM on February 14 [99 favorites]


If Pence is impeached or resigns Trump does not get to automatically appoint his replacement. Trump would have to nominate someone who must be approved by a majority vote in both houses of Congress as specified in the 25th Amendment.
posted by humanfont at 6:14 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


How is the rollback of the royalty/fee transparency rule (as odious as that is) connected to the sale of a chunk of Rosneft to ... someone?

Right now that ownership is hidden via shell companies. If there are Americans involved, they would have been bound by the disclosure rules. It's certainly possibly that it's all foreign investors, but, there have been rumors for sometime that there were US beneficiaries.

It seems oddly coincidental that at the same time that Exxon/Tillerman are trying to make the deal happen, Congress and Trump should make one of their first priorities killing legislation that would shine a light on any influence peddling.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:14 PM on February 14 [19 favorites]


Gah! Does he put that shit on by himself?

Yes he does, or at least as recently as last year did. I haven't shot him but know two photographers who have. Between being a germaphobe and not liking anyone touching him, and a control freak who thinks he can do anything better, he doesn't like/want/allow MUAs to do it. And it makes color toning/correcting portraits of him a nightmare. Oh, and the white eyes? Not just spots missed by the orange, but actually intentional and added because he thinks it makes his eyes pop and makes him look more powerful.
posted by chris24 at 6:18 PM on February 14 [69 favorites]


NYT-the-leaks-can't-stop-won't-stop-edition: Intercepted calls show members of the Trump campaign had repeated contact with Russian intelligence before the election, officials said
Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time that they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.
posted by zachlipton at 6:18 PM on February 14 [75 favorites]


[Beat to it by zachlipton!]
posted by maudlin at 6:19 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Trump would have to nominate someone who must be approved by a majority vote in both houses of Congress as specified in the 25th Amendment.

Yes, the new godawful VP would need to be approved by the same people who approved Betsy DeVos + their even more wingnutty glassy-eyed true-believer counterparts in the House. Big hurdle there.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:20 PM on February 14 [12 favorites]


Smoking gun time? At the very least, difficult to insist on "moving on."
posted by waitingtoderail at 6:21 PM on February 14


From that NYT piece:
Mr. Manafort added, “It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer.’”
Oh, bless. (There's not much in this new piece that we don't already know or could surmise, other than it suggests the spooks may be going with the drip-drip-drip approach themselves and seeing how far the ripples from each drip spread.)
posted by holgate at 6:23 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


> difficult to insist on "moving on."

Counterpoint: IOKIYAR.

Boom, roasted.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:24 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


“As an opponent of the Trump administration, I would not want to provide sourcing to a story that might keep them from continuing to use Confide,” Thomas Ptacek, a security researcher at Latacora, told CyberScoop.

That's quite funny. Tom is the "good authority" I mentioned earlier. He knows his shit. And a lot of other people's shit.
posted by scalefree at 6:28 PM on February 14 [22 favorites]


The idea that the Republican Party/their supporters are all completely unhinged yet totally in control, that there are no limits to their extremity and power feels incredibly defeatist to me.

I think Republicans have a set of unique conditions right now where there's perfect wedge issues (abortion, class warfare, race, welfare) to cause hyperpartisanism, along with perfect population distribution among the Senate layout, and the House layouts which require a ridiculous swing. It's going to be a massive uphill battle over the next four years to gain control of either chamber.

Assuming Americans Against Corruption PAC gets off the ground? Paul rocks up to his stump speech in 2022 and says, "who are you going to vote for? the babykillers/white people haters/people who give your money to poor people or the guy who only wastes congressional time on investigating those people?" and he wins Kentucky if only because wingnuts there dramatically outnumber liberals.

I don't think we're going to see a political reformation any time soon. Conservative Evangelicals have been shown to hold their noses and put up with anything to keep hold of those levers of power. Moral qualms? Corruption? Looting the US treasury? Outright incompetence? Not a problem so long as they can ban abortion, put prayer back in schools, and appoint SCOTUS justices to make it stick.

Someone please show me I've got it wrong because from my perspective this is a giant clusterfuck that the Republicans are using to play the rural rubes for chumps and the rural rubes will happily go with it so long as they get to punch down as well.
posted by Talez at 6:29 PM on February 14 [11 favorites]






Gosh, it's been so long since we've fed soldiers into a meat grinder. And look, my kids are approaching draftable age! Surely I'll be a proud parent as I send my child off to defend "freedom" or something.

Have your family physician begin a history of treatment for bone spurs. It worked for Mr. trump after he ran out of school deferments.
posted by notreally at 6:34 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Twitter is the new Kremlinology. Kellyanne Conway may be gone. Trump unfollowed her & she changed her profile pic to take him out. On Twitter. Because we're in the wrong timeline. Help!

Added: & now they're back. I picked the wrong week to give up heroin.
posted by scalefree at 6:38 PM on February 14 [11 favorites]


The original phone taps - were they targeting the ambassador or Flynn? Were they a one off or is this an ongoing practice?

Embassy phones are in foreign lands, and the NSA is authorized (in practice, ordered) to monitor them.

Anyone who's attempted to use a cell phone, find a pay phone, or tune a radio within 200 feet of the Russian Embassy knows that every piece of communication into and out of that building is tapped, jammed, or both.

The Russian Ambassador certainly knows this. How Flynn overlooked it is beyond comprehension.
posted by toxic at 6:38 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


TheAtlantic: On Not Saying His Name
Given the influence Trump’s name wields, snubbing it is an attempt to withhold some of that power while staking out higher moral ground, said Jenny Lederer, an assistant professor of linguistics at San Francisco State University. “In his case, especially, people feel like not repeating his name is [a way of] not speaking to the brand and the value system that goes along with his political ideology.” Lederer, whose research focuses on the way people talk about controversial political issues, told me that a refusal to name on this scale is only possible because “Trump” is already so omnipresent that discussion of him doesn’t require any reference.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:38 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


If there are Americans involved, they would have been bound by the disclosure rules.

Here's the announcement of the regulation last summer. It's aimed at payments made to governments for licensing, etc:
The rules define “not de minimis” as any payment, whether a single payment or a series of related payments, which equals or exceeds $100,000 during the same fiscal year. Payments that must be disclosed are: taxes; royalties; fees (including license fees); production entitlements; bonuses; dividends; payments for infrastructure improvements; and, if required by law or contract, community and social responsibility payments. The disclosure must be made at the project level, similar to the approach adopted in the European Union and Canada.
It's not clear to my non-lawyer's eyes that taking part in a privatisation scheme falls into that paragraph.
posted by notyou at 6:40 PM on February 14


He's not this time's Conkrite, but he's comparing the fucking election to 9-11.

Hell, I'm happy to hear anyone say it, let alone Tom Friedman. After the election, tens of millions of us were struck by terror and despair. Our image of our country was shattered in one night. We had no idea what lay in our future. We still have no idea. November 8, 2016 was a wound to this country, one that will take decades to heal (if it does, God willing). Hearing someone else say it is a respite from the gaslighting. It tells me I'm not alone.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 6:41 PM on February 14 [90 favorites]


I'm generally not a sign-waver at protests, but I think I'm gonna need a "SARAH KENDZIOR WAS RIGHT" sign for the next one. The other side will be "SALLY YATES WAS RIGHT".

Twitter is the new Kremlinology.

As noted upthread, it's not clear that @POTUS or any of the other accounts mentioned in the Twitter Kremlinology ever followed Kellyanne to begin with. She may indeed be on the way out, but this doesn't seem to provide any real evidence of that.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:41 PM on February 14 [8 favorites]


well, the landscape of the White House personnel is going to be a lot different by the end of the week. That's my prediction. What a clusterfuck.
posted by bluesky43 at 6:50 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Someone please show me I've got it wrong

I'm not saying you're wrong. You're correct on wedge issues and hyper-partisan stuff. But, consider how Trump may be viewed in 5 years. My personal viewpoint is that Trump will be considered Benedict Arnold and Imelda Marcos and your crazed & addled Grandpa all in one.

There will be him selling out to the Russians, completely fucking up whatever domestic crisis happens on his watch. There will be concrete effects many average people will feel: loss of their health insurance, their schools noticeably worsening, children getting sick from increased pollution, their Social Security check being smaller.

Americans (mostly the white ones since they're the ones responsible for most Republican / Trump votes), love to vote to save the babies or reduce their taxes or because God is a Republican. But when they personally feel the pain, then pro-life vs. pro-choice doesn't seem to matter much any more. Seeing that now in Kansas where the hyper-moral governor is deeply unpopular, even with Religious Right folks, because he made their schools and roads much worse. Or Bush in 2006 when it was obvious he couldn't do anything right.

If Trump's reputation goes as low as I think it will, and his scandals are worse than Watergate, then Rand's quote will probably haunt him several times a day when used in attack ads. I could even see those words showing up in the primary.
posted by honestcoyote at 6:50 PM on February 14 [15 favorites]


well, the landscape of the White House personnel is going to be a lot different by the end of the week. That's my prediction. What a clusterfuck.

yeah, it will be a completely different five people
posted by murphy slaw at 6:51 PM on February 14 [17 favorites]


okay, this tweet wins the day
It's like Trump is attempting a speedrun of the Nixon presidency.
- @Chrontendo
posted by murphy slaw at 6:56 PM on February 14 [114 favorites]


Americans (mostly the white ones since they're the ones responsible for most Republican / Trump votes), love to vote to save the babies or reduce their taxes or because God is a Republican. But when they personally feel the pain, then pro-life vs. pro-choice doesn't seem to matter much any more. Seeing that now in Kansas where the hyper-moral governor is deeply unpopular, even with Religious Right folks, because he made their schools and roads much worse.

But this is the kind of thing that I'm talking about. Governors aren't dictators. The Kansas legislature, as much as they will curse his name in public, were complicit in all of his crap. In 2016 they went from a supermajority to, well, a slightly smaller supermajority.

Not enough of the electorate just will not punish it because they think what's happening is right.
posted by Talez at 6:59 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Seriously, the Kansas electorate gave the Republican party the equivalent of a scolding you might give to a small child. "We're not mad. We're just disappointed in you but we still love you".
posted by Talez at 7:01 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


He's losing Iowa.

Forty-two percent of Iowans approve of the job the newly inaugurated Republican is doing as president, while 49 percent disapprove, according to the latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll.

posted by Rust Moranis at 7:01 PM on February 14 [10 favorites]


on one hand, i want to see how trump reacts when he's cornered like a wounded animal

on the other hand, i don't want to see how trump reacts when he's cornered like a wounded animal
posted by murphy slaw at 7:03 PM on February 14 [32 favorites]


Have your family physician begin a history of treatment for bone spurs. It worked for Mr. trump after he ran out of school deferments

Yes, as I mentioned in the prior thread, this advice is contained in Wilbert Everett Butts DeBos' famous essay "The Soles of Rich White Folks."
posted by spitbull at 7:03 PM on February 14 [9 favorites]


on one hand, i want to see how trump reacts when he's cornered like a wounded animal

on the other hand, i don't want to see how trump reacts when he's cornered like a wounded animal


I mean if he reacts like the right animal he might just empty his musk glands and play dead.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:04 PM on February 14 [20 favorites]




Seeing that now in Kansas where the hyper-moral governor is deeply unpopular, even with Religious Right folks, because he made their schools and roads much worse.

You know they reelected him anyway, right?
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:07 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]


He's losing Iowa.
I mean, that's nice and everything, but I still can't wrap my head around what the fuck those people were thinking in November.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:08 PM on February 14 [24 favorites]


I mean, that's nice and everything, but I still can't wrap my head around what the fuck those people were thinking in November.

They were thinking all kinds of dumb shit when they loosed the monster upon the world. It's still a good thing that they don't like the monster now.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:12 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


It's like Trump is attempting a speedrun of the Nixon presidency.

I have no idea at all why anyone would say that.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:13 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


I mean if he reacts like the right animal he might just empty his musk glands and play dead.

Of all the things I've heard rumored about trump - possible dementia, diagnosable mental conditions - the idea that he has musk glands, and would empty them when threatened like the world's shittiest Dr. Zoidberg, is among the most believable.
posted by mrgoat at 7:13 PM on February 14 [29 favorites]


He's losing Iowa.

I don't know...
Iowa Republicans overwhelmingly approve of Trump’s early actions, with 82 percent saying they approve of his job performance. But Democrats register nearly the opposite reaction, with 86 percent disapproving of his performance.
That sounds pretty common for everywhere in the US right now. I don't think he's particularly moving the needle in Iowa, other than he's lost all the local fools that were "but her emails". Iowa's a very slightly (61%) urban state.
“He’s doing everything he promised,” said Cody Marsh, 32, a power-line worker from rural Tabor in far southwest Iowa. “He hasn’t done any more or any less.”
This guy, also distressingly common around here. Man, I hate living in SW Iowa.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:13 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


In any case, the Rosneft deal would be blocked by the Sanctions: if any Americans were involved, they weren't reporting it to anyone, with or without that rule.
posted by notyou at 7:14 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Seriously, the Kansas electorate gave the Republican party the equivalent of a scolding you might give to a small child. "We're not mad. We're just disappointed in you but we still love you".

I don't want to derail this too much into KS politics, but it was a bigger scolding than you think. The Brownback radical faction lost most of the seats up for re-election in the Republican primary. In the general, despite a landslide win for Trump, the state Democrats gained 15 seats. There's no love here at all. Brownback is routinely polling around 20 percent.

You know they reelected him anyway, right?

Yep, I know that. I live here. And it was a close election with evidence our corrupt SoS Kobach massaged the results. Things have gotten worse enough since then that people showed up at the boring non-Presidential state primary to vote out the legislators responsible.
posted by honestcoyote at 7:14 PM on February 14 [13 favorites]


I know not to be too hopeful but I would bet $$$ that this administration is out in 6 months or less. If the current pace of revelations continues they are toast. My only worry is that Nazi Pence remains standing. Guilt by association may kill him too. Prediction: the repubs will eat their own once the tide turns.
posted by futz at 7:16 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


I'm still surprised by the weakness of Flynn's defense. Surely they could have mounted a full-on defense/attack, rather than witter on about Flynn having or losing Trump's confidence. I mean, here's how I would have done it:
Every incoming administration is in contact with other government leaders. It's unavoidable, unless you want the US government to start from zero in the middle of a crisis. And a crisis is what we had, due to the ill-judged and and chaotic measures taken in the last days of the Obama administration.

The complaint here is that Michael Flynn confirmed exactly what our President said during his campaign: that Mr Trump recognised that Obama's foreign policy wasn't working and that we needed to sit down with other nations and make a fresh start. I don't know whether Michael Flynn's quiet diplomacy helped prevent a further escalation in Russia-US tensions, but if he's responsible then we can all be very grateful.

If the President isn't happy with the way Flynn handled this sensitive information after the election that's his business. The real question is, why was Obama's administration spying on his successor, who did they share that information with, and how far back did it go. We live in a free country, not one where a President can order surveillance of his enemies for political ends. We already know that senior Democrats were secretly feeding information to Hillary's campaign, I think it's time for them to tell us where it came from and who they were working for.
Easy-peasy. But there not only hasn't been a real defense, there's also a surprising lack of Republicans taking advantage of it. What are they afraid of? Are they scared of the Tea Party, the Trump Administation, or a third party?
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:16 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Iowa Republicans overwhelmingly approve of Trump’s early actions, with 82 percent saying they approve of his job performance. But Democrats register nearly the opposite reaction, with 86 percent disapproving of his performance.
The most important fact about Iowa politics, which almost everyone misses, is that a plurality of voters here are registered no party. Iowa Republicans are truly off-the-charts extremists. The people who swing elections here are independents.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:16 PM on February 14 [12 favorites]




Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence

This is the slide into the end for this administration, it's happening much more quickly than we could have hoped for.

(on preview, like futz, I know, "surely this" and etc.--I lived through it all the first time, mostly on the blue then, too--but seriously: an extraordinarily divisive and controversial, recently-elected president has a team of people around him who are slowly but decisively being revealed to have been in consistent contact with Russian intelligence for at least the last year. There is just no spin out of that. The only part I'm curious about is how it all shakes out once Trump and his odious circle are out, namely just how far and wide the shit will splatter.)
posted by LooseFilter at 7:21 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]




Not sure how serious this is, but
Mexico ready to retaliate by hurting American corn farmers

Mexico is one of the top buyers of American corn in the world today. And Mexican senator Armando Rios Piter, who leads a congressional committee on foreign relations, says he will introduce a bill this week where Mexico will buy corn from Brazil and Argentina instead of the United States.
Getting into a trade war with your third biggest trade partner...not great, Bob.
posted by Existential Dread at 7:21 PM on February 14 [53 favorites]


I mean, that's nice and everything, but I still can't wrap my head around what the fuck those people were thinking in November.

Last week I was in the dentist office here in the Middle of Nowhere, Redstatia, and a couple of older gents were talking in the waiting area. The one was saying he wished he hadn't voted for Trump because he "just doesn't act very presidential" and that he "thought his brash and boorish behavior was just an act" to get media attention. The other guy said he voted for him because the thought of Hillary having a 400 EV mandate just filled him with dread, even though she was more qualified.

Both agreed that local republicans would be wise to distance themselves from this fire, and seemed disappointed that they haven't.

Among my friends here, the more tepid republicans have been quietly embarrassed. The vocal ones however have fully taken up the mantle and it's full "Fuck the Libtards!" mode.

I, on the other hand, have fully lost all respect I had for anyone who voted Trump. You could see that dumpster fire from orbit, morons. We're paying for it - now, you eat it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:21 PM on February 14 [48 favorites]


Not sure how serious this is, but: Mexico ready to retaliate by hurting American corn farmers

Speaking of Iowa; they're gonna hate that.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:24 PM on February 14 [21 favorites]


The political assassination of Michael Flynn from Bloomberg View.

In the end, it was Trump's decision to cut Flynn loose. In doing this he caved in to his political and bureaucratic opposition. Nunes told me Monday night that this will not end well. "First it's Flynn, next it will be Kellyanne Conway, then it will be Steve Bannon, then it will be Reince Priebus," he said. Put another way, Flynn is only the appetizer. Trump is the entree.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:24 PM on February 14 [19 favorites]


In the end, it was Trump's decision to cut Flynn loose. In doing this he caved in to his political and bureaucratic opposition. Nunes told me Monday night that this will not end well. "First it's Flynn, next it will be Kellyanne Conway, then it will be Steve Bannon, then it will be Reince Priebus," he said. Put another way, Flynn is only the appetizer. Trump is the entree.

oh please oh please oh please
posted by emjaybee at 7:26 PM on February 14 [35 favorites]


Not sure how serious this is, but: Mexico ready to retaliate by hurting American corn farmers

Iowa's gonna hate that.


Corn prices are already down, there's an undercurrent of worrying about repeating the 80s Farm Crisis, this will get very bleak.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:27 PM on February 14 [12 favorites]


hey folks i'm gonna unplug my internet connection, buy a bunch of cokes and replay Legend of Zelda: A Link to The Past and hope that Trump isn't president anymore by the time I defeat Ganon.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:27 PM on February 14 [34 favorites]


Oh god you know who's third?

The Zombie Eyed Granny Starver himself.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:28 PM on February 14 [8 favorites]


It's like Trump is attempting a speedrun of the Nixon presidency.

I have this "Hook, Line, Sinker" lithograph by Robbie Conal. I am cautiously hopeful that we will get an updated version soon.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:28 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


The thing is killing me is the fact that all of this was utterly obvious from before the election. The Russian connection was like staring at the coastlines of Africa and South America and seeing how they fit. Any child could have looked at the facts and seen how fucking obvious it was. All we have now is confirmation of everything we inferred from the mountain of evidence we had during the campaign. I just want to vomit.
posted by gatorae at 7:28 PM on February 14 [118 favorites]


Oh and state Republicans will just try to sell tax cuts as a solution to tanking corn prices. That won't go well for them.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:28 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Oh god you know who's third?

The Zombie Eyed Granny Starver himself.


Hardcore Trumpites and Redcaps hate Ryan as much or more than they do liberals. They would blame him as part of the conspiracy and the GOP would tear itself to shreds.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:31 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Let's start the talking point now - no SCOTUS Justice nominated by a treasonous or unelected President should be confirmed. The next winner of the untainted popular vote should choose.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:31 PM on February 14 [92 favorites]


CNN is going with "constant" and "extensive" communications between top campaign people and Russian operatives throughout the campaign.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:31 PM on February 14 [25 favorites]


We inferred? Hell, it's like people forget that Clinton came right out and called him Putin's puppet during a presidential fucking debate.

Those who wanted to know, knew. Those who didn't want to know, well, that's why we're in this shithole right now.
posted by lydhre at 7:33 PM on February 14 [112 favorites]


Nice of the 4th estate to wake up, sure wish it had been sooner.
posted by emjaybee at 7:33 PM on February 14 [44 favorites]


Please god let this be the real end for Trump.

Also, frankly, if there's a big enough scandal, it will shatter the Republican party. Everyone has been making nice with Trump because he won and they wanted their garbage tax cuts - they didn't care that he was corrupt and racist and a liar and had open white supremacists as his advisors. If Trump goes down, the other Republicans won't, like, lose all their base, but their base will be split and its confidence shaken. An impeachment over something like this, that so obviously taints most other Republicans, would hugely weaken and discredit them.
posted by Frowner at 7:34 PM on February 14 [29 favorites]


I really hope that reporters are trying to get every Republican from Pence down to local dogcatcher on tape saying supportive things about Trump so that if (please, please please) 45 goes down it'll be attack ad gold for several election's worth of ads.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:35 PM on February 14 [8 favorites]


somehow I feel like I'm going to wake up tomorrow and the freaking four horsemen of the Apocalypse are going to be breaking down the front door of the white house.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:35 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


I think of this less as accelerated Nixon than concentrated Nixon. Like if Nixon was a big pot of soup, Trump is that bouillon paste that comes in a little jar.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:36 PM on February 14 [37 favorites]


The Zombie Eyed Granny Starver himself.

You mean the guy who was standing grinning behind Moscow Don today at about the same time Sean Spicer was lying through his fucking teeth on TV about the treasonous White House? The stench of this needs to be ground into his carcass.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:36 PM on February 14 [15 favorites]


Speaking of Iowa; they're gonna hate that.

Most of Iowa's corn goes into animal feed and fuel ethanol anyway. Less than 1% of it is food-for-people corn. [cite]
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:36 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Another question of little import, but: why is the brogressive left (as exemplified by the Chapo dudes and their fans) so skeptical and dismissive of the Russia thing? Basically every response of theirs is "uh, not impressed, there's nothing new here, oh and Clinton was just as skuzzy" and I don't fucking get it.
posted by Existential Dread at 7:36 PM on February 14 [14 favorites]


Great comeback on /r/the_donald: "Susan Rice was just as bad as Flynn." (Not linking because it's racist/misogynist.)
posted by Coventry at 7:36 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


> Is it, though? This is Rick... He carries the "football" The nuclear football. Y'know, the one without which we can't launch a retaliatory strike, taking him out would take the Mutual out of Mutually Assured Destruction.

Well, maybe? Someone in the last thread similarly suggested 'maybe Russia is reevaluating first strike outcomes'. But, that's not really a good outcome for them either. Say taking out "Rick the Nuke Guy" does end our ability to launch at all, Russia still wouldn't want to fire on the US. Even a limited nuclear exchange would fuck up the world's atmosphere and cause a worldwide famine as crops failed for years. Russia isn't exactly food independent as is, much less in a world cooled by nuclear fallout.


I haven't checked Trump's twitter feed today but I think we're still part of NATO? And both the UK and France have nukes and are in a mutual-defense pact with us.
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:37 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Just published from the former State Department coordinator for counterterrorism: "Who Told Flynn to Call Russia?"
posted by shothotbot at 7:37 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]




Oh god you know who's third?

The Zombie Eyed Granny Starver himself.


I've said it before, he'll find himself in a position to sign his pet Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid bills into law and realize nobody in Congress wants to send them his way.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:40 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Serious question... why was this hidden?!?! If all these people knew before the election, why wasn't anything shared? I remember right around the election a comment from some government person "if the public knew they would riot". Then why the fuck aren't you people doing something?!?! Go to the press THEN! WTF with this keeping it under wraps while they were spreading BS about Hillary Clinton that was exactly what they knew Trump was doing?
posted by CoffeeHikeNapWine at 7:42 PM on February 14 [34 favorites]


I'd like to read a biography of Flynn. His path to three-star general must have been pretty interesting, given how crazy/foolish he seems at the moment.
posted by Coventry at 7:42 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Everyone has been making nice with Trump because he won and they wanted their garbage tax cuts - they didn't care that he was corrupt and racist and a liar and had open white supremacists as his advisors. If Trump goes down, the other Republicans won't, like, lose all their base, but their base will be split and its confidence shaken.

If the collaborators in the Republican party think the PVL is going to go quietly if/when they turn on him, oh boy, have they ever got another thing coming. That guy does not take criticism or betrayal well.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 7:43 PM on February 14


Basically every response of theirs is "uh, not impressed, there's nothing new here, oh and Clinton was just as skuzzy" and I don't fucking get it.

These are the same people that when you ask for why Clinton was "just as bad" with specific policy examples will inevitably start with "the DNC rigged the primary" or some shit. Misogyny is the easiest and most likely answer.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:43 PM on February 14 [42 favorites]


somehow I feel like I'm going to wake up tomorrow and the freaking four horsemen of the Apocalypse are going to be breaking down the front door of the white house.

From the inside.
posted by srboisvert at 7:45 PM on February 14 [61 favorites]


Easy-peasy. But there not only hasn't been a real defense, there's also a surprising lack of Republicans taking advantage of it. What are they afraid of? Are they scared of the Tea Party, the Trump Administation, or a third party?

This gives me hope! Maybe the GOP isn't really trying to defend Trump after all... Maybe they DO recognize the threat he poses to our national security and are not going to stand in the way of his downfall... Maybe they are just trying to LOOK loyal to Trump so as not to piss off their base... Because yeah, on the one hand they could be doing some actual investigations, but on the other hand they could be doing a LOT better job spinning all this, and they're not. They're barely defending him at all.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:45 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


I'm going to see a panel discussion with David Farenthold, Susanne Craig and Daniel Dale tomorrow night. That should be fairly interesting...
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:46 PM on February 14 [15 favorites]


Fareed Zakaria on CNN short but sweet on what the Trump White House has to do. Release his tax returns - I would love it if that is one of the consequences of this.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:47 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


"Who Told Flynn to Call Russia?"

Is this updated from the article linked earlier...I can't tell.
posted by futz at 7:49 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Another question of little import, but: why is the brogressive left (as exemplified by the Chapo dudes and their fans) so skeptical and dismissive of the Russia thing? Basically every response of theirs is "uh, not impressed, there's nothing new here, oh and Clinton was just as skuzzy" and I don't fucking get it.

You know, I actually have a new answer for this one that I think is correct: structural weakness in the US left has meant that there simply isn't any traction for "neither Washington nor Moscow". The obvious position to take is that the neo-Democratic party which has abandoned working people and the Trump fascist white nationalist Republicans and Putin's homophobic, corrupt security state are all repulsive and corrupt, and all should be exposed for what they are, and all should be demolished and replaced. That's the proper task of a revolutionary left, and the proper task of a revolutionary left is to fight off attacks on the commonality as they occur, meaning that Trump is our big problem right now. And our other proper task is to seize the moment, not moralize about sheeple. The moment is one where the Republican agenda could be smashed, the Democratic party could be renewed and various left social formations could gain real political power because people are moving now.

But because the left is weak and disorganized and has relatively little powerful contemporary theory (like, the big thinkers are center left at best - Piketty, etc) we're super reactive and super cultural/moralistic - like, it's more important to moralize to each other about how the sheeple didn't care when Obummer did whatever than it is to actually talk to the "sheeple" now that they're on the move. We don't have the people or the ideas for the times. Sweeping social change will have to come from others. But that's how it works a lot of the time anyway, for good or for ill.
posted by Frowner at 7:50 PM on February 14 [41 favorites]


Imagine how quickly Republicans would investigate Trump’s Russia ties if he said he thought 39.6% was the appropriate top marginal tax rate.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:55 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Imagine how quickly Republicans would investigate Trump’s Russia ties if he said he thought 39.6% was the appropriate top marginal tax rate.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:55 PM


The tweet you got that joke from.
posted by sideshow at 7:57 PM on February 14 [17 favorites]


Following on the replies to that tweet: Maybe we should point out to the Republicans that Russia has national healthcare. If we're going to go all Putinist over here, let's at least get some clinics out of it.
posted by Frowner at 8:02 PM on February 14 [12 favorites]



Another question of little import, but: why is the brogressive left (as exemplified by the Chapo dudes and their fans) so skeptical and dismissive of the Russia thing? Basically every response of theirs is "uh, not impressed, there's nothing new here, oh and Clinton was just as skuzzy" and I don't fucking get it.


They/we/I have preferred to keep the focus on how inept the Clinton campaign was as rhetorical leverage to push the dems left, because if we only focus on the Russia thing (and the neliberal Dem establishment would prefer to focus on the Russia thing) then they can put fingers in their ears and pretend that there's no problem with their existing policies and messaging. Far as I can (and I'm a pretty big fan) the Chapo guys are on board with the Russia thing being true but think that it is pernicious to focus on it in intra-left discussions (this at least is my view).
posted by The Horse You Rode In On at 8:03 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


But because the left is weak and disorganized and has relatively little powerful contemporary theory (like, the big thinkers are center left at best - Piketty, etc) we're super reactive and super cultural/moralistic - like, it's more important to moralize to each other about how the sheeple didn't care when Obummer did whatever than it is to actually talk to the "sheeple" now that they're on the move. We don't have the people or the ideas for the times. Sweeping social change will have to come from others. But that's how it works a lot of the time anyway, for good or for ill.

This is just a thought but the left could try co-operating with progressives, liberals, and centrists instead of having a hissy fit and sitting out if the candidate isn't the worker's party messiah.

You want to win? Fight the primaries, lockstep in the general. Otherwise feel free to sit in your corner muttering how once it gets bad enough the sheeple will wake up and vote in a socialist paradise.
posted by Talez at 8:07 PM on February 14 [77 favorites]


The nationalist right is coming for Priebus from The Atlantic

“I think this is Pearl Harbor for the true Trump supporters, the Trump loyalists,” said Roger Stone, a former Trump campaign adviser and longtime Republican operative who still has a relationship with Trump. “I believe Reince Priebus moved on General Flynn and I think he intends to move on Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller next. He is not serving the president well. The people he hired are loyal to the Republican National Committee, not the President of the United States.”

Geesh, who's on who's side? It's upside down land.
posted by bluesky43 at 8:07 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Most of Iowa's corn goes into animal feed and fuel ethanol anyway. Less than 1% of it is food-for-people corn.

You've misread that citation. 1% of Iowa corn is sweet corn, but sweet corn is only a tiny amount of the corn eaten by people. Sweet corn is the fresh corn on the cob or canned corn you eat. But field corn is used in many food products such as breakfast cereals and, pertinent to this discussion, tortillas, enchiladas, tamales, masa harina.

Mexico is Iowa's top purchaser of exported corn, most of which is field corn. Iowans are quite nervous about Trump tariff talks. Yesterday Mexican senator Armando Rios Piter, who leads a congressional committee on foreign relations, says he will introduce a bill this week where Mexico will buy corn from Brazil and Argentina instead of the United States.
posted by JackFlash at 8:07 PM on February 14 [39 favorites]


On the drip-drip-drip (and the apparent contest between NYT and WaPo on sources): the NYT piece puts both Spicey and Pence on the spot, for different reasons. The press secretary has a statement on record that's no longer operative; the veep was either lying or ignorant, and if he was ignorant, then the question arises of why he was answering questions on the Sunday shows the weekend before the inauguration so definitively. Their move.
posted by holgate at 8:10 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


I also don't buy the "chapo trap house is misogynist" thing, even if their use of masculinist language isn't quite ironic and even if I really wish that Matt Christman would stop using the c-word when he gets worked up.

I'm well aware that misogynist Bernie bros exist but CTH does not number among them.
posted by The Horse You Rode In On at 8:10 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


You want to win? Fight the primaries, lockstep in the general.

This is awfully close to RLTP. No fight was really possible after Obama, the head of the Democratic party, said Clinton was the only one fit to succeed him.
posted by Coventry at 8:10 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


i am getting really excited about current developments but on the other hand it's 2017 so maybe The New York Times and The Washington Post are just part of my bubble?
posted by murphy slaw at 8:12 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


This is awfully close to RLTP. No fight was really possible after Obama, the head of the Democratic party, said Clinton was the only one fit to succeed him.

It was entirely possible. It was just difficult and ended up being too difficult. In a contest of two people one of them has to lose. I donated to Bernie, I supported him in MA. But once it was realistically impossible for him to win it was time to get behind the candidate.

But this isn't just about the primaries. This is about every candidate in every district. It's shitty but we have FTTP voting. Use the vote wisely and, if necessary, votez escroc, pas facho!
posted by Talez at 8:15 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


They/we/I have preferred to keep the focus on how inept the Clinton campaign was as rhetorical leverage to push the dems left, because if we only focus on the Russia thing (and the neliberal Dem establishment would prefer to focus on the Russia thing) then they can put fingers in their ears and pretend that there's no problem with their existing policies and messaging. Far as I can (and I'm a pretty big fan) the Chapo guys are on board with the Russia thing being true but think that it is pernicious to focus on it in intra-left discussions (this at least is my view).

As much as I have trouble with the intra-party fighting, and as much as I worry about purity tests in places where we might have to run imperfect Dems, it seems like the solution is pretty simple and I wish the establishment Dems and Bernie wing would both figure it out: when you run new candidates you run them as reformers of the party (especially in areas Dems were just leaving seats uncontested - "the establishment Democrats abandoned us and then the Republicans coasted on easy wins without helping us and we're sick of it and here to take back our party"), and the establishment folks make a show of being pressured by that and moving left where they can, and then pretty much everybody's running on a version of the platform we just ran on anyways since it was a very progressive platform and heavily influenced by Bernie, it just didn't get anywhere near the notice it should have (see every "where was Hillary's jobs/infrastructure plan?" comment). It's a win-win, new blood comes in with new ideas and the establishment uses the political capital of that movement to move left where local politics allow it while still keeping them electable, and we end up with a back bench of progressives to realistically push out the Manchins of the world down the line.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:16 PM on February 14 [22 favorites]


No fight was really possible after Obama, the head of the Democratic party, said Clinton was the only one fit to succeed him.

And yet Bernie demonstrably moved the conversation and the platform dramatically to the left of where it would've been without his challenging Obama's statement and the assumed Clinton anointing.

Incrementalism works. It's worked for 200 years. But not if 10% of the people who agree with the policies sit home, and another 10% vote for Jill Stein to "send a message"
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:16 PM on February 14 [60 favorites]


You want to win? Fight the primaries, lockstep in the general. Otherwise feel free to sit in your corner muttering how once it gets bad enough the sheeple will wake up and vote in a socialist paradise.

I think that isn't exactly the issue - it's more that there isn't a very good understanding of liberals or a very good set of ideas about how to work with people.

I mean, if you really think the electoral process is irredeemably corrupt and social change will have to come directly from social movements, don't spend your time carping about the election, eh? Like, I know plenty of people who don't bother with any of that stuff, and whatever anyone thinks about their position, they're consistent.

I have not been overwhelmingly impressed by radical interventions into electoral politics around here - there's a lot of smuggery, secrecy and contempt for anyone who doesn't follow their particular line, which I think is just bananas considering the extremely.... uneven electoral track record of the left in the US. Like, the assumption is always that because we are far left, we're the smartest people in the room, the ones who really know how it is, and everyone else does whatever they do out of ignorance or hypocrisy.

And I think that this stems, as much as anything, from intellectual weakness in the left. We need to develop some better theories about liberalism and about how non-activists can reasonably be expected to participate in politics, and I think we need some better ideas about our end game(s). These are things that lefts in other places and other times have had, but because of the particular chain of events post-McCarthy, we don't have enough of that stuff now.
posted by Frowner at 8:17 PM on February 14 [22 favorites]


transcripts

Have we already forgotten how OK it is to leave the recorders off for phone calls?
posted by bendy at 8:24 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


once it was realistically impossible for him to win it was time to get behind the candidate.

I mean, that's fine, and I did to the extent I morally could (and legally -- can't vote.) You're kind of preaching to the choir there. But it was the party's responsibility to come up with a platform which excited a winning coalition, and it's stupid to blame voters for not getting excited by what the party offered. Akin to a company getting angry that its marketing campaign has failed, instead of shifting direction.
posted by Coventry at 8:26 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


I have more to say re purity tests, Hillary/Bernie, party unity, the left, etc but it would me perilously close to RLTP and also the thread is melting my phone.
posted by The Horse You Rode In On at 8:26 PM on February 14


Like, the assumption is always that because we are far left, we're the smartest people in the room, the ones who really know how it is, and everyone else does whatever they do out of ignorance or hypocrisy.

I recently listened to someone in our small city Indivisible group opine that to win rural voters we should sponsor a "line dance, or whatever" in a nearby rural town. Not bring ideas to them and prove the worth of those ideas, not maybe run electable if center-left candidates if that's what it takes, just pander to the rednecks like it's a barn party at Kix Brooks' house circa 1991 and they'll sure fall into line. I stopped myself from facepalming for fear I'd give myself a concussion.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:27 PM on February 14 [15 favorites]


even if their use of masculinist language isn't quite ironic and even if I really wish that Matt Christman would stop using the c-word when he gets worked up.

no hate for women, just casual contempt, then? that's all very well but this alleged quote is of even more interest to me:

“Yeah,” Biederman said. “The Democratic leadership has to be purged. Our mission statement, for the time being, is to paint these targets.”

I asked them if they blamed the Party exclusively. Didn’t it make sense to attribute some of the fault with the people who chose Trump despite his racism and sexism? They scoffed.

“Even if you do blame the electorate, where do you go from there?” Biederman asked. “Do we shame these people into liking us?”


for its blatant honesty: who cares what's true, if the truth isn't a useful tool?

I mean if I had the ability to just not care about how hateful and bigoted huge portions of the American electorate are, and could satisfy myself by working in mass media and political messaging to produce a cool sense of in-group solidarity to increase support for my side without regard to whether my message was accurate, only whether it, you know, resonated, I'd, well, I'd go work for the Democratic Party and be a strategist or a hack or a flack or whatever the job titles are. one of those people. If I didn't give a shit about who was genuinely to blame, only who can usefully be blamed so as to inflame the populace in the correct way. I am sure these dudes are fun people but so are a lot of elected Democrats. I can like them fine but respect is harder.
posted by queenofbithynia at 8:30 PM on February 14 [12 favorites]




The NYT piece revealing the FBI interview has been rewritten from the ground up as a tick-tock of Flynn-related matters over the past six weeks, with lots of input form Spicey plus anon WH sources to try and push the "erosion of trust" narrative. Interesting companion piece to the one on earlier contacts with Russian intel.
posted by holgate at 8:32 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


But it was the party's responsibility to come up with a platform which excited a winning coalition, and it's stupid to blame voters for not getting excited by what the party offered. Akin to a company getting angry that its marketing campaign has failed, instead of shifting direction.

What? Either "it's not fascism" isn't legitimately not a strong brand in US politics or that statement is facile. I have to believe it's facile because if we have to get people excited about not letting white nationalists rule the roost we are well and truly fucked as a nation.
posted by Talez at 8:32 PM on February 14 [18 favorites]


Actually "a line dance, or whatever" as a listening opportunity sounds pretty great. Find out what messages might work by actually socially interacting with the people you want to message.
posted by nat at 8:33 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


I know this article was poo-pooed at the time, but we're going to have to revisit this now right?

Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia? By Franklin Foer

This spring, a group of computer scientists set out to determine whether hackers were interfering with the Trump campaign. They found something they weren’t expecting.
posted by great_radio at 8:35 PM on February 14 [21 favorites]


Have we already forgotten how OK it is to leave the recorders off for phone calls?

It is much, much harder to turn off the NSA's recorders.
posted by zachlipton at 8:36 PM on February 14 [10 favorites]


I'm sorry if this was spelled out previously, but does RLTP = "ReLitigating The Primary"?
posted by Jpfed at 8:36 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Either "it's not fascism" isn't legitimately not a strong brand in US politics or that statement is facile.

False dichotomy. More like "Candidate whom the Right has been sharpening their knives against for decades... but at least she's not fascism." No, it wasn't a strong brand.
posted by Coventry at 8:37 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Jpfed, yes.
posted by Coventry at 8:38 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


great_radio - Ehhh. That "Trump server talking to Russia" story has a lot of problems. The Intercept got into some of them.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:40 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


Have we already forgotten how OK it is to leave the recorders off for phone calls?

??? what does this mean?
posted by futz at 8:40 PM on February 14


I'm sorry if this was spelled out previously, but does RLTP = "ReLitigating The Primary"?

Yes. We don't like to do that which is why we're trying to be careful (Coventry is doing a better job than me) about not mentioning the names of the candidates and sticking with factions.
posted by Talez at 8:40 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


it's stupid to blame voters for not getting excited by what the party offered

I don't think anybody really does blame them for not being excited, though. I feel like the general problem is more: We all had this base assumption that most of the voting population was made up of mature adults who might not agree on a lot of stuff, but who would go with boring and even slightly disagreeable over outright crazy. What we got was a few more people than we expected who thought outright crazy sounded GREAT, and a genuinely distressing number of people who didn't think that the risk to modern civilization was worth voting for a woman they found disagreeable.

I think the deeper problem with American politics is that anybody wants to be excited, that anybody's vote hinges on excitement. Voting based on excitement seems guaranteed to lead to elections just like this. The conventional wisdom for years was that excitement was for primaries, for local elections, not for the important top-level stuff. If people are now going to start expecting it in the general election, then I almost think we need to pack it all in and say that democracy had a great run, because I can't see how it possibly lasts once we're basically running a reality show every four years to determine our leadership.
posted by Sequence at 8:40 PM on February 14 [81 favorites]


Actually "a line dance, or whatever" as a listening opportunity sounds pretty great. Find out what messages might work by actually socially interacting with the people you want to message.

It would play as out of touch, patronizing and insulting if we just waltzed into some small town with something like that, though. And also nobody would really show up to a line dance because it's not the early 90's. I totally agree we need to interact with people in outlying communities - I mean, if we actually give a shit about the issues we claim to, we want to help them too (even if it's easy to think, well, fuck 'em for going Trump, they have kids who will be effected by Trumpist policies), and there's faaaar too much assuming what they need help with and assuming we have the answers so we'll need their input - but it's going to be a slow process of building trust that has to be led by the Democrats already in those areas. My proposal to counter that one was to work through the party's contacts to identify allies and leaders in those areas and offer to help them while they take the lead, if that leads to a line dance or whatever great but it needs to be a natural progression.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:42 PM on February 14 [9 favorites]


I think the deeper problem with American politics is that anybody wants to be excited, that anybody's vote hinges on excitement. Voting based on excitement seems guaranteed to lead to elections just like this. The conventional wisdom for years was that excitement was for primaries, for local elections, not for the important top-level stuff. If people are now going to start expecting it in the general election, then I almost think we need to pack it all in and say that democracy had a great run, because I can't see how it possibly lasts once we're basically running a reality show every four years to determine our leadership.

Not to mention a big tent coalition is likely to deliver a milquetoast candidate simply because they're trying not to piss off all the different groups. Let's face it, it's hard to get excited about a sensible but milquetoast candidate and we saw that this election. People wondered where the enthusiasm for Hillary was in the primaries but the boring voters who vote in primaries came out in force because that's what boring voters do, they show up to every election whether they're excited or not.
posted by Talez at 8:44 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


I think the deeper problem with American politics is that anybody wants to be excited, that anybody's vote hinges on excitement.

It's high school all over again. Competent nerds are out. Why can't you act like the cool jocks? Everyone loves the jocks.
posted by JackFlash at 8:45 PM on February 14 [10 favorites]


Christ this latest thing got me OUT OF BED to come check on the thread. If this keeps unraveling, and there is every reason to think it will, with more evidence of collusion between the russians and team shitstain, he'll have to resign, right? And hope Pence pardons him? Also that general strike on Friday just got a lot more energy. March on the white house. Demand resignation. The spooks in the IC may not be our friends but they sure don't like being treated as fools, and they sure don't like foreign spy agencies messing about in our country. They are doing us all a solid leaking and delving into this clusterfuck. I want to send someone a fresh apple pie.
posted by vrakatar at 8:48 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]


the boring voters who vote in primaries came out in force because that's what boring voters do, they show up to every election whether they're excited or not.

Can't get into that without RLTP, but you can't show that it simply came down to boring voters doing what boring voters do, and it's not true.
posted by Coventry at 8:49 PM on February 14


Regional Land Transport Plan? Road Less Traveled Productions? Google is not helping me out here, guys.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:51 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Here's the WaPo tick-tock, with sourcing that comes mostly from the Obama White House side. It adds that Flynn was outside the US when he placed the call to Kislyak, that the Obama transition team withheld Russia-specific stuff from him, and that the Obama White House only knew about that FBI line of inquiry in early January, and Comey didn't brief the incoming administration until after the FBI interviewed Flynn. It also suggests Pence was willing to let him stay on.

(fwiw, I've watched the UK Labour Party go all Dave Spart over the past couple of years. It's not been great.)
posted by holgate at 8:52 PM on February 14 [8 favorites]


Relitigating the Primaries, showbiz_liz.
posted by Coventry at 8:53 PM on February 14


Oh, it's not on the wiki.
posted by Coventry at 8:54 PM on February 14


Now it is.
posted by Coventry at 8:55 PM on February 14 [10 favorites]


the boring voters who vote in primaries came out in force because that's what boring voters do, they show up to every election whether they're excited or not.

Well, the Republican boring voters do this. Democrats...not so much.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:55 PM on February 14


For all you guys are dancing around not relitigating the primaries, it sure feels like you're relitigating the primaries.
posted by biogeo at 8:56 PM on February 14 [73 favorites]


CNN is now naming Manafort on their front page.
posted by kimdog at 8:58 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


while we're at it...waht's IOKIYAR?
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:59 PM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Well in some good news, Rumor the German Shepherd won best in show at Westminster.
posted by spitbull at 8:59 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Diehard Coders Just Rescued NASA’s Earth Science Data (Wired, Feb. 13, 2017)
Groups like DataRefuge and the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, which organized the Berkeley hackathon to collect data from NASA’s earth sciences programs and the Department of Energy, are doing more than archiving. Diehard coders are building robust systems to monitor ongoing changes to government websites. And they’re keeping track of what’s already been removed—because yes, the pruning has already begun.
...
They can’t be sure when this data disappeared (or if anyone backed it up first). Scientists who understand it better will have to go back and take a look. But meantime, DataRefuge and EDGI understand that they need to be monitoring those changes and deletions.
...
By the end of the day, the group had collectively loaded 8,404 NASA and DOE webpages onto the Internet Archive, effectively covering the entirety of NASA’s earth science efforts.
And they have archived over 25 gigabytes from 101 public datasets, and are branching out to other resources, such as a National Parks Service "data portal that contains everything from park visitation stats to GIS boundaries to inventories of species."
posted by filthy light thief at 8:59 PM on February 14 [72 favorites]


IOKIYAR = It's OK If You're A Republican
posted by maudlin at 9:00 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


IOKIYAR

It's Okay If You're A Reptillianshitgibbon. Or Republican.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:00 PM on February 14 [8 favorites]


I know this article was poo-pooed at the time, but we're going to have to revisit this now right?

Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia? By Franklin Foer

--

Ehhh. That "Trump server talking to Russia" story has a lot of problems. The Intercept got into some of them.


I dunno, I've been waiting for that to pop off again after Liz Spayd hinted that maybe the FBI's "all clear" on the server that the NYT reported wasn't so "all clear" and it was pressure from the FBI to table it for now. And none of the takedowns of the initial reporting have really addressed how the Alfa server reconnected after the Trump server popped up again with a new hostname. And that Intercept article submits as evidence old spam emails provided by Spectrum Health (a DeVos family interest) and Alfa bank, and, well, the trustworthiness of those sources is central to the whole thing. Aaaand, if I owned a hotel chain that threw a bunch of spammy emails around, an email server would be a phenomenal cover for a handful of back-channel messages.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:00 PM on February 14 [12 favorites]


while we're at it...waht's IOKIYAR?

This entire administration.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:03 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Michael Ian Black thinks we're at step 2:

1. Flynn resigns over Russia.
2. Questions about Trump & Russia abound.
3. Trump decides he needs to "act tough" on Russia.
4. Pee tape!
posted by maudlin at 9:04 PM on February 14 [15 favorites]


The server thing seems very complicated and limited. If the parties were calling each other with regular phones, who would have been bothering with a Sekrit Server to handle Super Sekrit emails?
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:07 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


How long can the intelligence community keep leaking until the Trump administration compels it to stop? There has been talk of formal investigations about the leaks.

It seems to be a race against time. Can the intelligence community get enough stuff out there before it is gagged, in order to light a fire under Congress?

My guess is that the Trump White House will survive, although the Bad Guys like Miller and Bannon will be forced out by the GOP faction.

It's really sad that this palace intrigue bullshit has taken over political reporting. Little to no national reporting on, for example, the effort in Iowa to strip public sector workers of collective bargaining rights. Those rights will be gone by the end of the week.

Or whatever the hell is going on in Yemen. A score of civilians slaughtered in a raid planned directly by Trump, Bannon and Kuschner.
posted by My Dad at 9:08 PM on February 14 [10 favorites]


The bureau, Comey also insisted, shouldn’t be “the truth police,” according to an official familiar with his thinking at the time. “In other words, if there’s not a violation of law here, it’s not our job to go and tell the vice president that he’s been lied to.”

Jim Comey sure has some creative ideas about what is and isn't included in his job description.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:11 PM on February 14 [46 favorites]


with more evidence of collusion between the russians and team shitstain, he'll have to resign, right?

If the Nixon years are anything to go by, he'll keep bleeding from similar leaks until 2018 (1972) at which point the blood will translate into commanding Democrat majorities in the House and Senate, and they'll investigate and impeach him.

Or the Republicans might decide to impeach him because he's ideologically out of sync with them (not really a starve-the-beast maniac.) They might use this issue as the pretext, but really it'll be to get their agenda implemented.

How long can the intelligence community keep leaking until the Trump administration compels it to stop? There has been talk of formal investigations about the leaks.

If the Nixon years are anything to go by, the US bureaucracy as a whole can keep these leaks up for a very long time.
posted by Coventry at 9:12 PM on February 14 [9 favorites]


How long can the intelligence community keep leaking until the Trump administration compels it to stop? There has been talk of formal investigations about the leaks.

It seems to be a race against time. Can the intelligence community get enough stuff out there before it is gagged, in order to light a fire under Congress?


How do you expect Trump to gag them and compel them to stop? Tell them 'stop, or be punished?' If those folks want stuff out they'll get it out no matter what Trump does.
posted by Jalliah at 9:14 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Can the intelligence community get enough stuff out there before it is gagged, in order to light a fire under Congress?

I think the fire is lit, and tomorrow will not be a slow news day. Congresscritters will want to get on the non-treasonous side of this story quickly, and the public- you and me and Joe and Joan six-pack- are getting angrier and angrier.
posted by vrakatar at 9:15 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]



And if Trump somehow does manage to gag them with some sort of US legal threat then all they have to do is get their buddies in other countries to leak for them. They're already all working together on this anyways.
posted by Jalliah at 9:16 PM on February 14


How long can the intelligence community keep leaking until the Trump administration compels it to stop?

A long time. Most of these people aren't subject to political appointments, they've been there for many administrations in a row. The Trump administration is tiny, just in raw numbers. He hasn't even nominated anyone for crucial lower level positions yet, where the real work is done day to day. There's 2 million career employees, and it's not hard to be smarter about hiding your contacts than calling the Russia ambassador on a monitored line. These people for the most part just want to get back to doing their jobs, they're leaking because Trump is making that impossible.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:17 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


America's spies anonymously took down Michael Flynn. That is deeply worrying.
The United States is much better off without Michael Flynn serving as national security adviser. But no one should be cheering the way he was brought down.

The whole episode is evidence of the precipitous and ongoing collapse of America's democratic institutions — not a sign of their resiliency.
posted by cell divide at 9:17 PM on February 14 [12 favorites]


And if Trump somehow does manage to gag them with some sort of US legal threat then all they have to do is get their buddies in other countries to leak for them. They're already all working together on this anyways.

Huh. Well I did tell my 14-year-old son over the dinner table tonight that he's witnessing history at the moment. He didn't get it. "Aren't we witnessing history every day, Dad?"
posted by My Dad at 9:19 PM on February 14 [10 favorites]


America's spies anonymously took down Michael Flynn. That is deeply worrying.

An a non-American (a "foreigner", if you will), from the outside what's happening in the US looks like something out of an autocratic country. Egypt. Uzbekistan. Thailand.
posted by My Dad at 9:21 PM on February 14 [37 favorites]


if it's not the job of the intelligence community to reveal foreign influence at the highest levels of government then i guess i don't know what their job is?
posted by murphy slaw at 9:21 PM on February 14 [107 favorites]


I don't doubt that people would say Reince is trying to clean house, he's the only party guy in the place. Everyone else is New York trash.

From what I'm reading, I'm not so solid on the intelligence community role here. Congresspeople can leak, too.
posted by rhizome at 9:21 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


How long can the intelligence community keep leaking until the Trump administration compels it to stop?

Well, he can't fire them all and at this point there must be safety in numbers. It seems like it would be easier to find one of them not leaking information at this stage than the reverse.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:22 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


It seems to be a race against time.

what? you think that there is some magical shutoff valve? that seems pretty naive Dad.
posted by futz at 9:22 PM on February 14


Aside from investigation and impeachment, my other hope here is that this really kicks the governments of France and Germany into "don't fuck around with this and let it fester, act NOW" territory. Le Pen's blatant Russia backing especially needs to be dealt with. I hope the investigations shine some light on things France and Germany can use, and our intelligence services can shift to helping them out with untangling international Russian influence when the immediate threat at home is dealt with.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:22 PM on February 14 [20 favorites]


America's spies anonymously took down Michael Flynn. That is deeply worrying.
Unelected intelligence analysts work for the president, not the other way around.
I thought after Nixon we ALL agreed this was a bad idea.
posted by Talez at 9:23 PM on February 14 [26 favorites]


And that Intercept article submits as evidence old spam emails provided by Spectrum Health (a DeVos family interest)

I still don't see the whole Spectrum Health thing. I mean, sure the DeVos family has given lots of money to it (hence the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital) but that is true for every major institution in the West Michigan area. Maybe I misunderstood the smoking-gun nature of the email server Russia - Spectrum - DeVos whatever-it-is when this came up before, but it's not like Spectrum Health is some podunk 30-bed hospital in the middle of nowhere that gets used as some weird pass-through for DeVos chicanery, John Grisham-style almost? Spectrum's a legit, fairly large hospital system. (Full disclosure: I grew up in GR and my mum was for decades a nurse at several of the hospitals that are now part of Spectrum.)

I see that there's a DeVos (presumably related - I don't recognize her name) on the board as secretary and that Dick DeVos (Betsy's husband) is an Emeritus Trustee, which as far as I would guess means merely "guy that gave a lot of money to us so we gave him an honorary seat on the board".

If there's more to the story, sure, but my gut tells me this is pizzagate territory. I don't think the DeVos family is on the Russian-spy side of the Administration, they're pretty firmly in the theocratic / business-establishment corner.

sotto voce: and, if it comes to an Article 25-style soft coup? I think Betsy DeVos would sign right up.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:24 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


That piece cell divide linked is, like the Bloomberg piece, too cutesy by half: [my emphasis in quote]
It is the role of Congress to investigate the president and those who work for him. If Congress resists doing its duty, out of a mixture of self-interest and cowardice, the American people have no choice but to try and hold the government's feet to the fire, demanding action with phone calls, protests, and, ultimately, votes. That is a democratic response to the failure of democracy.
O hai have you met Paul Ryan (R), Jason Chaffetz (R) and Mitch McConnell (R)? They have something in common: can you guess what it is? You may have seen the latter's previous roles in "filibuster everything" and "deny a president a chance to choose a Supreme Court Justice."
posted by holgate at 9:25 PM on February 14 [13 favorites]


The CBC radio commentary I heard today described routine recordings of Flynne's conversations with Russian embassy as the source of info leading to his resignation, while the NYT article about campaign contacts talks about intercepts and investigations...

Kathryn Stoner, a prof from Stanford, was the person on CBC's Power and Politics talking about it being routine to record conversations of officials with foriegn diplomats... So my question is whether it's routine for all conversations of campaign teams to be monitored, or is that atypical? Or just if they talk to foreigners? And how would they know if not already monitoring?
I mean I want drumpf impeached (as a Canadian outside observer, but still) but I'd be very disturbed if there were hone taps on the political parties in Canada. Am I missing something?
posted by chapps at 9:26 PM on February 14


what? you think that there is some magical shutoff valve? that seems pretty naive Dad.

Not naive. Unlike you, I have experience working in government.
posted by My Dad at 9:27 PM on February 14


Unelected intelligence analysts work for the president, not the other way around.

Like everyone else in the government, unelected intelligence analysts, and EPA scientists, and park rangers work for the American people. What were they supposed to do, turn all this info over to the very Traitor-in-Chief whose people are implicated in the collusion and keep their mouths shut when he promptly buried it?
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:27 PM on February 14 [102 favorites]


From what I'm reading, I'm not so solid on the intelligence community role here. Congresspeople can leak, too.

I hadn't thought about that but I can see it. Both parties know that the Republicans won't move on Trump until they absolutely are forced to. The Democrats with access to intel, and McCain and Graham if they mean a word of what they say, all have an interest in stoking the fire to hold McConnell and Ryan's feet to. McCain and Graham also want political cover. There's actually a lot of motivation for Congressfolks to be a cutout for these sources.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:29 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


This tweet from October seems appropriate.

@tomscocca:
Nothing about Trump has ever looked kinda bad at first but turned out OK. He's always worse than you thought.
posted by chris24 at 9:31 PM on February 14 [97 favorites]


So my question is whether it's routine for all conversations of campaign teams to be monitored, or is that atypical? Or just if they talk to foreigners? And how would they know if not already monitoring?

It's not that campaigns are routinely monitored, but many known foreign agents such as ambassadors and senior staff, especially from countries as important/sensitive as Russia -- their communications are going to be routinely monitored, as much as possible. Which is how Flynn got caught -- he wasn't the target of the CIA/NSA monitoring, the Russian ambassador was. Flynn just happened (so to speak) to be the guy on the other end of the line.

That is, until the intelligence folks realized this was a thing, and began investigating Flynn specifically.

... or so I interpret it.
posted by suelac at 9:32 PM on February 14 [9 favorites]


Yes, there are phone taps on every phone line. The only question is if anyone is recording.
posted by Yowser at 9:34 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


My personal reaction to "the spies are going after the civilians":

Professional civil servants are a line of defense against autocracy. They aren't the first line. We have three branches of government and you usually see them talked about when it comes to checks and balances. We profesionalized them after the Gilded Age precisely to deal with corruption. So we also hope the professional class, the ones you can't fire, will provide competence and integrity. They are not supposed to have to do those things but it happens, from a lowly police officer not ripping up a ticket for one of the mayor's cronies, up to someone like Ellsberg leaking.

Only in autocracies are these people willing to do the executives' bidding. When Trump came in the one reason I wasn't quite as despairing as others is that these people are an additional line of defense. Now I admit when I said this I was thinking of EPA scientists or HUD bureaucrats. And bureaucrats can be obstructionist for bad reasons as well as good, for sure. It's case by case; not like I support Comey's approach to selective publicity and indeed I think it was unconscionable.

But in this case? Here it sure seems like they tried to go through channels, with Yates briefing the president on this promptly before she was fired. This is all so bizarre and I can't see through the haze of confusion but I think it is far more probable than not that this is democracy working, not failing. It's not a coup. It's the people the republic appointed to uphold the law actually upholding the law. In extreme and risky situations.
posted by mark k at 9:34 PM on February 14 [103 favorites]


in all the hubbub i forgot to mention that david brooks' column today is titled "How To Resist", and i scrutinized his author photo pretty carefully and there's no goatee so i guess we aren't actually in the mirror universe?
posted by murphy slaw at 9:35 PM on February 14 [12 favorites]


I mean I want drumpf impeached (as a Canadian outside observer, but still) but I'd be very disturbed if there were hone taps on the political parties in Canada. Am I missing something?

On the one hand, the CIA might not care enough about what Tom Mulcair's having for breakfast to bug his lines. On the other, they probably can do it if they want so maybe they are just in case it comes in handy.

My guess would be the latter.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:35 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


in all the hubbub i forgot to mention that david brooks' column today is titled "How To Resist", and i scrutinized his author photo pretty carefully and there's no goatee so i guess we aren't actually in the mirror universe?

Dunno. It is possible David Brooks is not evil, just completely lack of virtue. So mirror universe David Brooks is actually exactly the same as our David Brooks.
posted by mark k at 9:37 PM on February 14 [20 favorites]


But don't worry, our President has not the slightest clue who Tom Mulcair (or probably Stephen Harper, even) are and wouldn't have the patience for a 15-second explanation thereon so, uh. Yeah.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:37 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Well I got to get some sleep but I'm all giddy and nervous and engaged. Setting an early alarm so I can scan the news in the morning, Tally ho, good people of the blue. The shitstain is going down, hopefully sooner rather than later. I know Pence sucks as well but he might also be compromised, and it will be ugly and messy and dangerous, but sometimes we have to learn the hard way. You'd think we would have learned enough with Nixon. I guess not.
posted by vrakatar at 9:37 PM on February 14


if it's not the job of the intelligence community to reveal foreign influence at the highest levels of government then i guess i don't know what their job is?

There is a history of the Dulles brothers and wall street interests you might want to spend some time exploring.

Elsewhere: The CIA as Economic Spy: The Misuse of U.S. Intelligence After the Cold War
posted by rough ashlar at 9:41 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


CSIS did spy on Tommy Douglas, father of Canadian Medicare, I guess that's what made me think of it.
posted by chapps at 9:42 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


...evidence of the precipitous and ongoing collapse of America's democratic institutions — not a sign of their resiliency.
America's democratic institutions have been growing less and less resilient for decades. It was inevitable that the thinning ice of our system would be broken through... and it would be a Republican elephant to do it; it's just almost entertaining to see the obese buffoon strapped to a giant TRUMP sign riding it. There will be the need for a lot of rebuilding (the Oroville Dam is too good an analogy). But there are fewer people of good faith close enough to the process than there were when Nixon cracked the ice in the '70s (and even back then the repairs were inadequate and too cosmetic). These are the "interesting times" they warned us all about.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:45 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


(my comment was not intended to indicate that i think the IC or indeed the US Government in general are a force for good, just that if there is any justification for a sovereign nation to have an intelligence service, the current situation is it)
posted by murphy slaw at 9:45 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


(I wasn't thinking of the US spying on Canadian parties, more about what the internal us rules are to kick-start monitoring their own political syayem... Like do they get a warrant before tapping the phone of the trump team (or Hilary team or Jill stein). Etc.?
posted by chapps at 9:46 PM on February 14


Like, the assumption is always that because we are far left, we're the smartest people in the room, the ones who really know how it is, and everyone else does whatever they do out of ignorance or hypocrisy.

Husband is an anarcho-syndicalist or whatever. I'm... well, whatever else I am, I'm a realist, so I tend to align myself with the left and Democrats when necessary (which is frequently because I'm a boring every-election voter). I've gotten the distinct impression this year while conversing with said spouse that I frequently surprise him with my wokeness. Don't look at my voting record and think I don't know what I'm doing and that I don't understand some shit. I understand, I just disagree on some key tactical points. And a lot of my disagreement comes from knowing that, as a woman, when shit goes down, it'll go down on me harder and faster. You say you want a revolution, etc... So, yeah, a little less smug coming from that corner would be appreciated. I'd like to work together on this, but I'd also like to be respected as not an idiot, so.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:46 PM on February 14 [94 favorites]


I wonder if all the people mad at the intelligence agencies for leaking this stuff about Trump would also be mad at Claus von Stauffenberg and Carl Goerdeler for "plotting treason"...
posted by dhens at 9:47 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Aaaaand CNN's version: "constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence." Multiple sources, multiple agencies.

Special sauce: the intel included intercepts of Russian operatives talking among themselves and boasting about special access to the orange menace, and that the conversations included people involved in the Family Business, not just the campaign.
posted by holgate at 9:48 PM on February 14 [91 favorites]


well that escalated quickly
posted by murphy slaw at 9:49 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]


Special sauce: the intel included intercepts of Russian operatives talking among themselves and boasting about special access to the orange menace, and that the conversations included people involved in the Family Business, not just the campaign.

Hi there Michael Cohen, I was wondering when you'd be back in the news again!
posted by jason_steakums at 9:50 PM on February 14 [11 favorites]


Can the intelligence community get enough stuff out there before it is gagged, in order to light a fire under Congress?

i apologize for offending you but there is no 'pull a lever/stop leaks' safeguard. Perhaps you meant something else but that was my interpretation. Leaks will find a way, Watergate for example.

Not naive. Unlike you, I have experience working in government.

How could you possibly know that?
posted by futz at 9:51 PM on February 14 [11 favorites]


Oh man. I have an early flight tomorrow so I'm going to have to pack this in, but Godspeed, fourth estate. Tomorrow is going to be interesting.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:52 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Sally Yates is a real good example of what happens to people who "work for President Trump" and go by the book in approaching the administration with info about its problems. Just how much more severely would somebody be dealt with who, unlike her, is not a prominent public figure with an exhaustive well-known reputation?
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:55 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]


in all the hubbub i forgot to mention that david brooks' column today is titled "How To Resist", and i scrutinized his author photo pretty carefully and there's no goatee so i guess we aren't actually in the mirror universe?

Oh sweet baby Jesus, David Brooks is wrong on so many levels. (column)

So first off, he thinks there are three possibilities: a "repressive kleptocracy", which calls for a Bonhoeffer; "stagnation and corruption", which calls for a St. Benedict (withdrawal from Washington politics, quietism, local activism); and just good old ineptitude, which calls for a Gerald Ford.

Unsurprisingly, Brooks takes the most milquetoast option: "Personally, I don’t think we’re at a Bonhoeffer moment or a Benedict moment. I think we’re approaching a Ford moment. If the first three weeks are any guide, this administration will not sustain itself for a full term. We’ll need a Ford, or rather a generation of Fords to restore effective governance."

OK so that's stupid point #1.

The second, and more stupid thing in my opinion, is that Brooks' idea of resisting the most alarming (and most quickly discarded) possibility -- that of authoritarian kleptocracy is the Bonhoeffer option, which he describes thusly:
Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor who became an anti-Nazi dissident. Between 1933 and his capture in 1943, he condemned the Reich, protested the persecution of the Jews, organized underground seminaries and joined the German resistance. In the face of fascism, he wrote, it was not enough to simply “bandage the victims under the wheels of injustice, but jam a spoke into the wheel itself.”

If we are in a Bonhoeffer moment, then aggressive nonviolent action makes sense: marching in the streets, blocking traffic, disrupting town halls, vehement rhetoric to mobilize mass opposition.
Conveniently forgetting that Dietrich Bonhoeffer was martyred by the Nazis on April 9, 1945 at the Flossenbürg concentration camp, where he was being held not for protesting at fucking town halls, but in connection with a failed coup attempt (my understanding is that he wasn't directly involved but was quite probably aware of the plot).

In conclusion: Ugh, David Brooks.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:56 PM on February 14 [29 favorites]


(I wasn't thinking of the US spying on Canadian parties, more about what the internal us rules are to kick-start monitoring their own political syayem... Like do they get a warrant before tapping the phone of the trump team (or Hilary team or Jill stein). Etc.?

Ah.

Yeah, they're probably doing that too, although I think the CIA is not supposed to be involved with domestic surveillance of US citizen --> US citizen communications.

But, who's going to know?
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:57 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Hi there Michael Cohen, I was wondering when you'd be back in the news again!

"Says who?"

"The spies? All of them."
posted by kirkaracha at 10:03 PM on February 14 [25 favorites]


But, who's going to know?

In this administration, everyone. And rather quickly, apparently.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 10:04 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


omg, NYT headline right now

White House Upheaval Complicates Netanyahu Visit

you keep doin' you, grey lady
posted by murphy slaw at 10:08 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]


Just how much more severely would somebody be dealt with who, unlike her, is not a prominent public figure with an exhaustive well-known reputation?

Can't fire 'em all. And can't fire the people who are no longer in government. It's a good reminder that the Family Business kept its secrets by keeping things in the family (plus a small group of trusted execs) while having people outside that group sign extensive NDAs. Omertà and SEE YOU IN COURT aren't good training for handling leaks from large institutional entities that don't trust you.
posted by holgate at 10:11 PM on February 14 [14 favorites]


Yeah, they're probably doing that too, although I think the CIA is not supposed to be involved with domestic surveillance of US citizen --> US citizen communications.
But, who's going to know?


Yes, who will know if there are no whistleblowers or leakers.

How did the CIA backed Gladio effort become known to the world?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:12 PM on February 14


I would have to think pretty much everyone, including the Russian Ambassador, would have assumed that the US taps the Russian Ambassador's ordinary telephone. We're talking about two countries that have spent the better part of a century coming up with increasingly clever ways to spy on each other's embassies (seriously, go learn about "The Thing," a ridiculously clever passive listening device inserted into a plaque of The Great Seal of the United States that was presented to the US Ambassador by school children in the 40s, and then there was the time in the 70s the Russians built bugs into IBM Selectric typewriters used at the US Embassy).

So the question is whether: Flynn is too stupid to actually realize this, despite an increasingly unhinged career in military intelligence; he realized it but didn't care because he thought he could get away with it; or, he and the Ambassador took some steps, fruitlessly, to secure their communications. No matter which one happened, none of these scenarios paint a pretty picture for Flynn.
posted by zachlipton at 10:12 PM on February 14 [29 favorites]


Gah! Does he put that shit on by himself?

Yes he does, or at least as recently as last year did. I haven't shot him but know two photographers who have. Between being a germaphobe and not liking anyone touching him, and a control freak who thinks he can do anything better, he doesn't like/want/allow MUAs to do it. And it makes color toning/correcting portraits of him a nightmare. Oh, and the white eyes? Not just spots missed by the orange, but actually intentional and added because he thinks it makes his eyes pop and makes him look more powerful.
posted by chris24 at 9:18 PM on February 14


He's a germaphobe? Hmm.... suddenly we have greater insight into why he would include having someone pee on him during foreplay...
posted by Nanukthedog at 10:12 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


I really think that Donnie genuinely believed that this corruption and collusion is how the Presidency really worked and if Obama could do it, it would be a cakewalk for him. Never crossed his mind that very few Presidents have even approached this line, and that those that did were smarter and better at it than him and still mostly got caught.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:15 PM on February 14 [60 favorites]



Flynn is too stupid to actually realize this, despite an increasingly unhinged career in military intelligence;


DIA vs CIA/NSA difference in remit, techniques and focus is enough, especially for a guy whose last job actually producing was sometime in the 90s.

Edit: Flynn maybe oversaw the DCS expansion, which makes his carelessness very odd.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:21 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


I know long Twitter threads are annoying to read, but this thread is worth it. It's by Jesse Lehrich, who was Hilary Clinton's foreign policy advisor.

In it, he lays out "[t]he depth, breadth, and nature of Trump camp's Russian connections," detailing the links between 11 (!) individuals in the DJT inner circle, backed up with links and images.

It's... a lot.
posted by Superplin at 10:24 PM on February 14 [46 favorites]


> I really think that Donnie genuinely believed that this corruption and collusion is how the Presidency really worked and if Obama could do it, it would be a cakewalk for him.

So they drank their own Kool-aid? Given how utterly stupid this idea sounds, I think you've hit the nail on the head. Like, What does Trump see when he looks in Trump's Mirror?
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:25 PM on February 14 [7 favorites]


So they drank their own Kool-aid? Given how utterly stupid this idea sounds, I think you've hit the nail on the head. Like, What does Trump see when he looks in Trump's Mirror?

I'd also argue that corruption and collusion is also how Donald has done business his whole life. It's what he knows, maybe all he really knows. He thinks gov't is just like another business so why wouldn't he just keep doing the same shit while governing. If he also genuinely believes that Obama did it and therefore it's easy then it just re-enforces the way he thinks the rest of the world and business works.
posted by Jalliah at 10:40 PM on February 14 [25 favorites]


Michael Ian Black thinks we're at step 2:

1. Flynn resigns over Russia.
2. Questions about Trump & Russia abound.
3. Trump decides he needs to "act tough" on Russia.
4. Pee tape!



Of course, #4 could also be: Russia apologizes, is rewarded with lifting of sanctions.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:42 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


One small point: I don't think the problems with the Yemen operation and the serviceman dying are any more Trump's and Bannon's fault than the fiasco in Iran in 1979 was Carter's.
posted by BentFranklin at 10:43 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


> I really think that Donnie genuinely believed that this corruption and collusion is how the Presidency really worked and if Obama could do it, it would be a cakewalk for him.

So they drank their own Kool-aid? Given how utterly stupid this idea sounds, I think you've hit the nail on the head. Like, What does Trump see when he looks in Trump's Mirror?


Corruption and collusion is how the Trump family run a lemonade stand. He just assumes that's how everything is done.
posted by ckape at 10:45 PM on February 14 [10 favorites]


"I know long Twitter threads are annoying to read, but this thread is worth it. It's by Jesse Lehrich, who was Hilary Clinton's foreign policy advisor."

Storified for your convenience.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 10:49 PM on February 14 [41 favorites]


DIA vs CIA/NSA difference in remit, techniques and focus is enough, especially for a guy whose last job actually producing was sometime in the 90s.

Edit: Flynn maybe oversaw the DCS expansion, which makes his carelessness very odd.

Foreign communications are officially fair game. Embassies are foreign soil. All embassies, everywhere at every time, are aware of this and are aware that host governments will be attempting to break their comms. This is so much fair game where people don't even bother complaining when spying is detected. Anyone who thinks you can ring a foreign ambassador and avoid either the whole conversation being listened to and/or the metadata for encrypted communication having extreme attention paid to it is remarkably naive.

Acting in that way when you were a DIA head and soon-to-be-NSA is flat out insane levels of incompetence, because either you think that it's not being listened to or you think that that contact being discovered is not going to result in a really heavy/career limiting political price being paid. Either suggests idiocy.
posted by jaduncan at 10:52 PM on February 14 [8 favorites]


It's what he knows, maybe all he really knows.

In more fairness than I'd usually grant, he's had plenty of encounters that objectively count as collusion and corruption on the part of gov't: finagling eminent domain stuff, greasing wheels with campaign donations, etc. City politics in NYC and state politics in NY, NJ and FL aren't exactly the cleanest. And that's even before considering the overseas ventures with politically-connected partners. When $25k and a Mar-a-Lago fundraiser is apparently enough to get Pam Bondi[*] to drop an investigation into your fake university, or when Betsy DeVos can buy off most of the GOP Senate for a cool million, why wouldn't you think that grubby transactional politics applies to foreign relations and national security too?

* hm, haven't heard much about her rumoured White House job since early January.
posted by holgate at 10:56 PM on February 14 [16 favorites]


One small point: I don't think the problems with the Yemen operation and the serviceman dying are any more Trump's and Bannon's fault than the fiasco in Iran in 1979 was Carter's.

The question in both cases is whether the sitting president asked the right questions to get the information necessary to make a sound, reasoned, and informed decision about whether to give the green light to the raid. You can sort of buy that Carter maybe just had rotten luck, but it might still be the case that he should have been asking more penetrating questions about whether the equipment had been tested in desert conditions and so on. It's hard to imagine Trump asking much.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:57 PM on February 14 [8 favorites]


I really think that Donnie genuinely believed that this corruption and collusion is how the Presidency really worked and if Obama could do it, it would be a cakewalk for him.

Yeah, I think Trump does assume "both sides do it" which explains a lot of the Trump's Mirror phenomena (I do X, therefore they probably also do X, so by accusing them of X there's a good chance I'll be proven right), and I also think the same mentality extends further to the "low information" voters in general.

When Clinton called out the Putin puppet in the debates, I think many people either thought (A) she's making up shade to throw just like the other side does, or (B) her info is good but so is the info being shouted by the doomsayers about Benghazi, emailgate, etc, etc, and they're probably equally corrupt.

Without really getting deep into fact-checking, they can't imagine an unbalanced world where one side has alarming true information, and the other is spewing bogus garbage. It also doesn't help when team garbage has the FBI director, Russian hackers, and an army of disinformation trolls at their disposal.
posted by p3t3 at 11:05 PM on February 14 [52 favorites]




When Clinton called out the Putin puppet in the debates, I think many people either thought (A) she's making up shade to throw just like the other side does, or (B) her info is good but so is the info being shouted by the doomsayers about Benghazi, emailgate, etc, etc, and they're probably equally corrupt.

I think many of those people are just extraordinarily self-interested and xenophobic. Those of a certain age and geographic origin saw their birthright position in a lifelong factory job erode under one Clinton so they obviously hate the next Clinton who also has the temerity to not know her place as a woman. At the same time her opponent flatters them as the only "real Americans" and promises to turn back time for them. That's basically catnip to insular, authoritarian communities. Everything else was entertsinment and noise.
posted by SakuraK at 11:42 PM on February 14 [15 favorites]


Don't take that @trump_regrets Twitter account seriously, half the submissions are trolls, the other half are people regretting their vote because they feel Trump is getting soft and not being enough of an asshole.
posted by PenDevil at 11:48 PM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Well yeah, it's a classic snowjob. I know my mom had called Hillary a bitch in the past and I stole the joke from wherever that went "to think part of the reason we're dealing with Trump because a bunch of people thought Hillary was a bitch."

I don't think the problems with the Yemen operation and the serviceman dying are any more Trump's and Bannon's fault than the fiasco in Iran in 1979 was Carter's.

Totally different. The hostage rescue thing was totally botched in execution, the timing was fine (for all I know) and perhaps most importantly, no part of the failure was due to resistance. The rescue was a shitshow in results, the Yemen thing apparently resembled a shitshow in practice. Black Hawk Down style (though to be fair, the BHD problems started catastrophically, more like an Eagle Claw that turned into a Yemen). Carter gave the go to an operation that for all intents and purposes should not have had the problems it did, Trump apparently shot his wad. I feel bad not having better characterizations of Trumps decision, but from what I understand [sic] it wasn't a particularly time-critical task.

@JoeMande
Trump is playing four-dimensional Candyland

posted by rhizome at 11:51 PM on February 14 [12 favorites]


Kellyanne, this is stupid stuff, you eat your victuals fast enough

Credit to A. E. Housman. The meter reminded me of Lauer's admonition and Kellyanne's tall and portentous tales remind me of the Stropshire lad. If only she had his capacity for self-assessment.
posted by SakuraK at 12:26 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Jester's Court is worth checking out for more details of Trump's entourage's obligations to Russia. Tillerson, Secretary of State, representative of Exxon, and recipient of Putin's Friendship Award is who we really need to get out of office. Does a half trillion USD in oil pumped through Crimea tax-free, mutually enriching Putin and Tillerson, seem like enough reason for Russia to interfere in our election to put a pliable friend in office? https://jesterscourt.cc/2017/01/28/russian-infiltration-us-federal-government/
posted by SakuraK at 1:01 AM on February 15 [6 favorites]


All in all I think its a tossup whether Trump or William Henry Harrison had the worst first month.
posted by Justinian at 1:09 AM on February 15 [17 favorites]


NYT: What Are Your Rights If Border Agents Want To Search Your Phone?:
Can agents force you to unlock your phone or laptop?

No. But they can ask you to comply voluntarily and make the experience rather uncomfortable if you resist. Travelers must decide how much trouble they’re willing to put up with.

You may end up losing your device, since agents could seize the device for weeks before it is returned. They could also copy the data. (That data must be destroyed “as expeditiously as possible” if it is not valuable, according to Homeland Security policy.)

. . . Hassan Shibly, the chief executive director of Council on American-Islamic Relations-Florida, suggested that people buy “burner phones” that they can discard before entering the airport.

Ms. Cope said people should power down their devices before getting to the airport, and encrypt the data they travel with. (Wired has a guide to the technical aspects of keeping your data safe.)
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:24 AM on February 15 [8 favorites]


May have been linked here, but I can't find it with my googlefu. Can you link that Wired article Cybercoitus?
posted by thebotanyofsouls at 1:53 AM on February 15


I'd like an SNL short that shows Spicer in some state of existential despair. Like as he's answering a question, trying to wrap his lips around some stubborn word, he flashes onto the words of dear old dad saying something like with great power comes great responsibility and then back in the present, Spicer is trying to bleat desperately about the erosion of trust, and there's another flash to Spicer reading some think piece about the rise of facism, and cut back to him bleating about fake news, with a final cut of him on like a desolate beach or maybe amongst the smoking ruins of D.C. screaming *I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!*

I dunno, I've been slightly Spicey obsessed since I heard him sort of snarl "Happy Valentines Day!" yesterday. It's like, he probably goes home and just tunes out with sports and porn, but what if there is some lost soul within Spicey, fighting to be free?
posted by angrycat at 2:24 AM on February 15 [7 favorites]


Special sauce: the intel included intercepts of Russian operatives talking among themselves and boasting about special access to the orange menace, and that the conversations included people involved in the Family Business, not just the campaign.

I would put money on ole DJ Dunce being involved somehow.
posted by sallybrown at 2:33 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


So the question is whether: Flynn is too stupid to actually realize this, despite an increasingly unhinged career in military intelligence; he realized it but didn't care because he thought he could get away with it; or, he and the Ambassador took some steps, fruitlessly, to secure their communications. No matter which one happened, none of these scenarios paint a pretty picture for Flynn.

I really think that Donnie genuinely believed that this corruption and collusion is how the Presidency really worked and if Obama could do it, it would be a cakewalk for him. Never crossed his mind that very few Presidents have even approached this line, and that those that did were smarter and better at it than him and still mostly got caught.

I think the second quote here answers the first. I can't imagine that Flynn would not know they were being surveilled. Security runs so deep and is so near instinctive in all parts of the military, I think even demented people would uphold precautions. But I also think that everyone in the Trump team, including Flynn, has an only rudimentary understanding of government, and that they all imagined that when they got the reins, they would be all-powerful and able to be all-corrupt. Thus, any "tapes" there might be on them could simply be disappeared.
I think that when the Obama administration refrained from outing them before the election, their conclusion was not that Obama was doing the correct thing, but that he was weak, and by extension that Clinton was, too. I think this empowered them, and led them to ever bolder and stupider acts/crimes. I think they are genuinely confounded by the reality of government — nothing they assumed is there, and they are unable to decode what is actually there. Even the corrupt congress works in a different way than what they imagined.

On the other hand, this boundless ignorance makes them incredibly difficult to decode for Washington - pols, pundits and journos alike. While we are all here sitting on the back bench screaming "look, look, they are doing (some crazy act/crime)", people immersed in politics can't believe their own eyes or ears and imagine things such as Steve Bannon is some mastermind behind the scenes managing a huge plot. (Spoiler: he's not, he is just an old drunk who believes in conspiracies because he can't figure out how stuff works)

Oh, and Putin got incredibly lucky. But luck is preparation meeting opportunity.
posted by mumimor at 2:37 AM on February 15 [38 favorites]


All in all I think its a tossup whether Trump or William Henry Harrison had the worst first month.

Well, there's still 6 days to go until a month is up.
posted by MikeKD at 2:52 AM on February 15 [13 favorites]


Incompetence saving us from malice.

When the brilliant, incisive Stephen Miller got out onto the Sunday shows and shots his volley across the bows of any mere mortal foolish enough to even dream of thinking of contemplating any kind of attempt to diminish the mighty orange hued glory of the current president... it occurred to me that these guys are a bunch of fucking yahoos.

The tactic of leaving them in the administration and doing absolutely nothing but pout and preen and proclaiming for four years... might be a working strategy.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:52 AM on February 15 [8 favorites]


Bad people don't know they're bad. Flynn probably knew he was being recorded but didn't see it as a problem because in his mind he was obviously doing the right thing albeit in a discreet way.
posted by um at 2:53 AM on February 15


If Flynn was so sure he was doing the right thing, why lie about it?
posted by zachlipton at 2:57 AM on February 15 [6 favorites]


Russia invading Finland has traditionally gone very poorly for the Russians. SISU!!!!!!

This was before the Russians had nuclear weapons. That Finnish super-sniper who killed 800 Red Army soldiers and survived increasingly desperate carpet-bombing campaigns might not have come out so well against a tac nuke. Or alternatively, a Russia tired of Finnish resistance could decide to Hiroshima, say, Espoo or Rovaniemi or somewhere, and then another city, unless Finland unconditionally surrenders.
posted by acb at 2:59 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


If Flynn was so sure he was doing the right thing, why lie about it?

Cuz he's the only one cool enough to know the truth. I'm sure his mind is like, "well it's not like I was bragging about it."
posted by rhizome at 3:00 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


The whole campaign was built on lies. Lies are the new truth, after all, and Flynn rolled with it.
posted by mochapickle at 3:09 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure Flynn would have understood from the context of his instructions that he was supposed to keep his communications with the Russians secret, especially if he knew about the secret commission.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:15 AM on February 15


The tactic of leaving them in the administration and doing absolutely nothing but pout and preen and proclaiming for four years... might be a working strategy.

Relieving sanctions on Russia, threatening to destabilize NATO, pissing off Mexico to the extent that Mexico isn't going to buy our corn any more ...
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:33 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


Those of a certain age and geographic origin saw their birthright position in a lifelong factory job erode under one Clinton

Let us not contribute to the Trumpian meme machine. Absolute manufacturing employment peaked in the US in 1979. Since then there have been 20 years of Republican presidencies vs. 16 for Democrats. In absolute numbers the very sharp declines happened under republicans and modest but real recoveries happened under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The worst period of decline in manufacturing employment and real income for those with only a HS degree occurred under GW Bush. The "Clinton stole
muh factory jerb with NAFTA" line is actually, econometrically speaking, utter bullshit. Reagan stole your jerb. Bush 2 made sure you never got it back.
posted by spitbull at 4:23 AM on February 15 [151 favorites]


pissing off Mexico to the extent that Mexico isn't going to buy our corn any more

Oh, who cares? Whilst this sideshow was going on, Trump signed the executive order making it OK for US oil companies to bribe foreign governments and keep it a total secret.

Here's how it obviously works:

US Oil Exec: "Hey, brutal dickheaded dictator. Here's $Millions that you can keep for yourself. Just let us exploit the natural resources that rightfully belong to your people, and not to you personally. You get all the shit you want, and who cares about your population, yeah?"

Brutal dickheaded dictator: "Sounds good to me"

Population: "Fuck you both"

Radicals: "Fuck you both, but we have weapons and are willing to die"

Rest of population: "Well, better get heading for a safe Western country. Brutal dickheaded dictator is oppressing us, and that makes us refugees"

US and other Western population: "OMG! Refugees and radicals! Won't somebody save us?!??"

Rinse and repeat.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:25 AM on February 15 [55 favorites]


The good news is that whatever Trump does by executive order can be undone by executive order. The bad news is it'll take at least 4 years to do that.

Or two years if a miracle occurred. But that's not going to happen.
posted by Justinian at 4:29 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Here's hopefully a hint of things to come. Last night, Rs won the MN House seat 32B special election 53-47, which doesn't sound great until you realize that Trump won it by 29 points. In three months Rs lost 23 points.

Where it gets interesting is Tom Price's seat in GA (GA-6) was only won by Trump by one point. We really need to win that seat to send a message that a price (ha) will be paid for enabling Trump.
posted by chris24 at 4:31 AM on February 15 [39 favorites]


I have a question. Why isn't Russia denying any of this? I mean, they're confirming they had contact with people from the campaign before the election. And they have actually been saying the same thing since November.

Why? Wouldn't it make more sense for them to deny it? Also their media loudly praising Trump, wouldn't it be better for them to put a lid on that once he won? And this thing where they are expressing outrage over Flynn's ouster (saying that it shows the new administration has succumbed to Russiphobia after all)... I mean, why not play it cool? "Flynn? That dude. Barely know him. Why?"

Instead they are acting like jilted lovers. I don't get it.

(To be clear I think Putin absolutely did help Donald Trump get elected and that he has been Putin's puppet throughout the campaign, I just want to understand Russia's reaction to these developments.)
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:44 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


Here's hopefully a hint of things to come. Last night, Rs won the MN House seat 32B special election 53-47, which doesn't sound great until you realize that Trump won it by 29 points. In three months Rs lost 23 points.

Its more complicated than that; Trump greatly overperformed previous Republican candidates in MN32B (which means that district is bluer than his performance indicates) but greatly underperformed in GA-6. Hell, the Republicans only won MN32B by 2 points in 2012, and won it by 6 points this week. The evidence for an anti-Trump backlash there is mixed at best.
posted by Justinian at 4:44 AM on February 15 [10 favorites]


The worst period of decline in manufacturing employment and real income for those with only a HS degree occurred under GW Bush.

Overall, sure. But in some industries and some areas of the country the worst declines came post-NAFTA--the textile industry in the South and parts of New England being the most prominent example, with almost a million jobs lost from 1994-2005; most of that was due to the shifting of production to Mexico, China and elsewhere. Driving through Southern mill towns (places within an hour's drive of Atlanta) in the mid-'90's where the major employer had just closed, I didn't really see a lot of evidence of the supposedly booming economy. Job losses in auto manufacturing, steel, etc occurred earlier, yes, and a lot of those were as much due to automation as outsourcing/offshoring, but that's hardly the whole picture.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 4:48 AM on February 15 [4 favorites]


Lord Dampnut is on a multi-tweet rant about it all this morning, but this one is particularly rich. Maybe Russia isn't the best comparison for you to use right now.

@realDonaldTrump
Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?).Just like Russia
posted by chris24 at 4:49 AM on February 15 [6 favorites]


Democrats won a string of special elections in early 2009, before being utterly decimated in the 2010 Tea Party takeover.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:51 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


he forgot FAKE NEWS
posted by thelonius at 4:51 AM on February 15


he forgot FAKE NEWS

No, he tweeted that earlier.
posted by waitingtoderail at 4:53 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]



Trump has been tweeting a lot this past hour. Posting them all so it's easier to see where his head is at.

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 9m9 minutes ago
Crimea was TAKEN by Russia during the Obama Administration. Was Obama too soft on Russia?

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 23m23 minutes ago
Thank you to Eli Lake of The Bloomberg View - "The NSA & FBI...should not interfere in our politics...and is" Very serious situation for USA

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 32m32 minutes ago
Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?).Just like Russia

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 43m43 minutes ago
This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton's losing campaign.

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 1h1 hour ago

The fake news media is going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred. @MSNBC & @CNN are unwatchable. @foxandfriends is great!

posted by Jalliah at 4:53 AM on February 15 [12 favorites]


he forgot FAKE NEWS

Oh he hit that in an earlier tweet. It's a greatest hits morning. Fake news, this is just an excuse for Hillary's losing campaign, etc., etc.
posted by chris24 at 4:53 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Bob Corker, being interviewed on MSNBC on Morning Coffee Joe, literally just said "We need to not have any suspicion" as to connections between the administration and Russia.
posted by XMLicious at 4:55 AM on February 15


Is his position that these are conspiracy theories and fake news or is his position that these are damaging illegal leaks from intelligence agencies? MAKE UP YOUR GODDAMN MIND.
posted by Justinian at 4:55 AM on February 15 [17 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?).Just like Russia
David G. McAfee ‏@DavidGMcAfee 34m34 minutes ago
Wait @realDonaldTrump, you said @nytimes was FAKE NEWS! If they are being fed information, that means it's a real leak. Right? I'm confused.

David G. McAfee ‏@DavidGMcAfee 32m32 minutes ago
Can you please make up your mind, @realDonaldTrump? Are these all FAKE baseless conspiracy theories or does your admin have massive leaks?
Eh heh. In fairness to Donald, his comparison is surprisingly accurate. It's quite possible that Flynn illegally gave information to Russia whilst having been at least a quasi-member of the IC again.
posted by jaduncan at 4:56 AM on February 15 [8 favorites]


Imagine the US was a publicly traded stock you were considering investing in, and the CEO rattled off a series of tweets as crazy as those published by President Trump this morning.

Probably gonna wait for the Board of Directors to find a new CEO before investing, no?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:56 AM on February 15 [29 favorites]


Huh, I guess David G. McAfee and I had the same reaction.
posted by Justinian at 4:57 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


Bob Corker, being interviewed on MSNBC on Morning Coffee Joe, literally just said "We need to not have any suspicion" as to connections between the administration and Russia.

Bleary eyed, half a coffee me is having trouble understanding what he was saying.
posted by Jalliah at 4:57 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


If Flynn was so sure he was doing the right thing, why lie about it?

The only people we know he lied to (or omitted, or "misled," or the weasel word of your choice) are the FBI. We have only the administration's word that he lied to Pence and only Pence's word that he didn't know the facts when he went on TV.

So it may be Pence who's too dumb to realize conversations with foreign entities are recorded.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:58 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


Above and beyond the obvious, that tweetstorm makes me sad and wistful for the days when presidents, even at their worst, were expected to be presidential. How have we fallen so far, so fast? That is a terrifyingly unhinged sequence of (at least semi-official) communications.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:59 AM on February 15 [27 favorites]


Trump's Cat: The cat in the box is both A RUSSIAN ASSET and NOT A RUSSIAN ASSET.
posted by valkane at 4:59 AM on February 15 [22 favorites]


Imagine the US was a publicly traded stock you were considering investing in, and the CEO rattled off a series of tweets as crazy as those published by President Trump this morning.

I dunno....his vision of the company as a "dismal shantytown in a ravine" seems compelling.....
posted by thelonius at 4:59 AM on February 15 [11 favorites]


In other words, it could be:

Flynn talks to ambassador as instructed.
Pence knows.
It becomes politically controversial.
Pence lies on TV.
Flynn then lies to the FBI to be a good soldier and cover for Pence, even though he knows he'll be caught.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:00 AM on February 15 [4 favorites]


Donald J. Trump
Crimea was TAKEN by Russia during the Obama Administration. Was Obama too soft on Russia?



FYI, if it wasn't clear from his earlier tweet mentioned Fox & Friends, Lord Dampnut is watching his shows again. Fox & Friends talked about Obama and Crimea right before this tweet.
posted by chris24 at 5:00 AM on February 15 [9 favorites]


Trump to greet Netanyahu by abandoning '2-state' doctrine:On Tuesday night, White House officials briefing reporters said that Trump wouldn’t seek to impose a two-state solution for the Israel-Palestinian conflict — a break with a decades-long American posture.

“Maybe, maybe not,” one official said of the two-state solution. "It's something the two sides have to agree to. It's not for us to impose that vision. But I think we'll find out more about that tomorrow."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:01 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]




Does that shilling for Fox & Friends rise to the level of Kellyanne shilling for Ivanka's brand?

For some reason I doubt it, because vagina.
posted by mikelieman at 5:04 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]



FYI, if it wasn't clear from his earlier tweet mentioned Fox & Friends, Lord Dampnut is watching his shows again. Fox & Friends talked about Obama and Crimea right before this tweet.


Don't suppose anyone here saw it and knows whether they suggested that Trump get tough on Russia now and do something about Crimea?
posted by Jalliah at 5:05 AM on February 15


Pence knows.
It becomes politically controversial.
Pence lies on TV.


Hypothetically, let's pretend this takes Pence down (it won't). We know the GOP congress will rubber-stamp anybody Trump appoints. Bannon takes a promotion/demotion to VP, doesn't he.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:06 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Fox News reporter, Pentagon beat: Russian spy ship now located 30 miles south of Groton, CT home to a US Navy submarine base. Russian ship "loitering," US official

CNN: Russia testing Trump with spy ship, missile
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:06 AM on February 15 [10 favorites]


Can you imagine going back in time to tell the Birchers one of their guys would win the presidency, but he was in collusion with Russia?
posted by drezdn at 5:07 AM on February 15 [50 favorites]


Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 32m32 minutes ago
Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?).Just like Russia


So he's going to war against the NSA and the FBI? I can't see that ending well for him.
posted by octothorpe at 5:07 AM on February 15 [6 favorites]


From the tweets: "[...] the failing @nytimes [...]", "[...] Hillary's losing campaign [...]"
Is it just me, or is his constant need call his opponents pejoratives incredibly grating? It's like those people on computer forums that still use "Micro$oft" unironically - so very childish and primitive.

He has his finger on a nuclear launch button, and he hurls insults that are one step away from calling someone a "doody-head".
posted by PontifexPrimus at 5:07 AM on February 15 [22 favorites]


I'd like to think that, outside the 27%, people are noticing that calling other people liars is his only move, and that it's pretty well unlikely that everything bad reported about him is made up. While we're at it, they could recall that winning a Presidential election does not mean that any subsequent disagreements are automatically resolved in your favor.
posted by thelonius at 5:10 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


With Michael Flynn Gone, Russia Sees a Different Trump
“There is a cautious feeling about how Trump and his advisers designated the possible ways of improving relations with Russia,” said Vladimir Frolov, an international affairs analyst. “This has frightened the Kremlin because it does not correspond to Russia’s interests.”

Putin may be finding out what was obvious here the whole time, Trump is insane. There's no plan, and he'll change his mind every day if not hour.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:11 AM on February 15 [17 favorites]


Trump to greet Netanyahu by abandoning '2-state' doctrine

Which isn't really a viable option? If Israel is to maintain its character as both a Jewish and democratic state then the two-state solution is the only thing that works in terms of demographics (unless they're planning on going full apartheid, or sudden US support for a one-state solution is more "okay, maybe this will force you to negotiate" rather than a serious position).
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 5:11 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


So he's going to war against the NSA and the FBI? I can't see that ending well for him.

He's been at war with them ever since he called them Nazi's. Or at least that's when it heated up. He either just didn't realize it, thought his telling them he loved them worked to end it, or figured that he would be able to handle them because he is smarter then they are.
posted by Jalliah at 5:12 AM on February 15 [4 favorites]


But in some industries and some areas of the country the worst declines came post-NAFTA--

All of the worst losses came post-NAFTA, in fact. that, however, does not mean NAFTA caused them. Globalization caused them. All presidents since Reagan have supported global free trade. But the fact remains that the presidencies that have produced the most growth both in service sector and manufacturing sector employment, assuming we credit presidencies with their contemporaneous economic effects, were those of Clinton and Obama.

Interrupted by a multi-trillion dollar war.

I know it's more complicated but it certainly doesn't boil down to Clinton causing job loss with NAFTA. Fully 12 years of sharp declines in industrial employment and real working-class income occurred under Reagan and Bush I, before NAFTA. Those losses were offset by real growth in new sectors and in income during Clinton I for all workers, albeit less so in the regions and sectors you mentioned (debatable, as the new economy hugely benefited the working classes in New England, at least, in the 1990s, and a lot of new manufacturing, especially automotive, went into the south to avoid unions, in those same years too).

Declines in resource extraction and agricultural employment mattered significantly for the south too.

But I just want to avoid the Republican fiction that Clinton I was bad for American employment and growth in a unique way., let alone Obama. The top line numbers show us both presidencies were eras of strong growth in employment and modest growth in real income across the board, but offset by actual transformation of the economy. You had to go to school or move or start a business to benefit. The "lifelong" job faded away. But the economy grew and that was the argument for globalization of trade, and it was correct in aggregate terms.

The forces involved here were unleashed in the late 1970s and 1980s. Democrats have led relatively successful efforts to adjust to them in ways that would benefit workers relative to republicans over two entire generations now.

What people experienced and how they explain it politically turns into a simple narrative if we lay this all on NAFTA. It's just wrong in the aggregate, whatever its sectoral and regional effects.
posted by spitbull at 5:12 AM on February 15 [28 favorites]


So Russia is buzzing American military installations now that everyone knows they interfered with the US elections.

This is fine.
posted by Yowser at 5:13 AM on February 15 [22 favorites]



Someone on a show must have said this:
Donald's latest tweet:
The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by "intelligence" like candy. Very un-American!
posted by Jalliah at 5:14 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]


So he's going to war against the NSA and the FBI? I can't see that ending well for him.

Depends on whether you think Russia or the USA will win the war, I guess.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:15 AM on February 15 [4 favorites]


Ahhhhhhhh! The tweets! The tweets! They keep coming! Make it stop!
posted by dis_integration at 5:15 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]


I haven't really followed a Metafilter political thread like this since Black Tuesday back in November, so this is kinda nice. Thanks, folks.

My one observation: The whole correlation between his tweets and whatever is being discussed on Fox News at the same time makes me envision him as a doddering old grandma wanting to duck out of meetings saying, "Can we wrap this up? My shows are on now!"

That's a nicer comparison than he deserves, but I'm trying to watch my blood pressure lately.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 5:17 AM on February 15 [33 favorites]


Don't ask me why but I've got Mourning Joe And Mika Whome?ski on and they appear to be engaged in a snippy back and forth with the shitgibbon's twitter feed. Their line appears to be "stop being so incompetent at evil corruption and you'll be fine."
posted by spitbull at 5:18 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Also, I love that one of the things that The Donald is most upset about is that CNN has become "unwatchable". Just let him have his shows back!
posted by dis_integration at 5:18 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


My one observation: The whole correlation between his tweets and whatever is being discussed on Fox News at the same time makes me envision him as a doddering old grandma wanting to duck out of meetings saying, "Can we wrap this up? My shows are on now!"

You'll be excited to know that he allegedly refuses to go into meetings until after the morning shows.
posted by jaduncan at 5:18 AM on February 15 [36 favorites]


I've taken to calling The Spicey Show "my stories."

"It's noon -- I need to go home for lunch and watch my stories now."
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:19 AM on February 15 [44 favorites]


@WaysMeansCmte
By a vote of 23-15, Republicans just voted to not request President Trump's tax returns from the Treasury Department.


@KevinMKruse Retweeted Ways and Means Dems
Politicians: When historians teach Watergate, we often use committee votes like this to single out the party hacks.
posted by chris24 at 5:19 AM on February 15 [62 favorites]


I'll say it again, Republicans literally elected a crazy old man yelling at his TV.
posted by chris24 at 5:20 AM on February 15 [79 favorites]


You'll be excited to know that he allegedly refuses to go into meetings until after the morning shows.

Ready at 3am, unavailable at 8am.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:20 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


You'll be excited to know that he allegedly refuses to go into meetings until after the morning shows.

Sometimes I write these sentences and I feel like a bad comedy writer working on Idiocracy 2.
posted by jaduncan at 5:20 AM on February 15 [23 favorites]


So he's going to war against the NSA and the FBI? I can't see that ending well for him.

From where I sit, the war is over and President Shitgibbon lost. They've shut the White House out of anything that the Russian Spies working there can leak, and people who are a clear and present danger to the security of the United States are being taken off the board.

Career Civil Servants FTW!
posted by mikelieman at 5:21 AM on February 15 [7 favorites]


On the bright side, the first 1/70th of his presidency has now passed.

Only 69/70 to go.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:21 AM on February 15 [12 favorites]


Nice!
posted by drezdn at 5:22 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


He has his finger on a nuclear launch button, and he hurls insults that are one step away from calling someone a "doody-head".

Do you *really* think Rick is going to give him the football?
posted by mikelieman at 5:22 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]



Someone on a show must have said this:
Donald's latest tweet:
The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by "intelligence" like candy. Very un-American!


I love how he just keeps confirming that the info being leaked is real and not faked.

His level of stupid still astounds me. Here investigators and political foes have some evidence and leverage.

He did the same thing around the immigration ban. His tweets are being used as part of the evidence of the intent that yes it is a ban and yes it's a Muslim ban.
posted by Jalliah at 5:22 AM on February 15 [47 favorites]


@KevinMKruse Retweeted Ways and Means Dems
Politicians: When historians teach Watergate, we often use committee votes like this to single out the party hacks.


I'm guessing that the Chaffetz "It's taking care of itself" Flynn quote is going to be replayed so much the pixels wear out and break. He must've taken one look at the NYT story and said, "Oh fuck me."
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:24 AM on February 15 [11 favorites]




There is no way this goes on even another week, is there? I'm not sure I can take this Administration's time dilation policy.
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:30 AM on February 15 [18 favorites]


How long can the intelligence community keep leaking until the Trump administration compels it to stop?

Like any political body, it will work to keep itself funded and existing. The media reported on a comments made by Trump which were taken by Congressman Schumer as a threat to the existence of various IC elements. Threatening enough for Congressperson Schumer to make a comment about how the CIA had six different routes on a Sunday to obtain retaliation.

If your job is at stake are you gonna listen to the man who's working to destroy your vocation? Or will you pick a different option if you think you'd have political cover if your efforts to take down the boss fails?
posted by rough ashlar at 5:30 AM on February 15


It looks like my popcorn investment is starting to pay off.
posted by drezdn at 5:30 AM on February 15 [9 favorites]


Watching Trump do politics is like watching someone who thinks they're Machiavelli do a Dunning-Kruger version of Machiavelli.
posted by Jalliah at 5:31 AM on February 15 [31 favorites]


The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by "intelligence" like candy. Very un-American!

Yes! It's almost as problematic as if, say, someone had conducted sensitive national-security discussions en plein air, in front of a completely unfiltered audience.
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:32 AM on February 15 [37 favorites]


Do you *really* think Rick is going to give him the football?

Rick just posed with football to be explicitly doxxed on someone's FB feed. He owes me at least one even.
posted by jaduncan at 5:33 AM on February 15 [10 favorites]


a completely unfiltered audience

No, they're rich people. They're better than you. It's fine, this is fine.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:33 AM on February 15 [7 favorites]


Watching Trump do politics is like watching someone who thinks they're Machiavelli doing a Dunning-Kruger version of Machiavelli.

Per a Facebook meme (and verily, it is a profound index of how far we've fallen that I am even typing those words):

TRUMP
A poor man's idea of a rich man
A stupid man's idea of a smart man
A weak man's idea of a strong man
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:34 AM on February 15 [109 favorites]


CNN: Sean Spicer isn't finished: "[Regarding the Spicer is finished narrative], five of these sources think the person behind the leaks is Kellyanne Conway, Trump's ever-visible White House counselor. Though they offer no hard evidence, they say Conway is trying to offload blame for administration setbacks on Spicer to prove she is the more effective public advocate and earn a lasting place in the President's inner circle."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:38 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


Wow, Ryan's on MSNBC going all in on backing up Trump.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:39 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure why, if it's Flynn's blood in my mouth or what, but it feels like things are crumbling down. Probably I'm sensing the limits of my sanity more than anything else.
posted by angrycat at 5:41 AM on February 15 [10 favorites]


Surely, this.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:42 AM on February 15 [17 favorites]


do a Dunning-Kruger version of Machiavelli

I was lucky enough, many years ago, to take a course on philosophical ethics with Harvey Mansfield, one of the most odiously right wing and grotesquely sexist of the major, serious, widely read philosophers of his generation -- and a truly repugnant human being, but a brilliant scholar and thus quite dangerous and interesting as an adversary. He is famous for his philosophical defense of Machiavellian ethics. We read The Prince and his work thereon. I think Harvey saw himself as a reincarnation of the dude. I still have nightmares.


All this to say, Mr. Trump, I knew Machiavelli by proxy. Machiavelli by proxy was an enemy of mine. And you're no Machiavelli by proxy.

(Just in case Prof. Mansfield, who infamously hates grade inflation to the point that in my day he was known as "C Minus Mansfield," googles his name and finds this, Hi Prof! Thanks for the A in 1984, and for the excellent training for chairing my department 30 years later. Sometimes you can learn from a brilliant asshole.)

posted by spitbull at 5:43 AM on February 15 [71 favorites]



As part of my Bannonland quest a copy of the Art of War arrived in the mail yesterday. It's on the list of books he loves and lives by. I have read it before but it was ages ago. Been skimming through it this morning and in the light of current events it's reading more like a comedy. I keep reading lines and giggling "Oh oops now that's not working for you is it?" "Ha ha failed executing that tactic, didn't you" "Oh look, looks like the IC and media knows what's in this book too, fancy that, who woulda thunk".
posted by Jalliah at 5:43 AM on February 15 [10 favorites]


Let's not forget the crook might get away with it. He's had 50 years of grifting, Nixon could never compete.
posted by Yowser at 5:43 AM on February 15 [6 favorites]


> Sometimes I write these sentences and I feel like a bad comedy writer working on Idiocracy 2.

Not a sequel, a new series. The pilot has aired and as the first reviews are in. Most don't like it, no sirree, but there's a hardcore fan base who will be all kinds of pissed if the show doesn't make it to the end of the four-year contract.

[stop the world, I want to get off]
posted by Enturbulated at 5:44 AM on February 15 [4 favorites]


Is it just me, or is his constant need call his opponents pejoratives incredibly grating?

It also points up the obvious, which he doesn't grasp just yet: he's going to be brought down by a bunch of losers and failures, which for him will be the ultimate humiliation.
posted by Rykey at 5:45 AM on February 15 [4 favorites]


Can someone explain why Ryan is backing Trump? Wouldn't he rather have Pence? Or himself?
posted by nat at 5:45 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


Why would Pence pick Ryan as VP? Unless you think Pence will go down before trump?
posted by Yowser at 5:47 AM on February 15


I think Ryan knows that Trump is going down without any need for him to get involved. And this way, he doesn't become Trump's target in the meantime.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:47 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


Let's not forget the crook might get away with it. He's had 50 years of grifting, Nixon could never compete.

He totally could. Things are bad for him now and the forecast looks worse but he could get away with it. So much depends on what other elected officials do now.

Looks like we know where Ryan stands on it. He's all in, like flynn.
posted by Jalliah at 5:48 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


Can someone explain why Ryan is backing Trump? Wouldn't he rather have Pence? Or himself?

At a guess: He doesn't have a big majority, and needs to keep people in line. A rejection of Trump is likely to have massive implications for the midterms, and moderate Rs might actually start to demand a move to the centre. Ryan has a chance to finally gut social security and pass something at least similar to the Ryan budget previously rejected. Why throw all that away just because Trump has little dalliance with/might be compromised by Russia?

If he can ride the bull, he can get the policies nobody else would be prepared to pass. He's already sold his soul to Bannon, so he's tied to it all now, and it's best that it collapses later after the policies are passed than before. He needs what, six months?
posted by jaduncan at 5:49 AM on February 15 [20 favorites]


He may well need six months. Call me an optimist, but I don't honestly think he has six weeks.
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:53 AM on February 15 [10 favorites]


This is also why it's absolutely crucial that Senate and House Democrats are heavily pressured to resist. It might well end unexpectedly early, so get nasty on the procedural level and run the clock.
posted by jaduncan at 5:53 AM on February 15 [11 favorites]


You're an optimist, adamgreenfield.

But, yeah, that's why Ryan is all-in. They need Trump at the helm while they gut Obamacare and as many entitlement and social spending programs as possible while delivering tax cuts to the wealthy. Then if everything collapses they can turn on Trump and blame him for it all.
posted by Justinian at 5:55 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]


The Rubber Bandits, ‘Donald in the Distance’.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 5:56 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


Then if everything collapses they can turn on Trump and blame him for it all.

"if"
posted by uncleozzy at 5:59 AM on February 15 [8 favorites]


Alternative hypothesis: Paul Ryan isn't actually very smart and has no clue what he's doing, and his going all-in on Trump is just an expression of post-purchase rationalization rather than strategic thinking.
posted by biogeo at 6:01 AM on February 15 [71 favorites]


At some point Ryan, et al. are going to have to stop backing Trump early enough to distance themselves, won't they? Maybe not, I guess, as long as they aren't implicated in any wrong-doing, they may assume they can float free right up until the ship goes down. They may or may not be right, but I can see thinking that.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 6:01 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


@jamisonfoser:
House Republicans investigated Socks the Cat & WH holiday card list when Clinton was president but they’re cool with a Russia’d-up Trump WH.
posted by chris24 at 6:05 AM on February 15 [93 favorites]


soren, I wish I had a bumper big enough to put this on a sticker.

Don't look at my voting record and think I don't know what I'm doing and that I don't understand some shit. I understand, I just disagree on some key tactical points. And a lot of my disagreement comes from knowing that, as a woman, when shit goes down, it'll go down on me harder and faster. You say you want a revolution, etc... So, yeah, a little less smug coming from that corner would be appreciated. I'd like to work together on this, but I'd also like to be respected as not an idiot, so.
posted by winna at 6:06 AM on February 15 [13 favorites]


Alternative hypothesis: Paul Ryan isn't actually very smart and has no clue what he's doing, and his going all-in on Trump is just an expression of post-purchase rationalization rather than strategic thinking.

It depends if you think that Trump is going to have so clearly failed that it's going to affect the next few cycles. If it affects them enough, it's going to lose the 2020 redistricting for them. Even if Democratic politicians redistrict fairly, they are well and truly screwed on the basis of that and demographic changes.

I'm therefore unsurprised that they are all in on both defending Trump and, to make an exclusive prediction, that if he survives or not they will be in on vote and immigration suppression very hard indeed. It's not smart, it's just the only option that doesn't end terribly.*

*for them, clearly it's going to be moderately horrific for everyone else and particuarly PoC/LGBT+/Muslims/my-word-this-is-a-depressing-list-to-write. It's just that their bridges back are burning increasingly merrily.

posted by jaduncan at 6:08 AM on February 15


Remember Ryan needs to keep the house republicans together. If he backs away from trump he's got some real nasty bastards gunning for him from his right too.

Schadenfreude is cold comfort though.
posted by spitbull at 6:10 AM on February 15 [8 favorites]


I'm wondering if Ryan is trying for the most people don't pay close enough attention to the news to know that my future insistence that I too was kept in the dark and an also an innocent victim in all this is a giant lie gambit.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:14 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


Some blah blah type on MSNBC:
"This has a feeling/
of unraveling to it."

Accidental poetry.
posted by spitbull at 6:14 AM on February 15 [8 favorites]


>> Sometimes I write these sentences and I feel like a bad comedy writer working on Idiocracy 2.

>Not a sequel, a new series


A gritty reboot, surely?
posted by entropicamericana at 6:15 AM on February 15 [4 favorites]


even with pointless
enjambment
posted by thelonius at 6:15 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


So you really believe Paul "who me, starve grannies?" Ryan is incapable of disingenuous projection of earnest naivete and the best of intentions?

It's his signature move.
posted by spitbull at 6:17 AM on February 15 [9 favorites]


Here's what I think:

If Trump goes, Bannon goes and so do all these clowns. "We got rid of Trump but now Bannon is advising Pence" is going to piss off everyone on all sides.

Ryan et al are going to find it a lot harder than they think to get rid of Obamacare, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Even getting rid of Obamacare is politically harder than they expected and may not be, per se, possible; the idea that they're going to then waltz in and voucherize Medicare seems extremely unlikely.

I think that big, obvious, high-profile changes that are visible on the TV news and impact many Americans are the hardest things to pull off. Small, garbage changes that make life worse in many areas for many people are the easiest. That's where I expect the big wins for them, and those are the kinds of things that are going to happen even if Trump has started circling the drain.

There's a bill in the House, for instance, that is similar to what was passed in Canada under Harper - NSF awards have to show that they are marketable and important to national security, etc. That's going to pass, because most Americans don't really know what the NSF does or why it's important, and they don't understand how the language in the bill will be used to smash as much research as possible. It's going to be hard to implement and if we can retake the House, etc at the midterms it may be a dead letter, but it's a shitty, hostile bill that relies on popular ignorance to do something that people would not support if they understood.
posted by Frowner at 6:18 AM on February 15 [49 favorites]


It's as if he thinks that if he keeps mashing his infant fingers against the phone people will just naturally believe him because he's so sure that people (the ones who count) actually really do think he's a stand up guy.
posted by h00py at 6:18 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


The Republican coalition depends on the Trumpist faction. They can't win elections without them. If you look at the PPP crosstabs from 5 days ago, 91% of Trump voters approve of the job he's doing and have a favorable view of him. Ryan has a savior complex and thinks that he is the only one who can usher in prosperity with his granny-starving agenda. He obtains and keeps power by catering to the Trumpist wing of the party (i.e. the majority of Republicans). He will never do anything that puts him at risk of losing power.

And it's not just Ryan, it's the entire Republican base. Republican politicians are doing what Republican voters overwhelmingly want.

We have to remember that Republican voters are not the majority of voters and are certainly not the majority of Americans nor the majority of U.S. residents.
posted by melissasaurus at 6:19 AM on February 15 [48 favorites]


Absolutely the narrative we should be pushing is "the Republicans are a minority party who are out of line with the country". It has the twin advantages of being extremely mobilizing and true.
posted by Frowner at 6:21 AM on February 15 [78 favorites]


Also, I bet at least some Trump voters will snap. I'm sure they're all "our boy Trump he is so great" right now not least as a performative gesture - who wants to admit that they voted for a clown who can't even keep it together for a month?
posted by Frowner at 6:25 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


In case you're wondering what Harper did to science in Canada, he incentivized so-called Applied Research departments that do no real science and benefit nobody except corporations. It's obscene.
posted by Yowser at 6:25 AM on February 15 [7 favorites]


(Metafilter: Sometimes you can learn from a brilliant asshole.)
posted by wenestvedt at 6:26 AM on February 15 [24 favorites]


I have a question. Why isn't Russia denying any of this?

Why should they?

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that not only were the Russians in the systems but so were other nations if not the one lone person looking for proof of aliens from other worlds. Heck - do you trust that some part of the US intelligence community would not have their own copies of data taken right from the servers themselves contrary to law? Do you trust the email hosting providers to not have copies someplace?

Some of the leaked documents are claimed to be from a Democratic insider if I remember the Assange camp claims correctly.

If the government policy was to break in and keep the documents and someone who was part of the hacking team opted to leak the documents - how would the readers of The Blue know or get to know that?

The actual reality may be the Russians (as the government) kept what they had and not leak 'em. So why admit to the break in if they are not the ones who leaked it?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:30 AM on February 15


There was a discussion here last night that sadly veered too close to RLTP, but I want to try to revive it on neutral ground because I think it's important. So I'm gonna bring up the Iraq War (Gulf War II).

In the run-up to the Iraq War, there were a LOT of people, more than history now remembers, who said that the Bush administration's case for WMDs was flimsy, maybe even fabricated. They said that the UN inspections were working and that there was no reason to think that Saddam Hussein was successfully hiding anything from them. Many also said that the Bush administration didn't have a clear plan for post-invasion governance of Iraq and that invading to impose regime change would only destabilise the region and create a power vacuum that would end up filled by extremist terrorist groups.

Well, at the time, most mainstream pundits thought those people were wrong. Not just wrong but misguided, emotional, lying for political reasons, take your pick.

We all know how that turned out, right? We know that the pundits were the ones who got everything wrong and the Iraq War critics got everything right.

But what was the actual result of this? Were all the pundits fired and replaced with the critics who got everything right? No, of course not. The pundits kept on punditing and came up with a bunch of horseshit about how the critics were "right for the wrong reasons".

All I'm saying is that I don't want to see that happen again with the Trump-Russia ties. Pay attention to who called this story correctly from the beginning. Pay more attention to who was dismissing the people who called this story from the beginning. Embrace the former, kick the latter out on their counterproductive asses.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:31 AM on February 15 [87 favorites]


Pointless enjambment

Well, the guy I was quoting did seem to pause to find the consequent phrase for the "feeling" he was evoking, and therein, for me, lay the sort of Jakobsonian boundary between poetry and prose. The effect was as much oral as syntactic, albeit the enjambment I deployed (in contrast to your example of two words) also orthographically marked two complete verb phrases, as antecedent and consequent clauses whose juxtaposition of the words "feeling" and "unraveling" evoked a paradigmatic projection of both semantic (gerundive, with an interesting submerged metaphoric contrast of inner state and observable action, as if the mind could "unravel" like yarn) and phonological parallelism, with those luscious liquid /l/'s.

Which is to say, my orthographic choice was not so "pointless" except in the sense that all written representations of oral discourse are pointless. For me, the pause made the poetry.
; ) linguists gotta nerd out

posted by spitbull at 6:33 AM on February 15 [10 favorites]


So you really believe Paul "who me, starve grannies?" Ryan is incapable of disingenuous projection of earnest naivete and the best of intentions?

Oh, no, I think that's entirely possible too. I'm just saying that with this crowd, idiocy and evil are indistinguishable. Maybe Ryan is pursuing a strategy, or maybe he's just stupid. Going all-in on Trump could be either, or even both. I have no clue.
posted by biogeo at 6:33 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]


it's a fine line between clever and stupid
posted by murphy slaw at 6:35 AM on February 15 [12 favorites]


(Obviously, if anyone was wrong about Trump-Russia but apologises and corrects themselves, they're a keeper as well. But the discussion I referred to was about people who are doubling down rather than self-correcting.)
posted by tobascodagama at 6:35 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


It's as if he thinks that if he keeps mashing his infant fingers against the phone people will just naturally believe him because he's so sure that people (the ones who count) actually really do think he's a stand up guy.

My brother-in-law is absolutely convinced that HRC and Pizzagate are behind all of this. His diehards are not going to be swayed by anything. If this all comes apart, it will be Obama and HRC's fault, to them.
posted by archimago at 6:36 AM on February 15 [6 favorites]


Can you imagine going back in time to tell the Birchers one of their guys would win the presidency, but he was in collusion with Russia?

Why go BACK in time? Visit the home state of Prebius and Ryan in Appleton WI and ask a Brich HQ?

I bet someone could croudsource a billbord or 2 near the HQ or where the head of the Birchers are, take pics and make it go viral.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:36 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Maybe Ryan is pursuing a strategy, or maybe he's just stupid.

Schroedinger's Granny's Starver, as it were.
posted by spitbull at 6:37 AM on February 15 [11 favorites]


"He was proved instinctively correct" oooof- is this the theme that Trump wants hammered home? That he doesn't need facts first because he is always right? This is a dangerous way to brand.

Would like to go back to this comment way upthread because the "instinctive" repetition in Spicer's presser was so bizarre. quotes:
- he instinctively thought that General Flynn did not do anything wrong, and the White House Counsel’s review corroborated that.
- concluded very conclusively, as he had first come to -- instinctively come to the conclusion that there was nothing wrong.
- He was proved instinctively correct.
- And he immediately asked the White House Counsel to further confirm what his instincts were at the time.


I mean that was clearly a talking point he went out there to hammer on. My interpretation is that this is a (very thin and VERY clumsily applied) fig leaf to cover for when Trump has to admit he knew the content of Flynn's calls back in December. To cover for the timeline awkwardness that at that point the WH's so-called legal review had not yet been carried out--but it was okay because Trump has excellent instincts.

I honestly can't see any other way to interpret it.

However this would mean Trump knew (and I fully believe he did) that Pence and others were repeating lies the whole time and let them hang.

In short, I think he's in deep shit.
posted by torticat at 6:38 AM on February 15 [12 favorites]


hm, haven't heard much about [Pam Bondi's] rumoured White House job since early January.

She's the Katherine Harris of this shitshow.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:38 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


@tobascodagama: I agree. The parallels between 2003 and 2012 are astounding.
posted by BentFranklin at 6:39 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


Also "a feeling of unraveling" deserves a German word.
posted by spitbull at 6:44 AM on February 15 [12 favorites]


From the Daily WTF:

US allies in Europe have no idea “what the fuck is going on” with the Trump Administration.

That's ok, no one in the US knows what the fuck is going on either, EU.
posted by INFJ at 6:45 AM on February 15 [18 favorites]



My brother-in-law is absolutely convinced that HRC and Pizzagate are behind all of this. His diehards are not going to be swayed by anything. If this all comes apart, it will be Obama and HRC's fault, to them.


In comments and tweets I've been seeing more references to Obama's shadow government that he has set up a few blocks from the WH. Also been seeing references to the law closing in because look at all the pedophile rings being busted. The arrest thing is true and has happened, they're just latching onto it as proof that it is only matter of time before all the Dems and Hillary get busted.
It's really warped but that's where some peoples heads are at right now.
posted by Jalliah at 6:46 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


I'm not handing out cookies, just noting the latest news: [Raw Story] Mika Brzezinski bans Kellyanne Conway from MSNBC’s Morning Joe: ‘It’s not happening here’
posted by Room 641-A at 6:46 AM on February 15 [33 favorites]


"I have a question. Why isn't Russia denying any of this?"

Why should they?

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that not only were the Russians in the systems
...

By "any of this" I meant their contacts with the Trump campaign. Though it's true that their denials of involvement with the hacking were pretty half-hearted too. In that case I guess I assumed it was because the evidence was so clear, what was the point? Though that in turn raises the question of why they didn't cover their tracks better.

I also wonder why Trump was so blatant about his support for Russia during the campaign. Why not shut up about it and then quietly do what Putin wants after you get in office?

I wonder if some of this isn't a show for Russian domestic political reasons. To make Putin look powerful on the world stage. It's not enough to take over the US government... He has to be SEEN to take over the US government...
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:49 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


However this would mean Trump knew (and I fully believe he did) that Pence and others were repeating lies the whole time and let them hang.

postscript:
ALSO it would mean the entire storyline of trust eroding was horseshit (which we already know), because Trump was complicit in the lies the whole time.

Would this be enough to bring him down?
posted by torticat at 6:50 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Also "a feeling of unraveling" deserves a German word.

"Auflösungserscheinungen", lit. "indications of dissolution / disintegration".
posted by PontifexPrimus at 6:51 AM on February 15 [49 favorites]


"Auflösungserscheinungen", lit. "indications of dissolution / disintegration".

Can we shorten it to "gettin' the Auflös"
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:53 AM on February 15 [23 favorites]



John McCain replied to Trump's tweet about Crimea and Obama being soft.

John McCain Retweeted Donald J. Trump
Yes, he was too soft - let's take a different course together: give defensive lethal assistance to #Ukraine & keep sanctions on #Russia
posted by Jalliah at 6:53 AM on February 15 [13 favorites]


I wonder if some of this isn't a show for Russian domestic political reasons. To make Putin look powerful on the world stage. It's not enough to take over the US government... He has to be SEEN to take over the US government...

It's the way they do everything. Their assasinations are all very not-very-plausibly-deniable: "oh, he seems to have died from a hard to get substance Russian spies frequently use? That's unfortunate *nudge* *nudge* *wink*"
posted by Artw at 6:56 AM on February 15 [7 favorites]


I also wonder why Trump was so blatant about his support for Russia during the campaign. Why not shut up about it and then quietly do what Putin wants after you get in office?

Equally why was he crowing on Twitter that Putin had caved, the day after the Dec 29 phones calls?

Because he's an egomaniacal blowhard who cannot resist bragging about his so-called victories. Because NO ONE has ever told him "Sit down, Donald, you fat motherfucker"

--until the courts and the media decided to step up the last couple weeks. GOD BLESS THEM.
posted by torticat at 7:01 AM on February 15 [7 favorites]


I also wonder why Trump was so blatant about his support for Russia during the campaign. Why not shut up about it and then quietly do what Putin wants after you get in office?

Because he genuinely does not understand how cultivated and compromised and managed he is. He still wakes up every morning and thinks that he won, despite everyone else being against him or half-assing their support.
posted by Etrigan at 7:04 AM on February 15 [24 favorites]


dunning-kruger is a helluva drug
posted by entropicamericana at 7:05 AM on February 15 [29 favorites]


Well, are we going to get our Putin-trump handshake duel or not? I want to see them meet before the impeachment.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:05 AM on February 15 [8 favorites]


This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton's losing campaign.

But why would it be news, or would anyone care about it now if that were the case? You won, dude. I've never seen a sore winner before.
posted by INFJ at 7:06 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]


Highlights from CNN's Sean Spicer isn't finished story:
Three weeks after the inauguration, the only things adorning the White House press secretary's shelves are... a Super Soaker commemorating the infamous "Saturday Night Live" skit
Credit where it's due, Shouty Spice: that's the closest anyone in this administration has gotten to pulling off a healthy willingness to laugh at themself.
Steve Bannon, the president's chief strategist, told me during a recent interview in the Roosevelt Room. "The President has full and total confidence in Sean." Reince Priebus, Trump's chief of staff, told me the same: "The President has full confidence in Sean,"
Oh, good. People the President has "full confidence" in are safe. They definitely aren't asked to fall on their sword mere hours later.

This is going to be a running gag, isn't it? Some spokesman comes out, asserts that some-or-other administration member has the full confidence of the President, and then said administration member hams it up for the cameras like they're Billy Bones receiving the Black Spot.
posted by jackbishop at 7:06 AM on February 15 [8 favorites]


Credit where it's due, Shouty Spice: that's the closest anyone in this administration has gotten to pulling off a healthy willingness to laugh at themself.

Spicer got mad when it was suggested that anyone had given him a Super Soaker last week, and denied it, called it a lie.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:08 AM on February 15 [16 favorites]


kingless.... that Nemerov poem is gorgeous, and I didn't know it before, so thank you!
posted by spitbull at 7:08 AM on February 15 [10 favorites]


yeah, this is super interesting. One of the links from yesterday thought that Flynn was just the appetizer and that Conway was one of the next in line to get sacked. If the IA is behind the leaks, this is just the narrative they would advance if they wanted her to go. Seed distrust and watch the White House scramble. I'm not a fan of the IA but if that's what's going on, this is super satisfying.

five of these sources think the person behind the leaks is Kellyanne Conway, Trump's ever-visible White House counselor. Though they offer no hard evidence, they say Conway is trying to offload blame for administration setbacks on Spicer to prove she is the more effective public advocate and earn a lasting place in the President's inner circle."
posted by bluesky43 at 7:09 AM on February 15


Someone on CNN just pointed out Trump claimed it was OK to skip regular intel briefings because he got his info directly from Mike Flynn. - @eclecticbrotha
posted by murphy slaw at 7:09 AM on February 15 [82 favorites]


Obama isn't running a shadow government, he's on the beach not giving any shits.

Clinton is still in the woods, for all I know. Who can blame her really.
posted by emjaybee at 7:10 AM on February 15 [15 favorites]


Reince Priebus, Trump's chief of staff, told me the same: "The President has full confidence in Sean,"

Top. Men.
posted by Mayor West at 7:12 AM on February 15 [16 favorites]


The gist of that Breitbart article about the "Obama Shadow Government" is "OMG! THE BUREAUCRACY IS FULL OF SEKRIT OBAMA APPOINTEES!!1!" which is like, half correct. They're not secret, and they're still there because NO ONE REMEMBERED TO REPLACE THEM.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:12 AM on February 15 [34 favorites]


WaPo headline: Donald Trump’s White House is on the verge of a raging fire over Russia allegations

Don't give them any Reichstag ideas, guys.

(Bannon sneaks a wad of oily rags under the Resolute Desk)
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:13 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Obama isn't running a shadow government, he's on the beach not giving any shits.

Clinton is still in the woods, for all I know. Who can blame her really.


That's how shadowy it is! They're just laying down alibis!
posted by Etrigan at 7:13 AM on February 15 [6 favorites]


People the President has "full confidence" in are safe. They definitely aren't asked to fall on their sword mere hours later.

It's this administrations "Heckava job, Brownie!"
posted by nubs at 7:13 AM on February 15 [4 favorites]


Clinton is still in the woods, for all I know. Who can blame her really.

The Senate Oversight committee is due to receive the Datto email archive from the FBI right about now.

She should remain on the Appalachian trail and see if the travails of the Worst Wing kill the witch-hunt.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:13 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Wait is Chaffetz going to do something?

Chaffetz launches probe into Trump administration's handling of info at Mar-a-lago
posted by emjaybee at 7:13 AM on February 15 [12 favorites]


i assume chaffetz is going to give trump a slap on the wrist about mar-a-lago security to distract from his claim that flynn's ouster has settled the russia issue.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:16 AM on February 15 [17 favorites]




Chaffetz is going to spend time on low-hanging fruit, and also book town halls in the reddest part of his district while accusing people who travel there from the bluer bits of being outside agitators.
posted by holgate at 7:17 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]



Obama isn't running a shadow government, he's on the beach not giving any shits.

Clinton is still in the woods, for all I know. Who can blame her really.


Yes he is, I read this on the internet. He has his own mansion and is fortifying it, right now! And Michelle is going to have and office there too. And the worst is that it's all funded by the tax payer.
posted by Jalliah at 7:18 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


I'm not handing out cookies, just noting the latest news: [Raw Story] Mika Brzezinski bans Kellyanne Conway from MSNBC’s Morning Joe: ‘It’s not happening here’

I never thought I would admire Mika in any way (I hate Morning Joe with the fire of all of the stars) but my gods, this is a new world.

(also, much of my life is now reading these threads. so i guess thanks, everyone?)
posted by armacy at 7:18 AM on February 15 [10 favorites]


Part of me wonders how Paul Ryan is able to maintain control over the moderate R's in the House as this debacle continues. Most of them have to be watching this gathering trainwreck in mute horror, aware that if Trump goes down, he's going to take much of the Republican orthodoxy with him. All it would take is a very small coalition of moderate Republicans from purple states, who are willing to campaign in 2018 on the "I started impeachment proceedings against that traitorous bastard, against the will of my own party leadership" platform. I know this won't happen out the goodness of their (blackened, corrupt) hearts, but it has a ton of political upside. They have to know that the history books are not going to be kind to the enablers in this Congress. Who do we have to call to start applying pressure?
posted by Mayor West at 7:19 AM on February 15 [18 favorites]



The beach vacation is just a distraction to make people THINK he's not shadowing.
posted by Jalliah at 7:19 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


"moderate" republicans are standing in the back of the room going "um, can we just get our tax cuts now please?" while the rest of the house is yammering on about destroying the EPA and the dept. of education
posted by murphy slaw at 7:21 AM on February 15 [21 favorites]


that Nemerov poem is gorgeous, and I didn't know it before, so thank you!

You're welcome! I don't see it on the page when I reload and your link to the comment now points to the poem itself. :)
posted by kingless at 7:21 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


All it would take is a very small coalition of moderate Republicans from purple states, who are willing to campaign in 2018 on the "I started impeachment proceedings against that traitorous bastard, against the will of my own party leadership" platform.

"purple state" != "purple district"

There are a few Republicans in non-gerrymandered districts who might be willing to stand up. They know that the second they did, they'd be targeted from the right, and in a midterm election, that would be enough to get them primaried out, because all those moderates and Democrats who would vote for them because of their brave stance don't vote in primaries.
posted by Etrigan at 7:22 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


The EPA termination bill has had only the same four sponsors and hasn't moved forward since the 3rd. I don't think it's anything to worry about.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 7:23 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


I want to see them meet before the impeachment.

I'd settle for never seeing that if it means not seeing Yalta II.
posted by acb at 7:23 AM on February 15


So you really believe Paul "who me, starve grannies?" Ryan is incapable of disingenuous projection of earnest naivete and the best of intentions?

It's his signature move.


Literally. every. time. I see Ryan on camera doing his patented "earnest honest forthright son of the Midwest who was born in a log cabin he built himself" act, I think of this scene from Law and Order in which a conman weasels his way out of a murder conviction by sad-puppy-eye-fucking and seducing a juror.

The ending of the episode cheers me right up, though.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:23 AM on February 15 [15 favorites]


How is the logical endgame here not a leak of his taxes proving the significance and treasonousness of the Russia connection?

My concern is that the administration seems backed into a corner and its clearly not beneath them to do anything they can to consolidate power and distract people, and that worries me a lot.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:24 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


Taxes or pee tape. Watch both hands.
posted by spitbull at 7:26 AM on February 15 [4 favorites]


Wash both hands too.
posted by spitbull at 7:26 AM on February 15 [34 favorites]


Literally. every. time. I see Ryan on camera doing his patented "earnest honest forthright son of the Midwest who was born in a log cabin he built himself" act

i are serious congressman. this is serious bill.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:26 AM on February 15 [15 favorites]


Somewhere someone pointed out that if you actually get rid of the EPA, businesses have to comply with state regulations for fifty states. Business does not like uncertainty, and having to manufacture a widget that complies with CA, NY, etc rules that are probably changing on the regular is a lot harder than manufacturing a widget which complies with the EPA rule. A weak and compromised EPA helps business; the elimination of the EPA does not.
posted by Frowner at 7:27 AM on February 15 [77 favorites]


Part of me wonders how Paul Ryan is able to maintain control over the moderate R's in the House as this debacle continues. Most of them have to be watching this gathering trainwreck in mute horror, aware that if Trump goes down, he's going to take much of the Republican orthodoxy with him. All it would take is a very small coalition of moderate Republicans from purple states, who are willing to campaign in 2018 on the "I started impeachment proceedings against that traitorous bastard, against the will of my own party leadership" platform. I know this won't happen out the goodness of their (blackened, corrupt) hearts, but it has a ton of political upside. They have to know that the history books are not going to be kind to the enablers in this Congress. Who do we have to call to start applying pressure?

It's the paradox of shared knowledge; there's everybody knowing that the emperor has no clothes then there's everybody knowing that everybody knows that the emperor has no clothes, and finally everybody knowing that everybody knows that everybody knows, which is when the levee breaks and the deluge comes. We're still at stage 1, and the levee is being held up by some combination of polarisation, Russian kompromat and sweet, sweet liberal tears.
posted by acb at 7:29 AM on February 15 [7 favorites]


Instead of tweet-ranting at the morning shows, today's meltdown seems to be courtesy of a printout of Mike Allen's daily blast from [H]Axios, which is written in small words and short paragraphs.

a leak of his taxes proving the significance and treasonousness of the Russia connection?

The IRS seems leakproof. Also, I don't think a tax return would tell the whole story, and certainly not in an obvious way, given how the Family Business is organised.

Part of me wonders how Paul Ryan is able to maintain control over the moderate R's in the House

You can fit the "moderate R's in the House" in a minivan.
posted by holgate at 7:31 AM on February 15 [7 favorites]


The IRS isn't the only one with his taxes, though, right? I don't think they will tell the whole story by a mile, but there will be evidence, and a discussion of that evidence, which I don't think he could withstand.

During the campaign I wanted them to come out to prove out some of his dishonesty - I now genuinely think that would have been irrelevant and am almost glad we haven't seen them yet. Now that the Russia connection groundwork is laid, and he claimed repeatedly to have no business interest, im not sure a really complicated business structure could hide what have to be substantial financial ties.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:35 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


I don't think [the EPA bill] is anything to worry about.

Other than that the primary sponsor is a brand new thirtysomething rep from Florida in an R+23 district whose dad is a big cheese in Florida state politics, and who clearly thinks he has a long career in politics ahead of him. Don't worry about the bill, worry about the aspirations of the sponsor.
posted by holgate at 7:38 AM on February 15 [8 favorites]


Credit where it's due, Shouty Spice: that's the closest anyone in this administration has gotten to pulling off a healthy willingness to laugh at themself.

Spicey led off yesterday's briefing with: "It's Valentine's Day. I can feel the love in the room," so yeah, he has his moments. He also seems much more perfunctorily "Dude, I have to be bellicose; it's my job. The boss said so" than before.

I mean, still terrible and reprehensible, but probably the most human of these fucking stiffs?
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:39 AM on February 15 [8 favorites]


"The IRS isn't the only one with his taxes, though, right?"

They're typically joint returns, so Marla may be able to scare up a year or two.
posted by klarck at 7:39 AM on February 15


Pay attention to who called this story correctly from the beginning.

That would be Josh Marshall.
posted by Jpfed at 7:39 AM on February 15 [35 favorites]


Spicey led off yesterday's briefing with: "It's Valentine's Day. I can feel the love in the room," so yeah, he has his moments. He also seems much more perfunctorily "Dude, I have to be bellicose; it's my job. The boss said so" than before.

I mean, still terrible and reprehensible, but probably the most human of these fucking stiffs?


My God, am I acknowledging the humanity of Sean Spicer? 2017 does things to a man.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:40 AM on February 15 [15 favorites]


Marla already scared one up. Otherwise Fahrenholdt would be in jail. (IANAL)
posted by Yowser at 7:41 AM on February 15


Part of me wonders how Paul Ryan is able to maintain control over the moderate R's in the House as this debacle continues. Most of them have to be watching this gathering trainwreck in mute horror, aware that if Trump goes down, he's going to take much of the Republican orthodoxy with him.

What Trump is trying to deliver is much of what these Rs' constituents want. It's much of what these Rs want as well. But it's delivering them with hamfists, overreach and bluster, and stepping over lines and norms that make the left furious.

So their best play is obvious: let Trump be Trump. The base is happy enough to keep these GOP reps elected. When he flames out, let him take the blame for overreaching, and enjoy the Overton Window having shifted to where hardline conservatism is now the new moderate, while President Pence intones solemnly that We Must All Come Together As Americans In The Wake Of This Tragic Fall and This Is Not The Time For Partisan Politics and Shameful Democratic Obstructionism.

Or we could just start bombing somewhere and everyone will forget all about it.
posted by delfin at 7:41 AM on February 15 [6 favorites]


a leak of his taxes proving the significance and treasonousness of the Russia connection?

The IRS seems leakproof.


Leakproof for now. One important thing to remember is that the structure of the IRS hasn't been infiltrated by Trumpsters yet. Obama's IRS commissioner is still in place, and most of the people who work for the IRS are not presidential appointees (and are more likely to be women or people of color than in other agencies). They both have more to lose from leaking than intelligence officials do (i.e., fewer resources to protect themselves from the fallout) and their jobs haven't been specifically impacted by Trumpism yet. If we see Koskinen and others replaced by Trumpsters, and if they try to push Trumpism in the IRS culture, we might start to see IRS leaks.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:42 AM on February 15 [9 favorites]


there's everybody knowing that the emperor has no clothes

Except the fucking emperor, which I guess goes without saying. At least he has a bathrobe.
posted by spitbull at 7:42 AM on February 15 [6 favorites]


This is getting ahead of myself, but I keep thinking about the future Trump Presidential Library.

Most presidential libraries are presented around the major themes of the administration. There's an intro bit about their life before the Presidency, and then a rough chronological presentation with those major themes highlighted.

Assuming that Donald doesn't last the whole four years -- what would his library look like? The intro part is easy: undistinguished, problematic childhood, real estate career, 80s playboy, reality teevee star. Then we have the election, which was a mess, but relatively straightforward to present in terms of facts. Then we have Donald actually getting into the White House, and -- how to describe that? What are the overarching themes or goals? Reactionary paranoia and disregard for facts? Kleptocracy and self-interest? Is there a grand idea behind all of this, or is that part of the library simply going to be labeled "The Ship of State Lists", and all this mess just tossed in there?

Not the greatest school trip, is what I'm saying.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:43 AM on February 15 [7 favorites]


The Trump Presidential Video Library
posted by acb at 7:44 AM on February 15 [24 favorites]


what does the William Henry Harrison presidential library look like
posted by murphy slaw at 7:45 AM on February 15 [15 favorites]


Not the greatest school trip, is what I'm saying.

Where else will the children learn about Pizzagate?
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:45 AM on February 15 [8 favorites]


A copy of Mein Kampf on a really ornate golden bookshelf.
posted by spitbull at 7:45 AM on February 15 [10 favorites]


I assumed the Trump Presidential Library would just look like this.
posted by biogeo at 7:46 AM on February 15 [27 favorites]


A copy of Mein Kampf on a really ornate golden bookshelf.

Except it's hollowed out, and hidden inside is a tube of bronzer.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:47 AM on February 15 [26 favorites]


Foreign Policy says that Trump offered Vice Admiral Harward the National Security Adviser job on Monday night: "President Donald Trump offered the job of national security advisor to retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward on Monday night, and was a bit surprised when Harward responded by saying he needed a couple of days to think it over."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:50 AM on February 15 [69 favorites]


oops, harward might be too smart to join this admin?
posted by murphy slaw at 7:53 AM on February 15 [7 favorites]


Adm. Harward, for the love of god, demand that Bannon be pulled off the NSC as a condition for taking the job. (Tommy Vietor likes Harward, so I'm OK with him.)
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:55 AM on February 15 [16 favorites]


trump's presidential libary will be the stripped fuselage of his 757 in a desolate desert airplane boneyard site. In Mexico.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:55 AM on February 15 [9 favorites]


"Think it over" = "avoid the train wreck unfolding in real time."
posted by spitbull at 7:55 AM on February 15 [15 favorites]


A copy of Mein Kampf on a really ornate golden bookshelf.
Wait for the EO about making the Statue of Liberty great again.
posted by elgilito at 7:56 AM on February 15


what does the William Henry Harrison presidential library look like

It's called the WmHHar Pr Li, for one.
posted by Etrigan at 7:56 AM on February 15


Assuming that Donald doesn't last the whole four years -- what would his library look like?

File photo
posted by Mayor West at 7:56 AM on February 15 [10 favorites]


trump's presidential libary will be the stripped fuselage of his 757 in a desolate desert airplane boneyard site. In Mexico.

I think two vast and trunkless legs of stone would suffice.
posted by emjaybee at 8:00 AM on February 15 [61 favorites]


Wait is Chaffetz going to do something?

No, this is the MO. Going back at least to Pussygate, when he said that he couldn't look his daughter in the eye and vote vote for Trump and then backtracked to "won't endorse but will vote." Just Google "Chaffitz asks" to see all the things he's enquired about that didn't need any action, after all.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:01 AM on February 15 [11 favorites]




one for the "will never happen but might make trump mad" file:

Group urges New York AG to put Trump out of business by revoking charter

posted by murphy slaw at 8:02 AM on February 15 [7 favorites]


Business does not like uncertainty, and having to manufacture a widget that complies with CA, NY, etc rules that are probably changing on the regular is a lot harder than manufacturing a widget which complies with the EPA rule. A weak and compromised EPA helps business; the elimination of the EPA does not.

What? No, you just do like they want to do with health insurance ("get rid of the lines") and everybody is stuck with Kentucky's (or Texas' or whomever's) enviro regs.
posted by notyou at 8:04 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


everybody is stuck with Kentucky's (or Texas' or whomever's) enviro regs.

But not if you want to sell your product in CA.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:07 AM on February 15 [15 favorites]


@NBCNightlyNews: BREAKING: Sec. Mattis: US will "moderate its commitment" to NATO if members do not increase defense spending by end of year.

Between this and coming within a hair's breadth of violating international treaties to start a shooting war with his personal, it's definitely time to chuck any defenses of Mattis as the "reasonable" member of the team. One more NeverTrumper gone to the dark side...
posted by zombieflanders at 8:07 AM on February 15 [62 favorites]


At today's EduHam (a program put on at the Hamilton musical, where local kids get to see the show for $10 and put their own presentations on, on the stage of the Richard Rodgers theatre), a student rapping about American Revolution leads the entire theater in a chant, "No, no, no, he will not divide us." (video)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:08 AM on February 15 [19 favorites]


Just watched last night's Rachel Maddow Show and she reported the same thing as chris24 mentioned above, that Trump only won Tom Price's district by a sliver, but the Democrats do not appear to have made any preparations and do not seem to care about contesting Price's seat in the upcoming special election.
posted by XMLicious at 8:08 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


(Hit post too soon) isn't this why car manufacturers have to meet CA's standards?
posted by Room 641-A at 8:08 AM on February 15 [4 favorites]


one for the "will never happen but might make trump mad" file:
Group urges New York AG to put Trump out of business by revoking charter


I wouldn't completely discount the chance of this happening. I was at an event with AG Schneiderman last week and he was like "I have a hard time even saying 'President Trump'" - dude haaaaates Trump.
posted by melissasaurus at 8:08 AM on February 15 [10 favorites]


everybody is stuck with Kentucky's (or Texas' or whomever's) enviro regs.

But not if you want to sell your product in CA.


That's also ignoring waste management that happens entirely within a state's boundary.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 8:10 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Not a surprise, but the Senate voted 57-43 to roll back an Obama rule requiring gun background checks for "mentally incapable" Social Security recipients. The bill will go to Trump's desk.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:11 AM on February 15 [7 favorites]


isn't this why car manufacturers have to meet CA's standards?

My guess is the Fed will just do what Republican states do when cities in those states increase the minimum wage or pass other laws they don't like and just create a federal law that de-fangs California.
posted by drezdn at 8:12 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Trump only won Tom Price's district by a sliver, but the Democrats do not appear to have made any preparations and do not seem to care about contesting Price's seat in the upcoming special election.

There are seven declared Democratic candidates and two more anticipated. I know the guy running Jon Ossof's campaign. He's a full-time professional Democratic campaign manager who was sent there from Michigan. The Democrats are prepared. They do care. They are contesting it.
posted by Etrigan at 8:15 AM on February 15 [65 favorites]


Not a surprise, but the Senate voted 57-43 to roll back an Obama rule requiring gun background checks for "mentally incapable" Social Security recipients. The bill will go to Trump's desk.

Does this plus yesterday's Dodd-Frank rollback mean they can create one new regulation now? Or am I misunderstanding the rules of Law Karma
posted by theodolite at 8:19 AM on February 15 [10 favorites]


isn't this why car manufacturers have to meet CA's standards?

They meet CA's standards because CA is the biggest market. But if you said that CA had to accept any other state's regs as legitimate (as Trump et al have proposed for health insurance ("get rid of the lines") or how lenders HQ in Delaware or North Dakota), then any state's regs will do.
posted by notyou at 8:19 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


There are seven declared Democratic candidates and two more anticipated.

That... doesn't seem ideal either? There's no primary for this election, so this is essentially a free for all. More Dem candidates fighting among themselves isn't a good thing. I know it's a runoff style, but still... a little focus and party unity would be nice. Too much is at stake.
posted by Roommate at 8:25 AM on February 15 [4 favorites]


Not a surprise, but the Senate voted 57-43 to roll back an Obama rule requiring gun background checks for "mentally incapable" Social Security recipients. The bill will go to Trump's desk.

That's not a fair representation of the bill. Here's what the ACLU had to say. Basically it only covers those people who "need a representative payee to manage their money benefit". This does not imply that they are mentally incapable. There is no due process in this determination, and the Social Security Administration has stated that representative payees are appointed for many individuals who are legally competent.
posted by zabuni at 8:26 AM on February 15 [10 favorites]


It's a little bit of a stretch to say that there was an investigation specifically about Socks, but he did come up during the then-chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee Dan Burton's investigation into the Clinton's Christmas card list, in the form of a letter;
"As a member of the new Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, I would like to inquire what the standard practice is for the White House to respond to mail directed to `Socks,' your cat," he wrote. "How many of these inquiries were responded to over the past two years? Who pays for the postage? If it comes out of the White House mail budget, why are the taxpayers being made to pay for your feline's fan club."
Of course: "He now laughs this off as a "mistake" dreamed up by a staff aide."

There was a similar compare/contrast a decade ago about Bush & FISA (oblig. cat picture) with bonus IOKIYAR aspect.
posted by achrise at 8:27 AM on February 15 [12 favorites]


There are seven declared Democratic candidates and two more anticipated.

That... doesn't seem ideal either? ... I know it's a runoff style, but still... a little focus and party unity would be nice. Too much is at stake.


This is a big part of the problem in the Democratic party these days. If the party had come in and said "Okay, no infighting, we've decided that This Person will be the candidate," then you'd get just as much complaining.
posted by Etrigan at 8:29 AM on February 15 [19 favorites]


From the ACLU document: "We oppose this rule because it advances and reinforces the harmful stereotype that
people with mental disabilities a vast and diverse group of citizens are violent."

No, it really doesn't. It says that if you aren't able to manage your own affairs because of mental illness, you should not have a gun before a background check. There is nothing wrong with this idea.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:29 AM on February 15 [13 favorites]


Man, even after all this time, I still believed that the problematic word in "but her emails!" was "emails." But nope, it was "her."
posted by KathrynT at 8:29 AM on February 15 [89 favorites]


Exceptional_Hubris: The IRS isn't the only one with his taxes, though, right? I don't think they will tell the whole story by a mile, but there will be evidence, and a discussion of that evidence, which I don't think he could withstand.

I wonder if there's even proof that Trump filed any tax returns.
posted by SteveInMaine at 8:31 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Russia Urges Trump to Keep Pledge on Relations Amid Crimea Row

Russia called on U.S. President Donald Trump to live up to his pledge to improve relations, amid growing unease in Moscow that he may not lift sanctions imposed over the crisis in Ukraine.

“Crimea was TAKEN by Russia during the Obama administration. Was Obama too soft on Russia?” Trump said on Twitter Wednesday. Senior officials in Moscow had earlier criticized White House spokesman Sean Spicer for saying on Tuesday that the president expects Russia to “return” the Black Sea peninsula annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Spicer’s comment on Crimea is at odds with Trump’s campaign pledge to restore relations, Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the Russian lower house of parliament, told lawmakers Wednesday, the Interfax news service reported. “Everything will be fine” if the president fulfills his election program, Volodin said.

posted by Jalliah at 8:31 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


“Everything will be fine” if the president fulfills his election program, Volodin said.

"This will be fine. We will be OK with the events that will be currently unfolding."

[fireсобака.jpg]
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:34 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


Former NSA intelligence analyst John Schindler on failing US president Donald Trump: "He will die in jail."

BTW, I really like the epithet "failing US president Donald Trump" and don't mind at all if you use it as well...)
posted by sour cream at 8:34 AM on February 15 [34 favorites]


Don't Buy Mike Pence's Innocent Act

While Governor of Indiana, Pence used the old "had no knowledge" chestnut to distance himself from scandal. And it was just as absurd then as it is now.

Perhaps most famously, Pence claimed, exactly as he is now, that he learned from the press about the proposal for a state-run and taxpayer-funded news (propaganda) outlet: "I frankly learned about the memo from press reports late Monday."

He made this incredible claim despite the fact that two employees had already been hired; that "a governance board of communications directors" had been established; that a draft story had already been circulated; and that Pence himself had tweeted about it.

posted by emjaybee at 8:34 AM on February 15 [63 favorites]


What would happen to an IRS person who leaked? Obviously they'd be fired, but would they go to prison? As a single, childless person I'd gladly do the former if it helped bring him down, but the latter is a pretty strong deterrent. Someone needs to pull a Snowden (except the Russia part).
posted by AFABulous at 8:34 AM on February 15 [4 favorites]


That's not a fair representation of the bill. Here's what the ACLU had to say. Basically it only covers those people who "need a representative payee to manage their money benefit". This does not imply that they are mentally incapable

That's not fair either. Here's the regulation.

From the included Q&A:
We are not reporting information in records based solely on a medical finding of disability without the person being adjudicated as subject to the Federal mental health prohibitor “consistent with 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(4).” The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has clarified through regulations that this prohibition covers individuals who have been determined by a court, board, commission or other lawful authority as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition or disease to be a danger to himself or to others, or who lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her own affairs.
[...]
We also are not basing our reporting of records to the NICS solely on a medical finding of disability. Rather, consistent with section 101(a)(4) of the NIAA and the ATF's implementing regulation, we are basing our report on the individual's inability to manage his or her affairs as a result of his or her mental impairment.
[...]
With regard to the broader point the commenters raised about the constitutionality of our actions under the Second Amendment, we note that the Supreme Court recognized in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 595 (2008), “that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms.” The Court emphasized, however, that, “[l]ike most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,” id., at 626, and that “nothing in [the Court's] opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill.” Id. Our actions, taken in accordance with the Congress' directives in the NIAA, the President's January 2013 memorandum to Executive agencies, and DOJ's March 2013 guidance, are fully consistent with the Supreme Court's recognition in Heller of the validity “of longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by . . . the mentally ill.” Nothing in the rules we are issuing today is inconsistent with the scope of the Second Amendment as interpreted in Heller. Accordingly, we have not made any changes to the rule in response to comments asserting that our actions were inconsistent with an individual's Second Amendment right.
Due process exists for the underlying determinations, plus there's a review process:
Affected individuals will have the opportunity to apply for relief from the Federal firearms prohibitions imposed by 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(4) at any time after our adjudication has become final. We have clarified our rules to make that point. We will follow the requirements of the NIAA and apply principles of due process in determining applicants' entitlement to relief from the burdens imposed by inclusion in the NICS. Under these rules, we will provide individuals with advance notice at the commencement of the adjudication that we may report their information to NICS if we find they meet the criteria for reporting when the adjudication is final. An individual can request relief any time after the adjudication is final but we cannot delay fulfilling our obligations under the NIAA to provide relevant records to the Attorney General while the person decides whether to request relief.
[...]
Consistent with the NIAA, we will provide oral and written notice to the beneficiary at the commencement of the adjudication, which we define as after we have determined that he or she meets the medical requirements for disability based on a finding that his or Start Printed Page 91705her impairment(s) meets or medically equals the requirements of the mental disorders listings, but before we find that he or she requires a representative payee. Under these final rules, we will provide individuals with the opportunity to apply for relief from the Federal firearms prohibitions once the adjudication becomes final and those prohibitions are imposed.
[...]
Because we will only identify individuals for reporting on a prospective basis, existing beneficiaries with representative payees will not be affected by these final rules.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:35 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]


What would happen to an IRS person who leaked? Obviously they'd be fired, but would they go to prison?

$5000 fine or up to 5 years in prison.
posted by melissasaurus at 8:36 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


There is nothing wrong with this idea.

we are basing our report on the individual's inability to manage his or her affairs as a result of his or her mental impairment.

Inability to deal with financial manners does not imply inability to deal with other manners. From the PDF:

Here, the rule automatically conflates one disability related characteristic, that is, difficulty managing money, with the inability to safely possess a firearm.

This is also why the Autistic Self Advocacy Network , and the Nation Council on Disability were against it.
posted by zabuni at 8:38 AM on February 15 [8 favorites]


Re - shadow government: in the UK, that's exactly how it's supposed to work. To be considered the official opposition, which comes with various benefits and privileges, a party (or even a stable coalition) has to have a Shadow Cabinet, with appointees in place who shadow the major cabinet positions in the government. The idea is that if there's an election, the voters know the shape of the new administration beforehand and that administration is ready to go from day 1.

This makes more sense when you have a parliamentary system that can theoretically have a general election at very short notice, but the basic idea of being a shadow government-in-waiting is seen as being a basic attribute of any plausible opposition party. It's not a scary sekret thing, it's official policy. And you actually get to be called the Shadow Chancellor, which is a pretty cool supervillain title for your business card.
posted by Devonian at 8:42 AM on February 15 [43 favorites]


What would happen to an IRS person who leaked? Obviously they'd be fired, but would they go to prison?

$5000 fine or up to 5 years in prison.


And a target on their back for every brownshirt Trumpnik Nazi that's crawled out from the shadows in the last year or so.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:43 AM on February 15 [7 favorites]


“Everything will be fine” if the president fulfills his election program, Volodin said.

They really aren't trying to hide it any more. I guess they've decided that a weakened, illegitimate President Pence or Ryan suits their needs (fucking around in Crimea or the Baltics with impunity, I assume) just as well as failing US President Donald Trump does.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:45 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


Former NSA intelligence analyst John Schindler on failing US president Donald Trump: "He will die in jail."

BTW, I really like the epithet "failing US president Donald Trump" and don't mind at all if you use it as well...)


I saw Schindler's tweet earlier about the email he got from one of his sources. I remain skeptical about him but there was part of me that read it and thought 'time to batten down the hatches, going to get rough'.

I'll admit that I'm finding it difficult to separate desire and feelings from more objective speculation right now. What I think may be happening is that we're in the prologue stage of a book. The broad narrative or broad strokes of an opening argument is being set. The 'leaks' are telling us a story and we're only on the first page of 'firstly grab and intrigue the reader'.

As I said may be more wishful thinking then anything else but that's where I'm at right now.
posted by Jalliah at 8:45 AM on February 15 [18 favorites]


I'll admit that I'm finding it difficult to separate desire and feelings from more objective speculation right now.

omg yes. at this point i am impatient for the collapse of the administration to accelerate but my rational mind knows that is not a given.
posted by murphy slaw at 8:47 AM on February 15 [19 favorites]




Yeah I knew nothing of this until about 5 minutes ago, but looking at the text of the regulation quoted by snuffleupagus above, plus the ACLU document opposing the reg, I'm on the ACLU's side here. Needing help to manage one's finances has no bearing on one's ability to responsibly use a firearm.

I see it as a similar issue to the no-fly no-buy thing that the Dems tried to pull last year. Yes: I agree that gun rights should be dramatically curtailed. But trying to do so piecemeal, by targeting politically unpopular or powerless groups is the wrong way. It is discriminatory and dangerous.

I bet you could get a ban on Muslim gun ownership through this Congress in about five seconds flat, and the President would be signing it about three seconds later. Same principle. Discrimination is wrong even when the underlying right is itself problematic.

posted by tivalasvegas at 8:49 AM on February 15 [35 favorites]


Here, the rule automatically conflates one disability related characteristic, that is, difficulty managing money, with the inability to safely possess a firearm.


I would be willing to conflate the inability to manage money with the inability to:

keep a firearm locked in a separate safe from its ammunition.

keep an orange insert with the firearm so that it's maintained in an unloaded state until ready to fire.

keep the safes locked so children cannot get at them.

The two disabilities appear strongly co-related.
posted by ocschwar at 8:50 AM on February 15 [8 favorites]


Inability to deal with financial manners does not imply inability to deal with other manners

Legally adjudicated incapacity carries with it an inability to contract, but it is hardly so simple as an "inability to deal with financial matters." There are other mechanisms for that short of this kind of conservatorship so long as the person is still capable of managing their affairs in terms of overall decision making (via trustees, powers of attorney, etc).

The law is clumsy here but it's trying to get at people who are disabled in a way that prevents them from being responsible for the major decisions in their lives.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:51 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]


What would happen to an IRS person who leaked?

Fine, jail, loss of any federal benefits, including pension. And the IRS system tracks lookups, and have flags on certain SSNs.

Tax returns alone aren't going to lay bare the relationships of hundreds of private corporations and LLCs. There's more transparency in the Scottish golf holdings than for any US-based corporate entity, but even those have multiple tiers of ownership where the trail ends at a Delaware LLC.
posted by holgate at 8:52 AM on February 15 [6 favorites]


The EPA has adopted CA's car pollution standards, which is why you don't see CA vs 49-state versions of new cars, whereas you did back in, like, the 90's. Part of the California Air Resources Board't (CARB) clout comes from a waiver by the EPA, that allows California, and no other state, to set their own, different, standards. (States can adopt California standards, and some did, leading to 45-state models for a very brief period.)

There are various ways to defang the regulatory system at large, but completely dropping the EPA cold turkey is laughably bad, just as you'd expect from Trump's Incompetents. (Like "Trump's secret plan to make Mexico pay for the wall" level of stupid.)

In case you wanted to read the whole text of the bill, which can sometimes be very long and dry, with clearly thought through lots of nitty gritty inside-baseball level of detail, referencing other sections and modifying their text to be coherent, here's the full text of House bill 861, according to www.congress.gov:
To terminate the Environmental Protection Agency.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. TERMINATION OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY.

The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018.
posted by fragmede at 8:58 AM on February 15 [9 favorites]


What would happen to an IRS person who leaked?

In a just world, a pardon and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
posted by mayonnaises at 8:59 AM on February 15 [35 favorites]


I see it as a similar issue to the no-fly no-buy thing that the Dems tried to pull last year. Yes: I agree that gun rights should be dramatically curtailed. But trying to do so piecemeal, by targeting politically unpopular or powerless groups is the wrong way. It is discriminatory and dangerous.

I'm not sure I disagree with the regulation itself, in a vacuum, but I do agree that breaking out groups to restrict when the real problem is the underlying 2nd Am. law is a bad way to go.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:00 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure I disagree with the regulation itself, in a vacuum, but I do agree that breaking out groups to restrict when the real problem is the underlying 2nd am. law is a bad way to go.

I mean, President Obama didn't think that incremental steps to make people actually safer was a bad way to go.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:02 AM on February 15


The EPA has adopted CA's car pollution standards, which is why you don't see CA vs 49-state versions of new cars, whereas you did back in, like, the 90's.

I remember when "California emissions" was listed as a feature when game shows gave away cars.
posted by Etrigan at 9:03 AM on February 15 [12 favorites]


What would happen to an IRS person who leaked? Obviously they'd be fired, but would they go to prison?

I don't think it's the consequences that are stopping people. I think that the people who could leak probably think it won't even matter. The election is done, the congressional Rs are behind him 110%. Nobody can do anything that would change the situation other than burn some now unneeded political capital.
posted by Talez at 9:05 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Can the gun thing get its own thread, maybe?
posted by tobascodagama at 9:07 AM on February 15 [34 favorites]


I have now seen two non-strangers (though not people I know personally) post on twitter that Kellyanne is out/packing her stuff up as I type. Neither was sourced. Is anyone else seeing anything remotely believable on this?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:07 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


"moderate" republicans are standing in the back of the room going "um, can we just get our tax cuts now please?" while the rest of the house is yammering on about destroying the EPA and the dept. of education

Moderate Republicans are democrats and have been for a few decades.

There are no moderate republicans.
posted by srboisvert at 9:08 AM on February 15 [25 favorites]


I remember when "California emissions" was listed as a feature when game shows gave away cars.

Still is, just under the "50-state emissions" label.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 9:12 AM on February 15


you have to come to California if you want a real authentic emission burrito
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:13 AM on February 15 [34 favorites]


phrasing plz
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:13 AM on February 15 [9 favorites]


I mean, President Obama didn't think that incremental steps to make people actually safer was a bad way to go.

Obviously not, his administration produced the regulation. I think there's a good rationale for it, but I'm still sensitive to the complaint of vulnerable groups that they're being singled out for token measures.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:13 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


There are seven declared Democratic candidates and two more anticipated.
That... doesn't seem ideal either? ... I know it's a runoff style, but still... a little focus and party unity would be nice. Too much is at stake.

This news source says that "five Republicans, two Democrats and one independent qualified on Monday in a special election to replace Tom Price in the 6th congressional district."
posted by galaxy rise at 9:13 AM on February 15 [4 favorites]


Had an interesting, hour-long chat with a senior staffer in Senator Isakson's (R-GA) office yesterday. She's 70, and has been in politics since Reagan. We had a very candid and pleasant conversation, and I appreciated her experience and her taking the time to talk to me. Here are the high points of our conversation:

I asked her if she, personally, was experiencing any cognitive dissonance over the fact that so much of Trump's campaign was based around Clinton's private, unsecured email server, yet he's conducting foreign policy surrounded by diners at his country club. She said this didn't really happen; that as soon as Trump was informed about the North Korean missile test, he hopped up and went into another room.
I said, "That's not what the dude at the next table over who Facebooked the whole thing said. He's posting pictures of all them huddled together, talking about what to do while other diners sit and watch. We can see those pictures."
"Yes, well, you can make a picture look like anything," she said.

*

She said she thought that Trump's presidency was just like any other presidency. Nothing unusual. She said she was hearing all day, every day from voters who are angry and terrified, and they needed to just take a step back. I asked her if she thought huge numbers of angry, frightened voters was actually something unusual about this presidency. She said that the voters were being scared by the media, who were whipping things up. I asked her what she and the Republicans planned to do about all the angry, scared people who were showing up at their representatives' offices all over the country, asking questions about health care, education, Russia, etc. I said, "Maybe the media's whipping them up for no good reason, but now they're whipped up."
"It's all just manufactured from outside," she said.

*

She said people needed to give Trump a chance and stop obstructing him. "It has never taken a president this long to fill his cabinet," she told me.
"That's not true," I said. "It took Bush and Clinton until March."
"No," she said. "That's not true."
"OK, let's say you're right," I said. "Possibly that's because he's appointing very controversial people. People who are unqualified, and who are sneaking around with Russia. Doesn't Russia concern you at all? After working with Reagan? The man who won the Cold War?"
"No, it doesn't concern me. If there were anything bad with Trump they would have found it before he became president, with the security clearance. If there were some big problem with Russia, they would know."
"How would they know?" I asked her.
"Well, for instance, through his financial records."
"But he hasn't released his tax returns!" I said. "So no one's seen his financial records."
"That's true. It's probably because, you know, he paid his taxes but he didn't really have to, because he took advantage of all these loopholes. He doesn't want to release them because it'd look bad."
"As would huge conflicts of interest with foreign governments, like Russia," I said.
"That's just crazy," she said.
posted by staggering termagant at 9:14 AM on February 15 [160 favorites]


The two disabilities appear strongly co-related.

They're not. You'd be surprised how not generalizable ability is. I organize things for a living, and can do the planning and thinking really well in that context, but my inattentive ADHD with organizational related anxiety can make more routine survival and financial stresses much harder to deal with than other kinds of tasks in different contexts.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:15 AM on February 15 [25 favorites]


Argggggggggggggggggh.
It doesn't matter what he does, everything is OK as long as he's a Republican.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:15 AM on February 15 [19 favorites]


One "interesting" thing about the Harward pick for NSA is that he was Mattis' deputy at CENTCOM. John Kelly is also a former Mattis deputy, serving directly under him in the Iraq invasion. At what point do we begin to categorize this administration by factions?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:16 AM on February 15 [8 favorites]


"That's just crazy," she said.

Yes. Yes, you are.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:17 AM on February 15 [7 favorites]


Metafilter: Yeah I knew nothing of this until about 5 minutes ago, but
posted by persona at 9:17 AM on February 15 [29 favorites]


"No," she said. "That's not true."

This is where I'd have to just hang up. How do you even deal with this level of denial of observable reality among the senior professional staff of Republicans?! How?!
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:18 AM on February 15 [26 favorites]


Had an interesting, hour-long chat with a senior staffer in Senator Isakson's (R-GA) office yesterday. She's 70, and has been in politics since Reagan. We had a very candid and pleasant conversation, and I appreciated her experience and her taking the time to talk to me. Here are the high points of our conversation: ...

Someone was definitely high, that's for sure.
posted by jferg at 9:18 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


At what point do we begin to categorize this administration by factions?

I would say like last March, but I guess if you mean the technical administration part, January 20th.
posted by Etrigan at 9:19 AM on February 15 [4 favorites]


It's not just "it's okay if you're a Republican," it's "it didn't really happen if you're a Republican." The integrity and moral superiority of Republicans is taken by their core supporters as axiomatic, and all other information is evaluated in that framework. I don't know one fights that. Try to find beliefs that are even more fundamental and appeal to those, I guess. Evidence obviously isn't going to play a role.
posted by biogeo at 9:21 AM on February 15 [33 favorites]


Obviously not, his administration produced the regulation. I think there's a good rationale for it, but I'm still sensitive to the complaint of vulnerable groups that they're being singled out for token measures.

If there's a concern that people who are not capable of taking X, Y and Z safety measures are getting guns / licenses, then that can and should be built into the purchasing or licensing process for everyone. This isn't that, it's a targeted attempt to bar a certain group from gun ownership, which the Democrats got away with because the target group didn't have much political power. That's not okay, even if Barack Obama thought it was and even though it's part of a laudable effort to generally reduce gun violence rates by restricting gun ownership rates.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:21 AM on February 15 [6 favorites]


Trump's Cat: The cat in the box is both A RUSSIAN ASSET and NOT A RUSSIAN ASSET.

But it DID shit in the box.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:21 AM on February 15 [29 favorites]


Try to find beliefs that are even more fundamental and appeal to those, I guess.

We tried that, but they don't believe in science and math.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:22 AM on February 15 [22 favorites]


How did you even deal with this level of denial of observable reality among the senior professional staff of Republicans

I mean, I don't personally think that you can really come to embrace a great many of the planks of the party platform without flat-out denying observable facts, so it's sort of part-and-parcel.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:23 AM on February 15 [7 favorites]


"Yes, well, you can make a picture look like anything," she said.

for a lot of people, an "argument" is constructing a sentence that refutes what you said according to its own internal logic, and whether or not it corresponds to any external truth is entirely besides the point and you're some kind of condescending smartass if you even expect that. smug aren't-I-clever smiles are optional but frequently accompany this rhetorical style.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:23 AM on February 15 [45 favorites]


I would say like last March, but I guess if you mean the technical administration part, January 20th.

I see a Bannon faction and a Priebus faction which overlaps with the Mattis faction. Then there is probably a lower staff 'holy shit wtf is going on and what am I doing here' faction.
posted by Jalliah at 9:23 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


The flat out denial of reality is once of the frightening parts for me. Forget facist coup, we're actually in the territory of Chinese Cultural Revolution here.
posted by Artw at 9:24 AM on February 15 [55 favorites]


I think unless things start actually breaking down then the hope that there's a bunch of faction infighting is just that: hope
posted by flatluigi at 9:26 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


The first question for Trump and Netanyahu went to the Christian Broadcasting Network, because crazy people have taken over the world.
posted by zachlipton at 9:26 AM on February 15 [24 favorites]


Omarosa Manigault Produces Secret Recording of White House Dispute With Journalist

“She came in [to the White House press-staff area] hot,” hurling insults, Manigault told the Washington Post. “She came in with an attitude. For her to characterize me as the bully — I’m so glad we have this tape … because it’s ‘liar, liar, pants on fire.’”

Rather than resolving the matter, the recording raised new questions about how it was obtained. “I didn’t know she was taping it,” Ryan said. “This is about her trying to smear my name. This is freaking Nixonian.”

Manigault said “a colleague” made the tape, and claimed that the White House press staff regularly records interviews between officials and journalists. “We do it all the time,” she said. “When you come into [the press staff’s offices], you’re on the record.”


This....is this as Nixoney as it looks? Because this feels like a shitty reboot Nixon TV series that'll get canceled after the 3rd episode.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:26 AM on February 15 [59 favorites]


“When you come into [the press staff’s offices], you’re on the record.”


um, if that's not explicitly stated, they're breaking the law, right?
posted by murphy slaw at 9:29 AM on February 15 [20 favorites]


Omarosa Manigault Produces Secret Recording of White House Dispute With Journalist

Given staggering termagant's story above, this is such a fucking amateur move by Manigault et al. All they have to do is lie about it, and enough people will believe them that the story will be eclipsed by the next day's shitpile. But now there's another fucking story.
posted by Etrigan at 9:29 AM on February 15 [46 favorites]


Been wondering how long before Manigault took a turn on stage.
posted by notyou at 9:30 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]


I think unless things start actually breaking down then the hope that there's a bunch of faction infighting is just that: hope

There is infighting. No hope needed. If you need proof, beyond the plethora of leaks about the fighting that's been going on since the beginning of the campaign. just go check out Briebart. Bannon has the knives out for Preibus right now. It's stunning how blatant and public he's making it.

Trump is also known for his management style of purposely pitting his people against each other. That's what he does. Doubt this would change.
posted by Jalliah at 9:30 AM on February 15 [9 favorites]


This....is this as Nixoney as it looks? Because this feels like a shitty reboot Nixon TV series that'll get canceled after the 3rd episode.

The MAGA crowd will love this CSI/JAG/SVU tale of the tape zoomenhance wankery, so long as it's directed at embarassing lamestream MSM fakenews REEEEEEEEporters. [see O'Keefe's 'investigations']

As soon as somone tapes a member of the administration doing something sketchy, they'll be screaming about dual-party recording consent and expectations of privacy.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:31 AM on February 15 [10 favorites]


for a lot of people, an "argument" is constructing a sentence that refutes what you said according to its own internal logic,

Yeah, it doesn't even need internal logic. I've seen far too many discussions end with "that's my [1000% unsubstantiated, no effort even made] opinion and I have freedom of speech so you can't tell me I'm wrong." People really really do not understand the difference between an opinion, a feeling and a fact. Saying "that's my opinion" is seen as brilliant conversation-ending jujitsu. I just... How did these people graduate college (because I know a whole lot of them did)?
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:33 AM on February 15 [19 favorites]


Recording the press is legal, since D.C. has a one-party consent law for wiretapping. And to be honest, I'd probably want to record any convos I had with journalists if I were in a staffer's position, to make sure I wasn't misquoted.

But it's truly stupid to whip out an edited tape to try to prove your point, as it sounds like this one was.

Not to mention the fact that, yeah, the government wiretapping the press makes for really bad optics, so you probably don't want to play that card unless it's really crucial which, as Etrigan notes above, it wasn't in this case.

Another example of incompetence inflaming a minor problem into a bigger one, really.
posted by darkstar at 9:33 AM on February 15 [30 favorites]


How did these people graduate college (because I know a whole lot of them did?

"Study guides," radix malorum est.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:34 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]


The thing that jumps out at me on the Manigault/Ryan story is "parts of the recording". A selective release doesn't really give any sort of context. Ryan might have gotten confrontational, but if only a fragment of the conversation's released, who can say why? It might well have been justified.
posted by jackbishop at 9:34 AM on February 15 [14 favorites]




Manigault is a public servant paid from taxpayer funds and yet she is literally behaving as if on a reality show: selective editing, clichés to camera.
posted by holgate at 9:36 AM on February 15 [23 favorites]


Jesus Christ. This is what amateur hour at the federal government looks like.
posted by biogeo at 9:37 AM on February 15 [28 favorites]


oh no mister trump, please don't fire the only one in your entire administration who can work with republican legislators. don't. stop.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:37 AM on February 15 [55 favorites]


Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tom Carper (D-DE), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) have sent a letter to Jefferson Sessions to demand that he appoint Special Counsel to conduct an independent investigation of the executive's ties to the Russian government. If one of these Senators is from your state, show them some love for this absolutely necessary call for investigation.

Some particularly choice bits:
The disclosure that General Flynn spoke repeatedly to Russian Ambassador Kislyak regarding the easing of US Sanctions on Russia, potentially undermining important U.S. foreign policy, reveals a stunning and potentially criminal dereliction of General Flynn's duty to our nation. The revelation of these secret calls by General Flynn arises amidst several serious investigations into what role Trump campaign officials played in the espionage Vladimir Putin conducted to aid [Popular Vote Loser] Trump in the election. Like General Flynn, you were an early endorser of [PVL] Trump and an active participant in the political campaign. Given these troubling circumstances, a Special Counsel is necessary to ensure strict impartiality and prevent any further harm to our national security until these issues are resolved. [...]

During your confirmation hearing you affirmed to Senator Blumenthal that for "serious questions, when they arise, the Attorney General should recuse himself under appropriate circumstances." Exactly such circumstances now exist. Appoint of a Special Counsel is needed, because of the severity of the allegations of collusion with the Russian government and your own statements during your confirmation hearing defending the [PVL