We're Going to Build a Wall (No Guarantee It Will Hold)
March 3, 2017 12:18 PM   Subscribe

Roughly an hour after President Donald Trump said he had "total" confidence in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Sessions recused himself from present and future investigations of the Trump campaign. Sessions repeated his assertion that his meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were done in his capacity as Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, but then the Wall Street Journal revealed that he had used campaign funds to pay for the trip to Cleveland, contradicting the claim he was there on official business. The standard line seems to be that nobody recalls meeting with Kislyak.

Meanwhile, other leaks and contradictions keep showing up. The most egregious example of a "no comment" non-denial denial came from Carter Page, in a bumbling shambles of an interview where he confirmed several off-the-record meetings simply by talking too much. Mike Pence was revealed to have an AOL email account he used for official business, which was inevitably hacked. New Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told his staffers in a meeting that leaks won't be tolerated; that leaked (this is a repeat of the State Department anti-leak memo from two weeks ago). As the Washington Post's Greg Sargent put it, "The GOP’s protective wall around Trump is beginning to crumble."
posted by fedward (2642 comments total) 118 users marked this as a favorite
 
When do the news media start giggling at the "I don't recall" statements? Or maybe this whole administration is suffering from rapid-onset dementia, and they just need medical help.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:23 PM on March 3 [10 favorites]


Nice work, fedward. Great opening hook.

In the right timeline, that sentence alone would be enough to bring down the government. Somehow we keep ending up in the timeline where "that sentence alone would..." never does.
posted by notyou at 12:23 PM on March 3 [19 favorites]


The American Civil Liberties Union has demanded documents from four federal agencies concerning a potential executive order that would sanction religiously motivated discrimination against LGBT people, members of minority faiths, women, and people seeking reproductive health care.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:24 PM on March 3 [51 favorites]


Josh Marshall's slowly unfurling bewilderment is what's getting me through.

He's trying so hard to find a way for this not to be the story it looks like, and yet.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:25 PM on March 3 [70 favorites]


REUTERS [3pm EST, 3/3/17]: Trump administration considering separating women, children at U.S.-Mexico border
Women and children crossing together illegally into the United States could be separated by U.S. authorities under a proposal being considered by the Department of Homeland Security, according to three government officials.

Part of the reason for the proposal is to deter mothers from migrating to the United States with their children, said the officials, who have been briefed on the proposal.
On the eve of Lebowskifest in LA, I think I'm ready to say: I'd prefer the nihilists, please.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:25 PM on March 3 [83 favorites]




Women and children crossing together illegally into the United States could be separated by U.S. authorities under a proposal being considered by the Department of Homeland Security, according to three government officials.

These are actual monsters. There is an old german book with woodcut illustrations and pages made out of human skin somewhere that is suddenly missing all of its monsters.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:27 PM on March 3 [174 favorites]


The party line coming from the deplorables who want to pretend to be otherwise is, "First off, Sessions simply misspoke, and secondly WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT CORRUPT HILLARY!? And thirdly, all politicians are corrupt, so it doesn't matter!" Usually in that order, and from half a dozen different people fitting the same mold.
posted by codacorolla at 12:31 PM on March 3 [11 favorites]


Wilbur Ross: We're 'up to our eyeballs' finding regulations to nix

He estimated that the Trump administration may ultimately save U.S. businesses “way into the tens of billions of dollars and very possibly approaching a hundred odd billions of dollars.”
posted by futz at 12:32 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


Kansas Congressman Roger Marshall: “Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us,’” he said. “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:33 PM on March 3 [26 favorites]


Just a few hours ago Trump tried to deflect the talk by pointing out that Chuck Schumer (D-NY) met with Putin in 2003.

Schumer's reply: "I'll happily talk about my contact with Putin under oath. Will you?"
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:34 PM on March 3 [162 favorites]


TPM: In a significant reversal, a Trump campaign official on Thursday told CNN that he personally advocated for softening the language on Ukraine in the GOP platform at the Republican National Convention, and that he did so on behalf of the President.
posted by diogenes at 12:34 PM on March 3 [35 favorites]


Trump administration may ultimately save U.S. businesses “way into the tens of billions of dollars and very possibly approaching a hundred odd billions of dollars.

And they'll pass the savings cost on to you!
posted by uncleozzy at 12:35 PM on March 3 [12 favorites]


Obama administration officials filed a brief in support of transgender teen Gavin Grimm On Friday, members of the Obama administration filed an amicus brief in support of Gavin Grimm, the 17-year-old transgender Virginia teenager who will head to the Supreme Court on March 28 to fight for the ability to use the public facilities that match his gender identity.

Two former secretaries of education, Arne Duncan and John B. King Jr., signed onto the brief, as well as several officials from the departments of Education, Justice, Labor and Health and Human Services.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:35 PM on March 3 [42 favorites]


“Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us,’” he said. “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”


Maybe this guy needs a refresher on some of the other things Jesus said.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:35 PM on March 3 [147 favorites]


Kansas Congressman Roger Marshall: “Just like Jesus said..."

Mark 14:17
The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have Me.

Deuteronomy 15:11
For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:36 PM on March 3 [203 favorites]


He estimated that the Trump administration may ultimately save U.S. businesses “way into the tens of billions of dollars and very possibly approaching a hundred odd billions of dollars.”

I too have discovered savings in getting rid of regulations: the US government could save tons of money by just tossing nuclear waste right into lakes and oceans, instead of doing all the taking care of it somewhere mysterious! Amazing! See, all it takes is a person willing to think of bold, innovative solutions to these situations!

I think bigly. Thus I think good.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 12:39 PM on March 3 [26 favorites]


Kansas Congressman Roger Marshall: “Just like Jesus said..."

Matthew 25:40
"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'

Just like they're the party of small government, they're the christian party. . .
posted by Carillon at 12:39 PM on March 3 [38 favorites]


"Just like Republican Jesus said, 'The poor will always be with you, so fuck them.'" [not even fake].
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:40 PM on March 3 [26 favorites]


About that nobody remembers meeting Kislak
#Sessions met w/ Kislyak for the 2nd time on Sept. 8. I did a LexisNexis search to see what was going on at that time. Here we go.
posted by adamvasco at 12:41 PM on March 3 [27 favorites]


Kansas Congressman Roger Marshall: “Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us,’” he said. “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”

Considering that Marshall is a medical doctor, how does writing off millions of people as undeserving of health care square with the Hippocratic Oath?
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:41 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


Republican Jesus
I know I've linked this recently, but just the same -- JESVS v. JEEZUS [The Pain..., 2005]
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:43 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


I did a LexisNexis search to see what was going on at that time. Here we go.

That was a good effort and good tweetstorm, but when I first saw it was built entirely from LN searches my reaction was something like "what are the actual journalists doing?"
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:46 PM on March 3 [7 favorites]


These are actual monsters. There is an old german book with woodcut illustrations and pages made out of human skin somewhere that is suddenly missing all of its monsters.

The Trump admin is a bit too tacky and wretched to have ever graced the pages of Unaussprechlichen Kulten. Altho Trump does share the characteristics of poor impulse control, rancid hair and grotesque child hands with another classic German literary figure...
posted by FatherDagon at 12:46 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]




I hope you don't mind, snuffleupagus, but I shared those two scripture passages in reply to the original article.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:49 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


A few more links I didn't want to try to shoehorn into the FPP because OMG everything is just too much these days: There were probably more but I've lost the tabs.
posted by fedward at 12:50 PM on March 3 [39 favorites]


What obligation exists for a person (or persons) to report criminal activity? Is it legal, or merely ethical/moral?

I feel that's what's going to come of this: that the Trump campaign learned of the hacking and either tacitly or explicitly encouraged it and were kept on top of developments by the Russians. Whether or not they were privy to the actual information contained in the emails prior to their mass distribution is, to me, irrelevant.

If I'm right, it's a level of campaign malfeasance that doesn't quite rise to the level of Nixon in 1968 but is still pretty extreme in modern times.
posted by The Notorious SRD at 12:51 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


Only 1341 days until the next presidential election.
posted by Pendragon at 12:51 PM on March 3 [6 favorites]


I hope you don't mind, snuffleupagus, but I shared those two scripture passages in reply to the original article.

By all means.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:51 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


From “Corrupt Clinton?” to “Nothing to See Here”: a tale of two Fox News email chyrons

The thing with Conservatives is that that they have so many more standards. They have approximately double the standards.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:53 PM on March 3 [170 favorites]


Only 1341 days until the next presidential election we expect to have another presidential election.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:54 PM on March 3 [10 favorites]




Only 1341 days until the next presidential election.

Only 1000 days until Trump is declared the winner of the next presidential election.
posted by happyroach at 12:56 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


futz from the last thread: I hate looking at his face. He's got some pepe the frog expressions and there is this one weird look he gives that reminds me of a dr. seuss character but I can't think of which one and it is driving me nuts.

Trump as the Cat in the Hat? Dr. Seuss’s stories find new political meaning:
ON THIS, the 113th birthday of Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, children’s literature scholar Philip Nel can’t help but see current political resonance within the late author’s incisive rhyming tales.

Because President Trump campaigned by pitching his message with fourth-grade level language, in fact, Nel thinks Seussian wisdom can provide illumination.

“There are many parallels between Seuss’s characters and Trump,” says Nel, an English professor at Kansas State University who wrote “Dr. Seuss: American Icon.” “Indeed, Trump is in many respects a caricature straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.”
posted by peeedro at 12:57 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Only 1341 days until the next presidential election.

Only 613 days until the 2018 midterm elections.

Only 249 days until the 2017 local and state elections.

No time to waste.
posted by saturday_morning at 12:58 PM on March 3 [74 favorites]


I'm at the point where I don't even know what to call my Congresspeople about anymore. There are so many options I am paralyzed by indecision!
posted by dellsolace at 12:59 PM on March 3 [25 favorites]


So, America, the rest of the world has been talking and we've agreed to pay for the wall. Well, it's more of a dome. Just a dome really. Just gonna dome off the whole shebang for a while, let you folk figure it out. We'll see you in a few years. I'm pretty sure someone poked a few air holes in there.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 12:59 PM on March 3 [75 favorites]


Democrats really need to stop saying they've never met Kislyak, since that strategy really isn't working out so well. It's also moving the goalposts from meeting the guy, which is fine, to lying under oath about it after you've been involved in a secret plan to insert pro-Russian language into the GOP platform and Russian intelligence helped get your candidate elected, which is not so fine.
posted by zachlipton at 1:00 PM on March 3 [32 favorites]


They built a wall, now we're all paying for it.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:01 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


TPM: In a significant reversal, a Trump campaign official on Thursday told CNN that he personally advocated for softening the language on Ukraine in the GOP platform at the Republican National Convention, and that he did so on behalf of the President.

Would someone with a more in depth understanding than my own be able to confirm if this is in fact as freaking huge as it seems to me? As in "there's smoke coming from this box which may very well prove to have a gun in it," huge?
posted by Naberius at 1:01 PM on March 3 [12 favorites]


Hearby is a funny typo, but obviously Pelosi needs to be more careful, too. She is clearly working with the Russians to sabotage the 2018 elections.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:01 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


The President seems to be having some trouble working out the spelling for his next tweet.

Also, even with correctly-spelled words, that's something the Sheriff of goddamn Nottingham orders nailed to a tree. Not a public communication from a president.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:02 PM on March 3 [21 favorites]


Shit just got real.

Trump has made enemies of a Savoyard.
posted by ocschwar at 1:02 PM on March 3 [14 favorites]


Trump has made enemies of a Savoyard.

This is why Trump won.
posted by zachlipton at 1:05 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Imagine you're Kislyak, and every day when you come home from work, your family thinks you're an intruder and calls the police

Or you have to introduce yourself to your coworkers every day

Must be rough
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:05 PM on March 3 [30 favorites]


Lawfareblog: What Happens When We Don’t Believe the President’s Oath? "What does it even mean for a person who contradicts himself constantly, who says all kinds of crazy things, who has unknown but extensive financial dealings that could be affected by his actions, and who makes up facts as needed in the moment to swear an oath to faithfully execute the office?"
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:06 PM on March 3 [32 favorites]


Is this real life?
posted by greenhornet at 1:06 PM on March 3 [10 favorites]


I maintain that he should've been handcuffed and charged with perjury the second he finished taking the oath.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:07 PM on March 3 [46 favorites]


If you don't have time to watch the full Carter Page interview -- which really, make the time; you'll be glad, or sort of dazed, that you did! -- here's a shorter version.

[fake, but so on point, shamelessly stolen from Twitter]
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:08 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


"Imagine you're Kislyak, and every day when you come home from work, your family thinks you're an intruder and calls the police

Or you have to introduce yourself to your coworkers every day

Must be rough"
Heartbreaking, even.

(EDIT: Damnit, beat to the punch by figurant)
posted by howling fantods at 1:08 PM on March 3


The President seems to be having some trouble working out the spelling for his next tweet.

So, using the "millions of illegals voted illegally" argument, where he expects to randomly throw serious accusations around with no consequence or expectation of further scrutiny. Yes, President Trump, if you have reason to believe of foreign interference with *anyone* in the government, you should be open to a full, independent, bi-partisan, transparent investigation of the highest priority. You aren't, because you don't even believe what you are saying, and you are covering up madly. I see you. We see you.
posted by orbit-3 at 1:08 PM on March 3 [18 favorites]


Earth can support multicellular life for another 500 million years, which is plenty of time for tardigrades to develop a peaceful spacefaring civilization. That's the optimistic thought I rely on to get through the day at the moment.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:09 PM on March 3 [64 favorites]


Would someone with a more in depth understanding than my own be able to confirm if this is in fact as freaking huge as it seems to me?

Well, it directly refutes the official line that the campaign had nothing to do with changing the platform language on Russia/Ukraine, though reporting at the time made clear that the campaign was dictating changes to that -- and only that -- part of the platform.
posted by holgate at 1:09 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


целлофан, Mr. целлофан, shoulda been his name, Mr. целлофан, cause you can look right through him, walk right by him...and never know he's there
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:10 PM on March 3 [12 favorites]


snuffleupagus: Part of the reason for the proposal is to deter mothers from migrating to the United States with their children, said the officials, who have been briefed on the proposal.

Why thousands of migrant children are crossing the U.S. border alone (Deseret News, July 8, 2014)

Your supposed deterrent makes you not only monsters, but shows how little memory you have.

Forgetful monsters are the worst kind.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:12 PM on March 3 [40 favorites]


Pelosi and McCaskill are going to ruin a perfectly cromulent scandal because they couldn't keep their mouths shut.
posted by zachlipton at 1:12 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]


Oh HAY! Shitty, spineless absentee-senator Marco Rubio has been kicked out of his Tampa office over disruption from weekly protests.

The protests, of course, are because the pusillanimous chickenshit won't face his constituents at a town-hall.

BAHAHAHAHAHA! *gasp* *wheeze*

Fuck Rubio.
posted by Cookiebastard at 1:13 PM on March 3 [53 favorites]


When do the news media start giggling at the "I don't recall" statements?

Hmm, Majocchi said non mi ricordo a couple of hundred times and the Pains and Penalties Bill still passed the Lords, though the press ridiculed him silly. So that's one data point.
posted by Emma May Smith at 1:14 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


We’re Going to Build a Wall (No Guarantee It Will Hold)

Would also accept “We Choose To Build A Wall Because It Is Hard.”
posted by Going To Maine at 1:16 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


D'awwww, tardigrades...
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:16 PM on March 3 [13 favorites]


The President seems to be having some trouble working out the spelling for his next tweet.

"I hereby demand a second investigation, after Schumer, of Pelosi for her close ties to Russia, and lying about it" is what it will presumably say once those spelling kinks are worked out.

It's an apt microcosm of the difficulties the Trumpists are having in the transition from shouting on the sidelines to wielding actual power.

You think Schumer / Pelosi / Clinton / Obama have ties to Russia that ought to be investigated? Then launch a damn investigation for Christ's sake, you have the power to do that! You can't just throw out finger-pointing tweets anymore, people will just laugh.

He still, still doesn't get it. The buck stops with him now, whether he likes it or not. To the winner goes the mantle of responsibility.
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:16 PM on March 3 [68 favorites]


Let's forget Betteridge's law for a moment: Can This Democrat Win the Georgia Sixth? (New Yorker, March 3, 2017)
Lst Saturday, Jon Ossoff, a tall, skinny, thirty-year-old candidate for the U.S. Congress with Kennedy-ish features and a deliberate, Obama-like manner of speaking, was scheduled to knock on doors in Roswell, a city in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District. Over the past three decades, the district has been represented by Newt Gingrich, current Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson, and Tom Price, the new Secretary of Health and Human Services. Price’s appointment to the Cabinet left the seat empty, and a special election to fill it will be held on April 18th. The Sixth encompasses many of Atlanta’s wealthy and mostly white northern suburbs, and has long been considered a Republican lock; in 2012, Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama by twenty-four points in the district. But in the most recent election Donald Trump edged Hillary Clinton by just a single point here. Ossoff thinks he can turn the sixth blue, and claim the first congressional win against Trump on the G.O.P.’s own turf.
But to keep you from getting even a moment of hope for humanity, let's continue with the article and hear from the GOP in the area:
Jere Wood, the longtime Republican mayor of Roswell, disagrees. “This isn’t a youth vote up here,” he told me at his office, when I asked him about the makeup of the Sixth. “This is a mature voter base. If someone is going down the list, they’re gonna vote for somebody who is familiar.” He paused. “If you just say ‘Ossoff,’ some folks are gonna think, ‘Is he Muslim? Is he Lebanese? Is he Indian?’ It’s an ethnic-sounding name, even though he may be a white guy, from Scotland or wherever.”

Ossoff is indeed a white guy, though he is not from Scotland. His father is a Jew of Russian-Lithuanian descent who owns a specialist publishing company, and his mother is an Australian immigrant and management consultant who co-founded a nonprofit aimed at electing women—of either party—to political office in Georgia. “Our name was probably truncated at Ellis Island,” Ossoff told me. “From something like Ossoffsky.”

His parents still live in the Sixth. Ossoff resides ten minutes south, where his longtime girlfriend can walk to class at Emory University’s medical school.
Jere, what kind of name is that? Sounds foreign to me, like it's from Germany or Sweden or something. See how that works, Mayor Wood? It's an easy, stupid game to play, so let's not play it.

Back to the brightness:
In high school, Ossoff interned with the congressman and civil-rights icon John Lewis, whose memoir, “Walking With the Wind,” deepened his interest in politics and social justice. Ossoff considers Lewis his mentor, and it was Lewis, he said, who “told me that if any Democrat can win the Sixth, you can.”
Fuck yeah, Ossoff!
posted by filthy light thief at 1:19 PM on March 3 [96 favorites]


You can't just throw out finger-pointing tweets anymore, people will just laugh.

Not his people. His people are just as ignorant of the process and deluded as he is.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:19 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


"...makes up facts as needed..."

now is the time to be precise. facts cannot be made up. verifiably false assertions can be made.
posted by j_curiouser at 1:22 PM on March 3 [12 favorites]


“Our name was probably truncated at Ellis Island,” Ossoff told me. “From something like Ossoffsky.”

Heh, obviously not in touch with his Lithuanian roots. Something like "Ossoffaukas" would be closer to an actually Lithuanian name.
posted by sideshow at 1:22 PM on March 3 [7 favorites]


BTW if you have access to HBO streaming (via Go, Now, or Amazon) you can watch "All the President's Men." "Forget the myths the media's created about the White House. The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand."
posted by fedward at 1:23 PM on March 3 [34 favorites]


> He still, still doesn't get it. The buck stops with him now, whether he likes it or not. To the winner goes the mantle of responsibility.

My theory is that if Trump is ever successfully held to account for any of his actions, he'll melt or turn into a pillar of salt or something.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:24 PM on March 3 [10 favorites]


One nice thing about the higher thread frequency, it's causing me to look at the MF front page more often.
posted by Coventry at 1:27 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


My theory is that if Trump is ever successfully held to account for any of his actions, he'll melt or turn into a pillar of salt or something.

He was getting away with them until his serious run for the Presidency.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:27 PM on March 3


diogenes: TPM: In a significant reversal, a Trump campaign official on Thursday told CNN that he personally advocated for softening the language on Ukraine in the GOP platform at the Republican National Convention, and that he did so on behalf of the President.

Naberius: Would someone with a more in depth understanding than my own be able to confirm if this is in fact as freaking huge as it seems to me? As in "there's smoke coming from this box which may very well prove to have a gun in it," huge?

More from the TPM article:
CNN’s Jim Acosta reported on air that J.D. Gordon, the Trump campaign’s national security policy representative at the RNC, told him that he made the change to include language that he claimed “Donald Trump himself wanted and advocated for” at a March 2016 meeting at then-unfinished Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
This is big because it adds to the USA Today story, which revealed that Gordon and Carter Page, another former Trump adviser, met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the GOP convention, months before the talks that Sessions forgot he had with Kislyak, which totally weren't about the Trump campaign.

In short, to me this seems like Team Trump has been coordinating with Russia for at least a year now, seeing as it is now March 2017. The talks that Sessions forgot and/or dismisses were not the beginning of the coordination, but rather the continuation of a working relationship.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:28 PM on March 3 [89 favorites]


Just tossed Ossoff $50. My sister-in-law lives in that district (I think) and every single one of her kid's friends are East or South Asian. This is not a Whitey McWhitecracker district, at least not completely. Demographics have shifted.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:29 PM on March 3 [12 favorites]


Earth can support multicellular life for another 500 million years, which is plenty of time for tardigrades to develop a peaceful spacefaring civilization. That's the optimistic thought I rely on to get through the day at the moment.

Parochial chauvinism! Remember, there is an advanced civilization out there somewhere, which will go on when we've wiped ourselves out, even if we take the tardigrades with us.
posted by Coventry at 1:32 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


The talks that Sessions forgot and/or dismisses were not the beginning of the coordination, but rather the continuation of a working relationship.

Yes, that was a big part of why I thought it was huge. An even bigger element is that this is (as far as I know, which admittedly isn't that far) the first time Trump has been personally tied to this instead of being able to pass it off as the work of over-zealous aides who carefully didn't tell him what they were doing. or something like that. It seems to be the first breach of the plausible deniability protecting him from actual, honest to god impeachment.
posted by Naberius at 1:34 PM on March 3 [6 favorites]




BTW if you have access to HBO streaming (via Go, Now, or Amazon) you can watch "All the President's Men." "Forget the myths the media's created about the White House. The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand."

I would also highly recommend Tim Weiner's One Man Against The World. Relevant quote: "It is almost like we have a death wish."
posted by Coventry at 1:36 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Just tossed Ossoff $50. My sister-in-law lives in that district (I think) and every single one of her kid's friends are East or South Asian. This is not a Whitey McWhitecracker district, at least not completely. Demographics have shifted.

On that, from an article titled Could The Resistance Start With Georgia’s Special Election? (The Daily Beast, Feb. 27, 2017)
While Mitt Romney dominated the district by 24 points, Donald Trump only carried it by a point, with 48% to Hillary Clinton’s 47%. Other than a district in Utah, the seat had the second-largest swing toward Democrats of any in the country compared to 2012.
The article also notes that "although [Rep. Tom] Price was consistently reelected, his margin of victory shrank by about four points with every election cycle with even a weak opponent."
posted by filthy light thief at 1:37 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]


Not his people. His people are just as ignorant of the process and deluded as he is.

His people meaning the 27%+, yes. But (as that State Department article from last thread noted at length), he simply doesn't have a lot of people who are able and willing to serve in government, and the sheer incompetence of his team and the almost physically impossible task they have of running the federal government with a mere handful of people is already straining even Fox's ability to cover them with a straight face.
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:38 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]


I sometimes see comments about how spineless the Democrats are, but as I've been calling my reps over the past few weeks, I've been trying to keep an eye on their statements (partly so that, if they've already done the thing I'm calling to ask them to do, I can say thank you instead of saying "Please vote against/speak out about this horrible thing" when they've already done just that).

I've been pleased at a lot of the unequivocal, clearly progressive language I've been seeing in Minority Leader Pelosi's press releases and statements: Sessions "lied under oath" and "the law has been broken" (no waffling there), "transgender students deserve to be safe in their community", Republicans working to destroy the ACA are "too terrified of their constituents" to be open and "disgracing every pledge of transparency", the President "has jeopardized the security of our country" with "dangerous, incompetent and unconstitutional actions", Priebus "committed an outrageous breach of the FBI’s independence" and "tainted the impartiality of the FBI", Congress needs to "end systemic discrimination and institutional racism" (I seem to remember it being huge when speakers used the actual phrase "institutional racism" at the DNC, and I'm glad they're not backing away from recognizing it), and I keep seeing the word "cruel" in all kinds of contexts.

I'm glad and encouraged to see her speaking plainly, and doing what she can, in a Republican-controlled legislature, to introduce, co-sponsor, and push for legislation I support.

My California Senators are a bit less inspiring, especially Senator Feinstein, but I have been encouraged to see that after voting to confirm a bunch of cabinet nominees including Pompeo, she then voted against Sessions, DeVos, Tillerson, and Carson. (Indeed, if you look at the cabinet votes, it looks like Democratic Senators overall have been responding to their constituents and moving away from "yes of course we vote to confirm unless the nominee eats puppies" and "why vote No when the Republicans will win anyway" to "oh, I guess our constitutents actually care how we vote on this, huh, guess I'll vote No on this obviously unqualified person".)

I wanted to share these observations with my fellow MeFites because I think politics is an appallingly thankless job, and I think positive reinforcement is important, so I try to really watch for my reps to do something I appreciate and then make sure to thank them. Later today, I'm going to fax my thanks to Darrell Issa, who is not my rep, just because I appreciate him calling for an independent prosecutor on Russia.

I have a lot to say to my representatives these days, and I want to make sure "thank you" is a big part of it when they do things that reflect what I'm asking of them.
posted by kristi at 1:38 PM on March 3 [122 favorites]


Demographics have shifted.

Yep, this is a similar (though slightly more affluent) area to the one the Boston Globe wrote about last year. It is the area that the Atlanta baseball team considers its mostly-white suburban base, which is why its new stadium is out on the perimeter. But it's also diverse middle-class commuters.

The result matters less than the manner in which the campaign is conducted. If Ossoff can acquit himself well and demonstrate to the district's Democrats that there's a way to convert opposition into a campaign, that's a good springboard for what follows.
posted by holgate at 1:54 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]




I'm having a hard time digesting the proposed EPA budget cuts these vile assholes have proposed. They appear to be targeted disproportionately at blue states, meaning these fuckers are attempting to use control of the federal budget to punish states that voted against them.

A sampling:
Puget Sound. Funding for restoration work in the country's second-largest estuary would be cut from $28 million to $2 million.
The Great Lakes. Funding to combat algae blooms, invasive species and other water pollution problems in the world's largest group of freshwater lakes would be cut from $300 million to $10 million.
The Chesapeake Bay. Funding for restoration in the country's largest estuary would be cut from $73 million to $5 million.
Research on endocrine disruptors. The EPA's work studying chemicals that can interfere with the body's reproductive and developmental systems would nearly be eliminated, dropping from $7.5 million to $445,000.
Diesel emissions. Since 2008, the EPA has issued grants to accelerate the country's transition from old, dirty diesel engines to cleaner burning trucks and equipment. They've been responsible for most of Oregon's progress in addressing cancer-causing diesel soot, a major air pollution source.
Funding for the Bay Area, radon, targeted airsheds, and beach water testing are entirely eliminated, while education and funding for border environment protection are slashed. The Great Lakes restoration, which impacts a number of swing states which narrowly swung for Trump, has been cut by 97%. While I like the Trump administration kicking themselves right in the balls in terms of reelection chances, I like a healthy Great Lakes system much more.

Furthermore: 'Just racist': EPA cuts will hit black and Hispanic communities the hardest
posted by Existential Dread at 2:00 PM on March 3 [69 favorites]


.They appear to be targeted disproportionately at blue states, meaning these fuckers are attempting to use control of the federal budget to punish states that voted against them.

They absolutely will do this every chance they get.
posted by Artw at 2:04 PM on March 3 [43 favorites]


The Great Lakes. Funding to combat algae blooms, invasive species and other water pollution problems in the world's largest group of freshwater lakes would be cut from $300 million to $10 million.

There goes the Michigan vote.
posted by contraption at 2:07 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]


One nice thing about the higher thread frequency, it's causing me to look at the MF front page more often.

Isn't this the front page?
I don't visit the front page as much as I used to (daily) and until recently I hadn't seen it in months. I only have time for The Thread That Never Ends.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:12 PM on March 3 [49 favorites]


Puget Sound. Funding for restoration work in the country's second-largest estuary would be cut from $28 million to $2 million.

This is pure Trump, right in the wheelhouse of the only thing he does well - hardball negotiating. This is his first offer -- 80 percent cuts to programs. He knows he won't get it. In the end it gets conference-committeed down to a 20 percent cut - and he will boast that he achieved the biggest cuts to liberal programs in history, and declare victory.

The rest of us lose.
posted by martin q blank at 2:13 PM on March 3 [22 favorites]


Lawfareblog: What Happens When We Don’t Believe the President’s Oath?

There's a loophole: the oath of office says he will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States "to the best of my ability." He's incompetent, so the oath doesn't apply.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:15 PM on March 3 [19 favorites]


The Great Lakes. Funding to combat algae blooms, invasive species and other water pollution problems in the world's largest group of freshwater lakes would be cut from $300 million to $10 million.

See also:
Trump administration blocking project to keep Asian carp from Great Lakes: Scientists say species could cause severe harm to native fish populations


I've had the privilege of knowing Great Lakes researchers, and the level of international cooperation around certain areas of cleanup, preservation, and ecosystem research have been remarkable.

It's hard to understate how incredibly fucked up this funding cut would be for people on both sides of the border. And the ecosystem of the Great Lakes knows no borders.

This is pure Trump, right in the wheelhouse of the only thing he does well - hardball negotiating. This is his first offer -- 80 percent cuts to programs. He knows he won't get it. In the end it gets conference-committeed down to a 20 percent cut - and he will boast that he achieved the biggest cuts to liberal programs in history, and declare victory.

Sigh. Yeah. This is a calculated strategy on his part.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:18 PM on March 3 [12 favorites]


They appear to be targeted disproportionately at blue states, meaning these fuckers are attempting to use control of the federal budget to punish states that voted against them.

I've been saying it for months, they're governing not for the US as a whole, but as a punitive occupying force extracting reparations from defeated Democrats. Trump has not set foot in a blue state since election night, and I don't expect he will for his entire term. He's truly "not our president", and he's making it very clear he doesn't even intend to try to be.

They fully believe that only Republicans deserve to have any voice in government, and only Republicans should be permitted to even receive the benefit of what few government programs will be left standing. Anything that benefits blue states, or Democratic constituencies, will be targeted for elimination on that basis alone.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:19 PM on March 3 [82 favorites]


With Trump's latest tweet, he seems to be trying to remind us that he gave a speech earlier this week, in the hope that we just circle back to praising him for going an hour without calling anybody "Pocahontas" and not accidentally setting the House rostrum on fire and ignore everything that's happened since.
posted by zachlipton at 2:19 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


Sigh. Yeah. This is a calculated strategy on his part.

That's no reason not to respond to it as if it were his genuine plan. What does $290 million work out to in lost jobs?
posted by contraption at 2:20 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


With Trump's latest tweet

god fucken christ this asshole talks like a ten year old trying to rally an army of four year olds
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:20 PM on March 3 [47 favorites]




This is pure Trump, right in the wheelhouse of the only thing he does well - hardball negotiating. This is his first offer -- 80 percent cuts to programs. He knows he won't get it.

I kind of like the idea of Republican voters getting a lesson on what exactly it would look like if we drown the federal government in the bathtub. (But only as a theoretical number in a stupid negotiating tactic. The actual cuts would be a far bigger disaster than the lesson would be worth.)
posted by diogenes at 2:21 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


appear to be targeted disproportionately at blue states, meaning these fuckers are attempting to use control of the federal budget to punish states that voted against them.

Is there a solid list of states he's punishing? I want to see if he's punishing all blue states, or just the blue states that had Republican rebellions against him.

I mean I guess I can't say I wasn't warned.
posted by corb at 2:22 PM on March 3 [6 favorites]


Copied from other thread, because I hadn't seen the msgs that we'd moved over to another new thread. We're gonna run out of threads at this rate, y'all.

The Austin "festival" SXSW, has decided they want to maga by threatening artists whom SXSW does not pay to perform, that if they do any other shows while in town, SXSW will turn them in to ICE, cancel their hotel rooms, have them deported, and report them for visa violations. I mean, I've been anti-sxsw for years, but this is some fucked up shit, right here.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 2:23 PM on March 3 [22 favorites]




contraption: That's no reason not to respond to it as if it were his genuine plan. What does $290 million work out to in lost jobs?

Oh, for sure. The proposal itself is frightening on its own terms - I just filled a glass of water that comes from Lake Ontario.

What I was getting at was he's going to swing for the fences and even if there's enough resistance for it to get toned down, it's still very, very bad in that lesser form, both environmentally and economically.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:25 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


What does $290 million work out to in lost jobs?

Well, I ran a quick check a few months ago and IIRC there are about 2m jobs in the US that relate to environmental compliance. A lot of that work is government funded, either directly or indirectly by contracting out for support on hazardous waste management or whatever.

Shutting down EPA, or more importantly the implementing federal laws that authorize EPA, would result in massive job losses around the country. And then there would be the long-term damage to public health and safety, and the environment.
posted by suelac at 2:25 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]


> [Fake, unfair, but funny]

...unfair?
posted by tonycpsu at 2:26 PM on March 3 [12 favorites]


I just donated to Ossoff too. I'll have to pack a lunch the next few days to make up for it, but that seems well worth it. It'd be amazing to see democratic change happen that fast.

His website is here, in case anyone else is interested, and there's a big donate button up in the corner.
posted by juice boo at 2:26 PM on March 3 [11 favorites]


This is a good point that I don't think has really sunk in yet:

A President openly "demanding" investigation of political opponents undermines the very foundation of our democracy: the rule of law.
posted by diogenes at 2:30 PM on March 3 [66 favorites]


I've been saying it for months, they're governing not for the US as a whole, but as a punitive occupying force extracting reparations from defeated Democrats. Trump has not set foot in a blue state since election night, and I don't expect he will for his entire term. He's truly "not our president", and he's making it very clear he doesn't even intend to try to be.

So that feeling that we're already in a Cold Civil War isn't crazy?

I really wanted it to be crazy.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:36 PM on March 3 [38 favorites]


The...Civil Cold?
posted by schadenfrau at 2:37 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


In case anyone missed this story last night:

TRMS Exclusive: DHS document undermines Trump case for travel ban

In leaked document, the case for Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ takes another huge hit
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow had an important scoop on Thursday night that further undercuts the substantive case for Trump’s ban, which would restrict entry into the country by refugees and migrants from select Muslim-majority countries. Maddow obtained a new internal Department of Homeland Security document that reached this key judgment:
We assess that most foreign-born, US-based violent extremists likely radicalized several years after their entry to the United States, limiting the ability of screening and vetting officials to prevent their entry because of national security concerns.
This new document is separate from another DHS document that was leaked to the press last week. That one also undercut the case for the ban, concluding that “country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity.”

The new document obtained by Maddow weakens the central rationale for the ban, which is to put a temporary delay on entry into the United States for the express purpose of tightening up our vetting procedures. DHS’s conclusion appears to be that vetting procedures in particular are not that useful in screening out people who radicalize later, and that most foreign-born emigrants to the United States who become violent extremists fall into that category.
At this rate, I think it's only a matter of time until Trump's people start following Cheney's and Rumsfeld's example by manufacturing false intelligence which tells him what he wants to hear:

Trump May Choose “Alternative Intelligence” to Support His “Alternative Facts,” Former Agents Warn
posted by homunculus at 2:39 PM on March 3 [12 favorites]


This is pure Trump, right in the wheelhouse of the only thing he does well - hardball negotiating. This is his first offer -- 80 percent cuts to programs. He knows he won't get it. In the end it gets conference-committeed down to a 20 percent cut - and he will boast that he achieved the biggest cuts to liberal programs in history, and declare victory.

You think this but there's no pushback from anybody with any real power. The Republicans operate in lockstep and the Democrats can't filibuster reconciliation. We can kick and scream and kick up a fuss but in the end this isn't a negotiating tactic, this is just ripping the guts out of anything that isn't the military and wealthy tax cuts.
posted by Talez at 2:39 PM on March 3 [13 favorites]


So that feeling that we're already in a Cold Civil War isn't crazy?

I think that's exactly what this is. Look at things like labeling protesters "economic terrorists", openly calling for "another Kent State", and the NRA's increasingly violent rhetoric at CPAC. It's cold, for the moment, but they're slowly turning up the heat until something triggers a violent crackdown against liberals. It's not going to remain cold for 4 years.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:41 PM on March 3 [44 favorites]


European Parliament votes to end visa-free travel for Americans

So this was posted in the last thread. I know we've probably moved on (I was way behind, sorry), but I thought it was worth mentioning that the above article from the Independent, which I also saw posted multiple times on Facebook (with several people literally panicking about future travel plans as a result), is extremely misleading. No change has been made, and it's very likely to stay that way - most EU member states (particularly those in Western Europe) aren't going to be willing to take the economic hit from imposing visa requirements on Americans. Not to mention that even if they did implement something, it'd be years out and most likely would be an ESTA-style electronic authorization - easily and quickly done online.

Here's a less clickbait-y headline Euro lawmakers press EU to impose visas on US Citizens

Not great, but nothing to panic about yet - we've got plenty else to deal with.
posted by photo guy at 2:44 PM on March 3 [10 favorites]


I wondered when we'd get this...threat to our local (Dallas) JCC and a swastika poster on a major highway median.
posted by emjaybee at 2:46 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


Nice straightforward tweet from McMullin:

What we know: The Trump campaign had repeated contact with Russian officials as they worked to tip our election to Trump. That's reality.

He's setting himself up to be a in a solid position for 2020.
posted by diogenes at 2:53 PM on March 3 [36 favorites]


USCIS has announced it will suspend H1-B premium processing on April 3 for six months.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:53 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


> Trump going for several pieces of Scotch tape on his tie today.

See, this is petty stuff (just like that well-done steak and ketchup derail) but I just can't seem to get over these small things. It's such a lack of ... class? taste? refinement? intellectual curiosity? And it's not one thing, it's pervasive.

I'm sure some pundit somewhere is ready to wag their finger at me and tell me that this is how Trump is signalling his connection to his deplorable base, and maybe that's even true, but just ugh.

I didn't know I was such a latte-sipping elitist liberal. Better go order my Volvo now. (And I swear that tweet image was there when I looked at it and started my comment.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 3:04 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


man, talk about tripping over your own dick. listening to Franken's question to Sessions, it's clear that he wasn't asking Sessions whether he had any contact with the Russian government, and Sessions just goes there and blurts out this blatant lie, completely unbidden. he could have even copped to it, "yeah, sure, I talked with the Russian Ambassador about the campaign's views on Russia" and it wouldn't have been a big deal; it's not illegal and not unusual. he must be a total fucking moron, and for that I am grateful, because the longer they stay mired in scandal, the less attention they get to devote to putting their abominable agenda into action.
posted by indubitable at 3:06 PM on March 3 [17 favorites]


For anyone yearning for a kindler, gentler, Trumpless Cold War, The Americans season five premieres on Tuesday (3/7.)
posted by Room 641-A at 3:07 PM on March 3 [22 favorites]


USCIS has announced it will suspend H1-B premium processing on April 3 for six months.

It's nothing political. H-1B applications have been piling up for years. The whole system is just a clusterfuck. FY17's cap was reached in a week.
posted by Talez at 3:08 PM on March 3 [7 favorites]


Conservative crackdown on protests would label North Carolina dissenters “economic terrorists” - Repression is on the march in the home of the “Moral Mondays” movement.
The bill would create a new felony charge applied to any criminal offense that leads to at least $1,000 in economic harm to any business, if the offender intended to intimidate the government or the public. Separate language in the proposal would make it illegal to block traffic as part of a protest or demonstration.
Fooking cowards. "They're saying mean things about our efforts to do awful things to them!"

Hopefully the death of Arizona's similarly terrible proposed law is an indication of how this will go down, too.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:08 PM on March 3 [40 favorites]


Sadly tweet not available zachlipton

I have a copy, but I'm not finding it on Instagram where it's supposed to be, and therefore have doubts about its authenticity. I'll see what I can track down. Sorry for the tape alarm.

As a replacement, please continue to enjoy this picture of The Interior Secretary, and the Horse He Rode in On.
posted by zachlipton at 3:12 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


More from the first link:
The proposal is so broad it could potentially be used to ensnare people like the Rev. William Barber II, a key leader of the state’s Moral Mondays protests.

“Many of these extremist legislators cannot stand protest because it doesn’t allow them to do in the dark the work they’re doing that’s hurting so many people,” Barber told ThinkProgress. “This is an old game. It is an attempt to malign movements that work and that challenge what the system is doing.”

The mass meetings Barber helps convene are rigorously peaceful, but numerous participants have been arrested for acts of civil disobedience or at the request of legislators. Such arrests could, under the broad language of the bill, be construed as felonies if a prosecutor linked the protest in question to an economically harmful boycott or street closure.
I can't speak from first-hand experience, or even living during that time, but this sounds like the Civil Rights protests all over again. Do they not remember how that went? The south lost, again. So is this Revenge of the South Part II: Fascist Boogaloo?
posted by filthy light thief at 3:12 PM on March 3 [28 favorites]


Transcripts may be my favorite word these days.

@mitchellreports:
ICYMI: @ChrisCoons says FBI has transcripts that could show Russian leaders colluding w/ Trump campaign http://on.msnbc.com/2mk1at5
posted by chris24 at 3:12 PM on March 3 [55 favorites]


Do they not remember how that went? The south lost, again.

Reverend Barber has been doing some incredible analysis on what he is calling the 3rd reconstruction. I would highly recommend reading his sermons and articles.
posted by Sophie1 at 3:18 PM on March 3 [18 favorites]




indubitable: "Sessions just goes there and blurts out this blatant lie, completely unbidden"

As many others have pointed out, this is the shadiest part: meeting with the Russian ambassador is not illegal and, in many cases, not even improper. So why the heck is basically everyone in Trump's orbit lying about their meetings with him? As anyone who's ever watched Law & Order (or, I guess, anyone who wasn't born yesterday) realizes, it's because they were pretty clearly involved in sketchy shit and are too fucking dumb to even lie about it properly.
posted by mhum at 3:22 PM on March 3 [25 favorites]


Wilbur Ross: We're 'up to our eyeballs' finding regulations to nix
Speaking on CNBC Friday morning, Ross said he would seek the input of business groups including the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Small Businesses and others.
Feds turn to Foxes for Henhouse Redesign.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:25 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]


The Americans season five premieres on Tuesday (3/7.)

I stopped watching when the Dad was getting railroaded into having sex with the underage girl.

That show is pretty blatant anti-liberal propaganda. I enjoy propaganda usually, but there are limits.
posted by Coventry at 3:26 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


he could have even copped to it, "yeah, sure, I talked with the Russian Ambassador about the campaign's views on Russia" and it wouldn't have been a big deal; it's not illegal and not unusual.

Not unusual? Are you sure about that? How often does the Russian Ambassador meet with a presidential campaign's surrogate at an event held in connection with the party's national convention? He didn't meet with Hillary's campaign, right? Now, back in 2012, Romney went around the world meeting with foreign governments, so there is a glaring precedent for a candidate making a public spectacle of such meetings himself. But a meeting between a high-ranking campaign surrogate behind closed doors, which the campaign and the surrogate then deny over and over again ever happened? I don't know how 'usual' that is.

As far as 'illegal,' there are a few ways it could be illegal. The most mundane, of course, is the Logan Act, which isn't enforced much, but under which it's pretty clearly a federal crime for someone who does not have authorization to act on the United States' behalf (e.g. a Senator who doesn't have authorization from the State Department) to meet with foreign officials for the purpose of influencing those officials or their governments. And that's just if Sessions' meeting was totally "innocent" as he seems to be claiming it was, rather than, just to speculate, a meeting where Roger Stone had told Sessions that the Russians had hacked the DNC and Sessions then met with the Ambassador to seek his or Russia's support of the Trump campaign, even in the abstract.
posted by The World Famous at 3:26 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


“Our name was probably truncated at Ellis Island,” Ossoff told me. “From something like Ossoffsky.”

Heh, obviously not in touch with his Lithuanian roots. Something like "Ossoffaukas" would be closer to an actually Lithuanian name.


The name wasn't changed at Ellis island, but his guess is actually pretty close. His great-grandfather Israel Ossoff's petition for naturalization shows that he was a native of Vilnius, and the record of his arrival gives his surname as "Oschowsky".
posted by Knappster at 3:28 PM on March 3 [22 favorites]


My concern is not simply that these people kept meeting with the Russian Ambassador and not simply that they keep lying about it, but that several of the people with Russia-related ties were involved in the Trump campaign's effort to insert pro-Russia language into the GOP platform (not the pro-Ukraine language that was proposed, nor simply remaining neutral on the subject), which they also then lied about.
posted by zachlipton at 3:31 PM on March 3 [14 favorites]


Is this "economic harm" thing an already existing legal concept? Because I've never heard it before in a legal context.

That law sounds like it could criminalize strikes, and picket lines, too.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 3:31 PM on March 3 [6 favorites]


@mitchellreports: ICYMI: @ChrisCoons says FBI has transcripts that could show Russian leaders colluding w/ Trump campaign

Couldn't MSNBC at least asked why he believes that? Is there evidence, or does he believe it because he thinks Trump is evil?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 3:31 PM on March 3


several of the people with Russia-related ties were involved in the Trump campaign's effort to insert pro-Russia language into the GOP platform

And per Gordon's changed story last night, this was at Trump's direction from March. So Quid just met Quo.
posted by chris24 at 3:32 PM on March 3 [6 favorites]


> Sadly tweet not available zachlipton

> I'll see what I can track down. Sorry for the tape alarm.

Forgot I still had that tab open. Here's a screenshot of the scotch tape tweet.
posted by christopherious at 3:38 PM on March 3 [17 favorites]


Is this "economic harm" thing an already existing legal concept?

If I remember correctly that term was used in the mid-90's to help define "ecological terrorism" (another particularly galling subject all on it's own)
posted by Golem XIV at 3:47 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


Is this "economic harm" thing an already existing legal concept?

Yes, it's an element of certain types of claims or requisite for certain types of damages.

(Typically phrased as "economic loss," though.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:51 PM on March 3


Is this "economic harm" thing an already existing legal concept? Because I've never heard it before in a legal context.

There was an Ohio 1st Amendment case where the state tried to claim a compelling state interest in restricting speech during a fair on public property, because it was unfair to the participants who'd actually paid for a booth, and would reduce the state's income from the fair. It went as far as the 6th circuit federal appeals court, and the state lost because the judge decided that economic harm did not constitute a sufficiently compelling interest. Seems like it might be relevant here, although NC is in the 4th circuit.

The protected speech was anti-abortion, so swings and roundabouts, I guess.
posted by Coventry at 3:52 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


I don’t know which becomes more troubling, the current administration doing putin’s bidding, or the legislative branch not doing anything about it. Their off-hands approach make it seem as though congress (and by extension, sessions) might be in on the scam.

And if enough of congress is in on it, that guarantees the third arm of government, the judicial via the supreme court falls into place.

It all just keeps getting real-er.
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:55 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Not unusual? Are you sure about that? How often does the Russian Ambassador meet with a presidential campaign's surrogate at an event held in connection with the party's national convention?

The State Department invited many ambassadors to the convention for events including a speech by Sessions, which the Russian ambassador attended.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 3:56 PM on March 3


The protected speech was anti-abortion, so swings and roundabouts, I guess.

It's really a remedies concept, used to differentiate between certain theories of recovery in tort vs. contract and measure damages. Thus the attempt to extend it by statute.
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:57 PM on March 3


snuffleupagus, what's a remedies concept, and what does the term refer to here? And what is someone attempting to extend by statute? (The "economic terrorist" laws?)
posted by Coventry at 4:02 PM on March 3


Never mind, I understand now.
posted by Coventry at 4:07 PM on March 3


Well it's not like it's the first time he taped his tie.
posted by ckape at 4:07 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


Well, I don't want to derail too much. And remedies is one of those areas of the law that's hard to discuss without the building blocks. But, in essence, remedies is about what can be awarded by a court for which kinds of claims.

The economic loss rule is a classic doctrine that says you usually can't recover in tort (negligence, strict liability, etc) for purely economic loss. You have to sue on a contract of some kind. Torts are for property damage or personal injury, etc. There are exceptions, but that's the general flavor.

Legislation alters background law by statute. So, legislators can try to authorize certain remedies for purely economic losses by passing a law about it. Then, it may or many not pass judicial review on basic legal doctrine, other law or Constitutional restrictions, etc.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:08 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


That Carter Page interview was a complete disaster. I'm amazed that he let it go that way. Why did he even agree to the interview?
posted by bshort at 4:10 PM on March 3


Thanks, snuffleupugas. Interesting.
posted by Coventry at 4:11 PM on March 3


It's such a lack of ... class? taste? refinement? intellectual curiosity? And it's not one thing, it's pervasive.

I'm going to take a stab at articulating this because it bugs the hell out of me too. Like, rationally I know it's just a weird derail but it's just SO weird and it's all these different odd details. Take the steak thing. If someone likes a certain kind of steak a certain way, we generally don't think anything of it. We assume that they're competent and experienced enough to have considered the options and determined that "well done" is how they like their steak. But when we're talking about $100+ per plate steaks, well done with ketchup can't possibly be what tastes best to him right!? My guess is that his dad ordered steak that way because it was shitty steak and that was the best way to choke it down. Donald has simply never considered that better steaks would taste better prepared differently and without the goddamn ketchup.

The ties are similar. They're too long because he isn't aware that he should be tying it differently. It's just the one and only way to tie a tie and these are some fancy ties therefor this must look good. We'd expect that he'd ask his tailor or he'd get different ties, have someone shorten these ones, or any number of less weird and more effective ways to deal with the ties than fucking scotch tape!

Are these things important? No, absolutely not. But they're also so very, very basic things that everyone else who lives Trump's lifestyle has figured out. I'd think that even if someone pulled themselves up by their boot straps and rose to the head of a company as large as Trump's, someone would have a "dude, you're an executive now, you're going to appear places speaking for the company. It's important that you not look like a dip shit who doesn't know how to tie a tie."

But that never happened for Trump, and if he doesn't bother to figure out these basic, obvious things, what other more important things hasn't he bothered to figure out? We see a lot of the same stuff in his policy remarks where it's obvious that he doesn't understand basic concepts that someone in his position should know.

So then the question becomes, is there anything he has bothered to figure out? Is there anything he will bother to figure out? That's...a scary question to be asking about the president of the united states.
posted by VTX at 4:12 PM on March 3 [109 favorites]


The State Department invited many ambassadors to the convention for events including a speech by Sessions, which the Russian ambassador attended.

To be clear, the Obama State Department invited ambassadors to the 2016 Republican National Convention? Did it authorize Sessions to attempt to influence Russia or the Russian Ambassador?
posted by The World Famous at 4:16 PM on March 3 [7 favorites]


For anyone that may find it useful, LAist has a basic form letter for women that may want to explain to her boss why she is taking off work to strike on March 8
posted by Room 641-A at 4:16 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


Judge: White House Statements On Travel Ban Plans Seem To "Contradict" Statements To Courts:
In his order, Robart referenced those statements — “Plaintiffs cite numerous transcripts of White House press briefing and of a presidential news conference that are available on the White House website in support of their argument” — and gave a soft warning to the lawyers representing the administration.

“The court understands Plaintiffs’ frustrations concerning statements emanating from President Trump’s administration that seemingly contradict representations of the federal government’s lawyers in this and other litigation before the court,” Robart wrote. “Nevertheless, the court will continue to rely on the representations of the government’s attorneys, as officers of the court, which indicate that the new Executive Order will ‘rescind,’ ‘replace,’ ‘supersed[e],’ and ‘substantially revise[]’ the existing Executive Order.”
This does not seem to be going well.
posted by zachlipton at 4:19 PM on March 3 [26 favorites]




The schadenfreudeist part of the Freedom Caucus' opposition to the ACA repeal is that 'The perfect is not the enemy of the good' is actually working for the left, which is such a breath of fresh air.
posted by eclectist at 4:21 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


VTX: The ties are similar. They're too long because he isn't aware that he should be tying it differently.

I don't believe that. I'm pretty certain that he ties them that way because he believes that it hides his paunch and makes him look taller. Or he could just want his ties to point to his crotch. *shudder*
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:25 PM on March 3 [12 favorites]


Or he could just want his ties to point to his crotch. *shudder*

There is no other reason on this earth to wear a tie.
posted by delfin at 4:27 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]


Or he could just want his ties to point to his crotch. *shudder*

There is no other reason on this earth to wear a tie.


Hell, all my ties have arrows on them
posted by Existential Dread at 4:28 PM on March 3 [13 favorites]


It's probably too early and too much to call this a Cold Civil War, but it sure seems that a lot of news stories about Trump's scandals that head out with legs come back without them.
posted by Catblack at 4:29 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


Marcy Wheeler: Five Data Points on the Sessions News: Jeff Sessions is almost certainly not going to be prosecuted for perjury. But that doesn't mean the exposure of his non-disclosure of Russian ties isn't important.

Jeff Sessions' Narrow Recusal: Jeff Sessions only recused himself from investigations about the election. That leaves a number of other areas of concern that he should recuse on.

Wheeler on Democracy Now: As Sessions Recuses Himself From Campaign Investigation, Questions Remain Over Trump-Russia Ties
MARCY WHEELER: As people think about it, it’s helpful to think about the three things that we should be concerned about with Russia and Donald Trump. And the first is whether or not anybody on his campaign was involved in the hack of Hillary Clinton, whether or not they were kind of operating with the Russians. The second one is whether we know — and Trump was very open about his opening to Russia, his willingness to negotiate with Russia. The question is whether there was any kind of quid pro quo, whether there was any kind of inappropriate influence to get that outcome. And then the third is that Trump has these business associations going back decades with kind of shady businessman who have ties to Russia. The question in there is, do those relationships risk posing undue influence on him going forward, possibly the bribery or some kind of coercion on policy? And all of these discussions about the meetings with the ambassador — and that’s mostly what we’re talking about, Amy, is that over and over again, various Trump aides or campaign people or Associates, what have you, met with the Russian ambassador to the United States. And that in and of itself is not suspect. People meet with ambassadors all the time. In fact, Mike McFaul, who was Obama’s ambassador to Russia, keeps saying that he’s — he’s a hawk on Russia, but he keeps saying we should not make it criminal to meet with Russians. What’s tricky here is Trump’s people have gotten questions over and over again, did you meet with X, Y, and Z? Did you meet with X, Y, and Z? And there is always, as there is with, with Ambass — Attorney General Sessions, there is always this obfuscation about it, and that raises questions about whether those meetings with Ambassador Kislyak were on the up and up or whether there were something more going on. With regards to sessions recusal, it’s a very narrow recusal. And there was some bad reporting on this yesterday. Everyone’s like, well, he’s recused on every thing that has to do with X, Y, and Z. You know what, actually, all he said is that he’s recusing from anything having to do with the elections. And so, for example, he has already been asked, would you recuse yourself from any ongoing investigation in Mike Flynn’s discussions with Russia in the transition period? And he didn’t answer that. And laying out what I just did, that there are these questions of business associations, there are these questions of quid pro quo to change our policy toward Ukraine, those aren’t election related per se unless they were quid pro quo to elect Trump in order to implement this Ukraine policy. And Sessions hasn’t recused from that. And those are, frankly, where some of the biggest smoke is. So, he hasn’t recused from that yet. He actually was asked twice during his confirmation process about ties to Russia. The one he addressed yesterday was a question in the hearing from Al Franken about whether he, as an election official, met with any Russians, which, as you pointed out, he actually did
posted by homunculus at 4:29 PM on March 3 [14 favorites]


delfin:
It's the truth that you should never trust anybody who wears a bow tie. Cravat's supposed to point down to accentuate the genitals. Why'd you wanna trust somebody whose tie points out to accentuate his ears?
posted by Coventry at 4:29 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


It is a bit dated (Nov 2016) but relevant and related to the above W. Virginia story In Depressed Rural Kentucky, Worries Mount Over Medicaid Cutbacks
posted by robbyrobs at 4:29 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


To clarify my previous comment, it is my understanding that the State Department routinely invites foreign ambassadors and dignitaries to both the RNC and DNC for the express, stated purpose of acting as "observers of our democratic process." If that is the case, then it seems that there clearly was not authorization, as required under the Logan Act, for Sessions or any other Senator to attempt to influence those ambassadors or their countries.
posted by The World Famous at 4:34 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


As far as 'illegal,' there are a few ways it could be illegal. The most mundane, of course, is the Logan Act, which isn't enforced much, but under which it's pretty clearly a federal crime for someone who does not have authorization to act on the United States' behalf (e.g. a Senator who doesn't have authorization from the State Department) to meet with foreign officials for the purpose of influencing those officials or their governments.

"isn't enforced much" in this case translates into "There appear to have been no prosecutions under the act in its more than 200-year history." So I'm sticking with "not illegal".

And that's just if Sessions' meeting was totally "innocent" as he seems to be claiming it was, rather than, just to speculate, a meeting where Roger Stone had told Sessions that the Russians had hacked the DNC and Sessions then met with the Ambassador to seek his or Russia's support of the Trump campaign, even in the abstract.

And if he literally ate a live baby during this meeting, well, that's at least manslaughter right there. But that's all speculation. Meeting with the Russian ambassador is not in itself illegal, and it's weird that he would go out of his way to lie about it. Changing the party platform to favor a rapprochement with Russia is not in itself illegal (and Trump's campaign won their primary, it's their agenda to set) and it's weird that they would lie about doing it.
posted by indubitable at 4:34 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


Hell, all my ties have arrows on them

I thought they were only on pre-order!

posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:34 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


WaPo: White House proposes steep budget cut to leading climate science agency

The Trump administration is seeking to slash one of the government’s premier climate science agencies by 17 percent, delivering steep cuts to research funding and satellite programs, according to a four-page budget memo obtained by The Washington Post.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:36 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


it sure seems that a lot of news stories about Trump's scandals that head out with legs come back without them.

What do you mean by this? His scandals absolutely have legs. The deeper we dig on the Russia connection, the more we are finding. It's been going on for a year. Everyone's talking about it, both media and lay public. What more does a scandal have to do to earn its lower appendages?
posted by saturday_morning at 4:39 PM on March 3 [21 favorites]


Its 2017 and the only thing holding back the fascist regime is goddamn Stuart Smalley
posted by angrybear at 4:41 PM on March 3 [56 favorites]


Ehhh, he's good enough.
posted by downtohisturtles at 4:43 PM on March 3 [50 favorites]


Its 2017 and the only thing holding back the fascist regime is goddamn Stuart Smalley

1992 me would never believe time machine me that Senator Franken is fighting to stop a fascist takeover by President Trump.
posted by chris24 at 4:44 PM on March 3 [154 favorites]


In the even-darker-timeline, "Stuart Saves His Family" was an enormous success and Franken never ran for office.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:46 PM on March 3 [30 favorites]


It's probably too early and too much to call this a Cold Civil War, but it sure seems that a lot of news stories about Trump's scandals that head out with legs come back without them.
posted by Catblack at 4:29 PM on March 3 [+] [!]


Name one.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:46 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]




It's high time we brought the word "Quisling" back into popular usage. We start with "Quisling administration" and perhaps end with "Donald Quisling Trump."
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 4:56 PM on March 3 [21 favorites]


Meeting with the Russian ambassador is not in itself illegal, and it's weird that he would go out of his way to lie about it.

Agreed.
posted by The World Famous at 5:01 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


This is stepping back to earlier, simpler times, but there was a comment on BBC Radio 4 earlier about Trump's round of golf with Rory Mcilroy. Apparently they were talking about the golf courses Trump is developing around the world. The ones the company he apparently no longer runs is developing anyway.

You know, in the other timeline, I think he'd be severely damaged just for the blatant failure to divest from his business interests.
posted by MattWPBS at 5:04 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


man, talk about tripping over your own dick. listening to Franken's question to Sessions, it's clear that he wasn't asking Sessions whether he had any contact with the Russian government, and Sessions just goes there and blurts out this blatant lie, completely unbidden.

What I've likened it to is your parents come home and ask you how things were and what was up today and you immediately blurt out I WASN'T SMOKING WEED!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:07 PM on March 3 [57 favorites]


I stopped watching when the Dad was getting railroaded into having sex with the underage girl. That show is pretty blatant anti-liberal propaganda. I enjoy propaganda usually, but there are limits.

That's too bad. I found it squicky, too, but ultimately thought they handled it quite well.

I don't see the propaganda angle, at all. The person I know who works on the show is awfully liberal, and the work environment is by their account also quite liberal.

This is a derail, though, so I suppose the conversation should continue over in the relevant Fanfare threads.
posted by Superplin at 5:08 PM on March 3 [6 favorites]


It's probably too early and too much to call this a Cold Civil War,

I disagree--I think it's too late. It shouldn't have been allowed to go on this long, but this stuff has its roots in The Reconstruction. It's just coming to the surface and more people are starting to understand those ignored tensions have still been there. Sessions is an old school, racist Southern confederate to his bones. This was at least partly a neoconfederate takeover. Like any country trying to sow division, Putin's Russia has been bolstering and supporting our frustrated wannabe radical revolutionary separatists.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:09 PM on March 3 [61 favorites]


Cold Civil War

"The past is never dead. It's not even past."
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:13 PM on March 3 [24 favorites]


Carter Page is on with Anderson Cooper right now. Somehow he is even worse and more ridiculous than on Hayes. He's trying to claim that when he said he was in "meetings" with Russians he was at "rallies" and something about the Russian meaning of the word "meeting" because he kinda speaks Russian but not really and oh my god is this real life.
posted by Justinian at 5:14 PM on March 3 [26 favorites]


пчелы
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:16 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


I'd think that even if someone pulled themselves up by their boot straps and rose to the head of a company as large as Trump's, someone would have a "dude, you're an executive now, you're going to appear places speaking for the company. It's important that you not look like a dip shit who doesn't know how to tie a tie."

For many executives, this is what their wife would be doing -- picking out clothes, making sure her husband eats properly.

It's not just that Trump isn't willing to marry an equal. He's not willing to marry someone he'd take advice from, even in the domestic sphere. I'll bet Mrs. Pence spent years fussing over her husband's wardrobe. I can't imagine Trump letting anyone do the same.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 5:17 PM on March 3 [16 favorites]


Miami-Dade’s Policy of Holding Inmates for ICE Is Unconstitutional: Florida Judge

The judge and the lawyer who brought the suit (pro bono) are heroes.

What I've likened it to is your parents come home and ask you how things were and what was up today and you immediately blurt out I WASN'T SMOKING WEED
!

Or the criminal that says "I didn't kill Jeff with a fork!" but the cop never said how Jeff was killed.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:17 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


Page seems to be smiling through the interview too. I have a feeling that he'd like to see the house of cards implode.
posted by futz at 5:20 PM on March 3


The judge and the lawyer who brought the suit (pro bono) are heroes.

From the link:
"This doesn't help [Lacroix] — he's probably going to be deported, but this will help everyone else. [The ruling] is a direct blow to the president and his executive order," Reizenstein said. "It's a courageous blow by this judge."

Reizenstein said he took on Lacroix's case pro bono after he went to court on Tuesday for a different matter and saw the man plead guilty to a crime for which he had already served his sentence and not be released.
...
"This case should appeal to conservatives all over country, but they're not conservative. They're anti-immigrant, and in this case the president of the United States blackmailed the county, and the mayor buckled,"...Just before the ruling in his favor, Lacroix was taken into federal custody, Reizenstein said.
...
It's unclear what effect Hirsch's ruling will have on the city or Trump's order. Reizenstein says he hopes it will give other lawyers in the county a guide to get their unconstitutionally imprisoned clients out as well. "Were going to publish this order so other lawyers will have a blueprint to get their clients released...We hope other judges will be as courageous."
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:20 PM on March 3 [17 favorites]


Regarding the Reuters article Trump administration considering separating women, children at Mexico border mentioned above I am a gonna say it because damn it, someone has to, but that is literally, as in actually, as in reality, or whatever is the correct fucking adverb, what the Nazis did at Auschwitz. I stood on that goddamn platform when I visited there and could feel the horror 70 years on. I walked up and down trying to imagine what it must have been like. And now a so-called democratic country wants to do the same thing. Jesus wept.
posted by vac2003 at 5:24 PM on March 3 [104 favorites]


In Red-State Utah, a Surge Toward Obamacare

You know, good for Utah Republicans (the Mcmuffins, not the Lees or Chaffetzs), but this shit would've done a lot more good, I don't know, at literally any other point over the last 7 years. They're only now deciding that maybe better health outcomes are valuable, where before denying anything resembling agreement with Obama was the more pressing concern. And this is what passes as the reasonable wing of the Republican Party.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:29 PM on March 3 [48 favorites]


Talking points, re: NOAA funding cuts, that I came up with as quickly as possible:

* Funding NOAA programs (particularly EOSDIS and other atmospheric science programs) is essential to national security when it comes to weather and climate. Even the DoD knows this, and they partner with NOAA in order to protect our nation's military/defense.

* Funding NOAA programs is essential to fight climate change and sea level rise, and to ensure that our coasts remain happy places to live, not to mention strong economic centers.

* NOAA programs employ thousands of US climate scientists who will be forced to seek employment abroad if they're laid off. Brain drain is bad.
posted by unknowncommand at 5:31 PM on March 3 [44 favorites]


Regarding the Reuters article Trump administration considering separating women, children at Mexico border mentioned above I am a gonna say it because damn it, someone has to, but that is literally, as in actually, as in reality, or whatever is the correct fucking adverb, what the Nazis did at Auschwitz.

It's in fact, somehow, worse than that.

After deportation trains arrived at the killing centers, guards ordered the deportees to get out and form a line. The victims then went through a selection process. Men were separated from women and children....
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:33 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]


I never want to hear about Compassionate Conservatism and Family Values again so long as I live.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:36 PM on March 3 [109 favorites]


"isn't enforced much" in this case translates into "There appear to have been no prosecutions under the [Logan] act in its more than 200-year history." So I'm sticking with "not illegal".

It's also possible that no other incoming Administration was under the thumb of a foreign government, so it was not actually violated before.
posted by msalt at 5:37 PM on March 3 [12 favorites]


WHY does Carter Page go on TV and act like this? And the Clinton vendetta against him is the root of all his woes. He also looks like he is on something or on the verge of a psychotic break. very very very odd dude.
posted by futz at 5:38 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]


Random question: were the Trump folks meeting with ambassadors and officials from other countries? He made that ridiculous trip to Mexico during the campaign in August, and the trip to Scotland for his golf course, but beyond that, were they meeting with anybody else? Because it seems odd that the Russian Ambassador is talking to basically everyone on multiple occasions, they insert pro-Russian planks into the platform, and Carter Page is being sent by the campaign to Moscow, but nobody's mentioned how they met with lots of other foreign officials to talk policy.

Trump had zero foreign policy experience. It wouldn't have been out of the ordinary for him to take various meetings to try to give a better impression in that area. Romney spent a bunch of time during his campaign trekking around Europe. Sure, he committed one gaffe after another while he was there, but nobody accused him of conspiring with foreign agents, because he and his staff met with a lot of different countries and didn't lie about it, nor did those countries interfere in the election in his favor.

So did anybody from the Trump campaign meet with officials from any other country or was it all just Russia?
posted by zachlipton at 5:39 PM on March 3 [17 favorites]


NOAA data is, by the way, used by ... all sorts of people all over the nation. City water departments, park departments, municipal planners, farmers, fishers, dock managers, outdoors enthusiasts. Cutting NOAA, it just, it boggles the mind.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 5:40 PM on March 3 [52 favorites]


Here's three minutes of the Anderson Cooper/Carter Page interview. Still trying to get the whole thing.

This man is so weird.
posted by zachlipton at 5:52 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


WHY does Carter Page go on TV and act like this?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It really is perplexing. Of all the theories, "rando hanger-on who people assumed was meant to be in the room" now makes more sense than his being an asset or NOC, but whatever career he had before this, I don't see him resuming it afterwards.
posted by holgate at 5:53 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


UNDOCUMENTED DAD TAKEN BY ICE WHILE DROPPING KIDS OFF AT SCHOOL

Mireles said the girls' father had a nearly decade-old DUI conviction and an incident 20 years ago where the father said he bought a car with an incorrect registration sticker, unbeknownst to him. Both were reasons given for the deportation.

They're getting all the bad hombres out.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:54 PM on March 3 [15 favorites]


This WaPo article from tonight does a decent job of outlining all the Trump-Russia contacts that have emerged over the past 48 hrs or so and putting them into a sort of a timeline.
posted by Dr. Send at 6:04 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


I'm really bothered by DUI constantly being treated like all reasonable people consider it a petty-not-actually-a-real-crime-just-technically a crime thing. (Like after those raids when some guy made a statement saying something"We're not talking about people with a DUI here, these are real criminals!")

DUI is a deadly serious criminal offense which should carry heavy penalties and is, from a moral point of view, not that different from manslaughter. An impaired driver is a manslaughterer who got lucky. Now I'm not saying every DUI driver should be deported (nor every manslaughterer), but it seems like as good a reason for deportation (or denial of entry) as any other serious crime.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:06 PM on March 3 [22 favorites]


Hell, with the frequency of hurricanes and major North Atlantic storms, cutting NOAA is asininely stupid for anyone who owns expensive property near the coast... like in Florida and NYC. Trump is so vindictive he spites himself.
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 6:11 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


Do we ask every visa holder to the US if they've ever had a DUI? And assuming someone served the legal penalty for a DUI offense 10 years in the past (which is pretty reasonable seeing as how he was walking about free for 10 years), that's now justification for permanently expelling them from the country?

This isn't a "petty-not-actually-a-real-crime-just-technically a crime thing", it actually is a change in policy where any DUI conviction is now grounds for deportation, no further questions asked.

DUI is a deadly serious criminal offense which should carry heavy penalties and is, from a moral point of view, not that different from manslaughter.

Your moral view, maybe so. But that's remotely not what the law says in any state, where a DUI 1 is in most cases not even a felony offense.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:12 PM on March 3 [23 favorites]


Hell, with the frequency of hurricanes and major North Atlantic storms, cutting NOAA is asininely stupid for anyone who owns property near the coast... like in Florida and NYC. Trump is so vindictive he spites himself.

Without an NOAA, insurers won't be able to tell Trump that he should have known better than to build stuff in Florida and NYC.
posted by Etrigan at 6:13 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


Driving itself is not that different from manslaughter. You take on an unacceptable risk of killing someone, even if the risk is slightly lower than it is if you're slightly over the legal limit.
posted by Coventry at 6:15 PM on March 3 [13 favorites]


Do we ask every visa holder to the US if they've ever had a DUI?

I've been in a car with someone who was denied entry into Canada for a DUI.
posted by snickerdoodle at 6:16 PM on March 3 [11 favorites]


I suppose that if I got in too deep with some deeply murky shit after a career as a peripheral player in a murky environment, I might do bizarre interviews on cable news to suggest I'd sing like a canary if offered immunity and a new identity.
posted by holgate at 6:17 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


A DUI is certainly serious. Nobody is trying to excuse it. But a single DUI 10 years ago (plus some kind of vehicle licensing mixup 20 years ago), which is generally a misdemeanor, is a horrifying reason to drag someone away from his children at school and seek to send him away for possibly forever. It's a crime the justice system can deal with, apparently successfully in his case since he hasn't done it again in a decade.

A foreign businessman with a 10-year-old DUI would be perfectly able to get a US visa, rent a car, and be driving right next to you.
posted by zachlipton at 6:19 PM on March 3 [45 favorites]


I think - here's where I am on the DUI thing. In normal times, I would think it's possibly fine to deport someone in the normal fashion for a DUI, even legal immigrants, because you're welcoming immigrants most of the time, and so it's clear the problem is the activity and not immigrants themselves, and it's fairly dangerous and flagrant.

But these aren't normal times. They took him at a school, 20 years later, and I just don't believe that la migra has suddenly discovered a new hatred of drunk driving.
posted by corb at 6:23 PM on March 3 [50 favorites]




Do we ask every visa holder to the US if they've ever had a DUI? And assuming someone served the legal penalty for a DUI offense 10 years in the past (which is pretty reasonable seeing as how he was walking about free for 10 years), that's now justification for permanently expelling them from the country?

I think I said it shouldn't be automatic grounds for exclusion or deportation.

I would have assumed you do ask people applying for visas if they've been convicted of crimes (which I would assume included DUI). You don't? Canada does and (in another example of something indicating some people don't think it's a real crime) actually states that "yes, a DUI is a crime and grounds for exclusion") But as you've implied, if it was a long time ago and no sign that one has kept up the criminal behaviour (be it DUI or assault or robbery or anything else), then there's room to make a judgement call.

Besides "it was a long time ago and never done anything like it since" I think criminals having come to the place as a child is reason to not deport someone even if they're criminal and not a citizen. Many years ago, there was a high profile robbery murder in Toronto (Just Desserts, if you're super-duper interested) and the criminals were immigrants from Jamaica. There was lots of talk of deporting them at the time, which bothered me because they had come to Canada as toddlers. It seems like if someone arrives a bad person and does bad person stuff, then maybe there's a reason to send them back to where they came from and let the country that turned them into a bad person deal with them. On the other hand, if you arrived when you were 2, then then the country that made you a bad person is the one you're already in and that country has no right to shove it's bad-person creation on someone else, just because they were born there.

But that's remotely not what the law says in any state, where a DUI 1 is in most cases not even a felony offense.


Wow, that's terrifying. And presumably the reason why Canadian border services feels the need to clarify that yes, a DUI conviction is a real live criminal conviction that makes you a real live criminal that maybe we don't want to let in cause why would we let in criminals?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:26 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


And digging up a 10 year old conviction means it wasn't some standard review of the weeks arrests, where ICE agents followed up at the jail, they went trolling through the cold court database comparing years worth of convictions to citizenship records, then tracked the man down and nabbed him in front of his kids at school.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:27 PM on March 3 [33 favorites]


The lieutenant governor of my state has two DUI convictions. She's set to become the governor as soon as the current governor is confirmed as ambassador to China. She's a recovering alcoholic, and I think that most people see it as an unfortunate symptom of a problem that she has admirably overcome, not as a character defect that stains her forever. And if it's not enough to prevent you from being governor of a state, I don't think it should get you deported.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:27 PM on March 3 [74 favorites]


Rep. Tom Garett (R) arguing that it's appropriate to restrict attendance to his Town Halls because "America isn't a Democracy."

"It's Not A Democracy, It's A Republic" will probably be spelled in wrought iron above the gates of the camps.
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:28 PM on March 3 [69 favorites]


The U.S. Government’s Privacy Watchdog Is Basically Dead, Emails Reveal
There’s a little-known federal agency whose job is to ensure U.S. spy agencies protect privacy and other civil liberties even as they work to defeat terrorists and criminals, and to blow the whistle when that doesn’t happen. But the agency, known as the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, is down to just a single voting member — which means it has been stripped of nearly all its powers, according to emails obtained by The Intercept.

...

But with just one part-time board member left, after another member’s term ended last week, the agency has very few formal powers to police the so-called “deep state” until President Trump nominates a new board, the emails reveal. Without the statutory quorum of three members, PCLOB “may not initiate new advice or oversight projects” or offer advice to the intelligence community, according to a list drawn up by Jen Burita, PCLOB’s public affairs and legislative officer, and shared by email with several congressional staffers who had raised questions about the impact of the attrition among board members.

In addition, the agency cannot submit to Congress either its semi-annual reports, which detail the conclusions of its investigations, or its plans for declassifying information it has uncovered. The board can’t hold public meetings, which have offered the chance for public input in the past, or give formal recommendations to the intelligence community.

...

Nominations to bring PCLOB to quorum seem unlikely to happen any time soon, if they happen at all. One hurdle is that Trump has to work with Democrats to name at least two of the board’s members, and lack of bipartisan cooperation stymied PCLOB appointments under Presidents Bush and Obama. The bigger issue is that Trump may not be interested in naming any members at all. On Fox News on Tuesday, the president claimed he hasn’t filled upwards of 600 administration slots because “they’re unnecessary to have.”
posted by homunculus at 6:29 PM on March 3 [11 favorites]


But these aren't normal times. They took him at a school, 20 years later, and I just don't believe that la migra has suddenly discovered a new hatred of drunk driving.

I'm bracing myself for a story of a child of a brown permanent resident getting deported for the possession of an ecstasy pill.

The only exception for drug possession for an LPR is an ounce of weed. Anything else and CBP will fuck you sideways.
posted by Talez at 6:29 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


The DUI thing is a big talking point on right wing radio and alt right forums. The idea is if someone is willing to break US law to sneak into the US, they have no respect for laws and can't wait to break some more, so they drive around in uninsured cars and get drunk and kill white children. It does not hold up to statistical scrutiny, and is a basic demonizing tactic. It is bullshit.
posted by vrakatar at 6:32 PM on March 3 [30 favorites]


Carter Page has a peculiar nervous energy and affect in these interviews. That, with the letter about the Clinton campaign, makes me think that he's got no information useful to anyone. He just seems so desperate to talk to anyone, with very little to say.

Since he is out of favor with the bosses, maybe he's digging for a book deal?
posted by monopas at 6:32 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


OK, if the two most profitable companies in the USA, no, wait, THE WORLD wait for it, waaait for it Apple and Microsoft, are backing Garvin Grimm with the full depth of their coffers, and the GOP is emphatically not, the Republicans are no longer business-friendly or pro-growth.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:33 PM on March 3 [14 favorites]


I've been in a car with someone who was denied entry into Canada for a DUI.

You can be denied entry to Canada for any reason at all. The Canadian Border guards have complete discretion on this. I know border guards who have denied people for being drunks, jerks or just because they felt like denying someone on a boring day.
posted by srboisvert at 6:33 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Jesus, we have got to get this guy out of office, asap. It hasn't even been two months and the damage he's done to real people and real lives, not to mention our democracy, I can't even really think about it very deeply. It's just so awful.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:34 PM on March 3 [22 favorites]


The only exception for drug possession for an LPR is an ounce of weed. Anything else and CBP will fuck you sideways.

What are the relevant regulations/statutes about this?
posted by Coventry at 6:35 PM on March 3


then tracked the man down and nabbed him in front of his kids at school.

I am viewing that as an attempt to intimidate noncitizens from using public school for their citizen children. It may be cynical, but my cynicism in the last month has a good track record of being right.
posted by corb at 6:38 PM on March 3 [41 favorites]


Carter Page is an international man of mystery. With the mystery being what the fuck is wrong with that guy?
posted by diogenes at 6:38 PM on March 3 [28 favorites]


It's California. Can't Brown pardon the DUI?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:39 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


What are the relevant regulations/statutes about this?

10 USC 601.fuck.you.hippie.I.am.the.law
posted by Etrigan at 6:41 PM on March 3 [10 favorites]


That photograph of Hillary Clinton having to look at the headlines describing the incompetent fuckers currently wrecking the government AND using private emails to do so just makes me want to drink straight bourbon for days and days and days.

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by lydhre at 6:41 PM on March 3 [58 favorites]


Canada will let you in with a DUI on your record. If it's been 10 years, it's fairly straightforward. Less than 10 years is often possible with a lot of paperwork and hundreds of dollars of fees and various hoops to jump through. Single offense DUIs are something they take seriously, more seriously than the US does from an immigration perspective, but it's not some kind of lifetime ban.

And in the immigration context, an alcohol DUI without other charges is not grounds for deportation for legal immigrants. ICE is also supposed to have a "sensitive locations policy," which is supposedly still in effect even with the latest executive orders, that says they aren't supposed to do this stuff at schools (as it would discourage children from attending school). Somebody needs to figure out why that policy wasn't followed here.

Again, we have ample evidence that immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans. This isn't about making the streets safer; it's about rounding up people and destroying families.
posted by zachlipton at 6:41 PM on March 3 [16 favorites]


Jesus, we have got to get this guy out of office, asap.

I know some people truly believe he will be impeached but I just don't see any way he leaves office before the 2020 election.

Well, ok, I see one way. He somehow pisses off Russia to the point that they release audio recordings of Trump's campaign conspiring with Russian officials to get the Ukraine thing out of the GOP platform in exchange for the release of the DNC emails. But that seems unlikely. Trump hasn't shown any inclination to stop polishing Putin's... boots.
posted by Justinian at 6:42 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


It's California. Can't Brown pardon the DUI?

Not sure that would make any difference. He's still undocumented and in federal custody. A governor's pardon can't fix that.
posted by zachlipton at 6:43 PM on March 3


The DUI thing is a big talking point on right wing radio and alt right forums.

Of course it is.

I am viewing that as an attempt to intimidate noncitizens from using public school for their citizen children. It may be cynical, but my cynicism in the last month has a good track record of being right.

No, that's got to be right. They're going to drive undocumented people out of all facets of legal society. It's certainly an intentional reversal of the prevailing sentiment for the last 8 years that places likes schools, hospitals, churches, should be considered safe, just for the simple functioning of society. You should want all people to be able to goto the hospital without fear, to protect citizens as well as non-citizens. You want non-citizens to feel they're able to cooperate with the police without risking deportation, you don't want an undocumented person with a 10 year old DUI to withhold information from the police that would solve a murder or bust a heroin ring.

Unless you're a Republican, that is.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:44 PM on March 3 [44 favorites]


NOAA does tornado tracking and warning as well.

We just had the earliest tornadoes in northern Illinois ever this week. 2 killed.
posted by srboisvert at 6:44 PM on March 3 [17 favorites]


ICE is also supposed to have a "sensitive locations policy," which is supposedly still in effect even with the latest executive orders, that says they aren't supposed to do this stuff at schools (as it would discourage children from attending school). Somebody needs to figure out why that policy wasn't followed here.

Having a policy on the books means nothing now. And they're pushing to do all these deportations without hearings too.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:45 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


Have you people not watched Border Security on Netflix? There's Australia, Canada, and US. It is amazing. And you learn so much. Like that people travel with lots of meat in their suitcases. Raw meat.

And the US has poorer quality xray machines that are sometimes confused by carbon paper. Canada and Aus have much nicer equipment.
posted by monopas at 6:45 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Oh yes, and Canada really doesn't let in people with criminal records.
posted by monopas at 6:47 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


I feel stupid for not having put this together, but this is a good point:

@aravosis: CNN: "How did Trump not know his son-in-law Jared Kushner was meeting with Russian ambassador in Trump Tower?"

@laverykate1: "Only reason it was at Trump Tower was because Trump was there, otherwise they could have met in Jersey."

@aravosis: "EXCELLENT point. If they didn't want world to know Kushner/Flynn were meeting Kislyak, why sneak him into Trump Tower? Just meet elsewhere. [...] The only logical reason to sneak Kislyak into Trump Tower & risk exposure was because Trump attended meeting with the Russian ambassador."
posted by lalex at 6:47 PM on March 3 [77 favorites]


What are the relevant regulations/statutes about this?

Relevant statute
(B) Controlled substances.-

(i) Conviction.-Any alien who at any time after admission has been convicted of a violation of (or a conspiracy or attempt to violate) any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802)), other than a single offense involving possession for one's own use of 30 grams or less of marijuana, is deportable.
posted by Talez at 6:47 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


And digging up a 10 year old conviction means it wasn't some standard review of the weeks arrests, where ICE agents followed up at the jail,

Good point. And yeah, in case it was unclear, I wasn't implying that immigrants (documented or non) are any more likely to drive drunk or commit any other kind of crime. And murder doesn't prevent you from being governor does it? I mean the whole reason there are these million comment threads is that people are allowed to elect whomever they want, even in Canada. Rob Ford was a convicted drunk driver and a not-convicted criminal of many other varieties.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:48 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


I once had a whole bunch of Serbian sausage thrown to the bin in front of me at Dulles.

It was heart breaking but I guess that's what I get for sausage smuggling.
posted by Tarumba at 6:48 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


"Like that people travel with lots of meat in their suitcases. Raw meat."

Why, tho?
posted by Selena777 at 6:49 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


What are the relevant regulations/statutes about this?

"Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing."

"What the hell are you talking about?" Yossarian shouted at her in bewildered, furious protest. "How did you know it was Catch-22? Who the hell told you it was Catch-22?"

"The soldiers with the hard white hats and clubs. The girls were crying. 'Did we do anything wrong?' they said. The men said no and pushed them away out the door with the ends of their clubs. 'Then why are you chasing us out?' the girls said. 'Catch 22,' the men said. All they kept saying was 'Catch-22, Catch-22. What does it mean, Catch 22? What is Catch-22?"

"Didn't they show it to you?" Yossarian demanded, stamping about in anger and distress. "Didn't you even make them read it?"

"They don't have to show us Catch-22," the old woman answered. "The law says they don't have to."

"What law says they don't have to?"

"Catch-22."

(really need to make that a macro before I'm disappeared)
posted by delfin at 6:49 PM on March 3 [20 favorites]


"Like that people travel with lots of meat in their suitcases. Raw meat."

Why, tho?


I have no idea. But it helped me to understand how we elected Trump. Nobody reads the questions, or believe that the rules apply to them. Even with their lives or money on the line.
posted by monopas at 6:52 PM on March 3 [6 favorites]


This article has the full Carter Page CNN interview posted in the three videos at the bottom.

I am imagining Putin watching this and trying to figure out what to make of this idiot.
posted by zachlipton at 6:53 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


"Like that people travel with lots of meat in their suitcases. Raw meat."

Why, tho?


Agricultural controls are serious business. Preventing cross contamination, exotic disease that local animals and/or crops have no immunity to, foreign invasive species of all manner from insects and rodents to molds or bacteria. As to why people would want to bring home meat...yea, Serbian sausage. Or any kind of exotic foodstuff you can't get at home.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:53 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


I have found myself, periodically through these past weeks, turning a corner in my mind and coming upon a moment when my brain encounters a kind of caesura - a pause in rational thought. In that kenssho-esque moment unfolds an unmediated awareness of the depth of the stark wrongness of the Trump administration.

It seems, after a moment of such a pause, that if I allowed myself to dwell in the moment overlong, I would go mad. It is not a sustainable state of mind.

And then the self-preservation instinct kicks in and drags me back to sanity, suppressing the horrible insight for a while so I can get on with work.

I had not before thought of it in terms of a "cold civil war", but that explains perfectly why I'm feeling a nontrivial sense of dread and post-traumatic stress at all of this. We've been at war with the racist, fascist element of our country - of whom some of our own neighbors and family are a part - for some time.

I believe we will win the war, eventually. But last November they won a major battle. And, having taken the high ground, are now setting up their artillery...
posted by darkstar at 6:55 PM on March 3 [42 favorites]



"Like that people travel with lots of meat in their suitcases. Raw meat."

Why, tho?


Foreign meats you can't buy in USG territory.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 6:55 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Wow, that Cooper interview is another freaky foray into the weird, weird world of Carter "I'm totally with the band" Page, who apparently followed Trump's MAGA tour in a VW Microbus. Definitely seems like a usefulless idiot with a side order of bananapants. I kind of buy the story that Trump did just randomly read his name off the list of not-really foreign policy advisors assembled by his campaign solely because he thought the "Ph.D." would make reporters think there was a brain trust. Page probably made it onto the list because he sent a mess of unsolicited "policy papers" (yes, originally written in crayon) that were pro-Russia and Putin-sucking enough to fit with the program. Too bad he's not actually in the Trump circle, though since he, Gorka, and Miller would make quite a stellar team of disturbed wingnuts.

Page is smart enough to be evasive as hell, but too fucking dumb (or attention-seeking) to shut his yap. God, DC must be just full of completely useless, aimless policy-paper-writing nitwits like this who somehow manage to collect speaker fees and panel gigs despite knowing not one goddamn thing. Nice work if you can get it.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:55 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]


Yeah, the meat thing is totally weird. It's not always something that we don't normally eat in the States, AUS (etc) but it often is. It often seems to be a delicacy gift for a family member.
posted by futz at 6:56 PM on March 3


I think we all need something nice to think about so here it is:

Married Lesbian Baptist Co-Pastors Say All are "Beloved"

I am as full of despair and fear as anyone, but on the other hand--this stuff is happening, it's happening in a lot of places, and there are a lot of people who don't want to turn the clock back, not just those of us huddled here on the Blue.

Patriarchy is fighting back, hard, and it's big and scary and powerful, but we really are many.
posted by emjaybee at 6:57 PM on March 3 [29 favorites]


My best attempted meat smuggling story involves an Alitalia flight to Boston, a flight attendant noticing the divine smell of a WHOLE PROSCIUTTO LEG that some American tourist was trying to sneak home in a bag, and her sorry-not-sorry justification to just carve it up right then and there and serve it to all the passengers on the plane because customs was just going to throw it away anyway.

It was very very good.
posted by lydhre at 6:57 PM on March 3 [93 favorites]


Only reason it was at Trump Tower was because Trump was there, otherwise they could have met in Jersey.

They might just be morons.

Like it might not have occurred to them that a clandestine meeting could be held literally anywhere
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:59 PM on March 3 [17 favorites]


"It's Not A Democracy, It's A Republic"

Every asshole who propagates this bullshit would be the same amount of inaccurate if they chose to say "It's not a republic, it's a democracy," but they never seem to make THAT mistake.
posted by Rykey at 7:00 PM on March 3 [17 favorites]


Just for curiosity's sake, I re-checked some more of the forensic stuff on the Fancy Bear hacks of early 2016, and there's a consensus that prep work for the successful DNC hack and the hack attempts at the Clinton campaign servers and other Dem-related groups started around mid-March 2016 and the breach of the DNC server was in place by April. (Cozy Bear had already gained access to the DNC server in 2015.)

That would be right around the time Manafort was hired, and the newly-announced foreign policy team met in the under-construction DC hotel.
posted by holgate at 7:04 PM on March 3 [16 favorites]


I've been part of a meat smuggling trip. What: a whole salami. Why; Not available in country it was being smuggled into. Grandfather living in said country loved salami.

The scene: I'm 4 or 5 years old. My parents have a salami in the checked baggage. Going through US customs in the Toronto airport on the way to third country, the customs guy asks my parents if we're carrying any food. My parents say no. At which I point I pipe up and yell "Yes we are! Yes we are!" and the nice customs man crouches down to ask me about the food we're carrying. I pop a ziploc bag out of the carry on and announce "My cheez-wiz sandwich for lunch!" I didn't know about the salami.

I also admit that a week ago I was googling whether it is possible to travel from Argentina to Canada with raw argentine beef. Googling inconclusive.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:05 PM on March 3 [28 favorites]


Rep. Tom Garrett (R) arguing that it's appropriate to restrict attendance to his Town Halls because 'America isn't a Democracy.'

We should really have the right to complain to the government, maybe even ask them to help. We could put it in the Fucking Constitution.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:05 PM on March 3 [33 favorites]


Speaking on CNBC Friday morning, Ross said he would seek the input of business groups including the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Small Businesses and others.

Feds turn to Foxes for Henhouse Redesign.


Many of these groups are pay to play shells that are openly partisan rather than represent their putative constituencies. U.S. Chamber of Commerce is not for commerce per se but rather is for coal, cigarettes and banking.
posted by srboisvert at 7:06 PM on March 3 [6 favorites]


The problem with the DUI thing is differential treatment. The problem with all of the VOICE crap is differential treatment. (Where's the list of unprosecuted rape complaints? Whither VAWA?) And in these cases, it's approaching a disguised form of collective punishment. Because this is the actual fascist playbook. That's not hyperbole anymore. If you're not sure what they're up to, consult fascism.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:09 PM on March 3 [22 favorites]


UNDOCUMENTED DAD TAKEN BY ICE WHILE DROPPING KIDS OFF AT SCHOOL

Well, this article answers my question about that video -- what are LA police doing arresting immigrants?

"LA officials urge ICE agents to stop identifying themselves as 'police'." It seems ICE agents are wearing vests identifying themselves as "POLICE" instead of "ICE".

From the article:

"In a letter, Mayor Eric Garcetti, city attorney Mike Feuer and Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson urged ICE agents to no longer refer to themselves as "police" while carrying out their duties in L.A.

The letter details decades of work by the city to gain the trust of all citizens in an effort to make communities safer. That trust, the letter says, encourages witnesses and victims of crime to come forward regardless of immigration status.

As a result, when ICE agents targeting immigrants identify themselves only as 'police' officers, they undermine decades of this work, eroding public safety in our city, the letter states."

ICE is making communities less safe.
posted by JackFlash at 7:12 PM on March 3 [57 favorites]


Four Mosques Have Burned In Seven Weeks — Leaving Many Muslims and Advocates Stunned

Three of the four fire have been ruled arsons, with one still under investigation.
posted by zachlipton at 7:12 PM on March 3 [32 favorites]


PLEASE LAPD PLEASE ARREST ICE FOR IMPERSONATING OFFICERS
please
just one
they won't but O Please

posted by snuffleupagus at 7:13 PM on March 3 [56 favorites]


God, DC must be just full of completely useless, aimless policy-paper-writing nitwits like this who somehow manage to collect speaker fees and panel gigs despite knowing not one goddamn thing. Nice work if you can get it.

I heard they shunt the overflow off to The Daily Beast's foreign affairs desk.
posted by indubitable at 7:15 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


So, America, the rest of the world has been talking and we've agreed to pay for the wall. Well, it's more of a dome. Just a dome really. Just gonna dome off the whole shebang for a while, let you folk figure it out.

It's a fair cop. We're terribly sorry about all of this.
posted by petebest at 7:16 PM on March 3 [12 favorites]


So I went googling briefly for "cold civil war" just to see what the non-metafilter usage of the concept is currently, and it seems to mostly have been glommed on to by rightists and Trumpists. Is that weird? I found that weird.

There was one pretty amusing "My Dearest Annabelle..." send up of the Civil War documentary series though.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:22 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


Carter Page is an international man of mystery. With the mystery being what the fuck is wrong with that guy?

I have a few theories but first and foremost he is a fucking shitgibbon.
posted by futz at 7:23 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


Just meet elsewhere. [...] The only logical reason to sneak Kislyak into Trump Tower & risk exposure was because Trump attended meeting with the Russian ambassador.
Wonder how the USSS feels watching Trump meet with a Russian spymaster.
posted by xyzzy at 7:24 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


So Jeff Beauregard Sessions lied under oath to be the country's top justice official?

His momma must be so proud.
posted by petebest at 7:25 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


ICE is making communities less safe.

In Austin, the APD has been out in force since we got targeted by ICE for special attention a couple of weeks ago, such that now on my twenty minute drive to take my partner to work it's not uncommon to see four cops lurking on speed traps. We're hoping that they're basically trying to spook people into behaving so ICE has no reason to stop anyone, since the sheriff is taking such a pointed stand against ICE, but the combination of ICE and rumors and seeing cops around every corner is, um. Terrifying.
posted by sciatrix at 7:27 PM on March 3 [13 favorites]


Page is like if Kato Kaelin had a bunch of PowerPoint slides and a grudge against Hillary.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:28 PM on March 3 [16 favorites]


I had not before thought of it in terms of a "cold civil war", but that explains perfectly why I'm feeling a nontrivial sense of dread and post-traumatic stress at all of this. We've been at war with the racist, fascist element of our country - of whom some of our own neighbors and family are a part - for some time.

I believe we will win the war, eventually. But last November they won a major battle. And, having taken the high ground, are now setting up their artillery...


Oh, I smell what you're cooking but I do not share your optimism. Not entirely. (And it's kinda scary that I'm describing "a nontrivial sense of dread and post-traumatic stress" as OPTIMISM. But right now it is.) Neither side is ever going to win this war. The battleground will ebb and flow in cycles but it will never go away.

America is simply too tribal. We have plenty on the left who will never get tired of fighting for truth, for justice, for the same basic fucking rights they've been fighting to retain for eternity. But we also have far, far, far too many who have it baked into their DNA that they are the sole determiners of right and wrong, they are superior, they are the highest caste, and they are justified in imposing their will because of the color of their skin, or the type of genitals they have, or the place in which they live, or the place where they were born, or what their religious book of choice says. And three decades of relentless deregulation, media consolidation and airwave bombardment has ensured that their mantra will never go unheard.

And it is a mistake to paint the American conflict as purely left vs. right. It is left vs. right vying for control of the vast ambivalence in the middle, the millions and millions who don't give a shit unless they see something on TV that personally affects them. And in this age of rampant internet disinformation, it is horribly easy to distort the truth in ways to which too many of them pay witness. The old saying of "a lie goes 'round the world before the truth has its boots on" is many orders of magnitude truer today.

America will never outgrow racism, sexism, FYGM-ism. It is a tribute to those who fight against those that they never completely win the day here. But every generation of Americans has that sizable percentage who aren't born wrong but are taught wrong.
posted by delfin at 7:28 PM on March 3 [15 favorites]


I like how he's comforted with reports that the Trump campaign told him to GTFO (possibly with a cease and desist letter) and he just sits there with that shit-eating grin and refuses to acknowledge or deny it happened.

The best though is his "rallies" vs "meetings" confusion, in which he spins the times he described his foreign policy advice meetings as just going to Trump rallies, because he claims the words are the same in Russian, a language he can kind of sort of understand.
posted by zachlipton at 7:30 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


Another good cover from Der Spiegel.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:34 PM on March 3 [15 favorites]


So the proposed 25% cut in the EPA budget is really a 40% cut because 42% of the EPA budget is grants to the states and Pruitt promised to protect them. There's a full discussion here, which lays it out quite well.

We're looking at the complete gutting of Clean Air, Clean Water, Hazardous Waste Management, and Hazardous Waste Cleanup programs. Get ready for more Flints and more Love Canals.
posted by suelac at 7:35 PM on March 3 [20 favorites]


Another good cover from Der Spiegel.

"DER DOPPELREGENT"

There's a certain poetry to the German language that suits the era well, I think.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:38 PM on March 3 [12 favorites]


ICE is making communities less safe.

California should start arresting ICE officers for impersonating police.

It's already time to escalate.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:38 PM on March 3 [13 favorites]


Also, because apparently it wasn't enough that our very own bathroom bill, SB6, is "hearing testimony" tomorrow which I fully expect the state legislature to ignore and whine about when the crowds cheer on speakers....

the Texas Supreme Court is now hearing a challenge to the interpretation of Obergefell that says that yes, municipal governments do have to extend spousal benefits to same-sex married couples as a result of fervent and repetitive lobbying from the governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. As a state employee who was previously outright banned from putting my partner on my work health insurance by Texas state legislation, I am a little concerned about this one.

I swear to god that this week is shaping up to be "Queers Scream At Texas" week. I'm working on a fabric banner which will say "WHO'S FOR FAMILY VALUES NOW?" with little stick figures of a dude labeled "GOP" peering over a restroom wall to stare at someone and other little stick figures trying to rip apart a same-gender stick figure family as children watch. (Considering seeing if I can make those stick figures rainbow. We'll see what felt I have.) Got my pattern all put together, and I figure this way it'll be usable for both days because fuck this noise. I've asked Equality Texas if they want me and my spouse to step forward, too, or maybe if they want me to organize an extremely angry protest for that on top of the SB6 one.
posted by sciatrix at 7:39 PM on March 3 [32 favorites]


I'm just waiting for someone to release the tapes of everybody's meetings with Kislyak.

Because you know they exist.


Toby Esterhase: "Burning, George, that's always a hazard, you know what I mean? Some guys get heroic and want to die for their countries suddenly. Other guys roll over and lie still the moment you put the arm on them. Burning, that touches the stubbornness in certain people. Know what I mean?"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:42 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


and he just sits there with that shit-eating grin and refuses to acknowledge or deny it happened.

If I were a conspiracy wacko I'd speculate that Carter Page was going on TV b/c he has been dropped like a hot potato and is signaling to the trump klan or the russians that he wants contact/money/validation or he won't shut up. He really thinks he's being persecuted by the Clintons and he hasn't said it yet but perhaps he feels abandoned/scapegoated by trump/russia as well and this is his attempt to get them to contact him. Polonium eyedrops are probably in his future.

/conspiracy
posted by futz at 7:46 PM on March 3 [7 favorites]


Carter Page is an international man of mystery. With the mystery being what the fuck is wrong with that guy?

Marine Intelligence asset, ties to pentagon, goes to Russia, says crazy shit, returns to US and praises foreign dictator hostile to the U.S., tangled up in crazy POTUS activities . . .

Sounds so familiar . . .

"you are a madman! When you stole that cow? and your friend tried to make it with the cow?! I wanna party with you, cowboy. If the two of us get together, forget it!"
posted by petebest at 7:49 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


He's not worth the trouble of Polonium.
posted by monopas at 7:49 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


More on the timeline: the Steele dossier's "Source E, an ethnic Russian close associate" (who may be Felix Sater) explicitly called the DNC hack a quid pro quo in exchange for softening the position on Ukraine and upping the ante on the Baltic states' financial contribution to NATO. Per the dossier, this operation was managed by Manafort using Page and others as intermediaries.

If there was a deal cooked up to deliver on the hacks in exchange for a softer Russia policy, then it was cooked up in March, set in place by the time the foreign policy advisor list was announced, and was already planning to soften the Ukraine policy before the hacks began.
posted by holgate at 7:55 PM on March 3 [24 favorites]


This cheered me up for no good reason. As part of my own self-care regime, I've been watching the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Spring Colloquium Series on Youtube, and the one for the 2nd March was on Small Interstellar Molecules And What They Tell Us. (tl;dw - a whole lot about the dynamic structures of deep space.)

Right at the end of what was a very technical discussion about the nearly 200 types of molecule we've found floating between the stars, how we found them, and the richness of what they reveal, the Q&A had an audience member ask a question about isotopic ratios (the wag!) which the presenter had referenced. But - O. M. G. - the presenter had throwin in a study which he wasn't fully conversant with, and he couldn't answer the question. Happens all the time, it's part of the sport of these things, and the presenter dealt with it with good grace and good humour.

So why am I telling you this? Because the MC then asked for 'any non-embarrassing questions... like Sean Spicer', and the place erupts in laughter and jokes exchanged about 'alt-facts' and 'It's just something I deeply believe'. These things are normally as apolitical as a seven year old's birthday party: to find open ridicule of Spicer in such a place is as unexpected as the discovery of ArH+.

If you want to read too much into this, it's that there are a lot of grown-ups out there and they're not buying it. But mostly - if the jokes are getting into astrophysics colloquia on Youtube, they're everywhere.

(ArH+ in the ISM. Golly.)
posted by Devonian at 7:56 PM on March 3 [36 favorites]


I have no idea who and what Carter Page is. Maybe anagrams will help. Here is the story of Carter Page, told in anagrams for "Carter Page":

Great Recap:

Great Caper!
Act Rear Peg,
Greet A Crap,
Get Rare Cap.
Gape Crater.
Regret A Cap.

posted by Rust Moranis at 8:00 PM on March 3 [17 favorites]


Polonium can't be that cheap. He seemed to be complaining a little during the interview that they made him fly coach to Moscow last year and didn't pay him anything for his time. I don't think they consider him worth it.

I also want to know more about his purported role as a graduation speaker. Because he's clearly an idiot. Who doesn't actually speak much Russian. And who claims he spoke for free. I mean, if he's telling the truth there, the price was right, but this is the guy they asked to speak at a graduation?

In any case, many of my questions come back to this March foreign policy meeting at the unfinished Trump hotel. As holgate just noted, this was when all these plans were going down. Josh Marshall ran down some of the timeline of this meeting today. The meeting also took place during the height of Trump's NATO-bashing. A list of attendees for that meeting is a basic requirement at this point.
posted by zachlipton at 8:02 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


So I went googling briefly for "cold civil war" just to see what the non-metafilter usage of the concept is currently, and it seems to mostly have been glommed on to by rightists and Trumpists. Is that weird? I found that weird.

It is not weird at all. Consider this quote from the above comments:
I've been saying it for months, they're governing not for the US as a whole, but as a punitive occupying force extracting reparations from defeated Democrats. ... He's truly "not our president", and he's making it very clear he doesn't even intend to try to be.
This is more or less how the Reds felt under the rule of Obama and at the prospect of the rule of Hillary.

Two countries squabbling over one government and territory. Untenable.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 8:05 PM on March 3 [6 favorites]


I'm working on a fabric banner which will say "WHO'S FOR FAMILY VALUES NOW?" with little stick figures of a dude labeled "GOP" peering over a restroom wall to stare at someone and other little stick figures trying to rip apart a same-gender stick figure family as children watch.

Pics plz?

I know some people truly believe he will be impeached but I just don't see any way he leaves office before the 2020 election.

I'm deathly afraid he'll overturn the Constitution so he can be President-For-Life.

I'm at the point where I don't even know what to call my Congresspeople about anymore. There are so many options I am paralyzed by indecision!

You could just have a Wheel of Shit and spin it and write about a new thing every day.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:07 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


This is more or less how the Reds felt under the rule of Obama and at the prospect of the rule of Hillary.

I formally submit my formal resignation from giving a wet fart about how Republicans feel despite every single solitary scrap of evidence to the contrary.
posted by Etrigan at 8:09 PM on March 3 [34 favorites]


If I were a conspiracy wacko I'd speculate that Carter Page was going on TV b/c he has been dropped like a hot potato and is signaling to the trump klan or the russians that he wants contact/money/validation or he won't shut up. He really thinks he's being persecuted by the Clintons and he hasn't said it yet but perhaps he feels abandoned/scapegoated by trump/russia as well and this is his attempt to get them to contact him. Polonium eyedrops are probably in his future.

The other conspiracy thinkin' I've seen about this is that he knows he's outlived his uselessness and is trying real hard to make himself publicly conspicuous, to discourage the guys with polonium.

But he's probably just an attention seeking idiot and everyone who really really wants to contact him and tell him to STFU right now knows he's under a ridiculous amount of surveillance and all of Five Eyes would have transcripts within the hour.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:12 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


Two countries squabbling over one government and territory. Untenable.

I was hoping that the Big Sort would solve this without a Partition of India happening, but the music might be about to stop playing soon.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 8:13 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


Here's a collection of comments on NATO, that date from... March 21.

Let's run with the "last person he spoke to" rule here.

There's a reprise of this in July, specifically in relation to the Baltics, around the time that news broke of the Russian connection to the DNC hack, followed a week later by "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing."
posted by holgate at 8:14 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


This is more or less how the Reds felt under the rule of Obama and at the prospect of the rule of Hillary.

The difference here is Obama wasn't actually coming for their guns, or instituting death panels, or conducting house to house raids in Appalachia and the Rust Belt.

Republicans are.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:19 PM on March 3 [87 favorites]




God, I just feel like arguing over who set off the Civil War that leaves us all broken and bloody is enormously exhausting. I'd rather talk about, in order:

1) How to stop American fascism
2) How to stop the American Civil War, Electric Boogaloo, from becoming a shooting war
3) How to rebuild the wreckage of our country
4) Party because we are all alive.
posted by corb at 8:23 PM on March 3 [32 favorites]


CJR - Study: Breitbart-led right-wing media ecosystem altered broader media agenda

Our own study of over 1.25 million stories published online between April 1, 2015 and Election Day shows that a right-wing media network anchored around Breitbart developed as a distinct and insulated media system, using social media as a backbone to transmit a hyper-partisan perspective to the world. This pro-Trump media sphere appears to have not only successfully set the agenda for the conservative media sphere, but also strongly influenced the broader media agenda, in particular coverage of Hillary Clinton.

...Our analysis challenges a simple narrative that the internet as a technology is what fragments public discourse and polarizes opinions, by allowing us to inhabit filter bubbles or just read “the daily me.” If technology were the most important driver towards a “post-truth” world, we would expect to see symmetric patterns on the left and the right. Instead, different internal political dynamics in the right and the left led to different patterns in the reception and use of the technology by each wing. While Facebook and Twitter certainly enabled right-wing media to circumvent the gatekeeping power of traditional media, the pattern was not symmetric.

posted by triggerfinger at 8:25 PM on March 3 [39 favorites]


This is more or less how the Reds felt under the rule of Obama and at the prospect of the rule of Hillary.

Republicans hated Obama because they're racist. We hate Trump because he's racist. There is no equivalency. One is a sane, intelligent, compassionate man. The other is a demented, idiotic, narcissistic toddler. A Republican who claims equivalency just reveals their idiocy, ignorance or blind ideology.
posted by chris24 at 8:33 PM on March 3 [130 favorites]


I want somebody to start an "engagement" called Immigrant Victims Of Trumpist Exclusionism. We might start calling it IVOTE. A place for American citizens of immigrant background to detail how this sad situation has negatively impacted them. I like to imagine that it would generate a great volume of moving material and the mere mention of it would terrify elected republicans, and everything would go back to (a nicer) normal!
posted by Clathrate Bomber at 8:39 PM on March 3 [7 favorites]


I like to imagine that it would generate a great volume of moving material and the mere mention of it would terrify elected republicans, and everything would go back to (a nicer) normal!

I would also like to imagine that. That would be a very nice thing to imagine.
posted by contraption at 8:42 PM on March 3 [6 favorites]


I cannot imagine imagining that.
posted by contraption at 8:43 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


Feel free, the one thing they can never take is your freedom of mind...
posted by Clathrate Bomber at 8:43 PM on March 3


I'm not going to litigate who started it, but triggerfinger's link points to "why now?" I think it's the way in which the internet simultaneously breaks apart old geographical continuities -- and creates communities of interest around different things -- and creates conflict over ownership of a broader, flatter space. It's not simply a bubble, because bubbles have limits: it's a bubble that lays claim to everything.

There's something about the internet that changes things. The UK has had explicitly partisan national newspapers (and explicitly non-partisan broadcast news) from day one. You could read the S*n or the Mirror and have very different tabloid framings on the world, but there was never a sense that one or the other framing was fundamentally illegitimate. It was more like supporting different teams in a league, and you need the league to exist in order to support your team. That's started to change, especially given how the Brexit vote was a vote about personal identity and the extent of one's personal citizenship.

A different way to put it in the US perspective is that there's been a cold civil war since 1865, with a few big flashpoints. Big countries can mostly get away with not being the same country for a long time as long as the bits of the country you don't like are far away, and there's the option to move from a bit of the country you don't like to one you like more. If you moved states 20 years ago you could live quite happily not giving a fuck about what happened in the place you left behind. Now we get to hear what some dimwit state legislator in Missouri wants to do to his state, in the knowledge that he's getting briefed by DC lobby shops like ALEC, and we're obliged to give a fuck because what happens there extends beyond the domain of local media.
posted by holgate at 8:47 PM on March 3 [24 favorites]


Look, here's how it went down. Kislyak's all set for a meeting at Trump Tower. Carter meets him at the door, walks him up, talks about how excited the big man is about their partnership and so forth. Then comes the meeting. Trump with his entourage, Kislyak with his entourage, Page there like a turd in a punchbowl.

Fast forward a year, Kislyak calls up Trump, says, "What the fuck is your boy doing on TV?" Trump switches over from Fox News, sees Carter Page dancing like a particularly graceless bear, and says, "My boy? He came in with you."

[probably fake, but who knows any more?]
posted by jackbishop at 8:50 PM on March 3 [45 favorites]


Trump switches over from Fox News, sees Carter Page dancing like a particularly graceless bear, and says, "My boy? He came in with you."

That's eerily realistic sounding. Take this favorite and go.
posted by petebest at 9:02 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


Regarding the DHS data about immigrants developing criminal behavior long after assimilation: I think most would interpret that data to mean that we should focus prevention efforts elsewhere, but I bet Trump and Bannon will see this as even more evidence that we should never let immigrants come to the US in the first place and just drop extreme vetting in favor of total bans or some such nonsense.
posted by p3t3 at 9:11 PM on March 3 [11 favorites]


Holy shit, p3t3, that's totally what I was thinking when Maddow was acting like, "GOTCHA." No, Rachel. Now they will just say no immigrants are safe because their children will be terrorists.
posted by xyzzy at 9:16 PM on March 3 [17 favorites]


Now they will just say no immigrants are safe because their children will be terrorists.

Yep, they'll just go around chanting "Tamerlan Tsarnaev" all day long.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:20 PM on March 3 [6 favorites]


Well, white immigrants will be deemed safe, because their children will be terrorists in the assimilated American tradition like Elliot Rodger.
posted by holgate at 9:21 PM on March 3 [12 favorites]


It would be a great argument against the immediate travel ban, if rational arguments about that mattered at all and there weren't already a million reason it makes no sense. They'll just file it away under "Muslim Registry, Justifications For" until they've shifted popular opinion far enough to make that palatable.
posted by contraption at 9:22 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


Tillerson finds it's hard for a CEO to become a secretary (CNN, March 3, 2017)
Nearly a month into his tenure as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson is winning over foreign governments but alienating many employees at the agency he leads and raising questions about his ability to wield power in Washington.

Meanwhile, Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a top adviser, is emerging as a shadow secretary of state -- a key interlocutor with world leaders and ambassadors and the keeper of prized diplomatic files like the Middle East peace process. Steve Bannon, Trump's chief political strategist, has also taken on an outsized role in formulating foreign policy.

Tillerson is still lacking much of his senior staff and, according to two sources familiar with the discussions, is in a struggle with the White House over choosing appointments after President Donald Trump vetoed his choice for deputy secretary. Questions about Tillerson's influence have spilled out into the open. Media reports that he has been marginalized abound, including a blistering New York Times editorial titled "Calling Secretary Tillerson." And the perception among the State Department rank-and-file is chilling.
This points out both the problem with trying to run the government like a business, and the problem with pitting upper level managers against each-other. What a debacle. And the NY Times piece from Feb. 24 points out it's worse than that:
Mr. Tillerson has largely been absent from White House meetings with foreign leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, and reportedly was excluded from such major decisions as Mr. Trump’s withdrawal of support for a Palestinian state and his declaration that Iran is now “on notice” for testing ballistic missiles. Mr. Trump’s rejection of Mr. Tillerson’s choice for deputy secretary of state was a public rebuke that undermined the secretary within his department and raised further doubts about his standing with the president.

For now at least, Mr. Tillerson, a former CEO of Exxon Mobil who has no foreign policy or government experience, has been eclipsed by Jim Mattis, the defense secretary; Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser; and John Kelly, the secretary of homeland security. All three men are generals, and while they are respected experts in their fields, their backgrounds could lead to an overly militaristic approach to foreign policy. That makes the voice of the State Department, with its focus on diplomacy, more important than ever. But too often this voice has seemed muffled.
Ffffuuuu... this fucking administration.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:35 PM on March 3 [40 favorites]


The latest chaos in the French election really deserves its own FPP from somebody more knowledgeable on the subject than I, but it's not completely irrelevant to this discussion given Russia's interests there and Bannon's grand visions of reshaping Europe in his image. This Twtter thread is not a bad "WTF just happened" summary.
posted by zachlipton at 9:43 PM on March 3 [10 favorites]


It's weird that Tillerson, the guy you'd think was the most entangled in the Russia stuff, is so clearly on the outside looking in. But then again in his position at Exxon he was probably on more equal footing in his dealings with Russia while the rest of these dopes thought they were players while they were being played, so he's probably not as beholden to Putin as the others.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:44 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


It's weird that Tillerson, the guy you'd think was the most entangled in the Russia stuff, is so clearly on the outside looking in.

I don't see it that way at all. Why do you?
posted by futz at 9:47 PM on March 3


I don't see it that way at all. Why do you?

By "on the outside looking in" I don't mean outside the Russia stuff - I'm sure that's why he's there in the first place, because he can help make Putin a lot of money - but he's not just sidelined by the administration, they seem to be actively hampering his entire job. I'd assumed ever since he was nominated for State that he'd be front and center pushing this new Russo-American alliance garbage and he's just kind of spinning his wheels.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:53 PM on March 3 [15 favorites]


futz, I agree and will be amazed if the drip drip drip does not catch up with him, too
posted by Caxton1476 at 9:56 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


Guys, what you're missing about the Russia thing is that it's actually part of the GOP's replacement for the Clean Power Plan. They're going to hook up a turbine to Reagan and power the entire country by making him spin ceaselessly in his grave.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:00 PM on March 3 [26 favorites]


For now at least, Mr. Tillerson, a former CEO of Exxon Mobil who has no foreign policy or government experience, has been eclipsed by Jim Mattis, the defense secretary; Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster

Mattis may be fucked.

White House pushing back against Mattis appointment

Ah, jason_steakums, thanks for the clarification. I think there was a WaPo article that said pretty much the same thing. Sorry if my comment came off as knee jerky. That is really not how I intended it. Tillerson is another major corporate connection to Russia and the regulations that he/oil companies have been fighting for 10 years are about to fall in his favor though but I am preaching to the choir here. :)

There is much more to be said about Tillerson but I'll leave it there for now.
posted by futz at 10:10 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


It's weird that Tillerson, the guy you'd think was the most entangled in the Russia stuff, is so clearly on the outside looking in.

Or he's the "inside" that the outside is protecting.

"Real bad boys move in silence." --KRS One
posted by rhizome at 10:11 PM on March 3 [12 favorites]


Re: Tillerson, it's not like Donnie isn't still going all in on his own BFFs 4 evz with Russia thing, so why sideline the guy best suited to making that happen and in the perfect position to do it? I guess my thinking is, there may be no real leverage over Tillerson of the kind there is over Donnie, he angled to make a bunch of money with Russia but he may not be as compromised since it was a mutual Russia/Exxon interests thing, and maybe not favor trading leading to the kind of dumbass bush league Omertà circle of mutually compromised people Trump keeps close. Trump got in this compromised position because the Russians bailed him out and built him back up when he had nothing, Tillerson was in a position where Russia was good business but not the only thing keeping him afloat. I'm absolutely sure there are skeletons in Tillerson's closet there, you don't get that cozy with Putin without any, but I'm wondering if maybe they're not the same skeletons Trump has. I think the Wilbur Ross secretive money laundering side of things is where a ton of the compromising Trump dirt is, Tillerson's Russia interests were pretty transparent and open in comparison - Exxon wanted to do this deal, the sanctions got in the way, Tillerson was very public about not being down with that.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:20 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]


They're not just sidelining Tillerson, they're outright sending a message to the entire world that Tillerson does not speak for the President. Foreign leaders are paying attention. They can plainly see that Tillerson has no actual role in the administration and that a promise from him means less than one from the President's son-in-law. There's no way he can do his job under those conditions.
posted by zachlipton at 10:27 PM on March 3 [56 favorites]


Tonight 11:14 PM. Trump pleads for cash at closed donor retreat - 'I need you guys to step up and overwhelm them,' the president tells Republican high rollers.

-- By all accounts, Trump was loose before his audience — “I’m going to entertain you,” he told the RNC donors — while mostly staying away from policy and bantering with the crowd for about 40 minutes. He described how important it was to win his home away from home, Florida, and how easy it had been to appear “presidential,” including his speech to a joint session of Congress and on a visit to a Navy aircraft carrier in Virginia.

-- Republicans leaving the dinner said Trump was well within his rights to keep talking about how he beat Hillary Clinton.

“It was something I heard several times,” said Robert Long, owner of Marine Concepts, a Sarasota-based boat building company. “He likes to brag about the election. He did tremendous. It’s something to brag about.”


Everything surrounding trump is a special kind of stupid.
posted by futz at 10:28 PM on March 3 [68 favorites]


What I don't get is how the ego of people like Tillerson - an ego which I suspect after years of being a CEO is of a size with Trump's - makes them willing to go through this. They could always act like the Koch brothers and sit on the sidelines and still make tons of money from Trump's destruction of regulations and controls on industry, without going through all of this. But here you have story after story about how these people are sidelined, having the traditional power of their office curtailed, or having problems with selecting their own staff, and it must be somewhat humiliating to see that the world is getting a bird's eye view of how little importance you have compared with people like Bannon and Kushner.

But despite the fact that they have tons of money and could walk away and make tons more, they just take it. It's baffling to me.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 10:29 PM on March 3 [16 favorites]


@Eyebrows McGee
I think Reagan can rest easy. Trump is just continuing the proud Republican tradition of selling out America to its enemies in order to gain a temporary advantage over the Democrats. Nixon sabotaged the Vietnamese peace talks to kneecap LBJ, Reagan worked with Iran to kneecap Carter, and now Trump bends the knee to Russia in order to kneecap Hillary.
posted by Balna Watya at 10:32 PM on March 3 [29 favorites]


This video from today of Tillerson trying to do a photo-op as Andrea Mitchell peppers him with questions that boil down to "how does it feel to be getting utterly stabbed in the back by your boss?" is pretty great though.
posted by zachlipton at 10:34 PM on March 3 [14 favorites]


Tillerson wouldn't be the first intelligent businessman to be sold a bill of goods by trusting Trump for even one single second.

If it didn't also come with the death of the State Department and all of American foreign policy I might even laugh at his gullibility in being taken in by a notorious huckster like Trump. But.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:39 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


What I don't get is how the ego of people like Tillerson - an ego which I suspect after years of being a CEO is of a size with Trump's - makes them willing to go through this.

Honestly I think it's a big desire to put the feather in his cap of being a capital-S Statesman. I get the sense from him he thought he'd be another Jefferson. With the added twist that he thinks corporations shouldn't bow to state sovereignty even in international relations and he wanted to carve out space for entities like Exxon to get around those pesky sanctions.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:41 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


Denver City Attorney: deportation fears impacting criminal cases

She's dropping four domestic violence cases because the victims are afraid of deportation. ICE officers have been seen in the courthouse.

That's four more dangerous people who got away with it because the government is now doing their abusing for them.
posted by zachlipton at 10:46 PM on March 3 [115 favorites]


They're not just sidelining Tillerson, they're outright sending a message to the entire world that Tillerson does not speak for the President. Foreign leaders are paying attention. They can plainly see that Tillerson has no actual role in the administration and that a promise from him means less than one from the President's son-in-law. There's no way he can do his job under those conditions.

Haley's getting the same treatment, but if she didn't see it coming from miles away that Trump would treat her job like a joke when he thinks the entire concept of the UN is a joke she was being willfully blind.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:48 PM on March 3 [14 favorites]


With the added twist that he thinks corporations shouldn't bow to state sovereignty even in international relations and he wanted to carve out space for entities like Exxon to get around those pesky sanctions.

Tillerson might be the highbrow version of Trump's mirror. Moron though he could walk into the Trump admin and dictate policy, while Trump/Bannon only wanted him to save face with Putin from an agency they fully intended to destroy from day 1.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:48 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


Well good luck, Jared. Yer gonna need plenty.
posted by notyou at 10:49 PM on March 3


I definitely thought a boardroom killer like Tillerson would walk circles around this bunch. I guess not!
posted by notyou at 10:51 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


We definitely need to sort out when and where ICE can show up and demand private info. It needs to be much narrower than it is now. MUCH NARROWER.
posted by notyou at 10:54 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


I do wonder how much of it is Trump's tendency to simply go with whatever the last person who spoke to him said. Tillerson is not physically in the building much and doesn't do regular cable news appearances, so Trump doesn't hear from him regularly (though they did have dinner together recently). And Trump has a whole staff surrounding him that's locked in a giant public power struggle, so they sure as heck aren't going to be calling for the presence of an outsider who might try to pass on the views of a career diplomat or expert or anything.

In short, Tillerson might want to get used to hanging out on Fox and Friends.
posted by zachlipton at 11:01 PM on March 3 [10 favorites]


We definitely need to sort out when and where ICE can show up and demand private info. It needs to be much narrower than it is now. MUCH NARROWER.

Their entire mandate needs to change, or the organization needs to be shuttered and replaced with something different. Sometimes deportations are necessary, sure, but that just requires a group that can facilitate the details of a deportation after existing law enforcement and judicial processes take place, they've seriously exceeded the bounds of what's necessary for far too long.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:03 PM on March 3 [14 favorites]


Or even more plausible, Tillerson was brought in specifically to oversee the destruction of State. Republicans have want to end soft power at gun point since 2000 and the W administration, Tillerson is the death knell. All he cares about is overseeing the distribution of Russian oil contracts and the wind down of the entire State budget in place of tax cuts for billionaires.

Which is more plausible, that he cares one iota about American standing in the world, or about looting while the looting is prime.

We shouldn't ever give any Republican official even the slightest bit of credit that they're acting in good faith. Tillerson is the rule proving the rule.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:05 PM on March 3 [19 favorites]


I don't believe that Tillerson had any high notions going in, but I doubt that he imagined the papers would merrily be printing stories about how unimportant he was in the greater power scheme in the first month of his job. I just wonder how long before that ends up overriding his desire to get sanctions lifted, especially given that the Trump administration is such a very obvious garbage fire that is going to consume quite a few careers before it is done.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:20 PM on March 3 [7 favorites]


Haley is doing what she needs to do to boost her "foreign policy" bona fides in preparation for a presidential run of her own in 2024: a telegenic former southern governor, UN Ambassador, minority woman, right? If she has to play Trump's America for a while, so be it.

I don't for a second believe that Tillerson is getting outplayed by Orange Julius and his gang, either. Sure, he may have expected more control over State, but there is absolutely no coincidence that the CEO of EXXON, for chrissake, is in that position amid a maelstrom of Russian collusion. If Tillerson can get the sanctions dropped, it will all be worth it.

Ryan and McConnell are using Trump to get their tax breaks for the wealthy and Obamacare repeal. Bannon is using Trump to destroy the "administration state". Putin is using Trump to destabilize NATO, undermine the US and expand in the Crimea. The military-industrial complex is using Trump to enlarge their defense-budget welfare. White nationalists are using Trump to widen the cultural space in which they spew their bile.

Trump is the useful fool. But I'm afraid the people using him aren't as foolish as we'd like.
posted by darkstar at 11:21 PM on March 3 [26 favorites]


a Sarasota-based boat building company.

I was joking to my dad the other day about how all the crazies end up in Florida or Alaska. This is a kind of Florida Man administration.

I do think it's possible to integrate a few concepts: that the orange menace is simply incapable of managing an organisation with more than half a dozen key subordinates; that he likes being able to order generals around and that's about it; that Actual President Bannon wants to destroy the federal government by putting in principals who are antipathetic to their core functions.

Clinton and Kerry were chosen because they could amplify the administration with their own political capabilities. Tillerson is just a messenger boy, and State is set to become a kind of courier service for whatever comes out of the shadow foreign policy shop within the White House.

But I'm afraid the people using him aren't as foolish as we'd like.

That's probably true, and yet they have to go through him to get their shit done.

Also, it's Shabbos, so hold on to your whatevers.
posted by holgate at 11:30 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


Seriously. Good grief. We're planning a trip to Mexico later this year, and suddenly the complications of bringing my wife's grandfather back and forth across the border, even though he's a citizen now, and has been here in one way or another legally since he was a Bracero in 1949 or whatever has us really reconsidering is bullshit. Fuck you. That man helped build this country. Nobody has a right to question it. He earned his back and forth. Step aside!
posted by notyou at 11:44 PM on March 3 [56 favorites]


So wait, all that hoopla a few weeks back about Trump's first call with Russia and how the rest of his inner circle sat in because they didn't trust him alone with Putin, was that just to throw people off the trail of their earlier contact with Russia?
posted by mantecol at 12:11 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]


I just found that we have a program to help rehab prisoners by learning to save the bees!

Carl Bernstein was not complemantary about Page's interview with Anderson Cooper.
posted by monopas at 12:13 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Regarding Trump/Tillerson. It's Bush/Cheney 2.0 Trump is the clown distracting you from what's going on in the other ring while Tillerson is in the shadows ( in this case ) taking down the safety-net.

The fact that the Republicans can fuck up State is almost gravy to what I fear they're really doing.

( Pay no attention to the man at the State Department... )
posted by mikelieman at 12:34 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) on Twitter: Inquiring minds want to know: name one thing congressional Ds are willing to work on, on a bipartisan basis, now. I am at a loss.

3.3K answers, so far. Most appear to be surprsingly civil.

It is a shame that the current definition of bipartisan is, effectively, submit and shut up losers stop being petty and just agree to what we want. For The Greater Good.
posted by monopas at 12:47 AM on March 4 [10 favorites]


Also, it's Shabbos, so hold on to your whatevers.

Thanks Holgate. It's weird what little details finally let you know the universe is just absurd chaos, and not the logical order most of us assume. Your little throwaway line is what finally broke me.

A proto-fascist, Russian-puppet, anti-Semitic government, with actual nazis in the White House, is substantially paralyzed every week on Shabbos. Absolutely absurd.
posted by honestcoyote at 12:49 AM on March 4 [22 favorites]


A proto-fascist, Russian-puppet, anti-Semitic government, with actual nazis in the White House, is substantially paralyzed every week on Shabbos. Absolutely absurd.

Not always paralyzed. Sometimes senile grandpa goes off the rails without his favorite daughter there to calm him. Unfortunately, this senile grandpa makes national policy and so the beehive of white nationalists that constantly buzz around him.
posted by SakuraK at 1:01 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


In short, Tillerson might want to get used to hanging out on Fox and Friends.

As Very Special Advisor Kellyanne pointed out, the only way to get through to Trump is to appear on his cable news programs. What kind of a fucked up world are we living in where the president is a vain 70-year old man with the mind of a 5-year old boy who forms his worldview solely from cable news that speak directly to him?
posted by SakuraK at 1:31 AM on March 4 [8 favorites]


and news just hit that a russian oligarch is the main investor behind palantir. sigh
posted by xcasex at 1:44 AM on March 4 [32 favorites]




We've learned in these threads that when shipping bees, worker bees that get out of that package will do their best to stay with the box, so long as the queen is inside. Imagine that! The lost bees clinging to the grocery sack packing. Wherever the USPS conveyor goes, there go the missing bees.


Omg. You guys. That means we can out the queen bee in her little enclosed royal throne, and then attach that throne to an RC drone. I wonder how fast the bees would go to follow their queen?
posted by ian1977 at 3:35 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


He's now tweeting about Obama wiretapping Trump Tower before the election.

The tweets span half an hour...

"Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!"
posted by knapah at 4:06 AM on March 4 [13 favorites]


Sometimes senile grandpa goes off the rails without his favorite daughter there to calm him.

Speaking of the devil:

How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!

posted by susuman at 4:07 AM on March 4 [12 favorites]


Amphetamine psychosis is probably the KINDEST interpretation.
posted by mikelieman at 4:10 AM on March 4 [16 favorites]


I dunno. It's not unknown for people being investigated for serious international criminality to have their HQ phones tapped by the FBI, is it? And at some point, if that person turns into POTUS, they'll probably find out.

What with all those top-secret briefings going on and all.

Or he could just be insane. Hard to tell.

Either way, in the same way that smoking a cigarette shortens your lifetime by the time taken to smoke it, every day he stays in power probably shortens his term by an equivalent amount. The calculus of when to dump him v the mid-terms must be fascinating
posted by Devonian at 4:19 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


Everyone needs to calm down. Chill and organise.
posted by esto-again at 4:20 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


"He just found out" - it's probably not going to be a slow day after all.
posted by mumimor at 4:22 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Seismographs around the planet have detected an unusual - and unusually strong - signal. The epicentre triangulates to Spicer's bedroom, and the waveform decodes to 'Oh FUCK'.
posted by Devonian at 4:28 AM on March 4 [21 favorites]


Just trying to make sense of all the information and keep track of my own understanding of the situation with Russia.

I've been going back and forth a little this week on whether it seems likely that Trump and/or his campaign staff coordinated with Russia about the hacking. On the one hand, obviously it's now been thoroughly confirmed that the campaign staff had a lot of contact with Russia during the campaign, so there were plenty of opportunities to coordinate.

On the other hand, "useful idiots" would seem to fit these guys so well! They didn't need to know what was going on, and why tell them if they don't need to know? And if Putin has dirt (money laundering or pee tapes or both) on Trump, that would be plenty of motivation for him to act on his own to help Trump, no coordination needed.

During the campaign I believed that Trump wanted to be in the Russian Oligarchs' "cool kids club" and was sucking up to those guys for that reason, giving them plenty of motive to help him for their own sakes. (And because they probably would have tried to undermine Clinton almost no matter who her opponent was.) That's basically Josh Marshall's "most innocent possible explanation," and it's still technically possible. No collusion or blackmail.

But with the whole Rosneft thing, and the dossier partially verified, and the Rybolovlev thing and Felix Sater and Bayrock, it's really starting to seem like there must be some fire in all that smoke. The most innocent explanation doesn't seem very plausible anymore. But if blackmail happened, wouldn't that make collusion unnecessary? Is it gilding the lilly to claim both happened? I mean, I should pick one, right?

But then I remembered this article, about how Trump incorporated the Wikileaks releases into his campaign speeches, and how that fed the Wikileaks stories and kept them alive.

So that's pushing me back toward thinking that coordination did happen, which means I'm now at a point where I believe it's likely the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to hack the Democrats AND that Russia has some kind of dirt on Trump, both scandals at the same time, and I can't decide if that's violating Occam's razor or not. (I guess it seems consistent with Trump's razor!)
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:37 AM on March 4 [22 favorites]


Yes Donald, the US IC intercepts - or "tapps" - every damn foreign call made and keeps metadata on everything else. A certain segment of your constituency has been trying to raise concerns about this since 9/11 and the Patriot Act. Welcome to 21st century America, you fool. We all knew some poor sucker was going to get publicly fucked by that panopticon sooner or later. Glad it's going to be you.
posted by klarck at 4:39 AM on March 4 [71 favorites]


Wasn't Manafort living in Trump Tower for a while? (I could be wrong.) It's rumored there were FISA warrants issued for people in his campaign because of their Russia ties, so could it be him? It was originally assumed that Flynn was a target of a FISA warrant, but it seems his Russian ambassador conversation got picked up by regular signal intercerpt that would be done on the Russian ambassador that's a known spy recruiter.
posted by bluecore at 4:39 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]


Oh Donnie. I hope that your heart is as miserable and as frantic as your tweeting suggests.
posted by angrycat at 5:08 AM on March 4 [36 favorites]


God, I just feel like arguing over who set off the Civil War that leaves us all broken and bloody is enormously exhausting. I'd rather talk about, in order:

1) How to stop American fascism
2) How to stop the American Civil War, Electric Boogaloo, from becoming a shooting war
3) How to rebuild the wreckage of our country
4) Party because we are all alive.


Yeah, but the problem is that 1) and 2) require persuasion, and, by looking at who started it and how -- screaming about Obama's birth certificate, lying about literally everything until they believed their own lies -- it becomes pretty clear that one side does not inhabit reality.

How do you share a physical country with people who reject a common reality so they can act out their darkest, most violent, most hateful urges? Or who are so trapped in a fearful illusion that they'll support the sadists with the dark, violent, and hateful urges?

I'm asking seriously. I think the commenter up above (holgate?) who said there's something weird about the Internet because it flattens things and brings the hatefulness of people everywhere up close, was onto something. The fascists and racists and misogynists have used it to organize. Now we have to.

Seriously, where's our Cambridge Analytica? I don't have the expertise to set something like that up, but I'd love to throw some money at an organization that used that sort of manipulation for good.

I'm sort of past caring that it's creepy. We're talking about preventing a likely genocide. "Creepy but effective" should absolutely be in play.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:11 AM on March 4 [24 favorites]


At breakfast, someone must have explained to Trump what the implications of Coons' claim that "transcripts exist" are.

Start sweating Donald. Carter Page has been on national TV twice, threatening - or begging, it's hard to tell - to be your John Dean.
posted by klarck at 5:11 AM on March 4 [7 favorites]


[Several comments deleted. Let's drop the meat smuggling extended derail, please.]
posted by taz at 5:12 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Okay, I've got a bigly idea. Instead of having a literal wall at the Mexican-American border, for aesthetic reasons, we can build a series of Statues of Liberty, one every hundred yards.

In her crown we can have machine gun turrets. Her eyes can be laser cannons. If any illegal human tries to sneak past, she will lower her torch and burn them alive.

Okay, the border is 1952 miles, which makes for 32,600 Freedom Colossi, or 614,000 dollars each at 20 billion dollars.(We'll save by hiring undocumented workers.) Toss in a few extra thousand each to include speakers to blast Emma Lazarus's poem at a deafening volume, and we've got something going.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:14 AM on March 4 [33 favorites]


Nothing like waking up to rants from your crazy uncle President. I'm a little concerned that he called Obama bad and sick but I guess Obama can take care of himself.

It does appear that DJT still has not come to grips with the fact that he is president. If he feels that something nefarious happened he could start an investigation of his own or at the very least talk to Comey and then the White House legal counsel to review what his options are. But Trump just rants and raves like he's still an ordinary citizen who has been wronged. This is another good reason to get him out of office before he starts figuring out how much power he wields.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:26 AM on March 4 [29 favorites]


>"Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!"

Added to the list of things Trump doesn't know: what McCarthyism is.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:29 AM on March 4 [72 favorites]


Yeah it's really fucking strange he chose that noun. Although I can see it falling out of Alex Jones's mouth
posted by angrycat at 5:31 AM on March 4


He's not done:

Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:33 AM on March 4 [8 favorites]


Is the dementia obvious enough yet?
posted by michswiss at 5:38 AM on March 4 [29 favorites]


From the Washington Post:
Trump offered no citations nor point to any credible news report to back up his accusation, but may have been referring to commentary on Breitbart and conservative talk radio suggesting that Obama and his administration used "police state" tactics last fall to monitor the Trump team. The Breitbart story, published Friday, has been circulating among White House officials, according to an administration official.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:42 AM on March 4 [20 favorites]


bluecore: Wasn't Manafort living in Trump Tower for a while? (I could be wrong.)

Fact checking myself:

Paul Manafort, Floor 43

Trump’s former campaign manager, who resigned in August, has lived in Trump Tower since 2006. Manafort transferred the apartment from an LLC to his name in 2015.
posted by bluecore at 5:46 AM on March 4 [8 favorites]


@matthewchampion
how news works:

Thursday: Conservative radio show says Obama sought Trump wiretap
Friday: Breitbart reports this
Saturday: Trump tweets it
[screenshots of transcripts and articles]
posted by chris24 at 5:49 AM on March 4 [45 favorites]


His tween about "Turned down by court" points toward these tweets referring to the FISA story.
Claim broken by Louise Mensch on Heat Street (whose credibility problems we've talked about in past threads)

Mentioned in this Guardian article (which notes the FISA court originally turned it down)

Posted yesterday by Breitbart (the most likely culprit)
This is how dumb this man is: he is the President of the United States. Couldn't he call someone and say "yo, tell me, is this true? Did you guys tap my phones or not?" or at least "Get me a list of the phones under FISA surveillance at Trump Tower"? Instead he rants and raves on Twitter?
posted by sallybrown at 5:51 AM on March 4 [40 favorites]


How do you share a physical country with people who reject a common reality so they can act out their darkest, most violent, most hateful urges? Or who are so trapped in a fearful illusion that they'll support the sadists with the dark, violent, and hateful urges?

Ask a minority in the South. They've been practicing this for a couple hundred years.
posted by delfin at 5:52 AM on March 4 [58 favorites]


When one of our longest, staunchest allies has to recall their diplomatic corps to determine how to deal with a rogue United States.

Foreign Policy: Australia Calls All Hands On Deck to Reset Foreign Policy
posted by chris24 at 5:54 AM on March 4 [23 favorites]


The Sunday morning shows should be interesting. Right now I'm playing a little game where I imagine who will appear to represent the administration and what they will say.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:56 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]



Is the dementia obvious enough yet?

It's been obvious for a couple years. The people around him know it, his kids know it, they all know it. They're all riding to power on the back of it.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:56 AM on March 4 [16 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!


@SopanDeb Retweeted Donald J. Trump
"He became president of the United States in that moment, period." - Pundit reaction to Trump's speech just days ago.
----

Van Jones is having a good morning.
posted by chris24 at 5:58 AM on March 4 [27 favorites]


Just a reminder that these are the tweets of quite probably the most powerful human being to ever have existed, and if he gets cranky enough to destroy humanity, nobody has the legal power to stop him. He's basically an insane and evil god of death and he's in charge of the world. Happy Saturday, everybody.
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:03 AM on March 4 [54 favorites]


Ask a minority in the South. They've been practicing this for a couple hundred years.

Or you know, ask a so-called minority in the north. Don't be naive.
posted by milarepa at 6:07 AM on March 4 [23 favorites]


@NickKristof
Journalists know: When leaders go berserk, furiously denying there's anything going on, blaming others--that's when you're getting close.
posted by chris24 at 6:12 AM on March 4 [88 favorites]


If Pence hasn't already, he should start drafting that 25th Amendment letter. "It is with a heavy heart and the deepest regret...", etc.
posted by yhbc at 6:15 AM on March 4 [12 favorites]


Sometimes I daydream of how different our world would be right now if Twitter had never existed.
posted by lydhre at 6:17 AM on March 4 [20 favorites]


Stage 1: Crazy old man yelling at TV
Stage 2: Crazy old man ranting about bugs
Stage 3: ???
Stage 4: P̶r̶o̶f̶i̶t̶ Impeach
posted by chris24 at 6:21 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Seriously, where's our Cambridge Analytica?

There's vote.org, whose 2016 election efforts are being analyzed by the Analyst Institute. Trying to find out how that went.
posted by Coventry at 6:34 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Thing is, I think the 25th Amendment is a non-starter since most of his supporters see absolutely nothing out of the ordinary in his deranged rants. Hell, they strongly identify with every word he says.

Calling him crazy is calling them crazy and the GOP is never ever going to do that. Now Russian collusion they could use, but Trump's dementia, as obvious as it is, is not going to be mentioned, ever.
posted by lydhre at 6:34 AM on March 4 [7 favorites]


'Just racist': EPA cuts will hit black and Hispanic communities the hardest?

Someome please explain to me how this isn't negligent homicide?
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 6:35 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


WaPo on the "tapp" tweets:
"It's highly unlikely there was a wiretap," said one former senior intelligence official familiar with surveillance law who spoke candidly on the condition of anonymity. The former official continued: "It seems unthinkable. If that were the case by some chance, that means that a federal judge would have found that there was either probable cause that he had committed a crime or was an agent of a foreign power."
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:36 AM on March 4 [77 favorites]


I feel like someone hacked into my computer and is using it to make a Downfall parody while I watch.
posted by Etrigan at 6:37 AM on March 4 [18 favorites]


news just hit that a russian oligarch is the main investor behind palantir

Got a link?
posted by Coventry at 6:38 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]


Someone please explain to me how this isn't negligent homicide?

Well, I guess it might be intentional homicide?
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:38 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


"It's highly unlikely there was a wiretap,"

Trump's mirror is scary to look at, here.
posted by Coventry at 6:40 AM on March 4


I think Trump's mirror in this case = "I read a scary article on Steve's website and rather than use the numerous powerful sources of information at my disposal to determine whether it's true, I anxiety/rage-tweeted about it to hundreds of millions of people."
posted by sallybrown at 6:43 AM on March 4 [15 favorites]




Maybe he just forgot he installed them all himself.
posted by dng at 6:44 AM on March 4


sallybrown, my read is he's looking for justification to surveil his political opponents.
posted by Coventry at 6:46 AM on March 4 [9 favorites]




The best take is from David Frum (!): "The president is reminding us that the FISA court approved warrants against his campaign on espionage suspicions."

Remember when we thought his little twitter rants were engineered to distract us from more nefarious things? Ha.
posted by sallybrown at 6:48 AM on March 4 [68 favorites]


Justification? Trump requiring justification?

This is more like "WE CAN DO THAT? Why did no one tell me that we can do that?"
posted by delfin at 6:48 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


sallybrown, my read is he's looking for justification to surveill his political opponents.

What? When would he ever look for justification for anything?

People keep interpreting this demented narcissist as though his thought processes were rational, if evil. They aren't. He's spooked, and he's lashing out without thinking, and there's no one to stop him.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:48 AM on March 4 [62 favorites]


sallybrown, my read is he's looking for justification to surveil his political opponents.

I truly don't think he's that smart or calculating. I think he's venting his anger and frustration at "how come everyone talks mean about me but when Obama did this to me no one blames him!"
posted by sallybrown at 6:49 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


I'll never be over the fact that I feel such glee when I know facts are just ruining his fucking day.
posted by lydhre at 6:50 AM on March 4 [57 favorites]


I had an inaccuracy in my earlier response, here's an accurate version:

Feel free to flag as a derail, but I want to briefly discuss what the Department of Education was up to this week:

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos created a shitstorm after meeting with HBCU leaders (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and used them as examples of school choice working. Said DeVos, historically black colleges and universities “are real pioneers when it comes to school choice...they are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality. Their success has shown that more options help students flourish.”

People with an actual basic understanding of US history were quick to note that Jim Crow laws did not equal school choice.

DeVos and 45 also visited a Catholic charter school in Florida. 45 described St. Andrew as "one of the many parochial schools dedicated to educating disadvantaged children," conveniently forgetting there are literally thousands of public schools that already do this.

House bill HR 610 entered the legislative process. If passed, the bill will allow federal funds to be dispersed to state governments and/or parents to cover some costs of sending children ages 5-17 to private or charter schools.

DeVos has not announced whether or not she has found the pencils (smiley face). She has not been schooled in the fact that educators spend their own money to buy supplies for themselves and their students, and that she should probably just shut up, go to Staples and spend her own billions on a few Ticonderoga #2s.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 6:51 AM on March 4 [18 favorites]


He's tweeting about Russia to distract us from Russia. #Trumpception.
posted by chris24 at 6:53 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


[Quick reminder: we've asked that folks not fill up these threads with constant individual tweets, but maybe compile a few together or make the occasional digest of the more important ones that share pertinent info. Here's an example from above. Thanks. ]
posted by taz at 6:55 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


The GOP platform as a whole is negligent homicide.
posted by Artw at 6:55 AM on March 4 [11 favorites]


I don't think it's negligent if 80% of your party is definitely doing it on purpose.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:58 AM on March 4 [9 favorites]


I'll never be over the fact that I feel such glee when I know facts are just ruining his fucking day.

You can just expand that to include all of us with the facts and logic on our side feel glee when the science- and fact-deniers get slapped in the face with reality. We have no greater weapon than reality. We can argue Truth, Facts, Science til we are blue in the face but until there are consequences for not believing in those things, some people on the right feel they don't have to pay attention.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:58 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


I don't see any way in which Trump's latest tweets don't make things very messy for him (and us) in the very near future.
posted by diogenes at 7:01 AM on March 4 [12 favorites]


@ericgarland
THREAD
Where this is all heading: Crazytown, with a stopover at Humiliationville
The story is coming out and it won't be pretty.
Oh, I think we have the story itself down, which is horrid but pretty simple: Trump, Russia, money, etc.
The *reaction* will be ugly.
The authoritarian - I no longer call them conservative - wing of US politics has spent 30 years propagandizing people toward paranoia.
Science is out to get you. Meteorologists are lying. History is fake news. Obama is a Martian. Chemtrails!
It's been a brainwashing.
We no longer have different opinions or ideologies, but entirely different sets of facts.
All inconvenient facts are called lies.
Our intelligence and law enforcement professionals are about to produce the least convenient facts in American political history.
Unless the last eight months of signaling - up to this morning - are off base, we're about to learn about treason by a sitting president.
This will cause the people who put Trump in office to enter the biggest spasm of paranoia we've ever seen to deny their own humiliation.
They've been carefully conditioned to reject all inconvenient facts as The Enemy's Conspiracy.
They're about to reject our System.
In an effort to avoid their own humiliation, they're about to de-legitimize our democracy, government, intel agencies, and rule of law.
Trump is leading the way, characterizing the legitimate activities of government that protect us from traitors as a conspiracy against him.
To get by this, the government will need to present overwhelming evidence of his misdeeds.
I suspect they will do just that.
The thrashing and convulsions are going to get ugly, from this grotesque president down to the voters who put their confused faith in him.
This is the damage Putin sought to cause us - to make America look just as wretched as his own insane dictatorship over Russia.
Will American's swing back toward objective reality and away from paranoia to prove him wrong?
Not, sadly, without an embarrassing fight.
Some say I'm too optimistic.
On this issue, I'm not optimistic at all.
I just hope we one day snap out of it.
/THREAD
posted by chris24 at 7:01 AM on March 4 [140 favorites]


Oh God.

Thanks for putting that together, chris24.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:04 AM on March 4 [7 favorites]


I don't see any way in which Trumps latest tweets don't make things very messy for him (and us) in the very near future.

@DavidCornDC
Does Trump realize he's suggesting FBI Director Jim Comey illegally conspired against him?
posted by chris24 at 7:04 AM on March 4 [39 favorites]


This is how dumb this man is: he is the President of the United States. Couldn't he call someone and say "yo, tell me, is this true? Did you guys tap my phones or not?" or at least "Get me a list of the phones under FISA surveillance at Trump Tower"? Instead he rants and raves on Twitter?

Except he's so paranoid - about everything, not just leaks - that he doesn't have anyone in the intelligence community he could make such a request of. Flynn is gone, McMaster isn't on board yet, and Comey isn't "his guy", leaving Trump as isolated as Nixon in late '73, with the tapes's release just around the corner. With his IC bridges burned (and Bannon not around to calm him down), he's got nowhere to turn but Twitter.

"If that were the case by some chance, that means that a federal judge would have found that there was either probable cause that he had committed a crime or was an agent of a foreign power."

"Agent of a foreign power", you say? Just to add another drip to that steady stream here's what Trump said in 2014 interview: '2014: Trump says give Russia a pass because "We're going to win something important later on and they won't be opposed to what we're doing."', in retrospect, perhaps like Trump winning the presidency.

While the US media didn't notice it, Russia Today picked up on it, of course: 'More Russian media from February 2014. Headline: "Donald Trump: Stop picking on Russia!"' (Google translation).

Drip, drip, drip.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:05 AM on March 4 [17 favorites]


@ericgarland
THREAD


Just the typical caveat with the Trump/Russia Twitter Truthers - Eric Garland has been tweeting variations of "it's all happening!!!" since before inauguration. I think his analysis of information that emerges is good, but I haven't found his predictions to be trustworthy.
posted by sallybrown at 7:07 AM on March 4 [13 favorites]


I don't see any way in which Trump's latest tweets don't make things very messy for him (and us) in the very near future.

I'm just waking up and getting up to speed here, but i think you're over-reacting to the fact that Arnie won't be on the Apprentice anymore.
posted by nubs at 7:09 AM on March 4 [26 favorites]


Welp, certainly something was happening. More than I would have expected.
posted by Artw at 7:09 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


I see from my local news source that there is a Pro-Trump rally in Raleigh today from noon until 4:00 with a dozen speakers. I can't imagine who the speakers will be but I imagine they will be local GOPers and maybe a businessman or former mayor or State Senator if they are lucky.
They are encouraging people to wear red and bring homemade posters.

Also I didn't see much publicity about this until now but then again I'm not hooked into the Republican pipeline so who knows?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:09 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


An itshappening.gif clock is right twice an Administration?
posted by Etrigan at 7:09 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


FWIW, Breitbart is making a similar claim, or at least reporting that an unrelated radio commentator is claiming it:
In summary: the Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the NSA rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government, virtually ensuring that the information, including the conversations of private citizens, would be leaked to the media.
posted by Coventry at 7:10 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Is there a fancy word for rule-by-comments-section?
posted by Artw at 7:11 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


@justinhendrix: 1/ The wiretaps that Donald Trump "just found out" about have been reported for weeks. I'm going to summarize here some of the discussion. [14 tweets w/embedded source info]
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:11 AM on March 4 [13 favorites]


Is there a fancy word for rule-by-comments-section?

"Kakistocracy" still works.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:14 AM on March 4 [17 favorites]


ha ha this was the weekend i wasn't going to look at the news and play Zelda instead

oops
posted by murphy slaw at 7:16 AM on March 4 [13 favorites]


@matthewamiller

By confirming it publicly, Trump has also pretty much guaranteed no one can be charged for leaking the existence of this FISA warrant. Oops!
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:18 AM on March 4 [34 favorites]


Is there a fancy word for rule-by-comments-section?

Idiocracy, of course.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:19 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


By confirming it publicly, Trump has also pretty much guaranteed no one can be charged for leaking the existence of this FISA warrant. Oops!

And increasing pressure for public release of transcripts and a special prosecutor. Well done Donnie.
posted by chris24 at 7:20 AM on March 4 [38 favorites]


Who keeps changing the thermostat in the White House? Obama!
posted by thelonius at 7:21 AM on March 4 [15 favorites]


it becomes pretty clear that one side does not inhabit reality.

How do you share a physical country with people who reject a common reality so they can act out their darkest, most violent, most hateful urges? Or who are so trapped in a fearful illusion that they'll support the sadists with the dark, violent, and hateful urges?


I think the actual answer is you move back to where a significant majority can agree and work from there. Yes, there are people who believe the Obama birth certificate stuff, but they all fall into the crazification factor. There is a significant percentage of Republicans who would love to return to a reality based community, but don't really have a space because the Democrats are holding the line on stuff that's poison to them.

Without getting into a long argument about Whether The Democrats Are Right, I'm going to say that in a sense, it doesn't matter how right they are if they're moving so fast the rest of the country, minus the crazies, won't follow. The way a country as large as ours works is that on some things, a rough consensus does need to be sought. Even if that consensus isn't what you want, even if you feel that consensus is years behind where you want it to be. You can't make a healthy country by legislating for only - let's generously say 52% of it.

Because there's a difference between objective facts and subjective facts, and on who agrees and who disagrees over them. Objective facts are, "This happened." Subjective facts say, "And this is why." People need to stop presenting their subjective facts as though they're objective facts - and talk to people who can agree on the objective ones.
posted by corb at 7:21 AM on March 4 [15 favorites]


@ericgarland
THREAD


Isn't Eric Garland the “Guys, it's time for some game theory.” guy?
posted by My Dad at 7:24 AM on March 4 [9 favorites]


Corb, we are not abandoning "POC are people" or "Science is Real" to reach some godforsaken "common ground" as determined by Overton window shift. They'd only shift their common ground further, over a bottomless pit.
posted by Artw at 7:25 AM on March 4 [100 favorites]


This seems like a smart move for someone who probably has as much to hide as Trump. And the war with the IC has gone great for them so far.

@costareports
Bannon is working closely with Trump on combating what he calls the "deep state" in intel comm, per multiple people at WH
posted by chris24 at 7:26 AM on March 4 [10 favorites]


here is a significant percentage of Republicans who would love to return to a reality based community, but don't really have a space because the Democrats are holding the line on stuff that's poison to them.

Unfortunately that's because the things that Democrats are holding the line on are themselves based in reality -- tax cuts for the rich don't pay for themselves, we need sensible regulations, and the environment shouldn't be sold to the highest bidder.

I also disagree that it's a matter of moving fast at all. What we're talking about is essentially conservatism -- preserving the New Deal (which the Republicans have never forgiven the Democrats for saving the country with), preserving regulations that span from the end of the Gilded Age to solving the ecological crises of the 1970s. Democrats are happy to stand still, except for the continued project of seeing that all Americans enjoy the same rights and freedoms. If the Republicans want to turn back the clock, that doesn't mean the Democrats are moving too far ahead at all.
posted by Gelatin at 7:27 AM on March 4 [62 favorites]


My problem with twitter is that even smart quips by people who know what they're talking about sound almost as stupid or demented as Trump's tweets.

I read an interesting piece about how The Rachel Maddow Show has had record high ratings since January, and her explanation was "we decided to stop covering his Twitter feed."
posted by spitbull at 7:29 AM on March 4 [27 favorites]


Without getting into a long argument about Whether The Democrats Are Right, I'm going to say that in a sense, it doesn't matter how right they are if they're moving so fast the rest of the country, minus the crazies, won't follow.

What specifically are you talking about as far as "moving so fast"? I don't want to assume. There are things I'm happy to find common ground on (economic proposals) and things I won't negotiate about (other Americans' human rights).
posted by sallybrown at 7:30 AM on March 4 [11 favorites]


Even if that consensus isn't what you want, even if you feel that consensus is years behind where you want it to be. You can't make a healthy country by legislating for only - let's generously say 52% of it.

I'm struggling to think of a time in the past....30...40...50...60? years when Republicans have introduced legislation or promoted policies intended to help a majority of people. They have been on the wrong side of every issue I can think of; promoting policies that objective evidence says will exacerbate the problems rather than solve them. Democrats don't always have the right ideas, but they have them at least some of the time.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:31 AM on March 4 [25 favorites]


Corb, we are not abandoning "POC are people" or "Science is Real" to reach some godforsaken "common ground" as determined by Overton window shift

I think that's an extremely uncharitable, and undeserved, read of my comment. I didn't mean that and I don't want that.

What I want people to ask is, "How could I talk to Evan McMullin, or Ana Navarro? What compromise could I find with reasonable, honorable, opposition?"
posted by corb at 7:31 AM on March 4 [31 favorites]


Isn't Eric Garland the “Guys, it's time for some game theory.” guy?

Yes. As sallybrown mentioned above, his tweetstorm needs the usual caveats, but events/facts keep moving toward itshappening.gif. And his comments within the thread about how Republicans have become disconnected from reality are pretty accurate IMO regardless of RussiaGate panning out.
posted by chris24 at 7:33 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


My problem with twitter

I have a lot of problems with twitter, but if the treasonous, illegitimate 45th POTUS just permanently fucked himself by declassifying a FISA tap over Twitter because it is a tool that perfectly enables his demented narcissism and lack of impulse control...

I don't want to say that all is forgiven. But close.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:34 AM on March 4 [33 favorites]


Eric Garland styles himself a "professional futurist."

Pardon me for not taking him seriously. Who ever heard of him before?
posted by spitbull at 7:34 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


corb, you are unlikely to get satisfying answers to those questions in this forum. There's too much emotion tied up in them here. There would have to be some way of reducing the sense of threat, first.
posted by Coventry at 7:36 AM on March 4 [14 favorites]


And frankly, the Republicans' hostility to science and objective evidence gives the game away on the matter of whether "this is why" is subjective. Kansas' tax cuts have been so much of a disaster that even Republicans are opposing Brownback so that he doesn't sink the entire state party. The Republicans refuse to even let the CDC collect data on deaths and injuries from guns -- why, if not for the belief that that data would suggest policies they disagree with? Why after all these years do the Republicans not have a plan to replace the ACA?

Because Republican policies do not work as advertised, period. They're terribly effective at increasing the holdings of the wealthy, but that is not a popular enough stance. Republicans must deny objective reality because the subjective reality -- "this is why" -- doesn't favor them. That's why we have a president that believes what even George W. Bush knew was stupid and counter-productive -- that saying the words "radical Islamic terrorism" is some magic talisman to make the bad guys go away.

I know cognitive dissonance is painful, but it is not the responsibility of liberals to pretend that evidence and reality is not a thing in order to cajole Republicans along. Democrats acknowledge the reality that sensible gun control laws are a non-starter, for example -- not that the NRA operates in good faith and acknowledges it. Republicans need to get over themselves and operate in good faith -- the country needs it! The Democrats need it! -- but it isn't our fault they've dug themselves in so deep pursuing unpopular and unrealistic objectives.
posted by Gelatin at 7:37 AM on March 4 [81 favorites]


What I want people to ask is, "How could I talk to Evan McMullin, or Ana Navarro? What compromise could I find with reasonable, honorable, opposition?

Corb, the problem is that there are so few of those Republicans that they have no power at all. Democrats didn't do that. Republicans voting for crazy people did that.

There's no reasonable Republican in power to talk to, and there hasn't been for a long, long time.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:37 AM on March 4 [55 favorites]


I'm struggling to think of a time in the past....30...40...50...60? years when Republicans have introduced legislation or promoted policies intended to help a majority of people.

Eisenhower's 1954 plan to socialize health insurance losses almost squeaks in.
posted by Coventry at 7:39 AM on March 4 [7 favorites]


I also want to say that while I disagree with you on many, many things, I respect the fact that you stick it out in these conversations when you are inevitably outnumbered. And also that you fought that slimy orange disease as hard as you could.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:40 AM on March 4 [85 favorites]


Regarding the stonewall metaphor of the post totle, I wonder how long it will be until we see Trump Administration figures pleading the Fifth?
posted by Gelatin at 7:41 AM on March 4


How could I talk to Evan McMullin, or Ana Navarro? What compromise could I find with reasonable, honorable, opposition?

Opposition to legal abortion is not reasonable, full stop. It doesn't even reduce the incidence of abortion; it just kills women. When they stop being against reproductive justice, we can start having a conversation.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:42 AM on March 4 [82 favorites]


there are so few of those Republicans that they have no power at all.

What I read corb as proposing is a coalition between the Never Trumpers and liberals, saying the liberals need to be able to find a common ground with sensible conservatives and together they'll have the political might to fight the current administration. Personally I think the common ground needs to be sought from the sensible conservative side, moving towards the liberal ideology, mostly because of ideas like 'subjective facts.'

You can use objective facts to describe why something happened too.
posted by carsonb at 7:43 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


Remember:

A Taxonomy of Trump's Tweets:

1. Preemptive Framing
2. Diversion
3. Deflection
4. Trial Balloon
posted by gwint at 7:44 AM on March 4 [7 favorites]


corb, even the common ground with the fabled Never Trump republicans doesn't actually extend to opposing Trump (see McCain et al) - can't side with a side that isn't there. Does McMuffin hold any kind of office?
posted by Artw at 7:45 AM on March 4 [9 favorites]


I'm struggling to think of a time in the past....30...40...50...60? years when Republicans have introduced legislation or promoted policies intended to help a majority of people.

Nixon created the EPA by executive order.
posted by kokaku at 7:45 AM on March 4 [32 favorites]


Common ground is easy. Stopping Trump. That's it.
posted by spitbull at 7:46 AM on March 4 [16 favorites]


I guess that I'm a total pragmatist, and I'm willing to work with most people on some things while opposing them on others. There are some exceptions. Trump is an exception: I'm not willing to normalize his presidency. But I know a fair number of anti-choice people with whom I have a lot of common ground on other issues, and I am absolutely willing to work with them to oppose capital punishment or support families in poverty or achieve all the other goals about which we agree. I have less common ground with most conservatives, but when I find it, I'm willing to pursue it.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:46 AM on March 4 [16 favorites]


1. Preemptive Framing
2. Diversion
3. Deflection
4. Trial Balloon

[5. Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show]
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:47 AM on March 4 [11 favorites]


Black women ftw.

@CBSNews
"Great job to the speechwriter, but I will see Donald Trump at 12 a.m. [on Twitter]", member of @FrankLuntz's focus group says. [video]
posted by chris24 at 7:48 AM on March 4 [27 favorites]


We've also pointed out the number of times people whose political interests make them brand thesmelves as "reasonable Republicans" -- McCain and Collins, to name two -- vote in lockstep with the rest of their party, standing up to be counted with the worst of the worst -- when it matters.

And it matters! The slim Senat majorty means even a few Republican defectors tips the scales. Senators could use that power to influence policy -- see, ACA, negotiations over -- but the objective reality is they're just voting lockstep after all.
posted by Gelatin at 7:49 AM on March 4 [47 favorites]


I am struggling to think of a Republican initiative in the past 30 years that wasn't about either a) tax cuts to slash entitlements, b) slashing entitlements for tax cuts, c) fucking over black people, poor people, or women, or d) all of the above. Like as long as I've been alive, I haven't been able to identify what they are actually FOR other than helping rich people and using hateful poor people to do it.

That is not to say there haven't been any, or there haven't been any Republicans who stand for something other than that. But if there are, they've been drowned out by the tsunami of hate and avarice for my entire life, at least on the national stage. Local might be different. (Not where I'm from, but it's a big country.)
posted by schadenfrau at 7:50 AM on March 4 [27 favorites]


Democrats are happy to stand still, except for the continued project of seeing that all Americans enjoy the same rights and freedoms.

And arguably that's what got the Dems into electoral bother, because the transformation of the GOP over the past 25 years into a machine that does radical things on the state level and obstructs on the national level created a sense that the Dems were the party of stopping things. Bill Clinton's election in 1992 convinced large chunks of the institutional GOP that Democrats were never to be allowed the right to govern again.

At the same time, "move fast and break things" has been the theme of every shitty bit of legislation introduced into every state legislature by every dipshit GOP legislator dipped in the shit of right-wing talk radio and online media like a shitty Achilles.
posted by holgate at 7:53 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


the liberals need to be able to find a common ground with sensible conservatives and together they'll have the political might to fight the current administration

I actually think we're starting to get there. There is a lot of "interspecies" (jk) dialogue going on, at least on Twitter. And it's possibly confirmation bias, but I started following Fox News as a way of getting a better view of talking points on both sides, and I've noticed in the comments that I'm far from alone.

Trump has pushed the traditional GOP pundit class into a place where some of their reactions are appealing to more traditional Democratic pundits. Even someone like Joe Walsh (whom I am not endorsing or recommending, at all!) is vacillating between stances like "all illegal immigrants should be deported" (repulsive to me) and "we need a full Russia investigation - it looks terrible that the GOP is resisting this" (I agree!).

And it's clear that some "liberal media" people have managed to build credibility with GOP pundits over the Obama years. If you look at the responses to Jake Tapper's tweets, there's the telltale sign of that - comments like "I expected better from you!" from a conservative media person, suggesting Tapper has a level of trust with the "other side." (I find comments like this encouraging because it means at least they are continuing to listen, and immediate gut reactions say more about where a person's thinking starts than where it will eventually end up.)

I don't know that dialogue necessarily leads to policy compromise, but more and more it looks like pundits/commentators/informed observers are all in one big room talking rather than smaller echo chambers. If they can get there, so can many other people, I have to believe.
posted by sallybrown at 7:53 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


Livestream of Lindsey Graham townhall.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:54 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Personally I think the common ground needs to be sought from the sensible conservative side, moving towards the liberal ideology, mostly because of ideas like 'subjective facts.'

It's been said here before, but I'll say it again: actual reasonable conservatives are going to have to accept a little socialism if they want to fight a lot of fascism.

If they're going to hang on to demonstrably harmful economic policies, demonstrably racist voter suppression, demonstrably misogynist attacks on women's health care, and demonstrably homophobic/transphobic "religious freedom" policies, then they're not actually being reasonable. They're just polishing that "alternative facts" turd and whining about how unreasonable liberals are because they won't meet them halfway.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:55 AM on March 4 [30 favorites]


We passed "halfway" during the Carter administration.
posted by spitbull at 7:57 AM on March 4 [12 favorites]




ICE Deports Salvadoran Father in Houston with No Criminal History Just last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had taken Escobar, an undocumented immigrant, into custody at one of his regular annual check-ins. He never saw a judge. The attorney Rose hired for him just filed a stay of deportation Wednesday. His case was never heard. Despite the fact that Escobar has no criminal record, he was placed in expedited deportation proceedings, put on a plane to a country he had not been to since he was 14.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:00 AM on March 4 [16 favorites]


Are people holding up green and red approval/disapproval cards at the Graham town hall?

Oh I see a Benghazi litmus test for the crowd. Fuck you, Graham.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:00 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


And not to belabor the point, but even Reagan opened his presidential campaign at the Neshoba County State Fair in Philadelphia, MS, a town of 3,000 people notable only for lynchings. 3000 people. There is literally no reason for a presidential candidate to go there except to wink at the Klan.

The GOP has slowly been morphing into various stages of evil since the Civil Rights Act, and this is its final form. Whatever good used to exist there was subsumed long ago, and I suggest that if you want to save it, you strip it out whatever is worth saving and call it something else. The cancer has taken over the host at this point.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:07 AM on March 4 [66 favorites]


What I want people to ask is, "How could I talk to Evan McMullin, or Ana Navarro? What compromise could I find with reasonable, honorable, opposition?"

I'm going to ask: how does a McMullin or Navarro get elected as a Republican? If the answer is "with the support of Dems who can participate in open primaries and will vote tactically in the general" then to some degree we're back where we started. A lot of the resistance comes from campaign strategists (Wilson, Murphy, Weaver, Stevens) who see their party following a path to a demographic dead end. Are they going to back candidates willing to take on the worst enablers in this climate, or just sit tight and hope that reasonable and honourable comes back into fashion once the smoke clears?
posted by holgate at 8:09 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


corb, even the common ground with the fabled Never Trump republicans doesn't actually extend to opposing Trump (see McCain et al)

McCain isn't a Never Trumper - he endorsed Trump. The only GOP elected official I can think of as "Never Trumper" is Gov. Kasich, and even that is a "watch carefully" because he just met with Trump.

I can't speak for corb, but the coalition of GOPers 100% against Trump is: Evan McMullian and Mindy Finn (ran as a third party ticket and founded Stand Up Republic), Matthew Dowd (worked for RNC and GWB campaign and others and now running Listen To Us/Country Over Party), Bill Kristol, David Frum, Stuart Stevens, Steve Schmidt, John Weaver, Richard Painter, etc

These are not household names, certainly, more like people who've had experience working with the household names of the GOP and know them well (suggesting it's easier to be a Never Trumper when you don't depend on being elected). But it gives insight into what people "behind the curtain" of politicians' public positions are thinking.
posted by sallybrown at 8:13 AM on March 4 [10 favorites]


Other Never Trumpers I forgot to mention: Tom Nichols, Rick Wilson, Cheri Jacobus, Erick Erickson
posted by sallybrown at 8:20 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


These are not household names, certainly, more like people who've had experience working with the household names of the GOP and know them well (suggesting it's easier to be a Never Trump when you don't depend on being elected). But it gives insight into what people "behind the curtain" of politicians' public positions are thinking.

Notably not one single elected Republican on that list, and that's the whole problem. It doesn't really matter what "common ground" can be found with nominally Republican strategists and PR flacks, those people have no actual power or influence in their own party. They only play the role of "moderate Republican" on CNN. The actual GOP is still moving in lockstep with Trump, and ever farther to the authoritarian, reality denying right. They're winning elections that way, because that's where the base is. There's no common ground with Democrats or even with reality, because compromise or deviation from their alt-right reality is cause for immediate expulsion from the GOP. Their only concept of compromise is surrender to their framing and policies, just demonstrated by that Coryn tweet.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:21 AM on March 4 [28 favorites]


the coalition of GOPers 100% against Trump is:

Rick Wilson, Jennifer Rubin, Tom Nichols. And Justin Amash has been pretty good on a lot of issues, especially for an elected Tea Party leader and congressman.

EDIT: Missed your addition of Wilson and Nichols.
posted by chris24 at 8:22 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]


So still no elected Republicans.

God that is depressing.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:26 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]


It doesn't really matter what "common ground" can be found with nominally Republican strategists and PR flacks, those people have no actual power or influence in their own party.

They didn't have enough power and influence to stop Trump, and haven't yet. But they have enough power and influence to help turn up the heat and put pressure on elected officials, who may be publicly strongly pro-Trump but privately increasingly concerned.
posted by sallybrown at 8:26 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]


There is value in these people, even if they don't hold office, being out there saying "I'm a Republican and I oppose this". The Republicans always try to paint any opposition to their policies as coming from Democrats/liberals/etc. Having people who obviously are not those things speaking out against Trump and the Republicans in office is helpful in trying to pull back from the insanity.
posted by downtohisturtles at 8:28 AM on March 4 [31 favorites]


I don't know about the behind-the-scenes people, but I think that what highly-visible folks like McMullin and Navarro can do is to create space for grassroots conservatives to oppose Trump. It's bad if the only people doing that publicly are liberals or progressives. Unfortunately, grassroots conservatives don't seem to be opposing Trump in great numbers, but maybe that will change.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:30 AM on March 4 [8 favorites]


I think the NeverTrumpers will not help bring down Trump, but will help keep Republicans from going full reject-the-system-and-reality once he does go down. They're the glide path for the emergency landing.
posted by chris24 at 8:31 AM on March 4 [20 favorites]


Yeah I think corb has spoken to this before, but if the people who actually do most of the work stop wanting to work for you, there's a whole lot of damage they can do by just...not doing stuff.

Work slow down, sabotage, whatever. It somewhat reminds me of the Steinbeck propaganda novel from WW2, with the nameless mining town that is conquered. Like yeah you can make them work the mines, but you can't make them work the mines well. Plus they will blow shit up and break stuff whenever they can. or, in this case, leak things.

Someone's doing the leaking. They're in a position to do the leaking, and they're doing it. Good on them.

Still depressing as hell that no elected Republican opposes him.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:31 AM on March 4 [15 favorites]


The fact that the Never Trumpers are a lot of old behind-the-scenes establishment types who have been kicking around DC politics for decades (which is how Trump fans often insult them) also suggests that even quieter GOP establishment types, like career civil servants who came in during the Reagan/Bush/Bush administrations and federal judges appointed by those administrations, could feel the same way, further working against Trump.
posted by sallybrown at 8:34 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


And as ridiculous as it is that speaking out for a free press and freedom of religion is considered anti-Trump, Dubya speaking out this week is also cover and reason for traditional Republicans to move to a more anti-Trump position. Hopefully there's more of them than appears from the election results.
posted by chris24 at 8:38 AM on March 4 [16 favorites]


I'll say it again: actual reasonable conservatives are going to have to accept a little socialism if they want to fight a lot of fascism

See, I find this kind of thing so, so frustrating. Like, even just speaking about myself. I'm right here! I'm ready to oppose fascism! I am ready to be an ally in this fight and agree we can work out policy differences after we defeat fascism! And getting this "well you have to accept socialism or we won't take you in this fight" just feels like an opportunistic slap in the face - like Dems are trying to charge a price for lifeboats off the Titanic. I mean, maybe that's not how it's meant, but that's how it comes off.
posted by corb at 8:40 AM on March 4 [26 favorites]


I cannot imagine that there is a single career civil servant in DC who is anything but utterly, totally horrified by Trump. And I say that as someone who grew up in DC surrounded by career civil servants. Those folks value competence and expertise. Trump is the antithesis of everything they stand for.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:40 AM on March 4 [18 favorites]


CNN: "This did not happen. It is false. Wrong" a former US Official with direct knowledge tells CNN of Trump claim
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:41 AM on March 4 [20 favorites]


I'm right here! I'm ready to oppose fascism!


This is part and parcel of the self-serving "Vichy republicans" framing that pretends nothing before autumn 2015 happened.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:42 AM on March 4 [12 favorites]


Not to dogpile here, but corb I'm having a hard time seeing how it's we on the liberal/leftist/Democratic side who need to be reaching out. The Republicans just elected Trump. Sure, there's a few nevertrumpers like you, but as a whole the Party went for him.

I just got threats of physical violence tweeted at me by a Trumper.

I'm having a difficult time seeing how, in the context of American politics as they exist and the Republican Party as it exists, putting the onus on the left to be making concessions to the right is anything but demanding that we surrender what we hold dear in the hopes that maybe, possibly, some of the Republicans aren't fully in the bag for Trump.

but don't really have a space because the Democrats are holding the line on stuff that's poison to them.

What specific things are you asking us Democrats to give up? Because, I think what you need to realize is that its the same is true of the Republicans. Your side is not merely holding the line on stuff that's poison to us, you're winning.

Sure, maybe you're nervous about Trump, maybe you see his racism as troublesome, maybe you see his Russian connections as worrying, and I'm sure there are plenty of Republicans who see his derangement as deeply concerning.

But you're also getting your wish list enacted here.

Under Trump you're getting the utter ruin of the EPA, DOE, and every other federal agency you hate, selling off most Federal land, ending Obamacare, slashing taxes for the rich, eradicating regulation, and so on.

Basically everything the Republicans have wanted for decades but couldn't get is happening.

And to me it seems as if you're asking us on the Democratic side to give up still more all in hopes that maybe there's enough nevertrumpers to get rid of him in 2020?

I won't deny that Trump scares me for a lot of the same reasons he scares you. But other than a mutual dislike of Trump we don't have any other common ground that I can see. Right now you're winning, your side is getting all they want.

If anyone needs to be making concessions and reaching out to the other side, it's you.

What will **YOU** give up legislatively and philosophically to induce Democrats to join you?

And what, specifically, are you asking us to give up? I've got some guesses, but I don't want to put words in your mouth.
posted by sotonohito at 8:43 AM on March 4 [101 favorites]


This is part and parcel of the self-serving "Vichy republicans" framing that pretends nothing before autumn 2015 happened.

I think it's pretty clear my thoughts on Republicans. So honest question, at what point does castigating Republicans for past mistakes and even current idealogical/moral differences take a back seat to beating Trump.
posted by chris24 at 8:44 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


Here's my question for people more knowledgeable in the succession process in the USA, what happens if the campaign infrastructure is shown to have been fully complicit with the Russia allegations? Does the order of succession have some mechanism that can deal with that level of pruning, or is it just not set up for that?
posted by MattWPBS at 8:44 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


I am ready to be an ally in this fight and agree we can work out policy differences after we defeat fascism!

Yea, we really can't though. The GOP isn't on board with Trump because they agree with his war on the media and Russian ties etc, they're accepting the fascism to impose their racist policies and get the tax cuts they've always wanted. The fascism is the policy.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:46 AM on March 4 [20 favorites]


I am ready to be an ally in this fight and agree we can work out policy differences after we defeat fascism!

I think the divide probably comes down to (some of) the left having a broader definition of fascism than (some of) the Never Trump folks on the right. If you're against reproductive justice and want to use the power of the state to enforce that, is that fascism? If you're in favor of broken windows policing and felony disenfranchisement, is that fascism? I just have a feeling that Never Trump will be displaying its "Mission Accomplished" banner as soon as Trump is out of the picture while the rest of us are still living under an authoritarian, right-wing government.
posted by melissasaurus at 8:48 AM on March 4 [23 favorites]


CNN: "This did not happen. It is false. Wrong" a former US Official with direct knowledge tells CNN of Trump claim

Can anyone imagine how history textbooks in the future will recap all of this? The endless stream of daily lies? Will they really get into every single lie told by this administration? I imagine future students reading this and screaming, "How did anyone let this happen?"
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 8:48 AM on March 4 [18 favorites]


Does the order of succession have some mechanism that can deal with that level of pruning, or is it just not set up for that?

Speaker of the House is 3rd in line, after the VP. In the timeline where we actually get an impeachment and and a conviction in the Senate*, that would be...President Pelosi sometime in 2019.

*the senate part is a particular long shot
posted by schadenfrau at 8:50 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Trump rolling back CAFE and going after California's more stringent emissions standards.

State's rights AMIRITE?

Looks like the haze is going to be coming back to LA.
posted by Talez at 8:50 AM on March 4 [35 favorites]


Winding back a little:

The most innocent explanation doesn't seem very plausible anymore. But if blackmail happened, wouldn't that make collusion unnecessary? Is it gilding the lily to claim both happened? I mean, I should pick one, right?

The Steele dossier presents the kompromat as "available for blackmail use if necessary", and that Page was reminded of its existence during the summer, as the Russian connection to the hacks became clear, but that the Kremlin felt able to keep it under wraps because of the campaign's positions on Russia and previous assistance with tracking oligarchs in the US. Call it pre-blackmail. The most plausible explanation right now is that Manafort (and possibly Stone) showed up in March with a nice little deal to expose the "corrupt" Dems, and weren't they going to soften on Russia anyway?
posted by holgate at 8:50 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


What will **YOU** give up legislatively and philosophically to induce Democrats to join you?

So the problem here is, this isn't just Democrats. The leftist wing of the Democrats was saying this exact same thing the entire election season -- that they weren't going to join us to oppose Trump because Policies. We had to make concessions to get them. But not the concessions we did make. Those weren't good enough. Etc. Etc. Etc.

And this is where that got us.

So this question -- speaking as a liberal -- is pretty damn disingenuous.

I'm as pro-choice as they come, and I'm half-tempted to create a third party which is anti-choice but otherwise has a Democratic platform just so I can split the fucking vote.Because this is more important than policies. We need to unite so that there is a freaking country for us to fight over.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 8:52 AM on March 4 [13 favorites]


Here's my question for people more knowledgeable in the succession process in the USA, what happens if the campaign infrastructure is shown to have been fully complicit with the Russia allegations?
I think they just keep going down the order of succession until they get to someone who hasn't been impeached. I think that the assumption is that at some point they'll get to someone who wasn't in on it. If Ryan, Hatch and the entire cabinet are shown to be involved, then I guess that Congress legislates a new order of succession. This is all really, really unlikely, though.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:52 AM on March 4


The plausible explanation is that 45 agreed to change foreign policy in exchange for a foreign agent committing a crime on his behalf in order to influence the election.

That is treasonous. In spirit, if not in the narrow constitutional definition, but I have a feeling that's because no one in their right might foresaw something like this, and we aren't legally at war with Russia.

Yet.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:54 AM on March 4 [18 favorites]


I just have a feeling that Never Trump will be displaying its "Mission Accomplished" banner as soon as Trump is out of the picture while the rest of us are still living under an authoritarian, right-wing government.

I agree. But to return to the imperfect WWII analogy, teaming up with Stalin to defeat Hitler worked. And then we can focus on beating Stalin. Hitler is the hot war, Stalin is the Cold War. We'll return to that once the hot war is won. We've always been at war with E̶a̶s̶t̶a̶s̶i̶a̶ Republicans.
posted by chris24 at 8:54 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


corb like Dems are trying to charge a price for lifeboats off the Titanic. I mean, maybe that's not how it's meant, but that's how it comes off. I think this ties in a little with what chris24 said just above.

To an extent you're right. We are.

Because your Party is what got us here. Not ours, yours. If it hadn't been for the Republican Party going full bore Southern Strategy and joyfully embracing and making room for the racists and bigots and hateful scum of the Earth, we would never have been in a position for Trump to exist.

So yes, I think it's quite reasonable of us to expect that we will exact, as price for our cooperation, the cleansing of the Republican Party. If you won't go for that, then why should we let you make the emergency landing and keep your Party intact?

In the other thread I said that with Trump's election we on the left are all accelerationists, like it or not. And we are. Your Party, the Republican Party, is bringing ruin to the nation. If you won't fix it on your end, then the only thing for us on the left to do is help burn your Party to the ground and hope that what rises from the ashes isn't so evil and dangerous.

Simply getting rid of Trump doesn't solve the core problem. If we get rid of Trump but otherwise leave the Republican Party, and American conservatism, unchanged then all we've done is kick the can down the road a bit. We'd be leaving the framework in place for the next Trump, a smarter, more able Trump, to be even worse.

From a cold blooded point of view, its better to abandon sensible Republican people like you than to help you save a dangerous and sick Party.

As long as your goal is "save the Republican Party as it is and oust Trump" than we aren't even allies of convenience. Because yes, Trump is bad. But the system, the Party apparatus, the web of hate radio and Republicans enabling the worst in America and all that, is what I see as the bigger, more threatening, problem.

There has to be an opposition party, I can even (in a very reluctant sort of way) see the need for philosophic conservatism. But that's not the Republican Party as it exists. Without a purge, without a cleansing, without an admission of guilt and repentance, why should I help you keep the Republican Party alive?

What's in it for me?
posted by sotonohito at 8:55 AM on March 4 [157 favorites]


If we get rid of Trump but otherwise leave the Republican Party, and American conservatism, unchanged then all we've done is kick the can down the road a bit. We'd be leaving the framework in place for the next Trump, a smarter, more able Trump, to be even worse

Goddamn I wish this weren't true. But yeah. Trump isn't the problem. The brainwashed, bigoted, authoritarian Republican base is the problem. I don't know what to do about that.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:58 AM on March 4 [53 favorites]


I'm as pro-choice as they come, and I'm half-tempted to create a third party which is anti-choice but otherwise has a Democratic platform just so I can split the fucking vote.Because this is more important than policies.

74% of Democrats say abortion should be legal in all or most cases; 60% of independents say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Among moderate and liberal Republicans 55% say abortion should be legal, while 42% say it should be illegal. 57% of men and 57% of women say it should be legal in all or most cases. Among adults under age 30, 61% say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, as do majorities of adults in their 30s and 40s (58%) , those in their 50s and early 60s (55%) and those who are ages 65 and older (54%). Majorities of both black (62%) and white (58%) U.S. adults say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Among Hispanics, opinion is evenly split: 48% say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 49% say it should be illegal.

The womens march was explicitly pro choice and was extremely successful.

Yes, there are people who are single-issue voters against abortion. But most people are pro choice.
posted by melissasaurus at 8:58 AM on March 4 [72 favorites]


If you won't go for that, then why should we let you make the emergency landing and keep your Party intact?

Because our country will die, not merely their party.
posted by sallybrown at 8:59 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Maxine Waters says that young people caller her Aunty Maxine. "I embrace that, and I love that." (video)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:59 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


So the Trumpies are having their big Spirit of America rallies. Here's video of the one in Des Moines. Here's a picture of the Women's March at the same site.

Do you think Trump will claim his rally got more people?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:59 AM on March 4 [13 favorites]


In the other thread I said that with Trump's election we on the left are all accelerationists, like it or not. And we are. Your Party, the Republican Party, is bringing ruin to the nation. If you won't fix it on your end, then the only thing for us on the left to do is help burn your Party to the ground and hope that what rises from the ashes isn't so evil and dangerous.

The GOP has spent the last forty-odd years diving down the fascist rabbithole, a foot at a time, and have gone far enough that the appropriate method of dealing with the party is denazification. If you value antifascism at all, on any level, the Republican Party has to go.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:02 AM on March 4 [21 favorites]


Because our country will die, not merely their party.

tens of millions of people voted for a total idiot for president

stick a fork in us, we're done
posted by pyramid termite at 9:03 AM on March 4 [11 favorites]


Here's video of the one in Des Moines

How far do you have to skip forwards to to see the rally?
posted by Artw at 9:04 AM on March 4 [19 favorites]


i've said it before, but i'll say it again - i'm afraid the question isn't whether fascism will win but what kind of fascism and for whom?

my belief is the corporate power structure will eventually step in to prevent trump and the republicans from screwing up the country - the problem being, they won't allow US to have a voice in the government, either

the simple truth is what the right is trying to do is going to be very bad for business and it's business that will put it down
posted by pyramid termite at 9:07 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


sallybrown Because our country will die, not merely their party.

If I agreed with you, then it would seem that the people charging a price for lifeboats off the Titanic are the Republicans.

You appear to be arguing that they're saying, in essence, "Let us continue with the policies that brought us Trump, let us continue to harbor the racists, the misogynists, the bigots of all stripes and embolden and nourish them, or else we'll bring down the country rather than oust Trump."

I also disagree with your core premise. I believe that the country will die if the Republican Party continues unchanged, with or without Trump. Get rid of him without burning out the rot that produced him and all we do is set ourselves up for a smarter, competent, Trump.

To make an analogy, we've got a burning trash can, and sure that's bad. But there's a guy pumping gasoline all over the carpet, if we don't stop him then the fire in the trash can isn't all that big a deal, you know?
posted by sotonohito at 9:07 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


What's in it for me?

The fucking country.

Right now, Democrats are in the minority in the House and Senate. We're not going to gain much (at all) in the Senate, and even a massive Democratic turn-out isn't going to be enough to help us out in most states. If a bunch of Republicans are willing to hold their noses and vote for Democrats (however unenthusiastically) in 2018, I, for one, am not going to object.

As a side note, I think a lot of this assumes that people determine their ideals and then they determine their party identification. I don't think that's true. I'm seeing several once hardline conservative religious Republicans who flipped because of Trump suddenly reexamining some of their other values and realizing that they're way more liberal than they thought they were. (I don't think they're going to flip on their view of abortion, but I do think that this election put that in perspective.) And maybe they're never going to be leftist-liberal Democrats, but they're in heavily Republican suburbs of Texas, so even relatively conservative Democratic representatives are going to be an improvement.

We're not a democracy. The only person everyone votes for is the president, and even then it's not a majority-rules election. It's entirely possible for someone from Chicago or NYC to be way, way more socially liberal than the Democrat from rural Texas and for us to be in the same party.

It's not what you want, I know. But none of us are getting what we want here. The question isn't what's in it for you. The question is, how long are you willing to wait in order to prolong this standoff?
posted by steady-state strawberry at 9:08 AM on March 4 [19 favorites]


How far do you have to skip forwards to to see the rally?
Let's just say that this morning there have been several town halls with state legislators that have been better attended than the pro-Trump "rally" at the state capital. Not town halls with Congressional representatives: town halls with state senators and reps. I think I could post a Facebook event that said "hey everyone, come to this intersection at 3:00 today and yell about how Trump is an asshole" and get a better turnout than the Spirit of America rally.

I don't know if it matters at all, but it makes me feel better.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:08 AM on March 4 [28 favorites]


How far do you have to skip forwards to to see the rally?

you have to skip backwards - about 80 years or so
posted by pyramid termite at 9:08 AM on March 4 [9 favorites]


CNN: "This did not happen. It is false. Wrong" a former US Official with direct knowledge tells CNN of Trump claim

If this comment isn't from Obama himself I will eat my shoe.
posted by anastasiav at 9:16 AM on March 4 [44 favorites]


It doesn't matter how righteous your cause is if you can only get 26% of the population to support you, and half of the 24% that oppose you would rather vote for a devil with an R than a saint with a D. There's a fair number of people that really believe the endgame for the Democratic Party is a socialist beehive with a very few queens and drones, and that even feudalism is better than that. If they've got the franchise they'll vote, if not they've got guns and a belief that they're righteous.

It might be time to consider about 500 counties banding together and campaigning to become a few Semiautonomous Regions of the United States.
posted by ridgerunner at 9:17 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Maggie Haberman is the NYT reporter with the most access into Trump's White House. She originally reported the (at the time, humorous) detail that Trump loved the White House phone system:
“These are the most beautiful phones I’ve ever used in my life,” Mr. Trump said in a telephone interview Tuesday evening.

“The world’s most secure system,” he added, laughing. “The words just explode in the air.” What he meant was that no one was listening in and recording his words.
She just liked this tweet from Rolling Stone reporter Tim Dickinson "Thinking again about Trump's love of white house phones that @maggieNYT wrote about" and then she tweeted:
Trump was known for years to tape calls in his own offices. And during campaign, staffers fretted their offices were bugged.

This is the prism through which he approaches the concept of taping and presidential power.
Is he stupid enough to be making White House tapes after what happened to Nixon? If so, someone would have to help him set that up, no?
posted by sallybrown at 9:18 AM on March 4 [17 favorites]


You'd think they could hard-wire a proxy into that Samsung of his and redirect everything througha 24/7 desk with people who can shove a 'Twitter over capacity' error back at him when he goes doolally tap...
posted by Devonian at 9:21 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


i've been looking over today's tweetstorm by trump and his ludicrous accusations against obama - i don't agree that he is totally demented or non-scheming in what he is doing - i think that in order to head off any possible congressional investigation of his administration or his campaign, he's trying to inspire congress to investigate obama and clinton instead

the idea that this is probably going to backfire horrifically hasn't occurred to him, though
posted by pyramid termite at 9:22 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


>my belief is the corporate power structure will eventually step in to prevent trump and the republicans from screwing up the country

Okay, so Exxon stands to make billions of dollars if they can make the sanctions against Russia go away. Our Secretary of State is the CEO of Exxon. Notice that I do not bother to say 'former CEO'.

It seems likely to me that Putin has said to these guys, 'Look, get rid of these sanctions, and maybe look the other way while I invade a few countries, and I'll make sure your business deals go through. You can make a lot of money, and we can all get what we want.'

Trump has said that he's bored with NATO because it's not run enough like a protection racket, and he doesn't see what's in it for him.

What's in it for all of us, it seems to me, is maintaining a balance of power in Europe so we don't all die in the nuclear age's first world war. I mean, am I overstating this? I don't know that much about it but these guys aren't subtle and this much doesn't seem like a big leap.

All of which is to say, it looks to me like the corporate power structure is quite happy to destabilize Europe and maybe end civilization, so that a bunch of guys who are ALREADY billionaires can make some more money. This does not fill me with confidence that they will 'step in' and prevent Trump from screwing things up. It seems to me that we are where we are because they already stepped in. I would be extremely happy to have it explained to me why I am completely wrong.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 9:22 AM on March 4 [21 favorites]


If so, someone would have to help him set that up, no?

2/9/17: Secrecy surrounds White House cybersecurity staff shakeup
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:23 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


To make an analogy, we've got a burning trash can, and sure that's bad. But there's a guy pumping gasoline all over the carpet, if we don't stop him then the fire in the trash can isn't all that big a deal, you know?

I think we just see this differently. Donald Trump with nuclear weapons is the gasoline-covered carpet, and the Republican Party as it currently stands is the trash can fire, in my opinion. I agree both need to be put out, but one absolutely cannot wait and the other can.

Believe me, I will never forget what brought us here. If we manage to get Trump out of office, for the rest of my life I won't vote for a single person who endorsed or enabled Trump (and that includes Mitt Romney).
posted by sallybrown at 9:23 AM on March 4 [7 favorites]


If we manage to get Trump out of office, for the rest of my life I won't vote for a single person who endorsed or enabled Trump

If we get out of this, I will devote myself to making enough money to hire people to follow every single one of those quisling Vichy fucks around shouting "SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!" for the rest of their ill-begotten lives.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:26 AM on March 4 [33 favorites]


Republicans have been fucking the metaphorical goat at least since Nixon. The only difference in this election seems to be how many people seemed happy to admit publicly to fucking the goat. Any Republican opposition to Trump amounts to a desire to go back to fucking the goat in private; they still want to do it, but they don't want to be called goat fuckers.

But now that it's out there, guys, if you don't want to be known as a goat fucker, you're gonna have to put down the fucking goat.
posted by logicpunk at 9:28 AM on March 4 [43 favorites]


i don't agree that he is totally demented or non-scheming in what he is doing - i think that in order to head off any possible congressional investigation of his administration or his campaign, he's trying to inspire congress to investigate obama and clinton instead

Why not both scheming and nuts? Just like his tweets yesterday on Schumer and Pelosi, he's intellectually/sanity-limited to the "I'm rubber you're glue" school of rhetoric.
posted by chris24 at 9:28 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Guys, he's not smart, except in the way that a specialized predator is smart. His talent for emotional manipulation and abuse does not generalize.

I guess the corollary is something along the lines of, you don't fight a shark in the water; you bait the dumb, dead-eyed thing.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:31 AM on March 4 [23 favorites]


I cannot imagine that there is a single career civil servant in DC who is anything but utterly, totally horrified by Trump. And I say that as someone who grew up in DC surrounded by career civil servants. Those folks value competence and expertise. Trump is the antithesis of everything they stand for.

Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm a career civil servant, although not in DC. There are absolutely career civil servants entirely in the tank for Trump. Case in point: one of my coworkers (a 40-year federal employee) was a Trump delegate in a neighboring state, and answered his office phone "Trump HQ West" until someone complained about the gross Hatch Act violation.

"Fuck you, I got mine" is not restricted to those in the private sector.

(Also, he's such a racist he won't go to the closest coffee shop because it's owned by an immigrant family and the wife wears a headscarf.)
posted by suelac at 9:32 AM on March 4 [36 favorites]


From the Feb 9th article linked above:
The chief information security officer for the White House's Executive Office of the President has been removed from his position, sources have confirmed.

Cory Louie was appointed to the position by former President Obama in 2015, charged with keeping safe the staff closest to the president -- including the president himself -- from cyber-threats posed by hackers and nation-state attackers.

But circumstances surrounding his departure, weeks after President Donald Trump took office, remain unclear.

It's thought he was either fired or asked to resign last Thursday evening, and he was escorted out from his office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across the street from the West Wing.

. . .

Louie remained on after the transition of power to the Trump administration, while a number of other key senior staff vacated their positions.

Meanwhile, Trump was given a new smartphone, a similar lock-down device that his predecessor had, but reportedly also uses his old, outdated Samsung Galaxy phone to tweet -- stirring frustration and mockery alike from security experts.

Former senior IT and cybersecurity staff, including former Federal CISO Gregory Touhill, former Federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott, and former White House IT Director David Recordon, all resigned their positions when Obama left office.

It's not known if Louie's vacated position was immediately filled.


Trump admin rolling their own cyber. What could possib-bly go wrong?
posted by petebest at 9:32 AM on March 4 [9 favorites]


I'm sticking with the theory that he has no interiority whatsoever - there isn't any there there, just inputs and outputs. This turns out to be remarkably effective with a segment of the population right now for reasons that are perplexing and horrifying.
posted by Artw at 9:34 AM on March 4 [28 favorites]


It seems likely to me that Putin has said to these guys, 'Look, get rid of these sanctions, and maybe look the other way while I invade a few countries, and I'll make sure your business deals go through. You can make a lot of money, and we can all get what we want.'

I think there's two things at play from a Russian/Putin perspective. Either plan (a), that you've outlined above, or plan (b):

-destabilize/delegitimize the American government (and other Eurpoean governments) through the revelations of foreign interference in the elections such that when Russia makes another military move, NATO countries are too embrolied in political scandal to mount an effective response.

Either outcome works from their perspective - either these governments are compromised and acting in alignment with their desired outcomes or they are dysfunctional and unable to oppose those outcomes.
posted by nubs at 9:34 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


corb Dems are trying to charge a price for lifeboats off the Titanic.

Please understand that from the other side, it looks like you're trying to charge a price for lifeboats too. Furthermore, given the extreme scarcity of NeverTrump elected Republicans, we're not really sure you even have any lifeboats to sell.

But setting rhetorical missteps aside, and assuming -- I think accurately -- that everybody here is willing to rationally negotiate once we've achieved a world in which that's meaningful, I think there is a Republican strategy that could help, and that a lot of Democrats would sign up for.

For at least the next election or two, we're all single issue voters. If, in the many lean-right districts with no meaningful Democratic presence, you run primary candidates on a "take the Republican party back from the crazies" platform, with an appeal to conservative Democrats to help restore a proper loyal opposition, you might just get enough help to win those primaries. You'll have to shift at least far enough left to avoid actively repelling people, but that just means "abortion is not my top priority," "I take science seriously," "I accept the general framework of the New Deal/Great Society," and "I accept the general framework of UN/NATO aligned diplomacy."

If you can't get that far left, I'm not sure what to tell you. Those are pretty popular positions even amongst Republicans.
posted by dirge at 9:35 AM on March 4 [60 favorites]


The state-level situation in Kansas is a microcosm here. It's a red red red state. In many districts, the GOP primaries are the election. The GOP base dictates the character of state government on its own. The state got exactly the ALEC-funded ideological purists the base wanted, and it has proven the best advert for relocating to Missouri in living memory. You'd think there'd be a reckoning.

But Brownback got re-elected. Only then did you start to see some pushback from old-school KS Republicans who like a bit of ag-subsidy socialism. They had to work that shit out between themselves.
posted by holgate at 9:35 AM on March 4 [16 favorites]


I would be extremely happy to have it explained to me why I am completely wrong.

the oil industry isn't the entire system - and they have a tendency to play ball with whoever is in power (and visa versa)

the simple truth is that the kind of national conflict we're seeing over various issues is bad for business - allowing abortions, trans* bathrooms and gay marriages costs corporate america very little, having a bunch of people argue and boycott about it is much worse

the idea of doing away with government regulations is not one the corporate structure really wants - the major purpose of regulations is to tilt the playing field so the corporations can benefit from them

and immigration? - who benefits from the current situation most and why is it that there's never any serious effort made to prosecute those who hire undocumented workers? - who benefits most from open trade and low border taxes?

trump's whole program is something a great many people in the u s called for - in the 1970s when it acutally might have changed something - it's far too late to fix - it's the biggest con game that's ever been run on this country and it's pissing off a lot of people with a lot of power

trump is going to be told to back down or he's going to get dealt with

---

on preview -

But now that it's out there, guys, if you don't want to be known as a goat fucker, you're gonna have to put down the fucking goat.

but but but THE GOAT LIKES IT!!!
posted by pyramid termite at 9:36 AM on March 4 [8 favorites]


I cannot imagine that there is a single career civil servant in DC who is anything but utterly, totally horrified by Trump.

Last decade, I knew a high-ranking FBI official in DC who would totally be in the tank for Trump these days.
posted by Coventry at 9:36 AM on March 4


Corb, 10:21:
Without getting into a long argument about Whether The Democrats Are Right, I'm going to say that in a sense, it doesn't matter how right they are if they're moving so fast the rest of the country, minus the crazies, won't follow. The way a country as large as ours works is that on some things, a rough consensus does need to be sought. Even if that consensus isn't what you want, even if you feel that consensus is years behind where you want it to be. You can't make a healthy country by legislating for only - let's generously say 52% of it.
Whenever my mom tries this "moving too fast" thing on me I like to ask "moving too fast how?" What, specifically, is actually moving too fast, and for whom? There's a tendency to rely on land (look at all this red on the map) and epistemic closure (all of my friends and everybody at the place I get my hair done, or whatever). It's an appeal to a "Real American" majority that doesn't exist in the way people believe. Is it about abortion? That's not moving too fast, it moved a long time ago and it's not moving back (and a majority doesn't want it to move back). Is it about health care? That took years. Is it about marriage equality? Even that took a couple generations, but it's supported by a majority nationwide. What moved too fast?

I have this argument with my mom all the time (or I did, when I was still talking to her). Claiming things are moving too fast sounds really disingenuous coming from a party that pushed everything hard to the right every chance it got while Democrats were happy to try to find consensus and compromise. To name one really famous example, welfare reform came under a Democratic president because Democrats compromised with Republicans. When, in the past 30 years, have Republicans compromised with Democrats? It's not something Republicans do anymore, and they lie about it (cf. the way they claim Obamacare was forced through in secret backroom deals [like they're actually trying to do now with the "replacement" they may or may not actually be working on] when, in fact, the Democrats tried to engage Republicans throughout the yearlong process of drafting the law and they didn't want to be seen as having any part of it).

And if you want to talk about moving to fast, see the Trump administration and how the GOP Congress is going along with it. How quickly can they gut every agency? Is that the Democrats moving too fast?

and 10:31:
What I want people to ask is, "How could I talk to Evan McMullin, or Ana Navarro? What compromise could I find with reasonable, honorable, opposition?"
To many Republicans these days, "compromise" means "I get exactly what I want and you move to meet me" not "I'll meet you in the middle." And now with people like Cruz and the House Freedom Caucus, even that sort of compromise is sometimes seen as consorting with the enemy. And as many people have pointed out, the McMullins and Navarros aren't in office (and based on the pattern established over the past 30 years they might not compromise in the non-Republican sense even if they were in office). I'm a former Republican, and then a RINO (because I didn't think compromise was evil), and now I don't want to have anything to do with those hardliners so I'm not in the party at all.

If people like that were in power, maybe I'd revisit that issue, but I don't see the Democrats as the ones who need to change on this. What the Democrats are (finally) doing is just aping the Republican playbook. Is using your own party's tactics against you somehow moving too fast?
posted by fedward at 9:37 AM on March 4 [87 favorites]


i don't agree that he is totally demented or non-scheming in what he is doing

Well, this morning I embarrassed myself on twitter after djt's flurry of "No, HE's a criminal" tweets by falling for a parody post that was full-on Kubrickian krazy. It rattled me, as if I'm going crazy because everything is crazy. But it's like, what is NOT believable about what he might say/do anymore.
posted by NorthernLite at 9:38 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


You can't make a healthy country by legislating for only - let's generously say 52% of it.

and yet the republicans have been trying to make a healthy country by legislating for only 1%
posted by pyramid termite at 9:40 AM on March 4 [35 favorites]



I'm sticking with the theory that he has no interiority whatsoever - there isn't any there there, just inputs and outputs.


Trump as philosophical zombie - it checks out
posted by thelonius at 9:41 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


His biggest most guarded secret in life is that he's in hock to the Russians, a thing that literally everyone and their dog knows.
posted by Artw at 9:43 AM on March 4 [12 favorites]


David Fahrenthold hasn't published an article since February 13th. What are you working on, old pal?
posted by sallybrown at 9:43 AM on March 4 [31 favorites]


Presidential historian and author:

@JoshuaMZeitz
Only time a sitting POTUS showed this level of mental incapacity was Nixon, talking to the portraits in the WH. But he was drinking heavily.


More evidence for the barely literate crowd:

@HeerJeet
The misspelling of "tapp" is from Trump seeing "wiretapping" and assuming "tapp" rather than "tap" was proper. Mistake of a non-reader.


And background on his pre-rant mindset:

@costareports
Trump left WH in a fury on Friday, fuming about Sessions's recusal and telling aides that Sessions shouldn't have recused himself...
posted by chris24 at 9:44 AM on March 4 [37 favorites]


And getting this "well you have to accept socialism or we won't take you in this fight" just feels like an opportunistic slap in the face - like Dems are trying to charge a price for lifeboats off the Titanic. I mean, maybe that's not how it's meant, but that's how it comes off.

We're simply asking you not to do the stuff that got the fucking fascists here in the first place. That you see that as too high a price to pay because "fuck you and your unicorn candy" is part and parcel of a sick kind of tribalism--the same tribalism conservatives will turn around and accuse the left of in an instant--is the problem. What isn't a problem is that we don't want to sign up for the bullshit proto-fascism I mentioned in my second paragraph above, which conservatives apparently think is fair trade.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:45 AM on March 4 [28 favorites]


Oh look! I'm sure you'll all be shocked, shocked that there's no US steel for the Keystone Pipeline. Per Trump's own words, I guess it means we have to stop construction, right??
posted by TwoStride at 9:46 AM on March 4 [20 favorites]


If you want to address the economic anxiety we've heard so much about the there's no way of doing that without getting just a little bit socialist.
posted by Artw at 9:48 AM on March 4 [10 favorites]


(Fascism is a placebo, not a solution)
posted by Artw at 9:48 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


I mean, Bob H. Christ...how is it so fucking difficult to give up Jim Crow, forcing LGBTQ people into poverty and suicide, back-alley abortions, and starving children physically and mentally, without complaining every step of the way?
posted by zombieflanders at 9:50 AM on March 4 [77 favorites]


One thing that's been kicking around in my head for a while is that in a fundamental way Trump, his supporters, even the smarter Republican politicians, seem to have fallen into the trap of believing that the current world order is stable, inevitable, and that they can fuck with it with impunity.

They're forgetting that the reason we haven't had any major wars in the past 70 years [1] is because of huge amounts of very hard work, bizarre and implausible diplomatic lies (the "One China" policy bullshit, for example) that no one actually believes but which work anyway, and so on.

As a result we've got Trump stomping around like a bull in a china shop, casually talking about shattering the agreements, delicate balancing acts, and imaginative fictions that have kept us from atomic war, or even large scale conventional war, for 70 years.

It only takes a generation for something to become normal, and we've had three generations now foolishly thinking that peace, prosperity, and a planetary improvement in quality of life is normal. So they don't panic when they see Trump casually dismantling the whole elaborate structure of lies we called the One China Policy. They don't panic when they see Trump casually talking about dismantling NATO, or ending the policy of nuclear non-proliferation, or any of the other hard, difficult, complex, and messy bits of diplomacy that have kept the "normal" situation of peace and prosperity going.

I fear greatly that because this decidedly abnormal situation has persisted for so long that people will watch the structures that allowed it to exist be demolished with only mild concern rather than the sort of terrified panic that should have been bringing us to having Egypt level, shut down the entire country and overthrow the government peaceably, style protests.

And once Trump has succeeded in destroying that ever so fragile framework of diplomacy, lies, and unspoken agreements that have kept the peace for 70 years, I think it's going to take us a World War level conflict before we can rebuild them.

Even the elected Republicans, the ones who are smart, educated, and know damn well that the long peace we've had is historically abnormal, have had that peace their whole lives and suffer from the comforting delusion that it really is normal. That **of course** there won't be major wars.

And then there's the Steve Bannons who are openly, self admittedly, longing for a major war.

Coupled with the upcoming economic shift, and the inevitable conflict that will bring, and the mass migrations and humanitarian crises that climate change will bring, I see Trump's dismantling of the international order as sort of a third horseman of the Apocalypse.

[1] And yes, I'm well aware of all the minor wars the US has started. But none of those hold a candle to WWII, WWI, the 30 Years War, and so on.
posted by sotonohito at 9:51 AM on March 4 [97 favorites]


I mean, Bob H. Christ...how is it so fucking difficult to give up Jim Crow, forcing LGBTQ people into poverty and suicide, back-alley abortions, and starving children physically and mentally, without complaining every step of the way?

tl;dr: Because God said every man fucks one woman, has two kids, and takes responsibility.
posted by Talez at 9:52 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Of course these days "socialism" encompasses pretty much having a functioning government that does things for the people in any way, and collects taxes for any purpose other than the military or Trump Tower.
posted by Artw at 9:52 AM on March 4 [23 favorites]


Ursula Le Guin calls trump a 'media golem'.
posted by dhruva at 9:53 AM on March 4 [25 favorites]


tl;dr: Because God said every man fucks one woman, has two kids, and takes responsibility.

I'm not even talking about the Bible-thumpers though, I'm talking about conservatives that want to be seen as reasonable and moderate instead of enabling the extremists.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:53 AM on March 4


Only time a sitting POTUS showed this level of mental incapacity was Nixon, talking to the portraits in the WH.

There was the time William McKinley was physically dying for a week or so, but I'd say it's close.
posted by saturday_morning at 9:55 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]




Fascism is a placebo

Seems more meth-y, tbh.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:56 AM on March 4 [8 favorites]


Without getting into a long argument about Whether The Democrats Are Right, I'm going to say that in a sense, it doesn't matter how right they are if they're moving so fast the rest of the country, minus the crazies, won't follow. The way a country as large as ours works is that on some things, a rough consensus does need to be sought. Even if that consensus isn't what you want, even if you feel that consensus is years behind where you want it to be. You can't make a healthy country by legislating for only - let's generously say 52% of it.

My father has made "Now is not the time for human rights due to economic concerns" argument since I was old enough to understand them. I'm 50 now.
posted by srboisvert at 9:57 AM on March 4 [67 favorites]


One of the weirdest things about this to me is that he thought that his accusations about wiretapping were so serious that he, uh, tweeted about Arnold Schwarzenegger leaving The Apprentice an hour later.

It's almost like he thinks they both have the same weight, or something.
posted by flatluigi at 10:02 AM on March 4 [30 favorites]


Trump is a symptom. The disease is Republicanism. Not to say that conservatism is inherently evil. Fiscal and moral conservatism doesn't have to be racist and misogynistic, but the form it has morphed into in the U.S. is. And combined with a paranoid Know-Nothing allergy to facts and reality, it's compromised pretty much the whole party. So while we need to beat the fever Trump represents to save the body, the next step has to be getting rid of the abhorrent manifestation of conservatism that has taken root here.
posted by chris24 at 10:03 AM on March 4 [52 favorites]


Trump as philosophical zombie - it checks out

Or Trump as the Presidential version of Searle's Chinese Room, except the person inside can't quite understand the instructions and the translation materials.
posted by mubba at 10:03 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


and yet the republicans have been trying to make a healthy country by legislating for only 1%

Let's be generous and extend that. What's changed is that everything's flattened out, so that largely the same GOP with the same ideological inputs is operating on every level from school board to Congress. They're not equally distributed, but there's a national support and funding network for someone who wants to Tea Party up their school district and rail against perceived enemies, and much less of one for a small-c conservative who is mindful of local circumstances and wants to find points of collaboration. The party of states' rights routinely introduces [INSERT STATE NAME HERE] bills into state legislatures. A decentralised political infrastructure overlaid with centralised structures of power and influence is fundamentally unstable.
posted by holgate at 10:06 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]


Many things need to happen for the world to survive this crisis. People within the Republican Party need to undermine it. I don't have any taste for that work or ability to perform it, so I'm glad there's other people out there doing it. I don't think it's possible to fix the Republican Party in any meaningful way — it's obvious to everyone that inherently oppressive institution at this point, and I don't think it's possible to pervert that institution toward doing good. But all faction struggles within the Republican Party, even the doomed ones, work to weaken the party. And weakening the Republican Party is a good thing.

Other people need to disrupt the Democratic Party. Because I am so naive, I think it may be possible to hijack the Democratic Party from below and, at least in part, pervert it toward doing good. This is despite the Democratic Party leadership's open hostility to the left.

sidebar: Anyone who thinks that the Democratic Party is pushing socialism has never met the Democratic Party.

Other people need to get in the streets and physically confront fascists, in order to make them scared to express their views in public. Other people need to lay the groundwork for establishing alternate methods for real democracy instead of bourgeois electoral politics. Because I am kind of bad at things, and because I run my mouth too much, it's probably for the best if I don't try to get too involved in that myself. But establishing a real threat of genuine widespread insurrection is necessary — even though we likely won't get to seize the means of production, end the rule of the parasitical rich, and thereby establish conditions allowing for genuine human freedom any time soon.

While we're all out doing our various corners of the work that needs to be done, we need to keep a tight focus on what that work is, rather than on what values our fellow workers hold. Values are abstract and ultimately irrelevant, except insofar as they lead to action. History won't care about the values you held, but didn't act on. It will care about what you actually did. We can support people working to rally opposition to fascism from inside the Republican Party and also support people who mask up and punch nazis, without necessarily having to share all the values of all of our fellow opponents of fascism.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:06 AM on March 4 [23 favorites]


Trump as philosophical zombie - it checks out

But semi-seriously, if we think he's a p-zombie because of how he behaves, then he isn't behaving identically to a self-aware person, then he isn't a p-zombie.

He's just an asshole.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:07 AM on March 4 [8 favorites]


So I guess we have confirmation that Ivanka usually has control of the phone
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:07 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


sidebar: Anyone who thinks that the Democratic Party is pushing socialism has never met the Democratic Party

Heh. Yeah - big chunks of the ademocratic party are exactly what corb describes already and look how far that has gotten anybody.
posted by Artw at 10:08 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]


@HeerJeet
The misspelling of "tapp" is from Trump seeing "wiretapping" and assuming "tapp" rather than "tap" was proper. Mistake of a non-reader.


The extra "p" is for extra pee...
posted by neroli at 10:10 AM on March 4 [15 favorites]


Marx, Lenin, Manchin

checks out
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:11 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


>my belief is the corporate power structure will eventually step in to prevent trump and the republicans from screwing up the country

Yeah, I thought this, too, until election night. I mean, I was desperately clinging to that hope, tbh. But that was the old new world order, and no one is going to give Trump the Ned Beatty speech from Network. The primal forces of nature found an idiot puppet in Trumo.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:11 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


The piss party is the part of the Russia story I believe least, but we always keep coming back to it, don't we? Must be all the leaks.
posted by Artw at 10:12 AM on March 4 [9 favorites]


Pro- and Anti-Choice License Plates May Be Coming to Two New States (Slate, March 1, 2017)
In Nebraska on Tuesday, state senators voted 37- 7 to advance a bill that would establish “Choose Life” license plates in the state. In California, state senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, a Democrat from Santa Barbara, has proposed a bill that would require the state to offer “California Trusts Women” plates.

If the California bill passes, it would join Virginia as one of the rare states that offer pro-choice license plates. There are currently 29 states that offer anti-abortion “Choose Life” plates, in addition to Washington, D.C. These are the plates that look, from a short distance away, like they’re supporting universal pre-K or something, with their crayon scribbles and crude drawing of two smiling kids.

The plates don’t usually generate money for education or contraception access, two things proven to reduce abortion rates, though—15 states with “Choose Life” plates funnel the extra fees required to buy them into anti-choice activist organizations or crisis pregnancy centers. The latter institutions trick women into thinking they’re neutral spaces or abortion providers, only to present misinformation to dissuade women from seeking abortion care elsewhere. Nebraska bill must pass through two more votes, and opponents have said they’re ready to filibuster to block it. But if it goes through, it will establish the rare “Choose Life” license plate that actually raises money for something that helps women: the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
...
To get the proposed California plate on cars, advocates will need to get 7,500 California drivers to order “California Trusts Women” plates even if the bill passes. The fees generated by the specialty license plate would go toward the state’s Family Planning, Access, Care, and Treatment program, which covers reproductive health services for low-income women.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:12 AM on March 4 [12 favorites]


Clinton won the popular vote by almost 3 million running on the most progressive Democratic platform ever. More people support Democratic over Republican positions. The turnout included 55.3% of the voting age population and 60.2% of the voting eligible population. Seems like there's more upside to pursuing people who didn't vote than there is chasing after Republicans.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:13 AM on March 4 [128 favorites]


Seems like there's more upside to pursuing people who didn't vote than there is chasing after Republicans.

And considering the number of those who have been disenfranchised by aggressive suppression, there is even more reason to go this direction
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:22 AM on March 4 [25 favorites]


Mashable: Watch this Texas sports anchor elegantly attack transphobic state laws

It's probably an imperfect statement but I think it's meaningful.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:23 AM on March 4 [38 favorites]


The turnout included 55.3% of the voting age population and 60.2% of the voting eligible population. Seems like there's more upside to pursuing people who didn't vote than there is chasing after Republicans.

Can Millennials Save the Democratic Party?
"Even so, the Millennial influence has been diluted by their relatively low turnout numbers. Final figures for 2016 won’t be available until the Census Bureau produces its report on the election, but the Center for Information and Research on Civil Learning & Engagement at Tufts University, which studies younger voters, estimates that only about half of eligible Millennials voted last year. That’s about the same as their lackluster performance in 2012. In each presidential election since 2000—except for 2008, when turnout spiked—younger voters have comprised a substantially smaller share (from 5 to 7 percentage points) of the actual electorate than they represent in the eligible electorate. By contrast, baby boomers and their elders have consistently comprised a higher share of the actual, as opposed to eligible, electorate."

We need the kids to show up. That's it. Fuck Republicans and fuck compromise.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:25 AM on March 4 [10 favorites]


"Henry, get down on your knees and pray with me!"

(check the writer credits.)
posted by holgate at 10:25 AM on March 4 [10 favorites]


Seems like there's more upside to pursuing people who didn't vote than there is chasing after Republicans.

One of these days I really want to see a large poll of non-voters to see how many of them couldn't vote for reasons beyond their control (needing to work, not having the ID or the money to spend on it, other forms of voter suppression) and how many of them just 'decided' not to vote. Way too often, I see an assumption or an implication that nonvoters were lazy or didn't vote because they just 'assumed' what they wanted would happen anyway & it leaves out the years and years of systemic voter suppression and voter manipulation by the government (especially the Republicans).

I mean, Trump's election was the first major election after the Voting Rights Act was gutted because, as John Roberts put it, it 'wasn't necessary anymore.' That article's very much worth reading if you're unaware of just how much effort towards voter suppression was put in place after that decision.
posted by flatluigi at 10:25 AM on March 4 [59 favorites]


So I guess we have confirmation that Ivanka usually has control of the phone

I may be misreading this, but I think Maggie Haberman is suggesting here that Jared Kushner prompted this morning's tweet-fest.
She responds to the tweet "Seven Trump tweets in two hours. It must be Saturday. Waiting for sunset and Jared" with "Jared is only senior adviser with him right now in Florida. Better off waiting for Trump to observe Shabbas himself"

Here's the question - who got Trump worked up about this this morning pre-tweets?
Not "what" (the Breitbart story) but "who" - Jared.
posted by sallybrown at 10:26 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


considering the number of those who have been disenfranchised by aggressive suppression

Which, as much as they keep quiet about it, is also supported by the so-called "reasonable" conservatives, making any claims of fighting fascism extremely hollow.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:27 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Is this "economic harm" thing an already existing legal concept?

If I remember correctly that term was used in the mid-90's to help define "ecological terrorism" (another particularly galling subject all on it's own)
posted by Golem XIV at


As of 2013, it was still part of the FBI's follow up questions, if you are a United States Citizen advocating that a company follow the Clean Water Act, and the company reports you to Homeland Security for reporting their illegal dumping..

The first question the FBI asks is "Are you a terrorist?" The second question is "Do you intend economic harm to this company?"
posted by eustatic at 10:28 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


Mashable: Watch this Texas sports anchor elegantly attack transphobic state laws

It's probably an imperfect statement but I think it's meaningful.


That was pretty damn perfect. He literally used his privilege in the world to tell other people with similar privileges that it's not their place to do anything besides empathize with trans people.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:30 AM on March 4 [16 favorites]


I think Maggie Haberman is suggesting here that Jared Kushner prompted this morning's tweet-fest.

So they're both up in their (non-existent) bathrobes at 5am?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:31 AM on March 4


Jared is celebrating Shabbos.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:33 AM on March 4


Guys, he's not smart, except in the way a specialized predator is smart.

As a family member of a quite serious falconer, I can assure you that he's not even smart in that way. And for all their unstoppable killing machine splendor, those birds are pretty spectacularly dumb.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 10:35 AM on March 4 [24 favorites]


Does Shabbos prevent Jared from talking to Trump like "poor poor you, you are so mistreated, it's bad and sick how these people are out to get you and Obama spied on you" etc? The Breitbart story came out well before sunset yesterday.
posted by sallybrown at 10:35 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Republican strategist Steve Schmidt on Twitter: I wonder what would happen to the captain of The Aircraft carrier POTUS visited if he woke up this morning and began crazy tweeting ?? Answer is he would be relieved so fast it would make your head spin
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:35 AM on March 4 [38 favorites]


Can Millennials Save the Democratic Party?

This article wasn't posted while I was writing my comment above, but it does orbit around the trap that just about every article I've seen nowadays about ~Millennials~ where it doesn't actually understand how goddamn poor most young people these days are. People write articles asking why Millennials aren't buying houses, aren't buying cars, aren't fucking buying diamonds when the easy answer is staring them in the face -- they don't have the money and are, in many cases, under crippling debt that will prevent them from even considering large purchases in the future.

Now, why aren't young people voting when many of them are poor and, in many places in the US, being able to vote can require spending several hundreds of dollars on getting your papers and forms of ID because of laws passed to actively make it harder for the poor and for minorities to vote? Who knows, I guess.
posted by flatluigi at 10:38 AM on March 4 [59 favorites]


Young people aren't refraining from voting because they don't have ID and can't afford it, they're not voting because young people pretty much never vote at the same rate as older people. It's not a change.

That isn't to say that we shouldn't make it easier for everyone to vote. But young people are not being particularly disenfranchised compared to anyone else. They just don't vote. Because reasons. I didn't vote in the first Presidential election I was eligible for either, and I can't really say way. The same litany of reasons as every other 19 year old I guess.
posted by Justinian at 10:44 AM on March 4 [12 favorites]


Now, why aren't young people voting when many of them are poor and, in many places in the US, being able to vote can require spending several hundreds of dollars on getting your papers and forms of ID because of laws passed to actively make it harder for the poor and for minorities to vote?

Probably a lot of truth to this, but also youth turnout has never been good or reliable, it's not a new problem. Voting access, voter education, and registration should be the bulk of our focus as Democrats or even anti-fascists. It's the most concrete step a regular person on the ground can take to contribute.

We don't need to understand or empathize or even care about Trump voters. We need to get more people to show up, because that's all it will take to save America. Get a few hundred thousand more people to care, and in a position to turn up where caring can matter.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:46 AM on March 4 [16 favorites]


Does Shabbos prevent Jared from talking to Trump like "poor poor you, you are so mistreated, it's bad and sick how these people are out to get you and Obama spied on you" etc?
It prevents him from driving or using the phone or any other electronic devices. If he happened to be at the White House, or if Trump happened to visit him, then he could egg Trump on.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:47 AM on March 4


As of 2013, it was still part of the FBI's follow up questions, if you are a United States Citizen advocating that a company follow the Clean Water Act, and the company reports you to Homeland Security for reporting their illegal dumping..

The first question the FBI asks is "Are you a terrorist?" The second question is "Do you intend economic harm to this company?"


If you agree that the company should suffer for having broken the law and endangered the health and/or lives of human beings, do they arrest you for terrorism?
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:48 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


@Room 641-A: Damn - that may be the most hopeful and inspiring thing I've seen this week. Thanks for linking that.
posted by mosk at 10:48 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


if Trump happened to visit him

Aren't they in Florida together right now?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 10:49 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]


Get a few hundred thousand more people to care, and in a position to turn up where caring can matter.

MI -- Trump's margin of victory: 10,704; votes for Stein: 51,463, for Johnson: 172,136
PA -- 42,292 margin; Stein: 49,941 Johnson: 146,715
WI -- 22,748 margin; Stein: 31,072, Johnson: 106,674

The votes are there.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:49 AM on March 4 [18 favorites]


Oh god - the lack of bathrobes - did Trump see a weenie and freak out?
posted by Artw at 10:51 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


MI -- Trump's margin of victory: 10,704; votes for Stein: 51,463, for Johnson: 172,136
PA -- 42,292 margin; Stein: 49,941 Johnson: 146,715
WI -- 22,748 margin; Stein: 31,072, Johnson: 106,674


And that's why Stein and the hard left lunatics that voted for her are pieces of shit.

But she'll be fine in her MA home and MD financed 401(k) I guess.

At least they made a statement. Sadly that statement was "I'm a god damned moron".
posted by Talez at 10:52 AM on March 4 [30 favorites]




Seems like there's more upside to pursuing people who didn't vote than there is chasing after Republicans.

Concentrating on presidential numbers doesn't make much difference when the Repubs control both houses plus:
"Republicans have total control over 25 states outright and another two where they can override a Democratic governor’s vetoes. These 27 states cover 56 percent of the population. Meanwhile, Democrats have total control outright in a mere six states and veto-proof majorities to override a Republican governor in just two more. These eight Democratic-controlled states add up to only 19 percent of the population, or roughly one-third as much as Republicans control."
The problems are deep seated and aren't going away in just two,years.
posted by ridgerunner at 10:53 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Charles Murray, racist pseudoscientist, author of the Bell Curve, and Steve Bannon's Alfred Rosenberg, faced a warm reception at Middlebury College.

Vermont has a proud history of bee-keeping.

We, the members of the Vermont Beekeepers Association, one of the oldest agricultural groups in Vermont, take a great deal of pride in the honey we harvest. It has rightfully come to be known as a gourmet product.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:56 AM on March 4 [11 favorites]


I really don't think I was trying to say voter suppression is a new thing and I definitely don't think that should be the conclusion drawn from what I said above.
posted by flatluigi at 10:57 AM on March 4




I hope the SPLC is tracking all of these. Jesus.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:03 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Good god. The "I took a 24 hour sanity break, what'd I miss?" joke just isn't funny anymore.
posted by wallabear at 11:04 AM on March 4 [11 favorites]


At this point a "sanity break" is just closing your eyes for a minute while the monster creeps closer.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:06 AM on March 4 [35 favorites]


Concentrating on presidential numbers doesn't make much difference

We are living in a timeline with Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson, and Rex Tillerson on the Cabinet. It does make much difference.
posted by Etrigan at 11:08 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


Trump is the end result of gerrymandering - it removes all defenses against him.
posted by Artw at 11:08 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


I mean, congratulations to Donald for stepping on what could have been a very Jeff Sessions focused SNL tonight.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:08 AM on March 4 [17 favorites]


‘Go back to your own country,’ shooter tells Kent man before firing.
Probably worth saying that Kent is in Washington; the victim, who is Sikh, is going to survive; and this is a separate incident from the recent murder/ hate crime in Kansas.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:11 AM on March 4 [37 favorites]


Oh, SNL is new tonight: "Actress Octavia Spencer from "Hidden Figures" hosts; musical guest Father John Misty performs."
posted by Surely This at 11:11 AM on March 4


Ranting about wire taps is just so Nixonian, and not even regular Nixon, Futurama Nixon. I expect him to start going on about the great taste of Charleston Chew.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 11:11 AM on March 4 [17 favorites]


Probably worth saying that Kent is in Washington; the victim, who is Sikh, is going to survive; and this is a separate incident from the recent murder/ hate crime in Kansas.

Jesus fuck.
posted by Artw at 11:12 AM on March 4 [10 favorites]


My Congressman (and hopefully the next junior senator from California!) Ted Lieu:
“Mr. President: If there was a wiretap at Trump Tower, that means a fed judge found probable cause of crime which means you are in deep shit,” Lieu wrote. After providing a link to a Washington Post article on Trump’s tweets and the fallout, Lieu took it a step further.

“Either @realDonaldTrump is paranoid like Nixon, or judge found probable cause of crime for #wiretap. Either way our President is in trouble,” he wrote.
I love his public, IDGAF swears.

That was pretty damn perfect.

Cool. As an imperfect ally I know that sometimes a well-meaning thought isn't as helpful as we'd like.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:14 AM on March 4 [75 favorites]


At this point a "sanity break" is just closing your eyes for a minute while the monster creeps closer.

"Don't even blink. Blink and you're dead. They are fast, faster than you could believe. Don't turn your back, don't look away, and don't blink." - Doctor Who
posted by Blue Genie at 11:15 AM on March 4 [17 favorites]


sanity break is imagining being crushed to death in a puppy stampede
posted by poffin boffin at 11:16 AM on March 4 [27 favorites]


folks i think my sanity is broken enough already
posted by murphy slaw at 11:20 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


Lieu is my representative too. This is the first time I've lived in a district where I actually like the Congressperson. It's a weird feeling.
posted by downtohisturtles at 11:21 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]


Here's just one data point on the subject of millennials voting or not. I have two young adult sons. They vote, but I believe their main motivation is knowing that their mother would be extremely unhappy if they didn't. I suspect that what they really think is that considering climate change and current politics, their generation and following generations (if there are any) are inevitably screwed regardless of how they vote. I may be projecting, though, because I am just so angry and so sad about the whole damn mess we are leaving them.
posted by a fish out of water at 11:24 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Adam Schiff is my rep. Not too shabby.
posted by Justinian at 11:24 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


my read is he's looking for justification to surveil his political opponents.

My take is that this confirms the veracity of certain leaks and the presence of the Russian ambassador at Trump Tower. He's admitting it.
posted by futz at 11:25 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


I have no rep at all because Zinke's in the DC deathcult now and the special election hasn't been held yet. It feels pretty good.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:26 AM on March 4


Statement from Kevin Lewis on behalf of Barack Obama

Funny thing about this statement is that it's also a big middle finger at Priebus for trying to get the FBI to rebut a story for political purposes. It's a great big reminder that there used to be a wall between the Justice Department and the White House when it came to investigations, and this administration has not been honoring that.
posted by zachlipton at 11:26 AM on March 4 [40 favorites]


Oh, and If I lived two blocks south Lieu would be my rep, fwiw. Los Angeles yay! Which reminds me...

Looks like the haze is going to be coming back to LA.

The air quality improvements have been a result of California's strict standards not the federal ones. We'll be okay. It's the people living in Trumpista hellscapes that have to worry.
posted by Justinian at 11:27 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


I'm still 300 comments behind, but I wanted to address the father being picked up at school by ICE. I live in a town that was rural since the railroad expansion west, but is currently being quickly subsumed by the suburbs of Plano and Dallas. But, until the last year or so, ranchers and farmers were using a lot of migrant labor, and our schools have many things in place to help migrant kids stay in school. It is a given that migratory workers may be undocumented, and documentation isn't necessary for school enrollment.

As a "room mom" I've met a lot of families where English isn't spoken, and our teeny Catholic church does Mass in Spanish on every Mass day. I'm a lapsed Catholic, mostly because I was raised in the Maronite rather than Roman tradition, but I still donate to the church's programs that support local families in need. I tell you that story to tell you this one; I called the Father at the church to talk about ICE, and said that I was willing to drive kids from the church to their schools, since ice can't pick up people at churchs. The response was so large that I couldn't have gotten all the kids in my car, or done enough trips to get everyone to school on time, so now the church will be running a bus, from the church to all the schools for kids that aren't in a bus route, and who have a parent afraid of deportation.

This is what we've become. Running underground railroads so 1st graders aren't afraid to go to school.

Second anecdote, I went to a restaurant last night, and all was chaos at a normally precision chain type place. Orders were coming out wrong, there was no bussers,it was madness. Turns out, most of the back of the restaurant had not shown up after immigration had been spotted in the area.

We just need to offer blanket citizenship and let these people back into the light.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 11:30 AM on March 4 [187 favorites]


The thing about compromise and the left is that liberalism is almost by definition an ideology of compromise. Want to practice some obscure religion? Fine! Want to spend your time saying how much you hate that religion? Fine! Want to marry somebody of a different race or the same gender? Fine! Want to only marry people of the exact same demographic as yourself and scowl at those who break your rules? Fine! Want to have an abortion, or not have one? Fine! Want to lick guns in the privacy of your own home? Fine! As long as you aren't hurting anyone else, it's all fine.

The only hitch is with collective goods and zero-sum tradeoffs. But it's not like liberals actually like taxes, it's just that there's no good alternative to building nice stuff like roads, water, the military, and schools and health for poor people. But if you've got a way to do that stuff without taxes -- fine! Let's hear it. Heck, liberals are happy even to experiment with things they're pretty sure won't work, like vouchers and charter schools and all that. Fine! Let's see it. The only thing they seem -- occasionally -- unwilling to compromise on is large-scale national switches to policies that have overwhelming empirical evidence against them, such as obliterating the EPA, voucherizing social security, medicare, or medicaid, and a few other things that could almost be listed on one hand. That's it! The rest is either up to the individual to decide -- the ultimate compromise -- or something that can be explored and tested experimentally and locally until we figure things out. Compromise. So when we do finally hit some of those red lines -- deporting millions of immigrants, hacking elections, deleting the EPA, education, diplomacy, etc -- we should pay attention to the fact that we're a bit surprised to see such backbone among the left. Because usually it's live-and-let-live, even to the point of decades of lost ground on core values like war, privacy, abortion, guns, state religion, or the environment. Because compromise is not just a weakness of Obama, it's fundamental to liberalism. Boy do we do it.

Up to a point.

And if any Republican thinks this is an unfair characterization, they are welcome to enumerate their own deep commitments to compromise and all the things they've done to let bygones be bygones and, when that's impossible, all the middle ground they've offered.

(And no, "opposing Trump" doesn't count, unless you actually like Trump and are only opposing him out of compromise. Hating Trump and joining the left in their fight against him is not compromise, it's just a shared interest. Compromise is when you do something actually contrary to your beliefs, like allowing private schools to teach falsities like creationism, or voting for Obamacare when you believe in single payer. That's the sort of stuff even the "Never Trumpers" fail to demonstrate, while they busily praise themselves for the supposed compromise of opposing the execrable.)
posted by chortly at 11:30 AM on March 4 [79 favorites]


I'm actually pretty darn surprised "The time for trivial fights is behind us." sort of held for a couple of days, but I think we can all safely agree it ended when he called the Apprentice ratings "bad (pathetic)."
posted by zachlipton at 11:31 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


The air quality improvements have been a result of California's strict standards not the federal ones. We'll be okay. It's the people living in Trumpista hellscapes that have to worry.

Did you not read literally the first line of that comment? Trump is going after California's waiver to implement stricter standards than what the Clean Air Act usually allows.
posted by Talez at 11:32 AM on March 4 [9 favorites]


The air quality improvements have been a result of California's strict standards not the federal ones. We'll be okay. It's the people living in Trumpista hellscapes that have to worry.

No they're looking to truly fuck us over. California has a special provision that allows us to set stricter vehicle emission standards. They want to revoke that waiver.
posted by zachlipton at 11:34 AM on March 4 [31 favorites]


He's intentionally poisoning California's air out of spite. Straight-up supervillain territory.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:34 AM on March 4 [34 favorites]


sanity break is imagining being crushed to death in a puppy stampede

Did somebody call for a puppy stampede? How about 13 of them?
posted by scalefree at 11:34 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


And getting this "well you have to accept socialism or we won't take you in this fight" just feels like an opportunistic slap in the face - like Dems are trying to charge a price for lifeboats off the Titanic.

The question is, corb, how do you define socialism? Because no one at all in the American body politic is advocating turning the means of production over to worker ownership. On the other hand, if by opposing "socialism" means opposition to any tax increase, ever, and to regulations that prevent banks from getting us into another Great Recession, or let coal mine owners and other industries befoul the air and water that belongs to us all, or opposing the right to every American child a quality education at public expense -- all of which are policies of the modern Republican Party, Trump or no Trump, and not a one of which is actually "socialism," then yes, the price of my cooperation, for one, is to drop shpport for such a radical -- and not conservative, either, because there ought to be plenty of room for conservatives to support each of those to an extent at least -- agenda.
posted by Gelatin at 11:34 AM on March 4 [24 favorites]


The air quality improvements have been a result of California's strict standards not the federal ones. We'll be okay.

Read the article again - they are trying to go after the California waiver. If successful, states like CA would no longer be allowed to impose tougher standards than the federal EPA standard.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 11:35 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


ABC is reporting that Trump went "ballistic" at aides over the Sessions recusal and then left Priebus and Bannon behind in DC instead of them coming to Mar-a-Lago.

I imagine that Sessions recusing himself shortly after Trump said there was no reason for him to do so didn't go over well.
posted by zachlipton at 11:37 AM on March 4 [31 favorites]


We are living in a timeline with Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson, and Rex Tillerson on the Cabinet. It does make much difference.

I don't see how last year's numbers help with that. Change the Prez and you still have congress dug in for the long haul.
posted by ridgerunner at 11:37 AM on March 4


Did you not read literally the first line of that comment? Trump is going after California's waiver to implement stricter standards than what the Clean Air Act usually allows.

You're talking about the the tailpipe standards that went into effect in 2009, I believe. Most cars that meet those standards aren't even on the road yet. It's got nothing to do with the air quality in LA.

Look, I think its a bad move. But the air quality improvements in CA have nothing to do with this. It'll just prevent further improvements, not bring back the 80's smog.
posted by Justinian at 11:38 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]


From way upthread: Of course these days "socialism" encompasses pretty much having a functioning government that does things for the people in any way, and collects taxes for any purpose other than the military or Trump Tower.

I have anti-Trump Republican family members who literally do think this way (with the exception of the Trump Tower part).
posted by maggiemaggie at 11:39 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]


No they're looking to truly fuck us over. California has a special provision that allows us to set stricter vehicle emission standards. They want to revoke that waiver.

Bu... but federalism?!?
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:39 AM on March 4


States' Rights?
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:39 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


I called the Father at the church to talk about ICE, and said that I was willing to drive kids from the church to their schools, since ice can't pick up people at church

Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:40 AM on March 4 [48 favorites]


monopas: Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) on Twitter: Inquiring minds want to know: name one thing congressional Ds are willing to work on, on a bipartisan basis, now. I am at a loss.

corb: What I want people to ask is, "How could I talk to Evan McMullin, or Ana Navarro? What compromise could I find with reasonable, honorable, opposition?"

Right now, for me, there are two sides--the pro-freedom, little d democratic side and the fascist side.

1) A full investigation including a public Congressional panel and special, independent prosecutor to investigate the Popular Vote Loser, his flunkies, and their collective connection to the Russian during the campaign, prior to the inauguration, and since January 20th, 2017.

2) Working to use existing law to enable the release of the Popular Vote Loser's entire tax history for at least the last 30 years.

3) Enacting legislative protections to address anthropogenic climate change--Lindsey Graham knows it's real, so the Republicans should take his lead on this one, when coming to the negotiating table.

Any solutions must be supported by real, well-thought out, evidence of their efficacy. I think there's enough common ground to work with, particularly on the first two.

I won't give an inch on recognizing human rights, women's freedom to make their own reproductive choices, or LGBTQ rights (to name a few).
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 11:40 AM on March 4 [22 favorites]


Dispatch from the finely-tuned machine, West Wing cagematch edition:
Before heading off to his so-called "winter White House" in Palm Beach, Florida, on Friday, President Donald Trump summoned some of his senior staff to the Oval Office and went "ballistic," senior White House sources told ABC News.
After the numerous profiles written about these people over the past year, my sense is Bannon is there to try and enact his weird "let it burn down" nationalist agenda. Priebus and Spicer are there to try and keep the car on the road long enough to enact the "mainstream" Ryan-backed GOP policy (maybe Dubke also?). Ivanka and Jared Kushner are the original and loudest yes-men for Trump, there to soothe and validate him regardless of what he does. McGahn is there...why? The chance to be a White House counsel?

Who advised Sessions to recuse himself, and did Trump know he was going to do that?

This thing is going off the rails quickly.
posted by sallybrown at 11:40 AM on March 4 [16 favorites]


> ABC is reporting that Trump went "ballistic" at aides over the Sessions recusal and then left Priebus and Bannon behind in DC instead of them coming to Mar-a-Lago.

At least we'll all die knowing that Trump actually hated being President. He's like Cartman at the end of "Cartmanland."
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:41 AM on March 4 [10 favorites]


You can't make a healthy country by legislating for only - let's generously say 52% of it.

Sure you can, if the stuff you legislate doesn't actually harm or fuck up or even really change the lives of the other 48% (or the majority, for that matter) in any significant way.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:41 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


He deep-down believes that he's an arbitrary monarch and nobody is allowed to say "no" to him. And in the absence of anyone to stop him, he might as well be.
posted by holgate at 11:41 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


I will stipulate that maybe the Trump people are stupid and evil enough to try to gut the CA standards from decades ago, not just the 2009 ones. If that turns out to be the case I think they will fail. But maybe they are indeed evil enough to try.
posted by Justinian at 11:42 AM on March 4


States' Rights?

It's all the other states that have rights. Not that one.
posted by scalefree at 11:43 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


From the link zachlipton posted above:
"On his first day on the job, the new Interior Department secretary, Ryan Zinke, proved he knows how to make an entrance: arriving high in the saddle on Tonto, an Irish sport horse."


I think this is the topic that needs a real investigation. First, why isn't he riding an AMERICAN horse like a Quarter Horse or a Tennessee Walking Horse? Second, do we know if his IMMIGRANT horse came here legally? Where are his papers? Did ICE approve of him? Third, what kind of a name is TONTO for a foreign horse? I think there is something suspicious right there, because we all know that's the name of the trusty sidekick of a REAL AMERICAN HERO, and it can't be used on an FOREIGN horse. Lastly, if the horse was born here is he an ANCHOR BABY horse for his immigrant parents? These are questions that must be answered.

(Sorry. I just couldn't help myself. Watching all of everything unfold south of the border is just like watching some sort of community theatre farce that you know just won't end well. You just hope the backdrops won't come crashing down and that the stage curtains won't suddenly catch fire. Everything is just too ridiculous to take seriously, even though it's scarily serious.)
posted by sardonyx at 11:44 AM on March 4 [7 favorites]


@HeerJeet
The misspelling of "tapp" is from Trump seeing "wiretapping" and assuming "tapp" rather than "tap" was proper. Mistake of a non-reader.


Guys
Guys
Guys
We're missing big picture. This isn't a spelling mistake. Trump is starting a heavy metal cover band; This Is Spinal Tapp
posted by nubs at 11:46 AM on March 4 [8 favorites]


Who advised Sessions to recuse himself, and did Trump know he was going to do that?

Sessions might have gotten spooked enough to do it on his own. Or a friendly IC or LEO might have been like, "you do not want to be the face of what comes next."
posted by schadenfrau at 11:47 AM on March 4 [15 favorites]


The Tappening.
posted by Coventry at 11:47 AM on March 4 [13 favorites]


Dispatch from the finely-tuned machine, West Wing cagematch edition:

Also, where was Kellyanne "I have walk-in privileges" Conway?

And where are the photos of this incident that the article references?
posted by sallybrown at 11:47 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Tapp card for 1 Mana(fort)
posted by nubs at 11:50 AM on March 4 [8 favorites]


You can't make a healthy country by legislating for only - let's generously say 52% of it.

Curiously, 52% is precisely the number by which every one of Trump's execrable cabinet members has been confirmed.
posted by JackFlash at 11:50 AM on March 4 [12 favorites]


He deep-down believes that he's an arbitrary monarch and nobody is allowed to say "no" to him.

He's long believed that his rightful place in society is ruling over it. It started with the racehorse eugenics he inherited from his father & it's why he named both his son & his PR alter-ego Barron. I've come to suspect Bannon & other nRXers made a pact with him that when they bring about the Dark Enlightenment & replace our failed democracy with a monarchy, he would be their figurehead king.
posted by scalefree at 11:53 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


2 tapp 2 furious
posted by poffin boffin at 11:54 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]


Don't tapp me bro
posted by nubs at 11:57 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Eric Garland styles himself a "professional futurist." Pardon me for not taking him seriously. Who ever heard of him before?

He's a futurist, not a past-ist. You'll hear about him after.
posted by msalt at 11:59 AM on March 4 [14 favorites]


More juicy tidbits from Politico:
That Trump continued to obsess over Sessions, even after he recused himself, is not unusual. Days after Michael Flynn resigned as national security adviser, Trump continued to question whether he made the right decision, people who spoke to him said.

In other phone conversations with several people over the last 48 hours, the image-conscious Trump has spoken more generally about his frustrations with his administration – and the perceptions surrounding it. "He’s tired of everyone thinking his presidency is screwed up," said one person who spoke to him. . . .

Several other people close to Trump said they weren't sure where he got his information for the posts. One of these people said most of Trump's aides were back in Washington and woke up exasperated at the posts.
When you lie down with dogs, you wake up with tweets.

That article also says "The White House is planning to sign a revised executive order on his controversial travel ban at the Department of Homeland Security on Monday, according to senior officials familiar with the matter."

Kasie Hunt reports Trump will eat dinner tonight with Sessions, even though he's not on the official schedule.
posted by sallybrown at 12:04 PM on March 4 [14 favorites]


Love how Trump refers to the "very sacred election process". That would be the same "sacred" election in which Trump publicly asked Russia to hack his opponent.
posted by PenDevil at 12:09 PM on March 4 [54 favorites]


Perhaps a clue about who leaked the details of that Oval Office blowup?

The President's new official schedule notes that he'll be having dinner with Sessions, Bannon, and McGahn, among others. No Priebus.
posted by sallybrown at 12:10 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Al Jazeera English's Listening Post today had a nice overview of White-House related developments in the last couple of weeks from a slightly different slant than I've seen in U.S. media. Also an interesting piece about the debut by TV Perú of Ñuqanchik, a broadcast in the indigenous language Quechua, and about prejudice against indigenous Peruvians.
posted by XMLicious at 12:11 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]


Kasie Hunt reports Trump will eat dinner tonight with Sessions, even though he's not on the official schedule.

Uh oh, Sessions done got told to cut himself a switch and come on out to the woodshed, y'all.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:12 PM on March 4 [15 favorites]


The President's new official schedule notes that he'll be having dinner with Sessions, Bannon, and McGahn, among others. No Priebus.

Will they all have the steak?
posted by nubs at 12:14 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Uh oh, Sessions done got told to cut himself a switch and come on out to the woodshed, y'all.

Nah, they are peas in a pod. They'll be scheming.
posted by futz at 12:14 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Love how Trump refers to the "very sacred election process". That would be the same "sacred" election in which Trump publicly asked Russia to hack his opponent.

And in which he has claimed more than 3 million illegal votes were cast but has refused to investigate.
posted by Etrigan at 12:14 PM on March 4 [22 favorites]


Secret Life of Gravy: I see from my local news source that there is a Pro-Trump rally in Raleigh today from noon until 4:00 with a dozen speakers ... They are encouraging people to wear red and bring homemade posters.

Room 641-A: For anyone that may find it useful, LAist has a basic form letter for women that may want to explain to her boss why she is taking off work to strike on March 8 ....

The Women's March letter noted that one of the requests was that supporters "wear red in solidarity with the strike."

Sounds like a coincidence? Nah, I have my pussyhat.
posted by TrishaU at 12:15 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


If some Republicans agree with us that Trump's presidency is a disaster for the country and want to see the country come through this as functioning democracy, we should accept their help in opposing the administration's fascist policies and trying to get Trump impeached. We still disagree about important policy issues. Those aren't going to go away. We can work together to oppose Trump without compromising on other issues we disagree about. I'm a social democrat and part of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. I'm totally willing to work with moderate Democrats and Republicans that I disagree with sharply about economic and sometimes other issues to resist Trumpism and push for an investigation into his administration's dealings with Russia.

Right now, we shouldn't worried about getting Republican / liberal Democrat / BernieBro cooties. We can get back to being from different parties and warring factions of the Democratic Party. Right now, the important thing is to make sure we have future elections to fight about those issues in.

One thing the people who put the Indivisible Guide together did was encourage people to register local Indivisible groups with their website as a way to find local anti-Trump activists and to hold face-to-face meeting in their districts. There are thousands of them now. I'm sure almost all of them have members who supported Hillary and Bernie in the primaries, and I've seen anecdotal reports that some of them have Republican members as well. There was nothing overt about this, but organizing an Indivisible group is different from mobilizing a Pantsuit Nation or Our Revolution group. It means anyone who opposes is Trump is welcome and we can talk to each other. Although it's subtle, I think this was important to create a unified opposition. And I think this is a good thing.
posted by nangar at 12:21 PM on March 4 [24 favorites]


You can't make a healthy country by legislating for only - let's generously say 52% of it.

This is a completely crazy thing to say. Aside from the fact that, as many studies linked right here in this thread show, a significant majority of "independents" always favor Democratic over Republican policies (meaning that the number in this line should be quite a lot higher than 52%), the biggest and most obvious difference between Democratic and Republican governance is that Democratic policies tend to be about helping most people regardless of their leanings (for example, environmental regulations, food safety regulations, Obamacare, and about a million others) while Republican policies tend to be about helping only the people at the top of the economy while distributing negative consequences to as many people as possible. Democrats rule for Americans, while Republicans say shit like "The winners legislate and the losers go home."
(There are definitely some problems with the current incarnation of the Democratic party working too hard for Wall Street, but I don't think the proper response to "The Democratic party does bad things sometimes by acting too much like Republicans" is "so let's try to elect people who will ALWAYS act like Republicans".)

What I want people to ask is, "How could I talk to Evan McMullin, or Ana Navarro? What compromise could I find with reasonable, honorable, opposition?"

We're talking about the Evan McMullin who thinks that the Supreme Court should be made up of people "in the mold of Antonin Scalia"? The Evan McMullin that insists that Roe vs. Wade needs to be overturned? I don't think you understand that the fact that Evan McMullin is more reasonable than most Republicans does not mean that he is reasonable overall. This is the effect of the Overton window: in a sane world, people would look at Evan McMullin and say "That guy is a little extreme." The fact that many Republicans are actually denying reality at every turn doesn't make anyone who acknowledges reality automatically a good guy. Evan McMullin thinks science is real and that Obergefell shouldn't be overturned, but that doesn't make him moderate by any means; he's just barely past the bar for "not a literal crazy person". And, I mean, good for him, but that is not good enough to qualify the dude for leadership. Certainly nobody crazier than that should be in charge of anything larger than their own life, and "crazier than that" currently appears to describe every single elected Republican official.

Frankly, the Democratic party is where the rightmost party in our political system should be. In a sane world they would be competing in elections with people who are to the left of them. The existence of the current incarnation of the Republican party is a blight on this planet and a badge of shame for this country. That said, if some Republicans want to come and join the good fight against fascism then they're welcome, but they shouldn't expect us to let them go back to doing evil afterward just because they did one good thing for a change.
posted by IAmUnaware at 12:25 PM on March 4 [56 favorites]


Nah, they are peas in a pod. They'll be scheming.

Sure, but considering the screaming fit he had yesterday and the Saturday morning rant, Trump is probably still a tad bit pissed at Sessions for thwarting his will and making him look (even more) like a dimwit.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:26 PM on March 4


At 11 a.m., supporters of Planned Parenthood in Boston had a rally on Boston Common. Several hundred people, including four US representatives, the mayor and two city councilors attended. At noon, Trump supporters had their own rally on the steps of the State House, at the other end of the Common. Two or three dozen people attended. Granted, this is Boston, but still.
posted by adamg at 12:26 PM on March 4 [18 favorites]


> news just hit that a russian oligarch is the main investor behind palantir

> Got a link?


Was a link posted? I googled also and zilch as of a hour or so ago.
posted by futz at 12:29 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


He'll have the meatloaf.
posted by Artw at 12:32 PM on March 4 [7 favorites]


So, I have anti-Trump conservative parents and I can't bring myself to talk to them about our mutual dislike because it will inevitably lead to all the ways in which Democrats and liberals are really the ones at fault--for not running better candidates, for being anti-enlightenment (yes, really) and somehow encouraging all the people in the other party to also reject the enlightenment, for Hillary being the actual devil, for not understanding the deep pain and suffering of white people hard enough, for identity politics, and on and on and on. And, like, I can't. My side has not been perfect, I will concede our shitty, shallow bench (partially caused by R gerrymandering, but partially our own damn fault), and the general craven stance of the party. But I am not going to ally myself with a bunch of people who want to spend 95% of their time telling me how wrong I am when it is their own goddamn people who elected a demented fascist. I'm happy to work with other anti-fascists, no matter what party, but I'm not here for another round of The Unified Theory of Everything is That Liberals Are Always Bad.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:32 PM on March 4 [65 favorites]


futz, not that I noticed, and I am skeptical because Thiel already had more money than God when he started Palantir.
posted by Coventry at 12:37 PM on March 4


news just hit that a russian oligarch is the main investor behind palantir

Here is a list of supposedly all of Palantir's funding going back to 2005. It's raised many rounds from a diverse array of investors, so if the Russian oligarch is the "main" investor, he's probably in there somewhere.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 12:38 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Anyone who thinks that the Democratic Party is pushing socialism has never met the Democratic Party.

Anyone who does not think that Obamacare is socialism doesn't have any idea what socialism means. Obamacare takes money from rich people and gives it to poor people. Anyone saying that isn't socialism hasn't met the Republican Party.
posted by JackFlash at 12:38 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


He's intentionally poisoning California's air out of spite. Straight-up supervillain territory.

And just to put a fine point on this, it used to be so bad that we would have "smog days" where we weren't allowed outside at recess. "Poisoning" is not hyperbole.

I'm going to set a Google news alert for Jerry Brown + emsissions. Mr. Trump, Bring. It.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:48 PM on March 4 [10 favorites]


> Kasie Hunt reports Trump will eat dinner tonight with Sessions, even though he's not on the official schedule.

With or without some fava beans and a nice chianti?
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:51 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Anyone who does not think that Obamacare is socialism doesn't have any idea what socialism means.

Doesn't "socialism" usually have something to do with the people controlling the means of production? If so, then in what sense is a program that transfers money from the rich to the poor (generally) or Obamacare (specifically) socialism?

Perhaps Webster's definition and Wikipedia's account are both too narrow, and "socialism" should be defined in terms of government providing for the welfare of the people or in terms of government redistributing goods to increase the overall well-being of the people without necessarily controlling the means of production. But if so, then a good case can be made that the U.S. has always been a socialist state.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 12:52 PM on March 4 [14 favorites]


/Chris Christie hobbles by on crutches, conspicuously missing one leg. Mumbles: "The meatloaf... its... good. Yes, good. Good!"
posted by Artw at 12:53 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Doesn't "socialism" usually have something to do with the people controlling the means of production?

That's communism.
posted by Artw at 12:55 PM on March 4 [7 favorites]


Charles Pierce: While You Were Sleeping, Trump Pushed A Wiretap Conspiracy Theory Into The Red Zone. The president* had another episode.
I think the whole thing started percolating to draw attention away from Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III's unfortunate collision with his own confirmation testimony this week. But I think the real match tossed into the powder magazine was an interview that Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, gave to Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC Friday afternoon.

In that interview, Coons as much as said that he believes that transcripts of conversations between Trump campaign officials and Russian officials exist. In my opinion, if those transcripts exist, and the Trump people know it, and know what's in them, it is in the interest of the administration to flip the script pre-emptively to how the transcripts were obtained as opposed to what they might contain. If administration officials are in contact with the Breitbart people—which isn't exactly a leap in the dark—then they slip the possibility of wiretaps to those people and then the president* reacts to news that some of his own people may have planted. (Think Dick Cheney, Judy Miller, and the aluminum tubes.) In any case, the stakes in this matter just became mortal.

...

There is a critical mass building quickly concerning the connections between the president*, his administration, his aides, and the Putin regime. There's just too much of it right now for the administration to contain. Given that, it probably would have been helpful if the president* hadn't had another episode on Saturday morning. Of course, once the episode passed, he was back to serious business again – tweeting about Arnold Schwarzenegger's performance on Celebrity Apprentice. I guess the time for trivial fights really is over.
posted by homunculus at 12:56 PM on March 4 [16 favorites]


Colin Kahl (Biden's Security Advisor): Gorka might not have the Top Secret security clearance his position requires.

(Bonus: Gorka blocked Kahl on Twitter because Kahl wondered why Gorka is now contradicting his own Ph.D thesis)
posted by PenDevil at 12:58 PM on March 4 [21 favorites]


The new model favored by republicans, BTW, is less capitalism of the free market kind and more corporate statism - with Trump and cronies having a finger in every pie and an erasure of boundries between the interests of Trump/the state/favored corporations.
posted by Artw at 1:00 PM on March 4 [10 favorites]


Speaking of wiretapping: Trump Wants NSA Program Reauthorized But Won’t Tell Congress How Many Americans It Spies On
The White House wants Congress to reauthorize two of the NSA’s largest surveillance programs before they expire at the end of the year.

One of them scans the traffic that passes through the massive internet cables going in and out of the U.S. and ends up catching a vast number of American communications in its dragnet.

But how many? Lawmakers have been asking for years, and the intelligence community has consistently refused provide even a ballpark figure.
posted by homunculus at 1:00 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]


Catblack: it sure seems that a lot of news stories about Trump's scandals that head out with legs come back without them.

Artw: Chris Christie hobbles by on crutches, conspicuously missing one leg.

Heh.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:01 PM on March 4 [6 favorites]


After the numerous profiles written about these people over the past year, my sense is Bannon is there to try and enact his weird "let it burn down" nationalist agenda. Priebus and Spicer are there to try and keep the car on the road long enough to enact the "mainstream" Ryan-backed GOP policy (maybe Dubke also?). Ivanka and Jared Kushner are the original and loudest yes-men for Trump, there to soothe and validate him regardless of what he does. McGahn is there...why? The chance to be a White House counsel?

Who advised Sessions to recuse himself, and did Trump know he was going to do that?

This thing is going off the rails quickly.


The Trump Presidency is a gaping, festering wound on the body politic, and his appointees the seething maggots therein.
posted by jamjam at 1:01 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Gorka is the back up Russian spy after Flynn, so getting clearance by normal means probably is going to be a problem.
posted by Artw at 1:01 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]


Added to the list of things Trump doesn't know: what McCarthyism is.

It's almost too bad that The Donald will not be around in 25 years to see what "Trumpism" means by then.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:02 PM on March 4 [9 favorites]


Anyone who does not think that Obamacare is socialism doesn't have any idea what socialism means.

Wait, you're talking about the insurance model initially proposed by the Heritage Foundation and later implemented by a Republican governor? Apologies if this was meant to be ironic, my meter's a bit wonky lately.
posted by sapere aude at 1:03 PM on March 4 [49 favorites]


Chris Christie hobbles by on crutches, conspicuously missing one leg

A Reek like that, you don't eat him all at once.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:04 PM on March 4 [16 favorites]


The Donald will not be around in 25 years.

Don't be optimistic.
posted by Namlit at 1:04 PM on March 4


Whether Obamacare is socialism or not, it's probably the piece of legislation that did the most to address income inequality since Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. And before that, since the New Deal.
posted by chris24 at 1:04 PM on March 4 [7 favorites]


That's communism.

Not according to Webster's and Wikipedia. Just quoting the first part of the Wiki on socialism:
Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production; as well as the political ideologies, theories, and movements that aim to establish them.
I mean, common ownership of the means of production is part of a communist worldview. But there's a lot more to communism than that. And common ownership of the means of production seems to be an essential character of socialism as such. (I know there is a lot of nuance to add here ... but at a first pass ...)
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 1:06 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Looks like the DAPL pipeline won't be built with American steel.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 1:06 PM on March 4


But it will be built with American blood.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 1:08 PM on March 4 [15 favorites]


And just to put a fine point on this, it used to be so bad that we would have "smog days" where we weren't allowed outside at recess. "Poisoning" is not hyperbole.

Houston still has these, though they're called high ozone days. And the city has the strictest emissions standards in the state, but it's still Texas.
posted by threeturtles at 1:08 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


I hadn't seen this posted here before, sorry if it's a dupe.

"Why should we be deported? This is very, very hard for a family. What will our fellow citizens think if honest subjects are faced with such a decree — not to mention the great material losses it would incur." -- Friedrich Trump, 1905
posted by jammer at 1:12 PM on March 4 [30 favorites]


The President's new official schedule notes that he'll be having dinner with Sessions, Bannon, and McGahn, among others. No Priebus.

Tonight Priebus eats his meatloaf in the darkness of the brand-new White House Oubliette.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:12 PM on March 4 [9 favorites]




Houston still has these, though they're called high ozone days. And the city has the strictest emissions standards in the state, but it's still Texas.

Salt Lake City, Louisville, any populated valley in California.

We've gone forward so much in this regard, it's going to be a shame if it all goes down the toilet because of SCROTUS.
posted by Talez at 1:15 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Grassley denies calls for Sessions to testify on Russian ambassador meetings

"It's unfortunate that the Democrats didn't even have the decency to give him an opportunity to clear up confusion to the statement in writing."

Grassley is a weaselly fucknugget. Everything is totally cool now b/c Sessions is going to amend and correct his testimony in writing on Monday as he had planned to all along. That is total bullshit of course.
posted by futz at 1:15 PM on March 4 [13 favorites]


This guy I can work across the aisle with: Sen. Ben Sasse statement via Jim Acosta -
"The President today made some very serious allegations, and the informed citizens that a republic requires deserve more information. If there were wiretaps of then-candidate Trump's organization or campaign, then it was either with FISA Court authorization or without such authorization. If without, the President should explain what sort of wiretap it was and how he knows this. It is possible that he was illegally tapped. On the other hand, if it was with a legal FISA Court order, then an application for surveillance exists that the Court found credible. The President should ask that this full application regarding surveillance of foreign operatives or operations be made available, ideally to the full public, and at a bare minimum to the U.S. Senate.

We are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust, and the President's allegations today demand the thorough and dispassionate attention of serious patriots. A quest for the full truth, rather than knee-jerk partisanship, must be our guide if we are going to rebuild civic trust and health."
posted by sallybrown at 1:21 PM on March 4 [81 favorites]


Trump expected to sign new executive order on travel ban on Monday: Employees at DHS were instructed to work from home on Monday morning, according to an internal agency email sent late Friday.

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was heading on Saturday to Mar-a-Lago "for an EO launch meeting" with a team from the Department of Justice. They will meet with DHS officials and the president, according to a source familiar with the matter.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:21 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]


"The Overton Window Presidency (TM)"
posted by drezdn at 1:26 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]


monopas: Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) on Twitter: Inquiring minds want to know: name one thing congressional Ds are willing to work on, on a bipartisan basis, now. I am at a loss.


R: You guys should eat a shit sandwich!

D: no.

R: Okay then eat HALF a shit sandwich.

D: Hell no.

R: Well I give up ! There's no working with these people.
posted by ian1977 at 1:34 PM on March 4 [104 favorites]


nangar If some Republicans agree with us that Trump's presidency is a disaster for the country and want to see the country come through this as functioning democracy, we should accept their help in opposing the administration's fascist policies and trying to get Trump impeached.

Sure, absolutely! I'm from the far, far, left wing of the Democrats and I'm in complete agreement.

That was never the discussion. It was proposed by someone that, as a price for getting Republican cooperation, the Democrats needed to abandon some unspecified, policies, talking points, protests, or causes.

This brings us into two critical questions:

1) What, exactly is the price being demanded for nevertrumper cooperation, and

2) What, exactly, are they offering in exchange for this price?

The second question is even more critical because so far the influence of the nevertrump Republicans appears to be exactly, precisely, zero. I'm not sure I'd pay even a penny for their cooperation, much less surrender all manner of unspecified policy goals.

The best the nevertrumpers have is Egg McMuffin, and he's got no influence, power, or position. McCain and the others occasionally say mean things about Trump, but then they always bend the knee and vote for him. So far the Republican Party is giving Trump absolutely everything he asks for.

I am, therefore, dubious as to the existence of a sufficient number of nevertrump Republicans to be worth sacrificing, well, anything, to woo.

And then there's the backwards nature of the claim.

See, the nevertrump Republicans are, their distaste for Trump to the side, still Republicans. They're getting their wish list enacted into law. So it seems, from my POV, that they're basically demanding that not only do they get to do literally every single thing on their legislative bucket list, but also that we on the Democratic side STFU about the stuff that makes them uncomfortable, and in exchange for giving them literally every single thing they ever wanted they're offering unspecified and probably worthless help.

If they want to sign up for Indivisible without putting strings on it, yay! Otherwise, screw 'em.

sallybrown He talks pretty. Wake me up when he uses his power to vote against Trump as leverage to force the appointment of a special prosecutor or something equally real. As long as all he has is tough talk but votes for Trump then he's just another person trying to claim nevertrump credit without doing the work.
posted by sotonohito at 1:35 PM on March 4 [33 favorites]


Employees at DHS were instructed to work from home on Monday morning

… What? Is that so there's nobody in the office who can leak anything?
posted by fedward at 1:37 PM on March 4 [11 favorites]


California Rep. Adam Schiff
"No matter how much we hope and pray that this President will grow into one who respects and understands the Constitution, separation of powers, role of a free press, responsibilities as the leader of the free world, or demonstrates even the most basic regard for the truth, we must now accept that President Trump will never become that man," Schiff said.
posted by Miss Cellania at 1:42 PM on March 4 [48 favorites]


I think this new paragraph was added to an existing NYT story because I think I would have noticed this earlier:
But a senior White House official said that Donald F. McGahn II, the president’s chief counsel, was working on Saturday to secure access to what the official described as a document issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing surveillance of Mr. Trump and his associates. The official offered no evidence to support the notion that such a document exists; any such move by a White House counsel would be viewed at the Justice Department as a stunning case of interference.
Whoa. Who the f leaked this, and why?
posted by sallybrown at 1:42 PM on March 4 [55 favorites]


It actually looks to me as though quite a lot of Republicans are signing up for Indivisible. Many, if not most, of those people at the Chaffetz and Cotton town halls, for example, had to have been Republican voters. They weren't asking for concessions from Democrats for their participation.
posted by maggiemaggie at 1:45 PM on March 4 [8 favorites]


Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) on Twitter: Inquiring minds want to know: name one thing congressional Ds are willing to work on, on a bipartisan basis, now. I am at a loss.


An independent investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election? You might find some bipartisan support there.

And a counter question: name one thing Congressional Rs were willing to work on, bipartisan, in the last 4 years? Perhaps you are finding you do not like the taste of the shit sandwich you helped to make?
posted by nubs at 1:48 PM on March 4 [20 favorites]


National Treasure II: FISA Warrant Edition
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:49 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


… What? Is that so there's nobody in the office who can leak anything?

The USSS always wants the least number of people in the same place as SCROTUS as possible. Even if SCROTUS disagrees.
posted by Talez at 1:52 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Trump: “Ahh, but the strawberries that’s… that’s where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with… geometric logic… that a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox DID exist, and I’d have produced that key if they hadn’t of pulled the Caine out of action.”
posted by JackFlash at 1:55 PM on March 4 [11 favorites]


But a senior White House official said that Donald F. McGahn II, the president’s chief counsel, was working on Saturday to secure access to what the official described as a document issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing surveillance of Mr. Trump and his associates.

Just seconding sallybrown's unstated but strongly implied "holy fucking SHIT."
posted by schadenfrau at 1:57 PM on March 4 [20 favorites]


Whenever my mom tries this "moving too fast" thing on me I like to ask "moving too fast how?" What, specifically, is actually moving too fast, and for whom?

Not endorsing these views -- don't kill the messenger -- but there are definitely some ways that the Clinton campaign did NOT triangulate which I think was a real problem in the last election.

To start, we got Obamacare, universal gay marriage and widespread legal weed during Obama's terms. All three were unthinkable 15 years ago -- more than 30 states banned gay marriage in their constitutions just in 2004. Legal weed wasn't even discussed. The latter two were all in Obama's second term, and the public took them in stride remarkably well, but these changes were a lot to digest already. Oh yeah, normalized relations with Cuba too.

Outside the liberal bubble, these are the issues I think seemed like too much too fast, on top of all that.

1) Immigration. There were a lot of people on the left who said some variation of "they should all be allowed to stay" or even "everyone should be allowed to move in, laws be damned." Obv. that wasn't Clinton's position, but neither did she do a good job of saying how she would draw the line or what the distinction was.

2) Trans rights. I don't even think most people had a problem with the bathroom thing, but the standards were clearly shifting very quickly. So quickly that it wasn't not even clear what trans specifically meant any more. (20 years ago, it meant you were on the path toward surgical reassignment, "pre-op" or "post-op." Now, some spectrum between that and gender queer I guess?) Suddenly people who might be fine with gay marriage are getting in trouble for not asking everyone what their preferred pronoun was, and yes that's a lot of change quickly.

3) Police oversight. This one is less reasonable, but it was a remarkable change that under Obama the federal government was pushing against police and their unions, whose power had essentially been opposed, uh, never in history except by hippies, socialists and other malcontents. People were working through issues of body cams, trials of police, consent decrees, etc. -- again all fine but a lot to digest -- when suddenly the Dallas gunman (Micah Johnson) shoots 14 officers at a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas.

Yes, I know he was not part of BLM but for many people who tend to support the police instinctively, that moment permanently discredited BLM and proved right all the Hannities of the world calling BLM anti-police, racist, violent, etc. From that moment on, every mention of BLM reinforced Fox-fueled fears that there was a violent antipolice movement raging out of control. Every demonsration was BLM vs. police, after all.

For a lot of people especially away from the coasts, those three things together created a sense of societal change out of control. And of course, played into racist anxieties.
posted by msalt at 2:01 PM on March 4 [23 favorites]


It seems so strange that millions of people are seemingly helpless to do anything about stuff like 45's chief counsel trying to get FISA documents.
posted by xyzzy at 2:01 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Does anyone know whether the FISA Court has the power to release the FISA warrant (if it exists) and related decision/briefing sue sponte?
posted by sallybrown at 2:04 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know whether the FISA Court has the power to release the FISA warrant (if it exists) and related decision/briefing sue sponte?

While not really responding to the query, I've been encouraged by the lack of tolerance for DJT's hijinks by the Courts, and I suspect any response would be similar to GTFO, but couched in wonderful legal language.
posted by mikelieman at 2:09 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Does anyone know whether the FISA Court has the power to release the FISA warrant (if it exists) and related decision/briefing sue sponte?

Here are the FISA court rules of procedure. Relevant sections:
The Judge who authored an order, opinion, or other decision may sua sponte or on motion by a party request that it be published. Upon such request, the Presiding Judge, after consulting with other Judges of the Court, may direct that an order, opinion or other decision be published. Before publication, the Court may, as appropriate, direct the Executive Branch to review the order, opinion, or other decision and redact it as necessary to ensure that properly classified information is appropriately protected pursuant to Executive Order 13526 (or its successor).

The Presiding Judge may provide copies of Court orders, opinions, decisions, or other Court records to Congress. Such disclosures must be made in conformance with the security measures referenced in Rule 3.

Rule 3. National Security Information. In all matters, the Court and its staff shall comply with the security measures established pursuant to 50 U.S.C. §§ 1803(c), 1822(e), 186l(f)(4), and 188la(k)(l), as well as Executive Order 13526, "Classified National Security Information" (or its successor). Each member of the Court's staff must possess security clearances at a level commensurate to the individual's responsibilities.
posted by melissasaurus at 2:12 PM on March 4 [7 favorites]


So McGahn is trawling for a FISA warrant that may not exist and having dinner tonight at Mar-a-farrago with the AG who has supposedly recused himself from any related investigations?

Oh kay. Might as well just put a neon sign outside saying "THIS WAY TO THE COVER-UP".
posted by holgate at 2:18 PM on March 4 [49 favorites]


And the magahat narrative is now that if there were FISA warrants, Obama is guilty of a million Watergates because reasons. We are way down the rabbit hole now.
posted by holgate at 2:21 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Can we please, pretty please, install a live webstream from Mar al Lago?
posted by stonepharisee at 2:22 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


monopas: Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) on Twitter: Inquiring minds want to know: name one thing congressional Ds are willing to work on, on a bipartisan basis, now. I am at a loss.

Let's see:
  • Investigation into Russian and other foreign interference in US elections
  • Containing Russian and Chinese expansionism diplomatically with a coalition
  • Comprehensive immigration reform
  • Strengthening NATO
  • Work on nuclear non-proliferation
  • Continuing the successful containment and destruction of ISIS
  • Fighting terrorism both abroad and at home
All of those have massive support in the USA across party lines.

That's not even getting into stuff where there's broad national support but some room for disagreement and compromise, like:
  • Securing energy independence, I'd like a focus on renewables and electric cars, but I could make carbon neutral compromises with coal and oil if needed
  • Addressing climate change, while elected Republicans are reluctant here, many Republican voters tend to agree it's an important issue
  • Addressing health care, even some elected Republicans admit that "let them die in the street" isn't a good policy, and among Republican voters there's a lot of support for most of the content of the ACA if it's divorced from Obama's name
  • Managing the shift to an increasingly automated economy
What he means, of course, is "where can I find a Democrat who will agree with my radical agenda of theocracy, misogyny, and racism". But if he was serious about finding areas where bipartisanship is possible there's plenty.
posted by sotonohito at 2:25 PM on March 4 [64 favorites]


stonepharisee there are several, just not available to anyone but various foreign intelligence agencies.
posted by sotonohito at 2:26 PM on March 4 [7 favorites]


But a senior White House official said that Donald F. McGahn II, the president’s chief counsel, was working on Saturday to secure access to what the official described as a document issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing surveillance of Mr. Trump and his associates.

Although it looks as dodgy as heck in this case, is there a general reason why the Executive shouldn't be able to look at a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorisation? In Australia the legal theory is that the government are ministers of the Crown, and the Crown doesn't change (though particular governments and even monarchs do) so I presume that any government could say "please give us a copy of the order that the last government requested". Is it not that way in the USA?
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:29 PM on March 4


Suddenly people who might be fine with gay marriage are getting in trouble for not asking everyone what their preferred pronoun was

Cmon, dude, this is kind of an ugly straw man. I'd bet a lot of money that most of the people who are super bothered by trans rights do not frequent the kinds of places where people would ask others to use they/them/their.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:33 PM on March 4 [33 favorites]


is there a general reason why the Executive shouldn't be able to look at a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorisation?

The president can request (and also declassify) documents at will. But if it's related to an ongoing investigation, the Nixon precedent comes very starkly into focus.
posted by holgate at 2:36 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


I'm really delighted by the mental image of obama in some kind of cartoonish cat burglar getup scaling the side of trump tower and eavesdropping via a glass pressed against the window
posted by poffin boffin at 2:37 PM on March 4 [19 favorites]


is there a general reason why the Executive shouldn't be able to look at a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorisation

The Executive can -- the law enforcement/intelligence arms of the executive branch. The "White House" is the political arm of the executive branch. In general, we like the appearance of a separation between the gathering of intelligence or the enforcement of the law and political considerations.
posted by melissasaurus at 2:37 PM on March 4 [6 favorites]


"... so far, we have a coverup without a crime."

Useful perspective from Ryan Lizza, basically emphasizing how little we actually know about any of the Russia stuff. The takeaway is essentially:

Kislyak -- not at all shady, as far as anyone knows
Talking to Kislyak -- not really a shady thing to do
Talking to Kislyak as much as the Trump camp did -- maybe kinda shady
Lying about talking to Kislyak -- probably pretty fucking shady
posted by neroli at 2:40 PM on March 4 [43 favorites]


is there a general reason why the Executive shouldn't be able to look at a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorisation?

Generally, no. But in this case it would hypothetically be an investigation targeting members of the administration and party. So it would be the same as Nixon interfering in the FBI investigation of Watergate.

For example, if there were a warrant regarding Manafort's contacts with the Russians, wouldn't Trump like to know and warn him? Wouldn't Trump like to know what actual tapes might exist so that he and his advisers can avoid perjuring themselves by contradicting them?
posted by JackFlash at 2:41 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Suddenly people who might be fine with gay marriage are getting in trouble for not asking everyone what their preferred pronoun was

I don't think many people have even claimed that they got in trouble over that, and I recall that on at least one occasion, a followup report basically debunked it. I don't recall the details, but that's because these stories are uncommon and generally appear in third-rate outrage reports. On the other hand, I remember that people used to obsess over the possibility that they might be abused because they opened a door for a woman. Those feminists, you know, always seeking an opportunity to take offense. The fear may have been real but the problem wasn't a genuine one; I think it was just a constructed scenario that would justify their inchoate fear of change.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:43 PM on March 4 [10 favorites]


Kislyak -- not at all shady, as far as anyone knows

He's been repeatedly referred to as a "top spy" by intelligence officials though.
posted by futz at 2:44 PM on March 4 [9 favorites]


@TheLeadCNN
Former CIA operative @Evan_McMullin says it is his understanding that Russian ambassador is a spy and spy recruiter [video]
posted by chris24 at 2:48 PM on March 4 [33 favorites]


>>Suddenly people who might be fine with gay marriage are getting in trouble for not asking everyone what their preferred pronoun was

>Cmon, dude, this is kind of an ugly straw man. I'd bet a lot of money that most of the people who are super bothered by trans rights do not frequent the kinds of places where people would ask others to use they/them/their.


Way to ignore 90% of what I said. Even so:
1) people don't have to be "super bothered by trans rights" -- that's your straw man. The question was, was there a perception things were moving too fast? Confused by <> super bothered by
2) I heard this from intelligent (granted older) Democrats in Portland Oregon. Is that a liberal enough place to meet your standard?
3) You're assuming that people who feel differently than you don't read national websites and newspapers, where these discussions were common. They have the Internet in many smaller towns, you know.
4) The election swung on several states that combined conservative and/or blue collar less progressive areas with big cities, whose media dominated the states. (Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, etc.)
posted by msalt at 2:49 PM on March 4 [6 favorites]


McMuffin swoops in like a bald LOTR eagle
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:49 PM on March 4 [18 favorites]


In general, we like the appearance of a separation between the gathering of intelligence or the enforcement of the law and political considerations.

On the other hand, US Attorneys are appointed by the President every 4 years and most of the intelligence agencies have their topmost positions similarly filled. We must not like it that much.
posted by indubitable at 2:49 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Who is Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States?

-- Sergey Kislyak is the diplomat's diplomat -- an envoy of extensive experience whose career spans the Soviet era and that of the Russian Federation.

-- Describing him as "effective and experienced," McFaul added: "You're never confused about what country he's representing."

-- Current and former US intelligence officials have described Kislyak as a top spy and recruiter of spies, a notion that Russian officials have dismissed.

posted by futz at 2:51 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


1) people don't have to be "super bothered by trans rights" -- that's your straw man. The question was, was there a perception things were moving too fast? Confused by <> super bothered by

Except in NC, where the biggest trans issue was, Trump won and McCrory lost, underperforming Trump by 5% in large part due to bathroom bill backlash. So it couldn't have been that big of a pro-Trump issue since it cost a Republican votes and the election.
posted by chris24 at 2:55 PM on March 4 [11 favorites]


He's been repeatedly referred to as a "top spy" by intelligence officials though.

Yeah, and the Lizza piece has Michael McFaul and Strobe Talbott pushing back against that. I have no reason to believe one camp over another -- though someone's obviously wrong.

I just think that -- both from a solid-fact-based perspective and a more purely strategic perspective -- it might be more useful to lead with "Why are they lying about talking to this guy?" rather than "What are they talking to this guy that some people I've heard say is a spy?"
posted by neroli at 2:56 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Oh for heaven's sake, being an ambassador is being a top spy. It's right there in the contract.
posted by stonepharisee at 2:58 PM on March 4 [13 favorites]


For what it's worth, I did a ton of doorknocking in a state that Obama won twice but swung to Trump, and I never heard *anything* about trans people. Like, I can't recall a single time it came up, and I had a spiel prepared about it in case it did.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:59 PM on March 4 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I'm not sure "I was talking with the Russian ambassador about trading our RNC position on Ukraine for hacked DNC emails" is any better/different than "I was talking with a Russian spy about trading our RNC position on Ukraine for hacked DNC emails."
posted by chris24 at 3:00 PM on March 4 [13 favorites]


-- Current and former US intelligence officials have described Kislyak as a top spy and recruiter of spies, a notion that Russian officials have dismissed.

This is such a chickenshit accusation for CNN to make. Who are these current and former "US intelligence officials" making this accusation? We don't know, they're too chickenshit to speak on the record. What is the basis for their accusation? None given, you're just supposed to trust them, these honorable people who won't even put their names to their mud slinging.
posted by indubitable at 3:01 PM on March 4


Let me put it quite bluntly. If people voted for Trump over Clinton because they were panicky over there being Too Many Non-White People Entering The Country, Too Much Acknowledgment of Trans People Existing In Public, and Too Much Emphasis On Putting Heat On Police Who Were Caught On Camera Brutalizing Non-White People, then those people are too fucking racist and/or stupid to reach with any logical argument.

I am not categorizing you as one of those people, msalt. I want to state that clearly so that it's not misinterpreted. But Fear of a Black Planet should remain a good Public Enemy album, not an election swinger. I find it hard to imagine that there were a lot of people out there who were horribly offended by those issues who weren't firmly in the Republican camp to start with. And if they WERE 'moderates' horribly offended by those issues, there is nothing that can be said to them to bring them back without shredding the dignity and rights of an awful lot of people and offending anyone who is an actual card-carrying progressive.
posted by delfin at 3:02 PM on March 4 [35 favorites]


The ambassador is head of the Rezidentura. Of course he's a spy! Doesn't anybody watch The Americans?
posted by Justinian at 3:02 PM on March 4 [25 favorites]


In Australia the legal theory is that the government are ministers of the Crown,

In theory, the Sovereign in the United States of America is "The People", and everything is delegated by them to various local, state, and federal jurisdictions via some form of "democratic republicanism"

In theory
posted by mikelieman at 3:02 PM on March 4 [8 favorites]


This is such a chickenshit accusation for CNN to make. Who are these current and former "US intelligence officials" making this accusation? We don't know, they're too chickenshit to speak on the record. What is the basis for their accusation? None given, you're just supposed to trust them, these honorable people who won't even put their names to their mud slinging.

That is Donnies talking point too.
posted by futz at 3:03 PM on March 4 [12 favorites]


these honorable people who won't even put their names to their mud slinging.

I just posted Egg saying live on CNN Kislyak is a spy and recruiter. How much more on the record do you want from CNN or a source? And as stated earlier, does it really matter if they're negotiating to trade Ukraine for hacked emails with a Russian spy or ambassador?
posted by chris24 at 3:04 PM on March 4 [18 favorites]


In theory

Continuing...

In practical terms... "Kentucky Bourbon. Brownest of the brown liquors. What's that? You want me to drink you? But I'm in the middle of a trial!"
posted by mikelieman at 3:04 PM on March 4 [8 favorites]


Goddammit Justinian, I was just going to post that!
posted by Ber at 3:04 PM on March 4


That's kinda part-and-parcel of HUMINT though indubitable - however chickenshit it may be, it is SOP
posted by Golem XIV at 3:05 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]


McMuffin swoops in like a bald LOTR eagle

We're gonna start having to call him McGuffin.

(Edit: I guess the ring is more a McGuffin than the eagles, but now I'm imagining all the ways McMullin could become a McGuffin and I'm watching a Hitchcock movie based on current events in my head, and McMullin ends up president in this movie, installed by James Comey portrayed by Cary Grant, who is playing a very deep game indeed.)
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:08 PM on March 4 [8 favorites]


In theory, the Sovereign in the United States of America is "The People"

in practice, the sovereign is "the people you went to high school with and made your life miserable"

seriously, all non u s people - you cannot understand our system or society until you've gone to our schools
posted by pyramid termite at 3:11 PM on March 4 [9 favorites]


"...[cheetoh] pretty much guaranteed no one can be charged for leaking the existence of this FISA warrant."

not at all. if you hold information in a classified billet there are clear policies that an incident in no way justifies further release. even when info is declassified it has to go through a public affairs channel to get to the press. this is why the plame sitch was such bullshit. 'everyone knew she was an operator' in no way nullifies one's security guidelines.
posted by j_curiouser at 3:15 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Who is this Deep Throat guy? Nobody knows, he's too chickenshit to speak on the record. You're just supposed to trust these honorable people who won't even put their names to their mud slinging.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 3:16 PM on March 4 [15 favorites]


Apparently yesterday, the AP published Karen Pence's email address.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:19 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


I guess we can't say he's not staffing the State Department now. He's just staffing it with Fox & Friends.

Report: Fox News anchor Heather Nauert to join Trump State Dept

Fox News anchor Heather Nauert has been hired by the State Department to be its spokeswoman, according to a report Saturday.

Nauert accepted the job this week, Bloomberg News reported, citing two sources who asked not to be identified because the decision hadn't been formally announced.

posted by Rust Moranis at 3:23 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


If the already glacial pace of civil and human rights progress in the US is the thing Republicans/conservatives demand that we "slow down" as the price for them to help get rid of the fucking malicious, incompetent, embarrassing, loonytunes menace to the republic that they elected and enabled and supported, then we have a problem, because as far as I'm concerned, that's a non-negotiable item.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:24 PM on March 4 [35 favorites]


Bloomberg News: Communications on Trump's wire tap allegations are on lock down while White House legal staff figure out what should be said, I'm told.

I can't even imagine being that staff today.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:26 PM on March 4 [18 favorites]


Who is this Deep Throat guy? Nobody knows, he's too chickenshit to speak on the record. You're just supposed to trust these honorable people who won't even put their names to their mud slinging.

Well, we now know that at least one of them was named Donald Trump. He spoke to CNN demanding he be identified only as "senior administration official."

Ironically (thanks Alanis), this was exactly four days after Trump excoriated the press for printing the words of unidentified administration officials without providing names.
posted by JackFlash at 3:30 PM on March 4


I can't even imagine being that staff today.

Kind of like how I can't imagine what it's like to be trapped in a sunken submarine on the seafloor as the bulkhead starts to creak and prop from the pressure. Except in the case of the submariners I also feel bad for them.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:30 PM on March 4 [29 favorites]


So do I understand today right? Either off his own bat or at the instigation of Jared Kushner, Trump tweeted something about how Obama had wire-tapped Trump Tower during the election? And because he has alleged this, Obama has issued a denial and now the Trump administration is trying to find out if there were judicial orders to do this? And possibly release those orders? And they shouldn't be able to do t his because the president can't just grab legal material that pertains to an investigation of the White House?

And all this is happening either because of some deep "smash the administrative state" game by Trump's people or because Trump is a giant baby?

I wish I'd understood how good I had it up through November 8 - I would have made sure to appreciate everything more.
posted by Frowner at 3:32 PM on March 4 [80 favorites]


I wish I'd understood how good I had it up through November 8 - I would have made sure to appreciate everything more.

It's with that thought in mind that I now make sure to appreciate plentiful and varied foods, hot showers, and the semblance of the rule of law.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:34 PM on March 4 [63 favorites]


Kind of like how I can't imagine what it's like to be trapped in a sunken submarine on the seafloor as the bulkhead starts to creak and prop from the pressure. Except in the case of the submariners I also feel bad for them.

The Kursk Administration
posted by rhizome at 3:35 PM on March 4 [9 favorites]


giant baby or giantest baby
posted by poffin boffin at 3:35 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


giant baby or giantest baby

whichever is bigger. the tRump likes biggerest.
posted by futz at 3:38 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


So utterly out of nowhere, Don Cheadle decided to use this moment to drop an accusation about Trump once using a racial slur (yes, it's the one you think it is) in a sexual comment to Cheadle's friend's father at an event at Doral. Just so we can throw that on top of the garbage fire tonight, I guess.
posted by zachlipton at 3:39 PM on March 4 [20 favorites]


bigly baby
posted by pyramid termite at 3:40 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


I wish I'd understood how good I had it up through November 8 - I would have made sure to appreciate everything more.

Yeah, remember those innocent days when "our long national nightmare is over" was a ha-ha Ford-referencing joke? Now I hope I live long enough to say it for real while weeping in relief.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:41 PM on March 4 [11 favorites]


Trump’s New Russia Scandal Defense Is to Pose as the Victim of Obama
But intellectual coherence or consistency are not baseline requirements for the messaging task Trump needs. If the Russia scandal continues to produce revelations of unethical or unpatriotic behavior by his campaign, he will need a response that can rally the conservative base behind him (and thus make Republicans in Congress reluctant to support independent investigations or even impeachment proceedings.) Turning the charge against Obama does that for him. It reframes the issue as a matter of the hated Obama abusing his power to discredit Trump. Any information flowing from the scandal is therefore presumptively tainted by its association with the former president.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:45 PM on March 4 [9 favorites]


Kind of like how I can't imagine what it's like to be trapped in a sunken submarine on the seafloor as the bulkhead starts to creak and prop from the pressure. Except in the case of the submariners I also feel bad for them.

The Hunt for Red November
posted by Golem XIV at 4:05 PM on March 4 [11 favorites]


Blue November, I'd think...
posted by Sing Or Swim at 4:10 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Watching the Trumpster fire burn itself out would be pretty entertaining, if it weren't sitting right next to our house.

If we could somehow insulate the country from the adverse effects of having Pol Potbelly and his Traveling Clownshow re-enact The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, it'd be a fun way to spend a Friday night.

Yes, yes, it's a mixed metaphor, but given the state of things, I feel it can be overlooked...
posted by darkstar at 4:10 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Now that we've blown our Saturday on Trump's latest Twitter shitshow, Marcy Wheeler unpacks the conspiratorial game of telephone in Bannon’s rag that made Left, Right, and POTUS go crazy. It begins, in Wheeler's analysis, with Louise Mensch reporting on the weird Alfa Bank server story last November, is filtered through the National Review Online in January, and then gets puked up yesterday in Breitbart, which, as we all know, is Trump's priority source of intelligence information. The result, Wheeler, enumerates is:
1. Trump’s Attorney General, who claims he had already decided to recuse, recused after his nomination lies were exposed, meaning he no longer controls the investigation into his boss
2. A misleading article written in response to that recusal led Trump to claim he was being targeted
3. Based on the claim, Trump sent out his WHCO to find a FISA order probably not targeting him but probably targeting his aides
4. Having just been deprived of visibility and control over the investigation, Trump is forcibly obtaining another way to control it
It all fits Trump's time-tested Twitter tactics of pre-emptive framing of a new issue/fake news, diversion from real issues, deflecting to attack a different target, and launching a trial balloon to test public opinion. Tuesday's presidential pivot feels like years ago, doesn't it?
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:20 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]


* Smash and grab everything you can and pull laws and courts super hard right
* Leave in a flurry of controversy, accusations and denial
* Replacement takes over
* GOP says that it's a shame that all that craziness happened but it is time for everyone to come together under our New Responsible Leader who will carry on with 99% of what Team Pepe rammed through
* Half the Dems and media go durrrrrr okay

We are still in step one.
posted by delfin at 4:25 PM on March 4 [46 favorites]


Tuesday's presidential pivot

There was no pivot. It was obvious even on Tuesday. I don't know what people like Van Jones were thinking... dude acted like Trump's speech gave him multiple orgasms while single handedly bringing about peace in the Middle East AND giving his dishes a streak-free shine. Sure, Trump managed to read a teleprompter without accidentally using a racial slur but that didn't make him the second coming of Abraham Lincoln.

No pivot. No pivot. You're the pivot.
posted by Justinian at 4:25 PM on March 4 [56 favorites]


Insofar as conspiracies go, this one is getting really really crazy. TPM: New Development on the Michael Cohen 'Peace Plan' Meeting
Last week I wrote about Michael Cohen and his extensive network of personal and business relationships in the Ukrainian-American emigre community. One of those was a man named Alex Oronov, who runs a major agribusiness concern in Ukraine. Oronov was a partner in the ethanol business Cohen and Cohen's brother Bryan set up in Ukraine about a decade ago. Oronov is Bryan Cohen's father-in-law. Today we learned that Oronov apparently organized that 'peace plan' meeting that brought together Ukrainian MP Artemenko, Cohen and Felix Sater. About four hours ago Andrii Artemenko, the Ukrainian parliamentarian who came to New York with that 'peace plan', went on Facebook to announce that Alex Oronov has died.
posted by zachlipton at 4:28 PM on March 4 [35 favorites]


At this point a "sanity break" is just closing your eyes for a minute while the monster creeps closer.

If you take a break, it's kind of even worse to have a bigger avalanche land on you at once.

Lying about talking to Kislyak -- probably pretty fucking shady


So is Merriam-Webster going to be tweeting about the word shade next?

At least we'll all die knowing that Trump actually hated being President.


Yup.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:30 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]



giant baby or giantest baby


Bigliest baby.
posted by essexjan at 4:30 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Delfin: If people voted for Trump over Clinton because they were panicky over there being Too Many Non-White People Entering The Country, Too Much Acknowledgment of Trans People Existing In Public, and Too Much Emphasis On Putting Heat On Police Who Were Caught On Camera Brutalizing Non-White People, then those people are too fucking racist and/or stupid to reach with any logical argument.

I am not categorizing you as one of those people, msalt. I want to state that clearly so that it's not misinterpreted. But Fear of a Black Planet should remain a good Public Enemy album, not an election swinger. I find it hard to imagine that there were a lot of people out there who were horribly offended by those issues who weren't firmly in the Republican camp to start with.


Thanks, I appreciate that. It's a different question though. I wasn't discussing "why people voted for Trump." The question was, was there a perception that things were moving too fast?

I don't think the vast majority of Americans gave one second of thought to trans rights or in many cases had even heard of trans until Caitlin Jenner came out, and that was 2015. Also, Clinton never pushed back effectively against Trump's false picture of undocumented immigrants flooding across the border. I'd wager most people here have had frustrating arguments about BLM with people who should have known better.

And very skilled propagandists at Fox and Breitbart understood and exploited this perception.

I think sometimes, we don't realize how fast change appears because *we* knew it was a good idea for so long before it actually happened. But for apolitical or nonaligned people, gay marriage and legal pot and Cuba's OK now and Obamacare all happened very quickly.

And even people who ultimately come out on the right side take a while to process stuff. Gay marriage is the perfect example -- it fueled a massive backlash in 2004, and was basically a non-issue ten years later when even the Roberts Court couldn't deny it was obviously a right.
posted by msalt at 4:31 PM on March 4 [9 favorites]


I have this theory that Van Jones was almost crying because he was disgusted by the spectacle, CNN had muzzled him somehow, and maybe he was disgusted with his profession.

I don't watch Van Jones but for that little clip where Corey Landowski was like shitting all over him about the win on 11/8.

It's hard for me to reconcile that Van Jones with the idea that he was like in love with Trump on the SOTU. And I've watched his statements there too.

One of the reasons I think that he was despairing/muzzled is stuff he said about if Trump being able to do I guess stay on a transcript and use displays of grief like some moment on a reality show continues, Trump could very well manipulate the public consciousness so that yay fascism.

Huh I'm writing Van Jones fanfic. How did that happen.
posted by angrycat at 4:32 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


So, I had a five hour improv workshop today and then went to dinner. I do not get my phone out during workshops so that I can focus. I also did not check the phone during dinner.

WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? (I love everyone for keeping this updated so I can catch up. Strange things afoot, indeed.)

Oronov is dead? THIS IS MY SHOCKED FACE.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 4:35 PM on March 4 [12 favorites]


I dunno angrycat, Jones stuck to his assessment the next day and iirc implied that the dems should encourage this new trump. I'll have to go search for the interview but CNN had a segment called "Van Jones Defends Himself" or similar.
posted by futz at 4:38 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Mashable: Watch this Texas sports anchor elegantly attack transphobic state laws

His name is Dale Hansen. And he's got a history of speaking out eloquently.

You may recall this from a couple years back.
posted by spitbull at 4:39 PM on March 4 [14 favorites]


So do I understand today right? Either off his own bat or at the instigation of Jared Kushner, Trump tweeted something about how Obama had wire-tapped Trump Tower during the election?

It's worth noting that Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn were just revealed two days ago -- by an administration leak -- to have met secretly with Sergei Kislyak in Trump Tower in December.

So it may be Kushner rather than Trump who realized that calls he made to Russians from Trump Tower were probably recorded and transcribed, and wanted to preemptively undercut them.
posted by msalt at 4:47 PM on March 4 [16 favorites]


Das Boast
posted by spitbull at 4:47 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


I mean, people do die on their own, and I don't want to turn into one of those "Clinton death list" conspiracy people, but the guy who organized the secret Ukraine "peace plan" meeting is longstanding friend, family, and business partner of the President's personal lawyer and the pro-Russian Ukranian lawmaker and now he's turned up dead.
posted by zachlipton at 4:48 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


I look forward to the time when the press stops breathlessly chasing every bullshit claim that Trump vomits forth. No denials were necessary for this wiretapping claim, as no evidence was presented. If he had a reputation for telling the truth, then they would need to follow up. But he is a compulsive liar, and should be treated like one. Doing more than simply reporting what he said just perpetuates the fiction that these tweets are more than the fevered ramblings of a nutjob conspiracy theorist. It also cedes control of the narrative, allowing the administration to dilute the story that counts -- the Trump campaign's dealings with Russia.
posted by Killick at 4:50 PM on March 4 [10 favorites]




Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my fillings replaced with radio transmitters. SAD!
posted by uosuaq at 5:11 PM on March 4 [21 favorites]


We're not in spy novel country, we're far beyond. Nothing happening today would be accepted as realistic 6 months ago
posted by mumimor at 5:13 PM on March 4 [52 favorites]


I don't want to turn into one of those "Clinton death list" conspiracy people

Well, there's absolutely no evidence that the Clintons have historically murdered inconvenient people. In fairness, there's also no evidence Trump's crew has historically murdered inconvenient people. OTOH, it's pretty definitively established that Vladimir Putin murders inconvenient people regularly, and an awful lot of these deaths have been of people who he could easily reach.

So if you believe that Team Trump is killing these people themselves, then, yeah, maybe you're succumbing to conspiracy theory (for one thing, they are not nearly subtle enough to do it without leaving their greasy fingerprints everywhere). If you think Putin is killing them to clean up some Trump-related loose ends, then that seems to be a reasonably well-supported if not proven hypothesis.
posted by jackbishop at 5:17 PM on March 4 [36 favorites]


Unexpected deaths of six Russian diplomats in four months triggers conspiracy theories

I know it's probably just bad timing but then again, Putin and his buddies killed everyone that Aldrich Ames betrayed with reckless abandon. I wouldn't really expect any sort of subtlety three decades later.

Well, there's absolutely no evidence that the Clintons have historically murdered inconvenient people.

If it was even remotely true that Clinton killed people, Anthony Weiner would have been six feet under for years.
posted by Talez at 5:20 PM on March 4 [25 favorites]


I look forward to the time when the press stops breathlessly chasing every bullshit claim that Trump vomits forth.

The NYT headline is "Trump, Offering No Proof, Says Obama Tapped His Phobes". They didn't even get to the verb before they called him out.
posted by Etrigan at 5:21 PM on March 4 [38 favorites]


Would be an interesting move for Putin to hand over Snowden right about now.
posted by spitbull at 5:23 PM on March 4


"Trump, Offering No Proof, Says Obama Tapped His Phobes"

Delicious.
posted by porpoise at 5:24 PM on March 4 [18 favorites]


Many, many people have told me that my phobes are really, really good. Believe me,
posted by bz at 5:27 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Another snapshot of how trump operates. A look into what he says vs. what he does among other tidbits.

Trump met with Scarborough before addressing Congress ~ Aides claimed he swore off 'Morning Joe,' but Trump's affinities are hard to track, even for those closest to him.

-- But last Tuesday, the morning of his well-received speech to a joint session of Congress, Trump sat down in the Oval Office with none other than Joe Scarborough of "Morning Joe" fame, spending a full 15 minutes chatting with the anchor, an MSNBC spokesperson confirmed.

-- Aides have also tried to de-emphasize the president's friendship with Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax Television, who, in a CNN appearance last month, criticized chief of staff Reince Priebus as ineffective...But Ruddy, who has known Trump for more than a decade, talks to the president frequently — including a 30-minute meeting in the Oval Office on Wednesday. And some of Trump's aides feared that Ruddy was speaking on the president's behalf when he criticized Priebus on television, because the two men had seen each other for 30 minutes the night before at Mar-a-Lago.

-- Trump keeps his own cellphone and is often alone in the West Wing at night, where he answers calls and dials people. He will sometimes ask his secretary to set up a meeting or put him on the phone with someone after seeing that person on TV.

"He talks to people in New York that his aides in the White House have no clue who they even are," said a person who regularly talks to Trump. "They've never even met some of these people, but the president listens to them."


And more of the same with Anthony Scaramucci, Corey Lewandowski, and Chris Christie. Considering the trips to Florida, golfing, tweeting, hyper monitoring news about himself, and the late night lonely hearts club phone calls, when the fuck is he doing any actual work? Considering the damage that he has done when he does work perhaps we should be grateful.
posted by futz at 5:28 PM on March 4 [22 favorites]


The NYT headline is "Trump, Offering No Proof, Says Obama Tapped His Phones". They didn't even get to the verb before they called him out.


YES. More of this, please!

I know it's going to offend the sensibilities of many journalists who don't want to be seen as taking sides, or heaven forbid, losing access. But if our republic is going to survive, I feel that those with the biggest megaphones have to be absolutely ruthless about calling out the lies when they see them.

In the above case, it's the "offering no proof" that definitely should be front loaded in the headline. I so want to give that editor a hug.
posted by darkstar at 5:28 PM on March 4 [8 favorites]


"Tapped his phobes" is the best improvement by typo of all time
posted by Caxton1476 at 5:30 PM on March 4 [12 favorites]


Even if Oronov's death is a complete natural coincidence, which it well could be, there's still a story here about someone closely connected to Michael Cohen, the President's personal lawyer, arranging a secret meeting with Cohen, Sater, and a pro-Russian Ukranian lawmaker to broker a plan to effectively give up and hand over Crimea, a plan that was to be brought to Flynn. Everything about this story is crazy and suspicious even without the guy dropping dead a month later.
posted by zachlipton at 5:30 PM on March 4 [16 favorites]


From a ways upthread:

The new model favored by republicans, BTW, is less capitalism of the free market kind and more corporate statism - with Trump and cronies having a finger in every pie and an erasure of boundries between the interests of Trump/the state/favored corporations.


Yes, precisely. And what's the other word for corporate statism? That's right!
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:35 PM on March 4 [38 favorites]


I don't agree with the overall narrative of "things are changing too fast" but things have changed really quickly on the transgender front specifically, and I'm saying that because those changes are what's made it possible for me to accept myself as trans and start transitioning.

Like. The first time I seriously considered transitioning was in 2005. I was too scared.
In 2012, Glee half-assed introducing their first transgender character.
In 2013, Chelsea Manning announced herself as female, "Orange is the New Black" introduced everyone to Laverne Cox, and in Colorado a court ruled in favor of a 6-year-old trans girl. All in one year. That was the tipping point for the mainstream. That was also the year the first bathroom bill was introduced in Arizona.
The Obama administration didn't take a public stance on trans issues until 2016, when North Carolina's bathroom bill forced them to.

The changes that have happened in the last three years are the entire reason I am able to see a future for myself outside of the gender I was given. The response to the bathroom bills took me completely by surprise. I didn't think anyone stood with us.

so I hope this explains a) why people say that things are changing too fast, and also b) why when you say that it makes people want to scream.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 5:50 PM on March 4 [105 favorites]


HOLD THE PHOBES!!!
posted by Artw at 5:56 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Anyone who does not think that Obamacare is socialism doesn't have any idea what socialism means. Obamacare takes money from rich people and gives it to poor people. Anyone saying that isn't socialism hasn't met the Republican Party.

Hi, actual socialist here. A basic function of the modern welfare state is not socialism.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:01 PM on March 4 [40 favorites]


The NYT headline is "Trump, Offering No Proof, Says Obama Tapped His Phones". They didn't even get to the verb before they called him out.

YES. More of this, please!


The snarky pedant in me is really disappointed that it didn't say "Tappped His Phones"
posted by Mchelly at 6:04 PM on March 4 [13 favorites]


A former top aide to Reagan, Bush, Kemp:

@BruceBartlett
Take Nixon in the deepest days of his Watergate paranoia, subtract 50 IQ points, add Twitter, and you have Trump today.
posted by chris24 at 6:06 PM on March 4 [98 favorites]


Trump has the advantage over Nixon that he's a teetotaler. For now, as far as we know.
posted by Coventry at 6:07 PM on March 4


So all this time Trump was a homophone?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:09 PM on March 4 [7 favorites]


Dementia seems a lot like angry drunk though, it seems.
posted by Artw at 6:09 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


when the fuck is he doing any actual work?

There was an era when the president didn't do that much actual work. In fairness, that was also an era before ICBMs. The US can mostly function with an absentee elected monarch and a skeleton senior executive branch over a career civil service. It won't function well, but that's not saying much, and that's where we are.
posted by holgate at 6:12 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Would Trump doing work actually be preferable to Trump not doing work? He actively makes everything he touches worse.
posted by Justinian at 6:15 PM on March 4 [11 favorites]


The Hunt for Red November
posted by Golem XIV at 4:05 PM on March 4


no more calls please we have a winner
posted by petebest at 6:18 PM on March 4 [11 favorites]


there's still a story here about someone closely connected to Michael Cohen, the President's personal lawyer, arranging a secret meeting with Cohen, Sater, and a pro-Russian Ukranian lawmaker to broker a plan to effectively give up and hand over Crimea, a plan that was to be brought to Flynn.

So long as our top justice official didn't lie under oath about it.
posted by petebest at 6:20 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Justinian are you responding to me b/c I said:

Considering the damage that he has done when he does work perhaps we should be grateful.
posted by futz at 6:20 PM on March 4


"The new model favored by republicans, BTW, is less capitalism of the free market kind and more corporate statism - with Trump and cronies having a finger in every pie and an erasure of boundries between the interests of Trump/the state/favored corporations."

Yes, precisely. And what's the other word for corporate statism? That's right!


There's no real reason to limit yourself to a particular time and place that is no longer ours and is, mostly, outside of living memory. For a contemporary example, Egypt follows this model.

So we could be like Egypt if we try hard enough.
posted by indubitable at 6:23 PM on March 4 [7 favorites]


So we could be like Egypt if we try hard enough.

Yeah, look at all the foreign delegations who booked stuff in the DC hotel. They know clientelism when they see it, and if the US is now that kind of state, they'll run with it until things change back to something different.
posted by holgate at 6:38 PM on March 4 [6 favorites]


> The ambassador is head of the Rezidentura. Of course he's a spy! Doesn't anybody watch The Americans?

We love it, but I think Season 5 is going to be tough to find time for with this riveting real-life version of the show going on. I know this isn't an original thought, but seriously, how are the show's writers going to compete with this shit? Nothing we watch on The Americans is going to make us pull out our Rapid Expatriation Kits, but the things going on in our own government right now are legit terrifying. Like, be honest, with all this cloak and dagger shit happening, would anyone be surprised if news broke that Carter Page got caught in a Foggy Bottom hotel room with a dismembered Russian spy stuffed in a suitcase? Suspension of disbelief is no longer an issue with the show, that's for sure.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:41 PM on March 4 [8 favorites]


> Can Millennials Save the Democratic Party?

Baby boomers tell millennials, "Thank God we’re not in charge anymore”
posted by homunculus at 6:43 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]


We love it, but I think Season 5 is going to be tough to find time for with this riveting real-life version of the show going on. I know this isn't an original thought, but seriously, how are the show's writers going to compete with this shit?

Call it The Americans : The Next Generation and set it at Mar-A-Lago in 2017?
posted by nubs at 6:47 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


> I mean, Trump's election was the first major election after the Voting Rights Act was gutted because, as John Roberts put it, it 'wasn't necessary anymore.' That article's very much worth reading if you're unaware of just how much effort towards voter suppression was put in place after that decision.

The GOP’s Attack on Voting Rights Was the Most Under-Covered Story of 2016. This was the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act.
posted by homunculus at 6:50 PM on March 4 [55 favorites]


Russian foreign ministry responds to Sarah Jessica Parker Sex and the City meme

#Zakharova: If #SarahJessicaParker desperately wants to meet Russian Ambassador to US -anything is possible. Sergey Ivanovich will be happy pic.twitter.com/GhAmnuQBn5
— MFA Russia RU (@mfa_russia) March 3, 2017

posted by moody cow at 6:56 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Everything about this story is crazy and suspicious even without the guy dropping dead a month later.

It's crazy and suspicious that this guy dropped dead, but I don't even know what level of crazy when he's the latest in a long line of people connected to the Steele dossier to drop dead in the last three months.
posted by gladly at 6:58 PM on March 4 [7 favorites]


The GOP’s Attack on Voting Rights Was the Most Under-Covered Story of 2016.
Partly because the Democratic Party and its standard-bearers didn't put much emphasis on it. Obama has his own project on it and the Perez/Ellison DNC tandem have both made statements suggesting it that they may not repeat THAT fatal mistake. It would be nice if the Texas Democrats put a major effort, following the passage of the scary Voter ID law there, to ensure that every potential eligible voter has a bulletproof ID.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:59 PM on March 4 [6 favorites]


I think sometimes, we don't realize how fast change appears because *we* knew it was a good idea for so long before it actually happened. But for apolitical or nonaligned people, gay marriage and legal pot and Cuba's OK now and Obamacare all happened very quickly.

The thing is, the people who get most bent out of shape about this stuff are precisely the people least affected by it. They're not upset because there are actually hordes of trans people invading their bathrooms or something, they're upset because they think something they don't understand is happening some place they're not familiar with, under conditions they can't control. It's the IRL version of "somebody is wrong on the internet."

These are real fears, obviously, but they're not fears about real things. If they were fears about real things, this would all be a lot easier, because those things aren't actually that scary. The people for whom "things are moving too fast" are people for whom those things are abstract, foreign, and essentially irrelevant. People who have no skin in the game, so it's just a game.

I don't think that creating and maintaining that sort of anxiety is something that happens organically. It has a lot to do the the warped lens through which they're viewing the world, whether that's their own racist or homophobic fixation, or the fixations they're marinating in courtesy of FOX News, et. al.

I'd very much like to accommodate the anxieties of everybody within shouting distance of consensus reality, but I really don't get the sense that those people are the problem here. We can't accommodate people who are so monstrously misinformed that they want to murder their fellow citizens, or who are attracted to authoritarian power because they're barking mad.
posted by dirge at 7:12 PM on March 4 [70 favorites]


The thing is, the people who get most bent out of shape about this stuff are precisely the people least affected by it.

Yep. But thanks to the wonder of the internets, they are affected by it even though it's remote. That's the great flattening: the same forces that tell LGBTQ people that they're not alone in small-town America are the ones that tell people that scary LGBTQ people are lurking around their public bathrooms.
posted by holgate at 7:15 PM on March 4 [8 favorites]


It would be nice if the Texas Democrats put a major effort

I'm not sure how strongly I can point out that the Texas Democratic Party receives very little support, comparative to Texas' population size and influence on national politics, from the national Democratic Party. The DNC doesn't even help us find candidates here, let alone help fund local races (which include many House races)! Hell, I know Battleground Texas (which is not officially an arm of the DNC) ruffled a bunch of local Dem feathers when it rolled in because it ignored existing hierarchies and relationships, but on the gripping hand it's one of very few organizations that bothered to dedicate any money and support to progressive Texans.

We're doing our best--organizations like Equality Texas and our arm of the ACLU and Battleground Texas and Annie's List are doing some kickass work, without much in the way of major support from out of state--and I can think of two or three likely very strong candidates for local House races which are building very quickly even now on progressive Texan social media, although neither is in Austin so I won't be able to vote for either one. Equality Texas has actually apparently been funding Houston's efforts to litigate its right to extend spousal benefits to all married spouses, same sex or otherwise, more or less single-handedly. Our immigrants' rights organizations are trying to hold the line. Texas in particular is dealing with a lot of attacks from our state legislature flying fast and hard right now, because they're trying to show North Carolina who can be the most theocratic, I guess.

So if you want us to put in a major effort on this thing, more major than we are I mean, could you in California and safe blue states fucking send us a little bit of cash so we can fund it? I swear if you want me to I can point you to people trying to protect any group you can think of here, but we all feel very much on our own against a fairly powerful existing force, and while our Dems have fire and spines and all (especially with even a scrap of constituent backing!), they can't do everything with nothing.

I'm gonna go back to making my fabric banner now, and then we'll see. Tomorrow I have a town hall from my Congressional Rep, who heard us all gleefully begging him to show the other Reps what for and has scheduled two meetings this weekend. They're by name only, to people who have specifically asked with one plus one, because he's concerned that otherwise we'll overload the capacity of any structure that gets reserved and be a collective fire hazard; my partner and I are planning to show up two hours early tomorrow while my roomie sews the banner we've been plotting all night tonight.
posted by sciatrix at 7:20 PM on March 4 [75 favorites]



We love it, but I think Season 5 is going to be tough to find time for with this riveting real-life version of the show going on. I know this isn't an original thought, but seriously, how are the show's writers going to compete with this shit?


Why not say "fuck it." Cast the Biff Tannen actor or someone similar and younger.

Have Elizabeth and Philip tell the tale of how the KGB turned Donald Trump in the 80's
posted by ocschwar at 7:26 PM on March 4 [13 favorites]


Partly because the Democratic Party and its standard-bearers didn't put much emphasis on it.

Partly because HRC led every poll by a large majority and anyway - people are not stupid enough to; okay *Republican women* are not stupid or guileless enough to turn out and actually vote for an ignorant, serial-lying, sex predator with a bad wig and a bad spray tan with little weaselly white eyes. Who's also in bed with straight-up Nazis, frauds, and quite possibly the Russian FSB.

That would be tantamount to destroying the blessed country, so - hey, look, the GOP had every chance to get out from under that loser so it's on them. HRC will appoint a new SCOTUS judge and we'll get this voting rights thing fixed.

And then there was screaming and things went very very wrong
posted by petebest at 7:30 PM on March 4 [12 favorites]


does anyone else feel like they've read way ahead in the script and they're just twiddling their thumbs waiting for the big action scene to arrive?

like this year is discrediting foreshadowing as a technique by being so heavy-handed
posted by murphy slaw at 7:31 PM on March 4 [39 favorites]


Hugh Hewitt, on CNN, saying Trump's tweetstorm means we need a special prosecutor -- to investigate Obama.

Just like that, deranged tweet becomes party line, made up out of whole cloth to cover for the Emperor's lack of clothes.

This is madness. They think they can turn this into an Obama scandal. And I'm terrified that the press will go along with it.
posted by saturday_morning at 7:31 PM on March 4 [38 favorites]


Corey Lewandowski outright accused the Obama Administration of bugging the meeting with Kislyak in Sessions' own office, a claim he cannot possibly have any evidence for (video). I'm sure Trump will love him for saying it.
posted by zachlipton at 7:32 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Season 5 is going to be tough

Isn't the timing about right for the early stages of grooming a Manchurian candidate, who doesn't pan out because of his own catastrophic business incompetence, but foreshadows a much darker period in American history to come decades later?

(or, on second read, what ocschwar said)
posted by dirge at 7:32 PM on March 4


Man, some people really want to lock up Obama: Lewandowski just said the feds eavesdropped on an office meeting btwn Sessions and the Russian Amb. (Link goes to tweet with embedded video from Fox).

Good old Roger Stone: The buck stops here. Obama responsible for illegal surveillance of @realDonaldTrump - must be charged, convicted and jailed. (All text is quoted here -- no need to descend into the sewer.)
posted by maudlin at 7:32 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Partly because the Democratic Party and its standard-bearers didn't put much emphasis on it.

Well, we can add one more thing to the list of issues that are the Democrats' fault.

Any others you want to suggest?
posted by steady-state strawberry at 7:33 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Remember in October when Hugh Hewitt was calling for Trump to drop out of the race? Those were the days.
posted by zachlipton at 7:35 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]


uh oh, they're throwing everything at the wall to see what will stick.

surely this means that all trump scandals will be proven false as early as monday.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:36 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


I literally stepped away for 2 hours.

What the fuck.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:37 PM on March 4 [24 favorites]


Blame mean ol' Obama? Really Paul Ryan? Seriously man these coked up kids are shitting on your car, man. You might wanna do something before everyone starts to think you're a part of - oh. You are a part of it. Right.

Well fuck you then.
posted by petebest at 7:37 PM on March 4


Wait, so Sessions lied to Congress and they're talking about prosecuting Obama?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:39 PM on March 4 [39 favorites]


Anyone who does not think that Obamacare is socialism doesn't have any idea what socialism means.

ain't no party like a vanguard party cause a vanguard party don't stop until the working class has freed itself from the chains of capitalism
posted by poffin boffin at 7:41 PM on March 4 [35 favorites]


Hey, all they want to do is either create or feed a group of truthers.
posted by rhizome at 7:41 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


uh oh, they're throwing everything at the wall to see what will stick.
...or, rather, throwing everything at the mirror...
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:41 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]


Thread Fuck-O-Meter: Good
posted by petebest at 7:41 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


So Trump's associates likely are on tape cutting deals with the Russians during the campaign, and the surveillance is now likely to see the light of day. This should be good news.

And we should be able to have faith in the media and the public to distinguish between "the Obama administration" and "the FBI, while Obama was President", especially given the main reason the FBI was in the news this year.

So I shouldn't have this horrible sinking feeling.
posted by saturday_morning at 7:42 PM on March 4 [13 favorites]


So I shouldn't have this horrible sinking feeling

Yes you should, because we haven't seen what Bannon does when he's cornered.
posted by rhizome at 7:44 PM on March 4 [9 favorites]


Socialism's just fine with conservatives as long as it's the military. All the free housing, clothing, and medical care you want!
posted by kirkaracha at 7:44 PM on March 4 [16 favorites]


I mean it doesn't have to be a horrible sinking feeling, there are plenty of other somatic manifestations of dread and a sense of impending doom that we have to choose from right now.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:45 PM on March 4 [11 favorites]


Wait, so Sessions lied to Congress and they're talking about prosecuting Obama?

Gotta prosecute somebody
posted by saturday_morning at 7:45 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Yes you should, because we haven't seen what Bannon does when he's cornered.

it it "big rails of coke"? i feel like it might be "big rails of coke".
posted by murphy slaw at 7:45 PM on March 4 [40 favorites]


he expresses his anal glands prolly
posted by poffin boffin at 7:46 PM on March 4 [70 favorites]


Why not say "fuck it." Cast the Biff Tannen actor or someone similar and younger.

Because it's Fox propaganda.
posted by Coventry at 7:47 PM on March 4


he expresses his anal glands prolly

the whole goddamned oval office will have to be sprayed down with tomato juice.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:48 PM on March 4 [24 favorites]


… They do realize that if a special prosecutor investigates the tapping of their phones, the special prosecutor will have to investigate what was said on the tapped phone calls? Right?
posted by fedward at 7:49 PM on March 4 [31 favorites]


Wait, so Sessions lied to Congress and they're talking about prosecuting Obama?

Gotta prosecute somebody


Gotta prosecute persecute somebody.
posted by futz at 7:49 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


the whole goddamned oval office will have to be sprayed down with tomato juice.

That's going to be an awkward AskMe.
posted by holgate at 7:49 PM on March 4 [16 favorites]


Yes you should, because we haven't seen what Bannon does when he's cornered.

Yeah, I'm thinking, "ink defense."
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 7:50 PM on March 4 [11 favorites]


if they can't get this obama thing to stick, the next strategy will be to confess to so many crimes that the special prosecutor can't tell what is real and what is made up
posted by murphy slaw at 7:51 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Yes you should, because we haven't seen what Bannon does when he's cornered.

I feel like to be good at this you have to have a lot of practice being cornered by people who a) smell blood and b) are collectively relentless, in the way a swarm of ants is relentless, and Bannon's always been in the bush league until now.

I bet he's soft and weepy, like a rotting cheese.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:51 PM on March 4 [24 favorites]


the whole goddamned oval office will have to be sprayed down with tomato juice.

Surely the ofal office? And I hope they use tomato juice because it doesn't work.
posted by futz at 7:51 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


They do realize...

Nope.

Hold on, let me go back and read the rest of that sentence... Uh, yeah, definitely "nope."
posted by dirge at 7:51 PM on March 4 [8 favorites]


I definitely think whatever Bannon emits, it'll be a liquid propelled in a fine aerosolized mist
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:52 PM on March 4 [6 favorites]


"NOW they're gonna reveal Trump's undeniable misdeeds for all the world to see!" feels exactly like "Tomorrow Hillary will be president," and "Thank goodness George W Bush isn't gonna win," which were both local-to-Metafilter delusions that I fully participated in; and imagine my surprise when the buzz wore off and reality set in the following morning. So yeah, I'm gonna go with 'horrible sinking feeling' for the present, and we'll see what happens.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 7:53 PM on March 4 [67 favorites]


And we should be able to have faith in the media

The ones that shoved us in here through the False Equivalency Portal? The ones that continue to normalize and empower evildoing Republicans ('sup Dubz!) when the whole goddamn country's catching bigly fire and it's clear as day what's happening? Yeah, I mean they have a journalistic doodie. Gotta respect that. Something something informed electorate sweeps week.

Not to be too hard on the corporate news masters. They're just trying to sell trucks.

Let's see how USA Today, "The newspaper written for TV viewers" stands:
TOP STORIES
Thousands of supporters 'March 4 Trump' at rallies across USA
Pence wants apology from AP for releasing wife's email
Jerry Jones: Romo could remain with Cowboys
Russians become disillusioned with Trump


Sure.
posted by petebest at 7:54 PM on March 4 [7 favorites]


I bet he's soft and weepy, like a rotting cheese

I'm thinking he'll lash out. They haven't used the "Obama is a Muslim" thing in a while, has Obama left and returned to the country since the immigration EO?
posted by rhizome at 7:55 PM on March 4


So yeah, I'm gonna go with 'horrible sinking feeling' for the present, and we'll see what happens.

The polity can remain irrational longer than you can remain sane, but it can't remain irrational forever.
posted by dirge at 7:55 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


People who "realize" things would have concluded that it is poor strategy to try to rebut reports that several of their associates are under investigation for collusion with a foreign power and/or lies about their contacts with said power by publicly announcing that they are the target of a counterintelligence investigation. I don't think the guy is any good at realizing the implications of things.
posted by zachlipton at 7:57 PM on March 4 [6 favorites]


Obama is still quantitatively the most admired man in America. The Trump administration might decide to persecute him, and who knows how far they might get, but they do not have the power to make Obama any less liked by more than 27% of the electorate. This shit isn't gonna make 45 any more popular.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:58 PM on March 4 [14 favorites]


Wait, so Sessions lied to Congress and they're talking about prosecuting Obama?

Today, Trump met with Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kelly at Maralago, two agency heads that would be responsible for domestic wiretaps. If they are discussing abusing their offices to interfere in a Justice Department investigation about the Russians by deflecting attention to Obama, they have crossed into Nixon territory. Especially after Sessions said he would recuse himself.

What are the odds they didn't discuss the Russians or the wiretaps in their meeting?
posted by JackFlash at 7:59 PM on March 4 [18 favorites]


Russians become disillusioned with Trump


Always playing catch-up.
posted by nubs at 7:59 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


"Let's see how USA Today, "The newspaper written for TV viewers" stands: "

Isn't USA Today a pretty atypical example of a mainstream national newspaper?
posted by Selena777 at 8:00 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


On the "too fast" thing I think humans have a proclivity to live in insular patriarchal tribes warring with and enslaving one another on and off. It's kind of programmed in. But that programming can be over-ridden by ideals like justice, mercy, human rights, under the right conditions.

But it's not the default setting. Living in cosmopolitan cities, with all different kinds of people and all different family structures goes against a lot of human instincts.

We'll always be fighting those instincts. I really don't think it's the pace of change that's the problem so much as the extent. We're far enough from that kind of "old testament lifestyle that our instints are adapted for, so some fraction of people wre going to feel very uncomfortable, however quickly or slowly we get there.

I think the best we can do is appeal to their better instincts. Compassion, hospitality, etc. But it's not a war that can ever be finally won as long as humans are human. We just have to do our best in each generation.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:07 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


We definitely need Roger Stone to ride off into the sunset on the back of a giant bombardier beetle, or sink back down into his haunted swamp, or whatever he needs to do for a well earned rest.

I mean, how long can one man channel so much evil? We're talking "Demi-Lich of Roy Cohn" levels here.
posted by darkstar at 8:08 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


[USA Today doesn't publish on weekends, so what it puts on the website (and doesn't share with local Gannett papers) probably doesn't have as much impact as you'd expect.]
posted by holgate at 8:09 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Ok, LA Times (a tronc emission) headlines:


In court papers, Jeanie Buss says brother was 'completely unfit' to run Lakers' basketball operations

Diaz brothers, not called upon for UFC 209, instead meet with fans at cannabis shop

Republican Rep. Steve Knight met with protesters and boos during raucous town hall in Palmdale

Deportation of grandmother leaves a San Diego military family reeling

A true L.A. hero: For people dying on L.A. streets, he offers help, and he won't take no for an answer


It's fine for when we're not about to lose the country to a lunatic narcissist. (Wait, Steve Knight met with boos? Ahh - a play on words. Very good.)
posted by petebest at 8:09 PM on March 4


For fun, CNN, cause it's always fun:

Top stories
China slashes growth target to 6.5% in 2017
At least 110 die as fears of famine grow
New US travel ban could come Monday
Malaysia to expel N Korean envoy

posted by petebest at 8:13 PM on March 4


It's kind of programmed in.

You know what? It's just not for me. Or for anybody I choose to spend time with. It is built in, pretty clearly, for a small handful of people I've chosen to exclude from my life for precisely that reason.

I'll grant that there's some sort of unavoidable flaw in human nature there, but I just don't accept that it's normal. A small minority are just wired that way. Everybody else has to choose it, and work at it, or have it thrust upon them. Most people don't.
posted by dirge at 8:15 PM on March 4 [6 favorites]


By Friday, Trump will accuse Obama of being Russian himself, placed in Kenya by master KGB spy Bill Ayers, as part of a master plan to hand the Presidency to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
posted by delfin at 8:17 PM on March 4 [6 favorites]


So yeah, I'm gonna go with 'horrible sinking feeling' for the present, and we'll see what happens.
posted by Sing Or Swim


EPONYST-- wait. Is it
posted by prize bull octorok at 8:20 PM on March 4 [8 favorites]


For fun, CNN, cause it's always fun

petebest, the top stories that you listed are vastly different than the ones I found a few minutes ago. What header were those listed under? NOT defending cnn at all btw. Also, aren't so-called top stories based on page views?
posted by futz at 8:23 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Ok, LA Times (a tronc emission) headlines:

For fun, CNN, cause it's always fun:


OK look, obviously I'm as much of a pessimist as the next guy cf. my last few posts, but CNN.com rn is a giant banner saying "Trump's baseless wiretap claim: with no proof, Trump says Obama wiretapped him" and the LA Times' main feature is "Citing no evidence, Trump accuses Obama of tapping his phones during the election" alongside "Violence at Pro-Trump Rally", and well sure there are other smaller headlines on their pages too but they are allowed to do that
posted by saturday_morning at 8:24 PM on March 4 [26 favorites]


Thanks for actually checking, saturday_morning.
posted by flatluigi at 8:27 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile the Washington Post is promoting an analysis titled "Russia is the slow burn of the Trump administration, and it’s not going away."
Russia has become the slow burn of President Trump’s administration. It is the issue that he and his team cannot get beyond. They cannot get beyond it because they are skittish about accepting what is already known. They cannot get beyond it because they have not been as forthcoming as they could be about what they did. They cannot get beyond it because they don’t know what they don’t know.
[…]
This is a pattern that has compounded the administration’s problem. Trump apparently sees the entire issue as an attempt to delegitimize his presidency. The president also has continued to equivocate on the question of whether he truly believes the intelligence community’s findings. As a result, he and others have tried to wish away that something significant happened.
I'm curious what filtered version of that Trump will actually see.
posted by fedward at 8:28 PM on March 4 [15 favorites]


like this year is discrediting foreshadowing as a technique by being so heavy-handed

I dunno, when the "foreshadowing" is so lucdicrously overdone I start to think someone's setting me up for a big plot twist.
posted by contraption at 8:29 PM on March 4 [10 favorites]


Maggie Haberman on the latest palace intrigue:
Trump is expecting two major policy rollouts this week - one on Obamacare and one on the new travel E.O. The Obamacare piece was not 1/
2/ even completed as of yesterday. While there was a West Wing-wide panic about potential stories re POTUS tearing into staff/question of...
3/ whether he told chief-of-staff not to travel w him, two major pieces of policy still required focus and work.
4/ when Priebus said he would remain behind yesterday at meeting where Trump fumed at McGahn, was after discussion of ACA still needing work
5/ there was an hours-long meeting about ACA w White House aides yesterday morning.
6/ meanwhile, Trump has repeatedly told people throughout today that he is convinced he's right re wiretaps, per 3 ppl w direct knowledge
But who cares about whether we have healthcare this time next month. It's SNL time and Jeff Sessions is Forrest Gump.
posted by zachlipton at 8:30 PM on March 4 [10 favorites]


SNL's cold open has Kate McKinnon as Sessions-as-Forrest-Gump and it is magnificent.
posted by TwoStride at 8:32 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the SNL reminder!
posted by futz at 8:33 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Yes, thanks to Google, Facebook and all the other Big Data Collectors, you may get customized headlines on the front page of Your Favorite News Site (as well as those you don't like). Some of them may be based on what you have already looked at, but I'd like to think that some sites think "uh oh, they're overdosing on Trump news, less give them something less stressful or they'll have an aneurysm and we'll lose a reader".
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:33 PM on March 4




At the end of the day, and I'm sure Trump/Bannon loves this, is that every newspaper is all Ginger-like "yadda yadda Trump says Obama wiretapped him yadda."
posted by rhizome at 8:46 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


SNL Clip - Jeff Sessions/Forrest Gump, should be watchable worldwide here

(I'll post the movie trailer segment when it's up)
posted by zachlipton at 8:48 PM on March 4 [10 favorites]


Lets find some common ground with Republicans who want to lock up Barack Obama now, if we just agree to lock up Hilary, that's how bipartisanship works, right? WHY WONT PROGRESSIVES WORK WITH US?
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:52 PM on March 4 [12 favorites]


McKinnon did Couch Kellyanne as a cutaway to an ad. Job done.
posted by holgate at 8:52 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]




I never saw The Help, but I'm guessing that was a poop pie, correct? (From what I vaguely recall my mother saying about the movie.)
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:58 PM on March 4


This Stunningly Racist French Novel

This description is a massive understatement. Assuming the quotes in the Huffpost article are not out-of-context parodies, the book is an explicit paean to racial supremacism and genocide. It actually explicitly celebrates genocide.
posted by Coventry at 8:59 PM on March 4 [11 favorites]


Couch Conway, Part Deux. *

* They keep cutting to McKinnon kneeling in different parts of the studio on commercial cutaways.
posted by chris24 at 9:04 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Everything about this story is crazy and suspicious

Sessions' fib + Red spies = crazy suspicious
posted by Jpfed at 9:08 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Doing Kellyanne Couchkneeler as a bumper gag seems more fitting than making a bit out of it.
posted by holgate at 9:09 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]


Maybe "Conwaying" will be the next hot meme...
posted by uosuaq at 9:10 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]


Michael Che begins his Weekend Update comments on DJT's twitter by saying "early this morning, while his nurse was at Temple..."
posted by TwoStride at 9:14 PM on March 4 [14 favorites]


It actually explicitly celebrates genocide.

On the other hand, it appears to be such bad literature (the English translation, at least) that I doubt Bannon has really read it.
posted by Coventry at 9:14 PM on March 4


The blame Obama thing reminds me of the horror movie trope where you think the monster is dead, but it keeps coming back to life.

I think we need a Zombie Obama meme where he keeps returning, but he's really saving the world but wrecking Trump's plans.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:19 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


It's really starting to look like Old Man Trump vs. the ( Intelligence Community ) Scooby Gang. And every time he tries some scheme, these meddling kids foil his plans.

CURSES!
posted by mikelieman at 9:26 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Old Man Trump

I just realized, if that got traction, he'd break his fingers tweeting in impotent frustration.

G-d, hear my prayers....
posted by mikelieman at 9:28 PM on March 4 [7 favorites]


Thrice.
posted by holgate at 9:30 PM on March 4 [9 favorites]


@cdibona
It's worse than you think. ICE is checking up on H1Bs and are trying to find any flaw in paperwork. Be careful out there, folks.

they just started showing up at silicon valley businesses 'just checking' on status, job function and title. Asking multiple co-workers the same sets of verification questions, etc. And not just brown people or Muslims, either.
posted by Coventry at 9:38 PM on March 4 [52 favorites]


This is sounding like straight up intimidation and economic sabotage. These fuckers are going all in on making America fail.
posted by Artw at 9:58 PM on March 4 [10 favorites]


@DavidCornDC:
1. Just asked @PressSec when Trump will produce evidence to back up his charge about Obama. Tomorrow? He said, "Let's just enjoy tonight."

2. But Trump said Obama broke the law. So Monday? @PressSec shrugged. Tuesday? I asked. He walked away.
posted by chris24 at 10:05 PM on March 4 [57 favorites]


Well, Roger Stone had an extended shitfit on Twitter and said explicitly that he had a "perfectly legal" backchannel to Assange. So there's that.
posted by holgate at 10:13 PM on March 4 [16 favorites]


Holy fuck imagine how nightmarishly compromised Trump Tower is. Everyone is tapping that shit. US, Russia, UK, probably Israel, maybe Germany and China. Spooks in the tower and SIGINT dripping out of every hole.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:14 PM on March 4 [12 favorites]


That could well be. As Trump himself once said - "The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough".
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:19 PM on March 4 [16 favorites]


Conservative columnist and deputy editor of the editorial board at the WSJ.

@StephensWSJ:
When will Republicans acknowledge that the President of the United States is mentally ill? https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-accuses-obama-of-wire-tapping-in-october-1488637355 via @WSJ
posted by chris24 at 10:21 PM on March 4 [40 favorites]


I don't see what's so hard about the security aspect of cyber. Just hop on Signal with your sweetie, and set the messages to disappear in under one minute...
posted by Coventry at 10:21 PM on March 4




That could well be. As Trump himself once said - "The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough".

But I thought that Barron could cyber anyone?
posted by futz at 10:25 PM on March 4


WSJ: Trump Faces Furor. In Trump's Mirror! LOL!!
--(The WSJ I've begun subscribing to in my mind.)
posted by thebrokedown at 10:36 PM on March 4 [6 favorites]


What are the odds that Trump's personal phone has foreign malware that enables the camera and microphone in background?
posted by JackFlash at 10:37 PM on March 4 [9 favorites]


19. 5 million percent. Or is it 19.5 billion? I forget.
posted by futz at 10:40 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


An old Android phone no longer receiving security updates vs pretty much every intelligence agency in the world? Trump's appearance at WrestleMania was more of a fair fight.
posted by zachlipton at 10:42 PM on March 4 [23 favorites]


Extremely low, JackFlash. That phone must be monitored so closely that someone's pager goes off when its twitter app crashes. They probably do the equivalent of a factory reset every night while he's asleep.
posted by Coventry at 10:44 PM on March 4


the couch thing is so fucking stupid it makes me slip into a fugue state and commit atrocities

not putting her dirty street shoes on the furniture might be the only decent human thing she's done in the entirety of her role as a vile propagandist and filthy fucking collaborator for a disgusting hateful fascist regime
posted by poffin boffin at 10:51 PM on March 4 [11 favorites]


>not putting her dirty street shoes on the furniture might be the only decent human thing she's done

She did not take her heels off she was wearing them on the couch.
posted by futz at 10:55 PM on March 4 [11 favorites]


You can see her heels peeking out in the infamous picture.
posted by futz at 10:58 PM on March 4


Now I'm really worried about what atrocities poffin might commit.
posted by zachlipton at 10:58 PM on March 4 [16 favorites]


>Now I'm really worried about what atrocities poffin might commit.

Release the poffin boffin!
posted by futz at 11:00 PM on March 4 [18 favorites]


All of 45's tweets are just trying to distract us from the atrocities that poffin commits.
posted by overglow at 11:01 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]


Now I'm really worried about what atrocities poffin might commit.

All quack and no peck.
posted by Coventry at 11:03 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


i will wear your flesh like a cape
posted by poffin boffin at 11:13 PM on March 4 [56 favorites]


Couch Conway, Part Deux.

The best explanation I have heard is that she was trying to get a closeup of Trump with Frederick Douglass.
posted by JackFlash at 11:15 PM on March 4 [19 favorites]


The best explanation I have heard is that she was trying to get a closeup of Trump with Frederick Douglass.

To anyone who hasn't been following the couch incident (not suggesting that you haven't been JackFlash) just enter 'couch" into the search bar here and choose "comments" because there has been a TON of discussion as to why the Kellyanne couch situation is highly problematic even if she was just taking a photo.
posted by futz at 11:26 PM on March 4


That @StephensWSJ twitter account has been suspended.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 11:38 PM on March 4


>Wall Street Journal's Bret Stevens: When will Republicans acknowledge that the President of the United States is mentally ill?

It looks like he just deleted his tweet, his account is not suspended.
posted by Catblack at 11:42 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Not suspended, but the tweet was deleted. He says: "Just deleted tweet on Trump's mental health. I'm a columnist not a diagnostician. That something is deeply amiss, I have no doubt." after people were upset that he was using Trump to stigmatize mental illness.

Now, if you want to see somebody, er, really having an interesting night on Twitter, see some of the things Roger Stone has been up to tonight.
posted by zachlipton at 11:42 PM on March 4 [14 favorites]


>This Stunningly Racist French Novel Is How Steve Bannon Explains The World

Michael Orthofer (who reviewed and hated the book in 2015) posted an update in response to that article:
The copyright-sequence on the copyright page of my edition of the book pretty much sums it up too
posted by edeezy at 12:00 AM on March 5 [15 favorites]


I could never be President because I'd have a No Shoes policy in the White House

Could probably provide like, paper slippers I guess
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:05 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


The first response of many of my high school freshmen when they're caught red handed for something egregious is to deny it. Then shift blame. Then explain how something else somebody else in class did iwas just as bad, perhaps even worse. Then to privately blame some kids they don't like and occasional exact revenge on that innocent kid. And in some special cars, bring in their parents to argue that what the student did was either something we should forgive (for all of the pervious reasons and usually also because kids will be kids) or was in fact the school's fault for catching them.

I see you, Don.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:51 AM on March 5 [70 favorites]


Hair Furor.
posted by darkstar at 12:52 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


An old Android phone no longer receiving security updates vs pretty much every intelligence agency in the world?

It must be corewars in that thing; with each last person to hack it frantically patching it against their known zeroday exploits to keep the n+1 hacker out of it.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:36 AM on March 5 [18 favorites]


Just a small thing, but

On the "too fast" thing I think humans have a proclivity to live in insular patriarchal tribes warring with and enslaving one another on and off. It's kind of programmed in.

Nope. There is no evidence that humans are naturally insular or patriarchal or aggressive. Among contemporary hunter-gatherer communities, only some are, and humans were living as hunter-gatherers for many, many thousands of years before agricultural settlements appeared rather recently. So from a genetic development point of view, we have more peaceful and helpful coexistence in us than warring tribalism.
posted by mumimor at 1:39 AM on March 5 [18 favorites]


So from a genetic development point of view, we have more peaceful and helpful coexistence in us than warring tribalism.

Unclear, but it looks a bit like one of those self-fulfilling prophesy things, where if enough people believe it, it actually becomes true. For a while at least. Not so much just now.
posted by dirge at 1:52 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Trump's latest meltdown reminded me of this Vox article about how dangerous Trump is when he's losing.

This is my worst fear: Trump is losing, regardless of how the politics play out. He's 70, he eats an unhealthy diet, he doesn't exercise, and he has the most stressful job in the world. His father was showing signs of Alzheimer's by his age. He knows the inevitable is coming. What does an irresponsible, self-obsessed man advised by apocalyptic white nationalists like Bannon do when he is confronted by his own mortality and he has sole authority over nukes and a bunch of other awful things?
posted by SakuraK at 1:55 AM on March 5 [21 favorites]


He orders extra ketchup.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 2:05 AM on March 5 [14 favorites]


I'm kind of worried that there was actually a wiretap of Trump Tower, and that it was because there was a clear and present threat to national security, as this Wired article posits: If the Feds Did Wiretap Trump Tower, It’s Not Obama Who Should Worry
“You can’t tap the phones of a political candidate for political purposes,” says Doss.

What you could tap them for? Acting as a foreign power, or as an agent of a foreign power. In other words, spying against US interests with both knowledge and intent.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:05 AM on March 5 [20 favorites]


sole authority over nukes

In practical terms, this is not true. Nobody's going to carry out an order to nuke Greece because Trump broke a tooth on an olive pit. In all likelihood, nobody's going to carry out an order to nuke Iran for reasons less than you'd find at least dubiously plausible. There are humans in the loop, and they don't get that job by acting like thoughtless automatons.
posted by dirge at 2:08 AM on March 5 [7 favorites]




Here is the LA Times Story on the San Diego woman: Deportation of grandmother leaves a San Diego military family reeling: Clarissa Arredondo, 43, is the mother of Adriana Aparicio, whose husband is a Navy veteran working as a contractor in Afghanistan. The couple has two daughters, 2 and 3, and Arredondo, who came to the U.S. more than 25 years ago, helped take care of them.

“They consider my mom as a criminal for lying on paperwork to get welfare,” Aparicio said, adding that officials said that happened more than a decade ago.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:44 AM on March 5 [11 favorites]


I still believe the problem is more Trump and Bannon than all the Republican lawmakers. He was elected by millions of racist and sexist Americans who are never going to publicly admit it, but they didn't like having a black president, and they definitely didn't want the black guy followed by a woman. That's all there was to it; racism and sexism. His supporters liked that he ranted and raved. They didn't care that he had not one single genuine plan. They didn't care that he behaved like a hangry toddler and made disgusting rapey remarks. His ass got elected and the GOP feels like they're fucked. Remember, they didn't want him either.

My feeling is the GOP career politicians are bending to what they perceive was the will of the people or at the very least, the situation at hand. They saw a Trump victory and equated that with Trump support or support for "change." They want to get re-elected, so they're going to either publicly back him or try to remain publicly neutral.

I believe they see exactly what he is and they're afraid to say the emperor has no clothes for fear of losing votes. Also, they see him as a big scary bully who has a terrifying amount of power and who could absolutely ruin their lives if he chooses. But as 45 says increasingly unstable things or veers closer to libel or treason, my guess is they're ALL trying to figure out how the hell to distance themselves from him.

I do think he clearly has some genuine GOP supporters but I think right now more and more GOP lawmakers are trying to figure out how the hell to move away from this lunatic and still get re-elected.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 3:24 AM on March 5 [16 favorites]


'Gun for hire': how Jeff Sessions used his prosecuting power to target Democrats
Wow. I tend to skip articles like this, thinking that I already know that Sessions is awful and targeting Democrats sounds like business as usual, but it was so much worse than expected. A democrat, Mims, was running for mayor and Sessions had said no worries "Mims won’t be around by that time". And then he made up charges and Mims was sentenced to prison for 10 years! And that was just the first example in the story.

I don't know, I guess what I thought awful but expected was something like threatening with lawsuits, making peoples feel miserable so that they don't want to run for office anymore, things like that. But making sure opponents go to prison for 10 years... I really thought that I wouldn't be surprised anymore by any of this, but it keeps getting worse apparently.
posted by blub at 3:26 AM on March 5 [60 favorites]


Education-related sidenote: the DoE publishes weekly newsletters for teachers. In this week's newsletter with one exception, every single profiled teacher, student and school is from a charter/private school. There's also an article written by the rightwing think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, about how "caged-in" teachers can break free from administrators.

The one public school article is about absenteeism in Philadelphia.

It's a shockingly loaded propaganda piece. Proponents of vouchers and charter schools will love it.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 4:02 AM on March 5 [51 favorites]


[One deleted. Hey, sorry, interesting thoughts, but Darwinian/evolutionary social theories re population densities, patriarchy, reproduction, social orders, etc., is actually going to be a yuuuuuuge derail in a politics thread already nearing 1000 comments, maybe better for a fully fleshed post. (Just let us know if you need a copy of your text)]
posted by taz at 4:18 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


I love this Maggie Haberman tweet (and all the responses) because I've had the same experience watching reruns and having my heart sink when I hear a 90s-era Trump joke: Cannot get away. Watching the pilot of "Sex and the City" and Mr. Big is introduced to the show as "The next Donald Trump."

It's like we elected our most widespread cultural reference President.
posted by sallybrown at 4:52 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


CNN: Trump Angry and Frustrated at Staff Over Sessions Fallout:
"Nobody has seen him that upset," one source said, adding the feeling was the communications team allowed the Sessions news, which the administration deemed a nonstory, to overtake the narrative. . . . "The staff fumbled," Trump told the team for not being prepared when the Sessions story came out, according to another source. . . . When the President returned to the White House Thursday evening from a day trip to Virginia, there were "a lot of expletives." The source said for more than a week Trump had been lamenting that his senior staff "just keep getting in their own way." . . . The President is showing increasing flashes of anger over the performance of his senior staff and daily developments about Russia overshadowing his message, multiple people inside the White House and outside the administration told CNN. . . .

One source familiar with the Friday meeting said Trump was angry at senior staff, including chief of staff Reince Priebus, about the state of affairs at the White House this week. Word had spread through the White House that Priebus had been chewed out but those in the room dispute that. Priebus declined to comment on the record [ahem] about the meeting. . . . An informed presidential ally outside government but close to the President said Trump was really angry about having a "mini disaster" a week. The President's mood is adding to tremendous pressure inside the West Wing and aides have been seen in tears in recent days at multiple meetings.
Maggie Haberman adds more color: During the campaign, Trump would routinely kick aides off the plane as a time-out. "They hate me because they hate you," was a refrain.

No, buddy, we hate you because we hate you.

Sounds like Priebus may not be long for this Administration.
posted by sallybrown at 5:12 AM on March 5 [48 favorites]




NO PUPPET NO PUPPET YOU'RE THE PUPPET
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:42 AM on March 5 [29 favorites]


Is it true the DNC would not allow the FBI access to check server or other equipment after learning it was hacked? Can that be possible?

You'd think that maybe the President of the United States could pick up a phone, push the FBI speed dial button, and ask them?
posted by mikelieman at 5:44 AM on March 5 [11 favorites]


You'd think that four months would be long enough for it to sink in that he won, is now the president, and can stop obsessing over the election.

And yet, here we are.
posted by Superplin at 5:53 AM on March 5 [10 favorites]


Update on my letter to the editor re: Jeff Sessions: it didn't run Friday or Saturday, so I figured Sunday was my last shot, and there it is! With a little picture of Sessions next to it, in case anyone forgot who he was. They only made one editorial change- I called out "so many members of the Trump administration" and they changed it to "some members of the Trump administration". Fair enough.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:01 AM on March 5 [111 favorites]


...showing increasing flashes of anger over the performance of his senior staff and daily developments about Russia...and aides have been seen in tears in recent days at multiple meetings.

Okay, now its just getting ridiculous. I appreciated the bunker scene in Downfall as much as anybody, but history, in its repetition, seems recently to have cast off all sense of subtlety.
posted by darkstar at 6:08 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


maybe if your boss is a raging lunatic, you should quit
posted by kokaku at 6:11 AM on March 5 [14 favorites]


You'd think that four months would be long enough for it to sink in that he won, is now the president, and can stop obsessing over the election.

And yet, here we are.
posted by Superplin at 9:53 PM on March 5 [2 favorites +] [!]


He knows what he did. That's why.
posted by saysthis at 6:12 AM on March 5 [26 favorites]


The White House statement re the tweets yesterday:
Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling. President Donald J. Trump is requesting that as part of the investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016. Neither the White House nor the President will comment further until such oversight is conducted.
Trump will hate this:
- "potentially politically motivated investigations" is anodyne
- "requesting" rather than "demanding"
- "to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016" is unclear and broad and could even cover the Comey Clinton letter
- it pledges he'll stop talking about this, so either he's muzzled or he talks about it and gives the public another example of him lying or being undisciplined

I can't imagine Trump personally signed off on this statement. It seems almost designed to infuriate him.
posted by sallybrown at 6:17 AM on March 5 [25 favorites]


Maggie Haberman adds more color: During the campaign, Trump would routinely kick aides off the plane as a time-out. "They hate me because they hate you," was a refrain

He sounds like an abusive boyfriend in a bad movie.
posted by octothorpe at 6:19 AM on March 5 [23 favorites]


Seriously, read that Gun For Hire story about Sessions. It will give you chills - it reads like something you'd expect in, like, 1920 in some corrupt small town, but worse.

Sometimes in these posts we use a little bit of hyperbole about these terrible, terrible people. But that story is genuinely about a man who appears to trump up charges for political convenience. For the first time it really made me think "we could end up with show trials in this country".
posted by Frowner at 6:19 AM on March 5 [50 favorites]


I see it very differently, sallybrown.

- baseless conspiracy theories from Breitbart now qualify as "reports";
- a congressional investigation of Russia (and this fake wiretapping story) by a Republican legislature that has shown no interest in delving into the real abuses of power in this administration means giving a veneer of legitimacy to what will almost certainly be a case that languishes in Nowheresville;
- refusing to comment on either is an attempt to kill both stories and silence the press.
posted by Superplin at 6:24 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


Sometimes in these posts we use a little bit of hyperbole about these terrible, terrible people. But that story is genuinely about a man who appears to trump up charges for political convenience. For the first time it really made me think "we could end up with show trials in this country".

Yeah it's kind of terrifying. Hopefully Trump doesn't come up with the plan of having Sessions pull Clinton in to turn her into a Tymoshenko to distract the rubes.

It'll be interesting to see who prevails in USSS vs US Marshals.
posted by Talez at 6:25 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


You are not kidding about that Sessions article. How did this not come up during the confirmation hearings?

This man is not fit for any office. The country itself isn't safe with Sessions as AG.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:25 AM on March 5 [21 favorites]


Sarah Huckabee Sanders is on This Week on ABC right now continuing to talk about the potential wiretapping. So the WH statement that they wouldn't be discussing this further lasted...a handful of minutes?
posted by sallybrown at 6:25 AM on March 5 [14 favorites]


Four ways of thinking about long term prospects come to mind:

From the first moment to the last, the lonely hour of the 'last instance' never comes. -- Althusser

One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die. -- Darwin

In the long run, we are all dead. -- Keynes

The meek shall inherit the earth. -- Christ
posted by spitbull at 6:25 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


This is fine - Firedog
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:27 AM on March 5 [13 favorites]


From Just Security: Tapping Trump?, a concise explainer.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:28 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]



Is it true the DNC would not allow the FBI access to check server or other equipment after learning it was hacked? Can that be possible?

Who was it that secretly said to Russian President, "Tell Vladimir that after the election I'll have more flexibility?" @foxandfriends


Does anyone know what the heck he's talking about on either of these?

Also, it's hard to get a solid read in so few characters, but am I alone in feeling that neither of there feel like "real" Trump tweets -- that someone else has the phone this morning and is obfuscating madly?
posted by jammer at 6:29 AM on March 5 [9 favorites]


I see it very differently, sallybrown.

I think it depends in part on whether you see them as acting out of a coherent and planned strategy or running around with their hair on fire. To me they seem the latter.
posted by sallybrown at 6:30 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


I can't imagine Trump personally signed off on this statement. It seems almost designed to infuriate him.

Never fear: his fucking awful surrogates on the Sunday shows (or at least Sanders on ABC at present) are doubling down on Trump's crazypants tweets and viciously defaming President Obama at great length as we speak. It's just revolting.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:31 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


So I had dinner with my parents last night and I usually scrupulously avoid politics as I said above because I don't want to talk about how Donald Trump is all the fault of liberals. But he came up anyway because, well. My parents are not dumb and are reasonably well informed (though not obsessed and on the internet 24/7 like me) and they were positing 11-dimensional chess theories and I was like omg you guys he has dementia! He's a horrible abusive man currently experiencing a terrible degenerative disease. They were like, wow, really, do you think? Huh, that's really interesting. Why do you say that?

I feel like I am living on some other plane of reality from everyone else sometimes.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:31 AM on March 5 [49 favorites]


Trump urges Obama abuse of powers probe (real). This is a much more interesting weekend than the last one.
posted by Namlit at 6:31 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]




this is all gonna end up as a hostage situation at mar a lago with the fledling administration demanding a helicopter ride to the russian ship sitting offshore, innit?
posted by localhuman at 6:32 AM on March 5 [24 favorites]


Does anyone know what the heck he's talking about on either of these?

I googled the quote and came up with this yt clip - but no context. Pretty innocuous stuff in my opinion.
posted by klarck at 6:33 AM on March 5


Seriously, read that Gun For Hire story about Sessions. It will give you chills - it reads like something you'd expect in, like, 1920 in some corrupt small town, but worse.

I'm more worried that my reaction to reading it was so mild, because, yeah, it's fucked up, but my opinion of US Attorneys and the FBI could not be much lower. I guess it's outrageous that politically-connected white people were among those railroaded? But the stuff about bringing someone up on flimsy charges or having a predetermined "hit list" of people and trying to flip someone into being an informant who will attempt to incriminate them is something that I've read so many times before.
posted by indubitable at 6:35 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


this is all gonna end up as a hostage situation at mar a lago with the hostage takers demanding a helicopter ride to the russian ship sitting offshore, innit?
Either that, or it will end with show trials of the entire Democratic Party leadership and a network of gulags in Alaska. Could go either way, really.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:35 AM on March 5 [9 favorites]



this is all gonna end up as a hostage situation at mar a lago with the fledling administration demanding a helicopter ride to the russian ship sitting offshore, innit?

Say hello...to my little hands!
posted by howfar at 6:39 AM on March 5 [15 favorites]


The Congressional Republicans are going to get right on board with this appalling shit and go after Obama too, aren't they? My god, when I think about how Obama so graciously welcomed Trump after the election and went out of his way to be helpful to the guy who had openly tried to fuck him over for years.

How long will it take before Trump adds in the sekrit Muslim birther stuff and won't let the Obamas back in the country after a trip?
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:40 AM on March 5 [22 favorites]


I think it depends in part on whether you see them as acting out of a coherent and planned strategy or running around with their hair on fire. To me they seem the latter.

Legitimizing Bannon's old fiefdom while trying to stifle other media and turning over the investigation to a compliant Congress doesn't require any grand strategy. I still see it as flailing, but also dangerously at risk of success.
posted by Superplin at 6:42 AM on March 5


The Congressional Republicans are going to get right on board with this appalling shit and go after Obama too, aren't they?

Yes, please Donald, do take on Obama, who by any objective measure was the most competent chief executive in the last 40 years, who just finished 8 scandal-free years in the white house and is enjoying the highest popularity of any ex-president, who had the goods on you back in July but withheld to avoid the slightest taint of partisanship, who had a mere spokesman refute your recent wild accusation, who knows where all the WH light switches are, who can de-normalize you by simply appearing on camera with you. He will destroy you.
posted by klarck at 6:43 AM on March 5 [105 favorites]


The Congressional Republicans are going to get right on board with this appalling shit and go after Obama too, aren't they?
I mean, what possible precedent would make anyone think that they won't? Do you think they're too honorable and decent to do that? Too patriotic? What would stop them?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:43 AM on March 5 [15 favorites]


Maybe we will just turn maralago into a Guantanamo for wayward republican naughties.
posted by ian1977 at 6:45 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


They are politicians. Obama right now is widely beloved by the nation, with soaring approval ratings. Their popularity is much lower. They would be incredibly stupid to try and take him on, and for that reason I'm betting they won't.
posted by sallybrown at 6:45 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


Paranoid and wondering: If Trump's tweets were intended to distract us from something else, what might the something else be?
posted by bunderful at 6:46 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Trump's tweets aren't "intended" to do anything. He's a raging toddler with zero impulse control and found a rare moment when his babysitters were busy to grab his phone and incoherently vent his frustrations at the world.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 6:49 AM on March 5 [56 favorites]


They would be incredibly stupid to try and take him on, and for that reason I'm betting they won't.

Their gerrymandered districts ensure that the crazier and more anti-Obama they get, the better they will do in their primaries. I expect them all to fall right into step with this.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:49 AM on March 5 [9 favorites]


I read the explainer that MonkeyToes liked to above. This quote is direct frim Breitbart:
In summary: the Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the NSA rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government, virtually ensuring that the information, including the conversations of private citizens, would be leaked to the media.
That's the angle they're going to take when this comes out. They know there's fire behind the smoke, they're figuring out that it's going to come out eventually, and they're pre-emptively poisoning the well to (try to) undermine it.

Oh man, on preview:

FelliniBlank: The Congressional Republicans are going to get right on board with this appalling shit and go after Obama too, aren't they?

Sudden gut-clenching dread. That's how this is going to play out, isn't it? Now that that smoke bomb has been dropped, the collaborators in Congress -- who were able to turn fucking emails into a giant controversy -- are going to go all in on Obama abusing his power to spy on Trump. We're going to have full on Congressional investigations over the world's biggest nothing-burger while...

Ugh. Someone tell me this isn't likely?
posted by jammer at 6:50 AM on March 5 [11 favorites]


Here's me desperately hoping for the next IC leak that always seems to come out to shake things up when the Trumpists find something new to coalesce on...
posted by jammer at 6:52 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


Paranoid and wondering: If Trump's tweets were intended to distract us from something else, what might the something else be?

1) Old Man Trump.

2) Failed Presidency.

3) Incontinence.

4) Russia.

5) Being underwater financially. ( All his cash flow goes to service outstanding debt, I suspect )

6) Being in debt to Russians.

7) Pee tape

8) Legitimate questions about whether he raped a 13 year old girl in 1994

....

I could go on, but I'm nauseous
posted by mikelieman at 6:52 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


Someone tell me this isn't likely?

It's not.

What's likely is the more smoke there is coming from all these different accusations, the easier it will be for Congress to be like "ok sure we'll look into everything" and tread water on the Russia connection while pushing the actual policy stuff they care about through.
posted by sallybrown at 6:53 AM on March 5 [10 favorites]


They are politicians. Obama right now is widely beloved by the nation, with soaring approval ratings. Their popularity is much lower. They would be incredibly stupid to try and take him on, and for that reason I'm betting they won't.

If doing something would be incredibly stupid, I'd lay my money on Trump doing it.
posted by indubitable at 6:54 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


and with congress investigating obama's supposed wiretapping of trump, how does that happen without a crapload of scandal about republicans getting revealed?

it's almost like someone's trying to destroy the faith of the people in BOTH parties - who benefits?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:54 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


If doing something would be incredibly stupid, I'd lay my money on Trump doing it.

We're discussing a potential Congressional investigation, which Trump would not control.
posted by sallybrown at 6:55 AM on March 5


IIRC, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions didn't rescue himself from any investigations into the actions of the Executive Branc in 2016.
posted by mikelieman at 6:59 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


We're discussion a potential Congressional investigation, which Trump would not control.

Right. The same Congress that is refusing to do anything meaningful regarding a mountain of evidence of possible collusion between Russia and the administration, led by the same leaders who have had every chance to find some reason to slide slowly away from Trump and defend their image in history. But haven't, because they're totally happy to use him as cover for their hateful policies, massive corruption and all.

I have zero faith that the whole rotten apparatus won't see this as a potential get out of jail free card -- not even all that figuratively -- and dive into it whole heartedly.
posted by jammer at 7:01 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]


The Trump admin doesn't have to prove anything about Obama's involvement. It doesn't even have to provide evidence. It simply has to fan the flames and spread FUD and his 40% (I think it's safe to raise the American Crazification Factor up from the fabled 27% by now) will apply pressure on his behalf. Twitter is already abuzz with thousands of PROVEN OBAMA CRIMES LOCK HIM UP howls, although that's true of any day ending in y.

Likewise, Congress has to tread slightly lightly on this because a formal investigation opens them up to looking quite stupid if there really is no evidence. But that doesn't mean that the Ted Cruzes and the Louie Gohmerts and the John Cornyns and the Steve Kings of the world, who are quite accustomed to looking quite stupid in public and wearing it as a virtue, won't run their mouths about Questionable Obama Activity and Criminal Conspiracies and Democrat Ties To Putin whenever possible to make sure that 40% keep believing that Trump can do no wrong and Obama is the antichrist.

Remember the Republican mantra: Attack, attack, attack, then attack.
posted by delfin at 7:02 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


@jonfavs
Barack Obama's master plan:
1) Wiretap the opposition
2) Gather damaging info
3) Say nothing
4) Let him win
5) Ride off into the sunset


And gotta love it it when everybody is jumping on Roger. (and this was before his really unhinged tweets.)

@RogerJStoneJr
The buck stops here. Obama responsible for illegal surveillance of @realDonaldTrump - must be charged, convicted and jailed.

@Mariobatali Retweeted Roger Stone
Are you high Roger ?? I mean really really high ?
posted by chris24 at 7:02 AM on March 5 [46 favorites]


Former DNI James Clapper says no FISA court order authorizing a wiretap at Trump Tower to his knowledge (and that if it existed he would know about it). [tweet with video]

So, if there are transcripts of calls/meetings in Trump Tower, I'm assuming they were either (a) taps of the other end of the calls or (b) done by non-US intelligence agencies? Or maybe they have an inside man/woman?
posted by melissasaurus at 7:03 AM on March 5 [7 favorites]


And the person chosen as independent prosecutor will be the same person chosen to chair the Eventual 9/11 Commission. Henry Kissyourassgoodbyeinger.

Problem: solved
posted by petebest at 7:03 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


We're going to have full on Congressional investigations over the world's biggest nothing-burger while...

Thing is, a congressional investigation is going to have to be bi-partisan. Rs can't just do it themselves. And Dems with subpoena power... well, they'd also need a spine - But this is why the Rs haven't even made motions towards a pro forma investigation. They won't be able to control what dems do, and they very, very desperately need to hide whats goin on.

Plus, there's that whole "never ask a question you don't know the answer to" thing.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:05 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


Wow, those Roger Stone tweets. Was he hacked? Was he on exceptional drugs?
posted by instead of three wishes at 7:05 AM on March 5


@Mariobatali Retweeted Roger Stone
Are you high Roger ?? I mean really really high ?


Chefs-getting-political Twitter is the best Twitter. Tom Colicchio is great too.
posted by sallybrown at 7:06 AM on March 5 [7 favorites]


Who stoned roger rabid?
posted by Namlit at 7:07 AM on March 5 [17 favorites]


Why do you think it would be stupid for Republicans to "investigate" Obama? It would utterly distract from the Russian allegations and the fact that Trump is batshit and out of control. Many Americans cling to the idea that Congressional Republicans are reasonable people, because the alternative is to realize that voters have made profoundly bad decisions. People don't want to see themselves as dupes or traitors. And if Congressional Republicans think that Obama committed all sorts of crimes, then many voters will think there's probably something to that. The media will spend all their time talking about the supposed crimes of Obama and why they aren't true, to the detriment of all other kinds of coverage. And meanwhile, Republicans will ram through their agenda and blame everything on the crooked Obama administration when people suffer because of it.

I'm honestly completely amazed at how totally innocent most Americans are. You think the really bad shit can't happen here? It can. It has in the past. There's a very good chance it is happening right now.
Wow, those Roger Stone tweets. Was he hacked? Was he on exceptional drugs?
I think that's pretty much just who he is.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:10 AM on March 5 [12 favorites]


Wow, those Roger Stone tweets. Was he hacked? Was he on exceptional drugs?

I mean this is actually par for the course Roger Stone. The guy is on a whole 'nother level. From a young, enterprising, ratfucker for Nixon, to a Trump confidant and guest host on Infowars. An only-in-America success story.
posted by dis_integration at 7:10 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


Ohhhhhh . . . *This* bullshit is why BushCo Fixer James A Baker was summoned to the White House. Save us Jimmy, or we'll have to do something drastic, man . . . we'll declassify the seekrit Dubz crimes! We can't do no time!

(Author's note: the WH end of the conversation must be read in the voice of "Angel" from The Rockford Files.)
posted by petebest at 7:10 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]


Why do you think it would be stupid for Republicans to "investigate" Obama?

Because they don't want to be dealing with this shit right now. That was fine when there was a Democratic president in office and their game plan was total blockage. But they now own the White House *and* Congress, they want to push policy through! All of this junk is getting in the way of them doing the actual work they very much want to do.
posted by sallybrown at 7:12 AM on March 5 [9 favorites]


What The Fuck Just Happened Today: The Normal Person's Guide to 45’s First 45 Fucking Days

The daily news blitzkrieg is by design and undermines a democracy with the intent of fatiguing normal people into submission. By answering the question “what the fuck just happened today?” this project attempts to provide a daily antidote to an impossible news cycle. But every once in a while you need to zoom out, gain some perspective, and observe the larger trends and stories.

So, in honor of America's 45th president, let’s step back and take a look at the five big storylines from 45’s first 45-days in office.

posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:14 AM on March 5 [9 favorites]


Cannot get away. Watching the pilot of "Sex and the City" and Mr. Big is introduced to the show as "The next Donald Trump."

The other day I thought I'd disconnect from news-world, web-world, put on an old banger and dance around while making dinner, so I thought "I haven't listened to Missy Elliott's old stuff in years" put on "Under Construction" and there's a positive reference to Donald Trump in the first minute.

We're all trapped in here with him. I swear maybe it is a glitch in the matrix, a bunch of memory got overwritten with Donald Trump references that weren't there before.
posted by dis_integration at 7:18 AM on March 5 [28 favorites]


What if the end result of the investigation of the alleged taps is the RNC did it? I'd be okay with that outcome too.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 7:25 AM on March 5


it's almost like someone's trying to destroy the faith of the people in BOTH parties - who benefits?

Let me introduce you to Vladimir Putin.
posted by zrail at 7:29 AM on March 5 [7 favorites]


We're all trapped in here with him.

In our house, we don't even have to say his name to invoke him. "What did he do today?" "Oh, the usual: tweet, preen, and botch."
posted by notyou at 7:30 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


Let me introduce to Vonald J. Trutin
posted by Namlit at 7:31 AM on March 5 [9 favorites]


it reads like something you'd expect in, like, 1920 in some corrupt small town, but worse.

"The past is never dead. It's not even past."

On the "investigate the investigation" shit: it puts Devin Nunes in a hole, because his previous "la la la, nothing to investigate here" position is going to be increasingly untenable. I'm still flabbergasted by how the West Wing is still getting the bulk of its inputs from cranks and loons like Mark Levin.
posted by holgate at 7:31 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


People don't realize that wiretapping warrants aren't just something you pick up the phone and call a judge for on a lark for shits and giggles just to see what old Dampnut is up to. Wiretapping shit is some of the most complicated legal judo you'll ever see occur and even the wiretapping itself is fraught with pitfalls that could see the whole investigation trashed because of a procedural error. To say that Obama ordered a wiretap is absolutely fucking ludicrous.
posted by Talez at 7:31 AM on March 5 [15 favorites]


There's a small possibility that there actually was a wiretap, in which case the Feds found serious probable cause in order to get it. And that would be damning for Trump: it would mean that there was real evidence that he was doing something illegal. This is most likely just Trump ranting about something on Breitbart, but it's possible that this is a preemptive defense against some damaging leak that he knows is coming.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:36 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


To say that Obama ordered a wiretap is absolutely fucking ludicrous.

But to say that Trump would try to do so is utterly believable, and to him, that means Obama must have done it. Here we are in the Gilded Mirror Era.
posted by Etrigan at 7:38 AM on March 5 [15 favorites]


Among the many scary as hell things about this administration is seeing how hard they flail, freak out, and generally shit the bed with the lights on even in the absence of an objective crisis to deal with. There hasn't been a terrorist attack, a massive financial collapse, or a foreign policy crisis to deal with; this is entirely their own internal drama, which they can't seem to get a handle on. How the hell can anyone, even their deranged supporters, feel ok about this even from the standpoint of basic governing competence? The fact that no elected Republicans--not one!--can manage to come out gunning in opposition to this rank awfulness is why I find the idea of making common cause with the "NeverTrump" wing of the party so pathetically laughable. They're goddamn mythical creatures.
posted by informavore at 7:40 AM on March 5 [85 favorites]


I'm still flabbergasted by how the West Wing is still getting the bulk of its inputs from cranks and loons like Mark Levin.

Mark Levin is several rungs down the Cranks n' Loons Ladder from Trump's inputs. You need to be looking at Infowars-tier shit and ancaps/neoreactionaries. The rightwing youtube crankosphere is full of direct addresses and appeals to him, like 4th-wall breaking "Mister President, this is what you have to do" stuff, and he has been taking their advice.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:40 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]


What if the end result of the investigation of the alleged taps is the RNC did it?

(I'm throwing down some long-odds money on a bet that the wiretaps are actually from Russia. Because why not go straight for the most outrageous possibility?)
posted by tobascodagama at 7:45 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


(I went ahead and turned my very derail-y deleted post on patriachy, racism, politics, and human reproductive behaviors and evolution into its own post if anyone is interested in that discussion. It was meant to be a more thoughtful take than my previous post in this thread on patriarchy and racism and "human nature.")
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:45 AM on March 5 [15 favorites]


To say that Obama ordered a wiretap is absolutely fucking ludicrous.

When it comes to FISA court stuff, you're sort of right, although they rarely meet a warrant request they don't like. He can't order the FISA court to do anything they don't agree to.

But the President could certainly order the intelligence services to perform illegal wiretapping, and they would almost certainly do it, provided he directed the request to the right people, and we know for a fact that the NSA performs illegal wiretapping and interception of communications all the time, potentially literally all the time of all Americans.
posted by dis_integration at 7:47 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


@MeetThePress
James Clapper: "There was no such wire tap activity amounted against" Donald Trump. [video]

@NBCNewsPR
EXCLUSIVE: CLAPPER - " there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president, president-elect, candidate or campaign" #MTP

---

The 'no such wiretap activity against POTUS or campaign' doesn't rule out that they were doing their regular monitoring of the Russians and Trump & Co kept calling and meeting them. So still holding out hope for transcripts.
posted by chris24 at 7:48 AM on March 5 [39 favorites]


doesn't rule out that they were doing their regular monitoring of the Russians

I was thinking the same thing. Maybe Trump is too self-centered to see that possibility, but following the Russian hacking efforts, it would make perfect sense that the intelligence community was keeping a very close eye on any and all Russian government and/or organized crime folks. If Trump's team is too dumb to steer clear of those intel targets then tough shit, morons.
posted by p3t3 at 7:52 AM on March 5 [15 favorites]


Chuck Todd: If this wiretap/FISA warrant exists, wouldn't you have been briefed about that? Wouldn't you know about it somehow?

Sen. Schumer: "I do not comment on classified briefings." *stone faced silence*

Um...whoa.
posted by sallybrown at 7:52 AM on March 5 [54 favorites]


Why do you think it would be stupid for Republicans to "investigate" Obama?

1 - you can never guarantee what such an investigation is going to turn up - including transcripts of trump and russian diplomats ...

2 - the bitterness and rage felt by many democrats will be fatal to so called "bi-partisanship" - and perhaps the governability of much of the country

3 - god only knows how much dirt is hidden somewhere on whoever - the leaks will be catastrophic and perhaps full of fake scandal - many people will be out for blood after this and the end result will be a sleaze armageddon

and as far as putin is concerned, it would be blindly stupid of him to encourage this result - better an enemy you understand and can predict than an incapicatated great power that's lost its leverage over the rest of the world, including your potential enemies
posted by pyramid termite at 7:56 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


If the Republicans investigate Obama--while refusing to investigate Trump--the country will break apart. I mean, that might be happening anyway, but...
posted by overglow at 8:00 AM on March 5 [12 favorites]


The 'no such wiretap activity against POTUS or campaign' doesn't rule out that they were doing their regular monitoring of the Russians and Trump & Co kept calling and meeting them. So still holding out hope for transcripts.

Given that Flynn was previously the head of an IC agency and apparently repeatedly called the Russian embassy, I have no expectation of greater levels of intelligence (pun not intended) from other random campaign people. So yeah, I'm with you on the outside chance of transcripts.
posted by jaduncan at 8:01 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


IRL LOL at the stupidity of this. Manafort lived in Trump tower; if he was suspected of being a Russian asset, well. That's not tapping the campaign, per se, especially since to get all the March 2016 stuff on tape they would have had to already been watching Manafort by the time he joined the campaign.

Like of course we're spying on Russian spies and assets. If they were stupid enough to conspire this openly with a foreign power to steal an election, nobody needed to be listening in on the campaign. The pre-existing monitoring of the foreign agents would do the job.

I just...have none of these assholes even seen a spy movie? Or read a damn book? Or just like...thought ahead?

The only thing that gives me pause is that I wouldn't expect professionals to be so sloppy. Otoh, I guess shit happens when you partner with people dumb enough to throw poo. It's not like the professionals could keep the idiots from talking to each other.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:03 AM on March 5 [20 favorites]


What's fatal about investigating Obama?

More than anything it sets precedent, no? Who's to say Trump won't be investigated himself when he makes it out alive? It's a hell of a political shift to start persecuting your predecessors with something more than [batshit] words. In the process he's invalidating the primary reason he got into politics: immunity from prosecution. I'm convinced Donnieboy's lawyers originally proposed his candidacy as a way of politicizing any convictions for tax fraud/laundering/racketeering/etc.
posted by constantinescharity at 8:05 AM on March 5 [10 favorites]


@resnikoff
This could very well end up turning into a world-historical self own. Trump Seeks Inquiry Into Unproved Allegations That Obama Tapped His Phones

Trump still hasn't figured out the difference between lying when you're the president and lying when you're a candidate/media phenomenon.

As candidate, you can demand whatever investigations you want as a mystification tactic. Things will remain inconclusive as long you need.

The danger of this tactic as president is *there may actually be an investigation.* With conclusive results, even.

And while it's easy to make up allegations, wholesale fabrication of committee findings is considerably more challenging.

(Which is why even the Benghazi committee wound up accomplishing very little.)

Like I've said, Trump-style demagoguery is not built to withstand the vicissitudes of holding real government power. President’s Trump biggest weakness is that he has no choice but to govern

Populist-authoritarian strategy works best when:
1.) You have an actual majority
2.) You've crippled countervailing state institutions

Trump lost the popular vote. And while countervailing institutions are indeed weak, Bannon, Miller et al have overestimated their weakness.

Which is why, for example, the White House was genuinely wrongfooted when the Muslim ban crashed and burned in court.

Vague but maybe helpful analogy: Trump is trying to govern like Augustus—but there hasn't been a Caesar, and Trump is bad at it besides.
posted by chris24 at 8:05 AM on March 5 [43 favorites]


Thing is, a congressional investigation is going to have to be bi-partisan.

Why would you think this? An investigation into Obama would be the same as the Chaeffetz/Gowdy Benghazi kangaroo committees. Republicans have the majority, they don't have to form a new committee for a new investigation, and Dems would have no control over which subpoenas were sent out. They would have a seat and get to ask questions at the hearings. That's it. Democrats could not take an Obama investigation and magically turn it into a Trump investigation without Republican majority agreement on the committee.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:06 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Also, every time I find myself disbelieving anyone could be so stupid, I think of the Apple / publisher anti-trust case. The big five publishers literally met for dinner in a private room at a New York restaurant to discuss price fixing, and took notes.

I get that anti-trust enforcement has been lax for like...70 years, but dude. You still don't meet with your competitors in private, without counsel present, to discuss prices. And then take notes.

People who run legacy businesses are not necessarily smart enough to run a 5k on their own.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:06 AM on March 5 [26 favorites]


Democrats could not take an Obama investigation and magically turn it into a Trump investigation without Republican majority agreement on the committee.

It's an investigation of Obama investigating Trump. Hard to do one without looking into the reality and merits of the other. Not to say shitty Rs won't try, but hard to control info, leaks and where things lead, and they know that. And know what they could find. I think this is going to be like Trump's call for Congress to investigate voter fraud. Where they know it's ridiculous and basically ignore it.
posted by chris24 at 8:11 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Is the investigation into the did-not-happen Obamatapp going to run in parallel with the investigation into the did-not-happen mass voting fraud? (What's not-happening there, anyway?).

Can we have a permanent committee onnon-existent things? It would probably be more efficient.
posted by Devonian at 8:14 AM on March 5 [7 favorites]


An investigation of Obama investigating trump might be the cover republicans need to investigate trump.
posted by ian1977 at 8:15 AM on March 5 [11 favorites]


Along those same lines, pyramid termite: the chronic IOKIYAR and nothing-to-see-here-ism among Congressional Republicans aside, I'm interested too in the ways that Trump's own (totally avoidable, totally unnecessary, totally inept) antics might bite him in the ass, if the world ever regains its sanity (and the Ds ever regain enough seats).

He wants to have Obama investigated, calling him out personally as a wiretapper and a Russia stooge? He wants to publicly denigrate the integrity of the intelligence community and the federal judiciary? He wants to casually insult sitting members of Congress and the major press outlets?

People in these positions do not hold insignificant power, and are extremely well-connected in a world Trump knows nothing about. Trump cares about keeping his dirt to himself about as much as a tornado does. I'd like to believe Revenge of the Grownups is going to be fucking huge, and I'm itching to see what shape it takes.
posted by Rykey at 8:18 AM on March 5 [30 favorites]


They[democrats] would have a seat and get to ask questions at the hearings. That's it.

Not for nothing, but that's how Sessions got tripped up.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:19 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


Sen. Schumer: "I do not comment on classified briefings." *stone faced silence*

Carter Page, I believe Sen. Schumer has a lesson for you on how to say "no comment." Carter Page to the white courtesy phone, please.
posted by fedward at 8:23 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


Twenty questions from Lawfare:

Ten Questions for President Trump and Ten More Questions for President Trump.

"To the extent any wiretap you revealed yesterday was previously classified, your tweets have declassified the fact of its existence. Do you agree that the FBI, DOJ, and the FISA Court are now at liberty to confirm the existence of any FISA surveillance that may have been taking place at Trump Tower or against its occupants?"

"To whatever extent you have revealed FISA surveillance in a series of tweets, with which agencies, if any, did you consult before declassifying presumably sensitive material about a foreign counterintelligence investigation that is by most accounts still ongoing?"
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:26 AM on March 5 [43 favorites]


The 'no such wiretap activity against POTUS or campaign' doesn't rule out that they were doing their regular monitoring of the Russians and Trump & Co kept calling and meeting them. So still holding out hope for transcripts.

I actually learned this the other day. That would be illegal. Unless you have a warrant, if you are doing regular monitoring and an American is on the phone, you need to hang up.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:27 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


@HeerJeet
1. A lesson from Watergate. When GOP scandal breaks conservatives can follow the George Will model or the M. Stanton Evans model.
2. During Watergate, Nixon's popularity flagged with general population but a certain type of right-winger became more pro-Nixon.
3. Lots of right-wingers disliked Nixon on policy grounds (China, detente, environment, wage/price) but started loving him during Watergate
4. Despite their policy dislike of Nixon, he was a GOP president under attack from Dems & media, so they rallied behind him.
5. M. Stanton Evans spoke for many on the right when he said he "never liked Nixon until Watergate."
6. George Will, who was National Review columnist during Watergate, was the opposite of Evans. Sharply critical of president.
7. Will's criticism of Nixon made him unpopular with National Review readers, who accused him of being sell out (or in 2017 terms, a cuck).
8. Question many conservative pundits might have to ask themselves: will they follow George Will of 1973 or M. Stanton Evans of 1973?
9. For conservative pundits, even or especially former Never Trumpers, incentive structure is to defend him now & win audience loyalty.
10. Many of Trump's more deranged comments make sense if you realize he's trying to create M. Stanton Evans type loyalists & lead them.

---

And stunningly, a certain pundit seems to be still opting for the Will model.

@JoeNBC
Did Trump trash the 44th President and slime American democracy based on a conspiracy theory pushed on talk radio and website? That's sick.
posted by chris24 at 8:28 AM on March 5 [70 favorites]


Oh wow, I hadn't noticed the jujitsu in this statement in the NYT article from chris24's post:
“A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” Kevin Lewis, Mr. Obama’s spokesman, said in a statement on Saturday.
That could be read as confirming awareness of a DOJ investigation. I wonder if that was on purpose.
posted by fedward at 8:29 AM on March 5 [14 favorites]


And stunningly, a certain pundit seems to be still opting for the Will model.

@JoeNBC
Did Trump trash the 44th President and slime American democracy based on a conspiracy theory pushed on talk radio and website? That's sick.


This is especially notable to me because Joe has been, frankly, deranged in his hatred of Obama for so many years.
posted by sallybrown at 8:31 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


This morning:

Chuck Todd: "Are you concerned the president has a credibility problem?"
Marco Rubio: "He's doing exactly what he said he was going to do."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:31 AM on March 5 [7 favorites]


I'm taking some time to catch up with the Blue threads after a few weeks off while I, um, processed cutting off my entire family of origin and grieving that. So I apologize if I miss some context, but my partner and I are here a few hours early for our Congressional Rep's town hall and I am full of emotions at the same time as I'm sitting in my hands in the middle of the auditorium trying not to get in anyone's way. I figured I might as well report while I wait, and this is as good a place as any.

Lloyd's office only officially announced this town hall three days ago by emailing people who had specifically requested a town hall letting us know it would happen and asking us to rsvp. I got back immediately saying yes, I wanted to come, and also my roomie, my partner, and at least one other friend would also like to. The rep got back to me within hours apologizing profusely and asking that we who had asked for a town hall limit ourselves to one guest so we didn't overwhelm the space, so my partner got dibs on my spot. We were told that the rep would be here at 12p and that the event would start at 11a but "come early," so we turned up at 930a on the grounds that everything we've tried to go to has gotten real crowded real fast and we'd like to find parking. This may have been slightly too early, hence me shyly sitting in the auditorium texting you all, but it's been worth it to watch everyone setting up and talk to folks here. We, um, we're literally the first two non volunteering attendees here.

(Everyone is very friendly. I've had at least four people approach me to chat and check in and make sure we aren't overwhelmed volunteers or something, so I'm composing this in between chats with people in meeting here.)

There are booths and desks everywhere and a great big cheery banner from ATXIndivisible. There are booths for Rural Outreach Texas and Civil Rights Texas and Degerrymandering Texas and our district's involvement team and teams for every other local rep and Planned Parenthood and t shirts and first aid and something very interesting covered in Marvel superheroes. There's a booth for registering to vote, either yourself or other people, and one for finding your rep and one for crowdsourcing good slogans. A local singer is warming up on the stage and volunteers are swarming enthusiastically, with security folks wearing holographic Captain America stickers and purple ribbons. (Someone here is a massive Marvel nerd and I want to find them and make friends now.)

There are live tweeting channels setting up and a pack of note cards with a sign that reminds us that we all have sixty seconds to ask our question and asks us to line up at the note card station to ask. The lady sitting in front of me brought four questions and is mulling over which is most important for now. I don't yet have one - - I'm here to be publicly grateful and talk to people and be an enthusiastically cheering face in the crowd - - but my partner has confidently put down a bit on a card talking about our immigration journey, to be humanizing, and is now considering whether to ask Mr. Doggett what he's doing to raise awareness of the inanity of the immigration process among non immigrants or to ask him what he is doing to keep immigrant mothers together with their children. I am thinking about asking about a number of things, or whether I should sit and listen.

It's finally time to sign in, so I suppose it's also time to hit post.
posted by sciatrix at 8:33 AM on March 5 [95 favorites]


The 'no such wiretap activity against POTUS or campaign' doesn't rule out that they were doing their regular monitoring of the Russians and Trump & Co kept calling and meeting them. So still holding out hope for transcripts.
---
I actually learned this the other day. That would be illegal. Unless you have a warrant, if yo u are doing regular monitoring and an American is on the phone, you need to hang up.


Do you have a cite? Because I've read the opposite. They can only listen in on Americans when monitoring foreigners.

After Michael Flynn’s Resignation, Surveillance Defenders Suddenly Care About Wiretap Abuse
Yet after the news of Flynn’s resignation, several traditional surveillance defenders rushed to the defense of his privacy rights as an “American citizen.”

The surveillance-touting Wall Street Journal in an editorial Monday dropped its usual use of the term “intelligence professionals” to question whether “U.S. spooks” had a court order to listen to Flynn’s conversations.

What’s particularly ironic about Nunes’s comments was that he seemed to be ignoring one of the biggest gaps in U.S. surveillance law — one which he has personally defended — that allows the government to spy on millions of Americans without any sort of probable cause by targeting their communications with people overseas.

“The concept that many Americans’ communications are incidentally recorded when speaking to foreign targets is Foreign Intelligence 101,” said Jake Laperruque, senior counsel at the Constitution Project. “It’s hard to believe a competent intelligence committee chair doesn’t understand this.”

The Wall Street Journal has also celebrated the law that contains the loophole and after its reauthorization in 2013 praised Obama as an “unapologetic asserter of Presidential powers.”

In 2015, Reps. Zoe Loefgren, D-Calif., and Thomas Massie, R-Ky., introduced an amendment that would have required the FBI to get a search warrant in the exact situation Flynn is facing: when they rely on capabilities of the NSA to target international communications that involve Americans.

But rather than expressing concern then, Nunes sent a letter to his colleagues opposing the measure. “When the Intelligence Community acquires the communications of CT [counterterrorism] or CI [counterintelligence] targets abroad, among the most critical issues is to determine if they are communicating with persons in the United States,” he wrote.
posted by chris24 at 8:34 AM on March 5 [18 favorites]


This morning:

Chuck Todd: "Are you concerned the president has a credibility problem?"
Marco Rubio: "He's doing exactly what he said he was going to do."


In six months:

Chuck Todd: "Are you concerned that the president has made it illegal to 'look too Mexican'?"
Marco Rubio: "He's primarily composed of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus."
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:34 AM on March 5 [42 favorites]


Can we have a permanent committee onnon-existent things? It would probably be more efficient.

This whole process is making me think that the First Law of Metaphysics (nothing unreal exists) is either broken or wrong; it certainly seems like unreal things are being conjured into existence on a regular basis.
posted by nubs at 8:35 AM on March 5


Do you have a cite? Because I've read the opposite. They can only listen in on Americans when monitoring foreigners.

It was on the Maddow show.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:36 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


The ease with which the "Obama's Watergate" line has been gobbled up by the base suggests that things are balanced pretty precariously right now.

If a substantial cohort believes that winning an election through nefarious foreign deals: a) grants you immunity from prosecution for whatever shit you did to win; b) opens whoever investigated you to their own investigation, and those in power fall behind that position, then yeah, the republic's over.
posted by holgate at 8:38 AM on March 5 [12 favorites]




Obama "wiretapping" Trump and the information just now coming out 2 months after he's inagurated is like Hilary using "three million illegal votes" but only in California and New York. Makes perfect sense.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:43 AM on March 5 [11 favorites]


ABC7NY: Headstones toppled at Jewish cemetery in Brooklyn

We also had AWFUL wind here yesterday. I would not be surprised if the cemetery's denial of vandalism is that they know it was weather related.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:43 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]


IANAL, so would love for the lawyers to chime in, but yeah my understanding was that there was a huge, legal dragnet on all communications overseas. That would still seem to imply that there would have to be a warrant for any recording here? I have no idea. But it wouldn't necessarily have to be a FISA warrant right? Which is what has been theorized (and specifically denied) to exist?

Like I don't think you need a FISA warrant for a regular old criminal conspiracy.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:45 AM on March 5


A friend posted this on FB from Borowitz (who I'm hot and more cold on), but it seems patently true.

HOW TRUMP GETS HIS NEWS:
1) Trump has paranoid thought
2) Trump shares it with Steve Bannon
3) Bannon shares it with Breitbart
4) Brietbart publishes it
5) Trump reads it in Breitbart and shouts in amazement, "THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I THOUGHT."
posted by chris24 at 8:48 AM on March 5 [163 favorites]


When it comes to FISA court stuff, you're sort of right, although they rarely meet a warrant request they don't like.

I used to think that as well but the reason for the high success rate isn't because they'll give them out to any agent with a hunch, it's because the government attorneys come in so ridiculously prepared with a good reason before they go after a FISA warrant.
posted by Talez at 8:52 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


Could Marco Rubio be any more of a weasel? (On the Trump wiretap tweet) Pressed to elaborate on “Meet the Press,” Mr. Rubio said, “I’m not going to be a part of a witch hunt, but I’m also not going to be a part of a cover-up.”
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:53 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]


Sessions committed perjury and now the whole country is talking instead about whether OBAMA should be investigated.

Gotta hand it to the guy...Trump is a master manipulator.
posted by darkstar at 8:54 AM on March 5 [11 favorites]


Oh god, that sequence sounds more than plausible.

Someone suggested on Twitter that making shit up about Obama is a kind of "happy place" that the orange menace returns to when he's grumpy. It's also a kind of retreat into nasty racist stereotypes about the mysterious powers and capacity available to black people, the way that magahat types thought Obama was simultaneously weak and ineffectual but also secretly coming to put their guns in FEMA camps.
posted by holgate at 8:55 AM on March 5 [10 favorites]


I don't see how it's a witch hunt when all that has to be done is to point in any given direction and say "There's a witch!"
posted by jferg at 8:56 AM on March 5 [10 favorites]


Delightfully, the booths from other Austin districts have set up great big printouts of their own reps' faces or even bodies and are having folks from their districts pepper then with questions on post its. It's like an extremely angry version of pin the tail on the donkey.

None of them will hold town halls, you see. Lamar Smith's constituents have resorted to ambushing him at fundraising dinners, and McCaul's are clearly plotting something similar.
posted by sciatrix at 8:57 AM on March 5 [22 favorites]


I'm taking a brief pause from reality and entertaining myself with the the fantasy that there are wiretaps in Trump Tower, and they are part of a Marla/Melania double cross.
posted by erisfree at 9:01 AM on March 5 [7 favorites]


“I’m not going to be a part of a witch hunt, but I’m also not going to be a part of a cover-up.”

Bad news on both fronts, dude.
posted by Artw at 9:05 AM on March 5 [10 favorites]


Congressman Himes: "I know this will end up being sticky, but yes, I did the tapping" #maplenotwire
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:06 AM on March 5 [15 favorites]


I used to think that as well but the reason for the high success rate isn't because they'll give them out to any agent with a hunch, it's because the government attorneys come in so ridiculously prepared with a good reason before they go after a FISA warrant.

I really doubt this is true. They've only denied like a dozen requests in almost 40 years. That would be an amazing track record for the US Attorneys. Not to mention, the person to be put under surveillance can't offer any kind of challenge to the information presented, so essentially nothing stops the gov't from just plain lying (and yes, they do just plain lie). As far as I can tell, all the FBI needs to do is say "we have probable cause based on information from confidential informants to believe that that Bob is a terrorist" and they get their warrant. That confidential informant might be telling the truth, or they might be prompted by the FBI to say what the feds want them to say, or they might be lying because they want to keep working the CI angle. But since the FISA court process is secret, we have no way of knowing. But this is a derail, I suppose.
posted by dis_integration at 9:06 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


The guy's rocking a Samsung Galaxy 3. A dog with a stick could tap that.
posted by Devonian at 9:10 AM on March 5 [10 favorites]


Gotta hand it to the guy...Trump is a master manipulator.

No, he is not. Don't give him that credit. There's just a lot of spineless tools willing to go on TV and parrot whatever demented garbage he's tweeting about.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:10 AM on March 5 [60 favorites]


Congressman Himes: "I know this will end up being sticky, but yes, I did the tapping" #maplenotwire

Oh geat, now we're going to go to war with Canada.
posted by Artw at 9:13 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


I mean...why wouldn't a responsible leader wire tap that crazy treasonous puddle of pig shit?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:13 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


darkstar:

What I'm finding so upsetting about Trump's misdirections is that they prove how vulnerable our legal system is on a macro scale to public opinion. Some national political figure commits perjury in plain fact? Can't prosecute unless at least 60-70% of the populace is on board, otherwise it's a "witch hunt".
posted by constantinescharity at 9:15 AM on March 5 [41 favorites]


I wonder whether the reported bugs in Trump Tower is why the president hasn't returned there since the Inauguration. Related, do we know if he's even seen Barron since then? He hasn't been visible in any of the Palm Beach Airport/Air Force One tarmac photo ops featuring Melania. Trump has twice used the trope of holding his grandchildren's hands en route from the White House to Marine One, however, prior to his weekend Mar-a-Lago jaunts.
posted by carmicha at 9:16 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


From Lawfare's Ten More Questions posted above, I find this one legally intriguing:
[H]ave you or your counsel considered the question of whether a tweet from the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account that contains a slander or a libel is an official presidential act for which you are immune from liability under Nixon v. Fitzgerald or whether it is personal conduct for which you might be subject to suit under Clinton v. Jones?
This seems like a fascinating issue: for a figure whose personal life is as circumscribed by the job as the President of the United States, where is the line between work-product and personal activity? The good news is that no matter where that line is, this is bad for Trump. Either his tweets are personal and Obama has a pretty good case for slander (or libel; is Twitter regarded as speech or print?) against DJT as a private citizen, or they are presidential product which comes with an awful lot of extraordinary implications with regard to recordkeeping, policy relevance, and citability as indicative of official White House positions (e.g. the plaintiffs would be utterly thrilled to be able to point at Trump's twitter as representing the official administration position in Washington v. Trump).
posted by jackbishop at 9:20 AM on March 5 [70 favorites]


White House requests Congress investigate whether Obama administration abused power

"NO PUPPET! NO PUPPET! YOU'RE THE PUPPET!"
posted by Talez at 9:20 AM on March 5 [7 favorites]


He's only good at manipulating because so many people so desperately want to be manipulated.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:21 AM on March 5 [22 favorites]


Senator Angus King is holding a town hall down the street from me in about four hours, which is weirdly limited to the topic of Neil Gorsuch. If you guys have anything you'd like me to say/ask about the SCOTUS Nominee beyond "this is bullshit" let me know by 330.
posted by anastasiav at 9:21 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


Guys
Guys
Guys

What if this just the best viral marketing campaign ever for the Wire Season 6?
posted by nubs at 9:23 AM on March 5 [12 favorites]


Is it fair fir Trump to appoint a Supreme Court judge during an election campaign?
posted by Artw at 9:24 AM on March 5 [39 favorites]


That would be illegal. Unless you have a warrant, if you are doing regular monitoring and an American is on the phone, you need to hang up.

Maybe for a PI or private citizen? But NSA? Is it a question of *if* they have all phone records, texts, and data?

If not, is it a question of whether or not someone belly-crawled into Trump Tower under the cover of darkness with a black knit hat and gloves, to a tootly flute and claves tension soundtrack, opened the telco box and alligator-clipped a recieve-only handset to it, and scribbled furiously as Manafort and Trump discuss how the heist will go down?

"Wiretap" in Trumpese (tapp) is like "Yes, I’d like to send this letter to the Prussian consulate in Siam by aeromail. Am I too late for the 4:30 autogyro?"
posted by petebest at 9:28 AM on March 5 [12 favorites]


Is the wiretap charge against Obama, just a reflexive admission of guilt on Trump's part? I know you are, but what am I?
posted by Oyéah at 9:31 AM on March 5


@realDonaldTrump

Thank you for the great rallies all across the country. Tremendous support. Make America Great Again!


Does he need another adoring-crowd ego boost?
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:33 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


Thing is, a congressional investigation is going to have to be bi-partisan. Rs can't just do it themselves. And Dems with subpoena power...

In general, all subpoenas have to be voted on by the committee. Republicans hold a majority on all committees. Effectively, Democrats have no subpoena power at all. Typically Republicans will toss the Democrats a bone for a witness or two in a show of fairness, but they have a record of simply denying subpoenas for particularly damaging Democratic witnesses.

In addition, in 2015, House Republicans put in a new rule allowing the committee chairmen, all Republicans, to unilaterally issue subpoenas without even a committee vote. Don't know if the rule was extended to the new session.

Democrats really have no congressional leverage here. They can only battle it out in the press.
posted by JackFlash at 9:33 AM on March 5 [7 favorites]


I mean...why wouldn't a responsible leader wire tap that crazy treasonous puddle of pig shit?

Because it wouldn't be legal. The President cannot order a wiretap.
posted by Justinian at 9:37 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Not sure there's much reputation to save, but point taken.

@TVietor08
It's telling that the WH is putting out low-level aides on Sunday shows. Senior staff understand that their reputations will be destroyed.
posted by chris24 at 9:39 AM on March 5 [39 favorites]


Senator Angus King is holding a town hall down the street from me in about four hours, which is weirdly limited to the topic of Neil Gorsuch. If you guys have anything you'd like me to say/ask about the SCOTUS Nominee beyond "this is bullshit" let me know by 330.

I think you are obligated to ask why Trump should be allowed to nominate a judge at what is clearly the end of his term.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:39 AM on March 5 [62 favorites]


If there's a Republican investigation of Obama but there is no independent special prosecutor appointed to investigate Trump then the country is finished. I don't know if it'll be finished because that's the final straw that forces the Democrats to find their spines, or if it'll be finished because it makes Trump's Cold Civil War a hot Civil War, or if it'll be finished because that's when we all descend into a Fascist state that has abandoned all pretense of being descended from America, but one way or another if they do that then the country is over.

The sheer, breathtaking audacity of reversing the entire US history of not prosecuting political enemies simply because they're political enemies and simultaneously shielding a Republican President from an investigation into rather well documented wrongdoing is something the country can't survive.

A few days ago I was breathing a bit easier, Trump seemed to have backed down from his anti-American, dictatorial, idea that he could simply ignore the Courts. It seemed as if he were simply going to be bog standard Republican plus embarrassing Tweetertantrums that might risk international ties.

Now my anxiety has surged again.

Obama ignored evidence of actual, no fooling, war crimes committed by his predecessor. I thought then, and still do, that it was wrong of him to do so. But Obama was firmly committed to the tradition of leaving former presidents alone regardless of their crimes.

Now, on nothing but conspiracy ravings from far right wing fringe publications, Trump is threatening to try and jail Obama, and his followers are lapping it up. They want revenge for Obama winning, they want to punish him for having the gall to be black and Democratic and win two Presidential elections, they want (still) to essentially undo his Presidency so they can claim he never really was President in some essential way.

And the Republicans seem to be ignoring genuine crimes, genuine conflicts of interest that are well documented, in favor of attacking Obama over fantasies.

Surely Ryan and McConnell realize that if they go forward with this anti-Obama witch hunt while totally ignoring Trump's blatant crimes the country won't hold together? We're barely holding together right now, it won't take much to push us into actual open civil war, and going after Obama is enough to do it.

It's long past time for them to stop playing chicken with the survival of the nation.

Are they either so delusional they think they can get away with this? Or are they outright planning to start a civil war?
posted by sotonohito at 9:41 AM on March 5 [88 favorites]


Does he need another adoring-crowd ego boost?

I wonder if he saw any photos of thebtinybtrunpnrallies yesterday? DSA drawing bigger crowds.
posted by Artw at 9:46 AM on March 5


House Intelligence Chair Says He Will Investigate Eavesdropping Claims

Welp there we go. Now it's an Obama scandal and Trump is totally cleared of wrongdoing.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:51 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


The sheer, breathtaking audacity of reversing the entire US history of not prosecuting political enemies simply because they're political enemies and simultaneously shielding a Republican President from an investigation into rather well documented wrongdoing is something the country can't survive.

It's the shielding that gets me. Ryan, Nunes, and Chaffetz could do something about it, and the fact they aren't says volumes about who they are and what they want. McConnell is shielded by Senate rules and is good at not saying anything that might get him in trouble, so while I think his behavior is pretty vile I get the feeling he's more interested in preserving the majority than anything else.

Are they either so delusional they think they can get away with this? Or are they outright planning to start a civil war?

To the extent they've thought about it at all in those terms, I think they want the former but they've decided the latter is an acceptable risk. But I think mostly they're not even delusional, they're just insulated from both a broader reality and from any consequences of getting it wrong.
posted by fedward at 9:52 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


House Intelligence Chair Says He Will Investigate Eavesdropping Claims

Nunes, as many of you recall, was a member of Trump's transition team.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:52 AM on March 5 [19 favorites]


Nah, "make inquiries" is code for he'll laugh about it over a coffee with a colleague.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:53 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


House Intelligence Chair Says He Will Investigate Eavesdropping Claims

"As such, the Committee will make inquiries into whether the government was conducting surveillance activities on any political party’s campaign officials or surrogates, and we will continue to investigate this issue if the evidence warrants it."

This is about as weak tea as Nunes can get without provoking/angering Trump.
posted by sallybrown at 9:55 AM on March 5 [13 favorites]


thebtinybtrunpnrallies

Sorry, "tiny trump rallies". I'm worse with my phone than Tiny Hands sometimes.
posted by Artw at 9:55 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


Gotta hand it to the guy...Trump is a master manipulator.

i feel like the country is trying to have a conversation in a room with a sugar-addled six-year old who keeps screaming "I WENT POOPY" whenever he gets bored and folks are talking about the kid like "you know, i was just about to tie up a very cogent argument when the kid said 'POOPY' - he really knows how to work a room."
posted by murphy slaw at 9:57 AM on March 5 [40 favorites]


When is the next Spicey Time? Should be entertaining.

The whole ban-the-grownups business of keeping the NYT, BBC et al out of the press briefings seems to have quietly dissipated. Did I miss something, or did everyone agree to move on after the toddler trantrum that doubtless precipitated it?
posted by Devonian at 9:57 AM on March 5


I don't think I saw any coverage of the "gaggle" outside of the attempts to ban the press, so maybe they decided it wasn't an effective form of messaging?
posted by Artw at 10:00 AM on March 5


Video shows heated Oval Office meeting

On the day of the Sessions grumpiness, someone filmed through a window of the Oval Office and caught a glimpse of the Trumpenbunker. Includes Bannon finger-pointing, Kushner lurking and the back of an interjecting Ivanka's head.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:00 AM on March 5 [23 favorites]




Military "solutions". Oh god.
posted by Artw at 10:01 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


Video shows heated Oval Office meeting

Bannon looks pissed

Is this what a fine tuned machine looks like?
posted by dis_integration at 10:01 AM on March 5 [19 favorites]


That was never the discussion. It was proposed by someone that, as a price for getting Republican cooperation, the Democrats needed to abandon some unspecified, policies, talking points, protests, or causes.

I think - and thank god - we are misunderstanding each other. I was reading you as saying that Democrats shouldn't help remove Trump until they had extracted policy concessions from Republicans, and it sounds like you were reading me as saying the reverse. I am 1000% not, and it sounds like you aren't either. I will work with fucking Bob Avakian if he has a solid way of getting us out of this mess.

I do think once the immediate threat is over, we need to figure out tactics for stopping the cold Civil War, and it'll be a lot harder to figure out agreement there. But we have to live and save the Republic first.
posted by corb at 10:08 AM on March 5 [28 favorites]


Ivanka "no role in the administration" Trump
posted by melissasaurus at 10:08 AM on March 5 [49 favorites]


Video shows heated Oval Office meeting

Hahahaha holy SHIT Is literally everyone on the White House grounds leaking constantly?
posted by schadenfrau at 10:08 AM on March 5 [39 favorites]


He'd abandon all the embassies and install Marine protection for trump hotels and resorts around the world. Call your local trump resort for an appointment if you have business in the US.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:09 AM on March 5


somebody should replace the this-is-fine dog with an elephant
posted by entropicamericana at 10:10 AM on March 5 [10 favorites]




Tweet-storm about epistemological fragmentation due to attention-driven economics. I think my whole world is about to vanish in a puff of irony.
posted by Coventry at 10:15 AM on March 5 [25 favorites]


Ivanka "no role in the administration" Trump

Savvy Ivanka with her back to the window. I hope before this trainwreck is over, she's somehow caught red-handed enabling this BS in a way that will forever silence the "But she's so elegant and nice!" crowd.
posted by sallybrown at 10:16 AM on March 5 [23 favorites]


Yours hasn't already?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:16 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


So presumably our usual foreign allies have the goods on Trump and Russia, and possibly, at this point, other foreign intelligence services do too.

At what point do they start leaking? Like if Europe genuinely sees the US sliding towards Civil War, at what point do they try to kneecap the GOP so as to prevent the nightmare scenario of a militaristic fascist regime run by an actual demented insane person in control of the most terrifying military arsenal ever assembled?

You have to assume that everyone is adjusting to a future without American hegemony, but that's...really different from ignoring the crazy person with a giant gun. Like at what point are we too much of a danger to the rest of the world for them to sit on whatever they have?

And will it fucking matter?
posted by schadenfrau at 10:16 AM on March 5 [21 favorites]


Ugh, Ivanka is such a simulacrum of poise. So up her own arse.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:17 AM on March 5 [19 favorites]


In case your nerves are starting to quiver, here is this, to put into the mix. Coming to a city near you, we will be happy, or very sleepy, or suffer from mass, new onset, memory problems. Wait...
posted by Oyéah at 10:18 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


Hahahaha holy SHIT Is literally everyone on the White House grounds leaking constantly?

Like a piss tape.

In other news, who wants to read about this Gridiron Dinner? Sounds fun.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:19 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


On the day of the Sessions grumpiness, someone filmed through a window of the Oval Office and caught a glimpse of the Trumpenbunker. Includes Bannon finger-pointing, Kushner lurking and the back of an interjecting Ivanka's head.

Is this not a scandal by itself? What the fuck is Ivanka Trump doing in these meetings?
posted by orbit-3 at 10:23 AM on March 5 [27 favorites]


Welp there we go. Now it's an Obama scandal and Trump is totally cleared of wrongdoing.

#Bothsidesdoit
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:24 AM on March 5


Video shows heated Oval Office meeting

It also shows flowers starting to bloom in DC. It's getting to be Springtime...
posted by armacy at 10:29 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


So... does anyone lip-read well?
posted by Capybara at 10:33 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


I can't think of anybody Bannon would be pointing at but Priebus. Any other ideas? I guess Kushner is possible, but c'mon. The Bannon-Priebus Alt-Right ASMR friendship is long-soured.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:35 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


So... does anyone lip-read well?

It's a Downfall video. Supply any captions you like.
posted by Surely This at 10:36 AM on March 5 [28 favorites]


Springtime for Twitler and kleptocracy too, but winter for Ryan and Reince.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:37 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


Video shows heated Oval Office meeting

Cue Twitler tantrum in . . . 3 . . . 2 . . .
posted by petebest at 10:39 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


This is for whoever was watching Sex and the City, etc. 5 Movie Plots That No Longer Make Sense Post-Trump

"Seeing him in an otherwise-fun movie nowadays is like finding a piece of rat shit in an otherwise-delicious bowl of ice cream."
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:41 AM on March 5 [11 favorites]


I can't think of anybody Bannon would be pointing at but Priebus. Any other ideas?

It was reported that McGahn was being yelled at, by Trump at least if not Bannon. I'm not sure why they expected the White House counsel to somehow magically stop Sessions from recusing himself or notifying the WH that he was going to do it. Are these boobs under the impression that McGahn and Sessions have each other on speed-dial or are in cahoots just because they're both lawyers?
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:43 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


How Nunes sees the situation going down:

Nunes: "Now let's find out who the real wiretapper is..."
All: "FORMER PRESIDENT OBAMA!"
Obama: "Now let's talk about how one might have gotten away with this act if not for the meddling of alt-right individuals who reported on the allegations and convinced Republican house members to investigate this affair"
posted by Talez at 10:43 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


Friends is another show where Trump-as-joke popped up when I was least expecting it. Could I BE more disgusted?
posted by thebrokedown at 10:46 AM on March 5 [11 favorites]


This is for whoever was watching Sex and the City, etc. 5 Movie Plots That No Longer Make Sense Post-Trump

Marvel's bug summer event has Captain America, who has turned out to be a Nazi all along*, leading a Hydra takeover of the world. It's the worst timed crossover ever.

* cosmic cube related time fuckery to blame. It's like the fifth time he's turned out to be a Nazi, because there's only so many Captain America plots.
posted by Artw at 10:51 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


Al-jazeera have a pretty good screed on alt-right, and why the term is importantly different from neo-nazi.

The campaign to stop calling them alt-right comes from an overemphasis on the power of language. There is this notion that the movement will be weakened if we change the label - as if the label is where their power comes from.
posted by stonepharisee at 10:54 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


I love catching up with the thread and seeing "music for weird black girls" and "groot's oldest friend" as the bookend posts. It's a little reminder of the goodness out there and an inspiration to keep it alive.
posted by Caxton1476 at 10:54 AM on March 5 [15 favorites]




Ivanka "no role in the administration" Trump

I really think Ivanka and Jared are always around to cover up Trump's dementia, much the way Nancy was always around to whisper in Reagan's ear when he froze up.
posted by JackFlash at 10:54 AM on March 5 [47 favorites]


Can we finally end the "poor Ivanka" shit now? SHE'S LITERALLY IN THE ROOM IN EVERY MEETING. She is for all practical purposes, co-President. She's responsible for all of it. And if there's ever a trial, she needs to be prosecuted alongside her father.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:58 AM on March 5 [112 favorites]


Video shows heated Oval Office meeting

Who the hell took that? Is the gardener out there with an iPhone filming in the window. This seems like a pretty huge breach of security; how does the Secret Service let such a thing happen?
posted by octothorpe at 11:02 AM on March 5 [10 favorites]




National Book Award, Nonfiction, all tied up.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:04 AM on March 5 [14 favorites]


And for none or all of the reasons, An animated gif of Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio tap dancing to a piano-playing Mitch McConnell

(via 4shared which so far as I can tell is 'free file sharing' and not related to any other sites with 4 in the URL)
posted by petebest at 11:05 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Video shows heated Oval Office meeting

Who the hell took that? Is the gardener out there with an iPhone filming in the window. This seems like a pretty huge breach of security; how does the Secret Service let such a thing happen?


It was the press corps (as reported in the CNN article from yesterday that's waaay upthread somewhere). Just routine media stuff - maybe they are always there or maybe they were on the lawn at that time because it was right before Trump walked out to get in the helicopter on his way down to FL.
posted by sallybrown at 11:05 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


Who the hell took that? Is the gardener out there with an iPhone filming in the window.

Chris Christie paused for a moment in fulfilling his orders to mow the white house grounds with his teeth, and produced the iphone he had cleverly hidden within his person.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:07 AM on March 5 [27 favorites]


Stuffed in his false leg.
posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


They're replaying Meet the Press and I'm struck by how at ease Rubio seems, especially considering he's on the Senate Intel Committee. He's not spinning to try and help Trump or being as evasive as usual. He looks well-rested and calm. I had forgotten how insistent he was during the campaign about not discussing or using the Wikileaks documents (smart man). It's a reminder that even if Nunes is in Trump's pocket, there are GOP members of the Intel committee who have more mixed motivations...I imagine it would feel really good to Liddle Marco if he was able to expose Trump's campaign as illegal and potentially set himself up to run again in 2020.
posted by sallybrown at 11:18 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Who the hell took that? Is the gardener out there with an iPhone filming in the window. This seems like a pretty huge breach of security; how does the Secret Service let such a thing happen?

I bet the networks re-check that sightline with every new administration.
posted by klarck at 11:19 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


In his cameo in The Little Rascals, Trump plays the father of the stuck-up bully rich kid. Watching him is like watching OJ in The Naked Gun movies.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:26 AM on March 5 [21 favorites]


Nah, "make inquiries" is code for he'll laugh about it over a coffee with a colleague.

I thought this quote from Susan Collins on Face The Nation about the wiretapping used an interesting choice of words (emphasis mine):
Collins added, “The committee’s work is underway. I am convinced that we are going to do the kind of exhaustive, in-depth, and prompt investigation that will help put these allegations to rest.
Not "get to the the truth" but "put to rest."

Hahahaha holy SHIT Is literally everyone on the White House grounds leaking constantly

At this point I imagine WH meetings include one person wearing a MAGA hat with an embedded video recorder, one person carrying a hollowed-out copy of "Art of the Deal" with a hidden tape recorder, maybe one person with an Ivanka brand tie clip that takes video, and probably Trump asking why he keeps having to talk into the bouquet of flowers.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:26 AM on March 5 [34 favorites]


In his cameo in The Little Rascals, Trump plays the father of the stuck-up bully rich kid. Watching him is like watching OJ in The Naked Gun movies.

I don't know about that, people used to like OJ back then.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:36 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


Guys, if you have Kindle Unlimited this Trump Tingle is amazing and free.
“I’m serious,” the staffer announces, sternly. “Mr. Bammon says that after you eat all your dinner, you need to listen to these briefings. He’s the one in charge here, remember.”...

I’ve never been with a sentient manifestation of my own made up wiretapping tweet before, but as I gaze upon Gerbor’s incredible, toned body, the idea becomes more and more intriguing.

“Alright,” I finally say. “I’ll satisfy your cravings to understand physical reality in an intimate way as the man who brought you to sentience with his denial of said physical reality.”
posted by corb at 11:40 AM on March 5 [49 favorites]




this Trump Tingle is amazing and free

It's also more readable than Camp of the Saints, a genocidal fantasy which Bannon often cites.
posted by Coventry at 11:46 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


I haven't read any Tingles (I'm afraid to), but I wasn't expecting that to sound so...coherent and big-word-using.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:46 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


Trump is really incensed and on the warpath:

Philip Rucker of WaPo: "Trump is angry in Florida. I’m told he fumed to friends at golf course yesterday about Obama, insisting he’s right about wiretap."