Rebellion has its roots in government's indifference and incompetence.
March 19, 2017 2:32 PM   Subscribe

The Big Deal this week is Neil Gorsuch's nomination hearings. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has trouble understanding why its revised immigration ban was blocked (it also has trouble distinguishing praise from satire).

The AHCA appears to be in a death spiral, Trump has managed to annoy both the United Kingdom and Germany, and more questions have arisen about his promised charitable donations.
posted by Johnny Wallflower (2505 comments total) 93 users marked this as a favorite
 


I wish he'd hurry up and annoy Canada. Trudeau, you're screwing this up. (Mumbles)
posted by Yowser at 2:38 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Here, Going To Maine, have a nice song about The Boy From Mar-a-Lago.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:39 PM on March 19 [13 favorites]


Surely the other big deal this week is the House Intelligence Committee hearing?
posted by zachlipton at 2:40 PM on March 19 [16 favorites]


So the wall has to be 30 feet tall, aesthetically pleasing on one side at least and impenetrable in under an hour by any number of tools including acetylene torch. Sounds extremely expensive. This isn't cinder block and rebar we're talking about.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:42 PM on March 19 [11 favorites]


Don't forget about North Korea

Both the DPRK and Tillerson are playing a very dangerous game. The DPRK in particular are in a significantly different place, given that I wouldn't put it past Donald to either bomb or nuke them. China probably also knows that, so it's a significantly more unstable situation on all sides.
posted by jaduncan at 2:44 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


The Amicus podcast has an interview with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) on why it’s worth opposing the Gorsuch nomination.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:45 PM on March 19 [6 favorites]


I'm sure I forgot other pressing issues, but my iPad was litrally melting and I had to hit Post before it caught fire
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:50 PM on March 19 [30 favorites]


Tillerson is the first person ever to have brought the world t the brink of nuclear war because they couldn't be bothered with their job and wanted to take a nap instead.
posted by Artw at 2:51 PM on March 19 [61 favorites]


as much as i'd like to blame tillerson and trump for everything and anything, i've got to conclude that n korea is just too reckless for us to expect anything but eventual disaster - surely china must realize this
posted by pyramid termite at 2:57 PM on March 19 [9 favorites]


Donald Trump’s Mexico border wall will be as high as 55 65 feet, according to Donald Trump
The thing about which he's offered the most details, naturally, is his wall on the Mexican border. We know his plan for paying for that: Mexico foots the bill. (To which Mexico replies, "lol.") We know it will be concrete, and we know that it will have a "big, beautiful door" in it, so the "good ones" came come on in.

What we don't know, though, is the most important number: How high it will be? Trump's been vague about this and has a recent applause-grabbing habit of randomly increasing the height. So we did our best to figure out how big this thing was going to be.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:58 PM on March 19 [6 favorites]


Christ on sale, can there really be this many people who are both incredibly stupid and incredibly racist?

AND cruel!

I mean I am a cynic, but for fucks sake even I didn't think 40% of the country was this close to being just plain evil
posted by schadenfrau at 3:01 PM on March 19 [77 favorites]


as much as i'd like to blame tillerson and trump for everything and anything, i've got to conclude that n korea is just too reckless for us to expect anything but eventual disaster - surely china must realize this

DPRK do something ostentatious whenever they want attention, and the real threat isn't nukes in any case; they have a lot of artillery pieces within range of Seoul that can be loaded with chemical weapons or just launch a massive strike on millions of civilians.
posted by jaduncan at 3:04 PM on March 19 [12 favorites]


G.O.P.’s Health Care Tightrope Winds Through the Blue-Collar Midwest: “People in this community are very conservative. They struggle with the federal budget deficit, and they like the idea of personal responsibility,” said Phil Ennen, the president and chief executive of Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers, which has a 75-bed hospital in Bryan. “But at the same time, we have a lot of friends and family and neighbors who just don’t have a lot going for them. There is a population out there that needs Medicaid. That’s the dilemma.”
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:11 PM on March 19 [14 favorites]


Looking at a map of South Korea shows why the US would have to be desperate and/or insane to actually invade the North. I mean, if it took a day for US air support to clear out all of the North Korean artillery, the amount of damage that could be done around Seoul (an enormous metro area of 24 million) is mind-numbing to even consider.
posted by graymouser at 3:12 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Tillerson is the first person ever to have brought the world t the brink of nuclear war because they couldn't be bothered with their job and wanted to take a nap instead.

I have no evidence for this, but I bet he actually isn't.
posted by penduluum at 3:14 PM on March 19 [48 favorites]


even I didn't think 40% of the country was this close to being just plain evil
A lot of them have been waiting for an opportunity to be evil, like this waiter, who was not only in "Bright Blue California" but also “had never received so much as a write-up before”.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:15 PM on March 19 [14 favorites]


Tillerson is the first person ever to have brought the world to the brink of nuclear war because they couldn't be bothered with their job and wanted to take a nap instead.

I mean, it's not clear it would be better if he were speaking up - see this WaPo article that in part describes him accepting the Chinese framing of the China-US relationship.
posted by ubersturm at 3:22 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


They struggle with the federal budget deficit, and they like the idea of personal responsibility... But at the same time, we have a lot of friends and family and neighbors... That’s the dilemma.

Uh, yeah, sure. On the one hand, an accounting device and a moral platitude, and on the other, human beings. Boy, that sure is a tough one.
posted by dirge at 3:24 PM on March 19 [97 favorites]


“People in this community are very conservative. They struggle with the federal budget deficit, and they like the idea of personal responsibility,” said Phil Ennen, the president and chief executive of Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers, which has a 75-bed hospital in Bryan. “But at the same time, we have a lot of friends and family and neighbors who just don’t have a lot going for them. There is a population out there that needs Medicaid. That’s the dilemma.”

There's a lot to unpack here.

Putting aside the fact that their don't really understand how the federal deficit works, I want to focus on "personal responsibility." I think that phrase doesn't mean what it seems to mean, as evidenced by the second part of his statement regarding folks who "don't have a lot going on."

To whit, if the definition of "personal respinsibility" is "taking care of all of one's own problems without any help from outside," then they should feel like their friends and neighbors without anything going on need to just personal responsibility their way out of their problems (or die, having failed to do that). But they don't want people they know to suffer and, thus, agree that some people genuinely do need the help. So this leads me to think "personal responsibility" is code for "people who I don't know don't deserve help but people I do know do deserve help." Broadly, this reveals a general belief that only their community demerges help, but didn't it tacitly also suggest that "personal responsibility" is a racist dogwhistle?
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:28 PM on March 19 [147 favorites]


Only 1325 days until the next presidential elections.
posted by Pendragon at 3:28 PM on March 19 [13 favorites]


Looking at a map of South Korea shows why the US would have to be desperate and/or insane to actually invade the North. I mean, if it took a day for US air support to clear out all of the North Korean artillery, the amount of damage that could be done around Seoul (an enormous metro area of 24 million) is mind-numbing to even consider.

Yes. The range on that artillery isn't all that, but there are thousands of pieces and RoK would still have to move most of the population from the north to the south of the city. That's assuming that DPRK didn't go chemical, too.

The hard thing for DPRK is that even if their nuclear sites are bombed they have to go big or go home; there's not much they can do conventionally as they are well and truly outgunned. So yeah, it's possible that they wouldn't respond much, possible that a proper war finally happens, or possible that the regime collapses and millions of refugees/IDPs have to be dealt with as everyone desperately hopes that they knew the location of every nuke and DPRK don't have a couple in tunnels under RoK.

There are a lot of known unknowns; normally everyone threatens to kill everyone, China provides enough aid to prevent utter DPRK social breakdown, and that's a somewhat stable par for the course. The outside possibility that Donald might actually pull the trigger is really quite destabilising.
posted by jaduncan at 3:29 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


They struggle with the federal budget deficit, and they like the idea of personal responsibility

Oh bullshit. If they struggled with the deficit they would've become lifetime Democrats when George W. Bush turned an all-time record surplus into a then all-time record deficit.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:32 PM on March 19 [152 favorites]


Only 1325 days until the next presidential elections.

Actually it's -31 days.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:35 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


even I didn't think 40% of the country was this close to being just plain evil

A lot of them have been waiting for an opportunity to be evil, like this waiter, who was not only in "Bright Blue California" but also “had never received so much as a write-up before”.


Huntington Beach has always had vocal white supremacists, I would never consider that area to be "Bright Blue California."
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:40 PM on March 19 [12 favorites]


they say most crimes are crimes of opportunity, and when you have a white nationalist agenda in the whitehouse, that's when hate-crimes of opportunity start happening; cowards who never dared to be racist in public are emboldened
posted by idiopath at 3:40 PM on March 19 [49 favorites]


i've got to conclude that n korea is just too reckless for us to expect anything but eventual disaster - surely china must realize this

That was the unspoken policy of the previous three presidents -- "All we have to do is wait for the collapse, which will certainly come in the next four to eight years." We and the world need a better policy. I ain't holding my breath for Tillerson and Trump to stumble into one.
posted by Etrigan at 3:41 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]




The DPRK in particular are in a significantly different place, given that I wouldn't put it past Donald to either bomb or nuke them.

I have to believe that such an order (especially nukes) might result in deliberate refusal on the part of the military. They understand the sort of worldwide shit bomb such an act would engender. Trump turning purple, screaming for the resignations of the Joint Chiefs in front of cameras, would be quite a sight.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:45 PM on March 19 [6 favorites]


I'm reading that over 700 contractors have already "registered intent" re: building the shitty wall. I just hate everything we have become.
posted by thebrokedown at 3:52 PM on March 19 [24 favorites]


I’m reading that over 700 contractors have already "registered intent" re: building the shitty wall. I just hate everything we have become.

Is there a list?
posted by Going To Maine at 3:53 PM on March 19 [9 favorites]


I have to believe that such an order (especially nukes) might result in deliberate refusal on the part of the military. They understand the sort of worldwide shit bomb such an act would engender. Trump turning purple, screaming for the resignations of the Joint Chiefs in front of cameras, would be quite a sight.

Nukes wouldn't be stage 1. Think of it this way, if you want a simple version:

Stage 1: US bombs nuclear sites (already being requested).
Stage 2: DPRK do something stupid and start to shell RoK and/or US materiel within RoK.
Stage 3: US and/or RoK response, either leveling stuff nearby the DMZ or doing a few strikes on leadership positions.
Stage 4: DPRK starts to shell Seoul, maybe goes chemical.
Stage 5: The use of NBC by DPRK means that, as per existing doctrine, NBC responses are acceptable from the US. The US only has nuclear.

Are you so sure that people say no at stage 5 after a briefing that millions of people in Seoul might die? I don't think the above is likely, but it isn't impossible either. Stage five might also just be a large air campaign resulting in the collapse of the DPRK and millions of refugees/starving civilians in a state that isn't likely to let any aid workers in. Starting to shoot things would be unimaginably dangerous.
posted by jaduncan at 3:54 PM on March 19 [11 favorites]


So this leads me to think "personal responsibility" is code for "people who I don't know don't deserve help but people I do know do deserve help." Broadly, this reveals a general belief that only their community demerges help, but didn't it tacitly also suggest that "personal responsibility" is a racist dogwhistle?
There's definitely a lot of that, but I also think that people aren't at all ideologically consistent. "Personal responsibility" means "not taking forms of government aid that seem demeaning to me," and there's very little rhyme or reason about what forms of government aid people view that way. Nobody thinks that they or their neighbors are being personally irresponsible if they send their kids to public schools, because that's a well-established form of government support that seems totally wholesome and great. There's basically no stigma about Medicare or Social Security, and I don't think there's much about Pell Grants. If we ever get a universal healthcare system, within ten years nobody will think that using it is violating their sense of "personal responsibility." In fact, despite a huge campaign to stigmatize it, we're quickly getting there with the Medicaid expansion and Obamacare subsidies. But we're in a transitional moment, so some people still see this new government program as a violation of personal responsibility.

It's an interesting question as to why some forms of state support, such as food and housing subsidies, continue to carry stigma. A lot of it is that those forms of government support are racially coded as being used by people of color, even though most recipients are white people.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:55 PM on March 19 [59 favorites]


The "700 contractors" thing is from a Jezebel/The Slot article that doesn't source that particular statement.
posted by thebrokedown at 3:57 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


I'm reading that over 700 contractors have already "registered intent" re: building the shitty wall.

It's probably going to cost triple what they've proclaimed and be a massive source of graft and free money for years if it gets approved.
posted by PenDevil at 3:58 PM on March 19 [27 favorites]


didn't it tacitly also suggest that "personal responsibility" is a racist dogwhistle?

I suspect the "personal responsibility" thing actually works in the other direction these days. It allows them to take their racial animus, and with a kind of guilt by association with liberals logic, spread it around quite broadly.

There's a second order effect of forcing overt sexism and racism underground for a couple decades, in that the imprecision of dogwhistle language exacerbates imprecision of thought, and leads to an ever-expanding out-group category. So now, under the banner of "personal responsibility," which definitely was originally coined for the fairly narrow purpose of racial victim-blaming, everyone is supposed to be responsible for the oppressions perpetrated against them. They're just now starting to notice that this campaign of carpet bombing is marching distressingly close to their own village.

That's great in a heighten-the-contradictions sort of way, which is to say, not very good at all. Still better than nothing, and much better than an alternative timeline with no civil rights movement forcing them to give up lynchings in favor of this "personal responsibility" bullshit.
posted by dirge at 3:59 PM on March 19 [9 favorites]


The “700 contractors” thing is from a Jezebel/The Slot article that doesn't source that particular statement.

The list would seem to be here, at the RFP. To see it, however, you need to be able to login as government-affiliated buyer or a vender. As I am neither, no list for me :(
posted by Going To Maine at 4:03 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


It's probably going to cost triple what they've proclaimed and be a massive source of graft and free money for years if it gets approved.

Wait, is this about the wall or Putin's olympic village? Same thing? Okay, just wanted to make sure.
posted by valkane at 4:05 PM on March 19


But props to Putin, at least his politically motivated money grab lets you ice skate and ski or rent a bed; all trumps does is let you play handball.
posted by valkane at 4:08 PM on March 19 [7 favorites]


A new thread and another drawing of Trump. This time trying to capture that slightest of slight chances concerning that moment that he might be realizing words actually have consequences. My god his blundering is absolutely epic.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 4:09 PM on March 19 [42 favorites]


Healthcare.gov (I know, 'fake news') says the average cost of a three-day hospital stay is thirty thousand dollars.

Everybody line up on this side of the room who can be "personally responsible" to the tune of ten thousand bucks a day.

If pretty much nobody outside of Trump's cabinet can meet this standard in any meaningful way then maybe it's time to discard the stupid fucking ideas about "personal responsibility".
posted by Sing Or Swim at 4:11 PM on March 19 [89 favorites]


Isn't the idea that illness is a moral failure? Personally responsible people don't get sick, because they don't smoke / eat poorly / work around sick people / get in car crashes.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:14 PM on March 19 [29 favorites]


I think they would say that you should magically personal responsibility yourself into a job with insurance. Which is not so easy to do if you're stuck in a place where there aren't such jobs.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:15 PM on March 19 [13 favorites]


So the wall has to be 30 feet tall, aesthetically pleasing on one side at least and impenetrable in under an hour by any number of tools including acetylene torch. Sounds extremely expensive. This isn't cinder block and rebar we're talking about.

There was a goon in the Trumpwatch thread who works at a place that is likely to be quoting for the wall, he was talking numbers - I'll see if there was a good pithy quote. He said he found it personally repellent, but wallbuilders gonna wallbuild.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:17 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


If pretty much nobody outside of Trump's cabinet can meet this standard in any meaningful way then maybe it's time to discard the stupid fucking ideas about "personal responsibility".

Saying that people should be "personally responsible" or get no healthcare is essentially saying that there should be a death sentence for poor financial planning or an unavoidable financial crisis. That's possibly overly exciting when combined with a society moving towards a gig economy in many areas.
posted by jaduncan at 4:19 PM on March 19 [6 favorites]


Tillerson is a dangerous and incompetent neophyte in the harsh world of international diplomacy. Some of his mistakes include allowing himself to be photographed while a DPRK solider was taking a photo of him. His lack of engagement with the media is troubling because he says that he has done deals all over the world and doesn't need to talk to the media while doing those deals. So he is not open to learning, a classic sign of incompetence. And as that Washington Post article on his visit to China revealed, he is dangerously casual in his use of language and the weight various phrases carry. Diplomacy is hard and complicated and demanding. Tillerson has already shown he is simply not up the job. The consequences of this are truly frightening.
posted by vac2003 at 4:20 PM on March 19 [80 favorites]


White House installs political aides at Cabinet agencies to be Trump’s eyes and ears (WaPo):
The political appointee charged with keeping watch over Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and his aides has offered unsolicited advice so often that after just four weeks on the job, Pruitt has shut him out of many staff meetings, according to two senior administration officials.

At the Pentagon, they’re privately calling the former Marine officer and fighter pilot who’s supposed to keep his eye on Defense Secretary Jim Mattis “the commissar,” according to a high-ranking defense official with knowledge of the situation. It’s a reference to Soviet-era Communist Party officials who were assigned to military units to ensure their commanders remained loyal.

Most members of President Trump’s Cabinet do not yet have leadership teams in place or even nominees for top deputies. But they do have an influential coterie of senior aides installed by the White House who are charged — above all — with monitoring the secretaries’ loyalty, according to eight officials in and outside the administration.
posted by peeedro at 4:20 PM on March 19 [40 favorites]


Here we go:

I can almost guarantee It's going to mostly be prefab steel fence beams embedded in drilled holes. There will be runs of concrete wall, but my bet is on precast panels locked into a cast in place trench. I don't see the solid wall areas being a large percentage of the length, though. Border Patrol per our conversations with them do not want to lose visibility of the other side.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:22 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


If you want to kill a couple minutes, whitehouse dot gov is trying to collect stories about the ACA has hurt people; feel free to drop in and tell a story about how it's helped you.
posted by Greg Nog at 4:23 PM on March 19 [33 favorites]


I can almost guarantee It's going to mostly be prefab steel fence beams embedded in drilled holes. There will be runs of concrete wall, but my bet is on precast panels locked into a cast in place trench. I don't see the solid wall areas being a large percentage of the length, though. Border Patrol per our conversations with them do not want to lose visibility of the other side.

Maybe they could have guard towers for the full Berlin Wall and Troubles-era Northern Ireland effect.
posted by jaduncan at 4:24 PM on March 19 [14 favorites]


Sebmojo, got a link?
posted by Coventry at 4:26 PM on March 19


Back in the 1890s there was an entrepreneur who regularly found fault with the work on his construction projects and then refused to pay: Dr. Henry H. Holmes.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:26 PM on March 19 [40 favorites]


If pretty much nobody outside of Trump's cabinet can meet this standard in any meaningful way then maybe it's time to discard the stupid fucking ideas about "personal responsibility".

Nope, that's why you've gotta hope you're cute/blonde/photogenic and/or social media savvy so you can successfully crowdsource your care! Plenty of people have to resort to this already, but look for the death panel crew to suggest Kickstarter: An Official Partner In Your Healthcare!
posted by TwoStride at 4:29 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


I mean. If they want the wall to be "effective," it will be sensors and drones and people in towers with machine guns, and then maybe a few places with some giant stupid dick metaphor of an actual wall as a goddamn tourist attraction for monsters

It will probably be more horrifying than I can imagine
posted by schadenfrau at 4:32 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Judge In Hawaii Denies Feds’ Request To "Clarify" Order Against Travel Ban
“[T]here is nothing unclear about the scope of the Court’s order,” US District Judge Derrick Watson wrote — denying the Justice Department’s request to clarify whether his order had “intended” to halt enforcement of as much of the new executive order as it stated it had halted.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:33 PM on March 19 [38 favorites]


Sebmojo, got a link?

Sure, it's in the somethingawful thread so it may be paywalled if you're not a goony goon.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:38 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


If they want the wall to be "effective," it will be sensors and drones and people in towers with machine guns, and then maybe a few places with some giant stupid dick metaphor of an actual wall as a goddamn tourist attraction for monsters

Incidentally, Reveal -in both its podcast and on the web- has been providing a pretty thorough review on a rundown of atttitudes towards the wall, where a wall really isn’t feasible on the border (e.g. when it runs through a golf course), and where people actually found that drone patrols and sensors were more effective than any kind of physical border. It’s pretty interesting.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:39 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


It's not an official statement or anything, just a guy who works in the area talking about his thoughts on the likely construction methodology.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:39 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]




It's probably going to cost triple what they've proclaimed and be a massive source of graft and free money for years if it gets approved.

I am expecting that the bits that are completed for show will be registered to the contractor, and every caught border-crosser will be tracked to some section of the wall. Meanwhile, that contractor that will have payment withheld (because I'm totally expecting donny to withhold funds until completion and "proof of inviolability" of some crap) under threat of being prosecuted for "endangering american lives" and suddenly some building company with HQ on Trump Tower will get the contract to "fix it". I wouldn't be even surprised if a substancial part of the building companies running for those contracts are either shell companies or affiliated with the family.
posted by lmfsilva at 4:46 PM on March 19 [16 favorites]


Thanks, Sebmojo. It's not paywalled for me.
posted by Coventry at 4:47 PM on March 19


If the press can find out they've installed loyalty watchdog aides in the different agencies, you can bet that the nominees and their affiliated staff know it. Which is to say that instead of scaring them, I'm sure this reduces their internal loyalty while maintaining a pleasing veneer. The moment things go bad for Trump, these people will line up to smear him.
posted by constantinescharity at 4:48 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


If we don't take back the house in 2018 we are fucked.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:53 PM on March 19 [57 favorites]


for real, every day since the election i thank god that i am not a pyrokinetic

Every day since the election I've wished to god I was pyrokinetic. For absolute real.
posted by chris24 at 4:53 PM on March 19 [42 favorites]


maybe a few places with some giant stupid dick metaphor of an actual wall as a goddamn tourist attraction for monsters

I'm now trying not to imagine the sort of person who'd take a vacation to the border wall, and spend a hundred bucks for an hour in an elevated sniper perch overlooking the border with his rifle, hoping to catch a "terrorist." I'm really trying not to imagine that he's brought his kids with him to teach them about "American Values," and marksmanship.

That'd be great stuff for a dystopian sci-fi novel, if it were a bit less plausible.
posted by dirge at 4:57 PM on March 19 [12 favorites]




What gives, there's not one mention of industrial corn on that Iowa tourism page. I would've thought corn mazes would be the #1 draw.
posted by contraption at 5:08 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Looks like RAGBRAI goes through King's district.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:12 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


Last week's episode of the Arms Control Wonk podcast is all about North Korea.

They are not convinced that, having few real options, the North Koreans won't go all out (i.e., nuclear) on day 2 or even 1. It's rather unaettling, but worth a listen to learn about the maps and the range arcs that belie the true targets of the launch drills.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:12 PM on March 19


That'd be great stuff for a dystopian sci-fi novel, if it were a bit less plausible.

That's classic Black Mirror territory.
posted by jaduncan at 5:13 PM on March 19


"That'd be great stuff for a dystopian sci-fi novel, if it were a bit less plausible."

I mean isn't this kind of the beginning of Game of Thrones where Tyrion visits the wall?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:16 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


I followed the "See what you'll be missing" link and handtoheartIsweartoGawd the second thing listed is Water Sports.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:18 PM on March 19 [9 favorites]


From the Iowa article: Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority Director, which oversees the tourism office, said she personally drafted an email to send to potential tourists who voice concerns. In it, she said King's comments did not reflect the views of Iowans or her department.

... except for the problem of the thousands of Iowans who literally voted for this racist shitbag time and time again. So yeah, Iowa, clean house with your elected officials or deserve to lose money, you decide.
posted by TwoStride at 5:21 PM on March 19 [25 favorites]


"I mean isn't this kind of the beginning of Game of Thrones where Tyrion visits the wall?"

Sorry, I should have contextualized my thinking ... every time Trump talks about any specifics of building the wall -- where, how tall, made of what -- and it's clear he's just making shit up and doesn't know anything about building, or walls, or borders, I think of the interview that GRRM gave where he admitted he didn't really have any idea how tall 600 feet was and probably would have taken the time to make the whole thing more realistic if he'd known someone would have to put it on film later on.

Trump's wall is basically GRRM's wall, with self-proclaimed border militia in place of corrupt Night Watch, a few decent border agents in place of good Night Watch, and tourists like Tyrion showing up to look over the wall at the poor suffering wildlings. (Summer is even coming, the season that belongs beyond the wall.)

Except right now it feels like a few White Walkers might be an improvement.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:22 PM on March 19 [9 favorites]



I'm reading that over 700 contractors have already "registered intent" re: building the shitty wall. I just hate everything we have become.


Is there any doubt that the wall will be built by one Trump's ( or his family's ) companies? It seems the whole thing is just a cover for grifting more money into their pockets. Kinda like the Iraq/Haliburton deal.
I mean IF it's built- hopefully it won't be.
posted by Liquidwolf at 5:23 PM on March 19 [6 favorites]


Paul Ryan: Another one heads to President Trump’s desk. This legislation allows states to have drug testing to receive federal unemployment benefits.

'Cause it doesn't suck enough to just lose your job, they want to add a little extra humiliation to your life to make you totally miserable.
posted by octothorpe at 5:23 PM on March 19 [28 favorites]


Another one heads to President Trump’s desk. This legislation allows states to have drug testing to receive federal unemployment benefits.

Today at 11: Uptick in home invasions, drug users blamed.
posted by jaduncan at 5:25 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


have a nice song about The Boy From Mar-a-Lago .

Oh, that's lovely. From the title I was expecting something riffing on the Ad-libs (but much better known for the Manhattan Transfer cover) Boy From New York City, but this is much better.
posted by Naberius at 5:25 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Here's an example picture.

Another illustration of the proposed wall. [fake]
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:26 PM on March 19 [10 favorites]


This is dumb but apparently Newt Gingrich’s 2012 campaign treasurer was named Trevor Swindle. (Also he is now running a new, bad PAC.)
posted by Going To Maine at 5:26 PM on March 19 [6 favorites]


I mean isn't this kind of the beginning of Game of Thrones where Tyrion visits the wall?

Dammit, you're right. For a second there, I thought I had a genuinely novel image in my head, but actually it's just a variation on every atavistic "come my Son, I'll show you how to kill the Others and become a Man" fantasy ever.
posted by dirge at 5:26 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


So yeah, Iowa, clean house with your elected officials or deserve to lose money, you decide.

They're very susceptible to con-men. I saw it in a musical.
posted by condour75 at 5:28 PM on March 19 [73 favorites]


"This legislation allows states to have drug testing to receive federal unemployment benefits. 'Cause it doesn't suck enough to lose your job, they want to add a little extra humiliation to your life."

I am okay with this as long as all members of Congress are subject to routine drug testing before they receive their paychecks, and must give up their job and pension if found to be using.

IIRC when Florida put this in place they caught hardly any welfare-receiving drug users but two state legislators got convicted of drug offenses in the program's first year (for unrelated, just being caught as a regular criminal, stuff) ... leading to a far higher rate of drug use among state legislators NOT subject to routine testing than among welfare recipients who were subject to it.

(Having spent years doing discipline for high schools, drugs are #richpeopleproblems. I mean eventually they'll make you poor and into a junkie, but that's the end game. At the beginning of the problem, you have to be able to afford the drugs. There was like an order of magnitude difference between drug use at our middle class high school (very high!) and at our poor high school (pretty low). Ditto drinking. Poor high school students were slightly more likely to be dealers because of the gang economy in the area, except that they didn't deal in school. Middle-class high school dealers dealt in school, because that's where the buyers were.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:29 PM on March 19 [107 favorites]


If we don't take back the house in 2018 we are fucked

As opposed toooooo . . .
posted by petebest at 5:32 PM on March 19 [8 favorites]


I'm hoping the wall builder is actually a subversive and makes it miles and miles of linear feet of the world's biggest laser Floyd show.

That is to say, a sonic wall of "The Wall" with groovy lasers. A perpetual party!
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 5:36 PM on March 19 [7 favorites]


There's also this gem of a billboard in Phoenix. Artist says it stays up as long as hitler is in the White House.
posted by yoga at 5:38 PM on March 19 [11 favorites]


I mean. If they want the wall to be "effective," it will be sensors and drones and people in towers with machine guns

don't forget the barbed wire and German Shepherds
posted by indubitable at 5:39 PM on March 19


Having spent years doing discipline for high schools, drugs are #richpeopleproblems. I mean eventually they'll make you poor and into a junkie, but that's the end game. At the beginning of the problem, you have to be able to afford the drugs.

My worry is more that people potentially a) get fired for failing a drugs test and then b) get denied federal unemployment benefits for failing a drugs test immediately after, or c) wait until they'd pass the test and beg/borrow/steal/survive in the meantime somehow.

That isn't how unemployment insurance is supposed to work.
posted by jaduncan at 5:40 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


Maybe we could just fortify the Great Wall of China.

#1. It's already laid out
#2. We'd saved money.
#3. It makes more freaking sense than building one here.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:45 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


via Greg Siskind (immigration attorney): CBP has denied boarding to a 17 year old Muslim girl -a Knoxville native - stranding her in Turkey until Wednesday. (family's FB post)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:45 PM on March 19 [21 favorites]


Oh, and d) then get criminalised for - literally - stealing because that might be the only way to feed themselves or their child. Dependents are never really dealt with in the Ryan 'you brought it on yourself' model.
posted by jaduncan at 5:48 PM on March 19 [6 favorites]


If we don't take back the house in 2018 we are fucked.

It's been two months so far, and the USA has already been very badly damaged, but it's just an accelerated form of damage that has been going on for years.

Leaving domestic policies aside, the US government seems determined to destroy its structural advantages. For instance, the US dollar is the world's major reserve currency and consequently can print money (up to a point) without devaluing its currency. That can only last as long as the US doesn't default on its debt, which means that even contemplating that is suicidal. But that's what the Republicans were doing with their brinkmanship over the debt ceiling.

Another huge advantage is the USA's treaties with other nations. They protect the USA, by requiring other countries to come to its aid when attacked, and they give it strategic advantages by allowing it to base troops and equipment on their territory or pass through it as necessary. Other countries value these treaties and the relationship underlying them, and consequently have been willing to support the USA's military engagements. This willingness has been progressively damaged through the demands placed on it by US adventurism, and now Trump has called the treaties themselves into question. This is crazy on so many levels, especially since the orange dimwit is also sabre-rattling.

The USA is the home of the UN, and consequently has an unmatched ability to directly engage with diplomats and government officials. Its notorious surveillance may have damaged nations' willingness to engage on US soil, but what may really kill it off is the new US border regulation. Diplomatic staff haven't been threatened, as far as I know, but diplomats have families, employees, friends, and advisors who may not have diplomatic passports; they also are intimately involved in the networks of government and business officers from their countries and may increasingly prefer to conduct their meetings in friendlier countries.

Similarly, the USA is the base for the SWIFT network through which most inter-bank messages pass. If you trade between countries, or send money abroad, it's very likely that SWIFT was involved. I don't think anyone is surprised that the US uses this as a covert intelligence source or to pressure countries to adopt more transparent financial regulation, but as a result SWIFT started moving to a two (now three) center basis, with the other centers in Europe. Things like this surreal story from 2012 simply demonstrate that the US government has no internal restraint on the use of "soft" power.

Changes in foreign relations and international sentiment are slow to begin and hard to stop. Even if sane forces take control of the US legislature in 2018, a lot of the damage has already been done. NATO is valuable only so long as it is a credible counterweight to other countries' threats. You can see that European countries have already started discounting it; the process of building up militaries is slow and won't reverse any time soon, which means that those countries are less reliant on the USA - besides the waste of money and resources that militarism involves, of course. China's economy is huge, and growing, and only people's fears of its sovereign risk have prevented it taking a greater role on world financial markets. But if the USA keeps on demonstrating its own risk of default, why wouldn't people hedge their bets by keeping some money in Chinese bonds, thereby strengthening the Chinese government's position in foreign relations? There are just so many ways in which the US is squandering its advantages and making the whole world a crappier place.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:48 PM on March 19 [125 favorites]


don't forget the barbed wire and German Shepherds

also whatever those sound cannon things are that they hit journalists with for trying to get close to that Hillary fundraiser last year
posted by indubitable at 5:50 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


"My worry is more that people potentially a) get fired for failing a drugs test and then b) get denied federal unemployment benefits for failing a drugs test immediately after, or c) wait until they'd pass the test and beg/borrow/steal/survive in the meantime somehow. That isn't how unemployment insurance is supposed to work."

Well, yes, it's a terrible and stupid idea. Which is why you should tie it to Congressional drug testing and see how long it survives. :) It's more an ironic suggestion than a real one but sometimes doing that sort of shit actually can sink terrible legislation.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:54 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


That isn't how unemployment insurance is supposed to work.

Well, yeah, that's obviously exactly the point. If you give people real unemployment insurance, they might choose to quit instead of submitting to whatever shit their employer chooses to dish out. And that would be an infringement upon the God-given freedom of the employer to impose arbitrary and capricious conditions of employment. It's right there in the Constitution under, ah, something... State's Rights! Corporations are People!
posted by dirge at 5:56 PM on March 19 [10 favorites]


Oh, Pax American is dead. I meant more 2018 as our last chance to stop a literal Fourth Reich.

My gut feeling is that the inertia of civil society will carry the muddling middle along for a while, until something very bad happens. And climate change is coming. Economic decline is coming. Public health crises are coming. Something terrible will happen.

And at that point, authoritarianism will have gained enough momentum on its own, and it won't just be divide and conquer anymore. They won't just terrorize minority groups when they can get away with it. It will be everyone, all the time.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:01 PM on March 19 [14 favorites]


Trump budget chief who wants to cut Meals on Wheels says he is sacrificing by giving up business cards
Mulvaney agreed that he knew the bill would hurt children and prevent them from having access to nutritional food from organizations like Meals on Wheels, but he wants people to know he’s suffering too.

“Yes,” he began. “I don’t have a business card to give to you today, John, because, at the Office of Management and Budget, we have to pay for our own business cards. So it does start at home but it’s already started.”
For the record, John Dickerson doesn't even blink an eye at that statement, let alone call him out for it.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:03 PM on March 19 [90 favorites]


And at that point, authoritarianism will have gained enough momentum on its own, and it won't just be divide and conquer anymore.

You know, I'm not sure this is true. Trust in authority has been almost completely destroyed in America. I don't think an actual authoritarian regime can exist in here without being able to keep the people safe and fed. And with the political, military, and agricultural instability America has sown, I don't think either of those are likely. One homeland war or one famine or one widespread logistics disruption is all it'd take for support for any regime to dissolve completely, and those are becoming all but certain under the ridiculous leadership we have.

Which means, I suspect, that we have a much worse fate in store for us.
posted by ragtag at 6:10 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


For the record, John Dickerson doesn't even blink an eye at that statement, let alone call him out for it.

Just once I'd like one of these "journalists" to just look at them deadpan and say "Are you a fucking idiot?"
posted by Talez at 6:11 PM on March 19 [81 favorites]


I'd prefer "Dude...how high are you right now?"
posted by uosuaq at 6:31 PM on March 19 [14 favorites]


I find myself very interested in the particular budget line item that all of the Mar-A-Lago flights are falling under. What does that particular budget item look like on the balance sheet? How does that allocation work out? It’s some aggregate of secret service hours, Air Force One fuel, and other things, but I’m really intrigued. It seems like a bite-sized take on one particular wasteful facet of this administration.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:41 PM on March 19 [9 favorites]


I just hate everything we have become.

The article about the southern LEO who was detained by Customs/Border Patrol (and one guess why) quoted him succinctly summing it up:

“This country now feels cold, unwelcoming, and in the beginning stages of a country that is isolating itself from the rest of the world and its own people in an unprecedented fashion,” Aden said.
posted by NorthernLite at 6:47 PM on March 19 [36 favorites]


John Dickerson

Dickerson is so inured to the avalanches of bullshit that I don't think he experiences lies the same way as other people do. It's amazing to hear him rationalize things on Slate Political Gabfest. He's got this rep as a savvy historian of politics but he seems to have missed the whole liars and scoundrels part of American political history.
posted by dis_integration at 6:56 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


I just hate everything we have become<>
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:57 PM on March 19 [20 favorites]


The city of Palm Beach should do their own Noriega style psy-ops siege of Merde-a-GoGo. Only instead of David Bowie, blast the Russian national anthem on repeat.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 6:59 PM on March 19 [23 favorites]


Frank Rich in New York Magazine: No Sympathy for the Hillbilly.
Democrats need to stop trying to feel everyone’s pain, and hold on to their own anger.
Yup. No, I don't need to be more empathetic to uneducated white racists.
posted by Justinian at 7:08 PM on March 19 [84 favorites]


"Evenworse"
posted by nwwn at 7:09 PM on March 19


Yeah, I don't think that there's enough tourism revenue in Iowa for a tourism boycott to be super effective. (Also, the main tourist destinations, such as they are, are mostly outside King's district.) In the unlikely event that you were planning to spend time this summer at Lake Okoboji, which is in King's district, you could go ahead and cancel.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:12 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I find myself very interested in the particular budget line item that all of the Mar-A-Lago flights are falling under

That's classified.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:13 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


Yup. No, I don't need to be more empathetic to uneducated white racists.

I get what you're feeling, and it's a feeling both justifiable and your right to express, but isn't "uneducated" an awfully classist pejorative?
posted by Apocryphon at 7:18 PM on March 19 [6 favorites]


Democrats May Be Botching This Supreme Court Confirmation Fight
Chalk it up to Trump’s chaotic administration, or to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s low-key approach. Democrats just haven’t treated Gorsuch’s nomination as the kind of high-profile ideological battle that Supreme Court choices traditionally bring about. Even in the days leading up the hearing, it’s felt more like an afterthought on Capitol Hill


What do we want? Surrender! When do we want it? Next time!
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:19 PM on March 19 [9 favorites]


I'm now trying not to imagine the sort of person who'd take a vacation to the border wall,
I worked for him. Well, he had a "Minutemen" hat and donated to that organization.

"Paranoid" wouldn't have done him justice.
posted by notsnot at 7:19 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Nobody thinks that they or their neighbors are being personally irresponsible if they send their kids to public schools, because that's a well-established form of government support that seems totally wholesome and great. There's basically no stigma about Medicare or Social Security, and I don't think there's much about Pell Grants.

An article in Forbes that pretty much says the same. It really explained a lot of things for me.
posted by maggiemaggie at 7:20 PM on March 19 [34 favorites]


From that Frank Rich article (quoted by Rich; he doesn't agree with this):
“The best advice I’ve seen so far for Democrats is the recommendation that hipsters move to Iowa,” Williams writes — or to any other location in the American plains where “shockingly high numbers of working-class men are unemployed or on disability, fueling a wave of despair deaths in the form of the opioid epidemic.”
That's just silly. The unemployment rate in Iowa is 3.3%, well below the national average. I did move to Iowa, and it's really not some opioid-addled wasteland of misery and gloom.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:22 PM on March 19 [17 favorites]


I get what you're feeling, and it's a feeling both justifiable and your right to express, but isn't "uneducated" an awfully classist pejorative?

Less educated? Non-college? What's the better way to phrase it? Trump's base is racist white people without a college education.
posted by Justinian at 7:23 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


[Jesus, Mary, and Holy Saint Joseph, people, RELOAD THE PAGE before responding to the Office Space derail, IT IS ALL DELETED.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:24 PM on March 19 [28 favorites]


Chalk it up to Trump’s chaotic administration, or to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s low-key approach

Thank god Schumer hasn't done anything that would run the risk of Trump becoming anti-Dem or extremely racist. I wouldn't want to live in a world where that the President was that way.
posted by jaduncan at 7:24 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Trump's base is racist white people without a college education.

I can provide a list of people I know who not only went to college but graduated with a Bachelor's or higher who are Trump's base.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:27 PM on March 19 [16 favorites]


They may have voted for him but that's not what "base" means!
posted by Justinian at 7:28 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


And that's part of the problem. They went to college, they followed the 'rules' and yet they're still left behind as well.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:29 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


His base is also a shitload of suburban white people who have perfectly good jobs, but are still pretty fucking racist. Or don't mind voting for a racist if he promises to lower their taxes. Let's not let them off.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:30 PM on March 19 [50 favorites]


Seconding the article that maggiemaggie linked to above, it is a good read (despite being from Forbes).
posted by splitpeasoup at 7:32 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Less educated? Non-college? What's the better way to phrase it? Trump's base is racist white people without a college education.

Ignorant. Every literate person with access to a library and/or the internet has had the opportunity to educate themselves. Trump voters are willfully ignorant.
posted by Blue Genie at 7:33 PM on March 19 [35 favorites]


Can't we just call them "stupid"?
posted by The otter lady at 7:37 PM on March 19 [14 favorites]


“Yes,” he began. “I don’t have a business card to give to you today, John, because, at the Office of Management and Budget, we have to pay for our own business cards. So it does start at home but it’s already started.”

Since the GOP is on its "run government like a business" hobbyhorse, someone should warn them that "the company will no longer pay for business cards!" is one of the early warning signs of bad management.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 7:40 PM on March 19 [105 favorites]


I'm on board for "stupid" since it won't unfairly target white people who didn't go to college and are repulsed by Trump. So... No, I don't need to be more empathetic to uneducated stupid white racists.
posted by Justinian at 7:43 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


How about we go with "willfully ignorant"? I wouldn't want to lump anybody in with these people unless they really worked at it.
posted by dirge at 7:46 PM on March 19 [21 favorites]


"Personal responsibility" seems to be something peddled by those who are doing Quite Alright Thank You, and who can afford to be personally responsible. Anyone who isn't is obviously, simply, not being responsible.

And if those who are doing Quite Alright should somehow find themselves not doing so, then it is obviously the fault of Them, the forces of darkness who are sabotaging everything.

In the UK we have the Daily Mail, who seem to flip-flop between outrage at government (and European) meddling and demands that "someone should do something!" Somehow, though, it is never the ones doing the shouting who ought to be doing something...
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 7:47 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


The hard thing for DPRK is that even if their nuclear sites are bombed they have to go big or go home

Trucks. Most if not all of the recent missile firings used truck-mounted launchers & were shot from locations across the country. We don't think they have payloads small enough to fit in them but sooner or later they will. When they do their missile launch teams will already have had all the training they need from all the test firings. They're betting big on survivability for a retaliatory strike.
posted by scalefree at 7:52 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


So. VistaPrint sells 500 business cards for $9.99 (before promos or coupons.) Maybe people could help a director out by ordering some for him. Just make sure to proofread first! It would be awful if he got boxes of business cards reading "Mick Mulvaney, Director, Office of Fucking Assholes.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:52 PM on March 19 [90 favorites]


I was thinking something similar, Room641! Perfect opportunity, indeed.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 7:55 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


also whatever those sound cannon things are

LRADs

Turns out, not so rad
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:56 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


Ignorant. Every literate person with access to a library and/or the internet has had the opportunity to educate themselves.

"Ignorant" implies that education will somehow change minds. We have an entire thread right now arguing otherwise.

Though, hell, if we want to be assholes:

They went to college, they followed the 'rules' and yet they're still left behind as well.

"Underachieving white racists" might be an accurate description.

Also, it's possible for a minority group to both be oppressed *and* be bigoted. This is a known phenomenon, and it seems to be something we see these days with uneducated white people.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 7:57 PM on March 19 [8 favorites]


"Personal responsibility" seems to be something peddled by those who are doing Quite Alright Thank You, and who can afford to be personally responsible.

People who go on about "personal responsibility" are people who do not comprehend decision fatigue. I, as it happens, am doing Quite Alright at the moment, but I've been there, and if me-now could time travel to give some advice to me-then, me-now would first suit up in riot gear, or better yet just skip the trip for both our sakes.
posted by dirge at 7:59 PM on March 19 [7 favorites]




In my experience, the phrase "personal responsibility" is always used to point out other people's responsibility, never one's own, which really confused me at first because I assumed that anyone talking about personal responsibility took it seriously.
posted by maggiemaggie at 8:09 PM on March 19 [24 favorites]


From the above, regarding hate groups:

Yet the SPLC’s protestations of neutrality are false. It is an integral part of the immigration-expansion coalition, as even the briefest look at the “Immigrant Justice” page on its website will confirm.

Right.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 8:11 PM on March 19 [15 favorites]


VistaPrint sells 500 business cards for $9.99

And it's a nice little way to say "welcome, you're officially a member of the team!" at something like 0.4% of employee on-boarding costs, to just make up a number. And the cost to gather a bunch of executives for 15 minutes to make the momentous decision to stop issuing business cards is going to swamp the savings for years. And demonstrates quite clearly that they haven't got any better ideas to work on.

To bring it back to Trump, either Mulvaney is lying about this small, stupid thing, or some idiot actually wasted the time and energy necessary to actually do it. Also, is Mulvaney attempting to convince us that this is both important enough to remark on, and also not important enough for him to shell out $9.99 out-of-pocket to correct?
posted by dirge at 8:11 PM on March 19 [14 favorites]


I will pitch in for some business cards for Mulvaney


It should be very simple, just something like "Mulvaney, Shit Heel"
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:12 PM on March 19 [12 favorites]


Well holy shit. If this is true, Obama's unleashing the hounds (on mobile, forgive link).

Occupy Democrats - Expose Trump
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 8:13 PM on March 19 [17 favorites]


It should be very simple, just something like "Mulvaney, Shit Heel"

He is fond of saying that revoking meals on wheels etc "is the compassionate thing to do". I'd like to see a list of those compassionate ideas of his on the card somewhere.
posted by futz at 8:16 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I will pitch in for some business cards for Mulvaney

Actually, this is a fantastic idea. How do we set something up so people can easily send business cards to Mulvaney with the job title of their choice?
posted by dirge at 8:17 PM on March 19 [9 favorites]


(Thanks for fixing, kind mod-person 😊)
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 8:24 PM on March 19


Mick Mulvaney
Inhuman Granny-Starving Ghoul

On Bone stock, in Silian Rail
posted by Cookiebastard at 8:24 PM on March 19 [16 favorites]


How labeling my organization a hate group shuts down public debate

I can't comment about what constitutes a hate group, but even the right-wing Cato Institute thinks that CIS puts out biased information, and Media Matters slams them even harder.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:32 PM on March 19 [14 favorites]


If the Center for Immigration Studies doesn't want to be thought of as a hate group, maybe they could stop sending out articles by white nationalists in their newsletters? Like, if you're really opposed to that sort of thing, you'd affirmatively take steps to try to prevent it from happening again?
posted by zachlipton at 8:32 PM on March 19 [34 favorites]


WELP, I'm no graphic designer but I do know how to use Word, and I have the kind of expertise and professionalism that totally qualifies me to work in the Trump administration! I was so sad to read that Mick Mulvaney can't afford business cards that I flew into action and whipped him up some of my own! I'm going to be faxing them to the Office of Management and Budget at 202-395-3888. I know he'll still have to cut them up to use, gosh I hope the OMB still can afford scissors. I hope he enjoys them!
posted by supercrayon at 8:41 PM on March 19 [43 favorites]


Margaret Sullivan, WaPo: Tracking the special treatment media get when they play nice with the White House
With this uplifting example, I inaugurate an occasional feature: Access Watch, tracking the special treatment — phone calls, interviews, perhaps the lone press seat on the secretary of state’s plane — that can result when media people play nice.

True, it is not the proper job of journalists to provide favorable coverage but rather to hold powerful figures accountable.

But that doesn’t get you far these days, at least in terms of access.

So we’ll be taking note of what does.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:44 PM on March 19 [25 favorites]


Obama's unleashing the hounds

Occupy Democrats - Expose Trump


This is what I've been waiting for. "Accuse me of operating a shadow government, and I'll show you what broad-daylight, fuck-you former government can do."

Gobama.
posted by Rykey at 8:46 PM on March 19 [34 favorites]


Well holy shit. If this is true, Obama's unleashing the hounds

Well, the group certainly seems real (real enough to have a website anyway) but I don't see any kind of claim or indication that Obama is involved. Of course, I suspect that the Evil/Stupid Alliance will spin this as proof of Obama's meddling, or evidence of his "shadow government" in action.

Regardless, I wish them luck. There is as much evidence of 45's treachery, corruption, and incompetence as there is willingness to look at it. Which is the problem, of course. His supporters are unwilling to look, or unable to see. I doubt this group can impact that fact much, but we don't need to concern ourselves with changing the minds of the mindless. What we need to concern ourselves with is removing them from power by any means necessary, and this could be one such avenue.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 8:47 PM on March 19 [6 favorites]


Yes, sorry, it's Obama's former lawyers. Still, it's good to know that they will be watching closely. It is some hope for troubled times.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 8:52 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


For some comic relief: the Boy from Mar-a-Lago.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 8:55 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


I wish he'd hurry up and annoy Canada. Trudeau, you're screwing this up

Don't get your hopes up. Between the legitimate fear of pissing of our #1 commercial partner and the fact that Trudeau is not the brave leader some people think he is (see electoral reform). Opposition won't come from the north.
posted by coust at 9:07 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


A new thread and another drawing of Trump.

I had no idea Stephen Gammell did political cartoons under the pseudonym "Grant Mercs." You learn something every day!
posted by byanyothername at 9:11 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


Opposition won't come from the north.

The other day I was talking to someone about Canada and our relationship to the States, and they said something along the lines of "You know how when a bully is beating up someone, there's sometimes that other kid who is standing there, watching, and holding the bully's coat? That's us."
posted by mrjohnmuller at 9:21 PM on March 19 [15 favorites]


@byanyothername, thank you! That is the nightmare factory I was trying to place.
posted by SakuraK at 9:22 PM on March 19


Three columns the late Jimmy Breslin wrote about Trump, in 1990, 1989, and 1988. Parts of them could have been written yesterday.
1988: Trump, in the crinkling of an eye, senses better than anyone the insecurity of people, that nobody knows whether anything is good or bad until they are told, and he is quite willing to tell them immediately. His instinct appears to tell him that people crumble quickly at the first show of bravado, particularly members of the media, which is the plural of mediocre.

1990: All Trump has to do is stick to the rules on which he was raised by his father in the County of Queens:
Never use your own money. Steal a good idea and say it's your own. Do anything to get publicity. Remember that everybody can be bought.
The trouble with Trump's father was that he was a totally naive man. He had no idea that you could buy the whole news reporting business in New York City with a return phone call.

1989: It would be comforting if [...] Trump was doing it the old way, by having half the reporters on a payroll someplace. But the news business today is so utterly dishonest that the people are below taking bribes. Instead, Trump buys them with a smile, a phone call or a display of wealth that so excites these poor fools that they cannot wait to herald his brilliance.

"He let me see his yacht!"
posted by monospace at 9:35 PM on March 19 [58 favorites]


Those quotes should remind us all how much the blame the "liberal media" deserves for helping to create the monster named Donald Trump. His main frustration with the same media entities today isn't that they can no longer be manipulated but that he can't pull it off anymore. In fact, even the "Pro-Trump" media these days is not so much manipulated BY him as he is manipulated BY THEM.

And if you haven't seen this before, here's another guy who had Donald pegged in 1989... R. Crumb.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:52 PM on March 19 [25 favorites]


There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that we wouldn't be here today without the countless millions of dollars worth of free airtime Trump was given. And that's before even considering any of his policies (such as they are) or those of his supporters. The man, and thus his presidency, is a natural product of the American media landscape. Breslin saw it coming.
posted by monospace at 10:00 PM on March 19 [28 favorites]


Democrats need to stop trying to feel everyone’s pain, and hold on to their own anger.

I totally agree that the Mark Lilla listening-tour horseshit needs to go away. The Trumpistas don't want to be heard, they want to punish people who aren't like them.

The only quibble I have with the article is the knock on the 50-state strategy. I don't think that running more and better candidates in red states means watering down Democratic values to effectively cater to racist whites.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:00 PM on March 19 [11 favorites]


If we don't take back the house in 2018 we are fucked.

...which involves picking up like 30 seats. Whoof. This goes back to my issue about not running enough good candidates. Dems better be looking hard at every Republican-led district where Clinton won or came close, red state or not.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:06 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


The good news I read was they need about 25 seats, of which 20 are districts where Hillary got more votes than Donald. The math isn't that scary, at least on the House side.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:11 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


listening-tour horseshit needs to go away

I think Jonathan Coulton has provided the perfect theme music for these "negotiations."
posted by dirge at 10:18 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


Some interesting thoughts from Ben Wittes on How to Listen to Jim Comey's Testimony on Monday (this is your regularly scheduled reminder that Lawfare is an awful blog devoted to worshiping the worst excesses of the national security state, and I feel bad for linking it):
That is, if Comey says a lot, makes a lot of news on Russia matters, and cheers a lot of anti-Trump hearts by maximally embarassing the President for his outrageous comments on Obama's alleged wiretapping of Trump Tower, that will very likely be a sign that Comey has relatively little to protect in terms of investigative equities in the Russia matter and is thus free to vent. Conversely, a quiet, reserved Comey—one whose contrast with the relatively loquatious FBI director who talked at length about the Clinton email matters will infuriate a lot of liberals and frustrate those who want to know what's going on with Russia—may well spell trouble for the President.
posted by zachlipton at 10:57 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


just moved to another beautiful spot in cascadia; registered to vote; lots of websites will tell me who my fed reps are; but can't find and app/calendar for easy alerts on upcoming elections at all levels. you'd think my political party or the other political groups that hit me up for money/petitions would want to make it as easy as possible to know when (and for what) to vote at all levels of the game but it actually takes a lot of hunting to get that info. -Samantha Bee (slyt: 3min in gets to point) calls us out for low offyear voting.

also would love an app to filter my shopping options to non-republican businesses. I want easy nonviolent ways to fight these fascapitalumpkins with my votes and wallet. I want the lowest information and effort barriers to political action - because we know the other side is going to push for the highest barriers, like bigly yuge! the best barriers to voting. paid for by drug tested, means tested, standardized tested poors.

my 2 cents
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 11:06 PM on March 19 [7 favorites]


I don't think that running more and better candidates in red states means watering down Democratic values to effectively cater to racist whites.

Agreed! Indivisible has taught me that many red states are populated by millions of decent compassionate people who do not love rule by kleptocracy/theocracy and who are numerous enough to effect change. This is the time to double down on principles and present voters with real choice in the midterms.
posted by SakuraK at 11:19 PM on March 19 [30 favorites]


The math isn't that scary

I really don't know when I'll start reading this without flashing back to the election day reassurances I remember trying to calm myself down with.
posted by flatluigi at 12:00 AM on March 20 [10 favorites]


I feel like oneswellfoop's link has been overlooked a little.

A California waiter refused to serve 4 Latina customers until he saw ‘proof of residency’

Now this racist asshole was fired, and the management made a donation to a charity of the customer's choice, the Orange County Immigrant Youth United. So it seems everything was resolved well.

It may be that Huntington Beach is a red dot in sapphire blue California. In Arizona this scumbag may have been given the American Medal of Super Patriotism of America, while the women are cuffed.

It's the emboldening though. This guy might have spat in a few bowls of soup before, but now they and other racists feel they have the authority of the highest office in the land to deputize themselves as immigration enforcers. They are emboldened.

And let's not pretend this is about immigration. I'm an Australian of Swedish heritage. I could be airdropped (illegally) anywhere in America and until I opened my mouth no-one would ask me for papers. I'm a white guy. The whole immigration thing is a fig-leaf for racism.
posted by adept256 at 12:25 AM on March 20 [67 favorites]


The waiter must really be dumber than a bag of hammers because why wouldn't you be serving non-residents? The restaurant industry is all for the tourist dollar.
posted by PenDevil at 12:30 AM on March 20 [47 favorites]


How else is he going to do his patriotic duty and call the authorities to protect 'Murica from dangerous groups of diners if he's not able to ask to check their papers?
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:36 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


The whole immigration thing is a fig-leaf for racism.

Yes, it's amazing how all of the racist assholes know to come crawling out of their holes at the same time, almost as if they were responding to a dog whistle. Same for anti-semitism and misogyny. Where did all these dog whistles come from and why do people keep wedging them into their scanners?!

But seriously, it is exhausting to realize that so many people who live near me lack basic human empathy and cognitive reasoning skills. It'll be sweet to watch Idiocrat faces gawp for air when they finally realize their Cheetoh President screwed them over.
posted by SakuraK at 1:33 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


That is, if Comey says a lot, makes a lot of news on Russia matters, and cheers a lot of anti-Trump hearts by maximally embarassing the President for his outrageous comments on Obama's alleged wiretapping of Trump Tower, that will very likely be a sign that Comey has relatively little to protect in terms of investigative equities in the Russia matter and is thus free to vent. Conversely, a quiet, reserved Comey—one whose contrast with the relatively loquatious FBI director who talked at length about the Clinton email matters will infuriate a lot of liberals and frustrate those who want to know what's going on with Russia—may well spell trouble for the President.
The problem with this rather generous theory - and normally I'd agree with it - is that he was also extremely loquacious before the FBI knew the content of the Huma Abedin laptop emails, potentially endangering any investigation that would have occurred had they been incriminating.
posted by jaduncan at 2:07 AM on March 20


Agreed! Indivisible has taught me that many red states are populated by millions of decent compassionate people who do not love rule by kleptocracy/theocracy and who are numerous enough to effect change. This is the time to double down on principles and present voters with real choice in the midterms.

I totally agree with this. And even if this doesn't pan out by 2018 and we have a few embarrassing defeats in red districts, I think it's worth thinking about this over the long term. I mean Republicans didn't gerrymander themselves into a ~5-point advantage overnight.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:25 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


This is sort of a random question- but did anyone see commentary on the H1B report that 60 Minutes had last night? Some Trump-voting family members were touting it as "must see tv" on Facebook, which makes me leery (but on the other hand, the H1B system has been a bit of a mess for quite some time now, I just mostly don't trust 60 Minutes to do an accurate reporting of how..)
posted by nat at 2:54 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Nat, in searching about the 60 Minutes report, I see that per TheHill.com, our Senators are now Tweeting at Trump to try to get his attention on things. If that has happened before, I'd missed it. But, you know, of COURSE they are.
posted by thebrokedown at 3:27 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Nat, in searching about the 60 Minutes report, I see that per TheHill.com, our Senators are now Tweeting at Trump to try to get his attention on things. If that has happened before, I'd missed it. But, you know, of COURSE they are.

Epistemic closure. Apparently even Senators are having issues.
posted by jaduncan at 4:16 AM on March 20


even the right-wing Cato Institute

CATO is a right-libertarian thinktank, so they are positively disposed towards immigration, open borders and free trade.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:29 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


How do we set something up so people can easily send business cards to Mulvaney with the job title of their choice?

A website + moo.com
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:33 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


No Sympathy for the Hillbilly

If everyone in Appalachia and the Ozarks voted for Trump they couldn't have gotten him halfway to 1600, but it's the hillbillies' fault. There's over 50 million other reasons Trump is president.
posted by ridgerunner at 4:34 AM on March 20 [29 favorites]


I love moo.com but their cards are costlier. You can choose from various blank template designs at VistaPrint, too, for much less. I haven't tested it with profanity.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:50 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


There's over 50 million other reasons Trump is president

yeah but if you just say "white people, men and women" all of a sudden you get shouted down and the chorus of "not all white people"...
posted by anem0ne at 4:55 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


If everyone in Appalachia and the Ozarks voted for Trump they couldn't have gotten him halfway to 1600, but it's the hillbillies' fault. There's over 50 million other reasons Trump is president.

Sure, but it seems to be a lot of the people in these places who are now regretting their vote, because they are worried about losing their health care or things like that.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:03 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Maybe one could just say that Trump voters are to blame for Trump?

I mean, half of my family is from a pretty redneck area, and before that from Appalachia, and they'd all gnaw off a forearm before voting for Trump, so it gets me down a little bit to have all this blanket "no sympathy for people from distressed areas".
posted by Frowner at 5:10 AM on March 20 [60 favorites]


If you're thinking of faxing (or tweeting?) business cards there are lots of free, printable templates, like these from Avery (mobile requires app download) or for use with Word or Excel.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:16 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Trump meetings today:
-Bill Gates
-Paul Ryan, Tom Price, Zeke Emanuel
-Pence
-Tillerson
-Iraq prime minister, in Oval
-fly to KY for rally.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:16 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Well, moo has that thing where every card can say something different. Which would be hilarious
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:17 AM on March 20 [8 favorites]


If everyone in Appalachia and the Ozarks voted for Trump they couldn't have gotten him halfway to 1600, but it's the hillbillies' fault. There's over 50 million other reasons Trump is president.

These are the trump voters I blame least, overall. On inauguration day I was struck by the obviously unwell, clearly struggling and generally overwhelmed people huddling with their maga signs in occasional pockets down by Columbus Circle. These people have largely been failed. I'm sure many of them have shitty attitudes and beliefs, but their ignorance isn't necessarily of their own choosing. I'm also sure they would also resent that framing/pity.

But they were in such stark contrast to the slick Bethesda suburbanites who were walking around calling us protesters idiots to our faces. Those pompous white suburbanites are way more the problem; for one there are a lot more of them and for another they're willfully ignorant and shitty, despite having had ample opportunities.
posted by aspersioncast at 5:25 AM on March 20 [50 favorites]


I think it's safe to say, considering we keep going around and around in circles on it, that the Trump phenomenon is too complex to be easily distilled down to a single category.
posted by ragtag at 5:29 AM on March 20 [18 favorites]


I mean, half of my family is from a pretty redneck area, and before that from Appalachia, and they'd all gnaw off a forearm before voting for Trump, so it gets me down a little bit to have all this blanket "no sympathy for people from distressed areas".

I live in a blood-red rural state. I come from the Ozarks. My wife proudly describes herself as "half hillbilly, half swamp". I have for decades repeatedly damn near rolled my eyes out of my head at northerners patting themselves on the back for how less racist they are than us. And now I've lost count of the number of "this is the rednecks' fault" conversations I've had to endure since November.

The desire of a certain and very large subset of urban white liberals to absolve their own race or home culture of any responsibility in this mess by shoving it off on us is so breathtakingly evidence-resistant that it gives creationists and anti-vaxxers a run for their money. And it is exhausting.

We're marching too, guys. And some of us would surprise you.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:35 AM on March 20 [134 favorites]


...the Trump phenomenon is too complex to be easily distilled down to a single category.
White people.

The problem is that white people overwhelmingly voted for a racist pussy-grabbing shitgibbon.
posted by Combat Wombat at 5:45 AM on March 20 [48 favorites]


It's almost like people, when faced with complexity, use stereotypes to make sense to themselves.

Same as it ever was.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 5:45 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Indivisible has taught me that many red states are populated by millions of decent compassionate people

You didn't know that until 2017?
posted by jpe at 5:51 AM on March 20 [9 favorites]


While everyone is falling all over themselves to explain the rural white working class, suburban and exurban white upper middle class Trump voters slip past while whistling a jaunty tune. The call is coming from juuuuust outside the house, guys.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:55 AM on March 20 [73 favorites]


Appalachia and the Ozarks no longer make very much sense as a geographic cultural signifier. Drive 30 minutes out of any large city (eg Minneapolis) and you'll see dixie flags on coal rolling trucks and creepy anti abortion billboards.

Where I see the real divide is between large cities and their inner ring suburbs vs outer suburbs and rural areas.
posted by localhuman at 6:05 AM on March 20 [40 favorites]


Yeah, I think a lot of the ways that people talk about this stuff is kind of not-helpful, both in the sense that it's not accurate and in the sense that it plays into the persecution fantasies of people who are motivated by a sense that they're victims of liberal elites who view them with contempt. And I have a lot of contempt for Trump voters, but not because I think they're noble savages who are just too simple to realize they're voting for assholes.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:19 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Donny's feeling the Comey pressure. 5 tweets this morning playing the greatest hits about Russia.

James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!

The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!

The real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!

Just heard Fake News CNN is doing polls again despite the fact that their election polls were a WAY OFF disaster. Much higher ratings at Fox

What about all of the contact with the Clinton campaign and the Russians? Also, is it true that the DNC would not let the FBI in to look?

posted by chris24 at 6:21 AM on March 20 [14 favorites]


Amazing Disgrace -How did Donald Trump—a thrice-married, biblically illiterate sexual predator—hijack the religious right?
By backing Trump, white evangelicals were playing into the hands of a new, alt-right version of Christianity—a sprawling coalition of white nationalists, old-school Confederates, neo-Nazis, Islamophobes, and social-media propagandists who viewed the religious right, first and foremost, as a vehicle for white supremacy.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:29 AM on March 20 [37 favorites]


I ordered some business cards for Mulvaney, that list his job title as "Starver of Hungry Children and Elderly" and are monogrammed EVIL. If you want to do the same, here is the link you can order from and you'll need the OMB's address and phone number, which are 725 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20503, 202-395-3080.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:31 AM on March 20 [19 favorites]


chris24: James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!

The language in this fascinates me. Does he frequently refer to himself in the third person as POTUS? Is it an aide writing the tweet for him? Or is he consciously or unconsciously mentally distancing himself from the verb of the sentence in the same way that someone might say "...and then the car hit the bicyclist" instead of "...and then I hit the bicyclist with the car"?
posted by bluecore at 6:33 AM on March 20 [8 favorites]


Every time he stops tweeting crazy stuff for a couple days I get worried somebody's finally gotten through to him about how damaging it is to any sort of coherent agenda when he tweets crazy stuff all the time. And then I get a nice reassuring feeling when the crazy comes back out again. I guess this is a pretty sad place to be mentally, though, where it seems better for the President to be more crazy than less crazy. But it does. He would be so much more dangerous if his minions could figure out how to control him, or at least to make him assume a veneer of competence.
posted by something something at 6:34 AM on March 20 [19 favorites]


White evangelicals have been the willing dupes of hucksters both political and non- for decades.

I don't know what makes them such easy marks (welllll I kind of do), but ever since a national political party discovered that if you use the right code words they'll fall into lockstep and stay there for life, they've been on the path to place we are now.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:36 AM on March 20 [42 favorites]


The distancing is interesting. It's in the same vein as when a sports team fan says "we won!" when the team wins, and "they lost" after the team loses.
posted by emelenjr at 6:36 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


White House installs political aides at Cabinet agencies to be Trump’s eyes and ears
Most members of President Trump’s Cabinet do not yet have leadership teams in place or even nominees for top deputies. But they do have an influential coterie of senior aides installed by the White House who are charged — above all — with monitoring the secretaries’ loyalty, according to eight officials in and outside the administration.

This shadow government of political appointees with the title of senior White House adviser is embedded at every Cabinet agency, with offices in or just outside the secretary’s suite. The White House has installed at least 16 of the advisers at departments including Energy and Health and Human Services and at some smaller agencies such as NASA, according to records first obtained by ProPublica through a Freedom of Information Act request.
"Don't turn around, oh oh/Der Kommissar's in town, oh oh"
posted by kirkaracha at 6:37 AM on March 20 [18 favorites]


Now that "fake news" has come around 180 degrees to indicate anything that's not propaganda, I think those POTUS tweets this morning pretty much seal the deal that he's guilty as hell.
posted by Dr. Send at 6:37 AM on March 20 [11 favorites]


I'm pretty sure at this point that Comey is going to come out and say, "No evidence.". Then the question becomes, "Just how much does the soul of an FBI director go for on the fair market?"
posted by jferg at 6:38 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


[A couple deleted. I'm sorry, but the whole White People who voted for Trump thing is now devouring the thread, and we've had plenty of posts/threads completely dedicated to this topic. Let's get back to the current news here, please. ]
posted by taz at 6:45 AM on March 20 [16 favorites]


It hasn't started yet, but here's the C-SPAN link to the House Intelligence hearings.

Please give context for any references you make to what's going down there today, for those who aren't listening/watching.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:54 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


Every time he stops tweeting crazy stuff for a couple days I get worried somebody's finally gotten through to him about how damaging it is to any sort of coherent agenda when he tweets crazy stuff all the time. And then I get a nice reassuring feeling when the crazy comes back out again. I guess this is a pretty sad place to be mentally, though, where it seems better for the President to be more crazy than less crazy. But it does. He would be so much more dangerous if his minions could figure out how to control him, or at least to make him assume a veneer of competence.

It's pretty common for victims of abuse to feel this way. You want the abuse to end but you worry that if it does nobody will believe that it ever happened in the first place.
posted by srboisvert at 7:01 AM on March 20 [50 favorites]


Devin Nunes unveils the sporty and luxurious 2017 Toyota Pravada.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:07 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


I was thinking the other day about how in old Metatalk threads you frequently got people coming in to say "The moderation in this place is out of control! This tyranny is ruining Metafilter and I'll leave as soon as I find another acceptable online community but I haven't yet because everything else is a cesspit" and I'd think "you...you don't see any connection here? You don't understand how maybe the tyrannical moderation you decry is what's actually making Metafilter not uninhabitable like everywhere else?" and I feel like these people are now running the country.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:09 AM on March 20 [90 favorites]


The language in this fascinates me. Does he frequently refer to himself in the third person as POTUS?

Whether or not he's suffering from dementia aside, I believe he thinks that as the "Chief Executive" there's no one with the authority to question him. ( See also: "Royal We" )
posted by mikelieman at 7:10 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


How long until he tweets "Why doesn't the President DO something about this?!?"?
posted by Etrigan at 7:11 AM on March 20 [19 favorites]


I'm pretty sure at this point that Comey is going to come out and say, "No evidence.". Then the question becomes, "Just how much does the soul of an FBI director go for on the fair market?"


$5 and a share in rosneft, same as in the Oval?
posted by nubs at 7:15 AM on March 20 [10 favorites]


So far, Schiff is basically recapping the entire Steele Dossier, including Rosneft and the 19%. He is walking through the whole timeline. It's kind of amazing.
posted by Freon at 7:19 AM on March 20 [36 favorites]


Yeah, Schiff's timeline is the most useful summary I've heard on the whole thing. I am not the best at paying attention to a parade of smarmy white dudes, though (to my never-ending detriment in figuring out this administration), so the whole thing kinda slips off the surface of my mind usually.
posted by lauranesson at 7:22 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


So far, Schiff is basically recapping the entire Steele Dossier, including Rosneft and the 19%. He is walking through the whole timeline. It's kind of amazing.

Yep. Going through the dossier and all the publicly available info corroborating it, including Roger Stone's tweets, Rosneft, the timing of the GOP platform changes to make it more favorable to Russia. This is amazing.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 7:22 AM on March 20 [17 favorites]


Yeah, Schiff is doing a really bang-up explainer here, landing on "Coincidence? Iiiiii think not." . If folks can find a transcript or clip later, it's worth it.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:23 AM on March 20 [12 favorites]


MetaFilter: now running the country.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:24 AM on March 20


NSA Director Rogers in opening statement: FISA and existing EO has been instrumental in providing "intelligence requested by this committee" about foreign actors.
posted by Freon at 7:30 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


"Our practice is not to confirm the existence of ongoing investigations," but sometimes we do, if it's real important (paraphrased at the end there). - Comey
posted by lauranesson at 7:33 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


Directory Comey : "Authorized by DOJ" to confirm investigation into Russian election interference, and coordination with Trump campaign.
posted by Freon at 7:33 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


Comey confirms investigation, including ties of Trump campaign with Russian interference.

Is this new?
posted by leotrotsky at 7:33 AM on March 20 [8 favorites]


Wow, Comey admits that the FBI is indeed investigating not just the Russian interference but also the Trump campaign's possible involvement.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:33 AM on March 20 [8 favorites]


Comey: FBI is investigating Russian measures during the election, including any link between the Trump campaign and the Russians, but he cannot say more about what they are doing and who they are investigating. "I know that is extremely frustrating to some folks, but that is the way it has to be."
posted by zachlipton at 7:33 AM on March 20 [11 favorites]




I'm looking forward to hearing from my Jr.* Senator, Kamala Harris.

*Hopefilly soon-to-be Sr. Senator. Ted Lieu for Senate!
posted by Room 641-A at 7:35 AM on March 20 [19 favorites]


Dan Drezner writing in the WaPo has a critique of Tillerson's performance to date
posted by readery at 7:36 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Denver Post: [CO Democratic Senator] Michael Bennet squeezed in Neil Gorsuch fight
And last week, former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat, co-signed a letter in support of Gorsuch, a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

“It is time to rise above the political fray, and for both sides of the aisle to commit to the high road going forward,” wrote Ritter, along with John Suthers, a Republican and former Colorado attorney general.
posted by audi alteram partem at 7:37 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Devin Nunes: Did the Russians change votes in Michigan.

Mike Rogers: Uh, we're a *foreign* intelligence agency, we're not the people you want to ask.

Devin Nunes: LOLyeah I just want you to say,"No."
posted by leotrotsky at 7:37 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


Nunes asking a bunch of questions he already knows the answers to. "Were voting machines hacked" and "Leaks are bad mkay."
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:39 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Nunes chooses to use his time to ask whether leaking classified information is illegal. Satisfied that it is, he considers his job done here.
posted by zachlipton at 7:40 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


To be fair, if you ask a question in a hearing you don't already know the answer to, you're Congress-ing wrong.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:41 AM on March 20 [13 favorites]


Personal opinion: Comey seems to be succinct in his answers to questions regarding leaks, not encouraging any followup. He also mentioned it last in his opening statement, and did not devote much time.
posted by Freon at 7:41 AM on March 20


Twitter's losing it over Comey confirming that Trump admin is under investigation for possible collusion with Russians, "THIS IS A BOMBSHELL." (their words. repeatedly.) Is this really a huge deal or just Twitter being Twitter?
posted by the turtle's teeth at 7:43 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Comey: FBI is investigating Russian measures during the election, including any link between the Trump campaign and the Russians, but he cannot say more about what they are doing and who they are investigating. "I know that is extremely frustrating to some folks, but that is the way it has to be."

"We only comment on ongoing investigations when they're against Hilary Clinton"
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:43 AM on March 20 [68 favorites]


Brian Beutler: The Media’s Failure to Correct Republicans’ Obscene Trumpcare Lies
If the House Republicans pass the American Health Care Act this week, as House Speaker Paul Ryan predicts they will, it’ll represent a major triumph of dishonesty over plain, if slightly more complex, truths.

At an obvious level, it will require Republicans to ignore or dispute or lie about the Congressional Budget Office’s conclusion that Trumpcare is likely to cause 14 million people to lose their insurance next year alone and reduce insurance rolls on the whole by 24 million over 10 years, relative to where they’d be if Republicans just administered the Affordable Care Act in good faith.

But at a more cynical level, it will be a victory for the false claims Republicans have made to paper over the fact that their Obamacare alternative would create a humanitarian crisis by cutting off health care assistance to the poor and elderly, so that they can massively and permanently cut rich people’s taxes.

If these lies propel the AHCA to passage, though, it is only because they were never seriously, or in sustained fashion, treated as such by leading news outlets covering the Obamacare repeal process. Where the CBO’s coverage findings spoke for themselves, the agency’s other conclusions, and other legislative esoterica, have allowed Ryan and his members to tell a different—and completely false—story about what Trumpcare will mean for people.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:44 AM on March 20 [26 favorites]


I just want to quote from sorn_lorenson's link from above:

In the third scenario, Russia is a very big deal. Comey, in other words, has significant investigative equities to protect and he believes that he needs to be there in order to protect them—in other words, that he has a responsibility to not get himself fired because of his anger about the Trump tweets (or anything else) because he has to make sure the investigation can proceed unimpeded. In this situation, I would expect him to be minimally verbal. He may have to answer yes or no questions in certain instances, including about the truth of the wiretapping allegations, but he will refuse to answer a lot of questions. He will make as little news as humanly possible. He will be exceptionally spare with his opinions. He will make a point of not antagonizing the President. Lots of people will leave disappointed.

By my read, that what I'm seeing from Comey's comments so far.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:45 AM on March 20 [12 favorites]


Glenn Thrush tweeted: "Actual wow." So I'll go with that.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:46 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Every time he stops tweeting crazy stuff for a couple days I get worried somebody's finally gotten through to him about how damaging it is to any sort of coherent agenda when he tweets crazy stuff all the time. And then I get a nice reassuring feeling when the crazy comes back out again

Someone on Twitter this morning observed that its been 13 days since a tweet from the Android phone that Trump uses (I'm not sure if that includes this morning's outburst). So....maybe he's dictating?
posted by nubs at 7:48 AM on March 20


This hearing is great so far. Serious, professional, credible. I hope it educates some people who haven't been paying attention (which seems to be a major point of it), and launches some stuff into the news cycle again which got drowned out when originally published (unless you're a slightly obsessed MeFite.)
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:50 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


I also love how Nunes led off with several specific questions that amounted to, "But the Russians didn't change any votes, right? So Trump won fair and square, and it's not like they did anything really wrong, just some minor little email hacks and possible collusion." He sure is Daddy's good little soldier.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:50 AM on March 20 [19 favorites]


Doesn't sound like the the Republicans are going to get too much out of Comey and Rogers about leaks besides general agreement that they're illegal and bad.

For those following along without video, here's the transcript of Comey confirming an investigation.
posted by zachlipton at 7:52 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Sorry for the contextless comment but I'm always very impressed by Mike Rogers when I see him in these hearings. He seems like a lot of talented and smart engineers that I work with.
posted by birdheist at 7:52 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


He sure is Daddy's good little soldier.

It's really scary how the GOP has fallen into line with Trump personally. Like, Pence would be fine with them, right? They could have already impeached Trump and claimed that the cancer had been excised and now everything's fine so don't worry about how Honest President Mike is criminalizing fellatio and cutting the top tax bracket to 2%, but they just can't bring themselves to do it.
posted by Etrigan at 7:54 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


Rogers let Rooney rant and rave about leaks and 702 re-authorization for 15 minutes and then at the last second goes, "Oh btw, that has nothing to do with the FISA court which was how we obtained this." Ha!
posted by Freon at 7:55 AM on March 20 [11 favorites]


I'd say it's not a coincidence that Rogers, who has been very quiet and saying as little as possible, piped up to add that FISA collection in the US is a separate program from 702 subject to its own rules (after being questioned at length about minimization procedures related to US persons from 702 collection). That certainly points to the existence of one or more FISA warrants that are relevant to this investigation.
posted by zachlipton at 7:55 AM on March 20 [10 favorites]


So, Gowdy's argument is "The People give up some of their Right to Privacy to give Law Enforcement the tools to protect us". Wonder if he thinks that applies to the 2nd Amendment? Actually, I'm going to go with, "No."
posted by mikelieman at 7:59 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Rep. Thomas Rooney, a.k.a. one of the better arguments against aristocracy.
posted by Etrigan at 8:00 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


All this leak talk is boring.

Yes leaks are bad, mkay. If you leak you're bad, mkay. Can we move on to talk about the reason why someone felt the necessity to leak information that pertains to the targeted undermining of our democratic processes by a foreign adversary?
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:01 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Rooney with quite a gotcha there. Paraphrasing: "If we can't re-authorize the laws that let the NSA eavesdrop on foreign calls, will that hurt our national security?" Rogers "Yes, i think that's an important ability for us to have." (Not a surprising answer from the guy in charge of the NSA.) Rooney, "So if leaking the Michael Flynn's name makes people think their privacy is in danger from this law and as a result we in Congress can't re-authorize it because of the outcry, then that would endanger national security?" "Uh... Yeah." "Okay, so you're saying that the leak of Michael Flynnn's name endangers national security?" "Uh... I guess so." And then yeah, Rogers adding at the end that the law that needs to be reauthorized is not the law under which Flynn's calls were recorded.

When Rooney summarizes this later, he'll say "The head of the NSA confirmed that these leaks relating to Michael Flynn endanger national security" and leave out the "by somehow preventing us in Congress from renewing an unrelated surveillance authorization law" part.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:02 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


They could have already impeached Trump and claimed that the cancer had been excised and now everything's fine so don't worry about how Honest President Mike is criminalizing fellatio and cutting the top tax bracket to 2%, but they just can't bring themselves to do it.

Nah, they own Trump, and they know it. An impeachment is such a historical, major thing, its bound to take down a lot of Republicans down with Trump. Not least because team Trump are going to do what they can to bring them down in their frantic attempt to avoid the obvious.
posted by mumimor at 8:02 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Schiff is reviewing the wiretapping claims!
posted by mikelieman at 8:02 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Comey has "no information" that supports Trump's tweets re: wiretapping.
posted by littlegreen at 8:03 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


T.D. Strange "We only comment on ongoing investigations when they're against Hilary Clinton"

Yeah, I keep waiting for a reporter to ask Comey about that. But I guess journalism really is dead.

Seriously, reporters of America, it's all right to ask Comey uncomfortable questions. It's not merely OK, but it's your fucking job to ask him why he was so eager to smear Clinton but so coy about revealing anything about Trump.

They won't though, because in Washington the cardinal sin for a "journalist" is asking tough followups.

And then here's the abject surrender of the Democrats on the Supreme Court
“It is time to rise above the political fray, and for both sides of the aisle to commit to the high road going forward,” wrote Ritter, along with John Suthers, a Republican and former Colorado attorney general.
Isn't it amazing how when "both sides" must rise above things and take the high road in practical terms what that means is the Republicans flaunting the law and rules and Democrats sucking it up and letting them get away with it?

When the Republicans declared Obama's last year in office to be null and void, somehow no one was sanctimoniously demanding that the Republicans rise above things and take the high road. Yet now that the Democrats are in a position to pay them back for their acts it's suddenly time for everyone to just be nice again?

But we've already lost on Gorsuch. All the Senate Democrats are talking like he's a normal nominee in a normal situation, they're talking about him as a judicial extremist which is ok I guess but that isn't the point.

The fucking point is that the Republicans stole a Supreme Court seat from us in an unprecedented violation of Senate norms. And yet on NPR this morning not a single one of the Democrats or analysts, or anyone bothered to mention this. No one pointed out that the only reason Trump is even in a position to appoint anyone is because the Republicans ratfucked us and broke the rules to nullify Obama's final year in office.

Instead they just talked like it was totally fine for Trump to be making appointments, like that seat didn't belong by right to Garland, and they made their arguments against Gorsuch like he was a real nominee instead of a usurper stealing a seat that belongs to someone else.

Instead of saying that they will oppose any nominee not named Merick Garland they blathered about Gorsuch being too divisive.

Which means the fight is lost and Gorsuch will be seated. There won't even be a filibuster, and probably he'll be confirmed with 70 or more votes.

They chose to go along with all the other surrender first losers and agree that it would be horrible, just horrible, to pay back the Republicans for their attack on us.

Until and unless the Democrats start extracting a real price from the Republicans when they cheat they will continue to cheat. I'm not super smart, this isn't an amazing revelation from a genius, anyone with two brain cells to bang together can see it, and yet the Democrats steadfastly refuse to take the only action we know would actually work.

I've never seen any explanation, other than the pathetic surrender first cowardice of demanding we take the high road, for this refusal to repay the Republicans for their actions. Is there some huge thing I'm missing here, or are 100% of our elected Democrats really the victims of lobotomies or something?
posted by sotonohito at 8:03 AM on March 20 [87 favorites]


Like, Pence would be fine with them, right? They could have already impeached Trump and claimed that the cancer had been excised and now everything's fine so don't worry about how Honest President Mike is criminalizing fellatio and cutting the top tax bracket to 2%, but they just can't bring themselves to do it.

If they could snap their fingers and accomplish this, they probably would, but:

- The minority of rabid Trump partisans makes up a much greater percentage of their volunteers/voters/supporters than it does of the electorate as a whole.

- Many of the things Trump is doing are a harsher version of their own beliefs and plans. This means both that they don't see his actions as anywhere near as awful as we do, and also that they hesitate to admit that he's gone 'too far'. Opening up Trump's motivations, policies, rhetoric, etc to questioning also leaves them vulnerable as well. As long as Trump's brushing off accusations of racism and corruption and anti-democratic values, they can too.

I can understand why they're falling in line with Trump. I can't support it or respect it or forgive it but I can understand it.
posted by galaxy rise at 8:03 AM on March 20 [8 favorites]


Comey on the wiretapping tweets: "I have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the FBI. The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same inside the DOJ and all its components. The DOJ has no information that supports those tweets."
posted by zachlipton at 8:03 AM on March 20 [12 favorites]


Schiff: Were you engaged in McCarthyism, Director Comey?
Comey: I try not to engage in any isms.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:04 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


The R's are pushing LEAKS! to be the narrative. I'm not so sure LEAKS! really outrages or energizes their base as much as they think it does. I think on both the right or left, LEAKS! still has sort of positive connotations.
posted by klarck at 8:05 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Comey being very specific that "no president could" order a wiretap. He then points out that all surveillance orders come from a judge, not any specific person.

He also refuses to comment on any FISA applications and whether or not they were granted.
posted by Freon at 8:06 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Schiff is asking Comey about each crazy tweet.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:07 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


Does anyone else find it super ironic that Comey just announced the FBI is investigating interference in the election? Is this the reprise of announcing they were investigating emails just days before the election?

I mean, nail anyone colluding with foreign powers to sway the results, but Comey announcing another investigation into Hillary's emails days before the election did more than a thousand twitter eggs force-trending fake news could ever wish.
posted by adept256 at 8:07 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Schiff: Watergate was about a break-in right? And a coverup?

Comey: Yep.

Schiff: LOLOMGWTF! This is the same thing, but with Russians!
posted by leotrotsky at 8:08 AM on March 20 [19 favorites]


The R's are pushing LEAKS! to be the narrative. I'm not so sure LEAKS! really outrages or energizes their base as much as they think it does. I think on both the right or left, LEAKS! still has sort of positive connotations.

Their base desperately wants a reason to not care that the President of the United States is bought by Russia and has surrounded himself with other people who are bought by Russia. The GOP side of the Intelligence Committee could spend the whole time asking whether there were any cats in FBI HQ and you'll see those same people on Facebook saying that the real problem is all the goddamn mice at the Hoover.
posted by Etrigan at 8:08 AM on March 20 [12 favorites]


Rogers: Explicitly denies asking British GCHQ to wiretap Trump. "Violates our agreement with the Five Eyes".
posted by Freon at 8:09 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


I love how Schiff is methodically flaying the Trump administration in careful detail at this hearing.

...and taking his time with it.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:10 AM on March 20 [20 favorites]


In the third scenario, Russia is a very big deal. Comey, in other words, has significant investigative equities to protect and he believes that he needs to be there in order to protect them—in other words, that he has a responsibility to not get himself fired because of his anger about the Trump tweets (or anything else) because he has to make sure the investigation can proceed unimpeded. In this situation, I would expect him to be minimally verbal. He may have to answer yes or no questions in certain instances, including about the truth of the wiretapping allegations, but he will refuse to answer a lot of questions. He will make as little news as humanly possible. He will be exceptionally spare with his opinions. He will make a point of not antagonizing the President. Lots of people will leave disappointed.

By my read, that what I'm seeing from Comey's comments so far.
Really?

I'm not sure at all how you're getting that.

This is the same Comey who issued a huge scolding statement about how while, if you really want to be technical, he supposes, grudgingly, that HRC wasn't actually breaking any laws, but she was totally a horrible evil awful person who was vile and disgusting and doing bad things.

We're talking about the same Comey who issued his final blow against Clinton with a perfectly timed and malicious statement that oh wait, surprise, maybe (wink wink, nudge nudge) that evil horrible vile Clinton really did need to go to jail after we look at this amazing surprise evidence we found on this computer belonging to a Democratic sex offender!

We are, in other words, talking about James Comey the hard right Republican operative who deliberately and with malice aforethought abandoned any and all pretense that the FBI was non-partisan and who worked diligently and with great success to get Trump elected.

And you think there's the slightest possibility that his tight lipped refusal to talk about Trump's likely crimes is anything but stonewalling from a Trump partisan? You really think there's any chance at all that Comey, the man who in all likelihood is directly and personally responsible for Trump winning in 2016, is being cagey because he hopes to bring Trump down with a criminal prosecution?

Please, let's not be suckers here. Comey won't save us. He doomed us and he hates us, he is not our friend or secret ally.
posted by sotonohito at 8:12 AM on March 20 [52 favorites]


We only comment on ongoing investigations when they're against Hilary Clinton"

Comey did actually address this. He said something like "Some may want to compare my unwillingness to comment on this investigation to other situations in which I have commented. I would point out that in those cases I have commented on closed investigations."

If he's making a point of the fact that the e-mail investigation was closed at the time, that's actually a refutation of Republican talking points about it (that it had supposedly been "re-opened.") I still keep going to back to Giuliani claiming that if Comey hadn't sent that letter, the New York FBI office would've leaked the thing about the laptop e-mails anyway. I continue to think it is possible his hand was forced, and to hope that he is actually serious about doing his job. I haven't seen a lot of evidence to the contrary, assuming that the threat of a leak from the New York office was real.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:13 AM on March 20 [38 favorites]


And you think there's the slightest possibility that his tight lipped refusal to talk about Trump's likely crimes is anything but stonewalling from a Trump partisan?

Uh, yeah I do. I don't think that Comey's a Trump partisan. Remember, everyone thought Hillary was going to win.

I think that Comey has a strong distaste for the Trump administration, particularly given the USDOJ's refusal to side with the FBI on rejecting wiretap info.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:15 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Comey: Investigations began in late July
posted by Freon at 8:15 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


(And I think Comey's tut-tutting about Clinton, while finding no cause to charge her with anything, was actually kind of necessary to convince Republicans that he had approached the task seriously... and didn't do her much harm. And I mean, he IS the head of the FBI. He can't sound like he has any tolerance for careless handling of classified info. I think normally the AG would have given that speech instead, but the Lynch was trying to stay out of it, after having a conversation with Bill Clinton that she shouldn't have had. So yeah, I actually see signs that Comey has been operating in good faith, at least potentially?)
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:18 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


It's really scary how the GOP has fallen into line with Trump personally. Like, Pence would be fine with them, right? They could have already impeached Trump and claimed that the cancer had been excised and now everything's fine so don't worry about how Honest President Mike is criminalizing fellatio and cutting the top tax bracket to 2%, but they just can't bring themselves to do it.

Putin's Pet in the Oval Office won't shut the fuck up about anything. If they were to impeach him, he'd probably get real spiteful and say tons of nasty, electorally harmful things about the Republicans Heirs of Jefferson Davis.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 8:19 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


This is shallow, but Trey Gowdy really looks like Voldemort when he's not fully come back to life yet.

...and he's got Malfoy hair.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:20 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Given Comey's penchant for sass today, I was hoping he'd respond to the "Are you familiar with Roger Stone?" question with "Unfortunately."
posted by leotrotsky at 8:22 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


So Comey confirmed the White House is the subject of a counterintelligence investigation and that Trump's tweets are BS. Spicey time in a bit more than two hours. Think he's started drinking yet?
posted by zachlipton at 8:22 AM on March 20 [14 favorites]


Comey seems annoyed by the constant "Leaks are bad, amirite?" questions. "As I said..." "As Rogers just explained."
posted by Room 641-A at 8:23 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Comey: Investigations began in late July

While in October Comey downplayed the existence of any investigation to the NYT.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:24 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


zzzzzzzz wake me up when they stop talking about the fucking leaks
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:24 AM on March 20


-fly to KY for rally.

Also, "fly to KY for rally." is the world's shittiest masturbation euphemism.
posted by Talez at 8:25 AM on March 20 [37 favorites]


Comey seems annoyed by the constant "Leaks are bad, amirite?" questions. "As I said..." "As Rogers just explained."

Which is exactly right. "Your dumb attempts to pivot are dumb"
posted by mikelieman at 8:25 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Can someone tell me where Gowdy is going with this? Is he trying to implicate the Obama admin as potential sources of leaks?

edit: oh, yeah he is. Expelliarmus, motherfcuker.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:25 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I think Comey's tut-tutting about Clinton, while finding no cause to charge her with anything, was actually kind of necessary to convince Republicans that he had approached the task seriously... and didn't do her much harm.

Are you writing from the alternate universe where Clinton won? And, can you get me in, pretty please?
posted by Dashy at 8:26 AM on March 20 [20 favorites]


And as Twitter is helpfully pointing out, tutting about leaks is rich coming from Gowdy whose Benghazi committee leaked like a bucket with no bottom.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:26 AM on March 20 [9 favorites]


Arguably the leaks ARE the most important thing to these people, otherwise how can they continue to commet thier crimes?
posted by valkane at 8:27 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


My read is that he's trying to suggest that the white house leaked the information, and also that the FBI should be investigating that.
posted by birdheist at 8:27 AM on March 20


Yeah, Gowdy is trying to suggest that Obama loyalists are responsible for leaks about the ongoing investigation — and further is trying to press Comey on why he's investigating the Trump administration rather than the Obama administration, which is clearly the problem here.
posted by Mothlight at 8:27 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Gowdy is playing to the rightwing base here, in Breitbart land this hearing is about the leakers, not Trump ties to Russia.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:29 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]




Which is exactly right. "Your dumb attempts to pivot are dumb"

Oh, yes, it's a good sign. So, surprising.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:29 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


MAN, the gymnastics Gowdy goes through avoiding saying the name "Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III"
posted by mikelieman at 8:30 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Gowdy's "subtle" threat to withdraw funding from the FBI has not gone unnoticed(by me, anyways)
posted by Yowser at 8:31 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Gowdy's "subtle" threat to withdraw funding from the FBI has not gone unnoticed

He also threatened reauthorization of Section 702 authority, which is a pretty incredible reversal from the standard GOP position.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:33 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


White House with the ALL CAPS statement that Obama-era officials said there's no evidence of collusion or scandal, as Republicans in Congress are attacking the same Obama officials and the White House accuses the same Obama officials of wiretapping Trump.
posted by zachlipton at 8:33 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Trey Gowdey is another white guy, like Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, whose never had to bring more than his C- game to anything. As a prosecutor, all he mostly ever had to do was lean on the power of his office to get plea bargain convictions from people with little money or institutional power. While questioning Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi witch hunt, he looked like such a dipshit asshole precisely because he is not used to questioning his intellectual and professional equals superiors.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 8:34 AM on March 20 [32 favorites]


lol. Schiff providing background for 'awareness', regardless of Stone's ability to respond!
posted by mikelieman at 8:34 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


The day I don't have to read the words 'fake news' will be the day that I become a happy person again. These sound bite phrases (along with everything else coming out of Tr*mp's reign) are just killing me.
posted by h00py at 8:35 AM on March 20 [8 favorites]


>I think Comey's tut-tutting about Clinton... didn't do her any harm

Are you writing from the alternate universe where Clinton won? And, can you get me in, pretty please?

I mean, that was in July, I think? Her polls went down temporarily and then soared after the Democratic national convention. Whatever harm it did, she recovered very well from it. I think by saying "We take this seriously, but she didn't do anything criminal" he actually helped defang the e-mails. Had he seemed to blow it off, Republicans would have been howling about bias and insufficiently thorough investigations.

... Again with this "We have to re-authorize section 702 this fall, you know" from Gowdy this time, and "Uh, this has nothing to do with 702, though" from Comey this time.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:35 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Schiff is bringing up the Roger Stone - Guccifer 2.0 contacts. AND the Roger Stone - Julian Assange contacts.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 8:35 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


Personal responsibility to the extent it's a useful idea at all (and I think it is a necessary goal, even if not always a practical reality) only applies in any meaningful way to the choices we freely make. The more economic stress people are under, the less capable of thinking through their choices rationally and choosing freely people are. Personal responsibility isn't a given, it's created by having the kinds of social and political attitudes and support structures that foster and protect it from being compromised. The whole point of law should be to try to create social conditions that give people the agency to achieve the kind of minimal socially constructed levels of personal responsibility and financial security a society needs for its members to be able to trust and cooperate effectively and accomplish larger scale and longer term goals. The Republicans have corrupted a lot of important ideas by being so absolutist and puritanical about their own conceptions of them. They've ruined the idea of free speech by twisting it around to defend hate speech and other acts of intolerance and social aggression equivocated with legitimate political expression, while defending corporate law that curtails speech people rely on to defend themselves from persecution and to discuss meaningful political topics like their social conditions. The Republicans have poisoned the well and created these conditions by forcing their extremism on the rest of us and ignoring the implications of their bad faith political exploitation of basic ideas societies depend on to organize themselves at the lowest levels, like rights and responsibilities.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:36 AM on March 20 [15 favorites]


Of course, at this point talking about the Supreme Court, investigations, or Comey, or whatever seems kind of like whistling past the graveyard to me. I'm very close to convinced that we're now inevitably on track to major wars, major disruption of trade, and the massive humanitarian crisis that will involve. I'm pretty sure that even if Trump was removed from office tomorrow the damage has already been done and there's no way to avoid the collapse of the current world order.

One of the biggest problems with the Trump administration, and the lack of panic about it, is the problem of normalization.

In this case I don't actually mean the problem that we're normalizing Trump's dangerous behavior but rather that most people today have grown up suffering the delusion that the current environment of (relative) peace and prosperity is normal rather than a historic abnormality that is maintained only by intense effort.

It doesn't take long for any new situation to become normal, to move from something new, novel, and amazing to being just the way the world is. Whatever things were like when you were a kid is automatically normal, but to an extent even as adults once something has persisted for even 20 years or so the novelty wears off.

We see this with the antivax crowd. There's a reason why very few people over the age of 65 or so support the antivax movement and why most of the antivaxers are under 40. Because old people remember what a pre-vaccine world was like. To us comparatively younger people it's normal to think of sickness as kind of unpleasant but ultimately no big deal. Yes, a few days (maybe even weeks at the worst) of discomfort and annoyance, but then you're back on your feet with no problems.

And, thanks entirely to vaccines, that's the case. But since we've had vaccines for the real horror diseases for so long their absence is now viewed as normal by first worlders so people stop seeing the hard, expensive, work of maintaining that "normal" situation as being actually necessary and start seeing it as some sort of obnoxious thing that can be done away with. Thus the existence of antivaxers.

There's something similar going on with the political world.

Prior to the end of WWII the world was fairly constantly awash with war between major powers. For almost all of human history that was normal, there'd be a giant bloodbath of a war every few years and, oh well, what are you going to do? Warmongers gonna mong, you know? Can't change human nature. Just get used to it, because that's life.

After WWII and the development of atom bombs that casual acceptance of large scale wars between major powers couldn't be sustained. So a huge amount of diplomacy was engaged in, deals were cut, painful choices were made, and a new world order were there weren't wars between major powers was established.

It didn't actually produce peace, in the sense of there being no more wars, but it **DID** change the world situation in such a way that there were no more major wars. The major powers were allowed to continue attacking minor powers, they could even have sort of proxy wars between minor powers, but not direct confrontation between each other.

WWII resulted in the death of over 60 million people, around 3% of the world's population at the time. WWI resulted in the death of around 17 million people. The US Civil War and US Revolutionary wars both resulted in the death of around 2% of the US population at the time.

Pre-WWII war tended to result in the death of anywhere from 1% to 25% of the populations of the nations involved.

Post-WWII conflict was vastly reduced in scale and deadliness. Not that it's good these days, but the scale of death is vastly lower. Nowhere near even 1% of the population is killed in modern wars. Even the Vietnam War, bad as it was, resulted in vastly fewer deaths for the US than prior wars had (less than .1% of the US population died in the Vietnam war) [1].

This has had plenty of time to become "normal" for us in the first world and major powers, and like with vaccines, there are now people who may intellectually understand that the current situation is the result of endless labor and compromise and diplomacy, on an emotional level they believe that the current state of (relative) peace is normal. To the average American, or European, war is not a horrific bloodbath but a minor scuffle where perhaps a lot of foreigners die but otherwise it's just not a big deal.

With that casual attitude towards the current world order in place among the population, Trump and his ilk in other nations feel free to destroy the work, the mechanisms, that make that "normal" situation possible. We see this with Brexit, with LePen's crap, with Trump's isolationist yet simultaneously warmongering bellicosity.

Rather than realizing that the lack of boodbath level wars in the latter part of the 20th century was the result of a delicate framework of diplomacy, lies, trade agreements, treaties, and so on, they seem to think that's just the way the world is, and always will be, so they see that entire framework as an expense, or an inconvenience, and they are working diligently to demolish it.

The result, inevitably, will be war. And not war like we've seen in our lifetimes, but war like we would like to imagine is no longer "normal". War on a scale that results not in a few tens of thousands of deaths, but war that results in tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of deaths. And that's assuming it doesn't go nuclear but rather stays confined to conventional weapons.

The same applies to trade. Today we take it for granted that you can go to the grocery store and get strawberries in the middle of winter, or bananas anytime you like, or fresh food of any sort no matter how out of season it is. We take it for granted that you can get a phone with parts sourced planetwide and made from materials that don't occur in the US abundantly enough to produce here at all (Indium, for example, for your phone and TV's display is too scarce to mine profitably in the USA but is available in India at a profitable concentration).

That "normal" situation exists only because of a webwork of trade deals that Trump is now proposing to tear to shreds.

And once destroyed, those trade and military deals cannot be quickly restored. In large part they depend on faith, trust, and Trump is not merely talking about tearing up specific deals, but talking about breaking America's faith. And that's going to make it very close to impossible for anyone to trust us for future deals which is going to mean future deals won't be as good, or that they'll simply exclude the US to the greatest extent possible.

The Pax Americana is probably doomed already. Just by even proposing the US default on its debt we've seen the world begin to look desperately for a non-dollar reserve currency, and that alone has irreparably harmed the ability of the US to project power through trade deals and other peaceful means. Which leaves non-peaceful means...

The only real question is whether or not the end of the Pax Americana will result in a Pax Someone-else, or if it will result in a bloodbath. Neither will be good for America, but a renewal of the true normal state of frequent massive war will be worse, and Trump has advisers (Bannon especially) who have explicitly said they want wars between major powers. Steve Bannon has, literally, no exaggeration, stated that he wants a war with China.

This should be so terrifying to everyone that we see mass demonstrations on the same scale that we saw in Egypt, mass demonstrations so big, so disruptive, that they force Trump to resign and a total reformation of the government.

But because the current world order is seen as normal, most people can't see Trump's destruction of the things that enable this decidedly abnormal period of peace and prosperity to exist as an existential threat. And they won't until it's too late to do anything but hunker down and wait for the war to end.

[1] The lesser powers often experience pre-WWII level fatalities, in Vietnam around 1.2% of the population was killed during the war, and Bush's War in Iraq may have killed as much as 4% of the Iraqi population.
posted by sotonohito at 8:36 AM on March 20 [167 favorites]


WHOA.. Go Mr. HIMES, it's your time to shine, Stone + Manafort = ... "Foreign Agent's Registration Act"....

Who let actual litigators into Congress?
posted by mikelieman at 8:38 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Schiff is bringing up the Roger Stone - Guccifer 2.0 contacts. AND the Roger Stone - Julian Assange contacts.

Then he yields to Mr. HIMES, and the crowd goes wild!
posted by mikelieman at 8:40 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


I agree with all that so hard sotonohito. I'm just still hoping we can get to an impeachment before it all falls apart, and then somehow patch it back together. Which is why I'm kind of obsessed with these proceedings. And if Comey is serious about doing his job, i think there's hope of such an impeachment. If he's corrupt, though, there's probably none. So a lot hinges on the character of James Comey.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:41 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


I mean, that was in July, I think? Her polls went down temporarily and then soared after the Democratic national convention. Whatever harm it did, she recovered very well from it. I think by saying "We take this seriously, but she didn't do anything criminal" he actually helped defang the e-mails. Had he seemed to blow it off, Republicans would have been howling about bias and insufficiently thorough investigations.

Sure, and then in late October, he opened his mouth again over what turned out to be literally nothing. There's ample evidence that late-deciding voters broke for Trump. As Nate Silver put it: "Clinton would almost certainly be President-elect if the election had been held on Oct. 27 (day before Comey letter)."
posted by zachlipton at 8:42 AM on March 20 [39 favorites]


Lambda Legal is live-tweeting the Gorsuch hearing so you don't have to.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:43 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


The day I don't have to read the words 'fake news' will be the day that I become a happy person again

Every time Trump tweets something with that phrase I respond with this picture.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:44 AM on March 20 [15 favorites]


So a lot hinges on the character of James Comey.

uh oh
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:46 AM on March 20 [8 favorites]




I literally cannot get a bead on Comey. I'm desperately hoping that's because he's a True Neutral and the Truth he is pursuing is somewhere slightly to the right of what I want it to be.
posted by Freon at 8:48 AM on March 20 [14 favorites]


I mean a horseshoe crab is also a True Neutral but I wouldn't depend on it to save the country from fascism.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:51 AM on March 20 [26 favorites]


Sure, and then in late October, he opened his mouth again

But again, it's not clear to me that Comey did that voluntarily.
"Hours after Comey’s letter about the renewed probe was leaked on Friday, Giuliani went on a radio show and attributed the director’s surprise action to “the pressure of a group of FBI agents who don’t look at it politically.”

“The other rumor that I get is that there’s a kind of revolution going on inside the FBI about the original conclusion [not to charge Clinton] being completely unjustified and almost a slap in the face to the FBI’s integrity,” said Giuliani. “I know that from former agents. I know that even from a few active agents.”
Also from that link:
Giuliani spent decades of his life as a federal prosecutor and then mayor working closely with the FBI, and especially its New York office. One of Giuliani’s security firms employed a former head of the New York FBI office, and other alumni of it. It was agents of that office, probing Anthony Weiner’s alleged sexting of a minor, who pressed Comey to authorize the review of possible Hillary Clinton-related emails on a Weiner device that led to the explosive letter the director wrote Congress.[...] Along with Giuliani’s other connections to New York FBI agents, his former law firm, then called Bracewell Giuliani, has long been general counsel to the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA), which represents 13,000 former and current agents.
It's possible that one of Giuliani's (and Trump's!) friends at the New York FBI office would have leaked the existence of that laptop if Comey didn't send that letter, and Comey may have sent the letter to pre-empt the leak. There's no evidence for that, I acknowledge, but it does seem possible to me, and I continue to hold out hope.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:51 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


Nunes asks if Comey will investigation Clinton ties to Russia too.

You can't make this shit up.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:52 AM on March 20 [17 favorites]


To: Sotonohito
Re: Gorsuch and democratic "spine"
the purpose of the Democratic party is to compromise the progressives; to keep them working within them sysyem, to seek incrementalism, triangulation and meet in the "middle" even if that middle is to the right of their supporters or general public opinion. (Rep party used to serve that purpose too - until teaparty &trumpski). that's because they don't work for you, they work to manage you.

During 'most divisive deadlocked congress' 8yrs still passed some near unanimous senate bills - that is the real content of both parties and that is the platform of the interests they serve. What wasn't cut when everything was getting cut? What was quick quiet and unopposed when everything else was filibustered.

Driver uses reigns to steer and harness oxen; oxen wonder why yoke doesn't respond to their needs. We need to buck and take them for a ride to the left!

If demo filibuster Gorsuch it will be fear of the left, not leadership. Otherwise we'll get told to be patient and let the professionals play 11 dimensional chess.
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 8:52 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


It's possible that one of Giuliani's (and Trump's!) friends at the New York FBI office would have leaked the existence of that laptop if Comey didn't send that letter, and Comey may have sent the letter to pre-empt the leak.

Having no control over his own FBI isn't much better than willful interference.

Either the FBI director interfered in the election, or the FBI itself is a rogue agency that acts for the political preferences of individual agents. No other alternative.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:54 AM on March 20 [12 favorites]


"A former student of Judge Gorsuch has alleged that last year, in the Legal Ethics and Professionalism course he taught at the University of Colorado, Judge Gorsuch made a series of comments asserting that women manipulate employers by accepting jobs without disclosing their plans to become pregnant, accepting maternity benefits from their employers, and then failing to return to work after maternity leave."

Reported Gorsuch Statements Show Disqualifying Disregard for Women’s Workplace Rights - National Women's Law Center

(apologies if this has already been posted, searching the page didn't find it)
posted by postel's law at 8:54 AM on March 20 [45 favorites]


So a lot hinges on the character of James Comey.

so much depends
upon

a FBI director's
character

glazed with partisan
suspicions

beside the white
supremacists
posted by nubs at 8:58 AM on March 20 [48 favorites]


I am not in a good mental health place, but I just wanted to thank everyone for their continued discussions in these threads. You make me feel like there remains sane and humble people in our country.
posted by INFJ at 8:58 AM on March 20 [36 favorites]


Another day, another outrage. Today this little birdie is pissed off about Chuck Schumer's caucus treating Neil Gorsuch like a normal nominee. Seems like it might be a grand day to fax Schumer (and your own Dem senators) with some righteous anger about Gorsuch.

Here's a whole letter you can use/modify:
Minority Leader Schumer,

I am furious and extremely discouraged by your Democratic colleagues, including Sen. Bennett of Colorado, Sen. Feinstein of California, and many others because they have not all committed to filibuster the Neil Gorsuch SCOTUS nomination. I am mystified and infuriated that your caucus is treating this nomination like it's legitimate.

Just this morning, the FBI director confirmed that there is an on-going investigation into Russian interference and possible collusion with the Trump Campaign to interfere in our elections. His appointment is illegitimate because Donald Trump a) seems to have obtained
help from Russia to "win" the presidency and b) did not win the popular vote. Furthermore, your "Republican" colleagues stole a Supreme Court seat that was President Obama's to fill.

In addition to being an illegitimate justice, Gorsuch will be a complete flaming dumpster fire for:

- Women's reproductive rights
- Public Education
- Racial equality
- Disabled children's education
- Environmental, water, food, and drug safety
- Voting rights
- LGBTQ rights
- And the list goes on and on and on

This seat was STOLEN by the Mitch McConnell has his caucus of racist, authoritarians. I am extremely disturbed, by the Senate Democrats who are treating this nomination as if it was made by a legitimate president, not compromised by a hostile foreign government, for a seat that was not stolen.

Please tell each of these Senators that their actions endanger the support of the party base. The filibuster is dead as soon as the Republicans want it to be. Failing to stand up as a unanimous block against this nomination at all steps of the process WILL drive the base out--women, people of color, religious minorities, LGBTQ people. If the Democratic leadership won't go to the mat for this, I may have to change my registration to [independent/DSA/local progressive third party].

These are not normal times. Gorsuch should be treated with as much contempt as the majority party showed Merrick Garland--no support at all. In short, GET YOUR CAUCUS IN LINE.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 8:59 AM on March 20 [79 favorites]


We see this with the antivax crowd. There's a reason why very few people over the age of 65 or so support the antivax movement and why most of the antivaxers are under 40. Because old people remember what a pre-vaccine world was like. To us comparatively younger people it's normal to think of sickness as kind of unpleasant but ultimately no big deal.

Maybe fatalism is a bad thing -- maybe it's no more than taking the easy way out -- but I've become more fatalistic about these things. I wonder if it's an inevitable feature of human society and human nature that each generation has to learn the lessons and hit the same walls as all the previous generations.

It's worth noting that the 1918 Spanish Flu infected one out of every three people on the planet. 50 to 100 million people died in the course of the pandemic -- that's about 5% of the world's population. The upper end of that estimate easily surpasses the combined death tolls of WWI and WWII. And it tended to kill young, healthy people. And yet, somehow, this pandemic, even in concert with the culmination of WWI, ultimately failed to prevent the bloodbath of WWII. (And just a few years after WWII, Mao's Great Leap Forward killed as many as 50 million through a combination of death-cult lunacy (execution quotas!) and the profound administrative idiocies that led to widespread famine.)
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 8:59 AM on March 20 [8 favorites]


Comey to Conaway: "You seem real dumb, so let me just continue with this tortured sports metaphor you introduced so that you can understand what I am saying."
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:00 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


So Conaway's arguing that just because Putin wanted Clinton to lose doesn't mean he wanted Trump to win.
posted by klarck at 9:01 AM on March 20


Conaway: "How did the Washington Post have almost the same language on December 9th as the report give to this committee on January 6th."

Comey: [apparently genuinely taken aback, turns to Rogers and gives an aside] "It hadn't even been written yet!"
posted by Freon at 9:02 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


My idea for the day: a remake of The Lion in Winter set in the Trump White House.

Trump lets Melania out of Trump Tower for Christmas. (God, who could play her?)

Inter-sibling plotting and skullduggery among Donald Jr., Eric and Barron. Barron running around the table going, "he's got a knife!" as Eric threatens him.

Melania going "It's 2017 and we're barbarians!"

Someone reminiscent of a young Timothy Dalton as the Russian agent making demands on behalf of Vladimir Putin.

How Ivanka fits in is left as an exercise for the reader.

Come on, think about it. It would be freaking EPIC!
posted by Naberius at 9:06 AM on March 20 [12 favorites]


My idea for the day: a remake of The Lion in Winter set in the Trump White House.

Set it in Florida and call it "The Lyin' in Winter White House"
posted by OverlappingElvis at 9:09 AM on March 20 [22 favorites]


Maggie Haberman is pointing out that Priebus went on Meet the Press last month and claimed the Times report that the FBI was investigating Russian ties was "totally wrong." This obviously conflicts with what Comey just told us this morning.
posted by zachlipton at 9:09 AM on March 20 [27 favorites]


I find if you just assume Priebus is always lying you get a more accurate picture.
posted by corb at 9:15 AM on March 20 [48 favorites]


Trump lets Melania out of Trump Tower for Christmas. (God, who could play her?)

Laura Benanti, of course.
posted by zakur at 9:16 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


That's true of everybody on Trump's staff.
posted by notyou at 9:16 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


if you turn his puzzle box clockwise he can only tell the truth, turn it counterclockwise and he can only tell lies
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:16 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


> If demo filibuster Gorsuch it will be fear of the left, not leadership. Otherwise we'll get told to be patient and let the professionals play 11 dimensional chess.

This is why the frame I've adopted for interactions with the democratic party involved thinking of the leadership not as our leaders, but instead as our victims. Unfortunately, they're not afraid enough of us yet.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:17 AM on March 20 [8 favorites]


speaking of puzzle boxes: everything the administration says also makes more sense if you imagine them as cenobites
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:18 AM on March 20 [10 favorites]


that's not fair to cenobites
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:19 AM on March 20 [28 favorites]


I have been saying "Jesus wept" more often lately...
posted by J.K. Seazer at 9:20 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Fascinating as all this discussion about emoluments with regard to Flynn and the RT dinner is, I don't understand why China awarding the Trump trademarks isn't game, set, and match. They're clearly items of value that benefit Trump personally, and they come from a foreign government.

Shouldn't they be treated as gifts and be auctioned by the US Government to the highest bidder? I'm sure someone can have some fun with them.
posted by zachlipton at 9:20 AM on March 20 [38 favorites]


that's not fair to cenobites

"your suffering will be legendary, even in mar-a-lago"
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:21 AM on March 20 [14 favorites]


Nunes is trying to make this explicitly partisan, asking a series of questions that apparently relate to something in the classified report about whether Russians generally prefer Republicans or Democrats.

The more he treats this as a partisan issue, the more he argues that this investigation needs to be done by an independent commission.
posted by zachlipton at 9:24 AM on March 20 [32 favorites]


Ha! Comey and Rogers COULD NOT tell Nunes that a Russian preference for Republican candidates is just plain ridiculous.
posted by klarck at 9:25 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Cenobites are Lawful Evil and strictly bound by rules.
posted by Artw at 9:40 AM on March 20 [17 favorites]


Can I just take this lull to admire what an absolutely devastating prosecutor Schiff must have been? Everyone else on this committee tries to make their point with long rambling speeches for the record, and then asks pro forma questions in an attempt to bolster their thesis. But Schiff asks a serious of short, answerable questions and walks you to his conclusions. It feels incredibly effective while also being soundbite friendly.
posted by Freon at 9:44 AM on March 20 [75 favorites]


D'oh! Senator Kamala Harris, who is on the Senate Intelligence Committee, will obviously not be on hand at the House Intelligence Committee hearing.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:47 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Can I just take this lull to admire what an absolutely devastating prosecutor Schiff must have been?

Yeah, before he got promoted, got old and tired, and began ending every conversation with his staff by grumbling out a weary "Take the plea." Oh wait, wrong Adam Schiff.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:48 AM on March 20 [28 favorites]


Speier (D)-CA: Russian interference an "Act of war."
posted by Freon at 9:49 AM on March 20 [12 favorites]


Comey: "They were unusually loud in their intervention. It's almost as if they didn't care that we know what they were doing."
posted by zachlipton at 9:53 AM on March 20 [32 favorites]


Paul Ryan: Another one heads to President Trump’s desk. This legislation allows states to have drug testing to receive federal unemployment benefits.

Erik Blad: Arizona spent $3,600,000 drug testing 87,000 welfare recipients. 1 tested positive for a fine of $560.
posted by porn in the woods at 9:53 AM on March 20 [89 favorites]


So is this the moment that Bannon pulls out the Long Knives.

I mean SURELY THIS should be the end of Trump, right? Either he goes or he purges.
posted by dis_integration at 9:54 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


I appreciate that none of the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee has expressed any doubts about the fact that the Russians did, in fact, hack the DNC and John Podesta. So far ordinary Republicans I have interacted with remain skeptical of those conclusions. I hope that the acceptance of even the Republicans on this committee will help lead to greater public acceptance of that basic fact.

Oh -- Comey saying "They were unusually loud in their intervention. It's almost as if they didn't care that we know what they were doing or wanted us to know what they were doing." I've thought that was kind of weird all along as well.
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:54 AM on March 20 [8 favorites]




Speier we have other things to worry about then declaring war with fucking Russia.
posted by INFJ at 9:54 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: “But at the same time, we have a lot of friends and family and neighbors who just don’t have a lot going for them. There is a population out there that needs Medicaid. That’s the dilemma.”

I think he meant to say "everyone needs reliable, affordable medical coverage." Medicaid is just the "brand" that we have to fill this gap.

Because we could make all this a lot more simple and go single payer, or go "full socialist" and make providing health care a function of the government. But no, that would be taking money from the rich entrepreneurs who operate insurance companies.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:55 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Comey now saying that it's possible the reason the Russians were so "loud" was that the Russians were hoping that the US Gov't would make a big deal of the hacking and undermine public confidence in the elections. Such a tricky tightrope Obama was walking...
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:56 AM on March 20 [28 favorites]


Oh -- Comey saying "They were unusually loud in their intervention. It's almost as if they didn't care that we know what they were doing or wanted us to know what they were doing." I've thought that was kind of weird all along as well.

Seems to have worked out well for them, the Republican party immediately became Russia's puppet ruling party running cover for their interference as we speak. It's a foregone conclusion that Republicans will roll over for the next act of overt Russian aggression as well. There was no need to hide their involvement when the Republican beneficiaries have no motive or inclination to retaliate. They perfectly executed a coup.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:00 AM on March 20 [16 favorites]


A remarkable statement from Comey: "They'll be back." He's saying that the Russians will conclude that they successfully undermined the democratic process and will do this again. From the closed captions:
Maybe I'll say as a initial matter, they'll be back. They'll be back in 2020, may be back in 2018, and one of the lessons they may draw from this is that they were successful because they introduced chaos and division and discord and sewed doubt about the nature of this amazing country of ours and this democratic process. It is possible they're misreading that as it worked, and so we'll come back and hit them again in 2020. I don't know. But we have to assume they're coming back. I fully expect that they continue this level of activity, because our sense is they have come to the conclusion that it generated a positive outcome for them in the sense that calling into question democratic process, for example, is one element of the strategy. We're working closely. We, our FBI team is working closely with our European teammates to provide the insights we have seen to try to assist them as they themselves, France, Germany, for example, about to undergo significant national leadership elections over the course of the next two months.
And as for the @POTUS tweets, how utterly ridiculous is it that we're so far down the rabbit hole that the White House is putting out video of the guy currently testifying that they are the target of a counterintelligence investigation as if they don't realize that the President being under investigation for collusion with a foreign power IS SO NOT NORMAL.
posted by zachlipton at 10:04 AM on March 20 [75 favorites]


I mean SURELY THIS should be the end of Trump, right? Either he goes or he purges.

So you think Bannon will purge Trump? Bold move.
posted by scalefree at 10:04 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Don't get your hopes up. Between the legitimate fear of pissing of our #1 commercial partner and the fact that Trudeau is not the brave leader some people think he is (see electoral reform). Opposition won't come from the north.

The recent turn of some against Trudeau really feels like a giant wave of Bernie Bro 'but her emails' style letting perfection be the enemy of the good.
posted by srboisvert at 10:05 AM on March 20 [20 favorites]


Ari Berman:  In E-mails, Neil Gorsuch Praised a Leading Republican Activist Behind Voter Suppression Efforts
 Few people in the Republican Party have done more to limit voting rights than Hans von Spakovsky. He’s been instrumental in spreading the myth of widespread voter fraud and backing new restrictions to make it harder to vote.

But it appears that von Spakovsky had an admirer in Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, according to e-mails released to the Senate Judiciary Committee covering Gorsuch’s time working in the George W. Bush Administration.
[...]
 More recently, von Spakovsky has argued against that the Voting Rights Act was “constitutionally dubious at the time of its enactment” and praised Trump’s promised investigation into voter fraud, which has been widely panned by Democrats and Republicans. “The real problem in our election system is that we don’t really know to what extent President Trump’s claim is true because we have an election system that is based on the honor system,” he wrote with John Fund after Trump said with no evidence that 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally.

Given that von Spakovsky hailed Gorsuch as “the perfect pick for Trump,” it’s safe to assume he believes that the Supreme Court nominee shares his views. The Senate needs to aggressively question Gorsuch to see if that’s the case.

Gorsuch has already cited Justice Antonin Scalia as a role model, who said the Voting Rights Act had led to a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.” Gorsuch, if confirmed, could be the deciding vote on whether to weaken the remaining sections of the VRA and whether to uphold discriminatory voter-ID laws and redistricting plans from states like North Carolina and Texas. In many ways, the fate of voting rights in the United States hangs on this nomination.
Add this to his straight-up MRA rhetoric, support of the Hobby Lobby decision, state's rights to discriminate against LGBTQ people, and apparently being totes cool with the Contras in the 80s. And since so these are the issues that even many NeverTrumpers are cool with, I imagine we'll start seeing a lot of "moderate" and libertarian enablers coming up with reasons why Gorsuch isn't such a bad guy.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:06 AM on March 20 [31 favorites]


Comey may have sent the letter to pre-empt the leak.

So according to your interpretation Comey was worried that his agents would commit a crime by illegally leaking information about an investigation, or had already committed a crime by leaking to Guiliani, so he attempted to cover up the crime by leaking the information himself.

Apparently we was more worried about protecting his own reputation and the reputation of the FBI than he cared about the integrity of democratic elections. Seems that he should be spending more time prosecuting the crimes in his own division.
posted by JackFlash at 10:07 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


The recent turn of some against Trudeau really feels like a giant wave of Bernie Bro 'but her emails' style letting perfection be the enemy of the good.

I mean it's not like there's a better part of a decade of Harper fresh in the memory and a right wing fucking lunatic south of the border or anything...
posted by Talez at 10:07 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Comey: they were successful because they introduced chaos and division and discord and sewed doubt about the nature of

Whenever he says stuff like this, I want to commit violent acts upon his person. He does know he played right into their fucking hands, doesn't he?
posted by INFJ at 10:07 AM on March 20 [11 favorites]




Oh no! Trudeau is a supporter of oil sands! Well that's it, time to split the vote to the NDP and send the conservatives back to power! That'll show those fucking liberals!
posted by Talez at 10:09 AM on March 20 [10 favorites]


Add this to his straight-up MRA rhetoric, support of the Hobby Lobby decision, state's rights to discriminate against LGBTQ people, and apparently being totes cool with the Contras in the 80s. And since so these are the issues that even many NeverTrumpers are cool with, I imagine we'll start seeing a lot of "moderate" and libertarian enablers coming up with reasons why Gorsuch isn't such a bad guy.

Took the words right out of my mouth.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:09 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


I don't want to derail this too much into Canadian politics, but obviously Trudeau is better than Harper, and obviously he will be better than whoever the Conservatives barf up as their candidate in the next election...but I can't help but think that (in light of recent events) the Liberals know this and have been backing away from some of their promises safe in the knowledge that a lot of voters will vote against the Conservatives rather than for the Liberals.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:10 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Apologies to Sonohito didn't mean to scold/patronize, I'm just an angry Anchorite who wants to push the Dems to filibuster... for 4 years.

Also re: Comey
Trump voters might not care that Trump sold out country to Putin; but rest of country with less kool-aid in them will. Small shifts in votes have big impacts.

÷I hope ÷
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 10:11 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Blue Jello Elf: Since the GOP is on its "run government like a business" hobbyhorse, someone should warn them that "the company will no longer pay for business cards!" is one of the early warning signs of bad management.

Or, that instead of being run like a business, it's being underfunded like a public school.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:12 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Add this to his straight-up MRA rhetoric, support of the Hobby Lobby decision, state's rights to discriminate against LGBTQ people, and apparently being totes cool with the Contras in the 80s. And since so these are the issues that even many NeverTrumpers are cool with, I imagine we'll start seeing a lot of "moderate" and libertarian enablers coming up with reasons why Gorsuch isn't such a bad guy.

Uhh, has a single "moderate" spoken out against him? He's a perfect Republican pick in every way. They wanted Scalia 2.0, and Gorsuch is AnarchoMecha-Scalia who eats Federal regulatory authority and breathes pure "originalism".

The number one thing they supported Trump for was to maintain and extend the Right's illegitimate stranglehold on the Court for eternity, and that's the only thing he's delivered on.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:22 AM on March 20 [9 favorites]


sotonohito: Instead of saying that they will oppose any nominee not named Merrick Garland [the Senate Democrats] blathered about Gorsuch being too divisive.

Yes, I don't understand why the D senators are talking about Gorsuch at all. Who cares? Hold hearings for Merrick Garland, or no hearings at all. That's a simple standard, easy to understand - a respected centrist jurist nominated by a duly-elected President got NO HEARINGS for a year. Who cares about the qualifications of the new nominee? There's already a nominee.

And if they nuke the filibuster over that, so what? What's the point of preserving something if it can never be used? Why are we still trying for comity? Merrick Garland is the only person D senators should be talking about.

(This is not even getting into the Lott standard about nominations in the last year of a presidency. The Trump presidency doesn't look like it's going to last that long, and it would be irresponsible to violate the Lott standard until we know for sure, right?)
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:24 AM on March 20 [74 favorites]


Or, that instead of being run like a business, it's being underfunded like a public school. repeatedly punched in the face as Bannon openly talks about how much smaller the body would have to be to fit in the bathtub.
posted by jaduncan at 10:25 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


“Yes,” he began. “I don’t have a business card to give to you today, John, because, at the Office of Management and Budget, we have to pay for our own business cards. So it does start at home but it’s already started.”

Since the GOP is on its "run government like a business" hobbyhorse, someone should warn them that "the company will no longer pay for business cards!" is one of the early warning signs of bad management


Sorry to break it to you, but in my many years of experience with the federal government, they have never paid for my business cards. The most you could hope for was a MS Word template and a box of that pull-apart card stock you could run through the printer.

Maybe the rules are different for political appointees.
posted by suelac at 10:25 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Speier (D)-CA: Russian interference an "Act of war."

Uh. Isn't this the prerequisite for treason
posted by schadenfrau at 10:27 AM on March 20 [23 favorites]


Yes, I don't understand why the D senators are talking about Gorsuch at all. Who cares? Hold hearings for Merrick Garland, or no hearings at all. That's a simple standard, easy to understand - a respected centrist jurist nominated by a duly-elected President got NO HEARINGS for a year. Who cares about the qualifications of the new nominee? There's already a nominee.

And if they nuke the filibuster over that, so what? What's the point of preserving something if it can never be used? Why are we still trying for comity? Merrick Garland is the only person D senators should be talking about.


They should've boycotted this farce. Gorsuch is illegitimate, period. That should've been the only talking point. Any other question he can answer is irrelevant.

Any Democrat who doesn't filibuster should be dead to us and primaried out of the party, no matter the consequences, no matter who it is. Gorsuch must be impeached at the first opportunity if Democrats ever regain control.

It's a stolen seat. Every 5-4 decision by the Illegitimate Gorsuch Court is illegitimate and Blue States should consider nullification.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:29 AM on March 20 [46 favorites]


Also, if anyone has any political insight into or analysis about what is going on with the SC hearings beyond "lol democrats are spineless powerless turncoats who also somehow conspire to oppress the proletariat" I would love to hear it

Like I assume there are actual political calculations going on, as there always are, and though I want to see them filibuster the shit out of this MRA racist vote suppressing asshole, I would also like to know the actual reasoning behind the Democratic positions and actions so that I can, you know, address them when I make my phone calls
posted by schadenfrau at 10:29 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]




Uh. Isn't this the prerequisite for treason
Yes, I think that was the point of her line of questioning.
posted by HotToddy at 10:30 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


Sorry to break it to you, but in my many years of experience with the federal government, they have never paid for my business cards.

Wait, a Trumpist taking credit for something that's always happened as though it were his own brand-new invention?
posted by Etrigan at 10:33 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]




Couple hours ago I started long comment re: Comey. Shorter version: "This just in, the fox is investigating henhouse break-in."

Who the hell is investigating Comey, that's my question. And these latest hearing remarks quoted still don't convince me he is anything other than a traitor himself. Isn't he saying the Russians gave a perception that their interference worked, not that it did?

An impeachment is such a historical, major thing, its bound to take down a lot of Republicans down with Trump.

Six years after Nixon resigned, the many dummies of this country put Raygun/Bush I in for a 12-year run. Another eight later and it was Bush's idiot kid. Eight again, and we're even farther down the food chain to tRump.

Based on my experiences, I very much agree with the proposals that you must stop trying to understand/ convert hardcore (R)s. Because guess what - at least the last time I spoke to some of my conservative relatives last summer, they even LIKED PUTIN.

I doubt a lot of extreme righties will ever be convinced Russian tampering in an US election was horrific. Because 1) It got them the results they wanted, and 2) Vlad's their kind of guy anyway. All they EVER WANT is a tough-talking Great White Daddy. (tRump-Putin 2020!)

(It's the same cognitive dissonance that makes them fear "Sharia laws," while supporting the decimation of the rights of women and others. They never get that They are the Xian version of Sharia law, just like they don't see that their need for an authoritarian leader is so very not-American.)
posted by NorthernLite at 10:34 AM on March 20 [17 favorites]


Yes, I don't understand why the D senators are talking about Gorsuch at all. Who cares? Hold hearings for Merrick Garland, or no hearings at all.

Garland is no longer a nominee. His nomination expired at the end of the last congress.
posted by The World Famous at 10:35 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Yes, I don't understand why the D senators are talking about Gorsuch at all. Who cares? Hold hearings for Merrick Garland, or no hearings at all.

Garland is no longer a nominee. His nomination expired at the end of the last congress.

well that decision just got a lot easier
posted by OverlappingElvis at 10:36 AM on March 20 [14 favorites]


Gorsuch must be impeached at the first opportunity if Democrats ever regain control.

I'm not sure what the basis would be for impeachment. Republicans being the worst regarding another nominee doesn't seem sufficient to me.
posted by The World Famous at 10:37 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Comey asks for a brief break. Nobody uses this as an excuse to ask about the piss tape. I am disappointed.
posted by zachlipton at 10:37 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


Speier (D)-CA - My congress person, and someone I am generally proud to have as my rep! Ms. Speier was an aid to Congressman Leo Ryan when his entourage came under fire at the People's Temple compound in Jonestown, Guyana. Ryan was murdered, and Speier was permanently injured, but recovered considerably and went on to run for office. She rose through various elected offices and eventually ran for congress, winning her old boss's seat. She's someone who has actually, literally been under fire for serving the US. Gov't. {/Speier derail}
posted by mosk at 10:37 AM on March 20 [68 favorites]


Uh. Isn't this the prerequisite for treason

Yes, I think that was the point of her line of questioning.


I like her.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:38 AM on March 20 [10 favorites]


She's someone who has actually, literally been under fire for serving the US. Gov't.

Ok wow, "like" doesn't quite seem strong enough anymore.

It is so heartening to learn about MOC who are this amazing.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:43 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Line of questioning to Comey about whether it is a crime to lie to a reporter about purportedly classified info which is actually false. Comey says not a crime. Says he can't officially deny false stories in the newspaper, frustrating as it may be, or else people will take the absence of a denial to be a confirmation in other cases.

Another rep continued the same line of questioning (sorry I didn't get everyone's names or parties!) and then seemed to make a reference to a specific story that Comey and the intelligence committee both knew was false, without (I think) saying which story it was. But earlier there was a reference specifically to WaPo and NYT stories having false "classified" info.

Then the questioner started asking whether it would be possible for a Russian agent to screw with us by planting false "classified" info in the paper that way! And then they went to break.

Presumably the stuff that got Flynn fired was real, or else he wouldn't have been fired. I'm really curious what they were getting at, but obviously we're not going to be told...
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:45 AM on March 20


Gorsuch must be impeached at the first opportunity if Democrats ever regain control.

Well that will be a great big ball of fun. No way the Ds get a 2/3rd majority in the Senate, anyway. And if they did, they could just legislate away their issues with the Supremes. Hell, they could add 5 new judges so a Dem president could stack the courts. You get an impeachment-good majority you don't waste it on a dragout fight about a Justice who hasn't done anything wrong except disagree with you on jurisprudence.
posted by dis_integration at 10:45 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


When, when, WHEN did it become A Thing to want the country run like a company? Good governance of a country and a company look nothing like one another. If Mississippi has the nation's worst schools, highest levels of poverty, and highest health care costs, what are you going to do, liquidate the state, sell off its assets, and write off the loss?
posted by Mayor West at 10:46 AM on March 20 [75 favorites]


Keep in mind that the intelligence agencies all agreed that the Russians were hacking the election back in October, well before the election. All of them except Comey who said he was not yet convinced and talked them into not releasing that information to the public before the election.
posted by JackFlash at 10:46 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Keeping in mind that the House can impeach for whatever it wants to,

I'm not sure what the basis would be for impeachment.

Being the beneficiary of a possibly corrupt appointment. Given Trump's obvious corruption, it's impossible to know with any certainty that Gorsuch isn't himself corrupt and didn't agree to make decisions that would personally benefit Trump or his foreign allies. It is vital that all Americans be able to trust that Supreme Court decisions are made truly independently, decided truly on the basis of valid constitutional law, and decided with the interests of the United States paramount rather than those of Trump's Russian and Chinese paymasters. The inevitable uncertainty about Gorsuch sadly gives us no alternative but to impeach and remove him.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:47 AM on March 20 [11 favorites]


Sorry to break it to you, but in my many years of experience with the federal government, they have never paid for my business cards

Yep. Most of us in the federal government simply sucked it up. Heck, I remember pay Ny extra for the embossed foil seal. I made half Mulvaney's salary at the time, and I didn't consider it a big deal or a sacrifice.
posted by deanc at 10:47 AM on March 20


When, when, WHEN did it become A Thing to want the country run like a company? Good governance of a country and a company look nothing like one another.

When the GOP realized that most people don't really know what either of them look like anyway.
posted by Etrigan at 10:49 AM on March 20 [15 favorites]


Spicey says Nukular...figures.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:50 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


(I am actually not joking about that. We know Trump is one corrupt motherfucker, and we've seen many examples of decent and patriotic (but horribly wrong) Republicans refusing to work with him. Being someone that someone as corrupt asTrump would nominate is suspicious. Being someone who would agree to be nominated by Trump is doubly suspicious, and the mark of someone of low character.)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:51 AM on March 20 [18 favorites]


I guess the speakers in that line of questioning about whether it's against the law to lie to a reporter about classified info were Turner and Wenstrup. Here's the exchange, from the captions. I think the person asking the question is Dr. Brad Wenstrup (R) of Ohio's 2nd district, and Comey is answering them.

>> NEXT, TO THE ARTICLE FROM FEBRUARY 14th IN THE NEW YORK TIMES WHICH I BELIEVE WE'RE ALL FAMILIAR, AND YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO ANSWER ANY OF THESE, BUT THE ARTICLE CITES FOUR CURRENT AND FORMER AMERICAN OFFICIALS. DO YOU KNOW THE IDENTITY OF THOSE FOUR OFFICIALS?

>> NOT GOING TO COMMENT ON AN ARTICLE.
...
>> OKAY. WITH OR WITHOUT AN INVESTIGATION GOING ON, HAS ANYONE TOLD YOU THAT THEY KNOW WHO LEAKED THE INFORMATION? OR WHO LEAKED ANY INFORMATION ON RUSSIAN INVOLVEMENT IN THE U.S. ELECTIONS OR RUSSIAN INVOLVEMENT WITH THE TRUMP ELECTION TEAM?

>> NOT GOING TO COMMENT ON THAT.

>> IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THE NEW YORK TIMES MISREPRESENTED ITS SOURCING FOR THIS FEBRUARY 14th ARTICLE? POSSIBLE?
...
>> ONE MORE QUESTION BEFORE THE TIME IS UP, WE'LL COME BACK TO ME, BUT I'M CURIOUS, IS IT POSSIBLE NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS ARTICLE, IS IT POSSIBLE THAT A SO-CALLED SOURCE TO A MEDIA OUTLET MAY ACTUALLY BE A RUSSIAN ADVOCATE. NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS STORY, PER SE, JUST IS IT POSSIBLE THAT A RUSSIAN SURROGATE COULD ACTUALLY BE THE SOURCE THAT A NEWSPAPER IS RELY ON?

>> IN GENERAL, SURE, SOMEBODY COULD ALWAYS BE PRETENDING
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:53 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I just bought a bike and I want to go on a ride but I've got the hearings on TV and Spicey on my tablet. It's an embarrassment of riches here, people.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 10:54 AM on March 20 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure what the basis would be for impeachment.

Fruit of the poisonous tree. And the only requirement for impeachment is political will. The only question should be, "what would Republicans do if the situation was reversed?" Democrats lost everything by refusing to play the same game as Republicans. Power matters, nothing else.

Well that will be a great big ball of fun. No way the Ds get a 2/3rd majority in the Senate, anyway. And if they did, they could just legislate away their issues with the Supremes. Hell, they could add 5 new judges so a Dem president could stack the courts.


This would also work. The Illegitimate Gorsuch Court is a perfect rational for court packing.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:55 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


>> Gorsuch must be impeached at the first opportunity if Democrats ever regain control.

> Well that will be a great big ball of fun. No way the Ds get a 2/3rd majority in the Senate, anyway. And if they did, they could just legislate away their issues with the Supremes. Hell, they could add 5 new judges so a Dem president could stack the courts. You get an impeachment-good majority you don't waste it on a dragout fight about a Justice who hasn't done anything wrong except disagree with you on jurisprudence.


On the one hand, I agree; when Gorsuch gets on the court, it will become of critical importance to either remove him or to pack the court to neutralize his influence. But on the other hand, the Democratic Party as currently constituted is never going to have either the will or the power to do what needs to be done here.

It's a nightmare.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:59 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


Spicer's attempt to paint Manafort and Flynn as having limited roles early in the campaign is hilarious. One was the chairman of the campaign and the other became National Security Advisor.
posted by zachlipton at 10:59 AM on March 20 [66 favorites]


Like basically the scenarios where the Democrats pull it together enough to either remove Gorsuch or neutralize his influence seem about as plausible as the scenario where we get together to form democratically elected workers' councils, expropriate all productive capital in the name of the workers' councils, and then abolish the institutions of bourgeois electoral democracy thereby transferring all power to the workers. It's a revolutionary fantasy.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:01 AM on March 20 [42 favorites]


Spicer claims Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn has 'only a limited role' in Trump's campaign and 'really just hangers-on and volunteers'. That's former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, appointed by Trump personally. Complete and utter balderdash. [real and ridiculous]
posted by cjelli at 11:02 AM on March 20 [49 favorites]


I think the person asking the question is Dr. Brad Wenstrup (R) of Ohio

IS IT POSSIBLE THAT A SO-CALLED SOURCE TO A MEDIA OUTLET MAY ACTUALLY BE A RUSSIAN ADVOCATE. NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS STORY, PER SE, JUST IS IT POSSIBLE THAT A RUSSIAN SURROGATE COULD ACTUALLY BE THE SOURCE THAT A NEWSPAPER IS RELY ON?

Fantastic, that's my representative providing cover for Trump's fake-news accusations. Looks like I'm gonna have to go wave some torches and pitchforks at his office later.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:02 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure if this was mentioned in the last thread, but Jason Kander (his uncle is John) re-tweeted something Richard Spencer wrote (".@joshtpm 1930s? No, tomorrow belongs to us.") on Saturday and said, "Hey buddy, that song you love was written by my uncle. He's been married to my other uncle for 40 years. And he's a Jew. Sing it proud."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:03 AM on March 20 [45 favorites]


[in response to a question about Trump golfing every weekend and his prior criticism of Obama's golfing]
Spicer: '[Trump's golfing] is different than Obama's because he's used it to foster international relations with south-east Asia...It depends on how you use the game of golf.'
Reporter: [that seems to be only about Abe, are there are other instances of diplomacy?]
Spicer: 'The president is entitled to privacy and [I won't answer that question]. Next question!'

[real.]
posted by cjelli at 11:04 AM on March 20 [68 favorites]


Oh boy, getting all kinds of financial stuff on the record now in the Russia hearings. Deutsche bank's loans to Trump and conviction to money laundering, Felix Sater, the "king of fertilizer" mansion sale, nefarious Russian tenants in buildings, trips to Russia, bankruptcy, etc... Oh, is that Eric Swalwell? Awesome. Comey refuses to comment on any of the issues he's raising (naturally), but he keeps reading stuff into the record anyway.
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:06 AM on March 20 [41 favorites]


And the only requirement for impeachment is political will.

Of course. I kind of hope we're not on a path that leads to "political will" being the only justification anyone on the political spectrum asks for when their side takes power and decides to retaliate against its predecessors, but I should probably abandon such hopes.
posted by The World Famous at 11:06 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I don't know Swalwell. Is he always this good?
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:06 AM on March 20


Could someone link to or explain why reading these things into the record is important?
posted by zrail at 11:08 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


It puts them permanently into public record, for everyone to see.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:10 AM on March 20 [17 favorites]


zachlipton: Spicer's attempt to paint Manafort and Flynn as having limited roles early in the campaign is hilarious. One was the chairman of the campaign and the other became National Security Advisor.

Also, a reminder: Manafort owns a condo in Trump Tower.
posted by bluecore at 11:11 AM on March 20 [10 favorites]


Reporters can quote the record...

Wenstrup bringing up the "February 14th article in the New York Times" again. I guess he wants to officially get it on the record that he thinks their sources were lying to them for that article. Because now he's said "February 14th" "New York Times" and "Four government sources" which is easily enough to identify it.
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:11 AM on March 20


Could someone link to or explain why reading these things into the record is important?

Well, I suppose it will give us a clearer indication whether this:

a path that leads to "political will" being the only justification anyone on the political spectrum asks for when their side takes power

has already happened on the Republican side.
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:13 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Members of Congress have absolute immunity from prosecution (by anyone outside of their House itself) for any speech they make in Congress. So they can read any sort of secret documents into the Congressional Record, and then it's a public document.

They did this with the Pentagon Papers, when they were first released.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:13 AM on March 20 [22 favorites]


Of course. I kind of hope we're not on a path that leads to "political will" being the only justification anyone on the political spectrum asks for when their side takes power and decides to retaliate against its predecessors, but I should probably abandon such hopes.

Um, like, are you seeing the shit going on right now?
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on March 20 [14 favorites]


Spicer is trying to walk a very fine line between saying Roger Stone didn't do much in the campaign and infuriating Trump by dismissing a long-term and close friend. He didn't really succeeded at either I don't think.
posted by zachlipton at 11:14 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Restoring a "normal" political situation is something that will only be possible after (pick one):
  • truth and reconciliation commissions
  • war crimes tribunals
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:16 AM on March 20 [23 favorites]


GA-06 news:
With just less than 30 days until the special election to replace former Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), a new Clout Research poll finds that Jon Ossoff (D) is greatly solidifying his base of support and now leads the special election field with 41%.

Karen Handel (R) now only has a marginal edge over Bob Gray (R), as both effectively tie at 16%.
Note that if Ossoff somehow cleared 50%, he would win the seat outright. If not, top two vote getters will go to a second round.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:18 AM on March 20 [52 favorites]


Carl Bernstein: "I can state w/confidence that many intel members now decrying 'leaks' of classified info have themselves 'leaked' classified info knowingly"
posted by zachlipton at 11:18 AM on March 20 [47 favorites]


um, can someone watching Comey instead of Spicer explain the context around why he just testified that "I hate the New England Patriots" ?

Given Trump's friendship with Kraft, that might be the quote that leads to Comey losing his job.
posted by zachlipton at 11:22 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]




-neil-gorsuch-praised-a-leading-republican-activist-behind-voter-suppression-efforts

Look, if you don't like Gorsuch, I'm not going to tell you to like him. But this article is pure clickbait fear-mongering. His "praise", per the very article posted above, consists of:

- one three-word email response to a work email he was sent about the appointment from someone who was excited about it (Good for Hans!)

- a one-sentence that's basically "oh, this looks cool, I'll try to go" on an email with 50 people cc'd that's basically "I am attending a voting conference from X time to Y time"
posted by corb at 11:22 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


New York Attorney General Hires Bharara Corruption Prosecutor to Examine Trump Administration

That's just beautiful.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:24 AM on March 20 [12 favorites]


Bwa ha ha, Comey's being asked by Hines to confirm the truthfulness of Trump's Tweets from this morning.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:25 AM on March 20 [18 favorites]


Spicey is doing amazing work here, trying to make Manafort into some irrelevant campaign staffer who did nothing important or anything except maybe be a loser campaign director during the crucial primary process who just helped Trump win the nomination that's all nothing important, no lasting impact.
posted by dis_integration at 11:25 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


a path that leads to "political will" being the only justification anyone on the political spectrum asks for when their side takes power

has already happened on the Republican side.


Indeed. I had hoped that point would be implicit in what I wrote.
posted by The World Famous at 11:25 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Spicer: '[Trump's golfing] is different than Obama's because he's used it to foster international relations with south-east Asia...It depends on how you use the game of golf.'

@fakedansavage The difference is black and white.
posted by chaoticgood at 11:26 AM on March 20 [33 favorites]


I don't see this linked yet, and it's wonderful, so:

American Fencer and Olympic Medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad: I Fear President Trump's 'Campaign of Terror' Against American Ideals

Well worth your time, but in case, here's her conclusion:

"Overcoming obstacles was my challenge as an athlete. It is now my challenge as a citizen. I once represented you. Now you represent me. I urge you to do so with the humility, thoughtfulness and kindness befitting your sacred office. As an African-American Muslim Woman patriot, my religion commands me to remain hopeful, to believe in our ability to fight bigotry with love and draw our strength from diversity. That is what makes America great. Time and again."

Can someone ask Spicer if the president will defend an American Olympic medalist being profiled and told to go back to her country?
posted by martin q blank at 11:27 AM on March 20 [52 favorites]


Comey was just asked if the @POTUS tweet this morning saying "The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process" was accurate. He said no.

In other words, the FBI director just said the White House was lying about his testimony.
posted by zachlipton at 11:28 AM on March 20 [117 favorites]


zachlipton: The "I hate the Patriots" comment was part of a sports analogy trying to explain that wanting to undermine Clinton would necessarily mean aiding the Trump campaign as "there are only two teams on the field".
posted by Freon at 11:28 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Jennifer Rubin, WaPo: Comey’s testimony humiliates Trump
Comey’s statement was not surprising, but it was nevertheless devastating. To hear the head of the FBI in essence call the president a liar or wide-eyed conspiratorialist is bracing, if not humiliating, for the chief executive. And reflecting on the morning tweet, Trump now seems desperate, childish and vulnerable. He’s been tripped up by his own grandiose lies. At some level he must know it.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:28 AM on March 20 [53 favorites]


can someone watching Comey instead of Spicer explain the context around why he just testified that "I hate the New England Patriots" ?

Some of the Republican representatives have been pushing the line that just because Russia disliked and wanted to undermine Clinton doesn't mean that they wanted to support Trump. Comey has persistently been saying on the contrary that the two things go hand in hand, and if you want Clinton to lose it also means you want Trump to win, because there are only two candidates. The original questioner--I can't remember his name--introduced the sports metaphor.
posted by Dr. Send at 11:29 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]




Comey re-introduced the sports metaphor with a different team, though. :-) The point was basically "If you hate the Patriots, you are necessarily rooting for whoever plays against the Patriots." Putin hates Clinton and was therefore necessarily rooting for Trump.

Now Castro is going through The Dossier, reading bits of it into the record and asking which parts have been confirmed.
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:33 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Oh my gosh, I feel so much less like a nutso conspiracy theorist, hearing all of this stuff discussed by Very Serious People in Government on TV, instead of just reading about it on the internet.
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:35 AM on March 20 [67 favorites]


Sadly, Spicer was not asked to comment on Comey's testimony that the president's twitter mischaracterized Comey's testimony about the president's twittter, which probably just prevented the universe from exploding due to infinite recursion.
posted by zachlipton at 11:35 AM on March 20 [25 favorites]


Some of the Republican representatives have been pushing the line that just because Russia disliked and wanted to undermine Clinton doesn't mean that they wanted to support Trump. Comey has persistently been saying on the contrary that the two things go hand in hand, and if you want Clinton to lose it also means you want Trump to win, because there are only two candidates.

Well, duh. Also Trump is the one candidate in the whole thing who was known to be in the Russians' pocket.

Which leads me to ask whether anyone is suggesting that the Russians were meddling before the GOP convention to help Trump secure the nomination or knock down some of his many, many competitors.
posted by Naberius at 11:36 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Comey: Russians made attacks aimed at "penetrating state voter registration systems".
posted by Freon at 11:37 AM on March 20 [33 favorites]


Look, if you don't like Gorsuch, I'm not going to tell you to like him. But this article is pure clickbait fear-mongering.

First of all, Ari Berman is one of the foremost reporters on the conservative efforts to suppress votes, so accusing him of writing "clickbait fear-mongering" is pretty laughable. Second, there's several paragraphs' worth of context for what you're characterizing as just a couple of throwaway sentences, starting with this bit that pre-emptively rebutted arguments like yours:
Though the e-mails sound mundane, they’re much more important when you consider what was happening at the Justice Department during the time Gorsuch overlapped with von Spakovksy. In 2005–06 Gorsuch was principal deputy to the associate attorney general and von Spakosvky was special counsel to Brad Schlozman, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, who said he wanted to “gerrymander all of those crazy libs right out of the [voting] section.” It was a time when longtime civil-rights lawyers were pushed out of the Justice Department and the likes of Schlozman and von Spakovsky reversed the Civil Rights Division’s traditional role of safeguarding voting rights. When von Spakovsky was nominated to the FEC, six former lawyers in the voting section called him “the point person for undermining the Civil Rights Division’s mandate to protect voting rights.”
Third, as Berman points out at least twice in the article, the mutual praise between van Spakovsky is Gorsuch is something that is 100% worth digging up, whether from reporters or Senators and their staff. Dimissing investigating voter suppression from anyone--let alone a man who will be joining a Court that already led by the GOP's voter suppression point man--is exactly the kind of proto-fascist bullshit that conservatives were so gung-ho about until Trump made the implicit explicit.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:38 AM on March 20 [50 favorites]


Finding out that the Russians did meddle to knock out cruz or Rubio might be what gives rank and file repubs cover to legit go after trump without fear of recrimination from base?
posted by ian1977 at 11:38 AM on March 20 [9 favorites]


Comey: "If I'm honest with myself, the reason I don't like the Patriots is that the represent sustained excellence. And as a Giants fan that drives me crazy."
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:39 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


the mutual praise between van Spakovsky is Gorsuch

What exactly are you counting in those emails as praise of van Spakovsky?
posted by corb at 11:40 AM on March 20


Wait, is the Patriots thing still a metaphor?
posted by amarynth at 11:41 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


i mean, if literal actual treason doesn't do it, maybe? But I wouldn't count on it. These people have no more loyalty to each other than they do to normal folks.
posted by Artw at 11:42 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


OK starting to worry just a bit about about what the Dampnut reaction to utter and complete public humiliation might be.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:43 AM on March 20 [10 favorites]


- one three-word email response to a work email he was sent about the appointment from someone who was excited about it (Good for Hans!)


"Good for Hitler!" No big deal. Just three words from some who was excited about him. What's the big deal?

 Spakovsky was absolutely toxic. He was involved in racist voter suppression efforts. He was involved in the U.S. Attorneys scandal in which attorneys who didn't investigate enough Democrats enthusiastically were fired.

Six former lawyers in the voting section called him “the point person for undermining the Civil Rights Division’s mandate to protect voting rights.” And Gorsuch is excited about his nomination to the Federal Elections Commission.

That Gorsuch is willing to publicly praise such toxic voter suppression advocate is very germane to whether Gorsuch is qualified for the Supreme Court. Perhaps you didn't notice but the Supreme Court recently ruled to undermine the Voting Rights Act so whether or not Gorsuch is also a voter suppression advocate is important.
posted by JackFlash at 11:43 AM on March 20 [33 favorites]


Wait, is the Patriots thing still a metaphor?

No, the metaphor was just an excuse for some silliness. Something about the thanking the FBI for helping Tom Brady find his jersey even though Comey hates the Patriots? I have no idea what they were talking about. Then Comey felt the need to explain that the Patriots are actually a very good team. Crawford now says "Admiral Rogers, would you like to make a comment about the New England Patriots?" Rogers: "I'm a Chicago Bears guy."
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:44 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


zachlipton: Carl Bernstein: "I can state w/confidence that many intel members now decrying 'leaks' of classified info have themselves 'leaked' classified info knowingly"

This kind of reminds me of billboards I've seen around here: "even people who text and drive hate people who text and drive" - we'll decry it, but we also do it when it serves our purposes.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:46 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


The World Famous I guess I dont' get it, are you advocating that hte Democrats let the Republicans get away with their theft of hte Supreme Court on the grounds that doing so is a necessary prerequisite for peace in our time? If so I must disagree in the strongest possible way.

We must **PUNISH** them for this. We cannot let it stand. The very instant we have a majority in the House we must immediately begin pushing to impeach Gorsuch. Hell, Gerald Ford spent his entire House career trying to impeach Justice William O. Douglas for no reason other htan that he disliked him. When asked Ford snapped that "an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history"

I think being appointed to a stolen seat by a Russian agent seems like a very reasonable standard for impeachment of a Supreme Court justice.

You Can't Tip a Buick Restoring a "normal" political situation is something that will only be possible after (pick one):


Exactly.

I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to return to a state of normal politics if that means letting the Republicans get away with their criminal, treasonous, and otherwise outrageous behavior. If that's their price for normalcy I do not want to pay.

"Hi, I know we kicked the shit out of you, bankrupted you, burned down your house, and killed your dog, but we'd like things to be normal again so don't take any revenge on us, k?"

No, fuck that shit.

They hurt us, for no reason other than that they could, and there are no referees here. Either we hurt them back, or they will learn a very important lesson: they can hurt us and it will cost them nothing.

In an environment where there is no outside rule enforcement agency the only possible way to restrain a bad actor is via tit for tat retaliation. We absolutely cannot, must not, allow them to get away with stealing two elections and the Supreme Court. To do so will not restore normalcy, it'll just encourage them to do even worse to us the next time they have power.

We must punish them. We must stop them. We must retaliate.

And that means impeaching Gorsuch and every other Trump appointee to the Supreme Court. They cannot be permitted to enjoy the spoils of a tainted victory.

corbLook, if you don't like Gorsuch, I'm not going to tell you to like him. But this article is pure clickbait fear-mongering. His "praise", per the very article posted above, consists of:

Sorry, but I'm utterly and completely disinterested in hearing your excuses for why we should be nice to the guy you want to see on the Supreme Court. Yes, you like him. To you I'm sure his nomination is a silver lining to Trump, like the other Republicans you're getting what you want here (theocracy, guns everywhere, and voting rights curtailed guaranteeing an eternal Republican majority) so you're happy(ish) and looking for silver linings.

I'm not, and I won't back down one nanometer from any and all arguments against Gorsuch, including outright lies.
posted by sotonohito at 11:46 AM on March 20 [78 favorites]


OK starting to worry just a bit about about what the Dampnut reaction to utter and complete public humiliation might be.

Starting a war is a pretty good way to temper arguments that you should be tossed and your administration should be largely overhauled. It's a big part of what got GWB re-elected.

That was, at least, the first thing I thought of when Tillerson started talking about the failure of diplomacy after a few weeks on the job.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:52 AM on March 20 [10 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that Sleepyhead is just hugely incompetent and lazy, but who knows anymore?
posted by Artw at 11:53 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Carl Bernstein: "I can state w/confidence that many intel members now decrying 'leaks' of classified info have themselves 'leaked' classified info knowingly"

You leak; I give the public vital information that the government is holding hostage.
posted by Etrigan at 11:55 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]




Nowhere near even 1% of the population is killed in modern wars. Even the Vietnam War, bad as it was, resulted in vastly fewer deaths for the US than prior wars had (less than .1% of the US population died in the Vietnam war)

The population of Vietnam in 1955 was 28,147,785. Using Rudolph Rummel's low estimate is that 1,156,000 Vietnamese people were killed between 1954 and 1975. That's 4.1% of the population.
Rummel's middle estimate is 2,115,000 (7.5% of the 1955 population) and his high estimate is 3,207,000 (11.4%). "Estimates of casualties of the Vietnam War vary widely."
posted by kirkaracha at 11:58 AM on March 20 [13 favorites]


CNN Aviation editor Jon Ostrower:
* There is something very strange happening right now for some international airlines that serve the U.S. More questions than answers.
* What DHS is saying right now: "We have no comment on potential security precautions, but will provide any update as appropriate.”
* BREAKING: 12+ Middle East and African airlines flying to U.S. covered new security procedures. -U.S. Official. Few additional details.

Apparently it's a complete electronics ban (phones and medical devices excepted) for at least 96 hours.
posted by rewil at 12:00 PM on March 20 [30 favorites]


Everything I've red puts Gorsuch to the right of Scalia. I don't need to know anything else, honestly to be terrified. I could find he has dolls made out of human skin and I'd be like well of course
posted by angrycat at 12:00 PM on March 20 [17 favorites]


Okay, real talk, no one should support anyone who stands up on their hind legs on a stage with Trump to accept a nomination from Trump, unless there is a clear sense that that person is doing this loathsome thing in order to secretly undermine the Trump administration.

We can have valid disagreements about what set of tactics for opposing Gorsuch might be most effective. But given that Gorsuch has accepted a nomination from Trump and given that Gorsuch is by no means a resistance agent, it is not acceptable to express support for him. "Trump named him; get him out" may or may not be the most effective propaganda line for neutralizing Gorsuch, but here, among friends, we must agree that "Trump named him; get him out" is enough reason for us to oppose him.

As Gorsuch himself stated in his Hobby Lobby concurrence:
All of us face the problem of complicity. All of us must answer for ourselves whether and to what degree we are willing to be involved in the wrongdoing of others.
Gorsuch, by lining up with Trump, has faced the problem of complicity and chosen what degree he is willing to be involved in the wrongdoing of others. He has chosen very poorly.

This disqualifies him from the bench.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:02 PM on March 20 [82 favorites]


Politico: Trump lets his aides sweat the details on health care
Several people with knowledge of the discussions said having Trump on the golf course wasn’t a bad thing for his team, who could wade more into the nitty-gritty and have “real talk” with the conservatives. They fear that when he meets with legislators or interest groups that he’ll promise them too much – or change the terms under discussion altogether. “It’s easier to negotiate sometimes without Trump,” one adviser said.

On Monday, Trump’s team continued heated discussions with lawmakers, but the president was fixated on investigations into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and the related congressional hearings.

Advisers say he is very much interested in the law passing – and believes that if it doesn’t, that would be considered “a failure that hurts his presidency,” as one White House official put it. But they acknowledge that he’s less compelled by the substance of the law – the fine details of who wins or who loses. “He’s very interested in having it happen,” said Newt Gingrich, a top ally. “He’s not vested in every single piece of it.”
...
Members of Speaker Paul Ryan’s team, trying to appeal to Trump’s ego and deal-making sensibilities, have begun calling him the “closer” or the "ultimate closer.”
posted by zachlipton at 12:09 PM on March 20 [8 favorites]


The World Famous I guess I dont' get it, are you advocating that hte Democrats let the Republicans get away with their theft of hte Supreme Court on the grounds that doing so is a necessary prerequisite for peace in our time?

No. I'm suggesting that, when the Democrats eventually take back the majority, dedicating their energy to political retaliation rather than actually governing would take our country farther down the path we're on today, rather than accomplishing what I think their ostensible political philosophy would dictate. We've just come off of 8 years of a President who - against massive opposition in Congress - worked toward a meaningful and hopeful agenda for our country. Now we've got a President and administration whose guiding principle is essentially revenge and spite. I preferred the former, and would like to see it again.

More importantly, I'm advocating that "because we're in the majority and we hate you bastards and that's the only justification we need" is a destructive and bad reason to do anything, basically.

I disagree with Gorsuch's judicial philosophy in several key respects. I would prefer to have had Garland on the Court. And the political maneuvering that kept Garland off the court was inappropriate, unethical, and flat-out wrong.

We must **PUNISH** them for this. We cannot let it stand. The very instant we have a majority in the House we must immediately begin pushing to impeach Gorsuch. Hell, Gerald Ford spent his entire House career trying to impeach Justice William O. Douglas for no reason other htan that he disliked him. When asked Ford snapped that "an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history"

Yeah, that's a big-ass load of fucking bullshit and you should know better when the precedent you're citing in support of your proposed approach is Gerald Fucking Ford.
posted by The World Famous at 12:11 PM on March 20 [14 favorites]


kirkaracha re: Vietnamese deaths. You are 100% correct, and I alluded to that in my footnote, though I should have put it in a more prominent place. The restraint on war and minimal casualties model only applies to the major powers. Those minor powers they chose to abuse still see war with pre-WWII level deaths.

See also Iraq during Junior's War there. The USA had 4,424 soldiers die. There are good estimates that over 1,000,000 Iraqis died, which would be around 5% of the national population.
posted by sotonohito at 12:12 PM on March 20


(Sorry to get overheated there. Rather than edit my comment, which I think would violate the guidelines, I would amend it to replace my last paragraph with: I respectfully disagree, in the strongest possible terms.)
posted by The World Famous at 12:14 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


My idea for the day: a remake of The Lion in Winter set in the Trump White House.

Oh god, yes, with Ivanka as Alais, of course: "In my time I've known contessas, milkmaids, courtesans and novices, whores, gypsies, jades, and little boys, but nowhere in God's western world have I found anyone to love but you."

This will amuse me for the rest of the day. Thank you.
posted by jokeefe at 12:14 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


If Clinton had won, this entire conversation would be about whether the Court can function just fine with eight seats permanently. It's not hard to imagine who'd be making that argument here.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:14 PM on March 20 [48 favorites]


Rep. Hurd seems to be one of the few Republicans to care about the hacking instead of ranting about leaks. He's quoting Schiff about the importance of this investigation and keeping it non-partisan and saying they have to do this.
posted by zachlipton at 12:14 PM on March 20 [8 favorites]


Okay, real talk, no one should support anyone who stands up on their hind legs on a stage with Trump to accept a position from Trump, unless there is a clear sense that that person is doing this loathsome thing in order to secretly undermine the Trump administration.

Couple things worth noting on this point:

* Veterans and active-duty servicepeople all over the country, including liberals, were thrilled about Mattis. He's a smart guy, people hoped he'd be the adult in the room, he talked 45 down off the torture cliff (apparently, for now)... and we have pictures of him standing by with a smile as 45 signed his first bullshit Muslim Ban into law. I dunno about any other vets/active duty types, but my faith in Mattis died right then and there.

* McMaster is clearly qualified for the job, doesn't seem inclined to be a stooge for the fascists... and so he's also clearly not being allowed to run his own show the way he should.

* DeVos, horrible and unqualified as she is, had a moment where she actually tried to do the right thing. I'm a teacher, so don't anyone think I'm trying to defend her when she's a walking insult to my profession, but she did push back on revoking protections against transgender students. Naturally, she was shut down. She buckled. So again, examples of anyone pushing back against the bullshit in this regime don't go very far.

* The nominees for SecNav and SecArmy were both extremely wealthy, successful businessmen who pulled out because they couldn't fully divest and avoid conflicts of interest. This, despite the fact that Republicans in the Senate clearly do not give a shit about such things. So say what you will about their business practices or character (I don't know much of anything), but these two dudes pulled out because they were too ethical to serve in this administration.

* Probably already cited above, but: the White House has posted loyalty monitors for cabinet appointees.

Nothing we have seen speaks well for people who accept posts in this administration, regardless of their motives. Ethics and intentions are sidelined.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:16 PM on March 20 [25 favorites]


Things I will be thankful if I don't have to do again as long as I live after today: listen to Trey Gowdy talk.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:16 PM on March 20 [8 favorites]


Sadly, Spicer was not asked to comment on Comey's testimony that the president's twitter mischaracterized Comey's testimony about the president's twittter, which probably just prevented the universe from exploding due to infinite recursion.

Or from going back to junior high, which is maybe the same thing.
posted by nickmark at 12:17 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


the "ultimate closer.”

This doesn't make me think of the Nuclear Apocalypse at all.
posted by dis_integration at 12:18 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


The World Famous What, in your mind, is going to stop the Republicans from repeating their insane obstructionism, norm violation, and cheating if we don't punish them?

There are no referees here. There is no rule enforcement agency.

If there is no price to be paid for cheating, for kicking the shit out of us, why wouldn't they continue to kick the shit out of us and cheat?

This is game theory 101 here. In any contest where one side cheats and pays no penalty for doing so, that side will not only win but will continue to cheat. We, the Democrats, are the only people who can exact a price for cheating from the Republicans.

Seriously, if we try to go all high road, do you really think the result will be anything but the Republicans cheating again?

What, please, is your path forward that ends their rampant cheating?
posted by sotonohito at 12:21 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


[Several comments removed, via my phone on the goddam toilet. Everybody please do better at flagging instead of engaging/escalating; corb, do better at not going down some prescriptive hole about what other people should or shouldn't be anxious about based on your own personal priorities; sotonohito, take it down a couple notches, we've had to talk about this previously.]
posted by cortex at 12:21 PM on March 20 [68 favorites]


> No. I'm suggesting that, when the Democrats eventually take back the majority, dedicating their energy to political retaliation rather than actually governing would take our country farther down the path we're on today, rather than accomplishing what I think their ostensible political philosophy would dictate. We've just come off of 8 years of a President who - against massive opposition in Congress - worked toward a meaningful and hopeful agenda for our country. Now we've got a President and administration whose guiding principle is essentially revenge and spite. I preferred the former, and would like to see it again.

In the pipe dream scenario where a resurgent left takes over the Democratic Party and the Democratic Party in turn takes over the United States government's executive and legislative branches, that hypothetical pipe dream Democratic Party must work to neutralize everyone who has collaborated with the Trump administration. It appears to be a fait accompli that the elected quislings in the Democratic Party are going to let Gorsuch through; as such fixing the damage will require either packing the court or impeaching Gorsuch.

These things are necessary, but not good. As such they should be undertaken in a clearheaded, coldhearted manner, driven by steely resolve rather than by any fiery desire for retaliatory vengeance.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:21 PM on March 20 [6 favorites]


Gowdy (Republican, for those who haven't memorized these things) now saying "Russia does suck. You guys should investigate the heck out of this and then get back to us because there's a lot of speculation in the absence of real evidence." (And going on about how anonymous sources aren't evidence, can't be used in court, can't be cross examined... I have to acknowledge that it's true that we have only circumstantial evidence of collusion so far, but we have so much of it!)

And later "And just because someone asked questions about leaks doesn't mean they're not interested in Russia."

I almost interpret this as covering his ass. He seems almost to be saying "If you do come back with hard evidence, I will get on board."

Nunes now saying "You can't tell me if you have evidence, but I can tell you that we don't have any evidence." "There is a big gray cloud that you have now put over people who have very important work to do, who have to lead this country. So the faster you can get to the bottom of this, the better."

FIN
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:21 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Closing gavel on the House Intel hearing. When the highlight reels start coming out, give 'em a look if you weren't able to follow along today. Several popcorn moments and nice showings from some Ds.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:24 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Rep. Hurd seems to be one of the few Republicans to care about the hacking instead of ranting about leaks. He's quoting Schiff about the importance of this investigation and keeping it non-partisan and saying they have to do this.

He's the guy who just did the road trip with Beto O'Rourke, so may be the coolest and least fucked-up Republican in Congress, for the moment.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:24 PM on March 20 [8 favorites]


Nunes complaining that FBI/NSA have just put "a big gray cloud" over the WH. [real]
posted by zakur at 12:24 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


>... a big gray cloud ... So the faster you can get to the bottom of this, the better.

So, even the Republicans agree that the Trump admin is not likely to last the full year. If we must discuss Supreme Court nominations, I expect them to abide by the Lott rule.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:25 PM on March 20 [8 favorites]


Nunes complaining that FBI/NSA have just put "a big gray cloud" over the WH. [real]

Aww, poor Trump has his own personal raincloud now.
posted by dis_integration at 12:26 PM on March 20 [6 favorites]


White evangelicals have been the willing dupes of hucksters both political and non- for decades.

I've mentioned it in other threads, but I had their number in 1980, when the evangelicals abandoned a genuine born-again christian, Jimmy Carter, in droves to vote for Ronald Reagan.
posted by Gelatin at 12:26 PM on March 20 [80 favorites]


Veterans and active-duty servicepeople all over the country, including liberals, were thrilled about Mattis


I wasn't. Still not. Position calls for a Talleyrand, not a Ney.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:27 PM on March 20 [9 favorites]


The World Famous What, in your mind, is going to stop the Republicans from repeating their insane obstructionism, norm violation, and cheating if we don't punish them?

I object to the form of the question, as it asks me to accept your premise that punishing them will stop them from repeating their insane obstructionism, norm violation, and cheating. That said, I guess adopting revenge and "punishment" as the norm would, indeed, address one of those, since making their conduct the norm would mean they're not violating norms when they do it.

What would stop them from repeating it is if the consequence of doing it is that they lose elections and don't get donations anymore. That is literally the only thing that will stop them. Revenge and "punishment" absolutely would not stop them but would, instead, only make it easier and less objectionable for them to do it again.
posted by The World Famous at 12:29 PM on March 20 [12 favorites]


These things are necessary, but not good. As such they should be undertaken in a clearheaded, coldhearted manner, driven by steely resolve rather than by any fiery desire for retaliatory vengeance.

Impeaching a Supreme Court justice for no basis other than objection to the President who nominated him and the actions of Republicans toward a previous nominee is, by definition, not clearheaded.
posted by The World Famous at 12:31 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


> I wasn't. Still not. Position calls for a Talleyrand, not a Ney.

I suppose putting the military in the hands of a Talleyrand would be fine, given the absence of any plausible Trotsky.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:31 PM on March 20


Impeaching a Supreme Court justice for no basis other than objection to the President who nominated him and the actions of Republicans toward a previous nominee is, by definition, not clearheaded.

You have an odd definition of the word "definition", not to mention "clearheaded".
posted by Etrigan at 12:32 PM on March 20 [9 favorites]


You have an odd definition of the word "definition", not to mention "clearheaded".

Be that as it may, I bet you understood what I wrote.
posted by The World Famous at 12:34 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Impeaching a Supreme Court justice for no basis other than objection to the President who nominated him and the actions of Republicans toward a previous nominee is, by definition, not clearheaded.

Blocking the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice for no basis other than objection to the President who nominated him and the actions of Democrats toward a previous nominee is, by definition, not clearheaded.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:35 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


> Impeaching a Supreme Court justice for no basis other than objection to the President who nominated him and the actions of Republicans toward a previous nominee is, by definition, not clearheaded.

There is no reason why a program of thoroughgoing denazification can't be carried out in a calm, clearheaded, orderly manner.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:35 PM on March 20 [26 favorites]


Blocking the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice for no basis other than objection to the President who nominated him and the actions of Democrats toward a previous nominee is, by definition, not clearheaded.

Yes, exactly.
posted by The World Famous at 12:35 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I too am disappointed with the anticipated actions of the hypothetical future democratic majority and would like to fight with a mefite about it
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:36 PM on March 20 [122 favorites]


[stannis] Supermajority. [/stannis]
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:37 PM on March 20 [15 favorites]


The Prime Minister of Iraq pulled a funny in front of Trump, saying they had nothing to do with the wiretapping.
posted by zachlipton at 12:38 PM on March 20 [11 favorites]


Brian Beutler: The Media’s Failure to Correct Republicans’ Obscene Trumpcare Lies

Well, the media failed for years to correct Republicans' Obamacare lies, so...
posted by Gelatin at 12:39 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Nunes complaining that FBI/NSA have just put "a big gray cloud" over the WH. [real]

Aww, poor Trump has his own personal raincloud now.


I'm thinking smog is a more suitable metaphor.

And yes can we stop arguing about what color our unicorns will be the day after the Democrats win it all and work on the "win" part first, thank you.
posted by emjaybee at 12:39 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


But I am allowed to be opposed to the Supreme Court nominee because he's a sexist fuckknuckle, right?
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 12:40 PM on March 20 [25 favorites]


@MattGertz
Spicer got asked about the int'l incident he caused by reciting Fox transcript and shut down the briefing


Besides TeamTrump, is there anyone who thinks Spicer is good at his job? Anyone?
posted by zakur at 12:43 PM on March 20 [6 favorites]


Well if we're talking unicorn land when Democrats have a majority and do shit with it I'd say the first priority should be knifing the electoral college and ending Republican presidencies forever. >
posted by Artw at 12:44 PM on March 20 [36 favorites]


Besides TeamTrump, is there anyone who thinks Spicer is good at his job? Anyone?

Pretty sure they don't either, but they don't care about what the press thinks because Real Americans know that what Trump says on Twitter is the real truth.
posted by Etrigan at 12:44 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


The Washington Post brings us the magic of Trump wants to defund PBS. ‘Sesame Street’ brutally parodied him for decades. (essentially a retread of the New York Post's article, which came first, but the summaries are better and it has links to all the clips, including the outtakes of Joe Pesci abusing muppets as "Ronald Grump" (one of which contains a homophobic slur)).
posted by zachlipton at 12:50 PM on March 20 [8 favorites]


Besides TeamTrump, is there anyone who thinks Spicer is good at his job? Anyone?

Spicer's job is to have his name, rather than Trump's, attached to horrible, incompetent garbage every day in the press. He is the Trump administration's designated target. A punching bag for the press. He's great at it.
posted by The World Famous at 12:51 PM on March 20 [8 favorites]


What's in it for Spicer, I wonder. The pay can't be that fabulous. Is he hoping to move on to a career at Fox after this?
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:56 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Note that if Ossoff somehow cleared 50%, he would win the seat outright. If not, top two vote getters will go to a second round.

At which point all those Rs who are currently fighting bitterly would probably line up behind the R candidate and Ossoff loses with 46% or thereabouts.

(Sorry for the cynicism...I've just seen this show many times before. I'm crossing my fingers for Ossoff - and I'm really hoping for a win here - but I'm not holding my breath.)



Nunes complaining that FBI/NSA have just put "a big gray cloud" over the WH. [real]

When the bullshit you've spewed out is piling so high it is giving off toxic fumes, it's not the FBI's fault. That's like blaming the dog.



White evangelicals have been the willing dupes of hucksters both political and non- for decades.

I've mentioned it in other threads, but I had their number in 1980, when the evangelicals abandoned a genuine born-again christian, Jimmy Carter, in droves to vote for Ronald Reagan.


QF-f'ing-T.
posted by darkstar at 12:56 PM on March 20 [21 favorites]


Nunes is now claiming to have never heard of Carter Page or Roger Stone. That's, um, really not a good look for the head of the House Intelligence Committee.
posted by zachlipton at 12:59 PM on March 20 [75 favorites]


Things I will be thankful if I don't have to do again as long as I live after today: listen to Trey Gowdy talk.

I kept thinking of Spike Jonze in Three Kings.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:00 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


And yes can we stop arguing about what color our unicorns will be the day after the Democrats win it all and work on the "win" part first, thank you.

Sure, but while we're doing that we need them to act like an actual opposition party. That means filibustering an illegitimate nominee. Not normalizing, not rationalizing why they're going to support him. Filibustering. No excuses are acceptable, especially not, "he's from my state". Let's start there and hopefully one day we can get to impeachment. We need to signal our craven Dems loudly and clearly that nothing less than total opposition will allow them to remain in office.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:00 PM on March 20 [12 favorites]


Nunes now saying "You can't tell me if you have evidence, but I can tell you that we don't have any evidence." "There is a big gray cloud that you have now put over people who have very important work to do, who have to lead this country. So the faster you can get to the bottom of this, the better."

I'm reminded of another big gray cloud...

I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the interest of America first. America needs a full-time President and a full-time Congress, particularly at this time with problems we face at home and abroad.

To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home.

Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow.
posted by mikelieman at 1:03 PM on March 20 [15 favorites]


Gosh, that's the third motorcyclist that's passed us tonight. They sure do take their lives into their own hands, what with the weather and all.
posted by Reverend John at 1:04 PM on March 20 [15 favorites]


and when that big gray cloud passes by, something bright and golden yellow will shine through. that's right friends I'm talking about the pee tape
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:06 PM on March 20 [31 favorites]


The only way Trump will resign is if he can find a way to characterize it as a win. And you can bet he will be sending out furious tweets all over Twitter about how the Republican Party betrayed him.
posted by schroedinger at 1:06 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Gosh, that's the third motorcyclist that's passed us tonight. They sure do take their lives into their own hands, what with the weather and all.

Well, there is a light...
posted by mikelieman at 1:06 PM on March 20 [6 favorites]


What's in it for Spicer, I wonder

He can get a book deal good enough to retire on, if nothing else
posted by mikepop at 1:09 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Yeah, although the language of the dispute is in terms of what a hypothetical unicorn Democratic Party would do, the grounds of the dispute are really about whether we should understand the Trumpists as actual literal nazis, or if we should treat them as a regular political organization. The question isn't "what should the Democrats do?" The question is "is collaboration ever admissible?"
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:10 PM on March 20 [7 favorites]


Interrupting your House hearing, Gorsuch hearing and Spicer lies with some minor good news. I teach post-secondary and every year take 50ish college students from Montreal to the USA for a cultural trip. The students love visiting Boston or NYC, we've been doing it for close to 20 years.

Not this year. We've cancelled our reservations for Boston and are booking Toronto instead. I'm so relieved. I was dreading a border hold up with one of our students. Here's hoping Trump is gone sooner than later and we can get back down before too long.
posted by Cuke at 1:11 PM on March 20 [31 favorites]




I had their number in 1980, when the evangelicals abandoned a genuine born-again christian, Jimmy Carter, in droves to vote for Ronald Reagan.

You're giving me flashbacks. From 1980 to around 1985 (when she cynically gave up), my Mum would routinely yell at the television, me, and whoever else would listen: "HE was a sunday school teacher. But THEY picked the ACTOR!!" Where "they" = our pastor, Falwell, and the Southern Baptist leadership. She was so bitter over the religious right betrayal of Carter in favor of the flim flam man, who she just KNEW (all caps, all the time) was nothing of substance.
posted by honestcoyote at 1:13 PM on March 20 [54 favorites]


zachlipton: Advisers say he is very much interested in the law passing – and believes that if it doesn’t, that would be considered “a failure that hurts his presidency,” as one White House official put it. But they acknowledge that he’s less compelled by the substance of the law – the fine details of who wins or who loses. “He’s very interested in having it happen,” said Newt Gingrich, a top ally. “He’s not vested in every single piece of it.”
...
Members of Speaker Paul Ryan’s team, trying to appeal to Trump’s ego and deal-making sensibilities, have begun calling him the “closer” or the "ultimate closer.”


The ultimate conman.
D: "Yes, I passed this thing!"
- "What thing?"
D: "The health care thing! Bigly! End of Obamacare!"
- "What does it do?"
D: "Good people get good access to health care!"
- "Can you provide any more details?"
D: "Are you tired of winning yet? BBL, nap time."

The art of conning. Supporters will cheer him regardless of the (lack of) facts. I really, really hope AHCA crashes and burns, but even if it's reworked into something substantially different, he'll still claim a victory if he can sign it into law.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:17 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Nunes is now claiming to have never heard of Carter Page or Roger Stone.

I guess that highlights the importance of the Dems reading all that stuff into the record, even if the panel couldn't answer to it, because Nunes and his ilk don't have plausible deniability about this stuff anymore.
posted by Dr. Send at 1:20 PM on March 20 [26 favorites]


If he wants to call single-payer 'trumpcare' and signs it into law, I'd be good with that.
posted by Dashy at 1:21 PM on March 20 [16 favorites]


rewil: Apparently it's a complete electronics ban (phones and medical devices excepted) for at least 96 hours.

Royal Jordanian warns about electronics prohibition on U.S. flights (USA Today [!!], March 20, 2017)
Questions are being raised about whether passengers on some U.S. flights might be facing new restrictions barring laptops and other electronics from being brought onboard in carry-on luggage.

The uncertainty comes after Royal Jordanian Airlines somewhat cryptically warned passengers Monday that electronic devices such as laptops, cameras and DVD players would be “strictly prohibited” in the cabin on its flights to the United States and must be checked.

The prohibition is scheduled to begin Tuesday and involves Royal Jordanian flights to New York, Chicago and Detroit, according to an airline tweet. Royal Jordanian’s flights to Montreal, which currently continues on to Detroit, would also be affected. The restriction doesn’t apply to cell phones or medical devices "needed during flight."

In its tweet, Royal Jordanian referenced “instructions from the concerned U.S. departments" but did not offer further details.

Also not immediately clear were how many airlines or airports a possible electronics restriction might affect. Of a dozen foreign airlines contacted Monday afternoon, Royal Jordanian was the only one to publicly detail such a prohibition on electronics.

In the absence of specific details, the restriction appears to be an enhancement of requirements in July 2014 that required travelers to turn on electronics before boarding overseas headed to the U.S.
...
The 2014 tightening of security -- since relaxed -- came after the department warned about terrorists developing new strategies for hiding explosives on flights. If electronic devices couldn’t be turned on, they weren’t allowed in the cabin.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:21 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


I think the one piece of information that I heard in the Russia hearing that I hadn't already heard via MeFi (thanks everybody!) was the stuff on Michael Caputo.. Maybe this has been talked about here before and I just missed it...
"Michael Caputo, who lives in East Aurora, New York, was a part of the Trump campaign, before resigning over a controversial tweet about the firing of then Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
...
In 1994, he moved to Russia, and there was working for the Agency for International Development. He was fired from that job because he refused to follow a State Department position, then opened a PR firm in Moscow and married a Russian woman.
...
in 2000, he worked with Gazprom Media to improve Putin's image in the United States.
...
So, I guess my question is, what possible reason is there for the Trump campaign to hire Putin's image consultant? Any thoughts on that, director?"
Comey responded, "No thoughts."
posted by OnceUponATime at 1:21 PM on March 20 [30 favorites]


If he wants to call single-payer 'trumpcare' and signs it into law, I'd be good with that.

Same. I want single-payer more than I hate DJT, and that's saying something.
posted by witchen at 1:23 PM on March 20 [40 favorites]


The question is "is collaboration ever admissible?"

When I think of that question, and it is an important question, I always think, specifically, of the Resistance in WWII. When we think of them, we think largely of guerilla fighting, not remembering that a large portion of the resistance came from ordinary people - laundresses, prostitutes, bricklayers, secretaries- who worked, in some way or another, voluntarily or not, with Nazis, but who were not loyal in their heart and who passed on information, smuggled children, and helped with opportunities.

I don't think we can assume, if this is indeed a comparable fight, and I think that it will be, that everyone who takes a position in this administration will be a collaborator selling their soul for advancement. Now whether this affects how we think of them now, or merely how we treat them in trials later, is a different discussion. But I think it's important to consider that at least some people may be resisting - in their own ways, for their own reasons.
posted by corb at 1:25 PM on March 20 [6 favorites]


zachlipton: Spicer's attempt to paint Manafort and Flynn as having limited roles early in the campaign is hilarious. One was the chairman of the campaign and the other became National Security Advisor.

#VeryLimitedRole is now trending on Twitter. Funny stuff.
posted by zakur at 1:25 PM on March 20 [25 favorites]


Trump needs criminal charges for treason, among others, at the end of this long, bizarre story. A few months in office, look at all the damage this personality-disordered freak has done. He also needs his assets seized for money laundering, the proceeds of which should be used to repay taxpayers. His entire family should be investigated and charged also. They all need to be ruined financially.

He should die in prison, penniless. There needs to be a strong message sent to all. Charges of treason and all assets seized. Nothing less.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 1:26 PM on March 20 [93 favorites]


Trump drops 220 spots on the Forbes Billionaires List

The magazine put his net worth at $3.5 billion, down $1 billion from the rankings it issued a year ago.

As a result, his position on the Forbes' ranking dropped 220 spots, leaving him tied with 19 others as the 544th richest person in the world.

Forbes said that much of the decline in Trump's net worth is due to softness in the midtown Manhattan real estate market.

posted by futz at 1:28 PM on March 20 [12 favorites]


I don't think we can assume, if this is indeed a comparable fight, and I think that it will be, that everyone who takes a position in this administration will be a collaborator selling their soul for advancement.

I feel pretty confident that Neil Gorsuch hasn't spent his entire life crafting a reputation as one of the most right-wing judicial minds of his generation so he can upend Trumpism.
posted by Etrigan at 1:28 PM on March 20 [26 favorites]


There needs to be a strong message sent to all.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah


Eponysterical
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:28 PM on March 20 [45 favorites]


This isn't cinder block and rebar we're talking about.

They should talk to Disney. Fantasyland cost way less.
posted by Twang at 1:28 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Dashy: If he wants to call single-payer 'trumpcare' and signs it into law, I'd be good with that.

Another episode of flt shouts at the radio:

Insurance Industry Worried By GOP Plan To Replace Obamacare, Consultant Says (NPR, March 20, 2017)
First of all, the viability of the insurance market itself depends upon getting lots of people to enroll, getting enough healthy people to enroll to pay for the sick people. You know, you can make the argument that Obamacare was a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to lower-income people because Obamacare has worked really well for low-income people and not so well for higher-income people, who've seen large increases in their premiums and generally don't get a subsidy.

The Republican plan basically reverses that. The Republican plan now provides much better subsidies for working and middle-class people, so we'll probably see more of those sign up. But the people who are going to pay are the low-income people. They're not going to be able to afford the kinds of health plans that are going to be offered. The other thing that the Republican plan does that's not good for the viability of the insurance pool is - you know, there's been much criticism of the individual mandate under Obamacare to get people to sign up. And it hasn't really worked very well. It hasn't really encouraged people to sign up. They don't have enough...
First, is it really a "massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to lower-income people" if they're still lower-income? And second, who cares about "the viability of the insurance market"? I CARE ABOUT WHAT HEALTH CARE PEOPLE ACTUALLY RECEIVE!

So let's get to single payer, if we're not going to turn health care into a government service.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:30 PM on March 20 [17 favorites]


Disney Borderland: "It's a wall world after all."
posted by spitbull at 1:31 PM on March 20 [8 favorites]


Besides TeamTrump, is there anyone who thinks Spicer is good at his job? Anyone?

The more they fuck up, the more they tie themselves up in knots trying to justify the fuckups and dealing with the fallout. Spicer is good at fucking up, so I hope he sticks around.
posted by Existential Dread at 1:34 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Compare:

Trump today: US “never should have left” Iraq in 2011

Trump 2007-2011: "I'd get out of Iraq right now"
posted by zachlipton at 1:36 PM on March 20 [19 favorites]


But I think it's important to consider that at least some people may be resisting - in their own ways, for their own reasons.

It's also important to consider that there's a way-higher-than-0% chance that none of them are resisting at all. It's too easy to let everyone off the hook if all they have to say when the shit hits the fan is "I had really good reasons for throwing all that shit into the fan, I swear."
posted by 23skidoo at 1:36 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


The question is "is collaboration ever admissible?"

When I think of that question, and it is an important question, I always think, specifically, of the Resistance in WWII. When we think of them, we think largely of guerilla fighting, not remembering that a large portion of the resistance came from ordinary people - laundresses, prostitutes, bricklayers, secretaries- who worked, in some way or another, voluntarily or not, with Nazis, but who were not loyal in their heart and who passed on information, smuggled children, and helped with opportunities.

I don't think we can assume, if this is indeed a comparable fight, and I think that it will be, that everyone who takes a position in this administration will be a collaborator selling their soul for advancement. Now whether this affects how we think of them now, or merely how we treat them in trials later, is a different discussion. But I think it's important to consider that at least some people may be resisting - in their own ways, for their own reasons.


I think this is nonsense. No one is forcing anyone to take positions in this administration (I'm not referring to career civil servants, I'm referring to "everyone who takes a position in this administration"). It is not illegal and dangerous to say you don't want to be a Republican in the way it was dangerous and illegal to say you didn't want to be a Nazi. I don't think there are boatloads of people seeking appointments because they want to resist from the inside and think they can make a real difference that way. I mean, I suppose it's possible that there are some but seriously I don't think the possibility that there are a vanishingly small number of people taking these jobs for the "right" reasons means that it's wrong of me to judge people who choose to be complicit with this administration.

This is basically #NotAllTrumpAppointees and I think the villains here are the people who are choosing (not being forced) to work with an openly racist sexist Presidential administration and not the people who are judging them for doing so.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:36 PM on March 20 [61 favorites]


I feel pretty confident that Neil Gorsuch hasn't spent his entire life crafting a reputation as one of the most right-wing judicial minds of his generation so he can upend Trumpism.

Gorsuch will be as bad if not worse than Scalia on a number of issues, especially seeing as how Scalia's only upside was being semi-decent on 4A issues. Of course, for those that already think Scalia was just a jovial fellow and a True Constuhtooshinal Scholar that never meant any harm, then that's a feature and not a bug.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:39 PM on March 20 [9 favorites]


Yeah, I think the undercover resistance thing is a plausible argument in the scenario where not being undercover literally gets you sent to jail or a camp or whatever. We're not there yet.

I can, to be honest, imagine being a very high level whatsit and wondering whether I could do more to help save my country from inside the house, as it were, but this early on...

I don't know. I really don't know.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:43 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


The Onion: Aides Wrestle Drill From Trump’s Hands As He Tries To Remove Obama Listening Device From Skull
posted by PenDevil at 1:52 PM on March 20 [52 favorites]


Just to touch back on 'personal responsibility' for a second, yesterday I nearly burst a blood vessel overhearing someone I'm close to opine that what's wrong with this country is that people won't take personal responsibility. Like lazy people who wait for The Government to come and fix their washed out road after a storm. People should get out there with their Bobcats and shovels and fix it themselves. (In fairness, this is something she actually did. She got the neighbors together to fix a wash out of the unpaved road we're on because it's the only way to get to the state highway.)

She went on to say that if people don't do every possible thing they technically have the physical ability to do for themselves, then that's an abuse of power and they're lazy moochers just like Food Stamps recipients. Then she went into a tirade about The Deficit and I bit my tongue clean off.

I've heard earthy-crunchy people make the same kinds of noises about The Government. Although instead of misunderstanding the meaning of "entitlements" they usually are grousing about water rights out west or not being allowed to go off-grid or unpasteurized milk or whatnot.

What I wish I could get across to both kinds of people is that there is no such thing as The Government. The city, county, state, and federal governments are all separate things. As often as not they can't even all get in the same hymnal, let alone on the same page. This idea that The Government is an all-encompassing entity that has imposed itself unbidden upon innocent people is a neo-Confederate myth that needs to die.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:08 PM on March 20 [37 favorites]


So, I listened to the entire Intelligence Committee hearing, and I was absolutely gobsmacked by the contortions the republicans were willing to attempt.

Also, #45 was proven, multiple times to be a lying liar who lies. Instead of standing up for the Republic they are supposed to serve, they were doing high dives into the bullshit.

The 45Cultists are not going to do anything to stop 45. I really hoped that there were republicans who loved the country more than they loved being toadies to a shitgibbon and his poxy handler. It seems I was wrong.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 2:12 PM on March 20 [36 favorites]


darkstar: "At which point all those Rs who are currently fighting bitterly would probably line up behind the R candidate and Ossoff loses with 46% or thereabouts."

Well, that wouldn't be surprising - Price won the district after all. But it's been trending towards D for a while, and special elections are so turnout driven.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:12 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]




Disney Borderland: "It's a wall world after all."

Surely that would be "It's Pandora After All..."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:34 PM on March 20


National Treasure Alexandra Petri WaPo: Trump Madness: What’s the quintessential quote of the Trump administration?
If your NCAA tournament bracket has collapsed, it is good to be able to take a break and contemplate something else that is more of a shambles. So we in The Post’s Opinions section have gone out and found you some of the finest quotes in all the land: an alternative bracket with the most big-league quotes there are. It is time we asked the question: What is the quintessential quote of the Trump administration? What phrase captures its peculiar, ineffable essence? Is it “alternative facts”? Is it a tweet issued in the wee hours of the morning that prompts a congressional investigation? Is it something Sean Spicer said? Or something else?

We have all your favorites, from the 16 years apparently two months that have elapsed since this president took office. Click your picks with your withered crone hand, vote and see what makes it through the tournament unscathed! And tell your friends about it, if your friends’ lives have also reached this point. It is good, in whatever small way, to feel that you are exerting a measure of control over your life.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:38 PM on March 20 [18 favorites]


The Onion: Aides Wrestle Drill From Trump’s Hands As He Tries To Remove Obama Listening Device From Skull

Glad to see they've discovered that they need to turn the volume to 11 to distinguish Onion from Truth.
posted by spitbull at 2:40 PM on March 20 [9 favorites]


Glad to see they've discovered that they need to turn the volume to 11 to distinguish Onion from Truth.

Wait, that wasn't NYT?
posted by mikelieman at 2:41 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


She got the neighbors together to fix a wash out of the unpaved road we're on because it's the only way to get to the state highway.

Hope those neighbors are excited about being sued into oblivion when someone wipes out and dies on that road.
posted by spitbull at 2:41 PM on March 20 [23 favorites]


in Bootstraptopia you can't sue people for frivolous stuff like causing death or serious injury anyway so it's all good
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:44 PM on March 20 [15 favorites]


Well if we're talking unicorn land when Democrats have a majority and do shit with it I'd say the first priority should be knifing the electoral college and ending Republican presidencies forever.

I'm not usually a big fan of talking up state secession, but I really think all the blue states that kick more money into the federal economy than they take out need to band together and threaten secession as a club to make the electoral college go away, and universal voting rights be a constitutional amendment. Otherwise we'll be back in the same hole over and over.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:45 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Apropos of nothing, I've decided to start calling White House 'Press' conferences firepants chats.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:45 PM on March 20 [78 favorites]


Ivanka Trump brand sued by San Francisco fashion retailer over unfair competition

The lawsuit claims Ivanka Trump Marks, LLC, has gained an unfair advantage in the marketplace "from Donald J. Trump being the President of the United States and from Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared, working for the President of the United States."

Aides Wrestle Drill From Trump’s Hands As He Tries To Remove Obama Listening Device From Skull

Wow.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:47 PM on March 20 [12 favorites]




She got the neighbors together to fix a wash out of the unpaved road we're on because it's the only way to get to the state highway.

What? They drive on the state highway? Only a moocher would drive on a road they didn't personally build.
posted by rocket88 at 2:53 PM on March 20 [55 favorites]


suggestion...over at kos, there's thetrend of always referring to _rump as, "popular vote loser, donald trump". after seeing approved daughter sitting next to merkel, i suggest, "handbag designer, ivanka trump". to highlight her foreign policy experience.
posted by j_curiouser at 3:00 PM on March 20 [10 favorites]


Compare:

Trump today: US “never should have left” Iraq in 2011

Trump 2007-2011: "I'd get out of Iraq right now"


These two can be reconciled by the fact that you should never listen to an idiot like Trump.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:01 PM on March 20 [14 favorites]


People--Dolt 45 not least among them, but he ain't alone--have been Monday Morning Quarterbacking Iraq like it's their job since 2007 at least. All those R voters screaming about Killery The Warmonger and how she voted for the war and Trump would never have done such a thing? Yeah, not only did he totally support the war back then, so did they. it's like collective fucking amnesia.
posted by soren_lorensen at 3:06 PM on March 20 [23 favorites]


Nunes is now claiming to have never heard of Carter Page or Roger Stone. That's, um, really not a good look for the head of the House Intelligence Committee.

lol House Lack Of Intelligence Committee more like lol

holds up hands in 'you just got dunked on' fashion while nodding slowly
posted by Sebmojo at 3:07 PM on March 20 [7 favorites]


Blocking the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice for no basis other than objection to the President who nominated him and the actions of Democrats toward a previous nominee is, by definition, not clearheaded.

Blocking the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice for no basis other than objection to the black President who nominated him.

Don't let the Republicans get away from the most egregious act of fully public U.S. government racism committed prior to The Donald's takeover. They stripped a black president of of an act that was completely within his constitutional power and disenfranchised the millions who voted to give him that authority. It was a pure southern-strategy reconstruction-era flying-dixie move.

It was beneath them to even consider a black president's nominee. In 2016.

Senate comity is some KKK bullshit.
posted by srboisvert at 3:13 PM on March 20 [89 favorites]


The Prime Minister of Iraq pulled a funny in front of Trump, saying they had nothing to do with the wiretapping.
Note that body language of the Iraqi PM: he is not taking Trump seriously at all.
posted by mumimor at 3:13 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


after seeing approved daughter sitting next to merkel, i suggest, "handbag designer, ivanka trump". to highlight her foreign policy experience.

Speaking of which, this just hit the twitters: Ivanka Trump set to get West Wing office as role expands. She won't be a government employee, but gets an office, phone, and security clearance. She'll continue to own the fashion band.

Also, here's the video of Nunes claiming he's never heard of Carter Page or Roger Stone. There's evidence that he's lying (besides common sense), since he previously confirmed the White House asked him to refute a news report that discussed Page and Stone.
posted by zachlipton at 3:16 PM on March 20 [36 favorites]


Rep Swalwell on CNN just now:

Stalwell said that Roger Stone contacted him on Twitter in the middle of last night and called Stalwell names that "he couldn't repeat on television".
posted by futz at 3:23 PM on March 20 [15 favorites]


Speaking of which, this just hit the twitters: Ivanka Trump set to get West Wing office as role expands. She won't be a government employee, but gets an office, phone, and security clearance. She'll continue to own the fashion band.

How long until it comes out that she has a POA and she's around to administer medications
posted by fluttering hellfire at 3:25 PM on March 20 [17 favorites]


The new Nouveau Riche Trumpanovs in the White House should remember what happened almost exactly 100 years ago when the people decided they had enough of their shit.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 3:28 PM on March 20 [15 favorites]


Even more maddening, when Nunes asked why he and Rs focused on leaks over Moscow attacking US election. He shrugged & said leaks were the only crime.

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by zakur at 3:28 PM on March 20 [29 favorites]


The new Nouveau Riche Trumpanovs in the White House should remember what happened almost exactly 100 years ago when the people decided they had enough of their shit.

Remember what came next, too.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 3:30 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]




> The Washington Post brings us the magic of Trump wants to defund PBS. ‘Sesame Street’ brutally parodied him for decades.

Disadvantaged kids to miss out on educational TV under Trump budget

Elmo Learns He Is Laid Off After Trump’s Budget Comes Out
posted by homunculus at 3:34 PM on March 20 [9 favorites]


He should die in prison, penniless.

That's not going to happen. His piece of shit VP will pardon him and he'll retire to his dacha on the Crimean coast.
posted by pracowity at 3:38 PM on March 20 [6 favorites]


All those R voters screaming about Killery The Warmonger and how she voted for the war and Trump would never have done such a thing?

Most of the "Killery" folks were among the Bernie or Bust crowd. If you want to assert that they were all or mostly secret Republicans, then go ahead.
posted by tobascodagama at 3:39 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


That's not going to happen. His piece of shit VP will pardon him and he'll retire to his dacha on the Crimean coast.

The Caucasian White House. Baku, Azerbaijan.

Anyone else think this was built with having Exile Palace in mind?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 3:44 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Point of reference, "Killary" is also used by Benghazi-focused ranters on the Republican side.
posted by redsparkler at 3:44 PM on March 20 [14 favorites]


The "Killery" thing was a popular right wing talking point throughout the election, unless you want to assert that countless regulars on /the_donald were secret Bernie Bros.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 3:45 PM on March 20 [7 favorites]


His piece of shit VP will pardon him and he'll retire to his dacha on the Crimean coast.

Luckily it won't be too long before we'll all have the opportunity to metaphorically spit on his fucking grave. I hope the dementia takes everything.
posted by Existential Dread at 3:45 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Ok, but Killery because Vince Foster is not remotely the same as Killery because hawkish.
posted by tobascodagama at 3:47 PM on March 20


I don't think they care.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 3:48 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Dave Pell's measured essay about Trump's approval rating: This is 37%
During the campaign, Donald Trump marveled at the loyalty of his most ardent supporters.

My people are so smart, and you know what else they say about my people, the polls? They say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters...

Actually, that’s not quite true.

If Trump stood in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shot somebody, I’m confident he’d see his current approval level of 37% free-fall to about a 36%.

Trump could jerk off onto the constitution while taking a dump on the bible and the GOP still wouldn’t speak out against him. But, his approval rating would almost certainly plummet from 36% to around 35.2%. (I doubt the dip would last more than a couple newscycles.)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:51 PM on March 20 [31 favorites]


WaPo: President Trump faces his hardest truth: He was wrong
Questions about Russia have hung over Trump for months, but the president always has dismissed them as “fake news.” That became much harder Monday after the FBI director proclaimed the Russia probe to be anything but fake.

“There’s a smell of treason in the air,” presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said. “Imagine if J. Edgar Hoover or any other FBI director would have testified against a sitting president? It would have been a mind-boggling event.”
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:57 PM on March 20 [50 favorites]


Pell's assuming DJT's base currently overlaps 100% with the pro-thrill-kill crowd, and/or those into blasphemous and/or unpatriotic scat and onanism. With single-issue voters these, days, it's never safe to assume. Someone might have been a Bernie Bro, but, y'know, likes to do some pretty bad or odd things in their free time. If the 2016 election taught me anything, it's "never assume."
posted by mosk at 4:00 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


“There’s a smell of treason in the air,”

[sniffing intensifies]
posted by Existential Dread at 4:00 PM on March 20 [15 favorites]




So trump is having another stupid fucking pointless rally again tonight?! Given what transpired today it should be interesting I guess. Also, didn't he recently have a rally in KY? Fuck this guy.
posted by futz at 4:03 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


3 days holiday, 1 day campaigning, 3 days presidenting - that's how the presidential week works isn't it?
posted by Artw at 4:07 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Some interesting thoughts from Ben Wittes on How to Listen to Jim Comey's Testimony on Monday

And here's Lawfare's follow-up, How to Read What Comey Said Today:
One of the only good pieces of news for Trump in this testimony is Comey's formulation of the investigation he announced as a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation. {....} So when Comey says this is a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation, he is flagging that prosecuting anyone, let alone the President, may not be his top priority.

All of which makes his apparently gratuitous inclusion of a criminal element in describing the investigation curious. As Comey notes, the criminal component of this investigation is actually always there: "As with any counterintelligence investigation," he said, "this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed." {...} But if a criminal element is always a feature of a counterintelligence probe, why mention it specifically? The answer, I suspect, is that Comey is flagging for the committee, and the public, the possibility that this matter could become criminal at any time. That is, it's not a criminal investigation, Comey is saying . . . yet.{...}

What is clear is that this was a very bad day for the President. In it, we learned that there is an open-ended Russia investigation with no timetable for completion, one that's going hang over Trump's head for a long time, and one to which the FBI director is entirely committed.
What are the betting odds that tonight we'll see the frothing-at-the-mouth Trump at his rally tonight, assuming his aides can calm him down like they had to before his Nashville one last week?
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:08 PM on March 20 [6 favorites]


Trump orders Pershing’s corpse to conduct another punitive invasion of Mexico:

Pershing’s remains were ordered to go to Mexico and “hang ‘em, hang ‘em high,” by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford. Dunford hand-delivered the directive to Pershing’s Arlington grave.

The order states that all bad Mexicans encountered are to be exterminated “like cucaraches in that song or whatever it means in Spanish.”

posted by leotrotsky at 4:09 PM on March 20


Dave Pell's measured essay about Trump's approval rating: This is 37%

Call me an optimist, but most people just aren't paying much attention yet. W didn't crash down to 22% until Katrina.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:10 PM on March 20 [7 favorites]


I think you meant to link this, leotrotsky.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:14 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


I'm hoping his approval rating becomes a number he would date. You know, a 9 or a 10.
posted by nubs at 4:17 PM on March 20 [19 favorites]




I'm still working on igniting all the oxygen and hydrogen in the atmosphere and crust simultaneously so we can be finished with this.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:19 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Lahren has uttered an awful lot of horrible things - "rape-ugees," "BLM is the new KK," etc. - but the comment that gets her suspended is: "You know what? I’m for limited government, so stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well."
posted by zakur at 4:22 PM on March 20 [34 favorites]


The Washington Post brings us the magic of Trump wants to defund PBS. ‘Sesame Street’ brutally parodied him for decades.

While I'm not saying that everyone who wants to defund Sesame Street is racist, it's important to recognize they have the same goals as racists:
In 1969, that was still a radical notion in some corners of the country. Here was a TV show putting African-Americans on a level playing field with white characters, showing them not as servants or entertainers, but as equals... An integrated program aimed at impressionable children was too much for the good people of Mississippi. The state's commission for educational television banned the show in May 1970.
To some people a children's show with a racially diverse cast, female characters who are more than housewives, and portraying underlying humanity of disabled or HIV-positive characters is simply unacceptable. My great grandfather forbade my mother from letting me and my brothers watch a television show that promoted racial integration, she ignored him of course.
posted by peeedro at 4:24 PM on March 20 [49 favorites]


Tee Hee: Tomi Lahren suspended from The Blaze after she admits she's pro-choice.

So much for the tolerant right?

I find this so hilarious. She actually believed all the talk about "limited government" and liberty and applied it for herself to abortion. Then they declare she got the "wrong answer" and now she's being vanished.
posted by zachlipton at 4:26 PM on March 20 [54 favorites]


"I never thought the leopards would eat MY face!" sobs Tomi Lahren
posted by triggerfinger at 4:27 PM on March 20 [90 favorites]


Speaking of hypocrisy, one of the Republicans' biggest complaints about the ACA was the various amendments and pork tacked on to get it passed. Now: GOP leaders pile on sweeteners to sell Obamacare repeal:
The amendment would establish a reserve fund of at least $75 billion for tax credits to help the core constituency that propelled Trump to the White House: Americans between 50 and 64, who would see their premiums skyrocket under the current repeal plan. But the amendment would not set up the tax credits – it would instruct the Senate to do so, forcing House Republicans to take a vote on something the upper chamber would do later
Josh Barro calls this a "$75 billion magic asterisk." Who cares how it happens? That's somebody else's problem: just pass the thing now.

Trump is showing up tomorrow to meet with the entire House Republican conference to, I don't know, discover that health care is complicated or something.
posted by zachlipton at 4:36 PM on March 20 [14 favorites]


Irrefutable evidence of collusion, by Trump or his associates, would sink the ship. But the far more likely scenario is Trump is a pawn, not a player. What then?
posted by H. Roark at 4:36 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


KY law would allow allows student groups to discriminate against LGBT people

-- Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) has signed legislation that would allow student organizations at the commonwealth’s public schools and colleges to bar gays, lesbians and transgender people from joining, opening a new front in a national battle over so-called religious freedom laws.

The law, Senate Bill 17, will allow students to engage in religious activities and to express religious views in public schools and in their assignments. It would also allow teachers to include lessons about the Bible in discussions of religion and history.

The legislation stems from a 2015 decision to remove references to Jesus Christ from a student production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

-- The bill passed both the state Senate and state House with broad bipartisan support. Just three state senators and eight House members voted against the new law.


Jesus. Kentucky democrats can go fuck themselves along with the Rupubs. Religion is a helluva drug.
posted by futz at 4:38 PM on March 20 [20 favorites]


But the far more likely scenario is Trump is a pawn, not a player. What then?

To build on the chess metaphor, pawns are there to be sacrificed to either protect pieces of higher value or to gain an advantageous board position. Trump could still be used for either or both.
posted by nubs at 4:41 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


...but the backdrops peel and the sets give way, and the cast is eaten by the play
there's a murderer at the matinee, there are dead men in the aisles.
And the actors and the stand-ins too are uncertain as to what to do
and with nervous looks await their cue
but the frozen mask just smiles.

-Alan Moore
posted by vrakatar at 4:41 PM on March 20 [9 favorites]


Irrefutable evidence of collusion, by Trump or his associates, would sink the ship.

We will all be amazed at what people can refute.
posted by Etrigan at 4:43 PM on March 20 [23 favorites]


Good article on Al Franken: Al Franken may be the perfect senator for the Trump era — a deadly serious funnyman

At the dawn of a presidency that stretches the limits of late-night parody, and at a moment when an out-of-power Democratic Party is trying to find its voice, the former comedian and satirist may be having a breakout moment as a political star.

Al Franken and Paul Wellstone were good friends and Al says he still is inspired by Paul. He has pictures of Paul Wellstone hanging above his desk in the Senate Office Building. He is my senator and I love him as my senator, but I would also really, really love to see him run for POTUS. He's smarter and better than almost anyone else in DC, imo.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:45 PM on March 20 [55 favorites]




Slideshow: Twitter trolls Trump Jr. lumberjack pic
posted by porn in the woods at 4:52 PM on March 20 [7 favorites]


Forbes said that much of the decline in Trump's net worth is due to softness in the midtown Manhattan real estate market.

Why am I so soft in the middle?
The rest of my life is so hard.
posted by nickmark at 4:58 PM on March 20 [19 favorites]


Except for a few asides, Trump has talked about basically everything besides the healthcare bill: the size of his electoral college victory, coal, the EPA, manufacturing, pipelines, Henry Clay, Andrew Jackson, trade, NAFTA, etc...

The Freedom Caucus is meeting right now (did you know that they like to meet in the basement of a Tex-Mex joint called "Tortilla Coast" where Paul Ryan once worked as a waiter?). I promise you that the members of Congress who he's asking to stick their necks out to vote for this stinker are noticing that he won't publicly stand behind the bill when he's given the chance. He's asking them to stake their re-election on this thing, but he spends all his time talking about coal miners and factories.
posted by zachlipton at 5:01 PM on March 20 [9 favorites]


(did you know that they like to meet in the basement of a Tex-Mex joint called "Tortilla Coast" where Paul Ryan once worked as a waiter?)

I had no idea Ryan worked there. I've attended so many fundraisers and meetings there and I wonder if his time as a waiter and my time as a hungry staffer who didn't care what the fundraiser was as long as there was food had any overlap.
posted by The World Famous at 5:07 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Ivanka to get White House office and a security clearance, which is completely a normal thing and not weird in the slightest.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 5:11 PM on March 20 [22 favorites]


Weekly List Of Crimes Committed By Undocumented Immigrants In Sanctuary Cities Debuts
Federal authorities on Monday published the first report on crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in so-called sanctuary cities at the behest of President Trump.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:15 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Of course they meet at a Tex-Mex joint. Typical of racist assholes, they're perfectly content to eat hispanic food and let hispanic people cook for them and serve them, but then also say hateful regressive shit in public about illegals and back a dude who said Mexican immigrants are rapists and criminals and wants to build a #FuckingWall at the border. Fuck these people so damn hard.
posted by supercrayon at 5:15 PM on March 20 [16 favorites]


NYT: Paul Manafort, Former Trump Campaign Chief, Faces New Allegations in Ukraine. Documents show payments of "$750,000 funneled through an offshore account and disguised as payment for computers." Manafort says its a forgery.

Meanwhile, Trump has finally gotten around to talking about healthcare. He repeats the line that they have to get this done before they can get to "the big tax cuts," a story he's been fed. He rants about how awful Obamacare is for a while and how he's going to "save it all." He has yet to say anything positive about the ACHA except "it's going to be great." His sales pitch is basically "we have to do this boring thing now and then we can get to the fun part of cutting everyone's taxes."

And Mark Meadows is saying that the Freedom Caucus won't take an official "no" position on the ACHA, which could open the door to more GOP votes.

Finally, Fox News is putting Napolitano on ice. Even they won't stand for this.
posted by zachlipton at 5:16 PM on March 20 [11 favorites]


Man, where can I go to get a red robe? Women Wore ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Robes To The Texas Senate Floor
posted by triggerfinger at 5:17 PM on March 20 [33 favorites]


A quiz from Philip Bump at The Washington Post on the number of coal miners relative to other jobs.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:17 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


“There’s a smell of treason in the air,” presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said.

Isn't "Treason" the name of one of Ivanka's colognes?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:21 PM on March 20 [15 favorites]


I've been in a tax conference all day, so thanks to those who were liveblogging the Comey hearing. A few notes on AHCA and tax reform:

-if they pass AHCA, they have a model for creating a GOP coalition that they can use for every future fight (tax reform, infrastructure, etc); so it is really important to make sure AHCA fails (beyond the healthcare impacts)

-if they pass AHCA, the tax cuts included in that become baked in for the next reconciliation bill (tax reform) meaning they need fewer revenue raisers to get that bill to revenue neutrality; there aren't any established mechanisms by which Dems could get JCT or CBO estimates that tie all of these trickling tax cuts together so it will be harder for Dems to create a narrative of tax cuts on the wealthy for the tax reform bill (i.e. GOP is trying to get the big rich ppl cuts now, with legislation they already know will be unpopular, so that they can get a few more later under the political cover of middle class tax cuts)

-Ryan's blueprint and the border adjustment tax would cause serious problems at the state level, since most states piggyback on the federal corporate tax - the new structure wouldn't map onto the old, so states would need to adopt a whole new tax concept (like Ohio or Washington have) or come up with all kinds of other rules. So, when corporate tax reform comes up later this year, calling your state reps and governors about the impact of the changes on state revenues and enforcement costs could be a good strategy, especially if you live in a state with a Republican governor. I'll have much more to say on the state tax impacts once we see a proper bill, but might not be a bad idea to start raising the issue over the next few months/summer if you have a meeting with relevant folks or need something to call or write about.

Basically, we really really need to defeat AHCA and state-level advocacy could be one path to defeating Ryan's tax reform plan. And we really really need to defend Democratic Senate seats in 2018 -- 10 of the Democrats up for reelection are on the Senate Finance Committee.
posted by melissasaurus at 5:23 PM on March 20 [90 favorites]


melissasaurus, I'm gonna have to read that comment over and over to get it, but I will get it and I already know it's going to make me smarter, so thank you.
posted by lauranesson at 5:32 PM on March 20 [7 favorites]


> Isn't "Treason" the name of one of Ivanka's colognes?

"Complicit" and "Treason" are two of the fragrances, and they compliment her previous fragrance, "Scion". "EmoluMENts for MEN", her men's body wash, is also drawing a lot of attention these days. Maybe someday it will get the justice it deserves.

These are all part of her "Not a Member of the Administration" line, but unfortunately for her not many people are currently buying this line. {fake}
posted by mosk at 5:33 PM on March 20 [23 favorites]


Again with the fucking coal miners?
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:43 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


The reason Lahren is doing this is because she wants the Megyn Kelly slot on Fox, btw.
posted by longdaysjourney at 5:44 PM on March 20 [11 favorites]


I know this info is probably somewhere in these monster threads, but I was hoping somebody could point out reliable news-sourced cites on the "NEA budget is 148 million and Trump Tower security in NYC is 183 million" meme that's going around on social media. Thanks!
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:45 PM on March 20


The reason Lahren is doing this is because she wants the Megyn Kelly slot on Fox, btw.

Is she going to be "the liberal one"?
posted by Artw at 5:51 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


The young one.
posted by notyou at 5:54 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


COUNTDOWN to act of terror to unify the base and quell opposition. What do you think? Bomb? Airliner going down? What will they come up with?
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 6:02 PM on March 20 [8 favorites]


Is she going to be "the liberal one"?

It'll be the same role Kelly played. Conservative, but with enough of a libertarian streak to please the Fox viewers who don't want their sex lives or those of their friends dictated by the evangelical right.
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:02 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I know this info is probably somewhere in these monster threads, but I was hoping somebody could point out reliable news-sourced cites on the "NEA budget is 148 million and Trump Tower security in NYC is 183 million" meme that's going around on social media. Thanks!

Trump Tower security is kind of a hairy number to pin down, but Philip Bump at the Post compiled some of the public numbers together in How much is Donald Trump’s travel and protection costing, anyway?. He comes up with a ballpark figure of $200K/day for both New York City costs and federal expenses. If that holds up for the entire year, that's $73 million, but the actual costs may be lower if Melania and Barron move to Washington this summer.

The budget for the National Endowment for the Arts is $148 million/year. The National Endowment for the Humanities has an equal budget.

So it's probably not a perfect comparison in and of itself (I like 1/3600th of the defense budget or 0.006 percent of the federal budget myself). But if we start adding the Mar-a-Lago trips in, it gets pretty close.
posted by zachlipton at 6:03 PM on March 20 [11 favorites]


Oooh, I just got an uncharacteristic email from the CEO of Blick (art supply stores), letting me know how I can help save the NEA. (He mentions Americans for the Arts Action Fund)

"...because this action hits so close to who we are, what we do, and who we serve, I feel Blick should play a role in informing our customers and associates about what is being proposed."
posted by Glinn at 6:04 PM on March 20 [29 favorites]


A quiz from Philip Bump at The Washington Post on the number of coal miners relative to other jobs.

What do you wanna bet we're gonna be able to say, "There were sixteen thousand coal extraction jobs in 2015. So Trump could have doubled the number of coal mining jobs by creating just sixteen thousand more. But he couldn't even do that."

(Or, it lists slightly less than 70k as the total number of coal mining industry jobs beyond those directly involved with extraction, but I bet he won't even make 16k. His flaccid job creation efforts won't get it up that far.)
posted by XMLicious at 6:04 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I don't think they have to come up with anything. Through sheer incompetence, something terrible will happen. What it is ain't exactly clear.
posted by nat at 6:04 PM on March 20 [13 favorites]


This may have been asked upthread but I've never understood why we bother to take part in this face off with North Korea. They aren't expansionist. If they were, they are containable. We gain nothing from a hard line with them except a dangerous situation. Just send them food and normalize relations and be done with it.
posted by Philemon at 6:04 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Just send them food and normalize relations and be done with it.

We kind of did that (well not the normalize relations part) in the the 1990s. People said it would be rewarding them for their nuclear brinksmanship, and that they or other countries would try to extort aid or other concessions from us in the future with nuclear threats if we did that.

On the one hand, I don't think any other countries are doing that. On the other hand, arguably N. Korea is indeed doing it again.

They are a really nightmarishly horrible regime, though. We definitely should not normalize relations with them.
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:12 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]






Thanks, zachlipton!
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:18 PM on March 20




This may have been asked upthread but I've never understood why we bother to take part in this face off with North Korea. They aren't expansionist. If they were, they are containable.

Because they're backed by China with the ultimate goal of pushing US forces out of South East Asia entirely.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:18 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Rogers' face when he has Trump's recent tweet about conclusions about Russian influence read to him [real]

Was hoping for 'stricken', got 'gobsmacked' instead. Not disappointed!
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:23 PM on March 20 [11 favorites]


trump talking about the things that really matter. btw it is a verbal hit.

Trump hits Colin Kaepernick at Kentucky rally

President Trump took aim at former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on Monday, claiming teams do not want to sign him because of his refusal to stand for the national anthem.

Trump veered off script during a campaign rally in Louisville, Ky., and appeared to claim credit for the player’s free-agent status.

“There was an article today that was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that?” the president said, prompting an ovation from the crowd at Freedom Hall.

posted by futz at 6:29 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Hey, Philemon, it's nowhere near that simple, as OnceUponATime noted. The DPRK is happy to accept aid, but are hostile to NGOs being in their country. When food is sent, it's impossible to know where it's going. It's understood that most of it went to the army and the party elite in Pyongyang. The famine death toll can never be verified because NGOs didn't have aid workers in the countryside and the government's numbers are extremely unreliable. Doctors without Borders were allowed to have something like three doctors in the entire country. Sure, we may "contain" them, but they engage in money laundering, weapons sales to other "bad actors" around the world, and are generally awful to their people (death camps, arresting entire families, lack of adequate nutrition, your usual totalitarian brainwashing). Not to mention they kidnap people from other countries, many of whom were never returned.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:30 PM on March 20 [23 favorites]


Because they're backed by China with the ultimate goal of pushing US forces out of South East Asia entirely.

Not just US forces, but also taking land/sea routes from other Asian countries (Japan, Vietnam, S. Korea, etc). The whole East/SE Asia area is a big standoff between China-backed and US-backed countries, although its actually not quite that simple and the alliances vary depending on the specific border conflicts involved. But N Korea is absolutely part of that ongoing struggle, which affects the US but even more so our allies in the region.
posted by thefoxgod at 6:31 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Honest history question: does anyone but dictatory dudes have rallies after they have already won? Again, honest question.
posted by lauranesson at 6:31 PM on March 20 [37 favorites]


“There was an article today that was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that?” the president said, prompting an ovation from the crowd at Freedom Hall.

He's actually right about this, the NFL is #MAGA ground zero.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:32 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]




It's cool. They're all nightmarish regime links nowadays.
posted by rbellon at 6:41 PM on March 20 [22 favorites]


Reuters is reporting that next month Tillerson will skip what should have been his first NATO meeting in Brussels in order to help DT fete Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago. He will then travel to Russia that month.

Their flagrant lack of subtlety is off-putting. I always had thought destroying our diplomatic relations would involve lots of secrecy and behind closed doors machinations. Not "fuck you Europe!11", a round of golf, and vodka shots.
posted by chaoticgood at 6:45 PM on March 20 [55 favorites]


Is gen doing the courier run with the USB sticks or something? What the fuck is the point of him?
posted by Artw at 6:48 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


1. Korea is not in southeast Asia.
2. Normalizing relations with the North would be difficult as they're still in a state of war with the US ally on the peninsula, in the south.
3. Both Koreas have a One Korea policy that refuses to acknowledge as legitimate the other government. There's some waffling on it for things like the IOC and the UN, but by and large the Koreas try to have it as one or the other for normalized relations. If the US normalized relations with the North, without the South's agreement, the South would likely reconsider a lot of things, including the military alliance.
posted by anem0ne at 6:49 PM on March 20 [15 favorites]


I mean, he's got the Moscow connections, I guess it would make sense for him to be the replacement bagman with Flynn out of the picture, but Sleepyhead is just so damn uncommitted to keeping his cover.

He is a shit spy, barely putting the effort in. And Trump is a shit traitor. They're not even trying hard at this or being even remotely competent.
posted by Artw at 6:50 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


DHS releases names of local jails that won't hold immigrants

The Trump administration is naming some names in its efforts to shame local jails that don't cooperate with immigration authorities. It's putting the spotlight on Travis County, Texas, home of liberal Austin.

The administration released a list of 206 cases of immigrants released from custody despite requests from federal agents to keep them locked up. Roughly two-thirds were from Travis County.


Much more in the article.
posted by futz at 6:57 PM on March 20 [16 favorites]


And Trump is a shit traitor. They're not even trying hard at this or being even remotely competent.

He tweeted at me and I felt a change
Time meant nothin', never would again
posted by petebest at 7:00 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


EXCLUSIVE: 9/11 families sue Saudi Arabia, accuse the U.S. ally of complicity in the terrorist attacks

The document details how officials from Saudi embassies supported hijackers Salem al-Hazmi and Khalid Al-Mihdhar 18 months before 9/11.

The officials allegedly helped them find apartments, learn English and obtain credit cards and cash. The documents state that the officials helped them learn how to blend into the American landscape.

The suit also produces evidence that officials in the Saudi embassy in Germany supported lead hijacker Mohamed Atta. It claims that a Saudi official was in the same hotel in Virginia with several hijackers the night before the attacks.

Many of the revelations in the lawsuit are culled from findings of an FBI investigation into the terrorist attacks. The suit filed by aviation law firm Kreindler & Kreindler claims some of the hijackers had special markers in their passports, identifying them as al-Qaida sympathizers.


-- The lawsuit asserts that the Saudi royals, who for years had been trying to curry favor with fundamentalists to avoid losing power, were aware that funds from Saudi charities were being funneled to al-Qaida.

-- The lawsuit spells out how money was transferred from charities in Saudi Arabia to the terror group.



800 Families Sue Saudi Arabia for 9/11

1,500 9/11 first responders and the families of 800 victims have filed suit against Saudi Arabia, accusing the country of complicity in the terror attacks, PIX11 reports. The suit, filed in a Manhattan court on Monday, accuses Saudi Arabia of aiding some the 9/11 masterminds by allegedly helping them settle in the United States. The suit also accuses Saudi royals of funneling money to al Qaeda, and alleges that one Saudi official stayed in the hijackers’ Virginia hotel room the night before the attack. Aviation law firm Kreindler & Kreindler is representing the plaintiffs, and has not specified the damages they seek.
posted by futz at 7:05 PM on March 20 [17 favorites]


That's two Rocky Horror references in this thread. Do I hear three?
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:07 PM on March 20 [8 favorites]


T.D. Strange: "Because they're backed by China with the ultimate goal of pushing US forces out of South East Asia entirely."

I'm far from an expert on this but my impression the last time I looked into this (I think 2004-ish) was that China was just barely propping up N. Korea -- and, in fact, had put N. Korea in a bit of a bind because they had recently reduced that level of support -- mainly because they didn't want a flood of refugees pouring over their border if/when their state collapsed. I would imagine any deterrent effect that N. Korea has against US forces in Asia (if any) would be outweighed by the potential escalation factor among S. Korea and Japan to amp up their own military capacities, especially Japan which has the long-standing prohibition against having offensive military capabilities.
posted by mhum at 7:09 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


That's two Rocky Horror references in this thread. Do I hear three?

I'm going to have to leave you quivering with antici....
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:12 PM on March 20 [28 favorites]


China is still by far North Korea's largest trading partner and China clearly has some influence over them. To what degree is debated, thats true, but I think China greatly prefers that situation to one where the US and North Korea had good relations (which was the original suggestion, even though I think thats wildly improbably anyway).

China likes having a random buffer zone thats mostly in their control between them an South Korea. Their nightmare would be a unified, US-allied Korea on their border. They do seem unhappy with North Korea in recent years, but they have pretty clear incentives to keep them around and to keep North Korea apart from South Korea and the US.
posted by thefoxgod at 7:20 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Josh Marshall, TPM -- "What Did We Learn Today?" -- a nice omnibus summary of the day's revelations that reminds us Marshall was blowing a horn about Russia in July of last year.
posted by spitbull at 7:23 PM on March 20 [13 favorites]


I'm going to have to leave you quivering with antici....

We'll finish that when Tehhund finally catches up!
posted by TwoStride at 7:24 PM on March 20 [22 favorites]


SAY IT!!!!!
posted by yhbc at 7:25 PM on March 20 [17 favorites]


The manager's amendment on the AHCA is out. Major changes include a hack for the New York delegation to forbid that state from charging counties (except New York City) from paying into Medicaid, which would blow up the state's budget. It increases the Medicaid cap for the elderly and disabled by a percentage point, but prohibits any more states from expanding Medicaid and adds block grants for Medicaid. It allows states to add Medicaid work requirements and gives them a small funding bonus if they do. The Cadillac tax is moved from 2026 from 2025. And most significantly, a shell game in which the House passes the thing, but leaves the door open for the Senate to maybe screw the 50-64 year-olds over slightly less.

Mark Meadows says that Ryan doesn't have the votes. Will he bring the thunder?
posted by zachlipton at 7:29 PM on March 20 [12 favorites]


COUNTDOWN to act of terror to unify the base and quell opposition. What do you think? Bomb? Airliner going down? What will they come up with?

I'm not sure, but this bit of distraction sounds like the beginning of that: US forbids any device larger than cellphone on airlines from 13 countries.

US authorities have secretly required airlines from 13 nations to forbid passengers from carrying any electronic or electrical device larger than a cellphone.

The new edict was distributed in an email described as “confidential” from the US transportation safety administration (TSA) on Monday.

[...]

Saudi Arabia’s Saudia Airlines and Royal Jordanian airlines are among the affected countries; the full list has not been revealed to the affected airlines themselves.

[...]

By Monday afternoon, a US official had briefed Reuters that the ban followed a “terrorism threat” and was expected to be announced on Tuesday.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:35 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


...garettes?
posted by um at 7:35 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


RawStory, sourced via McClatchy:

"Breitbart and Infowars under investigation for ties to Russia: report."

WASHINGTON — Federal investigators are examining whether far-right news sites played any role last year in a Russian cyber operation that dramatically widened the reach of news stories — some fictional — that favored Donald Trump's presidential bid, two people familiar with the inquiry say.

Operatives for Russia appear to have strategically timed the computer commands, known as "bots," to blitz social media with links to the pro-Trump stories at times when the billionaire businessman was on the defensive in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton, these sources said.

posted by spitbull at 7:36 PM on March 20 [39 favorites]


I mean, he's got the Moscow connections, I guess it would make sense for him to be the replacement bagman with Flynn out of the picture, but Sleepyhead is just so damn uncommitted to keeping his cover.

He is a shit spy, barely putting the effort in. And Trump is a shit traitor. They're not even trying hard at this or being even remotely competent.
posted by Artw at 8:50 PM on March 20


Well, clearly, they don't need to be. The Republicans will give them all the room and clearance they need, as long as they get to starve grannies, hate Muslims, and give the rest of our treasure to the 150 wealthiest people in the nation.

We have become a death cult. The Republicans want to destroy the country. They've said they want to destroy the ability for the nation to be governed as an indivisible nation. They want a theocracy of rich white men who get to hold all the resources and dole it out as they want to be they think are deserving.

The 45cultists want the country to fall. They are accelerationists, and they are pressing down on the gas pedal as hard as they can. We have been taken over, the call was coming from inside the House all along.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:37 PM on March 20 [33 favorites]


The absurdity of this year brings this RHPS snippet to my thoughts.
And crawling on the planets face, some insects called the human race. Lost in time and lost in space.

And meaning....

posted by Radiophonic Oddity at 7:38 PM on March 20 [6 favorites]


That electronics ban is so completely enraging and unworkable--it's disastrous for tourism and business to the US (no one is putting their laptop or camera in checked luggage, FFS!)--and so it really does seem designed to invite some kind of retaliatory attack on a US airline. I--just--this one's my last straw for the day, friends.
posted by TwoStride at 7:41 PM on March 20 [8 favorites]




(seeing them so confident makes me feel a little bit better about things)
posted by triggerfinger at 7:45 PM on March 20 [6 favorites]


WaPo: This German reporter took on Trump. Now she’s being hailed at home.
BERLIN — President Trump’s first meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel may have resembled the comedic awkwardness of a Sacha Baron Cohen movie. But an unlikely star was born during the bizarre Trump and Merkel show.

Kristina Dunz.

The self-effacing German journalist was thrust into the spotlight Friday, when she stood up at their White House news conference in what became an Emperor-Has-No-Clothes moment. Over the weekend, her instant fame snowballed, particularly in her native Germany, where Dunz’s exchange with Trump has suddenly become a defining moment for Internet memes and late-night TV monologues.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:51 PM on March 20 [44 favorites]


An interesting hidden side effect of killing the NEA: it ends the Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Program, which for 40+ years has insured some of the most valuable works of art at museums, saving millions in premiums. It allows museums to run a traveling exhibit of, say, a billion dollars or so worth of Monets, as coverage would be unaffordable on the commercial market. It also costs the government next to nothing: two staff, some office supplies, and "in the 41 years of the program, only two payments have ever been made, according to a spokeswoman for the National Endowment for the Arts. One of those checks was returned to the U.S. Treasury when two paintings thought to have gone missing were found. The total amount of the other claim? $4,700."
posted by zachlipton at 7:55 PM on March 20 [93 favorites]


1,500 9/11 first responders and the families of 800 victims have filed suit against Saudi Arabia, accusing the country of complicity in the terror attacks, PIX11 reports. The suit, filed in a Manhattan court on Monday, accuses Saudi Arabia of aiding some the 9/11 masterminds by allegedly helping them settle in the United States. The suit also accuses Saudi royals of funneling money to al Qaeda, and alleges that one Saudi official stayed in the hijackers’ Virginia hotel room the night before the attack. Aviation law firm Kreindler & Kreindler is representing the plaintiffs, and has not specified the damages they seek.

I'm sure that SCROTUS will handle the fallout from this clusterfuck with grace and aplomb.
posted by Talez at 7:56 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the foreign press is going to be able to ask the questions and tell the narratives that the domestic press can't or won't.

This isn't to say that some domestic outlets aren't doing good work, given the circumstances. But foreign media are going to be less afraid and more objective about the crisis of American democracy and governance to which we're bearing horrified witness.

Don't just follow WaPo and NYT; keep an eye on the world press as well.
posted by tivalasvegas at 8:01 PM on March 20 [31 favorites]


.. pation.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:02 PM on March 20 [29 favorites]


That RawStory link on Breitbart et al under investigation in the Russia probe isn't working for me; in case others are having the same problem, here's a direct link to McClatchy (which, btw, in the opinion of this longtime reporter, has the best investigative team in Washington):

FBI’s Russian-influence probe includes a look at far-right news sites
posted by martin q blank at 8:08 PM on March 20 [11 favorites]


Huh, the RawStory link is working for me. But thanks, I had looked for the direct McClatchy link and not found it.

And yeah they're great.
posted by spitbull at 8:10 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Joey Michaels: ".. pation."

Too soon.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:13 PM on March 20 [12 favorites]


What do you think? Bomb? Airliner going down? What will they come up with?

Not for the first time I've thought of Escobar during all this mess.
posted by juiceCake at 8:13 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Is this really as weird as it sounds, or am I missing something here?

NYT: House Republican leaders, trying to lock down the votes of wavering upstate New York Republicans, inserted a last-minute special provision in their health care bill that would shift Medicaid costs from New York’s counties to its state government. The move — one of a number of late changes designed to gain more votes — would affect New York State only.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:19 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


It's precisely as weird as it sounds, and it even has a "screw over New York City" clause built-in. It's a sweetener to try to get upstate reps to vote for the bill, so they can stick it to Cuomo.
posted by zachlipton at 8:21 PM on March 20 [16 favorites]


NYT and Sean Spicer are apparently having a late night war on Twitter.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:24 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Is this really as weird as it sounds, or am I missing something here?

Perfectly in line with the animating principal of the Republican party: fuck liberals.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:24 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


TrumpCare continues to not be popular:
A new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds the public opposes the GOP health care bill by a 21-point margin ― 45% to 24% ― with 31% unsure.

The GOP plan also is on the wrong side of a significant gap in intensity, with just 5% strongly favoring the bill, and 32% strongly opposed.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:25 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


@GlennThrush: "BREAKING @PressSec denies Trump tweets give him agita: 'It's just not true. I haven't commented on the tweets to anyone including my wife.'"

That...does not seem credible, especially as he spends half his weekends dealing with Trump tweets.

That's in response to Trump’s Weary Defenders Face Fresh Worries, which stated that Spicer told allies that the tweets are making his job harder. Spicer, of course, didn't respond to requests for comment, then lashed out at the Times after the story was published. That story also contains this incredibly disturbing paragraph:
People close to the president say Mr. Trump’s Twitter torrent had less to do with fact, strategy or tactic than a sense of persecution bordering on faith: He simply believes that he was bugged in some way, by someone, and that evidence will soon appear to back him up.
posted by zachlipton at 8:25 PM on March 20 [6 favorites]


The Judge Gorsuch who spoke in the Senate today is nothing like the man who wrote his opinions

If you somehow needed more justification to oppose the monstrous Neil Gorsuch, he's transparently lying to Congress about not being a conservative ideologue.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:29 PM on March 20 [37 favorites]


[Trump] simply believes that he was bugged in some way, by someone, and that evidence will soon appear to back him up.


So that Onion story was true after all?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:31 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


New York State only

In light of Shelby County's affirmation of the "equal sovereignty of the states" and prohibition of disparate treatment of the states, it would seem that this provision is plainly unconstitutional. It's a garbage opinion, but it is nonetheless the controlling precedent at the moment.
posted by dirge at 8:39 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


less to do with fact, strategy or tactic than a sense of persecution bordering on faith

wow. there is a clinical term for this: paranoid delusion. jiminy. ricky d, keep a sharp eye on that football.
posted by j_curiouser at 8:40 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


>> New York State only
> ... this provision is plainly unconstitutional.


But, like, isn't that obvious to the sharp minds that represent us upstate New Yorkers in Congress? If Tom Reed's vote can be bought by a provision that is unconstitutional on its face and will be stayed in a hot minute, then ... isn't he being taken for a chump?

(Maybe I should call his office and ask, eh?)
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:49 PM on March 20 [8 favorites]


Now that Ivanka's getting a security clearance, it's worth thinking about her role in the shady-as-all-hell Baku project in Azerbaijan, covered in detail by the New Yorker (which has been posted before in these threads). Ivanka was "the most senior Trump Organization official on the Baku project." Presumably her involvement in this kind of thing, which carries a risk of criminal charges, would make her as vulnerable to blackmail as her old man appears to be.
posted by Dr. Send at 8:50 PM on March 20 [38 favorites]


If Tom Reed's vote can be bought by a provision that is unconstitutional on its face and will be stayed in a hot minute, then ... isn't he being taken for a chump?

Worse than that, he's being set up to lose a high profile fight with Cuomo. How's that going to look?

But a sharp guy like Tom Reed has probably thought like eleventy moves ahead about that. If I were in his district, I'd be pretty excited to hear about his totally awesome plan to stick it to Cuomo when this thing gets bogged down in ruinously expensive lawsuits.
posted by dirge at 9:06 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


The Pentagon has never been audited. That's astonishing

On Thursday, Donald Trump released a preliminary budget proposal that calls for a $52bn increase in military spending. But just last December, a Washington Post investigation found that the Pentagon had buried a report that outlines $125bn in waste at the Department of Defense. That gap between lawmakers’ calls to blindly increase spending at DoD versus those of internal auditors to curtail its waste isn’t a new problem, and it’s one that, without pressure, won’t be resolved any time soon.

That’s because although it’s required to by law, the DoD has never had an audit, something every American person, every company and every other government agency is subject to. The result is an astounding $10tn in taxpayer money that has gone unaccounted for since 1996.

“Over the last 20 years, the Pentagon has broken every promise to Congress about when an audit would be completed,” the director of the Audit the Pentagon coalition, Rafael DeGennaro, told the Guardian. “Meanwhile, Congress has more than doubled the Pentagon’s budget.”

Legislation in the early 1990s demanded that all government agencies had annual audits, but the Pentagon has exempted itself without consequence for 20 years now, telling the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that collecting and organizing the required information for a full audit is too costly and time-consuming.

-- As reports and news articles about waste and abuse at the Pentagon pile up, prominent voices from across the political spectrum – from Bernie Sanders to Ted Cruz to Grover Norquist – are expressing support for a full audit of DoD.

posted by futz at 9:06 PM on March 20 [50 favorites]


You guys, the Ivanka thing, it's just sent me over the border of WTFistan. I'm quivering with rage, and it's hard to focus on being productive in the resistance when flames are coming up the side of your face, and then I found this:

Rescued possum babies having a midnight fruit snack. I thought a few seconds of happy possums might cheer everyone up.

Now, I have to go learn how channel rage into the telekinetic power of laser-bees. Cause I'm pretty sure we're gonna need laser-bees.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:06 PM on March 20 [27 favorites]


Why would she need security clearance?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:09 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Because 45 needs someone to read the big words to him.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:13 PM on March 20 [11 favorites]


Regimes are typically family operations.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:16 PM on March 20 [21 favorites]


Why would she need security clearance?

Market research; gotta be able to position her brand.
posted by nubs at 9:16 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Tangential to the Ivanka thing, I keep wondering why there aren't any Senators upset about the fact that the Secretary of State they confirmed isn't doing that job, but the President's son in law, who's never been through a confirmation hearing, is. I get that the President has broad power to appoint "advisors" with nebulous job descriptions, but surely having one of those conspicuously execute the duties of a cabinet post is a profound insult to the Senate's Advice and Consent responsibility. You'd think there'd be a few of them jealous enough of their own prerogatives to make a few faint whimpering noises about that.
posted by dirge at 9:17 PM on March 20 [41 favorites]


If we were really running the government like a business, wouldn't we fire the people who can't get it done with a military budget bigger than the next eight countries combined and make them do more with less? That's the exact rationale they've given for cutting other departments' budgets.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:17 PM on March 20 [44 favorites]


the big words
Benzodiazepine?
posted by spitbull at 9:17 PM on March 20 [6 favorites]


Now that Ivanka's getting a security clearance, it's worth thinking about her role in the shady-as-all-hell Baku project in Azerbaijan, covered in detail by the New Yorker (which has been posted before in these threads). Ivanka was "the most senior Trump Organization official on the Baku project." Presumably her involvement in this kind of thing, which carries a risk of criminal charges, would make her as vulnerable to blackmail as her old man appears to be.

Fingers crossed, I think we know the identity of one of the new cast members of next season's Orange Is The New Black!
posted by CommonSense at 9:20 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


I was wondering if it might be so at least somebody named Trump would be reading the various reports
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:24 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


wouldn't we fire the people who can't get it done

When it comes to the military, we've recently been very careful to avoid clearly defining the "it" that they're supposed to get done. This is a thing that business people do when they've decided ahead of time that they don't want to fire people, no matter how useless they are.

For contrast, see the metrics and accountability crap they're applying to education. That's a thing that business people do when they've already decided they want to fire you.
posted by dirge at 9:28 PM on March 20 [56 favorites]


And if you haven't seen this before, here's another guy who had Donald pegged

Is this a new Russian video!?

...in 1989... R. Crumb.


Nope. Oh well. Perhaps Crumb was prescient?
posted by futz at 9:39 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]




On a day with so many political WTFs, and I'm sure I'm missing something:

- The FBI Director reveals that the White House is the subject of a counterintelligence investigation.
- That's been in the works since last July, and he didn't actually say anything during the election, even as he made Clinton's emails a deeply public matter.
- Comey also says the President is wrong about wiretapping, fact checks @POTUS tweet from the hearing.
- Most Republicans were more concerned about who's talking to the press than any of the above.
- The Chair of the House Intelligence Committee claimed not to have heard of Carter Page or Roger Stone, two central figures in the scandal he's supposed to be investigating.
- Spicer claims the campaign's Chairman and the National Security Advisor were but bit players with a "very limited role."
- Said Chairman, who in fact had a very big role, is accused of receiving $750,000 in payments through a secretive Ukrainian slush fund. He says the documents are forgeries and he's the one being blackmailed.
- The President's daughter is getting a West Wing office and a security clearance
- The GOP is falling apart over their effort to take healthcare away from tens of millions of people, in part because some of their members don't think it takes away enough healthcare from enough people.
- One of the GOP's rising stars is suspended because it turned out she actually bought the whole "limited government" thing and doesn't believe in the "except for women's bodies" asterisk that's attached
- Fox News suspends a commentator because the White House was taking his flimsy reporting seriously.
- The President met with the Prime Minister of Iraq, who made a wiretapping joke. The President also contradicted years worth of prior statements on Iraq.
- DHS puts out a list of crimes committed by immigrants, blames police agencies for not having them all deported.
- The President rants on Twitter about fake news.
- The President has another campaign rally, 60 days into the job, where he took credit for keeping Colin Kaepernick unemployed.
- Confirmation hearings start for a Supreme Court Justice to fill a stolen seat, but nobody much cared because of all of the above.

Of all of those things, I still keep coming back to the thoroughly shameless one:

- Tillerson plans to skip NATO meeting, visit Russia in April

Why? Just, why? After all of those things that happened just on flipping Monday, what would possibly possess these people to adopt a plan in which we snub NATO allies and meet with Russia? Did they learn nothing? Of course not. They have no sense, no shame. They don't care.

And if the FBI Director publicly announcing that they are the subject of a counterintelligence investigation for colluding with Russia doesn't produce the slightest sense of shame, doesn't even make them change their behavior to seem ever so slightly less cartoonishly ridiculous, what possibly would do the trick?
posted by zachlipton at 10:46 PM on March 20 [108 favorites]




Steven Stosny is one of the experts on abusive behavior whose books I recommend to people. I checked to see if he had anything to say about this ongoing horror show. This is probably mickey mouse level for most people here, but it bears repeating:
There are three levels of connection . . . . The first is community, where emotional connection is based less on personal relationships than shared values, goals, or experiences. I advised most of my female clients to participate in the Women’s March on Washington.

The second level of connection is intimate – . . . Reach out to friends and loved ones. But don’t just text or email them. Meet them, call them, hear their voices and see their faces.

The third level of connection is spiritual, which has a variety of manifestations, among them religious or meditative and appreciation of natural or creative beauty. Whatever means the most to you, do more of it in this unsettling time.

Stand up for what you believe. Write letters, demonstrate, lobby Congress, and so on, remembering that you’ll be most effective (and feel better) when focused on the change you want to see.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:31 PM on March 20 [13 favorites]


but unfortunately for her not many people are currently buying this line

omgggggggg you win thread
posted by en forme de poire at 1:23 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


It has been said before, I think, but bears repeating. Trump imagines that by avoiding intelligence briefings, (where all of this most certainly would come up), he can avoid liability. This is a "trick" he has used several times in civil suits against him. He somehow doesn't get that government is not a business.
posted by mumimor at 1:33 AM on March 21 [32 favorites]


Why? Just, why? After all of those things that happened just on flipping Monday, what would possibly possess these people to adopt a plan in which we snub NATO allies and meet with Russia? Did they learn nothing? Of course not. They have no sense, no shame. They don't care.

Time for Donald Trump (Я), maybe.
posted by jaduncan at 1:34 AM on March 21 [9 favorites]


(and yes, I'm aware that works as a symbol rather than the (Р) it would logically be)
posted by jaduncan at 1:38 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


[Trump] simply believes that he was bugged in some way, by someone, and that evidence will soon appear to back him up.

There are two, not necessarily mutually exclusive, ways of looking at this. One is persecution paranoia, the other is Trump's Mirror - a manifestation of the narcissitic mind seeing only aspects of themselves and their actions in other people and their actions. We know he used surveillance for pleasure and profit in the oast.

Either way, it's yet another factor in the Jengo game of presidency 45.
posted by Devonian at 1:55 AM on March 21


Man Josh Marshall at Talkingpointsmemo has been knocking it out of the park with sustained, unflashy digging around the Russia story. If you have some bucks you want to spend on a good cause, send them than his way.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:07 AM on March 21 [23 favorites]


(Jenga. Not Jengo. No idea what Jengo is. Probably a fruit drink.)
posted by Devonian at 2:50 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


This NYT title says everything about Trump, the GOP and all of their supporters.
G.O.P. Responds to F.B.I. Inquiry by Changing Subject.
It's hypocrisy...and I can see the Trumpniks in my family using the same tactics.
posted by Spumante at 2:55 AM on March 21 [16 favorites]


Time for Donald Trump (Я), maybe.
...
(and yes, I'm aware that works as a symbol rather than the (Р) it would logically be)


Trump's loyalty is obviously more to himself than to any party, so Я works.
posted by Etrigan at 3:08 AM on March 21 [15 favorites]


No idea what Jengo is.
Jingoistic Jenga, presumably.
posted by NMcCoy at 4:00 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


WaPo has a story about that weird exchange I live blogged above between Turner, Wenstrup, and Comey about the Feb. 14th New York Times article.

That exhange makes more sense in context: this was the article the White House (improperly) asked the FBI to publicly shoot down. Which Comey refused to do. Wenstrup and Turner were trying to get Comey to do it in the hearing, since he wouldn't before...
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:15 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Trump's loyalty is obviously more to himself than to any party, so Я works.

Hah. Indeed.
posted by jaduncan at 4:30 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


School Choice Fight in Iowa May Preview the One Facing Trump: Iowa is one of the states where legislators this year proposed education savings accounts, an even more expansive benefit. The accounts give parents state money each year — under one proposal, in the form of a $5,000 debit card — that they can use on private school tuition, home schooling costs, online education or tutoring.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:09 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


How do you destroy public education?

One gift card at a time.
posted by box at 5:13 AM on March 21 [27 favorites]


I can't seem to search for this, so does anyone remember a weird thing from last week about a meeting in France with...I think one of the Trump Boys From Brazil, but definitely a Trump-related person, and there was someone in the meeting that no one seemed to be able to identify? I'm trying to find an uodate.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:14 AM on March 21


How do you destroy public education?

One gift card at a time.


They're already destroying public education by forcing teachers to teach bullshit. School choice might be the only choice left to get out of the shambles of of public "education". At this point the best option in a lot of these states might be to use school choice to start up a parallel education system that isn't completely fucked up.
posted by Talez at 5:19 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


ТЯЦМР!
posted by hangashore at 5:20 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


I hope this evil bit of shit is investigated as well.
How a Putin Fan Overseas Pushed Pro-Trump Propaganda to Americans.
posted by adamvasco at 5:24 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


School choice might be the only choice left to get out of the shambles of of public "education"

As pointed out in that article, though, school choice is a huge misnomer. Most of the non-public schools participating in choice are religious, and all of them are some sort of Christian school, and many of them cannot accommodate a child with a disability or special need.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:25 AM on March 21 [33 favorites]


I was a little annoyed with that NYTimes article about the school choice debate in Iowa, just because it seemed like they wrote an article using the established template from places like New York, and it didn't really get at how the debate is different here. Rural schools in Iowa are already struggling, and this proposal would take money from them by giving vouchers to families who homeschool. There are no private schools in much of the state, and there's no feasible way to have multiple school systems in many areas in Iowa. The population density doesn't support it. All this does is shut down local schools and force rural kids to spend hours on the bus to get to school, or else they get homeschooled whether their parents want to or can adequately homeschool or not. It's an assault on rural Iowa, as well as an assault on public education. There are plenty of super-religious people who don't want to see their local high school close down.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:26 AM on March 21 [60 favorites]


Now that Ivanka's getting a security clearance, it's worth thinking about her role in the shady-as-all-hell Baku project in Azerbaijan, covered in detail by the New Yorker (which has been posted before in these threads). Ivanka was "the most senior Trump Organization official on the Baku project." Presumably her involvement in this kind of thing, which carries a risk of criminal charges, would make her as vulnerable to blackmail as her old man appears to be.

I'm starting to think you can't blackmail people who have no sense of shame.
posted by winna at 5:34 AM on March 21 [31 favorites]


So also yesterday, Trump organizes his biggest crowd since the inauguration and staying on message better than usual says the usual blather about putting miners back to work, fighting radical Islamic terrorism, getting rid of the job killing EPA and HOW HE WON THE ELECTION, REMEMBER?

And then the America first stuff ending with The Future Belongs to Us! and out.

Worthy of note Rand Paul was in town just before, but just couldn't stay for the rally.
posted by readery at 5:38 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Trump's loyalty is obviously more to himself than to any party, so Я works.

MIЯЯOЯ, MIЯЯOЯ...
posted by Devonian at 5:41 AM on March 21


I'm starting to think you can't blackmail people who have no sense of shame.

It's a lot harder to blackmail someone who has friends on the relevant police force.
posted by jaduncan at 5:54 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


ЯEDЯUM, ЯEDЯUM
And then the murders began.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:57 AM on March 21 [9 favorites]



I'm starting to think you can't blackmail people who have no sense of shame.

It's difficult to do anything to people who have no sense of shame. This is the lesson we need to learn fro this whole debacle: people who don't care that everyone knows they are lying can't be kept from lying. They're just going to lie. And lie. And lie. And everyone's going to be like, 'Yo, you're lying!" And they'll ignore that and lie some more. You can't stop them. You can't make them go away. You can't make them start telling the truth. It doesn't matter how many times you accuse them of lying--they don't care, and they'll just lie some more. The only way to do anything about that is if their lie is against the law and someone with standing decides to take legal action.

This is how abusers can be so successful. If you feel no shame, if you have no conscience, if you don't think other people are real, you can pretty much do anything unless and until you do something that puts you in jail (which requires that the person you do it to has the power and standing to actually accomplish that). This is a lesson on how heavily we rely on social norms to do the heavy lifting.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:06 AM on March 21 [78 favorites]


ТЯЦМР!

Problem with this is that doesn't work except in writing. You can't pronounce it differently.

That's why I prefer Benedict Donald.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:09 AM on March 21 [10 favorites]


ending with The Future Belongs to Us! and out.

Fun fact: many of the first results Google returns when you search "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" are from Stormfront, and the except suggests they believe it to be a folk song that predates the Nazis, rather than a terrifying showtune written by two Jews.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:09 AM on March 21 [20 favorites]


And if the FBI Director publicly announcing that they are the subject of a counterintelligence investigation for colluding with Russia doesn't produce the slightest sense of shame, doesn't even make them change their behavior to seem ever so slightly less cartoonishly ridiculous, what possibly would do the trick?

I'd wonder more about the continued efficacy of a counterintelligence investigation that Comey just announced was ongoing to the entire world. I'm guessing... zero? Close to zero? THAT'S GENERALLY WHY THEY'RE KEPT SECRET.
posted by indubitable at 6:10 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Josh Marshall on how Trumpcare guts Medicaid, which will devastate even those middle and upper middle class families with family member in nursing homes.

I want to say "surely this," but...you know.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:17 AM on March 21 [22 favorites]


Fun fact: many of the first results Google returns when you search "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" are from Stormfront, and the except suggests they believe it to be a folk song that predates the Nazis, rather than a terrifying showtune written by two Jews.

Wait, you're telling me the White Supremacists are ill-informed?! Why, I never!

The next thing you'll tell me is that they don't know what the fuck an Aryan is.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:21 AM on March 21 [9 favorites]


ТЯЦМР!
Problem with this is that doesn't work except in writing. You can't pronounce it differently.
posted by leotrotsky


Of all the people who ought to know it doesn't even work in writing -- if you read Cyrillic, Comrade Trotsky!
posted by spitbull at 6:21 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


I'd wonder more about the continued efficacy of a counterintelligence investigation that Comey just announced was ongoing to the entire world. I'm guessing... zero? Close to zero? THAT'S GENERALLY WHY THEY'RE KEPT SECRET.

Comey did note that he was surprised at how flagrant the Russians had been in meddling with the election. How brazen it was fed into its effectiveness and undermining our faith in the electoral process. So my guess is that the evidence is in plain sight and this public announcement doesn't change that aspect of the investigation.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 6:22 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


So, hey, Trump had one of his silly sodding rallies yesterday and the media is still interested in real things rather than that? That's progress, I guess.
posted by Artw at 6:24 AM on March 21 [17 favorites]


Of all the people who ought to know it doesn't even work in writing -- if you read Cyrillic, Comrade Trotsky!

Wait. You mean it's not pronounced Tyatsmrr?
posted by leotrotsky at 6:24 AM on March 21 [14 favorites]


Part of me wonder if Comey isnt frantically signaling that the least he can do is pin everything on the Russians, hoping the admin will admit the reality of that, make some grumpy noises and move on, but it just isn't happening because they are too fucking dumb to work anything with any degree of subtlety.
posted by Artw at 6:26 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Пожалуйста
posted by spitbull at 6:27 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Families of Hundreds of 9/11 Victims Sue Government of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia wants Trump to drop 9/11 victims law

Let's see who Trump sides with. Difficulty: Obama actually vetoed the 9/11 bill, which was overridden by Congress.

On another note, how crazy is the idea being floated that Trump was a Trojan Horse to get Kushner in?
posted by Room 641-A at 6:29 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


I'd wonder more about the continued efficacy of a counterintelligence investigation that Comey just announced was ongoing to the entire world. I'm guessing... zero? Close to zero? THAT'S GENERALLY WHY THEY'RE KEPT SECRET.

Adding to what C'est la D.C.wrote, Trump is the president, FCS, he must have been briefed on this investigation ages ago (at least after the inauguration). He knows this is going on, and he is gambling that it can't hurt him because the Republicans aren't going to do anything about it.
posted by mumimor at 6:30 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Pin it on the Russians

Still has to be a fallguy or three. And the problem with that is who doubts Flynn or Manafort starts spilling the beans when faced with risk of conviction?
posted by spitbull at 6:30 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


On another note, how crazy is the idea being floated that Trump was a Trojan Horse to get Kushner in?
Honestly, crazy enough that I wonder if Kushner isn't becoming a Soros-like stand-in for "the Jews." Because seriously: that's goofy.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:31 AM on March 21 [14 favorites]


Or maybe Mike Pence is actually the Russian deep cover plant running the whole operation and the idea was always to get him in. The screenplay business will never be the same.
posted by spitbull at 6:33 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Hmm, the person who mentioned it to me definitely isn't using Kushner as a dog whistle, not that his source wasn't.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:34 AM on March 21


They do have the problem that they don't have many guys who WEREN'T having mysterious meetings with Russians, or at least aware of them and lying under oath about it.
posted by Artw at 6:35 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Because honestly now that we know the "lied to Mike Pence" line was always a bullshit excuse (I.e LIE) for firing Flynn, that means Mike Pence is a liar in on the coverup. Let's hope no one regards him as a secure fallback Nazi.
posted by spitbull at 6:36 AM on March 21 [8 favorites]


Does mean that the awful-but-more-normal-VP-takes-over plan is a bit of a bust. Not that he wasn't always a dead eyed torture freak.
posted by Artw at 6:39 AM on March 21


So, hey, Trump had one of his silly sodding rallies yesterday and the media is still interested in real things rather than that? That's progress, I guess.

Depends on which media you are talking about. Fox News, for example, ran a big story on the rally, as if it was the most important Trump news of the day.
posted by Annabelle74 at 6:41 AM on March 21


Trump is the president, FCS, he must have been briefed on this investigation ages ago (at least after the inauguration)

I wouldn't take that for granted. Remember when Sally Yates* warned the Trump admin that Flynn may be compromised? Comey recommended that she *not* tell the administration. I wonder if Comey, unsure of who in the admin was also compromised, wanted to keep Trump's circle in the dark about this specific issue until the FBI could learn more.

*If they call for a special prosecutor, I hear she's between jobs.
posted by Jpfed at 6:41 AM on March 21 [6 favorites]


Remember how the Trumpies kept saying Hillary Clinton couldn't get national security intelligence briefings because she was under FBI investigation?
posted by spitbull at 6:43 AM on March 21 [37 favorites]



Does mean that the awful-but-more-normal-VP-takes-over plan is a bit of a bust. Not that he wasn't always a dead eyed torture freak.


Well, none of any of it is going to happen unless Congress decides they're sick of dealing with Trump. If they want to continue riding that tiger, they're going to do it.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:44 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Let's see who Trump sides with. Difficulty: Obama actually vetoed the 9/11 bill, which was overridden by Congress.

Trump decried the veto when it happened. The law is almost universally wanted in Congress. I doubt there's going to be any motivation to go die on that hill even if Salman threatens another 1973.
posted by Talez at 6:46 AM on March 21


Nice NYT tool for identifying how individual Republican reps feel about AHCA.

If you have a hardline Republican rep, what's the moral calculus for contacting them and playacting a Teahadist to get them to continue to oppose the bill on grounds that it's not cruel enough?
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:50 AM on March 21 [10 favorites]


I wouldn't take that for granted. Remember when Sally Yates* warned the Trump admin that Flynn may be compromised? Comey recommended that she *not* tell the administration. I wonder if Comey, unsure of who in the admin was also compromised, wanted to keep Trump's circle in the dark about this specific issue until the FBI could learn more.

I had to look that up, because that wasn't what I remembered: here is an article (syndicated to avoid paywalls) from WP. Relevant quotes:

Yates, Clapper and Brennan argued for briefing the incoming administration so the new president could decide how to deal with the matter. The officials discussed options, including telling Pence, the incoming White House counsel, the incoming chief of staff or Trump himself.

FBI Director James B. Comey initially opposed notification, citing concerns that it could complicate the agency’s investigation.


and then:

Yates again raised the issue with Comey, who now backed away from his opposition to informing the White House. Yates and the senior career national security official spoke to McGahn, the White House counsel, who didn’t respond Monday to a request for comment.
posted by mumimor at 6:51 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


what's the moral calculus for contacting them and playacting a Teahadist to get them to continue to oppose the bill on grounds that it's not cruel enough?

I'm genuinely interested in what people think about this idea.
posted by a complicated history at 6:56 AM on March 21


what's the moral calculus for contacting them and playacting a Teahadist to get them to continue to oppose the bill on grounds that it's not cruel enough?

No. Just no.

That feels to me a lot like the accelerationism that a lot of us were decrying before the election -- and now that we're in that timeline, doesn't it feel pretty shitty?

If nothing else, you are encouraging horrible people to continue acting in horrible ways, and have a non-zero chance of contributing to the very real pain of many people. I couldn't do it.
posted by jammer at 6:59 AM on March 21 [37 favorites]


what's the moral calculus for contacting them and playacting a Teahadist to get them to continue to oppose the bill on grounds that it's not cruel enough?

I'm genuinely interested in what people think about this idea.


They'll just make the existing bill crueler AND increase the odds that it passes.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:00 AM on March 21 [19 favorites]


No. Just no.

That feels to me a lot like the accelerationism that a lot of us were decrying before the election -- and now that we're in that timeline, doesn't it feel pretty shitty?


Yeah, as someone who voted for Trump in an open Republican primary to increase Hillary's odds of election, please don't do this.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:01 AM on March 21 [32 favorites]


If you have a hardline Republican rep, what's the moral calculus for contacting them and playacting a Teahadist to get them to continue to oppose the bill on grounds that it's not cruel enough?

Sounds like the kind of thing you'll regret when you're waiting in line at the monthly Traveling Freedom Clinic, hoping that they're not out of antibiotics by the time you reach the front and, failing that, that you can get closer to the front of the line next month at the Amputation Booth.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:01 AM on March 21 [14 favorites]



I'm genuinely interested in what people think about this idea.


In that it involves lying and dishonesty, I'm agin it. You can most certainly give people enough rope, but you can't tell them it's a pretty necklace.
posted by Devonian at 7:02 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Because honestly now that we know the "lied to Mike Pence" line was always a bullshit excuse (I.e LIE) for firing Flynn, that means Mike Pence is a liar in on the coverup. Let's hope no one regards him as a secure fallback Nazi.

Of course, that just leaves us with President Zombie-Eyed Grannie Starver.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:03 AM on March 21 [7 favorites]


Josh Marshall on how Trumpcare guts Medicaid, which will devastate even those middle and upper middle class families with family member in nursing homes.

My grandma passed away from Alzheimer's a few years ago, I helped my mom and Grandpa get her onto Medicaid, re configuring their assets and spending down a bunch of Grandpa's savings to get below the tiny threshold. Her costs were $4,000/day before Medicaid took over towards the end. No one can afford full-time nursing home care. No one.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:03 AM on March 21 [50 favorites]


If you have a hardline Republican rep, what's the moral calculus for contacting them and playacting a Teahadist to get them to continue to oppose the bill on grounds that it's not cruel enough?

1. What's beyond the pale when fighting Nazis? Because we're fighting Nazis.
2. Do you think for a SECOND that they would think twice about this?
3. Does anyone seriously think we can beat Nazis if we continually bring our Marquess of Queensbury rules to a fight where they've brought guns, chemical weapons, and water boarding?

War isn't a civilized pursuit. We didn't start it, but we're in it. The only thing left to decide is if we want to win.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:03 AM on March 21 [15 favorites]


Sorry, that was more fight-y than I intended. I'm just...like they are literally trying to destroy the Republic and low key murder people as a likely pre-amble to just a straight up ethnic cleansing and murder party.

I sort of think whatever gets the job done is acceptable.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:06 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


(It's entirely an academic question for me because the only Republican elected representative I have anywhere up or down the ticket is Pat Toomey, who won't be voting on this for quite some time, if ever, and if he does he's the blandest, most tone-deaf, most cowardly elected official this side of the Mississippi and he'll just vote for whatever is stuck in front of him by Yertle.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:06 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


War isn't a civilized pursuit. We didn't start it, but we're in it. The only thing left to decide is if we want to win.

The only question should be, "What would Republicans do if the situation were reversed?". They would lie brazenly pretending to be Bernie bros. Disinfo ops on Teahadist Congresscretins are fair game. It's your first amendment right to say whatever the fuck you want to Congress, and if they're stupid enough to believe you and vote the way you want them to, that's a win. Norms are dead. Only power matters.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:08 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]




MAXINE.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:13 AM on March 21 [14 favorites]


dances_with_sneetches: Isn't "Treason" the name of one of Ivanka's colognes?

No, you're thinking of Complicit, which got people heading to the dictionary, and Trumpinistas saying they'd buy complicit ... which is just so deliciously ironic, that it actually burns.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:14 AM on March 21 [6 favorites]



They'll just make the existing bill crueler AND increase the odds that it passes.

Except that nothing that is slaveringly approved of by the House Freedom Caucus has a prayer of passing the Senate. That's the main bind they're in right now with this thing. They can't please both the Teahadists and (enough) Senate Republicans with the same bill. Paul Ryan is basically just ramming this thing through the House so he can stick McConnell with it and say "Good luck" while running as fast as he can in the opposite direction. Ryan then gets to go back and tell his base that he did his best to starve as many grannies as possible, but those fuck-ups in the Senate just couldn't get it together and boo hoo, we'll try again later, once you people elect some REAL reactionaries to the Senate, which you should do at the earliest available opportunity *cough2018cough*
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:17 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


Johnny Wallflower: WaPo: This German reporter took on Trump. Now she’s being hailed at home.

BERLIN — President Trump’s first meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel may have resembled the comedic awkwardness of a Sacha Baron Cohen movie. But an unlikely star was born during the bizarre Trump and Merkel show.

Kristina Dunz.
She suggested that she was simply doing her job, as well as her homework. She worked on the question beforehand and was advised by a colleague in Washington to ask the question in German to avoid being cut off by Trump.
US reporters can copy points 1 and 2, but #3 will be tricky. Perhaps ask in pig latin? I mean, it's not that tricky to decipher, but it'll take Trump a moment to muddle through it.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:26 AM on March 21 [9 favorites]


If we're in the business of spreading maybe-ugh-why false hopes (+ Feinsteinisms): Donald Trump Will Resign 'Soon'
posted by witchen at 7:29 AM on March 21 [6 favorites]


Perhaps ask in pig latin? I mean, it's not that tricky to decipher, but it'll take Trump a moment to muddle through it.

Except that he's already fluent in pig.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:31 AM on March 21 [6 favorites]


So, so proud to be a native Angeleno right now. Schiff and Waters. WonderTwins, activate!
posted by Sophie1 at 7:32 AM on March 21 [22 favorites]


From DiFei:
“We’re working on a bill that would do that now ... We’re working on a couple of bills that would deal with conflicts of interest.”
...neither of which will go anywhere because we don't have the votes.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:33 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Maxine pls.
posted by asteria at 7:38 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


From DiFei:

“We’re working on a bill that would do that now ... We’re working on a couple of bills that would deal with conflicts of interest.”

...neither of which will go anywhere because we don't have the votes.


...and Trump has the veto.
posted by Gelatin at 7:40 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: school choice is a huge misnomer. Most of the non-public schools participating in choice are religious, and all of them are some sort of Christian school, and many of them cannot accommodate a child with a disability or special need.

And you have a choice only if you can pony up the rest of the tuition:
For Ms. Kakayo and her husband, the best part may be that the school costs them only $85 per month. As it does for one-third of St. Theresa students, the state covers more than half of Alma’s $3,025 tuition in a program that resembles the Trump administration’s proposal for a federal private school choice plan.
Emphasis mine: that still means that parents still directly pay for their children's education.

And private schools don't face the same scrutiny regarding the material being taught, so if you do find a school where the tuition voucher covers most if not all of the cost, don't be surprised if the cut-rate education comes at a cost to the students' understanding of key concepts.

Fuck "school choice," just fund public schools and support them to the point that employers can be confident in their new hires.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:40 AM on March 21 [35 favorites]


Here's hoping for some world class barn doors post-midterm.
posted by Artw at 7:41 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


DiFei came out of her fundraiser to give those tidbits to a bunch of protesters, so maybe she's just heard how many people want to primary her.

Still, though. Two high profile Dems in a day.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:42 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


False hopes or not, if DiFi and Maxine want to normalize the idea of impeachment or resignation, it's fine with me.
posted by klarck at 7:42 AM on March 21 [43 favorites]


WaPo: Trump didn’t lie, Jeffrey Lord says on CNN. He just speaks a different language — ‘Americanese.’
Lord saw it differently, repeating the claim by some Trump backers that he didn’t mean what he said about wiretapping and therefore couldn’t be lying.

Trump, he said, was speaking “Americanese” when he tweeted that Obama had orchestrated a “Nixon/Watergate” plot against him. The president’s supporters knew what he meant, but Washington insiders didn’t and blew it out of proportion.

Cooper and other guests seemed baffled.

“What you’re arguing then is the FBI and the Justice Department are mistaken for taking the president literally because they don’t speak Americanese?” Cooper asked.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:42 AM on March 21 [27 favorites]


Trump, he said, was speaking “Americanese

Fuck yooooouuuuuu

How's that for Americanese you rat bastard
posted by schadenfrau at 7:44 AM on March 21 [70 favorites]


"Americanese" means "it's ok to tell slanderous lies about black people and liberals, but it should be a capital offense to say true but unflattering things about people like me"? I'm sure there's a name for that, but it's not "Americanese."
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:47 AM on March 21 [25 favorites]


Also I keep hitting refresh on that Maxine Waters tweet and it's gone from 12K likes to now 16K in about 20 minutes so. The people are speaking, Maxine! Make it happen!
posted by witchen at 7:48 AM on March 21 [11 favorites]


Michael Gerson, WaPo: The American presidency is shrinking before the world’s eyes
Foreigners see a Darwinian, nationalist framework for American foreign policy; a diminished commitment to global engagement; a brewing scandal that could distract and cripple the administration; and a president who often conducts his affairs with peevish ignorance.

Some will look at this spectacle and live in fear; others may see a golden opportunity.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:49 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


And anyway, the dynamite in Trump's tweet wasn't the "tapp," literal or figural; it was that President Obama himself ordered it.
posted by notyou at 7:50 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Well, to the degree that our country was founded with racism baked into its politics and culture, it's sadly more Americanese than many of us would like.

Many of us are trying to change that to become more enlightened as a nation, but nevertheless, ours is not a very Originalist view.
posted by darkstar at 7:50 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


False hopes or not, if DiFi and Maxine want to normalize the idea of impeachment or resignation, it's fine with me.

That, yes: even if impeachment is unrealistic to expect in the near future, calling for it as being justified, and calling for it at the earliest justified moment, will help legitimate any actual impeachment that eventually follows, as well as making it more likely to happen. Waiting until there's a veto-proof majority to actually start considering it might be too late, rhetorically and procedurally, to actually make it happen.

If unceasing attacks on Clinton's legitimacy and ability to govern could be made on fraudulent grounds, it seems perfectly reasonable and well ordered to call for investigations of the probably real problems with the Trump administration. If the public wants an investigation with an aim towards impeachment and the administration works to veto or block that -- what message does that send? How will that play? Not well. And so: normalizing the idea that the President should be impeached, if there are grounds for it, not only helps build moment for that to happen, but helps (I hope) built momentum for the 2018 and 2020 elections.
posted by cjelli at 7:50 AM on March 21 [43 favorites]


My grandma passed away from Alzheimer's a few years ago, I helped my mom and Grandpa get her onto Medicaid, re configuring their assets and spending down a bunch of Grandpa's savings to get below the tiny threshold. Her costs were $4,000/day before Medicaid took over towards the end. No one can afford full-time nursing home care. No one.

50% of seniors spend time in a nursing home before they die. Median length of stay in a nursing home bed is ~2.4 years. Nursing homes run ~80-100k per year. That'll impoverish most families' savings after a few years.

With those costs, Medicaid planning (by either long term care insurance or trust planning) has become an essential part of complete estate planning these days. You get rid of Medicaid for nursing home care and you will kill tens of thousands of seniors. If there's any sign that the Republican Party has lost itself to mindless ideology, it's that they're apparently trying to kill their most consistent voting base.

If AARP has anywhere the leverage they're supposed to have, this bill is DOA. We'll see.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:51 AM on March 21 [54 favorites]


calling for it as being justified, and calling for it at the earliest justified moment

Sure, maybe. But unless you're going to spill the tea, you can't possibly expect [especially hostile] people to take you seriously.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:51 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Richard Cohen, WaPo: Bannon’s origin story doesn’t add up
At some point in the Steve Bannon story I started wondering: If his father got fleeced, if “nobody [was] held accountable,” how can the remedy be less regulation? If Wall Street picked his old man’s pocket, why has President Trump appointed tycoon after tycoon who think the fairest tax is none at all and, in some cases, got immensely rich by collapsing companies and squeezing employees?

Where is the Trump appointee who cares about Bannon’s father? Why don’t they go down the halls of the White House to reassure Bannon and tell him it will never happen again? Why don’t they name an executive action after his father: The Martin Bannon, You Will Never Lose Your Nest Egg Act of 2017? The government will see to it.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:57 AM on March 21 [21 favorites]


I'm seriously afraid for the future of public schools in the USA. Here in Florida, my daughter teaches 4th grade in a rural county in a school that is 99% eligible for free lunch and is also 90% African American students with really rough home lives. Because the property tax base in the county is so low and they only have one large company that (in theory) helps fund public services, she makes less than 40K a year and the school board can't afford to subsidize employee health insurance premiums. She can't afford the full premium of her employer sponsored health care and since it's technically offered, she doesn't get any subsidy for the ACA. So, as well as providing pencils, erasers, copy paper, crayons, treats for rewards she has to pay for her own health insurance. And the new state budget just took 1.5 million dollars away from their funding for next year.

Then you consider that there's a bill in the state senate to allow teachers to include creationism and the bible in their science classes, and frankly we might as well have religious schools taught by unpaid clergy like the Catholic school I went to. My husband and I are considering stockpiling science and history books now just in case we need them for our son through high school. The separation between church and state has been eroded gradually and now the right is giving it the final blows to just eliminate it totally. They really do want us to go back to education being handled by churches and parents while finagling it to make money for charter school companies.
posted by hollygoheavy at 7:59 AM on March 21 [44 favorites]


And anyway, the dynamite in Trump's tweet wasn't the "tapp," literal or figural; it was that President Obama himself ordered it.

It's sort of both, I think: the administration keeps pushing the line that 'obviously Trump understands that you don't literally tape physical phone lines' -- to paraphrase Spice, speaking at the March 20th press briefing -- which does make one wonder if he actually does understand that. Trump has demonstrated a severe lack of understanding, and an unwillingness to learn, about all manner of things (witness, for example, his desire for abbreviated or altogether absent security briefings) and I think it's not outside the realm of possibility that Trump (who rarely, if ever, uses a computer) actually understands what wiretapping is. That's getting into the realm of People Are Saying conspiracy-mongering, but I'd ask you: when has Trump actually demonstrated personally that he understands how the modern surveillance state actually works, on either a technical or societal level?

Because -- by accusing President Obama of personally ordering the wiretapping of Trump Tower -- he has either demonstrated a willful (because surely he is obligated to understand this stuff as a function of his office?) lack of knowledge about how FISA courts and surveillance systems work; or he is accusing, without evidence, President Obama of committing grave and serious crimes. When pressed for evidence, he has offered none; through Spicer, he has pointed to media stories citing anonymous sources, which he (personally and through directives to the administration) have, in other contexts, decried. Trump's behavior is either deeply ignorant or deeply paranoid, and either one of those is worrisome.

All of that is compounded by how the administration has tried to defend itself after-the-fact: claiming that Trump meant something else "because wiretap was in quotes" (despite multiple statements where it was not in quotes); gaslighting the press by claiming that people were wrong to think that Trump "believed Obama personally installed a wiretap" (no one thought he thought that); blaming the UK, and then apologizing-but-not-apologizing for that; citing news stories as proof but then claiming that those citations were not endorsements and not offered as facts (which, what?); and refusing to retract or apologize for the statements which we now know are simply not true. And at this point, the defense of the claims are nearly as egregious a problem as the claims themselves; Trump entered office without much credibility, and this has (or should, at least) shred any he has left.
posted by cjelli at 8:02 AM on March 21 [15 favorites]


because surely he is obligated to understand this stuff as a function of his office?

Nope. In fact, his base elected him expressly because he doesn't understand and doesn't want to understand this stuff.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:04 AM on March 21 [13 favorites]




Nope. In fact, his base elected him expressly because he doesn't understand and doesn't want to understand this stuff.

the american people don't trust experts anymore, so they elected the closest thing to an all-consuming void they could find
posted by murphy slaw at 8:06 AM on March 21 [31 favorites]


or he is accusing, without evidence, President Obama of committing grave and serious crimes.

I caught a bit of Indivisible on NPR last night and one of the callers was a Trump supporter. I was very discouraged to hear that he has 100% taken this on as the true narrative. Because the investigation began last summer, while Obama was still president, the idea is that Obama was trying to undermine the Trump campaign and that's the real dirty story here (plus the leaks, of course). I can see how that'd be an appealing narrative to a certain kind of voter. Combined with a meme going around about the reason crybaby libs don't like our new president being that he's the "mean parent" who, I guess, will dole out the discipline that we sorely need.
posted by witchen at 8:09 AM on March 21 [6 favorites]


It's been noted that, during his hearing, Gorsuch keeps on using "Democrat" instead of the proper "Democratic" in reference to the party (including referring to a "Democrat President"). It may seem like nothing, but his insistence on using it is a dogwhistle to conservative groups and the far-right wingnut base that gets their news exclusively from talk radio. Remember that when he claims he's not political or that he won't be supporting the most evil parts of the conservative agenda.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:14 AM on March 21 [94 favorites]


ТЯЦМР!

Gezundheit!
posted by mazola at 8:15 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


this showed up on my twitter timeline and i am like "maybe don't declare overwhelming demand to delay gorsuch based on a handful of tweets before any sitting congressperson has made such a demand"
posted by murphy slaw at 8:17 AM on March 21


has any democrat ever trolled the right wing by referring to them as the Republic party in the media?
posted by murphy slaw at 8:18 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Bannon’s origin story doesn’t add up
No, it adds up perfectly, once you stop assuming he's rational. He's a racist, xenophobic, anti-semitic blob more concerned about white supremacy than he is of financial regulation. When Wall Streets fucks things up, regular people would think "well, maybe we should regulate banking and the finance industry so something like this never happens again and people who abuse the system endangering the lives of millions of people are properly prosecuted, their assets stripped and distributed to victims, and sent to jail".

What did Bannon see? JEEEEEEWS!
posted by lmfsilva at 8:18 AM on March 21 [9 favorites]


What did Bannon see? JEEEEEEWS!

but apparently he's fine Steve Mnuchin, a Jewish financier, sitting on the same cabinet with him?

truly Bannon's ideology is too nuanced to capture in mere words, it can only be expressed in interpretive dance by using capoeira to beat up a muslim
posted by murphy slaw at 8:22 AM on March 21 [13 favorites]


I also don't think Bannon's primary concern is conservative economic principles or anything like that. That's establishment conservatism, which he's only currently tolerating because he has to. The "it" he wants to burn down encompasses both government and Wall St. (let's be real, one can't exist without the other). He wants to destroy everything. The fact that Trump has installed the very people who screwed his dad into positions of power is just the short game. Bannon has his eyes on the long game: total destruction of our society from the inside out. Radicalization of aggrieved whites can only be accelerated if they are driven to penury by finance. He's fine with that.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:22 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


that he's the "mean parent"

jesus wow. all that stuff about people with no shame from earlier, that all applies to his supporters too. Used to be, the pure insult of implying that somebody supported a candidate because they wanted a big strong daddy to tell them what to do was exactly that, an insult. Even back in the GWB days, people tried to sell their enthusiasm for him more as wanting him to be their bro than wanting him to give them a spanking. but I guess self-infantilizing misogyny, like treason, is no longer something to be ashamed of.
posted by queenofbithynia at 8:23 AM on March 21 [25 favorites]


The thing is, with the election of Trump we're all accelerationists now whether we like it or not. And, for the record, I don't like it at all.

But right now it's all we have.

The Democrats are clearly not willing, or perhaps even able, to engage in real obstruction of Trump, our only hope for defeating the AHCA therefore is infighting between the Republican factions. If we can beat it by firing up the Tea Bagger faction through their hate of anything that looks like an "entitlement" I would argue that's a valid tactic.

Stopping the AHCA is a top priority right now, for reasons melissasaurus mentioned above. If they can pass it, they've figured out a way to forge their factions into a unity. If they can't then their abilities to move forward are hurt for more than just this. So let's do literally everything we can, up to and including phoning up Republican reps and pretending to be Tea Baggers who hate the AHCA because it's Obamacare Lite and we demand a real conservative plan.

Accelerationism sucks massively, it causes harm to the vulnerable, it pushes back progressive work by years if not decades, and it doesn't have any history of working. But as of 11/9 it became our only option.

It isn't as if we can just annul the Trump presidency, he's here for 4 years, he's going to appoint Gorsuch (and if we're very unlucky more) to the Supreme Court, and he's going to do a lot of harm. If we can focus that harm on his voters, if we can make that harm visible enough then maybe we can get a win in 2018 and again in 2020.

There are no good options, so viva accelerationism!
posted by sotonohito at 8:27 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


Trump, he said, was speaking “Americanese” when he tweeted that Obama had orchestrated a “Nixon/Watergate” plot against him. The president’s supporters knew what he meant, but Washington insiders didn’t and blew it out of proportion.

I thought "separated by a common language" applied to the UK/US use of English, now it's also apparently a USA/MAGA issue too.
posted by nubs at 8:32 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


I think "lack of shame" is the real story here. Republicans (even before Trump, but especially now) feel free to flaunt their hateful, messed-up, craven, BDSM-but-without-a-safeword-or-consent beliefs before the world, and they're high on the feeling of finally letting all that rot out and making us smell it, too. Of rolling in the shit and walking around covered in it, grinning.

So now what? What do you do with people who have no shame but are a danger to others as well as themselves?

This feeling of not having a lever, of looking for an "off"switch that is missing, has been haunting me for a while. Because I don't want to believe "force" is the only thing that will get our country back. I still have hope for the mechanisms of democracy, i.e., voting and the courts, but not as much as I would like to have.
posted by emjaybee at 8:33 AM on March 21 [17 favorites]


The Democrats are clearly not willing, or perhaps even able, to engage in real obstruction of Trump,

Well, I'm calling my senators now to express my belief that there is NO POINT in working with the GOP as-is, and my expectation is that they should be voting against every single thing.

Schumer, Done... ( I think they have Russian violin music-on-hold going in the queue! )
Gillibrand, Done... ( Phones are busy.. )
posted by mikelieman at 8:36 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Lord was just trying the latest iteration of BS about taking him literally vs. seriously. There's nothing there, no actual coherent thought, just pure cultish Trumpism.

When Trump says something a given Trumpite likes, he's 100% serious, 100% literal, and he means every single word of it.

When Trump says something that is either sufficiently proven to be a lie that even they can't pretend it was truth, or that they disagree with, then Trump is speaking figuratively, or means something else, and only a very stupid person or a liberal (but they repeat themselves) would be dumb enough to think he really meant it.

Lord is just trying to package that into some bullshit Real 'Merca vs the Liberal Elites because that's what he gets paid to do.
posted by sotonohito at 8:37 AM on March 21 [14 favorites]


Its like the verbal version of Emperor's New Clothes!

Real Americans understand Trump perfectly, they effortlessly grasp which things he says he means literally and which things he says that are merely figurative, or to be ignored, or rhetorical florishes. This demonstrates their virtue and their deep love of America.

Coastal latte sipping Liberal Elite not even slightly real Americans are incapable of understanding the pure distilled essence of America that is Donald Trump's voice, so they are incapable of separating his rhetorical devices or metaphors from what he clearly intends to be taken literally. This is proof of their moral failing and their evil Ivory Tower over educated stupidity.
posted by sotonohito at 8:41 AM on March 21 [20 favorites]




Accelerationism sucks massively, it causes harm to the vulnerable, it pushes back progressive work by years if not decades, and it doesn't have any history of working. But as of 11/9 it became our only option.

Accelerationism not our only option. It's a lazy way of giving up.
posted by Talez at 8:44 AM on March 21 [10 favorites]


Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick: US forbids any device larger than cellphone on airlines from 13 countries. (The Guardian)

That headline is a bit misleading. NPR's is better, possibly due to additional information now being available: U.S. Restricts Electronic Devices On Flights From 8 Muslim Countries
Airline passengers coming to the U.S. on direct flights from eight majority-Muslim nations must now place most electronic devices, including laptops, tablets and cameras, in checked baggage under stepped-up security measures, Trump administration officials said.

Passengers can still carry smartphones into the plane's cabin, but nothing larger, the officials added.

The measures took effect Tuesday morning and cover about 50 incoming flights a day from the eight countries — Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

All are traditional U.S. allies and none is among the six majority-Muslim nations on President Trump's controversial executive order that seeks to temporarily suspend immigration.The president issued a revised executive order on March 6, and this one, like the original in January, has been halted by the courts.

The six countries cited in Trump's order all have fraught relations with the U.S., and several are plagued by unrest or civil war, including Syria, Libya and Yemen.

In contrast, the countries on the new airline list are mostly stable, have generally good relations with the U.S. and include four wealthy states in the Gulf.
...
U.S. authorities have expressed concerns in the past that explosives could be placed inside electronic devices.

However, the administration officials declined to say specifically how this move would enhance security since it doesn't ban electronic items currently permitted on planes, it just requires that most be placed in checked bags.
And that's why they call it Security Theater.

Is anyone keeping track of all the countries that Trump is working to alienate? I've seen some from the first few weeks of his administration. And maybe there needs to be some color-coded scale to indicate if he's been systematically antagonizing or straight up attacking the country, like Yemen, to sending mixed messages, as with Germany.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:44 AM on March 21 [18 favorites]


> The thing is, with the election of Trump we're all accelerationists now whether we like it or not.

Speak for yourself.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:45 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
― Elie Wiesel, Nobel acceptance speech
posted by Sophie1 at 8:49 AM on March 21 [63 favorites]


It's been noted that, during his hearing, Gorsuch keeps on using 'Democrat' instead of the proper 'Democratic' in reference to the party (including referring to a 'Democrat President').
Democrat Party is an epithet for the Democratic Party of the United States. The term has been used in negative or hostile fashion by conservative commentators and members of the Republican Party in party platforms, partisan speeches and press releases since at least 1940.
The "ic" Factor:
There’s no great mystery about the motives behind this deliberate misnaming. “Democrat Party” is a slur, or intended to be—a handy way to express contempt. Aesthetic judgments are subjective, of course, but “Democrat Party” is jarring verging on ugly. It fairly screams “rat.” At a slightly higher level of sophistication, it’s an attempt to deny the enemy the positive connotations of its chosen appellation.
Chris Matthews:
They call themselves the Democratic Party. Let’s just call people what they call themselves and stop the Mickey Mouse here.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:50 AM on March 21 [36 favorites]


Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

This is so astonishingly stupid. All you've done is inconvenience and irritate all the business people in the energy sector (ostensible allies). That includes the private jet folks, because unless you've got a G6, you're not getting to Saudi without stopping, and lots of folks will just fly commercial to avoid stopping to refuel.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:51 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


This spring, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., will host a three-day event co-hosted by a business group. The group's chair founded the company that paid President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for lobbying work that may have benefited the Turkish government. (NPR, March 21, 2017)

This mashup of money involving Turks, Flynn and Trump has concerned ethics experts who worry about a "pay-to-play" atmosphere in Washington.

And we're back to Trump's mirror. Remember the heady days of 2016, when people were worried about Pay to Play with the Clinton foundation? Ohohoho, those were fun times.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:51 AM on March 21 [39 favorites]


U.S. authorities have expressed concerns in the past that explosives could be placed inside electronic devices.

True, in the case of Samsung.
posted by porn in the woods at 8:52 AM on March 21 [12 favorites]


Looks like Gorsuch "misstated" (I'm going to with "lied about") some of the basic underpinnings of Citizens United and repeated Roberts' nonsense propaganda about Shelby and the VRA. It's almost as if reading the tea leaves on this turned out to be right. Shocking, I know.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:53 AM on March 21 [24 favorites]


Because I don't want to believe "force" is the only thing that will get our country back. I still have hope for the mechanisms of democracy, i.e., voting and the courts, but not as much as I would like to have.

i see stuff like this a lot. i know this was posted before, and maybe it should be posted again, but Masha Gessen's rules for surviving an autocracy are illuminating.

1. Believe the autocrat: He means what he says.
2. Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
3. Institutions will not save you. Institutions will not save you. Institutions will not save you.
posted by anem0ne at 8:53 AM on March 21 [71 favorites]


"It's been noted that, during his hearing, Gorsuch keeps on using 'Democrat' instead of the proper 'Democratic' in reference to the party (including referring to a 'Democrat President').

Oh, we can just pick the name we call the other side? In that case I look forward to voting against the Hateful Shitgibbon Party in the upcoming elections.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:53 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


U.S. authorities have expressed concerns in the past that explosives could be placed inside electronic devices.

True, in the case of Samsung.


and boeing. and apple macbooks. and hp.

it's an easy joke. li-ion batteries are difficult.
posted by anem0ne at 8:54 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


The thing is, with the election of Trump we're all accelerationists now whether we like it or not.

I remain confused by the use of "accelerationism" to refer to "hoping that the opposing political party does not achieve their goals because of infighting." I have also seen it refer to "actively making the conditions of existence worse in order to bring about revolution."

The former seems to be a fairly normal political tactic while the later is illogical to the point that there aren't very many people who actually believe it.

Accelerationism has to do with increasing the deterritorializing effects of capitalism (while trying to prevent fascistic reterritorialization) in order to bring about it's downfall. It is specifically related to capitalism, not political parties or social movements. It is a sophisticated and cogent argument that does not deserve it's current pejorative connotation.
posted by R.F.Simpson at 8:56 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


has any democrat ever trolled the right wing by referring to them as the Republic party in the media?

Yes, it's been done...and as I recall, even from the floor of the House. But it doesn't gain any traction because as momentarily enjoyable as it might be to sink to the schoolyard name-calling, all it really does is signify that the Republicans managed to get under your skin. So it ends up being a win for them in the end.

It's much more effective (I think) to just speak those brutal truths about Republicans that they don't want to hear. E.g.: their health care plan is "don't get sick and if you do, die quickly", which shocks the conscience so much not because of how mean it was, but of how true it was.

Or: "Republicans are only pro-life until you're born...after that, you're on your own (bootstraps)."

Or: "Republicans are only concerned about the deficit when Democrats are in charge."

Or: "If you're a Republican, it doesn't mean you're a racist, but if you're a racist, you're most likely a Republican."

Or: "The economy and job creation does far better under Democratic Presidents than under Republican ones."

Or: "The election of Trump means that millions of evangelical Christians seem perfectly happy with choosing a leader who has no moral compass if it means that he will sign the bills they want."

Or: "If Donald Trump had simply invested his inheritance in index stock funds, he would be much wealthier now than he currently is, so his business acumen is demonstrably less than average."

There are dozens more, but you get the drift.
posted by darkstar at 8:57 AM on March 21 [52 favorites]


Accelerationism sucks massively, it causes harm to the vulnerable, it pushes back progressive work by years if not decades, and it doesn't have any history of working. But as of 11/9 it became our only option.

I don't know on what basis you make that claim, so, simply: I disagree strenuously with the idea that accelerationism is 'our only option.' It is not. The AHCA has not yet passed and been signed into law. There is no proof, yet, that opposition to it from a broad spectrum in either the House or the Senate will fail; it is a spectacularly unpopular bill. And, as you note, it has never worked before. It is not about to work now. So in that sense, it is intrinsically not an option: it is tantamount to doing nothing.

I get that the current political situation is disenheartening; but I also remember friends, during the Bush years, who were convinced that the Republican party was set up to win every election going forward -- an outlook that rapidly disappeared after Obama's victory in 2008. Things look terrible until they're not; unfortunately, sometimes things both look and are terrible for a long time, and 2018 or 2020 might not turn things around, but throwing up our hands and embracing the worst parts of the Republican party platform in the hopes that things being Yet More Terrible might somehow actually make things Way Less Terrible is garbage 13-dimensional chess thinking.

We make things better by making them better, one election at a time.
posted by cjelli at 8:58 AM on March 21 [15 favorites]


anem0ne, that's massively unhelpful. There's no number 4 there, "what the fuck you should do now." Flee the country? Give up in fear? Become a revolutionary and risk imprisonment/death to you and yours and also probably cause deaths of innocents caught in crossfire, i.e. bloody civil war?

If our institutions cannot be made to save us by our political will (I'm not talking about passively waiting for them to do so), then there is nothing left to do. I haven't given up that much yet. Possibly foolishly, but I don't think of fleeing as any but the most desperate option, I can't live with giving up, and I'm not normally a violent person.
posted by emjaybee at 8:59 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


anem0ne, that's massively unhelpful. There's no number 4 there, "what the fuck you should do now." Flee the country? Give up in fear? Become a revolutionary and risk imprisonment/death to you and yours and also probably cause deaths of innocents caught in crossfire, i.e. bloody civil war?

well, had you actually read the article...

4. Be outraged.
5. Don't make compromises.
6. Remember the future.
posted by anem0ne at 9:03 AM on March 21 [26 favorites]


In more horrifying Gorsuch news, apparently his take on the Muslim ban is similar to that of a logically-flawed rebuttal to the 9th Court's decision to strike it down. "Worse than Scalia" is now pretty much guaranteed across the board.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:05 AM on March 21 [31 favorites]


has any democrat ever trolled the right wing by referring to them as the Republic party in the media?

"Rethuglican" used to have a rather annoying cachet in anti-Bush circles.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:06 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


At the Gorsuch hearing: Sen. Graham "just letting everyone know" that he's introducing 20-week abortion ban based on fetal pain.

So.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:09 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]



4. Be outraged.
5. Don't make compromises.
6. Remember the future.


Still...not super helpful.

And that has me thinking: do we have any examples of successful resistance to fascism?
posted by schadenfrau at 9:10 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


WWII?
posted by INFJ at 9:11 AM on March 21 [13 favorites]


"Rethuglican" used to have a rather annoying cachet in anti-Bush circles.

It's my go-to whenever I want to sound like the unmoderated comment section of my local news site.
posted by Jpfed at 9:12 AM on March 21 [19 favorites]


Republican Sen, Graham uses SCOTUS hearing to warn Trump: "If you start waterboarding people, you may get impeached."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:12 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


And that has me thinking: do we have any examples of successful resistance to fascism?

That didn't involve a war?

I still think we're early enough in this process that institutions might save us. I'm not counting on it, but I'm not counting them out yet, either.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:13 AM on March 21 [18 favorites]


zachlipton: Tillerson plans to skip NATO meeting, visit Russia in April

Why? Just, why? After all of those things that happened just on flipping Monday, what would possibly possess these people to adopt a plan in which we snub NATO allies and meet with Russia? Did they learn nothing? Of course not. They have no sense, no shame. They don't care.


While it looks bad on the surface and for general optics, his replacement might actually be a capable individual. From NPR:
Standing in for his boss at the first session of NATO diplomats in Tillerson's tenure will be Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon, NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, citing confirmation by a State Department spokesperson.
Thomas A. Shannon, Jr. was appointed to this position on February 21, 2016, and his official bio states that he is a Career Ambassador in the Senior Foreign Service of the United States. Of course, he may be doubly powerless, as Kushner is something of a "shadow" Sec of State, and the "Trump manifesto" budget cuts the State department, so even though Shannon was retained with other Obama appointees, his office doesn't have the same standing as it did under Obama.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:13 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


And that has me thinking: do we have any examples of successful resistance to fascism?

For some definitions of successful.

There was the White Rose movement, the Maquis, the Allies...
posted by anem0ne at 9:16 AM on March 21 [6 favorites]


Republican Sen, Graham uses SCOTUS hearing to warn Trump: "If you start waterboarding people, you may get impeached."

So there's the line? Where can I volunteer?
posted by Talez at 9:17 AM on March 21 [15 favorites]


And that has me thinking: do we have any examples of successful resistance to fascism?

That didn't involve a war?

I still think we're early enough in this process that institutions might save us. I'm not counting on it, but I'm not counting them out yet, either.


Especially if we're counting capitalism as an institution. If DJT weren't just constantly tossing money out of the country and alienating business interests* hither and yon, I'd be a lot more worried than I am now. But if he keeps it up, he'll lose a lot of the allies and hangers-on who believe they can profit bigly during his term. When the numbers come in and this disaster is quantified in dollars lost, I think those institutions will lose a lot of the patience they've shown with him so far.

*I may be wrong, but I don't think private prisons and wall-construction entities are powerful enough against the entire rest of the economy.
posted by witchen at 9:18 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: Republican Sen, Graham uses SCOTUS hearing to warn Trump: "If you start waterboarding people, you may get impeached."

Graham continued, to note "you know, maybe not. If they're really bad dudes, we'll allow that." [/FAKE, but kind of implied when he said "you may get impeached"]
posted by filthy light thief at 9:18 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


witchen: I don't think private prisons and wall-construction entities are powerful enough against the entire rest of the economy.

Well, when he gets accolades for saving a few thousand jobs at a significant cost to states, the number doesn't matter as much as the general action.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:22 AM on March 21






Some insulting subversion of the Republican party's name and image:

- Republicants
- Republicons
- Groupies of Putin
- Gaggle of Putzes
- DixieRATs
- Heirs of Jefferson Davis
- Betrayers of Lincoln's Legacy

...The group of fools has been fucking with my BP for my entire adult life. If my hair isn't completely white by 2020 or 2024, I'll be pleasantly surprised.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 9:27 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


that's massively unhelpful. There's no number 4 there, "what the fuck you should do now." Flee the country? Give up in fear? Become a revolutionary and risk imprisonment/death to you and yours and also probably cause deaths of innocents caught in crossfire, i.e. bloody civil war?

Masha Gessen is a terrifying Cassandra, but she's absolutely right. Our institutions will not save us if we allow them to plod along. What has worked is pushing our institutions. Holding them accountable. Resisting. Whether that is making our representatives run and hide like the little possums they are or making our press share the opinions of people like Sarah Kendzior and Masha Gessen who hold a large and magnifying mirror up in front of them. What Masha Gessen is proposing is that we fight. We cannot become soft and expect our institutions to work for us rather than themselves without us driving them from every angle.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:32 AM on March 21 [26 favorites]


And that has me thinking: do we have any examples of successful resistance to fascism?

That didn't involve a war?


As far as I can find, only 3 post-WW2 fascist movements have come to legitimate power:

Iran (overthrown by the Iranian revolution, backed by the US)
Panama (overthrown repeatedly by the US in favor of a different dictator)
The Philippines (20 year dictatorship backed by the US, eventually ending in democratic revolution) (maybe twice, depending on how you want to call Duerte)

So no, not really. The Philippines example is probably the only comparable post-war example of internal overthrow of fascism/kleptocracy. And that only happened because of the military, and easily could've turned into a full blown civil war.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:33 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


- Republicants
- Republicons
- Groupies of Putin
- Gaggle of Putzes
- DixieRATs
- Heirs of Jefferson Davis
- Betrayers of Lincoln's Legacy


Reputincans?
posted by leotrotsky at 9:40 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Rasputlicans?
posted by leotrotsky at 9:40 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


And that has me thinking: do we have any examples of successful resistance to fascism?

That didn't involve a war?

I still think we're early enough in this process that institutions might save us. I'm not counting on it, but I'm not counting them out yet, either.


The recent Dutch election?

There are fascists here, but they haven't consolidated power. They are largely incompetent, and there is massive resistance to them. Elections, courts, protests, these things still matter and are still effective.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:41 AM on March 21 [20 favorites]


(The UK's just got on board the in-flight gadget ban, so whatever it is, it's not just Trump tweaking tails.)
posted by Devonian at 9:43 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


has any democrat ever trolled the right wing by referring to them as the Republic party in the media?

"Rethuglican" used to have a rather annoying cachet in anti-Bush circles.


I can't stand when Republicans say "Obummer" or "Democraps" or any number of childish insults and it's no better coming from the other side. I just don't like anything that dumbs the political discourse down further than it already is (see also political bumper stickers).
posted by downtohisturtles at 9:43 AM on March 21 [56 favorites]


I still have hope for the mechanisms of democracy, i.e., voting and the courts, but not as much as I would like to have.

And this is exactly what Putin wanted. And the awful part of it is, had Hillary Clinton won, Trump's voters would now be losing faith in democracy. And maybe talking about violent revolution.

We are so polarized. We trust each other so little. That's the underlying problem that is putting our democracy in peril. That made it ripe for someone like Trump. Democracies can't work without trust. Without trust, people resort to bribes, threats, extortion, corruption, to get what they need from the system. Trust is the active ingredient.

But I'm not sure what we can do about it. Democrats have been doing their part, up to now, building bridges and adhering to norms and so on. But nothing we could would induce Republicans to give us any benefit of the doubt. It's not enough for just one party to continue to trust in the good faith of our fellow voters and institutions, if the other party doesn't.

I posted an FPP back in Feb. 2016 with the title "how a demagogic opportunist can exploit a divided country" which linked to this article.
Like any number of us raised in the late 20th century, I have spent my life perplexed about exactly how Hitler could have come to power in Germany. Watching Donald Trump’s rise, I now understand. Leave aside whether a direct comparison of Trump to Hitler is accurate. That is not my point. My point rather is about how a demagogic opportunist can exploit a divided country.
...
[Hannah Arendt] described all those who thought that Hitler’s rise was a terrible thing but chose “internal exile,” or staying invisible and out of the way as their strategy for coping with the situation. They knew evil was evil, but they too facilitated it, by departing from the battlefield out of a sense of hopelessness.
...
Trump is rising by taking advantage of a divided country. The truth is that the vast majority of voting Americans think that Trump is unacceptable as a presidential candidate, but we are split by strong partisan ideologies and cannot coordinate a solution to stop him. Similarly, a significant part of voting Republicans think that Trump is unacceptable, but they too, thus far, have been unable to coordinate a solution. Trump is exploiting the fact that we cannot unite across our ideological divides.
I think at this moment there is still some hope for our institutions. Russia's did not save it, but they were infant institutions. Ours are older and stronger. But we must help strengthen them wherever we can. We must not "depart from the battlefield out of a sense of hopelessness."

But what we will do about Trump's voters and their paranoid distrust, if our institutions do save us this time, I don't know.

Another link I remember sharing last year -- looks like it was written a year ago today...

If we can’t make our republican system of government work, eventually the people will clamor for a leader who can sweep it all away. Many of them already do.
If the American Republic is going to survive, its mechanisms have to work. If they don’t work — if the system stays as clogged as it has been these last few years, and each cycle of attack-and-reprisal gums things up worse — then eventually someone will sweep it all away. Maybe not Trump, maybe not this year, but someone, someday sooner than you might think possible. That would be a tragedy of historic proportions, but crowds would cheer as it happened.
So chilling to look back on these a year later...
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:45 AM on March 21 [48 favorites]


dumbs the political discourse down further than it already is

the only thing that could possibly do that at this point is politicians literally reaching into their underpants and flinging poop at each other
posted by murphy slaw at 9:45 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


The Philippines example is probably the only comparable post-war example of internal overthrow of fascism/kleptocracy.

Spain and Portugal had successful transitions away from fascism toward democracy, but those regimes only ended when the dictator died. Still, the fact that the dictators weren't succeeded by other dictators still counts as a success in my book.

Brasil also successfully transitioned away from a military dictatorship (though not a nominally fascist one) by a decades-long process of democratisation.

Ultimately, I think the lesson to be learned is that fascists are really fucking hard to get rid of once they've cemented their power. So, don't let them cement their power. By, for instance, preventing them from appointing powerful allies who serve for life.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:47 AM on March 21 [38 favorites]


If Pence really is implicated, how would that work in practice? Can anyone besides Trump remove him? Can Trump continue appointing new VPs up until the very moment of impeachment? Could Trump, seeing the writing on the wall, name Ivanka?

I know these sound like insane possibilities, but I don't really put anything past Trump when it comes to burning everything down on the way out.
posted by corb at 9:50 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


(The UK's just got on board the in-flight gadget ban, so whatever it is, it's not just Trump tweaking tails.)

Maaaaybe.
posted by Artw at 9:50 AM on March 21


I disagree a Clinton win would have been as divisive. I still think the Kremlin's game plan here is to undermine our sense of sanity and common sense. A Clinton win would have been unremarkable. Most people obviously expected it. I think the Kremlin's game here is to gaslight us into feeling we don't have an accurate read for popular opinion and each other's real motives. It really only makes sense as a psiop if they knew we would all be shocked and skeptical if Trump won.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:52 AM on March 21 [20 favorites]


A Clinton win would mean a number of normal and shitty things, and Republicans would continue to be awful and Democrats would continue to be useless and progress over all would continue to be slow, but it wouldn't be this: The dismantling of anything that makes America worth living in and a leap back into the dark ages.
posted by Artw at 9:55 AM on March 21 [63 favorites]


A Clinton win would have been unremarkable.

I think that depends on how she won. If she had won because the CIA had announced the Trump was colluding with Russia, that would have been very remarkable indeed. As mad as we were about Comey's letter, imagine how unhinged the Infowars right would have become. I'm not convinced our government could have survived it. Hillary Clinton might have faced a Time of Troubles level armed rebellion.

I think that's why Obama/Comey stayed quiet about the Russia stuff. I think they wanted her to win in an unremarkable way. And she almost did...
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:57 AM on March 21 [29 favorites]


I think that scenario, "Clinton wins amid charges of Trump collaboration with Russia; chaos follows" is the reason Russia was so "loud" as Comey put it, in their hacking attempts. That would have been fine with Putin too. And, as I mentioned, the reason Obama was so quiet about them.
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:59 AM on March 21 [9 favorites]


And the awful part of it is, had Hillary Clinton won, Trump's voters would now be losing faith in democracy. And maybe talking about violent revolution.

"Now"? This is an incredibly misleading way to gloss over the violence of the rhetoric that even centrist-leaning conservatives engaged in regarding Obama.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:00 AM on March 21 [28 favorites]




Can anyone besides Trump remove [Pence]?

Yes, Michael Pence--by resigning the position.

Pence is the one person that jackass can't just up and fire. My understanding is that a VP can only be removed by Congress through impeachment and conviction or by resignation/death. If Pence were removed, a new VP would have to be confirmed by both house of Congress (as per Amendment XXV), so no President can just continually appoint VPs, unless the Congress repeatedly consents.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 10:03 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


If Pence really is implicated, how would that work in practice? Can anyone besides Trump remove him?

Trump himself can't remove Pence. He can minimize Pence's responsibility - anything beyond the constitutionally mandated role of President of the Senate is at the President's pleasure - but Trump can't say "you're fired" to Pence. Other than resignation, death, or succession to the Presidency, the VP can only be removed from office via impeachment by the House (simple majority) followed by conviction by the Senate (2/3 supermajority), just like the President.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:03 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


violence of the rhetoric that even centrist-leaning conservatives engaged in regarding Obama.

Yeah, but did they actually believe that rhetoric? I think it's some kind of middle ground between "pretending" and "believing," but many of them would have shifted into real belief, the kind that you actually act on, if Hillary had won under even slightly unusual circumstances.
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:03 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


If Pence really is implicated, how would that work in practice? Can anyone besides Trump remove him?

The Vice President can be impeached in the same manner as the President; the House could move to impeach, and the Senate would have to convict.

And, this is implicit in your question, but: Trump can't remove Pence -- there's no mechanism for the President to do that. Pence was elected; Trump did not nominate him or appoint him to the office. Trump could ask him to resign, but if Pence declined, then there's not much Trump could do, formally; there are a lot of informal steps he could take to keep him for exerting authority. But Trump can't fire him.

Can Trump continue appointing new VPs up until the very moment of impeachment? Could Trump, seeing the writing on the wall, name Ivanka?

The President can only nominate a VP, not appoint one (the 25th Amendment governs this); the House and Senate have to both, separately, confirm the nomination. At the point where Pence was removed by impeachment but Trump was not, your guess is as good as mine about how they would act in that instance; it's a unlikely hypothetical.
posted by cjelli at 10:04 AM on March 21 [7 favorites]


Fomenting violent revolution is the kind of thing that it doesn't matter what they believe in their heart of hearts. The action itself is dangerous, because their supporters do believe it. And the Republicans engaged in violent eliminiationist rhetoric for 8 solid years, often on the floor of Congress itself.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:06 AM on March 21 [19 favorites]


I think they were blatant about it specifically to drive home the point our electoral systems are too insecure and unaccountable and no amount of papering that over with politics touches that reality. It creates cognitive dissonance having to proceed as if the process can be assumed to have had integrity when that flies in the face of people's intuitions Trump wasn't going to win and deep down we all know there really aren't any guarantees. The FBI keeps saying they found no evidence of attacks on the polls themselves, but that's exactly the security problem with the paperless systems still out there: cybersecurity experts have demonstrated many of them can be hacked without leaving a trail of evidence. That fact alone should be viewed as an unacceptable risk.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:06 AM on March 21 [7 favorites]


We are so polarized. We trust each other so little.

True, and it's all their fault. It isn't as if Democrats or liberals have been on hate radio screaming that the Republicans are literal traitors, or "objectively pro-terrorist", or that they intend to destroy America for a nefarious reason. That's all them.

So now, yes, I do trust them very little. It's hard to trust people who think you're evil incarnate and have bumper stickers declaring that they intend to murder you if they get a chance (that's what those "liberal hunting license" bumper stickers are: threats of deadly violence).

I am polarized because they have abandoned any and all pretense of rationality and gone down the rabbit hole of sheer bigotry and hate. How can I be with them?

I'm worried, because the last time the country was this split the result was civil war, and I don't want civil war. I live in Texas, I'd be pushed up against a wall and shot if there was civil war.

I have no idea how to save the country. We're gerrymandered all to hell, the Senate is there to make sure that no matter what happens we more numerous liberals can never, ever, have a win, the Presidency is stolen via the BS of the Electoral College, and a hateful minority is now dictating that the rest of us get on board with their program.

And, much as it pains me to admit it, there's a whole hell of a lot of Republicans out there. Not as many of them as us, but still very close to half the country has gone bugfuck insane and voted for Trump.

We're losing. Badly.

We've lost over half the state governments, we've lost the House, we've lost the Senate, we've lost the Presidency, and it is 100% guaranteed that Gorsuch will be on the Supreme Court in a few weeks at the most. I want our Democratic Senators to fight, but I also recognize that it would be purely symbolic. The simple fact is that the Republicans vote in lock step and they've got 52 votes, so no matter how horrible it is, no matter how much of a violation it is, no matter how much of an open theft of the Supreme Court it is, they will win.

So how do we fix things? The system is rigged against us and has been since the 1790's. It sounds nice to talk about California, New York, and so on using economic threats to get a better system, but it isn't going to happen.

Are we really totally fucked now?
posted by sotonohito at 10:06 AM on March 21 [73 favorites]


I have also seen it refer to "actively making the conditions of existence worse in order to bring about revolution."

I will say that the only people I've ever heard refer to themselves as accelerationists were very much of the "we should speed the collapse of the US - not capitalism, and very frankly ' by collapse we mean supply chains and hospitals' - so that people will rise up and something better will take its place" school. This is a numerically rare position, but tends to attract very vocal people.
posted by Frowner at 10:07 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


So now what? What do you do with people who have no shame but are a danger to others as well as themselves?

Apparently, the answer is to make it harder for them to get away with anything by putting them in the most exposed and nitpicked roles in America.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:07 AM on March 21


Iran (overthrown by the Iranian revolution, backed by the US)

And the US-backed fascist regime in Iran came to power after the CIA overthrew Iran's democratically-elected government.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:10 AM on March 21


I will say that the only people I've ever heard refer to themselves as accelerationists were very much of the "we should speed the collapse of the US - not capitalism, and very frankly ' by collapse we mean supply chains and hospitals' - so that people will rise up and something better will take its place" school. This is a numerically rare position, but tends to attract very vocal people.

I think it's completely fair to denigrate this position and its bizarre Hollywood-dystopian-movie version of political economy, but I also think it's important to not allow these people to have ownership of an interesting and well-thought-out critique of capitalism. For example, the beginners guide to this is called The Accelerationist Reader, and it would be a shame for Leftists to overlook the movement (not to say whole-heartedly embrace it) because of some loud disaster-porn enthusiasts.

[steps off theory soapbox]
posted by R.F.Simpson at 10:13 AM on March 21


Does anyone think the "larger devices in checked bags" thing is just so they can separate the devices from their owners and make a copy of their contents discreetly?
posted by jferg at 10:16 AM on March 21 [17 favorites]


Yeah, but did they actually believe that rhetoric?

Yes, I think they did. Thus the rise in domestic terror groups and the alignment of the anti-government types like the Bundys with white supremacy.

I think it's some kind of middle ground between "pretending" and "believing," but many of them would have shifted into real belief, the kind that you actually act on, if Hillary had won under even slightly unusual circumstances.

Many of these people believed that ACORN stole the election twice, even after it had been disbanded. They thought Benghazi was at best a fuck-up entirely of the administration's making. Even the supposedly level-headed among them maintained that in-person voter fraud, a racist myth blown way out of perception, was Totally A Real Thing. They were very serious about Obama, friend of the financial and health insurance lobbies, leading us down the road to Marxist ruination. Occupy Wall Street was painted as a frightening specter of leftist agitation akin to murder squads wandering the streets. They made the exact same accusations about Obama and Putin that the FBI is making about Trump and his staff.

So, no, I don't think that portraying the election of Clinton "under even slightly unusual circumstances " that you have described deserves to be characterized as just as much of a peril to the US (if not more) than Trump being elected.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:18 AM on March 21 [16 favorites]


And in any case, with so much Trump on our plates, there's not much space left for "what-if" beans.
posted by Namlit at 10:27 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Meadows walks out of the House Freedom Caucus meeting this afternoon, says there still aren't enough votes to pass the AHCA "without a doubt". In other healthcare news, it turns out that the AHCA will, according to the CBO scores, leave a million more people uninsured than just a complete repeal of the ACA, so really nice work there.

Also, please enjoy this excerpt from the pool report (from the NASA bill signing):
Trump paused to remark on the difficulty of being an astronaut. "It's a pretty tough job," Trump said before turning to Cruz. "I don't know Ted would you like to do it? I don't think I would."
Cruz shook his head indicating that he would not want to be an astronaut. Trump then turned to Rubio.
"Marco, do you want to do it?" he asked.
"I'm not sure we want to do it," Trump said.
Cruz piped in with a proposal.
"You could send Congress to space," said Cruz.
"We could," Trump said turning to look at Pence. "What a great idea that could be."
Lastly, Spicey time.
posted by zachlipton at 10:30 AM on March 21 [11 favorites]


Does anyone think the "larger devices in checked bags" thing is just so they can separate the devices from their owners and make a copy of their contents discreetly?

Even the glacially slow international security / check-in process only takes about 3 hours from bag drop to push back, and we're talking 200+ bags that need to be searched for large electronics, so figure maybe 100 laptops to be illicitly imaged. Even assuming some sort of technologically advanced NSA device like unto magic in its ability to, say, plug into an arbitrary USB port of ANY computer using ANY operating system, regardless of device on/off/suspend state, and copy the contents out, given the bandwidth of USB we're still probably talking like a dozen agents to get it done.

And that's one flight. At one airport. In one country.

So no, I'm going to go with "completely implausible" on that one. Can't we just admit that American security theater is a bureaucratic clusterfuck imposed by inexperienced people with unrealistic expectations on those in a weaker position who just have to throw up their hands and (at least pretend to) comply? It's a poorly thought out plan that will annoy and harass at least tens of thousands of people for no material benefit. That's bad enough without turning it into some kind of data-stealing plot.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 10:32 AM on March 21 [10 favorites]


Gorsuch has no credibility at this point*. I don't know who was asking the questions (I didn't catch the name) but he was grilling the nominee about asking women about their family planning choices as part of the job-interview process. This went on for a while. Gorsuch kept refusing to answer because it was a hypothetical or a possible future case. Then the guy said, "you know why I'm asking you this," and Gorsuch responded "No."

I'm sorry, that's a complete and utter lie (and if it isn't it's willful ignorance). I'm somebody living in a foreign country, and I knew exactly why he was asking those questions. The funny part is I explained it to the person I was sitting with at the time, just a few seconds before the guy asked "do you know...?"

There is no way that it is believable that he wasn't aware of the accusations of the female law students. And there is no way I believe his "explanation" especially as it was delivered in the same tone as his original lie.

*I'm not saying he had any legitimacy before or that his views aren't dangerous or that Trump had any right to nominate him in the first place. I'm just saying as an objective listener I couldn't go more than ten minutes without catching him in a lie and I'm not a highly informed politician whose job is to evaluate this guy for such a powerful position.
posted by sardonyx at 10:33 AM on March 21 [38 favorites]


I think "lack of shame" is the real story here. Republicans (even before Trump, but especially now) feel free to flaunt their hateful, messed-up, craven, BDSM-but-without-a-safeword-or-consent beliefs before the world

The importance of the conservative movement's decades-long project to work the refs with phony cries of "liberal media" can't be emphasized enough here. The media helps enforce the norms. Republican complaining that the media is somehow biased against them leads to nonsense like the media adopting McConnell's nonsense framing that 60 votes are now required for anything in the Senate.

It's been noted that, during his hearing, Gorsuch keeps on using 'Democrat' instead of the proper 'Democratic' in reference to the party (including referring to a 'Democrat President').

Meanwhile, the Republicans enjoy the benefit of a completely undeserved nickname, "the GOP," which is short for "Grand Old Party." They don't deserve it, and despite "GOP" being easier to type, I'll never call them that again.
posted by Gelatin at 10:34 AM on March 21 [10 favorites]


Here's another possible motivation on the electronics ban from the WaPo:
It may not be about security. Three of the airlines that have been targeted for these measures — Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways — have long been accused by their U.S. competitors of receiving massive effective subsidies from their governments. These airlines have been quietly worried for months that President Trump was going to retaliate. This may be the retaliation.

These three airlines, as well as the other airlines targeted in the order, are likely to lose a major amount of business from their most lucrative customers — people who travel in business class and first class. Business travelers are disproportionately likely to want to work on the plane — the reason they are prepared to pay business-class or first-class fares is because it allows them to work in comfort. These travelers are unlikely to appreciate having to do all their work on smartphones, or not being able to work at all. The likely result is that many of them will stop flying on Gulf airlines, and start traveling on U.S. airlines instead.

As the Financial Times notes, the order doesn’t affect only the airlines’ direct flights to and from the United States — it attacks the “hub” airports that are at the core of their business models. These airlines not only fly passengers directly from the Gulf region to the United States — they also fly passengers from many other destinations, transferring them from one plane to another in the hubs. This “hub and spoke” approach is a standard economic model for long-haul airlines, offering them large savings. However, it also creates big vulnerabilities. If competitors or unfriendly states can undermine or degrade the hub, they can inflict heavy economic damage.
posted by peeedro at 10:34 AM on March 21 [61 favorites]


Even the glacially slow international security / check-in process only takes about 3 hours from bag drop to push back, and we're talking 200+ bags that need to be searched for large electronics, so figure maybe 100 laptops to be illicitly imaged.

Didn't say they were going to image every one. But yeah, I'm probably just being paranoid. :-/
posted by jferg at 10:34 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


> [American security theater is] a poorly thought out plan that will annoy and harass at least tens of thousands of people for no material benefit.

I think the point is to amplify their message: "We don't want you coming here. And we'll make it extremely inconvenient if you persist."

I don't know how that squares with the needs and desires of their donor class, though. Maybe they're just buying laptops at their destination and treating them as disposable appendages to cloud storage?
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:35 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


In Senator Feinstein's opening remarks to the Gorsuch hearing, she asks to "enter into the record the 14 key cases where the Supreme Court upheld Roe’s core holding and the total 39 decisions where it has been reaffirmed by the court" and voices her concerns about "originalist" judicial philosphy:
In fact if we were to dogmatically adhere to “originalist” interpretations, then we would still have segregated schools and bans on interracial marriage. Women wouldn’t be entitled to equal protection under the law. And government discrimination against LGBT Americans would be permitted.
posted by kristi at 10:35 AM on March 21 [68 favorites]


Please enjoy this additional excerpt from the pool report:
Culberson then piped in.
"Mr. President, if I may? Just as Americans remember that President Eisenhower was the father of the interstate highway system, with your bill signing today and your vision and leadership, future generations will remember that President Donald Trump was the father of the interplanetary highway system."

"Well that sounds exciting," Trump said, adding, "First we want to fix our highways. We're going to fix our highways."
posted by zachlipton at 10:37 AM on March 21 [18 favorites]


I also like the WaPo explanation that Peeedro linked to. It is simplistic and petty enough to be fully plausible out of this administration.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 10:37 AM on March 21 [7 favorites]


Cruz piped in with a proposal.
"You could send Congress to space," said Cruz.
You know when I was a kid I said the exact same thing to my mom about our dog, because he barked all the time. And you know what? She took that idea and made it into a children's book! Man, my mom is so much cooler than Ted Cruz.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 10:38 AM on March 21 [52 favorites]




I was trying to figure out why Eric Trump looked so familiar and it came to me

Eric Trump always looks to me like he was taken out of his vat about two weeks before the process was completed; almost done, but still recognizably not quite human.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:48 AM on March 21 [29 favorites]


For Gorsuch, does anyone know anything negative about him that will resonate with people who aren't liberal? I have some coworkers who lean right but aren't crazy and I'd love to be able to talk to them about this (making some headway with "Obama wasn't allowed to fill this seat for a year and Trump is under investigation" but I don't know of anything about Gorsuch as an individual that will sound negative to them).
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:51 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


I was looking at some of Trump's old tweets and realized he was prophetic.

May 30, 2014 11:02:16 AM Our country is on the precipice. Washington is broken. Where is the leadership?
Dec 21, 2012 11:47:15 AM Washington is in total gridlock—no trust, no leadership—very interesting!
Jan 26, 2012 04:06:07 PM “We need more grown-ups in Washington, people who will shoot straight and level with the American people.”
Sep 19, 2011 12:24:22 PM Washington is all out of answers. New leadership is needed.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:53 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


I was trying to figure out why Eric Trump looked so familiar and it came to me

Eric Trump always looks to me like he was taken out of his vat about two weeks before the process was completed; almost done, but still recognizably not quite human.


To me he always looks like he could be DS9's Odo's evil younger brother or something.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 10:54 AM on March 21 [15 favorites]


Are we really totally fucked now?

37% approval rating in two months. FBI counterintelligence investigation.

Trump is the next Nixon, but with added incompetence and treason. That's gotta leave a mark.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:55 AM on March 21 [33 favorites]


On the one hand it's wrong to make fun of people's appearance even if they're fascists but on the other hand he does look like odo's vampire cousin and also fuck him
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:56 AM on March 21 [61 favorites]


In Senator Feinstein's opening remarks to the Gorsuch hearing, she asks to "enter into the record the 14 key cases where the Supreme Court upheld Roe’s core holding and the total 39 decisions where it has been reaffirmed by the court"

I'm assuming this is in response to Graham's bizarrely off topic "hey guys I am totally making a ban"?
posted by corb at 10:57 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Cruz piped in with a proposal.
"You could send Congress to space," said Cruz.


I have some suggestions for the first batch. They'll really like it too, because I call in an Ark.

The 'B' Ark.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:57 AM on March 21 [21 favorites]


For Gorsuch, does anyone know anything negative about him that will resonate with people who aren't liberal? I have some coworkers who lean right but aren't crazy and I'd love to be able to talk to them about this (making some headway with "Obama wasn't allowed to fill this seat for a year and Trump is under investigation" but I don't know of anything about Gorsuch as an individual that will sound negative to them).

He wants to end all federal authority to regulate. Who needs the FDA, right?
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:57 AM on March 21 [12 favorites]


He wants to end all federal authority to regulate. Who needs the FDA, right?

Nah, that'll just give all the Libertarians giant Gorsuch boners.
posted by jferg at 10:59 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


He wants to end all federal authority to regulate. Who needs the FDA, right?

I submit that we send him the first batch of unregulated Soylent to hit the market. And then he can be part of the second batch.
posted by Existential Dread at 11:00 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


And we're back to Trump's mirror. Remember the heady days of 2016, when people were worried about Pay to Play with the Clinton foundation? Ohohoho, those were fun times.

Well, Mike Flynn was paid by the Turkish government to give some perfunctory speeches and write an op-ed on their behalf. And most people accept that, correctly I think, as Turkey buying influence. But what's the difference between that and Hillary giving some perfunctory speeches for hundreds of thousands of dollars from Goldman Sachs? Are we supposed to give a pass to domestic malefactors while we come down on foreign ones, and is that any different from xenophobia?
posted by indubitable at 11:10 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


The U.K. is also banning laptops on some flights

I always found it amazing that authorities limit liquids to 3 x 100ml but were happy to let an unlimited amount of 100Wh batteries pass through unmolested. I mean, I get why they banned the liquids, they don't want you to bring through a bottle of glycerol and a bottle of mixed acid, both of which look almost identical to water. But then to allow unlimited 100Wh batteries through? Yeah sure. Go right ahead. Short half a dozen of them in the bathroom and set the plane on fire!

I expect there will be more restrictions on lithium batteries domestically coming soon. My days of carrying my two 27,000mAh packs on trips might be coming to an end.
posted by Talez at 11:13 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Spain and Portugal had successful transitions away from fascism toward democracy, but those regimes only ended when the dictator died. Still, the fact that the dictators weren't succeeded by other dictators still counts as a success in my book.

Careful. In the case of Spain, a big reason was because Franco's chosen successor, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, was assassinated by ETA. Operation Ogro is considered one of the most successful and brutal assassinations in history, for which the term "overkill" truly is appropriate.
posted by zakur at 11:17 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


Anatomy Of A GOP Town Hall
Republican congressman's town tall ends and in this case Republican staffers are caught on a hot mic planning how to make those constituents look "un-American" because they booed defense spending.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:21 AM on March 21 [43 favorites]


Anatomy Of A GOP Town Hall

The constituents can make a show all they like but will they come out to vote?

If clowns like Trott make it back in despite the frenzy of pissed off liberals they will feel invincible.
posted by Talez at 11:24 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


For Gorsuch, does anyone know anything negative about him that will resonate with people who aren't liberal?

You could mention the time Gorsuch ruled in favor of a trucking corporation to allow them to fire a driver who abandoned his trailer after waiting for hours in below zero temperatures for help promised by the company that never came and was freezing to death. Gorsuch's contempt for the lives of blue collar workers might resonate.
posted by JackFlash at 11:28 AM on March 21 [71 favorites]


The constituents can make a show all they like but will they come out to vote?

Pretty sure that if you drive in the dark to a town hall held an hour after dawn IN THE MIDDLE OF A SNOWSTORM, you vote.

Better question, I think, is whether enough of the people who showed up live in the district, and how many of the district residents who saw the angry cancer survivors and families on local TV will vote.
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:29 AM on March 21 [21 favorites]


Best evidence that Comey is a good egg. He hates the Patriots.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:30 AM on March 21 [6 favorites]


Gorsuch's contempt for the lives of blue collar workers might resonate.

Yeah, he's pretty much the living embodiment of an '80s "slobs vs. snobs" movie villain, I really wish people would push that harder.
posted by indubitable at 11:31 AM on March 21 [7 favorites]


Even the glacially slow international security / check-in process only takes about 3 hours from bag drop to push back, and we're talking 200+ bags that need to be searched for large electronics, so figure maybe 100 laptops to be illicitly imaged. Even assuming some sort of technologically advanced NSA device like unto magic in its ability to, say, plug into an arbitrary USB port of ANY computer using ANY operating system, regardless of device on/off/suspend state, and copy the contents out, given the bandwidth of USB we're still probably talking like a dozen agents to get it done.

That's the pure brute force solution, a worst case scenario for LE. Just because they reroute all laptops doesn't mean they'll image all of them. But it does give them greater access to the many fewer laptops belonging to potential persons of interest. If a typical flight has only one or two such people, now it becomes feasible to image/implant them all with no alert to the suspect passengers.

I'm not saying I think that's what they're doing. Just that it's not as implausible as you make it sound.
posted by scalefree at 11:33 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Tee Hee: Tomi Lahren suspended from The Blaze after she admits she's pro-choice. So much for the tolerant right? I find this so hilarious. She actually believed all the talk about "limited government" and liberty and applied it for herself to abortion. Then they declare she got the "wrong answer" and now she's being vanished.

I'm really kind of loving this. Tomi Lahren is the kind of incendiary, analytically challenged talk show host who seems to think comparing the Black Lives Matter movement to the KKK and asking whether women even knew why they were marching is intellectually bracing and "honest". She's been feeding the bigots who voted for Trump the racist and misogynist tirades they love, they've been eating it up, and she's probably gotten to the point where she thought she had actual influence and respect. Uh, no.

What I doubt she realizes is that she's getting rewarded not for her individual perspective, but for being a young, white, conventionally attractive woman who mouths the reactionary garbage that the worst people in Western society are hungry to hear because it validates their own beliefs. If she ceased to tell her audience exactly what they wanted to hear -- not to mention became significantly less pretty, thin, or young -- all that adulation and all those opportunities would disappear like a puff of smoke. And that is indeed what has happened here. She tried to embrace one liberal principle by declaring herself as pro-choice, and her employers and base turned on her.

It's a modern Aesop's fable, and I can't help enjoying the fact that someone who tried to reap the whirlwind by feeding hatefulness and ignorance to those avid for it may well wind up feeding those same people in another way: by flipping their burgers for minimum wage.
posted by orange swan at 11:33 AM on March 21 [30 favorites]


Best evidence that Comey is a good egg. He hates the Patriots.

so am I to assume all is forgiven re: helping us get President Trump?
posted by indubitable at 11:34 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Best evidence that Comey is a good egg. He hates the Patriots.

so am I to assume all is forgiven re: helping us get President Trump?


SUCH IS THE POWER OF SPORTS
posted by Existential Dread at 11:35 AM on March 21 [9 favorites]


Best evidence that Comey is a good egg. He hates the Patriots

Then why did he let FBI agents loose in The Hunt for Brady's Jersey?
posted by adamg at 11:38 AM on March 21


lol Tomi Lahren is only known to me because she was on the The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and said that as a millennial she doesn't like labels.

That made quite a round on my social media feed.

I actually watched that entire interview out of curiosity. I figured it had been taken out of context. Nope.

She's a younger version of Conway, in my opinion.
posted by INFJ at 11:39 AM on March 21 [8 favorites]


So how do we fix things? The system is rigged against us and has been since the 1790's. It sounds nice to talk about California, New York, and so on using economic threats to get a better system, but it isn't going to happen.

Are we really totally fucked now?


GOTV

Sorry, but seen from afar, the low participation at US elections is really the main issue. Yes, there is gerrymandering and there are tons of ways Republicans try to block people from voting, and there are people who vote Libertarian or Green, but if the Democratic party and it's voters would get to work in all the local elections and the midterms, there would not be a problem.

It's not just voting in itself, it is also all those people who don't feel their vote counts, or who vote against their own interests. And the remedy for that is local activism, not a call to arms. Tell people their voice is important and they are important and that local politicians are there to help. Let it trickle up instead of hoping for something from above to save you. I know many people here are doing just that now, and they are amazing, and I believe they are the hope we all need.

Maybe I'm totally wrong, and an armed revolution is the only way, but couldn't you guys just try voting before you get all militant??
posted by mumimor at 11:42 AM on March 21 [44 favorites]


Q: Presidents normally put out a greeting to Americans celebrating Nowruz, the Iranian New Year. Will the President be doing so?
Spicer: Oh shit. You mean I'm supposed to know about all the holidays?

[real question, fake answer. he'll get back to us, don't hold your breath]
posted by zachlipton at 11:43 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Maybe I'm totally wrong, and an armed revolution is the only way, but couldn't you guys just try voting before you get all militant??

We did and we won by 3 million votes
posted by OverlappingElvis at 11:43 AM on March 21 [61 favorites]


Here's another possible motivation on the electronics ban from the WaPo: It may not be about security. Three of the airlines that have been targeted for these measures — Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways — have long been accused by their U.S. competitors of receiving massive effective subsidies from their governments.

Potentially similar, if it's not something bigger that was brewing prior to January 20, 2017:

US antitrust regulators raid Box Club meeting (Journal of Commerce, paywalled)
US antitrust investigators last week raided the biannual Box Club meeting in San Francisco, handing subpoenas to the CEOs of major container lines and capitalizing on a rare window to exercise their power over non-US-based companies.

Maersk Line confirmed on Monday that it was served a subpoena by the DOJ on Wednesday “in course of an investigation into the global ocean container shipping industry.” Maersk told JOC.com the subpoena doesn't set any allegations against the company.

“A subpoena does not mean that a company has engaged in illegal behavior nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself,” Maersk said. “As always, Maersk will fully cooperate with the authorities in their investigations, and will respond as appropriate to the subpoena.”

Maersk was the only container line immediately available for comment, but sources tell JOC.com several CEOs of other containers lines were also subpoenaed. It’s unclear whether Department of Justice’s investigation centered around the biannual meeting of the International Council of Containership Operators, commonly known as “Box Club,” or something else.
Full article on archive.is via Google cache
posted by filthy light thief at 11:44 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the Muslims Laptop Ban is primarily punitive against the ME3 with a side benefit of inconveniencing/banning Muslims. One tipoff is Abu Dhabi's inclusion. It has a U.S. Pre-Clearance Facility. You go through US security and border patrol/customs there. Once you go through, you're effectively in the US. You land basically as a domestic flight.
posted by chris24 at 11:44 AM on March 21 [6 favorites]


A million tabs open and following links from links so I'm not sure how I landed on this and who it was in this thread that started me down the path but uh, guys, I think here's our problem.
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:46 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


...may well wind up feeding those same people in another way: by flipping their burgers for minimum wage.

Naw. She'll lie low for a suitable period of time, then creep back in after appropriate noises about how she's had a good hard think and realized that so-called "pro-choice" rhetoric isn't just anti-life it's also anti-freedom and the sheer sneaky manipulative forms of it make it so dangerous, and she's so glad she had good friends who helped her see that, blah blah. Wayward prodigal slips but comes back to the fold will revitalize her brand.
posted by Drastic at 11:46 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Sorry, but seen from afar, the low participation at US elections is really the main issue.

This is a really, really good point, and I'm going to try to keep it in mind.

I've been known to say in the past that democracy isn't necessarily any better than other systems at picking good leaders, but at least when you get bad ones, you can kick them out. Like, voting isn't really a good way of selecting a government, because most voters just don't know what they're doing, but it's better than an armed revolution as a way of getting rid of a government.

Maybe 2018 will be the test of that principle. Maybe this is actually the moment democracy was built for, and it will do its job, as it has from time to time in the past.
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:47 AM on March 21 [15 favorites]


One interesting thing is that the UK electronics ban excludes the ME3 airlines (which run a crap-ton of flights to the UK), but the US ban includes them. It's a bit odd.
posted by zachlipton at 11:50 AM on March 21


Maybe I'm totally wrong, and an armed revolution is the only way, but couldn't you guys just try voting before you get all militant??

Gutting of the VRA, Voter ID, thousands of closed voting locations in minority neighborhoods, reduced early voting. Beyond winning the popular vote, a shit ton of people who wanted to vote couldn't. Protecting and fighting for our coalition to be able to vote is the most important thing and while armed conflict may not be justified right now, just about anything constitutional regardless of norms is needed.
posted by chris24 at 11:52 AM on March 21 [33 favorites]


Yeah, he's pretty much the living embodiment of an '80s "slobs vs. snobs" movie villain, I really wish people would push that harder.

TED MCGINLEY FOR SUPREME COURT JUSTICE
posted by murphy slaw at 11:55 AM on March 21 [7 favorites]


I think here's our problem.

Yeah, that's cited in that "the people will clamor for a leader who can sweep it all away. Many of them already do" link. It's definitely a huge part of the problem. But it is from 2015, and the situation might be a little different now.

Since I really think that the "low participation is the problem" point is a good insight (not that I didn't know our turnout was low, but I hadn't thought about its significance in that way), this article offers a ray of hope for democracy, along those lines...

How Donald Trump Is Reviving American Democracy
There are two ways to look at the effect of Donald Trump’s presidency on American democracy. One is that he is a menace to the republic: that his attacks on journalists, federal judges, and constitutional norms undermine the rule of law. The other is that he is the greatest thing to happen to America’s civic and political ecosystem in decades.

These views are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are causally related. The president’s attacks on established institutions have triggered a systemic immune response in the body politic, producing a surge in engagement among his opponents (and also his fans).
...
But now millions of people, once cynical bystanders, are participating earnestly. In mass marches and packed congressional town meetings, Americans have taken vocal stands for inclusion. At airports and campuses and street corners they have swarmed in defense of Muslim and undocumented neighbors. Membership in the ACLU and the League of Women Voters has swelled, as have subscriptions to leading newspapers.
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:55 AM on March 21 [12 favorites]


A public service announcement: today is very much the last chance to call your Representative and implore them to vote against the AHCA, especially if you are represented by a Republican. You can see where your GOP rep currently stands on the NYT whip count. If they're opposed, call them up anyway to help ensure they stay opposed.
posted by zachlipton at 11:56 AM on March 21 [18 favorites]


soren_lorenson, that article is shocking. As I was reading it, I was wondering what other sort of regime younger people who are losing faith in democracy would prefer, and was sure it would turn out to be socialism. "Have the army rule" was not remotely on my radar.
posted by HotToddy at 11:57 AM on March 21 [7 favorites]


democracy would prefer, and was sure it would turn out to be socialism

Socialism and democracy aren't mutually exclusive and most American socialists are democratic socialists. Not a whole lot of Marxist-Leninists in the US, really.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:01 PM on March 21 [21 favorites]


I live in one of the most trusting countries in the world, and I have to hand in my voter registration receipt when I vote. It is not a big deal. It is managed on the municipal level, but it is regulated nationally. I know the context is different in the US, and I understand solutions must be different. But still, it must be possible to get more people out.

At the last national election here, 85,8 % of the population voted. EU elections are more comparable to US elections, and here 72 % participated. You can do it too!
posted by mumimor at 12:02 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


but at least when you get bad ones, you can kick them out.

Yeah, we need a new mechanism to make that easier and more of a real check on power. Popular referenda to kick out presidents ought to be baked into the process so the public has veto power and can quickly mobilize to affect change when a pol cynically lies about their real agenda.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:03 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Election Day needs to be a national holiday.
posted by INFJ at 12:05 PM on March 21 [48 favorites]




I live in one of the most trusting countries in the world, and I have to hand in my voter registration receipt when I vote. It is not a big deal. It is managed on the municipal level, but it is regulated nationally. I know the context is different in the US, and I understand solutions must be different. But still, it must be possible to get more people out.

Here's the thing, we're trying. There's many, many more people with vast sums of money opposing us and making it harder to vote every day. It's not so simple as, go vote. Do you live in a small, homogeneous Nordic country with excellent public transportation? The United States is not that. It's hard to get underserved populations to vote. To get them properly registered. To pay all the money they have to pay just to excercise their right to vote. To get them to risk their livelihoods taking the time off their blue collar jobs to vote, which in many places means being forced to stand in line for eight to twelve hours, forgoing a day's pay. Just to physically get them to the booth when they don't have cars or any form of reliable transportation.

"Hurrhurr, go vote, we can do it here", is comically naive and vastly misunderstanding the scale of the problem of voting access in the United States.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:09 PM on March 21 [84 favorites]


chris24: "just about anything constitutional regardless of norms is needed."

"Constitutionality" is nothing but norms. The ACA would not have been constitutional at the outset of the nation, and now it (quite likely) is. Basically everything about the idea of "constitutionality" is subjective to the time and culture. So, your statement is basically, "Do anything within the norms regardless of norms."

This may seem like I'm trying to score rhetorical points, but I think this gets down to a more serious idea, which is that we all have to ask ourselves individually and as a polity what our limit on fighting is. Vaguely gesturing to "constitutionality" as if it solves anything is a mistake--constitutionality is going to be very quickly shifting under our feet, and doesn't prescribe a solid course of action. We have to rely on an independent source of morality.
posted by TypographicalError at 12:09 PM on March 21


Interesting theory about giving Ivanka a West Wing office and security clearance and such, which I've just been handed by one of my correspondents: what if it's a way to ensure she's covered by executive privilege so she isn't called to testify before Congress on anything?
posted by zachlipton at 12:14 PM on March 21 [32 favorites]


Constitutionality" is nothing but norms

I said constitutional vs legal because some forms of protest may cross the legality line in some people's minds but my interpretation of rights to assembly and speech is pretty damn broad.
posted by chris24 at 12:16 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]




"Hurrhurr, go vote, we can do it here", is comically naive and vastly misunderstanding the scale of the problem of voting access in the United States.

I know, I truly do. But except for the Howard Dean 50 state vision, it has been as if Democrats had given up on that challenge. Now, there is definitely a change, and I hope you all succeed.

(Also, it's not as if God came down and gave us our well-managed and serviced welfare societies for free. There were huge struggles during the early 20th century to get here, including workers being shot to death, imprisoned or expelled, and there are still powers who try to cut down public transportation and welfare. The fight never ends).
posted by mumimor at 12:21 PM on March 21 [24 favorites]


Interesting theory about giving Ivanka a West Wing office and security clearance and such, which I've just been handed by one of my correspondents: what if it's a way to ensure she's covered by executive privilege so she isn't called to testify before Congress on anything?

Ivanka is explicitly not a governmental adviser or employee, and despite the office, clearances, and secured devices that have been requested, I have yet to read of any proposal to make her one; how could she be covered if she isn't actually part of the executive branch?

That's an honest question: can executive privilege extend to family relations with no official governmental role? My understanding is that it's a defense that she or the White House would have to claim on her behalf, not something that exists outside of its working as a defense, so I presume that she'd have to be called to testify to test that theory, right?
posted by cjelli at 12:23 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


what if it's a way to ensure she's covered by executive privilege so she isn't called to testify before Congress on anything?

If her testimony was required for serious reasons, it wouldn't work. They say no because executive privilege, it goes to court, a court rules against her. Ken Starr knows the arguments, he can be the prosecutor if he's still alive.

as I understand the concept it's not absolute and also is more of an accepted courtesy than an ironclad right, allowed to presidents only as long as they don't push it.
posted by queenofbithynia at 12:23 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


"Constitutionality" is nothing but norms. The ACA would not have been constitutional at the outset of the nation, and now it (quite likely) is. Basically everything about the idea of "constitutionality" is subjective to the time and culture. So, your statement is basically, "Do anything within the norms regardless of norms."

This is just really quite wrong. Constitutionality is based in the text and in the history of precedent. Most of what transformed what would not have been constitutional before into what is constitutional today are the due process and equal protection of law clauses of the 14th amendment. The 14th amendment transformed constitutional law when it became apparent to judges that they would have to incorporate the bill of rights into the 14th amendment for the constitution to have coherence. Constitutionality is not just norms, but flows from rational interpretation of the text of the constitution in light of the historical context. Thurgood Marshall was not Thrasymachus!
posted by dis_integration at 12:25 PM on March 21 [8 favorites]


A public service announcement: today is very much the last chance to call your Representative and implore them to vote against the AHCA, especially if you are represented by a Republican. You can see where your GOP rep currently stands on the NYT whip count. If they're opposed, call them up anyway to help ensure they stay opposed.

Done and done! Finally, an instance where my call counts, might do some good, and isn't preaching to the staunch Democrat choir. My Senators are both mega-Dem, but my Congressdude is a semi-Trumpy Republican ASSHOLE who hasn't expressed a public position on AHCA, possibly because he represents a very spread-out and poorer than average district. Extremely heavy level of Medicaid participation hereabouts. It'll be interesting (if probably unsurprisingly awful) to see how he votes on this one.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:35 PM on March 21 [17 favorites]


You could mention the time Gorsuch ruled in favor of a trucking corporation to allow them to fire a driver who abandoned his trailer after waiting for hours in below zero temperatures for help promised by the company that never came and was freezing to death.

Any good Republican knows that in this situation one must vigorously tug on one's bootstraps until sufficient heat is generated.

It's hard to get underserved populations to vote. To get them properly registered. To pay all the money they have to pay just to excercise their right to vote. To get them to risk their livelihoods taking the time off their blue collar jobs to vote, which in many places means being forced to stand in line for eight to twelve hours, forgoing a day's pay.

Not to mention that many voter ID laws essentially force people to take a second day of standing in line and losing that day's pay. That's a big ask for someone who already doubts the power of their vote.
posted by Gaz Errant at 12:38 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


uh, guys, I think here's our problem.

The thing is, if you suggest that losing faith is the problem, you have to ask why people lost faith, and then you might discover a that some people are actively undermining that faith.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:41 PM on March 21 [15 favorites]


The National Review's David French provides a much-needed laugh today (via Kevin Drum):
The tweets, however, are exposing something else in many of Trump’s friends and supporters — an extremely high tolerance for dishonesty and an oft-enthusiastic willingness to defend sheer nonsense....I’ve watched Christian friends laugh hysterically at Trump’s tweets, positively delighted that they cause fits of rage on the other side.

The laugh, of course, is that the conservative tolerance for -- to say nothing of dependence on -- dishonesty is anything new.

The latter sentence provides a confirmation from the conservative side of the oft-quoted cleek's law: Today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today, updated daily..
posted by Gelatin at 12:41 PM on March 21 [17 favorites]


Not to mention that many voter ID laws essentially force people to take a second day of standing in line and losing that day's pay

Some studies indicate this doesn't have as much effect as you might think on minority voter turnout, though. This is surprising, but good news, when you think about it!
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:47 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]


If you're like me and you really need a cathartic break, may I recommend Jon Oliver's show Last Week Tonight on HBO. For me he provides the cathartic break that The Daily Show did for me during the Bush years.

There was just something about Oliver's reaction to the video of Trump refusing Merkel's hand (crazy shrieking along the lines of shake her fucking hand, you fucking awful weird man, just fuck no) that was crazily satisfying.

Although he tricked me into watching Trump take the oath of office. It wasn't enough that a CGI zebra holding a sign reading stop was included in the footage.
posted by angrycat at 12:53 PM on March 21 [12 favorites]


Constitutionality is not just norms, but flows from rational interpretation of the text of the constitution in light of the historical context.

I'm glad you believe in the constitution in this way, but I disagree. It's just a piece of paper that is a useful fig leaf to implementing a set of norms. The set of norms generally corresponds to that piece of paper, but where it doesn't, we ignore the paper (eg war powers, commerce clause, emoluments, etc.). This is already too much of a derail, so let's agree that "constitutionality" is a slippery concept, which is all that my original point was anyhow.
posted by TypographicalError at 12:53 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Seriously, anybody who thinks turning an area like mine (and there are many of them) blue -- a sprawling, thinly populated, mostly rural, mostly poor with occasional pockets of uber-rich, multi-generation red stronghold in every non-Presidential/Senate race, etc. -- is merely a matter of having enough pluck and can-do spirit is welcome to roll up their sleeves and dig right in.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:56 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


Meanwhile, the Republicans enjoy the benefit of a completely undeserved nickname, "the GOP," which is short for "Grand Old Party." They don't deserve it, and despite "GOP" being easier to type, I'll never call them that again.

This was way upthread but I want to reiterate the entire point that Gelatin made. Can we please collectively agree to stop calling them the GOP? They are not grand nor particularly old--if they continue to claim "Party of Lincoln," they need to be reminded of the Southern Strategy that established them just a few decades ago. They are simply Republicans. REPUBLICANS.
posted by witchen at 12:57 PM on March 21 [11 favorites]


Same bundle of corrupt fascism and illegitimate power whatever you call it. GOP does little to hide that.
posted by Artw at 1:01 PM on March 21


Same bundle of corrupt fascism and illegitimate power whatever you call it. GOP does little to hide that.

I disagree. "GOP" gives a veneer of respectability, of casual "politics" the same way you call your favorite sports team the "'Heels" instead of "Carolina Tarheels." Familiarity, friendliness, good vibes. And an implication that they are the standard-bearers, and all other parties are in opposition to the Grand Old Party. They deserve none of it.
posted by witchen at 1:04 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


Same bundle of corrupt fascism and illegitimate power whatever you call it. GOP does little to hide that.

Well, maybe, but the so-called "liberal media" lets Republicans simultaneously denigrate Democrats with their snide little "Democrat Presidents" appellation -- memo to NPR: You should set a policy that you will not air audio of any politician using that insult -- and enjoy a complimentary nickname that even the media uses.

The style should be "Democratic" and "Republican," period.
posted by Gelatin at 1:05 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


"And then there's mutton-busting. And I think my children still have PTSD from mutton-busting. Mutton-busting, as you know, uh, comes sort of like bronco busting for adults. You take a poor little kid. You find a sheep. And you attach the one to the other. And see how long they can hold on." -- Gorsuch replying to some tough questioning by Sen. Cruz
posted by cybertaur1 at 1:08 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]




The ACHA plan for "repeal and replace" is worse than a repeal-only strategy, Fewer Americans Would Be Insured With G.O.P. Plan Than With Simple Repeal:
The Republican bill would actually result in more people being uninsured than if Obamacare were simply repealed. Getting rid of the major coverage provisions and regulations of Obamacare would cost 23 million Americans their health insurance, according to another recent C.B.O. report. In other words, 1 million more Americans would have health insurance with a clean repeal than with the Republican replacement plan, according to C.B.O. estimates.
...
The people who would end up without health insurance are slightly different in the two cases. The current bill would cause more people to lose employer insurance, while a straight repeal bill would most likely cause more people who buy their own coverage to become uninsured. A simple repeal would be worse for Americans with pre-existing conditions, but the current bill would be worse for older Americans who are relatively healthy. Both approaches would lead to major reductions in the number of Americans covered by Medicaid
posted by peeedro at 1:10 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Pronounce GOP as a word as with George Oscar "GOB" Bluth II and make that the insult. Does GOP rhyme with "cop" or "nope"?
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 1:12 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


witchen: "if they continue to claim "Party of Lincoln," they need to be reminded of the Southern Strategy that established them just a few decades ago"

Every time I hear a Republican claim the GOP is the Party of Lincoln, the snarkier part of my brain wants to comment: "Sure, the GOP is the Party of Lincoln in the sense that, just like Lincoln, they don't really want African Americans to be slaves but also that they definitely don't want them to have the vote."
posted by mhum at 1:16 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


I'm going to have to see some evidence for that first part, mhum.
posted by downtohisturtles at 1:19 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


hey we could pronounce GOP like "Goap" which is the name of a goetic demon, ha ha, that'd stick it to them! let's just double check with Wikipedia

okay never mind according to a 15th century German grimoire Goap "provides medical care for women" so this isn't going to work
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:19 PM on March 21 [27 favorites]


Angela Merkel and Japan's Shinzo Abe make subtle digs at Donald Trump at German tech event (video)

"In times when we have to argue with many about free trade, open borders and democratic values, it's a good sign that Japan and Germany no longer argue."
posted by chris24 at 1:23 PM on March 21 [36 favorites]


downtohisturtles: "I'm going to have to see some evidence for that first part, mhum."

Yeah, touché. I realized that as I was typing it out that through the loophole in the 13th amendment ("except as punishment for a crime") plus differential treatment by the criminal justice system plus private prisons, we end up in a place that's not that far away from Slavery by Another Name.
posted by mhum at 1:24 PM on March 21


The Guardian: No African citizens granted visas for African trade summit in California
An annual African trade summit in California had no African attendees this year after at least 60 people were denied visas, according to event leaders.

The African Global Economic and Development Summit, a three-day conference at the University of Southern California (USC), typically brings delegations from across Africa to meet with business leaders in the US in an effort to foster partnerships. But this year, every single African citizen who requested a visa was rejected, according to organizer Mary Flowers.

“I don’t know if it’s Trump or if it’s the fact that the embassies that have been discriminating for a long time see this as an opportunity, because of talk of the travel ban, to blatantly reject everyone,” Flowers said in an interview on Monday.
posted by monospace at 1:25 PM on March 21 [28 favorites]


I've always called them the Repugnant Ones
posted by oozy rat in a sanitary zoo at 1:26 PM on March 21


Okla. state senator accused of trying to have sex with teen boy now plans to resign, attorney says

Shortey was charged Thursday with three felonies: Soliciting the prostitution of a minor; transportation for the purpose of prostitution; and prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church. Blau said Shortey is scheduled for arraignment on Friday, when a judge will automatically enter a not-guilty plea on his behalf as part of a procedural process.

The FBI is also investigating human trafficking charges.
posted by futz at 1:27 PM on March 21 [17 favorites]


I want to bookmark around 4:19:50 ET when Gorsuch looks off to the left and his expression changes from a smirk to "oh, Franken is not going to take the performative smiley we're-all-guys-here non-answers". There's a GIF in that.
posted by sylvanshine at 1:27 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


From SCOTUSblog's liveblogging of the confirmation hearing:
Franken: How have your views on marriage equality changed since 2004?
Gorsuch: My personal views don't matter.
Franken: It is settled law.
Gorsuch: It is not.
posted by Jpfed at 1:27 PM on March 21 [88 favorites]


"She's been feeding the bigots who voted for Trump the racist and misogynist tirades they love, they've been eating it up, and she's probably gotten to the point where she thought she had actual influence and respect. Uh, no.
What I doubt she realizes is that she's getting rewarded not for her individual perspective, but for being a young, white, conventionally attractive woman who mouths the reactionary garbage that the worst people in Western society are hungry to hear because it validates their own beliefs. If she ceased to tell her audience exactly what they wanted to hear -- not to mention became significantly less pretty, thin, or young -- all that adulation and all those opportunities would disappear like a puff of smoke."


That certainly proved Ayn Rand in The Fountainhead right.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:27 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]






But what's the difference between that and Hillary giving some perfunctory speeches for hundreds of thousands of dollars from Goldman Sachs?

Do you think you could come up with maybe a few ways in which a country with it's military and everything might just be a slightly different animal than Goldman Sachs?
posted by VTX at 1:33 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]


Jpfed: I know that's what SCOTUSblog's transcript said but I heard him say "It absolutely is settled law"? It's rewindable on YouTube

Franken: It's settled law.
Gorsuch: It is absolutely settled law. There's ongoing litigation about its impact, and its application right now, and I cannot begin to share my personal views without -- [cut off by Franken]
posted by cybertaur1 at 1:33 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]


So Andy Puzder doesn't get to be Secretary of Labor and now he's losing his CEO gig.

haha.gif
posted by zachlipton at 1:38 PM on March 21 [22 favorites]


GOP = Group Of Pricks
posted by kokaku at 1:38 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


GOP = Grabbers of Pussies
posted by mosk at 1:39 PM on March 21 [7 favorites]


Do British MPs constantly make stupid cricket metaphors or w/e, or is everything-is-sports a particularly American disease?
posted by theodolite at 1:40 PM on March 21


Ann Coulter is doing RT with "common working man" Ed Schultz. Coulter: "Russia is not our enemy. Russia is our natural ally against radical Islam."
posted by octobersurprise at 1:43 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Dow slides nearly 240 as fear returns to market

Lots of quotes from bankers demonstrating that even though you make millions you don't need to be smart. But this one made me LOL: "Trump is trying to be the CEO president. That doesn't work in politics," said KC Mathews, chief investment officer with UMB Bank. "Right now, it's all about hope."

You don't say.
posted by mumimor at 1:43 PM on March 21 [25 favorites]


is everything-is-sports a particularly American disease?
Yes, especially the concept of the "horse race."
posted by monospace at 1:43 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Saying that being a Senate Page is an experience that every single young person should have is one of the weirdest, most out of touch things I've heard in a while.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 1:46 PM on March 21 [11 favorites]


If you live in a Republican district and don’t see your rep. on this list of Rs who are opposed / strongly opposed to the AHCA, given them a call! (It’s a pretty small list.)
posted by Going To Maine at 1:48 PM on March 21


What I doubt she realizes is that she's getting rewarded not for her individual perspective, but for being a young, white, conventionally attractive woman who mouths the reactionary garbage that the worst people in Western society are hungry to hear because it validates their own beliefs.

If neither she nor the others of her ilk (Megyn Kelly, Ann Coulter, etc...) have never in their lives uttered the words "I'm different from those other girls" I will eat my foot.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:48 PM on March 21 [9 favorites]


I hadn't watched the Gorsuch hearing until just now and Jesus Christ what a smarmy asshole he is. Ugh.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:49 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Apparently it's playing well enough to free-thinkers and moderates who are seeing the confirmation hearing as
Smart, well prepared questions are being asked, without the usual me,me, me grandstanding. Calm, complicated responses are being presented, without changing the topic or giving a fluff answer. No matter your political inclinations, you can learn so much from these proceedings.
posted by anem0ne at 1:51 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Smart, well prepared questions are being asked, without the usual me,me, me grandstanding. Calm, complicated responses are being presented, without changing the topic or giving a fluff answer. No matter your political inclinations, you can learn so much from these proceedings.

time for me to revive my petition for a "roll eyes and make jerking off gesture" emoji
posted by indubitable at 1:53 PM on March 21 [29 favorites]


Look at these congenial white men talking about heaven and hell and salvation together. They're not raising their voices. They're not using any vulgarity. Why can't all politicians be like this again?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 1:54 PM on March 21 [19 favorites]


Honestly, today would be a good day for every single person to call their representatives, no matter who they are, and state their opposition to the AHCA.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:54 PM on March 21 [7 favorites]


If you've got reps on the House Oversight Committee, get out those postcards!
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:56 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the recipe for success as a "neutral" telemedia journalist these days is basically:


2 cups conventionally good looks

1 cup liquid both-siderism

1/4 cup diced sports metaphor (horse race or baseball is best, but any sport easily understood by an eighth grader will do in a pinch)

1 tbsp insipid at the end of the day

1 tsp extract of lack of follow-up

1/4 cup grated cheese

Combine dry ingredients in a black pot (or kettle). Slowly drizzle in both-siderism and lack of follow up, while stirring the pot. Smother with cheese. Set out under Klieg lights to fester for 2-3 minutes, or until the next commercial break, whichever is sooner.

Serves millions.
posted by darkstar at 1:57 PM on March 21 [14 favorites]


Gorsuch talks about himself like a grizzly voiceover talks about the new Ford F-150
posted by theodolite at 2:00 PM on March 21 [15 favorites]


Ann Coulter is doing RT with "common working man" Ed Schultz.

blaargh. I thought she had rotted away. Whats with these evil gollum type people who only turn out when their guy is in front, so they can lick his behind?
posted by mumimor at 2:01 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Franken: How have your views on marriage equality changed since 2004?
Gorsuch: My personal views don't matter.
Franken: It is settled law.
Gorsuch: It is not.


A person that works in a separate room from me, but I often have to visit to check out equipment from often listens to conservative radio. This morning they were going on about how Roe v. Wade is "settled law" just like how the inability of women to own personal property or to vote were in the past. That is, it's the law now, but won't be in the future.

(barf)
posted by ArgentCorvid at 2:03 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


blaargh. I thought she had rotted away. Whats with these evil gollum type people who only turn out when their guy is in front, so they can lick his behind?

OK that's about 10 different mental images I didn't need in my brain this afternoon.
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:06 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


“What you’re arguing then is the FBI and the Justice Department are mistaken for taking the president literally because they don’t speak Americanese?”

i have it on very good authority that even cats and dogs can read it
posted by pyramid termite at 2:11 PM on March 21


If you live in a Republican district and don’t see your rep. on this list of Rs who are opposed / strongly opposed to the AHCA, given them a call! (It’s a pretty small list.)

I would especially call your rep if they are on that list, to ensure they stay there. If this thing passes, it's going to be because enough of the folks in the no column are really "no, but I'll vote yes if you need me." Calling to help ensure they stay opposed is especially useful.

Even if they're opposed for bad reasons (e.g. they want to repeal all of the ACA), I don't see how calling to ask them to vote no on the AHCA is going to hurt. If they're that far to the right of this bill, they aren't going to support anything better anyway.
posted by zachlipton at 2:13 PM on March 21 [7 favorites]


ArgentCovid that is sickening. So nice how they're framing it with women's rights gains, as if women will be more free without Roe. Fucking hell.
posted by agregoli at 2:14 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


It also means "It's settled law women can own property now...but hey, things could change, haw haw haw!"

Fuckers.
posted by emjaybee at 2:15 PM on March 21 [12 favorites]


Note that the Dow is over 20,000. 200 points is only 1% at this point, that could be simple noise. If it falls 500 points in a day that's something to talk about.
posted by Justinian at 2:16 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


time for me to revive my petition for a "roll eyes and make jerking off gesture" emoji

🙄✊🏻🍆
posted by chris24 at 2:16 PM on March 21 [47 favorites]


Just called my reps about the possibility of a shutdown when current funding runs out on April 28. This is something that will hit me financially; I work on public lands, but I am not a government employee. In other words, I don't get back pay when a funding agreement is finally reached. In spite of this, I think a shutdown is preferable to the Trump budget. When talking to Republican staffers, my take-home message was that they should not be willing to force a shutdown and harm small business in order to change the status quo. When talking with Democratic staffers, my take-home point was that Trump's budget is terrible, and I'm willing to accept a loss of income in order to stop it.

Go ahead and call your reps about the issues of the Trump budget and a possible shutdown — we're still early in the game on this. I was the first person to have called my House rep specifically about a possible shutdown. I asked point blank how this stuff would be passed on, i.e., what the spreadsheet they were putting together looked like. The short story is that there was already a field for accepting feedback on the Trump budget. Nothing yet about a shutdown. At my request, the friendly staffer for my House rep created a field in the spreadsheet just for the shutdown. Ask nicely and perhaps the staffer for your rep will do the same!

Get psyched and get on the phone. Staff for mu Republican senators seem to be getting harder to reach. Not sure if anyone else in Arizona has experienced the same. Be persistent.
posted by compartment at 2:24 PM on March 21 [16 favorites]


futz: ... prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church ...

Wut? As if prostitution alone being against the law wasn't bad enough? And what of separation of church and state? Uuuuughh... Oklahoma.

Yeah, that's my new slogan for the state. Uuuuughh ... Oklahoma.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:26 PM on March 21 [7 favorites]


America's Most Prominent Anti-Muslim Activist Is Welcome at the White House

Brigitte Gabriel gets a meeting at the White House. Disgusting.
posted by zachlipton at 2:31 PM on March 21 [12 favorites]




Jpfed: Franken: How have your views on marriage equality changed since 2004?
Gorsuch: My personal views don't matter.
Franken: It is settled law.
Gorsuch: It is not.


My jaw just dropped at Gorsuch's second comment there, which gave my brain a moment to recover from shock and realize that by putting these two items together, it's even worse.

So is Gorsuch saying that he has something other than personal issues with marriage equality? Yes, please tell us what justification you have. Because other than law, what is there? And to claim the law is not settled means he sees some opening to claw back Obergefell v. Hodges somehow? Even if/when he replaces Scalia (which Chrome refuses to recognize as a real word, which makes me happy in a silly, small way), they're still split 5-4, so what's going to change?
posted by filthy light thief at 2:39 PM on March 21 [8 favorites]


> Franken: It is settled law.
> Gorsuch: It is not.


Note that this comment suggests that's a transcription error. ("It is absolutely settled law.")
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:41 PM on March 21 [6 favorites]


That's... a pretty dang major transcription error. Big enough that if someone like Fox News made such an error on a different subject we'd be howling about deliberate obfuscation of the truth.
posted by Justinian at 2:45 PM on March 21 [16 favorites]


@filthy light thief, @RedOrGreen, @Justinian

Here's the relevant video

Really seems like a transcription error. I also commented on the SCOTUSBlog to that effect but it hasn't been moderated yet.
posted by cybertaur1 at 2:46 PM on March 21 [9 favorites]


That's... a pretty dang major transcription error. Big enough that if someone like Fox News made such an error on a different subject we'd be howling about deliberate obfuscation of the truth.

Well, the difference is, the SCOTUS blog doesn't have a history of shenanigans, at least not that I have heard of.
posted by thelonius at 2:46 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


My jaw just dropped at Gorsuch's second comment there, which gave my brain a moment to recover from shock and realize that by putting these two items together, it's even worse.

Me too, when I read it on SCOTUSblog. But if you watch the video, it's not an accurate transcription. Everyone, stop quoting that comment! Thanks.
posted by Jpfed at 2:46 PM on March 21 [9 favorites]


>futz: ... prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church ...

Wut? As if prostitution alone being against the law wasn't bad enough? And what of separation of church and state? Uuuuughh... Oklahoma.

Yeah, that's my new slogan for the state. Uuuuughh ... Oklahoma.


If there's one thing we know about Jesus, it's that he would never be caught dead within 1000 feet of a tax collector, prostitute or sinner. [fake]
posted by tivalasvegas at 2:47 PM on March 21 [12 favorites]


TPM:

"For two years ending in 2013, the FBI had a court-approved warrant to eavesdrop on a sophisticated Russian organized crime money laundering network that operated out of unit 63A in Trump Tower.
The FBI investigation led to a federal grand jury indictment of more than 30 people, including one of the world’s most notorious Russian mafia bosses, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov. Known as the “Little Taiwanese,” Tokhtakhounov was the only target to slip away, and he remains a fugitive from American justice.

Five months after the April 2013 indictment and after Interpol issued a “red notice” for Tokhtakhounov, the fugitive appeared near Donald Trump in the VIP section of the Moscow Miss Universe pageant. Trump had sold the Russian rights for Miss Universe to a billionaire Russian shopping mall developer."

I'm back to laughing uncontrollably, but I'll probably be crying again pretty soon.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:48 PM on March 21 [52 favorites]


BREAKING: Gorsuch is now the first SCOTUS nominee to be asked about duck-size horses
posted by theodolite at 2:50 PM on March 21 [7 favorites]


Uuuuughh ... Oklahoma

🎵Ugh-lahoma, where the whores must be 1000 feet... (away from a church).🎵

That being said I've had some great experiences in OKC. It's almost like everywhere you go has good people, even deep red Oklahoma.
posted by dis_integration at 2:51 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]


Is there any doubt this is where his wiretapping accusation came from? Like I doubt even he's aware of it, but isn't this how amphetamine damage and dementia works?
posted by schadenfrau at 2:51 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


I'm watching the confirmation hearings. Gorsuch is going to be confirmed. This isn't Bork. Yes, that sucks. It's a stolen seat. But it's going to happen.
posted by Justinian at 2:52 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


I'm watching the confirmation hearings. Gorsuch is going to be confirmed. This isn't Bork. Yes, that sucks. It's a stolen seat. But it's going to happen.

Well, maybe he'll get cancer and the cure will have been defunded years ago and he dies in horrible pain because he imposed that same obligation on the rest of the country during his tenure.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 2:54 PM on March 21 [7 favorites]


I still have many good friends and family fighting the good fight in Oklahoma. They just lack the numbers unfortunately.
posted by downtohisturtles at 2:54 PM on March 21 [6 favorites]


Trump is the next Nixon, but with added incompetence and treason. That's gotta leave a mark.

I've been wondering about this lately. I'm 43, and the shine has, in most recent years, really been burnished off the Reagan administration, especially as longitudinal studies about his policies are finally bearing fruit. So that goes: Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, Dubya, now Trump. Shitfires all the way down, even if you quibble about Bush I (and honestly, who's gonna do that?). It's also about the span of a generational cohort's political awareness, so I'm actually sanguine about the future*, barring any batshit-crazy martial law-style last-ditch effort for the Current Ruling Paradigm to keep power. One could say, given 3 million votes in the voice of the actual people, that it already has begun and the Trump admin is actually an outlier**, and we're on the verge of a 60's-era-sized change of the guard.

God I hope so.

*Don't ask me about the upcoming climate apocalypse, though - throw that into the mix, and all bets are off.
**Another way to look at it, of course, is that it's the beginning of a batshit-crazy martial law-style last-ditch effort for the Current Ruling Paradigm to keep power.
posted by eclectist at 2:56 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]




Not to take away from the Gorsuch hearings (there's too many things happening at once) but this chart of the AHCA-provided tax breaks by income is really a sight to see.

Spoiler: If you make between $200K and $500K, your tax cut is on average $280. If you make less, your average tax cut is nothing. Who's getting the real bucks? That's left as an exercise to the reader, or click the link and look at that chart. Jaw-dropping in its naked venality.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:57 PM on March 21 [37 favorites]


cybertaur1: @filthy light thief, @RedOrGreen, @Justinian

Here's the relevant video

Really seems like a transcription error. I also commented on the SCOTUSBlog to that effect but it hasn't been moderated yet.


> Franken: It is settled law.
> Gorsuch: It is not.

Note that this comment suggests that's a transcription error. ("It is absolutely settled law.")


Sorry, I can't watch YouTube at the moment, but does this imply Gorsuch actually said "It is absolutely settled law" in reply to Franken saying "It is settled law"?
posted by filthy light thief at 2:59 PM on March 21


Flake: Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or a hundred duck-sized horses? Gorsuch: I'm rarely at a loss for words.

Dumbass. It takes only a moment to realize that a horse-sized duck would just collapse onto its immediately-broken bones and die, probably not even able to breathe, so of course you pick the horse-sized duck. Scalia would have answered this in a heartbeat.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:01 PM on March 21 [28 favorites]


We knew Gorsuch was going to get confirmed. The only suspense I have now is whether any Dems will cave. I wish I was confident that some of them wouldn't. If I had any Dems representing me I would call them and tell them they better not, so if you do, please do that for me.

My senators are making googly-eyes at this guy so there is no hope to be had there. He's their Aryan dreamboat.
posted by emjaybee at 3:05 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


filthy light thief: I watched and yes, he said "It is absolutely settled law."
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:07 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Dumbass. It takes only a moment to realize that a horse-sized duck would just collapse onto its immediately-broken bones and die, probably not even able to breathe, so of course you pick the horse-sized duck. Scalia would have answered this in a heartbeat.

Scalia died in bed with his head resting on a down filled pillow. The horse sized duck defeated him.
posted by srboisvert at 3:08 PM on March 21 [35 favorites]


RedOrGreen: Not to take away from the Gorsuch hearings (there's too many things happening at once) but this chart of the AHCA-provided tax breaks by income is really a sight to see.
In their updated health bill, House Republicans are doubling down on their plan to cut taxes for high-income households while cutting health insurance for mostly low- and moderate-income households — speeding up tax cuts for the very richest people so they take effect in 2017, rather than 2018.

Specifically, the updated bill would eliminate, for 2017, two taxes that fall only on high-income filers: the additional Hospital Insurance (HI) payroll tax on high earners and the Medicare tax on unearned income.
The updated version caved to the Freedom Caucus, who thought that it was too humane. But I take some comfort in what Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the architects of Obamacare, said this morning on NPR:
What is going to happen in the Senate, where presumably this bill is going to get a very substantial overhaul, and then you're going to have the House voting for one thing, and the Senate completely changing because they don't have the votes in the Senate.

Senator Collins and others have made it quite clear they're not voting for this bill. So they'd need substantial changes to get to their 50 votes. So, you know, it's a funny thing that the House is going to vote for something that isn't going to be the real bill. And it does seem a little bit like a bait-and-switch here.
I don't imagine he's the optimistic, naive sort, but we'll see.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:10 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


filthy light thief: The transcription on SCOTUSBlog seems to be something of a summary of the full dialog.

Here's the full transcription of the exchange:

Franken: How have your views of marriage equality changed, if at all, since the 2004 election?
Gorsuch: Senator my personal views - if I were to begin speaking about my personal views on this subject, which every American has views on, would send a misleading signal to the American people that my person --
Franken: It's settled law [or maybe "it's federal law?" a little hard to hear]
Gorsuch: It is absolutely settled law. There's ongoing litigation about its impact and its application, right now, and I cannot begin to share my personal views without suggesting mistakenly, to the people --
Franken: Ok, ok. Can I move onto something else now? Thank you. I understand. You've given a version of this answer before, so I understand, I understand.

It's possible that the SCOTUSBlog interpretation of Gorsuch's answer boils down to "It is not settled law" due to the "ongoing litigation" hedges. Gorsuch certainly didn't say verbatim "My personal views don't matter", for example, which is his response in the SCOTUSBlog transcript to Franken's initial question, but it seems like maybe a fair enough summary there.
posted by cybertaur1 at 3:12 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Here's the video on the duck/horse question. That headshake Gorsuch does is amazing.

Flake then asks if Gorsuch has ever worn gym shorts and a tank top under his robe. He pleads the fifth.

thisisfine.gif
posted by zachlipton at 3:14 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]


> The Judge Gorsuch who spoke in the Senate today is nothing like the man who wrote his opinions

Behind Neil Gorsuch's Rhetoric, His Record Suggests Aggressive Judge Wedded to Conservative Agenda

> Gorsuch Is Just a Start as Right Plans a Remake of the Judiciary
The scale and sophistication of the right’s judicial confirmation efforts would seem to portend a dark period ahead for the left, which, despite having made great strides under Mr. Obama, finds itself outmaneuvered.


Inside How the Federalist Society & Koch Brothers Are Pushing for Trump to Reshape Federal Judiciary
posted by homunculus at 3:15 PM on March 21 [6 favorites]


According to twitter Grassley just announced that Senator Tillis will be taking over the hearing at 8:00 because Grassley has to go to bed at 9:00. I am stunned. Yes the Senate is full of old guys who need their rest but the fact that he felt comfortable announcing this as his reason is bizarre to me. It screams: "I'm not flexible nor energetic enough to do this important job anymore. Vote me out. Thanks."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:16 PM on March 21 [30 favorites]


I don't imagine he's the optimistic, naive sort, but we'll see.

I think it's a pretty realistic assessment of the most likely outcome, though of course this is by no means guaranteed.

After eight years of consequence-free screaming into the void, our Republicans is learning that their actions now have consequences.

And the political calculus is different for different factions, which is going to make it pretty damn hard for them to find a compromise that satisfies the non-reality-based ideologues of the Freedom Caucus with the handful of moderates in the House and purple-state Senators who don't want to sign the death warrant on their careers.

I don't even want to use the o-word because I'm increasingly superstitious but I'll say that I'm at least cautiously non-pessimistic about the possibility that nothing gets passed.

Even then, however, we would still face a struggling insurance framework that will be undermined by the incompetence and/or direct fuckery of the Trump Administration and HHS leadership. It will be hard to force the government to effectively fix a law it detests.
posted by tivalasvegas at 3:20 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


ProPublica Former Lobbyist With For-Profit Colleges Quits Education Department
Under fire from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Taylor Hansen quit the department three days after ProPublica revealed his hiring.

A former lobbyist for an association of for-profit colleges resigned last Friday from the Department of Education, where he had worked for about a month.

As ProPublica reported last week, the Trump administration had hired Taylor Hansen to join the department’s “beachhead” team, a group of temporary hires who do not require approval from the U.S. Senate for their appointments.
This administration really is scraping the bottom of the barrel to put people into place. How hard is it to find someone to work in the Dept. of Ed. that is not a lobbyist of for-profit colleges?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:21 PM on March 21 [23 favorites]


Al Franken continuing to impress with his hard-hitting questioning of nominees. Watch Al Franken shut down Gorsuch’s cruel decision in the ‘Frozen Trucker’ case.

“What you’re talking about here is the plain meaning rule. Here is what the rule means. When the plain meaning of a statute is clear on its face, when its meaning is obvious, courts have no business looking beyond the meaning to the statute’s purpose. And that’s what you used, right?,” Franken said.

Gorsuch agreed that that was what was argued.

“But the plain meaning rule has an exception. When using the plain meaning rule would create an absurd result, courts should depart from the plain meaning. It is absurd to say this company is in its rights to fire him because he made the choice of possibly dying from freezing to death or causing other people to die possibly by driving an unsafe vehicle. That’s absurd.”

“Now, I had a career in identifying absurdity,” Franken continued. “And I know it when I see it. And it makes me — you know, it makes me question your judgment,” he said.

posted by triggerfinger at 3:24 PM on March 21 [137 favorites]






Gorsuch: Senator my personal views - if I were to begin speaking about my personal views on this subject, which every American has views on, would send a misleading signal to the American people that my person --
Franken: It's settled law [or maybe "it's federal law?" a little hard to hear]
Gorsuch: It is absolutely settled law. There's ongoing litigation about its impact and its application, right now, and I cannot begin to share my personal views without suggesting mistakenly, to the people --
This transcription sounds accurate. It's still very much a non-answer, and a little disingenuous too.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 3:28 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Disingenuous non-answers are, sadly, what you get at Supreme Court confirmation hearings. No matter who the nominee is. They're kabuki theater ever since the Bork hearings.

(Clarence Thomas' sexual harassment stuff excepted).
posted by Justinian at 3:31 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Disability In The Age Of Trump, a touching comic by Amanda Scurti.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:39 PM on March 21 [33 favorites]


That Frozen Trucker story is horrifying. Gorsuch believes that it is the responsibility of an employee to sacrifice his life or the lives of others to protect the property of corporations. That is only one case among many in which Gorsuch defers to the side of corporations against employees and consumers. The guy is an amoral nightmare, even worse than Scalia.
posted by JackFlash at 3:49 PM on March 21 [60 favorites]


A new Mideast box on census is sensitive

Be a real fucking shame if a few million non-Middle Eastern sorts happened to check it, huh? Are they gonna make it that easy?

Also fuck Joe Lieberman.
posted by spitbull at 3:54 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


And Maxine Waters' tweet is up to 54,750 likes and over 22,000 retweets.
posted by spitbull at 4:02 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]


Be a real fucking shame if a few million non-Middle Eastern sorts happened to check it, huh? Are they gonna make it that easy?

Um, no. We need better Census categories and we need accurate data.

If the Trumpists get to the point where they're rooting out Muslims, Arabs or any other group they'll have plenty of easier ways to do it beside Census data, as the article linked above notes.

Also, it's ridiculous that people with national origins from Pakistan to the Philippines to Japan all get lumped under the same 'Asian' category. There's like 3.5 billion of us.
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:08 PM on March 21 [7 favorites]


Politico: Trump, GOP leaders lack votes to pass Obamacare repeal
With just 48 hours to go before a vote, the president and senior House Republicans are scrambling to corral wayward members.

Oh please oh please oh please.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:11 PM on March 21 [22 favorites]


Guys, the NYT has an article about the investigation of Roger Stone's Russian connections that mentions that he has a tattoo of Nixon on his back. That was news to me, so I went a-googling. Here it is.
posted by carmicha at 4:19 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


They're between a rock and a hard place. Make it more awful towards poor people to corral "conservative" members of the House and you make it less likely to pass the Senate. Make it marginally less awful to pass the Senate and you lose the House.

Their plan appears to be to try to bribe people with more and more tax cuts.
posted by Justinian at 4:20 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Someone really needs to find the frozen trucker somewhere and get him on tv to tell in graphic detail what it was like to be freezing to death and how insane it is to side with a corporation that would rather have him dead
posted by localhuman at 4:21 PM on March 21 [57 favorites]


Johnny Wallflower: Disability In The Age Of Trump, a touching comic by Amanda Scurti.

I wish we could give hyper-favorites, favorites so emphatic that they would literally burn their way into the computer monitor. I would give this a hyper-favorite.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:21 PM on March 21 [14 favorites]


Census categories have always been political.
posted by spitbull at 4:22 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Be a real fucking shame if a few million non-Middle Eastern sorts happened to check it, huh? Are they gonna make it that easy?

Please don't do this. I get that this seems like sketchy timing, but some MENA groups have been hoping for this additional category for a while, long before our current national nightmare. The census data provide valuable metrics that could benefit communities of MENA origin in the US. Right now, all of us getting lumped in under white when some of us manifestly are not (either in terms of actual skin tone or our general cultural acceptance into whiteness), is not helpful at all. Also, for a lot of people of MENA ethnic origin, the old lumping in under white was just plain confusing (i.e., where's the cutoff between South Asian and Central Asian, and what counts as Middle Eastern? Should you go by national origin or ethnicity? Should a darker skinned North African really tick the white box?).
posted by yasaman at 4:22 PM on March 21 [27 favorites]


tattoo of Nixon

If Stone ever comes to his senses, that'll be hard to remove. Maybe it can be converted into something less unappealing.
posted by thelonius at 4:22 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile in the just a coincidence department : -
A key witness in Preet Bharara’s Russian crime probe was just thrown from fourth floor of building in Moscow.
Nikolai Gorokhov was the Magnitsky family lawyer.
posted by adamvasco at 4:25 PM on March 21 [61 favorites]


Also from Politico: How Democrats could bring down Obamacare repeal

Dems are warning that the sweeteners Ryan put in the bill, like the additional abortion provision and the work requirement, to try to get it through the House won't pass muster in reconciliation and will get stripped out in the Senate.
posted by zachlipton at 4:29 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


i'm in on franken/warren or warren/franken 2020
posted by j_curiouser at 4:49 PM on March 21 [24 favorites]


Trump SEC Pick Jay Clayton Connected to Mysterious Firm ~ He's not the only one in this administration, but Trump's SEC chief pick has some strange family holdings

The real issue with companies like these is the vast array of tools they can offer big companies and high-net-worth individuals to complicate their financial profiles. The worst-case scenario is a string of shell companies that end in an opaque offshore haven.

"That's when the trail becomes impossible to follow," says Blum. Investigators who try to follow money into offshore banking havens have almost no hope of getting answers there, he says.
"You need a formal mutual legal request that may or may not be honored in the lifetime of the investigator," says Blum.

Interestingly, when Public Citizen ran the names of WMB and CSC through the Panama Papers database, they found nothing. But when they ran the address common to both companies – 2711 Centerville Rd., Wilmington – through the database, they found it connected with numerous firms whose agent was the infamous Mossack Fonseca, many of them offshore companies.

posted by futz at 4:50 PM on March 21 [21 favorites]




But when they ran the address common to both companies – 2711 Centerville Rd., Wilmington – through the database, they found it connected with numerous firms whose agent was the infamous Mossack Fonseca, many of them offshore companies.

It's almost like Delaware is a popular place for corporations to form and have their legal residence for some reason, and there are zillions of them that all have the same office buildings there as their addresses or something. Like maybe the Delaware address of Incorporate.com might be a pretty common address for corporations that incorporate in Delaware or something.
posted by The World Famous at 4:58 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]


Matthews just gave a little speech at the end of his show urging Democrats to filibuster Gorsuch. I guess Trump has also radicalized him.
posted by Justinian at 5:00 PM on March 21 [21 favorites]


Flake: Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or a hundred duck-sized horses? Gorsuch: I'm rarely at a loss for words.

The question apparently came from Sen. Flake, on behalf of his teenage son.

The question Flake answered: is Senator Flake someone who wants democratic accountability to die from one massive blow, or the death of a thousand tiny cuts?
posted by jaduncan at 5:08 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]


not that this is directly related, but I was just wondering if we should bet whether tRump will throw out the first pitch this year? Maybe he'll break that record, too, along with 1st petless president etc etc
posted by yoga at 5:10 PM on March 21


It's almost like Delaware is a popular place for corporations to form and have their legal residence for some reason, and there are zillions of them that all have the same office buildings there as their addresses or something. Like maybe the Delaware address of Incorporate.com might be a pretty common address for corporations that incorporate in Delaware or something.
posted by The World Famous


You could have said all that without being so condescending.
posted by futz at 5:17 PM on March 21 [6 favorites]


It screams: "I'm not flexible nor energetic enough to do this important job anymore.

the last time mister charles grassley ran a campaign on the promise of flexibility or energy, the voters of Iowa were not yet a twinkle in God's kindly eye as he was too preoccupied with creating the firmament to divide the heavens from the earth to think about them. at that time, chuck grassley would have been about fifty-five years old and still spry enough to cut a caper, but still went to bed by 9:00 because early to bed and early to rise will get a man elected to the United States Senate in about four thousand biblical years and it's never too soon to get your habits in order.

Iowa knows what they got and they like it very well. god only knows why.
posted by queenofbithynia at 5:21 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


CBS: Trump recommends a Super PAC to advertise the fact that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican -- something "a lot of people don't know."

I, uh, okay. Fine. Nobody knew that.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:25 PM on March 21 [53 favorites]


oh boy he's crazy it keeps hitting me
posted by angrycat at 5:28 PM on March 21 [15 favorites]


So Schumer is saying it: Senate Shouldn’t Vote On Neil Gorsuch While FBI Investigates Trump

"It is the height of irony.."
posted by mumimor at 5:31 PM on March 21 [110 favorites]


This whole Lincoln thing is wild. I have had more than one social media opponent, in just this past week, point out to me that the republican party is the party of Lincoln, as if that excuses their racism, and ignores the past 5 decades of Republican assholery.
I'm choosing to see it as a sign of desperation, that they have little else good to say about themselves.
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:31 PM on March 21 [11 favorites]


Yes, of course. Just like nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.

Trump's mirror.
posted by zakur at 5:31 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


Please don't do this.

Ok ok I get it. I meant it in the spirit of standing in solidarity and on the cynical premise that such information has historically been used in oppressive ways. (Don't get me started on the deceptive ways social class is hidden in census categories which then influences masses of social science that analyzes such data as primary evidence of phenomena that, surprise surprise, turn out to be "racial" even though they affect all "poor" people in similar ways.)

Anyway, on that premise and on the model of non-Muslim allies signing ourselves up for any "Muslim registry," my suggestion was of course merely a Modest Proposal to declare solidarity.
posted by spitbull at 5:33 PM on March 21


Republicans: we’re the party of Lincoln! (but also we want to keep putting up Confederate flags)
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 5:35 PM on March 21 [35 favorites]


Trump recommends a Super PAC to advertise the fact that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican -- something "a lot of people don't know."

Fully public coordination between Trump's 2020 campaign and superpacs. Whoops!
posted by srboisvert at 5:40 PM on March 21 [12 favorites]


The Lincoln thing is a long standing canard on the Right, one of their very favorite tricks has long been to pretend the Southern Strategy was never a thing, and that the parties never flipped. That Trump is just now using that line probably means his Russian PR team/botnet controllers recently discovered it and it filtered up to the top.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:41 PM on March 21 [8 favorites]


first pitch

Well, he was once one of the greatest baseball players in New York history, said so himself.
posted by spitbull at 5:41 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Things Donald Trump thinks nobody knows:

1) Frederick Douglass was amazing.
2) Healthcare is complicated.
3) Abraham Lincoln was Republican.
4) ???
posted by Justinian at 5:50 PM on March 21 [20 favorites]


the party of Lincoln

Easy response: ain't it a real shame you'll now be known as the "Party of Trump."
posted by spitbull at 5:52 PM on March 21 [20 favorites]


Republicans: It doesn't matter what we say or do! Kill America! Corruption is good! we’re the party of Lincoln!

A little wordy for a bumper sticker, but it's not like reading's a priority.
posted by petebest at 5:53 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


I have given up on hope, I can't afford it anymore and it keeps betraying me. I think now, both cynically and realistically, that the Teabaggers supposed objections to RepubliCare are just pro-forma bullshit. Trump hasn't faced a single failed vote yet, and I see no reason at all to imagine that somehow this will be different.

The idea that the Republicans won't, at the last minute and after claiming victory for their Teabagging voters, come together to fuck us all is laughable. They are united and vote in lockstep. A few will "boldly" vote no, but they will be a carefully chosen few who are insufficient to derail the bill.

They will pass RepubliCare. The only question to me is how many Vichy Democrats will join them to give it that oh-so-precious stamp of bipartisanship. It is, I think, inevitable that it will both pass and pass with Democratic votes, the only question is how many.

Personally I'm betting on at least 10 Democratic Senators and 20 Democratic Representatives. To imagine that they would fail to take this opportunity to betray us and hurt us is foolhardy and unrealistic. Of course they will betray us, and of course they will betray us in large numbers.

I'd love to be proven wrong on either of those predictions, but I think I have finally calibrated my predictive ability with the cruel, vindictive, and stupid nature of America and the American voter so I will be greatly surprised if I'm wrong.

jaduncan The question Flake answered: is Senator Flake someone who wants democratic accountability to die from one massive blow, or the death of a thousand tiny cuts?

You know, I'm actually happy with Flake on this.

The whole "hearing" thing is the purest essence of DC Kabuki. I love RBG to death, but the Ginsburg rule has turned hearings on SCOTUS nominees into an obscene waste of time, nothing but an opportunity for grandstanding by Senators.

I loved seeing Franken attacking Gorsuch, it was beautiful. And it was also totally and utterly meaningless except for his re-election efforts. Gorsuch will be confirmed, you know it, I know it, everyone knows it.

The same Senate that confirmed DeVos and Tillerson and the other manifestly incompetent ideologues Trump has appointed will not draw the line at Gorsuch. The only question is if the Democrats will filibuster, and I think we all know the answer to that one too, becuase we saw it so often during Junior's time in office. They'll tell us they have to keep their powder dry, that they're afraid if they filibuster now the Republicans will nuke it and then won't we be sorry if they do something worse.

We all know exactly what will happen, there is nothing that will change that outcome, so if they're going to waste our time with this bullshit at least we might as well get some entertainment out of it.
posted by sotonohito at 5:54 PM on March 21 [21 favorites]


Trump recommends a Super PAC to advertise the fact that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican -- something "a lot of people don't know."

He 100% has no idea he could just get Betsy DeVos' department to fire off an educational PSA about Lincoln for the Ad Council. Like, it could be done next week. He could have them whip up a whole series like Canada's Heritage Minutes with all the factual rigor of a Texas schoolbook to extoll the virtues of Republican historical figures and it would be totally within his power but he has no idea how the government works.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:58 PM on March 21 [49 favorites]


Trump recommends a Super PAC to advertise the fact that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican -- something "a lot of people don't know."


Can we get a Super PAC to educate Trump on the shit he should have learned as a school child?
posted by nubs at 6:06 PM on March 21 [25 favorites]


They will pass Republicare ... I'm betting on at least 10 Democratic Senators and 20 Democratic Representatives

Sotonohito I totally get where you're coming from but I will take that bet. I bet the current bill fails, and they pass some minor bandaid afterwards on a pure party line vote, unless it's a significantly more generous bill.

Is our Congresspeople learning? I think they is. (But yes, I also thought H was a lock and I was worrying about the Senate. So I clearly know nothing and shouldn't be in the prediction business.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 6:06 PM on March 21 [17 favorites]


There is zero percent chance that 10 Democratic Senators vote for Republicare. I would wager the farm on it.

I would, with high confidence, put the over/under on Democratic votes for Republicare at 1.
posted by Justinian at 6:09 PM on March 21 [18 favorites]


You could have said all that without being so condescending.

That's true. How about this: Taibbi is apparently bad at identifying meaningful clues, and the editors of Rolling Stone should know better than to publish something alleging a conspiracy the central clue to which is that multiple companies all incorporated in Delaware.
posted by The World Famous at 6:10 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


(And unless major changes are made to it, I would take the under.)
posted by Justinian at 6:10 PM on March 21


The idea that the Republicans won't, at the last minute and after claiming victory for their Teabagging voters, come together to fuck us all is laughable. They are united and vote in lockstep. A few will "boldly" vote no, but they will be a carefully chosen few who are insufficient to derail the bill.
You know, you may be right. But if that happens, I'm going to feel good about having been one of the people who fought like hell to try to stop it, not one of the smug leftist guys who sat on their fucking couches and taunted us all about how superior they were for knowing we were doomed. If I never again hear a smug leftist guy tell me how useless and naive I am for even trying, it will be much, much too late.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:14 PM on March 21 [58 favorites]


One could say, given 3 million votes in the voice of the actual people, that it already has begun and the Trump admin is actually an outlier**, and we're on the verge of a 60's-era-sized change of the guard.

I'd like to agree with you, I really would. But then I think about systemic memory - how long it takes to, say, close an ozone hole. Or how long it might take to even reign in, let alone reverse, global warming.

Benedict Donald has a 30% cut to EPA on the table. Once that budget is cut by 30%, it will then need, in the next administration, a 50% increase just to get back to where we were. I can hear the republican outrage from here, years in the future, already.

Extend that logic to everything else he's proposed cutting. No, wait, multiply it by another factor: science research has LOST money to inflation since almost a decade now. We've already been talking about a lost generation of scientists from that effect alone, the toddler wants to chop science by 20-30%, and when would we ever increase spending by 40-50% .... that, again, would only get us back to the starting line?

The injuries from this ... event ... have already started, and will last, I expect, the rest of our natural lives. We will never get back to the peace and shared prosperity that we have, now. I do not agree that we are on the cusp of a liberal progressive breakthrough; rather, I fully expect we'll spend decades and lost generations trying to claw our way back to the present.

Sorry for being the downer tonight.
posted by Dashy at 6:14 PM on March 21 [27 favorites]


high confidence, put the over/under on Democratic votes for Republicare at 1.
posted by Justinian


Introducing:
The Justinian Expectational Legislative Level, or JELL.

Worked good the last time!
posted by spitbull at 6:15 PM on March 21 [21 favorites]


Party of Lincoln

Whenever that old canard is trotted out, I recommend trotting out this Janet Jackson song .

Spoiler: it's "What Have You Done for me Lately?"
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:24 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


Josh Marshall hits hard again tonight... TPM: "Inside the Alt-Right/All-Russia Nexus."
posted by spitbull at 6:24 PM on March 21 [12 favorites]




NYT goes deep on psychoanalyzing Trump: Why Letting Go, for Trump, Is No Small or Simple Task, blaming his obsessions on his father and Roy Cohn.
So why can’t he just let go?

First, aides say that Mr. Trump, who often says, “I’m, like, a really smart person” in public, is driven by a need to prove his legitimacy as president to the many critics who deem him an unworthy victor forever undercut by Hillary Clinton’s three-million-vote win in the popular vote.
This article doesn't particularly resemble journalism in many senses, but it paints a picture of someone who is not exactly well.
posted by zachlipton at 6:30 PM on March 21 [7 favorites]


So I took a charger and my iPod out to cut back the shrubberies encroaching on the homestead. I didn't realize how involved in it I would get, and how long it would go on, but it went on so long I trimmed, gathered and stacked for pickup, a pile of brush that is about 10 feet long, 4 feet wide and about 4 feet tall. I finally ran out of power, physically and battery at about 608 cst, so I missed everything after that.

Notable moments were the Al Franken time, and the ted cruz blowjob section. I mean, I couldn't see it, but ill bet money that Ted's maggot filled human sack was making goo goo eyes at the judge.

I'll have to go back to transcripts to see who asked what, but some of the Dems were asking solid foundation questions. No republicans, that I can remember, did anything but tongue bathe Gorsuch.

For his part, the judge is a very well educated, well spoken jurist with an enormous amount of practice in both speech and delivery. He performed his part well, and now we will see if the democratic union stands together, or falls to the dog and pony show.

Make no mistake, this judge presented as a reasonable, rational servant to the law, but I put it to you that his judicial record and his writings suggest that he is every bit a Federalist who has the hard backing of the Koch brothers and the Mercers. My rule of thumb is that if those people like someone, then that person is probably poison to the system.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:32 PM on March 21 [17 favorites]


> "The injuries from this ... event ... have already started, and will last, I expect, the rest of our natural lives. We will never get back to the peace and shared prosperity that we have, now."

Dear future generations, should there be some:

We saw it coming.

We just couldn't stop it.
posted by kyrademon at 6:34 PM on March 21 [20 favorites]


I mean, I couldn't see it, but ill bet money that Ted's maggot filled human sack was making goo goo eyes at the judge.

Oh you have no idea. It's funny that you got that just from the audio, because everyone on Twitter was simultaneously going for the "Find someone that looks at you the way Ted Cruz looks at Neil Gorsuch" joke.
posted by zachlipton at 6:36 PM on March 21 [27 favorites]


For those worried about the AHCA: Current Estimate on Passage in Senate has it roughly 14 R against, with at least 3 who have openly declared their no votes.

See also Bloomberg.

But The Hill reports it may not be able to pass the House.
posted by monopas at 6:37 PM on March 21 [6 favorites]


Note that while that WaPo article about the budget is solidly in the "elegy for the poor coal miners" mold, it does have an adorable picture of a dude who has benefited from government programs with his doggo: Chad Trador, with his dog Tinker Bell, is a former coal miner from Hagerhill, Ky., who has benefited from a federally funded program teaching him how to write computer code. And I think that's the kind of journalism we want to reward.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 6:54 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]


I would definitely prefer my "elegy for the poor Trump-voting coal miners" articles with about 500% more cute doggo pictures.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:09 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Go easy on each other everyone; let cortex poop in peace.
posted by um at 7:10 PM on March 21 [33 favorites]


If you have a hardline Republican rep, what's the moral calculus for contacting them and playacting a Teahadist to get them to continue to oppose the bill on grounds that it's not cruel enough?

I've been thinking a lot about this today. I have a representative who's a member of the Freedom Caucus and a full-blown Tea Party member. He's been hiding from constituents because he's afraid of "violence", specifically citing Gabby Giffords. And of course he feels that the ACHA won't help shrink the deficit, the one thing he cares about because he certainly doesn't care what the ACHA would do to the folks in his district.

If the ACHA doesn't pass, my rep will undoubtedly try to force whatever comes next to not only be a full repeal but also include a return to workhouses. He won't be convinced to oppose it because of its horrific human cost, because he counts cost in coins, not lives. He's doing the equivalent of putting his fingers in his ears when it comes to listening to opposing viewpoints.

Regardless, I'm not willing to let the ACHA pass because what comes next might be worse. I'm going to fight this at every turn. I don't and won't lie: instead, when I've called my rep this week, I've said, "given the representative's strong opinion on the deficit, is he going to be consistent and oppose the ACHA?" Because he doesn't care if people die. But he cares if he's seen to be weak on cutting the deficit.

Similarly, when I was opposing Trump's cabinet picks, I said things like, "Given the representative's view that this election was about draining the swamp, this cabinet pick is horrible. He's an alligator. You'd be re-stocking the swamp, and I expect more consistency and honor from my rep." If I don't have a lever like that to push, then yes, I ask whether my representative's willing to screw over his constituents. But if I can use my representative's own stated viewpoints as a club against him, I will.

I hate this with a fiery passion. I didn't want my representative democracy to turn into a horrible Tamagotchi where I have to keep interacting with it on a daily basis or else democracy dies. I don't want things to get worse. But using my representative's own words against him isn't some accelerationist policy. It's me jabbing him in one of his few tender spots, hoping he'll do the right thing, even for the wrong reasons.
posted by sgranade at 7:11 PM on March 21 [40 favorites]


Trumplicans
Retrumplicans
Trumpublicans
posted by BentFranklin at 7:12 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


"The injuries from this ... event ... have already started, and will last, I expect, the rest of our natural lives.

TBH, I've felt that way nearly every day since September 11th, 2001.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:18 PM on March 21 [20 favorites]


trumplins
posted by Burhanistan at 7:19 PM on March 21


I would definitely prefer my "elegy for the poor Trump-voting coal miners" articles with about 500% more cute doggo pictures.

This Cute Dog Voted For Trump, Now Trump Wants to Take Away His Bones
posted by tobascodagama at 7:20 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


Trumplicans
Retrumplicans
Trumpublicans

If only we can figure out the right name to use, they will tear themselves in two like Rumpelstilskin, and we will be free.
posted by neroli at 7:24 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Trump Wants to Take Away His Bones

One of the more ominous provisions in the AHCA.
posted by mrgoat at 7:24 PM on March 21 [8 favorites]


The Advocate: My Health Care Is Not Cosmetic: My doctor at the time told me outright that insurance companies would not approve of this surgery for someone who was still considered female in the eyes of the law. I hadn't even started hormones yet. She explained that insurance companies wanted women to go through a series of steps just to be sure nothing else could be done before permanently removing the uterus.

I could understand to a certain extent why that was, but for a trans man, aching to feel better for the first time in his life, it was disheartening news, especially because I had no plans to bear children. My doctor did say that it would be wise to refrain from changing my information if I ever did want my surgery covered, because once I was no longer technically female, the situation would get even stickier.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:25 PM on March 21 [6 favorites]


ArbitraryAndCapricious Sorry, I didn't mean we should give up, I've called my rep (Lamar Smith, ugh) and told him I was a small government conservative and part of the local Tea Party and I wanted him to vote against that ObamaCare Lite AHCA nonsense. I'm volunteering with my local Democrats for a fundraiser next week, and I'm signing up for voter registrar training in April.

Both my bank account and all the free time I'm not giving to my kid are being spent on the Democrats.

Hell yes we should fight!

I just, mentally, can't afford optimism anymore. The roller coaster is too much for me, I keep hoping that maybe, just maybe, we can win this one, and we don't. So I'm taking a pessimistic outlook on the current Congress for the sake of my own sanity. If I don't expect to win I won't be so crushed when we lose.

My optimism I'm saving for the 2017 and 2018 races. I really do think we have a slight chance of getting rid of Lamar Smith here, not a huge chance but depending on how badly Trump fucks up I think it's possible. Nationally I've got a bit of hope for the House in general and I think we'll hold at least 45 seats in the Senate even with so many of the elections stacked against us. And in 2020 I think we'll kick fucking ass.

But optimism for the current Congress is something I just can't do anymore, it costs me too many marbles. I was screaming at NPR this morning on my way to work, and that's not a sign of good mental health.
posted by sotonohito at 7:25 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


I didn't want my representative democracy to turn into a horrible Tamagotchi where I have to keep interacting with it on a daily basis or else democracy dies.

I nominate "Feed the Tamagochi or else democracy dies" as the title of the next thread
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:28 PM on March 21 [48 favorites]


Sleepy Tillerson didn't even want the job?

I find it hard to assess how evil/stupid/incompetent/brain damage these people are.
posted by Artw at 7:31 PM on March 21 [10 favorites]


Is this money laundering scheme:
Bank that lent $300m to Trump linked to Russian money laundering scam
posted by futz at 1:33 PM on March 21
the same as this money laundering scheme: