Feed the Tamagotchi or democracy dies
March 30, 2017 10:52 AM   Subscribe

 
Yay!! Thanks filthy light thief!
posted by obtuser at 10:54 AM on March 30 [7 favorites]


Excellent post title. Although he looks more like a Furby recovered from landfill.
posted by howfar at 10:54 AM on March 30 [13 favorites]




I'm never getting any work done ever again, am I.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:56 AM on March 30 [71 favorites]


Thank you! Spicey time was delayed just for the new thread!
posted by CoffeeHikeNapWine at 10:56 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


This is a big fucking deal. Going to be QUITE a press conference today at the White House!
posted by lattiboy at 10:56 AM on March 30 [7 favorites]


howfar: Excellent post title. Although he looks more like a Furby recovered from landfill.

The post title is from a comment by sgranade and soren_lorensen's suggestion, for the record.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:57 AM on March 30 [6 favorites]


For those who occasionally get out of the loop*, may I suggest What The Fuck Just Happened Today??

*run while you can!
posted by INFJ at 10:57 AM on March 30 [37 favorites]


Okay, so Trump had a couple of Flynn's goons that were inexplicably still part of the admin root through a bunch of transcripts where various foreign agents are discussing Trump so he can use it as a smoking gun for his wiretap claims. Does this not now mean that a bunch of Flynn goons now have a bunch of incriminating dirt on Trump?

That seems bad, though I guess less so if Flynn & co knew all the dirt anyway.

Anyhow, this corrupt conspiracy is very bad at corruption and conspiracy.
posted by Artw at 10:58 AM on March 30 [13 favorites]


schadenfrau, I think you're doing some important work here. Useful, anyway.

Lemme know if you need me to write you a note
posted by miles per flower at 10:58 AM on March 30 [12 favorites]


So here's my question: If Trump is forced to resign because of the Russia thing, we get a do-over on the last couple months, right? RIGHT?
posted by kleinsteradikaleminderheit at 10:59 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


[Hey folks! A lot going on but let's try and help keep the thread from immediately needing replacing by aiming for more substantive link/context stuff and not so much random chatter or one-liner liveblogging etc. These threads have been getting pretty chatty and wooly and it'd be good to throttle that back a bit. The server and the mod team thank you.]
posted by cortex at 10:59 AM on March 30 [70 favorites]


One thing I’ve not been able to help but notice: Nunes isn’t even putting on a dog-and-pony show with the House Intelligence Committee to make this go away. What that tells me is that there’s so much damaging information that they can’t risk ANY of it getting out. The fact that Trump is caught up in surveillance of foreign officials is worthy of an investigation in and of itself.
posted by azpenguin at 11:02 AM on March 30 [26 favorites]


It's pretty amazing to consider that this particular sub-mess around Nunes is completely self-inflected from the original tweet to the bonkers attempt to justify that tweet.
posted by diogenes at 11:02 AM on March 30 [29 favorites]


Those who can stand to watch the stupid ass briefings and report back on it in hopefully-not-too-livebloggy chunks, your sacrifice is appreciated.
posted by Artw at 11:03 AM on March 30 [36 favorites]


He's at 35% approval, -24 net and everything is self-inflicted. The economy is good, stock market good, unemployment under 5%, no foreign disasters, no natural disasters. 60 odd days in. Insane.
posted by chris24 at 11:05 AM on March 30 [148 favorites]


Spicer claims that Gorsuch is the "definition" of a mainstream judge. I hope a reporter goes after that. Not today, but tomorrow, or something.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:05 AM on March 30 [6 favorites]


Spicer is still doing the scripted portion of the briefing. Main new points are that Gorsuch is really great and should be confirmed (and that he answered lots and lots of questions), the White House supports the repeal of internet privacy regulations, and they'll decide what to do about the Paris Agreement sometime before the G7 summit in May.
posted by zachlipton at 11:06 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Spicer is now saying that a letter was just transmitted to the Senate and House intelligence committees explaining that they discovered documents responsive to their request for information that intelligence was mishandled, and that the chairs and ranking members of said committees will be invited to the White House to view that evidence.

My hunch is that they realized that the leak to Nunes was also something they were supposed to be disclosing to Congress officially, and now they're covering their tracks.
posted by zachlipton at 11:09 AM on March 30 [8 favorites]


One thing I’ve not been able to help but notice: Nunes isn’t even putting on a dog-and-pony show with the House Intelligence Committee to make this go away. What that tells me is that there’s so much damaging information that they can’t risk ANY of it getting out. The fact that Trump is caught up in surveillance of foreign officials is worthy of an investigation in and of itself.

This has been the thrust of Josh Marshall's thesis over at TPM: basically that the only thing that explains this kind of batshit blanket denial and laughably suspicious effort to kill any and all investigation, rather than have a dog and pony show, is that whatever the real scandal is is so big, and so...many-tentacled, that they can't risk any scrutiny at all.

Too big to fake it, essentially.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:09 AM on March 30 [60 favorites]


filthy light thief, thank you for the new thread title. The previous thread's "up all night" in the title kept getting Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" stuck in my head, but this one's "feed" will only get Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" stuck in there, which is a song I much prefer. Anyway, to keep this comment related to politics i would like to do a hearty lol about Mike Pence being terrified to eat a dinner with a woman and I hope it's because he senses some kind of Charlotte Corday bathtime situation in his future
posted by Greg Nog at 11:09 AM on March 30 [20 favorites]




Russia hired 1,000 people to create anti-Clinton 'fake news' in key US states during election, Trump-Russia hearings leader reveals

That is a terrifyingly small number
posted by schadenfrau at 11:11 AM on March 30 [25 favorites]


this one's "feed" will only get Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" stuck in there

GODDAMMIT GREG NOG
posted by Etrigan at 11:11 AM on March 30 [20 favorites]


Spicer is mad at a [white, male] reporter for his "obsession" with "who and when." He's treating him nicer than he does April Ryan, though.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:15 AM on March 30 [14 favorites]


Spicer's voice is breaking with the stress at the moment.
posted by MattWPBS at 11:16 AM on March 30 [4 favorites]


Q: Does the White House think its appropriate for National Security officials to be carrying out a political task, finding information to validate the President's tweet.

A: Your question assumes the reporting is correct. We've invited both committees to see the materials.

Q: Are you saying the NYT reporting is not correct?

A: "In order to comment on that story would be to validate certain things that I am not at liberty to do." Spicer says the press is focused on the "process" but the White House is focused on the "substance." They sent a letter to the committees in the past few hours saying they had this information.

Spicer: "We are not going to engage actively in that kind of leaking that has been a problem."

His strategy here is basically to argue that the process doesn't matter and just wants everyone to think there's a wiretapping scandal.
posted by zachlipton at 11:16 AM on March 30 [14 favorites]


Press secretary says "I never said I would provide you answers." Of course there' context I'm leaving out here, but still, looks like he's misread his job description or something...
posted by Namlit at 11:17 AM on March 30 [4 favorites]


Maybe white guys could invent a new industry of being speaking surrogates for women and people of color. Like, April Ryan could have a white guy come in with her, with an earpiece, and she has a headset mike and tells him what to say. It doesn't have to be subtle, because Republicans are past that. They'll be so relieved a white man is talking that they'll accept it.
posted by emjaybee at 11:18 AM on March 30 [44 favorites]


futz: Russia hired 1,000 people to create anti-Clinton 'fake news' in key US states during election, Trump-Russia hearings leader reveals

If 5th graders can be taught to learn how to do a decent job figuring out what is a fake news story in 2-3 minutes in class, I have high hopes that others can learn, too. That's assuming that they actually care about the truth and won't reshape reality that is before their eyes.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:18 AM on March 30 [13 favorites]


What if there’s no 'Nuclear Option' in the Senate?

In the absence of a plausible constitutional issue raised by the Gorsuch filibuster, the 2013 precedent is simply inapplicable. If the Republicans, nevertheless, insist on invoking the Nixon rule, respect for Rule XXII mandates that, in the absence of plausible allegations of unconstitutional abuse, the scripted point of order at the heart of the nuclear option be sustained by 2/3 of the senators present and voting before it morphs into a binding Senate precedent. At a minimum, unlike the sleepy Republicans in 2013, the Democratic Senate leadership should counter with points-of-order demanding debate on any appeal to the Senate that does not require a 2/3 vote. The Senate could, of course, choose to operate under a rule providing for changes in the rules by majority vote, or, for that matter, under no rules at all. But that’s not what the Senate has done. Instead, the senators have carefully submitted themselves to a rule about changing rules that requires a 2/3 vote. Republican senators were free to change the Senate’s rules by majority vote in Jan., 2017, during the organizational phase of the current Congress.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:18 AM on March 30 [24 favorites]


Is this the only job Spicer can do? Was he genetically bred to give mad news conferences for a madman and is adrift forever if he doesn't do that? Because otherwise I cannot fathom why he does this job.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:18 AM on March 30 [10 favorites]


His strategy here is basically to argue that the process doesn't matter and just wants everyone to think there's a wiretapping scandal.

His strategy is that he has no idea what the fuck he is doing.
posted by Melismata at 11:18 AM on March 30 [44 favorites]


This would be another drawing as Trump, this time a more straight forward rendering, but of Trump as a zombie. Zombie Trump, shuffling hideously around the Whitehouse during the dead of night!

As per usual, please feel free to share, download, or what have you.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 11:20 AM on March 30 [14 favorites]


Even if the "Obama tapped my phones!!" story were true, what political capital is gained here? Is this entire WH just dedicated to the task of making Trump's wild accusations justified? Every time I think they've backed off a little on the ideas of 1)Obama ordering the wiretap and 2)the surveillance taking place during the election (both of which are demonstrably untrue) they double down on those claims..
posted by obtuser at 11:20 AM on March 30 [4 favorites]


Because otherwise I cannot fathom why he does this job.

No one else could do it.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 11:21 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


This guy [Spicer] is so full of shit. The patience of the press pool - they know damn well they are getting lied to and still remain professional.
posted by H. Roark at 11:22 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


So here's my question: If Trump is forced to resign because of the Russia thing, we get a do-over on the last couple months, right? RIGHT?

Pretty much. We've seen the dance before - Pence and a number of high-profile administration members will resign first, Trump will nominate a middle-of-the-road, uncontroversial establishment Republican to sail smoothly through the confirmation (Romney or Sandoval would be my guess) , pardon those who already resigned, and then himself resign in exchange for a blanket pardon. Ryan leaves the house to be Veep to appease Movement conservatives, and a giant hatchet fight ensues between the Movement Conservatives and Freedom Caucus to see who'll be the next Speaker, each trying to out-crazy the next.

The new Administration will look a lot more like H. W.'s than Dubbya's in an attempt to salvage the Republican brand by steering well clear of drama and controversy, and slowly, quietly walk back a lot of the whackadoodle fringe fantasies Franco American tried to foist off on the nation.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:22 AM on March 30 [14 favorites]


6 reasons the Trump presidency is in shambles
Bullshitting is easy, but governing is hard: Trump’s bluster and bombast, so effective on the campaign trail, has backfired spectacularly in office.
...
1) Trump is a strong communicator but a lousy policy specialist
2) Trump underestimated the importance of Congress
3) Trump’s decision to wage war against the bureaucracy was foolish
4) The administration is too divided and chaotic to get anything done
5) Trump’s managerial style doesn’t translate to politics
6) Trump’s strength is his populist appeal, but presidents rarely move public opinion
70 days in, Donald Trump’s presidency is flailing
...with every day that passes, Trump is looking more bound by the political system he promised to upend. The outcomes we’re seeing look like what you’d expect from an inexperienced, unfocused president who’s more interested in tweeting out cable news commentary than learning about the government he runs and the policies he wants to change. Merely 10 weeks into his term, the processes, skills, and institutions Trump flouted as a candidate are breaking him as a president.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:22 AM on March 30 [45 favorites]


The constitution, laws, etc: Local school board issuing a statement saying bullying will not be tolerated.

Republican legislators: The football team, who routinely bully other students.

Trump, et al: Principal, coaches and teachers, who give some mouth service to following the school board's edicts, but through their actions and words, openly ignore them, and worse, through their actions give the team reason to double-down on their bullying.

30% of America: Live vicariously through football team's victories, think the bullying is OK if that's what it takes to win.

Women, people of color, and other oppressed groups: Students who are targets of the bullying, chosen precisely because they are at a disadvatage.

This middle school is a shithole. In the movie version, good will eventually triumph and the football team and enabling adults receive their due, but that requires a character to show up:

Principled student(s) and teachers: Democratic lawmakers and engaged citizens.
posted by maxwelton at 11:22 AM on March 30 [36 favorites]


Q: Did President Trump order anyone to look for information to justify his tweet?
Spicer: Uh, um, er, I, uh, I can't answer that.
posted by diogenes at 11:24 AM on March 30 [33 favorites]


kirkaracha: Trump’s strength is his populist appeal, but presidents rarely move public opinion

Hah, Trump proved this one wrong! Americans’ opposition to repealing Obamacare grows, particularly among Republicans

Oh, you mean he should be moving public opinion his direction ... oh, never mind.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:25 AM on March 30 [39 favorites]


I think my deepest fear is that these hearings will turn out like Benghazi in reverse. They'll drag on, and come to the conclusion that there's nothing there, even though half the country sees there's plenty there. It'll just be flipped as to which half is convinced of which side, and in the end it won't get anyone in actual trouble.
posted by dnash at 11:26 AM on March 30 [19 favorites]


dnash: It'll just be flipped as to which half is convinced of which side, and in the end it won't get anyone in actual trouble.

Which will actually be worse than no one getting in trouble, Trump will be "inoculated" against future fuck-ups. Unless he was on camera doing something completely illegal, it would be that much easier for supporters to say "oh yeah, this will just be like the Russia debacle, a waste of time and money."
posted by filthy light thief at 11:29 AM on March 30 [9 favorites]


Maybe white guys could invent a new industry of being speaking surrogates for women and people of color. Like, April Ryan could have a white guy come in with her, with an earpiece, and she has a headset mike and tells him what to say. It doesn't have to be subtle, because Republicans are past that. They'll be so relieved a white man is talking that they'll accept it.

I have in the past daydreamed about doing this exact thing if I ever won the lottery.
posted by winna at 11:29 AM on March 30 [9 favorites]


When Spicer shuts down a reporter, I wish the other reporters would band together and cede their question back to the original reporter until Spicer has to just walk away.
posted by diogenes at 11:31 AM on March 30 [92 favorites]


Pence and a number of high-profile administration members will resign first,

Why would Pence resign? While Ryan and Trump grab the headlines, Pence ain't done much to take note of.

If I was Pence, I would keep quiet, deny knowing anything about any scandals, deny being involved in anything untoward, and maintain that I've been kept in the dark about everything this whole time. It's not like the people of Indiana are clamoring to get him back; where else would he get to go if he resigns?

If things start exploding and Pence throws himself on a proverbial grenade, he gets - if he's lucky - a job at a lobbying firm or Christian think-tank. If he stays silent and holds on, he gets to be "leader of the free world", and, with a plausibly-regretful tone as he bids goodbye to that now-disgraced sinner Trump, he gets to push the Republican Party even further into the realm of theocracy.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:31 AM on March 30 [21 favorites]


Like, April Ryan could have a white guy come in with her, with an earpiece, and she has a headset mike and tells him what to say.

Larry Middleman?
posted by melissasaurus at 11:32 AM on March 30 [14 favorites]


Maybe white guys could invent a new industry of being speaking surrogates for women and people of color. Like, April Ryan could have a white guy come in with her, with an earpiece, and she has a headset mike and tells him what to say. It doesn't have to be subtle, because Republicans are past that. They'll be so relieved a white man is talking that they'll accept it.

I have in the past daydreamed about doing this exact thing if I ever won the lottery.


Cyrano de Priveledgerac.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:32 AM on March 30 [53 favorites]


I haven't seen Spicer on camera in close to three weeks. He looks really tired and he's clearly lost weight. He's getting worn out by the stress.
posted by carmicha at 11:34 AM on March 30 [5 favorites]


1) Trump is a strong communicator

Every time I see someone assert this, I feel like I am taking crazy pills. The man has a vocabulary of about 100 words (80 of them are adjectives) and can barely form a coherent sentence, even when he's typing.
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:34 AM on March 30 [152 favorites]


Larry Middleman?

If you had told me, five years ago, that Arrested Development was a blueprint for an American Presidency, I think I would have assumed it would be a lot funnier than it is.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:34 AM on March 30 [45 favorites]


Why would Pence resign?

Fortunately, if there's an opportunity to gank a political opponent, it won't matter how under-the-radar he is, keeping him from the oval office will keep a lot of folks busy... this is provided he's not on the wrong side of the law.

There are a ton of moving pieces to this, and Pence does like to keep a low profile, but he's neck deep in this if the WaPo and NYT are to be believed - he knew full well Flynn was in contact with a Russian handler. Which means he is passively complicit, at the very least.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:36 AM on March 30 [11 favorites]


If you had told me, five years ago, that Arrested Development was a blueprint for an American Presidency, I think I would have assumed it would be a lot funnier than it is.

The frightening genius of Arrested Development is that something that started off as, in part, a satire of the Bush Administration now seems like an almost prescient foretelling of the Trump Administration.
posted by cjelli at 11:36 AM on March 30 [34 favorites]


1) Trump is a strong communicator

Every time I see someone assert this, I feel like I am taking crazy pills. The man has a vocabulary of about 100 words (80 of them are adjectives) and can barely form a coherent sentence, even when he's typing.


He's a very strong communicator of particular emotions, completely untethered to any understanding of the actual world. Ideas, not so much. But for a certain type of person, ideas literally do not matter.

And that is apparently distressingly common. Like...for real, there are a lot of dumb people, and a lot of people who maybe aren't dumb but are just incurious enough that they don't really second guess what their lizard brain might tell them at any given moment.

Like, a lot of them.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:37 AM on March 30 [55 favorites]


So as I understand the situation:

- Trump tweets about "tapp"
- Much noise and shouting, White House demands that Congress investigate to find proof of the President's own tweets
- White House officials start searching classified documents to find proof of the President's tweets
- Intelligence committees request documents that would prove the President's tweets
- Nunes bails out of his Uber, rushes to the White House, views documents given to him by Michael Ellis and Ezra Cohen-Watnick (a Flynn lackey who the National Security Advisor wanted to reassign, but Bannon and Kushner refused to allow that to happen) and that don't prove the President's tweets at all and are just ordinary communications about foreign officials talking about the new Administration
- Nunes briefs Ryan, holds a breathless press conference where he portrays this as a giant scandal, rushes to the White House uninvited to tell the White House about documents he just got from the White House
- Sean Spicer explains that it makes no sense for the information to have come from the White House
- The New York Times reveals that Nunes got the information from the White House
- The White House officially notifies the intelligence committees the information exists. It's supposedly a total coincidence that this happened right after the NYT found out about this. Presumably someone realized that this looks a lot like withholding evidence from Congress, which is usually what we call it when the White House is sitting on documents that are responsive to a request.
- Sean Spicer stonewalls and emits word salad when asked to explain any of this.

This is such an own-goal.
posted by zachlipton at 11:37 AM on March 30 [146 favorites]


I haven't seen Spicer on camera in close to three weeks. He looks really tired and he's clearly lost weight. He's getting worn out by the stress.

For whatever it's worth, he was his usual high-energy shouty self through Tuesday; Sleepy Spice only showed up yesterday.
posted by cjelli at 11:38 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


1) Trump is a strong communicator

Every time I see someone assert this, I feel like I am taking crazy pills.


strong != good
posted by Etrigan at 11:38 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Comey (FBI) told Obama that the Russians were involved in our elections. Obama told him not to go public with that info. Why? The FBI still trying to authenticate the Brit spy Steele material. If they can, it is dynamite (yes, I have seen it), but thus far Steele reluctant to travel.
Whatever becomes of Trump, climate change mess he is making and the Supreme Court will remain when Pence takes over.
posted by Postroad at 11:38 AM on March 30 [8 favorites]


The letter/invite that the White House sent to the intelligence committees is such a transparent attempt to cover their asses.
posted by diogenes at 11:38 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


When Spicer shuts down a reporter, I wish the other reporters would band together and cede their question back to the original reporter until Spicer has to just walk away.

And that just happened with someone telling him to take April Ryan's question.
posted by MattWPBS at 11:39 AM on March 30 [52 favorites]


Spicer says that he "does not know" who the White House officials were who talked to Nunes, and he is "not aware" if Nunes was offered a Cabinet position or some other administration position in the future.'

And shout out to reporter "Kaitlyn" for ceding to April Ryan.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:40 AM on March 30 [42 favorites]


>1) Trump is a strong communicator
Every time I see someone assert this, I feel like I am taking crazy pills.

strong != good


Trump is like a living embodiment of Dwight's Speech, right down to the Mussolini parallels. He can carry a room, even if he has no idea what he's really saying.
posted by cjelli at 11:41 AM on March 30 [15 favorites]


The House Intelligence Committee has suspended its Russian investigation, why does Spicer keep implying that it's ongoing (so an independent one is not necessary; that reporters are too focussed on the process when it's all 'being handled').
posted by TWinbrook8 at 11:41 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


I bet whoever came up with Nunes as a method for laundering the information thoughtbthey were pretty fucking smart.

Probably Bannon.
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on March 30 [14 favorites]


The man has a vocabulary of about 100 words (80 of them are adjectives)

And 70 of those are "very".
posted by uosuaq at 11:41 AM on March 30 [16 favorites]


Does it make me a bad person that I can't get past his suit. How can a tailor be this bad. He has had months to find Trevor Noah's tailor.
posted by johnpowell at 11:42 AM on March 30 [14 favorites]


he is "not aware" if Nunes was offered a Cabinet position or some other administration position in the future.'

I suspect that question didn't come out of nowhere and we'll be hearing more on that subject in the near future.
posted by diogenes at 11:42 AM on March 30 [27 favorites]


I almost never repost links, but I hope you'll agree this one needs to be posted again right now: Devin Nunes last week was like one of those dotted-line Family Circus cartoons. [single-tweet photo]
posted by zachlipton at 11:43 AM on March 30 [13 favorites]


1) Trump is a strong communicator

Every time I see someone assert this, I feel like I am taking crazy pills.


There are certain parts of the population who feel that if you use too many big words or complicated ideas, that you're acting as if you're better than others. Anti-intellectualism is a thing. This is Trump's crowd.
posted by rachaelfaith at 11:44 AM on March 30 [18 favorites]


Spicer just directed a reporter to the State Department — which is not currently holding on-the-record briefings.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:45 AM on March 30 [15 favorites]


Love that he seems to be claiming that the White House doesn't know who's coming into the building.
posted by MattWPBS at 11:45 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


SPICER: "The filibuster has never been the norm for Supreme Court Justices."

Wondering if anyone will bring up Garland to him now.
posted by MattWPBS at 11:47 AM on March 30 [24 favorites]


Holy shit. April Ryan has started re-tweeting people who send her racist remarks, with the comment, "Here you go."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:47 AM on March 30 [77 favorites]


Love that he seems to be claiming that the White House doesn't know who's coming into the building.

I'm pretty comfortable with any assertion that the current White House doesn't know anything on any topic.
posted by Etrigan at 11:48 AM on March 30 [13 favorites]


Spicer on Gorsuch: 'It's Obama's nominees who all got through, all with bipartisan support...filibustering a candidate is not the norm.'

This is at least day three of Spicer (and the GOP at large) acting as though the Garland nomination never happened.
posted by cjelli at 11:48 AM on March 30 [65 favorites]


Wondering if anyone will bring up Garland to him now.

The fucking nerve to bitch about Supreme Court nominees always getting an up-or-down vote.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:48 AM on March 30 [28 favorites]


Never fails. Soon as I make a comment I feel proud of, there's a new thread.
I'm never gonna be a MeFi snark superstar.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:49 AM on March 30 [32 favorites]


Does it make me a bad person that I can't get past his suit. How can a tailor be this bad. He has had months to find Trevor Noah's tailor.

If the boss is schlumpy, his underlings will copy him.
posted by emjaybee at 11:50 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


I totally don't get how no one in the press room won't follow up spicer's run on answer about how unprecedented the filibuster will be with a question about Garland.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:50 AM on March 30 [20 favorites]


the Brit spy Steele material. If they can, it is dynamite (yes, I have seen it

I guess I'd like to hear more about Postroad's interactions with the Spy Footage Urine Videocassette
posted by Greg Nog at 11:50 AM on March 30 [22 favorites]


Soon as I make a comment I feel proud of, there's a new thread.

I feel you. One of the best puns of my life is sadly languishing at the bottom of a defunct thread :(
posted by diogenes at 11:52 AM on March 30 [29 favorites]


"The FBI still trying to authenticate the Brit spy Steele material. If they can, it is dynamite (yes, I have seen it)"

Postroad do you just mean the dossier on Buzzfeed/CNN...or something else?
posted by Brainy at 11:59 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


I guess I'd like to hear more about Postroad's interactions with the Spy Footage Urine Videocassette

Didn't they put out one really great album in 1996 and then break up?
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:01 PM on March 30 [22 favorites]


Comey (FBI) told Obama that the Russians were involved in our elections. Obama told him not to go public with that info. Why?

I cannot wait for the docudrama ten years from now that finally answers this question.

I have a suspicion that Obama believed that throwing out the Trump-Russia accusations during the campaign would be dismissed as mere partisan meddling, even if it came with solid proof. And the proof at the time was probably highly suggestive but not quite rock solid.

Sad to say, if that was the justification, it was probably the correct read of the situation. There are more than a few people on the left currently taking the Trump-Russia stuff as gospel truth now who were, last summer when the story first broke, accusing Clinton of making the whole thing up. Those people would not have been any more inclined to believe it coming from Comey. And I don't think I need to say anything about how the right would have taken it.

(Another possible justification is that revealing the US government's knowledge of meddling, beyond the bits about Guccifer 2.0 that got out, might have jeopardized spies abroad and exposed them to retaliation from Putin.)
posted by tobascodagama at 12:02 PM on March 30 [57 favorites]


South Carolina U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford: Trump threatened to back primary challenger against me
The South Carolina Republican told The Post and Courier that Trump chose to convey this message through an intermediary: White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney, a former member of the S.C. congressional delegation, co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus and a friend.

"'The president asked me to look you square in the eyes and to say that he hoped that you voted ‘no’ on this bill so he could run (a primary challenger) against you in 2018,'" Sanford said Mulvaney told him.

He added that Mulvaney made it clear he did not want to deliver the message but did so at Trump's insistence.
I really think these tactics are just going to make the Freedom Caucus dig in more.
posted by zachlipton at 12:08 PM on March 30 [78 favorites]


Paul Ryan: “He had told me that — like, a whistleblower-type person had given him some information that was new that spoke to the last administration and part of this investigation,”

So, he is a liar or Nunes is a liar or they are both liars or? If Ryan is not lying then he is almost as dumb as Nunes, which we have established as a baseline for super-fucking-dumb.
posted by Artw at 12:09 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


tobascodagama: "I have a suspicion that Obama believed that throwing out the Trump-Russia accusations during the campaign would be dismissed as mere partisan meddling, even if it came with solid proof. And the proof at the time was probably highly suggestive but not quite rock solid."

It's also worth remembering the context that candidate Trump was always, always perceived by everyone to be a joke candidate with zero real chance. Not torpedoing the already extremely tenuous trust in elections just to guard against Trump and Russian fake news absurdities feels very much like the way that Obama would frame and then decide the issue.
posted by TypographicalError at 12:09 PM on March 30 [34 favorites]


I have a suspicion that Obama believed that throwing out the Trump-Russia accusations during the campaign would be dismissed as mere partisan meddling, even if it came with solid proof. And the proof at the time was probably highly suggestive but not quite rock solid.

That's my read on it as well. Also, one of my concerns continues to be that when - let's call them "low information" people hear "Russian meddling in elections" what they expect that to mean is actual tampering with voting machines and counts. The current media universe is so new that "massive disinformation propaganda effort, aimed at poisoning public trust and opinion" is not something anyone seems to have imagined possible on this scale. I think it's still something many, many people have a hard time understanding as having any impact. They will simply scoff and say "oh c'mon, people are too smart to fall for that."

I fear it's gonna require some super-red-hot smoking gun, like a voice recording of a conversation, to really make this stick hard enough to do justice. I fear it's going to be too easy to get no further than "sure I talked to the Russian guy. Can't remember about what. Probably just the weather and how's the wife and kids." And how do you get past that? Phones and emails purged. The particular Russians in question safely back in their country where we can't get to them. Or dead. So very much smoke but will we ever find the real fire?
posted by dnash at 12:13 PM on March 30 [34 favorites]


I really think these tactics are just going to make the Freedom Caucus dig in more.

I agree, and loathe them or loathe them, it seems likely that the Freedom Caucus will be increasingly useful as allies in the Trump-Russia investigation if Trump keeps up with this kind of thing.
posted by Dr. Send at 12:14 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


I really think these tactics are just going to make the Freedom Caucus dig in more.

Of course - and as long as they're more popular in their district than Trump (which really, it would be hard for them to be less popular outside of dead girl/live boy scandals), it's the smart thing to do to remain in power.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:16 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Just going off interviews I've heard with him, Mark Sanford don't give a fuck. He's on his ninth political life currently anyway, he and everyone around him knows it, and he seems to feel that gives him a certain amount of freedom.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:17 PM on March 30 [15 favorites]


Yeah. Looking at the polls, the shift that led to Trump winning didn't start until October, and didn't really fully happen until after Comey's nothingburger bombshell. Obama was pretty open in his final press conference that he thought Russian meddling was too important to turn into a political issue, and making an even bigger deal of it during the campaign certainly would have done just that. He also didn't want to establish a precedent of intelligence agencies speaking up in the middle of elections. Conveniently enough, as the polls tightened, we started hearing a lot more about Russia.

For all the "why didn't they say something sooner? talk, people keep forgetting about the October 7 statement from DNI/DHS, which was damn extraordinary:
The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow—the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.
That was a month before election day. Obama was cautious, but this statement was a big deal and he was surely involved in authorizing it.
posted by zachlipton at 12:17 PM on March 30 [62 favorites]


You couldn't get an inch of column space through emails nonsense at the time.
posted by Artw at 12:18 PM on March 30 [48 favorites]


Did anyone see (Dr. Rid, I think?) testify that the chip credentials that the Senate IC staffers wear don't actually have a chip, just a picture of a chip? He literally said the purpose was "chip envy" from other staffers. Was that real? A joke? Did I miss anything? Because that's weird.

Larry Middleman

I would give nearly anything, including a pinkie toe, to hear Bob Einstein question Spicer.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:19 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


South Carolina U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford: Trump threatened to back primary challenger against me

Yeah, great idea, Donnie. Threaten a dude who's won that seat seven times, including three since the affair and ugly divorce that made national headlines. I'm sure you can find someone who's more popular in SC1 than Mark Sanford.
posted by Etrigan at 12:23 PM on March 30 [16 favorites]


There are more than a few people on the left currently taking the Trump-Russia stuff as gospel truth now who were, last summer when the story first broke, accusing Clinton of making the whole thing up.

Maybe it's just twitter confirmation bias, but it sure seems like a quite sizeable chunk of the left is currently dismissing any-and-all investigation into Russian government influence peddling as wild, baseless conspiracy mongering. (Which is odd, coming from some of the same people who considered a paid speech to Goldman Sachs as smoking-gun proof that a different politician was a crooked, paid-for stooge of Wall Street.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:25 PM on March 30 [22 favorites]


HRC was warning people about Russia back in July/August of last year.

But you know how it is, you need a man to repeat something a woman says before anyone pays attention or believes it.

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by supercrayon at 12:25 PM on March 30 [151 favorites]




T.D. Strange: "What if there’s no 'Nuclear Option' in the Senate?

Has there been any discussion of this elsewhere, because it's the first I've seen this interpretation. The Hill is not zero credibility, but I want to know if I should get my hopes up at all.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:27 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Did anyone see (Dr. Rid, I think?) testify that the chip credentials that the Senate IC staffers wear don't actually have a chip, just a picture of a chip? He literally said the purpose was "chip envy" from other staffers. Was that real? A joke? Did I miss anything? Because that's weird.

Oh my god this is real (video), assuming Rid actually knows what he's talking about here.

Schiff is supposedly holding a press conference any minute now, but I can't find a link.
posted by zachlipton at 12:27 PM on March 30 [5 favorites]


Maybe it's just twitter confirmation bias, but it sure seems like a quite sizeable chunk of the left is currently dismissing any-and-all investigation into Russian government influence peddling as wild, baseless conspiracy mongering.

Greenwald types? They'll do that till the end of time.
posted by Artw at 12:28 PM on March 30 [17 favorites]


"'The president asked me to look you square in the eyes and to say that he hoped that you voted ‘no’ on this bill so he could run (a primary challenger) against you in 2018,'" Sanford said Mulvaney told him.

He added that Mulvaney made it clear he did not want to deliver the message but did so at Trump's insistence.


A year or so ago, when Trump started winning primaries and it was becoming obvious he wasn't going away, a lot of Republicans at the time stated that they could not support him because they feared he would "destroy the Republican party".

They managed to avoid that though, from the lack of bloodbath at their convention to the vast majority bending the knee to winning big in November.

So it's nice to sit back and watch it happen now.
posted by chaoticgood at 12:28 PM on March 30 [22 favorites]


Remember when it looked like Ari Fleischer would go down in history as the biggest piece of shit ever to serve as Press Secretary?
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:30 PM on March 30 [46 favorites]


Maybe it's just twitter confirmation bias, but it sure seems like a quite sizeable chunk of the left is currently dismissing any-and-all investigation into Russian government influence peddling as wild, baseless conspiracy mongering.

IIRC, Donald was going on about hacked votes at the time. Which wasn't true, but it put people in a weird position of trying to explain a lot of nuance - some voting machines could be hacked with a lot of (logistical) effort, it's easier to "hack" the count after the fact, etc, etc. I think it all congealed to "no, the election won't have been hacked, especially when Donald loses."
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:30 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


The patience of the press pool - they know damn well they are getting lied to and still remain professional.

Which, of course, enables the liars.
posted by Gelatin at 12:30 PM on March 30 [8 favorites]


I'm seeing hardly any of this Russia denialism stuff from the left voices I follow, and that denialism is coming from perennial sky-is-green contrarians.
posted by The Gaffer at 12:32 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


EPA "mistakenly" criticizes Trump’s executive order

EPA's press releases since Pruitt got confirmed (which was when its media office finally broke radio silence) have been amateur hour. Badly written, badly edited, badly spelled, and now this nonsense. I'm torn between "they hired whatever ideologues they could find to write the things, and cut everybody else out of the loop," and "the career staff responsible for external communications are gleefully sabotaging whatever they can find plausible deniability for."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:35 PM on March 30 [21 favorites]


Oh my god this is real (video), assuming Rid actually knows what he's talking about here.


Oh, come on. This Senator Blunt joker thinks 2FA is unreasonable and compares it with a different recommendation that the State Department releasing statements everyday about what is true. Certain things you can require people to do "that really don't make that kind of sense."

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻)
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:36 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Marco Rubio Was Targeted by Russian Influence Operation, Ex-FBI Agent Reveals

-- Clint Watts worked as a consultant for the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division and National Security Branch and told the panel Russia’s media outlets and “trolls” sought to sideline American politicians “with adversarial views towards the Kremlin.” Watts said they may have helped “sink the hopes of candidates more hostile to Russian interests long before the field narrowed.”

“Sen. Rubio, in my opinion, you anecdotally suffered from these efforts,” he said, causing the senator from Florida to look up from his seat in surprise.

-- When Rubio returned to the hearing following a brief recess, he revealed former presidential campaign staff were targeted twice by apparent Russian hackers.

"In July of 2016, shortly after I announced I would seek reelection to the United States Senate, former members of my presidential campaign team, who had access to the information of my presidential campaign, were targeted by IP addresses with an unknown location within Russia," Rubio said. "That effort was unsuccessful. I would also inform the committee that within the last 24 hours, at 10:45 a.m. yesterday, a second attempt was made against former members of my presidential campaign team… again targeted from an IP address from an unknown location in Russia. That effort was also unsuccessful."

posted by futz at 12:37 PM on March 30 [33 favorites]


I see occasional references to it as being a distraction from the on-going and more concrete destruction of environmental and climate change agencies and such, but I don't know how much of that is earnest belief that it's all made up to cover for climate change deniers and how much of it is the generally justified bitterness that more transient issues overshadow that one big existential one.
posted by neonrev at 12:39 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


T.D. Strange: "What if there’s no 'Nuclear Option' in the Senate?
Has there been any discussion of this elsewhere, because it's the first I've seen this interpretation.


The rule in question says that to end a filibuster, you need 60 votes, unless it's about changing the Senate rules, then it takes 67. So you could filibuster the vote on changing the filibuster rule (!). But if you are changing the rules via a point of order, everything depends on what the chair and a majority of the Senate say. I wouldn't expect the President pro tem of the Senate, who will have been specifically chosen for the nuclear scenario, to cooperate on removing the filibuster, but suddenly be seized by conscience on the 2/3 rule.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:41 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Freedom Caucus Responds to ‘Vengeful’ Trump: ‘We Don’t Scare Easy’

On Thursday morning, when asked about Trump’s latest fit of hate-tweeting, a senior aide working for the Freedom Caucus simply messaged The Daily Beast, “Meh meh meh.”

lol
posted by futz at 12:41 PM on March 30 [51 favorites]


I tune out people who complain about distractions pretty fast because all of it is awful, none of it is a distraction and policing other peoples prioritisations when they are dealing with the awful is a dick move.
posted by Artw at 12:42 PM on March 30 [36 favorites]


I will not post conspiracy theory clickbait.
I will not post conspiracy theory clickbait.
I will not post conspiracy theory clickbait.

Holy shit, this is from the BBC.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 12:43 PM on March 30 [30 favorites]


8 years of Obama and I couldn't have told you his press secretary's name. 2 months in and we're remembering Ari Fleischer "fondly". Blurg.
posted by OHenryPacey at 12:44 PM on March 30 [11 favorites]


Here's the White House's letter to the House Intelligence Committee, which Spicer mentioned earlier today. The White Houses 'hopes' that the Committee will investigate 'leaks.'
posted by cjelli at 12:46 PM on March 30 [5 favorites]


At the same time it would very much like to "whistleblow" about Obama.
posted by Artw at 12:47 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Big Al 8000's link it titled: Trump Russia dossier key claim 'verified'
posted by futz at 12:48 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Is there a wiki (or similar) somewhere that has a unified timeline to all this, cited sources, etc?
posted by LastOfHisKind at 12:48 PM on March 30


Big Al 8000's link it titled: Trump Russia dossier key claim 'verified'

IIRC, there's a long discussion of this in yesterday's thread.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:49 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


There is no "distraction". Everything Trump does is real, and everything he does is shit. He's doing the throw the spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks approach to governing, and if one thing falls of the wall he just throws another handful again. He knows that if only a little bit from each handful sticks he's still ahead. The aim is to get shit done quickly, and vault from crisis to crisis so that we get disoriented and worn down. We're used to things moving at a much slower pace, and all our media and government apparatus is too. While we're thoughtfully examining the current handful of spaghetti sliding down the wall and trying to figure out what it means, the Trump administration is just showering us with handful after handful. While we're holding up old pasta and saying, "Wait but what about....?!" Trump has moved on to the next thing, and the next, and the next.

This is a frighteningly effective way to sow chaos. The downside of this tactic is that we are learning.
posted by supercrayon at 12:50 PM on March 30 [69 favorites]


LastOfHisKind, there is in the previous thread. I'll see if I can find it. Or search "timeline", it is a Business Insider link.
posted by futz at 12:50 PM on March 30




This Is Almost Certainly James Comey’s Twitter Account (link to Gizmodo story about the investigative process)
posted by Greg Nog at 12:55 PM on March 30 [68 favorites]


Spicer on Gorsuch: 'It's Obama's nominees who all got through, all with bipartisan support...filibustering a candidate is not the norm.'

This is at least day three of Spicer (and the GOP at large) acting as though the Garland nomination never happened.


As I said in the previous thread, this willful denial strikes me as a tell. The Republicans sure are acting guilty about what was, for them, a political success, even if it did go against all political norms and even if they didn't pay any appreciable political price (thanks, "liberal media"!). What gives?
posted by Gelatin at 12:56 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


2nding what supercrayon says.

Additionally: there's more than one person on this team. Government usually does several different things at once. We tend not to notice as much because 1) our media tends to narrow things down to a couple of lazy binary narratives and skip the rest, and 2) even under previous Republican administrations, much of the day-to-day stuff was at least predictable and within the same neighborhood as "reasonable."

With these fuckers, pretty much everything they want to do is batshit insane. And this bit about Ezra Cohen-Watnick is telling, because McMaster wanted to fire him but was overruled. Even the presumably rational people in this administration (McMaster) get shut down when they try to be, you know, rational.

It's nothing but crazypants bullshit and hate coming out of this White House, but that doesn't mean any of it is any less legit. And it all has to be fought. All of it. These "distractions" cause real people real harm.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:56 PM on March 30 [14 favorites]


If anyone bugged/wiretapped Trump, it was the Russians themselves.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:59 PM on March 30


This Is Almost Certainly James Comey’s Twitter Account (link to Gizmodo story about the investigative process)

And of course Comey would look back fondly on being a part of a gross and unsuccessful prisoner handling scheme that was punitive to prisoners and their families, to the point where he'd use it in an account name. Ugh, that guy.
posted by phearlez at 1:03 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]



If Gorsuch Isn’t Filibustered, the Next Democratic Nominee Will Be


We already live in a world where a Republican president has a 50-vote standard to confirm a nominee to the Court. The only question is whether Democratic presidents have the same standard. The worst possible outcome for Democrats would be to allow Republicans to fill a vacancy with 50 votes while forcing their party to muster 60. And there is a lot of reason to believe this is the case right now. ...

Mitch McConnell wants to preserve an ambiguous situation where the norms say one thing and the rules say another. This is to his advantage, because he is a serial violator of norms. This isn’t a moral question — he’s a brilliant tactician and he’s very good at identifying political strategies that are legal but which have not been used due to social convention. If McConnell can use the threat of the nuclear option to make the filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee a useless weapon for the opposing party, he can preserve it as a potential useful one for himself. If Democrats don’t make McConnell abolish the Supreme Court filibuster, he may use it to blockade their next nominee, and they will have only themselves to blame.

posted by T.D. Strange at 1:03 PM on March 30 [49 favorites]


There is no "distraction". Everything Trump does is real, and everything he does is shit. He's doing the throw the spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks approach. [...] This is a frighteningly effective way to sow chaos. The downside of this tactic is that we are learning.

It turns out that the solution is to stop giving the baby spaghetti, and maybe put him down for a nap until he's ready to behave.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:05 PM on March 30 [8 favorites]


If I have this right, today the White House sent a letter to Nunes inviting him to come look at materials that last week they gave to Nunes, and which Nunes then pretended to give to them. Makes sense.
posted by diogenes at 1:09 PM on March 30 [42 favorites]


That Gizmodo article seems pretty well researched. If it is Comey's, my guess is that he'll either abandon it (but leave it open) or close it.
posted by longdaysjourney at 1:09 PM on March 30


supercrayon: There is no "distraction".

Someone on Twitter (I can't find who, but almost certainly someone who is personally acquainted with intersectionality) remarked that people who keep saying things like "Stop paying attention to X because it's a distraction from Y," are often people who may not be used to being screwed over on multiple fronts by multiple different systems simultaneously.
posted by mhum at 1:10 PM on March 30 [110 favorites]


The Hill is not zero credibility, but I want to know if I should get my hopes up at all.

Do not get your hopes up at all. This looks to me like someone who is taking the written rules at the wrongest-possible level of seriousness.

You'd really want to hear from Sarah Binder or Greg Koger, but my pretty-casual guess of how this would go down is

(1) Nuclear option proceeds
(2) A Democrat objects under Rule 22
(3) The presiding officer sustains that decision
(4) *that* decision is appealed to the Senate, who overrules the presiding officer and sets the new precedent anyway

The rules of the Senate say and mean whatever a majority of the Senate says they do at any given moment. This is absolutely true for the not-constitutionally-set rules of any legislative body anywhere in the world. The part where the article falls off the cliffs of sanity is sheer babbling madness is
In 2013, the Republican Senate leadership did not object under Rule XXII. Maybe, the Republicans were asleep. More probably, they realized that their systematic abuse of the filibuster to prevent an elected President from governing did, in fact, violate the Constitution.
No, the reason that they didn't object under Rule 22 is that they knew it would be entirely pointless because the same majority that just overruled them on filibustering sub-SC appointments would just overrule them on Rule 22 as well. The idea that they were too chastened by the unconstitutionality of their own actions is just eat-your-own-poop bonkers.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:12 PM on March 30 [9 favorites]


This Is Almost Certainly James Comey’s Twitter Account (link to Gizmodo story about the investigative process)

Instagram should fix that privacy hole.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:12 PM on March 30 [8 favorites]


Man, what is it with Niebuhr groupies in Washington
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:12 PM on March 30 [8 favorites]


If I have this right, today the White House sent a letter to Nunes inviting him to come look at materials that last week they gave to Nunes, and which Nunes then pretended to give to them. Makes sense.

Yes: but this time, they're inviting Schiff along for the ride too, to lend it an soupçon of legitimacy.
posted by cjelli at 1:13 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Carter Page interview on Fox, airing 6pm. From preview:

FOX: Were you paid by the Russians?
PAGE: Last year, I was not paid by the Russians


This is right up there with his "I never met with any Russians outside of Cleveland."
posted by diogenes at 1:13 PM on March 30 [77 favorites]


PAGE: Last year, I was not paid by the Russians

Bonus time came January 20.
posted by chris24 at 1:15 PM on March 30 [9 favorites]


If I have this right, today the White House sent a letter to Nunes inviting him to come look at materials that last week they gave to Nunes, and which Nunes then pretended to give to them. Makes sense.

In addition, it is possible that at some point during the process Nunes was offered or promised a cabinet/admin position (the Q was asked at the briefing).
posted by melissasaurus at 1:18 PM on March 30 [5 favorites]


This seems highly likely to be interesting to a bunch of you in the coming months. It was shared by someone on one of the open data lists I'm on.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released a major update to the “Whip Watch” app that provides Members of Congress, staff, the press, and the public with live updates and news on what’s happening on the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. The new version allows users to see live vote totals, including party breakdowns, as well as the time remaining in a vote and how long a vote stays open after it was supposed to close. For the first time, Members, reporters, and the public will be able to view this information in real time on their phones.
full press release here.

It's not perfect, and the ways it's flawed are sort of a peek behind the curtain to see the sort of bullshit the open data community often has to deal with.
The app gets some information from a publicly-available API from Capitol Bells, and it also screen-scrapes text from a House-internal high-definition video feed of the House Floor.
Screen-scraping is a common - and anger-making - thing that has to happen for some of this stuff, and it's ridiculous. The fact that this tool has to make use of the work of Capitol Bells, a non-governmental operation, in order to indicate what's going on in government...

[a bunch of open government/FOIA whining deleted; support transparency laws, please]
posted by phearlez at 1:20 PM on March 30 [42 favorites]


This Is Almost Certainly James Comey’s Twitter Account (link to Gizmodo story about the investigative process)

Sleuthing like this is a lot easier than most people realize — apparently even the FBI Director. But that Instagram privacy hole is the real key here.
posted by stopgap at 1:22 PM on March 30 [9 favorites]


Remember when it looked like Ari Fleischer would go down in history as the biggest piece of shit ever to serve as Press Secretary?


ari fleischer is a terrible person and told at least as many lies per second as spicer, but he also had icewater pumping through his black dead heart and was capable of condescending to helen thomas.

spicer packages up all of the mendacity and charmlessness of fleischer in a guy who looks like middle management at an office supplies concern and emits so much flop sweat that i wouldn't be surprised if his suit looks so bad because his entire body is wrapped in double-ply paper towels from the neck down.

they're both pieces of shit, but spicer is a piece of shit who's BAD AT HIS JOB
posted by murphy slaw at 1:23 PM on March 30 [99 favorites]


This Is Almost Certainly James Comey’s Twitter Account (link to Gizmodo story about the investigative process)

Sleuthing like this is a lot easier than most people realize — apparently even the FBI Director. But that Instagram privacy hole is the real key here.

I do think Feinberg could have got there anyway - for instance, @benjaminwittes follows 1,137 people. That’s a lot of scrolling, but not so bad if you’re looking for an egg. Not that the Instagram hole didn’t crack it open, just that it wasn’t intractable otherwise. (For instance, you also have the recycle Neibuhr reference.)
posted by Going To Maine at 1:26 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]




I can't believe it is still March. This month felt like a political decade.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:30 PM on March 30 [61 favorites]




Ignoring Spicer's insistence that we focus on the substance rather than the process (what with the substance being nothingburgers at this point), I think a good place to focus on is the timeline around the White House's letter today. It's clear that the White House had this information when it gave it to Nunes, but then sat on it instead of officially providing it to the committee as requested. It's unclear how long they were prepared to do so before the NYT forced their hand with today's story.

In other words, the question is why was the White House withholding evidence from a Congressional investigation for political purposes while selectively leaking it to a single chairman who was also part of the transition team?
posted by zachlipton at 1:40 PM on March 30 [11 favorites]




Manchin will vote "yes" on Gorsuch (statement)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:43 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


Manchin will vote "yes" on Gorsuch (statement)

Uh huh.
posted by supercrayon at 1:45 PM on March 30 [11 favorites]


Who do we harass about that?
posted by schadenfrau at 1:45 PM on March 30


It hasn't even been 70 days since the Women's March.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:47 PM on March 30 [24 favorites]


Ignoring Spicer's insistence that we focus on the substance rather than the process

That argument is driving me nuts. If the police asked him how the murder weapon came to be buried in his backyard, would he reply "That's a process question!"?
posted by diogenes at 1:48 PM on March 30 [13 favorites]


Probably no one, unless you live in West Virginia or think giving it to a Republican is okay. But if one of senators hasn’t come out in support of the filibuster you can yell at them instead. After all, part of the reason Manchin can flip is because others won’t.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:48 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Ignoring Spicer's insistence that we focus on the substance rather than the process

That argument is driving me nuts. If the police asked him how the murder weapon came to be buried in his backyard, would he reply "That's a process question!"?


This IS Spicer... so he would definitely answer that way, soon followed by "How many times am I going to have to answer the same question?" and "Wait, please tell me April Ryan isn't one of your detectives."
posted by azpenguin at 1:50 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


Spicer would say (as he says whenever he is asked to explain one of Trump's tweets) that the murder weapon "speaks for itself."
posted by zachlipton at 1:52 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Yeah, great idea, Donnie. Threaten a dude who's won that seat seven times, including three since the affair and ugly divorce that made national headlines. I'm sure you can find someone who's more popular in SC1 than Mark Sanford.

Hell, I was a college Trotskyite, and even *I* sort of like Mark Sanford. No way SC Repubs show him the door.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:53 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


This doesn't help the other 49 states, but Minnesota is working to pass internet privacy protections, and it passed the senate 66-1.

(for non-Minnesotans: DFL is Democratic-Farmer-Labor instead of Democrat. It's like Duck Duck Grey Duck but politics)
posted by dinty_moore at 1:55 PM on March 30 [34 favorites]


Spicer would say (as he says whenever he is asked to explain one of Trump's tweets) that the murder weapon "speaks for itself."


Don't take the murder weapon too literally
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:58 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Who do we harass about that?

I just faxed Schumer about it (he's my Senator, but also he's the minority leader) -- said that Manchin is the missing stair in the party and should be removed from his committee positions.
posted by melissasaurus at 1:58 PM on March 30 [28 favorites]


How Trump Could Still Undermine Obamacare (New Yorker, March 29, 2017)
Health-insurance death spirals—the process by which insurance plans collapse under the weight of high premiums that nobody can afford—are such rare events that only a handful of examples are available to study. One academic paper recounts the “slow-motion” collapse of an insurance product offered by Prudential (it took decades to die). In another famous example (at least among economists), two Harvard professors analyzed the failure of a particularly generous insurance plan offered to Harvard professors (and other employees). Such death spirals are rare because it is easy to identify when they’ve begun and it’s easy to fix the issue before the worst damage is done. President Donald Trump, however, seems to yearn for a death spiral for the Affordable Care Act. He tweeted that Obamacare “will explode,” and, in an interview with the Washington Post, said that “the best thing is to let Obamacare explode” so that he can then “make one beautiful deal for the people.”

To be clear, Obamacare is not exploding; it is not in a death spiral and, if the law is followed, is highly unlikely to fall into one. A death spiral occurs when the pool of people insured by a plan are especially unhealthy and use more than the expected amount of expensive health care. If that happens, the insurance provider raises premiums to cover the costs, healthier people drop out because coverage becomes too expensive, and costs rise even higher. This is negatively reinforcing: as healthy people drop out, the only people left in the pool need so much medical care that no company will cover them. That scenario can’t happen with Obamacare because the vast majority of those covered by the program—roughly eighty-five per cent—don’t pay for the increase in premium cost. Instead, they receive government subsidies, based on their income, that rise with the increase in premium costs. Since the insured don’t see the increase in cost, there is no reason to expect a death spiral in which rising costs scare healthy people away from the insurance pool. (Trump could instruct the I.R.S. not to enforce the penalty on those who opt not to buy insurance, which would reduce the number of participants; that wouldn’t produce a death spiral but would insure that the government has to pay larger subsidies.)

If President Trump does nothing but follow the law, Obamacare should remain much as it is now: in heavily populated areas, there will be several insurance plans; in rural counties, people will have fewer options; in some sparsely populated counties, citizens will have none at all. There will likely be fewer insurance plans over all, because many companies felt political pressure from President Obama to enter the marketplace. (One thing is clear: selling insurance in the Obamacare marketplace is not a great way to make a buck.)
If the President really wants the A.C.A. to fail, he needs to take action to destroy it, and he could. But just saying "it's going to explode" doesn't make it so.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:59 PM on March 30 [13 favorites]


Manchin will vote "yes" on Gorsuch (statement)

Unsurprisingly he's the first on the list of traitors.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:00 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


@johnsifton: "Comey's is using my grandfather's name Reinhold Niebuhr, under @projectexile7, as his Twitter name. DM me, dude, before my mom finds out."
posted by zachlipton at 2:01 PM on March 30 [10 favorites]


...and even *I* sort of like Mark Sanford. No way SC Repubs show him the door.

Never underestimate the power of ultra-right super-PACs. Just sayin.' They got Richard-fucking-Lugar primaried out of office. Sanford seems like a prime target for them.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:01 PM on March 30 [5 favorites]


Voting against a filibuster is arguably defensible.

There's no defense for Manchin voting for final confirmation. He's not a Democrat, there's no reason to allow him to remain in the party.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:02 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


The reason is that he votes for Chuck Schumer as majority leader, and whoever'd replace him in WV would not. Make your own decisions on whether party purity is worth an otherwise inaccessible Senate seat.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:04 PM on March 30 [13 favorites]


Manchin will vote "yes" on Gorsuch (statement)

Unsurprisingly he's the first on the list of traitors.


Watch Tester next. Never made the tiniest complaint about Gorsuch and I'd put money on him voting yes to try and hold on to MT in '18.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:05 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Now Heitkamp too.

Fuck it, just everyone vote to confirm him. Why do we even try.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:06 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Never underestimate the power of ultra-right super-PACs. Just sayin.' They got Richard-fucking-Lugar primaried out of office. Sanford seems like a prime target for them.

Good point. Lucky for Sanford that he apparently doesn't give a shit if he's in or out.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:08 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


NYT: "North Carolina lawmakers said they will repeal the state law prohibiting transgender people from using restrooms in accordance with their gender identities. A vote is scheduled for Thursday."
posted by lalex at 12:02 AM on March 30 [27 favorite


aaaaaand done.
posted by lalex at 2:10 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


The new cover of the Economist is good.
posted by chris24 at 2:17 PM on March 30 [37 favorites]


Ironmouth: I can't believe it is still March. This month felt like a political decade.

Good news, it's almost April!


lalex: NYT: "North Carolina lawmakers said they will repeal the state law prohibiting transgender people from using restrooms in accordance with their gender identities. A vote is scheduled for Thursday."

aaaaaand done.
Gov. Roy Cooper said the new law is "not a perfect deal and it is not my preferred solution."

He wanted a law that added protections for LGBTQ North Carolinians, but said that wasn't possible with Republicans holding a supermajority in the Legislature.

Fierce criticism remains from LGBTQ groups, which say the new bill -- which eliminates rules about who can use which restroom but retains other features -- still allows for discrimination against transgender people.

Cooper said the protections are temporarily delayed, and he will work to ensure they are not denied forever.

What the new bill does
-- It repeals last year's House Bill 2. That bill had required that people at a government-run facility must use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to the gender on their birth certificate, if the rooms in question are multiple-occupancy.
-- It effectively maintains a key feature of HB2 by leaving regulation of bathroom access solely in control of the Legislature.
-- It prevents local governments, until December 2020, from passing or amending their own nondiscrimination ordinances relating to private employment and public accommodation.
So is this good enough for NCAA? And if so, when does NC have a chance to add transgender protections into the law?
posted by filthy light thief at 2:18 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


To be clear, North Carolina also just made it illegal for cities to have their own anti-descrimination ordinances or minimum wage increases until 2020. Civil rights groups are lining up to oppose this as a "fake repeal." The question, ridiculously enough for those who are concerned that people's civil rights are being determined on the basis of what the college athletics association wants, is whether the NCAA thinks this is enough or agrees with the rights groups.
posted by zachlipton at 2:18 PM on March 30 [24 favorites]


(UIowa law prof) @AndyGrewal: It seems that Comey was extremely careless with his Twitter privacy, but not grossly negligent.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 2:21 PM on March 30 [53 favorites]


Yeah, lots of trans and queer people (including myself) are not celebrating but feeling like Cooper stabbed us in the back.
posted by overglow at 2:21 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


Biden: 9 Republican senators told me they knew opposing Garland was wrong

“I call 17 Republicans, and say, ‘You know better’,” Biden said Thursday. “Nine of them said to me, ‘You’re right Joe, but I can’t do anything about it because if I do the Koch brothers or somebody is going to drop five million dollars into my race and I’ll lose my primary.’ ”


Name names, Joe. Who are these spineless little weasels?
posted by downtohisturtles at 2:23 PM on March 30 [114 favorites]


I think today is the day I remove my Roy Cooper bumper sticker. He's better than McCrory, and I don't know how much negotiating power he really had (or would've had) with the amazingly cruel and shortsighted doofuses in the NCGA, but. This is not great.
posted by witchen at 2:25 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


If you need 50 votes, votes 53 and 54 don't matter. If you need 60 votes, votes 53 and 54 still don't matter.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:28 PM on March 30 [9 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
If @RepMarkMeadows, @Jim_Jordan and @Raul_Labrador would get on board we would have both great healthcare and massive tax cuts & reform.


(two minutes later)

Where are @RepMarkMeadows, @Jim_Jordan and @Raul_Labrador?
#RepealANDReplace #Obamacare

posted by Rust Moranis at 2:30 PM on March 30


TD Strange, do you believe it is possible for a Democrat who votes not to confirm someone like Gorsuch to hold a Senate seat in West Virginia? That's the thing I've never quite grasped about your position; I can't tell if you think that a more liberal Democrat could hold that seat or if you just don't care.
posted by Justinian at 2:32 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


Rick Hasen piece on the effort by state legislatures to require presidential candidates to provide tax returns.

tl:dr: Might or not be constitutional.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:34 PM on March 30


@realDonaldTrump
If @RepMarkMeadows, @Jim_Jordan and @Raul_Labrador would get on board we would have both great healthcare and massive tax cuts & reform.


(two minutes later)

Where are @RepMarkMeadows, @Jim_Jordan and @Raul_Labrador?
#RepealANDReplace #Obamacare*

If he tags them in one more tweet they will appear behind him.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:34 PM on March 30 [23 favorites]


Isnt the question wrt Manchin whether its worth having a nominal D in WV if he never votes like one? its not so much that a more liberal candidate could win an election and be useful there, its that the current D in name only has no utility, so yeah, I guess who cares?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:35 PM on March 30 [8 favorites]


Yeah, lots of trans and queer people (including myself) are not celebrating but feeling like Cooper stabbed us in the back.

I think today is the day I remove my Roy Cooper bumper sticker. He's better than McCrory, and I don't know how much negotiating power he really had or would've had with the amazing doofuses in the NCGA, but. This is not great.


I'm really sorry the repeal is so shitty. I realize I'm not queer or trans so I can't ever understand how you'd ever feel about this so I won't even pretend to and whatever you feel right now is most certainly valid and understandable. But please, I implore you, don't let the political wrangling of hateful people with far more power than they deserve divide what liberal opposition we can manage to scrape against these shitstains of history.
posted by Talez at 2:36 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


Really doesn't seem like an accident that these tweets are coming after Scavino got moved into Bannon's office to manage social media from there.
posted by zachlipton at 2:37 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Isnt the question wrt Manchin whether its worth having a nominal D in WV if he never votes like one?

But he does vote Democrat much MUCH more than any Republican would. So keep him until he's unnecessary, then purge.
posted by Glibpaxman at 2:39 PM on March 30 [9 favorites]


I just hope no energy or effort is expended on keeping Manchin his seat.
posted by Artw at 2:39 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Isnt the question wrt Manchin whether its worth having a nominal D in WV if he never votes like one?
It matters a lot which party controls the Senate. So right now, it probably makes no difference, but it could matter at some hypothetical future date when the Democrats are poised to take back the Senate.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:39 PM on March 30 [14 favorites]


I suspect a genuinely liberal candidate actually could run and win in WV. But it doesn't matter, what Exceptional_Hubris points out is the real issue. If the best argument for Manchin is "well, at least he's not stabbing us from the front", then I don't find that very compelling.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:39 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


I am almost certainly not TD Strange, but I could see opposing Gorsuch not being that bad in WV, if such a senator went bananas on the truckersicle decision - "This guy wants your employer to be able to kill you" could be a winning message.

Then again, I'm pretty convinced at this point that the democrats need a big qualitative change in both rhetoric and action, not just using the fine knob on the political spectrum tuner.
posted by The Gaffer at 2:39 PM on March 30 [7 favorites]


Isnt the question wrt Manchin whether its worth having a nominal D in WV if he never votes like one? its not so much that a more liberal candidate could win an election and be useful there, its that the current D in name only has no utility, so yeah, I guess who cares?

This.

We already have a Trump supporting Republican Senator from West Virginia, but for some reason we elevated him to Democratic "leadership".
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:40 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


But he does vote Democrat much MUCH more than any Republican would. So keep him until he's unnecessary, then purge.

I just hope no energy or effort is expended on keeping Manchin his seat.

We already have a Trump supporting Republican Senator from West Virginia, but for some reason we elevated him to Democratic "leadership".

In 2020 it's going to be ridiculously close on Senate numbers. Manchin could be the difference between 51-50 and 49-51. Having that 51-50 would mean that Democrats gain control of all the Senate committees in 2021 and can start calling some shots. He's a useful idiot to have around even if he's more conservative than every other Democrat.
posted by Talez at 2:43 PM on March 30 [12 favorites]


A guy like Manchin is only useful if he puts the party caucus over 50. Then you get the majority/chairmanship on councils and the pro tempore spot. The pro tem is almost completely useless but committe chairs can do all sorts of good stuff.
posted by cmfletcher at 2:43 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


If there were a Democratic majority in the Senate, Manchin still couldn't be trusted to reliably vote with the party. So why not take the chance and maybe end up with an actual Democrat?

The Gaffer's point is also salient. Is voting to confirm Gorsuch actually something Manchin needs to do to hold on to his seat? Is it really so hard to believe that someone could be a Democratic senator in West Virginia while not ratfucking his own party all the fucking time?
posted by tobascodagama at 2:43 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


It matters a lot which party controls the Senate. So right now, it probably makes no difference, but it could matter at some hypothetical future date when the Democrats are poised to take back the Senate.

And at that point Manchin will be there to flip parties like he threatened to do before Trump's win made it unnecessary, for the moment. Cut out the cancer now and proceed with actual Democrats who vote for Democratic positions. Stop rewarding this.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:44 PM on March 30 [7 favorites]


I think it's more useful to get more Democrats into the Senate, especially younger more progressive and more firebrand-y types like Ted Lieu. As I've said before, keep your eye on the ball, and the ball is pushing every Republican out of office, from dog-catcher on up. Once that's been done we can turn our basilisk eyes people like Manchin and push him to toe the hopefully newly more leftward leaning line.

But even though I know that's a good strategy, it's really disheartening how Manchin seems to vote with Republicans even when the stakes are really high like installing a supreme court justice. I think that's what people are reacting to. We're all pissed off and demoralized, and having a guy on your side who looks like they're just gonna roll over while you're trying to fight as hard as you can is just tough, you know?
posted by supercrayon at 2:45 PM on March 30 [7 favorites]


It matters a lot which party controls the Senate. So right now, it probably makes no difference, but it could matter at some hypothetical future date when the Democrats are poised to take back the Senate.

The second the Democrats are poised to do that, he'll probably pull a fucking Lieberman.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:46 PM on March 30 [16 favorites]


Isnt the question wrt Manchin whether its worth having a nominal D in WV if he never votes like one? its not so much that a more liberal candidate could win an election and be useful there, its that the current D in name only has no utility, so yeah, I guess who cares?

I don’t like 538’s Trump Score metric because it’s a gross oversimplification, but it does accurately capture that Manchin, in “voting against Trump” 50% of the time, is in some sense disagreeing with what his state’s voters were expressing when they gave Trump a 42.2 point margin of victory over Clinton.

Similarly, per Pro Publica, Manchin votes against his party 26.7% of the time. That’s waaaaay over the average of 6% for a Democratic senator, but it’s miles away from the amount of times that a generic Republican senator would ever vote with the Ds - after all, the party average for a Republic senator voting against their party is only 2%. I’m not saying that that makes Manchin a saint or anything, but I think that calling him a rank traitor oversimplifies.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:46 PM on March 30 [41 favorites]


And at that point Manchin will be there to flip parties like he threatened to do before Trump's win made it unnecessary, for the moment. Cut out the cancer now and proceed with actual Democrats who vote for Democratic positions. Stop rewarding this.

We can either have a maybe-D or an R for getting the caucus over 50 in 2020. "Fuck Manchin over and install a real progressive D" is not a valid choice. Stop acting like it. He has us all over a barrel and we either grin and bear it or cut our noses off to spite our face. That's politics. It's having to keep your mouth shut while some useless motherfucker gets to have some shit eating grin on his face.
posted by Talez at 2:47 PM on March 30 [11 favorites]


51-49 makes Manchin de facto President.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:47 PM on March 30


If there were a Democratic majority in the Senate, Manchin still couldn't be trusted to reliably vote with the party.
The point isn't how he votes. The point is that if the Dems have a majority, they get to chair all the committees, and they decide what does and doesn't ever get debated and voted on.

But yeah, there's a real chance that he'd switch parties if he was ever the deciding seat.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:48 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


51-49 makes Manchin de facto President.

I would take President Manchin over both President Trump and President Generic Republican.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:48 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


If he stays silent and holds on, he gets to be "leader of the free world", and, with a plausibly-regretful tone as he bids goodbye to that now-disgraced sinner Trump, he gets to push the Republican Party even further into the realm of theocracy.

The Handmaid's Tale Option.
posted by y2karl at 2:49 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


We can either have a maybe-D or an R for getting the caucus over 50 in 2020. "Fuck Manchin over and install a real progressive D" is not a valid choice. Stop acting like it.

We don't know this. Bernie won West VA and Trump is not following through on any of his promises to the working class.

It's never been tried and losing Manchin is a small price to test it out.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:49 PM on March 30 [5 favorites]


Q: Did President Trump order anyone to look for information to justify his tweet?
Spicer: Uh, um, er, I, uh, I can't answer that.


IF [real] THEN OH CMOOOON!
IF [fake] THEN heh. Ahh thats-a Spicey reply

"(UIowa law prof) @AndyGrewal: It seems that Comey was extremely careless with his Twitter privacy, but not grossly negligent"

EhhhhhI see what he did there.
posted by petebest at 2:50 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


The question, ridiculously enough for those who are concerned that people's civil rights are being determined on the basis of what the college athletics association wants, is whether the NCAA thinks this is enough or agrees with the rights groups.

Do not expect the NCAA to care about minimum wage.
posted by srboisvert at 2:51 PM on March 30 [9 favorites]


It's never been tried and losing Manchin is a small price to test it out.

It's never been tried because WV would vote for literally Satan before voting for a fucking progressive. It wastes money on a primary that doesn't need to be fought and just further pisses off the guy when it comes time to caucus in 2021.

You might as well say you're going to go win Ala-fucking-bama while you're at it.
posted by Talez at 2:51 PM on March 30 [5 favorites]



I'm really sorry the repeal is so shitty. I realize I'm not queer or trans so I can't ever understand how you'd ever feel about this so I won't even pretend to and whatever you feel right now is most certainly valid and understandable. But please, I implore you, don't let the political wrangling of hateful people with far more power than they deserve divide what liberal opposition we can manage to scrape against these shitstains of history.


I'm cis and heterosexual-ish and I still think this repeal is super-shitty. It's shitty in the same way as Congressional Democrats voting for Gorsuch is shitty. It's shitty in that "Let's reward the bully for his restraint in only breaking two arms when he could have just as easily broken both legs and neck too, instead of, you know, telling him to stop beating people" way. It's shit policy for shit reasons, and I say this as someone who lives about a mile from UNC and enjoys college basketball. I get the need for unity. I understand the need for compromise. I am fine with the big tent, but I've wracked my brain on this one and I still can't come up for a single, solitary, non-morally bankrupt reason for NC Dems and our new governor to sell us out like this. Here's my local weekly on the topic.
posted by thivaia at 2:53 PM on March 30 [23 favorites]


It's like pissing on an electric fence. Nobody needs to actually piss on it to know it's a dumb idea but some people want to piss on it because the fence might actually be turned off.
posted by Talez at 2:54 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Bernie won West VA

Bernie voters in the WV Dem primary: ~124K
Total voters in the WV Dem primary: ~243K
Voters in the WV general election: ~678K

Bernie voters accounted for less than 20% of all WV voters. So I really don't think "Bernie won West VA" is a useful way to forecast how the WV general electorate will vote.
posted by Sauce Trough at 2:55 PM on March 30 [24 favorites]


The Manchin thing is just debate anyway. There's no way he's going to be successfully primaried from the left in WVa, a state where Trump won 70% of the vote. Not to mention how difficult (not impossible, but very difficult) it is to primary any sitting Senator. Even primary-ing Feinstein in California would be a difficult task. Manchin in WVa? hah.
posted by thefoxgod at 2:56 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Nothing wrong with the full-court press. Some of those impossible fights aren't impossible after all, and going for it in unlikely cirumstances at least keeps people honest.
posted by The Gaffer at 2:56 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


It's never been tried because WV would vote for literally Satan before voting for a fucking progressive. It wastes money on a primary that doesn't need to be fought and just further pisses off the guy when it comes time to caucus in 2021.

He has to win reelection first, and not flip parties before 2021. Let's at least spend resources on actual Democrats and promote Democrats to leadership positions.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:56 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


But even though I know that's a good strategy, it's really disheartening how Manchin seems to vote with Republicans even when the stakes are really high like installing a supreme court justice. I think that's what people are reacting to. We're all pissed off and demoralized, and having a guy on your side who looks like they're just gonna roll over while you're trying to fight as hard as you can is just tough, you know?

Should it not be equally heartening when Manchin votes with Democrats on the FCC rule or Betsy DeVos or Tom Price or Mick Mulvaney?

Manchin has been voting with the Trump agenda 57.6% of the time, which is not great. But when Republicans are mostly voting 100% Trump and only 3 are less than 97% Trump, it's better than nothing. Even Susan Collins has been voting the Trump line 90% of the time, and the next Republican senator from West Virginia will not vote like Susan Collins.

He's also been voting less and less with Trump; Manchin voted 70% with Trump in January and February, and only 38% with him since. Another way to look at it - maybe a better way - is that Manchin has been mostly with Trump on nominating Cabinet members (80%) but only voting with him 23% on measures that do something. (I'm counting the waiver that allowed Mattis into cabinet as a cabinet vote rather than an "anything else" vote.)
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 2:58 PM on March 30 [8 favorites]


I am fine with the big tent, but I've wracked my brain on this one and I still can't come up for a single, solitary, non-morally bankrupt reason for NC Dems and our new governor to sell us out like this.

If I had to take a stab? Because there is a lot of money at stake because of the worst aspects of the law and Cooper is governor of North Carolina not just the LGBT residents of North Carolina. By bringing economic activity back to the state it's most certainly going to help people who otherwise need the work even if Charolette can't write its own anti-discrimination ordinance. If he didn't sign it he'd lose a considerable amount of guaranteed economic activity (which he'd then own) and then have to fight a shitfight with people he can't control and who he just completely pissed off. It's not something he can just dictate to the legislature.
posted by Talez at 2:58 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


tl;dr: A lot of decisions in politics are the least shitty decision not the best decision.
posted by Talez at 3:00 PM on March 30 [18 favorites]


[Y'all, there's probably about five comments total of actual breaking-down-the-perspectives-on-Manchin's-usefulness and they've been more than covered; at this point it's getting into kinda going-in-circles pissing match territory and that's the sort of thing we could use a lot less of in these threads to keep the comment count in check and the discussion actually useful. Please rein it in, both right now and going forward.]
posted by cortex at 3:02 PM on March 30 [20 favorites]


tl;dr: A lot of decisions in politics are the least shitty decision not the best decision.

I totes believe this, but it’s interesting how this analysis nonetheless gives me flashbacks to the idealism vs. pragmatism vs. wishful thinking debates in the run-up to the election. I say this not to relitigate anything, but simply because at times one is struck by how all political arguments seem to boil down to the same abstraction of “this is enough” vs. “this is not enough”.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:03 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


It's not something he can just dictate to the legislature.

Plus the GOP has a supermajority in the NC legislature. A veto would be overridden.
posted by chris24 at 3:06 PM on March 30 [5 favorites]


Plus the GOP has a supermajority in the NC legislature. A veto would be overridden.

That too. I totes forgot about that.
posted by Talez at 3:07 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


It’s not something he can just dictate to the legislature.

Plus the GOP has a supermajority in the NC legislature. A veto would be overridden.

I’m sure the many hot takes about the Governor will take that into account!
posted by Going To Maine at 3:08 PM on March 30 [5 favorites]


I think it's more useful to get more Democrats into the Senate, especially younger more progressive and more firebrand-y types like Ted Lieu. As I've said before, keep your eye on the ball, and the ball is pushing every Republican out of office, from dog-catcher on up. Once that's been done we can turn our basilisk eyes people like Manchin and push him to toe the hopefully newly more leftward leaning line. (my emphasis)

I very much agree with this, especially the bolded part. I've said it before, but I think one of the main mistakes that Democrats have made is focusing on the presidency and maaayyyybe the Senate, and ignoring the down-ballot, local races. Even a Democratic governor can't do much if the state Assembly and Senate are full of Republicans. (Look how the Republicans in Congress could stymie Obama all these years.) Democrats need to run in absolutely every single solitary office - school board, city council, state Assembly, mayorships, you name it, Dems need to put forth a candidate.

This will not only benefit us at the local and state levels, it will develop a nice deep bench of future Ted Lieus, Catherine Cortez Mastos, and others. We need as many Democrats in as many offices in as many places across the country as we possibly can. We do this and then think about getting more conservative Democrats to shift leftward.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 3:10 PM on March 30 [28 favorites]


Trump's EPA Just Geenlighted a Pesticide Known to Damage Kids' Brains
(Chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to neurological damage and developmental and autoimmune disorders)

Trump Guts Obama Order Protecting LGBT Federal Employees
(after saying he wouldn't when everyone was watching)

Bad News for Low-Income College Students in Trump 2017 Budget

(it guts Pell grants by 3.9 billion USD)

To the extent that there is any plan at all to this administration, it follows Putin's MO of bombarding us with so many simultaneous horrible actions that we can't process everything and the sheer redundancy means that Bad Ideas clear the gate even when their most visible forms are shot down. It's certainly working on me. I'm having an increasingly difficult time keeping up with everything, and fighting against stuff while dealing with Life is sort of impossible. Apologies if any of these links are redundant, too.

Speaking of which, to the extent that we're discussing civil rights at state levels, Texas' anti-trans bill SB6 may get stalled in the House, but there are three additional redundant bills with the same aims and Republicans keep sneaking anti-trans provisions into unrelated bills, so that is going to pass.
posted by byanyothername at 3:14 PM on March 30 [30 favorites]


So here's my question: If Trump is forced to resign because of the Russia thing, we get a do-over on the last couple months, right? RIGHT?

By then, the Dominionists (Pence, Bannon, et al.) will have quietly consolidated their grip on power to the point that Trump will have served his purpose, and will be redundant. Off he goes, and America becomes the Republic of Gilead in all but name. Perhaps they'll have some patsy shoot him, just to provide a pretext to pass the Enabling Act, which would make him a dual-purpose distraction and combustible Reichstag.
posted by acb at 3:22 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]




By then, the Dominionists (Pence, Bannon, et al.) will have quietly consolidated their grip on power to the point that Trump will have served his purpose, and will be redundant.

How many Nixon appointees did Ford keep around?
posted by Going To Maine at 3:25 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


National Treasure Alexandra Petri, WaPo: Jared Kushner’s to-do list keeps getting longer
Every day, it seems, Jared Kushner’s portfolio of responsibilities expands a little. First, it was merely to restore peace to the Middle East. (“If you can’t produce peace in the Middle East,” Trump told him, “nobody can.”) Then he started acting like a special envoy to Mexico and China. Now he must also run government like a business?

Maybe it’s not that Kushner is exceptionally competent. Maybe the goddess Hera just hates him.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:35 PM on March 30 [19 favorites]






Wow. Yeah, you don't request immunity unless you think you'll be prosecuted; and to expect prosecution under a Trump White House, Flynn must have SUBSTANTIAL concerns.

Either that or he's paranoid, but I'll take either one if he talks.
posted by cjelli at 3:40 PM on March 30 [24 favorites]


You don't normally insist on immunity from prosecution unless there's some reasonable basis to conclude that there's something to prosecute you for, right?
posted by zachlipton at 3:40 PM on March 30 [12 favorites]


I’m sure the many hot takes about the Governor will take that into account!

Do you mean the Hot Take that trans people should be able to use the bathroom without being arrested?
posted by Greg Nog at 3:41 PM on March 30 [11 favorites]


Mike Flynn Offers to Testify in Exchange for Immunity

Send lawyers, guns & money - the shit has hit the fan.
posted by scalefree at 3:42 PM on March 30 [52 favorites]


By then, the Dominionists (Pence, Bannon, et al.) will have quietly consolidated their grip on power to the point that Trump will have served his purpose, and will be redundant. Off he goes, and America becomes the Republic of Gilead in all but name. Perhaps they'll have some patsy shoot him, just to provide a pretext to pass the Enabling Act, which would make him a dual-purpose distraction and combustible Reichstag.

I think this is, surely, what the Dominionists want, and more or less what they said as they voted for one of the least Christian men of all time: "the person doesn't matter, just the way it advances God's will." However, at this point I would be surprised if there were many people in the WH not implicated in some what in the scandal, and also think that even if they aren't officially charged, public opinion has been similarly tainted on them. Their plans, and what trump has done to those plans, are two different things altogether. It turns out that the person does matter.
posted by codacorolla at 3:42 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


Came here with the Flynn news and glad to see it posted.

Now it's fucking popcorn time. Trump must be shitting gold bricks. Yay. When he panics he fucks up.
posted by spitbull at 3:42 PM on March 30 [7 favorites]


"He has made the offer to the FBI and the House and Senate intelligence committees though his lawyer but has so far found no takers, the officials said."

If he's really found no takers, I would take that as a sign that they don't need his evidence because they've already got evidence from other sources, and they want to send Flynn to jail. Still, I would REALLY like to hear what he has to say.
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:42 PM on March 30 [12 favorites]


Op-ed piece by Bernard Marks, survivor of Auschwitz and Dachau: Holocaust survivor remembers past, worries about America’s future

Story about Marks at a recent town-hall: A Holocaust survivor’s pointed message about ICE enforcement: ‘History is not on your side’ (autoplays video)

Here's the video of Marks on YouTube.
posted by homunculus at 3:44 PM on March 30 [17 favorites]


Maybe it’s not that Kushner is exceptionally competent. Maybe the goddess Hera just hates him.

That's a really good line.
posted by leotrotsky at 3:44 PM on March 30 [7 favorites]


If you can't get past WSJ's paywall here is an archive.is link: Mike Flynn Offers to Testify in Exchange for Immunity

Not much there at the moment.
posted by futz at 3:45 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


"He has made the offer to the FBI and the House and Senate intelligence committees though his lawyer but has so far found no takers, the officials said."

If he's really found no takers, I would take that as a sign that they don't need his evidence because they've already got evidence from other sources, and they want to send Flynn to jail. Still, I would REALLY like to hear what he has to say.


Possible, but also possible that the GOP committee chairs are wanting to slow walk this as much as they can.
posted by azpenguin at 3:49 PM on March 30 [5 favorites]


Now it's fucking popcorn time. Trump must be shitting gold bricks. Yay. When he panics he fucks up.

Yay, except also when the President of the United States panics and fucks up, people tend to die. Not that I want him not to fuck up though so
posted by tivalasvegas at 3:50 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


Double dose of National Treasure Alexandra Petri: Mike Pence and the temptresses:
I hope that when the CEO of Campbell Soup came for a White House meeting they warned her not to let a single can of soup peer seductively from her purse, lest it give Pence the idea that they were eating a meal together and he were to fling himself bodily upon her.

How can he leave his house? At “Hamilton,” how was he restrained from leaping onstage and announcing “I’M INSERTING MYSELF IN THE NARRATIVE” whenever Eliza sang alone?
...
This idea that what is negotiable is whether or not women belong in the room, not whether or not men can be expected to keep themselves from dropping to all fours and growling, is intensely frustrating. Trump exhibits a different version of the same problem, where women are something other than people and deserve to be treated as such. Women are temptations, not equals. If you’re in a room with them, they are for grabbing. The solution? Stay out of rooms with them. Or keep them out.
posted by zachlipton at 3:50 PM on March 30 [40 favorites]


Yeah, it's super hard to believe Flynn has any loyalty to Trump & Co. at this point. IIRC, he was a lifelong Democrat until Obama fired him. Then he got all chummy with Russia, and then jumped on the Trump bandwagon... and then Trump asked for his resignation?

I could be wrong. Everything about this whole situation is crazy. But at some point you have to go with the world as you understand it, and so far it looks like Mike Flynn's only real loyalty is to Mike Flynn. And maybe his son. Maybe.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:51 PM on March 30


Trump must be shitting gold bricks.

Fool's gold, surely.
posted by futz at 3:52 PM on March 30 [24 favorites]


No investigator worth his or her salt would ever agree to give Flynn immunity without knowing exactly what he is going to say and even then only if he can provide real, tangible evidence implicating either a superior (hint: there aren't many superiors to the head of the NSC.... really just one.) or enough tangible evidence that can be used to roll up multiple other flynn-level advisors who then can be leveraged to go after The Boss.

This is probably staking out a negotiating position more than anything.
posted by Justinian at 3:54 PM on March 30 [16 favorites]


What kind of garbage people are you if fucking debt collectors are telling you you're being a dick?

Consumerist: Student Loan Debt Collectors Not Eager To Charge Fees Reinstated By Trump Administration
With about 7 million borrowers still owing $162 billion in debt for outstanding FFEL loans, the guarantors would likely see a nice windfall from the higher fees.

However, Bloomberg reports that might not be the case, as all of the guaranty agencies have announced in the last week that they won’t be charging higher fees.

“Many student loan borrowers already have a difficult time managing their loan obligations,” James Patterson, chief executive officer of the Texas guaranty agency, tells Bloomberg. “Adding more fees does not help their situation.”
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:57 PM on March 30 [70 favorites]


This is probably staking out a negotiating position more than anything.


He oughta be staking out a defensible position far from the window.
posted by notyou at 3:58 PM on March 30 [17 favorites]


Generally speaking you get immunity if you give them someone higher up in the conspiracy than yourself. Only one person fits the bill for that with Flynn, the guy who hired him. If he gets his immunity we can be pretty sure who he rolled on to get it.
posted by scalefree at 3:59 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]




President of the United States panics and fucks up, people tend to die.

Fair enough, I was thinking mostly of his itchy twitter finger. The original "Obama wiretapped me" tweet was a clumsy deflection that has cost him hugely and bogged him down bigly. So far I can't think of how his tweets have directly caused a death of anything but his own last shreds of dignity, yet. (Indirectly, fomenting hate causes violence of course.) Although who knows what triggers Putin to send out the goon squads.

I meant "panic" as in a 6 am tweet calling Mike Flynn a poopy-head snitch who can't get laid.
posted by spitbull at 4:07 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


Whom he never really met anyway. Mike who?
posted by spitbull at 4:07 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


These fuckers panic right into incriminating themselves. I want to see him do a Nunes Family Circle circuit like his fucking hair is on fire.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:12 PM on March 30 [25 favorites]


Also Mike Flynn gets low ratings and Trump only likes Generals who aren't immune. Sick!
posted by spitbull at 4:14 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


I was having difficulty logging on a bit ago, and thought, "Mike Pence killed Metafilter." But then I find that per usual, the thread's running in several directions. (Understandable, with the 90-ring horrorshow circus that is the R party.)

But even tho it doesnt affect me real directly, I just want to send a special FUCK YOU TO HELL to Mr. Girls Are Icky voting down Planned Parenthood funding. First the vote for Devos, and now this. Old Mikey's really working hard to give Spiro Agnew a run for the money as Worst Veep ever.

These fuckers (like my family) who think they're religious, but there is no difference between the man who calls his wife Mother and his running mate who grabs pussy. Two sides of the same coin. Just as when Trump rolls back LGBT protections, Mikey surely approves.

It is all related evil with these assholes, their dislike of anyone who isnt a tightly wound patriarchal white prick with a stick up their butt, and their intense devotion to making everyone as unhappy as they are in their sad, shriveled little hearts.
posted by NorthernLite at 4:20 PM on March 30 [32 favorites]


News of this was released during East Coast network news, right? Does that mean that networks did or didn't announce it during their national broadcast?

welp looks like I'm back into the political threads
posted by infinitewindow at 4:24 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


News of this was released during East Coast network news, right? Does that mean that networks did or didn't announce it during their national broadcast

I only caught the last half hour of PBS news hour (the one true network news show) but no mention of Flynn.
posted by dis_integration at 4:28 PM on March 30


Honestly, while I love Petri forever, I'm getting really frustrated with the "we don't have much to say about Pence so we're going to talk about his by all means appearing to be consensual marriage decisions."

I care about what Pence /does/. I don't care, as long as she is fine with it, about their sexual habits, pet names they call each other, how they manage exes, who takes out the trash, or nearly any other private rule they have in their marriage. The same goes for any other politician. If everybody is happy, /I don't care/.

If their private marriage rules involve him having a chaperone, I really, really don't care. If he wants to mandate my husband has a chaperone, I do.
posted by corb at 4:29 PM on March 30 [17 favorites]


I care about what Pence /does/. I don't care, as long as she is fine with it, about their sexual habits, pet names they call each other, how they manage exes, who takes out the trash, or nearly any other private rule they have in their marriage. The same goes for any other politician. If everybody is happy, /I don't care/.

He's treating men and female colleagues with a hugely different standard for no reason other than gender. That's not simply private behavior.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 4:32 PM on March 30 [81 favorites]


Moderately interesting: White House shuffles West Wing staff after health bill collapse. Deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh is being dispatched to Trump’s outside political group.

Very interesting: @johncardillo Very strong source told me that Katie Walsh was fired for leaking. Her creds were yanked and she was escorted out of the White House.

Most interesting: White House Plays Nunes Trump Card To Expose Staff Leaker and Call Out “Oversight” Gang-of-Eight… (note: I do not personally trust most of the analysis on this page but the context is still useful)
posted by scalefree at 4:33 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Flynn's lawyer has released a statement: "General Flynn certainly has a story to tell..." (Twitter with screen cap for now)
posted by maudlin at 4:34 PM on March 30 [5 favorites]


yay story time
posted by thelonius at 4:35 PM on March 30 [33 favorites]


I don't think Trump should appoint Gorsuch during the last week of his presidency.
posted by Devonian at 4:36 PM on March 30 [79 favorites]


Maybe it's just twitter confirmation bias, but it sure seems like a quite sizeable chunk of the left is currently dismissing any-and-all investigation into Russian government influence peddling as wild, baseless conspiracy mongering.

There's a difference between outright dismissal and encouraging a bit of restraint with assuming Russia = Trump is over. I seem to recall a great deal of hubris back in November involving counting eggs before they'd hatched (with a shimmy).
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 4:36 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


You don't normally insist on immunity from prosecution unless there's some reasonable basis to conclude that there's something to prosecute you for, right?

Well, let's not forget that this fine fellow had a lunch meeting at which he reportedly plotted to kidnap a foreign national in the US at the behest of the foreign nation for whom he was a paid agent. So even aside from the Russia shit, I can see why he's a tad bit worried about prosecution.

Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him up!

Not to belabor the point, but let's just sit here and consider and savor that for a minute. This traitorous ASSHOLE, who stood onstage in front of the whole fucking world and offensively besmirched the reputation of Hillary Clinton is now fired, publicly disgraced, and scrabbling to make a deal with the FBI to avoid the consequences of his probably considerable and numerous felonies.

Heckuva job, Mikey!
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:36 PM on March 30 [53 favorites]


The hilarity of an anonymous source telling a reporter that a White House staffer was fired for being an anonymous source is really too much for me to take right now.
posted by zachlipton at 4:36 PM on March 30 [55 favorites]


wait, Flynn's lawyer says he only wants immunity from UNFAIR prosecution. that's like

I mean I can promise him that, he can come tell me his story if he wants. this is an easy standard to meet if anybody wants to both hear him talk and lock him up for afters.
posted by queenofbithynia at 4:37 PM on March 30 [12 favorites]


That Katie Walsh story has been suspicious from the beginning. Preibus, Kushner, and Bannon all gushed about how great she was and I knew there was more to the story.
posted by futz at 4:37 PM on March 30


Oh my god I wore out my fingers sending out evil laughing gifs to everyone I know. Get fucked Flynn, I hope this is the beginning of the entire fucking corrupt carnival of shit getting shut down. The thundering arrogant hypocrisy of him standing up during the campaign and screaming about how if he did what HRC did he would be in jail...

Just, ferocious vindictive glee right now. This must be how animals feel when they've got blood on their teeth.
posted by supercrayon at 4:39 PM on March 30 [14 favorites]


[corb, please let this drop. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 4:43 PM on March 30 [11 favorites]


Mike Flynn on Meet the Press in September: "When you are given immunity that means you have probably committed a crime."
posted by zachlipton at 4:47 PM on March 30 [59 favorites]


I think there may be less here than meets the eye regarding Flynn. Partial statement from his lawyer:
Notwithstanding his life of national service, the media are awash with unfounded allegations, outrageous claims of treason, and vicious innuendo directed against him. He is now the target of unsubstantiated public demands by Members of Congress and other political critics that he be criminally investigated. No reasonable person, who has the benefit of advice from counsel, would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized, witch hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution.
These are not the words of a man who wants to confess & make a deal. He wants the opposite of that. He wants to clear his name.
posted by scalefree at 4:47 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


At this point, no investigating body needs to interview Flynn because there's nothing he can tell them that isn't already known. I'll get the whirly pop out when Flynn agrees to testify.
posted by klarck at 4:49 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


The War On Breitbart Now Goes Through Amazon
. . . if, say, you’re in the market for a vacuum, an Amazon ad for a Dyson Big Ball might show up next to an article titled “World Health Organization Report: Trannies 49 Xs Higher HIV Rate,” another Breitbart headline special. . . . “We understand they’re caught in the middle right now,” said the Giants’ spokesman. “But I also think Amazon has enough money to do whatever the hell they want to do.” . . .

Now, any time that vacuum shows up on Breitbart, Sleeping Giants is reaching out to the vacuum maker to pull its ads from Amazon.

. . . As of late Monday night, Dyson reportedly pulled its ads from Amazon, according to Sleeping Giants.

“I can confirm we’ve reached out to our partners at Amazon to ensure these ads are taken down,” said a Dyson spokesperson.

Amazon carries almost every major brand a person can think of. It’s going to be a slog. But Sleeping Giants hopes the relentless bureaucracy of phone calls from distributors and customers, plus some slightly less effective targeted advertising, might eventually do the trick.

It worked with other major ad platforms. A leaked memo from the company Omnicom, obtained by BuzzFeed News, said all of its Fortune 500 companies requested a Breitbart blackout.
Last week I sent Amazon a message saying, "I am disgusted that Amazon knowingly continues to advertise on Breitbart, a site featuring articles like "The Solution To Online 'Harassment' Is Simple: Women Should Log Off," not to mention spreading xenophobic hatred and fear, not to mention article after article screaming that secularism is bad. If Amazon doesn't support theocracy by misogynistic religious extremists, then Amazon should prove it by blocking Breitbart from its ad buys." They replied with the usual boilerplate "Thank you for your feedback."
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:50 PM on March 30 [44 favorites]


These are not the words of a man who wants to confess & make a deal. He wants the opposite of that. He wants to clear his name.

Worse. He's going to go Ollie North - take the full blame and sneer at the Democrats in congress as not being as much of a Patriot as he is. He's hoping to get immunity before the FBI can move, and remove himself from the equation entirely.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:57 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


The hilarity of an anonymous source telling a reporter that a White House staffer was fired for being an anonymous source

Maybe it's the only way out.

These are not the words of a man who wants to confess & make a deal. He wants the opposite of that. He wants to clear his name.

If he hasn't committed a crime those should be the same thing. The truth will suffice. And he wouldn't need immunity.
posted by spitbull at 5:00 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


(note: I do not personally trust most of the analysis on this page but the context is still useful)

Um, the sources you cited for the "Katie Walsh is the leaker" story seem worse than untrustworthy -- they're much more likely to be part of some White House-led disinfo campaign. The only thing "interesting" about this story is that it's being spread by some guy who retweets "Cruel Irony: White Social Justice Warrior Tortured Then Murdered By Black Killer" and some Andrew Breitbart-worshipping blog. Ugh.
posted by neroli at 5:01 PM on March 30 [9 favorites]


He's hoping to get immunity before the FBI can move, and remove himself from the equation entirely.

My husband refuses to believe he is as smart as Del Boy with his microwaves in Only Fools and Horses.
posted by Tarumba at 5:04 PM on March 30


Aww Mike Flynn is the victim of a "witch hunt." You don't say!
posted by spitbull at 5:06 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Now it’s fucking popcorn time.

So, the present.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:06 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Sources on both the Democratic and Republican sides of the House Intelligence Committee saying that Flynn hasn't offered to testify in exchange for immunity. It's still possible that he's made this offer to the Senate side or the FBI (or that Nunes' aide is lying and Nunes didn't tell the Democrats), but it's also possible he never made such an offer and someone told the WSJ this to force Flynn's hand. Either way, it's delicious.
posted by zachlipton at 5:06 PM on March 30 [16 favorites]


Congressional mechanics / separation of powers question: how can the House or Senate offer immunity from prosecution?
posted by ryanrs at 5:15 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


He's treating men and female colleagues with a hugely different standard for no reason other than gender. That's not simply private behavior.

And how do you even hire women for any position that might require working together overtime, late nights, lunch and dinner meetings, and out-of-town travel?
posted by Room 641-A at 5:19 PM on March 30 [14 favorites]


It is possible that Comey has confirmed he is @projectexile7
posted by Going To Maine at 5:20 PM on March 30 [17 favorites]


The Post says there's now at least a third White House official involved: Three White House officials tied to files shared with House intelligence chairman:
The officials said that the classified files were gathered by Cohen, the senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council.

After assembling reports that showed that Trump campaign officials were mentioned or inadvertently monitored by U.S. spy agencies targeting foreign individuals, Cohen took the matter to the top lawyer for the National Security Council, John Eisenberg.

The third White House official involved was identified as Michael Ellis, a lawyer who previously worked with Nunes on the House Intelligence Committee, but joined the Trump administration as an attorney who reports to Eisenberg. Ellis and Eisenberg report to the White House counsel, Donald McGahn.
There's also some really good information from Eli Lake at Bloomberg View on why they were looking at this stuff in the first place:
The chairman told me Thursday that elements of the Times story were inaccurate. But he acknowledged: "I did use the White House to help to confirm what I already knew from other sources." This is a body blow for Nunes, who presented his findings last week as if they were surprising to the White House. He briefed Trump, after holding a press conference on Capitol Hill. And as he was leaving the White House, he made sure to address the press again.

But this was a show. The sources named by the Times work for the president. They are political appointees. It strains credulity to think that Trump would need Nunes to tell him about intelligence reports discovered by people who work in the White House.

Another U.S. official familiar with the affair told me that one of the sources named in the article, former Defense Intelligence officer Ezra Cohen-Watnick, did not play a role in getting information to Nunes. This official said Cohen-Watnick had come upon the reports while working on a review of recent Justice Department rules that made it easier for intelligence officials to share the identities of U.S. persons swept up in surveillance. He turned them over to White House lawyers.
And I want to flag up the link T.D. Strange posted, Is the Trump White House Spying on the FBI?, because provides some important context on what the "minimization" stuff is all about and asks why White House staff was reviewing these intelligence reports in the first place.
posted by zachlipton at 5:25 PM on March 30 [14 favorites]


That Comey Tweet! I'm smiling huge right now. Because you know how before I was lokw "A lot depends on the character of James Comey"?

That tweet says good things about his character.
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:26 PM on March 30 [12 favorites]


That Comey Tweet! I'm smiling huge right now. Because you know how before I was lokw "A lot depends on the character of James Comey"?

That tweet says good things about his character.


Uh, I saw that and I smiled, because I like Anchorman. Then I remembered that Comey basically gave us Trompy because of his statements about HRC's emails in late October of 2016.
posted by dhens at 5:28 PM on March 30 [9 favorites]


I'm a broken record about this, but I'm fairly confident at this point that Comey had the choice of sending that letter privately to Chaffetz (who promptly leaked it, of course) or reading about that Weiner laptop in the NYT after one of Giuliani's buddies at the FBI New York office leaked it. Search my comment history for "Giuliani" if you want to see where I've made that case before.

Comey probably has a very healthy appreciation for good investigative reporting. I think I read some commentary by a former FBI agent at some point in all this about how being an FBI agent is just like being an investigative reporter, but with a much smaller audience.
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:33 PM on March 30 [15 favorites]




That Comey Tweet!

I'm not sure I get this but I don't use the Twit much. Did Comey tweet "fbijobs.gov" as well as that Anchorman image? Was @projectexile7's twitter unlocked until very recently?
posted by futz at 5:37 PM on March 30


Old Mikey's really working hard to give Spiro Agnew a run for the money as Worst Veep ever.

From deep inside his dark lair, Dick Cheney awakens with cruel purpose to see this pretender thrown down.
posted by Ber at 5:37 PM on March 30 [23 favorites]


Sources on both the Democratic and Republican sides of the House Intelligence Committee saying that Flynn hasn't offered to testify in exchange for immunity. It's still possible that he's made this offer to the Senate side or the FBI (or that Nunes' aide is lying and Nunes didn't tell the Democrats), but it's also possible he never made such an offer and someone told the WSJ this to force Flynn's hand.

To be fair: if you were Flynn, would you trust Nunes enough to go to him with an offer to testify, after this last week? I could well believe that Flynn approached the FBI and the Senate and skipped the House entirely (since Schifff can't guarantee an offer without Nunes, I think?), as a matter of practicality if nothing else.
posted by cjelli at 5:38 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Anyone who can admit to being beaten at his own game without getting angry or defensive is usually a good egg, in my experience. If you can do it with a sense of humor then doubly so. Have you noticed how evil people never have a sense of humor?
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:38 PM on March 30 [10 favorites]


Mike "Lock her up" Flynn might need immunity because of a "witch hunt environment"?

If hypocrisy was a disease, most Republicans would be dead by now.
posted by NorthernLite at 5:39 PM on March 30 [22 favorites]


In Trump's America, swamp drains you.
posted by spitbull at 5:39 PM on March 30 [44 favorites]


Is this what it was like to live through Watergate?
posted by medusa at 5:40 PM on March 30 [21 favorites]


Did Comey tweet "fbijobs.gov" as well as that Anchorman image? Was @projectexile7's twitter unlocked until very recently?

It was unlocked, he hadn't tweeted before.

And I took the tweet to be a joking job offer to the Gizmodo writer who figured it out.

Is this what it was like to live through Watergate?

Kinda but Twitter wasn't as popular.
posted by asteria at 5:40 PM on March 30 [35 favorites]


a good egg

We see what you did there.gif.
posted by spitbull at 5:40 PM on March 30 [7 favorites]


If hypocrisy was a disease, most Republicans would be dead by now.

Patient zero, man.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:43 PM on March 30


So the Comey account is locked out. Anyone have a screenshot or even the specific 140 characters he tweeted?
posted by RedOrGreen at 5:44 PM on March 30


Is this what it was like to live through Watergate?

I think so, but I mostly remember being shushed while my parents had commandeered the TV to watch the hearings.
posted by thelonius at 5:44 PM on March 30 [7 favorites]


Comey also updated his Instagram apparently.
posted by asteria at 5:44 PM on March 30 [13 favorites]


About this whole wacky madcap deal where Nunes and the White House natsec dudes (possibly at Trump's behest) try to use irrelevant reports to back up Trump, I have three questions:

1. Does this make Nunes the Lucy Ricardo or the Stimpy of Congress?

2. Why are we letting people who are so irredeemably stupid as to think this would work and they'd get away with it be in charge of national security?

3. My god, what is the next House Intelligence Committee meeting going to be like? I'm imagining like an hour straight of upstanding elected officials of both parties going, "What. The. Fuck. Devin? WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK?"
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:47 PM on March 30 [10 favorites]


Is this what it was like to live through Watergate?

Oh, man. I watched All The President's Men a couple weeks ago, and you wouldn't believe how worked up people got over a burglary and a $25,000 check. The reaction of the press and public in the movie would have totally ruined my suspension of disbelief if I hadn't known Watergate actually happened.
posted by ryanrs at 5:47 PM on March 30 [32 favorites]


Comey also updated his Instagram apparently.

For what it's worth, Ashley Feinberg, who broke this story, thinks that he changed his instagram username and that post is from someone else who scooped up the account. I'm pretty sure it's not him anymore on instagram.
posted by zachlipton at 5:48 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


So I just shared that Comey tweet on Facebook. When you share a tweet on Facebook, it puts up the profile image from the tweeter. It was not an egg, nor was it James Comey. Unfortunately I can't get a screenshot at the moment.
posted by waitingtoderail at 5:49 PM on March 30


Is this what it was like to live through Watergate?

I'm told it's rather like Watergate without the expectation of decorum or competence.

There's this constant through-line of "Maybe he just said/did that because he's a gigantic goddamn moron," that's adds a wildcard element to the whole thing.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 5:50 PM on March 30 [29 favorites]


Naw, Watergate was a) way scarier because it was unprecedented and b) way more entertaining and edifying because it featured magnificent, smart, articulate, and/or crafty bastards like Howard Baker, Sam Ervin, Archibald Cox, and John Dean.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:52 PM on March 30 [16 favorites]


I mean, yes, I was pissed when the hearings pre-empted Match Game, but even at 12-13, I found it really interesting much of the time.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:54 PM on March 30 [9 favorites]


Yeah, and during Watergate, it seemed like there was shame on the part of the crooks, and actual statesmen from both parties seemed to want to do the right thing. And they kinda did.
posted by valkane at 5:54 PM on March 30 [18 favorites]


Where, I ask you, are there any Howard Bakers today?
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:57 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


You younger people, you know how when you first learn about Nixon and Watergate, and you get kinda pissed off that he wasn't sent to prison? Well 20 years from now, kids will learn about Nixon getting pardoned, and think "well ok, but Nixon wasn't nearly as bad as Trump, and Trump did go to prison."
posted by ryanrs at 5:57 PM on March 30 [10 favorites]


It was not an egg, nor was it James Comey. Unfortunately I can't get a screenshot at the moment.

Nevermind, got it.

Oh, and here's the tweet, RedOrGreen.
posted by waitingtoderail at 6:00 PM on March 30 [5 favorites]


These are not the words of a man who wants to confess & make a deal. He wants the opposite of that. He wants to clear his name.

#Generalshavebigretirementaccounts

posted by T.D. Strange at 6:05 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


We need a Sam Ervin, taking his time and taking his glasses off to give the witness a looonnnggg look.
Sermon on the Hill: A Sam Ervin Sampler.
posted by readery at 6:06 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


i have no idea what to think of this whole flynn thing considering his questionable mental stability (if that new yorker profile is anything to go on, at any rate)
posted by murphy slaw at 6:08 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


FBI Agents Visit Office of Saipan Casino Run by Trump Protege

-- Agents from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation visited an office belonging to the operator of a casino on the remote U.S. island of Saipan that has attracted attention for its huge revenues, according to a local legislator and residents.

-- Saipan, an island of 50,000 residents closer to China than to Hawaii, relaxed rules on casinos in 2014 and soon awarded Imperial Pacific exclusive rights to open casinos there. The casino, run by an executive who cut his teeth in Atlantic City casinos then owned by Donald Trump, enlisted a slate of luminary overseers including former leaders of both the Republican and Democratic national parties in the U.S.

Its board members include James Woolsey, who ran the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in the early 1990s and was among national-security advisers to Trump’s presidential campaign. Former FBI director Louis Freeh and Ed Rendell, a former Pennsylvania governor and Democratic National Committee chairman, sit on an advisory committee, as does Haley Barbour, the ex-Mississippi governor and Republican National Committee chairman who’s now a prominent lobbyist.


-- In 2015, the company opened Best Sunshine Live in a mall between a laundromat and a cellphone shop. From its sleepy storefront, Best Sunshine Live has posted per-table revenues far greater than those at the largest resorts in Macau, Asia’s gambling capital.

-- Imperial Pacific has been sued several times since it opened the casino, including in December by a former executive accusing it of violating money-laundering rules.


There is a lot of WTFuckery in this article. wowsers.
posted by futz at 6:10 PM on March 30 [57 favorites]


Watergate was the great catharsis of the 60s, when we were finally able to let go of the 60s. Nixon came to symbolize Vietnam and a talk big and carry a large weasel attitude. Democracy stood up to his pettiness, democracy actually had legs. It played out in slow motion over months and ultimately two years.

This is the Keystone Cops on cocaine version of Watergate. Nixon was intelligent. Dean was intelligent. Trump is an idiot. Nunes is an idiot.

(added, I know Watergate took place in the seventies0
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:12 PM on March 30 [10 favorites]


It's suspicious because this Trump-linked casino is turning a profit.
posted by ryanrs at 6:12 PM on March 30 [66 favorites]


Related article from November 2016. Holy Shit.

Big Money, Big Questions at Trump Protege's Remote Casino
Far-flung gambling operation advised by former FBI and CIA chiefs posts huge revenues—and its flows of cash have drawn the attention of the U.S. Treasury.


The awkwardly named Best Sunshine Live hardly looks like a high-roller hub. Construction workers bet $5 or $10 at a time on roulette and baccarat in a fug of nicotine. Clustered in a far corner are a handful of tables for so-called VIP gamblers, which at 8:30 p.m. on a September Saturday are almost empty. A nearby bar has just a couple of patrons.

Nothing about the facility, which opened last year on the U.S. island of Saipan, hints at the money flowing through it—table for table, far more than at the biggest casinos in Macau, the world’s number-one gambling capital. Nor is there any sign of the connections of its owner, Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd., which has a market value of $2.4 billion.

posted by futz at 6:13 PM on March 30 [15 favorites]


Anne Gearan and Carol Morello at The Washington Post: “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spends his first weeks isolated from an anxious bureaucracy”
Most of his interactions are with an insular circle of political aides who are new to the State Department. Many career diplomats say they still have not met him, and some have been instructed not to speak to him directly — or even make eye contact.
My heart bleeds for civil servants.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:14 PM on March 30 [44 favorites]


I can't wait for all of this Flynn stuff to slowly amount to pretty much nothing.
posted by BeginAgain at 6:17 PM on March 30 [8 favorites]


My heart bleeds for civil servants.

My agency is still without any political nominees for leadership positions whatsoever. We're sort of wondering what happens if it goes on for all 4 years, and how far down the "acting" line of succession actually goes.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:18 PM on March 30 [15 favorites]


still without any political nominees

That's good, right?
posted by ryanrs at 6:21 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


In 2015, the company opened Best Sunshine Live in a mall between a laundromat and a cellphone shop.

Go on.

From its sleepy storefront, Best Sunshine Live has posted per-table revenues far greater than those at the largest resorts in Macau, Asia’s gambling capital

I mean...that's just not even trying. That's breaking the law while doing a Paul Rudd fuck-you spin around the pole

accusing it of violating money-laundering rules.

You think
posted by schadenfrau at 6:22 PM on March 30 [25 favorites]


The best way of keeping a secret is to pretend there isn’t one
Margaret Atwood
posted by robbyrobs at 6:28 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


Saipan is interesting!
posted by vrakatar at 6:31 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


My heart bleeds for civil servants.

Our agency still doesn't have a Secretary. We have no idea what next year's budget will be, or what *this* year's budget will be. We can't fill any empty positions. And guess what? I'm morale officer!
posted by acrasis at 6:31 PM on March 30 [75 favorites]


futz: "Related article from November 2016. Holy Shit."

OMG. These dummies can't even crime correctly. I mean, even Skyler White -- or, technically, the writers on Breaking Bad -- knew that you have to be careful to make sure that the amount of money you're laundering through your business doesn't make it totally obvious that you're laundering money through your business.
posted by mhum at 6:36 PM on March 30 [24 favorites]


Our agency still doesn't have a Secretary. We have no idea what next year's budget will be, or what *this* year's budget will be. We can't fill any empty positions. And guess what? I'm morale officer!

Don't worry. You'll soon have the man who single handedly destroyed agriculture in Georgia as your secretary.

The irony would be laughable if the stakes weren't so ridiculously high.
posted by Talez at 6:36 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


That's good, right?

Probably. Four years of a whole agency mostly twiddling its thumbs and pretending to work is probably better than the alternative.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:39 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


"well ok, but Nixon wasn't nearly as bad as Trump, and Trump did go to prison."

From your lips to God's ear....

Watergate was the great catharsis of the 60s, when we were finally able to let go of the 60s

I hope this means we can let go of the 80s; at least the Reagan Revolution portions of it.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 6:44 PM on March 30 [16 favorites]


One last quote...

It’s a power list that includes a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and three former U.S. governors, including past chairmen of both the Democratic and Republican National Committees. Behind them all: a Donald Trump protege, Mark Brown, who ran the Republican president-elect’s Atlantic City casino empire and is now Imperial Pacific’s chief executive officer.

With that backing, Best Sunshine is posting numbers that stagger industry veterans. The daily reported revenue for each of its VIP tables in the first half of the year, about $170,000, is almost eight times the average of Macau’s largest casinos. Its 16 VIP tables alone generate revenue that’s more than half of the receipts from 178 high-stakes tables at Wynn Resorts Ltd.’s flagship casino in the Chinese territory, a 20-story palace with three Michelin-starred restaurants.

The revenue figures, or actual wins by the house, are just a fraction of total bets. In September, Imperial Pacific reported a record $3.9 billion in bets at its casino—meaning the 100 or so high-rollers who it says come through its doors monthly each wagered an average of $39 million.


The photo of this place shows how ridiculous this is and then you add the VIP list of political/government officials and it becomes a tiny bit less murky as to all of trump's tentacles. This is beyond absurd.
posted by futz at 6:47 PM on March 30 [29 favorites]


It's fucking demoralizing though. I have friends at NSF, NEH, LoC, and the Smithsonian. They're just adrift. The sheer waste of time and talent and labor is enormous and ought to be called what it is, waste due to administrative incompetence and self-made distraction in the executive branch, abetted by people who get off on destroying crucial intellectual infrastructure out of ignorant spite Pol Pot would find gauche.
posted by spitbull at 6:47 PM on March 30 [67 favorites]


This casino is sounding an awful lot like the Nugan Hand Bank in Australia.
posted by zachlipton at 6:51 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


Our agency still doesn't have a Secretary. We have no idea what next year's budget will be, or what *this* year's budget will be. We can't fill any empty positions. And guess what? I'm morale officer!

Continue with the beatings. Problem solved.
posted by orange ball at 6:52 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Are there any figures for the number of unfilled appointee positions, and the number of staff affected? I like the idea of coming up with a monthly bill.
posted by Devonian at 6:52 PM on March 30


Here's where I plug The Laundrymen, a book recounting many money laundering cases. It's a very interesting read. It's slightly dated (1995), and by necessity only discusses money launderers who were caught, but it's a fascinating read nonetheless.

(yes, Trump is mentioned, but only in passing)
posted by ryanrs at 7:01 PM on March 30 [12 favorites]


Robert James "Jim" Woolsey Jr. . . former Director of Central Intelligence who headed the Central Intelligence Agency from February 5, 1993, until January 10, 1995. . . A lawyer by training and trade, . . he held a variety of government positions in the 1970s and 1980s, including as Under Secretary of the Navy from 1977 to 1979,

wait for it

and was involved in treaty negotiations with the Soviet Union for five years in the 1980s.

We have a winner!

His career also included time

I think it's a little early to say that

as a professional lawyer, venture capitalist and investor in the private sector.

Oh, that, yeah. Why *would* a former chief spook need boatloads of dirty money? Darned confounding is what it is
posted by petebest at 7:01 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Forget wikipedia have a read of SaipanSucks.com.
posted by adamvasco at 7:06 PM on March 30


Our agency still doesn't have a Secretary. We have no idea what next year's budget will be, or what *this* year's budget will be. We can't fill any empty positions. And guess what? I'm morale officer!

But Doctor... I am the Great Pagliacci...
posted by Sebmojo at 7:10 PM on March 30 [29 favorites]


Saipan is interesting

Yes it is!
The Jack Abramoff CNMI scandal involved the efforts of Jack Abramoff, other lobbyists, and government officials to change or prevent, or both, Congressional action regarding the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and businesses on Saipan, its capital, commercial center, and one of its three principal islands.

Among the issues he worked on was keeping Congress from imposing the federal minimum wage for workers in the CNMI.:
I better not have to see Tom DeLay's mug all over the place now.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:10 PM on March 30 [11 favorites]


Robert James "Jim" Woolsey Jr. . . former Director of Central Intelligence who headed the Central Intelligence Agency from February 5, 1993, until January 10, 1995. . . A lawyer by training and trade, . . he held a variety of government positions in the 1970s and 1980s, including as Under Secretary of the Navy from 1977 to 1979,

wait for it

and was involved in treaty negotiations with the Soviet Union for five years in the 1980s.

We have a winner!

His career also included time

I think it's a little early to say that

as a professional lawyer, venture capitalist and investor in the private sector.

Oh, that, yeah. Why *would* a former chief spook need boatloads of dirty money? Darned confounding is what it is


Also he's the dude who very recently dropped a dime on Flynn about his talks with Turkey re: kidnapping Fethullah Gulen. I don't know WTF Woolsey's game is.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:11 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


I just wanna say one more thing about why that Comey tweet is encouraging.

Both Barack Obama and Fred Clark (Slacktivist) are big fans of Reinhold Niebuhr, in part I'm sure because he was a champion democracy, of checks and balances and because he was an influential anti-Nazi voice in the run up to WWII.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:11 PM on March 30 [34 favorites]


It all makes so much more sense as a Putin-led conspiracy for destruction. The blatant incompetence isn't incomprehensible when it's the goal. The political failures aren't absurd when they're the goal. The racism, misogyny, homophobia, lying, blatantly illegal behavior, all help further the goal. When I don't understand, I tell myself: this is the man hand-picked by Russia to destroy NATO, the EU, and American power and democracy. Then it makes sense.
posted by medusa at 7:12 PM on March 30 [28 favorites]


Are there any figures for the number of unfilled appointee positions, and the number of staff affected? I like the idea of coming up with a monthly bill.

You'd have an easier time just starting with the positions actually filled. 21 confirmed, 41 nominated, 491 no nomination. Click 'explore key positions' and scroll down to see the scale of how far behind this administration is. And it's not just the slow nominations, outside of a couple key agencies, the ones that do have nominees have little to no direction on what the mission is supposed to be now under Trump.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:12 PM on March 30 [14 favorites]


Many career diplomats say they still have not met him, and some have been instructed not to speak to him directly — or even make eye contact.

This motherfucker was CEO of goddamn Exxon! He made a career out of poisoning the planet! How much shady shit has Exxon pulled, and now he can't handle eye contact from his employees?

I hope that's just the rank humiliation of knowing he took on a top cabinet post for nothing, 'cause if it's because of stuff he actually knows that's pretty unsettling.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:17 PM on March 30 [19 favorites]


Trump administration stops disclosing troop deployments in Iraq and Syria
That move deprives the public of information it has a right to know about the wars in which the U.S. is engaging, said Ned Price, National Security Council spokesman under Obama.

“The position of the Obama administration was that the American people had a right to know if servicemen and women were in harm’s way,” he said.

“It’s truly shocking that the current administration furtively deploys troops without public debate or describing their larger strategy.”
posted by zachlipton at 7:28 PM on March 30 [50 favorites]


This motherfucker was CEO of goddamn Exxon! He made a career out of poisoning the planet! How much shady shit has Exxon pulled, and now he can't handle eye contact from his employees

That dude needs replacing with a rock.
posted by Artw at 7:28 PM on March 30


Kushner, Bannon and Priebus team up to explain top aide's departure

-- I just attended a meeting in Reince Priebus' office with Katie Walsh, Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner. They told a small group of reporters that Walsh was leaving the White House to join the pro-Trump outside group "America First Policies."

-- All three denied that Walsh was fired. Bannon said she had to convince him to let her leave.

-- As we left Priebus' office, CNN's Jim Acosta asked a senior administration official to respond to the persistent rumor that Priebus' is the next head to roll. The official emphatically said "he's not next."

posted by futz at 7:30 PM on March 30 [8 favorites]


The poor military families must be, holy cow, I mean this can't stand, right?
posted by Room 641-A at 7:32 PM on March 30 [11 favorites]


hmm, a senior administration official who would be near the Chief of Staff's office and in a position to respond to a rumor that the Chief of Staff is getting fired? I wonder who that could be...

Bet my words on a cake it was Trump.
posted by zachlipton at 7:34 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


I was at a training for the software our library uses for our summer reading program. Our trainer was pointing out that we can reuse information summer after summer...except that the program is funded through IMLS so nobody knew for how long. The room just sort of deflated.
posted by Biblio at 7:36 PM on March 30 [11 favorites]


U.S. priority on Syria no longer focused on 'getting Assad out': Haley

-- "Do we think he's a hindrance? Yes. Are we going to sit there and focus on getting him out? No," she said. "What we are going to focus on is putting the pressure in there so that we can start to make a change in Syria."

In Ankara on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Assad's longer-term status "will be decided by the Syrian people."

-- But Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, in separate, strongly worded statements, denounced the shift in the U.S. stance.

posted by futz at 7:37 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


“It’s truly shocking that the current administration furtively deploys troops without public debate or describing their larger strategy.”

...perhaps it's because they lack any coherent larger strategy?
posted by leotrotsky at 7:39 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


U.S. priority on Syria no longer focused on 'getting Assad out': Haley

Well, no, as Russian puppets they would not be interested in ousting their fellow Russian puppet. This has been a given from the get go.
posted by Artw at 7:40 PM on March 30 [23 favorites]


Going To Maine: "How many Nixon appointees did Ford keep around?"

Lower level would be a lot of work to research. But at the Cabinet level, Ford kept most of them for a while, but ended up replacing everyone but Kissinger (State) and Simon (Treasury).
posted by Chrysostom at 7:40 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


But please, I implore you, don't let the political wrangling of hateful people with far more power than they deserve divide what liberal opposition we can manage to scrape against these shitstains of history.

I remember, early on in this ongoing horror, that there was rhetoric over writing down our lines in the sand and seeing if and when we'd cross it.

The HB2 faux repeal crosses my line. I do not support it and I view those who do as unreliable.

If there ever does come a time when we do scrape those shitstains from history, I hope those who are straight, white, and cis remember on whose backs that victory was carried, that they remember those marginalized folk they asked, once again, to take one for the team.

It is, after all, the marginalized, the minorities, whose burden it is to carry everyone else. They're the makers who built the country, who suffered the most, for the takers of the spoils.

After all, it's not like they have much of a choice. their voices are overwhelmed by the baying of the rest. They are bound to vote for candidates who care little for them.

Fuck Cooper and his cowardice.
posted by anem0ne at 7:41 PM on March 30 [20 favorites]


@johnsifton: "Comey's is using my grandfather's name Reinhold Niebuhr, under @projectexile7, as his Twitter name. DM me, dude, before my mom finds out."

The Unauthorized Typography of Reinhold Niebuhr
posted by the road and the damned at 7:41 PM on March 30 [20 favorites]


The Best Sunshine Live casino reports turnover of $3.9 billion. I think we can presume almost all of that comes from the sixteen VIP tables, not the $5/$10 bets of construction workers. That means each VIP table turns over around $240 million per year.

The house profit on each table is reportedly $170,000 per year. In other words, the house's "edge" is not the 5% typical of poker, not the .5% typical of blackjack, but .07%! That's less than a seventh of the edge that blackjack has.

No wonder this casino is tangentially linked to Trump; they obviously have no idea how to make money from gamblers.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:45 PM on March 30 [9 favorites]


This casino is sounding an awful lot like the Nugan Hand Bank in Australia.

Yeah, given who's on the board, my guess is they're laundering money for the CIA, And they probably have some protection from that side of things unless they're double-dealing.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:48 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


Michael Gerson opinion piece in the Washington Post: Trump’s failing presidency has the GOP in a free fall
It is now dawning on Republicans what they have done to themselves. They thought they could somehow get away with Trump. That he could be contained. That the adults could provide guidance. That the economy might come to the rescue. That the damage could be limited.

Instead, they are seeing a downward spiral of incompetence and public contempt — a collapse that is yet to reach a floor. A presidency is failing. A party unable to govern is becoming unfit to govern.

And what, in the short term, can be done about it? Nothing. Nothing at all.
posted by medusa at 7:50 PM on March 30 [56 favorites]


Yeah, given who's on the board, my guess is they're laundering money for the CIA, And they probably have some protection from that side of things unless they're double-dealing.

Gotta be real awkward to be on the FBI team that rolled up on the place.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:52 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


Two Houston doctors facing removal by Immigration officials are granted temporary stay
Two prominent Houston doctors facing removal by immigration officials to their native India have been granted a temporary, 90-day reprieve while they try to sort the paper-work that will allow them to continue living and working legally in the United States.

The married couple are both neurologists and faced removal Thursday after immigration officials refused at the last minute to extend their temporary permission to stay in the U.S., potentially jeopardizing the care of dozens of patients who have specialized surgeries scheduled with the two doctors in coming weeks.
They've been here legally for more than a decade and have temporary work authorizations until a slot for a green card becomes available (which takes years), but they got caught up in a bureaucratic nightmare and eventually were told there's a new policy and they had to leave right away.

But I'm sure Trump supporters are just cackling about the "bad hombres" and don't give a darn about the neurosurgeons that they could need to save their life one day.
posted by zachlipton at 7:52 PM on March 30 [76 favorites]


Trump administration stops disclosing troop deployments in Iraq and Syria

Interesting. Wonder if Putin & Co. advised him to adopt this policy, because the first thing I thought of was the appearance of the "little green men" and heavily armed "tourists" in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Also thought of all the combat deaths described as "training accidents" by the Russian Military to the affected families.
posted by honestcoyote at 7:53 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


Latest GA-06 numbers:
Day 4 of in-person early voting in GA-6 is D 53, R 30 Over all, including absentees, D 55, R 29 with 6442 votes cast

Big picture the same--dems still way ahead of '14; still very very very early
posted by Chrysostom at 7:53 PM on March 30 [10 favorites]


the FBI team that rolled up on the place.

They were shocked to find gambling money laundering going on.
posted by spitbull at 7:54 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Its board members include [...] Ed Rendell, a former Pennsylvania governor and Democratic National Committee chairman

Good God, even here I will not be spared the spectre of Hizzoner? Even here?

(On the other hand, this is pretty stupid for Rendell, who sometimes feels like the only high-profile Dem in PA from a certain generation to not get done for something.)
posted by kalimac at 7:54 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


Duckworth and Durbin both confim No on Gorsuch, No on cloture (= yes, will filibuster).
posted by Chrysostom at 7:56 PM on March 30 [26 favorites]


Oklahoma Bar Association opens investigation of ex-AG Pruitt

-- The complaint, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit organization that works to protect endangered species, and associate professor Kristen van de Biezenbos of the University of Oklahoma College of Law, says Pruitt may have violated the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct when he told a U.S. Senate committee at his confirmation hearings in January that he only used his attorney general's email address to conduct official business.

The complaint, dated March 21, says documents released by the attorney general's office through an Open Records Act lawsuit in Oklahoma seem to contradict Pruitt's sworn testimony and indicate Pruitt also used a personal email address to conduct official business.

-- Amy Atwood, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity who is based in Portland, Oregon, said the organization wants to know whether Pruitt misrepresented the truth during his Senate testimony, which would be in violation of Bar Association guidelines.

"That's one of the most important ethical rules that applies to lawyers," Atwood said. "I hope the investigation will help us all understand why Pruitt was so cagey about his communications with fossil-fuel interests."


YES please. More of this.
posted by futz at 7:59 PM on March 30 [66 favorites]


So I just looked at the calendar... is anyone else concerned that this whole thing with Flynn searching for immunity will turn out to be one big ugly April Fool's joke?

Nothing else makes any sense anymore, so should this? Feels like we should be extra wary of headlines for the next couple days anyway.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:10 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


accusing it of violating money-laundering rules.

Hey, spies like clean money, too
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:12 PM on March 30


The First Horseman of the Privacy Apocalypse Has Already Arrived: Verizon Announces Plans to Install Spyware on All Its Android Phones

Within days of Congress repealing online privacy protections, Verizon has announced new plans to install software on customers’ devices to track what apps customers have downloaded. With this spyware, Verizon will be able to sell ads to you across the Internet based on things like which bank you use and whether you’ve downloaded a fertility app.

Verizon’s use of “AppFlash”—an app launcher and web search utility that Verizon will be rolling out to their subscribers’ Android devices “in the coming weeks”—is just the latest display of wireless carriers’ stunning willingness to compromise the security and privacy of their customers by installing spyware on end devices.

posted by futz at 8:12 PM on March 30 [54 favorites]


Doesn't Flynn have an 18 USC 1001 "lied to a fed" hanging over him if someone pulls the right strings? Seeking assurances against that seems like a possible motivation...

(It is a fucked law BTW.)
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 8:20 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Futz: Can you make that an FPP? It *absolutely* should be, and as per the recent Metatalk, is likely to be somewhat lost in this thread (not only for the users who have turned off Trump stuff).
posted by jaduncan at 8:21 PM on March 30 [43 favorites]


Would you like to read a 2,500 word discussion of what the Democrats are proposing with their drug price bill? Because if I know this thread at all, I suspect some of you do.

This is interesting mainly because we know Trump has spoken to Cummings at least a couple of times about this, which for a Democratic bill moves it from pie-in-the-sky territory to "a less than 100% chance every single idea in here is completely and totally dead" land. There's a grabag of stuff in here, not some grand unified theory of drug pricing, but some interesting ideas.

A prize fund for antibiotic development sounds great, especially when it's matched with restrictions to ensure the resulting drugs aren't total windfalls for pharmaceutical companies, and there's some good stuff in there to lower out-of-pocket costs and curb particularly abusive practices like pay-for-delay or massive price increases on old drugs. Some things like dramatically lowering the exclusivity period for biologics will inevitably result in a lot of shouting about killing innovation, but will also lower costs for some of the most expensive drugs. Other parts will prove more tricky: allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for a year and fall back to VA pricing if a deal can't be reached sounds like it could result in a situation similar to Prop 61 in California, which was opposed by veterans groups out of fears it could blow up VA drug prices. And drug importation gets weird and is the kind of thing that leads to problems when certain countries (say, Canada) don't want our imports to ruin their sweet pricing deals.

It's far from clear whether any of this will see the light of day, especially once Paul Ryan and Tom Price and drug company lobbyists get their hands on it and start over from scratch, but it's an interesting situation with Trump regularly talking about drug prices and having these chats with Cummings. It's also something Democrats really ought to start tooting their own horn about (to the extent they can do so without blowing up negotiations, which may be zero), since it's a great example of Democrats actually doing real policy work on a major problem people have as Republicans do nothing.
posted by zachlipton at 8:22 PM on March 30 [10 favorites]


Futz: Can you make that an FPP? It *absolutely* should be

I am embarrassed to admit that I have waaaay over-posted in this thread and am not sure which link you are talking about :/

The eff/Verizon story?
posted by futz at 8:29 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Yes, the EFF/Verizon story. It's important for people that aren't into the ongoing Trumpocalypse too.
posted by jaduncan at 8:39 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Futz: Also, just for the record, I very much value the repeated posting - it's a useful curated information source from someone smart.
posted by jaduncan at 8:44 PM on March 30 [15 favorites]


U.S. priority on Syria no longer focused on 'getting Assad out'

I guess you could say they

couldn't be assad

heyooo
posted by Sebmojo at 9:01 PM on March 30 [11 favorites]


RESOLVED: That the Cambridge City Council call upon the United States House of Representatives to support a resolution authorizing and directing the House Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, including but not limited to the violations listed herein;

(This order has not yet been passed; will be discussed on April 3. But given that it's Cambridge, MA it probably will).
posted by AwkwardPause at 9:01 PM on March 30 [32 favorites]


Thanks :)

Give me a bit and I will put something together BUT if someone beats me to it I will not be bothered at all!
posted by futz at 9:02 PM on March 30


Give me a bit and I will put something together BUT if someone beats me to it I will not be bothered at all!

Hint Hint you awesome FPP making mefites!
posted by futz at 9:04 PM on March 30


But given that it's Cambridge, MA it probably will

As an actual Native Cantabridgian, let me get my Cambridge pride hat on. Although it's ironic to point out that the place was once known as "Moscow on the Charles."
posted by spitbull at 9:11 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Doesn't Flynn have an 18 USC 1001 "lied to a fed" hanging over him if someone pulls the right strings? ... (It is a fucked law BTW.)

Hey, if it's good enough for Martha Stewart, it's good enough for Michael Flynn.
posted by JackFlash at 9:13 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Trump Leaves Science Jobs Vacant, Troubling Critics. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has basically been wiped out, and some Republicans have wanted to just end the office entirely. I got to meet a few of the people from the OSTP and the CTO's office under Obama and they were an incredibly sharp bunch who did some really important coordination work around crises like Ebola and the healthcare.gov rollout, along with some broader policy issues around technology. They served as a voice for tech issues within the administration and were apparently given a fair amount of air cover to use the White House's name to advance issues across the government. Now, it's being left to die.
posted by zachlipton at 9:13 PM on March 30 [31 favorites]


Nothing is "good enough" for Martha Stewart!
posted by spitbull at 9:15 PM on March 30 [9 favorites]


From its sleepy storefront, Best Sunshine Live has posted per-table revenues far greater than those at the largest resorts in Macau, Asia’s gambling capital.

Holy shit, this is insane. I shot a story there a few years ago for Die Weltwoche when we were living in Hong Kong and a big part of the story was the huge dollars Macau does. They do five times the book of Vegas in a smaller place, so if this casino is blowing Macau numbers away, whoa.
posted by chris24 at 9:48 PM on March 30 [12 favorites]


One observation about today: the President's bark is pretty much useless now. This is a guy who used to wipe a billion dollars off a company's market cap with a tweet, someone who could unleash a national wave of outrage against someone he disliked. Today, with a 38% approval rating (yes, he slid back up a couple points) and many of his followers having seemingly moved on, nobody seems to care. He attacked three reps by name today, twice, and nobody really seems to have noticed. He sent Mulvaney to threaten Rep. Sanford, and not only was Sanford not suitably threatened, he found the experience so amusing he related the story publicly himself. He ranted about changing libel laws to go after the New York Times, and everyone was like "yeah, but he called the Times up himself right after the AHCA went down, so clearly this is a stupid act."

The one thing Trump had going for him, his ability to bully his way through, seems to have been basically neutralized now that he's not live on cable news with cheering crowds all the time.

It's really the paradox of the Trump Administration: the more he tries to put a professional face on things, where it's "merely" an incompetent administration pushing horrible policies but without the extracurricular nonsense of the campaign, the less effective he is, because his loudmouth nonsense is the only tool he's really got. That's not to say he can't be and isn't incredibly damaging, both here and abroad, just with stuff he can do quietly, but that it increasingly looks like the big things, what he can't do without public support, are things he can't achieve without being obnoxious, and I'm reasonably sure that he'll encounter new roadblocks if he tries to do them obnoxiously too.
posted by zachlipton at 9:52 PM on March 30 [68 favorites]


One observation about today: the President's bark is pretty much useless now.

It's the biggest wolf you can imagine, folks!
Largest. Wolf. Ever. E-v-e-r.
(rinse and repeat)
posted by jaduncan at 10:06 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Yeah, as an aspiring autocrat the one thing you really can't do is become a joke. And while many of us have always thought he was a joke, winning made a lot of people take him seriously, or at least consider him dangerous. The ineptitude, the ineffectiveness, the idiocy have taken the bloom off that. Not to say he's not doing damage or not a threat, but it does seem like a bit of a feeding frenzy of disrespect and disgust is building.
posted by chris24 at 10:13 PM on March 30 [22 favorites]


And while many of us have always thought he was a joke, winning made a lot of people take him seriously, or at least consider him dangerous. The ineptitude, the ineffectiveness, the idiocy have taken the bloom off that.

One of my friends was utterly relieved by the fact that the Freedom Caucus stood up to him on the AHCA. Not because she thinks the Freedom Caucus has the right idea on health care, but because they're part of the GOP coalition and yet they declined to cower to him.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:18 PM on March 30 [29 favorites]


Not because she thinks the Freedom Caucus has the right idea on health care, but because they're part of the GOP coalition and yet they declined to cower to him.

Not only that, but it played well.
posted by jaduncan at 10:21 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


Speaking of aspiring autocrats, it looks like Maduro, joke he may be, is getting somewhat successful.

Venezuela continues its slide to authoritarianism.
posted by anem0ne at 10:31 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Yeah, as an aspiring autocrat the one thing you really can't do is become a joke. And while many of us have always thought he was a joke, winning made a lot of people take him seriously, or at least consider him dangerous. The ineptitude, the ineffectiveness, the idiocy have taken the bloom off that. Not to say he's not doing damage or not a threat, but it does seem like a bit of a feeding frenzy of disrespect and disgust is building.

I think the difficulty is also that he is both a cartoonish figure and very easy to take off. He has a possible future as every hack comic's cheap punchline, because it's very easy just to play a joke off based on contempt.
posted by jaduncan at 10:35 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


anem0ne: Venezuela continues its slide to authoritarianism.

It says so much that I felt a flood of relief and surprise at the U.S. State Department's response, quoted in that article:
“This rupture of democratic and constitutional norms greatly damages Venezuela’s democratic institutions and denies the Venezuelan people the right to shape their country’s future through their elected representatives. We consider it a serious setback for democracy in Venezuela,” the state department said in a statement.
I was surprised and relieved that this country's diplomatic office a) issued an immediate response to this situation that b) defended the principles of democracy in c) articulate, appropriate language.

Day 71, and this is where we're at.
posted by Superplin at 10:40 PM on March 30 [41 favorites]


Most of his interactions are with an insular circle of political aides who are new to the State Department. Many career diplomats say they still have not met him, and some have been instructed not to speak to him directly — or even make eye contact.

Who are these freaks?? Sometimes I feel like I'm in a Stephen King novel.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:45 PM on March 30 [9 favorites]


I was surprised and relieved that this country's diplomatic office a) issued an immediate response to this situation that b) defended the principles of democracy in c) articulate, appropriate language.

Maybe someone decided that as long as Tillerson is spending his time napping and declining eye contact, they might as well do some diplomacy without asking him first.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:45 PM on March 30 [23 favorites]


Today, with a 38% approval rating (yes, he slid back up a couple points)

Looks to me like Trump's approval rating hit another all time low today, and his disapproval rating hit another all time high!

538s approval rating tracker.
posted by Justinian at 10:53 PM on March 30 [7 favorites]


Today's New Yorker cartoon: "Tell them is fake news, work of moose and squirrel"
posted by zachlipton at 10:57 PM on March 30 [24 favorites]


But I'm sure Trump supporters are just cackling about the "bad hombres" and don't give a darn about the neurosurgeons that they could need to save their life one day.

Well, they would need health insurance in order to afford a neurosurgeon...
posted by jcreigh at 11:09 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Send lawyers, guns & money - the shit has hit the fan.

"How was I to know/She was with the Russians too"
posted by kirkaracha at 11:10 PM on March 30 [10 favorites]


Futz: Can you make that an FPP? It *absolutely* should be,

I am going to hold off on making a fpp until I can look into this some more. I have dived into this and looked a lot of different sites and forums and my take away is that that verizon and other providers have always had this ability (which is kinda duh) so this announced app is really nothing new. Unless this app does something extraordinarily different I am going to assume that it is business as usual. People smarter than me will likely chime in here.
posted by futz at 11:13 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Doesn't Flynn have an 18 USC 1001 "lied to a fed" hanging over him if someone pulls the right strings? Seeking assurances against that seems like a possible motivation...

EVERYONE DOES. Remember when Trump tweeted about Obama wiretapping him? Right there is the violation of 18 USC 1001 that could serve as the basis of an impeachment TOMORROW.

Toss in Kellyanne Conway's comments about the wiretapping and give her an 18 USC 1001.

TOGETHER, that constitutes a violation of 18 USC 371
18 U.S. Code § 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States

If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

If, however, the offense, the commission of which is the object of the conspiracy, is a misdemeanor only, the punishment for such conspiracy shall not exceed the maximum punishment provided for such misdemeanor.

posted by mikelieman at 11:21 PM on March 30 [13 favorites]


Kelleyanne Conway.... What has she been up to the last week or two? Awfully quiet for a superstar.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:24 PM on March 30 [5 favorites]


EVERYONE DOES

Oh, yeah. Pence lying about Flynn. So we're at President Ryan. Net positive in my book. As impotent as Trump, yet not a complete nut-case.
posted by mikelieman at 11:28 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Kelleyanne Conway.... What has she been up to the last week or two? Awfully quiet for a superstar.

Her last appearance didn't get good ratings apparently.
posted by mikelieman at 11:30 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


And not a moment too soon.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:05 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Oh, yeah. Pence lying about Flynn. So we're at President Ryan. Net positive in my book. As impotent as Trump, yet not a complete nut-case.

Oh hell no. Haven't you read Lord of the Flies? Ryan is the boy who killed Piggie for fun and if he succeeds to the presidency because the entire executive was run out of town it means he has no limits.
posted by SakuraK at 12:14 AM on March 31 [6 favorites]


Thread needs a “potus46” tag
posted by Going To Maine at 12:16 AM on March 31 [9 favorites]


Is the public Piggie?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:41 AM on March 31


Send lawyers, guns & money - the shit has hit the fan.

"How was I to know/She was with the Russians too"
posted by kirkaracha at 11:10 PM on March 30 [1 favorite +] [!]


1. Warren Zevon is so decidedly on point.
2." The Dave Sunburn Show"? Do I not remember that or am I suppressing memories of that?
posted by From Bklyn at 12:56 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Also, this Presidency makes waking up (in Central European time Zone) every morning and looking at the news an adventure.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:57 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Oh hell no. Haven't you read Lord of the Flies? Ryan is the boy who killed Piggie for fun and if he succeeds to the presidency because the entire executive was run out of town it means he has no limits.

Name was Roger, actually /pedant
posted by Panthalassa at 1:08 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


SakuraK: Oh hell no. Haven't you read Lord of the Flies?

....

Ray Walston, Luck Dragon: Is the public Piggie?


Yeah, like 30 years ago, and there were a lot of Grateful Dead shows between then and now, so The Simpson's adaptation is fresher in my mind.

Parenthetically, I hear the name Piggy, I think of Lee Ving's character in the NYE-Concert-Show-Based- Comedy "Get Crazy"
"GENERIC CHAMPAGNE! 1982! CHAMPAGNE!
Good times...
posted by mikelieman at 1:19 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Waking up to this thread as an Antipodean:
200 new comments eh, quiet day in the US
400 new comments uh-oh
posted by um at 1:21 AM on March 31 [56 favorites]


Yeah I did my election night thing of falling asleep at 8:30pm and waking up at 3:30 am this morning. Trying to figure out what the hell is going on right now.

As least that this is better than the morning after election night, because I literally thought that I had died and oh this is what Hell is.
posted by angrycat at 1:26 AM on March 31 [14 favorites]


As least that this is better than the morning after election night, because I literally thought that I had died and oh this is what Hell is.

THANK YOU MODS! ( again ). I also go to bed about 8pm east coast, and get up early, so "Let's see what happened in the world after I went to bed?" is a Thing.

And it's only their curating that kept me sane, keeping the signal way above the noise.
posted by mikelieman at 2:13 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Is this what it was like to live through Watergate?

One difference between this and Watergate is the velocity of events. Watergate took 2 years from the arrests at the Watergate complex to Nixon's resignation. This Trump thing feels like it's already broken the sound barrier.
posted by rdr at 2:31 AM on March 31 [22 favorites]


If you had told me, five years ago, that Arrested Development was a blueprint for an American Presidency...

I think Trump is more like Frank Reynolds from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Frank's a great businessman and he knows how to make money. But that's because he simply does not care who he screws over and all his businesses are scams. You wouldn't want him in charge of a hospital. He'd run around unplugging the life support machines say 'they can't sue if they're dead! Think of the money we'll save!' and he'd probably be right. Hospitals and doctors pay a fortune for malpractice insurance and payouts. He would save money, probably with the intention of embezzling it through some other cruel scheme. People would die, but Frank doesn't give a shit about that.
posted by adept256 at 2:37 AM on March 31 [10 favorites]


" The Dave Sunburn Show"? Do I not remember that or am I suppressing memories of that?

Night Music, originally called "Sunday Night"
posted by thelonius at 4:19 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Watergate took 2 years from the arrests at the Watergate complex to Nixon's resignation. This Trump thing feels like it's already broken the sound barrier.

Frankly, I prefer getting this over as quickly as possible.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:32 AM on March 31 [6 favorites]


The perfect summation tweet from Dan Pfeiffer, former Obama senior advisor and co-host of Pod Save America:


The Trump White House: The plot of House of Cards with the characters from Veep
posted by chris24 at 4:43 AM on March 31 [41 favorites]


But the reps and senators are from Alpha House.
posted by Slackermagee at 4:48 AM on March 31 [6 favorites]


Frankly, I prefer getting this over as quickly as possible.

I was nodding along with that and thinking yeah, like an appointment with the gynaecologist. And then that thought screeched to a halt because I realised this administration is more like a visit to the gynos from Dead Ringers.
posted by moody cow at 4:49 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


In summary this week, Trump declares war on the Freedom Caucus; Devin Nunes' story got weirder with at least three White House aides giving him reports to scuttle the Russia investigation which lead to calls for his recusal and now Senate hearings on Russia thing and Flynn is now seeking immunity for testimony. There are a bunch of sub-headings including Senate testimony quotes; staff changes at the White House and general crazy, stupid at various organizations including ISPs packaging and selling your private info. Oh yeah, Gorsuch is getting filibustered because the Democratic activized base will go after any that do not show backbone i.e., we are Defcon level 4 in the Senate.

Again, the editor of the Washington Post regrets only having one headline a day to give his nation.
posted by jadepearl at 4:52 AM on March 31 [25 favorites]


Cards Against Humanity Founder Vows To Expose Lawmakers’ Web Histories [HuffPo article, sorry HuffPo dislikers]

“The desire for privacy is just fundamental to human dignity,” Temkin told The Huffington Post on Thursday. “If lawmakers feel like they can sell our right to privacy to the highest bidder, they should be subject to that same exposure.”
posted by yoga at 4:54 AM on March 31 [17 favorites]


we are Defcon level 4

DEFCON is an inverted scale. 5 is peace and 1 is nuclear war.
posted by zrail at 5:01 AM on March 31 [16 favorites]


Jokes on them; most congressmen have their aides visit brazzers.com for them, so they'll never get caught. Mike Pence won't have dinner alone with a web browser, even if it's only tuned to netflix. And the only reason Say Yes To The Dress is in his hulu history is because he shares his password with his daughter.
posted by valkane at 5:01 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


I think Trump is more like Frank Reynolds from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia


Trump would never be open to playing Nightcrawlers or making mouth sandwiches though. They are completely different beasts.
posted by ian1977 at 5:04 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


dinner alone with a web browser, even if it's only tuned to netflix

Netflix and chili, if you will.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:04 AM on March 31 [7 favorites]


1 big thing: Trump, baffled and brooding
The chaos dimension has created far more chaos than anticipated. Come nightfall, Trump is often on the phone with billionaire, decades-long friends, commiserating and critiquing his own staff. His most important advisers are often working the phone themselves, trashing colleagues and either spreading or beating down rumors of turmoil and imminent changes.

This has created a toxic culture of intense suspicion and insecurity. The drama is worse than what you read.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:15 AM on March 31 [31 favorites]


some have been instructed not to speak to him directly — or even make eye contact.

It heartens me that so many people think this is ridiculous, because I have worked at places where it was understood that people above a certain band were not to be addressed if you were below a certain band. I had thought it was just How It Worked.
posted by winna at 5:16 AM on March 31 [8 favorites]


So cosying up to Assad is looking like a possibility

This would make sense for an isolationist county, except the United States keeps bombing the shit out of countries.
posted by Yowser at 5:20 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I have worked at places where it was understood that people above a certain band were not to be addressed if you were below a certain band.

Sure, but were they required to avert their gaze?
posted by thelonius at 5:22 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Sigh. It's not like we don't deserve it, I suppose.

Trump wants immediate $50M Great Lakes cut to pay for Mexico wall
posted by INFJ at 5:25 AM on March 31 [17 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!

I…. this doesn't even make sense.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:26 AM on March 31 [37 favorites]


Zrail, rats on the Defcon scale. My error for relying on vague memories of the movie War Games. If a mod wants to correct, please do so.
posted by jadepearl at 5:26 AM on March 31


I have worked at places where it was understood that people above a certain band were not to be addressed if you were below a certain band. I had thought it was just How It Worked.

I once worked adjacent to an unpopular, miserable manager who was of minor moderate importance in the organization, but not so far up the chain that you couldn't still address him by his first name in a friendly manner. Then he went and got his doctorate in an unrelated field and suddenly demanded that he was to be addressed as Doctor [Lastname] even in casual conversation and that we were no longer to address him first, that he would call on us if he wanted to hear our voices. It was like he thought he had ascended. Nobody went for it. We all still called him by his first name which, fittingly enough, was Dick.

That's how I see this administration. These are all people who stand before us and crow that they are of major importance and are to be respected and feared. If you have to harp on and on about how you are the bigliest of shots while being incompetent and deplorable in every way, then you are nowhere are important or worthy of respect as you think you are.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:29 AM on March 31 [23 favorites]


Are Dems of historic proportion like RUSes? I certainly hope so.
posted by aspersioncast at 5:30 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Trump wants immediate $50M Great Lakes cut to pay for Mexico wall

This would appear to be at odds with his repeated promises that Mexico will pay for the wall!

Is it odd that the article doesn't mention that at all? Or am I expecting too much?
posted by faceplantingcheetah at 5:33 AM on March 31 [6 favorites]


Are Dems of historic proportion like RUSes?

Rodents (of) Unusual Size? I don't think they ex-- wait, they do exist, they're currently in charge of the country.
posted by Roommate at 5:36 AM on March 31 [11 favorites]


This would appear to be at odds with his repeated promises that Mexico will pay for the wall!

He's basically admitted at this point that Mexico is not paying for the wall, except through an import tax of some kind, which really means: the average American consumer will pay for the wall since that tax will just be added to the price of goods, like beer and furniture, that we consume imported from Mexico. So you will be paying for the wall when you buy a Corona, assuming his import tax passes (which it probably won't, i mean it's totally stupid).
posted by dis_integration at 5:38 AM on March 31 [7 favorites]


Trump wants immediate $50M Great Lakes cut to pay for Mexico wall

And most of the Great Lakes voted him!
posted by drezdn at 5:44 AM on March 31 [8 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!

Donny, IANAL, but usually people who ask for immunity do it to give up a bigger fish. Look around, do you see a bigger fish? Then guess what.
posted by chris24 at 5:45 AM on March 31 [33 favorites]


American Jobs Are Headed to Mexico Once Again
Trump repeated to a joint session of Congress last month his refrain that that he will make it “much, much harder for companies to leave our country.” But his recent stumbles -- travel bans blocked by courts and a health-care bill scuttled by his own party -- underscore the limitations on presidential power and the difficulty he may have punishing companies or overhauling Nafta.

At a February conference in El Paso to discuss how Trump’s policies may affect trade, most in the room of plant managers, supply-chain officers and suppliers predicted Nafta would likely be changed but not discarded, and that the changes might not be harmful.

Whatever happens, Russell said his business fostering Mexican manufacturing will grow this year. The pressure to reduce costs is that relentless.

posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:48 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Yeah, you don't get immunity so you can confess without consequence. That's almost exclusively for death beds.

But given what I think of Flynn, I could totally see him lying. "Immunity? Great! I did it all just me! Also hard candy is a great Halloween candy, the Washington football team's name is great, and... uh... I dunno... Little Caesar's is authentic pizza, the best around!" reads his statement in Comic-Sans, followed by a picture of that Diplomatic Immunity guy from Lethal Weapon.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:53 AM on March 31 [13 favorites]


jadepearl: "Zrail, rats on the Defcon scale. My error for relying on vague memories of the movie War Games. If a mod wants to correct, please do so."

McKittrick: See that sign up there. "Defcon." That indicates our current defense condition. It should read "Defcon 5," which means peace. It's still on 4 because of that little stunt you pulled. Actually, if we hadn't caught it in time, it might have gone to Defcon 1. You know what that means, David?

David Lightman: No. What does that mean?

McKittrick: World War Three.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:58 AM on March 31 [12 favorites]


By having filthy Great Lakes, that will act as a northern barrier to immigration. Genius!
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:00 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


And most of the Great Lakes voted him!

Oh trust me, I know. Thus the 'deserving it' bit.

I don't think many thought that electing a climate-change denier would have an impact on our lakes. I don't know if I could have anticipated the dismantling of the EPA and the far reaching impacts that would have. I am not certain what I thought an in-power climate-change-denier would look like, prior to now. I guess I assumed they'd just let companies pump as much toxic shit into the air as possible. Fuck the ozone layer. It never occurred to me that my lakes were also in danger.

I guess I can just hope at this point that companies take it upon themselves to be environmentally conscientious, even if our government will not be. I read recently that no-matter what Trump does for the coal miners, the energy industry is moving away from coal.

I did read some heartening news recently though. They're finally replacing the pipes for water to Flint.
posted by INFJ at 6:00 AM on March 31 [7 favorites]


So cosying up to Assad is looking like a possibility

Maybe? Assad is fucking awful, but this:

"I think the... longer term status of president Assad will be decided by the Syrian people," Tillerson told a news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Is actually slightly more reassuring to me than any potential chest-thumping about how we would take out the evil dictator, given that that was more or less the storyline running up to the invasion of Iraq and subsequent rise in Fundamentalist recruitment and organization as a result.

I will say though that Tillerson and Cavusoglu both trying to stay on message but with totally different messages must have been some amazing comedy

Tillerson: "... and we have the YPG there, to help us defeat ISIS!"
Cavusoglu: "The YPG, who are like worthless dogs"
Tillerson: "Yes, ha ha, dogs, like my beautiful golden retriever at home. Let's all give thanks to dogs"
Cavusoglu: "It is not tenable to ally ourselves with this group of terrorists, and-"
Tillerson: (holding up phone) "here's a picture of my dog btw. he does this thing where he holds a treat on his nose"
Cavusoglu: "-and we are WAITING to hear CLARIFICATION from the United States about whether th-"
Tillerson: "my dog is also on youtube, let's all stop this weird politics stuff and watch my dog's youtube channel"
posted by Greg Nog at 6:07 AM on March 31 [7 favorites]


TPM: John Marshall - The Gravity is Strong #3
Mike Flynn's offer to testify in exchange for immunity and the apparent lack of anyone willing to take him up on his offer raises more questions than it answers. In fact, I'm not sure it answers any questions at all. There are various relatively minor offenses Flynn could plausibly be prosecuted for - failure to file under FARA for his lobbying on behalf of the Turkish government, failure to file proper paperwork with the Pentagon for his paid speech in Russia, possibly untruthful answers to the FBI about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. These charges in themselves would be thin gruel in terms of matters of any true public concern. But any competent lawyer would still insist on immunity before letting his client testify on anything related to these possible bad acts. Flynn's lawyer states rather grandly that his client "has a story to tell and ... very much wants to tell it." But Alex Whiting of Harvard Law School argues pretty convincingly that what we learned last night likely means either that Flynn doesn't have a story prosecutors are willing to barter for or isn't yet willing to tell it.

So who knows what the immunity request means? Far more interesting to me is how Flynn ties in to the latest revelation in the unfolding Nunes debacle.

Let's walk through this.
This is analysis based partly on the "Is the Trump White House Spying on the FBI?" link T.D Strange posted earlier, with, I think, the right balance of caution and hope:
The mix of events here is so bizarre and convoluted that it's hard to know what to make of it. To be clear, Gellman isn't suggesting his latter theory is proven. I think he would call it an informed speculation or logical surmise. But I would argue that the precise ins and outs of the drama are less relevant than [the big picture].
Flynn may, ultimately, not be the lynchpin that undoes the Trump administration; but even if he's not, the perception that he might be has the possibility of drawing out or exposing other people and starting the (mixing metaphors here) investigation-ball rolling down the hill. Those are a lot of qualifiers (may not, might, possibility), but compared to where things stood even a week ago this is (potentially) moving incredibly fast. We just don't know where this -- whatever 'this' is -- is headed, yet.
posted by cjelli at 6:11 AM on March 31 [25 favorites]


...
" The Dave Sunburn Show"?


I loved the night when Bootsy Collins told a story about dosing his brother Catfish's sandwich with acid while on tour* and then rhetorically asked Dave if he remembered the good ol' dropping acid days and Dave got all squirrelly and squirmy and 'couldn't remember.'

*Kids, don't do this at home!
posted by y2karl at 6:14 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


The entire coal industry employs fewer people than Arby’s
That number includes not just miners but also office workers, sales staff and all of the other individuals who work at coal-mining companies.

Although 76,000 might seem like a large number, consider that similar numbers of people are employed by, say, the bowling (69,088) and skiing (75,036) industries. Other dwindling industries, such as travel agencies (99,888 people), employ considerably more. Used-car dealerships provide 138,000 jobs. Theme parks provide nearly 144,000. Carwash employment tops 150,000.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:15 AM on March 31 [78 favorites]


Jan 17, CNN, (sorry I closed the link already)

Washington (CNN)Former CIA Director James Woolsey downplayed his role Thursday in President-elect Donald Trump's transition, days after he publicly disputed the President-elect's views on Russia's role in the 2016 election.

In a statement, he formally announced he would no longer serve as an adviser to Trump. But he insisted in an interview with CNN's Erin Burnett that the move had nothing to do with his comments on Russia, only that he wanted to avoid any confusion about his role with Trump.


Trump advisor James Woolsey, who attended the "Seize Gulen" meeting decides these amateurs are going to fuck this up royally and ejects.

And the article on Best Sunshine Live said the strip-mall storefront casino takes in bets of 3.9 BILLION per MONTH.

In September, Imperial Pacific reported a record $3.9 billion in bets at its casino—meaning the 100 or so high-rollers who it says come through its doors monthly each wagered an average of $39 million.

3.9 Billion in bets. Billion with a BEE.
posted by petebest at 6:20 AM on March 31 [14 favorites]


Gorsuch refused to meet with Senators Duckworth and Cortez Masto.
posted by PenDevil at 6:23 AM on March 31 [30 favorites]


This featured CNN pull video from Watts at yesterday's Senate hearings is pretty amazing:
autoplay video
Witness' blistering words about Trump
posted by readery at 6:25 AM on March 31 [19 favorites]


Trump: Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!

CNBC: Trump and Flynn once hammered Clinton aides for seeking immunity
Both Trump and Flynn took a vastly different outlook on immunity when the president was locked in a bitter election campaign with Clinton last year. At a September rally in Florida, Trump highlighted reports that some Clinton aides received immunity in the FBI investigation into her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

"If you're not guilty of a crime, what do you need immunity for?" Trump asked at the time. No one was charged with a crime in the investigation.

In a separate October tweet, he asked Clinton why staffers would want immunity.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by cjelli at 6:25 AM on March 31 [18 favorites]




3.9 Billion in bets. Billion with a BEE.

Between congress, the senate, and the whitehouse, 3.9 billion bees might just be enough to do the job.
posted by strange chain at 6:33 AM on March 31 [24 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!

I…. this doesn't even make sense.


Maybe not "sense" in terms of cogency, but in terms of the feeling Trump wants to imply, it's fitting into the pattern we've been watching unfold for the past week.

First, we hear rumblings that Flynn is looking to testify in exchange for immunity from prosecution, h/t CNN's Juliette Kayyem. Next, over the weekend the pro-Trump National Enquirer paints Flynn as a Russian spy "in essence" as its cover story (and doesn't that term take on a new meaning?) Then we have the Murdoch-owned, pro-Trump WSJ running a story confirming that Flynn is looking for immunity deals from the feebs, Capitol Hill, or whoever, though there aren't any takers. Thereupon, Flynn's lawyer releases a statement confirming his client has "a story to tell" but wants a deal to talk because of a "witch hunt environment". And now this morning Trump tweets about this, specifically echoing the term "witch hunt" in his characteristic salesman's way of reinforcement through repetition.

One possible scenario the Trump administration may be trying to set up is having Flynn do an Ollie - as in Col. North, not skateboarding. In this case, Flynn would get a deal from whomever he can to testify and then fall on his sword while the (untouched) White House complains about a witch hunt. (If he can't strike a deal, then maybe Trump has to pardon him, as long as Flynn takes the heat in an ginned-up atmosphere of partisan persecution.) If they can pull that off, that would leave Manafort, Kushner, Page, and Stone free to testify in less hostile conditions, or maybe even not at all if the distraction works well enough.

"House of Cards" starring the cast of "Veep" may be a much more accurate analogy than the John Le Carré one I've been using.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:42 AM on March 31 [13 favorites]


This would appear to be at odds with his repeated promises that Mexico will pay for the wall!

Have you considered the possibility that Michigan may actually be Mexico? If you go back to the original Nahuatl "Mexico" would have been pronounced more like "Mesheego" which if you stop and think a minute, sheeple, is awfully similar to "Mesheegun," don't you think? Suspiciously similar if I may say, if you will pardon me for a moment. Why are these names so similar if, as the liberal media would have you believe, Michigan and Mexico are really so far from each other and not merely different aspects of the same unamerican foreign country filled with antiamerican foreigners who insist on being foreign?

Further, we know that millions of people voted illegally in this election... what if our leader had just been talking about voters in Mexico/Michigan being allowed to vote in the election by corrupt elections officials in collusion with Dumb-O-Rats like Killary and Bill? And who ever likes receiving a Bill, can I ask you?

Anyway, it all adds up, except that I'm not saying anything, I'm just asking questions -- questions Bill O'Reilly and the rest of the liberal media won't answer. Why won't they answer? Why are they part of the establishment, part of the system keeping decent white people down? Why are he and the rest of the (((media))) lording it over us with their falafel like they do instead of rubbing decent God-fearing American food like peanut butter on women's genitals?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:42 AM on March 31 [19 favorites]


folks are we *sure* that elmore leonard isn't writing this presidency
posted by murphy slaw at 6:44 AM on March 31 [8 favorites]


folks are we *sure* that elmore leonard isn't writing this presidency

It's Carl Hiaasen, but on downers.
posted by Etrigan at 6:46 AM on March 31 [28 favorites]


Everyone would be a lot more charming and funny if Dutch had a hand in it.
posted by valkane at 6:47 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


"House of Cards" starring the cast of "Veep" may be a much more accurate analogy than the John Le Carré one I've been using.
---
folks are we *sure* that elmore leonard isn't writing this presidency



Or we're living in a Coen Brothers universe. Welcome to Burn After Reading!
posted by chris24 at 6:47 AM on March 31 [11 favorites]


And someone would have a weedwhacker as a hand if Carl was involved.
posted by valkane at 6:47 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Elmore Leonard was anti-adverb. He would never use bigly.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:49 AM on March 31 [8 favorites]


Mike Flynn Offers to Testify in Exchange for Immunity

This might be important.


Indeed. Why would he do so, unless he expected that his actions were criminal? And why would he be guilty of a criminal cover-up, if not to conceal even worse criminal activity?

I hope, though, that Democrats (or whoever) are more careful in granting immunity than they were during the Iran-Contra scandal.
posted by Gelatin at 6:49 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


These are all people who stand before us and crow that they are of major importance and are to be respected and feared.

AKA "God grant me the confidence of a mediocre white man." Or in this case "intensely stupid and actively evil white man."
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:00 AM on March 31 [11 favorites]


Whether Nunes was taken in by the ruse and reported it back to the President or was himself a participant in the ruse isn't clear.
He is like a Chaplin level clown

That good
posted by schadenfrau at 7:01 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


It's kind of interesting (and by interesting, I mean chilling and terrible) that Josh Marshall's eight-year-old son was flagged for additional screening at JFK when the Marshall family returned from vacation earlier this week. We already know that CBP is singling out journalists for additional screening, and given the political leanings of the agency staff, it seems obvious that Daniel was flagged for additional screening as a retaliation/intimidation tactic against his father. If the Democratic party ever regains control of Congress, they need to add "clean house at CBP" (along with FBI, ICE, etc.) to the list of things that desperately need doing.
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:03 AM on March 31 [72 favorites]






Gorsuch refused to meet with Senators Duckworth and Cortez Masto.

If he'd turned down Kamala Harris and Mazie Hirono for meetings too (did he?) he could've slighted all the non-white ladies of the Senate in one fell swoop.

CNN's Gorsuch whip list, updated a few minutes ago. We're at 31 confirmed filibusters with the vote to be held on Monday.

I wrote a paragraph urging filibuster last week, looked up my Senators' congressional web sites via Wikipedia, and plugged the message and my home address into their contact forms... and this week both of them announced intention to filibuster. They need to know for certain that the filibuster is the will of their constituents.
posted by XMLicious at 7:10 AM on March 31 [21 favorites]


McClatchy-Marist Poll:

Voters giving Obama a D or F grade 8 years ago: 22%
Voters giving Trump a D or F grade now: 47%. Still too low but twice as hated as O was.

Republican support at 79%, still horrifying but down 3% from last month.

Only 31% said his conduct made them proud - there's been talk recently of updating the Crazification Factor from 27% to 40%, but I humbly submit 31%.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:13 AM on March 31 [9 favorites]


CNN's Gorsuch whip list, updated a few minutes ago. We're at 31 confirmed filibusters

Notable absences:
Mark Warner
Dianne Feinstien
Chris Coons
Catherine Cortez Masto
Maria Cantwell
Pat Leahy
Bob Menendez
Michael Bennet
Brian Schatz

These Senators are in safe states, or part of leadership, or not facing reelection in 2018, or all 3. None of them have any excuse for not filibustering.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:17 AM on March 31 [27 favorites]


Josh Marshall's eight-year-old son was flagged for additional screening at JFK when the Marshall family returned from vacation earlier this week

Jebus. Josh is pretty chill about it in that recap, but I would be beside myself if that happened to my eight year old.
posted by nubs at 7:18 AM on March 31 [15 favorites]


I guess I can just hope at this point that companies take it upon themselves to be environmentally conscientious,

The only way I can see that happening is by punishing the shareholders with boycotts. But often the consumer end is so far removed from the supply end there's no way to know what to boycott. Like, this banana helps save orangutans , and this one helps support warlords, but the supply chain is so opaque you have no idea which. People will just shrug and buy any banana.
posted by adept256 at 7:19 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Russians used ‘Bernie Bros’ as ‘unwitting agents’ in disinformation campaign: Senate Intel witness
Democratic committee co-chair Sen. Mark Warner (VA) asked the panel if they had any doubt that Russia had attempted to interfere in some aspects of the 2016 election. Alexander said not only did he have no doubt, he could get very specific.

“Senator, I think what they were trying to do was drive a wedge within the Democratic Party between the Clinton group and the Sanders group,” said Alexander. “And then in our nation between Republicans and Democrats.”

Supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) reported earlier this month that during the 2016 election, their social media feeds and pro-Sanders Facebook groups were inundated with what they now believe were Russian bots spewing anti-Hillary memes including fake news stories about Clinton using a body double and murdering her ideological opponents. Over time the anti-Clinton online faction became known by the nickname “Bernie Bros.”
(Direct link to testimony video.)

During the primaries I personally reported two users in a (low-level, general) Bernie Slack as being "out of place here."

I'm not usually good at this game, but:

If Putin's plan was to divide the Dems it would explain the worst of the Bernie Bros.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:09 AM on January 14

still not sure why that comment caused a kerfuffle though

posted by Room 641-A at 7:20 AM on March 31 [59 favorites]


Did Clinton aides actually seek immunity? I can recall a few who pled the fifth, but only source I immediately found re: immunity was Trump saying it, so just a touch unreliable.

Also, not to kill the hype train, but it's very plausible the reason immunity is sought is that Flynn did some dirt largely unrelated to this whole collusion shitshow that would implicate him, but not necessarily anyone else.
posted by Room 101 at 7:20 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


It's Carl Hiaasen, but on downers.

Skip Wiley and Skink wouldn't be taking the events of the last few months sitting down.
posted by splen at 7:22 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


> Josh Marshall's eight-year-old son was flagged for additional screening at JFK when the Marshall family returned from vacation earlier this week

"It's not too late to turn back, America."
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:24 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


"Turn back, [America]. Turn back before it's too late."

Pretty sure Paul Ryan is Hoggle. The Freedom Caucus guys might be the "Chilly Down" guys who pull their heads off and throw them around.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:29 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Well RUS's would not surprise me because the last few months have been like walking through the goddamn Fire Swamp for sure.
posted by emjaybee at 7:30 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


These Senators are in safe states, or part of leadership, or not facing reelection in 2018, or all 3. None of them have any excuse for not filibustering.

Menendez (D-NJ) is one of my senators. Just tweeted at him to join the filibuster. I hope he does.
posted by rachaelfaith at 7:32 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Re: Brian Schatz & the filibuster -- he released this statement today:
After careful consideration of Judge Gorsuch’s record and testimony, I have decided that I will not support his confirmation to the Supreme Court, and I will oppose any and all efforts to advance his nomination. [emphasis added]
And he tweeted this a few hours ago: "If cloture fails as expected, GOP faces a grave and historic choice. The "nuclear option" is bad for the country and for the Senate."
posted by melissasaurus at 7:36 AM on March 31 [36 favorites]


WBUR: ICE Arrests Green Card Applicants In Lawrence, Signaling Shift In Priorities
Brian Doyle, the attorney for one of the three people who were seeking green cards before they were arrested, says he knew there was a chance his client would be taken into custody at the appointment. His client, a Brazilian national who had been ordered deported before she married a U.S. citizen, understood the risks as well, but ultimately decided that she wanted to keep the appointment and begin the green card process.

This, Doyle says, is an example of the difficult situation for many immigrants living in the country illegally, who are forced to weigh the costs and benefits of keeping an appointment with an immigration official in light of new deportation priorities set by President Trump.

"Now, they're in a sort of catch-22 where, 'All right, I'm being called in for this interview. I want to have this first step approved.' If they don't show up, it's what's called abandoned ... USCIS just sort of assumes that they don't want to go forward with it," Doyle said. "But now, if they do show up, trying to take that first step and they're detained, it can lead to them being removed."

Because Doyle's client is married to a U.S. citizen, she is eligible for a specific application process sponsored by her husband. Both Doyle's client and her husband were present at the USCIS office for what's called a marriage petition interview, a process used to screen for fraudulent marriages. Doyle said his client, a small business owner with no criminal record, had just completed her 40-minute question and answer session when an ICE agent entered the office and informed her that she was ordered removed and was being taken into custody.

Doyle says ICE acted within its authority when taking his client into custody.
...
Susan Church, who heads the New England chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, says she finds the arrests at the USCIS office not only troubling but also surprising.

"The detention of an individual under these circumstances and most likely the arrest would be something that is definitely new," Church said. "Because the priority system under the Obama administration instructed ICE officers not to arrest or detain individuals under these circumstances." But that appears to be changing.
...
"What this means is that people who are eligible to obtain their green card in the United States, who are following the law, who are following the rules, who are doing what the government is instructing them to do, are going to be too terrified to show up and follow through with the process," Church said. "And now a whole new category of people is going to go back into the shadow of immigration land and be living in fear."
This is horrifying.
posted by cjelli at 7:38 AM on March 31 [119 favorites]


Michael Flynn: new evidence spy chiefs had concerns about Russian ties: The Guardian understands Flynn and Lokhova remained in email contact, conducted through an unclassified channel. In one email exchange described by Andrew, Flynn signed himself as “General Misha”, Russian for Mike.

Lokhova also listed Flynn as one of four referees who would provide selective endorsements for her book, which is expected to detail how Russian spies penetrated the US atomic weapons programme.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:39 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


ICE Arrests Green Card Applicants In Lawrence, Signaling Shift In Priorities

what the actual fuck
posted by lydhre at 7:40 AM on March 31 [20 favorites]


You know, I want Flynn to take Trump down, but it's hard for me to see why, if he had the goods, he doesn't have immunity yet (and is in protective custody in someplace with no windows or on the first floor)
posted by angrycat at 7:42 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Related to the Gorsuch confirmation, I was reading this excellent High Country News article on the last (and first!) time the EPA was headed by people hostile to its entire mission, and a name stuck out at me: Anne Gorsuch Burford.

Conservative CO politician, you say? Fairly unusual maiden name, you might think?

Neil's mom.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:44 AM on March 31 [31 favorites]


I wouldn't call it a shift in priorities so much as an intensification. ICE agents (or whoever is directing them) may have thought they'd get in trouble for this stuff before. They don't now. But the fact that they're doing it so eagerly and quickly speaks volumes for what their motivations have always been.

ICE and CBP are dirty top to bottom, and yeah, a Democratic President and Congress (please Lord let it still be possible) should clean house first chance they get.
posted by emjaybee at 7:45 AM on March 31 [32 favorites]


You know, I want Flynn to take Trump down, but it's hard for me to see why, if he had the goods, he doesn't have immunity yet (and is in protective custody in someplace with no windows or on the first floor)

I believe it's going to be Sally Yates who takes *everyone* down. "I told Donald J. Trump that Michael Flynn was comprised" is "Game over, man. Game over."
posted by mikelieman at 7:45 AM on March 31 [28 favorites]


The Saipan connection, while the casino itself looks quite dodgy, is a bit of a stretch. Yes, the CEO, Mark A Brown used to work for Trump but since then he's worked for the Sands Corp (okay, that's Sheldon Adelson) and also for Wynn Resorts.

Now Ed Rendell doesn't come off looking very smart in that bizjournal article linked above:
a casual conversation with Brown was enough to vet Best Sunshine Live for him...Rendell told both outlets that he brought former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour into the fold – and that accomplishment is the "only thing" he did for Best Sunshine Live.

As for the dollars the tiny island casino is bringing in? Rendell suggests the erosion of the gambling industry in Macau, located along the coast of China, is the driver.
but he'll accept his $5000 per month retainer anyway.

And about that casino, the storefront was only temporary while the new one was built and looky here, it's scheduled to open today. Here's a photo. Quite the upgrade from a storefront.

However, another front has opened up. Yesterday's South China Morning Post published a story on China's crackdown on overseas gambling (mostly concerning efforts to attract Chinese people to overseas casinos and also to stop people from investing in them):
The crackdown comes as the government is trying to rein in the flow of cash out of the country as the nation’s currency has weakened against the dollar.

Gambling is one key channel for money laundering and capital flight.
Saipan is a 5 hour flight from Hong Kong.

But like I said, I think the Trump connection is tenuous.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:47 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I called Senator Feinstein's office and got sent to a full voice mail box, so I sent the most strongly worded email i could manage to urge her to support the filibuster. :(
posted by murphy slaw at 7:48 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


The best explanation I can think of for why Flynn doesn't have immunity yet is that they don't need his testimony. If they already have the evidence they need, why would they grant Flynn immunity? If he gets immunity and testifies that he did it all and Trump/Kushner/Sessions knew nothing about it, then everyone can skate free. So they're not going to give him immunity if they've got other evidence.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:48 AM on March 31 [10 favorites]


You know, I want Flynn to take Trump down, but it's hard for me to see why, if he had the goods, he doesn't have immunity yet

They might have enough on Trump that Flynn's testimony would be superfluous.
posted by zakur at 7:48 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Johnny Wallflower: What kind of garbage people are you if fucking debt collectors are telling you you're being a dick?

I feel like we need to document all the times the Trump administration has proposed guidance or worse, passed regulations that not even those who could theoretically benefit from the changes support.

To this list, we can add The Government Might Not Want Energy Star, But Industry Does (Wired, March 8, 2017) and Even ExxonMobil Wants President Trump to Stick With the Paris Climate Deal (Fortune, March 29, 2017).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:49 AM on March 31 [45 favorites]


To update CNN's whip list:

Mark Warner
Dianne Feinstien
Chris Coons
Catherine Cortez Masto - no on cloture; released statement yesterday
Maria Cantwell - no on cloture; released statement yesterday
Pat Leahy - supposedly YES on cloture; Vermonters: CALL HIM
Bob Menendez
Michael Bennet
Brian Schatz - no on cloture; released statement today

A reminder, you can also fax your senators here.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:51 AM on March 31 [18 favorites]


I want Flynn to take Trump down, but it's hard for me to see why, if he had the goods, he doesn't have immunity yet

I've been feeling that too, since the other alternative -- that he has the goods, but the FBI/Senate committe also has the goods and therefore doesn't need him to testify -- is hard to square with the lack of, you know, revealing that. But! It does seem like a good indication that Flynn, at least, is personally implicated in some manner of wrong-doing, and it's crazy refreshing to have even as much admission of that as we now do after Trump's incessant refusal to accept blame or shame of any kind, in any degree, ever. And insofar as Flynn was terrible choice as an advisor, if he's seeking immunity for things he did wrong, and those are the same things that got him sacked -- I'll take a small win. It's not the win I'd like, but it would remain a win. (And maybe the FBI does have enough separately. That would be great, and it remains possible.)

If you want some possibly-heartening framing on the Flynn story, Ryan Lizza has been digging through Flynn's lawyer's Twitter feed -- and it looks like he's, in Lizza's words, "[a] NeverTrump Repub who thought Trump was tool of Russia & would bring fascism."

Or, exactly not the lawyer you'd want to hire to help you cover up Trump's wrongdoings.
posted by cjelli at 7:53 AM on March 31 [22 favorites]


Re: the ICE detentions for green card seekers.

I live in the same congressional district as Lawrence and our representative, Niki Tsongas (MA-3), is usually pretty great. I'll be calling her asking to intervene in some way, if nothing else to strongly denounce this: this is outrageous.
posted by lydhre at 7:53 AM on March 31 [17 favorites]


I want Flynn to take Trump down, but it's hard for me to see why, if he had the goods, he doesn't have immunity yet

Where is the TIME FOR SOME GAME THEORY guy when we need him?
posted by melissasaurus at 7:59 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


The beclowning of the executive branch
The American system of government has checked Trump’s worst impulses. He has so many bad instincts, however, that not all of them will get checked. The burn rate of his staff is extraordinarily high, and there is no evidence that his remaining acolytes really know how to govern. We are 70 days into an administration that has nearly 1,400 more days in office. Think of the screw-ups that await us.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:00 AM on March 31 [8 favorites]


"It's not too late to turn back, America."

Red white and blue, gaze in your looking glass
You're not a child anymore
Red, white, and blue, the future is all but past
So lift up your heart, make a new start
And lead us away from here
posted by nubs at 8:05 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Zrail, rats on the Defcon scale. My error for relying on vague memories of the movie War Games.
You could have also relied on vague memories of the movie Def-Con 4.

posted by kirkaracha at 8:09 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


NBC/Katy Tur: Senate intel will NOT grant Flynn immunity. Lawyer told it was "wildly preliminary" "not on the table"
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:09 AM on March 31 [19 favorites]


The public should learn a lot more about WHY General Flynn wants immunity when Sally Yates testifies before the House Intelligence Committee -- @RepAdamSchiff

That might take a while with Nunes as chairman, but what's stopping the Senate Intelligence Committee from letting her testify?
posted by diogenes at 8:12 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


wait hold up I need to point out one thing from roomthreeseventeen's link above and then make an inarticulate noise:

The Guardian understands Flynn and Lokhova remained in email contact, conducted through an unclassified channel. In one email exchange described by Andrew, Flynn signed himself as “General Misha”, Russian for Mike.

aaaaa
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:14 AM on March 31 [16 favorites]


Chaffetz: Flynn shouldn't get immunity. "It doesn't look good" for him. - @KatyTurNBC

(full tweet includes transcript of Chaffetz's comments from fox news)
posted by murphy slaw at 8:15 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


THE BECLOWNING

We've been looking for a replacement for "the GOP." "The Clown Party" works.

Devin Nunes, CA-Chucklefuck.

More letters, but it does roll right off the tongue
posted by schadenfrau at 8:20 AM on March 31 [12 favorites]


Chaffetz: Flynn shouldn't get immunity. "It doesn't look good" for him.

That's funny, I thought Chaffetz didn't think there was anything to investigate.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:20 AM on March 31 [22 favorites]


In one email exchange described by Andrew, Flynn signed himself as “General Misha”, Russian for Mike.

...Flynn signed himself as “General Misha”, Russian for Mike.

...“General Misha”



WTF these people are so fucking stupid
posted by lydhre at 8:21 AM on March 31 [40 favorites]


If Chaffetz is hanging Flynn out to dry then he is either to so incontrovertibly compromised that he's radioactive, or he's actually too low-level a flunky to be a real danger. In light of what's already known about Flynn one suspects the former but I'm not sure it's wise to be that optimistic.
posted by Freon at 8:22 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


The beclowning of the executive branch

I finally remembered to subscribe and man the WaPo is so much more attractive without ads.
posted by winna at 8:24 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


or he's actually too low-level a flunky to be a real danger

dude was National Security Adviser. he reported directly to the president. there is literally nobody for him to throw to the wolves except trump
posted by murphy slaw at 8:26 AM on March 31 [35 favorites]


If Chaffetz is hanging Flynn out to dry then he is either to so incontrovertibly compromised that he's radioactive, or he's actually too low-level a flunky to be a real danger.

Ehhh --
When Donald Trump’s now-notorious Access Hollywood tape first leaked in October last year, Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz reacted to the news the way he usually does—he got himself in front of a camera, and fast.

Within hours after the story broke, he was on the set of Salt Lake City’s Fox 13 News, declaring, “I’m out. I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president.” Chaffetz was the first Republican in Congress to officially withdraw his endorsement from Trump, and he milked the moment for all it was worth—going on for several minutes in the interview about Trump’s “abhorrent and offensive” language, about the “awful place” the nominee had put the country in, about how he could no longer look his teenage daughter in the eye while supporting this candidacy.

Two and a half weeks later, he announced he would vote for Trump after all.
That's from an Atlantic article published this morning, worth reading in full for a sense of how little worth should be read into anything Chaffetz says. It would be entirely par for the course for Chaffetz to come back tomorrow and demand that Flynn be offered immunity; he has a record of flipping completely on issues he's staked absolutist positions on.
posted by cjelli at 8:27 AM on March 31 [42 favorites]


About that EnergyStar thing - a rather curious parallel was part of Brexit propaganda. The story, put about by Leavers, was that 'Europe banned vacuum cleaners over 1.6kW because of interference by the 'green lobby', harming industry and taking away our freedom'. This got traction.

The truth was - the rule was agreed by all EU states, including the UK, any one of which could have prevented it. And while there were environmental issues, the main reason was that more powerful cleaners didn't work any better and the whole thing was basically specmanship within the industry - which welcomed the move, because being locked in a marketing-driven war you can't win is just a waste of everyone's time and harms the consumer. (Dyson was a vocal opposer, but why that might be I'll leave as a research exercise to those who don't know much about Dyson.)

Everyone else wanted it, nobody lost out, and it calmed down a useless and damaging process.

But it was useful as a propaganda tool, so that's what it became. Truth be damned. Don't expect the EnergyStar business to be any different.
posted by Devonian at 8:28 AM on March 31 [31 favorites]


I just want to report in from the provinces that I've already got several people coming to a party at my house to get our tiny little Dem precinct movin' to brainstorm ways to get out votes in 18 and 20 (and locally inbetween). A lot of these are folks over 60, so more than once I got an answering machine they were using to screen their landline. About halfway through my spiel, they picked up and told me hell yes they'd be there.

A benefit I had never even thought about to being a precinct chair is that it is the perfect excuse to meet the Democrats in your neighborhood face to face. We rely on the internet so much, but nothing really beats the energy of meeting in person. Once I was sworn in, my county party gave me access to their voter database, I ran off a report of people in my precinct who voted in more than one recent primary ("hard Dems") and then me and my co-precinct chair split the list and started calling them. Precincts aren't very large so this was not an intimidating task.

Anyway, I'm going to have some wine and iced tea and snacks at this little shindig and sign people up for phonebanks and block walks and anything else we can think of that's useful. And just enjoy not feeling so alone in my red state.

If you'd like to be a precinct chair you can contact your county's party and find out your precinct and if there is a chair already.
posted by emjaybee at 8:31 AM on March 31 [61 favorites]


Michael Flynn: new evidence spy chiefs had concerns about Russian ties: ...

There's a lulzworthy picture of Trump, Flynn, and Bannon accompanying that story. Bannon looks hungover as shit.
Supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) reported earlier this month that during the 2016 election, their social media feeds and pro-Sanders Facebook groups were inundated with what they now believe were Russian bots spewing anti-Hillary memes ...
By the by, while it's been a neglected angle in a story that has much larger implications, I'd really like to know if Jill Stein figures into any of this in any way beyond merely sharing a table with Flynn and Putin and generally being a useful idiot.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:31 AM on March 31 [24 favorites]


Maybe this re-branding of the GOP as the Clown Party is viral marketing for the remake of "It."
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:33 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


zachlipton: It's really the paradox of the Trump Administration: the more he tries to put a professional face on things, where it's "merely" an incompetent administration pushing horrible policies but without the extracurricular nonsense of the campaign, the less effective he is, because his loudmouth nonsense is the only tool he's really got.

He's a bully whose tactics don't work at this level. My wife worked for high school principal who didn't bother to manager her school well for some 5 months, brushing off smoking in the bathroom or behind school, because that wasn't her priority or something. Then in February, the principal was being ignored at a pep rally, so she tried to be serious and mean, and the students all laughed.

When you undermine positions of authority as the head of an organization, you undermine your own authority, too. It's like sitting on a tree branch to get a better reach to prune other branches, only to realize you've cut your own branch off as you're falling to the ground.

(The problem for Trump is that inaction is sometimes more powerful than action, when those actions include filling leadership positions in departments.)
posted by filthy light thief at 8:33 AM on March 31 [16 favorites]


dude was National Security Adviser. he reported directly to the president. there is literally nobody for him to throw to the wolves except trump

Obvs. follow up question, "Why did the President appoint a Russian..." ( do we call Flynn an "asset", or "spy" or what... my Tom-Clancy-fu is weak... ) " to the role of National Security Adviser?"
posted by mikelieman at 8:34 AM on March 31 [12 favorites]


That's from an Atlantic article published this morning, worth reading in full for a sense of how little worth should be read into anything Chaffetz says.

That article is full of amazing actual Chaffetz-isms:

I asked Chaffetz if he was concerned about Trump reaping financial rewards from his presidency, but he just shrugged.

“He’s already rich,” Chaffetz said. “He’s very rich. I don’t think that he ran for this office to line his pockets even more. I just don’t see it like that.”


[real]
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:34 AM on March 31 [13 favorites]


Trump wants immediate $50M Great Lakes cut to pay for Mexico wall

I just realized that it's like that scene from Dave where the President tries to find money by combing thru various executive branch discretionary funds, only for evil.
posted by Gelatin at 8:35 AM on March 31 [11 favorites]


"Why did the President appoint a Russian..." ( do we call Flynn an "asset", or "spy" or what... my Tom-Clancy-fu is weak... ) " to the role of National Security Adviser?"

Seriously, even if Flynn doesn't directly implicate Trump, I feel like putting a crazy traitor in charge of national security should have repercussions.
posted by diogenes at 8:36 AM on March 31 [32 favorites]


Here's a fun line about Flynn from the Guardian article:

US and British intelligence officers "were also anxious about his capacity for 'linear thought'."
posted by diogenes at 8:39 AM on March 31 [56 favorites]


That Guardian article about Flynn reads like an episode recap of The Americans.
posted by dnash at 8:40 AM on March 31 [7 favorites]


By the by, while it's been a neglected angle in a story that has much larger implications, I'd really like to know if Jill Stein figures into any of this in any way beyond merely sharing a table with Flynn and Putin and generally being a useful idiot.

We had at least one Mefite mention some shady stuff they saw/heard about during the recount with implications that the recount efforts would have found something if they could keep digging, and I've been kinda wondering in the back of my mind if Stein's recount efforts were a paper tiger, a loud and flashy show with no real teeth just to put the questions to rest.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:41 AM on March 31 [8 favorites]


do we call Flynn an "asset", or "spy"

I bet that he thinks of himself as a spy or even a double agent. Russian intelligence definitely calls him an asset.
posted by VTX at 8:47 AM on March 31 [9 favorites]


I want Flynn to take Trump down, but it's hard for me to see why, if he had the goods, he doesn't have immunity yet

Flynn’s Public Offer to Testify for Immunity Suggests He May Have Nothing to Say: "I suspect that Flynn’s lawyer is really targeting Congress. He is hoping that one of the Congressional committees will take the bait and grant him immunity in exchange for his testimony. If that happened, it would be extremely difficult to prosecute Flynn after he testified. Remember Oliver North? {...}

"It is not going to work. The Justice Department will tell Congress that a grant of immunity at this stage could compromise its ongoing criminal investigation. Already, statements from the Congressional committees suggest no interest in granting immunity to Flynn. Flynn’s lawyer appears to have hoped that publicity, pressure or politics might cause one of the Congressional committees to jump. Flynn’s lawyer may have concluded that at a minimum the public offer would help change the atmospherics around his client, which could help him at a future stage. But the ploy feels desperate, indicating that Flynn may not have much to offer. And the very fact that Flynn’s lawyer is making a play for immunity at this stage suggests that he has some fear that his client faces real criminal exposure."

Jeff Sessions is, however, still running the Justice Department, recusals notwithstanding. If he could indirectly put pressure on committee chairs to consider cutting Flynn a deal, he absolutely would. That nobody on Capitol Hill isn't biting during Flynn's fishing expedition would suggest that the White House has lost a lot of its power to intimidate after the health care debacle.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:49 AM on March 31 [11 favorites]


I asked Chaffetz if he was concerned about his own moral turpitude and ignorance, but he just shrugged.

“I'm already a stooge,” Chaffetz said. “I'm very stupid. I don’t think that my own incompetence could harm the American people. I just don’t understand the question.”


[fake]
posted by valkane at 8:53 AM on March 31 [10 favorites]


The recounts -- I personally supported them, because after all the Russian interference in the election, I wanted to be sure that they hadn't tampered with votes themselves. I admit it would be very difficult to do, but Russia has a lot of resources and was highly motivated, and it didn't seem impossible. I'm relatively satisfied by the results based on what what seen in Wisconsin, though I'm still a little pissed that Pennsylvania did not get a real recount. We should be able to ask these guys to check their work without it being subject to court challenges.

We really should have routine audits and good paper trails anyway. Recounts generally turn up evidence of errors which increases the pressure to upgrade old voting machines and vote tallying processes. I'm a scientist, and I know there's error on EVERY measurement... so it's wise to measure more than once when possible, and to be careful about the way you do the measurements to try to avoid any systematic errors. (Ideally, we'd actually run elections more than once, and take the average! To take out the effects of, like, rain keeping some voters home in certain states... But since that's probably impossible, double checking the count seems like a decent minimum expectation, for a "measurement" which can have such profound consequences.)

So I thought Stein was on the side of the angels there, but who knows? Maybe Russia thought the recounts were a way to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election process itself. They would certainly be in favor of any measure which does that. And Stein's "Both sides are the same" rhetoric during the campaign definitely furthered Russian interests.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:55 AM on March 31 [19 favorites]


Flynn’s Public Offer to Testify for Immunity Suggests He May Have Nothing to Say: "I suspect that Flynn’s lawyer is really targeting Congress. He is hoping that one of the Congressional committees will take the bait and grant him immunity in exchange for his testimony. If that happened, it would be extremely difficult to prosecute Flynn after he testified. Remember Oliver North? {...}

This sounds like a job for Devin Nunes to bungle!
posted by jason_steakums at 8:57 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Think of the screw-ups that await us.

I think it takes a special kind of stupid to reach the presidency with majorities in both house and senate, only to turn yourself in a minority by alienating people in your own party.

My suspicion is Trump will screw himself over long before he can do any irreparable damage to our country.
posted by Tarumba at 9:00 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Maybe Russia thought the recounts were a way to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election process itself.

Given the testimony I heard yesterday, I'd say almost certainly. Whether they were behind it or not is an open question, but whether they were cheering it on? That is a certainty. A big theme of the folks testifying at the Senate yesterday is that a major thrust of current Russian active measures is to do things that a low information voter (who, let's be real, also includes the President and much of his staff) would interpret as casting doubt on the legitimacy of the electoral process. So, hacking into election office's website doesn't actually hack the votes themselves, but it does create a headline that a low info voter will interpret as "VOTER FRAUD!!!!"
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:02 AM on March 31 [11 favorites]


He is hoping that one of the Congressional committees will take the bait and grant him immunity in exchange for his testimony. If that happened, it would be extremely difficult to prosecute Flynn after he testified. Remember Oliver North? {...}

I thought the way immunity offers work in these cases is that they're contingent on the recipient fully divulging everything they know to the prosecutors in question. Like, in the offer of immunity it specifically states that later discovery you were holding stuff back = immediate revocation of the offer, with your original criminal charges to follow.

Not at all a lawyer, though - did I misunderstand this?
posted by Ryvar at 9:04 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


> "'He’s already rich,' Chaffetz said. 'He’s very rich. I don’t think that he ran for this office to line his pockets even more. I just don’t see it like that.'"

Has Chaffetz ever met ... a person? I mean, like, anyone?
posted by kyrademon at 9:04 AM on March 31 [46 favorites]


My suspicion is Trump will screw himself over long before he can do any irreparable damage to our country.

Unfortunately, he is already doing some irreparable damage to Yemen, Syria, Somalia... Civilian lives lost in those places cannot be restored.

The US president is subject to check and balances in his domestic policies, but there is almost nothing to stop him from doing whatever he wants with the military and foreign policy.
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:05 AM on March 31 [16 favorites]


"'He’s already rich,' Chaffetz said. 'He’s very rich. I don’t think that he ran for this office to line his pockets even more. I just don’t see it like that.'"

Truly, what unites all rich people is their disinterest in procuring money.
posted by galaxy rise at 9:08 AM on March 31 [129 favorites]


My suspicion is Trump will screw himself over long before he can do any irreparable damage to our country.

Trump was doing irreparable damage to the country before he was even elected.
posted by scottatdrake at 9:08 AM on March 31 [64 favorites]


Unfortunately, he is already doing some irreparable damage to Yemen, Syria, Somalia... Civilian lives lost in those places cannot be restored.

Yes. I wish we could get some real protests going, like Vietnam-War-level protests, against the ongoing human rights catastrophe that has blossomed across the Middle East in these last few months. Americans are very distracted right now but once someone starts paying attention it is absolutely going to be remembered as a massive atrocity.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 9:10 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Trump was doing irreparable damage to the country before he was even elected.

Turns out we'd rather fuck the country entirely than have a woman tell us what to do.
posted by Talez at 9:11 AM on March 31 [36 favorites]


tbh before he was elected i think he was a symptom of previous irreparable damage to the country
posted by murphy slaw at 9:14 AM on March 31 [31 favorites]


The US president is subject to check and balances in his domestic policies, but there is almost nothing to stop him from doing whatever he wants with the military and foreign policy.

The degree to which this is true, this is true because the legislative branch chooses to neither check nor balance him; the AUMF could be repealed. The Pentagon's budget could be slashed. The same checks and balances exist in the foreign sphere as do the domestic, and Congress has in the past exercised them; that it does not do so today is not an immutable fact of American governance.

In the meantime, though: Trump’s Drone Strikes Outpace Obama
During President Obama’s two terms in office, [Obama] approved 542...targeted strikes in 2,920 days—one every 5.4 days. From his inauguration through today, President Trump had approved at least 37 drone strikes or raids in 68 days—one every 1.8 days.
posted by cjelli at 9:16 AM on March 31 [13 favorites]


If Flynn takes immunity but lies his immunity is out the window.
posted by BentFranklin at 9:17 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


We really should have routine audits and good paper trails anyway.

I feel the same way. I'm on a QA team at a large commercial bank and I could get audit documentation showing:

-The underwriter's process in verifying the information on the application and making the credit decision
-The quality control testing done on that process
-The quality assurance testing done on the QC process
-The QC process done on the QA process
-The quarterly audits of the QC over the QA, the QA over the QC, and the QC over the underwriting
-The random periodic audits and exams done by various regulatory agencies (OCC, OFAC, SEC, CFPB, etc.)
-The annual assessments done over ALL of those processes
-A TON of other work done by other groups to test different aspects of all of the above
-Probably a bunch of other stuff I don't even know about.

And that's all par for the course for a large bank like ours. We're just trying to do our part in preventing another financial meltdown, not something as important as voting for the leader of the free world.
posted by VTX at 9:18 AM on March 31 [6 favorites]


Jason Chaffetz gives spineless, sycophantic vermin a bad name.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:22 AM on March 31 [9 favorites]


for those of you just now joining us, the trump administration so far [youtube]
posted by murphy slaw at 9:26 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Just read Kevin Drum in regards to Bart Gellman's comment at the Century Foundation, Is the Trump White House Spying on the FBI?:

That reference at the end to "the president's men" is no coincidence. This whole thing looks more Watergate-ish by the day. Maybe it's time to start calling it Russiagate

I second the motion and, furthermore, move we vote it unanimous.
posted by y2karl at 9:27 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


OTOH this may be our big chance to replace *gate as the default scandal name!
posted by murphy slaw at 9:28 AM on March 31 [11 favorites]


OTOH this may be our big chance to replace *gate as the default scandal name!

Someone in the last thread suggested "-A-Lago", as in Russia-A-Lago.
posted by Surely This at 9:30 AM on March 31 [39 favorites]


Russ-a-lago
posted by leotrotsky at 9:31 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Treason-lago
posted by leotrotsky at 9:32 AM on March 31


If that doesn't work can we bring back imbroglio?
posted by drezdn at 9:32 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Knowing our luck our shitty media will call it Mar-a-Lago-gate.
posted by Talez at 9:33 AM on March 31 [38 favorites]


Imbroglio-lago?
posted by drezdn at 9:34 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Treasump!
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:35 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Future history books should just use "-trump" as the new "-gate" scandal suffix.
posted by Drastic at 9:35 AM on March 31 [6 favorites]


The Moscow Mash
posted by jason_steakums at 9:36 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


This is a weird picture. Is the press always roped off that far from taking pictures of the POTUS?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:39 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


"'He’s already rich,' Chaffetz said. 'He’s very rich. I don’t think that he ran for this office to line his pockets even more. I just don’t see it like that.'"

It's a little-known fact that cat people generally decide they have enough cats around the 47th cat.
posted by Killick at 9:39 AM on March 31 [46 favorites]


OTOH this may be our big chance to replace *gate as the default scandal name!

Back in the day, The New Republic tried to brand the Iran-Contra scandal as "Iran-amok" but it never stuck.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:40 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Is Sally Yates scheduled to go before any of these hearings yet?
posted by rabidsegue at 9:41 AM on March 31


This is a weird picture.

Oh god it's a Christina's World for our times.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:42 AM on March 31


But since that's probably impossible, double checking the count seems like a decent minimum expectation, for a "measurement" which can have such profound consequences.)

Exactly. Any pressure to make election processes more transparent and scientific is good pressure. I'm getting sick of the role champagne liberals and other political spoilers continue to play in dividing natural coalitions on the left, too, but any pressure from anywhere not to rush to accept whatever result the first major network's estimated half ass count of the polls yields is good pressure to me...
posted by saulgoodman at 9:43 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


so.... people who have 46 cats tend to be mentally ill in some fashion. Just sayin' as a cat owner of four felines, five felines would be too many. (4 is kind-of too many but you didn't hear me say it!)

Not that, you know, the POTUS couldn't be mentally ill..
posted by INFJ at 9:44 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


"Treasongate" sort of gets to the main point. Branding, etc.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:48 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Is this what it was like to live through Watergate?

It's early yet. We may not live.
posted by srboisvert at 9:48 AM on March 31 [30 favorites]


"'He’s already rich,' Chaffetz said. 'He’s very rich. I don’t think that he ran for this office to line his pockets even more. I just don’t see it like that.'"

And what if he isn't really all that rich and is using this to get out from under water?
posted by BentFranklin at 9:50 AM on March 31 [23 favorites]


I'd kind of like to see them hoisted on their own -ghazi, so treasonghazi for me
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:50 AM on March 31 [16 favorites]


Remember that time they gave the trillion dollar bill to Mr. Burns to deliver because he was the richest, and therefore most trustworthy, person in the country? Can we just start calling Chaffetz Smithers now?
posted by cmfletcher at 9:52 AM on March 31 [9 favorites]


Trumpghazi !

Actually, no, because Benghazi was a fake scandal.
posted by BentFranklin at 9:52 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


I'd kind of like to see them hoisted on their own -ghazi, so treasonghazi for me

Given how concerned Trump is with his personal brand, and given how diffuse and varied the particular claims of wrongdoing now stand, I'm personally in favor of -- so long as an appellation is needed -- of lumping everything under 'Trumpghazi' or 'Trumpgate' or so on as the next-best thing to damnatio memoriae.
posted by cjelli at 9:54 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Looks like we get one more Spicey Show before the week is over! Joy!

Here in half an hour.
posted by jammer at 9:55 AM on March 31


Is this what it was like to live through Watergate?

My earliest political memory: watching Nixon resign, sitting on my mother's lap and saying to her: "I thought he said he wasn't a quitter."
posted by Melismata at 9:55 AM on March 31 [8 favorites]


Actually, no, because Benghazi was a fake scandal.

S'okay, he's a fake president.
posted by Artw at 9:57 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Trump Tower Treason
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 10:01 AM on March 31


White House to disclose finances of top Trump aides Friday evening

The financial disclosure reports are dropping in a little take-out-the-trash Friday night.
posted by zachlipton at 10:06 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Trump Treas Mahal
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:08 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


The Card Cheat's link above prompted a nice little flashback for me.

I'm a straight white cis dude in my 40s with a good education and a good professional job, and that's exactly how I present. When I'm traveling I'm usually dressed pretty professionally (nice shirt and pants, often a tie) because I'm usually traveling for work.

But under my clothes I also wear a dressing for what amounts to a chronic open wound on the back of my thigh; it's a fun complication of a congenital malformation of the circulatory system in my leg. Anyway, the dressing used to pass undetected by the millimeter-wave porno-scanners until a couple years ago. Then I had to start explaining what it was to the agents ("Do you have something in your back pocket, sir?"), and they'd usually just wand me and let me go.

Then last summer I couldn't get them to understand the situation. I ended up having to take my pants down in order to show them the wound. It was really humiliating and terrifying and awful; it took me the rest of the day to calm down and although it hasn't (quite) happened again (it came awful close in PDX a few weeks ago) I still get extremely tense and anxious when going through security; much more so than I used to (and it was never exactly chill). And all I had to do was drop my pants for some random thugs; I can't imagine what it would be like to have your genitals groped like that.

All of which I offer as a little catharsis for myself, and a gentle reminder that none of us are immune, and that the TSA's awfulness has as much to do with the fact that they're simply awful as it does with any particular administration.
posted by nickmark at 10:09 AM on March 31 [68 favorites]


It would be entirely par for the course for Chaffetz to come back tomorrow and demand that Flynn be offered immunity; he has a record of flipping completely on issues he's staked absolutist positions on.

I've mentioned this before, but you can play the game Broken Vows by typing "Chaffitz vows" into Google and seeing how many you find.

Maybe this re-branding of the GOP as the Clown Party is viral marketing for the remake of "It."

I knew it!
posted by Room 641-A at 10:26 AM on March 31


What kind of garbage people are you if fucking debt collectors are telling you you're being a dick?

This is fascinating to me because what it says is that debt collectors have no confidence in the current administration's ability to effect lasting positive change for them. They are, in my opinion correctly, guessing that the current administration's decisions will lead to a significant backlash against things like bankers and debt collection and that the future regulatory environment will be far less favourable to their business as a result of Trump unleashing the industry.

Businesses seriously fear the leftist awakening that will follow Trumpism and are willing to sacrifice some short term profit to forestall it.
posted by srboisvert at 10:27 AM on March 31 [35 favorites]


Josh Marshall, The Timeline Speaks Clearly:

March 4th: Obama wiretap claims tweeted.

March 10th: Cohen-Watnick canned.

March 13th or 14th: Trump [after Bannon/Kushner intercession] overrules McMaster; Cohen-Watnick keeps job.

March 15th: Trump says new info coming [on Tucker Carlson’s interview].

March 21st: Nunes called to White House to review “new info.”

I think this speaks for itself.

posted by RedOrGreen at 10:28 AM on March 31 [12 favorites]




I'm a little confused. If Cohen-Watnick worked under McMaster, how was he keeping tabs on the FBI?
posted by BentFranklin at 10:33 AM on March 31


The Spicer links seems right now to re-direct to the White House manufacturing talk this morning.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:33 AM on March 31


The Spicer links seems right now to re-direct to the White House manufacturing talk this morning.

Youtube link
, which isn't live yet. (C-Span is great for actually capturing the pre-Spicer discussions in the room and after he leaves; the White House Youtube channel is all and only Spicer.)
posted by cjelli at 10:36 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


the White House Youtube channel is all and only Spicer

Sometimes dreams do come true
posted by theodolite at 10:37 AM on March 31 [7 favorites]




Yo, Spicey. Claire saying Gorsuch was 'one of the better ones' was not a compliment. It's like someone asking what cancer is your favorite cancer.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 10:46 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Going back to that HB2 "faux repeal":
HB 142 would repeal HB2 in its entirety—and replace it with something just as odious. The bill forbids “state agencies, boards, offices, departments, institutions,” and “branches of government,” including public universities, from regulating “access to multiple occupancy restrooms, showers, or changing facilities.” It applies this same rule to “local boards of education,” meaning these boards cannot pass trans-inclusive policies. Instead, local governments, public universities, and school boards would have to wait for permission from the General Assembly to protect trans people. Of course, the heavily gerrymandered, vehemently anti-trans, Republican-dominated legislature will almost certainly never grant this permission.

That’s not the end of it. HB 142 would also impose a years-long moratorium on local LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinances. The bill would bar any city from “regulating private employment practices or regulating public accommodations” until December 1, 2020. There is nothing to stop the General Assembly from extending this moratorium as its expiration date draws closer.
It's not a fucking repeal.

I'm really sorry the repeal is so shitty. I realize I'm not queer or trans so I can't ever understand how you'd ever feel about this so I won't even pretend to and whatever you feel right now is most certainly valid and understandable. But please, I implore you, don't let the political wrangling of hateful people with far more power than they deserve divide what liberal opposition we can manage to scrape against these shitstains of history.

So this? No, you don't understand. No, you aren't really validating, because you think this is acceptable. Remember who you're asking, begging, to take one for the team.

Who you've been asking over and over again.

Fuck Cooper.
posted by anem0ne at 10:46 AM on March 31 [15 favorites]


Spicer is, in the current press briefing, going beyond pretending the Garland nomination didn't exist to quoting Democratic objecting to blocking Garland as 'evidence' of why blocking Gorsuch would be 'unprecedented' and bad. Dude: you're literally quoting the precedent.

This is at least day four of that kind of messaging, which suggests that Administration is (rightly or wrongly) genuinely concerned a filibuster might actually work; one suspects that if they had a solid whip count for bypassing it, they wouldn't be trying to sell the idea that a filibuster is fundamentally off the table.
posted by cjelli at 10:48 AM on March 31 [20 favorites]


Obama Officials Made List of Secret Russia Probe Documents To Protect Them

Obama administration officials were so concerned about what would happen to key classified documents related to the Russia probe once President Trump took office that they created a list of document serial numbers to give to senior members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, a former Obama official told NBC News.

The official said that after the list of documents related to the probe into Russian interference in the U.S. election was created in early January, he hand-carried it to the committee members.

posted by futz at 10:49 AM on March 31 [73 favorites]


Yo, Spicey. Claire saying Gorsuch was 'one of the better ones' was not a compliment.

Here are the comments in question.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:51 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Spicer just confused Parkinson's with pancreatic cancer. How many hours of sleep did he get last night?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:52 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Sounds like Spicer has a cold. Maybe he's stressed?
posted by zachlipton at 10:55 AM on March 31


NPR roundup of the morning: 'Democrats Are Good For Gun Sales': Guess What Happened After Trump's Election
In the gun industry, politics and fear matter. And they matter a lot. Over the last two years, there was plenty of both to go around amid terror attacks and school shootings. And, of course, there was the presidential race, which Hillary Clinton was heavily favored to win.

Guns and ammunition sold fast. The FBI processed a record number of background checks on potential gun buyers in 2016. (Background checks are considered the best available proxy for gun purchases since overall sales numbers are not made public.)
...
Since Trump's election, background checks have fallen three straight months from year-ago levels. And shops like Nova Firearms in McLean, Va., have detected a notable drop in sales of certain types of weapons such as AR-15 military-style semi-automatic rifles. During the heat of the campaign, says salesman Tom Jenkins, the shop couldn't keep those weapons in stock. Customers were worried the rifles would be singled out for a ban by Hillary Clinton.
So, Trump is actually making 'Merica safer ... from fear-driven gun purchasers? (Also, fook yooo NRA for making it really hard to track gun sales).

Some state Republicans who are frustrated by a lack of action on their priorities are eying a never-before-used constitutional provision to bypass Congress: A constitutional convention. -- That's right, the failure the AHCA going anywhere is pushing discussions that started under Obama's terms. It could bypass failure to lead at the top, but it comes at a price, as the Koch Brothers Bankroll Move to Rewrite the Constitution (Moyers & Company, March 27, 2017)

Rising Seas Threaten Coastal Military Bases -- why striking Obama's directive to treat climate change as a national security threat is dumb and dangerous, as cities are already coping with rising sea levels in the United States (NY Times, September 3, 2016, plus 3rd party "archived" article with an image of a roadside ruler that is used to inform drivers when it is too deep to drive through the water on the road.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:55 AM on March 31 [20 favorites]


It's weird how Spicer gets a question (yes, I know it's the predictable question) and proceeds to read a frickin' essay verbatim off the page, right?
posted by zachlipton at 10:56 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


OMG Spicey claiming that Clinton is the puppet again
posted by angrycat at 10:57 AM on March 31 [10 favorites]


An ind journalist I have worked with-who has been reliable-says they have 2 sources that say Trump is considering options-incl resignation. Claude Taylor

There's a murmur of this going around the Twitters today. Apparently it all leads back, so far, to a tweet from The Jester. Needless to say, I'm a bit skeptical.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:58 AM on March 31 [11 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt

Then why did Trump fire Flynn? Seems Trump cast the first stone at the witch.
posted by JackFlash at 11:01 AM on March 31 [7 favorites]


Spicey literally daring Flynn to testify.
posted by Talez at 11:01 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Sean Spicer is impostor's syndrome made flesh.
posted by notyou at 11:01 AM on March 31 [10 favorites]


zachlipton: It's weird how Spicer gets a question (yes, I know it's the predictable question) and proceeds to read a frickin' essay verbatim off the page, right?

Then he's safe from saying something (extra) dumb, and he can blame whoever wrote his notes. "I don't know nuthin', man, I'm just reading the paper."
posted by filthy light thief at 11:02 AM on March 31


Wait. I'm wrong. He's not daring Flynn to testify. He's saying that Flynn will clear everything up.

Because, you know, you ask for immunity when you're just trying to, you know, "clear things up".
posted by Talez at 11:03 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


A Constitutional Convention is a terrifying prospect, and really underscores how much state politics matters. We need the state legislatures. Actually need them.

They are within one or two (last I checked) of controlling enough state legislatures to call a fucking Constitutional Convention.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:03 AM on March 31 [26 favorites]


An ind journalist I have worked with-who has been reliable-says they have 2 sources that say Trump is considering options-incl resignation. Claude Taylor

Mister Fabulous: There's a murmur of this going around the Twitters today. Apparently it all leads back, so far, to a tweet from The Jester. Needless to say, I'm a bit skeptical.

Donald Trump's presidency 'likely to be second shortest in history', says presidential historian - so far he's outlasted the 31 days of William Henry Harrison in 1841, who died of pneumonia, and he's still under the 199 days of James A. Garfield in 1881.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:04 AM on March 31 [12 favorites]


They are within one or two (last I checked) of controlling enough state legislatures to call a fucking Constitutional Convention.

Two. But they don't have any states left and they certainly don't have enough to pass an amendment once the constitutional convention figures one out.
posted by Talez at 11:05 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Ruth Graham tries to argue that the Billy Graham isn't weird, discriminatory, or offensive; proceeds to demonstrate the opposite. It's worth reading in its absurd entirety, but the fun parts are:

a) How she ignores that all the defenses of the policy come straight from the Protestant Evangelical community - not exactly a group with healthy standards for male sexuality,

b) Her further avoidance of the really fucked up sexual culture which places responsibility for cheating on the woman, never the man, which is fundamentally dehumanizing to both

c) Her complete misreading of Coates, who is firmly placing responsibility on himself, as opposed to the shifting of responsibility that happens with their Graham Rule.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:07 AM on March 31 [7 favorites]


When the Mad Dog seems the only sane one in the room. Russia is a ‘strategic competitor' to the west, says James Mattis
posted by adamvasco at 11:09 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Spicer says that the financial disclosures coming from the White House are so everyone can see how much they have given up to go into public service. They just want to "give back."

I do not know how he possibly said that with a straight face, but here we are.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:10 AM on March 31 [20 favorites]


Spicer is now explaining that when we see the financial disclosure reports, we should be pleased with how many rich people are working at the White House (he said "successful") and how much these people have had to sacrifice to work for the government (some had to sell assets, not throw away their money, and they can get special tax treatment when they divest).
posted by zachlipton at 11:12 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I haven't commented much on these threads but I'm watching Spicy for the first time right now and I'm gobsmacked! Dude is a professional liar! I'm surprised I don't see steam coming out of his ears or that he isn't tripping over his nose!
posted by ramix at 11:15 AM on March 31 [9 favorites]


"There is a concern that classified information is being leaked!" Maybe for you, Spicey, but for any patriotic American yours is, ahem, trumped by the concern that there are traitors in the White House. Jeez Louise, man.
posted by Lyme Drop at 11:17 AM on March 31 [9 favorites]


We need a MST3K of the Spicey Show where the robots periodically sing LIAR LIAR
posted by angrycat at 11:18 AM on March 31 [14 favorites]


Since Spicey keeps mentioning Evelyn Farkas, it's a good time to point out that she didn't say what he claims she said. She also left the government in October 2015, before, you know, the election or the hacking or anything took place.
posted by zachlipton at 11:18 AM on March 31 [8 favorites]


They are within one or two (last I checked) of controlling enough state legislatures to call a fucking Constitutional Convention.

I see this a lot like Obamacare repeal. They love to threaten to CALL A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION! A CONVENTION I TELL YOU! To do...something. They have no idea what. A balanced budget amendment is the most cited thing, but that would basically kill the federal government. We just saw how they can't even take away 24 million people's healthcare, and that basic dynamic is going to happen again on the budget and tax reform. There's no way they could actually pass any amendments through a Convention, which would be a chaotic clusterfuck of competing ideas of who's the most freedom of them all, combined with an orgy of corporate influence buying.

Plus, a convention wouldn't be limited to just whatever the right could agree on, the left resistance could be heard too. Basically it'd be a free for all resulting in nothing. Which is why it won't actually ever happen absent a real need to fundamentally restruct our system of government.

Like an alien invasion. Or Russia buying the Office of President. WAIT.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:20 AM on March 31 [8 favorites]


Someone call him out for that uranium thing, please.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 11:20 AM on March 31 [7 favorites]


An ind journalist I have worked with-who has been reliable-says they have 2 sources that say Trump is considering options-incl resignation. Claude Taylor

Is Claude Taylor reliable? I am one inch away from going back to theism, will pray to whoever, please let this be true.

Or like someone said on twitter "Please be truely true, factually true."

To which Claude Taylor‏ replied: "Doing my best"
posted by Tarumba at 11:22 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Spicer complains people using their Jump to Conclusions mat.
posted by CoffeeHikeNapWine at 11:23 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Every reporter needs to follow up with "...what?"
posted by theodolite at 11:27 AM on March 31 [7 favorites]


We need a MST3K of the Spicey Show where the robots periodically sing LIAR LIAR

I accuse my president.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:28 AM on March 31 [23 favorites]


Spicer: "I don't think we should have to choose which freedoms we have undermined. The answer is both of them." [real]
posted by nickmark at 11:29 AM on March 31 [21 favorites]


So- during the election, my frustration was with *all* candidates taking every question as an opportunity to concoct an "answer" nothing more than some stump speech talking point wrapped up in a(n) (often) flimsy cloth of contextual relationship.

Watching these press conferences, I'm struck with a parallel frustration: Spicer utters complete (and refutable!) nonsense yet these journalists come in armed with their own unrelated questions that Spicer then ducks & dodges. The net result is that all Spicer's front-loaded dishonesty goes unchecked or questioned & then all "questions" which get deflected *also* go unaddressed.

What is the point? Why can't these folks think on their feet & call Spicer on the shit he is saying *at the moment*? If they *are* going to ask off-topic questions, why aren't they equipped to rebuke his deflections? I'm not a journalist, but just watching this from my armchair, it's pretty obvious that "obsession with the process rather than the content" is the guy's go-to (for that particular example). So be prepared for that! Address the fact that if we're to trust the *content* of this investigation, the process has to be up to snuff! "If a police department is corrupt & fabricates evidence, this element of process is crucial to whether or not we accept the 'content' of the evidence. Process matters. Will you or will you not answer the question?" How hard is it to do this? What am I missing?
posted by narwhal at 11:30 AM on March 31 [44 favorites]


There is so much "But Clinton!" and "But Obama!" in Spicer's take on the news.

Sean "Flop Sweat" Spicer. A.k.a. Spicey, a.k.a. Floppy.
posted by Lyme Drop at 11:31 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Sean Spicer is impostor's syndrome made flesh.

Nah, that would mean he's a competent, productive, high-functioning and achieving person who couldn't internalize his own successes, attributing them to luck and coincidence and feeling like a fraud -- an impostor -- even when there is objective evidence of their abilities. The key is feeling like a fraud, not being one.

I don't think you can apply this description to anyone in the Trump administration. They are impostors, full stop.
posted by orbit-3 at 11:31 AM on March 31 [16 favorites]


I think we MUST, 100%, take back state legislatures and governorships. It was a mistake for Democrats to take their eyes off of that particular ball, but I think we are focusing more on that now. I hope that Tom Perez will resurrect Dean's 50 state strategy - that worked. Imagine if Medicare could have passed in Kansas! I hope Kansans will learn from this lesson and boot Brownback out and elect a Democratic governor. Hell, I hope a viable candidate or candidates run! Taking back state governorships and legislatures is an essential project on its own terms. Which leads me to...

I see this a lot like Obamacare repeal. They love to threaten to CALL A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION! A CONVENTION I TELL YOU! To do...something. They have no idea what. A balanced budget amendment is the most cited thing, but that would basically kill the federal government. We just saw how they can't even take away 24 million people's healthcare, and that basic dynamic is going to happen again on the budget and tax reform. There's no way they could actually pass any amendments through a Convention, which would be a chaotic clusterfuck of competing ideas of who's the most freedom of them all, combined with an orgy of corporate influence buying.

I agree with TD Strange. These people are not playing eleven-dimensional chess, or even checkers - they can barely manage tic-tac-toe. Not that they won't do all the damage they can, and I want to see as many of them out on their asses come election time as possible, but if they can't manage to repeal Obamacare then I doubt they can muster up the ability to call a Constitutional convention. I'm sure they'll yammer on about it and maybe even cosplay as the Founders, but I'm not holding my breath for an actual convention.

But take back the states, oh my god yes, we Dems must do this for its own sake.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:32 AM on March 31 [22 favorites]


Trump is considering options-incl resignation

We'd know if that were true because Trump would basically be going crazy in a panic. He would be tweeting all sorts of wild shit. This isn's happening yet.

(Crazy and wild relative to usual Trump, not relative to normal people.)
posted by ryanrs at 11:34 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


This whole administration has the opposite of impostor syndrome: the belief that one is competent, capable, and fiercely intelligent when one is, in fact, a moron.
posted by lydhre at 11:35 AM on March 31 [35 favorites]


(Impostor's syndrome is the fear of impostorhood felt by some high achievers; iow, fear of being Sean Spicer.)
posted by notyou at 11:35 AM on March 31 [12 favorites]


I hope Kansans will learn from this lesson and boot Brownback out and elect a Democratic governor.

If Kansas voters can't learn from what happened to their state, then they are beyond hope.
posted by Melismata at 11:35 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


When the Mad Dog seems the only sane one in the room. Russia is a ‘strategic competitor' to the west, says James Mattis

Reminder:

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has asked the White House to lift Obama-era restrictions on U.S. military support for Persian Gulf states engaged in a protracted civil war against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, according to senior Trump administration officials.

Additionally, Here's Mattis wringing his hands over the first Muslim Ban. Note how that's not the same thing as actually fighting it.

I'm glad Mattis talked Trump down off the torture cliff, but past that this dude has absolutely not lived up to the hype.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:36 AM on March 31 [11 favorites]


*cryinglaughing* For at least 2 of the Skype seats Spicer gets the name of the reporter completely wrong.
posted by CoffeeHikeNapWine at 11:36 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


(Crazy and wild relative to usual Trump, not relative to normal people.)

Okay but what would that look like? More typos? I can't imagine it getting crazier except in terms of typography and spelling.
posted by witchen at 11:36 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]




What is the point?

'Spicer Dodges Question At Press Briefing'
'Spicer Declines To Deny Allegations'
'Spicer Offers No Proof For Claims When Pressed'

A non-answer is still an answer; there's no perfect question that can force a real answer, and no neutral arbiter to force a substantive responsive. It is a deeply imperfect process that has worked better and worse depending on the Press Secretary, and is certainly being undermined by Spicer's constant lying but still retains a large degree of merit.

So be prepared for that! Address the fact that if we're to trust the *content* of this investigation, the process has to be up to snuff!

There's not really a way to ask that to force an answer: people have pressed him on this, and he dodges that too -- 'The White House absolutely trusts the process and thinks the Chairman is doing a phenomenal job, next question.'

It is deeply frustrating and imperfect process that is, nonetheless, of benefit.
posted by cjelli at 11:37 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


This is absolutely the worst Spicer briefing I've seen since the very first one when he yelled false information about crowd size (the one that went so bad he tried to pretend it wasn't a briefing).
posted by zachlipton at 11:38 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


There is so much "But Clinton!" and "But Obama!" in Spicer's take on the news.

Yup, and has been mentioned before, that move has a name and a history: Whataboutism is a term describing a propaganda technique used by the Soviet Union in its dealings with the Western world during the Cold War. When criticisms were levelled at the Soviet Union, the response would be "What about..." followed by the naming of an event in the Western world.
posted by neroli at 11:39 AM on March 31 [22 favorites]


Watching these press conferences, I'm struck with a parallel frustration

Yeah, the press conference process is a silly game, and I don't understand why the reporters continue to play it. I guess the idea is that if they don't play along, they will lose "access." But who cares? Some of them must believe they are real journalists. If so, why do they continue to ask unrelated questions after a Spicer utters a blatant lie? Why do they never point out that he just lied?

'Spicer Dodges Question At Press Briefing'
'Spicer Declines To Deny Allegations'
'Spicer Offers No Proof For Claims When Pressed'


That's all well and good. But "Spicer called out on series of blatant lies" would be even better.
posted by diogenes at 11:40 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


So be prepared for that! Address the fact that if we're to trust the *content* of this investigation, the process has to be up to snuff!

Also: a lot of these reporters, who only get one question or two, address this by going back and writing a bunch of articles about how people shouldn't trust the content of these investigations because the process isn't up to snuff. A substantial minority, if not a majority, of these reporters are also live-tweeting the problems in every one of Spicer's responses; and some of them end up on television or being interviewed to say the same thing.

So: they are addressing this, but they can only address it effectively outside the immediate context of the press briefing itself.

(That doesn't make it any less frustrating of a thing to watch Spicer dodge questions and lie outright or by omission -- if I had a penny for every time he's claimed to be 'trying to answer the question' when he isn't, I would have...a lot of pennies, I guess. He says that a lot.)
posted by cjelli at 11:42 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


For example, when Spicer says he isn't aware that the FBI's investigation was expanded to include Trump/campaign (which he just did), why not read him Comey's words that say the exact opposite? Letting that shit slide is worse than not being in the room at all.
posted by diogenes at 11:44 AM on March 31 [12 favorites]


There's no way they could actually pass any amendments through a Convention, which would be a chaotic clusterfuck of competing ideas of who's the most freedom of them all, combined with an orgy of corporate influence buying.

A Constitutional Convention (they're one governor shy of being able to do this unilaterally) has broad power to rework or even replace the founding documents of the country. Regardless of other policy differences they might have, I'm sure they could come to some agreement about new arrangements for voting rights and districting processes.
posted by Jpfed at 11:45 AM on March 31 [11 favorites]


Sean Spicer is impostor's syndrome made flesh.

...

This whole administration has the opposite of impostor syndrome: the belief that one is competent, capable, and fiercely intelligent when one is, in fact, a moron.


But that's it exactly; Spicer and the rest of the Trump administration are literally how I imagine my inner incompetent dummy-self when I am deep in the throes of my own imposter syndrome. He's blowing it in exactly the way I would in my deepest, darkest showing-up-naked-for-a-calculus-test-that-I-never-studied-for nightmares.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:45 AM on March 31 [10 favorites]


This was the Spiciest Spicer yet. Where was his prop box? 13/10 would be spiced again.
posted by dis_integration at 11:46 AM on March 31 [17 favorites]


Why can't these folks [in the press briefing] think on their feet & call Spicer on the shit he is saying *at the moment*? If they *are* going to ask off-topic questions, why aren't they equipped to rebuke his deflections? I'm not a journalist, but just watching this from my armchair, it's pretty obvious that "obsession with the process rather than the content" is the guy's go-to (for that particular example). So be prepared for that!

But that would be work!
posted by Gelatin at 11:47 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


The opposite of Imposter Syndrome is Dunning–Kruger Effect.
posted by monospace at 11:48 AM on March 31 [44 favorites]


So relieved to see people here who know and defend the correct definition of "imposter syndrome" so other people don't get confused and make things worse for sufferers with it.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:49 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Right so according to the line of succession, it goes Pence>Ryan>Orrin Hatch> Tillerson>Mnuchin>Mattis>Sessions>Zinke and only THEN we get to a Democrat, Mike Young, the Secretary of Agriculture!

It's mostly a hierarchy of garbage until that point.
posted by Tarumba at 11:51 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


The opposite of Imposter Syndrome is Dunning–Kruger Effect.

I hear ya, but that just sounds like a Tom Clancy novel.
posted by lydhre at 11:52 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


This was the Spiciest Spicer yet. Where was his prop box? 13/10 would be spiced again.

Kick it up a notch with a blast from the Spice Weasel. BAM!
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:52 AM on March 31 [13 favorites]


The Peter Principle is strong with this lot.
posted by spitbull at 11:52 AM on March 31 [19 favorites]



Bill Kristol‏ Verified account @BillKristol

I've avoided watching Sean Spicer briefings, but am at MSNBC watching this one. The non-stop dishonesty and irresponsibility is amazing.

Bill Kristol!


Well, if anyone would recognize non-stop dishonesty, he's your man.
posted by Gelatin at 11:54 AM on March 31 [17 favorites]


The opposite of Imposter Syndrome is Dunning–Kruger Effect.

I hear ya, but that just sounds like a Tom Clancy novel.



Robert Ludlum surely. The Dunning-Kruger Effect
posted by chris24 at 12:01 PM on March 31 [11 favorites]


Man, I cannot be the only one who's disappointed that the official who gave Nunes information along with Michael Ellis isn't named Chris Quinn, can I?
posted by holborne at 12:03 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


The opposite of Imposter Syndrome is Dunning–Kruger Effect.

I looked this up and here is the original publication.

From the abstract: "the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability."

Feels so right.
posted by piyushnz at 12:05 PM on March 31 [15 favorites]




I am particularly fond of this gif from reddit: Spicey Time.
posted by frecklefaerie at 12:08 PM on March 31 [80 favorites]


I hope Kansans will learn from this lesson and boot Brownback out and elect a Democratic governor.

Brownback is term-limited. And has popularity at ~20%. Whoever runs next year, Republican and Democrat, will be running hard against Brownback's legacy.

If Kansas voters can't learn from what happened to their state, then they are beyond hope

They've learned. I've posted about this a lot in past political threads but I suppose I can't expect people to remember. In 2016, voters pushed out most of the pro-Brownback radicals in the primaries, and Democrats gained 15 seats in the general. Brownback's attempt to push out justices and pack the Kansas Supreme Court failed by a large margin.

The legislature is hostile ground for the Governor now. They've passed a repeal of his tax cuts and made an attempt to expand Medicaid. Both were vetoed and the vetoes may stay since they're 2-3 votes short of an override. I'm hoping the votes will come around eventually to break the cycle, but at least Brownback will have tremendous difficulty getting anything new & terrible through this legislature.
posted by honestcoyote at 12:08 PM on March 31 [30 favorites]


Spicer is, in the current press briefing, going beyond pretending the Garland nomination didn't exist to quoting Democratic objecting to blocking Garland as 'evidence' of why blocking Gorsuch would be 'unprecedented' and bad. Dude: you're literally quoting the precedent.

I've been thinking of the Garland issue, as you know, and the more I do, the more I think that McConnell was so enamored at the opportunity to display power and disrespect Obama -- "We're the majority, and we won't so much as give Garland a hearing!" -- that he made a serious strategic mistake. The Senate relies on norms and comity, but McConnell's act overstepped those unwritten bounds. The Republicans could have simply refused to confirm Garland, and if they had, they probably wouldn't be facing such a (relatively) stiff Democratic resistance, caught between the rock of failing to get Garland on the bench and the hard place of eliminating the filibuster.

(Speaking of stiff resistance, no Democratic Senator should ever cast their vote in favor of unanimous consent. They should delay everything as much as possible, even the motion to adjourn.)
posted by Gelatin at 12:08 PM on March 31 [32 favorites]


Right so according to the line of succession, it goes Pence>Ryan>Orrin Hatch> Tillerson>Mnuchin>Mattis>Sessions>Zinke and only THEN we get to a Democrat, Mike Young, the Secretary of Agriculture!

So we just have to flip the House and Senate, appoint HRC as speaker, simultaneously impeach and remove Trump and Pence, and we get HRC for president! It's as easy as completing tax reform by August!
posted by melissasaurus at 12:09 PM on March 31 [24 favorites]


So we just have to flip the House and Senate, appoint HRC as speaker, simultaneously impeach and remove Trump and Pence, and we get HRC for president! It's as easy as completing tax reform by August!

Or as a non-zero percentage of my facebook friends report almost weekly "BERNIE CAN STILL BE PRESIDENT THANKS TO THIS ONE AMAZING TRICK."
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:11 PM on March 31 [37 favorites]


Also, Mike Young is only Secretary of Agriculture until the Senate confirms Sonny Perdue.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:12 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


(And yes, I know McConnell has already been overstepping the Senate's norms, such as demanding a cloture vote for everything -- even convincing the Beltway media that there's a nonexistent "60 vote requirement" to pass anything -- so he certainly thought he could get away with it, but stealing Obama's SCOTUS pick seems to be perceived as a bridge too far.)
posted by Gelatin at 12:13 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Also, Mike Young is only Secretary of Agriculture until the Senate confirms Sonny Perdue.

There is some discussion over whether an Acting Secretary is properly in the line of succession, so don't bet on the GOP rolling over and letting President Young happen in case of a happy disaster.
posted by Etrigan at 12:15 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


The GOP’s Favorite Health-Care Idea Is to Stick It to Mothers: Homer Simpson: I can’t fake an interest in this, and I’m an expert at faking an interest in your kooky projects.

Marge Simpson: What kooky projects?

Homer Simpson: You know, the painting class, the first-aid course, the whole Lamaze thing.

Now the entire Republican Party is Homer Simpson.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:16 PM on March 31 [14 favorites]


I've rarely watched Spicer live but wow. Head's up, SNL is back tomorrow w/Alec Baldwin.

Funny: Sean Spicer's Alternative ABC's.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:21 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Robert Ludlum surely. The Dunning-Kruger Effect

A spy who thinks that he is James Bond, but is more like James Comey
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:22 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Also, Mike Young is only Secretary of Agriculture until Trump actually nominates and then the Senate confirms Sonny Perdue.
posted by phearlez at 12:23 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Tom Price Intervened on Rule That Would Hurt Drug Profits, the Same Day He Acquired Drug Stock

This guy seems to have spent his entire time in Congress trading on proposed legislation and regulation.
posted by zachlipton at 12:26 PM on March 31 [34 favorites]


Robert Ludlum surely. The Dunning-Kruger Effect

The Bourne novels are already Dunning-Kruger effect novels in that they feature military-spy complex that creates a super spy and then think they are smart enough to handle enough him....and are not. Over and over again.
posted by srboisvert at 12:27 PM on March 31 [7 favorites]


> This is absolutely the worst Spicer briefing I've seen since the very first one when he yelled false information about crowd size (the one that went so bad he tried to pretend it wasn't a briefing).

> The non-stop dishonesty and irresponsibility is amazing. – Bill Kristol!

> This was the Spiciest Spicer yet.

Not to doubt y'all, but that's what you said yesterday, too. And the one a few days before that, where he came out all sweaty and sleepy at the same time, apparently. How can he keep this up? How is he going to discuss the government shutdown on Trump's 100th day in office?
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:27 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


How is he going to discuss the government shutdown on Trump's 100th day in office?

SCP-1981
posted by Etrigan at 12:28 PM on March 31 [24 favorites]


Or as a non-zero percentage of my facebook friends report almost weekly "BERNIE CAN STILL BE PRESIDENT THANKS TO THIS ONE AMAZING TRICK."

Some Stein people I've managed to not defriend yet were pushing "there could be a new election if Russia is proved!" this week and I nearly broke my face from head->desking so hard.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:32 PM on March 31 [14 favorites]


WaPo has a summary of Trump-Russia connections that I check when I hear another name I don't recognize. It includes a timeline, photos, and a mouseover gizmo that illustrates Trump team links to Russians.
posted by kingless at 12:34 PM on March 31 [14 favorites]


Some Stein people I've managed to not defriend yet were pushing "there could be a new election if Russia is proved!" this week

I have seen that one too. I suppose its good to be reminded that the right hasn't completely cornered the market on crazypants.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:36 PM on March 31 [6 favorites]




To the extent that I can care about somebody I genuinely loathe, I am honestly worried about Spicer. When Price was spinning the health care bill, it was like, that guy's the devil, he could say any evil shit in a soothing tone. But Spicer is like that asshole kid that the teacher has to deal with who starts wildly spinning excuses that make no sense for doing or not doing something important. As annoying as it is, I want to to them to stop lying for their own health. It looks fucking exhausting.
posted by angrycat at 12:48 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


That Carville thing is pretty great.
posted by phearlez at 12:49 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


"KNOCK KNOCK. WHO'S THERE? JAMES CARVILLE. GIMME FIVE BUCKS." is probably my next CoolGames Inc title submission.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:53 PM on March 31 [6 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that when 45 "considers resigning", he thinks it means they're going to give him another Muslim ban that he can sign again, hence, resign.
posted by LionIndex at 12:54 PM on March 31 [15 favorites]


To the extent that I can care about somebody I genuinely loathe, I am honestly worried about Spicer.

My wife has a colleague who is friends with him (no idea whether this means passing acquaintance because of some school time together or drinks every Sunday evening like clockwork) and after his first week as PressSec she commented to this person that she felt sorta bad for him. SpiceFriend said don't - he knew what he was getting into and went into this with eyes open because he wanted this job.

You can argue whether anyone going to work in that clownshow really knows what they're gonna be in for but as far as I'm concerned that was all the permission I needed to think of him as just another collaborator. If someone who knows and likes him can see that first week and the inauguration size shitshow and think eh, sounds like what he expected then who am I to worry about Spicey needing to live with the consequences of his choices?
posted by phearlez at 12:54 PM on March 31 [15 favorites]


I am against anthropomorphising these people.
posted by Artw at 12:58 PM on March 31 [108 favorites]




SpiceFriend said don't - he knew what he was getting into and went into this with eyes open because he wanted this job.

Moreover, nothing's stopping him for quitting. I seriously doubt he'd be endangering his family's livelihood -- I'm sure he could swing a generous book deal, and the fact that he is, yes, a willing collaborator to this horrible administration means he could certainly pick up work on the wingnut welfare circuit (which these clowns probably figure they earn. Feh).

Remember that these people, including Spicer, are working against the interest of people who literally can't afford to quit their jobs no matter how bad they get.
posted by Gelatin at 12:59 PM on March 31 [9 favorites]


Pet croutons, not Spicey.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:59 PM on March 31 [6 favorites]


I'm seriously considering starting a Twitter account that just posts lines from the increasingly bizarre fundraising emails the DCCC sends, yesterday I got one with the subject line just "all hope is lost"

Their copy writer has got two modes, obnoxiously shaming you or complete insanity
posted by jason_steakums at 1:00 PM on March 31 [14 favorites]


Bahahaha
after @MajorCBS asks about Flynn, Trump leaves signing ceremony without signing executive orders. Pence went and picked it up from desk
posted by phearlez at 1:00 PM on March 31 [90 favorites]


From what I've read, Spicy has an absolutely desperate need to be perceived by everyone as an important insider. And he finally did it, he is living his dream. Except his dream turned out to be a nightmare. He knew what he was doing and I feel no sympathy, but man what a life lesson. Be careful what you wish for, friends. You might wake up one morning and find you're the Mouth of Sauron and Melissa McCarthy is ramming people with a podium pretending to be you on late night TV.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:02 PM on March 31 [14 favorites]


after @MajorCBS asks about Flynn, Trump leaves signing ceremony without signing executive orders.

Trump has always presented as someone who has no idea what he's doing outside his extremely narrow skill set, so when things like the health care bill explode on him, one can imagine him being baffled and confused. But on the whole Russia scandal -- stemming from the day he refused to release his tax returns -- Trump has acted like he knows damn well he's guilty as sin.
posted by Gelatin at 1:03 PM on March 31 [35 favorites]


Also from that same twitter feed: "earlier, unprompted, Trump said of Pence: "I will tell you one thing, he has one hell of a good marriage going.""

I mean, Pence lives with his wife, so.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:05 PM on March 31 [28 favorites]


I've rarely watched Spicer live but wow. Head's up, SNL is back tomorrow w/Alec Baldwin.

Per the SNL site, the next new episode in the 8th, a week from tomorrow.
posted by chris24 at 1:06 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


after @MajorCBS asks about Flynn, Trump leaves signing ceremony without signing executive orders. Pence went and picked it up from desk

The symbolism. It hurts.
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:10 PM on March 31 [9 favorites]


How can he keep this up?

He could respond to every question with "I know you are but what am I?"

(I fully expect to see this before we're finished.)
posted by octobersurprise at 1:10 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


From what I've read, Spicy has an absolutely desperate need to be perceived by everyone as an important insider. And he finally did it, he is living his dream. Except his dream turned out to be a nightmare. He knew what he was doing and I feel no sympathy, but man what a life lesson. Be careful what you wish for, friends. You might wake up one morning and find you're the Mouth of Sauron and Melissa McCarthy is ramming people with a podium pretending to be you on late night TV.

One of these days he's going to snap and roll up to the podium in the bunny suit, refusing to answer questions that aren't directed at Mr. Bunny
posted by jason_steakums at 1:11 PM on March 31 [15 favorites]


I have zero sympathy for Spicer. He's willingly kept that job. He lies to the American people frequently. He defends executive orders and legislation that are morally reprehensible and quite literally are trying to destroy people's lives.

He didn't just go into it with his eyes open. He's kept doing the job knowing that he's actively harming American citizens and willfully lying to protect one of the most corrupt Presidents we've ever had, as part of one of the most scandal-ridden administrations this country has ever seen.

He's a collaborator. What a shame we don't live in a just world, where that will catch up to him one day.
posted by zarq at 1:11 PM on March 31 [21 favorites]


The above article "Tom Price Intervened on Rule That Would Hurt Drug Profits, the Same Day He Acquired Drug Stock" says:

"On March 17, 2016, Price’s broker purchased shares worth between $1,000 and $15,000 each in Eli Lilly, Amgen, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, McKesson, Pfizer and Biogen. The same day that Price blocked a rule that would hurt drug companies."

I decided to check before and after prices. I used this CNBC tool. For dates over one year ago, it allows me to prices at the beginning of the week, rather than daily resolution.

Eli Lilly
3/14/2016 close: 70.95 (about a twelve-month low).
3/28/2016 close: 73.42
4/18/2016 close: 77.83

Amgen
3/14/2016 close: 145.51 (about a six-month low).
3/28/2016 close: 154.16
4/18/2016 close: 163.19

Bristol-Meyers
3/14/2016 close: 62.83
3/28/2016 close: 66.07
4/18/2016 close: 70.68

McKesson
3/14/2016 close: 158.31
3/28/2016 close: 157.41
4/18/2016 close: 178.25

Pfizer
3/14/2016 close: 29.45
3/28/2016 close: 30.04
4/18/2016 close: 33.27

Biogen
3/14/2016 close: 230.99
3/28/2016 close: 239.98
4/18/2016 close: 260.40

His stockbroker bought six stocks each of which made a 9.7% or more jump in one month.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:12 PM on March 31 [45 favorites]


after @MajorCBS asks about Flynn, Trump leaves signing ceremony without signing executive orders. Pence went and picked it up from desk

I can't find it now, but this is definitely not the first time he's done this.

Per the SNL site, the next new episode in the 8th, a week from tomorrow.

Sorry, I stand corrected! A practice run never hurts, though.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:17 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Trump leaves signing ceremony without signing executive orders

This is at least the second time this has happened, albeit for difference reasons:
THE PRESIDENT: Even you might say -- (laughter) -- this is about four years faster than they thought would have happened. So it’s my honor. And, fellas, go back to work, all right? I think we’ll take them into the Oval Office, right? Let’s take them into the Oval Office. Let’s have a little tour, okay? They’ve probably been there many times before. (Laughter.) Come on. Come with me. Good.

Thank you, everybody. Thank you, very much.

AIDE: Sign the bill here.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh. (Laughter.) I could have gotten away with it.

PARTICIPANT: It’s the important part.
The first time seemed like evidence of dementia. This time it seems like evidence of guilt.
posted by jedicus at 1:20 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


He's forgotten to sign orders before and came back to do it. This time, it looks more like he just plain left, presumably because he was getting questions about Flynn, and Pence took the orders to another room to sign them there.
posted by zachlipton at 1:21 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


I cannot stop laughing at James Carville's opening line, James Carville has broken me

The internet does not have a decent clip of Carville's "Cajun style" cameo on 30 Rock, which is bullshit.

after @MajorCBS asks about Flynn, Trump leaves signing ceremony without signing executive orders. Pence went and picked it up from desk

Did you forget the [fake] tag on this? You forgot the [fake] tag on this, right? That's not what actually happened, right?

He's forgotten to sign orders before and came back to do it. This time, it looks more like he just plain left, presumably because he was getting questions about Flynn, and Pence took the orders to another room to sign them there.

Jesus Christ. Just... Jesus Christ.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:27 PM on March 31 [9 favorites]


You have to be kidding me: President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 2017 as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

I know just the tape we can play to raise awareness.
posted by zachlipton at 1:29 PM on March 31 [83 favorites]


See, that’s just sloppy editing. He actually proclaimed it “National Sexual Assault, Awareness, and Prevention Month.”
posted by nicepersonality at 1:30 PM on March 31 [7 favorites]


....is it April Fool's Day a few hours early?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:31 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


McCaskill confims she is No on Gorsuch, No on cloture (= yes, will filibuster).
posted by Chrysostom at 1:33 PM on March 31 [69 favorites]


I faxed Warner, if anyone cares this is what I said (minus my full name and address)
Senator Warner,

I want to implore you filibuster the Gorsuch nomination for the forseeable future. After a year of Senate Republicans holding the Democrats to a 60 vote requirement for the nomination of M Garland it would be madness to turn around and not demand the same of them. I realize that Senators have a strong commitment to the idea of norms; I suggest that McConnell has shifted the norms to this point and if you do not hold them to the same standard then we will have a forseeable future where all Democratic nominees require 60 votes but Republican nominees do not.

Further, several of your fellow Senators have reported that Gorsuch has failed to respond to their queries or meet with them. If the prospect of self-inflicted asymetric warfare is not enough to motivate you then this, at least, should be. If the Senate's role in confirmation is to mean anything then nominees should respond to all Senators, not just the minimum necessary to get by. You owe it to us, your contituents, as well as your fellow Senators and party members.

Lastly I think that the current degree of turmoil and uncertainty around the Trump administration calls for a delay in moving forwards this nomination. If the Court could - by Republican calculation - survive a full year with 8 members then what's the rush?

I could go on with numerous concerns I have with Gorsuch as a Justice but perhaps those go more towards the question of confirmation rather than the vote itself. Please slow this process down and refuse cloture.
And yes, the version I sent him included the part where I called myself a contituent. I feel like a total boob. I'd originally typed this in the fax box for the cover page and let it psych me out when it asked if I really wanted to send it without a cover page. So I copied most of it into a doc to make a PDF and didn't bother to check the spelling. Oops.

Do the rest of you who fax just use the cover page to send your whole message or are you adding a regular page to the cover page?
posted by phearlez at 1:39 PM on March 31 [19 favorites]


Whenever I see a graph of connected nodes like the WaPo graph of Trump/Russia connections, I have to play Planarity with it. (This graph can be made strictly planar, but I chose to allow some intersections to place similar nodes close to one another; hopefully it's still intelligible.)
posted by Jpfed at 1:39 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Good, that was just some stupid talk before.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:40 PM on March 31


In all fairness, I think the top level tweet oversells that video. Trump was already on he way out when the question was asked, it's not like he got asked that then took his ball and went home. And it's not entirely clear to me that this wasn't just his postulated dementia followed by "don't make me look like a jackass going back out there again" -- not great on its own, but different from the framing of "Oh shit he's asking about Flynn, get me out of here".
posted by jammer at 1:40 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 2017 as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

Flames, flames on the side of my face.
posted by amarynth at 1:40 PM on March 31 [8 favorites]


C'mon you guys, even someone with the world's greatest memory can make a mistake.
posted by ryanrs at 1:43 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


You have to be kidding me: President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 2017 as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

I know just the tape we can play to raise awareness.
posted by zachlipton at 15:29 on March 31 [+] [!]


I want someone to bring this up in Monday's Spicey.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:43 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 2017 as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

Personally, I'm surprised to see the word "and."
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:46 PM on March 31 [56 favorites]


A counterpoint to the present moment, from Jeet Heer at The New Republic: “Democrats Will Lose a War of Obstruction With Republicans”
posted by Going To Maine at 1:52 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Do the rest of you who fax just use the cover page to send your whole message?

I've used free online fax, written on the cover page rather than type/attach a doc. (But had the same "Is it OK?" panic.)
posted by NorthernLite at 1:52 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 2017 as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

You know what, I'm into this. New project for April: raising awareness of sexual assault allegations against Republicans in power. Starting, of course, with the Assaulter In Chief.

Shame there aren't more days in April, I'll only get through a fraction of the GOP.
posted by galaxy rise at 1:53 PM on March 31 [13 favorites]


Don Jr. is the featured speaker at the Indiana Republican Party Spring Dinner.

Being off running the business sure takes you to some odd places.
posted by zachlipton at 1:56 PM on March 31 [11 favorites]


I remember watching The Apprentice and thinking Don Jr was a lightweight and inadequate replacement for Carolyn, and that proved to be the high watermark for my opinion of him
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:00 PM on March 31 [13 favorites]


[Spicer] didn't just go into it with his eyes open. He's kept doing the job knowing that he's actively harming American citizens and willfully lying to protect one of the most corrupt Presidents we've ever had, as part of one of the most scandal-ridden administrations this country has ever seen.

Serious question: Where does he go from here? He's not just part of a corrupt administration. He's terrible at his job, and he demonstrates it on national television daily. At this point, Spicer's single biggest known trait is his complete lack of credibility. Who's gonna hire him now?

I have absolutely no sympathy for him and I'll be fine if he winds up destitute from all this. But if one wonders why he stays and presses on despite the misery he must be feeling, that has to be it. Where else does he have to go? His presumptive eventual tell-all book will only carry him so far, and even that will have basically no credibility because it will be written by Sean Spicer.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:09 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Aha, here's the video of Trump forgetting to sign the orders.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:10 PM on March 31 [9 favorites]


Well that's embarrassing. He lumbers out and barely acknowledges Pence trying to catch his attention.

What was the air horn at the end?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:18 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Serious question: Where does he go from here? He's not just part of a corrupt administration. He's terrible at his job, and he demonstrates it on national television daily. At this point, Spicer’s single biggest known trait is his complete lack of credibility. Who’s gonna hire him now?

If Donald Trump can win the Presidency, Sean Spicer can find a job.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:18 PM on March 31 [9 favorites]


TWinbrook8: "What was the air horn at the end?"

That's a Vic Berger (the twitterer who posted the video) thing. He makes weird edits to videos and the air horn thing is kind of an absurdist punctuation that he throws in there. It's not super effective in this instance, especially if you're not already familiar with his particular style.
posted by mhum at 2:23 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


I feel like that New Republic article fails by deliberately sidestepping two things.
The problem for Democrats is how to make Washington governable again, if and when they return to power. The supermajority threshold is—or was—key to fostering comity in the Senate. “The purpose of the rule is to promote bipartisanship and consensus, which, in turn, creates legitimacy and buy-in for policy and governance,” the Post’s Paul Kane wrote on Wednesday. “If the filibuster goes away, so does yet another layer of collegiality in Congress—and another way to shore up Washington’s credibility.”
One, the supermajority rule isn't working anymore. Clap harder isn't going to fix it. So barring pixie magic, what good does it do? As the article says, there's an imbalance here already with the Republicans being the party that wants to stop things from getting done. A mechanism for them to grind things to a halt when they are not in the majority is always going to be more useful to them. Preserving the mechanism for them to do that without alteration doesn't do anything to fix the problem.

Two, I don't see what difference it makes that this is a supposed "Scalia for Scalia" but maybe next time it's a, I dunno, demon from hell who eats babies replacing RBG. If the Republicans are willing to shitcan the filibuster then there's two ways this goes down:

Dems don't filibuster this time, Gorsuch confirmed.
Dems filibuster next time, Republicans eliminate the filibuster, Asmodeus confirmed

or

Dems filibuster this time, Republicans eliminate the filibuster, Gorsuch confirmed
Asmodeus confirmed.

What exactly is the difference? Dem Senators get to keep cuddling their little Filibuster dolls at night between now and Asmodeus? So what? It feels very accelerationist to advocate for this but I'm legit unclear on what is different in the time between.

The only thing I can think of is that maybe you hope that there's a willingness to dump the filibuster now, a year and a half out from another election, than there would be at some future time. But that's based on speculation that the next SC vacancy is between now and Jan 2019. But maybe the next vacancy is Sep 2018 and they're even more motivated to seat a justice so they dump the filibuster and ram it through in a week. Maybe they keep the Senate and the vacancy opens Jan 7th 2019 so there's the same long lead to embolden them.
posted by phearlez at 2:25 PM on March 31 [29 favorites]


If Donald Trump can win the Presidency, Sean Spicer can find a job.

So what you're saying is, Putin will hire him?
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:30 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


or maybe the Republicans are all hat and no cattle when it comes to getting rid of the filibuster - they certainly talked big about health care reform until they actually had to do it
posted by kokaku at 2:32 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


The line that I've seen not-crazy, knowledgeable people make is that McConnell would have a substantially tougher time getting his majority to nuke the filibuster over replacing $LIBERAL than he would for confirming Gorsuch. But if they nuke the filibuster now, they don't need to get any votes to do it because it's been did.

Dunno that I agree but it's not bonkers.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:32 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


From what I've read, Spicy has an absolutely desperate need to be perceived by everyone as an important insider. And he finally did it, he is living his dream. Except his dream turned out to be a nightmare.

Are you saying that this whole goddamn treasonous mess of an administration is happening because Sean Spicer once wished on a monkey's paw?
posted by Servo5678 at 2:32 PM on March 31 [6 favorites]


or maybe the Republicans are all hat and no cattle when it comes to getting rid of the filibuster - they certainly talked big about health care reform until they actually had to do it

dare them to do it
posted by kokaku at 2:33 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I do love the NYT headline about Flynn: "Flynn offers to testify, but wants immunity first." Heh. How about we don't give you immunity and just subpoena your ass?

I do love how fast this administration went from 'America First!' to 'Immunity First!'
posted by eclectist at 2:36 PM on March 31 [6 favorites]


Appropriators tiptoe around Trump traps

There seems to be bipartisan agreement on just pretending Trump and his 2017 spending plans just don't exist to avoid a government shutdown.
posted by zachlipton at 2:38 PM on March 31 [11 favorites]


From what I’ve read, Spicy has an absolutely desperate need to be perceived by everyone as an important insider. And he finally did it, he is living his dream. Except his dream turned out to be a nightmare.

Are you saying that this whole goddamn treasonous mess of an administration is happening because Sean Spicer once wished on a monkey’s paw?

I think we can all agree that the monkey’s paw wish that made this Presidency was when GWB wished to not be the worst president of the 21st century.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:39 PM on March 31 [33 favorites]


Appropriators tiptoe around Trump traps
I don't care how nicely you ask, I'm not covering this
posted by pxe2000 at 2:53 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Serious question: Where does he go from here? He's not just part of a corrupt administration. He's terrible at his job, and he demonstrates it on national television daily. At this point, Spicer's single biggest known trait is his complete lack of credibility. Who's gonna hire him now?

FOX News. I'm not kidding, he's got a lifetime appointment on wingnut welfare any time he wants it, just like Bill Kristol, Jeffery Lord, Rick Santorum, etc. It's literally not possible to be too discredited and untrustworthy for rightwing propaganda.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:56 PM on March 31 [23 favorites]


I mean, Oliver North was hired by Fox and their viewers lapped it up like cream.
posted by darkstar at 3:12 PM on March 31 [7 favorites]


The Nimble Navigator News Hour, hosted by "Spicy" Sean Spicer, with regular call-ins by Former President Donald Trump from the Federal prison where he remains incarcerated

a boy can dream
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:15 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


They love to threaten to CALL A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION! A CONVENTION I TELL YOU! To do...something. They have no idea what. A balanced budget amendment is the most cited thing, but that would basically kill the federal government.

I mean, that's the whole point for some of them. It's in keeping with the fact that the Trump team is simply letting federal agencies spin out their clocks without any new appointments or hires. Bannon explicitly said it: he wants to 'deconstruct the administrative state.'
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 3:15 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Sean "Flop Sweat" Spicer. A.k.a. Spicey, a.k.a. Floppy.

ah Floppy Spice, the ill-fated 6th member of the Spice Girls
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 3:17 PM on March 31 [15 favorites]


To further my thought from earlier (re: poor direct questioning and poor Spicer-spin rebuttal), Spicer brought up Farkas numerous times.

How difficult would it be to say: "you claim that Farkas has gone on record substantiating the administration's claims that Obama illegally conducted surveillance of Trump & that this was politically motivated. However, it is clear from Farkas' own statements that her concerns were that this intelligence might be erased once the current administration took power. Given the administration's aggressive purging of climate change research data and other such actions, wouldn't Farkas' concerns be justified? How is it "political" to fear the destruction of intelligence that might expose such dangerous evidence as a foreign entity interfering with an American election?"

This is Farkas' quote:

“I was urging my former colleagues, and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill – it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people – get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration, because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior people who left.”

Why can't a reporter read that quote, directly point at the administration's on-the-record behavior of purging data & research it doesn't like, and then ask how being concerned about such behavior is partisan and/or how that possibly supports the administration's claim that Obama conducted illegal surveillance on Trump?

I simply don't understand lame-duck fishing attempts like: "Can you comment on the fact that someone in the white house must have been in communication with Nunes?" It's like they're hoping that they can gently tug at the frayed end of a sweater & then Spicer will spend the next hour yanking at it himself. That's a nice fantasy, but it seems clear to me that short of some fantastic reporting jujutsu, Spicer is quite capable of batting away a pesky thread tug.

So if that's the case, why aren't we just going for the throat? There is *so* much available fodder based *purely* on what Spicer says that it's not necessary to ask speculative questions & hope for some bombshell revelation. Just call him on the lies & story changes & constantly throw his own words & the context of his mis-quotes, etc. back at him in every question. Put pressure on him, not by asking "tough" questions that he can just "no comment" away, but instead by scrutinizing what he *will* comment on.

"With all due respect, Mr. Spicer, if Trump's communication was swept up while listening in on known Russian operatives attempting to interfere with the election because they were the other party on the line, the Trump team isn't an innocent bystander."

If you must go fishing, do it as question one of two. Let Spicer swat it down & then follow up like a journalist that's paying attention to what the press secretary himself is saying in addition to what other news outlets published the day before.
posted by narwhal at 3:17 PM on March 31 [9 favorites]


He lumbers out and barely acknowledges Pence trying to catch his attention.

Why is he leaving? Isn't that his office?
posted by kirkaracha at 3:22 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]




ah Floppy Spice, the ill-fated 6th member of the Spice Girls

If you wanna be in government you gotta be our friends. Millions in donations then your influence never ends.
posted by Talez at 3:37 PM on March 31 [10 favorites]



He lumbers out and barely acknowledges Pence trying to catch his attention.

Why is he leaving? Isn't that his office?


Headed to the golf course? He's late to his three-day weekend.
posted by Surely This at 3:42 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


C'mon you guys, even someone with the world's greatest memory can make a mistake.

Has this video been posted? It's the president on a riff about being on live tv and never making a mistake, then he turns it over to the man next to him, "Go ahead, Ken" Trump says. That man introduces himself as Chuck Canterbury.
posted by peeedro at 3:42 PM on March 31 [9 favorites]


Adam Schiff has seen the information Nunes got so excited about, and he doesn't get it (link to tweet by HuffPo journalist, so):
Nothing I could see today warranted a departure from the normal review procedures, and these materials should now be provided to the full membership of both committees. The White House has yet to explain why senior White House staff apparently shared these materials with but one member of either committee, only for their contents to be briefed back to the White House.
posted by Superplin at 3:44 PM on March 31 [15 favorites]


Why is he leaving? Isn't that his office?

It is full of reporters and cameras. I guess he could have kicked them out but the optics would have been terrible. He is also a guilty coward.
posted by futz at 3:48 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Why is he leaving? Isn't that his office?

The Oval Office is not an actual working office. There is a separate, working office (called the "Private Study") for the President just off the Oval.

Here's a photo of Obama in the Private Study. There's also the President's Dining Room, where meetings are held and actual work gets done. Basically, the Oval Office is primarily a ceremonial room, which is why they have signing ceremonies and that sort of thing there. Otherwise, at the end of the press conference, the President would, what? Sit down at the desk and look awkward while the press shuffles out and people come in to take the podium away?
posted by The World Famous at 3:51 PM on March 31 [15 favorites]


Aha, here's the video of Trump forgetting to sign the orders.

Now as a VEEP ending.
posted by bluecore at 3:54 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


"Go ahead, Ken" -- not really the error it seems
posted by neroli at 3:54 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


1. I'm not worried about Spicey's career future (aside from being disappointed that he has a career future). These fuckers always get hired for stupid money. If it's not Fox, it'll be some lobby or conservative "think tank" [eyeroll] or speaking tours or god knows what.

2. About the NSC guys giving Nunes non-info for his grade-school pageant, I'm actually kind of surprised that McMaster is (so far) standing for this shit on his staff. Yes, I realize he's not his own boss, but isn't he supposed to be like a John Glenn-type patriotic blah blah Mr. Clean straight arrow? I really can't believe he hasn't fired these insubordinate assholes yet or stomped out in high dudgeon if Trump vetoed firings. Is this corrupt incompetent shitshow really something McMaster is prepared to attach to his reputation?
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:58 PM on March 31


Ruth Graham tries to argue that the Billy Graham rule isn't weird, discriminatory, or offensive

Lists of government staffers are widely available, and in 2012, for example, Pence’s roster of 19 Congressional employees included nine women, including his press secretary and staff director, the latter of whom he made his deputy chief of staff when he moved to Washington this year.

It hasn't stopped Pence from hiring women, and at least one of those women has advanced her career, and that's a really fair point. The other people in the article said they still have private meetings with women, as long as they're visible through a window; they can have lunch meetings; they can have dinner as long as there's a third person; they can make exceptions for necessity, etc. It's literally discriminatory but ...

When I was a young woman I hated being alone with men, especially male authority figures. I would have been profoundly relieved to have this rule in place. There was this subtext to it that made my skin crawl, and when they closed the door to their office my nerves went into overdrive. Of course, there shouldn't be a creepy context like that, and the right solution is to change the power dynamics of gender. But leaving the door open - or inviting a third person to the meal - is one way to eliminate the potential subtext and establish a boundary.

I think a lot of the creepiness of the rule comes from how generally creepy Mike Pence is. And that whole brand of patriarchal Christianity.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 3:58 PM on March 31 [28 favorites]


"Nothing I could see today warranted a departure from the normal review procedures, and these materials should now be provided to the full membership of both committees. The White House has yet to explain why senior White House staff apparently shared these materials with but one member of either committee, only for their contents to be briefed back to the White House."

I like how Schiff is playing it low key here, saving the full force of his disbelief for his opening statement at Trump's trial.
posted by BentFranklin at 4:00 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


But leaving the door open - or inviting a third person to the meal - is one way to eliminate the potential subtext and establish a boundary.

Yes, and Pence should be doing that same thing with every coworker regardless of gender identity/presentation -- instead of behaving one way with women colleagues and a different way with everybody else.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:02 PM on March 31 [19 favorites]


"Go ahead, Ken" -- not really the error it seems

Um, it says his full name is Kenneth Charles Canterbury, and he goes by "Chuck." He doesn't go by "Ken," and his name is not "Ken."

Calling him "Ken" is a mistake. Calling him "Kenneth" would have been technically correct, but overly formal.

It's not as funny a mistake as, say, Reagan telling Tip O'Neill that he had played President Grover Cleveland in a movie, when he had actually played Grover Cleveland Alexander, the baseball player. But still, it's a pretty funny mistake.
posted by The World Famous at 4:03 PM on March 31 [8 favorites]


I'll be a Chuck truther until I see his birth certificate.
posted by peeedro at 4:04 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


The ACLU's Facebook telethon is happening now.
posted by zachlipton at 4:05 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


we can have a long derail about the merits of whether or not "Ken" was *really* wrong, or we can pretty much take it as it is.

Ken is not what Chuck goes by. it's rude and dismissive of Tiny Hands Donnie to call someone by a name they don't want to use in that context.

This sort of carelessness and disinterest in his own staff by Obviously Compensating Donnie Dickhead is yet another symptom of how little this current regime gives a shit about anything.
posted by anem0ne at 4:07 PM on March 31


They are within one or two (last I checked) of controlling enough state legislatures to call a fucking Constitutional Convention.

I feel just for managing-anxiety purposes that it is important to note that this is not even kind of a popular thing on the Republican side. There are always a few people who talk obsessively about it, and advocate really hard and get the state legislature to be like "sure kid, whatever", but nobody actually wants a Constitutional Convention who has any power whatsoever, because yeah, any and all amendments would be on the table, and it would turn out Democratic votes like /nobody's fucking business/.

of course, given my track record, look forward to the next thirty new amendments. But I'm thinking Trump lightning was a freak chance, not a regular occurrence.
posted by corb at 4:17 PM on March 31 [13 favorites]


A few things that flew under the radar today:

Update: Judge Approves $25-Million Agreement To Settle Trump University Lawsuit
President Trump’s agreement to pay $25 million to settle three lawsuits filed against him over Trump University real estate seminars ends nearly seven years of legal drama.

Black Democrats Are Starting Their Own Groups To Work Outside Of The DNC
The goal, operatives say, is to replicate the success of groups like Planned Parenthood Action and EMILY's List. "They say, ‘Hey, we hear you, we're going to change.’ Then they do worse. I think this moment is us finally saying, ‘This is not working for us.’”

California first state to require LGBT history curriculum at public schools

Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin All But Apologizes For Plugging 'The Lego Batman Movie'
Speaking at an event hosted last week by news start-up Axios, Mnuchin stated, “I’m not allowed to promote anything that I’m involved in. So I just want to have the legal disclosure, you’ve asked me the question, and I am not promoting any product. But you should send all your kids to Lego Batman,” notes The Hollywood Reporter.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:37 PM on March 31 [36 favorites]


Ashley Feinberg and Anna Merlan at Fusion: “The Conspiracy Theories of Trumpland: A Compleat and Comprehensive Bestiary”
To help you navigate the vast assortment of conspiracy theories to which Trump’s staffers subscribe, we’ve compiled a bestiary of crackpot beliefs, pseudo-scientific ideas, and anything otherwise insane that’s come out of the mouths of his cronies and hangers-on who have boldly stood up for what they believe in. And what they believe in is truly something to behold.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:42 PM on March 31 [9 favorites]


It's financial dislosure time: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Still Benefiting From Business Empire, Filings Show
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, President Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, will remain the beneficiaries of a sprawling real estate and investment business still worth as much as $741 million, despite their new government responsibilities, according to ethics filings released by the White House Friday night.

Ms. Trump will also maintain a stake in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. The hotel, just down the street from the White House, has drawn protests from ethics experts who worry that foreign governments or special interests could stay there in order to curry favor with the administration.
posted by zachlipton at 4:57 PM on March 31 [15 favorites]


For some levity: Schrodinger's Cat and World History: The Many Worlds Interpretation of Alternative Facts. (the paper is real, although one should note that arxiv does not have an April 1 publication date this year, and this came out as close as possible)
posted by nat at 5:09 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Trump in the Middle East: The New Brutality
But the new US military deployments are taking place without any sign of US diplomatic initiatives or discussion of the future of peace talks in conflict zones, or a more rounded strategy and narrative to woo Muslims hearts and minds in order to defeat the Islamic State. The only discussion appears to revolve around how to escalate military action—something that is deeply disheartening to allies around the world.
...
The most disturbing discussion to date revolves around the US military being allowed to create free-fire zones in which US forces could target and bomb potential enemies without regard to civilian casualties or damage to economic infrastructure—a stark repudiation of counter-terrorism rules set down by the Obama and Bush administrations. The New York Times has reported that three provinces in Yemen have been declared “an area of active hostilities”—in other words a free-fire zone—and that parts of Somalia will soon be added the list. Western diplomats in Brussels say areas of Afghanistan where the Taliban are strongest may also be added. Such a policy, encouraging indiscriminate strikes, will undoubtedly produce thousands more Muslim radicals, undermine humanitarian relief and destroy hopes of economic reconstruction.
President Trump's Middle East Policy Consists of Bombing People. Why are we aimlessly blowing stuff up?
Opening free-fire zones in an area of the world in which we already have built up substantial reservoirs of hate and distrust isn't like throwing gasoline on a fire. It's like throwing the fire into a powder magazine. If there is a policy here beyond Blowing Shit Up and Killing Those People and America, Fck Yeah!, I'm unable to see it. We are creating refugees, and terrorists, and corpses by the carload, for no more reason than we can. Of all the things to which we have had to grow accustomed since last November, this is clearly the most insane.
posted by homunculus at 5:13 PM on March 31 [44 favorites]


Why are we aimlessly blowing stuff up?

So many words to say "because R leaders want to see if sand can glow in the dark".
posted by Talez at 5:17 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


The Oval Office is not an actual working office.

Aaron Sorkin lied to me!
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 5:18 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Trump promised to "bomb the shit out of them". His supporters ate it up with a spoon.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:26 PM on March 31 [6 favorites]


I saw someone on twitter point out that if Keith Ellison (who is Muslim) were refusing to meet or dine with women alone, and used his religion as the reason, the Republicans and media would go apeshit. They were not wrong. The fact that some people think Islam as widely practiced is more misogynist than Christianity defies logic.
posted by supercrayon at 5:29 PM on March 31 [144 favorites]


Aaron Sorkin lied to me!

Also, they do have normal, bright lighting in the real west wing, unlike on the show. And when Trump administration officials sleep with a prostitute, it's not by accident.
posted by The World Famous at 5:30 PM on March 31 [7 favorites]


So, I have been told:

Trump & his orbit are all Russian puppets.
The Bernie Sanders fandom are unwitting Russian agents.
Jill Stein is also working for Moscow.

PLEASE TELL ME THEY DIDN'T GET TO GARY JOHNSON.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 5:35 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


On the bright side, Sorkin discovered that sexism exists last week, which is more than I can say for anyone at the White House.
posted by zachlipton at 5:36 PM on March 31 [9 favorites]


Also, they do have normal, bright lighting in the real west wing, unlike on the show.

Welllll:
President Trump loves to set the day’s narrative at dawn, but the deeper story of his White House is best told at night. Aides confer in the dark because they cannot figure out how to operate the light switches in the cabinet room. Visitors conclude their meetings and then wander around, testing doorknobs until finding one that leads to an exit. In a darkened, mostly empty West Wing, Mr. Trump’s provocative chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, finishes another 16-hour day planning new lines of attack.
But that was last month, so maybe they've back to normal lighting levels by now.
posted by cjelli at 5:39 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


PLEASE TELL ME THEY DIDN'T GET TO GARY JOHNSON.

They tried, but he was like 'The Russians aren't here, man!'
posted by box at 5:39 PM on March 31 [20 favorites]




If there is a policy here beyond Blowing Shit Up and Killing Those People and America, Fck Yeah!, I'm unable to see it. We are creating refugees, and terrorists, and corpses by the carload...

That is the policy, surely? More refugees that stress the EU's refugee policy to breaking point, more terrorists that encourage xenophobic right-wing anti-democratic parties... the corpses, admittedly, are just a bonus.

In this, as in so many ways, the US is delighted to help Putin's Russia in its attempts to break up the major engines of Western hegemony.
posted by Devonian at 5:45 PM on March 31 [13 favorites]


I guess there's a lot of money to be made in war.
posted by Talez at 5:48 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Serious question: Where does he go from here? He's not just part of a corrupt administration. He's terrible at his job, and he demonstrates it on national television daily. At this point, Spicer’s single biggest known trait is his complete lack of credibility. Who’s gonna hire him now?

My money's on CNN.
posted by Lyme Drop at 5:51 PM on March 31 [27 favorites]


More refugees that stress the EU's refugee policy to breaking point, more terrorists that encourage xenophobic right-wing anti-democratic parties... the corpses, admittedly, are just a bonus.

In this, as in so many ways, the US is delighted to help Putin's Russia in its attempts to break up the major engines of Western hegemony.


And paint an ever bigger target for another strike inside the US, which is exactly what President Bannon wants to declare full on martial law. There's a policy alright, but it's a policy of gratuitous brutality to undermine the current world order.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:52 PM on March 31 [7 favorites]


The unrelenting pace of this has me overwhelmed. I feel like I've got towels wrapped around my head. I can't process everything. It's only been two months.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:54 PM on March 31 [14 favorites]


> This featured CNN pull video from Watts at yesterday's Senate hearings is pretty amazing:
autoplay video
Witness' blistering words about Trump


More on Clint Watts's testimony, via Charles Pierce: The Russian Answers Are Coming. No matter what, we need to keep pushing.
Watts then went even beyond that when asked by James Lankford, Republican of Oklahoma, why Vladimir Putin's efforts in this area seem to have been more effective than they have been in previous years. Watts replied:
"I think this answer is very simple and is what no one is really saying in this room. The reason active measures have worked in this US election is because the commander-in-chief has used Russian active measures at times against his opponents."
In case anyone missed his point—which was the gobsmacker of a charge that the current president* was elected in part because of Russian ratfcking, and because of his own inherent gifts as a gaslighting ratfcker—Watts explained further, according to The Independent:
Mr Watts, an advisor at the Foreign Policy Research Institute Programme, cited several examples of when Mr Trump had referenced false new stories about terror attacks that had in fact never taken place. "He has made claims about voter fraud, that President Obama is not a citizen, that Congressman [Ted] Cruz is not a citizen," he added. "So part of the reason these active measures work, and it does today in terms of Trump Tower being wiretapped, is because they [the Trump team] parrot the same lines."
posted by homunculus at 5:59 PM on March 31 [32 favorites]




From that BuzzFeed (lol) article Black Democrats Are Starting Their Own Groups To Work Outside Of The DNC:
“There's always been this longing for more support,” said Quentin James, a Democratic strategist behind one such group gaining traction, Collective PAC. “[The Democratic committees’] objective is not to elect black people to office. It’s to elect Democrats. We have to build independent power outside of any party that prioritizes our values and issues as a community, and to do that I think you have to consider that the DNC is not the sole vehicle to create that pathway and progress.”
posted by indubitable at 6:09 PM on March 31 [10 favorites]


Does Trump realize how weak it makes him look to continually insist that Obama and/or "the Democrats" are controlling everything that happens? Does he really believe that the media should be covering Clinton (who lost the election) and Obama (who was president last year) instead of the current presidential administration?

Okay, those were rhetorical questions, but I think the serious answer is that he does not realize any of this, but is just falling back onto what worked for him in the past: complaining about the people (formerly) in power, while assuming no responsibility himself.
posted by mbrubeck at 6:22 PM on March 31 [14 favorites]


My money's on CNN. Speaking of which...

Does anyone know what happened to Van Jones? It occurred to me a few days ago that he has been MIA. My mom has CNN on all day and she said she hadn't seen him either. He cold be on in the mornings and that's why I haven't seen him. He took a bunch of shit after going orgasmic about trumps address to congress, lost credibility, tried to explain himself and then faded away.Or am I crazy and he's still on CNN every day?

If this is a derail please delete.
posted by futz at 6:23 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


He's probably on a vision quest to find his lost dignity.
posted by Justinian at 6:32 PM on March 31 [15 favorites]


Instagram tells me he's currently cheerfully riding a tractor.
posted by lydhre at 6:39 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


"Lost" implies he ever had it in the first place.
posted by flatluigi at 6:43 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]




WikiLeaks’ latest release of CIA cyber tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations

“This appears to be one of the most technically damaging leaks ever done by WikiLeaks, as it seems designed to directly disrupt ongoing CIA operations and attribute previous operations,” said Nicholas Weaver, a computer security researcher at the University of California at Berkeley.

The material includes the secret source code of an “obfuscation” technique used by the CIA so its malware can evade detection by antivirus systems. The technique is used by all professional hackers, whether they work for the National Security Agency, Moscow’s FSB or the Chinese military. But because the code contains a specific algorithm, a digital fingerprint of sorts, it can now be used to identify CIA hacking operations that had previously been detected but not attributed.

posted by futz at 6:52 PM on March 31 [9 favorites]


A thought - Russia won't need to hack voter rolls any more to hyper-target key demographics on behalf of Republicans, it'll be able to identify them from the web history data that the ISPs are now free to sell to whomsoever they please.

Actually, on second thoughts, that cuts out the Russians altogether - they're not needed. An intimate data collection, targeting and delivery system tuned to every US citizen that uses the Internet is now in the hands of the ISPs and their best friends.

Eesh.
posted by Devonian at 7:06 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


every so often I think about how much a million dollars is and I scream.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 7:06 PM on March 31 [17 favorites]


BTW where did "hacked voter rolls" come from? I don't know of any voter roll data that isn't public.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 7:08 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Is there pressure being applied to Feinstein and the other wavering democratic senators? I have not seen the latest whip count.
posted by jadepearl at 7:08 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Stephen Bannon earned nearly $1 million last year

Was it $970,000?
posted by maxwelton at 7:20 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know what happened to Van Jones?

He was speaking in Minneapolis at a diversity and inclusion conference earlier this week.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 7:29 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Is there pressure being applied to Feinstein and the other wavering democratic senators?

Well, I called Mark Warner today and told him to filibuster. Well, I told the same staffer I talked to last week.

Based on today's public statements, we should be up to 35 votes to filibuster, including a sort of surprising commitment from McCaskill , so that's fantastic. Noting from Feinstein as far as I've seen. If she betrays us on this, I hope everyone in California runs against her in the primary. Actually that should happen anyway, but this would be beyond the pale even for her.

Key votes that could get to 40+:

Mark Warner
Dianne Feinstien
Chris Coons
Pat Leahy - this one especially, WTF, Pat? You're from Vermont.
Bob Menendez
Michael Bennet
Ben Cardin

Then there's a couple long shots still uncommitted, Tester, and Joe Donnelly, niether of whom I would expect to join, since they're both in Trump +a million states.

So if any of those are your Senator, apply pressure. There's no "is there" out there being directed by anyone, we're the pressure. Here, your local Indivisible group, people who listen to Pod Save America, you and 6 friends, we make the pressure now. We don't have a Koch brothers organized and bankrolled billion dollar propaganda and legalized bribery machine, we have people who are pissed off and engaged, and taking time out of their own lives to save the country.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:39 PM on March 31 [17 favorites]


The hacked voter rolls was from the Clinton Watts testimony to the Sen. Intelligence Committee on Thursday. I don't know if the testimony is accurate, or whether the tweet I'm linking ditto, but it's not a new accusation and I'm giving it headroom.

Meanwhile, for those playing along at home, here are the financial disclosure documents. The WH isn't putting them online, so ProPublica, the NYT and AP are.
posted by Devonian at 7:44 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


People like Feinstein and Leahy and Menendez (if he doesnt come around) are where liberal anger should really stay focused, not North Dakota and Montana and West Virginia.
posted by Justinian at 7:48 PM on March 31 [30 favorites]


(Missed the edit window - I don't know what voter registration stuff is and isn't public, nor whether it's possible to officially get bulk data on registration. I do know that there have been persistent allegations of attacks on voter registration systems, but have no way of distilling those. My point stands - intimate information about voters is now available to anyone without regulation, and - presumably - intimate ways of passing information to them.)
posted by Devonian at 7:53 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Where is Kelly Anne Conway?!!
posted by ramix at 7:56 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Shhhhhhhhh!!!! She'll hear you!
posted by odinsdream at 7:57 PM on March 31 [30 favorites]


"I think a lot of the creepiness of the rule comes from how generally creepy Mike Pence is. And that whole brand of patriarchal Christianity."

Yeah, my concern is that I don't know if a man who's so scared of his own penis he can't be alone with a woman should be anywhere near the nuclear codes.

I mean, it might startle him, and he might accidentally push a button.

---

serious note, the more Conway and Mnuchin and Ivanka and Price engage in this ridiculous, ridiculous self-dealing, the more pressure there's going to be, when the Trump presidency inevitably ends in impeachment and scandal, to pass bipartisan measures that force draconian disclosures or require rich dudes to put things in clearly defined blind trusts. The looting of the government could (could!) result in divestment and disclosure requirements so draconian that greedy rich dudes will stay out of politics for a while.

I'm also curious as we start to see more about the flows of money ... if there's a lot of evidence of Russian money flowing into the election via the Citizens United dark money channels, I think we'll see some pretty tough pressure to overturn that ruling. Time will tell as more info comes out.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:57 PM on March 31 [27 favorites]


Where is Kelly Anne Conway?!!

Hopefully getting a truthiness reduction and a morals/ethics lift.
posted by futz at 7:59 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


BTW where did "hacked voter rolls" come from? I don't know of any voter roll data that isn't public.

Not a counter to your basic point, which I concur with, but allow me to introduce you to some that are not public: Virginia's.

It's nonsense and I hope someone sues and wins over it at some point, but Virginia differs from what I believe is the vast majority of states in keeping this stuff under lock and key unless you meet a certain criteria and do a little dance or something.
§ 24.2-405. Lists of registered voters.

A. The Department of Elections shall provide, at a reasonable price, lists of registered voters for their districts to (i) courts of the Commonwealth and the United States for jury selection purposes, (ii) candidates for election or political party nomination to further their candidacy, (iii) political party committees or officials thereof for political purposes only, (iv) political action committees that have filed a current statement of organization with the Department of Elections pursuant to § 24.2-949.2, or with the Federal Elections Commission pursuant to federal law, for political purposes only, (v) incumbent officeholders to report to their constituents, (vi) nonprofit organizations that promote voter participation and registration for that purpose only, and (vii) commissioners of the revenue, as defined in § 58.1-3100, and treasurers, as defined in § 58.1-3123, for tax assessment, collection, and enforcement purposes. The lists shall be furnished to no one else and used for no other purpose.
posted by phearlez at 8:04 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Where is Kelly Anne Conway?!!

Getting an award.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:07 PM on March 31


Where is Kelly Anne Conway?!!

At the Mercer compound for debriefing and updating her orders.
posted by JackFlash at 8:20 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Nah. Kelly Anne got her award on the 20th - the spate of stories about the 'controversy' surfaced in the last couple of days. They're all curiously imprecise about when she was recognised - 'recently', or 'in the last few days', but that link mentions a date for the AAPC awards so one must assume that this is when she copped the gong.

I have no idea how the owners got their stories into the Internet, or why.
posted by Devonian at 8:40 PM on March 31


Meanwhile, for those playing along at home, here are the financial disclosure documents. The WH isn't putting them online,

I could swear Spicer made a point of saying they'd be online, for the first time in history, etc.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:52 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


These financial disclosures promise to be fun reading, like that copy of People in your doctor's office. And I think that's got to be the reason we're seeing them. Why would Team Trump release them when they have stonewalled everything else? Speaking as a former reporter: To dangle something new and shiny in front of reporters' eyes and distract them from the story that matters, Russia.

Don't fall for it, journalists.
posted by martin q blank at 9:04 PM on March 31 [10 favorites]








Why would Team Trump release them when they have stonewalled everything else?

Because (1) they're obligated to collect and release this information in some form (I think) within a fairly narrow window of appointments being made, and (2) releasing them late on a Friday night is a good way to bury them. And I do think that they wanted to bury the specifics of this, while touting it in broad strokes -- 'transparency' sounds great, 'here's how rich all of Trump's advisers are and here are all the crazy details' sounds bad. They've been pumping the idea that they would be releasing this information, while downplaying the mandatory nature of the disclosures, and trying to spin this as voluntary.

My understanding is that the disclosure is mandatory but the online piece is new. This same set of forms and records was available from prior administrations, just not directly online -- you had to file a request, in paper, until fairly recently, and would (eventually) get back the disclosure information.

Putting them online let the White House control the timing of the release, and making the online disclosure portal sort of terrible (or at least significantly less user-friendly that how the NYT, the Washington Post, and others have their mirrors set up) let them claim to be making things more open and accessible while not really moving that ball forward much -- and given the continued pressure to release Trump's tax returns, I can see why they would want to take some steps to burnish their image on the transparency front.
posted by cjelli at 9:32 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


On Takei -

It's April 1st. Are we sure about this?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:35 PM on March 31 [30 favorites]


given the continued pressure to release Trump's tax returns, I can see why they would want to take some steps to burnish their image on the transparency front.

It's not working

Today's Press Briefing, when I almost admired Spicy's ability to pivot away to a talking point. AFTER he started and stopped a knee-jerk 'asked and answered', before realizing the 2016 return question wasn't, and going to word-salad.
Matt.

Q Thanks, Sean. Given that it’s financial disclosure day, why will the White House not be releasing --

MR. SPICER: -- proclamation on that. (Laughter.)

Q Why won’t the White House not be releasing the President’s 2016 tax returns, given, conceivably, those can’t be under audit yet while the audit has obviously been the reason for why you haven’t released those past returns?

MR. SPICER: I mean, look, asked and -- I mean, the President has been very clear about his tax returns and his position on that. The Office of Government Ethics requires every federal employee at a certain level to file these financial disclosure forms, that anyone in America can go on to -- it will be the first time, I believe -- and I don’t want to get ahead of the background briefing to give away the good stuff -- but I believe that this is the first time that they’re on the White House website. We are making them more accessible, more available than in history.
posted by mikelieman at 9:38 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


On Takei -

It's April 1st. Are we sure about this?


/me looks at clocks... PDT... 9:40PM...

But... G-d, I hope it's for reals! And if not... Damn you Internets! Damn you to hell!
posted by mikelieman at 9:39 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


It's April 1st. Are we sure about this?

Not on the west coast!
posted by Room 641-A at 9:39 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


It's still March in California.
posted by miguelcervantes at 9:39 PM on March 31 [7 favorites]


Has anyone ever won a Congressional seat for the first time at the age of 80? I'm definitely on Team Takei, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's an April Fools joke.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:40 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


The link to the the-daily page came from Takei's FB page.

He wouldn't be fucking with us like this.

https://www.facebook.com/georgehtakei/?pnref=story
posted by mikelieman at 9:43 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


It's still February in Oregon!
posted by perhapses at 9:44 PM on March 31 [38 favorites]


I don't know if he's serious, but this seems like a very normal California thing to happen. I didn't really blink an eye, but since they bought up there I was impressed that they were that far out ahead before Nunes got on the Russia radar.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:45 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


And it's on George Takei's twitter https://twitter.com/GeorgeTakei/status/848023619414437888
posted by mikelieman at 9:48 PM on March 31


He has done public service in the past; if I recall correctly, he was involved on the board that made what passes for the LA Subway system.

Don't hold that against him.
posted by anem0ne at 9:51 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


ArbitraryAndCapricious: "Has anyone ever won a Congressional seat for the first time at the age of 80?"

Nope. According to the House, the oldest freshman rep was 78.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:53 PM on March 31


So, he'd be going where no (80-year-old) man has gone (for the first time) before?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:57 PM on March 31 [24 favorites]


Given the blue's collective, uh, 'talent' at prognostication, all the comments about 'resignation' and 'shortest in history' have me prepped for rallies and 'four more years' placards.

As the kids say, keep your bamboozle insurance up to date.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 10:06 PM on March 31 [8 favorites]


I couldn't be less in the mood for April Fools in 2017.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:52 PM on March 31 [68 favorites]


As much as I'd like it to be true, Takei's April Fools Day history suggests otherwise. He's sort of a master of this April Fools Day thing.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:04 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


I wonder how many April Fool's things will be all "Trump wasn't elected!"
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:07 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


...though I'll add that I suspect Takei is targeting Trump with this particular April Fools joke. Let's see if this gets a rise out of him.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:12 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


April 1st is an excellent day to trial-balloon bold ideas. If it flops, it was clearly a joke. If there's a resounding wave of support, go with it.
posted by NMcCoy at 11:51 PM on March 31 [14 favorites]


Tonight's observation: Hamilton's "One Last Time" used to make me thankful and sad. Post-inauguration, it makes me angry. It's now infuriating because it's a song that features an imperfect President hoping he has been the best version of himself in service of the nation, not a reality show fraudster determined to milk the Presidency and the nation for all that its worth.
posted by zachlipton at 12:14 AM on April 1 [13 favorites]


I wonder how many April Fool's things will be all "Trump wasn't elected!"

I wonder how many are going to be 'ironic' Nazi shit.

Brace yourself before checking social media.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:54 AM on April 1






Where is Kelly Anne Conway?!!

It's my turn to keep staring at her so she can't get to the police box. It's kind of exhausting.

Also, she keeps staring back. Someone come tag me out here.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:08 AM on April 1 [52 favorites]


If anyone knowingly comes in and pranks this thread, so help me I will end you! (Immunity granted for being pranked yourself and mistakenly passing it on.)

I hate April Fools at the best of times. This is not the best of times.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:30 AM on April 1 [54 favorites]


AMTTL of haterz
posted by thelonius at 5:36 AM on April 1


Jay Smooth: What are your cat's political views? [real]
posted by Room 641-A at 5:48 AM on April 1 [8 favorites]


trump is starting the weekend off right with a little spadework in his favorite hole:
When will Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd and @NBCNews start talking about the Obama SURVEILLANCE SCANDAL and stop with the Fake Trump/Russia story?
posted by murphy slaw at 5:58 AM on April 1 [13 favorites]


There's a Fake Trump?
posted by bardophile at 5:59 AM on April 1 [10 favorites]


Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd

*blinks*.

April Fools?
posted by dis_integration at 6:03 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Just me, or doesn't "Sleepy Eyes" sound pretty flirty?
posted by taz at 6:05 AM on April 1 [14 favorites]


bedroom eyes
posted by angrycat at 6:07 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


No, I'm with you. "Sleepy Eyes" is....kind of cute? Well, was kind of cute, now Trump's used it so that's out.

I guess he's taking a stab at a 'don't you think he looks tired' tactic. But terrible and weird, so par for the course.
posted by kalimac at 6:08 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


CHUCK "RACE TO THE BOTTOM" TODD.

Chuck Todd is actively harmful to flowers and other living things. We didn't forget about your complicity in this motherfucker.
posted by petebest at 6:10 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


Chuck Todd had some biting analysis last night on the news, so that explains attacking him. The sleepy eyes bit I think is a trump mirror thing. He's tired.
posted by localhuman at 6:16 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Or maybe Trump had an argument with Ivanka about whether or not his spray-tan strategy really a does make his eyes pop. No, I'm not sleepy-eyed, Chuck Todd is sleepy-eyed
posted by angrycat at 6:18 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


Poor Trump thinks that he can un-debunk that bullshit
posted by thelonius at 6:20 AM on April 1


Maybe this was linked in the last thread :
Stephen King on Donald Trump: ‘How do such men rise? First as a joke
I've only just finished it now, and to me it seems accurate as well as funny - sometimes literature can cut through the analysis and state the obvious.
posted by mumimor at 6:30 AM on April 1 [20 favorites]


Betty Davis Eyes Chuck Todd
posted by Going To Maine at 6:32 AM on April 1 [17 favorites]


> I mean, the President has been very clear

One iron-clad rule of politics is that any time a politician (of any ideological affiliation) or a spokesperson says they've been "very clear," they are doing their best to make sure the public cannot fully understand whatever the situation is.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:36 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


Started writing a Trump-themed 'Your Lyin' Eyes' parody, but, like, it's a beautiful Saturday morning, and I don't even like The Eagles. Think I'm going for a bike ride instead. 'Borough boys just seem to find out early,' feel free to pick that up if you're so inclined.
posted by box at 6:37 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]




Trump cont'd: It is the same Fake News Media that said there is "no path to victory for Trump" that is now pushing the phony Russia story. A total scam!

Someone is very defensive this morning.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:16 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Betty Davis Eyes Chuck Todd

Woefully esoteric.
posted by Talez at 7:17 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Aw, I'm sad about George Takei. I really wanted that one to be true.
posted by potrzebie at 7:31 AM on April 1 [20 favorites]


Regarding zachlipton's, observation, maybe everyone has already seen this video, but when the Hamilton original cast performed at the White House last year, they did One Last Time, of course-- the video was posted a few days before Inauguration Day, fittingly: "One Last Time" - Hamilton At The White House #ObamaLegacy

Extra depressing.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 7:37 AM on April 1 [9 favorites]


Metafilter: Woefully esoteric.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:37 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Aw, I'm sad about George Takei. I really wanted that one to be true.

2017 really needs wins like that. Let's draft him for whatever district he's in!
posted by mikelieman at 7:47 AM on April 1 [8 favorites]


The sleepy eyes bit I think is a trump mirror thing. He's tired.

and... I suspect Donnie can't imagine people not doing a bump of blow before an appearance.
posted by mikelieman at 7:50 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Just a few short weeks into this administration, and already it seems clear that the most important question historians might be asking twenty, fifty, seventy years from now will be not about Trump but about the Republican Party—how the Republicans could have permitted this.
Michael Tomasky - New York Review.
posted by adamvasco at 8:01 AM on April 1 [28 favorites]


not to be a grump about it but I wish to peacefully register my objections to Takei. See comment history for details. Please continue.
posted by angrycat at 8:04 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


^ yeah. he's a bit of a Problematic Fave. we can do better, in terms of celebrity sciencey types (oh please don't tell me anything bad about Neil DeGrasse Tyson!)
posted by witchen at 8:06 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Someone is very defensive this morning.

What I find remarkable is how, in any similar circumstance, any other sane President would be trying to change the story: by traveling abroad, or making surprise appearances at home, or announcing some new initiative--anything but trying to bait journalists over a story he says is false. It's a stunning display by a President who's chief, maybe only, real desire is to fight with ... everyone.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:07 AM on April 1 [8 favorites]


only, real desire is to fight with ... everyone.

I don't think he wants to fight everyone, it's just that he doesn't know any other way. Interesting for 2317 Shakespeare.
posted by mumimor at 8:09 AM on April 1 [12 favorites]




I don't think he wants to fight everyone, it's just that he doesn't know any other way. Interesting for 2317 Shakespeare.

But "fighting with everyone" has -- prior to this -- always been great for "ratings".

Problem is, as POTUS45, "ratings" aren't the expectation.

POTUS45 does NOT meet expectations.

P.S. Firefox's spell checker is flagging POTUS, yet not POTUS45 . heh.
posted by mikelieman at 8:34 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]




This morning I woke up to see Takei's thing was an April Fool's stunt, Sanders is saying Cheetoh Mussolini's supporters aren't racist or sexist, Democrats still don't have their shit together for a filibuster of Gorsuch, and Marvel comics looking at their sales slump since October/November and taking from it that their problem is fans don't want diversity (but they're totally fine with Nazi Captain America and other obvious garbage).

2017: Where I get to be pissed off at everyone, whether I like them or not.

Yay.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:05 AM on April 1 [32 favorites]


And even more strangely, the fights he chooses to pick don't seem to advance any agenda. They aren't damn-the-torpedoes push-the-legislation through fights; they're petty psychic wound-soothing fights. In fact, that seems to be the agenda. (Well, that and grift, of course.) I honestly can't think of another major American figure so preoccupied by psychic injury and so indifferent to the actual world.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:14 AM on April 1 [16 favorites]


What I find remarkable is how, in any similar circumstance, any other sane President would be trying to change the story: by traveling abroad, or making surprise appearances at home, or announcing some new initiative

Sure, but stuff like that requires actual work. This administration is still alarmingly understaffed, many of the appointees they do have are incompetent, and they don't trust career staffers or the bureaucracy. Add to that all the self-inflicted wounds and the Trumpcare/Ryancare debacle.

Doing things is hard. These chumps keep finding ways to make it even harder for themselves.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:15 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


(chews grass stem, gazes into the darkening horizon): Tweetstorm's comin'.

Donald J. Trump
@realDonaldTrump

The failing @nytimes finally gets it - "In places where no insurance company offers plans, there will be no way for ObamaCare customers to..
...use subsidies to buy health plans." In other words, Ocare is dead. Good things will happen, however, either with Republicans or Dems.
Wow, @FoxNews just reporting big news. Source: "Official behind unmasking is high up. Known Intel official is responsible. Some unmasked....
..not associated with Russia. Trump team spied on before he was nominated." If this is true, does not get much bigger. Would be sad for U.S.

posted by Rust Moranis at 10:11 AM on April 1 [10 favorites]


In news likely unsurprising: Republicans' Views of African Americans' Work Ethic and Intelligence Lag Behind Democrats' At A Record Clip.

Now I want to look at the survey data and see if Republicans were less likely to complete the entire survey.
posted by srboisvert at 10:12 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


In other words, Ocare is dead.

i find it sort of astounding that anyone can have reading comprehension this poor and still be able to, like, read
posted by murphy slaw at 10:16 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


[A few comments deleted; silly innuendo jokes are all well and good, no worries, but let's rein it in, in the name of not filling these threads up with twenty comments of noise for each little phrasing thing.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:28 AM on April 1 [9 favorites]


The failing @nytimes finally gets it - "In places where no insurance company offers plans, there will be no way for ObamaCare customers to..
...use subsidies to buy health plans." In other words, Ocare is dead. Good things will happen, however, either with Republicans or Dems.
Wow, @FoxNews just reporting big news. Source: "Official behind unmasking is high up. Known Intel official is responsible. Some unmasked....
..not associated with Russia. Trump team spied on before he was nominated." If this is true, does not get much bigger. Would be sad for U.S.


I would bet good money that wasn't written by Trump -- a conditional statement? "In other words?" Use of technical classification phrasing? Non-emphatic 'sad'?
posted by cjelli at 10:37 AM on April 1 [21 favorites]


Well it's not anyone who can write in English any better - Bannon maybe?
posted by Artw at 10:42 AM on April 1


I hear Ivanka got a new job recently.
posted by yhbc at 10:48 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


Dan Scavino, an aide who controls Mr. Trump’s official White House Twitter account, recently moved into Mr. Bannon’s West Wing office, where he closely monitors social activity by and about the president, according to two officials.
posted by neroli at 10:48 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


This isn't strictly political news, but it does have a bearing on how news of the Trump campaign was reported and how the Trump administration gets reported: NYT - Bill O’Reilly Thrives at Fox News, Even as Harassment Settlements Add Up
An investigation by The New York Times has found a total of five women who have received payouts from either Mr. O’Reilly or the company in exchange for agreeing to not pursue litigation or speak about their accusations against him. The agreements totaled about $13 million.

Two settlements came after the network’s former chairman, Roger Ailes, was dismissed last summer in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal, when the company said it did not tolerate behavior that “disrespects women or contributes to an uncomfortable work environment.”
...
Of the five settlements, [only] two were previously known — one for about $9 million in 2004 with a producer, and another struck last year with a former on-air personality, which The Times reported on in January. The Times has learned new details related to those cases.
Emphasis mine, since the NYT headline buries the lede on this: they uncovered three previously undisclosed settlements, one of which was very recent, and reading between the lines -- and the descriptions of how harassment was Fox News was habitually suppressed -- it's entirely possible, and quite likely, that this isn't the end of the story. Which was already clear from all the other stories about Fox News burying or dismissing sexual harassment claims, but.
posted by cjelli at 10:54 AM on April 1 [21 favorites]


"If this is true"

This is interesting. Has Trump ever even acknowledged the possibility that information might not be true before?
posted by zachlipton at 11:18 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


It appears from his Twitter rants that Mr. Trump has been sitting in front of Fox News for several hours. I guess nothing else is going on today, and there's no golf? Sad.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:19 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


McClatchy details Paul Manafort's financial entanglements in a write-up recommended by Dan Rather's excellent outfit, News and Guts.
posted by Glinn at 11:24 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


>"If this is true"

This is interesting. Has Trump ever even acknowledged the possibility that information might not be true before?


I'm not sure if he ever has, but he certainly doesn't make a habit of it; which is why I think this wasn't really him -- it's more likely, I think, that he'd have someone else tweet on his behalf than that he suddenly developed circumspection.
posted by cjelli at 11:25 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]




I don't know that information falls into the categories "true" and "false" for Trump, just "useful" and "not useful". It's part of his authoritarian nature that he seeks to set himself up as the only source of truth for his followers right? I think that implies that the ambiguity "if true" must be useful to him in some way. I'm guessing that he's trying to project an sense of reasonableness. Or maybe he knows it's not true but the investigation into it provides a useful distraction.
posted by VTX at 11:35 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


Plus has he ever actually quoted a news source before? That would imply he read news instead of watching it and running off with some twisted hot take. I am confident those tweets weren't his.
posted by threeturtles at 11:44 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure if he ever has, but he certainly doesn't make a habit of it; which is why I think this wasn't really him -- it's more likely, I think, that he'd have someone else tweet on his behalf than that he suddenly developed circumspection.

One of his strategies during the primary and election was to make unsupported claims and then add that "he heard it" or "a lot of people are saying it."
posted by kewb at 11:52 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Good things will happen, however, either with Republicans or Dems.

Trump using an interrupting conjunctive adverb? No way he wrote this though he may have dictated the general content.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:06 PM on April 1 [12 favorites]


Russian government posts April Fools' Day prank offering "election interference"

This, and the stamp thing, and Putin's "read my lips" joke are all indicators of that really morbid humor some guys have when they are winning so much they are tired of winning..
posted by mumimor at 12:16 PM on April 1 [7 favorites]


...not associated with Russia

Every time trump or his people say this it is like pointing a giant neon lit Las Vegas arrow to investigate Russia.

No way he wrote these tweets.
posted by futz at 12:17 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Speaking of Scavino and social media, he just explicitly called for Justin Amash to be primaried.

@DanScavino:
.@realDonaldTrump is bringing auto plants & jobs back to Michigan. @justinamash is a big liability. #TrumpTrain, defeat him in primary.


Amash fired back.

@justinamash:
Trump admin & Establishment have merged into #Trumpstablishment. Same old agenda: Attack conservatives, libertarians & independent thinkers.


So, Trump & Co is spending Saturday telling lame and obvious lies about the media/Obama and attacking members of their own party. Good times.
posted by chris24 at 12:21 PM on April 1 [18 favorites]


Michael Flynn Failed to Disclose Payments From Russian Propaganda Network

Former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn initially failed to inform federal ethics officials of payments from a state-sponsored Russian propaganda outfit, according to newly released documents.

Flynn, who left his White House post after less than a month, submitted a financial disclosure form in February that made no mention of a reported $45,000 payment from Russia Today, or RT, for a speech that Flynn gave at the network’s 10th anniversary gala.

In an amended disclosure statement filed with the White House counsel’s office on Friday, Flynn disclosed receiving more than $5,000 (the threshold for reporting) from RT.

posted by futz at 12:25 PM on April 1 [25 favorites]


So, Trump & Co is spending Saturday telling lame and obvious lies about the media/Obama and attacking members of their own party. Good times.

Well yeah, did you see Trump's press conference thingy yesterday? The WH is going to spend the weekend avoiding mentioning anything of substance.
posted by rhizome at 12:25 PM on April 1


the stamp thing

This stamp thing is an April Fool on a tiny blog, assuming that's what you mean, mumimor.
posted by ambrosen at 12:26 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Well yeah, did you see Trump's press conference thingy yesterday?

Isn't it also weird that Pence does most of the talking?
posted by kirkaracha at 12:29 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


realDonaldTrump is bringing auto plants & jobs back to Michigan. @justinamash is a big liability.

No one in Amash's district (Western Michigan) gives a fuck about auto plants, Dan. You're out of your fucking league.
posted by Etrigan at 12:44 PM on April 1 [12 favorites]


There's a lot of auto part manufacturers out here. There's a YUGE empty lot where a GM plant used to be not far from my house - it would be very Trumpy to tell people that a long-gone job source is magically going to come back.
posted by LionIndex at 12:48 PM on April 1 [5 favorites]


There's a lot of auto part manufacturers out here.

Yeah, but they're still selling to the Big Three regardless of where the cars are being put together. Grand Rapids cares about auto plants the way they care about the Red Wings -- it's nice if they're good, but it's not breaking their hearts if they don't make the playoffs.
posted by Etrigan at 12:54 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Which isn't to say that the Trumpists out there aren't nodding their heads and grumbling about Amash, but I'm willing to bet that he's not quaking in his boots over a primary challenge yet.
posted by Etrigan at 12:57 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]



This stamp thing is an April Fool on a tiny blog, assuming that's what you mean, mumimor.


Oh, I thought it was a Russian scam blog, sorry
posted by mumimor at 1:04 PM on April 1


Which isn't to say that the Trumpists out there aren't nodding their heads and grumbling about Amash, but I'm willing to bet that he's not quaking in his boots over a primary challenge yet.

I don't think a challenger would have a chance in hell, but I hope they do primary him and win. Some Trumpy nutjob is much more likely to lose in the general.
posted by chris24 at 1:04 PM on April 1


I don't think a challenger would have a chance in hell, but I hope they do primary him and win. Some Trumpy nutjob is much more likely to lose in the general.

That theory is sound, except that Trumpists winning primaries also means that the whole Republican Party is encouraged to swing right and to swing crazy. And that's terrifying.
posted by lydhre at 1:34 PM on April 1 [8 favorites]


Can someone kindly clarify: When Rachel Maddow (or anyone) refers to "The White House" knowing something, do they mean the president specifically? Or the president plus his close advisers/lawyers? Or people from that office not necessarily including the president? It just seems like sometimes they say the president (or commander in chief) knows a thing, and sometimes they say "The White House" knows a thing.
posted by Glinn at 1:35 PM on April 1


Judge: Lawsuit against Trump, supporters can proceed

-- A federal judge in Louisville said in a ruling that then-candidate Donald Trump incited the use of violence against three protesters when he told supporters at a campaign rally a year ago to "get 'em out of here."

U. S. District Judge David J. Hale of the Western District of Kentucky also wrote in an opinion and order released Friday that because violence had broken out at a prior Trump rally and that known hate group members were in the Louisville crowd, Trump's ordering the removal of an African American woman was "particularly reckless."

-- Hale pointed out that, as the protesters had alleged, the violence began as soon as Trump gave a command and an order to get the protesters out of the rally.


I like this.
posted by futz at 1:38 PM on April 1 [95 favorites]


"The White House knows" and "The President knows" used to be synonymous for all intents and purposes. I think newsers just haven't gotten out of the habit now that we have such a deeply divided executive branch.
posted by Etrigan at 1:39 PM on April 1 [5 favorites]


FBI Makes Arrest in Connection With Saipan Casino Construction

-- The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested one person in connection with the death of a construction worker at Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd.’s casino on the remote U.S. island of Saipan, according to an agency spokeswoman.

-- The bureau’s statement comes after a legislator and local residents said FBI agents and local law enforcement on Thursday visited an office used by Imperial Pacific, staying for several hours and blocking access to the building

-- The FBI "routinely partners with federal agencies when there are reports of widespread and systematic human trafficking within the labor sector," Ernst said.

-- Chaired by Mark Brown, a former executive in President Donald Trump’s Atlantic City casino business, Imperial Pacific has assembled a group of high-powered former U.S. political figures as directors or advisers.


The trump connection could mean nothing at all. Although law enforcement/FBI often break a case by coming at it "sideways". Time will tell.
posted by futz at 1:54 PM on April 1 [5 favorites]


Some Trumpy nutjob is much more likely to lose in the general.

Isn't this what most of us thought about.... Trump?

That kind of thinking (while understandable) is much less comforting to me these days...
posted by thefoxgod at 2:01 PM on April 1 [21 favorites]


I assume that Maddow meant that The White House = Bannon, Preibus, Kushner, Ivanka, etc.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:01 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Some Trumpy nutjob is much more likely to lose in the general.

In Western Michigan? LOL
posted by dhens at 2:18 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


In Western Michigan? LOL

First of all, it's WEST Michigan, everyone. Nobody here ever says Western. 'Tis true that West Michigan loves nutjobs; they cream their jeans over Sarah Palin down in GR.

It's still weirder than fuck to think of Justin Amash as the representative of stable probity who could be primaried by a nutjob when just a few years ago, he was King Squirrel, Emperor of All Macadamias, but that's how things go in the Trumpified timeline.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:37 PM on April 1 [32 favorites]


Nobody here ever says Western

. . . unless they're referring to the state university in Kalamazoo.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:39 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Hypothetical question - if someone won a civil lawsuit against the President but the President refused to write a check, what would happen? It's my non-lawyer understanding that if it weren't the President, you would have to get US Marshals to seize assets, but how could they do that if it's US Marshals against the Secret Service?
posted by bluecore at 2:42 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]




That theory is sound, except that Trumpists winning primaries also means that the whole Republican Party is encouraged to swing right and to swing crazy. And that's terrifying.

More right than one of the original Tea Partiers? Trump is attacking the Freedom Caucus from the left, not the right. He's angry they won't compromise even a little on health care.

And yes, in a wave election against Trump, someone tied to his hip is more likely to suffer from the backlash than someone who's stood up to him repeatedly. Does that mean we're getting a wave in 2018? Who knows but in good times incumbents lose seats in midterms, and when they're at 37% popularity they typically lose a lot. Would a anti-Trump wave election mean a D win is probable in West Michigan? No, but more likely than with Justin Amash.

Plus I want the Republican Party linked inextricably to Trump. I don't want them to ever be able to wash this stink off.
posted by chris24 at 3:02 PM on April 1 [5 favorites]




First of all, it's WEST Michigan, everyone.

Ah, yes. I am not sure if I should chalk up my error to being from SE Michigan, or from not having in lived in Michigan for over 10 years. My bad.
posted by dhens at 3:18 PM on April 1


I just spent an hour and a half in the local high school cafeteria with my rep, David Cicilline, and about 50-75 other people. He talked about stuff going on in D.C. that -- amazing to me -- was already familiar to me from reading these threads! He took ton of questions and was frank and thorough. I was impressed.

I have never really been politically engaged, and I am excited to re-engage. One person asked a question about people ho said "I hate Obamacare but I love that A.C.A!" -- to which he replied that, in essence, people need some basic civics education to be aware of what their disengagement has let the country become. It was blunt, but I think he's right.
posted by wenestvedt at 3:35 PM on April 1 [54 favorites]


Re the weird feelings about kinda supporting Amash: the fight right now is still left/right but there's a parallel fight between people with firm, reasoned (for a given internal logic starting with perhaps a very flawed premise) beliefs vs. people with no actual beliefs. The people with no beliefs are both crackpot demagogues and veteran congresspeople like Pat Toomey who will do whatever, depending on how the winds are blowing and what's in it for him. The Freedom Caucus may be a bunch of extremists with odious beliefs, but, as a wise man said, say what you will about that, at least it's an ethos. If there's any common ground to be found with those libertarian theocrats it's that we both have firm lines in our personal sands that we simply won't cross. And in this Trump will be equally wrong footed in trying to work with true believers on both the left and the right, because he can not and will never understand having an unshakable personal morality.
posted by soren_lorensen at 3:37 PM on April 1 [17 favorites]


Back on Feb 15 I posted this:

City Attorney Files FOIA Request Over LAX Detainees
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on Tuesday to gather information about those who were detained at LAX following President Trump's travel ban, City News Service reports.
Here is the latest, where 'Kafaesque" is an understatement and one paragraph actually begins, "Here's where things get weird." Emphasis mine:

L.A. City Attorney's Request For LAX Security Clearance Met With Kafkaesque Denial From Customs
On Friday, the City Attorney announced that CBP had shot down his request, denying him future unescorted access at LAX.

As Feuer writes in his appeal letter, as City Attorney, he has "broad responsibilities directly relevant to LAX." Specifically, his office serves as counsel for LAX, providing wide-ranging legal support regarding LAX operations (they even have an office on site). As the city's chief prosecutor, Feuer is also responsible for prosecuting offenses at and around LAX.

When the City Attorney of the nation’s second largest city cannot gain access to all areas of the airport located in his jurisdiction, something is terribly wrong,” Feuer said in a statement Friday. “I went to LAX in January because I wanted to secure the release of the detainees. I also wanted very direct answers to basic questions. A security clearance would have provided me with access to the detainees so I could have assessed their situation and well-being.”
posted by Room 641-A at 3:39 PM on April 1 [53 favorites]


First of all, it's WEST Michigan, everyone. Nobody here ever says Western.

or they say southwest or southwestern - and if you go far enough (about 20 miles from kalamazoo), they say michiana - (the more notre dame and cubs signs you see the closer you are ...)
posted by pyramid termite at 3:48 PM on April 1


With Stunning Moral Clarity, Wallace Global Fund Fires Firm That Endorsed Donald Trump’s Kleptocracy

Every once in a while, amid the legal and ethical sham of the Trump presidency, the grown-ups do show up to assert themselves. And each time they do, the world briefly makes sense again. This week, the grown-up is H. Scott Wallace, co-chair of the Wallace Global Fund, which promotes sustainable investments and until very recently, received legal counsel from the same firm that helped Donald Trump “separate” from his business interests before assuming the presidency. In a letter explaining his decision to fire that law firm, Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Wallace leaves no doubt that the “the ethical carnage” sanctioned by the firm’s lawyers is not tolerable, or normal, or even minimally defensible. [pdf]

The letter then catalogs in detail the myriad ways in which Trump’s continuing conflicts of interest and self-dealing violate the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause and characterizes Dillon’s solution as “an illusion of protection against the President using his office for personal gain.” It goes on to detail corruption-related developments since that January press conference, ranging from the granting of 38 trademarks to Trump by China, his D.C. hotels courting foreign business away from other venues, and the doubling of initiation fees at Mar-a-Lago.


This is fucking awesome.
posted by futz at 3:52 PM on April 1 [135 favorites]


Re the weird feelings about kinda supporting Amash: the fight right now is still left/right but there's a parallel fight between people with firm, reasoned (for a given internal logic starting with perhaps a very flawed premise) beliefs vs. people with no actual beliefs.

I would have put it more as a distinction between honorable and dishonorable people. It's hard to imagine a Democratic president finding much if any common ground with Amash, since at the end of the day he's still a libertarian loon. But you could maybe trust him to honor his agreements, not to promise things he has no intention of even attempting to deliver, etc. Unlike Ryan and McConnell, who have (long ago) revealed themselves to be fundamentally dishonest and untrustworthy.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:54 PM on April 1 [13 favorites]


honorable and dishonorable people.

I'd say ethical and unethical.
posted by leotrotsky at 3:56 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Kristof writes yet another 'I never thought leopards would eat MY face' article for the Times. This time in Tulsa.
posted by octothorpe at 5:09 PM on April 1 [12 favorites]


That article:
Yet she said she might still vote for Trump in 2020. And that’s a refrain I heard over and over. Some of the loyalty seemed to be grounded in resentment at Democrats for mocking Trump voters as dumb bigots, some from a belief that budgets are complicated, and some from a sense that it’s too early to abandon their man. They did say that if jobs didn’t reappear, they would turn against him.

I have sympathy for these people, but this ignorance is astounding. I can't even with it.
posted by rainydayfilms at 5:19 PM on April 1 [28 favorites]


The information war is real, and we’re losing it

As a former newspaper journalist I saw this coming years ago. I can't count the number of times I've sent someone to Snopes to debunk some batshit claim and the reply has been if it's on the internet it must be true. With all of the social science research proving the more you try to inform someone they're wrong the more they will dig in and defend their position I have no idea what the answer is.

Are there any journalistic organizations doing debunking in a way that changes people's minds? My former employer publishes Politifact and it's largely ignored. I've been thinking a lot about how much I miss daily journalism and these threads are the closest I get to my fix of working in a newsroom. Is there a "Cambridge Analytica" type organization using their powers for good instead of evil?
posted by photoslob at 5:27 PM on April 1 [19 favorites]


Facebook link: Friday, March 31, Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks and a whole host of stars will be performing right here in your newsfeed to raise money for the amazing ACLU.

Tina Fey tells college-educated white women who voted for Trump: ‘You can’t look away’

“A lot of this election was turned by white, college-educated women who now would like to forget about this election and go back to watching HGTV,” the actress and comedian said during a star-studded Facebook Live fundraiser for the American Civil Liberties Union. “You can’t look away because it doesn’t affect you this minute, but it’s going to affect you eventually.”
posted by futz at 5:48 PM on April 1 [44 favorites]


Kristof writes yet another 'I never thought leopards would eat MY face' article for the Times. This time in Tulsa.

I really liked this Twitter thread about that NYT article.
posted by phearlez at 6:30 PM on April 1 [34 favorites]




I really liked this Twitter thread about that NYT article.

Thanks for posting that. Great thread.
posted by chris24 at 7:20 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Speier on Nunes controversy: 'Absolutely convinced it started in the Oval Office'

-- “There’s no question in my mind that the president, with the aid of his national security adviser staff, came up with some kind of a ruse to try and suggest there was some kind of validity” to his accusation, which has been debunked by intelligence officials, Speier [member of the House Intelligence Committee] said after a town-hall event in which she and former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul examined Russia-Trump connections.

-- In an interview with POLITICO, Speier leveled blistering criticism at the intelligence chairman, saying Nunes' apparent desire to play “Maxwell Smart” — a reference to a once-popular bumbling TV detective

I used to love Agent's 99 & 86 and the shoe phone. And Fang! Agent K-13. Methinks I must revisit this. It has been a looong time.
posted by futz at 7:45 PM on April 1 [15 favorites]


Mark Cuban, aptly summarizing the dead simple origins of the Russia connection in a twithread:

Because he didn't recognize or understand as it was happening he has no idea what to do now or how to respond.

Except 'he' is also now 'we', or at least his electors.
posted by Dashy at 7:49 PM on April 1 [9 favorites]


Latest GA-06 numbers:
Day 5 of in-person early voting in GA-6 is D 51 R 29 Over all, D 54 R 30 with 8110 ballots accepted Still early, but trends are steady

Noteworthy: early voters have been less white in every day of early voting, and non-D/R vote is most diverse--60% w, 10% a, 7% b, 4% h
posted by Chrysostom at 7:57 PM on April 1 [47 favorites]


I really appreciate the updates Chrysostom.
posted by futz at 8:02 PM on April 1 [9 favorites]


Mark Cuban, aptly summarizing the dead simple origins of the Russia connection in a twithread:

As Jeet Heer said, this is the most generous reading of the Russia/Trump story given what we know and it's still damning. And Josh Marshall at TPM says "My own take is not that far off this."

And to make it easy for the Twitter averse:

@mcuban
1) Here is my take on Trump and Russia
2) Russians have made him a lot of money buying condos and investing in his bldgs and hosting his beauty pageant.That makes them his friends
3) He ignored their backgrounds. But that's not unusual. Starbucks takes anyone's money and so do most businesses including mine.
4) He spoke favorably about Putin to get his approval for Russians to get $ out of Russia and into Trump deals. He saw it as easy money
5) When Manafort was recommended, he didn't vett him. He saw it as a win win. Win the election or open the door for more Russian business
6) As people with Russian connects came into the campaign he had no clue that those connections were possibly being influenced by Russia
7) His lean campaign took direction from people he trusted and he followed those directions. He had no clue where the Russians fit
8) when Manafort got "hot" he got rid of him but the campaign approach had been established. Bannon took it to the next level FTW
9) No chance this is a DJT led conspiracy. He isn't detail oriented, organized or big picture enough to pull off any time of conspiracy
10) I think Putin recognized trumps greed and took advantage by back channeling coordinated misinformation in an attempt to influence voters
11) Trump had no idea this was happening. He was doing what he was told to do. Stick to the script and read what was written for him
12)Because he didn't recognize or understand as it was happening he has no idea what to do now or how to respond. So he turns to Fox News
13) That's what I think happened. Feel free to agree or disagree
posted by chris24 at 8:08 PM on April 1 [88 favorites]


Trump is just stupid and vain enough to deny this take (especially since it's coming from Cuban) and assert that he knew all along exactly what he was doing.
posted by zakur at 8:17 PM on April 1 [24 favorites]


Did you order the CODE RED? YOU'RE GODDAMN RIGHT I DID!
posted by Justinian at 8:19 PM on April 1 [11 favorites]


Either way, we win!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:21 PM on April 1


Although that's probably unfair... Col. Jessep appeared at least marginally competent. Sorry Col. Jessep.
posted by Justinian at 8:21 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Trump is such an unsympathetic dirtbag that when this administration finally goes supernova, nobody is going to waste their time giving him the benefit of the doubt. (I hope.)
posted by ryanrs at 8:22 PM on April 1 [6 favorites]


Today I went to see Rep. Jackie Speier and former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul for an event they called Russia 101 (that's the event that futz just posted about, though it sound like Speier got even more firey with Politico after). You can watch the entire thing here via Facebook if have an hour or so to kill.

It was a really good talk. Broadly, the theme, which shouldn't come as a surprise, is that Russia has interfered in our election and acted in all sorts of nefarious ways, and that we just aren't dealing with it. The question, which I wanted to ask but wasn't able to, is "so how should we be dealing with it? What possibly is the right response to all this if we didn't have a government determined to ignore it if not actively collude?"

McFaul laid out some background on Putin and Russia, for which I'd recommend you listen to his appearance on Pod Save the World. In general, he said that Putin views US relations as a zero-sum-game and does not believe in win-win outcomes. He blames the US for meddling in the affairs of other countries, particularly blaming Hillary Clinton for the 2011 protests after the rigged election (protests he says we had nothing to do with) and then the fall of Yanukovych. He described the relationship with Russia as "one foot in, one foot out" because they'd have radical disagreements between the US and Russia about what to do about Syria, and then Putin would turn around the next day, or even an hour later, and say "the most important event in US-Russian relations is the joint venture between Exxon Mobil and Rosneft."

The biggest bombshell came from Rep. Speier about the elections. In response to a question about the integrity of the vote. Here's my transcript:
What we do not know the answer to. We do know that the Russians attempted and successfully got into a number of state voter records. We know that. We don't know to what extent they attempted to tamper with the voting machines. One of our responsibilities, as we investigate all of this, is what do we need to put in place to put the integrity to vote. Because I am not convinced, even now, that there wasn't. I don't think we know the answer. And I don't know that we're ever going to know the answer. Because there are so many disparate mechanisms and machines that are used state-by-state. Some states don't even have a paper tally. Some would suggest that a paper tally isn't good enough. But there needs to be a concerted effort to really drill down on this particular issue, because they've done it once; don't doubt for a minute they won't try to do it again
This is going well beyond Comey and Rogers' statements that the vote was not tampered with. I don't particularly have the sense that she had great evidence for this, but I also don't think this was an entirely baseless accusation, given the public statement that "Russian intelligence accessed elements of multiple state or local electoral boards. Since early 2014, Russian intelligence has researched US electoral processes and related technology and equipment...DHS assesses that the types of systems we observed Russian actors targeting or compromising are not involved in vote tallying." It is also a situation where Russia didn't really need to actually compromise the integrity of the vote, simply causing doubt and uncertainty accomplishes their goals enough (and so Speier, and now me by writing this, are playing into that), but it's pretty darn alarming to sit there and listen to a Congresswoman explain that she doesn't know whether Russia tried to manipulate voting machines.

McFaul also had a bit to say on Nunes, as former NSC staff:
First of all, in my three years in the US Government, I never once had or witnessed members of Congress coming to the NSC to read classified information. You have other channels that you receive that information through, and very appropriately in my view, that separation is important. We have a Constitution that separates the Executive and Legislative branch. I was on TV two days ago and another member of your body, I'm not even going to name him it was so embarrassing [but I sure as hell will name him. It was Rep. Ted Yoho] , he said Congressman Nunes works for Trump now. I was on TV with him at the time, but I'm like, we should send that person a Constitution because that's not how the way it works.

#2, and this I want to be careful here because I don't know all the facts. But when you work in the US Government, and I had top security clearance, right, but above top security, top secret security clearence, are something called compartmentalized intelligence, which is inteliigence that is so sensitive that you have to sign a piece of paper to read it, you can't even get it on your computer. I had a top secret computer on my desk because I worked in a SCIF, but this meant I had to go to this place to read it. And that is very, that means it is very closely controlled. There's probably a dozen people that can read it. It's not distributed. And as I read what happened, I wonder who gave the permission to give that information to the Chariman. Because that, in the Obama years, would have to have come from either the National Security Advisor or maybe the President himself.

So that's the first thing. The second obvious odd thing is that the NSC works for the President of the United States. The National Security Council, we, I was a staff member to the President. Where I worked, I could look literally out of my window and see the Oval Office. That's my boss. So what's so odd about this to me is that somebody from the outside came and read information that maybe they weren't supposed to read and then later went and briefed the guy that sits across the hallway. That's the job of the NSC to do, that's not the job of the US Congress [Speier: that's why none of this adds up.]
There's a lot of questions that need to be asked about the classification of this material and who authorized Nunes to see it, because it's a really small club.

McFaul also compared his time in the Obama transition to the Trump transition, saying that he was the "lead Russia guy" for Obama and they didn't have any of this going on. They had a strict policy of "one President at a time" and so they didn't have meetings with Kislyak even though he wanted meetings. They most certainly wouldn't have met with Vnesheconombank. He described all of this as "not usual behavior."

They hit on one point that's been bothering me a lot, which is that Trump seems to view ambiguity in foreign policy as a good thing (keeping his options open, not warning "the enemy" of what will happen, etc...), but ambiguity in foreign policy is the kind of thiny, g that gets people killed. By this time in 2009, there had already been numerous high-level meetings between the US and Russia and the first high-level summit between Obama and Medvedev was on April 1, 2009. The Trump folks haven't done any of that. Ambassador McFaul:
So it's through ambiguity. And ambiguity and uncertainty is bad. It's always bad because it causes folks to misinterpret what we're going to do and it tempts people to do things when they think they can take advantage. And that's what my fear is right now, that we're not being clear about what our policy is.
And they discussed Putin's support for Le Pen, with Speier describing the $10 million loan Le Pen's campaign received as "much cheaper than building weaponry" and both commenting on Le Pen's trip to the Kremlin, asking how furiously Putin would react if Obama had invited Russian opposition leaders to the White House. More broadly, they spoke of Putin's attempt to support separatist and opposition forces around the world, with McFaul describing Bannon's speeches as "exactly like Russian nationalists from 10-15 years ago."

Finally, McFaul talked about an article he wrote for the Washington Post last month, We can’t let Trump go down Putin’s path. He pointed out that tax cuts were a major component of Putin's early rise to power, that "the deal was, I'll cut taxes and you let me do all this other stuff and we'll just keep quiet about it." And that this obviously has strong parallels to Trump right now. But he, amazingly, is still optimistic because he thinks we still have stronger democratic institutions and a desire to preserve them, compared to Russia in the 2000s. I, sadly, am not so optimistic.
posted by zachlipton at 8:23 PM on April 1 [138 favorites]


New Priorities USA poll (please note that Priorities USA is explicitly progressive, so apply whatever discount you think appropriate):

10 point drop in Trump approval among *Trump voters*:

Mar 3-7: 92
Mar 23-27: 82
posted by Chrysostom at 8:26 PM on April 1 [8 favorites]


Thanks for the great recap zachlipton. It sounds like they got into some inside baseball tonight. How many people were there and did you get the sense that the audience was interested in what they had to say? Can you comment more on the mood of the room? - Not a reporter :)
posted by futz at 8:35 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


10 point drop in Trump approval among *Trump voters*:

Mar 3-7: 92
Mar 23-27: 82


Quinnipiac also had him dropping 10 points in a month (91 to 81). And also the percentage of people identifying as Rs dropped 2%.

And McClatchy/Marist also has him at 78% approval with Rs. Which sounds high, but really isn't that great. Obama never dropped below 80% with Dems in his first year. And Trump is at 34% with Inds which Obama never did.
posted by chris24 at 8:39 PM on April 1 [10 favorites]


chris24: @mcuban 1) Here is my take on Trump and Russia

Bullshit. Trump has been going to Russia since the 80s. He's done business with them, including shady characters, since then. And he asked for Russian hackers' help live on TV during the election. Now he's suddenly "not a details" guy who gets to play dumb about their involvement? Fuck that.

That's not even getting into his really, really weird aversion to ever saying anything bad about Putin. I have a hard time believing Putin doesn't have something on Trump, even if it's not exactly what was described in the Steele Dossier.
posted by bluecore at 8:42 PM on April 1 [41 favorites]


Thanks for the great recap zachlipton. It sounds like they got into some inside baseball tonight. How many people were there and did you get the sense that the audience was interested in what they had to say? Can you comment more on the mood of the room? - Not a reporter :)

Thanks. It was a full crowd of about 180 people. They ticketed it in advance and made it clear it was a small room (the San Mateo City Council chambers). The audience was very interested and engaged, especially since signups were available in a pretty narrow window. A bunch of SF Indivisible people. It wasn't a raucous town hall, nobody was interrupting or shouting things out, but people were there to learn. I'd broadly summarize the mood as people supportive and deeply concerned. This is frankly some scary shit, and both Speier and McFaul were pretty sober about that (McFaul says he gets Google's "government-backed attackers may be trying to steal your password" warning every couple weeks now).

One woman asked essentially "what can we do?" in response to all this, and their answer was a sort of glib "keep doing what you're doing, like showing up to events like this," which wasn't all that satisfying. I mean, we're talking about an act of war here and serious questions about treason, and showing up to a speech in San Mateo isn't exactly going to move the needle on any of that. Last week, at her town hall with Pelosi, Speier briefly discussed the possibility of holding a sit-in on the House floor in protest of Nunes and in support of a real independent investigation. I really hope that happens; I can't imagine there wouldn't be a ton of public support.
posted by zachlipton at 8:56 PM on April 1 [34 favorites]


chris24: "And Trump is at 34% with Inds which Obama never did."

Yeah, the indys are going to be key for mid-terms and 2020. I think it's reasonable to expect his approval among Rs to continue to erode, but it's going to hit a minimum of rock-solid supporters that he won't lose under any circumstance. But the he's already at near zero approval among Ds, and every indication is that Indies are very skeptical.

There's been a fair amount of research that self-identified Independents mostly vote for one party or the other, but I think the fact that they do self-ident as not in a party probably indicates they are a little less "my X, right or wrong" than party members.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:33 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


And McClatchy/Marist also has him at 78% approval with Rs. Which sounds high, but really isn't that great. Obama never dropped below 80% with Dems in his first year. And Trump is at 34% with Inds which Obama never did.

I can't help but wonder what would've happen if the Obama DOJ had really went after the Wall St. prepetrators of the 2008 collapse, 80s savings and loan style, and actually offered relief to real 'Muricans in the form of mortgage cramdowns, debt relief, forclosure postponements, etc, instead of bailing out banks and calling it a day. The people in the midwest that flipped Obama->Trump, a lot of them had valid reasons for feeling left behind and not vindicated by the Wall Street recovery while they lost their homes, jobs, and very communities, but billionaires and banks lost nothing and doing better than ever.

Some of them voted for the change candidate again, just like they did in 2008 (yes, a fuckload of them voted for the Racist White Guy who blamed it all on the Mexicans) but could that opening have been prevented by real punishment for the people responsible for crashing the world economy, instead of rewarding those same people? Was there a different response that could've left less people hurting and looking for a scapegoat? Probably. Voting for change feels good, and it worked pretty well relative to 2008. Given the clear choice, we've seen "change" is going to a lot of people's default. The 'vote the bums out' has a long tradition, regardless of the actual merits or candidates involved.

And objectively, neither party over the last 16-20 years has really worked for "middle America" economically, and the voters aren't entirely stupid. They know it. They might not be smart enough to properly attribute blame, and be susceptible to fringe, nationalist, racist, illogical, reasons for why, but they're not completely wrong. It is harder to get a good job. Homes do cost a lot more. College does cost a lot more. A lot more jobs do require college degrees anyway. Average wages haven't kept up. Their boss really does buy a new Porche every single year anyway, even though half of the department got laid off this year.

Democrats have to have answers next time. Not, "That guy is terrible" not, "the world's economy doesn't need you anymore", not, "America ['s banks] is already great so everything is fine", real answers. And it's getting harder to find those all the time.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:13 PM on April 1 [51 favorites]


Thanks again zachlipton. You are extremely lucky to even have an event like that that you could attend and the fact that Speier called it Russia 101 [No burying the lede here. It is a shot across the bow] and she is a member of the House Intelligence Committee holding forth alongside a former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. NONE of us will see that in our states I'd bet. Or pretty damn close to none.
posted by futz at 10:21 PM on April 1 [21 favorites]


At LAWeekly, Henry Rollins makes some observations about Trump's trips to Mar-a-Lago.
He called his repulsive property the “winter White House,” no doubt to put that into the country’s vocabulary, to be parroted by assholes like Sean Hannity going forward. Right then I knew he was going to try to spend as much time there as he could ...
posted by valetta at 10:47 PM on April 1 [14 favorites]


NY Post hacked to broadcast message for Trump through Post app.
Heil President Donald Trump! Hear me now, for I speak as an angel in the words of God. In casting truth into the darkness of your shadow, you have gravely sinned... And yet, for your generosity of spirit and sharpness of mind, salvation remains within reach. Open your heart to those you do not understand and listen to all those you fear and look down upon. For in truth, there is no other. Take your time, hurry up, the choice is yours, but don't be late... For the fate of your soul is soon to be decided. With Lucid Love, Selah.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 11:40 PM on April 1


Every genre has its Jonathon Chait, and for 80s South Bay punk rock, it's Henry Rollins.
posted by notyou at 11:51 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


I haven't listened to his music much in the last 20 years, but it was pretty swell of Rollins to introduce me Suicide, The Birthday Party, Flipper, etc during my formative years. I don't imagine Chait will be doing anything nearly as cool for anyone any time soon.

Rollins' article was okay. All of it was old news to someone who is paying attention to these threads, but however large or small the population of people is who are reading Rollins' columns while not paying much attention to the news, I'm glad that they are able to get this information somewhere.
posted by bootlegpop at 12:33 AM on April 2 [11 favorites]


I'm standing here in the checkout line and there's a tabloid with a big "Hillary Caught Taking Bribes " headline and smaller headlines suggesting Russian connections and that she and Obama will be going to jail and I'm reminded that this is what a chunk of the country believes. I suspect they believe in Batboy too. I once again deem democracy a failed experiment and propose we go back to philosopher kings.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:29 AM on April 2 [10 favorites]


I dunno. Aren't academic philosophy departments ruled by philosopher kings? Judging by comments on AskMe, that doesn't always go so well.

Are geography departments well-ruled? Maybe geographer kings. At least they'd have a very thorough idea of what they were ruling.
posted by XMLicious at 2:15 AM on April 2 [16 favorites]


With stenographer kings, at least we'd have a full and complete record.
posted by taz at 2:21 AM on April 2 [46 favorites]


I understand that Pence is right behind the theocratic kings plan.
posted by jaduncan at 2:35 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]


Aren't academic philosophy departments ruled by philosopher kings?

Nah. We're ruled by university administrators who are almost never philosophers. And even if we did rule ourselves, it's unclear that any of us would be sufficiently king-like. :)
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 2:48 AM on April 2 [9 favorites]


WaPo article on Bannon and the Mercer family:
The Mercers have exerted pressure on the political system by helping erect an alternative media ecosystem, whose storylines dominated the 2016 race.

Their alliance with Bannon provided fuel for the narrative that drove Trump’s victory: that dangerous immigrants are ruining the country and corrupt power brokers are sabotaging Washington.

Before his work in the White House, Stephen K. Bannon was involved in several ventures with mega-donor Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah.

The wealthy New York family and the former investment banker-turned-media executive collaborated on at least five ventures between 2011 and 2016, according to a Washington Post review of public filings and multiple people familiar with their relationship. The extent of their partnership has not previously been reported.
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:53 AM on April 2 [11 favorites]


I'm standing here in the checkout line and there's a tabloid with a big "Hillary Caught Taking Bribes " headline and smaller headlines suggesting Russian connections

That seems to be the alt-right explanation for this whole Russia investigation. I had someone on Facebook seriously say in response to Mike Flynn asking for immunity, that "He's about to testify against Hillary and Obama."

Who needs the truth...
posted by mmoncur at 3:58 AM on April 2 [9 favorites]


I feel like some Americans watched the scenes in Men in Black where the tabloids turn out to be true and thought they were watching a documentary.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:39 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]


I'm standing here in the checkout line and there's a tabloid with a big "Hillary Caught Taking Bribes " headline

It's probably the National Enquirer. They endorsed Trump and have been printing lurid anti-Clinton stuff for a long time. The paper was once owned by Rupert Murdoch; he sold it off, but I presume a lot of his people are still there.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:32 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


Near the beginning of the first of a series from the LA Times about Donald Trump's train-wreck presidency:
Still, nothing prepared us for the magnitude of this train wreck. Like millions of other Americans, we clung to a slim hope that the new president would turn out to be all noise and bluster, or that the people around him in the White House would act as a check on his worst instincts, or that he would be sobered and transformed by the awesome responsibilities of office.

Instead, seventy-some days in — and with about 1,400 to go before his term is completed — it is increasingly clear that those hopes were misplaced.
posted by kingless at 5:32 AM on April 2 [15 favorites]


Who is this "we", LA Times, and why are they not ashamed of being that gullible?
posted by winna at 5:46 AM on April 2 [33 favorites]


@mcuban
1) Here is my take on Trump and Russia


First, as has been pointed out upthread, Trump has been dealing with the Russians for decades, from the Soviet government to Putin, from oligarchs to organized crime. His real estate holdings and casinos are prime opportunities for mafiya money-laundering. If Cuban thinks that Trump isn't aware of who he's been doing business with, then he's being more naive than he's accusing Trump of being.

Second, Cuban's been a lot softer on Trump following the election - and after his surprise meeting with Steve Bannon. This Trump-as-disengaged-boss sounds much too much like Reagan's Iran-Contra defense for Cuban to float it unprompted on Twitter - where Trump, Bannon, et al. can see how it plays with the public.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:57 AM on April 2 [34 favorites]


It's probably the National Enquirer. They endorsed Trump and have been printing lurid anti-Clinton stuff for a long time.

Months ago, someone mentioned that when they see the National Enquirer at the market, they turn it backwards so the back cover shows. I started doing this at my (blue bubble) Vons and now I notice that other people must definitely be doing it, too, because they're often already turned around. Now I also do it whenever someone named Trump is on a cover. Resist!
posted by Room 641-A at 6:38 AM on April 2 [52 favorites]


Will anything come of this? A girl can dream....

Trump aide accused of Hatch Act violation after urging Amash primary challenge
Dan Scavino Jr., director of social media and senior White House adviser, tweeted that Michigan Rep. Justin Amash is a "big liability" for the state and encouraged a GOP primary opponent to oust him in 2018.

[...]

But that tweet, sent from Scavino's personal Twitter account, immediately landed him in controversy as ethics lawyers called out Scavino for possibly violating the Hatch Act, a Depression-era law that regulates campaigning by government officials.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:56 AM on April 2 [6 favorites]


It's probably the National Enquirer. They endorsed Trump and have been printing lurid anti-Clinton stuff for a long time.

David Pecker, the CEO of the Enquirer's publisher, American Media, is one of Trump's few longstanding friends. During the election campaign, Pecker released a statement saying "I have known Donald Trump for 25 years and I am proud to call him a friend. I support his candidacy for President and greatly admire what he has achieved in a relatively short period of time as a non-politician." Since the election, the Enquirer's been even more pro-Trump, if anything. It's practically a house organ for the administration - and it's in practically every supermarket and drugstore checkout counter in the nation.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:00 AM on April 2 [13 favorites]


Still, nothing prepared us for the magnitude of this train wreck.

Not like, I dunno, every second of his fucking campaign? The chaos of constant personnel changes, rewarding loyalty instead of excellence (or even competence), the lack of professionalism, the hate? He promised he would enact a deportation force, destroy environmental regulations, ignore global warming. His lack of knowledge and ridiculous promises showed plenty of us that he was not serious about fixing problems with the ACA. Ditto crime and education. He made it apparent in every moment leading up to Nov that a large part of the reasoning behind his actions was simply to piss off liberals and whip up his base.

The handwringing LA Times article states that the worst thing about Trump is Trump himself. Yeah, no shit. Millions of people realized that a year or more ago. This is why when he won so many of us spiraled into a depressive funk. It wasn't because we lost; it was because he won.
posted by chaoticgood at 7:01 AM on April 2 [92 favorites]


Run-off election in Ecuador today which will likely decide Julian Assange's fate:

The vote is a run-off between left-wing Lenin Moreno, who is backed by President Correa, and conservative Guillermo Lasso.

...

Mr Lasso has said he will kick Julian Assange out of the embassy within 30 days if he wins.

Mr Moreno said he would let him stay as long as he refrained from releasing material on "friendly" countries.

posted by bluecore at 7:06 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


re: independents, my dad makes a big deal out of being one, and I would probably describe him as falling squarely in the 'fuck you got mine' category of well-off white dudes who have no problem with liberal social policy but usually vote their wallets anyway.

He haaaaaaates the Clintons and has for as long as I can remember, to a degree that is genuinely irrational. Once, during the election, I asked him for his opinion on HRC's plan for combating prescription drug abuse (he's a doctor) and he immediately derailed into some nonsense about Vince Foster. For much of last year he posted tons of badly-sourced right-wing nonsense on Facebook and was super combative in the comments of some of my posts.

He says he voted for Obama in 08, Romney in 12. He voted for Trump. After the election, when I was freaking out, he said a lot of things like 'well, now the campaign is over, things will calm down' and 'it won't be that bad' and 'we've survived bad presidents before.'

Now? Crickets. He hasn't posted anything politics-related in almost a month, hasn't commented anywhere I can see. The Passover seder should be interesting. I'll report back.
posted by nonasuch at 7:07 AM on April 2 [98 favorites]


It's probably the National Enquirer. They endorsed Trump and have been printing lurid anti-Clinton stuff for a long time. The paper was once owned by Rupert Murdoch; he sold it off, but I presume a lot of his people are still there.

Trump is friends with the current National Enquirer CEO, too; and Trump has actually written (or perhaps 'written') articles for the Enquirer, as well as (allegedly) feeding the paper a lot of opposition research (and unproven rumors) during the Republican primaries. The Enquirer has also used its tabloid cred to solicit and then bury pieces of anti-Trump tabloid news, in one case allegedly paying $150,000 to buy the rights to a story about Trump having an affair, in order to not publish it and use the rights to squash any attempts to publish it elsewhere (the Enquirer acknowledges the payment but denies this was the reason).
posted by cjelli at 7:08 AM on April 2 [15 favorites]


The Passover seder should be interesting. I'll report back.

"Next year at the embassy in Jerusalem!"
posted by Talez at 7:19 AM on April 2 [19 favorites]


I'm caught up on the discussions? I'm caught up with the discussions!

michswiss when the threads paused.
posted by michswiss at 7:38 AM on April 2 [35 favorites]


Will anything come of this? A girl can dream....

'[fill in the blank] accused of [fill in the blank] violation after [fill in the blank]'

I don't care if it's the big stuff or the small stuff right now; I'm just longing to see the word CHARGED or INDICTED. Personally, I need to start seeing some consequences for all these violations before I lose my grip on reality.
posted by ezust at 7:45 AM on April 2 [11 favorites]


many people are quoting that paragraph from the LA Times editorial because it seems pre-assembled for hot takes, but everyone conveniently leaves off the sentence before it:
The Times called him unprepared and unsuited for the job he was seeking, and said his election would be a “catastrophe.”
posted by murphy slaw at 7:49 AM on April 2 [8 favorites]


It's an tweety morning for him. As the old song says, "There's something in a Sunday / that makes a Trumpy feel alone."

@realDonaldTrump

Anybody (especially Fake News media) who thinks that Repeal & Replace of ObamaCare is dead does not know the love and strength in R Party!
Talks on Repealing and Replacing ObamaCare are, and have been, going on, and will continue until such time as a deal is hopefully struck.
The real story turns out to be SURVEILLANCE and LEAKING! Find the leakers.

posted by Rust Moranis at 7:54 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


I for reals did not expect Trump to start tweeting about all the love in the GOP.
posted by angrycat at 7:59 AM on April 2 [16 favorites]


love and strength in R Party!

Love? R means Republicans not Rotarians, right? He srs?
posted by Talez at 8:01 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]


hey folks, it's love AND strength

so he doesn't have to say "no homo" explicitly
posted by murphy slaw at 8:06 AM on April 2 [7 favorites]




Talks on Repealing and Replacing ObamaCare are, and have been, going on, and will continue until such time as a deal is hopefully struck.

This is not a sentence he could parse, let alone generate - even assuming 'hopefully' was in his vocabulary.

It's going to be interesting to see how the paranoid conspiracy shtick will play out, now that he's the president and in entirely the right place to find things out for himself. The only way I can see is that he increases the demonisation of the intelligence community - he can't very well order some masive review, as there's nothing to find (how are those millions of illegal voters doing?), so he either has to burn them to the ground or keep hopping from lilypad to lilypad and hope nobody cares.
posted by Devonian at 8:08 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


I for reals did not expect Trump to start tweeting about all the love in the GOP.

Wake 'n bake!
posted by octobersurprise at 8:13 AM on April 2 [9 favorites]


never has the synecdoche of the president for the entire executive branch been more strained. we're constantly speculating about the motivations and plans of "Trump" as if he was a coherent unitary actor, when in reality he's a massively reactive creature of instinct, buffeted around by his narcissistic impulses and the tuggings and shovings of various factions in his inner circle

reasoning about this administration is like trying to guess the destination of a clown car full of drunks that pulls a chinese fire drill and switches drivers at every intersection
posted by murphy slaw at 8:17 AM on April 2 [45 favorites]


Charlie Mackenzie: Hey Mom, I find it interesting that you refer to the Weekly World News as, "The paper." The paper contains facts.

May Mackenzie: This paper contains facts. And this paper has the eighth highest circulation in the whole wide world. Right? Plenty of facts. "Pregnant man gives birth." That's a fact.
posted by jferg at 8:17 AM on April 2 [13 favorites]


Trump is now with Rand Paul in the clubhouse of Trump National Golf Club in Virginia. Sen. Paul is wearing khakis & a windbreaker, per pool. Looks like Trump is trying to reign in the senate votes.

Which makes this the ninth consecutive weekend in the row that Trump has spent at a Trump-owned property, out of eleven since taking office, and at least his 14th golf outing.
posted by cjelli at 8:43 AM on April 2 [28 favorites]


I'm caught up on the discussions? I'm caught up with the discussions!

That feel when you aren't sure if you're caught up or if the thread just isn't reloading properly.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 8:50 AM on April 2 [23 favorites]


I'm imagining all the furious scheduling still happening at the administration-level of the WH like it has to, only now the guy in charge keeps asking 'can we schedule it on the course?' because that's where he's always done his business. Pussy grabber in the White House is Awkward-Handshake-With-Obama and Walking-Out-Without-Signing-Executive-Orders President. Pussy grabber on the golf course closes deals and grabs pussy.
posted by carsonb at 8:53 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


And everyone actually desiring a meeting with the guy is like, 'Golf with the P? Fuck yeah!' because that is what those types of human have always said.
posted by carsonb at 8:55 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


May Mackenzie: This paper contains facts. And this paper has the eighth highest circulation in the whole wide world. Right? Plenty of facts. "Pregnant man gives birth." That's a fact.

Pregnant man is what gives it plausibility. If it was just a man giving birth that would be ridiculous.
posted by srboisvert at 8:58 AM on April 2 [11 favorites]


The National Enquirer: Democracy Dies in Dogshit.
posted by spitbull at 9:30 AM on April 2 [15 favorites]


The thing about hacked voter rolls and intimate data is that, when I volunteered on a Congressional campaign last year, the campaign had all the data that was in the voter rolls. It's public information. You get it by making an open records request. Some states restrict it more than others. Most states don't host it online (except maybe ohio??) so you have to make a formal request, and there's a small fee. You can't use it for commercial purposes, but a company like Cambridge Analytica can probably legitimately say that they're researchers.

Point is that AS FAR AS I KNOW there's no information you can get by hacking that they can't get by a regular open records request. And they could just as easily get it by hacking a Senate campaign. If Russians hacked the voter rolls, they probably didn't do it for information.

and that is as far as I will speculate because I feel crazier every time I say the word "Russians".
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 9:41 AM on April 2 [15 favorites]


Point is that AS FAR AS I KNOW there's no information you can get by hacking that they can't get by a regular open records request. And they could just as easily get it by hacking a Senate campaign. If Russians hacked the voter rolls, they probably didn't do it for information.

There's more than one class of objective in hacking. In Infosec we have a concept called the CIA triangle: Confidentiality, Integrity, Access. They're the three aspects of data we try to protect & hackers try to compromise. I saw a report that said investigators believe the purpose of one such hacking attempt was to alter the names of Democrats to trigger interstate cross-checking & invalidation of their votes. That's an attack on Integrity of the data, not Confidentiality.
posted by scalefree at 10:14 AM on April 2 [43 favorites]


Trump's approval rating started off shitty with every demographic group but Republicans. But it has declined since inauguration with every single demographic group Gallup measures.

All 42 of them.

From 3 to 11 point drops.
posted by chris24 at 10:24 AM on April 2 [34 favorites]


Sen. Donnelly (Ind.) is a YES on Gorsuch. Making it a total of 3 Dems so far. =(
posted by melissasaurus at 10:49 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


I saw a report that said investigators believe the purpose of one such hacking attempt was to alter the names of Democrats to trigger interstate cross-checking & invalidation of their votes. That's an attack on Integrity of the data, not Confidentiality.

Link please. Very interested!
posted by BentFranklin at 10:50 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


Sen. Donnelly (Ind.) is a YES on Gorsuch. Making it a total of 3 Dems so far. =(

Schumer said on MTP this morning that "it looks like Gorsuch will not reach the 60-vote margin" needed to overcome a filibuster. I hope he's right.
posted by chris24 at 11:04 AM on April 2 [18 favorites]


I saw a report that said investigators believe the purpose of one such hacking attempt was to alter the names of Democrats to trigger interstate cross-checking & invalidation of their votes. That's an attack on Integrity of the data, not Confidentiality.

I remember this as well from the election threads.
posted by maggiemaggie at 11:04 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]


This WaPo story makes Bannon's nationalism and populism seem phony as a three dollar bill. I had thought he was a true believer in all that stuff, awful as it is. Now I think there's a good chance he's gonna turn out to be involved in international money laundering too. Seems like he moves in the right circles. So if not Bannon, are there any true believers on Trump's team? Or are they all just con men?
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:05 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


Joe Manchin’s high-wire act: Working with Trump — and criticizing both parties

On Thursday, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin III became the first Democratic senator to support President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

On Friday, he came to this town of 484 people to explain why.

The United Mine Workers of America was hosting Manchin for an ask-anything town hall meeting, and one of the first skeptical questions focused on what “working people” could expect from Judge Neil Gorsuch
.

“Well, I talked to Merrick Garland” — former president Barack Obama’s nominee for the same court vacancy, whom Republicans blocked last year. “I thought he was a good man. He never ruled in favor of anybody but the agencies, which were killing us. And I said, ‘Judge Garland, how come the agencies always win with you? How come the average person never does, not once?’ ”

This article made me hate him even more.
posted by futz at 11:10 AM on April 2 [36 favorites]


They are all just con men.
posted by rikschell at 11:20 AM on April 2 [7 favorites]


I'm standing here in the checkout line and there's a tabloid with a big "Hillary Caught Taking Bribes " headline and smaller headlines suggesting Russian connections and that she and Obama will be going to jail and I'm reminded that this is what a chunk of the country believes. I suspect they believe in Batboy too. I once again deem democracy a failed experiment and propose we go back to philosopher kings.

quoting the whole thing because I believe The National Enquirer's propaganda campaign is what put Trump over the top in the "Blue Wall" states.

I buy distilled water at a Winco every week or so and got to see the drumbeat of smears on the Enquirer covers, and EVERY shopper at hoi polloi grocery stores heading into the election got the same exposure, week after week.

The Enquirer is not of the "Batboy" level of BS tabloids. Historically the dirt they dish on celebrities and politicians has been true, or failing that in some instances, at least believable.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 11:21 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


Two lovely tidbits from today:
Adam Schiff on State of the Union - best quote is "when Donald Trump calls something fake news, that's where we should look". This man restores my faith in my government.
SOTU

and from WaPo
A judge rules Trump may have incited violence

Today was a good day!
posted by bluesky43 at 11:21 AM on April 2 [22 favorites]


Trump's approval rating started off shitty with every demographic group but Republicans. But it has declined since inauguration with every single demographic group Gallup measures.

All 42 of them.

From 3 to 11 point drops.


And those demographics with low drops (under 5 points) are Conservatives (-3) who are a lost cause, but mostly groups who didn't have a lot to drop (Liberal Democrat, Liberal, Black, Nonwhite). Who is dropping 9, 10, 11 points? Moderates, Pure Independents, Independents, Income 60-90K. The swing demos.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:26 AM on April 2 [33 favorites]


It's like I live beneath a huge evil centipede, and I climbed into bed several months ago and the EC took of and heavily dropped his first shoe. Here I lie, full of anticipation and dread. When are the other 99 shoes going to DROP, dammit? What is he waiting for up there? I can't sleep. (For the purposes of this tortured metaphor, and IRL.)
posted by thebrokedown at 11:35 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]


When a judge rules that the POTUS may have incited violence, and my reaction is "GOOD!" it is a bleak timeline indeed.
posted by thebrokedown at 11:39 AM on April 2 [42 favorites]


It's like I live beneath a huge evil centipede, and I climbed into bed several months ago and the EC took of and heavily dropped his first shoe. Here I lie, full of anticipation and dread. When are the other 99 shoes going to DROP, dammit?

Lol:

McCain on Russia probe: 'Every time we turn around, another shoe drops from this centipede'
posted by futz at 11:42 AM on April 2 [26 favorites]


Oh Jesus. Now I'm sharing a brain with John McCain?!
posted by thebrokedown at 11:44 AM on April 2 [25 favorites]


Oh Jesus. Now I'm sharing a brain with John McCain?!

I'd watch that sitcom.
posted by chris24 at 11:55 AM on April 2 [39 favorites]


evil centipede == EC == electoral college
connect the dots sheeple
posted by murphy slaw at 12:00 PM on April 2 [55 favorites]


Sen. Donnelly (Ind.) is a YES on Gorsuch. Making it a total of 3 Dems so far. =(

If you give conservative voters a choice between a Republican and Republican-lite, they're going to vote for the real thing. Do women's groups in Indiana not matter? Labor? Because they sure as shit won't be fired up for this guy, and who do you think works to get out the vote for 2018? It's like he's learned nothing from Hillary's electoral implosion.
posted by indubitable at 12:05 PM on April 2 [8 favorites]


Now I'm sharing a brain with John McCain

I didn't think there was a need for a sequel to Being John Malkovitch, but your pitch intrigues me.
posted by nubs at 12:05 PM on April 2 [11 favorites]


tfw you're about to link an article in the new yorker that starts out "this can't go on much longer, can it?" and then you realize it's from February 14th.
posted by murphy slaw at 12:19 PM on April 2 [14 favorites]


>>That's an attack on Integrity of the data, not Confidentiality.

>Link please. Very interested!
posted by BentFranklin at 10:50 AM on April 2 [1 favorite +] [!]

Eponysinister!
posted by acrasis at 12:47 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]




>>>That's an attack on Integrity of the data, not Confidentiality.

>>Link please. Very interested!
>>posted by BentFranklin at 10:50 AM on April 2 [1 favorite +] [!]

>Eponysinister!

Wut?
posted by BentFranklin at 1:00 PM on April 2


No way, I reached the end. Or has there been a new thread?
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 1:04 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


Nah, just a sleepy Sunday and we all spent yesterday doing goofy roleplaying in MetaTalk instead of chatting about politics quite so much.
posted by cortex at 1:05 PM on April 2 [9 favorites]


That's an attack on Integrity of the data, not Confidentiality.

Link please. Very interested!


Best I can give you is I think it was the cybersecurity expert who testified before SSCI last week.
posted by scalefree at 1:12 PM on April 2


I've just started the Semantic Analysis article so comments in a few. BUT the article has THE.MOST.AWESOME graphic of donald trump's head I have ever seen.
posted by bluesky43 at 1:20 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Yesterday I ran into the fact that Edgar Allan Poe's first posthumous collection in 1852 was named Tales of Mystery, Imagination and Humour and I was thinking to myself, humour? So, I looked up an old copy. Some stories, like A Few Words With A Mummy were of that sort of wispy dry satire that Washington Irving used to do.

The mummy in question, Count Alamistakeo, was revived from Ancient Egypt and made commentary in the nature of, you think you are so advanced, Egypt did it first. One section commented on democracy in general and seems relevant to Trump:

Thirteen Egyptian provinces determined all at once to be free, and to set a magnificent example to the rest of mankind. They assembled their wise men, and concocted the most ingenious constitution it is possible to conceive. For a while they managed remarkably well; only their habit of bragging was prodigious. The thing ended, however, in the consolidation of the thirteen states, with some fifteen or twenty others, in the most odious and insupportable despotism that was ever heard of upon the face of the Earth.

I asked what was the name of the usurping tyrant.

As well as the Count could recollect, it was Mob.

At the end the protagonist of the story decides to use the mummy's secret of eternal life to go to sleep and wake up to find out who is president in the 21st century.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:22 PM on April 2 [24 favorites]


Man, that diagram from Room 641-A's link says it all (it shows the subreddits closest in character to those of each candidate).
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:26 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


White House pulled out of meet and greet with ‘conservatives’ favorite Russian’ over suspected mob ties

The White House abruptly canceled a scheduled meeting in February between President Trump and a high-level Russian central banker after a national security aide discovered the official had been named by Spanish police as a suspected “godfather” of an organized crime and money-laundering ring, according to an administration official and four other sources familiar with the event.

The event had been planned as a meet and greet with President Trump and Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of the Bank of Russia and a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, in a waiting room at the Washington Hilton before the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 2. Torshin, a top official in his country’s central bank, headed a Russian delegation to the annual event and was among a small number of guests who had been invited by Prayer Breakfast leaders to meet with Trump before it began.

posted by futz at 1:36 PM on April 2 [11 favorites]


Trump remains the center of attention, but he's increasingly isolated politically (WaPo)
For a second consecutive weekend, President Trump remained in Washington — tweeting in the morning, holding meetings at the White House and heading to his Virginia golf club on Sunday — all the time surrounded by aides and patrons yet, increasingly, politically marooned.

Weighed down by dismal approval ratings, the president has been unable to wrangle enough support in Congress to advance his agenda and is searching for outside support to defend him from attacks coming from all sides.
posted by kingless at 1:39 PM on April 2 [7 favorites]


Since we're all kicking back a bit, here's the surreally amusing Trump's Ties Twitter account.
posted by Devonian at 1:49 PM on April 2 [28 favorites]


Holy sartorial subtext, Batman.
posted by XMLicious at 2:18 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


From kingless's article:
the White House’s insistence on increased spending for the military and a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border could imperil a spending bill needed to keep the government running past the end of April.
If the Congress really cares about reduced spending, they should pass legislation, with veto-proof majorities, to block the President's ability to mint a $1T coin.
posted by Coventry at 2:19 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


Treasury says "no" to Trillion-dollar coin

Brother, can you spare an even?
posted by petebest at 2:28 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


German thieves would probably steal it.
posted by XMLicious at 2:29 PM on April 2 [10 favorites]


That trillion dollar coin article is from 2013.
posted by litlnemo at 2:51 PM on April 2


It's still relevant, although I don't know how much a "No" to the President means from an office of the executive branch. Can the President just keep firing Secretaries of the Treasury until he gets someone who'll do his bidding, like Nixon did with the Attorney General?
posted by Coventry at 2:55 PM on April 2


The trillion dollar coin only affects the debt limit, by putting some extra money in the Treasury's bank account at the Fed. It's still illegal for the government to spend any money not appropriated by Congress, which is the more immediate shutdown issue.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:00 PM on April 2 [7 favorites]


Man, that diagram from Room 641-A's link says it all (it shows the subreddits closest in character to those of each candidate).

Yep it really illustrates the economic anxiety felt by Trump voters.
posted by Justinian at 3:07 PM on April 2 [29 favorites]


Trump Backtracks: Actually I 'Didn't Want To Take A Vote' On O'Care Repeal

President Donald Trump said in an interview published Sunday that he "didn't want to take a vote" on the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, despite demanding one less than 24 hours before the legislation was pulled.

"You know that we didn’t take a vote," Trump said in an interview with the Financial Times. "I didn’t want to take a vote. It was my idea. I said why should I take a vote."

Less than 24 hours before Republicans choked and pulled the bill, unable to muster the votes for its passage amid defections from both moderate and conservative members, Trump pushed for the legislation to go to the floor anyway.

"Yeah, I don’t lose. I don’t like to lose," Trump told the Financial Times...


LIAR
posted by futz at 3:09 PM on April 2 [23 favorites]


The hilarious part is that he's spending all his time courting and/or blaming the Freedom Caucus and folks like Rand Paul, when it was actually moderates that killed the bill.
posted by zachlipton at 3:11 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


It's easier to bully moderates who are used to that kind of treatment by now, than to pit yourself against the ideological heart of the party and attempt to undo the movement that made you.
posted by Selena777 at 3:16 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


The trillion dollar coin only affects the debt limit, by putting some extra money in the Treasury's bank account at the Fed. It's still illegal for the government to spend any money not appropriated by Congress, which is the more immediate shutdown issue.

Right; and the debt limit is simultaneously already an issue and not an issue until autumn, but the spending limit is less than a month away.

To separate out the two issues, the federal borrowing cap (the debt limit) kicked in on March 15th (or, put another way, the lifting of the cap expired); the Treasury Department is currently using 'extraordinary measures' to meet budgeting requirements and debt obligations, which are expected to work through August or November (depending on who you ask and what assumptions they make in that estimate).

Coming up earlier than that, though, is the spending authorization, set by the last continuing resolution in December, which runs through April 28th.
posted by cjelli at 3:21 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


An interesting study and charts on the GOP electorate. Trump didn't bring out their authoritarianism, he took advantage of it. Rs have been hugely authoritarian since 2000.

But one thing that did change? Racism. It increased significantly between 2008 and 2016.
posted by chris24 at 3:27 PM on April 2 [48 favorites]


Rediculous word salad from Trump on tariffs.

Please also enjoy the story of a rancher on the border who spent 30 years in the border patrol. He voted for Trump because he didn't want "to see the country go socialism" but says he'll resist the government taking his land to build the wall.
posted by zachlipton at 3:30 PM on April 2 [15 favorites]



Man, that diagram from Room 641-A's link says it all (it shows the subreddits closest in character to those of each candidate).


I thought Reddit had banned r/fatpeoplehate?
posted by thelonius at 3:58 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Graham booed at town hall after saying he will vote for Gorsuch

Graham chided Democratic senators who have threatened to filibuster the nomination.

“If I have to, I will vote to change the rules because I am not going to allow President Trump to be denied the same opportunity that every president has had for 200 years because you’re mad, and you can’t accept the outcome of an election,” he said, to more boos from the audience.


What a fucking pathetic piece of shit/liar/hypocrite/dick... *sputters*
posted by futz at 4:09 PM on April 2 [39 favorites]


How many judges even have their decisions pushed up and seen by a higher court, like, ever?

I call bullshit on the 1 out of 2700 reversal stat.
posted by Yowser at 4:18 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Uhhh, I missed this shocker in Trump's FT interview:
In France, Marine Le Pen has a very similar message to you, not identical. Do you think a victory for her would validate what you have done here?

I don’t know what is going to happen. I know that some outside distractions have taken place which have changed that race. That’s going to be an interesting race. I really don’t know and I don’t know her. I have never met her. It’s going to be a very interesting election. But you know some outside things have happened that maybe will change the course of that race.
Is...is he talking about Putin?
posted by zachlipton at 4:48 PM on April 2 [9 favorites]


Is...is he talking about Putin?
I think he may be trying to hide the fact that he doesn't know anything about the French election and can't really remember who Marine Le Pen is.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:50 PM on April 2 [56 favorites]


I thought he was talking about the high profile nepotism and embezzlement scandals.
posted by mbrubeck at 4:51 PM on April 2


Re: Room 641-A's link to the 538 Reddit analysis article:

I had always assumed that /the_donald was significantly populated by Russians and bots trying to whip up more hate and disinfo and trying to game the reddit ranking engine. I know there are plenty of proud deplorables there too, but trying to extrapolate any meaningful information about internet or voter trends from /the_donald seems like a colossal waste of time.
posted by p3t3 at 4:54 PM on April 2 [6 favorites]


Ayy, Russian "trolls" are really obvious on Twitter(background pic is the constitution or a generic landscape photo) it's much easier for them to hide on the_donald.
posted by Yowser at 4:56 PM on April 2


Almost forgot, profile photo on twitter for a Russian troll is usually an attractive woman; cites 2nd amendment in their profile description, is from the Midwest.
posted by Yowser at 4:58 PM on April 2 [10 favorites]


Looks like Tester is a no on Gorsuch; unclear whether he's a no on cloture.
posted by melissasaurus at 5:16 PM on April 2 [9 favorites]


Looks to me like Schumer thinks he has the votes for filibustering Gorsuch locked up and that's why we've seen a couple of the endangered red state Dems come out for him in the last few days; Schumer would have told them to do what they have to do because he doesn't need their votes.
posted by Justinian at 5:27 PM on April 2 [13 favorites]


(And that's how you do politics. You don't suicide politically unless your vote is needed like when a lot of endangered dems had to take one for the team on passing Obamacare.)
posted by Justinian at 5:28 PM on April 2 [22 favorites]


Ok - this statement [screencap in tweet] says Tester is a no on cloture too!

I think we're still waiting on:
Mark Warner
Dianne Feinstein
Chris Coons
Bob Menendez
Michael Bennet
Angus King
posted by melissasaurus at 5:29 PM on April 2 [10 favorites]


Please also enjoy the story of a rancher on the border who spent 30 years in the border patrol. He voted for Trump because he didn't want "to see the country go socialism" but says he'll resist the government taking his land to build the wall.

I think your definition of "enjoy" is different than mine.

It's hard to know what to hope for when it comes to people so manifestly incapable of seeing their own hypocrisy. If they get hurt, so will a lot of other people who don't deserve it. If they don't, they'll just continue to be unrepentant assholes.

I mourn that there is no surgical strike capability for karma, basically.
posted by emjaybee at 5:36 PM on April 2 [12 favorites]


So is Feinstein one of those endangered dems, or just a shitty dem?
posted by ryanrs at 5:38 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


So is Feinstein one of those endangered dems, or just a shitty dem?

There's a difference?
posted by indubitable at 5:39 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


She's always been a lousy Dem.
posted by gingerbeer at 5:43 PM on April 2 [7 favorites]


Well, she's definitely not endangered.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:45 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


A Cruel New Bill Is About to Become Law in Mississippi - Legislation passed this week would enrich a private contractor while throwing people off public assistance.

-- The conspicuously named HOPE Act (Act to Restore Hope Opportunity and Prosperity for Everyone), introduced by Mississippi State Representative Chris Brown, passed the House and Senate and is now expected to be signed into law. The legislation reads like a compilation of all-time favorites from a Republican wish list: It would enrich a private contractor by outsourcing the work of verifying people’s eligibility for social-support programs, including Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps); throw people who likely qualify for assistance off of these programs; and make it more difficult for people to get food and income assistance in the future.

-- Rep. Brown and other proponents claim that the state will save money through this privatized system. But the assertion is belied by the state’s own analysis, which was conducted by a private firm that supports the legislation. It estimated a cost of $10 million to $12 million, with about $2.5 million covered by state taxpayers. Williams said even that would be hard to come up with given the state’s tax and budget cuts over the past two years. But the actual cost will likely be much higher, and the study wrongly assumed that the federal government will pick up most of the tab for the privatized system. Tennessee considered nearly identical legislation and found that it would run $81 million with the state covering 95 percent of the cost. The legislators killed that bill.

“We will be out millions of more dollars that could have benefited children, the elderly, and disabled people who are already neglected due to budget cuts,” said Williams.


Apparently it is better to award a Company even though it will co$t your state much more to do so than to simply continue to help people in genuine need? Silly silly me. I have been enlightened! And here I thought that I was the one who was bad at math!

I swear, the next person who dares to tell me that both parties are the same is going to feel my response on their chin.

Is there any upside to bills like this? If enough people are harmed by these laws will they finally wake up and vote in their own interest or vote compassionately (snort. one can dream) to support the neediest in their communities?
posted by futz at 5:46 PM on April 2 [20 favorites]


I swear, the next person who dares to tell me that both parties are the same is going to feel my response on their chin

Will let you know after the the Gorsuch drama
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:49 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


Yeah, she's not endangered (or wasn't before the election), she's just shitty.

Let's all of her constituents commit to make two sets of phone calls / emails:
1. Direct to Feinstein's office (either CA or DC) to demand a filibuster of Gorsuch, or whatever other completely obvious policy she's currently waffling on, and
2. To Chuck Schumer, identifying ourselves as Feinstein constituents, requesting that she be stripped of all committee assignments and sent back to freshman senator level. Especially as to judiciary.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 5:52 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


Feinstein is not in any danger of losing her next election. The only republicans who might have been a danger to her historically have been republicans who are able to represent themselves as moderate, middle of the road politicians and even they never came close to being a threat. Trump is unpopular in California. I don't see the up side for Feinstein on voting yes on Gorsuch or for cloture.
posted by rdr at 5:53 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


>Tester is a no on Gorsuch; unclear whether he's a no on cloture.

yes on cloture is a yes on Gorsuch taking Garland's seat.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 5:57 PM on April 2 [10 favorites]


Ok - this statement [screencap in tweet] says Tester is a no on cloture too!
posted by melissasaurus at 8:29 PM

>Tester is a no on Gorsuch; unclear whether he's a no on cloture.

yes on cloture is a yes on Gorsuch taking Garland's seat.


melissasaurus is totally aware of that unless I am misunderstanding your point?
posted by futz at 6:08 PM on April 2


Well, she's definitely not endangered.

We should work harder on that.
posted by Artw at 6:10 PM on April 2 [10 favorites]


Last California senate primary election, the top two vote-getters were both Dems, so they faced off in the general. I imagine the same is likely to happen to Feinstein in 2018.
posted by ryanrs at 6:18 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


I am completely on board for replacing Feinstein. I'd hate to lose Schiff as my Rep but he's shown he's got the stuff so I'd vote Schiff for Senate.
posted by Justinian at 6:18 PM on April 2 [14 favorites]


(The 3rd place Republican in 2016 won 7.8% of the vote, lol.)
posted by ryanrs at 6:18 PM on April 2


This bit from Mashable about creating a Trump character in The Sims was an interesting read. Hahaha!Sob
posted by thebrokedown at 6:22 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


Apparently it is better to award a Company even though it will co$t your state much more to do so than to simply continue to help people in genuine need?

That is the Republican perversion of Blackstone's Formulation:

It is better to spend $10 policing welfare than to allow $1 to go to an undeserving person.
posted by JackFlash at 6:26 PM on April 2 [20 favorites]




And for some reason, Jared Kushner is in Iraq.

I thought he was busy fixing the government...
posted by monopas at 6:40 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


It's a darn good thing for the country that the President's son-in-law just so happened to be an expert in mideast peace, stopping opioid abuse, healthcare for veterans, government IT, reorganizing the federal government, rebuilding Iraq, and stopping Trump from doing all the bad stuff he's totally doing anyway like discriminating against LGBT people or walking away from a climate agreement.

I mean, imagine if he was just some guy who inherited a bunch of really expensive real estate from his crooked father and had no knowledge of any of the things he's been put in charge of. That would be terrible.
posted by zachlipton at 6:51 PM on April 2 [109 favorites]


China using Kushner, not State Dept., to sway Trump

White House staff 'passed around Onion article parodying Jared Kushner'

President Trump previously suggested his son-in-law could bring peace to the Middle East and end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
posted by futz at 6:58 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


People should evacuate the cities Kushner visits. At some point, his head will swell to beyond the point where it's integrity can be sustained, collapse in on itself violently, and nova outward.
posted by Slackermagee at 7:06 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


The problem is Trump doesn't have enough family members to spread out the nepotism workload.
posted by ryanrs at 7:12 PM on April 2 [7 favorites]


(And he can't install his friends because he hasn't got any.)
posted by ryanrs at 7:15 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


This could impact Julian Assange’s asylum. So SAD.

Ecuador on edge as both presidential candidates claim victory in tight vote

-- With more than 93 percent of the ballots counted, leftist candidate Lenín Moreno was leading 51 percent to 49 percent over right-wing challenger Guillermo Lasso.

-- Also at stake Sunday night was Julian Assange’s asylum protection at Ecuador’s embassy in London, because Lasso has pledged to evict Assange within 30 days from the embassy, where the WikiLeaks founder took refuge in 2012. Moreno has said Assange can stay.

-- ...analysts say that Assange is likely to try to negotiate his exit in a fashion that would avoid an immediate arrest. If Assange is taken into custody, “I’m pretty sure U.K. authorities would immediately extradite him to Sweden,” said Patrick Eddington, a former CIA agent who is now a national security analyst at the Cato Institute.

posted by futz at 7:16 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


I gotta admit: nepotism always bothers me, but the extra-gross nepotism going on in this administration has really fucked with my enjoyment of the new Mass Effect game. Every time they refer to the protagonist's dad I get this grating sensation up and down my spine.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:20 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


If 1 out of 171 Trump voters in MI, PA, and WI had voted for Hillary, she'd have won.

Yet here we are.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 7:25 PM on April 2 [8 favorites]


And for some reason, Jared Kushner is in Iraq.

Tasked with bringing back their oil?
posted by thelonius at 7:35 PM on April 2 [9 favorites]


And for some reason, Jared Kushner is in Iraq.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen Dunford, is an Obama appointee. He is obviously unable to do his job without a member of the Trump family looking over his shoulder.
posted by peeedro at 7:41 PM on April 2 [8 favorites]


Pretty much what peeedro says. Kushner is almost certainly there on some sort of loyalty-monitoring mission. Cheetoh Mussolini probably doesn't trust whatever military or State officials are there. Why would he ever trust actual professionals over his son-in-law?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:44 PM on April 2


It really scorches my onions that twerp is banging around the planet with a secret service entourage on the taxpayers dime.
posted by valkane at 7:48 PM on April 2 [26 favorites]


a kushner in every pot and a russian in every plot
posted by localhuman at 7:49 PM on April 2 [19 favorites]


I thought that I had posted this already.

FBI probing whether Trump aides helped Russian intel in early 2016

CBS News has learned that U.S. investigators are looking into whether Trump campaign representatives had a role in helping Russian intelligence as it carried out cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and other political targets in March 2016.

This new information suggests that the FBI is going back further than originally reported to determine the extent of possible coordination. Sources say investigators are probing whether an individual or individuals connected to the campaign intentionally or unwittingly helped the Russians breach Democratic Party targets.

In March 2016, both Mr. Trump and Hillary Clinton had emerged as their parties’ most likely nominees.

According to a declassified intelligence assessment, it was in March when Russian hackers “began cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election.” In May, U.S. officials say the Russians had stolen “large volumes of data from the DNC.”

Starting in June, websites like Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks began posting the hacked documents.

In August, Trump confidant Roger Stone tweeted about Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

“Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel,” Stone tweeted.

Then on Oct 7, WikiLeaks began publishing Podesta’s personal emails. It was the same day the Department of Homeland Security and director of national intelligence publicly accused Russia of carrying out the cyberattacks.


Roger Stone just can't help himself. He's not canny at all, he wants everyone to think he's super dooper intelligent when in reality he's a heavy drinker that can't keep his stories straight and exposes his ineptitude at every turn. When Roger Stone gets indicted it will be Roger Stone's fault.
posted by futz at 8:03 PM on April 2 [24 favorites]


CBS News has learned that U.S. investigators are looking into whether Trump campaign representatives had a role in helping Russian intelligence as it carried out cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and other political targets in March 2016.

If true, that's Watergate with added treason. High stakes.
posted by jaduncan at 8:06 PM on April 2 [37 favorites]


The Russian Mafia: A Big Hit at the National Prayer Breakfast


jesus christ
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:10 PM on April 2


I thought he was busy fixing the government...

Did he say which government?
posted by kirkaracha at 8:26 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


Inside the Kushner channel to China
In the meetings, Yang laid out a list of Chinese requests. China wants the Trump administration to adopt its concept of “a new model of great power relations,” Xi’s proposal to avoid conflict and focus on cooperation. China also wants Trump to endorse Xi’s signature “One Belt, One Road” initiative, China’s massive regional infrastructure and development project. China also seeks U.S. noninterference in issues it considers core interests, including Taiwan, Tibet and its internal affairs.

In exchange, the Chinese are prepared to offer as-yet-unspecified investment proposals to help advance Trump’s domestic agenda of creating jobs. Kushner and Cui have kept in close communication and the Chinese leadership has come to rely on the Kushner channel, which was used to help arrange the coming summit.
Wait a minute. This is our negotiating position? Give China everything it could ever dream of (never mentioning those pesky human rights or democracy or freedom in the process), and in exchange, we'll give China the chance to own even more of our country? We're really going to drop our entire China policy and sell them an airport or something all so Trump can stand next to some bulldozers?

This reminds me an awful lot of the same deal China has been hawking, with success, across Africa. Except those are countries that need foreign investment to build up their capabilities and infrastructure, and they're usually smart enough to specify the investment proposals in advance before they give up the store. We obviously don't need to turn our foreign policy on its head to encourage investment; people are flocking to buy our debt at near-zero rates as it is.

It's really hard to overstate how monumentally stupid this sounds.
posted by zachlipton at 8:26 PM on April 2 [61 favorites]


Well, I suspect I know what those attractive "investment proposals" will amount to.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:53 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


WaPo article on Bannon and the Mercer family:

Looks like an interesting battle is shaping up between the Kochs and the Mercers. I'd love to read a good juicy insider tale of that struggle.
posted by msalt at 8:54 PM on April 2


Stupid... or stuptelligent?

The latter being something that is monumentally stupid but that sounds smart to an even stupider person.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:56 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


It's really hard to overstate how monumentally stupid this sounds.

In fairness, that's the PRC negotiating position. That said, Kushner invited them to talk based on that position, and did already stand to gain from the initial round of Chinese investment in 666 Fifth Avenue.

If nothing else, this administration really is an overtime bonanza for government ethics lawyers.
posted by jaduncan at 8:59 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Looks like an interesting battle is shaping up between the Kochs and the Mercers. I'd love to read a good juicy insider tale of that struggle.

Dear Penthouse, My lover is hard of hearing and our political differences have complicated our sex life. We like to talk dirty and "mercy" is our safe word. Can you also please tell him that Koch is not pronounced "cock"?
posted by futz at 9:06 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


If nothing else, this administration really is an overtime bonanza for government ethics lawyers.

Except we're seeing ethics are pretty much just suggestions written down on toilet paper when Republicans are in charge of enforcing them. I believe Rand Paul said it best, "why would we investigate fellow Republicans?"

Doesn't really matter how many former White House Counsels condemn this administration's comical amount of ethics catastrophes as long as Jeff Sessions is AG, and Republicans are in control of the House and Senate Oversight Committees.

But a lot of law professors are going to get tenure writing about it, so, that's something, right?
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:07 PM on April 2 [8 favorites]


T.D. Strange: I spent an entire year on administrative law. It frankly makes me feel viscerally dirty and angry even reviewing some of this stuff.
posted by jaduncan at 9:11 PM on April 2 [7 favorites]


China also wants Trump to endorse Xi’s signature “One Belt, One Road” initiative, China’s massive regional infrastructure and development project. China also seeks U.S. noninterference in issues it considers core interests, including Taiwan, Tibet and its internal affairs.


I need to get on that Mackinder post.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:14 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


Wait a minute. This is our negotiating position? Give China everything it could ever dream of (never mentioning those pesky human rights or democracy or freedom in the process), and in exchange, we'll give China the chance to own even more of our country? We're really going to drop our entire China policy and sell them an airport or something all so Trump can stand next to some bulldozers?

I have no doubt that there are very smart career diplomats in the State Department who would be all over this, explaining the implications and protecting our interests. Unfortunately, the administration apparently views State as dangerous because they can spot corruption and Rex Tillerson is too scared to talk or even make eye contact with this staff.

Ugh ugh ugh.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 9:15 PM on April 2 [10 favorites]


I spent an entire year on administrative law. It frankly makes me feel viscerally dirty and angry even reviewing some of this stuff.

I know, my position is classified as excepted service. I'm subject to more oversight from my agency's OIG ethics officer than Kushner is. Ethics for the federal workforce are like drug testing welfare recipients, only the lowest and least powerful are targeted.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:17 PM on April 2 [9 favorites]


White House Ends Bar Association’s Role in Vetting Judges

I'm merely going to say that seems another further erosion of the ability of adults to intervene. It's saddening, and obviously intentional.
posted by jaduncan at 10:12 PM on April 2 [58 favorites]


Oh, maybe one bit of context. There are currently over 100 vacancies for federal judges after the Republicans blocked pretty much all of Obama's judicial nominees.

I do not really look forward to seeing the nominees for those positions; they are now potentially going to be take-it-or-leave-it without much review, and I suspect that a Republican Senate will take everything they can before 2018.
posted by jaduncan at 11:05 PM on April 2 [27 favorites]


There's no way it can hold. Trump can try to pull the burr out of the sock, but there is an entire blanket that he's sitting on where he is the burr. Career feds are not just going to sit back and twiddle their thumbs for the next mumble years. I'm not saying they're going to go on a vengeful rampage, but the devil makes work for idle hands, and Donald has many devils chasing him.
posted by rhizome at 11:31 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


Long story short: there's going to be a point at which Donald is going to need something from someone he doesn't already control.
posted by rhizome at 11:32 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


I wondered just now if some of the really crazy fucked up corruption going on at the top levels throughout government is some kind of symptom of the bureaucracy structure. People who get elected often start out as pages or staffers operating under the GS levels afaik, which are pretty regimented & seniority based. It's giving the upper echelons too much broad authority & freedom of judgment, as if they were generals on ships.
posted by azuresunday at 11:34 PM on April 2


What? The corruption seems to be coming from Trump and his appointees. Trump has never held elected office before. I agree that the executive branch gets too much authority but that goes with a supine, clown car congress.
posted by rdr at 11:54 PM on April 2 [35 favorites]


Yeah, I have no idea how you look at the current situation and your takeaway is "THE WHOLE SYSTEM IS CORRUPT!!!1!!1eleven".
posted by Justinian at 1:06 AM on April 3 [15 favorites]


FFS of the day (because apparently the Bar Association thing had not depleted my evens) -
Trump: US will 'solve' N Korea alone
"If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you," [Trump] said in an interview with UK newspaper the Financial Times.

Pressed on whether he thought he could succeed alone, he replied: "Totally."

Mr Trump was speaking ahead of a scheduled visit from Chinese President Xi Jinping this week.

"China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won't. And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don't it won't be good for anyone," Mr Trump told the FT.

Asked if he meant "one-on-one" unilateral action, Mr Trump said: "I don't have to say any more."

He did not give any further details on what action he would take.
posted by jaduncan at 1:56 AM on April 3 [17 favorites]


You know he couldn't find North Korea on a map. Probably not even on a labelled map. Of North Korea.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:08 AM on April 3 [35 favorites]


Donnie is going to be desparate for a deal - any deal - that he can sell as a huge success. At this point, I reckon even I could turn up with two kopeks and a goat on a string and walk away with Texas.
posted by Devonian at 2:51 AM on April 3 [9 favorites]


Calm down Vladimir. You're not getting Alaska back.
posted by rdr at 3:05 AM on April 3 [3 favorites]


Trump and Kim Jong Un will probably get along famously. Same sense of taste and style, they go to the same hair dresser, both of them like to cosplay around big trucks and machines and stuff.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:33 AM on April 3 [20 favorites]


Story on Kushner visiting Iraq withdrawn

The entire article:
The story "Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner visits Iraq, U.S. official says", the accompanying alert and subsequent update are wrong and are withdrawn.
posted by octothorpe at 3:50 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]


The story "Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner visits Iraq, U.S. official says", the accompanying alert and subsequent update are wrong and are withdrawn.

Has anyone checked his instagram to confirm?
posted by winna at 4:44 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]


He's feeling the pressure and losing it. In the last hour:

@realDonaldTrump
Such amazing reporting on unmasking and the crooked scheme against us by @foxandfriends. "Spied on before nomination." The real story.

@realDonaldTrump
Was the brother of John Podesta paid big money to get the sanctions on Russia lifted? Did Hillary know?

@realDonaldTrump
Did Hillary Clinton ever apologize for receiving the answers to the debate? Just asking!


Lol. Has there ever been a more passive-aggressive president? Especially one who thinks he's so alpha. "Just asking" "People are saying" etc. etc.
posted by chris24 at 4:46 AM on April 3 [36 favorites]


I happened to be watching Morning Joe, just now as they covered the tweets, and they repeatedly asked when someone is going to step in and invoke the 25th amendment against this obviously ill man.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:48 AM on April 3 [49 favorites]


I happened to be watching Morning Joe, just now as they covered the tweets, and they repeatedly asked when someone is going to step in and invoke the 25th amendment against this obviously ill man.

This whole thing keeps reminding me of the Anna Nicole Smith reality show/disaster. It was completely obvious to everyone that she was heavily drugged, and everyone kept acting like she was just this wacky lady.

Note: I'm not saying Trump is heavily drugged, just that there really is something seriously wrong with him, and he's not just some wacky dude.
posted by maggiemaggie at 5:00 AM on April 3 [13 favorites]


The MJ people helped get him elected after the primary, and frankly were condescending asses about it every time people voiced concerns about his fitness or ethics or whether he was compromised. They've tried to have it both ways, (sometimes) discrediting him while always supporting the party over the country.

Joe and Mika's reputations are headed for history's compost heap.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:16 AM on April 3 [16 favorites]


There are no answers to a debate.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:19 AM on April 3 [86 favorites]


Looks like Reuters withdrew the Kushner thing because the timing of his visit was incorrectly stated. From the AP: Kusher arrives in Iraq with Joint Chiefs chairman for visit
BAGHDAD (AP) - President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, flew to Iraq with the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford on Monday.

Kushner's travel plans initially were revealed late Sunday by a Trump administration official who said Kushner wanted to see the situation there for himself and show support for Baghdad's government.

The official said Kushner had already arrived. But when presented with information indicating that was not accurate, the official said the timing of his arrival was unclear but confirmed that Kushner was scheduled to be in Iraq Monday. Such visits from high-ranking officials are typically kept secret out of security concerns.
posted by none of these will bring disaster at 5:19 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


Oh my god he said answers instead of questions.
posted by odinsdream at 5:21 AM on April 3 [41 favorites]


"Pssst....what did you get for 'What's your position on global warming?'. Quick, before the moderator catches us."
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:36 AM on April 3 [40 favorites]


St Petersburg metro rocked by explosion
An explosion has hit the St Petersburg metro, according to witness reports. The blast apparently occurred at the Sennaya Ploshchad station in the centre of Russia’s second biggest city.
The news agency TASS reported 10 people had died and 20 were injured in the blast, though the figures could not be immediately verified.

posted by PenDevil at 5:37 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


What do you call your act? The Kleptocrats!

Trump Can Pull Money From His Businesses Whenever He Wants — Without Ever Telling Us - Previously unreported changes to President Trump’s trust stipulate that it “shall distribute net income or principal to Donald J. Trump at his request.”
When President Donald Trump placed his businesses in a trust upon entering the White House, he put his sons in charge and claimed to distance himself from his sprawling empire. “I hope at the end of eight years I’ll come back and say, ‘Oh you did a good job,’” Trump said at a Jan. 11 press conference. Trump’s lawyer explained that the president “was completely isolating himself from his business interests.”

The setup has long been slammed as insufficient, far short of the full divestment that many ethics experts say is needed to avoid conflicts of interest. A small phrase buried deep in a set of recently released letters between the Trump Organization and the government shows just how little separation there actually is.

Trump can draw money from his more than 400 businesses, at any time, without disclosing it.

The previously unreported changes to a trust document, signed on Feb. 10, stipulates that it “shall distribute net income or principal to Donald J. Trump at his request” or whenever his son and longtime attorney “deem appropriate.” That can include everything from profits to the underlying assets, such as the businesses themselves.
posted by chris24 at 5:40 AM on April 3 [37 favorites]




Trump Can Pull Money From His Businesses Whenever He Wants

But I was told otherwise by a pile of manila folders on a table!
posted by diogenes at 5:51 AM on April 3 [27 favorites]


You would think that Rupert Murdoch would explain to Trump that the "news" on Fox isn't meant to be accurate or informative.
posted by diogenes at 5:53 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]


Long story short: there's going to be a point at which Donald is going to need something from someone he doesn't already control.

A pardon, hopefully.
posted by Gelatin at 5:54 AM on April 3 [19 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
Such amazing reporting on unmasking and the crooked scheme against us by @foxandfriends. "Spied on before nomination." The real story.


Trump wants sympathy for being the target of lawful surveillance of people where reasonable suspicion exists of collusion with Russian spies attacking our nation.

I'd like to ask his supporters about that.
posted by mikelieman at 5:54 AM on April 3 [10 favorites]


whenever his son and longtime attorney “deem appropriate.”

Hmmm... Does that seem odd that his son and attorney have POA over his finances? Not odd when the person is 70 with a history of Alzheimer's in the family, but... Odd in The President of the United States?
posted by mikelieman at 5:58 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]


Trump Can Pull Money From His Businesses Whenever He Wants

"When I said 'blind trust' what I meant was: I trust that the American people will be blind to my corruption" [/fake]
posted by dis_integration at 6:00 AM on April 3 [10 favorites]


> I'd like to ask his supporters about that.

Surely that.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:13 AM on April 3 [3 favorites]


Please also enjoy the story of a rancher on the border who spent 30 years in the border patrol. He voted for Trump because he didn't want "to see the country go socialism" but says he'll resist the government taking his land to build the wall.

I'm tired of reading these stories without the false equivalency framing that every journalist used during the last eight years. So Mr. Red-blooded-American-Rancher doesn't want the wall on his property and will fight eminent domain? Great, I want to hear from the multi-national construction firm CEO about just how great eminent domain is and how many low wage jobs the wall project is going to create. I want to hear from one of the junior nazi's in the Trump administration telling Mr. Rancher this is what he voted for and by god he's going to get it. I want to hear from Mr. Rancher's congressman that this is a state's-rights issue and important to protecting people like him from the Bad Hombres.

Fuck these people. I will not sympathize with them.
posted by photoslob at 6:15 AM on April 3 [53 favorites]


So Whiz Kid is en route to Iraq with Middle East peace in his bag and Gramps is sitting in the Oval Office raging against his campaign opponent.

He that has and a little tiny wit—
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,—
Must make content with his fortunes fit,
For the rain it raineth every day.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:21 AM on April 3 [6 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
Such amazing reporting on unmasking and the crooked scheme against us by @foxandfriends. "Spied on before nomination." The real story.


This is intolerable. Trump needs to go down. I want to see frog-marching.
posted by thelonius at 6:27 AM on April 3 [11 favorites]


Even better, he tagged the FBI with the tweet:

@realDonaldTrump
.@FoxNews from multiple sources: "There was electronic surveillance of Trump, and people close to Trump. This is unprecedented." @FBI

He believes Fox News over the FBI and is passively aggressively telling them so via twitter. lol wtf.
posted by bluecore at 6:33 AM on April 3 [68 favorites]


I know that none of them will, but gods, I hope one of the generals who's trying to help Iraq hold itself together takes one look at Kushner and says "Allow me to explain this to you in terms that someone who inherited his daddy's company and then went to work for his daddy-in-law in violation of federal law and custom can understand: Go. The. Fuck. Home. Before. You. Get. My. People. Fucking. Killed."
posted by Etrigan at 6:41 AM on April 3 [67 favorites]


From way upthread: Just a few short weeks into this administration, and already it seems clear that the most important question historians might be asking twenty, fifty, seventy years from now will be not about Trump but about the Republican Party—how the Republicans could have permitted this.

There's a truth the pundits are wrestling to avoid acknowledging: The Republican agenda of "redistribute even more of the nation's wealth to the wealthiest 1%" is not popular. The Republicans "permitted this" because in order to get anyone elected at all they have to construct a carefully balanced house of cards consisting of lies.

All Trump did was take their game one step further, and so-called "mainstream" Republicans -- like who, Susan "I voted with first W and now Trump upwards of 90% of the time" Collins? -- were powerless to call him on it, because to do so would be to challenge the very lies they were telling themselves and their constituents. And thanks to their decades-long marketing campaign pushing the myth of the "liberal media," the press was unable to cope with Trump either, in part because the refs had been worked so hard they're complicit in amplifying Republican lies themselves, and dismissed by the party faithful when reality rears is head.

Republicans are the party of Trump because Trump, ugly as he is, embodies what it is to be a Republican -- caring for nothing but enriching the already wealthy.
posted by Gelatin at 6:43 AM on April 3 [41 favorites]


I dunno, I think the racism is genuine.
posted by Artw at 6:48 AM on April 3 [32 favorites]


[Reuters] Story on Kushner visiting Iraq withdrawn

But the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN are still reporting it, with independent confirmations and the Washington Post and CNN articles dated today (April 3rd).

So he does indeed appear to have gone to Iraq. I wonder why Reuters pulled its version.
posted by jedicus at 6:49 AM on April 3


I wonder why Reuters pulled its version.

They reported that he was already there, which was incorrect. They pulled the story with that timing while they sorted it out. Now they're reporting (correctly) that he arrived today.

I expect Spicer to cite this mistake as proof that Reuters is "fake news" in today's briefing. Then immediately turn around and criticize the press for asking about "unimportant" "process" questions like who is where at what time.
posted by melissasaurus at 6:56 AM on April 3 [6 favorites]


I'd like to ask his supporters about that.

You're not going to like the answer. Either their racism/sexism/hatred for Clinton/liberals/gays/abortion is strong enough that they'll excuse working with Russia to accomplish defeating Clinton or they're so far down the rabbit hole of Breitbart et al that they'll deny that anything other than Trump's narrative is true no matter how many facts you put in front of them.
posted by Candleman at 7:02 AM on April 3 [17 favorites]


Basically being a supporter of the Republican Party, a godawful huge segment of society, is now equivalent of being in a cult and, minus some kind of deprogramming, there's no talking about the real world with any of them. It's a pretty worrying situation.
posted by Artw at 7:09 AM on April 3 [54 favorites]


Perez, on Trump and GOP: “I don’t care, because they don’t give a shit about people.”
posted by ian1977 at 7:26 AM on April 3 [30 favorites]


Here's yet another one. While I, and everyone else, are likely quite weary of the navel-gazing "why don't they like us?" analysis articles, this one in Politico marks a possible turning point in the media narrative. This one, at least, has (nearly) come around to the "You can't ever work with these people" concept. It also touches on the problems we have looming in front of us as Trump and his crew consistently lie and get away with it, and the daily churn of new facts and retractions of the same from over-eager investigative reporters. This one is worth a read.

Donald Trump’s Fictional America
If you think the postfactual world is a recent development, then you should see how Hugo Chávez was and is still mourned in Venezuela. [...] Yet many there, especially the very poor, who are the hardest hit by Chávez’s failed policies, still idolize him as a savior. Some have even set up a religious cult around him. Against all reason and evidence, for more than two decades they have been living in a postfactual universe. [...] “The truth has become so devalued,” they say, “that what was once the gold standard of political debate is a worthless currency.”

[...]

You might be thinking that Trumpism cannot possibly endure, that the president’s most diehard supporters will eventually release themselves from this deception, and that American moderates will never succumb to it. But do not to underestimate the power of fiction.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:34 AM on April 3 [27 favorites]


Bloomberg: Top Obama Adviser Sought Names of Trump Associates in Intel
White House lawyers last month discovered that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
...
The National Security Council's senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, was conducting the review, according to two U.S. officials who spoke with Bloomberg View on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly. In February Cohen-Watnick discovered Rice's multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports that related to Trump transition activities. He brought this to the attention of the White House General Counsel's office, who reviewed more of Rice's requests and instructed him to end his own research into the unmasking policy.
...
Rice's requests to unmask the names of Trump transition officials does not vindicate Trump's own tweets from March 4 in which he accused Obama of illegally tapping Trump Tower. There remains no evidence to support that claim.
...
The news about Rice also sheds light on the strange behavior of Nunes in the last two weeks. It emerged last week that he traveled to the White House last month, the night before he made an explosive allegation about Trump transition officials caught up in incidental surveillance. At the time he said he needed to go to the White House because the reports were only on a database for the executive branch. It now appears that he needed to view computer systems within the National Security Council that would include the logs of Rice's requests to unmask U.S. persons.
posted by cjelli at 7:45 AM on April 3 [5 favorites]


Then immediately turn around and criticize the press for asking about "unimportant" "process" questions like who is where at what time.

For the life of me I did not understand how he got through that briefing without at least ONE of the reporters telling him straight out "Sean, when things happen Matters."
posted by odinsdream at 7:46 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


According to her Twitter account, Diane Feinstein is voting against Gorsuch.

JUST NOW: On Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court vote: “I cannot support this nomination.”
posted by hollygoheavy at 7:47 AM on April 3 [25 favorites]


Watch her still weasel to the very end, she didn't commit to voting against cloture and sustaining a filibuster.

Primary her, California. Democrats deserve better from Leadership, and California deserves to be represented by a Senator that unapologetically represents the liberal values of the biggest liberal state in America.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:52 AM on April 3 [27 favorites]


Politico: Haley eclipses Tillerson on Trump's foreign policy ladder

Includes this interesting tidbit:
In Donald Trump’s first meeting with Nikki Haley, on November 17, he asked her to serve as his secretary of state. Haley turned him down, according to two sources familiar with the conversation, telling the president-elect that she lacked the requisite foreign policy experience for the job.
And this:
Haley has essentially had free reign in the job, cutting an unusually conspicuous media profile and avoiding the tense dealings that U.N. ambassadors often have with State.

“I think in her mind, the key issue that would normally exist — her relationship with the secretary of state — does not exist. She thinks she’s operating completely independently of him,” said a George W. Bush-era State Department official.
There's speculation (as noted in the article) that Haley is angling to succeed Tillerson as head of state, but the other possibility (as speculated in the lead-up to 2012 and 2016) is that she's garnering foreign policy experience as a lead-in to a presidential run (or qualifications for a vice-presidential pick) in 2020 or 2024.
posted by cjelli at 7:52 AM on April 3 [7 favorites]


According to her Twitter account, Diane Feinstein is voting against Gorsuch.

She just gave a really great - and lengthy - opening statement at the Judiciary Committee markup/vote on Gorsuch that outlines the fuckery with the Garland nomination, as well as why Gorsuch himself is a terrible nominee. She hasn't said anything about cloture yet, as far as I'm aware, but I feel like she can't possibly oppose a filibuster after that speech.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:52 AM on April 3 [37 favorites]






Decision Desk has been running a whip count and confirms 41 votes against cloture.

Anyone want to bet their words on a cake about the nuclear option?
posted by zachlipton at 8:16 AM on April 3 [15 favorites]


via Twitter: Sen Lindsey Graham R-SC: "If we have to, we will change the rules; and it looks like we're going to have to"
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:16 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]


via Twitter: Sen Lindsey Graham R-SC: "If we have to, we will change the rules; and it looks like we're going to have to"

Just as the Republicans waged a decades-long campaign to push the myth of a "liberal media," Democrats need to be consistent about the message (I know, I know!) that Republicans can't win without cheating -- and those same Republicans basically admit it.
posted by Gelatin at 8:23 AM on April 3 [73 favorites]


Neil Gorsuch got where he is because of a form of affirmative action

Wherein Richard Hasen continues the long, proud Lib tradition of accepting the premises of conservatives' arguments before he even starts. Why yes, being wealthy and coming from a politically-connected family is just like being helped by a system deliberately set up to combat exactly this phenomenon! And you, fellow conservative, and I know that both systems are wrong next to the one true system:
Would Gorsuch have been in the position he is in today if life were a pure meritocracy? Who knows, but I wouldn’t count on it. There are often more qualified people than there are positions.
Meritocracy! And who gets to decide merit? Shut up, it's the best! Also those people here due to affirmative action aren't really qualified but they're here because we're such generous, meritorious dudes.

There are hundreds of great arguments for why Neil Gorsuch is a fucking ghoul who shouldn't get anywhere near a seat on the Supreme Court. Isn't it curious that they chose to publish one that finds a way to make weird backhanded swipes at affirmative action at the same time?
posted by indubitable at 8:24 AM on April 3 [20 favorites]


Decision Desk has been running a whip count and confirms 41 votes against cloture.

This is what I have predicted all along, and why it doesn't actually matter if a few Democratic senators are like 'I will totally vote yes on Gorsuch', because it's not going to get to a floor vote, so you won't actually have to do it.
posted by corb at 8:43 AM on April 3


Mitch McConnell Admits the ‘Rule’ That Blocked Merrick Garland Is Not Actually a Rule
A good test of any principle is whether the person claiming it is willing to make it apply to all circumstances going forward. If McConnell were willing to make “fill no election-year vacancies” a formal rule, it would hardly prove his good faith — he might have embraced the rule as a post hoc rationale for his power play — but it would be at least consistent with the idea McConnell was acting in good faith. And he would be binding himself, and his party, to the “rule” he forced Obama to follow, that a president may fill only those Supreme Court vacancies that occur during the first three years of a four-year term.

But instead McConnell simply brushed off the idea of making it a rule.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:43 AM on April 3 [34 favorites]


Sen. Bennet (CO) is a YES on cloture, will not support the filibuster.
posted by melissasaurus at 8:43 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


But instead McConnell simply brushed off the idea of making it a rule.

Mitch McConnell not even bothering with a pretense of acting in good faith? You don't say.

(Memo to the media: You are not obligated to pretend for him. Please stop.)
posted by Gelatin at 8:46 AM on April 3 [26 favorites]


Apparently Feinstein's office clarified she will filibuster.

Mark Warner just announced he will filibuster. That should be 40. Leahy would be 41.


So, I'm thinking this may have gotten planned out to specifically give vulnerable Democrats in red states (like my own Joe Donnelly) maximum cover in the upcoming 2018 election. They always had enough for a filibuster, but folks like Feinstein in safe blue states held out announcing until after folks like Donnelly.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:48 AM on April 3 [7 favorites]


Tom Perez won’t apologize for insulting Trump and GOP leaders. Here’s why.
Perez, who endorsed Clinton for president, has more or less embraced that view. Asked whether he would apologize for the “give a s---” line, Hinojosa said Perez stood by his comment completely.

“Tom Perez has said repeatedly, including in New Jersey, that Republican leaders like Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and others in Congress have shown us that they don’t care about the American people, especially when it comes to providing families with affordable health insurance,” she said in the email. “The Republican health-care bill would have taken away coverage from 24 million people, imposed an age tax, and made Americans pay more money for less care. Republicans are making it harder to save for retirement, and one of the first acts under President Trump was to make it harder for homebuyers to afford a mortgage. These actions and many others are further proof that Republican leaders in Washington don’t care about the American people and are only looking out for their wealthy friends.”
This article relates to something that's been kicking around in my head for a while--namely, my total frustration with how Democrats have rarely hit back with their rhetoric and the extension of good faith to a Republican caucus that has not operated in a spirit of good faith for at least 20 years.

I feel that the Democrats have in someways been afflicted and damaged by their own brand of "political correctness"--i.e., the refusal to wrap the Republican party in the forceful plain-language truth of what their policies will do and who the Republicans really are.

Examples might be:
Paul Ryan is a conman who wants to pass a bill to take away $1T of Medicaid funding, so your friends and relatives can die of preventable illness and/or be crushed with medical debt.
or
The Republican party elected admitted serial child molester J. Dennis Hastert to be Speaker of the House.
or
Mitch McConnell wants to put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, so corporations can poison your water, force you to die for their profits or fire you, and women can be free to die in childbirth because they couldn't get a life-saving abortion.
or
Republicans enact legislation all over the country--e.g. NC, TX, WI--because they don't want every American to be able to vote quickly. Why is that? Because when everyone votes, Republicans lose, so they have to cheat.
Similarly, I don't think HRC should have walked back the "Basket of Deplorables" comment--I think it would have made sense to have extended it to the Popular Vote Loser's supporters in Congress.

Usually, in interpersonal discussions about sensitive topics, I try to focus on the actions and words without trying to infer what their motivations and desires are because it's very easy to derail such a line of argumentation. However, in the case of national politicians with a whole bunch of power and a long history of fighting for certain things (e.g., the ability to poison the planet without consequences, denial of autonomy to women, suppression of minority vote, and so forth), I think we can draw those conclusions. It's time to start defining the narrative about the Republican party's leaders--it should be hard, we just need to tell the unvarnished truth.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 8:53 AM on April 3 [102 favorites]


or

because when they're honest about their policies, Republicans lose, so they have to cheat.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:00 AM on April 3 [25 favorites]


So basically what Donnie has been saying is that if you are engaging in any kind of shady, illegal, mobbed-up, nefarious, possibly treasonous activity, just run for President because then any law-enforcement surveillance of you becomes "UNPRECEDENTED" (yeah, he totally did not write that tweet, that is a 5-syllable word) and a violation of our "SACRED" electoral process. The proper order of the universe is "if you're famous, they just let you do it!" Sad!
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:08 AM on April 3 [6 favorites]


Tom Perez won’t apologize for insulting Trump and GOP leaders. Here’s why.

"If the Republicans will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them." –Adlai E. Stevenson
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:10 AM on April 3 [65 favorites]


The proper order of the universe is "if you're famous, they just let you do it!" Sad!

Trump said that very thing almost verbatim in the infamous "grab them by the pussy" clip.
posted by Gelatin at 9:11 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


> via Twitter: Sen Lindsey Graham R-SC: "If we have to, we will change the rules; and it looks like we're going to have to"

Do they have the votes in hand to actually do that, though?

The Rs are in quite a bit of disarray just now, and there must be at least a small handful of Republican Senators smart enough to realize that the Rs have gotten a whole lot of mileage out of the current filibuster rules, and are quite likely to be a minority party again sometime in the reasonably near future.

Self-interest for Rs says retain the current filibuster rule for as long as possible. You'll lose a little in the short term but gain a lot more in the long term.
posted by flug at 9:12 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]


thatsthejoke.gif
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:12 AM on April 3 [21 favorites]


Do they have the votes in hand to actually do that, though?

That's why Dems have to find out. There's no downside, the filibuster only helps Republicans at this point.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:13 AM on April 3 [18 favorites]


With Trump in the WH I think it would definitely be a good move for the Democratic side to reformulate as much of the traditional messaging about economic and social issues into something about "con men"... to connect all of the things which give Trump high disapproval ratings to the policies which Republicans have had in the past, in a way that can allow people to feel like "I knew they were dirty the whole time!" and retcon their own votes and their bloviating about politics despite the fact that in reality they were duped by Trump and Republican propaganda.
posted by XMLicious at 9:15 AM on April 3 [8 favorites]


Sen. Bennet (CO) is a YES on cloture, will not support the filibuster.

Bennet won last year with a 3% margin. He's not up for reeelection for another 6 years. There is no reason for him to break with the party on this....

Except: he used to work for Philip Anschutz and Anschutz's companies are major donors to Bennet. Anschutz's lawyer was....Neil Gorsuch and Anschutz was instrumental in Gorsuch's nomination to the 10th Circuit (where Anschutz would later have a high-dollar tax dispute; NB: it wasn't before Gorsuch and he lost).

Dude is selling out the people of his state to pay back his billionaire patron.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:15 AM on April 3 [81 favorites]


Similarly, I don't think HRC should have walked back the "Basket of Deplorables" comment

She meant neo-nazis, she should have fucking said neo-nazis.
posted by Artw at 9:26 AM on April 3 [24 favorites]


I'm going to bet, no cake sorry I'm trying to lose weight, that the R's will scrap the filibuster. Or at least scrap it by some trickery just for this one vote.

Because yes, the filibuster certainly helps them more than the Democrats and they know it. In the long run losing it would be very bad for them.

OTOH, long term thinking is hard and they know they need to grab some momentum, especially after the pathetic collapse of the ACA repeal movement. More important, putting Gorsuch on the Court will shift the Court back into a solid 4-4 with Kennedy as the swing rather than the current 4-3 with Kennedy as the swing. They know damn well that there are several absolutely critical cases coming up (gerrymandering especially), and they know they need Gorsuch on the Court so they've got a solid 4 votes for cheating and they only have to work Kennedy to get their fifth vote justifying cheating (which should be easy enough, Kennedy has never forgotten that he's a Republican Justice).

Further, if they do have to moderate their picks for the Supreme Court (while I argue the D's should hold the seat empty until 2020, realistically I recognize they don't have the will) that weakens their position for the future in a number of potentially critical cases. They really do need an extreme hard right Republican Justice in the model of Scalia to keep their BS being declared Constitutional. Even a true moderate Republican Justice, like Kennedy, would be a blow to their future aspirations.

So I think they will nuke the filibuster.

I also think they'll try to avoid doing so, try to work the Democrats, try to work the media, try to present the filibuster of Gorsuch as a horrible evil thing that only the most vile people in America would ever support.

And then, if they do nuke it, I'll bet they try some trick so it isn't really nuked, just suspended for this one particular vote. That won't, I hope, work but I bet they'll try.
posted by sotonohito at 9:27 AM on April 3 [16 favorites]


Personally I want to see the filibuster totally and utterly eradicated. It helps only the Republicans and the Democrats never get to actually use it for anything important, and it's totally anti-democratic and I like democracy. So get rid of it.
posted by sotonohito at 9:30 AM on April 3 [8 favorites]


If they pull that then it really is nuked, because there's no reason not to do the same every vote.
posted by Artw at 9:30 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]


If they pull that then it really is nuked, because there's no reason not to do the same every vote.

If they actually get away with some "the filibuster exists only when the Republicans want it to and not when they don't want it to, and never when the Democrats want it to" malarkey, then someone should literally nuke the Senate since that will officially obviate its existence as any sort of democratic institution.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:36 AM on April 3 [6 favorites]


If they pull that then it really is nuked, because there's no reason not to do the same every vote.

True for a Republican Senate, but they'll want the filibuster back when and if they're in the minority again. A "Bush v. Gore" scenario where they try to claim "just this one time with no precedential value" is a good bet. It's exactly in character with McConnellism and Republican cheating.

At worst it would punt the blame for the nuclear option back on Democrats in the future, or even better, squishy Dems can't be trusted not to let them get away with something like that and allow a future Dem appointee to be blocked by a Republican filibuster.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:37 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]


Putting a republican on the supreme court is a huge part of why the GOP is tolerating so much crap from Trump, so of course they'll nuke the filibuster. It's life or death for them.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 9:38 AM on April 3 [20 favorites]


that will officially obviate [the Senate's] existence as any sort of democratic institution

As if McConnell refusing to give a SCOTUS nominee so much as a hearing wasn't good enough to do it.
posted by Gelatin at 9:39 AM on April 3 [34 favorites]


Putting a republican on the supreme court is a huge part of why the GOP is tolerating so much crap from Trump, so of course they'll nuke the filibuster. It's life or death for them.

I've been wondering if, after 1) Gorsuch is successfully confirmed and sworn in, and 2) the huge, amazing tax cuts fail to materialize, Trump will be seen as having outlived his purpose for the Republican party. I hate the idea of Gorsuch, both as a person and as a SCOTUS Justice, but this seems like a silver lining.
posted by witchen at 9:48 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


I've been wondering if, after 1) Gorsuch is successfully confirmed and sworn in, and 2) the huge, amazing tax cuts fail to materialize, Trump will be seen as having outlived his purpose for the Republican party.

Nah, they'll continue to take his shit as long as he's there to dish it out -- because if another SCOTUS vacancy arises, that is all the fucking marbles for the wingnut base.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:50 AM on April 3 [8 favorites]


I mean, the way things are going, they'd have to be insane to bank on any Republican being elected President in 2020.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:51 AM on April 3


I've been wondering if, after 1) Gorsuch is successfully confirmed and sworn in, and 2) the huge, amazing tax cuts fail to materialize, Trump will be seen as having outlived his purpose for the Republican party.

If anyone in the GOP were strong enough to say that out loud, Trump would already be gone. He's a useless embarrassment already, and Pence would put Gorsuch on the bench too.
posted by Etrigan at 9:51 AM on April 3 [11 favorites]


I've been wondering if, after 1) Gorsuch is successfully confirmed and sworn in, and 2) the huge, amazing tax cuts fail to materialize, Trump will be seen as having outlived his purpose for the Republican party.

Republicans don't need Trump to nominate a Republican to SCOTUS; they just need a Republican president.
posted by Gelatin at 9:52 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]


I think rather the opposite. Any win at all will have a unifying effect on the Republicans, and will give Trump political capital.

Meanwhile, TPM provides a general overview of the catastrafuck so far, ending on this note:
Faced with the prospect of a Congress unable to pass any ambitious legislation, Mann sees a bleak future ahead.

"My worry it what it might prompt Trump to do on his own," he said. "It might get his more authoritarian juices flowing, and he might use this as an excuse for expanding executive power."

Collander has had equally dark thoughts.

"In the absence of a crisis, I don’t see this getting better anytime soon," he said. "What typically happens is that you have terrorism attack or a natural disaster or a war, and it brings everyone together, at least for a short period of time. The problem is that we have crisis fatigue in this country. Since 9/11 we've had terrorism crises, economic crises, housing crises, market crashes. I wonder in the current environment how big a crisis would it take to bring people to the table together. I'm not sure I want to find out."
On the OTHER HAND, also from TPM, we have what looks like an irl lol from Josh Marshall when looking at Trump's approval/disapproval.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:55 AM on April 3 [15 favorites]


Another question: would there be advantages to impeaching/replacing DJT so early? Could Republicans reasonably bank on the short memory of their electorate, and think that in 2018/2020 the reign of Donald Trump will be seen as a weird blip just before the arrival of their smooth, churchy President Pence?

As opposed to impeaching in 2018, when the is of narrative of chaos and inability for Pence to get a foothold in time.
posted by witchen at 9:55 AM on April 3 [5 favorites]


I mean I know that there would be advantages to impeaching Trump. But as far as Republicans are concerned.
posted by witchen at 9:56 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]


Strategically it seems clear that the best case scenario is to obstruct everything while building the case for impeachment (not calling for it yet, but putting enough evidence out there) ahead of 2018, so that the Republican base is so demoralized and disenchanted that they tune out and stay home.

Then you impeach and remove anyone who had