The Widening Gyre
April 6, 2017 3:42 PM   Subscribe

President Trump boasts of a historically successful first 13 weeks of his Presidency. Falsely claiming that Rep. Cummings called him a "one of the great Presidents", he has had some significant successes in the past few weeks. Although the Obamacare repeal and replacement died an embarrassing death, and efforts to reanimate its corpse appear to have failed for now, and his Muslim-country travel ban seems destined to die in the courts (again), nevertheless, the Fiduciary Rule is stalled, his SCOTUS nominee is now moving toward confirmation and he has signed an Executive Order permitting government contractors to once again discriminate against LGBT workers. The Syrian chemical attack has given Trump an opportunity to focus on foreign issues, at which he has fewer impediments to unilateral action, but the consequences of that range from measured to potentially quite dire.
posted by darkstar (2893 comments total) 95 users marked this as a favorite
 
The only positive I've taken out of today is that, with his 13 week comment, at least we know Trump's also stuck in the time dilation Hellscape with the rest of us.
posted by miguelcervantes at 3:45 PM on April 6 [49 favorites]


> He has also only held office for 11 weeks, even though it may feel like 13 or even more.

Well, those first 100 days are coming right along. And to think, Day 100 is the day the government shuts down.
posted by RedOrGreen at 3:46 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


> The Syrian chemical attack has given Trump an opportunity to focus on foreign issues, at which he has fewer impediments to unilateral action, but the consequences of that range from measured to potentially quite dire.

The boss needed a shiny object to distract people, so the Wag the Pussy foreign policy strategy was born.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:46 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


Giving all my citizenship documents to the Dept of State in the hope they mail them back again, plus passport, has literally never been more terrifying.
posted by corb at 3:48 PM on April 6 [84 favorites]


We'll get through this... we'll get through this... we'll get through this... either I'm repeating the soothing reality, or repeating a lie enough times that it becomes the truth. It's a win either way, right?... (please let me have my twisted logic this one time)
posted by azpenguin at 3:49 PM on April 6 [8 favorites]


On the we're all political now front: I'm at a city comptroller town hall that is standing room only.
posted by The Whelk at 3:52 PM on April 6 [78 favorites]


Re-posted from the end of the last thread b/c it is big news.

C.I.A. Had Evidence of Russian Effort to Help Trump Earlier Than Believed
posted by futz at 3:53 PM on April 6 [43 favorites]


Oh Gawd. Trump is serving the usual Caesar Salad and NY Strip Steak at his dinner with Xi tonight. No doubt the steak will be well done and served with ketchup. Hopefully Xi will have been clued in and opt for the fish.

But seriously. Does Trump ever eat anything except steak and 50's style salad? (He sometimes eats iceberg lettuce with blue cheese dressing.)
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:54 PM on April 6 [8 favorites]


Does Trump ever eat anything except steak and 50's style salad?

Sizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzlllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by Fizz at 3:58 PM on April 6 [18 favorites]


Hells! Thank you corb, for reminding me that I need to go and get an Enhanced DL before the WA date extention runs out in June. Despite the statement that the regular ID will be sufficient to fly until next January, it seems that those sorts of assurances are less reliable than they used to be.
posted by monopas at 3:59 PM on April 6 [6 favorites]


Trump is serving the usual Caesar Salad and NY Strip Steak at his dinner with Xi tonight.

I mean, I guess we should be relieved that it's not egg foo yung and a pupu platter.
posted by uncleozzy at 3:59 PM on April 6 [53 favorites]


Well he probably doesn't want to go with the Humiliation Meatloaf just yet.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 4:00 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


The Trump presidency will be the lasting low water mark of American governance. Or at least I hope it will...
posted by jim in austin at 4:01 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


So I want to state, for what it's worth, that I don't believe all military interventions are necessarily the same. "Just throw bombs at it" is lazy thinking -- both for the critic who assumes that's what will happen, and for the generals or politicians who may decide to do exactly that. We have intervened correctly and effectively before. Just not often. I'm fine with going against the grain of the blue on that point of principle.

But to echo something I saw on Twitter: I would not support any military action by this president, period. He literally campaigned on committing war crimes.

It does not fucking matter to me how much I might want to see an intervention in Syria. Doesn't matter how sure I am that our military is not made up of crazed murderers and wannabes. The commander-in-chief cannot be trusted in any way, shape, or form, and the Secretary of Defense has turned out to be far less than the "adult in the room" so many were assured he'd be (including myself, caveats or no).

Dude promised war crimes. He advocated killing the families of suspected terrorists, and his first military action was a commando raid that netted a double-digit civilian body count of mostly children.

So in principle? I'm not saying all interventions are bad. In practice? Any military intervention by this president is inevitably going to be fucking awful.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:02 PM on April 6 [173 favorites]


> The Trump presidency will be the lasting low water mark of American governance.

There's more than one way to interpret that statement, you know.
posted by RedOrGreen at 4:02 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


It's like a grim parody of government. "House of Cards as played by the cast of Veep."
posted by My Dad at 4:03 PM on April 6 [16 favorites]


The Trump presidency will be the lasting low water mark of American governance.

That's how I felt about Dubya. But that blot on our national history couldn't even last ten years.

Not even ten years, before we outdid the disgrace of George W. Bush.

I mean.
posted by darkstar at 4:03 PM on April 6 [96 favorites]


Giving all my citizenship documents to the Dept of State in the hope they mail them back again, plus passport, has literally never been more terrifying.

Though it may sound like a joke, I am sincerely hoping for you, that under this administration, they still have some postage stamps.
posted by mrgoat at 4:08 PM on April 6 [12 favorites]


And the wines are very plebeian as well. Since Trump doesn't drink, I'm sure he doesn't care what is served.

2014 Chalk Hill Chardonney, Sonoma Coast
2014 Girard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

At Obama's dinner with Xi he served:

Shaoxing Wine
Penner-Ash Viognier "Oregon" 2014
Pride Mountain Merlot "Vitner Select" 2012
Schramsberg Cremant Demi-Sec 2011

G. W. Bush was also not a drinker. I wonder what the wine was like at his state dinners?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:10 PM on April 6 [18 favorites]


Or, indeed, that they don't just shutter the USPS any moment.
posted by thebrokedown at 4:11 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


TPM Flake: GOP Has 'No Stomach At All' To Change Legislative Filibuster
He cited Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) comment that there is "no sentiment to change the legislative filibuster."

"If you want legislation that endures, that is durable, then you reach across the aisle, and that's what we have to do on legislation," Flake said. "We'll still have to do that and I'm glad for that. That makes the Senate the Senate."
I am not sure whether to snort in derision or roll my eyes. Maybe I'll do both.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:15 PM on April 6 [22 favorites]


I am not sure whether to snort in derision or roll my eyes. Maybe I'll do both.

do whatever the appropriate reaction is to enormous, fiscal-stability-destroying tax cuts for the rich is

because that's the reason they'll eventually nuke the legislative filibuster
posted by mightygodking at 4:20 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


It reminds me of that scene in Futurama where Bender remarks to the Robot Devil, "I forgot you could tempt me with things I want." and then immediately capitulates.
posted by mrgoat at 4:22 PM on April 6 [26 favorites]


13 weeks?
Is everything a TV show for this un-reality star?
Is he celebrating getting picked up for a second half-season?
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:22 PM on April 6 [12 favorites]


2014 Chalk Hill Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast

Seriously? That's a $19 bottle. Christ.
posted by suelac at 4:26 PM on April 6 [23 favorites]


And I wouldn't be surprised if he tries to run out on the check.
posted by mrgoat at 4:30 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


2014 Girard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

And if this is just the plain Napa Valley, it is only $25

If it is the Rutherford, then it would be $75. But that is seriously young for a Cab.

Obama's Merlot was probably amazing. And I don't even like Merlot.
posted by monopas at 4:30 PM on April 6 [10 favorites]


I'm talking with a co-worker today. We're talking about living in different places in the United States. Detroit comes up. She asserts that the city is broke because of corruption. I point out that the auto industry in the city went away. Then, she asserts, without irony, that Trump has said that he'll bring the auto industry back to Detroit through tax policy and that she thinks he might be able to do it.

I need to stop talking to people at work.
posted by rdr at 4:31 PM on April 6 [78 favorites]


He's serving a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon? Trump's really gone too far, now. Many (most?) Napa wineries won't release their 14s until this fall. And even then, they'll be way too young.
posted by notyou at 4:35 PM on April 6 [8 favorites]


Maybe it's the only wine that pairs well with well-done steak and ketchup?
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:37 PM on April 6 [64 favorites]


Can he face trial in the Hague for Crimes Against Wine?
posted by medusa at 4:37 PM on April 6 [23 favorites]


because that's the reason they'll eventually nuke the legislative filibuster

Oh it's gone. Don't think for a minute that if things really start collapsing they won't ram legislation through with a brand-new freshly-minted simple majority rule. Hell, they'll probably just throw Robert's Rules out the window, draft a document, 'yea' it and call it a day.

Moderate and establishment Rs have no illusions about the purpleness of non-redbelt states, and they see blood in the eyes of their opposition. They're going to get as much done as they can, and I predict that they'll even throw in some spoiler tactics towards the end, which is utter shit, but to be expected.
posted by eclectist at 4:38 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


Gaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh

I'm taking a bit of morbid pleasure in trying to guess what this comment was reacting to. No shortage of possibilities!
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:39 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


He's serving a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon? Trump's really gone too far, now. Many (most?) Napa wineries won't release their 14s until this fall. And even then, they'll be way too young

It's probably a 2004, and Trump had the label altered because he thinks fresher wine is better.
posted by COD at 4:40 PM on April 6 [20 favorites]


Will the masturbation bill get a House committee hearing?

A satirical bill that would penalize men for masturbating is now in the hands [I see what you did there!] of a House committee panel.

On Tuesday, House Bill 4260 was referred to the House State Affairs Committee, the panel that typically hears legislation related to abortions. State Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, filed the bill last month to mimic and satirize current and proposed regulations that have been criticized for restricting women’s access to abortions.


Farrar’s bill, named the Men’s Right to Know Act, calls “masturbatory emissions” an “act against an unborn child, and failing to preserve the sanctity of life.”

The bill contains provisions that would also put restrictions on vasectomies, Viagra prescriptions and colonoscopies, including:

* The state must create an informational booklet called “A Man’s Right to Know” that contains information and illustrations on the benefits of and concerns about those three treatments. A man must review the booklet before going through with any of them.

* A man must receive a rectal exam and an MRI of his rectum before any of the three treatments.


That's just a partial list. I know we've yukked it up about this before but I thought it would be an amusing update. "Amusing" in the sense of not amusing at all considering the current state of affairs trying to legislate women's bodies.
posted by futz at 4:40 PM on April 6 [34 favorites]


Trump serving cheap, off the rack wines at a state dinner is the only thing he's done so far that I'm ok with. If only he'd gone further and selected from the Barefoot appellation.
posted by Flashman at 4:43 PM on April 6 [10 favorites]


Maybe he'll pull a George Costanza—ditch the wine altogether and just serve Pepsi.
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:43 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


I can get behind the off the rack wine idea. I can also get behind the idea of Xi showing up with a bottle of Screaming Eagle.
posted by notyou at 4:47 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


Pepsi or coke, is the true vin du Americain.
posted by jadepearl at 4:48 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


President Trump boasts of a historically successful first 13 weeks of his Presidency.

I saw a snippet of this chap on the news yesterday, he was walking around with a huge contraption. I suspect his days are numbered
posted by Greg Nog at 4:49 PM on April 6 [8 favorites]


Eh, at least he didn't go buy some $1 baijiu at the Asian grocery store.

I'm honestly a little surprised at how fast the Republicans in the Senate decided to kill the filibuster. No navel-gazing about traditions there.

Aren't they worried about losing the majority and not being able to make life miserable for everyone else so easily?
posted by Trifling at 4:52 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


No. Even the R voters who hated trump voted for him because they wanted to take back the supreme court. There was no way even the moderate Rs were going to let the filibuster stand. I'm astonished anyone ever thought they would do anything else.

By the way, we now know who McCain is as a moral leader. Can we all stop believing in him now?
posted by frumiousb at 4:56 PM on April 6 [29 favorites]


If Syrian action results in Russian military deaths, does that put pressure on Russia to release the kompromat?

If we drop cruise missiles on Russian occupied airfields, release of the kompromat is probably the best case scenario
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:56 PM on April 6 [10 favorites]


I would stunned by whatever's in the supposed "kompromat" having any significant effect, if it does indeed exist. Will it let us know Trump loves sexually assaulting people? Will it demonstrate that he's using the presidency to accrue personal wealth? Will it show that he doesn't give a shit about the common citizen's welfare? I have no idea what it could contain that would teach us any more than what we already know.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:04 PM on April 6 [88 favorites]


I literally just came here to complain about the post title.... really, darkstar? I am deeply wounded.......also, quit spying on me. I totally am going to eat another brownie in a minute, stop judging.

JK.... carry on with actual discussion of the end times.......
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 5:08 PM on April 6 [13 favorites]


It's become pretty clear that the only thing that will actually end a conservative's career is if he's outed as a pedophile. Even massive corruption won't actually affect their career if it wasn't for the criminal charges.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:09 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


[Trump has terrible taste in wine and is tacky as fuck, MOVEON.ORG you guys.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:13 PM on April 6 [62 favorites]


I do kind of love the idea that Mar-a-lago (French, translation: "Ruins the Lagoon"), with it's $200,000 membership fee and all the gauche trappings of faux wealth that Donald Fucking Trump pours into it, serves the wine from a dirty 55-gallon drum.
posted by mrgoat at 5:13 PM on April 6 [31 favorites]


If Syrian action results in Russian military deaths, does that put pressure on Russia to release the kompromat?

There is no kompromat.
posted by My Dad at 5:15 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


I think I might start saying "Cauchemar-a-Lago".
posted by uosuaq at 5:15 PM on April 6 [17 favorites]


Not to stomp on the fine wine rail, but

From the previous, QFMFT: "I just don't understand if there's all this fucking evidence all over the place, why the hell isn't anyone charging/trying/indicting these fuckers for anything?"

Because Republicans control both Houses of Congress and the DOJ. It's that simple.


It'd be swell if we could - do? Something? Like there was a brief tussle as to the viability of Louise Mensch as a human or something, but really at this point just to accept the premise that Trump & Friends accepted illegal and unethical (hah!) work from Russia in exchange for a friendly Ukrane and oil policy, plus a crispy bite of 19.5% of EUR 10 billion. Would be a start. No more healhcare talk. No more Jared's Big Day. Let's go, tme's a-wastin'.

Fun Fact: Russian Oil Giant Rosneft sold it's 19.5% to a Singapore "vehicle". That no one knows who is.
posted by petebest at 5:22 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


It'd be swell if we could - do? Something?

Work to elect not-Republicans.
posted by Artw at 5:23 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


Work to elect not-Republicans.

Quickly becoming less of an option. See: judge-ramming, obstructing, rules-cheating cheaterton horse hockey ruling party fuckery.
posted by petebest at 5:26 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


No more healhcare talk.

I give approximately 800% more of a shit about whether my neighbors are dying of heart disease than about Rosneft
posted by Greg Nog at 5:26 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


But seriously. Does Trump ever eat anything except steak and 50's style salad?

I have a feeling that Trump would serve not only serve a beef steak at a state visit by Modi, but offer it to him. And then fall back on the meatloaf as his alternative.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 5:26 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Remember when "Hillary will totally start a war with Russia" was an Uber-lefty talking point? Ahh, we were so innocent then.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 5:28 PM on April 6 [44 favorites]


And then fall back on the meatloaf as his alternative.

Knowing Trump the meatloaf would be technically vegetarian.
posted by Talez at 5:29 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


It'd be swell if we could - do? Something?

This made me imagine an Emily Dickinson poem:

it'd be Swell -- if we could Do -- Something
remove the President -- from his Lair
lance the Boil -- the Pustulence
but no body in Washington -- will play -- Fair
posted by uosuaq at 5:30 PM on April 6 [46 favorites]


This music video is from 2016 is catchy yet also a bit disturbing. Somewhat on topic, somewhat not. Didn't think it quite needed an FPP but some in thread may find it uplifting and/or amusing. By Kawehi (previously). Trigger warning: dancing[real] Trumps[fake].
posted by Sparx at 5:32 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


The Card Cheat: I'm taking a bit of morbid pleasure in trying to guess what this comment was reacting to. No shortage of possibilities!

Yeah, anything you guess is a correct answer: pretty much Life is starting to get to me this month. :7(
posted by wenestvedt at 5:34 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


I'm really glad the nuclear option thing is done. And I'm glad the Democrats did what they did.

If the Democrats were in any sense required to assent to Gorsuch's nomination in order to preserve their right to obstruct his nomination, then they de facto didn't have the right to obstruct it, the only thing that was in place was a very fig leaf of Republican concern for norms.

That fig leaf was already looking pretty shriveled, dry, and cracked with their unprecedented use of the filibuster during Obama and similarly unprecedented use of the confirmation process to do absolutely no confirmation for Garland, a nominee who by any reasonable standard deserved consideration if not confirmation.

Inviting the Republican party to dispense with the pretense that they cared about it was almost like telling a friend to remove a piece of spinach from their teeth.
posted by wildblueyonder at 5:37 PM on April 6 [53 favorites]


Maybe he'll pull a George Costanza—ditch the wine altogether and just serve Pepsi.

Well Bannon was going to bring the Cinnamon Babka but THAT'S out the window now...
posted by JoeZydeco at 5:39 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


I have no idea what it could contain that would teach us any more than what we already know.

What would bother voters is a very different question from what would embarrass Trump. The latter is the only thing the Russians care about. And video of his atypically small penis is something that I'd wager Trump would give a lot not to have public.
posted by msalt at 5:39 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


Knowing Trump the meatloaf would be technically vegetarian.

In a just universe he'd be eating nutraloaf.
posted by peeedro at 5:40 PM on April 6 [10 favorites]


There is one way I could see the cosmic balance being restored after this Gorsuch mess.

1. The Dems take back the Senate in 2018 (admittedly unlikely).

2. Kennedy retires shortly thereafter and Trump nominates his replacement.

3. The Dems say hell no and sit on the nomination for a couple of years (the precedent is established).

4. A Dem wins the White House in 2020, and nominates a very qualified, liberal Justice in the tradition of RBG.

5. The nomination sails through because there is no filibuster rule.

The result: the GOP has traded their Scalia for a Gorsuch, but we traded Kennedy for an RBG2.

Chances of happening: slim, given so many hurdles. But the path is conceivably there. And I am so, so desperate for any ray of hope right now.
posted by darkstar at 5:45 PM on April 6 [49 favorites]


Any chance they just throw Gorsuch the fuck out after 2020?
posted by Artw at 5:50 PM on April 6


I don't mean to cloud darkstar's ray of hope, but ... it has been written in many articles that the Dems have essentially zero chance of taking the Senate in 2018.

And as for Kennedy, it looks like the GOP is encouraging him to retire asap: Trump’s hidden back channel to Justice Kennedy: Their kids.

I really wish there was better news out there.
posted by StrawberryPie at 5:51 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


aren't there a lot of ways senators can slow down the senate's business to a crawl? - call it fallout from the nuclear option

the republicans have killed our government dead - over half of the people - those who voted for the majority party that isn't running the country - have no representation and no reason to view this system as legitimate

it's probably way too early for a revolution - but one will come
posted by pyramid termite at 5:52 PM on April 6 [14 favorites]


Sen. Donnelly to Dem colleagues: ‘I don’t work for you’

Link is a small amount of text and a video. Donnelly says he works for Hoosiers.
posted by futz at 5:56 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Here's hoping Hoosiers have words with him about that.
posted by Artw at 5:57 PM on April 6 [10 favorites]


does that mean he has to wear a short dress?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:57 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


Great, now I'm in a hole of looking at Trump menus. The Chicago property has a cocktail called The Beauregard
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:58 PM on April 6


Yeah, I'm afraid the most realistic scenario we're looking at is that Trump gets to replace Kennedy with another Gorsuch sometime within the next four years. And maybe Clarence Thomas, too.

At that point, kiss Roe v. Wade goodbye, at least in its implementation, if not in toto. Along with a raft of other civil rights protections. And then we are left playing defense for a generation, as nearly all of the oldest justices are on the liberal wing.

The next few decades of SCOTUS jurisprudence are going to suck.
posted by darkstar at 6:03 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


What's the point of saying it's impossible? People would have said the Tea Party revolution was impossible. Literally what is the point? If it's impossible, then we're screwed, so we may as well assume it is possible and carry on.
posted by frumiousb at 6:05 PM on April 6 [65 favorites]


And-- on another note-- where the hell is the DNC? I just saw this scary bit of news from Upstate New York. Can they literally not find anyone to stand up? And why isn't the call going out from the rooftops for *anyone* to run.
posted by frumiousb at 6:05 PM on April 6 [10 favorites]


Jesus, this is depressing. Is there any good news to give me any shred of hope that the rest of my life won't be a dark spiral downward into full rightwing extremism?
posted by triggerfinger at 6:06 PM on April 6 [6 favorites]


The Chicago property has a cocktail called The Beauregard

Violet Beauregarde?
posted by Artw at 6:10 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


My city comptroller meeting was all about protecting immigrants and battling real estate developers and the NY progressive caucus just announced a 18$ min wage by 2018 imitative and they've been present at some dem soc events to indicate they're willing to work with us.

I mean they always say you start with dog catchers but we do have more socialists in city councils now then we did last year.
posted by The Whelk at 6:11 PM on April 6 [16 favorites]


Link is a small amount of text and a video. Donnelly says he works for Hoosiers

Hoosier daddy?
posted by kirkaracha at 6:11 PM on April 6 [6 favorites]


It's started. 50+ Tomahawk missiles have hit their target in Syria, an airfield near Homs.
posted by Justinian at 6:12 PM on April 6 [39 favorites]


Yes, let's get more coal miners working: Kentucky coal museum switching to solar power. "It is a little ironic," Robinson said to WYMT, "But you know, coal and solar and all the different energy sources work hand-in-hand. And, of course, coal is still king around here."
posted by adamg at 6:12 PM on April 6 [12 favorites]


The Chicago property has a cocktail called The Beauregard

The rest of the cocktail names are evidence supporting they hypothesis that for whatever reason Republicans just can't do humor.
posted by mikelieman at 6:13 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


And we just bombed Syria.

@BraddJaffy
NBC NEWS: U.S. has launched missile strikes on al-Shayrat military airfield near Homs, Syria
posted by chris24 at 6:14 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


It's started. 50+ Tomahawk missiles have hit their target in Syria, an airfield near Homs.

Yup, they just interrupted Rachel Maddow to report on that.

I don't like living in interesting times. I can't believe the Republicans would rather let this country burn when they have had the power to turn things around all along.
posted by Salieri at 6:14 PM on April 6 [9 favorites]


Trump just fired missiles into a Russian ally.

It's been an honor, folks.

Could someone call the mothership? I think we're done here.
posted by Archelaus at 6:15 PM on April 6 [8 favorites]


Tillerson went from "leave Assad alone" to missile strikes tonight?

This is totally totally fucked up. Am I to believe that this government suddenly became competent? No way in hell!
posted by futz at 6:16 PM on April 6 [9 favorites]


There are some good things. Feminism is popular again. Print media subs spike every time he says it's failing. Donations to the ACLU have increased to by an order of magnitude. The Republican hate machine is splitting apart. Bullshit is being called bullshit.
posted by adept256 at 6:17 PM on April 6 [13 favorites]


It's started. 50+ Tomahawk missiles have hit their target in Syria, an airfield near Homs.

1.59 * 50 = 79.5 million dollars

Good day to be holding Raytheon and McDonald Douglass stock, eh?
posted by mikelieman at 6:17 PM on April 6 [18 favorites]


I for one am tired of winning.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:17 PM on April 6 [41 favorites]


Humanity had a good run.
posted by Yowser at 6:17 PM on April 6


I don't think this is competence, no. Fucking terrifying more like.
posted by Artw at 6:17 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


The Republican hate machine is splitting apart.

, and, like the mighty atom,
posted by Greg Nog at 6:18 PM on April 6 [9 favorites]


Does this signify a sudden break of being buddies with Putin?
I'm so confused...
Will we be at war with Russia if we hit and kill Russian personnel?
posted by Hairy Lobster at 6:18 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Could someone call the mothership? I think we're done here.

Well, first we need the Mothership Connection....
posted by mikelieman at 6:18 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


Welp.

Could I have a second helping of the sorbet?
posted by goHermGO at 6:19 PM on April 6


About the only bright side I can see is that a Tomahawk strike on an airfield is much less likely to accidentally cause a conflict with Russia than actual airstrikes, so many this will sate Donny's bloodlust and make him feel like a big man and he won't have to escalate further.
posted by Justinian at 6:19 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]


"War with Russia" is the fast track to the end of the world. Putin is aware o fthat even if Trump isn't. But I can't imagine this is going to end anywhere good.
posted by Artw at 6:20 PM on April 6


I just hope I read about the nukes flying on Twitter faster enough to post about it.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:20 PM on April 6 [6 favorites]


Yeah, but a vote for Clinton is a vote for more war. Fuck my life.
posted by notyou at 6:20 PM on April 6 [71 favorites]


I got in a heated argument with someone I like today about whether the Democrats' efforts to block Gorsuch is morally equivalent to Republican blockage of Garland. He said the manipulation of procedure was the key problem. I said the potential damage that could be wrought by the nominees mattered.

I also found myself feeling, but not acting on, a desire to raise my voice, swear, and use force to express my frustration with his STUPID FUCKING EQUIVOCATION YOU FUCKER HOW ABOUT WE TAKE OUT TO THE PARKING LOT so this nonstop cyclone of horseshit has turned a part of me back into the 11th grade asshole I was so smug to have left behind, which literally no one who knows me would believe I once was. So the coarsening is truly viral and makes 28 Days Later look like a dry run.
posted by Caxton1476 at 6:21 PM on April 6 [18 favorites]


Suddenly, the supplies I squirreled up in a bout of prepperitis following Trump's victory in November are beginning to look less pointless.

Ironically, this does not make me feel better.
posted by darkstar at 6:21 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


MSNBC is saying the Russians were warned beforehand.
posted by chris24 at 6:21 PM on April 6 [24 favorites]


Triggerfinger: Is there any good news to give me any shred of hope that the rest of my life won't be a dark spiral downward into full rightwing extremism?

Today I ran into a Trump voter (I'd been avoiding her for 13 weeks) who said she regretted her vote and so did all the other people she knew who had voted for Trump (excepting her parents). I know this sounds like I hallucinated it, but it's true.
posted by acrasis at 6:21 PM on April 6 [58 favorites]


Spending 70mil on blowing up tarmac is much better than the end of the world, I guess.
posted by Artw at 6:22 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


Not only was Russia warned, I suspect they were quite okay with it and perhaps had even suggested the target so as to allow Donny to get his grar on without harming Russian assets or plans.
posted by darkstar at 6:24 PM on April 6 [47 favorites]


Oh hey a new thread what's going on in here gu--

*opens playlist of soothing woodworking videos on Youtube*
*closes thread*
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:25 PM on April 6 [58 favorites]


So they warned Russia, who warned Assad. I would not be surprised if it was a parking lot.
posted by benzenedream at 6:25 PM on April 6 [15 favorites]


MSNBC is saying that it is not known if Russia was warned.
posted by futz at 6:27 PM on April 6


So they warned Russia, who warned Assad. I would not be surprised if it was a parking lot.

I'm okay with that, if that's what happened. There's enough death already.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 6:27 PM on April 6 [14 favorites]


I doubt seriously this was done without Trump communications with Moscow. Please, God, let that be true.
posted by Tevin at 6:29 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Fucking up an empty gesture by blowing up the wrong parking lot is totally within this idiots capacity.

If that is basically what was arranged how much diplomacy do you think Russia has done in the last 24 hours to make this happen? Fuckers at least put in the effort.
posted by Artw at 6:30 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


I fucking hate half of this country.
posted by maxwelton at 6:31 PM on April 6 [67 favorites]


I doubt seriously this was done without Trump communications with Moscow.

At this point, I doubt it was done without Putin's orders.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:31 PM on April 6 [24 favorites]



Not only was Russia warned, I suspect they were quite okay with it and perhaps had even suggested the target so as to allow Donny to get his grar on without harming Russian assets or plans.


Yeah, maybe I'm naive about the political ramifications or too cynical (join the club right?) or too paranoid, but I have a hard time taking this seriously as a opening salvo for a genuine conflict with Russia.

It gives the press something to point to that counters the Russian puppet picture that's been emerging, let's him pretend to be a real big boy, uh, president, and I'd imagine Putin wouldn't balk at the price of trading a few of his citizens lives for the chance of keeping his cronies in the US in power a little longer.
posted by The Shoodoonoof at 6:33 PM on April 6 [11 favorites]


Wapo
The operation, which the Trump administration authorized in retaliation for a chemical attack killing scores of civilians this week, dramatically expands U.S. military involvement in Syria and exposes the United States to heightened risk of direct confrontation with Russia and Iran, both backing Assad in his attempt to crush his opposition,
posted by adamvasco at 6:34 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


50+ missiles bombed the air base they think the chem attack was launched from.
posted by futz at 6:34 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


but but but "mad dog," the voice of reason....
posted by entropicamericana at 6:39 PM on April 6 [6 favorites]


Assad is a fucking idiot. If he's just held back he's have US troops fighting his battles for him eventualy, now that's going to be super tricky.
posted by Artw at 6:39 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


And-- on another note-- where the hell is the DNC? I just saw this scary bit of news from Upstate New York. Can they literally not find anyone to stand up? And why isn't the call going out from the rooftops for *anyone* to run.


I know it's kind of dwarfed by the Syria thing but from the linked article:
picking up his two-year-old and eleven-month-old children from a sitter. That's when an unidentified person in a pickup truck threw a full soda container at him. Treiman said he was hit in the back as he turned to shield the child he was holding....the man who threw the can yelled "liberal scumbag" before driving away from the scene.

Shitty little cowards.
posted by The Shoodoonoof at 6:39 PM on April 6 [36 favorites]


It strikes me that a great way for Trump to deflect attention from his Russia/election connections is to strike a target in defiance of Russia, and that I didn't think of this before is weirdly upsetting.
posted by mynameisluka at 6:40 PM on April 6 [12 favorites]


Isn't he at Mar Largo? He launched 50 missiles against a Russian client state from his fucking golf course?
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:40 PM on April 6 [51 favorites]


Outside it's America.
posted by 4ster at 6:42 PM on April 6 [14 favorites]


Hole in one!
posted by benzenedream at 6:42 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


"now watch this drive"
posted by entropicamericana at 6:43 PM on April 6 [43 favorites]


T.D. Strange: Isn't he at Mar Largo? He launched 50 missiles against a Russian client state from his fucking golf course?

Pence was in the situation room apparently. Intelligence expert Malcolm Nance correctly predicted a future military action earlier tonight when it was announced Pence would be returning to the White House after dinner.
posted by bluecore at 6:44 PM on April 6 [10 favorites]


Isn't he at Mar Largo? He launched 50 missiles against a Russian client state from his fucking golf course?
posted by T.D. Strange at 20:40 on April 6 [4 favorites +] [!]


Yeah, and the Chinese have already said fuck this, we're out. According to twitter the delegation left.

My boo Acosta is still there, though.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:44 PM on April 6 [28 favorites]


What gives the United States the legal right to bomb another country, regardless of how horrible they are?

1) We signed the UN Charter, the foundational treaty of the United Nations.
Fuck, it was our idea.

2) Chapter VII of the UN Charter only allows military force:
a) with the authorization of the Security Council (Article 42),
b) In self-defense (Article 51)

3) According to the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, "...all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land."

Conclusion: this is illegal under US and international law. What am I missing?
posted by kirkaracha at 6:44 PM on April 6 [41 favorites]




Kikaracha, you are presupposing that the rule of law applies anymore
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:46 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


What am I missing?
The Democrats are powerless, and the Republicans don't care about what's legal. And the US has always been ok with ignoring international law.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:46 PM on April 6 [25 favorites]


Conclusion: this is illegal under US and international law. What am I missing?

the last 15 years
posted by edeezy at 6:46 PM on April 6 [63 favorites]


What gives the United States the legal right to bomb another country, regardless of how horrible they are?

Cratering poll numbers.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:47 PM on April 6 [16 favorites]


Conclusion: this is illegal under US and international law. What am I missing?

Nothing. It's illegal when Trump did it, it was illegal when Obama did it in some other places, and it was really, really, really illegal when Bush did it on a much bigger scale and killed hundreds of thousands.

The problem with Trump doing it specifically is that he is so erratic and incompetent that we have no idea how this will end. I opposed Obama's drone program but I was never afraid he was going to fuck up and cause a major regional, much less world, war.
posted by Justinian at 6:48 PM on April 6 [52 favorites]


Isn't he at Mar Largo?

CNN reported earlier (over an hour ago?) That the Xi and wife had left Mar a Lago and I thought "that was early. Huh" I am sure they are having a great visit! This attack is probably trump showing Xi how big his penis is.
posted by futz at 6:49 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Intelligence expert Malcolm Nance correctly predicted a future military action earlier tonight when it was announced Pence would be returning to the White House after dinner.

Oh good I was worried he'd be starting World War 3 on an empty stomach.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:49 PM on April 6 [15 favorites]


Cratering poll numbers

The thing is that his supporters don't care about Syria or what horrible things Assad does there. I can't see them cheering this on; I can see them wondering why he's not blowing up people at the border or something like that, but not being all excited about this.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 6:49 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


It was also illegal when Clinton did it against Saddam and Sudan, right?
posted by Apocryphon at 6:50 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


It strikes me that a great way for Trump to deflect attention from his Russia/election connections is to strike a target in defiance of Russia, and that I didn't think of this before is weirdly upsetting.

[Trump fires 50 missiles at a military target]
"ah, a clever ruse"
posted by Greg Nog at 6:50 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


This is something the child king of North Korea would do to assert dominance on the world stage.
posted by Slackermagee at 6:51 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


USA USA USA watch the shares in arms companies.
posted by adamvasco at 6:51 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


>This attack is probably trump showing Xi how big his penis is.

Also, I'd be a teensy weensy bit worried that Mar-a-Lago might be a target for attack.
posted by porpoise at 6:51 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


It was also illegal when Clinton did it against Saddam and Sudan, right?

Bill Clinton? I assume so but I was young enough I wasn't nearly as politically aware so could be missing some nuances there. I mostly was playing video games and eating everything in the fridge.
posted by Justinian at 6:51 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


It's been illegal in every military action since WWII, as that was the last time Congress actually declared war.
posted by COD at 6:52 PM on April 6 [13 favorites]


The thing is that his supporters don't care about Syria or what horrible things Assad does there.

There's crying and dead muslims on the TeeVee. Your racist uncle won't need viagra for a week, and he'll give extra thanks to White Jesus at church on Sunday.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:52 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]




Also, I'd be a teensy weensy bit worried that Mar-a-Lago might be a target for attack.

Or of course every other building with the name Trump on it in the whole world.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:54 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


Also, I'd be a teensy weensy bit worried that Mar-a-Lago might be a target for attack.

You know who DOES have missiles that can reach the United States, right?
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:54 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


A Tomahawk missile costs 1.41 million so 50 of them is roughly equal to 23 trips to Mar-a-Lago...For the record.
posted by adamvasco at 6:55 PM on April 6 [25 favorites]


Tillerson went from "leave Assad alone" to missile strikes tonight?
...
The operation, which the Trump administration authorized in retaliation for a chemical attack killing scores of civilians this week, dramatically expands U.S. military involvement in Syria and exposes the United States to heightened risk of direct confrontation with Russia and Iran
...
Isn't he at Mar Largo? He launched 50 missiles against a Russian client state from his fucking golf course?


i think I'm going to call this the Leeroy Jenkins gambit - there is a complicated military situation with no particularly good options, and lots of very bad potential outcomes, which requires a lengthy, detailed strategy crafted with the input of seasoned experts, who... ah, shit, here we go. Never mind.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 6:55 PM on April 6 [89 favorites]


You know who DOES have missiles that can reach the United States, right?

Russia, China, India, Israel, France! I think the UK has some sub-based ICBMs but not land based ones AFAIK.
posted by Justinian at 6:56 PM on April 6 [6 favorites]


BTW wasn't it Hillary Clinton who suggested taking out Assad's airports? Trump is taking HRC's advice now?
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:56 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


And then we are left playing defense for a generation, as nearly all of the oldest justices are on the liberal wing.

Remember when "Hillary is too rightwing" was a lefty talking point?

God, if I went back in time, the necks I would wring.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 6:57 PM on April 6 [31 favorites]


Also, I'd be a teensy weensy bit worried that Mar-a-Lago might be a target for attack.

From whom? Syrian Ba'athists? Assad's intelligence services? Russian Spetsnaz operatives? Hezbollah? Out of all the factions in the conflict to attack, Trump has just attacked the one most resembling an actual nation-state that fights conventional battles, not through terrorism.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:57 PM on April 6


The thing is that his supporters don't care about Syria or what horrible things Assad does there. I can't see them cheering this on; I can see them wondering why he's not blowing up people at the border or something like that, but not being all excited about this.

He's killing brown Muslims. They'll love it.
posted by chris24 at 6:58 PM on April 6 [9 favorites]


Oh lord, so we go from "let Syria deal with Assad" to "this cannot stand" in the span of a week, when nothing had fundamentally changed (it's not as though Assad's use of chemical weapons was some brand new thing, and let's not act like everything else he's been doing hasn't been a war crime), and now Trump tosses some missiles over to get his approval rating up a couple points. Bravo.
posted by Room 101 at 7:00 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]


It was also illegal when Clinton did it against Saddam and Sudan, right?

Against Libya was in retaliation for harboring Al Qaeda bases and the bombing of two American embassies. Iraq was a UN Security Council authorized action. So, not really the same. Like, at all.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:01 PM on April 6 [26 favorites]


Dear President Trump:

All of those babies that you claim you were trying to avenge with your attack would also have been spared if you hadn't banned them from entering this country.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:01 PM on April 6 [119 favorites]


"So-called":
There is only one White House. It is in Washington D.C., and it is owned by the U.S. federal government. It is sometimes and rightly called 'The People’s House,' because we the people own it, and we vote to elect the president who lives and works in it. No one profits financially when a state visit is held at the White House.

Mar-a-Lago is a private facility owned by Trump himself. When he hosts state visits there, not only does someone personally profit from it, that someone is Trump himself. Using Mar-a-Lago for official state business goes against everything that the actual White House stands for.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:01 PM on April 6 [136 favorites]


Russia -- check.
China -- well duh, like being the point, check.
India -- can get here, but how's their targeting?
Israel -- wait, what?
France -- most likely, they have a space program and blew up half the south Pacific testing
UK -- most definitely, even if just from subs. If your nuclear triad has only one leg you want it to be subs.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:02 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


A reminder that those babies we all saw being gassed will be banned from the US if Potus gets his way. [link to tweet]

To this administration: You won't be forgiven anything.
posted by yasaman at 7:02 PM on April 6 [10 favorites]


Trump's statement sounds like he's using a $5 microphone.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:02 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


G. W. Bush was also not a drinker. I wonder what the wine was like at his state dinners?

Well, for at least 2, he served Argyle from Oregon. It's good stuff. If you get the chance and go there, try the Black Brut.
posted by anem0ne at 7:02 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Well, I was googling around and found the playbook.

Hillary Clinton Is Wrong on Syria
Max Reibman

February 28, 2016

In the absence of a “moderate” opposition, it’s time for Clinton to recognize that the only real way of defeating ISIS and stabilizing Syria is to work with Iran, Russia and the regime. There is no alternative. ISIS is the existential threat to the United States. The Paris attackers pledged allegiance to ISIS as did the shooters in San Bernardino. It was ISIS, not the Ayatollas, the Revolutionary Guards or President Rouhani that motivated the San Bernardino shooters to slaughter their defenseless co-workers.

Clinton represents a welter of contradictions. On one hand, she supports the nuclear agreement with Iran, dismissing the notion that the agreement presents a real threat to Israel. On the other hand, she remains incapable of admitting a reality—that Iranian troops are already in Syria—and clumsily playing the Israel card to add credibility to her flawed argument. Hillary has asserted that “inviting Iranian troops into Syria” would put them on Israel’s “doorstep.” If Hillary was truly concerned about Israeli security, surely she would care more about a nuclear-armed Iran rather than Iranian troops in Syria with a mandate to engage ISIS.
posted by mikelieman at 7:03 PM on April 6


Anderson Cooper, who doesn't need to suck up to anybody, just let some jackass reporter slide with calling mar a Lago the southern White House.
posted by Yowser at 7:03 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]


Israel -- wait, what?

The Jericho III nuke ICBMs!
posted by Justinian at 7:03 PM on April 6


BTW wasn't it Hillary Clinton who suggested taking out Assad's airports? Trump is taking HRC's advice now?

Hillary Clinton: US should 'take out' Assad's air fields
"Assad has an air force, and that air force is the cause of most of these civilian deaths as we have seen over the years and as we saw again in the last few days," Clinton said in a speech at the "Women in the World" summit in New York City. "And I really believe that we should have and still should take out his air fields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people and drop sarin gas on them."
posted by kirkaracha at 7:03 PM on April 6 [12 favorites]


@paulmcleary
Defense official: there were Russians stationed at the base the US struck in Syria tonight, but US informed them beforehand @ForeignPolicy
posted by chris24 at 7:04 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


When I see the inevitable uptick in Trump's poll numbers I will not be able to express my disgust.
posted by Surely This at 7:04 PM on April 6 [31 favorites]


but but but "mad dog," the voice of reason....

McCain and Graham are already cheering for Trump.


How about this: instead of lionizing the people who kept on telling us Mattis is one of the good ones, that we shouldn't pick on McCain because he's a veteran, etc., just assume they're woefully uninformed and/or delusional and either ignore them or call them on it. They're just going to keep on pulling this shit alongside both-sides-do-it-ism, whining about how we won't let them be allies just because of their Neo-Confederate leanings, and so forth, so maybe it's time to tell them to fuck off and come back when they're ready to live in the real world.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:05 PM on April 6 [15 favorites]


I'd like to formally apologize for my comment a few hours ago expressing relief that Steve Bannon was off the NSC
posted by theodolite at 7:06 PM on April 6 [11 favorites]


Why has nobody asked Trump how he can claim to be horrified at the deaths of Syrian children when he vilifies the same children as refugees? Maybe that would have been a better use of time than chatting with him about the stupid subway.
posted by zachlipton at 7:06 PM on April 6 [25 favorites]


Trump invoking refugees?

Go to hell you ducking monster.
posted by Yowser at 7:07 PM on April 6 [20 favorites]


Guess it's time to restock my poster board, marker and stick supplies.
posted by rouftop at 7:07 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]


futz: "Tillerson went from "leave Assad alone" to missile strikes tonight?"

Lol. As if anyone asked Tillerson for his opinion beforehand. I'd give 4-to-1 odds that he got a news alert on his phone before anyone in the government bothered to give him a heads-up.
posted by mhum at 7:07 PM on April 6 [39 favorites]


Isn't he at Mar Largo? He launched 50 missiles against a Russian client state from his fucking golf course?

Of course not. Pence oversaw it.
posted by Artw at 7:08 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


I'd like to formally apologize for my comment a few hours ago expressing relief that Steve Bannon was off the NSC

Who knows. Maybe he was in the turn the desert into glass camp.
posted by dis_integration at 7:08 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]


These Republican flip-flops are everything.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:08 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]


The Jericho III nuke ICBMs!

OK that's pretty recent, but there seems to be some uncertainty as to the actual range. Wiki gives only one entity estimating that it could hit North America. Seems much more likely to be a regional weapon. But I guess you don't really know until...
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:09 PM on April 6


Syria is supposed to be protected by Russian missile defense systems. Israel has bombed Hezbollah depots there a few times since, and the speculation has always been that this was secretly negotiated with Russia. The most direct line from the Mediterranean to the airfield in Homs goes right past the Russian naval base in Tartus, so if this wasn't negotiated in advance then somebody is making a statement.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:10 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


Aw, looks like new friend Rand Paul is off the Trumpwagon.

@RandPaul
Our prior interventions in this region have done nothing to make us safer and Syria will be no different.
posted by chris24 at 7:10 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


I'd give 4-to-1 odds that he got a news alert on his phone before anyone in the government bothered to give him a heads-up.

Remember, a whole lot of the smoke-without-fire about Hillary Clinton's emails was the true fact that the State Department Ops desk would send her -- at the time unclassified -- emergency updates via Huma.

You know, for actual situational awareness and shit...
posted by mikelieman at 7:11 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


John Hudson: Many officials at State Department today were completely out of the loop, as were key US allies, about imminent US strike.

Christina Wilkie: NSC staffers were also kept out of the loop until after it had happened, per sources.

Just to be clear: the checks and balances he disregards now are paving the way for when he uses nukes. Can't let this shit get normalized on our watch.
posted by bluecore at 7:11 PM on April 6 [78 favorites]


AFP: Syrian state TV calls US strikes an act of "aggression"
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:12 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Kushner Omitted Meeting With Russians on Security Clearance Forms

When Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, sought the top-secret security clearance that would give him access to some of the nation’s most closely guarded secrets, he was required to disclose all of his encounters with foreign government officials over the last seven years.

But Mr. Kushner omitted any mention of dozens of contacts he has had with foreign leaders or officials in recent months. They include a December meeting with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, and another with the head of a Russian state-owned bank, Vnesheconombank, which was arranged at the behest of Mr. Kislyak.

The omissions, which Mr. Kushner’s lawyer described as an error, are particularly sensitive given the continuing congressional and F.B.I. investigations into contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates. The Senate Intelligence Committee informed the White House weeks ago that as part of its inquiry, it planned to question Mr. Kushner about the meetings he arranged with Mr. Kislyak, including the one with Sergey N. Gorkov, a graduate of Russia’s spy school who now heads Vnesheconombank.


Well well well. Surprise Surprise.
posted by futz at 7:12 PM on April 6 [121 favorites]


OK that's pretty recent, but there seems to be some uncertainty as to the actual range. Wiki gives only one entity estimating that it could hit North America. Seems much more likely to be a regional weapon. But I guess you don't really know until...

Israeli navy has Dolphin class submarines, and yes, it has submarine launched cruise missiles, and all you have to do is park one off Washington DC.
posted by mikelieman at 7:13 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


"Tillerson went from "leave Assad alone" to missile strikes tonight?"

Lol. As if anyone asked Tillerson for his opinion beforehand. I'd give 4-to-1 odds that he got a news alert on his phone before anyone in the government bothered to give him a heads-up.


To be fair, he was resting.
posted by petebest at 7:13 PM on April 6 [13 favorites]


And no shit, the Israeli SLCM is called the Popeye
posted by mikelieman at 7:14 PM on April 6


So in Syria, when the Russians quietly slip away from your shared facility, you better take cover.
posted by awfurby at 7:22 PM on April 6 [16 favorites]


This attack is probably trump showing Xi how big his penis is.

Well to be fair, Xi probably didn't want to see the real article

Y'know Trump offered
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:24 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Aw, looks like new friend Rand Paul is off the Trumpwagon.

Pff. He'll be carrying water for him again in no time.
posted by Artw at 7:27 PM on April 6 [18 favorites]


Well to be fair, Xi probably didn't want to see the real article

Xi saw the aged steak of regret and 29 dollar bottle of wine, and bailed out as soon as possible. Is it too late to learn Mandarin?
posted by mikelieman at 7:27 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]


God, "civilized nations."
posted by flatluigi at 7:29 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]


...might be a target for attack.
> From whom?

Yeah, my noisy snark was misunderstood. I was thinking more domestic terrorism but retconning it, it would be a perfectly diplomatic response to throw shade at Donnie's unzipping of his trousers and swinging his pharmaceutically engorged little prick around and yammering about Chinese anatomy.

Xi: You know Donnie, there's an ancient proverb - 'don't stay under the roofs of jackasses.' Laterz!"
posted by porpoise at 7:30 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Tillerson is apparantly calling Russia either complicit or incompetent regarding Syria.

That doesn't seem like something you'd say to try to keep from having a war. But maybe that's just me.
posted by monopas at 7:31 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]


I'm really pissed at Hillary Clinton for saying that. Granted I know Cheetoh Mussolini is gonna do whatever he's gonna do but she doesn't need to give him political cover. And if anyone should know how dangerous it is to trust this dude with military action, it's her.

But now, just like how 45 and his supporters blurt out "But Obama also did [this thing that isn't really like what 45 is doing]" to muddy the waters, they'll hide behind Hillary Clinton as a defense against criticism, too. Fuck.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:34 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


That doesn't seem like something you'd say to try to keep from having a war.

No, you're thinkng of an administration that knows what it's doing.

This on-the-job training squad just bombed another country in their first 11 weeks. The same day they nuked the filibuster. And Don Rickles has died. Which, ostensibly wasn't their fault but it's a buy-two-get-one-free kinda day.
posted by petebest at 7:38 PM on April 6 [12 favorites]


But now, just like how 45 and his supporters blurt out "But Obama also did [this thing that isn't really like what 45 is doing]"

Tu Quoque, an appeal to hypocrisy. Doesn't falsify the initial hypothesis, but I really don't expect rationality and logic from these nitwits in the first place.

I don't see it as her providing cover. She gave him a strategy 4 hours before he acted.
posted by mikelieman at 7:39 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


I was convinced, earlier this week, that Trump would wail and bluster about how Obama failed to do anything in Syria and in North Korea and in the South China Sea, but fail to actually risk doing anything himself; and earlier this week, the administration's repeated admonition that Assad staying in power was 'a political reality' seemed confirmatory.

Given the way today unfolded -- from the rapid escalation from 'do nothing' to 'do something' to 'actually literally bombing things as we speak,' but also that this is unfolding on the same President Xi Jinping was meeting with Trump -- I am really afraid my earlier confidence in Trump's lazy ire was misplaced. I think this bodes badly not only for Syria, but for North Korea; we'll see, I guess, how the China talks go tomorrow, but the chances of them going well feel like they just dropped drastically.
posted by cjelli at 7:41 PM on April 6 [6 favorites]


My little brother finishes his BOLC and joins an infantry unit as the attached field artillery officer at the end of May. He anticipated deploying to Afghanistan in January, but maybe things will get a lot worse a lot quicker. I'm feeling paralyzed all over again. I don't understand how this is happening. I'm angry, and sad, and scared. I don't know what to do. I keep calling my congresspeople. I march with my signs. I donate money to Medecins Sans Frontiers, I stay aware and engaged and it doesn't really do anything and now here we are unilaterally bombing Syria. What comes next? What can I do?
posted by ChuraChura at 7:41 PM on April 6 [24 favorites]


The InfoWars crowd is not happy.

@PrisonPlanet
I guess Trump wasn't "Putin's puppet" after all, he was just another deep state/Neo-Con puppet.
I'm officially OFF the Trump train.


@PrisonPlanet
It's been fun lads, but the fun is over. I'll be focusing my efforts on Le Pen, who tried to warn Trump against this disaster.


@PrisonPlanet
Hey @realDonaldTrump - Americans didn't vote for you to intensify Hillary's disastrous foreign policy.
posted by chris24 at 7:41 PM on April 6 [6 favorites]


MSNBC commentator observing that if the air base hit is the one which the chemical weapons attack was launched from, there are probably more chemical weapons stored there and the U.S. missile attack may have caused a dispersal of those weapons.
posted by XMLicious at 7:42 PM on April 6 [10 favorites]


RE the Clinton statement: it is troubling that even though her historic vote to give W. the authorization to use military force was exploited in such a terrible way - a vote which she subsequently said was a mistake - yet here she is arguing for Trump (an even less mature, considered man) to use military force in Syria.

For those of us who voted for Clinton in spite of her terrible AUMF vote, as much as I would prefer her over Trump, it is still really frustrating to see this particular lesson may not have been learned the first time around.
posted by darkstar at 7:43 PM on April 6 [10 favorites]


Nobody is going to use Hilary Clinton as political cover. At least no Republicans.
posted by dilaudid at 7:44 PM on April 6 [6 favorites]


Thursday special elections updates:

GA-06:
Day 9 of in-person ev in GA-6 is D 42 R 40, by far the best GOP day yet but still weak in R+20 dist. Over all, D 52, R 31 with 14881 votes
KS-04:
A few thoughts on KS-04, where the GOP is now spending even though Ds have no business being competitive

There is no polling here, but I reallly doubt GOP could be in danger because of R to D flipping. I think it would just be a turnout question

And in a special election that isn't (supposed) to be competitive, turnout is really uncertain and potentially very low

So I can see why the GOP would see Dem early voting numbers and wonder whether a mere, say, 20k more Dems could mess up their electorate

That said, I really can't think of any example of a party stealthily winning a House seat on turnout. If you can think of one, I'll check
posted by Chrysostom at 7:44 PM on April 6 [15 favorites]


Surely these cruise missiles will help us uncover those moderate rebels I've been hearing so much about.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:45 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


the U.S. missile attack may have caused a dispersal of those weapons.

Does that mean destroyed them (or would incendiaries be needed for that) or does that mean we set of a big cloud of sarin there? I honestly don't know.
posted by mephron at 7:45 PM on April 6


Aw, looks like new friend Rand Paul is off the Trumpwagon.

Pff. He'll be carrying water for him again in no time.


Rand just has to do his obligatory "Government bad! Everything government does (other than sign my fucking paycheck) is bad, bad, bad" shtick.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:46 PM on April 6 [11 favorites]


Something like this was inevitable. Eventually even a dullard President like Trump realizes they have a freer hand internationally. I figured it would take a few more months for him to figure it out.

It sure wasn't long after the neocons grabbed control of the NSC, though!
posted by notyou at 7:47 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


there are probably more chemical weapons stored there and the U.S. missile attack may have caused a dispersal of those weapons.
...which may have been exactly what was intended. Trump has never done anything that wasn't maximally damaging.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:47 PM on April 6


Idiot Schumer supporting this after the fact. I am going to have so many calls to make tomorrow.
posted by asteria at 7:48 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


she doesn't need to give him political cover.

This isn't new, though; Clinton has gone back and forth on a number of issues, but her willingness to authorize military force in Syria is something she was actively campaigning on. When people were saying Clinton seemed hawkish on foreign policy, it's stuff like Libya, like Syria, and Iraq that we were referring to. Many of us (including me, who volunteered for and voted for her) were mad at this election because both major candidates seemed overly-willing to rely on military actions. All we can do now is watch our elected officials, and see which ones are pro-Syrian-war, and remember when they ask for our votes again.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:49 PM on April 6 [24 favorites]




It occurs to me that apparently the plight of innocent Syrian civilians is bad enough to kill a bunch of people about but not so bad that we would actually consider, you know, letting them into our country.
posted by Justinian at 7:50 PM on April 6 [36 favorites]


“ISW Analysts React to the U.S.'s Anti-Assad Strike in Syria,” ISW Syria Blog, 06 April 2017

Cf. America's Way Ahead in Syria [PDF], Jennifer Cafarell, et al., The Institute for the Study of War, 2017

P.S. Re Alawites fighting to the death, “Syrian Alawites distance themselves from Assad,” Caroline Wyatt, BBC, 03 April 2017
posted by ob1quixote at 7:51 PM on April 6


The InfoWars crowd is not happy.

All the pro-trumper "news" sites have been reporting that the Syrian chemical attack was a hoax, parroting what Russia has said about the attack. It's fucking crazy.
posted by futz at 7:51 PM on April 6 [18 favorites]


Hillary isn't the president so it doesn't matter but I highly doubt she would have attacked without Congressional approval.
posted by asteria at 7:52 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Does that mean destroyed them (or would incendiaries be needed for that) or does that mean we set of a big cloud of sarin there?

One of the MSNBC commentators said that they did not believe Tomahawk missiles would have the incendiary effect necessary to burn up any chemical agents.

Also BTW, Marco Rubio was being interviewed about half an hour ago and threw in the statement "Syria will not be ruled by Alawites" along with the other predictable stuff he said.
posted by XMLicious at 7:54 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Rand just has to do his obligatory "Government bad! Everything government does (other than sign my fucking paycheck) is bad, bad, bad" shtick.

Rand Paul is a huge piece of shit and I was delighted to vote against him this November (Jim Gray, we hardly knew ye), but Paul is on record as opposing excessive interventionism, which is one of like two good things about him:*

“The problem with John Bolton is he disagrees with President Trump’s foreign policy,” the Kentucky Republican said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“John Bolton still believes the Iraq War was a good idea. He still believes that regime change is a good idea. He still believes that nation-building is a good idea,” said the senator. “I think that his history of sort of acting on his own, my fear is that secret wars would be developing around the globe. And so, no, I think he would be a bad choice.”


*The other is this fantastic video he didn't realize was live
posted by Greg Nog at 7:56 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


...and on non-preview maybe that BBC link ob1quixote put up has something to do with the Alawites statement from Rubio.
posted by XMLicious at 7:57 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


P.S. Re Alawites fighting to the death, “Syrian Alawites distance themselves from Assad,” Caroline Wyatt, BBC, 03 April 2017


Well, before the shit hit the fan, the Assad clan was trying to present itself as more-Sunni, with marriages and other ties to Sunni power centers.
posted by ocschwar at 7:58 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


I just want to know if there are any dead Russians.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:58 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


And a dark wind blows.
posted by One Thousand and One at 7:59 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


Okay, who had today down on the "When do the first bombs go off" betting pool?

I have to go to a wedding this weekend (11 hours of driving, yay) and now I'm all, fuuuuuuuck, no news for like, the whole weekend. Then again, maybe that's all for the best so I'm surprised when we get blowed up?
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:00 PM on April 6 [8 favorites]


Oh, wait, I have this Trump voodoo doll right here and I can slam its head into the table.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:01 PM on April 6 [24 favorites]


Soooo..... Did Donnie clear with with his boss first? Did Putin sacrifice a few Russian soldiers for Trump's ratings, or did Trump just kill Russian soldiers as a possible prelude to war with Russia?

It's really bad that my **HOPE** at this point is that Trump consulted with Putin beforehand and only launched his missiles after Putin gave him the OK.

Also, Senate Dems, Sen Schumer, and the DNC, now that Sen. Donnelly has declared that he's totally unbound by the Democratic Party and isn't really a Democrat, will you be stripping him of his committee memberships, any Party positions, running a real Democrat against him in the primaries, and not bothering to fund him if by some horrible mischance of fate he wins the primaries?

Because, dude just said "fuck you Democrats", and if you let him get away with that it's not going to be good for the Party.
posted by sotonohito at 8:06 PM on April 6 [26 favorites]


Trump cares about Trump. His numbers are down and Bannon is down (if not out) and presumably he knows his support for Russia is to blame. Using chemical weapons on children gave him a beautiful tailor made solution to 1) play to his real base-- dumb angry white racist America and 2) Distance himself from Russia without really doing anything.

My prediction is some sabre rattling between the administration and Putin to try to reduce the smoke from the investigation but I would be willing to bet on a treaty appearing post-haste. That is, unless he thinks whatever hold Putin has on him is something he can live with, and then maybe it works out very differently. Trump cares about Trump. Every single other ally will learn that lesson at some point or another.
posted by frumiousb at 8:07 PM on April 6 [12 favorites]


MSNBC is reporting that the tarmac is untouched at the air base. Fuel tanks were hit and the airport is 'disabled' but the runway was not hit.
posted by futz at 8:09 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


Is it too late to learn Mandarin?

Not at all! Here are some particularly suitable phrases for Trump discussions.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:14 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


Every elected Democrat with a clearance, be it select committee or from past work, should go to Foggy Bottom tonight and have a chat with anyone with assignments in that region.
posted by ocschwar at 8:14 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Then again, maybe that's all for the best so I'm surprised when we get blowed up?

Here's hoping your wedding venue isn't within visual distance of any nuclear submarine hangars. Fuck man, we just moved here a few months ago so that my wife could begin using her hard earned PhD to help mentally ill kids and now it feels like, just as many others do I'm sure, we moved into a place that's just outside the red on the bullseye for shit like this.

We voted against this guy. We don't eat much meat. We support native people's plights. We buy locally as much as we can. We avoid sweatshop products. We minimize fossil fuel reliance, with plans to reduce much father in the future. We donate to charities. I dropped a ROTC scholarship a decade ago and broke a tradition of 3, maybe 4, generations of military service in my family when I saw the writing on the wall for shit like the actions of, oh, the last decade or so becoming the norm instead of the exception. I'm just out of ways to not be complicit in the abuse of others or destruction of the planet or darkening of the future in muthafucking general.

Maybe a move to Canada or somewhere sensibly nordic would actually be a good idea. I wonder if the missus would see it as a feasible alternative to an off grid homestead. Bah, humbug I'm in a bad mood, I wish I hadn't even heard about this. At least that way my head can stay buried in the sand where it is happiest these days...

I just want to raise my kids in a world where other folks can raise their kids too. Why the fuck do we continue to make that harder instead of easier? Why do we persist in pursuing some ungodly trend that has few other outcomes than On The Beach or fucking Alas, Babylon or something? Why?!
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:16 PM on April 6 [51 favorites]


This is theatre war/ reality tv war. Russia and Syria were given notice so there's doubtful many casualties, but it will help boost ratings I'm sure.
posted by localhuman at 8:24 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]


I've got to say, I really did not expect Jack Goldsmith, a co-founder of Lawfare and Bush Administration official, saying that this "exceeds all prior precedents under domestic and international law."
posted by zachlipton at 8:24 PM on April 6 [16 favorites]


Lot of "Analysts" with war boners on tv tonight, talking about this "antiseptic" strike
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:30 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


This is theatre war/ reality tv war. Russia and Syria were given notice so there's doubtful many casualties, but it will help boost ratings I'm sure.

I have no idea why the White House launched this strike, but it does satisfy the need over the past days for "we have to do something about Assad."

I know I have felt that way. But strategic decisions must never be made on the basis of "feelings."
posted by My Dad at 8:40 PM on April 6


Some dude on MSNBC: This is a strong-man act that "primitives" around the region will understand
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:42 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Ummm...

@Phil_Mattingly
Nat Sec. Adviser McMaster: "I think what this does communicate is a big shift, a big shift in Assad’s calculus. It should be any way."

@joshrogin
Rex: "You should not in any way extrapolate that [the strikes] changed our policy or posture on Syria in any way." WOW.
posted by chris24 at 8:42 PM on April 6 [17 favorites]


This certainly pales in comparison to war, but while everything's awful: FCC chairman plans fast-track repeal of net neutrality: sources
The chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is moving quickly to replace the Obama administration’s landmark net neutrality rules and wants internet service providers to voluntarily agree to maintain an open internet, three sources briefed on the meeting said Thursday.
Oh a voluntary agreement? Let's just get rid of the rules and ask everyone to follow them anyway. I'm sure the companies that have been fighting these rules tooth and nail will still follow them when they're merely voluntary. Why have laws at all when we can just have voluntary suggestions?
posted by zachlipton at 8:44 PM on April 6 [62 favorites]


Some dude on MSNBC: This is a strong-man act that "primitives" around the region will understand

The US region, I assume?
posted by uosuaq at 8:44 PM on April 6 [27 favorites]


A few thoughts on KS-04, where the GOP is now spending even though Ds have no business being competitive


I've been following Democratic candidate James Thompson on Facebook and he is doing an incredible job. He is at every debate, forum and town hall, while the Republican Estes is usually absent. Thompson livestreams these events on Facebook and I've watched a couple of them; the audiences, who he usually has all to himself, are very receptive to him.

Thompson is straight out of central casting as the "good" candidate, and Estes is straight out of central casting as the "bad" candidate. If this were a normal world there would be no question but that Thompson was going to win.
posted by maggiemaggie at 8:46 PM on April 6 [13 favorites]


I have the impression that when Clinton said we should take out their airfields, Tillerson and Haley were still saying we wouldn't mind if Assad stayed in power indefinitely? So she wasn't exactly giving Trump cover....

If Hillary Clinton had done this, it would have been step one of a coherent strategy. She talked about safe zones, no-fly zones, sanctions, diplomacy, exit strategies. Does anyone think Trump has any kind of plan, here?

It really burns me up that Trump will take military action nominally in response to humanitarian tragedy, but is still battling the courts to be allowed to exclude Syrian refugees, wants to cut the State Dept's budget, and all but zero out foreign aid. The hypocrisy is just so un fucking believable.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:47 PM on April 6 [32 favorites]


Fuel tanks were hit and the airport is 'disabled' but the runway was not hit.

You're saying they missed the ground.

Enh, yeah, seems fine.
posted by petebest at 8:48 PM on April 6 [42 favorites]


Those missiles cost about $150 million.
From the National Endowment for the Arts budget request:
Toward this end, the NEA requests a budget of $149.849 million for FY 2017. At this level, our budget includes:
• Direct Endowment Grants $71.506 million
• State & Regional Partnerships Grants $47.671 million
• Program Support $ 1.950 million
• Salaries and Expenses $28.722 million
posted by mecran01 at 8:50 PM on April 6 [58 favorites]


Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), the arch-libertarian Congressman (whose mother is Syrian, by the way) tweets:
Airstrikes are an act of war. Atrocities in Syria cannot justify departure from Constitution, which vests in Congress power to commence war.
posted by tivalasvegas at 8:52 PM on April 6 [68 favorites]


If you don't crater the runway you haven't actually done anything. I guess it's just a symbol to show he's not a feeble manlet like Obama.
posted by Justinian at 8:56 PM on April 6 [13 favorites]




Hmmm...

More than 100 lawmakers ask Obama to seek congressional approval on Syria strikes
More than 100 House lawmakers -- at least 98 Republicans and 18 Democrats -- have signed on to a letter formally requesting that President Obama seek congressional approval for any military response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The letter, first written by Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), suggests that failure to seek congressional authorization for military strikes would be unconstitutional.

“I’m grateful and encouraged by the strong, bipartisan support this letter has received,” Rigell said in a statement Wednesday. “It’s a clear indication that this issue is not personal to the president, but rather represents common ground in Congress and a deep respect for the Constitution.”

The request by hundreds of lawmakers came as House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) also formally requested in a letter that Obama "provide a clear, unambiguous explanation of how military action -- which is a means, not a policy -- will secure U.S. objectives and how it fits into your overall policy" regarding the situation in Syria.
posted by chris24 at 9:03 PM on April 6 [35 favorites]


Assorted links:

Tulsi Gabbard, Assad's friend, condemns the airstrikes, says it could lead to nuclear war with Russia, questions whether Assad is responsible for the chemical attack (while at least seemingly acknowledging there was one), and conveniently enough, says we might not even be able to investigate who is responsible because of the airstrikes.

Cernovich and Infowars are not happy.

In China news, here's a photo from dinner. "Next to Trump's wife, Chinas top diplomat Yang Jiechi. Next to Xi's wife, Jared Kushner. No Tillerson."

NYT: In Battle for Trump’s Heart and Mind, It’s Bannon vs. Kushner. The short version is that Bannon keeps steering Trump toward the stuff he had him saying in the campaign, while Kushner has his own thing going on ("you're a Democrat," Bannon told him), and there's reason to believe Trump keeps picking family.

And a question from me: is this all because of the horrific photos? Because this feels an awful lot like Trump saw dead children and lashed out as quickly as possible, given that his administration was singing "hail to the chief" about Assad a couple of days ago. And if that's the case, it's sickening for him to invoke Syrian children and mention refugees in his address when he's labeled the same children threats to national security and banned them from the country.
posted by zachlipton at 9:07 PM on April 6 [12 favorites]


Is there some rule of journalism that being married to a head of state means you aren't allowed to have a name beyond 'Xi's wife'?
posted by medusa at 9:11 PM on April 6 [16 favorites]


@Phil_Mattingly
Nat Sec. Adviser McMaster: "I think what this does communicate is a big shift, a big shift in Assad’s calculus. It should be any way."

@joshrogin
Rex: "You should not in any way extrapolate that [the strikes] changed our policy or posture on Syria in any way." WOW.


I keep an internal league table of who is getting the most humiliated by Trump in the course of serving at his court, and I had little hopes of Tillerson ever approaching Christie or even Spicer in experiencing public humiliation. However, he has pleasantly surprised me on that front, and I am beginning to hope to see pictures of him dining on meatloaf at the White House soon. Which is about all I expect to ever extract in pleasure from contemplating his career in public office.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:22 PM on April 6 [10 favorites]




Trump seems to be getting some major support for this "pinpoint operation."

War is on, Strongman is Strong!
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:38 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


Kushner Omitted Meeting With Russians on Security Clearance Forms

This is just flabbergasting. How is it possible that I could literally have filled out his security clearance paperwork better than he did?
posted by zachlipton at 9:39 PM on April 6 [19 favorites]




Is there some rule of journalism that being married to a head of state means you aren't allowed to have a name beyond 'Xi's wife'?

No but there is a 140 character limit on tweets.
posted by Talez at 9:40 PM on April 6


not_this_shit_again.gif
posted by tonycpsu at 9:40 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


If only there were some way for us to offer real, solid help to Syrians caught in the middle of a brutal regime. Maybe...some kind of sanctuary or something - a refuge, even.

But, I guess there's nothing we can do.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:41 PM on April 6 [68 favorites]



If you don't crater the runway you haven't actually done anything.


My hope is that the US military didn't leave the runway intact so that they could use it themselves.
posted by azpenguin at 9:41 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


ABC News: Eyewitness says Syrian officials evacuated personnel and moved equipment ahead of the strike.

Sooooooooo... We spent the NEA's funding on something completely useless.

What happened to "Why do they have to announce this? Makes mission much harder!". So you call up Assad and tell him the shit is coming?
posted by Talez at 9:43 PM on April 6 [8 favorites]


ABC News: Eyewitness says Syrian officials evacuated personnel and moved equipment ahead of the strike.

So we spent tells of millions to blow up an empty air base. Great work everybody.

This is going to be a very big thing about what we told Russia and what they told the Syrians now, right?
posted by zachlipton at 9:43 PM on April 6 [22 favorites]


ABC News: Eyewitness says Syrian officials evacuated personnel and moved equipment ahead of the strike.


Aaand there we have it.

No real damage done to the airfield or materiel except for some fuel tanks. Russian and Syrian staff neatly evacuated beforehand. All a nice little staged event for the media to digest and the discourse to shift toward, enacted by our Reality TV President.
posted by darkstar at 9:46 PM on April 6 [104 favorites]


And they'll fall for it hook line and sinker.

He'll be polling at 60% by Monday.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:51 PM on April 6 [17 favorites]


We got to spread the word long and loud that we don't support the airstrike and want our reps and senators to speak out against it.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:53 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


On the ground in Syria, it didn't hurt the regime. Probably just helped morale and support for Islamist rebels and ISIL. What a clusterfuck.
posted by supercres at 9:54 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


In Putin's America, tail wag dog!
posted by uosuaq at 9:56 PM on April 6 [12 favorites]


I just want to flag up one story that futz posted earlier today that got lost amid the war, because it seems like a pretty big deal, albeit not as much compared to war: Twitter sues U.S. over demand for records on anti-Trump account

Why the hell is the US Government trying to demand to unmask the identity behind @ALT_uscis? (And the term "unmask" really fits perfectly with the present situation.) Why is this a good use of government resources? And why are they trying to do this through an "administrative summons" rather than any kind of normal legal process? Surely it's abusive to try to use a summons process that's meant for investigating adherence to Customs rules to investigate personnel matters. It seems petty, but going after the alt agency accounts is not an encouraging sign if you don't like witch hunts.

Good on Twitter and the ACLU for taking this on.
posted by zachlipton at 9:58 PM on April 6 [35 favorites]


A couple from BBC correspondent @dalatrm

#Syria citizen near #Shoayrat airfield #Homs: Ambulance movement is incessant. Lots of injured. People w/ cars are heading there 2 help out

##Syria citizen near #Shoayrat #Homs:believe many civilians living near the airfield were killed. Blasts were too massive. We could see them

#Syria citizen near #Shoayrat #Homs: Cousin says "all jets gone. Airfield taken out of service. Can't find any of his mates yet"

posted by supercres at 10:01 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


♪ ♫ And will you please say hello
To the folks that I know
Tell 'em that I won't be long
And they'll be happy to know
That as you saw me go
I was singing this song
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:05 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


My friends on Facebook are going apeshit over this. They bombed an airstrip after warning Russian and Syrian forces that they were going to. Is this really that big of a deal? I'm more pissed that the expenditure of this strike could have been used for something useful, like funding the NEA (which others have noted).
posted by gucci mane at 10:07 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


Is this really that big of a deal?

##Syria citizen near #Shoayrat #Homs:believe many civilians living near the airfield were killed. Blasts were too massive. We could see them

posted by flatluigi at 10:09 PM on April 6 [10 favorites]


He had landed another contract with the Germans, this time to bomb his own outfit. Milo's planes separated in a well-coordinated attack and bombed the fuel stocks and the ordnance pump, the repair hangars and the B-25 bombers resting on the lollipop-shaped hardstands at the field. His crew spared the landing strip and the mess halls so that they could land safely when their work was done and enjoy a hot snack before retiring. They bomb with their landing lights on, since no one was shooting back. They bombed all four squadrons, the officer's club and the Group Headquarters building.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:10 PM on April 6 [29 favorites]


Observers like Haidar Sumeri @iraqisecurity on Twitter suggesting that this specific airbase was one used to carry out strikes against ISIL and al-Qaeda backed rebels, and that those factions are celebrating its destruction.

Shit's fucked and not getting unfucked soon.

I don't have a deep roster of ME Twitter folks so I admit to relying on PPG's RTs. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by supercres at 10:11 PM on April 6 [9 favorites]


Just as Presidents Obama and Clinton were correct to assume that their unilateral uses of force (e.g., in Kosovo and Libya, respectively) were subject to the constraints of the War Powers Resolution, so, too, should the President act within the constraints of binding treaty obligations. The Clinton Administration never did address this problem in connection with Kosovo [...]

There is no apparent justification for President Trump not to have asked Congress for such authorization here, and to have held off on the strikes until receiving such authorization. Therefore, this case, like Kosovo, might turn out to be a rare case in which the President simultaneously violates both the Constitution and the [UN] Charter.


-- Marty Lederman, Georgetown University Law Center, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel from 2009 to 2010.
posted by My Dad at 10:12 PM on April 6 [11 favorites]


It really burns me up that Trump will take military action nominally in response to humanitarian tragedy, but is still battling the courts to be allowed to exclude Syrian refugees, wants to cut the State Dept's budget, and all but zero out foreign aid. The hypocrisy is just so un fucking believable.

Did anyone else notice that Sec Defense Mattis flew down to Florida *early Thursday* to "consult with the President" before the strikes? Trump is so fucking senile he's down to a 2-day work week between vacations. I don't know what scares me more - that the military feel the need to bow before Caesar before killing or that the Senate doesn't. Anyway, it's old white male rapey racist turtles all the way down.
posted by SakuraK at 10:51 PM on April 6 [21 favorites]








There will be more clarity soon but ABC news is reporting that both runways were hit:

Eyewitness says Syrian military anticipated U.S. raid

The attack lasted approximately 35 minutes and its impact was felt across the city, shaking houses and sending those inside them fleeing from their windows. Both of the airport's major runways were struck by missiles, and some of its 40 fortified bunkers were also damaged.

Local residents say the Russian military had used the airbase in early 2016 but have since withdrawn their officers, so the base is now mainly operated by Syrian and Iranian military officers. There is also a hotel near the airport where Iranian officers have been staying, though it was not clear whether it was damaged.

posted by futz at 11:18 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Everybody gets something out of it. Trump gets to play soldier, Putin gets some separation from Trump, the media eats it up. Win-win.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:23 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


Do you have to be an "Assad apologist" to prefer a verdict to follow an investigation and not the other way around?
posted by moorooka at 11:40 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


>Eyewitness says Syrian military anticipated U.S. raid

That man is a pedigreed son of a bitch.
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 11:42 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


Do you have to be an "Assad apologist" to prefer a verdict to follow an investigation and not the other way around?

No, but Tulsi Gabbard is an unashamed Assad apologist and has been for some time. She's also cozy with Modi. I would personally sleep better if she were primaried into never being in politics again. I don't trust her at all.
posted by frumiousb at 12:10 AM on April 7 [11 favorites]


I need to get this out somewhere. I have been tempted to write to the four or five family members I have in the US, who all voted for Trump, and tell them I think they are less than human, and that I don't love them, and that I don't consider them family. Tell them that the way they voted does not align with the religious ideals that they claim to have, and that they will pay for their hypocrisy in the end. Every day I fight the urge for five or six minutes. I can see that final bit of resolve collapsing in the next days.
posted by tillermo at 12:17 AM on April 7 [41 favorites]


No, but Tulsi Gabbard is an unashamed Assad apologist and has been for some time. She's also cozy with Modi. I would personally sleep better if she were primaried into never being in politics again. I don't trust her at all.

Is she an Assad apologist for pointing out the inconvenient truth that the primary armed opposition to Assad is coming from salafist terrorists, and that these are the ones most likely to fill any power vacuum arising from Syrian regime change? Iraq, Libya, now third time's the charm. Honestly I think calling her an Assad apologist is about as fair as calling Clinton an al-Qaeda apologist.

(As for being cozy with Modi, so is everybody who matters. Unfortunately the guy won a landslide election in the world's largest democracy.)
posted by moorooka at 12:46 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


I completely understand the siren call of wanting to tell family and friends how much damage their support for this administration has caused. I think it may be better though to not give into that desire and continue to live as an example of how even fear, despair, anger and hate can be channeled into positive actions. Instead of telling them that their decisions have caused these problems in the world, tell them that you did an action--donated to a cause, helped a refugee, called a representative, began a run for office, shone light on a transgression, shared a post, etc...--for them. To make the world better for them. I believe that it is their ignorance and inabilty to handle these emotions that have caused them to support these demagogues. Additionally the time you use to tell them is realistically wasted. Put it to good use helping someone else out instead. You can hold a door open for a lot of people in the time it takes to rage at one asshole and the net positive for both yourself and others is surely greater. However, should the need arise to defend others from them, by all means defend and remind them you would do the same for them.
posted by wobumingbai at 1:02 AM on April 7 [104 favorites]


wobumingbai, this is why I fight it every day. Thank you for taking the time to put that so eloquently.
posted by tillermo at 1:14 AM on April 7 [15 favorites]


Last week there was a CBC radio interview with Timothy Snyder, the Yale historian whose "20 Lessons" blurb about resisting authoritarianism went viral after the election. The first lesson was, "Do Not Obey In Advance." I transcribed some bits that might be useful as talking points for talking to lower-information people (God knows I'v got a bunch in my life who aren't doing anything because they still think President Bannon-Kushner is merely on the more unhinged end of business as usual, and he'll be gone in 4 years):

11:31 "You have an editorial from 1933 in the book, an editorial in a German Jewish newspaper, and that editorial argued that Hitler at the time would not deprive Jews of their rights and that German laws and institutions would protect them. How is this relevant for right now?"
"It expresses a common sense. That's what Jews thought in early 1933. Most Jews thought that once Hitler won in 1933, he would calm down, that most of what he said was rhetoric, and in the worst case, institutions would constrain him. That's what most people think most of the time. Sometimes those assumptions are just wrong. In particular in the US, we saw after November the syndrome of people saying "Yes, we have wonderful institutions." There are 2 problems with that. First of all, those institutions have not really been tested. . . . Secondly, the institutions only work insofar as people care about them and work actively within them and to support them. In other words, if you say "Institutions will protect us," in the sense of I'm not going to do anything, that means that in the end the institutions will not protect you. In the end, the institutions will be taken down one after the other."

16:40 [clips of Trump admiring Gaddffi, Putin] "If you're an American, let alone President / politician, if you're simply an American citizen and you think that authoritarianism . . .being quote unquote "strong," is the way to run a country, you're imagining a very different country from the one that we have now. You're imagining an authoritarian regime in which the leader seems strong, because he can do what he wants, but in fact there's much less power and much less wealth in the society as a whole."
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:18 AM on April 7 [37 favorites]


This is just flabbergasting. How is it possible that I could literally have filled out his security clearance paperwork better than he did?

Maybe you're one of those simple naifs that doesn't want to get nailed on felony charges in 2018/2020?

nytimes:
This is not just bureaucratic paperwork. The form warns that “withholding, misrepresenting, or falsifying information” could result in loss of access to classified information, denial of eligibility for a sensitive job and even prosecution; knowingly falsifying or concealing material facts is a federal felony that may result in fines or up to five years imprisonment.

Clearance holders are often allowed to amend disclosure forms and avoid punishment if omissions are deemed oversights rather than deliberate falsifications, and prosecutions are rare.

Mr. Kushner is the second top White House official to have problems concerning his dealings with foreign officials. Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser, had his security clearance suspended and was fired for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the content of phone calls with the Russian ambassador during the transition.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:49 AM on April 7 [19 favorites]


Surely we could have just sent Kendall Jenner to give Assad a Pepsi.
posted by Lyme Drop at 2:13 AM on April 7 [29 favorites]


well, a short browse of the right-wing trollish comments on zero hedge reveals that a good part of trump's base there is PISSED and feeling betrayed
posted by pyramid termite at 2:33 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Didn't they get the hint when he said he was going to drain the swamp and then started hiring Goldman Sachs executives?
posted by PenDevil at 2:37 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


Surely they will come around once they get over the cognitive dissonance.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:39 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Didn't they get the hint when he said he was going to drain the swamp and then started hiring Goldman Sachs executives?

It turns out you can't trust a frog to drain the swamp.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:47 AM on April 7 [28 favorites]


(As for being cozy with Modi, so is everybody who matters. Unfortunately the guy won a landslide election in the world's largest democracy.)

An unfortunate turn of phrase, perhaps, since I think the people suffering under his religious nationalism since he took power actually matter quite a bit. But perhaps you'd like to explain why they don't?

Let me rephrase-- Gabbard seems to embrace Modi's hard right Islamophobia in a way which makes her quite difficult to distinguish from trump's own views. I don't want Islamophobes in office, and definitely not pretending to be on our side.
posted by frumiousb at 2:52 AM on April 7 [11 favorites]


AP: Syrian government says at least six people were killed in US strikes last night
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:08 AM on April 7


Isn't he at Mar Largo? He launched 50 missiles against a Russian client state from his fucking golf course?

His caddy carries the football golf bag everywhere. Trump could (did?) start WWIII from the 19th hole, be home in time to watch the world ignite on Fox News, and then tweet about it from his toilet.
posted by pracowity at 3:08 AM on April 7


One day a man was beaten and left by the side of the road to die. A Levite came upon him, and the man cried out "Help me!"

"I like M&M's," said the Levite, "but if 10 in your bowl were poisoned, would you eat a handful? I don't think so." He hurried on.

A priest walked by on his way home. The beaten man, growing faint, cried out "Help me! Please!" "I don't lock my doors because I hate you," said the priest. "I do it because I love my family." He hurried on.

Finally, there came a Samaritan. He saw the pitiful state of the beaten man and was moved to compassion. "Something must be done!" he said. Procuring fifty grenades, he threw them in all directions around the man. "That should help." he said, and walked on.

The man died.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:23 AM on April 7 [238 favorites]


An unfortunate turn of phrase, perhaps, since I think the people suffering under his religious nationalism since he took power actually matter quite a bit. But perhaps you'd like to explain why they don't?

What I meant was that anybody with any power is cool with Modi. Obama gave him a state visit and he addressed a joint meeting of Congress. He's hardly an international pariah, even if he should be. But what are the standards here? Cozying up to the House of Saud and kissing Netanyahu's ass is one thing but somehow Modi is beyond the pale? Practically nobody in Congress could care less about Muslim lives, and there's a difference between being an Islamophobe and recognizing Salafism for the genuine danger that it is.
posted by moorooka at 3:26 AM on April 7


The difference is that Obama hasn't effectively campaigned for Modi to be elected, and hasn't actively endorsed him as leader over and above other Indian politicians. Gabbard has done both. She's not merely recognising him as the guy who happens to be Indian PM, she actively celebrates him as the best guy for the job.
posted by Aravis76 at 3:47 AM on April 7 [11 favorites]


Back to Israel's Popeye missile, per Wikipedia: "The United States operates the Popeye under a different designation according to US naming conventions as the AGM-142 Have Nap."

HAVE NAP.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 3:48 AM on April 7 [10 favorites]


For example, here she is at a BJP event, singing Modi's praises. That is quite different from a pragmatic recognition of Modi as the democratically elected leader of India.
posted by Aravis76 at 3:50 AM on April 7 [4 favorites]


Isn't he at Mar Largo? He launched 50 missiles against a Russian client state from his fucking golf course?


Would be typical, wouldn't it, if he also re-wrote the rules for golf.
posted by Namlit at 3:56 AM on April 7


As someone who was her constituent until a few months ago, trust me, Gabbard sucks and needs to be primaried, for this and for many other reasons. Shay Chan Hodges from Maui ran against her last year and did pretty well considering she had no money and Gabbard refused to debate her or acknowledge her existence. Gabbard's office was routinely nonresponsive (no one even answered the phone most of the time and when they did they were rude); she rarely visits the neighbor islands (i.e. majority of her district). I thought maybe that was just how it was, but now that I have an actually awesome rep (Espaillat) whose office is awesome and friendly and who is constantly holding in-district educational events and other things, it really highlights how bad she is.
posted by melissasaurus at 3:59 AM on April 7 [19 favorites]


It's like he thought *if I warn the bad guys first I get to bomb whatever I want and everybody will love me*
posted by angrycat at 4:06 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


A response to the chemical attack was probably inevitable. The coordination with Putin and Assad makes it pretty clear that they don't mind this. Back in the US Donald the war monger's approval goes up, at least in the ratings. Everyone agrees this is terrible and a diplomatic solution is the only way out. Donald and Putin make pease, leaving Assad in place. Now the Russian probes are ancient history, as events changed the agenda. I thought this would happen. It's happening.
posted by stonepharisee at 4:12 AM on April 7 [11 favorites]


The senate is not lost in 2018. TX, NE and TN at the very least are in play if the D's can front credible and likable candidates (populists with a résumé), and put the resources of the party behind them. This means also presenting credible candidates in AL, MS and WY, backing their campaigns to the hilt to watch the fuckers in the bag for Team Russia sweat and answer uncomfortable questions on the national stage - doing this will win the House and more than likely the Senate, as Demographics are on our side. Leave no seat uncontested, no slight unanswered, no hand unshaken door to door, and we shall win. Even in the "hopeless places" there are enough of Us living there to make it a credible race, if the Democratic party chooses to. They should choose to. Registration campaigns, endless litigation to confront even a vague smell of voter suppression at the state and local level, and a concerted ground game run by what we can put back together from Obama's team. Make the Goopers sweat for every minute - NO. SAFE. SEATS.

From there, we use congress to ramrod either a 7 or 11 Justice SC into place when we win the WH in 2020 as a reminder that a loss of across-the-aisle comity has long term repercussions that the Goopers running the show are clearly not equipped to contemplate.

This last point is critical. If they want to steal the SC and set it up as their own personal policy playground, we will raze it to bedrock and build something better the very instant we have the opportunity. Ideally, we'd shrink the court to 7, and put language into the Statute that while there may be 9 justices, only 7 may be empaneled, and those will be selected by the President. Then we watch Thomas and Alito squirm in the wind.

Practically, an 11 Justice SC is where we need to go. Consensus is out the window, so might as well go for a diversity of opinion on majority decisions.

Either way, we must, MUST respond to the Nuclear Option with unrestrained Total War, and won't stop until Citizen's United is overturned and corporations are back to being organizations registered in the public interest, and not people. Maybe we'll return to the bipartisan old ways when the GOP sees a complete turnover of their unpatriotic leadership. Maybe.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:26 AM on April 7 [70 favorites]


First rule of military strikes: your target should be more valuable than your bombs.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:36 AM on April 7 [90 favorites]


She's not merely recognising him as the guy who happens to be Indian PM, she actively celebrates him as the best guy for the job.

Well sure, but it's not as if supporting Modi as the best candidate for the 2014 election was some sort of fringe position. It was a history-making landslide victory, lauded by the international press.

Apologies for the derail. I dislike Gabbard for her support of Modi who is a criminal and lunatic. However I don't think she's worse than the others in congress who support all manner of barbarism. It seems clear that she is being held to a different standard for the heresy of pointing out the neocons' "moderate rebel" emperor has no clothes.
posted by moorooka at 4:39 AM on April 7 [4 favorites]


Israel's Popeye missile

Ack-ack-ack-ack-a--*mushroom cloud*
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:58 AM on April 7 [4 favorites]


The reality is that the BJP is quite Islamophobic, Gabbard's insistence on repeating Trump's favourite talking point about how Obama was somehow traitorous or deluded for not saying the phrase "Islamic terrorism" was quite Islamophobic, and the combination of the two facts implies that Gabbard is quite Islamophobic. Does this mean she is the worst, most Islamophobic person in US politics? Obviously not, but then no one has claimed that. All it means is that she is in fact quite Islamophobic and this affects her credibility when she is commenting on US policy affecting majority-Muslim countries like Syria.
posted by Aravis76 at 5:01 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


According to Axios, Bannon and Priebus might be replaced. I'll celebrate when it happens but I'm trying not to get my hopes up.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:10 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


That's impossible because Donald Trump only hires the best people.
posted by PenDevil at 5:11 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Hey guess who already sits next to him and agrees with everything, plus is a stone cold fox, amirite?
posted by petebest at 5:17 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


I'm honestly a little surprised at how fast the Republicans in the Senate decided to kill the filibuster. No navel-gazing about traditions there.

I am not surprised in the least. Talking about "traditions," as McConnell does a lot, is a performance for journalists only (and worse yet, the so-called "professionals" in the DC media buy it, despite tons of evidence to the contrary). They don't mean a word of it, as was obvious all the way back in the Clinton administration.

Typing "Clinton Administration" makes me sad now.
posted by Gelatin at 5:21 AM on April 7 [14 favorites]


Canadian PM says Canada fully supports U.S. 'limited and focused' action in Syria, continues to support diplomatic efforts (Reuters liveblog)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:26 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Here's the article from Axios: Exclusive: Trump eyes new chief of staff; House Leader on short list
Insiders tell me that the possibilities for chief of staff include:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who developed a bond with Trump as one of the earlier congressional leaders to support him, and remains a confidant.
Wayne Berman of Blackstone Group, a Washington heavy-hitter who was an Assistant Secretary of Commerce under President George H.W. Bush, and a key adviser on eight presidential campaigns.
David Urban of the Washington advisory firm American Continental Group, and a former chief of staff to the late Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). Urban helped Trump win an upset victory in Pennsylvania, and was in constant cellphone contact with the candidate throughout the campaign.
Gary Cohn, Trump's economic adviser and the former #2 at Goldman Sachs, who has built a formidable team and internal clout.
I can see Priebus going because I don't think Trump has much attachment to him but Bannon is more iffy. I can imagine that Kushner is telling Trump that Bannon got him elected but he is not a good fit for governing.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:39 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


Bannon got him elected but he is not a good fit for governing.

Bannon looks like a hangover feels.... I guess that is congruent with the current state of affairs, though.
posted by tillermo at 5:41 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


A friend shared The Wound by Ali Ahmad Said Esber, a Syrian poet writing under the name Adonis.

To the language choked by tolling bells
I offer the voice of the wound.
To the stone coming from afar
to the dried-up world crumbling to dust
to the time ferried on creaky sleighs
I light up the fire of the wound.
And when history burns inside my clothes
and when blue nails grow inside my books,
I cry out to the day,
“Who are you, who tosses you
into my virgin land?”
And inside my book and on my virgin land
I stare into a pair of eyes made of dust.
I hear someone saying,
“I am the wound that is born
and grows as your history grows.”
posted by ChuraChura at 5:45 AM on April 7 [43 favorites]


A response to the chemical attack was probably inevitable. The coordination with Putin and Assad makes it pretty clear that they don't mind this. Back in the US Donald the war monger's approval goes up, at least in the ratings.

Every poll I see shows his approval going down. (Granted, I have not seen any that reflect the bomb dropping, but since popular rejection of getting involved in Syria is IIRC what held Obama from going in with guns blazing, I’m going to guess it will not help him. Ergo, not inevitable. I could, of course, be wrong.)

The irony being that he ran on a far less hawkish platform than did Mrs Clinton.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:51 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


If I were to preach to Trump, I'd start with something he could relate to, like maybe the time Jesus made all those pigs run off a cliff. Losers!
posted by thelonius at 5:52 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Every poll I see shows his approval going down

I'd bet you 100 to 1 that he gets an uptick from this. Americans fucking love to get their war on. They're a bunch of warpigs in war shit. They don't like quagmires that last for years, sure, but they love some shock and awe.
posted by dis_integration at 5:57 AM on April 7 [34 favorites]


A White House without Bannon and with Kushner in the driver's seat is likely to be (even) more kleptocratic, and more driven by Dunning-Kruger, but with less overt drive to deliberately tear down the pillars of civilization, which I suppose is better for at least the short-term survival of humanity.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:57 AM on April 7 [18 favorites]


I dunno you guys. I think it's poisoned forever, this thing formerly known as US Government. If the bad guys flout rules that the good guys keep trying to play by, the good guys will keep losing. All this discussion about take back the senate/take back the house...it's just another swing in the fucking pendulum that isn't going to stop swinging to extremes as long as we keep playing with the rule flouters.

I really struggle with: why should we try to save/help/love these Republican shitstains? They don't want to be saved/helped/loved. They made their bed. We don't have to sleep in it, they do. Versus: oh it's the decent/civilized/humanitarian thing to do.

No. It's called self respect to take care of your own world, and choose not to expend your soul throwing good energy after bad. Just because you choose not to combat repetitively self defeating assholes doesn't make you an asshole too. It makes you sane and smart.

I've said it before, I'll say it again:

...How about a national divorce lawyer to get this unwanted union over with? They don't want us, and we don't want them. No more shot-gun weddings, let's call off this abusive and unwanted marriage.

A. Men.

I'm not as good at debating as you guys are, & I'm sure everyone will pick this comment apart to tell me what's wrong with it. But honestly, I just don't see how we can salvage the union as one clump. It doesn't want to be one clump, never has.

I don't think the compartmentalized definitions in politics serve us anymore. I think the way out will have to be a new way, just like design, where we take what works, jettison what doesn't and start over however ugly, deadly, messy that may be. Because it's going to happen anyway.
posted by yoga at 6:02 AM on April 7 [11 favorites]


UK -- most definitely, even if just from subs. If your nuclear triad has only one leg you want it to be subs.

Aren't the UK's warheads maintained by US technicians in a facility in North Carolina or something?
posted by acb at 6:02 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


No we are all in Brisbane on Enterprise-bargain contracts
posted by esto-again at 6:11 AM on April 7


Tulsi Gabbard makes Jill Stein seem serious.
posted by spitbull at 6:13 AM on April 7 [8 favorites]


Would be typical, wouldn't it, if he also re-wrote the rules for golf.

I'd hate to know what he'd do if he thought Smokey went over the line.
posted by Talez at 6:13 AM on April 7 [4 favorites]


Aren't the UK's warheads maintained by US technicians in a facility in North Carolina or something?

King's Bay, Georgia, according to this article.
posted by faceplantingcheetah at 6:14 AM on April 7


It doesn't want to be one clump, never has.

Problem is, it's not clumps, it's confetti. The divide is rural/urban not north/south or coastal/interior.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:16 AM on April 7 [11 favorites]


HAVE NAP.

At least it's not yet another weapon named after a Native American tribe or symbol. We take that shit for granted. It would be as if the German army had a tank named "The Rabbi."

ETA: "Tomahawk"
posted by spitbull at 6:17 AM on April 7 [25 favorites]


The result: the GOP has traded their Scalia for a Gorsuch, but we traded Kennedy for an RBG2.

Chances of happening: slim, given so many hurdles. But the path is conceivably there. And I am so, so desperate for any ray of hope right now.


My political prognostication is tarnished by thinking (like so many) that Clinton looked like the probably winner, but I don't see 2020 as a more favorable environment for Republicans at all. (Which means it's essential for Democrats to capture as many governorships and state houses as possible, for the upcoming redistricting, by the way). Which means that a Democratic president and Senate could indeed change the composition of the Court in an unfavorable direction for the Republicans, and there will be nothing they can do about it.

It's easy to feel demoralized by the Republicans' disregard of small-d democratic norms, but please keep in mind that these are the actions of desperate people, who know full well they can't implement their agenda by popular acclaim and have no recourse but to cheat. These are not the actions of people confident of holding onto power for long.

Which means that, yes, once again Democrats will have to clean up Republican messes. This time they should not let the people and the press forget it.
posted by Gelatin at 6:20 AM on April 7 [13 favorites]


The Administration told the Russians well ahead of time about the incoming missiles, according to ABC News. The airbase was evacuated of most of its personnel and all of its aircraft by the Syrians hours before the attack.

This isn't the tail wagging the dog so much as it is hurling it over the fence into the neighbor's yard. That's $85 million in wasted hardware in a dog-and-pony show designed to distract from Nunes and the Nuclear Option.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:22 AM on April 7 [31 favorites]


I got in a heated argument with someone I like today about whether the Democrats' efforts to block Gorsuch is morally equivalent to Republican blockage of Garland. He said the manipulation of procedure was the key problem.

McConnell could have followed procedure and blocked Garland's nomination -- he could have gone thru all the motions and then had his majority Republicans reject him, or failing that, at least filibustered with no chance of recourse. The Democratic filibuster may not have been a common procedure, but it was an established one and not unprecedented. McConnell didn't abuse procedure, he completely disregarded it. The two situations are not equivalent at all, and though I don't know your colleague, I sense cognitive dissonance at work there.
posted by Gelatin at 6:28 AM on April 7 [23 favorites]


You guys, it is highly, highly likely that this "false flag" garbage is being spread by the Russian propaganda machine. Don't buy it! Please help counter this message before it becomes entrenched!

Of COURSE Assad used chemical weapons, just as he's done before. It's possible that Russia was complicit in that, since, after all, Assad turned his weapons over to THEM after the last attack as a part of a deal brokered by the Obama admin to avoid air strikes then. Russia might have given them back now that they are openly allied!

But the idea that the chemical weapons attack was actually done by Americans or Syrian rebels is RIDICULOUS.
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:28 AM on April 7 [8 favorites]


Swedish media: Truck crashes into Stockholm store, 3 dead


Developing story, but this doesn't sound good.
posted by zachlipton at 6:31 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


I'm just reflexively considering any "false flag" allegations, about anything, to be chemtrail level bullshit now
posted by thelonius at 6:32 AM on April 7 [10 favorites]


zachlipton: "Swedish media: Truck crashes into Stockholm store, 3 dead


Developing story, but this doesn't sound good.
"

If Trump turns out to be psychic, we better pray for Bowling Green
posted by chavenet at 6:33 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


Pelosi writes Ryan to demand he call the House back immediately to debate an authorization for use of military force in Syria.
posted by zachlipton at 6:33 AM on April 7 [53 favorites]


Anderson Cooper, who doesn't need to suck up to anybody, just let some jackass reporter slide with calling mar a Lago the southern White House.

The problem is not the term "the Southern White House" - Mar-a-lago was, before its acquisition by Donald Trump, actually donated to the US government as the Southern White House by the society dame who owned it. They gave it back because they thought it wouldn't be useful, and Trump bought it.

The problem is that he is profiting by using the "Southern White House". I wish people would start saying, "If you want to donate something, donate Mar-a-Lago back to the government and let it be secured by the same, instead of having random big spenders pay for access to you."
posted by corb at 6:43 AM on April 7 [37 favorites]


Wow, pundits are stupidly impressed by the whole bombing thing. It's like Trump with a teleprompter x 1000.
posted by Artw at 6:47 AM on April 7 [19 favorites]


MSNBC is saying the Russians were warned beforehand.

Thank goodness someone in Trump's administration was that competent.

Of course, that fact means the Syrians were warned too, though who knows whether it was in time to do them any good.
posted by Gelatin at 6:49 AM on April 7 [4 favorites]


My fave take isctyat Trump was moved into action because images of dead children shocked him. That seems vastly unlikely compared with, say, being moved into action by being tricked into talking twiddlevabout crossing lines and getting huffy about it.
posted by Artw at 6:52 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


From the Axios list of potential chiefs-of-staff:

Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). Urban helped Trump win an upset victory in Pennsylvania, and was in constant cellphone contact with the candidate throughout the campaign.

While this would be quite a neat trick, I assume they mean Pat Toomey. Who is The Worst, and I look forward to Tuesdays with Toomey if he gets picked. I mean, I gotta get my anger out somewhere.
posted by kalimac at 6:53 AM on April 7 [4 favorites]


Yes, Standard Trump Procedure: Inform enemy combatants before you attack, indeed before you even bother to inform Congress. I think this was a plotline in season 2 of Dad's Army.
posted by valkane at 6:54 AM on April 7


Schumer should just say, "Donald J. Trump and Neil Gorsuch are Russian Spies and we need to get to the bottom of all this before moving forward."

#IDGAF
posted by mikelieman at 6:56 AM on April 7 [7 favorites]


MSNBC is saying the Russians were warned beforehand.
Thank goodness someone in Trump's administration was that competent.
Of course, that fact means the Syrians were warned too, though who knows whether it was in time to do them any good.


Which means this is Kabuki. Makes sense, and I'm sure after a few weeks Trump will declare a glorious victory despite no substantive changes on the ground. Because those don't matter.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:57 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Pelosi writes Ryan to demand he call the House back immediately to debate an authorization for use of military force in Syria.

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

Please let's not do this again.

FUCK
posted by dis_integration at 6:58 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). Urban helped Trump win an upset victory in Pennsylvania, and was in constant cellphone contact with the candidate throughout the campaign.

While this would be quite a neat trick, I assume they mean Pat Toomey. Who is The Worst, and I look forward to Tuesdays with Toomey if he gets picked. I mean, I gotta get my anger out somewhere.


I'd take Zombie Arlen Specter over any of these chucklefucks.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:59 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


I meant to link to this WaPo story about the "false flag" narrative in fringe media (and from Wikileaks!) in my previous appeal for help help combating that narrative.

Also, regarding whether we warned the Russians, this Vox summary of what we know so far says the US Gov't has acknowledged using existing "deconfliction" channels to let the Russians know we were doing this. (They presumably warned Assad.)

That summary is worth a read in general -- includes comments on motive and strategy, and reactions from other politicians.
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:59 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Please let's not do this again.

If the choice is between unilateral military decisions made by the Executive alone (something the Executive doesn't seem to have a problem with) or getting Congress to actually stake out a position first, I'd kind of prefer the latter, in the same way I would have preferred to see an AHCA vote instead of the withdrawal of the bill; at least this way you can point to the vote and say to constituents, "Here. Right here is where this person stood. Here's what they think our tax dollars should be spent on. Here's where their moral compasses led them."
posted by Greg Nog at 7:03 AM on April 7 [45 favorites]


I think Congress should have to attach and itemized budget to any AUMF. HERE is *exactly* how much of your tax dollars we're going to spend, and here is *exactly* what it's being spent on.

And a pony.
posted by mikelieman at 7:05 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


I'd kind of prefer the latter

From the let's do this all legally on the up-and-up standpoint, this makes sense. But once Trump gets a congressional authorization for the use of force he's going to use force like nobody else, believe me. Better that he be restrained by the terms of what the executive believes it can do without authorization, than that he be given legally sanctioned authorization, which he will interpret as complete carte blanche to start ww3.
posted by dis_integration at 7:06 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


If we had not been a racist-ass country lacking imagination, we could have allowed as many Syrians as possible to escape Assad by moving here and told him "good luck running your country when we have all your smart, hard-working people, asshole."

We could still take the people who remain, out of basic human decency. We've got lots of room. But we won't, because we are a racist-ass country lacking imagination.
posted by emjaybee at 7:06 AM on April 7 [71 favorites]


Bipartisan sgotta bipartisan. This is going to taint them worse than Iraq.
posted by Artw at 7:07 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Those missiles cost about $150 million.

I agree with the sentiment of your comment but I can't find a source to confirm your figure, looks like it's closer to 15 million.
posted by Tarumba at 7:07 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Please let's not do this again.

Obama asked for an AUMF against Assad and didn't get it. That's partly why he didn't initiate air strikes last time Assad crossed this red line...

I don't think Trump would get it either, honestly. The right wing media does not have his back on this one.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:07 AM on April 7 [9 favorites]


Honestly, it's sounding increasingly like the Russians stood down their air defense systems to permit this strike to happen. If that is in fact the case, I'm not sure what the point of an AUMF is, since the only person who can really authorize military force in Syria right now is Vladimir Putin.
posted by zachlipton at 7:11 AM on April 7 [25 favorites]


looks like it's closer to 15 million.

that assumes each missile is 250k, which seems to be the cost of the "Seeker" on the linked wikipedia page? (Note: i am obviously not a weapons expert). I think total cost per missile is 1.59 million; if that's the case, 59 would be a total cost of 93.81 million dollars.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:11 AM on April 7


If we had not been a racist-ass country lacking imagination, we could have allowed as many Syrians as possible to escape Assad by moving here and told him "good luck running your country when we have all your smart, hard-working people, asshole."

The best way the US could help Syrians: open the borders
Expanding refugee resettlement would certainly work, would carry little in the way of short-term financial costs, and that would likely provide a powerful boost to the US economy and drastically increase the living standards of Syrians who were able to relocate. Instead, Trump has sought to slash the number of Syrians allowed to come to the US — while dropping bombs on Syria itself.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:12 AM on April 7 [16 favorites]


>Please let's not do this again.

If the choice is between unilateral military decisions made by the Executive alone (something the Executive doesn't seem to have a problem with) or getting Congress to actually stake out a position first, I'd kind of prefer the latter


That, yes: if anything is to happen, calling for it to go through Congress first is the right way to do it, and if the outcome is the ultimately the same (bombs & boots on the ground) the process does matter.

But the process also matters because the outcome might not actually be the same: does Trump actually have the votes to authorize a war with Syria? Obama sought authorization to use greater force in Syria and Congress said no; it's really not impossible that Congress says no to Trump, too, and that would really change the optics of Trump contemplating (or undertaking) future strikes like the one yesterday. Ryan failing to reconvene congress to debate the issue, now that Pelosi has called for him to do so, is also not a great look; does he think Congress shouldn't have oversight? Does he think this isn't an urgent question? Or is he delaying because he doesn't think he can get the votes for whatever his preferred outcome is?

So: now is really, really the time to continue to call your representatives and tell them whether you want them to support or oppose a congressional authorization for the use of force in Syria. Now, before anyone starts counting votes in the House; now, before representatives have staked out an opinion.
posted by cjelli at 7:13 AM on April 7 [15 favorites]


Pelosi writes Ryan to the press/herself to demand he call the House back immediately to debate an authorization for use of military force in Syria.

Why bother? Why pretend? I know everyone's a creature of habit but cmon. Have the gloves ever been more off? Along with the President? (Hi-ooooooooo)
posted by petebest at 7:14 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


EXCLUSIVE: Trump White House to Host Seder
Sources at the White House tell us that the Trump administration is planning to continue the tradition set by President Obama of hosting a Seder at the White House this coming Monday night.

The sources did not yet know whether President Trump or his son-in-law Jared Kushner would participate and noted that it is still in the planning process. They explained that Trump’s participation is very much up in the air due to the situation in Syria.
Given the extent to which everyone is ganging up on Bannon in their press leaks right now, I have to ask whether they're doing this just to fuck with him.
posted by zachlipton at 7:17 AM on April 7 [13 favorites]


So, seder's on, with someone somewhere. Got it.
posted by petebest at 7:18 AM on April 7 [8 favorites]


> The irony being that he ran on a far less hawkish platform than did Mrs Clinton.

Yeah, right.
There won't be any cognitive dissonance for Trump fans. Sure, he criticized the Iraq War and expressed skepticism about certain kinds of intervention, but he also invoked Patton at every opportunity and talked about taking Iraqi oil and bombing the shit out of ISIS. The fans didn't hear a critique of interventionism -- what they heard was: Let's do military stuff that kicks ass and not do military stuff that doesn't kick ass.

If that seems like an unsophisticated, Beavis-and-Butthead-esque geostrategic taxonomy, well, there you are.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:19 AM on April 7 [43 favorites]


"I like M&M's," said the Levite, "but if 10 in your bowl were poisoned, would you eat a handful? I don't think so." He hurried on.

Considering the volume of antisemitic shit we Jews have been dealing with over the last year and half, it would be nice if you would avoid putting the racist words of the Trump children in our mouths in your parables.
posted by zarq at 7:19 AM on April 7 [23 favorites]


So, seder's on, with someone somewhere. Got it.

I'm sure Meredith is all over it.
posted by Etrigan at 7:20 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


Yeah, his "bomb them and take their oil" sure was a signal that he was going to withdraw our military from all foreign conflicts!

Unsurprisingly, he articulated an utterly incoherent Schrodinger's military posture where we both do and do not engage in military actions on foreign soil.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:23 AM on April 7 [9 favorites]


Problem is, it's not clumps, it's confetti. The divide is rural/urban

It's not even truly rural/urban

But you know, the 1870s, the 1920s, and the 1950s weren't such great times for "unity", whatever that means, either, and yet here we are.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:24 AM on April 7 [4 favorites]


The right wing media does not have his back on this one.

That's OK, the rest of the media is currently picking up the slack using almost exactly the same script as Iraq I and II.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:24 AM on April 7 [19 favorites]


Just to be clear on the issue of Chief of Staff candidates: the article did not suggest that Arlen Specter is a candidate, but rather Specter's former CoS, David Urban:

"David Urban of the Washington advisory firm American Continental Group, and a former chief of staff to the late Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). Urban helped Trump win an upset victory in Pennsylvania, and was in constant cellphone contact with the candidate throughout the campaign."
posted by AwkwardPause at 7:25 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Given the extent to which everyone is ganging up on Bannon in their press leaks right now, I have to ask whether they're doing this just to fuck with him.

I can just see the end of the seder when they open the door for Elijah: A drunk off his ass Bannon stumbles in, collapses into the empty chair, sculls the cup of wine, and just blurts out "we're gonnfa rxebuild the templie in jerusalem vand jesus is gonna come back and show lal you jjews! DEUS VULT!"
posted by Talez at 7:27 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


So, seder's on, with someone somewhere. Got it.

It's going to be just the seat for Elijah.
posted by davros42 at 7:28 AM on April 7 [13 favorites]


>>The right wing media does not have his back on this one.
>That's OK, the rest of the media is currently picking up the slack using almost exactly the same script as Iraq I and II.


the liberal media strikes again!
posted by entropicamericana at 7:29 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


Trump's hasty actions move too fast to spend any time reading old news, where "old" means anything more than 24 hours old. Example A: Steve Bannon Is Losing to the Globalists (New Yorker, April 6, 2017), in which John Cassidy writes:
Trump’s approach to Syria may also be changing. In the dystopian “Clash of Civilizations” scenario that Bannon and his supporters subscribe to, Syria represents an important staging ground in the U.S.-led crusade against radical Islam, and an example of what future U.S.-Russian coöperation could look like. But the photographs of children being asphyxiated by Assad’s chemical weapons appear to have given Trump pause about being associated with the Assad-Putin axis. At a press conference on Wednesday, he said, “My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.”
And here we have TV-ratings bombing in Syria, killing civilians but not impacting the Syrian military airforce (or runways!!).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:29 AM on April 7 [4 favorites]


It's going to be just the seat for Elijah.

Do you mean Tiffany Trump?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:29 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


the irony being that he ran on a far less hawkish platform than did Mrs Clinton.

*FLIPS EVERY TABLE IN THE WORLD*
posted by lydhre at 7:32 AM on April 7 [49 favorites]


I find the implication that Trump cares about kids, any kids, ridiculous. Dude probably doesn't know where his own 10yr old is right now, let alone caring for kids he was banning from the country the other week.
posted by Artw at 7:35 AM on April 7 [32 favorites]


Eater: Trump Breaks Campaign Promise to Feed Chinese President Big Macs: "I would not be throwing him a dinner,” Trump told Fox News last August of how he would host President Xi if he was elected POTUS. “I would get him a McDonald's hamburger and say we've got to get down to work because you can't continue to devalue [the Chinese currency]." Trump went on, "I would give him a very -- yeah, but I would give him a double, probably a double-size Big Mac.”
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:37 AM on April 7 [27 favorites]


You guys, it is highly, highly likely that this "false flag" garbage is being spread by the Russian propaganda machine. Don't buy it! Please help counter this message before it becomes entrenched!

The first tweets under the hashtag #SyriaHoax came from Russia. Cernovich picked up on it; now it's trending in the U.S.

posted by T.D. Strange at 7:39 AM on April 7 [21 favorites]


*FLIPS EVERY TABLE IN THE WORLD*

I'm gonna guess that a guy who thought Ahmed "Clock Kid" Mohamed got himself arrested for the attention and that Jewish Americans are safe because of Jared Kushner may not be particularly well-informed in general.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:39 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


The irony being that he ran on a far less hawkish platform than did Mrs Clinton.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
posted by zarq at 7:40 AM on April 7 [19 favorites]


On that WashPost list, saber rattling from Trump about Iran, Syria, Iraq, China, ISIS, claims that various nationalities posed threats to the US, vows to win whatever conflicts he got involved in and a promise to involve all 50 states in a massive, massive military buildup. He also wanted a Stalinesque show of military force (tanks and troops) present at his inauguration.

Clinton's foreign policy ideas looked like a cuddly kitten by comparison.
posted by zarq at 7:45 AM on April 7 [12 favorites]


I'm not as good at debating as you guys are, & I'm sure everyone will pick this comment apart to tell me what's wrong with it. But honestly, I just don't see how we can salvage the union as one clump. It doesn't want to be one clump, never has.

I don't think the compartmentalized definitions in politics serve us anymore. I think the way out will have to be a new way, just like design, where we take what works, jettison what doesn't and start over however ugly, deadly, messy that may be. Because it's going to happen anyway
.
posted by yoga at 9:02 AM on April 7

But yoga you and I live in NC-- where do you think NC will end up in the great divide? Where will Austin, TX? Where will Atlanta? Does everyone have to move unless they want to become part of the Great Christian Theocracy?



The problem is that he is profiting by using the "Southern White House". I wish people would start saying, "If you want to donate something, donate Mar-a-Lago back to the government and let it be secured by the same, instead of having random big spenders pay for access to you."

posted by corb at 9:43 AM on April 7
I could not agree more. What if the White House paid Trump for every meal served? What if the White House charged the public to take tours and Trump pocketed those fees? What if the White House gave Trump X amount of dollars for every State Visit. It Is Insane that this is being allowed and seemingly no Republicans are affronted by the idea that DJT is using Mar-A-Lago as both a Presidential Office and his own personal piggy bank.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:47 AM on April 7 [29 favorites]


The Minnesota Eight Don't Want To Be Deported To A Country They've Never Lived In (New Yorker, April 5, 2017)
Thhe Minnesota Eight are a group of Cambodian men in their thirties and forties with a troubled history in common: each came to the U.S. legally as a child refugee in the nineteen-eighties but later lost his green card after being convicted of a crime. By law, legal permanent residents are automatically deportable if they’ve committed an aggravated felony, and thousands of people every year are deported after completing prison terms. But when these men got out of prison they found themselves in a strange situation. Because of a long-standing diplomatic dispute between the U.S. and Cambodia, they were released rather than deported. Several of them got married and started families; they took jobs, and settled down. Twice a year, they were required to check in at their local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office, in St. Paul, Minnesota, but after a few years these visits became routine. Then, last summer, when they each showed up for their appointments with ICE, they were abruptly rearrested, and informed that their deportations were back on schedule.

Last week, four of the men were deported to Cambodia. Three others are continuing to fight their cases while still in ICE custody. (The eighth member of the group was released in February, after proving to a judge that his deportation would have caused undue hardship to his wife and children, who are American citizens.) Of the two and a half million Southeast Asians currently living in the U.S., about fifteen thousand face outstanding deportation orders. The families of the Minnesota Eight have launched an aggressive public-advocacy campaign on their behalf, meeting with elected officials, like Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representative Keith Ellison, and raising legal funds to fight the deportation orders. Some members of the Minnesota Eight knew one another before their arrests, while others met in ICE detention. Their families quickly banded together as they tried to understand what was happening. “In the Cambodian community, we usually don’t like to talk about this—people are embarrassed,” Nicki Chhoeurng, the niece of one of the Minnesota Eight, told me. “In Minnesota, it’s the younger generation that’s standing up, because this makes no sense.”
Fuck you, jackboot ICE thugs. Fuck yeah, younger generation!
posted by filthy light thief at 7:53 AM on April 7 [47 favorites]


It Is Insane that this is being allowed and seemingly no Republicans are affronted by the idea that

You could really go any number of ways here.
posted by petebest at 7:53 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


yoga While I can understand the attraction of the "divorce" narrative, it's an awful idea because it means abandoning people like me (and the entire population of Austin, San Antonio, and Houston) to the revenge of the people you want a divorce from.

There are only Red States in the sense that a majority of the population in those states votes Republican, but there's no such thing as a state where 100% of the population votes Republican, and even the more deeply Red States are only 70% Republican or so.

What you're urging is that, since living with Republicans is annoying, the people in the Blue States should just abandon all the LGBT people in Mississippi to be at best tortured and imprisoned, and at worst simply killed. You're arguing that people like me should be left to be rounded up and put against the wall and shot.

At best you're looking at an unprecedented refugee crisis with all the humanitarian catastrophe that represents in the Blue States as people like me try to flee there to escape the vile governments of Red America.

Dealing with Republicans is hard and frustrating, I get that. And our modern Republicans seem to have abandoned even the pretense of going along with consensus reality, which makes dealing with them even harder. Trust me, I know, I live among them. Yes, I live in a fairly safe Blue area of Texas, but I still encounter them daily.

I think the nation needs some restructuring (the Senate is horrible, the House is too small, the EC is evil incarnate), but I don't think we should abandon it just because Trump is a dick and so are his voters.
posted by sotonohito at 7:54 AM on April 7 [40 favorites]


it is only now beginning to look like america's enormous arsenal combined with its tremendous self-regard was a bad idea, it seemed good when the democrat was in office
posted by beerperson at 7:55 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Scarlett Johansson Called Ivanka Trump a Coward
Speaking with Ariana Huffington today at Tina Brown’s Women in the World Summit, actress-activist Scarlett Johansson reacted to Ivanka Trump’s recent interview with Gayle King, in which the first daughter was asked about whether or not she was complicit in her father’s actions. Johansson said she found the interview “cowardly” and “baffling,” and stood by her SNL perfume thesis. “You can’t have it both ways, right?” she said. “If you take a job as a public advocate then you must advocate publicly, right?”

"[Ivanka] said … she felt that the greatest change, the biggest influence that she would have, the change that she would make, actually would be behind closed doors, and nobody would actually know that she had made this change. And I thought, well that’s empowering! How old-fashioned, you know, this idea that behind a great man is a great woman. What about being in front of that person or next to them? It is such an old-fashioned concept that to be this powerful woman, you know, you can’t appear to be concerned, that someone is going to think that you are bitchy, or a powerful woman, you know, they get concerned with this idea that they are going to be seen in this unforgiving light and, you know, screw that, it is so old fashioned and it is so uninspired and actually really cowardly."
posted by chris24 at 7:56 AM on April 7 [56 favorites]


Well she's out front on twitter celebrating the Syria bombing
posted by angrycat at 7:59 AM on April 7


SLoG I'm done with NC, and I am actively planning to leave, yes. For a Bluer more forward place. Does everyone have to move? I can't answer that question. Maybe it comes down to what an individual can tolerate, and maybe my tolerance for the GCT is too low in some people's opinions. To me it feels like leaving an abusive relationship. Self preservation.

I guess I don't see it any differently from a bunch of people saying enough, we're leaving to set up elsewhere (UK-->US).

As for the rural/urban divide, those are still clumps, just with different labels.
posted by yoga at 8:00 AM on April 7


Well, everyone in the U.S. isn't going to relocate, so what's the point of speculating/talking/bragging about doing so?
posted by agregoli at 8:05 AM on April 7 [9 favorites]


Add: I have other reasons for leaving NC, not just politicalness. My job, a need for environmental change after 54 years in the same place, getting older etc etc etc.

I don't think any place is utopia. I'm looking forward to bitching about a new swath of things. :)
posted by yoga at 8:06 AM on April 7


Can we not have this argument again?
posted by anem0ne at 8:06 AM on April 7 [12 favorites]


Yeah, if you're in a position to up and move out of a red state, that's a pretty privileged position.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:06 AM on April 7 [17 favorites]


Do what you feel like you need to do, but more people voted for Hillary in North Carolina (2.19M) than in Massachusetts (2.0M) or New Jersey (2.15M).
And the third-highest state for Trump voters was California.

Don't think there's some sort of partition with a frontier that exists.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:07 AM on April 7 [22 favorites]


I'm not an historian, but this talk of a divorce has me thinking of how India had a divorce in 1947. Worked out well.
posted by michswiss at 8:11 AM on April 7 [22 favorites]


via twitter of CNN reporter: McConnell asked about Mitt Romney potentially running for Senate in Utah in 2018 -- "I've had some conversations with Mitt Romney."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:12 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Honestly? My ideal would be for the blue states - especially California (my state!), because of its yuuuge population and economy, to set an example rather than secede. I'm for CalExit as a last resort - if it's that or unconditional submission to fascism - but being a guide and shining example is the better, and more courageous, thing for us to do, I think.

And I believe California can do this, because the the rest of the country needs us more than we need them. We have the population, the money, the jobs, the expertise, and the political will. We have Ted Lieu, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Jerry Brown, and Gavin Newsom, who wants to give California universal health care.

I hope my native state will be like the cool older sibling who saves their younger brothers and sisters from an abusive home and cruel governmental guardians, rather than the coward who abandons them. )CalExit should be a last resort if, for example, the rest of the country really does become a dictatorship and secession is the only thing that saves us.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:13 AM on April 7 [33 favorites]


Population figures make those NC/MA/NJ/CA stats somewhat deceptive. I've lived in Wisconsin and California. If you're even a little bit different, living in LA is heaven compared to living in say Green Bay. Nevertheless, it's too bad that the move that would benefit the country would be the opposite of the move that people who vote the right way tend to want to make. If there were economic paths and a more welcoming populace, the youth/brain drain may have actually been small enough not to avoid current non-coastal non-urban voting patterns.
posted by bootlegpop at 8:13 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Just to be clear on the issue of Chief of Staff candidates: the article did not suggest that Arlen Specter is a candidate, but rather Specter's former CoS, David Urban

So just the specter of Specter, then?
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:14 AM on April 7 [8 favorites]


Also, regarding whether we warned the Russians, this Vox summary of what we know so far says the US Gov't has acknowledged using existing "deconfliction" channels to let the Russians know we were doing this. (They presumably warned Assad.)

Though the relationship between the US and Russia is deeply weird at the moment, at least it isn't at Cold War levels of paranoia. Still, it wouldn't do to risk having some Russian air defense officer see 50 inbound cruise missiles and leap to the conclusion that it was a first strike.

(Which, of course, means that since we have to keep the Russians in the loop, we have to presume we give the Syrian military advance warning of everything we do. Sun Tzu would be appalled.)
posted by Gelatin at 8:17 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]




Huffy Puffy: And the third-highest state for Trump voters was California.

"Coloring" of states comes from percentages (in pockets), not the individual numbers for one candidate. In other words, the percentage of the population who voted for someone matters more than the total number of votes for a candidate in a given state. For example, Clinton took California by more than 4 million votes, so the fact that CA had the third-most votes for Trump doesn't really matter.

Similarly, where those votes came in matter, when you're talking about where you live and who are your neighbors. Coastal California is different than inland California, in climate and population (we moved from California to New Mexico because while we could afford a house in inland California, it wasn't appealing to us on a number of fronts).
posted by filthy light thief at 8:19 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


and Gavin Newsom, who wants to give California universal health care.

his twitter account is on fleek too
posted by entropicamericana at 8:23 AM on April 7 [4 favorites]


EXCLUSIVE: Trump White House to Host Seder
Sources at the White House tell us that the Trump administration is planning to continue the tradition set by President Obama of hosting a Seder at the White House this coming Monday night.


So he's certainly got the wicked, simple, and and 'doesn't know how to ask a question' children lined up.

The wise one is clearly Tiffany, from staying the hell away from this horror show.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:25 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


his twitter account is on fleek too

Dead children warning on that twitter feed. Don't surprise people with links like that, please.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:27 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


My ideal would be for the blue states - especially California (my state!), because of its yuuuge population and economy, to set an example rather than secede. I'm for CalExit as a last resort - if it's that or unconditional submission to fascism - but being a guide and shining example is the better, and more courageous, thing for us to do, I think.

Absolutely. Republicans have relied on decades of noxious propaganda, going back especially but not exclusively to Ronald Reagan, that government can't work and high taxes and regulations lead to a hellish dystopia. One need only look at most red states, where only Federal transfer of wealth from more prosperous blue states keeps things from being even more dismal, to know the falsity of this claim. But just as Kansas' voters are starting to figure out that Brownback-nomics was a disaster, it'd be kind of cool for someone to keep pointing out "things are just fine here in blue New York / California / whatever."
posted by Gelatin at 8:27 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


I hope my native state will be like the cool older sibling who saves their younger brothers and sisters from an abusive home and cruel governmental guardians, rather than the coward who abandons them.

California's cost of living is very high compared with nearly every other state. More than 50% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Most Americans would be economically unable to relocate to California, no matter how much better it looks than their current locality.
posted by zarq at 8:28 AM on April 7 [10 favorites]


I know that percentages are what determine who wins and loses. My point is that Hillary got 32.45 million votes in states that she lost--almost half of her votes, so maybe cut those of us who live in red states some slack. Just because the Democratic candidate got 43% (Texas) instead of 48% (New Mexico) doesn't make millions of people of one state more or less virtuous than the other.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:28 AM on April 7 [19 favorites]


California's cost of living is very high compared with nearly every other state. More than 50% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Most Americans would be economically unable to relocate to California, no matter how much better it looks than their current locality.

isn't california's average cost of living grossly distorted by housing markets like the bay area? if you don't want to move there or the los angeles metroplex it's more affordable than it looks on paper.
posted by murphy slaw at 8:44 AM on April 7


Gorsuch just got confirmed. Let the day-drinking commence.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:46 AM on April 7 [19 favorites]


I hope the White House seder will use the American Jewish World Service haggadah, "Next Year in a Just World."
posted by ChuraChura at 8:47 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


This is the line the Russians are taking. If you see this narrative being repeated elsewhere, consider the source!

"Peskov reiterated remarks he made earlier this week that the chemical attacks were the result not of Assad’s actions but rebel bombings of chemical plants––a claim derided as false by eye-witnesses and the international community."

Reminder, after Congress refused to grant Obama an AUMF, Obama put pressure on Russia to do something about Assad. Assad turned over his chemical weapons stockpile to Russia. Now that Russia and Assad are openly allied on Syrian battlefields, Russia may have given them back! Or Assad may not have turned all of them over, or may have gotten new ones...

But regardless, this is very much Assad's MO. He never really stopped using chemical weapons -- just switched to industrial chemicals like chlorine.

This short video is a good reminder of what happened last time around... It's from 2015, and is a good short history of how the Syrian civil war started, and the US involvement under Obama, prior to the refugee crisis.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:47 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


Ok, so you move to CA, but no Bay Area,LA, or San Diego. Where d'ya think you're moving to then? Probably going to be reddish.
posted by LionIndex at 8:48 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


[Y'all we have been round and round and round on the complexities and contradictions of the moving-or-not-if-you-even-practically-can thing, let's just not get further into it again here.]
posted by cortex at 8:50 AM on April 7 [31 favorites]




Gorsuch vote 54-45
posted by XMLicious at 8:58 AM on April 7


Who abstained?
posted by corb at 9:01 AM on April 7


Gorsuch vote 54-45

Traitors: Donnelly, Heitkamp, Manchin.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:02 AM on April 7 [33 favorites]


It Is Insane that this is being allowed and seemingly no Republicans are affronted by the idea that DJT is using Mar-A-Lago as both a Presidential Office and his own personal piggy bank.

Frankly, as an American, I'm ashamed that foreign dignitaries are being served Trump Corp. Food and Beverage Service quality food in my name.
posted by mikelieman at 9:02 AM on April 7 [14 favorites]


Who abstained?

Issakson. They wheeled him out of a hospital bed for the nuke vote yesterday.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:02 AM on April 7 [7 favorites]


Gorsuch vote 54-45

Traitors: Donnelly, Heitkamp, Manchin.


Oh FFS. This is bad enough during normal politics, but this time WE HAVE ACTUAL TRAITORS IN GOVERNMENT.

...and Donnelly's my senator, and I've already called his office to criticize him for this vote (which I don't think helps him at all), but for Christ's sake.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:04 AM on April 7 [11 favorites]


Issakson. They wheeled him out of a hospital bed for the nuke vote yesterday.

Same thing he did to fuck over US women recently!
posted by Greg Nog at 9:05 AM on April 7 [7 favorites]




Vox: Trump brought his economics team to his Syria strike watch party for some reason: Some of the people visible in the image seem like naturals for this kind of meeting, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer who needs to be able to speak authoritatively about the president’s activities. That the Trump administration is structured around an awkward troika — Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner — rather than a traditional chief of staff model is odd, but given the context it’s natural that all three are there.

But the Secretaries of Commerce and Treasury are also on hand, along with National Economic Council director Gary Cohn.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:08 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


#calexit is maybe the most naïve idea I've ever heard, and like my social group since forever has been grad students, democratic socialists, and anarchists — so I've heard a lot of naïve ideas.

The current illegitimate government back East is not going to let its west coast ports or its largest economic engine go without a fight. The Republican base doesn't understand how much money we send them, but the leadership sure does.

We can't exit the United States. We have to liberate it instead. Hopefully we can liberate it through politics or through cyberwarfare rather than through a shooting war — cause let me tell you, I'm a terrible shot. and probably shouldn't be trusted with anything bigger than a .22 anyway.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:09 AM on April 7 [11 favorites]




I almost can't believe Gorsuch is going to sit on the Court- the only thing that is convincing my poor, tired brain that this is real is the never-ending stream of also-terrible things that are very, very real.
posted by rachaelfaith at 9:10 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


So Bennett voted against confirmation for Gorsuch?
posted by medusa at 9:12 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


People keep posing the Calexit or other secession questions as straw men where one day, the good people of the pacific northwest collectively decide to John Galt their shit.

Here's how it might actually happen: the federal government starts fuck-you-burn-it-to-the-ground ICE raids, DEA raids, specifically to punish legal marijuana and sanctuary cities. California retaliates by expelling federal agents from the state. Both sides mobilize relevant troops, and now we're in a detente that's a precursor to civil war.

That's a really rough outline, but just as a thought experiment: where in this scenario do you suggest that the people of California avoid civil war? Is letting a bunch of undocumented immigrants die in concentration camps a good price for the union? And while this hypothetical is constructed specifically to show why secession might make sense, as a sequence of events it doesn't seem completely unlikely.

Maybe California loses that fight badly and secession doesn't happen. But I want to make that fight.

So why talk about it now? Because the idea has to exist at the time that action is required; we can't come up with this shit on the fly. Politicians have to know that serious resistance to federalism is sanctioned by their electorate--you can't just break out of the union on a whim. Maybe in your fantasy world this can never happen, but I want my governor, I want my neighbors to know that it's a real possibility if conditions are right.
posted by TypographicalError at 9:14 AM on April 7 [31 favorites]


I'm not going to belabor the point again, but having these unreliable red state Dems in good standing in the party is untenable in a world where any defections from the party line now makes the difference between decades of conservative rule and, not that.

If the 2019 Senate is 51-49, a Donnelly telling the Democrats "I don't work for you" is the difference between the vote to replace RBG. There's no room for freelancing any more.

And someone else said it too, running a Joe Donnelly versus a real liberal choice gives up on the opportunity to advance actual liberal polices and ideas, instead of the Donnelly/Manchin/Lieberman way of self-interested craven political triangulation on every single issue. That's how we keep getting stuck with Evan Bayh and Patrick Murphy. There's going to be an anti-Trump opening. We need real people advancing real solutions to present a real choice. Not hacks clinging to their seats and voting with the Republicans all the time anyway.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:16 AM on April 7 [24 favorites]


Bennet voted for cloture the first time (60 needed), then against it post-nuclear (50+1 needed).
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:17 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


Oh, Brian. Never change.

Actually I'd like it if Brian changed by being devoured by bullet ants
posted by beerperson at 9:18 AM on April 7 [14 favorites]


There's going to be an anti-Trump opening. We need real people advancing real solutions to present a real choice. Not hacks clinging to their seats and voting with the Republicans all the time anyway.

Agree. A(n actual, progressive) Democrat for every office in all 50 states, come now or high-water!
posted by petebest at 9:20 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


But the Secretaries of Commerce and Treasury are also on hand, along with National Economic Council director Gary Cohn.


Going to take their oil.
posted by MattWPBS at 9:22 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Reporting from the Xi/Trump press pool today:
Trump: I just want to thank President Xi for being with us in the United States...progress has been made. Thank you very much.

(shouted questions on Syria)

Xi: [speaks, no translation is given in-room]

Trump: I agree 100-percent, Mr. President.
posted by cjelli at 9:22 AM on April 7 [42 favorites]


As a thought experiment, CalExit is one thing, but as a future reality, it is untenable. First, it would destabilize not only the U.S., but also the states that seceded. As many have noted (based on the fact that the only CalExit offices extant are in Moscow, while it's spokesperson lives in Yekaterinburg) the Russian government is fully supportive of this move to secession as destabilization of western powers is Putin's goal.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:24 AM on April 7 [11 favorites]


Heitkamp barely won in 2012. Her margin was less than 1%, and could have gone to a recount if her opponent hadn't conceded. Winning re-election will require her to prove to conservative ND voters that she will place their wishes over the good of her party. Most of them aren't Democrats. Over 60% of the state's voters sided with Trump over Clinton. The pipeline is a major issue. So she's now voted to confirm a majority of Trump's nominees, including Gorsuch. Which is entirely predictable. Like Manchin, she was elected by her constituents with the expectation that she would vote a particular way, and has.

Meanwhile, Manchin and Heitkamp have recently been working closely together on energy legislation, including that which affects the coal industry. There have also been reports in conservative media that both were/are being considered for cabinet posts.
posted by zarq at 9:24 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


Someone needs to show Trump some pictures of children without health insurance, stat.
posted by spitbull at 9:25 AM on April 7 [50 favorites]


As a thought experiment, CalExit is one thing, but as a future reality, it is untenable.

As a thought experiment, keeping the Union together is one thing, but as a future reality, it is untenable.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 9:26 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


"[Ivanka] said … she felt that the greatest change, the biggest influence that she would have, the change that she would make, actually would be behind closed doors, and nobody would actually know that she had made this change."

Yeah you know Ivanka... if your goal is to be a good influence behind closed doors you are doing a pretty shitty job at it. Drop the pretense, please.
posted by orbit-3 at 9:26 AM on April 7 [13 favorites]


Basically if the democratic party fails to hold a unified line for the next three years, and if the democratic party fails to win under that unified line, it really does mean that extra-parliamentary methods would be necessary to dislodge fascism. And given that it's not really plausible that we'd be able to like set up workers' councils and transfer all power to them anytime soon, I think it's time to seriously considering fleeing — not to California, that's ridiculous, but to a country that's part of the free world.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:27 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Someone needs to show Trump some pictures of children without health insurance, stat.

If that had a 1/1,000,000 probability of getting through to Trump, we wouldn't be where we are right now. I seriously doubt he gives much of a shit about his own kids getting sick, except to the extent that it affects him.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:28 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Someone needs to show Trump some pictures of children without health insurance, stat.

So he bars them from entering the country and then bombs their parents?
posted by beerperson at 9:29 AM on April 7 [26 favorites]




Yeah, the man gives a shit about at most two of his own five legitimate children, counting Eric and Don Jr as half a shit apiece. The thought that his brain has space for caring about other people's' children is an absurdity.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:35 AM on April 7 [14 favorites]


Re Gorsuch, I am sick at heart. And I've been wandering around wondering "What can I think about this besides sick despair?"

And then I remembered the piece I read on Slacktivist recently about the difference between protest and civil disobedience.

And so now I'm trying to hold in mind that we know unjust laws will be passed, and the proper response to an unjust law is a. to fight its passage, b. to protest it and c. to break it, either openly to protest it or quietly to protect its victims.

All of those require courage, the third most of all. I'm not at all sure how much courage I really have. But that is what we must do. We can't stop unjust laws from happening, but we can refuse to follow them and do everything else possible to resist and overturn them.
posted by emjaybee at 9:36 AM on April 7 [34 favorites]


Heitkamp barely won in 2012. Her margin was less than 1%, and could have gone to a recount if her opponent hadn't conceded. Winning re-election will require her to prove to conservative ND voters that she will place their wishes over the good of her party. Most of them aren't Democrats.

So why wouldn't they vote for the Republican?
posted by indubitable at 9:37 AM on April 7 [9 favorites]


not to California, that's ridiculous, but to a country that's part of the free world.

Or we could realize the republican majority is a paper tiger, most votes are super close and from laughably small voting base and work to reform and replace the political system from the ground up at a time when the country has never been more ready for a bold new direction.

In other words, we could be patriots.

*hums the international while putting away coffee cups*
posted by The Whelk at 9:39 AM on April 7 [85 favorites]


counting Eric and Don Jr as half a shit apiece.

lol
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:42 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]




In other words, we could be patriots.

John when are you running for office John
posted by beerperson at 9:52 AM on April 7 [9 favorites]


isn't california's average cost of living grossly distorted by housing markets like the bay area? if you don't want to move there or the los angeles metroplex it's more affordable than it looks on paper.

Absolutely. Susanville and Weaverville and Yreka and Barstow and Crescent City are quite reasonable, and some of them are even lovely. Oddly, outside of the Bay area and the coast between Ventura and San Diego, California is dramatically underpopulated and could use an influx of new people.

The same is true of Oregon and Washington, too (outside of the Portland - Eugene and Olympia -Seattle-Bellinghame corridors).
posted by msalt at 9:54 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Aaaaand I'm already seeing Republicans (both spokesholes and ordinary voters) use Hillary Clinton's words on this to defend 45. Which is exactly what I expected.

Thanks, Hill. Good job on that one.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:01 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


Not only are we keeping the Union together, I would really like to see it as a Democratic Party priority to bring in Washington DC, Peurto Rico, the Western Pacific Territories and the Virgin Islands as states, each with Reps and Sens. If Wyoming and Alaska get to be states, these places have the population to pull it off as well.

The Republicans want to play games to keep a permanent stranglehold on Federal power? Let's play some games.

Also on the table - increasing the number of Representatives to reflect on the population growth of the USA. Let's rip some undeserved power from the little red parasite states and give it back to the prosperous urbanized ones.

Destroy gerrymandering, or at the very least, undermine it at every opportunity - this needs to be a priority at the municipal, state and federal level. This means Democrats need to stop gerrymandering for their own benefit as well.

We need to take the fight to these fuckers, and take it to them hard. I want them reeling for a decade or two, or destroyed outright, the next time we even get a whiff of power.

Start right now, call city hall to find out what elections are coming up, I can guarantee you there are a couple just this year - and participate in them.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:04 AM on April 7 [70 favorites]


If Republicans try to defend Trump by saying Clinton would have done the same thing, they'll alienate a huge part of Trump's base, many of whom right now are attacking Trump by saying Clinton would have done the same thing...
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:04 AM on April 7 [10 favorites]


Wait, did Trump have a translator for any of Xi's visit? Or has he just been nodding along all week?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:06 AM on April 7 [9 favorites]


Christ. These clowns even did a photo so they could show Trump cosplaying a president based on that time Obama took out bin Laden.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:08 AM on April 7 [16 favorites]


I can imagine many times in our country's history when things looked even darker than they do now. The Civil War tops the list. But also...

WWI and WWII, when we were fighting in global wars that were killing millions of people. We were rationing food and materiel. Our citizens were being drafted in the tens of thousands and sent off to die horrifically in a foreign land.

The Great Depression, when it seemed that unregulated capitalism had led the country to the brink of collapse. Food lines. Desperation dialed up to 11.

The 60s, when a President was assassinated, and his brother the Attorney General, and the highest profile civil rights activist. Students were being shot and killed for protesting the draft sending them to die horrifically in a foreign land (and this time, without even the moral argument for the conflict). A President and most of his administration are impeached and/or imprisoned for their crimes.

The 70s, when inflation meant that home-ownership became out of reach for many and gas shortages and rationing were rampant.

The 2000s, when the 9/11 attacks turned our country into a mess of paranoia and the housing collapse and the Great Recession wiped out trillions in personal wealth, left millions unemployed or homeless, and forced the elderly to go back to work in menial jobs because they had lost their retirement investments.

I look back at those times and it helps give me some perspective. There were people who fled the country in each of those times. There were people whose lives were ruined or who died outright. In each of those times, there were millions of people who probably thought that it was the end of the "USA", but the country seemed to stagger on to eventually walk semi-upright again after each of them.

I'm not sure how much hope it gives to consider what this country has been through and survived, especially when so many people suffered then and are suffering now. But amid the wailing and gnashing of teeth, it offers some small anodyne to think that history has shown us that as a nation we can weather terrible times.

If this thought helps ignite the spark of hope we need to be able to keep fighting the good fight, then maybe it's useful encouragement.
posted by darkstar at 10:10 AM on April 7 [54 favorites]


McConnell asked about Mitt Romney potentially running for Senate in Utah in 2018 -- "I've had some conversations with Mitt Romney."

My god, these people just never go away. If life has become TV, this is like season after season with the same villains who are always defeated yet keep coming back. It's like finding out that Eobard Thawne is a senator now. No matter how many times he's erased from existence, he just shows up again like nothing ever happened. The same goes for Romney and company.
posted by Servo5678 at 10:11 AM on April 7 [7 favorites]


CNN: World reaction: Who's with US and who isn't
MSNBC: McCain: Trump has chance to reboot with Americans
CBS: How accurate was U.S. strike on Syrian airbase?, Marco Rubio on possibility of Syrian chemical attack against U.S. troops
ABC: US launches first strike against Assad; Syria decries 'dirty war'
NYT: Syria Strike Puts U.S. and Russia at Odds, Putin Calls Attack ‘Significant Blow’ to Treasongate*

*sorry, that should read, "Relationship". We regret the terror.

posted by petebest at 10:11 AM on April 7 [7 favorites]


Wait, did Trump have a translator for any of Xi's visit? Or has he just been nodding along all week?

Well, it's back to rum poured over Girl Scout cookies for breakfast again I guess.
posted by corb at 10:14 AM on April 7 [47 favorites]


I'll take my tiny victories when I can:

BREAKING: Twitter withdraws lawsuit filed on Thursday over anti-Trump account, says U.S. has withdrawn summons
posted by H. Roark at 10:15 AM on April 7 [19 favorites]


Wait, did Trump have a translator for any of Xi's visit? Or has he just been nodding along all week?

Katie Walsh was "not fired" last week for "not being ogleable" as reported.
posted by petebest at 10:15 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Someone needs to show Trump some pictures of children without health insurance, stat.

If that had a 1/1,000,000 probability of getting through to Trump, we wouldn't be where we are right now. I seriously doubt he gives much of a shit about his own kids getting sick, except to the extent that it affects him.


In support of this perspective - Trump once cut off health insurance for his own chronically-ill grandnephew simply to spite his (DJT's) older brother.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 10:16 AM on April 7 [28 favorites]


MSNBC: McCain: Trump has chance to reboot with Americans

They said the same thing about his big speech to Congress, to the point that the press actually believed it for a day or two, until Trump's basic incompetence caught up with him.

The problem with Syria / Assad is that Trump's ability to project power is limited, particularly compared to the Russians, and Assad clearly believes that it's in his interest to use everything he can, including chemical weapons, against the rebels.

So it's likely that Assad will do so again, and then Trump's Big Brave Manly Act Of Broad-Shouldered Leadership will be shown to be, per usual with Republican bravado, a lot of hot air. But Trump is constrained by having to ask permission of his handlers notify the Russians in advance, which of course tips off Syria as well. So I don't see Assad as regarding US missile strokes as impressive as many in the press seem to. Which will mean that Trump will look weak, and, well, he hates that.
posted by Gelatin at 10:17 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


To be fair, the baby wasn't him. So, yknow. Fat chance he's spending time thinking that one over.
posted by petebest at 10:17 AM on April 7


Putin Calls Attack ‘Significant Blow’ to Treasongate*

Trump Confident U.S. Military Strike On Syria Wiped Out Russian Scandal (onion).
posted by dis_integration at 10:18 AM on April 7 [38 favorites]


The follow up here will be cruicial. If there isn't any, because there is no plan, then nothing has really changed.
posted by Artw at 10:19 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


US missile strokes

Indeed.
posted by petebest at 10:19 AM on April 7 [21 favorites]


McCain: Trump has chance to reboot with Americans

McCain and Trump are both about as useful as a melanoma.
posted by darkstar at 10:20 AM on April 7 [12 favorites]


"McCain: Trump has chance to reboot with Americans"
You know what? FUCK that guy. I've had it with him. I don't give a fuck anymore that he was a hero once. Fuck him for being an apologist for this damned administration and the whole GOP leadership in Congress.
posted by StrawberryPie at 10:21 AM on April 7 [44 favorites]


McCain and Trump are both about as useful as a melanoma.

melanoma actually has a notable result.
posted by anem0ne at 10:21 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


The follow up here will be cruicial. If there isn't any, because there is no plan, then nothing has really changed.

There's not going to be a follow up.

"The implication here is that Trump has no desire to launch any more strikes unless Assad uses more chemical weapons. If Assad sticks to his normal tactics, and kills children with explosives rather than banned chemicals, then the United States will leave him alone. This attack will, it seems, be a one-off — or at least part of a relatively small battery of punitive strikes."
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:25 AM on April 7 [14 favorites]


McCain and Trump are both about as useful as a melanoma.

I suppose that explains the persistent urge to tear off my skin over the past few months.
posted by Behemoth at 10:27 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Everyone is so happy that Trump is "acting Presidential." It's just like after the State of the Union. Everyone wishes everything would just go back to normal.

But, like after the State of the Union, the feeling of normalcy will evaporate rather quickly with Trump. While a military strike may boost polls for previous embattled presidents, other presidents did not have the tendency to engage in rapid-fire idiocy like Trump does.

Things will be back to normal (i.e., Trump will be regarded as an incompetent maniac) by the beginning of next week. Unless, of course, the USA and Russia start a shooting war with each other.
posted by My Dad at 10:27 AM on April 7 [8 favorites]


Guys, I didn't seriously think Trump could be moved to action by seeing pictures of lead -poisoned children in Flint or something. I was mocking the obvious disingenuousness of his "horrified" schtick.
posted by spitbull at 10:27 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Everyone is so happy that Trump is "acting Presidential." It's just like after the State of the Union. Everyone wishes everything would just go back to normal.


Hold on. By tomorrow morning he will tweet that Assad is a poopy head.
posted by spitbull at 10:28 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


Things will be back to normal (i.e., Trump will be regarded as an incompetent maniac) by the beginning of next week.

That's a mighty long timeline for Trump. He blew the "pivot" of his Congressional speech the very next day.
posted by Gelatin at 10:29 AM on April 7 [15 favorites]


Things will be back to normal (i.e., Trump will be regarded as an incompetent maniac) by the beginning of next week.

By Saturday morning is my bet. He has quite the Saturday tweeting track record.
posted by chris24 at 10:31 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


John when are you running for office John

When I can introduce my running mate, Captain Steve Rogers

(Also city council seats are two years and I've thrown my support behind a popular progressive and I am absolutely not on any kind of long term planning working group that does not exist don't be absurd)
posted by The Whelk at 10:34 AM on April 7 [23 favorites]


Wait is SNL back this week? Hoo boy.
posted by emjaybee at 10:34 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


He will not be able to avoid preening and comparing himself favorably to cartoon Obama tomorrow. This was his "I killed Osama" moment. His own personal Vietnam, as it were, without the STD risk.
posted by spitbull at 10:36 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


Ivanka: "That means that I’ll take hits from some critics who say that I should take to the street."

Nobody is asking Ivanka to "take to the street". That is a condescending view of citizens who have no better way of expressing their disapproval in a civilized society. Ivanka, on the other hand, has the privileged ability to simply walk across the hall and apply a dope slap to the back of Trump's melon head, yet declines to do so. Please spare us the comparison to the brave people who "take to the street."

What a disgusting family.
posted by JackFlash at 10:47 AM on April 7 [80 favorites]


Ivanka: "That means that I’ll take hits from some critics who say that I should take to the street."

Nobody would protest in the streets if they had an office down the hall from the guy whose attention they're trying to get.
posted by dis_integration at 10:53 AM on April 7 [31 favorites]


From the Intercept of all places:

Top Democrats Are Wrong, Trump Supporters Were More Motivated By Racism Than Economic Issues
It isn't only Republicans, it seems, who traffic in alternative facts. Since Donald Trump’s shock election victory, leading Democrats have worked hard to convince themselves, and the rest of us, that his triumph had less to do with racism and much more to do with economic anxiety — despite almost all of the available evidence suggesting otherwise.

Consider Bernie Sanders, de facto leader of the #Resistance. “Some people think that the people who voted for Trump are racists and sexists and homophobes and deplorable folks,” he said at a rally in Boston on Friday, alongside fellow progressive senator Elizabeth Warren. “I don’t agree.” Writing in the New York Times three days after the election last November, the senator from Vermont claimed Trump voters were “expressing their fierce opposition to an economic and political system that puts wealthy and corporate interests over their own”.

Warren agrees with him. “There were millions of people across this country who voted for [Trump] not because of his bigotry, but in spite of that bigotry” because the system is “not working for them economically,” the Massachusetts senator told MSNBC last year.

Both Sanders and Warren seem much keener to lay the blame at the door of the dysfunctional Democratic Party and an ailing economy than at the feet of racist Republican voters. Their deflection isn’t surprising. Nor is their coddling of those who happily embraced an openly xenophobic candidate. Look, I get it. It’s difficult to accept that millions of your fellow citizens harbor what political scientists have identified as “racial resentment.” The reluctance to acknowledge that bigotry, and tolerance of bigotry, is still so widespread in society is understandable. From an electoral perspective too, why would senior members of the Democratic leadership want to alienate millions of voters by dismissing them as racist bigots?

Facts, however, as a rather more illustrious predecessor of President Trump once remarked, “are stubborn things.” Interestingly, on the very same day that Sanders offered his evidence-free defense of Trump voters in Boston, the latest data from the American National Election Studies (ANES) was released.

Philip Klinkner, a political scientist at Hamilton College and an expert on race relations, has pored over this ANES data and tells me that “whether it’s good politics to say so or not, the evidence from the 2016 election is very clear that attitudes about blacks, immigrants, and Muslims were a key component of Trump’s appeal.” For example, he says, “in 2016 Trump did worse than Mitt Romney among voters with low and moderate levels of racial resentment, but much better among those with high levels of resentment.”
posted by chris24 at 10:53 AM on April 7 [56 favorites]


TRUMP NEVER PIVOTS.
posted by notyou at 10:53 AM on April 7 [10 favorites]


there is a part of me that really, really hopes that someone is at this minute trying to track down a human interest story on the children who died in the chemical weapons attack - and they discover that one child was part of a refugee family that had been scheduled to fly to the US the day after the latest ban, and they had just been waiting for their new flight to be rescheduled.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:55 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


From a FB friend: Maybe this is the only room where they know how to use the lights and they were having an economics team meeting...
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:55 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


(But he does flail about, which to the untrained eye can look like a pivot.)
posted by notyou at 10:55 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


While I called Trump incompetent upthread, I'd just like to say that he's a master of controlling or diverting the media narrative. Which is what those 59 cruise missiles (a $93M PR campaign) did yesterday. Bravo.
posted by My Dad at 11:02 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


I'd just like to say that he's a master of controlling or diverting the media narrative.

It would certainly help if the media weren't so gullible/overreacting/lazy/stupid/etc. a lot of the time.
posted by Melismata at 11:04 AM on April 7 [17 favorites]


So...Gorsuch is now a Supreme Court justice.

I'm not saying the it would be good for our democracy for a future Democratic majority to expand the Supreme Court to 15 justices and immediately confirm the six most liberal 30-somethings in America, but it would be more legitimate than McConnell holding that seat open for a year, or Cruz saying he'd let the Supreme Court shuffle along with eight or fewer justices indefinitely if Clinton became president.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:05 AM on April 7 [57 favorites]


They could also impeach Gorsuch if the tide really turns -- it would open the floodgates to nakedly remaking the court each time the legislature changes hands, but so would court packing.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:09 AM on April 7 [4 favorites]


It would certainly help if the media weren't so gullible/overreacting/lazy/stupid/etc. a lot of the time.

It depends on who you follow and who you read (it's your responsibility to find media that "tells the truth"). While I am very much not left-wing, most of the journalists I follow (for US politics) on Twitter are very much sceptical of Trump and the "centrists" trying to "normalize" him.
posted by My Dad at 11:10 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


It would certainly help if the media weren't so gullible/overreacting/lazy/stupid/etc. a lot of the time.

Indeed. But again, the so-called "master" made a big speech to Congress, and yet the very next day his "presidential pivot" was ruined by a combination of his own incompetence, his own inability to control his tweet-temper, and the fact that he's up to his eyebrows in a conspiracy to cover up his campaign's colluding with the Russians to fix the election.
posted by Gelatin at 11:11 AM on April 7


I have drawn a lot of Trumps, and here they are, including ones I haven't posted here before. I am putting my pen down, because 24 Trumps are enough for this particular renderer.

Thank you to all you fine folk who do such a great job contributing with these threads.

Warning, it's a Facebook page.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 11:12 AM on April 7 [41 favorites]




This. This is what I was worried about. If Dems don't take back the congress in 2018, we can kiss Roe v. Wade goodbye, as well as any legislation that supports and protects LGBTQ folks. Once again, my rage for people who voted third party or didn't vote at all (don't even get me started on those who voted Trump) leaves me silently screaming and weeping for the generations of women who will undergo illegal and life-threatening abortions once Roe v. Wade is gone. And don't kid yourselves, people: outlawing abortion doesn't stop abortions, it just makes them dangerous.
posted by cooker girl at 11:15 AM on April 7 [69 favorites]


It would certainly help if the media weren't so gullible/overreacting/lazy/stupid/etc. a lot of the time.

For example (to continue with my earlier comment), everyone on both sides of the aisle (as well as the little green frogs quipping from the sewer pipes below the aisle itself) complains about the New York Times, but Maggie Haberman is doing some great, insightful reporting on the White House from there. As does Abby Phillip at the Washington Post. And there are many others.

I personally am quite sick of pundits and columnists like Krugman or Brooks setting the agenda.
posted by My Dad at 11:17 AM on April 7


I personally am quite sick of pundits and columnists like Krugman or Brooks setting the agenda.

Brooks is as dishonest as the day is long, but Krugman has been uttering the Cassandra truth of Republican dishonesty since the George W. Bush administration, and while few journalists or pundits would be willing to admit it, I am pretty sure the bloom wouldn't be coming off Paul Ryan's rose without Krugman's work preceding it.
posted by Gelatin at 11:22 AM on April 7 [30 favorites]


Like, seriously, I was doing relatively okay there for a while. But the Syria situation and now Gorsuch. I'm just gutted. Trying to hold it together at work is a monumental feat.

I'm not giving up, underneath it all I'm still optimistic, but the Supreme Court. I just can't even right now.
posted by cooker girl at 11:24 AM on April 7 [23 favorites]




what is driving me nuts at the moment is the stampede of lawmakers rushing to support trump on syria, because obviously bombing that airfield was a serious decision and indicates that the administration has formulated a coherent plan for syria.

i'm like, no, for you it would be a serious decision backed up by a set of contingency plans, for trump it was a momentary twitch in his basal ganglia before sitting down to dinner.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:37 AM on April 7 [52 favorites]


homunculus: Did the President Incite a Riot? A new case filed by anti-Trump protesters will test the limits of free speech—and the responsibility Trump bears for his own statements.
I’ve had to look long and hard to find examples of presidential candidates who feared legal trouble because of speeches they made.

So far the list is Thomas Jefferson, Eugene V. Debs, and Donald J. Trump. Of these three, only one—the current president—might actually be held legally responsible for incitement to violence.

Trump may in fact have violated the law even after a century of First Amendment evolution designed to protect political speakers and their speech.
...
Now to the present: here are the words that have gotten our current leader in trouble: “Get ‘em out of here!”

Trump uttered this deathless phrase from a speaker’s platform in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 1, 2016, during one of his mass rallies. Members of the crowd began shoving and hitting a group of protesters. He also said, “Don’t hurt ‘em. If I say ‘go get ‘em,’ I get in trouble with the press.”

The protesters filed suit against Trump, the Trump campaign, and the alleged assailants in federal district court in Kentucky. The lawsuit seeks money damages; among other things, they claim Trump’s speech was “incitement to riot.”

On Friday, Judge David J. Hale ruled that they had made out a genuine claim against the President.

To be clear: Judge Hale did not decide that Trump actually “incited” a riot. But he did rule that, if the protesters’ version of the facts is proved at trial, candidate Trump did just that.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:39 AM on April 7 [13 favorites]


Trump has begun his notch count in earnest. He ranks world leaders and historical characters by the number of deaths they have caused. The lure of nuclear weapons is inescapable if you are serious about making your place in history. I give him a year before he orders a few up.
posted by bigbigdog at 11:41 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Of Course there’s Evidence Trump Colluded with Russian Intelligence
Collusion here is not a legal term. For legal purposes, it matters if Trump or his people conspired with Russian agents to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act or some other criminal law; it matters if they acted as agents of a foreign power within the meaning of FISA or as agents of a foreign principal within the meaning of FARA.

When people say there is no evidence of collusion, they mean, we suppose, that there is no evidence of covert or illegal collaboration with the criminal activity undertaken in the course of this foreign intelligence operation against the United States.

But that is rather a different matter than acquitting Trump and his campaign of collusion. It ignores, after all, the overt and perfectly legal collaboration they plainly engaged in with what they knew to be an ongoing foreign intelligence operation against their country. We don’t need an investigation to show that this overt collusion took place, for the Trumpists were caught in flagrante delicto throughout the entire campaign; indeed, caught is even the wrong word here. The collusion was an open and public feature of the campaign.

posted by T.D. Strange at 11:43 AM on April 7 [34 favorites]


Not only are we keeping the Union together, I would really like to see it as a Democratic Party priority to bring in Washington DC, Peurto Rico, the Western Pacific Territories and the Virgin Islands as states, each with Reps and Sens. If Wyoming and Alaska get to be states, these places have the population to pull it off as well.

The Republicans want to play games to keep a permanent stranglehold on Federal power? Let's play some games.

Also on the table - increasing the number of Representatives to reflect on the population growth of the USA. Let's rip some undeserved power from the little red parasite states and give it back to the prosperous urbanized ones.

Destroy gerrymandering, or at the very least, undermine it at every opportunity - this needs to be a priority at the municipal, state and federal level. This means Democrats need to stop gerrymandering for their own benefit as well.

We need to take the fight to these fuckers, and take it to them hard. I want them reeling for a decade or two, or destroyed outright, the next time we even get a whiff of power.


Yep. All this shit goes on the table once you steal a Supreme Court seat. If you can unfuck gerrymandering, all sorts of stuff starts sorting itself out. Then you put in an independent federal redistricting commission that can't be easily removed, and tie federal dollars to adherence with the lines that it draws. There's probably some significant Federalism issues with that proposal, but fuck it.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:46 AM on April 7 [32 favorites]


Well, it's back to rum poured over Girl Scout cookies for breakfast again I guess.

corb, I know you run against the political grain here, and I know you and I specifically have been at loggerheads a few times. But while we disagree, I know that you are an honorable and decent opponent to have. And it's in that light that really, sincerely, implore you not to do this thing.

Please do not insult Girl Scout cookies like this.

If you must have a rum-soaked breakfast, and while that's not my thing I'll not judge, I beg you to limit your cereal-oid selection to products that deserve to be soaked in rum, such as store-brand Fake Lucky Charms.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:46 AM on April 7 [33 favorites]


it would open the floodgates to nakedly remaking the court each time the legislature changes hands, but so would court packing.

At least the fact of the court as a political institution would be clear, instead of the current false idea of the Court as somehow objective and non-partisan.

At this point I'd much rather elect SCOTUS judges to 10 year terms. There's no longer any defense of lifetime appointments.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:48 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


Or just go purist and have rum-covered rum.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:48 AM on April 7 [26 favorites]


Seems like the EPA is pretending that Energy Star is still a thing, which is either refreshing, or sad for everyone. EPA Honors 18 Organizations from 2017 ENERGY STAR® Partners of the Year for Achievements in Energy Efficiency (April 6, 2017 press release)
posted by filthy light thief at 11:49 AM on April 7 [4 favorites]


If Dems don't take back the congress in 2018, we can kiss Roe v. Wade goodbye, as well as any legislation that supports and protects LGBTQ folks.

They would serious fuck themselves if they overturned Roe. Not only would they lose a great fundraising source, they'd piss off 7/10ths of voters.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:49 AM on April 7 [4 favorites]




The Morning After President* Trump's First Attempt at War: Dispatches from D.C., where the war is made but rarely has any impact at all.
And, in the aftermath, we have begun to hear again that the president* was moved to being presidential again, the way he was when he read a speech to Congress without spraining his tongue. He was "decisive." His tone had "changed." There is such a great desire to validate this guy in the office that is supposed to validate him simply by the fact that he holds it that a lot of the people commenting on the actions taken Thursday night simply forgot that it probably was nakedly illegal. However, Senator Tim Kaine, who's been trying to beat a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force out of Congress for four years, remained on the case.

This, of course, will mean nothing to anybody. The drums are already beating. John McCain was on the electric teevee machine on Thursday proposing that we not only overthrow Bashar al Assad and his regime, but rebuild Syria. He used as his example how we rebuilt Europe after World War II. This is, of course, crazy. Nobody in the region would stand for that, not after our bungled monstrosity in Iraq. Constitutional niceties in this regard went out the window decades ago.
posted by homunculus at 11:51 AM on April 7 [13 favorites]


US job creation tumbles in March despite Donald Trump's promises to boost employment

Think of all the tourism dollars he's already destroyed; incompetent fuckstick is incompetent.

In other news, water wet.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:51 AM on April 7 [11 favorites]


> Yep. All this shit goes on the table once you steal a Supreme Court seat. If you can unfuck gerrymandering, all sorts of stuff starts sorting itself out. Then you put in an independent federal redistricting commission that can't be easily removed, and tie federal dollars to adherence with the lines that it draws. There's probably some significant Federalism issues with that proposal, but fuck it.

sounds good. btw what group has final say on the constitutionality of these measures?
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:53 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


US air strikes in Syria: Russia suspends agreement preventing direct conflict with American forces

Russian Foreign Ministry says Moscow is suspending memorandum with US that prevented incidents and ensured flight safety in Syria in response to Trump-ordered air strikes

Just peachy! Winning!
posted by futz at 11:53 AM on April 7 [13 favorites]


I mean it really depends on what kind of rum we are talking about, doesn't it.

Also you can get Girl Scout cookie flavored cereal, so that might make it easier.

Anyhoo, we have already talked about the unlikelihood of froth-mouthed crazies who dream of restricting birth control being logical about Roe. They're gonna try to get rid of it. The measured thinkers are not in charge, and when they try to be, get primaried. Republicans have committed to the crazy.

When it comes to abortion and other reproductive rights, our only option remains to resist and to never stop fighting. We may be able to preserve Roe and we might not.

If we lose, I think this time, honestly, we shouldn't just fight to get Roe back. I think we shouldn't stop until we get the ERA passed. I think our mistake last time was in stopping short of that. We need rights that can't be so easily nit-picked away by state governments, based not just on "privacy" but on something stronger.
posted by emjaybee at 11:55 AM on April 7 [26 favorites]


sounds good. btw what group has final say on the constitutionality of these measures?

1. Retake Congress
2. Impeach Treasonous fuckstick and vice-fuckstick
3. Swear in President Pelosi
4. Add 4 democratic states to the union
5. Impeach Gorsuch
posted by leotrotsky at 11:57 AM on April 7 [11 favorites]


futz: US job creation tumbles in March despite Donald Trump's promises to boost employment

He can't claim January and February gains, just as he'd be hard-pressed to get credited for the March numbers:
Economists had reportedly expected a fall in hiring in March after job gains in January and February had averaged a robust 237,000. Those increases had been fuelled partly by strong hiring in construction, which occurred because of unseasonably warm winter weather.

The Associated Press said construction firms added 6,000 jobs in March, the fewest in seven months. Retailers, fighting off the challenge of online shopping, cut 30,000 jobs. Education and health care services added the fewest jobs in 15 months.
And March's low numbers were due in part to worse than normal weather. But there's more
“The March non-farm payrolls number was a phenomenal miss and will add to market uncertainty following the Syria missile strikes,” says Marcus Bullus, trading director at MB Capital. “Very few traders saw this one coming”.

Consumer and business sentiment has soared since the November presidential election, but the increased optimism has not yet accelerated growth, said the AP.
I'm confused on the Syrian comment, to be honest, but I'm happy they stated that strong stocks don't mean more jobs or even increased investments by companies.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:58 AM on April 7


Impeach Gorsuch

For what? Plaigirism?
posted by thelonius at 11:58 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


1. Retake Congress
2. Impeach Treasonous fuckstick and vice-fuckstick
3. Swear in President Pelosi
4. Add 4 democratic states to the union
5. Impeach Gorsuch


easy peasy
posted by Existential Dread at 11:59 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


Impeach Gorsuch

For what? Plagirism?


I mean, being nominated by a President who stole the election via treason would seem to be sufficient.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:01 PM on April 7 [19 favorites]


Peach season is in August.
posted by Namlit at 12:01 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


They would serious fuck themselves if they overturned Roe. Not only would they lose a great fundraising source, they'd piss off 7/10ths of voters.

Luckily the voters have no recourse against the Supreme Court.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:01 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]




easy peasy

How do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time.

Though, honestly the real issue would be the 2/3rds requirement in the Senate. That ain't ever gonna happen for Gorsuch.

Enlarging the court by two seats would be much easier (assuming you control both houses of Congress, blow up the legislative filibuster, and have executive branch). The Republicans will wail and moan. Ignore them completely. It's worked for them so far.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:01 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


For what? Plaigirism?

For being appointed in an illegitimate manner (with McConnell having stolen Obama's pick) by an illegitimate president (whose campaign colluded with the Russians to steal the election) using an illegitimate process (nuking the filibuster).

And if Democrats get the votes to do it, they should. McConnell's stealing the pick must be punished.

That said, consider that all the things the Republicans are doing -- and the extent that it seems they're pissing even normally feckless Democratic politicians off -- are going to make it a lot easier to pass the Democratic agenda in 2020, and better yet, it is actually popular.
posted by Gelatin at 12:02 PM on April 7 [9 favorites]


Wait is SNL back this week? Hoo boy.

Louis C.K. is hosting. Couple of days ago he was on Colbert and talked about Trump:
“Like, there’s liars. Then, there’s somebody who lies once in a while. They can’t quite stay inside the boundaries of truth, right? Somebody who lies sometimes. Then, you have a liar. It’s almost like a problem. They can’t help it. They lie a lot. Then, you have just lying sacks of shit. They just lie. They like it. He likes it. He goes, ‘Heh-heh, it wasn’t even true! And then, I said they were liars.’ It’s just gross. He’s just a gross crook, dirty, rotten, lying sack of shit.”
Trump may order a Tomahawk strike against midtown Manhattan after the show airs.
posted by zarq at 12:02 PM on April 7 [18 favorites]


In fucking credible:

@AFP: #BREAKING Jets carry out strikes from Syria base hit by US: monitor

Great job, everyone.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:02 PM on April 7 [52 favorites]


UNBELIEVABLE

Fox Uses Trump Access Hollywood Tape In Workplace Harassment Seminars

An anonymous employee who attended one of the workshops Tuesday on Fox’s studio lot in Los Angeles told The Hollywood Reporter, which broke this story, that gasps were heard around the room when the clip was aired.

"They went through the scenario of the tape, why it was harassment and why it's something you should report," the employee said, according to the report. "There was an audible gasp in the room, like, 'Can you believe this is happening?'"

posted by futz at 12:03 PM on April 7 [49 favorites]


This is real, apparently

Too small to read. What does it say?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:03 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Nevermind, @SovietSergey isn't a real account of anyone.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:04 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Anyhoo, we have already talked about the unlikelihood of froth-mouthed crazies who dream of restricting birth control being logical about Roe. They're gonna try to get rid of it. The measured thinkers are not in charge, and when they try to be, get primaried. Republicans have committed to the crazy.

Yeah, the problem with the strategy of using Roe to gin up the base forever, while never actually getting rid of it, is that a lot of people who weren't in on the grift got so worked up that they ran for office and won, because they were (naturally) more committed to the culture war than career politicians who only cared about abortion, etc, as a wedge issue. It's as if a team of conmen set up a pyramid scheme, and it worked out really well for them, but after they took their money out and retired the pyramid kept running, given over to the top layer of marks who still don't realize that pyramid schemes are a grift. So they're not going to do anything to contain the fallout from the con falling apart, because as far as they're concerned they really did find a foolproof way for anybody to get rich quick, and anyone who says otherwise is an anti-American traitor.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:05 PM on April 7 [21 favorites]


This is real, apparently

The mods have commented on "mystery meat" links. Could you add some more context?
posted by futz at 12:06 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


> In fucking credible:
@AFP: #BREAKING Jets carry out strikes from Syria base hit by US: monitor
Great job, everyone.

Isn't that rubbing our nose in it a bit too hard? Come on, 2017 scriptwriters. At least make an effort!
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:06 PM on April 7 [7 favorites]


@AFP: #BREAKING Jets carry out strikes from Syria base hit by US: monitor

I cannot fucking wait to see that asshole blame the generals again. I'm not being sarcastic, either. The last few Trumpists who are still talking to me are Army buddies, and the only thing they've grumbled about was when he passed the buck down to the Pentagon the last time.
posted by Etrigan at 12:07 PM on April 7 [10 favorites]


fuckstick

Since this is about the worst insult for a person in the English language, it should be interesting to watch people here and elsewhere come up with nastier ones. Get ready for more dictionary entries!
posted by Melismata at 12:08 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Could you add some more context?

It's Sean Hannity being a credulous boob. So, situation normal.
posted by rewil at 12:09 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


The mods have commented on "mystery meat" links. Could you add some more context?

Sean Hannity is screaming about being in the dark about whether or not he was under surveillance. Can't someone tell him, please?

A Twitter account posing as the Russian foreign minister says, "I can tell you, DM me"

Hannity DM's the Twitter account, gets owned.

Twitter account posts a screenshot of the message.

THE END.

Clearly I spend too much time following US politics on Twitter
posted by My Dad at 12:12 PM on April 7 [11 favorites]


thelonius For what? Plaigirism?

When then Rep. Gerald Ford was attempting, repeatedly, to impeach Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, basically on the grounds that he didn't like the guy, he said this: "An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history"

They set the standard, I'm just following it.

But, less nastily, I think being appointed to a stolen seat by a traitor probably counts as a good reason for impeaching someone.
posted by sotonohito at 12:15 PM on April 7 [27 favorites]


So wait; if you impeach a SC judge after they've made rulings, on the basis that they were appointed illegitimately, then shouldn't all those rulings be scrapped?

Yeah ok I'm on board.
posted by emjaybee at 12:17 PM on April 7 [6 favorites]


So, in KS-04, not only has the NRCC bought a bunch of ad time, they're doing robocalls with Pence, and Cruz is flying in Monday. Dem share of the early vote is double normal at this point.

This district went for Trump by something like 25 points.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:25 PM on April 7 [18 favorites]


> 1. Retake Congress
2. Impeach Treasonous fuckstick and vice-fuckstick
3. Swear in President Pelosi
4. Add 4 democratic states to the union
5. Impeach Gorsuch


6. establish democratically elected workers' councils
7. seize all workplaces in the name of those councils
8. establish military revolutionary committees to train a new red army
9. smash the bourgeois state and transfer all power to the councils
10. arise ye workers from your slumber

(at some point this became fantasy. I say it's at item 4 at the latest. I hope item 1 at least is possible.)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:25 PM on April 7 [23 favorites]


US probing: Did Russia take part in chem weapons attack?

On Friday, senior U.S. military officials said a drone belonging to either Russia or Syria was seen hovering over the site of the chemical weapons attack after the assault earlier this week. Russia is one of Syria's most important patrons and has long resisted U.S. efforts to push President Bashar Assad from power.
posted by futz at 12:27 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Maybe California loses that fight badly and secession doesn't happen. But I want to make that fight.

So why talk about it now? Because the idea has to exist at the time that action is required; we can't come up with this shit on the fly.


kinda wishing we hadnt banned assault rifles and large mags atm tbqh
posted by entropicamericana at 12:27 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Trump’s Policy May Send Reporter Back to Mexico, Where He Risks Being Killed
Pineda underwent a “credible fear” interview with Citizenship and Immigration Services who deemed his life would be in danger if he returned to Mexico, according to Pineda’s attorney, Carlos Spector.
Yet ICE denied Pineda parole, and instead of asylum he now waits for a court hearing where deportation proceedings will begin, Spector said.
An ICE official said the decision to deny Pineda parole was made “upstairs,” according to Spector, who took it as a code for officials in Washington.


Is Sessions intervening personally to deport journalists?
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:27 PM on April 7 [17 favorites]


> kinda wishing we hadnt banned assault rifles and large mags atm tbqh

aren't assault rifle bans mostly about cosmetic features anyway?
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:30 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Justice Samuel Chase was impeached (but not removed) in 1805 for "tending to prostitute the high judicial character with which he was invested, to the low purpose of an electioneering partizan [sic]."

The most recent impeachment of a federal judge was in 2010 - Thomas Porteous, a district court judge, for corruption and bribery.
posted by melissasaurus at 12:31 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


Real Time line up for tonight includes Ted Lieu, Evan McMullin, and Ana Navarro. Might be worth watching for a change.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:31 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


Is anybody making edits of Real Time to surgically remove Maher, like Jar-Jar from the fan cuts of Phantom Menace?
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:34 PM on April 7 [34 favorites]


Calexit doesn't make sense because California is not self-reliant, particularly as relates to water supply. You're gonna need friends that can ensure that Arizona/Nevada etc don't just take California's share of Colorado River water, or build up a bunch of desal plants super quick. And you're going to have to be ready to deal with an unstable nuclear power next door.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:34 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


When then Rep. Gerald Ford was attempting, repeatedly, to impeach Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, basically on the grounds that he didn't like the guy, he said this: "An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history"

holy crap, I never heard about that
posted by thelonius at 12:36 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


do not, my friends, become addicted to water
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:39 PM on April 7 [25 favorites]


What famous celebrity woman will be playing Justice Gorsuch on SNL tomorrow night?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:42 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]




fuckstick

Since this is about the worst insult for a person in the English language,


It is? Are you guys even trying?
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:44 PM on April 7 [18 favorites]


What famous celebrity woman will be playing Justice Gorsuch on SNL tomorrow night?

i vote jane lynch
posted by murphy slaw at 12:44 PM on April 7 [17 favorites]


All the stories so far are relying on the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Have not seen independent corroboration yet, though a number of agencies are running with it.
posted by scalefree at 12:45 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


aren't assault rifle bans mostly about cosmetic features anyway?

Yes. Mostly.
posted by valkane at 12:48 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Melismata: Since this is about the worst insult for a person in the English language, it should be interesting to watch people here and elsewhere come up with nastier ones.

Scotland! The worlds calls upon your for aid again!
posted by wenestvedt at 12:49 PM on April 7 [42 favorites]


look, there's way worse things you could call someone than "fuckstick.". Like, you could call them a total gorsuch. or a complete ivanka. or just a piece of donald.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:50 PM on April 7 [32 favorites]


Are we talking about "fuckstick," or "Fuckface von Clownstick"?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:52 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


New York State Becomes First in the Nation to Provide Lawyers for All Immigrants Detained and Facing Deportation : New York, NY – The Vera Institute of Justice and partner organizations today announced that detained New Yorkers in all upstate immigration courts will now be eligible to receive legal counsel during deportation proceedings. The 2018 New York State budget included a grant of $4 million to significantly expand the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP), a groundbreaking public defense program for immigrants facing deportation that was launched in New York City in 2013.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:00 PM on April 7 [53 favorites]


I don't know, a fuckstick sounds like it might be fun. I'm going with a pustulent boil or fecal-smeared hemorrhoid.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:04 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


Various mass shooters being interrupted whilst reloading speaks to magazine sizes very much not being cosmetic.
posted by Artw at 1:06 PM on April 7 [9 favorites]


What famous celebrity woman will be playing Justice Gorsuch on SNL tomorrow night?

i vote jane lynch


I was going to say whoever the gender-swapped version of Tom Bergeron is, but now I see that we arrived at the same answer.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:07 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


What famous celebrity woman will be playing Justice Gorsuch on SNL tomorrow night?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 14:42 on April 7 [+] [!]


Jamie Lee Curtis
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:09 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


I'd be OK with the press referring to him from now on as Justice Neil Asterisk.
posted by Killick at 1:09 PM on April 7 [18 favorites]


aren't assault rifle bans mostly about cosmetic features anyway?

Mostly, and virtually everything banned can be trivially added aftermarket. AR-15s are the gaming PCs of guns. Plus, Polish resistance fighters knocked these up in their basements - very few parts, not that hard to make with a shop lathe and a few basic metalworking tools.

Realistically, though, there's no difference between an armed American uprising and the post-invasion Iraqi resistance. The anguish and death would fall equally heavily on the civilian populace, and the end result would be equally ineffective. Bigger country, more people, sure - but we're far softer and less willing to accept the consequences and there'd be no language barrier hampering the jackboots.

I'm as pro-Second Amendment as it gets while still being American far Left/Socialist, and we should definitely put that whole train of thought back in the box - it does not end well for our side.
posted by Ryvar at 1:12 PM on April 7 [9 favorites]


New York State Becomes First in the Nation to Provide Lawyers for All Immigrants Detained and Facing Deportation

Good.

In addition, the NYC Department of Education issued a Letter from the Chancellor in January, and then updated it with a Letter to Parents last month. The January letter began:
"The New York City Department of Education (DOE) and the Mayor’s Office are committed to protecting the right of every student in New York City to attend public school, regardless of immigration status. We take pride in our diversity. Immigrant parents, students, principals, teachers and other staff are a part of what makes our schools, and New York City, the amazing, strong, vibrant places they are. Whether you or your family arrived 100 years or 100 days ago —you are New Yorkers— and we stand with you."
Taken together, they note:
* Federal agents, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will not be permitted to enter schools, except when absolutely required by law.
* The DOE does not request information about students’ immigration status (or that of their families') and DOE staff will not release student information unless absolutely required to by law.
* DOE and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) are expanding Know Your Rights workshops for students, parents and community members.
* DOE is also providing schools with additional curriculum resources and social-emotional supports.
* Anyone seeking immigration legal services will be referred to ActionNYC. a program that offers free, safe immigration legal help.

posted by zarq at 1:14 PM on April 7 [15 favorites]


Quoting InfoWars without visiting that cesspool: Donald Trump's biggest fans desert him over Syria air strikes (The Independent, April 7, 2017)
“I guess Trump wasn’t ‘Putin’s puppet’ after all, he was just another deep state/Neo-Con puppet,” wrote Paul Joseph Watson, a British vlogger who works at Alex Jones’s Infowars website. “I’m officially OFF the Trump train.”

Mr Watson said that he would instead divert his attention to Marine Le Pen, the French far-right politician who he said “tried to warn Trump against this disaster”. He then sent another tweet directly to Mr Trump that read: “Americans didn’t vote for you to intensify Hillary’s disastrous foreign policy” and included a link to one of Ms Clinton’s speeches.
From the headline, I was expecting screenshots of tweets. I'm not sure if this is better or worse.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:15 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


It's as if a team of conmen set up a pyramid scheme, and it worked out really well for them, but after they took their money out and retired the pyramid kept running, given over to the top layer of marks who still don't realize that pyramid schemes are a grift. So they're not going to do anything to contain the fallout from the con falling apart, because as far as they're concerned they really did find a foolproof way for anybody to get rich quick, and anyone who says otherwise is an anti-American traitor.

See also Project Mayhem. These guys are the Space Monkeys who actually overthrew civilization while Edward Norton was still working out his dumb masculine insecurities.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:17 PM on April 7 [7 favorites]


Also from The Independent earlier today: Russia says US air strikes in Syria came 'within an inch' of military clash with their forces
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said the US air strike on a Syrian air base came “within an inch” of militarily clashing with their forces.

He said the action taken by the Americans was in breach of international law and their own internal procedures, and accused Washington of “barely avoiding combat clashes with Russia”.
I'm not a puppet, you are! You are the puppet!

(Barely missed still counts as a miss, so this also feels like posturing all around)
posted by filthy light thief at 1:18 PM on April 7 [8 favorites]


My biggest fear here is that Trump gets the message from this crap that if he bombs people he (mostly) stops getting beat up in the press for a week and (many) people start saying things about supporting the President for a while. So he decides he really kind of likes the feeling and we gotta find somewhere else to bomb.
posted by Justinian at 1:19 PM on April 7 [16 favorites]


Is Vince McMahon within the Russiamericanosphere?
posted by Yowser at 1:24 PM on April 7


Russia to close down Syria communications line with Pentagon: Interfax

Russia's Defence Ministry notified the Pentagon it would close down at 2100 GMT the communications line used to avoid accidental clashes in Syria, Interfax new agency said, citing the ministry spokesman.
posted by futz at 1:28 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


My biggest fear here is that Trump gets the message from this crap that if he bombs people he (mostly) stops getting beat up in the press for a week and (many) people start saying things about supporting the President for a while.

The worst of it is, the message is true.
posted by Coventry at 1:28 PM on April 7 [7 favorites]


You've got to love the juxtaposition of those two stories: Russia says we came within an inch of hitting them, so therefore they're shutting down the hotline we use to coordinate these things so we don't hit them. It's total posturing, and incredibly dangerous posturing at that.
posted by zachlipton at 1:30 PM on April 7 [23 favorites]


Is Vince McMahon within the Russiamericanosphere?

Do his longstanding ties with Boris Zhukov and Nikolai Volkoff count?
posted by peeedro at 1:33 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


I guess the hotline is superfluous given the open communication between the Trump administration and Putin. Easy enough to shut it down and make it look like the Russians take offense.
posted by gladly at 1:34 PM on April 7 [8 favorites]


The new hotline is Boris the Waiter who works in Mar-a-Lago. He always brings Trump his well-done steaks super-quick.
posted by emjaybee at 1:38 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Oops.

WaPo: Sean Spicer’s completely avoidable mistake at Friday’s briefing
The White House staff let broadcast cameras set up in a makeshift briefing room at President Trump's Florida estate on Friday, expecting a briefing to start soon. And, as they do most weekdays, television networks teased the upcoming briefing, with on-screen text graphics or small video boxes showing the empty lectern ahead of Spicer's arrival.

But almost as soon as he arrived at the lectern, Spicer demanded the cameras be turned off.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:41 PM on April 7 [11 favorites]


Scotland! The worlds calls upon your for aid again!

EXT. ST. ANDREWS HOUSE COURTYARD - DAWN

. . . a GREAT BEACON FIRE is IGNITED. A BELL TOLLS urgently!

CLOSE ON: John Swinney looks tensely out across the mountains, then runs indoors.

INT. ST. ANDREWS HOUSE - DAWN. John Swinney bursts in.


JOHN SWINNEY
The beacons of Twitter! The beacons are lit! Trumpland calls for aid!

NICOLA STURGEON looks up startled. Derek McKay and Shona Robinson look on ... tension builds.

CLOSE ON: NICOLA STURGEON, head lowered . . . Slowly it rises - she looks JOHN SWINNEY in the EYE.


NICOLA STURGEON
Then Scotland will answer. Muster the Caldonians!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:48 PM on April 7 [17 favorites]


Spicey really doesn't like being made fun of by satirists does he? Maybe that Daily Show sketch really got to him and he's just "fuck cameras, fuck exploitable footage" now.
posted by Talez at 1:48 PM on April 7


Is any outlet /besides/ Fox News reporting that a Russian ship is on an interception course with ours? I want to know how much liquor to put on this ice cream.
posted by corb at 1:57 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


NBC News: Trump’s Options for North Korea Include Placing Nukes in South Korea
The National Security Council has presented President Trump with options to respond to North Korea's nuclear program — including putting American nukes in South Korea or killing dictator Kim Jong-un, multiple top-ranking intelligence and military officials told NBC News.

Both scenarios are part of an accelerated review of North Korea policy prepared in advance of President Donald Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week.

The White House hopes the Chinese will do more to influence Pyongyang through diplomacy and enhanced sanctions. But if that fails, and North Korea continues its development of nuclear weapons, there are other options on the table that would significantly alter U.S. policy.
...
The first and most controversial course of action under consideration is placing U.S. nuclear weapons in South Korea. The U.S. withdrew all nuclear weapons from South Korea 25 years ago. Bringing back bombs — likely to Osan Air Base, less than 50 miles south of the capital of Seoul — would mark the first overseas nuclear deployment since the end of the Cold War, an unquestionably provocative move.
...
Another option is to target and kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and other senior leaders in charge of the country's missiles and nuclear weapons and decision-making. Acopting such an objective has huge downsides, said Lippert, who also served as an assistant defense secretary under President Barack Obama.

"Discussions of regime change and decapitation...tend to cause the Chinese great pause of concern and tends to have them move in the opposite direction we would like them to move in terms of pressure," he said.

Stavridis, a former NATO commander, said that "decapitation is always a tempting strategy when you're faced with a highly unpredictable and highly dangerous leader."

"The question you have to ask yourself," he said, "is what happens the the day after you decapitate? I think that in North Korea, it's an enormous unknown."

A third option is covert action, infiltrating U.S. and South Korean special forces into North Korea to sabotage or take out key infrastructure — for instance, blowing up bridges to block the movement of mobile missiles. The CIA, which would oversee such operations, told NBC News it could offer "no guidance" on this option. But Stavridis said that he felt it was the "best strategy" should the U.S. be forced to take military action. He described such action as: "some combination of special forces with South Korea and cyber."
posted by cjelli at 1:58 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


Since this is about the worst insult for a person in the English language, it should be interesting to watch people here and elsewhere come up with nastier ones.

This right here is pretty much why God created Scotland.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:58 PM on April 7 [12 favorites]


My biggest fear here is that Trump gets the message from this crap that if he bombs people he (mostly) stops getting beat up in the press for a week and (many) people start saying things about supporting the President for a while. So he decides he really kind of likes the feeling and we gotta find somewhere else to bomb.

This is the thing I find most baffling about the rush of people on both sides of the aisle to say stuff like, "Say what you will about Trump, this was Presidential. He took a serious approach to a complicated problem." Yes, the Syrian Civil War is complicated, and that's why the last person on Earth I would want to try to solve it is someone who doesn't care, doesn't understand anything, and is just randomly lurching from position to position on it with no regard for the consequences. The quickest way to ensure that things in Syria get even worse is to have an idiot with control of the US military bumbling around indiscriminately in search of endorphin hits.

And part of me suspects that too many of the people who want to talk about how Good and Presidential he's acting by ordering bombings and special forces raids (as if he somehow suddenly understands the gravity of his actions now for the first time in his entire life) either don't actually care about the lives of anyone who stands to suffer and die because Trump wanted some flattering press or actually kind of want to keep expanding the eternal nightmare war for their own reasons.
posted by Copronymus at 2:00 PM on April 7 [45 favorites]


Stavridis, a former NATO commander, said that "decapitation is always a tempting strategy when you're faced with a highly unpredictable and highly dangerous leader."

"The question you have to ask yourself," he said, "is what happens the the day after you decapitate?


I believe the Constitution indicates that Mike Pence becomes President, although if we're talking a full French Revolution scenario it's hard to say, exactly.
posted by Copronymus at 2:03 PM on April 7 [24 favorites]




New York State Becomes First in the Nation to Provide Lawyers for All Immigrants Detained and Facing Deportation

So I bounced around a lot as a wee tot, like ya do in a military family, but until 2007 I'd spent my life as a reasonably sentient being in Florida, Virginia, NC, and Texas. Then we moved to New York... and not even full-on no-shit NY, just Buffalo, which is like NY and Ohio had a baby.

But I will tell you it was like breathing free air for the first time. The differences in basic cultural assumptions were shocking, and things that were almost universal Down South, like being prayed at at your public high school graduation, were so unknown that people looked at me like I was crazy. And even the conservatives tended to be reasonably thoughtful Catholics instead of vicious everything-hating notional baptists.

And then it was nine years later and there was this ad on the tv about how NY law guarantees that pretty much every adult woman gets a free mammogram one way or another and call this number to find out how and remember, even if you don't have any insurance there are programs for you. And I was blown away again; the idea that such a thing would ever exist in NC or FL, much less Texas...

And now this. Holy fuck do I love yankeeland.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:09 PM on April 7 [50 favorites]


McConnell's stealing the pick must be punished.

The hundred+ lifetime federal picks, yes. Forcibly obstructing eight years of progress in bad faith and likely illegally. The 2008 financial crisis. Iraq II. Pissing on everyone after 9/11, ooh the omnipresent, ubiquitous surveillance state. Ken Starr. Newt, of course. Poppy's Iraq. And Panama (Poppy's, not David Lee's). Trickle-down steal from the poor - actually can somebody order pizza? This might take awhile.
posted by petebest at 2:15 PM on April 7 [10 favorites]


Seems like the EPA is pretending that Energy Star is still a thing, which is either refreshing, or sad for everyone.

Yeah, the ENERGY STAR awards are something I keep pointing out to folks at my company; since they've repeatedly honored us (and we're on this year's list for Sustained Excellence in Program Delivery which is great, even though it's just the electric programs and any ol' dope can save a kWh) it seems at least to me like we shouldn't stand around quietly while they go away. But we did at least send letters on behalf of LIHEAP and WAP to our various federal representatives so there's that.

But more excitingly and what gives me a glimmer of joy on this otherwise gloomy day, is that on perusing this year's list of ENERGY STAR partners, I see Big Ass Solutions receiving an Excellence Award for Product Design! This is wonderful! I've issued several rebates for their products (you can see Big Ass Fans in action at the Ikea in Bloomington, MN!) and while it's been a few years they will always have a soft spot in my heart. I mean, they're just great big de-stratification fans (though apparently really high quality ones), but as a company I will always love them for giving me a legitimate business reason to visit www.bigass.com from my work computer.

Big Ass Solutions' official website is here (SFW); they apparently no longer own that other domain. I didn't make it a link for a reason; I will not be held responsible for URLs you type into your own damn browser.
posted by nickmark at 2:15 PM on April 7 [8 favorites]


And now this. Holy fuck do I love yankeeland.

What's quite painful is to see how the Upper Midwest, which was (in post-indigenous times of course) settled by Yankees moving west and then by waves of European immigrants, often fleeing oppression and black internally-displaced persons from the South) has moved from that kind of sane, reasonable and at least nominally compassionate governance into this Trumpist idiot-fascism. I mean, Michigan. Wisconsin, Iowa. Never particularly on the bleeding edge of culture mind you, but at one time we were a good-hearted people who left our (metaphorical and often physical) doors unlocked.

Ugh. It's so depressing.
posted by tivalasvegas at 2:16 PM on April 7 [17 favorites]


What a night! And day! There are again so many details here that each in themselves would be major national and international incidents, and yet the media have again lost their minds and are now again imagining the unicorn is here: The Trump Pivot.

A slow start: Trump is enriching himself by hosting a state dinner at his private club. He is also doing this on the cheap, serving third class food and wine, thus adding to his gain from the transaction even on the microlevel. I mean, the boarding and security costs must be ten times the cost of providing a decent dinner. A side issue to this is that the institution of the White House actually helps every rooky president hosting guests by offering traditions of decorum and protocol that are seen by all involved as the baseline of hospitality and diplomacy.

Then, in the middle of dinner with the president of one of the most powerful nations on earth, Trump launches an illegal missile attack on a small country which has so far not attacked the US. The president of one of the most powerful nations on earth gets up and leaves, understandably. But this gets only a mention in US and Western press. Even though it is a major diplomatic incident which in normal times would have drawn worldwide headlines. Now things are getting rough.

Before this illegal missile attack, the Trump regime warned Russia who logically must have warned Syria. Making it painfully clear that this is pure Kabuki. The airfield is not damaged, and later news confirm that it is still functioning. Russia and Syria are game and add to the Kabuki madness by pretending to be offended over nothing.

All of this happens while the Republican Senate majority breaks Senate norms and confirms a radically conservative judge to the Supreme Court, and the Trump administration is under investigation for collusion with the Russian attempt to destabilize US democracy. These last items, which read as more innocent than the above, are actually the most radical and dangerous of all of the others, but everyone is so numbed after less than a hundred days of the Trump presidency that this is hardly discussed by the general public.

I probably forgot something.

And just about all the press across the US and Western Europe except far left and far right crazy conspiracy peddlers laud the President as finally having stepped into character. Before making this comment I went down to the store to buy a bottle of wine. Someone let my dog loose while he was outside the store, but he actually stepped into character and stayed in place. Now I will open that bottle of wine and celebrate my dog's unforeseen obedience until I fall into stupor and cannot relate to the world for several hours. This isn't a joke. I will call my therapist Monday, though. Promise.

And I do still have hope that all of you guys who are resisting will prevail.
posted by mumimor at 2:20 PM on April 7 [53 favorites]


Washington Post: Bill O’Reilly’s advertiser exodus is even worse than it looks
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly has been hemorrhaging advertisers this week, and it turns out that the bleeding is even more extensive than it appears.

Some of the companies that have continued to air commercials during “The O'Reilly Factor” tell The Fix that they want to join the boycott — and will as soon as possible — but have been locked into ad spots they reserved in advance.
posted by cjelli at 2:20 PM on April 7 [28 favorites]


Who needs a hotline when they can just use Twitter?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:21 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


I mean, Michigan. Wisconsin, Iowa. Never particularly on the bleeding edge of culture mind you, but at one time we were a good-hearted people who left our (metaphorical and often physical) doors unlocked.

Fox News. Now available in ExtraJesus™ and Classic MindFuck™
posted by petebest at 2:21 PM on April 7 [7 favorites]


Donald Trump Considers Major Shake-up of Senior White House Team

From the WSJ (Updated April 7, 2017 3:01 p.m. ET)(expanding on the Axios link posted upthread this morning):
President Donald Trump is considering a major shake-up of his senior White House team, a senior administration official said Friday.

Mr. Trump is unhappy with the infighting among his top advisers and is determined to see it end, the official said.

In recent days, he has talked to confidants about the performance of chief of staff Reince Priebus and has asked for the names of possible replacements. One candidate that people close to Mr. Trump have suggested is Gary Cohn, now the director of the National Economic Council and a former senior executive at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Mr. Trump is “trying out different names with his friends,” one person close to the White House said...

...he started asking friends to rate the performance of his top aides following the failure in March to pass a health-care bill through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the people said...

...The weight of the president’s frustrations appeared to be falling on Mr. Bannon, who has been at Mr. Trump’s side since August when he was brought in as part of the campaign’s third leadership team.

Mr. Kushner has aligned himself with Mr. Cohn and another top aide, Dina Powell —known as “the Goldman Sachs wing”—whose more moderate, globalist views have come into conflict with the economic nationalism espoused by Mr. Bannon, said one person with knowledge of the situation.

Mr. Bannon had little public role in the health-care bill, but as chief strategist he has responsibility for implementing Mr. Trump’s campaign promises.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:22 PM on April 7 [9 favorites]


“whether it’s good politics to say so or not, the evidence from the 2016 election is very clear that attitudes about blacks, immigrants, and Muslims were a key component of Trump’s appeal.”


“whether it’s good politics to say so or not, the evidence from the 2016 election is very clear that attitudes about blacks, immigrants, and Muslims were a key component of Trump’s appeal.”


“whether it’s good politics to say so or not, the evidence from the 2016 election is very clear that attitudes about blacks, immigrants, and Muslims were a key component of Trump’s appeal.”



I want this to be the running chyron beneath every newscast from now until 2020.
posted by darkstar at 2:24 PM on April 7 [44 favorites]


But almost as soon as he arrived at the lectern, Spicer demanded the cameras be turned off.

Sean Spicer demands the press turn off their cameras, but CNN keeps rolling
While Spicer continues speaking, the camera lingers on what looks like a Costco-sized jar of off brand cheese puffs.
Direct link to Twitter video.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:30 PM on April 7 [17 favorites]


Mr. Trump is unhappy with the infighting among his top advisers and is determined to see it end, the official said.

Utter, credulous, pandering bullshit. That's his management style and if the WSJ doesn't know that - but they do, of course, know that. This is sheer in-your-face bullshit for the sake of normalizing this fascist fuck.

From the Fox-owned Wall Street Journal! That bastion of . . . uh . . fascist norrrmalization? Seriously though, someone there ought to be ashamed and quit.
posted by petebest at 2:30 PM on April 7 [8 favorites]


I believe the Constitution indicates that Mike Pence becomes President, although if we're talking a full French Revolution scenario it's hard to say, exactly.

You've reminded me of a quote from a Rush (yes, yes, I know) song I've been thinking about recently:
Lessons taught but never learned
All around us anger burns
Guide the future by the past
Long ago the mould was cast

For they marched up to Bastille Day
La guillotine claimed her bloody prize
Hear the echoes of the centuries
Power isn't all that money buys
posted by The Tensor at 2:34 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


My biggest fear here is that Trump gets the message from this crap that if he bombs people he (mostly) stops getting beat up in the press for a week and (many) people start saying things about supporting the President for a while.

You Cretins Are Going To Get Thousands Of People Killed
posted by homunculus at 2:43 PM on April 7 [9 favorites]


Holy shit the cheese puffs thing is real...? WHO BRINGS CHEESE PUFFS TO A BRIEFING??? Are they Sean's? A reporter's? When you're on TV, you risk cheeto dust, really?

America, you are hurting my brain.
posted by emjaybee at 2:44 PM on April 7 [7 favorites]


...he started asking friends to rate the performance of his top aides following the failure in March to pass a health-care bill through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the people said...

Oh FFS, of course. Of course Trump looks at his trainwreck of an administration and blames anybody but himself.
posted by jcreigh at 2:46 PM on April 7 [8 favorites]


WHO BRINGS CHEESE PUFFS TO A BRIEFING??? Are they Sean's? A reporter's? When you're on TV, you risk cheeto dust, really?

Maybe that's just a standard Mar-a-Lago perk. Barrels of cheese puffs, every room.
posted by rewil at 2:47 PM on April 7 [12 favorites]


TWinbrook8: Mr. Trump is unhappy with the infighting among his top advisers and is determined to see it end, the official said.

Huh, has Trump changed, or is the unnamed Official trying to change the messaging from the past?
Trump, according to several former officials, doesn’t foster a team dynamic — instead he thrives off creating teams of rivals. “He’s been very successful at playing staff against each other to get him to a position that he can justify,” explained one Trump insider.
From the article titled Trump’s risky approach to the West Wing (Politico, January 10, 2017) - subtitle: The president-elect is creating a competition among his top advisers for his ear, ditching the models of his predecessors.

Ditching the models of functional government and adopting bullshit narcissistic corporate cronyism, I think they meant.

Also, I distrust any unnamed "senior administration official" who throws a fellow senior admin official, especially a politician, under the bus for a corporate CEO. FFS, was the upper echelon of the White House Cabal not rich enough?

"Get rid of that paltry millionaire, Reince Priebus," the cabal cackled. "Gary Cohn knows what it's like to be wealthy, Goldman Sachs just gave him a more than $100 million golden handshake."
posted by filthy light thief at 2:51 PM on April 7 [6 favorites]




The first of the three latest airstrikes occurred in Khan Sheikhoun at around 9:30 a.m. Friday and even as al Khani was describing it, two more came in rapid succession. It was 4:21 p.m. “At this moment, a warplane just struck the northern road into the city and is now maneuvering to carry out another strike,” he said. Five minutes later, he texted that a second airstrike had occurred in the city.

Local civilian volunteers, who are connected with a network of plane-spotters, reported that the aircraft was Russian and had taken off from the Hmemim military base in Latakia on the Mediterranean coast.

posted by futz at 3:01 PM on April 7


It would have been cheaper to send Chicago's Department of Transportation over to Syria to ensure their runway asphalt was full of holes and unusable.
posted by srboisvert at 3:01 PM on April 7 [43 favorites]


Assad, Taunting Trump, Mounts New Attacks on the Town He Gassed

This is why you'd like to have a broader plan for what happens after an air strike.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:03 PM on April 7 [6 favorites]


Assad, Taunting Trump, Mounts New Attacks on the Town He Gassed

Oh look, it's Roy Gutman. You may last remember him from making things up out of whole cloth to smear the YPG in The Nation. It is 100% unsurprising that he would pen this article in The Daily Beast and his credibility is roughly zero.
posted by indubitable at 3:05 PM on April 7 [7 favorites]


Now wait a minute. I spaced out the very first paragraph;

Just hours after the U.S. damaged a Syrian airbase linked to a chemical weapons attack, the Assad regime and its Russian ally launched three airstrikes against the very same rebel-held town where Assad was accused of using poison gas to kill more than 100 men, women, and children on Tuesday.

Tell me why we warned Russia again?
posted by futz at 3:05 PM on April 7


Oh shit, I did not know that indubitable. Hmm.
posted by futz at 3:06 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


To avoid provoking WWIII. Say what you will about Trump so far, that would probably be worse.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 3:07 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


@alex_mallin: Per pool, Tillerson later had to clarify for Ross, said it's technically 20 percent of the "7th wing" Syrian planes that were destroyed.

Tillerson awake and doing things!
posted by Artw at 3:23 PM on April 7


@alex_mallin: Per pool, Tillerson later had to clarify for Ross, said it's technically 20 percent of the "7th wing" Syrian planes that were destroyed.

let me see if I got this straight...

a VERY casual survey of the Syrian Arab Air Forces shows they have some Mig 29, at 22 million each, and some Mig 23 at 1 million each.

Wanna bet there was junk like the Mig 23 sitting around, and we spent 100million to destroy 20 million worth of obsolete inventory? More #winning
posted by mikelieman at 3:32 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


I'm entertaining the notion that the handler said 'Yes, tell The Donald that we have been warned, we will be out of the way' and after a disastrous whatever (it really doesn't matter what at this point: mid-air collision, actual dogfight, bombing of Russian ground troops, you name it), Putin appears on television to loudly proclaim 'See! The western powers are rabidly anti-Russian! They wish to destroy us, we must strike first!', and there goes the rest of Ukraine, then Belarus, Latvia, Estonia and then Lithuania and on to Poland. Not nuclear war, of course, because nobody wants that, but if he can push this far, why not all the way back to pre-glasnost?

I mean, sure, America loves to get it's war on, but Putin would also really profit from getting the spotlight off of his kleptocracy and fiscal mis-management. We're going on the assumption that Putin kinda tossed a fiver on a longshot and made out like a bandit, but didn't realize to what kind of Idiot (with a capital I) he'd hitched his wagon. Perhaps his agency is stronger than we're giving credit.
posted by eclectist at 3:33 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Following up quickly.... Didn't see 7th wing. So, that's an attack squadron. Not 20% of 100 planes, like my assumption, but rather 20% of nbr planes in squadron. And this is starting to not be casual..
posted by mikelieman at 3:34 PM on April 7


My take is it's passive-aggressiveness by the White House communications department. All the reporters get orange grime all over their fingers and their notes.

That's not "passive aggression," it's "extending the Trump brand."
posted by Lyme Drop at 3:36 PM on April 7 [9 favorites]


mikelieman: I believe that the 7th wing flies Mig-25s.
posted by Justinian at 3:38 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


I suspect crippling the Syrian air force would not exactly be hard and was entirely not the goal, nor was hampering it in any significant way.
posted by Artw at 3:39 PM on April 7


Hmmm, I could be wrong, a quick googling suggests that Syria only operates a handful of Foxbats.
posted by Justinian at 3:40 PM on April 7


Wikipedia suggests it was a mix of Mig-23s and Su-22s at al-Shayrat. Wikipedia is never wrong.
posted by Justinian at 3:43 PM on April 7


This shows one of the biggest weaknesses of our government org chart: Yes, in theory, you can investigate the president, and yes, in theory, congress is supposed to be the ones deciding about minor things like attacking other countries and assorted trifles. But the reality is the president has huge power to distract and dissuade through "shock and awe", to the point where I would be surprised if it's actually impossible to impeach a modern president.
posted by maxwelton at 3:44 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Ok, so for a MIG-25, I've found a number, 2.69 million USD each. ( Indian Defence Ministry )

But the point I'm making is our rate of return on the expense of firing these missiles is horrible unless the place was full of 20 million dollar MIG-29's. Which, given the advance warning, I'm sure it wasn't. sad.
posted by mikelieman at 3:45 PM on April 7


Per Air Forces Monthly:
"The aircraft at the airfield comprised the majority of the Syrian Arab Air Force’s surviving Su-22 fighter-bombers. These represent the SyAAF’s main strike asset, and it is thought around ten were at al-Shayrat."
...

"Prior to the US missile strike, the SyAAF operated perhaps 30 Fitters, comprising Su-22M3, Su-22M4K and two-seat Su-22UM3K versions, operated by three squadrons."
...

"Reports from Russia24 correspondent Evgeny Poddubny at the airfield suggest that at least nine aircraft were destroyed in the US attack, although this total is likely to include other assets at al-Shayrat.

A statement from the Russian MoD describes the destruction of “a warehouse of material and technical property, a training building, a canteen, six MiG-23 aircraft in repair hangars and a radar station…” While the ‘MiG-23’ aircraft may have been misidentified, they are known to have been based at al-Shayrat. On the other hand, at least one photo does seem to show a Su-22 destroyed in its HAS."
...

"As well as the Fitters of 677 Squadron, the base was also home to a detachment of seven or eight Su-24MK2 Fencer strike aircraft, between five and eight MiG-23MF and MiG-23MLD Flogger fighters, five or six L-39ZA/ZO Albatros advanced trainer/light attack aircraft, and around 10 Mi-25/Mi-35 Hind helicopters. Interestingly, it seems that the Mi-35s at least were operated by joint Syrian/Russian crews."
Obviously Russian info is suspect, but it seems possible 9 aircraft were destroyed; 6 MIG-23s, 1 SU-22 and two unidentified aircraft.
posted by chris24 at 3:49 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]




Holy shit my neighborhood just got buzzed by 4 F-35s in formation...that's what they looked like anyway, flying low and slow. LOUD. This is Navy/Marines country but they NEVER fly low like that.

This may be military country, but it's also home for tens of thousands of immigrants and refugees from around the world. Sending a message much?
posted by snsranch at 3:50 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


The last sentence of the Department of Defense official statement about the strike:

"The use of chemical weapons against innocent people will not be tolerated."

Against innocent people? So we'll tolerate use of chemical weapons, as long as it's not against innocent people? Did Trump send a draft of the statement to Putin for redlining and Putin inserted that? Or are we just that evil now all by ourselves?
posted by The World Famous at 3:58 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


I hate when evil people make arguments you agree with.

@Cernovich
Y'all get mad about SINGLER PAYER? For 10% the price of Iraq War, every American could have platinum healthcare. Wake up.

@Cernovich
Young people are ENSLAVED with lifetime student loan debt, but we have money for more wars? Brainwashed people, unfollow now!
posted by chris24 at 3:59 PM on April 7 [51 favorites]


I hate when evil people make arguments you agree with.

Me, every time David Frum says something rational.
posted by mikelieman at 3:59 PM on April 7 [10 favorites]


Ok, to close out my analysis of the economic effect of Trump's Syrian Adventure:

Donald Trump, best businessman in the world, just launched 100 million in Tomahawk missiles at an airfield, destroying MAYBE 9 aircraft; 6 MIG-23s, 1 SU-22 and two unidentified aircraft, but I doubt we'll get better numbers.

Mig 23s are < 3 million a pop. ( Indian Defence Ministry )

COST/BENEFIT ANALYSIS:

Cost: 60 * 1.59 = 95.4 million.

Benefit: 9 * 2.69 = 27.0 million.

Loss: ( 68.4 million )

Military effect: Didn't put airfield out of commission. Combat ops resumed < 24 hours.

The best businessman in the world can't read a fucking spreadsheet.
posted by mikelieman at 4:01 PM on April 7 [32 favorites]


I believe that the 7th wing flies Mig-25s.

Using MiG-25's (or their children, MiG-31's) as attack planes would be a very weird and puzzling thing to do. They're pretty much dedicated interceptors, not even really fighters, kinda like the F-106 or Lightning.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:03 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Cost: 60 * 1.59 = 95.4 million.

Benefit: 9 * 2.69 = 27.0 million.

Loss: ( 68.4 million )



Distracting from RussiaGate: Priceless.
posted by chris24 at 4:04 PM on April 7 [47 favorites]


White House has no clear plan for next steps in Syria after missile strike

well that pivot didn't last long.

sadly, trump can only be "presidential" in 90 minute increments
posted by murphy slaw at 4:07 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


60 * 1.59 = 95.4 million.

9 * 2.69 = 27.0 million.


That's numberwang!
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:09 PM on April 7 [32 favorites]


Presumably we have a lot more money than they do though, so what we spend to incapacitate them (to the extent that we incapacitated them) can't be calculated in $$$ only. Plus Syria will pay for the missiles.
posted by willnot at 4:10 PM on April 7


"Assad, Taunting Trump, Mounts New Attacks on the Town He Gassed"

Trump's but a spray-tanned shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour in the White House
And then is heard no more: his is a war
Fought by an idiot, full of tweets and missiles,
Signifying nothing.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:14 PM on April 7 [7 favorites]


The best businessman in the world can't read a fucking spreadsheet.

It's not his money.
posted by sebastienbailard at 4:16 PM on April 7 [9 favorites]


Holy shit my neighborhood just got buzzed by 4 F-35s in formation...that's what they looked like anyway, flying low and slow. LOUD. This is Navy/Marines country but they NEVER fly low like that.

Yup. They're even louder than the twin engine F-18s that they're replacing.
posted by indubitable at 4:18 PM on April 7


thy had a b-2 bomber flyover the stadium here one year. Loud as hell and terrifying, although I guess you'd not see it if it was attacking you
posted by thelonius at 4:48 PM on April 7


If you need a break from all this, Evolene the cat is giving birth at TinyKittens HQ
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:50 PM on April 7 [13 favorites]


I saw a B-2 fly low over downtown Columbus, OH once. It was performing in an air show. It looked like it should fall out of the sky.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:58 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


I hate when evil people make arguments you agree with.

Just remember that when they're advocating single payer or whatever, there's always the unspoken "...for white people" implied.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:58 PM on April 7 [6 favorites]


Christ. These clowns even did a photo so they could show Trump cosplaying a president based on that time Obama took out bin Laden.

The probably faux bamboo chairs are what really lends a sense of solemnity to this gathering.

At first I thought "Holy crap! Why do they have such ugly chairs in the White House?" and then I remembered it was at Basurero al Lado del Lago.
posted by srboisvert at 5:00 PM on April 7 [6 favorites]


I googled what the interior of Mar a Lago looked like. It's like one of Saddam Hussein's palaces was airlifted and dropped into Florida.
posted by Justinian at 5:08 PM on April 7 [12 favorites]


I would be surprised if it's actually impossible to impeach a modern president.

We'll take that bet, they're gonna regret, 'cause they're the worst that's ever been!

♫Fire on the mountain, run boy run♫
Ah-deedle-deedle-deedle-dee-dee-doot-doo-deedle-dee
Devil's in the-

I haz a shame
posted by petebest at 5:09 PM on April 7 [7 favorites]


MSNBC just showed footage of Jason Chaffetz in 2013 literally saying "It's a mistake to think we can just send a Tomahawk in" and change the situation in Syria in any real way.
posted by XMLicious at 5:13 PM on April 7 [40 favorites]




Spicer looks like an almost adult-sized Eric Cartman

He's Butters to me.
posted by spitbull at 5:38 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


Tulsi Gabbard ladies and gentlemen.

Tulsi Gabbard 'skeptical' Assad regime behind gas attack

-- "There are a number of theories that are out there," Gabbard said during an interview on CNN's "The Situation" when addressing who was behind the attack.

-- "There are a number of ways that you can point the finger," she said.

Pressed to specify if Assad was responsible for civilian deaths in Syria, as the U.S. and Western leaders have maintained, Gabbard said that responsibility "goes around."

-- Asked if she would change her mind if the Pentagon would present her with hard evidence that Assad was behind the chemical attack, the lawmaker replied "no."


But

-- "If President Assad is found to be responsible after an independent investigation for these horrific chemical weapons attack, I'll be the first one to denounce him."
posted by futz at 5:43 PM on April 7 [8 favorites]


I googled what the interior of Mar a Lago looked like. It's like one of Saddam Hussein's palaces was airlifted and dropped into Florida.

The general contractor, then, was almost certainly the Bluth Company.
posted by tivalasvegas at 5:44 PM on April 7 [24 favorites]


On September 13 of that year, when it became clear the US would not take military action, Mr Trump wrote: "We should stop talking, stay out of Syria and other countries that hate us, rebuild our own country and make it strong and great again-USA!"

But then again - words. They don't matter, folks. Believe me.
posted by petebest at 5:45 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


From the Gabbard article above,
Trump claimed Thursday after the strike that “there can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons” and that “numerous previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all found and failed very dramatically.”

The attempts to change his behavior found very dramatically. I'll bet. That three-day workweek is stretching them talkin' neurons thiiiiiiiiin.
posted by petebest at 5:53 PM on April 7


National Treasure Alexandra Petri, WaPo: The Last Filibuster
Once upon a time in a place called the Senate there was a thing called the Filibuster.

The Senate was once known as the world’s greatest deliberative body, probably because people had not seen any other deliberative bodies to compare it to. There, the Filibuster dwelled in relative peace and security. At first, it appeared only occasionally to trouble the Senators by interrupting their business and devouring hours of their time with long speeches. The Senators learned that this rogue beast could only be placated by bipartisan cooperation and sixty votes for “cloture” (not closure; you can never have closure.) This was because the Filibuster came from a bygone era when bipartisan compromise was readily available and flowed freely in smoke-filled rooms, before the members of the opposition party were replaced by hideous beasts with tentacles with whom it was impossible to find any common ground (the exact date of this transformation varies depending on your source and may be as early as 2013 or as late as JUST NOW).
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:01 PM on April 7 [14 favorites]


“Trump’s missile attack on Syria might be satisfying. But it’s not legal,” Andrew Rudalevige, The Washington Post, 07 April 2017
posted by ob1quixote at 6:11 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


Has any reporter or blogger covered the "yeah? well what are you going to do about it?" contingency? It wasn't so long ago that Dick Cheney's "Go Fuck Yourself" to Pat Leahy passed with little (effective) comment.
posted by rhizome at 6:22 PM on April 7


Artw White House has no clear plan for next steps in Syria after missile strike

I heard some analyst or another on NPR sort of going the opposite, or more hopeful, way than the Guardian article you linked.

What neither of them said, and I think because they're bound by rules of neutrality or decorum, or what have you, is the obvious: there **CAN NOT** be plans, or next steps, or an overarching strategy because Trump has neither the capability nor the desire to produce one.

We are not dealing with an ordinary Presidency where actions are the result of a plan, or a strategy, however good or bad.

We are dealing with a Presidency more like Reagan's only turned up to 11. There is no one in charge, the President is a senile doddering old man who acts based on what he imagines is best in line with his macho image and what he imagines will produce the best ratings. He didn't attack the airbase in Syria out of any sort of plan or strategy, not even a bad plan or strategy, he attacked it simply because he felt, at that moment, that it was the most macho response that would provoke the most cheers when he talked about it at his next rally.

To ask "what is the Trump plan for Syria and the larger region", or "what is the Trump plan for dealing with Russia's entanglements with Assad and how will that affect US actions" is to ask the wrong questions.

For a normal presidency those would be good and valid questions. Even under Junior those would be good and valid questions.

I'm not sure anyone in the formal media is prepared to engage the Trump administration honestly, they still seem to either be hoping that somewhere under all the stupidity there's a normal presidency, or they think they have to at least pretend there is. Either way it makes their analysis worthless because their analysis is based on faulty premises.

The Guardian article came closer, I think to think, to honesty than the person I was listening to on NPR, but neither was willing to go to the actual truth.

Why did Trump seemingly turn on his long time ally and patron Putin? Not out of any plan, just because he has neither loyalty nor honesty and he he does whatever, in his broken mind, he imagines will benefit him most at any particular moment. Right then it seemed as if bombing Assad's airbase was a good idea, considerations of the larger geopolitical picture weren't merely irrelevant to that decision, they weren't even considered and dismissed, Trump simply forgot they such considerations existed; if he'd ever known to begin with.

Someone apparently kept their head at least long enough to let Russia know the strike was coming, and it's depressing that my hope at this point is that Putin agreed to let the strike take place as part of **HIS** plans, but I flat out guarantee you that Trump didn't think to warn/ask Putin. Not his circus, not his monkeys. He wanted to make things go boom, that was the beginning and end of his "policy".

What will Trump do in the future? No one has any idea, including him.

What are his plans for the larger conflict and region? He has none. He probably isn't even aware of the larger conflict and its linkages to the rest of the world.

Until the analysts can accept the truth about Trump they're just spinning their wheels.
posted by sotonohito at 6:23 PM on April 7 [50 favorites]


New York is so fucked if this happens.
Donald Trump Jr. talks about running for governor of New York

my god. this is the apocolypse.
posted by bluesky43 at 6:27 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


It's Chuck Lorre's business model applied to politics.
posted by rhizome at 6:29 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Donald Trump Jr. talks about running for governor of New York

The first time Trump floated the idea of running for president was 1987. So if Jr works at the same pace as his father, New Yorkers have thirty more years to nurse a grudge before they get to vote on the matter.
posted by peeedro at 6:34 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]



"Standing around and pointing fingers does not accomplish peace for the Syrian people," Gabbard said, asserting the need for concrete evidence before assigning blame.


One more to the list of people whose graves should have plumbing.
posted by ocschwar at 6:35 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


It might be smart to start pasting "Eric Trump for Governor" signs all over Manhattan.
posted by rhizome at 6:35 PM on April 7 [7 favorites]


"but the position of mayor of New York would be less interesting to him."

I feel like the subeditor has removed 'utterly unavailable to'.
posted by jaduncan at 6:36 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


Ospreys over Cambridge, MA. WTF???
posted by ocschwar at 6:39 PM on April 7 [6 favorites]


One thing I'd like to see, once the Democrats retake control, is a national anti-nepotism law. Not only barring the close family of the President from working in any capacity (paid or not) for the White House, but a broader anti-Aristocracy sort of law that limits each close family to exactly one person holding office and imposes a, say, 10 year moratorium on people from the same close family from participating in politics.

Your father was President? Great, you are now ineligible to hold **ANY** elected or appointed government office until ten years after your father leaves office.

Your daughter is a Senator? OK, she's the one permitted elected official in your close family, you can't run for any office or hold any appointed government position until 10 years after she leaves office.

Your brother is a state representative? He's taken your immediate family's spot for the next ten years, you and everyone else in your immediate family had best just forget about government work for a while.

This would, for example, make Chelsea Clinton ineligible to hold either elected or appointed government office, at any governmental level down to dog catcher, until 2023 (because Hillary Clinton stopped being Secretary of State in 2013). Likewise we'd have to limit ourselves to just one of the Castro brothers.

We do not need aristocracies in the USA. I'm sure this plan would keep many good and useful people from holding office, but you know what? We've got 318 million people in the USA, I'm pretty sure we can find good and qualified people who aren't closely related to pre-existing politicians. Julian Castro is a cool dude, I like him, but I'm willing to forgo having him hold office while his brother is a Representative. There's plenty of equally cool dudes out there.
posted by sotonohito at 6:41 PM on April 7 [25 favorites]


You'd better ban those family members from lobbying as well.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:47 PM on April 7 [13 favorites]


New York is so fucked if this happens.
Donald Trump Jr. talks about running for governor of New York

my god. this is the apocolypse.


Trump lost New York by 23 points. People know him and hate him here, Uday and Qusay even more. Let Junior run, he'll be humiliated.
posted by chris24 at 6:51 PM on April 7 [35 favorites]


jaduncan: "but the position of mayor of New York would be less interesting to him.".

Am I the only one imagining that somewhere in this plan he's going to transform into a giant snake?
posted by Superplin at 6:53 PM on April 7 [16 favorites]


thy had a b-2 bomber flyover the stadium here one year. Loud as hell and terrifying, although I guess you'd not see it if it was attacking you

I had the exact opposite experience, they had some fighter jets fly over and they were deafening, then the B-2 went by and it was eerily quiet for such a huge plane.

Edit: looks like other folks agree, even use the same adjective.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:54 PM on April 7


The Avro Vulcan makes the coolest insanely loud noise.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:04 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


If Junior runs it will result in enough sweet, sweet schadenfreude to fill an ocean.
posted by Lyme Drop at 7:06 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Trump lost New York by 23 points. People know him and hate him here, Uday and Qusay even more. Let Junior run, he'll be humiliated.

And guarantees Cuomo another term.
posted by mikelieman at 7:06 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Ospreys over Cambridge, MA. WTF???

I see Black Hawks in the Boston area with some regularity... never Ospreys as of yet.
posted by Behemoth at 7:11 PM on April 7


I think because they're bound by rules of neutrality or decorum,

FNPR. But I digress.

Why did Trump seemingly turn on his long time ally and patron Putin? Not out of any plan, just because he has neither loyalty nor honesty and he he does whatever, in his broken mind, he imagines will benefit him most at any particular moment.

I agree with the sentiment, but would suggest he's been given a small list of options and "encouraged" to choose. He has no depth of knowledge whatsoever - someone or group of people talked him into, in this case, bombing Syria expensively and ineffectively. Who? Bannon? McMaster? Hamburgl, er, Hannity? The Jared?

To suggest he could link "bomb them" to "they'll love me" is one thing. To make it actually "go" in real life? Naw. He never decides anything - someone else does and convinces him he did it himself. It's at least one reason he has no plan, because it would require forethought. Which is what little people do for him.
posted by petebest at 7:12 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Ochswar: Ospreys over Cambridge, MA.

Now a helicopter in northeast Rhode Island.

Any idea what's going on?
posted by wenestvedt at 7:12 PM on April 7


Any idea what's going on?

RUSSIAN PSYOP SPRAYING CHEMTRAILS TO MIND CONTROL BERNIE BROS
posted by indubitable at 7:15 PM on April 7 [12 favorites]


Eh, I see Apache AH-64s over I-10 in Houston all the time. The military probably just likes to fly around and track/target civillian vehicles for training.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:17 PM on April 7


Bannon and Kushner hold sit-down in attempt to bury the hatchet

Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, two warring senior White House aides, had a bury-the-hatchet meeting officiated by President Donald Trump, after arriving at Mar-a-Lago this week.

The sit-down, which was confirmed by two White House officials, was an attempt to smooth over tensions between the two men, which have dominated headlines for days. Whether the meeting was successful in creating a détente – and how long it lasts – is an open question, especially in a White House that has been dominated by infighting.

posted by futz at 7:19 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Fwiw, random tweet:

USAF Osprey 1st ever flight through Cad @TheMachLoop 05.04.17 @RAFMildenhall @CivMilAir @MachLoopLFA7 @planesonthenet #avgeek #USAF pic.twitter.com/RPUORFb9bG

Based on context, first Osprey to fly through Canada was this last Wednesday?
posted by petebest at 7:23 PM on April 7


The 2018 election has already started. And, if you want to make any of the dreams above reality it is time. Do the Dems have a tough Senate map? Yes, but they also have opportunities that we need to exploit now. So, let's look at Texas. Cruz won in the very different environment of 2012 against a very weak Democratic challenger. But, "Texas Democrats running for the upper chamber will likely not be able to rely on the national party for funding or resources."

Beto O'Rourke has already announced against Cruz. He has a shot in 2018 and his run (or Joaquin Castro's) will build a decent platform for other and future Ds to run.

But:

Texas’s Voter-Registration Laws Are Straight Out of the Jim Crow Playbook

and

Why Texas is the Most Difficult State n the Country to Register Voters


So, I supported Battleground Texas with a small donation and I guess I'd better get in there with a bit more. I vote in California where I hope I'll have a better alternative to Dianne Feinstein next time. But, that just moves the status quo forward. If we want anything to change, we need Texas.

And, fuck Ted Cruz.
posted by Gotanda at 7:25 PM on April 7 [40 favorites]


Ochswar: Ospreys over Cambridge, MA.

Now a helicopter in northeast Rhode Island.

Any idea what's going on?


One thing I've learned being active in the Boston tweet-o-verse is that there are A LOT of helicopters that fly over the Boston area all the time. Aside from the medical and news copters, the National Guard does training missions around here and the regular military seems to like doing training in our little urban area, too. It's not necessarily anything suspicious - especially with the Marathon coming up soon. In fact, this is about the time when the National Nuclear Security Administration does its annual copter-based pre-Marathon background-radiation check of the Boston area (although not with Ospreys).
posted by adamg at 7:34 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Sure, we are near an airport and I am used to the medflights, but this was lower and louder than usual, heading up toward metro Boston. Just rather out if the ordinary. No worries.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:42 PM on April 7



The best businessman in the world can't read a fucking spreadsheet.

It's not his money.


He's working on that.
posted by Devonian at 7:50 PM on April 7 [7 favorites]


There was a goldfinch in my backyard bird feeder earlier today, but it looked really shifty-eyed. Though, it might have been packing and just on the lookout for potential grizzlies.
posted by XMLicious at 7:51 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


Since the bees have failed us, we must turn to the birds.
posted by medusa at 7:54 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


Trump launched a symbolic airstrike on a single target, and warned the target's allies ahead of time that it was coming so they could move themselves (and equipment) out of the way. The airstrip is apparently already functional again. Assad has barely been damaged. Trump has benefited from increased popularity and perceived distance from Putin. Could Putin have also benefited from a newly-popular Trump? Maybe this event is a way for three good friends to help each other out.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:06 PM on April 7 [17 favorites]


A Russian Drone May Have Turned Off Its Camera Right Before A Syrian Hospital Was Bombed

US officials suspect that Russia operated a drone and military aircraft that surveyed and struck a Syrian hospital treating victims of the chemical attack that prompted US airstrikes on a Syrian airfield days later, two US officials told BuzzFeed News on Friday.

Military officials suspect that someone turned off the camera onboard the Russian unmanned drone just before the strike on the hospital Tuesday, effectively turning a blind eye to the attack. The officials did not make clear how the US was able to determine when the drone’s camera was recording.

The assessment that Russia may have been behind the hospital attack, if accurate, would be the first evidence that Russian pilots stationed in Syria may have been aware of the attack carried out by Syrian planes. The Syrian aircraft were among the 20 aircraft destroyed by the US strike campaign on Thursday night, according to the Pentagon. US radar tracked the Russian plane taking off and hitting the hospital, one of the US officials told BuzzFeed News. US officials believe the attack on the hospital may have been an attempt to destroy evidence of the sarin gas attack.

posted by futz at 8:07 PM on April 7 [15 favorites]


Politico says that Trump ran a "bury-the-hatchet meeting" to try to fix things between Bannon and Kushner. Not sure how that went, but #FireKushner is now trending nationally on Twitter thanks to alt-right folks who think Kushner is preventing the fulfillment of their wildest dreams. So that's all going great. Has there ever been a public campaign to fire a White House official not because he said or did something bad, but simply as part of a battle for power between warring factions of aides? Because this is bananas.

Turning our attention to healthcare: No ‘Death Spiral’: Insurers May Soon Profit From Obamacare Plans, Analysis Finds. S&P ran an analysis of Blue Cross plans in nearly three dozen states and found that things are looking pretty good. However, there is significant concern that political uncertainty will cause insurers to pull out of the exchanges, as nobody can trust Congress not to wreck everything.

Today's odd-and-end: An NRA employee accidentally shot himself at NRA headquarters. He reportedly "suffered a minor wound to his lower body and was taken to a hospital for treatment."
posted by zachlipton at 8:07 PM on April 7 [22 favorites]


Politico says that Trump ran a "bury-the-hatchet meeting" to try to fix things between Bannon and Kushner.

First one to bury the hatchet in their opponent keeps their job
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:09 PM on April 7 [22 favorites]


Brian Beutler: [F]or my money, the most consequential decision of McConnell’s career (and, since this is McConnell we’re talking about, the most diabolical decision as well) came last summer—amid intense, classified, bipartisan discussions about how to respond to Russian election interference—which remained undisclosed until December.
...
You can fault the Obama White House, to some degree, for acquiescing to McConnell, but it’s worth noting that McConnell clearly understood his threat to be more ominous than simply to call Obama mean names. The claim of partisanship would have implied that Obama was using contested intelligence to meddle in the election on Hillary Clinton’s behalf. This would have invited the press to summon yet-more dark clouds over both of them, and lead, most likely, to a new, urgent congressional investigation. Consider the media and GOP congressional response to the unfounded allegation that Susan Rice spied on Donald Trump, and you can see the Obama White House had good reason to take McConnell’s threat seriously.

The upshot is that McConnell drew a protective fence around Russian efforts to sabotage Clinton’s candidacy, by characterizing any effort to stop it as partisan politicization of intelligence at Trump’s expense.

posted by T.D. Strange at 8:10 PM on April 7 [29 favorites]


Dashy: August 29, 2013: 'What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict? Obama needs Congressional approval. ' - toddler twitter.

Oh, there's more:

"Now that Obama’s poll numbers are in tailspin – watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate." -- November 9, 2012

And

AGAIN, TO OUR VERY FOOLISH LEADER, DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA - IF YOU DO MANY VERY BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN & FROM THAT FIGHT THE U.S. GETS NOTHING! -- September 5, 2013
posted by filthy light thief at 8:11 PM on April 7 [15 favorites]


Wonder why Bannon hates Kushner so much anyway. Maybe because he's Polish?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:12 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


It's a reason that is related to something involving Poland, for sure.
posted by Artw at 8:18 PM on April 7 [23 favorites]


Kushner ate that 4-day old sub he'd been saving in his office dorm fridge. He knew it was that little punk Kushner. Oh, it's on like Donkey Kong now Mr.-I-Don't-Even-Like-Jersey-Mikes! Just as soon as he gets some more J. Walker down, he's gonna go over there and- oh no way - he's been in the Johnnie Walker! Oh, that is IT. Bannon Smash!
posted by petebest at 8:19 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


America's Tomahawk Missile Attack on Syria's Shayrat Air Base Was a Sham
But is a target like Shayrat Air Base even worth striking if you are not willing to use the proper weapon system, or combination of weapon systems, to do it? In effect, by sending throngs of TLAMs against hardened aircraft shelters and the like, commanders are knowingly putting the missiles to work in a symbolic gesture, with limited expected results.
...
And no, the no-goodnicks of the world are not cowering in fear of America once again because Trump decided to toss some missiles at a throwaway target. They aren't as easily duped as the average cable news viewer. These bad guys have teams of people to closely evaluate the threat the US poses to them and their capabilities—it's called a military—and seeing the US throw 59 $1.5 million Tomahawks at an old and tired Syrian satellite airfield with little effect makes us look weak and stupid, not strong.
...
And despite what you hear from the giddy generals, Assad has not paid for his dastardly acts, he didn't even receive a slap on the wrist. But still we have to pay for this attack in the form of major repercussions nonetheless.

Just as predicted, Russia has now pulled out from their agreement with Washington to work to deconflict the crowded airspace over Syria so that coalition aircraft don't end up in a shooting match with Russian aircraft. Not just that, but now we have no way to get in touch with Russian commanders if Syrian or Russian jets bomb American or allied forces. And the hotline setup under this agreement is no theoretical game of geopolitical paddy-cake. It has been used numerous times before. Now that this no longer exists—and yes our commanders in Baghdad have said the line has gone dead—our troops and aircrews are in far greater danger than they were before. Not just that, but there is a much better chance that a relatively small incident that could be forestalled from spinning out of control with a simple call will now lead to a far darker place.

posted by T.D. Strange at 8:26 PM on April 7 [31 favorites]


D AGAIN, TO OUR VERY FOOLISH LEADER, DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA - IF YOU DO MANY VERY BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN & FROM THAT FIGHT THE U.S. GETS NOTHING! -- September 5, 2013

Somebody wrote a good column in the last couple of weeks explaining that Trump is always right in his pronouncements, but his timing of them is always wrong.
posted by nubs at 8:27 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


He always tweets the right thing, but the letters aren't necessarily in the right order
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:29 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]




The Times has more color on this Bannon-Kushner meeting in Trump Fires Warning Shot in Battle Between Bannon and Kushner:
As he grappled on Thursday with his first major decision involving military action, a fed-up and frustrated President Trump turned to his two top aides and told them he had had enough of their incessant knife-fights in the media.

“Work this out,” Mr. Trump said, according to two people briefed on the exchange. The admonition was aimed at Stephen K. Bannon, the tempestuous chief strategist, and Reince Priebus, the mild-mannered chief of staff, over a series of dust-ups with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and the top economic adviser, Gary D. Cohn.

But they may not be able to.
...
Mr. Bannon, a hard-charging, fast-talking confidant of the president’s whose roving job in the White House has given him influence over policy and hiring decisions, now finds himself in the undesirable position of being caught between the president and his family. That is a position that others have not survived, most notably Corey Lewandowski, the first of the president’s three campaign managers.
posted by zachlipton at 8:52 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


I want to laugh at the cheese jokes but the likelihood of World War III increasing means they all taste like ash in my mouth.
posted by corb at 8:53 PM on April 7 [6 favorites]


#FireKushner is now trending nationally on Twitter thanks to alt-right folks who think Kushner is preventing the fulfillment of their wildest dreams.

Yeah, well here's the thing. Bannon, while not Jewish, isn't married to The Family's Favorite Daughter, and at the end of the day, the American Nazis are going to have to suck it up and deal. ( What's the over under before the anti-Semitic attacks, or have they already begun... DON'T ANSWER THAT! )
posted by mikelieman at 8:57 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


"if the 'alt-right' wanted to write a betrayal narrative that touched all the ideological erogenous zones on that fetid body of thought they could scarcely have come up with material more charged, melodramatic and grand."

Josh Marshall - "Inside the Emerging Trumpian Alt-Right Snuff Novel"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:08 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


I am detecting a gaslighting-type effort against anybody (e.g. Gabbard) exercising even a little bit of honest skepticism about the official version of events. We are to believe (prior to anything resembling an independent investigation) that Assad is so stupidly wicked that he would do the most strategically irrational thing he could possibly do a few days before a major international summit, at the same time that we are to believe that Al-fucking-Qaeda is morally incapable of doing the most strategically rational thing that they could possibly do under the circumstances. Yes it's possible. Maybe he is really that stupid. But until there's a proper investigation (remembering that the investigation into the 2013 attacks was inconclusive with regard to culpability) I am not going to condemn somebody for mistrusting the same folks who gaslit anybody in 2003 that said Saddam had no WMD. Yes Assad is evil, but try to remember who Al Qaeda are before you condemn Trump for not blowing up enough of the people fighting them.
posted by moorooka at 9:15 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Trump said Assad had a free pass not a week before. Other countries aren't so quick to bomb countries without a plan.

False Flags are for /pol/ .
posted by Yowser at 9:22 PM on April 7 [10 favorites]



I am detecting a gaslighting-type effort against anybody (e.g. Gabbard) exercising even a little bit of honest skepticism about the official version of events.


TUlsi Gabbard does not give a shit about what happened there. She's a self-interested shill, and unlike Trump, she doesn't get the benefit of wondering if she's suffering senile dementia.

We are to believe (prior to anything resembling an independent investigation) that Assad is so stupidly wicked

You really think he has that tight a control over his army? It's a fragmented, multi-militia civil war. Rogue officers infest every party in this.
posted by ocschwar at 9:23 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


I will say people are getting excited about Beto O'Rourke's run for Cruz's seat. At first it was kinda "who?" But I've heard from people who have gone to his first few town halls/fundraising gigs and said he was passionate and super charismatic. I still kinda suspect it would take a Latinx to win, but Beto is apparently beloved in El Paso and fluent in Spanish, so maybe?

Assuming we are still here in 2018 of course.
posted by threeturtles at 9:28 PM on April 7 [11 favorites]


Syrians on Reddit have pointed out that Khan Shaykhon, the area hit by the gas attack, was a Muslim Brotherhood hotbed in the previous civil war.

So there is the distinct possibility that the Syrian army decided do it purely because they wanted people in Khan Shaykhoun to die. Shocking to learn that such things can happen in a civil war, but well, they do.
posted by ocschwar at 9:31 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


So finally Assad has the US onside and the war nearly won - that sounds like a great time to do the one thing guaranteed to lose US support without conferring any military advantage.

Maybe it was an order from a completely idiotic Assad. Maybe it was a rogue Syrian officer. Maybe it was a weapons stockpile that got hit. Maybe it was Al Qaeda or ISIS, who have chemical weapons and have been using them.

There are numerous possibilities of which a command from the top seems - to me - one of the less plausible (but still plausible of course). A verdict should be based on a neutral investigation and not just the argument that the Syrian government is evil beyond the point of rationality (which was basically the case for invading Iraq). The Syrian army killed thousands in Aleppo without gas and has no shortage of methods of making people die.

As for Gabbard being a demented shill, this is what I mean by gaslighting. It's not crazy to want evidence (especially for a veteran of aforementioned Iraq War), and it's not crazy to oppose military action that unequivocally strengthens Al Qaeda and ISIS.
posted by moorooka at 9:41 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


Politico Magazine has a frightening piece by the former head of the National Security Division of DOJ under Obama: The Russians Are Coming. Again. Apparently, nobody was paying attention (or we all had worse stuff to worry about) when Comey and Rogers testified that Russia will be back to attack us again. Because nobody seems to care about the massive and blindingly obvious security threat by an adversary with a proven track record of pulling this stuff off successfully:
Why aren’t we more concerned?

If we knew that a foreign power or terrorist group would take down our electrical grid on a specific date next year, or compromise our water systems, or launch an attack on a major national landmark in three year’s time, we would expect our government to be moving heaven and earth to secure those areas. There would be task forces, SWAT teams and blue-ribbon commissions running all over the place. Yet the warning that Russia has its sights on the very foundation of our democracy—a government elected and chosen of, by, and for the people—has seemingly gone unheeded.

There is actually good reason to believe that what we witnessed last year might just be the opening salvo of even more sophisticated attacks.
One interesting thing is that he claims that Russia would have manipulated vote totals had they been able to do so. I haven't seen anyone assert this so boldly or any real evidence for this claim, and there are certainly competing theories that simply creating FUD and uncertainty by probing around was effective enough. Regardless, Russia will almost certainly be back.
posted by zachlipton at 9:57 PM on April 7 [38 favorites]


I mean, why would we expect Republcians, who are in control of all levels of government, and benefit from their unacknowledged alliance with Russia, to do anything about it? Wasn't that the whole point? Won't Republicans be assisting Russian hacking even more directly next time using the full power of the federal government?

Just like they benefit from Americans not voting and engage in suppression at every opportunity, they've learned that overt coordination and even outright treason to hack elections has no consequences, only immense benefits. They'll keep doing it.

Republicans are the party of Russia now, they've already sold out their country in exchange for being the named caretakers of a client state.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:05 PM on April 7 [22 favorites]


I like El Paso a lot, from the Mongolian architecture of the University, to its weird culturally blind homage to Oñate at the airport, but I'm pretty sure beloved by El Paso is the political kiss of death not only in Texas, but also New Mexico and Chihuahua.
posted by wobumingbai at 10:11 PM on April 7


wobumingbai, I don't really care who runs against Cruz as long as there is a solid D campaign against him without a wingnut on the ticket. I'm not partial to O'Rourke but right now he is the only opposition to letting that Senate seat remain an R for six more years. If Castro is the stronger candidate, then I wish he would announce. Do you think Castro has a better chance of winning? Of course it will be uphill for anyone, but beating Cruz is not impossible.
posted by Gotanda at 10:17 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Friday GA-06 update:
Day 10 of in-person ev in GA-6 is D 43, R 38, highest turnout day yet across board. Over all, D 51 R 32 with 17871 votes counted.

A few shifts are coming up: 1) New sites in Dekalb/Cobb. Until now, most sites/voting has been in Fulton. Should boost totals

2) There is Saturday voting tmro, including new Dekalb/Cobb sites. That's generally a good day for Dems, but who knows in a special

3) We're at the point where the remaining reliable voters are so GOP that it would be tough for them not to overtake Ds, at least in Fulton

But keep in mind that a GOP electorate, by primary vote, doesn't actually mean a bad electorate for Dems. Trump won by 2 in R+20
posted by Chrysostom at 10:22 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


I agree completely. I do think Castro would have a better chance.Being from the region, I like Beto too, but historically, since the revolution, it's been a very up hill battle for anyone from the El Paso/Chihuahua/Las Cruces region to gain power in their respective states, so I am not optimistic. Who knows, Susanna Martinez unfortunately pulled it off in New Mexico, so maybe our time has come again.
posted by wobumingbai at 10:46 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


the one thing guaranteed to lose US support

Except that Assad has used chemical and other illegal weapons against his civilian population on multiple occasions since 2013 and the US has not intervened against him. Congress and the UK Parliament both refused to authorise any intervention by Britain and the Obama administration, in the face of his use of chemical weapons, back in 2013. So I'm not sure why he would necessarily believe that this time would be the time that inflicted real costs on him.

Also, what costs? US policy hasn't changed; the strategic stalemate in Syria hasn't changed; his chances of taking back the country haven't seriously changed. There is a decent analysis of why this attack might have been useful to him in the Guardian today. If the latest attack fulfils his broader objective of terrorising the civilian population into submission and so ending the civil war earlier, I don't think a single attack by the US on a single airbase changes the calculus in any important way. The other argument significantly overestimates the importance of the US to Assad's calculations in Syria. He doesn't need positive "support" from them - he has that from Russia - but only for them to continue attacking ISIS and abstaining from any serious attack on his own forces. He still has what he needs.

In addition, even the Russians and Assad are not arguing that the sarin attack was deliberately launched on this particular civilian population by one of the rebel groups. They're saying it happened by mistake, as a result of an airstrike, because rebel groups were storing sarin in a warehouse that coincidentally got hit by an Assad airstrike. That doesn't strike me as particularly plausible, given Assad's well-documented track record of attacks against civilians and given the unlikely chain of events that he wants us to accept as the alternative. So I'm going to continue to think that Gabbard's keen support for Assad is rather disreputable and unpleasant and that her word on what he is or isn't responsible for is pretty suspect, especially when weighed against the other evidence. I wouldn't call that gaslighting myself, just an analysis of the probabilities based on the publicly available facts.
posted by Aravis76 at 12:09 AM on April 8 [14 favorites]


From above re: Ospreys flying over New England and Canada - there was a convoy of 5 camo military vehicles driving through downtown Seattle today, and it was jarring in light of our toddler-in-chief's new discovery of the "missiles!!" button. For non-Seattlites, this is the equivalent of having a military convoy roll down NYC's 5th Ave [pre-Melania, of course. Now 5th Ave is owned by Russians and nobody else can drive on it!].

It's interesting that all of these military displays are happening in states that did not vote for Trump. And by interesting, I mean scary.
posted by SakuraK at 1:00 AM on April 8 [9 favorites]


The precedent isn't enough evidence in my opinion to warrant an illegal military strike that will advantage Al Qaeda and ISIS. There is conclusive evidence that Assad has used chlorine gas but not nerve gas. The stockpiles of nerve gas were supposedly handed over to weapons inspectors under US-Russian supervision but now we're being told that the WMD were being hidden from inspectors, just like Saddam was doing back in 03. There is evidence that the rebel groups possess nerve gas. I'm not sure why it's impossible that these could have been released in an air strike. I'm not saying that this is definitely what happened, I am just not persuaded that the official version is necessarily more plausible without more evidence. I don't entirely buy the idea that Assad would have predicted that the consequences of using nerve gas at this point would be anything other than what they have been, with military and diplomatic costs obviously exceeding the benefits by an enormous margin. Maybe I'm being unduly skeptical but it was in fact an official conspiracy of WMD lies that started this whole mess fifteen years ago and once bitten twice shy.
posted by moorooka at 1:06 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Maybe I'm being unduly skeptical but it was in fact an official conspiracy of WMD lies that started this whole mess fifteen years ago and once bitten twice shy.

I agree 100%. This is so akin to the last Iraq occupation that it's spooky. Unpopular Republican child-president is exceedingly unpopular because oxyamericans realized he's going to hurt them, not just brown people and independent women as their god intended. Unpopular Republican child-president starts a war, counting on his oxyamerican base to be too out of it to GAF as long as the people getting killed on the news aren't white like them. Military is happy because $$$! And a new generation of volunteers who had no other opportunities the oxyamerican cycle perpetuates itself viciously.
posted by SakuraK at 1:22 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


(In one of the earliest election threads, back when we all could actually experience that now-dead emotion called "hope", a fellow mefite made a comment about how Trump made Courtney Love seem coherent, and I left a snarky reply, as befits a member of the Hole fan club, defending her.

Jesus Christ what I wouldn't give to have Courtney Love as president right now.)
posted by maxwelton at 1:49 AM on April 8 [14 favorites]


I might add that what is being called Gabbard's "keen support" for Assad looks to me more like a clear opposition to Al Qaeda; the only strange thing about it being that it is so uncommon coming from a US politician. I'm old enough to remember when Al Qaeda was America's mortal enemy. This whole thing is straight out of Orwell.
posted by moorooka at 2:07 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


There are 5 million Syrian refugees that have fled to other countries because of Assad's murderous regime. Syria has had a batch of chemical weapons destroyed by agreement in 2013. The UN has found that sarin was used in previous attacks against civiilans. It's complete bullshit to try to obfuscate the Assad regime's probable involvement in this attack.

I'm not saying that what Trump did was right, effective, or moral but let's not lie to ourselves about what likely happened.
posted by rdr at 2:08 AM on April 8 [19 favorites]


Jesus Christ what I wouldn't give to have Courtney Love as president right now.)

go on, take everything ...
posted by pyramid termite at 2:12 AM on April 8 [12 favorites]


If the toddler-in-chief's lover-daughter is our new beacon of feminism, then I renounce my gender. I'm certainly not male, but I certainly am not a fake feminist like Ivanka.
posted by SakuraK at 2:21 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


There are 5 million Syrian refugees because of a civil war with murderers on all sides. Do you think an ISIS regime would be some sort of improvement over Assad? Like it or not, that is who gains when the Syrian army is attacked. Yes the regime had chemical weapons destroyed by agreement in 2013. Except, oh, looks like they weren't destroyed after all. The UN found that sarin was used in previous attacks against civilians but didn't have sufficient evidence to assign culpability. What we are being told is that Assad is a pointlessly evil, non-rational actor, and because it's just so obvious that he did this we don't even need proof, and that this leaves us with no choice except to give air support to Al Qaeda and risk a direct conflict with Russia. And asking any questions about it is "bullshit".
posted by moorooka at 2:30 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


I did not say that Trump's attack was justified or would be effective. I don't think ISIS would be better for the people of Syria than Assad. I don't know the mechanics of how this plays out. Assad isn't pointlessly evil. He's willing to slaughter his own people to hold on to power and so far that has worked for him. What I said was that we shouldn't try to obfuscate the likely perpertrator of an attack involving chemical weapons.
posted by rdr at 3:11 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Asking for proof is not obfuscation. Assad may be the likely perpetrator, but only if he is a complete idiot on top of being evil. Conventional weapons are more than adequate for slaughtering people while keeping both world superpowers on-side. If this attack is going to be used as a causus belli then I see no merit in being so casual about the need for proper evidence. Again, we have been over this road before, and indeed that's how we got to this point in the first place.
posted by moorooka at 3:22 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


When I say Gabbard supports Assad, I don't just mean her recent comments. I mean her trip to Syria to meet him, and her repeated claims legitimising his government and insisting on his popular support and downplaying all the deaths of civilians he has specifically targeted with phosphorous and barrel bombs and starvation sieges. I'm in no way in favour of US military intervention in Syria against Assad - the situation is too complicated and US intervention will make it worse, not better - but we can reject the case for such intervention without whitewashing war crimes against a civilian population.
posted by Aravis76 at 3:44 AM on April 8 [36 favorites]


And no one is saying Assad is pointlessly evil and irrational. His attacks on the civilian population of Syria serve his interests, especially as he can rationally trust to his international allies to defend him from any consequences. I do think his actions are evil, as well as illegal, but they're not irrational.
posted by Aravis76 at 3:46 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


Yeah, criticizing Gabbard's position on Syria does not mean supporting the current US military action or future military action in Syria. It's weird to keep making that equivalence.
posted by bardophile at 3:51 AM on April 8 [45 favorites]


In what will come as a shock to everyone, I'm sure, it would seem that Trump owns stock in Raytheon. The link is to a Palmer Report piece, but includes a link to the info from Trump's financial disclosure documents.
posted by bardophile at 4:04 AM on April 8 [24 favorites]


Conventional weapons are more than adequate for slaughtering people while keeping both world superpowers on-side.

While it may not be 100% that Assad did it, acting like there's no sane reason to use chemical weapons over conventional seems intentionally obtuse. If your goal is to not only slaughter but to terrorize, chemical weapons are a rational choice. Whether by human nature or lived experience, chemical and biological weapons occupy a special and horrific place in the human psyche. After years of war, people may be inured to shelling but a killer in the air that you don't understand and can't stop will still cause panic. And Assad has consistently tried to make life a living hell for those who oppose him, or even those living in areas where others oppose.

As to keeping the superpowers on the sideline and the timing, there have been multiple chemical attacks this year that didn't generate a response and just days before Tillerson had basically conceded leaving Assad in power. Why think you can't get away with it again when you have many times.
posted by chris24 at 4:08 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


Attacking the civilian population may be rational, but attacking them with nerve gas certainly isn't, especially at this juncture.

And I just don't see why Gabbard deserves such condemnation for opposing Syrian regime change; opposing regime change inherently involves recognizing that the Assad regime is legitimate, or at least more legitimate than the Salafist terrorists and their Saudi backers who the rest of congress are supporting. The humanitarian outrage is utterly selective and totally hypocritical. Assad and ISIS cannot both lose this war, Gabbard deserves some credit for pointing out the obvious.
posted by moorooka at 4:08 AM on April 8


I have no idea what to think, except that it's not at all well of anybody. The quantity of cynicism that seems to be involved here is breathtaking, especially when ranged against the amount of human suffering caused. It's entirely plausible that the whole thing was arranged to take some of the Russia heat off the Trump administration. And even if that betrays breathtaking cynicism on my part, I really don't think that cynicism is unjustified.
posted by Grangousier at 4:13 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Putin is one hell of a chess player...
posted by moorooka at 4:25 AM on April 8


As to keeping the superpowers on the sideline and the timing, there have been multiple chemical attacks this year that didn't generate a response and just days before Tillerson had basically conceded leaving Assad in power. Why think you can't get away with it again when you have many times.

There have not been multiple nerve gas attacks attributed to the Syrian government. Chlorine is in a different category. The one time that the Syrian regime was seriously accused of a major nerve gas attack it resulted in threats of Western intervention that were only avoided by joining the chemical weapons convention and turning over stockpiles to the Americans and Russians. Now Assad thinks he can use nerve gas without consequences, basically proving to the world that he cheated the previous agreement? He finally gets America's acceptance and this is the first thing he wants to do, thinking that America will go along with it? To my mind it simply strains credulity. I readily admit it's possible, but it's the behavior of some sort of cartoonish super-villain, not somebody seriously trying to win a war and maintain hard-won international support. My instincts tell me that we are - again - being sold a bill of goods. I'm not ruling it out, I just can't rule out alternatives until there's more evidence.
posted by moorooka at 4:52 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


> Assad and ISIS cannot both lose this war
Yes they can, and should. The Assad regime has killed and hurt vastly more people than the Wahabis of any stripe. They are just as brutal as each other, and an American grievance against al Qaeda should not legitimise his rule.
posted by stonepharisee at 5:06 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


For those who need it because there are no parties who are innocent except the everyday civilians.
Syria's civil war explained from the beginning..
This is more than just about America, though America is definitely part of the problem.
posted by adamvasco at 5:10 AM on April 8 [8 favorites]


There have not been multiple nerve gas attacks attributed to the Syrian government. Chlorine is in a different category.

I frankly don't care whether Assad used nerve gas, chlorine, or bullets. He's a nasty bugger who is directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. That doesn't mean I endorse Trump's military adventurism, but I have literally zero patience with any defense of Assad that relies on "well, he didn't do this horrible thing in precisely the way people claim".
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:17 AM on April 8 [20 favorites]


interesting timing, Bill O'Reilly's latest book is debuting this week. According to the New York Times, "the book, “Old School,” is billed as a defense of traditional values, and includes advice on how men should treat women respectfully, not as sex objects." Good advice, Bill!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:37 AM on April 8 [15 favorites]


Does Assad believe in the full economic, social, and political equality of women? No. So he should not be running a country.

Does ISIS believe in the full economic, social, and political equality of women? No. So they should not be running a country.

Does Putin believe in the full economic, social, and political equality of women? No. So he should not be running a country.

Does Trump believe in the full economic, social, and political equality of women? No. So he should not be running a country.

Does military action by any of these people promote the full economic, social, and political equality of women? No.

Everyone involved in this mess is a piece of shit and has no interest in the wellbeing of the people in their respective regions.
posted by melissasaurus at 5:39 AM on April 8 [86 favorites]


a country of 300 million people can't police the whole world - it's damn well time we figured that out
posted by pyramid termite at 5:56 AM on April 8 [6 favorites]


[One deleted. If you're lashing out at people discussing, time to give the thread a rest.]
posted by taz at 6:06 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Only the Russians and Assad characterise the entirety of the forces against them as Al-Qaeda terrorists. There are more than two sides in this conflict including "secular" (i.e. not Islamist nujobs backed by Salafists) Syrians who have been struggling to get out from under Assad for years.
posted by PenDevil at 6:07 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]


He finally gets America's acceptance and this is the first thing he wants to do, thinking that America will go along with it? To my mind it simply strains credulity. I readily admit it's possible, but it's the behavior of some sort of cartoonish super-villain, not somebody seriously trying to win a war and maintain hard-won international support.

While I really get what you are saying in your comments, this is IMO misunderstood. What has happened is not that Syria/Assad now finally gets America's acceptance, but that Syria/Assad gets that America now is without leadership or even a moral compass, and that Russia owns the situation. Thus, they can do whatever they want, and what they want is to scare and torture the civilian population of Syria into submission, so none of the rebel groups have any backing. The rational thinking is #1: that no rebels can survive without civilian backing, and #2 when the rebels are put down, the international community will accept the facts on the ground and thus Assad's leadership. This is highly rational and even plausible.

> Assad and ISIS cannot both lose this war
Yes they can, and should. The Assad regime has killed and hurt vastly more people than the Wahabis of any stripe. They are just as brutal as each other, and an American grievance against al Qaeda should not legitimise his rule.


One thing is what is morally right, another what is realistic. And apart from in Kurdistan, there is no democratic alternative to Assad or ISIS at this point. Maybe there never was, I don't know.
I've visited Syria, and it was a lot like East Germany, or Cuba and probably North Korea. A country and a culture where the dictatorship is all-pervasive. And when this goes on for generations, it shapes the minds of the people, so even the people who want change and democracy have authoritarian mindsets.

Ages ago, I heard a lecture given by the then leader of the Kosova Albanians Ibrahim Rugova. He explained how they had built an entire alternative underground society, with schools, clinics, police and even a "university". When I heard the lecture, some time in the -90's, I found him charismatic and idealistic, but I didn't believe the Albanians stood a chance, for many reasons. Neither did anyone else in the auditorium. Later, I learnt that the Kurds in Iraq and Syria have followed a similar strategy (and so have Hizbollah in Lebanon btw).

If the (non-Kurdish) Syrian opposition are attempting anything similar to the Albanians or the Kurds, they are failing epically, probably because they have no common goal. There is no viable alternative to the current regime in Syria right now, and it is tragic and horrible, but even some Syrian refugees I have heard are saying that the only possible solution right now is removing Assad and some of his closest men for cosmetic reasons, but letting the rest of the regime stay on. And then work for a Vietnam-style gradual change.
Maybe if Russia and the US could agree on this and get Iran and the Saudis off the floor for a while, that would be a diplomatic solution. I get the impression that this is impossible for any US government because they somehow are wedded to the Saudis and listen a lot to them and the Israelis for guidance on ME policy.

Trump's missile strike makes no difference either way. I firmly believe this was a token given by Russia because everyone can see the ground is burning under the entire Trump administration these days and they need a fiery distraction. And lo behold! It is working!
posted by mumimor at 6:09 AM on April 8 [26 favorites]


Meanwhile, back in the needlessly petty and racist at home: Trump-supporting Air BNB Host Cancels Asian American Guest's Reservation. "One word says it all: Asian," the host said in a heated text exchange with the guest, and added comments like, "It's why we have Trump" and "I will not allow this country to be told what to do by foreigners."

(On that last bit: OH THE IRONY. I guess we are closely approaching the time when we're all Russia, too....)
posted by TwoStride at 6:19 AM on April 8 [10 favorites]


"One word says it all: Asian," the host said in a heated text exchange with the guest, and added comments like, "It's why we have Trump" and "I will not allow this country to be told what to do by foreigners."

The poor guy must have terrible economic anxiety
posted by thelonius at 6:31 AM on April 8 [31 favorites]


The poor guy
"That poor guy" is named Tami. Not all the horrible Trump people are men, unfortunately.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:33 AM on April 8 [12 favorites]


During my adult life, there has never been a US military intervention that made things better, and I tend to doubt the ones that happened when I was a kid were any better.

I think we all get suckered into thinking about the wrong question on these topics - "could some ideal military intervention by a disinterested party with good values and willingness to put in a lot of money improve things in [region]?" And you look, and sometimes you think "yes, if Steve Rogers were in charge and the entire United States were a 401c3 run by hippies, there still wouldn't be a great outcome but it would be better".

But this is not what will happen and it is never what will happen. What will happen is that our poorly overseen military will commit atrocities, some of which will come to our attention but many of which will be covered up. Our government's cronies, whether rich democrats or rich republicans, will make a bunch of money and will call the shots, making decisions that are not in the interest of the people. The "interest of the people" will be misrepresented to the US to make whatever we do appear like a good idea domestically. Even more people will be displaced, even more infrastructure will be destroyed. Things will be worse.

We live in an unequal and undemocratic country. We are indeed the "policeman" of the world, a policeman like the guy who shot Philando Castile - poorly trained, panicky, self-righteous, unaccountable.

"Could someone fix this? Does it need to be fixed?" isn't at all the same as "given the history of American military intervention, should the United Statesintervene?"
posted by Frowner at 6:38 AM on April 8 [56 favorites]


"One word says it all: Asian,"

Funniest thing. Via Air B&B and Text, Tami had no idea that the renter was as far from "foreigner" as this New York Jew.

Of course, at the office, I've had conversations like, "Anjali Kapur ( a customer support tech ) , where's she from?"

To which I answer, "Rego Park, Queens, why?"
posted by mikelieman at 6:43 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


During my adult life, there has never been a US military intervention that made things better

Being born in 1967, I can omit the 'adult' qualifier, and am adopting, "During my entire life, there has never been a US military intervention that made things better" as my mic-drop counter-argument for the forseeeable future.
posted by mikelieman at 6:47 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Funniest thing. Via Air B&B and Text, Tami had no idea that the renter was as far from "foreigner" as this New York Jew.
That's not funny. That's the logic of racism against Asian-Americans. They're perceived of as perpetual foreigners, regardless of whether they're US citizens and no matter how long their families have been in the US.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:48 AM on April 8 [12 favorites]


* WARNING: READING THIS OP-ED COULD LEAD TO MONITOR DAMAGE *

Mitch McConnell, WaPo: Democrats reap what they have sown

For an antidote:

Dana Milbank, WaPo: Mitch McConnell, the man who broke America
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:53 AM on April 8 [12 favorites]


[Several deleted from The Great Cheese Puff Derail upthread. Individually, it's all fine, and we totally understand the impulse, but in practice, over two dozen jokes about the the cheese puffs is annoying for people to wade through after the fact.]
posted by taz at 7:03 AM on April 8 [10 favorites]


For once, I'm finding reading comments somewhat soothing, as in the first comment on McConnell's op-ed: Get stuffed, Mitch. You're going down in history as the most worthless partisan hack that ever oozed out from under a rock. Now why don't you do the world a favor and ooze back where you came from
posted by TwoStride at 7:05 AM on April 8 [18 favorites]


Guess what's happening today. Another trip to the golf course.

This marks the 10th weekend in a row (out of 12 total) that he's visited a Trump property.
posted by zachlipton at 7:07 AM on April 8 [13 favorites]


I guess the Milbank piece isn't such an antidote. "McConnell," like "Quisling," should be synonymous with treason. His grave will need a drainage system.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:09 AM on April 8 [7 favorites]


Margaret Sullivan: The media loved Trump’s show of military might. Are we really doing this again?
Missile strikes may seem thrilling, and retaliation righteous.

But journalists and commentators ought to remember the duller virtues, too, like skepticism, depth and context.

And keep their eyes fixed firmly there, not on the spectacular images in the sky.
posted by zachlipton at 7:12 AM on April 8 [25 favorites]


“No majority leader wants written on his tombstone that he presided over the end of the Senate,” the minority leader said.

Fortunately for McConnell, I suspect it won't matter what gets written on his tombstone, as it'll be kicked over roughly fortnightly.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:31 AM on April 8 [12 favorites]


If I were king of the world, every reference to Gorsuch would require the use of "smarmy."

Guardian: God, guns, and abortion: [Smarmy] Neil Gorsuch to quickly make his [smarmy] mark on high court
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:44 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]






Guardian: God, guns, and abortion: [Smarmy] Neil Gorsuch to quickly make his [smarmy] mark on high court

Just reading that article makes me feel physically ill. I am not sure how we're going to survive the actual decisions.
posted by bardophile at 7:49 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


So basically Russia can tell any lie they want right now and 45% of America (including people in both the left and the right) will believe it. That is a pretty awesome power to have, better than any fighter jet. If there's an attack on the US, and Russia blames Californian separatists, will that start the civil war.

I can't believe this obvious BS about "the rebels did it" is getting traction even in MeFi (I see it's not a lot of traction, but still.) Why would Assad do it? Why wouldn't he? It cost him nothing, terrorized his opponents, and helped Putin and Trump out politically. Win win win, right?

Ugh.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:50 AM on April 8 [23 favorites]


#FireKushner is now trending nationally on Twitter thanks to alt-right folks who think Kushner is preventing the fulfillment of their wildest dreams.

Perfect opportunity to add to your Mute/Block lists on Twitter
posted by zakur at 8:01 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Guess what's happening today. Another trip to the golf course.

This marks the 10th weekend in a row (out of 12 total) that he's visited a Trump property.
posted by zachlipton


It's more like he's visiting the White House between trips home.
posted by thebrokedown at 8:14 AM on April 8 [28 favorites]


‘Horrible’ pictures of suffering moved Trump to action on Syria...

When President Trump began receiving his intelligence briefings in January, his team made a request: The president, they said, was a visual and auditory learner. Would the briefers please cut down on the number of words in the daily briefing book and instead use more graphics and pictures?


Well of course. When people were saying, "Trump doesn't care about people/babies" yesterday, I was like, no, he cares about pictures of babies, at least for five minutes after seeing them. It's what we've witnessed all along; he sees an image or hears a thing on TV and immediately reacts irrationally, whether by using Twitter or Tomahawk missiles.

Let's just hope he doesn't see a Sarah McLachlan puppy mill spot and nuke Missouri.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:15 AM on April 8 [12 favorites]


I don't think he cares about those pictures or any pictures. I think he, or whoever decides, decided that now was the time for some dog-wagging. And it was, and it worked.
posted by mumimor at 8:18 AM on April 8 [11 favorites]


It's more like he's visiting the White House between trips home.

He commutes to and from DC.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:18 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


I was like, no, he cares about pictures of babies, at least for five minutes after seeing them

I genuinely do not believe any of the talk going around about how Trump was genuinely moved. I think he saw the attack on television, remembered how Obama failed to act decisively and how that's played out in the media, and saw this as an opportunity to get a few positive news cycles. You have to interpret him at the most cynical level possible; cynical without the benefit of being able to calculate the long game very well.
posted by dis_integration at 8:20 AM on April 8 [15 favorites]


The idea that he can remember that far back and draw analogies to the current situation is giving him too much credit.
posted by winna at 8:23 AM on April 8 [7 favorites]


Someone can remember that image of the Obama top watching the Bin Laden raid, that is obvious
posted by mumimor at 8:28 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]




War profiteering. The true face of America.
Trump has shares in Raytheon.
posted by adamvasco at 8:42 AM on April 8 [9 favorites]


Far from the evil genius invoked in various breathless magazine profiles, Bannon has proven hapless and flat-footed.

My nominee for official Bannon nickname comes from that previously linked savage Deadspin AHCA postmortem:
Wet Bag Of Cigarette Butts That Thinks It’s Judge Holden
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:00 AM on April 8 [6 favorites]


Um, everyone that's got a hook in their mouths. Back up carefully and return to the battle of the core issues of collusion, profiteering and corruption of this fucked-up group currently in the White House. The distraction of the attack on Syria, aside from the obscenity and dangerous insanity that it is, justified or not, is just that. A distraction.

Hammer at the core.
posted by michswiss at 9:08 AM on April 8 [26 favorites]


> Um, everyone that's got a hook in their mouths. Back up carefully and return to the battle of the core issues of collusion, profiteering and corruption of this fucked-up group currently in the White House.

yes very much this.

Don't listen to the news. Listen to people at your Indivisible meetings, or your DSA meetings, or your SURJ meetings, or whatever. Hell, listen to people at your SA or ISO meetings if you have to; they're zany, but they're way better than the news.

Mass media is psyops now, has been for a long time. Same goes for social media. Meet in person, organize in person, ignore the noise machines.

And especially ignore me. Don't ignore that last comment from michswiss, though, cause it's good advice.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:17 AM on April 8 [11 favorites]


Syria still exists tho. And will still exist, God willing, if and when the current president is out of power. And if our various other elected officials develop a position on it, that matters.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 9:19 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


I'm So Shocked that They Love War in the Mainstream Media Mancave
You let a woman like Margaret Sullivan into the media boys' mancave, and of course she's going to harsh their buzz by writing something like this: [...]

[Sullivan] doesn't point out that all of these fawners are male, but I will. (The Times story Sullivan cites was written by Mark Landler.) I'm not saying that media women never dote on a president at war -- think back to Fox News during the Bush years -- but if someone in the press whose job it is to be neutral or skeptical suddenly turns into a cheerleader when bombs are dropping, that figure is almost certainly going to be a man. (See Chris Matthews on "Mission Accomplished" day.) [...]

The press needs more women, as well as more men whose loins aren't reliably stirred by any American war. For now, we have this instead.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:22 AM on April 8 [45 favorites]


> Everyone involved in this mess is a piece of shit and has no interest in the wellbeing of the people in their respective regions.

I mean, except for the Kurdish anarchists. They're maybe the best people in the world. It's just, they're also doomed.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:22 AM on April 8 [17 favorites]


I'm pretty sure MeFites haven't, like, forgotten about collusion and are probably capable of thinking and caring about multiple things at once. The fact that Trump is using Syria as a distraction doesn't make the consequences of that trivial.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:22 AM on April 8 [11 favorites]


Well, also, it would appear that Syria is part of the collusion and profiteering.
posted by bardophile at 9:32 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


I genuinely do not believe any of the talk going around about how Trump was genuinely moved. I think he saw the attack on television, remembered how Obama failed to act decisively and how that's played out in the media, and saw this as an opportunity to get a few positive news cycles.

Which just means his rationality and his emotionality are equally shallow, childish, capricious, and ephemeral.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:36 AM on April 8


Running the government like a business yo: Trump budget to cut rail services to hundreds of rural communities
The analysis from the National Association of Rail Passengers (NARP) concluded that cuts to the infrastructure budget, would cut off Amtrak, transit, and commuter rail programs, and even air service to some rural towns.

As a result it estimated that 220 cities in 23 states will have no passenger rail transport as a result.
I don't think people realize to what a ridiculous extent Amtrak rural routes are subsidized by NEC and Acela, the only two routes that are both unsubsidized and generate a profit. If Amtrak ditched everything but its North Eastern Regional and Acela lines it would make money hand over fist. Those two lines generate half a billion a year in profits for Amtrak. That profit is reinvested into every other unprofitable passenger line in America.
posted by Talez at 9:38 AM on April 8 [26 favorites]


What will happen is that our poorly overseen military will commit atrocities, some of which will come to our attention but many of which will be covered up

I know this is kind of an easy thing to say, but I feel like it's necessary to push back on. The idea that the US military creates bad situations because it's poorly overseen, or its people are some nebulous Other who delight in war, is a mental defense against what, precisely, war is. It's the same thing that's had me feeling almost physically ill with some of the "yay, civil war!" commentary upthread - that it's literally impossible to hold a war where no one innocent is harmed. Any time you are considering going to war, you need to look at war with clear eyes and understand it is massively, immensely destructive. Even if you're the good guys. Even if you have noble intent and everyone under you is a saint. You cannot avoid horrors.

Even the people we all tend to think of as The Good Guys, in The Good War - the Spanish fighters against Franco - committed monstrosities. I know I keep recommending this, but if I could get everyone in America to read George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia, I would - it is such a perfect memoir of someone who came with ideals and hope and was disillusioned by how fractious and terrible even the best people can be, how they get afraid and do awful things.

This isn't a good war. There are vanishingly few good wars, and horrible things happen in even the best of them. But we would be better served to let volunteers flood the ranks of the opposition than to bring the full force of US might against a country that's already deeply broken.
posted by corb at 9:38 AM on April 8 [48 favorites]


I'm pretty sure MeFites haven't, like, forgotten about collusion and are probably capable of thinking and caring about multiple things at once. The fact that Trump is using Syria as a distraction doesn't make the consequences of that trivial.

Didn't mean to imply we can't multitask.
posted by michswiss at 9:47 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


> I know I keep recommending this, but if I could get everyone in America to read George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia, I would - it is such a perfect memoir of someone who came with ideals and hope and was disillusioned by how fractious and terrible even the best people can be, how they get afraid and do awful things.

Though tbf Orwell doesn't have all that much bad to say about POUM, other than that they were feckless, and he pretty much straight up admired the CNT, once he had been there long enough to figure out the differences between the different factions. The bulk of his distaste was reserved for the Communists on the right wing of the anti-fascist forces, and he talks at length about how, because of the USSR's desire to maintain diplomatic relations with the liberal governments of a western Europe they ended up undermining all the revolutionary momentum in Spain. IIRC, in the appendix (where he stops talking about his lived experience and starts talking about political abstractions) Orwell lays the blame for the ultimate victory of the fascists entirely on the USSR's antirevolutionary policy; the people of Spain were willing to fight and die for the revolution, but not for just putting the liberal bourgeoisie back in power.

tl;dr: Orwell's disillusionment wasn't about fractiousness. It was about Stalinists.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:06 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]


(and also he was pretty clear about how most of the factional infighting happened back in Barcelona. While he was there, at least, everyone at the front were solid comrades, even the Stalinists)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:17 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Does Trump ever eat anything except steak and 50's style salad?

General Trump's Chicken
posted by y2karl at 10:19 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


I agree with most of what you're saying, corb, but I feel like your push-back does need its own push-back, given that here in the twenty-first century we got a we don't do body counts initially; atrocities in general are a corollary of war, but whether it's the result of institutional attitudes or an inevitable consequence of the orders they were following, the U.S. military has helped to lead the way in a skyrocketing proportion of civilian casualties over combatant casualties in "legal" wars during the last hundred years.

In the Syria conflict the fact that the cover of "well at least we don't directly drop cluster bombs on dense civilian populations like the Russians do" is available does not bode well for how scrupulous the U.S. military will be with the risks it takes.
posted by XMLicious at 10:21 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Does Trump ever eat anything except steak and 50's style salad?

Happy #CincoDeMayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:23 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Does Trump ever eat anything except steak and 50's style salad?

No clue, but I can tell you exactly what he deserves to eat.
posted by Lyme Drop at 10:33 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]


and in the 9th circle, i saw that man
called the donald; and his doom was to dine
upon flaming hot cheetos, but his plan

to eat, and then drink did not work out fine
for once he ate and reached for the full glass
it would recede from him; his childish whine

to no avail, as flames went to his ass.
posted by pyramid termite at 10:47 AM on April 8 [14 favorites]


You know how on Kitchen Nightmares they would show some failing restaurant with moldy old interiors and outdated decorations that hadn't been changed since they opened in 1952, but the owner refuses to accept there's a problem and likes it that way despite the business losing more and more customers each day? Reading about Trump's dietary practices makes a lot more sense to me after watching enough of those.
posted by downtohisturtles at 10:53 AM on April 8 [6 favorites]


9th circle

Trump would be with either the false counsellors, or the panderers and seducers.
posted by thelonius at 10:54 AM on April 8


Oh wait, maybe the sowers of discord.
posted by thelonius at 10:55 AM on April 8


with his ego, he'd want to false counsel the BIG MAN himself
posted by pyramid termite at 10:55 AM on April 8


I'm just amazed that anybody aside from some dumbass with a degree in dumbassology would say that Trump became more presidential because he decided to bomb some shit.

And when I say amazed I mean freaked out in a serious way.
posted by angrycat at 11:02 AM on April 8 [50 favorites]


All Trump kitchens can be presumed to be that kind of kitchen, yes.
posted by Artw at 11:03 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Please, please someone on the television push back against this horrid "Killing people is what makes you the President" bullshit. It's so problematic I have difficulty finding the words. Surely someone must have pushed back on the air?
posted by Justinian at 11:19 AM on April 8 [28 favorites]


You know how on Kitchen Nightmares they would show some failing restaurant with moldy old interiors and outdated decorations that hadn't been changed since they opened in 1952, but the owner refuses to accept there's a problem and likes it that way despite the business losing more and more customers each day? Reading about Trump's dietary practices makes a lot more sense to me after watching enough of those.

More than his diet, that's like his entire presidency
posted by jason_steakums at 11:24 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]


There's a great interview with the chef at a trump vancouver restaurant where the chef refuses to answer questions about the authenticity of their so-called farm to plate restaurant. Wish I could find it now.
posted by Yowser at 11:44 AM on April 8




Please, please someone on the television push back against this horrid "Killing people is what makes you the President" bullshit. It's so problematic I have difficulty finding the words. Surely someone must have pushed back on the air?

Rev. William Barber did today on AM Joy. That's something, I guess.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:52 AM on April 8 [19 favorites]


Someone's a little defensive that jets are flying right away again from al-Shayrat.

@realDonaldTrump
The reason you don't generally hit runways is that they are easy and inexpensive to quickly fix (fill in and top)!
posted by chris24 at 12:58 PM on April 8 [22 favorites]


WaPo: MSNBC host’s conspiracy theory: What if Putin planned the Syrian chemical attack to help Trump?
“Wouldn't it be nice,” O'Donnell asked a nodding, smiling Rachel Maddow, “if it was just completely, totally, absolutely impossible to suspect that Vladimir Putin orchestrated what happened in Syria this week — so that his friend in the White House could have a big night with missiles and all the praises he's picked up over the past 24 hours?”
...
O'Donnell didn't offer any evidence on his theory, promising only that “you won't hear ... proof that the scenario I've just outlined is impossible."

What O'Donnell did hear, if he followed the reaction to his show, was derision from across the political spectrum.
I mean, Putin and Assad are allies. Russia nominally had all of Assad's chemical weapons, so it seems likely he either got them back from Russia, or Russia allowed him to keep some in the first place. Russia may have helped cover up the attack.

So while I think there is no doubt Assad carried out the chemical attack for his own reasons, the idea that the Russians knew about it and went along with it for THEIR own reasons is hardly far fetched.

And there isn't much question about what really happened with our reaction either. We struck the base, warning Russia ahead of time, and did minimal damage. The only "conspiracy theories" are about whether Putin is actually as mad as he pretends to be... Is it really so crazy to think Putin might be lying?posted by OnceUponATime at 1:01 PM on April 8 [14 favorites]


The reason you don't generally hit runways is that they are easy and inexpensive to quickly fix (fill in and top)!

You know, I earlier posted that if you don't crater the runway you haven't actually accomplished anything. But Trump is... oh my god... kind of correct here. You do want to crater the runway to put an airfield out of action, but that's only really important in a sustained engagement where you are going to keep attacking! In a one-shot deal you don't care if the runway is put out of action temporarily because they can repair it fairly cheaply.

I feel shame. Trump was more right than I was here.
posted by Justinian at 1:15 PM on April 8 [5 favorites]


my engineer brother was going on about how DJT non sequitored something in something he was touring about how bathrooms are the hardest part. My brother was like he's right about that
posted by angrycat at 1:20 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


And now the Russians seem to be dropping napalm on Idlib.
posted by localhuman at 1:27 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


It's probably white phosphorus rather than napalm but that distinction is meaningless if you're the one burning alive.
posted by Justinian at 1:30 PM on April 8 [16 favorites]


Spox: Group Founded By Nazi Ally 'Proud' To See WH Adviser Wearing Its Medal

-- The spokesperson for a Hungarian ultranationalist group, whose founder oversaw the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews during World War II, said he was "proud" to see White House counterterrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka wear the group's medal, as he did at an inaugural ball on Jan. 20.

-- The Forward also reported, on April 3, that Gorka and the political party he led at the time, New Democratic Coalition, had in 2007 supported another far right party's effort to form a ultranationalist militia that was later banned for violating the rights of minorities. Two members of the militia were found guilty in a number of racist murders of Roma people in 2008 and 2009.

Gorka has also recently faced questions about his service in the British Army, after a Jezebel investigation found multiple wildly differing characterizations of his time in what was then called Unit 22 of the Territorial Army.


The full NBC report is worth reading.

Sebastian Gorka Made Nazi-Linked Vitezi Rend ‘Proud’ by Wearing Its Medal

The Gorkas' controversial past does not end with the father and son.

In the 1980s, Sebastian Gorka's mother, Susan Gorka, worked as a translator for David Irving, the discredited British historian who caused outrage by suggesting the Holocaust did not happen, or was at least greatly exaggerated.

A British judge ruled in 2000 that Irving was a "Holocaust denier … anti-Semitic and racist, and that he associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism." And in 2006, he was sentenced to three years in prison in Austria on charges of denying the Holocaust.


I am glad that this is getting more attention but I am flabbergasted that Gorka isn't already GONE. Name, shame and fire the fucker.
posted by futz at 1:31 PM on April 8 [27 favorites]


Please, please someone on the television push back against this horrid "Killing people is what makes you the President" bullshit. It's so problematic I have difficulty finding the words. Surely someone must have pushed back on the air?

They Never Learn: The Media LOVES Trump's Military 'Might'. Why?

Five Top Papers Run 18 Opinion Pieces Praising Syria Strikes–Zero Are Critical
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:43 PM on April 8 [18 favorites]


I've been chewing on this thought for a while now, and I think it's become kind of urgent given the upheaval in the world.

The UN or some other big respected organization really needs to research and put together a best-practices primer for building and rebuilding a country's democractic/bureaucratic institutions. Let's say you're a reformer who has just been elected on a platform of democracy, or you're the newly elected leader of a formerly war-torn country, and your job is to make your country a democracy again. This has happened a bunch of times in recent memory, and unfortunately these heads of state almost always fail to make a real impact in their countries. But it hasn't ALWAYS failed - there are success stories out there. I really wish a game plan existed that examined why the successes succeeded and compared them to the failures to map out the way forward for potential reformers, to improve the success rate.

I am by no means an expert in this stuff, but we already have a pretty good idea of the problems that corrupt states have in common. The bureaucracy at every level functions on bribes rather than process of law. Elected officials are typically concerned with their own enrichment. Elections are rigged, bought via bribes, or a combination of both. Local expertise is lacking. Natural resource wealth is funneled to cronies rather than used for the country's benefit. But in so many of the countries plagued with these kinds of problems, there has been a moment in time where reform was possible, when the people rose up and demanded something better - the Arab Spring comes to mind. But the vast majority of these reform attempts have failed, and I have to think a big part of that is because there is no blueprint for what to do when you're in that position.

Having a series of case-studies that examine failures and successes for (say) reforming the police, and using those to develop a basic blueprint that has the best chance of success, as well as a series of caveats and warnings for those trying to attempt such a change, would have immediate and enormous impact in the world. If we went from even (e.g.) 5% to 25% of reforms succeeding, we would have massive impacts on the lives of millions and perhaps billions of people. And the more successful examples there were, the more we could improve and reform the blueprint to bring even greater rates of success.

As another example, post-war Iraq is an utter mess because we wholly failed to implement any kind of rebuilding plan, and W's administration was clearly not that interested in developing one. But what if a plan was already out there, and it was basically known what had to be done to help a fledgling democratic state stick around? W might well not have at least implemented it on a basic level, and as a result, we might very well not be dealing with ISIS now, and the mess in Syria may well have long been over.

I have a bad feeling that we may well be needing some of this blueprint ourselves post-Trump. We have far stronger institutions than most of these countries, but we also have some real commonalities. Even this early in his presidency, ICE and CBP have gone from begrudgingly obeying the rule of law and orders from above to blatantly and gleefully doing whatever the hell they want. How will we go about rooting out the authoritarians and those who are more interested in punishing people they hate than following rules in these organizations? Given another 3.75 years, I expect these people and attitudes to be well-entrenched by the time Trump leaves office. Parts of our intelligence community may well need the same treatment post-Trump. We already have the NY FBI office openly feuding with the FBI director - what else is there hiding just under the surface that we don't know about?

I wish I had the contacts to put this into the ears of the right people. It's such an obvious thing to me, we KNEW we needed a plan to fix war-torn countries way back in the 40s, why on earth have we allowed ourselves to forget so much?
posted by zug at 1:48 PM on April 8 [17 favorites]


Please, please someone on the television push back against this horrid "Killing people is what makes you the President" bullshit. It's so problematic I have difficulty finding the words. Surely someone must have pushed back on the air?

It absolutely boggles my mind that this happens. Everybody talks about it constantly - even Trump himself was tweeting in 2013 about how Obama would want military invention in Syria to make himself more popular. Everyone knows this is a thing and then they still fall for it! WTF?
posted by maggiemaggie at 1:54 PM on April 8 [11 favorites]


Five Top Papers Run 18 Opinion Pieces Praising Syria Strikes–Zero Are Critical

As long as ALL of America doesn't have 'skin in the game' and everyone in the military are volunteers, you're never going to get the grass-roots groundswell of condemnation.

So... Let's push for mandatory conscription and service for 2 years for everyone. No exemptions.

That way, it won't be 'volunteers' taking the risks, and I think people will actually care when Trump gets people killed.
posted by mikelieman at 1:56 PM on April 8 [15 favorites]


I wish I had the contacts to put this into the ears of the right people. It's such an obvious thing to me, we KNEW we needed a plan to fix war-torn countries way back in the 40s, why on earth have we allowed ourselves to forget so much?

I think you are underestimating the complexity, variety, and depth of the challenges facing nascent democracies and overestimating the degree of understanding we have of what works, and our ability to control a national trajectory.
posted by bardophile at 2:07 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


So... Let's push for mandatory conscription and service for 2 years for everyone. No exemptions.

never - too many will fight that
posted by pyramid termite at 2:14 PM on April 8


>I'd bet you 100 to 1 that he gets an uptick from this. Americans fucking love to get their war on. They're a bunch of warpigs in war shit. They don't like quagmires that last for years, sure, but they love some shock and awe.

For now, you lose, if we trust Gallup, which reports a two point uptick in his disapproval ratings from April 4 to 7, and down tick of approval. Not that polls are reliable these days, of course, and not that this couldn't change again.

The question is, however, which Americans would these warpigs be? Among the Breitbart readers, strong Trump supporters in large part because he said he would stay out of foreign quagmires, and put America first, there is near universal howling on his 180.

There is, however, much approval among neocons and senior democratic leadership. Funny world.

Well, okay, not that funny, not really.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:26 PM on April 8 [8 favorites]


Politicians love a good bombing. It makes them feel important.
posted by Justinian at 2:46 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Brian Williams can barely stop himself from boasting on air how his erection hasn't been this big in years. Man, that guy suuuuucks.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:53 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


I think you are underestimating the complexity, variety, and depth of the challenges facing nascent democracies and overestimating the degree of understanding we have of what works, and our ability to control a national trajectory.

Entirely possible... but the only way to build that knowledge is to do the work of building that knowledge. Nothing as complicated as institutional reform will work in all cases, even with the best knowledge that we have, but ticking the success rate up a few percentage points is a very worthy goal.
posted by zug at 2:57 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Look, the reason people don't routinely use chemical weapons is because there's a string international norm against it -- backed by a perception that you'll make yourself a whole bunch of new enemies if you do that, that it will cost you more than it gains you.

Most politicians support upholding that norm (not necessarily enforced America by itself, preferably by the UN or NATO or some coalition) because they don't want to normalize the use of chemical weapons.

But Trump did not hurt Assad's capabilities enough for a strong deterrent effect, did not seem to follow international or US law, and has no intention of sending humanitarian aid to the victims, accepting refugees, or doing anything to actually bring an end to the war. So any praise about him almost doing a good thing should be pretty damn muted.
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:03 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


never - too many will fight that

Well, exactly.
posted by petebest at 3:04 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


Charles Pierce: What We Saw This Week Was Truly Unprecedented. Mitch McConnell outdid himself.
And, of course, it worked like a charm. It worked like a charm because there was no way for the strategy to fail. If Hillary Rodham Clinton had been elected, the Republican majority in the Senate would have Garlanded any nominee she put up. (I mean, Garland himself came recommended to President Obama by Orrin Hatch, who then spent the past two years saying what a bad idea his nomination was. This debate really sucked a great amount of pondwater.) But the president* squeaked through, so McConnell could finish the act of stealing the seat quickly.

Once McConnell committed himself to an unprecedented act of obstruction that actually was unprecedented, and once the great, indolent American electorate gifted him with a continuing, sheeplike Republican majority, it was an easy slide to what happened on Friday. He knew that the likes of John McCain could be relied upon to give him the mournful cover he needed to destroy the rules of the Senate in order to get Gorsuch confirmed. Any Republican who expresses sorrow at what happened to the filibuster in this process is either lying or terrified of a primary. There wasn't a single defector, either on the vote to change the rules or on the confirmation vote. In fact, the pious murmuring over what "we" had done to the Senate was probably the most gorge-rising element of a fairly nauseating exercise.
Washington Is Void of Any Sense of Restraint: The unilateral decision to strike the Syrian government was just the latest example.
Nevertheless, all day long, in the halls of Congress and all across the airwaves, people were making that very case. Brian Williams was swooning over the pretty pictures of the Tomahawks taking flight. An entire flock of generals turned up all over TV again. Nobody ever learns. When exactly it was that the American political and journalistic elites became such cheap whores for easy blood is going to be an interesting case study for future historians, as is the topic of when exactly making war in some place became the sum total of what it means to be "presidential." But there is little doubt that, if a president wants to get off on the good foot with those elites, and if he wants to paralyze the Congress in its constitutional authority regarding the war powers of the United States, all he has to do is blow the hell out of something somewhere and then explain later.

Make no mistake. What the administration did on Thursday night was completely unconstitutional and (probably) completely illegal. The steady leaching of the war powers from the legislative branch to the executive is one of the worst things that happened in the 20th century, and the agreed-upon fig leaf of the "Authorization To Use Military Force," which is an extra-constitutional device created to speed up that old, clunky, constitutional process of declaring war, is now a threadbare alternative. Hell, the attack on Thursday night was justified under the AUMF that passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, which authorized the use of force against al Qaeda and its affiliates. There is no way to stretch that to include the president of Syria's gassing his own people.

...

There has been an alarming disregard for the inherent restraints of constitutional democracy in Washington all week. Once broken, these restraints are damnably hard to rebuild. There is something terribly out of control in the government of the United States, a wildness far too easy for people to exploit for personal power and private gain. It's like standing in the middle of a whirlwind in which echoes Pogo's legendary paraphrase of what Oliver Hazard Perry famously said after the Battle of Lake Erie: We have met the enemy, and he is us.
posted by homunculus at 3:19 PM on April 8 [46 favorites]


It's too bad Der Spiegel already used the Trump-decapitates-the-Statue-of-Liberty cover illustration; otherwise the end of Congressional war powers, specifically to avenge babies whom the usurping President would wish to prevent from entering the U.S. as refugees, and the end of the Constitutionally-elected Supreme Court in the same week would have been a fitting occasion. But I suspect the feeling that the illustration was used prematurely will be a recurring theme in coming years.
posted by XMLicious at 3:34 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


I frankly don't care whether Assad used nerve gas, chlorine, or bullets. He's a nasty bugger who is directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. That doesn't mean I endorse Trump's military adventurism, but I have literally zero patience with any defense of Assad that relies on "well, he didn't do this horrible thing in precisely the way people claim".

Well I've already made myself look like an asshole Assad apologist by nitpicking, but I might as well keep digging. If everyone believed that the gas used in the Idlib attack had been chlorine instead of nerve gas, none of this reaction would have happened, because chlorine is not a banned substance despite its horrible effects, and Syria never claimed to have surrendered its chlorine under the agreement with the OPCW.

For that matter, if had been white phosphorus, this reaction would not have happened. The reason for the US doing a complete 180 on Assad is indeed "this horrible thing in precisely the way people claim"; nerve gas. It's the difference between violating and not violating the US-Russia brokered agreement on surrendering chemical weapons. And if the only evidence that he violated the agreement and used nerve gas in Idlib is that he used it before, then it is indeed relevant whether or not he actually did.
posted by moorooka at 3:36 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


As for stonepharisee who said that Assad and and ISIS can somehow both lose this war, please nominate who you expect to win the war in that event.
posted by moorooka at 3:41 PM on April 8


Russia.
posted by spitbull at 3:53 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


U.S. Navy strike group to move towards Korean peninsula: U.S. official

A U.S. Navy strike group will be moving toward the western Pacific Ocean near the Korean peninsula, a U.S. official told Reuters on Saturday.

The moves comes as concerns grow about North Korea's advancing weapons program. Earlier this month North Korea tested a liquid-fueled Scud missile which only traveled a fraction of its range.

The Carl Vinson strike group, which includes an aircraft carrier, will make its way from Singapore toward the Korean peninsula, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity


looks like trump found a taste for war.
posted by futz at 4:01 PM on April 8 [12 favorites]


My liberal take on Syria is that we should be accepting refugees but otherwise remain uninvolved. There's no good outcome for us in this mess.

My opinion about Gabbard which is based on living in Hawaii and having acquaintances in common and knowing het family's political history is that she's an opportunist and would be happy to be Republican if she could win an election out here with an R next to her name.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:11 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


Sounds like 99% of congress then
posted by moorooka at 4:25 PM on April 8


So actually, what happens if North Korea declares that it's threatened by approaching U.S. naval forces and uses a nuke as a tactical weapon against a nearby military-only target in international waters? Could they achieve a new kind of stalemate, or otherwise obtain any benefit for themselves, by doing that or threatening to do that? Maybe even just disrupt international shipping by getting commercial traffic to flee from an area?
posted by XMLicious at 4:27 PM on April 8


So actually, what happens if North Korea declares that it's threatened by approaching U.S. naval forces and uses a nuke as a tactical weapon against a nearby military-only target in international waters? Could they achieve a new kind of stalemate, or otherwise obtain any benefit for themselves, by doing that or threatening to do that?

Pyongyang would glow. Brightly at first, and in the dark after.
posted by Talez at 4:28 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Talez is correct, North Korea would cease to exist.
posted by Justinian at 4:31 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


My take on Gabbard is also informed by following Hawaiian politics closely, which i have done for years. She's a tool. She could tell me flowers smell pretty and I wouldn't trust her.
posted by spitbull at 4:37 PM on April 8 [10 favorites]


> Pyongyang would glow. Brightly at first, and in the dark after.

Talez is correct, North Korea would cease to exist.

Really, though? Even in the "North Korea is actually crazy, not just pretending" scenario? Is that the optimum move for the U.S., to use its own nukes against a civilian population in response to a putatively defensive strike against military assets?

And are you guys talking about the response to a threat or just an actual attack?
posted by XMLicious at 4:37 PM on April 8


And are you guys talking about the response to a threat or just an actual attack?

I thought you said there was a tactical nuke involved. An actual attack. That's the only reaction I can think of SCROTUS having. I expect a more reasonable president who doesn't want to start a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula would call up China, give them 48 hours to get Kim Jong Un in their custody and on the way to the United States to solve the situation peacefully. If the deadline is not met the United States will act unilaterally to remove him.
posted by Talez at 4:38 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


You actually quoted the part where I asked if they could obtain an advantage "by doing that or threatening to do that". I understand "the U.S. can present such an overwhelming threat that China will jump to do our bidding" logic, it just seems like we may not be the only ones who can use that sort of leverage.
posted by XMLicious at 4:43 PM on April 8


post-war Iraq is an utter mess because we wholly failed to implement any kind of rebuilding plan, and W's administration was clearly not that interested in developing one.

The State Department developed a fairly comprehensive plan [pdf], the Future of Iraq Project, and the Bush Administration blew it off.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:45 PM on April 8 [21 favorites]


And goddammit Donnelly, Heitkamp, and Manchin for giving McConnell this line for his op-ed and all future bullshittery: "a partisan Democratic minority tried to block the bipartisan majority that supported Gorsuch". About what I expected from Manchin, he should just be expelled from the party. But, I had some hope for Heitkamp early on. No more.
posted by Gotanda at 4:45 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


A U.S. Navy strike group will be moving toward the western Pacific Ocean near the Korean peninsula

Reading the South China Morning Post yesterday: By targeting the Middle Eastern nation while hosting Xi Jinping, Trump is signalling he’ll act alone if Beijing doesn’t rein in Pyongyang, analysts say
Washington’s air strikes against the Syrian government while US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping dined in Florida would serve not only as a warning to the unruly North Korean regime, but also pile pressure on Pyongyang’s ally Beijing, [Chinese] diplomatic and military experts say.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:46 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]




If everyone believed that the gas used in the Idlib attack had been chlorine instead of nerve gas, none of this reaction would have happened, because chlorine is not a banned substance despite its horrible effects, and Syria never claimed to have surrendered its chlorine under the agreement with the OPCW.

This is incorrect. While industrial chlorine was not included in the OPCW agreement with Syria, use of chlorine as a chemical weapon is prohibited by the Geneva Protocol of 1925, signed by Syria in 1968.
posted by chris24 at 4:47 PM on April 8 [14 favorites]


This is incorrect. While industrial chlorine was not included in the OPCW agreement with Syria, use of chlorine as a chemical weapon is prohibited by the Geneva Convention of 1925, signed by Syria in 1968.

Its use as a weapon is prohibited, sure. But not simple ownership.
posted by scalefree at 4:50 PM on April 8


please nominate who you expect to win the war in that event.
In July 2011, defectors from Assad’s regime formed an organized militia called the Free Syrian Army to protect protesters and strike back at Assad. By January 2012, the Syrian uprising had devolved into a full-blown civil war pitting the FSA and other assorted rebel groups against Assad and his supporters.
...
The linchpin of the plan [to fight ISIS in Syria] was a series of American airstrikes, both in Syria and in Iraq, supporting forces on the ground that were fighting ISIS. In Iraq, that meant the official Iraqi army as well as tribal leaders and Shia militias. But it wasn’t clear, initially, who that would be in Syria.

Most rebel groups were preoccupied fighting Assad, and had no ability to really refocus on the Islamic State. The same was true, in reverse, for Assad; he had long maintained a sort of de facto ceasefire with ISIS so he could focus on fighting the moderate rebels whom he saw as a bigger threat.
I would expect both ISIS and Assad would lose if those moderate rebels derived from the FSA were to win.
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:51 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


I would expect both ISIS and Assad would lose if those moderate rebels derived from the FSA were to win.


Which is why Assad and ISIS had a detente for a while during which they both hit FSA as hard as they could.
posted by ocschwar at 4:52 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


> The UN or some other big respected organization really needs to research and put together a best-practices primer for building and rebuilding a country's democractic/bureaucratic institutions.

Although it is framed more in terms of "how to topple a dictatorship while/by building democratic institutions" instead of "how to build democratic institutions after toppling a dictatorship," Gene Sharp's From Dictatorship to Democracy has elements of what you're looking for. Also it has certain advantages over what you're looking for; mostly, the order of operations implied in it makes more sense.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:56 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


[Deleted some back-and-forth bickering; moorooka, you've made your points, and you're moving into "take on all comers"; further arguing isn't going to convince anyone not already convinced.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:57 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Isn't it weird that one day a lot of media was like "dumb Trump, his SecState said we'll let Assad stay and Assad felt free to use Sarin", and the next day Trump orders missile strike and half the media is like "that's presidential!". Uh, can't anyone really think couple of days back and consider there's a good chance he had to order a strike promptly due to his own unforced error? If he had spent more time planning it, the narrative of this change of policy leading to Assad's bombing would keep growing.

Is it really presidential to force one's own hand, not to mention some responsibility for casualties from both the bombing and response to it?
posted by rainy at 5:12 PM on April 8 [7 favorites]


This isn't true and we know it. Why is she saying this?

U.S. strikes destroyed Syrian means to deliver chemical weapons: admiral

-- "We conducted strikes against an air field which was the means by which the chemicals were launched into the air. Those means don't exist now," Howard said in an interview during a missile defense event in Cologne.

-- "The intention was to take out the airfield and to remove the means of the delivery of chemical weapons. I feel that was accomplished," she said.

-- Howard said the integration of the strikes was "flawless" and showed the ability of the U.S. Navy to project power around the world.

posted by futz at 5:20 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


so, basically, we're going to pretend to hurt them and they're going to pretend they're frightened

none of this syrian situation adds up or makes sense which is argument enough to stay out of it
posted by pyramid termite at 5:22 PM on April 8 [12 favorites]


showed the ability of the U.S. Navy to project power around the world.

Yeah I don't think that's ever really been in doubt by anybody.
posted by rhizome at 5:24 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


I can't get over the "It sends a message!" talking point... he has pretty much spent his entire life establishing that messages from Donald Trump are meaningless and worthless, and in the last few months establishing that his messages may be him repeating word-for-word something he just saw on television. So he spent a hundred million dollars or whatever to send a completely worthless message.

And on top of that the subtext for any message he might have sent is "I still have no idea what to do in Syriaaaaaa!"
posted by XMLicious at 5:29 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Putin is one smart dickface.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:32 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


This isn't true and we know it. Why is she saying this?

You go to war with the President you have, not the President you might want. The purpose of the US government for the next 4 years is to make Trump look good. Everything flows from that.
posted by scalefree at 5:35 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


New SNL tonight for those who forgot like I did.
posted by futz at 5:51 PM on April 8






Maybe you guys know: Is Jester Actual the real deal or some 13 year old troll?
posted by Justinian at 6:21 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


It sounds like they were responding to an ISIS car bomb at a Jordanian crossing point, sadly not anything unusual for this region.
posted by Justinian at 6:28 PM on April 8


Maybe you guys know: Is Jester Actual the real deal or some 13 year old troll?

Self-described hacktivist who was listed in Time Magazine's 30 most influential people on the internet. Obviously, influential ≠ accurate on-the-ground intel from Syria.
posted by bluecore at 6:30 PM on April 8


If I read that Josh Marshall piece correctly it means American politics have a way of grinding Nazis down.
posted by valkane at 6:33 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Which gives me hope.
posted by valkane at 6:34 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


So uh is this navy-going-to-Korea thing something we should be worried about?
posted by Greg Nog at 6:36 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Hilarious that Steve Bannon is being taken down a peg in a public fashion, and is getting mocked for it.

Depressing that sordid tales of palace intrigue dominates political reporting rather than, say, actual issues.
posted by My Dad at 6:36 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


You know, it would be so easy for the US to be the good guys in all this. The US has vast resources and it has special expertise in delivering humanitarian aid. They have a presence in on Syria's borders and delivering aid and medical treatment would be both easy and relatively cheap. If Israel can do this despite being at war with Syria, the US can certainly do so much more.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:41 PM on April 8 [17 favorites]


Government spokesman on the news, just now: "The attack was not designed to shut down the base."

Really? You dropped 59 Tomahawk missiles, with a total cost of somewhere between 30 and 60 -million- dollars onto a base to -not- shut it down?

Isn't one of the rules of using those things to at least make it -worth the money expended?-

Can someone here make this make the tiniest amount of sense to me?
posted by Archelaus at 6:45 PM on April 8 [12 favorites]


Palace intrigue? Isn't it the nazis in the white house that are setting the issues? The sooner brietbart bannon is replaced by pantsbygap kushner the better we all are.
posted by valkane at 6:48 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Russian government viewpoint, from story by lenta.ru:

Lavrov, after phone call with Tillerson: "Attack on a country that battles terrorists only gives a hand to extremists." Lavrov also repeated that Syria did not use chemical weapons.

Maria Zaharova: "US is the most unpredictable state in sphere of foreign policy. The new administration has no foreign-policy concept or direction."

Konstantin Kosachev: "US placed itself outside of anti-terrorist agreements by making two dangerous actions: aggression against a sovereign state and obvous support of terrorism."

Russian government sources seem to be aligning 100% with the most extreme public Assad's statements. It's also interesting that they pinpoint this as a fault of new administration rather than generic US arrogance.
posted by rainy at 6:49 PM on April 8 [14 favorites]


In other words, there's nothing muted about Russian official reaction. They went with the strongest possible "US is helping ISIS" line. If they're faking displeasure, they're doing a damn fine job.
posted by rainy at 6:56 PM on April 8 [5 favorites]




Well, I guess we're going to start see pee tapes, then.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:58 PM on April 8


Government spokesman on the news, just now: "The attack was not designed to shut down the base."

"It was designed to change the media story from the healthcare debacle and juice the President's poll numbers" [fake quote, real reason].
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:03 PM on April 8 [18 favorites]


Well, I guess we're going to start see pee tapes, then.

I had the same thought :/
posted by futz at 7:04 PM on April 8


Even assuming that were true, TD Strange, doesn't -admitting- it wasn't to blow up the base kind of defeat that purpose, if you don't state some other purpose?
posted by Archelaus at 7:05 PM on April 8


We're just all looking for a way to deny that Trump is actually our president. Forgive us for that. Wouldn't you?
posted by valkane at 7:07 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Even assuming that were true, TD Strange, doesn't -admitting- it wasn't to blow up the base kind of defeat that purpose, if you don't state some other purpose?

Well sure, but these people are also fucking morons.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:08 PM on April 8 [7 favorites]


I think the problem is that we keep assuming that someone, somewhere is competent in something. The deep state, Putin, whatever... in reality, everyone is winging it, and it takes just one idiot to bring down the whole house of cads.

Edit: that was a typo, but I am going to let it ride.
posted by Behemoth at 7:12 PM on April 8 [70 favorites]


So uh is this navy-going-to-Korea thing something we should be worried about?

It depends on what kind of mood Trump is in when they get there
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:23 PM on April 8


The way I see it, moorooka, is that it doesn't really matter if Assad himself launched the chemical weapons or had one of his proxy militias do it. There is plenty of history of Assad (and his father) operating the levers of terrorist groups to do hands-off wet work. A case can be made that ISIL is benefiting Assad anyway. And in any case you can be sure the Russians are pulling the puppet strings here. I'm partial to O'Donnell's theory -- that Putin set this up and Trump played right along. Because remember, Putin's larger goal is to destabilize the west and especially the US. Syria is child's play for him.
posted by spitbull at 7:24 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


The typo confirms your truth, Behemoth. We're all just stumbling along. Simultaneously a source of confidence and also of pure terror.

(I like to say we're all like Bud Korpenning from dos Passos' Manhattan Transfer, "lookin' for the center of things" but finding the soothing something else that Bud couldn't.)
posted by notyou at 7:26 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Which by the way means Trump goes when Putin decides he's wrung the last ounce of disruption out of him and his departure would be most destabilizing to American politics.

This is not inconsistent with trump being a wild card. I'm sure he's a very hard asset to control.
posted by spitbull at 7:26 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


I know they talk about how we shouldn't be ostriches sticking our heads in the sand but I deeply have been doing that. I'm so overwhelmed!
posted by yueliang at 7:28 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]



Well sure, but these people are also fucking morons.


I disagree. Over the past year they've learned that the population and media can be lied to or told the absolute truth and that there will be no consequences, no repercussions. Hands might be wrung and op-ends will be penned, but that's it.

So they aren't morons, they're just taking the lessons to heart.
posted by nubs at 7:29 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


If you're reading this thread your head is less in the sand than most Americans. Or most of the cheerleaders on cable news.

I take heat though that the rah rah bomb talk is falling a little flat by historical standards. Even republicans seem a bit nervous.

Republicans, however, put a Putin puppet moronic madman in charge of the US military. What could go wrong?
posted by spitbull at 7:31 PM on April 8 [9 favorites]


Propaganda or food for thought.?
Something is Not Adding Up In Idlib Chemical Weapons Attack..
I am sure someone with better knowledge than me can give an intelligent opinion.
posted by adamvasco at 7:41 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


If you want to see Russian information warfare at its worst, visit these countries

Americans and Western Europeans have only just begun to wake up to Russia’s use of information as a tool of mischief. But it’s nothing new to the three Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which regained their independence from the old Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1990s. For the past quarter of a century they’ve been doing their best to respond to the inflow of destabilizing innuendo from their huge neighbor to the east.

Interference with elections? Check. Cyberattacks? Check. Prominent politicians with murky links to the Kremlin? Check. Fake news and skillfully targeted rumors? Double check.

-- Sanita Jemberga, an investigative journalist in Riga, is one of the people behind a recent documentary film that follows the various ways Russia attempts to push its agenda in the Baltic states. She has traced the ownership of disinformation websites through labyrinths of shell companies back to their real origins in Moscow, and has tracked the flow of money from Kremlin coffers to corrupt Latvian politicians.


-- The Balts are fighting back in a variety of ways. They’re working hard to bolster their cyberdefenses. They’re trying to do a better job of integrating their Russian-speaking populations, in some cases with notable success. As part of that effort, Estonia has opened its own Russian-language TV channel, a modest attempt to counter the hitherto-near-unchallenged supremacy of Putin’s broadcast empire. (As Estonian public-television executive Ainar Ruussaar put it: “Sometimes communication is more important than antitank missiles.”) And the Latvians are working hard on building media literacy, using school workshops that teach teachers and students to differentiate journalistic fact from fiction as well as public service announcements that draw attention to fake news stories.

That last paragraph is spot on common sense. And the US will never ever take that approach on a large scale.
posted by futz at 7:55 PM on April 8 [54 favorites]


informationclearinghouse.info nyet.
posted by spitbull at 7:57 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


I am sure someone with better knowledge than me can give an intelligent opinion.

Here's my intelligent opinion: none of us knows what really happened. Intelligence services on the ground probably have a good idea what's going on, or a likely guess. Nobody else does. You'll never know for sure, and it's a waste of energy to try and ENHANCE the photos to get at the truth. These events are out of our control, the best we can do is try and put people in power who will respond sensibly and rationally to them. We screwed that pooch, so drinks on me.
posted by dis_integration at 7:59 PM on April 8 [5 favorites]


What is the reason for a sarin-gas attack, militarily? I feel like I've seen a bunch of summaries of the attack itself, but not a lot about the strategic reasons for Assad gassing these civilians; is there a good rundown of the thinking behind the attack somewhere?
posted by Greg Nog at 7:59 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Why a sarin attack to kill 60 people? Seems if you want to kill a bunch of people you just drop a conventional bomb on the city market place.
posted by JackFlash at 8:02 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


I think it's too risky for Putin to set this up, if Russian forces get killed by accident in the strikes, there's not much he can do and it makes him look weak. If the US uses it as pretext to bring down Assad, he loses an important ally and all of the effort to support him will have been wasted, and again it makes him look weak. It would seem like for the US, risks are much smaller than for Russia.

The counterpoint is that for Trump administration, political risks may be higher than for Putin. Trump has very low ratings and Putin has yuuge ratings. Putin can always blame everything on the US and has 100% support from local media. For Trump admin, after two domestic policy disasters, Russian collusion investigation -- adding a military disaster would be near certain "surely this".

Maybe Trump flips a coin when he's unsure (which is always)?
posted by rainy at 8:11 PM on April 8


What is the reason for a sarin-gas attack, militarily? I feel like I've seen a bunch of summaries of the attack itself, but not a lot about the strategic reasons for Assad gassing these civilians; is there a good rundown of the thinking behind the attack somewhere?
...

Why a sarin attack to kill 60 people? Seems if you want to kill a bunch of people you just drop a conventional bomb on the city market place.



Because it's not just a military attack and it's not just to kill a bunch of people. It's a terror attack designed to shock, demoralize and terrorize.


Guardian: Syria nerve agent attack: why it made sense to Assad

NYT: The Grim Logic Behind Syria’s Chemical Weapons Attack
posted by chris24 at 8:14 PM on April 8 [12 favorites]


No peace in Syria until Assad is ousted, says Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, has said that she sees regime change in Syria as one of the Trump administration’s priorities in the country wracked by civil war.

Defeating Islamic State, pushing Iranian influence out of Syria, and the ousting of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad are priorities for Washington, Haley said in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, which will air in full on Sunday.

“There’s not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime,” Haley said, while reiterating that defeating Isis was still the number one policy goal. “If you look at his actions, if you look at the situation, it’s going to be hard to see a government that’s peaceful and stable with Assad.”

“Regime change is something that we think is going to happen.”


Fuck. Looks like trump is going all in. Was it only 5 days ago that "we" were going to leave Assad alone? Then "one attack and we're outta there...then this? This never ends well.
posted by futz at 8:15 PM on April 8 [11 favorites]


The explanation that Assad took Trump's comments last week and general buddy-buddyness with Putin as the all clear makes the most sense to me. He's a ruthless madman fighting for his life and his rule, he doesn't need a reason to use CW on his own people other than he can, and he has them, and he thought Trump would do nothing to stop it like Putin does. Trump gave the 'IDAF; signal, and Assad believed him, not counting on Trump being an unreliable idiot with no grasp of anything who changed his mind literally the next day.

Assad is Putin's puppet, he thought Trump was on board with the game plan now, since he's a puppet too.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:21 PM on April 8 [15 favorites]


Greg Nog: I would say, 3 things: 1. terrorize population that supports rebels; 2. break down rebel morale by asserting dominance "we have weapons that you don't have" 3. test new US administration by doing a small scale attack and measure response. They might have expected the US to downplay the reports so as not to lose focus on ISIS, as Trump made many public statements that he wants to focus on ISIS.
posted by rainy at 8:21 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Can a remote island in Canada become a safe harbor for those who want to flee Donald Trump?

CAPE BRETON ISLAND, Canada —The first sign of what Rob Calabrese would come to think of as America’s unmooring began last year, just after Donald Trump won his first presidential primary and Calabrese published a $28 website that he’d designed in 30 minutes. “Hi Americans!” it began, and what followed was a sales pitch for an island where Muslims could “roam freely,” and where the only walls were those “holding up the roofs” of “extremely affordable houses.”

“Let’s get the word out!” Calabrese wrote, adding a photo of an empty coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. “Move to Cape Breton if Donald Trump Wins!”


t was meant as a joke — but seven hours after Calabrese linked the site to the Facebook page of the pop radio station where he works as a DJ, in came an email from America. “Not sure if this is real but I’ll bite.” And then another: “It pains me to think of leaving, but this country is beyond repair.”

And then more. Within 24 hours, there were 80 messages. Within a week, there were 2,000, and many used the same words: “nervous” and “terrified” and “help.”

“The United States is losing its mind,” one person wrote.

“So ashamed of half of my country I could curl up and cry,” wrote another.

The emails kept coming, so many that soon the island’s tourism association brought on four seasonal workers to help respond to the inquiries, which were arriving from every state and hundreds of towns, until it seemed to Calabrese that America was filled with people who wanted to get away.

“Look at this one,” he said one day recently, scrolling through a spreadsheet where the inquiries were organized and stopping on No. 2,121. “I am a former U.S. Marine who did two tours to Iraq. And I want out of here.”


He's received almost 5,000 emails.
posted by futz at 8:32 PM on April 8 [44 favorites]


It's also worth noting that CW are very ineffective against regular army forces, if there's any expectation it may be used. It's only effective against ragtag guerilla type forces, and to terrorize civilians, which is why there's a very strong international agreement to ban CW. But for Assad it makes perfect tactical sense to use them against either rebels or al qaeda or ISIS, especially as he's not strong enough to push them back otherwise. It must be driving him mad that he's sitting on precisely the kind of weapons that would work against his enemies but NATO forbids him to use them and only "allows" him to use the weapons that aren't working well for him and that put him on an even playing ground with his foes.

I can see how he would be anxious to misread any hint that it may be OK for him to use CW.
posted by rainy at 8:33 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


But the thing is that he is strong enough to push them back otherwise. Since Russia got involved he has had all the momentum. The rebels have lost their biggest stronghold in Aleppo. It would be more accurate to say that the rebels can't win without American involvement then it would be to say that Assad can't win without doing the worst thing possible in terms of undermining his international standing.

And to say that he's sitting on precisely these weapons means that the whole deal with the OPCW was faked under Obama's nose, which, if true, would be the big story in all of this.
posted by moorooka at 8:44 PM on April 8


SNL cold open (video)

They were quick to do a sketch about the Pepsi ad too
posted by zachlipton at 9:05 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


I would say he's had a bit of momentum but not nearly enough to assure him of success. His position is still precarious. Just a few days ago Israel said if he again fires on their fighter jets, they'll take all of his anti-air batteries out. Russian direct support was scaled down for the past half a year or so, and may be further scaled down depending on internal Russian events, the same goes for Iran.

The deal wasn't necessarily faked under Obama; he may have produced new Sarin stockpile since then, or he may have kept a small stash. The deal was effectively that he gives up a large amount of CW that was inline with estimates of how much he should have, and if he pretends he has none left and stops using it, we can pretend we believe him. I mean, was it absolutely 100% destroyed, not a single canister left anywhere? Assad probably has a few Sarin canisters under his sofa pillows in his palace for all we know.
posted by rainy at 9:08 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Can a remote island in Canada become a safe harbor for those who want to flee Donald Trump?


you know things are rotten when a town like glace bay, ns, looks good to people

(yes, i've been there - and no, it's not nearly remote enough)
posted by pyramid termite at 9:14 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


Propaganda or food for thought.?

Oh for fucks sake, YES that's propaganda!

"All evidence suggests this is another false chemical attack allegation made against the government as seen in the Ghouta 2013 attack where the terrorist groups hoped that former President Obama’s “red-line” would be crossed leading to US-intervention in Syria against the government."

That site is saying that not only was this attack supposedly a "false flag," but so was the original 2013 attack! Which resulted in Assad turning over stockpiles of chemical weapons, and Obama seeking but being denied authorization for the use of force against Assad. This is historical fact. Assad used chemical weapons, and the whole world reacted.

The arguments on that page are "moon hoax" level. Like those guys who go "look, why is the flag waving? If there's no atmosphere, huh?" Analyzing photos and looking at downspouts? That:s now how you tell truth from falsehood here.

Facts bend the world around them in a way that lies don't. We may not be expert enough or in a position to judge the evidence ourselves, but look at the behavior of everyone who is. They are all doing exactly what you'd expect if Assad committed this atrocity. And really the posited reasons for anyone else to do it are much, much stupider and more convoluted than Assad's straightforward motivation of trying to terrorize his opposition as he's been doing all along, and prove how unconstrained his power is.

I can't believe how easily Russia has succeeded in muddying the waters.
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:15 PM on April 8 [41 favorites]


but the only way to build that knowledge is to do the work of building that knowledge. Nothing as complicated as institutional reform will work in all cases, even with the best knowledge that we have, but ticking the success rate up a few percentage points is a very worthy goal.

Are you seriously under the impression that institutional reform doesn't happen because people aren't working on it? Because no one is trying to build the knowledge of what works? That's breathtakingly presumptuous.
posted by bardophile at 9:16 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Seriously? That's a $19 bottle. Christ.

It's a government function. Ideally there'd be no booze at all, but if there has to be, spending huge amounts of money on it is not something we should be getting behind.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 9:24 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


Saturday GA-06 update:
Day 11 of in-person ev in GA-6 is D 49, R 29. Highest turnout yet on Cobb Cty new site vt Over all, D 51, R 31 with 21111 ballots accepted

By far the youngest and most diverse day yet--typical for Saturday voting. 63% white, 16% black, 11% 18-29, 22% >65, 33% didn't vote in '14
That 33% infrequent voter seems astonishing in a special election.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:33 PM on April 8 [27 favorites]


I mean, was it absolutely 100% destroyed, not a single canister left anywhere? Assad probably has a few Sarin canisters under his sofa pillows in his palace for all we know.

"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat...."
posted by moorooka at 9:37 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


""We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat....""

Dude, they USED a reference book ... "A river watering the garden flowed from Eden Syria; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold oil. (The gold oil of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx WMDs are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates." -Genesis 2:10-14 CIA World FactBook
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:43 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


Glenn Beck sued by 'fearless' Tomi Lahren over firing for pro-choice stance

It's the little things in life that make it all worth it, really.
posted by XMLicious at 9:44 PM on April 8 [5 favorites]


Yeah, people have been working on some kinda post-colonialism nation-building recipe for a good while now. It is a good idea, that, and it is one that also occurred to lots of people starting decades ago. The UN seems the furthest ahead on it because they are the ones with the scope. They've also got all the problems that exist in the whole world, because they are made of the whole world. But really smart people are indeed working on best practices with this stuff. Peacekeeping has extended to capacity building and outward from there. Just, no one knows how to do it, 'cause they're/we're making it up as we go along. That was a gratifying summary, though.
posted by lauranesson at 9:44 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


By far the youngest and most diverse day yet--typical for Saturday voting. 63% white, 16% black, 11% 18-29, 22% >65, 33% didn't vote in '14
That 33% infrequent voter seems astonishing in a special election.


I've heard that before.

In November.

I'm not getting excited. I'm not even going to be encouraged unless and until I see those results.

We still have a week for the Russians to reveal that the Democrats have been insulting St. Sanders or some other kind of nonsense.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 10:17 PM on April 8 [7 favorites]


WaPo: How Jeff Sessions wants to bring back the war on drugs
When the Obama administration launched a sweeping policy to reduce harsh prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, rave reviews came from across the political spectrum. Civil rights groups and the Koch brothers praised Obama for his efforts, saying he was making the criminal justice system more humane.

But there was one person who watched these developments with some horror. Steven H. Cook, a former street cop who became a federal prosecutor based in Knoxville, Tenn., saw nothing wrong with how the system worked — not the life sentences for drug charges, not the huge growth of the prison population. And he went everywhere — Bill O’Reilly’s show on Fox News, congressional hearings, public panels — to spread a different gospel.

“The federal criminal justice system simply is not broken. In fact, it’s working exactly as designed,” Cook said at a criminal justice panel at The Washington Post last year.

The Obama administration largely ignored Cook, who was then president of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys. But he won’t be overlooked anymore.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has brought Cook into his inner circle at the Justice Department, appointing him to be one of his top lieutenants to help undo the criminal justice policies of Obama and former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. As Sessions has traveled to different cities to preach his tough-on-crime philosophy, Cook has been at his side.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:17 PM on April 8 [24 favorites]


[moorooka, chris24, drop this bit of argument.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:19 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


The deal wasn't necessarily faked under Obama [...] The deal was effectively that he gives up a large amount of CW that was inline with estimates of how much he should have, and if he pretends he has none left and stops using it, we can pretend we believe him.

The fundamental problem is that people who use chemical weapons can never be trusted to not use them again. Assad could surrender existing stocks and submit to surprise inspections and audits, but it's still very hard to prove a negative. As long as the desire and expertise are there and the regime has engineers and chemists and industrial facilities, it can always produce more.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:56 PM on April 8 [5 favorites]


Chemical weapons are extremely easy to make. It doesn't matter how many are turned over.
posted by jaduncan at 12:34 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]


As Sessions has traveled to different cities to preach his tough-on-crime philosophy, Cook has been at his side.
Describing it as a "tough-on-crime philosophy" is explicitly endorsing a framing that favors Sessions.

I strongly suspect that the Washington Post editor would reject describing it as "a more-money-for-prisons philosophy," considering such a description to be unacceptably biased. Why, then, is it acceptable to describe the policy as "tough on crime", given that increased spending on prisons is very likely easier to demonstrate as an outcome of this policy than any effect on crime rates?
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:51 AM on April 9 [55 favorites]


It's a government function. Ideally there'd be no booze at all, but if there has to be, spending huge amounts of money on it is not something we should be getting behind.

I'm playing a lot of Europa Universalis IV so I see the following:
You're having a state dinner celebrating the leader of China's visit and the sommelier wants to know the budget.

[The finest French wines please] (Lose 50 ducats, Lose 5 prestige, China's opinion of the United States improves by +50)
[Bring the finest of our country's wine] (Lose 30 ducats, China's opinion of United States improves by +30)
[Any old swill will do] (Lose 10 ducats, China's opinion of the United States is lowered by -10, Lose 10 prestige)
Guess which one Trump picked? I'm sorry. A state dinner is where you have a bit of class and spend a fucking dollar on the celebration of a guest.
posted by Talez at 4:34 AM on April 9 [33 favorites]


[One deleted. Let's stick more to discussing actual news than writing disaster horror fic. Also, maybe drop the "Oxyamericans" thing, and please, all, just keep in mind that people would like to be able to read the thread for news updates and analyses without other people sharing fantasies about how the reader and/or their loved ones will soon be dead/suffering horribly.]
posted by taz at 4:36 AM on April 9 [40 favorites]




BLM (Bureau of Land Management) Replaces Mountain Landscape Photo With Coal Seam On Home Page

Only you can prevent forest fires. Seriously. We've been defunded. It's just you.
posted by Talez at 6:38 AM on April 9 [58 favorites]


Guess what's on today's schedule. Another golf course trip.
posted by zachlipton at 6:46 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]


So here's a thing. Mike Cernovich, conspiracy theorist & conduit of information from Trumpland, just published this "report" on Medium that Mike Flynn's replacement as National Security Advisor, HR McMaster, has a plan to invade Syria with 150,000 ground troops. It's by no means a reliable report but it is interesting to see what he's peddling.
posted by scalefree at 7:07 AM on April 9 [1 favorite]


Cernovich is the very definition of a serial liar.
posted by PenDevil at 7:10 AM on April 9 [6 favorites]


Meanwhile, Jared hires a PR guy to help handle the White House's image issues. Who'd he hire? A guy named Josh Raffel whose previous PR work includes promoting The Purge, a horror movie about a government that's been turned into a monster.
posted by scalefree at 7:27 AM on April 9 [29 favorites]


Speaking of McMaster, he's pushing out some more of the crazy.

McFarland to Exit White House as McMaster Consolidates Power
K. T. McFarland has been asked to step down as deputy National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump after less than three months and will become U.S. ambassador to Singapore, according to a person familiar with White House personnel moves.

The departure of the 65-year-old former Fox News commentator comes as Trump’s second National Security Advisor, Lt General H.R. McMaster, puts his own stamp on the National Security Council after taking over in February following the firing of Michael Flynn.

It follows a reorganization of the NSC in the past week to remove Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist and senior counselor, from the principals committee. Former Goldman Sachs executive Dina Powell remains as deputy national security adviser, and a second person will be named to that role.
posted by chris24 at 7:28 AM on April 9 [16 favorites]


Well, she's finally done it. Louise Mensch has crossed the streams of rightwing Soros conspiracies with Russia conspiracies. Russia not only stole the election for Trump, it funded those BLM thugs and socialists protesting in Ferguson.

@LouiseMensch Retweeted 0Hour1
That's because you, Russia, funded riots in Ferguson. See 0 hour I have your connections to Trump archived via Schiller and Scavino
posted by chris24 at 7:38 AM on April 9 [5 favorites]


Who'd he hire? A guy named Josh Raffel

KEEP AMERICA GREAT amirite?
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:57 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


'Russia funded Ferguson...'

... that is deep
posted by From Bklyn at 7:59 AM on April 9 [5 favorites]


Good read: The Myth of Main Street:
It’s worth noting that the idealized Main Street is not a myth in some parts of America today. It exists, but only as a luxury consumer experience. Main Streets of small, independent boutiques and nonfranchised restaurants can be found in affluent college towns, in gentrified neighborhoods in Brooklyn and San Francisco, in tony suburbs — in any place where people have ample disposable income. Main Street requires shoppers who don’t really care about low prices. The dream of Main Street may be populist, but the reality is elitist. “Keep it local” campaigns are possible only when people are willing and able to pay to do so.
posted by TwoStride at 8:11 AM on April 9 [37 favorites]


WaPo: How Jeff Sessions wants to bring back the war on drugs

An important detail to remember in this context is that Sessions is Mr. Civil Asset Forfeiture. (civil asset forfeiture previously)
posted by XMLicious at 8:24 AM on April 9 [21 favorites]


It’s worth noting that the idealized Main Street is not a myth in some parts of America today. It exists, but only as a luxury consumer experience.

it's not a myth in the small town midwest, at least in the areas that are more dependent on agriculture or factories that are still doing well - and, no, this is not a luxury consumer experience

but it shouldn't surprise me that the NYT gets it wrong ...
posted by pyramid termite at 8:25 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]


Dana Milbank, WaPo: Mitch McConnell, the man who broke America
By rights, McConnell’s tombstone should say that he presided over the end of the Senate. And I’d add a second line: “He broke America.” No man has done more in recent years to undermine the functioning of U.S. government. His has been the epitome of unprincipled leadership, the triumph of tactics in service of short-term power.

After McConnell justified his filibuster-ending “nuclear option” by saying it would be beneficial for the Senate, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said this: “Whoever says that is a stupid idiot.”

McConnell is no idiot. He is a clever man who does what works for him in the moment, consequences be damned.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:30 AM on April 9 [23 favorites]


I spent several years living in an extremely remote, rural part of the Pacific Northwest, and this was indeed what Main Street was becoming there: after an attempt at mall in the 80s had killed off Main Street, and then a Super Wal-Mart in the early 00s killed off the mall, Main Street "revitalized" itself by essentially becoming a place to buy lovely (but pricey) handmand soaps, boutique clothes and artisanal woodworkings, and/or Christian books. There was nothing of the "everyday" that could be purchased there.
posted by TwoStride at 8:31 AM on April 9 [20 favorites]


On the one hand, i'm happy that McMaster is kicking the real loons like McFarland and Bannon off the NSC.

On the other hand, I worry that McMaster is going to push for a full force commitment to regime change in Syria for reasons not based on pathological islamophobia and trump doesn't have the backbone or convictions to push back.
posted by murphy slaw at 8:33 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


There was nothing of the "everyday" that could be purchased there.


Jim Kunstler (MeFi's own?) likes to point out in his talks that main street boutiques and farmer's markets might look twee today, but the people operating them could switch to selling necessities in less than an afternoon if the need arose.
posted by ocschwar at 8:35 AM on April 9 [11 favorites]


it's not a myth in the small town midwest, at least in the areas that are more dependent on agriculture or factories that are still doing well

Well, I grew up in Kansas and and lot of people in my family lived on farms... and shopped at Walmart.

The only healthy main streets I've ever seen are in upscale suburbs.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:36 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]


I think that's actually driving a lot of rurual fury: "What happened to our small town main streets? You coastal elites killed them somehow..."
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:37 AM on April 9 [3 favorites]


What happened to our small town main streets? You coastal elites killed them somehow..."

Wal-Mart?
posted by thelonius at 8:38 AM on April 9 [46 favorites]


Well, I grew up in Kansas and and lot of people in my family lived on farms... and shopped at Walmart.

The only healthy main streets I've ever seen are in upscale suburbs.


Come to Michigan. There are plenty of small town main streets and a good number of them are keeping those towns alive. It's true that you aren't as likely to find core businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies (although I've seen instances of both), but the restaurants and specialty stores are often vital businesses for downtowns, and no, they don't all cater to tourists and "elites."
posted by Preserver at 8:41 AM on April 9 [3 favorites]




My New England town has a couple of foofy boutique stores just off main street, and a hardware store which became a franchise a couple of decades ago, but otherwise there's an independent pharmacy, a grocery market from a small local chain, a coin-operated laundromat, and a variety of non-chain restaurants.
posted by XMLicious at 8:49 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


walmart = figment of nyt's imagination, got it
posted by entropicamericana at 9:06 AM on April 9 [9 favorites]


I think that's actually driving a lot of rurual fury: "What happened to our small town main streets? You coastal elites killed them somehow..."

I was stuck thinking about this through the lens of the typical rural brain drain the other day, how so many of the best and brightest kids can't wait to get out, and how that hurts the community long term, and how ultimately it's absolutely the fault of the community the parents have built being unacceptable to the kids but they'll never own that, so they blame the places of opportunity their kids flock to.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:14 AM on April 9 [63 favorites]


it's not a myth in the small town midwest, at least in the areas that are more dependent on agriculture or factories that are still doing well - and, no, this is not a luxury consumer experience

but it shouldn't surprise me that the NYT gets it wrong ...


I'd say it's not a myth in some really small towns, but it takes a surprisingly low population density for the mythical version of that to kick in. I was in Le Mars, Iowa yesterday, population 9,800 and change, and their main street is all boutiques and specialty stores interspersed with boarded up storefronts. And it's basically like that to cater to the (relatively minor as these things go) touristy traffic that comes for the Blue Bunny ice cream company's ice cream parlor ("Le Mars, Ice Cream Capital of the World!") and doesn't really do much of anything to serve the residents other than give them a handful of jobs that don't pay well. And I'm sure if I went there this time next year half those boutiques and specialty stores will be boarded up themselves or replaced with someone else's attempt at a similar thing, because there's not a lot of profit in it.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:25 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


Also a surprising amount of that kind of downtown revitalization as illusion comes down to the ego and pride of the decision makers in those towns, we recently had a rural economic development workshop where I work and there was a stark difference between the stories from the people who knew what their town's limits were and worked within them, and the people who kept pursuing these prestige projects to make their town look better than it is (and it's always, always that cute little bohemian downtown storefronts thing for them). The former were so much more successful in helping their towns.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:32 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]


and the people who kept pursuing these prestige projects to make their town look better than it is

All we need is Uber and Lyft and everything will work out fine!
posted by mikelieman at 9:39 AM on April 9


You know what would definitely bring back those dead main streets and cure the related opinion crisis all at the same time? Tax cuts!

White House aides say the goal is to cut tax rates sharply enough to improve the economic picture in depressed rural and industrial pockets of the country where many Trump voters live.

Why has no one thought of this before?
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:44 AM on April 9 [17 favorites]


Totally foolproof! Hey, we have no tax base worth speaking of ourselves, so what we need are tax cuts to bring businesses here and we'll extend municipal infrastructure to service those businesses with MAGIC! Because they'll never leave and they'll totally keep all their money flowing locally! I mean sure you shouldn't count your chickens before they hatch but if we can lure in a Walmart that's like having infinite eggs!
posted by jason_steakums at 9:49 AM on April 9 [13 favorites]


I grew up in a very cute "main street USA" town. We did have a main street with antique shops, a bar, a candy store, and when I was a kid there was once a pet store and a video rental. There was even a small, family-owned grocery and a clothing store. But before our cute small town had a Target, we just... drove 25 mins to the town that had one. Because, yes, we were a lower-middle-class family and Target was cheaper. And that's the way the US economy has operated for decades. Everyone loves the fantasy of main street, but the middle class is going to shop at Wal-mart because they can't afford the alternative after decades of getting fucked over.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:52 AM on April 9 [44 favorites]


I don't want pee tapes. I don't want the idea of Trump being soiled with some forced collusion narrative. He's not a victim. He needs to be remembered for doing these idiotic things of his own accord.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 9:59 AM on April 9 [3 favorites]


Putting on my "what would I do if I were a fascist" hat, I'd say the long-term plan for improving the economy of rural america is cutting the last bits of the social safety net that remain out there, stepping up the criminalization of poverty, and converting as many of the residents as possible to imprisoned slave labor. Because prisoners are available for hyperexploitation well beyond the exploitation possible with nominally free workers, this will make those areas much more attractive to business.

I know it seems somewhat radical to set out to convert the largely white inhabitants of rural America to imprisoned slave labor, instead of just capturing people of color from cities and then exporting them to rural areas to slave in rural prisons, but I think America is ready to take this step.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:00 AM on April 9 [11 favorites]


The Main Street Myth is very complex and like so much of America it vastly depends on location. Main Street, Seal Beach is probably one of the most ideal of any that I have visited because it has a mix of upscale and budget. Taco cafes and Seafood Restaurants. Souvenir shops and antique stores. Art galleries and surf shops. However several things have conspired to make it so: tourist town, plenty of local money, easy access from the highway and lots of parking.

Now compare that with the Main Street where I live: One business block on one side of a narrow two lane street hemmed in by the railroad tracks. Few parking spots, not much money in the surrounding area, and no tourist action. It's hard to find because it is tucked off from the main highway so there is little reason for drive-by traffic.

When my husband moved into this house 27 years ago you could buy a loaf of bread or cigarettes at the ice cream parlor, check out a book from the library or do your banking. All of those businesses closed within 10 years. Our main businesses are the Black barbershop, the Black hair salon, a tax lawyer and a florist. Newer businesses drawn in by the recent revitalization project are a graffix shop and a coin collector's shop. They've been promising a coffee shop for years but can't seem to deliver.

In the 17 years I've lived here a whole string of businesses have come and gone-- including an oyster bar-- because there is no reason to drive over here unless you have a specific reason like going to the same barbershop your father went to. There is no drive-by traffic and nothing to entice you to explore. We may some day get that coffee shop but unless it is something very special it will close quickly because there are coffee shops all over highway 70 and I doubt the local residents could support a shop themselves.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:01 AM on April 9 [7 favorites]


Hey I REALLY need a [fake] or [real] tag around that Kushner hiring The Purge PR guy article in NY Mag. Is that their Onion-esque section? Or is that for real?
posted by gucci mane at 10:07 AM on April 9


I can't even imagine a world without cafe. I don't think I've ever lived more than 500 METRES away from a cafe.
posted by Yowser at 10:08 AM on April 9 [5 favorites]


The New York Times' opinion piece about "a Main Street that never quite existed" is bullshit because not only did the sorts of Main Streets they describe exist in the past in non-wealthy communities, they exist now. If the author had restrained themselves from a bid for iconoclasty, and instead asked why those successful Main Streets that are accessible to non-wealthy people are successful, so that people doing their laundry at a coin-operated laundromat can walk over and buy their groceries or go to the library or the bank, it could have been much more informative.

Or if they just pointed out that the majority of consumer purchasing isn't going to be going through Main Streets because there's just so damn much consumer purchasing now. But because there's so much, a far smaller percentage of it could probably support viable Main Streets all over the place, if they're planned and cultivated rather than portrayed as mythology. (Though, as people are pointing out, I doubt it's tax cuts that make the difference... but that's one of the details that might have been explored in an article that wasn't just an echo chamber opinion piece.)
posted by XMLicious at 10:13 AM on April 9 [6 favorites]


Do the coal miners all hang out on Main Street?
posted by Artw at 10:22 AM on April 9 [8 favorites]


So I went and read that article, and I'm glad I did. Here's a quote. It's right after talking about how the regulatory environment that made main street a thing depended on laws setting floors on prices (keeping manufacturers from cutting special deals with large chains) and on strong labor laws:
But this world was unsustainable. It unraveled in the 1960s and 1970s, as fair trade laws were repealed, manufacturers discovered overseas suppliers and unions came undone. On Main Street, prices came down for shoppers, but at the same time, so did wage growth. Main Street was officially dead.
So. Run this in reverse and it's a manual for how to "revitalize main street": strengthen labor power, so that folks have money, and set floors on prices, so that the big bourgeoisie from the cities can't leverage economies of scale to muscle out local petit bourgeois businessowners and thereby vacuum money out of small towns and into major cities.

The thing I was going to say before I went and actually read the article was that one reason why wealthy liberals and the people who write for wealthy liberals can only recognize a main street as thriving when it contains twee shops selling luxury tchotchkes to the upper-middle class is that they tend to interpret a real thriving main street — something with laundromats and bodegas and cheap bars and little libraries and junk shops and hardware stores (instead of Restoration Hardware) — as being blight.

And now the thing I want to point out, after having actually RTFA, is that the same class interests that tend to interpret a genuinely thriving main street as blight tend to also interpret things like labor regulations and things like limits to the power of the rich to leverage economies of scale against everyone else as being blight — as inefficiencies that must be sweated out of the system, rather than as the things that makes the system work.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:30 AM on April 9 [112 favorites]


Hey I REALLY need a [fake] or [real] tag around that Kushner hiring The Purge PR guy article in NY Mag. Is that their Onion-esque section? Or is that for real?

I see new outlets across the spectrum posting the story so until it's debunked I'm going with [real].
posted by scalefree at 10:31 AM on April 9 [3 favorites]


No coal miners in my town, nor the antique stores and souvenir shops other people are mentioning. And there's a "Miracle Mile" type area with chain stores and fast food restaurants too, but it co-exists with the main street thanks to planning and effort and budget items specifically supporting main street revitalization having been put on ballots and voted through by the townspeople during the past few decades. Maybe it's one-of-a-kind or something.
posted by XMLicious at 10:31 AM on April 9


Russian computer programmer arrested in Spain: embassy

A Russian computer programmer, Pyotr Levashov, has been arrested in the Spanish city of Barcelona, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Madrid said on Sunday.

Russian television station RT reported that Levashov was suspected of being involved in hacking attacks linked to alleged interference in last year's U.S. election.

He was arrested under a U.S. international arrest warrant, RT reported on its website, citing Spanish police.

posted by futz at 11:24 AM on April 9 [9 favorites]


If anyone's looking for a good political cause to donate to, my friend David Sparks is running for Ohio State Representative in the 43rd district next year. (Donation page.) We worked together to support Bernie in 2015. David's a great organizer with solid progressive politics.

He also ran last year and did quite well, despite huge Republican expenditure on attack ads and a blatantly gerrymandered district.
posted by Coventry at 11:24 AM on April 9 [12 favorites]


Assad allies say U.S. attack on Syria air base crosses 'red lines'

-- A joint command center made up of the forces of Russia, Iran and militias supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the U.S. strike on a Syrian air base on Friday crossed "red lines" and it would respond to any new aggression and increase its support for its ally.

-- "What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well," said the statement published by the group on media outlet Ilam al Harbi (War Media).

-- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, meanwhile, blamed Russian inaction for helping fuel the chemical weapons attack it had reacted to, saying Moscow had failed to carry out a 2013 agreement to secure and destroy chemical weapons in Syria.

He said the United States expected Russia to take a tougher stance against Syria by rethinking its alliance with Assad because "every time one of these horrific attacks occurs, it draws Russia closer into some level of responsibility."


Uh, it looks like Russia is aiding and abetting Syria and the US just pushed them closer together. USA! USA! USA!
posted by futz at 11:34 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]


> If anyone's looking for a good political cause to donate to, my friend David Sparks is running for Ohio State Representative in the 43rd district next year. (Donation page.) We worked together to support Bernie in 2015. David's a great organizer with solid progressive politics.

Donated!

also, tell the web person that there's a typo on the acknowledgment page — there's an apostrophe that's got a backslash before it. gave me flashbacks to debugging regexes :)

metafilter is my affinity group
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:34 AM on April 9 [10 favorites]


the people who write for wealthy liberals can only recognize a main street as thriving when it contains twee shops selling luxury tchotchkes

There might be something to that. If you asked me if my Main Street is thriving, I would say "No" because there are no interesting shop windows, nowhere to get food (prepared or otherwise) and no services I am interested in using. Yet if I think about it, the barbershop does a steady business, as do the tax preparation office, the graphics place and the florist's. The florist for example is very low key; she mostly fulfills phone orders for funeral wreaths and bouquets but doesn't bother putting any fresh flowers on display. There is no foot traffic so I guess there is no need to make her shop look attractive.

It's a shame there isn't anything I want to buy or even look at but I guess that doesn't define "thriving."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:52 AM on April 9 [13 favorites]


> There is no foot traffic so I guess there is no need to make her shop look attractive.

This foot traffic thing is a smart observation; working-class main streets look different now that driving is mandatory in so much of the country. The places that look like main streets from the era of walking and public transportation tend to be places marketed to people with the time and money to stroll as a recreation, whereas working main streets often don't put out much to advertise to walkers, because there are no walkers.

(and also, in the places where walking and public transportation are still viable modes of non-recreational transportation, the presence of PoC on foot often scares off wealthy white liberals.)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:06 PM on April 9 [31 favorites]


If that NYT guy drove, he could drive an hour into New Jersey and find mythical Main Streets in every town along the fucking way. Sometimes they're actually minor highways like 22, 1-9 and 287; sometimes they're walkable urban-ish streets. But they are full of small businesses that are functional, that make money by serving a need in the community, that co-exist prosperously with Walmart et al.

Some particular factors about this area are

HISTORY: we had a mature economy well before the corporatization of everything. Some of the businesses I'm thinking of have been in business since the '30s, and some of them own their space instead of renting it, which provides an insulating cushion of wealth.

POPULATION DENSITY: it's basically the suburbs of NYC. Large parts of this area are lower-class, but they still attract a fair number of people because we're close to richer areas.

AVAILABLE MONEY SUPPLY: Another side effect of NYC. One of the symptoms is inflated real estate prices, which inflates the local money supply when those properties are mortgaged, which they mostly are.

EMPLOYMENT: the unemployment rate in this particular area tracks 1 to 2 points lower than the nation as a whole, even in more rural areas like Hunterdon County.

things we DON'T have include GOOD GOVERNMENT so you can scratch that off the list. It's possible that our super-localized system of government protects us, but corruption is very common, so I doubt it.

We are being hit by the same opioid epidemic as everyone else.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 12:07 PM on April 9 [13 favorites]


I'm at Senator Carey's town hall right now. Standing O when the Senator came to the stage. A few hundred folks here on a truly, ridiculously gorgeous Sunday afternoon. First question: how much money is being spent on Trump's travel.

Agree/Disagree signs handed out at the door so that's pretty amusing.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:14 PM on April 9 [16 favorites]


He's getting a really really hard time about fracking (75% questions so far, so it seems that the environmental groups turned their people out well). That's a local issue, and hugely important, but better people to talk to about it are our state and local pols. Grilling Casey about it doesn't do much.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:28 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


Hell, the NYT guy didn't even need to leave his desk. He could go to Main Street America and see what is happening on Main Streets across the country. Historic preservation and economic revitalization go hand-in-hand. Here in Michigan, during the economic downturn, our Main Street districts outperformed the national average with more than twice as many businesses opened than closed.
posted by Preserver at 12:41 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


I see that if I go to the US in the future, not only will I have to hand over all my personal infosec data, I may face ideological vetting.

As I can't hand over all my infosec stuff, because that is incompatible with my professional ethics, I guess that will make me (and anyone else who has a duty to preserve client or corporate data) unable to even contemplate visiting the US. As for having an ideology that the border goons find acceptable - my god, may that never be true.

If I were ISIS, or Mexico, or whoever the hell it is that's the notional reason for such incomparable stupidity, I'd be hugging myself with utter glee at causing such immense damage to America without having to throw out so much as a threatening glance at the cat.
posted by Devonian at 1:05 PM on April 9 [36 favorites]


Does someone want to do an FPP on the Main Street thing? It's interesting but good lord is it a big-ass derail.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:17 PM on April 9 [16 favorites]


Pretty sure that PR thing is [real] because Trump is already using the tagline from The Purge: Election Year for his 2020 campaign slogan.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:17 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]




Why? Because fuck you, that's why.

Wisconsin takes aim at outdoors magazine, subscribers erupt
Twenty years of back issues in Jim Stroschein's attic attest to his love of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' magazine. Since 1919, the publication has featured stories and photos highlighting Wisconsin's natural splendor, from where to hunt, fish, hike and camp to what it's like to own a north woods cabin.

If Republican Gov. Scott Walker gets his way, this will be the magazine's last year. Even though it is sustained entirely by subscribers — it had nearly 84,000 as of December — Walker's proposed budget would end it next February. He argues that the state shouldn't be in the publishing business and that the DNR can reach more people through social media.

The proposal has outraged subscribers, particularly older ones who don't rely on the internet for news, and has Democrats wondering if the pro-industry governor wants to pull the plug because the publication promotes science.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:49 PM on April 9 [54 favorites]


Tourists from the UK and other US allies including Germany and France, could be forced to reveal personal data, as well as disclose financial information and face detailed ideological questioning, according to Trump administration officials quoted by the Wall Street Journal.
per Devonian's link. This would probably work as well, ie not at all, as the two previous Muslim ones but for a different reason: the UK and the EU would immediately institute a counter-vetting on all American tourists. Which would mightily piss off American tourists who are generally in the middle/upper middle class range and not used to being scrutinized at borders. (yes, generalizing here but think: tour groups of the sort advertised on PBS Sunday programs). Right as we enter the prime European vacation season.

btw, it was tried before, in the late 80s, the US decided to require visas for French visitors due to some contretemps and overnight American tourists needed to apply for one to enter France instead of getting a stamp on arrival. Mass confusion for a couple weeks until the US backed down.

So I'm optimistic.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:49 PM on April 9 [9 favorites]


From xcasex's link, this bit was especially interesting: Richard Spencer was attacked while leading a demonstration in Washington, D.C., against the military strikes against Syria.

Neo-Nazis obviously aren't opposed to violence per se, so I presume he was acting on behalf of his sponsor. He may have been doing it to show loyalty or it may demonstrate how seriously Russia regards the US attack on its ally, but in any event it's interesting to see his pragmatic regard for his genuine interests exposed.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:14 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


Ivanka Trump 'pushed for her father to bomb Syria'

-- A cable briefing to Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson by Britain’s ambassador to Washington Sir Kim Darroch said Ms Trump was influential in bringing about the bombings, those who saw the memo said.

-- Sources who read the message said the first daughter's position on the atrocity was a “significant influence in the Oval Office”. Ministers were told it meant the administration’s reaction was “stronger than expected”.

posted by futz at 2:26 PM on April 9 [13 favorites]


-- Sources who read the message said the first daughter's position on the atrocity was a “significant influence in the Oval Office”. Ministers were told it meant the administration’s reaction was “stronger than expected”.

How's she doing with the definition of "complicit" these days?
posted by nubs at 2:32 PM on April 9 [33 favorites]


Texas plans to designate official state gun along with other weapons
Utah became the first state to name an official firearm in 2011, citing the Browning M1911 automatic pistol. Arizona soon followed, adopting a Colt revolver four months after the mass shooting in Tucson that killed six and seriously injured more than a dozen others, including then-US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Indiana, West Virginia, Alaska and Pennsylvania followed, while last year the Barrett M82 became the official state rifle of Tennessee.
posted by XMLicious at 2:33 PM on April 9 [6 favorites]


So China fucked off from Mar-a-lago, we have a destroyer group headed in their direction, and we're not hearing anything about it?

There's just this ominous silence. From China and Donnie himself.
posted by angrycat at 2:35 PM on April 9 [11 favorites]


official state gun ha ha ha that's so fucking American, Jesus wept.
posted by angrycat at 2:36 PM on April 9 [32 favorites]


neo-nazi richard spencer punched in the face and then glitterbombed, again

Good. Sic semper assholes. Seriously, we don't need a national Purge, we just need to keep punching assholes whenever they poke their asshole heads out, and maybe eventually some of them will get the message to keep their asshole heads AND their asshole views to themselves.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 2:41 PM on April 9 [10 favorites]


I am very happy that the left in the U.S. is developing a reputation for the skilled application of organized violence against naziism. Thank you to everyone out there physically confronting nazi leaders; by terrorizing and humiliating them, you're destroying their ability to recruit nazi followers.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:52 PM on April 9 [22 favorites]


Will all the other guns have a sad?
posted by Artw at 3:01 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


Thanks, Buick!
posted by Coventry at 3:02 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


Jeremy Scahill says Fareed Zakaria ‘would have sex with’ missile strike, bashes media coverage of Syria on CNN

On CNN Sunday morning, award-winning journalist Jeremy Scahill bashed the “atrocious” media coverage of President Donald Trump’s missile attack in Syria. Scahill took particular aim at Fareed Zakaria who, after Thursday night’s attack, quickly proclaimed that he felt Trump “became President of the United States.”

“You know, Fareed Zakaria––if that guy could have sex with this cruise missile attack, I think he would do it,” Scahill argued to Brian Stelter, host of “Reliable Sources.” He also slammed Brian Williams after referring to the Pentagon video of the strike, as “beautiful.” Scahill said Williams appeared as if he was in “true love.”


more of this please.
posted by futz at 3:04 PM on April 9 [83 favorites]


Scahill makes another very good point:

He then told Stelter that CNN must “immediately withdraw all retired generals and colonels from its airwaves” arguing that major networks consistently fail to inform viewers that they have largely benefit from aggressive military actions. Stelter pressed him to elaborate and said it’s an “extreme view” that the public shouldn’t hear from military experts when military action is taking place.

“When you have these retired generals and colonels on, let’s hear what defense companies they’re on the boards of. Let’s hear how they have their own private companies that benefitted off of the Iraq war,” Scahill argued.

posted by futz at 3:08 PM on April 9 [76 favorites]


Texas plans to designate official state gun along with other weapons

when is Texas designating a state dildo?
posted by indubitable at 3:12 PM on April 9 [5 favorites]


If we designate a state broadaxe, can I start carrying one in public?
posted by Archelaus at 3:14 PM on April 9 [5 favorites]


Rick Perry is busy right now
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:14 PM on April 9 [5 favorites]


when is Texas designating a state dildo?

Already done.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 3:14 PM on April 9 [42 favorites]



UK -- most definitely, even if just from subs. If your nuclear triad has only one leg you want it to be subs.

Aren't the UK's warheads maintained by US technicians in a facility in North Carolina or something?


Hear also the Private Eye Podcast e.p. 94 (about 12 mins in). (According to) the UK has complete independence in terms of launching nukes at folks and turning them into mere (literal) shadows of their former selves. But, and as always, it's a big arse butt of a "but" it seems that once those babies are up and atmospheric and en route to the fields of destruction, then it's entirely up to Lockheed Martin (or whatever the fuckers are called these days) where and whether they land.


----
NICOLA STURGEON
Then Scotland will answer. Muster the Caldonians!



Bring forth the ancient bindings and spoons.

IIRC there was a great episode of Breaking the News where they went through all the words you want. (It bugs me how little the show is known, it's randomly good, but often so much better than).

Anyhoo I digress...

Think the episode in question featured Raymond Mearns (oddly aspy and adept at math) and Val McDermid
posted by Buntix at 3:15 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


So yesterday I decided to listen to some Kate Bush because it had been a long time. And it was enjoyable. And then the song "Breathing" came on and I had a panic reaction. (I don't want to say full-fledged panic attack -- but it was on the way there.)

After 25+ years of not being afraid (much) of nuclear annihilation -- I guess we are back to the 80s again. Only now I am older, have more of a sense of my own mortality, and have seen Threads. So it's far more scary now. Thanks Trump, MAGA assholes, Jill Stein voters, and the like. Thanks a whole fucking lot.

(For those unfamiliar with the song -- it's from the POV of a fetus whose mother has just survived a nuclear attack. The fetus is utterly reliant on the mother, of course, and the mother is reliant on breathing to live -- breathing the fallout which will kill them both. Near the end the background voices sing "We are all going to die--". Yeah, might want to block this song in iTunes for a while.)
posted by litlnemo at 3:15 PM on April 9 [8 favorites]


Resetting the "days since he has been punched" back to 0 again.
And glitter bombed. Couldn´t be better.
posted by adamvasco at 3:15 PM on April 9 [10 favorites]


So China fucked off from Mar-a-lago, we have a destroyer group headed in their direction, and we're not hearing anything about it?

According to Sleepy Tillerson, China is totes on board with taking action against North Korea (Guardian).
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:19 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


From GOP Senator Tom Cotton's op-ed: It’s hard to overstate just how low the standing of the United States had fallen because of President Barack Obama’s failure to enforce his own “red line” against Mr. Assad’s use of chemical weapons in 2013. I was one of the few Republican members of Congress who supported strikes against Syria then.

Possibly it was not Obama's failure then?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:19 PM on April 9 [34 favorites]




A bit of silliness: I used one of Phlegmco(tm)'s great drawings to make this.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:37 PM on April 9 [5 favorites]


[Jesus Saves! (his comments for topical matters, he does not derail.)]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:40 PM on April 9 [14 favorites]


Mulvaney will order agencies to plan for big cuts

Around midweek, Mick Mulvaney's Office of Management and Budget will send a "guidance" letter to federal agencies ordering them to create plans to make themselves significantly smaller and less costly. It's part of Mulvaney's effort to make the federal government more efficient.

This could be a big deal, and it fits in with Bannon's plan to deconstruct — or, as Kushner would have it, reconstruct and reimagine — the "administrative state."

The guidance stems from Trump's March 13 executive order, which called for a "comprehensive plan" to reorganize the executive branch. Agencies will likely consider selling real estate, laying off personnel, and eliminating programs deemed redundant. It's possible some agencies or components could be closed down or folded into other agencies.

posted by futz at 4:03 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


Surprised that the admin hasn't floated the idea of selling off all the huge gov't buildings it owns on DC, razing them and building some condos. Or is that for the second term?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 4:06 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


i wonder how many parcels of government real estate will be sold to trump shell corps and it'll be just another outrage for a moment before a bigger outrage and it sinks down the memory hole
posted by localhuman at 4:29 PM on April 9 [16 favorites]




So if Trump was all set to not bomb something, but then was influenced by his daughter to bomb something, does that still count as "presidential"? Asking for a friend.
posted by supercrayon at 4:36 PM on April 9 [7 favorites]


Ivanka Trump 'pushed for her father to bomb Syria'

"Complicit. For sophisticated women...who love the smell of napalm in the morning."
posted by Lyme Drop at 4:42 PM on April 9 [10 favorites]


Sorry to continue the "main street" derail, but I've been thinking about this a lot lately. My hometown is the suburb King of the Hill was based on. When I grew up in the 90s, our "main street" was allantique shops and shuttered old buildings. As I've gone back home over the years, I've found that it's gained coffee shops, local restaurants, and a really cool microbrewery. It's in the midst of a concerted redevelopment project.

When my grandmother died, my grandfather moved to the nearest city to his hometown, Grand Island, NE. The town clearly has two parts - the empty field just outside of town full of big box stores - Walmart, Best Buy, Starbucks, various chain restaurants, and many local places in the strip malls trying to get by. The downtown area has bars, a recently closed favorite steak palce, a brew pub, coffee shops, antique stores, and vape shops.

When we buried my grandfather, we went to his hometown Ashland and had lunch at the only bar on main street. The owners' kids served us beer while they watched their baby brother in the back room. It was the only place to eat in town.

Some towns are too small for the chain restaurants and big box stores to care about. Even the towns with Walmart and Target can have recovering downtowns that seem to be growing out of a need for community. Maybe you can't buy nail clippers or duct tape, but they'll have bars, coffee shops, and restaurants that are trying to be the focus point for a more engaged, connected community. Also, for some reason, there's a lot of vape shops, I'm assuming because there's not a large national 'Starbucks' of vape shops to totally crush that market yet.

In conclusion, "main street america" is a land of contrasts.
posted by heathkit at 4:46 PM on April 9 [10 favorites]


The NUKE MAP

This made me sad. I thought I was within the "insta'd" radius of DC for what a Russian/Chinese strike would be. Turns out I'm in the 2nd degree burns radius!

!FUN!
posted by Slackermagee at 4:48 PM on April 9


So if Trump was all set to not bomb something, but then was influenced by his daughter to bomb something, does that still count as "presidential"?

It all depends on the tone of the movie score at that moment.
posted by Coventry at 5:05 PM on April 9 [5 favorites]


Utah became the first state to name an official firearm in 2011, citing the Browning M1911 automatic pistol. Arizona soon followed, adopting a Colt revolver four months after the mass shooting in Tucson that killed six and seriously injured more than a dozen others, including then-US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Indiana, West Virginia, Alaska and Pennsylvania followed, while last year the Barrett M82 became the official state rifle of Tennessee.

Something something something, government picking winners and losers, something something.
posted by Talez at 5:17 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
Tens of millions of dollars in airstrikes had no impact because key leaders fled after hearing ON NEWS REPORTS the strikes were coming. DUMB


@tedfrank Retweeted Donald J. Trump
It's like Trump insulted an old gypsy woman who cursed him to live out his tweets.
posted by chris24 at 5:38 PM on April 9 [76 favorites]


Bill O’Reilly’s ratings are actually higher than they were since the sexual harassment allegations

More than 3.7 million people tuned into “The O’Reilly Factor” on Monday, and 3.8 million did so Tuesday, according to USA Today, despite the report by the New York Times. (The previous week, the highest-rated O’Reilly show had 2.3 million viewers.)
posted by futz at 6:06 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


AP: Trump Scraps Tax Plan Before Actually Shopping It To Congress, Starts Over
The White House is trying to learn the lessons from health care.

Trump, who brands himself as a deal-maker, has not said which trade-offs he might accept and he has remained noncommittal on the leading blueprint, from Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.
that's some good learnin' right there
posted by murphy slaw at 6:14 PM on April 9 [5 favorites]


@JoyAnnReid on the shake-up at NatSec:

A GOP source tells me the K.T. McFarland ouster was ugly. McMaster told her it's Singapore or nothing. She was holding out for sweeter deal.

Asked the source if the administration was eager to put McFarland far away in Sinagapore out of subpoena reach. Answer: absolutely.

One more sip of tea: asked source who's in more jeopardy for bringing Russiagate to Trumpworld: Flynn or Manafort. Answer: "follow Flynn."

posted by chaoticgood at 6:21 PM on April 9 [32 favorites]


How is the Singapore Embassy out of subpoena reach?
posted by Coventry at 6:29 PM on April 9 [10 favorites]


So I live between two towns with fairly good Town Squares. One is a relatively wealthy small town with good tourist traffic. It's got the twee boutique thing going, along with some really high end restaurants. The boutiques seem to mostly come and go, though, so I'm not sure how great they really do. Unfortunately every time a decent local restaurant goes in, it folds. There was an exceptional breakfast cafe that mostly served locals and I was devastated when it closed. And a good German place was there for about 8 months. It seems like the only places that can stay open are the upscale places for the elite of the town and bourgeois tourists.

The other nearby town is much, much poorer. It's downtown is much more empty and quieter. One one restaurant, that's sort of generic burgers and stuff. But there's also a local hardware store, a western clothing store, auto parts store. Because the town doesn't have literally anywhere else but Walmart. So if you need something Walmart doesn't have, you go to the local place. Or if you want slightly better quality, like really hard-wearing cowboy clothes. There's​ no tourist traffic, and the people who live there are less likely to drive 40 miles into another town to shop, because they're poor and a lot are elderly​.

I don't know which is really better, but I know which town I'd rather live in, and it's the first one because there's so much more happening there and more jobs and opportunities.
posted by threeturtles at 6:46 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


What does the junior Supreme Court justice do? Kagan tells Gorsuch it starts in the kitchen

-- Kagan is a storyteller, and knows this is a topic that audiences usually eat up, so she played it for all it was worth.

The junior justice has three unique responsibilities, she said. But in recounting them, she always starts with the fact that the newest justice is assigned to cafeteria duty and keeps it until the next justice is confirmed.

“I think this is a way to kind of humble people,” she said during the “fireside chat” at the elegant Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs. “You think you’re kind of hot stuff. You’re an important person. You’ve just been confirmed to the United States Supreme Court.

“And now you are going to monthly cafeteria committee meetings where literally the agenda is what happened to the good recipe for the chocolate chip cookies.”

The justices eat lunch together on the days when they hear oral arguments, Kagan explained.

“Somebody will say, ‘Who’s our representative to the cafeteria committee again?’ Like they don’t know, right? And then they’ll say, ‘This soup is very salty.’ And I’m like supposed to go fix it myself?”

-- “The third thing--this is the most important junior justice responsibility--I open the door,” she said.

Kagan said there are no exceptions to the rule of who answers the door.

“Literally, if I’m like in the middle of a sentence--let’s say it’s my turn to speak or something--and there’s a knock on the door, everybody will just stare at me, waiting for me to open the door,” Kagan said. “It’s like a form of hazing. So, that’s what I do, I open the door. Pronto.”

posted by futz at 6:47 PM on April 9 [57 favorites]


“Somebody will say, ‘Who’s our representative to the cafeteria committee again?’ Like they don’t know, right? And then they’ll say, ‘This soup is very salty.’ And I’m like supposed to go fix it myself?”

What. There are only 9 (8) of them. And they're all somewhere north of middle-class. Order takeout.
posted by dis_integration at 7:09 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


I hope she used the power of the cafeteria-purse to force Scalia to eat broccoli.
posted by XMLicious at 7:23 PM on April 9 [10 favorites]


> What. There are only 9 (8) of them. And they're all somewhere north of middle-class. Order takeout.

NO. Hell no in fact. I love that Supreme Court justices are on the cafeteria committee.

Okay, it's a lazy Sunday, I'll tell my short "why I am on the left rather than in the middle or the right" explanation. There are problems with it and it's maybe over-simplistic but it's the thing that for whatever reason I can't emotionally or intellectually abstract away from.

I realized when I moved away from home, and then again after the end of a relationship where I was (despite my desire not to be) a total housework mooch. The language of the realization was "If I don't clean the place where I live I don't really live there." I'm taking a slice of the experience of living there, the best slice, the sweet slice, and offloading the more difficult bitter part on someone else. This is I think why I've always been skeptical of housekeeping services — even aside from the racism and misogyny inherent in how our society has configured housekeeping jobs — because it seems like the abstraction of money is not commensurable in any way to the experience of handling the cleanup required to undo the mess generated by me living and breathing and shutting and pissing and fucking and eating and writing and playing games. And I can't shake the sense that everyone involved loses out when we try to commensurate things like "dealing with the consequences of life" and money.

And that is why I like that Supreme Court justices have cafeteria committee. I wish they all did it, and I wish they didn't understand doing it as a punishment. But I'm glad they have it. Doing the material work of wrangling out a menu could make them better justices. If we had a bunch of practices like this, a whole bunch, it might move justices to the left over their time on the bench, no matter where they started.

I know this line of reasoning can lead to like "rugged individualism" or whatever taken in the wrong direction. IMO taking it in the right direction means admitting that no matter how diligent we are, we'll never (metaphorically or literally) be able to fully clean up after ourselves, and so we have to deeply respect all of those who help us clean up our messes and help them clean up after their own and grant respect to others in accordance to how much and how well they help us clean up all of our mutual messes. and I know that if I really believed it as a general principle I'd pay much, much more attention to where my clothes are made and the way my digital things are made. And I probably wouldn't order takeout so much. but that "if I don't clean the place I live don't really live there" sentence is inescapable for me, at least right now.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:34 PM on April 9 [52 favorites]


tl;dr: all power to the people who don't think they're too good for cafeteria committee
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:40 PM on April 9 [39 favorites]


My head is getting dizzy from trying to keep track of all the Russian names. Normally a loyal lurker, I'd just like to say as others have that I'm eternally grateful for these threads. Oh, and there's this:

"Chabad of Port Washington, a Jewish community center on Long Island’s Manhasset Bay, sits in a squat brick edifice across from a Shell gas station and a strip mall. The center is an unexceptional building on an unexceptional street, save for one thing: Some of the shortest routes between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin run straight through it."
posted by kemrocken at 7:49 PM on April 9 [5 favorites]


On the plus side, NY now has free public college for people who's parents earn less than $100K. When someone asks how they intend to pay for it we can just say "one less airstrike on Syria".

(Seriously though, the yearly cost of these scholarships is 0.1% of the New York state budget).
posted by Talez at 8:36 PM on April 9 [22 favorites]


In the world of shitty government budget metaphors, that's the equivalent of the proverbial family making the New York State median average of $60,850/year paying $60.85 to send their kid to college debt free.
posted by Talez at 8:39 PM on April 9 [9 favorites]


This made me sad. I thought I was within the "insta'd" radius of DC for what a Russian/Chinese strike would be. Turns out I'm in the 2nd degree burns radius!

!FUN!

Then you'll be delighted to know that the nuke map is somewhat obsolete, because modern missiles contain multiple reentry vehicles that break out before explosion [example: an action shot from the old Peacekeeper design].

Modern nukes might well still get you, and you'd be likely to die in the firestorm while you were in shock in any case. Happy days.
posted by jaduncan at 8:40 PM on April 9


Okay, I hate to admit this, but I ended up watching "Say Yes to the Dress" over the weekend. For those of you not familiar with this American TV program, it's set in a high-end bridal boutique. Every episode two or three soon-to-be brides and their (typically stupidly large and mouthy) entourages come in and shop for wedding dresses. Quite often, the dresses are ridiculously expensive (as in you could buy a new car for the price of a dress, or a low mileage late model used car).

The reason I'm mentioning this here is because the current episode happened to feature Omarosa Whateverherlastnameis. That's right, the Apprentice contestant turned White House staffer. Her being on the show was a VERY BIG DEAL, at least according to the way the network (sleazy TLC) was promoting it.

The other thing I should mention is that they always show the price of the dresses. But for some reason, I didn't notice any prices being mentioned in the Omarosa segment. In her introduction, she indicated she really didn't have a price limit in mind, but she wanted something big and dramatic (or words to that effect). So I got curious and decided to see how much the dress was she ended up purchasing. I thought it was possible that I just missed the bit where they showed how much the dress was worth. Nope. Apparently not.

"Financial disclosures released last week revealed that Manigault was given an estimated $25,000 in merchandise from Kleinfeld Bridal for an appearance on the TLC show "Say Yes to the Dress."

How the heck is this even possible? Fine, she disclosed the "gift" but doesn't going on a TV show promoting Trump and the White House (which was absolutely done) in return for the favour of free merchandise bend or break some ethics guideline? Yeah, okay, I know the ethics handbook has been tossed out the window with this administration, but I thought maybe that was just for the top echelon of the Trump power chain, not the lower level worker bees.

For anybody who is really curious, there is an assortment of pictures of the pink wedding gown here.
posted by sardonyx at 8:52 PM on April 9 [21 favorites]


Cabinet-level snowflake Betsy DeVos burdens taxpayers more than any previous SecEd: Security for Betsy DeVos Costing Education Dept. Nearly $8M for 8 Months (WaPo)
The stepped up security began in February, following a threat assessment ordered by the U.S. Attorney General, the marshals service said. The agency only said it determined a threat to her safety exists, and did not elaborate.

Under an agreement between the marshals service and the Department of Education, the education department will reimburse the marshals service $7.78 million for security for the nearly eight months from Feb. 13 through September, and the protection will continue for the next four years.

If the current reimbursement rate remains the same, that totals to around $1 million per month.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:00 PM on April 9 [13 favorites]


On the SNL Kentucky Skit: SNL Skit about Kentucky is More Patronizing, Elitist Nonsense

As I watched the skit, I was disappointed but in no way surprised. The SNL skit is a perfect embodiment of the elitist liberal sentiment that helped Trump get elected in November.
...
But I make the distinction between Trump and Trump supporters. Because to me, most Trump supporters aren’t naive at all…instead they are people who are happy to finally have someone, anyone tell them their lives and areas of the country are important. For the last 50 years, virtually every national politician has forgotten about places like rural Kentucky. What used to be a description of a huge part of the electorate, the “Blue Collar Democrat”, is now almost a relic from the past. The reasons why are numerous, but I think the vast majority come down to one word…respect.
...
So long as working class people are not represented in Washington, either by corporate Republicans who only care about the top 1% (like Mitch McConnell) or candidates who speak with disdain about their culture (like Hillary Clinton), individuals will always gravitate to those who affirm their worth. This was Trump’s greatest trait and the reason his support in such areas was so strong.


Don't be fooled by the URL, Matt Jones is a Duke law grad and former law clerk on the DC Circuit, who hosts the most popular radio show in Kentucky (yes, about basketball, and other stuff). He was a serious candidate approached by the DNC to run against House Rep. Andy Barr and ultimately declined. It's almost a certainty he'll run as a Democrat in Kentucky sometime in the next few cycles.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:18 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


My head is getting dizzy from trying to keep track of all the Russian names.

Yeah, we need one of those character lists like in the front of Clavell paperbacks
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:20 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


Oh, and Matt Jones' on air radio debate likely propelled Gov. Matt Bevin to victory. So, there's that.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:21 PM on April 9


You know, I think that SNL skit is stupid and I understand his point, but this is just another version of the same hot take that's been going on for years now. I find the rehash as offensive as the sketch.

I think the vast majority come down to one word…respect.

Oh please tell me again how it's all about respect, wet-behind-the-ears white guy who went to Duke law.

He can take the "elitist liberal sentiment" nonsense, the casting of Clinton as one of the "candidates who speak with disdain about their culture," [?] and the idea that Trump affirmed anyone's worth, and go soak his head.

Trump didn't "affirm their worth," he asserted that they were more deserving than others. Part of the "culture" a lot of people hold so dear insists that women and men, foreigners and PoC, act certain ways, and they don't even make the slightest attempt to respect their/our cultures and beliefs.

These fragile notions of whiteness and masculinity that demand respect without earning it can please just rejoin all the other bullshit that revanchist patriarchs want to shove down our throats. I have treated such people with respect and common decency and cheek-turning my entire life, and honestly I think it might be time to throw some glitter on some goddamn Nazis and stop hearing privileged white men tell us how much it's all about respect. If they want some respect they can try fucking giving it for a change.
posted by aspersioncast at 10:00 PM on April 9 [92 favorites]


I mean he's telling me they're not stupid, they just want respect, even if they know the guy they respect is a liar and probably doesn't really respect them. And I'm like, yeah, now that you mention it, maybe they're actually just fucking stupid.

gonna go calm down now, this whole framing really pisses me right off
posted by aspersioncast at 10:07 PM on April 9 [17 favorites]


> As I watched the skit, I was disappointed but in no way surprised. The SNL skit is a perfect embodiment of the elitist liberal sentiment that helped Trump get elected in November.

Jones continues:
The sentiment is what drove many long-time working class people in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania to switch sides and vote for Trump after years of voting for Democrats.
This is only true when "years of voting for Democrats" is taken to mean "voting for a specific Democrat who was also a once-in-a-generation political talent twice, once as a popular incumbent", and is not actually descriptive of any longer trend, as Ohio went for Bush twice. Was the Rust Belt winnable? Sure. Was there a large population of people who went for Donald Trump that would have totally gone for Hillary Clinton if only Democrats had less of a cultural blind spot about the people who live there? That's a much bolder claim, and frankly one I've seen scant evidence for.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:16 PM on April 9 [19 favorites]


"They hate you because you don't respect them," is the world's worst justification. The fact that it is so frequently trotted out, decade after decade, just shows how deeply damaging the patriarchy mind-virus is. Yet even so, there are moral limits to sympathy: just because their hate and incoherent rationalizations are the result of societally-inflicted damage, doesn't mean that they don't deserve our disgust. It's funny how often one finds oneself saying of the Trump supporters, No, I understand them perfectly well -- I just don't like them.
posted by chortly at 10:19 PM on April 9 [20 favorites]


"Don't be fooled by the URL, Matt Jones is a Duke law grad and former law clerk on the DC Circuit, who hosts the most popular radio show in Kentucky (yes, about basketball, and other stuff). He was a serious candidate approached by the DNC to run against House Rep. Andy Barr and ultimately declined. It's almost a certainty he'll run as a Democrat in Kentucky sometime in the next few cycles."

Ugh I went to law school with that guy and he is literally the worst, that's kind-of terrible news.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:19 PM on April 9 [48 favorites]


I'll just say he was into negging before negging was cool, and Tucker Max was a nicer dude. I have rarely disliked and distrusted someone so much.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:21 PM on April 9 [62 favorites]


Cabinet-level snowflake Betsy DeVos burdens taxpayers more than any previous SecEd: Security for Betsy DeVos Costing Education Dept. Nearly $8M for 8 Months (WaPo)

IIRC, Andrew Cuomo's "Zero tuition at state/community schools for families earning < 125k/yr" will cost, statewide $187M per year.

So, 4 years of Eric Price's Sister's ADDITIONAL Security ( just to point out the exceptionally ironic aspect ) = 48M USD == 1/4 of all NYS "Not wealthy" student tuition at state/community schools for a year.
posted by mikelieman at 10:52 PM on April 9 [9 favorites]


If they want some respect they can try fucking giving it for a change.

As I ask the 10 year old asking about some perk, "What have you done to EARN it?"
posted by mikelieman at 10:55 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


I'll just say he was into negging before negging was cool,
We know what you meant but negging was never cool.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:10 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Further in the tragicomedy that is Gorka:

Trump aide drew plan on napkin to partition Libya into three
Exclusive: Sebastian Gorka told proposal would be ‘the worst solution’ when he suggested it to senior European diplomat
A senior White House foreign policy official has pushed a plan to partition Libya, and once drew a picture of how the country could be divided into three areas on a napkin in a meeting with a senior European diplomat, the Guardian has learned.

Sebastian Gorka, a deputy assistant to Donald Trump under pressure over his past ties with Hungarian far-right groups, suggested the idea of partition in the weeks leading up to the US president’s inauguration, according to an official with knowledge of the matter. The European diplomat responded that this would be “the worst solution” for Libya.

Gorka is vying for the job of presidential special envoy to Libya [emphasis added] in a White House that has so far spent little time thinking about the country and has yet to decide whether to create such a post.
Changing standards: I'm aware it's odd that I'd take a Singapore Mark II where Gorka could have his exit as the quasi-open Nazi envoy to somewhere unimportant. Right now I'm not completely sure he won't end up as the envoy to somewhere that has an ongoing civil war, is on a major human trafficking route, and needs actual sensible assistance to avoid thousands upon thousands of deaths a year.
posted by jaduncan at 1:39 AM on April 10 [6 favorites]


Why would he want to leave the White House to go to Libya? The only reason I can think of is he thinks he can get involved in some sweet oil deals.
posted by PenDevil at 1:48 AM on April 10


Like I touched on, McFarland just got sacked via being offered the ambassadorship to Singapore. If he's been told that the Nazi thing is finally approaching a bar to WH employment, he might be looking for a job.
posted by jaduncan at 2:06 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


[A couple deleted; let's not go through a complete new round of angry reactions on the latest installment of "Understanding Trump Voters Who Voted For Trump Because They Don't Get The [BLANK] They Deserve." We've had hundreds and hundreds of comments and whole threads about this, so unless we're covering some sort of new territory let's not fill up space with the same stuff. (Also, avoiding big-time Louis CK derail.) ]
posted by taz at 4:45 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Politico: White House on edge as 100-day judgment nears
More than 30 Trump staffers piled into a conference room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjoining the White House, according to a half-dozen attendees who described the Tuesday meeting.

Mike Dubke, Trump’s communications director, and his deputy, Jessica Ditto, kicked off the discussion of how to package Trump’s tumultuous first 100 days by pitching the need for a “rebranding” to get Trump back on track.
“I think the president’s head would explode if he heard that,” one of the White House officials present said.

Staffers, including counselor Kellyanne Conway, were broken into three groups, complete with whiteboards, markers and giant butcher-block-type paper to brainstorm lists of early successes. One group worked in the hallway.

“It made me feel like I was back in 5th grade,” complained another White House aide who was there. “That’s the best way I could describe it.”
I know that there aren't really surprises in here, but something about a group of grown men and women gathering together to sell a shit sandwich just so their boss won't fly off the handle... yeesh.

I guess we really are trying to run our country like a business, albeit one with a toxic man-baby in charge.
posted by snortasprocket at 4:58 AM on April 10 [38 favorites]


Oh how far we've come from Dems running from Obamacare in elections.

TV ads slam Republicans over would-be Obamacare repeal
Moderate House Republicans who flirted with supporting the GOP's now-stalled Obamacare replacement will face attack ads in their districts this week for doing so. Save My Care, a coalition of left-leaning health care advocacy groups fighting to preserve Obamacare, is launching a seven-figure TV ad buy in seven competitive House districts across the country.

It's one of the first attempts by the left to weaponize the GOP's failed attempt to repeal Obamacare, and it comes as Republicans arrive at home for a two-week recess after trying and failing repeatedly to coalesce behind a health care plan.

"Congressman [Darrell] Issa promised to protect our health care, but when right-wing politicians tried to pass a disastrous health care repeal bill that raises cost and cuts coverage, Issa wouldn't oppose them," a male narrator intones as ominous music plays, in one version of the 30-second spot.

The ads target five Republican lawmakers from districts won by Hillary Clinton, including Issa, whose Orange County district Clinton carried by eight points. Other Republicans in Clinton-won districts include Arizona's Martha McSally, Colorado's Mike Coffman and Florida's Carlos Curbelo and California's David Valadao. Two lawmakers from districts carried won by President Donald Trump — Florida's Brian Mast and New Jersey's Tom MacArthur — will face similar ads.
posted by chris24 at 5:10 AM on April 10 [19 favorites]


That Politico article is hilarious in that it's all about how they're nervous that they have to do a good job getting the media to report nice things about the president... in an article full of leaked anecdotes about what a terrible president he is.

Dubke, who did not work on the campaign, told the assembled aides that international affairs would present a messaging challenge because the president lacks a coherent foreign policy. Three days later, Trump would order missile strikes in Syria in a reversal of years of previous opposition to such intervention.
posted by winna at 5:24 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


Please no one tell these people that the first rule of being successful criminals is to stop snitching.
posted by winna at 5:25 AM on April 10 [13 favorites]


Oh, and the Gorka thing is so clearly a leak to attempt to deny him the Libya job that I have to think that someone, somewhere, is worried that he might actually get it.
posted by jaduncan at 5:42 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Mike Dubke, Trump’s communications director, and his deputy, Jessica Ditto

Jessica Ditto

it's like the writers aren't even trying anymore
posted by murphy slaw at 5:47 AM on April 10 [28 favorites]


I don't want war, guys. :(
posted by INFJ at 5:55 AM on April 10 [7 favorites]


oh, and there's also this gem from that politico article:
Dubke told POLITICO he was disappointed White House staff would complain in the press rather than in real time.
trump's staff are communicating with each other through leaks and it's become so routine that Dubke is just disappointed
posted by murphy slaw at 5:56 AM on April 10 [9 favorites]


‘People Just Flat-Out Lie’: Andrea Mitchell’s covered seven White Houses. Then came Trump. ‘I’ve never seen anything like this,’ she tells The Global Politico.
President Trump called her “Hillary Clinton’s P.R. person” when she got a scoop he didn’t like last week. Controversial Fox News host Bill O’Reilly called her “unruly” when she shouted questions at Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Well, it turns out Andrea Mitchell, the veteran White House correspondent and host of “The Andrea Mitchell Report” on MSNBC, has some words for them too. In a new interview for The Global Politico, our weekly podcast on world affairs in the Trump era, Mitchell says that after covering every president since Jimmy Carter, Donald Trump is by far the most hostile to the press—and to the truth—she’s ever seen, with a White House staff using the briefing room as a daily disinformation machine and a president and secretary of state outright undermining the ability of reporters to do their job.

“It is totally sui generis. I’ve never seen anything like this,” Mitchell says. “I have never seen anything like this where people just flat-out lie. You know, black is white and white is black, and they mislead you. It's really disconcerting to see the podium in the White House briefing room being used to mislead or misdirect or obfuscate.”

And then there’s the matter of Tillerson and his outright refusal to talk to reporters like Mitchell who’ve spent a lifetime on the diplomatic beat – and won’t even be bringing the usual complement of journalists along when he heads to Moscow for a crucial first visit this week amid escalating tensions over Trump’s airstrike on Russia proxy Syria. “There is just an attempt, and it’s successful, to shut down not just me but The New York Times, The Washington Post, Agence France-Presse, CNN. I mean, we're all just shut out,” Mitchell says. “You should not be flying into Beijing without a press corps. You should not be going to Moscow without the press corps. It's wrong.”

Oh, and another thing she’d like to get straight: She’s not, she insists, some pro-Clinton hack. “I’ve covered seven presidents now,” Mitchell tells me, “and have not endeared myself to any of them. That’s the job. We are adversarial.”
posted by chris24 at 6:18 AM on April 10 [45 favorites]


More than 30 Trump staffers piled into a conference room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjoining the White House, according to a half-dozen attendees who described the Tuesday meeting.

Out of 30 people, 20% of them leaked it to Politico
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:20 AM on April 10 [78 favorites]


Neo-Nazis obviously aren't opposed to violence per se, so I presume he was acting on behalf of his sponsor.

Who do you mean by Richard Spencer's "sponsor"?
posted by Greg Nog at 6:24 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


Neo-Nazis obviously aren't opposed to violence per se, so I presume he was acting on behalf of his sponsor.

The implication is that Spencer is sponsored by the Russians. Doubtful. Does he eat up RT propaganda with relish? Sure. What good American white Supremacist (or edgelord confused lefty) doesn't these days? But he's probably not a Russian agent.
posted by dis_integration at 6:27 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


There isn't a Nazi alive on the planet these days who isn't indirectly connected to Putin - it's how they roll now. I wouldn't be surprised at a more direct connection either.
posted by Artw at 6:29 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


This made me sad. I thought I was within the "insta'd" radius of DC for what a Russian/Chinese strike would be. Turns out I'm in the 2nd degree burns radius!

!FUN!

Then you'll be delighted to know that the nuke map is somewhat obsolete, because modern missiles contain multiple reentry vehicles that break out before explosion.

Modern nukes might well still get you, and you'd be likely to die in the firestorm while you were in shock in any case. Happy days.


Also factor in that Russia has ~2500 warheads on active, and around ~4500 total usable if there was time to ramp up the arsenal. (We have about the same.) That's MORE than enough to put a couple of craters on every city. Why so many? The war plans are more complicated than just "nuke the cities". In fact, aside from a few politically strategic targets like Manhattan and the Pentagon/White House; the targets are: Missile Silos. Airports. Sea ports. Bridges. Factories. And then a good line of them up the midwest to dump fallout across the breadbasket. The point is to wreck anything you could use after the exchange.

So, you're probably closer than you think to something with an X on it.

Go on, play with nukemap a little. You've got 2500 warheads. just TRY to use them all. Save yourself some time and don't worry about the 500 or so you have to dump on the dakotas for all the silos. I mean, we just used 60 tomahawks on *one shitty airbase* in Syria. This is how modern missile warfare works.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 6:45 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


I might be wrong about this, but I was under the impression that while Russia had a lot of nukes, most of them are comparatively smaller...?
posted by Jpfed at 6:53 AM on April 10


I just put my one year old son down for a nap and the nuclear war talk is honestly stressing me the fuck out.

I understand it's relevant, somewhat, to current international affairs but can we please please please keep the narrative of how we're all going to die in a fireball if we're lucky to a dedicated thread? Please?
posted by lydhre at 6:54 AM on April 10 [9 favorites]


jpfed: you may have that backwards. Russian missiles aren't (or weren't back in in the first cold war) all that accurate, compared to ours. So, theirs were/are larger yield so they can better wreck the thing they targeted. OUR warheads are tunable yield. (yeah. tunable. it's totally bananas.)
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 6:56 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Is there a dedicated thread right now about nuclear war?
posted by Greg Nog at 6:58 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


More than 30 Trump staffers piled into a conference room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjoining the White House, according to a half-dozen attendees who described the Tuesday meeting.

Out of 30 people, 20% of them leaked it to Politico


Thanks to the Trump administration, think of all the new jobs being created for stiletto sharpeners and stab-proof body armor manufacturers.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:00 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


One of the main things I appreciate about these threads is a decent ability to help me gauge where I should be freaked out about topic A, B, or C, or etc. So until there's a dedicated thread to nuclear warfare, or a truly imminent threat, is there some way we can mark the nuke talk as idle chit-chat and speculation?
posted by witchen at 7:01 AM on April 10 [9 favorites]


Oh, and another thing she’d like to get straight: She’s not, she insists, some pro-Clinton hack. “I’ve covered seven presidents now,” Mitchell tells me, “and have not endeared myself to any of them. That’s the job. We are adversarial.”

I can't even believe folks are advancing this argument; she's married to Alan Greenspan, FFS.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:02 AM on April 10 [14 favorites]


the nuclear war talk is honestly stressing me

On my journey into work on the bus this morning, a mother was reading the newspaper with her (about) 6 year old son. Looking at the headlines, she said:

'Oh god, there's going to be a war!'

The boy replied:

'If there is, can you tell me so that I can stay at home please?'

There was something so touching and sad about that, that it has affected my whole day.
posted by Myeral at 7:03 AM on April 10 [41 favorites]


[Yeah, y'all, maybe just do the math on how much "let's constantly speculatively contemplate nuclear scenarios in-thread" is actually going to help anything or improve anyone's mental state and consider taking it to a sidechannel if a few of you are genuinely enthusiastic about the topic.]
posted by cortex at 7:03 AM on April 10 [24 favorites]


Mike Dubke, Trump’s communications director, and his deputy, Jessica Ditto

It's probably been remarked, but it's like all these names were invented by Thomas Pynchon as little subtextual winks at the reader. [on preview murphyslaw beat me to it.]
posted by aspersioncast at 7:08 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


On my journey into work on the bus this morning, a mother was reading the newspaper with her (about) 6 year old son. Looking at the headlines, she said:

'Oh god, there's going to be a war!'


Pushing through the market square
So many mothers sighing
News had just come over
We had five years left to cry in
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:12 AM on April 10 [14 favorites]


Texas plans to designate official state gun along with other weapons

Surely the M-1 Carbine, or maybe the Carcano Model 91/38?
posted by leotrotsky at 7:24 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


A new acquaintance is the son of an Air Force pilot who was at one time stationed in a missle silo. We had a conversation about this on Saturday and he helped reassure me that we are a long way from impending nukes.

He added that the nuclear football is only something that the President uses to authorize the use of nukes - the actual decision TO use them is still left up to the military itself, and he says that the conditions to use nukes do not now exist, and that the military knows that.

I don't recall the details in full. But I will say that I have always been screamingly paranoid about this kind of thing and he left me feeling relieved, so I offer that as reassurance.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:26 AM on April 10 [16 favorites]


the actual decision TO use them is still left up to the military itself,

I believe that's completely untrue outside of a technical sense. Trump is the commander in chief. The military does what he says.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:29 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


The upshot is that McConnell drew a protective fence around Russian efforts to sabotage Clinton’s candidacy, by characterizing any effort to stop it as partisan politicization of intelligence at Trump’s expense.

Oh, goody. Then I hope we get to see McConnell in the dock for treason along with the rest of the Trump crew.
posted by Gelatin at 7:31 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


neo-nazi richard spencer punched in the face and then glitterbombed, again

Dude's gonna start looking like Scott Sterling after a while.

"Come on, Richard! Tell us more about who to hate!"
*Spencer desperately tries to crawl out of camera range*
posted by leotrotsky at 7:32 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


We haven't heard from Kellyanne Conway for a whole now, have we? Maybe she took a comms job with United Airlines given how well they're doing over there.
posted by zachlipton at 7:38 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


WaPo's got some stuff worth sharing today...

-How Bannon’s multimedia machine drove a movement and paid him millions

-Marine Le Pen: France ‘not responsible’ for deporting Jews during Holocaust

-The Soviet Union fought the Cold War in Nicaragua. Now Putin’s Russia is back.

-Trump officials tell Russia to drop its support for Syria’s Assad

From that last link:
"Several analysts said that Assad has humiliated Putin by using chemical weapons despite Russia’s guarantee that Syria’s stockpiles would be whisked away. Moscow’s interest in getting sanctions eased is greater than its loyalty to Assad. And that could provide maneuvering room for Tillerson."
Bonus non-WaPo link...

-Cruise Missile Hypocrisy by Sen Chris Murphy, who I am really starting to like. (I think I signed one of his online petitions and got on his mailing list that way, so I've been reading a bunch of analysis pieces he's published, and they all seem spot on to me.)
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:40 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


I can't even believe folks are advancing this argument; she's married to Alan Greenspan, FFS

Not that she shouldn't have opinions, but back when I watched cable news and MSNBC I always thought this fact was under-disclosed.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:41 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


I can't even believe folks are advancing this argument; she's married to Alan Greenspan, FFS

Covered pretty explicitly in the article.
But though she soon became well-known for her willingness to ask tough questions—the word “aggressive” appears in every article ever written about her journalism—Mitchell has also evolved, over the years, into an insider, an emblem of the Washington swamp that Trump promised to drain in his campaign. When Mark Leibovich wrote his bestselling book This Town about the cozy, at times unholy, nexus between the Beltway power elite and the journalists who covered them, Mitchell was a star case in point, whose power-schmoozing at the side of her husband, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, led the Washington Post to call her “a conflict of interest in human form.”

All of which may make it all the more surprising that Andrea Mitchell hasn’t gone off sulking in a corner over the Trump presidency or simply complaining about the lack of White House access these days, as many others have been reduced to, at the Georgetown salons where she and Greenspan remain a staple of A-list dinner parties. Unless you know her, that is.
posted by chris24 at 7:42 AM on April 10


this is the best comment i've seen on the richard spencer situation so far:
Really enjoying that Richard Spencer’s whole thing is “Nazi who is constantly, enormously owned”
-- @markpopham
posted by murphy slaw at 7:50 AM on April 10 [20 favorites]


Apropos of state guns and launching nukes, no love for the M-28 Davy Crockett recoilless rifle? It's a ground-based short-range nuke launcher! It can kill its own operator if fired into an adverse wind or at the wrong angle! Truly, the crowning marvel of the US's ill-conceived tactical-nukes program.
posted by jackbishop at 7:59 AM on April 10 [6 favorites]


-The Soviet Union fought the Cold War in Nicaragua. Now Putin’s Russia is back.

The United States government funded the Contras in Nicaragua, who operated death squads responsible for the vast majority of civilian casualties in the conflict and also happened to run huge amounts of cocaine into the US to fund themselves further (see also: Iran-Contra, the crack cocaine epidemic). That the Washington Post would frame this as the Evil Soviet Union Meddling Where It Doesn't Belong and characterize Nicaragua with the same "sphere of influence" concept that people deride when applied to Ukraine pretty much says it all.
posted by indubitable at 8:00 AM on April 10 [11 favorites]


Security analysts see the military moves in Central America as a possible rebuttal to the increased U.S. military presence in Eastern Europe, showing that Russia can also strut in the United States’ back yard.

Nicaragua: the back yard of America
posted by Greg Nog at 8:07 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


-The Soviet Union fought the Cold War in Nicaragua. Now Putin’s Russia is back.

Because Nicaragua prospers so well when it becomes a proxy war. Fucking Ortega.
posted by corb at 8:13 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Mitchell is no paragon of journalistic virtue, but she's hardly a hack. Part of the DC establishment or no*, she tends to ask tough questions.

*yes. I mean seriously, Greenspan. Plus several other things. But it's pretty rich for anyone to even report what motherfucking O'Reilly says about her style of questioning.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:19 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


What you notice is how easily the media (and we) make the dangerous move from "we don't want Russia messing around in our elections because it makes them less democratic; similarly, we should not be messing around in others' elections, even though we do" to "Russian interference is bad because Russia is bad and we are good".

The US role in South and Central America has been disgusting and murderous pretty much from the get-go, whether we opposed unappealing local regimes or basically good ones.

The USSR, like the US, was obviously driven by a mixture of power politics and the desire to export its values, and its values were a mixed bag. So as a result, they (like the US) sometimes supported regimes that were objectively popular and fairly decent for governments and sometimes supported regimes that were objectively unpopular and horrible.

This fundamentally does not matter about what the US should do. We should not have worked to overthrow Allende and install Pinochet; we should not have backed our guys in United Fruit; we should not have trained paramilitaries at the School of the Americas; we should not have winked at the murders of peasants and nuns and union organizers and indigenous people because they were murdered by our guys; we should not have turned back political refugees even though admitting them meant admitting that they were fleeing from our guys.

We don't need to decide whether the USSR was legit supporting a glorious socialist regime or cynically supporting a bunch of anti-democratic commies. We know that undermining elections, training paramilitaries and supporting the murder of dissidents are wrong actions, no matter who the other people are.

"Neither Washington nor Moscow" is the only left position that doesn't leave you saying "murdering dissidents is okay as long as the murderers are our guys".
posted by Frowner at 8:26 AM on April 10 [52 favorites]


From the original Spencer glitter bomb link:

When he was getting into the cab he was allegedly pulled out by counter-protesters, punched, and glitter bombed. In a video posted on Periscope shortly there after, Spencer said what happened was that Antifa disallowed him to get in his ‘getaway’ car and the police instructed him to get in a cab. Once he was in one the cab driver (who Spencer mocked for being of Indian origin) got out of the cab, frightened of the ensuing protesters, and Spencer had to take off running.

The man can't stop being racist for 5 minutes, even when there is a mob of protesters after him and his ass is on the line. Jesus.
posted by zabuni at 8:30 AM on April 10 [68 favorites]


Because Nicaragua prospers so well when it becomes a proxy war. Fucking Ortega.

Could you imagine how different history would be for Latin America if blow was legal?
posted by Talez at 8:35 AM on April 10




futz: Around midweek, Mick Mulvaney's Office of Management and Budget will send a "guidance" letter to federal agencies ordering them to create plans to make themselves significantly smaller and less costly. It's part of Mulvaney's effort to make the federal government more efficient.

This is your unasked for reminder from a public servant: making government smaller does not make it more efficient, unless you also change what it does and how it does those things.

Because budgets are largely based on getting certain work done, the better route would be to look at changing organization requirements as a path to scaling back the size of government. It's not like federal agencies are awash in funds and just spinning in their comfy chairs, thinking of ways to spend down their mountains of money.

So we're back to the idiocy of "kill two regulations for every new one" non-functional nonsense - there are laws in place that mandate what the government does, and how. So first you have to do the boring, tedious work of making and passing new laws.

What do you get from rushed attempts at smaller budgets with no changes in laws? More chaos, contrary to the stated goal of making government more efficient.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:51 AM on April 10 [37 favorites]


The senators who voted against Gorsuch were elected with 22 million more votes than the senators who installed him on the Supreme Court.

I mean, that's not how that works, but okay.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:51 AM on April 10 [6 favorites]


I can't even believe folks are advancing this argument; she's married to Alan Greenspan, FFS

I'm OK with criticizing Andrea Mitchell for how she does her job, but not for who she's married to.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:56 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


Once he was in one the cab driver (who Spencer mocked for being of Indian origin) got out of the cab, frightened of the ensuing protesters, and Spencer had to take off running.

The man can't stop being racist for 5 minutes, even when there is a mob of protesters after him and his ass is on the line. Jesus.

And really, isn't teeing off on Indian cabbies kind of hacky, bush-league racism? It's literally the airplane food/blind dates/Jack Nicholson impressions of racism. You'd think that a supposed professional racist like Spencer would bring more original material to this sort of thing. This preppy dimwit's racism is barely distinguishable from my doofus Republican uncle's email forwards.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:00 AM on April 10 [11 favorites]


I mean, that's not how that works, but okay.

Right, but just because the Senate is a constitutionally gerrymandered, malapportioned abomination that subverts the meaning of democracy and only grows more anti-democratic as population disparities between states increase, doesn't mean we shouldn't say so.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:00 AM on April 10 [54 favorites]


Because budgets are largely based on getting certain work done, the better route would be to look at changing organization requirements as a path to scaling back the size of government. It's not like federal agencies are awash in funds and just spinning in their comfy chairs, thinking of ways to spend down their mountains of money.

You think too much like a liberal. The implication in Mulvaney's letter is to figure out what functions you can jettison. That way when the people come for the politician's heads those politicians can point to the bureaucrats and tell the populace that they took all their favourite services and programs.

It's like you can't tell a truck driver to speed and violate working hours but you try to tell them they have to do Cheyenne to South Bend in a single 14 hour day even though it's a 15 hour drive. How the truck driver accomplishes that impossibility is none of the company's business.

And since Gorsuch was confirmed it probably will be legal to do these driver shenanigans again fairly shortly.
posted by Talez at 9:01 AM on April 10 [14 favorites]


Right, but just because the Senate is a constitutionally gerrymandered, malapportioned abomination that subverts the meaning of democracy and only grows more anti-democratic as population disparities between states increase, doesn't mean we shouldn't say so.

I don't know what you mean by that. Each state has two senators.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:01 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


The senators who voted against Gorsuch were elected with 22 million more votes than the senators who installed him on the Supreme Court.

I mean, that's not how that works, but okay.


Obviously not, but I think an important point against those who claim we live in a center-right nation, who try to claim the moral high ground after forcing through a extremist, who denied Garland a vote so "the people could decide".
posted by chris24 at 9:02 AM on April 10 [14 favorites]


> I don't know what you mean by that. Each state has two senators.

Land doesn't vote, people do.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:02 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


Land doesn't vote, people do.

Sure, but our Constitution and branches of government set up the Senate.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:03 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]




> Sure, but our Constitution and branches of government set up the Senate.

Are you just being willfully obtuse here? You're stating what is, while others are making an argument about what ought to be. Repeatedly going back to what is doesn't constitute a counterargument to what we're saying ought to be.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:05 AM on April 10 [21 favorites]


Kremlin, angry at Syria missile strike, says Putin won't meet Tillerson

Methinks the despot doth protest too much.
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:08 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


It's not like federal agencies are awash in funds and just spinning in their comfy chairs, thinking of ways to spend down their mountains of money.

Well, you know, except for DoD where there is a scramble at the end of the year to burn all the unused money.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 9:12 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


Maybe they just don't have a place for him to nap?
posted by Artw at 9:12 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


> I don't know what you mean by that. Each state has two senators.

fry_dont_know_if.jpg
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:13 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


I don't know what you mean by that. Each state has two senators.

Not to mention DC, Puerto Rico, and other areas where Americans pay taxes yet remain unrepresented by Senators.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 9:14 AM on April 10 [25 favorites]


Kremlin, angry at Syria missile strike, says Putin won't meet Tillerson

OnceUponATime: Methinks the despot doth protest too much.

Methinks they're putting on a show. "Oh no, we're not coordinating on these atrocities. Noooo, not at all. *Psst, Tillerson, don't forget to get your drink at the bar.*" "What? Oh right, my drink, with it's drink napkin. Right."
posted by filthy light thief at 9:18 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


Right, but just because the Senate is a constitutionally gerrymandered, malapportioned abomination that subverts the meaning of democracy and only grows more anti-democratic as population disparities between states increase, doesn't mean we shouldn't say so.

I always find it a little weird when people talk about this, because they're generally approaching it from the end instead of the beginning.

The fact that each state has two senators is what allowed the Constitution to be written in the first place, the reason the smaller states felt comfortable moving past the Articles of Confederation into a system where the federal government held more power. They were comfortable giving up their autonomy and power because they knew there would always be a check on the larger, more populous states, using their demographic weight to bully them around.

Without - from the very beginning - an insistence that in certain matters, each and every state in the union and before that, the colonies, were equal, there might well have been no Revolution at all, as smaller colonies would have decided they didn't gain much from the new setup. America was founded on the basis that each state - each region - would be able to protect its own interests.

As new states came into the union, they came into it with that understanding. Many of them were extremely small when they arrived. Wyoming, for example, was last or nearly last in every single year since it became a state. This isn't a sudden, new circumstance. It has always been this way, and was this way by design, and is the only reason we have a bunch of states in the first place.
posted by corb at 9:19 AM on April 10 [7 favorites]


Timely piece from WaPo: The Senate may be developing an electoral college issue
Theoretically, a bill or nomination could pass out of the Senate with the support of senators representing only 16.2 percent of the population. If the two senators from the 25 smallest states agreed to support a bill — and Vice President Pence concurred — the senators from the other 25 states and the 270 million people they represent are out of luck. (Residents of D.C., of course, are always out of luck.)
posted by melissasaurus at 9:21 AM on April 10 [47 favorites]


i wonder how much the ratio of the population between the most populous and least populous state has changed since the original 13 states
posted by murphy slaw at 9:24 AM on April 10 [14 favorites]


As new states came into the union, they came into it with that understanding. Many of them were extremely small when they arrived. Wyoming, for example, was last or nearly last in every single year since it became a state. This isn't a sudden, new circumstance. It has always been this way, and was this way by design, and is the only reason we have a bunch of states in the first place.

You say this like its a good thing.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:25 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


i wonder how much the ratio of the population between the most populous and least populous state has changed since the original 13 states

Ha, yeah. I was thinking the same thing. I'm trying to google the state by state population in 1789, but struggling. But I would bet the difference between the most populous state and the least wasn't 67 times bigger (CA 40m, WY 600k).
posted by chris24 at 9:27 AM on April 10


i wonder how much the ratio of the population between the most populous and least populous state has changed since the original 13 states

Virginia had 747K, including slaves, in the 1790 census. Delaware was the smallest at 59K total. That makes a 12.6:1 ratio.

In 2010, California had 37.2M, Wyoming had 563K, or a 66:1 ratio.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:29 AM on April 10 [47 favorites]


i wonder how much the ratio of the population between the most populous and least populous state has changed since the original 13 states

Ha, yeah. I was thinking the same thing. I'm trying to google the state by state population in 1789, but struggling. But I would bet the difference between the most populous state and the least wasn't 67 times bigger (CA 40m, WY 600k).


It was 12:1
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:29 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


According to this, the largest state was Virginia (821,000) and the smallest was Delaware (60,000), so the ratio was roughly 13.7:1
posted by murphy slaw at 9:30 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


This isn't a sudden, new circumstance. It has always been this way, and was this way by design, and is the only reason we have a bunch of states in the first place.

The old way doesn't seem to be working anymore (and, really, didn't work so well for most of the population back then either). Maybe we need some sort of Senate rule that works similar to "vote and value" clauses in shareholder agreements: to pass something you need the votes of 51 of the Senators plus Senators representing 50%+1 of the population (as of the last census).
posted by melissasaurus at 9:31 AM on April 10 [7 favorites]


Honestly, while I don't think states should be broken up simply because of population, I do think there are some states - California is a perfect example, there are a few others - where they are extremely large in size and have essentially different regions within them. For example, Eastern and Western Washington consistently vote differently and kind of hate each other. I'm not saying it will happen, because power acts to reinforce more power, but I'm not sure why they shouldn't be able to secede and apply for new statehood. Same thing with upstate and downstate New York, maybe, or various areas of Texas.

If you want to keep things even, maybe make the trade such that it keeps the D/R constant - allow DC statehood, but let Eastern Washington secede and gain statehood as well, for example. I feel like that's the only way it would ever actually get off the ground.
posted by corb at 9:33 AM on April 10


Note that Virginia's 1790 population includes 292,627 slaves, 3/5 of whom counted towards Virginia's seats in the House of Representatives but couldn't vote themselves.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:34 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


The fact that each state has two senators is what allowed the Constitution to be written in the first place, the reason the smaller states felt comfortable moving past the Articles of Confederation into a system where the federal government held more power. They were comfortable giving up their autonomy and power because they knew there would always be a check on the larger, more populous states, using their demographic weight to bully them around.

The same can be said for the constitution providing legalized slavery. Just because something was necessary or even a good idea (not saying that slavery was a good idea but that the compromises necessary to get the constitution passed probably was in the balance) 200some years ago doesn't mean that it continues to be a good idea in the present.

As shown above, the disparity between the small and large states' power in the Senate has grown substantially and as far as most of the people here are concerned problematically since then.
posted by Candleman at 9:34 AM on April 10 [22 favorites]


"Several analysts said that Assad has humiliated Putin by using chemical weapons despite Russia’s guarantee that Syria’s stockpiles would be whisked away. Moscow’s interest in getting sanctions eased is greater than its loyalty to Assad. And that could provide maneuvering room for Tillerson."

Aaaand all of this Syria nonsense clicks into place. Of course it's about giving cover for lifting sanctions, that's a situation where it makes perfect sense for Trump and Putin to play different "sides" because they can give sweetheart deals to each other in the treaty negotiations nominally for the benefit of stability in Syria, and just watch, the Syrian people just get left out in the cold at the end of it after serving their purpose.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:38 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


If Republicans* want to say "Hey, that's how the system works" then fine. But let's stop pretending their concerns are democratic or the 'will of the people.'

* not addressing this at corb
posted by chris24 at 9:40 AM on April 10 [11 favorites]


I think the crux of this dispute over senate representation is the question of whether or not providing a genealogy of a situation thereby provides a justification for that situation.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:41 AM on April 10 [13 favorites]


aspersioncast: Does someone want to do an FPP on the Main Street thing? It's interesting but good lord is it a big-ass derail.

Sorry I didn't put this together sooner, but for those who wish to discuss Main Street, USA tropes and realities, here's a thread for you.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:48 AM on April 10 [7 favorites]


It has always been this way, and was this way by design, and is the only reason we have a bunch of states in the first place.

Yeah, but fast forward another hundred years, and if the under-representation of large states gets even more extreme, the same compromise that originally made small states willing to join the union may eventually make large states unwilling to stay in it.

(I said a hundred years. And I said if it gets even more extreme I do not think this is at all a likely or desirable outcome in the near future. We can fix our problems right now without blowing up the constitution, which would invite even bigger problems. I hope that the political polarization which makes the representation issues so acute won't endure for 100 years! We need to figure out how to deal with propaganda in the new media age of cable TV and internet, and then hopefully the polarization will be reduced, and we can figure out tweaks to the current system where needed by consensus.)

posted by OnceUponATime at 9:50 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


maybe what is required is an aggressive government program of land grants to grow the population of wyoming until the 1790 ratio is restored
posted by murphy slaw at 9:51 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


More than 30 Trump staffers piled into a conference room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjoining the White House, according to a half-dozen attendees who described the Tuesday meeting.

Leakers? We got six of 'em, pal!
posted by Gelatin at 10:05 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


If the Democrats have guts, whenever (hopefully) they retake control of Congress and the presidency, they will propose to make all the remaining insular areas (Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands) and DC states with full representation, including two Senators apiece.

The idea that the federal government is a creation of the states sort of made sense back in the 1780s, but realistically -- even though few will admit it -- it doesn't really apply to any of the states admitted since then, except maybe Hawaii, as they are essentially created by the federal government. I mean, the reason that the Dakota Territory was admitted as two states instead of one was in order to guarantee extra Senators and Electoral College votes for the Republicans (granted, 1880s Republicans were a bit different from today's brand).
posted by dhens at 10:11 AM on April 10 [20 favorites]


If the Democrats have guts, whenever (hopefully) they retake control of Congress and the presidency, they will propose to make all the remaining insular areas (Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands) and DC states with full representation, including two Senators apiece.

And end the legislative filibuster to make it happen. You want to play with the rules, Republicans? OK, let's dance.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:13 AM on April 10 [14 favorites]


In fact, aside from a few politically strategic targets like Manhattan and the Pentagon/White House; the targets are: Missile Silos. Airports. Sea ports. Bridges. Factories. And then a good line of them up the midwest to dump fallout across the breadbasket. The point is to wreck anything you could use after the exchange.

Back in the '80s I played a role-playing game called Twilight: 2000, which was set just at the end of World War III, in which NATO and the Warsaw Pact had both pretty much battered each other to oblivion, including a limited tactical / strategic nuclear exchange. But the thing the setting postulated as really messing everyone up was the fact that both sides targeted oil infrastructure, so there was hardly any remaining. Vehicles, when they were operable, ran on ethanol, and air power was a thing of the past. Which also meant food distribution networks, to say nothing of the rest of the economy, basically collapsed, and civilization was on the verge of collapse.

I wish I wasn't thinking of that grim setting more and more these days.
posted by Gelatin at 10:15 AM on April 10 [6 favorites]


they knew there would always be a check on the larger, more populous states, using their demographic weight to bully them around.

The same can be said for the constitution providing legalized slavery.


Well, but without federal legislation protecting slavery, the slaves might have used their demographic weight to bully around the plantation owners
posted by Greg Nog at 10:28 AM on April 10 [23 favorites]


This is pretty crazy. I'm sure the DOJ thinks this is appropriate. I don't.
posted by H. Roark at 10:36 AM on April 10 [9 favorites]


Obviously not, but I think an important point against those who claim we live in a center-right nation, who try to claim the moral high ground after forcing through a extremist, who denied Garland a vote so "the people could decide".

The funny thing is the people did decide, and they voted by an over 3 million vote margin in favor of the folks who wanted Merrick Garland confirmed.

Oh, you didn't actually mean the people, you meant the undemocratic electoral college. Well fuck you, Mitch.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:36 AM on April 10 [30 favorites]


If the Democrats have guts, whenever (hopefully) they retake control of Congress and the presidency, they will propose to make all the remaining insular areas (Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands) and DC states with full representation, including two Senators apiece.

And end the legislative filibuster to make it happen. You want to play with the rules, Republicans? OK, let's dance.


Yep, and this is a ratchet that the Republicans can't easily undo. They either need to subdivide their existing states or disenfranchise the new ones. Good luck with either of those.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:39 AM on April 10 [6 favorites]


What do you get from rushed attempts at smaller budgets with no changes in laws? More chaos, contrary to the stated goal of making government more efficient.

Well of course. The stated goal and the actual goal are two different things. The idea isn't to make gov't more efficient, it's to make it less effective. They have to scale back services and service standards to make their budget. There are fewer people doing the same work so, by necessity, quality drops. That reinforces the perception that government is an inefficient, ineffective nightmare of bureaucracy in the minds of the voters. Then you can keep getting elected as someone trying to "reform" the system which we obviously need because have you had to deal with the government or anything ever? It's a nightmare!

They're trying to make the government as shitty as everyone thinks it is so they can sell it off and pocket the proceeds.

I got into a facebook debate with someone who told me that I was stupid for getting a permit when I finished my basement because now I have to have the government inspect everything and it will cost me so much more money and I'll never pass inspection and it's generally the stupidest thing anyone has ever done ever. Instead, I should have hired a contractor for a few hundred bucks who could have answered all my questions and told me what I needed to know to make sure everything was done correctly and safely.

The cost of the permit was $130. I had three different inspectors, two of them were specialists (electrical and insulation). The people at city hall who helped me with the permit pointed me towards some resources to get me started and pointed out their contact number imploring me to please call them at any time with questions about how to do something. I called several times and they were very helpful.

The inspectors were all very patient, knowledgeable, and helpful. City hall told me that the inspectors job is to help me pass the inspection and they really lived up to that description. There were a couple of things that I needed to fix and every single time the inspector and I worked together to figure out a solution that would work without having to re-do a bunch of work and spend more money.

In short, I got exactly what the right-wing dumbass on facebook told me I should get but I got it directly from the gov't and I'm certain they did a better job for less money than any private contractor I could have hired to perform the same service.

That experience has led me to the belief that more "small government" types simply have false preconceived notions of what it's like to deal with the government. At least the Bloomington, MN City government has been consistently top-notch. I've interacted with several departments for various reasons and I come away impressed every single time.
posted by VTX at 10:39 AM on April 10 [69 favorites]


They were comfortable giving up their autonomy and power because they knew there would always be a check on the larger, more populous states, using their demographic weight to bully them around.

Part of the problem is that the law capping the number of representatives hasn't changed in a century, so the situation is very much the other way around -- less populous states have relatively more representation in the House too.

If we set the number of people a Representative represents to the population of Wyoming, we'd have something like 600 Representatives, and populous states like New York, California, Illinois (and, yes, Texas and Virginia and Ohio) would receive more of a voice. (And the Electoral College would change accordingly, too.) Then the anti-democratic nature of the Senate wouldn't sting as much.
posted by Gelatin at 10:39 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


Spicey time. Who is on coffee and snack duty today?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 10:45 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


The stated goal and the actual goal are two different things.

Oh, yeah. And I wish the media would get that fact thru its collective head for a change, instead of going with their perennial "Republicans say they want to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse, while critics say the cuts will reduce vital services" story line.
posted by Gelatin at 10:45 AM on April 10 [6 favorites]


Spicey time. Who is on coffee and snack barrel of cheese puffs duty today?

Fixed.
posted by Gelatin at 10:47 AM on April 10 [6 favorites]


I've thought for a long time now that unless we fix the Senate it'll mean the end of the USA. Not soon, but eventually.

Because the situation right now is intolerable in a lot of ways: not only are the small population right wing states dictating to the majority, not only are the low population right wing states taking more in federal benefits than they pay in federal taxes, they're also being utter dicks about it and treating their benefactors like shit.

The second is totally fine, I'm a bleeding heart liberal and so are most people in the economically productive states which pay for the broke states. There's nothing at all wrong with those of us who do well helping those of us who don't do so well. I remember back when Grexit was a concern someone from one of the wealthier EU nations saying that no one would tolerate a permanent bailout. And I was thinking "dude, we've got that in the USA, we call it the Red States".

The first isn't so fine, any situation where the minority gets to dictate to the majority is a problem for a nation that is theoretically a representative democracy. The existence of the filibuster makes it even worse (if you run the numbers, in an absurd extreme it'd be possible for Senators representing less than 20% of the population to filibuster a bill).

The third, the belligerent and aggressively meanspirited attitude from the Rural Moocher States is what, I think, is really driving a lot of the resentment from the populous Blue States. It's bad enough they take our money and lord it over us, but that might be semi-tolerable. But them declaring themselves to be "Real America" and us to be vile anti-American traitors is infuriating a lot of people in the populous Blue States.

I think that attitude, more than the actual facts of systemic under representation of liberal America, may be what really provokes the crisis. People aren't especially rational, and they'll put up with a lot of impersonal, systemic, shit but they often won't put up with more personal, individually insulting, shit.

I don't think the Republicans can stop the attacks on Liberal America either, to a large extent that demonization of the productive parts of America is the only way they get elected... So we're stuck in a bad place where, just like in the 1860's, we're going to have to pay a huge price in blood or treasure for a fucked up bad bargain made by your Founders.

Because corb is right: the Senate is the only reason a lot of states joined up. But, protecting slavery in the Constitution was also the only reason a lot of states joined up. Neither is right, proper, moral, or good. And that bad deal made in desperation is going to wind up costing us a lot.

California, New York, all those places shouldn't be putting up with this shit, and its a miracle they have for so long. Sooner or later, and I think Trump is pushing us towards sooner, it's going to need to end. The minority in mostly empty rural states have had their fun, running roughshod over everyone else and imposing their Christofascist BS, but I think we've about reached the breaking point and they're going to discover that a majority, as they've just demonstrated, can ram through just about anything if they're determined enough.

My hope is that we can solve this with just some creative "reinterpretation" of the Constitution, some stretching of ambiguous points, and maybe an amendment or two rammed through via threat of economic harm and massive behind the scenes arm twisting and outright bribery. Because the alternative is the dissolution of the USA and the formation of a new nation with the Rural Red State people facing a vastly worse deal.
posted by sotonohito at 10:49 AM on April 10 [55 favorites]


I mean, the reason that the Dakota Territory was admitted as two states instead of one was in order to guarantee extra Senators and Electoral College votes for the Republicans
I really wanted to edit "The territorial capital was Yankton from 1861 until 1883, when it was moved to Bismarck" to "The territorial capital was Yankton from 1861 until 1883, when it was moved to Bismarck because there were too many cocksuckers in Yankton" but I restrained myself.

posted by kirkaracha at 10:50 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


Spicey time. Who is on coffee and snack duty today?

Could you not? Please?
posted by indubitable at 10:52 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


California, New York, all those places shouldn't be putting up with this shit,

I don't know what it's like in California, but NY has tons of corruption at the state and local level. It becomes a contest over who is putting up with more shit from whom?
posted by Melismata at 10:52 AM on April 10




This is pretty crazy. I'm sure the DOJ thinks this is appropriate. I don't.

That link is titled What Would the Cops Look Like If You Lived in a Futuristic Authoritarian Police State?, a short article on Gizmodo that links to a Facebook video from Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. The video is titled, “A message from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Community Engagement Unit,” and, based on the screenshot (I can't load FB just now), it features an angry looking sheriff flanked by four men in ski masks, long sleeved Sheriff shirts, Sheriff-labeled flak vests, and three of the four white-looking thugs sheriff deputy dudes have sunglasses on, to really heighten the "Community Engagement" that they're going for. I hope it's a message about the upcoming Sheriff's Easter Egg Hunt and Prayer Service (which is not a thing, as far as I know).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:00 AM on April 10 [9 favorites]


It is specifically prohibited in Article 5 to amend the constitution to change equal representation in the Senate (without the state's consent), and of course any constitutional amendment (including whatever some crazy Article 5 convention would propose) requires 3/4 of the states to approve it before taking effect anyway.

States have split before. You need both state and Congressional approval. Supposedly Texas has always had approval to do this, but has never wanted to (unless you count the Compromise of 1850).
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:01 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


It's very rare that you hear the word "sheriff" in conjunction with anything good, isn't it? This does not buck the trend.
posted by Artw at 11:02 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


the law capping the number of representatives hasn't changed in a century, so the situation is very much the other way around -- less populous states have relatively more representation in the House too.

This is only true of the extremely low-population states, below the deserving-1-rep threshold (ND, VT, WY), in which we always round up. Above that threshold the problem isn't that small states are overrepresented, it's that they're massively disproportionately represented, and that disproportion cuts both ways. Montana, hovering near the 2-rep cutoff, is horrifically under-represented, with 1 rep for its 989K people (as of 2010), while the slightly more populous Rhode Island gets 2 reps, so one rep per 526K people, which is wildly overrepresented. Smaller states simply get a more extreme deviation from the norm, and that deviation can be up or down. Incidentally (since I have a spreadsheet for this, thanks to a class I regularly teach with an apportionment module), the most disproportionate states, in terms of representation, are Rhode Island (34.6% better represented than the national average), Montana (28.4% worse), Wyoming (25.7% better), Delaware (21.1% worse), and Nebraska (16.4% better). So while small states have more extreme deviation from the norm, that deviation isn't at all consistent.
posted by jackbishop at 11:08 AM on April 10 [14 favorites]




futz: Leaked Email: President Trump's Modeling Agency Is Shutting Down - Business partners are told it's over for one of Trump's most prized businesses.
One of President Donald Trump's favorite businesses will go the way of Trump Steaks, Trump University, Trump Airlines, and Trump Magazine
...
Over the weekend, Corinne Nicolas, president of Trump Models, informed industry colleagues of the pending closure of the 18-year-old agency, in which Trump owns an 85 percent stake (according to his most recent financial disclosure). "The Trump Organization is choosing to exit the modeling industry," Nicolas wrote in the email. "On the heels of the recent sale of the Miss Universe Organization, the company is choosing to focus on their core businesses in the real estate, golf and hospitality space." (The Trump Organization sold the Miss Universe Organization, which also runs the Miss USA beauty pageant, to the talent agency WME-IMG about 18 months ago, following a controversy over then-candidate Trump's remarks about Mexican immigrants.)
...
Mother Jones reported before the election that Trump's modeling agency had a history of employing foreign models who said they violated immigration rules by working in the United States without work visas. That investigation also detailed how Trump Models forced its recruits to pay sky-high rent to live in crammed living quarters, while levying a dizzying number of fees and expenses on its talent that left some models in deep debt to the agency.
Thanks for pulling this all together, Mother Jones reporters. One question: where exactly were they paying sky-high rent? Was it another Trump facility, because that would just be soo Trumpian.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:09 AM on April 10 [15 favorites]


Breitbart Editors Told Staff To Stop Writing Stories Criticizing Kushner

State media no longer backing Bannon or Bannon backing down for now?
posted by Artw at 11:12 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


futz: Breitbart Editors Told Staff To Stop Writing Stories Criticizing Kushner

Well. Oiled. Machine.... that seems to be under such intense pressure that it can't help but leak a little oil here and there (and oh, over there, too - and there, and there).
The New York Times reported over the weekend that allies of Kushner, a senior White House adviser, had complained to President Donald Trump about the negative coverage he was receiving from the far-right website.

Kushner had become a target of Breitbart News amid reports that he was feuding with Stephen Bannon, the news website's former executive chairman who is now the White House chief strategist.

On Wednesday night, for instance, Breitbart published three stories critical of Kushner and promoted them heavily on its homepage. The next day, Axios reported that Bannon had told associates, "I love a gunfight."

Soon after the feud spilled out into the public's view, Trump told Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus he was fed up with the bickering in the press and instructed the pair to "work this out," The Times reported.

In the days that followed, Breitbart conspicuously refrained from leveling criticism against Kushner, choosing to lay off Trump's son-in-law.
Now, if the president would only lay off his son-in-law and hire someone competent and not part of his family. Silly dream, I know.

(Also, shame on Business Insider for first crediting Kushner as "a senior White House adviser" and not Trump's son-in-law, and/or son of Charles Kushner, convicted felon)
posted by filthy light thief at 11:13 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


Artw, one thing I'd love to see happen while we're on the pie in the sky when the Democrats get a majority again thing, is unifying all our independent law enforcement agencies under a single federal oversight agency. The DOJ for example.

Right this second there are literally over 18,000 totally independent law enforcement agencies. Every single sheriff, every chief of police, they are all the kings of their own little kingdoms and answer to absolutely no one. Is the local sheriff a corrupt evil scumfucker? Too bad, there's literally no one to complain to, no agency with authority of him (and it's almost always "him"), you're screwed.

We need to end the independence of local law enforcement and bring it all under a single big boss with a clearly defined chain of command so we can end the abuses in local law enforcement.
posted by sotonohito at 11:14 AM on April 10 [9 favorites]


There's Racist. And Then There's Stunningly Racist. Then There's This GOP Fundraising Email.

Last week, a fundraising email was circulated in support of David Clarke, Milwaukee's infamous conservative sheriff. The email was made to look like it came from Rudy Giuliani.

However, it was actually sent by Jack Daly, the self-appointed national chairman of the official draft Sheriff Clarke for Senate effort. Daly wants Sheriff Clarke to unseat liberal stalwart Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin.

Daly opens the email by alleging that his teenage son (whom he describes as a "gentle boy") was attacked for supporting Trump. "These dreadlock-wearing punks shrieked 'Fuck*** Donald Trump,'" reads the email. The alleged perpetrators also insulted his son for being white. No major outlets appeared to have reported the incident, but Got News, the website run by notorious troll Chuck C. Johnson, did.

Daly also blames Barack Obama for creating a country where "blacks, Muslims, illegal aliens, and politically correct 'social justice warriors'" feel as if they can "attack" Trump supporters, police officers, businesses, and even children, and suffer no consequences such as jail or deportation.


I hate people.
posted by futz at 11:16 AM on April 10 [27 favorites]


Artw, one thing I'd love to see happen while we're on the pie in the sky when the Democrats get a majority again thing, is unifying all our independent law enforcement agencies under a single federal oversight agency. The DOJ for example.

No. It needs its own agency with a director that's appointed with advice and consent of the senate for decade long terms. None of this new President gets elected and police oversight goes out the window shit.
posted by Talez at 11:17 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


sotonohito: Every single sheriff, every chief of police, they are all the kings of their own little kingdoms and answer to absolutely no one.

Except sheriffs are all elected officials, so until there is some unified Federal Police Force, local elections AND news matters.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:17 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


No. It needs its own agency with a director that's appointed with advice and consent of the senate for decade long terms.

J. Edgar Hoover, anyone?
posted by Melismata at 11:18 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


I really wanted to edit "The territorial capital was Yankton from 1861 until 1883, when it was moved to Bismarck" to "The territorial capital was Yankton from 1861 until 1883, when it was moved to Bismarck because there were too many cocksuckers in Yankton" but I restrained myself.

Oddly enough, when I moved back to North Dakota the joke I heard was that you couldn't get a decent bj in Wyoming anymore because all of the cocksuckers were here.

Charlie Pierce on how that racist idjit Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III wants to bring back the war on drugs. Looks like Jeffbo looked at what Pruitt, Tillerson, and DeVos were doing and said, "hold my beer".
posted by Ber at 11:20 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


futz: Daly opens the email by alleging that his teenage son (whom he describes as a "gentle boy") was attacked for supporting Trump. "These dreadlock-wearing punks shrieked 'Fuck*** Donald Trump,'" reads the email. The alleged perpetrators also insulted his son for being white. No major outlets appeared to have reported the incident, but Got News, the website run by notorious troll Chuck C. Johnson, did.

Daly also blames Barack Obama for creating a country where "blacks, Muslims, illegal aliens, and politically correct 'social justice warriors'" feel as if they can "attack" Trump supporters, police officers, businesses, and even children, and suffer no consequences such as jail or deportation.


Unless there was some physical violence, you're angry because you can't jail people or kick them out of the country for shouting at people? Damn, that's a pretty low bar. Seems like it's time to re-amend the First Amendment, if that's where we're going.

(Also, punks generally don't have dreadlocks, unless there's some angry reggae + punk hybrid movement I haven't heard about - I mean, I'm An Old, but I'm not that out of touch, am I?)
posted by filthy light thief at 11:21 AM on April 10 [7 favorites]


Sam Kriss at his blog Idiot Joy Showland: First We Take Damascus.
Donald Trump ordered his attack on Syria because of something he saw on TV. The world is full of people like him: old, shabby, pompous; people who know everything because they learned it all from somewhere, people who function as exit nodes for the vast extraorganic network of information that chatters across oceans and ping-pongs through outer space, people who form the anuses of the system of images, excreting their content back into the world of things, people who repeat everything they see on TV. Every suburban bus stop shelters a Donald Trump, some smugly witless man of the world who knows what he knows and knows it better than you, some tyrant-in-waiting ready at any moment to vomit up the whole of the received wisdom in one splattering stream, and then act like they’re in possession of some special knowledge because they’re able to do so. The only difference is that when Donald Trump blathers from the TV, the TV takes notice: he repeats what it says, it repeats what he says. Donald Trump is the network whorling in on itself; the system of careful mediation finally splayed out in the mud, legs out, back twisted, licking its own arsehole.

The media was kind to Trump’s attack on Syria. Every pompous outlet that has spent the last five months screaming incessantly about the threat to democracy, the inevitable deaths and the terror of wars, had nothing but applause as soon as the wars and the deaths actually got going. A fleshy and dangerous idiot, a vulgarian, an imbecile – until those first perfect screaming shots of Tomahawk missiles being fired were broadcast – that’s our guy, you show them Donny! This is when, as Fareed Zakaria put it on CNN, Trump ‘became the president.’ And he really is presidential now, because the president is a totemic war-chief, the bloated repository of every male fantasy that had to be repressed, someone whose only job is to look like they could kill a hundred people in the morning and pose for a photoshoot with their dogs in the afternoon. Never mind the deaths or the uncertain repercussions; Trump’s strike was utterly squalid and utterly ignoble, some fattened toddler idly shitting out molten steel into the parched graveyard that used to be Syria, saving nobody, helping nobody, thoughtless and obscene. Kill a few of their guys, teach them a lesson, it’s common sense. And all the sophisticates and strategists applaud – stricken by half-hearted guilt, of course; after all, you still wouldn’t want to have the man round for dinner. They write their long justificatory exegeses on the timeliness of the act, bringing out every little rhetorical trick of the educated ruling classes, because all their moral angst is also from comic books, and cinema, and TV.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:23 AM on April 10 [63 favorites]


Warplanes drop incendiary bombs in Syria's Idlib, Hama: activists, monitor

Syrian or Russian warplanes dropped incendiary bombs on areas of Idlib and Hama provinces just days after a deadly gas attack in the region, activists and a monitoring group reported on Monday.

...

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Russian jets had used an incendiary substance called thermite in bombs they dropped over the towns of Saraqeb in Idlib and al-Latamenah in Hama, further south, on Saturday and Sunday.

A rescue worker in Saraqeb said warplanes had dropped phosphorus bombs there, but he had not heard of the use of thermite. He said use of phosphorus was not a new development.

"It's normal, these are often used," said Laith Abdullah of the Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, a rescue group working in rebel-held areas.

Videos posted on social media purportedly from Saraqeb on Sunday showed flaming materials hitting the ground and spreading large fires.


They are daring trump to respond. This is just awful any way you look at it. Awful.
posted by futz at 11:26 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


J. Edgar Hoover, anyone?

We can limit it to a single term just like they did after Hoover.
posted by Talez at 11:29 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


warplanes had dropped phosphorus bombs there

Sadly, that's not the first time such bombs have been dropped in the region: US used white phosphorus in Iraq (BBC)
posted by Mister Bijou at 11:38 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


No. It needs its own agency with a director that's appointed with advice and consent of the senate for decade long terms.

J. Edgar Hoover, anyone?


Hell, look at James Comey. Having a professional "non-political" federal law enforcement agency works great!
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:40 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


"These dreadlock-wearing punks shrieked 'Fuck*** Donald Trump,'" reads the email

I'm can't figure out whether those punks dropped a you-bomb or an off-bomb
posted by Killick at 11:44 AM on April 10 [21 favorites]


I think it was "Fuckass Donald Trump" and they saw fit to asterisk out the "ass" part but not the "Fuck" part for reasons known only to them and their God.
posted by Don Pepino at 11:47 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


while small states have more extreme deviation from the norm, that deviation isn't at all consistent.

Yeah, I think there's definitely ways that we could reapportion representatives in the House, potentially by increasing the body, to make things more fair all around, because as Gelatin noted, the House is supposed to be the body where population matters, and every state in the Union knew that coming in.

The problem there is not "should we do this" - I think it does make a lot of sense - but more that what state is going to voluntarily go along with reducing their power? It's a hard sell for a lot of people, and I just don't see, realpolitik-wise, this happening.

The broader question is, of course, as alluded to above, that there's no easy way to have a "half-Constitutional" solution to inequity problems. You can either solve it within the rules, which due to self-interest is extremely unlikely, or you can take things entirely outside the rules - try to secede, declare your autonomy from federal government, etc, etc. And we do not have a peaceful precedent set up for leaving in this country. Brexit is very different than Calexit, because Brexit had the potential built in. Calexit would be doing something entirely new in defiance of federal authority, and I can't see them taking that lying down.
posted by corb at 11:47 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


"These dreadlock-wearing punks shrieked 'Fuck*** Donald Trump,'" reads the email.

Yassss.
posted by BeginAgain at 11:48 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


WHAT

Sessions orders Justice Dept. to end forensic science commission, suspend review policy

-- Attorney General Jeff Sessions will end a Justice Department partnership with independent scientists to raise forensic science standards and has suspended an expanded review of FBI testimony across several techniques that have come under question, saying a new strategy will be set by an in-house team of law enforcement advisers.

-- In suspending reviews of past testimony and the development of standards for future reporting, “the department has literally decided to suspend the truth,” said Peter S. Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project, which has reported that nearly half of 349 DNA exonerations involved misapplications of forensic science. “As a consequence innocent people will languish in prison or, God forbid, could be executed,” he said.


OF COURSE:

-- However, the National District Attorneys Association, which represents prosecutors, applauded the end of the commission and called for it to be replaced by an Office of Forensic Science inside the Justice Department.

Sessiosn's statement is smarmy double speak

This is terrible news and the prosecuters association should be ashamed of themselves. Fuck them. I hate this new world we've found ourselves in.
posted by futz at 11:49 AM on April 10 [60 favorites]


Well, it says "science", of course they are against it.
posted by Artw at 11:50 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


Bite mark evidence is back in style. Up next, phrenology.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:59 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


FWIW the San Bernardino shooting appears to be a normal domestic violence related mass shooting, not "terrorism".
posted by Artw at 12:02 PM on April 10


Session's position makes sense, if your attitude is that the Justice system is intended for convictions, rather than justice. The confederate general's plan is to make it easier to get convictions--and harder to seek justice. Jefferson Sessions is truly a son of traitor Jefferson Davis and the brother of Eugene "Bull" Connor.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 12:03 PM on April 10 [17 favorites]


FWIW the San Bernardino shooting appears to be a normal domestic violence related mass shooting, not "terrorism".

shooter was white, i take it?
posted by entropicamericana at 12:05 PM on April 10 [18 favorites]


shooting appears to be a normal domestic violence related mass shooting, not "terrorism".

"Normal" and "mass shooting" shouldn't really be words we use together like this.

What hellish world is this?
posted by nubs at 12:10 PM on April 10 [8 favorites]


NRA/Republican America. They worked hard to make that normal.
posted by Artw at 12:13 PM on April 10 [12 favorites]


Fahrenthold wins a Pulitzer, and so very well-deserved.
posted by Dashy at 12:14 PM on April 10 [66 favorites]


"Elementary school" also shouldn't be part of that normal event.
posted by zachlipton at 12:14 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


I'm so happy to hear that David Fahrenthold won. I'm not surprised in the least, but he did amazing work this year.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:16 PM on April 10


punks generally don't have dreadlocks, unless there's some angry reggae + punk hybrid movement I haven't heard about

Total derail but this has been going on since at least the 80s; just check out Circle Jerks or Bad Brains (and early English punk bands like the Clash were totally influenced by reggae).

posted by aspersioncast at 12:19 PM on April 10 [18 favorites]


Fahrenthold wins a Pulitzer, and so very well-deserved.

Angry tweet about the FAILING, BIASED Pulitzer Board coming in 3... 2... 1...
posted by dnash at 12:19 PM on April 10 [5 favorites]


I'm so happy to hear that David Fahrenthold won. I'm not surprised in the least, but he did amazing work this year.

I'd also really, really like to read a reproach to the whole "but her emails!" crowd from the Pulitzer Committee.
posted by Gelatin at 12:20 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


I'm thrilled for Fahrenthold. Unfortunately, they gave one to Peggy Noonan as well. This is a columnist who decided to