Obstruction of Justice, Witness Intimidation, Oh My!
May 12, 2017 9:54 AM   Subscribe

In what is arguably the most turbulent week of the fledgling Trump Administration, FBI Director James Comey was fired, in spite of the fact that he was conducting an active counterintelligence investigation into possible collusion between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government.

As the story broke, the Trump team scrambled to provide justification for the move. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's letter regarding Comey's handling of the investigation into Hillary was repeatedly cited as justification, costing Rosenstein much of the good will he had accumulated over nearly 3 decades as a federal prosecutor. Also providing commentary was Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, who had already recused himself from all matters related the Trump-Russia investigation, raising questions about Sessions role in the decision to terminate Comey. Comparisons to Richard Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre have been plentiful.

However, the story quickly began to unravel. With surrogates suggesting that Rosenstein's memorandum was produced without Trump's knowledge or request and that the decision had simultaneously been brewing for months and only been on the table for a week, Trump was interviewed by Lester Holt. During the interview, Trump threw his staff under the bus, insisting that he had decided to fire Comey irrespective of the recommendations of the AG and DAG. It was also reported that shortly before his firing, Comey requested more resources for the Russia investigation.

Further undermining Trump's credibility are reports that in a private dinner with then-FBI Director Comey, the embattled executive repeatedly asked for a commitment of personal loyalty. Complicating matters further for Trump is a tweet suggesting that there might be tapes of the Loyalty Dinner in an apparent effort to intimidate Comey. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) has already called for the alleged tapes to be released, while Bloomberg reports that administration staffers refuse to comment on whether Trump has been recording conversations.

The Democratic response to Director Comey's firing has been fast and furious, with Oregon's senior Senator, Ron Wyden calling for Comey to appear in an open hearing to testify about the state of the investigation into Russia's electoral interference at the time of his firing. In the Senate, Democrats have used various tactics to slow business to a halt in order to get a special independent prosecutor to investigate the Trump-Russia connection.

In other related news, CNN reported that a Federal Grand Jury had issued subpoenas for the communications of disgraced former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn. Meanwhile in West Virginia, journalist Daniel Heyman was arrested for daring to ask questions of HHS Secretary Tom Price outside of a press conference. This morning the AP reported Trump's lawyer's said that he had no income from Russia in the last ten years "with some exceptions".
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal (3145 comments total) 144 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thank you!
posted by Behemoth at 9:57 AM on May 12 [15 favorites]




for the sake of my cardiovascular system, i hope this is the last trump thread, one way or another.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:58 AM on May 12 [23 favorites]


Senator Murphy (D-CT): Law firm @POTUS used to show he has no ties to Russia was named Russia Law Firm of the Year for their extensive ties to Russia. Unreal.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:59 AM on May 12 [167 favorites]


Looks like the writers have found out that the show isn't being extended for another season and are just getting lazy, cramming all the ideas they thought up into the last few episodes with scant regard for plausibility.
posted by acb at 9:59 AM on May 12 [134 favorites]






Thanks for the new thread! And thank you all for the sanity in a totally disorienting timeline. I'm a bit sick today and home from work, and lying in bed reading about this insane shitshow is a good activity for my current state.
posted by aka burlap at 10:00 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]


There was rumor this was going to happen, but it actually has now, and it's going to destroy a lot of lives. NYT: Sessions Orders Prosecutors to Be as Tough as Possible
Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors late Thursday to pursue the toughest possible charges and sentences against crime suspects, reversing Obama administration efforts to ease penalties for some nonviolent drug violations.

The drastic shift in criminal justice policy, foreshadowed during recent weeks, is Mr. Sessions’s first major stamp on the Justice Department, and it highlights several of his top targets: drug dealing, gun crime and gang violence. The Justice Department released the new directives on Friday.

In an eight-paragraph memo to the nation’s prosecutors, Mr. Sessions returned to the guidance of President George W. Bush’s administration by calling for more uniform punishments — including mandatory minimum sentences — and directing prosecutors to pursue the strictest possible charges. Mr. Sessions’s policy, however, is broader than that of the Bush administration, and will be more reliant on the judgments of United States attorneys and assistant attorneys general.
posted by zachlipton at 10:01 AM on May 12 [28 favorites]


♫♪ "1349 days to gooooo, I wanna be sedated..." ♫♪
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 10:01 AM on May 12 [71 favorites]


for the sake of my cardiovascular system, i hope this is the last trump thread, one way or another.

Not a chance in hell. If nothing changes, we continue. If something actually happens to 45, these threads are going to be fast and furious for a while. You'd be better off with a beta blocker and a walk.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:01 AM on May 12 [40 favorites]


Meanwhile on FOX, it's all But Her Emails, 24/7.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:02 AM on May 12 [13 favorites]


Fuck Twitter in all of this. Just fuck all of them from the CEO on down. What will it finally take to get Trump's account removed for harassment and intimidation?

Salon has it right, Twitter doesn't give a shit about any of this.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:03 AM on May 12 [27 favorites]


for the sake of my cardiovascular system, i hope this is the last trump thread, one way or another.

*Ron Howard voice*
It wasn't.

posted by saturday_morning at 10:03 AM on May 12 [152 favorites]


the Head Of The Census Bureau Just Quit

the Zoolanderesque predilection of the nation's media managers are wrong:
Here’s a thought: It’s not our reporters, but our media managers and executives, who spend their waking lives confined within an impermeable ideological bubble. To these shrinking violets, there’s always—and indeed only—room to program right-leaning opinion, pseudo-reportage, and talking points. This would be why it would never occur to anyone sharing James Bennet’s class and intellectual pedigree that the present mood of the country amply justifies the hiring of an unapologetic socialist op-ed columnist, as opposed to a box-checking conservative who’d seem edgy because he’s not all that fond of Donald Trump
Trump’s Commission on ‘Election Integrity’ Will Lead to Massive Voter Suppression

Greg Palast, Twitter: 5. States with highest Black vote drop (MI, WI, OH, NC) had biggest vote list purges and new ID laws. It’s not "turn-out," it’s Jim Crow.

posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:04 AM on May 12 [127 favorites]


His personal loyalty? Who does Trump think he is, The Godfather?
posted by jonmc at 10:04 AM on May 12 [22 favorites]


Meanwhile on FOX, it's all But Her Emails, 24/7.

Well, when your chief legal analyst is Rudy Giuliani...
posted by AndrewInDC at 10:04 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]


This column by David Weigel is very, very good and you should read it: The ‘Merrick Garland for FBI’ scheme shows why liberals lose
We live in a golden age of political stupidity, but I'm not being hyperbolic when I say this: The idea of pulling Judge Merrick Garland off the D.C. Circuit federal appeals court and into the FBI is one of the silliest ideas I've seen anyone in Washington fall for. It's like Wile E. Coyote putting down a nest made of dynamite and writing “NOT A TRAP” on a whiteboard next to it. It's also an incredibly telling chapter in the book that's been written since the Republican National Convention — the story of how Republicans who are uncomfortable with the Trump presidency gritting their teeth as they use it to lock in control of the courts.
Dahlia Lithwick's description is so excellent:
Garland probably won’t want to give up his lifetime tenure as the chief judge of the second-most important court in the land, and surely the most significant bulwark against Trump administration overreach, in exchange for a 12-minute gig on The Apprentice before he uses the wrong color highlighter and gets fired by a crazy person. But props to Lee for upping his game just in time for sweeps week. Your move, Sasse. Personally, I think Jared Kushner would make the best FBI director of all.
posted by zachlipton at 10:05 AM on May 12 [79 favorites]


Trump's attempt to speedrun the Nixon presidency reminds me of:

"Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."

- Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (1852)
posted by dhens at 10:05 AM on May 12 [65 favorites]


Who does Trump think he is, The Godfather?

Yes, I actually think so.
posted by Miko at 10:06 AM on May 12 [22 favorites]


His personal loyalty? Who does Trump think he is, The Godfather?

He thinks he's Vito, maybe Michael. He doesn't realize that he's Fredo, and that he's working for Sonny.
posted by Etrigan at 10:08 AM on May 12 [43 favorites]


You know who else demanded a personal loyalty oath?
posted by dhens at 10:08 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


Where's the Tattaglia family when we need them?
posted by jonmc at 10:08 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


@KenDilanianNBC: A source close to Comey told me this morning: “He hopes there are tapes. That would be perfect.”
posted by zachlipton at 10:08 AM on May 12 [113 favorites]


Sessions Orders Prosecutors to Be as Tough as Possible

If you get called for federal jury duty -- do everything you can (legally) to get picked.

Time for some jury nullification.

(with the caveat that most cases don't make it to jury trial)
posted by melissasaurus at 10:08 AM on May 12 [29 favorites]


Who does Trump think he is, The Godfather?

'I'm gonna make him an offer he can't -- believe me, it's gonna be the best offer, really the best offer, he can't -- no one would refuse such a great offer, believe me.'
posted by cjelli at 10:10 AM on May 12 [68 favorites]


Also, here are a few talking points for your Senators for next steps to take on the investigation into Comey's firing:

* Comey must testify in open hearings regarding the loyalty dinner and the state of the investigation into the Trump Campaign's alleged collusion with Russia

* For the president to ask the FBI director for a pledge of personal loyal is a matter of grave misconduct and antithetical to our democratic system of government

* Extremely important for Rod Rosenstein to testify as to his role in the firing of Comey and his role in drafting the memo

* Jefferson B. Sessions III must also testify as to his role in firing Comey, given that he has recused himself from all investigations and matters related to possible campaign collusion with Russia

* This week's actions are reminiscent of Nixon's obstruction of justice and his firing of Archibald Cox--the actions must be fully investigated

Let's keep hitting the phones. This country is ours, not his.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 10:10 AM on May 12 [133 favorites]


I wish there were mandatory minimums for perjuring yourself to the senate.
posted by H. Roark at 10:11 AM on May 12 [70 favorites]


I learned about Nixon when I was like 5. My very first question, and one my dad couldn't really answer was "But why did he make tapes?"

5 year old me is a better godfather than Donald.
posted by Glibpaxman at 10:11 AM on May 12 [45 favorites]


You know who else demanded a personal loyalty oath?

Satan?
posted by Artw at 10:11 AM on May 12 [20 favorites]


If you get called for federal jury duty -- do everything you can (legally) to get picked.

Unfortunately, having the ACLU on my resume will probably guarantee I will never serve on such a jury 😬
posted by Room 641-A at 10:12 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]


Satan?

I hope that was in a proper Church Lady voice...
posted by Melismata at 10:13 AM on May 12 [32 favorites]


I feel conflicted about the fact this is likely going to be the last ever Spiceytime. If it ever gets started.
posted by Gaz Errant at 10:14 AM on May 12


@KenDilanianNBC: A source close to Comey told me this morning: “He hopes there are tapes. That would be perfect.”

One presumes that the "close source" is the burner phone in Comey's hand.
posted by Freon at 10:16 AM on May 12 [63 favorites]


Would 100% take Black Philip over this guy. You get butter and stuff.
posted by Artw at 10:16 AM on May 12 [31 favorites]


Justin Amash (R - MI) is now co-sponsoring a bill with Eric Swalwell (D - CA) (my secret crush, after that House Intelligence Comittee hearing) called the Protecting Our Democracy Act, to create an independent commission to investigate Russian election interference.

The bill has 199 co-sponsors, including one other republican -- Walter Jones (R - NC).

I don't know about you guys, but I'm gonna call my personal Republican representative and ask him why he is NOT a co-sponsor.

I might also write a letter to the editor of my local paper asking the same question.
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:18 AM on May 12 [143 favorites]


I don't think anyone has been more (in)famous for being so damn ignorant of everything. Ever.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 10:18 AM on May 12 [10 favorites]


A source close to Comey told me this morning: “He hopes there are tapes. That would be perfect.”

Any journalists here who can confirm "A source close to X" == "X"?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:19 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


We should probably just ask Putin for the Trump/Comey tapes
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:19 AM on May 12 [12 favorites]


@KenDilanianNBC: A source close to Comey told me this morning: “He hopes there are tapes. That would be perfect.”

How much thinner a curtain can they hang in front of "Jim told me..."? Maybe "A source close to Comey, whose name is definitely not John Miller, told me...".
posted by Etrigan at 10:19 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


So been paying attention to Indonesia lately and Trump's dealings. And, y'know, you think you're on top of stuff, the situation is simmering 'sharp end of what we should be watching'
(sure there's are a few morans "'totally OK' with Comey firing") but it's not like this madness will cause Great Cthulhu to rise.

So yeah, this morning in the Jakarta globe - huge rotting sea creature washed ashore horrifyingly turning the water red.

Seriously, for like 1/10th of a second I genuinely thought ...

...I mean things have gotten that weird.

So naturally, I turned to the great salve of reason that is Stephen Fry who explains the Dunning-Kruger effect here:

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance. It is the illusion of knowledge.”

posted by Smedleyman at 10:22 AM on May 12 [38 favorites]


A sock with googly eyes, close to James Comey, told me ...
posted by Kabanos at 10:22 AM on May 12 [64 favorites]


My very first question, and one my dad couldn't really answer was "But why did he make tapes?"

One of the best scenes in TV history imho
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:23 AM on May 12 [31 favorites]


What will it finally take to get Trump's account removed for harassment and intimidation?

Beware what you wish for. His twitter account is literally the greatest own-goal scorer of all time. How much easier would the rest of the White House find it without him broadcasting every twitch in real time?
posted by Rumple at 10:23 AM on May 12 [84 favorites]




Spicer just started with the same joke Sanders started with two days in a row: "wow, got a full house today." He's talking really fast too.
posted by zachlipton at 10:25 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


His twitter account is literally the greatest own-goal scorer of all time.

Every time he has to take a dump, he posts something self-incriminating.
posted by Existential Dread at 10:25 AM on May 12 [5 favorites]


His personal loyalty? Who does Trump think he is, The Godfather?

This comparison occurred to CNN, too. Firing like scene from 'The Godfather' "Look, it makes sense that that’s the way you do business in New York. It does not make sense that that’s the way you do business when you are the President of the United States and your are talking to the FBI director. {...} I mean, it almost feels like a scene out of 'The Godfather,' but it’s not. It’s real, and it’s very… it’s alarming."

Since Trump has had ties to the mob (through his mentor, Roy Cohn) that go back to the 80s, e.g. New York bosses Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno and Paul Castellano, Philly mob agent Kenneth Shapiro, and drug trafficker Joseph Weichselbaum, why should this be a surprise?
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:26 AM on May 12 [10 favorites]


Watching Spicey and McMaster talking about Trump's trip next week like none of this insanity is happening is surreal.
posted by Gaz Errant at 10:26 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]


I want Trump to get what's coming to him, but one legal technicality is worth considering: Because he has the authority to fire the Director of the FBI, it's not technically Obstruction of Justice to do so, even if his *intent* was to bury the investigation. He has to physically impede the investigation itself, by for example destroying records, to qualify. This is still in the petulant tirade territory until more evidence surfaces.
posted by mystyk at 10:27 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]


I thought the daily press briefing was a free offering from C-SPAN. All I get is "Authentication in Progress." Annoying.
posted by xyzzy at 10:28 AM on May 12




I want Trump to get what's coming to him, but one legal technicality is worth considering: Because he has the authority to fire the Director of the FBI, it's not technically Obstruction of Justice to do so, even if his *intent* was to bury the investigation. He has to physically impede the investigation itself, by for example destroying records, to qualify. This is still in the petulant tirade territory until more evidence surfaces.

The legal technicality is that it's up to the Senate to decide what's obstruction of justice, not a judge.
posted by Talez at 10:29 AM on May 12 [11 favorites]


I can so easily imagine Trump's team releasing a heavily edited "tape" that makes Comey say whatever they want him to say - assuming the "tapes" are digital and not steam.

I can't imagine they'd do a very good job of it, but Fox News would use the simple existence of some sort of tape to run all sorts of exculpatory chyrons, and that would probably be enough for a significant part of their viewing audience.
posted by bibliowench at 10:29 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


Here's the NewsHour feed. It's free.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 10:29 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


"Authentication in Progress."

It's all lies, so I expect that will take some time.
posted by Kabanos at 10:29 AM on May 12 [12 favorites]




Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors late Thursday to pursue the toughest possible charges and sentences against crime suspects

whelp, there's these charges for violating 18 USC 1001 that Donald J. Trump is liable for...
posted by mikelieman at 10:30 AM on May 12 [8 favorites]


I thought the daily press briefing was a free offering from C-SPAN. All I get is "Authentication in Progress." Annoying.

YouTube link, direct from the White House, if C-Span is giving you trouble.
posted by cjelli at 10:30 AM on May 12


McMaster speaks suspiciously like Matt Foley.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:30 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]


Because he has the authority to fire the Director of the FBI, it's not technically Obstruction of Justice to do so, even if his *intent* was to bury the investigation.

"Did you fire James Comey from his position as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the intent to obstruct the investigation? I will remind you that you are under oath."
posted by Etrigan at 10:30 AM on May 12 [8 favorites]


Seriously, y'all mefites of the United States, I wish you the best of luck.

Your POTUS is in full Caudillo mode. If you manage to get rid of that, you still have the Handmaid's Tale scenario to deal with.
posted by runcifex at 10:32 AM on May 12 [17 favorites]




Who does Trump think he is, The Godfather?
Yes, I actually think so.


McMaster: "He will finish his trip in Sicily …"
posted by Kabanos at 10:32 AM on May 12 [8 favorites]


In what is arguably the most turbulent week of the fledgling Trump Administration ...

Feels like that's every week.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:34 AM on May 12 [10 favorites]


I think the president's understanding of how tape works must be something like his understanding of registered mail.
posted by rodlymight at 10:34 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]


McMaster is saying that there was a perception from Middle-Eastern nations that the US had disengaged from their region, and Trump has fixed that. This is the exact 180-degree opposite of what Trump said on the campaign.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:34 AM on May 12 [12 favorites]


McMaster is straight up refusing to answer any questions not about the trip. Just shut down a question regarding Comey and whether his firing has any national security implications.
posted by Gaz Errant at 10:34 AM on May 12


Nobody cares if he's met them before. Please remind us again why you're there? To talk about a trip that didn't exist before today? Heckuva job, General.
posted by Sphinx at 10:35 AM on May 12


seriously? McMaster saying 9/11 came from Afghanistan? Are all these guys knowingly lying? Is there an honest person anywhere in the white house?
posted by H. Roark at 10:36 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


I wish there were mandatory minimums for perjuring yourself to the senate.

This is literally probably the only thing that Jeff Sessions would exempt from his "strictest possible charges" policy. Because of Reasons.
posted by triggerfinger at 10:36 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


> I thought the daily press briefing was a free offering from C-SPAN. All I get is "Authentication in Progress."

Authoritarianism in Progress.
posted by guiseroom at 10:37 AM on May 12 [24 favorites]




To talk about a trip that didn't exist before today? Heckuva job, General.

We've known about his upcoming first overseas trip for a few days now at least.
posted by dis_integration at 10:38 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


McMaster saying 9/11 came from Afghanistan? Are all these guys knowingly lying?

It is pretty uncontroversial to state that the Taliban and al-Qaeda were pretty intertwined back then, and that bin Laden and his network had free run of Afghanistan.
posted by Etrigan at 10:40 AM on May 12 [19 favorites]


The WSJ describes the certified letter (I've yet to see confirmation it was actually sent certified mail) as "carefully worded":
But Democrats and some tax experts said the carefully worded letter did little to quell their concerns.

“A Russian would not lend directly to Trump or his businesses,” said Steve Rosenthal, a tax lawyer and senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center in Washington. “A Russian would, for example, fund a Cyprus corporation, which would lend to Trump or his businesses, possibly through other intermediary entities.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) compared the letter to the hyperbolic statements last year of Mr. Trump’s doctor about the president’s health.
...
The exception cited by lawyers for “ordinary-course sales of goods and services” is a potentially significant one. Although the lawyers say such payments were immaterial, Donald Trump Jr. suggested in 2008 that Russians did make up a significant amount of the Trump businesses’ customers.

“In terms of high-end product influx into the U.S., Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” he said in an interview with a trade publication. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
posted by zachlipton at 10:40 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]




Some context from a different perspective.

Esquire: The Signs Were Always There - "If you're surprised that the system suddenly seems broken, you don't know the system".

Or - "James Comey's Firing Is a Reminder of America's Institutional Imbalance."
Granted, Trump's current job magnifies the outrageousness of his act. But upon hearing the news, I felt a familiar frustration. With this event, some may just be becoming acquainted with an American reality where the structures of law enforcement have broken down and they feel like there's no choice but to accept it. But this America has always been here, and in plain sight. All these surprised people needed to do was believe us when they were warned.

How did, all of a sudden, so many other Americans come to learn these truths, ones that black and brown people have been trying to tell them about for what seems like forever? What people in that majority failed to realize is how institutional imbalance, racial or otherwise, makes any societal structure ripe for abuse.

...

Chris Hayes, in his book A Colony in a Nation, lays out how we've created, through democratic means, two different Americas for law enforcement: one that polices the way that it should be done, with equal treatment under the law; and another, the "colony," that is policed as one might expect under military occupation. "We have voted to subdue our fellow citizens; we have rushed to the polls to elect people promising to bar others from enjoying the fruits of liberty," Hayes writes. "A majority of Americans have put a minority under lock and key."

The criminal justice system may be the most blunt, brutal example of this. As Hayes argued, there remain two Americas when it comes to jurisprudence. What many folks fail to realize is how easily they can end up in the "colony" alongside the rest of us, preparing for the day that that our nation's systemic disadvantages affects more than the minority. Sometimes, all it takes is becoming poor. Sometimes, it's about being an immigrant from the wrong country, or with the wrong religion. Sometimes, it's just because we're not all rich and powerful like Donald Trump, and we don't have the ability to impede justice solely to meet our personal needs.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:41 AM on May 12 [41 favorites]


Straight from Republican State Media Fox News:

In life and in politics there is a line between defending someone and enabling them. What is happening these days with Trump and his core supporters is getting way past defense.

[notably absent is any effort to blame the Republican party as being the key enabling party here]
posted by Tevin at 10:43 AM on May 12 [18 favorites]


Oops, my bad. Pretend I said this week.
posted by Sphinx at 10:43 AM on May 12


Spicer is finally telling us where's the beef
posted by Beardman at 10:44 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]




Further undermining Trump's credibility

Which seems impossible but I suspect evidence of further undermining Trump's non existant credibility is on a cosmic scale. His bullshit is so dense it could form a magnetar.
posted by juiceCake at 10:47 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


If Trump is losing the Fox News political editor, he is losing the Murdoch family, aka Republican Oxygen
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:47 AM on May 12 [8 favorites]


Presenting the Garden Spicer: Now you too can have the White House press secretary in -- or rather, "among" -- the bushes in your yard.
(Facebook link)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:48 AM on May 12 [12 favorites]


Any chance the students at Liberty will give Trump the Devos reception tomorrow at their commencement?
posted by archimago at 10:48 AM on May 12


And make no mistake, we need Fox News to turn before the impeachment if we want to avoid total chaos. Just talking to people out there who aren't in the politics threads is surreal right now - there's such an information gap.
posted by corb at 10:49 AM on May 12 [59 favorites]


Cheers to the first questioner for saying "Moving on to the news of the week".
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:49 AM on May 12 [14 favorites]


Any chance the students at Liberty will give Trump the Devos reception tomorrow at their commencement?

No chance.

Somehow the adulterous, sex assaulting, money grubbing, false-witnessing, lying, idol obsessed, blasphemous and irreverent breaker-of-every-commandment is the darling of these evangelicals. The mind reels.
posted by dis_integration at 10:49 AM on May 12 [46 favorites]


Spicer looks like a kilogram of cinnamon gum just worked its way out
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:49 AM on May 12 [7 favorites]


"The tweet speaks for itself." We can carve that on the gravestone of the nation!
posted by Don Pepino at 10:50 AM on May 12 [17 favorites]


Spicer is flat out refusing to answer any questions about the "tapes" tweet. Won't say whether there are recording devices. "The tweet speaks for itself" and he has nothing more to say about it.
posted by zachlipton at 10:50 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


The lobby of my office building has two TVs -- one is always tuned to CNN with the sound on, and the other is tuned to Fox News with the sound off. Normally I try to avert my eyes as well as my ears from the Fox broadcast, but today when I walked in I saw that they were covering the Holt interview, with a chyron along the lines of "Trump: Russia was 'in my mind' when firing Comey"

Maybe that was an isolated island in a sea of denial, but that it made it to air at all is encouraging.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:50 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]


I have said from the drop that Ryan and McConnell will NEVER move against Trump until and unless he becomes a threat to their agenda.

"White House is careening between crisis after crisis. "We need our asset out there every day barnstorming for tax reform, health care," the senate aide said."

Are they finally starting to realize that they're not going to give tax cuts to the wealthy and take healthcare away from poor people while President Trump is still president?
posted by Tevin at 10:51 AM on May 12 [10 favorites]


Somehow the adulterous, sex assaulting, money grubbing, false-witnessing, lying, idol obsessed, blasphemous and irreverent breaker-of-every-commandment is the darling of these evangelicals. The mind reels.

It makes perfect sense once you accept their religion is whiteness.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:52 AM on May 12 [124 favorites]




Spicer is now doing his best "I work so hard to please you people and yet you don't love me" routine with regard to press briefings, says there is "a lot of dismay" because the press parses out details in their statements.
posted by zachlipton at 10:54 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


It makes perfect sense once you accept their religion is whiteness.

Reformed Caucasianism
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:55 AM on May 12 [13 favorites]


spicer seems to be trying as hard as he can to say nothing at all so that he can't be accused of contradicting the president later
posted by murphy slaw at 10:56 AM on May 12 [7 favorites]


I can't feel any pity for him, but nobody is going to do any better at the job of spinning Trumps bullshit because that shit cannot be spun. Hopefuly whatever the new creature is has as miserable an existence.
posted by Artw at 10:57 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


Again, I ask: why are these people doing this to themselves? They could move to Florida and work part time and make more in a month than I do in a year, and yet....
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:59 AM on May 12 [11 favorites]


Waitaminute. Did I read that Fox op ed correctly? Is Fox really thinking about turning against Trump? If that happens, expect his approval rating to drop to the single-digits by next week.
posted by KGMoney at 10:59 AM on May 12 [8 favorites]


Unlike Huckabee Sanders, Spicer isn't even acknowledging that what he said about the decision-making process to fire Comey was incorrect.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:59 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


drug dealing, gun crime and gang violence

ahem. brown people. fucker.

mortgage fraud, perjury, obstruction, white terror, sexual assault, wage theft, cop-murderers, CBP rape tables?
posted by j_curiouser at 10:59 AM on May 12 [23 favorites]


"at the pleasure of the president" -- there's that phrase again
posted by dhens at 10:59 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


The fact that the White House is repeatedly refusing to confirm or deny whether there is recording equipment in the Oval Office strongly suggests that the answer is "yes, and we don't want to admit it."

This is the point where people need to get hauled before Congress and subpoenas issued for tapes.
posted by zachlipton at 11:00 AM on May 12 [77 favorites]


I have said from the drop that Ryan and McConnell will NEVER move against Trump until and unless he becomes a threat to their agenda.
That's the source of my disbelief, tbh. It has become glaringly obvious that no agenda goals will be met with all of these distractions, so what is the point of having all the branches when none of them bear fruit? They got a SC nominee through after using the nuclear option and passed a health care bill that won't make it through the Senate in any form that the Freedom Caucus will accept. I mean, you can only live off of liberal tears for so long.
posted by xyzzy at 11:00 AM on May 12 [5 favorites]


Piss parties are held at the pleasure of the President and can be dissolved at any time that they lose his confidence
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:00 AM on May 12 [11 favorites]


I'm looking forward to the SNL skewering of Spicer this weekend, but what I really want to see them do is a sketch set in the Senate with people playing Democrats reading all the actual shit Trump has done thus far and suggesting impeachment juxtaposed with people playing Republicans offering increasingly more outlandish reasons why they won't.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 11:00 AM on May 12 [46 favorites]


"at the pleasure of the president" -- there's that phrase again

given that the president doesn't seem to experience pleasure unless he's thinking about choking a dog…
posted by murphy slaw at 11:02 AM on May 12 [17 favorites]


This is the point where people need to get hauled before Congress and subpoenas issued for tapes.

Only when there's a real Congress.
posted by Artw at 11:02 AM on May 12 [7 favorites]


I would be scared if these guys weren't so frickin' incompetent.

Out by August; September at latest.
posted by sutt at 11:03 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


They should have an SNL sketch where the writers are just sitting around doing nothing and partying, and/or worrying about getting laid off, because they don't need to do any actual writing.

Bring to mind a Capitol Steps show that I caught once, many years ago, where the cast was sobbing on stage because Dan Quayle's term was almost up and they'd gotten so much material out of him.
posted by Melismata at 11:04 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]


given that the president doesn't seem to experience pleasure unless he's thinking about choking a dog…

Or humiliating people with food, to be fair.
posted by lydhre at 11:04 AM on May 12 [5 favorites]


Out by August; September at latest.

pls don't jinx it
posted by murphy slaw at 11:05 AM on May 12 [25 favorites]


Out by August; September at latest.

Reel in those expectations, I think you're about to lose them in the great pee-stream of Trump's America. I'm expecting nothing less than a second term.
posted by dis_integration at 11:05 AM on May 12 [37 favorites]


If there's a second you might as well throw in third.
posted by Artw at 11:07 AM on May 12 [36 favorites]




From David Weigel's Garland story:
The Examiner also quoted Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) as saying "it would also create a vacancy in the important D.C. circuit, so maybe I like it better the more I think about it."
Does Roy Blunt not do internal monologues? That a Republican Senator thinks this about the prospect is unsurprising; that he openly says, "Yeah, that's what I like about it," to the press instead of coming up wih some sort of "He's a good man" fooforaw is..., well, it's not exactly clever or subtle, is it?
posted by jackbishop at 11:08 AM on May 12 [19 favorites]


If there's a second you might as well throw in third.

He won't keep his faculties anywhere near that long.
posted by Existential Dread at 11:08 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


Reel in those expectations, I think you're about to lose them in the great pee-stream of Trump's America. I'm expecting nothing less than a second term.


Unless democrats can get their heads out of their asses policy-wise, write single-payer into the platform, and shut their more conciliatory/bought-off members the hell up, you're probably right.

If they run Zuckerberg I'm going to lose my fucking shit.
posted by turntraitor at 11:09 AM on May 12 [11 favorites]


President Apprentice Re-runs 2024
posted by Beardman at 11:09 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


All of this is just adding more to the "Trump is a horrible, corrupt, and incompetent person/president" pile. That pile was already overwhelming big this time last year. None of this will cause any Trump voter or Republican politician to truly turn their back on him. They already know who he is.
posted by that's how you get ants at 11:09 AM on May 12 [13 favorites]


pls don't jinx it

Reel in those expectations, I think you're about to lose them in the great pee-stream of Trump's America. I'm expecting nothing less than a second term.

There's so much going down (collusion, obstruction, money laundering, and on and on), I believe a 2nd term will only happen if the rule of law is done away with.

My bet is actually that he resigns before he's impeached.
posted by sutt at 11:10 AM on May 12 [10 favorites]


It makes perfect sense once you accept their religion is whiteness.

I read a book called "The End of White Christian America". It basically showed the winnowing down of White Christian America, and it continuously expanding who could be let in the tent to make up for it, going from blue blood New Englanders to WASPs (as long as it was mainline Protestantism) to letting in Evangelicals to finally letting in (gulp) Catholics. The author, a progressive, thought that the next step would be to remove the white part of white Christian America. Clearly the actual solution was to remove the Christian part.

It doesn't help that the main signifier for Christian Trump supporters is that they don't really go to church.
posted by zabuni at 11:11 AM on May 12 [26 favorites]


It has become glaringly obvious that no agenda goals will be met with all of these distractions,

Sessions is ramping up the war on people of color.
The Muslim Ban may have been struck down, but refugee visa processing is virtually frozen and has been for months.
The head of the census bureau resigned. The 2020 census is clearly on track to be a Republican-favoring shitshow.
Numerous federal agencies despised by the right wing are now headed by people who also despise them.

They aren't getting their whole agenda through, no. But they're still doing the sort of harm they could only dream of a year ago.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:12 AM on May 12 [37 favorites]


This is what "running it like a business" looks like.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:13 AM on May 12 [27 favorites]


I believe a 2nd term will only happen if the rule of law is done away with.

STOP
JINXING
IT
posted by murphy slaw at 11:13 AM on May 12 [18 favorites]


I believe a 2nd term will only happen if the rule of law is done away with.

We are in the middle of a fascist coup, yes.
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on May 12 [32 favorites]


He won't keep his faculties anywhere near that long

I don't see how this would make him less appealing to those who are conspiring against democracy and a functional state by working to keep him in power.
posted by howfar at 11:13 AM on May 12 [6 favorites]


I believe a 2nd term will only happen if the rule of law is done away with.

So 50/50 then.
posted by Glibpaxman at 11:15 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


sutt: Out by August; September at latest.

dis_intigration: Reel in those expectations, I think you're about to lose them in the great pee-stream of Trump's America. I'm expecting nothing less than a second term.

Artw: If there's a second you might as well throw in third.


This whole shitshow only makes any sense if Republicans simply don't plan on allowing free and fair elections ever again.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:15 AM on May 12 [31 favorites]


I'm at least half-convinced that the Garland talk is psyops from both sides. Republicans are openly stating the underhanded fuckery of it in the hopes that it gets on Fox and Friends so 45* hears it, and Dems are promoting it to poison the well so Twitler will impulsively reject it. If he starts leaning that way I expect he'll get a singing telegram from Obama and Hillary telling him what a great idea it is.
posted by Freon at 11:15 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


This presumes (without evidence) that there exists a few republican senators who actually value constitution and country over party. Let's say your such a creature. Looking to the future, you can see two possible outcomes from current situation:
  1. Trump stays in power; the form of government changes from democratic republic to dictatorship
  2. Trump (very messily) loses power
Both outcomes have a very high chance of being bad for you and your career.

In (1), you serve as a vassal, without free will, and with a fair likelihood you can be thrown out a window if you make waves. If you care about things like "legacy", history will not be kind. And the reality is that your party and its members are not needed or even wanted by the dictator once they have fully seized power. You do NOT get to set policy, or check their actions. That is not what a dictatorship is.

In (2), there is a fair chance you will simply be voted out of office and a fair chance that you may be found to have comitted serious crimes (actively or complicitly) with their penalties.

There is a path to you making it through this and even becoming a "respected senior statesman" and "American hero" and the gateways those open up to you and your career.

The path is something like this:

You find a couple of like-minded colleagues, and hatch a plan to completely gut the current toddler party that is the GOP and replace it with a new version which essentially pushes the reset button. It's still conservative, but it doesn't court religious or racist whack-a-doodles and recognizes that government actually has a function, compromise is necessary, etc. You give up come constituents, but gain others--after all, large numbers of your current party's hate targets are actually conservative in nature and would vote for politicians of such a party. That things like gerrymandering and vote suppression are short-term "solutions" to a problem which doesn't actually exist if you get over the racism and the sexism. This is a conservative country, but conservative doesn't have to mean "heartless". Blah blah.

The idea here is you're doing a re-branding, while at the same time surgically removing the crazy which has brought the GOP to this crisis point. You want your new party to take the place of the Republican party in our two-party system. If you're smart, you'll put rules into place which keep the party centrist on an on-going basis. But you have a plan, and the plan includes things like "representing all constituents" and "working with opponents to craft legislation", etc.

Call it something like the "Independence Party". Your goal is the same as a big company which undergoes a re-branding. You want the public to understand that you're in-fact the republicans, but the good ones, and because of forces outside your control (Russian compromises, corruption, etc.) you're making a fresh start of it, but if you're a citizen and a Republican, what you really are is an Independent.

You also formulate a path to joining your party for not-too-dirty colleagues. But you want a line where you say no. This is important, because someone is getting frog-marched, and it cannot be anyone in your party. The Ryans, Hasterts, McConnels, etc. are too dirty. Probably half of your colleagues are in this boat.

You then go to the Koch brothers and other large money dispensers and say "hey, you seem unhappy with the crazy, what do you think about this". I'm willing to bet that they'd be interested in your plan. You can use Trump as evidence that their "winner take all" and support of loons ultimately does NOT get them what they want, but support of your initiative will get them a lot of what they want.

You go to beloved, non-crazy conservative celebs (people like "The Rock", not Clint Eastwood) and get them on-board. Now you have popular and friendly faces who will say nice things about what you're up to. A really smart strategy here would be to have them work on getting "tough guy" toxic masculinity marked in the public eye as a sign of serious weakness, as it ultimately is a dead-man's switch that ensures the crazy wins.

That's a long, slow, battle but one which would eviscerate the crazies, eventually.

You go to esteemed retired/former republican officials and get them on-board. Point out to them this is a path to redeem their legacy and sever their ties with the current crop of crazies. They are primed to support you and say things like "I may have had an (R) after my name, but that was before the party was sold to the Russians and the American public bamboozled. (I) is what I was then, in spirit, and (I) is what I am now. Bless these patriots for doing the right thing." Etc., etc.

You abandon Fox News, but court serious conservative publications like the WSJ. Your goal in all of these moves is to recognize that ultimately anything that is controlled by a single or few super-rich white guys is going to work until it fails spectacularly, taking everything associated with it.

Your overall goal with these moves is to be seen as "serious" and "adult" but still "conservative".

Some of those things will take time, but they can, because in the short-term you're going to have serious political power and once the writing is on the wall, you'll have the time.

You then go visit key Democratic colleagues and work out a deal: You're rebooting the republican party; it will govern like actual adults. To be clear, you're still conservative and will fight for your (sensible) ideals. But you need to clean house, and to do that, we will join you in getting an independent investigation established--and will absolutely work with you to end this farce. Bring olive branches, like the impeachment of Gorsuch in exchange for Garland (who is actually someone whose values you espouse in any case). Agree that legislation must be put into place to safeguard the country from this happening again.

You then withdraw from the republican party and become "Independents".

Your main talking point is this: You're dedicated conservatives, not criminals, and the republican party is hopelessly compromised by Russia and dirty money, to the point where it is no longer legitimate. That you know that your average Joe who looks in the mirror and sees a Republican staring back isn't looking at the criminal, but an Independent. Join us! We're the party your family has always been part of, etc., etc.

Conservatives have always been "tough on crime", and these are the highest crimes of all.

They key is this: (D)s + (I)s now outnumber (R)s in the senate. That is the fulcrum for this entire power play.

You work quickly to make procedural rule changes that short-circuit what little remaining power Republican senators have. Open a door for the less-dirty Republicans to join you, in exchange for testimony, but you make sure that line stops somewhere well short of anything that a layperson would see as actively criminal. The key words are traitorous.

And you start investigating. Every republican is going to be dirty, some inadvertently via PAC money; some will actually be traitors. You offer the former a path to your party, with wrist-slaps or due penance. You pillory the latter. Paint a picture of crimes against the US that are so egregious that even the coal-rollers get on board. Once there are big crimes and your average joe has a way to philosophically absolve themselves from them (hello (I) ), they'll love the investigation and its juicy revelations and harsh penalties, enthusiastically support it, even. Justice is (mostly) served.

The process needs to be fair, open...but fast and the penalties harsh. One or two big-names going down and you'll have lots of interest from current (R)s.

Your goal is to quickly get the house into a position where you can get actual impeachments rolling. Now the fireworks really start. The writing will be on the wall, and it will all come apart bigly.

You've done your homework and have (vetted) candidates of your new party ready to stand in special elections in affected districts, states, etc. You may not win, but the (R) is almost certainly not going to, and over time the natural conservative nature of the US and your new embrace of conservative leanings in former hated groups will see that traditionally red areas vote (I).

And the best part is you're now cemented in history as one of the Great Americans. You went from venal servitude and uncomfortable party-toady to hero.

(That's my personal holodeck.)
posted by maxwelton at 11:16 AM on May 12 [89 favorites]


how do you perform psyops on someone without object persistence
posted by murphy slaw at 11:16 AM on May 12 [80 favorites]


Roy Blunt is legit awful.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 11:17 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


It's tempting to think the GOP is banking on suspension of elections (as that's the only logical reason they would risk their seats supporting this fuckknuckle) but I think collectively they're just a guy absently staring at his phone playing a free-to-play multiplayer game while walking in traffic.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:18 AM on May 12 [36 favorites]


There are two big flat screen tvs in the cafeteria at my work, always on mute. One is showing Spicey and the other is showing some History Channel show about UFOs, complete with cheesy special effects and reenactments. The latter is far more believable.
posted by skycrashesdown at 11:19 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


Jefferson Fucking Beauregard Fucking Sessions the Fucking Third. May he find his way into a jail cell and never leave it.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:20 AM on May 12 [39 favorites]


It's tempting to think the GOP is banking on suspension of elections

They don't need to suspend elections if they get voter ID laws and increase incarceration/felony conviction rates.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:20 AM on May 12 [24 favorites]


The story changed again. Yesterday, Trump told Lester Holt he was going to fire Comey regardless of the recommendation. Now, Spicer said the decision was based "in part" on Rosenstein's recommendation.

But really, I'm just sitting in shock here that the White House can't even deny an Oval Office taping system.
posted by zachlipton at 11:21 AM on May 12 [5 favorites]


It's tempting to think the GOP is banking on suspension of elections (as that's the only logical reason they would risk their seats supporting this fuckknuckle) but I think collectively they're just a guy absently staring at his phone playing a free-to-play multiplayer game while walking in traffic.

Somewhere in the middle or just both.
posted by Artw at 11:22 AM on May 12


> This is what "running it like a business" looks like.

And pretty soon we're going to see a re-enactment of this Sopranos scene, with DJT as David Scatino and Putin as Tony Soprano.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:22 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


I think THEY might make it to a second, third, infinity term; I do not think HE is going to last long enough. He's increasingly delusional, increasingly baroque. Either nobody's capable of steering him, or his minders are deliberately giving him his head and sending him out to interviews because, somehow: Trumpshow, Trumpshow, ???, profit! I think it's the latter. It is not possible that they read those interviews with Time and The Economist and thought, "Yup, POTUS is just all right with me!" They read 'em, and then they rubbed their oily hands together and said, "Beautiful job, Sir, now that nice Lester Holt is waiting for you with a nice lunch. Please go have a chat with him!" They seem to want to make sure that he's on camera as he loses language. They want to capture the moment he moves from commenting on the nicely dressed people in the rose garden to throwing his feces at the nicely dressed people in the rose garden.
posted by Don Pepino at 11:22 AM on May 12 [6 favorites]


But really, I'm just sitting in shock here that the White House can't even deny an Oval Office taping system.

All the stuff about Obama "tapping" him? Occam's razor: Trump's mirror, again.
posted by Dashy at 11:24 AM on May 12 [28 favorites]


So the WH is bugged, right?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 11:24 AM on May 12 [5 favorites]


I don't see how this would make him less appealing to those who are conspiring against democracy and a functional state by working to keep him in power.

Well, I can't think of any fascist regime that trotted out a very old man with advanced Alzheimer's, but

It's tempting to think the GOP is banking on suspension of elections (as that's the only logical reason they would risk their seats supporting this fuckknuckle) but I think collectively they're just a guy absently staring at his phone playing a free-to-play multiplayer game while walking in traffic.

This is where I'm at too. Suspension of elections would be a very very very tough row to hoe, what with elections being organized by the states. They can gerrymander and fuck around with elections in swing states and red states, which is an urgent problem and should be our primary focus. I get the urge for pessimism (and my personal need to look for silver linings) but none of the most dire predictions are fait accompli; it's more likely that the banality of evil in terms of voter supression will continue until it's stopped.
posted by Existential Dread at 11:24 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]


Blunt. Does what is says on the tin.
posted by AwkwardPause at 11:24 AM on May 12


trump has no one around him who will tell him no. that is why he gave those interviews - he wanted to, and no one had the gonads to stop him. there are no "minders" who have enough influence to mind him.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:25 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]




The fact that the White House is repeatedly refusing to confirm or deny whether there is recording equipment in the Oval Office strongly suggests that the answer is "yes, and we don't want to admit it."

This is the point where people need to get hauled before Congress and subpoenas issued for tapes.


This really can't be overstated: the White House, through Spicer, refused, repeatedly, to deny that there is recording equipment set up in the Oval Office.

That should be an easy 'no;' it should be among the easiest 'nos.' It is hard to see this as anything other than confirmation that Trump is taping the White House.

It fits: we know he loves to record and play back Senate testimony, as reported recently. The only difference from Nixon is that I'd presume Trump demanded video in addition to audio.
posted by cjelli at 11:26 AM on May 12 [16 favorites]


We zoomed past "Nixon" a long time ago.
posted by Artw at 11:27 AM on May 12 [19 favorites]


So the WH is bugged, right?

At least since wednesday when the russian camera team was in the oval office.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 11:27 AM on May 12 [98 favorites]


We zoomed past "Nixon" a long time ago.

I suspect we might see "Trumpian" replacing "Nixonian" in the lexicon, if this continues in the manner it has been unfolding so far.
posted by cjelli at 11:28 AM on May 12 [6 favorites]


But really, I'm just sitting in shock here that the White House can't even deny an Oval Office taping system.

Was tapes in quotes because knowing Trump, he probably means TiVo, just like when he said "tapping phones" he actually meant microwave ovens.
posted by JackFlash at 11:28 AM on May 12 [9 favorites]


the sessions-get-brown-people-felonies plus the census thing plus the ICE/CBP nightmare plus the voter-fraud-disenfranchisement-smokescreen is starting to smell like a coordinated ratfucking of emerging demographics.

has anyone seen rove and cheney at the same table lately? channeling delay?
posted by j_curiouser at 11:29 AM on May 12 [5 favorites]


They wanted to put in a digital recording system, but the President insisted on steam-powered phonograph
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:30 AM on May 12 [12 favorites]


So the WH is bugged, right?

A not at all relevant story about how much Trump likes to record things.

Given Trump's past history of recording his own and other people's convos, and Spicer's hilarious refusal to comment, I have no doubt now that the residence and the oval have recording devices in them.
posted by dis_integration at 11:30 AM on May 12 [10 favorites]


Love the current headline on Slate: "Did Trump Just Falsely Accuse Himself of Wiretapping Himself?" That kind of headspinning wording is exactly how I'm feeling these days.
posted by Melismata at 11:31 AM on May 12 [29 favorites]


We know Trump has impersonated his own spokesperson. Maybe he also does impressions of Senator Grassley and James Comey?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:31 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


It's so unbelievable that I keep wanting to turn this into a game of 12-dimensional-chess: maybe they're just refusing to confirm or deny so everyone wastes their time taking about a taping system and then they can just laugh at us and call it "fake news" later?

But I know that's not it. That's just my brain trying to come up with some kind of possible justification for this absurdity. That's just my brain trying to pretend this isn't happening.
posted by zachlipton at 11:31 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


That feeling when you're reading this thread and the thread for The Americans in FanFare and keep losing track of which one you're currently looking at.
posted by mikepop at 11:32 AM on May 12 [34 favorites]


You abandon Fox News, but court serious conservative publications like the WSJ.

How long would their editorial lines remain out of sync? They're both News Corp., just targeted at different market segments.
posted by acb at 11:32 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


At least since wednesday when the russian camera team was in the oval office.

I still can't believe they spirited Sergei "Spymaster" Kislyak and a "Russian camera team" into the Oval Office on Wednesday.
posted by diogenes at 11:32 AM on May 12 [25 favorites]


I was musing today that there are so many good TV shows that I can't keep up. I stumbled over I Love Dick on Amazon because of a migraine, had never heard of it before, and it's actually really good.

I mean, hats off to good TV programming, but for the most part people are going to get what they want: sugar, fat, salt, free porn, truly well done entertainment that provides hours of diversion.

I guess what I'm saying is that is going to be a while before the proletariat revolts. I don't know I'm ready to die on the barricades yet, and I don't have kids (although I'm exploring the possibility of fleeing to Canada).

Something has to happen that makes what Fox News is selling completely revolting to people. I would say like police killing children, but unfortunately we've seen kindergartners massacred and we elected Trump. Who pledged to make the child-killing just as viable as it was before, more so, bigly.

I am hoping for Trump's natural demise, a GOP in disarray, something happening that doesn't involve dead people (aside from Trump).

I say this as somebody about to get on the phone with their rep's office: the system is broken in a number of ways. I fear, do not advocate for, but fear, that short of a historically unprecedented event, it will not be set straight.

But Godspeed to the people who are trying to keep us from that dark place.
posted by angrycat at 11:32 AM on May 12 [6 favorites]


Polling out on our local GOP representative shows her at 35-56 approve-disapprove. Trump is a boat anchor on these people.
posted by azpenguin at 11:32 AM on May 12 [13 favorites]


agenda goals will be met with all of these distractions, so what is the point of having all the branches when none of them bear fruit?

I was at a social gathering with some more connected Republicans and was pitching this very question. They said that at the current moment Justice Kennedy is still determined to retire this summer, and Trump is still committed through back-room deals to choosing off the Heritage Foundation list.

If true and this comes to pass, post summer we could see people taking new stock of whether it benefits or hurts the party to oust him. Which I know, is weak beer, but maybe better than nothing.
posted by corb at 11:34 AM on May 12 [6 favorites]


I think most of the Republican Establishment is still in "wait and see but slowly losing patience" mode toward Trump. Their voter suppression and other electoral ratfucking efforts have been overwhelmingly successful so far, even while Obama was in the White House (#1 on my personal list of Obama Failures), even to getting a Republican elected that they really don't like, but one big factor is whether Donald insists on "Loyalty Oaths" from every one of them who wants their own little piece of the Fascist Power Structure. But right now they're watching the special elections closely: if the Democrat in Georgia wins, many panic buttons will be pushed, since that would show an electoral wave beyond their control, but that's not for another month.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:34 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


I would be scared if these guys weren't so frickin' incompetent.

Out by August; September at latest.


Because there's nothing problematic about a Pence administration. Even if we somehow dumped both of them wouldn't we then have a Ryan administration? I think the odds of a do over and the installation of President Clinton are unlikely at best.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:35 AM on May 12


Polling out on our local GOP representative shows her at 35-56 approve-disapprove. Trump is a boat anchor on these people.

They win because of voter suppression and gerrymandering, but there's only so much of an edge they can give themselves that way. If they manage to fuck things up so much that the margin of fuckery is overcome then we might not all die.
posted by Artw at 11:35 AM on May 12 [10 favorites]


j_curiouser: "the sessions-get-brown-people-felonies plus the census thing plus the ICE/CBP nightmare is starting to smell like a coordinated ratfucking of emerging demographics."

Also, don't forget about the Kris Kobach voter "fraud" commission.

I mean, for all the worry about suspending or cancelling elections, I personally doubt that it'd come to that for the simple reason that it's just not the American way. The American way is poll taxes, literacy tests, etc... Namely, controlling the pool of voters via a combination of techniques ranging from full-on disenfranchisement to simple discouragement.
posted by mhum at 11:35 AM on May 12 [15 favorites]


Fox News: Trump Not As Bad As Civil War

Oh, come on. I thought the movie was pretty good; I mean, it wasn't as good as Winter Soldier and the villain's plot did rely on an awful lot of coincidences to work if you stop to think about it, but I also thought it had some good moments for Captain America and did a pretty good job of working in the rest of the Avengers generally. The Trump administration has no real compelling characters to root for so far, and the action set pieces are largely confined to the press room, so...meh.
posted by nubs at 11:37 AM on May 12 [42 favorites]


So Trump is Chuck McGill from Better Call Saul? Excepting the eloquence and ability to roast a sea bass, or at least enjoy it without ketchup.

Art imitates life, again! The parallels are pretty obvious.
posted by Keith Talent at 11:37 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


So...absolute best case scenario, we win the House in 2018, before the top two are ousted?
posted by unknowncommand at 11:37 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


the margin of fuckery

On the Margins of Fuckery is a great title looking for a book.
posted by dis_integration at 11:38 AM on May 12 [13 favorites]


They said that at the current moment Justice Kennedy is still determined to retire this summer, and Trump is still committed through back-room deals to choosing off the Heritage Foundation list.

If Kennedy decides that now is really the best time to retire I might have to buy a plane ticket to DC just to slap him in the face.
posted by Glibpaxman at 11:38 AM on May 12 [36 favorites]


starting to smell like

You just caught that whiff now?
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:39 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


So...absolute best case scenario, we win the House in 2018, before the top two are ousted?

If we don't THEN we get to test the Trump better or worse than civil war hypothesis. Because I think America is willing to accept rigged elections to some degree, but not that degree.
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Because there's nothing problematic about a Pence administration.

As has been noted many times before, Pence is his own kind of dystopian horror show, but very few of us are afraid of him nuking the world in a fit of pique.
posted by anastasiav at 11:41 AM on May 12 [39 favorites]


Let's just take it one existential crises at a time.
posted by diogenes at 11:42 AM on May 12 [35 favorites]


So...absolute best case scenario, we win the House in 2018, before the top two are ousted?

I don't see why we can't hope to encourage Trump to resign before then. (And he can pardon whoever he wants, yadda yadda)

Remember The Palin
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:43 AM on May 12


Just to repost from the last thread, in case anyone has any leads: there is some big motocade frequently criss-crossing Arlington, VA today and yesterday and my colleagues and I are really curious who it might be. It might be multiple motocades (some of the vehicles keep changing out) or it might be one, but there are always 40+ police motorcycles and then a few airport-shuttle type buses, and they're important enough that the police keep stopping traffic on the freeway to let them by. They're definitely coming and going from the pentagon and possibly DCA. Any clue?
posted by R a c h e l at 11:43 AM on May 12 [16 favorites]


the margin of fuckery

On the Margins of Fuckery is a great title looking for a book.
posted by dis_integration


That or the name of a new Culture vessel, probably a GCU working with Special Circumstances
posted by the phlegmatic king at 11:43 AM on May 12 [30 favorites]


Even if we somehow dumped both of them wouldn't we then have a Ryan administration?

President Hatch by the time it's all unwound?
posted by sutt at 11:44 AM on May 12


Effectorise the son of a bitch.
posted by Artw at 11:44 AM on May 12 [6 favorites]


Out by August; September at latest.

We'll be home for Christmas. Honestly, I wouldn't even hazard a guess, myself. Wouldn't surprise me if he resigned next week. Wouldn't shock me if he served two terms.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:45 AM on May 12 [20 favorites]


And 45 wept, because there were no more scandals left to conceive...
posted by blue_beetle at 11:45 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]


You just caught that whiff now?
you must admit, there is quite a lot of other noisy bullshit. as each of these popped up, i'd register "that is shitty for the electorate." but now, with like, what, six different efforts focused on disenfranchisement...i may be dense but the coordination and common denominator kinda landed pretty hard today. sessions was the tipping point.

(and the press does really need to ask sessions, "what about mandatory minimums for felony perjury to congress?" as someone stated above.
posted by j_curiouser at 11:45 AM on May 12


NYDN: Roger Stone contradicts Trump, says he has spoken to the president ‘very recently’. Stone went on The View, and:
“Well, I am not going to contradict the president and I am not going to say when I’ve spoken to him but I will say this, I have spoken to him very recently,” Stone said.
This, of course, does contradict the President's tweet, "have not spoken to Roger in a long time."

there is some big motocade frequently criss-crossing Arlington, VA today and yesterday and my colleagues and I are really curious who it might be

If nobody here knows, it might be worth dropping an email to the Washington Post's Metro desk.
posted by zachlipton at 11:45 AM on May 12 [27 favorites]


So Trump is Chuck from Better Call Saul?

Bet his staff wishes he'd leave his phone in the mailbox outside the White House.
posted by Beardman at 11:49 AM on May 12 [20 favorites]


FOX News Comey replacements: White House confirms shortlist to head FBI
“We are moving quickly and expeditiously to pick an interim and a permanent replacement, and we’re doing our due diligence—we’re not going to cut any corners,” the source told Fox News. [...]According to the White House official, the candidates include:

Ray Kelly, the former and longest-serving New York City police commissioner
Mike Rogers, former House Intelligence Committee chairman and former FBI agent
Former Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas
Paul Abbate, executive assistant director for the Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch
Former New York prosecutor Mike Garcia
Mayor of Colorado Springs John Suthers
Former federal appellate court Judge Michael Luttig, now executive vice president of Boeing
Larry Thompson, former deputy attorney general under President George W. Bush
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:50 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


Just to repost from the last thread, in case anyone has any leads: there is some big motocade frequently criss-crossing Arlington, VA today and yesterday and my colleagues and I are really curious who it might be. It might be multiple motocades (some of the vehicles keep changing out) or it might be one, but there are always 40+ police motorcycles and then a few airport-shuttle type buses, and they're important enough that the police keep stopping traffic on the freeway to let them by. They're definitely coming and going from the pentagon and possibly DCA. Any clue?

Hello, neighbor! I don't know either, but one of them was escorting a group of bicyclists in full race gear, which I just found confusing.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:51 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


Out by August; September at latest.

There's an eclipse in August. If we play it right we can make them think god will destroy the sun unless Trump is impeached. Who are they going to believe? God or science?
posted by Talez at 11:51 AM on May 12 [27 favorites]


If only their was some way for Pence to combine Russian treachery with his spooky religious shit.

A top cleric of the Russian Orthodox Church and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin met privately with Vice President Mike Pence Thursday morning

Theoretically about "combating terrorism in the Middle East" but I'm pretty sure burning all the gays was a subject of conversation.
posted by Artw at 11:51 AM on May 12 [55 favorites]


As has been noted many times before, Pence is his own kind of dystopian horror show, but very few of us are afraid of him nuking the world in a fit of pique.

You're absolutely right and I would love to see Trump impeached, it's just that we are so far from being out of the woods that the best case scenario includes a dystopian horrow show.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:51 AM on May 12 [6 favorites]


ROSEN: Some historical perspective is valuable here. During Watergate, the term "crisis" was thrown around as well, and there were people at that time who were old enough to remember when there were legless Civil War veterans still in the streets of Washington.

CARLSON: Good point.

ROSEN: And when those Civil War soldiers were young, there were still a dozen-odd Revolutionary War vets doddering around who could remember the days when the very existence of an independent American nation was in question.

CARLSON: Just goes to show you.

ROSEN: And that so-called "Revolutionary" so-called "War?" Just a donnybrook compared to the War of the Spanish Succession, which tore empires asunder and wrenched the very stars in their orbits. If things had gone differently, Tucker, you and I would be periwigged factotums in a Bourbon palace right now.

CARLSON: Well-observed.
posted by Iridic at 11:52 AM on May 12 [28 favorites]


Comey replacements: White House confirms shortlist to head FBI

Which is the most giganticly corrupt nazi? There's the one it will be.
posted by Artw at 11:52 AM on May 12 [7 favorites]


From the FPP: Further undermining Trump's credibility

There's a phrase that's going to get a heavy workout in coming months.
posted by Gelatin at 11:52 AM on May 12 [5 favorites]


WaPo: Why it’s likely that Trump does have recordings of his Oval Office conversations
BuzzFeed has reported several times on alleged use of recording devices by Trump at his homes and properties. In October last year, reporter Aram Roston wrote that two Trump golf clubs had pervasive monitoring systems that were tracked constantly, citing sources who worked at the facilities. Previously, Roston had reported that Trump had the ability to listen to any conversation taking place on the phone lines at Mar-a-Lago, again according to employees at the resort.

The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman tweeted Friday that her reporting indicated that Trump Tower employees were concerned that their offices were bugged.

Trump staffers have made threats to expose recordings similar to Trump’s. Social media director Dan Scavino tweeted this week that he had Huma Abedin’s election night concession call recorded and that he would soon share it.

More to the point, communications staffer Omarosa Manigault upended a dispute with reporter April Ryan in February by claiming to have a recording of an altercation between the two “steps from the Oval Office.”

Where did the recording come from? “The encounter was recorded by an unidentified White House media employee, according to Manigault, who said the tape backs up her claim that Ryan’s account is false,” our Paul Farhi reported...An automated recording system would certainly do the trick in that regard.
All that, and then, of course, Trump's tweeted threats.
posted by cjelli at 11:53 AM on May 12 [19 favorites]


We are moving quickly and expeditiously to pick an interim and a permanent replacement...

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. (Youtube link)

posted by sutt at 11:53 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


*throws aside popcorn and switches to nachos*
posted by loquacious at 11:54 AM on May 12 [12 favorites]


Ray Kelly, the former and longest-serving New York City police commissioner

Haberman (with a hilarious autocorrect error of spying->spaying, and many ensuing yucks from the peanut gallery) says that Kelly is liked by Trump because of the NYPD's secret spying on mosques program, which Trump praised and spoke out when it ended.
posted by zachlipton at 11:55 AM on May 12


Coming in to an FBI as the handpicked choice of the guy they hate, oh man, I wouldn't want that job.
posted by emjaybee at 11:57 AM on May 12 [8 favorites]


I'm surprised to not see Sheriff Joe Arpaio on that list.
posted by acb at 11:57 AM on May 12 [9 favorites]


I live my life like there's no tomorrow
And all I've got, I had to steal
Least I don't need to beg or borrow
Yes I'm livin' at a pace that kills
Ooh, yeah
Run it like a business
posted by emelenjr at 11:57 AM on May 12 [10 favorites]


my weed dealer turned me onto Haribo, and my stress eating has never been the same
posted by angrycat at 11:58 AM on May 12 [6 favorites]


Coming in to an FBI as the handpicked choice of the guy they hate, oh man, I wouldn't want that job.

Is the FBI mandated in the Constitution in the same way as the Postal Service is? Because if not, is anything stopping the President from dissolving it, creating a new agency (named the NBI or FBS or whatever), differing from the old one in that its loyalty is to the President, and transferring all assets and personnel to the new agency?
posted by acb at 11:59 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


They win because of voter suppression and gerrymandering, but there's only so much of an edge they can give themselves that way.

My hope, perhaps unrealistic, is that Trump's awfulness with be enough to cause a shift to Democratic control in Congress and all but the reddest state legislatures. Then the Democrats enact voter protection reforms, mandate simple registration, and counteract gerrymandering. If they can do that in enough states, that should make it very hard for Republicans to regain power until they become rational enough to actually appeal to a majority of the populace.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:00 PM on May 12 [18 favorites]


I'm surprised to not see Sheriff Joe Arpaio on that list.

Trump can't spell it.
posted by Etrigan at 12:00 PM on May 12 [13 favorites]


my weed dealer turned me onto Haribo, and my stress eating has never been the same

If you get a bag of the sugar-free, it will change again, in an entirely different way*







*DO NOT DO THIS
posted by The Gaffer at 12:00 PM on May 12 [73 favorites]


FBI Director Roy Moore just has the right ring to it, no?
posted by delfin at 12:02 PM on May 12


my weed dealer turned me onto Haribo, and my stress eating has never been the same

Watermelon and sauerkraut are good things to pig out on without gaining many calories when the munchies won't go away.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:03 PM on May 12 [8 favorites]


Watermelon and sauerkraut are good things to pig out on without gaining many calories when the munchies won't go away.

Watermelon and sauerkraut is my least favorite Haribo variety.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:04 PM on May 12 [107 favorites]


Watermelon and sauerkraut are good things to pig out on

Are you ok?

posted by RolandOfEld at 12:04 PM on May 12 [61 favorites]


I'm not sure sauerkraut and current events are a good combination for my blood pressure.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:06 PM on May 12 [4 favorites]


Does sauerkraut Haribo actually exist? If it doesn't it should.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:06 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas


It will be one of these guys. Because 1) look how easily Pompeo and Sessions got confirmed. Republicans in Congress will always vote to confirm their Republican Congressional colleagues.

And 2) In the public House Intelligence Committee hearing on Russia with Comey and the NSA director, Gowdy asked zero questions about Russia, and many questions about "leaks" and "unmasking." Ditto for Cornyn in the Senate Judiary Comittee hearing at which Yates and Clapper Testified. Not asking questions about Russia is the number one qualification for this job in Trump's mind.
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:07 PM on May 12 [7 favorites]




How do these threads get to be 3500 comments long so fast, anyhow?
posted by Rumple at 12:08 PM on May 12 [12 favorites]


Did someone say watermelon sauerkraut?
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:08 PM on May 12 [5 favorites]


So Trump is Chuck from Better Call Saul?

I am so going to re-watch last (this?) week's episode right now...

(Kim Wexler FTW!)
posted by mikelieman at 12:09 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Everything keeps happening, Rumple. Everything happens so much.
posted by flatluigi at 12:09 PM on May 12 [20 favorites]


my weed dealer turned me onto Haribo

There's a long story about 1984 or 1985, a froot-loop and a US Bongs Watergate that I am not telling right now.
posted by mikelieman at 12:10 PM on May 12


Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas


There was an article somewhere upthread about how Congressional Republicans are getting a bit annoyed that Trump keeps nominating them for things, forcing them to defend extra seats in 2018. As horrible as Cornyn would be, Texas isn't an impossible pick up, and FBI agents would revolt en masse. So sure, go for it!
posted by Glibpaxman at 12:10 PM on May 12 [12 favorites]


It's so unbelievable that I keep wanting to turn this into a game of 12-dimensional-chess:

Seen on the twitter shortly after the Comey news broke: "Is there such a thing as 0 dimensional chess?"

I can so easily imagine Trump's team releasing a heavily edited "tape" that makes Comey say whatever they want him to say - assuming the "tapes" are digital and not steam.

At this stage I can actually easily imagine them releasing a manually chopped and spliced cassette tape, with the occasional 'great', 'huge', and 'tremendous' added in what is clearly Trump trying to do Comey's voice.
posted by Buntix at 12:10 PM on May 12 [9 favorites]


Is the FBI mandated in the Constitution in the same way as the Postal Service is?

No, the FBI is established by law. But DOJ can certainly make life difficult for the FBI.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:11 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


[maybe ixnay on the autkray at this point]
posted by cortex at 12:11 PM on May 12 [18 favorites]


McCabe's testimony yesterday pretty much guarantees it won't be him.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:14 PM on May 12 [5 favorites]


If it's Cornyn, the Governor of Texas would make a short-term appointment, then there would be a special election.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:20 PM on May 12


So the WH is bugged, right?

I imagine Trump's right suit pocket is at least. He has to keep the Samsung around for more than just Twitter and Angry Birds.
posted by bonehead at 12:25 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


Fox News released a clip from their interviewing airing tomorrow in which Trump proposes cancelling press briefings and doing them himself every two weeks, blaming the "hostility" and how Spicer "gets beat up."
posted by zachlipton at 12:25 PM on May 12 [7 favorites]


Talez: There's an eclipse in August. If we play it right we can make them think god will destroy the sun unless Trump is impeached. Who are they going to believe? God or science?

I can tell who's been reading Chapter Six of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court again!
posted by wenestvedt at 12:26 PM on May 12 [7 favorites]


Oh yes, please let him do his own press briefings
posted by Fleebnork at 12:27 PM on May 12 [93 favorites]


Spicer is out - look at Trump's lying face in that clip
posted by mumimor at 12:28 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


If it's Cornyn, the Governor of Texas would make a short-term appointment, then there would be a special election.

I swear, I will move to Texas and change my name by deed poll to "FUCK TED CRUZ, NO, SERIOUSLY, FUCK THAT GUY" and run for Cornyn's seat.
posted by Etrigan at 12:28 PM on May 12 [45 favorites]


in which Trump proposes cancelling press briefings and doing them himself every two weeks

Please everyone make loud noises about how angry we would be if he did this. So he absolutely does it.
posted by mikepop at 12:29 PM on May 12 [7 favorites]


no, donald trump will not resign if he is impeached - he will fight every bitter inch of the way out the door and perhaps beyond
posted by pyramid termite at 12:30 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


I'm at least half-convinced that the Garland talk is psyops from both sides.

But why believe that when the explanation that it's just stupidity all around is staring us in the face?
posted by jcreigh at 12:30 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


At this stage I can actually easily imagine them releasing a manually chopped and spliced cassette tape, with the occasional 'great', 'huge', and 'tremendous' added in what is clearly Trump trying to do Comey's voice.

The White House will insist it's actually John Barron doing the Comey impersonation.
posted by Quindar Beep at 12:31 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


I imagine Jared is getting pretty tired of fielding questions about Audacity.
posted by bonehead at 12:36 PM on May 12 [6 favorites]


Washington Monthly: Authoritarians Don’t Handle Nuance Very Well
An authoritarian mindset requires that everyone be categorized as either an ally or a villain. White hats signify the good guys and the bad guys wear black hats. That makes things simple. Responses to individuals are pre-programmed and there is no need to waste time in an attempt to actually listen or dig any deeper.

Also, in that kind of mindset, people’s actions aren’t complicated by things like strengths and weaknesses, assets and liabilities. They never simply make mistakes or fail to communicate thoroughly. Empathy isn’t necessary and context is irrelevant because people are either good or bad.

Obviously a lot of people thought that because Democrats criticized Comey, they saw him as a bad guy and would welcome the fact that Trump fired him. There were multiple reports today [5/11] that the White House was caught off guard by the reaction they actually got.

...

Just as many right wing sites are reporting, Schumer said he’d lost confidence in Comey. But he went on to suggest that he was going to “sit down and talk to him and get an explanation for why he did this.” That is not something an authoritarian would ever think to do.

There are an awful lot of ways to describe the various divides we experience in the world of politics. But this one seems very important. It really comes down to whether we treat each other as objects that are easily placed in neat little boxes that are marked “good” and “bad,” or if we are prepared to listen, dig a little deeper, empathize and take context into account. When we do the latter, there will be times we critique the actions of others. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are suddenly written off as “evil.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:37 PM on May 12 [21 favorites]


SNL needs to bring back Dan Ackroyd for a ghost of Nixon sketch.
(SNL started one year after Nixon's resignation.)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:42 PM on May 12 [17 favorites]


There's an Asia nuclear crisis going on, and the US still doesn't have ambassadors in China, South Korea or Japan

"You'd think we're going into a crisis with North Korea, and there's no ambassador in Seoul, in Tokyo, in Beijing or an assistant secretary for East Asia. You wonder, beyond the tweets and what the White House says, how actually the work of the government is going to get done," said Vali Nasr, dean of the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a former senior advisor on Afghanistan and Pakistan under Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.

The U.S. State Department website says that those major ambassadorships are "vacant" — as are the top U.S. diplomatic posts to India and Australia — even as smaller countries such as the Philippines have ambassadors in place.

posted by zakur at 12:43 PM on May 12 [36 favorites]


Don't Blame Me I Voted For Deez Nuts

(simpler times, simpler times...)
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:43 PM on May 12 [10 favorites]


fbi...colorado springs mayor john suthers. please. get him out of here. his primary talent is fellating rich people. trumpsters love that. he'd probably get free mouthwash with his health plan.
posted by j_curiouser at 12:44 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Morgan Lewis & Bockius, law firm asserting that Trump's income tax returns do not show income from Russian sources or debt owed to Russians, was named Russia law firm of the year.
posted by Cheezitsofcool at 12:47 PM on May 12 [6 favorites]


David Smith, Guardian: 'What is wrong with you?' Michelle Obama savages Trump's gutting of her legacy
The 53-year-old demanded: “And why is that a partisan issue? Why would that be political? What is going on? You know, now that’s up to moms. Moms, think about this. I don’t care what state you live in. Take me out of the equation. Like me, don’t like me, but think about why someone is OK with your kids eating crap. Why would you celebrate that? Why would you sit idly and be OK with that?

“Because here’s the secret: if somebody is doing that, they don’t care about your kid, and we need to demand everyone to care deeply about kids. That’s all we have. So we should be driving this and every elected official on this planet should understand: don’t play with our children. Don’t do it.”
You go, girl.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:47 PM on May 12 [195 favorites]


Bet his staff wishes he'd leave his phone in the mailbox outside the White House.

Bet his staff wishes he was 1/24th as smart as Chuck.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:48 PM on May 12 [7 favorites]


Fox is covering basically every other outlets reporting as a "conspiracy theory."

You can almost smell the desperation.
posted by Gelatin at 12:48 PM on May 12 [4 favorites]


Spicer is out - look at Trump's lying face in that clip

Dammit I just added this lawn decoration!
posted by phearlez at 12:49 PM on May 12 [54 favorites]


Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors late Thursday to pursue the toughest possible charges and sentences against crime suspects

Then I'm sure Sessions won't complain when future federal prosecutors pursue the toughest possible charges and sentences against him and his co-conspirators.
posted by Gelatin at 12:50 PM on May 12 [32 favorites]


Dammit I just added this lawn decoration!

ZOMFG
posted by sutt at 12:51 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


I wish. White guys walk, always.
posted by Artw at 12:52 PM on May 12 [11 favorites]


Then the Democrats enact voter protection reforms, mandate simple registration, and counteract gerrymandering

Unilaterally disarming is part of how we got here in the first place. Democrats should offer a Constitutional Amendment addressing gerrymandering and mandating non-partisan districting nationwide... and at the same time they should gerrymander the fuck out of any state in which they come to power. If they don't do that the Republicans have absolutely no incentive to stop their shenanigans. Because they know that whenever they take power in a state they will be able to get a massive advantage but that there is no equivalent downside when they lose power.
posted by Justinian at 12:53 PM on May 12 [23 favorites]


The U.S. State Department website says that those major ambassadorships are "vacant" — as are the top U.S. diplomatic posts to India and Australia — even as smaller countries such as the Philippines have ambassadors in place.

Well, the Philippines has one of Trump's authoritarian buddies in charge, so that one was easy.
posted by kozad at 12:53 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


Remember that 45's shtick about Comey included the FBI being in semi-chaos. I'd expect the appointment to be of someone to lead a 'root and branch reform', aka purge. Purge. It's a great word. The best. Expect to see it lots.

Further, I expect the 'housecleaning' to be of such ineptitude that the FBI will be effectively paralysed, and as those are the folks in charge of stopping terror attacks, it will have the pleasant side-effect of provoking the state of emergency that 45 so clearly desires.

But nobody's banging the drum about how fucking over the head of the FBI in such an inept manner has already damanged national security. Of ir they have, I've missed it in IceCreamScoopgate.

I don't quite understand why people aren't on the streets over there already. Or maybe I do. But, chaps, really. Time is running out.

What IS your red line?
posted by Devonian at 12:55 PM on May 12 [9 favorites]


Democrats should offer a Constitutional Amendment addressing gerrymandering and mandating non-partisan districting nationwide

Non-partisan districting is impossible. Even if you mandate it, Republicans these days are more than happy to register Independent to take up Democratic slots in any non-partisan process.
posted by Talez at 12:56 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


Anyone who wants to use power in a fair and legitimate way is at a total disadvantage: if you don't use the same (unethical, illegal) tactics as your opponents, you can't win. If you do use them, you soon become as craven as your opponents. This is how democracy dies.
posted by rikschell at 12:57 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


A top cleric of the Russian Orthodox Church and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin met privately with Vice President Mike Pence Thursday morning

Theoretically about "combating terrorism in the Middle East" but I'm pretty sure burning all the gays was a subject of conversation.


How many bugs can a Russian Orthodox minister hide in his robes? "Let us pray, my son. Close your eyes and we will seek God's blessing" [glides around sticking bugs everywhere]
posted by emjaybee at 12:58 PM on May 12 [7 favorites]


Non-gerrymandered districting which does not take into account political preferences is very possible. For example, Iowa.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:59 PM on May 12 [5 favorites]




Non-partisan districting is impossible.

mandate it be done by computer with clear specifications
posted by pyramid termite at 1:00 PM on May 12 [10 favorites]


Roll Call: Freedom Caucus May Push for More Than Tax Overhaul in Next Budget
Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are considering a push for broader reconciliation authority in the upcoming fiscal 2018 budget resolution that would allow Republicans to pursue policies beyond a tax code overhaul.

“We believe that writing the instructions more broadly will give us greater flexibility not only to get tax reform but also to address other areas simultaneously,” Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said in an interview here Friday.

One idea floated is including language in the reconciliation instructions that would allow committees of jurisdiction to look at policies for overhauling the welfare system, which, like a tax code rewrite, is one of the six planks of House Republicans’ “A Better Way” agenda.
Why limit the focus to cutting taxes for the rich when you can take away benefits from the poor at the same time, asks the Freedom Caucus.
posted by zachlipton at 1:00 PM on May 12 [25 favorites]


Republicans, ever searching for a more perfect way to kill us all.
posted by Artw at 1:02 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


Jennifer Rubin has some more really excellent columns. Because the chips are down, I won't forget that she's been for real against the Popular Vote Loser since last year and been on the side of justice and accountability, specifically in the matter of the Russian Affair. She's been strong where virtually all other right-leaning commentators have abandoned objectivity and loyalty to the institutions of our way of government.

Trump’s ‘tapes’ tweet is too much. Hasn’t the GOP had enough?
The 2016 election demonstrated that the party once united by political thought (e.g., smaller government, objective truth, respect for tradition, the rule of law) and respect for civic virtue would accept a thoughtless, entirely unscrupulous leader for the sake of holding power. (“Sure, he’s totally ignorant about the world, but we’ll get the Supreme Court.” “Well, he’s obviously lying about a bunch of issues, but he’ll sign whatever the House gives him.“) En masse, most Republicans — including those at some premier publications (which are now unreadable to all but the Trump cultists) — declared willingness to defend ignorance, bigotry, dishonesty and ineptitude on the chance that they’d get a top marginal tax rate of 28 percent. The calculation, to those not driven by partisan zeal, seems shockingly small-minded and tribalistic. (At least Hillary Clinton’s not there to raise taxes!) One marvels at other trades they’d make. (Lose an independent judiciary for sake of a meaningless and offensive travel ban?)

Republican Party identification has begun requiring intellectual vacuity. One has to be free from shame to agree that it’s no big deal when Trump confesses he fired former FBI director James B. Comey because he decided Russian interference in the election was “just a made-up story.” A slew of FBI agents is now investigating the “made-up story,” the entire intelligence community verifies it and members of both parties acknowledge that it occurred. [...]
Jeff Sessions is in deep trouble, and here’s why
That is the investigation that Sessions promised to stay away from. Firing the man heading the investigation — especially if Sessions knew that the reason was not the one stated in Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein’s May 9 memo — is a matter “arising from the campaigns for President of the United States.”

Sessions may have some explanation for why he chose to participate in the firing of Comey. But the attorney general may now be in considerable legal peril.[...]

[...] In sum, Sessions has risked his law license, whether he realized it or not. He needs to testify immediately under oath; if there is no satisfactory explanation, he must resign. The alternative could be impeachment proceedings.
Comey’s firing was about Russia (duh!). Why can’t Republicans admit it?
One wonders when conservative media outlets and Republicans such as House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will stop the frantic effort to avert their eyes from the inescapable picture of a president furious that he could neither sidetrack the FBI director with his ludicrous accusation of “wiretapping” nor slow down his pursuit of evidence of wrongdoing.

Every GOP lawmaker should be pushed to answer a simple question: If the president fired Comey to slow down the Russia investigation and concocted a cover story that included sending out the vice president and others to lie, would you consider that an impeachable offense? If the answer is no, then they approve — when it’s their man in the Oval Office — subversion of our justice system.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 1:03 PM on May 12 [65 favorites]




(Hope she gets a Jury Trial)
posted by Artw at 1:07 PM on May 12 [75 favorites]


mandate it be done by computer with clear specifications

Different specifications still give different results. Do you want competitive districts? Do you want shortest splitline districts? Following county boundaries?

One solution to make things more resistant to gerrymandering is to use at-large lists and IRV for any state <10 reps. Outside of that, trying to make individual seat boundaries work is going to be inherently partisan in one way or another.
posted by Talez at 1:09 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


TN Woman Gets Two Thumbs Up from WI Man
posted by The Gaffer at 1:09 PM on May 12 [45 favorites]


"...there are no 'minders' who have enough influence to mind him."
Trump has minders. Remember when he went into the lil room with Kislyak and Lavrov and ordered his photographer to take a bunch of pictures of him and Lavrov but not to release them? And then the Russian photographer took a bunch of pictures of all of them and the Russians released their photos of all of them, to Trump's momentary discomfort 'til he forgot all about it a few hours later? Who was in charge, there? And then remember, Trump ordered his staff to release just the ones of him and Lavrov? After the horse was hours out of the barn?

I gotta say, this stuff makes me reaaaaally mad. He's a loathsome toad who should be under the jail, should have been under the jail since forever ago for the crap he pulled as a real estate vampire and allegedly human trafficking allegedly spouse abusing alleged rapemonkey, and he's Not My President and all that, but he is still technically the president of my country. He's the president, he's non compos mentis, and Putin is taking advantage of his obvious helplessness to make fun of him in front of the whole world.
posted by Don Pepino at 1:10 PM on May 12 [14 favorites]




The GOP must never be let off the hook for allowing Trump to happen to the nation.
posted by Liquidwolf at 1:13 PM on May 12 [109 favorites]


Cops: TN Woman Tried to Run GOP Rep Off Road for AHCA Vote

Memphis vs. Errrbody
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:14 PM on May 12 [4 favorites]




Cops: TN Woman Tried to Run GOP Rep Off Road for AHCA Vote
(Hope she gets a Jury Trial)


i hope she gets a medal
posted by entropicamericana at 1:15 PM on May 12 [15 favorites]


Cops: TN Woman Tried to Run GOP Rep Off Road for AHCA Vote

Well it's not like she laughed at him.
posted by bibliowench at 1:19 PM on May 12 [29 favorites]


This Twitter account I just found will tweet pictures of President Obama with children once an hour.

It's so precious I want to die.
posted by Tevin at 1:21 PM on May 12 [47 favorites]


I love the one with the tiaras.
posted by Autumnheart at 1:23 PM on May 12 [5 favorites]


Trump has a kid. Somewhere.
posted by Artw at 1:35 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


Ex-CIA officer: ‘Give the president of the United States a pacifier and a rattle and put him in the crib’

Thats all very good and relevant but the thing is, those people who will take over as they realize the president is not in charge are not who anyone wants to lead a nation. Military, police, State Departement, all full of super-smart and patriotic people. But not people who are fit to govern. The threat of autocracy might not be from the bumbling trumpists, but from the people who are coming in to save us…
posted by mumimor at 1:35 PM on May 12 [5 favorites]




Yikes, can we refrain from the bloodlust in here? Wishing for people to get hurt or killed isn't cool.
posted by agregoli at 1:37 PM on May 12 [15 favorites]


[Couple things removed, can you please all just fuckin' cool it a bit as a personal favor to me on this Friday afternoon, thank in advance and/or don't make me turn this car around.]
posted by cortex at 1:39 PM on May 12 [62 favorites]


Republicans floating Merrick Garland for FBI director should be careful what they wish for.

I found myself wondering what would happen if the offer was made—and if Garland then politely said, “I accept, but first I must ask the chief judge of the Circuit for a multi-year leave of absence. Oh—wait! I AM the chief judge! Leave granted. Subpoenas go out Monday.” Garland would then move to the J. Edgar Hoover Building for a year or two (long enough, say, to complete some unfinished counterintelligence investigations about Russia) before returning to a seat that was never vacant.

Here’s where the sick jest turns on its maker. Lee poses as an authority on the Constitution; he must, then, know that the document doesn’t forbid a judge from accepting executive office—while continuing to serve on the bench. Look at Article I § 6 cl. 2—the only explicit “separation of powers” provision in the Constitution: “no person holding any office under the United States, shall be a member of either house [of Congress] during his [or her] continuance in office.”

The words say that no executive or judicial official can serve in Congress without giving up his former job. They do not say that no judge can serve in executive office while remaining a judge.

posted by T.D. Strange at 1:40 PM on May 12 [26 favorites]


This Twitter account I just found will tweet pictures of President Obama with children once an hour.

Best. Bot. Ever.
posted by mikelieman at 1:42 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Johnny Wallflower: David Smith, Guardian: 'What is wrong with you?' Michelle Obama savages Trump's gutting of her legacy

There's a poster in my son's daycare that features Michelle Obama, in promotion of eating healthy foods and staying active. Weeks after the election, that poster made me so very sad for the things we have lost, and I was so worried it would be taken down and replaced by something from Trump.

It's May, and that poster is still there, because there is nothing that has replaced her program in terms of press materials, though I also believe that this daycare won't put up anything pro-Trump any time soon, TBH.



And in case you needed to be reminded, do not search for anything related to the Obamas, because there are so many infuriating, terrible captioned images, awful cartoons, and so forth.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:42 PM on May 12 [12 favorites]


Thank you to the kind person upthread who linked to the James Fallows Atlantic story about how Trump is already worse than Nixon, from where I got to a reprint of Hunter S. Thompson's obituary of Nixon in Rolling Stone. I've read it before, but it's a whole different feeling reading it again in this, the year 2017:

"Let there be no mistake in the history books about that. Richard Nixon was an evil man — evil in a way that only those who believe in the physical reality of the Devil can understand it. He was utterly without ethics or morals or any bedrock sense of decency. Nobody trusted him — except maybe the Stalinist Chinese, and honest historians will remember him mainly as a rat who kept scrambling to get back on the ship."

Twenty years from now (if civilization still exists) there should be some bracing writing about Trump and the Trump era.

If you haven't ever read that obituary, please do. Not only is it a fabulous piece of invective, but you'll also get to meet familiar faces - Billy Graham, Bill Clinton, Robert Bork, Bob Dole - in an unfamiliar context.
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:42 PM on May 12 [50 favorites]


Yikes, can we refrain from the bloodlust in here? Wishing for people to get hurt or killed isn't cool

You know the other side absolutely does not abide by this, right?
posted by Artw at 1:44 PM on May 12 [8 favorites]


You know the other side absolutely does not abide by this, right?

Yes. But we are supposed to be different. If I wanted to associate with sociopaths, I'd still be Republican.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:46 PM on May 12 [82 favorites]


You know the other side absolutely does not abide by this, right?

Yeah, but it'd be kinda nice not to have "they started it" become the guiding theory of MetaFilter commentary. I like it here because I don't expect to have things go that way, speaking as a user. Speaking as a mod, save me some extra shitty cleanup work please, etc.
posted by cortex at 1:47 PM on May 12 [65 favorites]


You know the other side absolutely does not abide by this, right?

I don't want to have things about bloodlust in common with that hypothetical "other side" thanks.
posted by Talez at 1:47 PM on May 12 [7 favorites]


I was wondering what Rupert Murdoch was up to on Twitter these days. He seems to not use it except for butttweets.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:57 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


You don't have to refrain from going for the jugular everywhere, just not here.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:58 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


from where I got to a reprint of Hunter S. Thompson's obituary of Nixon in Rolling Stone.

That's always been a kind of touchstone for me. I still have that issue in a box somewhere. My favorite part has always been:
I have had my own bloody relationship with Nixon for many years, but I am not worried about it landing me in hell with him. I have already been there with that bastard, and I am a better person for it. Nixon had the unique ability to make his enemies seem honorable, and we developed a keen sense of fraternity. Some of my best friends have hated Nixon all their lives. My mother hates Nixon, my son hates Nixon, I hate Nixon, and this hatred has brought us together.

Nixon laughed when I told him this. "Don't worry," he said, "I, too, am a family man, and we feel the same way about you."
Well, that and the part about beating him like a mad dog with mange.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:59 PM on May 12 [11 favorites]


Mefi's continuing insistence that this situation will resolve without violence seems preposterous.
posted by TypographicalError at 2:03 PM on May 12 [9 favorites]


We don't have to WISH for violence.
posted by agregoli at 2:04 PM on May 12 [31 favorites]


Mefi's continuing insistence that this situation will resolve without violence seems preposterous.

I'm not sure where you get this from. I'm terrified there will be wide scale sectarian violence in this country. It doesn't mean I have to help it along with inflammatory rhetoric about people's lives.
posted by Talez at 2:05 PM on May 12 [21 favorites]


The evil of both Nixon and Trump was motivated by self-interest and a desire for zero-sum domination of others. But while Nixon was competent and clever, Trump is an attention-seeking ignoramus who is easily manipulated, even by foreign governments. He is vastly more dangerous than Nixon.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:06 PM on May 12 [21 favorites]


As much as I believe violence is inevitable, I sincerely hope I'm wrong.
posted by Gaz Errant at 2:07 PM on May 12 [7 favorites]


The best case scenario for the left in case of some sort of large-scale violent incident is six of us left here at Mefi singing "Empty Threads and Empty Chatrooms" Les Mis style. So let's hope it doesn't come to that and work to fix this in every other way we can.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:08 PM on May 12 [11 favorites]


The part in Nixon's obituary about him being so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning is my favorite part and gets me every time. It really is too bad the good Doctor isn't here to write about this shitshow.
posted by friendlyjuan at 2:10 PM on May 12 [15 favorites]


/r/conservative isn't devoted to the Trump personality cult quite as much as /r/the_donald, but it's been almost 100% on the trump train so far and is extremely rightwing and dogmatic: you will be banned from /r/conservative if you mention the Southern Strategy in other subreddits. Here's the top 5 comments for Trump warns Comey: Better hope there are no tapes of our meeting. I'm not saying that I'm sure he'll lose significant support over this, but I cannot stress enough how out-of-the-ordinary these responses are.

1. "I often try to side with him but when he does shit like this I just can't. One, it seems like a threat. Two, he comes across as guilty. Almost admitting that recent info on a private dinner where he asked for loyalty are true. I have been a believer that he was not involved in some conspiracy to collude with Russia but.... I can't help but admit it seems at least possible he is capable of it when he does things like this. This isn't good and it gives stories legs. Gives the media more ammo."

2. "Wtf is he doing"

3. "It feels like this is dangerously close to toeing the line of threatening/intimidating a witness, and now (after his firing) it is targeted at a private citizen."

4. "What is the possible upside of making a public statement like this?"

5. "The problem is that this sort of absurd and unprofessional behavior can seriously hurt congressional Republicans. Aetna just announced its leaving exchanges and that can give congress a lot more ammo on doing something with Healthcare but instead Trump is playing celebrity apprentice with the government. Unless he wants a Democratic house in 2018, he needs to shut the fuck up and play some smarter politics. This isn't smart politics."
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:11 PM on May 12 [25 favorites]






I, for one, am absolutely shocked that the man who completely debased his professional ethics by writing a fraud of a memo to support a fraud of a president in the commission of a felony would decline to appoint a special prosecutor.
posted by Gaz Errant at 2:17 PM on May 12 [76 favorites]


Rosenstein will not appoint a special prosecutor

Water wet, sky is blue, Liberals gofund reconstruction of burned GOP offices.
posted by Artw at 2:17 PM on May 12 [8 favorites]


Rosenstein will not appoint a special prosecutor

This is my surprised face.
posted by INFJ at 2:20 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]




Rosenstein will not appoint a special prosecutor

I'm not surprised, but I am disappointed. After the reporting that Rosenstein was angry at being blamed personally for Comey's firing, I was hoping he might actually do the right thing. In the wake of Trump's tweets today, the right thing would be acting now, before a new FBI Director is named (or worse, confirmed), and before Trump has too much time to scrub any tapes that may exist.
posted by cjelli at 2:21 PM on May 12 [9 favorites]


Rosenstein will not appoint a special prosecutor

That tweet seems to be the single source for this at the moment. If true, it's time to hit the streets and demand one.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 2:22 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


The next best thing is an independent commission, but that would require Trump's signature or a veto-override which is ludicrous. The best thing after that is a special congressional committee, which is what the Democrats should continue to demand by refusing to do anything in the Senate until it is agreed upon.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:24 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


T.D. Strange: "The words say that no executive or judicial official can serve in Congress without giving up his former job. They do not say that no judge can serve in executive office while remaining a judge."

OMG. This is, like, the real-life version of "nowhere in the rule book does it say that a dog can't play basketball."
posted by mhum at 2:28 PM on May 12 [35 favorites]


The Garland thing is dumb, give it up.
posted by Artw at 2:30 PM on May 12 [12 favorites]


AP: BREAKING: Trump lawyer: Tax returns from past 10 years show no "income of any type from Russian sources," with few exceptions.

Charles Pierce: With a few exceptions, I'm a vegan. (Jeffrey Dahmer).
posted by TedW at 2:32 PM on May 12 [20 favorites]


White House Staff React in Real-Time as Trump Tweets: ‘Jesus’
Senior administration officials have grown accustomed to learning about their boss’s whims in unorthodox ways but it doesn’t mean they like it or are prepared for the sudden swings of emotion. For instance, one official was having a conversation with a Daily Beast reporter on Friday morning when the reporter interrupted the official to inform them that Trump was on Twitter again.
After a brief pause to check Twitter, the senior Trump aide informed of the unfolding rant, responded, “Jesus.”
posted by rewil at 2:32 PM on May 12 [40 favorites]


After a brief pause to check Twitter, the senior Trump aide informed of the unfolding rant, responded, “Jesus.”

Stars: They're just like us!
posted by theodolite at 2:37 PM on May 12 [15 favorites]


Only criminally complicit!
posted by Artw at 2:37 PM on May 12 [34 favorites]


>>Rosenstein will not appoint a special prosecutor
> I'm not surprised, but I am disappointed. After the reporting that Rosenstein was angry at being blamed personally for Comey's firing, I was hoping he might actually do the right thing.


This is where Josh Marshall's concept of "Dignity Wraiths" becomes useful to understand:

[Rosenstein] now joins a legion of Trump Dignity Wraiths, men and women (though mainly men) of once vaunted reputations or at least public prestige who have been reduced to mere husks of their former selves after crossing the Trump Dignity Loss Event Horizon.

(Better known examples: Mitt Romney; Chris Christie and the Submission Meatloaf.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:39 PM on May 12 [57 favorites]


The dying ember of hope inside me says that he's not appointing a special prosecutor because the existing FBI investigation is in pissed-off hyperdrive.
posted by theodolite at 2:40 PM on May 12 [22 favorites]


I'm pretty sure he could have continued the FBI investigation while a special counsel worked separately. He is simply choosing to do Trump's bidding.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:44 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


The GOP will go on pretending everything is normal until 2018. Eventually the Chuck Todds of the world will just accept that having a traitor as President as the way things are now, and go back to wondering why the Democrats can't just find common cause with him. Presuming the Democrats manage to continue to resist.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:44 PM on May 12 [10 favorites]


It's weird how they keep expecting the same "we're the establishment, not you" rhetoric to work.
They're bomb throwing radical anarchists. Just in suits. And making money off the bomb throwing.
Rebellion has come full circle to where supporting law and order is anti-authoritarian.

Maybe I'll sell some t-shirts with Justitia in a "Che" pose.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:45 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


Here’s where the sick jest turns on its maker. Lee poses as an authority on the Constitution; he must, then, know that the document doesn’t forbid a judge from accepting executive office—while continuing to serve on the bench. Look at Article I § 6 cl. 2—the only explicit “separation of powers” provision in the Constitution: “no person holding any office under the United States, shall be a member of either house [of Congress] during his [or her] continuance in office.”

The words say that no executive or judicial official can serve in Congress without giving up his former job. They do not say that no judge can serve in executive office while remaining a judge.


Let's just keep this on the DL so Trump doesn't realize he can nominate himself for the Supreme Court.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:47 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


People have made the connection between Trump ramping up the drug war again and the disenfranchisement of felons, right?
posted by dinty_moore at 2:48 PM on May 12 [36 favorites]


> OMG. This is, like, the real-life version of "nowhere in the rule book does it say that a dog can't play basketball."

Coming this Summer: Air Bud: Constitutional "Awwww!" This time, Bud's got a nose for justice.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:50 PM on May 12 [8 favorites]




White House Staff React in Real-Time as Trump Tweets: ‘Jesus’
Sanders was forced to walk back her claims the day before. “I went off of the information that I had when I answered your question,” she admitted.

Dude, please, I believe the preferred nomenclature is "I was just following orders."
posted by Room 641-A at 2:58 PM on May 12 [5 favorites]


The Garland thing is dumb, give it up.

I'd love to, but our Democratic leaders in their infinite wisdom are agreeing with the Republicans that this should be a thing.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:00 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


So the national gaslighting continues.

Nothing is happening. If nothing happens, the line will have moved again. That chucklefuck above is already floating the idea of rounding people up.

At this pace we won't last until 2018.
posted by schadenfrau at 3:01 PM on May 12 [17 favorites]


They're Nazis. That's what's wrong with them. Everyone should be keeping a mental list of all this straight up Nazi shit, everyone who's championing it, everyone who's normalizing it, and yes, even every single person who tries to tell you or us that "it's not that bad" or "don't exaggerate" or "it would never happen here."
posted by yasaman at 3:03 PM on May 12 [59 favorites]


Now, now. Some of them are only Vichy quislings, to mix a couple of collaborators.
posted by Justinian at 3:04 PM on May 12 [5 favorites]


> Trump’s Commission on ‘Election Integrity’ Will Lead to Massive Voter Suppression

Ari Berman on Democracy Now: Donald Trump Orders "Election Integrity" Commission Headed by Architects of Voter Suppression

Would Trump Have Won Wisconsin—or the 2016 Election—Without Widespread Voter Suppression?
posted by homunculus at 3:04 PM on May 12 [8 favorites]




Would Trump Have Won Wisconsin—or the 2016 Election—Without Widespread Voter Suppression?

No.

And precious few Republicans would win anywhere.
posted by Artw at 3:06 PM on May 12 [33 favorites]


Mr. President, Julian Assange for you on line one.

WikiLeaks offers $100k for Trump-Comey tapes
posted by Room 641-A at 3:19 PM on May 12 [13 favorites]


Someone in a local Facebook group just posted a letter to the editor (of a small suburban paper) that was written by a local suburban councilman re the town-hall-minus-the-MOC that was recently organized, in which he referred to the Democratic voters and activists who attended as all sorts of the usual derisive names but also "low-information" and right there is where my head actually exploded.

Clean up in Aisle My Dining Room Table
posted by soren_lorensen at 3:20 PM on May 12 [9 favorites]


re Election Integrity...

they should hang their "Theft is Integrity" sign right next to their "Work is Freedom" one.
posted by j_curiouser at 3:24 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


I've become fascinated by the idea of Trump tapes, namely what form they would be in. Given that Trump is a 70 year old who has not adapted well to the computer age I am torn between thinking he has audio files stored on a computer or backup that are only retrievable by someone else or he has actual, labeled cassette tapes.Neither seems very likely. If he is using casettes then what is he using as a recording device? If he is using his phone to record them, then who does he trust to curate the recordings?

Let's say he wants to record a conversation with Comey over dinner. Let's say he knows how to use his phone to make a recording, because some showed him. Now what? At some point he may want to refer back to that recording. Can he retrieve it himself? Can he find the file? Has someone (who?) placed it in a folder with tags: FBI, Comey, 5/10/17, Loyalty_Oath and would DJT have the ability to not only locate it not also figure out how to play it back with sound?

These may become very pertinent questions in an investigation.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:26 PM on May 12 [7 favorites]


can i start a super pac that doesn't "pay people to vote", but instead pays them to ride in a van to the sidewalk just outside the polling place? after that, their business if they want to take a stroll or step inside.
posted by j_curiouser at 3:29 PM on May 12 [6 favorites]


j_curiouser: on a similar note, where can I donate to help people get whatever ID is now deemed necessary to vote? Helping people get to the DMV, apply for an ID card, etc. seems a lot more useful than more campaign ads.
posted by adamsc at 3:34 PM on May 12 [36 favorites]


How about a Super PAC that pays people to get their state ID and drives them to the DMV? Since Republicans are so concerned about identifying people and making sure they're voting legally, then it can only be to everyone's benefit that the barriers to obtaining that particular document. They can register to vote while they're there.
posted by Autumnheart at 3:35 PM on May 12 [19 favorites]


Jinx.
posted by Autumnheart at 3:36 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Spread the Vote

seems to be currently focused on Georgia, but also more generally trying to get folks ID so they can vote.
posted by little cow make small moo at 3:42 PM on May 12 [38 favorites]


These may become very pertinent questions in an investigation.

I assume he has someone who can do this for him, who sets up his phone or the taping equipment or whatever. I wouldn't be surprised if they found an app for him and taught him how to use it, but my guess is there's an underling for this.
posted by blnkfrnk at 3:48 PM on May 12


Re: voting fraud commission

They're stealing 2018 now. This is happening now. And nothing is stopping it.

I think, from a psychological standpoint, not having an opposition leader is paralyzing. With every new thing that goes effectively unanswered, people feel a little more powerless. People freeze when they're powerless.
posted by schadenfrau at 3:53 PM on May 12 [36 favorites]


Nixon went on Laugh-In, for pete's sake. Trump has less ability to take a joke than a man who could be the poster child for "dour."
posted by thebrokedown at 3:53 PM on May 12 [8 favorites]


Does anyone know if there's a national organization targeting opposition marches or campaigns in specific congressional districts?
posted by schadenfrau at 3:55 PM on May 12


He's using Beta. It'll be months before Congress can find a tape player to hear the recordings.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:55 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


little cow make small moo: thanks! Georgia's only one state but they certainly need the help.
posted by adamsc at 3:57 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Well, he was using magnetic tapes until that nice Russian camera crew gave him a cool new mini-recorder. He had always had a hard time figuring out digital recorders before but this one is great, it has AI so you just tell it what you want it to play back and a guy's voice answers you and after a little while it plays back the recording you wanted. It's made in Russia so the voice has an accent but you get used to that. [fake]
posted by contraption at 4:00 PM on May 12 [12 favorites]


I don't know about the rest of you but I am hoping the president squeezes in 72 holes of golf this weekend.
posted by srboisvert at 4:02 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


He should golf 72 holes per day. We'd all be safer. And saner.
posted by Glibpaxman at 4:05 PM on May 12 [6 favorites]


I figured his bodyguard was in charge of setting up the recording tech for him.

Is there a movement towards paper ballots anywhere? As long as we have such easily hackable voting machines, all the other stuff's kind of a joke anyway. I have no idea why we forgot all about those and accepted the last election results with so little skepticism.
posted by bink at 4:10 PM on May 12 [10 favorites]




So today the Chicago Sun-Times published a story on Chicago Police's formerly secret profiling list. It has 400,000 names on it.

It is probably just a coincidence that the number black men in Chicago is roughly 400,000.
posted by srboisvert at 4:11 PM on May 12 [27 favorites]


There's Brand New Congress, which is more of a "we just want new good people for congress" initiative. I don't quite know what to think about them but they seem very thorough and pretty thoughtful about researching different districts' demographics etc. (there's a form so you can tell them about your district) to find candidates that really represent/resonate in those places.

Flippable is more targeting state-level stuff I think, but they seem to have their shit together? I follow them on twitter and they are often tweeting useful reminders about more local races I wouldn't otherwise know about, reminding people to register, sending you to donation pages for races, etc.

Justice Democrats seem to be doing kinda the same thing as Brand New Congress, and working with them, but specifically for democrats. (Brand New Congress is trying to recruit candidates from different parties, though I assume in practice it is mostly democrats, too...)
posted by little cow make small moo at 4:12 PM on May 12 [21 favorites]


This is where Josh Marshall's concept of "Dignity Wraiths" becomes useful to understand:

[Rosenstein] now joins a legion of Trump Dignity Wraiths, men and women (though mainly men) of once vaunted reputations or at least public prestige who have been reduced to mere husks of their former selves after crossing the Trump Dignity Loss Event Horizon.


Marshall like so many people in the political sphere conflates perception of the person with the person themselves. I don't think they have been reduced so much as revealed. The Trump tornado merely rips their respectability masks off and you see the real person.
posted by srboisvert at 4:20 PM on May 12 [13 favorites]


On voting rights, here's an effort in Florida.
Florida is one of only three states that bans former felons from voting for the rest of their life.

That policy disenfranchises 1.68 million Floridians, including one out of every five African American adults in the state.

Floridians could vote to automatically give former felons their rights back. But [we] need over 700,000 signatures if that’s going to be on the 2018 ballot.

miamirights.com
posted by spamandkimchi at 4:20 PM on May 12 [29 favorites]


Trump on Comey 'tapes': 'I can't talk about that'

“Well, that I can’t talk about,” Trump told Fox News’s Jeanine Pirro in the clip released Friday. “I won’t talk about that. All I want is for Comey to be honest and I hope he will be, and I’m sure he will be, I hope.”

Trump also denied that he demanded Comey’s loyalty to him during a January dinner, something that has been reported by The New York Times and The Associated Press.
“No, I didn’t,” he said when asked if he gave that request. “But I don’t think it would be a bad question to ask. I think loyalty to the country, loyalty to the United States is important."

“You know, I mean it depends on how you define loyalty, number one. Number two, I don’t know how that got there, because I didn’t ask that question.”
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:21 PM on May 12 [9 favorites]


Does anyone know if there's a national organization targeting opposition marches or campaigns in specific congressional districts?

SwingLeft District Funds
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:21 PM on May 12 [7 favorites]


Trump’s Expected Pick for Top USDA Scientist is not a Scientist
The USDA’s research section studies everything from climate change to nutrition. Under the 2008 Farm Bill, its leader is supposed to serve as the agency’s “chief scientist” and be chosen “from among distinguished scientists with specialized or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.”

But Sam Clovis – who, according to sources with knowledge of the appointment and members of the agriculture trade press, is President Trump’s pick to oversee the section -- appears to have no such credentials.

Clovis has never taken a graduate course in science and is openly skeptical of climate change. While he has a doctorate in public administration and was a tenured professor of business and public policy at Morningside College for 10 years, he has published almost no academic work.
He is, on the other hand, a conservative talk radio host who supported Trump. Oh yeah, he's also reportedly the guy who recruited Carter Page to the Trump campaign.
posted by zachlipton at 4:22 PM on May 12 [51 favorites]




The Tragedy of James Comey
Comey said he sought to preserve the FBI’s political independence. But that was never the whole truth. Comey sought to appease the Republicans whose complaints and criticisms he took seriously enough to address by breaking Justice Department guidelines. But he never seems to have taken Democratic complaints that seriously, or ever feared that their frustration with the FBI would compromise the bureau’s political independence.

Comey was so focused on defending himself, and his agency, from political attacks from the right that he effectively ceded to his critics the independence he thought he was protecting.
Got through the whole article without using the word hamartia. Mediocre.

I asked 7 experts if the Comey firing is a constitutional crisis. Here’s what they said.

Not yet...
Our Rendezvous With Authoritarianism has Arrived

more at OMNIVORE
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:32 PM on May 12 [17 favorites]


Eric Holder on Sessions' memo instructing DOJ to return to stricter drug enforcement: "The policy announced today is not tough on crime. It is dumb on crime." (Sorry for twitter link, I couldn't find the full statement text elsewhere.)
posted by misskaz at 4:38 PM on May 12 [23 favorites]


Trump also denied that he demanded Comey’s loyalty to him during a January dinner, something that has been reported by The New York Times and The Associated Press.
“No, I didn’t,” he said when asked if he gave that request. “But I don’t think it would be a bad question to ask. I think loyalty to the country, loyalty to the United States is important."


"I am the State."
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:38 PM on May 12 [20 favorites]


I expect he'll get a singing telegram from Obama and Hillary telling him what a great idea it is.

a certified singing telegram?
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 4:39 PM on May 12 [7 favorites]


Those tapes, Trump is hinting at, were they perhaps, delivered by the Russians who met privately with President Trump, in the oval office? They must be some bad shizz as only the Russians could dredge up. They were grinning so bigly, they must have erased some tapes and discovered others. Could any of you have predicted how this 100 some odd days have gone?

The President's chief advisor, I mean his daughter, peddling handbags and whatnot in China?
The President's other chief advisor, I mean his son in law, peddling visas?
What his press secretary hiding out in the bushes, in a huge suit, no not in the bushes, sorry, after being notified less than an hour before the firing of the head of the FBI? I mean what, Anonymous warning about WW3, imminent? Lots of smoke and mirrors. The house whipped up into righteous religious frenzy pulling the rug out from under everyone who makes less than $75,000 per year. Oh yeah and the righteous bitch slapping of Planned Parenthood, oh wait, and review of the national monuments, then in general the wolves who have been hired to watch the sheep.
posted by Oyéah at 4:41 PM on May 12 [9 favorites]


The Age of Trump is producing more black gun owners:
Lesley Green's decision to get a gun came the day after Trump won the election. She received a frightening phone call from her 19-year-old daughter, a freshman at The University of Cincinnati. Through hysterical tears, her daughter told her that a group of white nationalists were outside of her dorm building handing out pamphlets and signing students up to join their resurgent movement...

The idea that her daughter, not too much older than she was when her father taught her how to shoot, would be walking through a campus the size of a large town with packs of white supremacists roaming around—literally at the Mason-Dixon Line where it touches Ohio—was the final straw on the scale, leading her to once again enter a gun store.
posted by corb at 4:43 PM on May 12 [23 favorites]


Trump has a long history of secretly recording calls, according to former associates
Trump’s fascination with recording his conversations reaches back to the early years of his real estate career, when he installed in his 26th-story office in Trump Tower a “system for surreptitiously tape recording business meetings,” according to an eyewitness account in Harry Hurt’s 1993 biography, “Lost Tycoon.” And BuzzFeed News reported last year that Trump listened in on calls made by staff at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
...
Last spring, when two Post reporters visited Trump in his office for another interview, Trump, in the middle of telling a story about how he demolished the Manhattan landmark that had stood where Trump Tower is now, asked his guests if they would like something to drink.

In the same quiet voice in which he’d been conducting the interview, Trump said, “Okay, two waters and a Coke.” The interview resumed and less than a minute later, a secretary walked in with the drinks. No one other than the reporters and Trump had been in the office. And Trump never signaled the drink request to anyone outside the office.
The story also discusses the White House phones. Trump has been obsessed with bragging about the phone system. Maybe recording capabilities are part of why he's so fond of it? [No, I don't know why this claims that transmitting calls by VoIP results in a transcript of calls, but certainly WHCA could transcribe them.]
The White House Communications Agency, a military office that works with the Secret Service to assure secure communications for the president, video-records some closed presidential meetings and events. And the president’s phone calls have been transmitted since 2011 using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), an Internet technology that sends voice messages as packets of digitized data. The technology allows for retrieval of a text record of presidential conversations.
posted by zachlipton at 4:54 PM on May 12 [8 favorites]


Paul Ryan isn't going to comment on the tweets because he hasn't seen them all.

How about when they're on the front page of every paper in the country tomorrow? Will you maybe share your thoughts then?
posted by diogenes at 4:55 PM on May 12 [13 favorites]


The Age of Trump is producing more black gun owners

Daddy Said Shoot
posted by misskaz at 4:56 PM on May 12 [8 favorites]


The Age of Trump is producing more black gun owners

Someone tell the NRA. They might support background checks now.
posted by Glibpaxman at 5:01 PM on May 12 [34 favorites]


Reminder that Trump's law firm that released the letter won the Russia Law Firm of the Year award in 2016. [real]

From 400 thread-years ago but that's what was in the clipboard. Good stuff.

Hey member when Gee Dubz was going to be the most reviled, worst preznit in history? Jimmy crap corn man whodathunkit.

Hey member when Bob told Jake and Elwood they owed him $300 for beer and they were like, "well, we figured it was, like, free" and that head shake and little laugh Bob gives them?

Last thread someone mentioned to Trump that he could just up and walk away. Y'know, get his easy life back. Heh heh . . . nawww . . heh.

Cover the exits
posted by petebest at 5:12 PM on May 12 [5 favorites]


Oh yeah, Gowdy has some fetish that will make him a servile lapdog of this administration, when it is suddenly served on a dish in front of a private audience, steaming hot and smelly.
posted by Oyéah at 5:13 PM on May 12


How about when they're on the front page of every paper in the country tomorrow? Will you maybe share your thoughts then

It depends: is that further in the future than this moment? Then maybe.
posted by rhizome at 5:15 PM on May 12


@KenDilanianNBC: A source close to Comey told me this morning: “He hopes there are tapes. That would be perfect.”

It's not good enough yet, but at some point tapes may not matter so much:
MIT Technology Review: Real or Fake? AI Is Making It Very Hard to Know
Thanks to machine learning, it’s becoming easy to generate realistic video, and to impersonate someone.
I mean, we may be able to get something working with cryptographic signatures so that it at least matters in courts that have enough technical sophistication. But this is something that's so horrifying about one of the things which enabled Cheeto Mussolini's rise to power—that even as the internet has given everyone a university library in their pockets, the conservative propaganda system in recent decades has relied on training their base to ignore any objective source of information.

At the point in the future when it becomes possible to not just easily make fake news sites, but completely false synthetic versions of audio and video evidence, society as a whole will probably be more poorly prepared than we would've been back when everything was on paper, before you could pull up scientific journal articles and court records going back hundreds of years on your phone at a moment's notice.
posted by XMLicious at 5:17 PM on May 12 [4 favorites]


Could any of you have predicted how this 100 some odd days have gone?

Pretty sure a lot of us did.
posted by biogeo at 5:18 PM on May 12 [25 favorites]


Hey member when Gee Dubz was going to be the most reviled, worst preznit in history?

I'm having a lot of problems with my own internal revisionist history about the W presidency. Please tell me I'm not alone. 2008 me would never think that 2017 me would have thoughts like 'oh it was bad but not that bad LOL John Ashcroft hates calico cats and covered up boobies on statues and LOL Dick Cheney and his mechanical heart shot someone in the face and he got apologized TO.' I mean WTF, fluttering hellfire.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:18 PM on May 12 [36 favorites]


I'd popped over to fox website because of some comments here, and the tone is dramatically different than when I'd taken a look yesterday.

It's a dramatic shift considering 12 hours agothey weren't discussing this as news at all.

Its the first sign I've seen of straight up fracturing in the trump narrative to it's target audience.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:19 PM on May 12 [37 favorites]


Donald Trump Was Bailed Out of Bankruptcy by Russia Crime Bosses (archive.org link, from Jan 10, 2017)

Among the powerful facts that DNI missed were a series of very deep studies published in the [Financial Times] that examined the structure and history of several major Trump real estate projects from the last decade—the period after his seventh bankruptcy and the cancellation of all his bank lines of credit. ...

The money to build these projects flowed almost entirely from Russian sources. In other words, after his business crashed, Trump was floated and made to appear to operate a successful business enterprise through the infusion of hundreds in millions of cash from dark Russian sources.

He was their man.


What, Russian murder rape and drug money isn't "becoming" for a "President" of a "democratic republic"? Ayyy - 'scuze me, Mr. I'm-too-good-to-subvert-justice. Hyuh. No wonder you lost.
posted by petebest at 5:34 PM on May 12 [9 favorites]


John Ashcroft hates calico cats

What the hell? Who could honestly hate this little cutie?
posted by Talez at 5:34 PM on May 12 [7 favorites]


"I am the State."

Say what you want about Louie, but he took the resultant level of responsibility, could appreciate high quality craftsmanship and was a man with some level of taste.

Trump is more "I did that, I'm bigly. That thing you don't like? That was done by Meredith. I don't know why I keep her around. Anyway, what I'm doing next is going to be amazing. A. Maz. Ing. You won't even be able to believe it. Did I ever tell you I met Demi Moore once? That was before she was fat. A terrible waste. Terrible. What were we talking about?"
posted by jaduncan at 5:46 PM on May 12 [5 favorites]


@OfficialRCCola We've sold more cola than any of our competitors #WithFewExceptions 😉

The President of the United States is now being trolled by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.

In more serious news, Sen. Feinstein has called for Rosenstein to resign if he won't appoint a special counsel (full statement)

And: WaPo—Comey associates dispute Trump’s account of conversations. This brings up an issue that has been reported a few places, that the White House has complained for months that they want FBI to investigate leaks of nonclassified information, which the FBI refuses to do.
posted by zachlipton at 5:50 PM on May 12 [63 favorites]


I for one am shocked that the FBI will not devote resources to investigating conduct that all parties agree has no criminal element.
posted by jaduncan at 5:52 PM on May 12 [9 favorites]


Trump Fires Comey: A Screenplay in 5 Acts
The 48 hours after FBI director James Comey was fired could 
rival the best fictional screenwriting. So, we figured, 
we’re in Los Angeles, why not turn the story of President Trump 
ousting Comey into a screenplay.

All of the descriptions and quotes you’re about to read are, in fact, real.
[Los Angeles Times]
posted by carsonb at 5:53 PM on May 12 [26 favorites]


Say what you want about Louie, but he took the resultant level of responsibility, could appreciate high quality craftsmanship and was a man with some level of taste.

TRUMP 2020: I Will Give You Cake Which I Will Let You Eat
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:57 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Who told Trump he was in the clear? Not us, key senators say
Just hours after White House spokesman Sean Spicer said President Trump had received assurances from a key senator that the idea of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia was a “hoax,” a spokesman for the senator, Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, denied any such conversation.

“Sen. Grassley has not spoken to President Trump about what he has learned in briefings related to investigations into Russian interference in our elections, and he has never referred to the notion of collusion as a ‘hoax,’” Grassley’s spokesman, Taylor Foy, emailed Yahoo News. Grassley is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and together with ranking minority member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has been briefed on details of the FBI investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election.

Foy’s statement seemed to directly contradict Spicer’s remarks earlier Friday, raising new questions about the credibility of White House accounts of the firing of FBI Director James Comey. “I think the president’s comments about Russia and collusion have been very clear with respect to some of the charges that have been made,” Spicer said. “He’s been very clear that he believes that the notion there’s collusion is a hoax. It’s been reaffirmed by several people, including Sen. Grassley and others who have spoke to him.”
Chuck Grassley refusing to let Spicer lie about him is really not a good sign for Trump at all. It's also not good for Spicer.

And: New York Times publisher sends personal appeal to those who canceled over Bret Stephens. The fact that they're going to such lengths could lead one to believe that a surprising number of people cancelled their subscriptions. How long before the Times realizes that Bret Stephens isn't worth it?
posted by zachlipton at 6:03 PM on May 12 [45 favorites]


A friend who used to be a prosecutor just mentioned that if his head investigator had been invited to dinner by the target of the investigation he would probably seek an electronic communication warrant to allow the investigator to wear a wire. Maybe Comey made a tape...? How outrageous would that be?
posted by caddis at 6:04 PM on May 12 [22 favorites]


2008 me would never think that 2017 me would have thoughts like 'oh it was bad but not that bad LOL John Ashcroft hates calico cats and covered up boobies on statues and LOL Dick Cheney and his mechanical heart shot someone in the face and he got apologized TO.' I mean WTF, fluttering hellfire.

My local library is officially Fighting the Good Fight and putting on a series of lectures about the importance of democracy.

The next one features Condalisa Rice.

And you know what I thought to myself? That she was an educated woman and knew what she was doing. And, compared to what we have now, she'd be an improvement.

That Overton window keeps moving, fast.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 6:05 PM on May 12 [27 favorites]


I'd popped over to fox website because of some comments here, and the tone is dramatically different than when I'd taken a look yesterday.

Counterpoint: while I was at the gym a few hours ago, the lower third read "Will Hillary Clinton be indicted?"
posted by Room 101 at 6:06 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


The Age of Trump is producing more black gun owners
A friend of mine was convinced after the election was convinced to tool up, because "you know they're gonna outlaw black people having guns."

Someone tell the NRA. They might support background checks now.
An older coworker of mine who grew up in Austin told me a story about an NRA meeting where a whole bunch of Open Carrying Rambo-types were made extremely uncomfortable by a bunch of Panthers who showed up, to the point of whining about it to the Association. A good chunk of the modern NRA is full of people who are straight up Turner Diaries LARPers.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:07 PM on May 12 [42 favorites]


Maybe Comey made a tape...?

I just assumed at first that that's kind of what Trump meant - that he was assuming that Comey was wearing a wire to tape him. But that's kind of a silly thing to assume about someone just coming over for dinner (for normal people anyway), so it feels like that gets into a very potent and likely Trump's Mirror situation really quickly .
posted by LionIndex at 6:09 PM on May 12


You know, between the Comey/Trump tape and the potential Trump pee tape, the best part about this entire situation is that no physical tape technology is actually involved.

Data should be free :(
posted by Donald Trump Sex Nightmare at 6:14 PM on May 12 [7 favorites]


A good chunk of the modern NRA is full of people who are straight up Turner Diaries LARPers.

Read up on the Cincinnati Revolt sometime - white supremacists with dodgy histories with guns basically took the NRA over in a coup.
posted by NoxAeternum at 6:14 PM on May 12 [10 favorites]


New York Times publisher sends personal appeal to those who canceled over Bret Stephens.

I got one of those! And drew the same conclusion - that a lot of people canceled for this reason and told them so.
posted by Glinn at 6:25 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


The next one features Condalisa Rice.

And you know what I thought to myself? That she was an educated woman and knew what she was doing. And, compared to what we have now, sh


You know what? Fuck Condaleeza Rice. She's a fucking Russia expert. That she has not found it necessary to speak up at all about any of this ever is shameful. And compared to what we have now she is still the person who is at the heart of the "Bin Ladin Determind To Strike The Us" memo bullshit.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:26 PM on May 12 [42 favorites]


>Trump’s Expected Pick for Top USDA Scientist is not a Scientist

We keep thinking Trump is so uninterested in agriculture that he'll forget us, but I guess we're wrong.
posted by acrasis at 6:30 PM on May 12 [12 favorites]


Goldman Sachs: "The estimated costs of federal regulation are fairly modest." Gutting regulations won't actually have much impact on the economy or jobs, except for banks.
posted by zachlipton at 6:33 PM on May 12 [5 favorites]


>Trump’s Expected Pick for Top USDA Scientist is not a Scientist

It's got electrolytes!
posted by Omon Ra at 6:34 PM on May 12 [23 favorites]


Trump’s Expected Pick for Top USDA Scientist is not a Scientist

Oh he has no idea who that is or what the USDA does. "Trump's pick" is just Göebbelspeak for "some 25-year-old dipshit ratfucker who was raised by assholes."
posted by petebest at 6:35 PM on May 12 [13 favorites]


I'm a gun owner who is in favor of nearly any form of gun control, but I don't begrudge people deciding to buy a gun after a lifetime of opposing them. I was the same way. But assuming most people are getting them for defensive purposes, I really, really hope they 1) take a gun safety class and 2) have an instructor like mine who showed me how stupidly easy it would be for someone to disarm me. My gun, originally bought for defense, has always been kept locked away, unloaded, and is only used for target practice at the firing range.

Buy your guns, oppose the NRA, but omg please be careful.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:39 PM on May 12 [52 favorites]


New York Times publisher sends personal appeal to those who canceled over Bret Stephens.

Good. This is how you know it's working. It's supposed to be a capitalist utopia or whatever the fuck we live in now, voting with dollars is the only language they can understand.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:42 PM on May 12 [15 favorites]


Nixon went on Laugh-In, for pete's sake.

not only did he go on laugh-in, he went on laugh-in and invited the whole tv-watching country to "sock it to me!"

eventually we did.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 6:49 PM on May 12 [14 favorites]


Trump is just the crusty buboe, the symptom of a horror of a plague that is the republican party.

The republican party...serves no purpose at all. It is very literally a disease. It does not even serve itself. It produces nothing. It helps nothing. It is a cult of destruction and every single member is sick and depraved.

They have, however, mastered the most basic form of tribalism and base human instinct...HATE.

My question is, and this has to happen for us to survive, HOW TO WE INOCULATE AGAINST HATE? Racism, misogyny, sexism etc?

I've witnessed terrorism first hand when I lived in Southern Europe and I quickly understood why it occurs. People terrorize when they are fucked over, impoverished and uneducated/uninformed. That's always the formula. That's what's happened here in the U.S.

As far back as the early 1980s I already knew the solution to terrorism and extremism...and it's much less expensive than warfare and combat. It starts with healthcare and education. (That is what I learned from the EXPERTS at the time.) The very goddamn thing republicans are working so hard to take away from U.S. citizens.

I honestly have no idea what they're tying to accomplish (aside from serve their corporate overlords). They're just spoilers, they get off on pain and suffering. They're evil. They are the enemy. They are very literally terrorists.

Trump may very well end up in prison, but that is by no means the end of republican tyranny. They and their propaganda wing, Fox news need to be taken down and destroyed.

TL/DR Really fuck those republican assholes HARD!
posted by snsranch at 6:50 PM on May 12 [36 favorites]




People terrorize when they are fucked over, impoverished and uneducated/uninformed. That's always the formula. That's what's happened here in the U.S.

I mean...the American terrorist tradition is basically the klan, which wasn't so much about people in the klan getting fucked over...
posted by schadenfrau at 7:02 PM on May 12 [8 favorites]


Chuck Grassley refusing to let Spicer lie about him is really not a good sign for Trump at all. It's also not good for Spicer.

Holy shit I get to send a thank you message to Grassley?

I mean I don't really mean "thank you" and more like "about goddamn time you did something that meets the bare minimum of right", but, carrot/stick.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:06 PM on May 12 [14 favorites]


Roll Call: Freedom Caucus May Push for More Than Tax Overhaul in Next Budget

Republicans are getting increasingly nervous, I bet at some point they panic, go for broke and pass as much legislation as possible and approve as many judges as possible before Trump quits or is impeached.
posted by msalt at 7:12 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


Dear Chuck,

Congratulations on not being as asshole today.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:13 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


I didn’t think podia were street legal.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:15 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:00 AM on May 12
posted by Room 101 at 6:06 PM on May 12
posted by Room 641-A at 6:39 PM on May 12

I think this is the first time I've noticed us all together in the same place.

Emily Farris @emayfarris: I made a venn diagram to help us understand the people Trump has fired and the people investigating Trump.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:16 PM on May 12 [56 favorites]


WaPo (corrected headline):Treasonous Nazi Gelfling to interview candidates for job of investigating himself
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:52 PM on 5/12
[2 favorites +] [!]


Rust Moranis confirmed Skeksis
posted by J.K. Seazer at 7:16 PM on May 12 [9 favorites]


mMmm?
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:17 PM on May 12 [20 favorites]




More articles, any one of them would be horrifying to someone transplanted here from 2015, yet they seem almost ho-hum now.

New Yorker: The Senate Starts to Look at Trump's Businesses
I spoke recently to a longtime business associate of Donald Trump’s, and asked his thoughts about the various investigations into collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. He laughed and said that there is no way Trump could have been part of such a conspiracy. “He couldn’t sit through the meeting,” the associate said. This is a character analysis I’ve heard from several people who have worked with Trump, one that seems confirmed daily by the President’s statements and tweets: the man doesn’t go in for complex, long-term plans. He likes quick, tangible results—“something shiny,” the associate told me. “Right away.”
NYT: ‘Looking Like a Liar or a Fool’: What It Means to Work for Trump, which also contains the detail that Trump got mad at Giuliani for defending him after the pussy tape came out, "arguing that he wanted to attack Hillary Clinton, not play defense."
The president, said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, “resembles a quarterback who doesn’t call a huddle and gets ahead of his offensive line so nobody can block him and defend him because nobody knows what the play is.”...“At some point, I hope he’s going to learn that taking one extra day, having the entire team lined up. I don’t think he always helps himself. I think 10 percent less Trump would be a hundred percent more effective.”
...
Mr. Trump is growing increasingly dissatisfied with the performance of his chief of staff, Reince Priebus; the communications director, Michael Dubke; and Mr. Spicer, a Priebus ally, according to a half-dozen West Wing officials who said the president was considering the most far-reaching shake-up of his already tumultuous term.

He has been especially critical of Mr. Spicer, they said, openly musing about replacing him and telling people in his circle that he kept his own press secretary out of the loop in dismissing Mr. Comey until the last possible moment because he feared that the communications staff would leak the news.
NYT: TV Titan Requires Its Stations to Air Segments That Roil Its Staff
They are called “must-runs,” and they arrive every day at television stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group — short video segments that are centrally produced by the company. Station managers around the country are directed to work them into the broadcast over a period of 24 or 48 hours.

Since November 2015, Sinclair has ordered its stations to run a daily segment from a “Terrorism Alert Desk” with updates on terrorism-related news around the world. During the election campaign last year, it sent out a package that suggested in part that voters should not support Hillary Clinton because the Democratic Party was historically pro-slavery. More recently, Sinclair asked stations to run a short segment in which Scott Livingston, the company’s vice president for news, accused the national news media of publishing “fake news stories.”
posted by zachlipton at 7:29 PM on May 12 [30 favorites]


The Age of Trump is producing more black gun owners

Someone tell the NRA. They might support background checks now.


There's no better way to defang the NRA than for every black person to start carrying a gun.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:33 PM on May 12 [18 favorites]


{hugs quonsar}
posted by theora55 at 7:36 PM on May 12 [8 favorites]


I picked the wrong regeneration to quit drinking.
posted by vrakatar at 7:42 PM on May 12 [15 favorites]


Maybe Comey made a tape...?

I think the Mangled Apricot Hellbeast was referring to his belief that he himself is being "wire tapped" by Obama. Yes, I believe he is that crazy.
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:48 PM on May 12 [4 favorites]


NYT: TV Titan Requires Its Stations to Air Segments That Roil Its Staff

Fuck Sinclair. Never felt better about quitting a job than I did when our station got bought by Sinclair and we got a good look at how they operated. Bringing back stronger broadcast regulations as they stood before the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine needs to be a prominent part of any serious progressive platform. Sinclair and other local media conglomerates are a poison in less populated areas with limited local news and a huge part of why things are the way they are right now.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:54 PM on May 12 [39 favorites]


I just looked up to see which Pittsburgh stations are owned by Sinclair and currently it's just FOX and a weird UHF channel. I hope they stay the fuck out.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:59 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


If we're speculating about Donnie's personal recording device, I'd imagine it's an old MiniDisc recorder. They were super futuristic back in the early 90's - when he might still have had the capacity to learn how to use a new handheld device - but proprietariness, and ultimately, solid state media killed it.

I'd also imagine that Donnie imagines himself "the most clever" because, like a dog he isn't using "tape" to do the "tapping" on anyone.

Would not be surprised if there weren't banks upon banks of minidisc recordings a la the 8mm cassettes in American Beauty.
posted by porpoise at 7:59 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


From Wikipedia:
Headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, [Sinclair] is the second-largest television station operator in the United States [...] by number of stations, and largest by total coverage; owning and/or operating a total of 173 stations across the country (233 after all currently proposed sales are approved) in over 100 markets (covering 40% of American households), many of which are located in the South and Midwest.
I don't think I say this often enough: fuck the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
posted by galaxy rise at 8:07 PM on May 12 [38 favorites]


I would like to turn my attention to doing virtually anything else right now, but the hits just keep on coming. The theme here is that we don't need a Russia smoking gun. There are plenty of things to investigate, and lots of people who can investigate them. Follow the money on Trump's businesses, Manafort, etc..., and plenty of dirty business is bound to come up. And remember that Felix Sater is off running a scam where he's demanding millions of dollars or he'll hurt Trump. There are a lot of shoes that can drop that don't involve the FBI.

One ominous signal I've been seeing is the recent effort of the White House to try to compartmentalize things. That's the Trump Organization, that was the campaign, this is Trump now, they're all completely different things in their eyes. For example, in the Lester Holt interview, Trump made a big point of saying: "I know that I'm not under investigation -- me, personally. I'm not talking about campaigns. I'm not talking about anything else. I'm not under investigation." Why go to such great pains to make that distinction? Because they know there are all sorts of things around Trump that are being investigated, all sorts of things around him that are dirty, but as long as nobody personally hands him a subpoena with his name on it, he'll do what he's done his entire life and shift the blame to someone else.

And why not? Blaming his underlings has worked out great for him so far. And the question is whether we'll let him get away with it as President. Because he's so far treated the office that originated "the buck stops here" as a joke in which everyone around him is constantly letting him down. We saw that today, he's not blatantly contradicting his staff; he's just so "active" that his staff just can't find out what's true. Everything is someone else's fault, from Meredith McIver to Mike Flynn to Sean Spicer. If and when the shit really starts to hit the fan and his companies, his campaign staff, his White House staff are being directly accused of crimes, how many times can he hide behind "well, it's not me personally that's under investigation?" I suspect we're going to find out.

And with that introduction, and I apologize for turning into Rachel Maddow on you for a moment, the articles:

Former Trump Adviser Paul Manafort’s Bank Records Sought in Probe (as a sidenote, the timing of this leak certainly looks like it could be revenge for Comey)
The Justice Department last month requested banking records of Paul Manafort as part of a widening of probes related to President Donald Trump’s former campaign associates and whether they colluded with Russia in interfering with the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the matter.
...
Separately, investigators for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman as well as Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. also have been examining real-estate transactions by Mr. Manafort, who has spent and borrowed tens of millions of dollars in connection with property across the U.S. over the past decade, people familiar with the matter say. The request for Mr. Manafort’s banking records and the New York inquiries haven’t previously been reported.
On a highly related note, Maddow had a story tonight: "contrary to popular belief, former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has not registered as a foreign agent, and the DoJ won't say if A.G. Jeff Sessions is recused on Manafort matters" (it's about 14 minutes into the video)

And this is a good little thread from the New Yorker's Adam Davidson. There are a lot of non-Russia bodies buried too, and folks are closing in:
1. With news that Senate and FBI are seeking Fincen data, likely that many Trump Org staff are fearful.
2. They have done a lot of deals with minimal due diligence with a lot of sketchy characters.
3. Trump Org staff could be exposed to a bunch of indictments: FCPA, money laundering, sanctions violations.
4. If they start to flip, investigators could find a lot of non-Russia-related behavior that could be illegal.
5. Aside from the kids, the folks who surely know a lot: Jason Greenblatt, former General Counsel, now at WH, and Allen Weisselberg.
6. There are dozens of former staffers who hate Trump but fear leaking because of NDAs.
7. Once FBI and Senate subpoena them, they will hear about a lot that requires investigation even if not connected to Russia and election.
8. Much of that activity is in other jurisdictions: New York State and City. U.K. if, as seems likely, money flowed through there.
9. Miami, with its notoriously tough and independent U.S. Attorneys.
10. I would not be surprised to see, within months, pardons for family and associates.
11. The Trump Org worked in many of the legally riskiest businesses there are: casinos, NY and Miami real estate, oligarch trophy projects.
12. Even by the standards of those businesses, they had minimal due diligence, high tolerance for risk. Shocking if nothing is found.
posted by zachlipton at 8:18 PM on May 12 [59 favorites]


If we're speculating about Donnie's personal recording device

I mean, he tweets constantly. He's got a smartphone in his pocket at all times. I'd be shocked if he doesn't routinely use the voice recorder on his phone to record conversations almost all the time as a matter of course.
posted by The World Famous at 8:24 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Is that why he stands so close to people?
posted by erisfree at 8:27 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]




I'd be shocked if he doesn't routinely use the voice recorder on his phone to record conversations almost all the time as a matter of course.

I'd be surprised if he uses it for anything except "Phone" or "Twitter"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:29 PM on May 12 [11 favorites]


And remember that Felix Sater is off running a scam where he's demanding millions of dollars or he'll hurt Trump.

I've been wondering where that guy slunk off to lately. He's dirty as hell and seems to be the minor player trying to make it big type, but the fact that he's a known former FBI informant makes me think he's really one to keep an eye on.

Wishful thinking, but his Carter Page-like inability to get out of the way (see the Ukraine "peace plan" he was involved in shopping around at the worst moment) makes me think about the FBI's shady history of using agents provocateurs to get things moving. I don't think that's likely to be the situation here (and I kind of hope not because it would be latched onto as a dirty trick by Trump and his defenders trying to weasel out), but if anyone were to be making that play, he's the guy for it and his behavior tracks.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:31 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


I'd be surprised if he uses it for anything except "Phone" or "Twitter"

Yeah, I've been surprised by that on multiple occasions with people very much like him, as well. I wouldn't be anymore.
posted by The World Famous at 8:36 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


>I assume he has someone who can do this for him, who sets up his phone or the taping equipment or whatever . . . there's an underling for this.

Meredith!

( . . . again)
posted by flug at 8:46 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]




Among the powerful facts that DNI missed were a series of very deep studies published in the [Financial Times] that examined the structure and history of several major Trump real estate projects from the last decade—the period after his seventh bankruptcy and the cancellation of all his bank lines of credit. ...

Somehow I don't think this is getting missed by FinCEN. That's who they are.
posted by scalefree at 9:01 PM on May 12 [4 favorites]


You know, between the Comey/Trump tape and the potential Trump pee tape, the best part about this entire situation is that no physical tape technology is actually involved.

I assure you, it's not a real piss party until the physical tape technology gets involved
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:05 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


I haven't had time to watch this yet, but a Dutch documentary is up on YouTube that claims to investigate Trump/Russia connections and finds smoke, if not fire, in terms of mobsters and money laundering.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:11 PM on May 12 [5 favorites]


PSA!

How to Comment on Trump's National Monument Review

Link goes to Modern Hiker and has a great write-up about which National Monuments are under review, what considerations the Secretary of the Interior is using, and the reasoning for the change in designation (spoiler: oil, gas, and coal). There are links and addresses and some helpful suggestions for comments.

Comments related to Bears Ears National Monument must be submitted before May 26, 2017. Comments relating to all other National Monuments must be submitted before July 10,2017.
posted by chaoticgood at 9:15 PM on May 12 [33 favorites]


Does anyone else get the sense that this situation is deteriorating rapidly? That people might want to leave this White House and return to their previous lives?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:16 PM on May 12 [18 favorites]


I normally don't make bets, but if I was a betting person I would bet money that Sean Spicer is fired RIGHT before SNL goes on the air, making them totally unable to add that into the show at the dead last minute.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:18 PM on May 12 [7 favorites]


And remember that Felix Sater is off running a scam where he's demanding millions of dollars or he'll hurt Trump.

The excellent and ongoing English-language "The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump" episodes (Part One: The Russians, Part Two: King of Diamonds) of the Dutch documentary series Zembla, which have been linked to in recent threads, provide good explanations of Bayrock's involvement and one of their reporters actually manages to track down Sater himself.

Sater just says "Please submit any questions to my lawyer in writing," but it's like catching a glimpse of a boggart. (Or a domovoi, I suppose, given the Russian connection.)

On preview, as CheeseDigestsAll points out they've been uploaded to Youtube: 1, 2.
posted by XMLicious at 9:22 PM on May 12 [11 favorites]


I normally don't make bets, but if I was a betting person I would bet money that Sean Spicer is fired RIGHT before SNL goes on the air, making them totally unable to add that into the show at the dead last minute.

The truest tribute to the Trump White House would be for SNL to just keep running Spicer skits and ignore the reality of the situation.

"Sean, weren't you fired a month ago?"
"I have no comments for you about that at this time."
"We all saw the President's tweets saying he fired you. So why are you still here giving briefings?"
"I think the President's tweet speaks for itself, and it's interesting that you're all being so negative. I think the real question is why you aren't talking about all the people the President hired. That's the real story here."
posted by cjelli at 9:23 PM on May 12 [96 favorites]




If you're into the whole Bayrock saga, DCReport (that's David Cay Johnston's outfit) published The Kazakhstan Connection: Trump, Bayrock And Plenty Of Questions today.

Also, I buried one detail that was in today's NYT White House dysfunction story: "Mr. Gingrich, who is working on a biography of Mr. Trump." Ugh.
posted by zachlipton at 9:26 PM on May 12 [11 favorites]


"Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."

- Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (1852)



Or in modern parlance: history repeats, first as WTF, then as LOL.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 9:29 PM on May 12 [30 favorites]


It is as if he's trying to make a case for criminal impeachment and/or 25th amendmenting at the same time. I've had acid trips that make more sense than the narrative coming out of the white house right now.
posted by vrakatar at 9:33 PM on May 12 [11 favorites]


Interesting detail in NYTimes story:
Mr. Comey made no comment, but later in the day he declined a request to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. According to a close associate of Mr. Comey, he is willing to testify, but wants it to be in public.
popcorn futures, where do i buy them?
posted by localhuman at 9:34 PM on May 12 [114 favorites]


I've been hearing the same, Comey will testify but only in open session.
posted by Justinian at 9:36 PM on May 12 [8 favorites]


Going To Maine posted this back in February, but it's worth revisiting for those who missed it: @UnsureTrump is a bot that does nothing but replace @RealDonaldTrump's !'s with ?'s.
China just agreed that the U.S. will be allowed to sell beef, and other major products, into China once again. This is REAL news?

James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:42 PM on May 12 [17 favorites]


I was really deflated when I heard about Comey declining the Senate's invite. Thanks for pointing this out!
posted by Room 641-A at 10:08 PM on May 12 [7 favorites]


This week's Weekly Address still features those weird, distracting camera angles.
posted by christopherious at 10:11 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


"Mr. Gingrich, who is working on a biography of Mr. Trump." Ugh.

I'm surprised it isn't Bill O'Reilly. He's an author in need of a job. He could call the book "Killing Democracy".
posted by Gary at 10:19 PM on May 12 [11 favorites]


It also features our weird, distracting President.
posted by guiseroom at 10:19 PM on May 12 [6 favorites]




Think I'm gonna name my new solo project "A Source Close to James Comey"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:57 PM on May 12 [12 favorites]


ima subscribe to the nyt just so i can cancel due to the climate fuckface
posted by j_curiouser at 11:00 PM on May 12 [14 favorites]


Speaking of Nixon, I've been glancing through a few old Doonesbury Watergate strips over at the GoComics archive. Some of them fit the Trump era just as well, such as this 1973 glimpse into Sean Spicer's press room and this 1974 depiction of a White House under seige.

Unfortunately, I can't find my favourite Watergate Doonesbury strip of all - one which ends with a speechballoon above the White House reading "Come and get me, copper".
posted by Paul Slade at 11:03 PM on May 12 [20 favorites]


It's pretty clear the source close to James Comey is Comey wearing a mustache and making his phone voice gravelly.

[Insert "I like the way Snrub thinks!" joke here]
posted by Chrysostom at 11:05 PM on May 12 [7 favorites]


I dunno, I think the source close to Comey is prolly "John Miller" posing as "Jeff Approach".
posted by notyou at 11:36 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Christopherious, those camera angle switches are bizarre. I am honestly not trying to imply anything, but it's as though it was spliced by a non-English speaker who was attempting to find the break between phrases (and failed).
posted by samthemander at 11:56 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


Fox is getting surprising.

Does Donald Trump want to be president?
Bellwether wonders whether Trump actually plans to stay in office for four years. Could he be considering a shorter stay in the White House, passing the baton to the widely respected Vice President Mike Pence? Might Trump feel that if and when he achieves his major goals – tighter borders, lower taxes, more American-made goods – he can declare victory and return to his successful career in the private sector?

[...]

Trump is slowly accomplishing his mission. If he plans to walk away from Washington once he feels he has fulfilled his promise to the American people, he should say so. Both his supporters and his growing list of opponents would probably respect his candor, and they might work together to give him what he wants, so he will go away.
Maybe one step away from the dreaded vote of confidence.
posted by jaduncan at 11:56 PM on May 12 [30 favorites]


Aside from being facepalmingly stupid about so many things, that editorial from Fox News Exec VP John Moody sounds like it's trying to talk Trump into quitting. Maybe he'll listen.

Also, I'd like to present the 2017 Up With Which I Shall Not Put award for Most Egregious Avoidance of a Preposition at the End of a Sentence to Moody for this one:
The president, in his first four months in office, has accomplished much of which to be proud.
posted by mmoncur at 12:16 AM on May 13 [21 favorites]


It seems like the end of Trump is finally near. Imagine how this looks from the POV of the congressional Republicans. Most of them didn't like him anyway, so they are probably not sad for him. But they must be confused and worried about what happens now: will Pence be president or does he go with Trump? My guess is that they would prefer Pence, for many reasons but mostly that it is the simple solution. But Trump has been really good at getting Pence out there to front, and it may be impossible to not indict Pence as well.
With president Ryan, who is the VP, and who is the new speaker? The whole party will be in free fall, and Ryan won't have the authority to lead. How many seats will they loose in 2018? They are scrambling to get voter suppression upgraded, but do they have enough time for that before everything crashes?
And they can't talk freely about any of these scenarios, because if anything leaks, the ball will start running way to fast for them to stop it running away.

I really hope the resistance and the Democratic party are ready for what is coming, so we don't get another Jimmy Carter situation.
posted by mumimor at 12:31 AM on May 13 [5 favorites]


How much do you have to pay someone to write, "the widely respected Vice President Mike Pence."
posted by notyou at 12:34 AM on May 13 [74 favorites]


It seems like the end of Trump is finally near.

Surely this!
posted by Justinian at 12:37 AM on May 13 [15 favorites]


Surely this!

More like: if Fox can't hold it together anymore, everyone is going to look for the exit. Going out to buy popcorn and soft drinks now, to be ready for when you all wake up in the morning
posted by mumimor at 1:04 AM on May 13 [2 favorites]


How much do you have to pay someone to write, "the widely respected Vice President Mike Pence."

Well, he did apologize for bopping that kid in the face. Cheney shot a guy in the face and the guy apologized to him.

"Let them hate, so long as they fear," would seem to be the apposite line.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:14 AM on May 13 [5 favorites]


Looking Like a Liar or a Fool’: What It Means to Work for Trump, posted by zachlipton way up there is a good reminder that you are a huge idiot if you choose to work for Trump. Not just because of his (lack of) politics or visions, but also because of his management style: you know you will be humiliated, forced into complicity, underpaid and fed meatloaf. Do these people not do any research before applying for (or accepting) these shitty jobs?
posted by mumimor at 1:28 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Trump NOT Briefed By Navy On Ford Catapult; Loves ‘Goddamned Steam’ Anyway
WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump may have a clear preference for a “goddamned steam” catapult on the USS Ford and its successors, but his opinion is not based on any detailed Navy briefing about the ship, according to Sean Stackley, acting Navy Secretary. Trump may have derived his remarkably insightful observations about the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) from his March 2 visit to the Ford.
posted by XMLicious at 1:55 AM on May 13 [7 favorites]


Since Trump is clearly no mastermind, his impeachment or resignation on its own is no longer enough to make me feel any safer (not that I think it is at all clear that such a thing is imminent. Laughing with Lavrov like that...)

If Sessions goes down with him, that will be a more important sign that the coup attempt has failed.

If McConnell goes down for enabling all this and standing in the way of an independent investigation, then I will be willing to believe we are really out of the woods.
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:00 AM on May 13 [32 favorites]


the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS)
Now can we start saying "but his EMALS"???
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:03 AM on May 13 [49 favorites]


US presidential line of succession: Pence, Ryan, Hatch, Tillerson, Mnuchin, Mattis, Sessions, Zinke, Perdue, Ross, Acosta, Price, Carson, Chao, Perry, DeVos, Shulkin, Kelly.
posted by christopherious at 2:16 AM on May 13 [10 favorites]


So, Chao for presidential succession?!
posted by AlexiaSky at 2:20 AM on May 13


Nope, she's the one exception (not eligible, must be must be a natural-born U.S. citizen).
posted by christopherious at 2:23 AM on May 13 [5 favorites]


Another reason the midterms are so important. Wouldn't it be nice if the list went:
2) Pelosi
posted by Justinian at 3:06 AM on May 13 [52 favorites]


The newspaper headline was very depressing, but I was grateful for the chuckle provided by the Ben Franklin quotation flanked by photographs of Putin and Trump heading today's copy of the Pakistan Observer.
posted by bardophile at 3:20 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]


The original party line on Comey firing was "he mishandled the Clinton investigation". But what did they mean? Did they mean Comey mistreated Clinton in the last days of the election as Democrats feel? Or that Comey failed to find indict Clinton, as the Republicans feel? Which was it? My belief based on what I read is it was both, simultaneously, a separate story for each audience. Which is sort of clever in its evilness. Not that any of this matters now that Trump blew up the official story, mind you.

I've been following the news while on vacation in Europe and it's very weird being not home as yet another self-inflicted crisis of despotism unfolds. Seeing things 8 hours out of sync gives me these giant bursts of news, where I wake up in the morning and see what fresh horrors unfolded in the American evening and when I go to bed at night I'm seeing stuff as it happens in the US daytime news cycle. Being out of sync this way makes this all seem even less real. Like this can't possibly be happening in America, right?
posted by Nelson at 3:36 AM on May 13 [16 favorites]


You ain't seen nothing yet.
posted by sour cream at 4:54 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Like this can't possibly be happening in America, right?

I recommend saving your remaining this-can't-possibly-be-happening-in-Americas for when the real bad stuff starts.
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:54 AM on May 13 [10 favorites]


Sooooo, no tweeting this morning? Feels...ominous?
posted by double bubble at 4:59 AM on May 13


The non-tweet speaks for itself.
posted by meinvt at 5:03 AM on May 13 [21 favorites]


Vice: Democrats Can't Do Much to Punish Trump for Firing Comey - "That doesn't mean they won't try."
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:05 AM on May 13


Ooh! Ooh! I suggested above that Dan Ackroyd return to SNL as Nixon's ghost. Then Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy come in as Ghostbusters.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:22 AM on May 13 [31 favorites]


And they capture Trump with their plasma beams. And Nixon takes over, this being his long term plan.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:25 AM on May 13 [9 favorites]


Aroo!
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:26 AM on May 13 [15 favorites]


Pence, Ryan, Hatch, Tillerson, Mnuchin, Mattis, Sessions, Zinke, Perdue, Ross, Acosta, Price, Carson, Chao, Perry, DeVos, Shulkin, Kelly.

What's that look like when you remove the people compromised by Russia?
posted by mikelieman at 5:40 AM on May 13 [2 favorites]


Well, yeah, that you have to remove ALL of them does present a problem.
posted by Artw at 5:46 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]


What's that look like when you remove the people compromised by Russia?

Pence, Ryan, Hatch, Tillerson, Mnuchin, Mattis, Sessions, Zinke, Perdue, Ross, Acosta, Price, Carson, Chao, Perry, DeVos, Shulkin, Kelly, Putin.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:50 AM on May 13 [23 favorites]


Fox News: No proof Putin compromised by Russia
posted by guiseroom at 5:54 AM on May 13 [51 favorites]


I searched the last thread and didn't see this.

The Defense Security Service* tweeted this last week, with a photo of the White House:

Defense Security Svc @DSSPublicAffair
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month


(Via Jezebel's Shade Court!)

*I had to look them up: "The Defense Security Service supports national security and the warfighter, secures the nation's technological base, and oversees the protection of US and foreign classified information in the hands of industry".
posted by Room 641-A at 6:09 AM on May 13 [10 favorites]


AP: After Comey firing, Trump’s frustrations boiled over:Several people close to the president say his reliance on a small cadre of advisers as he mulled firing Comey reflects his broader distrust of many of his own staffers. He leans heavily on daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kusher, as well as Hope Hicks, his trusted campaign spokeswoman and Keith Schiller, his longtime bodyguard. Schiller was among those Trump consulted about Comey and was tapped by the president to deliver a letter informing the director of his firing.

Trump confidants say Bannon has been marginalized on major decisions, including Comey’s firing, after clashing with Kushner. And while Trump praised chief of staff Reince Priebus after the House passed a health care bill last week, associates say the president has continued to raise occasional questions about Priebus’ leadership in the West Wing.

Trump spent most of the week out of sight, a marked change from a typically jam-packed schedule that often includes multiple on-camera events per day. Even when aides moved ahead on an executive order creating a voter fraud commission — a presidential pet project that some advisers thought they had successfully shelved — Trump signed the directive in private.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:10 AM on May 13 [21 favorites]


in modern parlance: history repeats, first as WTF, then as LOL.

Or even postmodern: the first time as 😡, the second time as 🤡.
posted by spitbull at 6:19 AM on May 13 [10 favorites]


No tweet this morning means Ivanka is working a rare Saturday shift. Some things are more important than pretending to be a person of faith.
posted by spitbull at 6:21 AM on May 13 [10 favorites]


Someone must have done an Emoji translation of Marx by now...💪🏾🌏👬!
posted by spitbull at 6:24 AM on May 13 [10 favorites]


No tweet this morning means Ivanka is working a rare Saturday shift. Some things are more important than pretending to be a person of faith.

Trump's headed to speak at Liberty University, so he has a captive audience of reporters on AFO.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:39 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


His fucking personal bodyguard is a trusted advisor.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:39 AM on May 13 [42 favorites]


Burr: "No evidence of collusion...". Looking a tad worn around the edges there, Dickie. Worried about your own Concord NC "business" fertilizer connections to the sewage pit?

I'm still digging on that one, but suffice it to say NC is a testing ground for more future bullshit as well. See: Art Pope, Bradley Group, Civitas.

Ugh NC. You suck.
posted by yoga at 6:49 AM on May 13 [7 favorites]


i'd like to think comey would summarily dismantle trump's dumb meatsack bodyguard like how in movies the spies always do to dumb meatsack bodyguards
posted by localhuman at 6:50 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Trump meltdown sets off GOP alarms over 2018 midterm: A three-day party gathering highlights senior Republican officials grappling with a profoundly unstable White House.
In one presentation on the GOP's challenges ahead, the National Republican Congressional Committee’s executive director, John Rogers, pointed out that far more vulnerable Republican incumbents represent districts that Hillary Clinton won than endangered Democratic incumbents in districts that Trump carried. Rogers reminded attendees that midterm elections are historically unkind to the party in the White House.

And he offered a surprisingly gloomy forecast of looming special elections that the party has been favored to win. While the race for a Georgia House seat is a tossup, he said, one in Montana later this month is closer than public polling indicated.

While Republicans have a far more favorable playing field in the Senate, they weren’t overly optimistic about those elections, either. National Republican Senatorial Committee Executive Director Chris Hansen noted at one closed-door briefing that the party was expected to notch big gains in the 2010 midterms but “whiffed,” according to one person present.
posted by chris24 at 6:51 AM on May 13 [23 favorites]


His fucking personal bodyguard is a trusted advisor.
Agent Meechum?
posted by jferg at 6:54 AM on May 13 [20 favorites]


i'd like to think comey would summarily dismantle trump's dumb meatsack bodyguard like how in movies the spies always do to dumb meatsack bodyguards

So would I, but as things unravel I'd like even more to know how this bodyguard person influences US politics. He seems to be a thug and an idiot (well, doh, since he's working for Trump), but also perhaps even more influential than Ivanka and Jared.
posted by mumimor at 6:56 AM on May 13 [7 favorites]


Trump confidants say Bannon has been marginalized on major decisions, including Comey’s firing, after clashing with Kushner.

This is an instance when I'd like to know who those "confidants" are: WH staff? Priebus? Kushner? Who wants the AP to know (or to write) that Bannon's been sidelined? An earlier age called these efforts to infer the motives of the players behind the text "Kremlinology." Rarely has a word been so appropriate.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:58 AM on May 13 [16 favorites]


You can send a message directly to the deputy attorney general of the US to ask him to appoint an independent counsel to investigate Russia's role in our most recent election campaign.

Choose "message to the deputy attorney general" from the drop down menu which asks you to select the general topic of your message.

Twenty state attorneys general have already done the same...
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:10 AM on May 13 [38 favorites]


I'd like even more to know how this bodyguard person influences US politics.

A lot, apparently... (The article says that among other things he 'translates' Trump).
posted by Buntix at 7:10 AM on May 13 [6 favorites]


Inside Trump's Coming War with the FBI
“The statements from the White House that he’d lost the faith of the rank and file—they’re making that up,” says Jeff Ringel, a 21-year F.B.I. veteran who retired in May 2016 and is now director of the Soufan Group. “Agents may not have agreed with everything he did. I was one of the people who thought the director shouldn’t have stepped up and made those public statements about Hillary Clinton. But Director Comey was one of the last honest brokers in D.C. Agents are pissed off at the way he was fired, the total disrespect with which it was handled. It was a slap in the face to the F.B.I., to everybody in the F.B.I. The director being treated terribly, being called incompetent, is a signal that Trump has disdain for the bureau.”
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:11 AM on May 13 [33 favorites]


So, this random guy is the actual president, right?
posted by Artw at 7:12 AM on May 13 [11 favorites]


Whoever "translates" his intelligible ramblings is running the country.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:15 AM on May 13 [5 favorites]


His fucking personal bodyguard is his trusted advisor.
And in the final scene Keith Schiller picks Trump up in his arms and sings And I-I-I-I-I will always love you-u-u-u.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:15 AM on May 13 [13 favorites]


His fucking personal bodyguard is his trusted advisor.

The writers are stealing plot lines from Veep.
posted by salix at 7:31 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]


Justice Department files request for Paul Manafort’s bank records
The department requested Manafort’s bank records from Citizen Financial Group Inc. in April, according to the Journal. The report added that it was unclear whether that was the only bank from where prosecutors sought Manafort’s records.

Apart from this, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. are looking into real-estate transactions made by Manafort, the Journal reported.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:45 AM on May 13 [15 favorites]


Whoever "translates" his intelligible ramblings is running the country.

Reminds me of China's leader Deng Xiaoping, who was so frail towards the end of his reign that only his daughter could "understand" his whispered instructions.
For what it's worth, only a couple of years later, Deng was history.

Of course the real power lies in translating the un-intelligible ramblings...
posted by sour cream at 7:51 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]


Wouldn't it be nice if the list went:
2) Pelosi


Darkest timeline evidence right there.
posted by Cookiebastard at 8:10 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


When Charlie Stross does performative despair, he really performs.
posted by Coventry at 8:17 AM on May 13 [6 favorites]


Democrats in Congress should be subtly hinting to their Republican colleagues that impeachment in 2017-18 = President Ryan. Impeachment in 2019 = President Pelosi.
posted by Glibpaxman at 8:18 AM on May 13 [51 favorites]




Fox is getting surprising.

It's not a sudden outbreak of morals. It IS an interesting bellwether, though. They perceive Trump's foundation of support growing shaky, and they need to lay the groundwork now for maintaining their audience when the GOP does begin to seriously turn against him.
posted by Miko at 8:22 AM on May 13 [36 favorites]


I bet at some point they panic, go for broke and pass as much legislation as possible and approve as many judges as possible

Yeah but there was an illegal block downfield. All that shit's coming back.

Collusion is an agreement between two or more parties, sometimes illegal and therefore secretive, to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading, or defrauding others of their legal rights . . . In legal terms, all acts effected by collusion are considered void.
posted by petebest at 8:23 AM on May 13 [12 favorites]


I hear what you're saying Petebest but this is US politics. That's what should happen but I doubt that it will without a shit-ton of effort by the public.
posted by VTX at 8:28 AM on May 13 [5 favorites]


It won't happen automatically. There's no constitutional provision for this. The next President and Congress will have to fix things.
posted by Glibpaxman at 8:29 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Sinclair and other local media conglomerates are a poison in less populated areas with limited local news and a huge part of why things are the way they are right now.

Preach!
posted by petebest at 8:29 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]


The moment Democrats gain ground their first instinct is going to be to get bipartisan and forgive the Republucans all their crimes and allow them to keep all their gains. Pressure not to do that will have to be applied.
posted by Artw at 8:29 AM on May 13 [57 favorites]


Oh yeah, that's definitely not how it works. The checks and balances are the presumsed protection against that. Legislative actions are reversed by legislative processes (even when required by judicial or executive) - they can't just be declared void. In fact it would be a pretty horrifying Republic if they could.
posted by Miko at 8:30 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]


Agreed, but it does help organize the agenda dunnit.
posted by petebest at 8:32 AM on May 13 [2 favorites]


The moment Democrats gain ground their first instinct is going to be to

Finish killing Dodd-Frank?
Praise our lord and savior Jesus Christ?
Finally agree pro-choice isn't really a thing anymore?
Accidentally lock-in all the GOP gerrymandering?
Set up a special committee to study the abuses of office under Sean Spicer?
Recruit Lieberman to run for Prez in 2020?

Oh there's more. Heuh. You better believe there's more ways the Dems can refuck everything. Everybody's gotta get saved for Trumpistan to have a positive end result. DNC? Pissed off electorate on line 2.
posted by petebest at 8:41 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]


Collusion is an agreement between two or more parties, sometimes illegal and therefore secretive, to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading, or defrauding others of their legal rights . . . In legal terms, all acts effected by collusion are considered void.
posted by petebest at 8:23 AM on May 13 [5 favorites −] [!]


Oh yes. Regardless of legal or constitutional merit, I want a majority of people thinking it's true before 2018.

Hell, believing it's true on a personal level might help the mushy middle sidestep all of that uncomfortable confronting of the conscience stuff they'd otherwise have to do to come around to being, if not Democratic voters, then anti-Republican voters.

You were lied to! It's not your fault, and you can vote for a do-over!

I'm at critically low emotional labor reserves, but I could maybe find a way to sell that with a cracked smile if it would work.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:41 AM on May 13 [11 favorites]


Demanding a reset is entirely valid. We can do better than a reset, but it is a start.
posted by Artw at 8:44 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]


The moment Democrats gain ground their first instinct is going to be to get bipartisan and forgive the Republucans all their crimes and allow them to keep all their gains. Pressure not to do that will have to be applied.

Maybe America's milkwater left needs an infusion of full-blooded Stalinist/Maoist tankies who kick ass and take no prisoners. But then it'd need something to keep the tankies from just filling mass graves with all the liberals (not to mention the handful of anarchists, BLMers, intersectional feminists and socialists of a slightly different stripe), as they did in Spain in the 1930s.
posted by acb at 8:45 AM on May 13 [6 favorites]


His fucking personal bodyguard is his trusted advisor.

What's a bad guy without henchmen? Jared, Ivanka, and Schiller are the Match, Skinhead, and 3-D of this timeline.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:48 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


But then it'd need something to keep the tankies from just filling mass graves with all the liberals (not to mention the handful of anarchists, BLMers, intersectional feminists and socialists of a slightly different stripe), as they did in Spain in the 1930s.

Or Nicaragua in the '80s.
posted by Talez at 8:50 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


I don't think a Stalinist uprising from the left is actually a thing we have to worry about.
posted by Artw at 8:51 AM on May 13 [23 favorites]


Beloved and Respected Comrade Leader Pisspiggrandpa.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:57 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]


Hell, a lot of people didn't think a neofascist uprising from a game-show host was actually a thing we had to worry about, and here we are.
posted by Cookiebastard at 8:59 AM on May 13 [37 favorites]


I made a mistake, guise.

I thought P.Ryan might want to impeach Trump now before the 2018 in order to install himself as President, but I forgot how young he is-- he is only 47 so he might have another 30 years or more in the government. Plenty of chances to run for higher office.

I'm honestly not too worried who comes after DJT if he does quit or is impeached-- look at Gerald Ford. He was a place-holder who had to bear the brunt of America's ill humor. It's an OK spot if you just want to be a President and don't really care how much power you have have or how you are received by the public. President Ford's portrait still hangs in the White House and he is still listed in the history books even though all I remember about him was that he played a lot of golf and Chevy Chase became famous for mocking his falls.

Take Tillerson, for example. I understand why people would be leery of the CEO of EXXon becoming President but he has shown that he is a non-entity in politics who doesn't understand how to handle the press and has little power in DC. Aside from looking nice, he seems to have zero charisma. In other words I can't see him accomplishing anything.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:00 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]


Mother Jones is crowdfunding their own Russia investigation. Aiming for $500k, and already > 200.

Hell, a lot of people didn't think a neofascist uprising from a game-show host was actually a thing we had to worry about, and here we are.

Ironically, as that was the plot of about 50% of sci-fi in the 80's...
posted by Buntix at 9:02 AM on May 13 [45 favorites]


all I remember about him was that he played a lot of golf and Chevy Chase became famous for mocking his falls.

I remember that Rumsfeld and Cheney were his men originally. Also, WIN.
posted by thelonius at 9:02 AM on May 13 [2 favorites]


I think you mean that Ford was Cheney and Rumsfeld's man.
posted by Glibpaxman at 9:07 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Ironically, as that was the plot of about 50% of sci-fi in the 80's...

SCWARZENEGGER IS
THE GOLFING MAN
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:07 AM on May 13 [8 favorites]




> I made a mistake, guise.

I forgive you.
posted by guiseroom at 9:12 AM on May 13 [27 favorites]


I remember that Rumsfeld and Cheney were his men originally.

Rummy and Big Dick Cheney were Team Nixon since his first administration. Ford's mistake was promoting them instead of purging them.

The worrisome question for the country is what kind of person's political career starts with Trump?
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:14 AM on May 13 [18 favorites]


"Imperator Omarosa" has a certain ring.
posted by contraption at 9:18 AM on May 13 [11 favorites]


You can send a message directly to the deputy attorney general of the US to ask him to appoint an independent counsel to investigate Russia's role in our most recent election campaign

I sent a message, and decided to appeal to his ego. I said I wouldn't rehash the headlines and proven allegations that he surely knew about, except to point out that Trump has already fired three people connected to the investigation and that historians from across the political spectrum have already called this worse than Watergate.

I told him our country needed a hero right now, and that he could be that hero, lauded as the man who saved the country and preserved its ideals as set forth by the founding fathers. 😎

Also, I've been watching Burn After Reading, and I'm pretty sure this scene (NSFW) has gone down between Trump and Kellyanne at least once.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:34 AM on May 13 [13 favorites]


Just riffing here....but if there was a way to get Pence/Trump out before 2018 who would the Republicans choose to be the place holder? It needs to be someone who is respected, dyed-in-the-wool GOP, gets along OK with Dems, and wouldn't mind being POTUS with a giant asterisk next to his name and a toxic cloud hanging over the White House. I think McCain might fit the bill.

I like imagining a Nixon/Agnew redux. Pence gets impeached first and Trump in a blind panic resigns quickly. I really like picturing Trump. Jared, & Ivanka sweating it out in the Oval Office, trying to save the Trump brand and their own hides. The only problem is I really- REALLY- do not want a blanket Presidential Pardon because this Presidency has set such a terrible precedent. There has to be a penalty for lying so egregiously, profiting so blatantly from the office and flouting all the nepotism laws otherwise it will all happen again and it will be worse the next time.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:36 AM on May 13 [5 favorites]


Pence gets impeached first and Trump in a blind panic resigns quickly.

The problem is this would be obvious as a naked political ploy to grab the Presidency. There is no question that Trump is far more embroiled in wrongdoing in every possible way than Pence. If anyone deserves to be impeached, it is him. No one deserves to be impeached more.
posted by corb at 9:39 AM on May 13 [5 favorites]


I'd say there's some significant degree of question there - at this point I would say they are equally culpable.
posted by Artw at 9:43 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]


JFC FOX News actually called the 8 year old boy who got elbowed by Pence a "special snowflake" because he asked the VP for an apology...I can't even.

Media Matters: Fox News Contributor Slams An 8 Year-Old As A Stalker Snowflake Who "Needed A Safe Space"


They actually run a slo-mo analysis to see if this warranted an apology.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:43 AM on May 13 [45 favorites]


It is crazy the number of articles that basically say "according to the dozen people we talked to, Trump hates how his White House is leaking."
posted by jcreigh at 9:46 AM on May 13 [26 favorites]


Damn near a dozen leakers a day are telling anyone who will listen that Trump hates leakers. I gotta think there is some sublimated anger about all of the chaos in their work place.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:53 AM on May 13 [6 favorites]


But what did they mean? Did they mean Comey mistreated Clinton in the last days of the election as Democrats feel? Or that Comey failed to find indict Clinton, as the Republicans feel? Which was it?

I think it's partly the first, in the timing of that original announcement, and partly that Comey in recent days had misrepresented how many emails were forwarded by Abedin, and was wrong about their classified status. If I've followed this all correctly.
posted by greermahoney at 9:57 AM on May 13


Oh yes. Regardless of legal or constitutional merit, I want a majority of people thinking it's true before 2018.
This story may or may not be true, but legend has it that during one of Lyndon Johnson’s congressional campaigns he decided to spread a rumor that his opponent was a pig-fucker. LBJ’s campaign manager said, “Lyndon, you know he doesn’t do that!” Johnson replied, “I know. I just want to make him deny it.”
posted by kirkaracha at 9:59 AM on May 13 [6 favorites]


That 8-year-old had it coming.
posted by guiseroom at 10:00 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]


It's probably true about Pence and the horse tho.
posted by Artw at 10:04 AM on May 13 [18 favorites]


re: the comment by XMLicious upthread:

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump may have a clear preference for a “goddamned steam” catapult on the USS Ford and its successors, but his opinion is not based on any detailed Navy briefing about the ship, according to Sean Stackley, acting Navy Secretary.

This is your reminder that we have "acting" Secretaries of the Army and Navy because the first candidates for both jobs pulled out. In both cases, they could not find a way to properly divest themselves of their business interests, creating a conflict of interest that Republicans in Congress clearly couldn't care less about.

Both of those guys may be horrible and ruthless businessmen for all I know. Maybe they didn't want their finances or relationships investigated. But they pulled out because they couldn't meet an ethical standard that everyone knows wouldn't be enforced anyway. We don't have a SecNav or a SecArmy right now because the first two candidates were too ethical to serve in this administration.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:06 AM on May 13 [51 favorites]


The problem is this would be obvious as a naked political ploy to grab the Presidency.

You really don't get to be upset about naked political ploys to grab the Presidency if you're part of the party that eagerly engages in carefully targeted voter suppression and that stole the Presidency against the clearly stated will of the American people TWICE in the last twenty years.

Of course, that ignores that it's not even a political ploy in the first place, because Pence clearly deserves to be impeached more. There is no chance that the Trump campaign or the Trump White House engaged in even a single dirty move that Pence didn't know about; there is no question that Pence is every bit as dirty on this as Trump. The thing that makes him a more deserving target is that he actually understands what's happening and what this stuff means. Trump is filthy, but he's also either shockingly stupid or suffering from some kind of dementia and I would be very surprised if he has any grasp of the larger implications of what he certainly sees as just another personal enrichment scheme. To use a simple metaphor: Trump is committing manslaughter, while Sessions, Bannon, Pence, and the others in the administration are committing first-degree murder. They all need to be removed from power and put away, but there's no question whose crimes are greater. Trump can go last.
posted by IAmUnaware at 10:11 AM on May 13 [9 favorites]




That 8-year-old had it coming.
He only had himself to blame.
Fox News they seen it, and then they show it.
Now you're brainwashed you think the same.
posted by Talez at 10:26 AM on May 13 [5 favorites]


We don't have a SecNav or a SecArmy right now because the first two candidates were too ethical to serve in this administration.
Well, or because the first two candidates had enough brainpower to realize the Trump administration is a career killer.
posted by mumimor at 10:27 AM on May 13 [7 favorites]


Aside from looking nice, he seems to have zero charisma.

Was thinking a couple weeks ago that I genuinely like Tillerson's smile, so I do have at least one thing nice to say about this administration after all.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:48 AM on May 13


Or that they didn't want all their personal shit dragged through the papers. Or, a little from column A, etc.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:50 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


It's probably true about Pence and the horse tho.

To be fair to Pence, he never promised Mother that he would not dine alone with a horse.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:56 AM on May 13 [40 favorites]


i have this weird gut feeling that the amount of blood and tears on the sunday shows tomorrow will be the leading indicator of how fucked the administration is in the short term?
posted by murphy slaw at 11:03 AM on May 13


We don't have a SecNav or a SecArmy right now because the first two candidates were too ethical to serve in this administration.

Also, there have been two nominees for Secretary of the Army have withdrawn so far. The first, Vincent Viola, withdrew because of his business interests, the second, Mark Green, has withdrawn because pushback against his hateful "Christian beliefs" including calling Syrian refugees "ISIS people", that "transgender is a disease" and encouraging armed citizens to protect public bathrooms, and refusing to prescribe brith control to his female patients. It's one of the rare cases where opposition has been able to tank an awful Trump nominee.
posted by peeedro at 11:13 AM on May 13 [35 favorites]


A contingent of MAGA hatters and Oath Keepers drove down to Boston today from New Hampshire, or wherever it is they come from, to scream through a megaphone on Boston Common at the antifa counter-protesters who, of course, also came (and who scored a strategic victory by getting to the hill in the center of the Common before the neo-Nazis could). A couple of MAGA boys who got a bit out of hand were arrested and driven away in vans parked by the Earl of Sandwich kiosk. Writer Luke O'Neil was in the middle of it all (the police tried to carve out a large space between the two sides; early on, somebody visited that space and left a can of Pepsi) and has photos and video. Also see this video of a MAGA-hat initiation rite.
posted by adamg at 11:14 AM on May 13 [5 favorites]


Ar 1:30 Trump tweeted: We.

That's all there was. He either changed his mind or got interrupted but still hit the tweet button. Nonetheless that tweet was favorited and retweeted 1.5 thousand times before being deleted. And now #We is trending. as in: #We can't believe you're the goddamn President.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:17 AM on May 13 [76 favorites]


Maybe he meant... wee?
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:20 AM on May 13 [35 favorites]


I try to keep up with this thread but some times I miss things like what did Mike "Hot To Trot" Pence do to a horse?
posted by guiseroom at 11:24 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure, but I don't think it's the antifa waving a flag showing people being murdered by being dropped out of helicopters.
posted by Yowser at 11:25 AM on May 13




To be fair to Pence, he never promised Mother that he would not dine alone with a horse.

I try to keep up with this thread but some times I miss things like what did Mike "Hot To Trot" Pence do to a horse?


/r/crusaderkings invaded reality. deus vult.
posted by Glibpaxman at 11:29 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]




Ar 1:30 Trump tweeted: We.

That's all there was. He either changed his mind or got interrupted but still hit the tweet button.


Is Trump still using a very unsecure Samsung SIII? That is what I last heard he was using as his primary device for tweeting. And I'm praying that this is just a joke or a meme that was floating around?
posted by Fizz at 11:30 AM on May 13


Wee the People
posted by guiseroom at 11:33 AM on May 13 [2 favorites]


i cannot believe there is a neofascist contingent voluntarily calling themselves "proud boys". sounds like they learned to tie their own shoes or graduated to pull-ups from diapers or some shit. glad they like to fight because their name is such a brutal self-own.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:33 AM on May 13 [20 favorites]


This is the tweet in question:

@Mike Pence:
Outstanding afternoon. "I've often said there's nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse." -Pres. Reagan #VPinMT

Attached to a picture of a smiling Pence standing next to his horse
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:35 AM on May 13 [24 favorites]


technically that sounds more like #horsefuckee
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:36 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Is Trump still using a very unsecure Samsung SIII?

I believe he was give an iPhone a while back; that's what he uses for tweets, at least.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:36 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]


considering how a horse-related head injury is generally agreed to have hastened reagan's final decline, that is not a quote i ever expected to hear again
posted by murphy slaw at 11:39 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]


technically that sounds more like #horsefuckee

I don't think we should discriminate between sex acts, it's all fucking.
posted by Artw at 11:39 AM on May 13


"Proud boys" because "The Chubs" was taken by some Cheap Trick cover band in Petaluma. They changed their name back to "Penal Colony" and the proud boys thought they might go back with "The Chubs" but then they thought "well, what's the point".
posted by petebest at 11:42 AM on May 13 [2 favorites]


Regardless, either Trump or Putin probably have tapes of it.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:42 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]


They're such fans of British accents that I'm surprised they didn't call themselves droogs.
posted by Yowser at 11:44 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]


I would not have thought of Pence and Catherine the Great in the same breath before.
posted by chris24 at 11:45 AM on May 13 [10 favorites]


The horse said neigh. Pence didn't care.
posted by orange ball at 11:46 AM on May 13 [17 favorites]


The horse said neigh. Pence didn't care.

And he persisted.
posted by SakuraK at 11:49 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]


I was really, really hoping this thread was just going to pretend the horse thing never happened, but since we're seemingly about to go 100 comments on horse foolery.

Here's a spoof NYT covering the events [fake, and it better stay that way]. Be sure to note the Ross Douthat and Tom Friedman columns on the right, which are spot-on.
posted by zachlipton at 11:51 AM on May 13 [9 favorites]


Horsefucking can be sad business that kills people. There was a guy in Washington who would break into barns to get fucked by stallions; if caught he'd get arrested for trespassing but would when he was released (if held at all) he'd just go back to trying to fuck horses. IIRC the legislature was in the process of finally banning bestiality -- mostly to stop this one poor weirdo who was plainly going to keep doing this until it killed him -- when he finally perforated his gut on a horse penis and died. 'Tis a felony in WA now.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:57 AM on May 13 [7 favorites]


Jesus, that sounded like Reagan was fucking horses. How had I never heard that quote before.

Actually I guess it would be getting fucked by a horse, wouldn't it, otherwise the outside/inside thing. . . .

Okay I'm done
posted by angrycat at 11:59 AM on May 13


"In America, We Don’t Worship Government, We Worship God," Trump Says
In his first commencement address as president, Trump talked a lot about God, football, and, of course, the crowd size at his speech. With no apparent sense of irony, he complained about “critics,” saying, “Nothing is easier or more pathetic than being a critic.”
posted by kirkaracha at 11:59 AM on May 13 [10 favorites]


'Tis a felony in WA now.

Closing the barn door after the horses have something something.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:00 PM on May 13 [12 favorites]


[Enough with the horses. I swear there's an aphorism about that but let's just say: enough.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:01 PM on May 13 [44 favorites]


He's an atheist ffs
posted by Yowser at 12:01 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


He's a salesman, and they're buying what he's selling.
posted by peeedro at 12:03 PM on May 13 [7 favorites]


if there was a way to get Pence/Trump out before 2018 who would the Republicans choose to be the place holder?

This isn't a parliamentary system. They don't get to choose. There is a succession set by the Constitution and subsequently amended, as modified by law.

It goes Pence, Speaker of the House Ryan, President pro tempore of the Senate Hatch [the title indicates he is the ranking Senate officer after the Vice President, who is the permanent President], and then the cabinet (in order of creation of the office, so State, Treasury, Defense (War), Justice, etc. (This makes, somewhat weirdly, Homeland Security dead last.) Note that persons ineligible Constitutionally for the Presidency are skipped, so Taiwan-born Elaine Chao [McConnell] -- as were also Kissinger and Albright -- isn't going to be tapped "it". For that matter, despite his political importance, the Senate Majority Leader is not in the line of succession.

Ryan, of course, is even more unpopular among Republicans than Trump. He is currently ranked as the least popular politician in the United States (with a -23 margin of disapproval per April's PPP poll).

In any case, your theory of scrambling around for a popular interim President is moot. In theory any of the designated successors could decline to take the oath of office and let it pass to someone below, but again, without actually changing the current law, putting in someone popular would be problematic.

(There is a theory that the Speaker of the House can be anyone that body should choose, so they could, perhaps, at the last minute prior to removal of T/P, ditch Ryan and elect The Rock in his place. Ethnically both Samoan-American and Black Canadian-American, Johnson was born in California.)

bow to christopherius for answering this 7 hours before it was posted.
posted by dhartung at 12:04 PM on May 13 [7 favorites]


Charlie Warzel: What Happens When The Pro-Trump Media Get Actual Scoops?, on the scary fact that folks like Cernovich are seemingly being handed real stories:
For all the understandable hand-wringing about the legitimization of the pro-Trump media, its rise makes perfect sense: Their people are in the White House. Trump, clichéd as it may be, is an effective troll, and he brought with him a troll press corps. Increasingly, the mainstream media — and mainstream media consumers — are being forced to pay attention to personalities that, even weeks ago, they might have dismissed outright. This shift raises a number of thorny questions — about sourcing (in 2014, Johnson proudly admitted to paying for sources), about ideological agendas, and about whether traditional journalistic values and standards even matter at all.

There’s a good chance they might not to an audience that doesn't see careers in both trolling and journalism as mutually exclusive. And while Cernovich has significantly dialed back his trolling, to many, he may always be the Man Who Cried "Hillary Has Parkinson's!"
posted by zachlipton at 12:09 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


He'll always be the man that stalked Zoe Quinn to me.
posted by Yowser at 12:11 PM on May 13 [26 favorites]




It's about ethics in Nazi journalism?
posted by Yowser at 12:21 PM on May 13 [8 favorites]


If Pence goes first, the Republicans pick a VP-- presumably one who agrees to pardon the outgoing President. How do you think we ended up with President Ford?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:25 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


And actually we worship money as Trump himself well knows.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:28 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


Yeah, we've actually been through this before. Spiro Agnew managed to resign in the middle of the Watergate investigation. When there's a VP vacancy, the President nominates a new VP who has to be approved by both houses of Congress.

I see a lot of speculation that there would be some sort of double impeachment, but that seems unlikely in practice. Also, there are no do-overs or reversals. It doesn't matter who the president is or how they got there; bills they sign are laws, and judges they appoint that are confirmed serve for life.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:31 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


Yes that's why I said it would have to be someone acceptable to the Dems like McCain. Maybe Kasich.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:36 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


Fox is getting surprising.

It's not a sudden outbreak of morals. It IS an interesting bellwether, though. They perceive Trump's foundation of support growing shaky, and they need to lay the groundwork now for maintaining their audience when the GOP does begin to seriously turn against him.


I've been waiting for this. Trump is going to go down, and it's going to be a tricky situation for Fox because they don't want their viewers to have to confront the fact that Fox has been lying to them the whole time. If they can make the transition comfortable enough viewers can pretend that wasn't happening. Fox must have lots of plans for this, I think that's why there's been some slight attempts at playing both sides. It's just a matter of when they kick the plan into gear.

Trump makes all this tricky. I think there's a good chance he could resign at any moment. I think he'd love to if he could figure out a good story. If he was smart he would, before he goes to jail. But if he waits too long and starts to go down I think he'll dig in and fight to the death, the time for resigning will be over.

Fox is just trying to figure out how to play this so their viewers can stay in their bubble and not be slapped in the face with the truth. I think their best plan by far is to get him to resign and claim victory. Trump fighting to the death is bad for Fox.
posted by bongo_x at 12:38 PM on May 13 [8 favorites]


The official @GOP Twitter account is now being used to defend Trump getting more ice cream than his guests: "Apparently @POTUS likes two scoops of ice cream after dinner. We can’t disagree that two is better than one."

The GOP has a social media person spending their time defending bad manners.
posted by zachlipton at 12:40 PM on May 13 [57 favorites]


Actually a well-liked Senator makes the most sense since the Senate has to agree. Also McCain is old and would probably retire once his term is up which would make it easier for the Republicans to run a "fresh slate" in 2020 without the Trump taint.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:42 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


Oh man think of the secret meetings going on behind the scenes.
"How are we going to tell Trump he has to quit?"
"How are we going to force him to quit?"
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:48 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


President Lindsey Graham.

I'm not saying I want that to happen but it would complete the surreal unreality of this whole escapade.
posted by Justinian at 12:49 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]


Mr. Comey made no comment, but later in the day he declined a request to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. According to a close associate of Mr. Comey, he is willing to testify, but wants it to be in public.

popcorn futures, where do i buy them?


It's entirely possible he wants to defend himself from the specific accusations made in Trump's dismissal letter, that Comey handled the Clinton investigation inappropriately. I wouldn't be surprised if, for the third time, Comey publically denounces Clinton for her email practices. Comey's a Republican. Knowing Trump as well as any of the rest of us did, he still deliberately threw the election to him. He will spend the rest of his life collecting wing-nut welfare, which is less work and better pay than running the FBI. At the same time he'll be lauded by the NPR/Atlantic/NYT circuit as true bipartisan hero. He'll still be on the guest list of all the cocktail parties that matter. There's no reason to believe he is unhappy with what's happened this week.

Remember too, Comey still has a smidgen of power and we haven't yet seen a single Republican with any power at all pushback meaningfully against Trump. That's not how the Republican party works. The pushback only comes from people who are effectively powerless (Jennifer Rubin, Bret Stephens, Bill Fucking Kristol). You are allowed to buck the party line as long as you aren't in a position to change the party line (e.g. the long list of Republicans who came out in favor of some sort of gay rights once they left office; the famously pro-choice Bush ladies). Comey might take down Trump in a decade when he publishes his memoirs. But I just can't see him doing so now.
posted by great_radio at 12:51 PM on May 13 [7 favorites]


I would put good money on Comey not spending much time on the Clinton email thing in his (potential) public testimony. I think you're misreading the situation.
posted by Justinian at 12:53 PM on May 13 [14 favorites]


Of course -- out of 300m people in the US there's not a single person who thinks he was fired because of that.
posted by rainy at 12:56 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


The idea that Pence would resign first requires #1: that Pence has any sense at all of wrongdoing — not possible, and #2: that someone, somewhere among the Republicans is capable of strategic planning — not likely.

Maybe that is the main difference between now and 1973 - back then, there were really smart, if evil, people among the R's. Now Paul Ryan is supposed to be the smart guy. They have no clue what to do, even though they should have started planning for this situation in November. (It's fair enough that they thought Clinton would win and were planning for 8 more years of obstruction before that).

IMO, this applies to the propaganda wing - Fox News - as well. They are not prepared for what is coming, though they probably have a better sense than the politicians that it is coming. Mainly because they can see their ratings are going down. If they don't get on the train soon, they will be obsolete, and my guess is we will see them scrambling the next couple of weeks.

Maybe there are not enough popcorn in the world for what is coming. I should go make some guacamole as well.
posted by mumimor at 12:59 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


I think Mitch McConnell fits the template of "smart but evil" perfectly. But it's certainly a lot more rare than in the past.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:02 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


If McConnell were smart, he would have distanced himself from Trump long ago. Right now he's just one more rat scrambling for the crow's nest on a sinking ship.

As of 2017, the Republican party consists of three distinct bases: evil, stupid, and crazy. Trump owes his success to his unique ability to appeal equally to all three.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:12 PM on May 13 [32 favorites]


Seems Chaffetz is going full Palin, won't finish his term.

Jason Chaffetz Has Been Telling House Republicans He Will Join Fox News
posted by chris24 at 1:17 PM on May 13 [12 favorites]


Jason Chaffetz Has Been Telling House Republicans He Will Join Fox News

The first liberal person he interviews should just point out how terrible he was and that he was going to lose an election as a Republican in Utah.
posted by Talez at 1:20 PM on May 13 [7 favorites]


There's no reason to believe that Comey is unhappy? Wow I disagree. Trump has said that the FBI is happy that Comey was fired, that the FBI was badly run. That's got to sting. Not to mention being fired long distance from your dream job just 4 years into your 10 year term. He never had the chance to say goodbye to his team. Remember, Comey was so surprised he thought he was being pranked. Then the President went on to tell a pack of lies about him.

I get the strong impression that Comey sees himself as a man of integrity trying to do the right thing. He lost his job because he wouldn't lie and flatter the President. That has got to rankle.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:21 PM on May 13 [17 favorites]


I get the strong impression that Comey sees himself as a man of integrity trying to do the right thing. He lost his job because he wouldn't lie and flatter the President. That has got to rankle.

He is probably angry and even bitter, but he has moral superiority and a grandiose career to look forward to. Not half bad
posted by mumimor at 1:26 PM on May 13


Has Trump started tweeting about Eurovision yet?
posted by PenDevil at 1:26 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


I just don't understand this idea that Trump and Pence would be impeached, or resign, simultaneously. I think it's pretty farfetched - Ryan would automatically become president because there'd be no President to nominate a new Vice-President, etc. I don't think the Republicans would give up their ability to choose a VP. Remember that Ford picked Nelson Rockefeller as his VP, who at that time did not hold elected office. So the list of possibles is very large indeed. One of the Koch brothers. Rudy. Jesse Ventura. Condi Rice. Ivanka. You name it.

The idea behind Ford was that he was seen as a fairly moderate, mild-mannered, inoffensive, almost boring guy who most people agreed had a clean character. He was sort of the archetype of a mainstream Republican, and the anti-Nixon and anti-Agnew. Recall that he was House minority leader and had to be approved by the House (I'm not sure what majority needed).

Anyway, on the way to an unelected President X I am sure we would see a President Pence. By that time I'd be surprised if the 2018 midterms had not already happened, with a likely Democrat House and possibly Senate. At that point all bets are off for a VP appointment if she or he has to be confirmed by the House.

Also, if they do have to go down the order of succession and there is a President Ryan, then does #4 on the order become the VP automatically?
posted by Rumple at 1:28 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


Has Trump started tweeting about Eurovision yet?

"I like that song Waterloo where Comey was defeated and I won the war!"
posted by Talez at 1:30 PM on May 13 [10 favorites]


then does #4 on the order become the VP automatically

No. The replacement VP specifically has to be voted on by Congress. From John Tyler through LBJ, when a president died, the VP became president and there was no vice-president for the remainder of the term. The 25th Amendment was put into place to prevent something like that from happening again.
posted by dhens at 1:31 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


AP: Trump’s frustrations are boiling over after Comey dismissal
The communications staff charged with explaining the decision to the American people had an hour’s notice. Chief strategist Steve Bannon learned on television, according to three White House officials, though a person close to Bannon disputed that characterization.
...
After Trump decided to fire Comey, he was told by aides that Democrats would likely react positively to the news given the role many believe Comey played in Hillary Clinton’s defeat last year. When the opposite occurred, Trump grew incensed — both at Democrats and his own communications staff for not quickly lining up more Republicans to defend him on television.
Is his staff really that delusional that they thought Democrats would praise this?
posted by zachlipton at 1:35 PM on May 13 [21 favorites]


I just don't understand this idea that Trump and Pence would be impeached, or resign, simultaneously.

While the Republicans will do everything they can to avoid this, Trump and family are doing everything they can to incriminate Pence. Probably because they know he would be all back-stabbing already if they didn't. See how every time there is big lying to be done, he is upfront? I bet he isn't volunteering.
posted by mumimor at 1:36 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


President Lindsey Graham.

I do declare, I do declare!
posted by photoslob at 1:36 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


If McConnell were smart, he would have distanced himself from Trump long ago. Right now he's just one more rat scrambling for the crow's nest on a sinking ship.

It is not at all a foregone conclusion that the GOP ship is going to sink. They have made a hell of a lot out of gerrymandering that might even them from being overwhelmed by the midterm wave unless there's a hell of a lot of hard work. They are going to take vote suppression to a new level. They could well stage their own terrorist attack/Reichstag fire timed support them electorally if they need to do it.

It's fun to watch the ship lurch as its roster of brazen sociopaths struggles with the deluded political cosplayers performing their grade-school understanding of what governing looks like. But there is no guarantee it's going to sink without hard and worthy work to get all hands on deck of our own ship and maybe even heavy recruitment who are aware their ship has problems but have heard some scary stories about ours...
posted by wildblueyonder at 1:40 PM on May 13 [18 favorites]


Is it me or do these reports sounds like Hitler in the bunker at the end of WWII? (note: I AM NOT SAYING TRUMP IS THE SAME AS HITLER I AM TALKING ABOUT MENTAL STATES).

You'll note there aren't as many popular Downfall parodies going on. I think thats because its just too on the nose.
posted by Justinian at 1:42 PM on May 13 [9 favorites]


If we're writing speculating fanfic that presumes a R party that stops being complicit, I'd wager what happens is a backroom deal is cut where Pence gets told that he gets to dodge removal if he picks a VP of party choosing. They can't promise him no impeachment since a House flip to the Ds means that's out of their hands. But the odds that the Ds take 67 seats in the Senate are miniscule, so he can avoid removal. Possibly part of the deal is Pence doesn't run in the next election, though folks who will go along this far with Trump don't strike me as all that principled that they wouldn't work with Presieent Pence.

Now why anyone would want the gig in that sort of circumstance is beyond me but I can't fathom who agrees to be veep to Trump either.
posted by phearlez at 1:43 PM on May 13


President Lindsay Graham?

Now I may be just be a simple country Hyper-Chicken, but I know when we're finger licked.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:45 PM on May 13 [16 favorites]


Jesse Ventura

Actually, the only real politician in the bunch.
posted by mikelieman at 1:46 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


Re fox, Trump worked for them for years. Think they're dirty too? That could explain some of their behavior.
posted by BentFranklin at 1:47 PM on May 13


Is his staff really that delusional that they thought Democrats would praise this?

Nope. His staff are has reached that stage of torture where you will tell them whatever you the they want to hear. They knew Trump wanted to hear that the Dems would approve, so that's what they told him.
posted by mikelieman at 1:48 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


No. The replacement VP specifically has to be voted on by Congress

Am I right in thinking that #3 (Speaker of House) would not have to be voted on by Congress to become President?
posted by Rumple at 1:50 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]




Am I right in thinking that #3 (Speaker of House) would not have to be voted on by Congress to become President?

Yes
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:51 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


Apparently @POTUS likes two scoops of ice cream after dinner. We can’t disagree that two is better than one.

Y'know, I have no problem with the idea that the President would like an extra scoop of ice cream. I have a big goddamn problem with the fact that the person representing America at state dinners &c. is so fucking graceless that he acquires his second scoop in a way which passive-aggressively challenges them with a presumption that he's more deserving than they. If, say, Obama (or either Bush, or Clinton, or anyone who wasn't raised in a damn barn) wanted a second scoop of ice cream served to him at desert (and why wouldn't he?) he'd figure out a way to make his guests feel included, either with a insouciant remark of "I usually get a second scoop of ice cream on this, anyone else want one?" or simply instructing waitstaff to ask guests whether they would like one or two scoops.

There are plenty of ways to get something nice without being a total dick about it.

I wouldn't be surprised if, for the third time, Comey publically denounces Clinton for her email practices.

Truly I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will denounce me three times.
posted by jackbishop at 1:52 PM on May 13 [62 favorites]


If, say, Obama (or either Bush, or Clinton, or anyone who wasn't raised in a damn barn) wanted a second scoop of ice cream served to him at desert (and why wouldn't he?) he'd figure out a way to make his guests feel included, either with a insouciant remark of "I usually get a second scoop of ice cream on this, anyone else want one?" or simply instructing waitstaff to ask guests whether they would like one or two scoops.

Actually, it's not being raised in a damn barn. Farm animals have the capacity for empathy. Donald Trump does not.
posted by mikelieman at 2:00 PM on May 13 [13 favorites]


As fun as fantasy impeachment is, it'll never happen. There's nothing on earth Trump could do to get Ryan to bring impeachment charges in the House, and nothing after 2018 even if Dems win to get a single Republican vote to remove in the Senate. He's already handed the nuclear codes over to Putin, there's nothing worse that can be done that Republicans won't be completely on board with. He's going to be there until 2020 unless he keels over or goes (more) insane and has to resign.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:00 PM on May 13 [8 favorites]


all this talk of succession seem incredibly premature and optimistic. i feel like what we're actually going to get is a version of watergate where every republican pushed hard for america to "get over this third-rate burglary so we can deal with important issues facing the country" and nixon served out his whole term with a cloud over him that never quite coalesced into an actual scandal
posted by murphy slaw at 2:02 PM on May 13 [9 favorites]


There are plenty of ways to get something nice without being a total dick about it.

I think he enjoys the being a dick about it more than the actual nice thing.
posted by Grangousier at 2:02 PM on May 13 [78 favorites]


trump only cares about having an extra scoop, he gives no fucks about ice cream
posted by murphy slaw at 2:04 PM on May 13 [28 favorites]


I wouldn't hate Jesse Ventura. There's probably many things I wouldn't like, but the man is smart.
posted by BentFranklin at 2:04 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


Ar 1:30 Trump tweeted: We.

Clearly a reference to the art-documentary We. based on Arundhati Roy's Come September speech.

It's his way of letting us know that all this has all been one great plot (80 years in the making) to subvert neo-liberalism from the inside, and that the plan will soon be reaching its culmination. By 2020 we will all be working 2 day weeks due to wealth being re-distributed from the 1% back to the curve it belonged on. We will own our living spaces, and manage and own the tools of production, and with it our lives.

I mean, what else could it be...
posted by Buntix at 2:04 PM on May 13 [9 favorites]


I AM TALKING ABOUT MENTAL STATES

Yeah you are!

What were they thinking over in left-pondia?
posted by Buntix at 2:06 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


Yes, I totally get why the RNC feels the need to defend ice cream-gate. Because it truly reveals Trump as a low-life mobster with no dignity, no pride and also no sense of duty to the nation. I'm not joking: there is no way POTUS couldn't give every single guest and everyone who works at the White House a mountain of dessert, but he chooses to attempt to demonstrate his power by having two scoops of ice cream. Not by killing Osama bin Laden in the middle of the Correspondents Dinner, and not even by declaring faux victory on an air carrier in faux uniform. Just having two scoops of ice cream. Even Fox News viewers can see something is off here.
posted by mumimor at 2:09 PM on May 13 [56 favorites]


There's nothing on earth Trump could do to get Ryan to bring impeachment charges in the House, and nothing after 2018 even if Dems win to get a single Republican vote to remove in the Senate.

I think this depends a lot on what gets uncovered in the various Russia investigations and how clear and solid the proof is. If it's bad enough Ryan could even position himself as Savior of The Republican Party, the man who ousted that criminal Trump.
posted by soundguy99 at 2:12 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


President Lindsey Graham.

I'm not saying I want that to happen but it would complete the surreal unreality of this whole escapade.


*ASCII slap* Tequila shots at dawn, suh! I will have satisfaction!

*uuurp*
posted by petebest at 2:12 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


i feel like what we're actually going to get is a version of watergate where every republican pushed hard for america to "get over this third-rate burglary so we can deal with important issues facing the country" and nixon served out his whole term with a cloud over him that never quite coalesced into an actual scandal

Wasn't that the plot of Watchmen? So now we also have to worry about giant alien squid attacks? Cool. This timeline keeps getting better and better.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 2:13 PM on May 13 [13 favorites]


it's bad enough Ryan could even position himself as Savior of The Republican Party, the man who ousted that criminal Trump.

Okay now that is fucken terrifying
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:13 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


VP, tax fraud, resignation, impeachment: 1973 has it all

In 1973, Agnew was investigated by the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland on charges of extortion, tax fraud, bribery, and conspiracy. He was charged with having accepted bribes totaling more than $100,000 while holding office as Baltimore County Executive, Governor of Maryland, and Vice President. On October 10 that same year, Agnew was allowed to plead no contest to a single charge that he had failed to report $29,500 of income received in 1967, with the condition that he resign the office of Vice President. Nixon later replaced Agnew by appointing House Minority Leader Gerald Ford as Vice President. The following year, when Nixon resigned from the White House due to the Watergate scandal, Ford ascended to the presidency.
posted by petebest at 2:17 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


NYT: A Look at the Candidates Trump Is Considering to Head the F.B.I.
Mr. Trump and his advisers have asked some people whether they believe Mr. Kelly, the former New York police commissioner, would be “loyal,” language similar to what he used in questioning Mr. Comey’s effectiveness, according to people briefed on the discussions. In Mr. Kelly’s case, they said, the White House appeared to be trying to assess whether he would seek to advance his own image, as Mr. Trump accused Mr. Comey of doing.
So we're headed toward an interesting situation. A permanent FBI Director has to be confirmed by the Senate. And whoever that is, it's inevitable that one or more Democrats will ask that nominee if Trump asked for a pledge of personal loyalty and how he responded. And they'll have to come up with an answer knowing, and here's the really fun part, that there very well could be a secret White House taping system that will have their actual conversation recorded somewhere.
posted by zachlipton at 2:17 PM on May 13 [59 favorites]


No. The replacement VP specifically has to be voted on by Congress

Am I right in thinking that #3 (Speaker of House) would not have to be voted on by Congress to become President?


Yes. The office of president is filled automatically; there is no such provision for the VP.
posted by dhens at 2:17 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


I think this depends a lot on what gets uncovered in the various Russia investigations and how clear and solid the proof is. If it's bad enough Ryan could even position himself as Savior of The Republican Party, the man who ousted that criminal Trump.

That's going to be pretty difficult when every one of them, most especially Ryan, is on record stonewalling the need for any investigations at all.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:17 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]






My wife met a fairly high-level Republican party operative in an airport last year - he was on his way to a meeting with the Koch Brothers . . . he said Ryan desperately wants and intends to be President. If he can position himself as the Savior of the Republic, there is little doubt in my mind that he is going to take it.
posted by waitingtoderail at 2:24 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


...and we're rooting for that?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:25 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


Hey if Ryan wants to help impeach Trump because he thinks it will help his career I'm all for it. The impeaching, not his career. Stopping Ryan is a problem for another day.
posted by Justinian at 2:28 PM on May 13 [12 favorites]


Yeah I think it's fairly obvious what Ryan wants. And as much talk as there has been on here about party over country, these guys are out for themselves first and foremost.
posted by orange ball at 2:28 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


What exactly is supposed to be Ryan's path to Savior of the Republic?
posted by rhizome at 2:29 PM on May 13


This frying pan sucks; I'll take my chances with the fire.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:30 PM on May 13 [17 favorites]


If anyone knows the answer, keep your mouth shut
posted by orange ball at 2:30 PM on May 13 [25 favorites]


> It's May, and that poster is still there, because there is nothing that has replaced her program in terms of press materials

I'm working on the lifetime award for the Presidential Service Award, and was saddened to think that this year my letter would be signed by Trump. But hurray! It came a few weeks ago and was signed by President Obama.

Maybe it was because it was it was for service in 2016, but I suspect it's because nobody in the Trump administration gives a crap about the Presidential Service Award.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:31 PM on May 13 [23 favorites]


Ugh yeah, it's not like I'd be stoked about a President Ryan but honestly I'm looking for a President Won't Blow Up the World right now.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:31 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]


This is not a crisis, Republicans say as a large spider slowly devours them

I love that the picture on the article is a closeup of a spider in a Petri dish. Very meta!
posted by Justinian at 2:33 PM on May 13 [9 favorites]


Fox is just trying to figure out how to play this so their viewers can stay in their bubble and not be slapped in the face with the truth.

For some reason I just can't see that happening. The roof caves in, Trump perp walks, Pence rolls, McConnell admits he's a lying sack of shit and the GOP says, "enh" and votes for Twitler Jr.

does that make me cynical?
posted by petebest at 2:33 PM on May 13


Huh. I think Ryan is faaar more dangerous, if only because of being less senile, ignorant, and incompetent. Ryan knows the bureaucracy.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:34 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


So since we're all playing Presidential Succession Fantasy Baseball today, where do we stand on military coup?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 2:34 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


Aw hell no
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:36 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


I doubt the military is our friend.
posted by Artw at 2:36 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


I think its fair to say we're probably against it?

About the only situation where a military coup would be better than the alternative is if Trump decided to start launching nukes out of spite.
posted by Justinian at 2:37 PM on May 13 [11 favorites]


Someone pitched a line of thought they said was common among Republicans at me - it was already in November, but I found it so disgusting I haven't mentioned it here. I haven't seen it either, but I dropped out now and then, so someone may have posted something like it.

The idea is that Trump is so scandalous and clueless that he will break the whole system and then both Republicans and Democrats will have to reinvent the entire political system. Not in the Bannon sense of disruption at all, this was a banker speaking, they felt the Tea party had broken the Republican party and the neo-liberals had broken the Democrats. They are also firmly internationalist and socially progressive.

Has anyone else met this type of Republican? To me, this is extremely cynical, literally risking the lives of millions in order to change the status quo. I know it well on the left, and regardless of politics, I don't get it.
posted by mumimor at 2:37 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


NYT: ‘Looking Like a Liar or a Fool’: What It Means to Work for Trump, which also contains the detail that Trump got mad at Giuliani for defending him after the pussy tape came out, "arguing that he wanted to attack Hillary Clinton, not play defense."

I can't get to the NYT story right now for some reason, but this is from the Raw Story piece re: that article:
The article alleges that Pence was among “the small group of advisers who planned Mr. Comey’s ouster in near secrecy”.

Pence’s work to forward the initial White House story claiming that Trump fired Comey under recommendation from Attorney General Jeff Sessions was “vaporized” once Trump appeared on Lester Holt‘s show Thursday, when the president claimed that he was “going to to fire regardless of the recommendation” of Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:40 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


I find President Ryan no more offensive than any other Republican President NotTrump, and really would prefer him over a god-botherer like Pence. He's a shit but not in any particularly unusual way as House Rs go.
posted by phearlez at 2:40 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Plus the fact that he's the most widely-hated politician in America should surely be helpful in the future.
posted by Grangousier at 2:43 PM on May 13 [8 favorites]


He's a shit but not in any particularly unusual way as House Rs go.

Defenestrating ourselves right out of the Overton Window.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 2:43 PM on May 13 [61 favorites]




If we do end up with a new president I can tell you this: it will be someone in the line of presidential succession.

/captainobvious

//butapparentlynotthatobvious
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:45 PM on May 13 [9 favorites]


"It is significant that we take an oath to support and defend the Constitution and not an individual leader, ruler, office, or entity.

"A government of laws, and not of men." - That fat motherfucker John Adams.
posted by chris24 at 2:47 PM on May 13 [13 favorites]


The idea is that Trump is so scandalous and clueless that he will break the whole system and then both Republicans and Democrats will have to reinvent the entire political system.

That argument is basically accelerationism. At its core, you reject the status-quo, reject incrementalism as a mechanism for change, and conclude that disruption, of any sort, is the best mechanism to force big changes, and that the system will settle into a better result after the shocks. That this view is not widely shared by those who study autocracies ought to give one pause.

It's not exclusively a lefty phenomenon. The desired outcome after the acceleration can be anything from fully automated luxury space communism to global Nazi rule depending on who you ask. That's the dangerous thing about this line of thinking: everyone thinks they're getting what they want when they push the plunger and blow up the system, but after the blast, they're all going to rush to rearrange the pieces into completely different structures.
posted by zachlipton at 2:48 PM on May 13 [53 favorites]


It's generally favored by the kind of dumb asshole who thinks they are really smart.
posted by Artw at 2:52 PM on May 13 [30 favorites]


Ob. Webcomicname on accelerationism: I want things to be different...
posted by Jon Mitchell at 2:55 PM on May 13 [13 favorites]


I live in Maine, land of Paul LePage. He's done any number of things, and no one has done anything about him. I have no faith that anyone will do anything about Trump either. The outrage happens, media reports it, then life goes on as usual.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:56 PM on May 13 [9 favorites]


It's generally favored by the kind of dumb asshole who thinks they are really smart.

I don't care for it, myself.
posted by valkane at 2:56 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]


WaPo: White House ‘systems failed’ with Comey firing, but Trump pushed the buttons: White House aides have felt bewildered and alarmed by how Trump arrives at his decisions — often on impulse and emotion, and sometimes by rejecting the counsel of those around him — and how he then communicates them to his own personnel and to the public. Trump is in some ways like a pilot opting to fly a plane through heavy turbulence, then blaming the flight attendants when the passengers get jittery.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:57 PM on May 13 [10 favorites]


Critical fluctuations signal a shift in a complex system from one (perhaps) stable form of equilibrium to another. If you believe that simple mathematical insight gives you licence to fuck with the lives of millions, we appear to have a Platonic problem on our hands!
posted by stonepharisee at 2:57 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


The idea is that Trump is so scandalous and clueless that he will break the whole system and then both Republicans and Democrats will have to reinvent the entire political system.

I have never hoped for this, because it's just too damn dangerous. But I knew Trump would destroy the status quo if he won. Whatever we get in the future isn't gonna be familiar to us Pre-Trump humans, regardless of how it shakes out. It makes me anxious and scared just trying to figure it out, actually.
posted by Glibpaxman at 2:59 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


He's a shit but not in any particularly unusual way as House Rs go.

Defenestrating ourselves right out of the Overton Window.


Well I want a D president but I both paid attention in school and have more than a clam's grasp of strategy and human nature, so I know who is in the secession chain, that it has to be followed, and that there's not going to be any plan that requires R cooperation (like Senate removal would, or impeachment with R in the Speaker's chair) that is going to leave such a person in the White House. That's about reality, which often has little intersection with the window of what I consider acceptable.

Calling it defenestration to sub Trump with Ryan strikes me as particularly odd. Maybe we don't all consider Ryan "unacceptable within normal parameters" as has been said here innumerable times, but I am shocked anyone would not consider him an improvement by any measure.
posted by phearlez at 3:03 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


I think Ryan would be far worse--he'd accomplish stuff, for one.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:06 PM on May 13 [33 favorites]


The New York Times invited Erik Erikson to write stupid shit:
Though they are criticizing his firing now, Democrats were calling for Mr. Comey’s head after he reopened the Clinton email investigation late in the campaign last year. If he was so bad then, is he really so good now? It also is telling that two of President Trump’s most vocal critics within the Republican Party, Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, both embraced Mr. Comey’s termination.
The best analysis the New York Times could get is a guy who reduces a person to simply "bad" or "good" and declares anyone who thinks maaaaaaybe there's a little more nuance around why and how something is done a hypocrite?
posted by zachlipton at 3:07 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


Plus he'd look all smug and self-satisfied while accomplishing said stuff.
posted by wabbittwax at 3:07 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


AP: BREAKING: South Korea's Yonhap news agency reports that North Korea launched a projectile believed to be a ballistic missile.
posted by PenDevil at 3:08 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]




WaPo: White House ‘systems failed’ with Comey firing, but Trump pushed the buttons: White House aides have felt bewildered and alarmed by how Trump arrives at his decisions — often on impulse and emotion, and sometimes by rejecting the counsel of those around him — and how he then communicates them to his own personnel and to the public. Trump is in some ways like a pilot opting to fly a plane through heavy turbulence, then blaming the flight attendants when the passengers get jittery.

WHAT, WaPo?! THE GOD-DAMNED PLANE HAS CRASHED INTO THE MOUNTAIN.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:13 PM on May 13 [7 favorites]


If it's bad enough Ryan could even position himself as Savior of The Republican Party, the man who ousted that criminal Trump.

If I'm trying to write an ending to this preposterous story it's that Paul Ryan has been involved the whole time because he sees himself as the American Putin. Trump was tricked into the whole thing because he's so stupid and corrupt, he takes the fall and takes a few with him, Ryan is President. Everyone in the line of succession is involved or complicit, so it doesn't matter exactly how it plays out.

I know it's a ridiculous ending, but look what I had to work with. How did this get made?
posted by bongo_x at 3:17 PM on May 13


North Korea Carries Out New Missile Test

Yes, I've lived in Seoul since 2002
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:17 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


Weird timing, this missile test, considering "North Korea 'would hold talks' with Trump administration"

There is an ancient Vulcan proverb:
Only Trump could go to North Korea.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:19 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Trump is in some ways like a pilot opting to fly a plane through heavy turbulence, then blaming the flight attendants when the passengers get jittery.

The other problem with this analogy is that there hasn’t been any significant turbulence, the problems are completely self-inflicted.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 3:21 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]


Controlled flight into terrain, under the loosest possible definition of "controlled."
posted by Behemoth at 3:23 PM on May 13 [8 favorites]


It seems very well supported to claim that radical (to an unknown degree) change is always inevitable. I think that's something that both conservatives (more precisely reactionaries, I suppose) and revolutionaries fail to recognise​. Not recognising it seems like a massive failure, because the best way to prepare for radical change is to reform and improve the system as it is, in the hope that you can make those decent institutions we already have sufficiently robust to survive and adapt to radical change and thereby improve the next equilibrium.

It's also best because it doesn't require you to be an appalling prick about the welfare of real people. Accelerationism is a particularly despicable creed, because what kind of person cares about the nature of a theoretical future society more than actual people's lives right now?

If I think about my own field of work, housing, it seems pretty obvious that, drastic reform being needed, accelerationists would have to hold that the sticking plaster sort of work I do is a net negative. People working in UK housing provision, law etc are holding together a system that is manifestly unfit for purpose. But you'd have to be a monster to think that justifies, e.g., not at least trying to get decent accommodation for some of the UK's tens of thousands of homeless families when you're given the opportunity.
posted by howfar at 3:25 PM on May 13 [16 favorites]


Controlled. #withsomeexceptions
posted by stonepharisee at 3:26 PM on May 13 [20 favorites]


also there are snakes on the plane and samuel l jackson is john mccain so he's sitting quietly in his seat with a disapproving expression on his face.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:26 PM on May 13 [15 favorites]


obvious conclusion to Trump As Pilot analogy: when the plane crashes into a mountain, he blames the mountain for being in the wrong place.

the current headlines show that the worst things happening are being done by the most competent people in the Trump Administration, so the last thing we need is more competent leadership there.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:37 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


And while Cernovich has significantly dialed back his trolling, to many, he may always be the Man Who Cried "Hillary Has Parkinson's!"

And before that he was one of the men who incited violent Twitter mobs to threaten women who had the gall to have opinions about games. The people who followed him then are the same garbage that follow him now.
posted by SakuraK at 3:38 PM on May 13 [34 favorites]


The conversation has moved along, but I'm now realizing, apropos of the Submission Meatloaf and the Ice Cream Scoops and the general high-pressure humiliation tactics at dinner: Donald Trump is Doctor Fischer, and every night is the Porridge Party.
posted by jackbishop at 3:41 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


Researcher's Note, POI-45-A:
This is what happens when you forget to power up the Scranton Reality Anchors before fooling around with alternative timelines. Don't say I didn't warn you. - Bright
posted by maxwelton at 3:44 PM on May 13 [15 favorites]


zachlipton: The best analysis the New York Times could get is a guy who reduces a person to simply "bad" or "good" and declares anyone who thinks maaaaaaybe there's a little more nuance around why and how something is done a hypocrite?

Also, his account is factually inaccurate. They didn't reopen the email investigation. This wording always made it seem like something important was found, instead of duplicate emails that they should've cross-checked with the other ones before making national news. FBI just keeps investigations open for a very long time in case new info comes in. In 2016 they finally closed the 1971 DB Cooper hijacking case after 45 years.
posted by bluecore at 3:46 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]


i'd like to think comey would summarily dismantle trump's dumb meatsack bodyguard like how in movies the spies always do to dumb meatsack bodyguards

So would I, but as things unravel I'd like even more to know how this bodyguard person influences US politics. He seems to be a thug and an idiot (well, doh, since he's working for Trump), but also perhaps even more influential than Ivanka and Jared.


I'm just glad it isn't Steven Segal.
posted by srboisvert at 3:48 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


The New York Times invited Erik Erikson to write stupid shit

Alas but I can only cancel once
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:48 PM on May 13 [20 favorites]


The New York Times invited Erik Erikson to write stupid shit

I can even but I refuse to on general principal.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:51 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]


He thinks he's Gerard Butler in Olympus Has Fallen, turns out he's Steven Segal just kinda hanging out with Joe Arpaio.
posted by valkane at 3:54 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


And before that he was one of the men who incited violent Twitter mobs to threaten women who had the gall to have opinions about games. The people who followed him then are the same garbage that follow him now.

That's been one of the most difficult things of the last couple years for me. Anyone who was into games culture in 2015 got a preview of the horrible future. I felt like some kind of social crisis hipster this winter when people would ask me "so you hear about this Milo Yanno...popolus guy?" and I'd have to decide whether or not to tell them there's been such a thing as videogame terrorists for awhile now and I've hated them since before you even heard of them. Same feeling with Cernovich. Social media corporations, law enforcement organizations and the press all failed to do something about these evil fucks when they were tadpoles, and now the Pepe infestation is everybody's problem.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:55 PM on May 13 [78 favorites]


If you believe that simple mathematical insight gives you licence to fuck with the lives of millions, we appear to have a Platonic problem on our hands!
Harold Finch: [to The Machine in a flashback to 2003] You asked me to teach you chess and I've done that. It's a useful mental exercise. Through the years many thinkers have been fascinated by it. But, I don't enjoy playing. Do you know why not?

[Receives a 'No' reply on his cellphone]

Harold Finch: Because it was a game that was born during a brutal age when life counted for little and everyone believed that some people were worth more than others. Kings and pawns. I don't think that anyone is worth more than anyone else. I don't envy you the decisions you're going to have to make. And one day I'll be gone. And you'll have no one to talk to. But, if you remember nothing else, then please remember this. Chess is just a game. Real people aren't pieces. You can't assign more value to some of them than to others. Not to me. Not to anyone. People are not a thing that you can sacrifice. The lesson is... that anyone who looks on the world as if it was a game a chess deserves to lose.
posted by mikelieman at 3:56 PM on May 13 [86 favorites]


There seems to be a strong selection pressure for the belief that some people are worth more than others, though, even today.
posted by Coventry at 4:14 PM on May 13




Wow, that's an awesome quote. Google tells me it's from a TV show called Person of Interest. Is the show as good as that quote? Because again, that's a good quote.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:33 PM on May 13 [8 favorites]


WSJ: Former Employees of Donald Trump Say They Saw Him Tape Conversations
As a businessman, Mr. Trump sometimes taped phone conversations with associates and others from his Trump Tower office in New York, according to three people who say they have direct knowledge of the recordings.

Mr. Trump had one or more recording devices that he used to tape his phone calls from his office, the three people said. All are former high-level employees who worked for Mr. Trump over a span of three decades. They said they saw devices in use recording phone calls.

A fourth person said he knew that Mr. Trump had recorded a phone conversation with him because it was later entered into evidence in a lawsuit.
posted by zachlipton at 4:35 PM on May 13 [16 favorites]


Wow, that's an awesome quote. Google tells me it's from a TV show called Person of Interest. Is the show as good as that quote? Because again, that's a good quote.

Yes, it is. Starts off as a techno-procedural, but quickly moves into discussing the ethics of surveillance and artificial intelligence, among other things.
posted by NoxAeternum at 4:41 PM on May 13 [24 favorites]


[accelerationism] is generally favored by the kind of dumb asshole who thinks they are really smart.

There is definitely a kind of blindness associated with it, but you don't have to think you're clever in order to be seduced by it. It helps, because that's the kind of thing that would lead you to believe you have total solutions to the world's problems (or that you can generate them at will). But anybody who is blind to the merits of the status quo or even is simply incurious about how the status quo functions and why can get there pretty easy.
posted by wildblueyonder at 4:41 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


I would say that accelerationism is more a philosophy of privilege than one of incuriousity or stupidy. But we don't really have a way to test any of these theories.
posted by Justinian at 4:45 PM on May 13 [10 favorites]


Yeah, we went through this back in the ol' 60's: "Dump the Hump. Let's get Nixon in there, bring down the whole thing faster". Awkward!
posted by Chitownfats at 4:47 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


WSJ: Former Employees of Donald Trump Say They Saw Him Tape Conversations

"Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, said, “In the decade that I worked for Mr. Trump, I have never seen a recording device attached to his phone, nor am I aware of any occasion where he taped a conversation.”

Two paragraphs above that:
A fourth person said he knew that Mr. Trump had recorded a phone conversation with him because it was later entered into evidence in a lawsuit.
Well, if Mr. Cohen did not represent Trump in that lawsuit, he knows now. I eagerly await his updated statement.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:51 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


Yeah, we went through this back in the ol' 60's: "Dump the Hump. Let's get Nixon in there, bring down the whole thing faster". Awkward!
posted by Chitownfats at 4:47 PM


Really? That would make sense. In general I have this hunch that there is something here about baby-boomers that I can't pin down, but that is really significant for understanding wtf is going on right now
posted by mumimor at 4:52 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


Tillerson signs international declaration recognizing climate change

"The move appears at odds with the Trump administration's broad skepticism of climate change and comes at a time when President Trump is weighing a potential withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on fighting its effects."
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:53 PM on May 13 [30 favorites]


mumimor : It was about half "Dump the Hump" in support of Eugene McCarthy and half what I said.
posted by Chitownfats at 4:56 PM on May 13


So since we're all playing Presidential Succession Fantasy Baseball today, where do we stand on military coup?

My ideal fantasy situation is: Trump and Pence are both impeached. Ryan starts to get excited, except they cast a vote of no confidence in the house to remove him from office, thus passing it to Hatch. Hatch passes it up, solemnly. Meanwhile, Tillerson and Mnuchin have been met in the dead of night by a cabal of hard-eyed Marines, and they also decline the Presidency, passing it to James Mattis. Mattis spends his entire term repairing the damage of Trump as a sacred trust.
posted by corb at 5:03 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


Nothing is easier or more pathetic than being a critic.
With almost 1.3 million followers and rising really fast, everyone is asking me to critique things(and people). Finally, I will be a critic.
@realDonaldTrump
posted by kirkaracha at 5:06 PM on May 13 [10 favorites]


If you really want to go down a succession hole, dive into the questions about whether Paul Ryan is even in line, and the definition of "officer."
posted by rhizome at 5:08 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


"Nothing is easier or more pathetic than being a critic."

Why doesn't he just go full Nietzsche: "One man in the arena is worth a thousand carping critics"?

"Donny, do you like gladiator movies?"
posted by Chitownfats at 5:11 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


"Nothing is easier or more pathetic than being a critic."

"The Critic," Samuel Johnson
Criticism is a study by which men grow important and formidable at a very small expence. The power of invention has been conferred by Nature upon few, and the labour of learning those sciences which may, by mere labour, be obtained, is too great to be willingly endured; but every man can exert such judgment as he has upon the works of others; and he whom Nature has made weak, and Idleness keeps ignorant, may yet support his vanity by the name of a Critic.

I hope it will give comfort to great numbers who are passing through the world in obscurity, when I inform them how easily distinction may be obtained. All the other powers of literature are coy and haughty, they must be long courted, and at last are not always gained; but Criticism is a goddess easy of access and forward of advance, who will meet the slow and encourage the timorous; the want of meaning she supplies with words, and the want of spirit she recompenses with malignity.

This profession has one recommendation peculiar to itself, that it gives vent to malignity without real mischief. No genius was ever blasted by the breath of Critics. The poison which if confined, would have burst the heart, fumes away in empty hisses, and malice is set at ease with very little danger to merit. The Critic is the only man whose triumph is without another's pain, and whose greatness does not rise upon another's ruin.

To a study at once so easy and so reputable, so malicious and so harmless, it cannot be necessary to invite my readers by a long or laboured exhortation; it is sufficient, since all would be Critics if they could, to show by one eminent example that all can be Critics if they will.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:11 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]




accelerationism?

no, we are simply at a point where the system may be stretched to the breaking point - there's plenty of instances where someone pushes too hard and ends up upsetting the applecart without intending to

the accelerant may have already been applied and now the toddler in chief is playing with matches

no one ever voted for the civil war - or world war 1 - or world war 2 - we don't get to vote, we don't get to choose

we do get to be as prepared for it as we can and possibly have some kind of plan on how we should react and what we should demand

it's quite possible the car is running out of gas - getting out the horsewhip of a 200 plus year old legal document and beating the car with it isn't going to work if that happens

i don't know if i trust our political parties to do it right and i don't know if anyone will

to be specific, if both trump and pence are removed and ryan was given a vote of no confidence - (but that would have to be beforehand, wouldn't it? - afterwards, he'd be president and no vote would be possible) - there could be a real case to be made that the new speaker of the house would by rights be the new president - but of course, the nimrods in the congress won't be able to choose one

we can speculate all we want, but i know this - if the succession goes down further than the vp, the results will not be regarded as legitimate by many people, even if it's constitutional

i wonder if enough democrats will fear the chaos of this result - or want to delay until 2018 when they can perhaps have their own speaker

it's a clusterfuck - and it's already in motion - and the only way to be sure it doesn't happen is to keep trump in office - which is a disaster in itself

we're past acceleration - the question is, how fast?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:16 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


I would say that accelerationism is more a philosophy of privilege than one of incuriousity or stupidy.

I think you're right, but it also requires a lack of empathy (which is, of course, something that privilege encourages). Because I think some of us have a tendency that can foster accelerationist views: a reaction of genuinely shameful joy when bad things happen that make things we oppose look bad, and seem to damage their cause. So, for example, sometimes I read bad economic news and feel good because it supports the idea that, e.g., austerity isn't good for the economy. But that's when empathy and conscience kick in and tell me I'm being a stupid, callous dick, that that news isn't a score in a game, it's an aggregate record of misery in the lives of millions of people. So then I feel ashamed and resolve to try harder to be a decent person. I can't really claim to know how other people privately feel, but while I'm confident that there are lots of people who are more compassionate than me by instinct, I am equally confident that there are lots of people who have to do the same sort of self-policing I need in order to function as an approximation of a decent person.
posted by howfar at 5:18 PM on May 13 [19 favorites]


Oh, to paraphrase my cool uncle POTUS 44, the world isn't ending until it's actually ending.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:18 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


I would put good money on Comey not spending much time on the Clinton email thing in his (potential) public testimony. I think you're misreading the situation.
posted by Justinian at 2:53 PM on May 13 [+] [!]


I truly hope you are right! This is probably the last chance to find out the degree to which the Trump administration is compromised before the 2018 elections. It's just that, given everything the Republican party has become, it is very hard for me to envision any Republican on the national stage ever doing the right thing. But maybe in this instance Comey's selfish interests align with the greater good. Hopefully we'll know soon.
posted by great_radio at 5:21 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


So Trump thought being a critic was great when it meant making up stuff about Obama's birth certificate, but finds dislikes being critiqued when he fires the FBI Director in the middle of an investigation into his campaign? Glad we had that stated so explicitly.
posted by zachlipton at 5:21 PM on May 13 [9 favorites]


Somewhere deep in the bowels of hell, Alexander Haig runs a shower, takes an Alka-Seltzer, pops some pills, looks in the mirror, and with opens hands, his fingers spread wide, says, "It's showtime, folks!"
posted by Room 641-A at 5:22 PM on May 13 [16 favorites]


The handful of serious accelerationists I know are very smart, very educated, and extraordinarily empathetic--but, for whatever zany, misguided reason, they place their empathy on future generations more than on people living now who will be harmed or dead by the disruption they wish for. It's a sort of bizarre hypothetical utilitarian trolley problem logic.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:24 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


It seems to me that Trump's more radical supporters don't get it: We need the swamp! In good times they facilitate, make the difficult easy, in bad times they repair the structures and patch the holes.
posted by Chitownfats at 5:26 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


Trump's more radical supporters want to drop you and me out of a helicopter. You're talking about his regular supporters.
posted by Rust Moranis at 5:28 PM on May 13 [41 favorites]


Yeah, I just don't see that there's any way that Pence gets implicated in such a way that his impeachment is necessary for/to Republicans. I also don't see Ryan pulling the trigger on a process (technically it would be House Judiciary, with Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers) that puts himself in the Oval Office. He's ambitious, but he's realistic -- and he knows full well that he is seen as a dubious ally at best by the Trumpeters. They would almost as soon burn the place down with him in it as for Hillary. (When 45 came to Janesville last year, he hadn't so much as mentioned Ryan's name when a loud collective boo arose. Ryan spent the fall making statements about "our candidate" or "our party's nominee" because he seemingly couldn't bring himself to say the man's name.)

Ryan would make nice, to be sure, with the evangelicals -- he's Catholic -- though he has always avoided making blatant social conservative campaign pitches, which aren't really in the DNA of his district here.

But yeah, if it were doomsday for the party he'd "reluctantly" step in just as he did for the Speakership. I don't know that he has any idea how to move forward in this climate, because he's movement conservatism through and through (it took him years to finally disavow Ayn Rand, for example). He covers his blunt, divisive policy choices with a veneer of "Wisconsin Nice", but that isn't working for him around here anymore. His electoral district had to be pulled east to the very edge of Janesville, barely a mile or so from his house, so they could go north into Waukesha County (of the infamous cartoon). He won the county facing an inexperienced challenger, but at the same time the county went (fairly reliably) for Clinton by 10 points.

Ideally, probably, Ryan in his own mind would be the guy who unites the party and holds the White House after Trump. His rocky tenure thus far does not really suggest that will go anywhere near as well as he would like, and I think he's enough of a pragmatist to know that, but also enough of an idealist to give it his best shot.

But yeah, if he HAD to step in, he would. I just don't see that scenario playing out, as hard as scenario oddsmaking is for ... well, for the next four hours even these days.
posted by dhartung at 5:30 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


I can't help but wonder if Trump is planning on live announcing Spicer's firing while SNL is on tonight, just to try and grab some of their audience. It must kill him having to share attention with Baldwin-Trump on Saturdays and Sundays.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 5:35 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Cultures produce the leaders that suit them, but Ryan is such a milksop it seems like he can only aspire to figurehead. Not sure how anybody could find any capacity for leadership to fit in that head of his.
posted by rhizome at 5:35 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


lesbiassparrow: someone on Twitter speculated that yesterday. I think since McCarthy could just as easily do Sarah Huckabee Sanders that they may even be rehearsing with both characters. They could also just have an alternate skit with him in the Navy, in a Hawaiian shirt on a beach, waiting in line at Trader Joe's, or any number of fallbacks. Thing about Spicer is that he's probably pretty easy to write into just about any situation.
posted by rhizome at 5:39 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


There could be a recurring segment called "Spicer in the bushes" where Spicer goes from the WH to leading the life of an inept cat burglar. Each episode ends with half his face in the bushes as he gives his catchphrase: "Turn off the lights!" Or something like that.

Mostly, give McCarthy work, she's wonderful.
posted by angrycat at 5:43 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Mick Mulvaney: “That doesn’t mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes”
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:48 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


SNL should really have Donald Trump (played by Alec Baldwin) host. Then get the rest of Trump's inner circle to be on the show too, as characters played by the cast, and then make the characters try to play characters in sketches. Make it a special episode. Maybe Donald (Baldwin) could finally win that Emmy he always wanted.
posted by Glibpaxman at 5:50 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


“That doesn’t mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes”

Nuremberg Laws? Who had Mulvaney for the Nuremberg Laws? Okay, circle gets the square. Thanks for playing Nazi-Tac-Toe.
posted by valkane at 5:54 PM on May 13 [23 favorites]


What about the people who ruin their lungs working in the coal industry?
posted by peeedro at 5:55 PM on May 13 [15 favorites]




“That doesn’t mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes”

I'm sure the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation will have some pointed words about this...
posted by mikelieman at 6:01 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Reading this at 2am kept me from falling back asleep. In case anyone needs an antidote to the impeachment fantasies...

Hidden Clues In The Trump-Comey Drama: It's Worse Than You Think
The Justice Department, for its part, firmly denies that Comey made any demand asking them for extra help on Kremlingate. Stay focused on this specific point for a moment. It speaks volumes, for this is how bureaucracies start to eat each other with a populist at the helm inciting deliberate crossfires.
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:03 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


“That doesn’t mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes”


The President is 2 for 3 on that one, although an examination by an actually qualified medical professional might change that... I'm just saying.
posted by palomar at 6:04 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


[accelerationism] is generally favored by the kind of dumb asshole who thinks they are really smart.

Basically a kind of religious apocalypticism favored by those who (usually) wouldn't admit to being religious.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:07 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]


What about the people who ruin their lungs working in the coal industry?

I think it's safe to say that Mike Mulvaney thinks if that persons lungs aren't strong enough to mine coal, that person should die. Next question.
posted by valkane at 6:07 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


Mulvaney's got it right. Thats why from now on before you're even allowed through the doors of the emergency department there will be a quick screening to make sure you've lived an upright and righteous life in full compliance with evidence based lifestyle advice. If you are found to be in breach you will be redirected to the nearest ditch which is sufficient for your healthcare needs, you lazy immoral animal.

And btw don't think you can fool the system, you will be breathalyzed for donuts on arrival.
posted by supercrayon at 6:07 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


“That doesn’t mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes”

I'm sure the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation will have some pointed words about this...


Mulvaney knows what he's doing. He's not saying that Good People Who Happen To Get SIck shouldn't be taken care of, he's saying that if we let just any old person to get health care, then Bad People Who Deserve To Get Sick will take advantage of it. The central unspoken tenet of modern American conservatism is "It is better for 99 Good People Who Deserve Something not to get it than for one Bad Person Who Doesn't Deserve Something to get it."
posted by Etrigan at 6:07 PM on May 13 [76 favorites]


And yeah hilarous coming from the party whose titular head's recent scandal involved double ice cream.
posted by supercrayon at 6:09 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]


I, for one, am really looking forward to universal healthcare so I can get fat and diabetic without facing the consequences of my irresponsible eating habits. #futureliberalswant
posted by Coventry at 6:13 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]


And yeah hilarous coming from the party whose titular head's recent scandal involved double ice cream.

Trump's wealth and success prove that he was chosen by God to receive double ice cream. Away thee, Satan.
posted by Glibpaxman at 6:13 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


This fucking Fox interview is (of course) surreal. I'm not even going to try to pick out the crazy, as I'm sure some dozen journalists will. Basically it's more of the same, jumbled, narcissistic rambling.
posted by Room 101 at 6:16 PM on May 13


Sean Spicer among the bushes this afternoon in Cambridge, MA (outside the Porter Square Shopping Center).
posted by adamg at 6:17 PM on May 13 [15 favorites]


Updated Trump Doctor Letter by Megan Amram‏ [fake]
posted by guiseroom at 6:25 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


The whole ice cream thing is just government as business. I used to sit in company-catered lunch meetings with the ceo of a large media company, and while everyone else got cold sub tray sandwiches and chips, he always got a bacon cheeseburger with french fries. It was a social signifier that he was our better. Not only did he make more money, but he also ate higher on the food chain. And the company paid for it.

If modern day ceos (or trump) thought they could get away with it, they would wear crowns.
posted by valkane at 6:33 PM on May 13 [59 favorites]


The central unspoken tenet of modern American conservatism is "It is better for 99 Good People Who Deserve Something not to get it than for one Bad Person Who Doesn't Deserve Something to get it."

If by "bad" you mean "black." Or anyone who's not white and Christian, really.
posted by snickerdoodle at 6:38 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]


If by "bad" you mean "black." Or anyone who's not white and Christian, really.

goes without saying.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 6:39 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


If by "bad" you mean "black." Or anyone who's not white and Christian, really.

I would go a step further and say "anyone who is not in power." These people will eat their own.
posted by valkane at 6:42 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


Mick Mulvaney: “That doesn’t mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes”

You can tell he's an atheist because nobody could believe in god knowing that god is going to send their insufferable, uncaring, ghoulish ass to hell for an eternity. Maybe he figures he'll get to the top of the org chart by increasing misery on the cheap which appears to be his specialty.

At some point I break and he's done it. Someone so cartoonishly evil I would happily take him into an alley with a clue-by-four to educate.
posted by Talez at 6:45 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


make sure you've lived an upright and righteous life in full compliance with evidence based lifestyle advice.

No worries me!

And btw don't think you can fool the system, you will be breathalyzed for donuts on arrival.

. . . Crap! Uh, I thought it was a styrofoam cake! The Chinese were about to eat all our doughnuts, believe me! . . It . . heh . . The doughnuts made me sign a loyalty oath! I'm still under a Crueller audit! Hey . . Turn the lights off! You're the puppet!

/exeunt
posted by petebest at 6:47 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


It is
posted by Jalliah at 6:54 PM on May 13


>“That doesn’t mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes”

Wikipedia says two out of every three Americans are considered to be overweight or obese.

So... who are they playing to? With whom does this horseshit go over well?
posted by Sing Or Swim at 6:55 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]


Expect a lot more "leopards eating faces" stories from the "rust belt" if trumpcare gets passed.
posted by maxwelton at 6:55 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


So... who are they playing to? With whom does this horseshit go over well?

The 1%. The people who own the republican party.
posted by valkane at 6:58 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


With whom does this horseshit go over well?

No one who voted for Trump (or is a republican, for that matter) would ever see themselves in that sort of criticism. No matter how circumferentially-challenged they were.
posted by maxwelton at 6:59 PM on May 13 [10 favorites]


WaPo: White House ‘systems failed’ with Comey firing, but Trump pushed the buttons

r317 linked this upthread, but there's an important line in here:
Inside the West Wing, it became a running joke among some staffers that the answer to every question would be “Rosenstein,” referring to the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, who wrote a memo outlining a case for Comey’s ouster.
This is a guy who has spent 27 years working for the Department of Justice, under both parties, with seemingly nobody having an unkind word to say about him until now. In two weeks on the job, he blew all that up and became a punchline inside the White House. Sooner or later, Donald Trump destroys everybody who gets close to him.
posted by zachlipton at 7:00 PM on May 13 [47 favorites]


Hopefully he's seen as a canary in the coal mine.
posted by rhizome at 7:03 PM on May 13


Comey's the canary. Rosenstein's one of the workers denied coverage for black lung.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:06 PM on May 13 [15 favorites]


Whatever Rosenstein was, he's a Trump collaborator now. He has the means of getting to the bottom of the Russia scandal in his hands, right this moment he could appoint a special counsel, and refused. He's no better than Sessions or Chaffetz or Pence, he's fully complicit in the coverup.

He didn't get conned by Trump, he walked in eyes wide open after Trump fired Sally Yates and willingly joined the conspiracy to commit treason.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:07 PM on May 13 [55 favorites]


He's a winner! He's gonna win so much he hates it.
posted by valkane at 7:09 PM on May 13


Hopefully he's seen as a canary in the coal mine.

Chris Christie was the canary in the coal mine! It's been a matter of public record since then that if you stick your neck out for Trump, there's a good chance he'll just kick you to the curb.

Everybody else since then is a miner saying "Hey, looks like gold behind that pile of dead birds!"
posted by jcreigh at 7:11 PM on May 13 [32 favorites]


The whole ice cream thing is just government as business. I used to sit in company-catered lunch meetings with the ceo of a large media company, and while everyone else got cold sub tray sandwiches and chips, he always got a bacon cheeseburger with french fries. It was a social signifier that he was our better. Not only did he make more money, but he also ate higher on the food chain.

See also sumptuary laws. It's even more like government as, rather than business, aristocracy during the entire history of humanity.
posted by XMLicious at 7:11 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


Everybody's favorite Louise Mensch along with Claude Taylor are claiming there is a sealed indictment against Trump.
posted by waitingtoderail at 7:12 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


What exactly is the deal with Louise Mensch? I see people I respect retweeting her, I see people I respect rolling their eyes at her...
posted by lalex at 7:14 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Sooner or later, Donald Trump destroys everybody who gets close to him.

All who collaborate with Trump suffer the transformation into Dignity Wraith
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:14 PM on May 13 [7 favorites]


Chris Christie was the canary in the coal mine! It's been a matter of public record since then that if you stick your neck out for Trump, there's a good chance he'll just kick you to the curb.

Well, especially if you put Jared Kushner's father in jail...
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:16 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


Everybody's favorite Louise Mensch along with Claude Taylor are claiming there is a sealed indictment against Trump.

Louise Mensch hahahahaha
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:17 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


What exactly is the deal with Louise Mensch? I see people I respect retweeting her, I see people I respect rolling their eyes at her...

She's been a dishonest liar in every previous part of her career, but appears to have at least some IC sources. It's just hard to know how much she's lying about that but lucky.
posted by jaduncan at 7:18 PM on May 13 [9 favorites]


What exactly is the deal with Louise Mensch? I see people I respect retweeting her, I see people I respect rolling their eyes at her...

It's wishful thinking on their parts. Mensch knows nothing. Nothing. There is no sealed indictment against Trump right now. It's utter lunacy.
posted by Justinian at 7:19 PM on May 13 [9 favorites]


With whom does this horse shit go over well?

Mike Pence?

(sorry)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:19 PM on May 13 [8 favorites]


(I am in the school of thought that says that she's a liar who has got lucky on occasion).
posted by jaduncan at 7:19 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


You know who else is a liar who has got lucky on occasion?
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:21 PM on May 13 [16 favorites]


Trump's performance with Lester Holt is somewhat reminiscent of the courtroom scene at the end of the Caine Mutiny when Queeg melts down and shows he is unfit for duty.
posted by caddis at 7:21 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure she had the exact same source we do, jumps to the exact same conclusions, and then there's a kind of wishful thinking that goes on because someone with a veneer of importance agrees with us.
posted by Artw at 7:22 PM on May 13


You know who else is a liar who makes their living on twitter?
posted by valkane at 7:22 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


She tends to throw a LOT of stuff out there, a couple of things have stuck. She's claimed that something like 215 different people are Russian agents. That sort of thing. Anyone who questions her is "Ivan."
posted by waitingtoderail at 7:23 PM on May 13


That Mensch/Taylor blog post is something else. "Look, we know it doesn't make sense for the FBI to have a sealed indictment against Trump, but trust us, they're doing it for the speculative fiction in which this Congress indicts Trump."
posted by Coventry at 7:24 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


This may have been posted in other threads, so I apologize if so, but I had not seen it before:

Donald Trump: A True Narcissistic Sociopath

Despite its title, it's really a close focus on his hideous business practices, explotiations, refusals to pay, harassment of tenants, nuisance lawsuits, etc .Apparently it was made in the late 90s. I can't find much out about its origins, but having grown up in the NY area in this era, it is pretty straightforward stuff. This is also why people in this region and in NYC in particular are a lot more deeply cynical about the guy - lots of experience. When people say he seems to be "losing it" and argue for dementia, etc., it's this kind of material that should make clear no, he's always been this way.
posted by Miko at 7:37 PM on May 13 [29 favorites]


Mensch is literally in the same group as Cernovich and Yiannannannopoulos.

Her current celebrity is due to GamerGate. She's literally forged from the same alt-right cauldron as them.
posted by Yowser at 7:39 PM on May 13 [12 favorites]


Did not know that but it totally jibes.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:41 PM on May 13


The official @GOP Twitter account is now being used to defend Trump getting more ice cream than his guests: "Apparently @POTUS likes two scoops of ice cream after dinner. We can’t disagree that two is better than one."

The GOP has a social media person spending their time defending bad manners.


“Rank hath privilege” is about as established a principle of Conservatism as there could be.
posted by acb at 7:42 PM on May 13 [9 favorites]


Case in point
https://twitter.com/LouiseMensch/status/833709898718384131
posted by Yowser at 7:43 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


“Rank hath privilege” is about as established a principle of Conservatism as there could be.

while the liberal counterprinciple would be privilege is rank
posted by pyramid termite at 7:46 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


she's not a mensch, she's a meshuggener schlump imho
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:49 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


Mensch is literally in the same group as Cernovich and Yiannannannopoulos.

Her current celebrity is due to GamerGate. She's literally forged from the same alt-right cauldron as them.


Louise Mensch (née Louise Bagshawe) started her career as a writer of the kinds of books one finds in airport bookshops. She churned out a lucrative number of them, before she found that she could make more of a name for herself writing right-wing clickbait. In either line of work, neither integrity nor rigor is central.
posted by acb at 7:53 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


I think Neither Integrity Nor Rigor was her third romantic novel.
posted by valkane at 7:55 PM on May 13 [12 favorites]


In Wisconsin, ID law proved insurmountable for many voters

Black voter turnout wasn't down, it was all suppression.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:01 PM on May 13 [61 favorites]


The WH has released a statement on North Korea saying, in part " the President cannot imagine that Russia is pleased."

[real...I think?]
posted by lalex at 8:06 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


If modern day ceos (or trump) thought they could get away with it, they would wear crowns

Just you wait until his birthday.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:08 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


Uhhh, the White House statement on the North Korean missile test is bonkers:
With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan the President cannot imagine that Russia is pleased.
posted by zachlipton at 8:09 PM on May 13 [16 favorites]


I mean, does anyone believe Russia isn't in control of our nuclear codes already? They're openly acting like a client state.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:10 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


Is that statement as bizarre as I think it is?
posted by lalex at 8:11 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Is that statement as bizarre as I think it is?

It's what you'd expect to read from the President of Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:14 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]


With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan the President cannot imagine that Russia is pleased.

If this is real, this passage has Trump's (tiny) fingerprints all over it.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:14 PM on May 13 [7 favorites]


the President cannot imagine that Russia is as anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:15 PM on May 13 [22 favorites]


The official @GOP Twitter account is now being used to defend Trump getting more ice cream than his guests: "Apparently @POTUS likes two scoops of ice cream after dinner. We can’t disagree that two is better than one."

This is actually pretty progressive of @GOP and I expect they will get in trouble with the party orthodoxy for suggesting that the appropriate distribution of ice-cream wealth is merely 2:1 rather than say 14:0.
posted by srboisvert at 8:15 PM on May 13 [17 favorites]


With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan the President cannot imagine that Russia is pleased.

If this is real, this passage has Trump's (tiny) fingerprints all over it.


In the run-up to the election, one of the Trumpists' arguments was that a T. Rump residency would being us rapprochement with Russia. I think in some part of his mind Lil' Trimpy thinks he is being statesmanlike by reaching out to the Russians, again, personally oblivious to the optics. (Or it could be boundary-testing by Bannon or someone else.)
posted by dhens at 8:17 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


I'm 💯 certain that Trump was told it landed near Russia and thought, man, Vladimir is going to be pissed, they're in trouble now, Imma tell them they're in trouble now
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:17 PM on May 13 [13 favorites]


Those reporters each received a scoop of ice cream at government expense. Were they drug tested first? Did someone confirm they have basically no assets first, thus ensuring they remain in poverty forever because they can't ever build up any kind of savings no matter what? Did they have to produce four different documents from four different agencies, requiring hours-long bus trips to reach each one during limited weekday hours? Were they subjected to bureaucratic rituals designed to make them feel bad about themselves before they were given the ice cream? That's the GOP way.
posted by zachlipton at 8:18 PM on May 13 [43 favorites]


So, are GOP leadership suffering from sunken costs? As in, are they just going to wait and wait and wait for AHCA and tax cuts while... all of this... is happening above them?
posted by Slackermagee at 8:20 PM on May 13


This is a whole new paradigm, influencing the world not through brute force or through diplomacy but by telling people that Vladimir Putin is gonna be so mad yes he is
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:21 PM on May 13 [17 favorites]


He's worried Daddy Putin is gonna be mad!
posted by Justinian at 8:22 PM on May 13


Was just thinking about Sessions reviving the draconian drug sentencing laws. Anyone else Thinking he's going to selectively apply them in the blue states that have legalized weed?
posted by Sublimity at 8:25 PM on May 13 [7 favorites]


SNL comes out swinging mocking the Trump-Lester Holt interview, with Holt frustrated that no admittance will nail Trump, Ryan as a soda shoppe guy bringing Trump two scoops of ice cream, and more.
posted by TwoStride at 8:32 PM on May 13 [11 favorites]


He might, but I'd be even more concerned about selective application in urban centers regardless of the state.
posted by Justinian at 8:33 PM on May 13


If by 'urban centers' you mean 'anywhere brown people are', then yes, I rather suspect that and the ensuing disenfranchisement is indeed central to the Sessions plan.
posted by jaduncan at 8:35 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


I'd be even more concerned about selective application in urban centers regardless of the state

You mean, like what already happens?
posted by aspersioncast at 8:36 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


Hey guise, I'm not going to live blog SNL, but since they opened with part two of the Lester Holt interview and made a small dick joke I just wanted to say, it's been nice knowing you all. I expect the bombing to start before the musical guest.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:37 PM on May 13 [8 favorites]


Sessions draconian drug sentence direction has everything to do with the fact that private prisons were losing money after the DOJ stopped recommending mandatory minimum sentences. And he hates weed, personally. Yes, we can expect to see a crackdown in states where its legal. States rights only matter for things like suppression of votes and women.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:37 PM on May 13 [15 favorites]


I saw speculation that it is also jingling keys to distract from Sessions's non-recusal over Comey's firing.
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:40 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


Those reporters each received a scoop of ice cream at government expense.

when i was young, they used to give you a scoop of ice cream when they removed your tonsils

i didn't know they gave you a scoop when they removed your balls
posted by pyramid termite at 8:42 PM on May 13 [17 favorites]






Well spicer and trump just made out on snl.
posted by ian1977 at 9:07 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


Well then. Unless someone can keep Trump from seeing a single second of SNL, Spicer's out on his ass next week.
posted by yasaman at 9:08 PM on May 13 [9 favorites]


I don't think they let him watch anymore

They probably put benadryl in his ice cream on saturdays
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:10 PM on May 13 [7 favorites]


Yeah, sure, "benadryl."
posted by contraption at 9:13 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]






This is fine.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:34 PM on May 13 [8 favorites]




These traitorous shits would be terrified to be inside the beltway at night.

justifiably, if I see 'em
posted by aspersioncast at 9:41 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


"Apparently @POTUS likes two scoops of ice cream after dinner. We can’t disagree that two is better than one."

Okay, now this is just the last straw.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 9:42 PM on May 13 [92 favorites]


Wikipedia says two out of every three Americans are considered to be overweight or obese.

So... who are they playing to? With whom does this horseshit go over well?


Really, we don't know how this goes YET? That's obviously a statement that only applies to All Those Diabetics Who Aren't Me, not me, who has really valid reasons for being overweight and can't help it. The only moral abortion is MY abortion, the only justified government assistance is the one that I get, etc.

Leopards, faces, ad infinitum.
posted by threeturtles at 9:44 PM on May 13 [35 favorites]


Oh geez, I just noticed what Liberty University and the Totes Not a Klan Burn have in common: they wre both in Virginia today.
posted by Yowser at 9:47 PM on May 13


The alt-right, including white supremacist Richard Spencer, showed up in Charlottesville, VA at a statue of Robert E. Lee, carrying lit torches and chanting “Russia is our friend”.

That is deliciously ironic. They weren't friends of Lee in the slightest.

U.S. Civil War: The US-Russian Alliance that Saved the Union
The most dramatic gestures of cooperation between the Russian Empire and the [Union] United States came in the autumn of 1863, as the Laird rams crisis hung in the balance. On September 24, the Russian Baltic fleet began to arrive in New York harbor. On October 12, the Russian Far East fleet began to arrive in San Francisco. The Russians, judging that they were on the verge of war with Britain and France over the British-fomented Polish insurrection of 1863, had taken this measure to prevent their ships from being bottled up in their home ports by the superior British fleet. These ships were also the tokens of the vast Russian land armies that could be thrown in the scales on a number of fronts, including the northwest frontier of India; the British had long been worried about such an eventuality. In mid-July 1863, French Foreign Minister Droun de Lhuys was offering London the joint occupation of Poland by means of invasion. But the experience of the Confederate commerce raiders had graphically illustrated just how effective even a limited number of warships could be when they turned to commerce raiding, which is what the Russian naval commanders had been ordered to do in case of hostilities. The Russian admirals had also been told that, if the US and Russia were to find themselves at war with Britain and France, the Russian ships should place themselves under Lincoln’s command and operate in synergy with the US Navy against the common enemies. It is thus highly significant that the Russian ships were sent to the United States.
posted by jaduncan at 9:52 PM on May 13 [12 favorites]


Hopefully he's seen as a canary in the coal mine.

Two Dead Canaries in the Coal Mine
The soft spot, the least tyrant-proof part of the government, is the U.S. Department of Justice and the larger law enforcement and regulatory apparatus of the United States government. The first reason you should fear a Donald Trump presidency is what he would do to the ordinary enforcement functions of the federal government, not the most extraordinary ones…
[Benjamin] Wittes went on to sketch what a would-be tyrant would need to do to effect that sort of change. “He would need to appoint and get confirmed by the Senate the right attorney general,” he wrote. “That's very doable.” Indeed, we now know his name: Jeff Sessions.

Finally, Wittes wrote, “Trump might develop a problem with our redoubtable FBI director, who doesn't leave with the outgoing administration and has stared down a president before. But so what? Bill Clinton didn't get along with his FBI director either. Comey will not be there forever anyway.” Here we are mere months into Trump’s term.

And Comey is already gone.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:54 PM on May 13 [20 favorites]


That is deliciously ironic. They weren't friends of Lee in the slightest.

It's also funny because Russian Emperor Alexander II outlawed private serfdom in Russia in 1861 (state-owned serfs were freed later). Though I guess that, because Russian serfs were for the most part also white, serfdom would not be as palatable to these jackasses.
posted by dhens at 9:58 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


The front page of the NYT website is almost completely scrubbed of any reference to the Comey firing, and has been all day.

The NYT is actively trying to prevent anger against Trump from reaching a critical mass, and has been since the inauguration.

It's a false flag operation the like of which I don't remember seeing in a major MSM player.
posted by jamjam at 10:24 PM on May 13 [7 favorites]


This is incredible. The vicious cruelty and pettiness of #FuckingRepublicans in North Carolina is unbelievable.

Colin Campbell, News & Observer: At 3 a.m., NC Senate GOP strips education funding from Democrats’ districts
The session finally resumed around 3 a.m., and Republican Sen. Brent Jackson introduced a new budget amendment that he explained would fund more pilot programs combating the opioid epidemic. He cited “a great deal of discussion” about the need for more opioid treatment funding.

Jackson didn’t mention where the additional $1 million would come from: directly from education programs in Senate Democrats’ districts and other initiatives the minority party sought.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:28 PM on May 13 [79 favorites]


#RepublcansAreAssholes, possibly #RussiansAlreadyOwnUs.
posted by SakuraK at 10:45 PM on May 13


It's a false flag operation the like of which I don't remember seeing in a major MSM player.

It's your contention that the NYT is a tool of the Republican establishment pretending to be legitimate news? So what you're saying is that it is Fake News?

You know who else says that?

Anyway, come on. Also there are two bits on the NYT front page right now about the FBI/Comey although they are indeed pretty small.
posted by Justinian at 10:47 PM on May 13 [31 favorites]


That's also not what "false flag" means.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:13 AM on May 14 [34 favorites]


Anyway, come on. Also there are two bits on the NYT front page right now about the FBI/Comey although they are indeed pretty small.

Also, nothing actually happened today or yesterday, and the firing was 4 days ago, so not running new stories about it seems kind of appropriate.
posted by msalt at 12:16 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


tbf four days without fresh scandal is unusual for this timeline
posted by ryanrs at 12:20 AM on May 14 [19 favorites]


Trump's recent tweet 'cannot imagine that Russia is pleased' (with Best Korea missile launch) is just dropping to baseline scandal levels for Trump.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:52 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]




At DU, the week's events as chronicled by The Ferret .
... The initial story was that the Russia investigation is just an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polka-dot investigation, hardly an investigation at all really, but McCabe shat on that one too, and said "Oh boy is it a big investigation, getting bigger every day, it'll be going off to college before you know it, thanks for asking."
posted by valetta at 12:54 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]


Uhhh, the White House statement on the North Korean missile test is bonkers:
But you have to admit "flagrant menace" would be an awesome handle

posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 1:15 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


"flagrant menace" would have been a far better title for Star Wars Episode I....
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:21 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


Whoever cut the song "Only Living Boy in New York" for SNL so that "hey, let your honesty shine shine shine now" hits right on the Trump Tower shot is a clever person.
posted by zachlipton at 1:31 AM on May 14 [28 favorites]


NYT: Behind China’s $1 Trillion Plan to Shake Up the Economic Order

This probably deserves its own FPP, but I'm putting it in here for some perspective.

The initiative, called “One Belt, One Road,” looms on a scope and scale with little precedent in modern history, promising more than $1 trillion in infrastructure and spanning more than 60 countries. To celebrate China’s new global influence, Mr. Xi is gathering dozens of state leaders, including President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, in Beijing on Sunday.

Mr. Xi is aiming to use China’s wealth and industrial know-how to create a new kind of globalization that will dispense with the rules of the aging Western-dominated institutions. The goal is to refashion the global economic order, drawing countries and companies more tightly into China’s orbit.

posted by mumimor at 2:04 AM on May 14 [10 favorites]


I'm not sure if you really want Trump to cancel those press briefings.

You know that means you'll soon have your own State TV, the Throat and Tongue of the Glorious Old Party.

Oh, I nearly forgot you already have Sputnik News and Fox for that.
posted by runcifex at 2:08 AM on May 14


The goal is to refashion the global economic order, drawing countries and companies more tightly into China’s orbit.

I know there were a lot of issues with the TPP, but I am pretty sure the reason Obama (and at one time Clinton) supported it was to prevent exactly this.
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:11 AM on May 14 [15 favorites]


I'm not convinced a lot of the anti-TPP folks knew what TPP did.
posted by Justinian at 2:15 AM on May 14 [37 favorites]


Nobody knew global trade was hard.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:20 AM on May 14 [16 favorites]


On Louise Mensch’s credibility: she claimed that riots in Ferguson were funded by Russia.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 2:31 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


The TPP was bad and Trump killing it is probably the only good thing he's done.
posted by edeezy at 2:40 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


What are a few of your issues with it? I never really grokked the lefts opposition beyond "NEOLIBERAL BAD".
posted by Justinian at 2:44 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]


My main objection was the expansion of the investor-state dispute settlement system.
posted by edeezy at 2:57 AM on May 14 [14 favorites]



My main objection was the expansion of the investor-state dispute settlement system.


That is indeed a thing to object. But isn't it an American issue? Couldn't the US just have taken that off the table and made everyone happy?
posted by mumimor at 3:02 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


NYT: Behind China’s $1 Trillion Plan to Shake Up the Economic Order

This probably deserves its own FPP, but I'm putting it in here for some perspective.

The initiative, called “One Belt, One Road,” looms on a scope and scale with little precedent in modern history, promising more than $1 trillion in infrastructure and spanning more than 60 countries. To celebrate China’s new global influence, Mr. Xi is gathering dozens of state leaders, including President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, in Beijing on Sunday.

Mr. Xi is aiming to use China’s wealth and industrial know-how to create a new kind of globalization that will dispense with the rules of the aging Western-dominated institutions. The goal is to refashion the global economic order, drawing countries and companies more tightly into China’s orbit.
Wiki: The costs of the 2003-2010 Iraq War are often contested, as academics and critics have unearthed many hidden costs not represented in official estimates. The most recent major report on these costs come from Brown University in the form of the Costs of War, which totaled just over $1.1 trillion. The Department of Defense's direct spending on Iraq totaled at least $757.8 billion, but also highlighting the complementary costs at home, such as interest paid on the funds borrowed to finance the wars.
Left without comment.
posted by jaduncan at 3:05 AM on May 14 [39 favorites]


So in a few places people have talked about dead-man switches that Comey may have set up, e.g "We will soon know from whatever legal and political time-delay fuses Comey left behind." from the Forbes article linked recently, or the loyalty-pledge dinner leaks.

What does that metaphor mean, in the context of the FBI and firings?
posted by harriet vane at 4:06 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


If you are a civil servant and you can see things are going bad, you will make sure to leave a detailed paper trail everywhere you go. You'll send minutes from every meeting to someone relevant but not at the meeting, you'll mail stuff you normally would treat as banal to your boss or immediate subordinate, you'll get documents out where they can't be legally deleted.
Like we've already seen in this case: you'll be telling friends and colleagues with the same security clearance every time something weird happens, so you have witnesses.
Maybe you'll also lawyer up and leave all documents at your lawyer's but it's probably limited what you can send out from the FBI.

All of this won't get you your job back, but you can free yourself from culpability if you are diligent and alert.
posted by mumimor at 4:19 AM on May 14 [35 favorites]


Oh, and the time-delay aspect is that none of this will be seen if there is no investigation. I get the feeling that Comey wants a public hearing because he wants an investigation.
posted by mumimor at 4:20 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]


Oh, and the time-delay aspect is that none of this will be seen if there is no investigation. I get the feeling that Comey wants a public hearing because he wants an investigation.

That and Comey wants EVERYTHING to be on the public record. No "behind closed doors" security briefings here.

Which sorta says to me that there's enough unclassified incriminating evidence that the secret briefings aren't needed.
posted by mikelieman at 4:44 AM on May 14 [8 favorites]


I actually think that Comey refuses to testify privately so that he can deflect any questions whose answers touch on sensitive or classified material. What I can't read is whether he wants that in order to protect ongoing investigations or to protect himself. Or both.
posted by Vigilant at 4:48 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]


There's an interesting piece in the Guardian today about Mercer, Cambridge Analytica, and Brexit: Follow the data: does a legal document link Brexit campaigns to US billionaire?
British electoral law is founded on the principle of a level playing field and controlling campaign spending is the key plank of that. The law states that different campaigns must not work together unless they declare their expenditure jointly. This controls spending limits so that no side can effectively “buy” an election.

But this signed legal document – a document that was never meant to be made public and was leaked by a concerned source – connects both Vote Leave and Leave.EU’s data firms directly to Robert Mercer, the American billionaire who bankrolled Donald Trump.[...]

The companies may have had different owners but they were legally bound together. And, the Observer has learned, they were working together on a daily basis at the time of the referendum – both companies were being paid by Mercer-funded organisations to work on Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign in America. What is more, several anonymous sources reveal the two companies, working on two separate British Leave campaigns, actually shared the same database at the time.
See also, this twitter thread from the author of the article, Carole Cadwalladr.
posted by melissasaurus at 5:05 AM on May 14 [39 favorites]


Politico: To Understand Ivanka, Don’t Read Her New Book. Read Her Old One.
If ‘Women Who Work’ is the polished, media-ready first daughter, then ‘The Trump Card’ is the rougher, realer deal.
Indeed, the Ivanka in The Trump Card seems not in the least humbled by her upbringing, but instead is defensive about it. The first line of the book reads, “In business, as in life, nothing is ever handed to you.” That’s in a chapter titled “Get Over It”—the “it” is the idea that Trump’s wealth and privilege bought her any real advantage. After comparing her position to runners staggered for a race—she’s the one on the outside track who looks like she’s ahead, but it’s a “perceived lead” and “in truth, the only advantage is psychological”—she spends much of the book gushing about how amazing her family is. “Gosh, I sound like my father, don’t I?” she writes. “But that’s what you get from this particular Daddy’s girl.” (Emphasis mine.)
posted by Room 641-A at 5:26 AM on May 14 [27 favorites]


Colin Campbell, News & Observer: At 3 a.m., NC Senate GOP strips education funding from Democrats’ districts

This is why I think there's no merit in the "let's all try to understand and work with republicans" trash. Their only principle at this point is to screw over non-republicans.
posted by winna at 5:39 AM on May 14 [57 favorites]


melissasaurus: The New Yorker recently profiled Mercer. It's worth a read.
posted by Paul Slade at 5:41 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the explanation re dead mans switch - I didn't want to assume and I knew MeFi would put me straight.
posted by harriet vane at 5:41 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Russian money-laundering details remain in the dark as US settles fraud case
The case had initially been brought by US Attorney Preet Bharara, but he was fired by President Donald Trump in March.

Bharara congratulated the prosecutors on Twitter late Friday night: "Congrats to Joon & team in Russian money laundering case (underlying fraud uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, died suspiciously in Moscow jail)."
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:43 AM on May 14 [8 favorites]






From Artw's link:

Quinn — a former safety director of a coal mine who voted for Hillary Clinton — said Thursday’s town hall of about 80 people was no different as attendees questioned Cramer about his vote to repeal the ACA, which passed the House 217 to 213 last week.

He said he never intended to get physical with his elected representative, but he lost his composure after a young mother in tears pleaded with the congressman to leave the ACA in place so that her baby with birth defects could survive without her family facing bankruptcy.

“She was crying so badly that she could barely talk,” Quinn said. “Cramer gave her some kind of wishy-washy answer.”

As the tension in the room heated up, Quinn decided he’d had enough and began to address the congressman as cameras rolled.

“I said, ‘You’re going to give 800 million in tax breaks to the rich and destroy Obamacare and this poor woman is going to do without,’ ” he said. “As the conversation evolved, somebody yelled, ‘I’ll pay higher taxes to help this woman!’ And I said I would, too.”

“I took all my money out and handed it to him and said, ‘Here — I’ll be taxed for health care!’ ” Quinn said.


Oh look! It's a coal miner with actual economic anxiety.
posted by medusa at 6:02 AM on May 14 [144 favorites]


Oh look! It's a coal miner with actual economic anxiety exhibited as empathy for others rather than cascading i got mine-ism!
posted by localhuman at 6:06 AM on May 14 [54 favorites]


Clinton voter though.

When Trump voting coal miners are trying to tear Republican reps apart with their bare hands at Town Halls then we will have truly turned a corner.
posted by Artw at 6:07 AM on May 14 [8 favorites]




I'm glad they're speaking up at town halls, but I'm also done hearing about coal miners as some kind of metric of financial health. The entire number of coal miners in the US (53k) could basically fill a stadium. Meanwhile, we lost 30k retail jobs just in March of 2017. We've lost 89k retail jobs since October 2016.

Let's be honest why they focus on coal jobs: it's a code for mostly white (95%), mostly male (95%). Meanwhile, retail jobs are 50% female. 12% of retail workers are black, 17% latino, 6% asian. Department stores have lost 18 times more workers than coal mining since 2001, but no one in the administration talks about it because it mostly hits a demographic in blue state cities that they don't care about, or even actively want to punish for not voting for him.
posted by bluecore at 6:27 AM on May 14 [121 favorites]


To hold a town hall or not? It’s a lose-lose situation for many Republicans right now
“I will not risk public safety to entertain individuals that have no desire to respectfully discuss important issues,” Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Tex.) told a Dallas Morning News watchdog columnist this week about why he's not holding a town hall nor advertising his office location.
"Can't we have a respectful discussion of me gleefully fucking up your chances of getting decent healthcare without going broke?"

Seems a bit fucking mad from my perspective.
posted by Talez at 6:33 AM on May 14 [12 favorites]


IF the future of democracy depends on destroying this party from the ankles up - and let's face it, it does - then what is happening at town halls is a hopeful sign. It'll be more hopeful if it translates into midterm numbers large enough to overwhealm the anti-voting measures, of course.
posted by Artw at 6:41 AM on May 14 [8 favorites]


“I will not risk public safety to entertain individuals that have no desire to respectfully discuss important issues,” Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Tex.) told a Dallas Morning News watchdog columnist this week about why he's not holding a town hall nor advertising his office location.

Remember when Sarah Palin released a map with crosshairs over Democrats who voted for healthcare, alongside tweeted encouragement of "Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD," shortly before one of the congresswomen on the map was shot in the head? There's probably something more eloquent so be said about the hypocrisy etc but I'm just going to go ahead and say fuck these people.
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:41 AM on May 14 [112 favorites]


Mick Mulvaney: “That doesn’t mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes”

So... who are they playing to? With whom does this horseshit go over well?


White middle- and upper-class bigots -- the whole "lazy people with diabetes" thing is racist code.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:55 AM on May 14 [41 favorites]


Futher on Louise Mensch: her lawyer appears surprisingly/amusingly openly dubious about her Trump sealed indictment story.
@MarkSZaidEsq
I represent @LouiseMensch in #FOIA litigation. Hopefully there'll be proof of this soon to verify. No one else is reporting yet

@Dr_G_Enigma 11h11 hours ago
Sealed would indicate no FOIA access.. not at this time. Read what the actual info is available now

@MarkSZaidEsq 11h11 hours ago
Respectfully to my client, there is no info available to support this. We need more than just these anonymous source(s).

@LouiseMensch 11h11 hours ago
Respectfully to my lawyer, sources are always anonymous. Otherwise you just quote them. @TrueFactsStated and I have good ones.

@MarkSZaidEsq 11h11 hours ago
You'll be a superstar if true Louise, but if you're wrong you'll both have to really acknowledge that for any future credibility

@MarkSZaidEsq 11h11 hours ago
This is not an assertion you make lightly. Your source (s) better be dead right.
posted by jaduncan at 6:59 AM on May 14 [8 favorites]


What's that they say? Something like "he who represents Louise Mensch has a fool for a client?"
posted by tonycpsu at 7:07 AM on May 14 [9 favorites]


The entire number of coal miners in the US (53k) could basically fill a stadium. Meanwhile, we lost 30k retail jobs just in March of 2017. We've lost 89k retail jobs since October 2016.

I think people who are saying "but there are hardly any coal miners" and "but there are hardly any farmers" etc are missing the point.

Farming, factory work, mining, timber, etc used to be the major industries in rural areas. People who grew up in those areas expected that they would be able to get secure, well paying jobs in those industries like their parents, and raise their own kids in those communities.

They couldn't. So they've had to move to the cities/suburbs, leaving their parents behind in towns full of abandoned property and and empty schools.

Their 60-something parents are furious at what happened to their once thriving communities. They blame globalization (though they should blame automation, natural gas, etc.)

The young people take those retail jobs you mention but can barely pay their rents, because the influx of people desperate for jobs had driven up property prices in those cities. They wish they could move back home, but there are no coal jobs anymore, no factory jobs, no family farms that make a profit.

So yeah. There are hardly any jobs in coal mining. That's the point. Because there are so few jobs, the communities which were once sustained by those jobs are also disappearing.

The economy is creating jobs pretty well. But the geographical distribution of those jobs is a huge problem. There are no jobs in rural areas and no affordable housing in urban ones. No wonder we have such geographical political polarization.

Republicans court the voters who are upset about their dying towns. They offer scapegoats. And through churches which are pretty clearly "Republican" in spite of the Johnson ammendment, they offer services and community support. (Democrats lobby for a nationwide $15/hr minimum wage, which does not seem helpful in these places where the cost of living is dirt cheap, but there are no jobs.) And many Trump voters who live in the suburbs and do okay for themselves are still people who came from small towns. Who have family there they've left behind.

Anyway, "there are hardly any coal miners " misses the point that what people are upset about is the very fact that there are hardly any jobs in coal mining communities.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:10 AM on May 14 [77 favorites]


Oh Jesus Christ the quotes in this Pirro interview are real
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:15 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]


There are no jobs in rural areas and no affordable housing in urban ones.

Universal basic income and guaranteed price-controlled housing would solve both those problems. Just sayin'.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:18 AM on May 14 [18 favorites]


The economy is creating jobs pretty well.

shit jobs, sure
posted by entropicamericana at 7:19 AM on May 14 [9 favorites]


WaPo is publishing op/eds calling for impeachment. (note that Tribe has been vocally anti-trump since day one. this is not the same as an editorial calling for the same.)

Lawrence Tribe:Trump must be impeached. Here’s why.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:23 AM on May 14 [12 favorites]


The entire number of coal miners in the US (53k) could basically fill a stadium.

Coal miners are important to presidential candidates who want to win Pennsylvania by winning the rural vote. The state is important enough that appealing to coal miner country is a requirement for winning the presidency.

Democrats quite rightly point out that coal mining isn't actually that important. Over time this has morphed into "democrats don't care about coal miners!" So now, to be seen as a conservative you need to care about coal miners.

It's just another dog whistle to signal that you're a member of the the GOP's tribe. Not that the other things you guys are pointing out are wrong, they're definitely part of the equation but I think it's 85% just a tribal signifier for conservatives. The rest is nuance that I just don't think the GOP and especially GOP voters just don't do nuance.
posted by VTX at 7:25 AM on May 14 [17 favorites]


What's that they say? Something like "he who represents Louise Mensch has a fool for a client?"

"Lady, she's putting my kids through college." [fake]
posted by jaduncan at 7:26 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


OnceUponATime: yes, this is a big part of it, though I also agree with Bluecore that the nostalgia for lost jobs really does encode a lot of racism and sexism. It's complicated, as the saying goes.

Small towns in the Great Plains area started depopulating over a decade ago. And small town depopulation isn't limited to the United States. Our electoral system just makes it more of an issue. And small towns often have issues beyond just no jobs: racism, sexism, discrimination against LGBT people and against women who want more than limited traditional roles, xenophobia against not just newcomers but people whose parents were newcomers, etc. Leaving the small town for the big city is nothing new, it has just accelerated mightily over the past 20 or so years.

The concentration of economic gains in cities has been called the Pokemon Go economy. To quote Bruce Springsteen: these jobs are going, boys, and they ain't coming back. Trump and Co. are selling economic snake oil, designed to appeal to nostalgia as well as baser sexist/racist instincts.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:27 AM on May 14 [25 favorites]


So yeah. There are hardly any jobs in coal mining. That's the point. Because there are so few jobs, the communities which were once sustained by those jobs are also disappearing.

No one gives a shit about the newspaper industry decimation over the last two and half decades and the hundreds of thousands of jobs lost.

They wish they could move back home, but there are no coal jobs anymore, no factory jobs, no family farms that make a profit.

Is there some evidence for this? I'm sure the parents/grandparents would love to have their kids back home, but my experience is that the younger generation can't wait to get the hell out of Dodge and isn't pining to go back, certainly not dying to for a coal or farming job. The cities win not just because of jobs, but because of all the other accessories of life.
posted by chris24 at 7:32 AM on May 14 [62 favorites]




Trump must be impeached. Here’s why.

Impeachment is too good for him.
posted by sour cream at 7:44 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


> Republicans court the voters who are upset about their dying towns.

This is the point where this comment started to read less like an appeal to help people in need and more like an acknowledgement of the political opportunity for Democrats to make a show of helping certain people in need. To be clear, there's nothing wrong with that -- they should help people in need, and they should brag a bit about those accomplishments and ensure that voters know who's trying to help them -- but I do think that once this becomes an argument about political outcomes, it's very much central to the point -- not beside it -- that the number of people living in these communities is small. I'll keep reminding folks until I'm blue in the face that even with all of Hillary's negative perceptions in these states, Trump's neo-Nazi appeals to racial animus (the scapegoating that you allude to), and James Comey's unprecedented last-minute intervention into political gamesmanship that has been shown to have been crucial to the outcome, the margin in the Rust Belt states was a rounding error (save for PA, which I'll get to in a minute.)

Which is all to say that yes, we should help coal miners and those who live in coal mining communities, but we should also help retail workers and those who live in communities where that sector is dominant. And there's no reason that they must chase the former group at the expense of the latter. The problem comes when the media and the GOP have decided that a certain smaller group deserves sympathy, but a certain larger group does not. In that case, the problem becomes an opportunity, because Democrats can both help a larger number of people and get a better political outcome, because there are retail workers and factory workers in Cleveland, Madison, Lansing, and Erie.

> Coal miners are important to presidential candidates who want to win Pennsylvania by winning the rural vote. The state is important enough that appealing to coal miner country is a requirement for winning the presidency.

I live in PA. You know what wins PA? The suburban vote. Several articles have been posted debunking the idea that rural voters swung the election. I live in a suburban community in Western PA that had a 3:1 ratio of Trump signs to Hillary signs, and I can assure you that there are no coal miners living here. Even if Hillary had gotten all of the coal miners and people living in coal communities, she still wouldn't have won PA. The margin was too large, made up of people living comfortably who don't care about coal except as a social signal for anti-environmentalism.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:46 AM on May 14 [57 favorites]


Faint of Butt: "There are no jobs in rural areas and no affordable housing in urban ones.

Universal basic income and guaranteed price-controlled housing would solve both those problems. Just sayin'.
"

Housing costs aren't exactly an issue in these places. In the rural areas around here, you can buy a house for less than the price of a Honda Civic.
posted by octothorpe at 7:50 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


The cities win not just because of jobs, but because of all the other accessories of life.

Fair enough, but I am pretty sure even the ones who don't miss the small town way of life miss the cheap rents and free childcare (from grandma and grandpa.)
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:59 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]




but that's the point made above - you can buy a house for 24,000 dollars but you can't find a job that would allow you to make the down payment
posted by murphy slaw at 8:01 AM on May 14 [7 favorites]


I live in PA. You know what wins PA? The suburban vote. Several articles have been posted debunking the idea that rural voters swung the election.

I understand that but it was perceived as important. Now the fact don't matter any more, it's just a way to signal your tribe.
posted by VTX at 8:02 AM on May 14


(cut to trump running around the west wing screaming that he's going to fire clapper RIGHT NOW as aides try to explain diplomatically why that's not possible)
posted by murphy slaw at 8:02 AM on May 14 [14 favorites]


Is there some evidence for this? I'm sure the parents/grandparents would love to have their kids back home, but my experience is that the younger generation can't wait to get the hell out of Dodge and isn't pining to go back, certainly not dying to for a coal or farming job. The cities win not just because of jobs, but because of all the other accessories of life.

This has been my experience as well, as a person who grew up in a Trump-voting rust belt town. I don't know a single person who is like "oh, I wish I could move back to the town I grew up in but there aren't any jobs." They're like "thank god I took out the student loan equivalent of a mortgage so I can support myself in a place that reflects my values rather than be stuck in a town that thinks I should be a second-class citizen." I moved to a city, not because I couldn't find a job in Trump Country, but because I could never have political, social, and economic equality in Trump Country. So many of my city-dwelling friends are low/no contact with their rural families because they're abusive and/or deny their kids' identities.

Are there really city-dwelling folks who are dying to move to West Virginia and just can't do it because there aren't any jobs? I mean, I've never met anyone in that situation, but it's possible I guess. Certainly doesn't seem as common as the reverse situation of a rural kid pining for the opportunities and freedoms available in the city.

I'm not saying we shouldn't support rural communities, we absolutely should. But unemployment isn't the reason their towns are dying. The fact that they want their towns to be by white men, for white men is why these towns are dying.
posted by melissasaurus at 8:03 AM on May 14 [79 favorites]


'What's that they say? Something like "he who represents Louise Mensch has a fool for a client?"'

Is there some corollary for a lawyer who opens a consultation with their client on twitter?
posted by klarck at 8:03 AM on May 14 [11 favorites]


Fair enough, but I am pretty sure even the ones who don't miss the small town way of life miss the cheap rents and free childcare (from grandma and grandpa.)

Again, this assumes that (a) grandma and grandpa are alive and have the capacity and time to watch one's children and that (b) grandma and grandpa aren't racist sexist homophobic bigots who think your marriage is an affront to god and that your spouse shouldn't be allowed to have legal rights over their own child. If someone voted for Donald Trump, they voted against LGBT rights, against womens rights, against environmentalism. Why would you want that person around your child?
posted by melissasaurus at 8:08 AM on May 14 [30 favorites]




Why would you want that person around your child?

Not to mention, does the child want to be around them at a certain point? I don't have kids, but my sister - who like me has stopped talking to and seeing my rabidly Trump-supporting mother - does have a teenaged son who expressed his uncomfortableness with her racism/misogyny/bigotry/rightwing "Christianity". It was a large part of why she decided to stop seeing her.
posted by chris24 at 8:17 AM on May 14 [18 favorites]


Some good news: Trump's approval among Republicans has significantly declined since February, most notably among those who strongly approve of him. The surveys indicated that he's dropped around 12 points in the past three months, going from about ~70% strongly approving to now under 60% strongly approving.

Nate Silver weighed in by suggesting that only 20-25% of the electorate strongly support Trump, suggesting his floor could be much lower than the supposed 40%.
posted by adrianhon at 8:23 AM on May 14 [25 favorites]


So who is up for buying a few hundred thousand twitter bots to keep tweeting how amazing Trump would be to push for single payer for all health insurance ("australias") and point to the current bill in the House?

I figure we either get Trump breaking against GOP policies, so they finally try to impeach him, or we get traction on bills that should be passed etc.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:29 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]


no affordable housing in urban ones.

This is not true in all urban areas. There are cities all over the interior of the country that still have affordable housing and jobs. Low cost of living cities are a thing, once you move away from the coasts.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:29 AM on May 14 [10 favorites]


Nate Silver weighed in by suggesting that only 20-25% of the electorate strongly support Trump, suggesting his floor could be much lower than the supposed 40%.

The 40% doesn't refer to approval ratings, that's the number of Republican voters that will vote for a Republican candidate no matter what because Republican Jesus told them Democrats kill babies. 40% of the general electorate will vote for Trump's reelection, no matter what he does. The same number of Republicans who were supposed to be persuadable because "Trump is terrible" and "Clinton's not Trump", but voted for him because of the Supreme Court, pretend he's a moral upstanding Christian role model, cover for his treasons, that's the 40% number. And that's still his reelection floor.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:31 AM on May 14 [14 favorites]


that's the 40% number. And that's still his reelection floor.

He won with Dukakis numbers (46%). He drops to low 40s or 40%, and he's at Mondale numbers. Assuming there's not a major third party candidate, it's very hard for him to win at those numbers. Which is why there's even more voter suppression coming and why the number #1 goal for Dems has to be fighting disenfranchisement, getting people registered and to the polls.
posted by chris24 at 8:39 AM on May 14 [14 favorites]


Are there really city-dwelling folks who are dying to move to West Virginia and just can't do it because there aren't any jobs?

Why wouldn't there be?

I mean, of course some young people leave small towns because they are gay and want to be in an at least less oppressive environment, or leave because they want to be someplace with more real opportunities for women, or where in some other way they don't feel like they have to pretend to be someone they aren't.

Other people -- obviously vastly more likely to be straight and cis and probably men -- like small town life just fine, and don't have to pretend to be someone they're not, and get to be exactly who they feel like on the inside, and know where they stand with the community, and get to shit on people they think deserve to be shat on. But they have to leave because there's not enough good work. So they move to a suburb in a metro area and don't particularly like seeing gay people. And don't particularly like seeing black people. And don't like hearing Spanish or Chinese languages. And don't like seeing serious crime on the local news instead of high-school football. And don't like that their kids keep bringing home all these weird friends from school.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:39 AM on May 14 [14 favorites]


I'm honestly beginning to need an annotated chart of all the players in this abominably-executed Greek drama. Too many Steves, too many last names beginning with "C." Too many Russians! I'm more a big picture gal at the best of times, and not great with detail, but I'd like to be able to keep all of these actors straight.
posted by thebrokedown at 8:41 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]


He won with Dukakis numbers (46%). He drops to low 40s or 40%, and he's at Mondale numbers. Assuming there's not a major third party candidate, it's very hard for him to win at those numbers. Which is why there's even more voter suppression coming and why the number #1 goal for Dems has to be fighting disenfranchisement, getting people registered and to the polls.

Sure, but wildly different distribution than Dukakis, as Democratic self-sorting has become a huge problem. That, plus 2-4% or more attributable to Democratic vote suppression, and throw in another Jill Stein run after 4 years of "NEOLIBERALSAMIRITE" and they're within the margin of fuckery again, and that's all they need.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:45 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]


I have a horrible feeling The Zuck will be going 3rd party.
posted by Artw at 8:47 AM on May 14 [7 favorites]


I'm honestly beginning to need an annotated chart of all the players in this abominably-executed Greek drama.

Here you go.

(Missing Rybolovlev, Leviev, and Tokhtakhounov though. Feel free to Google their names plus Trump's for supplemental info. Also missing Manafort's contract with Deripaska)
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:49 AM on May 14 [7 favorites]


...who expressed his uncomfortableness with her racism/misogyny/bigotry/rightwing "Christianity"

And now I see white supremacy splitting from more Jesus-centric Christianity and becoming it's own tax-free church. (Maybe it has already, but it harder to see in my blue, agnostic bubble.)
posted by puddledork at 8:51 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Small towns near the border don't necessarily match these cultural stereotypes and I imagine there are also small towns in the interior of the country that don't either. In fact I would bet there is less self-selected segregation in small border towns than in large coastal cities.
posted by wobumingbai at 8:53 AM on May 14 [7 favorites]


Despite the controversy over Comey's firing, Mr. Trump said his week was "great," and he said "there's no good time to fire someone."

This has really been bugging me because it's like he thinks he's George Bailey and he's worried about firing the bank manager on Christmas Eve. You're obstructing justice, Mr. Trump. More like It's A Disastrous, Horrorshow Life amirite.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:53 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


No one gives a shit about the newspaper industry decimation over the last two and half decades and the hundreds of thousands of jobs lost.

If anything, those losses have been cheered everywhere even here on the blue. Look how well that's worked out for the country.
posted by photoslob at 9:06 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


Can someone explain to me how big money laundering cases are 'settled' by a fine and contriteness? I keep finding cases where millions of dollars have been fraudulently moved through casinos for years, and despite there being a series of complaints and findings by the regulators and law enforcement people, nobody ever seems to go to jail and the trail just fuzzes out.

If I did something even a bit naughty with a fraction of that sort of cash, the best I could look forward to would be promotion to prison librarian after five years helping the other cons with their homework.
posted by Devonian at 9:14 AM on May 14 [8 favorites]


I have a horrible feeling The Zuck will be going 3rd party.

Whether or not it's Zuck, the zeitgeist is ripe for a 3rd party candidate -- I can see it in conversation among acquaintances who don't seem to pay close attention to politics and are invested in a position where they're above partisan fighting and politicized culture and the ugliness there is naturally the equal fault among both parties and of course the whole thing is just like a child's squabble where someone normal needs to come set things straight (I mean, look, Democrat children, the Republicans survived Obama and his liberal agenda, you'll survive Trump, don't give in to the media culture of fear).

And of course, there's not much in the way of ability to think through voting strategically in a plurality system (hell, that's too often absent among voters who are supposed to be the pro-science smartypants people).

This is one thing I'm scared of that don't know what to do about. Like, ID-to-vote laws represent a soft barrier, and will take work to get over, but it's something you can sign on to help organize and do something to address.

But you can't stop a third-party candidate from running. You can try to get your party to run a candidate that will appeal to that segment, but you might not know enough about that, and you've trying to communicate with people for whom major party association itself runs between baggage and a litmus test, and one of your few options at that point is education and hell if that doesn't seem to be about the most daunting task to pick up right now.

So I hope there's no coherent third party anywhere near the Democrat/center side of the aisle come the run up to 2020.
posted by wildblueyonder at 9:20 AM on May 14 [16 favorites]


If I did something even a bit naughty with a fraction of that sort of cash, the best I could look forward to would be promotion to prison librarian after five years helping the other cons with their homework.

You're not worth billions of dollars and willing to spend millions of that buying your own law firm made up of ex-Department of Justice attorneys.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:21 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]


Well, it's like this...

The rule of law is dead, killed by Republicans, there will be know justice where rich criminals are concerned.

That's about it, really.
posted by Artw at 9:22 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


So I hope there's no coherent third party anywhere near the Democrat/center side of the aisle come the run up to 2020

But they'll obviously win this time! Time to disrupt the status quo! Both parties are the saaaaaaame!!!

kang_and_kronos-sure_throw_your_vote_away.gif

<sob>

posted by aspersioncast at 9:32 AM on May 14 [26 favorites]


Sen. Warren had a report about financial regulators offering settlements instead of, you know, jail. [pdf] That's how regulatory capture works.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:32 AM on May 14 [10 favorites]


The WH has released a statement on North Korea saying, in part " the President cannot imagine that Russia is pleased."

[real...I think?]


But the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement, "The given rocket launch posed no danger to the Russian Federation. The resources of the Russian early warning system about [the] rocket attack and the monitoring missile defense forces will maintain combat watch in scheduled mode."

While Ministry's statement on the surface looks like it's intended to reassure its domestic audience, it indirectly makes the White House look like fools (again).

That's better, of course, that the worst case scenario with Trump and Putin - that they could possibly teaming up as nuclear partners against shared targets.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:32 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]


Whether or not it's Zuck, the zeitgeist is ripe for a 3rd party candidate

*headdesk*

All of this, all of these horrors we've seen, and how many people have still learned nothing?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:32 AM on May 14 [21 favorites]


Are there really city-dwelling folks who are dying to move to West Virginia and just can't do it because there aren't any jobs?


Of course there are. Sometimes, you get tired of the noise, the small apartments, and the crowds. Sometimes you want to find a place where you can hear coyotes at night or see the milky way from your backyard. City life isn't for everyone. And a desire to move to a smaller or more rural place isn't a slam dunk insinuation of wanting to be hateful, as was stated above. It's possible to find small towns which aren't some seething bastion of intolerance and hate.

If places, like the one where I live, are ever going to become blue, it's going to take people like me moving there. It'd be nice if those of us who move to rural areas aren't stereotyped as KKK refugees looking for sympathetic folks.
posted by honestcoyote at 9:33 AM on May 14 [99 favorites]


School turns away immigration agent looking for 4th grader: “Mayor’s been briefed on a fed immig agent showing up at Queens’ PS58 Thurs. asking about a 4th grader. School turned him away,” Mayor de Blasio’s press secretary Eric Phillips tweeted.

The federal agent didn’t have a warrant, Phillips added.

The Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs said immigration agents are not welcome in New York’s public schools.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:37 AM on May 14 [75 favorites]


I honestly couldn't sleep last night after seeing that white supremacist rally in Charlottesville (mentioned upthread). The look on Richard Spencer's face is bone-chilling. These people are pure Evil. We're only 113 days in to this slow motion living nightmare. If Trump is not removed from power, where will we be in 200 days? 300 days? 1000 days?

It's going to get worse before it gets worse.

This has been guiseroom's daily panic.
posted by guiseroom at 9:38 AM on May 14 [27 favorites]


Lyle Denniston: Trump lawyers’ self-created legal dilemma. The DOJ travel ban lawyers have created a pickle for themselves. It turns out that if you run around the country arguing in court that anything that happened before inauguration day doesn't count and we should all just ignore the Muslim ban statement and other pre-Presidential statements, a judge isn't going to look too favorably on your attempts to claim executive privilege on documents from before inauguration day, such as any communication from Giuliani about writing the order.

Also, the NYT has a strong editorial: The Republican’s Guide to Presidential Behavior. It's IOKIYAR in editorial form.
posted by zachlipton at 9:38 AM on May 14 [38 favorites]


And a desire to move to a smaller or more rural place isn't a slam dunk insinuation of wanting to be hateful, as was stated above.

Yeah, that's a fair cop. Sorry; didn't mean to do that.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:39 AM on May 14 [9 favorites]


For what it's worth, several of my friends are looking for some combination of some of the values they grew up with (space for kids to play and child-raising norms that allow kids to be independent, a relatively egalitarian culture, schools that are not competition-obsessed rat-races) and some of the things they feel they didn't get in their small-town childhoods (exposure to and respect for all kinds of diversity, exposure to art and educational opportunities, not being made fun of for having unusual interests.) A lot of these people are trying to strike a balance by living in small towns or rural areas near a college town. My sense is that a lot of people have complicated feelings about their small-town roots and don't reject those roots entirely. And I think a lot of them would also not be enamored of certain things about the culture of big cities.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:44 AM on May 14 [36 favorites]


All of this, all of these horrors we've seen, and how many people have still learned nothing?

All of them?
posted by petebest at 9:44 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]


Politico: Republicans plan massive cuts to programs for the poor
President Donald Trump’s refusal to overhaul Social Security and Medicare — and his pricey wish-list for infrastructure, a border wall and tax cuts — is sending House budget writers scouring for pennies in politically sensitive places: safety-net programs for the most vulnerable.

Under enormous internal pressure to quickly balance the budget, Republicans are considering slashing more than $400 billion in spending through a process to evade Democratic filibusters in the Senate, multiple sources told POLITICO.

The proposal, which would be part of the House Budget Committee's fiscal 2018 budget, won't specify which programs would get the ax; instead it will instruct committees to figure out what to cut to reach the savings. But among the programs most likely on the chopping block, the sources say, are food stamps, welfare, income assistance for the disabled and perhaps even veterans benefits.
Oh, and James Comey turned up at a production of Fun Home yesterday. I presume he found the Bechdel family to be far more caring and loving than the Trump family.

In better news: Chelsea Manning will be released this week and will, while her appeal is pending, remain on (unpaid) active duty with access to health care.
posted by zachlipton at 9:46 AM on May 14 [24 favorites]


Comey for Republican nominee 2020?
posted by Coventry at 9:51 AM on May 14


If there's any justice in the world there won't be a Republican party in 2020. Not with everything they've allowed to transpire.
posted by guiseroom at 9:58 AM on May 14 [7 favorites]


Quite a letter to the editor.
Why should I pay indeed?
From Barbara Rank, Hiddle Oaks Court, Dubuque.

Congressman Rod Blum in a Bubuque town hall (Monday) night asked, "Why should a 62-year-old man have to pay for maternity care?"

I ask, why should I pay for a bridge I don't cross, a sidewalk I don't walk on, a library book I don't read?

Why should I pay for a flower I won't smell, a park I don't visit, or art I can't appreciate? Why should I pay the salaries of politicians I didn't vote for, a tax cut that doesn't affect me, or a loophole I can't take advantage of?

It's called democracy, a civil society, the greater good. That's what we pay for.
posted by jaduncan at 9:59 AM on May 14 [187 favorites]


If there's any justice in the world there won't be a Republican party in 2020. Not with everything they've allowed to transpire.

Hah! If there were such justice, there would have been no Republican party in 1976, 1992 or 2008. They will repair their "brand" again.
posted by Coventry at 9:59 AM on May 14 [9 favorites]


will, while her appeal is pending, remain on (unpaid) active duty with access to health care.

Wait, I don't understand this. What is happening? Is this a new appeal?
posted by corb at 10:00 AM on May 14


Hah! If there were such justice, there would have been no Republican party in 1976, 1992 or 2008. They will repair their "brand" again

There will always be evil in the world. Hopeful we can dislodge it a little though.
posted by Artw at 10:06 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


>will, while her appeal is pending, remain on (unpaid) active duty with access to health care.

Wait, I don't understand this. What is happening? Is this a new appeal?


It's the existing, ongoing, appeal. President Obama commuted her prison sentence, but did not issue a pardon, so the underlying conviction remains on her record. The appeal (as I understand it, but I have not followed this closely) is to overturn the conviction. If she loses the appeal, she would probably -- the reporting on this frames it as 'could be,' but I'm not familiar enough with the process or situation to locate where the uncertainty comes from -- be dishonorably discharged, and lose her health benefits.
posted by cjelli at 10:06 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]


Kellyanne Conway on Anderson Cooper’s Eye Roll: ‘Possibly Sexist, Definitely What I Call Trumpist’
“Possibly sexist, definitely what I call Trumpist,” she told host Howard Kurtz. “Which is many people who go on TV are treated like house guests, and then when we go on TV, we’re not.”

She went on to claim that everyone is now looking to create moments on TV that will go viral on social media and that it “really doesn’t help democracy.”
Thanks a lot for conjuring up Kelleyanne, SNL.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:13 AM on May 14 [11 favorites]


Okay, about the KKK-wannabe rally in Charlottesville, look closely...

They're carrying tiki torches.
posted by MrVisible at 10:19 AM on May 14 [17 favorites]




She went on to claim that everyone is now looking to create moments on TV that will go viral on social media...

Tip for her -- when she pisses on the truth, that's usually going to go viral.
posted by puddledork at 10:20 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Callista Gingrich set to be named ambassador to the Vatican

As David Corn just pointed out: "That extramarital affair with Newt really paid off."
posted by zachlipton at 10:23 AM on May 14 [80 favorites]


"I think in many ways our institutions are under assault both externally -- and that's the big news here is the Russian interference in our election system -- and I think as well our institutions are under assault internally," Clapper said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Pressed by anchor Jake Tapper if he meant US institutions were under assault internally from the President, Clapper responded, "Exactly."


He also pushed back against Trump on Clapper with Tapper - I mean State of the Nation with Jake Tapper - about Trump saying he found no collusion.

@Phil_Mattingly
Former DNI James Clapper tells @jaketapper nothing he's said re: the Russia investigation/Pres. Trump should be considered "exculpatory."
posted by chris24 at 10:46 AM on May 14 [17 favorites]


1976

at least they had enough of a drop of shame back then that nixon wasn't still the president
posted by murphy slaw at 10:46 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Hold on while I check with my attorney, Leo Pard, Esq.

Is it time for Trump staff to lawyer up?
Veterans of Washington's scandals say that with subpoenas coming from Congress and an FBI investigation still active, staffers would be wise to seek counsel.
At least some of the people who joined the Trump administration were aware of the legal risks. “I had folks who joined the administration ask that question, which should tell you something,” said Luskin, who previously represented President George W. Bush’s senior political adviser Karl Rove during the investigation into the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identity, as well as a pair of senior officials during the probe of Clinton’s Whitewater land deals.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:51 AM on May 14 [8 favorites]


Callista is an excellent name for Vatican intrigues. Does she have a suspiciously big silver ring with a very large cabochon ruby?
posted by Devonian at 10:52 AM on May 14 [7 favorites]


North Carolina Senate GOP targets children who live in Democratic districts
At 3:07 a.m. on Friday morning, North Carolina Senate GOP leaders rushed through a budget amendment that stripped education funding for teaching assistants and STEM programs in districts led by Democrats, cut funding to provide fresh produce to food deserts, reallocated money that was supposed to go to an arts museum and a downtown revitalization project, and eliminated a position that works to secure federal aid for disaster relief.

Remember, North Carolina Republican drawn districts were ruled unconstitutionally gerrymandered and ordered to hold a special election, which was then stayed by the Supreme Court.

Republicans are using an unconstitutionally stolen state legislature to punish children of Democrats.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:07 AM on May 14 [84 favorites]


UN Ambassador Defends Comey Firing: Trump Is ‘The CEO Of The Country’
“I think that the reason people are uncomfortable is because he acts,” she said. “He doesn’t talk with a bunch of people about it before, he just acts.”
So close and yet so far.
*sob*
posted by Room 641-A at 11:13 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


If she loses the appeal, she would probably -- the reporting on this frames it as 'could be,' but I'm not familiar enough with the process or situation to locate where the uncertainty comes from -- be dishonorably discharged, and lose her health benefits.

Manning's sentence included a dishonorable discharge (for obvious reasons, this is administered after one's stay at Leavenworth). Military judges and commanders have greater leeway to set aside portions of sentences (which has both good and bad parts), so it is possible that the appeal of her conviction could be denied but her discharge be upgraded to a characterization that would allow her to keep her VA and medical benefits. I wouldn't bet on it, but it's within the realm of legal possibility.
posted by Etrigan at 11:19 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


and eliminated a position that works to secure federal aid for disaster relief.

That's bizarre, especially given that the Federal Government just denied NC 99% of disaster aid for Hurricane Matthew. Why? Because it's not the role of the Federal Government to do that? Because Trump was pissed about how much "the digital" costs on aircraft carriers? So that the citizens of North Carolina do not become addicted to water?
posted by thelonius at 11:21 AM on May 14 [11 favorites]


They're carrying tiki torches.

Kultural appropriation?
posted by Behemoth at 11:26 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]


Fareed Zakaria: Trump is dangerous to US democracy

40-odd days from truly becoming president to becoming dangerous to our democracy. What a pivot, eh Fareed?
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:27 AM on May 14 [47 favorites]


There's a bunch of talk again about WA's bg earthquake maybe being due... If that happens I *know* we are utterly on our own, not a chance in hell these fucks will lift a finger. Its a little sobering facing a possible natural disaster and an administration so willing to be a force multiplier for disasters.
posted by Artw at 11:35 AM on May 14 [7 favorites]


Fareed Zakaria: Trump is dangerous to US democracy

40-odd days from truly becoming president to becoming dangerous to our democracy. What a pivot, eh Fareed?


Just more evidence that we can't depend on any institution to save us. Not the press, not the Democratic Party, not NeverTrumpers, not "moderate" Republicans, not the courts, not the Deep State. They range from useless to powerless to harmful. The only thing that will stop this is continued and massive public resistance and protest.

And relatedly, this tweet about Louise Mensch seems feasible. By fooling people into thinking the deep state or some institution will save us, it discourages some from active participation in resistance and also helps destroy trust in institutions when false hope is crushed after they don't save us.

@UOJim
What if the Russians hired Louise Mensch to trick us into thinking American institutions might do their jobs?

---

And a related somewhat satirical piece. Operation Mensch
posted by chris24 at 11:37 AM on May 14 [14 favorites]




Everything is suspect, at this point. Isn't it true that one/some of the major news corps own both right leaning and left leaning shows? If we're in the end game as we seem to be, I imagine we need to be much more skeptical of all information, no matter the source. With the exception of Dan Rather. And I hope he has a security team. : /
posted by Glinn at 11:41 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


man if putin turns out to have nothing to do with this he is the luckiest bastard alive, as far as undermining western institutions goes
posted by murphy slaw at 11:43 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


(of course it would never have worked if said institutions weren't ready to fall over on their own)
posted by murphy slaw at 11:45 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


Of course Russia itself is in utterly shit shape. But that's possibly the way he likes things.
posted by Artw at 11:48 AM on May 14


i'm sure the view from his dacha is just fine
posted by murphy slaw at 11:52 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]




[Couple comments deleted, lets not dig in on Russian Sterotype Buffet, please.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:34 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


Callista Gingrich set to be named ambassador to the Vatican

As David Corn just pointed out: "That extramarital affair with Newt really paid off."


Look, this is just not cool. We do not know the state of Callista Gingrich's soul, and I am completely uninterested in casting the first stone over repented fornication.

Whether or not she should have accepted the position simply because it came from Trump is fair to speculate about, how good a job she will do, fine. But this other stuff is just not worthy of us.
posted by corb at 12:36 PM on May 14 [5 favorites]


We do not know the state of Callista Gingrich's soul

We do have evidence though. She's married to Newt Gingrich and is near accepting a position in the Trump administration.
posted by Justinian at 12:40 PM on May 14 [82 favorites]


Look, this is just not cool. We do not know the state of Callista Gingrich's soul, and I am completely uninterested in casting the first stone over repented fornication.

Her husband is still boosting a fascist who has bragged about sexual assault, campaigned for war crimes, and ran on racism from start to finish. Her husband is still boosting a man who is actively wrecking the republic and hurting people. Her husband is aiding and abetting treason.

And she's benefiting from it.

I'm okay if you don't want to throw rocks. I'll happily throw enough to make up someone else's share.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:41 PM on May 14 [53 favorites]


Nate Silver weighed in by suggesting that only 20-25% of the electorate strongly support Trump

So, the Crazification Factor?
posted by acb at 12:43 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


Oh, also, I can't help but notice she kept silent about the hypocrisy of having an affair with a guy who was trying to bring down a president for having an affair. Sure, sure, the lying about it, too. Like Newt wasn't lying his ass off the whole time.

At some point, you have a responsibility to speak up against bullshit. If she's got it in her to be the ambassador to anywhere, she doesn't get any free passes on keeping quiet while that shit was going on.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:44 PM on May 14 [55 favorites]


"I'm 1,000 percent certain that the Russians interfered in our election," [Senator Graham] said.

"They did try to undercut Clinton. I don't think they changed the outcome," he said of the presidential vote that put President Trump in office. "Russia didn't change the outcome of the election but they sure as hell tried"


Wow, Lindsay must have some pretty amazing social science research to say definitively that Russia's actions didn't result in Trump
winning by a few thousand votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin thereby deciding the election! I wish he'd share it with us!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:47 PM on May 14 [39 favorites]


What if the Russians are planting (and have been planting) people to question the integrity of our institutions and opposition party so as to weaken them?

What if the liberal paranoia about the Deep State helped weaken our national institutions that should have stopped the Russians back in the fall?

What if the Russians have paid people to post on this very site?

What if I am secretly a Russian spy who is trying to make you wonder these things?

At some point, paranoia is self-serving and useless. The only thing we know for certain is that the Russians tried very hard to undermine confidence in the Democratic party. Which is why I support them.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 12:54 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


What if I am secretly a Russian spy who is trying to make you wonder these things?
So now I'm sitting at home investigating myself!
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 1:06 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


There's a bunch of talk again about WA's bg earthquake maybe being due... If that happens I *know* we are utterly on our own, not a chance in hell these fucks will lift a finger. Its a little sobering facing a possible natural disaster and an administration so willing to be a force multiplier for disasters.

I was shocked that California got the money requested to help with the problems caused by all the rain.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:07 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Hey, maybe Calista will have a literal epiphany about, well, everything. Anything.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:10 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


Are there really city-dwelling folks who are dying to move to West Virginia and just can't do it because there aren't any jobs? I mean, I've never met anyone in that situation, but it's possible I guess. Certainly doesn't seem as common as the reverse situation of a rural kid pining for the opportunities and freedoms available in the city.

Hi! My name's Wendy. Now we've met, and you can't say this nonsense anymore. Granted, I don't want to live in West Virginia specifically, but I am definitely trying to move out of the super-liberal Seattle area. In fact, I moved 40 miles north of Seattle not quite one year ago, after fifteen years of living on Capitol Hill, historical home of all the liberal weirdos. I moved out of the city partially because I could no longer comfortably afford it, but also because living up here puts me closer to some very beautiful parts of the state that honestly may not be here for much longer, because of the amount of development going on in this state to handle the housing needs of everyone who wants to live in the fucking city.

I would like to move out of this state, to either Alaska or rural New Mexico or northeast Ohio, where my very best friend lives. But I'm stuck here in the orbit of Seattle, whether I like it or not, because I promised to stay near my grandmother until she dies. Once she's gone, I can leave. I'm lucky enough to have a job that may very well be portable, since I already work remotely for a company based in another state, otherwise I wouldn't even be considering this very seriously.

I don't secretly want to become a Trump supporter. My desire to live somewhere that does not happen to be a shining liberal city on a hill does not correlate to a desire to march around with a bunch of other white assholes carrying a tiki torch and chanting about how much I loooove Russia. It just means I want to live somewhere where I could probably buy a house on my own (or just have a better quality of life), near people I love dearly, with some beautiful natural wilderness nearby for me to explore.
posted by palomar at 1:18 PM on May 14 [69 favorites]


At some point, paranoia is self-serving and useless.

spoken like a RUSSIAN SPY
posted by contraption at 1:23 PM on May 14 [12 favorites]


(Incidentally, I see a lot more people of color when I leave my home now, compared to in the city. A LOT more.)
posted by palomar at 1:27 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


I would like to move out of this state, to either Alaska or rural New Mexico or northeast Ohio, where my very best friend lives. But I'm stuck here in the orbit of Seattle, whether I like it or not, because I promised to stay near my grandmother until she dies. Once she's gone, I can leave. I'm lucky enough to have a job that may very well be portable, since I already work remotely for a company based in another state, otherwise I wouldn't even be considering this very seriously.

But you say yourself that the reason you don't want to move is because of your family, not because of a lack of ancestral jobs. If you look at my comment in context, it is responding to the notion that:
"Farming, factory work, mining, timber, etc used to be the major industries in rural areas. People who grew up in those areas expected that they would be able to get secure, well paying jobs in those industries like their parents, and raise their own kids in those communities. They couldn't. So they've had to move to the cities/suburbs, leaving their parents behind in towns full of abandoned property and and empty schools."
This is not the situation you describe. There are plenty of people who want to live in rural areas and plenty of people in rural areas that are not Trump supporters; that's not what I mean. I specifically mean that this narrative of lost ancestral jobs that force kids to move to the city when they would otherwise prefer to be mining coal in WV like their daddy did does not reflect a statistically significant portion of city-dwellers (and therefore policies targeting rural areas should not focus on luring back these mythical people).
posted by melissasaurus at 1:33 PM on May 14 [5 favorites]


It seems to me that naming someone with such a high-profile rejection of the Catholic Church's very strict position on marriage and divorce is a pretty big "fuck you" from Trump to a Pope who has been outspoken about Trump's policies.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:39 PM on May 14 [13 favorites]


Look, this is just not cool. We do not know the state of Callista Gingrich's soul, and I am completely uninterested in casting the first stone over repented fornication.

I don't really care about her qualifications, moral or otherwise, since these things are often gifts to friends and supporters of the president. My thought is just how it shows how short Trump's list of friends is. He's reduces to appointing spouses of friends now.
posted by octothorpe at 1:43 PM on May 14 [19 favorites]


What with Huckabee Sanders on the podium and n-2 Trumps in the WH, given a nation of 300 million, it seems improbable that so many positions can only be filled by family and friends. Is that what's holding back all those unfilled nominations? Not enough people on the Christmas card list?
posted by Devonian at 1:48 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


Are there really city-dwelling folks who are dying to move to West Virginia and just can't do it because there aren't any jobs?

I know a couple of people who have left DC for West Virginia. Mostly it's people taking a serious career downgrade to improve their quality of life. Also rural America is varied, even West Virginia has a gay enclave.
posted by peeedro at 1:49 PM on May 14 [8 favorites]


I often browse landwatch.com and other sites, to fuel my dreams of someday being able to afford a patch of land where I could do the hippie thing of raising some of my own food and living in a tiny house. Plenty of areas like Michigan and Arkansas have cheap land... but I know that if I did move out there, I would not be able to find a job. It's a shame because there are many beautiful rural areas.
posted by The otter lady at 1:54 PM on May 14 [9 favorites]


The goal is to refashion the global economic order, drawing countries and companies more tightly into China’s orbit.

I know there were a lot of issues with the TPP, but I am pretty sure the reason Obama (and at one time Clinton) supported it was to prevent exactly this.


"I'm from the future. You should go to China." - Abe, Looper

China is the future, and the last best chance to save us all. Seriously.

The Chinese leadership is sober, focused on long-term stability and the economic well-being of their people. Science and reason are guiding them, and they have the authority to plan well ahead and direct their massive economy based on their plans.

The West has lost the mantle of leadership, politicians are looking no further than the short term profits of their powerful friends and the next election, if that.

Put your money on China.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:55 PM on May 14 [26 favorites]


This is a really good Margaret Sullivan column: ‘Dude fires people’: How the chaotic Trump news cycle confuses and misinforms the public. Things are happening too fast, people can't keep up and they tune out.
Comey’s name came up “but it was so, so removed from facts,” Arnade said. Most saw this latest chapter as Trump being Trump: “Dude fires people.”

Or as substitute teacher Mark Adair told me: “It’s become background noise” for many in Niagara County, N.Y. (another traditionally Democratic area that voted red last year), where he publishes a local football magazine. The uproar, he said, “doesn’t have one iota of an effect on me.”

That’s an utter disconnect from the inside-the-Beltway parsing of each development, and the Democratic outrage over Trump’s possible obstruction of justice — complete with references to Watergate and impeachment.

“I think many right-leaning folks, in particular, have decided the reporting and commentary from Washington has become shrill,” said Lucy Dalglish, dean of the Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.

Meanwhile, she said, those on the left “are alarmed and exhausted.” Add it up and you’ve got a citizenry that has thrown up its hands.
posted by zachlipton at 1:58 PM on May 14 [11 favorites]


The Chinese leadership is sober, focused on long-term stability and the economic well-being of their people.

And you know, the brutal repression of elementary freedoms, the free pollution and destruction of the environment, and the genocidal occupation of Tibet. So no. I will not put my money on China.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:59 PM on May 14 [53 favorites]


Mostly it's people taking a serious career downgrade to improve their quality of life.

Hi, this is me! I could take a job in any of our agency's regional offices pretty much at will and save approximately 1 quadrillion dollars a month on rent, in exchange for trading my possibly-upwardly mobile position at headquarters for a definitely, no doubt about it, completely dead end equivalent in the regions, with a 20% pay cut to boot. I'm from a college town in a fastly devolving, newly Republican controlled state, but we also have the only openly gay mayor in the South, and were one of only two counties in Kentucky to vote Clinton.

There's a lot of reasons people move to the city. Wishing to be a coal miner like grandpa isn't really one. And lot of us would move back, but, like all the other jobs are here...

And you know, the brutal repression of elementary freedoms, the free pollution and destruction of the environment, and the genocidal occupation of Tibet. So no. I will not put my money on China.

Well, Republicans are racing to catch up in the brutal repression and environmental destruction categories, and they're trying to institute a genocidal rollback of basic healthcare, not to mention their plans for a new deportation trail of tears. So. And really, I'd argue China is doing more on the environment than Republicans, at least they acknowledge such things as climate change exists, government action can help, which is more than our government stocked with literal climate deniers and coal rollers.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:06 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


Just because the US is shitty right now, does not absolve the Chinese government of their many MANY sins, and the fact that we expect China to save us is a slap in the face to the brutal repression of ethnic minorities in China. Is this one of those times where people are valuing "economic issues" over the lives of minorities again?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 2:10 PM on May 14 [9 favorites]


It's an expression of the magnitude of pessimism about the US' future that we could even hypothetically expect China to be a better bet for world leadership even despite their terrible history. Our future could very easily be worse than their past unless Republicans can be driven from power in the very near term.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:13 PM on May 14 [11 favorites]


From the OP article of today's thread about the tuberculosis outbreak over the last few years in Marion, Alabama:
Approaching another street, Lee pointed to a redbrick house that had been the home of Spencer Hogue, one of the original three people targeted in 1984 by Jeff Sessions — then the U.S. attorney for southern Alabama — for voter fraud. Hogue had been a patient of Lee’s, and he was diagnosed with latent tuberculosis before he died from other health problems, in September. “He was a no-kidding civil rights warrior,” Lee said.
posted by XMLicious at 2:19 PM on May 14 [9 favorites]


They may be massively inflating the degree to which they care about climate change and are doing something about it. On the other hand, even if that's the case they still see that as a worthwhile and admirable thing.
posted by Artw at 2:20 PM on May 14


FWIW, I would totally consider moving back to Vermont if there were more jobs in my field there, because it's beautiful and the cost of living is a lot better. It has the distinction of being the one super-rural blue state, so it's maybe the one case where culture isn't really a confounder. But unfortunately there's exactly one major research university there, and nearly all the industry biotech jobs are in Boston, San Diego, and the SF Bay Area. (The idea of moving to somewhere so unpopulated as a single gay dude also kind of gives me hives.)

I know my case isn't particularly representative, but I do know a lot of other people who grew up in Vermont and eventually either left or are considering leaving as 20/30-somethings. It's not because they don't like Vermont -- people often actually seem to get really attached to Vermont after growing up there -- but rather because they found it really difficult to find steady work, or because the job opportunities were just a lot better elsewhere.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:21 PM on May 14 [10 favorites]


Moving to rural Ohio was a serious career downgrade I suppose, but damn I had a good time.

I'm also having a lot of fun in the Boston tech scene now, though.
posted by Coventry at 2:27 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


And you know, the brutal repression of elementary freedoms, the free pollution and destruction of the environment, and the genocidal occupation of Tibet. So no. I will not put my money on China.

This is why I'm thinking that, longer term, India's the better bet. Sure, there's a whole crap-ton of stuff that needs to be addressed, but they're addressing their fossil fuel consumption problems, they actually believe in climate change, they're working on addressing their world-leading corruption problem (albeit frustratingly slowly at times), and rather than engage in voter-suppression shenanigans, they appear to actually want people to vote.

(Full disclosure: I'm an American-born person of Indian extraction, but my feeling this way has nothing to do with that fact.)
posted by CommonSense at 2:30 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


Lindsey Graham's comments are alternately head-scratching and nauseating. Is there subtext to any of this or is it just more mucho-sadness?

Graham: Trump 'calls me when I'm asleep'

"What have I learned about our president? He's curious, he asks questions, and he knows no fear. [...] He calls me when I'm asleep and he calls me after I go to bed. I wish he would rest more. I gave him my phone number. So far so good. [...] And he's under siege unlike any president I've ever seen in my entire life. They don't believe he won; I do. Now Obama was somewhat hard for us, but I thought we were somewhat respectful. Let me tell you that you have a commander in chief that's not going to let this country get walked over anymore."
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:35 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


When were these ghoulish fucks ever respectful of anything?
posted by Artw at 2:37 PM on May 14 [40 favorites]


MetaFilter: historical home of all the liberal weirdos
posted by kirkaracha at 2:38 PM on May 14 [9 favorites]


Now Obama was somewhat hard for us, but I thought we were somewhat respectful.

ahahahahahahahaha

What happened to his Supreme Court pick you feckless fuck?
posted by Talez at 2:41 PM on May 14 [79 favorites]


These clueless scumbags really have no idea how they've acted before the election and how they've acted since... that or they're utterly delusional and hooked on self pity.
posted by Artw at 2:44 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


I gave him my phone number. So far so good.

Lindsey Graham has a short memory.
posted by peeedro at 2:44 PM on May 14 [10 favorites]


I think Graham's remarks might be left-handed praise.
posted by Coventry at 2:45 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


You know, when we talk about Republican respect for President Obama, I'd almost, almost be willing to accept the proposition that most of the Republican Party didn't didn't really buy into birtherism, but for their general failure to forcefully repudiate it and fight it. But that completely went out the window when they nominated and rallied around one of the biggest supporters of that nonsense and got him elected President. You can't make President Trump your standard-bearer and claim the moral high ground.
posted by zachlipton at 2:46 PM on May 14 [32 favorites]


Now Obama was somewhat hard for us, but I thought we were somewhat respectful
On the night of Barack Obama’s inauguration, a group of top GOP luminaries quietly gathered in a Washington steakhouse to lick their wounds and ultimately create the outline of a plan for how to deal with the incoming administration.
...
After three hours of strategizing, they decided they needed to fight Obama on everything. The new president had no idea what the Republicans were planning.
"What they said right from the get-go was, It doesn’t matter what the hell you do, we ain’t going to help you. We’re going to stand on the sidelines and bitch.”
posted by kirkaracha at 2:49 PM on May 14 [70 favorites]


This is why I'm thinking that, longer term, India's the better bet.

That's if you can manage to overlook the lethal ethnofascism (and antiscientific push) of Hindutva, the profoundly offensive gender politics expressed in everything from acid attacks to "Eve teasing," the endemic corruption, the elites' smug and self-regarding complacency in the face of word-historical poverty so long as they are allowed to preen and the very nature of the caste system, sure.

I mean, overcome those things and we can talk.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:52 PM on May 14 [16 favorites]


If places, like the one where I live, are ever going to become blue, it's going to take people like me moving there. It'd be nice if those of us who move to rural areas aren't stereotyped as KKK refugees looking for sympathetic folks.

Yeah, from my place in the middle of the woods, of course some people want to move to rural areas. We were looking at a financial situation of either having to continue paying ridiculous rent for small one-bedroom apartments or trying to buy a house somewhere 50 miles from the center of town, sitting in 2 hours of traffic each way every day. Or for the cost of a shitty apartment, having our own land and a three bedroom home and never dealing with traffic again.

We found jobs and we moved. Has it been fantastic the entire time? No. Especially when I became disabled and my husband's company shut down. But do we have any desire to return to spending several hours a day on freeways to get home and listen to our neighbors' music? Not really, no.

We have circumstances that makes this a decent option for us. We're white, cis, and nominally straight. There's a university town nearby with a good economy and plenty of left-leaning people. People out here are organizing for political change. There's lots fighting the good fight.
posted by threeturtles at 2:57 PM on May 14 [13 favorites]


Imagine if America were treated with the same bombastic resort to generalisation, caricature, and selective headlining as poor China and India?
posted by stonepharisee at 2:58 PM on May 14 [31 favorites]


We actually need global commitments to sustainability and democracy

actually
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:01 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


Imagine if America were treated with the same bombastic resort to generalisation, caricature, and selective headlining as poor China and India?

"That's if you can manage to overlook the lethal ethnofascism (and antiscientific push) of the Republican party, the profoundly offensive gender politics expressed in everything from Planned Parenthood Clinic attacks to "Campus rape culture," the endemic corruption, the elites' smug and self-regarding complacency in the face of generational racial linked poverty so long as they are allowed to preen and the very nature of the unacknowledged apartheid system, sure.

I mean, overcome those things and we can talk."
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:03 PM on May 14 [35 favorites]


America's role as "The Shining Light to the World" has always involved setting a pretty low bar. Of course, if we keep lowering that bar for America, it won't be long until China and India make it over it.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:04 PM on May 14 [12 favorites]


I mean, overcome those things and we can talk.

I'm pretty sure I said "longer term," implying that, as a (literal) land of contrasts, India is in a constant state of change. And I could nitpick about how it's questionable how much a force Hindutva is in Indian society as a whole; how — as horrible as the rape problem in India is — the almost-obsessive focus on India over all other countries of late is bizarre (to say the least); and how a failure to address poverty sure as hell isn't a problem unique to India.

I'm far from an expert, sure, but I've seen dramatic, once-unthinkable amounts of change happen in India since the first of my nearly 20 visits over the years, back in the early 1980s through today. And it's still ongoing.

On preview: Imagine if America were treated with the same bombastic resort to generalisation, caricature, and selective headlining as poor China and India?

Yeah, basically.

I really wasn't looking to create a big derail here. We disagree. Whatever, dude.
posted by CommonSense at 3:04 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]




Imagine if America were treated with the same bombastic resort to generalisation, caricature, and selective headlining as poor China and India?

I don't see how pointing out the systemic human rights abuses of the Chinese government is 'caricature'. Also, I think we *should* be harder on America. And considering two sovereign nations as "poor China and India" is kinda racist as hell.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 3:08 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


In fact, I moved 40 miles north of Seattle not quite one year ago, after fifteen years of living on Capitol Hill, historical home of all the liberal weirdos.

I also left Seattle and live somewhere vaguely rural and hippy-ish. It's considered to be urban for the area, even though it's a town of barely 10,000 people. I see more deer, owls, bald eagles, otters and whatnot on a given day or week than most people see at a zoo.

The air is so clean and fresh out here it's utterly intoxicating. No, seriously, one of my favorite things to do now is take long, slow walks through the woods and get super high on all the ambient terpenes. It turns out that I personally didn't need antidepressant drugs to manage my depression, I just needed a lot more trees and a quiet, friendly place to live.

And I can barely stand to be in or near big cities any more. The appeal is gone. I like to visit my friends in Seattle, maybe visit the Frye or get some big city culture in, but I can only last about 3-4 days before I need to get the fuck out of the city, and I don't start really relaxing until I'm on the last local bus home and I'm deep in the trees.

When I first moved to Seattle it felt like a cute, small city compared to, say, LA or SF. Now it's just an overwhelming assault on my sensibilities and senses. I had no idea big cities smelled so bad, were so loud and so filled with visual blight and trash. If you teleported me from where I'm sitting right now to Downtown LA or somewhere along the Western Ave corridor I'd probably get physically sick from the environmental stress and the stench of traffic and smog.

And this is on top of all of the other stresses, the panhandlers, the fact that there's no place to go where you don't have to spend money to exist or simply use a bathroom.

Conversely where I live now I can head out without even a penny in my pocket and know that there are several coffee shops where they'd be glad to let me have some water, a dry place to sit or a bathroom to use. I haven't tested this, but I could probably ask for or earn a hot meal at a half dozen restaurants. I've certainly been able to show up at my favorite bar and people are happy to buy me a beer for the company and conversation - but I've also paid that forward by doing the buying or being there for people when they needed help with moving or other things.

And f I suddenly had a health issue and collapsed in public - people would actually likely know who I was, where I lived and whom to call. This is incredibly comforting.

Heck, I've lost valuable things on the local bus and every time it's gotten back to me. Umbrellas, insulated canteens, 100 dollar multitools, my wallet. Every time it's either been turned in to the bus driver and/or made its way to lost and found and recovered. This still just blows me away.

The price of admission to this is that most of the jobs here are retail, tourism or service industry. Then there's the paper mill, which pays pretty good but then you smell like old Tacoma.

Granted, I don't have anything resembling a career and I don't care about that, so it's not like I'm sacrificing anything.

I do care that I live in a small community where people look after each other, where there's a lot of music and art, and I can leave my door unlocked to the point that I don't even have a key to it. For someone who has normally been acutely hypervigilant for most of their life this says a great deal.

Point is is that I've learned that rural/small towns are definitely not the enemy of the future. If anything some small towns should be looked at as role models of sustainability and progressiveness. We're a lot more in touch with our surroundings and environment in ways that are just not even considered as viable in big cities.

Example: Our local foodbank has crews of gleaners that gather unwanted produce from farms and home gardens. Every single restaurant I've been into in town or in the kitchen has some form of a direct compost/waste/scraps recycling program where local farms and gardens do all the scrap/waste collecting themselves. This goes straight back into local compost piles and pig feeding troughs.

While we also have a municipal composting/greenwaste program, I would guess based on how little I see on the curbs that it probably receives less than 10% of the waste stream because people are just that active about all that green and black gold.

Anyway, my other main point is this: These kinds of small communities can be built, nurtured and fostered. But they take work, and they aren't off the rack solutions that most people find easy to accomplish. They take a lot of direct action and hands on work and compromise.

And people fleeing rural areas for the city cores and away from high unemployment is part of the problem that's creating political monocultures where they didn't necessarily exist before.

I think part of the solution is more remote STEM work and getting corporations to value and support remote workers more.

That and maybe getting people to learn to slow down on the typically American problem of working too hard, too often for too little and the negative, destructive feedback loop of excessive consumption.

Which is yet another benefit of living in a small town. No one cares if you only have some old Dickie's or Carhartt's for pants or you've been wearing the same hoodie all year, nor do they care what kind of car you drive, or what you own.

They care what kind of person you actually are.
posted by loquacious at 3:15 PM on May 14 [67 favorites]


> America's role as "The Shining Light to the World" has always involved setting a pretty low bar. Of course, if we keep lowering that bar for America, it won't be long until China and India make it over it.

Isn't that essentially what happened to the Roman Catholic Church's concept of Limbo? The bar was so low they effectively buried the concept.
posted by guiseroom at 3:19 PM on May 14


Let me tell you that you have a commander in chief that's not going to let this country get walked over anymore."

It is not mentioned which branch of the military Greg Nash, whose byline appears on this piece, is in. I assume he is in the military, because the other options are that (a) Graham believes the president is commander of all Americans, or (b) he hopes you believe that.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:23 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


I have this gut feeling that the movement from rural areas to cities is reversing. When I was a kid in the 70's, everyone smart and forward was moving or already had moved to the suburbs beginning when my parents were kids in the 50's, or they were already living in small towns and villages. I knew at 9 years old that my family was headed for deroute when we moved to the city. Now as we all know, a two-room apartment in a trending city costs more than a small farm. But that also means that all the creatives are being priced out, as well as the start-ups, the small manufacturers, the contractors and the nurses, teachers and policemen. And they are moving back out, very slowly.
I think the turn back to the city started during the late 80's and it's being felt now. So the movement back out won't be a significant force before in 20-30 years' time. And there are unknowns such as climate change and infrastructure (specially digital infrastructure). But everything is flowing
posted by mumimor at 3:25 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


[urban/rural stuff is turning into a derail, as is the Vatican stuff, so let's move on.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:33 PM on May 14 [9 favorites]


So I get this alert on my phone from the LA Times: Meet the Malibu lawyer who is upending California's political system, one town at a time and I'm like nooooooooowhat'shappeningnow but he turns out to be a good guy!
For the past several years, Shenkman, 38, who lives and practices law in Malibu, has been suing, or threatening to sue, cities all over Southern California, demanding they change the way they elect members of their city councils in order to increase the numbers of African-American and Latino representatives.

[...]

Shenkman expected the Palmdale case to resolve quickly, but the city fought back. In 2013, the case went to trial. Palmdale lost. A judge ordered new, by-district elections.

In November, Palmdale elected its first Democratic Latino City Councilman, Juan Carillo, from a new district on the city’s east side, “one of our first success stories,” as Parker told me.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:42 PM on May 14 [29 favorites]


Ben Sasse on today's NationFace:
Peter Pan's Neverland is a hell. It's a dystopia.
See, that's why they're trying to ensure as many Americans as possible are ravaged by old age and disease so that 21st century America will be more like actual Victorian England rather than like a dystopia where people never age! If we can only get back to successfully executing children for property crimes, rather than being like Neverland where they always get away from the bad guys, and maybe a little bit of children being mangled in machinery in the course of child labor, Americans will be fully protected from the dystopian threats of longevity and not enough children dying.

Evidently he's written a book about kids these days! and so is trying to portray life for Millennials and Milleniolds as being like Neverland. Cursory Googling appears to indicate that some people have indeed put forward literary theses that Peter Pan's Neverland was a dystopia... but half the time they appear to be saying it was a dystopia for Captain Hook.
posted by XMLicious at 3:56 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


From a reddit comment on the Charlottesville hate rally:

Another Cville resident - to add to the fucked-up-ed ness of all this...soemthing I haven't seen covered at all in the media is that during the day they were MARCHING AROUND THE ANNUAL "FESTIVAL OF CULTURES" taking place in the park. Seriously, WTF. "Oh, a celebration of cultures and diversity? Sounds like a good place for a neo-Nazi demonstration."

I was with folks at the festival when these racists were marching around with their drums and parade of confederate flags, and people were scared and nervous. Fuck those guys.


So these racists are not "just defending history".
posted by longdaysjourney at 3:57 PM on May 14 [46 favorites]


For the past several years, Shenkman, 38, who lives and practices law in Malibu, has been suing, or threatening to sue, cities all over Southern California, demanding they change the way they elect members of their city councils in order to increase the numbers of African-American and Latino representatives.

A similar lawsuit is pretty much the only reason that Pittsburgh has council districts and I know that a lot of other cities have had to be dragged kicking and screaming from the at-large voting scheme. Sadly here it was Democrats who fought against representational council districts. Unfortunately, we're at risk of going down to only having one majority-minority district out of nine in the city after 2020 because the city has been getting even whiter than it had been.
posted by octothorpe at 4:08 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


The handful of serious accelerationists I know are very smart, very educated, and extraordinarily empathetic--but, for whatever zany, misguided reason, they place their empathy on future generations more than on people living now who will be harmed or dead by the disruption they wish for. It's a sort of bizarre hypothetical utilitarian trolley problem logic.

Just wanted to quote this again, because it clarified my uneasy feelings about accelerationism better than anything else.

Seeing as we are caught in a period of upheaval, though, I hope as many of us as possible make it through, and, if we end up with UBI, that's going to do a lot to heal the rural/urban divide issue. It's not really relevant to talk about where people *want* to live when people's employment dictates where they *can* live.
posted by emjaybee at 4:12 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


The handful of serious accelerationists I know are very smart, very educated, and extraordinarily empathetic--but, for whatever zany, misguided reason, they place their empathy on future generations more than on people living now who will be harmed or dead by the disruption they wish for. It's a sort of bizarre hypothetical utilitarian trolley problem logic.

this impulse, taken even further, is the same thing that leads people to worry more about rogue AI and Roko's Basilisk than problems that actually exist like healthcare access, income inequality, and climate change
posted by murphy slaw at 4:34 PM on May 14 [30 favorites]


So these racists are not "just defending history".

and the history is actually indefensible.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 4:37 PM on May 14 [28 favorites]


I'm not sure what to make of this story w/r/t it not coming from a major media source, but it appears at least two things are clear: it was incredibly easy to launder money at the Trump Taj Mahal, and judging by his casinos, Trump was a horrible businessman.

Anyone who invested in Trump Entertainment Resorts in 1996 would have lost 93% of their investment in 10 years, whereas if you invested in the casino industry as a whole, you would have gained 250%.

As far as money laundering goes, you just a) buy chips with a wad of cash, b) cash out those chips, c) declare the money as gambling winnings. The downside is you might have to pay taxes on the amount you declared, but it's now officially clean money.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:01 PM on May 14 [13 favorites]


Some trenchant both-sidesey analysis from NPR's Mara Liasson

And I think there's a lot of magical thinking on both ends of the political spectrum. You know, his supporters think he's rewritten the rules. And they'll tell me, well, it doesn't matter what he does. It doesn't matter what his approval ratings are. Remember during the campaign, he said he could stand on Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and not lose any voters. On the left, I think they are in the grip - many people - critics of him are in the grip of this delusion that he's going to be impeached or that we're in a full-fledged constitutional crisis.

A few seconds later...

Legally, President Trump has the right to fire the FBI director for any reason or no reason at all. Whether this amounts to obstruction of justice is not clear.

So in summary, it's unclear whether the President committed a felony in order to undermine a criminal investigation into his campaign's relationship with a foreign power and their apparently successful attempt to subvert the democratic process resulting in a Presidential election he narrowly won, but thinking of that as a constitutional crisis is a "delusion".
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:11 PM on May 14 [31 favorites]


India vs China:

Having spent several months in each, I'd say 3 things should not be overlooked:

1) India is diverse. They make movies in half a dozen different languages, and the currency has something like a dozen alphabets on it just so everyone can read it. China is a mono-culture, 98% Han Chinese and actively working to dilute the remaining 2% into meaninglessness. Imagine if the US was 98% Swedish.

2) English is the lingua franca in India. That's why our call centers go there and not to China.

3) China has a totalitarian government. It's not communist any more in any real
sense, but don't kid yourself that the government won't jail, torture or kill people as needed to maintain power. And they have reached new heights in authoritarian control of information.

In short, I do not welcome new Chinese overlords.
posted by msalt at 5:11 PM on May 14 [28 favorites]


The handful of serious accelerationists I know are very smart, very educated, and extraordinarily empathetic--but, for whatever zany, misguided reason, they place their empathy on future generations more than on people living now who will be harmed or dead by the disruption they wish for. It's a sort of bizarre hypothetical utilitarian trolley problem logic.
this impulse, taken even further, is the same thing that leads people to worry more about rogue AI and Roko's Basilisk than problems that actually exist like healthcare access, income inequality, and climate change


The inverse of this, though, can also lead to radicalism and revolution, since while incremental progress is good (and arguably the only way forward), it's also the case that millions of people are unnecessarily dying every day, and an uncertain belief that we are slowly inching our way towards a happy society where health care, food, and income are basic human rights, doesn't change the immediate fact of those millions unnecessarily dying right now.
posted by chortly at 5:18 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]








Having spent several years in China, I found reports of its totalitarianism and monoculture to be overly simplistic and greatly exaggerated. Additionally the government there must really suck at diluting minorities when their percentage of total population has continuously increased since the introduction of the one child policy with its exclusion for minorities.
posted by wobumingbai at 6:02 PM on May 14 [9 favorites]


Having spent several years in China...

This would be more convincing if your nick wasn't "I don't know"
posted by Buntix at 6:09 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


"China may have problems but at least they had a one-child policy imposed on only the majority of the population"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:12 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


NPR am become facepalm, the flattener of noses
posted by petebest at 6:13 PM on May 14 [24 favorites]


I too have lived in China, and I found most US narrative about China to be totally inadequate at best. The real things I took away from my years there was that I really didn't know Chinese culture(s) and that the US lens was not a very good one for understanding Chinese political situations.

But that aside - in re China, Russia and all "enemy" states, much of what we're getting about them is propagandistic garbage. I'm not saying "Putin is actually a swell fellow and China is full of democracy", I'm saying that whatever is actually wrong in those places, we're not getting a full, complex portrait of them, how people actually live, what people actually want, what's actually wrong We've got to be smart about this - remember the Cold War. You didn't have to like or admire the government of the USSR to realize that we were getting told a lot of lies about it. (Just as they were getting a lot of lies about us, of course.)

(Something you have to hand to the Chinese government - communism didn't collapse into oligarchy and foreign corruption like it did in Russia. I'm not saying there's no oligarchy and no foreign corruption, but when I think about if I'd been in charge after Mao's death, trying to keep the country running at a reasonable standard of living and preventing the whole complicated apparatus from simply collapsing, I get the cold shudders.)
posted by Frowner at 6:21 PM on May 14 [24 favorites]


The one child policy also excluded rural citizens. So not a majority for most of its history.
posted by wobumingbai at 6:22 PM on May 14


The Chinese leadership is sober, focused on long-term stability and the economic well-being of their people.

The only thing that China does well compared to developed democracies is high level of economic growth. Anything else you might look at, it doesn't do well compared even to troubled democracies like the US or very young democracies like Asian "tigers" and eastern Europe democracies.

To be fair, China has come a long way since Cultural Revolution years, in almost any sense. So that's very commendable, to be sure.

And yet, it seems bizarre to idolize Chinese system as it is right now.

Another weakness of China compared to the US and many other Western countries is that their post-70s system has not been tested by severe shocks. Consider that the US system of checks and balances, of executive, legislative and judicial system had survived intact through the civil war, great depression, president assasinations, cold war, nixon impeachment, transition from agrarian to industrial to high tech / service economy, globalization, tea party, trusts and trust busting, new deal.

Chinese political system might be too rigid and fragile to withstand similar shocks. I hope it lasts and mutates into a democracy, for the sake of all of us, but so far we can't be sure that its stability is anything more than seeming rigid stability of the late Soviet Union.
posted by rainy at 6:33 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


the government there must really suck at diluting minorities when their percentage of total population has continuously increased since the introduction of the one child policy with its exclusion for minorities.

From what percentage to what percentage? A "continuous increase" from 2% to 4% is not significant, especially when the government is e.g. doing everything it can to push Han migration into Tibet so they can squelch Tibetan autonomy with a highly pressured election to justify their control.
posted by msalt at 6:34 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Consider that the US system of checks and balances, of executive, legislative and judicial system had survived intact . . .

The past tense was intentional I take it. No, no. I agree it's . . it's not looking great atm.
posted by petebest at 6:38 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


You wouldn't find a 100% increase in a generation significant?! I would be happy to continue this in memail but I think we are derailing pretty hard here.
posted by wobumingbai at 6:40 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


[Guys, there's a lot of chatter just to chatter in here. Please try to rein it in and restrict yourselves to news and serious commentary, not just retweeting funny tweets and making jokes and running at the mouth. It gets agonizing to read. You can always go to the chat room to shoot the shit and I will even pop in there myself and be entertaining.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:49 PM on May 14 [24 favorites]


You wouldn't find a 100% increase in a generation significant?!

The question was whether China is a monoculture, compared to the U.S. and India, so no I don't consider a drop from 98% Han to 96% Han in 30 years particularly significant. Especially when combined with a active government effort to dilute and neuter minority cultures, such as imposing a state puppet Panchen Lama, purging monasteries, etc.
posted by msalt at 6:53 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


One last vaguely urban/rural-related thing that ties into broader political threads (delete if too far off topic) -- I'd like to relink this article from the Atlantic that made a pretty persuasive case that a big modern problem in the USA is geographic inequality and that it has been caused primarily by repeal and dilution of anti-trust legislation, not necessarily by anything intrinsic about e.g. the new tech-heavy economy.

The author also makes the interesting point that changes in the IP legal environment meant that software engineering became more about lawyering and deal-making, which benefited large companies with big legal teams. These additional disadvantages made small companies more likely to seek acquisition as an end-game, as opposed to competing with the giants. The author argues that this also worsened the geographic clustering of tech jobs, because to enter that world you needed access not only to tech workers but also specialized legal and financial services. I'm not 100% sure I buy this as a complete explanation (clustering also benefits employees, for instance), but it was an interesting take.

I also think there's something here that's not just urban/rural. Rural areas don't exist in a vacuum; they have a kind of symbiosis with the rest of the state, and they are bolstered by having prosperous denser areas nearby (both directly by tax dollars and indirectly by access to jobs and consumers of things produced in rural areas).

Basically I think the tldr is, if you want more geographic equality, fight for stronger anti-trust legislation.
posted by en forme de poire at 7:02 PM on May 14 [13 favorites]


Under Trump, inconvenient data is being sidelined
Across the vast breadth of the government, agencies have traditionally provided the public with massive data sets, which can be of great value to companies, researchers and advocacy groups, among others. Three months ago, there were 195,245 public data sets available on www.data.gov, according to Nathan Cortez, the associate dean of research at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, who studies the handling of public data. This week it stood at just under 156,000.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:08 PM on May 14 [17 favorites]


Now they've done it: Chris Wallace is cranky and starting to say rational things on fox news.

Chris Wallace: WH Rejected Invites To Discuss Comey Firing

"We want to begin by telling you who you’re not going to hear from, today - the White House. Since the president fired James Comey on Tuesday, we’ve been asking for a guest to explain the president’s reasoning and discuss the fallout. Saturday morning, White House officials said they would not put anyone out to discuss that. But they did offer senior officials the discuss the president’s foreign trip, this week. When we said we were going to focus on Comey for at least the half hour of this program, they put those officials on other shows."

"I do take exception to the idea that this is hysteria [...] This is a big story. The fact that we're talking about it a week later. This is the first time in history that a president has fired an FBI director who was conducting an investigation that was directly investigating him and his associates [...] It’s a big story and I think it’s a legitimate story to cover.”
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:43 PM on May 14 [58 favorites]


A complete rundown of Boston's neo-Nazis-vs-antifa thing on Saturday; author was most unimpressed with both sides.
posted by adamg at 7:56 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


Some people eat two scoops of ice cream, others get ice cream named after them:

Joe Biden Is Getting His Very Own Flavor of Ice Cream
posted by Room 641-A at 8:03 PM on May 14 [13 favorites]






so far most of these neofascist/antifa clashes feel like dorks cosplaying at street-level politics. the berkely thing seems to be the exception because the black bloc had an existing presence and willingess to throw punches in response to over the top provocation.

i mean, the white supremacists tried to intimidate people by marching with citronella tiki torches. i'm not waiting eagerly for the fascist gangs to get their shit together but right now they're a bunch of twitter-addled softboys bumbling around in herds for safety.
posted by murphy slaw at 8:23 PM on May 14 [17 favorites]


Primaries are on Tuesday and the city is awash in yard signs. All the Trumpers in the neighborhood (of which there were not a lot, but any number is too many) now have Democratic candidate signs in their yards. This shit makes me even angrier than their dumb Trump signs did in the first place. (To be clear, this is not an indication of Trumpgrets, it's an indication that the bland whitey mcwhiterson local establishment Dems in this city are a-okay with the same people who voted a Nazi for president.) I want every last one of them tarred and feathered.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:25 PM on May 14 [16 favorites]


Under Trump, inconvenient data is being sidelined. A well-reported story on how much public data has been disappeared.

The Guardian is also running a story about what's starting to happen on the front pages.
(Tl;dr: roughly the same thing, unsurprisingly).
posted by jaduncan at 8:40 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


I mean, overcome those things and we can talk.

I think the time for the U.S. to be giving advice and judging has passed. Seriously.
posted by bongo_x at 9:17 PM on May 14 [17 favorites]


No, no, you see, my political allies are harmless while yours are basically monsters in acceptable clothing. The sooner you understand that the sooner I can stop criticizing you for your intransigence.
posted by aramaic at 10:18 PM on May 14 [7 favorites]


Axios: GOP Nervous About Democratic Recruitment
I’m beginning to hear senior Republicans fret about Democrats recruiting unusually high quality House candidates for the 2018 midterms. They worry that with Trump in turmoil, accomplished progressives view next year as a their best chance in ages to win a congressional seat.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:53 PM on May 14 [29 favorites]


I’m beginning to hear senior Republicans fret about Democrats recruiting unusually high quality House candidates for the 2018 midterms. They worry that with Trump in turmoil, accomplished progressives view next year as a their best chance in ages to win a congressional seat.

Wonder how many of them have also figured out that it isn't helping their chances that they're enthusiastically fucking over their constituents with a smile when it comes to health care and other things.

If we can also recruit unusually high quality state legislature candidates as well as national house and get the districts redrawn come 2020, maybe we can return the favor.
posted by wildblueyonder at 11:53 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


[A couple deleted. Sorry, but this is getting massively derailed into a China thread.]
posted by taz at 12:52 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


You know, if you are paying attention to politics around the world, it's pretty hard not to notice that fascism is on the rise in general. Instead of trying to figure out which country is most or least fascist in its pursuit of world domination, we'd be better off trying to figure out how to turn that trend. I'd like there to be other options than dismay about and resistance to a new fascist regime (of which India and the US are good examples) or gasping huge gasps of relief that a fascist only gained a larger share of the vote (France).
posted by bardophile at 1:09 AM on May 15 [33 favorites]


T.D. Strange and bongo_x, I endorse your points completely, in case it wasn't clear. I believe we need to be as rigorous and tough when considering all national cultures, very much including that of the United States. I have this funny dislike for state authoritarianism, kleptocracy and fascism wherever they are found, curiously enough.

The putative American Century was bad enough. I am firmly of the conviction that none of us need either a Chinese or an Indian Century.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:36 AM on May 15 [5 favorites]


we'd be better off trying to figure out how to turn that trend

Do you think -- and I ask this entirely seriously -- do you think we can turn that trend?

Here's why I ask. I used to believe the universe bends toward justice but more and more I think that a) there is no reason for this to be so and b) there is no evidence that this is so. If the universe ever bends toward justice, it does so only in isolated local instances, for brief periods of time, and only through the sheer determination of a large number of active participants. It's dangerously naive to assume otherwise.

Macron is no great victory for France. Le Pen will be back, having learned from this election, and every thing Macron doesn't do absolutely perfectly right (and that will be a lot of things) will be one more talking point for Le Pen next time around. Elsewhere, Europe is fraying around the edges. Britain is going to get much worse before it gets better. The flood of refugees will grow, as will the surge of xenophobia and nationalism in response.

And in America, for every idiot on the national stage right now, I promise you there are two more right-wing ideologues-in-waiting who are watching and learning, and when their turn comes around, they'll be slightly smarter and better equipped to push their agenda. They'll exploit every weakness we show them, and we're showing them a lot of weakness. They'll play to all of the same racist sexist xenophobic reactionary voters who put Trump in office, but they'll do it just a little bit more subtly. And if by some miracle we defeat that crew as well, there'll be yet another generation behind them, incrementally smarter and harder to defeat. If there was a final boss, we could hope for a hail-mary once-and-for-all victory, but I think it's just wave after wave of increasingly difficult enemies and there is no win condition.

Don't get me wrong, I'm going to continue to fight as hard as I can, I hope all of us will. I just worry that what we're seeing now throughout the western world is the geopolitical equivalent of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The tools and institutions we've expected to save us are not saving us. The best leaders we can muster are unable to come to an effective consensus and are continually losing ground. We're throwing the same antibiotics at the growing infection -- appeals to better nature, to love and acceptance, to justice and human dignity -- and those antibiotics are visibly less and less effective every day.

I don't mean to be unnecessarily pessimistic, and I'm not encouraging accelerationism. It's just... I really don't see where we can go from here. If anyone does see a path to victory that I'm missing, please, I'd love it if you'd help me see it too.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 1:56 AM on May 15 [42 favorites]




The New York Times decides that it's a good time for a puff piece on Putin.
posted by octothorpe at 3:42 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]




Do you think -- and I ask this entirely seriously -- do you think we can turn that trend?

Here's why I ask. I used to believe the universe bends toward justice but more and more I think that a) there is no reason for this to be so and b) there is no evidence that this is so.


At Jeff Sessions confirmation hearing, Cory Booker said what Martin Luther King Jr only implied, "The arc of the universe does not just naturally curve toward justice -- we must bend it."

Martin Luther King died... but he changed things. The Nazis killed millions of people horrifically, but in the end they lost. It took generations of fighting for women to get the vote... Before that a lot of people died ending slavery in America, but it ended.

Though people have sought to undo the Enlightenment for 300 years no one has succeeded yet. The Renaissance was 500 years ago and that hasn't been rolled back.

It's a history of two steps forward and one step back... a history where those forward steps have come at tremendous cost. We're climbing a mountain. And we have lost such good people along the way.

I keep thinking about that quote about how "the price of liberty is eternal vigiliance." That's right, I think. Humans have these terrible tribalistic instincts which reassert themselves whenever we are scared, and the world is changing so fast right now, of course a lot of people are scared. But we have the power of reason too. And we are capable of kindness, and courage. We have to hold firmly to those anchors when people try to drag us down with them into the pits of fear.

I am feeling exhausted from trying to keep up eternal vigilance in the age of Trump. I want so badly to stop trying. But then I also think about "all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing " Those backward steps happen because we relax that vigilance at times. We get tired, we make excuses. We tell ourselves there is nothing we can do.

But how can we justify abandoning hope when our ancestors did not? In much more terrible circumstances than this, they kept trying... And though many of them died not knowing whether they had helped or not, their sacrifices were not in vain.

I'm thinking, forgive me for my nerdiness, of the end of "Rogue One" and of "The Hunger Games," and of the characters who died and never got to find out how the story turns out. That could be us. This may be a generations long struggle. We may never even know if the "good guys" win.

But that is no excuse to stop struggling. Because historically when we stop struggling, that's when we lose.

When we hold on to hope, though, we can indeed bend the arc of history... And we have a responsibility to the generations who came before us and the generations who will come after us to do that. This is our moment.
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:31 AM on May 15 [115 favorites]


Actual NYT article on Putin is here.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:35 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


I am detecting an upsurge in cynical pessimism and doom-saying and ironic shrugging at proposed actions among my lefty academic friends and here on metafilter, with fellow white males of a certain age (with tenure) making particularly world-weary "that won't work we are dooooomed" remarks. It's all over this thread too.

A reminder that the less privileged have lived with this level of fear, oppression, and lack of options to resist for a long damn time. Many middle class white folks are just waking up to a struggle as old as colonialism at least. As I said in an earlier thread, my Native American activist friends have a somewhat bemused attitude to privileged folks saying "but this president is really bad." Really? Yeah, he's bad, but from the point of view of Indian Country, what else is new? Pessimism and doomsaying are luxuries of privilege. Get back to the damn barricades when you finish wailing or ironically shrugging your shoulders at the end of the world.
posted by spitbull at 4:47 AM on May 15 [115 favorites]


And to be clear that reminder -- la Luta Continua -- is for my privileged self as much as my despairing friends.
posted by spitbull at 4:50 AM on May 15 [7 favorites]


Too-Ticky: "Actual NYT article on Putin is here."

I trying to avoid giving them the clicks and rewarding this shit.
posted by octothorpe at 4:52 AM on May 15 [10 favorites]


I have been wondering whether or not, in a few generations, they'll be discussing the Liberal age in the same way people discuss the Cathars today. Whether the movement with its roots in the enlightenment, which broadly flourished between World War 2 and the early 21st century, will have been wiped out, to the extent that all sorts of myths will flourish. “The Liberals built a model society. They solved racism and sexism. In the Liberal utopia, there were no men or women anymore, only persons. But then they turned inward, dissolving into incomprehensible ideologies of “intersectionality” and “postmodernism”, and died out. By the time the Liberals were wiped out in the Regrettable Necessity, the culture was a toxic, twisted parody of itself.”
posted by acb at 4:53 AM on May 15 [15 favorites]


I trying to avoid giving them the clicks and rewarding this shit.

Fair enough, but I can't read the article on Twitter, so if I want to know what to be outraged about, I'm going to click through and look at the article. If you want to give people a way to avoid that, you could post a quote from the article so they get the gist.
I've always considered postings links to links a simple case of folks being lazy, and I would never have guessed someone was doing this with a clear goal in mind, so thanks for making that clearer.
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:00 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


We already have the polished Nazis.

They're people like Jeff Sessions.

Richard Spencer's mistake was outing himself as a Nazi, but make no mistake smarter people than him have figured the formula out. (he nearly has a PhD, but he's never be able to walk on a street alone again)
posted by Yowser at 5:09 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


Politico: How Trump Gets His Fake News
... When Trump bellows about this or that story, his aides often scramble in a game of cat-and-mouse to figure out who alerted the president to the piece in the first place given that he rarely browses the Internet on his own. Some in the White House describe getting angry calls from the president and then hustling over to Trump’s personal secretary, Madeleine Westerhout, to ferret who exactly had just paid a visit to the Oval Office and possibly set Trump off.

Priebus and White House staff secretary Rob Porter have tried to implement a system to manage and document the paperwork Trump receives. While some see the new structure as a power play by a weakened chief of staff – “He’d like to get a phone log too,” cracked one senior White House adviser—others are more concerned about the unfettered ability of Trump’s family-member advisers, Jared Kushne and Ivanka Trump, to ply the president with whatever paperwork they want in the residence sight unseen.

“They have this system in place to get things on his desk now,” the same White House official said. “I’m not sure anyone follows it.”
posted by valetta at 5:16 AM on May 15 [26 favorites]


From that article:
Trump quickly got lathered up about the media’s hypocrisy. But there was a problem. The 1970s cover was fake, part of an Internet hoax that’s circulated for years. Staff chased down the truth and intervened before Trump tweeted or talked publicly about it.
So without the tireless work of his aids to steer him away from the stupidest shit, he would be even worse?
posted by octothorpe at 5:24 AM on May 15 [31 favorites]




incomprehensible ideologies of “intersectionality”

"Intersectionality" may be academic jargon, but the concept of "all for one and one for all" is really not that hard to understand.

At moments like this, that really has to be our rallying cry.

No more "First they came for someone else, and I said nothing." Come for any of us and you have you go through all of us.
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:28 AM on May 15 [68 favorites]


I have been wondering whether or not, in a few generations, they'll be discussing the Liberal age in the same way people discuss the Cathars today. Whether the movement with its roots in the enlightenment, which broadly flourished between World War 2 and the early 21st century, will have been wiped out, to the extent that all sorts of myths will flourish. “The Liberals built a model society. They solved racism and sexism. In the Liberal utopia, there were no men or women anymore, only persons. But then they turned inward, dissolving into incomprehensible ideologies of “intersectionality” and “postmodernism”, and died out. By the time the Liberals were wiped out in the Regrettable Necessity, the culture was a toxic, twisted parody of itself.”

Wow, fun thought experiment! Let's examine a few of these premises:
> Liberals built a model society - Maybe. For nominally left leaning white guys, that could be true. There's a lot of people of color, women, and LGBTQ folks who would be scratching their heads at what sort of 'model' we're talking about here.

>There were no men and women any more, only persons - Hahaha.

> Intersectionality and post-modernism are incomprehensible - I was confused by this at first, but then I remembered that you seem to think that we were living in a genderless utopia until something magically changed all that a few months ago.

> Liberalism is toxic - You might be right about this one, but not insofar as "intersectionality" is responsible for it.
posted by codacorolla at 5:33 AM on May 15 [11 favorites]


Republicans Are Abetting Trump’s Abuse of Power
What Ryan has done is surrender his own fundamental powers to Trump, knowing that people he likes and respects are telling reporters that Trump’s presence in the White House terrifies them.

Republicans know that, one way or another, this could end horrifically. They know they will be complicit if it does. And they’re abetting Trump anyway.

posted by T.D. Strange at 5:40 AM on May 15 [11 favorites]


> Let's examine a few of these premises:

codacorolla, my read on acb's comment was that those were examples of the myths that would flourish, not their actual beliefs.
posted by Westringia F. at 5:45 AM on May 15 [26 favorites]


So without the tireless work of his aids to steer him away from the stupidest shit, he would be even worse?

More precisely, without the tireless work of his aides to steer him away from the shit that's going to make him look even dumber by being an easily exposed falsehood.
posted by Etrigan at 5:55 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


RE: that politico story:

I'm almost as troubled by the fact that the deputy national security adviser is bringing unvetted e-mail chain fodder to the president for his consideration. That says to me that the entrenched idiocy goes several levels deep.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 5:55 AM on May 15 [28 favorites]


Who ever brings grandpa the most outrageous forwarded email gains the most favour.
posted by Artw at 5:58 AM on May 15 [28 favorites]


> That says to me that the entrenched idiocy goes several levels deep.

well if it's true what they say about grade-A people hiring grade-A people and grade-B people hiring grade-C people, what do you think happens when grade-F people are the ones doing the hiring?
posted by Old Kentucky Shark at 5:58 AM on May 15 [25 favorites]


That says to me that the entrenched idiocy goes several levels deep.

Idiocy or trolling or petty revenge? Wasn't she going to be punished with a posting to Singapore?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:58 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Republicans know that, one way or another, this could end horrifically. They know they will be complicit if it does. And they’re abetting Trump anyway.

My spouse and I were discussing this last night, and my feeling is that Republicans (at least the nevertrumpbutokaymaybethisonce types) are physically afraid of Trump's followers. They're electorally afraid of the rising tide of centrists turning leftward and people who never bothered to vote turning into people who will accost them at town halls, but that only makes them fear losing their cushy gigs in Congress. They fear that the Trumpists are going to literally murder them if they go against him.
posted by Etrigan at 6:00 AM on May 15 [11 favorites]


>They fear that the Trumpists are going to literally murder them if they go against him.

"Look I'm very tired and I'd like to go to bed but you see there are angry vipers in my bed and they'll poison me if I lift the covers.

Pardon me, what's that?

Oh, who put the vipers there, you ask? I did! I put the vipers there. But still they are very scary, wow."
posted by Tevin at 6:04 AM on May 15 [63 favorites]


well if it's true what they say about grade-A people hiring grade-A people and grade-B people hiring grade-C people, what do you think happens when grade-F people are the ones doing the hiring?

Apparently they get persuaded to hire intelligence assets.
posted by jaduncan at 6:06 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


(And fascism learns and evolves. Pinochet's Operation Condor was superior in efficacy to Hitler's Endlösung and Franco's mass graves. (Why build Auschwitz when you have the Atacama desert, for one?) If today's far right, be they Dominionists like Pence, “Eurasians” like Dugin, old-school Nazis like Spencer, reactionaries like Farage or Sessions, or some coalition of those—seize power and institute their own programs, these will have built upon the successes and learned from the miscalculations of past fascists. They will also have the benefit of big data and mass surveillance, a hint of which we have seen in the two electoral upsets of last year.)
posted by acb at 6:17 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


[A couple deleted. Let's skip the dystopian fan fic stuff, please.]
posted by taz at 6:27 AM on May 15 [9 favorites]


What the fuck just happened today hasn't updated in days and I'm getting scared.
posted by Don Pepino at 6:27 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


It doesn't update on weekends.
posted by zarq at 6:29 AM on May 15 [5 favorites]


Whew, thanks.
posted by Don Pepino at 6:32 AM on May 15


What Ryan has done is surrender his own fundamental powers to Trump, knowing that people he likes and respects are telling reporters that Trump’s presence in the White House terrifies them.

This was basically my postcard campaign to all of my reps and to P. Ryan this morning. We can no longer believe the information coming from the White House. The man in the Oval Office is emotionally unstable, easily angered, and unpredictable. Who can we turn to in a national crisis? Who can we trust?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:37 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


As far as establishment Republican politicians being physically afraid of Trumpian thugs, I can't say, but it does seem that they are shocked, shocked at the anger of their constituents - as well as annoyed: how dare these plebes! I surmise that this is something they had not counted on. They probably didn't have to deal with raucous town halls and cries of "Do Your Job!" before this - just a sparse audience of the usual diehards and maybe a crank or two. They were counting on the vast majority of their constituents being too apathetic or busy with other things to show up.

They may be trying their best to gerrymander the Democrats out of power, but how are they going to gerrymander their cheering sections back? People are going to start figuring out that yes, the leopards WILL eat their faces. Rats, sinking ships, etc. Dirty tricks and distancing is the Emperor's way of holding on to power when people start to catch on that he's nekkid.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:37 AM on May 15 [18 favorites]


SMH from the politico piece:
McFarland, who is expected to leave the NSC for the ambassadorship to Singapore, did not respond to requests for comment about bringing the president a fake news magazine cover. But another White House official familiar with the matter tried to defend it as an honest error that was “fake but accurate.”
posted by spitbull at 6:39 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]




For all of you guys who are uneasy about the rise of Fascism and worried about the cycle of power-- welcome to my world. Since I've been a teenager I've known that women have been elevated to (near) equal status several times in history only to lose that status and return to mere chattel in a generation. I've known that Roe v. Wade is not written in stone. Long before dystopian novels became popular with Millenials I would say that any thinking woman has known in her bones that one big crisis could lead to a loss of all the freedoms we have fought so hard for.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:44 AM on May 15 [57 favorites]


More SCOTUS: No action on the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, where a bakery refused to make wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:44 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


melissasaurus, do you happen to have an ELI5 for the voter ID case?
posted by INFJ at 6:55 AM on May 15





There are no jobs in rural areas and no affordable housing in urban ones.

Universal basic income and guaranteed price-controlled housing would solve both those problems. Just sayin'.


The US is the wealthiest nation in the world, with the biggest economy, despite having about a fourth of the population of #2 China. We could indeed decide to devote our society's resorces to these projects, in which people's jobs would be participating in the economy -- buying and selling things and moving the money around, instead of letting it pile up among the wealthy.

And all it would take is, essentially, taxing that wealth that has already piled up among the wealthy. Which is why the Republican obsession with tax cuts for the rich represents a vote for serfdom for the rest of us.

Conservatives and anti-Marxist sentiment managed to shut down discussion of class warfare, but that fact only made the war one-sided, and so the wealthy think they've won. But this country is still a democracy, and we can choose otherwise. Let's do so.
posted by Gelatin at 6:59 AM on May 15 [40 favorites]


IMPORTANT MONDAY BUSINESS- I was talking a walk down memory lane looking at comments I favorited, and I am concerned that we made sotonohito literally eat his words when he said the AHCA would pass. He did end up being right! I think this means we all have to eat OUR words/actions and have cake, too.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:01 AM on May 15 [10 favorites]


Tax reform scheduling update: the House Ways and Means committee holds its first tax reform hearing this Thursday (5/18): Hearing on How Tax Reform Will Grow Our Economy and Create Jobs. They are accepting public submissions to be entered into the hearing record (details on how to submit a statement here - must be single spaced Word doc, less than 10 pgs long). If your rep is on the committee (list here), consider calling or faxing them before Thursday on a tax reform issue that you care about.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:01 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


melissasaurus, do you happen to have an ELI5 for the voter ID case?

It's the "they targeted black voters with surgical precision" case. Here's a write-up from Ari Berman last year.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:03 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]




I guess they need one more republican on the court to make it a rubber stamp for fascism. Or is the new guy not seated yet?
posted by Artw at 7:09 AM on May 15


I read all 9 justices were voting this morning.
posted by spitbull at 7:11 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


Universal basic income and guaranteed price-controlled housing would solve both those problems. Just sayin'.

Rainbow stew for everyone!
posted by spitbull at 7:12 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


That's basically it, Artw. Gorsuch reset the Court to its Scalia balance. The next Trump justice brings the hammer.
posted by notyou at 7:15 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


From that Daily Kos link re: Indictments are coming! Indictments are coming!

We do know that a grand jury has been empaneled in the Eastern District of Virginia under Attorney Dana Boente, and has issued subpoenas to associates of Michael Flynn. Subpoenas are not indictments, although this proves the existence of the grand jury and the jurisdiction.

But that's about it. And after review,

Let's skip the dystopian fan fic stuff, please.

"A dystopia (from the Greek δυσ- and τόπος, alternatively, cacotopia, kakotopia, or simply anti-utopia) is a community or society that is undesirable or frightening. It is translated as 'not-good place'"

The fiction seems fairly arguable compared to more recent times [real]. It must be the "fan" part.
posted by petebest at 7:15 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Kind of amazed to see a US government institution functioning. Has the Nazi judge issued a dissent yet?
posted by Artw at 7:16 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I read all 9 justices were voting this morning.

The Court hears a case if four justices want to, so the refusal to grant cert means that at least six of them were like "Nope, not touching that."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:16 AM on May 15 [12 favorites]


Roberts probably realized that to keep its legitimacy, SCOTUS has to appear legitimate.
posted by Glibpaxman at 7:21 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Spitbull, that part of the Politico article jumped out at me. Several years ago, before Trump was even a blip on my radar, I got into an angry discussion with an old high school buddy who posted a fake quote from someone? Lincoln? that was easily debunked by the most cursory of internet searches. I called him on it, and he said, "But it's a good thought, right? Doesn't really matter if the attribution is wrong : )"
At that time, I wrote a barely-constrained-from-being-an-hysterical-rant message back to him. Stating, in essence, "I beg your pardon, but no. It DOES matter. How can we BEGIN to have tough but important discussions if things like this don't matter? How can we argue in good faith if people care not for basic FACTS?! This is a crucial problem in our current rhetoric, thanks, Facebook, and I don't see where we go from here if facts no longer matter." I, being a woman, being MYSELF, mistakenly tacked on an apology for tone, saying something like, "you pulled this right when I've had it UP TO HERE with such shenanigans, sorry to absolutely blast you." He replied, "Sorry you are having a tough time ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ "
AMAZING GRAR MONSTER!!!! I hid him and will never willingly speak to him again. I sure wish I hadn't tone-policed myself.
But that was then, before I knew what hell was on the horizon. And I blame my ex-friend and every other asshole who let feelings be more important than facts, because here we are, in a world that's rapidly devolving and causing me to lose all hope.
posted by thebrokedown at 7:22 AM on May 15 [41 favorites]


From that Daily Kos link re: Indictments are coming! Indictments are coming!

according to mensch and TrueFactsStated… and dailykos does a bunch of fine-toothed parsing to talk themselves into it.

this is no closer to being proven that it was when mensch first started yammering about it.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:23 AM on May 15 [5 favorites]


Does any rational person not suspect Mensch and Taylor are sources of calculated disinformation, most likely funded by russia and fed just enough little "true" things to set us up for the big fake news con?
posted by spitbull at 7:35 AM on May 15 [10 favorites]


Roberts probably realized that to keep its legitimacy, SCOTUS has to appear legitimate.

If so, we have to grant some praise.
posted by spitbull at 7:37 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Does any rational person not suspect Mensch and Taylor are sources of calculated disinformation, most likely funded by russia and fed just enough little "true" things to set us up for the big fake news con?

I don't know how rational I am, but I suspect them of being dumber than malicious. They may be fed disinformation, but I don't think they're being funded to pass it along.
posted by Etrigan at 7:43 AM on May 15 [7 favorites]


re: mensch, indictments against trump, etc.

I think a healthy dose of skepisicim is good, along with holding onto a thread of hope. We don't know enough, don't have enough evidence. I've watched and read about it in multiple ways over the weekend, and I do believe that Taylor and Mensch believe it's true.

They've been hammering about this since they first broke it. They haven't changed the message. When an element was proven wrong, Taylor spoke up about it but insisted the rest was true. So, that leads me to believe one or two things: They're wrong and pulling everyone along or they're right.

What I can't figure out is what would be driving them if they're wrong and fooling all of us. What's their incentive? Ok, I'll grant some exposure and celebrity status. I'll even mention that Mensch asks for donations. Taylor doesn't though, and I've not seen either ask for donations or financial support in twitter since this story broke.

Liars lie to either avoid getting into 'trouble' or they lie for some sort of gain. I am not seeing the gain here.

They might be totally wrong or their sources are wrong. I'm not taking it as gospel, and I'm not saying everyone should abandon their caution. To quote the dailykos article, we still have to “wait and see.”
posted by INFJ at 7:44 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Please forgive my ad hom:

My default stance for anything related to Mensch is always extreme scepticism. She is a woman who notably stuck out as having a troubled relationship with the truth whilst being a Tory MP, and was accused of leaking details of the phone hacking investigation to Murdoch/News International. That is, I think it's fair to say, quite an impressive feat. After that, she failed with a really remarkably stupid startup (it was a twitter clone called Menshn), got a reputation for complaining about cyberbullying (good), proceeded to cyberbully a 17 year old, wherupon the following happened:
In May 2015, after that year's general election, Mensch was accused of cyberbullying Abby Tomlinson, the teenaged leader of the 'Milifandom'.[49] Mensch denied the accusation, asserting that she had only criticised Tomlinson.[50] Shortly afterwards, she wrote a 4,000-word blog entry to reiterate that she had not bullied Tomlinson and made new assertions about the sixth-form student.[51]
Tl;dr: I really don't like Louise Mensch, and don't consider her a reliable narrator. If it wasn't for the fact that she guessed or got an actual source to tell her about the Trump campaign FISA warrant, I'd feel free to continue ignoring whatever she said.
posted by jaduncan at 7:46 AM on May 15 [12 favorites]


Whatever kudos Roberts earns for not actually overturning the NC ruling, he loses for his pissbaby "statement respecting the denial of certiorari" emphasizing that the case as it stands now is a procedural nightmare because Roy Cooper has withdrawn all official support for the law and the GOP legislature is trying to keep the case alive on its own, which is super questionable. So he just wanted to make absolutely clear that they didn't necessarily deny review because of the merits of the case, i.e. because the NC law is flagrantly racist voter suppression -- meaning if anybody else, hint hint Wisconsin nudge nudge Michigan, wink wink Kentucky -- wants to try their luck, the Supreme Court won't not have their back, if you know what I mean.

John Roberts is vile.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:46 AM on May 15 [39 favorites]




Some trenchant both-sidesey analysis from NPR's Mara Liasson

For what it's worth, she's been a contributor to Fox News since 1997, and with NPR since 1985.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:57 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I think a healthy dose of skepisicim is good, along with holding onto a thread of hope. We don't know enough, don't have enough evidence.

By the way, I really appreciate MeFi being a good source of this "hopeful skepticism". The local progressive Facebook group is full of some characters, let me tell you. A few weeks ago a picture of a local rally turned into a pretty gross argument about not wanting violence at rallies = anti-black-bloc, therefore you're a $%$ jackboot thug when it was real obvious that the two parties weren't even working off of the same definitions of what black bloc is, and then late last week there was a post about "It's all blowing up! They're coming to arrest Ryan tonight, and 45 might be next!" Which, I mean, c'mon.

So thanks, mods, and community. Y'all are fantastic.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:02 AM on May 15 [22 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: School turns away immigration agent looking for 4th grader: “Mayor’s been briefed on a fed immig agent showing up at Queens’ PS58 Thurs. asking about a 4th grader. School turned him away,” Mayor de Blasio’s press secretary Eric Phillips tweeted.

The federal agent didn’t have a warrant, Phillips added.


I'm sure we won't know until post-Trump, but is there any chance that ICE agents are given quotas on people to deport? I ask because why in the name of the gods above and below would anyone go after a 4th grader? Wasn't the whole (fake) justification supposed to be "get rid of the bad hombres"?

Because now it sounds like it's really hard work to actually find the violent offenders, and it's easier to go to churches and FOOKING SCHOOLS to deport kids, who are in all likelihood, exactly the sort of people Republicans want around - good kids who go to school, and honest folks who attend church.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:02 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]


Dirty tricks and distancing is the Emperor's way of holding on to power when people start to catch on that he's nekkid.

One thing to keep in mind regarding the "naked Emperor" analogy is that the story is based on the concept of shame. The Emperor is terribly embarrassed when he finds out that he is, in fact, naked.
Now, clinical psychopaths do not experience shame. So, yes, the Emperor is naked. But he doesn't care one bit.
posted by sour cream at 8:03 AM on May 15 [15 favorites]


So, I don't know about individual ICE agents, but ICE itself has a detention bed quota. Read it and weep. It ain't new.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:04 AM on May 15 [5 favorites]


Spicy lunch is on today. Guess he hasn't been canned yet.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:05 AM on May 15


East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94: Wow, Lindsay must have some pretty amazing social science research to say definitively that Russia's actions didn't result in Trump winning by a few thousand votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin thereby deciding the election! I wish he'd share it with us!

Oh, he doesn't need of that fancy research - he just knows that voter ID laws made it harder for populations that tend to vote for Democrats to vote at all.

Potato, fuck-you-got-mine.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:07 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I'd say that at this point the Emperor has lost all capacity to even comprehend the concept of nudity.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:07 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


I'm sure we won't know until post-Trump

post-Trump

I want to knock wood every time I see this. Sometimes it feels like even odds Ivanka will be Second of Her Name, followed by Junior and Eric, and after that it's Barron, now graying and battle-scarred, launching his Palace CyberCoup and dissolving the Great Council Of MAGA and you know the rest.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:09 AM on May 15 [7 favorites]


I'd say that at this point the Emperor has lost all capacity to even comprehend the concept of nudity.

the CONCEPT of PANTS is FAKE NEWS
posted by murphy slaw at 8:09 AM on May 15 [22 favorites]


the CONCEPT of PANTS is FAKE NEWS

"PANTS"

Needs more misapplied quotation marks.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:14 AM on May 15 [8 favorites]


the concept of pants is pretty bullshit
posted by ryanrs at 8:16 AM on May 15 [31 favorites]


So it's Monday and time for another busy work week. These days, however, Monday makes me wonder what the hell Trump & Associates is going to throw at us for this week.

This last several months has just been exhausting. We'll get through it. But damn.
posted by azpenguin at 8:16 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


Do you think -- and I ask this entirely seriously -- do you think we can turn that trend?

Well, like the good honorary Jew that I am, my short answer to that comes from Rabbi Tarfon: "It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it either."
Pirke Avot 2:21


The long answer: I'm a teacher. I believe in the possibility of a better future.

At the same time, I live in Pakistan. In 2011, my schoolmate's father was assassinated by a police officer who was part of his personal security detail for suggesting that our blasphemy laws required judicial/legislative review. Later that year, I discovered that a former student was the producer for a band that became popular by satirizing Pakistani politics (featured on Metafilter), some of the satire targeting the mass adulation of said police officer.

In 2013, my ophthalmologist was assassinated, along with his twelve year old in one of an ongoing series of targeted killings of Shia Muslims. The following year, I watched his elder son make his way to the top of the Pakistani high school debate circuit. The same elder son who would have been in the car with his father and kid brother if he hadn't stayed home to prepare for the junior high national debate final.

In 2015, my good friend from college was assassinated on her way home from the cafe cum lecture and performance space that she had founded a few years previously (also featured on metafilter). It's still a matter of considerable debate whether she was targeted for running events celebrating love, freer interaction between genders, and the performing arts or for hosting a talk about the disappeared of Balochistan in the face of considerable state opposition. Her space has been kept open by her single mother. Some of the debate folk in her city want to start a memorial tournament in her honor.

Those are just the people with whom I had a personal connection. It doesn't include the litany of names that I was familiar with, or the unbearably large number of mass attacks, some within earshot of my home.

What does this have to do with your question? Just that living where I do, in this particular era, has given me much time to learn that I have to focus on Rabbi Tarfon's teaching if I am to go on.

I don't know if we can help turn the tide. I do know that my sanity lies in working on it anyway.
posted by bardophile at 8:16 AM on May 15 [191 favorites]


So it's Monday and time for another busy work week. These days, however, Monday makes me wonder what the hell Trump & Associates is going to throw at us for this week.

Trump is going on his world tour, no? That should be embarrassing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:18 AM on May 15 [7 favorites]


palomar: I would like to move out of this state, to either Alaska or rural New Mexico or northeast Ohio, where my very best friend lives. But I'm stuck here in the orbit of Seattle, whether I like it or not, because I promised to stay near my grandmother until she dies. Once she's gone, I can leave. I'm lucky enough to have a job that may very well be portable, since I already work remotely for a company based in another state, otherwise I wouldn't even be considering this very seriously.

Please do join us here in New Mexico, but make sure the quiet little town has decent internet service and cell coverage, because rural NM can be remote in a number of ways.

Similarly, you'll have to be OK driving a good distance for groceries, and even farther for medical care. It's really hard to bring a rural community back from the brink for so many reasons, which all feed into each other. The local economy drops because mining or farming or a government facility shut down, so some people leave and find work elsewhere, so then the doctors and dentists leave because there's not enough people to support them. Then some more people leave to be closer to those services, and then the grocery stores shut down because the population can't support them. Then more people leave because it's a hassle to drive an hour to get milk and eggs, and then the schools shrink and it's harder to keep qualified teachers, and more families leave. All the while, people can't sell their homes because no one is moving in, so they leave their houses to fall apart, and more people leave because the town just feels blighted.

But there's still people who live there and need services, from water to fire protection to general transportation, so there's still a small government facility. Maybe it's only open a few days a week now, where the town clerk is the local notary and an EMT and a few other jobs, because they have to keep the town operating and following state and federal regulations.

I work with people from small, rural towns and visit them often, and while some part of me would love to move out there, I know that won't happen for a good number of the reasons, many listed above.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:19 AM on May 15 [15 favorites]




roomthreeseventeen: Trump is going on his world tour, no? That should be embarrassing.

Foreign Policy: NATO Frantically Tries to Trump-Proof President’s First Visit


“It’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child — someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity."
posted by bluecore at 8:24 AM on May 15 [26 favorites]




ThePinkSuperhero: There are alternative solutions to the problem of sotonohito having already eaten the cake.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 8:28 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


> So the NYT is leading with G.O.P. Senators Begin Edging Away From the President

Are Republican Senators Really "Pulling Away from Trump"?
Well, I don't see any of them joining with Chuck Schumer to say that the Senate shouldn't approve a new FBI director until a Russiagate special counsel is appointed. There's hand-wringing from the likes of Lindsey Graham about the possibility that Trump will choose a politician for the job, but if the past is any indication, Graham and other skeptics will fall in line no matter whom Trump chooses. [...]

Steinhauer concedes this:
So far, Republicans have refrained from bucking the president en masse, in part to avoid undermining their intense push to put health care and tax bills on his desk this year. And the Republican leadership, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, and the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, remains behind Mr. Trump.
Oh, OK. So this story is a big nothingburger.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:29 AM on May 15 [11 favorites]


Rep. Al Green calls for impeachment.

So what does that mean?
posted by zrail at 8:30 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Nothing, probably.
posted by Artw at 8:32 AM on May 15


Oh, OK. So this story is a big nothingburger

if concerns were horses

it would be good for the inside of GOP senators?
posted by murphy slaw at 8:32 AM on May 15 [16 favorites]


Rep. Al Green calls for impeachment.

"Whatever you want to do
is all right with me..."
posted by entropicamericana at 8:32 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]


He saw that Maxine Waters was Tired of Being Alone?
posted by zombieflanders at 8:33 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


It means nothing; Green is a Dem. But I love that dude so he gets props.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:38 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


bluecore: Foreign Policy: NATO Frantically Tries to Trump-Proof President’s First Visit

“It’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child — someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity."


My first thoughts were 1) "Budweiser-proofing," which is making public parks near high concentrations of college students more durable to drunken stupidity, and 2) childproofing, including putting plastic baffles on door handles that make it hard for little hands to open doors they shouldn't open.

2017: the year that 1) the president's staff has to have "a system to manage and document the paperwork [he] receives" (Politico, from upthread), and 2) other countries have to plan for a belligerent child-CEO (upthread) when Trump visits.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:38 AM on May 15 [10 favorites]


oh noes! trump is losing ann coulter!

and nothing of value was lost.

(naturally she's off the train because he's so ineffective at being horrible)
posted by murphy slaw at 8:41 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]


Burhanistan: Rep. Al Green calls for impeachment.

zrail: So what does that mean?

It means that an elected official, even if a Dem, has finally said what we've all wanted to be said. This moves the discussion from "is he unfit to serve? If he is now, what is the threshold that is the step too far?" to "how can we actually proceed to impeach him?"

Other elected officials will be asked about this, and this can become a talking point for reporters, even if the Republicans all push back and say "no, he's totally fine," they can then be asked "when would he be impeachable in your eyes?"

And if they're up for re-election, their words matter, not only for them, but their whole party. Because, as Glibpaxman pointed out upthread: Democrats in Congress should be subtly hinting to their Republican colleagues that impeachment in 2017-18 = President Ryan. Impeachment in 2019 = President Pelosi.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:44 AM on May 15 [14 favorites]


oh noes! trump is losing ann coulter! ... (naturally she's off the train because he's so ineffective at being horrible)

She's off the train because she needs to stay on TV. She doesn't care the slightest bit about politics beyond whether they allow her to stay on TV and sell more books and increase the brand value of Ann Coulter (tm).
posted by Etrigan at 8:45 AM on May 15 [16 favorites]


Whew, thanks.

No problem. :)
posted by zarq at 8:46 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


It means that an elected official, even if a Dem, has finally said what we've all wanted to be said.

Auntie Maxine has already called for impeachment.

(as usual, not paid attention until a man does it).
posted by Dashy at 8:47 AM on May 15 [65 favorites]


zrail Rep. Al Green calls for impeachment.

So what does that mean?

From a legislative sense, absolutely nothing. From an Overton Window sense possibly something valuable.

Legislatively we're not going to get impeachment, well, probably ever. This is due to the Pedophile Rule, AKA the Hastert Rule (named after infamous Republican pedophile Denny Hastert). It's only in effect when the Republicans have a majority, the Democrats don't do anything like it, but under the Pedophile Rule the House will not consider any legislation that does not have the support of the majority of the majority party. That is, unless you can get 120 Republicans to agree to impeachment any bill for impeachment will never even get to the floor.

If 119 Republicans and every Democrat in the House wanted a bill they'd have a majority of the House, but not a majority of the Republicans in the House, so the bill would die.

As long as the Republicans have a majority the Pedophile Rule is in place, and that means impeachment is off the table.

From an Overton Window standpoint Green's call for impeachment may be a big deal. Until now only fringe types like me were advocating impeachment. Now we've got a real US Representative putting it on the table, that's going to change the way impeachment is discussed nationwide.
posted by sotonohito at 8:48 AM on May 15 [13 favorites]


why do i suspect that it still won't count until a white congressman calls for impeachment
posted by murphy slaw at 8:49 AM on May 15 [21 favorites]


An impeachment resolution is a privileged item, and does not require the approval of the Speaker to be brought to the floor.

(Or at least that was the case back in the 1970's. There was a guy who wanted to impeach Nixon for bombing Cambodia, and Tip O'Neill et al were terrified that's he'd bring impeachment to the floor too early, blunting momentum before the Watergate investigation was ready. So they always made sure to have someone on the floor to prevent this from happening.)
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:55 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


A few Democrats have been calling on Congress to investigate and then impeach Trump if reasons are found. Jamie Raskin was calling for impeachment investigations over Trump's violations of the Emoluments clause before the inauguration.
posted by zarq at 8:56 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


Elsewhere on the barricades, NY State AG Eric Schneiderman is keeping on fighting the good fight against Trump. He's one of the SAsG who has petitioned Rod Rosenstein about appointing an an independent special counsel into the Trump/Russia scandal, as mentioned above-thread. While his investigation into the Trump Foundation is ongoing, he seems open to expanding into Trump's Russian ties, although he'd like to give Congress and the FBI just one more chance to do the right thing.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:58 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Dashy, sorry I overlooked her prior call, thanks for the reminder!

CNN has a slightly dated (5/12/2017) running list of Democrats who have discussed impeachment:
  1. California Rep. Maxine Waters
  2. Texas Rep. Al Green
  3. California Rep. Jared Huffman
  4. Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth
  5. Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan
  6. Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal
  7. New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries
  8. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
  9. Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison
  10. Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro
  11. Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin
Most merely mention the possibility impeachment, but only Representatives Waters and Green are actively calling for impeachment, per CNN's tally and summary.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:58 AM on May 15 [17 favorites]


Every little helps, I guess.
posted by Artw at 9:00 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


>>> 2017: the year that 1) the president's staff has to have "a system to manage and document the paperwork [he] receives" (Politico, from upthread)

Any executive with a job even half as complex as the presidency is surrounded by a "system" for paperwork. The notable thing about the Politico article is that there wasn't one from the get-go, which speaks to Trump's personality. It just didn't have as many ramifications for the wider world when he was merely head of The Trump Organization.
posted by AndrewInDC at 9:01 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Interesting. I would have thought that list would be a lot longer.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:01 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I'm going to contact Lacy Clay's office and ask him to publicly call for impeachment.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:02 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Sophie, all of my reps have tweeted/facebooked calling for an independent investigation into Trump. My general guess is that's what most of them are saying.
posted by INFJ at 9:03 AM on May 15


But let's face it, an investigation isn't really required to know he needs impeaching.
posted by Artw at 9:06 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Though the mere existence of a special investigator (or heaven forbid prosecutor) might be enough to make trump lose his shit and directly incriminate himself beyond the vague threshold he is managing now. I'll just be over there retaining captured atmospheric gasses in my lungs...
posted by Burhanistan at 9:10 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


AndrewInDC: Any executive with a job even half as complex as the presidency is surrounded by a "system" for paperwork.

True, but this particular system is necessary because his staff doesn't even know what he's talking about, so they want to track the sources of his free-form talking points so they can react accordingly.

Vote for a clown, expect a circus. Who know it would be the ring leader who's throwing poop at the audience, and not the disgruntled animals?
posted by filthy light thief at 9:18 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


But let's face it, an investigation isn't really required to know he needs impeaching.

An investigation wouldn't just be about Trump, it would be about what exactly happened, and who was complicit. There are plenty of people in Trump's inner circle who, in the absence of a real and substantive investigation, might go on to have ten, twenty, thirty years in the public sphere -- look at how long Cheney stayed involved in influencing public life.
posted by cjelli at 9:20 AM on May 15 [31 favorites]


Get toddler under oath, and it's alllll over as soon as he starts talking. But yeah, the self-incriminating evidence will increase even before that.

As we've already heard and read, he cannot tell a straight story, ever, and the truth is, well .... not something he's familiar with.

That he let on, with no prompting whatsoever!, about his "tapping" is already a start.
posted by Dashy at 9:20 AM on May 15 [12 favorites]


Rep. Al Green calls for impeachment.

Now I'm humming "Guilty" and "I Stand Accused."
posted by octobersurprise at 9:28 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]




Finite energy resources! That piece of idiocy is to precious bodily fluids as pea-in-a-pod is to pea-in-a-pod.

(Mystery meat goes to WaPo and a preciousbodilyfluidsstream on the youtube.)
posted by Don Pepino at 9:35 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]


uh if his golf pants are any indication, i don't think trump is in danger of running out of … energy any time soon.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:37 AM on May 15


For those who can't watch, Ari Melber and Sarah Jeong are live tweeting the 9th circuit arguments.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:37 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Impeachment is not going to happen.
Neither is an independent investigation.

Anything close to that would put the people involved in the immediate crosshairs - followed by vicious slandering of them, their relatives and their friends. And if that doesn't work, then there's actual blackmailing, followed by physical intimidation, followed by actual violence, followed by putting those in charge of the investigation in jail on trumped-up charges like "obstruction of government work" or whatever.

This is the new reality, get used to it.
posted by sour cream at 9:38 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


This is new-to-me:

Kellyanne Conway used to say she needed a shower after defending Donald Trump on air

“This is a woman, by the way, who came on our show during the campaign and would shill for Trump in extensive fashion,” Brzezinski said. “And then she would get off the air, the camera would be turned off, the microphone would be taken off and she would say, ‘Blech, I need to take a shower,’ because she disliked her candidate so much.”
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 9:43 AM on May 15 [37 favorites]


This is the new reality, get used to it.

I think everything I've read about the Overton Window and the intentionally overwhelming effects of fascism recommend the exact opposite.
posted by bibliowench at 9:43 AM on May 15 [43 favorites]


> This is the new reality, get used to it.

"You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is never try."
posted by tonycpsu at 9:45 AM on May 15 [28 favorites]


Trump's promised hotline for Department of Veterans Affairs complaints has not materialized, and there is no timeline for it to do so.

On the campaign trail, Trump pledged the hotline would be “active 24 hours a day and answered by a real person,” and even suggested that he would answer it himself if the opportunity arose.

“This could keep me very busy at night, folks,” he told a crowd of supporters during a July 26 rally last summer. “This will take the place of Twitter.”


Does the VA cover snake oil?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:46 AM on May 15 [26 favorites]


Is there a word specifically for a justice system where the legality of an action is determined by the result of an opinion poll about that action?

Yes, yes "tyranny," "republicanism," etc .. but is there a specific word that just describes that phenomenon by itself?
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:48 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


jaduncan: "After that, she [Louise Mesnsch] failed with a really remarkably stupid startup (it was a twitter clone called Menshn)"

Holy cow. This sounds too stupid to be real, like a throwaway gag (not even substantial enough for a B-plot) on Silicon Valley. And yet, here we are. At the same time, I can't help but wonder what other kinds of stupid, me-too startups we could get if celebrities just decided to do random stuff based off of puns on their names. I, for one, look forward to Steve Inskeep's AirBnB clone, InnsKeepr.
posted by mhum at 9:51 AM on May 15 [23 favorites]


Direct democracy?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:52 AM on May 15


<actually>
direct democracy would be if there was a plebiscite on impeachment. polls are statistical samples.
</actually>
posted by murphy slaw at 9:56 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


After trump, we're gonna need a realtime public opinion poll that is directly wired to a trapdoor that will drop the president into a tank of sharks wherever he goes in order to restore faith in democracy.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:00 AM on May 15 [8 favorites]


Corey Lewandowski told client he could get Trump to fire officials by badmouthing them on Hannity: report
According to a big profile of Lewandowski in GQ, the one-time Trump campaign chief told medical AI startup Flow Health that he could help them get Veterans Administration Secretary David Shulkin fired by badmouthing him on Hannity’s Fox News program.

“Lewandowski proposed using an upcoming appearance on Hannity’s Fox News program to brand Shulkin a ‘bad hombre’ who needed to be fired,” GQ writes. “After seeing him trash his VA secretary on his favorite cable-news channel, Lewandowski said, Trump would almost certainly call him to find out what was up.”
This is a woman, by the way, who came on our show during the campaign and would shill for Trump in extensive fashion,”

But think of the antibodies she must have from her previous job as Ted Cruz's spokesperson.


Does the VA cover snake oil?

What about snake bites?
posted by Room 641-A at 10:03 AM on May 15 [12 favorites]


Is there a word specifically for a justice system where the legality of an action is determined by the result of an opinion poll about that action?

Ochlocracy
posted by srboisvert at 10:04 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Washington Post: Syria using crematorium to hide executions, State Department says

I almost can't think of a more inflammatory narrative to put out there. It's almost as if the Trump Administration is trying to re-set the news cycle.

Countdown to cruise missile launch or worse starts now.
posted by martin q blank at 10:05 AM on May 15 [8 favorites]


Morning Joe’ Hosts: Conway Said She Needed A Shower After Defending Trump

I hope someone prints that out for Donald in case the TiVo didn't pick it up
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:06 AM on May 15 [12 favorites]


What about snake bites?

pre-existing condition: we knew he was a snake when we let him in.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:06 AM on May 15 [35 favorites]


Washington Post: Syria using crematorium to hide executions, State Department says

I've heard this story before. Now where was it? What could it possibly have been...

Oh, yeah.

May, 2015: Russia Is Using Mobile Crematoriums to Hide Ukraine Dead.
posted by zarq at 10:13 AM on May 15 [17 favorites]


Is it Saddam Hussein and the fake babies news time again?
posted by Yowser at 10:13 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]




Yuck. The particular phemerone nuances of trumpwash flopsweat must indeed be a putrid, private region grabbing stench requiring immediate hot shower.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:14 AM on May 15


This is the new reality, get used to it.

It's this and the more elaborate dystopian fanfic variations of this sentiment that makes these threads frustrating and tedious to follow.

Where can the conversation go after "get used to it."? Who gains by discussing this administration only in terms of how ruthless and indestructible they ultimately are?

Taking a "the world is brutal and heartless and fucked and there's absolutely nothing anybody can do about it" stance might feel like you're being critical of something but ultimately you're only supporting/sustaining the image of absolute control and power that they crave.

The Trump administration is an unpopular barely controlled mess that's being propped up by the GOP for unpopular self-serving, short-sighted reasons.
posted by AtoBtoA at 10:16 AM on May 15 [106 favorites]


I very much doubt Putin is going to allow Trump to fake-bomb Assad again.
posted by Artw at 10:18 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


it's easier to go to churches and FOOKING SCHOOLS to deport kids, who are in all likelihood, exactly the sort of people Republicans want around - good kids who go to school, and honest folks who attend church.

You need to separate normal Republican motives and Bannon-type motives if you want to understand this, because while it makes no sense under the former, it makes a lot of sense under the latter - and in fact, I bleakly predicted it six months ago.

If you want to stop demographic shifts in the US, that you perceive are driven by illegal immigrants and birthright citizenship, as the Bannons of the world do, then you need to somehow prevent new citizens from being born or being rooted in America such that they will stay. While I predicted ICE patrolling hospitals as well, which hasn't happened yet, the schools make a ton of sense - because if your fourth-grader gets deported, no parent with feelings is going to be like "well, sad for you, kid, we're going to stay here in America and not lift a finger to help you so they don't catch us." No, the whole family will either get deported or self deport, and then the Bannons of the world have one less family on the opposite side of the "who is having more babies" scales.
posted by corb at 10:20 AM on May 15 [20 favorites]


(And yes, Assad very much is engaged in mass murder, has been so from before the inauguration)
posted by Artw at 10:20 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


Some excerpts from a (paywalled) Tax Notes article - Legal Scholars Question Trump Attorneys’ Analysis of Russia Ties:
-“Saying he didn’t have direct dealings with a Russian company is like saying the sky is blue,” Rutgers University tax law professor Jay A. Soled

-John R. Brooks of Georgetown University Law Center concurred. “It’s certainly possible that there could be Russian-source income that’s not reflected as Russian-source income in the tax returns,” Brooks said. He noted that if income from a Russian source came through an entity in another country, it would simply show up on a return as income sourced from that country, not Russia.

-Soled questioned whether Dillon and Nelson framed their letter to Trump so that it only encompassed his income tax returns.

-Soled said that lack of specificity might fail to account for Form 709, “United States Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return,” or other non-income tax return filings by Trump.

-Neil H. Buchanan of George Washington University Law School picked up on that point, saying that Dillon and Nelson don’t define what a Russian source is, and that it’s not clear how broadly or narrowly they’re using that term. “They could mean ‘sources/lenders/entities directly owned by the